Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball today.
BULLETIN! BULLETIN!___ Before we begin our regular column, the latest word just received is shocking. Chase Utley won’t face any_ suspension for the brutal slide that broke Ruben Tejada’s leg. This is an astounding case of MLB caving on a suspension on appeal. There has been a rule change unofficially called the Utley rule effecting slides into second, but not suspending Utley for endangering Tejada’s career is nearly criminal on the part of MLB. We now resume our normal theme in progress.
By your leave, I’d like to talk a minute about college baseball. While I know a lot of fans put down the college game it’s where I made my bones as a broadcaster and I still enjoy hearing the young announcers describe the exploits of the young men on the field. While attempts have been made to lessen the scoring in the college game, sometimes games like this still happen. The Patriots of Dallas Baptist U. beat the University of New Mexico 33-8. yes, 33-8. This wasn’t a spring football scrimage mind you. The school had gotten 31 runs in 2007 and registered 31 hits to go with the 33 tallies last night. Seton Hall put up 31 against Villanova in a 31-10 mutilation in the Mo Vaughn year of 1987. I never thought I’d see the day a team scored more than 31. In last night’s game the winning pitcher Darrick Hall went 5 for 5 with 2 home runs and 6 rbis. Even Tom Seaver on his best night never did that. The Patriots scored 4 or more runs in 5 different innings. Amazingly the losing Lobos were ranked number 24 in the nation in Division 1 before the beating that occured on their home field in the rare air of Albuquerque. After that battering, the Lobos have to come back an play another game this afternoon. Luckily, at any level of baseball momentum is only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher. Former Patriots Les Lancaster, Billy Brewer and Ben Zobrist probably read about yesterday’s game with pride for their old alma mater. They are some of the former Patriots who have made the bigs since the program began in 1970.
Jake Arrieta, who came out of the woodwork to be the best pitcher in the game last year is 30 today. Like Sandy Koufax who was an average pitcher for many years before finding greatness, Arrieta has pitched since 2010 and gotten nowhere until last year. The Orioles have to wonder who is this Jake Arrieta. In their unfform he was 20-25 with a 5.46 ERA. He finished last year 22-6 for the Cubs and claimed the Cy Young Award.
Francisco Cervelli is also 30 today. He’s been a very successful catcher since making his debut with the Yankees in 2008 as a backup. He joined the Pirates last year and remain wearing black and gold. While he’s listed as a Venezuelan player, his partially Italian parentage allowed him to represent Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He never donned the tools of ignorance before turning pro. He’d been a shortstop and outfielder growing up but has been behind the plate consistently as a pro. He was a Yankee when they won their last World Series in 2009 and with the Pirates who were in last year’s wild card game. To this day he supports the Juventus soccer team in Italian Serie A soccer, the highest level of soccer that country has, similar to the English Premier League.
Hall of Famer Willie Stargell was born this day in 1940 and died in 2001. Bob Murphy always called him Wilbur Stargell on Mets’ broadcasts. So did Vin Scully when the Pirates played the Dodgers. This made Scully Stargell’s mother’s favorite broadcaster. By the end the Pirates called him Pop when the team wa the We Are Family Pirates of 1979. He spent his entire career as a Pirate and launched 475 home runs in spite of playing most of his first 8 years at the outlandishly huge Forbes Field. 3 Rivers Stadium wasn’t ready for action until July of 1970, some 3 months behind schedule. That cookie cutter stadium was his home until his Hall of Fame career was done. He was an All-Star 7 times. His team won the World Series in 1971 and 1979. That time he was League MVP, NLCS MVP and World Series MVP.
Another Hall of Famer, Robert Moses “Lefty” Grove was born this day i 1900 and died in May of 1975. His Athletics team won the 1929 and 1930 World Series and lost the Series in 1931. Two years later in the heart of the Great Depression, the always financially strapped Connie Mack sent Grove to Boston where he played from then on. He was an All-Star 6 times, starting with the inaugural All-Star game in 1933. He won exactly 300 games before his career was done.