Ever since the Padres traded Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox in December for a package of players including pitching prospect Casey Kelly and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, Padres fans have been calling for the front office to bring up Rizzo to the majors. This because his numbers in Triple A Tuscon (.365 batting average, 16 home runs, 63 RBI and five stolen bases) were far superior to that of the platoon at first base in the majors with Brad Hawpe and Jorge Cantu.
This is a look at the timeline of the rise of #RIZZOMANIA on Twitter and during his first major league game.
June 7: Heath Bell (@HeathBell21) said, “SD. I just talk[ed] to Anthony Rizzo……..”
Since then “Anthony Rizzo” has been trending on Twitter for the past day and a half and Padres fans have been abuzz waiting to see what Rizzo will do at the plate.
June 8: There were sources that indicated that Rizzo would be called up and in the line up tomorrow pending the results of the MRI done on his injured hand. It turned out to be a bone bruise, which doesn’t change their mind about bringing him up.
June 9 2:35 p.m: Anthony Rizzo makes an appearance on Double X 1090 on the Darren Smith show.
This annoys me, with the lack of Padre hitting its looks as if we will have to wait till the third inning for his first plate appearance. Which means Rizzo’s first at-bat in the majors will be sometime around 7:30 p.m..
3:58 p.m: The San Diego Union Tribune (@sdutPadres) tweets the Padres line up, Rizzo’s name is the only one in all capital letters. Clearly they know the only reason a sane Padre fan is watching this game is for Rizzo.
4:24 p.m: Dan Hayes tweets a picture of Rizzo’s jersey.
6:30 p.m: Channel 4 SD’s Honda pregame show starts.
Guess what they talked about? Yes, you guessed it, Rizzo. They showed him hitting a home run over the center field fence during batting practice.
6:37 p.m.: 4SD showed Rizzo’s batting practice home run for the second time.
If I wasn’t as excited as everybody else was I would be irritated on how much coverage and hype there is around Rizzo.
6:51 p.m: 4SD shows an interview between Jenny Cavner and Rizzo.
He said that he would focus on doubles and triples and “showing off his speed.” At least he hasn’t let PETCO Park get into his head yet, unlike the rest of the Padres batters. He then predicted he would get 10 hits today. Good to know he has a sense of humor.
7:00 p.m: Mark Grant and Dick Enberg set up the game, announcing the pitchers and starting line ups. They show Rizzo’s home run during batting practice for the third time. Then showed another one he hit over the right field fence. He needs some game action so they have more b-roll of him hitting and playing.
7:00-7:41 p.m: How many times Rizzo’s name was mentioned before his first at bat? Nine. Only about a third of them were related to what was happening on the field at the time.
7:05 p.m: First pitch.
Of course they showed Rizzo warming up at first base. T-minus approximately 30 minutes before Rizzo’s first at-bat.
7:24 p.m. In the bottom half of the first inning, Chase Headley hits a two-run home run for the Padres. Good news: Rizzo’s first plate appearance will now be in the second inning, the wait has been shortened.
7:41 p.m: Rizzo gets a rousing ovation as he heads to the plate for his first at-bat.
7:42p.m: Fouls off first pitch with a massive swing that gets everybody in PETCO Park excited.
After the game Rizzo admits that he was trying to hit a home run on the first pitch, saying you only get one shot to hit a home run on the first pitch in your first major league at bat.
7:43 p.m: Lays off a slow curveball for the second pitch of his major league career for ball one.
7:43 p.m: Lays off the next pitch, called strike two. The crowd boos the home plate umpire.
7:43 p.m: Rizzo gets strikes out looking at a waist-high, 82 mph fastball on the inside corner of the plate. Even more boos as #RIZZOMANIA is put on hold until around the 5th inning.
Meanwhile a bunch of stuff happens that nobody in San Diego cares about, everybody just biding their time until Rizzo’s next at bat. Some hitting, pitching and defense happened, then Rizzo get his second plate appearance.
8:21 p.m: Bottom of the fifth on a 1-2 count Rizzo rips the inside fastball to deep left center field a few feet shy of being a home run, instead he slides into third with a triple and his first hit as a major leaguer. The crowd goes crazy and PETCO Park welcomes him to the majors robbing him of a home run—the cry to bring in the fences grew louder once again—then Chris Denorfia legs out an infield single to score Rizzo to bring the score to 3 to 1 Padres.
