April 04, 2004
Orioles 7 Red Sox 2
With Jamie, Bill, Rick, Mitch, Mitch’s Dad
Way too cold. Stone Groove sat this one out so it was just Jamie and me who decided to brave the conditions. We met up with Bill and Rick after the 6th inning and finished the game in the box seats with Mr. MLB and his dad with the firm handshake.
Baseball should start on Monday afternoon in the bright sunshine. At the very least, it should start on Monday afternoon. The long suffering Orioles faithful turned out in full force for Opening Night. It was nice to see so many Oriole fans at this game. The past few years, Camden Yards has been chockful of opposing teams’ fans. In fact, two days later, I watched Curt Schilling dominate the Birds on T.V. and it sounded like the whole park was from Boston.
The night was too cold to fully enjoy the returns of Rafael Palmeiro and Sidney Ponson and the debuts of Javy Lopez and Miguel Tejada but it was nice anyway. The 43 homer hitting (in 2003) Lopez spanked a Pedro fastball for his first Oriole homerun right as I was in the midst of predicting that he would only hit about 22 homers in 2004. Jamie predicted he would hit 25. (He hit 23.) The new 3-4-5 hitters went a combined 7-11 with 4 RBI’s. An Opening Day victory is so sweet. The possibilities are endless. Maybe Ponson will win 17 games again. Maybe Eric Dubose will be this year’s Dave Johnson. Bedard for Rookie of the Year? Matt Riley dominates the league? Sadly, it will probably be a year with a lot of offense, a lot of blown leads in the middle to late innings, and a 4th place finish. (How about a 3rd place finish?)
An interesting tidbit- Apparently, new skipper Lee Mazilli has banned loud music in the clubhouse before games so Sir Sidney had to get his Metallica fix through headphones. I wonder if Art Howe will let Scott Erickson blast Lars and the boys in the few days that Erickson remains a Met.
From Jamie’s blog:
i've gotta stop going to early season games in outdoor parks in the northeast. sunday night's RedSox-Orioles game was in the high 20s with a whole lotta wind. just completely uncomfortable. the pretzels we bought outside the stadium were rock hard by the time we sat down to eat them. the grease from my cheesesteak congealed so fast that i almost couldn't finish it. after sitting for 6 innings, Dan and i were both amazed at how stiff our knees were when we got up to meet some other friends. Dan's grandmother kiddingly told him before the game to brink some whiskey - he really should have. still, it was nice to be at the opening game, but the temps at Shea next Monday better be a little more hospitable.
April 08, 2004
Yankees 3 White Sox 1
A nice day, another home opener. Mitch and I headed to the Bronx so he could meet up with his latest Yankeeography subject Whitey Ford to pick up some pictures from his collection. Ford was throwing out the first pitch along with Phil Rizzuto and Yogi Berra. On the way, we were bombarded by a commuter on our train mightily impressed by Mitch’s carrots and celery in a small plastic baggy. He kept telling us how delis should sell them pre-cut and how they could make a fortune. He wouldn’t stop talking about all of the money that could be made with just a few vegetables.
When we arrived at the game, I waited outside the press gate for awhile as Mitch tracked down Whitey inside. I read the paper, I gawked at Mayor Bloomberg and his entourage as they entered the stadium. I snapped a picture of Dwight Gooden as he sauntered into view.
When the game started, I listened to the first half inning on my walkman before Mitch and Whitey made an appearance. Mitch introduced us and Whitey extended his hand. I’m not sure if I’ve shaken a Hall of Famer’s hand since Chuck Thompson during Fan Fest ’93. Whitey was very polite and we headed to his car so Mitch could pick out some photos for the documentary. On the way to the car, a parking lot attendant commandeered Whitey’s attention, “What you don’t say hi to me no more, Whitey?” Ford said hello and mentioned that this was his 55th straight Opening Day to which the attendant replied, “This is my 56th! Can you believe it? Looks like I’m number one and you’re number two, Whitey!” Um, yeah, whatever gets you through the day, pal.
Whitey and Mitch took a few minutes in the car looking through photos and then it was time for Whitey to go play golf and for Mitch and I to catch a few innings of the Evil Empire battle the Good Guys. When I relayed how nice Whitey was a few days later to Dave, he responded, “Fuck him. Asshole. What? Don’t get mad at me that he pitched for the Yankees.” See? I’m not the only one who hates the Yankees.
The Yankees already had a 2-0 lead as we found seats in the 2nd inning. Not much else happened. Javier Vazquez was magnificent in his Yankees debut throwing 8 innings of two hit ball.
The most exciting moment of the day came when Mitch got a call from a co-worker who told him that he needed an opening for John Sterling to read for the Whitey Ford piece. Apparently, Sterling was going to be heading to the YES studios to shoot in the next day or so. Mitch was not aware that he had to have a script ready so soon and was not very happy. He took the next few minutes of the game as we relaxed in our cushioned box seats behind first base to tell his co-worker on his cell phone what he thought Sterling should be saying. “Yeah, I don’t know. How about something like ‘Whitey Ford, no make that Edward Ford, was born in Manhattan, raised in Queens, but made his name in the Bronx as Whitey Ford, the Chairman of the Board as the winningest pitcher of the winningest team in professional sports.’ You got that?” Okay, something like that. What? I don’t know. I don’t even know if they like the treatment. I just turned that in last week and haven’t even heard any feedback.” And so on. I felt like I was a witness to a high powered business call. Coming to a YES affiliate near you.
April 12, 2004
Mets 10 Braves 6
With Jamie, Dave, Sujan Alex B.
My third home opener in eight days. Hot damn! While this game wasn’t as cold as the one in Baltimore, it was pretty damn frigid. Dave wasn’t bothered though and had plenty of carrots and edamame to go around. The edamame was supposedly to welcome Kaz Matsui to Flushing. If that wasn’t enough of a welcome, Sujan’s scream of his name had me in stitches. It has to be heard to be believed.
So again, the drama on every Opening Day at Shea, (other than what idiotic new pattern they will carve into the grass) is what will the new players’ nicknames be on the scoreboard? Last year’s “Cliff Banger” and “Glaviator” additions were disappointing to say the least. What would Matsui’s be? Sujan came up with these three gems: “Kaz-Tastic”, Matsui-eeet” and “Kami-Kaz-Ee.” Dave came up with “Bat-Sui.” We were all wrong. All the Mets could come up with is “The Great Kazu” with a graphic of the Great Gazoo from The Flinstones with a picture of Kaz’s face superimposed. Mike Cameron, on the other hand, is the proud owner of my new favorite (next to Leit’s Out, of course) “Lights, Cameron, Action.”
The day before the game, Piazza and Floyd were injured in Puerto Rico. That, along with Reyes’ lingering injury led Art Howe to pencil this combo in the 2-3-4 slots: Ricky Gutierrez, Shane Spencer, and Todd Zeile. Ugly. But, it didn’t matter. The Braves were missing Adam Laroche, Chipper Jones, and Rafael Furcal. The Mets pounded turncoat Mike Hampton to the delight of the delirious fans chanting his name derisively. Zeile and Spencer went a combined 5 for 9. New Mets Cameron and Matsui each contributed two hits and each played sparkling defense. The Mets took a 10-0 lead after 6 and then coasted. Maybe the Mets will contend this year!
Most interesting topic of the game- ballplayers with food as a name.
From Jamie’s blog:
on a lighter note, at this week's Mets home opener, i started talking with Sujan about baseball players and managers named after food. my tangential brain picked up the task today and here's a pretty decent list:
Cookie Rojas, Darryl Strawberry, Mike Lamb, Jim Rice, Bill Bean (not Billy Beane), Chet and Bob and Jim Lemon, Johhny Oates, Zack Wheat, Bobby Wine, Clarence Beers, Sweetbreads Bailey (real name Abraham Lincoln Bailey), Pepper Martin, Ginger Beaumont, Peaches Graham (2 foods in 1), Peanuts Lowrey, Tom Butters, Noodles Hahn, Candy Maldonado, Bake McBride, Tim Crabtree, Dizzy and Steve Trout, Felix Pie (Cubs OF prospect), Tim Salmon, Pork Chop Pough (1995 Eastern League All-Star), Vinegar Bend Mizell, Sugar Cain (really!) David Cone, Chip Hale, Kevin and Randy Bass, Rob Deer, Eddie Bacon, Eddie Mayo, Pickles Dillhoefer
For even more, check out the comments page of Apes.
Jamie (before he decided to jump on the Red Sox bandwagon) and Dave (before he decided to arrive at every game in the 3rd inning and leave in the 7th).
