And That Happened

I have a book review and a brief due today, two opinions on pending legislation due tomorrow, and it’s my 14th wedding anniversary. By all rights, I should have punted the box scores last night and tried to get a head start on some of that other stuff (and maybe taken some time to think about how to spend my 14th wedding anniversary). But then my palms started itchin’ and my fingers started twitchin’ and whatever it is that forces me to sit down and crack wise about baseball games every damn day just sort of took over. At least that’s what I’m going to tell my editor, my boss, and my wife when they all track me down later today to yell at me. Think they’ll understand?

Orioles 11, Red Sox 10: John Smoltz pitched better (4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) but had to leave when the rains came. I wouldn’t worry about the short outing, however, because Francona may want him in the bullpen. Why? Because Boston blew a 10-1 lead after their half of the seventh. Among the big blows was an Oscar Salazar pinch-hit three run homer and a Nick Markakis two-run double off of Papelbon after being 0-7 against him entering the game. It was the biggest comeback in Baltimore Orioles history, and one that had to be particularly sweet for Os fans who have had to put up with so many interlopers in their ballpark for Sox games in recent years.

Pirates 3, Cubs 0: Ross Ohlendorf and Freddy Sanchez got to the ballpark, realized that they were the only two Pirates not traded yesterday, and went about their business, Bugs Bunny vs. Gashouse Gorillas-style: Ohlendorf shut out the Cubs over seven innings (pasting those pathetic palookas with his powerful, paralyzing, perfect pachydermous percussion pitch) and Sanchez scored one run and drove in the other two for Pittsburgh. Most people thought Sanchez would be out on that run he scored in the fourth because Ted Lilly had the ball and was waiting for him at home plate. Then again, most people probably didn’t count on Sanchez having that 1940s pinup in his back pocket to distract Lilly either.

Braves 5, Phillies 4: I told Bill at Crashburn Alley that the Braves would take two out of three in this series. So far, so good. I never would have bet on the Bravos coming back in extra innings after coughing up two late homers like they did in this one, however, because they just don’t do that. Martin Prado was 4-5 with four RBI, including the game-winner in the 10th. My guess is that puts Kelly Johnson on the bench until the day Bobby Cox is buried in the cold, cold ground.

Rays 4, Blue Jays 1: I was gonna get all cute and quote some song lyrics here, but I couldn’t decide if I should go with “Running to Stand Still,” or “Hold On, I’m Comin’.” I suppose that all depends on how the Red Sox and Yankees do. Either way I have this feeling that the AL East is going to be redonkulously exciting in the second half.

Diamondbacks 6, Reds 2: Danny Haren’s teammates have failed to show up for him so many times this season that he would have been forgiven if he had picked up a bat and beat them silly. Lucky for everyone involved Haren is a clearer thinking guy than I am and decided to simply take the bat to the opposition, going 2 for 2 with a homer and a double. Oh, and he pitched seven innings of one run ball while striking out nine. He then drove the team bus back to the hotel, watched game film, set the lineups for the next week, called Billy Beane and asked what he’d want for Matt Holliday and started spitballin’ ideas for next season’s promotional calendar.

Giants 6, Cardinals 3: You had to figure Chris Carpenter was going to come back down to Earth eventually. You just didn’t figure on it happening all at once (5 IP, 11 H, 6 ER), especially against an offense like the Giants’. Despite the loss, Pujols had his requisite two home runs.

Brewers 6, Mets 3: That’s five losses in a row for the Metropolitans, capping off a lovely 9-18 June. Though that’s maybe not as important as the fact that, on June 1st, they were 2.5 games out of first and now, on July 1st, they’re only 3 games out. My God, the NL East is horrifying this year.

White Sox 11, Indians 4: Crisco. Bardol. Vagisil. Any one of them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball. Of course if the umps are watching me real close I’ll rub a little jalapeno up my nose, get it runnin’, and if I need to load the ball up I just [wipe] wipe my nose. Hey, I haven’t got an arm like you, kid. I have to put anything on it I can find. Someday you will too. [note: all Indians losses are going to get “Major League” quotes until Eric Wedge is fired or they win three in a row, whichever comes first].

Twins 2, Royals 1: The game story breaks out the first “hapless” I’ve seen in at least a year. It also notes that the Royals “are among the AL’s worst in hitting, runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.” Anyone ever make a movie about the Royals? Maybe I should be quoting that instead.

