Alex Rodriguez joined baseball history last night, joining the 3,000 hit club with a home run. He’s only the third player in history (Wade Boggs, Derek Jeter the others) to reach the feat with a home run. Justin Verlander forever holds the dubious distinction of being the man who surrendered it to Rodriguez.
We thought we would see it Thursday night but Rodriguez lined out to right field in his final late at-bat against Miami. We were at the park when this happened, so we didn’t get to tune in.
I hate myself not just for missing Kershaw’s game, but for missing Vin Scully calling it. This was probably one of the last great moments that Scully will tell the story for up in the booth.
Sure, the Rockies weren’t at full-strength. But they are a formidable lineup who has actually handled Kershaw very well as a group. That it went down in Dodger Stadium on a Wednesday night in June; well that just shows why this sport is so amazing.
It can grab you, sweep you up, captivate you at any moment because just that quickly and randomly it can be so magical.
Clayton Kershaw has the first no-hitter of his career. None of the youngsters were awake to see it, just like back in April of 1993 when Chris Bosio threw his no-hitter at the Kingdome; I remembered hearing about the big deal the next morning but I was fast asleep when he completed it.
“Unbelievable,” Encarnacion said. “If you asked me, am I going to hit 16 homers in one month? I’m going to say no. I never thought I’d hit 16 homers, but when you have the timing like I have right now, you have to keep going, keep swinging hard like the way I’ve been doing.”
It’s beyond unbelievable. This reminds me of that June in 1999 when Sammy Sosa hit over twenty. This is one of the premier power months in all of baseball history, and I wanted to note it on this blog.
For me, I found myself thinking about Encarnacion’s times as a Cincinnati Red. It’s hard to believe this incredible power hitter was once a Red, and it’s even harder to believe that I once had a Benihana dinner in downtown Cincinnati in his presence; watching him slam Lobster tails and tip the chef a huge amount of money with every prime cut of meat.
With the Reds mired in obscurity (they were shut out by Josh Collmenter last night, and he faced the minimum 27 hitters) it’s depressing to think that if they could have just been a little more patient with Encarnacion, they might be enjoying this offensive monster right now.
Still, I hold my little connection to ‘Easy Ed’ as we used to call him and I’m happy to see him making history elsewhere. I guess.
More history goes down in the annals of this great game we all love. My personal connection to this one is that I saw 97% of the game and had it on before it was really a thing. I’ve been watching the Dodgers a lot lately due to owning (and loving) Puig, Dee Gordon, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenley Jansen, and Clayton Kershaw in fantasy.
And the reason I didn’t see 100% of it is my pregnant wife decided out of the blue that she had to have Chipotle Guacamole; so I had to run to the burrito shop and get it for her while she still had an appetite. On my way out the door I tested my wife and said ‘keep your eyes on this game, he’s going after a no-hitter and I want you to tell me if he still has it when I am out’. Like a good wife when I was on my drive home she texted and said he was four outs away. I knew this because; I had the game going on the radio.
I made it time in home to see Beckett blow away Chase Utley for the final out and the 24th in Dodgers history. The last time the Dodgers had a no hitter I was 14 years old, and it was Hideo Nomo at Coors Field. The last time the Phillies were no-hit was in the late 70’s, and I wasn’t even born yet. How amazing is baseball history as it ties your life together in some small way?
And on this Memorial Day Weekend in Philadelphia, Josh Beckett had the signature moment. And I’ll always remember that it came the day after finding out I’m having a baby girl in the fall and while running to get the pregnant lady her precious guacamole fix.
We were watching live. Well, almost. MLB.tv had it’s usual lag going. But we’ve already covered that.
Pujols has withstood the test of time, and he deserves his place among the all-time greats who have played this game. It just seems like he has been doing what he did tonight for a long, long time when we think back on our life and first heard about The Great Pujols hitting a couple gargantuan shots in a game.
He’s had his trials too – and if you’ve had a look at him lately it appears that he has fought off Father Time for just a while longer. And for that, good for Albert.
Don’t forget (no one is forgetting) that the bomb came off Dennis Eckersley. That is really about as big league as it gets – hitting a game winning shot off the bench with one leg off one of the greatest closers of all-time.
Here’s the box score from that legendary game. It was a Saturday night in Los Angeles. I was yet to turn six years old. I was about two to three years away from becoming bonkers about this sport I write about each day. I wonder what I was up to that night. I wonder about the partying the Dodgers fans did that glorious night back in ’88 at the conclusion of that game. After all, it was the 80’s, and the world was a lot more simple 25 years ago. Jose Canseco homered in that game, but fate would have it as Gibson is the guy we’re writing about 25 years later (and for good reason).
You can’t stop time in life. You can never go back. All you have once the moment is gone is a memory, and if it’s special enough it lives on forever. This is the moment that baseball fans from this era seem to remember above all others.
My good friend and Mike Trout enthusiast (he’s also an Angels fan) remarked via text that this is what it must of been like to watch Mickey Mantle. Player steps to the plate in his final at bat needing to go deep to reach his historic feat. He sees a few pitches and then just goes ahead and makes it happen.
