Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Melancholy Update
2008-05-20 16:49
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I feel responsible for writing something in this space every so often, since it's not like anyone else is going to do so. If this were a Cubs or Cardinals or Braves blog I could probably find someone less inundated with real-world issues to come in and pinch-hit for me, but I cover the Rockies. I live in Colorado and nobody I know personally cares even a little about the Rockies. A lot of people started to pretend like they cared last fall when it was in style, but they're nowhere to be found now. The crowd at the games this weekend cheered louder for the Twins than they did for the hometown team.

That's why I'm writing, reluctantly. I would like to be playing Grand Theft Auto IV right now and not thinking about baseball at all, but I have a few notes from the game I went to on Saturday and they're not getting any more relevant the further away we get from that game (Colorado 3, Twins 2). Kind of the one thing that is keeping me going to these games, other that the tickets are already paid for, is hoping to see some sort of individual milestone. Well, Livan Hernandez was perfect through five innings. I wasn't really holding out much hope that the 74-year-old Hernandez and his 84-mph fastball would be able to go another four, but I was surprised by how long Ron Gardenhire left Livan in after the magic touch left him. I wondered how good the Minnesota bullpen was at the time, and it turns out that (again) they have one the best in the majors. Very strange. Seems as if the manager lost that one.

Also, it had to come eventually -- in this post I have nothing but good things to say about Willy Taveras. He picked up his sixth RBI of the year (weirdly, I've seen all three of Willy's home RBI this season), made any number of marvelous catches in the field, and in the ninth, when Brian Fuentes made a very convincing fake to second, he charged in as if his hair was on fire to back up the base. It kind of looked like he was aware of what was going on in the game, which has always been my major issue with Taveras -- insufficient baseball IQ. Also, he is now hitting .227/.277/.574. But we're trying to say good things today!

As I suspected, San Antonio won Game 7 in New Orleans to advance to the conference finals. A lot of people get bored by the Spurs, but not me -- the jump hook from the low block is my favorite play in basketball, and doubly so if the shooter deliberately banks it in off the backboard. Tim Duncan might be the last American player to realize that the backboard doesn't count as out-of-bounds and indeed you are encouraged to shoot off of it. Watching the veteran Spurs methodically rotate on defense, draw and then make their foul shots, and generally grind the younger, quite possibly more talented Hornets into submission was something you kind of had to be a purist to appreciate. I am rooting very hard for Detroit and San Antonio to meet in the Finals, because it will annoy all of the many terrible basketball writers who have ignored both teams all season because they lacked good Storylines, and also because it's highly possible that such a matchup would cause David Stern's head to explode, and that guy has it coming. The composite ball? Please. Not to mention the fact that they change the way the playoffs are seeded every year and they still can't get it right.

I heard about Jon Lester's no-hitter from my mom last night -- I was watching the basketball game and she called to tell me to watch the highlights on "SportsCenter." It was pretty special to see but I think I'll always remember it the way my mother described it.

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