All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Desperately Seeking Outfielders

Over at, someone wondered why Jason Ellison is on the team. One David Short replied:

Bubba Crosby and Dwayne Wise got hurt at the wrong time?

With injuries to Freel and Hamilton and Wise that left the reds with Junior, Dunn and Hopper as outfielders on the major league roster. While they became "versatile" with Freel, the roster was clogged because neither Hatteberg or Conine or either of the catchers could really play in the outfield. I guess they could have put Keppinger or Conine out there, but that still really leaves the roster with a single centerfielder, Hopper.

Either Crosby or Wise would have been pretty obvious fits. They can take 50 plate appearances and not bury you. They can cover centerfield. They're old enough that you're not hurting their development by having them sit on the bench every day. Unfortunately for them, they were hurt.

And they weren't the only ones. When this season started, Cincinnati had more outfielders than they knew what to do with. But injuries have been very cruel to the Reds outfield. Chris Denorfia had Tommy John surgery, and then was traded to the A's. Jerry Gil also had TJ surgery, and missed the entire season. And of course, Bubba missed all but two weeks of the season with shoulder tendinitis. Dewayne Wise has been on the DL three times this season for the same problem (hamstring), and is likely out for the rest of the year now. Chris Dickerson left the game Tuesday with rib cage pain, a problem he's struggled with before. At the big club, Griffey has had an odd assortment of ailments, Freel has missed most of the season with a concussion, then a knee injury, and Hamilton has spent large chunks of time on the DL with stomach and wrist problems.

So I'm not terribly surprised that the Reds have acquired yet another outfielder: Buck Coats. He's not very good on defense (yet another converted infielder), and he's another lefty bat. But given how short the Reds system is on outfielders at the moment, I can understand why they want him. The other day, the Bats had an all-infielder outfield (Votto, Machado, and Bannon).

posted by BubbaFan, 5:50 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Real Men Wear Pink

pink jersey

On Tuesday, August 28, the Louisville Bats wore special pink jerseys in support of the fight against breast cancer. The jerseys have all been signed, and are now up for auction. The proceeds will be donated to the Louisville chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The Bats racked up an 8-0 lead by the 3rd inning, but the Toledo Mudhens chipped their way back into it. In the end, the Bats hung on for 9-8 win.

Paul Janish had kind of a rough night, going 0 for 5.

Paul Janish

Out, out, pink spot. It's Marcus McBeth, striking 'em out.


Joey Votto, International League Rookie of the Year, and post-season All-Star first baseman. He went 1 for 3.

Joey Votto

Aaron Herr, International League utility player of the year. He's also on the post-season All-Star team, garnering votes at both 2B and 3B.

Aaron Herr

Mark Bellhorn has been hot lately. He went 2 for 3, including a monster homerun. He also had a walk. Though Bellhorn's batting average is nothing to write home about, his OPS is on the right side of .800. Second only to Votto, according to the announcers.

Mark Bellhorn

Even Buddy Bat wore a pink jersey:

Buddy Bat

Earlier today, Mark Bellhorn's jersey had the highest bid, at $160. But Joey Votto's has surged ahead, and is at $210. I have a feeling those Red Sox fans are going to step up, though. Bellhorn's stuff has brought in the most money in all the Bats charity auctions so far this year.

The auction ends at midnight, September 3.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:50 PM | link | 2 comments |

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bad Moose Arising

I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin.
I see bad times today.

Well, it looks like it's Bad Moose tonight. I don't know what his problem is, but he's been awful lately. Some kind of injury? Just getting old? I don't know, but Moose vs. Verlander seemed like a mismatch going in, and not in our favor.

Sigh. It's depressing, but not surprising. I've thought all year that the Yankees' pitching wasn't good enough, especially when compared to Boston's pitching.

Speaking of pitching...Phil Hughes had a rough start yesterday, giving up five runs on three homers. I'm not really surprised. He's only 21, and he was supposed to be Triple-A still. As with most of the kids the Yanks have called up in recent years, he got the call mostly out of desperation.

