Homers! Outs! Balls! Strikes! Giant arch-shaped magnets! If it's those five things, it must be the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game! I've been resting up all day in preparation for what is sure to be the longest ASG since last year, when it clocked in at a sweet four hours and 50 minutes.
Dire predictions of nearly five hours of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver aside, I'm pretty psyched to bring you my pithy commentary of tonight's game. I'm Dan McQuade, of Philadelphia Will Do and Cinema Varitek "fame," and I hope you'll join me for at least some of tonight's contest.
But I know what we're all wondering about tonight's game: What does John Kruk think about it? Based on his comments before the Home Run Derby last night, I can only assume one thing: He hates it.
Yes, that's right: The one part of the All-Star Break Krukie enjoys is the home run derby. I guess he likes three-hour broadcasts consisting mostly of dead silence and ads for State Farm. Also: Nice upbeat opening to Baseball Tonight!
And with that great opening of my own, I present to you the liveglog to end all liveglogs. (After the jump.)
8:00: The Puffy Shirt episode of Seinfeld just ended. Good omen?
8:01: We open with Joe Buck: "Baseball is not just a game, it's a way of life. And nowhere is this more evident than in St. Louis." And thus my optimism for tonight's game ends.
8:05: We'll apparently be hearing from all five living presidents; Fox treats us to our first shots of Barack Obama in the locker rooms. The Commander-in-Chief gives Pujols a little ribbing for not winning the Home Run Derby.
8:10: Can you believe all the inspirational images we got in that opening? Here's a sampling.
I don't know what's more inspirational: Fat kid playing baseball or ship captain of some sort with St. Louis babes.
8:13: Joe Buck is introducing the players. At this rate this game is going to start at around 10 p.m. This is emphatically not what I'm looking for.
8:16: The only player booed so far was Ted Lilly, if I remember correctly.
8:17: Ryan Braun picks up some boos as well. Sadly, Chase Utley did not curse on camera this year when being announced.
8:19: This is a "special moment for our television audience" here, as we honor people who make a difference away from the baseball field.
8:20: This is even schmaltzier than I expected. I am inspired to go beyond the range of my television's audio.
8:23: Ooh, now the presidents are talking to us about how we should serve our community. This game is going to start on Wednesday, book it.
8:26: I'm in favor of community service. But after this long presentation, I'm setting my hosts file to redirect serve.gov to 127.0.0.1. (Little technology joke for you there!)
8:27: By the way, did you see who one of the All-Stars Among Us is?
The Phillie Phanatic! I think he's the one who made care packages for soldiers.
8:30: TheJerseyDevil: "Dubya, Buck, McCarver. They're missing a horseman." And, on cue, here comes Sheryl Crow to sing the National Anthem.
8:32: My girlfriend Sarah is sitting on the couch watching with me; she'll be feeding me lines all night. Anything clever you can probably attribute to her. (Right now she's reading this book. If the game gets invaded by communists I'll be able to instruct you how to fight back.)
8:35: A non-recorded, live President Barack Obama is next!
8:36: And now, a photo to haunt your dreams:
8:39: Fox wouldn't let us see a direct shot of Obama's first pitch, but it looked pretty good.
Right on, Mr. President!
8:43: Someone needs to edit this ad where he's duct taping his apartment shut to end with him smoking weed instead of eating Taco Bell. Okay, I'll do it this weekend.
8:47: We are so close to the start of the game I can taste it. In other news, J. Edgar Hoover says that if communists take over America, the job of traveling salesman will be eliminated. By the way, destroying Jayson Werth for the Worst Facial Hair award for the NL this year is Ryan Franklin.
By the way, did you know Ryan Franklin is an All-Star? Ryan Franklin! Relievers are weird.
8:51: Ichiro leads off the game with a single to right after falling behind 0-2. Derek Jeter is up next.
8:53: Yowch! Tim Lincecum goes up high and tight two times in a row and hits him in the left hand the second time. Two on, nobody out. Triple play time?
8:56: Joe Mauer shows us why he's the AL batting leader, hitting a ball about six inches in front of the plate. He nails Ichiro at third; David Wright's throw to first pulls Pujols off the bag and there's one down.
8:57: Whoops! Albert Pujols boots a Mark Teixiera grounder, it rolls into right field and Derek Jeter comes home to score. AL 1, NL 0.
