God knows (as does His servant Casey Stengel) that I had better things to write about on the day after Opening Days. Things like Nationals’ shortstop Ian Desmond calling second baseman Dan Uggla (yes, Virginia, that Dan Uggla) off a by-the-book popup, dropping the ball, allowing the Mets first and second, leading to Lucas Duda busting up Max Scherzer’s no-hit bid with the two run single that made the difference in the Mets’ win.
“Late success,” Sandy Koufax once mused, “is quieter.” I’m not entirely convinced it’s true in Homer Bailey’s case, since he’s gone from a seventh-overall 2004 draft pick to a shaky major league beginning despite the ballyhoo to standing on top of the world, or at least the PNC Park mound with his Cincinnati Reds owning the National League Central, and himself proving, at long enough last, he belonged in any serious Reds rotation plans.
Baseball and the professoriat have never been strangers, and never will be. When they have met, the net results have offered delight and instruction at once. Most of the time. They have also produced intriguing consequences among the professoriat, not the least of which involved one (A. Bartlett Giamatti, Yale scholar—of Dante—and president in due course) becoming baseball’s commissioner, albeit too ill-fated, too soon.
Sean Rodriguez could only look as strike three dropped in on him, the second consecutive strike at which he looked after opening with two balls and swinging and missing on the third pitch of the sequence, a nasty breaking ball that was nothing compared to what dropped in on him for the finish.
Felix Hernandez could only wonder if he was really there, when this happened to him, after opening all three Tampa Bay batters he faced in the ninth with ball one, then putting on a display of finishing what he started at a level once thought the exclusive domain of a Sandy Koufax. Maybe that was why, after he dropped strike three in on Rodriguez, he raised his arms as high as he could.