Thursday, December 31, 2009

9/2/70 Pittsburgh Pirates 7, Montreal Expos 10

Jarry Park, Montreal, Canada

The ne’er-do-well Expos (in the second year of their franchise existence) host the nearly unstoppable Pirates in a free-for-all that was less than calculated and more of a ‘heaping on’ of circumstance. The Pirates were well on their way through what might have been their first championship season in 10 years – in fact, they captured the NL east but fell to the Reds in a sweep for the NL pennant.

PIT 7 9 1
MON 10 8 0

While the Expos scored first (one run in the 1st inning), the Pirates retaliated in a chaotic 6-run 6th inning, remembered best for SS Gene Alley’s inside-the-park Grand Slam against Carl Morton. Morton lasted one more inning, to be relieved by the ever-fantastic (Dr) Mike Marshall. Marshall’s performance was the true turning point for the Expos, who laid down an offensive attack in the 8th inning that gave them a one-run lead over the Pirates.

The Pirates tied the game with a solo HR by pinch hitter Bob Robertson. The Expos’ late-inning lineup shuffle seemed a bit shocking, especially since Bob Bailey (3 for 3!), Boots Day, Bobby Wine, and Jim Gosger were batting very well –and had marvelous sideburns, too- but it was a 9th inning substitution that made this game a memorable one. John Boccabella (he was a CUB!!) entered the game as Catcher, batting 5th to replace pinch-hitter Adolfo Phillips, with 2 men on base (both walked by Joe Gibbon). Boccabella hit all of 26 HR in his 12-year career, but this one shook the rafters…a huge 3 run walk-off HR that stunned the crowd of 15K Canadian baseball fans.

A mini-highlight for me was the introduction in late innings of Freddie Patek and Bruce Dal Canton by the Pirates. Dal Canton allowed Boccabella’s HR blast, but Gibbon got the L because he owned the other 2 guys on base who scored. Patek and Dal Canton (along with Jerry May) were traded to the Royals the following year; of course Patek was the true lopsided end of that deal.

The game was called on CBC-TV by Hal Kelly and Don Drysdale, in his first year out of the majors as a color commentator. In the Expos’ 7th, pinch-hitter Mack Jones was in the box, and lost the call on a checked swinging strike 2. Jones looks at the ump and his mouth goes “What was that?” Hal Kelly mentions this, and Drysdale responds “I don’t care what it was, he was way in front of it.”

I scored this game on 12/20/09.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10/14/65 Los Angeles Dodgers 2, Minnesota Twins 0

World Series Game 7
Metropolitan Stadium, Bloomington, MN

Here was my chance to revisit one of Sandy Koufax’s ‘great games’ as the ferocious Twins of 1965 dropped the most important game of the year against the Dodgers in a complete-game shut-out, courtesy of Mr Koufax.

Jim Kaat was all there, and all good early on in the game, but Lou Johnson’s lead-off HR in the 4th signaled a rapid decline. 2 batters later, the Dodgers had 2 runs on the board and Jim Kaat got the hook.

LAD 2 7 0
MIN 0 3 1

Kaat’s incredible lapse spelled the only offensive eruption of the entire game; the rest of the play was defensive magnificence for both teams. History would defend Kaat’s quick exit; at the time you’d think he might have been able to recover, but as his relief was effective, Koufax was more so. Aside from some baserunning antics in the 5th, he kept the Twins down and they stayed down.

The mighty Harmon Killebrew couldn’t even stir up the soup in the 9th. The Twins started to threaten when he singled, but Sandy effortlessly retired the next two batters and the Twins retired the series to Los Angeles.

The interference call during the Twins’ 3rd was a very unusual situation. Did it benefit the Dodgers? Probably not.

I scored this game 12/11/09.

Monday, December 28, 2009

7/24/83-8/18/83 Kansas City Royals 5, New York Yankees 4

"The Pine Tar Game”
Yankee Stadium, New York, NY

Before this game, he was known for his hemorrhoids…in his own words, this incident marked a career highlight, George Brett became a household name in violent tantrums as well as a figurehead for those of us victimized by ‘cheap shots’ for all time.

Graig “Bubba Chump” Nettles admitted later that when the Yankees were called out for ‘excessive pine tar’ in an earlier game, he and Billy Martin had conspired to use the same call in a future game. Brett was the perfect target, well-known for his love affair with pine tar and for seldom breaking bats – therefore, his bat would undoubtedly be covered after weeks of use/abuse, and if the Royals upended the Yanks during a game in this series, the card would be played. Played, indeed it was…and played out in a manner that history showed would vilify the Yankees in terms of ‘unfair play’ and uphold the mighty efforts of George Brett to deliver in the face of impending defeat.

KC 5 13 0
NYY 4 8 0

The Royals were understandably baffled by a Yankee offense that was mild in comparison to other games from the era. The Royals were up 3-1 by the time the Yankees’ 6th began (the Yankees’ only run at that point being a solo homer by the great Dave Winfield); but as Bud Black (KC P) tired and Willie Wilson (KC CF) left with an injury sustained in the 3rd, Bert Campaneris (NYY 2B) reached base on a lead-off single, followed by a well-placed single by Lou Piniella (NYY RF) after Nettles struck out. Yanks DH Don Baylor cranked out a screaming triple, bringing in both Campaneris and Piniella; then Winfiled returns with a run-scoring single but was out on the throw to 2B. The score is NYY 4, KC 3 and stays there until the top of the 9th.

Things began well for the Yankees; Don Slaught (KC C) grounds out to Roy Smalley (NYY SS), then Pat Sheridan (KC CF, in for Wilson) lines out to 1B Don Mattingly in an incredible defensive play (a ‘gem’ on my scoresheet). 2 down, one more to go and the game is done. U.L. Washington (KC SS) reaches on a single, and George Brett is in the batter’s box. In a baffling twist of strategy only Billy Martin could devise, Dale Murray gets the hook in favor of future Hall-of-Famer Goose Gossage.

