Saturday, May 21, 2005
Red Sox Fan Foto, making sober people look drunk since whenever the hell they started it.
So we've got the Boston Red Sox playing the Atlanta (and formerly Boston) Braves, the New York Yankees playing the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers playing the Los Angeles/Anaheim/California (i.e. Rally Monkey) Angels, the Houston Astros playing the Texas Rangers, the Florida Marlins playing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Chicago Cubs playing the Chicago White Sox... Cleveland versus Cincy, Oakland versus San Fran...
And then there's the Detroit Tigers playing the Arizona Diamondbacks. Natural rivals! I mean, man, Detroit just hates Arizona, it's all hot, and, uh, dry, and not crime ridden, and also hot. And... tigers hate snakes. Especially purple and teal ones. And, uh, really old teams hate expansion teams. Sorry kids, I got nothin'.
Anyways, I was indeed at the game tonight against the Braves, and we did indeed win, although not before Keith Foulke made it interesting. A bunch of people started leaving after the 8th inning, and I turned to Jess and said (sarcastically), "Man, why would you leave now? Foulke's coming in, we've got a whole half-inning to let the game get really close!" Foulke, bless his round little skull, proceeded to give up a number of booming hits that stayed in the park only due to the collective, inward blowing power of prayer emanating from the Fenway stands. A 4-1 game rapidly became a 4-3 game before he managed to squint and groan and strain and get the last out. I hate it when I'm right.
Jess and I didn't get there terribly early, but we did get there early enough to watch Manny and Ortiz run backwards across the field together in warmups, and to see Foulke, Mueller, and Edgah signing for the little kids along the first baseline. My first thought, upon seeing this, was, "Aw, how nice of them!" It was only with my second thought that my brain declared, "Fucking kids, they don't properly appreciate close proximity to the majesty that is Bill Mueller."
I got to see Emma before the game started, which was cool. Look mom, I met one of the mystical internet people, and I live to tell the tale!
I would like to reiterate the fact that I hate the pink hats. Hate. HATE. And you people who showed up in the pink hats and pink tshirts, over which you put pink sweatshirts later in the game, making for an entire sickening pink Red Sox attire ensemble? I do not know you personally, but I hate you. I found you more obnoxious and insufferable than that one really vocal Braves fan in our section who hooted and hollered like he'd won the lottery every time Julio Franco lifted his arm up without it falling off, and he was pretty fucking insufferable.
Coming into the game I was very interested in seeing both Hudson and Miller pitch, as I'd never seen either before. Miller was dominant for the first few innings, but then he lost one or two mph off of his fastball and seemed to throw the curveball a bit less, and he started having trouble hitting his spots. As Jess noted, he was throwing strikes early in the game, and later he was having to get guys out with long at-bats and defense. Which is fine, I guess, an out is an out, but you could see the difference as the game progressed, and I don't want to see the difference as the game progresses.
With Hudson it was just the opposite. He had a horrible first couple of innings, and then he settled down. Going into the 7th inning I didn't think that either pitcher would be back-- Wade had thrown 90-some-odd pitches and was looking shaky, Huddy had thrown 100-some-odd pitches and hadn't looked terribly frightening all game-- and I didn't really think that they should. I figured the Braves wouldn't let Huddy's pitch count ride up too high, especially in light of the oblique problems last year. I saw no reason for Miller to go out for the 7th, not with a fully rested bullpen and the way he had been pitching the inning before.
Miller did end up going to pitch part of the 7th and was taken out in the middle for Timlin after getting an out or two (hey, it's not like I was taking notes) and giving up a double. I still don't like it. I don't think he should've been out there for the 7th at all. Sure, it was nice to see him walk off the field to an immense standing ovation ("It felt great," Miller said of the ovation. "I felt like I was part of a team"), but I'd feel pretty comfortable with a well-rested Timmy going 2 full innings, and Miller's struggles in the later innings were of the "Aaargh, my arm is sore, also everyone in the stadium sees my pain and angst and inability to have a short at-bat" variety.
