The 2009 Winter Meetings were first Winter Meetings I ever covered. They took place in Indianapolis, a little over a week after Thanksgiving. On the second morning of the Winter Meetings Ozzie Guillen, then manager of the Chicago White Sox, came into the media room and started shooting the breeze with some reporters he knew. As often happened when Guillen got talking, a crowd formed. I was in that crowd. To this day I can’t believe what I was hearing.
I made oblique reference to it at the time, but the subject he was going on about was Tiger Woods, who a few days before crashed his SUV and was attacked by his wife with a golf club after she found out about his affairs. You probably heard about that. Guillen thought this was the most interesting thing ever and went on and on about it. But not in a “wow, that’s crazy!” kind of way. He went on about it like the coach that he was. He did play-by-play of Woods’ travails, explaining where he thought Woods went wrong. How he had made poor decisions in failing to keep his phone away from his wife. About how to defend against a very tall, athletic and determined woman armed with a golf club. About all the ways that, if Woods had simply been coached better, he never would’ve found himself in that situation in the first place. Guillen dropped about 50 F-bombs and could barely contain his laughter throughout the whole thing, but make no mistake: he was disappointed. Not in Woods’ acts or the consequences which flowed from them, but from his poor execution.
I don’t offer this, on the day after Tiger Woods made history at The Masters, in order to make light of Woods and his past or to detract from his success yesterday. I offer it merely to put a frame of reference on it all that underscores the improbability of his victory. It was so, so, so long ago that happened. Ozzie Guillen was not only an active manager but one who had, in recent years, won a World Series, still had another job in his future and who then commanded the attention of the press. His players included Jermaine Dye and Jose Contreras for crying out loud. It was that long ago — a time that, in baseball history anyway, seemed eons ago — that the beginning of the end for Tigers’ Woods career was thought to have occurred. And until this past weekend — over nine years later — it might’ve still been accurate to say that Woods’ time as a star truly ended then. And he hadn’t won a major since over a year before even that. Or, for that matter, a Masters since over four years before that.
I’m generally not a big fan of giving attaboys for comebacks when the person doing the coming back is the primary reason for his need to make a comeback in the first place. But it sure is a hell of a thing when it happens, especially when it’s coming back from stuff that happened back when Ozzie Guillen still roamed dugouts.
Anyway, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:
Red Sox 4, Orioles 0: Boston got seven shutout innings from David Price and four RBI from Xander Bogaerts. Price’s win was the first from the top four dudes in the rotation so far this season, so that’s progress. The Red Sox took two of three from the O’s on the weekend portion of the series (they will face the O’s this morning in the annual Patriots Day game to finish the series). That’s progress too. Playing bad teams will cure what ails ya.
White Sox 5, Yankees 2: Well, it’ll cure most folks. If you’re the Yankees, playing bad teams is kind of an issue right now. They dropped the opening series of the year to Baltimore, dropped a series to the Tigers and now lost a series to the lowly Chicago White Sox. Not what ya want. Tim Anderson hit a grand slam for the Chisox and Carlos Rodon allowed two over six. Now the Red Sox will come to town for a two-game series.
Rays 8, Blue Jays 4: The Red Sox are trying to bounce back, the Yankees are floundering and the Rays just keep chugging along, winning their fifth series in a row to start the season. Guillermo Heredia homered as part of a five-run eighth inning that turned a close game not close. It was a wet day in Toronto and even though they have a roof, water was dripping in and landing on the warning track. They had to catch it with buckets and dry it with blowers and stuff. Kevin Kiermaier told reporters after the game that it didn’t bother him and that they’ve had the same issue at Tropicana Field before. Maintenance on old houses is the worst, right? The Blue Jays have lost seven of nine.
Phillies 3, Marlins 1: You never want to play 14 innings on getaway day, but if you have to, it’s best to win. That’s what the Phillies did thanks to a Jean Segura homer in the 14th. Miami batters struck out 18 times and went 5-for-45 on the day. There were 16 pitchers used who threw 424 pitches in the four-hour, 38-minute game. Sounds riveting.
