1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF, Mariners
2. Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees
3. Josh Hamilton, CF, Rangers
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees
5. Manny Ramirez, LF, Red Sox
6. Milton Bradley, DH, Rangers
7. Kevin Youkilis, 1B, Red Sox
8. Joe Mauer, C, Twins
9. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox
P Cliff Lee, Indians
1. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins
2. Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies
3. Lance Berkman, 1B, Astros
4. Albert Pujols, DH, Cardinals
5. Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves
6. Matt Holliday, RF, Rockies
7. Ryan Braun, LF, Brewers
8. Kosuke Fukudome, CF, Cubs
9. Geovany Soto, C, Cubs
P Ben Sheets, Brewers
So they have a bunch of Hall of Famers standing near their respective positions and have the current starters come out and stand next to them. This is pretty cool, I guess. A few beefs with this though:
- Wade Boggs wearing a Yankee hat? Come on.
- No Yaz? Fisk? No Red Sox there period. Maybe because the classy Bronx clowns would no doubt boo them.
- Tony Gwynn looks like he ate 4 other left fielders. Jesus.
I want to punch Joe Buck in the face. Can we start this fucking game or what? Please? I tuned it at 8. It's 8:41. Let's fucking go. OK, here we go. First pitch at 8:48 according to my MacBook. Cliff Lee on the hill, former Sox prospect Hanley Ramirez at the plate. I am an unabashed Hanley fan. I think he's top 5 in terms of best players in baseball. And Lee looks sharp, he gets Hanley swinging. Now Utley. And Lee gets him swinging. Jeez, what is with Cliff Lee this year? He is a beast. And Berkman flies to center, and yay, yo! Hamilton catches it. A 1-2-3 inning.
Ben Sheets on the hill for the NL, and singles hitter and owner of the low OBP Ichiro leads off. And hacker that he is, he pops the 2nd pitch to right, Holliday grabs it, one out. Now the Lord Christ steps up. He hits a chopper to 2nd that Utley can't handle the tough hop, and the son of God reaches. Buck already calling it a hit, I guess it is. And the greatest man who ever lived steals 2nd with Hamilton at the dish. Did you know he was on drugs? And Sheets blows him away. Now A-Rod with a runner on 2nd and two down. And he pops one foul. Soto catches it at the on-deck circle to end the inning. No score going into the 2nd.
Pujols leading off. Joe Buck gushing over his skills. The beast that is Pujols grounds to the beast that is A-Rod, and there's one out. Now Larry Jones, and he swings at the first pitch and singles to center. Holliday now grounds to Youkie at first, his only play is to tag the Rockie coming down the line, and there's two outs. Another runner in scoring position with two outs, and here's Ryan Braun. And Lee tools him on 3 pitches, and after the pageant at the beginning, we have a fast-moving game.
Friend of the EjF Ernie Dolan just informed me that Joe Buck said that the whiff of Braun was Lee's 2nd strikeout. Wrong, Mr. Buck. That would be K number three. Now Manny leads it off here in the 2nd. Zambrano loosening up for the NL. 2-0 to Manny, and he's hacking and pops one down the right field line towards the short porch, but foul. And Sheets comes back to fan Manny on a sick breaking pitch. Pitchers looks strong here in the early going. Here's Milton Bradley now. My hope is that Joe Buck says something stupid about Bradley, and Milton goes to the booth and murders him. Bradley walks, one on with one out and here's Youk. Are they booing or Youk-ing? We may never know. Bradley steals second now, and it's a full count to Youks. And Sheets gets him swinging, two gone. Man, both Sheets and Lee are on their games. Mauer stands in now, and he works a walk and now a big spot for another hometown player, Pedroia. I would love to see him pop one in a gap here. Instead he flies one to center, caught by Fukudome and we're through two, still no score.
