While most of America has already started obsessing over Cam Newton and Peyton Manning, a feeling of great indifference permeates the office where I write these pieces. The only Super Bowl I’m contemplating is the bowl of Fettuccine Alfredo I plan to eat later in the day. Anybody eating it before me will be sent to Azkaban without trial. (take 10 points if you know what Aazkaban is.)
Meantime, Venezuela and Mexico prepare to lock horns in the final game of the Caribbean World Series in Santo Domingo. It will be played at 2 P.M. Eastern, and hopefully lead right into the other Big Game for those who care to watch it.
The first semifinal was one of only two real blowouts up to now, as Venezuela pulverized Puerto Rico 13-3. This entry, the Aragua Tigers is the last Venezuelan team to win a Caribbean Series, which they did in 2009. After Puerto Rico scored in the first, Venezuela put up two in the second and one in the third, and never looked back. The rout was on after a two-run sixth and a five-run 7th.
The second game wasn’t much of a contest either, as Mexico took out Cuba 7-2. A 3-run fourth and a run in the fifth gave the team from Mazatlan a lead it never gave back. Mexico won the Series in 2013 and 2014, and came within a run of pulling it off again last year only to be beaten by Cuba. I don’t know at this time if Venezuela will turn to starter Freddie Garcia, who once was a starter for the Seattle Mariners. He pitched the opening game on Monday and may be a candidate for this winner-take-all struggle.
Our first birthday man can finally legally_ order a beer in this country. Roberto Osuna is 21 today. Considering he’s employed by the Blue Jays, if I were him I’d order up a tall Molson Canadian (which they don’t export to America,) and enjoy it to the fullest. He had an odd rookie year, a 1–6 record but a puny 2.58 ERA in a hitter’s ball park. He was a pro at 16 with the Mexico City Red Devils, from whom the Blue Jays got him. When he pitched in his first game, he was the youngest Blue Jay pitcher ever to play, and the first man born in 1995 to reach the show. He might have made it even sooner, but for Tommy John surgery in June, 2013. In the ALDS, he posted a save in game 5, becomming the youngest American Leaguer to do this and the second youngest man in all of MLB to put up a save. The Reds’ Don Gullet managed it in 1970 at the tender age of 19.
Seth McClung is 35 today. When I broadcast for the RiverDogs, he was the team’s Dizzy Dean-not as a pitcher but as a big talker and one time color commentator in an extra-inning game. This was my final broadcast ever, at the end of the 2002 season. It took him until 2006 to reach the big team where he got the name Big Red. His last pitching was done in Mexico in 2013. He now lives in the Tampa Bay area.
Dan Quisenberry was born this day in 1953 and died terribly young in Septermber of 1998. He was an All-Star 3 times and led his league in saves a record 5 times. This was all done with George Brett’s Kansas City Royals. Quisenberry was their stopper in 1985 when they won their first World Series.
Burt Hooton is 66 today. As a Cub, the Mets defeated him 12-2 on August 6, 1972 in the first baseball game I ever attended. He pitched a no-hitter 4 games into his MLB career in 1971. He went to the Dodgers in 1975, and was an All-Star for them in 1981, the year they won the World Series over the Yankees. Tommy Lasorda named Hooton “Happy,” because he seldom smiled. As a kid listening to him usually beat the Mets, I didn’t know he was a Texan, but I knew he was an insomniac, as Joe DiMaggio was and as I am. he’s been a pitching coach in both the minors and majors since 1988.
If you do celebrate the, umm, err, oh that game in Frisco, please do it safely. I want to keep what readers this column has safe and sound.0