Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Game Report: Mariners vs. Yankees - Swung on and Beltred!

About four months ago, I was talking to one of my college friends, a diehard Yankees fan. He was debating whether to accept a job in Seattle and move out here. Our conversation went something like this:

Him: I dunno, moving is such a pain in the neck...
Me: I have an extra ticket to a Yankees game in August, you know. If you move out here, it's yours.
Him: Hmm. Really?
Me: Yeah.
Him: I'm sold. See you in a few weeks.
Me: Wow, you're an easy bribe.

Anyway, tonight we went to the game. He wore his Tino Martinez jersey -- the kind with pinstripes -- and we sat there trash-talking each other and whatnot. We thought it was kind of cool that if the Yankees won, both teams would continue their current streaks, but if the Mariners won, it'd end both of them. We lamented Craig Wilson's new hair, or lack thereof, and I booed Bobby Abreu, and he cheered A-Rod, and we had a blast in general.

Oh, and the Mariners won.

Game Over!
Oh god! Not in the head! Not in the head!

As usual before a Yankees game, the Occidental Street approach to Safeco Field was full of scalpers and merchandise sellers. There was a tent selling actual Yankees shirts and jerseys, and of course there were these guys as well. I had my camera out early because I wanted to capture the lack of Jamie Moyer around the park -- and sure enough, they've already taken his banner down -- doesn't Ichiro look lonely? -- and they replaced his player wall photo on 1st Avenue with Yuniesky Betancourt's picture.

Today featured two starting pitchers who'd just been called up, and both were wearing #58, which is a somewhat crazy coincidence. The Yankees had Jeff Karstens, one of those rare guys who actually was drafted by the Yankees and bubbled up through their farm system, and apparently has been learning facial expressions from John Lackey. We had Cha Seung Baek, who's had a pretty great year in Tacoma, and is for now subbed into the rotation to fill the Moyer hole.

(Speaking of Moyer, he started at Wrigley today, for the first time in eighteen years -- "with his wife, children, parents, father-in-law Digger Phelps and his college roommate in tow, among others" -- and picked up the win, going 6 innings and giving up 3 runs in an eventual 6-3 victory.)

Anyway, tonight's game featured a whole lot of fun stuff:
  • 9 out of the 11 runs scored in this game by both sides were driven in by home runs. The Yankees had all five of their runs come in on a Bobby Abreu 3-run homer in the third inning and an Alex Rodriguez 2-run homer in the sixth. The Mariners had three runs come in on Beltre's first-inning and ninth-inning homers, and a fourth on a Richie Sexson blast in the third.

  • All of the home runs were pretty fun to watch. Adrian's first one sailed into the Mariners bullpen. Bobby's was to dead center, and Ichiro actually scaled the wall, but couldn't get it. Richie's was just huge, the sort of home run where you hear it come off the bat and don't even have to watch it land to know it's way out there. A-Rod's actually went into the BLEACHERS in left field, above the KOMO 1000 sign. And Beltre's walk-off one -- well, we weren't even positive it was a home run at first, since it looked like it might have bounced off the wall as a ground rule double or something -- but apparently it hit above the yellow line, and once that became evident, the stadium went mad.

  • Even better, Ronnie The Bear gave up that game-winning home run. It's nice to see him doing that for someone NOT us.

  • During the 6th inning, with a 2-0 count on Ben Broussard, Karstens threw a wild pitch, and they took him out of the game after that and put in Mike Myers. I didn't know you could switch batters mid-at-bat as well, but Eduardo Perez came in to finish off the at-bat, and instead, they just had Myers walk him. After throwing the two pitches to finish off that intentional walk, they pulled Myers for Jaret Wright. I was somewhat annoyed because I like watching Mike Myers pitch, and besides, pulling a guy after TWO INTENTIONAL BALL PITCHES is just plain DUMB.

  • Got to see T. J. Bohn's major league debut. Yeah, he pretty much just went up there to pinch-hit for Snelling and struck out, but that's still pretty cool that they used him at all. He also played an inning in the field.

  • Oh yeah, and DOYLE IS AWESOME but you all knew that already. Seriously, I was using my camera zoom as binoculars and watching him, and he's got such a lovely, wonderful, quick, compact swing. I'm so glad he was batting second. Heck, I'm so glad he was batting.

  • Sean Green got into a bit of a jam in the 7th. Bobby Abreu walked, and then Craig Wilson, god bless his soul, hit a grounder towards third. Beltre charged it, fell to his knees fielding it, and still fired a great throw to first base, but JUST missed getting it in time. Rather than pitching to A-Rod, they walked the bases loaded. We've seen this situation a billion times, where they do something like that for the double play, the force at any base, whichever, and then fail to get it, but this time, just like clockwork, Jorge Posada grounded to Lopez, and BAM. Inning over.

  • Great rundown in the 8th inning, as Sherrill kept almost picking Melky Cabrera off first. Finally, Cabrera runs, Sherrill throws to pick him off, and there's the rundown which ends the inning. Thanks, Yanks!

  • Speaking of Sherrill, if you live or work near Tacoma and read this before 11:30am on Wednesday, they had an announcement on the board saying "Meet George Sherrill"; apparently he'll be at a USBank in Tacoma from 11:30am-12:30pm, but unfortunately, I didn't write down the address. I think it said Pacific Ave, but I know there's more than one USBank on Pacific Ave.

  • Also speaking of Sherrill, for those of you following my "Deanna's not stalking George. Really." saga of pictures, here's today's. This was right after everyone except O'Flaherty had high-fived Baek on his way out of the bullpen to start the game, and I think Sherrill was lecturing the rookies, except instead, it looks like he's saying "You've been voted OFF this bullpen!"

  • The entire bench got into the game at one point or another. I'm not sure I've seen that in a long time, or at least not in a 9-inning game. It was sort of funny: Bloomquist pinch-ran for Perez, then Johjima pinch-hit for Rivera. Snelling was up with two guys on base, and I was excited about that, but with LEFTY-KILLER RON VILLONE up on the mound, they pinch-hit for Snelling. My initial reaction was "oh NO!", thinking he was going to get pinched by Morse or Bloomquist or something, but after a split second, I realized the only person left on the bench TO pinch-hit was Bohn, so my reaction turned to "oh COOL!"

  • I wore my USSM shirt and loudly cheered for Doyle, but alas, the only person who I ran into was Dylan and the rest of his clan, who were sitting a couple of rows behind us. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, given that half the stadium was Yankees fans anyway, so why would they be familiar with USSM or Doylism?

  • There were these cute little kids sitting in front of us, and from talking to the parents a bit we found out they're Yankees fans, and so their kids were supposed to be Yankees fans too, but my Yankees-fan friend offloaded his Mariners rally towel on one of the kids, and from then on in during the game when the scoreboard said, "WAVE THOSE TOWELS!!!", at appropriate Mariners-cheering moments, this little kid would get up and cheer madly and wave the towel, much to the chagrin of his parents.

I feel there are not nearly enough pictures of Eric O'Flaherty out there yet. I took this one while watching bullpen warmups before the game:

Eric O'Flaherty
I may be young and left-handed, Mr. Hargrove,
but I can work my way out of a jam, thanks.

I'm suddenly totally falling asleep on my keyboard, which is understandable, so I'll either add to this when I think of stuff tomorrow, or just leave it at that.

No comments: