Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Longest Day

Today is, of course, the worst day of the year. Because of the annual MLB All*Star Game we have three whole days without meaningful baseball contests. The first of those days now has the Home Run Derby which is, at times, entertaining. This year it was fun due entirely to the presence of Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, a prodigious slugger with an interesting back story. Unfortunately ESPN, as is their usual way, decided it took eight commentators (I think it was actually 10 but I knew you wouldn't believe that!) to cover a home run hitting exhibition. So, throughout the entire thing we had at least 8 clowns yammering away. I do NOT include Erin Andrews in this list by the way. She rises above all events and will not be criticized here! But it got so bad at one point as an old magazine writer tried to give us his oh-so-important oral essay about Hamilton's drug problems that an old hippie-dippie newspaper writer from Boston even took a feeble shot at... Nancy Reagan to one-up his younger rival for airtime. Un-frickin-believable! (Memo to Stutterin' Pete: Josh is sober today because of God and quittin' flat cold, as in, he finally "JUST SAID NO!")

The usual cast of dopes was there, Oafish Berman sweating gravy as usual, failed GM Steve Phillips making sure people knew he was there and important, Joe Morgan repeating himself endlessly and suggesting rules changes (?!?), clownish Kruk being dense but loud, the aforementioned pair of writers who, as broadcasters are, um, writers, plus a garden gnome who hosts the unwatchable Baseball Tonight mess. And countless others. Then they invited Reggie Jackson to sit down and talk because, I guess, there just weren't enough guys talking all at once. Sadly, old Reggie was better than the rest of them-- by far. And I don't even like him much. Face it, the boys in Bristol could mess up a date with.......... Erin Andrews. Next year, have her do the whole thing solo and let's enjoy the contest of today's best sluggers without all the self-important pontificating. So what if she mispronounces a few names.

Tuesday night it was time for the game itself, which moved along smartly due to crisp play and tremendous pitching. I don't get to see Ben Sheets pitch often but, my goodness, he has some snap on that breaking ball. And he's a free agent after the season I see. Hmmmm. The players took it upon themselves to improve today's national sporting outlook by continuing the game past midnight. Good thinking, boys. Unfortunately you forgot that Timmy McCarver was doing the game which meant an early tune out for many of us. The highlights this morning looked great, although it would have been better if that double by Carlos Guillen had been a couple feet higher and turned into a walk-off HR.

So, here we are. Wednesday after All*Star Tuesday. The worst day of the year. Worse than the off season because there's no hockey or football to divert our attention from the fact that... the ballparks are all empty today. That's never good.

Pictured) 2 of the 5 best non-pitchers of all time: L- Tyrus Cobb of Royston, GA and R-Joe Jackson of Greenville, SC.