Monday, October 15, 2007
Evening everyone! Thermocaster here, ready for some hot live blogging action on Game 4 of the National League Championship Series.
First, a big thanks to AA for giving me the opportunity to chime in on the baseball playoffs. There's a lot on the line in tonight's game. Can the Rockies win 21 out of 22 and start the playoffs with 7 straight wins? Do the Diamondbacks have a chance in hell of coming back? Can Chip Caray butcher the game of baseball even more than he's already done? Will we really see Colorado succeed with a starting pitcher that only owns 3 career major league wins? Will Tony Gwynn's helium tank float away in the thin atmosphere? Questions, my friends. Lots of 'em.
Feel free to get things started with some comments. And be sure to check out Sarge's excellent ALCS Game 3 blog, happening right below this one. I'll be back when TBS ends its Family Guy hour.
Game 3 of this series was played in a sort of quasi-frozen muck, which was enjoyable to watch in a sadistic way. No such luck for this game, however. Checking in with The Weather Channel's Stephanie Abrams, we find that the gametime temperature is a brisk 51 degrees, with practically no wind. Looks like it'll get down to about 39 tonight, with the winds picking up out of the SSE.
Alright, the broadcast just started. If they're trying to set a dramatic tone with this "movie trailer" intro, they failed miserably. All I could think of while watching it was that Geico commercial. "In a world where both our cars were under water..."
FRANK! LOOK AT THE CAMERA! LOOK AT EJ! LOOK AT SOMETHING EXCEPT THE DARN DESK!
Ron Darling with a nice story about Jeff Cirillo getting his first post-season start since his career started, which I believe was during the Carter administration.
Craig Sager interviews Tulowitzki in the pregame. Troy looks like he just ate some unflavored gelatin. Nothing important or notable occurred in that interview.
Tonight's starting pitchers --- Micah Owings (8-8, 4.30 ERA, 4 HRs?) versus prepubescent Franklin Morales (3-2, 3.43 ERA, collection of minor league groupies).
Some reader comments:
Greggm59: Chip Caray always sounds like he should be doing a Top 40 countdown someplace and it's amazing that for as long as he's been broadcasting baseball, he still seemingly knows nothing about it. Oh, and Brenly sucks, too.
Cory: Im putting the over - Under on in game ads for Frank TV at 5
Only 5, Cory? I'll take the over, and bet the house. We may have 5 before the first pitch.
Actually, the better question might be --- do we see more "This is ourrrr countryyyyy" ads, or Frank TV ads? So far the tally is 2-1 in favor of John Cougar...dammit.
Cory chimes back in: I meant to put 55 ...
That's using your head, sir. I'm with you there.
Cal Ripken waffles, then goes with the Rockies to sweep. Frank Thomas agrees. Ron Darling has the D'Backs. Looks like it's time to play ball!
Alright, I know everyone's annoyed with the Frank TV ads...and the Chevy ads...but is no one else seriously freaked out by these strange semi-animated Schwab commercials?
Top of the 1st
Alright, enough Bon Jovi. No mas. Please. Do not want.
We start off with the gratuitous shot of the broadcasters in the booth. Chip Caray looks ready to sell you a pre-owned Ford. Tony Gwynn looks cold. Bob Brenly still looks like the villain in Lethal Weapon 3.
Chip - "The Rockies want to sweep them tonight." Gee, ya think?
Brenly chimes in about Morales - "Clint Hurdle told us he occasionally gets fidgety on the mound." Fidgety? Like, he sways for no reason and picks his nose? I'm suddenly unsure about the Rockies' chances.
Chip Caray just used the word "crystalline" in a sports broadcast. I'm praying for a sweep right now.
Tony Gwynn has problems pronouncing hispanic last names.
Chris Young with the leadoff single to left off a breaking ball by Morales.
I have to say, I won't miss this 9 foot leadoff graphic one bit. Call me crazy, but I imagine most baseball fans are perfectly capable of figuring out how far off the bag the baserunner is.
I think Caray's big problem is that he gets too cutesy with his language. A normal human being would say "The Diamondbacks have hit into six double plays", not "Six double plays...the Diamondbacks have rapped into."
