It has been 151 days since Shane Victorino grounded to second and ended the 2009 baseball season. Tonight, major league baseball returns! Loyal Walkoff Walk reader/lousy Braves fan Matt T. bugged me yesterday about liveglogging tonight's Yankees-Red Sox tilt. Since I'm a sadist, I decided to liveblog the inevitable five-hour snoozefest the two most popular teams in baseball always put on. I also made the above graphic in celebration of baseball's return.
But we all know the real question: How long will it take for someone to say something hilarious on Baseball Tonight this season? Guess what: Not one minute into the first episode, Bobby Valentine compared the start of baseball season with: Easter! As in, they're both "the start of something new."
And, of course, there's the other question: How long until Baseball Tonight has hilariously weird guests? About fifteen minutes into the show!
Yes, that's Dr. Dre, Lebron James and Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine. They were all shilling Dre's new headphone line. This whole episode of BBTN has been a big shill, with Karl Ravech saying the one thing Red Sox fans love to do is "log on to ESPNBoston.com."
After the jump, let's quit complaining and get into our first regular season baseball action of the year. Game starts at 8:05 p.m.
Oh, yeah: I'm also drafting in my fantasy league tonight, so I will be completely baseball'd out by tomorrow, one of the best sports days of the year. Since it's a Sunday night (and all of you and presumably in front of a television watching the game), I will forgo play-by-play for the menial stuff and attempt to do analysis (by "do analysis," I mean "make jokes") instead.
7:37 p.m. BBTN continues to shine tonight, with Tim Kurkjian calling Dusty Baker the manager of the Cubs, then freaking out about it afterward. No more rappers have showed up on the broadcast so far, sadly. It's still nice to have Baseball Tonight back, as it's still probably a must-watch for the hardcore baseball fan.
7:46 p.m. I'm already regretting agreeing to do this. Why aren't I at least using Cover It Live?! I always seem to be agreeing to things I later regret. I'm in so many fantasy baseball leagues I never prepare for any of them, instead of just being in one and prepping for that one. Hmm, this is going to be an existential liveblog it seems.
I'm actually pretty excited for the game. Right now the Red Sox crowd is booing Derek Jeter, about the only time I agree with Sox fans on anything.
7:57 p.m. Crucial pieces of information will get short updates. For example: Curt Schilling's blog is now on ESPNBoston.com, according to repeated mentions on BBTN.
8:00 p.m. This is the first Fenway night opener, which seems completely impossible, but I guess it's true. Then again, earlier tonight we were also told the Red Sox once came back from a 15-run deficit against the Yankees on Opening Day, so who knows.
8:02 p.m. Another short crucial update: Pedro Martinez is here!
8:09 p.m. I was trying to think what percentage of ads during sports games go completely over my head. Beer, food, media, cars, even insurance, I all get. But financial ads I never really understand or ever care about, unless the message is, "Save money for retirement!" (I don't do that, but I get it.) Anyway, I guess my point here is: How can the oil industry in the North Sea impact fishing markets in Japan?
8:10 p.m. One swing by Derek Jeter, one out! This is on pace to be the fastest season in baseball history.
8:13 p.m. We're not quite on the pace we were after the first at-bat, but the top half of the first is already over. This is still going to be a record baseball season in terms of speed. Looks like Bob Watson is finally doing something!
8:16 p.m. HOLY SHIT DONOVAN MCNABB JUST GOT TRADED TO THE FUCKING REDSKINS!!!
Regulars here should know I'm going to need a few minutes to process this.
8:19 p.m. Actually, all I really had to do was call my mom. She's as confused as I am. Everyone I know who works in media is pissed off they're going to have to work late on Sunday night. So now I have company in late-night writing!
8:24 p.m. It's always fun in the first few minutes when a big story (okay, not really, it is just sports, but you know what I mean) breaks and everyone learns about it and goes, "Gasp!" That's always a blast. I should try to break more news so I can deliver that to people myself. Hmm.
The game has been nothing so far, though the Yankees slowed the game down considerably, as predicted. I learned last World Series that the Yankees are the worst baseball team in the world, as they attempt to play five-hour games every day. Jorge Posada is responsible for at least 15 hours of extra game time per season.
8:29 p.m. Oh, look who slowed down this game considerably? Jorge Posada. He homers to deep right field, off Pesky's Pole. Yankees 1, Red Sox 0. Incidentally, Lebron James predicted a 7-5 Yankee win before the game.
