Listening to rumors is great, don't get me wrong. But the best thing about Major League Baseball is always the crazy things that you see on the field.
Just ask Jason Lane.
A 37-year-old who was a regular in right field for the Astros in the 2005 World Series, Lane completed his comeback as a pitcher by starting for the Padres and giving up only one run in six innings against Atlanta on Monday. He became the oldest pitcher to go at least five innings in his first career start since Satchel Paige finally cracked the big leagues, at age 42 in 1948.
So naturally Lane was designated for assignment on Tuesday, with Ian Kennedy expected to return to his spot in the rotation. It's likely Lane will return to Triple-A, but who knows? Maybe a contender looking for depth from the left side will put in a waiver claim to get him.
If you don't believe anything's possible, you weren't paying attention on Tuesday night, when the weirdness was widespread.
In Arlington, the Rangers fell behind the Yankees, 10-4, but fought their way back within one hit of an amazing victory. J.P. Arencibia, a veteran who came into the game hitting .133, homered twice and drove in seven runs. The Yankees held on for a 12-11 victory, with David Robertson escaping a bases-loaded mess by getting Adrian Beltre to fly out for the final out.
In Houston, the A's flexed their muscles in the ninth inning, turning a 4-1 deficit into a 7-4 victory. The ultimate moment of frustration for the Astros came when center fielder Enrique Hernandez chased a drive by Josh Donaldson all the way to the summit of Tal's Hill.
But nothing topped the unlikely events at Wrigley Field, where the Cubs ultimately prevailed over the Rockies in a 16-inning game that spanned six hours, 27 minutes and seemingly the climates of all four seasons. WGN broadcasters Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies began the night based in the Budweiser Patio seats in the right field bleachers but retreated -- first Kasper and then Deshaies -- to their usual perch in the press box as powerful winds were followed by rain.
This was in the eighth inning of a game in which the pace had been glacial from the start, with Edwin Jackson and Jorge De La Rosa seemingly on the ropes every inning. But it's doubtful that Kasper and Deshaies could have known they would spend as much time upstairs as they had out in the elements.
Tied 3-3 after Emilio Bonifacio homered off De La Rosa in the fourth inning, there would be 23 straight zeros hung on the storied scoreboard before Starlin Castro drove home winning pitcher John Baker with a sacrifice fly at 1:33 a.m.
Yes, winning pitcher John Baker, more commonly known as the Cubs' backup catcher.
But before any of that happened, there was an eventful 10th inning. The Rockies' D.J. LeMahieu bunted through a suicide-squeeze attempt, leaving Justin Morneau a dead duck at home plate. But Colorado center fielder Charlie Blackmon returned the favor a little later, sprinting to a spot in deep right-center to lay out and rob Welington Castillo of a game-winning hit.
The Rockies had to like their odds when they saw Baker take the mound to warm up as the Cubs batted in the 15th. Chicago manager Rick Renteria, who had been forced to go to his relievers after Jackson needed 105 pitches to work four innings, was out of relievers. Or so it seemed.
In his first career appearance on the mound since the Cape Cod League, Baker put his high-70s fastball on display. He could be described as effectively wild, with his pitches up and down, and a couple of times just a little outside, to quote Bob Uecker in "Major League.''
The Rockies helped out by swinging at five of his 11 pitches, with only Drew Stubbs waiting him out for a walk. Charlie Culberson popped up a 76-mph heater for the first out. After Stubbs walked, rookie Cristhian Adames attacked the first pitch, a 77-mph fastball. He hit a hot smash right at second baseman Arismendy Alcantara, who started an easy double play.
Baker shook his fist on his way back to the dugout, and naturally scored the winning run in the bottom of the inning. He worked Tyler Matzek, scheduled to be the Rockies' starter on Thursday, for a leadoff walk and would slide across the plate to score on Castro's sacrifice fly, ending the longest game by time in the history of both the Cubs and Rockies.
Yes, it was longer than a 21-inning game between the Cubs and Dodgers in 1982.
"Beautiful thing about baseball,'' Deshaies told his audience. "Tuesday night in July, two last-place clubs. You never know what you're going to get.''
Isn't it great when the games are as wild as the trade rumors?
Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less