THE ALL-STAR GAME!!!
I remember how badly I wanted to go back when the game was at the dome in ‘86 when I was a little kid. Now that I’m a bigger kid, I’m going. My wonderful husband bought us tickets and I’ve been looking forward to this for SO long I can’t believe it’s finally here.
He took off from work today and we went down early today to be sure we could get in by 3. It is about 100 out and this time we have the good sense to enter through Union Station to wait in line, where it is cool. There isn’t the party feeling that there was yesterday inside or outside the stadium. I go and check out the fans with non-Astro gear. Lots more Yankee fans today, mostly living in Texas. Lots of Seattle and Cardinal fans. Lots of retro jerseys. Most of the people I talk to are from Texas somewhere. A few out of towners had to buy scalped tickets, which were going for about $1200 bucks for the upper deck which have a face value of $125. I have no idea what the good seats must cost.
We wandered around and avoided going on up to our seats until 30 minutes before game time, watching BP from field level, because I know that even though the roof is closed, it’s gonna be HOT, like at least 85. I get my official program ($15.00) with the Nolan Ryan (not Roger) cover and look at the scorecard. It isn’t nearly long enough, considering the fact that there are going to be a zillion lineup changes. I think it needs to be a sort of booklet with a separate page for each inning with a place to write stats about the opposing pitcher. Good thing I have my own scorebook.
It is even hotter up here in the upper deck today than yesterday and today there are Giant fans across the aisle from “Brooklyn” fans (well, that’s what’s on the jerseys) and the beer will be flowing. The guy 3 seats down has a laptop, a radio and a small portable TV to watch replays. I hope he finds time to watch the game.
Finally time! We get to see the promo on the jumbotron. Then my congressperson, noted for her firm opposition to anything having to do with any military spending, comes out with the military color guard and is greeted with a lot of boos. The soldiers are cheered. Then some lucky guys throws 5 baseballs thru a ring and wins a million bucks. So now he feels like a ballplayer!
Managers, coaches and reserves are introduced. VERY loud boos for Jimy, even louder than the boos for Arod (lots of Ranger fans here and there is a big group from Seattle 2 sections over.) The 3 Astros starters are presented last and the cheers are so loud for Lance and Roger that I can’t even hear the announcer.
Muhammed Ali gets a warm welcome. A beautiful woman with a beautiful voice sings the national anthem v e r y s l o w l y after the Canadian national anthem is sung. They play commercials on the jumbotron. No escape from commercials today, either.
We have been hoping to see Clemens and Piazza make nice on the mound or home plate or something. No such luck. FINALLY, the real first pitch. Zillions of flashbulbs. Roger immediately runs into trouble. single, double, groundout. Then Manny Ramirez comes to the plate and takes a look at the Crawford boxes.
Like my dogs look at a plate of burgers. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Goooooooood
And sends a pitch right into them. Down 3-0 that fast.
Arod goes down swinging. Loud cheers up here, except from the Yankee fans. Giambi gets on first because Kent makes an error. He looks like this ALL THE #$%$ TIME. Only the scorer must not be from here and he gets an error. FOR ONCE!!! Then Jeter gets a single, then Alfonso Soriano comes up and hits a 3 run homer into the Crawford boxes. Righties L U V this park.
Down 6-0. (I know it’s not entirely Roger’s fault – Sammy didn’t get to 2 flies – he looks like a statue out there – and Kent made that error.) Roger then strikes out Mark Mulder. 35 pitches, 23 strikes 2K, 2 HR. I get that horrible sinking feeling that I get, with good reason, every time the Astros get behind. My husband says that we have good hitters, not to worry, we can come back, don’t give up……..
The crowd is REALLY quiet. You see, we’ve been watching the Astros every day for about 6 weeks…..
Barry gets pitched to with a man on second and first base open!!!! Can you believe it?! What a concept. He hits a high pop fly. Now we have someone on second with one out instead of men on first and second with no outs. I can’t believe Joe Torre did something like that. What if it gives other managers ideas and they pitch to Barry, too? His OBP might could drop below 500 and he might make more outs. I’m sure Barry thinks it’s a good idea to get pitched to- he looks happy In fact, Barry has looked happy the whole time. I sure don’t see this “surly” guy the media is always complaining about.
3rd inning – Giambi hits a grounder just to the right of Kent, who barely moves. Now I have heard that Jeter is a lousy fielder. That the “ball just gets by a diving Jeter.” At least he tries! Which is more than I can say for Kent. The stiff. I do not understand how he gets decent DER and UZR fielding ratings.
