Thursday, March 13, 2008

March 13, ST #13: Pirates at Yankees

Here we go! The first Kaylog of the new season is also Billy Crystal's debut in pinstripes. As it's also Spring Training for the broadcasters, we'll go easy on Kay. Wait, no we won't.

March 13, 2008 - 1:15 p.m. ET
Spring Training Game #13
Legends Field, Tampa, Fla.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: David Cone, Paul O'Neill

Open: "It's the New York Yankees against the Pittsburgh Pirates in an exhibition game from Legends Field in Tampa, Florida."

  • Actually, Michael, an exhibition game is what the Mets played against the University of South Florida. This is a Grapefruit League game, not an exhibition.

Top of the 1st: "Batting fifth and playing first base, Adam LaRoche. Ryan Doumit is the catcher, he's going to bat fifth. Batting sixth and ... playing third base, or should I say seventh ... Jose Bautista."

  • What comes after five? No, Michael, it's not five again, contrary to common belief. And we are going to love seeing Jose Bautista play seventh.

Bottom of the 1st: Going to break: "But this inning will be remembered for a 59-year-old man, living out his dream, turning training camp into fantasy camp. We go to the second -- it's crystal clear, no score."

  • How soon after the news broke that the Yankees had signed Crystal do you think Kay sat down to pen that gem? Five minutes?

Top of the 2nd: Of Jason Bay: "Probably the most recognizable Pirate name."

  • What? You mean to tell me Michael Keaton isn't warming up in the Pirates bullpen?

You certainly get your money's worth on this broadcast. Two YES glitches in under 10 seconds: The cameraman has a seizure on Bay's fly ball to right and then former Pirates President Kevin McClatchy becomes the mysterious Kevin McClathy. This does not deter Michael, however. He nails McClatchy.

Two batters and two "pop-ups" to right and left field. Apparently balls that travel 300+ feet aren't fly balls anymore. Good to know.

Bottom of the 2nd: And A-Rod leads off with a "pop-up" to the right-field corner. Just think: 15 more feet and that pop-up would have been a home run!

Top of the 4th: O'Neill on baseballs: "Some days, I'd look over at Bernie and say, 'God, this thing feels like a grapefruit.' And then some days, it felt great. It doesn't take much. Kind of like you, Michael, in the old days. You knew if you pulled a No. 2 or a No. 3 pencil out, right? You had to."

Kay: "Oh, yeah. If it wasn't the right ink, sure."

  • Didn't you know? Back in the old days, pencils didn't have lead in them. That's right, they were just like pens -- they had ink in them! We love O'Neill. It's going to be great hearing him rip Kay this year.

Going to break: "So Mussina to Molina. M&M! It's a sweet combination as we go to the bottom of the fourth."

  • That's it. I'm setting a limit. No more than two canned "jokes" going to break per game, Michael. PLEASE.

Bottom of the 4th: A-Rod pops one up into the stands by the Yankees dugout, narrowly missing Robin Williams, who's at the game to see Crystal bat. Kay: "Almost hit Robin Williams. He would have had to call Patch Adams if it did."

  • If there's one thing you can count on Kay doing, it's making the bad and obvious joke.

Top of the 5th: O'Neill: "Michael, you'll know this. Who were some of the names of that World Series who beat the Yankees? You had Mazeroski, obviously."

Kay: "Mazeroski."

O'Neill: "Was Clemente on that team?"

Kay: "I believe ... uhhhh ... I believe ... yeah, he was on that team."

Awkward five-second silence.

  • Far be it for Michael Kay to actually know anything about baseball history. He's only a professional baseball broadcaster. What reason would he have to know that guys like Dick Groat, Bob Friend, and Harvey Haddix were also on that team?

Bottom of the 5th: Kay on Jaret Wright: "He burst onto the scene with the Angels. Nasty, nasty stuff. Shut down the Yankees in a playoff series."

  • Ah, that's right! Who could forget the famous 1997 AL Division Series between the Angels and Yankees? ... that is, if you like calling the Indians the Angels.

On screen: Doug Mientkiewicz is in the game at first base for the Pirates, but don't expect Kay to mention it until he comes to the plate ... check that. Jose Molina actually hits a ground ball right to Mientkiewicz, so Dougie does garner a mention after all.

