Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath


The first Rockies game of the year for me was today, and it looked to be the pitching duel of the year, with two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum versus Colorado’s ace who may be the 2010 Cy Young winner, Ubaldo Jimenez.  It didn’t end up that way, but it was still a great game, and always good to see the Rockies win.

Memorial Day’s a great day for baseball – a day off of work, nice weather without being too hot, and great crowds.  I scooped up tickets on StubHub,  in 108, row J, which is ten rows behind the visitor’s dugout.  We got there an hour early, which meant I got right up to the wall and took enough pictures to burn through an entire battery during batting practice.  I absolutely love the new DSLR for games, although I get lens envy when I see the pros with giant three-foot long zooms on the field.

They had a ton of veteran-related things going on for the holiday, which was surprising considering the political climate of the area.  But they had a ton of medal-laden vets out before the game. The national anthem was sung by Keni Thomas, who was a Ranger in the battle of Mogadishu; he actually did a pretty decent job of it.  They also did a moment of silence and “God Bless America” plus all of these taped things of various players thanking vets.

So, the game – basically, Ubaldo pitched very well, and Lincecum did well, but there were enough minor gaps to let the Rockies break it open.  Lincecum walked a couple of people in the second, and then Clint “I’ll swing at every pitch you throw at me” Barmes, who never had a hit against Lincecum, got in a two-run single on an error.  There was also a later pick-off attempt where the ball got loose and someone got two bases on it.  There were a few questionable umpire calls that went in the Rockies’ favor and royally pissed off all of the Giants fans, too.  And Lincecum threw way too many pitches, with a 32-pitch second inning.

Ubaldo’s pitching was phenomenal.  The numbers are amazing: he’s the first ten-game winner this year, something that only 15 people have done since 1952; he had nine strikeouts and extended his scoreless streak to 26 innings with the shutout. He pitched a complete game, which is the fourth time he’s done that – and what’s odd is I saw him do that in 2008.  His ERA has dropped to a microscopic 0.78, too.  What’s amazing is that he threw a 128-pitch game, but even well after the 100-pitch mark, he was throwing 99-MPH fastballs. And I wasn’t watching the pitch board the whole game (I always forget where it is at AT&T Park, and reflexively start looking near all of that Levi’s crap in right field) but even his curve ball was touching 90.

The game was pretty boring offensively, with no major bombs hit, except a few that the Giants launched that went straight to Carlos Gonzalez with no effort.  It was all manufactured runs and NL baseball goodness.

I took a ton of pictures – they’re on flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jkonrath/sets/72157624180933230/