The forcast is for rain, but I’ll be at my computer starting at 5 p.m., live-blogging either Game 3 or whatever crappy reruns Fox shows while we wait for the skies to clear.
5:00: The tarp is on the field. Joe Buck says “It is pouring and the wind is whipping around.” Great.
5:01: Fox puts the weather map on the screen. Buck says the good news is the rain is supposed to clear eventually. Some old guy says there’s every reason to believe the field will be dry in half an hour. I’m sold.
5:03: Fox is making us watch “‘Til Death,” the sitcom starring the big guy with the low voice from “Everybody Loves Raymond.” I’ve never seen this show. And I don’t think I’m going to watch it right now, either.
5:09: I’m channel surfing.
5:10: Should this rain ever stop, I’m ready to go. Tortilla chips? Check. Salsa? Check. Hummus? Check. Beer. Oh so very check. But not Czech. Belgian. Or New Belgium brewery, to be precise, which is actually in Fort Collins, Colorado. I’m drinking Abbey Belgian-style Ale.
5:26: While I’m waiting for the game to start, I’m infusing agave nectar with mint and basil. I’ve got this killer margarita recipe that I’m going to try this weekend.
5:33: Ok, after much surfing I finally found something better on TV than a Fox sitcom. “Oceans Eleven” is on TNT. Total score.
5:45: Fox just gave us an update. It’s still raining. I know the map says it’s supposed to clear up, but man it’s really coming down. Meanwhile, Elliot Gould just told Brad Pitt and George Clooney, “I owe you from the thing in the place and I’ll never forget it.” What a great line.
6:06: Suz is making puttanesca. Her puttanesca is famous. It’s tomato sauce with capers, calamatta olives and red pepper flakes, among other ingedients. Suz adds parsely to her puttanesca, which her friend Liana considers sacrelidge.
6:20: The Bourn Supremicy comes on after “Ocean’s Eleven.” Nice! That Matt Damon has one hell of an agent. Damon just doesn’t make bad movies. You know what Damon movie never got the credit it deserved? “The Rain Maker.” Great movie about ambulance-chaser lawyers in the deep south. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Based on a John Grisham novel. And even with all that going for it, you still never hear anything about it.
6:25: The tarp is off. Now Harry Kalas is talking. “The people of Philadelphia are ready.” Damn straight, Harry. The rain is still falling, but I guess it’s lightened up. I guess. It’s dripping in front o f Eric Karros! This is hilarious. This game is going to be the baseball equivalent of the Eagles-Bears fog game, mark my words. It’s going to be a mess out there.
6:29: Jamie Moyer tears up talking about how it’s going to be a very special moment starting his first World Series game in the city where he grew up. Jamie. Dude. Strap on a set. There’s no crying in baseball.
6:31: Jeannie Zelasko says “We’re confident we’re going to get some baseball in.” As a baseball fan, I’m hoping they play this game. But as a Phillies fan, I can’t help but think the best thing for the Phillies would be a rainout. Then they could skip Moyer’s spot in the rotation and move Hamels next start up so he could start in Game 4 and maybe again in Game 7, should the series go that long.
6:36: Tomorrow Howie Long and Michael Strahan count down the NFL’s top 10 defenders. Fox has been advertising this for a week.
6:39: Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are talking. As long as these guys are on the air, live-bloggers will find gainful employment (not that I’m getting paid to do this).
6:40: I can’t wait to see who is singing the national anthem in Philly. Umpbump readers expressed their preference for Boyz II Men. I wonder who it will be?
6:45: Time for pregame introductions. As soon as this series is over I’m putting Charlie Manuel on a diet. Pedro Feliz is rocking the playoff beard, which I think he grew 15 minutes before the game. He can grow facial hair at the drop of a hat. It’s amazing. Burrell, on the other hand, is clean shaven for tonight’s game. So it Utley. So is Werth (except for his soul strip, that is).
6:49: Taylor Swift is singing the anthem. She must be a country star, because the name sounds familiar, but I’ve never heard her music. She’s got a glittery guitar.
6:55: Now I’m drinking Unibroue’s La Fin Du Monde. What a great beer.
6:56: McCarver says Moyer is only going to be successful if he can throw the ball 1-3 inches off the plate and get the ump to call it a strike.
7:00: Carl Crawford is reading the lineup. He probably shouldn’t count on a career in broadcasting.
7:03: Steve Carlton threw out tonight’s first pitch. He stood five feet in front of the mound and still bounced it in front of the catcher. Steve, buddy, what’s going on? You’re not that old!
7:05: Time for keys to the game. This is always fun. The Rays need to swing at strikes. The Phillies need to…umm…”it’s easy to try hard, but don’t.” Whatever.
7:06: Buck says it’s gotten really cold. I believe him. Thank god I live in Arizona. It was 90 degrees today. I got sun burn playing basketball.
7:09: Carlos Pena is a .500 career hitter against Jamie Moyer, says Buck. He walks. That could have been worse.
7:12: Evan Longoria is up. Phillies fans are chanting “Eva.” Brilliant.
