Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Keeping Things Interesting: April 14, 2009

Yesterday was another sad day for Major League Baseball, as two well-loved characters passed on. In Massachusetts, the AL Rookie of the Year from 1976, Mark Fidrych, was killed in an accident at home. By the time I was born in 1980, the Bird's career was pretty much over. But I have long read the stories of the Bird and his fantastic rookie season. It was one for the ages. He'll be missed.

In Washington, Philadelphia's long-time play-by-play announcer Harry Kalas passed away while preparing for the game. He had been the voice of the Phillies since 1971, and was well known to many outside Philadelphia with his work for NFL Films. As plenty others have said, at least he passed doing the thing that he loved. I never had much to connect me to the Philly sports scene, so I don't know much about Harry. But I do know that if I heard that Vin Scully had passed away in the Dodger Stadium booth or if longtime Lakers' broadcaster Chick Hearn had died only hours before a game or if something happened to Bob Uecker while preparing for a Brewers game, I'd at least feel happy that it was in a place that he loved. I imagine many in Philadelphia are feeling the same.

As for the action on the field, it was another big day in baseball. Of the six teams hosting their home openers today, four were able to secure the victory. The Pirates and Cubs both shut out their home opener opponents while the Dodgers and Rays both put down a thumping. The Nats, on the other hand, opened the home part of their schedule with their 7th straight loss to start the season while the Mets opened up the Citi Field era with a loss to the Padres.

In other games, the Rangers were able to find their offense again back at home, but it wasn't enough, as they lost to the O's 10-9. In Kansas City, the Royals were able to ride their young stars - Grienke and Soria - to another win, this time over the Indians. The Brewers and Reds, however, were unable to do the same. Cincinnati's Edinson Volquez gave up 6 runs in 5 innings while Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo gave up 7 in 5. Hitting batters with the bases loaded and serving up grand slams will do that to you. The Reds were able to keep the lead, and ended up beating the Brewers 7-6. The most interesting feat of the day, though, happened in Detroit. Facing the White Sox in the second inning, the Tigers' Zach Miner served up back-to-back home runs to Jermaine Dye and Paul Konerko. What made these two home runs so special, though, is that they were both the 300th home run of the player's career. Needless to say, this was the first time that two players reached a home run milestone in consecutive at-bats. The White Sox ended up winning the game, 10-6.

The schedule today is a little lighter than normal, as only 10 games are scheduled. The Mariners will host their home opener at Safeco Field this afternoon, as they take on the Anaheim Angels. It'll be the first time Ken Griffey Jr. has played in front of the Seattle fans in a Mariners uniform since 1999. I'm sure everyone up there is plenty excited. Carlos Silva will take on Shane Loux in the game. The Indians will try to win only their second game of the year in Kansas City, but they'll need a good performance from Carl Pavano to make that happen. The game in Arlington, between the Rangers and Orioles, promises to be another slugfest while the A's and Red Sox each hope to move a little closer to .500 when they face each other in Oakland.

The most interesting game of the day, though, has to be the matchup between the Florida Marlins andAtlanta Braves. The teams sit (surprisingly) tied atop the NL East (and Major League) standings with matching 5-1 records. It's also the only game of the day between two above-.500 teams. The Marlins will put youngster Chris Volstad on the mound against Atlanta's Javier Vazquez. Volstad is 1-0 after his 5 inning, 1-run performance last week, while Vazquez is 0-0 after a 3-run, 6 inning performance. The crowd at Turner Field should be in for a good game.

1 comment:

tHeMARksMiTh said...

What's "surprisingly" supposed to mean? I knew they'd be there. ;)