As Sam Sees It

Congratulations to the Winslow Bulldogs for a fine season that ended on an unhappy note on Friday with the 20-9 loss to Ganado. The Bulldogs showed an ability to play competitively with everyone on their schedule except the top-ranked Blue Ridge Yellowjackets.

Injuries took a bigger toll than may have been expected. The absence of Jeremiah Johnson, a major contributor on both offense and defense, may have been the difference between victory and defeat.

We do wish the Ganado Hornets success as they advance in the tournament. There are not many more skilled players than Ty Lynch and Lavon Salabye playing the game at this level. Both were injured in Ganado’s first game with Winslow and that could well be the reason for Winslow’s lop-sided win in that contest.

The by now concluded World Series was one of the strangest in history, regardless what happen on Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday. (This column was written on Friday.) The New York segment of the series has to be one of the weirdest ever played. It is fitting that the pivotal game was played on Halloween. These were nightmare games for the Diamondbacks. Write a script like what happened in the Bronx and it would not stand a chance of publication. Any editor worth his salt would tell you it is unbelievable.

Curt Schilling should be on a pedestal as the greatest “big game” pitcher of all time. He earned it. But Mitch Williams with the Phillies and now B.H. Kim with the Diamondbacks have taken it away with their inability to hold the leads he left with them. “Closers” with two different teams have tarnished his legacy and all he could do was watch.

Kim’s fate is worse than Williams’, worse than Ralph Branca’s; maybe worse than any pitcher who ever lost a big game. Giving up a game-tying, two-out home run in the ninth inning of a World Series game is enough to blacken your image forever. Giving up two is in as many games is far, far beyond the nightmare stage. Kim just became Ralph Branca squared. (Branca was the Brooklyn Dodger pitcher who gave up the home run to Bobby Thompson of the New York Giants that decided the 1951 National League pennant in a play-off game.) Branca was a good Major League pitcher, but he was always remembered for that one pitch. It may not be fair (unfair is Bill Buckner being blamed for an error that was just one link in a series of bad plays in a game he shouldn’t even have been in at the time), but that’s the way it will be.

Actually, I believe Kim’s career may be salvageable, if not his reputation. He would make a pretty good middle reliever and probably will. Better yet, he wants to be a starter. Give him the chance. It is a better gamble than running him back out in the “closer” role, ever again.

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