April 18, 2004
Pirates 8 Mets 1
With Sujan, Alex J., Anne, Marc, Mitch, Caryn
So much for the euphoria of just a few days prior. Before the weekend, the Mets were one game above .500 and things were looking up. A three game sweep to the lowly Pirates didn’t help matters. The Mets desperately need Reyes and Floyd back. The Mets looked listless in this game. The 1-0 lead that the Pirates took seemed insurmountable and when they poured on five runs in the 5th to make the score 7-1, it was only a matter of counting down the innings.
Jae Seo made his first start of the season and didn’t look too good. The Pirates had 17 hits and it was ugly. Typical Mets: With two runners on in the 8th, down 8-1, Lloyd McClendon took out his pitcher with a 2-0 count on Piazza. New pitcher throws one pitch, Piazza grounds into a double play, end of inning.
Marc took 150 pictures of players on his fantasy team, Mitch pontificated on the brilliance of strawberry milk, made a vow with himself to drink more chocolate milk by remembering to leave the chocolate syrup right by the milk in his refrigerator, and then left a voicemail to himself to remind himself to pick up some Strawberry Quick potion. We were all drunk on boredom… we were so bored that the 17 year old kid near us amused us to no end by repeatedly telling all around him, “When I say ‘Mets” you say ‘Yeah.’ When I say ‘Pirates’, you say ‘Boo.’ I can not tell you how amusing this was on such a day.
May 09, 2004
Mets 6 Brewers 5, 11 innings
With Sujan and Dave N.
The Mets weren’t playing so well and they were about to get swept by the Brewers led by the hot-hitting Lyle Overbay. And when they gave up 3 runs in the top of the 8th to go down 5-3, it seemed like they were headed to an ignominious sweep. But Ty Wigginton’s 2 run pinch hit single tied it (pinchrunner Jae Seo’s brilliantly eluded the tag at the plate to tie it) and the slumping Kaz Matsui’s game winning pinch hit single in the bottom of the 11th won it. He was mobbed like he was Robin Ventura or Todd Pratt or some shit like that.
Conversation highlight- Could we possibly list all of the teams in order that David Segui has played for? The answer-almost.
Heckling highlight- The woman behind us kept calling David Weathers, Shrek Weathers. Yeah, it was a mellow day.
You be the judge. If you're confused, Shrek is the top photo and Weathers is the bottom one.
May 23, 2004
Mets 4 Rockies 0
With Sujan, Lily, Lindsay, and Claire
For my school’s auction, I decided it would be fun to donate an afternoon. The lucky winner would win a day at Shea with Sujan and me. The lucky winner Lindsay chose two other kids from my class and we were off. None of them really knew that much about baseball before the game and one of them (Lily) even thought she was a Yankees fan before the game. This is taken from Lily’s writing about the game.
5 Great Mets fans
On Sunday, Mr. Raphael and Sue-Jan Came to my house. Lindsay and Claire came too. We were all going to a Mets game together! Yes, I was a Yankee fan at that time but I didn’t care. Because what could be better! Gong to a Met’s game with your teacher, techer’s feansay, and your two best friends! So when we got there, we had “lodes” of food. We ate while we wached. At one break of an inning, we went to get suvanears. I got a Mr. Met bobble head.
I was liking this expeareance. Then, we went bach to our seats. There almost was a no hitter! It ended up to be a one hitter. Picher Tom Glavine. At another break of an inning on the score board, it said the Mets welcome Lily, Claire, Lindsay, and Dan! You think I’m lying, but I’m not! I’ll tell you why. It is because my dad has a friend named Tom. Tom has a friend that works on the score board. Tom knows me so Tom asked his friend if he could put our names up there. It was so cool.
I was Loving this expeareance! Then At the end of the game, we got to run on the baces. That was cool too! Then, we started to head home. When we got home, I thanked Mr. Raphael and Sue-Jan and they left. Then I shoed my parents My Mr. Met bobble head, that I adored, and then made it clear that I had become a mets fan. My dad agreed with me.
Then the next day at school I menchened for the 1001th time to Mr. Raphael that I had become a …. METS FAN!!! I Looooooved that Expeareance!!
Lily neglected to mention that Sujan finally got her chance to run around the Shea bases. She capitalized on the chance to get on the field using the kids as an excuse. Then she pushed her way around the mean woman who told her that running the bases was only for kids. What a bad example!
Sujan also still blames me for ruining Glavine’s no-hit bid (which lasted for 8 1/3 innings) by talking about it during the game. But I had to explain it to the girls because they had not idea what was going on. When I was talking about it, Sujan walked away from us and covered her ears. It wasn’t my fault!
The Mets excitedly reached .500!
May 29, 2004
Braves 9 Phillies 3
Citizen’s Bank Park
With Sujan, Jim, Eric, Amie, Mitch, Phoebe, John Battles
The Vet used to be the ballpark that made me want to take naps. After one game, Citizen’s Bank Park picked up where the Vet left off. This is not fair to the new ballpark in Philadelphia because it is a lovely new park and they still have such a great mascot. But this game left me cold. The fans were suffering from Camden Yardsitis, a bunch of non-baseball fans there just to take in the scene at the hip new place. This game was sold out and I’m glad I had bought advance tickets despite Eric’s claim that Phillies’ games are never sold out and even if they were, he could roll into Philly and get eight tickets together for five bucks each.
Quote of the day- Eric on Doug Glanville, “He was fouling off pitches with the heart of a tiger.”
Hunk of the day- Jim liked the cut of Chase Utley’s uniform.
This game was preceded by a Pat’s stop and was followed up by a Tony Luke’s jaunt and some incredible gelato. Then Mitch was off to the subway before getting hit on by Philadelphia teens impressed with our New York tags.
June 02, 2004
Yankees 6 Orioles 5
With Alex B, Chris M., and Matt
The Orioles looked so good after a half of an inning. Or I should say the Yankees looked so bad. Two errors (including the first of two in the game for Jeter) AND two should-have-been double play balls AND a wild pitch led to five Oriole runs. But with Eric Dubose on the mound, I was not confident.
Sheffield’s 3 run homer in the bottom of the inning started the O’s downfall. The Yankees chipped away and eventually took the lead. The Orioles put the tying run on 2nd with 2 outs in the 9th, but pinch hitter Jose Leon struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch (as I predicted) and that was that.
Alex has learned a lot about baseball over the past two years. He knows how evil the Yankees are and feels it his duty to go to Yankee Stadium to root against the Yankees. Sujan, Dave N, and Jamie are all boycotting Yankee Stadium, but not Mr. Bowles. His take:
I hate Yankee Stadium, I hate the Yankees. I am still learning the game but this much I know. I can certainly understand why good people boycott the place. The thought of buying stuff there and fuelling the Yankees’ greed really upsets me. But I will not boycott the place. Yankee Stadium needs me. It requires dissent. What would have happened to Hitler if we had all just turned away because we didn't like his views? Therefore going to Yankee Stadium is, for me, very much like WW2. I don't like it, it's intensely annoying (and loud) but I must go. Not often but often enough to root for the other team and generally bitch about the place. I think I'm going because of a sense of duty.
After the game, we ran into some subway trouble. As we entered Broadway-Lafayette on the D (but on the F side of the platform) our conductor kept announcing “You are on a D train. D as in dog. a D train!” After the doors closed, another person announced that we were on an F train that was making its last stop at the next station (an F stop, not a D stop). Moments later, a D train arrived on the other side of the platform. As its doors opened and closed, our train’s doors remained closed. As the D train across the platform left the station, our train’s doors remained closed.
Our train started up and sure enough ended at the next stop. When the doors opened, people were pissed off to say the least. Matt brushed us all aside with a demonic look on his face. He went charging out the train and along the platform on a mission. I asked Chris where Matt was heading. Chris responded, “He’s heading to yell at the conductor. I’ve seen that look in his eye before.”
She was on the other end of the platform, but the train was going nowhere anyway. It was an ugly scene. I thought there was going to be a riot with Matt leading the carnage. Instead, he just hit the window to get her attention, made the universal head pointing gesture of “You have rocks in your head” before spitting a tremendous loogie at her face. Fortunately for her, the seething hate-filled wad of spit could not melt the window and her face remained Army-Free. Easily one of the more exciting climaxes to a baseball filled evening in recent memory.
Please Army Don't Hurt 'Em!
