Tagged: Weather

Livan Leads the Sweeping Crew: D’Backs 3 – Nats 1

Livanlawrencejacksonapeaster

"It’s a good start for us. Sweeping a team four straight games on the road is a rarity. It’s a huge confidence boost."
Eric Byrnes, after the D’backs took 4 in a row from the Washington Nationals.

(photo by Lawrence Jackson/AP)

It was one of those times when one is grateful that Spring Training stats don’t always predict what is going to happen in the regular season. Livan Hernandez had a horrible spring. His ERA was over 13.00. But yesterday he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and pitched seven innings of shutout ball.

It’s the kind of start the Diamondbacks need regularly from the Cuban innings-eater; he’s usually good for seven, and though he ran into a little trouble that last inning, he pitched out of it. The Diamondbacks won their fourth in a row at RFK Stadium, after going 0-6 there last year.

I’m glad to hear that taking four in a row from the Nationals, as bad as they are, is, to use Eric Byrnes’ words, "a huge confidence boost." But I remember all too well that the Diamondbacks swept four from the Braves at Turner Field last year and then the roof caved in. So I’m still a little apprehensive about how good this team really is, especially after I’ve seen how bad the Nationals really are. They were something like 1-31 with men in scoring position during the four-game series. But the Diamondbacks were looking at early disaster square in the face, having dropped two in a row to the Colorado Rockies and heading into RFK, where they had yet to win. So the sweeping Washington means they bounced back from adversity, at least in the short term.

As for the game itself, it was good to see the Diamondbacks score before the Nationals could even come up to bat. Often last year, the early scoring was done by the Diamondbacks’ opponents. Orlando Hudson hit a double that drove in Conor Jackson who had been hit by a pitch. Hudson moved to third on the throw. Batting cleanup, Eric Byrnes drove in Hudson with a groundout to second. The first-inning runs were all the Diamondbacks would need, but they got an insurance run in the eighth, courtesy of a Scott Hairston single.

It was a so-so day for Byrnes, who is again playing right field in place of the injured Carlos Quentin. Livan’s no-hitter was broken up by a ground rule double over Byrnes’ head. Eric would have caught the ball if he had a better angle on it; it really wasn’t that far over his glove, but he reached back for it awkwardly. I was rooting for the Nationals to get at least one other hit, and they obliged me with two in the seventh. So at least Eric is not responsible for costing Livan a no-hitter. On the other hand, Eric also made a fine running catch near the right-field line, and quickly made an accurate throw to first, holding the runner there.

Byrnes struck out in the ninth, with runners on first and second and two out. Chad Cordero, against whom he’d homered, was pitching. Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. In addition to the productive out in the first inning, Byrnesie singled and stole second in the fifth inning. Unfortunately, he was not driven in. But he now has four stolen bases in four attempts.

José Valverde recorded his third save. Shawn Hill took the loss. Chris Young left the game early with a leg injury; Robbie Hammock replaced Byrnes in right and Byrnes moved to center. I have not seen anything detailing the problem.

I am so glad the Diamondbacks are out of Washington, and not just because of the cold weather or the very big park that cost Eric Byrnes at lease one homer. I am glad to get out of there because the MASN broadcasts were painful to listen to. There was this awful sound, like fireworks and drums, that kept running over the announcers. I could not tell where it was coming from. It was not on the field; I could tell because they wouldn’t have that constant noise running while their players were batting. And the announcers did not seem to be aware of it even though at times the sound nearly drowned them out, so it didn’t come from their booth. Also yesterday, there was cross-talk from another broadcast on more than one occasion, probably the Orioles game on MASN2.

So now it’s the opening homestand, in a better climate, and against a better team, the Cincinnati Reds.

ByrnesBlogger1

True Elation 2: D’Backs 7 – Nats 1

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"He made it easy on us hitters. I’m not sure how much
people realize how important that is for an offense to be able to get
back in the dugout and stay warm and stay hitting."

Eric Byrnes, on the virtues of Brandon Webb’s efficiency on a night when the wind chill was 28 degrees.

(photo by Susan Walsh/AP)

Don’t let the sleeveless look fool you. Webb, a Kentuckian, can deal with the cold. But Chris Young, born in Houston, TX, and Eric Byrnes, from Redwood City in the mild San Francisco Bay Area, wore hoods that covered the ears, neck and most of the face.

D’Back hitters were also helped by Washington pitchers issuing 5 walks.

