I’ve probably broadcast at least 1500 baseball games.
I’ve probably watched a few thousand more.
And today, I was reminded why I can’t wait to call my next game.
At the end of 8 innings on Wednesday, the PawSox trailed Rochester 7-2 and I figured they were toast.
But the plot began to thicken in the top of the 9th when Daniel Bard took the mound a tossed a TRULY perfect inning.
I injected the word “truly” because he didn’t just pitch a 1-2-3 inning and didn’t simply strike out the side.
He did it on 9 pitches!
3 fastballs to Jason Pridie — see ya.
3 fastballs to Matt Tolbert — have a seat.
1 curve ball and 2 fastballs to Luke Hughes — please drive home carefully.
Good morning, good afternoon, and good night.
To put that in persective, the TRULY perfect inning has only been accomplished 42 times in major league history and just once by a Red Sox pitcher (Pedro Martinez vs. Seattle on May 18, 2002).
It’s just the latest marvelous outing for Bard. In 6 games with Pawtucket, he’s pitched 9 innings, allowing 1 hit and 1 run with 3 walks and 16 strikeouts. The league is hitting .037 against him.
A few days ago I asked Daniel the following question, “What’s more enjoyable — to blow a fastball by a hitter when he knows it’s coming or to make a batter look silly with your breaking ball?
He said, “I like ‘em both, but if I have to choose I’ll take the fastball. I guess it’s the “mano y mano” aspect of it.”
Pretty exciting stuff right? Well, the best was yet to come.
In the bottom of the 9th, Pawtucket scored 5 runs to force extra innings and tied the game on a 2-out grand slam by Jonathan Van Every over the center field wall. (You can listen to the grand slam here.)
Not a bad way to start the season for JV who had been out of action since hurting his ankle in spring training with Boston.
Here’s your SOTD (Stat of the Day). Last year, Van Every led the PawSox with 26 home runs and 10 came in Pawtucket’s final at-bat including 3 in extra innings.
The dude certainly has a flare for the dramatic.
So how did Pawtucket finally win the game? By scoring a run without getting a hit in the bottom of the 11th inning. Ivan Ochoa, Travis Denker, Paul McAnulty, and Chip Ambres drew walks to give the PawSox an 8-7 win.
Just another day at the yard.
We played “the list” on “Stump Steve” today. In honor of Gary Sheffield joining the 500 home run club last week, I asked Steve to name the last 5 players to reach 500 HR (allowing him one incorrect guess).
He correctly named Sheffield, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome and Alex Rodriguez.
But incorrectly said Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa.
The one he missed was Frank Thomas — dropping Hyder’s record to 7-4 this season.
Finally, you may have seen reports that the Red Sox released Devern Hansack. That’s true, but it’s not what it appears. In fact he was in good spirits and hanging out in the PawSox clubhouse today.
Since Devern is injured, the Sox were looking for a way to clear a spot on their 40-man roster. He’s expected to re-sign with Boston when he clears waivers and I’m guessing the Red Sox offered him a nice boost in pay to get him to agree.
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During the course of the season, the PawSox play 144 games in 151 days. Yup, that’s 7 days off in 5 months and Thursday is one of them. I’m looking forward to spending it with Peg and Sam.
I’d love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.