Stephen Drew flies out to deep left, Young stays at first. One out. Hey, someone turn Tony Gwynn's microphone up, please.
Chris Young gets caught in perhaps the stupidest rundown situation you can get into. Two outs, and suddenly young Morales has Brenly's respect. You're not fidgety at all, young man!
Byrnes grounds out 1-3, and we head to the bottom of the 1st. I really enjoy it when the crowd gets excited at Coors...it effectively drowns out Caray. And I'm not the only one:
Cory: I Can not take This TBS broadcast team anymore - Im willing to take the 2 second delay on the espn radio broadcast too listen to some good commentators in Dan Shulman and Dave Campbell
AA: Their voices are soooo grating. I was obviously drunk when I did that first review.
To be fair, AA...I think you HAVE to be drunk to get through a full game with these guys.
Bottom of the 1st - Arizona 0, Colorado 0
Look out, folks! Chip, you're so helpful, warning the crowd THAT CAN'T HEAR YOU about the foul ball screaming towards them.
Tavares flies out to right to start things out for the Rockies. Matsui now to the plate.
Matsui flies out to center --- two gone. What was the deal with that bizarre sound right before the pitch? Were they shuffling bats in the broadcast booth?
Caray - "Where the Rockies have broken out the brooms...they're...trying...to...sweep away the Diamondbacks." I think Greggm59 nailed it --- the man thinks he's giving the Kasey Kasem countdown.
Matt Holliday safely to first with a single...one on, two out. Helton and his glorious Van Dyke to the plate.
Okay, forget turning up Gwynn's microphone. He's pulling a Dusty Baker in the booth tonight. None of his statements have a logical end point. Maybe a couple of Red Bulls would wake up the big fella.
Helton comes through with a rope to right field. Runners at first and second for the Rockies.
Fly out to center field, and we finish a scoreless 1st. Rockies leave two on, but Owings threw 24 pitches in that inning.
Cory's really unhappy with the Caray Three: Seriously they almost as annoying as Berman and Gwynn doing playoff games the last couple of years on ESPN
Rob reminds us that it could always be worse: As bad as the Carey/Gwynn/Brenly booth is, I'll still take that trio over any group that includes Tony Kornheiser.
Top of the 2nd - Arizona 0, Colorado 0
I understand that the landscaping inside Coors is pretty, but did Caray just call the rockpile "picturesque"?
Quick first out on an infield hit.
Craig Sager with another meaningless report. Seriously, is there a less talented sideline reporter on the planet? Dei Lynam? That's about all I can think of.
Why does Bob Melvin always look like he's ready to sell you some whole term life insurance?
Caray describes Reynolds' home run last night as "majestic". How exactly is a home run "majestic"? Is that better or worse than "picturesque" or "crystalline"? No matter --- Reynolds is sat down on strikes.
Snyder with a hot shot that barely stays fair down the left field line. He's on with a standup double, and the Diamondbacks keep themselves alive in the inning.
Brenly corrects himself after saying that the air is thin at "altitude...I mean, elevation." Huh?
Phil: Aren't altitude and elevation the same thing?
Uh oh, Chip is confused --- he wasn't sure if Upton got hit by the pitch or if it was wild. At first, I thought it hit him in the helmet, because there was an audible CRACK...but it didn't. Apparently that crack came from Upton's shoulder blade. Ouch. Anyway, runners on first and second, and Cirillo to the plate.
Matsui collects a slow roller off a broken bat, and the Rockies escape the inning without incident.
Bottom of the 2nd - Arizona 0, Colorado 0
Alright, I'm disappointed...I was hoping we'd get through a whole game without a Dane Cook ad.
Cory: Craig Sager the least talented sideline reporter PFFT, Ahmad Rashad
during the NBA on NBC Days was alot worse, Craig Sager > Micheal Jordan's little bitch
Yes, but is Ahmad still active? Is he jealous of Cuba Gooding, Jr. for those Fruit of the Loom ads?
Rockies quickly ground out. Everybody's all-american, Troy Tulowitzki, is now at the plate. He looks far more relaxed than he was during that awkward Craig Sager interview.
Tulowitzki goes down on strikes, and the Venezuelan Sensation, Yorvit Torrealba, steps into the box.
