1. God Bless America: 30 years ago today, Rick Monday made the “greatest heroic act that’s ever happened on a baseball field”. After a man and his son jumped onto the field at Dodger Stadium and spread a flag out so they could burn it, Monday ran over, grabbed the flag and ran off with it. The crowd was shocked but then broke into a spontaneous rendition of God Bless America. Major League Baseball and the NFL try to manufacture this kind of patriotism all the time post-9/11 but nothing will ever come close to that one night in 1976. Monday has been offered $1M for the flag; “But the flag is not for sale. What this flag represents, you can’t buy.” (from USA Today)
2. The streak is over: Coming into last night’s White Sox-Mariners matchup, the game just didn’t seem fair. The White Sox had won 8 in a row, and the Mariners were a four-game slide. Both streaks are now over and done with, because the Mariners bested the Sox in an 11 inning brawl. Both teams had excellent games from their pitchers. Chicago starter Jon Garland allowed 3 runs over 8 innings, while Seattle’s Jamie Moyer gave up just 1 in 7 innings work. With the game tied 3-3 in the 11th, unheard of Mariners pinch hitter Yuniesky Betancourt hit a bloop single to left to score the winning run for Seattle. Chicago’s streak was the highest in the majors so far this year, and if they had won this game it would have been the team’s longest streak since 1977. They still share the MLB-best 13-5 record with the Astros.
3. The surprise of the season: Just about everyone wrote off the Reds coming into this year. Some said they had no pitching, others that they played in a murderous division. Well, they don’t, and they do, but they are still getting the job done so far this year. Last night, they scored 4 runs in the first two innings against the Nationals in a winning effort, and starter Elizardo Ramirez picked up his first career victory. This improved the Reds to a hard-to-believe 13-7 record on the year. They are tied with Houston and Chicago as the teams with the most wins in the MLB, though the Reds have one more loss than those teams.
4. And the team right below them…: St. Louis, one of the top five teams in the majors on anyone’s list, has suffered through a semi-slow start so far this year. Their record is a decent 12-7, but that puts them in 3rd place in the riotous NL Central division. Anyway, they have showed signs of their usual excellence, including in yesterday’s 7-2 win over the Pirates. Guess who homered for the Cardinals? Albert Pujols, what a surprise! It was his league-leading 12th slam of the year. Chris Carpenter continued his dominance against the Pirates as he pitched 6 strong innings to get the win. Pittsburgh has the worst record in the NL at 5-16.
5. Mr. DL wins the game: Nomar Garciaparra has joined Ken Griffey Jr. and Jeff Bagwell as players who are more often on the DL than off of it. Well, Nomar’s back, and in his 2nd game for the Dodgers, he won the game for them. With a 2-2 game coming into the 9th, the Dodgers loaded up the bases against usual stud closer Brad Lidge. Then Nomar came up, and hit a big-time grand slam off Lidge to win the game. These were his first RBIs as a Dodger. Lidge was hit with his first blown save and loss of the season.