Astros 3, Mariners 2: The M’s had a 2-0 lead in the sixth when Michael Brantley hit a two run single. Aledmys Díaz homered in the seventh. Gerrit Cole struck out 11 dudes and allowed two runs in six innings. The Astros have won nine in a row and swept the Mariners, whose weekend was spent being given an object lesson in whose division this really is.
Pirates 4, Nationals 3: It was a tie game from the third to the ninth when Jason Martin hit a ground-rule double to score Josh Bell. The Nats threatened in the bottom half, loading the bases with two outs with Anthony Rendon at the plate but Felipe Vazquez got him to fly out to end it. Oh well. The Nationals entered the day with the worst bullpen ERA in the majors and it got worse. The Buccos took two of three.
Twins 6, Tigers 4: C.J. Cron homered and drove in three, and Eddie Rosario homered, doubled and singled as the Twins take both games of the weather-shortened series. Oh, and Byron Buxton went 2-for-4 and did this:
Royals 9, Indians 8: It was tied at eight in the bottom of the ninth and Ryan O'Hearn led off with a walk. Terrance Gore is way faster than O’Hearn and Ned Yost knows it, so he put Gore in as a pinch-runner. Gore stole second and then took third when catcher Roberto Pérez threw the ball away. Three pitches later Hunter Dozier singled Gore in. That’s what speed do. The Royals sweep the Indians in three.
Rangers 8, Athletics 7: The Rangers scored four in the eighth to rally from a five-run deficit. Danny Santana had a two-run, pinch-hit triple to tie it and then scored the go-ahead run on a Delino DeShields bunt single. An earlier homer from Elvis Andrus helped as well.
Rockies 4, Giants 0: German Márquez took a no-hitter into the eighth and finished with a one-hit shutout, striking out nine on the afternoon. He didn’t walk a batter, allowed a single to Evan Longoria and plunked one guy. It was the first shutout in the bigs this year. Nolan Arenado hit a three-run homer and scored on a Trevor Story double.
Dodgers 7, Brewers 1: The Dodgers broke a six-game losing streak thanks to homers from Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo and a nice outing from Ross Stripling. Stripling allowed one run and four hits in eight innings. In other news, there has been this weird thread on Twitter happening since before the season started between some Padres fans and Dodgers fans arguing about which team is better even though it’s still April and everyone should just chill out.
Diamondbacks 8, Padres 4: Arizona avoids the sweep. David Peralta hit a pinch-hit three-run homer. Ketel Marte and Christian Walker homered too. Zack Greinke allowed two runs over seven and had two hits of his own. Manuel Margot and Fernando Tatis Jr. homered for San Diego. It was Tatis’ fifth on the year already. If the Padres had played service time games with him it may have only been his first.
Cardinals 9, Reds 5: St. Louis jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first, the Reds tied it up by the fifth, but Matt Carpenter‘s seventh inning homer put the Cards ahead for good. Marcell Ozuna hit two home runs. Ozuna has been on a tear, by the way, hitting four home runs in his last five games and driving in eight. The Reds and Redbirds split two in Mexico.
Braves 7, Mets 3: Julio Teheran outdueled Jacob deGrom, allowing one run in six innings of work to deGrom’s three runs — and four walks — in five innings of work. It could’ve been even worse for the Cy Young winner, as he had to escape a bases-loaded jam in the third inning that could’ve blown the then close game open. Josh Donaldson and Nick Markakis homered as the Braves forced a split of the four-game set.
Angels vs. Cubs — POSTPONED:
Oh, so cold up north that the birds can’t hardly fly
So cold up north that the birds can’t hardly fly
I’m going back south
And let this winter pass on by
And let this winter pass on by
And let this winter pass on by
Let this winter pass on by, yeah