Catching Up

Allstargame

All-Star Photos by Kenji Takabayashi / MLB.com

Friday, July 14, 2006, 10:48 am ET

Happy Bastille Day to all

Enjoy a fine Bordeaux today to celebrate the storming of the Bastille …

Sunday

Sorry to again go some time since blogging but that All-Star Game got in the way.  I returned from Pittsburgh Wednesday and then we headed to New York late last night.  Snuck in a round of golf yesterday morning with Ed Cassin, our traveling secretary, Mike Mazza of our ticket office and Donn Pall, former pitcher and a good friend.

Actually last Sunday I had written an award-winning piece about our starting pitching, context, 2005 vs. 2006.  Believe me, it was really good (smirk).  But when I went to hit "save", my computer frooze.  Alas, the words were lost forever.  Little did I know that I would have something like seven hours of baseball to watch later that day.

Talking to players and staff alike after the 19-inning victory, the general mood was consistent.  After a while, you just want one team to win to end the marathon.  But then after you have played enough innings, you better darn well win it yourself.

"At one point we thought about just challenging the Red Sox to a game of home run derby," one player joked, "but by then neither team had the strength to hit a home run."

So it was off to the All-Star Game Sunday night.  Instead of a 5:30 pm charter, we left at 9:00 pm and arrived in Pittsburgh at 11:30 pm.

The Red Sox joined us on the flight.  I laughed as Jermaine Dye sat one row in front of Jonathan Papelbon.  Wondered what he was thinking during the flight?

Papelbon, David Ortiz and Mark Loretta were all tremendous guys with great families/friends.

Markandfriends

Monday

Ozzie Guillen met the media Monday morning and announced his lineup and starting pitcher.  The room was filled, I mean filled, with people.  Ozzie even admitted to being a bit unnerved by all the cameras and reporters.

But he was Ozzie … which by that I mean he was engaging, funny (in two languages) and amazing in his ability to move from English to Spanish and to even translate for himself and others.  More than half of the questions were in Spanish by reporters from Latin America.

After that, all of the AL players met with the media. 

We were trying to get ahold of Francisco Liriano at this time to see if he could get into town to replace Jose Contreras on the roster.  Liriano was in the Dominican, but did make it in time.  Too bad he didn’t get into the game.

Monday night meant workout and home run derby.  I am not a big fan, so once Jermaine Dye hit, I was out of there, headed to dinner.

Mark Buehrle and his family arrived late in Pittsburgh and he came into the hotel lobby just as Phyllis Merhige and I were talking.  He hugged Phyllis (not me) and then headed over to the ballpark to watch the derby.

When he arrived at the ballpark, the guard asked him for some ID.  Mark showed him his player ID card.  The guard looked at him skeptically.  Do you have anything else?  He asked Mark.  How about this, Mark answered, showing him his World Series ring.  The guard let him in …

Prehomerunderby

Tuesday

Now understand, that I have been working in baseball for a long time and I don’t often stop and think to myself, this is pretty cool.  I did that Tuesday night.  My "job" was to sit on the American League bench and call the press box with any changes to the lineup.

This meant my wife and kids got to see a lot of my feet and hands.  My wife chided me for not wearing my ring on the bench.

Anyway, what it really meant was that I could sit there and listen to the All-Stars interact and banter throughout the game … pretty cool.

So, because I thought to myself, this could be a great blog item, here is some of the stuff I heard and saw (realizing I do not want to step on any toes by betraying anyone by reporting an overheard comment):

Pregame

Ozzie gave his pregame speech, basically saying, "We won’t have any signs.  Just play the game."

He also pointed out that this game was going to make the difference for someone in this room.  "Last year, it was us.  Someone in this room will benefit, so let’s go win this game."

At that, Ichiro stood up and extorted his teammtes with a very specific cheer.

In the dugout

Spanish was the dominant language in the AL clubhouse and dugout.

Guillen worked his way up and down the dugout, saying:  "Good luck, have fun and stay healthy.  Vamanos."

First Inning

Penny
Brad Penny is working hard on the mound for the NL, grunting loudly as the radar gun reads "98."

"I’ll just have to top him," AL starter Kenny Rogers jokes.  His first pitch is 83 mph and his teammates laugh at the stark difference in pitch speeds.

On his way out to the field the first time, David Ortiz struggles to find his glove (which features a Dominican flag) and a ball for infield practice.  After a quick search, Ivan Rodriguez’s son finds both for Big Papi.

Second Inning

Players are amazed at Vlad Guerrero’s ability to go "oppo" on a high pitch that registers 98 mph.  AL leads, 1-0.

"I said ‘He is the only guy who could swing and hit that pitch’," said Greg Walker, our hitting coach.  "Joey Cora said, ‘No, Uribe could, too.’  And he could."

