Sunday, August 3, 2008

You don't leave games early

I don't leave games early. I just don't do it. When you pay for a ticket, you pay for the game, not the first three-fourths of a game. It is like going to the movies. If you pay for a ticket, you watch the whole movie.

The same applies to sports. When you buy that ticket, you should stay to see how it ends. I hate the argument people make about wanting to beat the traffic. What a load of crap. If that is all you are concerned about, then stay home.

It always kills me to see people getting up to leave a game, especially baseball, in the seventh or eighth inning. That is the best thing about baseball is it doesn't have a clock. A team can be down by nine and down to their last out, and still come back to win.

That is why you don't leave, you never know what you might miss. Not that I needed any reinforcement of this, but I got it two weeks ago at the Astros game. They were playing the Pirates on a Monday night.

Houston was up 3-2 heading into the ninth and they brought in Jose Valverde to close out the game. Some people must have thought he was a lock and started to head out before the ninth even started. Are you kidding me?

After he got an out to start the inning, Jason Bay hit a solo shot to tie the game. A single by Xavier Nady followed by a home run by Adam LaRoche put the Pirates up 5-3 -- and the exodus began. Over the next five minutes an announced crowd of 34,624 had dwindled to about 4,000 people.

What the other 30,000 people missed was something that doesn't happen very often in baseball. Freddy Sanchez hit a ball off the right field wall angle of the Astros' bull pen, just out of the reach of Hunter Pence. The ball then kicked back toward the right field line, rolling along the warning track. Sanchez never broke stride and beat the relay throw home for an inside-the-park home run.

I have been to more than 200 MLB games and seen one other inside-the-park home run. Even if you consider the all the games I played in and the countless high school and college games I have watched over the years, I have seen just a handful of true inside-the-park home runs (mine being one of them).

The Pirates went on to win the game 9-3 and the shame of it is, most of the people who left probably saw the final score and are glad they left when they did. Which means they won't hesitate to do it again.

So I will continue to go watch a baseball game while everyone else will just be there to see some baseball, and next time when something else special happens in the ninth, I'll be in even more select company than when the game started.

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