The offense was spread out. There were RBIs by Drew (1), Byrnes (2), Tracy (2), Clark (1) and Young (1). Clark went 3-4.

The full line on Eric Byrnes was 2-5 (a homer and a double), 2 RBI, 2 R, and a stolen base. His first time up, he tapped a weak grounder to short that forced Orlando Hudson at second. But it was so slowly hit, the Nats didn’t even try to throw Byrnes out at first. At that point, I knew that Byrnes would attempt to steal, in order to replace the runner he had erased with his ground out. I suppose everyone in the stadium knew that, or should have known. Byrnes took a big lead, got a great jump and ran on a curve ball. The catcher ate the ball. Byrnes later scored, making his fielder’s choice a productive out in the long run.

His second time up, Eric flied to deep center. In most stadiums, it would have been a home run in just about any other park, but when you are playing in the Grand Canyon…The ball was caught on the warning track.

The next time up, he hit the ball to deep right center, where Austin Kearns made a fine running catch. Byrnes was visibly frustrated. I was, too. I knew he as justthisclose to a big hit.

It came the next time up, a few minutes before the start of the newscast I was teching. I felt lucky he got the hit while I was watching. "Byrnes finally got one over the outfielder’s head!" I said to our baseball fan co-anchor. RBI double. Now we can start the newscast."

The cast itself was extremely stressful, with one reporter filing remotely and later than he was expected, another reporter editing late, and the anchor wanting some back up stories during the cast. Usually they are called for before we go on air so that they are ready just in case. Fortunately, there was someone there I called upon for help, as I could not leave the board because we had a lot of short sound clips to play.  It was an example of why this job is giving me dangerously high blood pressure that has been unresponsive to medication. Byrnes came up a few minutes after the cast ended, and hit a homer to left to nail down a true elation day; my blood pressure, which I measure several times a day, started to go down a bit.

It’s going to take more than a homer to deal with my blood pressure. But true elation  is good medicine.

Byrnesblogger1

Oh, To Be in Tucson, Now That Spring is Here! (Didn’t I Say That LAST Year?)

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Great to see this, especially since, after one day where the temp went up to 83 degrees in Oakland, it’s dropped faster than a Brandon Webb sinkerball.

Thanks to M. Spencer Green/AP who took these pix. And a tip of my outdated but still great-looking and fitting D’Backs road cap to a certain reader who sent them along just as I was finishing a tedious day of slogging through the endnotes of my latest article.

ByrnesBlogger1

Happy Solstice! And I’d like your opinions…

It’s definitely a better one than last year, when Eric Byrnes had just gotten non-tendered by the Baltimore Orioles and I was literally sick about it. As grim as the weather that day. This year, it’s colder than last and it is actually raining as opposed to threatening last year. But Byrnes knows he has a place to play next year, and although he’s going to arbitration with the D’Backs, he has some sort of nice raise coming to him after the fine 2006. So I am in a much better mood.

Here is some other really good news. Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester goes for his last chemotherapy today. So let’s hope that from now on, the things beginning with C that he has to focus on are Curves, Changeups and Contention for Championships.

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is my heaviest work period at KPFA. I am one of those people who helps keep the news department running while others take holidays and vacations, i.e. as a part-timer with no paid holidays or paid vacations, I pick up as many subbing hours as I can. So I haven’t had time to write as often as I did before. However, I intend to give my opinion on some of the off-season signings. Maybe Zito will have picked a team by the time I do that. I will be a little delayed in giving myself a Solstice present., But that present, results of which I will share with you, will be the time to fully analyze the fine 2006 Eric Byrnes turned in and to write up what I think he needs to do to make 2007 even better.

I also want to write an article about the cost of baseball tickets. I’m going to put my journalistic research skills behind this one, so it probably won’t get done until sometime in March, given everything else I have to do. Whether it ends up here or someplace else won’t be determined for a while yet, but it is something that I want to do and I’d love to have your help. If you have written about ticket prices in your area, please point it out, I might want to quote you. If you haven’t written a piece, but have opinions on the subject, you can leave a comment on this blog or send me an email at kellia[at]rise4news.net. If you do that latter, let me know if you are willing to be quoted by name, (just a first name and city is fine). I generally figure people who email me when they could leave a comment on the blog want to be incognito.

