Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy "Opening Day!!"

Today marks the very first baseball game of the season, between the Boston Red Sox, defending World Series champions, and the Oakland Athletics, who could end being one of the worst teams in the Majors, in the Tokyo Dome. Sounds like a good game to me!

I was thinking of channeling my inner Bill Simmons and doing a running diary throughout the game, but decided against it, mostly because it's 5 in the morning, and I don't feel like typing constantly. I'm not going to miss the game, though. It's probably been almost 20 years since I've missed the very first pitch of the season, including the two times the season started overseas (Yankees/[Devil] Rays in 2004, Cubs/Mets in I think 2001?).

So get, grab a hot dog, root, root, root for the A's, and play ball!

5:20 AM Central - Eh, screw it, I'll do a running diary for a little while. Dice-K was off to a good start, his very first pitch was an out. The next three: ball, ball, the first home run of the season by Mark Ellis. Then, 6 of the next 7 pitches have been balls. (Right after Steve Phillips said Matsuzaka can throw 7 pitches for strikes at any time. And he wonders why he hasn't managed in 4 or 5 years.) All this after the Sox got a leadoff hit, then the next three went down in order. Awesome.

5:25 - Former Kansas City Royal Emil Brown is up to bat, after Jack Cust is hit by pitch, and surprise, surprise, first pitch ball. Now a wild pitch, advancing runners to second and third. Is it too early for ESPN to run stories about what's wrong with the Red Sox? Probably not.

Now is a good time, I guess to mention that another former Royal, Mike Sweeney, is now on the A's. Good for him, I hope he has a great season. I appreciate the time he spent in Kansas City, and wish things could've worked out better the last few years, but still, I will cheer him on all season.

Meanwhile, Dice-K walks Brown to load the bases.

5:35 - Brandon Moss gets the start because JD Drew has a "stiff back." Which I'm pretty sure is code for "he hit a grand slam in the post-season so he feels like he's made good on his contract and only has to show up when he wants." If you can't tell, I'm not a fan of his. As I'm typing, he grounds into a fielder's choice at second, and Jason Veritek grounded into a double play. I'm sure Dice-K is happy that he got about 4 minutes to rest after he got out of the bases loaded jam only giving up one run.

5:40 - I'm kicking myself, I thought I had some hot dogs, but apparently I don't. What the hell am I supposed to eat while watching the game?? I guess I'll have to settle for Waffle Crisp.

5:43 - Cedar Rapids, IA's own Ryan Sweeney is up to bat! I wasn't aware he went to the A's, last I knew he was on the White Sox. He just skied a ball about 350 feet, both in distance from the plate, and in height. Unfortunately for him, the outfield wall is about 380 feet away.

5:47 - Trivia: first stolen base of the 2008 goes to Kurt Suzuki. Another piece of trivia: I love what these ball boys and girls are wearing. It looks like they were extras in Tron or The Running Man. I'll see if I can find a picture. . .

5:52 - I love shots of the crowd, especially when it shows Red Sox fans shaking their head after their $100+ million pitcher walks another batter. Is it too early to be sick of "Red Sox Nation?" No? Good. Feel good Red Sox fans, you have Julian Tavares warming up in the bullpen.

5:53 - Bill Simmons may have actually set himself on fire this time.

6:03 - Matsuzaka got out of the inning on a questionable strike call with bases loaded. Damn.

One thing I don't like about this early Opening Day, both of these teams still have exhibition games to play when they come back to the States. Why make the game today and tomorrow part of the regular season? Make them exhibitions, and have the normal start date here.

6:09 - David Ortiz smokes a ball, right to the the 2nd baseman playing in shallow right field, who tosses to 1st for the final out. Gotta love the shift.

6:14 - Gary Thorne just explained that Bobby Crosby has never hit a home run against Boston. Next pitch - a little dribbler to the pitcher.

6:17 - I'm feeling a home run here for Kurt Suzuki.

6:18 - or a line-out to short to end the inning.

6:20 - Commercials in this break include some retirement planning company and an erectile-dysfunction pill. I guess that probably says something about who they think is watching. They got me pegged.

6:22 - I'm pretty sure commissioner Bud Selig just asked Steve Phillips on a date

6:25 - shower time for me. I figure if I go now, and Dice-K is still pitching in the top of the inning, I'll miss about 5 batters.

6:35 - Out of the shower, and I overestimated the batters I missed. I only missed 4. I'm awesome.

I also heard Charczuk's alarm go off for the first time, meaning he'll be up in half an hour. Yes, I heard it while I was in the shower.

6:39 - Bud just told Steve he'd see him at 2 in the morning. Awkward.

6:47 - A couple of uneventful evenings. Plus, I'm a little distracted, playing Scrabulous.

6:51 - The name "Kurt Suzuki" reminds me of the baseball game we used to play on the XBox like 7 years ago, where the names for new players were generated by putting a first and last name together, based on names already in the game. Most of the time it worked out, but there was the occasional Dmitri Hasegawa or Tadahito Martinez.

6:57 - I'm pretty sure David Ortiz's face has gotten bigger. It looks like a planet, orbiting the large mass of his body. How was his name not included in the Mitchell Report? Oh, that's right. George Mitchell is in the front office of the Boston Red Sox.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox have taken the lead. Shit.

- I'm pretty sure I hate the Progressive commercials with the "shopping center" place. They just showed two in a row.

7:13 - Oakland re-takes the lead on a MAMMOTH shot by Jack Hannahan. I love home runs. I can't think of one better event in sports.

7:27 - Mark Ellis just missed his 2nd home run. Darn.

Well, I'm going to start getting ready for work, so I'll have to stop the live updates. Unfortunate. Thanks for reading this far, it's been really fun! Maybe I'll do it again for something. Like if I ever have a date, I could bring a laptop and give continuous updates. Seems like a good idea to me. Although, by the time that happens, I'm sure laptops will be very very obsolete.


H said...

You're insane. Thanks for this though! It made me feel like I was right there in Tokyo.

Flenker said...

h - you're welcome. You better enjoy it!

charczuk said...

7:30 - I realize you've been up since 5:00 and that the game is 4-3 A's.

7:45 - Ellsbury makes a fantastic catch in deep center. We joke that Crisp is disappointed that Ellsbury gets up without injury.

8:10 - We check our watches as Okajima takes forever to end the inning. Ground out to the pitcher and we go to work.

Marin said...

Nice. How's your body handling having had hot dogs for breakfast?

And can you EVER show a little confidence in yourself about the whole dating thing? Seriously.

Marin said...


How's your body handling a lack of hot dog eating at 5:00 am this morning?

Sorry, I'm a doof.

Captain Crab said...

The only play in baseball better than a homerun is a nice 73 mph knuckleball that the batter swears is going into the right field beachers just as it hits the catcher's mitt.

Whiskeymarie said...

Things started getting fuzzy for me, what with all of the baseball talk, but then I saw "erectile dysfunction" and you pulled me right back.

Flenker said...

charczuk - those bastards made us run late!

marin - my body can run on hot dogs and hot dogs alone. You should know that!

cap'n - Ooh, that's a good one. A knuckleballer with his pitch working is a sight to behold

whiskey - I knew it'd gain your interest!