Walter White and Vin Scully in the booth at Dodger Stadium. We’ve already talked about our affection for Breaking Bad. This will always be the summer of Breaking Bad. Walter White and Vin Scully together in one place; the world just wasn’t ready for it.
The Freeway Series between the Angels and the Dodgers kicked off last night in Chavez Ravine. A solid pitching matchup between Zack Greinke and Garrett Richards was on the docket, burgeoning superstars in Mike Trout and Yasiel Puig were in each team’s respective lineup and two teams with a couple of the better records in baseball settling in for regional supremacy.
I watch the Dodgers almost every night. Last night I was feeling rather tired from an early morning start, and I passed out in about the third inning; before history started to weave a magical web.
Wouldn’t you know that I missed it all. I missed the finest game thrown in 100 years, waking up in the middle of the night to a swarm of ESPN alert texts about the historic game that Kershaw threw.
I’ve got to document it here. It was one of the greatest games ever thrown. It ranks right there with Kerry Wood’s 20 strikeout performance one-hitter from back when we were in high school.
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.
Magic in a Time Capsule forever:
Another item can be crossed off the baseball bucket list; I spent an afternoon in the same ballpark as Yasiel Puig.
That said, I didn’t get to my seat until the fifth inning, meaning I saw exactly four and a half innings of baseball. Let me go on a small mini-rant now if I may to relieve some frustration.
It was a Reds ‘business day special’. I’ve went to two or three of these in my life, but it was always when I was working downtown and didn’t need to find a place to park.
My friend and I learned today that you don’t go to a Reds business day special unless you work downtown. We arrived around 12:15, twenty solid minutes before the scheduled first pitch. Every garage was ‘PERMIT ONLY’ and the one parking garage that a cop told us we would be able to park in behind the US Bank Arena was full. We drove around in one-way street traffic for a solid hour it seemed. Finally we found a lot about two miles away. We parked, and we walked what seemed like forever.
Alfredo Simon and Zach Greinke cruised through the first four innings. By the time we parked, took a leak, fought through the lines and grabbed a hot dog and some peanuts; the game was into the fifth inning and I had missed two Puig AB’s and two Bruce AB’s. Not good.
I missed Puig hitting a single in the first inning – his only hit on this day – but I did not miss his caught stealing to end an inning. Here he is heading out to right field after getting caught stealing. Dee Gordon and Adrian Gonzalez can be seen in the shot.
The Dodgers on this day as a whole (for the half game I saw) looked like a team ready to get back to Los Angeles. They just looked tired and went through the motions. How else to explain Alfredo ‘Big Pasta’ Simon throwing eight strong innings of one-run baseball? The Dodgers had no fight in them. And by the way, Alfredo Simon has tied Adam Wainwright at least for the time being for the National League lead with nine wins on the mound.
Baseball is completely unpredictable.
And it is that unpredictability that keeps me rabidly interested. I feel like going to a baseball game live is like buying a ticket and playing the lotto. As you are on your way to the game, you have no damn idea what you’re about to see as a whole or in terms of what each player is going to do. I thought about this on my way to the game – was today going to be the day I hit the Yasiel Puig lotto and possibly see a two homer game?
My ticket was a dud. He was 1 for 4 with a couple of ground outs and of course the aforementioned caught stealing.
I didn’t hit the lotto on Jay Bruce either. It seems his number is coming up further and farther in between these days. I remarked during the game that Bruce seems disappointingly like a player who is simply content with being ‘good’. He appears to realize that it’s no longer possible that he will be a ‘great’ player.
I realize he’s had to play through some problems with his knee. Not much has changed since his return. He’s hitting .212 on the year now – there isn’t much you can say about a guy hitting .212 – other than I think he was a better hitter all around when he came out of the minor leagues. He’s just a pull-happy guy with some power now who is never going to hit for much average, strikes out too much, plays a solid right-field, and will not get noticed outside the Reds fanbase. I had higher hopes for Jay Bruce to be honest.
I did get to see Aroldis Chapman lock down another save, his tenth of the season. One thing that will never get old to me is seeing this guy pump 99, 99, 101, 101, 102 in the ninth inning. Blowing 3-1 fastballs past Matt Kemp when Kemp has to know it’s coming and he still can’t touch it.
Chapman struck out the side in the ninth inning to reward the Reds with their victory. He struck out the second hitter of the inning with a 92 MPH slider down. Just filthy. This guy is a God-given talent and a gift to be able to watch. He’s why you buy the ticket.
