Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All-Star Game Running Diary Extravaganza

Welcome, loyal reader! I'm going to do something tonight I've always wanted to try—a Bill Simmons-style running diary. And what better event than the All-Star Game? After all, This One Counts!!!!!! Actually, I thought it would be nice if someone did something to offset tonight's Yankee slobberfest. So here we are. I am joined tonight by a special guest, The Amazing Michelle!

Some things I hope to see tonight:
1. The Royals' representative (Joakim Soria) get in the game. That would be the first Royal appearance since 2005.
2. A Josh Hamilton at-bat without a reference to his checkered past. If ESPN's broadcast last night was an indication, there is no chance this will happen.
3. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in a brawl.
4. Eric Byrnes on a raft in the Hudson River.
5. Ben Sheets's arm staying attached to his body (for fantasy team purposes).
6. Soria getting the save. That would be a Royal first.
7. Soria picking up the win. That would be KC's first since 1997, when the immortal Jose Rosado did it.

7:27 pm: Player introductions wind down. I'm surprised the Tampa Bay players weren't booed more. In 2003, the ASG was at Comiskey Park, and the two Royal reps were roundly booed. It was incredible. Another team's fans cared enough to boo the Royals!

7:32 pm: The corpse of George Steinbrenner is driven around Yankee Stadium. The cheering seems surprisingly subdued.

7:34 pm:
My mistake, he's still alive and ready to throw out the first pitch. Actually, he is handing out the baseballs for the first pitch. Ten bucks says Hank Steinbrenner was secretly hoping the old man would kick it before this so he could be in the limelight.

7:40 pm: Look, the 3-4-5 hitters for the NL have the three best averages in the majors! Are they awesome, or does the NL have crappy pitching? Let's find out.

7:44 pm: Did you know the NL has a higher ERA than the AL? This is weird; the AL is supposed to be the offensive league. Yet there it is, 4.25 to 4.12. I imagine interleague play had something to do with that, but still…

7:49 pm: Chase Utley's at-bat brings up Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins' back-to-back MVPs and the possibility Utley could make it a hat trick. How would you feel as a Phillies fan if you had three straight NL MVPs but hadn't made a World Series yet? Of course, this Royals fan would trade them positions in a heartbeat.

7:52 pm: This State Farm commercial with the two kids outside Wrigley confuses me. What exactly is State Farm insuring for this kid? His bike?

7:55 pm: How is it the Yankees have never had anybody get 3,000 hits? That is an amazing stat if you ask me. Which you did, since you came to this page.

7:57 pm: Well, number 2 on my above list is done for this at-bat.

7:58 pm: Fox shows some Yankee fans practicing their Heil Hitler salutes.

7:59 pm: A-Rod pops out with Captain Clutch on 2nd and two out. He's still not a true Yankee. No score after the first inning.

8:02 pm: Heh-heh, Pooh Holes.

8:05 pm: Ryan Braun took third in the home run derby last night, Joe Buck tells us. This time next year, only Ryan Braun's mother will remember that fact.

8:13 pm: This seems like as good a time as any to drop this in: You can thank me later.

8:15 pm: McCarver's short-term memory fails him, as thinks Milton Bradley's steal is the first of the game, then remembers Jeter's steal which happened about 15 minutes ago. The Amazing Michelle suggests a running tally of Timmy's screwups. I don't believe I can count that high.

8:19 pm: "There is no hotter hitter in the game than Dustin Pedroia," Buck informs us. You know, Ian Kinsler of the Rangers has a 25-game hitting streak. I think that might qualify as hotter. And you know I mean it, since Kinsler went to Missouri.

8:20 pm: Pedroia flies to center, stranding two runners. 0-0 after two innings.

8:26 pm: Yogi Berra is in the booth with Buck and McCarver. He's too nice to admit he thinks Sarah Jessica Parker looks like a horse.

8:32 pm: On the internet between innings, I discover Matt Sussman of Deadspin is doing a live blog of the game. At least I know I had a good idea, although there is no way I can execute it as well as he will.

8:33 pm: Captain Clutch grounds into a double play.

8:34 pm: Number 2 on the list is obliterated, as Buck rather gleefully describes Josh Hamilton's troubled past. Hamilton makes an out, and we are through three scoreless innings.

8:39 pm: Fox shows earlier footage of Mariano Rivera showing Roy Halladay and Scott Kazmir how he throws a cutter. As a baseball fan, I have to imagine that is one awesome conversation.

8:40 pm: Ichiro makes the play of the game so far, playing a Pooh Holes line drive off the wall perfectly and firing a strike to second for the out. I wonder how the Best Fans in BaseballTM reacted to that.

8:44 pm: Carlos Zambrano carves up A-Rod, who will not be abused that badly again until his divorce proceedings.

8:47 pm: Milton Bradley reaches on an error by Hanley Ramirez. The play was close, and Bradley was thankfully called safe. Although Bradley killing an umpire with his bare hands would spice this game up.

