Friday, 15 August 2008

Live Blog! Canada v. USA Olympic Baseball 15/8/2008: Operation Great White North

Good evening, ladies and gentleman and welcome to the first official live blog here at The Southpaw. Dashing Team Canada takes on our closest friends/most hated enemies from the United States at 10:19 tonight, a little under 40 minutes from now. I'd recommend that you go with the online feed here because the main CBC network will probably be bouncing all over the shop from synchronized hi-fiving to team trampoline wrestling at inopportune moments during the game.

I've racked up a bunch of music here because the online feed is commentary free. At first it feels serene not having a ginger moron blathering on about this and that, but you'll probably start to feel a little bored after two innings. I'm starting it off with Lagwagon's "Trashed", an album that wasn't great but did the trick in certain times and places a bit over a decade ago. Things will probably progress to the Cold War Kids and then we'll let the tempo of the game dictate the music.

Why live blog now? Sometimes life deals you a pair of twos and you've just got to play the hand you've been dealt. I'm struggling away at my second graduate degree and I have kind of taken a couple of gut punches over the past week learning that two former female classmates from journalism school at Carleton are working the international beat I so desperately dreamed of being a part of way back when I left Sarnhole at 18.. (If you were wondering, the first was a former dorm room rasslin' partner and is now reporting on the Olympics from Beijing for CTV, the latter, a jealous mannish roommate who engineered the breakup of your humble narrator and a smoking hot Croatian film student, most recently interviewed the Polish foreign minister for the BBC... Sloots of the first order, both of them, and you can quote me on that.) While they've got decently paying/highly rewarding jobs, I've got all of you, right?

I'm rocking the Maclay's Traditional Pale Ale, a buck a beer I wouldn't say tastes good, but it's a Sleeman's product and tastes less bad than Lakeport, the lager of choice of the proletarian underclass from Windsor to Timmins. We're 20 minutes from game time... the excitement is palpable!

It would be remiss of me not to throw a metaphorical internet high five in the direction of Lloyd the Barber at Ghostrunner on First. Not only is his blog better than a 6-way with the Polish women's volleyball team, but the Ghostrunner's taste in 1990s punk rock is beyond reproach. I salute you, sir, and thanks for the cross promotion earlier this afternoon.

10:07 - Starting lineups have been posted at the official site. The first thing that jumps out is that Adam Stern has been dropped from the leadoff spot to the Manny Lee hole at the bottom of the order. Fuck that noise, Terry Puhl! You don't sort of almost become the Red Sox CF by default only to have all your hopes and dreams stripped away from you when Theo Epstein trades for Coco Crisp for nothing!

Starters are James Avery (eh, struggling for something positive to say...) for Canada and Brett Anderson (K artist) for the US of Americans.

Michael Phelps wins gold medal number 7. I didn't even look up from the keyboard.

10:14 -

Team Canada:

11 CLAPP Stubby 2B
15 GARCIA Emmanuel SS
20 SAUNDERS Michael RF
40 THORMAN Scott 1B
17 FROSTAD Emerson DH
7 STERN Adam

Team USA:

24 FOWLER Dexter CF
18 BARDEN Brian 2B
26 TIFFEE Terry 1B
17 BROWN Matt 3B
7 GALL John DH
2 DONALD Jason

LaPorta is a destroyer of worlds who went to the Tribe in exchange for CC Sabbathia in July; Jason Donald is the AA Phillies shortstop JP should've traded AJ Burnett for. Nate Schierholtz is a prospect of note for the Pirates, Lou Marson is a promising young catcher in the Phillies system. The other names are unfamiliar to me, but Dexter Fowler might be a serial killer.

10:20 - Ok, we have lift-off here. Well, sort of. A count down followed by a commerical for something I wouldn't buy even if I did have money. It's overcast and communist looking at Wukesong Baseball Field, 26 C, 55% humidity, some wind and various other shit. Canada and the US both have a win and two losses, though I doubt any of their players get a warm and fuzzy feeling of accomplishment in beating Canadians at baseball. This is a must win game for the Canuckers, well, maybe "should really try to" win.

