Welcome to the second annual Opening Day Live Blog…

Last year we did this about 3 blocks from Yankee Stadium in the heart of the Lion’s Den. This year, work has in Texas for opening day. The good news is the temp is about 80 and I just came back in from the pool. The bad news is people around here care more about the UT spring game this past Saturday.

So hit the link below to follow along and feel free to throw comments or poop at me in the comments section….

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE GAME BLOG…

2:30 PM: OK, let’s get this 2008 season started!
I’ve got on beer in hand and the BeerMan on call. For the record, Mrs. Professor hates it when I yell “BEERMAN!” She needs to realize that as long as she keeps bringing the beers, bitching about it won’t stop me. She is so sweet and a little naive.

The first batch of hot dogs is going on the grill.

Want another sign that Texas doesn’t even know baseball exists? Extra Innings is not coming through on Time Warner down here. I called and they said a “couple of other people” have called about same problem. Opening day and only a “couple of people” have called about the baseball package not working? If that happened in NYC, Mayor Bloomberg would be getting death threats. Good thing I have MLB.tv on backup.

OK, keep hitting that refresh/reload/F5 button and we will keep you updated. Let’s hope this game gets underway. Apparently it is overcast and rainy in Baltimore. The last thing in the world any of us want is for me to have to fill rain delay time with various renditions of Coldplay.

2:40: I was just looking at last season’s opening day lineup.

Carl Crawford, lf
Ben Zobrist, ss
Rocco Baldelli, DH
Ty Wigginton, 1b
Delmon Young, rf
Akinori Iwamura, 3b
Dioner Navarro, c
Elijah Dukes, cf
B.J. Upton, 2B
Scott Kazmir, p

only four players are the same and two of those are in new positions. So only two players are in the same spot from opening day 2007. That’s a good sign, considering that team lost 96 games. tell me again why we had hopes for the 2007 squad?

2:42: watching the Tigers game right now on ESPN and Miguel Cabrera just hit his first home run for the Tiggers. I thought this guy went on a diet. Maybe it was one of those Jenny Craig Yo-Yo diet. Lose the weight, and then gain the weight right back. Because maybe it is just me but he still looks fat. CC Sabathia fat.

2:45: listening to a New York radio station and it sounds like they just postponed the Yankees game. Let’s hope the same fate doesn’t befall the Rays and O’s. I am too geared up right now. I might have to pull out the legos and simulate the game. Yes, we have legos. Don’t judge.

2:57: Marc Topkin is reporting that the rain has stopped and there will be baseball. Thank god. not sure if we will start in time

3:00: how bad are things for the Orioles these days? many predict them to be the worst team in baseball this year AND they still owe more than $60MM to Mora, Huff, Hernandez and Gibbons for the next two years.

3:02: ok, here we go. TV coverage just kicked in which is good because the radio guys in NYC are so enthralled with opening day that they are discussing NFL’s proposed rules changes to give wild card teams a home game in the first round…blah, blah, blah. It FRICKIN’ OPENING DAY! wake up assholes.

3:06: GOOD NEWS. I kid you not, the Extra Innings package just kicked in as the O’s were runing on to the field. No offense to MLB.tv people. there are benefits (more games), but the quality is just no there and besides, as David Pinto says there is no such thing as a bug-free software. BAD NEWS. it is the O’s broadcast team.

TOP OF THE FIRST:
AND WE ARE UNDER WAY! PLAY BALL!

Holy crap. Opening Day! It is like my birthday and Christmas and hanakkuh all wrapped in one! only with Hot Dogs and without the relatives

Iwamura just hit a dribbler to the left side of the mound. one out.

Crawford folows with a line drive up the middle for a single…nevermind. why dont we just call that a double.

Pena up. I am one of the few that thinks 45 home runs is not out of the question for Pena with Upton hitting behind him

And like that, Pena missed #1 for ’08 by about 2 feet to straight away center, two outs.

sure enough, CC just stole second without a throw. lets see if Upton can be true to the clean-up hole…andddddd, nope. lazy fly ball to right. third out.

BOTTOM OF FIRST
we know for a fact there is are at least three RAYSHEADS t-shirts in the stands. in the past that sort of homerism in another ballpark would have gotten you locked up for a psychiatric evaluation. DRG is one of them. He called it “entrepreneurial”. I call it crazy.

they have Dave Trembley introducing the Os lineup and bc of that piece of production brilliance we missed the first two pitches from Shields

Shields goes full to Roberts who I am amazed is still with the O’s. And James the Greater just walked Roberts. That’s not good for Shields.

Shields is struggling with his control. cant tell if its nerves of opening day in Camden Yards or the weather. or maybe the pregame footrub from Don Zimmer

i gotta admit, these unis sure are warming on me. i’d like to see the person that still thinks these look like the Royals

Shields fell behind 3-0 but worked back and got Mora on a lazy flyball to left. one out

Markakis just dropped a ball down the left field line that CC slid for and missed. great play by Bartlett to run all the way out there and hold Roberts to second.

both runners just took off and Navi went to second base instead of third and both runners are safe. not good…not good…not good….

BEERMAN!
Millar just hit a ball that looked gone (wind?) Crawford overplayed it and jumped at the wall when he didnt have to. ball went off the heel of his glove. 2-run double.

and Hickey just made his first trip to the mound a trip he knows all too well.

Should I note now that the Rays were 29-52 on the road in 2007? I didnt think so.

Aubrey Figgin’ Huff just hit a pop up to CC. two outs. not to spend too much time on male anatomy here, but did anybody notice that pic of Huff from this off-season with the stripper at the radio station and Huff had his shirt off? Nobody is ever going to accuse him of steroids. Fuck. he looks like my uncle Bud and he is like 65.

Hernandez flys out to right to end the inning

TOP OF SECOND
Floyd leads off

how surprising is the demotion of Longoria? ESPN magazine’s picture for the Rays in the preview issue is of The Dirtbag. I mean if the Worldwide Leader thinks he is great…

Floyd ust grounded out to first in his first Rays at bat. one out.

i know it was raining, but the stands look half empty. it is opening day. where the hell is everybody?

Orioles announcers just said they talked to Joe Maddon about Longoria’s demotion. According to Maddon, Longoria was sent down because they did not want him to have to deal with all the commotion of opening day and stuff. it’s a different excuse everyday.

of course Aybar comes up and hits an opposite field looping single

Hinske is up and conveniently grounds into an inning-ending double play. I am still awaiting an explanation for hinske getting more playing time than Gomes. What in Hinskes last 5 seasons says he can out-perform Gomes? Hinke hasn’t hit more than 15 home runs in a season since 2002

BOTTOM OF SECOND
back to the unis for a second. so the Devil Rays fish is still on the sleeve and yet Silverman just said that the team is no longer the “bottom-dwelling fish”. so i the fish an honorary thing? like the elephant on the A’s uniforms?

a ground ball by Adam Jones and a quick two outs from Shields in the second.

shields just broke out a 0-1 curve ball. a rare pitch for him indeed…he then struck out the other hernandez on three straight pitches. he cruised through that inning on 8 pitches, only 1 ball. Shields needed that. he looks settled down now.

TOP OF THIRD
Navi to lead off

and navi picks up right where he left off in 2007 with a line drive to right and by line drive i really mean something that would have trouble knocking down a house of cards

Bartlett up and the Rays just need bartlett to play solid D and get on base and he does the latter right off the bat getting plunked by a pitch. first and second no outs

how good does Aki look with the pants at the knees

huh?
Roberts was playing in for the bunt, and AKi hit a line drive out of his reach. only problem is Markakis was playing shallow also and actually threw Bartlett out at second.

CC hits a nubber to short and Navi breaks for home and everybody is safe. RAYS ON THE BOARD! 2-1

first and second, one out. Pena is up.

not sure what that was. lazy drive to right field off the end of Penas bat. Markakis got a horrible jump and the ball falls in for a single. runners had to hold. bases loaded.

Here is Upton…all 120 pounds of him

YES!
Upton hits a groundball just out of the reach of Hernandez at short. with CC on second, that will score two
3-2 Rays

offense should thrive this year without the pressure of having to score 26 runs a game

Dr. Huxtable (Floyd) hits a lazy flyball to center. but pena advances to third. 2 outs

Aybar goes to left again, only this time the ball is caught. Aybar is lucky this game is on the road. have a feeling there would be boo birds for him at The Trop

BOTTOM OF THIRD
somebody just hit a line drive single to lead off the inning for the O’s. I am not sure who because the dog is currently sprinting around the living room in circles for no aparent reason other than to say fuck you. i can.

Mora flies out to Upton for the first out. and then Shields jjjjuuuussssttt about picked Roberts off first. i need another beer.

to those of you stuck at work. there are certain days that should be national sports holidays. Super Bowl Monday. First day of NCAA tourney and opening day…oh yeah and any 1-game playoff in baeball

another lazy fly ball to Upton. 2 outs

Crawford comes in and almost collides with Bartlett but makes the catch, retires the side.

speaking of one-game playoffs. one idea i can’t believe hasn’t happened yet in baseball is to give each league a second wild card team and then make the wild card teams play a one-game playoff with the winner going on to the divisional round. probably hasnt happened bc it makes too much sense. nothing in baseball more exciting than a 1-game playoff and this would guarantee two each season. and it also places emphasis back on winning division. team’s can’t “settle” for wild card.

TOP OF FOURTH
Holy Shit! Eric Hisnke just went yard. a no doubt about it shot. color me surprised.

Navi grounds out to second…Hinske? 2008 version of Pena?….nah. stupid beer

not sure what pitch that was, but i like to call those 400-foot strikes.

Rays second leadoff hitter, Bartlett is up. The O’s broadcast have some old guy in the booth who sounds like he is going to die any second. this is not safe. i am genuinely worried for this guy. i think he just coughed on me.

Bartlett just lined out to short. Aki is up. last year Aki predicted 20-40. batting leadoff he might actually approach the 40 steal mark, but he will need the Rays to move their home games to Japan to reach 20 home runs.

Jim Palmer was just commenting on the international “flavor” of baseball and how he used to wonder what would always happen to “all those chinese taipei players” just as Iwamura was striking out. First of all, he pronounced Iwamura as “Iwa…….moor-a” and why is he still not wondering about the Chinese Taipei players? How many chinese players in baseball. 2? 3? Japan? lots. Korea? a few. I’m thinking Mr. Palmer’s BVDs are a little two tight and can’t tell the difference from one asian country to another.
BOTTOM OF FOURTH
Huff almost killed shields with a line drive back up the box, but then gets Ramon Hernandez to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. little surprised they didnt argue the call at second. Iwamura was on the bag, but thought the throw was a little late.

despite the struggles in the first. Shields is still only at 48 pitches in the 4th innings. not terrible. Kazmir would be at 98 pitches by now.

Luke Scott hits a seeing-eye single to right. adam jones is up

Shields gets Jones swinging for his second strike out and Shields is now looking like Shields. Except for that leadoff walk and the misplay by Crawford in left which maybe should have been an error, Shields is looking solid. I have made this comparison before, but Shields reminds me of Maddux. Greg not Mike. For the next 7+ years, we will be able to pencil in 200 innings, 3.50 ERA and 15-20 wins.

CC hits another weak groundball and Pena follows with line drive right to Roberts that almost hand-cuffed him.

i know he is only 23, but i have a feeling that 30 years from now at Rays old-timers day, BJ Upton will still weigh 120 pounds

WOW. Upton just got called out on a pitch that was AT LEAST 6 inches outside. end of inning

that was the first 1-2-3 inning for the Rays offensively

BOTTOM OF FIFTH
Bartlett takes the first one. not an easy play as the ball had a wicked spin on it. but he makes it look easy

Roberts up

Shields falls behind 3-0 and then walks Roberts. Shields second walk of the game and first since the leadoff batter.

