(photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
"Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the pitchers and realize that they’ve thrown some really good games."
For the second day in a row, the Arizona Diamondbacks got all they could ask for from a young pitcher. Yusmeiro Petit gave up only two runs on four hits. But for the second day in a row, the Arizona Diamondbacks were bested by a dominating performance from the front of the San Francisco Giants rotation. Matt Cain gave up only three hits and one run in gaining the 2-1 complete game victory. And that one run, which came in the ninth, scored on a double play. It be’s that way sometimes.
The good news was the Eric Byrnes line: he got two of the three hits, scored the run, stole a base (his 6th- pictured above), and made two fine plays in center field: a running catch, and a little later, one of his signature diving catches. Even the Giants fans applauded that one. On the whole, it was a good though not great weekend for Byrnes. But I’m pleased. All told, he got four hits (one of them a double), two walks, two runs scored, two fine plays in the outfield, and a stolen base. His batting average is .313; his OBP is .370; his K/BB ratio is 10/8. It would have been nice to see some RBIs this weekend, but in the face of the buzz saw that was the Giants pitching, well, at least I can say he wasn’t the only one to get skunked.
AND <drumroll> Eric Byrnes signed my Diamondbacks Cap Today!!! "There she is," he said as he took the cap and pen. He also noticed my new Byrnesblog T-shirt, which features a picture of him in the middle. "I like that shirt," he said. I now have Eric Byrnes 22 written on the inside of the bill for me to look up at any time I need to lift my spirits.
My thanks to my friends and the baseball gods who got me tickets to all three games. Unlike Saturday, today the weather was clear, so of course, this was the day they gave out umbrellas. Having never gone to a sunny day game in San Francisco, I neglected the sunscreen. Big mistake, even with my baseball cap drawn over my face and a glove shielding my bare hands. I have some red patches on my lower forearms.
This time I was down at the field level among the rich people. I was told Friday that I was sitting with the rich people by being in the second level. Those folks were the upper-middle class. With all due respect to Mark Grace, Dodgers relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton is not the biggest man in the world. That title goes to the man in the row ahead of me and just to my right, whose huge head took up most of the space between the pitcher and the catcher.
There was something positive to be said about sitting at each level. Friday night’s seat in the second level was near home plate and elevated enough to offer optimal viewing for keeping score. I was also near the broadcast booths and got a chance to say hello to Gracie and Daron Sutton. (Friday was the only time I tried to both keep score and maintain The Eric Byrnes Pitch Count Report. Finding it all too much to handle with a baseball glove in tow, I abandoned score keeping on Saturday. Finally, on Sunday, I left The Report home, too, opting for a maraca to shake as a rattle whenever Byrnesie or Scott Hairston came to bat, and when Byrnesie made his diving catch). On Saturday, sitting in section 139 of the bleachers offered me the opportunity to listen to "Heckler Par Excellence" Tigger, and some of her colleagues, at work. ("Bleacher creatures" are really into the game, which is more than I can say for folks in other sections. The couple next to me Friday night actually left before Barry Bonds did.) Being in the bleachers also gave me a chance to shout some countering encouragement to Eric Byrnes.
Today’s field level seat gave me an appreciation of just how fast these pitchers throw. It amazes me that anyone ever gets hit. But they do. Especially Barry Bonds, who hit another homer today. Going back to last year, I’ve now seen Barry homer in three of the last five games I’ve attended at "Ballpark by the Bay." I may be witnessing history, but next time I’d rather see Eric Byrnes hit them.