8:31 p.m. Oh, crap. If Curtis Granderson is going to be hitting home runs every at bat (on pace for it!), the Yankees are going to be even better than last year. Yankees 2, Red Sox 0. On the plus side, Jon Miller just said "420" on air.
8:40 p.m. Josh Beckett finally gets an out after allowing consecutive singles after the back-to-back homers. This game has been kind of fun to watch, because I like when both the Yankees and Red Sox get scored upon.
8:49 p.m. If I had to come up with one quality that effects a player's popularity, I'd go with chant-ability of name. Are there any unpopular players with easily chantable names? Scientifically, Clarence Weatherspoon's popularity was increased 35.6% due to the ability to yell "Spoon" when he got the ball. Anyway, Kevin ("Yoooooouuuuk!!") Youkilis doubled to center and eventually came home on a long Adrian Beltre fly-out to center. Yankees 2, Red Sox 1.
8:53 p.m. Jon Miller just gave a pretty hilarious description of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
9:00 p.m. Okay, let's discuss the new ESPN score bug.
Ugly, right? MDT wrote it "looks like something out of a first-person shooter," which is definitely right. I don't know whether to boo Jeter or fire the BFG-9000 at him.
9:11 p.m. Joe Morgan just expressed excitement about meeting Dr. Dre on the field today.
9:13 p.m. Jon Miller said people keep scorebooks more at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium than elsewhere. Hmm. Possible, but: Do we really know if this is true, or is it anecdotal? I demand sabermetrics in all facets of my baseball broadcast.
9:17 p.m. By the way, thanks to hilarious autodraft rankings, I got Albert Pujols fourth in my fantasy draft tonight. I hit autodraft a while back, too, so I could focus on bitching at people on Twitter, but I got Pujols with the fourth pick! Who cares?
9:23 p.m. With two outs, Brett Gardner singles to right and Granderson scores. Yankees 3, Red Sox 1. Then Jeter singles through the middle and How I Met Your Mother guest star Nick Swisher scores. Yankees 4, Red Sox 1.
9:25 p.m. Ha! Derek Jeter breaks for second, Victor Martinez throws right to second and Brett Gardner steals home. Yankees 5, Red Sox 1. The top of the fourth ends on the next pitch, but it was still a pretty hilarious half-inning. Now the Yanks need to give up a grand slam this inning to keep the schadenfreude fun going.
9:33 p.m. Kevin Youkilis, who has the only hit for the Red Sox tonight, pops up to end the fourth. Sabathia (aka King Hippo) is cruising.
9:35 p.m. It's a Terry Francona interview, a half-inning after a Joe Girardi interview. Is there any person anywhere who likes the in-game manager interview? I have never met one.
Melky Cabrera Robbie Cano (duh) hits a bomb to right, but watches it as it bounces off the wall. J.D. Drew gets it in very quickly, and Cano's held to a single. It's a moot point after Josh Beckett walks Posada, and Tito's pulling Beckett. Scott Schoeneweis, of all people, is coming in to pitch.
9:51 p.m. Schoeneweis strikes out Granderson. He was actually cut by the Brewers this Spring and blamed it on prejudice against his wife dying of a drug overdose last year. Yikes.
9:59 p.m. In just two short hours, this game went from breezing along to among the slowest in major league history. (Note: This may be incorrect.)
10:04 p.m. Signs of life from the Red Sox! Consecutive singles from J.D. Drew and Mike Cameron extend the fifth inning, while Joe Morgan and Co. babble on about ESPN's new replay toy. Meanwhile, more signs of life: Marco Scutaro (late of the Blue Jays) lines it to left. Drew scores and everybody moves up on a wild Gardner throw. Yankees 5, Red Sox 2.
10:06 p.m. Orel Hershiser has accused Gardner of not making a "decisive decision" on the previous play. Ellsbury K's to end the fifth.
10:11 p.m. "A reminder you can watch UConn and Baylor on ESPN..." UConn is up 25-8. Who, exactly, is going to switch over right now? I guess it's the same people who enjoy in-game manager interviews.
10:21 p.m. Sabathia walks Pedroia to start the bottom of the sixth. We just got a Harry the K reference on the broadcast, so I am happy.
10:23 p.m. After a Victor Martinez double, Youkilis hits one to right. Swisher kind of misplays it into a triple and the Sox are only down a run. Yankees 5, Red Sox 4.
10:30 p.m. David Ortiz... let's say, fists a bloop toward Robbie "Melky Cabrera" Cano, who can't get it in the air but holds Youkilis at third and gets Ortiz at first. Sabathia is done for the night. Kind of short outings for pitchers as good as the two starting tonight, even for the first game of the year.
