Saturday, July 31, 2004

Standings (July 31) 

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm going to do this until the wild card standings are posted on a regular basis in the local paper...

National League

St. Louis 66-36 *
Los Angeles 60-42 *
San Diego 57-46 WC
Atlanta 56-46 * 0.5
Chicago 56-47 1.0
San Francisco 56-49 2.0
Florida 52-51 5.0
Philadelphia 52-51 5.0
Houston 51-51 5.5

American League

New York 64-38 *
Texas 57-44 *
Minnesota 57-45 *
Oakland 57-45 WC
Boston 56-45 0.5
Anaheim 55-48 2.5
Chicago 52-48 4.0
Cleveland 53-50 4.5

Almost Over 

Yeah, yeah, Randy Johnson lost 4-1 to the Rockies last night. It's hard to
complain too much about Johnson giving up 4 runs in Coors Field... the
offense scoring 1 run is much worse. This power failure from the offense
over the past month or so has been pretty pathetic.

I haven't checked the web or the radio so I don't know if the proposed deals
for Finley and Johnson went through, so here's my initial thoughts:

-- Finley for OF Jayson Werth and pitcher Bill Murphy: Hey, I'd do a trade
for Finley if all we got back were 4 box seats and a parking pass at Dodger
Stadium. These appear to be two actual ballplayers who, at the very least,
could compete for spots this year and next. I don't know why this deal
wasn't finalized yesterday.
-- Johnson for pitchers Brad Penny and Edwin Jackson: I'm not sure how I
feel about this, but I can't quite figure out why the Dodgers would do it --
they lose one pitcher on net, they take on extra salaries when Rob at 6-4-2
has a bunch of links on how McCourt seems to be a little shaky financially,
and it's not guaranteed that Johnson will be any better than Penny next
year. I guess it's one of those "win now or else" moves by McCourt and
DePodesta in hopes that it will goose attendance this year and next.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Used Cars or Poker? 

Joe Garagiola, Jr. -- used car salesman or stone cold poker player?

[Scene: A used-car dealership]

Joe, a salesman: What can I do for you, sir?
Brian, a customer: I'd like a car, please.  Top of the line!
Joe: I've got an excellent model right here.  One of the best two or three in the league, I mean, industry this year.  We can give you an excellent 15-month lease.
Brian: Oh, that sounds just like what I need.  How much?
Joe: Well, quality always costs a little more, but it's worth it.
Brian: OK.  Let's see, I've got about $21 in my wallet -- I've heard that the community has been a little rough on you this year and you haven't done much.  You could certainly use the money.
Joe: C'mon!  Rumors of my financial ruin are greatly exaggerated.  I want to sell the car... to you!
Brian: Well, OK.  I've got a couple hundred bucks at home.  That's a total of $221 in cash money.
Joe: You have got to be kidding me.  Best model going, and you want to pay me $221.  Stop wasting my time.  [Starts walking away.]
Brian: Well, I guess that my '93 Oldsmobile Cutlass still has a few good miles on it.  Thanks for your time...
Joe: [Turns around.]   Hey, wait a minute...

[End scene.]

So now, what, two, three days after a raft of articles speculating that the exploding of the D-Backs was nigh, we all think nothing's going to happen?  As far as I can tell, the reason for the sudden shift in the Republic's coverage comes down to two things:
1) No trade has happened
2) Brian Cashman is quoted as saying "I don't see us doing anything.  It's not due to lack of effort."

Look, Brian Cashman is not stupid.  He's walking away from a deal for Randy Johnson he views as too expensive.  Or is he?  Is he just bluffing?

Of course he's bluffing.  He's going to be working until 1 PM tomorrow to get this trade done.  He's not a used-car customer, he's a poker player, as is every other General Manager.

Peter Gammons reported the rumor that Kris Benson would go to the Mets, sending Ty Wiggington to the Pirates, with the White Sox sending a prospect to the Pirates too.  Now this is just a rumor, but is it one started by the White Sox, making them look so desperate to keep Kris Benson away for the Twins that they're doing everything short of giving the Pirates the free set of steak knives?

