Friday, July 14, 2006
What a surprising All Star Game that turned out to be. Most everyone, analysts included, seemed to expect it to be a slugfest, especially on the AL side. That horrifying little "heads, shoulders, knees, and toes" musical montage they had worked up for Vlad Guerrero was proof enough, if nothing else. But the darn thing turned into a pitching duel.
Now, lemme just say, before the game, I did not think Brad Penny was all too exciting a starter for the NL. And I get the general impression that a lot of other fans felt more or less the same. Brad Penny, however, knowing he only had two innings to pitch, came out throwing 98 mph heat up and inside. I was sitting there watching it with my mouth hanging open. I can't remember the last time I saw Ichiro's timing look so incredibly off on his swings. Usually even if he misses he's somewhere in the vicinity, but with Penny pitching he was taking some awful swings.
Oh, all you who make fun of me for my love of Ichiro? Say what you will, I am not nearly as bad as Tim McCarver, who had this to say about the poor guy (they were talking about his 'incredible balance' or something): "We saw Ichiro in the tunnel today, and he walks like a ballet dancer." I mean... what? He... walks... like... a ballet dancer. I don't know. I just don't know.
Of course one of the best plays was ARod bobbling the ball at third and desperately chucking a bouncer into first, where it was expertly picked by Ortiz to save America's Greatest Baseball Player a nationally-televised E5. It was as tidy an embodiment of the absurdity of the old "a DH can't win the MVP because they're only playing half the game" as one could wish for. Just because Ortiz doesn't play first base very often, that doesn't mean that he can't. Granted, I don't think he has the ability to play there every day, but by now that could be because we've conditioned him into a DH. If he had had to play first every day for much of his career, I'm sure he could, because the base skills are manifestly there. He wouldn't be winning Gold Gloves, but still.
The fact that the NL lost, after all that... hilarious. Poor bastards. It looked for so long like they had it in hand, and then they had Trevor Hoffman coming up... Trevor Hoffman! He's an unstoppable force of Padretasticness. He's no Jon(athan) Papelbon, of course, but then again who is? In any event, I thought that the NL was going to take this and we would have to suffer the indignity of losing to their soft squidgy league.
Blown save. With a Michael Young two-run triple. I kind of couldn't stop laughing. I thought Phil Garner might cry.
Anyways, on to the second half. And thank cats we had that break, because between the game before it (19 innings) and tonight (11 innings), well, if there hadn't been a break, we would be looking at the bloody remains of Julian Tavarez right now, instead of the ravaged but still live Julian Tavarez that plagues us at the moment.
I was actually at this game, and will have photos from it up soon, but not tonight, as I've got work tomorrow and should be in bed oh, say, now-ish. Many photos later. Especially of Huston Street. I must've taken 800 photos of Huston Street alone.
Labels: All Star Game, ARod, baseball, error, MLB