We're coming to you live from Sports Guy Mans-, I mean, the El Guapodome for a Spring Training lowdown showdown between the Mets and the Baltimore Orioles.
I mean, despite my acknowledgment of the inherent Bill Simmons ripoff, I don't think he's got the running diary format patented. Anyway, here we go, it's the first meaningless baseball running diary of the spring. As Hawk Harrelson would say, "Strap it down!"
Promotional consideration has been provided tonight by Lagunitas IPA.
7:00 - Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie. I've caught a couple of these games so far and still no obligatory shot of the alligator who lives somewhere out beyond the practice fields. They always show that alligator. I say it finally happens tonight, somewhere during the 5th inning. Hold me to it.
El Duque is pitching tonight. intriguing due to the whole neck injury thing. Pelfrey will follow. He had a nice outing first time around.
7:02 - Kevin Burkhardt talks to Chan Ho Park. Is that a scar on Park's face? What's up with that?
7:04 - It's all over for the caveman Geico commercials. The first two, maybe three, were funny. Their moment has passed. Of course, I read some rumor that there'll be a caveman TV series. We can only hope that's a hoax. Speaking of commercials, I don't know how to explain this, but I swear you can actually hear how fat John Goodman is on those Dunkin' Donuts ads.
7:10 - Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez bring you tonight's action. Props to Mets2Moon for a great post on Mets announcers past and present. I enjoyed that.
Actually it's this afternoon's action. I should mention that I'm watching the evening rebroadcast, but I didn't see a score or anything, so it'll all be new to me.
7:11 - The O's brought their D-Team with them. Your leadoff hitter: Ruddy Yan! Why the hell am I blogging a spring training game?
The regular Mets team is in the field, with Milledge in right, which will be fun. One more exception: Julio Franco at first for Delgado, who's out with a stiff neck.
7:13 - Apparently Ruddy is pronounce "Rudy."
7:15 - I loved watching Hernnandez pitch so much last season; I really did. He's already thrown one quasi-eephus slow curve, to start the game of actually. Now he strikes out Chris Gomez on a fastball. Keith calls him "crafty," which is how he'll be described about 1,245,984 times this season. Nick Markarkis taps a check-swing bloop to Wright for the third out. Great start for the crafty Cuban.
7:19 - Here's a reason to watch: Daniel Cabrera is pitching for the O's. 6'7", 267 lbs. Straight over the top delivery. Nasty stuff. He blows through the first inning 1-2-3.
7:23 - Keith Hernandez is repping Baseball Prospectus pretty hard, which he tells us his wife bought for him. He also voluntarily describes himself as "mentally challenged."
7:26 - Hey, it's Jay Payton! He rips a one-out single to right, looking good. Any 2000 Met is okay in my book, except for maybe Mike Hampton.
7:29 - El Duque covers first on a double-play try but misses the bag. Hey, it's Spring Training for the players too.
7:32 - Ooh! A grounder right off El Duque's shoe! He's okay but a brief second of panic for yours truly. Payton scores from third on the play.
7:33 - Someone named Adam Donachie knocks a three-run homer to deep left and it's 4-0 Orioles. That pitch stayed way up in the zone. You could hear it off the bat that it was a homer. Now the next batter singles and the wheels have come off the wagon for El Duque, and missing the bag on that DP try has officially come back to bite him in his crafty Cuban ass.
7:37 - Did you know that Nick Markakis pitched for the 2004 Greek Olympic team and threw 94 MPH? Thanks to Gary Cohen's press guide, now you do! Yes, this inning is still going on. It's 5-0 Orioles and Orlando hasn't gotten an out since the hit off his foot. And now Markarkis singles. Duque, ya gotta get out of this so I can go rescue my frozen lasagna from the oven...
7:43 - Burkhardt interviews 20-year-old first baseman Mike Carp. Folks, remember Mike Carp, because... you know what, don't bother remembering Mike Carp. What ever happened to Chris Cotter doing the sideline stuff? No offense to Burkhardt.
7:46 - I still think Green's problem is that his swing is just too long. He's talked all this stuff about finding a "hitch" and whatever, but I just think he's past it. That swing worked when you he was younger and his hands were faster, but no more. I hate to say it because I always liked Shawn Green, but I just think his moment as a power-hitting outfielder is over. If he proves me wrong, trust me, I'll be thrilled. He strikes out to end the inning (he's DH-ing today). Cabrera is rolling.
