Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When I think Michael Kay, I don't think Hall of Famer


Game 29: April 30, 2008 - 7:05 p.m. ET
Yankee Stadium, New York, N.Y.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: Al "Talkalot" Leiter and John Flaherty

Missed the first inning and a half, but John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman do get Kay points for saying that Andy Pettitte's rookie year was 1996.

Bottom second:
Raving about Alberto Gonzalez's defense, Kay says that the Yankees were so high on him that "when they knew the Jeter injury would only be a day or two" they called up Gonzalez when "Wilson Betemit could have just played those games at short."
  • I don't recall the Yankees knowing it would be a day or two, considering Jeter missed six games. And, they didn't think it would only be a day or two either.
This questioning is getting ridiculous. Leiter asked Flaherty if, when he was filling in for a star, if he tried to do more than he could. He even prefaced it with a "Let me ask you this." We won't have any trouble replacing Kay

Bottom third: "There's not a person in baseball who doesn't love John Flaherty!"

  • There's not a person in baseball who likes Michael Kay, who is clearly envious of the lovable catcher.
Top fourth: Kay hosts a roundtable discussion on Hall of Fame credentials since Gary Sheffield is up. Kay goes on and on about "tighter baseballs, lower mounds" as reasons why evaluating today's hitters are different. "Some people you look at you just feel are Hall of Famers. When I look at Jim Thome, I don't think Hall of Famer."
  • If only there were a stat that allowed us to compare eras. Oh wait, there is. It's called OPS+. Sure it's not perfect. But all this is 500 homers enough and other such silly questions won't help anyone.
Bottom fourth: On bases: "Back in the old days, they were just pillows, and they weren't anchored to the ground."
  • Right, they just blew willy-nilly all over the field. Second base is in right field? Crap, better get over there quick!
Jose Molina ground "to Guillen. Steadies, fires, got him." Are you serious? With Molina running?

Top fifth: "Here's Guillen, who made that strong throw to end the third."
  • I know this game is going a little fast, but try to stay with it.
Bottom fifth: Here we go. Kay starts talking about Jeremy Bonderman and how he was profiled in Moneyball as not a "Billy Beane type of player." Doesn't mention why -- because Bonderman was a high school pitcher and Beane didn't want any high school pitchers. Then Kay tells of the trade that sent Bonderman to the Tigers -- and conveniently leaves out that the Yankees were involved in that three-way masterpiece. Oh, Jeff Weaver, where have you gone?

Top sixth: Kay's love for Bob Feller and reruns rears its ugly head when he told for the second time in five days about how Feller throws batting practice to fantasy campers. He also wonders earlier if Bob Feller's no-hitter at Yankee Stadium was on Opening Day. It was not. Leiter suggests that Jack Morris threw an Opening Day no-hitter, but Leiter is wrong. Most people know Feller's no-hitter was the first and last on Opening Day.

Top seventh: Curtis Granderson pinch-hits, but Kay doesn't mention it. Maybe Granderson really is invisible. He moves to second on a groundout but YES takes the yellow mark off the basepaths diagram.

Bottom seventh: Granderson now in center, doesn't get a mention, even after he makes a play.

Top eighth: Is Kay blind? A ball soars out to to left field hit by Placido Polanco. Johnny Damon jumps, the ball hits the net above the retired numbers. Kay waits about three seconds, then finally sees the ball and says, "See ya!" Textbook.

We have a "Past a diving Jeter"!

Final score: Tigers 6, Yankees 2

I owe Juan Rivera an apology: Derek Jeter only missed a day or two, bases in the old days blew all over the field. Not a bad day for Kay; the game went too quickly for him to make a complete ass of himself.

Monday, April 28, 2008

"No, that's risking the job."

Game 27: April 28, 2008 - 7:05 p.m. ET
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: David Cone

Top first:
"Melky Cabrera with good numbers against the Indians."

  • Because I have and Kay apparently does not:
Lifetime: .277/.341/.396 (average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage)
vs. Cleveland: .270/.304/.446

Kay said Bobby Abreu has the highest personal winning percentage of active players. Not sure how that's possible. Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter each broke in around 1996, the same year Abreu did. They have never played on a team under .500 and have played on a 114-win team. Abreu was on a 65-win Phillies team and a 77-win team. I have no concrete evidence to prove Kay wrong, except that he is Kay.

"Yankees lose very little defensively" with Jose Molina behind the plate.
  • Um, how about they gain defensively? Posada is not winning any Gold Gloves.

Top second: "Indians had to make some roster moves because of the double-header they had in Cleveland."
  • That's Kansas City.

Top third: Cone is killing Posada for not "being honest" about his injury. He said he was going to start Game 1 of the 1997 playoffs "right here." He also said he was going to start Game 5, but Dwight Gooden had to fill in.

Game 1 was in New York. Gooden started Game 4. Remember, Kay did the games on the radio. Does Kay remember? No.

Bottom third: Kay said in the open that "a big crowd is expected." Now, given the abundance of people dressed like green chairs, he has revised the statement.

"There's that AWFFFF-speed pitch."
  • Nothing's worse than someone without a good voice trying to inflect like he does have one. Michael Kay and Vin Scully have two things in common. They both went to Fordham and they both call baseball games. The sooner Kay realizes that, the sooner everyone will be happy.
"He can throw anything he wants here, as long as it's a quality pitch."
  • Thanks David.

