02 June 2009

Shake it up

We saw the Angels play the Dodgers at Dodger stadium at the end of May. Interleague play is always incredibly amusing (especially AL pitchers at bat).

I hadn't been to Dodger stadium in a really long time and it seemed so tiny, although in reality, it has about 10,000 more seats than Angels stadium. We got lucky and had seats about 10 rows up behind home plate. We took my father-in-law along, and it was fun to see his eyes light up when he got wind of where we were sitting. The kids were pretty psyched, too.

The nice lady usher in our section politely did not notice we were all dressed in red, and she handed us our All-Star Game ballots, which for some reason became the focus of the evening for the son. I have no idea why, but he was completely obsessed with that little bit of paper, carefully poking out the holes by the players he wanted. I, of course, managed to put my entire finger through the paper and so gave up on it. I always vote online anyway.

The daughter was completely obsessed with her garlic fries. I try to avoid eating at the ballpark. Only partly because I'm certain I'll get caught on camera with something in my mouth.

As baseball goes, it was a strange and rather sloppy game, though Messrs. Rivera and Hunter both hit nice home runs, which gave us the opportunity to stand up and cheer and applaud. Always good. Another group of Angels fans were sitting in the row in front of us, so we were our own little pod of red, high-fiving and carrying on.

The Dodgers won in extra innings.

It's been a tough season thus far for the Angels. I didn't really expect otherwise, honestly, but they looked good in spring training. Then the pitching rotation fell apart with injuries and the tragic death of Nick Adenhart. As the pitching rotation righted itself, the bullpen imploded. And on and on.

Today was an early game, and I had it on in the background while I was helping with homework and making soup for dinner. Saunders versus Halladay seemed likely to be an interesting match up, especially given Saunders' shut out against Zack Greinke a few weeks ago. But Toronto has a strong team this season and took the game.

I realized during the course of the afternoon that I'd never put in my All-Star votes, so sat down at the computer to do it while I was thinking about it. As if by magic, the son appeared.

"Why are you voting for him?" the son snarked over my shoulder as I marked names.

"Because I can," I snarked back, rather than the more truthful "because he's cute."

"He's not doing so well," the son commented as I marked another name.

Yes, but the daughter adores him, and someone has to save him from the dreadful TV commercials he's making.

So, I'm a sentimentalist rather than a perfectionist. Torii Hunter got my vote because he's an amazing player and he goes out and throws his body at the wall with his whole heart and soul every game. He's lost a teammate and his grandmother this season, but he shows up with a smile and he plays. Marco Scutaro got my vote because I watched him crack a bat at Angels stadium, and then walk over to a group of little boys in Angels jerseys who were sitting in the field boxes. He presented the bat to them and said a few words then returned to his at-bat. It was the sweetest gesture, and the excitement it generated in those kids could have powered the stadium for the rest of the night. Chone Figgins got my vote because when he gets on base, the fun begins. Bengie Molina got my vote because I always enjoyed watching him call games when he was with the Angels. So Vlad isn't exactly hitting them out of the park. I voted for him anyway. He still gets that look when someone throws a little too far inside.

I'm sure that some people only vote for All-Stars who are batting .385 or better, or whatever criteria they use, and that's fine. I didn't inquire of the son who earned his votes, though he was certainly disapproving of some of mine. But then I vote for the guys who keep me giving me reasons to watch the game.

Go listen to some music: "Shake It Up," from the album Shake It Up by The Cars. To think this post started life waxing less than poetic about the inability to accurately predict earthquakes.

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