Saturday, November 07, 2009

That's a Heck of a Start to a Baseball Season

While the baseball season in the U.S. has wound down (in the worst fashion possible), it's just gearing up in Cuba, as Opening Day in Cuba was just this past Tuesday. And Cuban slugger Alexei Bell had a hell of a start:

Alexei Bell—National Series slugging sensation two years back and offensive hero of the August 2008 Beijing Olympiad—Tuesday (November 3) became the first player in Cuban League history to smack two grand slam home runs within a single inning during Santiago’s bizarre mercy-rule-shortened 24-0 slaughter of Oriente League rival Camag├╝ey.
8 RBIs in the first inning? That's beyond absurd. Of course this would never happen, but even if he didn't get another RBI in the game, Bell was on pace for a 720-RBI season (Cuba's National Series is 90 games). But he didn't stop there, ending up hitting a 2-run single, as well as a 2-run double, leaving him with twelve RBIs on the day (a pace of 1080 RBIs for the season).

But two grand slams in the same inning. It's the first time in Cuba's 49 years of professional baseball. But it's probably happened several times before, right?

Nope. In fact, it has only happened once, back in 1999, when the Cardinals' Fernando Tatis launched two Grand Slams in the same inning off the Dodgers' Chan Ho Park. And even that game was on April 23. It wasn't in the first inning of the first game of the season. Talk about high expectations...

[And in tangentially Chan Ho Park-related news, the Cleveland Indians named Tim Belcher their pitching coach yesterday. Belcher, an Ohio Native, won a World Series with the 1988 Dodgers, and has been working with Player Development Relations for the Tribe for the past several years. And he was also on the receiving end of a Chan Ho Park flying kick, right before the 45-year-old Belcher proceeded to provide the baseball equivalent of an ass-kicking to Park.]