U.Va.: (very) close but no cigar
The University of Virginia Cavaliers baseball team snatched defeat from the jaws of victory not once, not twice, not even three times, but four times last night, as the Arkansas Razorbacks finally prevailed in the 12th inning to stay alive in the College World Series. In the top of the ninth, with U.Va. (playing as home team) leading 3-1, there were two outs and two strikes on Zack Cox, who managed to hit a single. Then the very next batter, Brett Eibner, hit a home run to tie the game. All across Virginia, fans' spirits were instantly deflated. But even so, the Cavs got going right away in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with only one out. Then Danny Hultzen grounded into a double play, sending the game into extra innings. Arghhh! The same situation came about in the tenth inning, and this time Jarrett Parker and John Hicks struck out to end the inning. (Both of those guys had multiple hits and multiple strikeouts in this marathon game.) U.Va. runners made it to third base in the 11th and 12th innings as well, but it was all for naught. The one run in the top of the 12th was all Arkansas needed to win the game, by a score of 4-3. I was following the play by play on the NCAA Web site, which uses the CBS College Sports Game Tracker. It compares favorably to MLB's Game Day online service, but the updates were often agonizingly slow. For the full wrap-up see virginiasports.com.
And so, the "Cinderella" year for the Cavaliers comes to an end, as Destiny passes them by. You have to give those guys and their manager (Head Coach) Brian O'Connor a lot of credit for relentlessly plugging away, even if the final outcome was hard to take. As for who's left in the College World Series, you can keep up with the latest results on the NCAA bracket at ncaa.com.
Nationals beat the Yanks
It was small consolation that one of my favorite teams won for the second straight night in New Yankee Stadium last night. This time, however, it was the Washington Nationals ... believe it, or not! Adam Dunn smashed a home run (#18) so far beyond the right field wall that it almost cleared the bleachers! They clung to a slim lead and defeated the Yankees, 3-2, as John Lannan went 8 1/3 innings, a superlative performance. (Poor Chien-Ming Wang, 0-5!) See MLB.com.
Stadium rankings update
I have updated my purely subjective Stadium rankings page, which has a new column showing when the last time I have visited each of the respective ballparks. It includes rankings for New Yankee Stadium and Citi Field for the first time. Of course, my opinions won't count for much until I'll actually been inside them. Speaking of which, I'm hoping to be at PNC Park in early August when the Nationals visit the Pirates, and if all goes well, I'll also see the Metrodome (in its last year with the Twins), as well as Coors Field, and possibly one of the Chicago ballparks. That means I'll probably have to put off seeing games in the new stadiums in New York until next year.
NOTE: Because different Web browser programs work differently, the columns on that page may not line up exactly for some people. If that's a problem for you, please let me know, indicating which operating system and program you are using. Thanks.
The mail bag
Paul Naprstek brought to my attention some details about when the seats at Wrigley Field were reconfigured, which I'll have to look into. And long-time fan of this site Rob Stevens sends friendly kudos for pointing out the differences between New and Old Yankee Stadiums. I'm sure this will be getting more attention in the near future. Finally, another long-time fan, Joe Johnston, sent some fantastic photos of Rangers' Ballpark in Arlington. Stay tuned!
Sosa tested positive
This shouldn't surprise anyone, but drug tests on Sammy Sosa have indicated the presence of banned substances, notwithstanding his strong denial when testifying before Congress. See the New York Times; hat tip to Bruce Orser.