Well the semi-bad news is that I missed the first 2 and a half innings of the Phillies vs. the Giants. The horrible news is that the game is on Fox and we all know what that means: Buck and the Carver, my very own booth of horror, which is appropriate, I suppose for October. However, my excitement over the Lincecum and Halladay matchup, and the fact that I'm not so invested in the National League Pennant might serve as the perfect opportunity to be more objective as to why this team makes me crazy. And we're not talking everyday, "oh-I-woke-up-late" crazy, but not-so-everyday "hmmm-I-think-I'll-get-plastic- surgery-to-make-me-look-like-a-cat-and-maybe-even-some-whiskers" crazy. I'll be attempting to chronicle the MWOWs (McCarver Words of Wisdom) and BuckUPS (Buck's Utterly Pointless Sentiments) through the game. Thank goodness I'm working with a DVR and can pause live tv.
I'll start with something I neglected in last year's play-off post, which was mainly directed at the Carver, but I think part of the reason this particular pairing gets under my skin is something that, perhaps, just perhaps Buck can't control and it's his general cadence. The guys just sounds like he, well, like he couldn't give a buck. He sounds like he's doing the announcing at some corporate softball league games instead of the MLB playoffs. Someone, immediately search this man's coat pockets for Valium and/or other sedatives. My thought is, if I care about baseball and the people in the stadium care about baseball and the players care about baseball, well then shouldn't the announcers care about baseball? Buck always sounds, at least for those moments that aren't playoff homeruns, like he'd be more excited to tell you about that remote control model of Kit, the talking car from Knight Rider, than he is to tell you about that pick-off play that just saved a run from scoring at the bottom of the 9th. Again, no confirmation that either of those things have happened just yet, in this game, but word on the street is that Buck is a huge fan of the Hoff.
I missed the beginning so I'm not positive that there were any overly-dramatic video clip montages, but, with the fact that Halladay pitched a no-hitter his last start, I'm sure there were. I'm also betting that even with 6 innings left to go, McCarver brings up Pedro Martinez at least once, in some ridiculous statistic that some poor, underpaid assistant has had to search all day for. For my intents and purposes, said underpaid assistant will be known as Boy (but said in that most offensive, deeply Southern caricature way)
Picking up in the bottom of the 3rd:
Ruiz's homer has saved Philadelphia's hopes and dreams by evening things at 1-1 and Halladay is on first and Victorino's up.
Wait, did I say home run?! You know what that means, Boy, I want ALL of Ruiz's stats RIGHT NOW! All of them! I want to know how many hot dogs he ate while sitting on the Little League bench! Sorry, I went off on my McCarver tangent for a moment. Let's get back to the game. Oh no, wait, we'll stick with Ruiz, who hits the homer at 8:37.
He "lights up" in the postseason. Back to the homerun. He's batting .302, has settled in, has a new contract and is a confident hitter in the playoffs. In '07 he hit .333, in the divisional series he was .308, he handles the pitching staff (which I would hope could be said of any major league catcher, because if you're catcher's not handling your pitching staff, what the heck else is he getting paid to do? Is he really good at practical jokes in the locker room?) Ruiz hit .333 against the Yankees (insert McCarver boo here) and .375 against Tampa Bay. Up until now this has been all Buck. Now McCarver butts in with one solitary statistic that it sounds like it's taken him roughly the last 3 minutes to memorize, and it's a doozy
"Carlos Ruiz has the highest on-base percentage of any catcher in major league HISTORY!" (I'm almost certain this statement is false, but I'm looking for clarification) McCarver is so excited for his Phillies.
By the way Victorino hit into a double play, in case you were wondering.
Polanco, or as Buck calls him, just Placido, gets a double.
MWOW: "well a battery, a catcher and a pitcher, have to work good line-ups, good hitting lineups and certainly that's the case with the Phillies. You have to work 'em differently the second and the third time through. What happened originally will not necessarily continue to happen".
Phew...I finally know what a pitcher and catcher are on the field for. I was unsure for a while, but having McCarver tell me it's to work the lineup cleared that all up for me.
MWOW (on Posey's pass ball): "It might have been a cross-up, when a pitcher is down that low and he gets a high fast ball. We used to say if you're looking for the Local when you get the Express it could take your head off"
Let's cutaway from Playoff Baseball to ask pitching coaches who have more important things to worry about pointless questions, shall we? Poor Dave Righetti is mic'd up and has to answer: What are you seeing from Lincecum tonight? (uhm pitches, would be my guess, but I'm just a lady so what do I know?)
Bless his heart he answers "well he's throwing strikes and they're swingin'... "
TM: "We saw him checking his middle finger on his right hand dave...
DR: Always..oh I'm sorry
TM: "Oh he does..he does that..is it force of habit?"
DR: It is Tim he's been doing it since he got here
JB: So the blister's not an issue...
Somehow, the miss by Howard on Huff's single gets turned into a nice defensive play by Werth.
TIL (Things I've Learned): Buster Posey is an old soul
Werth makes another "good play" when he totally loses the ball, allowing Huff to third, but then picks it up and runs it in.
Side Note: Does anyone else think that Jayson Werth looks like the personification of Thor?
