Don't let anyone tell you that they're more dedicated to blogging baseball than I am. If they say so, they're lying. Here's the deal:
I'm in a crappy hotel in Detroit that doesn't carry TBS, most likely because the joint is run by communists. I was prepared to give up on any baseball -- my quasi-estranged grandmother lives around here somewhere and I was even thinking of stopping in -- but a wonderful reader named Enrique shot me a link to NASN's streaming coverage so sorry Grandma. The signal: 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door; but 'tis enough,'twill serve.
I may fall asleep, or my connection may crap out, but we're going to give this baby a shot. I'll be keeping it to this single post, and I'll try to refresh after every half inning or so, so anyone following this should think about refreshing occasionally too. For those of you with lives, I'll have it all up in-full tomorrow morning.
Cole Hamels was pretty tough in the first game and the Dodgers big bats were pretty tough in the second. I really don't care who wins the Dodgers-Cubs series, but it was nice to see Greg Maddux pitch in the postseason, even if it was basically garbage time. Going forward, man, as if Carlos Zambrano and CC Sabathia didn't have the weight of the world on their shoulders already . . .
Can I tell you how happy I am to see Eckersley still rocking the mullet after all of these years? It's the greatest bit of outmoded hairstyle dedication I've seen since Robert Reed and his perm died back in 1992. As for the rest of the studio team, I am a huge Curtis Granderson fan -- I actually like his ESPN blog quite a bit -- so I'm happy to see him there.
Ah, Chip Caray and Buck Martinez. I suppose it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for my jerry-rigged game broadcast to crash out now.
Top of the 1st
Wasn't TBS showing OBP in players' stat lines during the season and in last year's playoffs? Why not now? [thanks for noting the error, Marksmith; there will be many, I'm sure].
This game is three minutes old, and Martinez has used the word "stroke" three times already.
Bottom of the 1st
Maybe I'm not supposed to ask this, but how come some people were giving the Red Sox crap a couple of weeks ago for being such a White team, while no one tends to mention just how many African-Americans/Black Hispanics play for the Angels? If you're going to criticize such things, shouldn't you give credit where it is due too?
I never, ever get to see the Angels back here in the Midwest, so I tend not to see much of Vlad until the playoffs come around. I'm guessing his weight gain has been gradual, but since I haven't really seen him since last fall, he looks like he has gotten fat overnight.
Buck Martinez is trying to give away the Angels' signs. I'm sure they appreciate that.
Top of the 2nd
Lackey sets 'em down easily. If anyone cares, my feed freezes up about every other batter. I still have audio in real time, but I'm missing some video. For purposes of the liveblog part of me is hoping that this is a really exciting game, but since I may miss some of it, I hope nothing really interesting happens.
Bottom of the 2nd
NASN -- who is providing my video feed -- is owned by ESPN, so I have the odd combo of the TBS broadcast with the standard ESPN crawl along the bottom of the screen. It's all tennis and basketball and stuff. Sahreef Abdur-Rahim has been hired as an assistant coach for the Kings, if anyone cares.
Someone must have told these guys that I have to work in the morning, because they're flying through it so far. Still, I'd like to see something happen.
Top of the 3rd
I'm sure Theo and Bill James and all of the folks in the Red Sox front office love to see a sacrifice bunt attempt in a 0-0 game in the 3rd inning.
Lowrie crushes Aybar to break up the double play. I hate collisions at the plate, but for some reason I don't mind seeing shortstops and second basemen taken out. I realize it makes no sense.
Ellsbury is somewhat fast.
Chip says that both teams want to "force the issue offensively." Stockton said something to that effect in the Dodgers-Cubs game. I don't know what that means. They all want to score a lot of runs, right?
Bottom of the 3rd
Since I have NASN instead of TBS, I don't have any Frank TV ads, but I do get some annoying commercials for "Around The Horn," directed at the European audience. They feature Mariotti and Woody Paige and Co. talking about Benny Hill and otherwise insulting their European audience. Note to ESPN brass: you may want to rethink that campaign.
Teixeira is way behind on a fastball, so Martinez says that Lester needs to throw more heat. My feeble little brain thinks "wait, if Teixeira is behind on fastballs, won't he really try to crank up the swing so as to catch up? Throw junk!" Lester and Varitek must be listening to me because he throws two straight looping curves and strikes out Teixeira. I totally should have a job in baseball.
Jed Lowrie boots one. Ooops. Let's see if Torii Hunter makes him pay . . .
. . . Yep! Hunter singles, Anderson scores.
Top of the 4th
I'll give this to Martinez: it hadn't occurred to me that your hip might have a labrum too due to the presence of a ball-and-socket joint. There. I learned something tonight.
For those of you -- including you, Michael Stoner -- who may want this feed at another time (like, at work) here is the link I'm using right now:
I don't know if that will be the same for other games going forward or not. If it doesn't work, you may just try to go to NASN's (North American Sports Network) website and look for the streaming video.