7:51 - Pelfrey has come out firing sharp-looking sinkers and sliders. Two quick outs and an infield hit up the middle, then a weakly hit grounder for the third out. I'm a fan.
7:57 - Cabrera is throwing strikes. He makes Valentin look silly waving at strike three. Too bad the Orioles will finish in fourth place this year.
It's my boy Lastings! Aaaannd he strikes out to end the third...
8:02 - Keith and Gary (I never realized how much that sounds like the Ambigously Gay Announcing Duo before) are discussing Pelfrey's chances to make the team, and Keith thinks he's definitely starting the year in AAA. I hope not. I don't see the point, if he's healthy. Who else? Chan Ho? But I think Keith might be right, not in terms of what should happen but what will happen, which I think is a shame.
8:04 - Mike Pelfrey is a groundball machine!
8:07 - Reyes rips a liner down the first-base line and beats Payton's throw to make it a double. Bartender, make Jose's a double! Keith has a fantastic moment that I can't quite do justice to: "Reyes hits it right on the bunny ... money." Right on the bunny? Is that even a Freudian slip, or what? Very strange. All I know is I'll be saying "[Insert player] hits it right on the bunny!" after every single Met line drive this year, and I'm glad you were here for the genesis of that.
8:12 - Reyes steals third, after falling and recovering. How is that even possible? Oh, because the catcher threw to second instead of third for some reason. Wright strikes out with two runners on to end the threat.
8:17 - Pelfrey gives up two quick singles to start the fifth. Still no sight of the alligator. Does he have a name? Keith complains that he's only now getting his coffee, which he asked for three innings ago. I could make fun of him, but I sympathize. Without coffee I'm useless. However, I think Keith is really just trying to slyly give himself an excuse for the whole "bunny" thing.
8:20 - Payton doubles. 7-0 Orioles. Milledge almost nails Jay at second but a bad hop eats up Reyes receiving it. Keith astutely points out that Alou should have come in to back up the play. I guess his coffee kicked in.
8:22 - Mets get out of it. They gave Milledge an error on that play.
8:24 - Now they've switched it and given the error to Reyes, which makes more sense. Shawn Green strikes out.
8:28 - Keith: "You should always never take anything for granted." Well, maybe they gave him decaf. I don't know. Franco slaps his second opposite-field single of the afternoon. You could start spring training in December and Franco would be there ready to hit.
8:30 - Second and third, one out for Milledge. A chance to show us something. Oof, and he's buzzed along the shirtsleeve for an HBP. Bases loaded for Reyes. The O's Jon Leicester has hit two batters today. LoDuca was the first, his last time up.
8:31 - Leicester walks Reyes on four pitches to bring in Franco. Meanwhile, Burkhardt interviews David Wright in the dugout:
Burkhardt: "How'd it go at the club last night, David?"
Wright: "Yo, Kev, I hit it right on the bunny, son."
8:35 - Beautiful up the middle line drive from Beltran, 7-3 Mets. Pitch was high in the zone and a little bit away, a fastball. Pitching change for the O's.
8:37 - A Nirvana song is featured in the ad for Major League Basball 2K7, and presumably they use it in the game itself. An improvement from the usual video game music, to be sure, but I wonder if it's wrong somehow to use Nirvana in a video game. Will Nirvana fans (and I can't say I was one) object? M2M, what do you think?
8:38 - The O's get out of it with their new pitcher on one pitch, whose name I missed pondering the whole Nirvana thing. Whatever.
8:41 - Sixth inning, time for the wholesale lineup changes! Should I bore you? Eh, forget it. Anderson Hernandez is in at short. Jason Vargas is pitching, and a couple more switches happened too. How's that?
8:43 - Vargas looks great so far this spring. Strikes out his first batter here. Could be a good swingman or fifth starter. I think the Marlins really set him back by bringing him up too early, but easily salvageable.
Yan can hit! One-out single up the middle.
Yan can't steal bases. He's picked off. Really nice tag by A-Hern at second, for the record.
8:48 - Heard the new Arcade Fire yet? I went in with no expectations one way or the other, and so far I'm really liking it.
8:51 - Shawn Green has his first hit of the spring! He's off the schneid (sp?). Wright, who walked to lead off the inning, advances to third, and we've got a genuine rally going with no outs. I'm not going to bother naming the pitchers anymore unless I've heard of them; deal?
