Playoff baseball in Florida. Just as Abner Doubleday foretold in his hallucinations. It begins right now as Cole "Settled In" Hamels and Scott "Dialed In" Kazmir will pitch. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver will tell you what you already knew on the Fox broadcast. And this piece? Well, I call it "Lick My Love Jump." * * *Bottom 9th 3
2It's after midnight, so it's time for bed, children. Thanks for clicking and typing and refreshing. But mostly refreshing. I'll see every one of you (metaphorically, until Gawker's tech guys can install reverse cameras in the website) here tomorrow. 12:01 — Pedro Feliz trips backward into the foul pop fly, which he appropriately catches. (It's always "appropriate" when some guy gets the final out. Lidge saves the day yet again, and the Philbins are now 6-0 in Deadspin Live Blogs. This is starting to get weird. 11:59 — Tim calls Lidge's slider away a "cement mixer." That gives him a delightful idea for a new mixed drink. Two parts scotch, one part rosin, and stirred using a Spirograph. 11:58 — Evan Longoria goofily lunges at his third strike. Off you go. 11:55 — Brad Lidge 2.0 starts the inning off properly with a third strike that Peña can only admire. Commercial Break Let's see if WebMD has the answers I need ... [types in "satan raped me"] Hmm ... that doesn't help me too much. Top 9th 11:51 — Ah, a pop to second won't move anyone home. Lidge's margin of error remains fragile. 11:49 — Bruntlett has the stubble power of Matt Stairs, but clearly his biscuits-and-gravy intake needs work. 11:47 — Captain Planet needs you, Dan Wheeler! Eric Bruntlett has a tawdry history of littering. You know what to do. 11:45 — Miller squarely blitzkriegs Howard's at bat on the outside corner, and he gets redemption after eight years of revenge. Now Maddon will slough off his LOOGY for someone who can last more than six pitches a night. 11:42 — Ah, this is what we've been waiting for. Trever Miller against his former team. All the bad blood comes down to this. (Well, c'mon, this 9th inning is like a Dramamine smoothie. Someone needs to jazz it up.) 11:40 — Joe Maddon will instead let Balfour give up a double to Jayson Werth and walk Utley — but with the SHIFT ON! — and then pull him. 11:36 — Joe Maddon will opt to let Balfour continue owning Phillies hitting late. Bottom 8th 3
211:32 — Nuh-uh. Upton swings and leaves the hallucinatory shadow men on base. 11:28 — Iwamura's fourth hit? Pssh. It's actually a fly to right. But now Upton FINALLY bats with nobody on base, so that solo shot is just around the corner, idnit? 11:22 — Ryan Madson will be the eighth inning overfunded pork parrel "Bridge To Lidge" for tonight. Top 8th 11:19 — Balfour was promised a free Vegemite cowbell if he got 7-8-9 in order. He was rewarded properly. Commercial Break Just so I have my oversaturated commercials in order, "Routan Boom" is Fox's latest hit show coming this fall. "Silverado" quality you look for in a light beer. And Frank Caliendo does a dead-on-but-not-hilarious impression of a volcano taco. Bottom 7th 3
211:14 — Hamels hangs in the game long enough to pimp slap the bottom of the order one more time. 11:10 — Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon star in, Five Years Ago We'd Be In Better Films. With Jon Voight in a throwaway role? You bet your cheap theater ticket stub he is! Seventh Inning Stretch Entertainment Really, if I said nothing more than "monkey" and "segway" at this juncture, and you didn't watch this video, is there anything else I could have done?
