Tempe, AZ (March 5, 2013) - This was a great day to be at the ballpark. Cloudy, so it wasn't too hot, but no threat of rain. Tempe Diablo Stadium is beautiful. A little cramped - if you're tall, your knees will be around your ears, the seat pitch is so tight - but it wasn't crowded, so people had room to spread out a little.
There were lots of big names in the lineups; fans could hardly believe their luck, since you can't count on that in spring training. Especially this early.
Among said names: Jay Bruce and Joey Votto - presumably Joey's last game before leaving for the WBC.
Todd Frazier (I think he was talking to Eric Davis).
Starting for the Angels was former Brave Tommy Hanson. (Remember when he was a phenom?)
Center fielder Billy Hamilton.
You can't steal first base, but he came close, on what would have been a routine groundout for most batters.
This game was Albert Pujols' spring training debut - his first game since having knee surgery last year.
He went O-fer, but he'd probably have had a hit in the first inning if his bat hadn't shattered.
The ball landed on the berm, rolling right into the hand of the woman in black, at the left edge of the frame. Meanwhile, another woman cowers away, and several guys look like they're tempted to jump the first woman and take the ball from her (but they didn't).
Rounding third and heading for home.
Frazier flew out. He hit it hard, but it went sky high and stayed well in the park.
Zack Cozart doubled. He seems to be hitting well, though it's not reflected in his batting average.
His at-bat in the first ended prematurely when Howie Kendrick was caught stealing, but he got a single in the second.
Joey Votto at bat in the third. He worked a walk.
Aroldis Chapman came in to pitch the fourth and fifth. I was expecting it, since I read the game notes on the Fay's blog, but it was a happy surprise for most of the fans in the stands.
He was a little wild, but that's not unexpected this early in spring training.
Oops, he did it again. Bruce hit another home run in the fourth, this one to right, off lefty Scott Downs.
A plot to keep Dusty in toothpicks? Another Angels bat falls victim to Reds pitching. Josh Hamilton's bat shattered on a fly out.
Shin-Soo Choo hit a lead off single in the fifth, and moved up on a wild pitch. Alas, he took too big a lead off second, and was caught stealing.
It was pitcher Kevin Jepsen to third baseman Brendan Harris to shortstop Andrew Romine. Brendan Harris, of course, was briefly a Red, courtesy of The Trade. Andrew Romine is Yankees catching prospect Austin Romine's older brother. Kevin Jepsen is Carly Rae Jepsen's husband. (Okay, I made that last one up.)
Choo returns to the dugout. (Got a few gray hairs there.)
Chris Heisey doubled in the 8th.
He scored from second on a Cesar Izturis single.
Catcher John Hester catches the ball and tries to block the plate.
Negron and Rodriguez at the dugout rail. It was all Louisville Bats this late in the game. (That's Henry, not Yorman, Rodriguez.)
Billy Hamilton, still hanging in there, though he was pulled from the game several innings ago.
Yorman Rodriguez took over center field. And homered in the 9th.
But the rally fell short. Final score: Angels 6. Reds 4.