Gustavo Pitches At The Joker's House
Joker Marchant: Gustavo Chacin with a hat?
Gustavo Chacin: Joker Marchant with glasses?
* Not a strong audition for Gustavo Chacin (pictured above) this afternoon. He combusted here in the third, losing all control. He walked the lead-off batter, got a double play, and then walked three more. The next batter singled, knocking in two Detroit runs -- and knocking Chacin out of the game. His final line: 2-2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 1 K.
In his final inning, he threw 26 pitches, eight strikes.
* Tomorrow's 1 p.m. game against the O's in Fort Lauderdale will be televised by MASN, so make your plans in advance. Call in sick. Make a beeline to the neighborhood bar, or, for that matter, to your living room sofa. Watch Daniel Cabrera.
* Fort Lauderdale, O's home site, is about a three-hour drive from Nats HQ. For vets, it's the most dreaded trip of the spring. Which is why almost nobody makes it. You can be sure that tomorrow's Washington traveling squad will be as B-list as it gets. Said one Nats staffer today: "I think Steven Shell is the big name."
* The Tigers, today's opponent, have been playing for the last 64 years at Joker Marchant Stadium. Joker Marchant! I'm picturing some little shortstop, knobby knees, Danny DeVito grin, who probably never hit higher than .211. As far as stadium names go, this rivals anything of those SEC football stadium names: Jordan Hare Stadium, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, etc.
* If you're curious, here's the real story of Joker Marchant (pictured above): He was, according to the City of Lakeland Web site, "the popular director of Lakeland's Park and Recreational Department. Starting as a city employee in 1939 with a job at a local swimming pool, Marchant was named Parks and Rec. director in 1946. He worked with Tigers management to establish the Tigertown complex at the former Lodwick Airport, and later worked with the team and the city to maximize the bond between the two with shared facilities and a commitment to keeping the stadium's field one of the best-kept in the majors. The personable, unassuming Marchant was thrilled by the honor, and so on March 12,1966 before a capacity crowd, the new stadium was officially dedicated as Joker Marchant Stadium. Taking pride in the appearance of "his" stadium with his usual humor Marchant told the crowd, 'Y'all put the peanut shells in your pockets and don't be messing up my new stadium!'"
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