Homecoming memories: boos, batteries, and bombs

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Obviously a brutal couple of days for Kerry Wood in his return to
Wrigley. Hopefully Eric Wedge gives him today off. Thing is, Kerry Wood
isn’t alone in experiencing a rough homecoming. While you enjoy your
Father’s Day, here’s a look back at some of the good, bad, vengeful,
and memorable games for some other high-profile players in their return
to familiar settings.

STEVE CARLTON – AUGUST 5, 1972 IN ST. LOUIS: I’d imagine this
was kind of like an “F You” performance, but probably more so because
the Cardinals stuck him on a gawd-awful team (Carlton won 27 of the 59
Phillies wins that year). Carlton threw a 5-hit shutout with 7 Ks,
which was part of this crazy 7-start stretch from July 19 through
August 13: 7-0, 7 CG (one of them 11 innings), 4 shutouts, 53 Ks, 0.42
ERA, and a 0.677 WHIP. Wow.

TOM SEAVER – AUGUST 21, 1977 IN NEW YORK: Seaver was devastated
that he was traded to Cincy. Mets fans were devastated that he was
traded to Cincy. And when he returned to Shea in late August, he
embarrassed a crummy Mets team, giving up one run and fanning 11 in a
complete game.

KEITH HERNANDEZ – JUNE 28, 1983 IN ST. LOUIS: Hernandez was
actually pissed that he got traded to the Mets because he hated New
York. He took it out on the Cardinals in the first game of a
doubleheader, going 3-for-5 with a triple and an RBI in a Mets win.

ANDRE DAWSON – APRIL 24, 1987 IN MONTREAL: The Hawk wanted out
of Montreal because the turf was taking it’s toll on his knees, and he
actually took a pay cut to play in Chicago, signing an incentive-laden
deal. Dawson surpassed those incentives as he won the MVP, and his
return to Montreal was quite memorable: 3-for-4 with 3 doubles and 2
RBI. Later in the series, he added 2 homers.

BOBBY BONILLA – JUNE 4, 1992 IN PITTSBURGH: Bobby Bo had quite a
debut with the Mets, hitting two homers (including the game-winner) in
an extra-inning win in St. Louis. But two months later, as he made his
first trip back to Pittsburgh, Bonilla was hitting .258 with only 6
bombs and Mets fans had started to hate him. Not as much as the people
at Three Rivers that night, who hurled, among other things, batteries
at the New York right fielder. He didn’t really do anything to shut
them up, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout in a 7-2 loss. He homered a
couple days later, but in hindsight, everyone probably wishes he had
just stayed in Pittsburgh.

GREG MADDUX – APRIL 5, 1993 IN CHICAGO: Cubs fans no doubt felt
betrayed that the reigning Cy Young winner fled to Atlanta, and Maddux
let them know exactly what they’d be missing on Opening Day, going 8
1/3 of shutout ball, allowing only 5 hits and striking out 4.

BARRY BONDS – APRIL 9, 1993 IN PITTSBURGH: A year after Bonilla
bolted, Bonds signed with the Giants for a then-record 6-year, $43.75
million deal, which killed baseball for good in Pittsburgh and was also
the inspiration for Wesley Snipes’ character in The Fan. The
still-skinny Bonds was obviously booed, although as we saw in later
years, he seemed to feed off the negative energy, ripping a double and
a triple in a loss. The Giants would win the next two games in the
series despite Bonds going hitless.

WADE BOGGS – MAY 21, 1993 IN BOSTON: Boggs went 4-for-4 with a
walk in his return to Fenway, and I’m not gonna bother to look up where
the hits went because I’d like to think they were all opposite line
drive singles over the shortstop’s head.

ROGER CLEMENS – JULY 12, 1997 IN BOSTON: Red Sox GM Dan Duquette
famously said that Clemens was in the twilight of his career after
Clemens signed with Toronto after the ’96 season (come on, how was he
gonna know Clemens would start taking horse steroids and forge a
friendship with Brian McNamee), and that just added to Clemens’ rage.
In one of the greatest “F You” performances ever, Clemens went 8
innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 run, and struck out 16 batters. To cap
things, he stared straight at the Duquette and the rest of brass up in
their suite as he walked off the mound at the end of his day.

