Friday, August 05, 2005

Baseball game

I guess I surprised myself when I went to see the Indians Vs. Yankees Baseball game yesterday.

I like the concept of baseball, as its close to cricket; and i have been trying to understand its rules etc. But never got a chance to follow the game closely. Life in Clemson was too busy to follow baseball in addition to other games.

Couple of days back, Vivek asked if I would be interested in joining him and Devyani for this game. It sounded a great idea.

Its a great experience to be in the ground and see the game live. It was my first such experience, so thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a strong 35-40 thousand crowd, and we were in the top rows. the screen was rt in front of us. Vivek helped me to understand the game; and it was very easy after that.

About the game.... in one line: "Cleveland Indians are a bunch of idiots". They were leading 3-2 till the start of the 9th Innings. Yankees hit 2 home runs in the 9th innings... went 4-3 up.. and then got all 3 Indian hitters in a minute. It was a huge let down at the end. Something I would expect from the Indian cricket team (because Indian cricketers do not carry brain on their shoulders when they go out in middle and play. If you observe closely, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra look mentally retarded when they bowl and are hit for 2-3 fours in one over), but not from the Cleveland Indians...

Bob Wickman messed it all up. MLB has a good cover-up article:

"CLEVELAND -- Bob Wickman knows how precarious life as a closer can be.
After recording saves in the first two games of the series against the Yankees, Wickman's attempt for a third was wiped out by ninth-inning home runs by Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi on Thursday night.

The solo homers turned a 3-2 lead into a 4-3 loss, preventing the Indians from recording their first sweep over the Yankees at home since 1970.

Instead of recording his 30th save of the season, Wickman was saddled with his fourth blown save in 33 chances.

When it was all over, Wickman knew where to place the blame.

"I let the team down," Wickman said. "If it wasn't for me, we would have won three games."

Wickman, who leads the American League in saves, said pitching for the third night in a row wasn't the issue. It was more a matter of making bad pitches. After he retired Gary Sheffield on a fly ball to start the inning, Rodriguez crushed a 3-1 pitch into the bleachers in left.

"I was trying to throw it down and away," said Wickman. "It didn't go down and away. It wasn't where I wanted it, but it wasn't the worst pitch in the world."

The 2-1 pitch to Rodriguez raised some questions from the Indians. Plate umpire Bob Davidson called the close pitch a ball, drawing a long stare from Wickman and some yelling from manager Eric Wedge.

"There were a couple of questionable pitches late," said Wedge.

"It was tough to tell," said Wickman.

Wickman (0-3) retired Hideki Matsui on a ground ball, but Giambi, who also homered in the fifth off Kevin Millwood, took a 2-1 pitch to right.

"He hit a slider," said Wickman. "It's the first home run I've given up on a breaking ball all year."

Millwood held New York to two runs in eight innings. John Flaherty also homered off Millwood in the second.

Wedge had no second thoughts about pulling Millwood, who threw 94 pitches.

"It was tough, but Kevin had worked hard," he said. "He did a great job. That was enough for him. Wicky has been great for us. It was one of those days with Wicky."

Millwood, who allowed eight hits, struck out eight and didn't walk a batter, supported the move.

"I was done," Millwood said. "I used my last bit of energy in the last inning. If I went out for the ninth, I would have been real tired. I felt like I was pretty much done after the eighth. I wouldn't have had much on the ball."

Wedge chose to credit the Yankees.

"A couple of pretty good hitters got us late: A-Rod and Giambi," he said.

Wickman also credited the Yankees.

"I felt pretty good," he said. "I just didn't make the pitches. They make you pay when you make a mistake. Guys who hit home runs make you pay when you make a bad pitch."

Down, 2-1, in the seventh, it looked as if the Indians were going to pull this one out. Casey Blake walked to start the inning, which ended the night for Yankees starter Shawn Chacon. Alan Embree came in, and he walked Grady Sizemore. Coco Crisp sacrificed the runners to second and third. The bunt paid off when Jhonny Peralta's groundout off Tom Gordon scored Blake to tie the game.

Travis Hafner, who hadn't played since getting hit in the face by a pitch from Chicago's Mark Buehrle on July 16, grounded a 2-2 pitch through the right side to put the Indians ahead, 3-2, in the seventh. Hafner had missed 17 games with a concussion.

Flaherty's homer, his first of the season, came on a 2-0 pitch and landed in the bleachers in left. Giambi homered to right to lead off the fifth.

The Indians were unable to cash in chances in the second, third and fourth innings, but they finally broke through in the fifth. Blake led off with a single, but Sizemore hit into a double play. Crisp singled and scored when Peralta doubled off the wall in left.

All in all it was a great experience though. Enjoyed it a lot. A great game, fairly noisy crowd, pizza, and beer!!... Great experience!!

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