Saturday, October 09, 2004

Every Single Pitch? Nah...

I was just listening to the Mad Dog. Someone called in and mentioned the Riviera, which is that Red Sox bar in Manhattan. The guy said it was like being in Boston there last night. Mad Dog asked where it was, and the guy gave the address. (West 4th St & 7th Ave.) Then Dog said, "I'll have to look into that!" since he's so anti-yankees. So now I feel like this Riviera thing is gonna be more popular than ever. I'm glad I got to see some games there before "everybody" knew about it. I might go to an ALCS game there.

Also, there were yankee fans calling up, saying how the Red Sox have "never" beaten the yankees. Fortunately, Mad Dog said what I always say to these retarded people. Well at least he started to. He said, Well, they beat you in '75, I guess you don't want to count that because it wasn't head to head. The cretin on the phone said, "Chris, Bawstin neva beat da yaaankees!" Then, Mad Dog basically agreed and said the Sox never beat the yanks head to head. (Which is still a ridiculous statement.) But at least he got the idea through to yankee fans. Maybe some of the really dumb ones didn't realize that the Red Sox have actually won the division as well as the pennant several times since 1918. But I've written about all this before, and for much longer rants. Search for 'em if you like.

You'd think that the dynasty that is ESPN would be able to find some people who know how to properly broadcast a baseball game. First of all, Chris Berman is not a play-by-play announcer. He'd tell you that. I've always liked the guy for what he is, but he just doesn't have a clue how to announce. He forgot how many outs there were a few times. And every time the home plate ump would call a guy out "on the swing," we at home would know immediately, as we'd see it on the screen. Berman, however, must have immediately looked to the base umpire, waiting for an appeal that was never asked for, since the batter had already been called out. Once he said, "And after an eternity, he's finally called out on the appeal!" But there was no appeal, as the home plate ump had called the guy out immediately (not after an eternity). And calling Kevin Millar "Mattingly" was funny--the first time. You just shouldn't do it over and over, let alone over a period of days. Again, I like Berman, I think he's funny, and none of these wanna-be comedian sports anchors has ever been as funny as he's always been. But I think he should stay in the studio. One more thing. Sometimes a play would happen, the camera would miss something, and Berman wouldn't tell us what happened, assuming we'd seen it. Like that Ortiz double that got past Guerrero, I thought two runs had scored. They never showed the second runner, and Berman didn't say anything about him. Terrible.

As for the coverage: Even as Ortiz was rounding the bases with the series-winning homer, ESPN was pissing me off, in the middle of my jubilance. Ortiz is between third and home, and--cut to--Scosia in the dugout, making that same stupid face he made the whole series. Then they get back to Ortiz just before he jumps into the pile at home plate--but two seconds later, cut to close up shots of eight different Angel players, while the nation misses the Red Sox celebration.

These networks are so concerned with putting together an historical art piece, it causes fans to miss what's taking place in the game. The 'behind the plate' angle of a pitch just annoys me to no end. Once they did it, and the Angel batter hit a ball to the left side--and that's all we could tell. It could've been a pop to short, or a home run, or even an optical illusion where the ball was actually fouled back. Turned out it was off the wall for a double off of Foulke, putting the potential go ahead run on third. And there I was, feeling like I missed the play. Don't they know that we're used to the center field camera angle on pitches? And that it's really hard to suddenly adjust to a different angle? And if the pitch isn't swung at, you have NO clue as to where it was in relation to the strike zone. And, of course, I'm superstitious enough so that I feel like if I "miss" a pitch, I somehow missed out on rooting for good stuff to happen, which in turn, causes there to be a greater chance of something bad happening. And sure enough, whenever they'd show the "bad" angle, something bad would happen.

They also need to know that we don't give a crap about seeing the runner take off for second, especially if it causes us to MISS THE PITCH. Can't they just tell us he's going? Isn't that what the announcers are there for? And then with all this concern about the stupid runner, sometimes they still miss a throw over to first. And you'd think they'd be able to figure out the whole "when to go to commercial and when to restart play again" thing.

