Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Opening Day and more

My Sportsbuddy buys about 200 tickets to Dodgers' Opening Day every year. He doesn't pay for them, but he makes all the arrangements, buys deli sandwiches for all, and hosts a tailgate pre-party that is enjoyed by one and all, even though like me, Sportsbuddy hates the Dodgers. Yesterday's game was like so many of the others for us. Our team (whoever is playing the Dodgers; this time it was the Giants) will take a lead, hold it, but at the last possible moment, completely fall apart. Just like yesterday. Even when the Giants scored 5 runs in the first inning, Sportsbuddy and I knew, deep down inside, that it wasn't to be. Even when the Giants recaptured their 5-run lead in the 6th inning, we knew it wasn't going to happen. We've been to countless dozens of games, usually involving the Reds (my actual rooting interest in MLB), where the collapse is painful, almost always predictable in occurrence if not method, and mind-blowingly stupid.
Side note: our favorite Reds collapse at Dodger Stadium occurred some years ago, when Tony Perez was managing. (In fact, this one single game caused his dismissal less than a week later, if I remember correctly.) The Reds had a tenuous lead going into the late innings when the starting pitcher got into some trouble. Perez (one of my all-time favorite Reds players, by the way) brought in his relievers, who were pretty good back then, to try and seal the game. At the crucial moment, a rookie by the name of Henry Rodriguez came to the plate; he had yet to get his first major league hit in about 8 tries. The situation of the game was such that there was no reason not to pitch to Rodriguez--other than the fact that he was left handed and the pitcher was right handed, which plays into one of those strategic truisms that managers love to use as reasons to do something in moments of crisis, since for the most part, left-handed batters hit right-handed pitchers (and vice versa) for a higher average than if both players are lefties (or righties). The next batter happened to be a righty, so Perez decided to intentionally walk the rookie-without-a-major-league-hit to get to the veteran Cory Snyder. Sportsbuddy and I were both aghast and furious, and of course, Snyder crushed a double off the wall; gameoverDodgerswin.
We've seen it all at Dodgers Stadium. A Reds outfielder brought in for defensive purposes who, on his first play, slips when chasing a fly ball resulting in a triple; gameoverDodgerswin. Called third strikes on either Eric Davis (a great player for a long time) or Barry Larkin (ditto) to end games more numerous to count. The most unlikely crap, all the time, and yesterday was no different. Yeesh.
On the same infuriating level, The Beautiful One and I were watching the Amazing Race last night when the WeHo boys (and if you are watching, you know of whom I speak) uncorked another beaut. Anybody who's been watching should have been expecting something; when these guys landed in Johannesburg, South Africa (one of the largest cities on the African continent), one of them immediately remarked, "Wow, I thought there'd be camels and chickens everywhere." (This show allows everyone in the US to see what the term "Ugly American" is all about!) The remark on last night's show while on a rickshaw ride in Ashbagh India was much stranger, if potentially no less offensive: (and this is a direct quote, referring to the people lining the streets) "I wish I had things to throw at them."
Now, I'm not sure what to make of this. I'm hoping against hope that whichever of the two guys said this meant that he wished he had some sort of useful items to give to the poor by means of donations, but the statement probably should stand on its own. "I wish I had things to throw at them." Good job, fellas!


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