Petco from the get-go

While you slept, Levi, you missed the game I watched on TV tonight, in which David Wells had to run from first to third (but, alas, didn’t end up making it to home).

Oh, yeah, Jay Payton climbed the wall in the 5th to prevent Barry Bonds from going down in history as the first person to hit a home run in Petco Park, and the Padres came back to tie in the 9th and then came back to win in the 10th, both times on Sean Burroughs singles.

Also, in the top of the 1st, the Giants announcers were making fun of the scoreboard that was listing the count as 5 strikes and 3 balls. Then they realized it was the pitch count scoreboard. I would obviously have rather watched the game with the Padres announcers, and DirecTV usually goes with the home team version of the games in their Extra Innings package…but only when the home team is on a regional sports network that DirecTV carries. The Padres are on a cable-only network.

The real reason the blog moved

Suddenly, this blog has become a 2-way communication, much like an argument between a manager and an umpire. You, the readers, now have the ability to make comments on any or all of the posts. However, you do not have the ability to kick dirt on us.

Edited later to add: Hmm, something’s not quite right, since there’s been at least one comment added to this entry, but it still shows “0 comments.” But I swear, the comments are there.

Original comments…

maura: break up the tigers!

Small consolations

Well, the Cardinals lost to the Brewers today, dropping their third game of their first four. In doing so, they managed to give up ten home runs and thirty runs.

But I can take a few shreds of hope from the good things about this series.

1) It’s not so bad to lose three of four to the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, right?

2) Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Jim Edmonds all hit very long home runs. More to come.

3) Mike Matheny, who every year, it seems, comes to Spring Training with a new batting stance, a new determination, and a story about how he worked all winter on his hitting, then hits very well in Spring Training and in April, only to fall off the face of the earth in the summer heat, has done all of those things so far. That’s one of the things I love most about baseball: it’s a reliable tie to the seasons. The same things happen every year at around the same time. (I probably won’t feel so good about the seasonal appropriateness of his slump in August.)

4) Down by seven runs, the Cardinals sent Cody McKay to the mound. If you follow the link, you’ll see that Cody McKay is a catcher. He’s also been known to stand in the vicinity of third base with a glove. Until today, I had not heard of him being a pitcher. But he went out there and threw two innings, no hits, one walk, and no runs. He committed a balk, but you kind of expect one or two of those from a non-pitcher. He threw eighteen pitches (ten for strikes), using a “fastball” and–this is the best part of the whole day–a knuckleball. Who doesn’t love a knuckler?
Cody McKay is the son of Cardinals first-base coach Dave McKay, and there has been some talk among Cardinals fans that McKay got the backup catcher job because of that relationship rather than because of his skills. But if he’s also a knuckleballer, I’ll take him. He may not be Brooks Kieschnick, but he’s already established that he’s a better pitcher than Jose Oquendo, Gary Gaetti, or Mark Grace, just to pick three. Two scoreless innings–especially given how few of those the Cardinals have had so far this season–is nothing to scoff at.* When he batted with two outs in the ninth, he got a standing ovation. Then he struck out.

5) No Cardinal seriously injured himself during any of the games.

*I suppose it’s possible that nepotism got Cody McKay not just on the team, but on the mound today, too. But I don’t think first-base coaches–even those working for Tony Larussa–have that kind of pull.

Original comments…

thatbob: Also makes him a better pitcher than Billy Sunday, to name one more.

thatbob: http://www.baseball-reference.com/s/sundabi01.shtml

Check the math

A correction from today’s L.A. Times: “The box score from Monday’s Chicago White Sox-Kansas City Royal baseball game in Sports on Tuesday incorrectly gave the pitching line for Chicago pitcher Damaso Marte as 1 inning pitched, 0 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 0 strikeouts, 0 pitches, 17.00 earned-run average. The correct line is 0 innings pitched, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 17 pitches, earned-run average of infinity.”

We have a blog (in a new location)

Much like the Washington Senators moving to Minnesota, or perhaps Texas…we have now indeed moved to baseballrelated.com. We’re no longer beholden to any sponsors, so there are no longer ads taking up space at the top of the page.

The time stamps on the posts are now Central time, which seems to make slightly more sense.

And for those of you who know what this means and what to do about it: we have a site feed.

Wow, Jim. Thanks for passing along Johnny Damon’s statement about his hair being, in part, an attempt to do everything the opposite of the Yankees. That is just about the only thing that could possibly make his hair and beard better. Well, other than them, say, defeating President Bush or leading efforts for world peace.

And I forgot–one more good Damon note before I move on to whatever exciting baseball news happens today. During Sunday night’s game, about two-thirds of the way through the game, ESPN dug up a photo of Damon from when we last saw him. They placed it side-by-side with a new photo from that day. The entire audience at the Rocketship gasped. As the noise died away, Jon Miller’s voice cut through, saying, “How do we even know that’s Johnny Damon out there?” It got a good laugh.

Which ties in with an idea I’ve had for a long time: say you’re the Cardinals. You’re playing a big game against the Cubs, and you’re down by a run with two guys on in the bottom of the ninth. You’ve got So Taguchi coming up. People start heading for the exits.

