I wasn’t as invested in the Women’s College World Series this year. I turned it on when I was around. I went to one regional game. But I left the bar where I was watching game 1 of the championships on Monday night because I cared more about eating leftover pizza than seeing who won. Last night I watched intermittently and had it on before I went to bed. I was pretty sure UCLA had it wrapped up when I turned it off in the bottom of the fifth. And I only went to bed because spin class on Wednesday comes early at 6:15 and since I am the instructor I kind of need to be “on.”
But it was an exciting game. There was a two-run homer in the first. There were pitching changes all over the place. There were bases loaded. One grand slam. Not too very long ago, in the days of Monica Abbott and Cat Osterman, scores were low and games were all about pitching duels. Commentators talked about potentially tired arms, conditioning of pitchers’ legs, and techniques batters were using to read the ball earlier.
This year they were talking about composite bats, hitting records, longer fields and higher fences–and something about a pendulum swinging too far the other way. ‘Cause it’s all about too much hitting these days, it seems. So much so that even the briefest of articles about UCLA winning it all included this:
The matchup of college softball’s two most successful programs produced a World Series-record seven home runs. Ten of the 29 previous World Series didn’t have that many home runs during the entire event.
Those two lines comprise 1/3 of the article. (We could also note the paltry coverage but that’s not my objective this time.)
And those ten world series with less than seven home runs were probably pretty boring.
I hate to buy into the belief that high scores equal good games. They certainly don’t always. And I certainly appreciate teams like Arizona who play really good small ball. And if you can score that way–that’s exciting too. But I like scoring. And yes, last night’s game was pretty high-scoring. But there were plenty of other games that were not. Last night’s game was just as much about strategy as it was power hitting. And it was exciting.