I also can see exactly what people mean when they say that he 'throws across his body'. It's a pitching motion that goes sharply from his right shoulder to his left hip, and it looks like a shoulder injury waiting to happen. Er. A shoulder injury that already did happen, and that we're really hoping doesn't happen again. Honestly, seeing the way he pitches, I'm surprised he was able to completely rehab a frayed rotator cuff without surgery, but what the hell do I know... if it works, I guess it works.
Huddy's delivery looked much the same as it always does, although I thought he was cutting back on the giant slide-step a smidge tonight. His fastball wasn't anything to write home about either*, but he kept it in the low 90s more consistently than Wade did, and later in the game he would hit 90 for a big pitch, when he really needed it, so you could tell that he was reaching back into his reserves of pitching stamina, and that this was effective up to a point.
And, after the second inning, when it became evident that he was going to look emienently hittable for at least part of the night, I was able to sit back** and enjoy the fact that he has a really very lovely, ah, posterior aspect. So to speak.
Offensively there were high points (Billy going yard) and low points (Edgah making final outs twice in bases-loaded-two-out situations-- kill, KILL!). Timlin looked really strong to me, throwing in the low 90s and just blowing past Braves batters. Plus he wears the high socks. And has a 0.86 ERA, which is so hot that it trumps high socks for hotness points. I'm starting to maybe regularly feel good about the game when the strains of 'Black Betty' fill Fenway.
To the people in the outfield who started the wave, and to the guys sitting directly behind us who gloried sickeningly in it: I hate you all too. After the second or third time the wave went around and I dourly refused to budge, Jess turned to me and said, "Aw, you don't like the wave?"*** to which I replied, probably too loudly, "I'm here to watch a goddamn baseball game, I don't want to do the fucking wave." The older gentleman in front of us, who had a scorecard and meticulously pencilled in the appropriate data all game long, turned his head slightly and nodded solemnly. It was ace. Oh, and I know that Kristen, at least, agrees with me. And she was in the outfield seats, I can't imagine how vile it was out there.
I also saw two beachballs, one in and around our section and one out in the outfield seats, which immediately made me think of the delightful Dodger Thoughts post and subsequent commenting discussion on the same. Apparently they're quite the plague in LA, flying thick as multicolored plastic inflatable locusts in the bleachers. Now, I only saw the two at Fenway, and the one on my side of the field was small-- say, a couple notches smaller than a basketball-- but I was still mildly enraged.
Beachballs just seem so... I don't know, so day game, not so Friday Night Game. So LA, not so Boston. So "we don't really give a shit about our team, we're just here 'cause it's cool and/or we were bored", not so "it's so fucking hard to get tickets, if you're in this park you'd damn well better be a good fan". Sadly, a lot of awesome fans can't go to Fenway due to the unavailability/priciness of the tickets while lots of pink-hatted sorts get in, but I still like to think that the majority at least are there for the baseball. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm overreacting to the beachballs (OK, I know I'm overreacting to the beachballs).
Then again, maybe beachballs at Fenway is the sign of The Beast and the world as we know it about to come to a fiery end, and Mark Bellhorn will never strike out again, and something more hilarious than Dale Sveum catching warmup pitches will happen between innings.
I note that we're getting back into the periodic raging against men who can't comprehend women who know sports mode, which is always good for a discussion or three, and is much less likely to make me want to sob hysterically than the other conversation that is never resolved and haunts my life, which is the whole What is Art? schtick.
Now, if you read what Beth wrote there, I think she's giving you male critters far too much credit... I mean, no way are you sneaky enough to talk in code, most of you have enough trouble speaking plainly. Ha ha, I kid! It's only the Michigan State and Ohio State types among you who have that problem. In my everyday life I experience this phenomenon little-- in the art school, it's shocking that anyone knows anything about sports, and the few guys who enjoy a little baseball chatter are so utterly relieved to find someone to talk to that I could have a giant praying mantis head and they wouldn't notice or care.
That said, let me relate a couple of pertinent anecdotes from tonight.