Third Inning

AJ Pierzynski sees me and asks, "What are you doing here?"  While the seat is great, the view isn’t.  I spent most of the game looking at the backs of several Guillens and Cora.

Ozzie and Don Cooper were looking to the bullpen to find Barry Zito, who was scheduled to pitch the next inning.  They expected to see him warming up in the pen.  Instead, Zito was standing behind them.

"I’m a starter, bro," Zito responded.  "I don’t know how to jog in from the bullpen."

Fifth Inning

Ortiz scoops a low throw at first base, drawing a standing ovation from the AL dugout and a big, big smile from Papi.

Mid Game

Troy Glaus gave a scouting report on NL pitcher Brandon Webb to Derek Jeter.  This happened a lot throughout the game as hitters shared info among teammates.

For some reason, ARod and Jeter shared the same helmet for each at-bat.  Although each Yankee had his own helmet, it was funny to see these superstars switching helmets like Little Leaguers.  Maybe one fit better than the other …

What a dad … when Ozzie Guillen and his family were interviewed during the red carpet ceremony before the game, he pointed to his son, Ozzie Jr., and said, "He’s the Paris Hilton of Chicago."

Sixth Inning

With two outs and Ortiz at the plate, Paul Konerko tells Cora, "If he get’s on, I’ll go pinch run for him."

"You don’t have the guts to," Cora laughed.

Ortiz did not reach.

Throughout the game, the Pirates scoreboard staff showed each player’s photo a la the Andy Warhol images.  Very cool.

Hoffmanbeaten
Seventh Inning

Walker walks by me and says (this is true): "Gordon will throw the eighth inning for them and Hoffman the ninth.  We will beat Hoffman."

Eighth Inning (I think)

All game long, Jim Thome paced the dugout, bat in hand.  When he finally got the chance to pinch hit, his bat shattered as the pitch hit the very end.  So much for that relationship.

Final Inning

Before the bottom of the ninth, Konerko walked up to Twins catcher Joe Mauer and laughed, "Settle him (Mariano Rivera) down out there if he gets nervous."

With the tying run on second base, two outs and Carlos Lee at the plate, Cora exclaims …

"It had to come down to this, an ex-White Sox …"

Rivera won the Panamanian vs. Panamanian showdown …

Odds and Ends

I sat down with Ozzie last Friday and he answered several questions about the team and the second half.  We sent it out this week as a newsletter.  If you haven’t watched, check it out.

Because of your requests, we also now have all of our advertising spots up on the site.  Check those out as well.

When I have a second this weekend, I am going to pull together the best AJ lines from last week and let you all vote on the preferred winner.  Stay tuned for that.

Sorry for the brevity and grammar in this post, but I am rushing to go have lunch with Art Berke of Sports Illustrated.  Art is a huge Sox fan and has promised to bring an SI model to lunch with us here in Manhattan.

Hopefully, more later from Yankee Stadium.

When is the last time the Sox had the same pitcher start consecutive games?

Ozziesallstars

21 Comments

Great post Scott! Thanks for bringing us the inside info from the All-star game! It just goes to show how great of coaches we have when we hear about what goes on behind the scenes.

Wilbur Wood started both games of a double header in the 70s. Trade talk heating up, I think Vazquez is on the block.

Scott,

This post was the best one yet!!! Great work! :)

Love PK sayin he’d pinch run, that had me laughing out loud!

And that is also pretty cool that our guys flew out with the Red Sox…pretty funny about Papelbon and JD…

Lets start our second half of domination out on the right foot tongiht, lets go Jose!

Thanks for taking some time to catch up, Scott. This post was excellent, and I appreciate you sharing some behind-the-scenes and in-the-dugout moments from the ASG. Bet it was a blast to be there.

Looking forward to tonight’s game. It’s been such a long time…

Awesome post Scott!!! I can’t wait for the game to start tonight. I’ve been going through baseball withdrawal all week!!!

Cyndi

loved the post myself.. wish I could’ve joined you on the bench! Let’s go boys.. it’s time to show Detroit who’s who!

Wouldn’t it be Jose? He pitched Game 5 if the ALCS and Game 1 of the World Series. By the way, I love reading your blogs.

Thanks, Scott!! Love the inside info. We’ve missed you, but what a week you must have had!! =) Let’s get the 2nd half off to a good start!

Scott: Who was your counterpart on the NL bench? I think I saw more of him when the FOX cameras showed Garner than I did of you when the cameras were on Ozzie….
Also,I hope that you still had at least a nub of a pencil left after all the changes that a game like that dictates…(At least you had some warning during spring training at NL sites and during interleague play,with all the double-switches,batting order changes,etc….Yuch-h-h-h….

Well…

HELLO,WS UNIVERSE…IT’S FRIDAY!!!!(I gotta stop listening to Paul Harvey….)

cinnabun…you aren’t the only one who has been going through withdrawal,sweetheart….

