Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fireman Takes Bucket of Gasoline to the Fire (Again)

Game 69: Bulls 3, Red Sox 4
Season: 38-31
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun Story

It’s the 5th inning. Carlos Hernandez has been struggling all night. He simply doesn’t look like the pitcher who’s been doing such a good job all year. Earlier this week when he sat out his rotation spot with back troubles. Maybe that’s the problem. The score is 3-1 Bulls. Carlos starts the inning with his fifth walk. The next batter hits a single to left moving the runner to second base. The next batter grounds out to Olmedo at third. One out. Carlos gives up his sixth walk. Bases loaded. DePaula has been warming up since the first walk and the radio is saying that Hernandez is reaching his pitch count limit (Pitch count limit? Pitch count? We’re about to lose the game, Charlie.) Hernandez has really slowed the game down for the last two batters. I’m thinking he’s trying to give DePaula time to warm up and now’s the time to bring him in. But he stays for the next batter and I finally notice that the batter bats left-handed, Hernandez is left-handed, and maybe Montoyo wants a lefty on lefty situation. It works. Batter pops up. Infield fly rule. Two outs.

Now DePaula comes in. Batter hits a single, two runs score. Next batter hits a single. Another run scores. Pawtucket leads 4-3 and that’s the story of the game.

Sounds a little like the Joe Bateman the night before.

Not that we didn’t have a couple of small chances later on, but base running (or manager decisions, not sure which) stifled the chances for runs. (See video on Bulls home page, for base running problems.)

So lets talk about something else.

I got there early to see the Negro Leaguers honored. A privilege to see those gentlemen lined up along the first base line. One in a wheelchair. Several sporting canes. Squint a little and you can see young men with tiny little fat-fingered gloves on their hands chasing down fly balls or scooping up grounders. You can see elegantly dressed, straw-hatted fans in the stands cheering. Another time.

Jon Weber launched yet another bat in my direction last night. That’s three so far this year. Tell you what, if you really don’t like the writing let’s get together and talk about it. I’m no fearless journalist. I can be bought. Plus, you’re a lot younger and a lot more fit than I am (I do have more hair, though). I think it would be really cool to have one of your baseball bats as a souvenir. If only a more gentle form of delivery could be arranged. Not only that, I think I’ve been saying some really nice things about you this year. Even back in spring training I was saying nice things. What’s the grudge? You want more? How about this?

Jon Weber was the story for the Bulls last night. Very pretty home run into the right field stands in the 3rd inning.
(How’s that? OK? And, unlike some of my stuff, it’s even true.)

One of the oddities of the last two nights has been the reported record crowds. I guess I just don’t know how to count as well as the Bulls front office. They are reporting big numbers, I’m seeing a lot of empty seats. My only guess is that a lot of folks paid for seats and didn’t come.

Lastly, a comment on what seems to happen when a player only makes a visit to the big time. Reid Brignac and Matt Joyce are back from short stays with the Tampa Bay Rays. I’m guessing that it must do something to your head to strip off that Rays uniform and put your old Bulls gear back on. Reid is 4 for 17 (.235) since he came back, although his fielding actually appears to be improved. Matt is 3 for 23 (.130) since his return. You are both solid ballplayers. We like watching you play. Here’s hoping you get your grooves back. We need you.


  1. Bummer about the Bulls' recent struggles. Hopefully Brignac and Joyce will heat up and get things going.

    Wish I could have been at Negro League night! I bet that was cool to see.

  2. It was cool to see. Even better, especially for a collector, was that they set up tables and they were all there to sign a group photograph. Didn't know that was going to happen (didn't even see it until I went for a drink late in the game).

    Allow me a small reminiscence: Some years ago I have the privelege of hosting a group of the Tuskegee Airmen at an exhibit I was running at the NC State Fair. I noticed then and again last night a wonderful phenomenon: Parents herding their children through the line to shake hands with these men. That's how you keep history alive. One child at a time.

  3. You're right; WE need to teach the kids one at a time, for they surely aren't getting it from the "education" system.


  4. I think I will bite my tongue about that last comment (I am a public school teacher and think some of us in the "education" system do a darn fine job, thank you very much) and say that I have been out of town for a while and finally got back to the DBAP last night. It was good to see the Bulls in the old unis. I haven't seen DePaula pitch in person for a while, but he just didn't have it last night.