The same day it’s being posted
Extra innings abounded yesterday, as the two New York teams both won in extras, the Yanks in 10, the Mets in 12. Together, the two games were just five innings longer than the Braves’ 7-6 victory over Houston, four straight singles leading off the bottom of the seventeenth. Detroit and Seattle also went 15, the visiting Tigers winning 2-1. Mariners backup catcher Jamie Burke came in as a reliever. All-Star selections were announced yesterday, and my powers of preseason prognostication proved faulty–quite deservingly with the somewhat down year he’s been having, Nick Markakis is not an All-Star. This prediction had been made partly because I thought Markakis was a rising star and partly because I didn’t think the O’s had any better candidates. The lone representative of the Baltimore club is in his first year with the team, and that is George Sherrill, the former Seattle setup man who became the Orioles’ closer. Brian Roberts, two-time All-Star, has been relegated to the final man ballot. However, as an American League fan who wants the AL to win, I must advocate for a member of a team that I’m not particularly fond of right now: Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays. “Longo” is the best of the five players on the ballot, in my opinion. However, since I’m a fair guy, I’ll also tell you honestly who I think should get the final spot in the National League: Pat Burrell, Philadelphia Phillies. Other fairly happy news: the underachieving Jason Varitek, for a long time the AL vote leader at catcher, has been relegated to backup status by Joe Mauer. Why is Tek still the backup? Er, well, I think it has something to do with Francona being the AL manager. The players pick the first line of backups, but there are two reserve catchers and Dioner Navarro seems more likely as the players’ choice. Like most of the Rays, he’s been having a good year. C.C. Sabathia has been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Correction: Varitek was the players’ choice…sort of. The player ballot is submitted before the fan voting ends, and so the with the players’ choice, Mauer, the starter, the second-place finisher on their ballot gets the nod. Well, on the plus side, there’s no rule saying Terry has to play him…but of course, he will anyway, because he’s not about to diss his captain…is he? Does he have the guts to follow the example of Tony La Russa, who last year chose Dmitri Young over his own player, Albert Pujols, to pinch-hit in the ninth inning with the game on the line? I sure hope so. Final observation: The Twins are currently on a 17-2 run.
Not quite Yankee Stadium, but Tropicana Field was plenty nasty. I’m pretty sure that Red Sox fans were in the minority. Nobody seemed to be able to pitch in game 1, least of all Chris Smith. We kept waiting for Casey to come in to pinch-hit, and he never did. The fact that the Rays get their last suspended player back tomorrow really irks me, but on the bright side, Iwamura’s return means I don’t have to hear Willy Aybar’s intro music three times a game. (Speaking of intro music, can anyone give me a title and artist for the song that plays at the Trop when Dioner Navarro comes up to bat? It’d be much appreciated.) Last time, Pap said that this wasn’t over. I hope Jason Bartlett leads off the bottom of the ninth tomorrow. After the game, we got absolutely soaked trudging back to our car. We’ll show up earlier tomorrow, and I may be making a sign. (Note at publishing time: I didn’t.) Also, I managed to hear the three-beat prompt without chanting “Yankees Suck”, something I’d never been able to do. I chanted “Tampa Sucks” instead. The new evil empire, indeed. In other news, on Saturday, a no-hitter wasn’t pitched, Jered Weaver going six no-hit innings before departing for a pinch-hitter and Jose Arredondo following up with two perfect innings of relief as the Angels lost 1-0 at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers’ lone run scored in the fifth inning when Weaver made an error to allow a Matt Kemp to reach and his catcher threw the ball away attempting to throw out Kemp stealing second, putting him in place to score on a sac fly. Also losing 1-0 were the A’s, despite seven hits and a two-hit complete game effort by Justin Duchscherer. Marlins backup catcher Matt Treanor made the top spot on that day’s SportsCenter with a barehanded catch of Brandon Webb’s bunt attempt followed by a throw to second base to turn a double play.