Knowing what is about to come next is hard to describe; for me, it was like waiting for a punch in the nose. Goose’s first pitch goes, I flinched in reaction: BIG foul tip. The second pitch…BAM! A mighty jack to right-center, Brett brings in 2 runs to topple the game in favor of the Royals, and there goes Graig and Billy…toward the bat…

The rest is true kvlt baseball history…the umps examine the bat, call George out, and he goes beautifully ballistic…

As for the outcome, we all know the Royals appealed the idiotic ruling and the AL ended up not only allowing the HR (as excessive pine tar not only wouldn’t affect the trajectory of the ball…NO KIDDING…but that even so, the appropriate ruling would NOT have been to call the batter out but to have issued a warning instead) but also in ruling that the game be continued.

Brett, Manager Dick Howser, Pitcher Gaylord Perry, and Coach Rocky Covalito were ejected in the ‘original’ game; the game resumed on 8/18/83 with a new umpire crew (already armed with an affidavit from the original crew confirming that Brett touched all the bases…they were surprisingly ready for Billy Martiin after being cheesed by him over the pine tar) and a laughable substituted Yankee lineup…Ron Guidry in center field?!?!?

The remainder of the game took all of 12 minutes to complete, with the Yankees coming up scoreless in the bottom of the 9th at the merciless onslaught of submariner Dan Quisenberry. Q’s unbelievable pitching style was the second best thing about watching this game.

Scoring Notes: I knew my scoresheet would be a mess when this was over, and I was not wrong.

I scored this game on 12/5/09.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Updated Scans

I've updated and posted scoresheet scans for:

6/12/09 Twins @ Cubs
All 6 World Series games

Now that it's winter, seems like a good time to go back to some classic games...pretty soon I'll be poring through a few I've already got scored and some that I haven't yet.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mr Teahen comes to Chicago!

I swear my Cousin Mike is working with the White Sox on trying to convert me.

First, it was Jake Peavy...probably my favorite pitcher of 'modern times' turning the Cubs down but saying 'yeah' to the pale hose late this summer.

Now, my favorite 'utility player' in the AL (I would use 'the best' but I'm kinda biased) is leaving KC to join the Sox in exchange for Chris Getz and Josh Fields. ARRRGH!

Now, I shouldn't be selfish. I'm already plotting a visit to U.S. Cellular Field next summer to see Peavy play, now I can see Teahen as well. It works out for me, but NO this isn't going to convert me. My great sadness goes to the Royals fans, Teahen was the kind of player that made you proud to be a baseball fan - his ability and attitude are true 100% attributes to his being a member of that team. Losing him feels like losing a face of the Royals that for many (including me) is literally "etched in stone." Cubs fans will feel the same way, in some respects, when Reed Johnson gets picked up by someone else (and you know he WILL).

Better yet for the White Sox - he'll either shine in that lineup or he'll be bounced down and I'll get to see him (again!) when the Charlotte Knights play the Bats.

My final statement: just like Peavy - he would have been AWESOME in a Cubs uniform!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

11/4/09 Philadelphia Phillies 3, New York Yankees 7 (WS Game 6)

World Series Game 6
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY

It wasn't Pedro's game, and it wasn't Andy's wasn't even A-Rod's game. Ryan Howard finally breaks out of his World Series slump with a 2-run jack to left-center field. The 'big guy' was Godzilla, himself, Hideki Matsui.

PHI 3 6 0
NYY 7 8 0

Just one hit short of hitting for the cycle (something that hasn't happened in a World Series yet), Matsui lands 6 RBIs and ties Bobby Richardson's 1960 WS record...for the Yankees.

Being a Japanese baseball fan, it was great to see the ol' boy rip a few, even if it was for the Yankees.

Now the lights have dimmed, Damon and Matsui are both free agents and the Yanks can't keep them both.

Yankees win the Series 4-2.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

11/2/09 New York Yankees 6, Philadelphia Phillies 8 (WS Game 5)

World Series Game 5
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA

The Phillies come back in a true pitching 'thrilla'...Girardi moves A.J. Burnett up to face Cliff Lee, the first time in World Series history that 2 pitchers from Arkansas have started in the same game.

Lee's 7 innings were impressive; giving the ball up in the 8th to Chan Ho Park after A-Rod's 2-run double wasn't. Where the Yanks couldn't find their offense against Lee in Game 1, the video must have helped a little.

NYY 6 10 0
PHI 8 9 0

Utley homers twice, as if to take the frosting off of Burnett's cake. His 3-run homer in the very first inning did just that, Burnett never recovered - by the time Girardi came out with the hook he had given up 6 runs on 4 hits, facing 15 batters in 2 plus innings.

I laughed out loud when Phil Coke came out, having just watched the "I Breathe Baseball" episode where Turturro launches into his anti-Coke campaign and then makes up with him when he meets him face-to-face. Laughed even more when Coke gives up Utley's second homer, then another from Raul Ibanez later the same inning. Goodbye, Phil!

Another Phil (Hughes) comes in to keep Coke's mess from boiling over, the damage is already done. The Yanks pull off small miracles in the 8th and 9th, bringing the Phils' lead down to 3 at the end of the 8th. Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada scores on Jeter's GIDP in the 9th for the second out, but it's over. The Phils offense gloriously returns to force a game 6 and the Yankees have to rely on Andy Pettitte to bring things back against 'Daddy' Pedro Martinez.

Brett Gardner nearly demolishes himself against the wall robbing Jayson Werth in the 5th. Brutal slamming baseball!!

Two notable records tonight:
Utley's lead-off HR in the 7th ties Reggie Jackson for the most HR in a World Series (1977)
Ryan Howard's subsequent K in the 7th ties Willie Wilson for the most strikeouts in a World Series (1980)

Yankees lead the Series 3-2.

