When I returned home from work today, I was greeted at the door by my son. He said, "ockey!" and promptly went to his wagon where he pulled out two yellow wiffle ball bats, and a mini Purdue basketball from his wagon.
He handed me a bat as I put down my bag, and we proceeded to knock the ball around on the floor like a hockey puck. He's not yet two years old.
The Chicago Blackhawks have clearly passed the fever on to everyone.
By the time I was able to turn on the game, the Hawks led 3-0. It looked as though it may be one of those nights where the stars just don't align, and you don't get an exciting sporting event.
But then the Red Wings got hot. Nick Lidstrom scored a power play goal. Then, in quick succession, Brian Rafalski scored and Jonathan Ericsson tallied the tying goal. The Detroit defensemen had gone wild.
I told my wife that I hoped the game would go quintuple overtime. When the horn sounded on the third period, I figured we were on our way.
Let me pause for a moment to explain my hockey prerogative. I am not a huge hockey fan, but my favorite team is the Red Wings. I live here in Chicago, and the energy from the Chicago resurgence is palpable. I'm not exactly sure who I was hoping for, maybe just a close game.
At some point during the game, I flipped over to the Twins/Brewers game just in time to see Michael Cuddyer wrap a triple and complete the cycle. It was definitely a nice bonus.
Back to hockey. If you like sports, and don't get excited for playoff overtime hockey, then I question whether you have a soul. It is simply some of the best that sports has to offer.
I didn't get my overtime. But, Patrick Sharp's goal into a wide open net less than two minutes in gave me something I did want...a good series.
After the celebration, I flipped over to the Magic/Cavaliers game, already in the fourth quarter and beginning to seesaw back and forth.
Hedo Turkoglu hits a clutch three-point shot on the kick out from Rashard Lewis to tie the game at 93.
Minutes later, it was Turkoglu again, driving left and pulling up at the free throw line to swish the go-ahead basketball with exactly one second to play.
Cleveland advanced the ball to half court, and it was time for the King to step to another level.
Twenty years ago it was Michael Jordan over Craig Ehlo to win a playoff game. Cleveland fans can finally erase that memory, and replace it with a much more pleasant sight.
James was able to add a signature game to his career, and perhaps shift the momentum back to the Cavaliers as the favorite to win the NBA title.
Switching over to the Direct TV MLB Game Mix channel. I found four games with plenty of story lines.
Billy Buckner was called up to pitch for the Diamondbacks at Oakland, and came through in a big way. Buckner pitched seven and a third, allowing only five hits and one run. Arizona beat the Athletics 2-1.
In San Diego, White Sox fans found themselves rooting for the hated Cubs as they batted against the man who would not be a south sider, Jake Peavy.
Unfortunately for Sox fans, Peavy was the stud everyone thinks he is, and he shut down the anemic Cubs offense, allowing only two hits over six innings while striking out 10. Chicago loaded the bases in the ninth, but a Derrek Lee pop out allowed the Padres to beat the Cubs 4-0.
Finally, the battle of Los Angeles gave us yet another pitcher's duel. Each team had plenty of opportunities to score.
The Angels had 12 base runners through seven innings, but only managed one run. The Dodgers had 14 base runners through seven innings and also had plated only one run.
The Angels finally broke through in the eighth, scoring twice on a Chone Figgins bases loaded single. The Dodgers went quietly in the eighth and were unable to muster anything off Angels closer Brian Fuentes, and the game ended 3-1.
Meanwhile, in Seattle, Randy Johnson pitched in Seattle for perhaps the final time in his career.
After loading the bases in the sixth, Johnson left to a moving standing ovation by the home team fans. The Big Unit allowed one run, and struck out seven, taking a no decision in the game.
At 1:06 am CT, the Mariners ended the night when Jose Lopez hit a long drive off the left field fence for a walk-off single. It was time to get to bed, for the boy would be awake soon, with wiffle ball bat in hand.
My conclusion from the night?
I love sports. Sports are great.
There are plenty of terrible things that happen in life, from stubbing a toe to the death of a loved one, to countless tragedies that occur around the world. Sometimes we just have to appreciate the little things.
Overtime hockey. Buzzer beaters. Baseball games that could last forever. You just got to love those sports!