Sunday, August 24, 2014

EXTRA: JRW -4/Seoul - 8


Not only did the U.S.-representing team from the Roseland neighborhood-based Jackie Robinson West baseball league manage to blow a ballgame to the international champion team from Seoul, South Korea, they did so big time.

KEEPING THE GAME close enough to dream of a comeback until the end, when the South Korea team managed to score five more runs in the final two innings -- turning an early 3-1 deficit for Chicago into an 8-4 loss.

Still, those kids managed to give Chicago a sporting ride that likely will be the highlight of 2014.

And it was encouraging to hear the team's coach, Darold Butler, remind the kids prior to their final at-bats that they had already managed to accomplish much of significance by being the lone U.S. team to survive to the championship game.

"Look at those other teams, they're not here right now," Butler told his pre-teen players. But that end-of-game Korean surge was just too much of a deficit for a sixth-inning rally of 3 runs to overcome.

SO WHERE DO we go from here? Those kids get to come back to Chicago, just in time to resume the upcoming school year. They get to resume their daily lives.

Although we can hope that they all gained enough of a taste of excellence that it can motivate them through the rest of their lives -- even if this turns out to be the highlight of their athletic careers.

So even though we're not getting a real "World" championship team this year, it has still been an interesting week watching the Little League World Series tourney. It will create a lasting memory, which will be necessary because it may be another three decades or so before a Chicago-based youth ball club makes it back to Williamsport, Pa.

Now we can go back to wondering if the Latin pairing of Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu will lead the Chicago White Sox to a World Series someday in the near future? Or if the Cubs' grounds crew will ever learn to lay down a tarp in a timely fashion?


EDITOR'S NOTE: Was I the only one who saw the purple colors worn by the South Korea team and the gold and blue of Chicago and thought it kind of looked like Northwestern vs. Michigan?

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