Friday, March 25, 2005
KNEE SIREN! In my brain!
Bill Simmons is doing a running diary of March Madness over in his little corner of the internet. So far as I'm concerned this is a great wrongness. College basketball sucks. There, I said it. Either the rest of the world is insane or I am. I'd believe either with equal ease (bam, alliteration!).
Anyways, I felt a great need to recitfy this wrongness, primarily by doing a running diary of baseball. Sadly, there is not much in the way of baseball going on right now, but there was Detroit Tiger spring training on TV tonight! Yes, I watched it. Yes, I did a running diary of it. Yes, you now have to see it. I'm not sorry at all.
Oh, and in light of recent events, we'll be doing a Bee Watch today. Just, you know, in case they decide to come back. And swarm. And KILL.
Missed the top of the first, because hey, hamburger day in the dorms. Not to be missed. I didn’t see who led off, but Guillen just got a hit into center… his leg sort of slipped out from under him at the end of his swing and only got a single. KNEE. KNEE. THAT IS THE KNEE SIREN GOING OFF. My brain doesn’t enjoy that.
“It has been an absolutely torrid spring training for Rondell. Just gaudy, gaudy numbers.” Thanks, Mario, for that torrid announcing.
Guillen scores on a long Dmitri pop fly, and it’s 1-0 Tigers. Sweet. No Pena or Inge in the lineup, I note… I don’t think Pudge is here either. Ugh. That’s what we get for a split-squad. I know Brandon Backe is pitching for the Astros, but I missed who’s pitching for us.
The River Thames pops out. Let’s see.
It’s Jason Johnson again. FSN is televising three games this spring training, and TWO of them are started by JJ? Shouldn’t there be some sort of law against that? We could be watching Bonderman, we could be watching Maroth, and we’re watching JJ. It just seems cruel.
Oh look, a double for Mike Lamb. Way to go, JJ! Nice pitch! Give him a double, you know you want to! His first pitch to the next guy has to be dug out of the dirt by Vance “44th Round” Wilson. And then he hits him with a fastball. It’s only the second inning. It’s only the second inning. It’s only spring training. It’s only spring training. Note for psychologists: repeating something that should be soothing does not stop you from flipping out.
Wow, Dmitri’s miked up today. Before the game he was doing the do-si-do with Carlos Guillen. Seriously, they linked arms and were bouncing around in a circle, Dmitri warbling happily into the mike. I’m not really sure what to say about this, but it was a welcome break from watching JJ lose it this early.
Vizcaino doubles in two runs. 2-1, ‘Stros.
Raul Chavez RBI, 3-1. The throw to home isn’t in time, but 44th Round chucks it to second and we’re mercifully out of the inning. Pretty alert of him to realize the ball wasn’t going to get there, and stepping up off home plate to make the play at second. Look at me, making the best of things.
Bee Watch: There are no bees as of yet.
Mike Maroth wants me to buy a luxury box. Mike Maroth looks so nice, I want to oblige him. Look at his little clean-shaven self! Alas, it is not meant to be.
Oh, we’re getting the ‘Bobby Higginson’s always been a slow starter in spring training’ speech. I can’t count the number of times we’ve heard this one already. He flies out to right, so yeah, slow start indeed.
Opposite-Nomar Martinez flies out to center. Flies flies flies. Musca domestica is getting quite the workout today.
Ha ha, Brandon Backe just squeezed his own ass right in front of the camera. And he walks 44th Round. Go on then Brandon, give us another squeeze. Obvious, but it’s got to be said: baby got Backe.
Bleh, we’re out on a DeWayne Wise liner that was caught by, um, I think that was the Astro shortstop. DeWise somehow hurt himself and… uh… someone else is heading out to the field for us. Blue? The kid’s name is… Vince Blue. OK.
“Farnsworth, hoo, he’s a biggun!” Rod Allen, your commentary is so enlightening.
