In the final days of July, we’re clinging to the heat of the summer and looking ahead to a cloudy fall.
Perhaps literally, but definitely figuratively.
In high school sports, of course, August means revving things up for a busy fall season. It’s the busiest season of the three — football, boys’ and girls’ soccer, volleyball, cross country and golf, and for some schools girls’ tennis — so everyone is waiting, watching, worrying, mulling and well … yeah, arguing.
We don’t know yet how the fall will look like in the high school sports world. The PIAA, the state’s governing body, has rightfully stuck to its guns and moved forward with plans of a regular season. We may see that adjusted as early as Wednesday this week, but most likely anything major will be initiated by Governor Tom Wolf’s administration.
The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) has scratched its fall schedule, so it’s kind of weird that there’s still a chance that we will have sports this fall.
I’m not here to predict or prognosticate. That comes if and when there are football games to be played. Those are the predictions I prefer to haggle over.
How schools move forward with their plans to educate will certainly be a factor in how sports are handled.
This week, the ABC Youth Football League — Brookville, Redbank Valley, Clarion-Limestone and Union all have teams — started helmet-only workouts with contact starting next week. The league has nine teams playing an eight-game regular-season schedule within a calendar plan much the same as past years.
ODDS AND ENDS — Random mullings of course …
— The Pirates aren’t very good, that’s not a real big hot take of course. Monday night’s inability to bunt a player over from second base with no outs in the bottom of the 10th inning cost them a win. Of course, the bullpen blowing a 5-1 lead to the Brewers in the ninth inning started the downslide.
It’ll be interesting to see how the new extra-inning tiebreaker plays out through the 60-game schedule. Apparently over the past two years in the minors, games were finished in two innings just over 90 percent of the time.
I’m not one to shirk tradition with the “international” tiebreaker thing, but I’m also weary of terrible at-bats in extra innings from professional hitters trying to end it all with one swing. This is a good year to use this rule anyway.
Now with the DH in the NL, bluh. Let the pitchers hit next year, please. But it’s likely gone forever.
— The Pittsburgh Penguins start this weekend. Their best-of-five play-in series against the Montreal Canadiens begins Saturday.
Not sure what’ll be more weird. Watching hockey or basketball in August.
Rich Rhoades is the sports editor of the Jeffersonian Democrat and the Leader-Vindicator in New Bethlehem. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @TheSkinny1969.