So according to Chip, the "one pitch" that Livan Hernandez didn't get was the difference between victory and defeat. Are we no longer counting the last 3 1/3 innings of games or something?
Torrealba flies out to right, and so far we've got a pitcher's duel...an adolescent pitcher's duel.
Top of the 3rd - Arizona 0, Colorado 0
Anoymous: Getting Chip, Brenly and Gwynn after the disasters that were the other 3 broadcast and production teams was like getting a can of Spam after three weeks without any food or water--you welcome its presence, but gloss over how badly it truly is.
Okay, quick...someone photoshop Chip Caray's face over this guy.
Owens starts off the top of the 3rd with a nice piece of hitting, nailing it in between third and short. Not even Tulowitzki can make that play! Runner on, nobody out.
Ay papi! Troy Tulowitzki can't be stopped with conventional weapons! Brilliant stab to rob the D'Backs of a base hit, and he nearly doubles off Owens at first to boot. Drew up to the plate next.
Drew flies out, and Byrnes back up, ready to do something. We think.
Morales gets fidgety again....and Bob Brenly reiterates that you can't put your fingers in your mouth on the dirt. Thanks, Bob. 3-0 count now to Byrnes.
Ball four to Byrnes, and Morales looks a bit flustered. Runners on first and second now for the D'Backs. Bob Melvin looks completely uninterested in everything right now...oh, wait! He smiled! Come on, that's worth a Craig Sager report, isn't it?
Conor Jackson singles to center, and Owens scores. 1-0 Arizona. I expected Chip Caray to immediately chime in with "We've got ourselves a series!", but sadly, he didn't.
Tavarez drifts under a lazy fly ball to center, and the Rockies get out of the inning.
Bottom of the 3rd - Arizona 1, Colorado 0
Is Viagara going after a different target audience all of the sudden? I can't say that an ad featuring a bunch of guys playing guitars really gets me in the mood.
The Rockies appear to be in love with the first-pitch swing. Morales grounds out to short, and there's one away.
I'll give Chip credit for one thing --- he actually said "out with a quadriceps injury", as opposed to the Al Michaels special --- "out with a quad".
Pretty hit by Tavarez right down the first base line, and he's on first with one out.
I think the Caray Three are bored --- Chip's asking about "average leads" in base stealing, yet he has two slow SOB's in the booth with him. Matsui strikes out, and there are two away.
Seriously, how hard is it to reconcile the Tony Gwynn that stole 56 bases in 1987 with the mass of humanity sitting in the booth right now?
Holliday gets plunked, putting runners at first and second once again. Apparently it's Left Shoulder Blade night at Coors Field.
Todd Helton's beard has experienced more than a lesser man's entire body. Unfortunately, his beard couldn't keep him from popping up to third, and the Diamondbacks enter the fourth with a small lead.
Top of the 4th - Arizona 1, Colorado 0
Zac: I know it's not a TBS exclusive, but is it just me, or is the 9 foot first base lead graphic complete shiat?
Anonymous: What's this Frank TV that I keep hearing about?
It's going to change late night TV forever, that's what! I keep waiting for Caliendo to bust out a special Joe Buck impersonation before this series ends.
Anonymous: That "Get R Done" sign behind the plate needs to be burned.
I hear ya, man...so far the Rockies fans haven't come strong with the signs. That "Ability and Magic" sign coming out of the inning break may have been the lamest thing I've seen yet.
Tony Gwynn: "Owings is writing...uh...some notes, maybe about how he's handled this Rockies lineup." This is the brilliant, cutting analysis that we desperately need.
What's the point of these in-game manager interviews, exactly? They rarely get them on in time to matter, and it's always weird to see Clint Hurdle chatting away and smiling happily while his pitcher is giving up a stand-up double. Which just happened.
Upton at second, one out, and Cirillo to the plate. He pops up to shallow center...easy out, and two away. Did Chip really just say "Can anybody catch up to that?". Seriously, Chip?
Mike: come on guys it could be pam ward and ray bentley
Well, it could be Pam Ward and Dusty Baker, too, with Bill Curry as a sideline reporter. Top that!
After all that slobbering over Owings' hitting ability, I was expecting a bases-empty grand slam. Instead, Morales fans him, stranding Upton, and it's still 1-0.
Bottom of the 4th - Arizona 1, Colorado 0
Back to live action....Garrett Atkins faces off against Owings to start the inning, and lines out to second. At least he waited for the second pitch this time.
Caray - "Thank you Bob, enjoy the lead tonight!" If I was Bob Melvin (or at least, Bob Melvin with emotion), I'd have kindly told Caray to go screw himself as the interview ended.
Okay, Craig Sager needs to be stopped. He takes a mildly interesting anecdote about the '77 Royals and somehow stretches it a full minute --- plus he manages a creepy eye-shift right before the camera goes off him. Owings walks the next batter, and Tulowitzki is back up to the plate.
Owings can't handle Tulowitzki at the plate - he walks him, and now Torrealba comes up with two speedsters on base and one out. TBS gives us a graphic of Torrealba's outfield hitting tendencies, and steals the sound effect from "Missile Command" in the process.
Wow...nice stab at the ball by Owings, as he throws out Torrealba at first. Runners advance...2nd and 3rd with two outs. And Owings can't breathe!
Morales is done for the night, as Seth Smith comes on to pinch hit with two runners in scoring position. Only four innings out of Morales for Colorado. Brenly makes a decent point that the nature of postseason play is making Hurdle decide to go for glory here.
Rut-roh! Seth Smith fists a double to left field, and two runs come in to score. Rockies lead 2-1! Hurdle's move looking pretty darn brilliant right now.
Bob Brenly ruins a great moment for all Rockies fans by congratulating his son on being born.
Chip, talking about Matt Herges being the pitcher in the next inning --- "He was the man loosening." Loosening what, exactly?
Tavarez with a routine grounder to first, and...doh!!!!!! Booted by Jackson. Call it E3, and Smith advances to third. Runners at the corners with two outs, and Matsui coming up.
Anonymous: Can we get stefanie abrams a sideline reporting job? Those breasts are going to waste on the weather channel with the science geeks.
I concur. I'll take her over Holly Rowe any day of the week.
Matsui fires one right up the middle of the diamond, driving home another run! 3-1 Rockies, and the Colorado faithful are starting to feel it. Matt Holliday is due up next, with two guys on and two outs.
So long, farewell, auf wiedersen adieu! Matt Holliday cranks one out of the park, into the "picturesque" landscaping on a "crystalline" night. That was Manny distance right there. It's 6-1 Rockies, and it's an early shower for Owings. Incredible. Pitching change!
Wait, I was looking at something else and I may have misheard...did Chip Caray finish off his retrospective of Tom Seaver by saying "and now he owns a vineyard"?
zac: it took Bentley 3 2/3 innings to wish his son happy birthday, and when he did, he called him "kid". early father of the year contender?
Juan Cruz on the mound, and the D'Backs have to get out of this inning immediately.
mike: "He hit that where BAMBI lives."
Haha...that's pretty funny, actually. I was scared at first...thought Brenly said "He hit that where GUMBY lives."
Brenly again: "He really let some shaft out."
Cruz walks a man, and now Atkins, who started the inning with a lineout, is up to the plate.
Apparently the only person who can stop the Rockies offense is Garrett Atkins, who strikes out to end a 6-run inning for Colorado.
Top of the 5th - Colorado 6, Arizona 1
Alright Chip, enough with the idiotic lead-ins. "They are ROCKING in Denver!"
Matt Herges on the mound. Hmm...5-1, 2.96 ERA. Yep, Chip, this is the vulnerable part of the bullpen. Yep...0.78 ERA for the bullpen, only 13 hits. V-U-L-N-E-R-A-B-L-E.
Chris Young swings through a high fastball, and there's one away.
bruce: The best thing if Colorado holds on and wins tonight? NO MORE Chip Caray. Go Rockies!
Alright, worst-case scenario time: If you were told that the next series would either feature Chip Caray or a bunch of Frank Caliendo commercials, which would you choose?
Herges induces a line-out to right, and Byrnes is back to the plate with nobody on and two out.
Matt Herges, Mr. Vulnerability himself, gets Byrnes to strike out swinging. 1-2-3 inning, and the Rockies lead big.
