I managed to catch bits and pieces of today's Mariners game in various forms, culminating in watching the last few innings on TV. It ended just in time for me to see part of the Braves-Cardinals blowout, which was pretty wacky -- not only did cutie Brian McCann get his first career grand slam off the ever-squishy Jeff Weaver, and did I get to see Jason Marquis, Pinch-Hitting Wonder Pitcher, but Chipper Jones was the real story of the game. He'd had a 14-game streak of getting extra-base hits, tying a 79-year-old record set by Paul "Big Poison" Waner, and he only managed to hit singles today. You know that when a guy goes 3-for-5 with a walk and they call it a BAD day, he's got something special going. Heck, one could diss Chipper Jones for being the only Brave to get on base and NOT score a run today. What a slacker!
Oh, right, the Mariners.
You know, my housemate bought a Gamecube a few weeks ago so he could play Eternal Darkness (which, of course, is because of his eternal dorkness), and along with it he got a few other cheap games, including Crazy Taxi, which I used to play a ton of back when I first got my Sega Dreamcast a billion years ago. For whatever reason, the last few weeks have involved several hours of a bunch of us sitting around the TV, one person playing Crazy Taxi, the rest singing along to Offspring music and yelling things like "NO! DRIVE THROUGH THAT BUILDING!" or whatever.
While watching today's Mariners game, I realized that honestly, there are a ton of parallels between Crazy Taxi and Mariners baseball.
I mean, in Crazy Taxi, the bottom line is really how much money you get. You have a set amount of time to get as much money as you can, which is your score at the end. In order to get money, you pick up passengers and drive them to set locations in the game city; you have a certain amount of time per task, and if you beat that time by a lot, you get extra money; if you just make it, you get the normal fare, and if you run out of time, the passenger swears at you and runs off without paying. It doesn't matter if you follow traffic laws or if you damage your car or even if you run over OTHER passengers and people on the street; while you only get bonus points for almost but not quite running into other cars ("nice dodge!"), you'll probably get to your destinations a lot quicker if you learn where the shortcuts are, such as launching off the second story of a parking garage, or driving through the food court of a mall.
In baseball, at the end of the game, you win if you have more points than the other team. In order to get points, you hit the ball in such a way that the other team's fielders can't get you out before you get to the bases, and ideally, many of you do this in a row so you can all run around four bases, which gets you points. It doesn't really matter if you have a sweet swing or if you drive the ball hard, if it flies into the outfielder's mitt, or goes straight to the pitcher, or ends up fouled into the stands.
And if you get one guy on base, but he doesn't come around to score, then it's basically the same as picking up a passenger but not taking them to their destination.
Okay, maybe the metaphor doesn't entirely work. But see, in Crazy Taxi, even if you don't necessarily know where the Heliport, or the Tower Records, or anything else is, there's always this big helpful green arrow up at the top of the screen pointing you in the right direction. If you start heading in the wrong direction or spin out, the green arrow points backwards, and the passenger will start complaining that you're going the wrong way.
During tonight's game, I felt like even if there was a big green arrow up at the top of the TV screen pointing the team in the right direction, they'd be ignoring it and just driving wherever the hell they feel like. You know, like when they should be cruising up Jose Lopez Blvd, but instead take a detour to the Willie Bloomquist Parkway. Or when there's a big green "lefty" arrow and they neglect to turn on the Eduardo Perez signal. Today, they started down the right road at the beginning of the game, but by the end of the second inning it was like the green arrow was already telling them to turn around, as Cairo is way the hell off the map. When Giambi hit that home run, the passengers were already swearing at Washburn for being such a lousy taxi driver. The only real saving grace was when Mark Lowe took over the driver's seat and ran over some park benches and a hotrod. We picked up a few passengers in the Mariano Trench, but rather than taking them to somewhere on land, we just let them drown.
I think I give them a Class D License.