Mora is up. He and his wife had quintuplets after already having one kid. let that be a lesson to all men out there when your wives suggest fertility drugs. JUST SAY NO.

Mora just took one to the warning track in left center and CC handles this one without a problem. 2 outs

YES!
Roberts tried to steal. not an easy pitch to handle from Shields as it almost hit the batter high and tight. Navi got the throw off quickly, one-hopping it to Bartlett. Bartlett actually fielded the ball behind Roberts and swept in the tag. Nice play all around. telling you right now. Bartlett is the real deal. ZERO chance that Brendan Harris makes that play.

Floyd just lined one into the right field corner for a lead off double

Aybar grounds out to second. Floyd to third and Hinske walks.

Navi is up with 1 out and first and third. big at bat here to get to the “top of the order” with Bartlett.

YES! Navi rockets a ball up the middle that is knocked down by the shortstop, but everybody is safe and Floyd scores. 5-2 Rays. let’s call it Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but I thought the game was over at 2-0.

And right away Bartlett lines a ball to left field and Hinske scores from second to make it 6-2. This would not be a safe lead last season.

Guthrie is yanked from the game. 6 runs and 9 hits in 5.1 innings. Your 2008 Baltimore Orioles

bathroom break. i’ll try to yell from the bathroom. what? too much info?

Albers(?) comes on. he is apparently a contact pitcher. right hander. kinda chubby…sorry. seemed important.

Iwamura hits a dribller to third. they try to turn two, and Bartlett takes out Roberts on the turn. Roberts dropped the ball, but Ump ruled it was on the transfer.

CC is up. not a great game so far. and just looked bad on a swing and a miss

Huh-wha?!?! Maddon just tried a double steal with Aki on first and Navi (?!?) on third. throw went through and then back to the plate where Navi made it surprisingly close…I am all for running around on the bases like a bunch of drunken banshees, but trying to steal home with Navi is ummm….how do i put this? STUPID.

BOTTOM OF SIXTH
shields just walked another batter on four straight pitches. that is three on the game.

Millar hits a lazy flyball to Upton. one out.

And Aubrey Friggin Huff grounds into an inning ending double play back to shields.

TOP OF SEVENTH
CC leads off as he was at the plate when DIONER NAVARRO TRIED TO STEAL HOME. still trying to figure that one out.

CC flys out to shallow center

Pena hits a one-hop rocket to the right of Millar and Millar gets lcuky and the ball found his glove. throws to the pitcher covering first. 2 outs.

in case anybody was worried that Upton might relax his swing this year to cut down on the Ks need not worry. He just about twisted himself into the ground on a swing and miss.

Upton hits a ball that goes about 8 feet down the first base line. Not sure this one has the distance. out at first. end of inning. still 6-2

BOTTOM OF SEVENTH
where the hell is the BEER MAN?

Shields has 3 walks already. in 2007 he walked more than two batters only 4 times in 31 starts.

sorry phone just started going crazy and Shields just went medievel on the O’s and retired the side 1-2-3 on 5 pitches. he now has only 86 in 7 innings. I love James the Greater

TOP OF EIGHTH
Floyd leads off and hits a weak ground ball to first. one out.

Aybar up and he has one of the most open batting stances you will ever see. his lead foot is practically in the first base dugout. a nicely placed slider and Aybar’s voice will go up a couple of octaves.

and a weak ground ball to short and Aybar is now 1-4 in his Rays debut. Clearly demoting Longoria was a mistake. He would be 8-8 with 12 home runs and 14 steals by now.

Navi goes down looking. end of inning.

BOTTOM OF EIGHTH
Shields is pulled after only 86 pitches. interesting move, but you have to like the confidence in the new bullpen. no way Shields comes out in 2007. Trever Miller makes his re-debut for the Rays

Luis Hernandez pops out to second on the first pitch.