There were some lightly soused gentlemen sitting a few seats down from us, and every so often they would get up and shuffle out of the row to go get more alchohol or empty their bladders or cut out their already-ineffective livers and throw them at Braves fans or whatever the drunk people at baseball games do when they get up all the time. Jess and I were sitting on the end of the row, so every time they got up they would pass us, usually with a, "Sorry, ladies, *lopsided wink*" type of thing.
At one point they got up and one of them addressed me as he passed, saying, "Hudson's done, he's gonnah get lit up now, he's got nuthin' left." I hmmed and said, "Well, Miller doesn't have much left right now either, he hasn't exactly looked great, I wouldn't get too cocky about Hudson." Cue squinty confused drunk guy stare. Whuh? Female? Opinion on pitching status? Brain much hurty. Must consume more beer. Which, whatever, I was maybe 2% mildly offended and 98% amused.
After the game, as we were walking around outside Fenway, we came up alongside a pack of guys discussing the New York series. One of them was loudly gabbling on about, "Hey didjoo guyz see how Pedro did tuhnight? Pedro's been doin' real good out there, I'm followin' him all yeah, I wanna see how he did tonight," and then they all went on to talk about Pedro and the Mets and the Yanks. Jess and I were rolling our eyes as we passed this group and I muttered, "Yeah, OK, but Pedro's not going tonight, it's Kevin Brown versus Carlos Zambrano, Pedro was supposed to pitch but he got moved back, sheesh."
Jess laughed and said, "I love how you could totally kick the butt of any of these guy baseball fans," and we got some startled looks, and went on our way. But isn't that sad? I haven't even been really following Pedro this season so far, and here's this guy claiming to be a great big Pedro fan, and he doesn't even know what days he's pitching on. Oh well again.
Also, don't a lot of people read Will Carroll's The Juice blog? I rather thought they did. So how the hell did no one comment on this entry by Will's blogging partner, Scott Long?
Fox has decided to add chicks to a couple of their shows to which I would offer--WHY? I would consider myself unique in that I enjoy talking to women about sports, unlike most guys who would rather they never utter a word on the subject.
Having mentioned my enlightened thoughts on the subject of women and athletic conversation, let me also throw out the caveat that women should not be doing sports radio, as they don't have the knowledge or the voice to do it. Sorry, but it makes me want to turn the channel. I never got the whole Flabbiest Sports Babe phenomenom, as I thought she was just a big-mouth with little to offer. I have no problem with women doing sports highlights on TV, but they shouldn't be breaking down male sports.
Wow. He's enlightened, kids, he doesn't feel threatened by women who want to talk sports with him! He just doesn't think they're smart enough to be on the airwaves. Seriously, how the hell did no one comment on that before?
I want to finish this up because I'm dead certain no one's still reading it anyways, but it is utterly vital that I make sure everyone knows about Marcus Giles getting ejected. He got tossed just after a called third strike, so my guess is that he was arguing balls and strikes and that got him thrown. He then proceeded to go mad and attempted to attack the umpire. He was forcibly restrained by his own treammates and slowly walked off the field. As he went, the sound system fired up and 'Sweet Caroline' came on, much to the delight of the crowd.
For those of you who have not had the luck to visit Fenway personally, 'Sweet Caroline' is played every game, and every game the crowd sings along. The Fenway sound system people stop the music at the 'oh oh oh' parts and the crowd tunefully shouts on its own.
So as Giles was being led back into the visitors dugout, helmet off, head down, muttering angrily, the entire crowd was shouting "OH OH OH!" and, in some cases, waving cheerfully at him. I am not sure Giles even knew what was happening. It was bloody hilarious.
Oh yeah, and Julio Franco, the Braves DH, is older than Terry Francona, the Red Sox manager, by at least a year, possibly more if his actual age is older than his listed age. I don't even know what to say to that.
*Kyle Farnsworth, you have spoiled me!
**Metaphorically speakin'. I actually spent almost all of the game hunched over, elbows on my knees and chin on my fists. This is normal. I am not sure if I am capable of sitting upright for a live Sox game. I don't think I could contain the nervous energy.
***She knew I was going to react like that, too. I'm far too easy to prod.