Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Settle For A Slowdown

Do you ever have one of those days when you just needed to just completely just slow down and "veg" out??? I don't get to do this very often, but when I do, I usually will just listen to some Country music such as Dierks Bentley (thanks for today's blog title) and/or just sit on the couch with remote in hand... Well, after cramming about 10 different sporting events into my TV viewing on Sunday - two golf tournaments, two tennis matches, two auto races and of course four baseball games, my head was overflowing with information and stuff to blog on yesterday morning... After all of this, I really did need to "settle for a slowdown," so I did just that! A little over a month ago, my friend Dave Dixon moved to Thailand... the week before he left, he sold many of his things at a friend's garage sale - one of those things that he sold (to me) was a box of various sports trading cards. Most of the cards were football and baseball cards, but there were a few basketball and entertainment cards thrown in too. There must be over 5,000 cards in total... and quite honestly it's going to take me a VERY long time to go through all of them!

With the cards - those I went through - I mainly culled out the ones of either star players or my personal favorites and idols. I was very happy to find some cards of Nolan Ryan, George Brett, Walter Payton, Joe Montana and Wade Boggs amongst the 15 gazillion Dusty Baker cards - I should have known from the little side note on one of the boxes that there would be a lot of the ex-Brave, ex-Dodger, ex-Cubs and ex-Giants manager and now ESPN reporter Johnnie B. "Dusty" Baker... There must be like 30-40 Dusty cards there!!! Anyways, am off to look at more of the cards in just a bit.


In the meantime, I watched one and only one baseball game (for most of) last night and that was the nationally televised game between the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants on ESPN. The Nats rarely get the national spotlight, so it was nice that they finally had an opportunity to be seen. Of course, if a certain player on the Giants wasn't trying to make history, then we wouldn't be getting this opportunity, but I'm not complaining!!! Since said Giant didn't hit the historic home run off the Nats, it means we get to see them play again tonight on ESPN!

As for last night's game, it was a pitcher's dual between the Giants amazing rookie, Tim Lincecum and the Nationals' John Lannan. All-Star Dmitri Young gave the Nats a fast 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to left field in the first inning... ex-Angel Bengie Molina tied things right back up 1-1 with a single to left in the bottom of the frame. Lincecum and Lannan then pitched six shutout innings, though in quite different fashion. Lincecum struck out eight batters, while giving up five hits and also five walks. Lannan only K'd two, giving up eight hits and five walks as well. With the score being so low and with the pitchers both allowing a lot of baserunners, it should come as no surprise that the teams combined to hit into five double plays. The game remained tied through regulation...

In the top of the 10th inning, Young hit a long fly ball into the right field stands to give the Nats a 2-1 lead. Chad Cordero came in to try and save the game, but he encountered a bit of bad luck after Randy Winn's one out single to left. Mike Sweeney hit a ground ball up the middle that looked like it might be a double play ball. However, the ball just eluded second baseman Ronnie Belliard's glove for a hit, Winn moved to third on the play. Molina then came up again and hit a little nubber to Belliard on a hit and run play. Belliard had no chance to throw out Winn at home, so he could only throw to first to record an out. Cordero would get out of the inning and we would go into the 11th tied 2-2. The Nats were retired in the top of the 11th. Ray King came in to pitch the bottom of the inning, and promptly gave up a double to Ryan Klesko. Dave Roberts then was intentionally walked. This brought up Rajai Davis who worked the count to 3-2. King threw a pitch which appeared to be right over the plate for what would be strike three, however, Davis leaned over the plate and appeared to stride into the pitch!!! The rules of baseball dictate that in this instance, the batter should have been ruled out, however Davis was not and this loaded the bases. Omar Vizquel forced Klesko at home on a ground out, but Winn then came up and singled to right, scoring Roberts and giving the Giants a 3-2 win thus snapping the Nats' six game winning streak.


Down the coast in Anaheim, Curt Schilling made his return for the Boston Red Sox against the Angels and Jered Weaver. Schilling pitched well, only giving up two runs in the first six innings. He quickly tired in the seventh though, giving up a home run to the light-hitting Maicer Izturis and then a single to Jeff Mathis (he would later score) before being pulled. For the night, Schilling gave up nine hits and four runs, walking none while striking out five. Overall, it was an encouraging performance for him, but it wasn't quite good enough as Weaver matched his six innings, giving up only two runs. Justin Speier, Scot Shields and Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez shut down the Sox for the final three frames with Speier picking up his first win of the year and K-Rod tallying his 28th save of the year in the Halos 4-2 decision.


Before I go, I just need to report on the passing of one L.A.'s great newscasters, Hal Fishman. As anchor of the KTLA 10pm newscasts for many years, Hal was truly one of our most respected newsmen here locally. What you saw was what you got with him. When he read the news or told a story, you knew he was always telling it like it was and speaking from his heart. The biggest thing with Hal is that he always demanded things to be done the right way - when he told a story he wanted to make sure everything was perfect, and thanks to that he set a standard in L.A. rarely matched by others in this profession. He was truly a man of integrity, and he also was very well-liked and loved deeply by everyone he came in contact with. He was a man with a great sense of humor and with a true sense of humanity and life - a true family man. When you see someone every night on the news for so much (in my case practically ALL of) your life, you can't help but feel like you're losing a member of your family. He will truly be missed.


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