Top 7th, Still 11:04 — Balfour, the Australian, was brought in to pitch to Victorino, the switch-hitting Hawaiian. It's because they're near each other, isn't it? If there was a Guamanian in the bullpen, they'd have used him. But Balfour K's Victorino to, again, make a baserunner weep by not scoring. Commercial Break 11:01 — Taco Bell really wants to compete with restaurants like Ruth's Chris by saying "why have a small-looking steak that tastes great when you can have this big burrito thing, the only ingredient of which that has any nutritional content whatsoever is probably the tortilla?" But hey, they're open late! Top 7th 10:59 — Pat Burrell walking is grounds for Howell's removal from the mound. Grant Balfour, GET YOUR ASS UP THERE. 10:55 — I don't care who you are, random swearing picked up on field microphones are great. When Utley was almost picked off on a snap throw to third, there was an errant, "Get outta here, god damnit!" I don't know the backstory, but it sure is fun to dream. I imagine it's a hardcore Tampa Bay Rays fan yelling at his girlfriend. How hardcore is he? He bought a piece of Tampa merchandise in 2007. 10:51 — Chase Utley steals second. Everyone gets free Fazoli's breadsticks. 10:49 — Joe Maddon and umpire Tim Welke kindly agree to disagree on the balk-no balk on Hamels' pickoff move to first. "I understand what you're saying" was uttered by both gentlemen. The satin gloves did not need to come off and graze the backside of either lad's cheeks. Time for crumpets. I think Greg Creed might have a few in his trousers. 10:49 — Scott Kazmir gets the Grady Little Seal Of Approval and remains in the game. [Edit: Oh, that's JP Howell. Nevermind, I forgot Tampa Bay has 43 lefthanded pitchers.] Bottom 6th 3
210:44 — Aw, Mr. Crawfish. Carl completes the disappointing inning with a groundout. Lenny is crestfallen. 10:43 — Longoria looks at strike three while the town crier of technology, the strike zone replay, shows it was inside. Well, technically, ALL of these pitches are inside, but that's not important right now. 10:42 — Never mind the error. It's wiped clean by catching him running to second and just barely throwing him out. Just barely throwing out Carlos Peña? Did Howard shot-put the ball to second? 10:40 — How many bumbles and bobbles does it take Ryan Howard to commit to allow Peña to reach first on an error?
Top 6th 10:37 — Kazmir escapes the inning with minimal damage, and will return to the dugout to repair his shields and reload his phasers. But Chad "Groundhugger" Bradford and J.P. "Josephine" Howell were warming up on the sidelines. I'm thinking Maddon should pull Kazmir. We saw how well that worked last week. 10:35 — Coste pops up and Chris Myers has the exclusive with the president of Taco Bell, Greg Creed. What's that ... an accent? Hey now, I thought Mexican food was an American thing! I'm so disillusioned. 10:33 — Maybe Kazmir's weakness is the folks with Z's in their name. Pedro Feliz is giving him fits, and Ruiz has a walk and RBI. Quick, see if Todd Zeile wants one last swing at the plate! Commercial Break PC's apparent response to Mac commercials: "Oh yeah? Well WE have laptops! Do you?" Bottom 5th 3
210:28 — Ryan Howard battles a sea of inept hands trying to catch a ball (so THAT's where last year's Tampa team went!) and snares the foul pop to continue Upton's piss poor night at the plate. I don't think he deserves free processed food. Do you? 10:27 — Can BJ Upton find a way to get into a double play with two outs? He'll have to be creative, and if he pulls it off, we'll time-warp into the sixth inning with one out on the scoreboard. 10:25 — Iwamura's third hit is a gapper that drives in #9 Combo Meal, and it's a one-run game. Now Bartlett can FINALLY head to the bathroom. 10:22 — Aaand ... a stolen base. Taco Belltlett? Jason Burritolett? Whatever the case, the taco you will get for free will be