In Mandarin, Canada is "Chan-a-da". Get used to it.

10:24 - Lagwagon has been fired up. I think the last time I listened to this album was way back, Victoria Day Weekend 1997 when we got kicked out the Pinery at 4 a.m. on Monday morning after Newman got caught by the 5-oh with an open beer. Rather than dumping it in the forest before running away. he set the cup down on the road then ran. We barely had time to dump the hot box tent in the forest before smokey arrived back at the site.

The main network is covering long distance gay-walking rather than cutting away to the ball game.

10:28 - The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out to a Chinese midget. Do you ever wonder if the standard for midgetry is different in Asia? 4' 11" for a man qualifies you here in the West. Also, did you know that the wartime manpower shortage had grown so acute in Canada by 1917 that the army had to relent and admit midgets to labour battalions? Knowing's half the battle.

Canada's the road team here and we're on the verge of finally seeing the first pitch...

Fuck, Anderson is a southpaw. There's maybe one, two max, righty Canadian bats. It's beyond comical.

10:34 - Stubby Clapp chooses not to beat out a broken bat infield single. Why so many people lose their shit for this guy is beyond me. Manny Garcia follows by knocking the first pitch he sees for a routine grounder to second. Mike Saunders comes up, he's got some pop, though it'd be nice to see the guys face a righty some day. Routine fly straight to the centrefielder. Evil Imperials about to hit.

10:38 - Dexter Fowler is an African-American, so that means he can't be a serial killer. My apologies. He certainly did not kill the ball there, flying out in shallow left rather than stabbing himself an extra base hit. Brian Barden has his shit pushed up on some sloppy breaking balls. Terry Tiffee probably has the most effete name in the history of manhood. Unsurprisingly, he grounds out to second.

End of 1, good guys and those guys knotted at 0.

It's the sing-along part of "going south" and this brings back some great memories...

10:45 - Former Braves first baseman Scott Thorman leads off the Canadian second. Here's his line against ML lefties from 2007: .176/.227/.221. Don't get your hopes up. Nick Weglarz, socker of 2 home runs against Cuba, follows that fly out to the third baseman with a single to right. Rally time? Another lefty up... Emerson Frostad? Who is this ninja? He wears 44, which is a bit presumptive.

Fuck yeah! Slugger McGrew doubles over the left-fielders head to cash the first run.

Matt Rogelstad, another lefty, grounds out advancing the runner to third with two outs. A righty! Chris Robinson turns his platoon advantage into a first pitch ground out to end the inning.

Good guys up 1-0.

10:57 - Matt Brown, woop-dee-do I got ML at bats for the Angels this year, Ks. Schierholtz goes down with a wimper in true Pirate fashion and Matt LaPorta comes up to the dish. He Ks...
Avery is definitely not pitching like a dude who kind of got pushed around a bit in AA this year...

11:03 - Adam Stern leads off the Canadian third and slashes foul balls all over the park with the focus of a man who's not thinking ahead to an awkward, sexually-charged hallway conversation with fellow Londoner Jessica Zelinka after the game... before striking out swinging. Speaking of dames, Stubby Clapp singles to left and iTunes racks up some Laura Veirs? No, go back and erase that. I can't let people know I have her on my iPod. Manny Garcia beasts a TRIPLE to deep right scoring Mrs. Stubby Clapp! Good guys up 2-0!

Three games into the tournament and I've become a real fan of Mike Saunders (Mariners, 21, .859 OPS at AA West Tennessee this summer), who just grounded out to drive in Canada's third run. He's a tall, lanky outfielder who can hit doubles and stole bases in the low minors. Minimal flash, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see him in the bigs sometime in 2010.

Scott Thorman singled and went to second on a wild pitch before Weglarz flew out to end the inning. Canada 3-US 0.

11:17 - My day/night is just made by the first comment of the live blog from Adam. Cheers, brother! How's it going?

Stubby Clapp just does a passable Aaron Hill impression on a diving snag on a line drive that was tailing away from him. Colour me impressed.

Whatever, I do like Laura Veirs and I'm not ashamed to tell anyone.

