Reflections from The Joe in The Chuck
As I sit here in the radio booth about to start getting ready for the series finale between the ‘Dads and the RiverDogs, I thought I’d take a moment for some reflection on the past three and a half days.
First off, is everything down here abbreviated? Joseph P. Riley Jr., Park (granted, a mouthfull) is cut down to The Joe, while Charleston is modified to The Chuck. Not sure it would work quite as well for Hickory… the Hick? Doesn’t quite have the same trendy ring to it, does it?
Anyway, I’m here at The Joe in The Chuck and it occurred to me how narrow a margin it is between winning and losing. Baseball is a process. Long games make up a long season, but still the Crawdads have won themselves into first place with some very good baseball of late. One could very justifiably make the case that the Crawdads have controlled a good 25 of the 26.5 innings through the first three games of this series against the RiverDogs. And the results are there, to an extent, with Hickory in a 2-games-to-1 lead in the set and going for the win tonight.
Not to get too greedy, but think about how close the Crawdads were to taking the first three games of this series and already gauranteeing their third series win in the last four sets. Take away one historically bad bottom of the eighth inning on Monday night, and this series win would be wrapped up for Hickory. That’s it, one half inning. One could make the case that it’s just one game… that there are 51 left… that the Crawdads did a great job bouncing back with commanding victories against the two best Charleston starters… and all three statements would be true.
However, think about it this way — what if Charleston wins tonight? Then Hickory comes away from The Joe in The Chuck with a series split against a team that they are far better than. Because of one inning, the Crawdads are going for a series win tonight instead of a series sweep. It might not sound like a huge difference, but, as the ‘Dads Athletic Trainer Jeff Bodenhamer said the other day, I hope it doesnt come down to one game when everything is said and done in September, or more accurately, come down to one inning.
That’s why the statement, ‘every game counts,’ rings just as true, if not more true, than all the others. That’s why this team bounced back with the determination that it has to lift themselves into first place with two great games. They know what they let slip away on Monday night, and they know what they have to do the rest of the way.
Mike Hollander said last week that they have to win every inning to win games and make the playoffs — how correct he was. Hickory lost one, maybe two innings, in the first three games of this series, and that’s the difference between great and very good. The ‘Dads expect greatness of themselves and have delivered, in general, to start the second half, and it’s been a whole lot of fun to watch.
Be sure to tune in and catch the rest of this southern trip on The Big Dawg 92.1 FM and Hickorycrawdads.com, and also be sure to come on down to The Frans in The Hick on Wednesday, July 22 when the ‘Dads are back home, kicking off an eight-game homestand, just trying to win one inning at a time in their pursuit of the playoffs.