By the way, Mussina needed to get four outs because Derek Jeter made an error. How many times was that mentioned? Zero. How many times would it have been mentioned if Alex Rodriguez had done it? 10? He did belabor it when Robinson Cano made an error in Baltimore.

Top fourth: On the New York Smokers' Quitline trivia question. Cone: "I can't say the answer, right?"
"No, that's risking the job."
  • If you are allowed to stay on the air, I think Cone would somehow be able to get away with telling the audience the answer a half-inning early.
Top sixth: "David, I've been getting used to your face the last seven games."

Great, because we're not not used to yours.

Paul O'Neill missed this series because his son is going to prom. "Anything to get out of work."
  • Say that from Tampa, and maybe I'll listen.
Middle eighth: "Let's take this baby to the eighth."
  • I still love it when he says that.
Bottom eighth: "Our award-winning coverage doesn't end with the last out."
  • Does it start with the first pitch? Can award-winning coverage end it doesn't begin?
Final score: Yankees 5, Indians 2
I owe Juan Rivera an apology: Bobby Abreu has a better record than Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. Posada is a gold glover.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"What, to get picked off?"

Game 26: April 27, 2008 - 1:05 p.m. ET
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: David Cone

Talking about the "beautiful pitching matchup" says it's the "Cy Young Award winner against the runner-up. Chien-Ming Wang is the runner-up."
  • That's half right. Sabathia did win. But Wang was not even close to second; that went to Josh Beckett. The Taiwanese righty did come in second in 2006. Great start.
Top first: "Let's take a look at the umpires for the game tonight ... this afternoon."
  • When the sun is out, it's daytime. When it's dark, it's nighttime.
Bottom first: "Let's take a look at the Jeep Pi-- no, that's later. Let's look at the Indians starting lineup."
  • Kay meant Jeep Pitcher's Scouting report, but he isn't the smoothest guy on air.
"Here's Hafner. He's got a four-game hitting streak."
  • Does Kay even read past the first line of each player's bios on the team's press releases? Who cares that he has a four-game hitting streak? Kay could talk about Hafner's bloop hit yesterday or about his expensive-looking contract or his nickname or anything. Instead he decides to tell us that a player hitting .230 has performed close to that expectation over the past four games.
Top second: "That's the first out that Sabathia has recorded on a first-pitch strike that a batter has swung at."
  • As opposed to those outs on first-pitch strikes that batters don't swing at.
Bottom second: Another reference to Grady Sizemore's 382-game streak. "So if he doesn't make it into the game today, Cal Ripken can put his feet up and breathe easy and say, 'I got it for a little while longer."
  • Sizemore is now almost 14 seasons (2,250 games) away from breaking the record. Somehow I don't think Ripken is sweating it.

Bottom fourth: Pretty lazy question-making by those in trivia land. Friday's question asked for the last Indians 20-game winner (Gaylord Perry, 1974). Today's asked for the last Cy Young Award winner (Perry, 1972).

Top fifth: Just to prove everyone is asleep in the truck, Kay again calls Wang the runner-up in the 2007 Cy Young Award race. Jeez.

Cano gets picked off -- caught stealing, technically -- by the lefty Sabathia. Cone suggests Cano's running on the first move was called from the bench. "I think it was a set play."
Kay, with an extra sense of incredulity: "What, to get picked off?"
  • Wow. Even for Kay's standards, this is embarrassing. Does he really think that Girardi told Cano to make out on the bases? Sometimes runners do go when a lefty pitcher picks up his right (front) foot. If you had paid attention during your years [shudder] in baseball, you'd know that. Kay doesn't even think about how stupid he sounds sometimes. Show some pride.
Bottom fifth: Yankees are actually familiar with David Delucci. He actually played for them in 2003. He actually played in that World Series. In 2001, he actually played against them for the Diamondbacks.
  • Actually? ACTUALLY.
Top sixth: Two outs, runner on third, two strikes on the hitter. What better time to reveal your identity to the audience?

Also, no matter how many times Kay says Wang is the runner-up, it won't change.

Bottom seventh: Kay finally corrects himself about Wang's status as the runner-up in the Cy Young race last season. "He was third." Minutes later. "John Lackey was third, Wang was sometime after that." I guess not getting a vote meets that description.

Bottom night: "Sabathia may fall to a hard-luck 1-4."
  • Hard luck with a 7.88 ERA.
Final score: Yankees 1, Indians 0.
I owe Juan Rivera an apology: Chien-Ming Wang was second in the Cy Young Award voting last season. The game was a night game. Joe Girardi asks his players to get picked off base. Chien-Ming Wang was third in the Cy Young voting. Chien-Ming Wang got a vote in the Cy Young voting last season. C.C. Sabathia deserves to be 5-0.

One-day reprieve

One day without Michael Kay is almost too much. Special thanks to Tim McCarver -- "Chris Duncan" -- and John Sterling -- "Diving grab by A-Rod. What a play! Robbed Hafner of a hit. Quad and all, eh? Oh, that's Ensberg, excuse me." -- for helping us all get through it without withdrawal symptoms.

Friday, April 25, 2008

"Did you hit on her?"

