Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Live From (Watching) the All-Star Game

Just like every other baseball fan, we're watching the All-Star Game tonight. We'll be giving you our thoughts LIVE.

8:02: The Chicago Cubs...I mean National League All-Stars are introduced. Now let's go to the AL All-Stars locker room where George Brett gives a stirring speech that included the word 'diddly.' (Can they say that on TV??) It's the last season of Yankee stadium and they couldn't get a former Yankee to give a speech?
So that's how you say Justin Duchscherer's name. I've been calling him "douche-erer" for the better part of a year now.
8:12: A slew of Hall of Fame pitchers are introduced, highlighted by Rollie Fingers' mustache.
8:15: Chase Utley! Followed by Ian Ki--oh never mind. Look, it's cool and all that they got all these Hall of Famers to be here, but...this is taking forever. Even for an All-Star game, this is ridiculous. What a slap in the face to Paul Molitor to put him at DH. Couldn't they at least pretend he could field a position?
8:22: Wouldn't it be great to hear a conversation between Willie Mays, Josh Hamilton, and Kosuke Fukudome? Shockingly, Hamilton's name has been mentioned without the word "heroin." Of course, these are only introductions. I'm setting the over/under at 35.5 mentions tonight.
8:30: Sheryl Crow sings the national anthem as a stealth bomber flies...somewhere nearby...for some reason. Maybe it's just to make sure Crow doesn't ham it up.
8:39: Joe Buck thinks the NL is "in position to score some runs." Thanks, Joe. While we're at it, let's go out on a limb and say Tim McCarver is in position to be incoherent tonight.
8:48: Chase Utley is called out on strikes in his first at-bat. Nice pitch, but it should've been a ball.
8:53: How could the Brewers in good conscience let Ben Sheets start the All-Star Game? It's just another chance for him to get injured. I think they're getting cocky now that they have Sabathia.
8:56: Josh Hamilton is down on strikes, but not before Buck could bring up his problems. Oh, and don't worry, Buck promises more on his story. Thank God.
8:58: A-Rod pops out behind the plate to Soto for the third out. Soto slips on a stray bat and nearly falls over. You know it was a maple bat. Those things are deadly.
9:09: In the words of Joe Buck, Manny "pops it" for a near home run. Good call.
9:11: Buck admits his mispronunciation of Duchscherer's name. Hah! I knew it! Brian 1, Joe Buck 0.
9:13: As wholesome as they want this broadcast to be, they still give us a close-up on Sheet's face as he walks his first hitter. He said "Fudge!" right?
9:17: Looks like Rudy Giuliani has a front-row seat. He's protecting us from the stealth bomber.
9:23: Tim McCarver brings famous fellow incoherent catcher Yogi Berra into the booth with him. Perhaps they should have a ramble-off.
9:25: They give Fukudome's name in Japanese. They've learned their lesson about words like that from Ben Sheets.
9:28: Utley grounds out out to first. He's saving it for the clutch.
9:33: Josh Hamilton's life sucked before he straightened out and found God, or a good rehab clinic. Just goes to show that if you're a professional athlete you can do whatever you want and still become a multimillionaire. A true American hero.
9:39: Pujols is thrown out going for a double. He's good at a lot of things, but running isn't one of them. To be fair, Ichiro made a great throw.
9:44: Apparently Zambrano lobbing a breaking ball over Manny's head is just "Carlos being Carlos." If you say so, Joe.
9:49: The Miller High Life guy just took a bunch of Miller beer out of a hotel. Are we sure he works for Miller? Oh well. Now here comes Santana to pitch. No, not Johan.
9:53: Matt Holliday takes All-Star Santana deep. NL leads 1-0. About time someone scored.
10:10: Derek Jeter works a full count with two runners on and two outs. Wouldn't it be fitting for him to deliver here? The baseball gods say "no" as Jeter grounds to Danny Haren.
10:13: Yankee Stadium just morphed into an ad for Fringe, thus guaranteeing I never watch that show. Way to go, FOX.
10:17: Utley finally makes his mark on the game with a nice line drive single to right field. Hamley Ramirez goes first to third and the NL should be able to tack on some insurance...and they do. Berkman hits a deep fly out to center and Ramirez tags and scores. 2-0.