Monday, November 2, 2009

11/1/09 New York Yankees 7, Philedelphia Phillies 4 (WS Game 4)

World Series Game 4
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA

The madness continues, even though the Yankees enter this game leading the series, some of the participants seem to lend one to believe that the teams are pretty closely matched, and the speculation arises that maybe this could be the first World Series in years to go beyond 5 games. A great deal of focus on Sabathia's start on a few days Yoda would say, "Concerned more about his last performance than lack of rest, Yankees fans are."

After a raucous first inning (both ends), both Sabathia and Joe Blanton seemed to settle down a bit, and after the bottom of the 4th, you may have caught yourself thinking that this game could result in a series tie...

NYY 7 9 1
PHI 4 8 1

Nah!! The Yanks came back in the 5th to make the score 4-2, and even though Utley and Feliz both homered in the 7th and 8th respectively, the ball went to Brad Lidge in the 9th. He retired Matsui and Jeter back-to-back, and with Johnny Damon at the plate, stood on the mound one strike away from extra innings...I had a fresh beer poured and at the ready. Then, Damon singles and Lidge falls apart. 3 pitches later, Teixeira reaches after getting hit (during his AB, Damon pulls off the now famous 'fake double steal'), then A-Fraud doubles, sending Damon home. Here comes Posada, with a blast single to left that scores Teixeira and Rodriguez, just before he's out at second on the throw.

My heart went out to Lidge - last year's hero was this year's zero, and he was THAT CLOSE to getting the magic eraser out and change all that - but it was not meant to be. You could see it in his face, as his soul completely left the ballpark. The only chance the Phils had in the bottom of the 9th was to tie the game, and with Matt Stairs at-bat, I finished my beer cause I knew that wasn't going to happen. No extras tonight!

Another unintentional 'intentional walk' in the very first inning. I guess only the Yankees can get away with this!

Joba Chamberlain is a CHUMP.

Interesting pitching pattern in the 4th; Joe Blanton retired the side, 3 up 3 down and every at bat went like this:
1st and 2nd pitch strikes
0-2 pitch was a ball in the dirt
1-2 pitch was a strike that finished the AB

I like patterns, very interesting stuff.

Yankees lead the series 3-1.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

10/31/09 New York Yankees 8, Philadelphia Phillies 5 (WS Game 3)

World Series Game 3
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA

It was like 2008 all over again, with the rain coming down rather viciously - this time before the game even started, resulting in a 1hr 20 minute rain delay. Happy Halloween!!

A little bit more ACTION in this game, also the expectant return of 'Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series Hero' against the legendary Andy Pettitte.

NYY 8 8 1
PHI 5 6 0

After hearing a quiet Yankees home crowd for Game 1 and 2, the deafening roar of Phillies Phans was amazing. These folks really shamed Yankees fans with their enthusiasm and bloodthirsty support of the defending champs. Hamels didn't seem to be on board, though, as he allowed 5 runs (all earned), 2BBs and 2Ks in 4.1 innings of work. Hamels got the hook after allowing 2 singles, 2 doubles (one of each RBI hits), and a walk - 3 runs scored total, with A-Fraud approaching the plate. Pettitte, however, showed how he earned his stars in 6 formidable innings.

Hamels seemd to open the gate by (suddenly) offering curveballs opening the 5th inning - Swisher took his first for a lead-off double, Pettitte took his second for an RBI single. Pettitte's hit was the 1st RBI by a Yankee pitcher during a World Series game since Jim Bouton in 1964. Hamels post-game comments really sent a shock to many fans, when he commented he couldn't wait for the season to end, as he felt drained. Not really fantastic 'team talk' from a guy who is credited for annihilating the Rays in 2008 - I'm sure he's worn out, but yeah the season HAS ended, your team needs you to stop whining and start focusing on your game. I thought about the New Era commercial - "come on, Cole...keep pounding the corners, get him to chase one outside..." if Phillies fans were to ask him the same question, would he respond "who are YOU?!?"

Nick Swisher broke his drought with the lead-off double, then delivering a pudgy solo jack in the 6th. A-Fraud's HR was originally ruled a double when it bounced off the camera lens near the right field corner - OOPS, move the camera and it's a homer. The call was overruled and for the next game, the camera would be moved.

It started raining again in the bottom of the 8th, but by then it was too late for the Phils...behind by 4, Carlos Ruiz' surprise solo homer in the 9th barely threatened - despite Jayson Werth's lead-off solo homers in the 2nd and 6th respectively. Where Utley liked Sabathia, Werth enjoyed Pettitte almost as much.

All these solo homers - they count, but they didn't add up this time.

Yankees lead the series 2-1.

Friday, October 30, 2009

10/29/09 Philadelphia Phillies 1, New York Yankees 3 (WS Game 2)

World Series Game 2
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY

The big buzz about this game: Pedro Martinez "the most influential player ever" to enter Yankee Stadium. We appreciate the sentiment, but to beat Rickey at his game, you need to be more enthusiastic in your delivery, man.

That, seeing the 'Don Zimmer gets tossed by Pedro' video more times than I could count, and the "Who's Your Daddy?" banners made this event a but surreal.

PHI 1 6 0
NYY 3 8 0

OK, all surreality aside, Martinez was very, very, very good after his absence from the mound. Burnett was better. The low scoring game kinda testifies to this. Rivera was Rivera, he needs to hit some 'low spots' in his career soon or we're all going to get sick of hearing about him.

Ryan Howard earns the "Golden Sombrero," 4 conecutive strikeouts. Burnett was 22 for 26 in first pitch strikes.

I question the 'intentional walk' for Utley in the 3rd, as it wasn't intentional until the very last pitch. To me, an intentional walk truly needs to start that this case, the decision to pitch out ball 4 was made with the count unintentionally 3-0.

Series tied 1-1.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

10/28/09 Philadelphia Phillies 6, New York Yankees 1 (WS Game 1)

World Series Game 1
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY

I don't like postseason; I don't like the World Series much either. As a Cub fan, I am officially SULKING but the reason is more than that. This is the time of year when 'other folks' take over baseball. Much worse this year because of how much I've enjoyed the analysts at MLB Network - now TBS and FOX (even par with the bozos at ESPN) suddenly assume the 'baseball chair' in the sports media.

Sure, both networks host their share of baseball throughout the regular season, but at best they are good for turning out mediocre game-calling and 'faux baseball' analysis. Not only that, but their respective media channels are almost "proud" of their emphasis on this part of the season, and their disregard of 'the rest of the year,' making statements that appear to capitalize on their assessment that "this is the time of year when most people start paying attention to baseball."

I couldn't disagree more, but what's the point? I guess the good news is, some ex-MLB names get to sit with the 'big boys' as color commentators.

Now it's World Series time...I have to pick between the Yankees and my least favorite NL franchise, next to the Dodgers. I pick the Phillies, my NL colors run wild. I was really hoping for a Twins/Rockies showdown, but it wasn't meant to be. Not that I suddenly like the Phils...the Yankees STINK.

Let's move on to Game 1 of 'the BIG dance' then. Cliff Lee was enormous; not having paid much attention to him this year I was duly impressed.

PHI 6 9 1
NYY 1 6 0

To see him polish off the Yankees on their own turf was great; his defensive skills were highly touted even though they were accidental cicrumstances at best. The Yanks had NOTHING, and Utley's back to back homers off of CC "LHP Dirigible" Sabathia were nearly sitcom material.

Phils lead the series 1-0

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Scoresheet UPDATE 10/6/09

All of the BIL Tour games now have scoresheet scans; also added scans of scorecards, programs, etc. for each game.

Also, added posts and scoresheets for these games:
5/1/09 FLA @ CHC
5/31/09 CWS @ KC
8/14/09 PIT @ CHC
8/30/09 NYM @ CHC
9/1/09 HOU @ CHC
9/13/09 CIN @ CHC
9/20/09 CHC @ STL (added scoresheets only)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

10/4/09 Arizona Diamondbacks 5, Chicago Cubs 2

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Game 3 of 3

The final 2009 Season Cubs game. I bid farewell to Pat and Ron until next season…and also to the great baseball weekends I’ve enjoyed this year.

And also to the Cubs.

ARI 5 8 0
CHC 2 6 0

Great performances by Sam Fuld and Reed Johnson; Ryan Dempster had (another) off day. The Diamondbacks pwned the Cubbies early on. Justin Upton (not Mark Reynolds) took home the 4K prize, 4 consecutive strikeouts (3 swinging, one called).

And that's that. Here's to better times, and to the postseason - and to NEXT YEAR!!

10/3/09 Colorado Rockies 0, Los Angeles Dodgers 5

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Game 2 of 3

Third and final game of my ‘last regular season Saturday’ 3-game baseball scoring series.

After a 5-game losing streak and, subsequently, a failure to clinch the NL West, I felt like the occasion was appropriate to watch the Dodgers face the team I still think has a great shot at a World Series this year representing the NL.

The pitchers’ duel was ON with Clayton Kershaw and Jorge De La Rosa facing off, they each made their first 3 innings of work look like Child’s Play and as it was rather late in the evening, I could see a scoreless game going into extra innings, literally, until one pitcher dropped.

And it happened.

COL 0 3 1
LAD 5 9 0

When De La Rosa walked off of the mound after facing one batter in the top of the 3rd with ‘tightness in the right groin’ I knew it was over for the Rox. Not that he’s that great, but some of their strength as a club comes from MOMENTUM and this event really broke it for them. On their side, Kershaw was never the same pitcher after the length delay to disseminate De La Rosa’s injury, suddenly allowing a small dose of hits and walks (at least one was intentional) where he had only allowed bagels previously.

Really, De La Rosa’s replacement Jose Contreras did quite well – his shaky start was nearly disastrous in his second inning of work, but he got solid in time to leave the game (still scoreless) after the 6th inning. When Franklin Morales took over in the top of the 7th, the Dodgers had 4 hits for the Rockies’ 3 hits.

For the record, it wasn’t De La Rosa’s exit that cost the Rox the game – it was Morales who gave it up. His sloppy work spelled L right out of the gate.

When the Dodgers had the game at 5-0, exited the 9th with another brilliant save by Jonathan Broxton, and had their 6-days-on-ice champagne uncorked and spraying vibrantly only one Rockies image was seen: Morales sitting on the bench, alone, looking like a guy who had just given up a World Series game.

Cheer up, it’s just the NL West. I still think the Rockies are the most dangerous team in the NL, even without De La Rosa – but they should keep Morales on the bench, let him sit this postseason round out, lest he give up something worse than a division title next time around.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

10/3/09 Kansas City Royals 4, Minnesota Twins 5

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN
Game 2 of 3

Second game of my ‘last regular season Saturday’ 3-game baseball scoring series.

Quite a bit of talk about the matchup of Zack Greinke and Nick Blackburn before the game; with the AL Central race getting really damn close right at the end and my 2 favorite AL teams facing off, I couldn’t resist – especially since I really felt like Zack would throw shooting stars and overcome the Twins.

Fact of the matter were: Zack was not delivering his usual, and Blackburn proved that he is working out just like a starting pitcher in a Postseason-worthy AL team should be in October. No muss, no fuss; the Royals threatened as their offense woke up, but the Twins’ response in the bottom of the 8th sealed their threat. The Royals started to play as if they were Postseason contenders, it was a very exciting game!

KC 4 7 0
MIN 5 8 0

It was hard to ward off the yawns as the game stayed scoreless early on, but the Twins opened up their can of misery on the Royals on the 6th, Zack faced the entire rotation in a frame that started with a walk, then a SAC Bunt, then 4 hits with a hit batsman in between – all with 2 outs. 4 runs on 4 hits, Delmon Young’s huge 3 RBI double had the dome alive and on the edge of freaking out.

The Royals came back in the 7th and 8th with 4 runs total, featuring Alex Gordon’s massive 2-run homer. The tied game was on, but Michael Cuddyer’s solo HR afterwards put the brakes on and when Joe Nathan took the mound, he distributed one of the 9th inning saves he’s best-known for: 3 up, 3 down.

