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I thought I would do one of my live-at-the-moment-I-type posts for the All-Star Game. So let’s get started.
Top First: Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins, the starting NL shortstop, does his best impersonation of Miguel Tejada and strikes out. As does Chase Utley. And Lance Berkman does his best Carlos Lee impersonation and pops out.
Bottom First: Hey, Josh Hamilton just struck out – and here comes Buck with the umpteenth mention of the Josh Hamilton story.
Top Second: I wish Brownie and J.D. could do one of these games. And no, Joe Buck, Ryan Braun didn’t just burst onto the scene last season. Most of us who aren’t bored by baseball knew who he was before he hit the majors.
Bottom Second: Hey, it’s the first time I’ve seen the home plate camera. And for a totally useless shot. The Fox director is in World Series form. Is someone keeping score for McCarver? He just mentioned that Texas’s Milton Bradley had the first stolen base of the game, which is kind of funny considering that Derek Jeter stole a base in the first inning.
It’s 0-0 after two innings.
Top Third: Yogi Berra’s in the booth. Let’s just bring in the Aflac duck. Yogi and the Duck would call a more professional game than Buck and McCarver.
Bottom Third: Drug addict. Smoking crack. Let me guess, Josh Hamilton is at bat. Really, I’m thrilled for Hamilton, but I’ve been listening to this story since March 2007.
I wonder if George Steinbrenner is going to fire everybody at old Yankee Stadium a month before moving into the new place like Drayton fired everybody at the Dome a month before moving into MMP?
Top Fourth: Lance strikes out. That must be because he’s got a hack like Albert Pujols following him in the order instead of Carlos Lee. Wow, the umpire just missed a call at second – it looks like Pujols beat the tag on his attempted double, but he’s called out. McCarver calls Ichiro the best right-fielder since Roberto Clemente, which is okay but for the fact that the Mariners play him in centerfield.
Bottom Fourth: Milton Bradley beats a bad throw from Hanley Ramirez to make first base. But Carlos Zambrano just picks him off of first base.
Top Fifth: Matt Holliday homers down the right field line. NL up 1-0. That means home field in the World Series for the Astros if the NL wins.
I get it. I get it. This is the last season of Yankee Stadium. The networks sure didn’t give my buddy Astrodome this kind of love when he was shut down.
Bottom Fifth: Wow, Joe Mauer, the Twins catcher, just got an infield single. That’s like Brad Ausmus making contact. Hey when did Russell Martin get into the game? Hey, Joe Buck, how about telling us that kind of stuff?
Top Sixth: Ramirez and Utley single. Men on the corners with Berkman up, and he flies out to center to score Ramirez. 2-0 NL. I’m telling you, this means home field for the Astros in the World Series. Pujols follows with a single, but the NL fails to score again.
Bottom Sixth: For those of you who still don’t know the Josh Hamilton story, Joe Buck is going to repeat it yet again.
Top Seventh: And the NL batters go down one-two-three.
Bottom Seventh: Justin Morneau leads off with a double for the AL. Ian Kinsler advances him to third. J.D. Drew hits a two-out, two-run homer to right field to tie the game – he’s the 15th player in All-Star Game history to homer in his first All-Star at-bat.
Top Eighth: Hey, Miguel Tejada gets a bloop hit. He must have gotten a B-12 shot. Now he steals second base and gets to third on a throwing error. And he scores on a sac fly to make it 3-2. When’s the last time Tejada scored a run for the Astros?
Bottom Eighth: Billy Wagner comes in with two outs and promptly gives up a single to Grady Sizemore, who in turn promptly steals second. Then Tampa Bay rookie Evan Longoria hits a ground rule double down the left field line, scoring Sizemore. 3-3 score going to the ninth inning.
Top Ninth: The inning ends on a double play. Mariano Rivera strikes out St. Louis’s Ryan Ludwick and Tampa Bay catcher Dioner Navarro nails Washington’s Cristian Guzman trying to steal second.
Bottom Ninth: And Chicago’s Ryan Dempster strikes out the side. That means extra innings.
Top Tenth: The NL is 9-0-1 when the All-Star Game goes to extra innings. But the NL has not won the All-Star Game since 1996. Tejada hits a double play ball that gets through. Men at first and third with one out. Then Florida’s Dan Uggla grounds into the double play. It’s still tied.
Bottom Tenth: The AL loads the bases with no outs. Then hit three straight ground balls for three straight outs. Let’s go to the 11th.
Top Eleventh: Okay, Buck and McCarver are talking about this game ending in a tie like in 2002. But if the game is supposed to decide home field for the World Series, how can it end in a tie? San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez leads off with a single, but he is stranded.
Bottom Eleventh: AL gets runners on first and second with one out, but can’t score as Dioner Navarro is thrown out trying to score – looks as if the home plate ump misses the call.
Top Twelfth: NL loads the bases with one out. Dan Uggla gets another chance to be the hero…and he strikes out. George Sherrill of the Orioles comes in to strike out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning. Come on already.
Bottom Twelfth: Detroit’s Carlos Guillen gets a hold of a pitch from Colorado’s Aaron Cook and it could be, it might be…just short of a home run and is a double instead. Come on. I guess it is because he’s stranded at third base.
Top Thirteenth: Did you know that both teams are now 3-for-27 with runners-in-scoring-position? Both teams are out of position players, and they are running out of pitchers. Will this thing ever end? Please let it end. I don’t care about the Astros getting home field for the World Series anymore.
Bottom Thirteenth: Uggla blows another play for his third error of the game – that’s the most errors by one player in one All-Star Game. J.D. Drew gets to first base. Drew steals second. Runner number 28 now in scoring position for the night. And the teams are now a combined 3-for-28 with runners in scoring position.
In case you didn’t know, this is the last season for Yankee Stadium.
Top Fourteenth: Pittsburgh’s Nate McLouth tees off on a fastball, it could be, it might be…J.D. Drew makes the catch with his back to the fence. DAMN! Let’s end this thing. And Russell Martin of the Dodgers tees off on the fastball. It could be, it might be…Drew makes the catch on the warning track. And Tejada grounds out.
Arizona’s Brandon Webb in to pitch for the NL. Brad Lidge is the only guy left to pitch for them. I suppose it’s not too late for Tim Lincecum to get out of the hospital and get to the game if necessary. Scott Kazmir of Tampa Bay is the only pitcher left for the AL. The longest game in All-Star history is 15 innings. Does Bud Selig dare to call this game a tie? How would they settle home field for the World Series then?
Bottom Fourteenth: Okay. The AL does nothing. Let’s go to the 15th.
Top Fifteenth: Kazmir’s now in the game. He is the last AL pitcher. And the last AL player. This game could soon be over, whether or not someone scores. And Kazmir gets through the inning without giving up any runs.
Forget about the pitchers. My editor’s going to kill me because this is going so long.
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Bottom Fifteenth: Brad Lidge is now pitching. He’s the last NL pitcher. Can we put Albert Pujols in an AL uniform? And Minnesota’s Justin Morneau leads off with a single up the middle. Ryan Ludwick makes a great catch to rob Ian Kinsler. Dioner Navarro bloops a single and sends Morneau to second, making him runner number 29 in scoring position for the game. Lidge walks J.D. Drew to load the bases with one out.
And Michael Young of the Rangers pops up to right field. Justin Morneau tags up and heads for home. Milwaukee’s Corey Hart makes the throw…there’s the tag. It’s late. Morneau scores. AL wins 4-3. Lidge gets the loss, but Houstonian Kazmir gets the win.
So much for the Astros having home field in the World Series as the AL is now unbeaten in the last 12 All-Star Games.
So long. – John Royal