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It's Fitting That the Ho Ho Kam Were Farmers
2007-03-07 20:42
by Ryan Armbrust

It's funny, I drive over a thousand miles to watch baseball in Arizona, and I end up sitting next to a guy who wants to talk about crossbred beef marbling and post-emergence herbicides. I could have done that at home in Nebraska.

That's what you get when you take in a Cubs game at HoHoKam. Folks who've made their annual trek from the corn belt to see their Cubbies begin "next year".

Don't get me wrong, though, I enjoyed talking with that older gentleman from central Illinois. I don't think he'll stumble across this, though, since I overheard him refer to an email from his grandson as "an internet he sent me".

The ballgame itself featured the Cubs likely Opening Day lineup, with Carlos Zambrano taking the mound.

The A's -- or should I say the River Cats -- sent out a less-than-impressive lineup. The only starters to play were Nick Swisher and Jason Kendall. Shannon Stewart and Dan Johnson started, but they may be in platoons to start the season, or -- in Johnson's case -- might not make the team.

Kendall watched the first couple pitches of his at-bat to lead off the game, and then laced a pitch down the right field line for a double.

The first inning was pretty brutal, as presumptive 5th starter Joe F. Kennedy was nothing but hittable. The F in his nicknamed middle name (real middle name: Darley) refers to the expression that A's fans made as pitch after pitch was crushed.

The A's and Cubs both spent the majority of the first inning chasing after balls instead of fielding them.

Some were errors, and some were just hit so hard that they had little chance of finding leather before grass.

The A's made a few nice plays later in the game. Antonio Perez certainly seems to be a decent second baseman, and his speed really is evident out there. JJ Furmaniak is an able shortstop, and while he isn't in Marco Scutaro territory, I'd have no problem with him being a backup to he who shall not be mentioned for fear the simple uttering of his name will cause an injury.

I found it consistently amusing when the Cubs PA announcer referred to Hiram Bocachica as "Bocachia". Boca is Spanish for "mouth". Chia is American for "stupid grass-growing hunk of terra cotta". Imagine a clay mouth covered in grass on the windowsill of a kitchen. Now you're with me.

Around the fifth inning, I noticed a sound not unlike an owl dying from a seizure emanating from the outfield. That's right, the one, the only, the annoying, Ronnie Woo Woo. Apparently he needs to attend Spring Training to get ready for the regular season, too.

After Bobby Howry threatened to put more Cubs fans on anger medication, a nice throw by Buck Coats -- now there's a baseball name -- put out Charles Thomas as he tried to score. Whether he was out or not up for debate, but after a three hour and 23 minute spring training game, I think home plate umpire Brian Gorman wanted to get out of the sun and go get a steak at the Pink Pony.

- - - - -

I'm going to be watching the A's take on the Rangers in Phoenix tomorrow. It's the return of Ron Washington, so it should be an interesting pre-game. If anyone wants to say hi, I'll be the guy sitting in section F wearing a worn-out A's hat, peering through a telephoto lens.

2007-03-07 21:58:22
1.   Ken Arneson
Ronnie Woo Woo one day, Ronnie Wash the next. You're a lucky man.

What's up with Kennedy? He's been rocked twice.

2007-03-07 22:45:22
2.   Ken Arneson
BTW, I just googled the phrase "crossbred beef marbling", and it returned no results. Thanks, Ryan, I believe you just made Catfish Stew the Internet's foremost leading authority on crossbred beef marbling.
2007-03-08 04:39:10
3.   Vishal
oakland's woo woo >>> chicago's woo woo.

2007-03-08 06:38:16
4.   Daniel Zappala
Speaking of the Rivercats, any prospects I should watch for this year? My son was on the RIvercats in Little League last year, so he insists on going to a game when they visit Salt Lake.
2007-03-08 07:50:29
5.   Philip Michaels
4 Daric Barton will start the season in Sacramento, and he's probably the A's best hitting prospect. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to see him in Oakland before 2007 is done. He was part of the Mark Mulder deal, along with Haren and Calero.

Travis Buck may not start the season in Sacramento, but he'll be there soon enough. ( He played 50 games at Double-A last year, but was felled by a groin injury in July.) The A's are comparing his development as a power hitter to that of Swisher.

As for pitchers, the best of the bunch is Dallas Braden , but I imagine that with one start in Double-A, he'll likely begin the season there.

2007-03-08 15:48:15
6.   Ken Arneson
The A's five-man rotation in Sacramento will probably be Braden, Jason Windsor, Shane Komine, Lenny DiNardo, and Dan Meyer. None of them project to be much more than #4 starters in the majors, but I'd probably rather have that rotation than the rotation the Washington Nationals will be trotting out there this year.
2007-03-08 18:59:52
7.   Ryan Armbrust
For the record, beef marbling refers to the pattern of fat flecks in the grain of a cut of beef. The crossbred modifier, of course, refers to how crossing two different breeds of cattle, such as Tarentaise and Angus, affects the marbling.

So now you know... not that you really wanted to.

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