On the sixth day, Smith scheduled surgery.
The shave proves fateful. The Rockies announce today that Smith will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. How did Smith tear the cartilage? He has no idea; long-term wear and tear, perhaps. He is the oldest man in camp. He is a nonroster invitee. Can the Samsonian Smith possibly make the team now?
Talk about a guy who cuts himself shaving.
And on the seventh day....
What, you think they rested? From what? "Shee-yoot, if ya only gotta run that fast, I could make the team," a middle-aged man claims, dubiously, from the Hi Corbett stands as Rockies run wind sprints in rightfield.
Work? This is fun. When Nied was introduced at Currigan Hall in Denver on expansion-draft day, some 20,000 fans were there to greet him. "I never thought a person's life could change in one day," he says. "But mine did. A couple of pitchers were telling me out here, 'If you don't win the Cy Young this season....' I just hope that people don't judge me on one year, good or bad."
In other words, this David is but one part of the larger David that Bearnarth is chiseling out for the Rockies. As for the few wrinkles yet to be ironed out in the pitching staff, the Bear will tell you that those aren't wrinkles, those are pleats. A box in USA Today asked the following question before camp opened: "Can pitching guru Larry Bearnarth fashion a competent staff from...riffraff?"
"First of all, I'm not a guru," says the Bear, a pitching guru in the Montreal organization for 21 years. "I understand why you guys write that this is riffraff. But I don't see this as riffraff."
"I think this is exciting," says Zim. "I really do. New players. New city. New fans. Friends ask me, 'Why the hell are you working for an expansion club?' Hell, everyone here is excited. I'm gonna have fun here, I can see that already."
"Of course this is fun," says Bearnarth, beneath a blue sky as brilliant as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. "It's good to be alive. It's good to be in uniform. It's good to be in baseball."