Current baseball events

Well, about as current as one can be in a comic strip. This is the “Doonesbury” strip for today, Friday, May 21, referencing an event that occurred on Sunday, May 9, twelve days earlier. Back in my younger days when I had dreams of becoming a nationally syndicated cartoonist (i.e., the early-to-mid-1980s), the rule of thumb in every book about becoming a nationally syndicated cartoonist was that daily comic strips needed to be done 8 weeks in advance — or maybe you could push it as little

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as 6 weeks — and Sunday strips needed a 10-to-12-week lead time. Obviously, that is no longer the case, thanks to technology. At least for daily strips. Sunday strips need more time, although I believe it’s gone down from 10 to 12 weeks to half that. And, thanks to technology, the Sunday strips look better on the page than they ever have before; the production and printing techniques are allowing, for example, gradients that are actually gradations, and reproduce correctly in perfect registration and don’t rub off on your hands. It’s just too bad they’re printed so small that no one can tell. Okay, my periodic rant about comic strips over. I hope we’ll have some exciting news about baseball-related program activities to share soon. (Exciting for me and probably Levi, at least.)

French and Saunders

I got an instant message from a co-worker at about 2:00 saying a friend of hers had an extra ticket for tonight’s Angels-A’s game. Yes, even though I had made the 80-plus-mile round-trip to Anaheim for games Tuesday and Wednesday, since my rule is to never turn down a last-minute baseball invitation (especially when the ticket is free), I made the trip again.

One storyline in this game was that it was Dallas Braden’s first start after his perfect game last Sunday. He needed to retire the first three batters to break Catfish Hunter’s A’s record of 29 consecutive batters retired — and Braden retired only the first two. The game did become a pitchers’ duel, with Braden battling Joe Saunders, and with the difference being the Angels’ big 6th inning.

Both pitchers went the distance, just as in the Angels-Royals game Levi, Jason, and I saw last May in which Zack Greinke went up against Joe Saunders. Same result: a complete-game win for Saunders.

Let me highlight this fact: Joe Saunders has pitched exactly two complete-game shutouts in his major-league career. I have seen both of them live.