7:13: Eva strikes out.
7:16: Tug’s son Tim McGraw is reading the Phillies lineup. “If my dad was around he would say that in his heyday Jamie Moyer was a great pitcher.” Burn!
7:18: Buck thinks Rollins might bunt to test Garza, what with the we field and all. But Rollins starts it off with a single up the middle. So much for that 0 for 10 slump.
7:20: I’m a different man than when I started this live-blog. Suz’s putanesca was that good.
7:21: Werth walks. So far the strike zone looks a lot bigger for Moyer.
7:22: Wild pitch! The runners advance! So what does Garza do now? Walk Utley? I sure wouldn’t give him anything to hit.
7:24: I should mention that I’m wearing my “Why Can’t Us” t-shirt, which finally came in the mail today. Utley, meanwhile, grounds to first and Rollins scores, while Werth advances to third. One out. Now Ryan Howard can add to the lead with a flyball. The Rays’ infield, meanwhile, is drawn in. This should be interesting.
7:27: Howard strikes out. What were the odds? Burrell then flies to left to end the inning. 1-0 Phillies.
7:32: Carl Crawford leads off the second with a bloop double, steals third and then scores on a deep fly to right-center. 1-1. McCarver says, “Small ball pays off big when you do it well.” As opposed to other strategies, which don’t work even when you’re doing them well.
7:38: Just sat through a Budweiser comercial, part of their new “Drinkability” campaign. This guy says he doesn’t want a beer because beer fills him up. Then a girl in a football jersey explains why Bud isn’t filling. When was the last time you heard a guy turn down a beer because it fills him up? It’s never happened. This commercial is pure fiction.
7:41: Matt Garza has something written on the underside of his hat brim and he reads it to himself before the start of each inning. What do we think it says? “You’re good enough. You’re smart enough. And, gosh darn it, people like you”?
7:44: Carlos Ruiz goes deeeeeeeeeeeep to left field. 2-1 Phillies. Now Jamie Moyer is up. Back to back? (McCarver says he heard from Ruiz’s family today, who informed him that Ruiz is from Panama, not Venezeula. Details.)
7:52: Buck and McCarver spend a few minutes talking about how Moyer has never thrown fast, and then Moyer strikes out Utpon to end the inning. Phillies fans are pumped! This is the Moyer we were hoping for.
7:54: A little while back we saw a trailer for Jim Carey’s new movie, “Yes Man.” Is it me, or is this a total retread. In “Liar, Liar” Carey played a lawyer who can’t lie for one day after his son makes a wish on a star. In “Yes Man” Carey plays a man who starts therapy that requires him to say yes to all the opportunities he is presented. He can’t lie. He can’t say no. Next, he won’t be able to use proper nouns. I think Carey needs a new agent. Maybe he can get whoever Matt Damon has.
8:03: Rollins leads off with another single, but then gets thrown out attempting to steal. Werth follows with a single and then Utley crushes one to center, that Upton catches over his shoulder. Upton has become an elite center fielder. He makes everything look so easy. Quite a dramatic improvement for a guy who just two years ago was considered a total defensive liability. Remember, his defense was so bad that he was starting to let it affect his hitting? The Rays made him a super utility player, because they wanted him to concentrate on his hitting and not worry about defense. It seemed like a crazy idea, but here we are and Upton looks like a star.
8:10: We get to know Evan Longoria, who tells us his favorite video game is Guitar Hero. That’s cool. Guitar Hero never hurt anybody. Oh wait.
8:12: Eva strikes out. Again. Moyer is dealing.
8:23: We learn that the writing on the brim of Garza’s hat is tips from his sports psychologist. So I guess I wasn’t so far off with my Stuart Smalley joke.
8:42: Ruiz walks and Moyer tries to bunt him over but pops up to the catcher. Moyer is pissed at himself. I haven’t seen a Phillies pitcher do that all year. Several times I’ve thought to myself the Phils’ pitchers have been excellent bunters this season. And as an excellent bunter myself, I can appreciate excellent bunting. When I was 12 my little league coach would give me the bunt sign regardless of the situation. Bases loaded? Bunt. By the end of the season the opposing teams would bring their third basemen in about 10 feet from home plate, and still I’d get the bunt signal. That’s probably for the best. If he had let me swing away and I had actually made contact I could have killed one of those third basemen.
8:51: I love the Ryan Howard Subway commercial. “I step to the plate and what do I see? I big Philly cheesesteak starin’ down at me.” Priceless.
8:54: If I was a Rays fan I think I’d be getting a little tired of the Jamie Moyer lovefest that Buck and McCarver have going. Garza has been described as uncomfortable and wild, but he’s only issued one more walk than Moyer and given up one more hit and one more run, while recording one more strikeout. But pitchers have thrown 81 pitches.
8:56: Upton called time to kick around the dirt in front of first base. The fans boo, because, frankly, they’ve been looking for something to boo for almost a half hour and they’ll take what they can get.
