In ways, the trials and tribulations of Paul Goldschmidt are representative of our area’s sports scene.
In his first four games, Goldschmidt hit a National League leading four home runs. Three of them came in the team’s lone win, 9-5 in Milwaukee, during the second game.
But, he’s also struck out a league-leading seven times in 16 at-bats, or .438 of the time. He has six hits, including the four home runs, to bat .375, that leaves just five at-bats where Goldschmidt has been put out while putting the ball into play.
You don’t get much more feast-or-famine than that.
And that’s how it seems to have gone for our area teams, only it’s been more famine than feast so far. Many of the games have been postponed.
With only one team, Borgia’s boys volleyball team, playing indoors, that means we’ve been dependent upon the weather. And it really doesn’t seem to have much consistency right now.
The number of nice days can be counted on one hand. That’s made the games which have been played brutal for the participants and the fans.
So far, it’s been cold. I think we can all accept that right now. We’ll have to remember these days when it gets extremely hot again this summer.
It’s the wind and the rain which have made things unbearable at times.
Wind can really mess with certain sports, such as girls soccer and track. Rain can cause problems for everyone.
The weather has been bad enough where even games on the turf fields have been called. There’s little you can do when the grass outfield of a turf field is so wet that it’s not safe. And, if there’s lightning, nobody is playing due to safety issues.
Last weekend, the only games which were played came at the Parkway College Showcase, a girls soccer event at the Lou Fusz Complex in Maryland Heights. The games took place, but the halves were cut down in length for Saturday’s games. There was too much rain, wind and cold for everyone that day.
Also, just getting there was an adventure with road closures and water over the main avenue into the complex. It was a mess, but organizers made the best of the situation.
Coping with the weather is just part of spring. Turf fields make it a little easier. It will be interesting to see what happens when Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field eventually gets its turf. That will make four baseball/softball fields in the area with the upgraded fields. While that won’t necessarily eliminate rainouts, it should help considerably.
Every area school which fields girls soccer teams now has turf to play on. Pacific has just finished up its turf field and should be ready to host games soon.
There are some fields in the area which are playable only because a team needs a location to host a game. Crosspoint Christian School had that happen in its game with Eagle Ridge earlier this season. The game was played at its practice field in Union.
Other fields are only usable under perfect conditions. It seems like a heavy dew will render East Central College’s softball field unready. The soccer field there, which doesn’t have a spring team, is in similar shape.
At some point this spring, it will get warmer and drier. Hopefully that happens before the end of the school sports calendar.
One place the outside weather doesn’t matter is in cyberspace and the Legends of Baseball is getting ready to start up once again.
Any longtime readers will recall this is a simulation baseball league which started here at The Missourian back in the 1990s.
There are only two area owners left in the league. Dan Rettke has his Clover Bottom Barnstormers and that squad normally does very well.
Dan has been a good student of the simulation and has adapted to picking players who do well in the simulation.
Realistically, most of the owners have adapted. There are still those who would want to have Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn, Sandy Koufax and others like that in their rotation than standouts of the 1891 American Association. You quickly learn about guys like Jerry Nops, George Haddock, etc.
It’s better to find guys who have done well in recent years because it’s likely that they will succeed again.
The St. Louis Stars are the oldest team in LOB and this year I’m getting help from my longtime friend Nic Antoine as well as GSL umpiring legend Jim Fetsch.
The 2019 Stars have focused on fielding as something to make the difference. In the past, guys who have awesome batting averages look great in the lineup, but end up giving away more runs in the field. This year’s team can have an excellent fielder at every position.
Last year’s team, which went 70-92, had the second-worst fielding rate in the Doubleday League. Opposing teams scored 104 unearned runs. That can’t happen to be successful. Last year’s team started at the rock bottom of the league and slowly moved up to where it finished fifth in a seven-team division and was above four other teams in the league.
The initial lineup has players you’ve heard about, such as Yadier Molina, Tris Speaker, George Sisler and Ryne Sandberg, but also has some you’ve probably never heard about. Tommy Leach will play right field and third base. He was the Doubleday League batting champion last year. We’ve got Art Devlin playing third base in a platoon situation. George Stone, a deadball player from the St. Louis Browns, is in left field with Jimmy Sheckard sharing time in right.
Our shortstop is Luke Appling. Older fans may remember him hitting a home run off of Spahn in the Cracker Jack Legends game in 1982. Appling was 75 at the time.
Bruce Petway, a Negro Leagues legend, shares time behind the plate with Yadi.
The initial pitching rotation is a trip through time. Clayton Kershaw leads off with Fergie Jenkins next. John Donaldson, a Negro Leagues standout from Glasgow, Mo., is third with Chief Bender and Harry “the Cat” Brecheen closing out the starting rotation.
The game hates deadball pitchers and that’s why Big Ed Walsh, one of the greats from the 1900s, is our mop-up reliever.
We’ve got BJ Ryan back and he saved 26 games last season, but the closer to start the season is Heath Bell.
Should be interesting to see how the Stars do in the Cyberverse this year. If you want to follow along, the league address is http://www.austinengineering.biz/index.htm. If you like what you see, I know Tom Austin, who runs the league, always is looking for new owners.