There was something metaphysical in the air yesterday at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. The hometown Reds, who had recently pulled the trigger on one of the worst deals of the new millennium, were squaring off against the Colorado Rockies, current frontrunners for the NL Wild Card.
And it was Faith Night at the old ballpark.
The 31,142 fans in attendance were treated to “testimonails” from Reds players and coaches, and Pastors competed in a potato sack race on the field to earn the right to throw out the first pitch at a later game. One of the sponsors on the night was the Creation Museum.
You read that correctly.
Now, I’m no stranger to Creation Museums. I attended one in Santee, California a few years ago. The only downside to them is knowing that not only is everyone not in on the joke, but that many of them are very much not in on the joke. While there, I learned many interesting and valuable things, like that there were dinosaurs on the Ark:
It’s hard to have faith when your starting shortstop is hitting .191/.239/.268. Former Astros farmhand Drew Sutton – who the Astros sent to Cincinnati as the PTBN in the deal for Jeff Keppinger – was out in left field, and leading off for the home team. So far, in his first 24 major league plate appearances, Sutton is .174/.208/.261 – obviously leadoff material. I suppose that’s what happens when you call up a guy who’s hitting .261/.381/.471 in the International League.
In addition, he has played in left field, right field, shortstop, third base, and second base. It was his fourth game in the outfield – somewhere he has never played in the minors. The Reds have put him at second base, his natural position, for just two of his 41 defensive innings.
Talk about putting a guy in a position to fail.
Like many Americans, I love a good road trip. One lifelong dream has been a trip around the country, seeing one home game in every Major League Baseball stadium, with minor league games peppered in, on off days and travel days. I wonder, if I had rolled into Cincinnati to see a matchup with the Rockies, and had inadvertently found myself at Faith Night (which, let’s be honest, means Christian Faith Night), how I would have felt about that.
And on the Sabbath, no less.
I don’t have to tell you about Bud Norris‘s debut as an Astros starter. 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 5 K. Others have already written the hell out of the rookie, so I won’t add too much to the catalogue.
He struck out the first batter he faced, Skip Schumaker, and kept chugging along. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, when the opposing pitcher broke it up. And he got his first big league decision, a win, in the 2-0 gem. Adam Wainwright didn’t deserve a loss, but we’ve all seen that happen before.
It’s a long season, and I don’t want to get too high on Norris’s performance and what it says or doesn’t say about the Astros’ chances this year. I’ll just say congratulations, kid, and here’s hoping for a few more of those beauties.
How Was Your Day?
I didn’t watch Norris’s debut, sadly. I was out on the old road – U.S. Hwy 66 – gathering information for my documentary. Though I only went as far as Upland (had I gone just a little farther to San Bernardino, I could have watched the Jethawks-66ers game, I suppose), but it was a very relaxing drive. Of course, it couldn’t have been hotter out in the Inland Empire, but that’s nothing new.
What Happened Was…
Round Rock Express (AAA) – Polin Trinidad still doesn’t seem to have his strikeout pitch working, but the Round Rock hitters showed up to bail him out when he needed it – with a little help from three errors by the Oklahoma City RedHawks (TEX) – to give him the victory in the 5-3 decision. OF/DH John Gall was 3-for-4 to lead the Express, whose ten hits were all singles (though Yordany Ramirez, Brian Bogusevic, and Jason Smith all created doubles by stealing bases). Of some note: The starting pitcher for the Redhawks was Kris Benson. Benson’s name was bandied about quite a bit as a potential free agent option for the Astros in the offseason. He is also still married to one Anna Benson:
Lancaster Jethawks (A+) – Christopher Hicks looked incredible through his first five innings against the Inland Empire 66ers (LAD), but fell into a bit of trouble in the sixth. After giving up two runs, he got out of the frame, and was replaced by Fernando Abad. Abad pitched 3 innings in relief, earning h
is fourth save of the season in the 5-2 decision. C/LF Koby Clemens (is it safe to call him a utilityman yet?) hit his 14th homer of the campaign, and added a double and 3 RBI in his 3-for-4 night. OF Jonathan Gaston left the game in the third inning. No news yet on the reason.
Lexington Legends (A) – Lexington’s game with the Charleston River Dogs (NYY) was postponed due to rain.
Tri-City ValleyCats (A-) – The ValleyCats and Oneonta Tigers (DET) were able to complete the game suspended back on July 11, with Tri-City fighting back to win it 7-6. OF Jacob Goebbert was 4-for-5 with a triple to lead the offense.
Tri-City ValleyCats (A-) – After making one game up, the ValleyCats and Oneonta Tigers (DET) set up to play a second game… which promptly got postponed due to fog. Fog.