All-Stars and more

You see, every time we do a baseball trip, something happens that hasn’t happened in a long time. In 2004, it was the Red Sox winning the World Series. In 2010, it’s the National League winning the All-Star Game (because it’s looking like it’s not going to be the Cubs winning the World Series, or even the NL pennant).

All my photos from the trip have been uploaded to Flickr, and they’re in this set.

I’m going to be at an event in the South Bay area of California this weekend, and decided to attend the Giants-Mets game Saturday evening. It’s Tim Lincecum bobblehead night! Sadly, San Jose Mercury News reporter (and friend of Andrew Baggarly won’t be around — since he worked the All-Star Game, the newspaper is giving him the Mets series off.

Both L.A. teams in one day

Longtime fans of Baseball-Related Program Activities may remember that, on August 30, 2004, Levi and I went to two baseball games in two cities in one day: White Sox vs. Phillies in Chicago, and then Brewers vs. Pirates in Milwaukee.

We finally had a chance to recreate that experience. Levi came to Los Angeles for business, and both the Dodgers and Angels were at home, and on May 9, the Dodgers were scheduled for an afternoon game, with the Angels playing at night.

The only thing that put a damper on the experience was Manny Ramirez being suspended for 50 games just three days before we were going to see him.

What Levi, I, and hanger-on Jason did end up seeing was the Dodgers defeating the Giants 8-0, followed by the Angels over the Royals, 1-0. Yes,

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we saw no visiting team runs. We also saw complete games by three pitchers — Eric Stults of the Dodgers, Joe Saunders of the Angels, and Zack Greinke of the Royals. Greinke entered the game with a 0.40 ERA, which meant that his ERA went up after pitching a 1-run complete game, which is almost as rare of an event as the Dodgers and Angels both playing at home the same weekend. The Angels game finished in 2:07 — not quite as short as the 1:56 Indians-White Sox game on our road trip, but impressive nonetheless.

(Special shout-outs to Maggie, Kimiko, and Kate for being hangers-on for the first game.)

There have already been plenty of Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium pictures on this blog over the years, so all you get here is a picture of Greinke looking intense during his warmup:

Take Me Out…

Those of you who know me know why I think this poster, now appearing on my living room wall, is totally awesome — it combines two of my interests.

It’s also a bit of a lie. There’s no regular “historic streetcar” service to AT&T Park right now; it’s only in the planning and occasional demonstration stages. The folks at Market Street Railway are a little anticipatory (and, actually, selling the poster to promote and raise funds to help the service along).

Time after time

It’s competing against actual postseason baseball in most of the country, but tonight’s episode of “Journeyman” on NBC is titled “Game Three”; the plot is that Our Hero ends up back in time in October 1989 and has to either warn people about the forthcoming earthquake or warn people not to bet on the Giants. Since the show takes place in San Francisco, I guess it was inevitable (although this is only the third episode).

The Giants win the p–

What would be a very bad time for your microphone to go out? If Barry Bonds makes it to

755, I bet KNBR will be putting a few extra

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microphones in the booth for every game.

Thanks, Matt

Matt Morris has reportedly signed a 3-year, $27-million deal with the Giants, reuniting him with his favorite backstop, Mike Matheny, and ending a nine-year career as a Cardinal.

Matt’s been one of my favorite baseball players since his rookie season in 1997, when he went 12-9 with an ERA of 3.19. I learned that season that Matt sometimes rode

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his bicycle to the park on days he wasn’t pitching, and that was all I needed. He was always fun to watch pitch. He comes across as one of those guys who manages to be ultra-competetive without being a prick. His Cardinal career also coincides exactly with the period of my most intense baseball fandom: post-college, with more time on my hands and the Internet to keep me close to my team. He’ll always be one of the faces of that era of baseball to me.

His best moments in a Cardinals uniform, though, came in one week in October of 2001. Twice in six days, he dueled Curt Schilling and the Diamondbacks in the Division Series. The Cards came out on the wrong side both times, as Morris lost the first game 1-0 and took a no-decision after 8 1-run innings in a 2-1 loss in the deciding game five. It was tough, stressful baseball, the kind that makes us ordinary people wonder how anyone can block out the drama long enough to actually participate in it. Up against Schilling at

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his world-beating best, Matt Morris threw a couple of the best games of his life.

He ends his Cardinal career having started the tenth-most games in team history, 209. with a 101-62 record, a 3.61 ERA, and an ERA+ of 119*. He’s fourth in team history in strikeouts, with 1337, and sixth in winning percentage at .620. Oh, and he’s sixth in hit batsmen with 49.