Over the past couple days, my thinking regarding the trade situation has split into two: Johnson, and everyone else.
1) Johnson: After getting pounded by the press and fans for the Schilling trade (both at the time and with 20/20 hindsight), the safe choice for Joe is to keep Johnson.  Look, he would be pilloried for doing the deal that's been rumored.  Unless you get something of actual value, forget it, don't do the deal.  Walk away.
2) Everybody else: Finley, Bautista, Alomar -- they're all free agents, even if all you get is a AA prospect, fine by me.  I don't want to say I'll be disappointed or angry if they're in a D-Backs uniform Saturday night, but while with Johnson I want to hold out for a deal that's worthwhile, I don't mind selling these players short.  I would include Hillenbrand in this group, but I do think there's something to be said for keeping him until you decide whether or not you resign Sexson.

For those people who think nothing will happen in the next day or so, just remember about the activity-inducing effect of a deadline.  By this time tomorrow, there are going to be tons of deals to talk about.

By the way, in my rush yesterdayto write about yesterday's game, I got the score wrong.  6-4 D-Backs, not 6-3.  Oops.

Finally, I don't know to handle this, but Bob McManaman's puff piece on Luis Gonzalez in today's Republic included this incident.

"Johnson bristled recently when he was asked how much guts Gonzalez has shown for rying to play out the season with a halfway torn ligament in his throwing elbow.  'Everybody in here has guts,' Johnson said, immediately walking away and defusing an interview before it ever got a chance to start.  'Look, I don't even know what his whole situation is with his surgery or whatever so I really have no comment on it.'"

Who knows what extenuating circumstances might have explained Johnson's hair-trigger response, but it ain't good to have those guys still ticked off at each other.

Divisional/Wild Card Standings 

Until my local newspaper starts printing wild card standings on a regular basis, I'm going to try to provide daily (or almost daily) wild card updates...  For now, I'm going to set an arbitrary rule that you need to be no more than 6 games behind the wild card leader to be listed.

(* means divisional leader, numbers to right are record and, for wild card contestants, games behind wild card leader)

National League

St. Louis  65-36 *
Los Angeles 59-42 *
San Diego 57-45 WC
Atlanta 55-46 *
San Francisco 56-48 2.0
Chicago 55-47 2.0
Florida 52-50 5.0
Philadelphia 52-50 5.0
Houston 51-51 6.0

Big weekend series (in order, most important first): Los Angeles @ San Diego, St. Louis @ San Francisco, Philly @ Chicago

American League

New York 63-38 *
Oakland 57-44 *
Minnesota 57-44 *
Texas 56-44 WC
Boston 55-45 1.0
Anaheim 54-48 3.0
Chicago 52-47 3.5
Cleveland 52-50 5.0

Big weekend series: Oakland @ Texas (in progress), Boston @ Minnesota

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The D-Backs Have Split A Series! The D-Backs Have Split A Series! 

OK, it's not quite like the Giants winning the pennant, but after the past month or so, it feels something like that.

This afternoon's 6-4 D-Backs victory over the Astros was not an easy game to watch -- you know, where the offense jumps out to a huge lead and the pitching staff throws a 3-hitter with no walks.  Of course, we've had, what, maybe a couple of those this year?  No, I always had the feeling that we were a couple pitches away from getting blown out by the Astros.

In the first inning, for example, after being staked to a 3-run lead, Lance Cormier promptly:
1) gave up a double to Biggio
2) threw a wild pitch, sending Biggio to 3rd
3) walked Everett
4) didn't bother holding Everett to the bag, allowing him to steal 2nd easily.

All of a sudden, it's runners on 2nd and 3rd, nobody out, and Carlos Beltran striding to the plate.  We can all pick our separate D-Back pitching collapses stuck in our memory, and this appeared to be making a place for itself in mine.

