Through 15 games, the Express are sitting quietly in fifth place. Although our record looks absolutely terrible on paper, I like the way we are playing. We haven't played bad baseball in over a week and our last two games have resulted in two tough losses. Thursday's loss to Bet Shemesh was in a home run derby, and in Friday's loss to Modi'in, we just ran out of innings. Tonight we play the Tel Aviv Lightning. The game is going to be televised on the local sports channel and repeated throughout the week. You can view it on the IBL website beginning Thursday night at 8pm EST. It is a chance to show the country some quality baseball, and at the same time begin our ascent up the IBL standings.
I wanted to quickly mention something that has been on my mind for a while. This whole "home run derby after a tie" thing is quite possibly the most absurd rule that I have ever seen enacted while participating in any type of baseball activity. I mean, to put your heart and soul into seven innings of quality baseball ...and then participate in a home run derby to decide the winner almost seems unsportsmanlike. It's kind of like going to see an action movie and just before the last scene where the villain and hero duel to the death, the screen goes black. The let down is immediate. It is unbearable. But more importantly, it is boring.
Sure, in theory a home run derby would be exciting. Who wouldn't want to see big, strong athletes flex their muscles and blast weakly thrown baseballs deep into the Israel night. But in reality, the derby drags on and on...and on, and turns into 30 minutes of substance with 5 minutes of action. The players don't like it, the fans don't like it, and I know the coaches don't like it. So why do we do it?
The argument is that since Israeli's are used to fast paced games like basketball and soccer, an extra-inning game would just add to the boring nature of baseball. The big problem is the most of the fans coming to our games are Anglos, or American Israeli immigrants. They want to see, and more importantly understand, the excitement that goes along with an extra-inning game. Where every pitch is important and each baserunner could be the game winning run. Extra innings should make you feel like you do when you see deleted scenes during the closing credits of a movie. That way you can leave the game feeling like you got more than you paid for. And what consumer doesn't like that feeling?