(In other words, it's a liveblog)
Yes, Derek Jeter was involved, but that All-Star opener where he and Ken Griffey Jr. visibly GEEKED OUT over meeting Willie Mays? Wonderful. Although I could have done without the clearly scripted question, "When Barry Bonds breaks the home run record, how are you going to celebrate?"
Hey. If you thought you had a bad day, it could only have been brightened by the Taco Bell guy. Not only did he piss away a million dollars, but he also embarrassed himself in front of millions in the process. I don't care what happened to you today, you at least weren't that guy.
ZOMG THE ALL STARS AS SIMPSONS CHARACTERS. I expect some enterprising baseball fan to have screencaps of each available on the Internet within hours. Such is my faith in the power of the Inter-dweebs. And God bless Matt Groening for the sulking (and hilarious) portrayal of Bonds.
Beckett and Papelbon both clearly practiced their All-Star waves in front of a mirror. Also they showed them off to each other before the game, and each of them told the other exactly why his wave-style sucked.
What in the living fuck was Manny doing? Who was he talking to?! Why did he duck behind Joshie as Mike Lowell was being introduced? What could possibly have been going on there?
Dudes. Booing people at the All-Star Game, even if they are division rivals? Not cool.
Roy Oswalt is a teeny tiny little man.
Standing Papi between A-Rod and Jeter? Euggh. Gives me the willies. A-Rod appeared to be trying to say something in Spanish to Ivan Rodriguez, and Ivan Rodriguez was seen staring at him blankly.
Enough with Mellencamp on the commercials already, FOX. Enough.
Willie Mays hit for the cycle in the All-Star Game in 1960. Holy God. Do they just not make baseball players like they used to, or what? And this man is expected to celebrate Barry Bonds?
In comparison with Tim McCarver, Joe Buck seems like a genius, but listening to him struggle to put together a complete sentence during his ad-lib on Willie Mays reminded me that in comparison with McCarver is really the only time he's tolerable.
Eric Byrnes. In a kayak. With a bulldog. I have nothing to say to that.
Top: It is 8:52 pm and we are still watching the opening scenic shots of San Francisco on FOX. Not even first pitch yet. Dear Christ.
The 2007 All-Star Game has opened immediately with the annual All-Star Cognitive Dissonance, as Derek Jeter's ass being thrown out at first after grounding into a weak double play instinctively makes me cheer, immediately followed by the realization that tonight, it means 2 outs against my team.
Okay, so maybe you've got no sympathy for Taco Bell guy. Surely you can't have a heart so hardened as to have no sympathy for Prince Fielder, who committed a beastly error in the first to put Papi on base.
All-Star Game Cognitive Dissonance No. 2: David Wright. So lovely. And yet he's dumping Papi's ass out at second base.
Bottom: Jose Reyes steals second on Jeter! Yes! I mean, shit!
Jeter looks like a clown on Junior's RBI hit to left! My head is going to explode! 1-0 NL.
Commercial commentary: If I may go all Jerry Seinfeld for a minute, what is the deal with energy drinks these days? Why is Pepsi putting out something with all kinds of ginseng packed in there and double the caffeine? Why is it suddenly popular to try to overdose on over-the-counter stimulants?
Top: NL starter Brad Penny looks like a beefier, redneckier Derek Lowe. Apparently he was hangin' with Joshie last night and somehow Peter Gammons got wind they were demanding a pitchers' home run derby, and then reported it on ESPN's post-Derby show. It only takes one look at Penny to imagine the context in which that statement was made by one or both of them, and in what phraseology.
Russell Martin's dad was a busker.
What is the deal with A-Rod's shoes? I feel like if he'd been wearing those shoes the last time I saw him, I would've remembered.
Top: Manny, laughing some more, was batting in the pitcher's spot, which can only mean He Who Chews is coming to the mound in the bottom of this inning.
I think that was an eephus hit Ichiro just got.
Papi mocks himself when he's not hitting for power by calling himself "Ichiro". Ironically, he is following Ichiro in the order in this game.
Ah yes, the AL team is merely making us Red Sox fans feel at home with their FAILURE TO SCORE RUNS.
Bottom: A-Rod just blatantly let a ball go by at third base off the bat of Reyes. He played like he had no depth perception whatsoever there, like the ball was somehow three feet away from where his eyes told him it was. Now Josh has to face Barry Bonds with Reyes on second base. Fuckin' A-Rod.
Thankfully Bonds flew out. Quick GBO follows but many of his pitches are coming in low. Utter filth down and in to Junior for the final out. For a second I thought he might go down like Taco Bell guy, but he wound up putting in a solid performance, and even gave it a nice little flourish at the end.
Top: A-Rod apparently flying in for sleeopovers at Barry Bonds' house now, according to gushing sideline interview with Bonds. Apparently MLB is full of these little matches made in heaven.
A-Rod out like a bitch at the plate on an ill-advised attempt to score from second. A-Rod wearing Mickey Mouse gloves and his shoes still suck. Hate A-Rod.
Bottom: Another sweet K for Joshie to Russel Martin to cap off a clean inning. Runs pls.
Top: Chris Young, the guy who got phantom-punched by Derek Lee, now has Derek Lee behind him in the outfield. ASG Cognitive Dissonance continues.
Eric Byrnes' dog just totally swam away from him, and in the opposite direction from the baseball Byrnes threw in the water for him to fetch. Byrnes then babbled nonsensical stuff about being from San Francisco. Whoever's idea it was to have Byrnes and his dog on the show is probably fired.
Ichiro with a two run inside the park homer!
Let's say that again. A two-run. Inside the park. Home run. 2-1 AL.
Josh Beckett now stands to be the WP. Of the All-Star Game. Or, as Surviving Grady dubbed him, Captain Kickass of the Fuck Yeah Brigade.
Top: Carl Crawford hits a home run. Even better, Jonathan Papelbon greets him with an enthusiastic fist and a cheek bulging with chew, hollering wild-eyed yet encouraging nonsense. That's right--I rank what Jonathan Papelbon does in the dugout with Carl Crawford hitting a home run. I'm relentlessly biased like that. Especially where Jonathan Papelbon is concerned. 3-1 AL.
Bottom: Carlos Beltran is officially a pain in the ass. Hits a triple and then Junior hits him in with a sac fly. Okie warming in the bullpen. This really is just like a Red Sox game: a paucity of run support and overall strong pitching (Verlander came in slinging 100-mph heat in relief of CC Sabathia, who'd been dinged for the run). Doesn't hurt that there are six Red Sox on the team (like you thought I wasn't gonna gloat about that?) 3-2 AL.
Top: My love-hate relationship with Joe Buck swings back toward love. I do admit an affection for when he'll blatantly mock something on his own broadcast if it hits above a certain level on the idiocy meter. Such as his aside about the "scintillating conversation" between Tony LaRussa and the home plate umpire going over the lineup card before the game. Also, FOX has a scoop! LaRussa told the ump McCann was hitting sixth, and it turns out he was actually hitting seventh! Joe Buck reads this and then all but audibly shrugs on the air. I do like Joe Buck sometimes.
God Bless America commentary: Ages of dead air due to technical difficulties. A national TV audience now most assuredly 95% asleep. A booing crowd at the ballpark. Good times.
Also, first Counting Crows yesterday and now Paula Cole? Is it mid-to-late-90's Reunion Week in San Francisco?
Bottom: Santana does this inning over Okie. Looks like he won't see action. Total bummer.
Top: Mike Lowell with a double. Maybe if he plays through the All-Star Break there'll be no second-half decline.
While talking about Big Papi, McCarver lets loose with this fart in a crowded elevator: "If his hobby wasn't cooking, he'd be Little Papi." Get it! Big guys eat a lot! Haw! Somebody please, please put all of us out of our misery and get him off the air.
Grady Sizemore pwn3d by a junk pitch for the first strikeout for the NL staff tonight.
It's all closers from here on out.with Cinco Ocho getting into Kill Mode down the left field line. Victor Martinez milks his homer trot. 5-2 AL.
Bottom: I THOUGHT TORII HUNTER WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE BEST OUTFIELDER IN THE WORLD HOW COULD HE LET JONATHAN GIVE UP A HIT IN THE ALL STAR GAME.
Okay. Deep breaths.
FOX interrupts this appearance by Jonathan to tell us Chase Utley is a good fisherman in his spare time. I really am just out of words to rant about FOX right now.