Game 24: April 25, 2008 - 7:05 p.m. ET
Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: David Cone, all by his lonesome

Top second:
If a game is in Cleveland, it must mean it's time to talk about how great Jacobs Progressive Field is and its effect on the city, blah, blah, blah.
  • Now, the Indians did have 455 sellouts back in the 1990s when the Cavs sucked and the Browns were the Ravens -- because Art Modell didn't like how Cleveland was (not) lining his pockets. Here are Cleveland's American League attendance rankings (out of 14) since 2003: 12, 12, 12, 11, 9. Did Kay tell me this? Does Kay know this? Nope.
Jason Giambi goes deep -- "a loud and large home run" -- and Cone says this "proves Giambi has his bat speed back.
  • I'm going to say the jury is still out. Paul Byrd isn't exactly giving Joba Chamberlain a run for his money in the radar-gun department. I know this blog is all about Kay, but Cone has been a major disappointment. He's basically John Flaherty with more words per minute and a few more skeletons in the closet.
Bottom second: "Jake Westbrook is on the DL with a lat muscle pull. Now, not doubting the the severity of the injuries, but people just didn't sit out with these things before."
  • But see, by saying that, you are doubting the severity of the injuries. And why does everyone pine for the good ole days when pitch counts were non-existent and you only iced your arm if you threw 56 innings in one day? Baseball players make a lot of money, but imagine if everyone started clamoring for the 70-hour workweek. Stop romanticizing the past.
Bottom third: Kelly Shoppach gets nailed trying to stretch a single into the double. They show a replay of Pettite's reaction (second time they've shown it). Kay: "Scream it out, Andy!"
  • I call this Joe Buck syndrome -- "Touch first, Mark!" -- but other broadcasters have taken this on. Here's a little tip: The players can't hear you.
Top fourth: First two Yankees swing at the first pitch. "Now, if you're Andy Pettitte, do you want Posada to take a pitch here?"
  • Allow me, David. "No Michael, I want him to swing at the first pitch and purposely make out so I can have about 110 seconds of rest." This is why Kay gets ripped for asking idiotic questions of his color commentators. One of our commenters called them Little League questions. That's an example.
The scorebar at the top of the screen, which has so much trouble making an appearance before there is an out in the inning, flashes at the top right before the commercial rolls. Can't sneak anything by us!

Bottom fourth: "The Prog" gets the second reference. I may have gone overboard with the Cell critique on Wednesday. But this is still annoying.

Top fifth: Kay talks about the drummer John Adams who bangs that drum in right field. "I think HBO just finished a documentary on John Adams."
  • Hilarious.
"The Yankees designated pitcher Chad Moeller for assignment. I mean catcher, Moeller's a catcher."
  • Yes, he is. Good save.
Madonna just got into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. Cone says he's going visit the exhibit -- she's his "high school sweetheart." Kay asks if they ever met. Cone says yes.
"Were you married at the time?"
"Did you hit on her?"
"No, Ron Darling beat me to the punch."
  • We like to keep this a family blog, but let's hope that if Cone did hit on Madonna, that's all he did. (Good taste is a matter of taste.) Also, isn't Cone's flirtation not an appropriate topic for discussion on a My9 game?

Bottom fifth: Posada goes out to the mound. Cone: "A lot of people ask me, What they are talking about there?"
  • Who, David? Who could ask you such obvious questions? It's gotten so bad that Cone is asking the questions for Kay.
Bottom sixth: In reference to "I heart 24" signs directed toward Indians heartthrob Grady Sizemore. "I wish people had signs like that for me. It's just not happening."
"They don't, in Tarrytown?"
  • I for one am secure enough in my sexuality to agree with the females in their treatment of Kay and Sizemore.
Top seventh: "Cano's a slow starter. ... Last year, too, he got off to a slow start."
  • On April 26, 2007, Cano was hitting .308 with a .353 on-base percentage. His dip came in May. Little-known fact.
Bottom eighth: Trip to Bizzaro World: "I've always wondered, if you're out on the mound and you had a fight with your wife or girlfriend, do you think about that?"

Top ninth: Kay quotes Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro and says Joe Borowski had the ability to shake off blown saves. First of all, Borowski had plenty of chances to show how good he was at shaking them off. Second of all, anyone can shake off blown saves to the tune of a 5.07 ERA.

Final score: Indians 6, Yankees 4
I owe Juan Rivera an apology: Cleveland's fans have always come out, Chad Moeller is a catcher, Robinson Cano sucked in April last season, Joe Borowski is an asset to a big-league team

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Shaking baseball to its foundations

Game 23: April 24, 2008 - 8:35 p.m. ET (35-min. delay, sorry 7-Eleven)
U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Ill.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: David Cone, Paul O'Neill

Top 1st: "Morgan Ensberg moves up to fifth, the third baseman is going to bat in the five hole."
  • Are you sure? I was almost positive that as the five hitter, Ensberg was going to hit eighth.

Bot 1st: O'Neill mentions that Don Mattingly screens phone calls, so Kay says, "David Cone's a lot like that."
  • Wouldn't you if this mug popped up on your caller ID?

Bot 3rd: Ross Ohlendorf comes on in relief of Phil Hughes after a 50-minute rain delay. Kay AGAIN discusses the move of Ohlendorf to the bullpen. "Now one of the things why the Yankees think he's better in the bullpen than he is as a starter: he throws hard -- about 95 mph -- but he does not throw that hard when he starts."
  • Sorry to break it to you, Michael, but just about every starter throws harder in the bullpen. This is the now third straight game I've seen Ohlendorf pitch in which Kay has brought up the conversion to the bullpen. What's the over/under for when he goes without a mention? Put me down for August 2009.

