Saturday, August 15, 2009

What I Just Saw

Holy karp! I'm gonna relive this unlikeliest of ninth innings for the fun of it, and for anyone who didn't actually see it: We're down two, and Frankie Francisco comes in for the save for Texas. First three guys get hits, so we're now down by one, with first and second. National Leaguer Chris Woodward is obviously up there trying to bunt the tying run to third, and the go-ahead run to second. He watches strike one. With NESN showing the low, behind-the-plate angle, he watches the second pitch, and the viewer has no idea where it is, but we find out it's strike two. They take the bunt off, and Woodward strikes out. I'm ready to throw him off the team. [Update, next morning: I wasn't even thinking that since A-Gon is back, Woodward was gonna be gone anyway, and now he is.] At this point, Tito pulls Tek off second base, as he's the tying run. But he's got nobody except the slow Kotchman on the bench. So he uses Clay Buchholz. (A fan is clearly seen to mouth the words "who IS that?") Pedroia's up, and he wails one. It looks like a dong. Don goes crazy, and Frankie V is yelling over his call in excitement. Murphy goes back to the wall, leaps....and it hits off the wall, just out of his reach. Game tied, right? Oh, goodness, no. As we see the ball bounce right back up to Murphy, they cut to Buchholz, and it turns out he's stopped on his way home for a sody pop and some chips. He's stumbling and trying to situate his giant helmet on his tiny head, not even at third base. The throw comes in, and Clay's about half way between third and the plate (while the runner from first is already on third). The cutoff man fires home, and Clay's out easily. We just doubled with the tying run on second, and the game is not tied. Now it's two outs, second and third. Victor Martinez gets two strikes on him, and now we're looking like we're all but dead in the water. But I'm willing Vik-E Mart to line one to right. He fouls one off. I visualize it again: line drive, right field. He fouls another off. I refuse to have to tell this story as a loss, so I picture the line drive to right again. Another foul, and finally, he does it. Frankie V screams again (I hate when color men talk over the call, but it was funny how much this guy, calling his first Red Sox game, seemed to be such a fan of the team), and you know that ball is fair, and it's getting down. Into the corner, a two-run double. We effing lead it! Bay with another single for an insurance run, and then Drew bombs one out of the park to right, and suddenly it's the other team who looks dead, as we lead 8-4. Pap gets the save.

Okay, so now I'll post what I'd already written before this crazy ninth inning. Enjoy!


Alex Gonzalez is back! The Sox pulled a Taxi Driver! Since you'd have to live in my brain to get that reference, I'll fill you in. As the story goes, Scorsese was looking for a "Cybil Shepard-type" for the role of Betsy. Her agent heard this, called up and asked, "How about the real thing," and Cybil was cast. So for the last three years I've been lamenting the loss of the best defensive shortstop I've ever seen play for the Red Sox, yet during this time of needing help in the shortstop area, I didn't even think of trying to get the man himself back here. But he's back now. Doesn't hit much, but it'll be fun to watch a guy who's so instinctive and does it so naturally out there. He was born in an infield patch!

Frankie V in the booth! I talked to a friend who said it was like hearing Bowser from Sha Na Na announce the Red Sox game. I kind of thought he sounded like Joey Ramone.

If you've been hearing me yap about the terrible job being done by NESN's from-behind-the-plate looking-toward-the-outfield view camera person and hadn't yet seen it for yourself, I hope you were watching on the foul pop that Lowell could have had if it weren't for some meddling fans. That Tiger TV-esque camera person showed the left fielder as the ball headed toward the third base dugout. At the last second, they jolted the camera down...only to still leave it short of where the play happened. It's bad enough to literally completely miss a play, but it's even worse when it's a could-go-either-way play, and we have to hear Don describe it, making us realize we're not just missing a ball in the seats or an easy out. Later in that inning, they had the pitcher/first base view going, just as Lester was about to throw. The runner took off, but stopped after several steps. For some reason this made NESN keep the camera on the guy, instead of cutting to the home plate shot, making us miss the pitch. That's something a lot of networks do. They're obsessed with the baserunner! Look, the announcers will tell us if the guy's going. I don't need to see it. As long as you cut to him in time for us to see the play at second, that's all I need. I can see his lead and his takeoff and his stride on replays after it's over. I miss the split screen.

