"The Greatest Game Ever Pitched"

From the Yankees’ 1981 yearbook. The artist did the “Spider-Man” comic strip for years, so it’s nice to see that he can present an entire baseball game in only four pages.

Original comments…

thatbob: “No one will ever better Don Larsen’s performance in the Greatest Game Ever Pitched!” is quite a claim. Mightn’t someone pitch a perfect World Series game AND hit a couple of grand slams? And wouldn’t that, by any standard, be considered a better performance?

And what an Opening Day it was

10:00Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers (ESPN 2 and FSN Detroit)
10:26 — In the 2nd inning, the Detroit announcers mention Jeremy Bonderman’s 14-strikeout game last year for the first time.
10:30Milwaukee Brewers at Pitttsburgh Pirates (ESPN alternate feed and FSN Pittsburgh)
10:52 — The Pirates announcers call Florida “bland.” The state, that is, not the Marlins.
10:59 — Dmitri Young of the Tigers hits his second home run. Do we have a Tuffy Rhodes in the making here?
11:00New York Mets at Cincinnati Reds (ESPN and FSN Ohio)
11:08 — For some reason, Jeff Daniels is in the booth with the FSN Detroit announcers at the Tigers game.
11:12 — One of the FSN Ohio announcers makes up a new term, referring to today as “Starting Day.”
11:19 — Hey, Jon Miller and Joe Morgan, if you’re going to say “let’s listen to the Reds fans’ reactions to Griffey coming up to bat,” you should shut up for more than two seconds after you say that. I think I will eschew ESPN’s coverage of this game from here on out.
11:22 — Talking about his Tiger Stadium memories, Jeff Daniels mentions a toilet that was located out in the open in the hallway leading to the visitors’ dugout. He says he was thinking about all the greats who had used it in the past, such as Joe DiMaggio, the one time he got to use it.
11:30 — Adam Dunn of the Reds hits one to right field. It’s going, it’s going — and suddenly, my TiVo switches to GSN to record “Card Sharks” as a suggestion. This is strange for two reasons: first, it’s not supposed to try recording a suggestion if you’ve been watching live TV; second, “Card Sharks” is already being recorded on the other tuner. This isn’t something I have to deal with often because I so rarely watch live TV, so it takes me longer than it should to make sure that I’m canceling the suggestion recording, not the recording I had actually set up.
11:33 — Dmitri Young gets hit by a pitch. He’s no Tuffy, I guess, but then, who is?
11:51 — The Tigers can get Jeff Daniels, but all they can get on FSN Pittsburgh during the Pirates game is some executive from PNC Bank.
11:59 — Saltines and Easy Cheese: snack of champions!
NoonWashington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies (not available on DirecTV, so this is the last you’re going to hear about this game)
NoonCleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox (Comcast SportsNet Chicago)
NoonOakland A’s at Baltimore Orioles (FSN Bay Area)
12:09 — Historic video from 1994 on FSN Ohio: Pedro Martinez, then of the Expos, plunking Reggie Sanders of the Reds, thus ending a perfect game, and Sanders charging the mound.
12:11 — Orioles Rodrigo Lopez and Javy Lopez’s uniforms both say just “Lopez,” no first initials.
12:22 — Sammy Sosa! What’s he doing here in Baltimore? Not hitting a home run, at this point.
12:32 — Comcast SportsNet “forgot” to take their logo off the screen during a commercial.
12:34 — Pedro Martinez records his 10th strikeout, to make this the 100th double-digit-strikeout game of his career. Who does he think he is, Jeremy Bonderman?
12:42 — Dmitri Young hits his third home run! He’s Tuffy after all!
12:49 — Comcast SportsNet’s audio level is lower than all the other channels, so I have to ride the volume on my remote when I switch to and from the Indians-White Sox game.
12:56 — The P.A. announcer at Great American Ball Park announces Pedro Martinez’s 100th pitch — that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that.
12:59 — The Royals-Tigers game seems to have ended while I wasn’t paying attention.
1:00Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Devil Rays (FSN Florida)
1:00San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies (FSN Rocky Mountain)
1:00 — The pre-produced opening for the Devil Rays game doesn’t mention Alex Sanchez. (Although they probably talked about him ad nauseam on the pregame show. But pregame shows aren’t included in the MLB Extra Innings package.)
