Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Live blogging the All-Star Game

Welcome to River & Sunset's first annual All-Star Game running blog. As you all know, this year the Midsummer Classic is being held in the Boogie Down, so let's get right to work documenting this piece of Yankee Stadium history.

Starting lineups

Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners) RF
Derek Jeter (Yankees) SS
Josh Hamilton (Rangers) CF
Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) 3B
Manny Ramirez (Red Sox) LF
Milton Bradley (Rangers) DH
Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox) 1B
Joe Mauer (Twins) C
Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox) 2B
Cliff Lee (Indians) RHP

Hanley Ramirez (Marlins) SS
Chase Utley (Phillies) 2B
Lance Berkman (Astros) 1B
Albert Pujols (Cardinals) DH
Chipper Jones (Braves) 3B
Matt Holliday (Rockies) RF
Ryan Braun (Brewers) LF
Kosuke Fukudome (Cubs) CF
Geovany Soto (Cubs) C
Ben Sheets (Brewers) RHP

8:16 - After an emotional look inside the American League clubhouse where George Brett spoke candidly while Derek Jeter put on his pants in the back corner, starting lineups are being announced. Kevin Youkilis was just booed unmercifully. I'm fairly certain they weren't saying "Youuuk" in the Bronx.

8:19 - I'm such a sucker for this old-time baseball stuff. I'm really enjoying seeing these old dudes. Meanwhile, A-Rod just got a big ovation, but not nearly as big as Mo's minutes earlier. This place will go crazy for Jeter.

8:21 - And there, my friends is the difference between Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod is liked. The Captain is loved.

8:28 - Yogi Berra just delivered the first goosebumps of the night. Along with Whitey, Yogi is the last link to the great Yankees teams of the '50s and '60s. A very nice moment to see both recognized.

8:41 - They literally just wheeled George Steinbrenner into the festivities. Ole George has clearly seen his better days and he appeared to be crying as they drove him around the warning track and to the middle of the diamond. It didn't have the emotional cache of Ted Williams at Fenway in '99, but Steinbrenner is a vital figure in the history of the franchise. If this is his twilight, it's good to know he got to see this.

8:46 - Whitey Ford reminds me of my grandfather. He never really seemed to put much thought into taking care of himself, but here is, still ticking while many of his similarly hard-living friends have long since left the living. The Mick and Billy Martin are long gone, but Whitey is standing in the middle of Yankee Stadium in 2008 with a standing ovation in his honor ringing in his ears. Amazing.

8:49 - And we're off. Hanley Ramirez fouls back a Cliff Lee offering to begin the game.

8:53 - All-Star fun fact: The NL hasn't won an All-Star Game since 1996. In 2002, there was a 7-7 tie. It was dumb.

9:00 - Derek Jeter reaches on an infield single before stealing second base. The Yankees could use action like that in the second half.

9:17 - Sorry, had to buy tickets for the midnight showing of The Dark Knight at the Grove on Thursday. If you've never been to The Grove before, it's a terrifyingly bizarre place. It's plastic and shiny -- the perfect metaphor for the city in which it resides -- but it's filled with real living people. It's Disney Land without the rides and it scares the crap out of me.

9:21 - Meanwhile, Midget Pedroia strands a runner at second with a flyout to center. No score after two innings.

9:26 - Uh oh! Yogi Berra is in the booth. McCarver and Buck will now proceed to try to get Yogi to say something stupid for the next 10 minutes.

9:48 - This time seems as good as any to call Manny Ramirez a bitch. Thanks.

9:58 - Terry Francona removes A-Rod from the game with one out in the fifth to allow the Yankee Stadium crowd to acknowledge its All-Star. Not sure if the crowd was taken by surprise, or they didn't really care that much, but the ovation was minimal. Meanwhile, Matt Holliday cranks an opposite-field homer to right off Ervin Santana to break the scoreless tie. Holliday is a stud.
9:59 - A-Rod went 0-for-2 with a popout and strikeout.

10:05 - I have to say, I've been impressed with the crowd. My fear was that it'd be filled with 50,000 corporate douches and 7,000 real fans, but it sounds to be closer to 50/50. It's the best you could ask for in an event like this.

10:13 - Jeter strands the tying runner at second with a bouncer back to the box. New York Yankees today with RISP: 0-for-2, .000.

10:24 - The parallels continue. Jeter is pulled from the game with one out in the sixth to a long standing ovation.

10:30 - Lance Berkman's sac fly gives the NL a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth. Sometimes a 2-0 deficit looks like a 2-0 deficit. Sometimes it looks like a 12-0 deficit. Tonight feels like the former.

10:40 - File this one under: Cry Me A River Dickface. My boy Ian Browne at MLB.com has a report that Jonathan Papelbon is upset because he and his wife were threatened by fans during the All-Star parade in Manhattan today. "I feel like I needed to be in a bullet-proof car," Papelbon said. "My wife is pregnant and she's getting her life threatened. It's stupid." I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Mr. Papelbon, you're no Jack Kennedy.

10:55 - J.D. Drew lines one into the short porch in right with Morneau on third and suddenly it's a tie game. Effin' J.D. Drew. Good stuff.

10:58 - We're heading into the eighth inning and the game is tied at 2. Awesome. Watching Edison Volquez's reaction to that homer, you can tell this isn't just another exhibition game to these guys. These guys want to impress their contemporaries, a soldout crowd and millions watching on TV. They are giving their all. Who cares if the intentions aren't about pride for their league?

11:03 - This crowd is ALL OVER Papelbon. Chants of "Mar-i-ano" and "Over-rated" are ringing through the Bronx. I love being a Yankees fan.

11:10 - Single, stolen base, throwing error, sac fly and Papelbon hands the lead back to the NL. Well played, douchebag. He is, of course, booed unmercifully as he leaves the mound.

11:16 - Bank of America just revealed Lou Gehrig's speech as Yankee Stadium's greatest moment. I'm so glad that Bank of America has answered this question definitively for all of us. Their respect for the game is so strong, I may just have to take my business to them!

11:19 - Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in this All-Star Game or any other All-Star Game prior, is warming in the bullpen.

11:24 - Evan Longoria comes through, as the rookie ripped a pinch-hit RBI double off Billy "Not The Sandman" Wagner to knot the game at 3. Isn't it great that all the mortals that have disrespected the Great Mo have received their comeuppance?

11:29 - Enter Sandman. G.O.A.T. Greatest of All-Time. Of course, FOX flubs the intro by cutting to a Budweiser commercial featuring one of the co-stars of the 1992 spoof comedy Hot Shots. This is a hard town to make a living ... I must say.

11:37 - PeteAbe reports in his LoHud blog that while Jeter has remained in the dugout for the entire game, A-Rod is long gone. All you need to know about the characters of the two guys.

11:40 - It's important to note to new baseball fans: If Tim McCarver is not explaining rudimentary elements of the game, he is wrong 100 percent of the time.

11:55 - Classic Mo there. First and third, one out and he induces an inning-ending DP. 1 2/3 scoreless innings. The Greatest Of All-Time. We head to the bottom half of the 10th. The NL has never lost an All-Star Game in extras (9-0-1).

11:59 - I feel bad for Uggla.

12:00 - Some sequence for the Marlins second baseman. Grounds into a double play to end the top of the 10th, then makes back-to-back errors to put the AL on the precipice of victory. FOX's Ken Rosenthal then chimes in with some story about how Uggla's dad was finally getting to see his son play or something. Man, that sucks.

12:05 - Thank God Uggla made that play. Geez. That ball will find you when you're struggling, no doubt about it.

12:06 - Longoria fails to get the job done. Two outs. Uggla may not have to wear those goat horns after all.

12:07 - Tejada makes a great play on a slow grounder by Morneau and the NL lives. Uggla is saved. Are we heading toward another one of those ties? To the 11th.

12:13 - Seeing as "This One Counts" and all, what happens with home field advantage in the World Series if this game ends in a tie? Coin flip? A game of Asshole? Beer pong? The possibilities are endless.

12:16 - Here's a suggestion: Teams split games into 4 1/2 innings home-and-home parts for World Series games 1, 2, 6 and 7. I'm awesome.

12:18 - I didn't mention this before, but what a job by Aaron Cook to get out of the 10th inning alive. Some real Houdini stuff.

12:20 - Great job by FOX, waiting until bottom of the 11th inning to give the late Bobby Murcer his due respect. Clown college.

12:22 - I can only imagine the agony of all the reporters at the game right now. A long day is becoming a very long night. Meanwhile, the second-base umpire blows a call by ruling Ian Kinsler out on a stolen-base attempt. Instead of man on second, nobody out, the AL is back to square one.

12:24 - A walk and single follow. This game should already be over.

12:25 - Prediction time: Michael Young wins it here.

12:26 - Holy crap, Navarro is slow. Young singles to center, but McClouth makes a great throw from center and Martin makes an unbelievable play at the plate. Carlos Quentin still has a chance to win it here with runners on second and third and two outs.

12:27 - Quentin bounces out to third. 3-3, going to the 12th. What a game.

12:30 - I have to be honest: I don't like seeing my fantasy team closer (Soria) pitching a second inning here. I have a feeling the Royals aren't crazy about it either.

12:35 - Uggla has gone Section 8 on us. With a chance to put the NL ahead, he looks terrible striking out looking with runners on second and third. Francona gets Soria and brings in Sherill.

12:38 - Sherrill strikes out Adrian Gonzalez on three pitches. Great job by the O's closer. Does anybody want to win this game?

12:42 - Carlos Guillen rips an opposite-field double off the left-field wall leading off the 12th against Cook. Grady gets another shot to be hero now.

12:43 - Uggla nearly makes his third error before retiring Sizemore. Man on third, one out. Longoria can be hero now.

12:45 - Cook, in his third inning of relief, fans Longoria. Morneau is intentionally walked to get to Kinsler. This is a mistake. Mark my words.

12:50 - Nevermind. Kinsler fails. This is going to be a tie.

12:58 - Great job by Sherill there. Pitches around a leadoff single to David Wright and we head to the bottom of the 13th inning. What a great, great, baseball game. The last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium will certainly be remembered. Kazmir is the only AL pitcher left, and he threw 110 pitches for the Rays on Sunday. What the hell is Tito going to do? It's very possible -- in fact almost guaranteed -- the limit on this game is 14 innings.

1:00 - The new Yankee Stadium will be 63 percent larger than the current model? Holy crap. P.S. FOX waited until the bottom of the 13th to show that interesting piece on the Yankees' future home. Strange.

1:10 - Sherill's in for a third inning?!? That ain't right folks. This game should be the example going forward: If you are not available to pitch in the All-Star Game (Kazmir in this case), you should not be taking up a spot on the roster. Meanwhile, McClouth just misses hitting one into the short porch in right. A loud out.

1:12 - This is the longest Sherill has pitched in a game all year. In the words of Warner Wolf, "This was supposed to be an exhibition!"

1:40 - Hallelujah! Four hours and fifty minutes after first pitch, Michael Young lifts a sac fly to right field as Morneau just beats the throw at the plate. The AL is now unbeaten in its last 12 All-Star Games. I have to admit it's a relief to see the game end with a decision, a tie would have been real bittersweet. Plus, now Game 1 of the World Series is at Yankee Stadium. Sweet!

I think this game has made me delusional. Have a great night ... or morning.

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