Monday, May 15, 2006

Weekend Mariners roundup: Your mom digs the long ball

Friday: Pineiro gets beaten open like a pinata; Dr. Livingston fares no better.
Angels 12, Mariners 7
Saturday: Old friends Lackey and Washburn face off, Richie gets sick of extra innings.
Mariners 5, Angels 4
Sunday: Jeff Weaver can't think pink, Fruto's fruitful MLB debut.
Mariners 9, Angels 4

Jeremy Reed walked into the clubhouse on Sunday looking sort of grim.

"Oh, man, guys, I totally screwed up. You wouldn't believe what I did this morning," he said.

"Lost your pink bat?" guessed Ibanez.

"Broke your wrist again?" said Bloomquist hopefully.

"No... I forgot to get tickets to the game for my parents. Here I am, finally back within driving distance of home, and they're going to end up sitting in the outfield seats or something because I'm an idiot," he lamented. "And on Mother's Day at that."

Johjima shook his head solemnly. "Yes, Reed-san. It is very bad to dishonor parents. You must find way to repay them for mistake."

Richie Sexson grinned. "Hey, little man, you've been smacking the ball good these past few days. Maybe them sitting in the outfield isn't so bad after all. What better way to show your appreciation for your mom than to hit a home run to her?"

Reed perked up. "Yeah! If I could hit home runs off Kelvim Escobar and John Lackey, of course I can hit one off of Jeff Weaver! I'll go see if I can conspire with the ball boys to see if I can get 'HI MOM' written on a few of the baseballs before I launch one into the stands!"

Washburn nodded. "Not that I'd ever be one to point out failings of Angels pitchers, especially other guys with the initials JW who may or may not have replaced me in the rotation here, but Weaver's given up more home runs than pretty much everyone in baseball right now. Kick his ass."

Jeremy Reed stared out on the field in disbelief as Cabrera and Kennedy turned an unbelievable double play, and got ready to take his place in the batter's box for his first at-bat of the day.

"You can do it!" shouted Johjima as he jogged back to the dugout.

Reed grinned and stepped in. Jeff Weaver threw the ball. It was a great pitch, a perfect pitch. Reed dug into it and the ball went flying to left field, deep, deep, deeper. A home run on the first pitch! he thought as he took off running. Smack! the ball fell into Juan Rivera's glove.

"Crap," thought Reed as the inning ended and he walked out towards center field. He looked up in the stands in right-center and thought he saw his parents waving, but couldn't be sure.

An inning later, when he took on the outfield wall making a catch of a long Rivera fly (ah, sweet, sweet revenge) he heard an anguished cry from the stands which was unmistakably his mother. He got up and straightened his cap with a grin, feeling good about saving a run or two. "I'm okay, Mom!" he yelled. A minute later, Adam Kennedy launched a home run into the stands anyway. That does it, he thought. Next inning is mine.

The word had gotten out around the team that Reed's parents were in the outfield bleachers and he desperately wanted to send a Mother's Day present out there.

Carl Everett hit a homer into the right field stands and came back in amongst the high-fives. "You gonna hit one for his momma too, Joe Momma?" he smirked at Kenji Johjima, standing in the on-deck circle as Adrian Beltre hit a single.

"I will do my best!" said Johjima as he went out to bat, but alas, he grounded out to short. "Ganbatte, Reed-san," he said encouragingly. "Do not fear his curve."

Raul got one. Jose got one. Even Carl got one. I can get one too, thought Reed as he stepped in for his second at-bat. He could see that Jeff Weaver was really losing it, as he watched the first four pitches go by to a 3-1 count. Wait, he realized, If I walk, Weaver will be out by the next time I'm up, and I'll never be able to hit a home run for my mom off this bullpen. So he started swinging. Damn! he thought. Strike two. No! Wrong way! Foul. He stepped in and chased the next pitch, which was way too low.

"Strike three! YER OUT!" yelled the umpire, as Reed walked back towards the dugout with his head down. He couldn't bear to look out towards the outfield stands.

"Sorry bro. I'll get you one," said Yuniesky Betancourt as he passed by.

"Sure, whatever," replied Reed.

A few pitches later, WHAM! Betancourt slammed the ball, and it went flying, flying, flying over the left field wall, bouncing in the tunnel, over the Taco Bell sign. Betancourt ran the bases and came back to the dugout with a huge smile on his face, as Mike Scioscia went out to the mound to heave it to Weaver.

"Whoa," said Jeremy Reed. "If this is how you guys step up to a challenge, I ought to see if I can get my parents to follow us around to more games."

"Yeah, your mom digs the long ball," muttered Bloomquist from his end of the bench.

Later in the evening, Jeremy Reed went home to catch up with his parents.

"Dear, you looked great out there in the field today," his mother said.

"Yeah, mom, but I'm really sorry about the tickets thing, and especially about how awful I was at the plate. I went 0-for-4, struck out twice, and got myself picked off of first base. Who gets picked off base anymore? God, I suck."

The phone rang. His dad picked it up. "It's Mark," he told them. "What? You did? Hey, kid, that's great. You wanna talk to your mom?" He handed over the phone.

"What'd he do today?" said Jeremy, fearing the worst. "Don't tell me he got a home run when I couldn't."

"Nah. But he went 2-for-3, doubled, walked, knocked in a run, scored two more, and made some great plays at third."

"Oh, is that all?"

"He also remembered to call for Mother's Day."

Reed blushed a deep pink.

"Very nice, son. Now you match your baseball bats."

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