Marlins 7, Nationals 5: I called the Cardinals a one man gang the other day. So too are Hanley’s Fish (2-4, 4 RBI).

Rangers 9, Angels 5: Marlon Byrd homered twice and drove in five runs. Let’s hear it for Victor Conte’s supplements, everyone!

Yankees 8, Mariners 5: Mariano Rivera threw out the game’s first pitch, yet somehow came back in in the ninth to get the save. Don Wakamatsu, showing lots of class, decided not to protest the game.

Tigers 5, A’s 3: Armando Galarraga walked six guys. It’s not everyday that you can do that and win, but then again, it was the A’s he was facing and they are notably poor at making anyone pay for anything. The A’s have plugged in Gio Gonzalez into the rotation three or four or maybe fifty times this season, but pretty soon that experiment has to end, right? Because he’s, like, terrible. Yesterday he gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings, and you can make the argument that that’s his best start of the year.

Padres 4, Astros 3: Padres win, but Adrian Gonzalez got hurt. Hard to tell if it’s major. Gonzalez doesn’t know himself: “Sometimes I feel something and I wake up the next morning and I feel great. Then sometimes I wake up and something aches that I didn’t feel the night before.” I’m not sure why, but upon reading that I almost immediately got a sonic image of that statement being sung by Kevin Cronin over slowly ascending chords and making an almost perfect REO Speedwagon song.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 0: Jason Marquis pitches the game of his life (CG, SHO, 2 H, 3 K, 0 BB), and only needed 86 (!) pitches to do it. And Jim Tracy is the best quote in baseball: “In the seven-plus years I’ve sat behind a desk like this, that’s the first time I’ve seen a starting pitcher throw a nine-inning, complete-game shutout and do it with less than 90 pitches.” He watches games from his desk? I’ve heard of hands-off managers before, but that’s ridiculous. In other news, I was finally getting used to the idea that Manny coming back on Friday would be anti-climatic because the Dodgers simply didn’t need him too bad. This skid they’re on is changing my mind back again.

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  1. MooseinOhio said...

    Happy Anniversary – my wife and I are a year behind you and will be celebrating this weekend as well.  If I see you at Alana’s I promise to not talk baseball with you so we both can celebrate another anniversary next year.  Of course if I see you at the Chef-o-nette for breakfast baseball conversation will commence as the wife and kids get to know one another.

  2. lar said...

    At the Brewers game last night, the mayor (of Milwaukee, not Sean Casey) somehow found his way up into my section (upper deck, behind home plate) to watch the last couple of innings. I have no idea what he was doing up there but, seeing as how it was the second time that I had crossed paths with him that day (the first about 9 hours earlier), I thought it was pretty strange. The mayor did not partake in the wave, nor did he join in the hearty booing of Gary Sheffield.

    I suppose I can understand the not booing, as that might not be the most PC thing to do. But shouldn’t the mayor take part in the wave? I’m not a fan of the wave, and I don’t usually join in (unless I’m with a kid or something), but isn’t that something a gladhanding politician should do?

    Oh, and the bases loaded double by Ryan Braun that turned into a grand slam with the help of a couple of overthrown balls was pretty dang exciting to watch.

    Happy Anniversary, Craig!

  3. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Fair point, Richard, but at least this allows me to throw out the one million-dollar idea I’ve ever had in my life:

    Some Nashville producer should buy the rights to “Time for me to Fly,” give it a country arrangement, and give it to one of those beautiful bubbleheaded twentysomething female Nashville country singers and watch it bolt to number one on the charts. 

    I mean it—listen to the song and mentally speed it up a bit, add a chipmunk girly singler voice, some electric fiddles and glossy Nashville production and tell me it wouldn’t be a monster hit.

    I’ve shared this idea with about ten people, and every single last one of them looks at me like I’m nuts.  I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a bad idea or if it’s because I had such an idea to begin with, but I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a guaranteed number one, kids.

    /end of crazy

  4. Jason B said...

    Marlins and Nattys were in a rain delay for some time.  But Florida was ridin’ the storm out, and perservered for the win.

    Watching Aaron Miles and Mike Fontenot and others stumble and bumble around second base, the Cubbies shoulda never let DeRosa get away.  Cards – with your precarious middle infield situation, don’t make the same mistake – don’t let him go!

    Big Hurt says he’s had enough, and it’s time for me to fly. (or…lumber.)