Yogi Berra in the booth for this inning, so let's hope it's a fast one. And wow. They're actually holding up play so they can talk to Berra. Ridiculous. Let's play the damn game. Fukudome leads off. Joe Saunders now in pitching for the AL. And Fuck-you-dome grounds to Youk, one out. Now Soto flies to center. Jeez, Yogi makes no sense. None. And Buck and McCarver aren't even calling any game action. This is like watching a game at a nursing home on mute. Just rely on yours truly to give you the game action, fans. Hanley up with two outs, and he singles to right, one on with two outs. Mumble mumble mumble, what the fuck is this guy talking about? This is painful. And Utley grounds to Youk, unassisted and we're done in the top of 3rd. Send Yogi away! Still scoreless.
How many more moments are we going to have tonight where Fox tries to make it special, but it ends up just being painfully awkward, boring, and sad. Maybe they can have Steinbrenner do the New York Times crossword out loud. Zambrano comma Carlos in for the NL, dealing with the top of the AL order. Singles hitter Ichiro up, and he singles. Hopefully he'll try to snag second here as a heavenly spirit stands in. And he adds to his double-play totals for the season and there's quickly two down. Buck said right before the routine 6-4-3 that Ichiro "could be a home run hitter if he wanted to." Yeah, but who wants to do that? I would rather single (never a walk or extra-base hit), steal second, and count on my shit offense to get me home instead of taking the easy way out and hitting a bomb. It's simple math, look it up. And Hamilton cracks one, but right to second, and we're through three, scoreless.
Halliday in for the AL and he's dealing with Berkman first. And Roy gets him swinging, one gone. Pujols is up, and he rips one down the right field line into the corner. He heads for second, but Ichiro guns it and and gets him! Wow, for all the Ichiro bashing I do, I gotta say, guy is tremendous in the field. What a cannon. Looks like Pujols beat it on the replay actually. Throw was there in plenty of time but God never tagged him. And now Larry hits a chopper over Halliday's head. The greatest player ever gloves and throws him out, and we're on to the bottom of the 4th.
Zambrano still in, and A-Rod leads off. And Z gets him swinging, one down. Now Manny, and a crazy curve from Z over Manny's head on the first pitch. Weird. And he grounds to second, Utley ranges over and makes the play, two down. They just showed a hit chart for Manny, showing his batting averages in each sector of the strike zone, at "hot-and-cold" chart, if you will. McCarver is disputing it. Stupid stat geeks with their "facts" and their "research." Go back to your mom's basement, am I right? Bradley up, and he grounds one to short, but Hanley air-mails the throw and Bradley reaches on the error. Now Youkie. But no! Bradley gets picked off first! Inning over! Heading to the 5th now, still scoreless.
Some changes for the AL. Hamilton getting a sniff of left now, so Manny is out. Sizemore into center. And Ervin San-tana (ay!) in, dealing with Holliday first. And he lines one into the seats in right, 1-0 NL. Drilled it right into the short porch, nice rip. Now Braun. He chops one up the middle, Pedroia ranges, gloves, and throws him out, one away. Now A-Rod lifted from the field so he can get a nice hand, Crede in to play 3rd. Nice gesture from Tito as always. Cock-suckie Fuck-you-dome up now, and San-tana (ay!) gets him swinging. Two outs for Soto. Another K, San-tana (ay!) gets him looking and we're done with four and a half, 1-0 NL.
Changes for the NL: Nate McLouth in center, Russell Martin now behind the dish, and Dan Haren in to pitch. Dealing with Youks first, and he pops one into right, one down. Here's Mauer who walked his first time. He hits a high chopper up the middle, nicks off the tip of Haren's glove and Mauer reaches. Scored a hit, and Kinsler in to pinch-run for Mauer. Pedroia up now, and let's see if Kinsler is running. He is, and he steals second. Close play! Let's see the replay. He was safe, great throw though. Now Pedroia takes ball four and we have two on with one out. Ichiro up here. If it's true that he can hit homers if he wants to, then now would be a good time for one. Or maybe Joe Buck is an idiot. You be the judge. And instead Haren fans him. Two on, two out, and the greatest human in history is up. Two outs, so the clutch double-play is off the table. He's in the hole 1-2, Haren appears to be dealing. And he hits a clutch grounder to the mound! He's gritty! He's gutty! He's out! Bring on the 6th!
