Zvee, Haley and I are watching the 78th Annual All-Star game at their new apartment in Atlanta. I’m watching the game with them because they’re good friends. Not because they’ve got HD. Give me some credit.
I’m gonna give live-blogging a shot tonight. Here we go…
8:50 Me: Do you think LaRussa is hitting Bonds second so he’ll get more at bats?
Zvee: No, I think it’s because he’s a crackhead.
8:55 Ichiro leads off the game with a single. And so it begins. This could be a long night for an over matched NL team. Then again, they should be used to it by now.
8:58 Derek Jeter grounds into a double play. If the NL has an advantage over the AL, it’s up the middle. Reyes-Utley is better than Jeter-Polanco any day.
9:00 Papi hits a weak grounder to Utley, who fields and tosses to Prince Fielder, who DROPS THE BALL. Without a doubt one of the most amateur plays in All-Star game history. Joe Buck points out that Papi doesn’t tease Fielder. Buck says, “He’s thinking, ‘I might do the same thing later.’”
9:07 Reyes singles, then steals second on the next pitch. Ballsy. But now first base is open and Bonds is at the plate. Will they walk him? No. Bonds grounds out.
9:10 Carlos Beltran, the least deserving NL starter, strikes out. “That was predictable,” Zvee says.
9:12 Griffey, Jr. hits a single up the middle. Reyes scores. NL goes up 1-0. It’s all downhill from here.
9:15 AL comes up. Jake Peavy is already done. Brad Penny is in the game. If “This time it counts”, why is LaRussa pulling his starter after the first inning? Because he’s a genius, that’s why.
9:28 Prince Fielder leads off the bottom of the inning with a single. Then Haren retires both Russell Martin and Utley. Right on cue, LaRussa sends Miguel Cabrera to the plate to pinch hit for Brad Penny. At this rate, Carlos Lee is going to be pitching by the seventh inning.
9:30 Cabrera strikes out. Inning over.
9:36 Ichiro flares one into left field. Says McCarver, “It looked like he hit that ball with a violin.” I don’t know what that means, but thank god McCarver is here. He is a national treasure.
9:39 We get our first FloMax commercial. We’re going to see about 30 of these tonight, guaranteed. Apparently, there is an epidemic of men with enlarged prostates. I had no idea.
9:41 MLB runs their first promo featuring the comedian, Dane Cook. Haley thinks Dane Cook is going to help MLB appeal to younger fans. I think Dane Cook is the least funny man alive. Haley says I’m too old to appreciate Cook. “I’m only 27,” I reply. “you’re almost 28,” she says.
9:42 A-Rod misses a grounder. Actually, he doesn’t come close enough to it to miss it. He pretty much just watches it go by after the ball takes a crazy hop. Bizarre. The play is scored a hit.
9:51 Cole Hamels enters the game for the NL. Four innings, four pitchers. If there is a god, this game will go into extra innings. I would pay money to see the look on LaRussa’s face when he realises that it’s the 11th inning and Billy Wagner has to go the rest of the way for the NL.
9:53 A-Rod hits a single and then, on the very next pitch, steals second. Two batters later, Magglio hits a single to right, Griffey, Jr. comes up throwing and nails A-Rod at the plate. Actually, it wasn’t close. There was no slide. No charging the catcher. A-Rod just surrendered. “Didn’t exactly pull a Pete Rose, did he?” Zvee says. No he didn’t. Of course, the difference between Rose’s famous All-Star game charge and A-Rod’s surrender was that THIS TIME IT COUNTS!!
10:02 Joe Buck and Ken Rosenthal get into an intellectual debate over Barry Bonds, steroids, and HGH testing. Buck says that baseball is doing all it can to prevent the use of performance enhancers and that since there’s no test for HGH, we can’t blame them. Right Joe. No test for HGH. Right.
