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Off Base
For One Brief Shining Moment

August 15, 2005

Baseball allows for these things. In the darkest of seasons, the most joyless of summers, baseball gladly makes time for a brief shining moment.

For this year’s Dodgers, Sunday, August 14, 2005 was that moment. A beautifully played 2-1 ball game, a near no-hitter by a never should've been an ex-Dodger, Vinny telling the story like no other can.

An Antonio Perez triple followed by a Jayson Werth home run, a great play to cut off the tying run at the plate in the ninth, and a complete game win by Brad Penny. Pedro Martinez goes from history maker to loser in two pitches.

One afternoon, wholly distinct from the rest of the campaign.

And I’m thinking, Game Five, 1981 World Series. Same location, same sunny afternoon, same two cities featured, same Vinny. Ron Guidry out-pitching Jerry Reuss, by the same score of 1-0, throughout. Masterful on both counts.

New York scored on a second inning infield single by Lou Piniella, the Los Angeles bats silent until back-to-back homers by Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager in the seventh turned it around. “Not a murmur of protest,” from the Yankees, as Vinny must have said, but for another harmless Piniella single in the ninth. Complete game win for the Dodgers starter.

Baseball allows us these comparisons, where one glorious Sunday afternoon recalls another more glorious…

Oh, lighten up. I'm not going soft on you. I just thought I’d share. The poison pen still writes. See.

The Bleeping Slide Step: Enough already. Tell me we haven’t heard more about the bleeping slide step in the last two months than we had the sum total of the rest of all our lives.

First of all, the slide step isn’t that complicated. It’s really not. Second, any pitching coach worth his salt substitute can teach the damn thing, and third, Jason Phillips can’t throw a baseball all the way to second base anyway.

So, you know what you do? You throw over, you step off, you throw over some more, you mess with the runner’s timing, and you get some instruction from another club’s pitching coach. Maybe your high school guy. It’s not that complicated…

Why a Duck: Maybe I need to get a life, but while shopping in Big Lots on Sherman Way, I stumbled upon a cache of Bobby Abreu rubber duck squeeze toys. Took home the whole litter, plus the one and lonely Sean Casey version. His looks like a puffin, btw. The Abreus are mallard-inspired.

Guaranteed to make you and your, uh, bathing partners, laugh. In fact, if you don't have bathing partners, this toy will help you get some. Check it out.

Memo to John Ireland: Yes, again. It’s “Join Steve Mason and me,” not “Join Steve Mason and I,” OK.

Take an English as a first language class, will you. Complete your voice training first, then hit the books. And man, for the last time, stop ripping off my “BS” trademark!! Refer to “The Big Show” as “TBS.” See if they care…

Memo to All Earth's Sports Directors: Gee, do you think you can play the Carlos Beltran, Mike Cameron collision a few more times? Huh?

Statue for Paul DePodesta: Stands there like a statue and does nothing for months at a time, talks Wilson Alvarez out of rather than into retirement, then brings in Jose Cruz, Jr. to save the day…  

Investors Wanted: Invest a thimble full of venture capital today, make major league minimum tomorrow…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues, so please scroll down to the photo below and vote yes on 32…

Remember, glove conquers all….


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