Bottom of the 5th - Colorado 6, Arizona 1
Brad Hawpe leads things off here. The air is out of the building a bit, it seems. Between the six run 4th and the 1-2-3 top of the 5th, the game sort of climaxed early.
Hawpe is retired, and now Tulowitzki faces off against Cruz. Fly-out to Upton, and there are two away.
Torrealba strikes out, and that's the 5th inning. Not much going on in that frame --- the announcers spent the whole time musing about what the Rockies are going to do with all their downtime.
Top of the 6th - Colorado 6, Arizona 1
Hallmark of a sub-par announcing team - when the energy leaves the building, it leaves the broadcast booth. Come on guys, pick it up a bit.
Herges retires the first batter --- that's six in a row, and now Reynolds is up at the plate.
Nice play by Tulowitzki to throw out Reynolds at first...two away, no outs.
Snyder flies out to left, and Herges puts down two innings' worth of Diamondbacks. Arizona looks dead right now.
Bottom of the 6th - Colorado 6, Arizona 1
Kyle: Tardy to the party, but I just gotta say how much are you hating Kaz Matsui if you're a Mets fan? Trade him for not much because he, well, sucks, then watch him destroy in the NLCS. Reminds me of Augie Ojeda beating up on the Cubs in the DS -- that one still stings.
Herges' night is done, and Baker comes in to pitch. As vulnerable as Herges was, I'm shocked --- SHOCKED --- that the Rockies made it out of the middle innings unscathed.
Baker strikes out. Cruz looks solid after a shaky start. One away, nobody on, Taveras up to the plate. Incidentally, the announcing crew has thrown Conor Jackson under the bus and run over him about 24 times in the last two innings.
I can't find the link right now, but there was a blog post by someone, talking about how Game 1 of the NLCS was the lowest-rated ever. My question is --- if we have a Rockies-Indians World Series, could it somehow get the lowest ratings in World Series history?
Tavares strikes out. Matsui up to the plate with two outs.
Bruce: If I had to choose between Chip Caray and 14,000 Frank TV ads, I'd choose to be in a coma.
Signal to Noise: Kyle - I'm this close to not saying Matsui's name any longer because of his tenure in New York. If he wins the World Series with the Rockies, he will become my very own [NAME REDACTED]. Then again, the Mets expected the fucking world of him coming over from Japan, so some of those unrealistic expectations are on us.
Well, for once, he looks human - Matsui strikes out, and we head to the 7th.
Top of the 7th - Colorado 6, Arizona 1
Remember folks...in Denver, it's not "Actober", it's...
Dane Cook just said "A Diamondback can strike at any time." Stop it. Now. Does Dane Cook even know what a Diamondback is? And what the hell is "Desert baseball"?
LaTroy Hawkins in the house! Upton faces off against him here in the top of the 7th, and promptly gets tagged out running to first.
Hawkins mis-plays a ball in front of the plate, and they'll rule it an error on the pitcher. Young to the plate with a man on and two outs.
Young can't do anything with it, and we head to the bottom of the 7th. The Diamondbacks have less of a pulse than their manager's face right now.
Bottom of the 7th - Colorado 6, Arizona 1
Chip - "Beware, those American League teams...a purple rain may be in the offing."
Brenly - "And we're not talking about Prince."
Brandon Lyon on the mound, as Matt Holliday steps up to the plate. Not sure what Holliday was thinking there - he swung at an eye-level fastball and whiffed. One away.
Anonymous: Fox will need to put Stephanie Abrams on their broadcasts, naked, to get anybody to watch a Cleveland/Colorado World Series.
I would favor that. I was all set to upload another picture of Steph, but Blogger is being a problem child right now. Bear with me.
John Elway is in the building. It's sad that when I see Elway these days, all I can think of is the Colorado Crush.
Colorado goes down in order in the bottom of the 7th, and the Rockies are 6 outs away from the World Series.
I don't get this Volkswagen/Wilco commercial at all.
Top of the 8th - Colorado 6, Arizona 1
Alright, I promised you another Stephanie Abrams pic...
Drew starts things off with Arizona's first hit since the 4th inning. Fuentes is on the mound for the Rockies, facing Byrnes with nobody out and one on.