MIKE PIAZZA – AUGUST 28, 1998 IN LOS ANGELES: A contract dispute
helped force a trade from the Dodgers to the Marlins, and when Piazza
returned to L.A. a couple months later as a Met, he seemed eager to
stick it to management. Big Mike homered to get the Mets on the board
and then scored the winning run in extra innings. He would hit 7 homers
in Dodger Stadium as a member of the Mets.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ – APRIL 16, 2001 IN SEATTLE: You’re not gonna
believe this, but the Seattle fans didn’t greet A-Rod with open arms in
his first game back as a Ranger. But instead of batteries, they
showered him with fake money, and you know A-Rod heard every single one
of the 45,657 who booed him that night. He singled in the middle of a
Texas rally to get them back in the game, but finished 1-for-5 in a 9-7

MANNY RAMIREZ – JULY 3, 2001 IN CLEVELAND: Can’t really blame
Manny for leaving the great city of Cleveland for the 8 years and $160
million that Boston threw at him. Don’t tell that to Indians fans
through, who predictably booed him during BP, introductions, the video
montage on the big screen, and when he singled in his first at-bat.
Still unclear if Manny actually knew what was going on or where he was,
but he got 2 hits that night and went 5-for-13 for the series, so his
game wasn’t affected much.

JASON GIAMBI – APRIL 23, 2002 IN OAKLAND: Oakland fans lustily booed Giambi when he showed up as a Yankee, but it’s tough to blame them since this was before the Moneyball
secret was out and they knew there was a plan in place to keep the team
competitive despite losing all the big free agents. Giambi got 2 hits
including a double as the Yankees won, and no question that he
celebrated afterwards by demolishing a porterhouse, probably at

FRANK THOMAS – MAY 22, 2006 IN CHICAGO: White Sox GM Ken
Williams had some not-so-nice things to say about The Big Hurt at the
end of his stay in Chicago, so Thomas probably didn’t feel too bad
about his return with the A’s, ripping 2 solo homers in a loss.

PEDRO MARTINEZ – JUNE 26, 2006 IN BOSTON: Pedro didn’t leave
Boston on the best of terms with management, but the fans still loved
him, and even though his return to Fenway was two years later, he got a
crazy ovation. Didn’t really work out for him though, as he left
trailing 8-0 after 3 innings. Lastings Milledge didn’t help him out,
missing a pop-up in left which led to 2 runs, but he also gave up 8
hits and a homer to Alex Gonzalez, and people thought that the emotions
were too much for him. Turns out he was injured, and didn’t make a
start for another month.



ROD CAREW – APRIL 17, 1979 IN MINNESOTA: 1-for-4, K … SERIES TOTAL: 6-for-12, 4 R, 2 RBI, 3 2B, 2 BB


JOE MORGAN – APRIL 29, 1980 IN CINCINNATI: 1-for-4, R, SB … SERIES TOTAL: 5-FOR-12, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R



JACK MORRIS – MAY 19, 1991 IN DETROIT: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 8 R (4 ER), 3 K, 6 BB, 3 HRA, LOSS (8-3)

TOM GLAVINE – MAY 24, 2003 IN ATLANTA: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 2 HR, LOSS (10-4)

A fan was attacked, injured outside Dodger Stadium on Friday

Dodger Stadium
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The Los Angeles Times reports that there was a fight in the parking lot outside of Dodger Stadium on Friday night that put a fan in critical condition. The fight occurred following the Dodgers Game 1 loss to the Mets when an argument between fans escalated. It is unclear whether the fight was between fans of the rival teams.

Of course fan-in-fan violence is nothing new to Dodger Stadium and everyone recalls the Opening Day 2011 attack of Giants fan Bryan Stow which left him severely injured and brain damaged.

Here’s hoping the hospitalized fan recovers quickly.

Playoff Reset: The Cards and Dodgers have their backs against the wall

Clayton Kershaw

Historically speaking, the Cardinals and Dodgers are the class of the National League. A couple of organizations which have won a ton, have had a lot of classy alpha-types running their respective shows over the years, no shortage of glory, no shortage of history and enough evocative and grand footage in the can to make Ken Burns sepia with envy.

