Kansas City Royals: In-Game Musings of a Madman
All Times CDT (eat it, East and West Coasters)
7:05 pm—Well, I'm going to try this out to see how it goes. Seeing as though my DVR makes me a demigod, I'll be able to rewind anything I miss while typing. This by no means will be an everyday thing. An undertaking of that enormity would be my undoing. The Royals have taken over my life enough as it stands.
7:09 pm—I've gotta say, Brian Bannister's goatee is getting more and more formidable. If that goatee were an actor from yore, it'd be Lee Marvin.
7:12 pm—Despite choking up on the bat as high as a nine-year-old, Asdrubal Cabrera rips a double over DeJesus' head. It seems like there are a lot of balls that David DeJesus is not getting to that Willie Bloomquist probably would have a play on.
On Sizemore's flyout to the warning track, I had a moment of concern wherein Asdrubal Cabrera might be able to tag up from second and actually make it home on Coco Crisp's arm, or lack thereof.
And there's a run...
Nice throw to the cutoff man, Coco.
And Banny paints the corner to get Mark DeRosa out looking. Damage limited to one run. Slight sigh of relief is breathed.
7:20 pm—Good Lord, Billy Butler is getting good wood on the ball every time he's up. With Alex Gordon sidelined, this was definitely a necessity if the Royals were to weather that storm.
On the 1-1 pitch to Jose Guillen I had a flashback to last season, in which he would have swung at that ball inside and looked foolish. Granted, he flew out to center on the next pitch, but at least that was a strike. His discipline in the batter's box this year is absolutely shocking to me. So much so that I feel compelled to talk about it incessantly.
7:27 pm—Well, at least Bannister got Matt LaPorta swinging on the pitch after the "checked" swing. Two Ks. Throwin' rocks tonight, boys.
And the second inning is in the books with Bannister having looked quite a bit more in control than in the first. I guess that's the thing with the no-seam that you can't really control...
7:35 pm—Those Mark Teahen numbers against Cliff Lee have to all be from 2007, right? .368 with two socked dongs and only five Ks in 38 at-bats. That's hard to fathom.
I guess he picks him up at will though, because he got a bead on that one. Hell, Mike Jacobs scored from first on that one.
And he runs into an out on the basepaths again. Hasn't Ben Francisco already thrown him out at least once this season? I know you're a good base runner, Mr. Teahen, but come on. You've been thrown out at least four times in this early season while trying to stretch out hits and advancing on fly balls.
7:43 pm—I thought Burl Ives was dead.
Three Ks! Qadry Ismail, look out! There's a new Missile.
Quick work in the third. Always nice when Bannister's on the mound.
7:50 pm—And...another out on the basepaths. Why, Alberto? Why? Bert Calypso strikes again.
7:54 pm—Glad that Shin-Soo Choo fly ball was hit right at Guillen. If it weren't, Choo would probably be standing on second base.
You get the sense that the Royals need to hand it to the Indians in this series to make their claim on the AL Central. With Detroit facing the red-hot Rangers concurrently, it would seem that now is the time to make up that game and make a statement after a less-than-impressive six games against cellar-dwellers Oakland and Baltimore. That statement needs to be, "We do not let lesser teams beat us."
Back to the game, that Coco dive was pretty close, all things considered. It's too bad Callaspo's relay to the plate wasn't a little more to the third base side of the plate. They may have had a play...
8:04 pm—With these Royals, you never know what kind of night you're going to get offensively, but you have to be pleased when Cliff Lee doesn't reecord a strikeout until the fourth inning. Now that Mike Jacobs is in the batter's box, I suppose the odds for that second one going in the books are pretty good. Yep. Two Ks now.
Oh, shit. I haven't had a beer yet. What is wrong with me?
Inning over. Guillen stranded at first. Beer time.
8:10 pm—No beer? Dammit.
Bunts? Back-to-back? Play like men, Cleveland.
Weird double play. Out at first. Run down between first and second. Then Luis Valbuena tries to deck Miguel Olivo with Olivo jumping up ready to go. Might not be the guy you wanna fuck around with there, Valbuena. He will pummel you until your kidneys are pudding and your heart prunes up.
8:17 pm—The question here is if Olivo is going to be motivated enough to take this ball yard. Well, he harnessed his rage and laced a single between third and short. Watch out, catcher, on the basepaths. Will he steal home with a full count and two outs?
DeJesus takes care of advancing Olivo to second. Anticipation builds.
Bloomquist's deep fly to right center takes care of third base. The tension is palpable with the lefty Lee's back turned. Do it, Miguel. Do it.
You ruined it, Mr. Crisp. First pitch? Argh!
8:24 pm—Whiskey time. Glenrothes Select Reserve to be exact. Two fingers, neat, in a tumbler. Not as American as a can of Schlitz, but what can you do?
It's always weird for me to think that Mark DeRosa is 34 years old. It must be rough to wait for that long before becoming an everyday player. I guess that's the curse of playing on a good team for so long.
Man, Callaspo and Bloomquist were both so close on that DeRosa grounder over the second base bag.
As Teahen elects to turn two rather than try to take the out at home, one gets the sense that this game is over in the top of the sixth with the Indians up two.