Bottom of the 4th
Remember the fuss at the beginning of the season about how Tito was going to have to start wearing a uniform top under his little warmup jacket? I don't think he's wearing one. Somebody gonna fine him, or have we forgotten about that petty bit of business?
A couple of readers have noticed that Scott Boras is standing right behind home plate in that little VIP box/dugout thingie. I think I speak for all of us when I say that I am hoping against hope for (a) a hard foul ball straight back off the bat of Vlad; and (b) mesh failure.
Top of the 5th
The crawl is showing hockey scores. They have to be preseason, right? Hockey can't be starting yet, can it? The last season just ended. And they say that baseball season is long.
Again, let me note that Ellsbury has some adequate speed. Beats the bunt, then swipes second.
But no damage done. Lackey looks tough.
Bottom of the 5th
Is Martinez saying that the Red Sox were spreading false rumors about Teixeira when they drafted him back in 1998? I think that's what he was saying.
Lester gives up back to back singles to Teixeira and Guererro, but then its all diffused with a tapper back to the mound from Hunter. I like pitchers' duels, but sometimes they give me this weird, dissonant feeling in which built-up tension is never properly resolved. I can't decide if that in and of itself is a good thing or not.
Top of the 6th
Ortiz swings on the first pitch and pops it straight up. He winced and thrashed a bit when he did it, and for a second I thought he messed up his wrist again, but I guess he was just mad.
Jason Bay looked really bad tonight until he yanked that fastball over the fence. Boom! It's 2-1.
Bottom of the 6th
Lester strikes out the side. Strike three on Gary Matthews was about six inches low, but hey, whaddaya gonna do?
Top of the 7th
Lowrie's check swing strikeout was questionable. Must have been a makeup call for the Matthewes "strike." Oh wait, umps never do that.
You know you've had a good game from both starters when you see guys warming up in the bullpen and go "aw, man."
Wow, Matthews -- who ain't in there for his bat -- totally woofs a liner to right from Ellsbury, and the ball rolls to the wall. He's lucky Ellsbury didn't make it all the way home. Martinez says he lost it in the lights, but he looked all off kilter from the beginning of the play.
And that's it for Lackey. Am I the only one who still can't get his mind around the idea of Darren Oliver being a good reliever? I know he's been serviceable in that role for a couple of years now, but I still think of him giving up lots of runs as a Rangers' starter whenever I see him.
But no, he's good. He really is.
Bottom of the 7th
Lester is getting stronger as the game goes on. He's simply dealing. He's also probably done, given that he's around 120 pitches now.
Top of the 8th
Jason Bay hits a double as, it seems, most of Europe is starting to wake up and watch this video feed themselves, because the locking up and buffering is getting worse. I don't think I've missed anything, but this is getting somewhat annoying.
But not too annoying. I mean, even choppy baseball has made me mostly forget about how mad I was earlier tonight when I thought I'd have nada, and I haven't thought much about the Great Depression v. 2.0 for almost eight hours.
Bottom of the 8th
Teixeira, Guerrero, and Hunter are up this inning. It seems that if they're going to break through, they'll need to do it now. If they don't, the bottom of the order is going to have to rally against Papelbon, right?
Holy Crap! Did I mention that Ellsbury is fast? Awesome play by Ellsbury.
Wow. Can Guerrero even run anymore? Nailed at third as he looked like Refrigerator Perry trying to score a touchdown or something.
Lost chances, man. Lost chances.
Top of the 9th
What's the statute of limitations of promoting someone as an Academy Award winner? Don't get me wrong: I like Timothy Hutton -- I even liked Turk 182 -- but to promote his new show as starring "Academy Award winner Timothy Hutoon" isn't exactly truthful, even if it is technically accurate. Does Tatum O'Neal get that billing when she's arrested?
Get the small-ball Red Sox! They got 'em on, got 'em over, and got 'em in. Chip Caray is quite happy about this, because like so many other broadcasters, he was somehow taught that a "manufactured" run is worth more than a homer.
More insurance as Ortiz goes up the middle, and this game is grinding to a halt, both in real time and on my little video feed, which is all but toast now. Really, it's like having halting radio at this point.
Bottom of the 9th
I was going to quit early, but screw it: Papelbon is on with a three-run lead. I'm not seeing a comeback here, so this should end pretty quickly. I've had shorter night's sleep.
There's a hit. Hurm.
Closeup of Vlad. He's still slowing down from that lumbering run into third base in the eighth.
And that, as they say, is that. This was your standard Red Sox playoff game, wasn't it? It was about three and a half hours of slow, grinding attrition. They poked hits through when they needed to. They got to relievers they shouldn't have gotten to. They're the champs. What can you say?
As for me, this was the first and probably the last time I try to liveblog from streaming video. Like I said before, it was better than nothing -- and because I'm in a hotel in Greater Beruit, it was this or nothing -- but it is not ideal. Tomorrow night I'm back to my HDTV, my Eames lounge chair, and the comforts of home.