Friday, August 11, 2006

Pirates get their decks swabbed

Craig Biggio's career hit-by-pitch number 281 was delayed at least one more game last night, but the Astros won their 3rd straight game finishing off the sweep of the Pirates by a score of 5-2. Biggio was only thrown 9 pitches last night, and just 2 of them were called balls so the Pirates were careful not to thrown him anything he could get hit by. But they lost anyway.

Tonight the San Diego Padres visit Minute Maid, and they'll be bringing Chan Ho Park to throw baseballs at people. Park hit Craig Biggio on April 3, 1996 and twice on September 12, 1997. Biggio was in early on Park's plunking bonanza, collecting 3 of Parks's first 12 plunks thrown. Since then, Chan Ho has hit another 114 batters, and has passed Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux this season to move into 4th place among active pitchers with 126 career hit batsmen. He's hit 10 this season, and is behind only Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Tim Wakefield (whose 144 hit batters have gone largely unnoticed by both the public and the batters he's hit).
Park, you may recall, was the subject of some suspicion last season when the Korean baseball association was rocked by a scandal involving the use of performance enhancing produce. But let's be clear that there has never been any proof that Chan Ho Park has used frozen cabbage leaves, though some have suggested that he should have. It's sad that one cheater in a foreign country can cause so much doubt and uncertainty that suspicion falls unfairly on everyone, and it's not even clear if frozen cabbage leaves are illegal under current Major League rules and the collective bargaining agreement.

Craig Biggio has been plunked twice on August 11th - in 1994 by Joey Hamilton, and in 1998 by Bob Wickman.

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