Meanwhile, a few hours later the Tigers would fall to the White Sox and the Twins would be one victory away from a tie for first with Detroit in the AL Central.

10/3/09 Arizona Diamondbacks 0, Chicago Cubs 5

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Game 2 of 3

First game of my ‘last regular season Saturday’ 3-game baseball scoring series.

Also, the last 2009 Cubs game on WGN-TV. The Vonachen family (yes Pete was there!) were at Wrigley for the day, as well as Ryne Sandberg himself, performing the 7th-inning stretch.

Tyler Colvin’s first appearance at Wrigley Field, and I believe his single in the 6th was his first official MLB hit. If it wasn’t, his RBI was for sure his first.

The legendary ‘Fake Umpires’ had seats behind home plate and called balls and strikes throughout the game, only getting up for beers and hygiene breaks. Also known as the ‘Fumps’ or ‘the Fauxpires’ these are two stockbrokers from Canada who dress (to the nines) as Umps and travel to various ballparks throughout the season. MLB rules prohibit the actual umpires to ‘engage’ the Fumps in any way, but it’s kind of surreal (and humorous at times) to see and hear them belt out a “HOOOAHHH” when the home plate does. Quite comical, I’ll bet they are on Facebook.

ARI 0 3 0
CHC 5 8 0

Sandwiched in between 2 bummer games comes this gem that really shows the true craft of Randy Wells and of an offensive team who know how to take advantage of a disadvantaged pitcher.

Randy was stellar (7IP, 3H, 0R, BB) with a career-high 10K during this game. His location and profile were both superb, sometimes allowing a hit (or a walk) just to make the game more interesting. Reed Johnson (1-4, 2RBI, 2R, 3B, BLS) and Geovany Soto (2-2, 2RBI, 2BB, 2B) led the Cubs offensive.

Mark Reynolds struck out for Arizona in 4 consecutive ABs, all swinging, 3 times by Randy Wells and once by Carlos Marmol. When the Diamondbacks did connect, they consistently tried to ‘make ‘em count,’ of their 3 hits in the game, 2 were doubles and Eric Byrnes’ single was followed by his stolen base at 2nd.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

9/25/09 Chicago Cubs 3, San Francisco Giants 0

Zambrano dazzles the Giants, Lincecum performs well but falls short.

CHC 3 8 1
SF 0 2 0

I scored this game on 12/28/09.

Monday, September 21, 2009

9/20/09 Chicago Cubs 6, St. Louis Cardinals 3

Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
Game 3 of 3

Probably one of the most exciting games I’ve seen all year, in many different ways. Now that the game is over, my head is filled with so many thoughts and comments about the game all around, I feel like I could write a book.

The media gods tried to do a number on me and prevent me from enjoying this game…my Gameday Audio subscription had run afoul due to technical issues, so my plans to listen on WGN radio were temporarily averted. Realizing I would be forced to watch the game on ESPN, I reviewed the situation and inventoried my beer on hand – 3 hours of Joe Morgan and Jon Miller, there’s only one way to handle it and beer sure does help.

I’ll save my ESPN diatribe for a future post – for now, I will say once and for all I am more than completely fed up with this network and their no-account ‘analysts.’ Saving all of that vomit for later.

As the game started and my first beer was opened, a wicked storm started to move through the area. As our satellite signal started to drop intermittently 60 minutes into the game, the good folks at jump-started by Gameday account and I was able to then listen to the WGN broadcast while watching the events on ESPN (when the satellite wasn’t out). In retrospect, I was immensely glad the satellite was hot during the 9th inning, as I would have had issues even trying to interpret that dramatic frame without the visual effect.

As it was, the folks on ESPN were quick to herald the demise of the Cubs’ 2009 season and the many ways they would take a beating in this 3rd game of the series. They did this by spewing forth all the stats and accolades that announced that the Cardinals were just too impressive; they also rounded this effort by literally mispronouncing and/or misstating players’ names and positions as if it was of no consequence by doing so. Joe Morgan can get Rick Ankiel’s name right, but announcing ‘Jeremy Reed’ in the lineup, then correcting by reminding himself that he’s out for the rest of the season, then correcting again by innocently chirping in “oh, well, I mean Reed…Reed JOHNSON” – well, I’m going to save some of this for later but it does go to show that brains are not required to get into the Hall of Fame by any means. All I need to share is that Miller and Morgan (and Phillips, only by association: he never spoke up otherwise) concerned themselves with their reckless armchair determination and analysis of what the Cubs need to do for next year while the Cubs were at bat, and then gush over St. Louis during their at bats.

Naturally, the Bradley-DeRosa trade was discussed ad infinitum in the wake of Hendry’s announcement of Bradley’s suspension a few hours earlier.

As far as pitchers are concerned, great performances by both Wainwright and Zambrano. ESPN was quick to count Wainwright’s milestones (6th strikeout!) while ignoring Zambrano when he reached that mark, but by the time each pitcher had left the game, the score was Cubs 3, Cardinals 2 – so who was the better arm last night? Hmm?

CUBS 6 10 1

Brendan Ryan was HBP by Zambrano in the 2nd, which prompted Jon Miller to predict retaliation by the Cardinals. Well, it certainly didn’t look intentional, and for crying out loud…this isn’t an AL game, moron. Of course, there was no ‘retaliation.’

The Cubs opened up the carpet bombing in the 5th when Andres Blanco’s double brought in Mike Fontenot (who was classified as a ‘loser’ by the analysts at ESPN – he would go 2 for 3 by the 7th inning). The Cardinals responded with back-to-back run scoring base hits by Mark DeRosa and Albert Pujols. In the next inning, Bobby Scales was walked, brought in to score by Micah Hoffpauir’s single, then Aramis Ramirez scored as Geovany Soto reached on Brendan Ryan’s throwing error.

