Of course you want to know if I went. It was a really REALLY tough decision, but I stuck to my refusal to give Crane one thin dime. Bout tore me up, seeing as how it was the Last Weekend Ever. I even got out my Shooting Star t-shirt, even though Wandy’s name isn’t on the back.
Called my Mama. She said, sorry Baby Girl, Wainwright is pitching. I said, cmon Mama, one last time, Jerry Trupiano and Richard Justice are calling the game. She said TRUPIANO?? I haven’t heard him in a LONG time and besides, he’s not really a baseball. He is, TOO Mama, I said – he called games for the Red Sox until a couple years ago. She sniffed – like I said, DH ball. Cmon Mama, I said – it IS The Last Weekend and you can watch Wainwright on tape.
And she won’t really admit it, but she was glad she did. It was absolutely great to see guys I grew up with, guys I never saw play out there looking out at the 8000 fans who showed up. Mama said – well, with Jimmy and Enos (Cabell), it will sure nuff look like The Good Ol Days of the empty Dome. TV was great. Trupiano was louder, more, uh, enthusiastic (ahem) than our usual laid back crew, but oh man it was kewl. I know Richard Justice is a Bud-luvver, and he now writes bland blah stuff for MLB, but he’s still a DAMM good baseball man when he TALKS.
Every inning, they had a different Legend guest to talk. Enos Cabell, Jimmy Wynn, Saint Biggio, Eric Anthony!!! of all people – hadn’t thought about him since the 90s. Broakie-poo was on, too. Said that the job of a pitching coach is almost all dealing with the pitcher’s head and that pitching is indeed 90% mental. Said he often doesn’t even TALK to a new guy when he comes up (bet that makes the new guy a little nervous). Said that what he needs most to do is convince a guy that he CAN throw HIS pitch to the target. Interesting.
Dallas Keuchel pitched great – guess that Broakie-poo convinced him that he COULD throw to the target . 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 solo homer/7 IP. What is even more impressive is that besides the walk, he only went to a 3 ball count ONCE and threw over 4 pitches/hitter 3 times. Now THAT is listening to your pitching coach.
Best part of the game was Clint Hurdle getting himself some Blood Pressure in the second when a safe call was reversed. McHenry hit a ground ball, fielded by Keuchel and tosses to Wallace – bad throw, pulled Wallace off the bag, but he swipe tagged McHenry. Ump called him out at first. Wallace asked for a review from other umps, and – THE UMPS CONFERRED!!! Guess the HP ump had actually seen the tag and the runner was out. It was, by the way, the correct call – watched the replay.
I mean – seriously, THE UMPS CONFERRED TO GET THE PLAY RIGHT!!! What’s next? Dogs and Cats living together???
Second best part of the game was Jason Castro failing to get the bunt down with men on first and second and finally swinging away at a low slider and golfing it barely over the RF wall – right near the foul pole where the gate opens – maybe 340′ but hey, that’s the breaks.
And the game.
Beating the Pirates twice in a row. Seemed like The Good Old Days.
And today? Well, you won’t believe this BUT
1 – Jordan Lyles ran into trouble in the 5th – gave up 2 straight singles, then a walk. In comes the bullpen, who promptly lost the game – Wesley Wright let one run score. In came Mickey Storey who let the other 2 runs score and Wesley’s run score. Mickey gave up a single and an RBI double to stat the 6th, but got lucky because Chuckie Fick stranded HIS runner. Enerio Del Rosario gave up 3 more runs in the 8th.
2 – Bogusevic was pinch hitting in the 8th – had a 1-2 count and the next pitch hit him on the foot – ump called it ball 2. Bogu insisted that it had hit his toe (which it did), and THE UMPS CONFERRED TO GET THE CALL RIGHT!!! Seriously, WTF? Getting calls right? Guess they are doing their darndest to avoid instant replay.
Scott Moore was the only guy to get a hit off AJ Burnett – in fact, was a triple shy of the cycle. Brett Wallace got himself a Golden Sombrero. He’s striking out more and walking less than he did last year, even though he’s hitting for more power.
Of note – Jed Lowrie is still very stiff legged and looks like Derek Jeter at short, minus the jump n throw (NOT a compliment) and Tyler Greene is 29 and is NOT a good fielding SS – doesn’t make any tough plays, makes too many errors, both counted and mental. For example – in the 4th, Rod Barajas, who runs like a 9 month pregnant woman, hit a dead easy grounder to short for what should have been an easy 6-3. BUT he tosses it to get the out at second instead and Barmes, running on contact, beat the throw and everyone was safe. That kind of stuff is BAD for a pitcher, worrying about his fielders not making plays behind him.
Speaking of fielding:
Brandon Barnes is REALLY awesome in center – not quiiite Michael Bourn or Andrew McCutchen, but a darn close third. He makes the easy plays AND the tough plays. Man I wish Bogu had hit better – Barnes in center and Bogu in right – what a combo.
Fernando Martinez is a lousy fielder – bad jumps and I mean BAD jumps. He doesn’t look like Clank, because he is thinner and runs faster, but Clank was actually better out there than Fernando. I don’t know if the Organization sees something I don’t, but I guess it is playing out the season. Oh yeah – and he looked like Pedro Cerrano up there trying to hit the curve. He wants to stayin the majors, you know what he’s gotta tell JoBu.
Justin Maxwell – by the way, has 105 strikeouts in 323 PA. He’s only hitting .233, but half his hits are for extra bases. Saturday night, Jerry Trupiano noted that Maxwell swings at all KINDS of junk out of the zone because he’s trying to hit a homer every swing. Looks that way all right.
Speaking of legends, Chad Qualls mopped up the 9th – he’s 34 freaking years old. Seems like yesterday he was a rookie for the pennant winning team – and of course he was 26 at the time. He was picked in the 2nd round of the 200 draft, but didn’t play until 01 – was an averagish starter for a few years until getting called up at the end of 04 – remember? He had one really bad game in relief, but then settled down and was a really big BIG part of the run to the WC victory last day of the season. Him and Brandon Backe. Too bad Phil Garner didn’t use Chad instead of Dan EFF Miceli…
Saint Looey tomorrow. Yes I’m gonna try to watch with Mama – will be weird, her and me rooting for different teams.
Things change and sometimes there isn’t one darn thing you can do about it except shrug and move on.