Big League Stew - MLB

Tue Jul 10 01:38pm EDT

Blogging the MLB All-Star Game

8:34 p.m. ET: Welcome to the Yahoo's live All-Star Game blog. It's been an eventful pregame already at AT&T Park in San Francisco, where the fans gave an incredible ovation to Barry Bonds, booed Russell Martin and witnessed Chris Isaak sing "through the perilous night."

Let's hope not.

I'll be here all evening. E-mail questions and comments to fiveandfly@yahoo.com. I'll be posting the best, brightest and funniest.

8:38 p.m.: Willie Mays just threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Jose Reyes, who was standing too close for Willie's liking. Reyes moved back. What Willie wants Willie gets. Bonds and Derek Jeter then walked Willie to a pink Cadillac, which he quickly commandeered and started doing donuts on the infield. OK, maybe not, but he totally could've.

8:46 p.m.: McCovey Cove is officially cool again. Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder Eric Byrnes, who should've been playing in this game, is instead in Fox's employ for tonight's broadcast. And in his kayak is his bulldog, Brew, whose tongue is even longer than this.

Byrnes is ready for a splash home run, too.

"You don't want to get in a fight with me out here tonight, guys," Byrnes said. "I'm pretty intense."

Eric Byrnes > Kenny Mayne.

8:54 p.m.: First pitch from Jake Peavy to Eeeeeeee-chiro is a 92-mph fastball outside. Second pitch is a base hit to right field. Oh, and worth noting, Bruce Froemming is behind the plate. At this Web site, Larry Dierker gives perhaps the greatest quote about an umpire I've ever read.

8:57 p.m.: That Jose Reyes-Chase Utley double-play combination looked comfortable for a reason. The two started for on the MLB team that toured Japan during the offseason. The NL's starting third baseman, David Wright, joined them. And the fourth infielder? Utley's teammate, first baseman Ryan Howard.

9 p.m.: "This one counts," huh? Major League Baseball would like us to think so, but David Ortiz didn't even jog to first base. He slogged. And the reward for his hustle? A Prince Fielder error on about the most basic play possible to keep the American League alive in the first inning.

9:01 p.m.: Wright with an early candidate for play of the game, robbing Alex Rodriguez on a diving stop and tossing to Utley to get the National League out of the first inning. Dan Haren vs. Jose Reyes to start the bottom of the first.

9:05 p.m.: Reyes singles. It's Bonds time. 

9:07 p.m.: Bonds flies out to right field, lunging for a Haren changeup. He'll get at least one more at-bat. Can he pull a Cal

9:11 p.m.: From Steve Henson, our crack San Francisco bureau chief: The Mays Tour was in a 1963 El Dorado Caddy. For the record, Mays hit .314 with 38 home runs and 103 RBIs in '63.

Any other useless information on 1963 is welcome. 

9:12 p.m.: What Bonds couldn't do, Ken Griffey Jr. did: Single up the middle off a Haren splitter that scores Reyes, who earlier stole second. NL, 1-0.

9:14 p.m.: Yahoo! plug: Look for Tim Brown's column on Bonds and Griffey later tonight. Should be a good one.

9:20 p.m.: I blink, Brad Penny goes 1-2-3. Off to the NL's half of the second, where Chase Utley -- hitting eighth! -- is due up. Looks like Dan Haren's getting the yank for Josh Beckett, too. 

9:23 p.m.: Scratch that. Haren's still in. And wild. He just walked Prince Fielder to start the inning.

9:29 p.m.: I promised myself I wasn't going to play media critic for the second consecutive night, but McCarver is 100 percent wrong about Miguel Cabrera. He's a free agent after the 2009 season, not after this season. Cabrera, pinch hitting for Penny, struck out to end the second inning. Still 1-0 NL.

9:37 p.m.: Newsbreak: Fox's Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Ichiro, who just singled for the second time today, is close to signing a five-year contract extension with Seattle worth between $90-$100 million. 

9:39 p.m.: Ben Sheets gets out of his half inning unscathed despite allowing a pair of singles.

9:40 p.m.: Interesting that Ichiro's contract situation gets resolved so quickly after Mariners manager Mike Hargrove resigned. This only adds fuel to the theory that Ichiro's pressure on Mariners management forced Hargrove out.  Either way, this is huge for Seattle. It retains perhaps the world's most marketable star until almost his 40th birthday -- and as he approaches 3,000 hits.

9:42 p.m.: Dane Cook rules! 

9:43 p.m.: I don't think I've ever seen a ball spin as much off the bat as Jose Reyes' double just did. Looked like a slow grounder to third base. When it hit the ground, though, it cued almost directly to the left -- and completely froze Alex Rodriguez.

Here comes Barry.