And then, Cormier got out of it.  1 run scored, and the D-Backs were up 3-1.

It stayed that way until the 5th inning when Tracy got a two-out double.  Gonzalez tapped an easy ground ball to shortstop Everett and... inexplicably bounced it to first, and making Gonzo safe at first.  Tracy, in a fine bit of baserunning he must have learned from a Diamondbacks Training Camp DVD, never stopped running from second and scored easily.

Oh my goodness!  A heads up play!  Sensible hustle by Tracy!  I nearly fainted.

Well, then Hillenbrand hit a homerun, so it was all for nought really, but it was still nice to see.

Cormier wiggled out of another jam in the bottom of the 5th, giving up 2 more runs (it could have been much, much worse without a double-play ball).

Then, in the 6th, Cormier showed that he had clearly not been in the training room the day Chad Tracy watched the D-Backs Training Camp DVD over and over because he almost got thrown out on a single to right field.  At first base.  Then, when he was on 2nd with two outs, and there was a single to right field, he ran around 3rd and was, well, he looked surprised to see the 3rd base coach there.

I mock Lance, but whether it was his skill or his luck, he got out of 6 innings with giving up just 3 runs and notching his first major league victory -- congratulations to him.  Koplove pitched 2 excellent innings in relief.  Aquino looked OK, though giving up the 2-out homerun to Biggio then going 3-0 on Everett was a bad, bad thing for a D-Backs reliever to do a D-Backs blogger.  He got Everett to pop up, though, and that was that.

The Diamondbacks got a split in the series.  They go into Colorado with Johnson and Webb pitching (I don't expect Johnson to be traded before tomorrow) and an actual chance to have a winning record on a road trip.

The Astros, well, they're playing just well enough to not trade anybody they probably should trade (e.g., Beltran, Kent).  But this team isn't going anywhere.  Next year could be a long, long year in Houston.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to do my happy dance.

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch... 

It occurred to me yesterday that once the trade deadline passes on Saturday, national interest in the D-Backs will subside to a standstill.  This is not uncommon; the D-Backs have never been of tremendous national interest anyway, and certainly not this season.  If the initials "R" and "J" aren't found in the first paragraph of a D-Back story, it will attract almost no attention.

I realize this is an obvious statement, but as much as this trade talk has wearied me (and, frankly, has done so since the beginning of July), I recognize now that this is the last 3 or 4 days that most people will care about the D-Backs this season, save when their team is taking on Arizona and winning 2 out of 3 from the D-Backs will be a slight disappointment and losing a series will be a major disaster.

So it's been harder than ever to focus on the actual games.  Last night's game, a 6-1 D-Backs loss to the Astros, was no different than many games (weak starting pitching, weak offense) with the exception of a relatively good performance by the relief staff -- 4 innings, 3 hits, no walks, and no runs by Dessens, Choate, and Fetters.  Now, the aggrieved fan in me wonders why Choate and Fetters could combine for 2 hits and no walks in 2 innings last night, while giving up 3 runs in Sunday afternoon's game, messing up Randy's last outing, but I'm trying to retain my eqanimity.

If I'm going to complain about anything, it would be why Fossum was pulled after 4 innings.  I realize that his turn in the batting order was coming up in the top of the 5th, but it's not like it was a close game -- he'd given up all 6 runs already.  He'd pitched a perfect 4th inning.  If the game was already lost, why not let Fossum see if he could work another 2 or 3 innings?  The argument that you need to protect young pitchers' psyches (which I'm not sure I buy anyway) doesn't apply in this case.

"Everybody wants to win.  [Randy Johnson is] a tremendous pitcher.  He's one of the guys I've said I will pay to watch at any time.  I enjoy watching him.  But he sure can give a lot of exprience to those young players over there -- if they're paying attention." -- Roger Clemens, quoted in the 7/29/04 Arizona Republic

Roger Clemens is:
a) is being honest
b) wants to keep the Astros in the wild card race
c) hates his former employers, the Yankees
d) all of the above

You can never tell the motivation behind people's comments.  Unlike "persons familiar with the situation," athletes are usually willing to be quoted on the record.  But what's the motivation?  Not that Randy would pay much heed to Roger's comments, but the fact that the Astros are still only 5 games behind the Padres for the NL wild card slot and the fact that the Yankees are hardly a sure thing can't be entirely ignored.

