Reality

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Right now, reality shows occupy countless hours on television. But there’s a director and a producer, and they’re usually scripted. So where’s the reality?

It seems sports are the ultimate reality show because no one knows what’s going to happen. And this is the true beauty of athletic competition.

This past weekend Arizona paid a visit to Dodger Stadium for a three-game series. The Diamondbacks captured two of three, and the most exciting was Saturday’s 1-0 triumph.

It wasn’t decided until the ninth inning when slugger Matt Kemp hit into a double play served up by closer J.J. Putz.

The frame began with Jamey Carroll hitting a single to right. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Aaron Miles, and Andre Ethier followed with a walk.

As the score indicates, everything about the two hour and 32 minute affair was taut. The only run scored in the second inning was the result of a throwing error by pitcher Chad Billingsley.

The right-hander tried to pick off Stephen Drew, who led off with a double. The throw by center fielder Kemp to third baseman Jose Uribe just missed Drew, and Melvin Mora’s sacrifice fly to right fielder Ethier brought in Drew.

Had Billingsley not wheeled and thrown to second without looking, who’s to say what the final score would have been.

The star was rookie right-hander Josh Collmenter, who made his major-league debut as a starting pitcher. It’s common for a young hurler to have a case of nerves. But the Homer, Michigan native would have none of it.

Collmenter and Billingsley each worked a perfect first. Slumping Dodgers’ first baseman James Loney looped a two-out single in the second, but Rod Barajas flied out.

Billingsley worked a 1-2-3 third, and then stroked a one-out, opposite-field double in the third, but was left stranded.

Billingsley tossed a scoreless fourth, as did Collmenter, who has an over-the-top delivery he learned by throwing hatchets with his brother.

In that frame, the Dodgers sent up the heart of their order. Ethier grounded to shortstop Drew in the hole, and he made a terrific play. Kemp then lined to third baseman Mora, and Uribe lifted a weak fly to right fielder Justin Upton.

Billingsley was on target in the fifth, having now retired 12 batters in a row. Collmenter dispensed a nine-pitch frame, and was also perfect. The only threat was Loney’s fly to Upton that landed about a foot before the wall.

The theme continued for Billingsley, who now set down 15 consecutive after a 1-2-3 sixth. Collmenter wasn’t about to be stopped, raising his streak to 11 hitters that included Carroll’s liner to Mora for the second out.

Billingsley gave up a one-out walk to Drew in the seventh, but Arizona Manager Kirk Gibson, a one-time Dodgers’ hero with his game-winning homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, took out Collmenter and brought in Aaron Heilman, who blanked the Dodgers in the seventh.

Billingsley was perfect in the eighth, however, Arizona reliever David Hernandez ran into some trouble after allowing a ground-rule double to Loney. Barajas bunted him to third, and Dioner Navarro fanned as did Jay Gibbons.

Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, and is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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