Thursday, October 23, 2008

World Series, Game 1

So I started off on Wednesday night after a long day of work by cracking open my bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label, the first time I've ever drunk Johnny Walker in my entire life. I got this kickass bottle as a gift from a lawyer friend of mine who I helped get a job a year or so ago, ironically at the company that recently purchased my former employer after their bankruptcy. On this night I drank for two reasons: first and foremost, to celebrate the Phillies on their first World Series appearance in 15 years, and secondly, because I got word that most of the team I worked with at my former employer are about to be laid off by the new company that owns them. Mostly likely on Thursday (update: they did in fact get laid off, mid-morning on Thursday). Basically I knew this was coming for them since the day the buyout was announced, but to actually see it happening live now has me all broken up. Both of the people I hired earlier this year are among those getting the izznax. It's sad as hell to tell the truth. So I drank to them as well on Wednesday evening as I sit down to watch my Fightin' Phillies hopefully win on the back of staff ace Cole Hamels.

Oh how do I hate Tim McCarver and Joe Buck. I can't even decide who I hate worse. But tell me, does anybody -- anybody in the world -- think these guys are anything but horrible sports announcers? Tim McCarver has always hated the Phils ever since he's for some reason been allowed to call baseball games. Go do a google search of Tim McCarver for a good laugh though and just see how many people hate him. Including, of course, Deion Sanders who dumped a bucket of ice on Timmy boy after he heard about McCarver saying some unflattering things about Deion during a broadcast. "You're a real man, Deion!". That's what I keep remembering Timmy Mac saying after being embarrassed like that. What a whore. Anyways I will never understand how the literal two worst baseball announcers around today are somehow the two schmike selected to call the Fall Classic. Leave it to Fox I guess.

Anyways BOOOooooooommm! Chase Utley hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Rays' starter Scott Kasmir. I called one of my brothers, and then the other. We were all fipping out, as was every Phillies fan I'm sure. Chase fought back from 0-2 in that at-bat too. What a great young home-grown player Chase is. It's one of the things that goes largely unnoticed about this Phillies team -- moreso than at any time in the past, this team got great and did it largely on the strength of homegrown talent from the Phils' own minor league system as opposed to trades or free agent signings from other teams. Think about it, just look at that lineup -- Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell and Carlos Ruiz, and of course Cole Hamels, all have only ever played for the Philies. It's amazing what a really solid farm system can do for a team over a few solid years.

Unfortunately the 2nd inning saw the beginning of a very annoying trend in Game 1 where the Phillies loaded the bases and yet failed to score after a horrible baserunning error by the Flyin' Hawaiin Shane Victorino. For the life of me I kept waiting for these two bumbling idiot announcers to say something about how horrible it was for Victorino to make the third out with the bases loaded by tagging up on a very short and very easy fly ball to shallow center against a fielder in B.J. Upton known to have a good arm. I mean, it was definitively inexcusable, flat-out just mind-bogglingly horrible. We have the bases loaded, our leadoff hitter is up and flies out to shallow center. If you just sit on your ass and wait, we have Jayson Werth (who did in fact lead off the next inning by roping a double down the right field line), Chase Utley and Ryan Howard set to bat next. And the bases are already loaded now! And you're getting thrown out by a mile tagging up on a lazy fly ball that barely reached the middle of the outfield, when the center fielder has a gun for an arm and is easily able to get set and ready to throw before even catching the ball? My god how horrible, surpassed only by the complete vapidity of the announcers to not even know enough about the game to comment on the play. Just laughable.

By the third inning when Werth led off with his double, it was obvious that Rays' starter Scott Kasmir was off his game. No, you wouldn't know it from the sickly pro-Rays announcers of course, but I'm convinced they were only barely paying attention to the actual game being played. They had to be. Kasmir gave up 7 hits I think in 6 innings, but also four walks in what was in the end not a strong performance at all. This despite Joe Maddon coming out in the 5th inning with the earphones on and talking to Buck and McCarver abuot how great Kasmir was doing finding the plate on the night. Uh huh. Great at finding the plate. Basically two baserunners per inning, and this is a great start? Hmmmmmm. Perhaps Joe Maddon is a poker blogger and we didn't even know it?

Phils' starter Cole Hamels pitched another gem, scattering five hits for two runs over 7 innings in earning his 4th postseason victory so far this year with an ERA of just 1.55 so far in the playoffs. His only real problem came in the third inning, when he loaded the bases on a walk and a couple of singles before getting Upton to ground into a sharp double play ball fielded cleanly by Pedro Feliz at third base. He has been solid all year on defense for us over at the hot corner, and is another of those guys on the Phils like Greg Dobbs and Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino who was unheralded all through the regular season but who quietly had a very solid year for us, making their contributions where and when needed the most.

The Phils tacked on a third run on a fielder's choice from catcher Carlos Ruiz in the third, which was good because Hamels gave up his only big hit of the night an inning later when Carl Crawford reached out and put one just over the right-center field wall. At this point it was 3-1 Phillies, and it was a lead they would never give up as Hamels gave up just the one more run on a nice hit into the right-centerfield alley by the Rays' leadoff man Iwamura in the 5th. Ryan Madson came in to set up in the 8th and absolutely mowed down the Rays with a slim 3-2 Phillies lead, and then "Mr. Perfect" Brad Lidge -- who was 46 for 46 in save opportunities so far this season coming in to Wednesday's game, including the playoffs -- completely shut down the Rays in the 9th. His slider is just so good, as good as Madsen's fastball was in the 8th and as good as Hamels's changeup was all night through the first seven innings.

It was good our pitching was so strong on the night, because as I mentioned the Phillies could not hit in the clutch to save their lives on the night. In the end our hitters went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position, stranding 13 runners on base in what proved very fortuitous for us to have such great pitching in this game. Plus, we can't expect to keep beating a great team like the Rays with Jimmy Rollins, last year's MVP, and Ryan Howard, two years ago's (and maybe this year's) MVP, looking completely and utterly befuddled at home plate. Howard for crying out loud is the sickest of all, with the Rays even electing to intentionally walk Chase Utley in the ninth inning just to put two guys on base to face Ryan Howard, who promptly sat up there like a pussass, barely taking his bat off his shoulder on his way to striking out yet again. And if you know baseball at all, Howard isn't just run-of-the-mill striking out. He is looking downright silly and outright confused up at the plate, he really is. He better come out of his funk quick -- him and Jimmy Rollins for that matter, or we're going to have a lot of trouble holding on to leads in the biggest series in the lives of any of the players on either team left in this year's Fall Classic.

I did want to mention briefly again just how horrible Buck and McCarver are on the mikes as baseball announcers. I'm thinking not only of the lack of insight into the finer points of the game from either of them as I mentioned above, but also of Buck proclaiming on Wednesday night that "voguing is prohibited in the rays clubhouse" since manager Joe Maddon told the team to wear khakis and blue blazers on Thursday. I mean, please tell me Buck and McCarver are up there eating magic mushrooms or something during the game, it would explain so much that comes out of their mouths. I'm also recalling McCarver insisting that Pat Burrell should have been called out on strike 3 and then putting up the "Fox cam" and the ball is at least a foot low and a foot outside. Then Burrell ends up topping one down the first base line and beats it out, and there is fuggin McCarver again saying how Burrell should have been called out for runner's interference. For running in the basepath!! What an abject moron. Then in the 5th inning McCarver mentioned that Ruiz and I think it was Pena were both from Latin America, where the baseball draft is not active. Apparently Puerto Rico is not Latin America, huh? Nice one, Timmy. Then in the 6th McCarver pointed out what a "special sports day" it was going to be in Philadelphia on Sunday, since not only are the Phils playing a World Series game there, but the (last place) Eagles are playing the Falcons. Wow!! Asshead. And then my favorite line of the night maybe, in the 9th inning with Lidge out there to close it out, McCarver makes the astute observation that "A lot of Lidge's sliders are in the dirt. Ruiz will have to block the ball." There's fucking nobody on base, assidiot!! Ruiz could literally see the ball heading low, and just stand up and let it roll between his legs and pop into the stands for all it matters to anyone. What an effing clown.