The basic contention of my article is that despite the increase in attendance, the experience of live baseball is being taken away from many fans because tickets are so expensive. Maybe more people can go because they have been able to become season’s ticket holders, but others, the walk-up types, like me, who can’t afford that are being more and more left out. Have you reduced your baseball attendance because of ticket expense? If you go as part of a family, has the family reduced its attendance, or split up games so that part of the family goes some times and the other part of the family goes the other times? Are you a young person whose allowance can’t keep up with rising ticket prices? Do you depend on a program sponsored by a player or by your local team, or a community organization in order to get tickets? Are you an adult who now has to put tickets on a credit card when you used to be able to pay cash? How has the success or lack thereof of your local team impacted ticket prices? Etc, Etc. Let me know what you think.

If you don’t want to give details about your experience, you can at least vote in my poll about money in baseball. Are high player contracts to blame for high ticket prices or would it be possible to pay players market rate and still bring ticket prices down? Do you attend games of other sports that have salary caps? Haven’t those prices gone up, too?

Speaking of money in baseball, the Giants and Barry Bonds are hammering out the details of a one-year, $16 million deal. I’ll give you the results of my Barry Bonds poll as soon as I can find them. They’re around here somewhere…

Kéllia Ramares

What is the Sound of Gloved Hands Clapping?

Q: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers. What do these four most recent AL representatives in the World Series have in common?

A: They are all northern teams that play in open-air stadiums.

Addendum: The New York Mets, who almost made it to the 2006 World Series, are also a northern team that plays in an open-air stadium.

News item from a recent MLB.com article by Barry M. Bloom:

Next year the World Series shifts back to a Tuesday start for the first time in 23 years, which means it won’t begin until Oct. 23 and could extend as late as Oct. 31.

Are you thinking what we’re thinking? If there is a rain out (or a snow out) in a long World Series, a meaningful baseball game, perhaps the most meaningful baseball game of the year, could be played in NOVEMBER!

Up Next: John Madden and his amazing 6-legged turkey!

First March Madness ends in April, then they move the Super Bowl to February, now we may see baseball in November…and it won’t be the Arizona Fall League.

K.R.

D’Backs Move Into 1st Place Tie with Win in Game 1 over Cubs

The Arizona Diamondbacks, who looked like they were headed for the sub-sub basement in June, are tied for first place in the NL West and in the NL wild card race after clobbering the Chicago Cubs 10 – 2 in the first game of a doubleheader necessitated by yesterday’s rainout. The Snakes bit young Cubs pitcher Carlos Marmol, a former catcher and outfielder, early and often. They scored 5 runs in the 1st inning, sending winning pitcher Juan Cruz to the plate before he took the mound. The Cubs announcers, one of whom is former D’Backs manager Bob Brenly, suggested that he may have been telegraphing his pitches; Marmol settled down a bit after a talk with Derek Lee and Henry Blanco, the announcers surmised that perhaps Lee and Blanco saw something.

Sun18_35 Offensive highlights for the Snakes: Stephen Drew hit another homer and had 4 RBI on the day. Luis Gonzalez homered in the first (driving in Eric Byrnes) and singled in the 2nd to drive in Byrnes again. Chris Snyder was 2-4 with 2 RBI and Conor Jackson went 2-4 with 1 BB and 2 R.

It was an OK outing for Eric Byrnes, but not the great day it looked like he was in for during the first AB. He went 1-4 with a walk, 2R (thank you, Gonzo), and 2 SB. The hit, a single, extended his hit streak to 5 games. His best chances for a homer came in his first AB. He hit two balls deep to left. They were hit hard, but foul. He then walked, with the Cubs announcers suggesting that Byrnes scared Marmol into throwing a curve instead of a fastball, and the curve missed. The single was a bloop to left. His batting average is still at .291.

Housefly_33Byrnes K’d his last two times up. That last AB, in the 8th inning, should have been a BB. He definitely swing and just fouled off one ball, the pitch he swung at an missed for Strike 3 was probably a ball.

Note_31The weather was radically different from the Monday game; it was OK to start and turned out to be nice. The temp was 72, and while the first half of today’s game was foggy/drizzly, the skies cleared and it turned sunny.

Brandon Webb may miss his scheduled start Saturday against the Astros at Chase due to pain in his elbow. The good news is that an MRI revealed no structural damage.

K.R.