I had to check today to see if it is still four balls for a walk,three strikes and you’re out,three outs for an inning…It has been FOUR WHOLE DAYS(not counting the ASG…exhibition,don’t you know…)since Alex scored the winning run to end the BRS/CWS Marathon…

And now,to restart the battery,where does the Ozzie Unplugged tour go? Where else but Media Vulture Heaven…the Rotten Apple…the city that never sleeps…what else can I say about NYC that hasn’t already been said about…dry rot?

I was raised to strongly dislike the Yank-mes…and even during their lean years,there was always the ghosts of Bombers past(arrogant little p**cks that they’ve had,front office,dugout,and all…)to remind me of their haughty status…I can forgive Bill Skowron,though,even though he was one of those Yank-mes that haunted Billy Pierce,**** Donavan,Gary Peters,etc…through the good old ’50’s and ’60’s…(oh,Dawn,Bethany,Maria,Kris,all of you—you can’t imagine what jklein and I went through growing up as baby WS Universe members back then…)

Anyway,getting to the series which starts tonight…I am trepidatious…these Yank-mes are ready to pounce on somebody…I just hope that they can hold off till next week….

BTW,you’ll know that the boys did well over this weekend by which ever version of “New York,New York”they play after the game is over…Sinatra if they win,Liza Minnelli if they lose…

Let’s all hope that the folks exiting the ballpark all weekend hear from Liza–all three days…

Scott: Lotsa luck,my friend,with those poison pens and radio/TV vultures who will be swarming our shy violet of a manager all weekend….

This was a VERY enjoyable post to read. I know that I will never have an opportunity to do what you did Scott…It must have been amazing to be in that dugout with the All-Stars and hear the comments and remarks the way you did. Just out of curiosity, what is the cumulative salary total for 2006 of the players on each side of the dugouts? It sure does put what these guys do in perspective!

Thanks for sharing!

Scott, Great post, loved reading the comments.you put the reader in the Dugout which was awesome. Something very unrelated, lots of rumors going around that one of our pitchers might be traded. Not asking you to comment on that but the rumors started in a NY newspaper and you guys are in NY. Will KW or Ozzie address the rumors in the locker room? I assume each player read these rumors in todays paper.

Until Scott mentioned it at the top, I had no idea it was Bastille Day….
Well,then,all together now…A rousing rendition of La Marsielle,cest voux plais,Monsewer…(don’t tell me I ain’t cultered…)and the best Bordeaux I ever saw play was the shortstop from Cleveland…You know the guy,he announced games for the Cubs for years…You remember,Lou Bordeaux?

I seriously need a room…and a woman to take care of me…or both…..

Great post! The more inside the locker room stuff the better. I would kill to just sit in the clubhouse for 15 minutes.

I am sure I’m not the only one to see Man Soo Lee catching for the Home Run Derby and one of Ozzie’s sons wearing a Pierzinski jersey during the All Star game.

Caught Roper at Borders today and bought his book, hope more do the same. He was funny and the book sounds good.

Let’s Go Sox!!! Let’s Go Jose!!! I want to see another ‘W’ at the top of this Blog!!!

Bill- you were not the only one to see Ozzie’s son wearing AJ’s jersey. He turned around and I said to my husband “That’s not AJ” He insisted it was until I backed it up (thank goodness for DVR). :)

Go Sox! Let’s put another W up there, Jose!

Scott,
Best post of the year!!!! I hope you realize that you have one of the best jobs. If you ever feel like stepping down, I will gladly take the position!! I really hope that Freddy is not traded. I know his ERA is high but he still has a lot of wins in him. Wholly Cow!! Crede goes yard!!

Hey Scott, I was wondering what the status is on that outing this August. I called the guy you told me to call and ordered the tickets yet I still don’t have them. Thanks, great post…

Evan

Well, it was the Perfect Storm tonight. Sox lose, JC’s streak ends, and those flipping Tigers win in the 9th. I really can’t think of a worse way to start the second half. I hope the sun comes up tomorrow:(

While I realize one game does not make a season, for the life of me I don’t understand the pitching change where we brought Cotts in. I’m not second guessing either, the kid gets the huge K, he’s confident and than the switch. Ozzie’s call (9 of 10 are ususally great), just simply didn’t like that one. Let’s go get one today!

Just wanted to say thank you for the Happy Bastille Day.
I was in Paris for it (yesterday) and in Bordeaux the day before actually!

In other words I got to see a whole lot of Europe but missed a whole lot of baseball.

Oh well…

Hey Scott, great post. Thanks much for using my shots, the game was tremendous. I got an amazing photo of Konerko and his little guy. Send me an email and will foward. I sat next to Paul during the Home Run Derby.

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