Oh. Infante just snags a ball out of the air—it looked like a single for sure, maybe a double if it bounced funny. Man is it good to see Omah throwing that shoulder around, and lord knows JJ could use the defensive assistance.
Second stolen. Bollocks. 44th Round doesn’t look as comfy in his crouch as Pudge does. Or maybe he just doesn’t look as good in it as Pudge does. And JJ walks the next guy, so they’ve got guys on first and second.
JJ’s fastball is up in the low 90s right now. Unfortunately, Carlos Rivera gets an RBI single on a full count, and it’s 4-1, ‘Stros. Mound meeting time. JJ just wiped the ball briefly across his crotch, but if it helps I’m totally on board with this maneuver.
RBI for Chris Burke. 5-1, ‘Stros. Here comes Bob Cluck to jaw mildly with JJ for a minute. Bets on whether it will help? I’m putting my virtual money on NO.
Mario: “I think this rally started with two outs, didn’t it? That’s not really what you’re looking for from your starting pitcher.”
Oh hey, Tram just said something interesting. Apparently the 22 lbs that Pudge lost was more like 15… he lost 22 lbs from last spring training, not the end of last year, he was already a little lighter by then. Huh. And Tram also adds, “He’s been working with a running coach, and if you see the guy… he’s just in great shape.” Now this is what I like to hear.
44th Round runs around in circles for a while until a pop foul ball lands in his glove, and we’re out of the third. Can I say ‘mercifully’ again, or would that be too repetitious?
4 straight balls to Omah. Backe seems to be having some trouble with his control all of a sudden, starting from the end of last inning.
Rod and Mario just spent 5 minutes discussing how Nook Logan “is one of the fastest players in the American League” and “he can just fly” despite the fact that Nook is not actually, you know, in the game. There’s a perfectly good Carlos Guillen at-bat happening right here in front of them, but I guess it’s not enough to grab their attention. Look guys! Shiny object! Shiny object!
Lamb drops a normal little bloop to left, kicks it over the foul line, and we’ve got men on first and second with no outs for Rondell White. Rondell is rockin’ the separated mustache-and-goatee combo lately. Backe throws one waaaayyy inside and high, I’m actually shocked Rondell managed to get out of the way of that one. Walks him. Bases juiced, and not in the Jose Canseco way. No one out, and not in the Mike Piazza way.
Oh boy, Dmitri. This could be cool.
Popped to left, that’ll score Omah. Well, a grand slam would’ve been nice, but we’ve still only got one out and now it’s 5-2, ‘Stros. The River Thames up, aaaand he’s walked. Loaded.
In the dugout, in what must be footage from last inning, Dmitri and Guillen face each other, pound their chests, and hoot like monkeys. See, this is the stuff you miss out on if you want to follow the Tigers from Boston.
2-0 to Higgy. Backe is having Issues with a capital ‘I’. Maybe a couple of capital ‘S’s too.
Bobby Higginson: the most violent gum chewer on the field. It’s like he’s trying to dislocate his jaw. He also keeps throwing me off… Higgy’s one of those guys who can look kind of old and decrepit one day, really attractive the next. Looks good today, but it won’t mean shit to me if he strikes out here.
Walked ‘em! Higgy, your cheekbones looks fantastic today. That’ll score Guillen! 5-3. Opposite-Nomar immediately pops foul, which is caught, so now we have 2 outs.
44th Rounder sends one to the wall! Triple! Three runs in, and just like that we’re on top 6-5!
“Keep goin’, Vance! Oh oh! Whoooo!” *slightly scary point in a skyward direction* -Dmitri Young. Miked up.
Bee Watch: Still no bees.
Higgy catches a liner in right, one away. Oh man, inexplicable shot of a TERRIFYING Pudge bobble-head doll. The only way I could tell it was Pudge was because of the catcher’s gear, but damn, that thing looked like it was all of 5 seconds away from leaping off the desk and crushing a baby’s tender little trachea somewhere.
Oh bollocks. Men on first and third, one out.