indispensable indigestible. 10:20 — Jason Bartlett has earned Hamels' respect at the plate, and walks him for the second time tonight. 10:15 — Tim notes that Dioner Navarro, like his backstop counterpart, Carlos Ruiz, is also from Venezuela. Now, there are so many interesting angles you can take on this one, but Tim opts for the "neither were drafted, because the draft doesn't go into Latin America" route. Other viable options: • Neither can run for US President • Neither grew up watching "Saved By The Bell" • Neither took the SAT • Neither were born in Panama • Neither voted against Hugo Chavez 10:14 — Oh, I was totally going to put that lottery code on my bingo card. I was three numbers off. Commercial Break A lesson in timing and technology. Ten years ago, a touchscreen computer would have been amazing. Today, marketing a personal computer with a touch monitor just looks like one can pretend they're working at a restaurant in their own home. Screw touch technology! Can it fit in my pocket and send e-mail while on a train? Top 5th 10:09 — Burrell's little squib hit is fielded by Kazmir, but Pat's lumbering body gets in the way of the gentle throw to Peña, who can't handle it. Somewhere, Chuck Knoblauch stops everything he's doing and argues with the man closest to him about how that should have been interference. 10:09 — Two close, close pitches to Burrell. And everyone agrees. The replay: WAY OFF THE PLATE. 10:07 — I'm pretty sure I just saw a fan wearing a throwback Phils uniform banging a cowbell. Somebody brief him on what his percussive message actually translates to in Tampa. 10:05 — Ryan Howard gets the full count walk. It was not a strike. That's because there was not a swing! 10:03 — Joe: "That was a bad 3-0 swing." Tim: "That's because it was a bad 3-0 pitch." [jams pen into forehead] Bottom 4th 3
19:56 — And Aybar will ... nah, just the one run for this inning. 9:54 — After two speedy outs, a conversation with Rich Dubee is interrupted by his pitcher allowing a homer to Carl Crawford. Too bad I don't think it was live, else I'd love to have had praise for his young pitcher cut short by some swearing. Top 4th 9:50 — Jimmy Rollins, jealous of Ruiz's easy RBI, just strikes out. 9:49 — Ruiz gets the gift-wrapped RBI by grounding to shortstop and having the benefit of runners on base and less than two out. Lucky dog. 9:48 — "The Phillies have no stolen bases but it seems like they have three." No, Tim. No it doesn't. It feels like they have zero actually. Perhaps you're just that into your Strat-O-Matic season? 9:47 — Every steal attempt is offset by some kind of contact made by the batter, ruining free tacos for everyone. Maybe Burger King should sponsor every team's hit and run. 9:46 — Ol' Kazmir's all hot and bothered by Victorino on base. He can't concentrate. Stop staring at his tits, Kazmir, and focus on your catcher's crotch! Feliz reaches for a single. 9:43 — Upton can't reach Victorino's dying quail, so he just lets it bounce behind him and lets Zobrist field it. Bottom 3rd 2
09:39 — BJ Upton loves him some double plays. With the pads all touched by Rays, a hard ball to Feliz turns into an inning-ending double play. Because double plays are bad for teams. 9:35 — The only logical man to steal the first base of the series is Iwamura. If we had "Tacoby Bellsbury" last year, then Taconori Iwamura is so far the only pun-on-words I can think up right now. Aki gets a single to right that doesn't score Zobrist, turning this inning into one awesome T-ball moment. 9:34 — Keeping the perfect symmetrical chi of Game 1, Jason Bartlett is walked, and both #9 hitters got free passes to first so far. 9:33 — Aw, they finally showed Jason Bartlett announcing himself. Adorable. 9:32 — Dioner Navarro can do nothing, but Ben Zobrist proves Joe Maddon a gut managing genius by singling. He lets his gall bladder pick the lineup, and sure enough it worked here. Commercial Break I may not be interested in ostrich burgers, but I will never let a beer delivery man give me culinary advice. Top 3rd 9:27 — And Burrell fails at life, if life were nothing but that particular atbat. There's another runner Kazmir kept on base and left him there to starve, bringing the total to four for the night. What a bend-but-not-break pitcher! Oh, he's also down by two. 9:24 — So there's a big honkin' hole between second and third, because Longoria has to cover third. So why not just, oh, not play the shift? One of Howard's foul balls landed feet shy of an opposite field double. He ended up striking out, but god, why leave half of Florida open for Howard to mash a ball to? 9:23 — Utley advances the runner at the expense of his own batting average. 9:22 — Rust vs. rest. Square logic. 9:21 — Werth tinks an opposite field hit. Ben Zobrist hustlehearts his way to foul territory to get it, but isn't even close to throwing out Werth at second. Commercial Break So between Chevy Chase and Christie Brinkley, Christie Brinkley was the one who didn't have anything else to do but strip naked for a DirecTV commercial? I owe someone five bucks. Bottom 2nd 2
