Game 3: Who’s afraid of the big bad Gambler?

Ah, there are few things in life sweeter than listening to ESPN rag on a guy all game long, and then watching him proceed to do everything they said he couldn’t. Thank you, Kenny Rogers. Never have poor postseason stats been so loudly trumpeted. It was almost as loud as the Jeter adoration.

No one was expecting this game to turn out like this. Tigers fans who’d seen Kenny pitch recently might have expected him to do well, especially if they were, like me, willfully ignoring all his numbers from previous years. But a shutout! Who would’ve thought it possible? A shutout of THE GREATEST LINEUP OF BASE BALL PLAYERS TO EVER BE ASSEMBLED ON THIS PLANET IN THE HISTORY OF ALL TIME (according to espn)??? Surely that is IMPOSSIBLE.

Only once, all game, did a Yankee batter advance beyond the base he initially reached, and that was Posada moving to third on Matsui’s groundout after his leadoff double in the 7th. After Matsui, Bernie Williams struck out swinging and Cano grounded out to first, and that was that. The Yankees managed 4 other hits, 2 walks, and ARod was nicked by a pitch, but every time, when someone got on, everyone behind them failed to do anything.

Zoom came in for one batter, ARod, in the 8th, and got him to fly out harmlessly. Jonesy, for once, had a nice and easy 9th with two flyouts and a swinging strike to end the game. Man, it’s weird even just typing that. I like bringing in Zoom for just the one guy… hopefully it won’t tire him out too much, and Kenny’d thrown well over 100 pitches at that point. There wasn’t a whole lot of game left, but no sense in tempting fate with that lineup. (see, I acknowledge the ability of the Yankee hitters, I recognize their skill and their WoahScary factor, but I do not FAWN UNNECESSARILY over them)

Keeping Sheffield out of the lineup in favor of The Ancient Bernie Williams worked well for Torre, as Bernie contributed two strikeouts and a line out to Inge at third on the evening. There is such a thing as playing the numbers too much. Again, it would be absurd to say that anyone predicted Kenny would pitch as well as he did, but given his recent performances, it would’ve been a little silly to expect him to suffer a postseason meltdown as he maybe has in the past.

Leyland decided to stick with his men, and just shuffle them around. Yes, even though his hitters are not SO MARVELOUSLY FEARSOME as the Yankees, they were good enough to all stay in the lineup against the Wizened Unit. Polanco, leading off, went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Casey, moved from third to seventh, went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Granderson, moved from leadoff to ninth, went 1-for-3 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI (he drove in Pudge on a fielder’s choice, and later had a solo shot). Really the only guys who did nothing at all were Craig and Inge. Craig’s very hot and cold and it’s impossible to tell how he’ll be on any given day, and Inge I don’t mind so much so long as everyone else is hitting and his defense stays up to snuff.

As for the two controversial calls in the game, eh. I say they cancel out. Pudge was out in the 2nd when ARod tagged him at third, and yeah, that safe call led to a run. But Polanco’s hit in the 5th was fair when it was called foul, and that ended up keeping the inning scoreless. So far as I’m concerned these are like offsetting penalties in football and we’re all good.

I am starting to wonder if maybe Jon Miller has been hanging out with Tim McCarver too much. The night before he called Verlander the wrong name TWICE (once he was “Jason Verlander” and once he was “Zumaya”), and tonight he said “Kaz Matsui” when he meant Hideki. He realized his mistake two out of the three times (Jason Verlander went uncorrected) and instead of just saying, “Whoops, my bad,” and going on with the game, he felt the need to stop and talk at length about his mistake. So we got a whole schpiel about how so very different Kaz and Hideki Matsui are even though, chortle chortle, they both played in New York.

The best bit of the whole night, of course, was Ernie Harwell showing up in the booth and doing some of the play-by-play. He was his usual Ernie Harwell self, full of stories and great strikeout calls (“He stood there like a house by the side of the road and watched it go by.” “Strike 3, he’s out for excessive window shopping, he looked at one too many.”) and he had Miller and Morgan in stitches most of the time.

Like Johnny Pesky in Boston, Ernie’s one of those guys you just feel good about seeing around the game of baseball, and it was nice to listen to him call the game as it happened in front of him and you could almost forget, for a brief second, that you were watching a highly polished and Yankee lapdogging ESPN broadcast.

Wright/Bonderman at 4 today. I would like to be told who decided that this game should not be a night game, because I don’t know about you kids, but I am IN MICHIGAN, therefore I am going to be AT ONE OF THE BIGGEST COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN THIS YEAR. I assume that many of you will also either be there or will be keeping a close eye on it. Seriously, SOMEONE at FOX or MLB had to know that the Michigan/Michigan State game was at 4:30, and SURELY someone would know how many Michigan folk are going to be all over it.

I mean. It’s MICHIGAN/MICHIGAN STATE. Almost THE ENTIRE STATE OF MICHIGAN is going to be watching it in some way or another. And the kind of people who, around here, care about college football deeply are also likely to care a bit about baseball. Scheduling the Tigers game at the same time is stupid. The Big House is going to have over 110,000 people in it today; assume only a THIRD of them would watch at least part of the Tigers game if it wasn’t at 4 (and I think you can assume a higher percentage than that, but to be conservative) and you’re talking about AT LEAST 37,000 people who are AUTOMATICALLY lost ad revenue. And that’s not counting people who will, instead of keeping their TVs on the Tiger game, flip back and forth between the two from the comfort of their couches.

At least the Tigers can’t be eliminated today, but I am really quite pissed off about this. Someone in MLB or at FOX is either incredibly ignorant about all things Michigan or is just a really big excretory exit site.

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5 responses to “Game 3: Who’s afraid of the big bad Gambler?

  1. I had no idea about the college game today. the lack of brain activity among the schedulers blows my mind sometimes. Their entire job is to maximize ad revenue… sometimes I think these “experts” forget that people in the midwest count as market share, they’re so focused on east/west coast.

  2. hi samara!!!!
    well the experts was ALL wrong about who would win both the AL series. no MFY. no twins.
    i guess there probably are some people who would rather watch football when a baseball game is on – especially when their baseball team has played like a AA team for like 15 years and is kicking the ass of the best lineup in the history of baseball, but what can i say.
    anyhow in case you forgot, the mets/dodgers game is playing in LA and it IS about freaking time that the NL got the prime time spot. but it is all about the benjamins, not fairness and ny PLUS la = more $$$ than ny + detroit…
    you missed a fantastic baseball game – bonderman was freaking awesome. i hope you taped it
    lisa

  3. Lisa, in my case it was not a “which do I watch” conundrum… it was, hmm, I can sit at home and watch the Tigers, OR I can go to the sold out, second-biggest rivalry in the region football game, in person. There’s no contest; in person always trumps on TV. If I had tickets to a Tigers game and Michigan/Ohio State was on TV, I would go to the Tigers game.

  4. Don’t even get me started on ESPN. They were the same clowns who thought that it was as good as done deal that LeBron would leave Cleveland. Will you can go to hell, ESPN. I remember when they were pretty much blowing USC in January and coronating them as the best team ever before they even played Texas, and then Texas beat them. What a freaking joke. When my Buckeyes played Miami in the ’03 Fiesta Bowl, same deal with Miami being the best team ever. Of course, we beat Miami following a season where ESPN never even mentioned us as potential championship contenders.
    Now this with the Yankees. I mean, how annoying is it that every summer has become an annual lovefest on ESPN between them and the Yankees/Red Sox? I mean, no other team exists to these buffoons. Just more proof that the four-lettered network, as I love to call them, is more concerned with style over substance. This is not to say that there still aren’t gems at ESPN.com (Peter Gammons, Steve Phillips, Greg Anthony, Ron Jaworski, Jim Donnan), but for the most part, I’m sick of those douchebags.

  5. samara,
    it is like this – there is NO live sporting event, including nude mud wrestling between usher and omar epps and me having ringside free seats, that could get me to miss ANY astros playoff game. even on tv…
    EVEN with that craphead mccarver and scooter the baseball and some slutty chick interviewing someone in the stands instead of keeping the cameras on the baseball…
    and like i said,
    the network ain’t giving up any $$$$ from an entire giant tv market just because some football game is on.
    and trust me it was bad enough that my stros had to play the NLCS in 04 and 05 at the same time the stupid yankees and stupid red sox were on so basically almost no one watched some really really great ballgames…
    lisa

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