Much has been made through the years about the home-field or home-court advantage in sports.
Be it high school, college or professional sports, it’s considered to be a big advantage playing at home. The athletes sleep in their own beds the night before the contest. The travel is minimal. The routine is pretty much the same.
The opponents are the ones who have to change their routines and make what can be long trips on a bus or a plane, to and from the contest.
The home stadium or arena might have quirks that favor the athletes who play there game after game. They’re used to the light or field conditions. The opponents are not. In the case of the Colorado Rockies or Denver Broncos, they’re used to playing at higher altitudes. The visitors usually are not.
In Major League Baseball this past season, 18 of the 30 teams posted winning records at home this season, including the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros. The Astros, in fact, had the best winning record at home out of all 30 teams, 60-21 for a .741 winning percentage.
But the home-field advantage didn’t apply in the 2019 World Series. The road team won all seven games, the first time that’s ever happened in a World Series. Maybe the road team was a little more pumped. Maybe the home team relaxed a bit. Maybe it was just the law of averages. This World Series had to be different.
Congratulations to the Nationals, who won their first World Series by that name though Washington fans still haven’t seen their team win a home game in the World Series since the Senators did it in 1933.
For the Astros, at least they made it back to the Series and they do know what it feels like to win a World Series title with their victory in 2017.
Texas teams have now made five trips to the World Series, including three by the Astros and two by the Texas Rangers but only have one World Series title.
Congratulations to head coach Jenna Sickels and the Greenville Lady Lions on their District 15-5A volleyball championship. It was their first district title in that sport since 2005.
I was there for the Lady Lions’ first day of workouts in the gym, when they ran lines on the court for conditioning. I know how hard they have worked to reach this goal.
Last year they advanced to the playoffs as the fourth-place team in 15-5A and lost in straight sets to Hallsville, the 16-5A champion, at the bi-district round.
The Lady Lions will open the 2019 playoffs at 6:30 p.m. Monday in Mineola against Longview Pine Tree, which finished fourth in 16-5A. Pine Tree is 15-24 for the season. Hallsville went 33-7 in 2018.
I’m expecting a better result for the Lady Lions on Monday.
David Claybourn is sports editor of the Herald-Banner.