The game continues on and once again Padres fans don’t really care what is happening as the Pads are still winning.
8:56 p.m: Rizzo gets the count to 3-1, and takes a huge swing and a miss. Both Mark Grant and Dick Enberg start to drool over the massive hack Rizzo took. It was one of those swings where if he had hit the ball it would have gone a long way, but since it was Rizzo at bat they made it sound like the ball would probability now be in orbit above earth. It is priceless how much the San Diego media is salivating over Rizzo. It is safe to say #RIZZOMANIA has taken over the media, now it needs to infect the rest of the Padres fans.
8:57 p.m: Rizzo lays off ball four. The bases are now loaded with one out.
The Padres score three more runs in the inning, Rizzo may get another at-bat if the Padres are able to get a few more hits in the next few innings. But the Padres fans are still engaged in the game, because of #RIZZOMANIA the Padres somehow managed to score six runs.
9:15 p.m: Rizzo dives head first into the stands chasing a foul ball. I love the hustle, but there was no chance he was going to catch the ball and frankly I can’t stand the thought of having to watch the platoon of Hawpe and Cantu man first anymore. It has become borderline cruel and unusual punishment. So next time let it go Rizzo.
9:29 p.m: The bases are loaded and Rizzo comes to the plate with two outs.
9:31-9:33 p.m: Rizzo takes ball one, then he takes strike one. The third pitch of the at bat is a ball low and rolls past the catcher with the runner on third scoring, 7-2 Padres. He takes ball three bringing the count to three balls and one strike. Rizzo then swung and missed at a ball down in the strike zone. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat Rizzo takes ball four loading the bases again for the Padres.
This ends Rizzo’s night at the plate giving him the batting line of 1-for-2 with a triple, two walks, a strikeout and a run scored. Though I am dissapointed San Diego was unable to get #RIZZOMANIA to trend on twitter.
The Padres ended up beating the Nationals 7 to 2 and Rizzo’s major league debut was a success. Now all Padres fans have to hope for is that with Rizzo now on the big league team and Cameron Maybin and Orlando Hudson almost ready to come back from the DL list the Padres can make a run at a playoff spot the last three and a half months of the season.
Observations from the week that was June 3- June 9:
I cannot wait until next year when the Padres leave Channel 4, the Cox commercials are starting to drive me crazy…
ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, known for integrating pop culture and personal references into his columns, has created another website with ESPN called Grantland. It mixes sports and pop culture to form a website that I will be frequenting very often. I would highly recommend checking out the site…
I went to the Angel-Yankees game at Angel Stadium last Friday with my buddies. It was a great game, the atmosphere was intense there were a ton of Yankees fans there and the back and forth between the Angels and Yankees fans was fun to listen to. The stadium was very nice, it had the feel of Qualcomm but it was clean and nice like PETCO Park. The food choice inside the ballpark was much more diverse than at PETCO, with Panda Express and California Pizza Kitchen Pizza just a few of the vendors. I would definitely recommend going to a game there…
I have to admit I was unable to finish the ESPN book Those Guys Have All The Fun, I am half way, but I will let you know what I have thought about it so far. You can read the beginning of my review in last . But I have enjoyed the book so far, but I have yet to read the interesting and scandalous stories that were rumored before the book came out. With that being said the first half of the book is tedious to read having to remember the names and jobs of the people talking. The stories so far are about the problems ESPN faced and the innovations they made, so unless you are interesting in the interworkings of journalism and television I would advise you to hold off and wait until you can check it out of your public library, or borrow it from a friend…
I picked up Rizzo, mostly because I knew if I didn’t somebody else in my league would. If you are in a Dynasty league or a deep keeper league you most likely missed the boat on picking him up. If not he is worth a shot in deeper leagues playing in PETCO will hinder his power, but his average will make him worth the roster spot.
Sports tweet of the week:
Continuing with the Anthony Rizzo theme, this week’s tweet goes to Rizzo (@rizzman25) on June 8 he said, “Sannnnn Diegoooo,” in reference to making the trip to get an MRI.
This tweet sparked the rumors that he was going to be called up shortly, which ended up happening.
For the record:
Anthony Rizzo will be the most productive Padres hitter the rest of the year.