First off, though I know I've been doing this a lot lately, let me gush about the Orioles. Unfortunately, I could not stay up to watch all of their 18-inning epic on Tuesday and Wednesday, when they played two full games worth of baseball in order to grab a 4-2 victory over Seattle (some of my friends who have to wake up in the wee small hours of the morning, like 4:30 a.m., reported turning on the television to see Baltimore closer Jim Johnson working the bottom of the 18th inning). I did, however, stay up until 1:30 a.m. on Thursday to watch the O's best Seattle in extra innings for a second straight time, this time walking away with a 3-1 win after Adam Jones cranked a two-run homer in the top of the 11th.
If you're keeping track, that's 15 straight extra-inning victories for Baltimore, which is the longest streak of that nature since 1949, when Cleveland won 17 in a row. (There seems to be some debate about that number though, as I've seen 19 pop up a few times. I'm sticking with what I heard on the television last night). I don't care what Bobby Valentine, or Keith Law, or anyone says about the O's, because inferior teams don't put together streaks like that, and nobody is that lucky (on a side note, Bobby Valentine, though a blowhard, gets a lifetime pass from me for trying to reenter a baseball game from which he'd been ejected by donning a fake mustache and sunglasses).
So, while we're on the subject of successful teams and, possibly, post-season runs, let me throw out my journalistic wish list for the fall sports season. I have not seen enough boys soccer games to put together a power poll, nor do I know enough at this point about the UCBAC's golf teams to make a list for that sport, so here's what you get:
First and foremost, a boys soccer state title coming back to Harford County would be on the top of the list. If you haven't read my previous columns in which I talked about this, I covered boys soccer for the 2007 and 2008 seasons, then took over coverage of girls soccer for the next three years, and switched back to the boys game for this season. In 2007, my first year here at The Aegis, I was lucky enough to watch the Bel Air Bobcats scrap their way to the 3A finals by winning the North regional title game and state semifinals on penalty kicks. They ended up losing, 1-0, to Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the championship matchup, and the next year something similar happened, with Fallston making it to the 3A finals, only to lose, 2-1, to Tuscarora on penalties.
Fallston made it back to the finals in 2009, when I watched the Cougar girls team win the 2A title on, of all things, penalty kicks, then again in 2011, losing both of those games to Marriotts Ridge by scores of 1-0 (interesting note: in three straight 2A state title games, the Marriotts Ridge Mustangs have won all three, 1-0). Just counting from my debut at The Aegis in 2007, that is four trips to the state finals by Harford County boys soccer teams, with no hardware to show for the struggles. When was the last time a local boys soccer squad brought home a Maryland crown? It was 1992, when Fallston won the 1A final.
Twenty seasons is too long, especially with the quality of soccer that is played in this area, so let's see a state title run in 2012.