It's the playoffs. Their one job should be to show us the game. Is this too much to ask?

By the way, didn't you think Stankonia was trying to pull a Joe Torre by having Bronson pitch to one batter in the seventh, then taking him out so he could get an ovation? (which ESPN cut off just as the crowd started cheering to cut to a local Greentree Toyota commercial.) I thought he should have just left him in until he actually started pitching badly, which wasn't even gonna happen.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Bring On The Twanks

Either way, we'll take either team down. Berman brought this up on the game tonight--the whole thing about whether Sox fans would feel better about beating the yanks in the ALCS and losing the WS than beating someone else in the ALCS and winning the WS. I've talked about this before, but here's one thing I don't think I mentioned:

As you know, before 1994, there was no chance of the Sox playing the yanks in a post-season series. It was whoever had the better season record that moved on to the playoffs. You could never have both teams in post-season play at the same time for the first ninety-odd years of these franchises. (Even the one time the two finished tied for the best record, the one-game playoff was still considered a regular season game. That was definitely a case of a head-to-head, "whoever wins is better" type scenario, but again, it only came up once, and it was only one game.) It's not like we've lost to the yanks in a seven-game series thirty-five times and won zero or something.

So to say that we'd be disappointed if we beat the Twins, moved on to the WS, and beat the Cards, I think, would be ridiculous. Left wondering, maybe. But in that case, could they really say shit to us, after we won the World Series, while they proved that they weren't even good enough to make it far enough to have a chance to play us? No. Isn't what this whole curse crap is about? Us not winning it all?

The "curse" isn't: Babe Ruth's ghost was pissed that the Sox sold him to the yanks, so he made baseball wait decades and decades, but then finally come up with a system where the two teams could play a seven game series to decide the American League, and in the very few times that it actually happened, he made the yanks win, but if the Sox got further than the yanks, even to the point of winning it all, without beating the yanks in said series, then the curse would still be on, and yankee fans could continue to make fun of Sox fans, even though their team won the World Series, while the yankees watched on what people would call "television."

The one thing that does make it kind of weird, is that if we do beat the Twins, and win the WS, the fact that we were the Wild Card, finishing with a worse record than the yanks, could make those yankee fans think that they're allowed to say, "We had the best record, and you didn't beat us head-to-head." Which is why I've never liked the wild card. But anyway, if they ever said that, I'd just say it was their own damn fault, and there's nothing the Sox could have done about it. (Be we know that in that case, we could also just boast about how we would have kicked their butts anyway.)

In the meantime, I'm still rooting for the Twins, because it would just be impossible for me to sit there and be like, "Come on A-Rod.....little bingle." "Here we go, Cairo..." You know what I mean? But if the yanks win, I will be more than happy to see the Sox beat up on their horrid pitching. And whoever wins will be a lot more tired than we are.

That situation is similar to today's Sox game. I had tix to game 4, but in order for me to see that game, the Sox would have had to lose. And like that other situation, there was just no way I could start rooting for the other team. It's just weird, though. A less loyal fan in my unique situation might have rooted for his or her hated rival and against his or her own team. But as you know, I'm not that kind of fan.

More tomorrow on the high school style coverage by ESPN in this series. Now I must get some rest, as all this week, around playoff games, I've been moving all my worldly--alright, townly--possessions to another nearby town. These Sox definitely raised my spirits, though. Thank you, my favorite idiots!!!!!!! Ortiiiiiiiiiizzzzzz!!!! ALCS, everybody!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Win (The Consolation Prize) Twins

Like I said, they're rarely easy, these big games--but it's a good sign when you can win a nail-biter by five runs!

How key was the Varitek dong?? And Cabrera with the hit of the game. And Pedro, no surprise at all to me, did fine.