9:45 p.m.: Bonds leapt out of the batters' box like he thought he'd homered. Warning-track power. Magglio Ordonez snags it in left field. That's 0 for 2, twice leaving Jose Reyes on second base.

9:48 p.m.: Is Stan's Rodeo Ointment – apparently Josh Beckett's answer to his blister problem – commercially available? I've curious if it's flecked with gold, seeing as it costs $40 a tube.

Beckett gets out of the third unscathed. Still 1-0 NL.

9:53 p.m.: A-Rod single and stolen base to lead off the fourth inning. Sore hamstring, huh?

9:56 p.m.: Pudge Rodriguez singled into right field, and A-Rod was sent home. Griffey threw a pea home, and Russell Martin made a fantastic short-hop pick to nab A-Rod, who didn't bother sliding, by about 15 feet.

Come on!

10:01 p.m.: What happened to Eric Byrnes? I hope he didn't drown.

10:04 p.m.: That's two shutout innings for Josh Beckett. Time for the AL to start hitting.

10:06 p.m.: I love Burger King's commercials, but I can't think of anything unhealthier

10:09 p.m.: Leadoff walk by new pitcher Chris Young to Brian Roberts. He's a base stealer, too. Weird scene: Russell Martin, Dodgers catcher, out talking to Young, Padres pitcher.

10:11 p.m.: Eric Byrnes might officially have the dumbest dog on television next to Meaty from "Rob and Big". Byrnes, no longer in his kayak, tossed a ball into the water and asked the dog, named Bruin -- not Brew, which might be more appropriate -- to fetch it.

Bruin took a minute to figure out the ball was in the water, then swam directly away from it. Right now, Eric Byrnes is this game's MVP.

10:12 p.m.: Or not. Ichiro just hit an inside-the-park home run. First in All-Star Game history.

The ball, a shot into deep right-center field, took an odd carom off the wall, back toward the line -- and away from Griffey. As Junior hobbled back toward the ball, Ichiro flew around the bases on his third hit of the night and eased into home to give the AL its first lead, 2-1.

10:18 p.m.: From reader Gary Shingleton: "Barry Zito should be the designated pitcher for both teams, so we could have lots of runs."

Apparently, buyers remorse is worse when the deal is for $126 million.

10:20 p.m.: This is the Game of the Leadoff Hitter. Jose Reyes is now 3 for 3 after a hard single to center field. Bonds is now out, Derrek Lee up and with the same result: an out.

10:21 p.m.: It took almost an entire half-inning to rescue Bruin the dog from McCovey Cove. Good thing they make life vests for dogs.

10:29 p.m.: Francisco Cordero is in, and he's doing his best Chris Young impersonation. Carl Crawford lined a 3-2 slider toward the right-field wall, and a fan reached over the fence and made a fantastic catch with a glove. Nice looking out for the home team, guy. AL leads 3-1 in the middle of the sixth.

10:34 p.m.: Leadoff triple for Carlos Beltran. Forget left field at Fenway Park. That right-field wall is absolute terror. 

10:35 p.m.: Junior takes an 0-2 pitch from Justin Verlander and drives it to right field for a sacrifice fly and his second RBI of the game. The AL, looking for its 10th consecutive win, still leads 3-2.

10:40 p.m.: Sorry, Fox. Russell Martin looks nothing like Turtle

10:47 p.m.: Fox just showed a "Sounds of the Game" with NL manager Tony La Russa giving Froemming lineup changes. Would it be wrong for La Russa's Hall of Fame plaque to include a lineup card with 14 changes on it?10:49 p.m.: Paula Cole really is alive!

10:50 p.m.: And her keyboardist forgot to plug in the keyboard.

10:50 p.m.: OK, this is awkward.

10:51 p.m.: I don't think Paula Cole is going to be singing "God Bless America" at another MLB event anytime soon.

10:51 p.m.: Finally!

10:52 p.m.: It really shouldn't not have taken 1 minute, 38 seconds to sing a 47-word song.

10:53 p.m.: It has been a perilous night for the "celebrity" singers, huh?

10:54 p.m.: Hey, Fox, give us more Byrnes and Bruin. 

10:56 p.m.: Smart move by Jim Leyland, saving Johan Santana for the late innings. He could work the seventh and eighth and pave the way for J.J. Putz in the ninth.

10:59 p.m.: From Patrick in Medina, Ohio: "I thought you said Bruin was dumb. Wasn't that him singing God Bless America?" Well played. 

11 p.m.: Santana goes 1-2-3, and the AL is two innings away from 10 in a row. 

11:04 p.m.: From the Father of the Blogger, in our Phoenix bureau: "Guessing here, but Eric Byrnes went to UCLA. And the nickname of their sports teams is ... " Fox is blowing it big time. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver need an inning off. Let Byrnes do play-by-play and Bruin bark the color.

