Yesterday, I was listening to the Padres-Red Sox game as I drove to work. The game had been billed as a possible All-Star pitching preview, with the Padres' Jake Peavy (9-1) going against Boston's Josh Beckett (10-1).
As it turned out, Jake had some trouble. I started listening in the third, after the Sox had scored two of the three runs they'd get that inning. Boston had two runners on base.
Jerry Coleman, the radio play-by-play guy, grasped the situation immediately. The Padres had better get somebody out, he said, because another base hit could "break this game wide open."
Why? "Let me tell you something about Josh Beckett," Coleman said. I turned up the radio, sure I was about to hear a pearl of wisdom born of Coleman's long years playing and watching the game.
And here it was: "He can pitch," Coleman said.
He can pitch. Ah, so that's why the Red Sox are paying him several million dollars this year to throw a baseball into a relatively small area, past a man trying to hit it with a stick. It's not because they like his goatee, it's because he can pitch.
Thanks, Jerry, I thought. It's not even 2 o'clock, and already I've learned something today.