It’s my favorite day of the year. My A’s don’t open until tomorrow, but my fantasy team (with Evan Longoria, who hit a home run today) is doing alright.
This past summer I went to my third professional soccer match. All three were in Copenhagen. All three were blowouts in favor of the home team. All three were at a mostly empty Parken Stadium.
I don’t really understand how European soccer works, but F.C. Copenhagen won the Danish Superliga and the Danish Cup in the prior year and the Danish Superliga again before I saw this game. Maybe those games are better attended.
By the time I’m in Denmark in the middle of summer things have moved on to the UEFA Europa League, in which FCK dominates in the early rounds and gets crushed in later rounds. I’m only there for the early rounds. On this night, FCK beat the Crusaders F.C. (Belfast, Ireland) 6-0.
The 2016 Climax Series (the equivalent of the World Series for Japan Professional Baseball) features the Hiroshima Carp and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. The series is even at 2 games each, with home teams winning every game thus far. Today’s game is in Hokkaido followed by the final two games in Hiroshima. The Carp last won the series in 1984.
Hiroshima Carp pitcher Kris Johnson, from California, was the 2016 Sawamura Award winner (equivalent to the Cy Young Award in MLB), becoming the first foreign player to earn the honor since 1964. Johnson was 15-7 with a 2.15 ERA in 26 starts for the Carp this season. He struck out 141 over 180⅓ innings and threw three complete games.
Once my A’s are out of it, I root for the team playing against the Giants, followed by the team with the lowest payroll. To that end, I’m quite happy that Cleveland has made the World Series. They had the lowest team salary of any of the playoff teams. In the National League, I, of course, want the Cubs to beat the Dodgers since their payroll is about $100 million less.