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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Extra Innings

What a beautiful night for a ballgame. Not nearly as cold as last night. I arrived at the stadium in plenty of time to get the starting line-ups, which always makes me happy.

I was even happier when I heard Carlos Maldonado was catching. Unfortunately, I was never able to wave to him when he could see me, or call out "hi" when he could hear me.

And the faux Carlos (Rivero) was first base coach tonight. He doesn't yet know that when fans say, "Hi Carlos Rivero," he's supposed to wave or acknowledge us in some other way.
Carlos Rivero coaching 1B
Lots of progress on the new scoreboard:
Scoreboard in the 1st inning
Work on it continued during the game.
In the 6th inning. Work done for the day.
John Lannan started today's game and he pitched well enough that I voted for him as player of the game. He pitched 6 innings with only a HR against him (and that came in the 6th). Arneson pitched two innings, followed by Perry for two. Yes, that's right, we're at 10 innings now.  The score was tied 1-1. 

The game got ugly in the top of the 11th. Hassan Pena came in to pitch (making two Hassans in the game: Chief's pitcher and PawSox outfielder Alex Hassan). First batter singled. Second batter singled. Alex Hassan drew a base on balls. Okay, now the bases were loaded.Tony Thomas hit a single and was safe at first, but the first batter (Middlebrooks) was out at the plate. 

Wait. It gets worse. The next batter also drew a walk, which scored the go-ahead run. 

Enter Josh Wilkie, who struck out the Taco Bell K-Man ("We want a cha-loooooooooooooopa," the fans on the third base side chanted). The next hitter doubled, scoring three more runs.

Ugly enough? The next batter hit a single, scoring yet another run. 

At least the game ended at a reasonable hour.

The Bryce Harper Report:
2nd - 5
4th - 2-3
7th - 5*
9th - 4
11th - 6-4
He played right field tonight and did fine.
* For the second time tonight, the PawSox 3rd baseman snagged a really hard hit line drive from Harper. Harper let lose with an F-bomb that was heard even on the radio (according to someone who wandered over to 207 to chat with Maven).  

Harper is hitting hard. The past two nights, he's been the final out of the game. Casual fans and the media have unrealistic expectations of him. He's in Triple A to learn and grow as a player. He's here because he's not quite ready for the Nats. Give him a chance to do what he's supposed to do. 

The Corey Brown Report:
1st - 7
3rd - BB (he apparently missed a Hit & Run sign from the 3rd base coach during this at bat, so the man on base was tagged out at 2nd.)
6th - 4-3 (he swung on a 3-1 pitch. Someone told him "way to work a walk!"
8th - BB (the 4th ball was intentional)
11th - single
Corey played center tonight and did fine.

Harper, Brown and a third Chief conversing as
Wilkie warms up in the 11th
Carlos Maldonado Watch:
For some reason, I looked away from the flag at the end of the national anthem and saw Carlos crossing himself, plus the taps on the chest (Not being Catholic, I don't know what it means).
3rd inning - singled, but was forced out at 2nd when the next batter also singled.
5th - 5-3
8th - sac bunt, advancing the runner (he did this last night, too. He really knows how to bunt!)
10th - K - The Sox put the "no doubles" defense on against him. One of the strikes was protecting the plate so Hoffpauir could steal second.

It was fun to watch him in the top of the 10th checking signals with the manager in the dugout, then with the 3B coach and the pitcher. The phrase I heard this weekend was "Signals ricocheting all over the ballpark." A perfect description of what I witnessed.

Yuneski Maya was last night's player of the game (Sandee & I voted for him)
The jersey raffle was for Jeff "The Fraze" Frazier's throw back Thursday.
Management telling the cotton candy vendor "get loud."
An overheard observation that "It must be nice to be paid by the team that doesn't you." The Chicago White Sox are paying Mark Teahen's salary.
There are four players making a million dollars or more per season on the Chiefs right now: Harper, Teahen, Maya, and Lannan.
Middlebrook's home run in the 6th bounced off the batter's screen and back onto the field.
I saw a minivan driving on the railroad tracks behind the stadium. At least that's what it looked like. Maybe there's a service road back there running parallel to the tracks.
Cate & Jeff from Skaneateles were at the stadium tonight (Alex Hassan didn't play last night)
Cate received a text from her daughter, who was following the game on MiLB video broadcast, saying that the broadcasters were talking about her. She asked Cate, "How do they know about me?" Cate came down and asked me if I'd blogged about it. (Cate & Jeff knew I was going to blog. I don't ambush blog.)

It's kind of cool knowing people might actually be reading this.

I learned about the "no doubles" defense, courtesy Maven. The Sox used it twice tonight. The infield protects the baselines and the outfielders are practically against the fence. Very interesting to see.

I did some counting today. There are more home games in April and June than there are in May, July, August, and September combined. It begs the question: what drugs were the schedulers using when they top loaded the season in the snow capitol of the US? 

I heard an interesting explanation. Don't know if it's true, but here's what I was told tonight: There are more International League teams in the south, so when it comes to voting on the tentative schedule, the south always wins, and they want the early part of the season in the north. I wasn't able to get an in-depth explanation of what that means or how the process goes because I think the person telling me might have been talking through his hat.

Crazy Fan Man showed up in the 8th, and announced (while Corey Brown was at bat): "Three ball! Rubber! You were there!"

Maven declared Tyler Moore (T-Mo) a "pleasant surprise." Until yesterday, he led the league in HRs.

As Crazy Fan Man shouted in the 11th: "What else you gonna call? You weren't looking!"

Tomorrow's game is at noon. I won't be there.

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