Wednesday, June 1, 2011

He's Back!

Game 51, May 31, DBAP
Durham Bulls 4, Columbus Clippers 1
Season: 29-22; Last 10: 5-5; Home Stand: 2-0
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, Indy Week

What a terrific feeling it was to see Dan Johnson hit that home run last night. It was the high point of what was a very important and fun to watch ball game for Bulls fans.

Brian Baker had his best game of the year, although if you look back at the last couple of games, good things had been happening for a while (that is, if you overlook his game on May 20 against the Bats). He was never in any real trouble except for the start of the 3rd inning and a timely double play got him out of that problem.

By the top of the 6th the game was still tied 1-1 and both pitchers (Columbus' Zach McAllister is really, really good) were doing just fine. I mentioned to my seatmate, "We're just waiting for someone to make a mistake." And a moment later that's what happened. The Clippers' shortstop, Luis Valbuena, let a Desmond Jennings grounder get underneath his glove. A perfect sacrifice bunt by Ray Olmedo moved Jennings to second. Jose Lobaton drew a walk. Dan Johnson found his favorite spot in the right centerfield Diamond View seats.

But the home runs (Russ Canzler had one in the 4th inning) and the pitching weren't the only things to watch last night. Ray Olmedo made two very nice plays at shortstop: the first in the 3rd inning where he fielded a ground ball just beside second base with a runner coming from first, swept the bag, and threw to first for the double play; the second a dash to his right and jump throw with a good grab by Johnson for the out. Should I mention his leadoff double in the 8th where he got thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple? No, I didn't think so.

I can't wrap this up without mentioning the damage that Mike Ekstrom did to my cardiovascular system in the 9th. He walked the first two batters, putting the tying run at the plate. Fortunately, a grounder hit right at third baseman Russ Canzler led to a double play (the fifth over these last two games) and a flyout to Jennings in center ended the game.

A rant: Those dark blue jerseys are just terrible. It's not the color, that's OK. It's the numbers. They are illegible. Combined with no names on the backs, it's very hard to figure out who's playing where. The font may have a vague retro look, but please, fire your graphics person and bring in someone who knows about font design and readability. I stared at Lobaton's "5" for a while and wasted several minutes trying to find "8" in the program.

If the fans/bloggers watching the Rays have their way, we might be losing a catcher soon. Folks aren't very happy with the current crew, especially Kelly Shoppach. See comments here and here.


  1. Yes those Jerseys stink, bring back the old style

    I would also like to gripe about the fact some dope in the Bulls organization decided to remove
    the Deli style mustard from ballpark, bad move.

  2. AND the food this year is nowhere as varied or as good as two years ago.

    But the beer is still good.


  3. From one Dan Johnson fan to another.... it was great to see Dan getting back in the swing again.