Friday, October 05, 2007

For the life of me, I cannot figure out how the game between the Indians and the Yankees went to extra innings tonight. I watched the entire telecast, I know what's what. The Indians have somewhere on the order of 30 future Hall of Famers on the roster at any given moment. Or at least if all you knew about baseball were culled from Chip Carey's broadcasting, you'd be forced to think along those lines.

In the last two innings, the overt bias toward the Indians was as bad as I have ever seen for a broadcaster. Kenny Lofton led off the bottom of the 9th and hit a fly ball to center. According to Carey, Lofton spanked the ball. From what I saw, Melky Cabrera drifted maybe five feet to his left to catch it. Now I might need a ruling from a trained and licensed physicist on this, but I think it's safe to say that an outfielder should have to take at least 13 or 14 steps or break into a run before a ball can be considered to have been spanked by a batter.

Among the many things Chip Carey said this evening which bothered me, was Casey Blake's nickname "Mr. Shocker." I don't know if that's Blake's nickname in general, or one that Carey just gave him tonight. Either way, it's a stupid name. I didn't realize that he was so closely associated with his alma mater (Wichita State) to be called Mr. Shocker.

Of course Carey fell all over himself to tell us that Blake had two walkoff homers this season. Too bad they came against the Royals and the Tigers. That meant that he really should have ended the game with one swing of the bat in tonight's game. After all, if you can win a game against the Royals or the Tigers then Mariano Rivera is no match for you. As it was, Blake and his stupid Mountain Man beard hit what Chip Carey called a towering fly ball, which fell short of the warning track by a good twenty five feet.

Interestingly enough, when Posada flew out to the wall in right field in the next half inning, it was neither spanked nor towering. Perhaps he should have played for the Indians, then maybe he'd be worthy of Chip Carey's notice. Like Perez, the Indians reliever who did pitch very well. After his 1-2-3 top of the tenth, Carey said he dazzled. Of course Carey would probably describe Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series as a workman like effort.

In the bottom of the tenth, when the Indians loaded the bases, Mariano Rivera threw a ball on the 0-1 count and Carey giddily remarked that there was no place to put the batter at the plate. With Mariano Rivera on the mound and a 1-1 count, who thinks of the walk? It's kind of like calling for the punt team to get ready when it's second and five in a football game.

Carey was the only part of this game more troublesome than the swarms of flies which showed up at the game as though they were a Biblical plague. I know Ohio is a blight on the rest of the country. I know most of the Indians, notable among them Hafner, Blake and Garko, practice such poor hygiene that insects flock to them as though they were pounds of rotting meat.

Why were the flies hovering around the players when there were so many thousands of losers and Ohioans watching the game? If ever there were fans who were a close second to Red Sox fans in deserving swarms of biting flies descending on them, it has to be Indians fans. These slack-jawed yokels react to every favorable development that befalls their team with so much surprise that it makes you wonder why they took out a second mortgage on the family combine harvester and bought playoff tickets.

If you don't believe me that Cleveland is full of dbags, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, look at this thread on a Cleveland sports site speculating that Eric Wedge and Casey Blake might have a little something something going on between them. Let's not forget, either, that the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire several times. Any city that has a river catch on fire has to be very, very, very pathetic.

There is, as the old saying goes, no such thing as a moral victory. However, the Yankees pitched much better in this game than they did in game one. Unfortunately, there is no room for gradual improvement in the playoffs. The Yankees aren't out of it, yet. And of the three teams down 0-2 so far (the Phillies and the Cubs being the others), the Yankees have far and away the best chance to come back from the dead.

The Phillies pitching is dreadful. The Cubs don't have enough speed to play small ball consistently, and outside of Wrigley their power is a lot less powerful. Plus the Cubs have a massive karmic roadblock in the form of that awful Aquafina commercial featuring Lou Pinella. But I'm not ready to write the Yanks off just yet. Perhaps because they're the only team that looks like they can beat the Sox, even though they aren't the same team that came back from 0-2 against the As in 2001. But on to the Red Sox vs. Angels game.

I have a hard time accepting some facts from the early portion of tonight's game. First, JD Drew came to the plate with the bases loaded in a two out situation and he didn't fail. Far from it. He drove in two runs. Now if the game were out of reach, one way or the other, I would have had less difficulty wrapping my brain around the fact. Who knows, maybe this is the start of something big for him in a Red Sox uniform? Or maybe this is just a calm before the storm and he will be an even bigger disappointment in a bigger moment yet to come.

