Loren Woodson

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Topics on the Occasion of the 2017 World Series between the LA Dodgers and Houston Astros. It’s so much about the psychology of the game.

Item—Game 5, ending in the bottom of the 10th with a walkoff single for an Astros win, illustrates a number of issues and themes about the psychological aspects of our amazing national pastime.

Item—Arguably the game’s best pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, was staked to a four run lead by the second inning. He gave up a run, then a three-run homer that tied the game. It then got better for the Dodgers, then worse—they went ahead then gave up the tying runs. What’s going on? They then got a go-ahead run 8-7. Astros came back with 4 runs, 11-8. Dodgers made it 11-9. Astros on one of numerous homers made it 12-9. Top of the ninth Dodgers came up with three runs to tie it at 12-12. Their ace reliever, Kenley Jansen, gave up the winning run in the bottom of the 10th. Hitting on both sides has been stellar—OR you could say that pitching has been wanting? Was Kershaw losing his command AND/OR were the hitters getting savvy in anticipating what he would throw? Keeping in mind the baseball truism that good pitching beats good hitting. What might be going on with Kershaw and not capping his otherwise outstanding post-season this year by not shutting down the Astros say thru seven innings?

Item—the Astros’ players seem to be more demonstrative—both with their highs and lows. Some see them as swaggering. What part does mood and attitude have to play in a game? The Dodgers are certainly cheering and ebullient when scoring, etc, but also seem more even in their mood and approach.

Item—as regards mood and approach, what’s the difference, if any, between a “good at-bat” that an Astro has vs a Dodger? Say Chris Taylor vs Jose Altuve?

Item— What’s the psychological difference between play in the regular season vs post season and specifically the World Series? The players could see it as let’s have fun—BUT it gets deadly serious.

Item—Both home crowds are rabidly pro their team. Yet each team has won in the oppositions’ park. What’s the difference between a true fan (a fan devoted to his team who keeps watching them play even if they’re losing) and a fair-weather fan who leaves or turns it off when they start losing? What’s the difference between viewing a game on TV vs being there in terms of how the game is taken in?

Item—For me personally it’s a challenge to stay a true fan. Game 5 on Sun night was a real challenge—listened to an internet line-by-line update with my daughter while we were at my 11 y/o grandson’s Little League game. So I couldn’t see how Kershaw failed to hold the Astros.

Item—this ties to my identification with the players—and I believe the identification all us fans have to players on the diamond. Baseball, unlike football, but somewhat like basketball, on some psychological level allows us to imagine ourselves—as we did as kids—as hitting the walkoff homer or sinking the winning basket.

Item—my writing Far Stones, which has baseball at its heart, was my way of infusing my own youthful energy into twin boy characters and getting theirs into my no longer young body.