Are you as pumped for the first businessperson's special of the year?!?! I know you are. Hi, I'm Dan McQuade, author of Way Back Base Ball (which I occasionally remember to turn in) and I'll be your guide during today's inevitable Phillies loss to the Atlanta Braves.
But don't fret! It's ring day for the Fightin' Phils, and we can be safe in the knowledge that one day, some young player from this team will sell his championship ring like Darren Daulton decided to; hopefully whoever does this (Kyle Kendrick?) down the road will be using the proceeds to finance a book about metaphysics.
2:31: We're about a half hour from game time, so let's play ball! Uhm, in a half hour or so.
2:38: Phillies announcer Harry Kalas just threw out the first pitch. Apparently, though, we won't be getting parachuters coming down to the field, as it's too windy. Typical. No, really, it's typical. This happened last year, too. I believe the fans booed.
2:40: I'm not sure what the lottery is like in your states, but here in Pennsylvania we have an audio-animatronic groundhog who urges us to sell scratch-off lottery tickets. There's also a drawing called "Super 7" that pulls 11 numbers out. You only need to match 7!
2:42: The rings are being brought onto the field in an ambulance with a police escort. Phillies pre-game analyst Ricky Botallico just said, "I don't think anyone's seen these rings yet." Then pre-game host Michael Barkann talked about Facebook and Twitter and how Comcast SportsNet is all about Facebook and Twitter.
2:44: Here's someone who hasn't seen the rings yet: The viewers. Hey, zoom in a little guys, the ballgirls are putting them out on the table.
2:46: The announcers have now pointed out that J.C. Romero is probably "feeling a bit wistful today" because he still has 48 games left of his suspension for failing a drug test.
2:47: Also here today: Kyle Kendrick (from AAA Lehigh Valley), Adam Eaton (from Baltimore), Pat Burrell (who has to get up to Boston for a game tonight), Geoff Jenkins (from unemployment)... ha, ha, Adam Eaton!
2:49: A video feature is playing. It opened with Harry the K saying that baseball has more history and prestige for the winner than any other sport. What about the marathon?
2:56: The moment we've all been waiting for: Adam Eaton gets roundly booed by the Phillies fans.
2:58: J.C. Romero receives a rousing ovation from the drugged-up crowd.
2:59: Comcast SportsNet finally showed its stock footage of the rings, which it clearly had for a while but didn't show until Charlie Manuel got his ring. Thanks to me being a huge dork, I know how to get an image of it -- and not just by taking a photo of the television.
I'm recording this ceremony in 1080i, if anyone was wondering.
3:01: One might forget from all the ovations Pat Burrell has received in Philadelphia since leaving town that, during his time here, he was roundly booed and hated by a large percentage of the fanbase. Fortunately, since around 2001 I've been operating on a "never forget" policy and, as such, I do not forget. Then again, people wanted Ryan Howard traded last May and Charlie Manuel fired early last September. So, yeah.
3:03: Burrell has quite a nice suit on, by the way. Quite nice. Geoff Jenkins did not wear a tie. Jimmy Rollins got his ring last, as they introduced the players in reverse order of the Game 5 starting lineup.
3:09: There's another (another!) pregame World Series remembrance video before the game starts. Hey, don't try to run this title into the ground of anything, Phils.
3:11: Here's my favorite sign in the stands today:
Coste does, indeed, rule.
3:12: Oh, yeah, there's a game today, too. It's about to start. Fun fact: Joe Blanton's ERA was 4.20 for the Phils last year. Coincidentally, April 20 this month is dollar dog day at the Phillies. What a cross-promotion! (Also: You can't get through a Dan McQuade liveblog without a pot joke, I guess.)
3:16: Phillies announcer Chris Wheeler, on the ring: "It's a pretty good piece of bling, is what it is." And with that, the word bling was retired from the English language.
3:20: We're about to start. Blanton is going up against Javier Vazquez. Unfortunately for them, though, I have a copy of Rick Steves' Iran on my laptop I've been itching to watch. So they better give up some runs, or else I'm switching over. (This is where the pot joke was originally going to go.)
3:25: Blanton strikes out the first two batters, including Kelly Johnson on an 82-mph change-up.