Leiter said that Hughes may be great one day, but he doesn't have enough pitches right now for the majors. He's got two pitches he can rely on, and according to Leiter, you need at least three. That way, even if one isn't working (which happens, even with the best), you aren't too predictable. In the minors, you can get away with one or two good pitches, but not in the big leagues.

(It reminded me of what some said about the Reds' phenom, Homer Bailey. He has basically 1-1/2 pitches, and that's not enough, at least once they start scouting him.)

Interesting how Joba Chamberlain has kind of eclipsed Hughes. Joba's stuff is just blowing people away.

Speaking of eclipses...there is a full lunar eclipse tonight. It will be best viewed in the south and western parts of the country. In Boston, the moon will set before the height of the eclipse. New York City will be able to see it, just before dawn, though the show will be cut short by sunrise.

But fear not, if you miss this one, there's another full lunar eclipse next February. Northeasterners will have a prime time view, as it will start at around 8pm and reach its height around 10pm Eastern Standard Time.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:50 PM | link | 2 comments |

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Tale of Two Cities

The Reds are in 4th place in their division, with basically no chance at the wild card. The Yankees are in second place in theirs, and still in the wild card race. But Cincinnati is filled with improbable hope, while Yankees fans are in deep despair.

Part of it, of course, is "what have you done for me lately" syndrome. The Reds are on a hell of a roll, the Yankees have recently fallen off one. It's a lot easier to be optimistic when your team is winning, and the Reds are. They've got a 6-game winning streak, amazingly.

Only a little while ago, the Yanks were only four games back. Now, having lost 2 of 3 to the Tiggers, while Boston beat Chicago like a red-headed stepchild, they are 7.5 games back. Ouch.

Cincinnati, OTOH, was 14 games back not too long ago, and is now "only" 6.5 games back. Yes, that's right: they are closer to first place in the division than the Yanks are.

And of course, Yankee fans have far higher expectations. Anything less than a World Series championship is a disappointment, and missing the post-season is unthinkable. Reds fans have a proud and storied franchise, but they've endured years of losing. At this point, they'd be happy to have a winning season, and ecstatic at making the post-season.

At this point, it's looking like a long shot for either team to make the playoffs. When the Yankees were making up ground on the Sox, they were playing weak teams while the Sox were playing tougher ones. Now it's reversed. The Yanks have had some tough opponents, while the Sox had some patsies. You can never rule the Yanks out, especially with so many games against Boston still to play, but it's not looking good.

The Reds are playing in a weak division, and they've played well since Mackanin took over, but they're in a deep hole. Logically, it's silly to think of making a run. If they make it, it would be among the most improbable come from behind surges ever. But...many fans are now dreaming of making a run, and I think the Reds are, too. There's an optimism in the air that hasn't been there since spring training. It's insane. It's probably just setting everyone up for heartbreak. But if they make, what a comeback it would be.

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posted by BubbaFan, 8:13 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Free Baseball!

No, I'm not talking about last night's Yankees game, which went 11 innings after a four-hour rain delay. Tomorrow, Major League Baseball is celebrating five years of MLB.TV by offering a free game: the Yankees-Tigers finale.

It was five years ago this Sunday that the Next Big Thing in baseball consumption was introduced, and once again it was the national pastime that paved the way for the technology and reshaped the average fan's life. On Aug. 26, 2002, exactly 63 years after that first televised Major League game, the Yankees withstood an Alex Rodriguez homer and beat Kenny Rogers and the Rangers, 10-3, at Yankee Stadium. The YES Network's full broadcast was streamed as a live Webcast for free exclusively at, meeting immediate excitement, probably slowing worker productivity a bit and most definitely leading to the ultimate curtain call.

To commemorate that historic first and the five years of technology excitement that followed, will provide a free live Webcast of Sunday's series finale between the Yankees and Tigers from Comerica Park in Detroit.