Okay, I lied. Let me bitch momentarily about the inconsistency of gun readings on TV broadcasts, although this is applicable to NESN as well as FOX. Either show the gun every time or don't show it at all. Some of the most beautiful pitches I've ever seen, including almost every third strike in my recollection, have had no gun reading. It's annoying.
K for Jonathan but Derek Lee steals on Posada. Aaron Rowand, He of the Smashed Face, has his face-smashing lovingly replayed by FOX shortly after stepping in. AND POSADA HAS A PASSED BALL WHAT THE HOLY CRAP.
Jonathan pours his justifiable contempt for his catcher into a 95-mph gem on which Rowan whiffs.
A quick flyout to close things out, and Cinco Ocho stalks off the All-Star field, with a look on his face that suggests it would behoove one of his teammates to be waiting with the tranquilizer dart in the tunnel. Someday I will find the words to describe the way his eyes actually seem to flash and spark when he's got his game face on. It seems like I keep writing the same things about him, but the same things about him just get me every time. The eyes especially. And I keep feeling like I just haven't quite captured it yet, haven't quite found the words to say all I want to about Papelbon.
Generally, if I've got a binky right now, it's him. Some people define "binky" as just a favorite, but I define it as someone you're willing to defend in the face of reasonable, logical evidence that he sucks (see also: Foulke, Keith). On this team, that's fortunately not the case for any of my favorites. But Papelbon's the one who makes me shriek at umpires and other Red Sox (or in this case, flubbing All-Star teammates) the most. Because he can do no wrong, you see--obviously other people around him are responsible if something gets fucked up. If there's absolutely no way to blame it on someone else, I fret that he's hurt. Because no way does he just happen to blow chunks on a particular evening. Not the Precious.
That qualifies as binkyism, I guess.
Top: The way Trevor Hoffman licks his lips is just. gross.
Torii Hunter fouls a ball hard off the soon-to-be-retired Bruce Froemming. I don't know too many 72-year-olds that could stand up to that, don't know about you.
The discussion of Froemming's beaning leads FOX to pull out a picture of Froemming between A-Rod and Varitek on July 24, 2004. Then there's a closeup of A-Rod in the dugout picking his nose. Good times.
Bottom: Froemming tagged again, this time by Holliday. FOX broadcasts audio of the mic-ed up Froemming muttering "Goddamn." Compelling television.
The Guy With That Name on to close for the AL. He has probably the most exaggerated lean-in for the sign in the big leagues right now. Also he has facial hair and sideburns like a bright red Brillo pad.
Let's get this turkey over with. I'm sure nobody's still reading this.
It's good to see DaMeat again, especially after all his well-documented troubles. It's not good to see him on base on an error by B-Rob.
ALFONSO SORIANO WTF ARRRGGHHH. 5-4 NL.
Normally in a situation like this there's at least a bottom of the lineup the pitcher could get to. Not this time. Putz keeps putting these nifty little pitches just the slightest bit outside, and he walks JJ Hardy to put the tying run on base. Yet he seems baffled that Leyland's giving him the hook for K-Rod. Yeah, like a crusty old bastard like Leyland is going to let LaRussa beat him again, exhibition or no exhibition.
I have never seen a nastier curveball than the one K-Rod threw to Derek Lee for strike 2. It looked like it didn't just break up and down, but side to side more than 180 degrees. Yet Lee winds up working a walk and now we have two on with two out. Please let's just end this.
Frankie has no control. 2-0 to Orlando Hudson.
3-0. K-Rod isn't even close to the zone--or the plate, for that matter, having bounced two of his pitches in the dirt. A fourth bounced pitch and the bags are juiced. This sucks.
B-Rob standing next to Derek Lee at second, meanwhile, is a sight I won't soon forget.
K-Rod delivers his next two pitches--the first a strike right down the pipe and the second sent out to right in a flyout by Aaron Rowand to finally end the game--with personal anger. I have to admit, it's been a good game, interesting and maybe even a little bit serious right there at the end.
It helps, too, that your winning pitcher is now officially a certain Joshie we know and love. Ichiro is the MVP, which was a no-brainer--he hit the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history, and his own personal first inside-the-park round-tripper. I'd also be interested to know how many multi-run inside-the-park home runs there have been; I can't imagine it's too many. AL extends its streak to 10 games, which is also as it should be. All is right in the baseball world, and so to all a good night.