Off Base
Baseball on September 11

September 11 , 2006

We don’t talk politics here. There's a time and a place for such things, but the last thing you need on September 11th is a comment from me about what it all means.

On the other hand, there was baseball this day for 125 seasons before September 11, 2001, and on five occasions since. That is something we can talk about.

Here are a few of the things which occurred during the 130 other September 11s:

1915: 40-year-old St. Louis Terriers lefthander Eddie Plank wins his 300th game.

1955: Ted Williams records hit number 2000.

1956: Frank Robinson hits his 38th home run, tying him for the National League rookie record.

1959: In the midst of his 18-1 season, relief pitcher Elroy Face loses to the Dodgers, snapping his consecutive game win streak at 22.

1966: Nolan Ryan fans Pat Jarvis for the first strikeout of his career.

1985: Hit number 4192 for Pete Rose. No word on the odds.

1996: Soon-to-be NL Most Valuable Player Ken Caminiti homers from both sides of the plate, for the fourth time that season. It is believed that he was on steroids at the time. Exactly eight years and one month to the day later, he was dead.

1998: Kevin Malone becomes general manager of the Dodgers.

2004: Barry Bonds homers twice, and stands at 700, lifetime. Some say he was on steroids at the time.

The Dodgers were in a pennant race on September 11th 2001, and would finish third at 86-76, behind San Francisco and eventual World Champion Arizona. Paul Lo Duca and Shawn Green were in the stretch run of career years. Chan Ho Park anchored a rotation which included Eric Gagne, Terry Adams, Kevin Brown and Luke Prokopec. Darren Dreifort was there too, kind of.

Let’s talk about September 12th now, shall we.

The Dodgers beat the Mets twice with rookie lefties over the weekend, looking pretty damn good doing it. The Giants beat the Padres twice over the weekend, looking pretty damn good doing it.

Los Angeles plays Wrigley next, while San Diego is at the Reds, before rendezvousing with the Dodgers for four. San Francisco hosts the Rockies, as the Mets roll merrily along. Who knows what it all means?

Baseball’s best regular season team doesn’t always win the big prize. Ask Tony La Russa, and the managers of other heavily-favored World Series losers, through time and memoriam. The Mets might waltz through October. Or they might just go three and out.

Getting there is a crap shoot too. The Padres beat the crap out of the Dodgers throughout 2006, while the Dodgers beat the crap out of the Giants, and the Giants beat the crap out of the Padres. The division looks like a life-sized game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. And any prognosticator who claims to have if all figured out is full of crap. Figuratively speaking…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Line of the Week: About the many stops in Julio Franco's career, Charlie Steiner asked, "Which is farther from the major leagues, Samsung, Korea or Tampa Bay?"

Dodgers on Yahoo: After Hong-Chih Kuo’s stellar performance Friday night, members of the Dodgers Baseball Yahoo Group discussed the rookie’s eligibility on the team’s potential postseason roster, openly praying for Kuo to replace Mark Hendrickson.

A contibutor chimed in with this: “They'd be able to drop Hendrickson off the Santa Monica pier, and replace him with someone [on the Dodgers 40-man roster] as of August 31. In fact, I know the way, so if they need a volunteer, I'll drive him. While there, I'll see if Julio Lugo could hit water if he fell out of a boat…”

Investors Wanted: is a growth enterprise. I’d say we’re looking for Angel investors, but that’s vulgar, and I promised my mother. Invest a thimble full of venture capital today; make major league minimum tomorrow. Inquire

Ode to Carlos Delgado: In 1995, ESPN’s Chris Berman held a little contest. Viewers were to send in suggestions for a Carlos Delgado nickname, which Berman would then use as his own. The winning selection was, of course, Carlos Ina-Delgado-Vida. I’m still proud of the name I sent in, Carlos Del-Gado-Go-Back-to-da-Minors…

Useful Info: ESPN is almost as much fun today as Berman was a decade ago. A glance at the expanded Wild Card standing on reveals that the Padres have an 18-game lead over the last place Cubs, who can be eliminated by the Dodgers as soon as Tuesday. In the AL, Detroit is not listed, which is fitting, since they’re going to miss the playoffs, and Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Kansas City are all officially playing for next year, or more accurately, the year after…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend. More about statue...

Remember, glove conquers all….








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