In the 7th inning, Bobby Scales earned a ‘gem’ on my scoresheet; he completely vindicated himself from his ‘foul play’ on the night before…unfortunately, nobody seems to care. The ESPN folks (and others) continued to mumble on about Scales’ inexperience, and the Saturday night flubbed catch as a testimonial. I don’t care what others think, even if his 10-plus years were non-MLB play, how can one pass him off as inexperienced? At any rate, after his beautiful catch, the topic no longer came up – you’d think at least Steve Phillips could have commented ‘well, I guess we were wrong about him.’

The Cardinals tied the game in the 8th on Yadier Molina’s RBI single. Along with Santo, I was moaning a-plenty. It started to look like Friday and Saturday all over again…

By this time, Lou and Tony were up to their old tricks, flip-flopping pitchers and making one-at-bat-at-a-time substitutions, switches, and movements. It was humorous and awe-inspiring at the same time to witness each others’ moves in this great chess match; when one would bring out a pitcher, the other would respond with an alternate pinch-hitter…and vice-versa. My scoresheet starts to look interesting…

The 9th begins and the Cubs strand 2 walked batters on base. Then the Cubs face the strongest part of the Cardinals’ order in Schumaker, DeRosa, and Pujols. Sean Marshall opens up, Schumaker gets a base hit. Lou brings in Heilman for DeRosa, a SAC bunt moves Schumaker to 2nd. Pujols is intentionally walked, then Heilman is out and Caridad is in. On a 1-2 pitch with one fouled back, Caridad hits Matt Holliday, loading the darn bases with only 1 down. What happens next will never be forgotten…

On the very first pitch, Ryan Ludwick grounds sharply to Blanco at second base. Seeking a DP, Blanco flips easily to Theriot, who is charging through the bag, forcing Holliday out. Holliday slides late and wild at least 3 feet away from the bag, nearly bowling Theriot over. Theriot makes a short, blind leap up, and dispatches the ball wildly to Derrek Lee. Lee reaches all of his height in front of first, trying to tag Ludwick, when his foot comes off the bag and it appears that Ludwick is ‘safe’ – therefore, Schumaker’s journey to home would be the walk-off winning run. The Cards charge out of the dugout to greet Schumaker, everybody is on the field, celebrating…the fireworks come alive at Busch, and during all of this…the ump at 2nd is waving his arms violently and shouting at the top of his lungs.

When I saw Lee’s foot come off of the bag, I broke a pencil.

First base ump Danley’s ‘safe’ call on Ludwick was overruled by Foster’s call – he cited Holliday’s late and wild slide as interference, penalty was the Double Play – 2 outs to end the inning, with the score tied. LaRussa wasted no time at all hustling out there; the image on TV was memorable. He walked the boss right over to the ‘scene of the crime’ (ESPN even ‘circled’ the area on the freeze frame where Foster showed LaRussa Holliday’s slide, still in the dirt…it looked just like a chalk outline).

Equally astonishing was the Cubs’ reaction (delayed by an inning) in the 11th. Seems like every time this situation existed throughout the season was vindicated all at once, with the only risk on the table being this game and this game ONLY…I felt the frustration of dozens of games lost at the end by a run or so avenged mercilessly with strategy, talent, and well-fortified offensive support; the defensive end came in the bottom of the 11th when the same applications came in a 3-up, 3-down frame with no quarter afforded to the Cardinals. Jake Fox’ 2-run homer was better than brilliant, it was all of the ‘could haves’ and ‘should haves’ all season long flying as far away from regret as spiritually possible.

Postseason chances this season seem to be as far from reach as they really are, and we still lost this otherwise significant series…but this game, this moment, this belonged to the CUBS from start-to-finish. As fans we can elaborate all we want on the multiple skids, turning points, faults, and failures of the season, but keep this in mind: after ESPN’s anti-Cubs gushing ceased by the 9th inning, they suddenly replaced their banter with Cubs stats and less-than-negative analysis and at the end of the game, it was Jake Fox who was the ‘Chevy player of the game.’ I’m no longer squinting at the rest of the season. We were contenders throughout the season, up to this point, and beyond. A World Series victory would have been magnificent, but this single victory brought as much joy to me as a fan as any other could have.

ESPN can go scoot on a donut!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

4/14/07 Cincinnati Reds 0, Chicago Cubs 7

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

This was quite a treat after the Tour came to an end…I watched and scored this game from a DVD of the original broadcast (Comcast) recorded for me by Mark. A memorable game, if not for a few other reasons than mostly for the fact that it was my first trip ever to Wrigley, to celebrate my 40th birthday.

I remember how bloody cold it was as my sister, then-fiancee Mark (soon-to-be brother-in-law), his daughter, my wife and both kids got on the train and headed for Wrigley…with our parkas and scarves.

We settled in to our bleacher seats, watched BP with many ‘regulars,’ and eventually watched a truly exciting game – Lou Piniella’s first win at Wrigley as Cubs manager. It was an astonishing small-ball explosion that really ignited the baseball fire in me, Cubbie-style.

At the time, the visiting Reds were first place in the NL Central, and the Cubs were dead last. Even though it was very, very early in the season, the Cubs were already enjoying quite a skid. Funny when you consider that by the end of the season, the NL Central was THEIRS and this was the lineup that got things started, even with both Aramis Ramirez and newcomer Mark DeRosa absent from the game due to minor injuries.

Watching the telecast of the game, I kept looking for us freezing in left field – some close calls came our way as we could read the brand name on left fielder Cliff Floyd’s sunglasses and my sister’s friend Mike hurled insults at Adam Dunn. Indeed, this was the game where my oldest daughter got her very own ‘lucky Cubs baseball’ when Cliff Floyd tossed a ball her way in between innings. I missed the act itself as I was visiting the restroom…I’ll never forget making my way back to our seats to see her holding up that unforgettable souvenir, beaming as if it was the most excellent prize ever.

