YUMA, Ariz. — The fix was in during the "One-Eyed Cat" game that concluded Thursday's workout at the Ray A. Kroc baseball complex.
With Greg Booker's team holding a 1-0 series lead over Luis DeLeon's squad in the "One-Eyed Cat" battle, umpire/coach Jack Krol was determined to even the series and set up a showdown on Friday.
Using all the powers granted the umpire in this wild and tiring game, Krol helped DeLeon's team capture a 2-0 win to tie the series. Sources close to the team think this might be the first shutout in "One-Eyed Cat" history.
As for the rules: Each team has seven players. The teams play a nine-inning game.
After hitting the ball, batters must run straight past the mound to second base. If they reach second before they are thrown out, they can stay there or run past the base to the edge of the infield dirt, turn around and head home. Balls caught in the air are outs.
A run is scored when a batter reaches home. There are only two bases, so a force at home plate is automatically set up when a batter reaches second.
This exhausting game, which is supposed to make getting into shape fun, is really tough because designated pitcher Ozzie Virgil lobs the ball to the plate as soon as a batter steps in.
It doesn't matter if the fielders are set. Runs are usually scored when the hitting team gets to the plate before the fielders, particularly the outfielders, set up.
That's what happened on Thursday.
Kevin Kristan, a non-roster relief pitcher acquired in the seven-player trade that brought LaMarr Hoyt from the Chicago White Sox, was the first batter up in the fifth inning. He raced to the plate and hit a long fly ball into an empty left field. Eric Show also scored on a "homer" to account for his team's second run in the seventh inning.
You might wonder how the umpire can dominate the game. Well, he can end a team's at-bat whenever he wants. If a batter doesn't hustle to second or a fielder makes a great play, he tells the teams to switch. He can penalize the team at the plate or reward the team in the field without regard to how many outs there are.
As if the players haven't run enough, the losers must run three laps around the bases after the game.
Luis DeLeon limped during practice after pulling his right hamstring while running on Thursday morning. However, he was still able to pitch batting practice, pull a home run over the left-field fence when he took batting practice, and play "One-Eyed Cat."
The final workout for pitchers and catchers only will be held this morning. All players will take physical exams Saturday in San Diego, and then the entire squad will report to Yuma.
A full-squad workout will be held Sunday morning. The first intrasquad game is scheduled for March 9. A "Welcome National League Champions" parade will follow.