Monday, August 27, 2007


In a sense, the potential for being involved in a game where a team made 10 errors represents how Ottawa doesn't know what it's going to be missing in the not-too-distant future. The Lynx pulled one out, 12-10 in 10 innings (boxscore, play-by-play) with the Syracuse Chiefs hitting double digits in miscues.

This town needs the Lynx as a counter-balance to analyzing the Senators to death. It's something for people who just want to enjoy a game for what it is, and who can appreciate there's a certain grandeur to it when a team makes 10 errors. Anyone who's a little bit sports-literate knows that sports is really about secretly savouring mistakes. After all, more people remember off-hand that Scott Norwood once missed a game-winning field goal in a Super Bowl than recall that Adam Vinatieri twice made last-second kicks to win them. Having minor-league ball, where the players are generally there instead of the majors for a reason, is a conduit for developing that philosophical bent that's sorely lacking around here in the dead of winter when everyone's analyzing to death why so-and-so wasn't on the second power-play unit, and wants answers.

Answers? Anyone who wants answers for last night is going to inherit the wind. There's no reason why Syracuse became the first International League team to make 10 errors in a game since May 11, 1964 -- three months after The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. It just happened. Ours is not to question why, but to just shrug and say, "That's baseball," and accept we are not meant to know why the Chiefs played like it was Wear The Glove On The Wrong Hand Night. Who knows? Maybe the Chiefs just didn't get the bounces, as they like to say in that other sport.

There are partial explanations. Chad Mottola, who committed four errors at first base, is normally an outfielder. John Hattig (three) and Adam Lind (one) aren't any great shakes in the field either, but still, 10 errors? Somehow, Chiefs shortstop Hector Luna, with 23 errors to his name this season, managed not to make one. The craziest part yet: Syracuse almost won the game.

Maybe it was the worst game played anywhere all season (there were also five runners thrown out on the bases). At least baseball allows for a game to be badly played, yet be interesting and leave everyone on hand to go home dumbfounded, but in a good way, about what they just witnessed.

(Unfortunately, not everyone shares our sense of whimsy... case in point.)

That's minor-league ball. It's embarrassing for the Chiefs players and coaches right now, but let's face it, they get more attention on a national level for making 10 errors than winning 10-1. It is what it is. Everyone says they watch sports to see athletes dominate and do things they can't do, but there's a part of us that lives to see mistakes, since it's always easy to criticize (and fun too). So think about what it means that such an epic carnival won't seem as readily accessible next season when the Lynx become the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.

What happened in Syracuse -- something totally random -- is a lot easier to relate to as average Joe. Plus the tickets for minor-league ball are dirt cheap.

(One roster note: Lynx right-hander John Ennis got his callup from the Phillies on Sunday. Brian Sanches was designated for assignment, so he's likely pitched his last game in Triple-A this season.)

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