Packing up and heading back to the old neighborhood. My new zip code is:
I’ll admit to being nervous about this series before it started, but after sweeping the Colorado Rockies’ “Championship Weekend” I can say: At this moment, I’d rather be a Diamondbacks fan than a Rockies fan.
I’d rather have our offense. Rather have our defense. Rather have our starting pitching, our bullpen and, yes, even rather have our shortstop. I’d rather have our record, our manager, our ballpark and our weather; and I’d rather have fans who may get a little intense at times but at least know that if you’re going to boo then you boo the players who have hurt your chances with their bat instead of those who have hurt your feelings with their words.
And I know we had our nosed rubbed in it all weekend (trophy on Friday, banner on Saturday, rings on Sunday) and that Colorado was thinking we were wishing we were them, but I’d rather have our six year old World Series Championship banner than their brand spanking new 2nd place one because this is a new season when your accomplishments of last year fade with the first pitch and everyone starts asking “But what have you done for me lately?”
Talk about your proverbial 1 step forward and 2 steps back. That’s how it feels sitting here staring at a 1-2 record after posting an Opening Day win. The best thing that could have happened today would have been if the weather system bearing down on the area had opened up before the 5th inning because it had the looks of being a very long day for the Snakes.
I didn’t get to watch the game too closely, but I tried to grab a few peeks while working, and it doesn’t appear I missed much. The day belonged to Reds starter Johnny Cueto who made his big league debut and stymied Diamondbacks hitters, taking a perfect game into the 6th inning before giving up a solo home run to Justin Upton and allowing only one baserunner while striking out 10 and walking none in 7 innings.
Doug Davis had a shaky start giving up three runs (two earned), four hits and six walks in 3.2 innings, but in the end it was close enough to pull out despite the lack of offense. Chris Young donned the Golden Sombrero by striking out with two on and two out in the top of the eighth inning and put an end to any rally hopes. Looks like he’s only human after all.
Newly acquired closer Francisco Cordero took the mound in the top of the ninth. Would he return the favor that Brandon Lyon gave the Reds yesterday and blow the save? All together now on the count of three (as in three up and three down). ONE, TWO, THREE – NO.
The game included one of the weirdest doubles I’ve ever seen when Jeff Keppinger hit a ball up the middle that bounced off reliever Brandon Medders’ back foot on his follow through and past a diving Mark Reynolds into left field. That was but another sign that most of the good fortune was with the Reds today.
Phewy. There just isn’t much to say when your team can only muster one hit though there is some consolation knowing that the rival Colorado Rockies dropped 2 out of 3 to the Cardinals to start the season. Also of note: Trevor Hoffman blew a save opportunity last night after surrendering four runs to the Astros in the ninth inning, and the Padres went on to lose 9-6.
Final Thoughts: Go back to START. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.
Lyon Walks Off With Loss
Oh so close the D-Backs came to starting the season 2-0. Dan Haren made his first start for Arizona and looked sharp. He ran into a little trouble in the 4th inning, but helped himself at the plate with a double, a run scored and an RBI.
Justin Upton got his first hit of the season and gave us a glimpse of what life would be like if he’d just make contact with the ball. I’d love to see him start hitting well enough to become the lead-off hitter. How fun would that be? Especially with a more mature and patient Chris Young following him in the batting order. Young went 1-2 with a double and 3 walks and scored 2 runs. Stephen Drew had a home run and a double. Eric Byrnes seems to still be pressing too hard at the plate, something I thought he did in the playoff series against the Rockies.
It’s weird. It’s like most of the players picked up right where they left off after losing to the Rockies last October.
The Diamondbacks had the bases loaded with 2 out in the top of the ninth but failed to plate a run. Timely hitting for the most part still seems to be escaping this team. Still, it was good enough to win the game, but Brandon Lyon couldn’t close the deal tonight. Lyon came into the game in the bottom of the 9th with a 5-3 lead but gave up hits to Brandon Phillips and Adam Dunn before surrendering a walk off 3-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion on a 1-2 pitch.
Conor Jackson left the game early and was taken to the hospital with shortness of breath. He has been diagnosed with possible pneumonia.
Interesting game note: Jose Valverde blew a save the second game of the season last year, too. (h/t AZ Snakepit)
Final Thoughts: Okay, it’s only one game, but lets not make a habit of it.
As the President was booed quite loudly before throwing out the first pitch Sunday night, one of the non-baseball message boards I frequent has been on fire for the past three days about it. There’s the side who says Free Speech allows everyone to protest however and wherever they want. Then there’s the side who says it’s disrespectful to boo the President no matter what you think of him. It’s like watching one of those American league games that never end – people just can’t seem to shut up about it.
