Back when John Elway still roamed the Earth and the Broncos still got a lot of prime time games, the best night each year was that inevitable mid-to-late October Monday Night game in Denver. You know the one: where the snow fell down, the crowd went nuts and you sat on your couch and enjoyed the living hell out of football at altitude.
I wonder if we’ll get the same charge out of baseball under those conditions. Snow. Wind. High of 34 tomorrow. The showers are supposed to tail off towards the evening, but my old man was a meteorologist and he’d be the first to admit that determining the exact time snow showers will stop and start is more art than science. We could have squall on our hands, kids!
Pedro Martinez is poised to start for the Phillies tomorrow night. After last year’s World Series his teammates are probably prepared for less-than-ideal conditions, but it’s not exactly Pedro’s element. J.A. Happ pitched college ball at Northwestern and based on the Big Ten baseball I’ve watched, there’s no doubt he has pitched in snow before. Too bad Charlie Manuel mismanaged the living hell out of his pitching staff yesterday, because now neither he nor Blanton are likely available.
Thumpity thump-thump, thumpity thump-thump, look at Pedro go . . .
Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.
The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.