All these factors produced a quick start in which we won our first eight games. We were winning these games convincingly, too, and having fun. I hope every kid just for one season can be on a team that wins all the time, simply for the joy of not losing. Yes, losing can build character and provide life lessons, but once in a while, being dominant can be pure bliss. Michael played on a soccer team this year that was far better than all its opponents. With that team breaking apart after this season, I hope he appreciates how great he had it if the team he lands on next season isn't as good.
The Astros' domination didn't last. We didn't play one team -- the Giants -- over the winning streak because of a rainout. We hadn't even seen them play and didn't know how well they were playing their last few games. They had a couple good pitchers, one of which I think was going to be a seventh grader (and technically too old to be in Peewee -- I can't prove this, but when I looked him up on Facebook, his graduation year suggested he was a year older).
Perhaps we were overconfident, or perhaps we were just primed for a loss, but we lost big -- so big that the game ended early due to the slaughter rule (called the mercy rule in many places, but not in Chicago). We were stunned. I was playing left field on Diamond 7 and remembering hard-hit balls that kept rocketing into the gap past an unofficial small dirt trail (made by enough people cutting across from Oriole Avenue to Diamond 4) that intersected the outfield.
The winning streak was over. Like an opponent in a Rocky movie, once we took a big hit, we wouldn't be the same. Plus, due to rescheduled rainouts and a six-inning limit for pitchers per week, we didn't have Chris pitching part of every game in the second half. We got to the last game of the second half needing a victory to win our division and make the championship game. And the team we were up against: the Giants, who led the other division and had given us our worst loss.
To be continued, next with how I played in 1981 ...