Meanwhile, the Cubs and Mets, while they’ve won some and have some wonderful history too, are far better known for their failures. For dubious achievements and fan bases which have, collectively, spent far more time smacking their own foreheads than high-fiving the guy in the seat next to them. Nevertheless, by the time we go to bed tonight it’s quite possible that the classy organizations with the long resumes of winning baseball will have been eliminated by the sad sacks and that we’re going to be treated to a Mets-Cubs NLCS.

In short: today’s NLDS contests are “the big game” sequences in any late-70s-mid-90s “slobs vs. snobs” comedy movie. Camp Mohawk vs. Camp Northstar. Lane Meyer vs. Roy Stalin skiing the K-12. Thornton Mellon vs. Chas in the diving meet. Once these things are over don’t be surprised to see someone on the Mets or Cubs kissing some girl way out of their league and to be asking yourself, “wait, why are there cheerleaders at a diving meet?”

Of course baseball isn’t as scripted as all of that and William Zabka is, according to IMDb, in pre-production on some Civil War project, so he can’t make it. I have no idea what that’s about. I can only assume he’s playing some stuck-up Confederate General who will lose to Curtis Armstrong’s disheveled Union general in The Big Battle, after which we cut to credits over some tossed-off Dave Edmunds song he wrote for the soundtrack just for the money.

Which is to say: we have to watch these games to see what happens:

The Game: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs
The Time: 4:37 p.m. ET
The Place: Wrigley Field
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: John Lackey vs. Jason Hammel
The Upshot: Wow, those were a lot of dingers given up by Michael Wacha and his friends last night, huh? The good news is that they’re running Lackey out there this afternoon and Lackey has owned the Cubs of late, going 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in four starts against them, including his gem in Game 1 on Friday night. The bad news: even a half dozen recent starts aren’t great predictively speaking, and Lackey is on short rest. TBS will show highlights of Lackey pitching on short rest in the 2002 World Series today, but think about what you were doing in 2002 and whether you’d be just as good at it today as then. Hammel has the ball for the Cubs. He has not fared well against the Cardinals this season (5.37 ERA) but the same small sample stuff applies.

Injuries could be a key consideration here, as Addison Russell may be on the shelf for the Cubs following his hamstring tweak in last night’s game. Likewise Yadier Molina left early, apparently having aggravated his thumb injury. Otherwise: wear a helmet if you’re in the Bleachers at Wrigley this afternoon. Balls may be flying out your way.

The Game: Los Angels Dodgers vs. New York Mets
The Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
The Place: Citi Field
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Clayton Kershaw vs. Steven Matz
The Upshot: The Clayton Kershaw Legacy Game. It’s not fair to Kershaw that, after eight years of completely dominating Major League Baseball people will deem him worthy or unworthy of, well, whatever, based on his 10th postseason start, but they will. If he falters today on short rest, with no reliable bullpen to bail him out, people will call him some sort of choke artist. If he dominates he’ll be considered redeemed, though he’s never been a guy in need of redemption. I don’t care much for that game, but it’s inevitable it will be played so let’s just silently roll our eyes and go with it. The Mets may have a bigger question mark on the mound in Steven Matz, who hasn’t pitched in a couple of weeks thanks to a tweak in his back in the last week of the season.

This should feel like a totally different game. The Utley drama has to subside now, especially given that he’s unlikely to get the start against a tough lefty. And that tough lefty is, with all due respect, no Brett Anderson. You can bet against Clayton Kershaw and win, but it’s not the sort of thing I’d make a habit of.

In any event, the Cubs and Mets should play this on a loop in the Clubhouse before today’s games. Because . . . it just doesn’t matter!

Yoenis Cespedes and his bat flip say good morning

Yoenis Cespedes

It was a late night last night. Especially for old farts like me. I turned on my TV at 12:30 yesterday afternoon and there was baseball on it for just about 12 hours straight. Not too shabby unless you happen to root for the Astros, Rangers, Cardinals or Dodgers. Oh well, today is another day. Or tomorrow if today is a travel day.

In the meantime, we have Yoenis Cespedes to keep us happy, alert and occupied. Again, unless you’re a Dodgers fan. Of course, if you are a Dodgers fan you got absolutely no right to be upset at a bat flip following a homer. And if I catch you complaining, you’re getting a time out.