Fortunate enough to sit behind home plate for the Indians opener against the Red Sox, my brother and I enjoyed 8 innings of marvelous baseball at Progressive Field (or was it Fenway Park with all of those Boston fans drowning out Cleveland cheers all night)…you notice I said 8 innings.
One of the perks of sitting as close as we were (really, the best seats I’ve ever been in) was being privy to the exchange of banter between the scouts behind home plate, just to the left of us, checking their JUGS guns and charting pitches throughout the game. I mention this because, as the 9th inning dawned and Brodzoski (The Close) began his warm-up pitches to the “Rocky” theme music, both of our eyes were fixed on the scout with the JUGS behind home plate to see if we could get an indication as to where JoeBo’s velocity was.
After he threw his final warm-up pitch, the scout turned to the rest down the aisle and said (obvious to even the amateur lip-reader), “Seventy-Nine”, dropped his head and shook it.
My brother and I exchanged glances and looked to the Progressive Field radar reading for Borowski’s first offering to Julio Lugo – 81 MPH. I immediately said to him (and this is no lie), “at least we’ll have Grady leading off the bottom of the 9th”.
The ball struck Lugo’s bat and you know the rest of this story.
This one’s going to hurt for a while.
Monday, April 14, 2008