June 05, 2004
Marlins 7 Mets 6
With Sujan and Paris
We got two free tickets as a gift from a parent in my class and bought the third for Sujan’s Orange County pal Paris from a friend of the aforementioned parent. A self described “old hippie”, she referred to me as a Stone Mets fan which should make old Stone Grooves across the nation rejoice.
Paris made Sujan’s day by surprising her with a stack of Kevin Elster (Sujan’s young girl crush) and Mookie Wilson cards. For one day at least, Dave N. had been supplanted in the giving of baseball cards award.
The Mets were on a recent hot streak that kept them right around .500 and within spitting distance of first place. They took a 5-2 7th inning lead which quickly evaporated on a 3 run Damion Easley pinch hit homerun off of Mike Stanton. Before the pitch, I said that I was going to leave if Easley hit a homerun. I should have, but I stuck it out through the cold rain. This was an ugly game to lose for the Mets. Too many bad pitches, too many stranded runners, too many mishaps.
In the bottom of the 9th, down by 2, the crowd was crying for returned big baby Armando Benitez. When Piazza hit his second homer of the game to lead off the inning, the fans could feel it. They’d seen enough Benitez implosions firsthand to know that another one was lurking right behind the corner. But, he retired the next three hitters and the Mets were done. Maybe this is the year Papi puts it all together for an entire season, postseason included. (No postseason chance after all for Papi Benitez.)
This was the second game in a week (in two different cities) where I was hassled in the men’s Room for wearing an Orioles cap. The bizarre aspect is that no one said a word to me (except cheers from other Orioles fans) when I wore the cap to the Yankees game in between the two National League games.
Fans across the country rejoice at yet another chance to ridicule the author.
June 15, 2004
Mets 7 Indians 2
With Alex B.
There is nothing better than going to a ballgame when school lets out for the year. Since I’ve been old enough to drive, I have tried to go to as many midweek night games as humanly possible to celebrate the coming of summer. There is a real relaxing feeling to it with the entire summer stretched out in front of me. Infinite possibilities. I love being a teacher and being on the same schedule that I’ve been on since pre-school. And who better to share the experience with than another teacher. We watched some baseball, drank some beer, and made fun of all the suckers who had to work the next day.
Steve Traschel continued to pitch well, the Mets’ bats woke up after the firing of hitting coach Denny Walling, and the climb back to .500 continued. All was right with the world.
Hey, it wasn't my fault that Jason Phillips blows!
I spent the majority of a few innings trying to figure out how to make my brand new cell phone work.
June 24, 2004
Reds 6 Mets 2
By my lonesome
Summer Dan in full effect! While you slobs had to go to work, I got to go watch two mediocre baseball teams battle it out! It was a beautiful relaxing day at the ballpark by myself. Glavine was sharp but his league leading ERA rose to 2.11. It was my first game seeing the oft-injured Reyes play this year and my first glimpse of the newly acquired Richard Hidalgo. The Mets had been playing well and were sitting at .500. A series win over the Reds would have been nice before heading to Yankee Stadium.
But, alas, a win was not in the cards. With the score tied at 2 with 2 outs in the 7th, Mike Cameron lost a routine Ken Griffey flyball in the sun. The ball dropped right next to him and three runs scored. That was it. I sat there with 23,000 others in a stunned incredulousness. Ugly! The last time I saw a crowd so deflated after one swing of the bat in the middle of a game like that was back in the early 90’s when a Ken Griffey grand slam put the Orioles away. Man, Griffey sure knows how to clear a crowd out!
Most interesting development: During that awful Toby Keith (go to hell if you’re not a God Fearing American!) song that Mike Stanton likes to warm up to, a fan behind me stood up and yelled, “I was there on 9/11, I served in Afghanistan, I love my country, but I’m fed up with what’s going on right now!” The whole section broke into spontaneous cheering and applause. This made me hopeful that maybe Bush will indeed lose in November ( um… yeah) because Shea isn’t usually the most Blue State kind of place to be.
Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue
July 01, 2004
Yankees 5 Red Sox 4, 13 innings
With Alex B.
I bought the tickets for this game back at the Whitey Ford game in April for Jamie and me. However, he had decided not to go to Yankee Stadium this year so Alex lucked out. Or did he?
We met for a movie at Film Forum ("The Corporation") that I found quite appropriate considering we were about to go see the most corporate team imaginable. After the movie, we almost decided not to go to the game.
Upon arriving in the Bronx, we almost decided to sell our tickets. Instead we went to McDonald's (my second time since seeing "Super Size Me") and bought some food to bring to the game.
It was a mess outside the stadium. Half the fans were wearing "1918" shirts or "Babe, Bucky, Boone" shirts or "Red Sux" shirts. Nice. I deliberately didn't bring a bag to the game because I was so sick of the ridiculous request to empty all my stuff into a clear plastic bag. I couldn't imagine that I was going to be asked to put my McDonald's into a clear bag, but I was. Unbelievable.
The father and young son in front of me weren't allowed into the park (counterfeit tickets?) and the guy to my left wearing a "Red Sox Sucks" shirt was told he had to turn his shirt inside out because of the profanity on his shirt? What? Are we in Tampa?
Alex and I had great seats right behind home plate in the first row of the cheap seats. The third batter for the Yankees, Gary Sheffield, stepped out with a 2-2 count right before Pedro could throw. I thought, "Pedro is definitely going to hit him with the next pitch." Sure enough, bam, right in the back. The fans went nuts and Alex commented that it felt like a big English football match, more so than any other game he'd ever been into. I started fantasizing about a great fight where Derek Jeter would get his pretty face all bloodied up but that would have to wait for later.
Pedro settled down, but the Yankees didn't. Two homeruns in the first five innings gave them a 3-0 lead. Boston came back to tie it in the 6th and 7th.
Then things started to get really crazy. Both teams kept wasting opportunities to take the lead from the 8th through the 12th innings. In the 11th, the Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs and I thought, "Here comes a triple play." And sure enough, it seemed for a second that the Yankees had turned a triple play on an amazing grab by Alex Rodriguez who touched third to force Manny, threw home for the 2nd out, and then received the throw from home to tag out the third out, who was also the first out. Huh? Everyone was so amazed at the play that they hadn't noticed that the runner that Rodriguez had tagged out for the last out was Manny Ramirez who was the runner he had forced out for the first out and was simply heading back to the dugout.
In the top of the 12th, Derek Jeter made a pretty amazing catch to end the inning as he catapulted into the stands, bloodying his pretty face in the act. It is pretty telling that Jeter will kill himself for a play like that while Mia Hamm's boy Nomar sat on the bench (or perhaps somewhere else) all night.
In the bottom of the 12th, the Yankees had a runner on 3rd with no outs and the Red Sox employed the old five man infield play where one of the outfielders comes in to play the infield. But I'd never seen it put into practice quite like it was on this evening. Kevin Millar and another Red Sox (I can't remember who it was) kept shifting between the left side and right sides of the infield (depending on the batter), and the outfield- each time needing a new glove. It was a funny sight to see the players keep running to the line to get a new glove tossed at him from a coach. At one point, the glove that the player was throwing collided in mid-air with the glove the coach had thrown. That drew a cheer and broke the unbelievable tension for a spell.
With no outs, pinch hitter Giambi had no chance against Leskanic or the parasites eating away at his already toxic insides. As aside, I hope for the best for Mr. Giambi and also his lovely teammate Kevin Brown who has also been diagnosed with parasites. Do you think he has it written in his contract that his parasites get an extra private jet ride too?
With one out, Leskanic hit Sheffield which incensed Torre, but not Sheffield. He was quoted as saying that Leskanic's brother "put in my pool at my house, so there's a friendship there." Then for the intentional walk to A-Rod, Millar headed back to the outfield and had to get a new glove to do it. Then after the intentional walk, he came back to the infield, again changing gloves. What? Was it really necessary to change gloves for an intentional walk? Somehow the Red Sox got out of the inning intact.
After the 12th, Alex left for the evening. There was no way I was going to take off with a game like this going on. And when Manny hit his second homer of the game in the 13th to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead, I was so damn happy, but still quite uneasy. Also, in the 13th, Alex Rodriguez got to play short for the first time as a Yankee and Gary Sheffield played third for the first time since he looked like this.
In the bottom of the 13th, with Ruben Sierra at first, and Miguel Cairo (Miguel Cairo?!) at the plate with two strikes and two outs, Curtis Leskanic could not put him away. He doubled past Millar and Sierra came all the way home from first base.
