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The Week That Was

The Week That Was
Paul Chick

Wow what a week in sports! Major League Baseball in full stride and the start of the playoffs in both the NHL and NBA. Great time to be a sports fan especially in Boston now that the Sox are on a 4 game tear!

A very sad start indeed with the passing of broadcaster and Hall of Famer Harry Kalas and just a few hours later Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. Kalas was best known in most of the country as the voice of NFL Films filling the very large shoes of the legendary John Facenda. To Philadelphians he was the voice of the Phillies since 1971. Phillies team president David Montgomery said it best. “We lost our voice today. He is the Phillies." Reminded me a bit of when Johnny Most died. He had been retired and battling health issues but any true Celtic fan could blurt out a gravel-voiced Most impersonation with ease. Shortly after the Kalas news we learned of the death of Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. I was only a teenager in 1976 but the memory of Fidrych on “Monday Night Baseball” against the Yankees is etched in my memory. Smoothing the mound, talking to the ball…another Spaceman Bill Lee! After that great Rookie of the Year campaign in ’76, The Bird only managed another 10 wins in a career curtailed by injuries.

If you weren’t already cursing the WBC I’m sure you were Tuesday night. Dice K was placed on the 15 day DL with arm fatigue after allowing 5 runs to the A’s in the first inning. Arm fatigue on April 14!! Can’t blame Dice K. The WBC is a huge event for Japan and Dice K went all out to help them repeat as champs. Are you listening Bud Selig?

Just when all looked bleak in The Nation, Tim Wakefield took a no-hit bid into eighth inning the following day. Wake saved a severely overtaxed bullpen, which worked nearly 11 innings the previous night. The complete game was the MVP performance of the early season for the Sox. Kevin Youkilis is crushing the ball at a .468 clip but without that performance from Wakefield it’d be PawSox North on the Fenway mound. Youk gets hit on the noggin Friday night and comes back with a 4 hit, 4 RBI effort Saturday.

And speaking of no-hitters, 45 year old! Randy Johnson took a no-hitter into 7th vs. his old team, the D’Backs, on Sunday. The Giant lefty picked up career win #296 in his first start against his former team. AJ Burnett did the same for the Yankees Tuesday night. He no hit the Rays before allowing a 7th inning Carl Crawford single in a 7-2 Yanks win.

Oh boy how about those Yankees!! Or as the New York Post dubbed them, the Stinkees. Nothing better than my 10-year-old daughter giggling and chanting Stinkees, Stinkees, Stinkees! as only a 10-year-old girl can. Yes, priceless. Monday night a 15-5 loss to the Rays in Tampa highlighted by Nick Swisher pitching a scoreless eighth allowing a hit and a walk. Starter Chien-Ming Wang's line was not quite as impressive as Swisher’s…
1.0 6 8 8 3 1 0 61-34 28.93
Just when the Yanks figured it couldn’t get any worse for Wang it did. A historic 22-4 pasting at the hands of the Cleveland Indians Saturday afternoon/evening (hey 22 runs don’t come quickly). The Tribe posted 14 runs in the second inning, the most ever in the second inning of a major league game.
Wang’s line…
1.1 8 8 8 0 1 1 52-34 34.50
Wang entered the game with an ERA over 28…and it went up!! By 4 ½ runs!! Add those 2 gems to the 10-2 beat down with the opening of the new Yankee Stadium and it’s ugly math for the Bombers. Cleveland scored 9 times in the 7th inning of that one. What do you call the victim of a Bomber? The Bombees? The Bombinos? The Bombinos return to Fenway Friday night.

Should we keep the red carpet outside the visitors clubhouse normally reserved for the O’s? The Sox have won 24 of the past 30 against Baltimore at Fenway to help the Sox gain the .500 mark at 6-6 entering today’s Patriots Day finale.

And what’s with two guys hitting for the cycle? In the rarest of baseball feats both Ian Kinsler of the Rangers and Jason Kubel of the Twins turned the trick this past week. Only 2 other players have matched Kinsler’s feat of 6 hits in a game and hitting for the cycle in that gameRondell White with the Expos in ’95 and Bobby Veach of the 1920 Detroit Tigers (sorry don’t remember that one). Kubel helped the Twins overcome a 9-4 eighth inning deficit against the Angels. He hit a grand slam to complete the cycle as Minnesota scored 7 times for an 11-9 win Friday night. Don’t look now but the Angels are 4-8 and last place in the West. The return of healthy starting pitchers should help turn things around for the Halos.

You owe it to yourself if you’ve never witnessed the spectacle of Patriots Day in Boston. Nothing like joining 300 fellow Sox fans for a cold one at 9 AM in Copperfields. And then as the sun sets…is this guy staggering cuz he just ran 26.2 miles or has he been drinking since 9 AM? Either way it makes for a rough Tuesday. Happy Patriots Day!


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