9:00: With Upton on second, Eva lifts one high and deep to left field. “Oh no, no. Too high, it’s too high.”
9:05: Utley turns on one. “Too high? What does that even mean, ‘Too high?’” 3-1 Phillies.
9:07: Ryan Howard finally hits a post season home run, sending one to right field. 4-1 Phillies. Time to get Garza out of there?
9:17: Robbed! Jamie Moyer just made the most acrobatic play of his life, diving and making a backhanded scoop of the ball on a Carl Crawford groundball. Moyer then tossed the ball with his glove to Ryan Howard, who caught it in his bare hand. Replays showed Crawford was clearly out, but the ump called him safe. If the Phillies win this game, Moyer will remember that play as the highlight. He’s never made a play like that before, guaranteed. It’s really a shame he didn’t get the call.
9:22: Navarro hits a double down the third base line and now it’s second and third with no outs. Manuel is going to leave Moyer in the game to pitch to Gabe Gross. I’m guessing it’s because if he takes out Moyer the Rays will hit for Gross and almost any hitter is better than Gross.
9:24: Moyer gets Gross to ground out to first and that’ll be it for Moyer. He gets a standing-o, and rightfully so. He’s old, you know.
9:28: A groundball to short scores Navarro and now it’s a one-run game. Chad Durbin is in the game now. No relation to J.D. Durbin.
9:29: Durbin is out after walking Aybar and Eyre comes on to pitch to Iwamura. Strikes him out. Phew.
9:37: God Bless America is sung by a staff sergeant with stage fright. Get the hook.
9:40: Is anybody on the east coast still awake? I just realized that all the times I’ve entered reflect what time it is here in Tucson. Of course, it’s three hours later on the east coast. Suckers.
9:48: Here it is. The showdown. Ryan Madson vs. Upton, Pena and Longoria. Buck points out that “It is said that sometimes the save comes in the eighth inning.” I was waiting for him to ask why the Phillies aren’t brining in Lidge, since this is clearly a time when you would want your best pitcher on the mound. But he doesn’t ask that. I would have.
9:51: Upton is going to try and steal second, right? That’s a forgone conclusion, right?
9:54: Madson is throwing 95 mph after six innings of Moyer throwing in the 70s. That’s a change of pace.
9:55: Upton steals second. There’s no throw.
9:56: Upton steals third. The ball bounces away and Upton scores. Tie game. That’s a damn shame. The bad call on the play at first in the seventh inning came back to haunt the Phillies. No justice. None.
10:08: I think I’m the only one in Tucson watching the World Series. It’s homecoming weekend and the University of Arizona is currently playing USC and the Wildcats are down by a touchdown in the fourth quarter. This has been a great baseball game, but I imagine the ratings are going to be terrible, since it’s a Saturday night and the game started so late.
10:11: Werth starts off the inning with a walk. Now Utley is up and Tampa has the shift on. I know Utley is the team’s best hitter, but how do you not bunt in this situation? It’s a guaranteed single. You put the winning run in scoring position with no outs. It’s a no-brainer, right?
10:15: Werth steals second. Then J.P. Howell strikes out Utley on an absolutely nasty sweeping breaking ball. Utley is really angry with himself, but that pitch was tough.
10:16: Werth picked off second. Shameful. Howard strikes out to end the inning. Here comes Lidge.
10:24: Check that. Romero is still in the game. He strikes out Navarro to start the inning. I guess since the Rays are at the bottom of the order Manuel figures he’ll save Lidge. That’s a little bit of a risk, but an acceptable one. Romero is pretty good. I can’t believe Maddon is leaving Gross, a left-handed hitter, in the game to face Romero, who is also a lefty. Gross goes ahead and grounds weakly to second. I would have pinch hit Baldelli.
10:27: Romero throws a 95 mph letters-high fastball to Bartlett, who fouls it off. “A pitch to hit then,” McCarver says. Sure, Tim. I’d like to see you hit that.
10:33: Bruntlett takes one for the team. That’s a move straight out of the Roger Dorn playbook. Here comes the Flyin’ Hawaiian.
10:38: Wild pitch, Bruntlett goes to second. The throw to second gets away and Bruntlett goes to third. That was awesome. The Rays walk Victorino intentionally and now they’re employing a 5-man infield. You have to hand it to Joe Maddon. That guy isn’t afraid to get creative.
10:44: The bases are now loaded after the Rays intentionally walk pinch hitter Greg Dobbs. Now Ruiz is up. First pitch high. Second pitch fouled back (I can’t believe he was swinging!). Ruiz swings through the next pitch. Strike two. Now another foul. And a pitch outside for ball two. Now a weak grounder down the thirdbase line…Longoria scoops but throws way high and wide…Phillies win!!!!
10:50: Christ Mortensen interviews Ryan Howard and then thanks him, saying, “See you again tomorrow night.” Howard corrects him, “You mean tonight.”
10:52: Moyer is named the player of the game. The stadium has cleared out pretty quick, but to their credit, the fans stayed until the last out.
11:00: Why can’t us?