The Republic also reports that D-Backs scout Bryan Lambe attended the Red Sox game on Wednesday; with Trot Nixon possibly going on the DL, Danny Bautista could be a potential pickup for the Red Sox.  The Dodgers and San Diego are the contenders for Steve Finley.  The Dodgers denied any Johnson-Lo Duca deal.

There was some discussion on El Lefty Malo -- http://leftymalo.blogspot.com -- about a rumored Bautista-Aardsman (AAA pitcher) deal.

What in the world will we talk about Sunday?

If you haven't already, check out the discussion on yesterday's "Proposal" -- don't miss out on the first D-Backs' blogging event!

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

A Proposal 

Jim over at But It's a DRY Heat has commented a few times on how other
bloggers' entries help him fill in some mental picture he has of each of us.

Well, I propose we do something about it.

I hereby suggest that we hold the first (annual? ever?) D-Back Blogging
Confab (name subject to change) at a Diamondbacks game here in the last
couple months of the season. We pick a game that works, schedule-wise (at
least for the 4 D-Back bloggers operating out of the greater Phoenix
metropolitan area), and agree to meet and attend a D-Backs game as a group.
Other readers are welcome to join us (Stephen, over at Veteran Presence,
perhaps?), and we can even try giving Levski a call. (William, over at Baby
Backs, I think the phone bill for a call with you is probably a bit too

I think the conversation would be good, the catcalling high, and if things
get boring, we can play Diamondback Bingo (see previous entry).

Here are the remaining home games (afternoon games with a *):

-- August
Florida: 3, 4, 5* (t-th)
Atlanta: 6, 7*, 8* (f-su)
Pittsburgh: 16, 17, 18 (t-th)
Cincy: 20, 21, 22* (f-su)
Los Angeles: 31 (t)

-- September
Los Angeles: 1, 2 (w-th)
San Francisco: 10, 11, 12 (f-su) -- maybe that Sunday game is actually at
night. Not positive.
Colorado: 13, 14, 15, 16* (m-th)
Milwaukee: 27, 28, 29* (m-w)
San Diego: 1, 2, 3* (f-su)

So, how about it? Anyone interested? If so, post available (or
non-available) games below.

D-Backs Bingo! 

OK. 60 games to go, and the only thing left for D-Backs' bloggers and fans
to do while watching actual games (as opposed to listening to stupid trade
rumors) is to see if they'll go above .500 the rest of the way, thereby
avoiding 100 losses.

Or is it?

Random Fandom proudly presents...


The rules are simple:
1. Take a piece of paper, draw a large square, and bisect (quantsect?)
it... oh, turn it into a 5 x 5 square.
2. Fill in the squares with the 25 events listed below. (I recommend
picking a starting square at random, then picking a starting number at
random, then writing the 25 events in order, left to right, top to bottom,
starting over at the left or top as appropriate. "Random" generators aren't
really random, so I recommend drawing numbers out of a well-worn and
sweat-stained D-Backs baseball cap.)
3. Watch the game, marking off events on your board as they happen.
4. The first person who gets 5 in a row, horizontally, vertically, or
diagonally, stands up, and shouts "Wait 'til 2006!," wins.

