Diamond Certified: Home field advantage

Diamond Certified: Home field advantage

Bill Collins

Coach Mike Barnes, center, is thoroughly soaked following an Alameda Little League Majors championship win for the Pappo Athletics. Photo by Bill Collins.

We’ve all heard the phrase home field advantage. If one deconstructs the stats of almost any sports team, we can find a distinct advantage and win percentage of teams playing on their home turf, versus an away turf or field. The advantage holds true for youth and professional sports teams. Certainly, this advantage affects younger players more than older ones.

In the Alameda Little League, this doesn’t affect normal season play. All teams play on the same fields, taking home and away sides on alternate weeks. No team recognizes a home field advantage in every game. This is just how it works in ALL.

Come post-season and beyond the home field advantage kicks in, due to travel baseball teams, and Tournament of Champions game play that extends beyond the city borders of each team. Such was the advantage the Pappo Athletics felt in their post season play. Yes, that’s right, spoiler alert: The Pappo Athletics sailed to victory against the Dr. Vicki Wang Orthodontic Twins in their championship game at the end of their regular season! Not only did the Athletics take the title two years in a row under the same manager, Mike Barnes; they swept the tournament series two seasons in a row, with four wins in four games.

This left the Pappo Athletics to represent the Alameda Majors in the Tournament of Champions series, which includes teams across the Bay Area. The good news: Most of the series games were played right here on our home turf, the Major/Minor fields in Alameda. As can be expected, we held the advantage, and we won all three of our games here.

Then we played the final Tournament of Champions game, over in Walnut Creek. I, unfortunately could not make this game. We, unfortunately, lost that final tournament game. I believe the home field advantage (or lack of it) played a role in the results.

I know there must have been other teams that advanced, that were not playing on their home field. But it should be noted that the Athletics’ competitor that day was a Walnut Creek team. This game was the first lost by the Athletics after 14 consecutive wins. I would say 14-1 is a pretty good record.

Hold your heads high Pappo Athletics, this was an outstanding season! You all played incredibly well!

If you’ve got Alameda Little League news or stories to pitch about your team, e-mail me at dubyac99@yahoo.com or contact me via Twitter @WilliamRCollins.