Saturday, September 25, 2004

Clemens Is Still a Wiener And Other Thoughts That Occurred to Me While Watching the 2004 All-Star Game by Lisa Alcock

The idea for this article came about after an e-mail discussion with my good friend Kip. I’d inquired if he was going to watch this year’s All-Star game, his response: “You bet. I cannot wait to see Clemens and Piazza as battery mates.” I read that statement and for a brief moment I had blocked the reality of Clemens in the National League. Then, reality came back and hit me in the face like a frying pan: ‘Oh crap, now I have to root for Roger’ (even though I would never do such a ridiculous thing). And, ‘Oh my God! This game has so much comic potential!’ This is the conversation that transpired between Kip and myself

Me: “I hope Roger remembers to not throw at Mike’s head. I hope he remembers they're on the same team. Oh to be a fly on the wall in the dugout...”

Kip: “I don't think there will be any pitcher-catcher meeting before the game to discuss strategy.” [Laughs]

Me: “Yeah Mike will skip that. Though, a conference on the mound might be funny…”

In an article I read about Piazza and Clemens on Yahoo Sports the day of the game, Piazza is quoted as saying, “I don’t know if we’re going to be playing golf anytime soon…But we’ve got a job to do.'' Clemens added: “It’s not that big a deal. It’s not an issue.” Roger also said, “I’m glad I’m throwing to (Piazza) and I don't have to face him.” (Yes, I’m sure you are, you moron. Though I’m sure you can afford another $50,000 fine). So, the comic potential at this year’s game was definitely there. You know what have been really funny? Seeing Piazza give Clemens the finger while giving him signals before the pitch. Oh, a girl can dream, can’t she? But all joking aside I wondered: how can I want my league to win and not root for Clemens at the same time?1

Ugh. Oh the horror. What follows is my play-by-play of the 2004 All-Star Game:

I’m watching the All-Star game at my boyfriend Alec’s house. He’s totally not interested in baseball and will probably tune out my ranting at the TV during the game.

Oh God. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are covering the game. I should have known. Please kill me now. Why couldn’t Fox have gotten Ernie Harwell or George Kell and Al Kaline to cover the game? I guess that’s too much to ask.

8:45 pm: Starting player introductions. I boo and hiss when the camera pans to Clemens warming up in the bullpen. (Poor Alec)

8:55 pm: Top of the first. Roger has two outs…the American League is up by three runs. A small part of me giggled with glee when Manny Ramirez got an home run off Roger. The inning seemed to drag on for an eternity. Joe Buck commented, “And this nightmare isn’t ending for Clemens.” (Why thanks, Joe, for that astute observation. You can always count on certain broadcasters to point out the obvious.) It is a 30-plus pitches first inning for Clemens. The score is 6-0; let’s hope the National League bats can catch up.

9:04 pm: Pujols gets a double...and, man, I thought it was out of the park!

9:08 pm: Joe Buck has just announced that both Jack McKeon and Jimy Williams decide that Roger is done for the game! I say, “Well, it looks like I can now watch and enjoy the game. My work here is done.” As I type I start laughing out loud. I read the previous sentence to Alec and he says, “You’re really amusing yourself, aren’t you?” “Well, yes, of course I am” I reply. “Roger has just written my article for me.”

9:34 pm: Top of the third, Piazza is still in the game. Priceless.

After that, it’s all a blur to me.

Okay, okay, I admit I didn’t watch the entire game (besides, who the hell can stay awake that long?). In the end I was able to root for my league and not have to worry about Clemens. Clemens pitched horribly. Perhaps he had an off night, or, perhaps we witnessed a little thing called Karma in action. And by the way, why did Bud Selig have to present Clemens with that award? He wasn’t pitching well that night and Houston is 44-44 as I write this. It would have been nice to wake up this morning to see the National League had won, but they didn’t. They haven’t won since what, 1996? So the Red Sox bats helped the Yankees gain home field advantage. Whatever. I got my wish, Clemens had a wretched performance. I had fun watching the game and all the random players I like to follow (Mulder, Pujols, Guerrero, etc.) and will watch next year. Hopefully Scooter (see below) will be dead by then.

Here are some other random game notes:

During the pre-game ceremonies, was I the only one who really wanted Ali to punch Jeter on the other side of his jaw so he could have a matching scar?

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver both note when Pudge comes up to bat, “Ivan Rodriguez really enjoys the music of Yanni.” (Huh??!) Alec and I looked at each other and cracked up when Joe adds “Somewhere Pat Morita is weeping…” in regards to hearing the music of Yanni as a backdrop to Pudge’s home run. (And I thought Joe and Tim weren’t funny!).

Scooter, the animated talking baseball who informed us about curveballs and sliders, needs to die a slow, painful death. He’s as irritating as the Pillsbury Dough Boy™ and that creepy Snuggle™ teddy bear.

I really liked the MasterCard commercial with the Red Sox fans. They were asked ‘What would you pay to see the Red Sox in the World Series?’ Responses included “my first born,” “my girlfriend,” and “my salary.”

Oh, and I also watched a little bit of the Home Run Derby on Monday night. The funniest moment had to have been when I saw my hero, Hank Aaron, sitting in the stands looking at his cell phone, as if he was text messaging someone. I wondered if he was texting Frank Robinson. Perhaps he was telling Frank how much he didn’t want to be interviewed by the annoying Chris “I’m in Desperate Need of a Good Haircut” Berman. And speaking of Frank, I think he could be Robert Guillaume’s (of Soap, Benson and countless films fame) twin brother. Every time I see Frank I think that Jessica, Chester, Burt, and Mary (and the rest of Soap’s characters) can’t be too far behind.

(Author’s update: After Roger’s horrid performance (much to my glee) Kip informed me that he believed it was Mikey who threw the game for Roger. Kip actually thinks that Mike told the batters beforehand what pitches Roger was going to throw. I shook my head and laughed at Kip when he told me of his conspiracy theory. Man, I love my friend…but I think he might be certifiable. Hello, Bellevue?)

1 - Perhaps I can pull it off the same way I’ve not yet rooted for Karim Garcia while watching the Mets. You do recall the bullpen “incident” last year at Fenway in which Garcia was involved with a Red Sox grounds keeper, right? (Garcia was traded to the Orioles for reliever Mike DeJean on July 19th.)

Much has happened to Lisa Alcock since Zisk #8. By the time this issue is published she will have moved in with her boyfriend, Alec, pursued another job, watched her brother graduate from ICP (International Center of Photography), and suffered through another horrible Mets season (groans). Also of note: the softball team, on which she plays, The Pubs, went to the playoffs this season but lost in the third round and took second place overall in their division. While it is college football season, the author maintains that she has not lost interest in baseball and looks forward to the playoffs and to the Yankees losing yet another World Series (but let’s hope they don’t even make it that far). You can read her (almost) daily ramblings on her new website:

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