10:05 Eric Byrnes is out in McCovey Cove on a boat with his bulldog, Bruin. Byrnes throws a baseball in the water for his dog to retrieve, but the dog doesn’t seem to want to oblige. Byrnes looks panicked. He can’t decide whether or not to push the dog in the water. If he does, he’ll risk the wrath of PETA. If he doesn’t, the folks at home won’t be able to watch a fat dog swim. Fortunately, Bruin rises to the occasion and dives in, though he takes off in the opposite direction of the ball. High comedy.
10:07 Chris Young enters the game for the NL. Five innings, five pitchers. And Young is due to bat second next inning. I love it.
10:12 with Chris Young on first, Ichiro hits a long fly to right-center, which takes a crazy bounce off the wall, allowing the Mariners’ CF to make it all the way around the bases. That’s right, it was an inside-the-park home run! This will undoubtedly go down as one of the more memorable plays in all-star game history. Wow. Just wow.
10:20 The San Francisco bat boy is clearly making a point of standing behind Tony LaRussa while the manager is being interviewed by Joe Buck. It would be adorable if the bat boy wasn’t 40 years old.
10:24 Francisco Cordero, the NL’s sixth pitcher, gives up a HR to Carl Crawford. 3-1 AL.
10:34 Carlos Beltran hits a triple off the right field wall. Griffey follows with a sac fly. 3-2 AL.
10:39 David Wright takes off for second, but Matt Holliday fouls off the pitch. As he jogs back to first, I notice Wright is sporting a gaudy gold chain. I never figured him for a bling guy. Maybe that’s just a byproduct of living in New York.
10:41 Russel Martin hits a foul ball down the right field line and nails a security guard in the back of the leg. Come on buddy, you gotta make that play!
10:46 LaRussa brings in Rowand, Sanchez, Hudson and McCann. The NL lineup is now totally devoid of punch. I think it’s great that LaRussa is so committed to getting everybody in the game. It’s just like little league. Except that, you know, THIS TIME IT COUNTS! Oh, and by the way, Saito is pitching now, the seventh NL pitcher in seven innings.
10:50 We’re supposed to be listening to Paula Cole sing God Bless America. Instead, they’re panning around the stadium. There must be a mic problem or something. This is awkward.
11:03 Another inning, another NL pitcher. Billy Wagner comes on and immediately gives up a hit to new AL 3B Mike Lowell.
11:05 Wagner strikes out Grady Sizemore, the first strike out for an NL pitcher tonight.
11:07 Victor Martinez takes Wagner deep. 5-2 AL. The writing is on the wall.
11:10 FLOMAX commercial number 3.
11:13 Jonathan Papelbon is in to pitch the eighth for the AL. Putz will pitch the ninth. The NL is pretty much screwed.
11:14 Derrek Lee hits a bloop single to center. Now the heart of the NL order is coming up: Hudson, Rowand and Sanchez. Ugh.
11:15 Fox profiles Chase Utley. We learn Chase likes to fish, attended UCLA, and likes to dance at weddings. McCarver says, “I’ll have to ask Chase if he limits his dancing to weddings.” Thank goodness we can count on McCarver to ask the tough questions.
11:19 The virtual billboard behind the batter reads “actober.com”. Apparently that’s the MLB’s postseason website. “I honestly don’t get it at all,” Zvee says. Me neither.
11:33 First Brian Roberts drops a Dmitri Young grounder. Then Alfonso Soriano hits a two run homer. Then K-Rod walks the bases loaded. Two outs. Bases Loaded. AL up by one. At this point in the game, LaRussa only has one position player left on his bench — Albert Pujols. So what does LaRussa do? He lets Aaron Rowand hit.
Now, there are worse hitters to have at the plate than Aaron Rowand. The guy has been clutch this year with runners in scoring position. But if I had to pick a guy — any guy — to hit in this situation, I go with Albert Pujols every time. But that’s just me.
LaRussa leaves Pujols — the only Cardinals representative, btw — on the bench. Rowand pops out to right. Game over.