nobody knuckle(ball)s under


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Same format as the last game. I’m already so backlogged on photos it isn’t even funny, and I’m gonna have a whole other game’s worth to get through by the end of Wednesday (weather permitting). This is driving me NUTS, because my apartment may be a testament to the glorious organizational system known as “piles of stuff”, but I’m obsessive about my photos.

You’re getting little previews with these header photos, so there’s that.

1. Sean Casey, nicest dude ever? Possibly. He had signed a good amount before Monday’s game, and signed even more today. This after having gone 0-fer the day before, so if he chose to be a grump, it would have been understood. But no, not the Mayor. I dunno. He never seems grudging or annoyed by “having” to interact with the fans. When you’re always being pestered by fans, that’s probably pretty freakin’ hard to pull off, and Sean Casey does it.

2. Today, just like yesterday, only backwards and a day later. This was, as my dad pointed out, very much like the mirror version of the previous game, where Verlander sat in for Matsuzaka (starter, great and dominant outing, win), Wake sat in for Nate (starter, not-so-hot outing, not as bad as the line showed though), and Brendan Donnelly sat in for Bobby Seay (FAIL).

3. Verlanderrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. What an outing. That fastball was scorching today, and it set up his curve beautifully. Fenway did that whole ‘gasp, mutter mutter mutter’ thing when he hit 100, and the fact that he was able to keep his velocity up over the entire course of his long outing was EXTREMELY heartening. It WAS a warm night, which may have had something to do with it; his arm probably wouldn’t stiffen up as badly as it would on a cold or damp night. Regardless, it was fun to watch and it was a great break for the bullpen, which sorely needed it.

4. I think Carlos Guillen might have allergies. He came up to the dugout during BP and had a violent sneezing fit, which was equal parts hilarious and icky. The (assistant, I think) trainer started muttering about Claritin and waved Carlos into the clubhouse. Maybe you had to be there; just trust me, his abject sneezing was pretty funny at the time.

5. Mike Lowell is unstoppable and it’s kind of scary even to the Red Sox fan bits of my brain. Some of the picks he was making… you just had to shake your head and whistle a little and accept that there was nothing anybody could do about that. He got Brandon Inge on a spectacular grab in the 7th, and I hope that Brandon was paying very close attention and added it to his own catalog of possible plays. Mike Lowell: a lesson for us all.

6. We have some problems with the knuckleball. There was that one bad inning for Wakefield, where he gave up 4 runs in the third on two home runs by Brandon (a one-out solo shot) and Magglio (a two-out three-run effort). It’s like for that one inning, the knuckleball wasn’t jumping, but it seemed to be fine for the rest of the game, and Wake was mixing it up in his own peculiar way, throwing in 85 mph fastballs and, to our great amusement, a 61 mph ‘curve’ (when we saw it we burst out laughing before we even saw the speed. It was ridiculous-looking. It also wasn’t hit, so there you are). Sheffield was way late on a bunch of knuckleballs (and c’mon, shouldn’t he be used to Wake by now?) and poor Polanco just looked baffled. It’s funny how some of the guys with the best bat speeds seem to have the most issues with the knuckler.

If there were a lot of knuckleballers in the league, this would be a major problem. I think we’re good, though. And we looked like ACE knuckleball hitters in that third inning.

7. This is the second great big Brandon Inge home run I’ve seen live this season, and only my third Tigers game. Obviously Brandon Inge hits better when I’m in the crowd. All he needs is a little love, you guys!

8. Detroit Tigers, always learnin’. Interesting little scene during BP today. Sheffield and Pudge were both waiting to hit. Sheffield started asking Pudge about his batting stance. So Pudge started demonstrating his stance, gesturing to emphasize parts of it, with Sheffield standing there imitating it back at him and asking more questions. It was just neat to see, and I guess a point in Sheff’s favor, that he’s willing to ask questions of his teammates and not be a snobbish coprolite of a loner like he has been on some of his former teams.

9. Don’t be fooled by imitators. At Comerica, you can get Dippin’ Dots, ice cream of the FUTURE (for those of you who have not experienced the glory, Dippin’ Dots are little superfrozen pellets of ice cream. They are also delicious). The presence of Dippin’ Dots at a baseball game delights me, as I had previously associated them mostly with Lions games (therefore: sadness). So you may understand my excitement when a vendor came around in Fenway today selling “Dippin’ Dots”.

Not so! These alleged Dippin’ Dots are in fact a knockoff version called IttiBitz. They’re fairly tasty, but the texture is all wrong. Forewarned is forearmed. Tread carefully, kids.

10. Fernando Rodney did not manage to blow the game. This deserves its own little blurb, just for the sheer fact of it. Each time this happens, it is like a tiny fluffy kitten that must be cuddled and enjoyed, because you never know when you go to pick it up for more cuddling, and instead you get attacked by a ball of hate and sharp claws.

8 responses to “nobody knuckle(ball)s under

  1. Usually when I watch Verlander’s starts in a bar, he ends up bringing the mediocre hardcore and just generally failing to demonstrate to those around me why I love him so. Not so tonight. Tonight it was all, “Yup, check out my awesome starter, and by the way did you see my shirt?” (I always root for the Tigers when publicly viewing a Red Sox/Tigers game. I figure, the Red Sox have plenty of fans in Maine, so the Tigers should get a little love too.)

  2. On the subject of Sean Casey…Today’s Boston Herald reports that rather than heading back to the team’s hotel after Monday night’s game, the Mayor went to Lawrence so that he could arrive early at a homeless shelter and serve breakfast. He may be a lumbering hulk who can no longer get around on the heater, but he seems to be a genuinely good guy.

  3. Ha ha, Cat, were there ANY other Tigers fans watching the game in a bar in Maine? Much respect.
    I may have to search out that article online and make a separate post about it. Cause. Holy freakin’ cats Sean Casey.

  4. It may be old fashioned, but you could even pick up a copy of the Herald. Only 50 cents.
    I agree with you about Itti Bits.

  5. Har har har. The online article would be to link to, so I could point other people to it. INTERNET=FUTURE.

  6. Liam Grantham

    Go Tigers. By the way why didn’t you mention anything bout Sheff. He had a fair game.

  7. ‘Course not! I know I’m not the only Tigers fan in Maine, I hear rumors of others and I actually met some at a Sea Dogs/Seawolves game last year, but I’m the only one I’ve ever seen show up at a bar in full Tigers gear ready for some friendly trashtalking. I was nervous about it at first, but Red Sox fans only really get nasty when there are Yankee fans around. Any other team and it’s pretty much the level of “We’re gonna send your guys home crying like babies” discourse you’d expect from any two random opposing fans.
    BTW, on the Sheffield issue, and I may have suggested this before, but: Refer to him as the Nameless DH. Seriously. It helps. I cannot cheer for Gary Sheffield, but I can and do cheer on the Nameless DH. “C’mon, Nameless DH, let’s do something here!”

  8. Beth a/k/a Cousin Beth

    The very second I read this, a local sports broadcast reported on an ESPN poll on the “friendliest MLB player,” and Sean Casey won with a whopping 46%! The next one down was at something like 7%. Wow!
    Btw, your interview on “Bless You Boys” was hilarious! Your answer on Curt Schilling was particularly spot-on.

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