Monday, June 19, 2006
What a curious set of series that turned out to be. Now, I knew full well that the Braves had been struggling mightily this season, because I sort of vaguely follow the Braves... but doesn't everyone sort of vaguely follow the Braves? They're that sort of team. And when I vaguely follow a team I tend to have at least a working knowledge of the players on it. And when the Braves are rolling out a bullpen filled with names mostly unfamiliar to me aside from Macay McBride, the tortured remains of Mike Remlinger, and Ken Ray (who we'll get to shortly), that's a bad sign.
So sweeping them, that's wasn't a surprise to me. But the thing of it is, I had expected the Twins to be just as bad. Or, well, maybe not quite as bad, but right on up there next to them. A quick and nasty look at the numbers shows that the Twins' collective bullpen ERA is actually 0.56 points worse than that of the Braves, while the Twins starters are only throwing 0.38 points better. The Twins are hitting for average and getting on base at a slightly better rate than the Braves; the Braves are hitting for more power (79 team homeruns, as compared to the predictably weak 57 the Twins have to offer).
Sweeping the Braves or the Twins, or both, would have made sense to me. But I have a hard time wrapping my brain around a sweep at the hands of the Twins, and then a rapid turnaround to dribble all over Atlanta.
I dunno. I suppose it boils down to the old "thank cats baseball has as long a season as it does" business again, right?
Anyhow. Some thoughts from last night's game.
--Here’s what I want to know. Who in their right mind is going to get screened for prostate cancer at the ballpark? I mean, goodness yes, by all means, encourage guys to go to their doctors and get tested. But what kinda guy is gonna go to see a baseball game and think, “Hey, the prostate screening van is here at the park! THE VAN! WHERE THEY SCREEN MY PROSTATE FOR CANCER. HERE AT THE BASEBALL PARK. In I go!”?
--ATTENTION NATIONAL MEDIA: JOE MORGAN HAS “A GOOD RELATIONSHIP” WITH MANNY RAMIREZ. So good of him to share this, isn’t it? He is personally BFF with Manny. Joe insinuates (but does not outright say, oh no, that would be crass) that he often speaks with Manny, for they have 'a good relationship'.
If you asked Manny who his best friends were, I would guess that the top 5 list would look something like this:
1. Kevin Millar
3. Enrique Wilson
4. all my Spanish speakin teammate yaaay
5. Kevin Millar again
It might be a little different, but I can pretty much guarantee that Joe Morgan would not be on it.
--OK, look. I try to keep a level head when listening to Jon Miller broadcast a game, mostly because he's usually in the booth with Joe Morgan and most of the stuff I hear that makes me want to put a fist through a pane of glass comes out of Morgan's mouth. But Miller is paid, paid, mind you, to narrate the ballgame by way of his vocal chords. I cannot listen to this any longer without screaming about it.
It's LangerHANS, Miller, LANG-err-hanz, not lang-err-HONZ. Stop trying to pronounce it in a pretentious fashion! And you know what, cut it the heck out for Wilson Betemit too, OK? Bay-tuh-maaaAAAaay? You're not French. We all know you're not French. So stop saying his last name like you're a Frenchman who hates America and is going to wildly overpronounce every vaguely French-looking word you run across as a result. I know Joe Morgan cancels you out here by saying "Betemint" even though there is, last I checked, no "N" in the dude's name, but for the love of Vin Scully would you stop doing that?
That's not even the worst of it, though. Oh no. The worst bit was how he decided to say Rudy Seanez's name.
Now, I've heard it SAY-nez, SAY-uh-nez, SEE-nez, and SEE-uh-nez, and I've heard a slurred sort of mix of the last two, from people who aren't sure which one it should be and how much attention they should pay to that 'A'.
But I have never, ever heard it said see-ON-yez.