10:33 p.m. First pitch by David Robertson is smacked right back into center by Adrian Beltre, and it's tied. Yankees 5, Red Sox 5.
10:36 p.m. Robertson gets the next two guys (Drew and Cameron). To the seventh! Since quitting a Walkoff Walk blog is a tradition, I've obviously never done it except maybe that playoff game last year I went to go watch the Phillies during. Anyway, Rob always says it's okay to quit, but that's quitter talk. (Um, obviously.) So I'm going to finish. I told you this would be an existential liveblog.
Ahh, I will never tire of fans giving the finger on live television. (via)
10:40 p.m. Meanwhile, A-Rod doubles to left and it's second and third with nobody out. Hideki Okajima comes in to relieve and face Cano.
10:44 p.m. Cano grounds out, but Teixeira scores and A-Rod heads to third. Yankees 6, Red Sox 5.
10:45 p.m. Posada (Public Enemy No. 1 in Philadelphia from last year's World Series) singles to center. Yankees 7, Red Sox 5. Hershiser says "there's not a nicer human being in the world" than Curtis Granderson. What about the Pope? Wait, bad example.
10:50 p.m. Okajima gets a double play to end the top of the seventh. Now we're going to hear Steven Tyler sing "God Bless America." On Walkoff Walk, you're going to hear this song:
I guess this song is a list of all the drugs Steven Tyler regularly does.
10:52 p.m. Here's a game I've been playing for years: Was that Steven Tyler's wife or daughter? I think it was wife this time, but if I'm wrong and somebody can correct me, please do.
10:55 p.m. Lebron James predicted this game would end 7-5 Yankees on the pregame show, incidentally.
10:56 p.m. Here's the new toy Joe Morgan was gushing about before:
It's called ESPN Axis. I like it, but only because it allows Morgan to describe basic infield strategy. He's better at that than any other type of analysis. But the technology isn't all that fantastic. I don't know why the announcers acted as if this were Instant Replay Part II.
11:00 p.m. Lebron is wrong! Lebron is wrong! Chan Ho Park hangs a breaking ball to Dustin Pedroia and he deposits it over the Monster just down the line. Yankees 7, Red Sox 7. This game is going to last until 10 a.m.
11:05 p.m. Kevin Youkilis is winning the opening fantasy night for teams. He doubles off the Monster after a Martinez groundout and Park's night is over.
11:08 p.m. Damaso Marte is in, and his first pitch goes to the backstop. Good start.
11:11 p.m. Passed ball, and the Sox take the lead. Red Sox 8, Yankees 7. Ortiz walks afterward.
11:15 p.m. Joba Chamberlain is in to pitch, and some dude is chanting his first name loudly enough the TV mics are picking it up. Like "Darryl, Darryl" (suggested in the comments), these are exceptions to the chantable name rule.
11:20 p.m. Daniel Bard opens the top of the eighth and gets Gardner to ground out to second.
11:24 p.m. Aww, Donovan McNabb gets his own tab on the ESPN2 bottom line just like Tiger Woods! I'm so proud of him. After a Jeter out, Bard walks Nick Johnson. Mark Teixeira is up.
11:27 p.m. Three down, so it's "Sweet Caroline" time in Boston. It's actually Neil Diamond singing it tonight, so it's extra horrible. A friend IMs: "It's like the Red Sox actually want us to hate them more." Agreed.
11:30 p.m. What do you think that Sony Playstation guy did to get banned from Mexico?
11:35 p.m. Here's another question: Does anyone buy a credit card or open a bank account because they can get a Red Sox logo on a credit card or check?
11:37 p.m. Mike Cameron singles with one down against Chamberlain.
11:43 p.m. With two down and two on, Pedroia lines one to right. Cameron scores. Red Sox 9, Yankees 7. The Sox are on an 8-2 run.
11:47 p.m. Jorge Posada mound conference No. 34. A new Opening Day record!
11:48 p.m. We finally head to the ninth. A-Rod, Cano and Posada are coming up.
11:50 p.m. "The energy drink for your feet." Advertisements confuse me.
11:51 p.m. ESPN goes with the Dropkick Murphys interlude. Edgy.
11:52 p.m. Two quick outs to open the ninth. The game is going to finish before midnight!
11:54 p.m. Uh-oh. I spoke too soon, as Jorge Posada singles to center. It's always Posada. Always!
11:56 p.m. Just in time! Phew. Game over. Go to bed and get ready for work, everyone. I'll clean up.
FINAL: Red Sox 9, Yankees 7.