Don’t it always seem like when you make a mistake the manager is right there to bawl you out, but when he makes a mistake your the one out there on the field catching the boos? Well you wont believe it but last night thats what happened, only I didnt catch the boos, but only cause we were in Cincinati. But even if wed been home I think the rotten boobirds woulda been so confused they wouldnt know what to think. And it happened in the first inning, and all the other innings was worse, and I got to think its cause of that rotten Ned Yost’s mistake; we just kinda give up.
We was in Cinncinati, and I come up to hit with one out and the bases empty. Arroyo’s pitching for the Reds, that skinny longhaired goofball who kicks up that foot like he’s gonna ballerina the ball in there instead of throwin the dam thing. He tries me out with one of them slowwww pitches he’s got, probably calls it a curveball but it aint got no more curve than my tits. I dont even look at it, just step back out the box and wiggle the bat, loose up my shoulders while Blue stands there behind the plate and dont say nothing. Next pitch, he tries the same blamed thing–and the umps gotta be wondering the same thing I am: does he think I’m dumb? That from the ballerina-toe-kick guy. Well now Ive kinda got him where I want him, cause he has to throw me something, maybe that fastball of his that aint no faster bout than the ball used to come bouncing back off the barn door when you and me’d take turns throwin when we was kids. An thats what he goes and throws me, a grade-A meatball, and next thing you know that big lummox of a left fielder’s out there waving his arms around like hes drowning and I’m dusting myself off at second base.
Now it aint no secret that we been having some hard times lately, and I’m standing there at second thinking maybe things is starting to turn around, this the first inning an all. Ryan Brauns up next, and after him the big guy, so somebody’s gonna chase me around them bases, right?
So the first pitch he throws to Braun’s the same blamed pitch he tossed me that I dented that left field wall with. Ryan pops bout four buttons off’n his jersey and durn near turns hisself crosseyed but all he does is bust it foul. I try to wave to him tell him to calm down–hes only twenty-four, don’t hardly have to shave yet, and he aint got the veteran cool I got. But the second pitch he does the same thing, only this time that dope Arroyo’s got smart, and its up around his eyes. Aint nobody ever hit that pitch and aint nobody ever will, cepting maybe Vlad. But Ryan aint one to play wait and see, and maybe he’s right–next pitch is another meatball, pretty for hittin as any you’ll ever see. But all the kid can do is knock it right back to the screen, and I’m still standing down there at second base, starting to get tuckered out from jumpin every which way every time.
And heres where it gets weird and where that cussed manager of our started in to losing us the game. You know me, Al: I aint no baserunner. I know what order to run ’em in, and I do a mean jog around ’em when I park one but I don’t do much else’n that. So when I’m on second and looking down at Leyva down there in the coaching box, I mostly just look make sure he’s there. He aint gonna give me no sign that matters none.
But this time I look over and I tell you, what I saw made my eyes hurt. Leyva’s a-slapping and swiping and tugging at his cap, and I aint no baserunner but I know the sign for a steal when I see it and thats what hes giving me. The goon is tellin me to steal third! I got three steals all year, Al–I aint no base stealer. I aint gonna make third if they let me start out in the third baseman’s pocket. So I look over at coach with a kinda hunkered-down look, squint my eyes at him make sure he knows I know what hes doin. And I’ll be darned if he don’t go through that whole slap swipe tug thing again. Even as I get my lead I know its the dumbest idea in the world, but there it is. Im stealin third.
Like I said, that Arroyo’s got a ballerina leg kick, but he dont use that when there’s guys on, so I got to watch his feet more close, and when he starts to moving I scoot for third base, hoping and prayin that Braun’s gonna park this one so what I know’s going happen aint going happen. I didn’t see where the pitch was–I was too busy watching that damned Encarnacion waiting for me like the ol’ Grim Reaper down third base–but I hear tell it was about a mile outside, and Ryan bout threw his bat into the crowd trying to get it, ’cause he seen me streaking down there like a moron, but he cant get it and the next thing I know I’m as out as out can be and thats the third out.
I get back to the dugout and Leyva and Yost are there jawing at each other. Yost is asking Leyva why he sent me, Leyva’s asking Yost why he told him to send me, and I’m standing there cussing and slapping at the dirt on my uniform. Yost says he wasnt telling Leyva to send me–and here’s where I almost just bout give up and went home, cause this team’s snakebit–he was just scratching away at a mosquito bite, that’s all, didn’t mean nothing by it.