I did not stay up for last night's game. I went to bed not long after it started. I couldn't believe they were actually trying to play the game. Apparently, the umpiring crew had gotten in trouble before for calling a game too soon, so they went they other way this time. Gotta give those Tiggers fans credit. Reportedly, most of them stayed until the end of the game. Which was at 3:30am.

posted by BubbaFan, 4:30 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, August 24, 2007

The world's most expensive baseball glove

Rawlings has made what they claim is the world's best and most expensive baseball glove: the Primo. It's made of three (not just two) layers of Italian leather, and costs $400.

Actually, I'm kind of surprised it's that cheap. Er, not that I'll be buying one anytime soon, but given how expensive Italian leather shoes and handbags can be, $400 for the world's most expensive baseball glove seems like a bargain.

(Compare that price to the cost of these luxury lederhosen. A pair with diamond buttons went for $114,000.)

Anyway, Rawlings is having trouble selling the glove, because ball players are so attached to their gloves, it's hard to get them to switch. And kids buy the gloves their heroes use, so unless it catches on with big leaguers, it won't catch on with Little Leaguers.

The article includes some amusing stories about players and their gloves.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:52 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In the Pink

The Louisville Bats will be wearing pink jerseys on August 28. After the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off online to raise money for breast cancer research.

Too bad Bubba's on the DL. I bet he'd be really cute in pink. I'd bid on his jersey.

Great Reds game tonight. A 12-inning battle, won by Adam Dunn's walkoff homer. That's three wins in a row against the Braves. The Reds are playing okay since Mackanin took over. Unfortunately, I don't think they can climb out of the deep hole they're in, even in their weak division.

The Yankees were off today. YES reran the July 1, 2004 Boston-NY game. The one where Jeter went head first into the stands. I ended up watching part of it. What a fun game. When not on the field, Bubba was going nuts in the dugout, cheering his teammates on.

Bubba runs onto the field to celebrate the victory...

posted by BubbaFan, 11:30 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Better living through no chemistry

Well, the Angels once again lived up to their billing as the Yankees' nemesis. And Melky and Abreu had another adventure in the outfield.

The day before, the winning hit dropped in between them. The ball was catchable, but neither got it, perhaps because they were afraid of colliding with each other.

When a similar hit came their way yesterday, they kind of overcompensated. Both called it, both went after it, neither gave way. There was a collision, though not a bad one. Melky caught it, and Abreu ended up hitting him in the face with his glove. Then Melky turned around to give Abreu the stink eye before throwing the ball back in. (Um, hello? Runners tagging up, Melk-man. You can glare at Bobby later.)

I'm not sure what happened there. Melky was the center fielder; he was in charge of the outfield. Abreu should have given way. He didn't, perhaps because he had the better angle on the ball, and because he's the veteran and Melky's the newbie.

I remember after that Sheff-Bubba collision, one pundit declared that the problem was that young, inexperienced Bubba didn't "take charge of the outfield." I suspect that's easier said than done, for a rookie on a team full of veteran superstars.

The player of the game was undoubtedly Garret Anderson, who had a team record 10 RBIs. He also had his first curtain call. I find that amazing. He's been playing for 13 years. He's 35 years old. How can he have not had a curtain call before?

posted by BubbaFan, 9:08 PM | link | 2 comments |

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Outfield Blues

According to Haunted Baseball, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are cursed. Some blame their Satanic name, but the authors think a more likely source of supernatural woe is the fact that the Trop is built on an old cemetery. Three of them, in fact.

It sounds pretty corny. They didn't believe it at first. There are similar rumors about almost every stadium: that it was built on an old graveyard, or a Native American burial ground, and is therefore haunted. It's almost never true. But in this case, research backed up the rumors. Tropicana Field was built over three former African-American cemeteries. The remains were supposed to be removed, but not all of them were. Every once in awhile, there are unpleasant surprises unearthed when excavation is done in the neighborhood.

