The White Sox have taken a 3-0 lead in the 2005 World Series after a 14-inning victory in Game 3 followed a dramatic walk-off home run that gave them the win in Game 2. These have been some of the greatest games in World Series history. Too bad nobody is watching, as ratings for the series - especially if a Sox team pulls off a sweep for the second year in a row tonight - will most likely rank as the lowest of all-time. Not that I would really know, either. I haven't watched a single inning yet. Some baseball fan. Last night? I was too busy watching the latest episode The Amazing Race, where the teams attempted to recreate some magic baseball moments by striking out repeatedly against a Panamanian little leaguer. Now admittedly the kid was struggling to throw strikes, possibly nervous that the CBS producers holding his parents hostage wouldn't be too happy if he pegged one of the Amazing Racers in the head, so he threw outside. But quite a few racers were flailing away like Alex Rodriguez with the game on the line. Not good times.
The episode finally took the teams outside of the United States, with a somewhat surprising trip to the Panama Canal, although on pre-determined airline flights and with the use of converted buses to individually escort each team around the island. It's almost like the producers don't trust these teams to be able to accomplish anything on their own, which takes a lot of fun out of the whole "race" aspect, but I can't really blame them. These are the same people who thought Lake Pontchartrain was one of the Great Lakes.
Anyway, once in Panama, after a bunching of the teams from the two plane flights that made the entire "dramatic" who's going to get on the first flight scenes meaningless, the racers each took boats across some body of water to an island where an easy to find guy gives them the next clue. And they didn't have to drive the boats themselves. And were basically passengers during this entire task. Did I mention how the Family Edition is making a mockery of the concept of "race"?
So the teams are still all together when they get to the Detour, and they finally have to make a choice - between "bird watching" or "collecting a bunch of instruments from nearby locations". Both tasks are incredibly easy, although the bird watching - which uses wooden birds in trees that are pretty easily identified - goes quicker, letting the Weavers and Bransens pull ahead. Well, except for the Paolos, who are the first to get to the one and only "Fast Forward" of this year's race, and are shockingly able to complete the bungee jumping task with minimal whining and bickering. They cruise to their first leg victory, which is almost as amazing as the fact that they remain in the race. Which kind of shows you the level of competition. And mom and DJ finally have a slight reconciliation when he kisses her as they plunge to their deaths together and she takes that as a sign of love. Umm... sure.
The Roadblock of the day takes them to the baseball field, where each team has to select a member to "get a hit" off a Panamanian "championship" little league pitcher. First up is 14-year-old Rolly Weaver, who is probably the same age as the pitcher and is rightfully frightened that he will strike out. Especially when he goes up there lefthanded, is late by about 10 seconds on an awkward swing, and then decides to bat righthanded. Either he's actually a switch-hitter, or he's never batted before in his life. He goes down meekly in three pitches and then has to go to the back of the line to wait for another turn.
Next up is Beth Bransen, who fares the same, although the pitcher seems more erratic with her, and since the 3 pitches count against you whether they're balls or strikes, it's tough to fault her too much. Fortunately for the teams though, no one else has made it to the Roadblock yet, so Rolly gets another try. And finally makes contact on his last pitch, one that the kid from Panama basically lobbed in there and then managed to let go through in his legs in a blatant display of "I'll be here all day if I don't let these idiots get a hit", and Rolly gets on base. They head for the Pit Stop, while Beth gets the same treatment and gets her team to move on.
Each of the other teams follow unimpressively, except for Bill Gaghan, whose family had been trailing all leg after going for the Fast Forward and not getting there in time, but who smacks a shot into the outfield on his first pitch and passes by the Godlewskis, who were unsuccessful on their first attempt. This puts the Godlewskis in last for the race to the mat, but they have a sneaking suspicion that it's a non-elimination leg and decide to put on all the clothes that they can fit on their bodies and then laughingly make their way to the Pit Stop.
Phil informs them that they are indeed last, but it is a non-elimination leg, and yes he needs to take their money and all the possessions "not on their bodies", which means that they can keep a lot of clothes, including several changes of underwear worn on the outside. Phil is especially giddy at the sight of them and is either blatantly trying to hit on one or two of the sisters, or is just in a really quippy mood. Either way, it was somewhat amusing to see him interact so casually with the cast. Which is probably just about the only good thing in this season so far.
Now? I should go watch some baseball before the Series is over. But then, I just bought the new iPod today, so it doesn't seem all that likely. Go Steve Jobs!