Saturday, June 03, 2006

Free Baseball
By Ben Valentine

Do you know how to tell a true sports fan?

They start analyzing a game they haven’t seen.

Do you know how to tell a sports junkie who needs to be institutionalized?

They analyze a game they’re not watching as it’s going on!

The latter is exactly what David and I did tonight via AIM. The Cubs/Cardinals 14 inning affair was so captivating we followed it online via CBS Sportsline and MLB.com. Meanwhile we did little else but rip the managers and make fun of the ineptitude of the Cubs’ lineup. All in good fun of course; that’s why god invented extra inning games played by teams you don’t care about. Of course it started innocently enough as I made a casual comment about some questionable managing:

Ben: Hey, according to CBS Sportsline, Dusty Baker used 4 pitchers tonight who went just 1/3 of an inning.

David: Because he's a freakin' lunatic.

Ben: He’s up against the king of over managing though. LaRussa used 4 in 2 innings, including 2 for 1/3 of an inning back to back.

David: God bless 'em.

Ben: Adam Wainwright threw 2 pitches! Of course Will Ohman and Novoa threw 3 each.

David: Well, that’s LaRussa’s right as an American to take them out.

Ben: Except they're both gonna pay for it now. It’s in the 11th and LaRussa is on his 7th reliever. Dusty still has only used Scott Eyre for 8 pitches and has Dempster in the pen.

David: Bring on the starters!

Ben: Too bad they optioned Anthony Reyes back down.

David: Wow. Aardsma!

Ben: Yep. The first player in the major leagues listed alphabetically And way for the cubs to work Josh Hancock… He threw six pitches to 2 batters.

David: We haven’t seen Ricardo Rincon yet, right?

Ben: No. He's not on either team though, is he?

David: Cards; might not be active.

Ben: No wait they're probably carrying 8 relievers because they sent Reyes down but didn’t activate Carpenter.

David: Ahhhhhhh there we go 12 pitchers, definitely. They have 13 position players listed. The Cubs have only Blanco on their bench. Beautiful.

Ben: It’s amazing they tied it up. They got 2 in the ninth. Thanks to Cardinal ineptitude.

David: Double switch? For the Cubs? Blanco in to catch? It’s almost too easy to predict, isn’t it?

Ben: Nah my bet is he tries to get an inning out of Eyre. He won’t bring Dumpster into a tie game on the road.

David: You’re thinking logically, dude.

Ben: And here's Eyre.

David: Maybe he does have a frontal lobe.

Ben: Maybe they can bring Wood out of the pen! In an ideal world: Dempster gets the win, Wood the save.

David: Hahahahaha Mabry in RF? Perez at 2b? Bynum in LF? Is Neifi in the outfield?
Ben: Uh... he must be. No, he's got to be at second.

David: Either him or Bynum.Mabry’s in the OF with Pierre, and Neifi and Bynum play 2b or 1b or OF with walker at 1b or 2b.

Ben: And down goes Pujols.

David: Scott Eyre, continuing his Ritalin-related dominance.

Ben: Performance enhancing bastard! String him up!

David: But but but... he has official permission to use speed. It’s okay. He has a prescription.

Ben: Inning over… Rolen grounds out.

David: I want to know who's playing LF and RF.

Ben: Coming up shortly hopefully…. I was right Bynum is in left, Perez at second, Walker still at first… Thank u mlb.com.

David: Wood can pinch hit for Eyre! In fact, considering Blanco is hitting .070, Wood should pinch hit.

Ben: Hell put me up there. I’m pretty much just as likely to get on base. I’ll stand there with the bat on my shoulders and not move but ill try to crunch up real tight to take away the strike zone.

David: Amazing. Baker v. LaRussa. The battle of the village idiots.

Ben: Who treat pitchers like disposable income.

David: Why in the world did he pinch hit Mabry for Murton? I understand Nevin for Womack, but then you leave Nevin in the game and move walker to 2b, right? oooooooooh... Neifi pinch ran. Jesus. This game is a disaster on so many levels.

Ben: I know it's brilliant… It’s like a car crash. It’s wrong to look but u can’t help yourself.

David: And it’s the first game of the series!