Perhaps the most astounding thing was when they were building the parking lot, and a reporter asked a city official about the possibility of human remains being there. The city official said it would be okay; they weren't digging very deep, since it was only a parking lot. (!!!)

Anyways, the book gives Josh Hamilton a brief mention. Part of the curse is supposedly that few of their prospects work out, and Hamilton's drug and injury problems are listed as part of the evidence.

If so, maybe getting away from Tampa Bay is the cure for him. Though he's been a little cursed this week. The other day, he got an error when he charged a ground ball and somehow missed it. And he gave away a three-run homer, when a ball bounced out of his glove and over the wall. Then yesterday, he had plenty of time to set up under a flyball, but missed it. It wasn't really his fault; the ball just changed course in midair. Weird topspin? A swirl of wind? Or the curse?

The Yankees were also a little cursed yesterday. But I wasn't surprised. It's the bleepin' Halos. To make things worse, the game went to extra innings, which means it ended about 2am.

The Yankees lost on a walkoff single by the Angels' rookie catcher. It was only his second big league hit ever. The play reminded many of the collision between Bubba and Sheff in 2005.

I didn't think it was that similar. The ball did drop into the no-man's land between CF and RF, but there was no collision. Neither Melky nor Abreu could get to it. Perhaps they were a little distracted, fearing a collision. (Hah. Bubba would probably have gotten to it. He's faster than Melky, and fearless. Not quite Ryan Freel fearless, but up there.)

And the Sox won, so the Yanks are once again five games back.

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posted by BubbaFan, 7:41 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, August 20, 2007

Conine the Met?

Trent reports that Jorge Cantu is being called up to Cincinnati from Louisville. At first people thought Bellhorn was being DFA'd, but no, he's in the lineup tonight. It's a trade. Conine to the Mets for a couple of A-level prospects.

Good news all around, I guess. The Mets get a veteran bat that might help them down the stretch. Conine gets to play for a contender. And the Reds get something for Conine, whom they would lose anyway at the end of the season (he's already said he's going to retire). Everyone's happy - except maybe Joey Votto.

Votto has played well in Louisville, even learning to play outfield a bit. Many fans are disappointed that he wasn't called up. He probably will be, when rosters expand in a couple of weeks. The Reds are overloaded with lefties and needed a right-handed bat to replace the right-handed Conine, which is probably why Cantu was called up instead of Votto.

There have been hints dropped, though, that the Reds are disenchanted with Votto. They can't be unhappy with his hitting. His defense isn't all that great, and probably never will be. So perhaps that's a strike against him for a team that desperately needs to improve their defense.

Or it could be his personality. I know, you can't believe everything you read on the internet. Everyone has bad days now and then, and fans really can be annoying. And a lot of athletes are rather full of themselves. (Cantu isn't exactly known for his humility, either.) But so many people have said that Votto is a self-centered jerk, and you hardly ever see anyone saying he was nice to them. After awhile, you figure when there's smoke, there's fire. Maybe he's as charming to the front office as he is to fans and acquaintances, and it's coming back to bite him.

Should be interesting to see what they do with Votto. I imagine they'll either trade him in the off-season, or put him on the 25-man roster next year.

Meanwhile, on the hurricane front...

Dean is a Category 4 now, and may become a Category 5 soon. His path has shifted south, and it's pretty certain he'll make landfall in Mexico, not the U.S. That probably means no gas shortages, though there could be price spikes. Pemex has basically shut down Cantarell, their largest oil field, as well as the associated ports and refineries. Even if there's no damage, it will take them awhile to get everything back running.

A photo of Dean's eye, taken from the space shuttle.


posted by BubbaFan, 5:33 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are

Holy guacamole. Don't look now, Boston, but the Yankees are only four games back. I admit, I wouldn't have thought that was possible earlier this season. It seemed even less likely after the trade deadline, when Boston made a big move and New York did not. But now New York is only four games back, a difference they've made up late in the season before. With six games left against Boston, they have a chance of taking the division. Unbelievable.

