A feel-good hGH story: On Saturday, Bosox left fielder Daniel Nava became only the second player ever to hit a grand slam on the very first pitch he saw in the majors (it was thrown by the Phillies’ Joe Blanton). As noted during the national broadcast of the game, Nava is one of those feel-good stories that crop up here and there in baseball. Originally the team manager for his college baseball team, etc., etc., Nava was so small in high school (3’9″ and 27 pounds or some such), that he was put on hGH. He’s much bigger now.
Swell. Just swell. Give him credit, though; he belted that pitch.
For the name of the first player to g-slam his first pitch in The Bigs, see your correspondent’s Christmas Day ’09 trivia quiz.
A small measure of revenge: As recent All-Star game results and other metrics seem to indicate, the AL is superior to the NL (although that doesn’t always drive World Series’ outcomes). Thus, NL fans this past Sunday had a chance to celebrate a bit – or more accurately, five bits – of payback. June 13, 2010, will now be forever known as the day all five NL East teams beat their AL opponents on the road. Those results, as they would appear on scoreboards nationwide, were: PHI 5, BOS 3; WSH 9 [behind Stephen Strasburg], CLE 4; ATL 7, MIN 3; FLA 6, TB 1, and NYM 11, BAL 4.
Raaa-uuuuul! On the next to last June 12th I sent a text to a friend that read “Ibanez on pace for 162 RBI.” The Phillies left fielder was en fuego during the first half of ’09, knocking exactly in a run a game at the time of that text message. He made his first All-Star team last season as a result. A year later, Ibanez is struggling, albeit always professionally, always giving 110% and doing the little things that help win games. Sunday he risked a broken left wrist to make a terrific back-handed catch in the thin slice of foul territory in left field at Fenway while charging directly at the bleacher wall. When he homered in that game against Tim Wakefield, he seemed to be pulling out of two months worth of spinning his wheels. Counting Sunday and his previous five games, he had gone 9 for 23, raising his batting average from .229 to .247. By this morning that had inched up to .250.
Just in time for Father’s Day: Really determined shoppers on MLB.comcan now find the absolutely perfect Father’s Day gift – sort of – the MLB 2010 Draft Cleanup Adjustable Cap. This apparently washable, blue cap is a mere $22.99 and features the MLB logo and a red and white oval reading (are you ready?) “DRAFT 2010.” The problem here, of course, is that no one is actually a “fan” of the MLB draft…or any draft as such.
The Keystone Giants: Still very much in the NL West race, the Giants put a curiously Keystone pounding on the Orioles, 10-2, in an interleague game Monday night. Freddy Sanchez, who won a batting title with the Pirates, drove in four runs, and Pat Burrell, who won a World Series ring with the Phillies, went 2 for 3 with a homer. Burrell started his season with the Rays, of course, and barely managed to stay above the Mendoza Line with them; at San Francisco (through Monday) he was hitting .407. The long term bet here is still that AT&T Park will swallow up a lot more of Pat the Bat’s fly balls than aid in souvenir distribution to fans.
The three-game ’09 World Series re-match…between the Phillies and Yankees that began last night started as the mismatch that some might have predicted since the Yankees have been hot and the Phillies .333-cold for the past month. Sure enough, the Steinbrenners put five on the board before the Fightin’s even had a hit. But then, Philadelphia put together an inning against CC Sabathia, a pitcher they have hit in the past, and the margin was narrowed to two by mid-game. In the fifth, though, Mark Teixeira took advantage of the HO-gauge nature of the right field corner in New Bombertown, and the Yankees took a run back on what would have been an F9 in 85% of the parks MLB inhabits. The Phillies trailed by 6-3 with only nine outs left…then six…. New York scored two more on two hit batsmen, a walk, and an iffy hit, and people continued to scratch their heads at the transformation of the NL champs into the ’92 version of their club. Game one: NYY 8, PHI 3. Telling stat: Philadelphia has booked one win this season when trailing after eight innings.
And finally, a comment on the notion of “government”: Thirty-eight years after the fact, and after twelve years of inquiry, a British tribunal has found that the killing of fourteen civilians in Derry on January 10, 1972 – Bloody Sunday – was…well, a disjointed act of mass murder by members of the British army’s Parachute Regiment (although Lord Saville’s report didn’t quite put it that way). According to NPR News (June 15th), the panel spent US$300 million to determine officially what everybody knew the day it happened. The Guardian’s Henry McDonald and Owen Bowcott observed (June 15th) that the findings make Bloody Sunday the worst atrocity committed by the English army against civilians on British soil since 1819.
The British Prime Minister apologized. For the deaths.
Sources not clearly indicated above:
“American League: Sunday’s Results.” The Philadelphia Inquirer 14 June 2010: D4.
Campbell, Al. “High & Inside: On any given day….” The Philadelphia Inquirer 14 June 2010: D4.
“Cards sign Suppan, beat Seattle: In other games.” Philadelphia Daily News 15 June 2010: 58.
“MLB.com Shop.” mlb.com. 13 June 2010.
Murphy, David. “Technical Knuckout.” Philadelphia Daily News 14 June 2010: 86.
“Philadelphia at Boston.” Major League Baseball. Fox. WTXF, Philadelphia. 12 June 2010.
“Philadelphia at New York.” Major League Baseball. PHL17, Philadelphia. 15 June 2010.