Shelley Duncan, Dave Duncan in his underwear, my daughter and me

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Anna at ballgame.JPGI’ll bore you with one more story about my trip with the kids to the Columbus Clippers-Charlotte Knights game last night.

Shelley Duncan’s name is announced as he comes to bat for Columbus. Anna, my six year-old daughter, hears this and giggles a bit that a man is named Shelley.  I tell her that Shelley can be a man’s name too. She nods, but I can tell that she’s not letting this one go.  The subsequent conversation:

Anna: Why would his mommy and daddy name him Shelley?

Me: I told you, it’s a boy’s name too. [trying to change the subject]: Hey Anna, I actually met Shelley Duncan’s daddy once.

Anna [surprised and impressed, because she believes baseball players are impossibly famous and therefore unapproachable]: Really? Where?

Me: When I went on my trip to Florida last month. His daddy is a coach for another baseball team and I talked to him.

Anna: [still impressed] How did you talk to him?

Me: [thinking I’m impressing my daughter even more than I am] They let the baseball writers in the locker room after the game and we get to talk to the players and coaches. He was in the locker room after a game I went to.

Anna: What do they do in the locker room?

Me: [not paying close attention to where this is heading] It’s where the players take a shower and change out of their baseball uniforms after the game before they go home.

Anna: [thinking hard about this, and then breaking out into a mischievous smile]: Did you see Shelley Duncan’s daddy with no pants on?

Me: [sudden realization that, yes, I actually did see Dave Duncan with no pants on, and that I was actually talking to him as he was getting dressed. Think fast, Craig!]: Um, I don’t remember.

Anna: YOU SAW SHELLEY DUNCAN’S DADDY’S UNDERPANTS!  YOU SAW SHELLEY DUNCAN’S DADDY’S UNDERPANTS! [followed by uncontrollable laughter].

The subject was finally changed with cotton candy.  Multiple innings go by and I figured it was dropped for the night. I was wrong.

It was getting late, I had tired kids, so we left the game in the top of the eighth. As we’re leaving, we walked down a sidewalk that follows along the outfield wall with little places to look-in and watch the game for free. Anna stops as she sees Shelley Duncan in right field, just a couple dozen yards from where we were standing.

Anna: Hey Shelley Duncan! My daddy saw your daddy in his underpants! [followed by giggling the entire drive home].

I have no idea if Duncan heard this. I desperately hope that he did not.

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.