Live All-Star Game Blog w/Phillies Mid-Season Commentary.

The Dated Reference Machine.

I looked back at my Phillies preview bag a couple of days ago and there wasn’t much there to indicate I saw this first half coming.  Last place, likely to be sellers?  It was glossed over as some type of implausible worst case scenario.  Part of the reason it was glossed over is because teams rarely hit the nadir the Phillies have hit this season.  The Phils could be the only team in the league that you look at and say, “Yep, this is absolutely as bad as it possibly could be.”  The combination of bad play, bad chemistry and bad luck has left an empty feeling in the hearts of most Phillies fans.  We’ve almost gone past the point of frustration and landed on confusion.  It is in that confused state that we’ll watch the All-Star Game.

For a team that is struggling to stay ahead of the Cubs, you’d expect to have the one obligatory All-Star–perhaps a relief pitcher?  But the Phillies have three players in the game, and they are all quite deserving of their spots.  It’s unfortunate that the the backslide has tarnished Carlos Ruiz’s year a bit, but hopefully tonight we can focus on his individual accomplishments and appreciate where the Phillies could be without him.  It’d be great to see Carlos have a  big moment tonight, but one thing he should find familiar…that undermanned feeling.  The AL, as usual, is looking like a tough squad to beat.

Not exactly sure where this post will go.  We’ll see at 8pm, and we’ll see if the game stays close and interesting.  We know the announcing team (Buck and McCarver) won’t help.  Tim McCarver, known for his ability to talk for minutes on end without taking a breath, gets on my nerves with his incredibly dated references.  The last time I did a live blog with old Carvs, he compared a player to Bobby Bonds.  Not Barry.  Bobby.  But really, who doesn’t have fond memories of the elder Bonds roaming the diamond?  With that in mind, here’s the odds on who McCarver will compare Mike Trout during his first at-bat:

  1. Rickey Henderson 1:1
  2. Fred Lynn 3:1
  3. Kirby Puckett 6:1
  4. Roberto Clemente 10:1
  5. Mickey Mantle 25:1 (saving him for Bryce Harper)
  6. Ty Cobb 40:1
  7. Paul Waner 65:1
  8. Tris Speaker 100:1
  9. Oyster Burns 500:1
  10. Anyone Under 50 9,999:1

***

Oh horsebleep, I missed half of the introductions.  Kauffman Stadium looks great.  Missouri saved themselves about 1.5 billion by building two great stadiums decades ago.  Furcal is starting at short and hitting 9th for the NL?  Seriously?  I guess Edgar Renteria wasn’t available.  Puts the NL’s chances in perspective.  As usual, they’ll have to pitch and hope to fall ass backwards into a clutch extra-base hit.  That could be the formula for the Phillies if they could get anyone out.

 ***

When I think of the Royals, I think of Bo Jackson.  I have no real sense of Jackson’s career aside from his massive All-Star Game homer in 1989 and that time he ran across the outfield wall.  As it turns out, Jackson was a bit ahead of his time.  In his best year, he had 32 Homers and 172 K’s in just 135 games.  Of course, with a .309 career OBP percentage, perhaps we  now overrate Jackson’s exploits.  Fully committed to baseball, he was surely a 30/30 talent.  Is it too late to add him to the Trout comparison odds?

***

Verlander starting for the AL.  Does anyone else miss the years when Greg Maddux would trot out there for the NL  and get absolutely shelled?  For the Braves haters out there–it was just too funny.  Perhaps Maddux’s All-Star struggles help to explain his mostly “meh,” post-season stats.  First pitch?  97 MPH.  Second? 98 MPH.  To call it effortless would be downplaying it.  Personally, I’m happy no Phillie was in the running to start this fiasco and if Hamels and Paps don’t pitch–fine with me.

***

The Phillies have been exposed as having massive outfield issues.  The soft .300 that Juan Pierre hits isn’t really helping.  John Mayberry has been a huge disappointment.  Shane Victorino is buckling his way to a bargain basement contract.  It stands to reason that the Phils will be in the market for an outfielder this off-season.  Three potential candidates in this game.  The first, Josh Hamilton, seems a bit cost prohibitive.  The second, Michael Bourn will play later and the third–Melky Cabrera who just flipped a single to left and scored on a Braun double.  As I predicted, the NL is off to a great start.

***

Justin Verlander borrowed Antonio Bastardo’s control for the evening.  Should it bother me that LaRussa is managing the NL team, or should I let it go?  I think I’ll go ahead and let it bother me.

***

I put some type of hex on Verlander by mentioning Greg Maddux.  He’s wild, and getting shelled.  What I’m assuming is Panda Sandoval’s 1st ever triple has the National League up 4-0.   Make that 5-0.  Dan Uggla (Did the NL pick their team out of hat?) knocks in a run with an infield hit.  In related news, Derek Jeter can no longer make the jump-throw.

