Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blogging the All-Star Game

So I worked from home today ... it is that busy time of year in course catalog production ... and I "stiffed the dog" ... that is I did not walk him. So I am free to lay back at 5 p.m. and watch the All-Star Game from St. Louis. Just going to blog a little without a particular purpose and certainly with no intent to be complete.

The President will throw out the first pitch, and they showed him visiting both locker rooms. I may be pissed off at him, but he is certainly a cool dude, unflappable. I think the ball players were genuinely star-struck, and that is saying something.

Now Obama narrates a laudatory video ... the first of all five living presidents. He sure knows how to grab the bully pulpit ... I just want him to use it, to push it, to change the parameters. I had the Sotomayor hearings on today as I worked, and I thought she did well. Just as he does well. But doing well is no longer enough. We have to break sound barriers. Hmmm. They talk about volunteering, and points of light, and doing good. Sure. But not enough. We have to break the rules.

Very touching, still.

So Missouri's own Sheryl Crow sings the National Anthem. I may be a Canadian, but the Star Spangled Banner sends chills through me. One of the great joys of being a sports fan is that you get to hear it sung so often. Here it goes ... WOW ... a capella, there is nothing that makes a great voice more honest than that song. She belted it out, as it should be. I can't stand it when people turn it into a ballad. Her voice was raw-edged but, again, honest.

The fly-over by the stealth bomber was pretty spooky ... sorry I didn't get a pic.

Five Cardinal Hall of Famers ... including Ozzie Smith who has, so far as I know, boycotted the Cards until Tony La Russa no longer manages them. Strange. I think he has to get over it. Not a mention on the show.

Wow! Obama ballsily wears a White Sox jacket, jogs athletically to the mound, and throws a strike to the mound. What a stud.

And now the supremely annoying Buck boy, who openly prefers football to baseball. Yech. I grew to appreciate Tim McCarver a little more in the one year that he worked for the Giants. He does repeat himself ... oy, does he repeat himself? Yes, he does repeat himself, repeatedly. And when he's done, he says it again. Better than the Buck boy.

So let's go NL ... losers since 1996. How can that be? (has a lot to do with the pernicious impact of the DH ... designated hitter ... the most hated rule in pro sports.)

Timmie takes the mound ... yeah ... and Ichiro gets a doink hit with two strikes. Lincecum to Ichiro looks like high school baseball.

Ooops ... hits Jeter ... looking like trouble.

Damn ... double play ball with one out, and Pujols boots it, so there's an earned run.

Now bases loaded, double play ball and Lincecum doesn't cover first properly. Another run, though probably not earned.

Out of it with 2 runs. Jeez. Three botched double plays.

Baseball is so weird ... the AL gets two runs on a bunch of junk, but the NL gets nothing on three very hard-hit balls, two of them "rockets".

Timmie's second inning is 3 up 3 down. The way it should be.

Bottom of the second, 2 out, nobody on, three consecutive hits and an error, and the score is tied. Timmie's out of trouble!! Prince fielder pinch hits for him, so his evening is over ... 1-run ground rule double. 3-2 NL.

Meanwhile, Obama doing a good job as color commentator, guest.

RL, my roommate, just handed me an old-fashioned ... much appreciated. Life is good. Meanwhile, that Ryan Braun is awful cute. I don't get much time for baseball nowadays. Part of that is that I do not have a baseball buddy; more important is that I just don't have the time. A life that is lock-step from 5 a.m. until 7 p.m. does not leave a lot of room. Not that the 14 hours is not without its charms ... I love the dog walks, the train trip and the reading. And my job, no matter the stress, is endlessly fascinating and constantly changing. I am an easily bored person, and a static job would slowly kill me. I claim that I could live without the stress, but that has not been proven.

So an unlikely Giant, Jonathan Sanchez, pitched a no-hitter on Friday, and I did not see a single pitch of it. Normally, I try to watch a game on Friday night, but RL and I got talking and drinking and eating, and I had a blog post to squeeze out which I did as I sat at the counter watching him cook.

This ump doesn't like the low pitch ... phooey.

When I arrive din the States in 1981, I had left sports behind ... my childhood loves were hockey and the CFL (Canadian Football League). But I slowly got back into sports via college basketball until a co-worker at the late Omnicomp corrected some bilious errors I presented as fact about baseball. My first game was a Giants playoff game against the Cards in 1987 where Jeffrey Leonard hit a screaming homer down the left field line right past our seats which came courtesy of the mayor's office via several stops. I think it was game 2 because I remember us winning.

It's been a love affair ver since .. .especially with pitching. Yes, it is pitching that turns my crank. Nothing so sweet as a 1-0 complete game.

Bottom of the 4th, and young Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals steps up to pitch, and I have never heard of him. Turns out he has some kind of social anxiety disorder. Filthy slider, low outside, that the ump calls a strike. That's the way it should be ... make 'em swing.

It's getting to be a boring game ... and I can't stand Joe Buck ... and suddenly the obnoxious new habit of singing God Bless America, the most maudlin and uninspiring of the national songs. Why not America the beautiful whose poetry, while hardly a Star Spangled Banner, is moving and its language exquisite. No, the broad masses like unoffensive taste ... God Bless America is the Budweiser of songs.

Speaking of which, I need another beer.

Bottom of the 8th, 4-3 Al now. 2 on, 2 out, 0-2, Joe Nathan pitching to Ryan Howard. Wow. So the NL steals second, and Howard can be walked. Keee-rist ... but strikes out on a checked sing on a ball in the dirt. Ouch.

Nathan used to be a Giant, and we all still curse the day they traded him.

So we go to the bottom of the ninth, AL leading 4-3. It's gonna be Mariano Rivera, and I am one of those Yankee haters. Love New York, hate the Yankees. Go figure. Let's send Rivera into his richly deserved retirement with an old-fashioned spanking.

Oy ... 1 out, ground out to short.

2 out ... called third strike on the outside.

Suddenly the ump calls the low bloody strike, way low ... I guess Mariano gets whatever he wants.

3rd out ... flare fly ball.

The stadium is silent. Everybody is bummed.

Enough for me ... gotta get these pix out of the camera ... and I am totally sick of Joe Buck's voice.

Pics by Arod of his boob tube.

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