Next up, John Flaherty pinch hitting for the pitcher Tanyon Sturtze (don't ask) who, of course, drove in Cairo with a smash past Manny Ramirez. I couldn't believe it, but, of course, I could. It was the Yankees beating the Red Sox. It all seemed so preordained.
I headed to the subway drunk on baseball glory and Yankee agony. The many Boston fans in the crowd seemed too stunned to be upset. I consoled a couple of them, but there was nothing to say other than, "Yeah, I hate the Yankees too."
When I got back to Brooklyn, I checked my messages and there was one from Alex. He said that he heard the roar of the crowd when Manny hit his homerun in the 13th and was sad that he hadn't stayed another twenty minutes. A wonderful moment in time captured on my voicemail, before the inevitable fall. He's British, he doesn't know you shouldn't count the Yankees out against the Red Sox with only a one run lead.
For a great recap of the game check out this great article from The Hardball Times
July 03, 2004
Phillies 7 Orioles 6
Citizen’s Bank Park
With Dave, Jennifer, Sujan, Stone Groove, Rosemary, Amy, Marc, Jamie, and Jim
It was an eventful night, to say the least. And, oh yeah, there was a game. At first, the game seemed like it was going to be a Phillies' blow out. The Orioles bullpen had pitched fifteen innings in the previous night’s game and because of injuries and general tiredness, the Orioles’ lineup featured such luminaries as Luis Lopez, Chad Mottola, and Robert Machado.
As far as the new ballpark goes, Citizen's Bank Park is okay. It is a vast improvement on the old park and the view of the skyline (if you aren’t situated behind the humongous scoreboard) is nice. I like the nooks and crannies of the field and the outfield stands reminds me of Coors Field. However, the view of the parking lots leave something to be desired. Marc complains that the missing walking rim in the upper deck made it so there were no vendors around. I would rank it higher than Miller Park and The Ballpark in Arlington in the ranks of new ballparks but below or at the same level with all the others that I have been to.
After falling behind 3-0 after the first inning, the Orioles looked strong. They even took a 6-4 lead into the 8th. Alas, the bullpen wasn’t up to the task and they blew it in the 8th. It was a nice night for a ballgame with family and friends. Rosemary was sufficiently entertained enough by Jim and Amy to enjoy her third big league game.
I think my favorite Stone Groove moment of the night was that he thinks Jerry Hairston looks like Bill Mantzouris. It turns out that my sister says that at every Oriole game, he cries out that he thinks many of the players look like Bill. He only admits to claiming Hairston and Brian Roberts look like him. I don’t know- you make the call.
But it all came to a crashing halt in the 9th when Sujan started a fight with some Phillies fans. She describes the scene:
in retrospect, i admit it. i was bad. but i refuse to say i was not justified.
we rolled into citizens bank ballpark around 6pm to watch the phillies take on the orioles. i was with a bunch of orioles fans and really couldn't care about the phillies, other than they were 2 games ahead of the mets, so of course i was going to root for the orioles.
anyway, towards the later innings, the fans start chanting, "let's go phillies," to which i responded, "phillies suck." to which the obnoxious turd in front of me responded with flipping me the bird behind his back. he didn't even have the chutzpah to turn around and give me the finger. this offended me, so i leaned over in my seat and told him that i much preferred to be given the finger face to face. he then yelled at me so i yelled back at him. in his ear. i can give off quite a scream when i want to. then he called me a loser so i mocked his bird flipping. I told him to get a belt (his pants were quite low, exposing his boxer short-clad ass), he responded with "I'm doing you a favor." Daaaaamn.
unfortunately, the orioles lost the game. now my citizens bank park nemesis could have just left it at that, but no, he had to turn around and give me a double bird flip. i was besides myself. couldn't he just bask in the glory of a phillies win? dan told them to shut up, stone groove asked dan to stop, marc, of course, sided with the enemy.
so i didn't mean to alarm anyone or make them feel uncomfortable. i just have an aversion to stupid people. to be honest, i don't even know why i chanted phillies suck. i think i was just bored.
oh and i know many loyal youthlarge readers are also fans of stone groove. let me tell you, that guy is one of a kind. stone groove is my father-in-law to be. i sat next to him at the game and it was one chestnut after another. or as jamie likes to call them - bon mots. i don't think i should repeat most of them here, but stone groove had opinions on The L Word (he likes!), Luis Lopez, cherry ices, Rico from Six Feet Under and much much more that i can't remember.
Sujan, before the trouble.
And from my blog entry as Testosterone Dan:
At the game, there were some Abercrombie and Fitch type jokers in front of us. 19-year-old chumps who wouldn’t know class if it bit them on their Marlton, New Jersey assess. They thought they were flying high because some how a couple of these clowns ended up with beer.
In the top of the 9th, my lady cried out “Phillies Suck!” to counterbalance the “Let’s Go Phillies” chants. My lady is full of spark, being a New York girl, and is used to responding to chants of “Let’s Go Yankees” with chants of “Yankees Suck!” But I guess these jokers couldn’t take it.
One of them flipped my lady the bird behind his back! The chump didn’t even have the decency to give her the finger to her face. She gave this classless bastard a taste of his own medicine and that was that. Or it was until pinch hitter Javy Lopez struck out to end the game. They turned around and started giving my woman the finger and mocking us.
You don’t do that to me, my lady, or any of my New York crew (except for maybe Balgavy who deserved it, that guy was definitely not representing for Brooklyn on this evening) and get away with that. I stepped up to defend my woman’s honor. And if it weren’t for my auntie, my sweet little sister, and my dear ol’ pops there, I would have busted some heads. The assholes sauntered home to their moms and my crew went out to party.
The gang at Bob and Barbara's
And what would a trip to Philadelphia be without a trip to Pat's?
July 04, 2004
Mets 6 Yankees 5
Check out this line score-
NYY 001 010 210 5
NYM 121 000 11x 6
The Mets finished their first ever sweep of the Yankees and also their first ever season series victory (4-2) against them! It was a beautiful way to celebrate the 4th and to wake up from the previous night's festivities in Philadelphia. The surprising Mets continued to stay in the race and Richard Hidalgo continued to be hot as hell!
Ty Wigginton hit two homers, including the winning one in the bottom of the 8th. Looper held on for the save and the fans ate it up. (Yeah, live it up Mets’ fans! This was the final chance to smile for the rest of the damn season.)
Sujan claims that Mets’ outfielder Eric Valent looks more like Bill than either Hairston or Roberts. Hmmmm…..
Valent in his UCLA days.
My favorite Jae Seo moments of the season: When he was taken out of the game in the 6th inning, he was heading straight to the American flag painted on the grass. Right before he got to the flag, he gracefully sidestepped it so as not to step on Old Glory. After celebrating with his teammates on the field after the game, he doffed his cap and continually waved to the section of his Korean fans who had been loudly cheering for him all game.
The guy behind us kept calling Jeter a ballerina for his histrionics behind the plate- arm raising before every pitch, the way he sticks his ass in the air if a pitch is even remotely inside.
The guy in front of us who called out when Giambi was at the plate, “You use steroids.” The woman to his right told him that that wasn’t being nice so he amended his heckle to “You used to use steroids!”
For at least one more day in 2004!
July 13, 2004
Cyclones 1 Williamsport Crosscutters 0
With Sujan, Sophie (a student from my class), and her parents
Sophie’s first ever game! It was a beautiful night in Brooklyn and I had a great time at my first Cyclones game of the year.
I learned that Sophie can only have ice cream three times a week and cotton candy once a month or something like that. These are her mom’s rules so when she and her dad went to get food, they came back with Fun Dip, thus not dipping into the ice cream or cotton candy quota. Smart kid.
The game was fairly uneventful until the amazing bottom of the 9th. The game was a scoreless tie with one out when a Cyclones hitter made it to first on a single. He stole second and the throw from the catcher went into the outfield so he easily made it to third. They decided to walk the hitter to set up a force play at second. The Crosscutters’ pitcher threw his first intentional ball over the head of the catcher and the winning run scampered across the plate. Unbelievable! Within two pitches, the winning run had gone from 1st to home on a stolen base, an error, and a wild pitch!
Hooray for Fun Dip!
July 18, 2004
Mets 6 Phillies 1
The Mets continue to hover around .500 but that is good enough in the crappy N.L. East to stay near first place. Al Leiter lowered his E.R.A. to 2.24 which should lead the league if only he had enough innings to qualify. But since he labors through every game, he doesn’t have enough innings. How can a starting pitcher who hasn’t missed time this season not have enough innings to qualify for the ERA title? This is utterly astounding.
