THT Chats: All-Star Game

Pre-Game

Bryan Smith: Is there a line for the game tonight?
Aaron Gleeman: NL -140, AL +120.
Vinay Kumar: I saw the line for it in Vegas, before they even announced the rosters. I figured it was due to Clemens.

Larry Mahnken enters the chat room

Larry Mahnken: 27m looking for cyber. NE hot chix here?
Larry Mahnken: So, who wins?
Aaron Gleeman: The fans, Larry. Always the fans.
Vinay Kumar: If Torre intentionally walks Bonds twice tonight, does Bud outlaw the IBB in next year’s game?
Larry Mahnken: I doubt Torre will walk Bonds.
Vinay Kumar: I doubt he would either, but THIS TIME IT COUNTS, and Torre knows he’s a got a good shot of being in the World Series.
Aaron Gleeman: Yeah, cause that helped them so much last year.
Larry Mahnken: So … how’s second-place?
Aaron Gleeman: It’s good. We were in second this time last year too.
Larry Mahnken: You got your butts kicked by the Yankees last year too.

The FOX broadcast starts with a Blues Brothers introduction

Aaron Gleeman: What do the Blue Brothers have to do with Houston?
Larry Mahnken: Who cares? These were great promos.
Bryan Smith: Blues Brothers = Chicago = last year’s game.
Vinay Kumar: I liked the Blue Brothers AS game ads too.
Aaron Gleeman: Has anyone fallen off a cliff faster than Dan Akroyd? He’s the Roberto Alomar of actors.
Larry Mahnken: Yeah, but Ghostbusters makes up for everything Akroyd’s done since.

FOX’s first mention of the Piazza/Clemens “storyline”

Aaron Gleeman: Okay, on a scale of 1-10, how much do you care about the Piazza/Clemens thing? I say 2.
Larry Mahnken: Negative 5. I still think the whole thing was overblown to begin with. Clemens might have been trying to brush Piazza back high and tight, and he might have been trying to hit him, but I’m positive he wasn’t trying to hit him in the head and I’m even more positive that he wasn’t throwing the bat at him.

Jeanne Zelasko interviews Joe Torre and Jack McKeon

Aaron Gleeman: Jeanne Zelasko makes me uncomfortable. And not in a good way. McKeon to Torre: “What good did the homefield advantage do ya?”
Larry Mahnken: Torre should punch McKeon. It would make me feel better, at least.
Aaron Gleeman: Old guys are funny. From Abe Simpson to Jack McKeon, I’ve always said that.

The broadcast goes to “commercial”

Aaron Gleeman: Wow, now we have an “I, Robot” commercial acting as a promo for the game.
Larry Mahnken: Speaking of which, this chat is brought to you by Billy’s House of Meat By-Products.
Aaron Gleeman: What the hell does “I, Robot” have to do with the AS game? I hate this stuff.
Larry Mahnken: OK, which was worse: “I, Robot”, or last year’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” tie-in?

The on-field player introductions begin

Aaron Gleeman: Esteban Loaiza, Matt Lawton, Ron Belliard and Jake Westbrook all in a row … it’s an All-Star game allright! “And from the New York Yankees … hold on, this might take a while …”
Larry Mahnken: All their reserves are valid picks, even Matsui. Not necessarily the best picks, but all valid. Eric Gagne really does look a lot like me.
Aaron Gleeman: Jim Thome looks not totally unlike Sloth from The Goonies.
Vinay Kumar: You know Chunk from The Goonies was actually student body president at Berkeley while I was there.

The starting lineups are announced

Bryan Smith: Pujols is hitting second?
Aaron Gleeman: I think most sims say the best hitter should hit second. That’s where I bat my best guy in Diamond-Mind leagues.
Vinay Kumar: I do too, but my teams always underperform.
Aaron Gleeman: That’s because their manager is a moron.
Vinay Kumar: Yes, that’s what I was getting at.
Craig Burley: I bat my best player third, but if I don’t have two good on-base guys I bat him second.

Aaron Gleeman: Awesome, we’re only moments away from the National Anthem AND the ceremonial first pitch!
Larry Mahnken: Gametime in three hours! They’re not broadcasting Oh Canada.
Craig Burley: They never do.
Larry Mahnken: It’s so much better than the Star Spangled Banner, though. I think the United States should invade Canada, conquer it, and rename ourselves Canada so we can have their anthem.
Aaron Gleeman: Agreed. I’ve been pro invading Canada for years now.
Larry Mahnken: When I was a kid, I always wondered why we never took it. Then I found out we tried twice, and failed.
Craig Burley: You’re welcome to, so long as I get to be paid in US dollars.

