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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Baseball

Commentary: Magic of previous seasons tough to recapture


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Serving as the rock of UH baseball, sophomore pitcher Andrew Lantrip has picked up six of the Cougars 21 wins. | Brittaney Penney/The Cougar

I have two favorite baseball teams. Well, I have one favorite team that was responsible for my two favorite seasons: the 1967 Boston Red Sox and the 1975 Boston Red Sox. The Impossible Dream and the Season that Waved a Home Run Fair.

You know those two teams didn’t win the World Series, right?

The Impossible Dream where Boston went 92-70 after going 72-90 in 1966, and Carl Yastrzemski won the Triple Crown. Pure baseball magic. The kind of season that Ken Burns dedicated 45 minutes of a documentary to.

And 1975 was….?

The glorious struggle. Back and forth all season with the Yankees and the Orioles, and Carlton Fisk waved a home run fair in Game Six of the World Series. Still an impressive season, but one lacking the graceful whimsy of ’67. This was more of  three-man bar fight, albeit with about a dozen Hall of Famers involved.

Cool history lesson. But don’t you write about UH baseball?

That’s why this all makes sense. Everyone in the collegiate game rightly fell in love with last year’s UH squad and its worst-to-first romanticism. But that’s only half the reality.

With baseball, you get beauty and barbarism in equal doses. One magical season after the other isn’t common. Go ask the University of Virginia Cavaliers, the runner up from last season’s College World Series, they’re 19-10. Sound familiar?

So after magic comes the fall? Is baseball THAT much like Paradise Lost?

Not entirely, but somewhat. And it’s not like their current standing at 21-11 on the season is by any means bad. This year, mind you, might be more bar fight than dreamland. Which is something of a lesson about the real world.

But what about the injuries? Like Bubba Maxwell being gone for the year and the team being down a closer.

All things being equal, injuries are something the long season of baseball tends to traffic in. Yes, losing Bubba is a blow to the Cougar Red Republic, but it’s not like injuries only occur in the cozy confines of Cougar Field. Duke lost Michael Matuella, their staff ace, for the season. Vanderbilt lost Hayden Stone last week. The Maroon behemoth of Texas A&M has already lost two starting pitchers, AJ Minter and Tyler Stubblefield. The traditions of the game aren’t always glorious.

And the slow start?

Sophomore pitcher Andrew Lantrip has six wins, infielder Chris Iriart has ten home runs, infielder Josh Vidales invents ways to get on base, and speedy outfielder Kyle Survance is a still a base-stealing Samurai. It’s not like a slow start means the wheels have come of the car.

So…what happens with them? 

If I could peer in to the future, I’d be sitting at a blackjack table in Monaco right now. Besides, that would take a lot of the fun out of it.

Ok, ok…that makes sense. But how are you a Red Sox fan if you live in Houston?

Still not sure about that one.

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