The Mets closed to within two games of the two first place teams after the win. And if the Mets go on to do anything of note this year, the play that will loom large in my mind is Mike Cameron’s sterling catch in the gap and then being able to turn a double play. That changed the complexion of the close game and the Mets seemed quite energized immediately thereafter and started jacking some homeruns, including a big one from Vance Wilson (3 for 4 for the afternoon).
July 22, 2004
Expos 4 Mets 1
All by myself
Just one of those relaxed this is the last baseball game I will ever attend as a single person kind of games. The impossible dream of the Mets contending all season begins to unravel. The Mets looked ugly today. Let me count the ways:
1. The Mets went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
2. Tom Glavine was great again- 1 run in 7 innings for naught.
3. Third base coach Matt Galante was responsible for sending, then not sending Richard Hidalgo home with the score tied at 1 which resulted in him getting caught in a rundown.
4. Art Howe left John Franco in to face Tony Batista with the score knotted at 1 in the 8th, even though right-handers have blistered Franco all season. Batista’s two run homer demoralized the Mets.
5. The Mets lost their 7th out of 10 and fall under .500 again.
I did get to see David Wright’s first major league hit though.
July 25, 2004
Cyclones 9 Williamsport Crosscutters 4
Cyclones 9 Crosscutters 4
Sunday Late Afternoon/ Evening
With 30 folks who had attended the big wedding the previous evening
I don’t really remember much about this game. It was dull and my mind was still reeling from the whirlwind events of the weekend. The game was incredibly long and a number of us rode the Cyclone after the game, leaving before the game ended. Three hours was long enough.
Ring bearer Sebastian and his little brother Wriley both bought baseballs at the game. Two and a half year old Wriley was super excited to buy his pink baseball. Sebastian played with his baseball cards that he had received the night before as part of his gift for being the ring bearer and gushed over Dave Wells’ gift of the giveaway that evening- a Danny Garcia bobblehead doll. Garcia, of course, is the first Cyclone to make the big show- before being sent down shortly thereafter.
Apparently, at one point, Anne predicted that the amount of runs the Cyclones scored would be the same amount of kids that Sujan and I are going to have. I hope for Sujan’s sake that this prediction does not come true.
Before the game, Marc and I were treated to a free show. A woman was screaming on her cell phone at her soon to be ex- boyfriend. She was super pissed. My favorite line, “I refuse to just be your fucking sex toy!” What a scene. Much more entertaining than the game.
For more photos check Balgavy.
August 12, 2004
Mets 2 Astros 1
This was my first game back after coming back from Prague. And while I was gone, my adopted team had been sold down the river by management. In fifteen minutes, the organization seemingly set itself back five years with two questionable trades - none more questionable than Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. But for one day at least, Jim Duquette didn’t look like a big moron. His savior Victor Zambrano pitched brilliantly for seven innings! (This was Zambrano’s next to last start of the year before being shut down when his pre-existing injury acted up.) Who cares if Jeff Kent, Jeff Bagwell, and Craig Biggio weren’t in the starting lineup? Hey, the Mets are creeping up in the wild card standings! Too bad they have to leap over six other teams.
August 15, 2004
Diamondbacks 2 Mets 0
Marc stepped in at the last moment on a Sunday morning when Lady Hong couldn’t wake up.
Randy Johnson was absolutely dominant- 8 1/3 shutout innings with 14 strikeouts. This warmed Balgavy’s heart since his fantasy team “Parking Garage” needed a boost so he could continue to withstand the onslaught of Chris Larry’s “Carroll St. Draft Day Bandits.” It is really strange to be able to talk to Marc for hours on end about baseball.
The Mets didn’t appreciate Johnson staring them down after striking them out. Todd Zeile and Johnson almost get into some fisticuffs. If nothing else, this argument got the Mets fans pumped up and booed Johnson lustily every chance they got the rest of the game. When he was taken out in the 9th, Johnson left to much booing. Always the gentleman, Johnson doffed his cap to the crowd. This gesture silenced the crowd. People didn’t know how to react. It was hilarious. After the game, Zeile said, "After all the strikeouts, he's got, 4,000 and something, he doesn't need to do that. Johnson said, "We were just battling.''
Other than that, the most exciting thing was to see Art Howe show a pulse upon being thrown out of the game for arguing a call when Mike Cameron was called out on an attempted steal of third.
August 17, 2004
Harrisburg Senators 1 Altoona Curve 0
With Jamie and Marc
Game 1 of Baseball Trip 2004. Jamie and I have taken trips together every summer since 1999. We've had many other assorted characters accompany us and this year we added the Balgavy to the mix. Give the boy a fantasy team and you've given him the world. The trip was in doubt for much of the summer, what with the weddings and all, but it all came together at the end.
We left New York in a haze of excitement and iPod delirium. When we arrived in Harrisburg, I was pleased to discover that this would my first ever baseball game on a small island. City Island, that is, right across the mighty Susquehanna from scenic Harrisburg. The idea of putting a baseball park on an island barely big enough for the park and a parking lot reminds me of some of the crazy baseball ideas Rich and I came up with for our dream stadiums in that bucolic summer of ’92 when we spent two out of every three home games at the ballpark. While this park was not situated on a traveling barge and it did not include spikes that periodically sprouted from the ground, this island did include batting cages, a carousel, and something called water golf.
We snagged front row seats down the line, Marc partook in a dollar hot dog, and Expo prospect Larry Broadway went deep for the Senators to account for the only run. Hopefully, this will be just one of many future Senator homeruns for the strapping slugger, but in Washington and not in Harrisburg. (Damn Nationals for screwing with my joke!)
After the game, Jamie connected for some solid line drives in the batting cage and then we checked out the bridge that connected us to the mainland.
Finally we headed back to the car to listen to Mets-Rockies (Victor Zambrano got hurt, lovely!) before continuing on in our journey of 147 unanswered Eric Bachmann tunes. Ah the glory of the iPod.
August 18, 2004
White Sox 9 Tigers 2
With Jamie, Marc, and Gary
The mantra of the night from Marc, “Will this get me in the write-up?” His first attempt to make the write-up came before the game even began when we noticed how annoyingly loud the sound system was at the game. Marc said he would take care of it and disappeared. He is always the first to rush out and complain to a movie theater attendant when something doesn’t meet his Miramax trained specifications. He was eager to prove his mettle in unfamiliar environs. At first, his complaint to guest relations seemed to have just been brushed off, but amazingly the sound seemed to be much quieter by the 2nd inning. Balgavy comes through in the clutch again!
In the bottom of the 1st, I tried to call Sujan so we could boo Roberto Alomar together when he hit. Unfortunately, she didn’t answer (A rerun of The "Gilmore Girls" must have been on) so I had to boo him by myself. The game was pretty uneventful. Aaron Rowand’s grand slam in the 1st ended any sort of possible drama.
The highlight of the game was easily the beer vendors. One of them played the angry guy schtick and rolled his eyes and uttered “Jeesh” when people wouldn’t order beer. But the best was the stoner surfer guy. He surfaced every couple innings or so to deliver in his Spicoli drawl, “No one wants any beer, right?” Finally, we couldn’t take it anymore and Marc bought a beer from the guy and made him pose for a picture. The vendor let a smile momentarily slip. His cultivated character was momentarily revealved before he immediately was able to regain it.
It was also fun to catch up with old friend Gary about old high school chums. I’d been wondering what Cass Snider was up to these days.
After the game we had to get the hell out of Chicago so we had enough time to party in Rockford, Illinois.
From Marc’s blog posted in the middle of the night:
there are guys behind me "fragging" things
jamie, dan and i are at an internet cafe in rockport, illinois. we saw a baseball game at us cellular field this evening. we narrowly avoided the rain. oh, and i'm a little bit drunk. we were at the bar next door...well, three doors down. we had a drink or two and then took a right at the stripmall and popped into what i'm calling an internet cafe, but what is really a place filled with black lights and people playing first person shooter games.
hmm, let see. so far the trip has involved a lot of driving. and i meant to dance at the bar next door, but neither dan nor i had our cameras, so that made the dancing totally unnecessary. although jamie claimed he'd be able to record it with the camera in his mind. no dice. boo yah!!!!!
okay, here's the thing. internet, I NEED YOUR HELP. bat-girl was kind enough to post jamie's request asking for things to do in minneapolis. unfortunately, the printer here doesn't work. would someone mind printing the comments and faxing them to us at the red roof inn in rockFORD (turn out rockport is a shoe company!!! - who knew???)???? red roof inn. rockford, il. we'll try to leave by 9am (right!) CENTRAL TIME. so that gives you some time...but, please, someone help us out. those suggestions sound good. sorry i don't have the fax number, there, but i'm sure you can find it. unfortunately, i don't know when i'll have internet access again. it's like i've been kidnapped on some kind of crazy baseball trip!!!! but i decided i wanted to do it. and i'm wholeheartedly embracing it, including checking my fantasy stats at this internet cafe. jamie just called the comments """ALLL GOLD"""". don't know why there are extra quotes...but that just means YOU MUST COME THROUGH FOR US. I WILL BAKE YOU COOKIES. thanks a millions, dawgs!!!!
