Another B Saturday Morning
Saturday, March 24, 2007, 1:05 pm MT
Spent my morning at one of our bazillion B games this spring. But this one was different, much different.
On a dusty back field on a sunny Saturday morning, Randy Johnson and Bobby Jenks faced off.
Writers describe fastballs as "exploding" into catcher’s mitts. You couldn’t pick a better word to describe Saturday’s outings. With no crowd buzz, fan noise or vendors barking, all you heard were the sounds of the game and the loud, loud thwack as another Johnson or Jenks fastball struck the glove.
Other Sights And Sounds
Once Bobby finished his 3.0 IP of work (one hit, no walks, one strikeout), he was greeted by his little son shouting, "Good job, daddy!" loud enough for all to hear.
Sox catcher Wikki Hernandez was the star for the Sox. In addition to two doubles and an RBI, he also threw out a runner at second base from his knees.
Also appearing in the game were Mike MacDougal, David Aardsma and Nick Masset on the mound, while Scott Podsednik and Pablo Ozuna (in center field) got some at-bats.
Sitting so close to home plate, about 20 feet away, it was interesting how guys stepped into the batter’s box. Many drew lines in the dirt, some inside the box for their feet, some off the nearest corner of the plate and some even off the diagonal line of home plate. All were intended to help the hitter visualize where he was standing in relation to home plate. And of course, several hitters drew crosses before stepping into the box.
I spent much of the game sitting next to Ozzie Guillen and Joey Cora. The multiple conversations in multiple languages — english, spanish and spanglish — was entertaining.
"We’re undefeated in B Games," Cora said, although we eventually lost this one, 4-3, to the DBacks. "We’re good in the morning."
Ozzie is constant motion. He’s spitting seeds, talking endlessly, jittery, always joking, always moving.
Joey is the constant bench jockey, generally in fun and often pointed at his own team.
"Hey, I-Pod," Cora said. "I’m watching you. Show me something."
Earlier this spring Cora challenged Pods during another B Game. After Pods collected two hits, including a bunt single, Cora responded:
"You don’t have the (guts) to do that again," the bench coach said. "You can’t get three hits in a game, no way."
Today, after Pods walked, stole a base, scored and then singled in his next at-bat, Cora offered:
"That was a big league knock. That a way, I-Pod. I see you working."
"The thing about spring training is," Don Cooper explained, "that it’s always the same. You can’t wait for it to get here. You can’t wait for pitchers to throw bullpens. You can’t wait for live batting practice. Then you can’t wait for games to begin. Then you can’t wait for games to be over and the season to begin."