Monday, April 18, 2005

Game Report: Pirates vs. Cardinals -- The most spectacular 9th inning ever

I went to the Pirates-Cardinals game on Monday night. The funny thing about PNC Park being right on the river is that it's much easier to bus to downtown Pittsburgh and just walk across the Roberto Clemente bridge. I did that, meeting up with 4 of my friends by the Roberto Clemente statue, and we went to get tickets.

Here's the main difference between going to a game in Pittsburgh and a game in Seattle:

At 6:30pm before a 7:05 game, we were able to get 5 seats together, in row W, in field seating behind home plate, for $27 each. In Seattle, not only would these seats cost $50 each, but you would never be able to get 5 seats together in that location on the day of a game. I guess it's because the attendance was 11,220. Heh. It was a pretty nice day out, too.

We grabbed food and then sat down to watch the game. The funny thing is, PNC Park's slogan for this year appears to be "Come hungry", because apparently if they advertised "Come see the Pirates win," they'd be sued for false advertising. However, there are a ton of concessions stands all over the park. I was happy they had a Primanti Brothers sandwich booth.

The game was pretty normal for the first 8 innings. It was a fairly low scoring game for a while. Mark Mulder, our old nemesis at the A's, was pitching for St. Louis, and he had a perfect game going into the 4th, but then he walked Jason Bay and it all went away, the Pirates scoring their only run in the 5th on a weird error where David Ross hit what was supposed to be a sacrifice fly to left field, except when the throw to the plate beat Daryle Ward there, he ran into the catcher and knocked the ball out of his mitt, so they called it an E-2, not an RBI sac fly. Doh. They had a chance to score again an inning later, kinda -- with two outs and one man on first, Craig Wilson hit a long fly ball to left field, and the fielder didn't quite get to it -- so it should have been an easy double, but for some reason, the third base coach waved Lawton home... he was out by a mile. It was a really risky move with two outs, I think.

The Cardinals came into the top of the 9th inning leading the Pirates 2-1. They left the 9th inning leading the Pirates 11-1. Carl had asked me earlier in the evening what one does with a scorecard if the players all go to bat in an inning, and I was like "It's not going to happen, but you just kinda shift everything over a column." Well, oops. 12 Cardinals batted in the top of the 9th, and here's what they did -- ground out, single, double (RBI), single (RBI), single, walk (with someone scoring on a wild pitch), walk, pitching change, walk (RBI), strikeout, single (2 RBI), single, double (3 RBI), line to second. It was really pathetic. I would feel bad for Brian Meadows, but he really pitched like crap. The guys were knocking the baseball all over the place because he was just feeding it to them.

The Pirates have cute gimmicks for their scoreboards when they show the players. The first time through, they show these paintings the players have done of their names. The second time through, they have rebus puzzles for each player (like, Jack Wilson is a set of jacks - S + a will + a son. Or Ty Wigginton is a tie + a wig + IN + a 2000 lb weight. I wonder what they do for Rob Mackowiak). The third time through they show a treasure map with the player's head in phantom, and the fourth time they seem to show the photoshopped players' heads with an eyepatch and falchions crossed behind them. It's cute.

It was neat to see the Cardinals. They had David Eckstein, everyone's favorite little dude, as their shortstop and lead-off batter. They also have So Taguchi, who is reeeeeeally fast for a 35-year-old right fielder; he must be trying to live up to the Ichiro reputation. It was rad to see Pujols-Rolen-Edmonds, the heart of the killer Cardinals from last year. And whoa, Mark Mulder. It's a shame I didn't get to see them send up John Mabry to bat!

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