REDS 0 6 1
CUBS 7 9 0

Rich Hill got the W, and pitched 7 uneven yet effective innings. That being said, it really was an unusual pitching matchup. Bronson Arroyo pitched 6.2 otherwise effective innings – a wild pitch and 2 Sacrifice plays in the Cubs’ 5th inning was where the game started to get out of hand. Until that point, Arroyo seemed to be the winner of the standoff by only a very slight edge; Hill had walked 4 and struck out 4 by then, 1 GIDP. Arroyo had walked one, struck out 4, but worked 2 GIDP. Both had only allowed 2 hits apiece. So, a difference of a DP and a few BB - other than that, scoreless...until the 5th.

Not sure where the wave came from, but it was as impressive today as it was when I was there 2 years ago. Michael Barrett and Cliff Floyd both reach on back-to-back singles to left-center; the Ronny Cedeno’s RBI SAC Fly followed immediately by Cezar Izturis with an RBI SAC Bunt. 2 runs on the board, just like that.

Arroyo finishes the 5th by getting Hill to ground out, but it’s too late by then…in the next frame, he walks one, allows 2 more hits, and is only spared a run threat when he catches Alfonso Soriano stealing 3rd (PO 1-6). In the 7th, he falls apart…Edwin Encarnacion’s error allows Cliff Floyd to reach first leading off, and the hinges really start to fly off. Yet ANOTHER sacrifice play by Cedeno (a bunt this time around) advances Floyd, Daryle Ward is intentionally walked, and the Cubs follow with Soriano (base hit), and Ryan Theriot (RBI single). Arroyo is then yanked by then-manager Jerry Narron (on his own way out, eventually) in favor of Jon Coutlangus, who walks Jacque Jones to load the bases. Coutlangus out, Victor Santos in…and his first batter faced is Derrek Lee, who unleashes a 3 RBI double after a 2-0 pitch. That's the only scoring in the entire game, the Reds are shut-out and the Cubs put up 7 in two seperate innings by squeezing and cheesing the ball outright.

Again, I am still stunned by the small-ball prowess this team had at that time…4 sacrifice plays total, all skillfully executed. What happened to this edge of the Cubs?!? A few innings like these two this season would really have made a difference now and then. It’s OK – I had a marvelous experience that day (and the DVD to back it up), my daughter still has the ball...

...and the Cubs STILL have a chance this year!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

9/13/09 Cincinnati Reds 2, Chicago Cubs 5

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

I had to pinch myself after the 9/12 loss to Cincinnati – as I told a friend of mine “the Louisville BATS beat the Chicago CUBS last night!”

That’s really what happened, too. A majority of the starting offensive lineup were in the starting lineup for the Bats at the beginning season. Not so for the Cubs, but the ‘underclassmen’ did have a formidable showing today. 2 of the starting lineup began the season as Iowa Cubs; offensive and defensive substitutions later in the game accounted for 2 more, plus one relief pitcher.

As for the Reds, 5 of the first 9 (including pitcher Homer Bailey) wore black n purple in May. Substitutions Adam Rosales and Corky Miller added 2 more.

I’m not 100% sure of it, but this was the loss that mathematically took the Reds out of the division race and any chance of postseason…for the second straight year under Dusty Baker. At the same time, the Bats are preparing for IL postseason in AAA ball for the second straight year under longtime Bats manager Rick Sweet. Doing the math, I would say that a management flip-flop might turn that record around – I’m not a Reds fan, but from the outside looking in, it’s either Dusty being Dusty or something’s not working out.

REDS 2 10 1
CUBS 5 11 0

Funny how I see to miss out on scoring Ted Lilly’s games, but this time I was at the right place at the right time. 6 shutout innings, 7K, 2BB…nice job. He is the man. Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez both enjoyed a solid outing; and the underclassmen did their part in laying down the law. Andres Blanco (3-4, 2RBI), Micah Hoffpauir (1-3, BB), and Bobby Scales (FC, RBI) make you smile and say ‘Go CUBS!’ With the great job the Minor League affiliates have done this year, you gotta believe…the good times will continue to roll.

For the Reds, it seems odd to see Drew Stubbs (2-5, 2RBI) in Red n grey – kinda like Jay Bruce last year. Good ol’ Corky Miller (a former White Sock) came in during the 6th but did little damage.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

9/1/09 Houston Astros 1, Chicago Cubs 4

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Game 2 of 3

A very effective performance by Mr. Randy Wells, earning win #10 – makes it the first double-digit win for a rookie pitcher since Kerry Wood back in 1998. The scoresheet says it all, 6.2 innings of solid work. Wells doesn’t rack up the Ks like others, but that’s what I like best about his style…no tricks, just good stuff (not great stuff) that works great. 4K, 2BB, 7 hits and 1 run –unearned due to Jeff Baker’s error that allowed Kaz Matsui to reach 3rd, and eventually score.

ASTROS 1 8 2
CUBS 4 8 1

Wells had a little help from the offense; Milton Bradley with a solo HR, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, and Koyie Hill with run-scoring hits. The Cubs capitalized on 2 significant errors by the Astros in back-to-back innings.

I just realized that I made a typo on my scoresheet, charging the Cubs with 2 errors. I don’t know where the ‘2’ came from, but I have my theories. Not really sure if anyone is watching that closely, so I’m not rescanning, the score above is accurate.

Monday, August 31, 2009

BIL Tour 2009: End of Tour Stats ADDENDUM

Not like anyone is going to ask, but just in case:

Total Pitches: 1582
Total Strikes: 967
Total Balls: 615

Most pitches in one 9 inning game: Nationals @ Cubs (313)
Fewest pitches in one 9 inning game: Astros @ Cardinals (219)

Worst pitch/strike ratio, 5 innings minimum: 1.75 Randy Wells, Chicago Cubs (6.1 IP, 110-63)
Best pitch/strike ratio, 5 innings minimum: 1.3 Hayden Penn, New Orleans Zephyrs (7 IP, 91-70)

Worst pitch/strike ratio, less than 5 innings pitched: 3.18 Jonathan Gonzalez, Quad Cities River Bandits (2 IP, 35-11)
Best pitch/strike ratio, less than 5 innings pitched: 1.18 John Bale, KC Royals (1 IP, 13-11)

Foul / fly balls caught: 0
Hot dogs from hot dog cannon caught: 1 (Mark)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

8/30/09 New York Mets 4, Chicago Cubs 1

Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL

I’m not even sure why I’m posting this one, a ho-hum performance from the Cubs. Nelson Figueroa, take 2 gold stars out of petty cash, nice job (7IP, ER, 2BB, 10K).

