Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blogging World Series Game 1

Let me just begin by saying... WORST. NATIONAL. ANTHEM. ARRANGEMENT. EVER.

Otherwise, looks like a big and lively crowd in Tampa Bay! This must be so exhilarating for players like Carl Crawford, who have seen so many very bad days in TB, and the teeny-tiny crowds that go with them. I bet they sell more hot dogs at Tropicana Field tonight than they ever have before.

(Cat-related interruption... Baby Cat is sitting right on top of Mama Cat. Right on top of her. Mama Cat doesn't seem to mind. They're both sleeping.)

Top of 1 (T1): Mike Schmidt presents the Phillies line-up for Fox. Isn't it funny how baseball players always LOOK like baseball players, even long after they've retired. Schmidt refers to Chase Utley as Chase "Born to Play Baseball" Utley. That's... creative. A one-out walk to Jayson Werth, first base runner of the night. OOh! There are stingrays in a tank in center field... I bet PETA loves that. Fox tell us that the biggest crowd ever at Tropicana was 47, 150... for a New Kids on the Block Concert. Chase "BtPB" Utley hits a home run over the right field wall... 2-0 Phillies. Scott Kazmir strikes out Pat Burrell to end the half-inning. (1H, 2R, 0E)

B1: The Rays choose to use their own players to introduce themselves, but they do it in one take, with each player walking up the camera, and Carl Crawford screws it up. But at least it was his position he got wrong and not, you know, his name. Iwamura beats out a close play at first for the first Rays runner of the night. I love me some good hustle. BJ Upton erases the runner on a 4-6-3 DP. Upton does not hustle. Another ground ball ends the inning. (1H, 0R, 0E)

T2: Infield hit for Shane Victorino, who looks like he never blinks. Kazmir goes 3&0 on Pedro Feliz, giving credence to what the Fox announcers have just said about his propensity to be wild in early innings. This will likely be the only credible thing that the Fox announcers will say tonight. And there's the walk. The Rays come VERY close to picking-off Victorino at 2nd. The ump made the right call though, to my eye. Kazmir walks the bases loaded and gets a nice visit from the pitching coach. Jimmy Rollings hits a fly ball to to center field, but it's not very deep, and Victorino tags up and gets thrown out at home. (1H, 0R, 0E)

B2: Nothing very much happens this half-inning, except that Cole Hamels looks very dominant on the mound, especially with Kasmir being a bit wild. (0H, 0R, oE) I'm starting to crave popcorn.

T3: Jayson Werth starts the inning with a double for the Phils. Utley advances him to third on a ground ball. Jason Werth used to play for the Blue Jays. As a fan of the Blue Jays, I will take credit for his success. Ryan Howard strikes out. Burrell strikes out too. (1H, 0R, 0E)

(Cat-related interruption... The cats are now fighting. All good things must come to an end. Mama Cat gives up and moves to my lap.)

B3: One-out single for Ben Zobrist. A walk to Jason Bartlett. Did you know that the whole Rays starting rotation is younger than 26? That's pretty impressive. Base hit for Iwamura on a hung curve ball, bases LOADED. And now Hamels gets a nice visit from the coach. But Upton hits into his second DP (5-4-3) of the night, and the inning is over. (2H, 0R, 0E)

T4: Victorino leads off with a single, and immediately starts to bother Kazmir again, as he did in the 2nd inning. Predictably, Feliz hits a single to put two on with nobody out. Chris Coste bunts both runners over. RBI Ground-out by Ruiz, 3-0 for the Phillies. Kazmir strikes out Jimmy Rollins to end the inning. (2H, 1R, 0E)

B4: Crawford hits a home run to right field! Woo! The crowd comes alive, and the Rays are on the board. (1H, 1R, 0E)

T5: I love Joe Maddon (the Rays Manager). If he doesn't win the Manager of the Year, I'll be surprised. Kazmir issues his 4th walk of the night with two outs. The Rays have to get out of this inning quickly to try and build on the momentum created by Crawford's home run and to keep the crowd in it. The first basemen, Pena, gets handcuffed and commits an error that allows Burrell to reach first. Two on, two out. The next batter grounds out and there's no harm done. We'll see about the momentum... (0H, 0R, 1E)

B5:Navarro strikes out to start the inning. Zobrist follows it up with a ground ball out. Bartlett walks to bring up Iwamura, who is 2-2 tonight. Bartlett steals second, and Iwamura lifts a beautiful double to left field to score the run. 3-2 Phillies. This is the kind of late game excitement that the Rays are known for! Upton pops out to foul territory to end the inning. (1H, 1R, oE)

