Say it ain’t so, Joe

Today, my co-workers and I went out to lunch at the Chicago-style place at the corner of Verdugo Avenue and Hollywood Way in Burbank. Joe Mantegna was there with a couple of other people, but I could only hear brief snippets of his conversation over the noise of me chewing my hot dog. One of the snippets was something to the effect of “Baseball is retro, you know?”

Eventually, he and one of his lunch companions got into his Global Electric Motorcar and drove off. Yes, you’re right, I would not have expected Joe Mantegna to be in one of those, although they do look suspiciously like the kind of vehicle one might have expected to see a relief pitcher arriving in back in the 1970s.

Then Sean Hayes and an entourage showed up in a stretch limo. I didn’t hear him mention baseball, although we left soon after he arrived. No wonder I don’t watch “Will and Grace.”

(Edited later to add that I discovered Joe Mantegna and his wife own the place, so no wonder he was there.)

Jim Edmonds

Redbird Nation, the best Cardinals site on the web, describes Jim Edmonds’s approach at the plate perfectly today:

That’s the way Jim Edmonds plays baseball. It’s like someone took a film strip of Will Clark swinging a bat, crumpled it up, cut out a few frames, reassembled them out of order, ran it back through a film projector, then used it to teach Jedmonds how to swing a bat. But the results — those high, majestic home runs — would be as if Thrill had hit them himself.

Side note: I miss Will Clark. Back in the late 80s, I would never have thought that possible, but watching him as a Cardinal the last two months of 2000 secured him a place on my team of all-time favorites.

Move over, Wayne and Mike!

A coworker who is also a Cardinals fan has a twelve-year-old son with whom he watches most Cardinals games with the MLB Extra Innings package.

Recently, the feed was down for a few days, but my coworker and his son still wanted to see the game. So they did the next-to-next-best thing (The next-best thing being, of course, radio): they watched the pitch-by-pitch ticker online, and they announced the game as if they were broadcasting it.

All that was really just a long preamble so I can tell you this: my coworker’s six-year-old daughter said, “You guys need announcer names. Dad, your name is Bob. Ethan, your name is Aladdin.”

Which gave my coworker plenty of chances to say things like, “Matt Morris sure is pitching well tonight, isn’t he, Aladdin.”

Phil ‘er up

One of the quirks of DirecTV is that they not only carry ESPN, they also have channel space reserved for what they call ESPN Alternate, which means that unless there’s some kind of blackout situation affecting your ZIP code, you have the opportunity to see both ESPN Wednesday night baseball games. So tonight, while Levi was forced to watch the Cardinals play the Astros on regular ESPN, I got my first look at Citizens Bank Park as the Phillies hosted the Marlins on the bizarre and strange world of Channel 210.

Now, the game actually lived up to its channel placement, and I certainly hope when we’re there in August, we can get a game that’s similarly bizarre and strange. The weirdness culminated in the bottom of the 9th with the score tied at 7, with Placido Polanco hitting a grounder to left field that ended up wedged under the padding on the wall. Jeff Conine threw up his hands and Polanco went all the way home, but the umpires only awarded him a ground-rule double. Larry Bowa ran out of the dugout and had a 5-minute-long apoplectic fit but managed not to get tossed out; after that performance, Jack McKeon came out of his dugout and had a slightly milder fit (because he’s 73 years old) that involved a lot of gesticulating at his watch.

Oh, yeah, and Mike Lowell was almost Tuffy-esque, which I guess we have to say whenever someone hits 3 home runs. Citizens Bank Park looks good on TV (a lot different than the Vet, obviously), even if it doesn’t have an existing building in the outfield the way Petco Park does. Also, it seems like their neon Liberty Bell should swing a little faster when it lights up for home runs. Actually, I’d like to get a closer look at whatever it is that’s forming the batter’s eye, which looks like nothing more than a tall brick wall with a suspicious jog in the middle of it.

Original comments…

Levi: Now, in today’s game, the two teams have had a bench-clearing brawl.

Man, I can’t wait to see Larry Bowa fired. Anyone who thinks he and his team are better off without Scott Rolen deserves to be fired, then rehired just so someone can have the joy of firing him again.

maura: my friend recently registered, or something similar.

i worked wednesday night’s game; it was definitely fun (the marlins reporter, one of my favorite to work with, made it even more so), although at around 11 or so i was idly wondering if i was going to be stuck in the office UNTIL THE END OF TIME.

Levi: Maura– Since there’s no time in baseball, officially, even the end of time wouldn’t end a game necessarily.