Tagged: around the horn with dan weisman Ballgames Ballparks Baseball People I have met photo gallery

Hells Bells, strange day indeed in MLB April 27

Trevor Time returned to the MLB wars today. It was a sight straight out of Hells Bells.

Hoffman looked good on the mound. Even his fastball seemed to have a bit more zip than in the last few years. But the rest of it?

The audio accompaniment was a bit muted when he first entered the game. Bernie Brewer and the crowd appeared  confused as to how to react. The uniform looked out of place as did my fellow Rancho Santa Fe area resident Hoffman in the Brewtown flesh.

Hoffy got the job done, yielding nothing with a large lead. Maybe it will take a few outings to amp up the noise and the ERA. All in all, though, a good start for him. But if you’re talking saves 2009, I much prefer Heath Bell. He’s good, no doubt a Padres all-star along with Adrian Gonzalez.

The Brewers-Pirates game also featured another heaping helping of  strange. During an intentional walk attempt to Ryan Braun, ball four actually came right over the plate, a perfect strike. Braun hesitated, then turned to the umpire who rather sheepishly called the strike a ball. Where is QuesTek when you need it?

In other news of the scary strange, Barry Bonds returned to the Big Show for Giants-Dodgers, even holding an impromptu news conference before the game. He was attending some kind of event and very Bonds-like answered all questions with sneers, double entendres and lame attempts at sarcasm and humor.

Ah, good times.

Meanwhile, for the team that care forgot, the Padres, holding opposing runners to their appointed bases proved far too complicated a task.

The Rockies stole eight — count ’em, eight — bases in the first five innings as the game degenerated into a Rockies blowout. Dexter Fowler stole five bases by the 4th Inning and appeared to be on his way to an MLB record six, but come on, that would have been too rude for anybody not named Rickey Henderson..

Fowler’s thievery resulted from the cosmic combination of hurler Chris Young’s utter, almost psychotic, disdain for holding runners on base and catcher Nick Hundley’s apparent complete lack of throwing skill. Very ugly, just like the six inches of snow that fell before game time at Denver.

But, some things never change, Hallelujah. Despite going six innings of shutout ball, Barry Zito lost it in the 7th and kept intact his MLB-leading streak of six years without a complete game. Just how did this guy win the 2002 Cy Young award? Rather, who did he know, since Pedro Martinez should have won it.

Cue up the “X-Files” theme and good night, Gracie. Back at you again tomorrow.

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LOST: The curious case of Ruben Rivera

Yes, Virginia, Ruben Rivera does exist. He’s even playing in the Caribbean Series.

Just as in “Lost” the TV show goes back and forth in time long eough for you to get dizzy lost, the reappearance of Herr Rivera on televised baseball is amazing beyond even the hallowed shores of Somewhere Funky Mexico, oh yeah, Mexicali.

Once touted by the Yankees as the second coming of Mickey Mantle, later categorized by teammates as the greatest batting practice in modertn baseball, Rivera is to criss-crossed career as the Beveraly Hillbillies are to pig Latin classics.
But I digress.
Baseball is fast becoming a year-round sport. With the MLB Network and MLB.com, every game is on from practically anywhere anytime or will be soon.
This year the Caribbean (World) Series is on MLB TV. The World Baseball Classic is next month. Last year for the first time, a massive number of preseason games were televised. Just a few years ago, most eams might broadcast two or three games. This year, full runs of games will be televised, not to mention MLB.com’s package should your include bailout include $15, or more; much, much more.
So, there’s Rivera. Biunced out of MLB in 2002, going to Japan, Mexicali, Timbuktu, obscuritatas.
I wish I could tell you he did good. But it was same old same old as Rivera fouled off fastballs before strikiing out on the achilles curve.
The more things change, etc…
A tale of two Gonzales’s’s’s’s’s’
Adrian and Edgar already in mid-season form plaing for Mexico. Padres fans should expect more of the same this year. Adrian made a great defensve play and knocked in a two-out run. Edgar made a throwing error leading to the tying run.