Bill Simmons did it. Then my buddy Tyler Thompson did it. Now, I'm going to give it a shot. Here is my running diary for Game 1 of the World Series.
4:50 p.m. (PT): Sitting down at Tom’s Bar in Portland watching an Abercrombie model bang out the national anthem. Someone should tell him that the performer doesn’t have to keep his hand on his heart. He looks like Ricky Bobby. “What do I do with these?”
4:52: The ESPN game preview says the Yankees have a 67 percent chance of winning. Clearly, that program can’t account for the “Cliff Lee eats batters like Joey Chestnut eats hot dogs” factor.
5:00: Jimmy Rollins wants to make a statement as he leads off with a bunt, and that statement is, “I can’t hit CC straight up, so I’m going to roll the dice with a bunt.” Snake eyes, Jimmy.
5:08: Two on, two out in the top of the first. Everything about the Utley-Howard-Werth combination frightens me. These guys win baseball games in big ways.
5:11: CC walks the bases loaded. I’m unhappy, but I’d be more unhappy if Werth cranked a hit there, which he will do more often than not. We’ll call that an unintentional intentional walk.
5:13: Rauuuuuul is not ready to come on strong on baseball’s biggest stage. This is a good thing. Weak ground out to second for the final out. We’ll chalk that inning up to practice and hope that CC is ready to actually pitch next frame.
5:18: Lee just threw the best curveball in baseball history to Jeter. For good measure, he made sure that the bounce hit the ump in the crotch to warn him: “Don’t ruin this for me tonight or there’ll be more of that.” Jeter follows Cliff Lee’s game plan and strikes out on high heat.
5:25: Basketball is showing on six of 10 screens here. The other four are the Yankees games. True life confession—basketball is a better, more exciting sport. I’m not going to apologize for saying that and I can’t be convinced otherwise. Even during a World Series game, I am have a hard time not watching the other screens.
5:43: Melky makes a solid catch on a potential double. The play is all the better because Melky was clearly tonguing his dip in his lip as he was sprinting for the ball. Two great saves.
5:51: Chase Utley just discovered the short porch in right field. 1-0 Phillies. I told you this part of the lineup was scary. He also milked CC for close to 22 pitches.
Really good baseball, Chase. Now go hang yourself.
5:57: Remember when Nick Swisher was carrying the Yankees before A-Rod came back from surgery?
But he is doing everything in his power to erase those memories this postseason. Being the best character guy on team only earns you so much leeway. Swisher is testing those limits.
5:59: Derek Jeter hits an opposite field triple but decides that the World Series is a marathon not a sprint, so he saves himself and settles for the double. This is fine, since we’ll be getting lots more hits off Cliff Lee with 2 outs in this inning…wait…
6:00: End of inning. Still 1-0 Phillies.
Not your fault, Derek.
6:15: The television here is on mute, but I’m guessing Rich Dubee (Phillies pitching coach) just said something like “Cliff is a fearless conqueror of men and shall henceforth only be known as The Fallen. He can only be defeated by a Prime.’” We need to find out if the Yankees have a living Prime descendant on their roster.
6:25: Welcome to the game, CC. We were about to send the search party.
The Fallen and Sabathia have entered the kill zone and are plowing through batters like John McClane plows through radical Germans.
6:50: Utley cranks another solo shot. 2-0 Phillies.
I don’t want to hold it against CC for one bad pitch that leads to a run, but this game is going to come down to about 5 bad pitches between Lee and CC. So far CC has two of them, The Fallen zero.
6:55: A better second baseman turns Werth’s single into a routine out. Such is not the case with the Yankees. Werth is doing what he does and exploiting our defensive weakness up the middle.
7:03: The Fallen is a bad man. Only he could turn such a routine pop out into the most arrogant, defiant play of the playoffs. “Get on your knees and tell me you love me, Johnny Damon.” Words cannot express how much attitude Lee exuded on that catch. No doubt the defining moment of the game so far.
7:10: CC walks Francisco who doesn’t have a hit in the postseason (0-6). Just when it looks the fuel gauge is dropping to “E” he gets Feliz to bat into a double play
7:25: I believe in you, Phil Hughes, even if Girardi doesn’t. I don’t expect greatness from you, we just need one shutout inning.
7:26: Rollins rips a 350 foot foul that could have been blown fair with a strong fart. Too close for comfort. I’m guessing that the already insecure Hughes is rattled.
This is bad.
Posada should go out there and tell him to believe in himself as the crowd slow claps and wills him on to greatness. That’s what Phil needs.
7:27: To no one’s surprise Rollins is at second.
7:43: Robertson is now pitching for the Yanks. It looks like Girardi is surrendering this game. I can’t really blame him though. Why keep fighting when no descendant of the Primes has emerged to kill the Fallen?
7:48: Rauuuuuul is ready now. The Yankees bullpen is not. 4-0 Phils. All the Phillies fans in the bar just come out the woodwork to cheer for the first time this game. How brave of them to finally make some noise once their team is up 4 runs. They don’t deserve to feel pleasure.
7:50: A-Rod makes a solid defensive play to put an end to the disaster. Unfortunately, it’s probably too late. The Fallen is at 95 pitches with a complete game looking likely.
7:53: The Fallen just turned into Geena Davis in A League of Their Own with an insane behind the back catch.
What’s next, Cliff?
Is he going to catch a ball with his hat? Or is he going to sprint into the stands while simultaneously ripping off his jock strap and catch a ball in his cup? Lee can do anything.
8:00: Bruney was just activated for this series and is now pitching for the first time since Oct 2. Let’s just wave a white flag and call the game now. No need to waste everybody’s time.
8:25: Shutout ruined. I hope this comes as no consolation to the Yankees, because it isn’t.
8:29: Game over. 6-1 Phillies. I’m not even going to be bitter because we’re watching what might be one of the greatest postseasons by a pitcher ever. Thanks for the memories, Cliff.