The bad news is the Yankees' next series is against the Angels, the Yankees' nemesis. Should be an interesting series. Though I don't know if I'll stay up to watch it all, with the west coast late start and all.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:39 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Class of '98

Came across this page the other day. It's a list of the 1st Round of the 1998 June Draft (with Bubba at #23, of course). Some very big names on the list, as well as some who never made the big leagues at all.

Taken back to back at seventh and eighth were Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez, two players involved the big trade last year that many Reds fans are still disgruntled over. Kearns was the Reds' first round pick.

The Yankees picked 24th that year (just missing out on Bubba ;-). They took outfielder Andy Brown. In seven years with the Yankees, he never really made it past A-ball. After becoming a minor league free agent, he signed with the Cardinals, then played a year in an independent league. He's been out of baseball for a couple of years now, so far as I know.

Also came across this story, about Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young. He went to Bellaire High, Bubba's alma mater, and amazingly, wasn't even a starter there.

...Young's mother pulled aside Bellaire coach, Rocky Manuel, and according to Manuel, said, "If you can get Chris in there long enough to get a couple hits, I think it would build his confidence."

Manuel made Young his starting center fielder the next season and told him "I don't care what happens; you're going to be out there every day."

Just like that, a star was born. "Once he had that assurance, he just exploded," Manuel said.

Funny how it often seems to work that way. Melky Cabrera was horrible this year as a fourth outfielder, but once he was guaranteed regular starts, he became a whole different player.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:21 PM | link | 1 comments |

Friday, August 17, 2007

Trouble on the way

Hurricane Dean is headed into the Gulf, and where he lands, nobody knows (yet). In the U.S., anywhere from Brownsville, TX to Mobile, AL is a possibility. (Florida is probably safe, at least outside the Panhandle.)

The scariest model is the one weather geeks call GFDL. (Click on FWD to see the animation.) It shows Dean heading pretty much straight for New Orleans and making landfall as a Category 5. While this projection is further east than most of the other models, GFDL historically has a good track record.

And it's not just New Orleans residents who should be worried if this happens. A lot of oil industry infrastructure is in that area. The aftermath of Katrina caused gas shortages in some places and higher prices everywhere, and if Dean follows a similar path, the destruction will probably be even worse. It looks to be a stronger storm, with warmer water to feed it. (Though hopefully people will be more prepared this time.)

Galveston/Houston is another possible landfall area. That would also be very bad news. And no, it's not because I'm worried about Bubba's house. Houston/Galveston has even more energy infrastructure than New Orleans. Rigs, ports, refineries, etc.

I'm sure those who live on the Gulf Coast are prepared. The governor of Texas has already declared Dean an imminent threat, activating the state's hurricane preparedness plans. But those who live far from the coast might take some precautions, too. In particular, you might want to gas up your car before the storm hits (which should be around Wednesday). If prices spike, you'll be glad you did. If there are outright shortages, you'll be very glad you did. If nothing happens, oh well, you'd have had to fill the tank up anyway, right?

And behind Dean, another storm is forming. This one looks like it will be even stronger than Dean. (Hurricane Felix?)

I see a lot of rainouts in the near future...

posted by BubbaFan, 5:49 PM | link | 2 comments |

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Things you find on eBay...

Came across this item on eBay tonight. It's a baseball signed by Bubba. There are a ton of those on eBay, but this one has an interesting inscription: "I NY," which I don't think I've seen on one of his autographs before.

Perhaps he signed it that way because it was to raise money for a scholarship in memory of Gary Stymiloski, a New York police officer who died in the line of duty.

It was a rather bizarre case. Mr. Stymiloski was apparently murdered by a serial killer. A really nutty, Ed Gein/Hannibal Lector-type serial killer. Among other things, he used the scalp of one his victims as a wig, dressed as a woman, and tried to abduct a little girl.