UPDATE _____ MOST IMPORTANT _______
***** i am not that lazy, i found the fax number for the motel Fax: (815) 398-9761*****
attention marc balgavy - room 246.
The helpful Kevin Fanning came through in the clutch for us. When we awoke, the fax was already waiting for us. For more, check Balgavy’s blog.
August 19, 2004
Yankees 13 Twins 10
With Jamie and Marc
After 1300 miles driven in 48 hours, we finally had a chance to relax and spend some time in one place. And what a place! The Twin Cities are amazing. Great people, great restaurants, fun things to do. Too bad it gets so cold in the winter or I could see moving there.
The scene outside the park was a festive one. I downed some caramel and Marc hit on some ladies.
It was a beautiful day. Too bad we had to head inside for the game. The Metrodome isn’t that bad compared to Olympic Stadium or Tropicana Field, but it just didn’t seem as much fun. Maybe a dome is only fun if the crowd is less than 10,000 people?
The Twins looked awful at first as they were going for the sweep. Down 7-1 in the 6th and 9-3 in the 7th, the Twins fought back. 5 runs in the 8th capped by Shannon Stewart’s 2 run 2 out triple in the 8th got the fans to go absolutely crazy. It was the loudest I’ve heard a ballpark get since attending Redskins games at R.F.K. in the late 80’s. Unfortunately, the Yankees plated four in the 9th on Joe Nathan. Sheffield’s homer tied it and then it was all downhill after that. Then Rivera only needed 10 pitches (9 strikes) to end the night for the Twins. Oh well, no sweep for the Twins.
After the game, we went bar hopping and Stone Arch bridge walking. Balgavy was on a quest for a good time and deemed himself ‘The Balginator” on this momentous evening.
After Thursday night's Twins game, Dan, Jamie and I tried to make the most of our time in Minneapolis and St. Paul. One of the things suggested on the internet was a 3am drunken trip across the Stone Arch Bridge. After a drink at Grumpy's (where the doorman was very friendly and helpful) and a stop for cash at a gas station, we headed toward the bridge around 11:30pm.
As we weren't exactly sure where we were going, we realized that maybe the ATM visit before a trip into a dark, underpopulated section of town wasn't the best idea in the world. At one point the sidewalk split with one part following the road and the other section going down into the trees with no apparent exit. We tried the downhill trek first. After a few more jokes about getting mugged, and with me brandishing my tiny pocketknife, we turned around and folllowed the sidewalk next to the road. That took us directly past a few old mills and right to the entrance of the bridge. And then more walking. Oh, and I was saying "hello" to everyone we passed. I think that bothered Jamie and Dan, but I was trying to figure out how to be Midwestern and whatnot. After crossing the bridge we took a right and eventually crossed through Dinkytown. One guy we passed even said hello to us first. I felt vindicated. This late night walk eventually served as a warm-up for the bicycle ride we'd take the following afternoon.
The next day, it was time for some artist designed mini-golf and a bike ride. God Bless the Twin Cities!
August 20, 2004
St. Paul Saints 5 Fargo-Moorhead Red Hots 4
With Jamie and Marc
As Dave Nelson made his CNN debut, the boys and I headed to St. Paul for the independent league Saints. On a night where temperatures in the area descended to the thirties, we were a little cold. Any chance of me wanting to move to the Twin Cities evaporated in the cold August air. We also were a little bored at first. We had terrible seats in the general admission down the line. We were freezing cold yet somehow couldn't see because of the bright sunshine in our eyes. And things just didn’t seem to be headed in the direction of the team’s motto: Fun is Good.
After an inning and a half, we decided to take off and head across the river to catch the rest of the Twins-Indians game. But a funny thing happened on the way out of the park. We were befriended by a Saints’ booster! We had just finished posing for a picture in front of one of the many murals at the ballpark when a guy came up to us and told us we had to get a picture by the pigs that were in front of the ballpark. The Saints mascot is a pig that they parade around on the field every few innings.
After taking a quck picture, our new friend Scott, was very excited to find out that we were from Brooklyn. He asked us if we wanted to see the real pig located in the bowels of the park. Um, of course! He took us down some stairs and explained to anyone who asked that we were from Brooklyn and needed to see the pig. He seemingly knew everyone at the park. The ballpark workers seemed completely non-plussed by three out-of-towners coming to pose for a picture with their pig mascot. The pig is in the lower right if you squint real hard.
Then he took us to some choice seats behind home. We enjoyed his company whenever he sat near us. However, more than half of the time he was walking around looking for trouble.
The on field entertainment was fun- Since it was 50’s- 60’s Night, The Fonz came onto the field to read birthdays. He apologized for Potsie being absent. They had a “real life” Japanese man dressed in a kimono sing karaoke. And in the middle of the 5th inning, four guys in drag dragged the infield dirt.
Some choice Scottisms:
My girlfriend works here. Half the time she wants to leave as soon as she gets off for the night which is great for me because I stick around.
Usually they have nuns giving massages in the stands. They have fingers of steel.
Ballgames are fun. Take off your tie or you’ll be asked to leave! (When asked about the no-tie rule.)
We usually tailgate and eat burgers, hot dogs, venison, you name it. We recently made T-shirts for ourselves. We call ourselves P.E.T.A.- People Eating Tasty Animals.
Everything at the park was great. There were murals painted everywhere. They had put up dozens of photocopied photos of 50’s and 60’s stars all around the stands and concourse. When a Saints player hit a homerun, many people got up and started waving dollar bills around. Immediately, ushers and Scott (of course) started collecting the money. What? Are they giving the player bonus money for his homer? That would be amazing. Instead, they were donating to a charity for research for some disease that one of the owner’s children has. Not as funny as our original idea, but nicer I guess. Still, these Independent League guys could probably use the extra money. And the best part was that you could get a haircut while watching the game. Balgavy took the Saints up on their offer.
The fans really appreciate the effort made by the people in charge and really were into the game the entire time. I guess the constant peanuts and candy thrown at them didn’t hurt either. It felt like one big family event. Even the “strike out a guy, win some food” promotion got the fans super riled up. In Brooklyn, it is next to impossible to win any food if the designated visiting player strikes out because the player has to strike out three times to win a prize. Here, he only has to strike out once to win a free sandwich at Arby’s. This got Marc very excited. But he wasn’t the only one. There were chants the entire game for the poor schmo to strike out every time he came up and many mentions of horsey sauce abounded.
So in the top of the 9th (Scott had already slinked off when his girlfriend told him it was time to leave) the Red Hots had the tying run on base with two outs for the Arby’s hitter. The fans went nuts screaming “Arby’s! Arby’s! Arby’s!” I don’t know if the fans were more excited for a Saints victory or a roast beef sandwich. Marc was cheering lustily after coming back to the seats after getting his haircut.
What could be better than this for Balgavy? First he gets a haircut while watching the game unfold in front of him and now this? The hitter kept fouling pitches off with 2 strikes. The Japanese singer (turns out he works for the Saints) paced on the walkway riling the crowd up. The obese man who had an “S” shaved into his head right before Balgavy got his haircut was beside himself. When the Arby’s hitter finally struck out, the fans went ballistic.
Arby’s, Arby’s, Arby’s!
Unfortunately, by the time we walked out, they had run out of coupons and we received a coupon at an ice cream place that was already closed for the evening. Oh well.
And if you need any more convincing that this place is amazing, how about this? They run a promotion every game where a fan gets harnessed onto the outfield fence near the fair pole. If he catches a ball during a game, he wins $10,000. Scott told us that once a guy had put his glove down because he was hot and then a ball was hit right at him. He tried to catch it barehanded but he couldn’t do it. That remains the closest anyone has come to winning the money.
St. Paul= baseball mecca.
August 21, 2004
Tigers 11 Mariners 10, 11 innings
With Jamie and Marc
We had some bad traffic on the way to the game and arrived very late- 5th inning late. The game was almost sold out late. We pulled up next to burned out and falling apart buildings and houses. Ah, Detroit how I missed thee.