Roberts just got his third hit. hard line drive to right

Papa Joe is on his way out to mound and Al Reyes is coming on. Standard. two batters is about the limit for Miller.

still cant believe how many empty seats in Baltimore. weak. i thought Baltimore was a good baseball town.

middle of the order up with Mora. Roberts on first is 1-2 in steals today

YES! DOUBLE YES! with a full count. Roberts ran and Mora swings and misses. Navi didn’t make a throw. Mora after his swing started to head to the dugout and home plate umpire called Robers out on interference by Mora. When do those calls EVER go for the Rays? It didn’t even look like Navi wanted to throw. he kinda pumped but then he pulled up. Not because of Mora. But really just because Roberts was almost standing on second.

TOP OF NINTH
some guy name Brian Burress is on for O’s. a lefty. who are these guys? Seriously. These are the new Devil Rays

Navarro, batting right-handed just hit a Navi special down the leftfield line. This guy hits more line drives and yet they all look like they are going about 3 MPH

i kid you not..when Navo first came up, they said Nathan Hayes was pinch-hitting. now i have never seen Haynes play but he is supposed to be a speed guy. not sure how you get Navi confused with Haynes.

and now i know that the Os broadcasters are just not paying attention. Bartlett grounds out to first and Millar tries to throw behind Navi at first. and announcer just said “Haynes gets back to second”

Iwamura hits a lazy flyball to left. two outs

crawford is first pitch swinging and it is a ground ball to second to end the inning.
will we see Percival with the Rays up 4 and an off-day tomorrow?

BOTTOM OF NINTH
nope it is Dan Wheeler. They havent said yet, but I have to imagine that Percy is warming up…just in case

ok, Haynes is really in the game now, subbing for Hinske in right field.

CC just made a great running grab in the corner down the left field line. CC is not the best fielder in the world and his arm is downright attrocious but he gets to more balls than any other left fielder. that was a double with anybody else out there.

Millar pops up to Pena in foul territory. GET ON YOUR FEET!

ahhh. sweet. Aubrey Friggin’ Huff, who hit 600 home runs against the Rays last year

seriously. i no longer have the numbers, but Huff’s OPS against the Rays last year was 1.200 or something…and about .600 against evrybody else. i think it was 7 of his 15 home runs.

and damn it! game should be over. ground ball to Pena. easy toss to Wheeler and Wheeler tried to catch the ball with his crotch. Huff on first.

some drunk fans are trying to rally the fans to cheer . sad. sad

Fly ball to left??????? YES! Game over. Rays Win. The Raaaaaayyyyysssss Laid The Boogie Down. Rays Win!

Hold on. i need to double check the scorecard….yes. it is true. the bullpen pitched 2 innings and DID NOT allow a run. This is NOT your older brother’s Devil Rays.

Thanks everybody for stopping by. Hope I could make your work day just a little less productive.

Say it with me. “The FIRST-PLACE TAMPA BAY RAYS”….YES.

 
 

11 Comments

  1. Nick says:

    Thanks for the great job on the live blog! Apparently, Tallahassee is Marlins country, so there’s nothing about the game up here…..

  2. The Professor says:

    my pleasure guys

  3. Christian says:

    Stuck at work. Thanks, Cork.

  4. Chris Simon says:

    NAVARRO JUST TRIED TO STEAL HOME? my god. is this what we have to look forward to this year?

  5. Nick says:

    On track for 162!! Good win, fellas. Way to start out ’08!

  6. Evan says:

    ok i will say it with you..

    First place Rays!!!

  7. Winky says:

    sweetness! I just found out about this blog from that deadspin.com link a week or so ago. So are you going to do any of the other games live?… I couldn’t find the game on tv up here in Gainesville either

  8. The Professor says:

    it won’t be too often. might do day games and if the Rays are playing well it could happen more often

  9. Ski says:

    no surprise but there were not many rays fans there. all i saw were three other guys, all of who were from west virginia and one of whom had never even been to the trop.

    although it was fairly comforting to see the O’s fans boo Huff when he came to the plate. it’s going to be a long season for the former Devil Ray.

  10. RJ says:

    Very nice live blog Cork.

    Best,

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