Siberian Baseball

Monday, July 09, 2007

I was tired of Chris Berman before this even began - 2007's Home Run Derby

I tune in a few moments late to tonight's Home Run Derby to be greeted by what looks to be a montage. Not a problem.

Counting Crows is playing, which is fine, but it's Accidentally in Love from at least one Shrek ago. I channel my inner Simmons and immediately critique the choice made by the Worldwide Leader and question if they have even heard music that was released this year.

Then I see it's actually Counting Crows and they're playing live.

Needless to say, I'm still a little confused. Yes, I know Counting Crows is a Bay Area band. Still confused.

I hesitate to call this a "live blog" of the event because it's nowhere near live and there's a solid chance I won't keep typing to the end.

Other random thoughts from the First Round of the derby:

* Chris Berman announces the players, including Albert "Winnie the" Pujols. It could be worse, but I'd still be pretty pissed if I were Pujols. They should be pulling Berman out of the ground like a railroad spike.

* Prince Fielder gets a jump to make it to the infield on time. Not surprisingly, Berman is still yammering on by the time the big guy makes it in.

* Nice suit, Dusty. You're making a strong case to manage again with solid decisions like that.

* Justin Morneau hits the first home run of the day and finds Waldo. What a talented man.

* Matt Holliday is ripping balls out of the park, nearly hitting the Coke bottle in left center. Then, he sends two screaming liners. I see these kids in the outfield and wonder what sort of waiver is in play to put them in harm's way like that.

* Peter Gammons gets his Barbara Walters on and meets with Barry Bonds, where we learn that he is no longer able to hit home runs, think of anyone but his teammates and never thinks about the home record... right.

Also, everyone in San Francisco sees Barry in the gym. I bet he's got a membership at the Y. That has to be why he's loved at home and no where else.

To be honest, the whole thing seemed really, really weird. Like when a Hollywood star gets out of rehab weird.

* And who is Bonds followed by? Alex Rodriguez. Outstanding.

Would it be that hard for them to interview ballplayers people actually like? I know Rodriguez won the popular vote, but do we need to see him struggle through this?

I have to ask myself every few weeks if I'd be able to cheer for A-Rod if he would end up with Sweet Lou and the Cubs. I'm not saying never, but I might take down the mirrors in the house for a few months after I'd made my peace with that.

* Are the guys waiting to hit really sitting in armchairs? Yet another reason I'd love to be a talented ballplayer. My seats at the ballgame twist up my innards into balloon animals by the sixth inning. It's either that or spend the whole game staring into left center.

Stupid Metrodome.

* David Ortiz and Vlad Guerrero and the bat in a case thing? Genius. It's like a live TV version of Major League 2. I'm just waiting for that goofy seal to lead him out for the next round with a hood over his head.

Playoff Round

* Ron Gardenheire is out to pitch to Morneau in the tiebreaker round. My dad happens to call and check in during this and we're both betting Gardy has been practicing for weeks to get prepared for this.

* Also, Morneau almost clips a kid in the outfield. See? I told you so.

Round Two

* Alex Rios' name is being searched frantically by thousands of lazy fantasy baseball owners. Yes, he's taken. Probably weeks ago by a guy with no social life. We'll call this the "Ryan Howard Effect."

*Kevin Mitchell looks like Ving Rhames these days. That, or the ESPN crew in confused. Also, haven't heard from Kenny Mayne in a while. Can we check on him? Can the Scuba-cam search the bottom of the Bay if the need arises?

* Berman actually drops a funny gold ball / Charlie Finley reference. Blind squirrel, meet nut. Smart money says Leather's been sitting on that one since breakfast.

* Erin Andrews is all smiles and sunshine when the cameras are on. There should be a drinking game where you slam a beer when you see her sulking around in the background on the quick cuts they're doing. She looks like someone whose car was egged -mildly pissed off and just looking for someone to take it out on - when she's not in front of a red light.

* The inside scoop you get from the Baseball Tonight guys? Vlad hits the ball hard.

Thanks, fellas. Top-notch analysis.

* The Dominican Entourage is out tonight - they went pretty nuts when Vlad finished up in Round One. Dominican Turtle is wearing his show-quality airbrushed shirt for the event - I think he might be some sort of barber... but not Manny's barber. I have no idea where these guys came from, but they should be allowed to sit in any dugout in the league at any time they'd like.

* I'm not really trying to rip off the Sports Guy here, I think it's just a function of trying to keep up in real time. And the part where my dad called in? That was weird. He calls once every two weeks, it just happened that he had a question for me tonight and was checking on The Girl's flight home tonight... damn, I sorta did it again.

If this keeps up, I'm adding a first paragraph here about how it's a Simmons parody and I'll pretend that was my plan all along.

* If Leather name drops another Bay Area landmark, I'm getting a plane ticket, waiting outside the ballpark tomorrow night and socking him in the nose. I just paid my credit card bill - I can totally make that a reality. Then, I will fly back, back, back to Minneapolis in time for work Wednesday.

(It's worth noting that Bugs & Cranks beat me to this punchline hours ago.

* They're having live mic issues between segments today - I'm hoping for an f-bomb from Dusty Baker. Or for Joe Morgan to say something dumber than is usually allowed when he's on-air.

*Kenny Mayne is out of the kayak and into the crowd, where he belongs. Why not put Morgan in the kayak for a bit where he can't bother anyone?

Money well spent by ESPN on that gimmick. How many homeless people could they have fed with the cash they sunk into that little circus? 50? 75?

* Leather and Dusty - which sounds like a set of old cowboys from a bad western - agree with Morgan when questioning the safety of the kids out shagging flies. Dusty says his son wanted to be out there, but Dad put an end to that.

Where was that type of parental instinct a few years ago, Dusty?

Final Round

* Rios steps up to Shipping Up to Boston, which is Jonathon Papelbon's music at Fenway. That's a head-scratcher. It's pissing me off that they're switching music in the ballpark faster than a 17-year-old with an itchy trigger finger on their iPod.

Pick something and stick with it. I'd take just leaving the Jock Jams CD in the player at this point.

* The highlight from Vlad's easily predictable win in the finals has to be out number five where Leather is calling the hit and Morgan is repeatedly saying, "He missed it." They sound like an old married couple that hates each other.

Leather: It's up, it's back...
Morgan: He missed it.
Leather: Still going...
Morgan: He missed it.
Leather: Back, back, back...
Morgan: He missed it.
Leather: Oh, not far enough.
Morgan: He missed it... (Under his breath, while thinking, "You dumb prick...")

If I could get a loop of that to play every time I fired up my laptop, I totally would.

(Images from: / /



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