Nothing Like an Afternoon of Baseball

As I expected, the game last evening was an emotionally charged affair. The Chase Field crowd gave starter Doug Davis a resounding ovation from the moment that he emerged from the dugout to begin warming up. The cheers continued through throughout the game as Davis seemed to do it all. He had his best start of the season (which sounds much more impressive than saying that he looked better this start than he did in his first start). Davis did seem to have all of his pitches working. He was ahead in the count for most hitters which allowed him more flexibility in his pitch count. Walks were down and strikeouts were up which is always a good sign. It wasn’t just his pitching though that made this night unforgettable. Doug also picked-off a runner from first and collected two hits at the plates including his first RBI of the season. For a moment you had to wonder if you were watching Doug Davis or Micah Owings. As Doug made his way back to the dugout after pitching 6 innings the crowd cheered partly for the gutsy outing and partly to wish Doug well in his surgery and recovery. Davis responded by making a curtain call which brought even more cheers. This game could very well be one of the highlights of the 2008 season.

In typical Doug Davis fashion he worked deliberately and at his pace. This is a polite way of saying that the game literally dragged on for what to a casual fan must have seemed like an eternity. With a game time of 3:36 minutes we did not leave the stadium until 10:30 PM finally getting home at 11:15 PM. Had today been a normal day that probably would not have been a problem. But through some confusing scheduling, the Arizona Diamondbacks followed up a late night game with a day game that started at 12:40 PM meaning the gates open at 10:40 AM less than 12 hours after the game before. I usually don’t question the scheduling nuances of Major League Baseball but this game time didn’t make any sense at all. At first I thought that it must be a getaway game for one of the teams. Since the Diamondbacks remain at home for a series that starts Friday against the Colorado Rockies I assumed that the Los Angeles Dodgers must have to fly cross country to begin a series tomorrow. A brief perusal of the baseball schedule showed that Los Angeles is also off today before starting a three game series against the San Diego Padres at home. The last time I checked it was at most a 90 minute flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles so I have no idea why the early start time. From a Dodgers perspective maybe they just wanted to get out of town as quickly as possible considering how they had been schooled this series.

It’s not that I mind afternoon baseball in fact I really enjoy it especially this time of year. There is nothing quite like sitting in your seat while the roof opening music begins and watching the roof park exposing the blue sky of a sunny Arizona afternoon. The temperatures were just about right and there was a slight breeze blowing to make everyone comfortable. It was the perfect day for baseball especially if you were a Diamondbacks fan. After two games where the Diamondbacks blew out the Dodgers this game turned out to be a good old-fashioned pitching duel between Micah Owings and Hiroki Kuroda. This was the first opportunity many Diamondbacks fans had of seeing Kuroda pitch. Kuroda was a target of the Arizona Diamondbacks this past off season and the team was very aggressive in trying to sign the Japanese League star. I was curious what all the hype was about and exactly what the Diamondbacks would have gotten had he chose to sign here. I came away from today’s game fairly impressed. The Arizona Diamondbacks hitters had been swinging some very hot bats as of late and Kuroda successfully shut them down for most of the game. Arizona countered by changing their style of play to more station-to-station and taking advantage of a Dodgers error the home team was able to squeak out another victory, their sixth in a row. The sun was definitely shining down on Chase Field today and it felt pretty good.

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