8:54 - Ooof! And the Orioles catcher gets hit in the nuts by a Valentin foul ball. You hate to see that. The camera catches him rubbing his, um, cup as he crouches over in pain. Keith asks for a new camera angle.
8:56 - Valentin strikes out as Green improbably steals second. Okay, the O's pitcher is named Berkins, and he's a tough looking lefty. I'll mention him because he's pitching well.
8:59 - Milledge walks, and it's Endy Chavez with the bases loaded! Big cheers for him every time he comes up this spring. But he grounds it weakly to third for the third out.
Oh, the O's catcher who got the ol' cup check is Adam Donachie, the guy who hit the home run in the second. So, there's some justice.
9:02 - Bulls-Magic on TNT. I'm thinking of simulcasting over on Fortuitous Bounce. Okay, maybe not. It's 37-23 Chicago.
9:04 - I'm back in time to witness the O's 37th hit of the day. What the hell inning is it by now anyway?
9:05 - Endy Chavez, in at center, throws out a runner at the plate on the O's 38th hit of the day. Don't fuck with Endy, man. Keith points out that it's Endy's approach to the ball, his momentum, plus the fact that he doesn't waste any motion coming up with the ball that lets him make the play. See, we're not kidding, Keith really does have something to say from time to time.
9:08 - Ugly play as Mike "The Future" Carp tosses offline to Vargas covering first, causing Vargas to drop the ball and almost getting him bowled over by the runner. Thanks, Mike. Run scores, 8-3 O's.
9:10 - Vargas recovers to get a strikeout to end the inning. I'm telling you: Jason Vargas. You heard it here first.
9:13 - Oh my god, it's only the 7th inning.
9:18 - Is that a moonshine still on Iron Chef America? Nice.
9:21 - I cut back to the game in time to see them showing some tape of a boat, but playing in reverse for some reason. Keith: "Don't try that at home!" Gary: "We must be well into Margaritaville by now." Indeed. The guys in the truck have gotten into that Iron Chef moonshine.
9:23 - Are they not doing the trivia question in Spring Training? I don't remember seeing one so far in these games. They better bring it back for the regular season. I never get it right, but I always enjoy them.
Scott Schoeneweis gets through the top of the 8th 1-2-3.
9:28 - The Iron Chef special ingredient tonight: mango. They haven't shown that big copper still again, so no confirmation that it's really moonshine. What else can you make in a still? Anyone know?
Yankees over Braves 5-3 in the 10th over on the YES rebroadcast game. Al Leiter is the color guy. Al! Come to SNY! Or better yet, have Tim McCarver killled and take his job. Please.
9:33 - We learn that Mike Carp, now up to bat, was the Mets minor league player of the year last year. I don't know why I've singled Carp out to pick on. Seems like a nice kid. He draws a walk to make it two on, one out for Milledge (0-1 with a walk and an HBP today).
Milledge singles! And it's an eight to four ballgame! (That's for all you Simmons fans, but Cohen really did say, "And it's an eight to four ballgame!" just like that.)
9:37 - 8-5 now on an RBI groundout by Chavez scoring Carp. Milledge to second. Get those rally caps on.
9:38 - "And it's outta here!" Ben Johnson goes yard to deep left, making it 8-7.
A-Hern flies out to right to end the 8th.
9:42 - Joe Smith on for the 9th. Oh my goodness, it's Roger Cedeno at bat for the O's. He hits a slicing ball to left that Ben Johnson reaches out and grabs on the run. Nice catch.
9:44 - Smith K's a C/1B named House. "You're risking a patient's...!" Okay, the shameless Simmons ripoffs end here.... But his name really was House.
9:47 - Smith works around a two-out double to set the Mets up for last licks.
9:49 - Mango, for Mario Batali, "brings back one giant, beautiful memory of Vietnam." Okay then.
9:50 - David Newhan leads off. He's from the Bronx? All right, Newhan. But he strikes out.
9:52 - Now it's Damion Easley's turn, Shawn Green on deck. Easley strikes out, and it's all up to Green.
9:54 - Grounder to second, and that's your ballgame. 8-7 is the final. 3 errors, 3 unearned runs given up by the Mets, but a nice day for Mike Pelfrey and a couple of highlights for Ben Johnson, so you take your silver linings where you find them.
It's been real, folks. We'll do this again when the real baseball starts.