Here, then, are the 25 events:

1. D-Backs pitcher walks a batter on 4 pitches (non-intentional)
2. D-Backs pitcher gives up homerun
3. D-Backs pitcher gives up double, triple, or homerun with runners on base
4. D-Backs pitcher gives up run with two outs
5. D-Backs pitcher exits game with more walks than strikeouts
6. D-Backs pitcher averages more than 18 pitches per inning (note: must
pitch at least 2/3 of inning to qualify
7. D-Backs starting pitcher fails to make it out of the 4th inning
8. D-Backs relief pitcher lets inherited runners score
9. D-Backs relief pitcher lets his own runners score
10. D-Backs relief pitcher charged with blown save
11. D-Backs hitter swings at first pitch (OK, this is a gimme)
12. D-Backs hitter swings at first pitch after pitcher walks previous
13. D-Backs hitter hits into double play
14. D-Backs hitter hits into double play with runners in scoring position
15. D-Backs hitter fails to get ball out of infield with runners in scoring
16. D-Backs hitter lays down a sacrifice bunt when down by more than 1 run
17. D-Backs hitter strikes out with runners in scoring position
18. D-Backs pinch hitter gets an actual hit
19. D-Backs runner gets thrown out trying to take an extra base on a hit
20. D-Backs runner gets thrown out trying to steal a base
21. D-Backs fielder commits an error
22. D-Backs fielder committs an error that is eventually scores an unearned
23. D-Backs batter committs a passed ball/wild pitch (note: Sparks N/A)
24. D-Backs manager pulls a pitcher with less than 120 pitches and 3 runs
or less before starting the 8th inning
25. D-Backs manager brings in a lefty for a pure lefty-lefty matchup

That's it! The game is easy to play, but not so easy to win.

Just like the D-Backs' approach this year.

At Last! 

[Originally sent by e-mail Tuesday morning, but never posted for some
inexplicable reason. Here it is for the record.]

Maybe it's a good thing the D-Backs have a 4-game series at Houston.
Beating the Astros 4-1 in Houston on Monday after suffering through the 0-11
homestand came as welcome relief. Brandon Webb struggled with his control,
issuing 4 walks, but also induced 12 ground-ball outs over 7 1/3 innings.
Scott Hairston, 4-for-4 with a homerun. Gonzo hit a homerun, going
back-to-back in the 1st inning with Hairston.

And, oh my goodness, the D-Backs actually scored insurance runs in the top
of the 9th.

And, wonder of wonders, Greg Aquino retired the side in the 9th after
Stephen Randolph retired two batters with 4 pitches in the 8th. Actual
"relief" work by the relievers.

I'm not sure why you keep Brandon Webb in the game in the 8th inning after
having already thrown about 120 pitches (since it was OK to pull Randy
Johnson after 114 pitches in arid air-conditioned comfort the day before),
but instead of getting punished for doing the right thing (a la Johnson),
Pedrique gets rewarded for doing the wrong thing and gets the win.


No real new news on the trade front. Mark Gonzales in the Republic argues
that the "scales appear to be tipping in favor of a [Randy Johnson] trade."
This, on the basis of, literally, a fist pump and tipped cap from Johnson on
Sunday and the following quotation by D-Back scout Bryan Lambe in the New
York Times:

"The [Yankees prospects] I more or less wrote up, yes, they would definitely
help. They wouldn't just help the Diamondbacks, they'd help every
organization. But it's a matter of what they would be giving up, to a
certain extent, the face of the Diamondbacks right now. I don't know what
their thinking is."

The fact that this quote is used as an indication that the "scales are
tipping" can mean one of the following:

1. The trade front is really, really, really slow.
2. Gonzales knows something he can't print, and is using this (quote) as an
excuse to lay the groundwork for the trade.
3. The Republic is engaging in the same rumor-mongering the New York papers
have been engaging in for weeks now.

I'm not saying that the scales aren't actually tipping; I'm not saying
Johnson won't actually be traded. I'm just saying that just because a
D-Back scout is quoted as saying that the Yankees prospects don't completely
suck doesn't mean that the D-Backs are ready to trade Johnson (please see
second sentence in Lambe quote above).


That can't be good... Brandon Villafuerte, released from what is arguably
the worst relief staff in the majors. By my reckoning, that means there are
quite a few others on the staff who should be released soon as well.

