I read this number in the sports section of the newspaper last week, and thinking things through logically, I assumed that it probably had something to do with gambling. Some sort of odds type of thing, not that I'm familiar with a parlay bet involving an over-under on the game. No, not me.
But I began to ponder the possibilities...the chances of anyone besides the Bulls winning the NBA finals...no...um, the chances of me finding a job after graduation...no, the odds are probably higher than that...how about the odds of me passing history this semester? The numbers are probably right on, but I'm still praying that the betting line on that one doesn't appear in Las Vegas soon or my Dad is going to find out for sure.
After mulling over the countless possibilities, I decided to go ahead and finish reading the article. As it turns out, the Associated Press article I was reading was about how St. Francis of Illinois beat Robert Morris in a college baseball game by the score of 71-1. Of course the natural reaction is that this must be a misprint. Surely the score must be 7-1 or even 17-1, not 71-1. But once again I was proven wrong (this is beginning to feel like an argument with my girlfriend), as the official score of the game was indeed 71-1.
I'm sure you're wondering how in the world a team scored 71 runs in a seven-inning collegiate baseball game. The answer is that they did not score them in a seven-inning game, and that's because the game only lasted for four innings. Yes, only four innings.
My initial reaction was to get a box of whatever type of Wheaties St. Francis had eaten for breakfast that morning, but then I realized that they just might have been helped out by the 16 errors made by Robert Morris.
One of the great things about this type of game is the way sportsmanship can be found everywhere:
"I didn't tell our guys to stop swinging," St. Francis head coach Tony Delgado said. "In a situation like this, you just keep playing baseball. To call off the dogs, so to speak, and strike out intentionally and run slowly, I feel, would be more demeaning to their players who are trying their best. That we will never do at the College of St. Francis. We will let the other coach make the decision on what he wants to do."
I don't know about this. Call me a quitter, but I think I would have appreciated them striking out purposely. In a situation like this, go ahead and demean me by not playing your best. I would much rather be embarrassed like that instead of becoming a sidebar in every newspaper in the nation because my team lost 71-1.
I continued to think about this game and I began to wonder about the countless number of problems this must have caused other people.
The scorekeeper-first of all, I simply don't understand the logistics of how to keep score in this game. Your typical baseball scorecard provides one box for each batter each inning so that you can record what the player did if he comes up to bat that inning. St. Francis had 30 players come up to bat in the first inning. You could possibly just go ahead and use the boxes for the next inning, but if you end up with 71 runs, you most likely have used enough batters to fill up all the boxes on the stat sheet.
Frankly, I would like to be the scorekeeper's lawyer on this one. He could file a lawsuit against the school and the losing pitcher for getting tendinitis during the game.
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The losing coach-after the first two innings, the score was already 48-1, so Delgado came over to Robert Morris' coach and told him that he would be willing to end the game whenever they saw fit. Instead of bowing out of this one, Robert Morris decided to push on.
I've heard many inspirational speeches in my time in sports, and had my friends tell me some even better ones. My favorite is, "Jon, we don't need a comedian on this team. We can lose with you or we can lose without you." I'm curious what Robert Morris' coach was telling his players between breaks: "Don't worry guys, we can get 'em back," or "OK, everyone, it's time for the rally caps." For some reason, I don't think these pep talks really worked. This pitcher really expects a lot from his teammates, doesn't he? Talk about needing some run support.
The losing pitcher-I don't know who this guy was, but he can't be feeling too good about his performance in this game. If a team allows 71 runs, I can't believe that they would be much better with the bats. Someone must have beaned four batters in a row. This guy must have been a real popular the next day at practice. If he wasn't already the black sheep on the team, he certainly earned it during this game.
The outfielders on the losing team-I'm all for exercise, but I would probably draw the line after running five miles in one inning trying to chase down all of these balls.
Finally, I feel sorry for the guy who muttered, "What a great day, let's play two," as he walked onto the field before the first game. His teammates couldn't have been too happy with him the next day.
William Dvoranchik is a Trinity senior and associate sports editor of The Chronicle. He thought 71-1 would go down in the record books forever as the worst defeat in history. That was until he lost a marathon round of tic-tac-toe to his pet Sparky, 72-1. Damn dog.