Well, as everyone knows, these last 3 days of this year are the culmination of the year long everything is all about The Biggio. These games have been sold out for months and giveaways and prizes have been heavily promoted.
My Husband and brother bought tickets for all of us to go to the game tonight, and we showed up in time (opening time 5 PM) along with some 8-10,000 odd fans to get our retro Biggio t-shirts. However, we got an incredibly unpleasant surprise as soon as we walked inside – the roof was open and it was at LEAST 90 degrees inside the concourse. Husband turned green (a bad color for a man of ANY race) not just because it was so hot, but because he knew very well he couldn’t just demand we leave immediately because then he would have to deal with 4 crying kids and one upset wife and he knew he’d have to suffer. AND if you decide to leave before 5:30, your ticket will be voided.
And suffer he surely did. We ALL did. There wasn’t so much as a breath of breeze or any cool place to stand and he and most of the other people milling around were just as hot, miserable and sweaty. And complaining just as loudly as Husband and in much, uh, less polite language.
And frankly, all I can saay is that Drayton is such a cheap &*R$&^%&$%! that he felt it necessary to save on air-conditioning on such an incredibly hot and humid night. Apparently he decided to keep the roof open this morning in spite of the weather report, knowing full well that he wouldn’t suffer from lost ticket sales and would gain money from increased liquid sales. The customer care booths were packed with lines of furious customers and in fact, there were plenty of empty seats and I watched people, especially the very old and parents with very young children leave even in the first few innings because it was too hot to tolerate. We were sitting in the cheap seats and it was so hot that even the vendors wouldn’t come out.
It was hot when the new Army recruits were sworn in. It was hot when the childrens choir sang the national anthem. And in fact, Husband was so miserable that he took his empty soda cup, went to the mens’ room, filled it with water and used it to cool off his head. It was still hot when the Astros took the field (after like half an hour of commercials) and there was only half hearted applause.
It was hot when Matt Albers used 27 pitches loading the bases before striking out the side in the first. It was too hot for people to even bother to groan when Jojo Reyes needed only 4 pitches to dispose of Anderson, BGO and Berkman. And even the applause for Biggio wasn’t near as enthusiastic as it might could have been because all clapping did was make you even hotter.
By the time Matt Albers struck out in the bottom of the second, leaving 2 on, people in the rows in front of us were getting up to leave, and Husband and Da Bull moved down a row to have a little more breathing room.
In the third, maybe Matt Albers was too hot and tired to grip the ball and he walked Chipper on 4 pitches, then walked Texiera on 4 pitches after getting him 0-2, then maybe Biggio was too hot and tired at his age to turn the DP on Francoeur’s easy grounder to third. Nah, Biggio and Loretta and Wiggy just are slow and stink at turning DP no matter what the weather. But after Albers managed to get out of the inning giving up only 2 runs with 24 pitches, the kids were complaining about being hot and thirsty and so with Husband refusing to budge an inch, I went to take them to get some more water and we had hardly gotten down the stairs to the concourse when Anderson, Biggio and Lance got themselves out on 8 pitches.
It was even hotter inside and the poor food service people all looked as if they were about to pass out.
On the TV monitor, I saw Miller hit a grounder down the LF line – have I ever mentioned that Wiggy is completely incapable of getting ANY ball that is hit down the line and not on a hop – and finally strike out Alcides Escobar and Willie Harris. Then Lee, Pence and Loretta singled and with one run in and 2 on base, Wiggy, Towles and Albers got themselves out without driving anyone in.
We got back upstairs in time to see Chipper manage to reach in the top of the 5th – it was a close play in which Lance threw the ball to Albers and the ump said that Albers wasn’t touching the bag when he caught the ball. Albers didn’t agree, got a little upset, got Tex to flyout in front of the RF bullpen, and then served up the same pitch to Frenchy, who got ALL of it and sent it into the RF bullpen.
Braves 4 Astros 2.
Meanwhile, Husband had gulped his bottle of water down and after Matt used up another 18 pitches getting the next 3 guys out, he said he HAD to get more water. Reyes needed 8 pitches and 3 minutes to get Anderson, BGO and Lance out. Yeah, again.
As soon as we saw Randolph trot out from the bullpen, Husband looked at me and said – well, here comes 3 or 4 runs for the Braves and said that he was sorry but he was about to pass out from the heat and Da Bull was feeling sick too and there was no point in staying any longer. I wasn’t near as miserable as my husband and brother, who I guess, didn’t read the Dusty Baker Manual on heat, but I called my Mama, who was sitting in another section and was as hot, miserable and angry as we were and we decided that Husband and Brother would leave and take the 3 boys and Little Miss and I would stay until the end and go home with Mama.
And sure enough, Randolph served up 3 runs. Not, mind, that it was entirely his fault as neither Loretta nor Biggio managed to turn what should have been relatively easy DPs and could have gotten Randolph out of the inning. But it surely wasn’t their fault that he then served up 2 singles and an RBI double before Cooper FINALLY pulled him and sent in Sarfate to get the final out. It’s about time that Cooper faced facts and it is MORE than clear that Randolph can’t pitch in the bigs.
Anyway, the Astros mounted a comeback against a tiring Reyes in the 7th, but with bases loaded and 2 out, Lance Berkman failed to drive in any runs. And that really was all she wrote.
Little Miss begged to stay to see the fireworks and I guess Auntie and Nana were too hot and tired to protest much and besides, we both love fireworks too and so we stayed with the other 5000 remaining people to see them. And of course, I was thinking how the previous 3 years the last games were so incredibly exciting because we were fighting to the last minute to reach the playoffs, instead of being concerned about getting Biggio t-shirts and umbrellas and the crowd was loud, enthusiastic and happy instead of resigned – AND hot and angry with Drayton for being such a cheap *(^*&$%#!
The music started off, fittingly enough with “Thanks For The Memories”, “Desire” and “Glory Days.” Isn’t it ironic?
And to everyone’s great overwhelming shock and amazement, Bud Selig’s order to keep Cooper as manager was obeyed and he was given a 2 year contract. Isn’t that special? I SHOULD say, isn’t that tampering? But I guess it’s OK if the commissioner does it…
After we got to the car and turned the AC on full blast and sat gratefully in the cool streams of air, we turned on KTRH and listened to the post game show, which was NOT about the game played, but had caller after caller calling in venting anger and fury that Drayton chose, knowing the weather report, to open the roof on a sweltering night like this, knowing full well that he wouldn’t have to worry about losing ticket sales and knowing that he would profit from the increase in soda/water/beer sales. Tom Franklin, the host, tried to suggest it was for Biggio, as he was an old timer Who Had Played The Game The Right Way. As one lady told him, icily (hahahaha) please remember that Biggio, in the Old Days, PLAYED IN THE DOME!!!!!
It will be interesting to see if Drayton responds to all the fan anger and closes the roof tomorrow. The game starts an hour earlier and it will be even hotter. Brandon Backe will be throwing to Biggio, who will catch “an inning or two” and he will face Jeff Bennett, who has pitched 7 ML innings this year with a 2.57 ERA.