Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Diamond Reflections

TigerBlog was in the supermarket the other day when he overheard a conversation from a couple behind him.

"Let's try it," she said.

"What's the worst that can happen," he said. "It can't kill us."

Okay, now that's intriguing, right? It was even more intriguing because TigerBlog was in the cereal aisle at the time.

What could it be that they were willing to try? What had them so scared?

The couple looked to be in the late 60s/early 70s range. TigerBlog decided to scout out their cart to see what all the fuss was about.

They really didn't have anything controversial. And they had nothing cereal related, so it's obvious that this discussion had been going on for a few aisles.

As far as TigerBlog could tell, they had go be talking about an energy drink. There was nothing else there. Unless they were thought they might be allergic to something else but where willing to chance it.

TB is going with the energy drink. Perhaps if he sees some wildly energetic 60- or 70-year olds, he'll know he was right.

As an aside, TigerBlog has never tried one of those energy drinks. He's guessing it would have zero effect on him. Actually, now that he thinks about it, maybe he will try it to see what happens. Like the guy said, what's the worst that can happen?

Anyway, after he left those two, TigerBlog saw another couple. They were much younger. He was wearing a Villanova shirt. She was wearing a Phillies' shirt.

So maybe that was their way of saying win-some, lose-some? Or not wanting to seem like they were bragging.

Villanova, of course, won the NCAA men's basketball championship last week. The Phillies will not be winning any championships anytime soon, and in fact they might just be awful this season.

Oh, and to the comment from last week, yes, Tom McCarthy earned a World Series ring when the Phillies won in 2008. Now? He's doing TV for a team that is likely to lose 100 games and will be unlikely to be in contention at any point of the season.

There are two teams that TigerBlog can give you who are definitely in contention as the season moves along, and that would be the Princeton softball and baseball teams. In fact, both are in first place in their divisions after having played 40 percent of their Ivy schedules.

Both teams have a huge weekend coming up, with four home games against their closest rivals in the standings. 

And both have done exactly what they've needed to do. TigerBlog hasn't looked this up because it would take way, way too long, but he's guessing that a good percentage of Ivy League softball and baseball divisional champions were in first place after the cross-divisional games were completed.

It makes some sense. If you enter a four-game series against a team that you're behind, you at least need to win three of four to change the dynamic. And that's not easy to do.

Let's start with the softball team.

Princeton is 4-4 after its eight games against the North Division teams. All four North teams are at least .500; only Princeton in the South Division is.

Penn, at 2-6, is in second. Columbia and Cornell are both 1-7. Dartmouth is 8-0 to lead the North, and that includes a sweep of Princeton - though one was a one-run game and the other went 10 innings.

Princeton is home for four with Penn this weekend. To tie Princeton, Penn needs to win three of four.

The baseball team has a better record than the softball team, but it doesn't have as big a lead.

The Tigers are 6-2 after this weekend, which saw them get swept at Yale and then turn around and put 36 runs in two games of a sweep of Brown. The highlight was an eight-RBI performance by Zack Belski, breaking an 84-year old school record for RBIs in a game.

Like the softball team, the baseball team has four games at home this weekend against Penn. Also as in softball, Princeton and Penn are 1-2 in the division in baseball.

Penn will come to Clarke Field at 5-3 in the league. Columbia is next at 3-5, and Cornell - who still has two to make up against Dartmouth - is 2-4.

Again, the math is fairly obvious.

The softball team finished second in the South Division a year ago behind Penn. The baseball team finished last in the division and with the worst record in the league.

This year? It's a whole new ballgame for both. And both are taking advantage of their chances so far.

As a result, they both get to be home for four really big games this weekend.

Free admission. A very, very promising weather forecast.

Play ball. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Ivy League, home to the supposedly brightest students and faculty in the world, splits itself into North and South...with one of the South schools at a higher latitude than 3 of the 4 North schools. For Heaven's sake, rename them East and West and retain some touch with reality.