8:58: Man, it's nonstop action! Maybe we should have opened with this instead of 40 minutes of telling us how great America and community service are. Jason Bay singles to center and the bases are loaded for Josh Hamilton.
8:59: Seriously! Let me catch my breath, American League! Hamilton grounds to Pujols, who gets Teixiera at second. Lincecum doesn't get to the bag in time and another run scores. AL 2, NL 0.
9:00: Michael Young grounds out to Wright to end the inning and let me catch my breath.
9:04: Hanley Ramirez grounds out to second to start the bottom of the second.
9:05: By the way, Tim McCarver let us know that he had to have someone look up what an I-beam is. That was in tandem with this graphic:
And, really, I think he's more the tree that the ironworkers put on top when they top off the building.
9:06: Utley grounds out to first. Two down.
9:07: Michael Young makes a nice play on a sharp Pujols grounder, tosses it to first and it's a 1-2-3 inning for the American League. End 1st.
9:08: That commercial is right. It can be tough living with COPD.
9:11: Ooh, ooh! Roy Halladay is batting! And, as the announcers point out, he apparently forgot to pack his helmet. He's wearing Evan Longoria's.
He strikes out looking, incidentally. That's two down, as Aaron Hill grounded out to short just as we came back from break and I forgot to mention it.
9:14: Ichiro lines out to right center to end the top half.
9:15: Aah, and here's Joe Buck singing the praises of Budweiser. Beer: The drug that's killed many a ballplayer! That should be the official slogan of the All-Star Game.
9:17: Barack Obama is in the booth! Here's the conversation:
Joe Buck: "Barack Obama in the booth with us. What an honor."
President Obama: "It is."
That was awesome.
9:18: Ryan Braun hits it a ways to deep center but it's just a long out. Raul Ibanez is up.
9:19: Ibanez grounds out to second.
9:20: Barack Obama says that, in baseball this year, "there's a lot of parity, and I like that." Because he's a Marxist!!! Ha ha, that whole stupid election rumor of Obama being a Marxist was all worth it just so I could make that joke there. (Update: Matt_T also made that joke. Great minds, etc.)
9:22: Back-to-back singles from David Wright and Shane Victorino. Obama is very excited for his fellow Hawaiian getting a hit there.
9:23: Yadier Molina singles to center! David Wright scores! The throw to third gets away, and Shane Victorino -- who gave the president some macadamia nuts from Hawaii earlier today -- scores! Molina to second, and we are tied. AL 2, NL 2.
9:25: Pinch hitter Prince Fielder lines one down the third base line; it bounces into the left field stands and suddenly the National League is actually ahead. NL 3, AL 2.
9:26: Barack Obama was quite the good luck charm. Hanley Ramirez grounds out to end the inning, but the NL is in the lead. End 2nd.
9:27: Obama totally snuck out of the booth there by saying he "was getting the signal" to leave. I like him even more now. Here's a booth shot for safekeeping.
9:29: Ryan Franklin and his facial hair are in for the National League. He gets Derek Jeter to ground out to Utley for the first out.
9:31: Franklin gets Joe Mauer to line out to first as Roy Halladay attempts to tell us how cool it was to meet the president; Fox's audio cut out and we couldn't get his answer. My guess: "Pretty cool."
9:34: Derek Jeter grounds out to Pujols to end the top of the third. In other news, I closed that open bold tag.
9:35: A question I think America really needed to be asked:
9:37: Chase Utley flies out to center to open the bottom of the third; Albert Pujols grounds out to Teixiera, who flips to Mark Buherle (now pitching for the AL, incidentally -- this is confusing, people!) for the out.
9:40: And Ryan Braun grounds out to short. This game is going to be shorter than the pregame show. End 3rd.
9:42: Man, can they ask these players questions besides ones about the president? I mean, it's pretty cool that they got to meet him, but c'mon. Oh, Dan Haren is in, and he gets Jason Bay to line out to right.
9:43: After a Josh Hamilton flyout to center, Michael Young grounds one past David Wright for a 2-out single.
9:46: Aaron Hill grounds to short. In other news, I'm uploading that David Wright G-Force commercial to YouTube as I type. It was simply incredible.
9:51: Raul Ibanez fouls out, and David Wright strikes out looking. And here's your David Wright G-Force commercial, the best ad I've seen in ages.
Phillies fans, I expect merciless heckling about this next time the Mets are in Philly.
