Tuesday, June 28, 2011

6/28/11 San Francisco Giants 13, Chicago Cubs 7

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Game 1 of 4
First game of Day/Night Doubleheader

Say goodbye to Doug Davis. I mean it, this time. There he goes…

Baseball is a very circular game. I mean this not in the sense that a baseball is kind of circular, or in the sense that the cross-section of a bat is circular, or any of that really. I mean this in an abstract sense...I almost used a $20 word like ‘metaphysical’ but I really don’t think it applies, and I don’t want to overstate what is really nothing but circumstance and coincidence on balls in play. There are many events in baseball that occur where some events, well…come around full circle. It may take decades, years, months, or days. It may require a 15,000 foot view or 15,000 data points to observe. Or, it may be as plain as the nose on your face. Sometimes you can see all of these peculiar baseball circles, intersecting and overlaying. Circles have a non-descript beginning and ending, we can’t really tell for sure where that point exactly is…but we know it’s there.

The circle began when today’s game was really supposed to be the 3rd game of a 3-game series that was played here in Wrigley on May 15. Game 2 of that series featured a semi-historic outing by Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong as he faced opposing starting pitcher Doug Davis in his very first appearance as a Cub. That contest was called after 6 innings due to rain, the final game of the series was postponed due to continued inclement weather. As it usually happens, the game was indeed rescheduled to occur when the Giants returned to Chicago at the end of June, hence the Day/Night Doubleheader.

Here’s where circumstance and coincidence come into play; Vogelsong and Davis are both facing each other once more. Vogelsong is not as efficient (nor does he face the same defensive quandary as he did on 5/14, when the weather was effectively playing both teams for the title!) but Davis is pretty much as consistent…Vogelsong gives up 6 runs (5 earned) on 6 hits in 5 innings, 4BB, 6K and 2 HR. Davis, sigh, works for only 4.1 innings, allowing 10 runs (all earned) on 12 hits, 3BB, 3K and 1 HR.

On 6/29/11, the following day, the Cubs release Doug Davis. He signs with the Chicago White Sox on July 15, appearing in 9 games with AAA Charlotte Knights (including this admirable outing against the Louisville Bats on 7/23/11) until he was released on September 4.

The Cubs are, then, firmly routed by the Giants, but a Cub fan makes a humorous turn on a Home Run trot by Miguel Tejada in the 9th. It’s well-known that when you are in the bleachers at Wrigley and the opposing team hits a Home Run, you should throw the ball back on to the field. It’s a turd, really…don’t keep it, throw it back! You may think this is silly, and you are entitled to think this, but it’s not just a corny thing some people do, it’s something Cub fans do to show their respect, and there really is nothing stupid or silly about it…and that’s MY opinion about that.

Of course, it’s also true that lots of fans in the bleachers do have ‘alternative balls’ that they will throw back onto the field instead of the ‘actual’ ball…I would never do this, but I would support any fan’s doing so as, once again, it still serves to demonstrate the respect we have for our own team’s Home Runs, as opposed to the disrespect we have for the opposing team’s Home Runs.

It’s clear in this instance, that this fan is not switching any baseballs, and it’s also clear that as Tejada’s tater lands squarely in his hands, he knows well before the catch what he’s going to do with it. And he does it very well, with a formidable gold glove-caliber outfield assist throw that finds the ball actually beating Tejada back to the plate. Somebody sign this guy!!

The Doug Davis Cubs circle began with a game against Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants, who were victorious, the circle ends with a game against Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants, in a makeup of what was to be the final game of the original series. Baseball is weird like that, very circular at times.

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