Thanks, Matt. Good luck in San Francisco. I think you’ll like the city and that big ballpark.

*ERA+ is a complex stat designed to show how a pitcher performed relative to other pitchers in the league that year. 100 is average, anything over that is good. Matt’s best was a 166 in his injury-shortened 1998. Last year, an off year for him, he still managed a 104.

What good is this blog if we can’t use it to embarrass people we know?

Here is Oakland Tribune Giants beat reporter Andrew Baggarly appearing on Young People’s Week on the syndicated version of “Card Sharks” (with host Bill Rafferty) in 1987.

Unfortunately, it’s the last game of the week, so it’s a rushed, sudden-death kind of thing, and we don’t get to hear much from li’l Andy — especially since he doesn’t get to play the bonus round for the trip to Hawaii. (Oh, sorry, should I not have spoiled an 18-year-old game show?)

Thanks to TiVo for religiously recording the Rafferty “Card Sharks” once GSN started rerunning it earlier this year, and thanks to Jason for pointing out that this does have a connection to baseball and was therefore eligible for posting here.

Everyone’s getting into the baseball act

I know it’s hard to believe, but even the monthly customer newsletter of the service that hosts wants in on the baseball commentary action…

Baseball is a weird sport because it’s quite often the cheapest sport to attend, yet the players are paid the most of any pro sport. For example, I believe they were paying people $12 to attend the Giants games this weekend, but at the same time Alex Rodriguez earned $20,000,000 per attempt to swat away the ball while being tagged on his way to first like a little girl!

The way baseball can afford to pay its athletes so much while at the same time keeping ticket prices and stadium refreshments so reasonable is actually through a number of quite-unrelated side businesses. The most lucrative of which is the bulk purchasing and re-selling of highly desirable domain names! I KID YOU NOT.

It USED to be that only the richest sports franchise-owning billionaires and the president of the United States could get into this literal GOLD MINE of easy profits. But now, thanks to DreamHost lowering the price of .com, .net, .org, and .info domain registrations to just $9.95/year even YOU can now get in on this GUARANTEED PAYDAY! (You still get one free domain registration with every shared hosting plan too of course.)

Just remember, you are required by law to send all profits made through the resale of domain names to the New York Yankees. With the playoffs beginning tomorrow, they need this money more than ever to offer complimentary tickets to the starving children of the rest of the league’s players.

Yes, the newsletter is always written in this style, although it’s usually not about baseball.

The grass is always greener on the other side, they say

The only real comment I have about watching the Devil Rays-Blue Jays game on TV tonight is that when Levi and I saw the Jays at SkyDome last year, the artificial turf was a brilliant shade of bright green; now that the building is known as Rogers Centre, they’ve switched to the modern-day artificial turf that more closely matches the color of real grass, yet somehow manages to look much worse on TV than real grass does.

Since that wasn’t quite substantial enough for a post, I’ll also provide a baseball-related excerpt from Bennett Cerf’s 1956 collection of jokes and anecdotes “The Life of the Party”…

Two rooters at a ball game were so engrossed in the contest that neither wanted to take time out to march back to the refreshment bar for hot dogs — and there wasn’t a vendor in sight. They finally bribed a kid nearby to go for them, giving him forty-five cents and saying, “Buy a dog for yourself at the same time.”

The kid came back with thirty cents change for them, explaining, “They only had my hot dog left.”

Actually, this one is slightly more typical of a Bennett Cerf collection of jokes and anecdotes…

Milton Berle discovered Tallulah Bankhead rooted to a radio in her dressing room one day, screaming her head off for the New York Giants. “Gosh,” exclaimed Miltie, “I didn’t realize you were so interested in the national pastime.” “Darling,” snapped Tallulah, “I am the national pastime.”

Incidentally, Tallulah wanted some new recipes for her chef to try. She called her favorite bookseller and ordered two copies of Fanny Farmer’s Boston Red Sox Cookbook!

I heart the base mike

In last night’s Cards/Giants game, the last game before the dreaded All-Star Break, the 2nd-base mike caught a great bit of conversation among Lance (Son of Joe) Niekro, umpire Tom Hallion, and Mark Grudzielanek.

Niekro attempted a steal of second, and as Grudzielanek applied the tag, the pair got all tangled up, with legs and arms jumbled everywhere and Niekro’s head getting intimately acquainted with Grudzie’s crotch. They took several seconds to unravel (It reminded me of the way NFL refs pull guys one by one off a pile.), then Niekro said to the ump, “Was I out?”

“Yeah,” Hallion replied.

“Shit,” said Niekro.

“After all that,” said Grudzielanek.