“Boy, you really want to see your starter slam the door when your team scores 5 runs to give you a 6-5 lead in the previous inning.” Mario, we all agree that JJ is sucking boiled eggs today. Why is this man starting for us on Opening Day. Why. Why.
Grotesque. Luke Scott got ALL of JJ’s pitch, and it was gone all the way. Three runs score, 8-6 ‘Stros. You could tell that was gone the second it came off the bat, pretty much a perfect hit.
After a looper into left puts a man on first, Tram peels himself off his chair and so much for JJ getting into the games longer, huh? Six or seven innings? Laughable. Doug Creek, fat lefthander trying to make the bullpen, comes in to hopefully not suck as badly.
Opposite-Nomar catches a foul ball about a foot away from the stands, causing the security guard in the area to pick up his folding chair and scramble out of the way in a portly panic. Another guy flies to center, and that’ll be that. Jason Johnson, I hate you. I HATE YOU.
Trevor just called. “Did you see that?” Yes, I did. “Why is he starting Opening Day?” I do not know. “Sometimes I hate life. I am a Tigers fan.” Then he hung up. I’ll probably hear from him later.
Aaand it’s raining. The fans are all fleeing. Pansies.
Guillen gets a solo home run to make it 8-7 ‘Stros. Again a little slip leaving the box. The Knee Siren went off in my head and I almost couldn’t enjoy the score. KNEE. KNEE.
Bee Watch: The bees remain conspicuous only by their absence. The rain might now keep them away for the rest of the night.
To encourage you to buy a luxury suite, they show a bunch of people in nice outfits, wearing Tigers hats (excuse me, only the men wearing Tigers hats, no hats for the women) standing around talking. Wow. You, too, can wear stiff clothing and a baseball hat (but only if you are male). You, too, can stand around and talk in the most boring and sedate fashion ever invented. Tigers baseball! Whoop whoop!
Someone went to Georgia Tech. Mario and Rod and talking about Nomar and Varitek. Uh, I think it was Creek who went there. Also graduates of Georgia Tech? Wallwhacker Brown, Mark Teixeira-of-the-Texans, and new Red Sock Jay Payton.
“I hope I don’t get electrocuted wit’ this wire on.” –Dmitri Young, to whichever Astro that is on first base right now. It’s not quite accurate science, but at least Dmitri knows that electricity and water is not a good mix. This is more than I would expect from a baseball player.
44th Rounder ‘got crossed up’ and Vizcaino gets to third. He thought the ball was coming one way and it went the other.
Double play! Guillen to Dmitri. Thank heavens, I thought Creek wasn’t going to get out of that one.
Aw, two kids are holding signs and standing next to each other. The slightly older-looking one is wearing a Michigan State hat, the younger one is wearing a Michigan hat. The second the camera is off they leap upon one another and begin bloodily tearing and rending with teeth and tiny child-claws.
The River Thames gets a single, his first hit of the game. The Farns is warming in the ‘pen. Rod Allen just keeps talking about how big he is, “He could play linebacker in the NFL.” Mario says something about how you can’t tell how big Farnsworth is “until you stand next to him in the lockerroom.” It’s not specified, but I feel this statement somehow involves nudity.
The crowd’s not booing, just saying “Bllluuuuuueeeee!” Cute. Embrace the kid. Backe, meanwhile, is being taken out despite striking out the last two guys. I guess they just had a pitch limit they wanted him to hit. Mike Gallo is in. I have no idea who this guy is, so I’ll have to believe our wise announcers when they say that he’s a lefty specialist for the Astros who usually comes in for just one hitter or something.
The Farns is on the mound. Hee hee hee. That’s not funny if you don’t know his history, probably.
I know the female Cubs fans used to call him Captain Tightpants and I must say, upon inspection, the pants are indeed quite tight. They also appear to be a little long, so he’s practically stepping on the backs of them. Pretty goofy. I’m going to have to advocate high socks here, from an aesthetic point of view. The short hair, though, is definitely an improvement over whatever he was trying to do before.