NYM 4 12 0
CHC 1 7 1

This was another ‘early’ scorecard template experiment, for scoring games on the radio (note batting order # instead of player jersey #).

BIL Tour 2009: End of Tour Stats

Games: 6
Cities: 6
Parks: 6
Teams: 12

Runs: 56
Hits: 92
Errors: 6
Left on Base: 65
Innings played: 50.5
At-Bats: 391

Home Runs: 13
Doubles: 19
Triples: 2
Total Xtra Base Hits: 34
Fielder's Choice plays: 13
RBIs: 52
Walks: 40
Stolen Bases: 5
Hit Batters: 5
Sacrifice Plays: 7 (all Bunts, no Flys)
Put-outs: 301
Flyouts: 102
Groundouts: 98
Strikeouts: 69
Force Outs: 32
Caught Stealing: 6
Double Plays: 10 (all GIDP)
BLS (Broken Bats): 3

Total Pitchers Faced: 38
Total Batters Faced: 427
Earned Runs: 52
Wild Pitches: 5
Passed Balls: 1

Total Attendance: 129,902
Total Time of Baseball: 15 hours, 47 minutes

Games played in a dome: 1
MLB games: 4
MiLB games: 2
Managers Ejected: 0
Extra-Inning Games: 0
Balks: 0
Rain delays / rain outs: 0
Home team wins / Home team losses: 3-3

Miles traveled: about 1500
Time needed to recuperate: none, I'm scoring the Mets @ Cubs game now, ready to do this again today!!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

BIL Tour: 8/28/09 Pittsburgh Pirates 6, Milwaukee Brewers 8

The last visit and game of our it really almost over?

I haven't been to Milwaukee since I was a kid, didn't really see much as we approached Miller was ALL we could see from several miles back!

Miller Park is HUGE, no question about it. The dome and its supporting mechanical features lend greatly to the impression of its size. The dome was open when we arrived; both Mark and I noted that Dallas could play their games here while they move their video display board.

These guys know how to TAILGATE...probably because its Friday, but maybe because we are in Wisconsin!

Robin Yount statue in front of the Home Plate gate (there is also a statue of Hank Aaron)

Our seats were just fine, one section closer to the plate would have been ideal. We were in the Loge outfield box, on the 3rd base side. Great vantage point for infield and outfield plays, and a great POV to enjoy the barrage of homers we watched this evening. Milwaukee fans are definitely another breed; the folks around us got up to pee and/or drink at least once per inning - I don't think the group directly in front of us could have told you what the final score was!

Unlike St. Louis, I wore a Cubs hat and shirt to the game - I had to, as a gesture to show my support for my team and to stare in the face of our defeat the day before. The Brewers are further behind in the NL Central and Wild Card race this year than the Cubs are...I suppose that hurts for a few Brewers fans, but is baseball.

The park staff and most fans were courteous, but as I was warned by several folks, Cubs gear in Miller Park isn't kool according to some. We almost made it through the entire game, when during the 8th inning a sobriety challenged fan walking up the stairs wanted to know what we were doing there, and I told him...we're here to see a game. He then let us know in so many pleasantries how we would never win, and returned his sentiment politely. SAME TO YOU, BUDDY. A lady behind me reached over for some 'fan chat' right after this (probably due to her embarrassment for Brewers fans), I told her I thought it was odd how there seemed to be many Robin Yount T-shirts, but no Paul Molitor shirts! I probably would have bought one...

I wanted a Sausage Race hat, but we only found ONE in the gift shop and I didn't like the hat style or the price that much, so...maybe some other time!

Winner of the Sausage Race, my favorite CHORIZO ("by a casing")!!! (The picture is a bit blurry, but I was a bit excited!)

PIRATES 6 10 0
BREWERS 8 12 1

A dual-edged offensive strike by both teams, the Brewers had the edge with 3 homers during the game (Fielder, Bourgeois, and Braun). The big obvious difference was the Pirates left more runners stranded than the Brewers, almost 2:1.

Mike Cameron and Alcides Escobar also hit well. Manny Parra had a couple of rough innings, but the Pirates' Zack Duke was much rougher, facing 10 batters in a 5-run, 7-hit 1st inning (that included Fielder's 3 run HR). Chris Bootcheck allowed only one run after Duke's 3 innings of work. Andrew McCutchen belted a big HR in the 6th, but the Pirates were unable to reverse the early inning stomping they received.

As I had hoped, since the Brewers were up, we got to experience "TREVOR TIME" in Miller Park, kind of exciting!

Trevor threw 21 pitches, that's the most I've ever see him handle. Garret Jones reached first base on an unusual error by Hoffman (he outran Jones to 1st on a softly hit ground ball but dropped the ball as he hit the bag after the relay), and the next batter Andy LaRoche worked Hoffman a little before swinging to sundown. 4 up, 3 down on K (2 swinging, one called).

The dome was open at the start of the game, but was closed by the time we noticed it was so during the 7th inning. In case you were wondering, Todd Coffey's time from the pen to the mound was 13.24 (his record this season is 11.61).

Official Scorecard - I also scanned one of the inside panels, featuring a very nicely done 'How to Score' section, one of the best I've ever seen. The intro paragraph is some of the best 'buy in' prose at this level ever.

Official GAMEDAY mag - instead of a xeroxed one-sheet with lineup and stats, this was given away free and is a nice magazine for both scorers and spectators in general.

This great 2-page article appeared in the Gameday mag, a nice writeup about Brewers' Official Scorer Tim O'Driscoll.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...