Changes: Morneau at first, Kinsler stays in at 2nd, Drew takes over in right, the most undeserving All Star in history behind the dish, and Duchscherer (yes I had to pause the DVR to get the spelling) is on the hill. Hanley will lead it off here. Is it me, or is Clint Hurdle making NO subs? Hanley rips one to left for a single. Hanging curve. I think we'll see the Christ child replaced mid-inning at some point here. Utley up now, and let's see if Hanley gets in on the base stealing we've seen all night. He goes, but Utley fouls one off. He goes again, and this time Utley singles to right and we've got some first and third action with no outs and the 3-4-5 hitters coming up. Berkman here, and Sherrill warming up for the AL. Berkman rips one to deep center, Sizemore tracks it down, but it's plenty deep enough to score Hanley, 2-0 NL. Now Jeter is replaced, it's Michael Young coming in, and Pujols up for the NL. He rips a single to center and two on with one out. I think we may be seeing Sherrill soon. Larry Jones now up. Duchscherer gets him swinging now, and there's two gone. Nice pitching here, and now Holliday, and he pops one up. Shallow center, Kinsler out, snags it, and we're headed to the bottom of the 6th, 2-0 NL.
Maybe some subs for the NL here? Yes! Adrian Gonzalez in at first, Uggla at 2nd, Tejada at short, Aramis Ramirez at 3rd. Only one change in the outfield, Corey Hart takes over in right. Hamilton leading off for the AL, and he smacks one to center off Haren for a single. Crede up now, and he pops it to second for out number one. Grady Sizemore next with one on and one out. Hamilton goes, and he steals second. Martin threw it into center, but the ball was back in before Hamilton could even dust himself off. Haren disposes of Sizemore by way of the K, and now Bradley. One pitch, a fly to center, and Bradley is done and so is the AL. Bring on the 7th, 2-0 NL.
Joe Nathan pitching, Carlos Quentin in left. Braun the first to face Nathan, and he fans for the first out. Nate McLouth, the lone Pirates rep. stands in. He flies to center for the second out. Papelbon getting loose, most likely for the 8th. Russell Martin comes up now, and he quickly flies to left, spotless 1-2-3 for Nathan, here comes Josh Groban to sing GBA, and then the bottom of the 7th, 2-0 NL.
Every time I see Josh Groban, I think of this. I can't help it. Ryan Ludwick in left for the NL, Volquez on the hill. AL trying to plate their first run, Morneau will try to get it going. And he does, leadoff double to right. Kinsler now, and he grounds to Tejada, Morneau advances to third on the putout. Tek won't get an AB, thank you Tito. He's trying to win this game, at least. Navarro up. And Volquez gets him looking. Jeez, Navarro, Varitek could have (would have) done that. JD Drew will now try to get this run home from third, but tougher now with two outs. Tough? Fuck that, says JD. But probably a lot nicer, because he's Christian and such. He crushes one to right and gone, tie game, 2-2! 2 run bomb JD Drew! Hell yes! After some claps and fist pumps from me, Michael Young K's. But a whole new ballgame here, as Drew does it all, 2-2 going to the 8th.
Navarro stays in to catch, Papelbon on the hill to start the 8th. Miguel Tejada to lead off. He bloops a little flare into right, leadoff single. The Bronx bums are ALL OVER Papelbon, and the hit from Tejada didn't help. Uggla with his first AB here, and it's quickly 0-2. And he makes Uggla look silly and quiets the crowd with a swing and a miss at some high gas, one out. Adrian Gonzalez up now, and Tejada takes off on the first pitch. He snags second, and Navarro throws it into center and Tejada takes third. Great. Gonzalez flies to left and Tejada comes to the plate. Throw from Quentin is not in time, NL re-takes the lead 3-2. Can't really blame Paps for this one. And now he freezes David Wright with a heater on the black, inning over. Bottom 8 on the way, 3-2.