Facts And Rumors 

Fact:  The D-Backs lost 10-3 to the Astros Tuesday night.
Rumor:  One of Randy Johnson's agents (one of?  he has more than one?) had the following exchange with D-Backs GM Joe Garagiola Jr.:

"If you don't trade him to the Yankees, you're going to have one unhappy player," [Randy Johnson agent] Barry Meister said.

"And how would I tell the difference?" Garagiola Jr. responded.

This exchange was reported in this story (minor registration required) -- http://www.nj.com/sports/ledger/index.ssf?/base/sports-2/10909159158120.xml -- in Tuesday's Newark Star Ledger and recounted in Dan Bickley's column today for the Arizona Republic.

But, as Bickley points out, neither Garagiola nor Meister returned phone calls from the Ledger yesterday and Garagiola refused to comment to the East Valley Tribune.

So we have one source -- who wasn't involved in the conversation -- and all of a sudden Randy is threatening to upset the apple cart?

Again, as I've said many times here, I'm not saying that these stories aren't true.  They very well could be.  But to use an unverified source as the source for the article borders on the ridiculous.

(Still, the quotes pulled in today's article -- http://www.nj.com/sports/ledger/index.ssf?/base/sports-2/1091005087292450.xml -- from an interview with Johnson in this week's Sports Illustrated do give a D-Backs fan pause.  "I've got more value for a winning team. Do I want to leave? No. I've enjoyed it here. But the reason I've enjoyed it is we've been winning. This team was put together to win in a four- or five-year window, and that window is closed. This team is going through a major transformation. If I'm guilty of anything, it's wanting to win. The only thing I want is to win.")

Fact: Steve Finley won't accept a trade to an East Coast team.
Rumor:  Edgar Gonzalez and Lance Cormier will "get the ball every five days," according to Al Pedrique.

In other words, the Finley to Philly move I'd speculated on so long ago won't happen.  But the Giants, Padres, and the Dodgers remain in the mix, at least for this season.

But after getting shelled once more, one wonders how long Gonzalez will get to pitch.  Believe you me, I'm glad that they're getting a chance.  But at some point, with Gonzalez having a 12.79 ERA, you have to wonder when it'll be some other young pitcher's turn to show what he can do.  Still, with Sparks issuing 3 earned runs in 3 innings, it seems like he's not getting back in.

Fact:  Coming up later today, an exciting new way to watch D-Backs baseball, and a proposal...

Monday, July 26, 2004

Thirst Busted But Not Quenched 

Items Picked Up At Sunday's 3-2 D-Backs Loss

1. Two (2) Coupons (1 subsequently lost) for a free 44-Oz. ThirstBuster,
given out each time the Diamondbacks strike out 12 or more opponents at a
home game
2. One (1) Coupon for a free round of miniature golf at Castles 'N'
3. The knowledge that one of my friends, Andy, was at the only no-hitter in
BOB's history, back in 1999 (?) thrown by the Cardinals' Jose Jimenez
against, yes, Randy Johnson.
4. A bunch of useless Diamondbackers' coupons.

It was 3 adults and 5 kids ages 2 through 6 that trudged up the steps to row
20 or so of section 302 in the 4th inning of yesterday's game. We decided
it would be better to get to the game late in hopes that the kids would last
through the rest of the game so that they could run the bases at game's end.
(At the end of Sunday home games, kids are allowed to run once around the

The kids had earned free tickets through a "Read Your Way To The Ballpark"
promotion. The adults had to pay the $8, though in retrospect, we probably
could've easily purchased the $1 seats and just moved over. We get to our
seats and paid attention as best as we could given the constant motion of
our kids and, shortly, their incessant demands for food, preferably food
high in sugar content. (The selection for my daughter and I? M&M

It was not hard to notice, even from the depths of the right-field upper
deck, that Randy Johnson was fired up and pitching well. Sure, he was
giving up hits, but striking out everyone else, and the crowd gave the
umpire a hard time every time a 2-strike pitch was called a ball.