The Angels routed the Mariners 12-0 – and while this is just another chapter in Trout’s young and historic career – it also provides a nice highlight moment in the middle of what has been an 18-27 season for the Angels. In the wake of Miguel Cabrera’s three home run game on Sunday Night Baseball it’s a nice encore act.
I also want to say something I might change my mind on in a few weeks; but it’s not likely. I think Mike Trout is the best young talent in baseball, with Bryce Harper a close second. I might enjoy the ebb and flow of a Harper season a bit more because Trout is so good that he’s almost boring. With Harper, there is more chaos; in every way. Pound for pound, right now Mike Trout is on another wavelength.
It was a Tuesday night in early September, 1993. My dad tucked me into bed and turned on my Super Mario Brothers AM radio to 700 WLW on my nightstand and told me to go to sleep. Joe Nuxhall was talking to his audience and we were about to embark upon a historic performance.
On that night, ‘Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten was born. Just before I drifted off to dreamland he nailed the first of his four homers in the game at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. By the time I awoke to eat my Captain Crunch, he had nailed three more. It was the second game of a doubleheader. The Reds lost 15-2. Whiten had 12 RBI. TWELVE.
A calendar week later, the crazy SOB hit two more. For that one week span, he homered six times. He drove in 17 runs. He hit .393 and OPS’d at a 1.469 clip. If a guy did something like that in today’s world there would be a bounty put out for him. It’s so good it’s almost illegal.
And now we present a new weekly feature here at Diamond Hoggers that will run each Sunday evening or Monday evening. Each week we will take a player who went bat-shit for the week in arrears and crown him the Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial Player of the Week. These players will forever live in infamy here at the blog for having a week that kicked everyone else’s ass.
This is pretty cool. Huffing, puffing Cookie Cookie Sabathia gets three outs with just one pitch. This is still going to be an agonizingly long year for the Yankees. Don’t tell my wife or my poor father-in-law that I said that. Ah, Hell. I don’t care if my wife knows. She does an extremely poor job of following the Yankees every year until the ALCS or World Series and then jumps aboard.
When a pitcher goes 27 up, 27 down without allowing a hit; you never forget the feat that he accomplished. You remember the moment forever when you witness it.
To put in perspective the immortals that Homer Bailey joined last night, it was just the second no-hitter thrown by a Reds pitcher in my lifetime. I was just five years old in 1988 when Tom Browning threw a perfect game. I remember talking about it with my father, but just barely. If I live a full life, I might see one more Cincinnati Reds no-hitter.
If I could have chosen one guy in the big leagues that I would have liked to see throw a no-no, it would have been Homer Bailey. He’s been my favorite Reds pitcher for a long time now. I wrote back in April on my frustrations surrounding Bailey. He’s got that tragic hero trait. He’ll go out and have unbelievable stuff for six innings and then the wheels fall off. Or the bullpen inevitably blows his win (how many times has it happened this year alone?). Whacky things happen to bad-luck Bailey. But he’s been remarkably solid this season. He’s tied with Johnny Cueto to lead the team in quality starts. And he’s the only guy on that Reds roster that can speak on what it’s like to throw one of those games that Nolan Ryan knew about so well.
This was another moment in a season comprised of so much magic. If you are sitting here thinking that times are going to be like this for the next several seasons for Cincinnati; and granted they should be, please don’t be naive. It’s likely that we’ve reached the apex for this current group. Seasons like this and moments like this come along only a few times across a lifetime.
To that I say at least we were around to see it all unfold. I’ve been around the game for a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of nine inning frames expire. It takes a big moment for me to stand inches from the television (my only company being my dog) and to be yelling and pacing with every pitch. I wanted that so badly for Homer Bailey last night that when the pop up was hit to Brandon Phillips for out number 27, I yelled at the top of my lungs ‘YES! GET IT! YES!’.
Congratulations Homer Bailey. You’ve proven to the world that all that promise and all that patience was for good reason.
It’s officially June, the weather is officially allowed to be smoking. It’s okay to turn on your air conditioning and if you had a summer diet planned there’s no more excuses, get going with it. Johan Santana threw a no-hitter on Friday night and struck out David Freese on his 134th pitch of the night to complete the first no-no in New York Mets history.
I had to get this in the blog’s archives somehow, it’s big time history and the fact that it went down in New York (and against St. Louis) makes it all the more special for the baseball romanticist.
The Cardinals spent the rest of the weekend trying to score one run, and they succeeded on Sunday. The Mets are up in this series 3-0 and hunting a sweep today.
I saw Bryce Harper’s first MLB home run live. He said to Tim Stauffer “I hope you’re ready to fly, because you’re leaving the yard with me,” and then hit a majestic gun-shot blast over the center field wall. It was everything you would have pictured the kid’s first home run to be.
If you missed it, it’s okay. It’s captured forever here for you to enjoy. And I wouldn’t worry, because you’ll be able to see about 600 more of these bad boys over the course of the next two decades.