Oh My Word, what is this horrible notion, the E-trade Stock Watch?! Apparently Cody Ross' stock is going up (courtesy of his home run) and Jimmy Rollins stock is going down.
Has someone notified Rollins? Pretty soon, if Fox keeps running their sports department with all of this product placement, MLB uniforms will start looking like Nascars.
MWOW: "Also, a running situation here, Joe, not from Rollins, of course, he's the hitter"
TIL: Bob Gibson, the answer to their trivia question, (not any person playing in this actual game) just had knee surgery and is recovering in Omaha, Nebraska.
I was just asking myself, what happened to Bob Gibson. Thanks, as always Tim!
BuckUPS: "WW ...wasn't watching.." in response to the fact that McCarver's at least 15 seconds late on announcing the first out of the inning. McCarver titters at himself
Cody Ross just hit another home run..woot woot! (the woot woot! was all me, McCarver and Buck did not woot, probably to their credit. If they would have wooted I would have just mocked them)
McCarver refers to Halladay as "Doc" Halladay, because he's you know, hip and with it.
Let's cutaway while Halladay is at bat because Ken Rosenthal can't hold his horses about being on-camera in the middle of a playoff game:
JB: On the 29th he (Halladay) pitched a perfect game against the Marlins and, Ken Rosenthal, who is with us, he made some friends after that start:
KR/HD: Yes he did Joe. He presented his teammates and other members of the organization with 60 Swiss-made watches. Now the watches came in brown boxes that bore the inscription 'We did it together. Thanks, Roy Halladay'. Now obviously in the division series he nearly did it again with a perfect game, settling for a no-hitter instead and his agent Greg Landry joked with him 'Hey your teammates are upset with you! They wanted another perfect game, another watch.' Pretty high standard Joe.
JB: Yeah, I'll say. That's ...ugh......ball...three.
(except it wasn't, that pitch made the count 2-2)
Way to stay on top of it guys. And Ken, thanks for that knee slapper.
MWOW: "When a pitcher jumps at a hitter, the hitter wants to jump back...the two solid things about hitting is waiting and having quick hands."
Silly me, I thought the thing about hitting was putting the bat on the ball.
Then there's some horrible montage for Lincecum about the "Tilt, the Dangle and the Reach" set to island music.
Thank goodness for the Geico In-Game Box Score. I wouldn't know what was going on without that animated gecko.
Another cutaway: Register to win your Chevy...with an animated car slowly driving across the screen.
DirecTV in the upper right hand corner
Bottom of the sixth: 4(Giants)-1(Phillies)
In case you missed, it, since it hasn't been addressed, Howard just swung, making it strike #2
MWOW: "I'll tell you that change-up if you do hit it, it's like making solid contact with cotton candy"
I'm not really positive I know what this means...at all.
Werth 2 run homer, 4-3
Now let's watch a reaction of the Phillies bench
Now let's watch a slo-mo reaction of Lincecum's face.
MWOW: "The first time we've heard that word 'idiot' or 'idiots' plural, connected to a ball club was the 2004 Boston Red Sox, a name pinned on the Sox players by Kevin Millar and Jonny Damon who was then with the Sox".
Fox Sports Football Update!! What games to watch that have nothing to do with baseball! and a Ford Edge spoken endorsement by JB.
In the best news I've gotten this week, I learn that TBS is covering the ALCS. But I will so miss this witty banter while watching those games.
BuckUPS: "hehehe...these fans are whistling to Lincecum, they did it earlier, with a little wink to the long hair"
This is the longest period of silence I can remember. And for a moment, silence truly was golden.
House is on on Monday...in case you didn't know it popped up on the screen to remind you
Wow, a fifth grade trumpet prodigy just made me feel like whatever I've accomplished in my life, still isn't as cool as playing the seventh inning stretch. Good for him, sad for me.
Tim Lincecum's 7th didn't really leave a whole lot of chat time
TIL: Ryan Madson kicked a metal chair and broke a toe, missing two months of the regular season.
Cutaway time!!!: Man those two look so suave and relaxed in that booth. Just chillin', two pals discussing kicking things.
JB to TM: "You ever kick anything and break anything out of frustration as an announcer or a player"
TM: "hehe..as an announcer...hehe I've done it recently"
JB: "I'm only kidding"
Then more bullpen talk with the camera on these two.
Did you almost forget you were watching a game, because I did.
MWOW: "just looking at Javier Lopez I remember when he came in to face all of those tough Yankee left handed hitters when he was with the Boston Red Sox. Sure Red Sox fans remember that. Lopez is still getting people out"
Replay of the night's big hits on a Blackberry
MWOW: "Thinking about left field only when Ryan Howard thought about left field against Andy Pettite last year was he successful. Tremendous Power the other way"
And my DVR just decided to crap on me and I will be unable to bring you the rest of the game. It was the bottom of the 8th anyway, and let's face it, if you stuck with me this long you were getting mondo bored, right? Or perhaps you had even forgotten that this was about a baseball game, what with all of that humor. The good news is the score stayed the same and the Giants took a 1-0 lead in the NLCS. Well it's not good news for Phil fans, but it's good news because it means you didn't miss a whole lot of banter, because I'm sure McCarver was too busy weeping.