8:48 pm: I'll be hiding in the Kauffman Stadium press box with Ryan Lefebvre. Please don't let Milton up there.

8:48 pm: Bradley is picked off first, ending the inning. Still no score after four.

8:49 pm: A preview of Pineapple Express. The Amazing Michelle forbids me from seeing "a stoner movie." Guess I'll have to find a chick flick to sit through as payback. Or some good bud to mellow her out.

8:53 pm: Matt Holliday homers to right to break the scoreless tie.

8:56 pm: For some reason, A-Rod comes out of the game in the middle of the inning. I guess it was to let the crowd applaud him, but they didn't seem to care. Why? BECAUSE HE'S NOT A TRUE YANKEE YET!11!!!!!11!

9:08 pm: Captain Clutch comes up with two on and two out. Here's your chance to be MVP, Jeter.

9:10 pm: After clutchily working the count full, Jeter grounds back to the mound, ending the inning. If that had been A-Rod, the boos would have been audible in Newark.

9:12 pm: Holiday Inn uses Cal Ripken Jr. to illustrate consistency. I think Joe Morgan would have been a better choice.

9:19 pm: Lance Berkman drives in a run with a sac fly. 2-0, NL. Captain Clutch is removed from the game, signaling the AL's desire to surrender.

9:21 pm: Joe Buck pushes George Steinbrenner for the Hall of Fame. Please. Any idiot could have spent all that money to win games. If he's such a great owner, what happened to the Yanks in the 1980s? Tim McCarver opines "it's never been easy for the Yankees." Poor Yanks, I wish the Royals had $5 billion to spend on players. I don't want to use money as an excuse for the Royals' problems, but let's be honest. The Royals and Yankees are not on an even playing field. Steinbrenner could have helped that, and he would not.

9:28 pm: Josh Hamilton singles to center before Buck can start in on his amazing backstory. Undeterred, Joe talks about Hamilton's background through most of Joe Crede's at-bat.

9:34 pm: The AL still can't score, leaving Hamilton at second base to reflect on his past. 2-0 NL after 6.

9:39 pm: With Joe Nathan in, Jonathan Papelbon begins warming up. Sigh. Perhaps next year the Royals' representative will get to play. Hoping the token Royal gets in the game makes me understand how my parents must have felt when I was in Little League.

9:47 pm: Justin Morneau leads off the bottom of the 7th with a double that just gets past Corey Hart. Must resist urge to make hacky "Sunglasses at Night" joke…

9:53 pm: J.D. Drew homers to right to tie the score! Maybe The Mexicutioner will get in this game after all. If that happens, I will take back all the bad things I have said about J.D. Drew. To be fair, most of them were said in my bad Boston accent as a joke.

9:59 pm: Papelbon was surprised that Yankee fans were mean to him last night? Does he not understand that he plays for Boston? Oh, and does he not understand Yankee fans are idiots? To prove my point, those fans start chanting "Mariano" at him. Imagine how mad these morons would get if Rivera pitched the 8th and Papelbon got a save opportunity...

10:02 pm: Adrian Gonzalez hits a fly ball just deep enough to get Miguel Tejada home for a 3-2 lead. Tejada had stolen second and gone to third on a bad throw by catcher Dioner Navarro. Things are looking good for the NL to get their first win in this game since 1996.

10:19 pm: Grady Sizemore singles with two out in the 8th, then steals second. Evan Longoria follows with a double, and we're tied again at 3-3. But Justin Morneau can't bring him home, and we go to the ninth.

10:27 pm: With one on and one out in the top of the 9th, Terry Francona brings in Rivera. There are only three pitchers left in the AL bullpen, and one is a starter (Scott Kazmir).

10:32 pm: Strike-em-out/throw-em-out double play ends the top of the 9th. Will a Yankee get the win in the final All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium? ESPN and Fox hope so, I'm sure.

10:38 pm: I have to admit, Buck and McCarver haven't been nearly as annoying tonight as I thought they would be. Maybe it's just because it seems like the Fox games we've had here in KC this year have mostly had different broadcast teams, so my tolerance for these two is higher than normal.

10:40 pm: J.D. Drew comes up with two out and no one on in the 9th. If you hit a home run here, J.D., I'm afraid I will have to take back taking back all the mean things I've said about you.

10:42 pm: Extra innings! Drew strikes out looking to end the 9th.

10:46 pm: Soria is warming up!

10:51 pm: Rivera gives up back-to-back hits, putting runners at 1st and 3rd with one out. Dan Uggla has a chance to be the hero.

10:53 pm: No dice, Uggla. Rivera induces the double-play grounder.

10:57 pm: Now Uggla kicks a grounder, letting Michael Young reach leading off the inning. Proving it's not a fluke, he then lets Carlos Quentin's grounder get under his glove. 1st and 3rd, no one out. Your All-Star Game MVP, Dan Uggla!