Anyways, I'm not really much of a collector, but I might put a bid in on this item, if no one else does. It's for such a worthy cause.

And if you're wondering how the auction for that Bubba Crosby Dodgers jersey went, someone bought it for $149.99 plus $15 shipping.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:34 PM | link | 2 comments |

Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart

The Yankees were looking like a juggernaut for awhile there. I was starting to think that maybe I was wrong, and this year would be the year they finally won it all again.

But the pitching concerned me. It concerned me before the season started, and it still concerns me now. The Yanks' bats were hot for awhile there, but they couldn't be expected to hit like that forever. It always comes back to pitching.

More than one observer has noted that yesterday's disaster could be at least partly blamed on A-Rod. That incident where he yelled "I got it" (or whatever) at the Jays, tricking them into letting it drop between them, came back to bite him. The Jays took their revenge when the two teams played again, throwing behind A-Rod, then plunking him in the knee. (He's lucky he wasn't seriously injured.) Clemens "protected" his teammate by hitting Alex Rios in the middle of the back with a pitch. I thought there was going to be a brawl a couple of times.

So Clemens was suspended, and Jeff Karstens started against the Orioles. And was awful. 12-0 awful.

A-Rod can be such a bonehead sometimes. That game where he ticked off the Jays by yelling was already in the bag. There was nothing to gain by doing what he did.

He did play very well today, going 4 for 4 with a walk. It wasn't enough.

I really wanted to see this game. It was Phil Hughes vs. Erik Bedard, a great matchup. But it was a day game, so I was at work, following the game in spare moments via the Internet.

It looked hopeless, with the Yanks trailing by three for most of the game. Then I refreshed the page, and whoah! Shelley Duncan had tied it up in the bottom of the 9th with a three-run homer. I couldn't believe it.

By then it was quitting time for me, so I ran to the car and searched the radio for the game. I couldn't find it, but I did find ESPN, which was giving brief updates. They said it was tied in the 10th, with the Orioles threatening, then went back to talking about the Mets. It was only a 15 minute drive, but by the time I got home, the Orioles were up 6-3. Boo! And that ended up being the final score.

I only found out later that it was Mo who gave up those three runs. Yikes. But I'm not too concerned. Mo often struggles in August. It doesn't mean he's injured, or too old, or a mental case. He'll be fine.

Ah, well. At least the Sox lost, too, so the Yanks didn't lose any ground. (They did, of course, miss the opportunity to gain ground.)

posted by BubbaFan, 6:44 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rest in peace, Scooter

Some sad news today:

Yankee great Rizzuto dies at age 89

Phil Rizzuto, the Hall of Fame shortstop during the Yankees’ dynasty years and beloved by a generation of fans who delighted in hearing him exclaim “Holy cow!” as a broadcaster, has died. He was 89.

Rizzuto had pneumonia and died in his sleep late Monday night, daughter Patricia Rizzuto said Tuesday. He had been in declining health for several years and was living at a nursing home in West Orange, N.J.

...“I guess heaven must have needed a shortstop,” Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. “He epitomized the Yankee spirit — gritty and hard charging — and he wore the pinstripes proudly.”

At 5-foot-6, Rizzuto was a flashy player who could always be counted on for a perfect bunt, a nice slide or a diving catch in a lineup better known for its cornerstone sluggers. He played 13 seasons alongside the likes of Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle in a career interrupted by Navy service in World War II.

“Phil was a gem, one of the greatest people I ever knew — a dear friend and great teammate,” said Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, who frequently visited Rizzuto in his later years.

Sad, but not surprising. The Scooter hadn't made it to Old Timers' Day in recent years, or been seen in public at all, really. The tabloids started running stories saying he was very ill, though his family and friends denied it, at least at first.

