THE GAME: Yankees vs Astros
I took off a couple of weeks from watching and writing about sports. Part of it is personal - I've had several things going on in my life that took up a lot of time - but mostly it just hasn't been an exciting couple of weeks.
The NBA playoffs so far have been as boring as any I have ever seen. Four series in the first two rounds were sweeps, and, as I wrote several months ago, there has never been a season in which two teams were more likely to meet in the Finals than Cleveland and Golden State are this year. It seemed that way on opening night. It seemed that way at the All Star break. It seems that way now. The Finals should be really fun. The rest of this has been crap.
Mike Trout has missed five of the last six games with a bad hamstring. Watching the Angels without Mike Trout is basically like watching a AAA team.
And I have DirecTV, so even after all these years, I still can't watch the Dodgers.
But it's a beautiful spring day and the teams with the two best records in all of baseball are playing, so I settled in to watch.
NOTES ON THE FOOD:
- I was at Whole Foods, staring down at one of those open-top freezer boxes, when I spied a package of butterfly shrimp. I love Whole Foods frozen shrimp, so I immediately grabbed it. Except I was looking at it upside down, and I failed to notice the words "Crunchy Coconut" at the top. I don't exactly hate coconut, but it's not one of my favorite flavors, and I've never enjoyed coconut shrimp. But I didn't notice until I'd gotten home with the box. Oh well.
- I decided to clean out the pantry and see what kind of sauce I could make out of almost-empty condiments. I mixed rice vinegar, orange marmalade, Texas Champagne, and Wine & Pepper Worcestershire sauce.
- Of course I fried the shrimp. Oven-baked seafood is not good; fried seafood is one of the best things in the world.
- They were the best coconut shrimp I have ever had, no question. However... they were still coconut shrimp, so I wasn't a huge fan. I won't be getting them again, but I sure wish Whole Foods would make these without the coconut flavor.
NOTES ON THE GAME:
- Oh goodie, Bob Costas calling a Yankees game. Take a drink every time he smugly brings up some obscure Yankees reference to show how much more he knows about the team than you do.
- On second thought, don't do that, it could prove fatal.
- Even in year 5, I'm not used to the Astros being an American League team. Does anyone else have a hard time with this?
- What team would be the hardest to get used to if it switched leagues? The Yankees in the National League? The Cubs in the American League?
- I'd say the easiest to get used to would be the Rays. I'm not even sure what league they're in.
- Three minutes into the broadcast and we're already into the "All hail Aaron Judge" phase. Yes, he is a good, extremely strong player... but are we supposed to ignore the fact that he plays in a fucking joke of a stadium? I've seen several games in Yankee Stadium: pop-ups that would die in shallow right in any stadium on the West Coast drift over the wall for home runs.
- Want some numbers for context? Here, take a look at his home vs away splits:
- In case you're not a huge baseball fan, I'll cut to the chase: in 14 games at home, Judge has hit 10 homers, is batting .408 and is slugging 1.061. In 15 games away from that little league stadium, he has less than one-third as many homers, his batting average is ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY points lower (!!!) and his slugging percentage is reduced by more than half.
- I Googled Carlos Beltran because I wasn't sure how old he is; he just turned 40 a couple of weeks ago.
- A couple of years ago, while watching the Astros at happy hour, I tried to convince one of my best friends that Dallas Keuchel's nickname is "The Kike." She didn't buy it.
- I'd be hard pressed to think of a non-Angel or Dodger whom I have ever liked more than Jose Altuve. Probably Vladdy when he was with Montreal, and maybe Tony Gwynn, but that's it.
- Costas and Smoltz are debating whether Beltran is a Hall of Famer. Seriously? I mean, it's not as ridiculous as the discussion I heard a few weeks about about Bobby Abreu (no, I'm not making that up; there are actually people who think Bobby Abreu - who played in exactly two All Star games in his 19-year career - belongs in the Hall of Fame) but it's still pretty silly.
- Yankees had the bases loaded with two outs and got a run because of... catcher's interference while Jacoby Ellsbury was at bat.
- Costas just gave an amazing stat. I had to look it up myself to verify. Last season, Ellsbury reached base on catcher's interference twelve times. You know how many catcher's interference calls there were last season in all of baseball? 39. That's astounding. In 1923, Babe Ruth hit 54 homers, which was more than any other team in baseball. I always considered that the ne plus ultra of baseball stats. But Ellsbury being responsible for 31% of all catcher's interference calls in the entire MLB season? That's more impressive.
- Woah, I assumed Houston (Rockets, that is) would be destroying a Kawhi-less Spurs team in Houston. I just flipped over to check - San Antonio is winning by 18 in the first half.
- The Yankees have left somewhere between 4 and 30 men on base today. We're going to the 9th with Houston up 3-1.
- The game ends when Ellsbury - representing the tying run - gets thrown out at the plate. That was awesome.