And as the game feels like it's slipping away, news of eight innings of one-hit ball from Dontrelle Willis against the Rangers comes across the screen.
With that hit-by-pitch that Matt LaPorta drew, you almost hope that he broke something there.
If a 3-1 lead wasn't insurmountable, it sure feels like this 5-1 lead is...
Banny, Dorn has come in from third, and he's telling you to "Strike this [awkward TV edit] guy out." Looks like you listened to Psych's dad. Good work. It'd be better if that two-run moonshot wasn't mixed in there, though.
8:36 pm—Sonic Slam time. Make up for that baserunning gaffe here, Bert. Oddly, six of his 11 strikeouts on the season have come in the last 10 games. Is something amiss, Senor Calyspo? Relax. Stop pressing. You'll stay in the mix for the doubles crown. How was Choo playing right there? He's clearly using black magic.
Billy "Bam-Bam" Butler knocks a double off the wall and suddenly hope stirs in the heart of this miserly Royals fan.
Warm the cockles of my heart, Jose Guillen.
The ball drops, and it is bobbled! With Guillen on second, it will only take a double to plate him.
Mostly irrelevant as Mike Jacobs is sure to blast a home run into the fountain here. Or inadvertently make contact on a checked swing grounding out to the pitcher about 15 feet from the plate.
Teahen lines out to short, and the Royals are only down three. Lee's pitch count is so low, that it is hard to get too hopeful for four more runs scored tonight.
8:46 pm—In comes The Game Changer, Horacio Ramirez, to face the top of the Indians order.
AL Batting Average Leader Victor Martinez? Apparently, he grew up wanting to be Ozzie Guillen (shortstop not an outspoken hot-head—or at least I assume that he wasn't aspiring to be a hot-head, as that seems like an odd dream). Walk. Don't give them base runners, Herr Ramirez.
Indians, you've been Horacio Ramirezed. That's like getting posterized by Shawn Bradley, the best player in the history of the NBA.
8:54 pm—Panic and the specter of sitting two games down in the Central to the Tigers are both starting to settle in. Maybe I need to stop caring about sports. It will surely make me insane.
Apparently Willis only went six and a third—a little less imposing, I guess.
Post-script on Olivo Time: More often than not, this equates to a strikeout. Our wildest dreams were fulfilled on that one.
David DeJesus is up with eight outs left. With the way he is—or rather, isn't—hitting, you know what this means. Pop fly. The defensively-challenged Matt LaPorta need not leave his comfort zone to get to that ball.
Hope lies on the shoulders of Willie Bloomquist. Mariners fans, Bill Bavasi, and Asdrubal Cabrera chuckle at the thought, and Bloomquist grounds out to short.
9:01 pm—Note to Heineken: Putting a Biz Markie sing-along in your ads cannot cover up the fact that your product is a substandard domestic lager packaged in a lame green bottle and marked up because it was shipped across an ocean.
HoRam comes back out to take it to the streets, Michael McDonald-style, beard and all. And to Matt LaPorta he says, "I ain't blind and I don't like what I think I see." Sit down.
9:08 pm—Coco Crisp's strike zone judgment is insane. He is laying off pitches that are so close and not getting burned often. Perhaps his eye is keeping him from going after balls he would have gotten hits off of last year, but his OBP more than makes up for the putrid average.
Regardless, three straight fly balls to Choo, and I'm looking for things to throw.
9:13 pm—The Professor makes his way to the mound. Nine straight scoreless outings seems impossible after that first week or so.
Billy Butler's glovework elicits a "Nice grab" from the old lady.
Another ground ball to the right side of the infield. Another out for Farnsworth in the Bizarro Kougar.
David DeJesus front crawls* to that could-have-been gapper off the bat of Cabrera.
*Also, the product of the old lady's viewership.
9:21—Kerry Wood comes out and if his last outing against the Royals is an indicator of what is to come, the bottom of the ninth is a mere formality.
Guillen comes up and just as quickly as he got there is out with a whimper.
3-1 to Jacobs. Crush it. Crush it. Full count. For about 70 days.
MARK TEAHEN CRUSHES ANOTHER. CUE EPIC MUSIC. BACK-TO-BACK! AND THEY'RE BOTH ON MY FANTASY TEAM! THAT SHIT IS GOLDEN.
Olivo to make it three? He's sure swinging for the fucking fences. Faked out on that breaking ball inside. Wait, Miguel Olivo is working the count? Jack Attack chalks it up to lamest facial hair ever on the chin of one Kerry Wood. This is fashion crime karma, Wood.
DeJesus with a clutch triple with one out. Hope is not dead. Hope is very much alive. One out. Willie Bloomquist comes to the plate. You've got to think he's going to drive this run in.
Ballgame? That wild pitch almost did it.
Willie Ballgame...3-1. That's it. Sac fly. Ball game.
9:35 pm—So I guess I picked the right game to do this on. A roller coaster ride if I've ever seen one. The Royals throw down the gauntlet in the bottom of the ninth, come back from the dead, erase a three-run lead, and DeJesus scores on a deep Bloomquist sacrifice fly to the strong-armed Choo after driving in the game-tying run on a triple the play before.
This Royals fan is pretty damn happy.
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