But you’ve got Albert Pujols on the bench. He’s even got a bat in his hands, because, well, that’s how he is. Why not put Pujols in Taguchi’s jersey and send him to the plate as Taguchi? Sure, he’s not Taguchi. Everyone knows he’s not Taguchi. But he and the manager and the rest of the team swear up and down that without a doubt, swear on Tony LaRussa’s Pure Beef Heart, he’s So Taguchi.

What’s the umpire going to do? Obviously, he’ll have no choice but to let him bat. I’m picturing buttons popping off a way-too-tight jersey as Pujols/Taguchi hits the ball into the Mississippi. Think how much the hometown crowd will get into this! Sure, the opposing team will lodge a protest, but I don’t think the Basic Agreement allows for DNA testing. Barring that, who can be certain that the hitter who won the game for the Cardinals wasn’t Taguchi? David Hume and Bishop Berkeley would be with me on this, guaranteed. Certainty is impossible.

Clearly, the keys to the success of this strategy are three. 1) Have Albert Pujols on your team. 2) Make sure that everyone involved–from LaRussa on down–absolutely refuses to budge in their certainty that this hitter is So Taguchi. 3) Don’t have any of those problematically honest born-again Christians on the team.

If you were really serious–and commensurately willing to be impressively offensive–you could even put Pujols in bad makeup to make him look Japanese. Like Mickey Rooney, only worse.

Original comments…

thatbob: Actually, I think the born-again Christians would be very open to the uncertainty argument. If I was Tony LaRussa, I would say: “Although you think you just watched Pujols put on Taguchi’s jersey, isn’t it possible that this illusion was created by a miracle of God? Or that, by a miracle of God, Pujols is now Taguchi? Or do you deny the possibility of miracles, and claim to know the mind of God? Now since you can’t claim with certainty that Taguchi is Pujols, I would ask that, for the sake of the team, you hold your tongue on the matter.”

See, this is why I would have made such an excellent Jesuit. Is it too late for seminary?

No wonder they won five Pulitzers

Levi, you may be pleased to note that Johnny Damon made the L.A. Times sports section’s daily “Quotebook” feature at the upper left of page D2, complete with photo. To quote the quote: “‘[General Manager] Theo [Epstein] told me I can keep it. I don’t think we want to compare ourselves to the Yankees. We’ll do everything the opposite of what they do.’ — Johnny Damon, Boston Red Sox outfielder, on his long hair and beard, which is not allowed by Yankee management”

In other news, the location of this blog will be moving soon. More details later.

Luke had a good thought about Johnny Damon: maybe he’s about to re-form the House of David traveling team. That would make this the best season in seventy-five years or so.

Other Opening Day notes, from someone who was stuck at work and couldn’t have watched the Cardinals anyway:

1) The Detroit Tigers are above .500 for the first time since April 8, 2001. And, as Stacey noticed that Ron Santo won the attendance game on the Cubs broadcast on WGN, so is Ron, although the drought has probably been longer.

2) The Astros are in last place. But so are the Cardinals. Maybe it’s best that, as Wittgenstein used to suggest whenever his favorite team lost a big game, we should just pass over that in silence.

3) Johnny Damon’s hair is still the story of the day. If I had a newspaper, the headline today would be “Opening Day features thrillings comebacks.” But the subhead would be “Johnny Damon’s hair, beard have no comment on Jimy Williams’s decision to pitch to Bonds.”

4) Even Bush and Cheney throwing out pitches couldn’t ruin Opening Day. It’s good to know there’s something in the world they can’t destroy. I suppose I should keep quiet about that, or else next year they’ll try harder.

Notes from Opening Day

  • The best thing I saw was the Royals getting two home runs in the bottom of the 9th to win.
  • The worst thing I saw was Joe Buck sucking up to George W. Bush in a pre-game on-field interview, although as it turns out, during the game, he’s a lot more tolerable when teamed up with Al Hrabosky than when teamed up with Tim McCarver.
  • The Padres’ road uniforms are sand-colored. Hey, the name of the city isn’t Sand Diego!
  • Wow, the Dodgers looked even more mediocre than I thought they’d be, if such a thing is possible. How can you get only 2 runs out of 15 hits?
  • The Steak ‘n’ Shake commercials during the Cardinals game were more mouth-watering than the Gold Star Chili and Frisch’s Big Boy commercials during the Reds game.
  • DirecTV had two MLB Extra Innings promos that they were playing during every “local” commercial break, one with Albert Pujols and one with Johnny Damon. The Pujols one was running a lot more often, I assume because the other one doesn’t reflect Damon’s current facial hair configuration.
  • Incessantly promoted by the various Fox Sports Nets: the Yankees vs. Red Sox on Fox, the broadcast network, on Friday night, April 16th. I do enjoy the concept of national baseball telecasts (although it helps when they don’t involve the Yankees), but this can only mean that certain executives at Fox have thrown up their hands when it comes to attempting to schedule programming on Friday night. This is what America gets for not immediately embracing “Wonderfalls.”
  • Kosher-for-Passover Coke has a weird aftertaste if, like me, you’re used to regular made-with-corn-syrup Coke.
  • Hooray, Tigers! Hooray, Pirates!

Turns out six hours of watching baseball on TV, much of which includes trying to follow several games at once, is a little too much for me.