Fantasia sings the National Anthem

Aaron Gleeman: Honestly, I’ve never seen this person before in my entire life.
Larry Mahnken: She won American Idol, right?
Bryan Smith: She’s some sort of bad mix between Macy Gray and Whitney Houston?
Aaron Gleeman: Yeah, she does sound a little Macy Gray-ish. Hey, anyone see that story about Macy Gray singing naked?
Larry Mahnken: God, no.
Aaron Gleeman: You’ve all been warned: Macy Gray — The Naked Truth

Joe Buck introduces himself

Aaron Gleeman: Buck: “Tim McCarver in just a second.” What a promise.
Larry Mahnken: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Aaron Gleeman: Buck: “Nobody outside of Texas knew the name Hank Blalock.”
Larry Mahnken: Who?
Aaron Gleeman: Well, we now know what type of fans FOX broadcasts to.
Larry Mahnken: I’m turning on my Michael Kay filter for McCarver.
Vinay Kumar: You mean the mute button?

The game begins as Ichiro doubles to right field

Aaron Gleeman: Wow, Ichiro! almost went deep. Uh oh, wow they’re gonna say he could hit homers whenever he wants to … Bingo. Buck: “You know, Ichiro is a guy who doesn’t hit many home runs, but he can hit the long ball …”

Ivan Rodriguez triples to right field, 1-0 AL

Aaron Gleeman: Sosa is getting a workout. So much for all this Clemens in Houston stuff.
Larry Mahnken: Piazza is calling bad pitches.
Studes: On purpose.

Manny Ramirez homers, 3-0 AL

Larry Mahnken: Hey, Manny! Are a whole lot of teams regretting not grabbing Manny on waivers right now?
Aaron Gleeman: No, Manny is playing like he always plays.
Studes: Yeah, they really wish they had that AS home run.

Alfonso Soriano homers, 6-0 AL

Bryan Smith: Oh lord.
Studes: Wow. I’m going to bed.
Larry Mahnken: Yankees win! Thuhuhuhuhuh Yankees win!!!
Aaron Gleeman: Danny Kolb warming in the bullpen!

FOX’s Scooter cartoon character makes his first appearance

Larry Mahnken: Oh God, that wasn’t the stupid baseball cartoon, was it?
Aaron Gleeman: Yeah, someone in the production truck hit the “Scooter” button a little early.
Lee Sinins: Phil Rizzuto has nothing to do with this.
Larry Mahnken: Holy Cow!

Albert Pujols doubles to center field

Bryan Smith: You’d think we were playing the game in Coors Field.
Aaron Gleeman: So do they walk Barry?
Bryan Smith: Well, first base is open.
Larry Mahnken: Did they seriously ask Mulder if he’s going to pitch to Bonds?

Bonds flies out to center field

Aaron Gleeman: Bonds stinks.
Lee Sinins: Bonds already has more IBBs this year than the last two AL full season leaders had, combined. He’s close to making that the last three.
Bryan Smith: And Jayson Stark would still vote Rolen as the MVP.
Aaron Gleeman: Who usually batted behind Ted Williams?

Sammy Sosa singles to right field, 6-1 AL

Aaron Gleeman: Studes is old … tell me who batted behind Ted Williams.
Vinay Kumar: Looking at the RBIs, Doerr and Stephens hit after Ted in the late 40s.
Aaron Gleeman: Jimy Williams is an AS bench coach, but what happens if he is fired in the middle of the game?
Larry Mahnken: Dancing in the streets in Houston?

Kolb relieves Clemens

Aaron Gleeman: I always say, it’s not an All-Star game until Danny Kolb makes an appearance.
Lee Sinins: The NL goes from a pitcher with 636 career Runs Saved Above Average to one with 22. I wonder what the record for that is.
Aaron Gleeman: There must be a Dontrelle-type rookie who had fewer than 22 RSAA. Hell, isn’t there an AS pitcher who had a negative RSAA?
Lee Sinins: I’m sure there was, but you also need to succeed a pitcher as high as Clemens.
Bryan Smith: What’s Ted Lilly at?
Lee Sinins: Lilly’s got -7 RSAA.
Bryan Smith: Buck: “Is anyone paying attention to Vladimir Guerrero these days?” No, who is he?
Lee Sinins: Isn’t he the President of Russia?
Aaron Gleeman: The same people who didn’t know who Hank Blalock was last year, apparently.