Top of the 6th: Kay interviewing Crystal, who's still in the Yankees dugout: "You're 59 years old, you've never played in the big leagues, and you put a ball into play."

  • Ah, yes. The ole' foul ground ball that's in play. O'Neill to the rescue: "You were six feet away from putting the ball in play."

Top of the 7th: Kay on Jeff Karstens, who comes in to pitch the seventh: "His ERA [11.05] somewhat inflated because of a couple of bad outings."

  • Inflated? Couple of bad outings? In 2007, Karstens pitched in seven games. In four of those appearances, his runs total exceeded his innings total, and he very nearly did it a fifth time by giving up three runs in 3 1/3 innings. In another outing, he yielded two hits without retiring a batter (exiting the game with a broken leg). In his "best" game, he surrendered two hits in an inning of work. Hmmm ... that would seem to be to be seven bad outings in seven games. Kay, the master apologist, as always.

"More strikeouts than walks, also not good."

  • The numbers are on the screen as clear as day. Five (5) strikeouts and nine (9) walks. Gotta love Kay's math. First, five comes after five and now five is greater than nine. You can't make this stuff up.

Top of the 8th: Kay on Brian Bruney, who enters the game mid-inning: "Was sent down in August and ironically enough, when he was sent down, the Yankees brought up Joba Chamberlain."

  • The height of irony. The Yankees sent down a pitcher who wasn't pitching well for one who did -- the complete opposite of the roster move's intent!

"The problem [Bruney] has is that he doesn't always throw strikes."

  • As is the case with every other pitcher who's ever played. Great observation, Michael. No one pitcher always throws strikes.

Bottom of the 8th: Kay mentions how a lot of people across the country would love to do what Crystal did and play in a Major League game.

Cone: "I think nowadays, Michael, there's some guys out there that dream about being you. 'Hey, I want to be Michael Kay, covering the Yankees."

Kay: "I don't even like being me, so ..."

O'Neill: "... until payday."

  • We sympathize with you, Michael. We know Cone was just being facetious, but we wouldn't want to be you, either. O'Neill with another great zinger.

O'Neill: "Radio ... TV ... can't get away from you in New York, Michael."

  • You're telling us!

Kay: "Gonna start doing movies, too ... you stay tuned for that."

  • Oh, god. And here we thought the apocalypse wasn't for another couple of centuries at least.

O'Neill: "Black and white? Silent? No?"

  • Yes! Please! Silent! The answer to our prayers!

Cone: "If there was a movie about Michael Kay, 'The Michael Kay Story,' who would you want to play you?"

Kay: "Well, John Candy's dead, so ..."

  • Not a half-bad casting choice!

Top of the 9th: Kay mentions how he used to give away Outback Steakhouse gift certificates while he was in the Yankees' radio booth on WABC.

O'Neill: "I guarantee you pocketed a whole bunch of those things."

Kay: "Me?!"

O'Neill: "Yeah."

Kay: "Yeah, I did, but you don't have to say that on the air ..."

O'Neill: "That was before Atkins jumped into the diet."

  • Have we said how much we love O'Neill? If only he were the permanent color guy ...

Bottom of the 9th: And my DVR cuts out right in the middle of an exciting Kay call of Justin Christian's double to left-center. Since there were three outs to go, we'll have to give Kay the benefit of the doubt here and assume he made two more stupid comments and/or errors before all was said and done.

Final score: Pirates 5, Yankees 3

"Oh, what a play!": 0-for-2. He had opportunities on a Shelley Duncan pick down the first-base line and flip to Mussina in the second, and again on a Cody Ransom play in the shortstop hole in the eighth.

"Fields, FIRES": No real chances for Michael today.

"Wait, that was Ruben Rivera?": 4. Ink pencils, the fair foul grounder, Wright on the Angels, minimizing Karstens.


Blogger Ted said...

I think Kiefer Sutherland might be an inspired choice to play Kay, especially if the Michael Kay biopic was directed by near-namesake Michael Bay.

Just imagine Sutherland, as Kay, diving from an exploding press box, microphone in hand. FIRES!

9:00 AM  

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