And btw, how many times are they going to show that Christie Brinkley / Chevy Chase "Vacation" takeoff commercial for DirecTV? I mean, once or twice is one thing, but seven or eight times in just one game? Ridiculous.

Game 2 tonight, Brett Myers against Rays' ace James Shields. This one I would lay about 80% odds that the Rays come back and win. Before the series began I predicted a Game 1 victory from Hamels, we lose Game 2, and then (hopefully) we take 2 of 3 in Philly to send the series back to Tampa with us leading 3 games to 2, and no reason to change that now. 8pm ET tonight, coverage on Fox once again with the two greatest baseball minds of our generation calling the game. Lucky, lucky us.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Gadzooks64 said...

Mmm mmm mm. Johnny Walker Blue. I remember him.

We had a bottle at Chicagopalooza one year.

Not me in the pic but that is an awesome shirt doncha think?

12:58 AM  
Blogger Astin said...

There's still baseball going on? Weird.

So you feel bad for these guys and toast them with JWB? Poor guys. I have a litre of it myself, and I drink it to get rid of it. Most overpriced, overrated scotch I can think of. It's not terrible, but there are far, FAR better options for half the price. I actually find the JW Black more drinkable. Then again, I guess it LOOKS good on my liquor shelf. Maybe I'm just a single malt kind of guy.

Go Phils!

1:00 AM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

In addition to the general subjective definition of offensive interference, it is also interference by specific rule when[2]:
The bat hits the ball a second time in fair territory, such as while the bat is being dropped;
A batter or runner intentionally deflects the course of a batted ball in any manner;
A member of the offensive team stands near a base to impersonate a baserunner or to otherwise confuse or hinder the defense;
A coach physically assists a runner in returning to or leaving first or third base;
A batter is struck by a ball thrown from the home plate area while running to first base with a foot entirely outside the three-foot running lane, before the batter reaches first base;

The 3 foot lane is in foul territory between 2 well marked chalk lines.

If ball had hit Burrell he would be out. He was in "dirt" basepath but to fair ground side of chalk

1:05 AM  
Blogger sootedshit said...

Tim McCarver is a huge tool. Being a sox fan, I've had to hear his ass talk pro-Yankee and pro Aaron Boone for god knows how long. The worst commentator besides him was a guy by the name of Tom Tolbert who was on the TNT panel for the NBA playoffs. His biggest whiff was mistaking Robert Horry for Will Smith. Good luck for your Phillies and sorry for the mishap earlier.

5:30 AM  
Blogger steeser said...

Your obvious disdain for McCarver has blinded you to the facts.

"And then my favorite line of the night maybe, in the 9th inning with Lidge out there to close it out, McCarver makes the astute observation that "A lot of Lidge's sliders are in the dirt. Ruiz will have to block the ball." There's fucking nobody on base, assidiot!!

There were 2 strikes on the hitter. Swing and a miss on a ball in the dirt is a dropped 3rd strike.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

LOlolololol. Who knew Tim McCarver had a blogger ID?

5:22 AM  
Blogger The Poker Grind said...

hey , i wanna ask u something off the blog , can i email you or IM you somehow , let me know..or should i post my email addy here

8:29 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Grind,

What is your IM, i will hit you on the girly.

10:14 PM  
Blogger The Poker Grind said...

I should have my aol IM hooked up to my phone ( I'm typingthis comment from my phone and always read ur blog via my phone) .. aol sn is steven3751

12:21 AM  

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