Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Baseball Novel Unfolds in Oakland

It felt like a John Tunis classic baseball novel being written last night in Oakland as 20 year old Jeremy Bonderman former first round pick of the Oakland A’s, seeking his first major league win, matched up against reigning Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito.

Bonderman grabbed the crowds attention by the end of the first inning when he dispatched Mark Ellis, Scott Hatteberg, and Miguel Tejada without blinking an eye.

The story continues just like Tunis’ novels did with the rookie getting stronger each inning, while the 23 game winner showed signs that it wasn’t to be his night to shine.

Click below for more on the story.Zito gave up a two run homer in the fourth, while Bonderman continued to slice through the A’s line up with hardly a whimper from the 2002 AL West champions.

The Tigers, 1-17 coming in, looked more confident as each inning sailed by. Bonderman stayed ahead in the count, had the A’s swinging at air as his pitches darted all over the strike zone and continued to hold his now 4-0 lead heading into the home eighth inning.

With Tiger manager Alan Trammell poised on the top step of the dugout and the bull pen heating up, Bonderman finished his night’s work after throwing three hit ball and 102 major league pitches through eight scintillating innings of work.

With his first major league victory close by thanks to a two run rally against A’s reliever Jim Mecir in the top of the eighth, (Mecir was making his first appearance of the season), Bonderman settled back and watched Matt Anderson retire the A’s in the 9th for Anderson’s second save of the season (thanks to a great catch robbing Scott Hatteberg of a two run homer by Bobby Higginson), and the 20 year old rookie’s first major league win.

Truth be told, the A’s were never in the game against Bonderman, the center piece of the mid summer 2002 trade between the A’s, Yankees, and Tigers, the trade which brought Ted Lilly to Oakland and sent fun loving starter Jeff Weaver from Detroit to NY.

Can you second guess the trade based on last night’s game?

No. Ted Lilly may be part of a pennant winning staff this year, Bonderman never would have had that opportunity. The two minor league players obtained from NY along with Lilly in that deal were then sent to the A’s farm club in Toronto to secure the services of Erubiel Durazo, in another three cornered Billy Beane special.

Jim Mecir’s performance is worthy of comment. Even though he was touched for two very important insurance runs in his one inning of work, I thought his velocity was excellent and he changed speeds very well. Without a regular spring training, Mercir may take a week or two to get into major league shape with the location of his pitches, but once he does he will give the A’s major league stuff in his set up role.

The A’s still are waiting for Miguel Tejada and Jermaine Dye to bust loose at the plate. Neither is showing signs that their bats will emerge from their early season deep freeze. Tejada is swinging at everything and is being handled on the inside part of the plate and Dye just doesn’t hit the ball with the authority he did prior to his leg injury.

Things in baseball change just like the weather in the Bay Area which is threatening today’s game, but Oakland needs these two to start hitting before facing the White Sox and Yankees over the next two weeks.

For Jeremy Bonderman, secure in his hotel room with his first major league victory, he can lean back and say that he faced the best pitcher in the league and won the game for his first major league win.

This baseball story awoke the ghosts of the finest baseball writers of all time.

John Tunis, Grantland Rice, and the others are proud of you, Jeremy.

Good job, kid you made my night too.


1 Anonymous { 04.24.03 at 1:32 pm }

Tejada’s swing has always been too long. When combined with his ultra aggressiveness, he can look ugly. Tejada should turn around. Dye on the other hand can’t hit a fastball anymore. Hopefully, Dye can at least hit .270 and hit 20 homeruns this year.

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