1:05 — Don Zimmer is introduced as the Devil Rays’ Senior Baseball Advisor, “in his 57th major league season.”
1:08 — Yes, there are other teams that wear vest-style uniform shirts (Royals, Rockies, etc.), but only the Devil Rays manage to make them look like The Uniform of the Future.
1:13 — FSN Florida, a television network that’s located in the United States, is actually showing the singing of “O Canada” on TV! Lots of Canadians in Florida at this time of year who might protest if they didn’t, I guess.
1:21 — The turf at Tropicana Field still looks awful on TV. It doesn’t help that the other games so far today are all taking place under brilliant sunshine.
1:27 — And Tropicana Field has plenty of good seats available, as usual.
1:34 — FSN Pittsburgh is showing fans streaming out of PNC Park and over the bridge, so I guess that game is over.
1:40 — The Devil Rays’ slogan this year, to try to get people to buy tickets to games, appears to be “Watch It Happen,” which I guess is slightly better than “Come In Out of the Rain.”
1:43 — I flip to FSN Ohio and see Pete Rose eating a salad in a commercial for local Cincinnati fast-food chain Gold Star Chili. For some reason, I doubt that Pete Rose has ever eaten a salad in real life.
1:50 — The A’s announcers are talking about a USA Today survey of players and coaches that rated the field at McAfee Coliseum the best in the American League. McAfee? What happened to Network Associates? I can’t keep all these corporate names straight.
1:54 — “Devil Rays baseball on FSN Florida is brought to you in part by Quikrete concrete products,” presumably because Tropicana Field is made entirely of Quikrete.
2:00Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks (ESPN 2 and WGN)
2:00Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners (ESPN 2 alternate feed)
2:02 — While flipping channels, I stumble across the Padres-Rockies game, which I swear wasn’t listed in the DirecTV on-screen schedule as of 9:58 A.M. It’s already 4-3, in the bottom of the 3rd.
2:05 — Make that 6-3.
2:09 — Meanwhile, the Devil Rays are down 3-1 on back-to-back homers.
2:11 — The FSN Florida announcers, referring to Manitoba native Corey Koskie: “That ball had a lot of English on it, even though it was hit by a Canadian.”
2:20 — I switch to the Cubs-Diamondbacks game on ESPN 2 and think I see a WGN banner, so I check, and it turns out it’s on WGN, too, which I didn’t check beforehand. There’s baseball on lots of channels!
2:30 — I notice that DirecTV’s description of the Blue Jays-Devil Rays game ends with the statement “game may be subject to blackouts in Toronto and Tampa Bay.” I guarantee that anyone watching on DirecTV in Toronto is not being blacked out, since everyone watching on DirecTV in Toronto has given DirecTV a fake address somewhere in the U.S. (and since FSN Florida is what the Tampa Bay area is “supposed” to be getting, it’s not being blacked out there, either).
2:34 — Train whistles: one of the best things about watching a Mariners game.
2:46 — The ad on the rotating board behind the home plate at Tropicana Field is for the radio station that’s now carrying the games. Actually, I should put that another way: it’s for the radio station that the Devil Rays are paying to carry their games. That’s how woeful they are.
2:51 — Superstation WGN’s big Tuesday night movie this week is “Robocop.” Hasn’t everyone in the world with any interest in this movie seen it by now?
2:52 — The Cubs are up 7-0 in the 2nd inning. Sammy who?
2:56 — The facial hair configuration currently being sported by Toby Hall of the Devil Rays is described as “a small marsupial on his chin.”
2:58 — For the Cubs-Diamondbacks game, ESPN 2 has a beautiful, crisp picture. On Superstation WGN, the game looks like it’s coming through Saran Wrap coated in Vaseline.
3:03 — Guess the Touchstone Pictures marketing people decided not to try to sell “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” as a comedy in the TV ads (as opposed to the theatrical trailer I saw yesterday, which did make it look like it at least has certain comic elements).
3:07 — I’ve been forgetting about the Padres-Rockies game, which is now 8-8 in the 6th inning. In fact, just as I flip, one of the announcers calls it “another Coors Field special.”
3:15 — In honor of the Opening Day action, I drink Cherry Coke out of an old Cubs souvenir cup.
3:20 — The roof is being closed in Seattle even though it still looks sunny, which leads to a long discussion by the ESPN 2 Alternate Announcers on why they might be closing it. I change channels before the serious conspiracy theories can get started.
