Wednesday, April 11, 2012

4/10/12 Kansas City Royals 3, Oakland Athletics 0

Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Game 2 of 3

Silly me! A 10:00pm game on MLB Network, and I decided to take a nap early in the evening so I could check this out, since the opportunity to watch Royals games on live TV here is practically nil. The only perceived challenge I could have expected was for the geezer sleepmode to creep up on me later in the game and spoil my opportunity to see the Royals do their thing, good or bad. The good news: my nap strategy, for once, worked out well. The bad news: it was a later night than I had expected, thanks to…RAIN.

What I was fortunate enough to see was a spectacular small sample size outing from Danny Duffy (aka #PulledPork), who despite the elements handed the Oakland A’s a bucket of nothing much to hit for 6 shut-out innings. I’m still on the fence as to how he’ll make it through the season (don’t forget, this time last year I was starting to get high on Jeff Francis’ fumes) but tonight, he did his job and did it well.

Rain was consistent throughout the contest, but very lightly so. My best observation was that even though the precipitation was constant and light, the surface at was very playable, no errors or missed opportunities due to the ballpark slip and slide. Not only that but with Duffy and Oakland starter Graham Godfrey cruising through their innings, it was starting to look as if the game would be in the can by the time the perpetual moisture in the air took its toll on the events.

Of course, as announcers spoil no-hitters unceremoniously these days, they also spoiled the shelf-life of this game by talking too much about it. With Eric Hosmer nearly the second out in the top of the 8th inning, a comment is made by Rex Hudler that for those of us at home, the rain on the field isn’t really as bad as it looks on camera.

And then, as if on cue, the rain proves Hudler quite wrong about this. Hosmer strikes out swinging, his bat goes flying towards the Royals dugout via slippery surfaces, and just like that, HP umpire Jim Joyce calls for the tarp. After nearly an hour or weather internets monitoring, the decision is made to call the game, having played enough innings to make it official, and the Royals reverse the shut-out they were handed last night right back at the Athletics.

Lorenzo Cain’s outfield DP assist was pretty awesome, just not sure if erasing that baserunner was worth his temporary outage due to injuring himself via groin strain while making the play. No comment on Chris Getz's TOOTBLAN...part of me is still confused at the persistent non-productive aggressive baserunning the Royals are pursuing.

This is my first FSKC Royals broadcast of the season, and my first earful of Rex Hudler. We all miss Frank White, as it has been said a bunch on Twitter, but really we can’t control any of that, so let’s give Hudler a chance. He is a bozo, and his cracked commentary is, at best, of great comical proportions. Not really comical in a Joe Morgan or Tim McCarver sense either, actually a bit more strained and bizarre than those two jackos. Allow me to illustrate by sharing some of the “Hudlerisms” I dared to tweet during the game:

“…he cleans off his cleats with the cleat-cleaner.”

“…on the mump. I meant to say ‘bump’ but I said ‘mound’ instead.”

“…he’s a premium hitter in his prime.”

“It’s a short season, so far.” …this one was my personal favorite!

So, let’s spare the overbearing and cynical Rex Hudler criticism for the time being, he’s making us laugh at him (not with him) without even trying to do so. We should consider ourselves fortunate that he isn’t talking too much about his playing days, or better yet about how he would manage this team if he were the manager, which he isn’t.

An unexpected comic highlight of this game centered around the affable Jeff Francoeur, he with his everlasting goofy smile and celebrated clubhouse buddy status. I missed the first part of this story, which apparently started during a Royals visit to Oakland last season. From what I gather, the fans in the right field corners make it a passionate exercise to heckle outfielders from opposing teams out there, and Frenchy would have been no exception. Jeff has made it a personal mission to befriend and make loving admirers of all he comes into contact with, which is the most you can ask from a 29-year old stalwart with “veteran” status already on his baseball nameplate. He did so with the Oakland fans previously by responding to their taunts with an offer of a baseball wrapped in a 100-dollar bill and some smack back on the subject of “bacon.”

Bacon moves the world, and even folks in Oakland know this. Tonight, they came prepared.

About 25 or 30 fans arrived adorning marvelous Oakland green-with-yellow-print shirts celebrating “Bacon Tuesday, April 10, 2012, sponsored by Jeff Francoeur.” True heart was never expressed so tenderly!

Their message made it to the Coliseum jumbotron, #BaconTuesdayCapCaper

They brought marvelous banners, #GoBaconTuesday

…and #ReceiveBacon

During the penultimate rain delay, Jeff made his way to his bacon peeps, who presented him with a copy of the T-shirt and samples of Bacon as well…

Besides Baseball, everybody should appreciate the power of Bacon. The goofy doofus smile is just a part of how both intersect flawlessly in a baseball/bacon venn diagram.

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