Bot 4th: Ensberg makes a nice diving stop down the third-base line, which prompts Kay to mention Alex Rodriguez's absence from the lineup. He then goes on to mention that Jason Giambi is the only other player on the roster to have started a game at third -- for the second time in three days.
  • Ohlendorf, now Giambi. This guy is the ultimate recycling bin. Does he sincerely believe he has a brand new audience for every game? O'Neill and Cone stay quiet, the ultimate indictment.

"They used Hawkins yesterday. They used Rivera for five innings."
  • Outs, buddy, outs.

"Driven out to left field, that's going to be a tough play. On the run is Abreu, he can't make the play! And it bounces into the seats for two."
  • OK, outs are innings and now right field is left field. What's next? The Yankees are the White Sox? Oh, wait, that already happened on Tuesday.

The third out of the 4th: "Ground ball to first. And that's going to do it for Giambi."
  • As in that's going to do it for the White Sox. This is getting ridonculous.

Bot 5th: Jim Thome's 513th homer breaks a tie with Eddie Mathews and Ernie Banks. Kay on Banks: "Great ambassadoor for the game. Pounded out 512 home runs as a shortstop and first baseman and never played in the World Series."
  • Thanks. Another recycled line from Tuesday's game. When's the post mortem for Chien-Ming Wang's outing coming? And that's not a typo. He really did say ambassadoor.

Top 6th: "Did you DH much, Paul?"
  • Given that you were in the radio booth for the entirety of O'Neill's American League career, that's probably something you should be answering, not asking.

Top 7th: On Scott Linebrink: "Free agent. Signed a four-year deal worth $19 million. And that just broke new ground, especially for guys that are set-up men, averaging nearly $5 million a year. That just kind of changed the salary structure of baseball. There's always that one contract that really shakes baseball to its foundations."
  • Yes, the Yankees don't happen to have someone named Kyle Farnsworth in their bullpen who they gave $6 million annually to set-up Mariano Rivera 2 ½ years ago.

Top 9th: "Bobby Jenks comes in to try to hold it at 6-6 and the Yankees counter with Jorge Posada, pinch-hitting for Morgan Ensberg, and now, who's going to play third? Probably will be Bobby Cano -- err, Robby Cano -- and....the Yankees will bring in Alberto Gonzalez, who's also an option to play third base."
  • Great to see Kay's got immediate familiarity with the Yankees bench. Gonzalez played third on Tuesday as a defensive sub, yet Kay's first inkling is to play Bobby Robinson Cano at third base for the first time in his career.

Bot 9th: "A.J. Pierzynski's one of those guys that the opposition doesn't like that much, but when he's on your team, you like him."
  • Pierzynski was completely beloved in San Francisco, to the point where he was run out of town and his own pitchers actively ripped him in the press. Pierzynski now offers a $100 reward for anyone who hits a home run off former teammate Brett Tomko. Mr. Popular all the way.

Final score: White Sox 7, Yankees 6.
I owe Juan Rivera an apology: Rivera's now a starter, Abreu's a left fielder, Farnsworth is making minimum wage and Pierzynski's the second coming of Sean Casey.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

That did NOT take long

Game 22: April 23, 2008 - 8:11 p.m. ET
U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Ill.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: David Cone, Paul O'Neill

Open: No one else has spoken yet. On Tuesday's game: "[The Yankees] fell behind early, but they came back."
  • Facts: The Yankees led, 1-0 and then 2-0. The White Sox tied it in the second. Chicago took a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Kay had barely been on camera for 20 words, including introductions, and he already had amnesia.
Top first: I know he's not that good a player, but don't Alex Rodriguez and his absence merit an explanation for why he's not in the lineup? Kay casually says Hideki Matsui "cleans up" and that Morgan Ensberg is at third

Bottom first: Cone makes up a word -- "variate" as a verb. Think he means vary. He says it again two minutes later, so he didn't just misspeak.

Kay goes to break: "We've played one inning here at the Cell."
  • The only thing worse than corporate names for parks is nicknames based on those corporate names. In Kay's perpetual search hipness, he has used this unforunate nickname twice. "In Chicago" doesn't suffice?
Top second: Hideki Matsui reaches on an error by Orlando Cabrera. On the replay, the feed freezes and a big blue NEW YORK YANKEES BASEBALL screen comes up. When they finally get live action back, it's Derek Jeter watching from the dugout as Jorge Posada grounds into a double play. Nice job in the technical department. Is there any way Kay can be blamed?

Morgan Ensberg is up, and still that scrub Rodriguez hasn't been mentioned by Kay.
  • That's now the open, the lineups, Matsui's at-bat and third baseman Ensberg's at-bat without it. We want that "Rod-dree-guez," Michael, give it to us! Kay is probably still salivating over those hot dogs they showed between innings.
Bottom second: Something is clearly wrong with the cameras. Now we get treated to an isolated shot of Jeter during action. We know Kay loves him, but let's at least see the pitch. And no one tells Kay he needs to say more than, "the 0-1" as we watch Jeter kick at the dirt and then get into his crouch.

Top third: Going to break: "We've played 2 1/2 innings here at the Cell."
  • We get it! You think that is a cool nickname. That is more than once per inning though. Does Kay have a deal on the side with U.S. Cellular?
Bottom third: Kay brings up Nick Swisher's mysterious broken bat from Tuesday. O'Neill thinks Kay still thinks the bat wasn't broken before Swisher swung. O'Neill "I'm telling you, that bat was fractured before he swung." Kay needs to let this go. Someone who is wrong as often as he is shouldn't be so stunned.

