Rare dilemma: Philadelphia fans had a most rare dilemma on their hands in the middle of the evening this past Saturday. Miss part of the first game of the Flyers-Blackhawks Stanley Cup match-up, or miss part of what turned out to be the 20th perfect game in Major League history, Roy Halladay’s eleven-strikeout no-no-no of the Florida Fish. The guess is here that the various puck-head sports bars switched to Halladay’s game for at least the ninth inning, but who knows with hockey fans? For my own self, I was stuck at a “mandatory” party on Boat House Row celebrating the high school graduation of the son of the (then) maid of honor at my wedding. Thank goodness all the kids present have parents who pay for internet access on their cell phones. As per the game’s replay on CSN here in Philly, Halladay was brilliant. All his pitches moved; all were in the right spots, and all those who needed to make tough plays behind him – Shane Victorino, Wilson Valdez, and Juan Castro (twice) – did.
Following his gem, Halladay gave a great deal of credit to his catcher, Carlos Ruiz. The pitcher shook off only one sign from the Phillies backstop.
It was bound to happen: We’ve all seen those adolescent celebrations at home plate when a player hits a walk-off homer. The drill usually goes as follows: the hero approaches home (and his team-mob), gleefully tosses aside his helmet, and/or jumps into the air before landing on home plate. Said team-mob then playfully pretends to beat him up. Call it Millionaire-Noogies if you will. Well, all that may come to a screeching halt very soon. After his game-winning grand slam against the Mariners late Saturday in Anaheim, Angels first sacker Kendry Morales leapt into the traditionally delirious crowd of teammates at home, landed awkwardly…and broke his lower left leg.
Oops. Morales, his .290 batting average and his 39 RBI will spend at least fifteen days (read, thirty or more) on the disabled list. Not surprisingly, Angels manager Mike Scioscia immediately banned such home plate nonsense for the Halos for the foreseeable future. Sunday, when Howie Kendrick homered to beat Seattle again, he had a clear path to the fourth base. “Fortunately,” said Scioscia, “we got through this celebration unscathed.” We’re not sure who should fine whom here for lack of foresight, but fining Bud Selig seems like a good idea just about every day of the week.
Too hard to resist: Citing a report by Bill Ladson of MLB.com, D. J. Short of NBCSports.com reported Memorial Day that Stephen Strasburg, the most widely heralded rookie-to-be since Ken Griffey, Jr., will make his major league debut June 8th in the nation’s capital. Sadly, Uncle Bud faces a truth in advertising problem here that could lead to another fine…perhaps even a class action lawsuit by ticket holders. This is supposed to be a major league debut, but the Nats’ opponent that night will be the Pittsburgh Pirates.
How non-competitive have the Bucs become? Two stats relative to one player say it all: Their highest paid player this season is second baseman Aki Iwamura, a former member of the ’08 AL champion Rays; he makes $4.85 million, an amount Alex Rodriguez is thought to have in loose change on top of his dresser. Worse, however, Iwamura is hitting .173 and has been benched as an everyday player.
Semi-impossible quiz question with lots of clues: Last month Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay became the first pitchers in quite a while to throw two perfect games in a calendar month. In which year and month did that last happen?
The names of those other two flawless pitchers and their teams should help some: John Montgomery Ward of the Providence Grays and John Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs (the franchise that became the Phillies, by the way). They beat Buffalo and Cleveland, respectively.
Need a few more clues? In the year Ward and Richmond achieved perfection, silent film master Mack Sennett and Irish playwright Sean O’Casey were born. At the time, there were about 50,000 telephones in the United States, a number now easily found in any mid-sized college dorm.
Yes…I know you all have it now: 1880. The month was June. Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show was still three years off in the future.
Sources not clearly indicated above:
Associated Press. “Morales breaks leg celebrating his slam.” The Philadelphia Inquirer 30 May 2010: D5.
Gonzalez, Alden. “Halladay deflects much of credit to catcher.” mlb.com. 30 May 2010.
“History in the ____’s [nope, you won’t get the answer here].” 1930census.com. 1 June 2010.
“Kendrick’s 2 HRs lift Angels to 9-7 win over M’s” cnn.com. 31 May 2010.
McKee, Don. “High & Inside: A plethora of perfectos” and “Noteworthy.” The Philadelphia Inquirer 1 June 2010: D6.
“Special Events for the Year ____ [or here].” vaxxine.com. 1 June 2010.