Category: Baseball

Three games in two days, the third being perfect

I would be remiss to fail to write about this: On Sunday, I personally witnessed the 19th perfect game ever pitched in the 135 years of Major League Baseball history. It was phenomenal.

I was one of about 12,000 people who were privileged to be there when Dallas Braden, starting pitcher for the Oakland A’s, faced 27 Tampa Bay Rays and retired them all in succession, while the A’s offense delivered more than enough to win. (What a way to rebut the total lack of respect he got from Alex “A-Fraud” Rodriguez in just the last couple weeks.)

This after seeing the A’s win on Saturday, and then riding with Scott and Chris to Sacramento, where we saw the A’s AAA affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats, absolutely demolish the Colorado Sky Sox, 16-5. (And that following an awesome Crisis Hopkins show Friday night.)

What a weekend.

ornamental divider

More about the perfect game: I didn’t notice that Braden was pitching a no-hitter (much less a perfect game) until the friendly fellow A’s fan next to me mentioned it in the 6th. I was marginally annoyed that he would fly in the face of superstition so boldly (you don’t mention the no-hitter before it’s over!) but it did color my experience of the next three innings.

Ben Sheets’ good luck charm?

Ben Sheets in 2001 and 2010 If I were superstitious, I’d think I was good luck for Ben Sheets — at least when he’s new to a Major League Baseball franchise.

I attended his first win in an Oakland A’s uniform tonight — a relatively tidy 6-2 defeat of the sad, sad Baltimore Orioles.

What I had completely forgotten until now was that, just less than 9 years ago, I was at the game in which he got his first win as a Milwaukee Brewer (and, incidentally, in his major league career).

The A’s and the Brewers are the only major league teams for whom Sheets has played. A bit of a strange coincidence, nothing more. Something to remark upon that still seems just shy of remarkable.

Geoff Jenkins also hit three home runs in that game in Milwaukee on April 28, 2001, which also marked the first time I went to Miller Park (in its inaugural season). I still have the cap I bought that day. It’s pretty nasty by now, though.

Baseball is supposed to be fun

Today was truly the most depressing day (and night) of being a baseball fan I have ever experienced.

When I made my customary lazy, relaxed visit to to check out the game stories this morning, I was shocked and saddened to find out that a 22-year-old guy (whose last significant public experience was to shut out my favorite AL team for 6 innings last night) died in a car accident, from which the driver at fault tried to run away. Then I learned some dude in Anaheim got killed in a fight at Angel Stadium opening day after getting punched in the back of the head and falling onto concrete steps. And tonight, after a Giant pitched a ball to the Brewers’ Mike Cameron, Cameron hit it directly back at the pitcher’s head, striking it and making it bleed profusely. Apparently, the Giants’ player is okay. [2021 update: He’s better than okay!]

All this during the first week of the season.

Baseball is supposed to be fun — an escape from everyday life. But once in a while, like anything else we humans do (whether pointlessly or not), it reminds us that we shouldn’t take life for granted. We shouldn’t assume the next week, the next day, or even the next moment are going to come. It didn’t for Nick Adenhart. It won’t for Brian Powers. Joe Martinez, thankfully, gets another shot.

And now I will go to the A’s home opener at the Oakland/Alameda County Coliseum on Friday with far different emotions than I would have expected just 24 hours ago.

Sure, I’ll get caught up in the game, and I’ll enjoy myself. But I won’t be able to avoid heavy thoughts before that first pitch.

A’s Crosby no “comeback” candidate

Despite Oakland A’s third baseman Eric Chavez’s attempt to support his teammate, “come back” and “have a great year” do NOT belong in the same sentence when it comes to Bobby Crosby.

Other than hitting 22 homers in his Rookie of the Year season, Crosby has never put up numbers anything better than pedestrian. So how can he “come back” if he basically hasn’t done anything?

Assuming he stays on the active roster, he’ll continue to hear the awesome derisive cheer my friend Nick W. has honed at a couple of dozen games during the last season or two.

Of course, Chavvy has every reason to be optimistic about his teammate’s chances of having a good year, because he himself is due for a big year. Both of these guys have been injured multiple times.

But, hey — these guys are on my adoptive home team, the A’s. I want them to do well. I just don’t think the chances are that great.

Yes, I am writing about baseball. Spring training has started. My World Baseball Classic semi-final and final ticket strips (to be held in Los Angeles in March) were delivered to my apartment today. And 27 A’s games (to which I have a ticket) aren’t far behind.

As many times as I’ve considered stopping following pro sports, I haven’t and probably won’t anytime soon. Going to baseball games relaxes me, and sports serves as one of the great social lubricants of our time. So – take me out to the ballgame. Take me out with the crowd. And so on.

I also sent in some money and “joined” Uni Watch today. Yes, I’m a dork.

[This is another in my new and, I hope, long-lived series of “if it rates a comment on another site, then it surely rates a blog entry” posts.]

Important ALCS on TBS question

Why does Buck Martinez sound like a bicycle horn?

The Brewers are in the playoffs!

Nothing profound to say about it, but my hometown baseball team, the Milwaukee Brewers, are in the playoffs for the first time since I was seven years old! They’ve been so close before, but they finally did it! Awesome.

a big day

I just put up a ton of photos on Flickr. It’s less bandwidth-heavy than hosting all of my photos on this site, certainly easier to upload, and probably easier to navigate. If the tools are there, why not use them?

I’m posting this at 5 am. Haven’t gone to sleep yet. But I have a big day today—I am going to Oakland Fan Fest at the Coliseum from 10 am to 4 pm and then going to see Of Montreal at Bottom of the Hill later tonight.

recent photos

This guy is doing amazing work: Joshua Micah Marshall’s Talking Points Memo.

Cheesy but good: Visualize winning.

Later in this post: some photos. They’re nice. See them by following this link:

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