Everyone once in a while, Kay thinks he has thought of something no one has thought of before. "Now, when you are allowed to blow on your hand off the mound, can't you spit on your hand?"
  • Yes, you can even lick it too, which seems to us a better way to get saliva to your hand. Hocking a loogy is a close second though. Hasn't Kay seen Greg Maddux pitch? Oh, yeah, he doesn't watch the National League.

OK, this is long past ridiculous. He did it again. That's four times in three innings. That's four more times than he has mentioned Alex Rodriguez's name.

Bottom fourth: Kay tells us that A.J. Pierzynski came to camp 18 pounds lighter. As an aside, why do we always trust these players at their words on alleged weight loss? Anyway, Kay says that it was "No more room service" for Pierzynski. "He just went to bed."
Mercifully, Kay did not call it the Cell on the way to break.

Top fifth: "Damon is now six for his last 18."
  • WOW! Where did Kay find that info? In all seriousness, Kay is way too fond of these arbitrary "X-for-his-last-Y" statlines. Now that the season is more than three weeks old, we can expect them for the duration.
Bottom fifth: Kay takes his bathroom break as O'Neill reads a Centerstage promo.

Cone finally mentions Rodriguez, but only in reference to how Joe Crede [shudder] was "almost a Yankee" after Rodriguez opted out. Also, love the "if it's fair, it's gone" call on a homer by Crede that is fair by about 50 feet.

Top sixth: Javier Vazquez gets knocked out of the box. Kay managed to get to this point -- he spent the last inning talking about David Wells for some reason -- without talking about either the trade that brought Vazquez to the Yankees or sent him away. That's OK. It's not as though Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera were involved in the former or Randy Johnson was involved in the latter. Those trades didn't shape any of the Yankees teams this decade.

Bottom sixth: "Mussina averages 80.25 pitchers per game, second-worst in the American League. Paul Byrd is No. 1." Kay goes on to wonder how much longer Mussina will stay in the game because of this.
  • Three things wrong with this: First, glad we know his pitch count average to two decimal places. Second, if Paul Byrd is worst than Mussina, how is he "No. 1?" Third, Mussina's average pitch count is so low because he has sucked. In his last two starts, Mussina thought he was Manny Ramirez's batting practice pitcher. Let's just say fatigue has not been a problem.
Top seventh: "They actually have a special field for smallball at spring training, for all the little things you do to manufacture runs. That's fine in theory, but you can't do it if you don't have the talent."
  • Not to get all numbers-wumbers on you, but "talent" and "smallball"? The White Sox were fifth in the majors homers when they won the World Series in 2005. This year, they're fifth again and off to a great start. Coincidence, or Dannon? Maybe the team is talented enough to not have to resort to giving up outs.
Top eighth: Kay's newest broken record: "Beats a hustling ______ down the line." Jeter grounds out and gets such treatment.

Bottom eighth: "I got orders, the first day I took the TV job, John Filipelli told me I could not describe the uniforms. I said, 'Why?' He said, 'Because people can see it.'"
  • Why did Filipelli exercise such judgment but such poor judgment elsewhere? Wasn't that "why?" question a bad sign? Can't believe he even had to ask

Final score: Yankees 6, White Sox 4
I owe Juan Rivera an apology: "The Yankees fell behind early." It was all smooth sailing from there. Well, not really, but nothing glaring. Except Kay's face.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"See, you can't be kissing the bat"

Game 21: April 22, 2008 - 8:11 p.m. ET
U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Ill.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: David Cone, Paul O'Neill

Top 1st: "Johnny Damon rips one, under the glove of Konerko and it trickles into foul territory down the right-field line..."
  • I've been noticing this a lot lately. Kay loves to use the word "trickle." The word means "to issue or fall in drops," "to fall in a thin gentle stream," or "to dissipate slowly." It's fine for play-by-play men to take liberties with their action verbs, but that ball didn't exactly roll ever so slowly past Konerko. In fact, given that he barely deflected it, it hardly slowed down. Kay himself said it was ripped. Just because a ball gets by someone, doesn't mean it trickled past. If I didn't know Kay was a moron, I'd say he had a hard-on for Ronald Reagan.

Bot 1st: O'Neill on Paul Konerko: "World Series MVP [in 2005], right?"
Kay: "Mmm-hmmm."
[Four-second pause]
Kay: "I think Dye was the MVP."
  • Could you have made it any more obvious that you were corrected in your headset?

Bot 2nd: "We go to the bottom of the second inning. It's 2-0, White Sox."
  • Whoops. I guess Hideki Matsui (RBI fielder's choice) and Jason Giambi (solo home run) play for the men in black-and-white now.

Nick Swisher strikes out, his bat breaking before he even made contact.
O'Neill: "That bat exploded. That had a hairline fracture."
Kay: "There's no way that you think that that bat --"
O'Neill: "No."
Kay: "-- was intact and it just broke from the force of the swing?"
  • Yes, because that sort of thing happens every other day.

YES later shows a replay of Swisher examining his bat earlier in the at-bat, ultimately deciding it was okay to use and kissing the barrel.
Kay: "See, you can't be kissing the bat. Reacted adversely."
  • Makes perfect sense. Kay must get that reaction anytime he tries kissing someone. After all, does anyone really think it's an accident that he's 47 and single?

Bot 4th: O'Neill: "Coney, have you ever seen anyone who does more shows than Michael?"
Cone: "He's building quite a résumé."
O'Neill: "Got a cologne out yet?"
Kay: "Soon. I've got a smell, it's jut not in a bottle yet."
  • Thanks for doing the work for us on that one.

Bot 5th: "In fact, the Cubs have the longest stretch right now of not winning the World Series -- 99 years."
  • And this qualifies as news?

Top 7th: The Yankees load the bases with one out. Kay: "Chien-Ming Wang knows that if the Yankees could get two runs, he might win. And if the Yankees do get two runs, he's going to lose."
  • Riiiiight....

Bot 7th: On Brian Bruney: "He's throwing more strikes than he has been. That was the one complaint against him last year."
  • Something tells us Joe Torre could think of a few others.

Top 8th: "Joba Chamberlain could be that guy, to match up with the Becketts and the Sabathias and the Verlanders and therein lies the problem."
  • The Yankees have someone that could match up with the elite aces in the American League? Perish the thought.

O'Neill on a Melky Cabrera pop-fly behind the plate: "Grab that, Michael. It was close enough for you."
Kay: "If I was Gumby."
  • Yes, because four-inch clay figurines are known to have tremendous elasticity. Mr. Fantastic or Stretch Armstrong would have been acceptable references. Considering you're not boning any women, you could at least have enough pride to bone up on your childhood characters.

Final score: Yankees 9, White Sox 5
I owe Juan Rivera an apology: 2. Konerko was the '05 World Series MVP, Mr. Fantastic is Gumby's love child.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April showers bring pretty flowers

Game 20: April 20, 2008 - 1:05 p.m. ET
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Md.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: Ken Singleton

Open: "Early this morning, it did not look good for baseball here in Baltimore. But as they say, April showers bring....pretty flowers! That's right! We've got baseball, we've got pretty flowers, we've got everything you could possibly want here on YES!!"
  • Actually, no one says that. April showers bring May flowers. And you don't have everything I could possibly want -- namely you out of the broadcast booth.

Top 1st: "I asked Alex today, "Do you think your swing is long?' He said, 'Yeah I do.' He said, 'I'm trying to do too much.' He said, 'I just have to take my walks.' He said, 'When everyone else is hitting,' he said, 'then I'll see better pitches to hit.' He said, 'But I'm trying to drive pitches way off the plate and that makes your swing too long.' He said, 'One day recently my swing was short...'"
  • A new record! Kay surpasses the six "he said"s from yesterday's game with seven in a row today. Congratulations, Michael. You just keep getting worse and worse.

Bot 1st: On Nick Markakis: "Wasn't a tremendously high draft pick, but moved through the system."
  • Who knows what Kay's thinking, but 2003's seventh-overall pick sounds pretty high to us. We're not exactly talking about an unheralded, 23rd-round underdog who's surprised everyone on his way to stardom, but that's what Kay would have you believe. Anything for a better story.

Top 4th: "You know, you talked about how [Ian] Kennedy and [Phil] Hughes should watch [Andy] Pettitte. You know, watch [Stevel] Trachsel too. Watch veterans that, you know, they wish they had the stuff that those kids have..."
  • You know, this is less than a day after Kay rightly pointed out -- about 10 times -- that, you know, since Kennedy didn't have plus stuff, he had little margin for error if, you know, he didn't have good command. Now all of a sudden, you know, he's got good stuff.

Play-call of Hideki Matsui's one-out double: "High drive, right field. Giving chase Markakis, on the will be...hopping over the wall....but stay in, should I say, and it's going to be a double and an RBI for A-Rod......or scoring A-Rod by Matsui, and it's 2-0, Yankees."
  • We hope you stayed tuned for the next batter when Robinson Cano threw out Brian Roberts....or rather Roberts threw out Cano, for the third....or should we say, second, out of the inning.

Top 6th: "You know, Kenny, you look at [Bobby] Abreu with the Yankees and he really, he has revived his career."
  • Great display of National League knowledge, Michael. If ever Abreu's career was in any doubt, it was in 2007 with the Yankees, not the Phillies. A look at his OPS+ numbers per season the last five years: 2003 - 136 , 2004 - 145, 2005 - 126, 2006/PHI - 118, 2006/NYY- 138, 2007 - 114.

After appearing to strain a thigh muscle while reaching on a fielder's choice, Rodriguez is pinch-run for by Morgan Ensberg. "[Rodriguez] is the only Yankee to play in every game this year."
  • If you look closely, you'll notice that Cano has also played in every Yankees game this year. There's a line about keeping quiet if you haven't done your homework...

Top 7th: Play-call of Chad Moeller's one-out double to left: "Driven deep to left field! There it goes!! the wall!"
  • Is Kay turning into John Sterling with his abortive home-run calls? Yes, the ball was hit hard, but next time please save your "there it goes!" line for no-doubters.

On Chad Bradford, who surrendered Johnny Damon's two-run homer: "You know, the one thing about a pitcher who throws sidearm or underhanded..."
  • Yes, because the submarining Bradford has received hours of instruction from Jenny Finch and Lisa Fernandez to help him with his underhanded windup.

Bot 7th: A few innings after Kevin Millar's smeared eyeblack caused Kay to remark that "Alice Cooper holding the runner on," Kay now says that "Millar looks like he's auditioning for the reunion tour for KISS."
  • Thanks, Michael, because we didn't get the stretched joke the first time. And putting aside the fact that reunion tours don't involve imitation acts, you look like you're auditioning for the reunion tour of pencil erasers.

