Monday, August 07, 2006

Pirates at Cubs: An Exercise in Futility

It is through the kindness of one of my coworkers in the O'Halloran lab that I was able to attend the Pirates@Cubs game on August 6th, which effectively reminded me that, for a team that had its first month of better than .500 baseball in July for the 2006 season and has gone 12-10 since the break, I should really not get my hopes up. A thoroughly disappointing game, though again, to be expected.

My seats were in Section 109 which are in foul territory off of left field. While I had been in Wrigley last week for the Cards/Cubs game (which I ended up being pretty spectacularly indifferent to, as far as who won), I hadn't yet been there sporting a jersey of the opposing team. So it felt kind of out of place. I did have the fortune of sitting next to a family of four from Pittsburgh who were also Pirates supporters, and the scattered "P" hats and, oddly, Terrible Towels throughout the stands was comforting. Events of note:

  • Jason Bay's "trapped ball" in the third

    Eventually, this set up the Cubs' first run of the day, which made me a bit angry. On a shallow fly to left, Bay looked like he took a bad start at the ball and had to rush to catch up with it (which may or may not be related to the fly out to end the second that he also seemed to take a bad approach on), but was able to grab it apparently (from my vantage point fifty feet away) just before it hit the ground. The third base ump agreed, and called the runner out. This is when I felt a bit uncomfortable about wearing my jersey, as the crowd was livid. Eventually, after Baker argued the call for a short while and the umps appeared to be frightened of the stands, the call was overturned, and the runner credited with a single. Advancing on a wild pitch, he eventually came across. I'm actually glad that that wasn't the deciding run, as I would have felt a tinge bitter about it. Then again, I should expect bad luck by now.

    Note: it's interesting that in the play-by-play, ESPN still has Cedeno flying out on the play.

  • Bottom of the Fourth:

    The inning started off with a single by Aramis Ramirez (whose name sound really familiar) that probably should have been an out. I've lauded Wilson for it in the comments on Pirates blogs before, but it appeared that he was playing too hard at that moment, rushed his throw, and pulled Xavier Nady way the hell off the bag. With four outs in the inning for the second time in the game, Cedeno's homer put this one entirely out of reach. Then again, if you're going to walk John ".216/.324/.336" Mabry after striking out Jacque Jones and Angel Pagan, a three-run homer is kind of inevitable.

  • Confusion:

    The fifth run for the Cubs scored on a bizarre double play after Jacque Jones hard grounder to shortstop which scored the run from third but got Ramirez in a rundown off of second, followed by getting Jones in a rundown off of first. Which was entertaining for two reasons. That it somehow wasn't the Pirates pulling that "everyone get caught off base" nonsense and that it required Joe Randa to run all over the damn place. Also, it angered Cubs fans. Hilarity.

  • The End:

    As if the rest of this junk didn't lead to a sufficiently anti-climactic ninth, I actually got somewhat excited when Dempster gave up two hits in the ninth with two outs for Jack. Instead of a strikeout, which at least would have been something I've seen a lot of this year, or some flavor of pop-out, the game ended on batter's interference when Jack ran into the ball after the weakest grounder in the history of the world. A short conference delayed the eventual exodus from Wrigley, but the outcome was, as was expected by pretty much everyone, a Cubs win.

    It amuses me that their homepage refers to Rich Hill setting up a "streak" of two wins.

Not too many bright spots for the Pirates overall. Snell seemed a bit off from what he's been earlier, we gave them too many opportunities, and after the game ended in the bizarre fashion mentioned above, I turned to a stranger from Mt. Lebanon as we both asked when the Steelers get around to playing again. And lastly, honestly, I understand that Wrigley's supposed to be historic, and I had decent seats and it's a nice place, but I can't say that I don't prefer PNC by quite a lot. Getting in and out was a hassle, if the seats we had weren't as good as they were, I could see visibility being a problem, and I just tend to like PNC a whole lot. We'll see if I have a different opinion after I go to next Tuesday's Royals/White Sox game at US Cellular, though, as it may be that I simply haven't been to very many ballparks.


Jenna said...

dude you are just like Monsieur Baseball.

Jenna said...

dude you are just like Monsieur Baseball.