For those of you that want to better understand the “swashbuckling” life of a baseball beat writer, here are some things you can do on your own — no media credential required.
1. Wake up at 3:55am to catch a 6am Northwest Airlines flight to St. Louis with a connection in Detroit.
2. Learn the Milwaukee to Detroit leg of your flight is delayed one hour because of a mechanical issue, which means you’ll miss your Detroit connection.
3. Stand in a line about 50 people deep to get rebooked. But to get the realistic feel of this, only one counter agent must be working while you wait.
4. Learn that the next Detroit flight gets to St. Louis at 4pm, knowing you have to be at the ballpark no later than 3:30 pm.
5. Feel lucky to get re-booked on to an American Airlines flight at 11:30 am. At least it’s non-stop to St. Louis but you get to spend an additional four hours waiting in Milwaukee. That’s what I’m doing as I type. Only two hours to go from this point.
Renting a car and driving to St. Louis wasn’t a good option. My luggage was already in the airline’s hands. And I was afraid the missing a leg of my journey would void the next one home on Friday. That would have really given me a case of the goo.
Obviously, I don’t have the kind of scratch needed to charter my own plane…not even once let alone on standby at my pleasure for me to bark over the phone “fuel the jet” to someone in a hanger. One can dream however.
John Fay of the Enquirer is in the same predictament as me and we both got rebooked. It’s usually the DDN’s Hal McCoy that has travel nightmares. We’ll find out who had tougher journey when we see Hal at the ballpark press box.
Since I had some extra time to kill in Milwaukee, here is some extra stuff:
Baseball Prospectus gives the Reds a 20 percent chance of making the playoffs. In the NL Central, only the Cardinals (59 percent) and Brewers (42 percent) higher. The Cubs have an 18 percent chance, according to BP.
In the latest “Crystal Ball report” at MiLB.com, my colleague Jonathan Mayo projected the Reds would use the eighth overall draft selection to pick RHP Tanner Scheppers, currently with the independent St. Paul Saints. Scheppers was a college draft pick last season but did not sign.
Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman’s “Hells Bells” entrance at Miller Park on Friday and Sunday was even better than it used to be in San Diego. The Brewers time it just right to have a bell toll just as Hoffman walks through the bullpen door. Then it’s “Trevor Time.” Brilliant.
It got me to think of my all-time top 5 favorite closer entrances:
1. When Eric Gagne was in his prime, Dodger Stadium’s LED boards all said “Game Over” next a picture of the goggled Gagne’s face. Cue the metal music and three outs later, the game was definitely over.
2. Hoffman in Milwaukee.
3. The White Sox briefly had a closer a few years ago named Shingo Takatsu, who was the all-time saves leader in Japan. Nicknamed “Mr Zero,” a gong sound was made at U.S. Cellular Field when he emerged from the bullpen. In an added nice touch, the gong was sounded after each strikeout — just perfect.
4. Todd Coffey — the sprint from the bullpen was always entertaining. It’s even more embraced by fans in Milwaukee than it was Cincinnati, where his eventual struggles made it harder to enjoy. My colleague Adam McCalvy is working on a story about it and had Coffey take a picture next to the old bullpen car used in the movie “Major League,” which was shot at old County Stadium.
(addendum — I realize Coffey isn’t a closer, but he was briefly. He still gets No. 4)
5. Rich “Goose” Gossage — this is an old-school nostalgia choice. When I was a kid at Yankee Stadium, they used to have a Toyota Celica bullpen car with Yankee pinstripes and everything. They would drive the Goose and drop him off in front of the visitor’s dugout. He’d get out and slam the door and tromp out to the mound. With that fu-manchu mustache, it was just an added touch of intimidation. The Goose was loose!
Afraid that there is no honorable mention for the Reds or Francisco Cordero at GABP. That’s because they have no real closer entrance to get the crowd going in the top of the ninth. With Cordero on a streak of 27 saves in a row, you’d think he’d have something cool by now.
Does anyone out there have a favorite closer’s entrance? If Cordero had one, what music, sound effects would you suggest?
Follow updates on Twitter at: