Monday, August 29, 2016

Another Trip To The Ol' Ballpark.

Last Saturday was the St. Louis Cardinals' now-annual game for the inductions for their Hall of Fame, which my dad and I are making a habit of attending. I figure he was stoked for Joe Torre, while I was there for Chris Carpenter. Of course, we almost didn't make it. He bought the tickets the weekend before, but opted to wait until the day of the game to print them out. Then he couldn't figure out where they were online, then he couldn't get them called up on a computer actually connected to his printer, then the printer didn't have ink and he couldn't find the spare cartridge, but we did get them eventually. Then the shoulder harness in the passenger seat of his car wouldn't work. Which is why we only reached our seats as the first inning concluded.

The Cards are a mess this year, unable to get on any extended winning streaks, but not bad enough to go into a tailspin. Can't write the season off as a chance to see the kids, can't build any sort of confidence they can do anything if they actually manage to make the playoffs. We did catch a break in that the Cardinals started top prospect Alex Reyes, rather than Mike Leake. Neither of us was excited at the prospect of watching Leake pitch. Not so unexcited I wanted him to get shingles, which is why he wasn't pitching, but still, I'd rather see Reyes. He was pretty much what I'd heard: Electric stuff, poor command. He struck some guys out, but also walked several guys. He was pulled partway through the 5th with two men on, and Zach Duke promptly hit the first batter he faced, then walked the next guy, bringing in a run.

Normally reliable Cardinals' relievers failing to keep inherited runners from scoring would be the theme of the night, as the Cards ultimately lost the game when Seung-hwan Oh, their mostly excellent closer, failed to strand two runners that had reached in the 8th inning. On the one hand, holy crap, Mike Matheny actually brought in his best relief pitcher before the 9th inning. On the other hand, it didn't work, so who cares? Figures the one time Matheny does an intelligent thing, it doesn't pan out.

On the other side of things, the Cards didn't get a single person on base after the 4th inning. Perhaps not a surprise considering the lineup had Gyorko, Peralta, Grichuk, and Hazelbaker in it, none of whom are any good at actually, you know, getting on base. They'd managed two runs up to then, one on a Grichuk home run, the other on a combination of hits and defensive ineptitude by Oakland. The A's might actually be a shittier defensive team than the Cardinals, which I wouldn't have thought possible.

So it was a frustrating game, where you can tell the team is letting the opponent hang around and it's going to bite them in the end. The experience wasn't helped because none of the people in our row could stay in their seats. Every half-inning at least, someone just has to get up and go get a drink, or go to the bathroom, or who knows what. Some of it I understood, young kids can't sit still, and it was hot out, although I don't know where someone was going to go to cool off. It was still annoying as hell. The drive back was uneventful, except for the those three pickups, two of them with trailers, that seemed to be traveling together and all of whom needed to stop for a nap. Weaving, couldn't drive a consistent speed, we tried to get past them as soon as possible.

Also, my dad's praise for the old-timey uniforms and how the players actually looked like they were 1920s players, brought us to a discussion of what relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton's 1920s nickname would have been. I argued for "Pork n' Beans" Broxton, which resulted in many jokes at the expense of Broxton's waistline. My dad is more kindly disposed towards Broxton than I am, but we both had a good time with it.

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