April 8, 2010, 6:40 p.m. Because, as is often the case, clichés are more easily hurled than baseballs.
And because there are so many; why, there's a veritable plethora ready for dispensing at any given time.
(And if you ever happen upon the word "plethora" without the word "veritable" attached at the hip, it'll be a first, so please save and forward to me immediately.)
Look, April is a key month for clichés, and since so many of them already apply to the Dodgers, let's just get them all of the way in one felled swoop, and go on with the rest of our lives.
So, first, and obviously there's the old "it's only April" line, which in its original form was employed as "it's only May," and used most prominently by Eric Karros during a good chunk of the 1990s and on into the current millennium.
Next, and almost as obviously, "you can't win a pennant in April, but you sure can lose one." Self-explanatory.
Here's one of my personal favorites, apparently from Tommy Lasorda: "I can guarantee a couple of things before the season starts. Every team will win at least 50 games. Every team will lose at least 50 games. It's what you do with the other 62 games that matter."
Certainly worth a read each April, and for evidence of its apparent nexus, is an un-credited UPI article, ran by the Los Angeles Times in 1986. Thank God for Google.
"This is no time to panic" is another fine saying, applicable to baseball and so much more, although sometimes followed by "yeah, well gimme a coupla days."
The first cliché that stuck with me doesn't apply here, but for the sake of historical perspective (or a waste of space), was the following: "baseball is a game of inches." I read it in an old school library book in the 1960s, so I'm guessing it goes back half a century at least.
Also inapplicable here but worthy because we’d be remiss in leaving Rick Monday out any discussion of the English language, a line about the difficulty in hitting "two homers with one swing."
And if you've been reading this column for any length of time, you know how I feel about "we all have to be on the same page" and "anything can happen in a short series," because, obviously, if four out of seven is a short series, there must be a longer one to be played someplace. Or in baseball history, a hundred years ago.
Oh, and I think I remember this one correctly. Not from baseball, but in a scene from the "The Philadelphia Story," where Katherine Hepburn starts the "people who live in glass houses" line, only to have Jimmy Stewart counter with "gathers no moss."
Anyway. We're three games into the baseball season, and we know almost nothing for sure about the 2010 Los Angeles Dodgers. Well, wonders never cease. Oops, sorry.
Vicente Padilla got racked on Tuesday, and all we know is the man got racked on Tuesday. He's probably not a number one guy, but who the bleep knows, really? He could be. I was fine with Padilla getting the Opening Day start, and I think he'll have a good year. I could be wrong. Let's move forward.
Yes, Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley throw a lot of pitches. But they might just win 30 games between them. So see you in September. Oops, old habits die hard, don't they?
Yes, Russell Martin got a day off after a night game. If you're thinking that's the beginning of a trend, think again pal.
The Dodgers will get men into scoring position and frustrate their fans by leaving them there, time and time again. OK, probably, but that in itself doesn't mean the world is about to end, nor does it mean Los Angeles is a third place club.
Another probably: Blake DeWitt will have trouble playing second base.
Good thing Tinker stars in a baseball cliché.
There's even a shortstop in the Hall of Fame, by the name of John Ward, who made Jose Offerman look like Ozzie Smith squared. We're talking 60-plus errors nine times, and 105 one year. 105! Sure, it’s pre-1900, pre-Rawlings, but how in the world is it physically possible to field .885 lifetime?
So DeWitt either makes it as a second baseman this year, next year, never, moves to third if Casey Blake gets hurt, or I don't know what. Which is pretty much the point.
We don't know what. Not yet. Because, clearly, it's only April. It's never over until the fat lady sings. It's a beautiful day for a ball game, for a ball game today. And only time will tell…
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Media Savvy: Props to reader and friend, Brian Wittig, for sending in this note while Bucs' reliever Hayden Penn was getting pounded flatter than a pancake while it was raining cats and dogs: "Billy “Digger” O’Dell was getting bombed and my brother and I saw the box score the next day, and he gave up eight runs in an inning and a third. Me: Guess he needed the work. My brother: NOBODY needs that kind of work."
Turns out it was "just" eight over the first three, and 11 in seven for the outing, but still. And Brian even produced the box score…
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