Ben: Watch out for the cards though. They've got an ace in the hole... Scott Spiezio!
David: Don’t you sit on Gary Bennett. That man wrestles grizzlies in his spare time.
Ben: Btw, for those of you keeping score, Aramis Ramirez is hitting .238 this year. Here comes Eyre!!!!!! He'd rather use Eyre than Blanco.

David: HE'S HITTING?!?!?!?!

Ben: Yep and Eyre failed. He should have stood there. He would have seen at least 4 pitches.

David: Train wreck… good god it’s the twelfth inning. It’s not like it’s the fifteenth. I guess, with two outs, why the hell not send him up?

Ben: Here's your key stat: Williamson, Ohman and Novoa threw a total of 11 pitches in 1 inning between the 3 of them

David: Williamson they wasted him…. he gave up 2 hits…

Ben: And a run on 5 pitches! Train wreck! It’s hilarious because it’s not my team.

David: Exactly and they don’t have their decent hitters in the game anymore, to boot. Jones, Murton, Nevin. All gone. I’m dumbstruck.

Ben: Encarnarcion reached on a leadoff single.

David: Taguchi will bunt.

Ben: Who might just take the award of most successful not very good Japanese baseball player. Why is he still in the majors?

David: Nomo?

Ben: No, Nomo was talented.

David: One or two great seasons, a bunch of mediocre ones.

Ben: Taguchi has never been anything more than a 4th/5th OF. Maybe he's up there with Shigitoshi Hasegawa.

David: He wouldn’t be in the majors except Tony LaRussa thinks anyone who can play multiple positions is Tony Phillips... and Hasegawa was a solid closer for a while. Better than Taguchi, easily.

Ben: Taguchi struck out. To be fair it’s probably smart he didn’t bunt Taguchi considering the guy up now is the lessest of the Molinas. With his robust .190 average he's nearly 3 times the hitter Henry Blanco is though.

David: Ah, he barely beats out Jose Vizcaino, too! Who was starting at 1b for the giants several games in a row, even with Mark Sweeney on the bench... AGAINST RIGHTIES...

Ben: Felipe at his greatest… Wow the unthinkable happened… Molina singled!
David: 1st/3rd?

Ben: 1 out… Aaron Miles a guy who couldn’t hit at Coors is up.

David: Outfield in! Infield dp depth! Bring on Spiezio!

Ben: They're intentionally walking Miles! WHY???? You have the double play.

David: Spiezio comes up to pinch hit with a force at home dude. He’s just as good a hitter as Miles.

Ben: But the walk? I don’t walk to take away the extra base.

David: Miles is a right handed hitter? Eyre is lefty?

Ben: Switch.

David: Is Hancock hitting for himself?!?!?!

Ben: I can’t believe it. I’m looking at MLB and that’s what it says. Okay, I take it back if Baker knew that was going to happen, it was the right move but meanwhile Eyre's gone 2 balls 1 strike on him.

David: Speizio is unavailable.

Ben: What about Edmonds? Gary Bennett? Rick Ankiel??

David: Edmonds is on the d/l essentially.

David: Bennett is available!!! But he’s the last catcher…

Ben: Strike out Hancock… Look u can win the game with a fly ball. Send someone up to make contact!

David: Good god. Send up Marquis!!!
Ben: See that’s the right move. Marquis is a better hitter than most of the guys in this game!

David: HAHAHAHAHA LMAO! True dat!

Ben: Don’t worry... Senõr Scrappy is up.

David: If he gets Eckstein out, this will reach Hindenburg status.

David: Coach visits the mound.

Ben: I get the feeling we're about see Ryan Dempster…. and there it is.

David: He can only face one batter here, but in the context of the game, let’s say he’s successful. Can he pitch two more innings after this without warming up again?

Ben: Like I said. He gets out of this. Gets the win and Wood gets the save. 1-2 to Scrappy.

David: Mabry, Cedeno, Bynum, Pierre, Neifi! BARRETT, WALKER, RAMIREZ, Dempster. That’s a murderer’s row.

Ben: Hey Barrett can knock you out!

David: That’s why I bolded those three. He can knock me out, just like my mama
Ben: We go to the 13th.

