Thoughts from an outstanding spring training weekend (2 games, 2 Dodger wins) while flying over snowy northern Arizona to a connection in Denver, which may be my new home since NYC is apparently living through a hurricane…
Most dominating pitching performance: With all due respect to Charlie Haeger, who put up 5.1 scoreless against Seattle and hopefully sewed up the #5 job, this has to go to Clayton Kershaw for the complete devastation he laid on Reds 3B Juan Francisco. Francisco struck out each of the 3 times he faced Kershaw, but that doesn’t even do it justice. Between being taunted by his fellow lefty with mid 90s heat and solid offspeed stuff, Francisco nearly screwed himself into the ground like Bugs Bunny trying to keep up. You almost felt bad for him. Almost.
Best performance by a player who I wanted the Dodgers to trade for: Reds OF Laynce Nix, who is a lefty bat with good power and solid defense. As I mentioned last week, I think he’s a far better option than Garret Anderson, and therefore it was a little gratifying to watch him take a Kershaw pitch and turn it into a laser off the right field wall for a double.
Worst showing by a major metropolitan area: Phoenix, for the incredibly lackluster downtown area on Saturday night. I joked that there was more activity around the movie theatre in my hometown than there was in downtown Phoenix, but its sort of true. There’s supposedly 1.5 million people who live in Phoenix… are they counting the entire state? It was like living through “I Am Legend”, just without the aggressive zombies. As far as I know.
Most valuable Tweet: This goes to “tpferriera”, for his (?) invaluable suggestion to check out Scottsdale rather then Phoenix for some nightlife. Just no comparison there.
Best looking Dodger legend: Don Newcombe, looking surprisingly spry while throwing out the first pitch at Saturday’s game. There’s a flip side to that coin, though, and that’s…
Worst looking Dodger legend: Tommy Lasorda, who… well, it’s been a long time since Tommy’s been in the kind of shape one could be proud of, but seeing him slowly amble down the foul line in full uniform like he was 80% comprised of cottage cheese was, well, disturbing.
Most unintentionally hilarious newscast: To Phoenix’s Channel 5 (I think) for its’ high-school-quality and far-too-artsy coverage of their lead story, a motorcycle accident that killed several. I think the story has enough drama, friends, no need to try to add to it with extreme closeups and shooting stories of survivors by having them positioned so that you can get their reflections in the bike’s rear view mirrors. Now onto Senator McCain’s reelection bid.. but wait, breaking news!! Bees have invaded a home in the suburbs! (I swear this all happened.)
Happiest tattooed, scarred, silver-toothed, blinged-out, gang-member felon dbag: To the nameless fellow (but let’s be honest, it has to be something like “Snake” or “Mad Dog”, right?) proudly running down the concourse displaying the fresh Vin Scully autograph on the shoulder of his Dodger jersey. Sometimes I wonder if Vin is wasted calling baseball games when he really ought to be bringing peace to the Middle East or something. Let me tell you, the crowd that gathered when he came out of the booth was bigger than any player got.
Most random Dodger jersey: There were a surprising amount of Gagne shirts still in use, which I guess really isn’t that big of a surprise. I did enjoy the Sax #3 sighting, but the winner here has to be the guy still rocking Raul Mondesi’s #43. Honorable mention: For a guy who hasn’t even officially made the team yet, I did see several DeWitt shirts in the crowd. Mostly on the ladies, though, so he’s got that going for him.
Worst performance by a fan base: Reds fans, for their paltry showing in a brand-new park on the last Sunday of spring. Despite the weather being absolutely perfect and the Dodgers starting their regular 8 plus Kershaw, the Reds attracted almost literally half of the crowd at the previous day’s Dodger home game. Not only that, the breakdown was something along the lines of 50% Dodger fans, 30% Reds fans, and 20% empty seats. This is why Cincinnati moved to Arizona?
Private conversation I wish I could have heard: Andre Ethier walking back to the main field with Peter Gammons attached to him. I do have a picture of this somewhere, but knowing Gammons, he’s probably asking Ethier if he has any dirt on the Red Sox. Homer.
Oddest chance meeting weirdly mirroring my own life: To the family in front of us at the Reds game, who were Nationals & Yankee fans from Virginia, yet had a small boy who was a diehard Tiger fan (to the point that he wanted to move to Michigan – good luck with that – because he played on the Tigers in his first year of organized ball. Uh, that doesn’t sound familiar or anything…