Updated Kuo entry here
I feel like if I go without mentioning Hong Chi Kuo’s first start in the bigs, I’d be doing myself and him a disservice. We here at the Jerz household have a Kuo connection.
In September 2005 we attended a Dodger game at then SBC (now AT&T, formerly PacBell – ridiculous) Park. As I look back, I realize I didn’t write about it then, which really bums me out. But in my defense (to myself, mostly), you must realize that I wasn’t doing a whole lot around here at that time. Anyway, I semi-wrote about it here, but that was more about Barry, one of my good friends.
The history is this. We had these seats, which were fantastic. Front row in the outfield. And knowing that we had those seats, we went early for batting practice. The home team goes first, and they finish about 30 minutes after the gates open. Then the visitors go. So almost the whole pregame for us was filled with Dodgers hanging around in the outfield. As an aside, the best smack I heard all day was a guy screaming at Derek Lowe the following, “Hey [Jeff] Weaver, your hair is getting so long you look like Lowe.” That was funny. But knowing Giants fans, he probably heard that on the radio about five minutes before that. No way in hell he could remember it for longer.
I was way in tune with the Dodgers’ roster at the time, and was angry to see two things. First, Jason Phillips was getting an awful lot of time at batting practice when they had Hee Seop Choi to play first base. Phillips played first, and sucked. Second, Mike Edwards was getting a lot of practice in left field. Mike Edwards is not a major leaguer.
Also of note at this game: Hong Chi Kuo was cruising around in the outfield. Bullpen pitchers – and rookies – spend a lot of time shagging balls in the outfield during BP. Kuo was right in front of us and looked a bit freaked by the hostile crowd. We were in Dodgers gear and I knew his name, so he was generally cheerful in our direction. When a ball came his way, he turned around and tossed it to The Boy. Freaking awesome. Kuo never came near the seats, but I wish he had. I wanted him to sign the ball. It’s always best to get the guy who gives you the ball to sign the ball, you know? No dice this time. The Boy had to settle for the 2006 NL All-Star starting pitcher instead. Oh well. Also, he’s [the boyfriend of] Alyssa Milano. What a hack.
The game went on, and the Dodgers were not winning. Kuo came in and pitched to one batter. If you read the above-referenced post, you know what happened. If not, Barry took him deep. DEEP. But the guy threw serious smoke. Well, tonight marked a new chapter in Kuo’s career. It was his first start as a Major League pitcher. I was excited to know he was doing it. I obviously missed the game, but I hear he threw a gem. I love this kid, and I hope it’s the start of a great career. He’ll be a starter from here on out, and I’ll be interested to follow the career of a promising young pitcher who was cool enough to notice my family, and made one kid really happy. Nice job.