3:26: Raul Ibanez Is Worse Than Pat Burrell Watch (part 1)! Yunel Escobar doubles off the wall; he was a dead duck at second except Ibanez' throw might as well have been to third.
3:27: And it's 2-0, Braves, in the first inning, for the third straight game. Brian McCann hits one just inside the right field foul pole to give the Braves more runs on that swing than the Phillies have scored all season.3:32: J-Roll grounds out to first base to continue his torrid hitting (1-for 10). More importantly, who the hell goes to McDonald's for gourmet coffee? I've seen 15 ads for it already.3:36: Shane Victorino grounds out and Chase Utley K's to end the inning. In 19 innings of play so far this season, the Phillies have had exactly one productive inning, which ended with Ryan Howard striking out looking and Raul Ibanez striking out looking.
3:38: The Braves have a different lineup today; Matt Diaz -- name pronounced, for some reason, as dye-AZ -- is in left for Garrett Anderson and Omar Infante (who led off) is at third for Larry Jones. Ha, you see what I did there?
3:41: Phillies color man Chris Wheeler informs us that Javier Vazquez hit himself in the face while bunting once. He strikes out, still scared to get hit in the face, apparently. With a 1-2-3 inning, this has the potential to be the best inning of the season for the Phillies.
3:44: Ryan Howard hits it really deep to left center, but rookie elf Jordan Schafer tracks it down... and drops it as he hammers into the wall at Citizens Bank Park. Welcome to Philadelphia, rook! It goes down as a double for some reason.
3:47: BEST PHILLIES INNING OF THE YEAR! Raul Ibanez hits it off the facing of the second deck -- the "DRINKABILITY" sign, I believe -- and it's now 2-all. Ibanez moves into the team lead for RBI with 2, passing Jayson Werth's 1.
3:49: By the way: Pat Who???
3:50: After a Pedro Feliz walk, a replay shows Ibanez' homer just went into the lower deck. My fault for trusting the Phillies play-by-play announcer to correctly call a play. It's still early in the season. My apologies.
3:52: Joe Blanton bunts over Feliz and Ruiz, and now with two outs Jimmy Rollins has a chance to strike out with two runners in scoring position.
3:53: SportsNet interrupts Rollins' at-bat to show Joe Blanton's home run in last year's World Series. Hey, the Phillies were in the World Series last year?! I didn't know.
3:55: Rollins strikes out. I don't create the prophecies people, I merely channel the spirits to receive them.
3:56: By the way, from now on this liveglog is going to be called a liveglog-plus-plus.
4:00: Whee! Two singles sandwiched around a walk and the bases are loaded with nobody out. The Braves shall return things to normal when Brian McCann hits a two-run double here.
4:02: The spirits lied to me. McCann merely hit a single to right. Still, the natural order of 2009 baseball -- and most of baseball history -- has been restored. It's 3-2, Braves.
4:04: Things look bad for the Phillies as Blanton goes 2-0 to Jeff Francoeur. And then it happens: Francoeur singles up the middle to score two more runs.
4:06: Matt Diaz doubles in two more, and it's 7-2. Joe Blanton's ERA is currently too high to calculate. For me, at least. But it's a lot more than 4.20.
4:13: After a merciful end to the top of the third, the Phillies come right back with a Shane Victorino triple, one that could have been caught by that rookie elf on the Braves. But, hey, I think the Fightins will take what they can get right now.
4:16: The Phillies are delaying me from watching Rick Steves toke up in Iran. Chase Utley reaches on an error and heads to second to boot. Chase will still get that RBI on the groundout; it's 7-3.
4:18: After Utley gets stranded by a long Ryan Howard pop-up and Jayson Werth grounds to third, Raul Ibanez comes up, with a chance to make us all forget about Pat Burrell once and for all.
4:19: He swings wildly at a 2-0 breaking ball, making us remember Pat really well. He ends up getting pitched around and walks. This actually makes us remember Pat, too!
4:20: Pedro Feliz grounds out on the first pitch. How does one pretend to write stoned? I could do like 100 jokes right here, but I don't really know how to do it. Thoughts?
4:23: Wait, I came up with a better idea than pretending.
