By Marc Campos

Baseball, Baseball

30,000 of us went to see the Astros play the Bluejays yesterday. Roy Oswalt pitched a two hitter, faced 29 batters - two over the minimum 27. He was absolutely outstanding. The Astros are still way, way, way, way behind the first place Cards in the National League (NL) Central. Nobody gives the 'Stros a chance of returning to the playoffs. We'll see.

We still go to the games though, because we love baseball. To some of us, it is very entertaining. We love to see if our guys can execute. Even if you are a so-so fan of the game, how can you not like to see 40 something year old Roger Clemens do his thing - which happens to be the best thing in the NL. The other night the dude made a diving tag on a runner to first base.

Commentary loves to see the moves being made - will they bunt, will they steal, will they intentionally walk the hitter, do they send the runner home, do they pinch hit - it is a strategist's paradise.

Baseball has records that fans seem to know like Joe DiMaggio’s consecutive games in which he got a base hit - 56, Nolan Ryan's career no-nos - 7, Hank Aaron's 755 career home runs. Who in the heck knows the record for how many consecutive completed passes an NFL quarterback had, or consecutive free throws an NBA player made? Go on ahead and google that.

Of course I don't want to get into a debate on which sport is more popular. Baseball keeps getting nailed in the ratings.

The Astros brought up a new rookie pitcher named Wandy Rodriguez. At the game the other night, some of us fans were trying to figure out if his real name was "Wandy" - how many guys named "Wandy" have you met? Was it "Wandyful"? Nope, it is "Wandy". Actually "Wandy E. Rodriguez." Maybe Wandy can 'splain where the name came from.

Roy Oswalt does this. So does Commentary when he gets a foul ball. A sharp grounder is hit to Oswalt on the mound. He takes it out of the glove, then he puts the ball close to his face and reads the printing, then throws it to the first baseman. Is he checking to see if that's the same ball he pitched to the batter? I've been told that when I snag a foul ball, after triumphantly thrusting the fisted ball in the air, I'll look at it and read the printing - I guess to see if it's an official ball.

June 13, 2005, 9:00AM

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