Bot 8th: A rain delay. "They want to save the infield, the skin of the infield, so the quicker they can get the tarp on, the less money it will be when it stops raining."
  • What?

Final score: Yankees 7, Orioles 1
I owe Juan Rivera an apology: 3. Markakis almost wasn't drafted, Abreu was a scrub on the Phillies, Cano's pinch-hit home run never happened.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"I was there in 1994..."

Game 19: April 19, 2008 - 7:05 p.m. ET
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Md.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: Ken Singleton

Bot 1st: Michael Kay relates a pregame conversation he had with Joe Girardi about why Ian Kennedy would have a good start tonight:

"He said, 'Because his last start he was aggressive in the zone.' He said, "I think that's important.' He said, 'That's what I was looking for.' He said, 'He wasn't kinda reaching for the outside corner, he was throwing the ball through.' He said, 'I thought he had pretty good command.'"
  • That's five -- count it, five -- straight sentences Kay started with "he said."
    How articulate.

The infield-fly rule is called on Kevin Millar's pop-up, and Ken Singleton goes on to explain the rule for beginner fans. Kay: "And you can only call the infield-fly rule when there are two runners on. First and second."
  • Lovely to see a "Major League" play-by-play announcer so familiar with one of baseball's common rules. Singleton corrects Kay by adding that the bases can also be loaded.

Kay rattles off another pregame conversation with Girardi and uses "he said" to begin four straight sentences. Does this qualify as improvement?

Top 2nd: "Now the Yankees last year had some trouble against left-handers on the road. In fact, they won just 14 of their first 16 games on the road against lefty starters."
  • Oh god, 14-2. What a horrific mark.

Top 3rd: Kay relates the time he was in the first-base dugout for Don Mattingly's and Paul O'Neill's reactions to seeing Camden Yards for the first time -- in 1994.
  • It's nice to think that Kay has borne witness to the seminal moments of our times, but Mattingly first played at Camden back in 1992, the year it opened, and O'Neill first did so in 1993, his first year in the American League with the Yankees. Neither '92 nor '93 is the same year and neither '92 nor '93 is '94. So it becomes pretty clear that Kay never witnessed this event considering it never happened.

Bot 4th: Robinson Cano makes an error on what would have been the third out of the inning and Kay spends the entire balance of the inning ripping Cano, focusing on how his error has forced Ross Ohlendorf to labor that much more to get out of the fourth.
  • It's a fair point, but if it had been a Derek Jeter error, would Kay have even gone there? Methinks not.

Top 5th: Another Kay "he said" fest, this time holding steady at four consecutive sentences when relating an Alex Rodriguez conversation. I guess I can sympathize with Kay's "he saiditis" -- it must be pretty hard for Kay to go all night long not doing it.
  • That's what she said.

Bot 6th: Singleton calls the first three pitches of Brandon Fahey's at-bat, so one can only assume Kay took a prolonged bathroom break in between innings for the second time in three days. Must be where he reloads on all the crap he force-feeds the viewing audience.

Bot 7th: As Ohlendorf begins his fourth full inning, Kay brings up his history as a stater and how the Yankees moved him to the bullpen, where they think he's a better pitcher because he can throw harder and only needs to rely on two pitches.

Kay must be hurting for material, because he made the EXACT same speech during Ohlendorf's outing on Wednesday vs. the Red Sox. At this rate, we're going to hear about Mike Lowell's forced inclusion in the 2005 Josh Beckett-Hanley Ramirez trade before this game is over.

Top 8th: "I'm always amazed, Kenny, that somehow, all those years ago, Abner Doubleday knew that 90 feet was the perfect distance."
  • And the Kay lies continue! It's common knowledge at this point that the myth of Abner Doubleday inventing baseball was discredited.

Final score: Orioles 6, Yankees 0.

I owe Juan Rivera an apology: 4. Not knowing the infield-fly rule, the Yankees went 14-2 against lefties, Camden Yards opened in 1994 and Abner Doubleday created baseball.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Kay on a road trip


Game 18 April 18, 2008 - 7:05 p.m. ET
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Md.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: Kenny Singleton (Welcome back, Kenny!)

ight to the Kaytributions:

Top second: "In this lineup, Cano, Damon and Giambi aren't where they want to be."
  • Because if they were in a worse lineup, they'd want to have OBPs of .191, .323 and .294.
Bottom second: Talking about Wally Pipp and the famous story."You kind of think Gehrig would have begun to play eventually."
  • Points for Michael. Even after perpetuating the myth, he still accepts the reality that Gehrig was good enough to win a job without Pipp's "headache."
On the Nationals new stadium threatening the Orioles: Many people consider this park to be a better park. But it's [Nationals Park] is still a nice park.
  • Nationals Park has hosted one papal Mass and six baseball games. Is it safe to say the jury is still out on the stadium?
Top third: "He thre five pitches. Fiiiiive pitches."
  • That second one came with some sort of Southern twang. Thanks, Michael.Your regular voice is not annoying enough. Now you know adding an accent will not improve it. You haven't hit rock bottom.
Top fourth: "Babe Ruth was ACTUALLY born here in Baltimore ... Legend has it that Babe Ruth's father ACTUALLY ran a saloon where center field is now ... You can ACTUALLY see the room in which Babe was born. [a little later] Babe Ruth ACTUALLY won a World Series with the Red Sox."

