The Houston Astros won the World Series the other day after a six-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies. It was Houston’s second win since 2017, when they won their first title despite a cheating scandal. The series had memorable moments, including a 10-inning opener with a walk-off homer from Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto and a combined no-hitter by the Astros staff in Game 4. Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler was hooked after 70 pitches.
with a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning of Game 6 only to watch reliever Jose Alvarado give up a three-run homer to Houston slugger Yordan Alvarez, effectively ending the World Series. Not much more could be devastating to Phillies fans when pitchers used to throw 140 pitches or more in a game, especially when it counted.
In Fort Myers Beach, most couldn’t watch the series – not at home. There is no cable yet. Most have greater concerns than baseball games. People’s lives were lost in Hurricane Ian. Homes and businesses were destroyed. People are trying to rebuild under the constraints of FEMA’s 50% rule while the county, town and state deal with whether municipalities can make exceptions above the market value in determining if those homes can be rebuilt or torn down. Debris is still piled high, as it is in other areas of Lee County and neighboring counties. Some are living under roofs with tarps and most restaurants are closed. Many people don’t know if they can rebuild their homes. Hospitality workers are out of jobs. Today, a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane named Nicole might land on us.
Some of those stories are in today’s paper and more will be told in the weeks to come.
One of the distractions many Americans look to when shifting from the challenges of life or even a hurricane, is sports. That’s why it’s worth mentioning baseball.
After 9/11, the baseball season was temporarily put on hold though an enduring memory of the aftermath that brought the country together was the 2001 World Series in which President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch in a game between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks. Baseball is America’s pastime and it has played a large role for many decades in Southwest Florida where baseball teams get ready each spring for the long season.
Due to Hurricane Ian and a year in which bad weather intruded upon our ability to watch enough of the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (the Single-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins) we haven’t had a chance to write about their division-winning season which ended with a playoff loss to the Dunedin Blue Jays. They team’s season included several young pitchers with promise. Right-hander David Festa pitched to a a .148 batting average in five games before being promoted to High-A Cedar Rapids. Festa pitched well there with a 7-3 record and a 2.71 ERA.
Some other good arms for Fort Myers this year were Travis Adams, Jordan Carr, Pierson Ohl, Marco Raya and John Stankiewicz.
Third baseman Keoni Cavaco was named Florida State League Player of the Month in September after hitting .345 with three homers in the last eight games.
One piece of the baseball season in Fort Myers that was tough to take was the introduction of a challenge system based on an automated ball-strike zone (known as a robot umpire). Under the system tested out this season in Single-A, on certain days there was a challenge system in place where umpires call balls and strikes, and the pitcher, catcher, and batter have an ability to appeal the umpire’s call to the ABS system. Each team received three challenges with successful appeals retained.
If that sounds tough to understand, it was even tougher to watch with managers yelling out challenges with it being unclear if balls or strikes were being upheld or denied, and the pace of play interrupted. The “robot umpire” appeals to those frustrated with missed ball and strike calls. But computers have limits too. The electric diagrams on television and computers showing us where the pitch was, is not always accurate. The camera used for the “ABS” or robot umpire doesn’t catch the ball moving as it crosses the plate. A curveball or slider that at the knees or the shoulders at the top of the plate (where the camera picks up the pitch), could land in or out of the strike zone by the time it lands in the catcher’s glove. Those judgment calls are the human element of the game.
In a time of humanitarian crisis here on Fort Myers Beach, here is to hoping the human element of the game stays in baseball.
This news is republished from another source. You can check the original article here