Going old school
Ephrata Review Sports Editor
Pulling into War Memorial Field these days, close your eyes and you’d swear your at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philly, or at the Clipper enjoying baseball the way it was meant to be played.
Your ears hear, "crack," when the only sound you’ve ever heard there was "ping."
I was certainly quite confused when I attended my first American Legion game of the season a few weeks ago.
If I didn’t know any better, I could have sworn they were using wooden bats instead of aluminum, the choice of stick since I bought my first metal bat during the great Agnes storm of 1972.
But after a closer look, my ears proved me right and I wasn’t imagining things. The broken bat gave it away.
Some time in the off-season, unbeknownst to me, the Pennsylvania American Legion czars decided to make the switch, statewide, to wood. While it’s been a great change, it has taken the teams awhile to get accustomed to wood.
Certainly, it has hit these teams in the wallet.
Ephrata Coach Derek Sipe told me Tuesday night that his team has broken about six so far in eight games. At roughly $50 apiece, it has been a costly change for the local squad.
In fact, there has been one or two players who have broken more than one, and Sipe joked to me that those players are in danger of being benched if they keep it up.
But seriously, other than the cost factor, it has been a good change, especially for Ephrata considering the dominant pitching it has.
Pitchers are learning that if you pitch inside, a batter with wood is in hands isn’t going to fist a ball over the infield as he would have with an aluminum bat. Those balls will not travel as far and will most likely be caught. Also, hitters may be a little more reluctant to swing, knowing that the sting of wood can feel like putting your hands in a bee’s nest if you don’t connect on the "sweet spot."
I think it’s a great thing. Certainly, the baseball purists will be singing the praises of this decision.
Now, if only they get rid of the DH…
The Doctor: This past Monday, NBATV debuted the brilliant documentary on the life of former Sixer Julius Erving. If you haven’t had a chance to catch it yet, make sure to set your DVRs for the next time it’s on. It will not disappoint.
For those of you who grew up in the 80s, this show definitely brings out the greatness of this man, who did amazing things both on and off the court. They had some great video of Erving from the famed New York City playground known as Rucker Park.
The greatest thing for me was the fact that I watched it with my son and his friend, and both agreed that Doc’s game would translate to today’s NBA.
His above-the-rim game was trendsetting, and it helped pave the way to how the game is played by the Lebrons and Kobes of the world.
It’s must-see TV, and I would recommend it to all hoop lovers.
The Open: I’ve been to two previous U.S. Opens at Shinnecock and Congressional, but I can’t wait to head down the turnpike to Merion this week. I’ve been intrigued by this course since I was a kid, and am so looking forward to watching the pros tee it up, beginning this morning.
I will be tweeting and putting some stuff on The Review’s facebook page so please dial us up.
For those making the trek, let us know of your experience on our facebook page or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More RUTH, page B-3