Saturday, May 10

Andy, Progressive Field, a cool night, and a W

I was one of the many Indians faithful who braved the cool nighttime conditions last night to watch the Indians, behind CC Sabathia, take down Roy Halladay and the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-1. I know Tribe writing is generally JHH's turf, but since I was there live and in person, I think I'll step on his toes a bit.

- I rolled over to the stadium a few minutes after the first pitch, a consequence of having missed my intended bus ride home earlier. I thought for sure we'd be in for a pitcher's duel - neither club is scoring many runs and the starting pitching matchup featured two recent Cy Young winners, one of whom (Halladay) was bidding for his fifth ("fif'") straight complete game.

- And I was right - no one got on the board through the first five frames. Clevelad looked particularly pathetic at the plate. I took the first few innings to wander around Progressive Field, checking out different spots and doing some research for a future post that I think some of you will find handy. Idea for the summer: buy the cheapest ticket possible and don't even go to the seat. There are plenty of other cool places from which to check out the game.

- Around the 4th inning I took my seat in the LF bleachers, about 10 rows down from drum legend John Adams. I had to kick some people out of my seats. Well, I guess I didn't have to give them the boot - they were one section over and I could have easily gone there myself, but they should be able to read better. Plus I ended up next to a cute girl, so score one for me.

- There were lots of energetic, genuine fans at the park - I really liked the vibe from the crowd. There were also two pockets of people I didn't care for. One was these three dudes in the front of the bleachers cheering for Toronto, acting stupid and taunting Tribe fans. The other were these Eurotrash people behind me - two ugly chicks and two dorky guys who spent much of the game discussing physics (not baseball physics) and who demanded I sit down during a key rally. I did but only because I'm nice, not because it was right.

- 1-0 heading into the 7th inning stretch - the Tribe hadn't hit a ball four feet off of Halladay all game, plus Onion had won the hot dog race, so I wasn't feeling really spry. "This game sucks," I thought to myself.

- Out of nowhere, the Tribe puts a six-pack up on the board, knocking Halladay out and essentially icing the game. Hibachi! Where the hell did that come from? Hafner reached base for the third straight time with a single, Garko ripped a single in left, then came really the key play of the game. Asdrubal Cabrera came up and tried to bunt - instead, Halladay threw him four straight balls and loaded the bases with no one out. We get that bunt down, we might only have gotten a couple this inning and things might have turned out much differently.

Then Casey Blake struck with a 2-run double off the wall. Mr. Clutch! It was headed right towards me - my initial thought was that it probably had enough distance to get Hafner in - but it kept traveling and eventually clanged off the fence for a two-bagger. Baseball excitement! I love this game!

With a lefty in, Grady Sizemore popped out weakly and Franklin Gutierrez was walked intentionally to load the bases for left-handed batter David Dellucci. Tribe manager Eric Wedge smartly brought Ben Francisco to pinch hit and Toronto manager John Gibbons countered with a right-handed reliever. The vibe among the fans in my section when Francisco came in was electric. People like this guy! I was excited as well. They showed a video of his first MLB home run, a game-winner from last year in a game I attended (Tribe Weekend '07), but got the date wrong (it was June 29, not July).

Francisco justified our enthisiasm by drilling one high off the left-field wall and plating two more Indians. Baseball baseball baseball! Unlike Blake's drive, there was no doubt about BenFran's - the only question was whether it would clear the wall or put a dent into it.

Cleveland added two more runs via wild pitch and sac fly, and thus a 6-1 victory was secured. Loser-boy Jays fans made a hasty retreat, unable to deal with a bit of adversity. Have a nice canoe ride back home, fellas.

- I watched the B8th and T9th from the Batter's Eye, and got to watch Masa Kobayashi warm up. It's interesting. He does even less windup than in games. He stands there, holds the ball in the air for no apparent reason, then sort of does half of his delivery and chucks it in there. Soon thereafter, the game's final strike landed in Victor Martinez' mitt, the 27th out was recorded, and Tribe fans went home happy. This Tribe fan went home and had some PBR.


JHH said...

Solid work Andy. Recapping games is the part I like the least. I can't believe Halladay walked a guy hitting .181 on four straight balls. Go Tribe!

Nick said...

I'm always down for the cheap ticket strategy. I really have no problem with the upper deck in right-center; you can't beat it for eight bucks. My two signature spots to watch the game when using the nomadic approach: Home Run porch/lower deck third base line, right field/visitor's bullpen, and the lesser known bridge above the Batter's Eye.

Non-fans like your physics people really, really bug me.

Ketchup rules the hot dog race.

JHH, AsCab's average blows, but take solace in the fact that his OBP is about 100 points higher than his BA. If he can hit at a mediocre or even average level and keep that OBP 100 points above his average, he'll be in a great shape.