Monday, June 12th, 2006
4:54 pm - Sunday in the Ballpark with Jane...  
Took a ride up to Pawtucket yesterday to watch the PawSox play Richmond with veejane. It was the first real nice day we've had in a while, although the breeze made it a little chilly where we were sitting in the shade. It seems like a lot of people were downright eager to get out into the sunlight, because when I got there about an hour early, the main parking lot was already full up. I had to park at the junior high across the street.

Vee got caught in traffic and missed most of the first inning, so I was sitting in the midst of a small group of empty seats, scoring the game when the woman sitting a couple of seats down the row asked "Are you a scout?" Now, the color guard had been a group of Boy Scouts and adult leaders, so all I could think of was that she had somehow confused my tan shirt with a scout leader's uniform, so I gave her a puzzled look, and said "no." She then said, "Oh, you're just scoring the game for fun?" and I finally got it. She'd thought I was a major league scout. Oh, the rumors I could've started.

I'd hoped to see ex-Dodger Hee-Seop Choi play. He's been stuck down in Pawtucket ever since the Red Sox pulled him out of Ned Colletti's trash can. He's been such a cause celebre over at Dodger Thoughts that I was looking forward to seeing him hit up close and in person. Unfortunately for my hopes, Richmond started a lefty, so the PawSox manager decided to go with right-handed Dustin Mohr instead of left-handed hitting Hee-Seop. For non-baseball folks, most hitters have better success hitting against pitchers of the opposite handedness. That's why switch-hitters were invented. In this case, though, the move didn't make much sense because Mohr was batting a robust .164. Choi could hardly have done worse than that. Still, the scoreboard reported that Mohr had walked nine times in his last six games, and he responded to the manager's vote of confidence by going 1-4. Hee-Seop finally did put in an appearance when he popped out of the dugout with the rest of the team at the end of the game to celebrate a PawSox victory.

I did get to see a lot of Canadian National Hero Adam Stern, who's only hitting .234, but is "wicked fast," as the lady down the row opined the first time he batted. He does run very well. He beat out a bunt for a hit and stole two bases. Apparently nobody's ever told him that speed is the last thing the Red Sox look for when they bring someone up.

Afterwards, Vee went home to plant tomatoes and stick sharp objects in her eye, while I picked up some Popeyes to go for my dinner.

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I got back home in time to witness a ninth inning rally by the Dodgers to beat Colorado. Rookie sensation Matt Kemp had two homers. Meanwhile, the Mets were beating the Diamondbacks like a rented python, 15-2. The upshot of this is that the Dodgers are finally alone in first place. Whoot!

Lots of speculation after the game on the roster moves coming up this week. There are two rosters that have to be considered. There is the 25-man major league roster, the current list of players on the major league club, and the 40 man-roster, which is the list of players with major league contracts who are eligible for the 25-man roster. Besides the 25 guys on the big club, the 40-man includes players on the 15-day disabled list (DL), and a few select minor leaguers. It does not include the rest of minor leaguers, nor any players on the 60-day DL.

Anyway, Jeff Kent comes off the 15-day DL tomorrow, which means Gagne will probably go back on it. Izturis is due back from the DL as well, but since he's been on the 60-day, it would necessitate not only sending someone down (probably Guzman), but also taking someone off the 40-man roster to open up a slot for him. That likely means Ricky Ledee will wind up moving from the 15-day to the 60-day DL (and off the 40-man). It's also being reported that heralded pitcher Chad Billingsly will likely be called up from Vegas, and he'll also need to be put on the 40-man, probably sending either Repko or Mueller to the 60-day. The only good thing about all the injuries is that if all these guys weren't hurt, the Dodgers would have a helluva a logjam of players to deal with. Meanwhile, the big question is which pitcher gets sent down/traded/released to open up a spot for Bills on the 25-man roster. You can almost hear the paper shuffling from here.

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The other thing of note from yesterday's major league games were three very bizarre plays.

The least bizarre had erstwhile Sox, now Royals, first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz catching a foul pop-up just as he ran into a rolled up tarp alongside the field in Kansas City. Normally they keep the tarps pushed right against the fence, but not this time. He fell over the thing, and vanished into an 18" gap between the tarp and the fence. The ump came over to have a look, and all you saw was a hand slowly come into sight gripping the ball to show he'd held on.

Next up was Nick Swisher's inside-the-park home run in Yankee Stadium, the result of a collision in the outfield between Johnny Damon and Melky Cabrera. They slammed into each other hard, with Damon taking Cabrera's mitt full in the face. Meanwhile the ball was rolling around the outfield as Swisher chugged around the bases.

Finally, there was the most bizarre triple play I've ever seen outside of a rec league, for which I'll just repost Bob Timmermann's account:

Lost amidst the excitement that any Tampa Bay-Kansas City game was the experience of watching the Royals turn an 8-1-6-5 triple play in the second inning.

David DeJesus caught a fly ball off the bat of Russell Branyan and threw home to try to get Aubrey Huff. The throw went over catcher Paul Bako and was backed up pitcher Scott Elarton, who threw to second, where shortstop Angel Berroa tagged out Rocco Baldelli trying to advance. Berroa then threw to third baseman Mark Teahen to appeal that Huff left early and umpire Bob Davidson, the man who loves to call people out on appeal plays (see Japan vs. USA in the World Baseball Classic), called out Huff for the triple play.


It was the sixth triple play in Royals franchise history, and the first triple play Tampa Bay has ever hit into.

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I have to mention here that I once played in a softball game in which my team turned not one, but two triple plays. I was involved in both, which were more conventional in nature (line drives caught with the runners going) than the play yesterday. It was the only time I ever played in a game where there was a triple play. Despite our fielding legerdemain, we lost the game 22-21 in extra innings.