Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Saturday, July 23.
Is it just me, or have there been more marathon baseball games this month than usual? Going back to the 19- and 14-inning games on July 1, it’s continued through the month. Last night there were two more extremely long ones. The Cardinals beat the Dodgers in 16 innings on a walk-off home run by Matt Adams. Hours Later and 1500 miles further west, the A’s beat the Rays 1-0 in a 13-inning battle that must have ended only minutes before I woke up.
The Cardinals’ game could have ended hours earlier except for a Jed Gyorko home run that tied the game in the 9th. Without that home run Kenley Jansen would have gotten his 29th save. Justin Turner had broken a 2-2 tie in the top of the 9th but the lead didn’t last. In desperation, the Dodgers turned to starter Bud Norris who had fired 90 pitches only 2 days earlier in a start. Don Newcombe did that sort of thing routinely. Norris tried gamely. He survived the 15th in spite of a double, then got one man in the 16th before Adams unloaded. With the win the Redbirds are 8 games above .500, their high water mark for the season to date. The two teams had played two 16-inning games before this, one in 1963 and one six years earlier when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. As for Adams, he had once hit a home run in the 16th inning back in 2013. Only 3 other men-Jimmy Foxx, Mark McGwire and Alfonso Soriano have two career home runs in the 16th or later. The teams are lucky enough not to have to play in the daytime today in the intense St. Louis heat after last night’s 5 hour game.
In a game that took 90 fewer minutes to play the Oakland Athletics defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 in 13 innings on a single by Coco Crisp. Ryon Healy had doubled putting himself in position for Crisp to drive him home. Sean Manaea threw 8 scoreless for Oakland, while his counterpart Jake Odorizzi did the same for Tampa Bay. From the 9th on the game belonged to the bull pens. These two teams also don’t have to play until tonight following their extended labors Friday night.
The earliest game today features the Mariners and Blue Jays. While they start just after 1 PM, nothing else goes live until after 4 PM. Tyler Glasnow pitches his second MLB game for the Pirates against the Phillies. Presumably the Pirates thought the Glasnow was half-empty when he lost his MLB debut, as they shipped him back to AAA immediately thereafter. The Yankees and Giants are the only other 4 PM start. The Yankees got the upper hand in the series by winning the first game last night. Chris Sale pitches for the White Sox against the Tigers. With the division looking like a runaway for the Indians, Chris’s nickname might be “Fire Sale,” or “Liquidation Sale” if the great Chris Berman still did baseball. Jose Fernandez and Jacob DeGrom could have a pitching duel like the one in Oakland last night. Both are coming off dominant defeats of the Phillies, which isn’t quite as easy to manage this year as it was in 2015.
Former Red Sox shortstop and current SportsnetLA broadcaster Nomar Garciaparra is 43 today. He was christened Anthony Ramon, which was also his dad’s name so at some point the son turned his middle name backwards to be different from his dad. Thus, Nomar. He was the Sox’ first draft choice, 12th in America in 1994. He reached the show in late August 1996 and lasted until 2009. He recorded a .313 batting average in that time. He left the Red Sox for the Cubs too soon for their 2004 World Series run. He was an All-Star 6 times, the last being 2006. He took the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1997. He claimed back-to-back batting titles in 1999 and 2000. With ESPN he did Baseball Tonight, Wednesday night game analysis and coverage of the College and Little League World Series.
The late pitcher and broadcaster Don Drysdale was born this day in 1936 and died on July 3, 1993. You never want to have to eulogize a great man live on the air, but in 1993 I had to do 3 such statements: one each for Jim Valvano, Roy Campanella and Don Drysdale. Their notices came to our booth as my broadcast partner and I were doing New Britain Red Sox broadcasts. As a pitcher Drysdale was 209-166 for the Dodgers starting in Brooklyn in 1956 and ending in Los Angeles in 1969. He hailed from Van Nuys, California and went to high school with Robert Redford who famously portrayed Roy Hobbs in “The natural.” Drysdale was an All-Star 9 times and won 3 World Series, all with Los Angeles in 1959, 1963 and 1965. With Sandy Koufax for a teammate he only took one Cy Young award, in 1962. He joined the Hall of Fame in 1984. He broadcast for the Expos, Rangers, Angels (With the iconic Dick Inberg) the White Sox, NBC, ABC and all too briefly for the Dodgers from 1988-93. He was at the Dodgers’ radio mike when Kirk Gibson hit his historic home run, as Dodgers’ lead broadcaster Vin Scully was calling it on national TV. He died of a heart attack in his Montreal hotel room following a Dodgers-Expos broadcast. The normally unemotional Vin Scully admitted to “A broken heart,” when allowed to tell his audience of Drysdale’s passing. The announcement was delayed until his family could be informed. This included his wife Ann Meyers Drysdale, an elite college basketball player in her day.
Another former Dodger player and national broadcaster of renown, Harold Pee Wee Reese was born this day in 1918 and died in 1999. Born in Kentucky, Reese worked for the phone company before ever playing a pro game. he played from 1940 to 1958 with the Dodgers. He had almost 2200 hits and a .269 average.
he was an All-Star 10 times though he lost 3 years wearing the uniform of a GI Joe in World War II. He joined the Hall of Fame in 1984, as Don Drysdale did. All through the 1960’s voice Reese’s drawling voice could be heard on Game of the Week-first with Dizzy Dean and later with Curt Gowdy. He broadcast two World Series on radio in 1967 and 1968, then did TV for the Reds and Expos. I first heard him doing paint commercials on Mets’ broadcasts in the early 1970’s. When Reese was hired by CBS in 1960 to work with Dizzy Dean, all the best baseball broadcasters of the day were Southerners. He and the Giants’ Russ Hodges were from Kentucky. Dean was from Arkansas (or Mississippi depending what story he told on any given day.) Red Barber was from Florida, Mel Allen from Alabama. Jimmy Dudley and Ernie Harwell hailed from Georgia. As the turbulent decade progressed a definite change could be heard in the voices on the air. Allen and Barber were both fired with little dignity by the Yankees. Dean left CBS, never to be heard from again. Dudley disappeared after calling the Seattle Pilots in their one year of 1969. Hodges died in 1971 still in the employ of the Giants. Reese didn’t broadcast a game after 1972. The lone survivor of the great Southern broadcasters was Ernie Harwell.0