MLBlogosphere said that I was on a doubleheader rant. I saw that and promised to turn my doubleheader into a tripleheader after work. So here is part three.
First a correction to Part Two: Eric Byrnes is lifetime 3-9 against Bronson Arroyo, not 3-3. What IS 3-3 is that all three of those hits are doubles. I realize that I have probably made the same mistake in recent comments on other blogs, so if you come across it, remember Byrnes is 3-9 lifetime against Arroyo, all three hits being two-baggers.
As both an honest person and a journalist with high standards, I strive for accuracy and I correct my mistakes when I find them, and here all the more-so now that a California appellate court ruled Friday that bloggers have the same rights to keep their sources confidential as traditional journalists. Not that I have any sources here to keep confidential. And not that I need a California court to tell me what I already know, i.e. that bloggers are journalists. But it’s nice to know that a California appellate court sees the issue as I do. To put it as Kurt Opsahl, attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, did: "Does Walter Cronkite stop being a journalist if he blogs for the Huffington Post? What makes a journalist a journalist is not the format. If you’re engaged in journalism, you’re a journalist. You have to look beyond the medium selected."
<rant mode on> The above-mentioned Byrnes stat did not change today because Platoon Sergeant Bob "Mechanical Mel" Melvin started Jeff DaVanon in center today instead of Byrnes, to my shock and dismay. I had been looking forward all week to this confrontation. Ask Red Sox Chick, she will even tell you that I was interesting in liveblogging this game with her, seeing as she is a big Arroyo fan. Now, according to the Cincy announcers who were broadcasting the game (which I turned off after DaVanon’s first AB to pay more attention to the Indy 500), DaVanon is .375 lifetime vs. Arroyo. Admittedly, .375 is a bit better than .333. But consider also that Byrnes is currently batting .322 (to DaVanon’s .281 entering today’s game), and riding an 11-game hitting streak.
Now you know why I was so fried this morning that I made the mistake I did. When Melvin wants to start the switch-hitting DaVanon in order to play the Lefty-Righty match-up game, there is nothing Byrnesie can do to make it otherwise, because the issue is not what he is doing but what he is. If Byrnes had been 0-9 against Arroyo, I could understand it. But .333 with three doubles? And Byrnesie high on this year’s NL Doubles list and due for another two-bagger? None of us saw this benching coming, including the folks at MLB.com who highlighted the game on their front panel this morning with a picture of Byrnes, and then had to change it to Shawn Green, who actually was starting.
It reminded me today of an opera theatre audition I did at a summer music festival in Alaska over ten years ago. Despite giving an audition talked about through the two weeks of the Festival, there was no part for me. And I was the only woman in the group I was hanging out with who didn’t get some sort of role. (I was hanging out with sopranos and I’m a mezzo). When I mentioned it, one of the coaches mentioned that another mezzo had only two lines, and I said, "It’s not about being a star. It’s about being included." And grabbing my own throat, I said, "I can’t change this."
I suppose that the "being included" part is DaVanon’s line this year, but I would suggest it fits Byrnesie too. In 2004, he appeared in 143 games. I now wonder if he will appear in that many this year, even though he’s supposed to be the everday CF. He’s a pure righthander. He’s not going to change that. And he’s hitting right-handed pitchers better now than he did last year. Heck, he’s doing everything way better now than he did last year! But I can picture the poltergeist Ken Macha (A’s manager and noisome spirit who I don’t think much likes Byrnes) whispering in Melvin’s ear about Byrnes having trouble with righties. And I can picture that whisper overriding what Melvin’s eyes, and Byrnes’ history with Arroyo, are showing him now.
And it’s not like I have anything against DaVanon, though I will admit to some schadenfreude when he doesn’t do well in these situations. It’s just that I have this strong feeling that 95% of DaVanon’s starts are going to come at Byrnesie’s expense, despite DaVanon’s ability to play all three outfield positions and the early claim that he would give all three outfielders some days off. And I don’t like that feeling one sock-darned bit!
BTW, righthanded rookie 1B Conor Jackson started, and he did quite well, going 2-3 with 1 BB, 1 RBI and 1 R. A lesson in not needing to be slavish to percentages? (I still haven’t forgotten the IBB to the 0-4 Geoff Jenkins in Milwaukee the second series of the year that set up the righty-righty confrontation between Jose Vizcaino and Carlos Lee with the game on the line. Lee only needed a single to win it, which he got).
Anyway, Melvin messed with Byrnesie when he shouldn’t have and reaped the bad karma that is his lot when he does. (Unfortunately, that bad karma gets shared by the team, just as Melvin’s recent argument with a home plate ump ended with D’Backs catcher Chris Snyder getting rung up). It wasn’t a great day for Arroyo, who was gone after 6 innings. But the score ended up Cincy 5 – Arizona 4, with the Reds getting a walk-off homer in the 9th off D’Backs closer Jose Valverde. DaVanon went 0-3 with 1 BB and 2 Ks. I’m not mourning that.
It was not a good day all around. I was awakened at 8 this morning by a phone call from Florida. My cover designer said that the pix for my book sent to her by my photog were blurry and unusable. The samples from which I chose the final shots look fine to me, so I don’t know what gives. Neither my brain nor my computer were turned on, so I couldn’t make any decisions. This glitch puts my June 10th release date in danger. I have been finding myself of late stuck in the middle of a "dispute", for lack of a better word because these two haven’t directly communicated, between my photog and my cover designer over matters beyond my ken. I’m a words and sound person. Maybe that is why I couldn’t capture the photo of Byrnesie that appeared on the MLB.com front page this morning before the bad karma was set in motion.
In the Indy 500, I was rooting for Danica Patrick. She finished 8th. Will somebody please get her a car with better MPG? At the very end, I was rooting for rookie Marco Andretti. During that last lap, I was literally shouting "Go, Marco! Go Marco!" over and over again at the little boom box TV I had turned on in the kitchen so I could watch the race while doing some dishes. Sam Hornish, Jr., won very narrowly. Congrats, Sam. But more than anything, I hope the guy whose foot you ran over in the pits is going to be OK!
<rant mode off, for now>
Near the Ragged Edge of Earth, (and ragged edge of patience with BoMel),
Kéllia "Journalist–Poet–Baseball Blogger" Ramares
in "a little too cool for this time of year", Oakland, CA