Parasiliti: Suns defy odds, foes, but can't beat local logic

May 12, 2013|By BOB PARASILITI
  • Bob Parasiliti
Joe Crocetta

Sports are kind of misunderstood.

They aren’t exactly recognized for the philosophical, logical thinking it takes to play.

Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when the word “athlete” is mentioned is “dumb jocks” … at least to some.

To be really honest, all sports have their own chess-like strategy. It’s just a different kind of thinking and discipline applied in different manners.

Game plans are like battle plans.

Games, in a way, are like term papers. Athletes, like writers, make an initial statement and try to carry that basic thought to a conclusion — to either win a game or prove a point. It’s all a matter of timing and knowing when to strike or make a move.

It’s become a case of “Is the basket (glass) half full or half empty?”

Anything more than half is usually a victory. Anything less is a loss. And if it is exactly half, it’s either a tie or a .500 record.

That whole theory is probably a philosophy all it’s own. It is kind of like the idea of “If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

No one has a definitive answer for that. It’s open to much debate.

But let’s make this one a little sporty.

“If a team wins a lot of games and no one sees them, does it mean it is in first place?

OK, a bit of a stretch, but it is a very valid question in Hagerstown.

The Hagerstown Suns have done amazing things, but very few are seeing it.

It is easy to prove. Is Municipal Stadium half full or half empty?

Putting politics and issues aside, for at least a minute, the Suns have been successful because they are a thinking man’s team.

On paper, they aren’t anything special. Neither are puppies, though.

Hagerstown has used old-school baseball to make itself into a tough team to beat in the South Atlantic League.

The Suns have won eight of 10 games and have jumped from the middle of the pack into a one-game lead in the Northern Division. They did it by winning the last two games against Hickory, which was the North leader at the time.

They backed it up by sweeping three from Augusta and taking the first two from Rome - both near the top in the Southern Division - to build a seven-game winning streak and grab first place.

Hagerstown has used retro methods to win, too. It is a style of game that is almost like pulling out the platform shoes and love beads again.

They hit. They run. They bunt. They take extra bases. They pitch to get the ball put in play so a strong defense can do it’s job. Most of all, they are patient.

Without diving into statistics, the Suns have made up for a lack of teamwide home run power by using brain power to win their daily chess matches.


The Suns play a game for baseball purists, a style that is lost on most fans.

It’s suspenseful, instead of epic.

It’s a novel approach in a blog world.

But it goes against the grain of most fans’ attention spans.

Baseball, like most sports, is losing fans because they can’t sit still long enough to watch. Everyone wants to read the ending before reading the story.

We have been ESPNed to death. Baseball is reduced to home runs and web gems. Football is now long passes and hard hits. Basketball highlights are all about 3-point shooting and dunks.

This year’s Suns are much different. If you take the time to watch — and think — the game is entertaining because they have been like a good mystery. You have to figure out how it is going to end.

Yet, it’s illogical. The philosophy of sports used to be put a winning team on the field and people will come out and watch.

It isn’t that way anymore. There are so many reasons why people don’t turn out to watch baseball anymore.

And there are even more reasons why fans don’t turn out to see Hagerstown Suns baseball anymore.

This is where the issues and politics enter. There are too many roadblocks and too many fingers to point to tell the whole story. Part of the reason is the stadium issue, but it is more than that.

The only thing that is certain, to this point, it isn’t because of the product the Suns are putting on the field or the work ethic of the players and the coaching staff, led by manager Tripp Keister.

The reasons for not attending games are understandable, but not logical.

And unfortunately, the Suns are making a lot of noise that nobody is hearing.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at

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