11:19 - The main network decides to check in and I don't like this mojo. What the fuck, like anything they've covered over the past hour was more deserving of air time than this. Dexter "not a serial killer" Fowler did NOT strike out on that big loop Chris Robinson tried to sell by running half way to the dugout... A fly out to left does it on the next pitch anyway. Canada coming up.

Dunno if you saw the Canada-China game Adam, but the crowd was weirder then. Their chant of "Go Chinese team!" was somewhat quaint...

11:24 - we are joined by mathesond, welcome aboard!

I can't find any stats for this Frostad guy, who just grounded out but didn't on an errant throw from Jason Donald (the guy I wanted for AJ Burnett at the deadline), but he looks like an intercounty leaguer. Alright, this is getting annoying... the tv feed is ahead of the online feed, I'm a bit torn about reverting to cable seeing as how little importance they've put on airing this game.

Donald poochs his jump on a liner from ADAM STERN that goes for a single, but Stubby Clapp grounds out to end the inning. And we're back to some random inconsquential event on the main network.

11:31 - Lloyd the Barber graces us with his presence and women's rasslin' comes on the main network, Asian women's rasslin'. Coincidence?

11:34 - Oh snap, Brian Barden takes Avery deep to put the Americans on the board. Avery's been good through 3, too good for someone with his track record against these fine young crew-cutted Yankees.

Canuck music? I'd much rather throw on some Swingin' Utters. This is a working class Canadian team, so it's not inappropriate. I remember seeing them at Molly Maguire's in Ottawa way back and Johnny Peebucks was sitting alone before his set, head down on the table and crying. One of our party was bold enough to go ask him how he was doing; he said he missed the birth of his first child because of the tour...

Wolf Parade?

11:38 - Blair had some extremely disparaging comments for the baseball facilities in Beijing, but seriously... are they expected to invest millions in a nice ballpark on prime downtown real estate? They have a 6-team league that plays a 3-game season in front of no fans. After we graduate me and the Mrs. are going to write our first book on baseball in China. Like so many things American, the existence of the sport there is a product of wishful thinking. I was actually pretty impressed that the Chinese assembled a competitive women's fastball team for a sport that was coming off the Olympic roster. They lost to Canada 1-0 last night after loading the bases with none out in their last AB.

Still... LaPorta beaned.

Cito needs to get out there and yank Jason Frasor, I mean James Avery.

11:44 - Avery surrenders another run and has not been yanked. Three scoreless innings would've been a nice return on him, a real nice return, but Terry Puhl is riding the wild here for some unknown reason.

First punk show: Bad Religion/Supersuckers/Blonde Redhead at the State Theater in Detroit, aged 15. The awesomeness of that day will never be recaptured, not even if I'm the first man to set foot on Mars.

The pitching change finally happens....

11:49 - Are you watching this women's rasslin'? It's much more erotic than me and Phil Gosse in the offensive lineman weight class back in grade nine gym. Rando Canuck reliever gets out of the jam.

11:52 - That Japanese dame had a superb ass, I'd feel no shame in losing to her.

I know they've scored 4 runs already, but are you kind of wondering how an entire country is incapable of producing any right-handed hitters? This shit should get balanced out a bit in the WBC with Jason Bay and Russ Martin, but Justin Morneau, Mark Teahen, Matt Stairs et al. are all wrong-handed hitters, too.

Canuckers go 3 up, 3 down, it's up to the bully here. This is the important part...

11:57 - In case you were wondering, that imposing communist-looking building there beyond the left-field wall is a slogan factory. Manny Garcia does a disservice to token Latinos everywhere booting that ball and handling the throw from the pitcher on the following play with the grace and agility of Russ Adams, but at least he got the lead out (erasing his error).

I went with The Specials. Entirely inappropriate, but what can you do.

It feels like each successive reliever the Canadians trot out will be worst than Josh Towers to the power of 10. If this lead holds, I'll dance a jig in front of a crowd of disinterested looking trust-fundettes outside the DB Weldon Library. Chris Robinson should run to the dugout after every two strike pitch...

