TDIB Saturday: This Day in English Literature

Saturday, April 29 2006 @ 06:00 AM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

I was thinking, as I often do this time of year, of the late, great T. S. Eliot.

You all know, (of course you know) the late, great T.S. Eliot - the man who wrote:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm....

And, as ever, the Destroyer of All Hope for fans in many major league cities.

But not Toronto. Not this time, pal:

Toronto 12 9 .571 - 8-6 4-3 128 104 Won 1 6-4
Boston 13 10 .565 - 6-4 7-6 104 116 Lost 3 4-6
Baltimore 13 11 .542 .5 8-6 5-5 128 139 Won 2 5-5
NY Yankees 11 10 .524 1 7-3 4-7 123 84 Lost 1 6-4
Tampa Bay 10 13 .435 3 5-3 5-10 109 138 Won 1 3-7

A few observations on last night's game would surely be in order:

Star of the Game - Shea Hillenbrand's three run homer was obviously the game's single biggest blow. With this one swing, Shea picked up Glaus (flyout to left) and Overbay (strikeout), not to mention atoning for his own GDP, which had busted up a pretty promising fourth inning for the Blue Jays.

Unsung Hero - There were many honourable mentions on this night: Roy Halladay, Justin Speier, B.J. Ryan on the mound... Frank Catalanotto got the offense started before half the crows had taken their seats.... some nifty early inning defense from Russ Adams...Bengie Molina threw out a baserunner....

For the Bombers - On the one hand, Scott Proctor retired 9 of the 10 men he faced. On the other hand, the guy he didn't get was Shea Hillenbrand in the sixth...

Defensive Play of the Game - Bottom of the third, one out and one on. Doc has a 3-2 count on Derek Jeter. Halladay strikes him out, and Molina guns down Damon trying to steal second. In a 2-0 game, with Sheffield, Rodriguez, and Giambi coming up next - it was good to get out of the inning. I would like to salute the second 5-4-3 double play that the Jays pulled - in the eighth inning off the bat of Bernie Williams - but the Jays had a comfortable lead by then, and Bernie was pretty clearly safe on the play anyway.

Defensive Misplay of the Game - It's tempting to pick on Johnny Damon for allowing Bengie Molina to score on a sac fly. But Alex Rodriguez hesitated on Wells slow roller to the left side, uncertain whether it was his play or the shortstop's. That was a mistake - that ball is always the third baseman's play. Wells beat it out, and two outs later was still on base for Shea Hillenbrand...

DP Watch - You want 'em, these guys hit 'em. In the first five innings last night, Glaus, Catalanotto, Hillenbrand, and Hill all killed two birds with one blow. Kept the game close for much longer than was actually necessary. That's now 7 GDP in 19 games for Hillenbrand - he hit 6 in his 9 games, 0 in his next 9. He remains on pace to absolutely shatter Jim Rice's record of 36 in a season.

Boxscore - That would be here.

- Let's anoint the Players and Pitchers of the month, before they make it official. In the other league, it's quite obviously Albert Pujols (duh!) and Greg Maddux. Greg Maddux is 5-0, 1.35, and is off to the best start of his career. Which is not without distinction already...Pujols and Maddux need to be very good if they're going to take the honours away from Carlos Delgado and Pedro Martinez. The AL is much tougher - Curt Schilling, Mike Maroth, Jose Contreras, Mark Buehrle, and Mike Mussina are all off to excellent starts - I'm going with Schilling because... well, I like the 31 Ks and 6 BB in 34.2 innings. As for the players... who's been better than our Vernon? Miguel Tejada is on fire

Memories - It was one year ago today - the Blue Jays were going into Yankee Stadium for a Friday night contest. Roy Halladay would pitch for the good guys, and the Big Ugly Unit would start for the Yankees. Both pitchers were outstanding, but Johnson hung a slider to Eric Hinske and the Dude delivered a two-run homer for all the scoring in one of 2005's most memorable games.

One year ago, the team with the best record in the AL were the Chicago White Sox, crusing along at 16-6. This year, the best AL team would be... the Chicago White Sox, presently at 15-7. The worst team, then and now - the Kansas City Royals, of course, 5-17 a year ago, and 5-16 this morning.

St. Louis had the best record in the NL at this time last year - they were 14-6. But this year?

What's going on in Cincinnati, anyway? How did this happen?