I never saw Phil Rizzuto as a player. He played his last game before I was born. I never even heard him as an announcer; I'm not a native New Yorker, and was raised in a strictly football family anyway. But long before I became a baseball fan or a Yankee fan, I knew Phil as the baseball announcer in Meat Loaf's "Paradise By the Dashboard Light." My friend K. used to play the Bat Out of Hell album all the time. Meat Loaf was way uncool at the time, but she had inherited it from her older brother, and anything he liked, she liked. She was really into sports, and used to make me listen to "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" with my ear against the speaker, trying to figure out if the guy was out or safe. It drove her bananas not to know.

She told me about Phil Rizzuto, explained that he always said, "Holy Cow," etc. I was kind of surprised that a big name announcer from his generation would agree to be part of something that was so sexually suggestive. I heard later that he hadn't realized. Once he did, he was pretty annoyed. Though he came around eventually.

Anyways, we never did figure it out. I always thought if I ever met Phil Rizzuto, I'd ask him if the guy was out or safe. I guess I'll never get the chance.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:15 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, August 13, 2007

Behind Enemy Lines, Part II

"I'm in hell, and it's full of Red Sox fans..."

On July 22, I went Behind Enemy Lines to see Louisville at Pawtucket. I enjoyed it so much I went back the next day.

But first, I went in search of Lovecraft's grave (again). The day before, I ended up at the wrong cemetery - the Old North Burial Ground, not Swan Point Cemetery.

This time, I found the right cemetery, which is farther back from the interstate, as well as newer and larger. Unlike the North Burial Ground, Swan Point is still in current use. There are new graves with very old ones. It's a beautiful cemetery, and immense. About 70,000 people are buried there. There's a kiosk at the front, where you can get directions to graves, including Lovecraft's. I had come prepared, though, with a printout of the directions from this site. It was still a little confusing, because many roads have no signs, and they curve all over the place. Eventually, though, I saw an obelisk labeled Phillips, and knew I'd found it. (The P in "H.P. Lovecraft" is for "Phillips.")

There used to be an ancient and gargantuan beech tree behind the grave. Fans referred to it as "The Tree That Feeds On Him," and it was carved with Lovecraft-related graffiti. It blew over in a storm a few years ago, though.

Lovecraft shares the monument with his family. (His name is on the back of the obelisk, and he is presumably buried under it.) But in the '70s, some of his fans decided he needed a headstone of his own. They paid for it, and it is now installed in back of the obelisk.

That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.

Actually, it reads, "I am Providence," something he once wrote to a friend in a letter. The stones on top and the white rose on the ground in front of the headstone are offerings from fans.

After paying my respects to Mr. Lovecraft, I drove around Providence and saw some other sights, including Prospect Terrace Park, where a statue of Roger Williams overlooks the City. It was one of Lovecraft's favorite places. I also saw the famous house on Benedict St. that was the inspiration for his short story, The Shunned House.

It's not shunned any more. It's well-cared for, and probably very expensive. (The city sort of grew up around the former farmhouse, which is why it's so awkwardly placed on the lot.)

Then it was time to head to McCoy Stadium. It was a rainy Monday night, rather than a sunny Sunday afternoon, so I didn't expect much of a turnout. To my surprise, it was pretty crowded. Gotta give those PawSox fans credit. Because of the rain, there weren't as many people sitting on the berm and in the bleachers, but other than that, the stadium was pretty much full.

I sat on the third base side last time, so this time, I picked a seat on the first base side.

McCoy Stadium

(I know it looks empty in the photo, but it was taken well before the game started. Many people showed up very late - the 4th inning or so. Either they got out late from work, or they were waiting to see if there would be a rainout before they came out to the park.)

Though the view of the mostly left-handed Louisville batters is better from the third base side, the first base side gets a lot more action, plus the visiting team warms up in right field. Being a night game, and cloudy, it was harder to get good photos. Not enough light for action pics. But I tried.  

First out on the field was catcher Ryan Hanigan. He batted seventh, and went 1 for 4.

