Closing Time: A short rant, followed by Clayton Richard hype

After spending my afternoon at Wrigley Field seated near America's Worst Baseball Fan (not pictured), I thought I'd begin this special edition of Closing Time with a few do's and don'ts for baseball spectators. Consider this a public service announcement. If you just follow these six rules, the ballpark experience will improve for everyone:

1. It's not appropriate to boo when the home team's pitcher strikes out — especially not when he's pitching well, and it's the third inning, and no one's on base. Tom Gorzelanny(notes) is not paid to swing the bat, dude. Just shut up.

2. Don't ask someone to vacate your seat when there are no fewer than 15 open seats surrounding you, and you've arrived late. Again: Shut up.

3. Understand that no one will take you seriously if you're wearing a Kerry Wood(notes) jersey in Chicago in 2010. This is very likely the case in Cleveland as well.

4. Don't cheer excitedly every time a player on your team hits a medium-depth flyball. Not everything is going to clear the fence. Idiot.

5. No, a lineup full of Mike Fontenots would not be awesome. Shut. Up.

6. You should really not speak to high school age girls anymore, ever. This has probably been true for the last 20 years. It was probably true when you were in high school. Just … ick.

OK, that's all I've got. If you have something that needs to be added to my ballpark etiquette guidelines, please offer it to the community in comments. Let's change some behavior today, gamers.

But first, we bullet…

San Diego's Clayton Richard(notes) struck out 10 Rockies on Wednesday, limiting Colorado to just five hits. Over his last 10 starts, he's held opponents to two runs or fewer in eight games, thus lowering his ERA to 2.74. The left-hander now has 81 Ks in 102.0 innings and a WHIP of 1.27, yet he's still just 50 percent owned. There's really no obvious reason to shy away; he's in the right league and the right home park. Make the add. He should get two starts next week, beginning with a Tuesday visit to Washington.

Richard was opposed by another lefty, Jeff Francis(notes), and things didn't go so well for him. He yielded seven hits, three walks and eight runs to the Padres, a team that fielded the ugliest first-place lineup you'll ever see. (When the Pads rest Adrian Gonzalez(notes), they're not too intimidating. Can't argue with the standings, though). Francis failed to strike anybody out in three innings of work. The marginally good news for Rockies fans is that Brad Hawpe(notes) (ribs) and Todd Helton(notes) (malaise) returned to duty.

Recently recalled Matt LaPorta(notes) belted his second home run in as many days for the Tribe. He was an absolute monster during his visit to Triple-A Columbus earlier this month (18 games, 5 HR, 16 RBIs, 1.094 OPS), and it appears he's carrying that performance into the big leagues. Give him a look. He's eligible at first base and outfield, and he's available in 97 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Chris Perez(notes) picked up a rogue save for Cleveland, because K-Wood had appeared in three straight.

Bengie Molina(notes) reportedly has been dealt to the Rangers in exchange for Chris Ray(notes) and a PTBNL. Spinning this deal for fantasy purposes is fairly easy: The move to Arlington should be spectacular for the Alpha Molina, and Buster Posey(notes) obviously shifts behind the plate full-time for the Giants. Everyone wins (although the fantasy community prefers the old arrangement where Posey qualifies at catcher, yet plays first base). Molina becomes one of the most interesting .257-hitting backstops in the game.

Coco Crisp(notes) and Corey Patterson(notes) both homered in the A's-Orioles tilt, which makes June 30 an official holiday in the Pianowski household. (And yes, it's a zesty household. Tidy, too). Crisp is ridiculously hot right now. He's 11-for-27 since coming off the DL, with two doubles, two triples, two homers and three steals.

Jose Reyes(notes) was a late scratch from the Mets' lineup, due to a back-tweaking suffered during warm-ups. Not great, but Andy Martino of the Daily News tweets that "Reyes spent 10 minutes in [Jerry] Manuel's office trying to talk his way into game." No need to panic.

Houston third baseman Chris Johnson(notes) went 4-for-4 with two RBIs in the Astros' win at Milwaukee. Here's a clip of his seventh-inning double. This was Johnson's second four-hit effort in his last five games. The 25-year-old is now batting .333. You might recall that Johnson had an outstanding spring (8 HR, 22 RBIs, .323/.391/.790), but he hit the DL back in April. When he returned to action at Triple-A, he put up a .932 OPS over 38 games with eight more homers and 10 doubles. Keep him on the radar; he's just one percent owned, and he plays a talent-scarce position.

On Tuesday, Rays prospect Desmond Jennings(notes) finally hit his first homer of the season for the Durham Bulls — and he actually hit the fake bull. We don't have video of the dinger, but it probably looked something like this. Jennings is now batting .301/.376/.439 with 19 steals in 20 attempts.

Arthur Rhodes(notes) stretched his scoreless appearance streak to … um … one. (Again, sorry to have jinxed him). Jay Bruce(notes) hit an eighth-inning bomb off Roy Halladay(notes) to lead the Reds to another comeback win. Ramon Hernandez(notes) raised his average to a hollow .292 with a three-hit performance. There are no counting stats to be had with Ramon, as his N.L.-only owners can attest, but the batting average isn't a liability. For that, we're grateful.

Kevin Slowey(notes), why couldn't you have days like this back when I owned you? WHY? The Minnesota righty went six innings against the Tigers, holding Detroit to four hits and one run while striking out four. He somehow has eight wins. (Feels like I didn't experience any of them in the Friends & Family League, but that can't be right). Slowey should take two turns next week, but they're somewhat dangerous (at TOR, at DET). He exited early on Wednesday after taking a come-backer off his right ankle, but the bruising isn't considered serious.

Aaron Heilman(notes) earned a save against the Cards in his usual manner: Two hits, three fly-outs. But all saves are important, and right now Heilman is the man for Arizona. Rookie Barry Enright(notes) got the win for the D-backs in his major league debut, striking out five batters over five frames, but also walking four and allowing four hits. The 24-year-old Enright has a 2.88 ERA and 83 Ks in 93.2 innings at Double-A Mobile this season, and walks aren't usually part of the equation with him. He only allowed 15 free passes in the Southern League. Enright will face the Cubs next week. Dontrelle Willis(notes) has been sent to the Arizona bullpen, where terrible pitching is tolerated.

If all goes according to plan, Erik Bedard(notes) will make his final minor league rehab start on Thursday, then return to the Mariners for a turn against the Royals on Tuesday. If you've been holding the 42 percent-owned lefty, this is obviously good news. He's trade bait for Seattle and for you.

I can't seem to give away Alfredo Simon(notes) in the leagues where I own him, and perhaps that's for the best. He picked up his 10th save of the season on Wednesday, pitching a clean ninth inning. Simon's ERA is now a perfectly respectable 3.15, and he only has one blown save. Don't think of him as merely a placeholder for Michael Gonzalez(notes). Rehab hasn't exactly been a smooth ride for Gonzo.

Brad Lincoln(notes) and Tom Gorzelanny combined to pitch 12 scoreless innings in Chicago, and the Bucs' rookie ultimately earned his first major league win. Don't read too much into the stat lines of either pitcher, though. The wind was blowing in — enough to keep a well-hit drive by Alfonso Soriano(notes) in the park — and the starters took advantage. Lincoln should get the Astros in his next start, while Gorzelanny faces the easily K'd Diamondbacks.


Photos via Getty (Cubs fans) and AP Images (Richard, Jennings)

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