9:52: Oh, and Victorino strikes out. Zack Greinke was pitching, incidentally, meaning we get our first social anxiety disorder mention of the night. End 4th.
9:53: You know, I think Tom's Shoes could make more money (and afford a retail location, perhaps) if it didn't donate a pair of shoes to some poor kid every time it sold one normal pair of shoes. Geeze, someone should give me a shoe company.
9:58: Ryan Braun moves to left, Brad Hawpe is in right, Ryan Zimmerman is at third and Chad Billingsley is on to face Carl Crawford, who singles. Whew!
9:59: Ichiro hits it to Utley, who gets the lead runner at second (just barely). One down.
10:01: This time (with Jeter up) it's a grounder to Pujols, who gets Ichiro at second after a nice diving stop. Two down. Incidentally, this drawing of Derek Jeter is even creepier than Jimmy Carter.
Also: Derek Jeter, crybaby.
10:04: Joe "Man Muscles or Whatever They Call Him" Mauer hits it down the third base line, Derek Jeter cries his way to home plate and this game is tied on a muscular double. NL 3, AL 3.
10:06: Mark Teixiera grounds out to Pujols on another nice diving play, and the top half of the fifth is over. Oh, look, here's another great message from one of
America's Canadia's corporate champions.
10:09: Carl Crawford stays in the game to play left, Adam Jones moves to right and Edwin Jackson of the Tigers is in to pitch. Yadier Molina grounds out to short on the first pitch. Way to work that count, Molina!
10:10: Ryan Zimmerman and Hanley Ramirez make outs so quickly I think they were batting at the same time. End 5th.
10:11: Incidentally, if you're wondering...
This is exactly what living in Philadelphia is like in 2009. It's all Domino's Pizza and boxing, all day, every day. I think I'm actually in this shot, somewhere in the back.
10:13: Commercial: "Everything you knew about fantasy football is about to change!" I don't know if I can continue, guys. My entire foundation of what I knew about fantasy is completely shaken.
10:14: Trevor Hoffman is in to pitch, and Miguel Tejada is at short. He gets Adam Jones on a long flyout to right.
10:16: After a single by Josh Hamilton, Michael Young grounds into a 6-4-3 double play -- even with Chase Utley bobbling the ball -- and the top of the sixth is over.
10:17: The only good part of this "It's all about the Roosevelts" Taco Bell commercial is... hmm, I don't know how to end this comment. Oh, I got one! It's brand new, as far as I know, so it wasn't showing on a loop in hell until very recently.
10:19: Joe Buck informs us that Tim McCarver has "no Internet capability whatsoever." You don't say!
10:20: Orlando Hudson, pinch-hitting for Chase Utley, flies out to deep right. Pujols with his last at-bat coming up here.
10:22: I went to the bathroom -- and missed groundouts by Albert Pujols and Justin Upton. This game is definitely going to be longer than the pregame show, but it certainly feels like it's moving faster. End 6th.
10:25: "Curtis Granderson understands the importance of a good start. That's why he--" I stopped paying attention to that MLB PSA there; I knew I was going ot hate it.
10:26: Jayson Werth is in center, a couple other new guys are in as well. While the announcers talk about Pujols and then Eric Karros talks to Pujols, Aaron Hill flies to left and Carl Crawford grounds out. This is the fastest game in All-Star Game history. (Note: This is conjecture.)
10:28: Justin Morneau lines out. And... oh, no... it's "God Bless America" time. This is just one big America-fest, all night long. An "RCA recording artist" is doing GBA. She spells "Sarah" incorrectly.
10:31: I actually like "God Bless America," it's a good song. Way, way better than our National Anthem. Easier to sing, too. And it's short! And not about war (as far as I know)!
10:32: On a side note, I do love America. Obviously: It's the most hilarious country in history. But, my God, the people in charge of this All-Star Game must think we hate America with all the constant rah-rah-rah about this country during the entire game. Hrumph.
10:35: Jon Papelbon is in, and Carl Crawford makes a really nice grab to rob Brad Hawpe of a homer in left field.
Buck: What a catch by Crawford!
McCarver: Well, I don't know if that ball would have been out.
This ruined moment is brought to you by Sprint.
10:35.30: Geeze, these guys want to get home. On the next pitch, Miguel Tejada hits it to to the track in left. Two down.
