The Herald Bulletin

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Sports Columns

June 21, 2014

Rick Teverbaugh: Baseball has the right ending

As the state baseball championships at Victory Field officially close down the prep sports season for 2013-14, it occurs to me that the sport at any level has the most fitting conclusion to each and every game as well.

Thank about most other team sports. Time is of the essence.

In basketball, football, hockey and even soccer, when the clock runs out, the game is over. Get too far behind and a comeback becomes impossible, rather than just improbable. Even the Indiana Pacers' Reggie Miller could have scored 15 points in that famous stretch of time against the New York Knicks if that was what his team needed.

In track you run out of events. In tennis you run out of events, though if you are looking at the sport as an individual competition, it does have some of baseball's never-say-die finish.

The only team sport I can think of that even come close is volleyball. Since games are played to a certain score, no matter how far a team might be behind, it is can keep the opposing team from scoring long enough, any deficit can be erased.

But baseball does it best. In that sport, at least in a nine-inning contest, a team needs to do at least 27 things wrong to end the game. So a team can be down by 10 runs going into the last inning and that team won't run out of time to make that storied comeback unless it does three more things wrong.

Their destiny is in their own hands and not in the hands of a clock.

Sometimes this can lead to cruel endings as I found on Friday night while watching my beloved Los Angeles Dodgers play at San Diego against a Padres team still feeling the grief of losing one of baseball's great hitters and people, Tony Gwynn.

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