Thursday, July 15, 2010
Awesome night card, pt. 92 and 93
I haven't written a blog post since Monday, so I'm a bit out of practice. I took a few days off to do some vacationing in the Adirondacks. Let me tell you, that is one place that will not only cut down on your posting, but will cut down on your blog reading. The internet and sparsely-populated mountainous regions do not mix well.
Knowing what was ahead, I scheduled some posts in advance and hoped nothing notable would happen while I was gone -- you know, like the death of notorious owner or a long-awaited victory by my favorite league. And, phew, what a relief, absolutely nothing happened in baseball the past few days.
I guess I missed out on commenting on a few things.
Well, even while spending breezy days in an area where the log cabins out-number the people, news got back to me. As for Steinbrenner, I guess you're supposed to be kind to those who recently passed. But I tend to treat glowing words uttered by men he made millionaires with a raised eyebrow. I heard precious little from the folks who were around when Steinbrenner was at his most obnoxious (sadly, some of them died years ago).
But as for the National League winning this year's All-Star Game, I have to admit, I was there for every minute. Our cabined hotel thankfully featured a television, and since the game aired so late, I watched half of it on mute as non-interested family in the room were sleeping to prepare for a second day of woodsy frolicking.
I know everyone else has moved on to the start of the season's second half, but I'm still in slow-moving vacation mode here. Here are my thoughts relating to certain events in the All-Star Game -- none spoken out loud because of the sleeping. Not that they would care if they were awake.
Top of the 2nd inning
Batter: Ryan Howard
Thought: Those helmets that a lot of the players are wearing sure look strange. I think those are those safer helmets. Is that the same kind of helmet that David Wright wore after he got hit? When are the Fox announcers going to mention the helmets? (The game wasn't on mute at this point). Why don't they ever talk about anything interesting? Why do they always discuss how difficult it is for the batters to see, but don't mention that the reason it's so difficult for them to see is because the game was scheduled for a time that would supposedly attract the most viewers. So the time when a ballplayer is most likely to get beaned by a pitch is also the time when Fox thinks it can make the most money. And we all know now that this was the worst-rated televised All-Star Game in history. So that worked out just smashing for everyone, didn't it?
My postgame review of my in-game thought: Well, except for the part at the end where I added information that I couldn't have possibly known while I was watching the game, I think I was pretty spot on.
Top of the 3rd inning
Batter: Corey Hart
Thought: That may have been the dumbest at-bat that I have ever seen. I have even less respect for Corey Hart than I did before this at-bat.
My postgame review of my in-game thought: I should have brought up the fact that Andre Ethier batted immediately before Hart and struck out just as Hart did, and I wasn't thrilled that Ethier was forced out of his natural position of right field so Hart could play there. But all that said, Hart really looked like a goofball. This isn't a random game against the Astros, son.
Bottom of the 3rd inning
Batter: Derek Jeter
Thought: I'd trade half the Dodger team for Josh Johnson right now.
My postgame review of my in-game thought: I tend to get overly emotional during games. I'd trade only one-quarter of the Dodger team for Josh Johnson. By the way, I had a very good feeling about the National League when I saw Johnson return for the fourth inning. To me, that meant that the N.L. cared more about a victory than arbitrary pitch counts.
Between the top of the fourth and the bottom of the fourth
Batter: Two gals in a night club
Thought: If I have to see this Taco Bell commercial in which a woman is so starved for a man that she stuffs a bacon chalupa in her purse during a night of clubbing, I will go on a lifetime quest to find out what really is in Taco Bell's food.
My postgame review of my in-game thought: I'm sure I'll see that commercial at least 486 more times. But that's OK, because I'm relatively certain I know what is in Taco Bell's food, which is why I don't go there.
Top of the fifth
Batter: Corey Hart
Thought: Idiot! Idiot! Idiot!
My postgame review of my in-game thought: One out, men on first and third, Verlander on the ropes and Hart bails him out with an even dopier strikeout than the first one. I no longer believe that he has 21 home runs.
Bottom of the fifth
Pitcher: Hong-Chih Kuo
Thought: Oh, no. (followed by) Whaaaa? What are you doing? (followed by) Why? Why do Dodgers pitchers always screw up in All-Star games? (followed by) Shut up, McCarver. Throwing to first is simple. They do it all the time.
My postgame review of my in-game thought: Unfortunately, I still had not muted the telecast and I think I might have said some of this out loud. Tim McCarver's attempt to rationalize Kuo's airmailing of Joe Mauer's dribbler added insult to injury. You're telling me pitchers have no idea how to throw to first? What?
Top of the seventh
Hitter: Scott Rolen
Thought: If the National League doesn't get a hit now, the game's over. Teams feed off success in these situations. If Rolen gets out, it's out number two and the chances of the next hitter going through the motions is much greater. The N.L. is doomed.
My postgame review of my in-game thought: I actually did think that. And Rolen did get a hit and Matt Holliday did follow with another hit and Marlon Byrd did work a walk and Brian McCann did get a three-run double off Matt Thornton and I did throw my arms in the air and I did yell something and I did wake up people trying to sleep. But I did not hear the fine Fox announcers babble about Rolen's running from first to third, because the mute was officially on.
Bottom of the seventh
Hitter: Nick Swisher (he struck out)
My postgame review of my in-game thought: HA!
Bottom of the eighth
Pitcher: Brian Wilson
Thought: He looks insane
My postgame review of my in-game thought: Just looking for confirmation. Is he insane?
Bottom of the ninth
Pitcher: Jonathan Broxton
Thought: Oh, god. Here it comes
My postgame review of my in-game thought: I do not like seeing Broxton in high-profile, televised games because it almost always brings me pain. Also, the memory of Eric Gagne's gopher ball to Hank Blalock in 2003 is still too fresh.
I was so fearful of Broxton coming into the game, that I actually went through all of the National League teams in my head, figured out who their closer was, figured out whether they were an All-Star or not, figured out whether they had been used yet, and then prayed, prayed, prayed that Charlie Manuel would send out Evan Meek instead.
But he didn't.
When David Ortiz got the hit, I was pretty certain I knew where this was going. That's why Marlon Byrd is my hero for throwing Ortiz out at second (to Rafael Furcal, of course). But only after I sweated through Ian Kinsler's at-bat because I couldn't BELIEVE another Ranger was coming to the plate with the game on the line (see Blalock, see Michael Young).
The All-Star Game may not mean much to a lot of baseball fans anymore, but it remains one of the highlights of summer for me. Having the N.L win not only meant the end of a victory drought since 1996, but it meant the N.L. kept its all-time record over the A.L. above .500. It's now 41-38-2.
So, that's why there are two night cards this time instead of one.
This whole post likely would have been on Twitter two days ago instead of here. But, hey, Twitter is for people who have to work. I'm still trying to remove splinters from my vacation in the wood capital of the world.