    Wish the Jays coulda hung around in the pennant race longer, but I can’t fight this feelin’ that it’s totally slipped away from them.

    Ichiro swiped three bags.  That man can take it on the run.  Baby.

    /all done/

  5. Jack Marshall said...

    Almost as excruciating as watching the Red Sox blow a 10-1 lead was having to listen to Gary Thorne describe it. He’s the Ted Baxter of play-by-play guys: in love with his dulcet tones, prone to botched names (examples last night: “Rico Baldelli;” “Papelbom”) misinformation(“PapelboM gets the loss and the blown save”)and hilarious missed calls (the previous night, Adam Jones caught Youkilis’s bid for a home run but Thorne missed it and called a homer; last night, Youkilis obviously hit it out as Jones hit the wall, but Thorne kept saying “Did he catch it?” long after every TV viewer knew it was gone and as Youkilis was rounding the bases.) Thorne called Baldelli Jason Bay for an entire at bat. And Jim Palmer never corrects him.

  6. Richard Dansky said...

    Speaking as someone who A) owns multiple Hayseed Dixie albums and B)prefers Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” to the original, I think that’s brilliant.

  7. Andrew said...

    You forgot to mention the part late in the Pirate game where Theriot hit a mammoth shot into Lake Michigan but Saanchez quickly ran out, took a taxi, rented a row boat, and made the game saving catch.

    Incredible, really.

  8. Greg said...

    I’m not sure that the NL East is really that bad as much as they are simply not nearly as good as the AL East.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the entire division took a nose dive during inter-league play.

  9. Jason B said...

    To me, the NL East may seem even worse than it actually is because there were some reasonably high expectations for some of the teams therein.  Phillies and Mets I think were generally believed to be pretty decent teams, with Atlanta perhaps contending because of the solid rotation they had assembled (with the additions of Vazquez, Lowe, and Kawakami) and the young Marlins maybe making things interesting as well, if everything came together just right.

    As we get into July, we’ve seen injuries ravage the now-punchless Mets, the Phillies struggle to get any kind of consistent performances from their rotation and closers, and the Braves and Fish appear thoroughly mediocre as well.  No real upside surprises among any of the five teams in the division.

  10. Will said...

    Pretty good day for Colorado pitching last night. Marquis shutout the Dodgers, and the AAA Sky Sox had a 7-inning perfect game from Brandon Hynick.

    It’s strangely unsettling to see all this good pitching in the organization.

  11. APBA Guy said...

    Lost in the good cheer of the impending Shyster-versary was Mark Ellis second HR in two nights. More importantly, back at second, Ellis snagged a ball deep in the hole to nail Ryan Raburn going to second, illustrating why Kennedy was moved to third.

    @ Jack Marshall: keep in mind Thorne and Bill Clement were hockey’s best announcing duo. Also, the reason you have him at Bal’mer is that Angelos runs off every decent announcer that stops by, a proud tradition that started with Jon Miller. If you don’t like Thorne take heart, he’ll be gone soon enough.

  12. Jack Marshall said...

    Never heard Gary do hockey—-presumably this was before his closed-head injury. He had more howlers today, and will never be forgiven by Red Sox fans for stating as fact the canard that Curt Schilling’s bloody sock was painted. Glad someone will say something nice about Jon Miller, who really was excellent on O’s broadcasts, but whose reputation seems to have been marred forever by being stuck in the booth with Joe Morgan.

  13. Levi Stahl said...

    Should Pujols stay on this 62-homer pace into mid-September, I expect we’ll see lots of articles positing that he might be the first hitter to break Maris’s record legitimately. There would be plenty of hedging and hand-wringing about how we just can’t know he’s clean—and in fact maybe even articles arguing crankily that we have to assume he’s not—but overall it sure does seem like a thread your average baseball columnist would enjoy running with.

    Me, I’ll just be happy if he’s somehow kept the team in contention all by himself.

  14. J.W. said...

    Mariano Rivera threw out the game’s first pitch, yet somehow came back in in the ninth to get the save. Don Wakamatsu, showing lots of class, decided not to protest the game.


    Happy anniversary, Shyster-Mates.

  15. MooseinOhio said...

    Hopefully you won’t need to dip into Major League II for additional quotes but I suspect that Larry Dolan will not be firing anyone soon as he’d have to pay for two managers and possible two GMs and I don’t see that happening.

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