Game Report, Athletics over Mariners 7-4
I go to a lot of games. With its combination of ten-minute funeral dirge national anthem, pervasive boredom, low temperature with slight warmth-stealing breeze, many pitchers for no reason, futility, long inning breaks for the national broadcast, slow, slow A’s team that on the bases would take their sweet time walking back… this was the worst game of the year for me. Even worse than the couple of times I’ve eaten there and gotten an upset stomach free with my $10 purchase of concession food.
Here’s my question, though, and I mean this sincerely: the Mariners are out of the race, yeah, sure, I understand there’s a natural tendency to Boone it and not try so hard. But when one of your teammates is making a run at a historic achievement, one that he will certainly hit if everyone can only feed him enough plate appearances, shouldn’t this be an occasion where you try and fight that?
I’m frustrated with the hacking, the dumb plate appearances in general, the stupid baserunning that costs us outs and Ichiro! a chance to set a cool record. Run those balls out. Work that count. If you’re that distracted thinking about how tonight you’re going to order the other item on the room service menu you passed up yesterday that you can’t give a respectable account of yourself, you shouldn’t be in the lineup. You shouldn’t be written into the lineup.
I also got mad because I was walking to the Ivar’s stand where I buy my stomach-upsetting concessions (seriously, it’s a three-game streak for them now as I type this), and they were playing the pre-game show over the PA. It featured a discussion between whoever, Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune, and Norm Charlton, and LaRue was the only one who seemed to have two brain cells to rub together. Charlton is chock-full of the old-school baseball cliches, and between him and whoever was running the show (Waltz? Hutler?) every couple of seconds you got a factual error and a bizarre error in reasoning.
Will anyone ever win 30 games again?
LaRue: No, the 5-man rotation requires pitchers to be too perfect, and they’d need a great bullpen.
Charlton: No way, pitchers today are wimps.
Host: Yeah, you talked earlier about how pitchers used to throw 140-pitch innings (yes, I know what he meant)…
Charlton then managed to say that the 4-man wouldn’t come back because it was more expensive than the 5-man (because it requires that you hire four really good pitchers, who are expensive, which was another weird jump in logic), and then also that the Yankees had gone to the 6-man for a while this year because “it was a luxury only the Yankees can afford” (which, again, not true, and ineffective rotations are a luxury teams would build if they had the money? what?)
People worked on that program — somewhere, there were engineers, and producers, and the end result of their efforts was Norm Charlton claiming that all the workouts and pitch counts that were part of a modern pitcher’s life hadn’t “paid off” because they couldn’t pitch both ends of a double-header and then go 12 rounds bare-knuckle with a notorious boxing bear from Vladivostok. Do these people go home at night and dream of producing intelligent baseball programming?
On another note, Eric Chavez’s home run was impressive. It was one of those home runs where it comes off his bat, I said “woah” and by the time I got to the “h” it was three quarters of the way to its final destination in the stands. That dude can hit.