And the Yanks score again on a double, puta madre!, this sidearmer's a shitballer of the first order. He looks like he's on the verge of tears, fucking hell, eye of the tiger there, ninja, this is the Olympics! Well, let's not repeat that hirsute relief effort in the 6th! Where's Paul Quantrill?

12:10 - A half dozen insurance runs would be nice here against Joe Blanton's left-handed cousin. We get a double there from Frostad, and Rogelstad knocks a swinging bunt right down the line to put runners at the corners with 2 out. Eh, eh????

Unsurprisingly, the Yanks are warming up another lefty. A retarded computer simulation could manage this game...

12:18 - USA manager Judge Roughneck comes out to yank Joe Blanton's left-handed cousin (for another lefty). This guy Brian Duensing is a Twins farmhand and didn't not suck in AAA this year. In true Minny fashion, he Ks or BBs no one, giving up an unhealthy dose of hits but not taking the knock you'd expect.

And he Ks indistinguishable lefty number 7 to end the inning.

12:25 - Word is that Davey Johnson is the Boss at the end of Resident Evil 4.

Shitballer number 2 got a nice 3 up, 3 down inning there and I take back any disparaging remarks I might have made towards him or his family earlier.

12:45 - Maximum unpleasantness. None of these Canadian relievers are fit to pitch for Josh Towers' softball team. Maximum unpleasantness: having to proof-read English-Chinese translations when you're clearly drunk.


Adam said...

You're right about the sound . . . it's kinda zen to just hear the game without all the inane chatter.

Adam said...

. . . plus it lets you hear all the Chinese cheering, which is fantastic. They sound so genuinely impressed every time someone hits it out of the infield.

mathesond said...

Just flipped on the feed to see the Canadian battery think they had strike three only to have to get back on the field...hope there are no Phil Cuzzi's in the Olympics

Adam said...

I know you've got the shuffle thing going -- and, you know, whatever floats yer boat -- but if you're going to be girly folk-popping it up tonight, you'd think it'd at least be Canadian? Lord knows we've got enough of it.

mathesond said... some Lava Hay!

And hey, it's 4-0 - the tv feed is ahead of the internet feed

Lloyd the Barber said...

Trashed has not only aged well, it was a giant leap forward for Socal skate kids. People were calling it progpunk in a derogatory way, but I think it's great.

"who cares about the punks anyway, they're just a bunch of kids with growing pains" NO WAY MAN, I'M GOING TO BE PUNK ROCK FOREVER!

Lloyd the Barber said...

How in God's name did that get out? This temporary field is horseshit. I listened to the Loved Ones on the way home from work tonight. I'm regressing at light speed.

Lloyd the Barber said...

I saw the Swingin Utters with the Bouncing Souls and the Descendants at one of my first punk shows ever. I would pay substantial sums to go to that show again.

mathesond said...

Alas, I have finished my last beer for the evening (Mill Street Wit, for those who care). I bid you gents adieu, and hope to awake to good news for the Canuck 9


Adam said...

You may have a point there. The Swingin' Utters might be more appropriate than even Wolf Parade -- there's no denying that this team is definitely more of a "missed the birth of his first child because of the tour" team than a Montreal hipster one.

Adam said...

slogan factory . . . heh.

Lloyd the Barber said...

Jim Van Horne needs a quick reminder that he is on our NATIONAL broadcaster. Aussie accents are generally in poor taste

Lloyd the Barber said...

The zombie Davey Johnson is quite a sight. I wonder if jetlag made it difficult for him to rule the night?

Adam said...

Um? Anyone else gathering from the commentary that this is maybe not the pitcher we want in there right now?

Lloyd the Barber said...

That slow curveball of his looks in need of a Cultural Revolution.

Adam said...

As does Reggie Smith's moustache.

Lloyd the Barber said...

I've just come to a sad realization: Rheal Cormier is the Belurussian cab driver/goalie that stymies Canada for two periods at the winter Olympics. Baseball Canada, hang your head in shame.

Lloyd the Barber said...

They keep mentioning Morning Dew. It only makes me think of Barely Legal porn.

eyebleaf said...

a sad, sad loss...that catch by clapp, though, was incredible...

happier thoughts:
skowronska of the aforementioned polish volleyball team. good lord.