10:37: Here's a fun story. Last year, during the Phillies' second or third homestand of the season, Jayson Werth wasn't able to make a play on a ball. It wasn't a play he should have made, or anything, but that didn't stop the fans next to us. They started chanting, "Werth! Less! Werth! Less!" I thought it was a bit early for anti-Jayson Werth chants, but what did I know: Later that year, the Phillies won the World Series and Werth could probably have been the WS MVP.
10:39: Anyway, Werth struck out here. End 7th.
10:44: After Heath Bell gets Jason Bartlett to fly out, Curtis Granderson hits it over the head of Justin Upton; Werth misses the cutoff man and Granderson is in with a triple.
10:46: And it's a very exciting intentional walk to Victor Martinez. Baseball fever: Catch it!
10:47: Joe Buck lets us know once again that this is an extremely fast game. Yet -- yet -- Fox has scheduled it to end at 11 p.m., at least according to Comcast's cable guide. Hmmmm.
10:48: Adam Jones hits a sac fly to right. "Young" Adam Jones, as Buck tells us. I've come to learn that when an announcer calls a player "young," he has nothing interesting to say about him. AL 4, NL 3.
10:49: And we have a bonus "I have nothing interesting to say" moment from Tim McCarver, who says Jones' at-bat was "gritty."
10:50: And now we have a bonus "I have no clue what I'm talking about" moment from McCarver, who calls Kevin Youkilis -- who just singled -- possibly the MVP of baseball.
10:51: Let's be nice to the announcing crew here for a moment: Joe Buck just correctly (I think) pronounced Akinori Iwamura, which is pretty hard to pronounce.
10:53: Heath Bell strikes out Ben Zobrist to end the inning. That K there does not make up for just costing the Phillies World Series home field advantage there.
10:55: Joe Buck: "We give you tonight's Gatorade video!" This is said in a tone that makes it seem like we should know what he's talking about. Anyway, it was predictably hilarious, with plenty of shots of Gatorade.
10:56: Brian McCann is up. Earlier tonight, Sarah saw him announced and said, "Aww, the LASER eye surgery guy!" His tale has made it even to the casual fans.
10:57: After McCann fouls out (probably because he can't see the ball), Ryan Zimmerman flies out to right. Tim McCarver lets us know that Zimmerman has done a bit of good with his money, so no ballplayers are overpaid, thank you very much.
11:00: Adrian Gonzalez walks. Orlando Hudson comes up, as Tim McCarver lets us know he "homered Sunday from both sides of the plate, once from the right, once from the left." I wasn't sure what both sides of the plate meant, thanks. Hudson singles and Gonzalez goes to third.
11:02: RYAN HOWARD IS UP TO SAVE THE NATIONAL LEAGUE!!!
11:03: Oh, yes, this:
Bud Selig (on phone): "OMG, OMG, I'm on the teevee, can you see me?"
George Will: "Thanks for inviting me to sit in the bad toupee section, Bud."
11:04: Ry-Ho is still up, but it's 0-2 right now.
11:05: Orlando Hudson steals second. This means Ryan Howard will not get a pitch to hit the rest of this at-bat.
11:06: Ryan Howard: Clearly not reading this liveblog, as he strikes out on a check swing on a pitch in the dirt. End 8th.
11:10: Brandon Inge grounds out to open the ninth against K-Rod. Is Carl Crawford the MVP of this game? He's surely winning all the awards so far, as he just added the Mercedes-Benz replay to his Flomax replay. Neat!
11:11: Carl Crawford strikes out.
11:12: Jayson Werth makes a very nice catch to end the top half of the inning.
11:13: The beer you choose does say a lot about you, incidentally.
11:15: Okay, we have Mariano Rivera up to face Justin Upton, Brad Hawpe and Miguel Tejada. I think the AL has home-field advantage in this year's World Series.
11:17: Upton grounds out to short for the first out of the bottom of the ninth. Joe Buck reminds us again that Adam Jones is young; the camera reminds us yet again that Holiday Inn's new logo is awful.
11:19: Brad Hawpe strikes out looking. Two down.
11:21: And that'll do it. Tejada flies out to Ben Zobrist in shallow right, and this one is over. End 9th.
Final: American League 4, National League 3.
Thanks for staying with me through this short (2:31!) broadcast. I'll be making like Cat Stairs here:
Yep, it's time for bed. Night, all! Don't forget: G-Force is the most fun you'll have in a theater this summer. God Bless America.