DAVE PERRY: Baseball, with a cup o' Joe - The Explorer: Sports

DAVE PERRY: Baseball, with a cup o' Joe

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Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:04 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

It’s World Series time, with the nation’s sporting attention turned to Major League Baseball’s two best teams.

Too bad for Fox that those clubs are the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays.

No, the network guys would have preferred the more intriguing major market matchup posed by the defending champion Boston Red Sox and the National League’s late-bloomers, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Manny Ramirez, in Dodger Blue, back in Fenway. How would Red Sox Nation have responded? And Joe Torre, the respected nemesis in Yankee pinstripes, coming to Boston in a Dodger uniform? Oh, the drama.

But, no, the Phils and the Rays are playing in the game’s ultimate series. They deserve to be there, too.

Philadelphia has such ability up the middle, with former MVP Jimmy Rollins at short, newly muscled slugger Chase Utley at second and the Flyin’ Hawaiian, Shane Victorino, in center. First baseman Ryan Howard, another past MVP, rivals Manny as a must-watch at-bat. Cole Hamels is a terrific twirler. They’re all led by Charlie Manuel, the good ol’ West Virginia baseball man who just lost his mom. Ya gutta luv ‘em, as they might say in Philly.

Tampa Bay is simply the non-Olympic sports story of the year, putting together a last-to-first burst to rival the Amazins’ (’69 Mets) themselves. The former Devil Rays, who lost the Devil in their name and suddenly played like angels, are no fluke (sorry), either. Matt Garza, James Shields and Scott Kazmir can fling from the hill with anyone. Power-hitting third baseman Evan Longoria, one letter off from the Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria (Parker, as in Tony), is a season removed from Fall League baseball in Scottsdale. And the most compelling Ray has his own Arizona connection; centerfielder B.J. Upton, brother of the D’Backs Justin, has returned from mid-season malaise and a benching to approach records for post-season home runs and effortless, gliding catches, respectively.

So it’ll be good baseball. If you can stay up late enough to watch.

Fox has scheduled the seven World Series games, two of which are on weekends, to begin at 8 p.m. Eastern. That’s 5 p.m. in Arizona, not too late for most fans … unless we have some of the contests like Tampa Bay-Boston, who played a 4:08 nine-inning game and a 5:27 11-inning contest. Even on the West Coast, a four-hour weekday baseball game is pushing it for kids. A four-hour World Series game starting at 8 p.m. on a weekday in the East? Out of the question for youngsters.

Baseball used to understand its need to groom the next generation of fans. World Series would begin on a Saturday, with four games on weekend days, not nights. You could see Bob Gibson stare down Tiger hitters, or Brooks Robinson stab a hot shot off the bat of Johnny Bench, or the A’s Gene Tenace stun the Reds with long home runs, all in broad daylight.

Championship basketball and football games, measured in length, don’t start so late. Why baseball, then? Couple the admittedly appealing uncertainty of baseball’s duration with a late start, and you’ll have to sit down with a night-time cup of Joe (and, no, not DiMaggio) if you’re determined to see it through.

And yet we’ll do it. To heck with productivity on the Eastern Seaboard; Phils-Rays is going to be great baseball. Pardon the bleary eyes the next morning.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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