Okay, most of my creative energy today went into a lengthy post in this diary, so pardon me if I keep this one relatively brief as a result. Not least because I didn't even get to sit down today at work, before being asked if I'd "mind logging in early". Tomorrow morning, I will enter the building at 9am on the dot - more by accident than design, admittedly, but might as well make a statement. Maybe I should ask them to shift my schedule to 8am-4:30pm? Has potential - save days like tomorrow, when I have to drop Mrs. SnakePit off - and so must leave the house at, ugh, 7 am. Okay, scratch that idea...
Hopefully going to my second spring training game of the year on Friday; Mrs. SnakePit's cousin is coming in from California, and she's a big Oakland fan, so we're going to try and get tickets for the A's-Diamondbacks game at Phoenix Muni. Imagine, at this late stage, all the good seats are gone, but it should still be fun, even if we're sprawled on the outfield grass. It's an evening game, so the temperatures should be very pleasant, and it seems a good way to finish the week. We will, of course, be wearing our his 'n' hers jerseys to the event: no opportunity for self-promotion left un..er, unpromoted.
Not strictly D-backs related, but there's a charity screening tomorrow in Scottsdale of Chasing October, a docu-comedy about Matt Liston's crusade to take the Cubs to the 2003 World Series "by any means necessary". According to the press release, "The film is a hilarious must-see that will bring joy to all Cubs fans." Hang on, the 2003 season? The one which Steve Bartman destroyed, five outs from the Promised Land? Shurely shome mishtake. Certainly, I think it may be the first time that it, "Cubs fans" and "joy" have ever been mentioned in the same paragraph. "Hilarious," I grant you: I remember vividly, how we held our aching sides, and laughed, long into the night... :-)
Anyway, the screening is 8 pm tomorrow, at the Harkins Camelview, down by Fashion Square Mall. It's free but they encourage a $10 donation, for Project 3000, a charity formed by Cubs slugger Derrek Lee and Boston Celtics CEO Wyc Grousbeck (whose children both suffer from Lebers Congenital Amaurosis. I have no idea what that is, but kids + illness = give till it frickin' hurts, as far as I'm concerned). Lee and director Liston will be present there, and at a postscreening reception in the Upper Deck Sports Bar (4224 N. Craftsman Court, Scottsdale). Regrettably, I won't be able to go, but the film also plays at the Camelview starting Friday, so we might take it in there. Popcorn and schadenfreude sold separately.
As yesterday, we kept our scheduled starter out of today's game against a divisional rival: Hernandez 2.0 pitched a simulated game out of the public eye against minor-leaguers. Which, given his last outing, was probably wise for all concerned... :-) He threw 65 pitches, and reports from both him and catcher Chris Snyder suggest it went well. "I felt good," said Hernandez. "I was working outside and inside, and everything went well. I just treated it like a regular game and gave 100% on every pitch." Snyder, showing hitherto unexpected linguistic talents, described it as "Bueno."
Instead of Livan, Nippert took the field against the Rockies, and his control was a bit off: the MLB.com report says "Nippert impresses", but three walks and two hits in three innings seems a bit unimpressive. Julio, however, was bringing the heat, touching 97 mph and he pitched two hitless frames. Lyon gave the Rockies five hits and three earned runs in his two innings, though was the victim of some squibs and seeing-eye hoppers; he and Slaten both picked up blown saves, with the latter allowing four hits and a run in two innings. Slaten did get the win, with Kinsey notching the save, despite allowing two hits.
Seems like an exciting game: we were 1-0 up, tied at one, 3-1 up, 3-4 down, 5-4 up, tied at five, and finally won it in the tenth, Robby Hammock driving in the go-ahead run with an RBI single. The Rockies outhit the D-backs, 13-12, but only one of theirs went for extra bases: we mustered five doubles and a triple. Quentin had two of those, with Hairston and Ojeda also having two-hit days. Hairston's included a triple down the left-field line, which suggests he was taking demands for baserunning aggressiveness seriously. Chris Carter had the interesting line, 0 AB, 0 H, 2 R, thanks to a pair of walks, our only free passes of the day. First time in a while our hitters walked less than they struck out, while the pitchers allowed more walks than they fanned.
Over on DBBP, Shoewizard was expressing some concern about the progress of Young, saying he "has some work to do this spring. I'm not liking the at bats he's having." Hmmm. At least there's no shortage of depth there: if worst comes to the worst, we send Young down to Tucson, move Byrnes back to CF, and Hairston becomes our everyday left-fielder. Probably little offensive downside, might even be a slight improvement. Of course, I'm hoping Young does live up to expectations (and we work out some way to get Hairston into the lineup too), but it's nice to know we have options there - literally!
ESPN writes about Brandon Webb. The headline, "Webb gives hitters that sinking feeling," gives you some idea of how much new information can be found within the piece. You are invited, however, to guess who provided this quote regarding Webb's starts: "There are times when you want to pull up a lawn chair, order up a drink from the bar and check out all the chicks at the pool." It was, of course, Eric Byrnes: that one's getting enshrined permanently in our quotes file. Speaking of EB, diamondbacks.com gives him some love, saying his "versatility puts him in impressive company," reminding us the only other outfielder to hit 25 HR with 25 SB last year was Alfonso Soriano. Trust Eric to burst the bubble himself, saying, "Let's not mention the fact he had over 20 more homers and 16 more steals."
First batch of reassignments went down, with infielder Mark Reynolds, catcher Josh Ford, plus pitchers Matt Elliott and Greg Smith all getting sent to Minor League camp. Smith got the best report from Melvin, who said, "He's a guy who we obviously love... When you look at our pitching prospects, especially starters, this is a guy that jumps out at you, and a guy who came out and performed well." A good season in the minors, and come next March, I think we can expect Smith's stay at Spring Training to be significantly longer in 2008.
Something different tomorrow: an interview with Chris Constancio of the Hardball Times and FirstInning.com, who'll be talking about the 2007 projections as well as the D-backs prospects. Should be up around lunchtime.