We'll talk baseball in a moment, but first you have to hear about my insane dog. If you think a dog is crazy to begin with, try putting a cone on him and see how he responds. Poochini needed a cone due to an infected wart where his left eyebrow would be. Years ago, AN's own Nick looked at Poochini and pointed out that if you looked at his eyebrows and then followed them, you could argue that Poochini was just one giant eyebrow that never really ended. So for the record, we're talking about the part of the eyebrow above his eye, not the part that wags vigorously when you are holding a piece of chicken.
Anyway, upon returning home with his cone on Tuesday night, Poochini proceeded to careen around the house like a bull in a china shop, head-butting solid objects repeatedly with the cone. At first it was a matter of not understanding that his head was twice as wide, as he would go through a doorway, or around a corner, crashing into the jutted wall and then doing it again next time he passed through. But soon it looked like he was intentionally walking up to chairs and cupboards for the sole purpose of crashing into them.
Then at 5:00am the first morning after, I heard him whimpering and wailing and got up to find him stuck in a corner of the backyard under a bench. When I went back inside with him I saw he had knocked over the stool on which, among other things, the sugar sits, sending sugar all over the kitchen floor. (As I write this, Poochini is rearranging all the chairs around me with his head. How nice.)
I think the plan was for the cone to stay on for about 7 days, but it's coming off tonight because daddy needs his sleep. OK, jump for some actual baseball talk...
* You wouldn't think any hitter would ever be glad to face Felix Hernandez and you'd be right. But tonight is a somewhat symbolic game for AL newcomer Josh Willingham who, despite leading the team in HRs and producing several key RBIs, has struggled to hit American League pitching for the first time.
King Felix will be the first starting pitcher Willingham sees for a second time, and later in the series Willingham will get repeat looks at Jason Vargas and Doug Fister (barely knew her the first time!). I don't know if there's an exact moment where a hitter officially adjusts to a new league, and remember that after this series the A's will square off with the Angels, Rangers, Indians, and Royals, each for the first time in 2011. But better days may be ahead soon for Willingham and that would be a good thing for Oakland.
* Lost in all the drama about Mike Leake's alleged morally and brain cell challenge escapades shoplifting six clothing items is the fact that it really isn't a big deal. I've already heard Leake villified and the Reds criticized for letting him make his scheduled start today. Here's the thing:
There are crimes worth getting up in arms about. They include drunk driving, domestic violence, drug trafficking, and crimes against minors. Shoplifting isn't one of them. It's dishonest and incredibly stupid, but that's about all it is. And the Reds are treating Leake like exactly what he is: Presumed innocent pending trial. Now you and I may be 1000% sure he's guilty, especially when his lawyer says, "We'll look at getting him into a diversion program...I mean, he's innocent!" but right now he's just a guy accused of doing something dumb.
See you at 7pm tonight for McCarthy vs. King Felix and meanwhile feel free to discuss these matters or to greet all your furniture with your head. Good grief.