Baseball is a crazy game. Sometimes things happen that are so bizarre, so extreme, and so crazy that all you can do is simply shake your head. Unlike other sports, when things happen in baseball we still feel shock or amazement. Though players try to be innovative in basketball and hockey, fans have pretty much seen every variation of slam dunk and shootout shot that can be seen.
But baseball is different – the unexpected routinely takes place. Look at what has happened so far this year, only about 1/3 of the way into the season:
– Dallas Braden, with a career record of 14-21, 4.68 ERA coming into this season, throws a perfect game
– Coming into this season there had been 18 perfect games in 130 years, or an average of one every 7+ years. Three weeks after Braden’s gem, Roy Halladay does it again for the Phillies
– The Blue Jays hit six solo home runs in a game, accouting for all six of their runs, the first time that had happened in 90 years
– Angel Pagan starts a triple play and hits an inside-the-park home run in the same game
– A-Rod nearly decapitates Cleveland pitcher David Huff on a line drive, leaving the pitcher unconscious on the mound for several minutes yet without any serious injury
– Kendry Morales breaks his leg after jumping on home plate to celebrate a walk-off grand slam, potentially injuring himself for the rest of the season
But of all the things that have happened this year, the strangest (for me, BY FAR the strangest) happened this afternoon. Bottom of the third in Houston, with nobody out and nobody on, this man hit a home run for the Astros:
That’s right – Gustavo Chacin went deep for the ‘Stros this afternoon.
Again – Chacin hit a bomb.
The Gustavo Chacin. The same Gus who pitched for the Blue Jays from 2004 – 2007. The same Chacin who finished 5th in AL Rookie of the Year voting in ’05, after going 13-9 with a 3.72 ERA for Toronto. The very same Mr. Chacin who became “famous” for a Chacin cologne night in Toronto in 2006.
And the very same Gustavo Chacin who was charged with driving under the influence in 2007, released in 2008, and bounced around the minor leagues for the last few years.
I never thought I would ever lay eyes on the hairless wonder again, but to my surprise Houston signed him, and on May 7th he made his NL debut, over three years removed from his last major league appearance. Including today he has made six appearances, with no decisions and a surprisingly effective 1.86 ERA.
But if there was ever to be a player this season to hit a home run, to have more home runs than players like Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Ken Griffey Jr, Grady Sizemore, and Elvis Andrus combined? I would have bet everything I possibly could have that it would NOT be a man with zero career hits.
I would have guaranteed that it would not be Gustavo Chacin.