Friday, April 9, 2010

MLB Opening Week 2010

Today is one of those rare unplanned occurrences where you’ll be receiving a solo blog on a Friday. Sister will potentially be induced today, so in anticipation for this momentous occasion, Lisa must remain by her phone, ready and able to jump at any second to take her to the hospital. Both of us apologize from the bottom of our hearts if you’ve just had it with reading our solo accounts, but these things happen. Please bear with us in the interim. I wish Sister the best of luck in the delivery of her first bundle of joy, whether it happens today or this weekend.

This week has been very exciting for us as it has signaled the arrival of what we’ve been pining for all winter long (and as a result, you’ve had to read some pretty retarded postings from our end): the kick off to the regular season. As promised, Lisa and I celebrated opening night with beer at the Main Event, but before I get into that, I’ll report on the results of our poll.

Either the start of the season has led to an influx of TBB readers or Erin’s promotion of our post on her Facebook page led to more blog traffic because we actually managed to get 11 votes this week! I am pretty sure that this is some sort of TBB poll record. Let us bask in this for a moment.

Right. Moving on.

We apparently have no winner this week, as we have a five-way tie! Another first in TBB poll history. A League of Their Own, Sandlot, 61*, Bull Durham, and “Mine isn’t listed” all earned 2 votes. If you selected “Mine isn’t listed,” we had requested that you to leave us a message telling us your choice. CM informed us that her favorite movie is Little Big League and while she didn’t post a message, my coworker, Beanie, did stop by my cubicle earlier this week to tell me that her favorite movie is Fever Pitch. I love Beanie like an Office Mommy, but I did groan loudly at this piece of news (which she fully expected, I assure you). Pride of the Yankees came in second with 1 vote. No one voted for the remainder of the choices: Major League I & 2 (this rendered my utterly speechless for a good five minutes as I thought about what Harry Doyle might say about this situation—“Take over, Montie. I’m in the bag?”), Angels in the Outfield, Everyone’s Hero, The Bad News Bears, For the Love of the Game, and Rookie of the Year.

For a brief overview of baseball’s opening day(s), I’ve listed who I felt rose to the occasion and who…well…sunk like the Titanic.

Who Shined?
“Tiny” Tim Lincecum pitched 7 scoreless innings against the Astros, striking out 7 in the Giants 5-2 victory.

Mark Buerhle dominated the Indians over 7 innings, leading the White Sox to a 6-0 victory, striking out 3 and retiring the last 10 batters he faced. Not only did he rule from his perch on the mound, but he flashed a little leather as well. Take a look at this gem! Well done, Mark!

Roy Halladay, as to be expected, struck out 9 over 7 innings in his National League debut as the Phillies owned the Nationals with an 11-1 victory.

Lastly, the Atlanta Braves offense lit up Cubs’ pitching, scoring 16 runs, including a 3-run home run from Jason Heyward in his first MLB at bat off of veteran, Victor Zambrano. Derek Lowe lasted 6 innings for the Braves, giving up 5 runs, 5 hits, and 3 walks.

Who Tanked?
Continuing with the theme of the Braves’ massacring the Cubs, Victor Zambrano became the first pitcher to allow 8 earned runs in 2 or fewer innings in an opening day start since Kevin Tapani in 1998…who also pitched for the Cubs. Good grief.

The Nationals’ starter, John Lannan only lasted 3 2/3 innings against the Phillies, allowing 5 runs, 7 hits, and 3 walks. He logged 0 strikeouts on the day. He was pulled in the 4th when 8 of the 10 batters he faced reached base.

Both Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia failed to live up to expectations for their ESPN Opening Night extravaganza. Both barely managed to make it to the 4th and 5th respectively. Beckett was tagged for 8 hits, 2 of them coming as home runs, and gave up 5 runs and 3 walks. Very un-Beckett like. On the flip side, Sabathia allowed 6 hits, 5 runs, and 2 walks. Add a little bull pen trouble to the mix and what do we have? A 9-7 victory for the Red Sox. Not a pretty way to begin the season, I must say.

