Sunday, July 30, 2006

GB v Ireland - Finsbury Park

A handful of Wolves made the trip to Finsbury Park on Saturday morning to watch GB take on Ireland in an international baseball match. Conditions were perfect for spectators: It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, warm but not boiling, with a cool breeze and plenty of baseball action to watch.
I had never seen a baseball match before so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect but I ended up really enjoying myself. The play was fast and furious but at times confusing as there are some major rules differences between softball and baseball. I wasn't always entirely sure what was happening and why, but I was happy to go along with the ride! I particularly enjoyed the rule on base stealing. In baseball you can begin to edge away from the base that you are on before the pitch is made, and as soon as the ball is pitched, you can make a run for the next base. However, if the pitcher see you doing this, he can throw the ball to the base you have just left. If the baseman cathes it before you get back, you are out. Cue lots of comedy creeping and wild dives into bases. GB did well to get one of the Irish runners out this way. You gotta be quick! The pitcher really did need to have eyes in the back of his head.
It was good being able to appreciate the double-plays and fantasic catches and throws. They made them look so easy. There was one home run, hit out the park, but other than that it proved difficult for either team to score runs. The fielding on both sides was strong and accurate (most of the time - it's not just wolves that wobble) and the batters struggled to find holes. There were quite a few foul balls hit. We had to keep alert as many of them got hit in our direction, but the gathered kids loved it, running after every ball. The only ones that got away were the ball that was hit out the park down a side street and the one that got stuck in the tree!
The pitchers came under lots of pressure during the match. There was several walks and pitcher substitutions, but also lots of strike outs. The speed of the pitches was amazing.
Best thing of all?... The crazy American commentator who called the names of each batter as they stepped up to the plate in the way that only Americans can. I'll demostrate the best that it can in print. Please imagine the next bit said in an American accent and with much gusto:
"and stepping up to the plate next it's Vic-tooor-eeeee-a Eeeeeee-ves"
definitely something we should have next season.

Oh yes - the result. A tie. It was a double header. GB won the first (sorry can't remember the score), Ireland won the second 6-5. I'll leave it to someone else actually talk about the match. I'm not really a sports commentator :-)

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