We bought our 15 dollar standing room tickets and went in. And I was more than pleasantly surprised with the place.
I like all the tiger statues outside the park as they crawl all over the park. Some of them have baseballs in their mouths. There are giant tigers everywhere. You can see the field from the street which is also amazing. I like the Ferris wheel and carousel and I especially like the statues of former Tiger players in the outfield. I like the many walkways and levels and stairs where you can see the game. It kind of reminded me of Coors Field in that respect.
It was a beautiful night but we still couldn’t believe how packed it was. I had no idea they drew this well in this ballpark. My only complaint about the park? I hate the General Motors fountain and the jeeps over the centerfield wall. Also, they need to do something about the leftfield fence. They moved it in so now there is blank space between the wall and the fans. It looks stupid.
When we arrived in the bottom of the 5th, the Mariners were winning 6-3. We just were hoping for extra innings. We got that and a whole lot more. In the first two innings, we were there, the two teams combined for 11 runs. The Tigers scored 4 in the 5th to take the lead. The Mariners tied it at 7 in the 6th only to see the Tigers score 3 more in the bottom of the inning. So Seattle promptly tied at 10 in the 7th. In the 11th, Craig Monroe’s single won it for Detroit. The teams combined for 36 hits- 5 players had at least 3 hits, led by Randy Winn’s 5. Ichiro and Ivan Rodriguez each had four and former Mariner (wow what a bad trade for Seattle) Carlos Guillen added 6 RBIs. It was a crazy game. I definitely would like to go back to Detroit for another game. Comerica Park is no Tiger Stadium, but it is one of the better new parks.
August 22, 2004
Erie Seawolves vs. Reading Phillies
With Jamie and Marc
We arrived in Erie just in time for a few innings of Eastern League ball on the way to the night’s main event in Altoona. It was pretty mellow in Erie. Despite the beautiful day, there weren’t that many people at the game. One fan told us that most people were at Erie Day celebrations or something like that.
The Seawolves were wearing Negro League uniforms but none of them really matched. Some wore Kansas City shirts with Detroit hats. But they all looked great. We walked around the ballpark and watched kids chasing down foul balls and homers. There were so few people in both places that it seemed like every kid who wanted a ball had a damn good chance of getting one. The pitchers in the Seawolves’ bullpen are big fans of ice pops, in case you were wondering.
Best sound effect on trip: The ominous werewolf (seawolf?) noise piped over the PA every so often.
Favorite scoreboard sign of year: The Seawolves welcome Mrs. Piersall from England.
Fantasy baseball tip: If you have a hitter on the Seawolves (AA Tigers) do not trust their homerun totals. The fences are ridiculously close.
We left after four innings with the score tied at 3.
Altoona Curve 12 Bowie Baysox 0
With Jamie and Marc
After a scenic drive (courtesy of Jamie) and listening to parts of three games on the radio (including the Erie game- they ended up winning) we arrived in Altoona. A little late, but not Detroit late. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any parking so we drove around a little. Luckily, we found a bearded gentleman (and I use that term loosely) who told us to park in a yard for three bucks. There were a couple yards that were packed with cars. Not a bad way to make some extra cash.
Altoona is the town that built their ballpark right next to an old amusement park. Which means that there is a 1920’s era roller coaster right behind the right field fence daring hitters to knock one off the head of a coaster enthusiast.
Altoona destroyed the Orioles affiliate 12-0 and they didn’t even have the benefit of facing Sidney Ponson. Immediately after the game, we took our chances and bought some tennis balls to throw onto the field in an attempt to win some prizes. We didn’t win nothing.
And then there were fireworks.
In Altoona, beers are cheap and plentiful. This explains some of the bad decision making after the game on our 2.3 mile walk to the bar called Zack’s.
From Marc’s blog:
another question - why did we walk to the bar tonight instead of taking a cab or accepting the offer of an 11pm ride from the hotel front desk attendant? the cab cost money which isn't an issue- but that lacked the spirit of adventure. and waiting for the hotel clerk for an hour didn't seem like a fun time. she was cute and fun and friendly but she wasn't quite yet drinking age.
I called Sujan as Balgavy walked us all the fuck over Altoona in the dark. Jim was hanging out with Sujan when I called and he later posted this on Marc’s blog
Hearing Sujan's half of a phone conversation with Drunk Dan on Sunday night was quite weird. I want more details about how you guys were walking through the underbrush next to the highway and possibly getting ticks, all just to get to a hick bar with 12:30 last call.
We trudged across Interstates, malls, neighborhoods, all for the sake of making it to the “in” bar of Altoona, PA on a Sunday night. At one point, Marc had us walking in circles and he had to call the desk clerk again to verify directions. She had no memory of Marc even though he had just been in less than an hour before. I don’t remember much about the rest of the walk other than there were a lot of ducks in the mall creek.
Eventually we made it to Zack’s! And boy was it hopping. There must have been at least three other patrons at this hot bar. But we didn’t let the diminishing chances of Balgavy getting some action ruin our night. No sir. A number of “orange slice” shots and we were feeing just fine. Darts were played, nachos were eaten, and then after debating the options of how to get back to the hotel- we took a cab. Maybe one of the other gentlemen involved in this fiasco might recall some of the highlights of the cab ride because I sure as hell don't.
August 23, 2004
Little League World Series
Little League World Series
Mexico vs. Saipan
Davenport, Iowa vs Thousand Oaks. CA
With Jamie and Marc
It was great to finally get to Williamsport for some Little League Action, but we were too damn tired to fully enjoy the experience. The hot sun, the crabby security folks who wouldn’t let us sit in the empty shaded seats that were roped off, and the silliness of ESPN’s staged shots everywhere you turned didn’t help. I guess it never occurred to me that the spot right behind the fence is roped off for the sole purpose of letting ESPN put people there so they can get the shots they want. I wonder if that spot was roped off back before the games were televised. My guess- no.
Mexico looked great in the few innings we saw. Thousand Oaks looked even more impressive in the one inning we saw of their dismantling of the punks from Davenport. For some reason, Jamie despises the Davenport team. We were so damn tired that we didn’t fully enjoy the experience, but it was nice to finally get there for some games.
After about two hours in Williamsport, we headed home to reality.
August 29, 2004
Dodgers 10 Mets 2
With Sujan (barely)
Wow, the Mets are bad. But, I guess when your lineup includes the likes of Jeff Keppinger, Gerald Williams, Wilson Delgado, and Brian Buchanan, what can you expect? It is hard to tell if the Mets have given up or if they just really, really, really suck. Does it matter?
Today’s highlights included Cliff Floyd dropping a fly ball, (if the sun is so difficult to read at Shea, how come it only affects the Mets?), a Cliff Floyd rainbow throw home on an advancing runner, a Kris Benson mental error, and all around crapitude. Floyd was booed mercilessly, but he handled it well. After the game, he said he deserved it.
In the 5th, already trailing 4-1, the Dodgers loaded the bases for Robin Ventura. Sujan said if he hit a homerun, she was leaving. Sure enough, he hit a homer and she left. The Shea faithful took a break from booing to cheer former favorite Ventura for his heroics. With that homerun, he moved into 4th place on the all time grand slam list. You think he can stick around long enough to hit seven more to break Gehrig’s record? (The answer is no, Ventura announced his retirement at the end of the season.) Maybe he needs to move to an N.L. East team so he can find himself facing the Mets 19 times a year. How many more games do I have tickets for?
At least I snagged myself a nice T-shirt on Jewish Heritage Day. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I’d say that the Mets pitiful performance on this day was bordering on anti-Semitic .
But you don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to think maybe the fans are at least a little anti-Jewish. During the 7th inning stretch, the Mets played Mandy Patinkin’s version of “Take Me out to the Ballgame” in Yiddish. The fans booed it! Perhaps they aren’t anti-Semitic, but merely anti- Mandy Patinkin. But I'll bet they've never heard his Greatest Indie Rock Hits that he is so well known for.
September 12, 2004
Phillies 4 Mets 2
With Sujan, Sophie (a kid from my class last year) and her parents.
What a complete snoozefest. This was Sophie’s first ever major league game and her only response was that she wanted to go to a Yankees game. I can’t blame her because who would want to subject themselves to this nonsense? The Mets sleptwalk through another loss. Glavine fell to 9-13. The Mets lost their 19th of their last 21 games and fell to 61-81 thus guaranteeing their third straight non-winning season. Lovely.