Former Beach Boy Brian Wilson in for the NL to face Quentin. He flies a 2-0 pitch to center for out number one. Carlos Guillen now. Joe Buck mentions that he is the AL's last available position player. They then proceed to show Evan Longoria in the dugout with a helmet on. They also show Francona's lineup card with every name crossed out except Longoria's. Buck repeats that Guillen is the last bench player. What a fucking idiot. When Longoria comes to the plate, Buck's head may explode. Guillen working a nice AB here, fouling off some tough pitches. And Wilson wins the battle with some good vibrations on his fastball, Guillen can't catch up with it. That will do it for Wilson, pitching change in the 8th, Billy Wagner coming in to face Grady Sizemore. Longoria on deck and hey! Buck finally realized it! And Sizemore singles and we will see the last bench player for the AL here. Lidge getting loose for the NL, and Longoria has a chance to be a hero here. Ball one. Foul ball down the 3rd base line, 1-1. Longoria chops one foul at the dish, 1-2. Next pitch is up and in ball two, and Sizemore steals second uncontested. Now a hit ties it, here comes the 2-2. And its roped down the left field line, a fair ball! Hops into the seats, ground-rule double, Sizemore scores, tie game! 3-3! Huge hit! Now Morneau can give the AL the lead. But he grounds to the mound, Wagner takes it all the way to first, a rare 1U and the 8th is over, but not before the AL ties it. 3-3, heading to the 9th.
We can't have a tie, because this time, it counts! K-Rod into pitch, Guillen stays in to play 3rd. Aramis Ramirez leading things off in the 9th. And he leads it off with a walk. Christian Guzman in to pinch-run as Corey Hart steps in. He wears his sunglasses at night, and he flies to right. That rhymes. Ludwick steps in, but first, enter sandman. K-Rod out, Mariano in, Yankee Stadium erupts like a cherry bomb dropped into a toilet. How funny would it be if he blew it here? I want the AL to win, but I can hear it now. "And Ludwick hits one deeper than anything Hamilton hit last night!" And Hamilton rocks, believe me. So here we go. Full count now, Guzman goes, swing and a miss strike three, and the throw down is in time! Strike em out, throw em out, inning over! Bottom 9 now, still knotted at 3.
According to Wikipedia, the Red Sox have been involved in every walk-off home run in All-Star game history. There have been three in all. Can JD Drew hit one? He's up third in the 9th. Ryan Dempster in for the NL, Ian Kinsler leads off. 8 walk-off hits in All-Star history, the last was a walk-off double by Moises Alou in 1994. Kinsler goes down swinging, and now Navarro. And nice pitch from Dempster on 3-2 that gets him swinging, 2 down. Stage is set for JD Drew, here we go. First pitch is low, but called a strike, 0-1. Next offering is up and away, ball one. Now a pitch in a dirt, 2-1. Dempster delivers and it's up and away again, 3-1. Hitters count, but Drew takes a high strike, full count. And the 3-2 pitch gets Drew looking, nasty. And we're going to extras. This time it counts! 3-3 tie.
Buck just said "this time it counts" as McLouth stands in. Both Aaron Cook and Brad Lidge warming for the NL. Rivera still in for the AL, and he deals to the lefty. Full count, and McLouth fouls one off and breaks his bat. Soria getting loose for the AL. Rivera freezes McClouth with a pitch on the outside corner, strike three. One out for Russell Martin. And he works a real tough at bat that ends with a single to right. One on, one out, here's Tejada. 10 HR at the break for him, in case inquiring minds were wondering. Former All-Star game MVP as well. I think whomever gets the winning hit will be this year's MVP. Martin runs, and Tejada singles up the middle! First and third, one out! Now Uggla...Mariano trying to work out of this jam. And Uggla grounds to second, Kinsler, Young, Morneau! Twin killing (ed. note - Morneau still alive), inning over! I find myself rooting hard for the AL; 3-3, bottom 10 awaits.
