the Phillies win the division!

1 10 2007

The incomparable Harry Kalas with the call:

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impressions of Safeco Field

14 09 2007

Safeco Field, Seattle WA

The last MLB game I went to was in 1989 at the old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. I was with my father and our Boy Scout group.

Expos-Phillies.

I remember the traffic and parking near the stadium being terrible, and the seats were so high and so far back that we had to use binoculars to make out the players names on their jerseys. Von Hayes hit two home runs (“Von-tastic!” on the Jumbotron), and the Phils won 6-5.

Mike Schmidt would retire at the end of the season. The Vet, of course, is no more. The Expos would move from Montreal to Washington, D.C. and become the Nationals.

So I’d been away from attending a game for a while. On Wednesday night I decided to wander down Occidental Avenue and check out Safeco Field before the A’s-Mariners game, and maybe get a bite to eat and watch the game at one of the brewpubs in the stadium district.

The first thing I noticed was the amount of foot traffic towards the stadium, and the lack of obvious congestion and parking issues (although this might have something to do with the team being 5.5 games out of the playoffs with only a few weeks left in the regular season).

The seond thing I noticed was how cheap the left field bleacher seats were. Only $14! You can get a movie ticket for a little less, and not be nearly entertained. Although I hadn’t planned on actually going to the game, I whipped out my credit card and found myself in second level in left field, about three rows back from the rail.

Safeco is every bit as nice as it looks on TV.

The sight-lines from the seats are so much better than the Vet; I could see all the action from my seat clearly, follow the ball well as it moved around the field, and read individual player names on the jerseys without straining my eyes. When I left my spot in the sixth inning to grab a Pepsi and some garlic fries, I didn’t miss any of the action on the field because of the open concession concourse.

The trains pulling into King Street Station made to sure really blast their horns, the noise is amplified as it bounces off the retractable roof in right field and rattles around the stadium.

The game itself was fantastic.

Dan Haren started for the A’s and pitched well, but Oakland’s offense couldn’t get enough run support to open up more than a one-run lead early. Ichiro and Raul Ibanez misplayed a fly ball in deep left-center, giving the A’s another lead after the Mariners had tied the score up again.

Alan Embree came in during the eighth inning and gave up a pinch-hit home run to Adam Jones to tie the game at 5-5. J.J. Putz pitched a brilliant ninth inning to hold the tie, and Yuni Betancourt hit a walk-off single to score a runner from second base to win the game for the Mariners, 6-5.

It was fun to be back at the ballpark again.





Bud Selig should quit, part deux

1 09 2007

Lost in the media buzz this week was this little gem, wherein Bud Selig has publicly endorsed Cecil Cooper as the new Astros manager.

This just strikes me as totally out of line.

Yes, it’s good to have diversity in hiring practices. But it’s completely unfair to the Astros to have pressure put on them from the commissioner’s office to hire a specific minority candidate when they should be focusing on hiring the best manager they can find, regardless of ethnicity.

Also, Cecil Cooper used to play for Bud Selig when he owned the Brewers. Can you say conflict of interest, Bud?

As the commissioner, Selig really should stay out of the day-to-day affairs of teams – it’s none of his business and cheapens the appearance of his office. Just another reason why he should resign as soon as possible, for the good of the game.

(See my previous post on why Bud should quit)





Bud Selig should quit

7 08 2007

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Barry Bonds tied Henry Aaron’s all-time home run record this week. No news there.

What I don’t get is Bud Selig’s reaction, and subsequent statement issued by his office.

As I said previously…out of respect for the tradition of the game, the magnitude of the record and the fact that all citizens in this country are innocent until proven guilty, either I or a representative of my office will attend the next few games and make every attempt to observe the breaking of the all-time home-run record.

Bud, we understand you’re good buddies with Aaron. We know that you’re not excited about having to follow Barry around while he chases this record. We know that you don’t want to appear that you endorse Bond’s alleged steroid use.

And for all those reasons, you should resign your job immediately.

The commissioner of baseball really has one job to do, and that’s to be an ambassador for the game. You’ve failed at meeting this job description.

To do this job, you have to be enthusiastic about the things that make the game special. The home run record is one of those things.

The steroid era that Selig is attempting to ignore started on his watch, and was ignored by the commissioner’s office for years while players like Bonds, McGwire, Giambi, and Palmeiro used steroids. We all knew there was a chemical advantage at work, the evidence was all there. The consensus is that baseball ignored the evidence under the belief that the game could not survive a second scandal after the 1994 player’s strike.

Selig’s actions in the face of mounting evidence, to refuse to mandate better testing or even acknowledge the depth of the problem, makes him just as culpable (if not more so) as Bonds. His disinterest in the proceedings is that of a guilty man, refusing to go near the scene of past crimes, embarrassed and fearful of being spotted.

In contrast, Selig made sure to personally call and congratulate Alex Rodriguez (a “clean” player in terms of doping perceptions), who earlier in the day became the youngest player to 500 homers. No canned press release there.

Want to improve baseball? Start by having Bud resign. The fans deserve a commissioner that is free from the taint of scandal and can be a real fan of the game, just like the rest of us.