Finally, I'm pissed that at least one person missed the point of my last post. Because now I feel like scores of people read it, misunderstood it, and left forever, thinking I somehow think dog torture is okay because cow-killing is acceptable in our society. What I was saying was the opposite: I am against ALL mistreatment of animals. Making them fight, killing them for "sport," using their hides for fashion, and eating their flesh because it's tasty. I'm completely against it all. I would think the Vick thing would be a great chance for people to realize that ALL animals have a right to be left alone. Maybe they'll realize, Hey, maybe it's ALSO not right to slaughter a cow to play a game or have a tasty treat, when either could be done without killing an animal. People just seem to be "animal lovers" only when cute animals are involved. Or they think some animals are "cool" while others are worthless. I can't even count the number of times I've heard somebody make some joke like, 'If Vick had tortured cats, I'd have bought his jersey' or whatever. My old neighbor's truck had a "Cats..the other white meat" sticker on it. These people are just as despicable as Vick.

So I hope that clears it up. For people who don't know, I'm the lefty, commie pinko vegetarian baseball fan. And yes, of course I also think it's ridiculous that baseball uses animals for the balls and gloves when they don't need to.

I ddi leave out part of the Buchholz story. The wall the ball hit was one of those scoreboard walls. I could see what happened right away, but it was hard to tell if he caught it or not, as evidenced by the fact that Don took a long time to figure out what was going on--while the rest of us were already watching Clay, Don was still looking out at Murphy, trying to see if he caught it or not--then he finally caught sight of Clay nowhere near home. It was very weird. I'm sure you've seen it by now.
I fell asleep before the end of the game, but I was able to catch the replay of the 9th during the "sox in 2." I don't know.

I think it's possible that NESN did some revisionist editing, because I didn't notice any comical shouting from Viola. Maybe they thought it was too much and were able to edit out various parts of his commentary. Or maybe I was too focused on the play to notice what Viola was doing.
Wait, are you serious or joking? It's not like he was yelling out long sentences, more like blurting out in short bursts with every hit. I'm gonna check this out on
Jut watched the Pedroia double again. Viola goes "get up!" as it's in the air, and then as he realizes where Buchholz is, he gives a growling yell, "Ohhh!" as Don is saying "he makes the grab no it gets away...."

That's on's archive of the game. I'd love it if someone could verify if NESN actually went back and remixed the game, dropping Frank's mic out....I've never heard of such a thing myself....
He gives a short grunt on Martinez' go-ahead hit, and a more casual "anotha base hit" on Bay's single. These are during the hit--something Red Sox fans aren't used to, but lots of announcers around the league do it--and it's embarrassing. I appreciate Sweet Music being into the game, but I'm hoping they tell him for tonight to, you know, stop interrupting.

By the way, that's a Long Island anotha, not a Boston anotha.
I wasn't joking. I was probably just wrong. I guess I was expecting near orgasmic screaming from Viola after reading both yours and the SOSH boards mention of it. Also what threw me off was when Martinez hit his double, it sounded like there was a kind of "pop" on the announcer's mike. I sort of imagined that this is where Viola did his, "Yes, yes!" Meg Ryan impression, and that for the repeat, some guy did a sloppy sound editing job to cut it out, resulting in an audible pop. Nevermind.
But more importantly I was on NESN!!!! see the screen grab at my site or SG's.
Sa-weet! Congrats. I totally remember this moment, too! I absolutely took note of the odd Youkilis' face shirt at the time. So funny that it turns out it was someone I "know."

Here it is if anyone wants to see it.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States