But all I heard and read today was how the "never-say-die yanks" "found a way" to win again in a "classic comeback." Terrible. They won because: Nathan couldn't find the plate for two at bats; The Twins have fallen into what I call "Timo Perez syndrome"--thinking some rookie you brought up at the All-Star break is gonna be a star in the playoffs just because he had a few good months, meanwhile, when they're in yankee Stadium in October, you know they're gonna be swinging at pitches over their head like the Little Leaguer that they are, when all the team needs is a fly ball!!!!; and

Oh yeah, Jacque Jones is a fucking moron. At first I was ready to make fun of his pathetic, half-assed attempt at a throw to the plate from VERY shallow right field. But then I heard that he said he "wasn't thinking about Derek Jeter on the play." You know, if these teams had any brains at all, maybe nobody would ever have brought up the term "yankee mystique." Who the hell was he thinking about, the guy on first??? I heard someone on the radio today say that either way, Jeter scores on that play. I say give ANY outfielder in the history of baseball that play, and they gun the guy out by ten feet. (Without using the cutoff man. Grrrrrrr.)

And I feel really bad for people who have ESPN, but NOT ESPN2, because they missed the first HOUR AND A HALF of the Sox game due to the yanks going extras. You'd think this would be organized a little better--actually, this seems about right.

And can ESPN stop showing artsy angles and just show me the game. When they show a pitch from up behind the plate, WE CAN'T TELL WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON.

I had a feeling that those clueless yankee fans (at least the ones I work with) would be under the impression that THEY were the ones who stayed up late last night. I was right. When I got to work, I told one of them how tired I was, and they said, "Oh right, cuz of extra innings." Eh, actually, no. When your game ended at *eleven thirty*--poor thing--I then watched seven more innings of baseball, before going to bed at 2 am.

But it's okay! We're up 2-0! If the yanks wanna squeak out some more magical bullcrap wins, fine, bring 'em on!
We are so ready for those bastards this year. (But in the meantime, Go Twins!)

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Brought To You By

"From the Delta yankee press booth, Hello, everybody, welcome to Ricoh yankees baseball! Along with Budweiser's Jon Sterling, I'm Pepsi's Charlie Steiner. That greeting was brought to you, as always, by American Greetings. According to the Longines scoreboard, it's 7:19. That time check is brought to you by Timex. And that means it's time for the Johnson & Johnson first pitch. So I give you Budweiser's Jon Sterling. That announcer trasfer was brought to you by"

"Thanks, Pepsi's Charlie, and good evening everybody! Before we start, we'd like to remind everybody about Ricoh. With their patented Scan Square technology, only Ricoh can give you the quality you need. Visa's Derek Jeter steps in to the batter's box, and the Johnson & Johnson first pitch is at Jeter's Spandex knee guard, but it's called a ball."

"You know Bud's Jon, Jeter really sold that call, that's why he's headed to the Compaq Presario Baseball Hall of Fame. When you have something to sell, click on Ebay. Bring other people's junk home."

"And Pepsi's Charlie, we understand that Visa's Derek has just sold the rights to his intangibles to"

That's not that far off from reality, people.

The yankee press booth really does have a sponsor.

You know what else is funny, and makes me realize that Sterling is a complete phony? When he does commercials--Ricoh, the LA Weight Loss Diet--he acts like he's describing some legendary baseball player. It's really bad. He's got, like, that loud whisper. And three second pauses between sentences. "Scan Square tecnology..........puts the WORLD...SERIES......" He's so full of himself.

Pedro will come through tonight. Leiber will not.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Finally Some Respect?

That's right, Dangerfield is dead. My favorite line of his was from when he was on the Simpsons. And you won't laugh unless you know the scene, but the line was, "What state?!"

Anyway, I was wrong when I said the yanks were the Fox game tonight and tomorrow. They're on ESPN tomorrow, but I was right that they're on in prime time both nights.