We're closing in on midnight on the East Coast, but SB ain't quitting on you just yet. Aaron Cook in, Michael Young leads off. Chopper up the middle, Uggla gloves and drops it! E4, runner on first, no outs. Now Carlos Quentin, and he hits a hard one-hopper to Uggla, and he boots this one! Right through the 5-hole! That was a tailor-made double-play ball, and back to back E4's, winning run now at 3rd with no outs. Hurdle out for a chat, and they'll give Guillen a free pass to load them up, no outs for Sizemore. Infield in, outfield in, ball one to Sizemore. Now a grounder down the first base line aaaannd...foul. 1-1. Now a grounder right at Uggla, he makes a clean play, throws home to get the sure out, throw onto first is not in time. Young forced at the plate, bases still loaded but now one out. Now infield backs up looking for the DP. Longoria up, and he grounds to 3rd. Guzman is gonna come home, and he's got Quentin, 2 out! WOW. Bases STILL loaded but now TWO outs! Insane. Here's Morneau. What a job by Cook so far. Slow roller to Tejada, he charges, gloves, throws on the moooovveee....got him! Inning over! What a play! What a game! 3-3, bring on the 11th!
This is a great game so far. I kinda want to go to bed, but man. I am enjoying myself here, I hope I have some loyal readers enjoying it with me. Soria now in for the AL, he's dealing with Gonzalez first. And he slaps one to left-center for a leadoff single. David Wright up now. And Soria gets him swinging, nasty stuff, one gone. Christian Guzman stands in and takes strike one. This is his first AB of the game, and he's quickly down 0-2. Soria gets him on a fly to center, 2 gone. I Wear My Sunglasses At Night blares through the Yankee Stadium speakers as Corey Hart steps in. He flicks one to right, Drew grabs it, and we're done with the top of the 11th. Kinsler, Navarro, Drew coming up, 3-3 ballgame.
Cook still in, and here's Kinsler. He bloops one that falls safely in front of McLouth in center, and the leadoff man is on again for the AL. And my cable just cut out! I have no idea what's going on! As I hurried to open GameDay on MLB.com, it came back. Whew! Kinsler goes, pitch-out! And they got him! One down! Looks like Tejada never touched him on the replay. Looked like the right call to me with the naked eye, so who knows. Now Navarro walks, so the winning run is back on first, this time with one out, and here's Drew. And he quickly singles on the first pitch, two on! Yeah, JD! Buck mentions for the 294,671st time that the AL is out of bench players. Thanks, Joe. Michael Young up now with a chance to be a hero. And he singles to center, here comes Navarro to the plate! McClouth up and throwing, here it is, and he's out! They got him, game still tied! They couldn't run for Navarro! They're out of bench players! I just realized that the AL is batting 1.000 this inning, and there are two outs. Runners at 2nd and 3rd for Quentin. 2-0 pitch is grounded to Guzman, who gloves, throws across his body, and got him at first! Inning over! Still tied at 3, here comes the 12th.