Byrnes pops up harmlessly to Tulo, and there's one away.
kevin beane: Oh, I thought they WERE talking about Prince. Thanks Bob.
Bob, you could make some serious coin by putting on 50 pounds, getting a dimple put in your chin, and attending car dealership openings and autograph appearances that Bill Cowher committed to, but can't make.
That's a great idea, actually. He could attend the autograph appearances with fake Ben Roethlisberger.
Another base hit, this time by broadcast crew whipping boy Conor Jackson, and suddenly the D'Backs have runners at the corners with one out.
Fuentes must've just gotten off the phone with Eric Gagne before he came into the game.
Reynolds is late getting around on a high fastball, and now there are two away. Chris Snyder, 0-for-7 lifetime against Fuentes, steps into the box.
So much for lifetime stats! Chris Snyder jacks a 3-run home run down the left field line, and suddenly it's 6-4 Rockies. Chip Caray immediately goes into damage control mode...gimme a break, Chip. You guys had this series sitting in the cooler. All that was missing were the early pictures of a plastic-coated locker room.
Snyder really got lucky with that ball...fair by inches.
Wake up America! Justin Upton bangs a triple off the left center field wall...tying run at the plate for the Rockies. Fuentes is toast.
Bob Melvin pinch hits Tony Clark. Corpas on the mound for the Rockies. Man on third, two outs.
kevin beane: "And when the ball disappears...it's gone." Chip Caray. Now that was not a very crystalline observation. Feast or famine with this guy.
Anonymous: I love it where she holds the mics in both of those pics....Well this game just got alot more interesting!
Corpas retires Clark, and the rally dies. Three more outs for the Rockies...can they add some insurance runs? Matt Holliday, where are you?
Bottom of the 8th - Colorado 6, Arizona 4
Alright, brass tacks time for both teams. Brandon Lyon has to put the Rockies down quickly to keep the momentum. Hawpe helps out by weakly grounding out to the pitcher...one away.
Ojeda enters the game on defense, and Cubs fans everywhere cringe.
Tulo at the plate. Lyon uncorked a couple of wicked breaking balls in that sequence, and he sits down everybody's all-american on strikes.
Torrealba weakly lifts one to right field, and that does it for the 8th. 9-1-2 up for Arizona, as we head to the top of the 9th.
Top of the 9th - Colorado 6, Arizona 4
Good lord, TBS...we finally get some excitement back into the game, and you have to kill it with that Bon Jovi crap again.
Alright...Jeff Salazar pinch hits as we start the 9th...and grounds out to first. One away, and the crowd's officially back into it.
Wow...a full 10 seconds with no Chip Caray speaking over the play! That was awesome.
Chris Young steps in. Fastball right down the middle on the first pitch.
Zoinks! Chris Young rifles a shot down the left field line, and the tying run is once again at home plate for Arizona.
Brenly: "That bat went down a hero."
For some unknown reason, Melvin gives the green light to Drew to swing away on a 3-0 pitch. Matsui grabs it in shallow center, and the Rockies are one out away with Eric Byrnes at the plate.
WOW...Byrnes rolls one past the third baseman, but Tulowitzki collects, fires across the diamond, and the Rockies are goin' insane! NLCS champs...unfrickinbelievable.
Hahaha....Willy Tavares pulls Todd Helton right the hell out of Craig Sager's trademark uncomfortable interview.
I kinda miss Mr. Mota doing the post-game interviews, just for their trainwreck potential.
TBS pulls a Madden and gives the player of the game award to the entire Rockies team...for once, I'd have to agree.
So the Rockies continue to do the unthinkable, sweeping both NL postseason series and getting to the World Series. Now they get to wait about a week while this Boston-Cleveland slugfest plays itself out.
That'll wrap it up from here. Thanks to everyone who stayed up for the duration, and especially those who posted comments. Thanks again to AA for letting me lounge around on the blog couch for a few hours. Enjoyed being here, folks...If you get a chance, swing by The Meaningful Collateral and say hi to us over there.
Rockies win, Chip Caray goes home, Stephanie Abrams becomes tonight's muse, and Frank TV fades into a bad collective nightmare. Rocktober, baby!