Lumberjacks on the South Side

After a disappointing 2005 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks decided it was time to retool the team and make some changes. One of the major acquisitions for 2005 was Troy Glaus who was identified as an important piece that could provide the Diamondbacks with someone capable of tying a game with a single pitch. This long-ball mentality is not anything new for the Diamondbacks; they have always gravitated towards power guys. A prime example of this is when the Diamondbacks traded away ten percent of their 40-man roster in exchange for Richie Sexon. Sexon still holds the record for hardest hit home run in Chase Field history when he broke the JumboTron. Of course he also holds the record for most expensive player per at bat when he went down for the season in the middle of April. Troy Glaus lived up to his billing and provided great power numbers when he was in the line-up. The key was “when he was in the line-up” as that was something of an unknown commodity. Glaus’ arrival also caused a dilemma for the Diamondbacks as it required them to move their young third baseman Chad Tracy to first base and caused a bottleneck by blocking prospect Conor Jackson. This situation worked itself out when during the 2004-2005 off season the Diamondbacks traded Glaus to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for pitcher Miguel Batista and gold-glove second baseman Orlando Hudson. It was a good trade for both clubs. The Diamondbacks got a versatile pitcher capable of being a starter or a long reliever. They got much better defensively at second base but lost a tremendous amount of power; or so we thought.

The Diamondbacks began a four game series at Wrigley Field in Chicago with a classic pitching match-up. Brandon Webb was on the mound for the Arizona Diamondbacks facing Mark Prior who seems to be recovering well from injuries that plagued him earlier this year. Looking at history and statistics on paper, this had the makings of a 1-0 12 inning game. Unfortunately for the Cubs they don’t play these games on paper. Chicago plays in what is affectionately called “the friendly confines of Wrigley Field”. I sometimes wonder about that name and who it really does benefit. During April and May the winds swirl from Lake Michigan and normally blow in meaning that it is a pitcher’s heaven. Nothing leaves the park until the game is over and the Cubs pitchers look like they could all win the Cy Young. But then as the summer arrives the winds change direction and more days than not it seems the wind is blowing out towards the lake. In days like this, it is the hitters turn to reap the benefits and every Cubs pitcher looks like they should be headed to Williams Port Pennsylvania to play in the Little League tournament rather than the major leagues. Monday’s game was just that kind of night and for at least one game it looked like the Diamondbacks of old. Shawn Green started the hit parade by hitting a home run to left field. Eric Byrnes did his best impression of Sammy Sosa hitting a bomb that landed on Waveland Ave. beyond the stadium. Chad Tracy hit his fifteenth home run of the year as well. Even Stephen Drew got into the act getting his first major league home run. But the star of the night was little Orlando Hudson. The player the Diamondbacks got to shore up their defense had a night to remember. He hit two home runs. The first came with the bases loaded in the third inning. The ball carried in the wind landing gently in the basket above the ivy walls of Wrigley. His second home run came in the seventh with Shawn Green on base giving O-Dog six RBI for the night. The Diamondbacks set a franchise record hitting six home runs during the game on route to a 15-4 win over Prior and the Cubs. Monday Troy Glaus and the Blue Jays had the night off but Tuesday he went 0-4 with a strike out. At least for one night Hudson reminded us how much fun the long ball can be when you are a Diamondbacks fan.

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