Friday, April 24, 2009

Hey there, I'm the new reliever

I observed an incredibly bizarre series of events during Wednesday night's Blue Jay - Ranger game. During the 11th inning with the game tied 7-7, the TV camera flashed to the the Texas bullpen. One of the relievers was shaking hands with the other pitchers in the bullpen as if he was introducing himself. The announcers indicated that it was Darren O'Day who had just been picked up by the Rangers on waivers from the Mets.

O'Day had been designated for assignment by the Mets and was at home in Florida when he was called early Wednesday afternoon to be told he had been claimed. He hopped on a plane to join his new team in Toronto. The original plan was to meet the team at the hotel after the game. Afterall he didn't arrive in Toronto until 9:45 pm and the game was in the 8th inning. But O'Day got a text message indicating that he should come to Rogers Stadium instead.

He was told to get dressed when he arrived at the club house. The game was now in the 10th inning. Because the Rangers were on the road they didn't have a jersey for him. But they did have several spare jerseys of Ranger minor league callups. So he put on the jersey of Kevin Gabbard.

So there he was introducing himself to the other guys when the bullpen coach picked up the phone and then you could see him point at O'Day to warm up. You could see the shock on his face. In the meantime C.J. Wilson had walked Wells who led off the bottom of the 11th. Snider sacraficed him to 2nd. Then Wilson was about to intentionally walk Rolen when the Ranger manager walked on the field to talk to his pitcher and buy some time as O'Day warmed up. After Rolen was put on 1st, out ran O'Day to take the mound just barely 20 minutes after arriving at the stadium.

You could see the Ranger fielders staring at O'Day. They knew it wasn't Gabbard on the mound. So who was this guy? They hadn't seen this guy in the clubhouse at the start of the game. The next batter, Kevin Millar, looked up and thought it was Gabbard on the mound warming up. Then you saw this puzzled look on his face because Gabbard is a lefty but the pitcher warming up was a right-handed side-arm pitcher.

Unfortunately for O'Day, he didn't get the job done because Millar drove a ball into the gap for a walk-off win. What a strange ending.