How sweet is it when the yanks get shutout, despite having baserunners in almost every inning. Fox continued the tradition of showing Jeter's face in the dugout for absolutely no reason. Also, Jeter's standing on the top step failed to make the team score any runs tonight. Ha! I heard Sterling and Steiner on the postgame. It was just one excuse after another out of them. Pathetic. They said Mussina did his job, and Gordon and Rivera did theirs. Wrong. Gordon and Rivera's job is to hold a lead. It's not to have their arms get wasted in a playoff game where the yanks are losing.

About that yankee bullpen. Okay, at the beginning of the year, Jim Kaat claimed that Quantrill and Gordon were the two most important pickups the yanks made in the offseason. Then, every other member of the media decided this was a true fact. I predicted that they'd both fizzle out, and not be a factor by the end of the season. I was wrong about Gordon, but right about Quantrill. (Recently, Michael Kay said how Quantrill's doing so poorly, and there's no one else to blame for it. Kay said, "He's just pitching poorly, I can't think of any other way to spin it." Which tells you a LOT about Kay right there.) Anyway, the plan was: Starter--6 innings, Quantrill, Gordon, Rivera--7th, 8th, 9th innings. Now that Quantrill's out of the mix, the yankee announcers just act like he was never there: "If the starter can just go seven and have a lead, the game is over." Well, beside the fact that no yankee starter consistently goes seven and has a lead, it's just pathetic that they act like this is how they wanted it all along, when they used to only need the starter to go six. And now that Sturtze is doing fairly well, they act like they've got this incredible "bridge" to Gordon and Rivera. It's all just crap. And the yanks are going down. And all this will be commpletely irrelevant when they're sitting at home, watching the Red Sox and Twins in the ALCS.

I wonder if Fox could get a camera set up in Jeter's house so we could still see his reaction to every play he has nothing to do with.

Straight Jacket & Tie

If you happen to be a new Red Sox fan, or if you're only like eight years old, just know that pressure-free playoff wins like today's are VERY rare. Remember this day.

I think we're in good shape. Especially since Pedro goes tomorrow, and the New York media has convinced the world that Pedro's "done." I want a sweep (even though I've got tix to Game 4.)

The yankee game just started. Oh what a joy it is to see those wonderful suits taking up all the seats behind home plate. Man, what the frig is up with those people? Get your god damn suit off before you enter a baseball stadium. Why don't people want to wear comfortable clothes at a baseball game? Your meeting is over! You've made enough money today, rich boy! Put on some sweats, or jeans, or something. We know you're richer than us already.

And I don't even need to mention how the yanks are in Prime Time every time they play. (Making the rest of us have to miss parts of games because we're still at work, or stay up 'til two am.) And those are the only Fox games. So if you don't have cable, anywhere in America, you're considered a yankee fan, because that's all you're getting for a while.

Monday, October 04, 2004

"Excuse Me, Are You Into Death Metal?"

That's what some kid asked me while I was on line at Stop & Shop. I was like, "Uhh, there was a time...." (I watched my fair share of Headbanger's Ball as a teen.) He said he had tickets to a show and needed people to go. I asked which band. He said, "Napalm Death". Even if I was some huge ND fan, would I go with some stranger who looks for other death metal fans on line at the grocery store? No, I wouldn't.

That reminds me--on the Saturday Fox game, Remy announced the game along with a Baltimore announcer. They were talking about how Keith Foulke comes out of the 'pen at Fenway to the song "Mother" by Danzig. (which I've written about here before.) I was shocked when Remy said how he hadn't even noticed that Foulke's come in the game to the same song for a while now. And I was also shocked that neither announcer had heard of the song OR Danzig. Don't people know about Danzig? The Misfits?? Come on, America.

The Sox almost did what I thought they might--finally sweep a series against Baltimore...when it didn't matter. And ever since I made that "Wouldn't ya know it"-type statement, I've been wondering--is the pessimistic side of me coming out, just in time for the playoffs? Let's hope not. But hey, if it starts workin' for me...

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