Sweeper service

Man, I’m sick of the Red Sox always winning the World Series! (Now there’s something no one’s said in about 90 years.)

I’ve still got plenty of baseball chili in my fridge. Hope

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Opening Day 2007: Hour 7

4:00Baltimore Orioles at Minnesota Twins (ESPN and WFTC)
Pittsburgh Pirates at Houston Astros (FSN Houston)
4:01 — Extra Innings is carrying an over-the-air game broadcast, something I haven’t seen before on DirecTV. I guess the ability to do this is part of their new contract. It’s from “My 29” — well, not really mine, because it’s WFTC in Minneapolis/St. Paul and KFTC in Bemidji.

4:03 — They do a nice little tribute to Herb Carneal at the beginning of the Twins broadcast. I have to admit that he’s someone who was never really on my radar.
4:05 — I’m getting a little tired of “Magic Carpet Ride,” which is the music being played during a Chevrolet ad that’s been running a lot today. But I guess the members of Steppenwolf aren’t getting tired of cashing their royalty checks.
4:10 — The Orioles haven’t opened a season on the road since 1977.
4:12 — The Rockies are down 8-6 going into the bottom of the 9th, but anything can happen. 3 out of 4 Opening Day games previously played at Coors Field ended with a walk-off home run.
4:20 — An ad read by the Rockies announcers goes, in its entirety, “Hey, if you have a crack in your windshield, call Elite Glass, number one for more than one reason.” This makes the broadcast interactive, since it allows the audience to speculate endlessly about what those reasons might be.
4:24 — True, anything could have happened, from a walk-off home run to a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”-type magical transformation causing the person in the mascot costume to turn into an actual small purple triceratops. But what actually happens in the bottom of the 9th is a double followed by three straight strikeouts. The new red uniforms worked for the D-Backs!
4:36 — Forget C.C. Sabathia. Kent Hrbek is looking a little large now that he’s retired.

4:37 — However, while Kent Hrbek is being interviewed, the Twins hit back-to-back home runs. So whatever he’s doing, it’s working.
4:40 — Very sad that the Menards guy isn’t in Menards commercials anymore. At least they haven’t turned him into a computer-animated character who appears at the end of the commercial as they’ve done with the Empire Carpet guy.
4:52 — Shannon Stewart of the A’s certainly looks different than he did when he was Playboy’s Playmate of the Month for June 2000 (relatively work-safe link to Wikipedia).

Opening Day 2007: Hour 6

3:09 — NESN does an in-game promo for the Boston Globe’s online store without mentioning the actual web address. Guess everyone in New England is supposed to know already.
3:15 — My afternoon snack is Pringles Select potato chips. Yes, upscale Pringles that come in a bag. Now that they’ve had Lays in a can for a while now, I guess the reverse was inevitable.
3:18 — Some company is donating $100 to a food bank for every Rockies home run. It’d be a little more charitable if they were making a donation for every run, period.
3:23 — The wind suddenly kicks up at Coors Field and hot dog wrappers start blowing around, which allows the announcers to awkwardly transition to offering their best wishes to people affected by a recent tornado in Colorado.
3:26 — Okay, NESN does the “scorecard” graphics, too, like TBS. So they’re partially forgiven for their score bar.

3:30Oakland A’s at Seattle Mariners (FSN Northwest)
At last, another game starts.
3:34 — Listen, whoever was responsible for this FSN promo, you need either the dollar sign or the word “dollars.” This says “six million dollars dollars.”

3:42 — Wow, it’s a new rule that batters are supposed to keep one foot in the batter’s box when they take a time out. I predict that this rule won’t be enforced very vigilantly.
3:53 — Looking forward to the new Belle and Sebastian song “Piazza, Oakland DH.” He strikes out in his first appearance as such.

Opening Day 2007: Hour 4

1:00Boston Red Sox at Kansas City Royals (ESPN and NESN)
Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies (FSN Rocky Mountain)
1:01 — At last, a game is over: Marlins 9, Nationals 2.
1:05 — Mariano Rivera comes on for the Yankees. The Devil Rays were keeping it close for a while, but the Yankees now lead by 4.
1:11 — Hey, the Diamondbacks really did switch to red uniforms. If their fellow expansion team were to follow suit, though, they’d be accused of copying the Red Sox, their division mates.
1:14 — But they lost 9-5 to the Yankees, so maybe they should think about switching to red.
1:17 — Gary Sheffield is still swinging his bat wildly in an amusing manner as he waits for pitches.
1:18 — Didn’t help. He struck out.
1:22 — The Dodgers-Brewers game must have been a quick affair, since the postgame show is already airing.
1:29 — Ken Griffey Sr., in the FSN Ohio booth, claims he grounded his son a few times while they were playing together for the Mariners.
1:45 — I check my e-mail. Nothing much seems to be happening in the world except for Opening Day.
1:52 — It’s hard to come back from 9 runs down in the bottom of the 9th, and I’ll be surprised if the White Sox do it.
1:54There’s another Molina?!
1:58 — Turns out I’m not surprised, although the Sox did manage to score 2.