Seriously, what the hell is that? Not once have I heard a single human being pronounce "Seanez" like that, with the emphasis on the second syllable and a 'y' somehow inserted in there, and in fact each syllable lovingly overpronounced, so that there is no doubt at all about his erroneous pronunciation. The first time he did it I thought it was some kind of mistake, but then he proceeded to say it again and again, two or three times.
I would normally leave this alone, like if a football blogger misspells Mientkiewicz... it's not his area, it's not an obvious name to spell, who cares, right? But this is Jon Miller. It's his business, in a sense, to pronounce this stuff properly, or at least you would think so. Argh. Like we really needed another reason to cringe at the thought of ESPN broadcasts.
Also, Miller at one point, in all seriousness, called Schilling and Smoltz "baseball warriors". I almost couldn't see for a full minute, I was laughing so hard.
--This was my impression of the 8th inning.
Aaaaaahhhh 8th inning two outs men on first and third Mike Lowell doubles tying and go-ahead runs in aaaaahhhhhh Mike Lowell aaaahhhhhhhhhh 6-5 Boston aaaaahhhhhh.
Ahhhhhhh Cora doubles in Lowell ahhhhhhhh little Alex Cora aaahhhhhhhhhhhh.
“How does this happen? The first two guys in the inning are David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, and they both strike out! And THEN the Red Sox score 4 runs! How does that happen?” –Jon Miller. Thank you.
Ahhhhhhhhh YOOOOOUUUUUKKKKKK 2 run homer ahhhhhhhhh ahhhhhhh Yooooouuuuuuukkkkkkkkk
Ahhhhhhh Mark Loretta singles ahhhhhh now Ortiz is back up aahhhhhhhh batted around batted around
Ahhhhh Ortiz gets hit by the pitch, right on the padding thank fuck, and two men on the inning continues this is insaaaaane.
--You know how Coco flutters the fingers of one hand when he’s in the batting box? It’s not his top hand. It’s the same hand that he always does. When he’s hitting from one side of the plate, it’s his top hand. But when he’s hitting from the other side it’s his bottom hand and he flutters it all the same while his top hand stays stationary around the bat, which just looks awkward. So it’s a handedness thing, not a top-hand thing. I find that inexplicably fascinating.
--Jon Miller and Joe Morgan on Jon(athan) Papelbon:
“Papelbon, with the closer look, that menacing. *obvious and unnecessary pause* Glare.” -Miller
“He’s got the LOOK, he’s got it down.” – Morgan
“That stare is right out of a Steven King novel. I’m sitting up here and I’m intimidated.” –Miller
“He of the horror movie glare.” –Miller
I swear, if Papelbon's Scary Closer Face turns into the new Jeter's Calm Eyes, I'm gonna be sick.
--Ken Ray is the sort-of closer for the Braves right now, since Reitsma is on the DL with awfulness and Kyle Farnsworth snubbed them in favor of the Yankees and woe. This is a positive sign that the Braves are in deep, deep canine excrement in their bullpen, because Ken Ray used to pitch for the North Shore Spirit, an independent-league club that plays in the crummiest little ballpark in the history of crummy little ballparks, in the heart of lovely sunny Lynn, the city right next to mine.
Let me put it like this. Lynn makes me feel like I'm back in Detroit, a little bit. Or maybe Lansing, if I'm being generous.
Even more gloriously, Ken Ray told Peter Gammons, apparently, that the Spirit field was so pathetic that they didn't even have lockers, they had trailers they had to use, and it was "the worst place he'd ever been in his life," and it made him thankful for every day he could spend at the major league level shagging balls for all his teammates and getting the snot beat out of him during games.
The North Shore Spirit! You guys, that's PRETTY MUCH MY HOME TEAM!
I am, by the by, going to Spirit games this summer. Maybe even as soon as next weekend, if they're home. If any of you sorts are in the area and want to join me for one or several at some point, we should totally do that very thing.
Labels: baseball, Braves, gameblog, Ken Ray, MLB, North Shore Spirit, Red Sox, sweep, Twins