I was full of excitement and optimism when I left for the game Saturday morning. I was full of frustration when I left. And it wasn't so much the walks haunting Carlos Fisher and Mike Lincoln as it was Dusty trying to out-cute LaRussa with his management and failing. I don't mind the original lineup construction, I mind the attempt to do crazy things with your bullpen and double-switches that end up handcuffing the team. At least I could take some pretty pictures.
We got very good seats, just about 15 rows up from the RF corner. We had a pretty nice guy for a scalper. We had a fun negotiation back and forth, but it turned out I didn't have quite enough cash on me for two tickets. So instead of getting all huffy, he directed me to the nearest ATM and let me hang on to the tickets when I walked over there. He trusted me not to screw him out of a not-insubstantial chunk of money, which impressed me. And yeah, I've never sat in the foul corner before, it was neat. This meant I was able to get decent pictures of Jay and Drew playing catch.
The game itself was fairly exciting, of course. Bailey really impressed me. He had good body language this time around...the only time he sulked was when he was told to intentionally walk Pujols in the first. Here's him and Votto from the corner.
As for neat stuff about the stadium: they have a Wrigley-esque scoreboard inside (where its really dark, dank, and ugly for no good reason). I just thought it was hilarious that they would import the iconic part of their rival's stadium.
And as much as I am disgusted by the scorecards (only 9 slots, no RBI column, no SO or BB columns, nothing at all for pitchers) they do have neat cover art. All the same, when I run a team or a stadium, I'm giving out scorecards for free.
And I mentioned that Schumaker's at-bat music was "Brass Monkey" the last time I wrote a Report, but this time all of the Cardinals had mid-90s hip hop for their atbat music, which I thought was a nice touch. Well, everyone besides Holliday, who has some terrible screedy country music. If you're going to go country, then do something fun like Steve Earle's "Unrepentant." Oh, and because I can't segue, here's Joey Votto yelling at an ump. Not sure what that was about. Any ideas?
Obviously, the biggest at-bat of the game was Homer v. Albert with 2 outs and a runner on in the 7th. Bailey already had ~115 pitches, but I think the right idea was to keep him in, it would've been a huge booster for the Reds for the rest of the season if they could get Pujols right here, and Bailey was having success with him earlier.
I really like these pictures, with Hatcher standing at the gate of the dugout, Janish and Leake looking on...it's just all very baseball.
Alas, it was not to be. Pujols doubles and the Reds can never really battle back fully. I know stats, etc. but it really looked like the Reds had the wind out of their sails from then on out.
The bullpen usage was pretty gripe-worthy, I feel. Weird matchups, a third of an inning from the long-reliever, and just throwing dudes into the field from the bench who hadn't played in a week. I'm still convinced the Reds got outmanaged more than outplayed, but that could be the heart talking. And it was funny, I noted to myself that there were only 2 walks (not including Pujols' intentional) through the 7th. And I felt that whichever team got those walks tallied up would end up winning. Sure enough, I was right. All too right.
So I hope everyone's had a more fun weekend than my 3 hours on Saturday. All in all it wasn't a bad weekend, though. I went down to the Arch for the first time and stumbled into a prom and then a Legalize Marijuana march. Good times, let me tell you. And Red Reporter should hark: It's a Cargill plant right next to an idle train right next to a highway. It's our 3 favorite things in one.