10:27: Hamilton singles, giving Buck the perfect chance to tell his life story. Unfortunately it hasn't changed since earlier in the game...or yesterday...or any time since he was reinstated.
10:45: If the AL is going to come back, this is the inning. Edinson Volquez is a great young pitcher, but not the guy I'd want pitching to a bunch of All-Stars with the game on the line.
10:52: Yup, I called it. Volquez gives up a game-tying two-run home run...to none other than J.D. Drew. I just threw up in my mouth.
11:01: Tejada takes off and gets two bases for his trouble, as Dioner Navarro skips a throw wide of the bag. Adrian Gonzalez takes advantage, hitting a fly ball to left that's just deep enough to score Tejada and give the NL a 3-2 lead. All off Papelbon. I don't think those "overrated" chants are going away. Even after he strikes out David Wright to end the inning, he's serenaded with boos.
11:07: Brian Wilson is in to pitch the eighth. But...why? Wouldn't Billy Wagner be the logical choice here. I think the NL is still operating under the belief that this game's outcome has no effect.
11:12: Two quick outs for Wilson, and now here comes Wagner. Better late than never. To his credit, Wilson looked pretty good out there.
11:18: Wagner gives up a hit to Sizemore, who proceeds to steal second (which surprised absolutely no one), then Evan Longoria ties the game with a double. Never trust a Met.
11:24: Francisco Rodriguez comes in to pitch the top of the ninth and walks Aramis Ramirez. Shouldn't Rivera be in here? There's no chance for a save situation and if the NL pulls ahead or the AL wins in the bottom of the ninth, he doesn't come in at all.
11:27: Terry Francona read my mind. Here comes Rivera. Is it just me or is this game heading for another horrible tie? There are still a few pitchers left on each side, sure, but call it a hunch.
11:32: Rivera gets a strike-'em-out throw-'em-out double play to end the inning, which begs the question...why the hell was Ramirez running?
11:41: I can't say I was too confident with Ryan Dempster pitching the ninth, but kudos to him. He just struck out the side, getting Drew looking to end it. Well done. FOX heads to commercial playing what sounds an awful lot like the Jurassic Park theme. Ohhhh. That stealth bomber makes perfect sense now. It was warding off pterodactyls.
11:50: Russell Martin slaps a base hit into right field. Could Rivera actually blow THIS game? That would be a crappy way for Yankee Stadium to go out. Of course, you know Yankee fans would still cheer him (and rightly so). Thinking about it now, what would Rivera have to do to get booed in this game? Rape? Child rape? Murder Yogi Berra in cold blood? Well, it's a moot point now. As I typed this, Uggla hits into a double play with runners on the corners and one out. Rivera escapes.
11:55: Uggla's not done sucking. He follows up the double play by misplaying a grounder and putting a runner on with no outs. And...a hard hit grounder goes through his legs. First and third now with no outs. Hate to say it, but Chase Utley makes both of those plays.
12:01: Sizemore grounds to first with the bases loaded and Gonzalez throws home for the force out. Martin fires back to first and a great scoop by Gonzalez saves the game. Longoria follows with another grounder and force at home. Can the NL actually get out of this??
12:04: Well, despite Dan Uggla's best efforts, the NL lives on. The AL collectively sucked more than Uggla could on his own. That's the power of teamwork.
12:07: Joakim Soria gives up a Gonzalez single to lead off the 11th. Gonzalez is everywhere all of the sudden. He's like the anti-Uggla. Meanwhile, if I'm an AL fan I'm less than thrilled about the game being in the hands of the Kansas City Royals' closer. Though he does have a lot of experience pitching in games that don't count. Yes, this game means something now, but not for any member of the Royals.
12:12: Soria get out number three and we're getting dangerously close to a tie. What would they do? Buck suggests a dance-off. I'd prefer a competition between him and McCarver. Whoever talks first loses.
12:17: Russell Martin finally figures out how to throw, gunning down Kinsler on a pitch out. Tejada didn't quite figure out how to tag, but Kinsler is called out all the same. Aaron Cook follows by walking Navarro to bring up Drew. Drew singles and that brings us to Michael Young.
12:21: Wow. The game should've ended just now. Young shoots a single up the middle, but the NL plays it perfectly. McClouth makes a brilliant throw home and Martin blocks the plate, tagging out Navarro.
12:23: Carlos Quentin grounds to Christian Guzman for the final out. How does the NL do it? This is just ridiculous.