Barry Larkin pinch hits for Kolb in the second inning

Lee Sinins: First, we’re told people don’t know about Blalock and Guerrero. Now, Mulder. FOX sure is assuming that non-fans are their audience.
Larry Mahnken: Now, most fans haven’t heard of this guy, Bonds. He’s almost as good as Jeter.
Lee Sinins: Maybe it’s that only non-fans can really put up with Tim McCarver.

Scooter makes his second appearance

Aaron Gleeman: I wish Scooter and McCarver would fight to the death and both lose.
Studes: Who do you guys think gets Randy Johnson?
Aaron Gleeman: You guessed it … Frank Stallone.
Larry Mahnken: If he’s going somewhere, the Yankees will find some way to make it happen for them.
Lee Sinins: On the one hand, the Yankees don’t have the players to get him. But, on the other hand, I still think they will.
Larry Mahnken: I think the Yankees would send their prospects to some other team who would send prospects to Arizona.
Lee Sinins: The Yankees don’t have a lot of prospects to deal, even to someplace else, to get Johnson.

Craig Burley: So who gets Delgado?
Bryan Smith: Dodgers get Delgado.
Craig Burley: I think so too, but they’re taking their time about it!
Bryan Smith: DePodesta wasn’t sure which way the Dodgers were gonna go in the West. Now that they are in contention, he’s going to go for him.
Vinay Kumar: If McCourt is willing to pay Delgado, I’m afraid the Dodgers will get him.

Ken Harvey pinch hits for Mulder

Studes: Is Ken Harvey for real?
Vinay Kumar: Harvey’s really tumbled the last few weeks.
Studes: Ah, not surprised. High BABIP, low LD%.
Vinay Kumar: He was hitting .367/.404/.532 a month ago, .305/.353/.452 now. Thing is, he hit for very high averages in the minors.
Studes: And a slugger too, right?
Aaron Gleeman: No, except for one year, Harvey was all batting average in the minors.

The AL leaves the bases loaded in the third inning

Bryan Smith: Speaking of players ready to fade, All-Star Carl Crawford is hitting .241/.255/.333 this month, preparing for a bad second-half.
Studes: What’s your bet on how close the D-Rays are to .500 at the end of the year?
Lee Sinins: Devil Rays: 90 losses.
Aaron Gleeman: They’ll go like 74-88 or something.
Studes: I’d say 86 losses. Do I hear 85?
Craig Burley: Yeah, about 85-90 losses. They’re not as good as their record.
Bryan Smith: I’ll bid 85.
Studes: Do I hear 84? Going, going, gone at 85.

Esteban Loaiza comes in to pitch for the AL

Aaron Gleeman: Esteban Loaiza started for the AL last year, right? That deal with the devil expired real quick.
Studes: He’s ok, a #3 starter. Fooled people this year with his great year last year, but when you dig, he doesn’t look as good.
Aaron Gleeman: Now Carlos Zambrano is “one of the best-kept secrets in baseball,” according to Joe Buck. Do fans know ANYONE?

Alex Rodriguez triples to center field, 7-1 AL

Bryan Smith: Would Beltran have caught that?
Aaron Gleeman: Jeter would have had that.
Larry Mahnken: Jeter would have had that and thrown the runner out at first.
Aaron Gleeman: See, Larry knows.

Carl Crawford pinch hits for Jason Giambi

Aaron Gleeman: Buck on Crawford: “This guy could have done anything.” How ’bout starting by drawing a walk?
Lee Sinins: Crawford’s already -15 in BB vs. the league average this year.
Aaron Gleeman: I like Lee, he backs up my lame jokes with facts.
Studes: Has he improved at taking a walk since coming to the majors?
Lee Sinins: He hasn’t. As a rookie, he was only 16 walks below average. Then, he regressed to 30 below and he’s on pace for another 30 below this year.

C.C. Sabathia comes on to pitch for the AL

Aaron Gleeman: Joe Buck just told us that Sabathia’s kid is “HUGE.”
Lee Sinins: That guy eats more in a day than I eat in month.
Larry Mahnken: Sabathia needs to put his hat on straight.
Studes: Must be his lucky hat.
Larry Mahnken: I had a lucky hat once. I lost it when my house burned down.
Studes: Man, what does Sabathia look like on the pitcher cam?
Aaron Gleeman: He looks fat.

