Friday, April 16, 2010

Dodger Talk for Lovers

Usually I don’t mind long baseball games. Especially if I’m there. It’s like I’m getting more for my money. No one bitches that Springsteen concerts last four hours (well maybe Mrs. Springsteen who doesn’t want to look at his cheating ass for four hours but you get the idea).

And yet, every so often…

Ugh!!!!

Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium was one of those Ugh!!! nights. 11 innings. FIVE hours. By the time I got on the air it was close to 1 A.M. Dodger Talk for Lovers.

You sort of understand if it’s a playoff game where so much is riding on every pitch or a Yankees-Red Sox game where so many commercials are riding between every pitch, but the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondback on game eight in April???

So how does it happen? Well, let’s see. Sixteen pitchers to start with. That’s sixteen pitching changes. In another inning, second basemen were going to be pitching or Don Newcombe was going to come out of retirement. There were twelve walks; nine issued by Dodger chuckers. Nothing’s more exciting to watch than “low ball two”, “high ball three”. Add to that pitching coaches, managers, catchers, and infielders calling time for meetings on the mound and you have the WAR & PEACE of baseball except instead of battle scenes you’re treated to the troops sitting around polishing their boots.

433 pitches were thrown, twice as many as a regular game. It was like was like watching a bad doubleheader.

Yes, there were hits. There were also errors, errors of omission, runner’s interference, and a poor catcher trying to catch a knuckleball.

And midway through the game there was a problem anchoring second base. This could be very dangerous so needed to be repaired immediately. That was ten or fifteen minutes. Kudos to Dodgers’ radio man Charley Steiner for observing “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”.

The great Vin Scully, calling the Dodger telecast, is still the best prepared broadcaster in the business. By the 10th he still had facts and interesting stories about all these guys. But I’m sure by inning 13 he would have been giving their dental records.

The great thing about baseball is that there are no time limits. You can’t run down the clock. You have to earn all 27 outs. Or 30. Or 33. Y’know, come to think of it, if you’re paying the sitter, and you have a long drive home, do you really need the Boss to launch into a medley of “Tunnel of Love” songs at midnight?

18 comments:

Rene said...

Baseball would be a WHOLE lot more interesting if the batter *actually* had to make out with the fielder every time he made it to first base...

TimmyD said...

Pretty hilarious Ken.
I was at Dodger Stadium in 1991 when Dennis Martinez of the Expos threw a perfect game. I was 8 years old and it was the most boring day of my life. I still haven't recovered.

John said...

Fun trivia fact -- The two longest games in Los Angeles Dodgers history occurred just 2 1/2 months apart in 1989; a pair of 22 inning wins over Houston and Montreal in 1989. Which at least were played in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. Lord help the poor schlub who's the post-game host of some East Coast team that plays a mega-extra inning night game on the West Coast. Instead of doing "Dodger Talk for Lovers", you're doing the "Mets Morning Drive Traffic and Weather Together Report".

Great Big Radio Guy said...

One night in 1985 I came home after midnight and snapped on TBS to watch the replay of that night's Braves game, which they did every night. Only it wasn't a replay. It was LIVE. Maybe not the greatest game ever, but one of the most memorable.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/mlbs-greatest-game-ever/

It was July 4th. When the game finally ended at 4 in the morning, they still shot off the fireworks.

Laurie Powers said...

I hang around with some friends who go to a lot of games, and they were at Wednesday night's game. I always feel a little guilty that I'm not there with them - but not this time. I was relieved I decided to stay home. And what - Thursday night's game too! At least that went "only" 10 innings.

And your prediction that Matt would hit another HR on Wednesday game true! Hope you had money on him Thursday AND tonight, because the HRs keep on comin'.

Paul Duca said...

Actually, doesn't a Springsteen concert mean that Mrs. Boss at least knows where he is for four hours at a time>

Mikel said...

That Mets-Braves game in 1985 might not have been the "greatest game ever" but it featured one of the greatest calls ever. When a Braves pitcher hit a home run in the bottom of the 17th to tie the game back up, the marvelous Hank Greenberg (not the ballplayer, but the Mets play-by-play man at the time) simply said, in the most crestfallen tone imaginable: "home run."

Tom Quigley said...

During last year's (2009) Big East basketball tournament, Syracuse was playing UConn in the quarterfinals on a late Friday night, and even though it was a close game, I decided to turn in and go to bed... An hour later when I couldn't sleep, I got up, went downstairs and turned on the TV, expecting to hear what the final score was... To my shock, the game was still on and they were just finishing the second overtime; so I decided to stay up and keep watching figuring this can't go on much longer... Wrong! It turned out to be the longest collegiate basketball game ever played, going into six overtimes... Syracuse won(and won their semifinal, but ran out of gas in the final against Louisville), and I went to bed about 1:30am, two hours later than I had originally planned...

Dave Mackey said...

Vin Scully is still the best there is and probably the best there will ever be. Do you see another Scully in the crop of current broadcasters?

KEN LEVINE said...

I don't see there being another Vin Scully ever. He's the best that will ever be. He's Mozart and Picasso all rolled into one.

Anonymous said...

Where's Vin today? The game is on Fox, national, unwatchable with all the ECU camera changes. No Vin on KABC.....

dodz said...

baseball game is great. but sometimes it's dangerous

Phil said...

It's always fun to watch a Dodgers game when Vin is calling it. But it was especially rewarding this week on Jackie Robinson Day. When Vin told us about Jackie, he wasn't relating stories he had read about, he was talking about incidents that he had witnessed! Mr. Scully, never retire!

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Just as I read this I heard about a Mets/Cardinals game running 20 innings. Mets won 2-1.

Bandini said...

anyone remember Ross Porter during an extra inning game? If it went 11 innings you knew what the guy's batting avg was on night games that go extra innings on astro turf in the month of june.

I miss Ross

Chalmers said...

On the Fox broadcast of the 20-inning game yesterday, the made several references to the 7/4/85 Mets-Braves "Rick Camp" game. McCarver also broadcast that one.

I flipped to the Met-network postgame to see the bizarre spectacle of a team celebrating a game they won by scraping out two runs in three innings against non-pitchers.

They didn't even have a RBI hit, scoring on sac flies in the 19th and 20th. In the three innings, they only had one base hit into the outfield.

The night before, the winning hit was a Felix Lopez grand slam off of Raul Valdes. Last night, Valdes came up to hit in a key 18th inning at bat against Lopez. How often does that happen?

My head almost exploded in the top of the 19th. LaRussa brought in outfielder Joe Mather to pitch, and while Lopez looked OK, Mather was nowhere near competent, walking leadoff hitter Jose Reyes.

So with an outfielder pitching, after a walk where nothing was close and with Wright on deck, Jerry Manuel has Luis Castillo SACRIFICE--giving an out to a guy who seemed unable to get one and assuring that the team's best hitter would be walked to get to Bay whose last hit seemingly was at Fenway.

Tough day for Mark McGwire, A-Rod passed him on the home run list, then he watched his hitting pupils strand 22 runners.

scottmc said...

CHALMERS summed up the 20 inning Mets-Cardinals game perfectly. Future generations will look at Saturday's game and,to paraphrase Woody Allen's 'Howard Cosell' line in 'Sleeper' , conclude that when people of our time committed a crime against society they were forced to watch the April 17, 2010 game between the Mets and the Cardinals.

Robyn said...

I go down to LA from Vancouver, Canada two times a year so I can see the Dodgers play... and I was at that game! I love me some baseball, but man, that was a LONG game. And we were freezing! Still, even at that.. I couldn't think of a better place to spend my time. :)