Just scratching away at a mosquito bite, didn’t mean nothing by it. Oh, did I do some cussing then. That blamed mosquito sent me to my certain doom, and I think that’s kinda what finished us of for that game. We went out there an right quick gave up about a hundred runs or so and we were done for the day.
Like I said, Al, I think this teams snakebit. Or mosquito bit. All I knows I’m killing every one of those rotten things I can find in that dugout tomorrow.
12:00 — Salsa, chips, and cheese — lunch of champions!
12:07 — Say what you will about TBS, I enjoy their “scorecard” graphics.
12:09 — On WGN, they’re interviewing Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, who at one point refers to baseball as “the industry,” which is just a horrible way to refer to baseball, although I’m sure it feels like it from his perspective.
12:16 — Hey, Ken Griffey Jr. is in right field for the Reds! He’s still around?
12:17 — The Reds catcher still has the old Mr. Redlegs design on his mask (well, the old new Mr. Redlegs design, without a mustache, which has now been replaced by the new old Mr. Redlegs design).
12:20 — Ah, the Midwest!
12:25 — Mrs. Owner of the Dodgers is being interviewed at hipster hangout named Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood, where I’ve been once. Various Dodgers people went to various establishments today to watch the game with the fans. Given the game action on the TVs in the background, I can tell that this interview is not airing live.
12:32 — A woman with a loud and high-pitched voice is sitting very close to a microphone that TBS is using to capture crowd noise, and she’s cheering for Tom Gordon: “Come on, Flash!”
12:41 — At this moment, both the Braves-Phillies and Blue Jays-Tigers games are tied at 3 with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th.
12:44 — At this moment, a cat has jumped onto my lap to watch her beloved Tigers.
12:49 — Tigers and Blue Jays go into extra innings. The Braves-Phillies game already went into extra innings, while I wasn’t paying attention.
12:54 — Bud Selig is in the booth at the White Sox-Indians game. Hawk Harrelson tells him he’s the best commissioner since 1959, with the late Bowie Kuhn second. Uh-huh.
12:57 — W.B. Mason has helpfully added “Office Supplies” to their outfield wall advertising this year. Now we can assume that things there are just like they are at Dunder Mifflin, as seen on TV’s “The Office.”
11:00 — Chicago Cubs at Cincinnati Reds (ESPN 2, WGN, and FSN Ohio)
L.A. Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers (FSN Prime Ticket)
Cleveland Indians at Chicago White Sox (Comcast SportsNet Chicago)
11:01 — Vin Scully! “And a pleasant good day to you wherever you may be.” Now it really is baseball season.
11:13 — Hey, a new family movie starring Ice Cube! Looks about as good as the Devil Rays.
11:15 — There sure are a lot of car commercials on YES. But I thought no one in New York drove.
11:19 — The Blue Jays caps have a “T” instead of a “J,” I notice. Too bad, because I liked the “J.” Maybe that’s still the home cap.
11:21 — Two female fans in the upper deck of Comerica Park are interviewed. One of them refers to it as “Tiger Stadium” and is quickly corrected by the interviewer.
11:24 — Since the Reds are wearing their new mustachioed Mr. Redlegs patches, perhaps they should all have grown mustaches to match.
11:25 — The Superstation WGN Scoreboard graphic has a problem, I say.
I contend that “Sponsored By:” should either be right-justified so it’s against the sponsor graphic, or that graphic should say “Sponsored by Scotts” (which would work fine even with the graphic there on the right).
11:29 — C.C. Sabathia looks a little large.
11:31 — The White Sox announcers start talking about how one should not judge a book by its cover when it comes to C.C. Sabathia. I guess I’ve been properly chastised! However, Darin Erstad promptly hit a 2-run homer off him to pull the White Sox to within 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st.
11:37 — Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley is in the stands at U.S. Cellular Field, but does not have to be interviewed by someone with a radio mike.
11:39 — The Yankees infield has been a bit error-prone today, which has helped the Devil Rays tie.
11:40 — First appearance of Joe Maddon, coming out for an explanation from the umpire about a player being called out on a bunt that hits him in fair territory.
11:42 — Rocco Baldelli hits an RBI single, and the Devil Rays are leading.
11:44 — Amtrak — the Washington Nationals of transportation!
11:49 — Hey, Dr. Cox from “Scrubs” is in that movie with Ice Cube. Well, John C. McGinley, I mean. I assume he’s not playing the same character he plays on “Scrubs.” Not to be confused with John C. Reilly, who is not to be confused with Andy Richter, who is not to be confused with John Candy.
11:54 — Comcast SportsNet’s “Scores on the Fours” should perhaps be renamed “Scores on Most But Not All of the Fours.”
It occurred to me that
I haven’t been following Tuffy Rhodes’ spring training adventures closely enough. Turns out, alas, the Reds cut him on Sunday after he hit .222 for the spring, and he’s calling it a career. Here’s an in-depth review of that career from the blog Get Up, Baby!
This, of course, gives us one more chance to brag that We Were There…
Hanger-on Dan just sent out an e-mail with the subject line “News of earth-shaking impact” that turned out to contain a link to an mlb.com news story and the words “Prepare to be a Reds fan.” Now, I don’t have an especially fast connection, and I was using much of the speed I do have to download clips of the new Australian version of “Family Feud,” so after I clicked on the link in Dan’s e-mail, it took quite a while to load. I pondered — what could it be? What could it be?
It was better than I could have imagined, especially if Tuffy makes the team (and I like Quinton McCracken, too, but he’s no Tuffy).
Incidentally, you may note that Channel Nine in Australia appears to be using the slogan “Still the One.” This was the slogan of the ABC network in the U.S. way back in the late 1970s, tied to the then-reasonably-current song of the same name by the band Orleans. Wow, things take a long time to get to Australia!
A new acquisition for the baseball-related radio station jingle collection: this one, from WBLG in Lexington, Kentucky (which now has different call letters and an ugly web site that hasn’t been updated in months). I don’t think this was a Reds network-wide jingle campaign; I think this particular affiliate had it done on their own. I believe it’s from about 1976 or 1977, which would make the lyric particularly apt.
Last night, I dreamed that Levi, Stacey, and I had gone to a ballgame in Cincinnati. We’d parked across the Ohio River in Kentucky (knowing me, that was my decision, both for the “fun” of being able to park in another state and because the parking is cheaper over there), and were following the crowd to the stadium, but the crowd was for some reason walking parallel to the shoreline; we passed up at least a couple of bridges, and I woke up before we’d made it to the game.
Also, Levi was wearing his bathrobe in the car, but fortunately changed clothes somehow before we started walking to the stadium. Along the way, he complained that his naps are better when he’s wearing daytime clothes.
Now, I do very much enjoy the company of Levi and Stacey, but as long as I was dreaming, why couldn’t, for example, Caroline Dhavernas have been with us? Well, she probably wouldn’t have been too happy about us not getting across the river.
P.S.: I guess Great American Ballpark is the only MLB stadium that’s within reasonable walking distance of another state. I can think of a few where you can take public transportation from another state (both New York stadiums, both Chicago stadiums, Citizens Bank Park, and Busch Stadium) and one that’s fairly easy to get to from another country via a combination of walking and public transportation (Petco Park).
At last night’s Cubs/Reds game, two rows in front of me, sitting with a couple of season ticket holders whom I recognize but don’t know, was a guy who had neglected to bring his shirt. He had, however, brought–and was displaying in their full glory–his late-seventies porn-star curls and moustache and his oddly incongruous gothic-lettered “Chi Town” tattoo, which was in the spot on the back where a tramp stamp would go on a gal.
His appearance alone, and his obvious joy in it, would have been worthy of note. But then he added to his allure by catching not one but two foul balls. Our section hardly ever gets foul balls hit anywhere near it, but last night Mr. Chi Town No-Shirt got one while strolling the aisle just to the left of us and a second that bounced right up to him in his seat. I had hopes that he would trade one of them to a drunk for a shirt, but it was not to be.
Last night’s Cubs game, an 11-9 loss to the Reds, is most clearly summed up with the following:
The Cubs, in the course of getting 15 hits, one walk, and two extra baserunners on errors, allowed the Reds’ staff to get by with only 118 pitches.
The Reds, meanwhile, forced the Cubs staff–seven pitchers in the game, including four different lefties from the bullpen–to throw 202 pitches.
Adam Dunn–a BRPA 2004 favorite–managed to eat up 33 pitches all by his lonesome, going 2-4 with two walks and a home run.
The Cubs have, in the 13 years since I moved here and became a fan, never even come close to addressing their most consistent problem: their impatience. Only Grace–and New Sammy for a few years–understood the value of getting into a hitter’s count.
Now, to be fair: when Eric Milton is pitching against you, the best method really might be to close your eyes and swing at whatever, since he gives up an astonishing number of homers (four last night). But when hacking is your approach for every plate appearance by every hitter, you should probably have a talk with your hitting coach and your general manager.
Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the Cardinals drew eight walks and won 5-3 over Milwaukee, running their record to an NL-best 13-5.
thatbob: And I thought Milwaukee was unbeatable!