Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Grace Busts Bochy

So, I know that last night there was more exciting sports news as a GuaranSheed went to Guaranshit, thanks to a 50% free throw shooting effort from the Second Coming. Later, the Mavs went to OT to beat San Antonio, putting them one game away from sending the Spurs back to Tony Parker's poker game for the summer. Unfortunately, I didn't see either of these events as the family friend in New York who was generous enough to let me stay at her place has neither TNT or ESPN, which is not only unbelievable, but un-American and should be illegal.

Needing to get a sports fix, I signed up for a month (plus 1 month free for using MasterCard) with MLBtv and caught the last half of the Padres/Diamondbacks game. By the way, I now understand why there is such an east coast bias in baseball coverage (Bonds aside). When it's midnight on a Monday and the west coast games are only in the sixth inning, it takes a pretty dedicated fan (or hopeless insomniac) to see how a game ends. So there I was, a little after midnight watching two teams from the worst division in baseball do battle in Arizona. Chan Ho Park had been rocked early, but once he had settled down was retiring the Diamondbacks with ease. After seven innings, the Padres had rallied from a 4-0 deficit and were now leading 5-4. While the Padres were batting in the top of the 8th, Diamondbacks commentator Mark Grace, whose only previous insight in his career was introducing the world to the term slumpbuster (def #3 is his), remarked that while it's usually Scott Linebrink's job to pitch the 8th, he'd leave Park in for another inning because the DBack hitters weren't even coming close to his pitches at the time. However, Padres manager Bruce Bochy was apparantly listening to the Pads Cox 4 broadcast instead of FoxAZ (possibly with the hopes that Tony Gwynn would stumble in drunk to the booth and talk about the good work that Brad Pitt is doing over there with that thing), and neglected Grace's advice, putting Linebrink in for the bottom of the 8th. With one out in the 8th, suspected supplement (Geritol) user Tony Clark blasted a solo shot into the right field seats to tie the game. The Diamondbacks then went on to win the game in extra innings.

I'd already had a feeling that this will be Bruch Bochy's final year managing the Padres. He's a decent manager, but it feels like this team has gone as far as it will under his leadership. But this seals it- once you've been outhought by Mark Grace, it's pretty much time to go.


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