Stephen King Has it Right-Sometimes, They Come Back

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Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday.

Last night, The Padres had given the Mariners the last rights. They were ahead 12-2 in the  game.  The game was played in San Diego, a notoriously pitcher-friendly park unlike Coors Canaveral, Cincinnati or Philadelphia.  But,  Stephen King called a short story “Sometimes, They Come Back,” in his book “Night Shift,” and in fact sometimes they do.  For the Mariners, last night was their time to come back. They managed it, outslugging the Padres 16-13 before the dust had settled. As a result they are tied with the Rangers  for first place in the AL West as they head to Texas for a weekend series.

The Padres built their lead off Mariners’ starter Wade Miley who gave up 9 runs before the fifth inning ended.  They were ahead 12-2 halfway through the game.  There was only one home run involved in the Mariners’ comeback-a 3-run blast in the 6th by 33-year-old rookie Dae-Ho Lee who they signed in the winter. They scored two more in that inning and put up 9 in the 7th spearheaded by 7 straight two-out singles. Kyle Seager had a two-run double in the 6th and a two-run single an inning later to account for 4 of his 5 RBIs on the game. Stefen Romero tied it and Shawn O’Malley broke the tie with RBI base knocks. Those two recently joined the big club from AAA Tacoma. Cody Martin, the winning pitcher also had just arrived from AAA.

The Mariners had been on the other side of one of these games.  Back in 2002 the Indians spottem them  a 14-2 lead in a Sunday night ESPN game. The Indians took out most of their starters, and somehow their reserves cobbled together a 15-14 win.  Last night was the Mariners’ turn. They continue to rock when they’re not in Seattle.  They’re 19-8 away from home and an unimpressive 12-14 at Safeco Field. The Padres put up 13 runs on 20 hits including a 7-run home fifth. But the efforts of 3 pitchers couldn’t hault the Mariners’ avalanche once it got rolling.

Normally in this forum I write about the major league scene. But today I must break with format and write about something I would trumpet from the mountains if there were any mountains around here.  The NCAA baseball regionals start today, and if you’re into that they can be as exciting as anything the majors have to offer.  Some people write off the game with one word–“PING!”  That’s the sound of the ball hitting the metal bats the collegiates use to save money.  But metal weapons or not, these regionals can produce some of the most exciting games you’ll ever see, hear or read about. in 16 cities, groups of 4 teams duke it out in a double-elimination format.  Then then 16 survivors play the super-regionals, which is a relatively new addition to the format.  The survivors go on to Omaha for the college World Series. LSU, a traditional powerhouse hosts a regional where Rice is their closest competitor. University of Virginia is a host, and East Carolina who got an at-large bid is in their regional. Clemson, a legendary baseball school hosts a regional.  They once beat Fordham in a 19-inning game in a regional in New Britain, CT back when minor league ball parks hosted the regionals. South Carolina and Texas A&M are two other SEC schools which like LSU will host a regional this weekend. One will be at University of Miami where Ron Frazier was king for so many years. TCU hosts a regional in Fort Worth. I’ll have my ears on the Gainesville regional where UConn faces Georgia Tech and the Florida Gators face Bethune-Cookman. UConn is the one team that played a football Bowl game, had its men’s and women’s basketball team in the NCAA tournament (which the women won)  and has its baseball team in the postseason. The Ivy League’s representative, Princeton faces homestanding Louisiana Lafayette in their bracket. Coastal Carolina is in the Raleigh bracket.  They are from the Myrtle Beach area where I lived for 3 years before starting this column and one of their broadcasters checks out this forum from time to time.  All told it will be an exciting weekend where you can see the prospects of the future.

If you prefer the MLB players of the present, the spotlight game features the Giants and Cards at Busch Stadium tonight.  St. Louis native Bob Costas will do play-by-play with John Smoltz and Sam Ryan on the MLB network. While they missed Madison Bumgarner launching one last night, the MLB Network should get a good game out of Johnny Cueto pitching for the Giants. His back was an issue Sunday and the Giants will keep their thumb on  it.  Meantime Adam Wainwright continues his comeback from a devastating achilles tendon injury last year. Last time out he went 7 innings, the furthest he’s gone since getting hurt last April. There is one matinee, Arizona facing Chicago at Wrigley. In Texas, Yu Darvish makes his second start after Tommy John surgery. He went 7 innings his first time out of the gate.

Yordano Ventura, who was a big part of the Royals’ World Series run last year is all of 25 today. The kid from the Dominican Republic made the show as early as 2013 and has only played for the Royals.

A couple of men I remember from the minors have birthdays today.  One is Carl Everett, who as a  Ft. Lauderdale Yankee hit an inside-the-park home run on a game we were broadcasting. Aaron Ledesma is also 45.  I remember him in Port St. Lucy and Binghamton with the Mets when our teams played them.

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