On Sunday night, Mamadukes, Roberta, Lisa, and I walked to the Main Event to celebrate the start of the baseball season in style. The place was a desert wasteland. I assume the reason behind the lack of patrons had something to do with it being Easter, but I feel strongly that God would’ve wanted us to honor Easter by drinking beer and watching baseball. It’s not written in the Bible or anything, but I still stand by my statement.

At first, the night started off promising (for Yankees fans anyway). Beckett was struggling, the Yankees were winning, and it being the holiest day of the year for the Christian faith, we were actually able to grab 4 stools at the bar, something that would be virtually impossible on any other day. Granted, there were signs that the night was going to head downhill. For example, the man sitting immediately to Mamadukes’ right was…creepy. He had a bit of a staring problem, which scared Lisa, but I tried to be optimistic for once and assumed that his staring was a result of being alone and having no one to talk to. To the left of us sat a young man, who epitomized “Guido,” wearing rosary beads as an accessory. I might not be the best Catholic in the world, but I think it’s safe to say that rosary beads were not meant to add flair to your outfit. Maybe I am just too conservative, I don’t know. Finally, our bartender (who was not our usual kick ass bartender, Maria) was awful. She was out of sight for most of the game. However, we had beer, food, good company, and were having some good times, so we ignored the warning bells.

I know we promised that we’d be eating the Olympic Sampler while watching the game and I am sure you’ve been waiting with bated breath to see a picture of that bad boy, but it was just not so. After devouring hefty Easter dinners, Lisa and I simply could not stomach it. However, we couldn’t just leave you out in the cold. Desserts would do. Lisa ordered chocolate lava cake while I sampled the chocolate chip ice cream pie (and by sampled, I mean that I cleaned my plate).

Our clean dessert plates seemed to signal the end to our good fortunes. By this time, Sabathia’s struggles began to steam roll and Creepy McStare’s entourage arrived. Furthermore, Mamadukes and Roberta took this opportunity to go home! No sooner had they left than Creepy McStare’s balding friend, who wasn’t creepy per say, but guilty by association, asked if he could buy us a round of beers. Now, I am sure that most girls would be thrilled to receive free drinks, but we’re not most girls. What is the point of accepting drinks from a man you have no interest in entertaining a conversation with? In an empty bar like that, if we’d taken him up on his offer, we would have been doomed to socializing with Creepy McStare’s cronies when all we really wanted was to enjoy the game. You’ll get no fake numbers from the TBB. If you ask for our number and we’re not willing to give it, the answer is simply no. However, Baldy was pretty cool about it and once we politely declined his offer, he didn’t harp on it. He let us be. Kudos to Baldy.

If only Creepy McStare followed Baldy’s lead. Despite the arrival of his friends, he continued to stare. For awhile, Lisa stared back, hoping to embarrass him into stopping, but all that accomplished was an extended period of sustained eye contact. What was his deal? We deliberated. Was he simply staring at the television behind us? The sustained eye contact and the fact that the Yankees game was also broadcast on the television directly in front of him told us no. Was he disgusted by the amount of beer and food we had consumed? Possibly, but I am guessing that that wasn’t the case considering he continued to watch us even after our plates had been cleaned away. Perhaps he found one of us or both of attractive? I might’ve bought this suggestion had his staring not been so intense or if he had attempted contact at some point during the night. However, other than the staring, he didn’t once initiate any sort of conversation with either of us. Moreover, there is no reason that a man would be so captivated by our looks that he should become entranced by them. While I wish I could say this is so, we’re no Angelina Jolie/Jennifer Anniston duo. Lisa wondered if she had food in her teeth. I checked. She didn’t. I was wearing a v-neck tank top. Did my boobs fall out of my top? Lisa and I verified. Nope. They were still covered and snuggled in their bra where they belonged. Neither of us had snot hanging from our nose, food stains on our clothing, an open fly, or a talking parrot on our shoulder. What in the world was he starting at? The situation was so brutal that Baldy bought us a round of beer anyway, explaining that “I’m buying you a beer because I am sorry that my friend keeps staring at you.” When your own friend calls you creepy, you’ve probably got a problem.

