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THE BASEBALL SEASON NO ONE SAW

The BBL playoffs featured some of the most exciting baseball games, the best Guam will get, but not a lot of fans poured in to the Paseo Stadium to witness any of the action. GSPN’s Robert Balajadia reflects on all the empty seats during the BBL playoff series.

SPORTS EDITORIAL

By Robert Balajadia

A five-year championship run came to an end, the young guns of the league knocked off the team with the reigning MVP and one team came together to put forth a memorable title run. The only problem was that not many people were there to see it.

Baseball on Guam is NOT dead, but it seems the fans of the local Budweiser Baseball League (BBL) are few and far between given the crowd at the iconic Paseo Stadium every night of the playoffs. It’s also safe to say without local sports media, or the constant play-by-play updates from the BBL Facebook done by Mark Colby, no one would even know there is baseball going on.

The BBL is also the least visited of the stories GSPN covers, which is shocking considering the BBL is Guam’s premier baseball league.

The most populated games were between the AM Insurance Orioles and IT&E Braves in the semifinals. It was the only series that went into the final decisive Game 5. In fact, it was the only game where both teams won a game given the Paradise Fitness Jr. Nationals swept the Bank of Guam A’s in the other semifinals then got swept themselves in the Championship Series.

Miller Santos slides home to beat the tag and puts a run on the board for the Orioles. (Photo by Joey Blas)

Miller Santos slides home to beat the tag and puts a run on the board for the Orioles. (Photo by Joey Blas)

It didn’t help that half of the Jr. Nationals – and most of the starters – left for the Asian-Pacific Baseball Tournament after Game 1.

Yes, the A’s got swept but it wasn’t your typical version of a sweep given the A’s had leads in the first two games and got hit with some tough calls in Game 3 to send them home. The Jr. Nationals stole Game 1 in thrilling fashion scoring all three runs in the 9th inning to beat the A’s 3-2.

The game changed when starting pitcher Roque Alcantara exited the game allowing pitcher Paul Pangelinan to close out the 9th. Then the unthinkable happened.

Jr. Nationals Billy Quenga had the bases loaded and hit a walk off two-run single as the winning run in Daniel Cruz came sliding in to complete the comeback.

Aside from the cheering parents of the Jr. Nationals and stunned family members of the A’s, the near empty stadium took the life out of what was the most exciting game of the entire playoffs.

Fans of the game, or relatives and extended relatives of the players, seemed to all show up during the Orioles and Braves Game 5 giving hope that the same fans would come out in the championship series.

Jr. Nationals Daniel Cruz scores the game winning run to steal Game 1 against the BOG A's. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Jr. Nationals Daniel Cruz scores the game winning run to steal Game 1 against the BOG A’s. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

But no, not even close. Fans just didn’t show up to see the Orioles take on the Jr. Nationals.

Despite the bulk of the Jr. Nationals missing the last three games of the championship series,  the Orioles hoisted up their BBL trophy Tuesday night and only a few camera phones in the stands, and local sports media, were there to capture that moment.

We at GSPN continue to scratch our heads as to why not many people went to the games and there doesn’t seem to be a clear reason nor an immediate resolution.

Did the fans predict the sweep? Maybe, but the Jr. Nationals are the future of baseball and it mustn’t feel good knowing that not many people want to come watch Guam Baseball’s future in action.

Was it the damaged seats at the stadium that kept fans away? It’s been an issue for quite some time, but if no one goes to watch the games then what is the use of fixing seats that no one is going to use.

Are the games just too long? You can expect to be at the game for three-four hours granted it starts on time (7 p.m.) and there is no rain delay. The most common times fans came were after the first four innings, which were about an hour after the game started.

Do the fans just wait to read the recap on GSPN? Nice try guys, but we see how many people read our stories and it’s not pretty compared to all the other sports.

When Guam Live took over Paseo for two weeks a lot of players weren’t happy and many felt they were being disrespected by having a concert right in the middle of their playoffs. That concert was the most crowded Paseo Stadium has been in many years and it had nothing to do with baseball.

Baseball is NOT dead yet, but is anyone aware that it’s even alive? Little League, youth baseball, and amateur baseball have a great deal of fans, but they’re not going to be in those youth leagues forever. What happens when the youth become old enough to play in Guam’s premier baseball league? Show up to the games and we’ll all see what happens.

That’s IF people even read this editorial.

Read Patrick Lujan’s commentary on Guam Baseball posted in August 2013.

2014 Budweiser Baseball League Champions "AM Insurance Orioles". (Photo by Joey Blas)

2014 Budweiser Baseball League Champions AM Insurance Orioles. (Photo by Joey Blas)

 

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Sports legend Joe Taitano used to run to school at JFK from his Yigo home and back. He continued this routine up to 1979 when he’d run from home to GW gym and back to practice for the South Pacific Games with the national basketball team. Guam went on to win its second straight SPG gold medal.

 

 

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