Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Houston, Hello.

Black Betsy is coming to you live from Houston. After a successful swing through Chicago where I attended the Sox's 3-2 victory over Seattle on Saturday night, I headed to Houston on Sunday to attend the All-Star Game and accompanying events.

Here are a couple of notes on Saturday night's game, since it was the first game I saw at U.S. Cellular Field since 2002. I've always liked the Cell, and never saw what problems people had with it. Certainly, I've only sat in the upper deck once, and it is ridiculously steep. But the sight lines and the feel of the Cell are just as good as any other park I've been it. It doesn't have the exposed brick or quirks of the newer parks, but it is a very, very good place to watch a game. And the new renovations do give it a little bit cozier feel. But the food is second to none in the Major Leagues.

I was surprised to see Joe Borchard in right - since I was away from home, I didn't hear that Frank had gone on the DL. Joe Borchard then surprised me by taking a walk in his first at bat. Of course, after Thornton had walked 3 guys in a row, Borchard swung at the first pitch against him with the bases loaded and two outs. I'm not sure why Ozzie did not give him the take sign on that one.

The offense was pretty pathetic against Thornton, who had a pretty good fastball and looked like he had decent stuff - except for his lack of command. They followed that up with a pretty poor performance against Moyer (only 5 hits) on Sunday. I can see how hitting against two very different left handers on a night/day game would be discombobulating. Hopefully, they'll come out firing when they get back on Thursday.
Nevertheless, it's good for the Sox to be in first place going into the break, even if they are only 8 games over the .500 mark.

I went to the Futures Game on Sunday, where Arnie Munoz was the lone Sox representative - because of the Freddy Garcia trade. Former Sox prospect Jeremy Reed started in Center Field for the USA team - further showing off his value (although I think he was CF by default). He grounded out in his only at bat. Life after Reed is hard, indeed.

The celebrity softball game was...interesting. It was emceed by a local DJ named "Outlaw Dave." 'Nuff said. Dave, it's SESS-il Fielder, not SEE-cil Fielder. And for those forming a softball team in the Hollywood Hills, do not put Matthew Modine on the left side of the infield.

The Home Run Derby is really fantastic. I didn't think it would be as thrilling as it was. Lance Berkman put on a show in the second round - hitting home run after home run out of the stadium. It was a really awesome display. Miguel Tejada just got hot and won it, but Berkman's show really created a huge buzz.

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