June really is bustin’ out all over!
An unprecedented happening, three perfect games not just in one season but in the space of less than a month, was prevented by a blown call on June 2. 1B ump Jim Joyce, a 22-year veteran, respected throughout baseball, clearly missed the call on a close play with two outs in the bottom of the ninth during the Detroit Tigers-Cleveland Indians game. Detroit’s Armando Galarraga had set down the first 26 Indians he had faced when with two outs in the top of the ninth Jason Donald hit a ground-ball fielded by Miguel Cabrera. Galarraga got to 1B in time, Cabrera’s throw was in time, and Donald was clearly (at least on the slo-mo) out. Yet Joyce called him safe, to the consternation of the Tigers and their home fans. It hardly mattered to the outcome as Galarraga got the 3rd out with the next batter, but instead of the 21st perfect game in MLB history, we are left with the 10th game in which a perfecto was spoiled with two outs in the 9th. To his credit, umpire Joyce admitted his mistake and apologized to Galarraga and his team mates, but it’s a sad blemish on an otherwise fine career.
If you’ve been reading my articles, you know I’m calling 2010 “The Year of the Pitcher” and nothing has happened to change my mind. Colorado Rockies’ starter Ubaldo Jimenez made some history as he became the first pitcher to go 10-1 with an ERA under 1 (a minuscule 0.78!). He’s got the inside track on the NL Cy Young Award.
On Monday, June 7 MLB will conduct their annual Player Draft. It doesn’t work the same way as drafts in other sports as teams may not trade their draft picks, but it is momentous nonetheless. The Washington Nationals are expected to take Bryce Harper with the first overall pick. Harper is heralded, as he made the cover of Sports Illustrated a year ago at the age of 16. Whether he comes in as a catcher or CFer is to be determined, but he will command more money as a catcher. Appropriately, the next night the Nationals’ first pick from the 2009 Draft, Stephen Strasburg, is scheduled to make his MLB debut at the Nationals face the Pittsburgh Pirates in DC. A sellout and massive media coverage is anticipated, and ESPN will carry the game nationally.
The College World Series begins its Regional Round on Friday, June 4; the Super-Regionals will commence on Friday, June 11 and the Elite Eight finalists convene at Omaha’s Rosenblatt Stadium on June 19 and a winner will be crowned either June 29 or 30 (it’s double elimination). The Women’s CWS starts today June 3 at Oklahoma City and will crown a champion on June 9. Washington, UCLA and Florida are the highest remaining seeds.
Let’s note the passing of Dorothy (Dottie) Kamenshek, who passed away last week at 84 of natural causes. Dorothy was one of the stars of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. She was a slick fielding 1Bwoman who won the Batting Title in 1946 (.316) and 1947 (.306). She was a seven-time All-Star in her 10-year career. If you’ve ever seen the great baseball movie “A League Of Their Own” you have a sense of the time and place. Some say that she was the inspiration for the Geena Davis character in the movie also named “Dottie”, but there were at least seven other Dotties in the AAGPBL and Ms. Davis’ character (who played catcher) is generally regarded as a composite. Safe at home, Dottie!