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    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    2011 All-Star Game Random Renderings

    So, I was watching the All Star Game with my dad, and we were making rather sarcastic remarks on some of the announcing. I mentioned that I remembered Tim McCarver rambling last year at the game, and after a few more...interesting statements, we figured maybe I should keep a running track of my thoughts over the course of the game. Several of these are word-for-word transcriptions of my thoughts.

    And so, I present to you, My 2011 All Star Game Random Renderings.

    So, the TV listings said the game would start at 7:00 central time.
    Actual first pitch start time: 7:40
    End of the second inning: About 7:55
    So, we were about a quarter of the way through the game, and it hadn’t even taken half of the time of the introduction. 

    - - - - -

    Speaking of the intros, I’m not sure what got into Joe Buck. Introducing the AL bench, he has a rather logical progression. Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland...he had to notice it was alphabetical, just like every other year. Apparently not, as he then tried to introduce Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera as Felix Hernandez of Seattle (maybe the C sound confused him?). Miguel’s reaction was pretty funny, though, as he searched down the line for Felix and waved to him.

    - - - - -
    Also, home run derby champion Robinson Cano batted eighth. I know the Home Run Derby doesn’t really count for anything, I just thought it was funny.

    - - - - -

    The broadcasters note that five selected players didn’t show up: Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez (who both had surgery over the All Star break), but also Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and CC Sabathia. Just a little interesting...

    - - - - -

    Fox did it’s best to try and miss the first pitch, and the almost missed the Curtis Granderson ground-out that started the game with it. In what became a common theme for the night, they came back, chatted, left the camera on something irrelevant, and, at the last second, moved the cameras to the batter without any comment from Joe Buck or Tim McCarver indicating that the had done so. I think they may have even missed introducing a batter or two in this way. It was particularly bad during the Timberlake interview (see below).

    - - - - -

    Lance Berkman got the first hit of the game. He was also the first position player removed. Just kind of interesting.
    And on a side note, Bruce Bochy tried to have Berkman steal/hit-and-run. Wait, what?

    - - - - -

    Roy Halladay had a perfect game through two. I know starters don’t usually stay in past the second, but Roy Halladay is pretty special. Don’t you have to at least see how long he can keep it up?

    - - - - -

    Tyler Clippard came in with two outs in the fourth inning, gave up a single, and got out of it when Jose Bautista was thrown out going home. Coming from some personal experience, I don’t really like it when a team’s one representative is a reliever, especially a middle reliever (or a journeyman utility player).

    Because don’t you think that one out really made every Nationals fan want to tune in? In order to watch All Star Tyler Clippard? 
    (Yes, that is sarcasm. I will find a good way to note that in-text eventually.)

    - - - - -

    The Justin Timberlake interview was probably the low point of the night. I don’t mind the interview-I understand the studio wanted to promote his movie, and probably struck some deal with Fox. And some of the questions weren’t bad (ie; “Is this your first All Star Game”, “What’s your favorite team/player”).

    Some of it bordered on inexplicable. The guy interviewing seemed very confused at times, and left Justin to ramble to fill dead space (not that Justin didn’t try admirably to fill it, particularly with his surreal rant on beer going with everything). 

    And some of the questions were truly out there. Asking him if what he was eating was ballpark food? Really? (in reality, his aforementioned beer speech was probably one of the better possible ways to fill the time).

    They also lingered on the faces too long, only going back to the game in quick cuts for individuals pitches.

    - - - - -

    You know, I think the awkwardness actually bothered Justin. It seemed like he kept trying to end the interview with his acclaim for Joe Buck.

    Also, I don’t know where he would have been hearing Joe Buck’s calling of the game, seeing as he was at the stadium. This leads me to believe that he was actually mocking him. That actually wins him points in my book.

    - - - - -

    I noted around here (the third or fourth inning, maybe?) that Tim McCarver seemed oddly quiet this year. Last year, he talked quite a bit, using inverted sentences, sentences without verbs, sentences without subjects, inverted sentences lacking both subjects and verbs, run-ons, trail-offs, etc. 

    My theory is that Fox installed a light in the broadcast booth. When the light is on, Tim may speak. When they flip it off, he has to remain silent.

    - - - - -

    As a commercial break side note, why would I want to watch a prequel to Planet of the Apes? It may be a perfectly good movie, but the trailer tells me how the monkeys became super intelligent, and in tying it to Planet to the Apes, you’ve pretty much told me without even seeing it how it will end. 

    - - - - -

    It’s early in the fifth inning, I believe. After watching David Ortiz’s son D’Angelo imitate the batting stances of Jose Bautista, Kevin Youkilis, and his dad in a pre-recorded segment (all pretty well, I might add), Tim McCarver uncorks this beauty:

    “If D’Angelo was married to Prince Fielder’s wife, she would ask ‘Why do you look so mean at the plate?’”