Happy Birthday to Me! O-Dawg Paces D’Back Slugfest; Byrnesie Makes It True Elation 14

Sun18_34Arizona Diamondbacks 2B Orlando "O-Dawg" Hudson had a career day, leading the D’Backs to a 15-4 skinning of the Cubs with two homers, the first of which was his first MLB grand slam. With the two homers, O-Dawg had 6 RBI, and 3 Rs. Shawn Green, Chad Tracy, Stephen Drew and a certain center fielder also homered for Arizona. Brandon Webb got his 12 victory against 4 defeats. Mark Prior took the loss and is now 0-5.

It was a horribly hot night. Temp 93 and heat index 104 at first pitch. With a stiff wind blowing out to center, a homer-filled slugfest was no surprise. But it was one-sided as only Aramis Ramirez hit one out for the Cubs. The Chicagoans couldn’t get much elevation on Brandon Webb’s heavy sinker.

The day started slowly for Eric Byrnes, but by the end of the night, Byrnesie had accomplished all that I hoped for him today.

Ebhr5306_6 It was True Elation 14 as Byrnes got three hits, moving his batting average to .291. His first hit was a home run, his 15th, in the 6th inning off reliever Glendon Rusch. The homer was hit No. 94, surpassing his total hits for A,A’05, and RBI No. 41, surpassing that total from A,A’05.  So Byrnesie now starts the last two months of the season having surpassed his A,A’05 totals for HR, XBH, 2B, basehits, Total Bases, R, RBI and Stolen Bases.

What I said yesterday bears repeating: To all who were ready to write him off after last year:  Ththbbthttbt!!!!!

The homer also moved him back into a tie for the team lead in homers, Chad Tracy having hit his 15th homer in the second inning.

Byrnesie followed up the homer with a single, and then with Double No. 27. That two-bagger came with 2 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Even though those RBI were not needed for the victory, it was good to see Byrnes get a hit with 2 out and RISP. Such hitting will be needed at more clutch times down the road.

For the week from Tuesday 7/25 through Monday 7/31 (Monday 7/24 was a team off-day), Byrnes is 8-24 with 2 HR, 2 DB, 6 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 SB and the wonderful catch that ended the Sunday game against the Astros, preserving the come-from-behind victory by the D’Backs. If he hadn’t caught that ball, the ‘Stros would have tied the game. Methinks he’s getting hot again. And so once again I have to state that he is being wasted as a lead off hitter. He led off 4 times this game. That sort of thing is not going to bolster his RBI totals.

Housefly_32I suppose I should not nitpick a 15-4 victory, but with Virgo Rising I’m entitled:

Orlando Hudson, who generally showed us why he won a Gold Glove last year by starting two sick DP’s, made a bad throw on what should have been a routine 4-3, and was rightfully charged with an error. He also made a baserunning miscue: he was batting 7th and by stealing second with two out in the 5th inning, he took the bat out of Stephen Drew’s hands. With first base open, Drew was immediately IBB’d to get to pitcher Brandon Webb, who made the third out.

Byrnes went 0-3 against starter Mark Prior. I had hoped that he would walk in his first plate appearance because Prior’s first three pitches to him were balls. Byrnes ended up grounding a 3-2 pitch to the third baseman. I think he was standing a bit too far away from the plate. At least that is the notation I made in TEBPCR in the 3rd inning. The 0-3 was distressing because, unlike yesterday, when Roger Clemens was shutting down everyone, Prior gave up long balls to Green, Tracy and Hudson (the grand slam).

Chad Tracy, who batted second, failed to drive Byrnesie home the two times he was on base.  So while Byrnesie drove himself in with a homer, he was not driven in by teammates when he was on base.

Note_30Congrats to Stephen Drew for his first MLB HR. And DTLFL hopes Johnny Estrada’s upset stomach, which resulted in his removal from the game midway, was just a bad reaction to the weather and nothing more serious.

So once again, Eric Byrnes gets three hits, including a homer, on my birthday! That is certainly worth another candle on the cake!

Kellia "Truly Elated for the 14th time this year" Ramares
Oakland, CA

It’s Official: Jeff DaVanon Is Back Down to Earth

Sun18_6The Arizona Diamondbacks began May with a win, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 at Chase Field in sunny Pheonix. Claudio Vargas got his third win against one loss. Jose Valverde got his sixth save, and Dodger starter Brad Penny took the loss. He’s now 2-1. It was your garden-variety pitchers’ duel with no homers.