The cherry on the sundae was the third companion. He had a severe lisp and bitched for two solid hours about how much he hated the Yankees. Dude. Really? Two hours? Is it necessary to devote that much energy to something you can’t stand? Aside from the hostility, the best part about his rant was regarding how the Yankees and Mets purposefully arrange for their schedules to be “easy” while the rest of the league contends with more difficult opponents. Weird theory, but I am willing to hear what a person has to say before I judge. Unfortunately, I didn’t get very far into his argument because he opened with the following statement, “Like when the Yankees play the Pirates for 9 games in a month…” Um…pretty sure the Yankees never play the Pirates in 9 games for the entire season, let alone a month since they’re not in the same league. If they face off at all, it will be at most 3 times during inter-league play. Between Chan Ho Park’s nonsense and the Three Caballeros, by the 8th inning, we were mentally done. We finished watching the game in my living room. What’s worse? The Red Sox defeating the Yankees on opening night at Fenway or listening to a moron rant about a topic he doesn’t understand while his level 5 friend stares at you? Honestly, I’ll take a Yankees loss, thank you.

Baseball Notes: The Mariners certainly did not start the week off right when they placed Cliff Lee on the 15-day DL with a strained ab. This move was to be expected considering all of the health problems Lee’s been dealing with all spring. The Mariners weren’t the only team to succumb to the disabled list this week. The Giants were forced to place second basemen Freddy Sanchez and Emmanuel Burriss and outfielder Fred Lewis on the 15-day DL as well. On Monday, following his poor outing against the Yankees, the Red Sox announced that they’ve signed Josh Beckett to a 4-year contract extension worth $68 million. In further Bay Area news, it appears that signs of My Love’s former self are making an appearance. On Tuesday night, Barry Zito pitched 3-hit ball over 6 innings, striking out 5 in the Giants 3-0 victory over the Astros. Hopefully, this is the start of a Zito Renaissance and not a fluke. The Rockies received somewhat good news regarding the status of Huston Street’s health. Tests on his injured right shoulder revealed no significant damage. Street will begin a strengthening program for the shoulder in the coming weeks and begin throwing in a process that should last into May. While I am sure the Rockies are thrilled to hear that Street’s injury is not the result of serious damage, I sincerely doubt they’re happy about having to be without their primary closer for at least the month of April, if not longer.

Wednesday proved to be a great night for baseball (at least for me). While at Citi Field, the Mets did not fare well against the Marlins in extra innings, the Red Sox and Yankees faced off in a well-played battle at Fenway Park. I am sure that this will be read with bitter sarcasm by Red Sox fans, but I am being sincere when I say that. Andy Pettitte and John Lackey each pitched a solid 6 innings. Pettitte allowed 1 run and struck out 4, while Lackey held the Yankees scoreless, striking out 3. Curtis Granderson finally broke the 1-1 tie in the 10th with a solo shot off of Jonathan Papelbon. The Yankees would go on to win 3-1, but since it was Granderson’s home run that gave them the lead, I am dubbing him the TBB Super Hero of the Week. This game was almost perfect baseball. Sure, Papelbon giving up that 10th inning home run was less than desirable for Red Sox Nation, but someone had to break eventually. This time it was Papelbon, but we have a lot more games to play (and miles to go before I sleep?) and who’s to say who’ll be the next to break? If the tables were turned and the Yankees had lost that game, I would’ve been admittedly disappointed. However, I’ll accept a loss like that any day over a loss like Sunday night when they blew a 4-run lead in the 5th thanks to shoddy pitching.

Lisa and I will be back to our joint blogging efforts next Friday. Til’ then, au revoir!


BallHype: hype it up!

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