12:27: Soria's back for another inning. The Royals will be furious! He walks Ludwick and McClouth beats out a bunt for a hit. Martin then sacrifices and moves the runners to second and third. Good old-fashioned National League baseball.
12:30: Rather than let Miguel Tejada hit with one out and runners on second and third, the AL opts to walk him intentionally to face...you guessed it...Dan Uggla. Kill me now.
12:32: True to form, Uggla strikes out on a half-hearted check swing. Come on Uggla! Whatever Francona paid you, I'll double it. Just stop this.
12:36: The AL pulls Soria and turns to George Sherril with the bases loaded and two outs. Semi-savior Adrian Gonzalez can't come through, as Sherrill strikes him out.
12:38: FOX brings us back just in time to see Carlos Guillen just miss a home run. Instead it goes off the wall and Guillen has a no-out double. Sizemore hits a grounder to Uggla, who drops it but recovers just in time to get the out.
12:42: Longoria grounds one down the third base line and Guzman makes a perfect throw home that would've gotten the lead runner...had the ball not gone foul. Cook strikes out Longoria on the next pitch. Despite there being two outs, Morneau is intentionally walked to face Kinsler.
12:45: Once again, the AL can't capitalize. Kinsler grounds out to end the inning. As FOX goes to commercial, we get a shot of a very concerned Bud Selig. Pretty sure he knows that if he calls this game a tie, he will not get out of New York alive.
12:49: David Wright gets a broken bat bloop single. Damn those maple bats! Guzman tries to bunt Wright over in the next at-bat, but Sherrill nails Wright at second.
12:54: Corey Hart (in place of Pat Burrell) strikes out and Ludwick pops out to end the inning. Sigh.
12:57: Carlos Marmol enters the game and gets Navarro to ground out to Uggla, who draws some sarcastic cheers as he makes a routine play. Welcome back to Little League, Dan.
1:00: Dan Uggla does it AGAIN. Another routine grounder. Upon further review, it took a funny hop at the end, but still, you've got to get that.
1:04: Young strikes out and Drew is nearly thrown out running on the full count. However, Martin's throw skips up and all Uggla can do is catch it and apply a late tag. At this point, not even that was a given. Quentin then strikes out to end the inning and here comes the fourteenth.
1:07: McClouth gets everyone's hopes up with a deep fly ball to right field, but Drew camps under it and catches it at the warning track.
1:09: Martin follows with his own deep fly out to right. Meanwhile, we see Scott Kazmir and Brandon Webb getting loose, just in case. Tim McCarver reminds us that "this time it counts." No kidding. That's why Bud Selig's on suicide watch right now. Tejada grounds out to end the inning.
1:13: Webb enters the game despite having thrown 100+ pitches on Sunday. I've never been more glad that Cole Hamels didn't make the All-Star team. Guillen hits a liner up the middle that's snared by Tejada. Webb then strikes out Sizemore.
1:17: Longoria waves at strike three from Webb, who's looking great even as he terrifies every baseball fan in the southwest.
1:20: Uggla strikes out. Nothing more to add at this point. McCarver tells us that David Letterman did NOT ask Selig about the tie game issue when Selig was on last night. Thanks for that. Meanwhile, Kazmir gets his second out as Gonzalez flies out to left.
1:24: Deep down, Francona has to be thinking about keeping Kazmir in the game for the long haul. How great would it be for the Red Sox if Kazmir got hurt? No way Francona is entertaining this thought, but it must have occurred to him. After Wright walks, Guzman grounds out and Kazmir's arm is spared...for now.
1:29: Morneau greets Brad Lidge, the last available NL pitcher, with a single to center field. Kinsler follows with a liner to left, but Ludwick robs him of a hit with a great diving catch.
1:35: Lidge gives up a hit to Navarro and then walks Drew. Bases are loaded now with one out. However this ends, I'm just glad Drew wasn't the one to end it.
1:36: Young hits a fly ball to right. Hart catches and throws home, but not quite in time. That's the game, the AL wins 4-3. It was a very close play at home and one has to think that the umpire calls him safe no matter what, for the sake of the game. It's a shame that Lidge winds up the loser, but we all know who the real loser is. Dan Uggla.

Well that'll do it. Uggla is the All-Star Game MVP. I mean, not really, but he might as well be.

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