Carlos Beltran pinch hits for Zambrano

Aaron Gleeman: Buck: “Those around the country obviously haven’t seen a lot of Carlos Beltran.” Player #1,405,367 that no one has seen, according to Buck.
Bryan Smith: So, where do you guys think Beltran ends up in 2005?
Larry Mahnken: Beltran goes to the Yankees.
Lee Sinins: “Now batting for the Yankees, number something Carlos Beltran, number something.”
Craig Burley: Beltran? New York.
Larry Mahnken: There’s is no way he doesn’t go to the Yankees, unless he decides he doesn’t want to go there. Even if he gets traded to, say, Boston, he’s a Yankee next year.

Edgar Renteria doubles down the left field line, 7-2 AL

Bryan Smith: How long can they keep committing money to players? I mean, seriously, they already have like $150M committed to ’05.
Craig Burley: As long as Steinbrenner wants. He’s basically testing the limits of his market.
Larry Mahnken: The Yankees are making over $300 million in revenue a year.
Craig Burley: No one’s really tapped the Yankees’ market before for all they’re worth

Pujols doubles off the left field wall, 7-4 AL

Aaron Gleeman: Pujols has some serious receeding hairline action going on, which makes sense, since he’s 42 years old.
Larry Mahnken: You have to credit Steinbrenner for exploiting New York so spectacularly. A typical owner probably couldn’t spend much more than $120 million/year there.

A between-inning “video tribute” to Roger Clemens begins

Aaron Gleeman: Why are we getting a “video tribute” to Roger Clemens? Is he dying?
Lee Sinins: Is he another player that we don’t know anything about?
Bryan Smith: Geez, is the Barry Larkin tribute video next inning?

Craig Burley: Why does it say “This One Counts” on the infield? Isn’t that last year’s slogan?
Larry Mahnken: No, last year was “This time, it counts!”
Studes: “It’s time to count”
Lee Sinins: And next year it will be “This time, this one counts.”
Larry Mahnken: “Count? This one does!”
Craig Burley: “Counts this one does. With you The Force Is.”
Bryan Smith: “This One Counts So Much That We Will Stop The Game to Give an Award to Roger Clemens.”

Bud Selig gives Clemens an award

Aaron Gleeman: Bud Selig, Public Speaker Extaordinaire.
Craig Burley: How many times does Clemens get to retire?
Aaron Gleeman: Such a heartfelt reading by Selig.
Studes: Now retire, damn it!
Larry Mahnken: OK, I’ve gotta say, I’m happy Clemens came back. I don’t begrudge him at all.
Lee Sinins: I agree.
Craig Burley: Me neither. I love Clemens. I know I shouldn’t, but I do.
Lee Sinins: Today we got the news that Selig is flip flopping on his vow to retire. No surprise. I never believed him when he originally said he’ll step down when his term expires.

Derek Jeter beats Carl Pavano to first base for an infield single

Aaron Gleeman: I feel bad for Carl Pavano. Sure, he’s an All-Star, but no more having sex with Alyssa Milano now that they’re broken up (presumably).
Studes: I think Pavano is for real, what do you think?
Aaron Gleeman: He’s real in that he exists.
Studes: You sure?
Craig Burley: If you cut him, does he not bleed? Let’s find out!
Bryan Smith: Pavano is the best Marlins pitcher, including a healthy Josh Beckett. I can’t stand how overrated Beckett became, but Pavano is better.
Aaron Gleeman: There’s no way Pavano is better than a healthy Josh Beckett.
Craig Burley: Pavano’s got nice stuff, but if he persists in keeping it together it’ll be a shock.
Bryan Smith: Oh, I don’t mean down the road, but if you asked me who I would rather have come THIS September, it would be Pavano.

Javier Vazquez comes in to pitch for the AL

Bryan Smith: Larry, you’ve had to be impressed with Javier Vazquez this year.
Larry Mahnken: Actually, I’m concerned about his declining strikeout rate. Vazquez has probably been the most effective starter on the Yankees this year, but he’s also had a few very shaky outings. It looks like this is more of the 2002 Vazquez than the 2003 Vazquez. I guess that’s the real one.
Lee Sinins: This is par for the course for Vazquez. He’s never put together back to back dominant seasons.
Larry Mahnken: But he’s no worse than Pettitte. The Yankees really need Brown to be healthy in October. Either that or get The Unit.
Lee Sinins: I like option C — both.

FOX shows a graphic of Johnny Estrada

Aaron Gleeman: How clever, comparing Johnny and Erik Estrada.
Lee Sinins: Erik has a better career RCAA: Erik 0, Johnny -14.
Studes: OK … is Estrada for real?
Aaron Gleeman: I dunno, I think he peaked with Chips, myself.

