Monday, April 16, 2007

Jackie Robinson Day, and Sunday Slugfests

I'd originally thought about going to Sunday's Mariners game, but instead decided to sleep in and catch the game on TV. Later in the evening I also caught the first half of the Dodgers-Padres game on ESPN with the whole tribute to Jackie Robinson beforehand. I had three reactions to it, besides the "this is a deeply cool thing for everyone to do" sort of feeling:

1) It is pretty confusing to tell who is who when everybody has the number 42 on their backs and nobody has any names on their uniforms.
2) Rachel Robinson cannot possibly really be 85 years old. If I didn't know who she was and just saw her in the booth with the ESPN guys, I would have thought she was in her mid-50's, tops. She really looks good for her age.
3) Mike Cameron looks really good with high socks. (Though apparently he had to borrow someone else's pants to pull off the right look.)

There's a whole bunch of articles and photos of the whole event on, so you can go check it out if you're curious. Another fun thing during the preview to said Dodgers-Padres game was that Marco "Little Hurt" Scutaro delivered a game-winning walkoff 3-run home run off Mariano Rivera -- the current only #42 in the MLB -- so they had him on ESPN over the phone. Pretty crazy.

Anyway, watching the Mariners game was pretty unreal. They won it 14-6, and you'll note that the 14 runs scored in this game is exactly half of the 28 runs they scored in their previous 7 games. Kameron Loe also seemed to have absolutely no idea what the hell to do with the baseball, either in pitching it or fielding it. At one point he even threw the ball into the stands when fielding a line drive back to the mound. Pretty impressive.

Of course, this was on the heels of the Fighters winning the biggest blowout of theirs that I recall in recent history, where they beat the Rakuten Eagles 18-3. Yukio Tanaka came in as a pinch-hitter in the 5th inning when the Fighters were already up 10-1, and he got two more hits, so he only has 13 left to reach 2000. Also, right after Yukio's first hit, rookie Youhei Kaneko hit his first pro home run, a 3-run shot to left field.

The other crazy thing about this game is that Rakuten's once-and-future-ace Yasuhiro Ichiba pitched in long relief the 2nd through the 6th innings, and managed to rack up 14 runs allowed, 13 earned. Supposedly, only ten pitches in Japanese baseball history have allowed that many in a single game, if I understood one of the articles I saw properly. He gave up 18 hits, 2 homers, 1 strikeout, and 1 walk on 118 pitches, too. In more craziness, starter Kanehisa Arime was brought in to pitch the 7th inning for whatever reason.

So, while April 15th may normally mean bad things like tax day, the sinking of the Titanic, and so on, it seems to have been good luck for both of my teams.

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