Scenes from Spring Training: “Ozzie Guillen! Look at me!”


So I slid down close to the White Sox dugout when I saw Ozzie Guillen sitting there like that. Figured I’d take his picture.  I took this one and a couple other ones of him hanging out there.  Then a guy a couple seats down said “want me to get his attention for you?”  I said “no, that’s cool,” figuring that it’s probably not kosher to bug the manager in the middle of the game.  The guy next to me had made up his mind already, however:

Guy: “Ozzie! Yo! Look up here!”

Guillen: [not taking his eyes off the field] “Nah.”

Oh well.  Other stuff from today’s game:

Forgot to mention this earlier, but when I was in the White Sox clubhouse there was a table set up where two women from a company called Elevee Custom Clothing were handing out cards and catalogs to players. The deal: busy players get measured by them once and then they buy their clothes over the phone or the Internet all year. Convenient, I suppose.  I snagged a catalog because I thought it might be cool to dress like a ballplayer. There was nothing in there for me, but tell me: am I nuts, or is that Dan Haren modeling?

Hey, good for him. Handsome man. Glad he has a second gig lined up.

I think it’s pretty lame to hear reporters complain about the lunch spread the ballpark puts out for them, but today was kinda nuts: creole chicken and beef barley soup. I’m sure it was tasty, but it was pushing 80 degrees today and that stuff sounded all hot and complicated. I went to the concourse for a Chicago dog with crazy dayglo green relish and a Deschutes pale ale. I chose … wisely.

I teased it with the pic of Adam Dunn playing first earlier, but it was a very special day defensively speaking. Not only did the Donkey have first base, but Jack Cust was playing left for the the Mariners.  Sadly neither one of them embarrassed themselves out there. I had my hopes up.

I made a point to get here early this morning because with the Mariners coming to Camelback that means Ichiro, and that means a Japanese press contingent that, I’m told anyway, is even bigger than Matsui’s. A press corps that big means space in the box would be at a premium.  Sadly, no Ichiro and no Japanese press corps. I like those guys. I kinda missed ’em today.

Tony Pena came in to pitch for the Sox. I was all excited because I had never seen a converted middle infielder pitch in person before. I enjoyed it for a whole inning until I realized that it was the other Tony Pena. I should probably start paying more attention to random relief pitchers.

It occurred to me that I’ve seen Adam Dunn play in person six times and that each time I’ve seen him — mostly when he was with the Reds, but once when he was with the Nats — he hit a home run. No homer for Dunn today, however. The streak, she died.

And tell me, this ain’t bad for a little pocket camera, is it?

Teahen took that one for ball two low, then flew out to center the next pitch.

That pic made me happy. What makes me sad: this was my last game and thus the baseball portion of my trip is over. If I didn’t have a wife and kids back home who I miss very much, I’d stay until the teams broke camp. Then I’d follow them around until NBC decided that the hotel bills were getting out of hand.  But I do have a wife and kids back home and NBC would probably suspend my expense account by April 10th, so I fly home tomorrow.

I’ll have a big honkin’ Scenes from Spring Training retrospective up before I catch my flight tomorrow morning.  But for now I reluctantly bid the ballparks adieu.  Thanks for travelling with me, everybody.

Photo of the Day: Colby Rasmus just wants to love on everybody

Colby Rasmus

Colby Rasmus hit a big home run last night to set off the scoring and to set the tone for the Astros.

After the game he spoke to Jeff Passan of Yahoo and voiced some nice perspective and maturity as well, acknowledging that his time and St. Louis and Toronto left him with a reputation that he’d rather not have follow him around forever, saying “I don’t want them to say Colby Rasmus was a piece of crap because he had all of this time and just wanted to be a douche. I just try to love on everybody.”

Fair. By the way, this is what Rasmus looked like either just before or just after telling reporters that he “just tries to love on everybody.”


Ready for some lovin’?

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.