09:16 — If you are a fan of quick innings, then the bottom of the second is for you. Crawford flew out and Willy Aybar foul tips strike three into the spacious catcher's mitt. SWITCH! 9:13 — Carl Crawford, the veteran of the team. Joe: "He played for Tampa Bay way back when they were called the Devil Rays." So, last year. 9:12 — Laudatory things about Evan Longoria. Oh, he strikes out. Nevermind. Commercial Break Oh, good, an MLB Network launching nextyear! Expect your cable channel not to carry it. Top 2nd 9:09 — Hey, lookit that. Rollins' sac fly wasn't sac fly-y enough and Upton leis a beatdown on Victorino trying to score. That's a double play — what an inning killer!! — and they ruin a bases loaded chance. 9:08 — Tim McCarver, percentages, baserunners, and "thinking." I think. To dictate what he says, analyze it, and put it into English terms would require hazard pay. 9:07 — And ... THEY'RE RUNNING FOR TACOS! Oh, never mind, ball four. Congrats, Kazmir, you walked Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz. There's no stopping you now! 9:04 — Buck finishes his story about the cowbell, and yes, it was SNL/Blue Öyster Cult-inspired. Of course. How many non-Gene Frenkle cowbell inspirational stories are out there? 9:04 — Feliz walks and Chris Coste pops out. It's a good thing the 1-7 batters are decent. Just don't count on them to score or anything once they reach the end of the lineup. It's like watching the Nationals. 9:01 — Finally, a diagram on the catwalks and which ones are doubles, home runs, and foul balls when struck. What Joe Buck didn't go over is what happens if someone jumps down from the catwalk in the middle of the opera. 8:59 — Joe Buck reports that Scott Kazmir has a tendency to get in trouble and get himself out of it. Just as he works Pedro Feliz into a 3-0 count. Ah, this is totally natural then! So when the score's 8-0, you know he's probably done with his early inning jitters and will throw nothing but strikeouts for the rest of the game. 8:57 — Shane Victorino bats. He was born on an island! How kooky! His broken bat hit goes back up the middle like a, um, volcanic eruption? And can't be fielded cleanly for a base hit. Bottom 1st 2
08:54 — They should just have turf circles on which fielders stand whenever Ryan Howard and Carlos Peña step up to bat. He grounds out and the first World Series inning is fini. 8:53 — BJ Upton didn't want runners on base anyway. He checks his bat into a double play, but he meant to do that. He'd rather have a solo home run in the fourth. McCarver tops the moment with something about how double plays kill innings. Interesting. 8:51 — Nobody can beat Iwamura to the bag on an infield hit. NOBODY. 8:50 — Ha. Jason Bartlett, the one indispensable player on the lineup, was the only guy Fox could afford to cut out of their footage. 8:49 — KEY TO ANNOUNCING THE STARTING LINEUP FOR TAMPA: Line up behind Iwamura. Top 1st 8:47 — Pat Burrell quickly strikes out, ending
the rally Joe Buck's anecdote about cowbells. Never start something long-winded with two outs, Joe. You knew that. 8:46 — Honestly, why not just put one fielder in short right field and give everyone else a power nap in left field? Ryan Howard always grounds there. Two out. 8:44 — Utley hit right into the shift ... and over it. A home run slaps a quick 2-0 lead on the board. 8:44 — Thanks, Fox, for doing a strike zone graphic replay on a ball that bounced in the dirt. It sure was close! 8:42 — Chase Utley is getting the shifty love, which seems odd. "Maybe they thought he was Ryan Howard." Oh, sure, BECAUSE ALL BLACK PEOPLE LOOK ALIKE. Very classy, Tim. 8:41 — Jayson Werth breaks up Kazmir's perfect game with a walk. 8:39 — And you laughed at Ben Zobrist getting the start. He catches the first out of the World Series by Jimmy Rollins. Pregame 8:37 — Oh, thank God. Fox's Keys to the Game: Philly: LINE UP BEHIND HAMELS. All the fielders, single file. Don't worry. Jason Barlett will still hit it to you. Tampa POUNCE ON HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE. This was actually a canned key to the game from the Detroit Tigers, whose mascot actually has paws, who they crowned World Series champion back in March and never changed it. Plus, "STING SOMEONE BEHIND YOU TO GET HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE" didn't fit on the screen. 8:31 — Now Fox is announcing the starting lineup. Which they ... just ... did ... on the field, like, fifteen minutes ago. Will they go through the lineup again in the second inning?