The other thing that caught me by surprise is that the Angels fell behind 2-0 in this game, but bounced back with a vengeance to take a 3-2 lead. Admittedly they had some help when Manny Ramirez misplayed that ball in left, which was somehow not an error. As an aside, that is a terrible rule, that he misplays a ball but doesn't get an error because he didn't touch it. I think it should be a bigger error because he butchered a ball that was fairly routine and couldn't even get a hand on it.

Maybe I was wrong to sell the Angels short the way I did. Of course it's still too early in this series to be optimistic about their chances. It just might be that Daisuke Matsuzaka is tired out from this different style of baseball. Or maybe he got depressed when Buccholz came up and he was no longer the new sensation in the rotation. Either way, he slumped down the stretch, and maybe that's why the Angels got to him tonight.

Of course if the Angels get the kind of help like Coco Crisp gave them with his Little League level base running blunder in the sixth, they may prove more formidable than I led you to believe in my last few posts. How does a guy with his experience get himself doubled up on a fly ball to center field because he had rounded second but forgot to touch the base on his way back to first?

I had some rather unpleasant things to say about Mike Scioscia the other day. Now I think I have to take them all back and say far worse. How do you go into the last inning and a half of a tie game and manage yourself into such a terrible corner that you have to take your best offensive weapon out of the game? He pulled Guerrero to keep Reggie Willits in the game?

Even better, Garrett Anderson was still in the game at that point with his swollen eye. I will concede that I know a lot less about baseball than Mike Scioscia. But it seems logical, doesn't it, to leave the guy with two good eyes in the lineup, especially when he's your best power threat? Or maybe that's just too logical. That's exactly what they'd be expecting Scioscia to do. Of course, there are some who'd say that managing as though you were running some sort of bad caper in Get Smart might not be a good idea in a playoff game.

Of course it was all academic when Scioscia rode the percentages and conventional wisdom all the way to Manny's walk-off shot. All in all, this was not a good night for me. Sooner or later this team is due for an epic collapse. Perhaps this will be it. I doubt it, but there is a chance. Anaheim did win more home games than any other team in the league this season.

If it weren't for the tool who whipped the piece of pizza off the back of the bigger tool who ragged on the first tool for eating a pizza at a baseball game in Fenway Park this April, the douche who asked for an autograph from the fan who prevented the Angels catcher (Matthis) from catching Manny's foul popup in the 5th would have been the biggest tool in the history of Fenway Park. If Lowell's sac fly which tied the game had been a bit deeper, that skinny little wuss would have become a huge celebrity. As it is, he'll milk that novelty act 15 minutes of fame for all it's worth.

Speaking of tools, we have a small tool of note feature today, for the first time in a while. A long time friend of the blog forwarded this feature on the triumphs and trials of Donny Osmond from the Daily Mail in England. My heart bleeds for poor Donny Osmond, who had to bear the cross of being a teen idol. If his life was a bed of pain because people wouldn't accept him as a grown up and not the scrawny Mormon dork who ripped off Paul Anka's Puppy Love, then maybe there is justice in the world after all.

I particularly enjoyed this bit: "Say what you like, Donny is big on self-pity, which is why in the run-up to his latest tour he wants to talk about how hard it was being the Most Adorable Singing Child On Earth." Something tells me Donny Osmond for all his pain and anguish probably doesn't wake up each and every morning with a bad back, bad knees and callouses on his hands as though he worked for a living. People turned on a lot of 70s icons, so what? Just because he had more staying power than a-Ha doesn't mean he achieved anything tangible.

I also love the fact that Jesus is one of his heroes. I bet that really put a smile on Jesus' face and got Him packing His bags for the Second Coming. Or more likely, Jesus was probably trying hard to hide from Donny Osmond. If there is one consolation here, given his age, Donny will meet his hero face to face long before I do.

Curiously, the article brought up his 1988 hit, Soldier of Love, which I don't remember. I was young in 1988, but I remember a lot of things from that time frame. Am I the only one who doesn't remember the song, or was it a song that hit 99 on a countdown and they're trying to be as nice as possible to Donny? I guess if they didn't do all they could to massage his ego, Donny Osmond would have to retreat to his compound in Utah. What a shame that would be.

1 comment:

Alle said...

I think Guerrero was pulled because he got hit by the ball, although they were reporting it was his right shoulder that got hurt. Apparently he got hit in his left shoulder, but the pain traveled right.