It’s nice to have fun at the ballpark again. In this case, the object of our merriment is Carlos Gomez, around whom no one was safe at the Metrodome last night.
*In the first inning, Gomez almost got himself killed — smacking into Denard Span on the first play of the game, spending a couple of minutes of the Metrodome turf and getting royal and good-natured grief from teammates in the dugout at the end of the inning. Remember, it was written here two weeks ago that: “…if they played together on a more frequent basis, (Span and Gomez) might stop running into each other on fly balls to left-center.”
*In the second, Gomez launched his bat into the stands on a swing-and-a-miss. From what we could tell, there was a spilled drink, a souvenir and nobody hurt.
*Gomez sent part of his next bat in the general direction of third baseman Gordon Beckham, who dodged the ball and couldn’t handle the grounder that gave Gomez an infield single. As if wary of anything touched by Gomez, White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez also failed to make a clean pick-up.
*Then Gomez turned his attention to White Sox second baseman Jayson Nix, making a savage-and-clean takeout slide that:
a) Caused Nix to throw the ball away for an error.
b) Allowed Brendan Harris to score from second.
c) Kept Nick Punto from the humiliation of an inning-ending double play.
*In the fourth, before flying out to center, Gomez smacked a foul ball off the third-base camera well.
*During his final at-bat in the sixth, he knocked a foul ball off his foot and did the batter’s gimp-around before grounding into a force play.
To Span’s credit, when he went after Josh Fields’ fly ball to left-center in the seventh, he threw out what Ms. Baseball termed a “Heisman Trophy stiff-arm” as he tracked down the ball, keeping Gomez a safe distance away as the play was made. That was the opening act to Span’s sprint-to-the-wall catch in the ninth that greatly aided Joe Nathan’s one-two-three closeout.
Seriously, the Gomez take-out slide was a statement kind of play that provoked the most excitement from the dugout, with the obvious exception of the Michael Cuddyer home run in the sixth that gave the Twins a 4-3 lead and ended the scoring. It also continued a fun-to-watch inning of White Sox self-mutilation that included an A.J. Pierzynski passed ball, the Nix error, Paul Konerko missing a catch on a throw from his pitcher for an error and a throw into center field when Alexi Casilla stole second base (after reaching on the Konerko error.) The inning turned A.J. peevish and got Ozzie Guillen to kick the bucket (of dugout bubble gum) in frustration.
Speaking of Cuddyer, I’m sure the skeptics could easily find someone to replace a guy who’s on a 28-homer pace and provides some veteran stability on a team that has been flying all over the place. You have to accept that, as a right-handed power hitter, he’s sometimes going to look silly at the plate and probably going to strike out in triple figures (17 homers, 74 strikeouts so far). Hey, not everyone can be Joe Mauer (17 and 41).
Alas, we also saw the low moment of the season at the Dome last night. Astute judges of humanity that we are in Section 220, I turned to Ms. Baseball when the seventh-inning trivia contestant appeared on the scoreboard and said, “This guy looks like he could miss the first question.”
And, yes, given two chances, the gentleman failed to answer correctly, “How many different hits are in the cycle.”
In Section 220, that man is now known as the Alexi Casilla of Twins Trivia.