Former Dodger Shawn Green went 2-4, including a double. He had one RBI and 1 R. He doesn’t hit homers at anywhere near the pace he did in his Dodger days, but he’s scoring a lot of runs, relatively speaking. I mean, these ARE the D’Backs, not the Tigers.  ;=)

Housefly_7Jeff DaVanon, who went into this game with a lifetime record against Penny of 3-8, which is a .375 BA, started in CF and batted second. He went 0-4 with a K and a DP and he left 4 runners on base. His batting average for the young season is now .292. That’s close to his career average of .286, so it is now reasonable to say that his hot streak is over, especially since he’s 3-27 (.111) and a walk in his last 28 plate appearances. Maybe now the Snakes can begin to remember who their everyday CF is supposed to be.

Believe it or not, I don’t mind that DaVanon started that game. With his 3-8 against Penny going in, I would have started him also. My gripe is that once again, he replaced Eric Byrnes. Byrnesie himself is lifetime 0-3 against Penny, but I would have put him in there, with DaVanon.  If all he’s got lifetime is 0-3 that means he’s played only one game against Penny. Rather than make a judgment on Byrnes’ abilities against Penny based on one game, I’d want Byrnes to have some more shots at the Dodger starter, especially since Byrnes supposed to be my regular and is still getting used to the National League.

But DaVanon is almost always in the lineup at the expense of Eric Byrnes’ playing time. So much so that when AP reporter Janie McCauley wrote up the story on the D’Backs 8-2 victory over the Giants, she said, in the "Notes" section of her article: … Byrnes started for the second straight day in CF for Jeff DaVanon after getting a hit and driving in a run Saturday." Looks as if she perceives DaVanon as the regular CF. An understandable mistake, given what’s happened lately. (Thanks to Pat for the cite).

So if I would have started Byrnes in CF, where would I have put DaVanon? How about left field? DaVanon supposedly can play all three outfield positions; his job as the 4th outfielder–and the Snakes have only 4 outfielders on the roster– is to give the other three a breather. But he’s instead platooning with Byrnes, the youngest and most high-energy of their outfielders i.e. the one who needs the fewest breathers. When does left fielder Luis Gonzalez get a day off? He had a single and a walk in four times at the plate yesterday, scoring a run and leaving 2 on base. Not bad. But Gonzo lifetime against Penny was 3-19 (.158) with 1 BB and 4 K’s going into this game. May 1 would have been a good day to give Gonzo a breather.

I added a poll to the Byrnesblog, but I did not realize, at the time I added it, that it would disappear for the rest of the day after 100 page views. That’s the limit for people on the free plan. So if you would like to cast your vote on the question: Should the D’Backs trade Byrnes? please come back the next day if you get the error message. An upgrade to 1,000 page views per day would not be exhorbitant if I had a regular income. But my cash flow is as bad as the Royals and a blog poll is too trivial to put on a credit card.

Note_6Byrnesie should be in the lineup today. The Dodgers are starting lefty Odalis Pérez.

Congrats to Barry Zito and Co. for the A’s 1-0 win against the geograhically-challenged Angels. These two teams always play each other tough. 1-0 is anything but a garden-variety pitchers’ duel.

Doug Mirabelli arrived just in time to catch knuckleballer Tim Wakefield as the Red Sox won the first of their 19 game season series against the Yankees, 7-3 at a very blustery Fenway Park.

Arielle of Dispatches from Red Sox Teen Nation described a humorous scene before the game:

"So I was watching NESN’s pregame show when they switched to footage of an SUV. Fans were surrounding it and cheering and shouting. Everyone thought it was Doug Mirabelli. Suddenly, the door opens and out walks . . . Mitt Romney. The fans all sighed, and walked away. Darn. It’s only the governor, not our backup catcher."

And against all meteorological odds, David Ortiz hit a homer. They don’t call him Big Papi for nothing.

Kéllia Ramares
Oakland, CA

Happy Anniversary, MLBlogs!

Since I live on the Left Coast of North America, it made sense to me to come into this celebration at the end. This is a more fun way to remember April 18th than the San Francisco Earthquake of ’06. I had to board op the KPFA Evening News today, and it was earthquake this and earthquake that. They keep talking about all the preparations we should make, but with all the oil, chemical and radiation places we have in the area, if we have the BIG ONE along the Hayward Fault, our collective goose will be cooked in a most unsavory broth.

I’m not going to be able to name everyone I have read in the MLBlogosphere, but I will point out a few, and I wish Happy Anniversary to all, and a big welcome to the newcomers!

