It was St. Patrick’s day, and you know what that meant . . .
Yes, it was that day every spring when both teams wear nearly identical green uniforms for no particular reason, thus confusing the heck out of the more casual fans in our section. It also meant the bat boy was dressed as a leprechaun and other shenanigans. I’m not even kidding about the bat boy. I wish to God I was.
Believe it or not, there was actually some pretty good baseball happening somewhere in all the Guiness-fueled insanity. On top of stealing second, Prince went 3-for-3 and hit a triple. A TRIPLE. Quoth Leyland: “To see Prince Fielder leg one out, I got a kick out of it. I don’t expect to see many more of those. But in all seriousness, he’s much more athletic than I thought him to be”. Awesome.
Adam Wilk struggled early and gave up a 2 run homer to Holliday, which, okay, that’s going to happen. David Freese made it 3 and it was looking like we were in for a long day yet again. That’s when the insanity started. 10 unanswered runs from our bats. Cabrera, Fielder, and Young hit back-to-back-to-back twice in two separate innings and generally created havoc for the whole game. Holaday caught the whole game and even got a hit! We didn’t commit any errors (…until this afternoon. Seriously, boys?)! Jackson didn’t strike out! Again, standard spring training disclaimers apply, but we haven’t had a game with less than 7 hits all spring and are outscoring opponents nearly 2-to-1. I think that’s cause for at least a bit of rejoicing.
It hasn’t just been the bats, though, which brings me to the pitching showdown we witnessed. Wilk was definitely struggling a bit, but the story of the day was always going to be Oliver vs. Smyly, so that almost felt like an afterthought. Oliver went two innings, gave up one hit, and walked none. Smyly went out for the final four innings, didn’t give up a hit, but walked two. Until yesterday, I was pretty heavily on Team Oliver, but now I’m buckling a bit. He’s been around a bit longer but has a history of inconsistency with control. Smyly is barely out of A ball but looks like he has a year with the big club already under his belt. So . . . I don’t know. I think I’m still on Team Oliver because I’m wary of pulling him up too quickly, but I wouldn’t be upset if it goes to Smyly. He’s clearly earning it.
Some other pretty cool, non-holiday related things were going on before the game, of which I have pictures:
We spotted Andy Dirks signing autographs for a little league team down on the field before the game started.
Then who should we spy by the clubhouse but Victor Martinez on crutches!
Alburquerque was also hanging around and came over to chat with V-Mart, possibly comparing battle scars. Victor was holding Alburquerque’s arm and squeezing it for some reason.
After a few minutes, the little league players and their group came over to the clubhouse. A few players came over to sign for them and I was trying to figure out if they were from Venezuela or the Dominican when one of the little players broke from the group and my husband and I immediately put two and two together.
Victor Jose started greeting the other adults with all the confidence in the world, like he owned the place and they were his personal friends. Which they probably are. I freaking love that kid. He was working the crowd far before he made it over to his dad. When V-Mart comes back for good and we still have Prince’s boys wandering around, the clubhouse is likely to implode from all the adorable.
Stay tuned for that second base post I keep promising but keep putting off writing. My intention is to make it objective but that’s proving difficult. It also becomes more difficult every time Ryan Raburn goes out there and drills one over the fence. Sigh.