David: And the game continues!!! Look look! It’s burning!!!

Ben: Hahahahaha…. Kerry Wood, are you ready?

David: Dempster can go at least one more inning. But he'll lose it on a Pujols jack.

Ben: Jason Marquis, where arth thou?

David: He pinch hit against the Giants and hit a triple. Braden Looper hit a double in that game, and Adam Wainwright hit a jack; the pitchers almost combined for a cycle.

Ben: The problem for the cubs is that I don’t actually think they can score against a AAA team with this lineup.

David: We're talking a c-level prospect pitcher?

Ben: Hancock’s an okay pitcher…. Mabry grounded out, here comes Bynum!

David: Freddie! He of the .224 avg.

Ben: Hey that’s quality on this team. Mabry's hitting .188, Nefi is hitting .204, heck Juan Pierre is hitting just .242.

David: But they’re gritty. They’re leaders. They have good character and they always try hard and always drink their mild and take their vitamins.

Ben: You know maybe part of the Cubs' problem is that they're carrying 3 second basemen…. and none of them are really any good…. and one is playing 1st base… okay so maybe that’s like 3 problems.

David: Womack/Neifi is a perfect storm of suckitude, but walker is a useful player.

Ben: DOWN GOES BYNUM!!....End of the Inning… Here comes Albert with a chance to win... The Cubs have made Hancock throw 33 pitches in 3 innings.
David: Wow. That’s it? Jesus.

Ben: The Cardinals made Eyre throw 41 in 2…

Ben: Luna singles to start the inning. Pujols can double for the win. Dammit, that’s bad for the fantasy team. Guaranteed Dempster is going to walk him.

David: You don’t want to. You want to get him out.

Ben: Ball 1.

David: All or nothing!

Ben: But he's going to walk him, 2-0.

David: That would be a terrible move.

Ben: Now you might as well walk him…. Foul ball.

David: 2-1 count. I think he’s just suckering him into throwing a fat pitch.

Ben: 2-2…

David: I told you so.

Ben: Btw, with a 2-0 count, Luna ran.

David: Oh good god did they do a hit and run?!?!?! This is a travesty.

Ben: And Pujols is retired, 1 for 6. Think you can manage a ball club? Don’t watch this game. It will only frustrate you.

David: I’d like to point out that Foxsports.com has stats on the home plate umpire. I suddenly hate Rupert Murdoch slightly less. I knew that info was out there, but it’s finally gone mainstream.

Ben: Dempster on the verge of walking Rolen…. 2 outs… This is a game that has no business to be still going on.

David: With a 3-1 count?

Ben: Rolen flew on the 3-1 pitch to deep left, but it’s an out nonetheless. Dempster has now used 15 pitches to record 3 outs.

David: They get a runner on, but can’t capitalize.

Ben: The Cubs have thrown over a ton for a guy who has 2 stolen bases this year.

David: But he’s a Latin middle infielder. He must be fast.

Ben: ON TO THE 14th! The Kerry Wood watch continues… The Cubs are toast in this game unless they score this inning.

David: Well, Dempster can throw more than a couple innings, right? Maybe not.

Ben: He's thrown 17 pitches so far. I’d say he's got one more in him but then it's Dusty. He might just remember Dempster used to be a starter.

David: Wouldn’t this be the ideal time for Pierre to hit an inside the parker?

Ben: Yeah it would be.

David: I wonder how Joe Buck is holding up.

Ben: Buck is probably happy he didn’t have to do this game with Tim McCarver. Around this time he'd probably have to wind Timmy up again… if he wanted to... DOUBLE JUAN!!!!!!

David: You gotta pitch to Neifi, but if Dusty is smart, he'll bunt Pierre to third. The odds are better that way.

Ben: I’d bunt with Perez up even though they'd walk Barrett… 2-0 count.

David: Exactly. Then they’d walk Walker and face Ramirez and then possibly Dempster… you can’t walk Neifi you just can’t…

Ben: Hey did u realize Luna is playing left field? Taguchi is in center… bunt…

David: You’re right. Sportsline has two 2bs. That guy in NYC following the game must be tired.