10:58 pm: Aaron Cook intentionally walks Carlos Guillen to load the bases. It doesn't look good for The Mexicutioner getting in this game.

11:00 pm: Grady Sizemore up. I'm trying to figure out how to tie-in a joke about Uggla, who graduated from the University of Memphis, and the national championship game. This is a delicate subject because The Amazing Michelle went to Memphis. I like sleeping in a bed. Maybe I'll just let this joke go.

11:01 pm: Sizemore wisely hits it to Uggla, but this time it's caught and turned into a forceout at the plate.

11:02 pm:
Longoria up. This seems to be Tampa Bay's year. Let's see…

11:03 pm: Nope, he grounds into another forceout. Now the bases are loaded with two out and Justin Morneau up.

11:04 pm: Morneau grounds out to Tejada, who makes a terrific play on a slowly-hit ball. On to the 11th!

11:07 pm: Here we go! Soria enters the game, facing Adrian Gonzalez. Please do well, Joakim. I don't want to hear about how the Royals shouldn't have a representative because it's not fair he might help decide home-field advantage in the World Series when the Royals have no hope of getting there.

11:08 pm: Gonzalez singles to left. David Wright at bat.

11:09 pm: David Wright is Mexecuted!!!!! Cristian Guzman up. Not to jinx it, but Soria should blow this guy away.

11:10 pm: Guzman flies to center. Corey Hart up. Now Corey, when I was voting for Jose Guillen in that Final Vote thing, I voted for you in the NL. Be kind.

11:12 pm: Hart flies out to right. This Royals fan breathes a sigh of relief. Now let's hope the AL gets a run.

11:15 pm: Ian Kinsler leads off with a single.

11:18 pm: Kinsler is gunned down trying to steal second. Fox has a great replay showing he should have been safe. When this game ends up a tie, this play might end up being big.

11:19 pm: Dioner Navarro walks.

11:20 pm: Drew singles, Navarro to second. That call at second hurt.

11:22 pm: Now that call really hurts, as Michael Young singles but Navarro is thrown out at home by Nate McLouth. Carlos Quentin hits with two out and the winning run at third.

11:24 pm: Quentin grounds out. On to the 12th.

11:27 pm: Top of the 12th, Soria still on the mound to face the Cardinals' Ryan Ludwick.

11:28 pm: Soria walks Ludwick.

11:29 pm: McLouth attempts to sacrifice, but Morneau's throw to first is late. Here we go.

11:30 pm: Russell Martin bunts the runners to second and third. One out.

11:31 pm: The first blithering idiot in the media who says it's not fair that a Royal decided the All-Star Game is getting my fist in his nose.

11:31 pm: Soria walks Tejada intentionally to load the bases for Uggla. This is officially the longest game in All-Star history, time-wise. Somebody remind me of this the next time I decide to try one of these diaries.

11:32 pm: Soria buckles Uggla's knees with a curveball for strike three.

11:32 pm: Francona calls on George Sherrill to face Adrian Gonzalez.

11:36 pm: Sherrill strikes out Gonzalez. Soria is off the hook for the loss. Now, please score a run, AL, some of us have to work in the morning.

11:39 pm: Carlos Guillen doubles to left to lead off the bottom of the 12th. If the AL, can't score here, I may have to give up on this here diary.

11:40 pm: Sizemore grounds to second, moving Guillen to third. Longoria is up.

11:43 pm: Longoria strikes out. Morneau is up and will get an intentional walk. Ian Kinsler is up next. I feel dirty, I am about to root for a Missouri Tiger to do well.

11:45 pm: You can take the boy out of the Missouri Tigers, but you can't take the Missouri Tiger out of the boy. Kinsler grounds out to end the inning.

11:50 pm: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

7:00 am: I see on SportsCenter that the AL won, 4-3 in 15 innings. I have learned a valuable lesson tonight: Do not do a running diary unless you do not have to work the next day.


Anonymous said...

I am pretty amazing to watch 14 innings of that snoozefest. However, the awesome defense in extra innings was worth it.

I've been thinking about Rivera showing Halladay his cutter - should he really be sharing that info with a division rival?

Anonymous said...

I didn't know the Yankees have never had a 3000 hitter - that is weird considering their great players.

Anonymous said...

So, I think if there are going to be so many starting pitchers named to the squad that aren't "allowed" to pitch because they just pitched a day or 2 before, then they need to have "reserve" pitchers - other deserving pitchers named to the team who don't pitch until all the original named players have played. This would help out for the extra inning games since that seems to be the trend these days. Then maybe some of these relief pitchers wouldn't have to be overused.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I thought I heard "Sunglasses at Night" when Corey Hart batted - maybe it was just in my head though - LOL!

Anonymous said...

Smart move letting the Memphis thing go...