4:24: By the way, Omar Infante is halfway to the cycle now after a double there. I doubt he'll be tripling today, though.
4:30: A lot of people have been wondering what Philadelphia (or at least Phillies) fans will do now that the championship drought is over. As you can see from this screenshot, instead of slumping back in their seats and saying, "Typical," when the Phillies do something stupid -- like, say, falling behind 7-2 -- they will do this:
Oh, I am so excited for a year or two of this.
4:31: After a pair of strikeouts and a walk, Carlos Ruiz catches a Casey Kotchman foul ball off the screen behind the plate (after dropping it, of course). The ump for some reason calls Kotchman out, but the call gets fixed. He's due for a homer now.
4:33: Hey, he grounded out! The Phillies celebrate the commercial break with some World Series highlights, of course.
4:34: My favorite local ad during sporting events in Philadelphia is, by far, one for a place called "Steak 'Em Up." I think this really needed to be shared with all of you, so I uploaded it to YouTube.
The bullet holes are a really nice touch.
4:37: This inning, so far, has been an extended explanation of the Phillies' championship rings. (Did you know they got them today?) There are apparently 103 diamonds on it, one for each win from last year.
4:38: Team president Dave Montgomery and ex-GM Pat Gillick are apparently going "around the country" to give rings to players who weren't able to attend today's ceremony. Neat!
4:41: Announcer Tom McCarthy -- the Phillies change announcers approximately three times per pitch -- informs us the concession stands have been busy the first three games of the season and will continue to be busy throughout the year. Thanks, Tom!
4:43: Joe Blanton is finally out of the game, by the way. J.A. (pronounced "Jay") Happ is in for the Phillies.
4:46: Jordan Schafer, the happy elf, hits a hanging breaking ball into the right field seats. Another homer from the eight spot for the Braves! It's now 9-3, Atlanta, and the concession stands are getting much less crowded.
4:50: "Jay" Happ got out of the inning, but not before I noticed his hilarious headshot:
By the way, I've now seen the "Steak 'Em Up" ad seven times so far. Can't nobody say I never did anything for the peoples.
4:54: ALERT: THE ANNOUNCERS HAVE INFORMED US THE PHANATIC WILL, INDEED, BE RECEIVING A WORLD SERIES RING.
4:57: WE NOW HAVE PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE THAT THE RING IS, SADLY, NOT COMICALLY OVERSIZED.
5:02: UPDATE: THE TV JUST SHOWED A CLIP OF THE PHANATIC RECEIVING HIS RING. IT IS COMICALLY OVERSIZED. ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD.
5:07: Here is photographic proof.
5:10: The game is still going on, by the way, but it's more boring than an extended, breathless recap of the status of the Phillie Phanatic's championship ring. It's 9-3 with one down in the bottom of the sixth.
5:13: Jimmy Rollins strikes out to end the sixth. I'm going to the deli to get a soda so I don't have to see the Steak 'Em Up ad again.
5:20: Back! I really just discussed the Phanatic's oversize novelty championship ring with a friend from high school, who works at the deli. He also claimed the Phanatic "hadn't been funny this year."
If Phillies fans have given up on the Phanatic already, we might as well just end the season now.
5:24: I just read a Bill Simmons column and actually enjoyed it. Things are weird right now, clearly; maybe the Phillies can turn this around after all.
5:25: The bases are apparently loaded for Omar Infante, by the way, after a pair of walks by Chad Durbin. He's definitely walking in Infante here, too.
5:27: And Durbin walks in a run. The spirits didn't tell me that one, if you're wondering; that was so obviously going to happen I couldn't even bet on it online. (I tried. Really.)
5:42: "just so you know, its perfectly kosher to stop a glog midstream," IM from Rob Iracane, 5:31 p.m. Forget that, though! I'm going to do a few more updates before this one ends. By the way, it's 10-3, Braves, but the Phillies have two on with 1 out in the bottom of the seventh. Jayson Werth is up to strike out or something.
5:49: Werth -- who won the Phillies' first game last year with a walkoff walk -- walks, and Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz follow with 1 single and 1 RBI each. Now it's 10-5, the bases are loaded, and Matt Stairs is pinch-hitting with a chance at a slam.