I tend to think that booing anyone – whether it’s a player, an umpire or the President of the United States – is impolite and classless, but I stop short of calling it treason.
After watching baseball dragged into the Halls of Congress, where those elected to govern are supposed to stop acting like politicians and start governing, I have so far this election season been called a jerk (because I’m a baseball fan and guilty by association) and “brainwashed”. And April has just started. But here is a message for all the non-baseball fans that have succeeded in making Sunday night’s game a political issue while they argue endlessly that politics and baseball don’t belong together:
The first pitch is but one small inconsequential part of
the opening ceremonies that people just want to see done with so the game can
start – much like the National Anthem. Yes, that’s right, patriots, no one looks forward to the first pitch or National Anthem as much as the game itself. So sue us. The bigger story is that it was a
perfectly magical game in a beautiful new park with an almost mythical ending.
It was the type of game baseball lovers dream of being there to see. For people who
could care less about baseball to spoil the memory of a game like that for a
fan is a hard thing to do, but congratulations, you’ve succeeded in doing that for this one.
In case you missed this story linked from Nick Piecoro’s blog, here is a great article about the Tony Gwynn, Jr./Trevor Hoffman at bat last year.
A win! That’s good. Same team. Different
year. Mark Reynolds, who was supposed to have worked on
cutting down his strikeouts was disappointing. Watch closely.
The corner positions were supposed to not be a problem this
year. Too many solo homers. How much money is TOO MUCH for
I know, I know. The season already started half a week ago and half a
world away, but for me it started TONIGHT with a terrific game in a
terrific brand new ballpark in the capital of the good old US of A. If
tonight’s game is any indication then it’s going to be a fine season.
Time to stop talking (ahem) and PLAY BALL! (CAUTION: Token Partisan Posting Ahead)
I’m watching the NCAA tournament tonight in Phoenix, and my
local DirecTV CBS station is not broadcasting in HD. I am getting the UCLA game
in standard definition. Fortunately, I have the DTV March Madness package and
can get the game in HD there. Go figure.
What I want to watch is the Arizona/WVa game. The HD telecast is available on the
local CBS HD station IF you have an off-air antenna or cable. But I don’t. I can get it on the local SDTV CBS station on DTV,
but the HD telecast is blacked out on my DTV March Madness package. If I pay $35
a day to watch college basketball, why can’t I watch the games I want?
I can’t wait for MLB Extra Innings to come along this year and finish robbing me blind.
Last Sunday, we made our way back up to Surprise for a game
between the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago Cubs. As expected, it was very
crowded what with it being a Sunday and of course the Cubs draw everywhere they
Surprise Stadium, home of the Rangers and Royals, is
probably my favorite of all the Cactus League stadiums. If you have infield
tickets on the Rangers side (first base) you’ll be in the shade for pretty
much the entire game. As far as I know, it’s
the only venue to offer free parking for Cactus League games so the $22.00
ticket becomes quite attractive compared to the rest of the venues.
On our first visit February 29, we spent $70.00 before the
game even began (2 tickets, 2 beers, 2 hot dogs and a bag of peanuts) so this
weekend we decided to check out the Home Run Party Deck. The party deck is
located in the outfield. Tickets are $35.00 and include admission to the game,
2 drink vouchers and an all you can eat buffet. SWEET! This definitely sounded
like a better deal.
The Party Deck is not the place to go, however, if you want
to watch the
game. If you get there early and score one of the seats along the
front row, the view is very good, but the trade-off is that you will be in
direct sunlight all day. From our table, which was in the second row under the
tent, there was nothing to watch except the Suns-Spurs game on the big screen
TV. The baseball game was such a laffer that everyone was more interested in
the basketball game anyway. There was a band playing prior to the game, and
played briefly between innings starting at about the end of the 6th
inning after they had caught up on their sleep from the night before. I was
disappointed that the buffet didn’t include hot dogs but instead consisted of
some semblance of Mexican fare. I’m not sure if it’s the same every Sunday or what
they do on the weekdays when I have seen the Party Deck extremely less crowded.
Now, here was the most pleasant surprise about the Party
Sunday, they bring a baseball player up for about an hour to pose
for photos and sign autographs. Yesterday, it was former 2nd
baseman Cookie Rojas. Fergie Jenkins will be the guest on March 16. On March 23 it
will be Rollie Fingers. That’s kind of a nice way to meet some former ballplayers,
and you don’t have to stay in the tent. You can walk around to other areas of
the ballpark. Also, here’s another little secret we discovered: you can upgrade
your game ticket to the Party Deck ticket for $10.00. I’m not sure if that
includes lawn tickets or not, but if you have $22.00 seats you can get into the
party tent for an extra $10.00. If you buy them ahead of time at the box office
they are $35.00.