September 17, 2004
Red Sox 3 Yankees 2
With Alex B.
What a glorious ending. The Red Sox moved to within 2 1/2 games of the Yankees and they did it by scoring two runs in the 9th against Rivera. Too bad I had left hours earlier. What? Me leave a big game in September early? Yes, well, it was supposed to rain all night. And when the second rain delay started in the 3rd inning, Alex and I thought we were making the right move to take off for Brooklyn. Unfortunately, the weather cleared and they were able to play.
When I got off the train at Atlantic Ave. to walk over to 4th Ave. and Atlantic to take the bus home, my sister who was visiting for the weekend pulled up to the corner to give me a ride. I might have missed a great game, but at least I got a ride home!
The game was very entertaining, even on TV. Manny Ramirez robbed Miguel Cairo of a homerun, but Cairo didn’t know and continued to run the bases. He celebrated demonstratively and the third base coach gave him an enthusiastic high five. It wasn’t until he got to the dugout that he found out the truth. As I watched on TV, I kept telling myself that I wouldn’t have had quite the fun view if I had seen it in person.
I kind of was hoping that the Yankees would blow the Red Sox out so I wouldn’t feel bad for leaving early. No such luck. But, how could I be unhappy with the result? I still can’t believe I left in the 3rd inning.
From Alex’s blog:
I do believe in beauty. I do wake up and feel exhilirated by the new dawn. I am an eternal optimist. But there are some things that really piss me off. Let me list the ways.
Going to Yankee Stadium annoys me, it just does. ($18)
Spending over an hour on the 4 train to get there when it should only take about 45 minutes.($2)
Pissing, miserable, soaking, demoralising rain.(free, it's rain you know)
Obnoxious Yankee fans on aforementioned 4 train.(also free yet still annoying)
Waiting for half an hour to get into the Death star in a crowd of annoying Yankee fans in the rain. (a combination of all of the above except the bit about the 4 train).
Seeing six Yankee fans turned away from the gate because they had arrived on Friday night with tickets for Sunday's game. (F*CKING PRICELESS!!!!).
September 24, 2004
Cubs 2 Mets 1, 10 innings
Glendon Rusch came back to Shea to show his old team how it is done. Kris Benson looked good as well. But like everything as else this season, the Mets came up short. Derrek Lee’s RBI single in the 10th proved to be the game winner.
Mets fans were in the minority on this night. Cubs fans were quite obnoxious. What happened to the lovable loser image of the Cubs? The fans were acting like Yankees’ fans. All full of cockiness and bombast. At least the Yankees win, these fans shouldn’t get so damn cocky because their team never ever wins. Between the fans at this game and the fans in the bleachers at the game we went to last July, my interest in seeing the Cubs win is rapidly dissipating. I was very happy that the Mets beat them the next two games. (And this started a freefall for Dusty’s teams that did keep them out of the playoffs.)
Sujan amused herself by coming up with new nicknames for the putrid Mets. Some examples?
Kaz Matsui became Spazz Matsui. Braden Looper became Braden Pooper. Mike Stanton became Mike Stankton. To listen to her giggle after each new name was definitely quite amusing.
The best heckle of the night was a simple one. One fan kept yelling at Cubs’ closer LaTroy Hawkins by referring to him as “LaToya.”
(La Troy Hawkins image deleted)
(LaToya Jackson image deleted)
October 19, 2004
Red Sox 4 Yankees 2
Game 6 of the ALCS
With Alex B.
Is Alex the luckiest boy in the world or what? Because of other people’s boycotts of Yankee Stadium, this British dude, who two years ago couldn’t have told you the difference between Bill Buckner and Bucky Dent, was invited to go to his first ever postseason game. And not just any postseason game, but Game 6 of the Yankees vs. the Red Sox. Or, the way I like to think about it, Game 3 of the most glorious choke ever.
Schilling warms up before making me very very happy.
Curt Schilling bled all night as he shut down the fucking Yankees. The Red Sox scored four runs in the top of the 4th inning, powered by Mark Bellhorn’s three run homer that was initially ruled a ground rule double.
The Red Sox bullpen waves for the correct call- a Bellhorn homerun.
The Yankees scored one in the 7th and one in the 8th, but it could have been more if Alex Rodriguez hadn’t cheated and tried to swat the glove off of Bronson Arroyo. Again, the umpires got the call right and all was right with the world.
The entire night, Alex and I bit our tongues. We saw Red Sox fans in our midst getting harassed (including the guy bringing it on himself by parading around with a Tom Brady jersey on and intentionally riling up the bleacher folk) and we didn’t want any part of it. In particular, there was one guy screaming the entire night at everything and everybody. He had snuck in some whiskey and it made him more obnoxious as the night went on, that is, until his team’s hopes were crushed and he didn’t have too much more to say.
He started the night by harassing Mike Timlin in his booming voice (we were easily 75 feet from Timlin) in the bullpen with a clever “Hey Timlin! Hey Timlin! Fuck You!” chant. This prompted Timlin to look back and give the heckler a polite “shush” signal. Of course, the brute started yelling even more. Unfortunately for him, this brought a security guy to come over and tell him to pipe down. In fact, they led him out of the stands for a couple of minutes to warn him that if he didn’t stop cursing, he would be kicked out. We heard a lot of mother jokes, sister jokes, and gay jokes after that.
He kept complaining all night about how Red Sox fans can get away with murder at Fenway, but at Yankee Stadium, Yankees’ fans are muzzled. He kept repeating that next year he was going to head to Fenway and then they’d see who was boss.
In the 8th, the classy Yankees fans showed their class by throwing bottles onto the field because their cheating didn’t work.
After the game, their cheating player deflected responsibility but let’s not forget that all Yankees are all class all the time. And it all starts with the classy manager who never takes responsibility for his players cheating because "Hey if you’re wearing pinstripes and Michael Kay says it enough times, then damnit, all Yankees are classy!"
Not so fast there, assholes!
Right before the final out of Game 6.
Favorite Yankees' fan excuse of the night which I heard from more than one fan: This series is fixed. MLB wants a game 7. It is so clearly fixed.
And Alex’s thoughts on the night?
I have to admit to a little trepidation about taking my place in the bleachers for this one. Not because of the rivalry (I’ve seen some horrible things in England) but because I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t stealing someone else’s seat. I remember asking Dan if he was 100%certain that Jamie wasn’t going to want to break his boycott and go in my place.
By Tuesday morning I was as fired up as any English Mets fan with a 3 year pedigree of following baseball could be. The bleachers gave much more of an impression of the size of Yankee stadium, you feel like a voyeur rather than a paying customer, sneaking a peek at the action that’s so far away.
The memorable aspects of that night? The outrageous vodka swilling loudmouth who just would not shut up. When hauled out by the stewards for cursing he talked his way back in and continued to curse, giggle and generally abuse anyone who fell into the trap but he was doing so in Spanish as he figured he could he away with it,
His easiest target was the preppy Boston fans a row or two in front They had the natural look of victims. This guy was venomous. There was also the Redsox fan with the patriots shirt who was, quite frankly, dead man walking. He kept strutting (yes, strutting) about in the bleachers waving at people. He took a fall in the 8th. We never saw him again. His antic prompted drunken rants of “J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS! And I’m a Giants fan” from vodka boy.
I was loving this. I shouldn’t have been, I was rooting for the Redsox in that passionate but oh so completely silent way that one does in the Bleachers at Yankees stadium. I was also a little nervous that vodka boy might turn on me. I’m glad he didn’t. For some reason a middle aged bearded fellow turned on vodka boy and accused him of ruining his evening. Fool. He was then christened “Van Dyke” and roundly abused “Hey Van Dyke, why I don’t even know who you’re rootin for?!” Some more classics from vodka boy.
“When we go to Fenway next year I’m takin guns”
“ I want hot chicks doing jumpin jacks instead of this dumb ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ for the 7th inning stretch!”
Lots of stuff in Spanish directed towards the Boston bullpen as well as lots of abuse directed at anyone in the employ of Yankee stadium but only when they couldn’t hear.
On the train back home, we sat near a couple- the boyfriend was wearing a Red Sox cap and his girlfriend was wearing a Yankees hat. They both looked miserable. It was obvious why she looked sad, but then I realized why he looked so downcast- she was going to make his life hell for the next few days.
It was a wonderful night to be a Yankees’ hater. And I owe it all to Mitch again. He scored me tickets to Game 6 of the Yankees’ World Series demise in 2003 and then to this Game 6 the following year.
How many more days until Opening Day?