The Todd Frazier lottery numbers came up today, as he hit his 14th home run of the season. Of course, I didn’t see it; we were behind the left field bleachers on Mehring Way when the fireworks were going off listening to it on 700 WLW.
The Reds shouldn’t have business day games if there isn’t a better solution for parking, plain and simple. If you plan to attend one of these games, be ready to have it really dampen your entire experience. I didn’t get to walk around the park, I didn’t get to try any of the new concession stands, I just sat in my seat for what seemed like ten minutes because we arrived so late because it was a true downtown-disaster. I doubt there are these problems around Wrigley.
I’m over it, and happy I got to spend an afternoon watching a few innings of baseball. And I got to see Puig play a few innings. And the Reds split a tough series, even if I know it will end up meaningless.
And next time I buy a ticket, I just might win some kind of baseball lotto!
It was one year ago tonight that it all began for the prize-winning Puig, and what better way to celebrate than by posting a cool GIF that shows his career accomplishments that that polygonal Puig MLB The Show graphic.
One year into a career that has featured more ‘holy shit’ moments than any other I can remember one year in, and the guy is a .326 hitter. To his detractors who said things like ‘he’s going to bust’ or ‘Puig should be the one the Dodgers look to move’ it’s time to admit you were wrong. To those who have enjoyed the unique skill set that seems like a hybrid of Bo Jackson and Manny Ramirez rolled into one, it’s time to rejoice a little bit. This kid is for real and he might be the game’s finest player at the moment.
The best part about his one year anniversary is it signifies that he’s just getting started. Viva La Puig!
Yasiel Puig is doing his best to turn this into the comprehensive Yasiel Puig Blog.
The other night in the 6th inning in Los Angeles he did something else that caught my attention, and I liked it. Homer Bailey had his ‘A-game’ and was dealing high 90′s fastballs. The Dodgers trailed 3-1 and he buzzed an 0-1 pitch up and in at 96 MPH on Puig. Puig seemed to scowl back at Bailey; he didn’t like it one bit.
I said to myself that this was either going to do one of two things – it would serve to rile up the big fucker and take him mentally out of the rest of the at-bat; or it was going to do just enough to get him angry and summon some focus.
What followed on the next pitch was some type of 87 MPH pitch right down the middle, and Puig hit it a ton and out to right-center. Bat-flip, and another kill. It was Puig’s 11th home run on the season. The Reds would win the game, hanging on to defeat Clayton Kershaw 3-2; but Puig again provided anyone watching with the game’s signature moment.
You have to love Homer Bailey’s expression after the homer stops flying. He’s like ‘aw shit, he got me’. On this same evening I read about Puig’s historic start over at Fangraphs.
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.
Yasiel Puig’s tour of destruction has bled into the state of New York, namely; Queens.
Last night, he hit a rocket home run off some poor rookie with a last name that is spelled weird. He bat flipped the shit out of him and then rounded the bases. It was his 10th home run of the young season.
The numbers are piling up rather quickly for the Cuban phenom. He’s doing something basically on a nightly basis that just makes you saw ‘OMG’. His home run last night could have been considered the difference, the Dodgers hung on to a 4-3 win.
As I write this, Charlie Steiner just called him ‘the biggest star in baseball’ and added ‘you simply can’t take your eyes off him’. Pretty accurate.
And arriving on-time was this piece from the New York Times; talking about Puig entertaining his fans and detractors alike. And just wait until you see the catch he made in right field tonight. Unbelievable ballplayer.
I told a good friend just yesterday that it seems like every single night, Yasiel Puig has a ‘holy shit’ moment he provides all of us observers with.
Most of the time when you talk about ‘must see TV’ and baseball you’re talking about a pitcher that has lights-out stuff or one of the top four or five talents around the game if it’s an offensive player. Puig is entering that territory, and by summer it could be pretty trivial to even conceive the simple thought.
He’s currently in the middle of a 12-game hitting streak, the longest of his big league career. During that streak he’s hit .404 with an OPS of 1.194. He’s hit four home runs and driven in 15 during that streak.
Here are a few of those moments you might have sadly missed, the first being his home run from Sunday; brandished with a pink Mother’s Day bat. This is the one he invariably ‘hit the piss out of’:
Tim Hudson has a different opinion of Yasiel Puig’s bat flip: “He hit the piss out of it, so I probably would’ve flipped it too.”
