This, I promise is the last thing I'll write about baseball, professional or otherwise, until the spring sports season kicks off in March 2013.
The American League Division Series between the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, which wrapped up last Friday when the Yankees won the deciding fifth game, 3-1, took years off of my life. On Saturday morning, when I woke up from the first night of decent sleep I'd had since the previous weekend, I looked in the mirror and noticed some gray hair sprouting from my sideburns, and they definitely weren't there before the series started. A regular-season series with the same numbers would have been hair-raising, but in the context of a win-or-your-season-is-over playoff, the games were almost unbearable. There were back-to-back-to-back one-run contests, with the last two going to extra innings (I'm not entirely sure who I'm addressing here, since I'm sure the majority of the people who read this column were watching those games, but it's still exciting to write about). In any case, it was a huge disappointment to see the O's run come to an end at the hands of the Yankees, but this season they made me remember why I love baseball so much. Thanks, fellas.
Since I've been having so much fun with these lately, here's another installment of facts, numbers, figures and interesting stats:
Two: That is the combined number of division titles that this year's UCBAC boys soccer champs have won. I bring that number up because, at least with some of the other sports I cover (boys basketball, baseball, softball), you can usually count on the teams that make it to the conference final having at least 3-4 division crowns under their belt. But, with boys soccer this year, you have Bel Air, the Chesapeake Division and conference champ in 2010, and Perryville, which just won its first Susquehanna Division title.
16: Excuse me for a little hometown boostering here, but that is the number of years it's been since Perryville boys soccer, which recently wrapped up its first Susquehanna Division championship, has earned a regular-season title. In 1996, seven years before the UCBAC was formed, Perryville won the Cecil County crown (I was on that team).
Six: That is the number of Chesapeake Division victories that the Bel Air boys soccer team ended its season with (6-0 is a perfect record in that division). I hesitate to say that the Bobcats did it quietly, because they were obviously a force from the beginning, but neither did they storm to the Chesapeake title. It looked to me like North Harford, which hadn't lost a game in 12 tries before last Friday's match with the Bobcats, were going to grab the crown, but Bel Air proved me wrong with a 3-1 victory over the Hawks. I know a season, a title or a post-season run never really come down to just one game, because you have to win all the games before the last one just to get there, but if the Chesapeake Division championship could be distilled down to one game, it would be Bel Air vs. North Harford.
107: That would be the number of points that Bel Air's Carson Kalama has amassed in his four-year boys soccer career, through the Bobcats Tuesday win over Fallston (using the system of two points per goal, one point per assist). On Friday, Kalama scored two goals, which put him ahead of former Bobcat Greg Zsebedic, whose school record of 104 points stood for 43 years. In case you weren't aware, that number is insane. I was a four-year varsity soccer player, and, except for a few games when I was injured or serving a one-game suspension that comes with a red card, I started at left or right wing from the middle of my freshman year onward. In that time, I scored 12 goals and dished out, I think, 20 assists, which would give me 44 career points. That's not too bad, but Kalama more than doubled that number. I can't even imagine what it would be like to score as many goals as he has. Well done, young man.
Sorry, I never got off of boys soccer this week. Next time around, I'll mix it up a little more.