5:51: Peter Moylan opens with three straight balls. GIVE STAIRS THE GREEN LIGHT, CHARLIE!
5:52: Eh. Doesn't matter. His fourth pitch wasn't close to the plate and the tying run for the Phillies (!) is coming up after a pitching change. Moylan's ERA so far this year is infinity!
5:54: Everyone knew this game would reach a pivotal moment when Blaine Boyer faced Chris Coste.
5:57: WALK PARADE! At this rate, the Phillies are going to get a go-ahead walk here soon. Coste walks, J-Roll walks and suddenly it's only 10-8, Braves.
5:59: Bobby Cox takes out Boyer; he'll have an ERA of either 0 or infinity for the year after this inning. Shane Victorino is due up after some more ads for McDonald's gourmet coffee.
6:01: McBaseHit! Shane Victorino singles to right, everyone moves up a base and, amazingly, this game is 10-9 and the Phillies still have the bases loaded with one out.
6:03: It's 3-0 to Utley! And he takes ball four... and they call it a strike! He's due for a slam here, now.
6:04: Of course not, with how this game is going. He takes ball four, part two, and it's another bases-loaded walk. It's tied at 10. Wait, what?
6:05: Oh, yeah, and the bases are still loaded. And noted big time slugger Ryan Howard is up!!!
6:06: And with the way this inning is going, this happens, of course: A Ryan Howard RBI groundout 11-10, Fightin' Phils! It's the first Phillies lead this year, Ryan Madson is up in the bullpen and the Phillies are in position to win their first one in 2009.
6:09: Coste is staying in to catch, Madson is in to pitch, and I believe we have an early frontrunner for image of the year:
Coste does indeed rule.
6:10: Ryan Howard makes a really nice diving stop of a hard Yunel Escobar grounder, then throws it wild to first... but Ryan Madson handles it anyway! Suddenly, everything is going right for Philadelphia.
6:13: I blinked -- or, rather, checked out the Lacoste cologne sample my girlfriend got in her Sephora order -- and the half-inning is over. A broken bat groundout to Utley and a short ground out to Madson. 1-2-3 and we're off to the bottom of the eighth.
6:16: The cologne, Essential, by the way, smells pretty good. I've worn Nautica Competition since, like, 10th grade and I don't see any reason to stop, though. Oh, right, the game! Raul Ibanez walks to lead off the 8th as the Phillies offense continues to find the only way to succeed this year is to not swing.
6:18: Or swinging 3-0! An excellent green light by Charlie Manuel leads to a double by Pedro Feliz and runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out.
6:19: By the way, this sure has been an interesting way to open the afternoon liveglog regular season, hasn't it? A liveglog worthy of being called a liveglog++, if I do say so myself.
6:22: Eric Bruntlett flies out to center, scoring Raul Ibanez. It's 12-10, Phils. A Chris Coste single to shallow right makes it first and third with one out for J-Roll. Hey, calm down, Phillies! Don't score all your runs at once!
6:24: One Rob Iracane -- of the blog Walkoff Walk, which I highly recommend for its liveglogging++; -- passes along this incredible live win percentage graph from today's game.
6:27: The Phils save some runs for another game as Rollins strikes out and Shane-O grounds out. Brad Lidge is in and the Phils can shock the world, or at least the Walkoff Walk liveglog commenting club.
6:29: We come in from the break with World Series highlights of Brad Lidge ending the Phillies' win in Game 5, which gave the Phillies the win in the World Series. (Perhaps you've heard of this event. It happened in the 2008 World Series.)
6:31: Brad Lidge strikes out Jeff Francoeur with a slider stopped nicely by Chris "Coste Rules" Coste.
6:32: On cue, Matt Diaz homers to left field. I've already received text messages predicting Lidge's first blown save as the Phillies closer. Of course.
6:33: Groundout makes it two down. If the slugger from Rookie of the Year comes up to pinch hit, get me the Phillies on the phone! I know how to strike him out (the floater).
6:35: Stop texting me! Lidge is 1-for-1! A strikeout by Lidge and a tag by Coste wins it. This game is over and I am not writing any more. Scroll up and look at the "Coste Rules" guy a few more times if you want more entertainment.