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Sweeps aren't memorable ... unless they're close to home

Oct 30, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

One of the last true home run hitters from the Riverton Raiders American Legion baseball team was Trevor Wilson who wrapped up his collegiate career at Miles City Community College and then Montana State University Billings this past spring.

Wilson had a saying and if I heard it once, I heard it a hundred times.

"Chicks dig the long ball," he'd say.

But I like pitching and defense.

So I didn't mind the World Series this year, with two back-to-back shutouts in games two and three and a series that most will forget because, quite frankly, sweeps just aren't that memorable. The Giants won their second series in the last three years, winning four straight against the Detroit Tigers.

Only once in my life has a team been shut out in back-to-back games in a World Series. You have to go back to 1966, when the Baltimore Orioles held the Los Angeles Dodgers scoreless for the final 33 innings and completed the sweep of the Dodgers with a Game Four 1-0 win.

Twice in that series Orioles pitchers (Jim Palmer and Dave McNally) threw complete games, something we didn't see in this year's series. The fewest pitchers the Giants used, even in their overpowering shutouts, was three.

I would have loved game four in 1966 with a young McNally for the Orioles and a veteran Don Drysdale on the mound for the Dodgers. Both allowed just four hits each with tremendous defense behind them, including two robbed near home runs.

Two other amazing facts from Baltimore's win was that Frank Robinson was the first non-pitcher ever from a winning team to be named the Series MVP and the Orioles were the first non-Yankees team since 1944 to win the World Series for the American League.

Local baseball fans may recall the 2007 World Series, also a sweep, when the Boston Red Sox dominated the Colorado Rockies in four straight.

My daughter and I remember that series all too well.

Courtney, then a student at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, tried her very best to give her dad the baseball experience of a lifetime when she tried and tried and tried to get us World Series tickets.

We had collaborated, and our thought was that a Game Five in Denver gave us the best chance to get tickets because that would have been a night when both a Rockies World Series game and a John Elway vs. Brett Favre Monday Night Football battle were scheduled to happen within just a few miles from each other in the Mile High City.

Keep in mind, this was a time when buying stuff online was somewhat of a new thing. But after hours of attempt after attempt, the call came.

"Dad, I got us tickets!" she screamed.

But, we got another call the next morning. Turns out the Rockies had a lame policy that prevented multiple people from buying World Series tickets from the same computer. The first one in line at the library won, everyone else lost, and Courtney, almost in tears, had to give us the bad news that her tickets were being refunded.

For three years, I boycotted the Rockies. I was, I think, a hater.

But as we all remember, there wouldn't have been a Game Five after all.

The Blake Street Bombers sunk themselves in four straight. Served them right.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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