Sports

High drama for 2008 World Series

The World Series is finally here, folks, the first game today matching the Tampa Bay and the Philadelphia Phillies and the big win in the All-Star game gives the Rays the home advantage.

It's going to be hard for the World Series to equal the drama of the last three games of the American League championship series.

Wow, wow and more wow!

Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed four hits and fanned nine in seven innings as Boston took a 2-0 win. Then B.J. Upton knocks in the winning run with a shallow fly to right in a 9-9 Rays win in 11 innings.

In game three, the Rays won 9-1 as Upton and Evan Longoria powered the team. The Rays won 13-4 when knuckle man Tim Wakefield gave up three homers.

Then came game five and the Rays were coasting in the seventh with a 7-0 lead only to see Boston erupt and win 8-7, sending the series back to St. Petersburg.

Then the Bo-Sox took a 4-2 win last Saturday to bring on game seven and the teams had to battle the Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks game as I did last Sunday night as both contests were on at the same time.

I did a lot of channel hopping, but went to the baseball game after the Seahawks fell behind 20-3. What a game it was and the young Rays celebrated long into the night after a 3-1 win and I'm glad I don't have to watch Red Sox manager Terry Francona spit any more tobacco juice. Makes you wonder if he has a spit can in his pocket at home.

It's been a long, long playoff, or so it seems. The L.A. Dodgers took care of the Chicago Cubs in the first National League round and everyone had high hopes for Lou Piniella's Cubs - the team with the major league's best record - but they could not hit the top pitchers from the Dodgers.

The Philadelphia Phillies showed they are a team to be reckoned with, as they took out the Milwaukee Brewers in quick fashion.

The Los Angeles Angels were my pick to make it to the World Series, but they had trouble hitting with men on base, something they didn't have any trouble with during the regular season and the Chicago White Sox went down in a hurry.

Think having a playoff team in town is small potatoes? My good friend Chuck Lukey in Tampa said the publicity generated by the Rays has been terrific and even the national television people started referring to the Rays as being based in St. Petersburg instead of Tampa. Sort of like Oakland and St. Paul always being ugly sisters to San Francisco and Minneapolis.

Lukey reported the town didn't shut down after the Rays won their first playoff game. He also said his neighbor, who owns a bar by Tropicana Field, sold 4,000 beers the day of the first game.

I like the Rays because of their youth, their calm, efficient manager and because it's their first one. The Rays came into the league the same year as the Mariners. Maybe next year the M's can get into their first fall classic ... nah, go Rays.

Meanwhile, back at Safeco Field, the Mariners have announced they are not going to raise ticket prices for 2009 and might even offer some cheaper seats. They do plan, however, to expand the "premium game" package, which included the Red Sox and Yankee games.

Just because you were wondering, attendance last season fell to 2.3 million, down from the 3.5 million fans who saw the team in 2001.



Wednesday whirl

One of the outstanding events of the fall is the annual Olympic League cross country championship race and some high-powered athletes will converge on The Cedars at Dungeness golf course Thursday afternoon to decide the overall league championship.

For years this event was run on the Kitsap Golf and Country Club course in Bremerton, but P.A. coach Dwayne Johnson put in a bid for this event last year and his connections with the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe resulted in the first-ever cross country championship race in Clallam County last year.

The course is a good one and the golf people really enjoyed having the exposure as the hundreds of runners converged on the course on a glorious afternoon a year ago.

The meet is run well, the volunteers, many of whom run the Salt Creek Invitational meet each fall, are great and it's a must see to see the high school boys and girls go all out for their team.

Kingston's girls are the favorite to win their varsity race and the NK boys should prevail. Sequim's boys and girls could surprise by getting high finishes.

There will be 98 boys in the junior varsity race, 53 in the varsity event and 88 girls are entered. Should be a blast ... hope Sequim's sunshine holds.

Football

There are just three spots open for 2A football teams in the Olympic/Nisqually League and the Sequim Wolves are in the thick of the fight for one of the three berths, but they can't afford to stumble at Eatonville or at Washington. The key game to Sequim's playoff hopes might be the Nov. 7 battle here against Fife.

Meanwhile, four spots are up for grabs in the 3A Olympic/Western Conference League. Port Angeles was out of the picture early and only North Kitsap has been able to beat any of the schools from the Western Cascade League.

Put Timberline, North Kitsap, Capital and North Thurston in the playoffs.



Just wondering

Having visited Ingersoll Stadium and Fouts Field in Lacey, is there any chance for an artificial surfaced football field on the Olympic Peninsula?

Probably not. The Olympia-area fields serve at least two schools, with Fouts Field (South Sound) serving four schools.

Could there be a combined Sequim/Port Angeles school district football facility midway between the two cities?

Peninsula College has a plan on the drawing board to put Field Turf on the Wally Sigmar Athletic Fields for women's softball and men's soccer and that might get women's soccer started on the Pirate campus. The fake turf also would be marked for play by youth teams.

Field Turf was on the minds of the Port Angeles Parks and Recreation department, but, what with plans to shut down William Shore Pool because of lack of funds, I doubt if Field Turf at Civic is high on the agenda and already there are taxpayers saying they won't vote for a recreational bail-out levy to save the pool.



Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at scooter@olypen.com.







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