Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Let's Go Royals

When TigerBlog was a Penn freshman, he lived in a series of dorms called "The Quad."

It stretches from maybe 34th Street up to about 38th on Spruce Street, and is really a long series of interconnected dorms with different names. There are a few courtyards in the middle, including one that has stairs going up to connect the lower quad with the upper quad.

When TB was a freshman, he lived in Class of 1928 Hall. He didn't yet appreciate the importance of class years at that point.

Anyway, underneath the stairs that go up to the upper quad was a gathering area that had washing machines, study rooms and a small rec center. Included in the rec center was a ping-pong table.

One evening, TigerBlog and his friend Larry Harding went to play ping-pong. Larry's biggest claim to fame at that time was that he was from Natick, Mass., and had played high school football with Doug Flutie.

Anyway, TB and Harding played ping-pong for awhile and then went outside to find the whole place closed up and, more importantly, locked up. For some reason, it was bolted from the inside, so the two couldn't get out.

TigerBlog's memory of what happened next is a bit fuzzy, though he does remember having to call public safety from one of the emergency phones - the cell phone didn't exist yet - and then having to explain that they hadn't broken in, they were simply stuck there.

He also thinks he won the ping-pong match.

There was another time, back in 1990, when TB covered Trenton State (now the College of New Jersey) at Ithaca in the NCAA Division III football playoffs. As TB and another reporter wrote their stories (by the way, it was Dana O'Neil, who now writes for ESPN.com and whom TB fixed up with her husband, Princeton athletic trainer George O'Neil)  everyone left - and when TB and Dana went to leave, the entire complex had been chained shut. With them on the inside.

TB remembered those two stories yesterday, when his colleague Ben Badua explained that while at Harvard for field hockey Saturday, he found himself also locked inside a chained up facility.

How did he get out? He climbed over a 10-foot high chain link fence, with his computer bag draped over his back.

That's impressive, at least to TB.

Ben said that the members of the field hockey team had gone to watch the women's soccer team, who was also at Harvard Saturday. Both teams won 2-1, and both wins were huge for them.

Princeton field hockey and women's soccer both find themselves 5-0 in the Ivy League and alone in first place with two weeks to play. They are both in position to clinch at least a share of the Ivy title with a win at home Saturday against Cornell or the following week against Penn.

There are all kinds of other permutations and such about outright championships and NCAA tournament bids, and they're not the same for both teams. Suffice it to say that both are in a good position, though neither has clinched a thing yet.

Those two teams are closing in on league titles. The cross country teams compete Friday in New York City at the Ivy League Heptagonal championships, looking for their own championships.

The fall is reaching the top of the stretch. The winter seasons are starting up.

But the big, big story today in Princeton athletics is a spring sport, baseball.

Chris Young, as popular a Princeton Tiger as there has been since the day TigerBlog first started here, has reached the World Series. He is scheduled to pitch Saturday in Game 4, as his Kansas City Royals take on the New York Mets.

Before then, he could be used in relief in tonight's Game 1.

TigerBlog heard KC manager Ned Yost on the radio yesterday as he talked about his rotation. When he got to Young, he said that nothing is going to bother him, that he's had a great year and that he and his team have full confidence in him.

It's a great story, how Young has battled back from major arm, shoulder and back injuries to have back-to-back very good seasons, a year ago with Seattle and this year with Kansas City. And now here he is, in the World Series, pitching less than two months after the death of his father.

As TigerBlog has often said, Young would be the person he would choose as the most popular Princeton athlete he's seen. There is nobody who dislikes Young, and those who know him like him even more.

He is an extraordinarily nice person and has been from Day 1 that TB met him. TB can still see a very young TigerBlog Jr., up on Young's shoulders, as Young held him up to the basket on the Jadwin side court so TBJ could dunk. That's how Young is.

He's certainly enough to get TB to root for the Royals over the Mets, even if he grew up a Mets fan.

Now? He's a Chris Young fan. A big one.

No comments: