illustration by Samara Pearlstein
The Tigers played split-squad today, with no Detroit cameras. But the Phillies had their guys out at one of the games, and the MLB Network decided to replay it at 8pm for some reason. Initially I could not understand why this was happening, but I wasn’t complaining, because baseball! Tigers baseball! On my TV!!
I soon realized the game had probably been chosen for broadcast because CLIFF LEE, MAN OF PITCHERLY WONDERS was starting. As you will see. Liveblog from my notes follows.
Top of the first
–We join the broadcast in action to find that Will Rhymes led off the game and was beaned by Cliff Lee. So… thanks for not showing me what I would actually kind of like to see? Good start, MLBN.
–Ugh, I guess I had assumed this would be a neutral MLBN broadcast, but it’s not, they’ve just ganked the CSN Philly tape, so it’s Tom McCarthy, “Wheels”, and “Sarge”, although only two are in the booth at any given time. Wheels is Chris Wheeler, Sarge is Gary Matthews the Elder. Naturally enough they are concentrating on the Phillies. I don’t blame them, but I just want more Tigers focus. Stampy feet!
–One of them says this is Cliff Lee’s first appearance in a Phillies uniform. But… but…? I stare at the TV, begin questioning my own memories of 2009. Maybe they mean… first appearance back? First appearance this season? Maybe they should say that. Deep breath. Spring Training for everyone.
–Tigers scoring happens. Ryan Raburn triple! Don Kelly has high socks on. Ryan Strieby looks nice and solid, I don’t know why I’m commenting on this, it makes me sound like Rod Allen.
Bottom of the first
–Andy Oliver gets the start for the Tigers. Placido Polanco is batting second for the Phillies! I draw four sadfaces in a row on my notes. The announcers are still talking about Cliff Lee.
Top of the second
–I left the room to do some stuff, and when I came back, it was the next inning and they were still talking about Cliff Lee. CLIFF LEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
–Brian Wilson is in the MLB 2K11 ad. “Digital Brian, I will come through that screen and rip you apart.”
–”Nobody has ever touched the beard. There’s a reason for that– you can’t. It’s too full of magic.”
Bottom of the second
–The ballgirls down the lines are Hooters girls. Don’t even know what to say to this.
–Is the Phanatic here? I wish they would show him. It’s a Philly broadcast, if he’s in the park they really ought to put him on camera.
Top of the third
–Placido Polanco throws out Audy Ciriaco. I draw another sadface in my notes.
–Kyle Kendrick has replaced CLIFF LEE CLIFF LEEEEEEE. He comes way inside on Rhymes. After Cliff The Precious Lee already beaned him! THEY ARE PITCHING HIM INSIDE WITH INTENT TO HIT, OOOOOO PHILLIES, YOU DID NOT. YOU DID NOT. No they aren’t, Kendrick immediately throws two balls carefully far outside. But it’s the principle of the thing.
–Raul Ibanez is currently bald up top, with a scruffy beard. Announcer: “Some folks said, you look like a professor!” Other announcer laughs. I didn’t realize bald + beard = professor. Is that a thing?
–On Jose Valverde: “He’s something to watch.” Stuff about his outings being “an adventure.”
“There’s not enough mustard in the world to put on that hot dog.”
“Most closers are put on this earth to drive fans crazy.”
Bottom of the third
–On the bench in the dugout, CLIFF MOST SACRED OF LEEs, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and even Joe Blanton are all sitting in a row. Announcer says, “I like the way they all hang together.”
–They aren’t even in our league and I have to admit that’s a hell of a thing to see. All those cats on the same bench. Like… that’s some All Star Game stuff going on over there. If you’re a batter and you look into a dugout and you see that, you probably pee your pants a little bit. Just a little.
–Directly transcribed notes: MY PLACIDO, walks, oh he looks amazing ugggggh healthy sleek handsome
–No shame, ladies and gentlecats, no shame. This is baseball.
Top of the fourth
–Cliff Lee on-field interview EVERY INNING IS CLIFF LEE INNING
–Cliff Lee talks about getting to know the pitchers on this staff, this amazing ridiculous hyped-to-death-and-back-to-life-again staff, and he namedrops Placido Polanco. All the stupendous pitchers, and he has to mention how he’s been getting to know Placido. The only position player he names. PLACIDO.
Bottom of the fourth
–Adam Wilk is pitching. He majored in criminal justice.
–Gary Matthews says that Andy Oliver was penciled in as the Tigers’ fifth starter. Um… this is news to me? Where did that even come from?
–Another direct notes transcription: Rhino —> Rhymes threw out S Victorino @ second trying to run stretching a single oooo! snap snap
Game continued AFTER THE LINK!