Sean West said not one word to Randy Johnson the whole time the pitching legend was in town. He struck him out. He beat him head to head. West even said he worked out alongside Johnson in the weight room, which is shared by members of the visiting and home clubs.
And yet, not one single word was spoken between the two. The reason?
"I was too chicken to say, 'Hey,'" said West, one day after he flirted with a no-hitter and defeated Johnson and the San Francisco Giants for his first major league win. "He's pretty intimidating. I had plenty of opportunities, but I never said anything. I got a little stage fright."
West grew up idolizing Johnson. He worshiped him. He watched him on television, never figuring that someday he would face him on the mound. After all, Johnson began his big-league career in 1988 -- two years after West was born.
But West was never able to gather the nerve simply to say hello to the 300-game winner.
Here are tonight's lineups as the Cardinals arrive for a three-game set:
Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Emilio Bonifacio, 3b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, 1b; 5. Jeremy Hermida, rf; 6. Dan Uggla, 2b; 7. John Baker, c; 8. Cody Ross, cf; 9. Josh Johnson, rhp.
Cardinals: 1. Skip Schumaker, 2b; 2. Chris Duncan, lf; 3. Albert Pujols, 1b; 4. Colby Rasmus, cf; 5. Rick Ankiel, rf; 6. Yadier Molina, c; 7. Tyler Greene, 3b; 8. Chris Carpenter, rhp; 9. Brandan Ryan, ss.
-- The Marlins are in the midst of a rugged stretch in which they seem to be facing a former Cy Young Award winner just about every night. Tonight it's unbeaten Cardinals hurler Chris Carpenter, who won the NL Cy Young in 2005. In their previous four games, the Marlins took on Barry Zito (AL, 2002), Tim Lincecum (NL, 2008) and Johnson (1995, AL, and 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 NL). Coming up soon: Toronto's Roy Halladay (2003, AL), who they're scheduled to face on Friday. And there are rumblings that John Smoltz (1996, NL) could make his Red Sox debut when the Marlins are in Boston next week.
For those keeping score, that's five former Cy Young Award winners (not including Smoltz) in an 8-game span.
-- Brett Carroll didn't get his cycle on Monday. But he gained the distinction of becoming the first player ever to hit a home run and triple off Johnson in the same game.
-- Don't forget the amateur draft tonight. All the fun begins at 6 p.m. The Marlins have the 18th pick.