Sunday, July 11, 2010


By Your Athletic Supporter, Jack Strap

I'm heading into what for many years has been my Summer Sports Void (SSV) which dates back to the Baseball Strike of 1994. I was upset with the millionaire/billionaire players/owners & found I didn't miss baseball during the strike, so I never went back to watching games, although there was one small exception to that about 10 years after the strike. I was on the computer & a headline popped up that the Yankees were about to playoff sweep Boston, so I tuned in to watch the poor Red Sox fans once again "wallow in the mire" (kind of like a rubbernecker at a car wreck). But to my surprise, the Red Sox dramatically tied it in the 9th & won in extra innings. So I tuned in for Game 5 and Boston won again, ditto in #6, and amazingly completed the historic comeback in Game 7. So you think that would be enough to hook, line & sinker me back in--think again as didn't have an interest to watch one pitch of the World Series that followed. Even in recent years with my hometown Philadelphia Phillies contending & winning a World Series, I didn't watch any of it although because my Mom is a Big Phils fan, followed along in the newspaper & by osmosis on sports talk radio. So with another SSV upon me, I'm looking for SOMEBODY with strong persuasive skills to CONVINCE ME to come back to Baseball.

SOMEBODY CONVINCING ME would be a very tough task, but not impossible if you consider what happened this past year with Hockey & me. I had similarly given up watching the NHL after the 2004-5 strike/lockout until the end of this season. That's when I heard the Flyers were playing their old Rangers rivals in a home & home final 2 games that would decide who made the Playoffs. So I tuned in to see what would happen & found the games to be a lot more exciting than I had remembered from the years preceding my strike against watching hockey. I had heard of the NHL rule changes, most notably eliminating the 2-line pass rule, but had no idea how much that opened up the game until I saw it for myself. Prior to the Strike I had painful memories of the hated Devils "trap defense" bottling up the game in between the blue lines & rendering it boring for long stretches of time. I got to watch that final Flyers-Rangers game with my Brothers at a cook-out & they brought me up-to-speed on the Flyers roster, so I was ready for the Playoffs after that shootout win (although hate that it was decided by a shootout) knocking the Stink'in Rangers out.

The Playoffs deserve a separate paragraph as they started with the Flyers impressively knocking out the hated Devils. So I was already hooked at that point, but what happened next was the Greatest OMG Comeback in Sports History (even greater than the aforementioned Red Sox-Yankees Series) with the Flyers amazingly erasing a 3 games to zero deficit while ultimately coming back from 3-0 in Game #7. They then very interestingly as a #7 seed had the home ice vs. the Canadians and I had a flashback to the "Slap Shot--Olde Time Hockey" pre-game playoff brawl started by the Habs' Claude Lemieux & the Flyers' Ed "The Box Car" Hospodar. In this Series, another flashback was the Flyers' Michael Leighton turning into the 2nd coming of "Only the Lord Saves More Than" Bernie Parent. So then the Black Hawks stopped the Flyers just short of winning the Stanley Cup, but it was an ultra-exciting playoff run & I look forward to Hockey season again. Could that ever be the case for Baseball season, SOMEBODY CONVINCE ME.