Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Baseball In The Daytime: Independence Day

I hope most of us can avoid that evil pit of hell known as "work" today. A holiday such as this presents a conundrum to many employers, especially in the service industry. That was always what I hated about working in the restaurant industry--my schedule was the opposite of everyone else's. That was great when I wanted to get an easy tee time on a Tuesday morning, horrible when I wanted to barbecue and watch baseball on the Fourth of July. Eh, you do what you have to do.

What the Cubs have to do is keep winning ballgames, which is a lot easier when you're playing a team like Washington. In the ultimate orgy of patriotism, Chicago plays the Nationals in Washington, D.C. today having ripped off ten victories in 11 tries. With Milwaukee's loss to the pirates yesterday they've closed to within 5 1/2, and today send Rich Hill up against Matt Chico at 10:05 Mountain. Thank God for WGN, which will send this early game out on basic cable (XM 183 if you're working out in the yard).

This does bring up a gripe I have with the four-letter network. Once was the time when these summer holidays (Memorial Day and the Fourth) would be met by a full slate of games on ESPN and ESPN2. There would be three or four on each network, and fans without the satellite package could crack out on the national pastime on the nation's birthday. No more. I don't know why this is, but I don't like it. I'm sure ESPN will carry some bullshit poker/spelling bee programming to keep us all not watching instead.

Back to the ball parks. The Boston Red Sox play at 11, in a tussle with those pagan warriors from Tampa Bay on XM 177 and DTV 736. Last night's pitching performance from Daisuke Matsuzaka was absolutely excellent, and the Sox are hoping for more of the same from--guh--Tim Wakefield today. Look, I love Wake, he was part of the championship club, he's a selfless guy who's admirably assumed every role the team needed him for. He was the fucking closer for a time, for the love of Mike, and he was pretty good at it. I'm just sick of watching him. He rarely has good stuff, and his slumped shoulders and dumpy demeanor depress me--whereas Dice gives me a tingling feeling in my undershorts. Edwin Jackson pitches for the Rays today, which likewise gives me stiffness in the crotchal region.

Also at 11, the cuddly harmless New York Yankees battle the Minnesota Twins in what might be a great pitching matchup. And by great I mean Johan Santana three-hits the Bombers and Mike Mussina builds a moat of gasoline and Black Cats around the mound and then starts lighting matches. This game, from venerable Yankee Stadium, will hit your satellite receiver machines on channels 176 (XM) and 735 (DTV).

Fifteen minutes later two pitiful franchises will engage in a game on the banks of the Ohio River. The Reds and Giants will lock horns in a game that features Mesozoic-era All-Star outfielders Barry Bonds (who'll take the day off just to fuck the fans that paid to see him play) and Ken Griffey, as well as starting pitchers Matt Cain and Matt Belisle. If you're masochistic, tune in to XM 188 and injure your eardrums with this stinker. And if you want to do it to your eyeballs too, it's on DTV 737.

The hospitable folks in downtown Houston, Texas welcome the Philadelphia Phillies today at noon, and the Cole Hamles/Chris Sampson matchup ain't half bad. Even as the Mets are being eviscerated by the Rockies (who apparently only give a shit about beating up on big-time East Coast teams) the Phils have slipped to five back and need to right the ship. A game with the Astros will generally do that. XM 185 and 738, if you were wondering.

The two o'clock hour gives us Toronto at Oakland on XM 178 and DTV 739. Dustin McGowan, who one-hit Colorado a couple of weeks back but has proven it was an absolute fluke, gets the ball against Joe Kennedy. And, at the same time, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh duke it again, this time on XM 184 and DTV 740. Claudio Vargas and Ian Snell are your starters.


rustoleum said...

Both bullshit poker and spelling bee. At least they showed Kobayashi vomiting after hitting 60 hot dogs.