Oh, yeah, and Jason Jennings pitched no-hit ball through 5 1/3 innings.

A close, tight game. Johnson pitched 14 strikeouts, shutting out the
Rockies through 8 innings. Realizing that the 9-slot was due to lead off
the bottom of the inning, the crowd gave a nice, mostly-standing ovation for
Randy, leading him to tip his cap, and my friend Bill to say, "Does he know
something we don't?"

The 9th inning bullpen collapse, well... we saw it coming, perhaps. We saw
Fetters warming up, and we said...

"Fetters, he's entertaining to watch."

"He sucks, but he's entertaining."

Walk, then in comes Randy Choate, who, although I thought he was awful at
the beginning of the season (and he was), had perhaps improved to merely
poor. Brought in to face lefty Jeromy Burnitz, who was 0-for-4 against
Choate lifetime. Double. Then, after a fielder's choice scored Castilla
and Choate gave up a second walk, he gave up a double to Todd Helton.
Choate was booed several times during the inning, and I could've sworn I saw
him tip his cap as he left the field after mercilessly getting the third

And, of course, the offense couldn't do anything (though at least they
scored) in the bottom of the inning. Game over. Another loss.

14 strikeouts for Randy. One for each loss in this latest streak.

At the game, I'd hoped -- as I always hope each time I go to the ballpark --
to see history. Another 20-strikeout game, perhaps. Maybe a no-hitter.
Instead, all I saw was the Diamondbacks become the first team to go 0-11 on
a homestand.

I'm glad I saw Randy pitch. And I'm not sure that his reported calm in the
locker room following the game (and his tip of the cap) means that he's
bound to be traded. (Maybe he's learned to accept this season for what it
is -- a disaster.) I guess we'll have to see. (Maybe some other time I'll
rip Dan Bickley for his comment in his column today that Randy Johnson's
decision to join the Diamondbacks may have cost Johnson a shot at 300 wins
in his career.)

But I had fun and my daughter had fun. After the game -- yes, she lasted
the rest of the game -- she ran the bases, though she missed every single
bag except home plate, which she jumped on a few times as if she'd hit a
walk-off homerun. And what else can you ask for on a Sunday afternoon?


One other note. In yesterday's column, I noted the D-Backs' lack of power
since July 9. The first transformer fire was actually July 4. So starting
July 5, the D-Backs have scored 45 runs in 17 games, or about 2.6 runs per


No "Three Weeks, Three Questions" today, because the weeks are too
depressing to contemplate and the questions would all be variations of "What
next?" By next Monday we should have some things to talk about, if not

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Two Headaches for the Price of One 

I'd like to thank the D-Backs for saving me some work Friday and Saturday

"The D-Backs lost 8-2 to the Rockies Friday/Saturday night as pitcher Casey
Fossum/Lance Cormier faded late after pitching strong early and the D-Back
offense sputtered yet again."

See? I only had to post once.

I guess there were some differences -- Fossum looked really good for about 6
1/3 innings -- a no-hitter, in fact. (It was odd to see a D-Back starter --
even Randy Johnson, who gets pulled by Pedrique far too early thus far --
get into the 8th inning.) Cormier did not pitch great, but at least
improved on his first performance. Pedrique seemed to imply that Cormier
was going to get several more starts, but he also said that with Edgar
Gonzalez (and Brenly said that with others), so I'm not sure how much to
trust that comment.

I've decided that the APS transformer fire is to blame not only for the loss
of electrical power but also for the loss of D-Back offensive power. After
July 9th (the date of the first of two APS transformer fires), the D-Backs
have scored just 28 runs in 12 games, or just 2.3 runs per game. That
transformer can't get here fast enough.

Well, I'm going to the game this afternoon. Last chance to see Gonzo in
action in person this year, could be the final chances for Johnson, Finley
and who knows who else. Should be fun. (And, yes, I say this about seeing
a team with 13-game losing streak.)