Ben: Well he finally updated the Cubs’ side.

David: Walk Barrett. Walk Walker.

Ben: He might pitch to Walker here. LaRussa strikes me as the guy who would avoid Aramis.

David: You can’t do that. You have to trust that your guy won’t walk him and take the righty-righty. I’d rather face Ramirez and Dempster than Walker and Ramirez There’s a place for playing the righty-lefty game, and I would think this is one of them.

Ben: The law of averages backs you up. Walker is hitting .299 this year but has no hits today. Ramirez is batting .238 and already has his one hit.

David: I’m wondering what Ramirez's splits are. If I were a manager, I would know.

Ben: They pitch to Walker.

David: All he has to do is chop a grounder.

Ben: Btw, according to MLB, Reyes is still on the team so Rincon is not, thus the reason Hancock hit.

David: He was sent down. I don’t think they have another pitcher except the starters. Reyes was sent down today to make room for TIMO PEREZ!!!

Ben: Pierre scores on a ground out….5-4!!

David: There it is.

Ben: Now you have to walk Ramirez and face Dempster… Tony must have remembered what Timo did to the Cardinals in 2000.

David: But Timo's not on the bench. He must be en route.

Ben: He's probably at the hotel watching it on TV. Dempster strikes out but now he's got the chance for the win. My fantasy team might pick up 2 victories today!

David: Dude, they knew they were shorthanded, with no Edmonds, no Timo, and no Speizio, and yet they still went with all the stupid pitching changes?

Ben: That’s LaRussa for ya. Hey, you know what I just realized?? Molina has FOUR hits tonight. He must have nearly doubled his BA.

David: Hahaha calculate his BA.

Ben: Go So! Grounds out on the first pitch.

David: Niiiiiiiiiice

Ben: Molina had 25 hits in 142 PA .176 to .196… He's raised his average 20 points!

David: Their closer is in his second full inning and you’re swinging at the first pitch... while behind… Yadier's up again. Here comes the yahtzee!

Ben: Back down to .195. 2 outs!

David: Aaron Miles, here we go. Walk him! Hancock’s up next.

Ben: Aaron Miles doesn’t have a homer this year. Can he pull it together against Dempster who has thrown 4 pitches to two batters?

David: I was joking, btw.

Ben: Well u should tell Dempster it was a joke, 3-1 count…

David: Oh nooooooooo!!!

Ben: Single! Who comes up?????

David: The charred remains of this game are a simple reminder to never let Tony LaRussa or Dusty Baker manage your team…. IT HAS TO BE MARQUIS!

Ben: Nope. Gary Bennett; hitting a robust .172.

David: Who's in the bullpen?

Ben: No one. It has to be a starter if they tie the game. Suppan, Mulder, Marquis.

David: Or Gary Bennett pulling a Brent Mayne.

Ben: Gary Bennett coming into 2nite was hitting WORSE than Molina! .172 to .176.

David: Can you imagine if Pujols gets another shot?

Ben: It would be something and he'd win the game cause Dempster would be up to like 50 pitches….1-2 count…

David: MAAAAAADNESS!!

Ben: GAME OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

David: CUBS WIN!

Ben: THEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE CUBS WIN!!!!!!!

David: I believe the correct spelling is THEE-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E CUBS WIN!

Ben: And you are correct about something else as well.

David: Which was?

Ben: This game should be case and point why Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker should be barred from admittance to a major league dugout.

David: Hehehehe... it’s almost too easy to pick them apart for this one. Everything that could possibly go wrong from their stupid moves did.

Ben: Well that’s what happens when you make stupid moves….

Mucho fun huh? And the teams get to play again tomorrow. I hope both the starters get shelled to further compound the lesson to Dusty and Tony. But I doubt it will have any effect, even if they both don’t get through the first.

By the way, one final observation you all probably should have noticed by now…

Considering that on a Friday night David and I were analyzing this instead of out socializing with people… we definitely need to be institutionalized as sports junkies immediately.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

EXCELLENT analysis, we need a broadcast analysis as well sometime. Today was particularly fine as Joe Buck pimped Yadier Molina for the All-Star Team.

10:08 PM  

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