Fun at the old ballpark

Seconds ago, as I was sitting in my kitchen editing a post for my other blog, listening to the Cubs play the Rockies, I heard the following exchange between Pat Hughes, Ron Santo, and a surprise mystery guest:

Pat Hughes: Colorado has eight runs on twelve hits and one error, though I think the scorer might change that one.

Ron Santo: Yeah, I think he might.

Official Scorer (in background): I’m not gonna change it.

That’s why I listen to the Cubs even when they’re 48-67.

Cut off your Indian braids

Jason and I drove from L.A. to the greater Phoenix area after work on Friday (roughly a 6-hour drive) and went to two sporting events on Saturday. The first one is of more relevance to baseballrelated.com…

Yes, we got to see the Diamondbacks come back from a 5-1 deficit to win 6-5, largely because Tony Clark hit a home run from each side of the plate. Bank One Ballpark is nowhere near as depressing as Tropicana Field, perhaps because it has some actual windows to let sunlight in during day games, and because the home team has actually been fairly successful during their tenure in Major League Baseball. Also, there were over 20,000 people there, as opposed to under 10,000.

At least in the lower deck, there was an usher at the top of each aisle with a “Please Wait Here” sign — great. However, when I was returning to my seat after a bathroom break (the “bottomless glass of soda” at Alice Cooperstown led to way too much Dr Pepper for my poor bladder to handle), the usher for our aisle dropped his sign and motioned

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me forward the instant contact was made with the ball, as opposed to, you know, making sure I wouldn’t be interfering with anyone’s view of the actual play.

Many more pictures available on flickr.com. As for the other sporting event Jason and I saw — and the one we had a definite rooting interest in — the less said about it, the better…

…although I note that the Arizona Republic has a sports columnist named “Paola.”

Take off your rainbow shades

Jason and I are taking a weekend trip to Phoenix in September (actually, we’ll be staying in a motel in Tempe), and it’s going to include attendance at a Diamondbacks game…

I bought a pair of tickets on stubhub.com. Can you believe a season-ticket holder would want to see the D-Backs play the Rockies so little that they’d be selling these tickets for half-price? (Half the single-game price, that is; there’s a big season ticket discount that’s already reflected in the price printed on this ticket.)

After the baseball game, Jason and I will be heading for the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe to see the ASU Sun Devils play our beloved Northwestern Wildcats in a game that starts at 7:00, but that’s more of a topic of discussion for Football-Related Program Activities.

More dramatic than an episode of "Clubhouse"

In my last entry, I said something about drama in the baseball playoffs starting next week. Perhaps I should have mentioned possible drama in the games being played in this, the last week of the season.

I thought that Angels game last week was going to be my last baseball game of the season. But then my birthday happened, and I got two tickets to Tuesday night’s Dodger game. I gave one of the tickets to Jason. We drove to the game separately because I usually get off work hours before he does, and I wanted to arrive early to a Dodger game for once. So I’m on my way…

I ignored this sign (there used to be a Dodger Stadium entry gate straight down this street, but you can still get near the stadium this way)…

Remember where you parked at Dodger Stadium; it’s on a giant baseball…

Many people over the years have ignored the crucial “no beachballs” rule on this sign…

If this sign hasn’t been in the parking lot since 1962, it should have been…

“Think blue”? Whatever you say, Mr. Sign!

Before the game, pitcher Elmer Dessens was having his picture taken, in a bunch of different poses. For use on baseball cards, maybe?…

Somebody being interviewed before the game…

The score at the upper right is the one to keep an eye on. The Dodgers went into this game with a magic number of 4 to win the National League West, with the Giants nipping at their heels…

Why weren’t there more people at a pivotal game in the last week of the season? The Dodgers kept the right-field pavilion closed…

Jason noticed a (presumably coincidental) circle of people wearing white in the stands opposite us (in the middle of the below photograph)…

The Rockies get one early run, and then not much happens for quite a while, except for a smoggy moonrise in right field…

Milton Bradley was charged with a 2-run error in the eighth inning, causing the Rockies to lead 3-0. A fan threw a plastic bottle at him. Bradley didn’t like this, and approached the stands. To make a long story short, here’s Bradley walking off the field after being ejected, having ripped off his uniform shirt, which didn’t exactly endear him to the crowd…

Remember Elmer Dessens from before the game? He pitched the top of the 9th, keeping the score as it was at the end of the 8th, 4-0 (also, notice that a lot of people have already left)…

Bottom of the 9th, and Rockies pitcher Shawn Chacon walks four Dodgers in a row to make the score 4-1.

Tim Harikkala relieves him, and promptly gives up a double to Jayson Werth to make the score 4-3.

Then he gives up a single to Steve Finley. Two runs score. Dodgers celebrate…

I’m not sure if I believe it, but there’s the final score…

Hero Steve Finley being interviewed…

Another powerful argument for not leaving a baseball game early. The Giants also won, in less dramatic fashion, so the Dodgers’ magic number is now 3. I’m very, very happy this turned out to be my last game of the season. (I certainly won’t turn down Dodgers playoff tickets! That’s postseason.)

Original comments…

thatbob: If the Dodgers have a post season, I hope they incorporate the good luck tradition of the Rally Ejection. Milton Bradley can take off a different article of clothing in every 8th inning in which the Dodgers are behind.