***

I wonder if Matt Cain feels like a baby throwing 91 after Verlander was out there.  The K.C. fans are getting a lot of heat for raining down boos on Robinson Cano.  Cano didn’t pick Royal DH extraordinaire, Billy Butler, to participate in the home run derby.  At least the fans care, and really, go look at the last 20 years of Royal baseball–it’s amazing they still have fans.  Speaking of Royals’ fans, I’m thinking about joining them.  It might be time to become one of those dipsh*ts that has “an AL Team.”

***

Here’s Josh Hamilton, who’d I’d happily throw someone else’s money at.  He flies out to the warning track.  It would have been 8 rows deep at Citizen’s Bank Park.  Hamilton has 27 homers and 75 RBI at the All-Star Break.  Remember when Juan Gonzalez had 101 RBI at the break in 1998?  The next year, Jay Bell (who had 14 homers in his 1st five ML seasons) had 24 homers at the break.  Lulz, steroids.

***

Joe Nathan on for the AL.  Would Nathan and a bat have been a better signing than Papelbon?  The hindsight abacus says yes.  The Magic 8-Ball says, “It is decidedly so.”  The main argument for Papelbon was that you couldn’t waste the Phillies’ starters by having an unproven closer.   Well….doesn’t having an unproven middle-relief corps waste Papelbon?  Injuries have played a part, but the Phils were woefully unprepared in the ‘pen.  The bullpen has blown 12 saves (6th in the majors) but has also blown countless tie games and allowed 1 or 2 run deficits to get out of hand.  As bad as the Phillies are, with a good bullpen, they’re probably a .500 team and everyone is still hopeful for the 2nd half.

***

Gio Gonzalez on for the NL.  The improved play of the Mets and Nats is another big reason why the Phils are firmly in the basement.  They’ve been getting their butts kicked within the division.  I made the comment the other day that the Nationals stole the Phillies’ pitching staff.  This year the Nats are scoring a robust 4.14 runs per game (less than the Phils), but have a team ERA of just 3.20.  The 2012 Phillies scored 4.4 runs per game and had an ERA of 3.02.  The 2012 Phillies score 4.23 runs per game and have an ERA of 4.23 (22nd in MLB).  Hmmm….

***

The NL is on fire, 6-0 lead.  Of course, the National League used to win this thing every year.  I’ve been to two All-Star games in my life and the NL won them both.  Future Phillie, Melky Cabrera pounds a 2-run HR to left to give the NL an 8-0 lead.  Call off the dogs.  Also, put in Trout before Storage Wars comes on so I can go ahead and put this sweetie to bed.  Unless Michael Schwimer got added to the NL squad without me knowing, this one may be over.

***

Here’s Bryce Harper.  Not entirely sure McCarver is still awake.  Oh, there he is.  Harper is wearing gold shoes.  As anyone who reads this blog would say, “Of course he is.”  Harper walks.  Boring.  Jered Weaver totally chickened out.  Harper tags from 1st in an 8-0 game.  Against the unwritten rules?  Yeah, probably.  Josh Hamilton is amused by the hustle.

***

Well, McCarver has been noticeably quiet, especially on the reminiscing front, but we did finally get a Red Schoendienst reference.  I’m fairly sure Schoendienst is McCarver’s all-time favorite Cardinal.  If you buy the Tim McCarver talking doll, all he says when you pull the string is, “Erstwhile Cardinals 2nd Baseman Red Schoendienst.”  Where the cuss is Trout?

***

Trout’s in left.  It’s probably good Trout doesn’t play LF for the Phillies, otherwise we’d have a dangerous obsession type thing brewing.  I’m already a little too attached to the guy thanks to what he’s done for my fantasy team.  Oh, my fantasy team?  Comfortably in first, thanks for asking.  Come back later and I’ll tell you about some poker hands I’ve played.

***

Trout leads off, but all we can manage from McCarver after a base-hit is, “Is there anything Mike Trout can’t do on a baseball field?”  Nice and gushing, but I’d prefer, “Trout reminds me of the time I saw Oyster Burns steal 2nd base for the Brooklyn Grooms.”  Oh man, I zoned out.   I heard, “Al Kaline.”  Someone check the tape for me.

***

Chooch!  He flies out to left.  Unlucky.  Would have liked to see Chooch rifle one into the gap or something.  So far, he’s the only Phillie we’ve seen.  Paps may get an inning, but it looks like Cole will get a breather.  Speaking of breathers, I need one.  I think it’s time to couch this puppy.  For good.  Mailbag coming Thursday. Send in those pics and questions.

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2 thoughts on “Live All-Star Game Blog w/Phillies Mid-Season Commentary.

  1. Did anyone catch the State Farm commercial with Kerry Wood (I think it debuted last night during the homerun derby)? Probably one of my favorite cameos of someone I haven’t thought of in ~15 years

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