T6: Can somebody explain to me why (Feliz leads off with single) the baseball team from Tampa Bay FLORIDA is playing in a covered stadium? It is 24C in Tampa right now, at 10:30 in the evening. Ridiculous. Kazmir passes the 100-pitch mark, and we are seeing activity in the bullpen, including from a guy who throws so dramatically side-arm as to look like he's bowling. Whatever works for ya, I guess! No pitching change by inning end though. (1H, 0R, 0E)

So Taco Bell has this promotion where if anybody steals a base in the World Series, they will give a free taco... TO EVERYONE IN AMERICA. And Bartlett stole a base last inning, so... SO CLAIM YOUR TACOS, MY AMERICAN BLOGGY FRIENDS! (Tuesday, October 28th between 2 and 6pm, apparently.)

I'm getting my popcorn soon. I can smell it. He's a good husband.

B6: Carlos Pena is safe at first on an error to start the seventh but is thrown out at second trying to steal. Joe Maddon is arguing (loudly) that the pitcher balked on the pitch... And then Longoria strikes out for the second out. Crawford grounds out to end the inning. (0H, 0R, 1E)

T7: JP Howell in to replace Kazmir. WH calls the Fox commentators stupid. I laugh. Werth strikes out to start the seventh, and we get to hear the conversation between Maddon and the Ump between the inning with regards to the questionable call in the previous half inning. It is an entirely decent and reasonable coversation. How nice! Utley gets a single up the middle and steals second base. FREE TACOS PEOPLE. Wild pitch, and Utley's on third with one out. Ryan Howard strikes out. Howard walks Burrell and is pulled from the game. The new pitcher is Grant Balfour, a good French Canadian name, except that he's from Australia. He strikes out Victorino to end the inning. (2H, 0R, 0E)

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME... etc. (And I don't care if they actually play God Bless America instead... this is Take Me Out to the Ballgame time. God Bless America was a moving and touching tribute after 9/11. Enough now.)

B7: The Rays do nothing with their half of the seventh. Cole Hamels is now at 100 pitches, and I think they should pull him now. With the great bullpen that the Phillies have, and a one run lead, why run the risk of giving that up because of a tiring starter? We'll see...

T8: The Phillies go in order in the eighth.

B8: I can't tell if the fact that WebMD sponsors the injury reports on Fox is genius marketing, or actually kind of creepy. Anyhoo... I would like the Rays to do something spectacular with this inning. Something home-runish, or bases loadedish... The Phillies have, in fact, changed their pitcher. (I told them to do that.) Ryan Madsen takes the ball and gets Bartlett to pop up to start things off. Iwamura flies out to right. BJ Upton is one home run away from tying the record for most postseason home runs, which is currently held by all kinds of people... Beltran, Bonds (ugh), Glaus. Wouldn't right now be a good time to hit one? Upton strikes out... and that's the eighth.

On to the ninth!

T9: Balfour is back out on the mound for the Rays, and he strikes out Rollins to start things off. Ground-rule double for Jayson Werth, and the Rays walk Utley intentionally (he was born to play baseball, after all). Balfour out, Miller in, Ryan Howard strikes out. WH asks the following excellent question: "Why does Fox have aerial coverage when the game is being played in a domed stadium?" I have no answer for that. Both runners advance with no throw but a pop-up gets the Rays out of the inning.

B9: Brad Lidge has not blown a save in 49 tries. Carlos Pena strikes out. Evan Longoria strikes out. Crawford pops it up and that's Game One in the books.

Just a few thoughts... No surprise that this game was dominated by pitching; that's my expectation for the whole series. The Rays need to continue to believe in their ability to make games exciting late. The Phillies will need bigger things from their power bats, Rollins and Howard especially, and for the Rays, BJ Upton needs to hit the ball.

And if the Jays were in the series, would Canadian tacos be free too?


Towanda said...

Utley didn't look good tonight, he needs to get it together. And I COMPLETELY agree with you about the nat'l anthem (which is bad enough when done decently...sometimes I wish I lived in Canada just because y'all have such a good anthem), not doing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," and Bradford's wicked sidearm pitching.

We'll see what happens next. Phillies pitching declines after Hamels, but the Rays still have even better arms than Kazmir coming up.

Julie said...

In spite of not knowing anything about baseball, I LOVE THIS POST! This is about baseball, right? :)

Crimson Rambler said...

you are funnier than a little red wagon, you are.

Chunklets said...

Ah, but the Blue Jays are in the Series, sort of! The Phillies played as the Philadelphia Blue Jays for a couple of seasons back in the '40s.

Excellent baseball blogging, btw!