3:25 — I see the Mets-Reds final score; looks like the Reds came back to win 7-6 after being down 6-3. In hindsight, I guess should have watched more of that game after Pedro Martinez left.
3:34 — The Padres’ sand-colored away uniforms look weird for the second year in a row.
3:39 — The Devil Rays lose their opening game for the first time since 1999. Yes, really — it’s been the other 161 games they’ve had the most trouble with.
3:43 — On the Padres-Rockies game, a 6-year-old boy is being interviewed in the stands: “Don’t you have school today?” “No.” “Why not?” “I’m homeschooled!”
3:59 — The Diamondbacks still have those unexplained hot-air-balloon-shaped patches on their sleeves.
4:05 — The FSN Rocky Mountain announcers say they’re about to show a graphic with some startling statistics. When the graphic comes up, it’s not all that startling; it shows that, at Coors Field, since 2003, the Padres have scored a lot more runs against the Rockies from the 9th inning on (37) than the Rockies have scored against the Padres (3). Trevor Hoffman is the big reason for the disparity. This is important because it’s 10-8 in favor of the Padres in the bottom of the 8th.
4:07 — For the first time since 10:30, I can’t flip channels to avoid a commercial; all three games still going on are in a break simultaneously.
4:08 — The problem with flipping between games is that you miss things; the Cubs announcers say something about Victor Zambrano being ejected.
4:15 — And I flip back to the Cubs-Diamondbacks game just in time to see Derrek Lee hit a 3-run homer, and to finally hear the name of the WGN announcer whose voice I don’t recognize (i.e., the one who’s not Bob Brenly). It’s Len Kasper — who?
4:25 — Despite Trevor Hoffman being on the mound, the Rockies tie their game at 10 in the bottom of the 9th.
4:26 — And Trevor Hoffman is still on the mound when Clint Barmes hits a 2-run walk-off homer; Rockies win, 12-10.
4:35 — The Twins-Mariners game goes final, with Seattle winning 5-1.
4:38 — The Cubs go up 14-3 on a 2-run homer by Aramis Ramirez. Do I really have to watch the rest of this?
4:43 — Superstation WGN ends a promo with a dig at TBS’s slogan, referring to themselves as “where comedy isn’t just very funny, it’s super funny.” This would be more piquant if it weren’t a promo for “Will & Grace.”
4:50 — I take advantage of a commercial break and check my e-mail. My father informs me that at one point this afternoon, the headline on ESPN.com was “Dmitri Young, meet Tuffy Rhodes.”
4:56 — The Cubs get their 20th hit, and it’s “only” the top of the 8th, with no outs.
4:57 — Hit number 21, and it’s 15-5.
4:59 — 16-5. It’s the most runs the Cubs have ever scored in an Opening Day game. No Sammy, no Moises Alou, no Tuffy!
5:08 — Chicago to Pittsburgh for $29 each way on Southwest Airlines? That’s insane. Levi and Stacey, you should visit Stephanie Losi sometime (she’s going to be attending Carnegie Mellon starting in the fall).
5:15 — Surely by now, director Arne Harris has gotten a camera shot of every single person in the Bank One Ballpark stands who’s wearing Cubs apparel (or University of Illinois apparel)!
5:16 — I stand corrected.
5:19 — Wow, the Cubs only got one hit in the top of the 9th!
5:20 — A promo for something called “Ultimate Arena Paintball,” a Superstation WGN Original Production. Although I’ve never done it, I can see how participating in paintball yourself would be fun, but watching other people do it, as on this upcoming program, looks horribly boring.
5:24 — Oh, Shawn Green, why are you prolonging the agony by getting a hit?
5:25 — Oh, Chad Tracy, ditto.
5:26 — “This is the only big league game still under way today.” Yeah, no kidding.
5:27 — Suddenly, it’s 16-6. D-backs are coming back!
5:28 — Wait, no, they’re not. Matt Kata strikes out. Cubs win! Time for “Card Sharks.”

And that’s it. I probably won’t be watching any more baseball on TV until the All-Star Game. Actually, I probably should watch a couple of Dodgers games this year, because who knows how much longer Vin Scully will be around?

Original comments…

thatbob: Sounds like a much better Starting Day than the one I had, watching the stupid Yankees beat up the beloved Johnny Damons.

I’ve never seen Robocop*, but I guess that doesn’t answer your question.

(*all the way through)

Levi: I’m sure Pete Rose has eaten a salad . . . on a bet.