I’m a journalist and in early summer of last year, I blogged at another site for a short while about the subjects I generally cover: Peak Oil, Nuclear Proliferation, E-vote Fraud, Global Warming, you know, the stuff that generally puts a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

Then the A’s exiled Eric Byrnes to the cellar of the NL Worst…and while it was no surprise they sent him out–they had obviously been shopping him for a while and making A’s fans endure some "not ready for prime time players" as possible replacements–the way they did the P.R. around it was insulting. The A’s F.O. knew it would be an unpopular move, so they enlisted the help of third baseman Eric Chavez and a couple of local sportswriters to knock both Byrnesie and his fans. I was extremely ticked off and wrote two essays on the transaction and the way it was handled for the other blog. At that point I realized that I would rather write about baseball than Armageddon, even when the baseball news was bad, so I folded up the tent at the other place and joined MLBlogs in early August with Down the Left Field Line: Life, Baseball & Eric Byrnes.

The biggest thrill I’ve had here has been the opportunity to exchange some comments with Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson.  (I also enjoyed the fact that the one of the KPFA News Co-directors who is a baseball fan looked stunned when he saw that Brooks Robinson was answering my queries). Not only has he answered the questions I have left on his site, he once visited mine. I had reviewed the Cooperstown exhibit BASEBALL AS AMERICA. It includes the glove Brooks used in the 1970 World Series, when I and others just watched in awe at his demonstration of third base as played by a Human Vacuum Cleaner. I let Brooks know I had posted the review and he actually left a comment on my blog. I’m honored that he took the time to visit and comment.

Soon after I started the blog, I enrolled in a video editing class. I had looked around MLB.com and realized that it would just be so much fun, not to mention more remunerative, to drop public affairs journalism for life as a video editor for MLB. Unfortunately, I lasted only about a month in the class, not because I couldn’t handle the work, but because I knew I couldn’t afford the equipment I would need to develop professional level skills. It was a class in Final Cut Pro, a piece of software that at half-price would have cost me a month’s rent. And it was just for MAC computers; I work on a hand-me-down Pentium II. Heck, I don’t even have a DVD player yet.

But before that reality hit me, I had formulated my idea for the final project we were supposed to do: a short film on the evolution of the catcher’s mask. And I contacted Dan Holmes, of the blog "From Cooperstown," who gave me the name and number of the person at the Hall of Fame who could help me get pictures for it. It’s been great to know that if I have a baseball question, there are some very good resources here in the form of my fellow bloggers.

Another great thing has been the opportunity to encounter a number of baseball-savvy women, especially Cyn, author of Red Sox Chick, Diane of Diamonds Are For Humor, whose picture captions are just hysterical, and three big-time Cardinals fans: Tiffany, of Party Like It’s 1982, Mollie, author of Daddy Raised a Cardinals Fan, and Rachel of Rachel’s Redbird Ramblings. I miss Rorie the White Sox fan; I am reading a bit more of Arielle’s Dispatches from Red Sox Teen Nation.

It’s great to be in the company of women who know their baseball. Women long been marginalized both in terms of participation in the baseball industry and just for knowing the game, even though they help fill the stadiums. It’s about time a woman, Effa Manley, will be inducted into Cooperstown–I’ll write more about that when the induction is near–and I hope to see more. How about Joan Payson, founder of the Mets? (The team I rooted for as a kid).

As more women are drawn to this blogosphere, I hope there will be more frequent discussions of an expanded role for women in baseball. I really don’t like seeing all-male scouting sections in stadiums. Women have been scouting their male friends and relatives probably since the game’s earliest days. When I was a child, I remember reading a story in a set of books called "Childcraft" about the young Connie Mack wanting his mother, a proper Victorian lady, to see him play baseball, then considered a lower-class sport.  The title of the story was "Slide, Connie, Slide" and I remember that it ended with Mack’s mother telling him that his friends were to call him "Cornelius, not Slats." If women have been watching the game since at least the 19th Century, it’s time we got paid to watch it.

