Mar 2, 2011, 6:03 PM EST
That’s Hideki Matsui taking strike two on what turned out to be a strikeout in the fifth inning. In spite of this — and in spite of him grounding into a double play with the bases loaded in the first — I still liked Hideki Matsui’s performance and I would like to have a player like Hideki Matsui on my team. In other news:
- As soon as the game got going the following public service announcement came over the PA system: “Fans, the Oakland A’s say that a winner always uses a designated driver. Keep our roads safe …” Between today’s Coco Crisp news and this week’s Charlie Sheenian redefinition of what constitutes “winning,” the A’s probably need to change that announcement.
- Justin Masterson got the start for the Indians. I’m not a pitching mechanics expert, but watching him throw makes my shoulder hurt. It’s like his arm goes slack and then snaps back into tension before he pitches. Just, ow.
- A’s pitcher Bobby Cramer, on the other hand, was pretty sweet to watch. He pitched two innings giving up one hit and no runs and striking out a guy. He doesn’t seem poised to be anything approaching an important part of the A’s staff this year, but given how tortured a path he’s taken in his career — time off, Tommy John surgery and all of that kind of thing — it’s cool to see him pitch well.
- The A’s fans here in Phoenix are easily the sassiest I’ve encountered this spring. They taunted the Indians. They taunted other fans who couldn’t catch foul balls. They yelled at umps making fair/foul calls way the hell on the other side of the ballpark from them. My kind of people!
- Favorite bits of chatter: “C’mon, strike him out.” Which, amazingly and quite rudely, the A’s pitcher refused to do. I also liked it when a young couple stood up to get their picture taken with the field in the background. An old guy right below the press box yelled “now take one of ‘em swappin’ spit!”
- An Athletics employee handed out lapel pins to the assembled sporting press during the game. Here’s mine. I don’t wear jackets with lapels very often, but it was a nice gesture. Perhaps I’ll pin it to my fedora, right next to the little card that says “press.”
All in all this game was a major snoozer. I think the parade of anonymous players after the third inning is starting to get to me. But that’s OK because — in keeping with my little Metafandom riff from a couple of weeks ago — a lot of what we’re here for isn’t the actual baseball game itself. Rather, it’s the bright mornings, the stretching, the crack of the bat in BP and the guys shagging flies and taking infield. You know, the general vibe of it all.
And speaking of vibe, my absolute most favoritest thing to happen in spring training so far just happened as I was typing this up: the seventh inning stretch began and two of the Japanese reporters next to me here in the auxiliary press box sang along with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Baseball: it’s faaaaantastic.
- Francisco Rodriguez re-signs with the Brewers 8
- If addiction is an illness — and it is — Josh Hamilton shouldn’t be suspended 255
- Pirates open to massive extension for Andrew McCutchen 16
- Report: Josh Hamilton had a relapse this offseason that “involved at least cocaine” 85
- Yankees don’t plan on having to pay A-Rod’s $30 million in home run milestone bonuses 49
- San Francisco — and all of California — will consider a smokeless tobacco ban that includes MLB parks 130
- Rob Manfred says a return to a 154-game season could happen one day 66
- Report: The Yankees were “fuming” at how A-Rod handled his early arrival to spring training 113
- If addiction is an illness — and it is — Josh Hamilton shouldn’t be suspended (255)
- San Francisco — and all of California — will consider a smokeless tobacco ban that includes MLB parks (130)
- Report: The Yankees were “fuming” at how A-Rod handled his early arrival to spring training (113)
- Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada reportedly signs with the Red Sox for $31.5 million, plus $31.5 million in penalties (106)
- Gregg Zaun says young players should be physically abused and hazed by veterans. So they can learn respect. (105)