Ha ha, they just showed one his games from last year. Paul Wilson (Reds, pitcher, but it was a National League game, of course, so he was batting at the time) was jawing and took a step or two towards the mound, so Farnsworth came charging down off it and body-slammed him to the ground. As the delighted Detroit announcers are saying, “Oh, what was he thinking about? What was Wilson thinking about?”
Oh, Guillen’s out of the game. Good. Maybe the Knee Siren will be quiet for the rest of the night.
The Farns is throwing consistently and comfortably at 97 mph. Oops, sorry, that last one was 98. Huh. This is my first time seeing him for the Tigs, by the by, so I find this pretty interesting.
Rondell catches a Mike Lamb fly, that’s the inning. Farnsworth has looked the best of all our pitchers so far today.
Brad Lidge pitching for the ‘Stros, and him I’ve heard of. He quickly brings it to a full count on Omah, who gets cuter the longer I look at him. He looks pretty unfortunate in photos, though. Ah, out at first. Oh well.
Gilberto Mejia batting for us, I think he’s the guy who came in for Guillen. I have no idea who this kid is. Looks awfully young. I love it when the batting helmets looks too big for their heads.
Rondell snaps one over the glove of, um, the second baseman. Whomever he may be. Man on first, two outs.
Rod Allen: “We knew Lidge couldn’t throw a fastball past Rondell, now.”
Mario Impemba: “Mmm hmm.”
Dmitri’s loose uniform just makes him look more huggable. Like a great big teddy bear. I know the SG guys are scared of him, but c’mon, so huggable. And so struck out. Eh. Poo.
Bee Watch: Hard to tell if it’s still raining. Regardless, the bees are staying in for now.
THE AD WITH PUDGE AND DMITRI LEANING ON EACH OTHER AND AT ONE POINT DMITRI WADDLING AT THE CAMERA LIKE HE’S GOING TO KNOCK IT OVER FOLLOWED BY MORE LEANING YAY I AM HAPPY.
Wow, nice catch by a little girl in the crowd on a foul ball. Dmitri’s done for the night, Old Man Palmer’s playing first. I guess his biceps feel better. Ah, screw Percy and Rodney, I just wanna watch Farns for a while longer. See, on the one hand I know how he behaved in Chicago, so ew. But on the other hand, hmm, tight pants. Also, 97 mph fastball. A dilemma.
Coolbaugh (is that a real name? Cool-baw? It sounds like a freezer company) hits a ball off the third base bag, which turns what might have been an out into a double. Rat bollocks.
Mejia’s almost knocked over by a ball, but he hangs on and send it along to the Old Man at first. Palmer kind of looked at the ball in his hand afterwards like he was confused. Oh, Deano. Whatever will we do with you, you crazy former retiree, you.
“Maaaaan yessir DEEEEEwise!” –Dmitri Young, greeting Dewayne Wise in the dugout.
Some guy named Springer pitching, the River Thames and Higgy both out in short order. Uh, who’s up? I wasn’t paying attention. Oh, Opposite-Nomar. The shortstop couldn’t get the throw over in time, so he’s on base. Rod Allen feels the need to say that no one can make that play like Derek Jeter can. “He catches that ball, and he goes up in the air and he throws a strike!”, all said in an admiring tone of voice. Thanks Allen, I just threw up in my mouth.
44th Round strikes out. Bloody heck, we need to start scoring soon.
People on giant chickens running around the field. I don’t even want to know. Fernando Rodney in.
Oh, ball was a little off the line but Palmer reeled it in for a double play. Suh-weet. Luke Scott strikes out looking, and that was a nice inning. For once.
Trevor calls. "Johnson." What of him? "Maybe there were bees. Maybe he couldn't pitch because there were bees and they were scaring and/or stinging him." Then he hangs up. Oh Trevor.
Bee Watch: There is no apian presence on the field.
Blue gets his first hit! First base it is. Maybe I will call him Blue’s Clues.