As we go deeper and deeper into the night, the chances become greater that this game gets called. Soria still in for a second inning of work. Ludwick leads it off. And he starts it off with a walk. McLouth lays down a sac bunt, Morneau scoops and flips a little slow to Kinsler covering and Nate beats it! Maybe some confusion as to if Morneau or Soria would field it. And now Martin bunts to Morneau again, he gloves and gets him, but runners at 2nd and 3rd now with one out for Tejada. They'll put him on and face Uggla with the bases loaded and one out. AL will be looking for a DP here. Soria quickly gets ahead 0-2. And he gets him on a nasty curve! Holy shit what a game. Now 2 outs, bases still loaded and here comes Tito to get Sherrill to face Adrian Gonzalez for the lefty-lefty matchup. Remember when I thought Sherrill was going to come in in the 6th? That seems like a week ago. He's essentially the AL's last pitcher - they have Kazmir, but he started for the Rays on Sunday, so this could get dicey. Here we go. First pitch from Sherrill is strike one looking. Next pitch is nasty, swinging strike, 0-2. And 3 pitches, strikeout and inning over. Filthy stuff. Can you wait for the bottom of the 12th? I can't. 3 all.
I smell a walk-off bomb. I don't know why - my brain isn't actually working full strength at 20 of 1 here. Good thing I don't have to be up in 5 and a half hours. Oh wait... Anyway, here's Guillen, and he swings at the first pitch and cranks it deep to left! Back to the wall is Ludwick, and...it's...off the wall! Guillen checks into second with a double. Damn. I smelled a walk-off and I thought he had it. Sizemore up now, and he grounds it to Uggla, who gets him at first, but Grady does his job, runner moves to 3rd and now one out. Longoria now to face Cook. Winning run 90 feet away, infield in again, outfield in again. And he chops one down the third-base line...juuust foul, 1-2 count. And then Cook gets Longoria swinging! 2 outs! Will this game ever end? Runner still at 3rd for Morneau, and they'll put him on to face Kinsler. First and 3rd, two outs, will Kinsler be the hero? Stay tuned. Morneau moved up to second on the first pitch, ball one. His run does not matter, of course. Fouled off, 1-1. Cook delivers, and Kinsler grounds to Guzman, onto first and they got him. What a job by Aaron Cook, holy shit. If the NL wins, he gets my vote for MVP. 13 innings? You bet. 3-3.
Sherrill still in, David Wright up. And he shatters his bat and bloops one into right for a base hit. Leadoff single, one on, no outs. Here's Christian Guzman. Bunt? He squares, pulls back, and takes a ball. They just mentioned that Kazmir threw 104 pitches Sunday. Jeez. What happens if they have to go to him? Guzman gets it down, Sherrill fields, goes to second, and gets Wright! Nice play, one out. Corey Hart now, runner on first is Guzman. And Sherrill gets him swinging for out number two. Ludwick stands in now. I gotta say, if I were a Rays fan and Kazmir pitches, I would not be happy. Not really Francona's fault; you'd have to put this on Selig. I bet he is sweating right now. 3-0 on Ludwick. He pops a 3-1 pitch to second, Kinsler snags it, and we're done with the top of 13th. Navarro, Drew, Young, likely against Marmol. Can the AL break the 3-3 tie and end this game?
I think I'm quitting after this inning loyal readers. If it doesn't end here, I'll be sure to post something about the end of the game tomorrow right here. But let's not get ahead of ourselves - let's see what happens. It is Marmol, and here's Navarro. He bounces one to second. Uggla doesn't boot it and gets Navarro at first, one away. JD Drew, send me to bed! Swing and a miss, strike one. Now 2-1, and a pitch just inside ball three. Drew takes strike two, full count. And he rolls one to Uggla, who boots it! Drew reaches! Tough hop, but come on, you gotta make that play. Another E4, one on, one out. Kazmir was warming earlier, but now he's seated. Interesting. Michael Young now, can he end it? Full count now, one out, McCarver convinced Drew will be running. I agree. He goes, strike three, but Drew steals 2nd. So he's there with two outs, Quentin up trying to end it now. Popped foul back behind the plate and out of play, strike one. Hard pitch but out of the zone, ball one, 1-1. Now a curve for a strike, 1-2. Quentin fouls one off to stay alive. And Marmol gets him swinging! Going to the 14th, I'm going to bed! Crazy game, but I can't do it anymore. Goodnight, all! Let me know how it ends!