Randy Johnson does not look sharp. He manages to escape a bases loaded jam with one out. Barry walks. He is in a great mood. He hugs Giambi at first, they chat like long lost friends and Barry heads to second when Rolen smacks a single. Barry is happy to see Jeter. They hug, then have a friendly chat. Sosa grounds out, then Barry jogs in, chatting with the guys. He sure is in a good mood and we’re losing 6-0. Must be because he’s getting pitched to, in spite of getting no hits. Hey media people! Get the opposing managers to pitch to Barry and that will get him in a friendly chatty mood. Just think of all the great interviews with a happy, smiling Barry…….
4th inning – Rolen makes an absolutely beautiful running catch and throws out I-Rod by a hair. Just compare him to our stiffs (not Adam Everett or Carlos Beltran.) Defense matters a lot more than a lot of people think. We score 3 runs off Sabathia, who looks tired. Carl Crawford sure looks great out there in left. Hometown boy gets applause. I’d love to have him playing here in right – 4 more years to wait…..
5th inning – Michael Young goes deep in the hole and throws out Cabrera. Real major league play. Suddenly, everyone is standing up and looking up to the top of the stands a few sections down. I can’t see a thing up there or on the field. Whassup? I hear that some guys have gotten into a fight. I told you it was too hot. Cops heading up there. I can’t even push through the rows to get to the stairs to go to the balcony and see what’s going on in the game. After about 5 minutes, everyone sits down and I can see that about 5 or 6 guys are getting tossed. Wow. I’ve never seen anyone get tossed here. Stros fans are pretty quiet and polite and besides, the beer guys don’t come up here much. So I missed the bottom of the fifth. On the field.
6th – The managers start seriously pulling starters and playing reserves. The jumbotron shows videos of our soldiers serving in Iraq introducing the new player from their home team. The soldiers get loud applause. This is a really great idea. Way to go Fox. Thank you soldiers.
David Ortiz hits a 423′ 2 run homer off Carl Pavano into the upper deck right field. 9-4.
So far, Stros look bad. Clemens gives up 6 runs. Berkman is hitless. Kent has a single, an error and lack of effort. Beltran has a single. No runs, no RBIs. The whole NL team is playing like our club. Except for Rolen and Albert Pujols. If the Cardinal pitchers pitch like those 2 field and hit, I know who’s gonna be in the world series. And it ain’t us. Even if they fire Jimy, which they’re almost certainly going to do.
7th – inning stretch. Ruben Stoddard sings “God Bless America.” He’s good and we tell him so. We sing “Take me out to the Ballgame.” Then our own 7th inning song –
The stars at night
Are big and bright clap clap clap clap
Deep in the Hearrrrrrrt of Texas
The prairie sky
Is wide and high clap clap clap clap
Deep in the Hearrrrrrrt of Texas
They start to open the roof. It was already REALLY REALLY HOT UP HERE!!!!! By the time the 7th ends, it will be even hotter because it is at least 85 – 90 out. Still. Sure enough, lots of people start to leave. Well, actually, people are also starting to leave the expensive seats down below, too. I feel like I’m in LA. This game is over, even though there are still 2 innings left. The crowd is silent and even though a group a few sections over tries to get the wave started at least 5 times, they fail.
Report card: NL pitchers- Clemens – got a Bud Selig award during the show. Need I say more ? Randy Johnson – rusty. Carlos Zambrano – ok. Pavano – not bad – 1 mistake
Danny Kolb, Tom Glavine, Ben Sheets and Eric Gagne – very sharp.
– NL hitters – Stros – #$%$##@!! Cards – I can’t bring myself to tell the truth. Everybody else – yecccccccccch.
– NL defense – Scott Rolen – A+++ Sosa – #$%#@# Kent – !!!##&(%&*$*^*$%#$@!!!!!!!! Everyone else – ok I guess.
– AL pitchers – Mulder – good. Sabathia – tired and not sharp. Everyone else – Excellent. Unfortunately.
– AL hitters – Rocket launchers. Unfortunately.
– AL defense – Arod really is good, much as I can’t stand him. (He went over and got a ball that a shortstop would usually have gotten and Jeter didn’t. I wonder if this might could be why Jeter’s defense ratings are suddenly so much better this year.) Michael Young – gold glove.
– So now they have to name the AL MVP. Of course, it’s Roger. But for some reason, they give it to Soriano. I’m not sure why his 3 run homer was better than Manny’s 3 run homer. Oh, I know. Because Rockets are launched in Texas. Duh.