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) May 12, 2014
This one was from last night. This one Vin Scully said was ‘Magic’. I was watching it live, and it gave the slumping Dodgers a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. The crowd exploded as it landed in those yellow bleachers in left-center. It’s what I would qualify as a monster bomb, just listen to the scene out there when he connects:
And tonight, Yasiel Puig has his first bobblehead night. Here it is in all of it’s glory, with the City of Angels resting so peacefully behind it:
This is really only the beginning. Some guys you watch each night and you see that there’s a perceived ceiling. You know no matter how hot they get during points and what great qualities they possess, they are who they are and at some point they’ll resort back to being that same player. We’ve had almost a year of Yasiel Puig now, and I’m not sure it’s possible to put a ceiling on him. No one really knows at this point. It’s ‘undefined’, still playing itself out with each exciting act.
With all the horrid injuries and Tommy John surgeries so far this off season and first month-plus, it’s easy to find a reason to get down about the game. This is one of those things we’re being gifted with as fans each night, and it’s important to recognize the star while it’s burning.
There were some late-night Friday firewords out at Chavez Ravine last evening, and I was lucky enough to catch it live. Yasiel Puig continues to be one of the most electrifying watches in the sport. And Madison Bumgarner is a chippy crybaby.
Puig is one of those talents that still manages to do something each night, even if an elite talent is on the mound and on top of their game (San Francisco won the game 3-1). He’s on the cusp of entering that next dimension in the sport right now – if you watch him night over night he’s really been on fire lately and having great at bats. I am glad I caught this part of the game:
I like what our friendly neighborhood Puig did here; notice that Bumgarner was quite the sportsman when he quick-pitched Puig to take an easy strike on his opponent. All is fair and well. When Puig steps back in the box and gets all of a Bumgarner fastball up in the zone and then flips his bat and puts his head down (it’s just his thing, relax) Bumgarner suddenly takes exception to another aspect that is simply part of the game.
If you need some GIFs of the event, head over here.
My best advice to Bumgarner would be if you don’t like that someone acknowledges that it feels good to hit one 430 feet off you, get him out next time around.
Yasiel Puig has really been something to marvel at lately. He got six hits on Thursday, stole a couple of bags last night, and then tonight he hit a monster home run in Miami that helped the Dodgers sneak by those tricky Marlins 9-7 in 11 innings.
Monster bomb by Yasiel Puig off a Jacob Turner hanging breaking ball. It lands in Giancarlo territory, way out over The Clevelander.
Puig might make his gaffes in the field and have a peanut for a brain, but you can’t sit here and tell me he’s not one of the most fun players in the big leagues in the same way that Manny Ramirez was fun. You know you don’t change your channel when he’s about to come to the plate and you definitely don’t leave the room. We’re all about guys like that.
And the bat flip is really a thing. It’s not going anywhere. Griffey had his thing when he homered, you can picture it in your head right now as you read these words. It was kind of ‘pimping’ a homer. Some of the other icons in the game had their thing when they homered (Sammy’s hop, McGwire’s bat toss, Bonds pimp job), why can’t the bat flip be Puig’s thing when he gets into one?
I rolled with Yasiel Puig (and Adrian Gonzalez) with a lot of confidence in yesterday’s Daily Fantasy $100,000 Big Score on DraftStreet. I had a feeling all week that late in the night, Yasiel Puig was going to do something big to help me. He profiles as that kind of player. My spider senses were partially correct:
Look at that swing of beauty. Look at where that ball lands. It’s not a moonshot, but it was to a decent part of those yellow bleacher in right-center. Puig has underrated power. I just love watching this guy play. You just knew with a guy out there like Jeremy Lyles (and Lyles has handled himself decently this year) something like this was bound to happen.
The Dodgers would lose the game 5-4 in 11 innings. They’re in a bit of a slide losing four of their last five at home.
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At bat #1 vs. RHP Collmenter: (Following Gonzalez double) Takes 87 fastball up and in for a ball. Takes 87 fastball catcher set up inside for a strike. Fouls away 87 fastball middle to outside – looked as if he did not get his arms fully extended on this pitch down the middle. Check swing on 87 fastball high. Fouls 88 middle fastball straight back. Swing and a miss (strikes out) on an 88 fastball away off the outside corner.
Playing Right Field, LHB Montero hits a ball down the line, Puig fields the ball along the RF wall, short crowhop and short arm throw arrives at second base in time to nail the slow footed Montero for the assist.
At bat #2 vs. RHP Collmenter: First pitch 88 fastball down in the zone hits a fly ball to medium range center field for a fly-out.
At bat #3 vs. RHP Collmenter: (Following Gonzalez Intentional walk) 87 fastball low and inside called strike. 88 fastball middle of the plate, hits 3-run home run on a line drive over the left-center field wall.