    The producers at Fox surreptitiously turn off Tim McCarver’s speaking light for a few innings.

    - - - - -

    It’s been quiet for a bit. Around the seventh inning, during Brandon Phillips’ first at-bat, Joe Buck starts discussing the second basemen’s Twitter feed. He ends the discussion with “...and by the way, [Phillips is] a really good player.”

    Woah! Is that how he got in the All Star Game? It wasn’t from his Twitter feed?
    They have been discussing player’s interests and other trivia all game (and, really, some of it is pretty good-I didn’t know that Chris Perez was a huge classic rock fan, for instance). Yet, when discussing Brandon Phillips and Twitter, for the first time, they decide to mention that not only does this All Star player have a hobby, but he’s also good at baseball.

    Being in the All Star Game told me one of those two things. Guess which one.

    - - - - -

    This is more just bad phrasing, as I could figure out what he was saying, but Tim McCarver decided to comment on passed balls in the All Star Game, following one by Matt Wieters: 

    “Catchers are used to hitting pitchers, not catching them.”
    How does this explain Jeff Mathis then?

    - - - - -

    From my notes sheet for this article: “Well, it’s the bottom of the seventh, and they still haven’t let the guy who interviewed Justin Timberlake near a camera again.”

    - - - - -

    More from the brilliant management of Bruce Bochy. It’s the eighth inning, and none of the Giants’ three available pitchers has even warmed up. I realize he doesn’t want to hurt his team’s pitchers and all, but then why did he even bother putting all of them on the All-Star team then?

    - - - - -

    This All Star Break has led me to new-found admiration of Heath Bell, for several reasons:

    -Going to the announcer table at the Home Run Derby. With a giant toy bat.
    -Chatting with a kid before the game, before finally giving him a backpack (shaped like Yoda) filled with goodies.
    -His full-out sprint to the mound and ensuing slide. Before he took off, you could hear him mutter under his breath “Here I go...” and inhaling sharply before starting his dash.
    -Telling the announcers before the game he would only throw fastballs, and then taking Eric Karros’ ribbing when he said he saw Bell throw off-speed stuff.

    - - - - -

    As a fan who keeps score of every game I go to, I also have new-found sympathy for the umpires keeping up with the changes in the game. From a between innings cut-away: 

    One ump, conferring with another while looking at his scorecard: “I’ll tell you what...” *trails off, then both start laughing*

    - - - - -

    It was pretty clear once the NL took a 5-1 lead that the managers were mostly going for an “everyone plays” strategy. I can respect that. And, as a Cardinals fan, I’m glad that Yadier Molina made the team again (granted, I’m not sure he fully deserved it, but whatever), and happy that he did well. 

    But I just have to bring up, Bruce Bochy kept hometown catcher Miguel Montero out of the game until the ninth inning, when he went in as a defensive sub. Montero is actually a good player this year (I’ve seen some flack for the pick), and has a .272/.340/.456 batting line, with 2.5 WAR. 

    Besides, I know the managers are always worried about going into extra innings and needing a catcher, but that’s why you save Yadier. No matter how long the game goes, I can truly say we have put him through worse (see, for instances, these two games, where he caught for 20 and 9 innings in back-to-back days). At least he gets tomorrow off.

    - - - - -

    And, after Starlin Castro and Joel Hanrahan put runners on second and third, Bruce Bochy is finally forced to bring in Brian Wilson with one out in the ninth.

    I guess Bochy does deserve some kudos, though, for not using Kevin Correia (who, I just found out, used to play for Bochy’s Giants). Yes, those 11 wins are shiny, but I’m having a hard time with an All Star pitcher who has a 4.01 ERA and a 4.11 FIP.

    - - - - -

    The games ends, and it’s pretty clear who the MVP of the game will be. Prince Fielder’s three run homer put the NL on top, and gave them more runs than they would ever allow. It also gives him .228 Win Probability Added for the game, far and away the most of any player. The man deserves credit: he’s horrible at picking a Home Run Derby team (the NL lost* 76-19 yesterday, by the way), but the man himself can sure go deep.
    *Using “lost” in this way feels a bit like saying salmon “lose” to grizzly bears.

    - - - - -

    And so closes out the 2011 All Star Game. As I reach for the remote, Fox flashes the line score for the game with this info:

    “Winning Pitcher-Tyler Clippard”
    Son of a gun.

    1 comment:

    1. There's also this quote, which I forgot:

      My reaction was identical to Rob Neyer's, though, so don't worry.