One series begins as another ends

By David Mullen

The American League and National League Championship Series are set, and starting this week it will be a battle of the best four teams in baseball.

The Milwaukee Brewers have the probable NL MVP in Christian Yelich. The Boston Red Sox, with 108 regular season wins and coming off a 3-1 ALDS victory over their rival New York Yankees, possesses a powerful lineup, which includes AL MVP favorite Mookie Betts.  

In March 2018, I made my predictions for the NL and AL playoffs. I had the Brewers and Colorado Rockies playing in the Wild Card game with Colorado winning. Pretty close. The Brew Crew caught the Cubs on the 163rd game of the season, won the division and the Rockies beat the Cubs in the Wild Card. I had the Los Angeles Dodgers winning the Western Division, which they did in a playoff.

My only wrong pick was the Washington Nationals to represent the National League in the World Series. But, as we have found out, Washington has been a major disappointment in more ways than one this year.  

I predicted the Los Angeles Angels would be facing the New York Yankees in the American League Wild Card game. Turned out it would be the upstart Oakland Athletics. I had the Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Yankees as the final four in the AL. Those picks were spot on.

I still like the Astros going to the World Series one more time and winning a second straight World Championship. I think they will beat the Dodgers again. The Astros are good, young, deep and have a chip on their shoulder. The team just doesn’t feel they get the credit they deserve. Playing Boston, they now hit the prime time and East Coast television audience. 

The Red Sox will be tougher to beat than the Dodgers. Defending champion Houston is a model team for the future of baseball, and a team that the Texas Rangers should try to emulate.       

•••••

It is the end of an era. For 25 years, Kevin Curley, 60, has run the Shamrock Shootout golf tournament, and what a run it has been. What began as a fundraiser for the bygone downtown Dallas St. Patrick’s Day parade has become a resource vehicle for local charities, the promoting of education and helping Irish causes.

During its tenure, the tournament has been played at Plantation Golf Course in Frisco, Gleneagles in Plano, Tour 18 in Flower Bound and Stephens Park in Dallas among others. Originally, it was a celebrity tournament. “We had celebrity entertainment in a cart barn,” said Curley, a graduate of Villanova University and owner of Curley Financial Group near Preston Center on Sherry Lane. He pulled back on the entertainment aspect because of high costs and focused on being able to provide a better golfing experience and more contributions to charities.

The tournament has raised more than $1.5 million, and is hoping to raise $75,000 this year. More than $500,000 has gone to numerous charities in Ireland and Northern Ireland including Autism for Ireland, Integrated Educational Fund and Cranmore Integrated School.

Golfers Mark Johansen and John Padian (center cart), along with other players, get ready for the Shamrock Showdown.

“Some of my great memories I can’t repeat,” Curley said with a laugh.”But really it is the amount of people that come in for the tournament. This year, we will have people from New York, people from Philly, Florida and we have people come in from Ireland every year. It has become a national event, and has been fun to hook up with those people.”  

 This year, the 25th and final Shamrock Shootout will be held on Thursday, Oct. 18 at The Tribute at 1000 Lebanon Road in The Colony. Registration begins at 11 a.m. (when the pub opens) and a shotgun start begins at 1 p.m. More information can be found at shamrockshootout.org.

And what about the luck of the Irish? “We have only had one hole-in-one in all those years,” Curley said. “Maybe we will have one this year.”

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