Mar 2, 2011, 6:03 PM EDT
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.
- Lucas Duda’s last eight hits have been home runs 7
- Report: Larry Lucchino stepping down as president and CEO of the Red Sox 22
- Clayton Kershaw blanks the Angels over eight innings, runs consecutive scoreless innings streak to 37 13
- Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout make MLB history in Saturday’s matchup 12
- Matt Williams on Bryce Harper’s ejection: “He needs to stay in the baseball game” 38
- UPDATE: C.J. Wilson needs elbow surgery and will likely miss the rest of the season 12
- Settling the Score: Friday’s results 43
- The benches cleared in Friday’s Giants-Rangers game 186
- The benches cleared in Friday’s Giants-Rangers game (187)
- Blue Jays acquire David Price from the Tigers (112)
- Rangers land ace left-hander Cole Hamels from Phillies (106)
- Royals make another big move, get Ben Zobrist from A’s (95)
- Report: Rockies trade Troy Tulowitzki to Blue Jays for Jose Reyes and prospects (90)