Tuesday, July 11, 2006
As soon as Papi got knocked out of the race, I started rooting for Ryan Howard to win. Not because I have any particular attachment to Ryan Howard, or because I have some burning hidden dislike for David Wright or Miguel Cabrera, but instead because I actually have photos of Ryan Howard and I've never seen the other guys in person. And c'mon, when else am I gonna have a chance to use any of these damn Ryan Howard photos?
Yeah. I love viewing baseball through a teleconversion lens. This is because I am wholly insane.
And in any event, there's no shame in Papi not winning the whole thing, despite the fact that I think Joe Morgan might have urinated in his own pants if such an event had occurred. I honestly don't know how, after that 19 freakin' inning game we just had, Ortiz was still standing upright, let alone launching a single ball into the river. The fact that he hit as many homeruns as he did is a testament to his stamina, his greatness, his general Papiness, and all that is good with the world. Most things pertaining to David Ortiz come around to that in the end.
My favorite part of the Home Run Derby isn't the home run hitting part anyhow, although it was fun this year to see the kayakers hurl themselves into the Allegheny in search of a ball. I do hope that water was clean. I mean, I probably wouldn't hurl myself headlong into the Charles these days, and they've done a lot to improve the Charles*.
No, the best part of the Derby by far is getting to watch all the ballplayers sit around on the sidelines and goof around with their kids and with each other. You get to see the old hands at this sort of thing kicking back and relaxing (Pudge schmoozing with everyone), and you get to see the guys who are clearly painfully excited to be there, usually with video cameras in tow (Brian McCann was adorably filming everything he possibly could, and Mark Loretta broke his camera out for Ortiz's at-bats).
The best bit is watching Ryan Howard offer his bat to his son for a kiss on the wooden barrel before going up to the plate, and watching David Ortiz let his littlest curly-haired offspring play with one of his batting gloves to keep it busy. You wonder how much of this the baby Pierzynski (wearing, I might add, an entirely hideous headband thing) is going to remember when she's older, and you can clearly see how much the kids who are old enough to appreciate it, do.
It was funny watching Paul LoDuca pitch to David Wright, especially because the dynamic between them, as pitcher and batter, was hilarious. And every time Wright (or anyone else) swore after making an "out", the entire sound feed would go dead for a second. That's what you get for miking up players when they're batting, ESPN. I suppose they must've had the whole thing on a delay of a second or two, or else the whole country would've been hearing David Wright yell, "Shit!" as he hit a big arching flyball out.
Jon(athan) Papelbon telling the TV guys that he had $100,000 on Ortiz to win it all was priceless, especially because you had no idea if he was joking, a little bit joking, or entirely serious. And he had some deranged giant-lensed video camera that he was shooting with at points too, which, combined with his backwards hat, made him look like an immensely loveable dork.
All in all I think that turned out to be a pretty painless Home Run Derby. Nobody blew out their oblique swinging for the fences, the Bermanisms were diluted by the fact that there were so many other people announcing this year. Miguel Tejada seemed to have a snotload of fun, as he does every year. The only Yankee in evidence was Robison Cano, snuggling up to Papi and his brood (where were ARod and Jeter? tsk tsk).
I won't talk about the aesthetic nightmare that is the jerseys until after the actual All Star Game.
*I remember when I was in elementary school, I think 5th grade, we had a poster-making contest where we designed these childish little posters intended to tug at the heartstrings of some lawmaker or other, begging them to clean up the Charles/Boston Harbor. This was back when one whiff of the water from the shore would be enough to mutate small amphibians. I mean it was really bad, back then. Sometimes the surface of the water would be all sorts of interesting colors, and I don't mean shades of blue or green. And the stuff you would see floating in there... urgh.
In 1988, Boston Harbor was the dirtiest harbor in America. And the Charles was just as bad.
There was a massive cleaning campaign, I think in 1995, which would just about jibe with my memory of us doing our pathetic little elementary school part in 5th grade. Things are a lot better now. The Harbor especially is thriving (a few nights ago I was down on the HarborWalk with Amy, and we saw tons and tons of jellyfish floating around in the night-darkened water. It was wicked pretty. So was the view.), and if you dip a foot into the Charles from the back of your MIT sailboat or something, you probably won't get cancer anymore.
But I still wouldn't go diving in it.
This pointless footnote brought to you by: environmentalism!
Labels: All Star Game, baseball, David Ortiz, Home Run Derby, MLB, Ryan Howard