David Ortiz homers, 9-4 AL

Larry Mahnken: Cookie Monster!
Aaron Gleeman: They should bring in Gagne to pitch to Blalock.
Larry Mahnken: Feh. It’s not a save situation.
Bryan Smith: Who’s Blalock?
Larry Mahnken: I think Torre should take the initiative to trip Ortiz as he walks past. Or Schilling.
Aaron Gleeman: Ortiz looked annoyed that he had to run the bases.

Ted Lilly comes in to pitch for the AL

Bryan Smith: Oh, the great All-Star Ted Lilly is now on the mound. We get so see a fantastic Lilly vs. Jack Wilson at-bat!
Larry Mahnken: That’s what the All-Star game is all about!
Bryan Smith: Is this the worst “All-Star” combo ever?
Craig Burley: I was hoping Scott Cooper had faced Tyler Green, but Cooper was an AS in 1993 and 1994, and Green was 1995.
Bryan Smith: How far is Wilson below zero in terms of career RCAA?
Lee Sinins: 74.
Bryan Smith: And Lilly is -17?
Lee Sinins: No, just -7. On the other hand, Tony Pena was -218 for his career and he made a bunch of AS games.
Craig Burley: Though if you look at Tony’s career, almost all of that -207 came after ’87, and he only played in one AS game after then.
Lee Sinins: Lee Sinins: -174 came after ’87. But, that still leaves him with three appearances during a time with -44. Not good.
Larry Bowa made some AS games and he had -307.

Ruben Studdard sings during the seventh inning

Aaron Gleeman: Ruben Studdard looks like he ate C.C. Sabathia. McCarver just called Ozzie Guillen “a great manager.” What has he done so far that Jerry Manuel didn’t do?
Lee Sinins: He was smart enough to manage the White Sox this year. Manuel was stupid enough to manage them in previous years. It’s like when some starting pitchers are smart enough to know that they should pitch when their team scores a lot of runs and others are too dumb to do that.

Aaron Gleeman: According the the FOX schedule, the game was supposed to be over 25 minutes ago.
Larry Mahnken: Aaron, it’s already is over. Tom Gordon, then Enter Sandman. It’s over.
Lee Sinins: I’m in favor of the “punch in the face” rule. Anyone who mentions saves gets punched in the face. And since I don’t believe in
violence, that’s saying a lot for me. And anyone who mentions batting average gets punched in the face. Anyone who mentions “wins
gets punched in the face. Other than that, I don’t believe in punching people in the face. Except that Michael Kay always gets punched in the face.
Greg Tamer: But obviously the world only cares about saves, not about quality relief appearances.
Lee Sinins: And it’s obvious that I don’t care what the world cares about. Actually, I believe that the world only cares about what the
media tells them to care about.

Eric Gagne comes in to pitch for the NL

Aaron Gleeman: I’m sick of this “during Gagne’s streak, major league pitchers blew 900 saves” stuff. Half of those probably came by setup men in the 7th and 8th innings, when they had zero chance of recording a save.
Lee Sinins: Much more than half were by setup men.
Larry Mahnken: Remember, if you come into a game leading 10-9 in the sixth and give up a run, that’s a blown save too.
Lee Sinins: I’ll add blown saves by setup men to the list of things that deserve punches in the face.
Aaron Gleeman: Agreed.

Larry Mahnken: So, who’s the MVP?
Aaron Gleeman: Clemens … for the AL.
Larry Mahnken: I say Soriano.
Greg Tamer: I haven’t even been watching the game, so I have no idea.
Lee Sinins: I don’t think the rest of us are either. We’re just paying enough attention to be able to ridicule things.

Mariano Rivera comes into the game to close it out

Larry Mahnken: Exit light. Enter night.
Aaron Gleeman: McCarver: “It is not our job to drive viewers away from the television set …”
Lee Sinins: It’s not his job, but he does a good job of it anyway.
Larry Mahnken: But he’s so good at it!

Aaron Gleeman: Nice … McKeon used up his whole bench and Gagne is up sixth this inning. Livan Hernandez could hit, I guess.
Lee Sinins: I think the NL should bat out of order, just to see if anyone would notice. Maybe even have some players who weren’t even named to the team make an appearance.
Aaron Gleeman: J.D. Drew should pinch hit.
Larry Mahnken: Now batting … some guy!

Jim Thome bats with two outs

Aaron Gleeman: Okay boys, get your final thoughts in.
Larry Mahnken: I like cheese.
Lee Sinins: I didn’t realize I did any thinking earlier.
Aaron Gleeman: Game over.

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