“The other day the guys were kidding Don Kelly about his boyish looks,” so saith Mario Impemba. Boyish looks. In his defense, the guy does look younger than me. He’s allegedly 5 years older. 6’4, 190 lbs. Sheesh.
Double play, fuckin’ Astros. It’s been 8-7 forever. STOP THE PAIN PLEASE.
Troy Percival will pitch the 9th for us, and some guy named Dax Norris is batting for the ‘Stros. Troy versus Dax. Dax versus Troy. I enjoy that far too much.
OH MY, Kelly went flat on his stomach to get the ball, got up and somehow managed to throw to first in time.
It’s now Troy versus Trinidad. Trinidad hits it to Blue, who catches it. I am starting to giggle uncontrollably. I think this game has worn me out a little. It’s going to take some time for me to get back up to full baseball-watching stamina.
Here is some fun trivia for you. Percy has pitched 40 innings to the Minnesota Twins, and his ERA to date against them is a great big shiny 0. Yes, 0 earned runs. And now he is in the AL Central. That sounds like happy good times to me.
Bee Watch: The bees have only half an inning left in which to swarm the field. If they’re going to make their move, they’d better do it soon.
The Astros shortstop throws the ball a little high, and some dude is on first base for us. No, I don’t know who it is. Oh wait, it's Kurt Airoso. Old Man Palmer’s batting right now, though. C’mon, Deano. You can do good things here. Good things like tying the game. Or, at the very least, not striking out.
Naturally, he hits into a double play. Thanks, ol’pal.
It is all up to the River Thames. Who pops up, and that is the game, 8-7, Astros.
“The bullpen did a really nice job. Unfortunately, Jason didn’t get off to a really good start.”
Rod Allen sums it up nicely. Our bullpen was nice, our offense was nice. Our starting pitching was horrendous. JASON JOHNSON YOU UNSIGHTLY GOAT OF A PITCHER DO NOT FUCK UP THIS SEASON.
Trevor has not called back again. I'm sure he's crying and throwing things and then slowly remembering that this was just a spring training game. It is possible that, by the end of the night, he will have convinced himself that JJ had bees in his eyes, all Appleby-flies-in-the-eyes, Catch 22 style.
Final Bee Watch: No swarms were in evidence. Not even Houston Astro Killer Bees, as neither Biggio nor Bagwell was in the game, and Beltran is no longer an Astro. So, overall, no bees. I guess neither starting pitcher uses coconut hair gel.
In other news, there's 10:49 left in the Wolverines/Badgers hockey game and it is 4-0, Michigan. We have taken 31 shots on goal. They have taken 10. It looks like we'll be playing the number one seeded Colorado College in the near future.
Tomorrow my automobile-wielding friend Taylor picks me up at noon and we head North, to take on the metals studio together. Wish us luck. We shall have need of it.
Pudge: Ivan Rodriguez. Catcher. Spectacular. Awesome. Hot.
JJ: Jason Johnson. Starting pitcher. Diabetic. Sucktarded.
The River Thames: Marcus Thames. Contending for a spot in left field.
44th Round: Vance Wilson. Backup catcher. Selected in the 44th round of the '93 draft by the Mets.
Opposite-Nomar: Ramon Martinez. Utilityman. His name is the opposite of Nomar.
The Farns: Kyle Farnsworth. Million dollar arm, ten cent head.
Captain Tightpants: Kyle Farnsworth. He wears tight pants.
Omah: Omar Infante. Second base. I will write his name with a Boston accent if I want to.
Tram: Alan Trammell. Manager. Former Tiger. Inexplicably saying that JJ will be the Opening Day starter.
Higgy: Bobby Higginson. Contending for a spot in left field. Been around for ages now.
The Old Man: Dean Palmer. DH/backup infielder type. Formerly retired due to injury and age, now trying to come back. Played with Pudge in Texas.
Percy: Troy Percival. Closer. Former Anaheim Angel. I mean Los Angeles Angel. I mean. Um. I'll just call them the Rally Monkey Angels from now on, I think.