Thursday, April 16, 2009
TBG Travel Diary: Anaheim, California – Part II
Top of the 1st - The A's get a runner on, but fail to score. Jason Giambi is reflexively booed by 43,000 idiots who only remember him as a New York Yankee. Smitty reminds me that Giambi's a professional athlete and the boos roll right off his back. TBG Note: I couldn't find The Simpsons clip that I stole this comment from, but here's a pretty good one from the same episode.
Bottom of the 1st - I'm generally loathe to throw around the word "hate". It's a powerful word that should be reserved for only the most despicable acts and individuals. That said, I f'n HATE Chone Figgins. He's the Angels leadoff hitter and he always kills the A's. Here, he walks, steals second, advances to third base on a flyball and scores on a groundout. See? Despicable. A's starter Trevor Cahill is struggling on the mound, but is helped out when the Angels' Torii Hunter doubles to deep centerfield with the future home of Vladimir Guerrero's double knee-replacement surgery on first base. Every other active Major Leaguer scores on that play. Not Vlad!
Middle of the 2nd - Former Oakland A's starting pitcher John "Blue Moon" Odom shuffles down to our seats to say hello. Again, I'm wearing his throwback jersey and Odom always seems to get a kick out of the fact that someone remembers him. So, you'll forgive me if I gloss over his 1986 drug conviction or that whole "threatening the life of his first wife" misunderstanding.
Bottom of the 2nd - Angels are up 1-0 and they're hitting everything hard and far. So, with the 21-year-old Cahill on the ropes, what does Halo's manager Mike Scioscia do? He opts for "small ball" and has Erick Aybar lay down a sacrifice bunt. Seriously, I love this National League nonsense. And, as the old sabermetric saying goes: "When you play for one run, all you get is one run." The Angels go up 2-0.
Middle of the 3rd - A's waste Mark Ellis' leadoff double and leave him stranded. Meanwhile, the Jumbotron shows highlights from the earlier games. Hey, it's Ted Kennedy! He's on hand to throw out the first pitch at the Red Sox's home opener. Quick scouting report on the veteran right-hander: impossible to get out and his curveball falls right off the bridge.
Bottom of the 3rd - For the second time in three innings, Vlad Guerrero fails to score from first on a two-out double. A potentially huge inning is once again snuffed out by Guerrero's decaying legs. I cannot possibly convey how ungainly he looks on the basepaths. Here's a helpful video to assist with the illustration of my point.
Top of the 4th - The A's put up a three-spot and take the lead. There's a douchebag seated a few feet from us – rocking a Kirk Saarloos authentic Oakland road jersey – who has positively lost his sh*t at this development. 20 years ago, that's exactly how Smitty and I would've reacted. Today, we just wanna watch the game and not get killed.
Bottom of the 5th - The Jack Cust OF Experience racks up another error as Vladimir Guerrero's line drive to right-center clangs violently of Cust's glove. Thankfully, Vlad is retired one batter later as he's caught flat-footed between second and third and nailed in a rundown. Swear to God, this guy's gonna be embalmed by October. A Kendry Morales single plates the tying run, 3-3.
Top of the 7th - With one out and one on, Jason Giambi steps to the plate. He singled in his last at-bat and I call his home run shot here. Smitty derisively dismisses me. Giambi ends up singling to right, so we'll split the difference and say that I 99.5% nailed it. A's score two in the inning and take a 5-3 lead.
Top of the 8th - Darren Oliver is on the mound for the Angels. Smitty and I are huge fans of players who are actually older than either of us. Smitty is convinced that he's been pitching since the early '90s, while I believe he's the last active Negro Leaguer and Harriet Tubman's first husband. Giambi doubles in an insurance run…6-3, A's.
Bottom of the 8th - Quick quiz…Which of the following is NOT one of Angel Stadium's hackneyed means of generating cheap crowd noise: (A) showing a diseased monkey clapping, shrieking and possibly throwing its own feces on the Jumbotron…(B) a generic "MAKE SOME NOISE" declaration on the smaller scoreboards that ring around the stadium…(C) cheerleaders who walk the aisles and motivate the crowd one section at a time. The Halos broke out (A) and (B) before the start of this half-inning. ((C) is actually a staple at the Padres' PETCO Park.)
Bottom of the 9th - A's still lead 6-3 and Brad Ziegler is on to close it out. 3B/A's irritant Chone Figgins singles, then advances to second. He comes home on a one-out single by Bobby Abreu and, just like that, the tying run comes to the plate. Thankfully, it's Vlad Guerrero who strikes out on three pitches. Only 160 more games with this gimp, Orange County! Torii Hunter whiffs to end it. Huzzah!
10:30 PM – 12:45 AM - The forecast called for rain, but save for a brief misting of drizzle in the middle of the game, things remained dry. I'd wondered where the rain had gone until I found it on Interstate 5, about 10 miles south of Anaheim. And, look…our usually laughable levels of precipitation brought all its friends for my ride home! Pretty much bumper-to-bumper for close to 90 minutes. On a Tuesday. In the late evening.
I (heart) you, too, Southern California.