"I just want to tell you both good luck. We're all counting on Pedro Feliz, third base, batting seventh." 8:28 — Say, what happened to announcing the time of the actual first pitch? Why all this 8 p.m. shit when it doesn't happen until at least a half hour after that? 8:26 — It's before the 5th inning, but David Price is already mentioned ... enh, I'll see if they can squeeze him until after the first pitch. 8:23 — Frank Caliendo found his way out of TBS and into our homes for the World Series. This makes me wonder what horrible show Fox will try and get us to watch the next two weeks. Oh, look, The Simpsons has another Halloween episode coming out! 8:20 — I've just been handed a note from Tropicana Field. "While the Backstreet Boys are singing the Star Spangled Banner on the field, beer and popcorn service in Section 213 will be suspended until they can get back up there." 8:19 — I think the Backstreet Boys just got booed before the national anthem. How classless! They're going to sing this country's theme song and ... oh, god. Oh, GOD. OH MY GOD STOP SINGING LIKE THAT! NO NO NO YOU'RE KILLING BABY EAGLES AND SETTING FLAGS ON FIRE WITH THAT KIND OF HARMONIZATION. 8:17 — Live lineup announcements are so much fun. It's an easy way to draw out advertising dollars instead of, oh I don't know, write them down on the Internet. 8:13 — Okay, is Elizabeth Banks in EVERY movie? Zack and Miri Make A Porno. I just saw a commercial for her in Role Models. She's also Laura Bush in W. I wasn't aware it was possible for a hot woman to endure overkill but maybe she can just go for the metaphoric sweep and portray Erin Andrews in an unauthorized biopic next year. 8:09 — Oh good, the Free Taco contest is making a comeback. If anyone steals a base, everyone gets a free taco from Taco Bell, which just means for one day the nation gets their product at what it's worth. 8:07 — Jeanne Zelasko gets the ball rolling by nailing the catwalk square. Please mark it off with a tuft of fake, blonde hair, or if you don't have that, some gold-painted wiring. 8:05 — Mark Grace, that jokester! He said he picked Tampa to reach the World Series in the preseason. He also predicted the playoffs would expand to 28 teams by this year. 8:01 — Oh, good. John McCain and Barack Obama (sound only) are reading quotes about baseball alongside a video montage of baseball's role in history. They're only doing that so they can get out of picking a definitive team in this World Series; Barack Obama is cheering for both, and John McCain hates both teams because they're far away from Arizona and are young and vibrant. Politics!
Pre-Game Babble God. I knew I'd have been inundated with Manny Ramirez vs. Boston Red Sox columns were that the World Series, but now I'm sick of the countless columns about Rays lefty specialist Trever Miller facing his old team, the Philadelphia Phillies. Aren't you sick of it too? I'd link to an example but ... but ... I just can't figure out which one to pick. Yes, that's the reason. I can't really figure out who will win this one. The matchup is like two pieces of different jigsaw puzzles. You don't know how they're going to match up until you see them together, and even then it's hard to tell, so you just leave them out and see which one the dog eats. Also, to all the other liveblogs going on by diligent, talented Internet writers and fans alike: I really hate competing with you guys, because you're all so smart and quick, so let's not quabble and fight for pageviews, so why doesn't everyone just close up shop and watch this one. It's really the simplest answer. W-L Record In Deadspin Live Blogs Phillies: 5-0 Rays: 1-1 Starting Lineups Philadelphia 1. SS Jimmy "Hustlebuck" Rollins 2. RF Jayson "Scuttlebutt" Werth 3. 2B Chase "Stillstanding" Utley 4. 1B Ryan "Pullshift" Howard 5. LF Pat "Brows" Burrell 6. CF Shane "Mainland" Victorino 7. 3B Pedro "The Rally Stopper" Feliz 8. DH Chris "All Between Matt Stairs And The Starting Lineup" Coste 9. C Carlos "Brett Myers" Ruiz Tampa Bay 1. 2B Akinori "Steve" Iwamura 2. CF BJ "You're Thinking Of Delmon" Upton 3. 1B Carlos "Slappy" Peña 4. 3B Evan "Won't Error At All" Longoria 5. LF Carl "Music Factory" Crawford 6. DH Willy "Current Occupant" Aybar 7. C Dioner "Catcher" Navarro 8. Ben "I Don't Who I Am Either" Zobrist 9. Jason "I'll Throw Myself Out" Bartlett Speaking of bingo, notice anything different?
Sure, the World Series warrants additional photoshoppery, but seeing that our apple pushing friends over at Gizmodo came up with this great live blog bingo idea a few weeks ago, it made me realize that, hey, maybe it's time for a new bingo look. After all, why can't us have color bingo cards?