I would also like to see, or rather hear, women do play-by-play. (I’ve been wanting to try it myself since college). The Yankees have a woman color analyst and the Red Sox have recently added a woman to the Remdawg and Don broadcast team; Tina did the on-field interview of Mark Lorretta after his walk-off homer. But I want to hear a woman do play-by-play. It may sound strange at first because it would be new, but folks will get used to it, and future generations born to it will think nothing of it. (If we don’t blow ourselves up and thus prevent the existence of future generations enjoying baseball on the radio). I remember that in the late 60’s my parents and I were in our car, traveling through North Carolina near midnight, when we heard a female disk jockey on the radio for the first time. My parents thought it sounded weird. Little did they, or I, know that I would end up in radio, though mostly in news/public affairs rather than in music. Perhaps we can get some of the broadcasters at MLBlogs, such as Daron Sutton, of The Dog Ate Daron’s Homework, to talk about what someone, female or male, has to do to break into baseball broadcasting.

Of course, there are some wonderful male writers as well. Part of what is great about this blogosphere is that the community sticks together even if the teams change. So, while I was devastated that Eric Byrnes was non-tendered by the Orioles, to this day I still exchange comments and email with Oriole fan Daryl, of Daryl’s Place. In fact, Daryl was the one who broke the bad news to me, and there is no one else I would rather have heard it from first. (No one at KPFA said a word to me about it).

Daryl’s a terrific, thoughful writer and baseball fan. I only wish he had more time to write for his blog. But apparently I am part of the reason he doesn’t. I write long articles, like this one, and he actually takes the time to read them!

Daryl and Cyn have provided me with some great field shots of Eric Byrnes. I don’t display them now because he’s in the Orioles uniform and I prefer more up-to-date D’Back shots like the ones Mark Newman added to my Spheroid. I guess that’s the newsie in me (or my desire to forget Byrnes’ abysmal, aberrant 2005). But if you didn’t see them before, take my word for it: the Byrnes-as-a-Bird pix are great shots, better than anything I could have done. Daryl and Cyn have digital cameras; I don’t.

My visitor counter was suggested to me by Bobby, of Deep Fried Fish. So I will back up a story he told recently on Mark Newman’s MLBlogosphere to Lisa, of For Love of the Astros, on one of the fun parts of the counter: It allows you to see from where the visitors came. And we get some people who arrive via Google queries that really have nothing to do with baseball. Because Bobby’s blog is called Deep Fried Fish, he gets visitors from Google who want to know "how to fry fish." (Special instructions on how to cook Marlin: Grill in open air at 90 degrees or higher for two to three hours a day for six months. Turn over frequently). In one of my essays on New Orleans as Katrina approached–the blog is called Life, Baseball & Eric Byrnes, after all–I recalled my visit to that great city and the fact that I had eaten a muffaletto sandwich there. This is a sandwich that is a pride of New Orleans. Someone in Atlanta landed at Life, Baseball & Eric Byrnes because s/he had googled for a recipe for a muffaletto sandwich. (Not here, except for my opinion that they should be made with San Francisco Sourdough).

Thanks to that counter page, I think I know when some familar folks in and out of the Blogophere visit. My one disappointment is that more people don’t leave comments. I can see people googling about Byrnesie from as far away as Taiwan. It would be great if more of Byrnes’ fans let me know they’ve stopped by. I have encountered a number of his good fans via MLBlogs. I’m not the only person who cares about the fortunes of a so-called "average" player. (Bobby, I haven’t zinged you for that one because of technical problems in commenting about anything on your blog for days now! But consider yourself zinged, both by me and another Bay Area Byrnes fan!)

I look forward to the MLBlogs becoming more technically sophisticated. I really, really want to build a directly-linked list of great Byrnes plays, especially the defensive gems. I’m a Leo; I have a taste for good drama, and to me, Byrnesie hurling himself into the gap to rob someone of an extra-base hit is drama at its best!

There are also some other things I want to write about, such as naming rights, ticket prices, being a player’s fan versus (or along with) being a team fan in the free agency era, etc. (Yes, believe it or not, I don’t always write about Eric Byrnes, even though he’s my favorite subject). If I ever hit the Lotto, I might be able to do all the baseball writing I want. If only all I had to do was to sit around watching baseball games, and writing about baseball without having to concern myself about paying bills!

But I have gotten a few more tech hours at KPFA, and some other "serious" journalism projects are coming up, so I might actually have to pull back a bit here, at least for a while. Though be warned that I’m working on another big Byrnes article. I’ll try not to pull back too much, though. Baseball, and the chance to write about it here, helps keep me sane in an otherwise crazy, crazy world, where not all the signs of an impending Armageddon are as benign as the Cubs winning the 2006 World Series.

Go Byrnesie! Go MLBlogs!

Kéllia "We’ve had two straight days without rain" Ramares
Oakland, CA