Poor Phillies: two games, two knuckleballers

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R.A. Dickey pitch.jpgSomething I hadn’t noticed until Major League Baseball’s tweeting logo told me about it: tonight, for the second straight game, the Phillies will be facing a knuckleballer. Sunday it was the Knuckle Knuckle King, tonight it will be R.A. Dickey.

Wakefield obviously disrupted the Phillies’ offensive flow on Sunday, but (a) Dickey doesn’t have the kind of knuckle-fu that Wakefield has; and (b) knuckleballs are one of those things that work nicely as, um, a changeup. If you saw it every day, however, you’d probably start teeing off on it — or walking 16 times a game — sooner rather than later.

Of course it’s also possible that the Phillies will go nuts on it, swinging with great vengeance and furious anger and end up looking like the Gashouse Gorillas flailing ineffectually at Bugs Bunny’s powerful, paralyzing, perfect pachydermous percussion pitch.

It’ll be fun to watch, either way.

Dodgers to retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 this summer

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will retire the No. 34 jersey of pitcher Fernando Valenzuela during a three-day celebration this summer.

Valenzuela was part of two World Series champion teams, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He was a six-time All-Star during his 11 seasons in Los Angeles from 1980-90.

He will be honored from Aug. 11-13 when the Dodgers host Colorado.

Valenzuela will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale with retired numbers.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans, the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.”