Hanigan puts on his gear

Dewayne Wise has been on the DL three times for the same problem this season (hamstring), but he was playing right field in this game.

Wise warming up

Mark Bellhorn was given a day off Sunday, but was back in the lineup on Monday, to the delight of the local Red Sox fans.


Victor Santos started for the Bats. He pitched 3.1 innings, giving up 5 hits, two runs (both earned), a walk, and a home run. He had three strikeouts. The Reds have since called him up.

Victor Santos

Leadoff hitter and left fielder Chris Dickerson was 1 for 3 with a walk.

Chris Dickerson

He's out! PawSox third baseman Ed Rogers is caught stealing.

Bellhorn gets the out

Larry Dewayne Wise had a rough night. He went 0 for 4 with a walk and two strikeouts.

Dewayne Wise

Joey Votto's night was worse. He was 0 for 5 with 3 strikeouts.

Joey Votto
Votto at bat
Votto at bat

DH Jesse Gutierrez singles, then takes second on a throwing error. He went 1 for 2.

Jesse Gutierrez

Bellhorn was 0 for 3 with a walk, but was loudly cheered every time his name was announced. He was later called up by the Reds, then sent back down again a few days later.


Mark Bellhorn

Anderson Machado squares to bunt. He went 0 for 5 with 3 strikeouts.

Machado squares to bunt

The struggling Paul Janish went 1 for 4.

Janish at bat

Ed Rogers is caught in a rundown.

It's a rundown!

Jason Kershner entered the game in the 4th inning. He pitched two innings, giving up four hits and a walk. The Bats released him a couple of weeks later.


Gary Majewski came in in the 6th. He pitched 1.2 innings, giving up only 1 hit and 1 walk, with 2 strikeouts. He's since been called up to the big club.


Jay Bruce was 1 for 4 with a triple.

Bruce at bat

Bruce's two-out triple in the 9th raised the hopes of Bats fans, but Bellhorn was intentionally walked, then Travis Hughes got Hanigan to ground into a forceout.

After the inning-ending forceout, Janish brings Bellhorn his hat and glove.

Janish brings Bellhorn his glove and hat

Bill Bray pitched the 8th and 9th innings. He was packing some 98mph heat (at least according to the radar gun), which impressed the PawSox fans. He has since been called up to Cincinnati.


It was three up, three down, for Bray in the bottom of the 9th. Free baseball!

Brian "Love Shack" Shackelford came in to pitch the 10th. He's sort of the Colter Bean of the Bats - the record holder for most games played. Little did I know it would be one of his last appearances in a Bats uniform. (He was dealt to the Devil Rays a few days later, as part of the Jorge Cantu trade.) He gave up three hits, one run - and the game - while getting only one out.  


The winning run, in the bottom of the 10th. David Murphy (who would be sent to Texas a few days later as part of the Gagne deal) scores on a Brandon Moss single. Wise had a chance to throw the runner out at the plate, but his throw was offline. Pawtucket 3, Louisville 2.

The winning run scores

If there's one thing worse than losing in extra innings, it's losing in extra innings while surrounded by the enemy. Most of the fans left after the 9th, but the few who remained were ecstatic. Hugging total strangers kind of ecstatic.

Thanks a lot, Shack. They should trade you to the worst team in baseball or something...

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posted by BubbaFan, 5:46 PM | link | 4 comments |

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Bubba!

Wednesday's child is full of woe....

Last year on his birthday, Bubba played his first game as a Clipper after being outrighted to Columbus by the Yankees. The year before that, Torre was making me tear my hair out by starting Tony Womack instead of Bubba in CF. And this year finds Bubba on the DL, out for the season. Bubba's recent birthdays haven't been all that great, baseball-wise. But there's more to life than baseball, and hopefully they've been fun for him in other ways.

Many happy returns!

posted by BubbaFan, 11:32 AM | link | 5 comments |