Friday, April 08, 2005

THE SAN FRANCISCO TREAT



Juan Marichal vs. John Roseboro, exhibit "A" in the Greatest Baseball Rivalry of All Time (Vinny said so!)

Opening Day, SBC Park: Giants 4, Dodgers 2. Jeff Kent booed into the Bay by Giant fan. Despite some early offense-- like Cesar Izturis's first at-bat of the season dinger-- a throwing error from Giovanni Carrara and a fielding error by whipping boy du jour Jose Valentin lead to fourth loss of early lead by the Dodgers in a row (counting the weekend exhibition sweep by the Angels). Los Angeles Times sports writer Bill Plaschke is beside himself with glee. DePodesta is an red-faced idiot, he screams! The defense has more holes than a 10-year-old screen door, he shouts! The bats have gone back to sleep, he hollers! Plaschke publishes a column the next day that is one big "I told you so," full of assumptions, what-might-have-beens and the usual logical stumblings that manages to regurgitate yet again every tired theme he's harped on since that black day in late August last year when DePodesta dismantled a team Plaschke never liked in the first place.

Wednesday, game two: Jose Valentin responds by nearly batting for the cycle, coming up only a double short (and he was in the batter's box at the last out), but dishing out a huge three-run homer, part of a 10-4 stomping of the Hated Ones that was made even more sweet by the outstanding, yes, almost Cora-esque defense of one Jeff Kent, who was visibly tickled by his ability to give it back to Giant fan in a somewhat more significant way. The giddiness of the win was tempered only by the ineffectiveness of Yhency Brazoban, who gave up 3 runs and had two or three more ready to come in before Kent scooped up the final out, tossed it to first and stopped the bleeding.

Thursday, game three: All Jeff Weaver does is pitch eight innings of shut-out ball, and the Dodger bats sing sweet music again, leaving boisterous Giant fan with a lump in his/her throat and moist eyes that might only be dried by the Return of BalcoMan. Final: 6-0.

All that, and the Blue's first dramatic comeback win of the season tonight (they did it a mere 52 times last year) against Shawn Green and the retooled-with-actual-major-league-players Arizona Diamondbacks. Down 7-4, they mount an awe-inspiring ninth-inning surge, capped by Jose Valentin (!!), whose 2-out, 0-2, two-run homer in the top of the ninth brought the score to 8-7, where it would remain after solid outfield defense helped Yhency Brazoban redeem himself with a perfect ninth and snare the season's first save.

I'm going to bed very happy tonight, and ready for more tomorrow.

11 comments:

Jonas said...

Plaschke is an idiot. "Defense is what it is. Defense doesn't get hot. Defense doesn't slump." I take it he's never played a sport in his life with a comment like that.

Anonymous said...

You're gonna have to put up with it for the next six months. The best you can hope for is that the Dodgers stay in contention from now until October, which is doable given that, on paper, it doesn't look like anybody could run away with the NL West. Then the scribes really won't have anything to say because no one expects the Dodgers to run away with anything anyway.

Just in case you never saw or read this piece, you might find it kinda interesting...

http://slate.msn.com/id/2112657/

I do hope that, if Jeff Kent is going to play 1st more often, he and the coaches take some extra time to continue to work on his fielding. Last night, he fielded a ground ball, threw the ball low and tailing away from Cesar Itzuris, and I thought Cesar was going to get planted, or even worse, injured as he stretched awkwardly to field the ball with a runner bearing down on him. The key to whoever the Dodger put at 3rd-- Saenz, Valentin, a cardboard cutout of Ron Cey, Adrian's old chair from the clubhouse-- is Itzuris and his limitless range, and while I think playing beside a excellent fielder like Beltre helped him to have a Gold Glove year last year, he will be even more dazzling this year, if Kent doesn't get him killed because Kent is still learning on the job.

And I don't condone violence in baseball, but can I see a show of hands by those of you out there who would like to see Johnny Damon get plunked by a wayward Randy Johnson fastball? Only 5 games into the season, and I'm already tired of him.

You know, Juan Marichal only got suspended for 9 days for hitting John Roseboro in the head with a bat. Another thing I remember about this incident, and they often crop the picture so that you can't see them, but off to Koufax's left was lurking the on-deck hitter, Tito Fuentes, who fully intended to take a bat to Koufax before he was intercepted by the Dodger 1st baseman and his own teammates and the umpires.