11:06 p.m.: Billy Wagner just struck out Grady Sizemore -- the NL pitching staff's first strikeout tonight. Last year, Brad Penny struck out the side in the first inning.

11:07 p.m.: Victor Martinez just hit the AL's third home run of the night off Billy Wagner.

Oh, and Johan Santana won't be out in the eighth inning. That will be Jonathan Papelbon. Followed by Putz in the night. Boston, Cleveland, Detroit or Los Angeles: Congratulations, you just got home-field advantage in the World Series.

11:10 p.m.: By the way, commenter No. 80, Steve, Luth, is correct. That was a '58 Cadillac, not a '63. Though the San Francisco bureau administrator, Steve Henson, is not at fault. He was given bad information. Our culpa.

11:15 p.m.: Fun fact: Chase Utley totally had a mullet in Pony League. 

11:16 p.m.: Speaking of youth-league games, how many guys wear batting helmets with flaps on both sides? Orlando Hudson (who just struck out for the inning's first out), Shane Victorino (who could be a future All-Star) and ... ? 

11:20 p.m.: Passed ball. Derrek Lee moves to third base. No matter. Papelbon struck out Rowand for the second out, and could escape unscathed with Freddy Sanchez up. 

11:21 p.m.: And he does. One more inning to go. And J.J. Putz, the most dominant pitcher in baseball this season, is warming.

11:26 p.m.: Barring some NL heroics in the ninth inning, Ichiro is going to win MVP -- and a new car. The day before he signs a deal worth upward of $100 million.

I never thought I'd say this, but Rod Stewart was right.

11:31 p.m.: Bruce Froemming is one tough motherscratcher. He just took a foul ball off the heart. Granted, it's covered with a chest protector, but that couldn't have felt good.

11:33 p.m.: Onto the bottom of the ninth. AL leads 5-2, and Putz is headed in from the bullpen.

11:37 p.m.: Froemming got crushed again! He's a tough ol' codger. 

11:38 p.m.: Holliday whiffs. One out. Brian McCann coming up to pinch hit.

Where's Albert Pujols?

11:41 p.m.: McCann popped up to shortstop. Two outs. And the NL's hope rests on Dmitri Young.

11:44 p.m.: Young singled deep into the second-base hole. Brian Roberts should have made the play. Now it's on Alfonso Soriano.

11:46 p.m.: So, one more time, where is Pujols?

11:47 p.m.: Uh-oh. Soriano home run. NL now trails 5-4. Shades of last year?

11:48 p.m.: A sheer show of bat speed, too. Soriano let Putz's fastball get deep into the zone, then extended his arms and hit an opposite-field rocket. Now it's up to J.J. Hardy, with Derrek Lee on deck -- and Albert Pujols still in the dugout.  Did Pujols hurt himself in the Home Run Derby last night?

11:50 p.m.: And Hardy walks. Time to get Putz out of there, Jim Leyland. Francisco Rodriguez is warming in the bullpen. As Fox just pointed out, none of this would be happening if Brian Roberts had made the play he was supposed to make on Dmitri Young's ground ball. 

11:51 p.m.: Putz is out, K-Rod's in. Hundreds of sportswriters are writing contingency stories as we speak. 

11:55 p.m.: Big block in the dirt by Jorge Posada, preventing Hardy from going to second base on a K-Rod slider in the dirt.

11:55 p.m.: And incredible hammer curve by K-Rod to get two strikes on Lee. 

11:56 p.m.: Full count.

11:57 p.m.: Lee checks his swing -- barely -- and draws a walk. Leyland is not happy.

11:57 p.m.: Why is Orlando Hudson batting WHEN ALBERT PUJOLS IS ON THE BENCH? 

11:58 p.m.: I know he's La Russa's final player, and we certainly don't want a repeat of the 2002 tie, but still.

11:58 p.m.: K-Rod is nowhere close to the plate. He's now 3-0 on Hudson.

11:59 p.m.: Walk. Bases are loaded. This is incredible.

Midnight: It's on Aaron Rowand. Bases loaded. Bottom of the ninth. Two outs. Every kid's dream.

12:01 a.m.: Rowand flies out to right field to end the game. Oh, well.

12:01 a.m.: Told you Byrnes should have made the team.

12:02 a.m.: Instead, we got to meet Bruin, and hey, that made the night well worth it. 

12:04 a.m.: Josh Beckett wins it, Chris Young loses it and K-Rod gets the save.

12:05 a.m.: When did Ichiro join the Strokes? That's the skinniest tie I've ever seen.

12:06 a.m.: Little secret: Ichiro speaks excellent English. He absolutely does not need this translator. 

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