October 23, 2003

Diary of a Madman (World Series, Game Four)

As any good blogger would have done, I watched last night's game while taking notes throughout.

No names have been changed to protect the innocent and nothing has been added after the fact, although some stuff that was simply too stupid to include on a website that actual people read was edited out.


Hmm...I wonder if someone at FOX is reading my blog. After I complained yesterday about the way they opened the Game Three broadcast, FOX actually managed to not completely screw things up tonight. Instead of an ad for a Russell Crowe movie, they showed some cool clips of Roger Clemens in his younger days.

The main storyline for tonight is definitely that it is possibly Clemens' last game. Clemens has said throughout this season that this is it, but I really would like to see him keep playing. He's still a top-level starting pitcher and I see no signs of a major dropoff in the near future. He's one of the greatest of all-time and I would like to see him keep going.

Nick Lachey is our National Anthem singer tonight. For those of you unfamiliar with Nick, he is the co-star of MTV's reality-show, Newlyweds. In other words, he's the guy married to Jessica Simpson, who is quite possibly both the most attractive and dumbest human-being in the history of mankind. I heard they were supposed to do a duet tonight, but Jessica locked herself in the car.

I just saw the first of what will almost certainly be dozens of commercials for The O.C., which loyal readers will remember as a favorite show of mine this Summer. Knowing that baseball going off the air next week means The O.C. will be coming back on is almost worth no more baseball. I'm kidding of course. I think.

Okay, I just figured out why David Cassidy was chosen to sing God Bless America last night. He is going to be on Malcolm in the Middle next week. Another example of FOX cramming their product down our throats. I mean, for god's sakes, David Cassidy?!

"The New Mr. October" is off to a rough start tonight. Alfonso Soriano singles to lead things off and then Jeter (who will hereby be referred to as "Jetes" and/or "Mr. Clutch") hits a weak little pop up in the infield. The ball drops, but Jeter just stands at home plate, allowing Luis Castillo and Alex Gonzalez to turn the double-play.

Tim McCarver, who I believe is in love with Jetes in the same manner little girls are in love with Justin Timberlake, has the following reaction to the double-play: "It is weird to see Jeter not running on that play."

Wow Tim, thanks. For a minute there I thought you would be afraid to criticize Mr. Clutch. Can you imagine if Manny Ramirez had done something like this during the ALCS? McCarver would have spent the entire game ripping him a new one.

Now, as if that weren't enough, McCarver is giving Mr. Clutch credit for keeping Roger Clemens under control during the whole mess during Game Four of the ALCS. I wonder sometimes if McCarver stalks Jetes during the off-season, and if Mr. Clutch has ever had to get a restraining order against him. At some point in this game I fully expect to hear McCarver say that "Derek Jeter sure is dreamy."

Clemens just threw one way up and way in on Miguel Cabrera. That ball was about as close to Cabrera's head as Pedro Martinez's pitch was to Karim Garcia's in the ALCS. I wonder if Don Zimmer will take a run at Clemens between innings.

Goodbye baseball! Cabrera gets the best kind of revenge against Clemens, taking him deeeep the opposite way to give Florida a 2-0 first inning lead. If you haven't noticed already, Miguel Cabrera is going to be a very special baseball player.

Jeff Conine follows Cabrera's homer with a single to left and Clemens is looking very vulnerable. Somebody better go wake Jeff Weaver up and tell him to start throwing.

Mike Lowell singles to left and the Marlins have first and third, with two outs. Seriously, someone may want to tell Weaver to put the bong down and get to the bullpen. Another two-out base hit and it is 3-0 Marlins. At this point I think someone should insist that Weaver put the Cheetos down and get throwing.

HA! Jeff Weaver really is warming up, I just saw it with my own two eyes! I was just kidding around...

Clemens gets out of the first, down 3-0, with 42 pitches thrown. Probably not exactly how he envisioned his last start going.

FOX just showed Bud Selig in the crowd, wearing a pair of giant headphones and obviously listening to the FOX broadcast (he flashed that repulsive smile after Buck and McCarver started talking about him). After showing Bud, FOX gives us a shot of LL Cool J and only then shows us the all-time major league home run champion, Hank Aaron. Is there any possible reason for showing LL Cool J before Hank Aaron at a World Series game? As a matter of fact, if this were a televised tribute to LL Cool J, I think I would show Hank Aaron first.

Roger Clemens leads off the fifth inning with a base hit on an 0-2 count (yes, you read that correctly). Two batters later Mr. Clutch continues his rough night, hitting into his second double-play of the game. He has now made four of New York's first 14 outs, all in just two trips to the plate. Tim McCarver is rendered speechless, which is actually a really good thing.

I was flipping channels during a commercial and landed on ABC, where I caught a glimpse of the actress who plays Karen Sisco wearing a skin-tight, sleeveless Ricky Williams jersey. Like McCarver, I am rendered speechless.

Okay, I am not done ripping on FOX yet. They spent the entire pre-game and the first six innings or so constantly hyping this as Clemens' last start. And then, when the game gets into the late innings (as soon as their need to convince people to watch this game is over) they immediately start hyping the fact that this may not be his last game, that he may end up pitching in Game Seven, which means they can hype that game as his last one.

Lost in all this Clemens stuff is the fact that Carl Pavano is pitching a helluva game. Who woulda thunk it?

Okay, I just flipped over to Karen Sisco on ABC again and I am now in love with...hold on, lemme look up her name...Carla Gugino. I would like to take this opportunity to officially propose marriage to Ms. Gugino. I do so here because I am sure she will see this, what with her being such a big fan of Aaron's Baseball Blog and all. Drop me an email Carla and we'll work out the details.

Speaking of beautiful women, FOX just interviewed Roger Clemens' "wife of 18 years," Debbie Clemens. I proclaim Mrs. Clemens a MILF of the first-order. Congratulations Roger! Oh, and good career too.

Okay, last night we got David Cassidy singing God Bless America, and tonight we get...Shelby Lynn? I can honestly say that I have never seen or heard of this person before in my entire life.

I will say that Shelby doesn't look real good tonight. I mean, she's not unattractive, but she looks like she's a bit hungover and working on about an hour's worth of sleep for the entire week. She is also wearing a blue jogging-suit for her appearance on national TV, and FOX's super-duper closeups aren't helping her any either. I'll give her credit though, she sang it fast!

I think it is safe to say any potential Yankee comeback can be attributed to Shelby Lynn rushing through God Bless America.

Roger Clemens leaves his final game (at least until this weekend) with a strikeout and a big standing-ovation. I think I'll remember watching this moment for the rest of my life. Clemens is one of the greatest handful of pitchers in the history of baseball and it's been a real pleasure watching him.

Mr. Clutch's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day continues, with a called third strike to end the top of the eighth. In Jetes' defense, I thought the ball was low and outside, but the umps have been horrible this entire post-season, so...

Paging Mystique and Aura...Paging Mystique and Aura...

U.U.U. comes on to close things out. He'll be up against Giambi, Williams, Matsui and then Posada, if someone reaches (and they almost certainly will).

Ugie gets Giambi for the first out and then gives up a single to Bernie and a walk to Matsui. Posada hits a ground ball to Luis Castillo, but he can only get the force out at second base, putting runners at the corners with two outs. So, I guess it all comes down to...Ruben Sierra!

Urbina gets behind 3-0 and gets a courtesy strike from the ump on a 3-0 pitch that was outside. Then he gets the same call on the same pitch to make it 3-2. After two fouls balls on 3-2, Sierra rips a liner down the right field line. The ball rolls around in the corner for a while, both runners come in to score, Sierra winds up at third base with a triple and it's a tie game!

Looks like Mystique and Aura got here just in time. Sure, they were almost late, but in their defense I think they were busy hanging out with Jeff Weaver in the bullpen.

3-3 game, bottom of the ninth. You know what this means, right?

Exit light

Enter night

Take my hand

Off to never never land

Okay, I spoke (and sang) too soon. Joe Torre goes with Jose Contreras in the bottom of the ninth. Mariano Rivera did throw 23 pitches last night, but I saw him warming up in the bullpen, so I'm not sure what's going on.

There isn't going to be a point in tonight's game that is any more important than a tie-game in the bottom of the ninth, so this is the spot to use Rivera, if you are going to use him at all.

Apparently Contreras knows how to pitch a little bit too, getting Florida 1-2-3 in the ninth.

Hey, look at that, a John Flaherty sighting! Geez, Flaherty was almost the hero, driving a deep fly ball to right-center. But Juan Pierre can run just about anything down and he did, grabbing it right at the wall.

Soriano strikes out on a hanging curveball right over the middle of the plate. There are no words to describe how lost he is at the plate right now.

Mr. Clutch comes up with two outs and lines a double down the right field line. I have to say, I am shocked. I thought for sure Jetes would go with the double-fist-pump, but he threw me a curve and went with the hand-clap instead. That's why he's Mr. October and I'm stuck here writing sarcastic comments about him.

Before this actually unfolds, I would like to say, for the record, that I would not walk Giambi to pitch to Williams. Giambi can be pitched to of late and Bernie is very hot. Let's see what happens...

Chad Fox gets ahead of Giambi 1-2 on a slider down and in and then gets him swinging on the exact same pitch for strike three. And we're headed to the bottom of the 10th...

C'mon, Rivera has to come in now, I have Metallica all cranked up and ready to go! Nope, Contreras stays in to pitch to Juan Pierre to lead things off.

Okay, here's what I want to see: Pierre bunt single, Pierre steals second, Pierre steals third, Pierre scores the winning-run on a Castillo bunt, Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver make messes in their pants, and statheads (and Yankee fans) everywhere cry themselves to sleep.

Well, it's not a bunt single, but Pierre walks. If he doesn't run here, Joe Morgan and everyone else who babbles on and on about Florida's team-speed being the key to their success should be forced to shut up for good. Contreras is so slow to the plate that I think they time his delivery with a sun-dial, and having Castillo bunt in this situation is a complete waste of an out and an even bigger waste of Pierre's speed.

Contreras makes a few tosses over to first base and then, sure enough, Castillo is bunting. It was a good bunt, but I thought the ability to steal bases was supposed to be their big asset? Why do they need to bunt him over and waste an out? Oh well, I'm sure Joe Morgan will explain things tomorrow.

Contreras is nasty tonight. He gets Pudge Rodriguez swinging on a 97 MPH fastball up in the zone and then gets Cabrera swinging on another 97 MPH heater up and over the plate.

Anyone else think it is time to give Jack Bauer some vacation time? He looks more worn-down than Shelby Lynn at this point.

Uh oh, Jeff Weaver is warming up in the bullpen again. Why would Torre have Rivera warm up and then not bring him into a tie-game in extra-innings?

Okay, the world is right again. The Sandman is warming up in the pen again, alongside Weaver.

Bernie doubles and the Marlins walk Matsui. David Dellucci sacrifices the runners over and the Yankees have men on second and third with one out.

Wow, Jack McKeon has decided to load the bases by walking Juan Rivera, so he can pitch to Aaron Boone and try for a double-play. And now he's bringing Braden Looper into the game in what is a very tough spot, throwing his first pitch with the bases loaded in extra innings.

Okay, now I'm confused. Florida walked the bases loaded to pitch to Boone and now they are playing the infield in? Is it possible McKeon went completely senile sometime during the seventh inning stretch? I have heard Shelby Lynn sometimes has that effect on people.

Weaver is now alone warming in New York's bullpen again. Joe Buck says, "if the Yankees take the lead, Rivera will pop up." How exactly is a lead in extra-innings more important than a tie-game? I swear, I will never understand this "closer" thing.

Looper strikes Boone out with a high, inside fastball. Two outs. John Flaherty pops out to third base and the threat is over. McKeon's moves worked out. Shows what I know.

Weaver is now in the game, which means it is soon to be over. Meanwhile, Mariano Rivera, perhaps the greatest pitcher in post-season history, has warmed up several times tonight and is now sitting in the bullpen, watching the game.

The good news is that Weaver is working on 1,583 days rest, so he should be nice and fresh. Shockingly, his first pitch is a ball.

Amazingly, Weaver gets Florida 1-2-3, showing a nice assortment of curveballs that got Conine and Lowell to hit weak fly balls and got Derrek Lee to end the inning with a grounder to Mr. Clutch.

Jeff Weaver has a 0.00 career ERA in the post-season.

Soriano, Jetes and Giambi to start the 12th. Soriano gets ahead 2-0 and then hacks at a couple of fastballs, grounding out to first base. Jetes comes up and Joe Bucks says, "and now Mr. Clutch steps in." To quote the great Bill Simmons: I just threw up in my mouth.

Mr. Clutch pops out to second base.

After a Giambi single, Bernie Williams grounds out to second base for the third out of the inning. And we're heading to the bottom of the 12th.

Chances of a Florida victory at this point? I'd say about 60%. Chances of Aaron Gleeman waking up when his alarm-clock goes off in about eight hours? I'd say about 7%.

Another great job by the FOX broadcasting team. They came back late from the commercial break, so the audience was just barely able to see the first pitch of THE BOTTOM OF THE 12TH INNING OF A WORLD SERIES GAME cross the plate. It's not like this stuff is important or anything. I obviously wouldn't want to miss the 23rd airing of the Tru Calling commercial.

Weaver is inexplicably still in the game, pitching to Alex Gonzalez. He goes 3-2 to AGon, who then fouls off a couple of pitches.

GAME OVER! Gonzalez yanks Weaver's third 3-2 offering down the left field line, barely clearing the fence for the game-winning homer.

Weaver is the loser. Looper is the winner. And Mariano Rivera did nothing all night but warm up twice and watch the game from the bullpen.

Four hours and three minutes of great baseball. Goodnight!

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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