I don't know that any incident in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry can match this one moment for sheer ferocity and murderous intent. Well, maybe Don Zimmer trying to... what was he trying to do to Pedro, gum him to death? I mean, didn't a Dodger fan shoot a Giant fan to death, or vice versa, in the Dodger Stadium parking lot a few years ago? East Coast hype, and selective memory that allows people to forget that nobody cared about the Sox and Yanks in the '60s and early '70s when either one or the other, and sometimes both teams, we're just lousy also-rans.

Andy

Thom McGregor said...

I miss movie talk. It's a cruel, cruel, LONG summer... for me, living with a baseball fanatic, and loving him, and trying to root for a team whose members I don't even recognize, and who took the players' names off the backs of the uniforms apparently just to mock me.

Thom McGregor said...

And why do I always have a picture of a trash can next to my comments?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Yeah, I don't know what's gonna turn my hair greyer faster, more tunnelvision from these sportswriters, or another 50 games like tonight's 11-inning war at the BOB. Kent at first, Valentin at third, they're still in a learning process and doing pretty well, and more than holding their own with the bat. After tonight's game, I officially like Jeff Kent-- clutch-plus in the top of the 11th. And Milton Bradley is just fine in my book too-- Vinny was almost as gleeful and excited as Bradley was when he robbed Glaus of that hit, and probably the game, with that spectacular diving catch-- "None of that blase big leaguer stuff for Milton-- it's like Little League out there for him!" And Vin meant it as a pure compliment. I agree with you about Izturis, but have you noticed a tendency of his in the first few games to throw the ball high to first-- not overthrow necessarily, but just give it a bit more loft than is required. Is he trying to make up for Hee Seop Choi's height, or does he just have a little settling in to do? And speaking of cardboard cut-outs, between the one of Johnny Damon that Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore posed with on the cover of Entertainment Weekly last week (and don't nobody try to tell me that wasn't a cardboard cutout), and the new book by Mr. Damon (every word from hius own pen, I'm sure) that I saw in Borders this afternoon, I've just about had it with him myself. I like the Farrelly Bros. and all, but this love affair with all things Red Sox, and the media's anointing of them in the off-season as America's working-class hero story, is gonna keep me far and away from "Fever Pitch." Maybe it's just Randy Johnson, but I find myself actually rooting for the Yankees this year (sorry, Melissa; sorry, Alison!)...

Murray said...

It's a sad day indeed, whenever the dark side of the force wins another soldier. The Emperor "George" now has Darth Vadar "Randy" doing his dirty work this year, and it appears that legions of Darth loyalist have followed him to the death star. Yes, it is a sad day indeed.

Anonymous said...

So as not to cause disharmony in the Cozzalio household, I will suspend my comments on baseball at this blogsite until September, when the games might mean something, or when proper post mortems might be in order. As always, Big D, you are welcome to join in the fray with me and Bill and Richard via the old-fashioned e-mail way during the course of the season.

That will leave me to talk about this summer's big blockbuster, no-brain movies, any number of which, I am told, I might be working on before they hit the big screen, with the exception of Movie #3, which I will go to with the lowest of expectations in the hope that I will be pleasantly surprised and entertained. Then again, the prospect of two and a half hours of deep slumber ain't the worst thing I can think of.

Virgil Hilts

Thom McGregor said...

Virgil-boy, you can blog baseball to your heart's content. It makes my hubby happy, and he sees you as some kind of mad genius when it comes to baseball. I just see you as a mad genius, period. So I couldn't live with myself if you stopped commenting on his b-ball. You know what I mean. Anyway, as you were. And I'm excited about movie #3 just because it's in my blood and I can't help it! Oh, and Ewan.

Thom McGregor said...

And I still don't understand about the trash can under my comments. Anyone?

blaaagh said...

Thom,
My sympathies are with you...as you know, though I love baseball, I don't love it with the blind fervor that both our spouses do, bless 'em. And as for the trash can you keep asking about, I never see it under your comments, so an uneducated guess would be that it's a quirk of your computer, invisible to others.
Bruce

Loxjet said...

JUST THIS ONCE, and then I PROMISE I won't do it for the rest of the season, I'll quote newly sober Homer Simpson, sitting in the stadium watching the 'Topes. In the background, a Scully soundalike says, "And now there's a beach ball on the field. And the bat boys are discussing which one of them's gonna go get it." Closeup of Homer who, with forlorn expression, says, "I never realized how boring this game is!"

Right, Patty?

(And you'll have to wait till September to take your shots at my sports obsession: Division I-AA college football. But on the bright side, to quote Robert Browning directly, Steven King's back in Room 8, God's in His Heaven, all's right with the world!)