Love YES (My9). After talking about Babe Ruth, they find a fat fan in a Yankees cap. Awesome job.

Bottom fourth: Luke Scott scalds a ball down the right-field line. It gets to the corner. Let's join Kay. "Abreu spins, FIRES ... and Scott has a double."
  • Not only did Scott have a double, he didn't have to slide. That didn't stop Kay's aborted orgasm though.

Top fifth: "Two pitchers on the mound who can be very, very good or very, very bad. Tonight, they're ... pretty good."

Kenny goes through the stats on Eutaw Street, the roadway in front of the warehouse. Kay: "If this were an SAT exam, it would be
Eutaw Street is to Camden Yards as the black seats are to Yankee Stadium."
  • "SAT exams" don't have analogies anymore. That's also a tough analogy considering Eutaw Street is outside and the black seats are inside the ballpark.
Kay just read a spot for Flavor Flav's reality show.

Did Kay get on Darryl Strawberry for not doing more games for SNY? "I think he and Paul O'Neill are seeing who can do more
games. It must be a right fielder thing."
  • Who are you to talk? What's your excuse? You and Joe Buck are competing to see who can do fewer games. Must be a pompous ass thing.
Kay goes on and on about how great Jeter is great with runners in scoring position and two outs.

Career line: .317/.388/.462 (average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage)
RISP and two outs: .317/.417/.448

Top sixth: Robinson Cano hits a belt-high fastball to left. "Scooped out to left."
  • What does that even mean?

Top seventh
: Jeter fists a single to right. "That is a Jeterian swing as he takes it to right."

  • Why does Jeter get so much credit for hitting weak ground balls to the right side? If Brian Roberts had been playing two steps to his left, that is a routine play.

This game was a disaster for the Yankees and not much better for Kay. He added a spins, FIRES to his repertoire on what was a clear double. More Saturday!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Test Kay for Amphetamines

Game 17: April 17, 2008 - 7:05 p.m. ET
Yankee Stadium, New York, N.Y.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: John Flaherty and Al Leiter

Michael Kay goes back-to-back for the first time since April 6-7. Stop the presses. And better test him. A Mike Cameron suspension could do wonders for us.

Top second: Everyone knows Manny Ramirez kills the Yankees. He hits a home run in the second inning, and Kay and Co. talk about the Bonds treatment. Kay: "There were a couple of times where a team was leading by two runs in the late innings walked Bonds with the bases loaded. They figured the one run was better than four."

* As far as we know, this only happened once, in 1998. And the move, by the Yankees' friend Buck Showalter, came in the bottom of the ninth inning. He didn't want Bonds to have a chance to tie the game with a hit, so he let Brent Mayne come up with a chance to win a game with a hit. You can make a case that Showalter's math makes sense, but Kay's talk of four runs is pure idiocy.

"Ortiz is struggling so much. There are 203 major leaguers that qualify to be among the leaders. Coming into today, a .121 batting average, slugging percentage .172, OPS, that's on-base plus slugging, .411. And he's last in the major leagues in everyone of those categories, so he has the negative triple crown."

*Ah yes, the negative triple crown. Never mind those aren't the categories used for the traditional -- albeit stupid -- triple crown: batting average, homers and RBIs. Shouldn't the negative triple crown be made up of bad stats, such as K's, grounded in to double plays and caught stealings or something? If Kay's idea is to suggest that Ortiz is the worst hitter in baseball right now, I would be much more amused by his OPS+ of 3.

Bottom second: This has to be the worst YES team out there. No Kenny or O'Neill. Flaherty says about one or two intelligent things a game. And Al Leiter just doesn't shut up! Kay asks him if Boston's Josh Beckett was cocky. Leiter talks about Beckett wanting to "poke his eye out" -- how immature are major leaguers? -- and finally ends up with an expose on pitching backwards -- that's throwing breaking balls behind in the count. Long story -- and we mean LONG story -- short, Beckett is not a punk anymore. Glad that took 10 minutes.

Top third: The Kay Inquisition is on! "Let me ask you this, Al."
"Let me ask you this, John"

* Over and over and over again.

Michael gets to read two pitch-count graphics in one inning.

* Not a good sign for Mussina or Kay.

YES' replay crew having some trouble. They go to break showing both of Ramriez's home runs and we hear Kay's "Melky!" call underneath Kay's inane description of what has happened.

* Now we know what will be the next torture technique developed when waterboarding is banned. Kayboarding. The unfortunate one will be placed in a room and hear Kay give a nasal description of what happened 15 minutes ago over a recording of his overexcited and inaccurate live call of the action. Example, in print, so bear with us:

But not before SEEYA! the Yankees score A BOOMING HOME RUN three runs BY ALEX ROD-DREEGUEZ the big blow a home run from A-Rod. OH WHAT A SHOT.

That was painful just to type.

Bottom third: Kay clearly needs a personal break -- or a feeding break, it is the third inning -- because Flaherty takes it back from commercial. He makes reference to Ramirez's pair of bombs. Ten seconds later, Kay says the same thing. Nice teamwork, guys.

Chad Moeller up. "Talking to Brian Cashman about the story of how he signed Moeller. He said he was sitting in a car and said to his assistant, 'You know, Moeller would be a good guy to sign, especially with the injury ... to the kid.'"

* First of all, great story! A true look behind the genius of Cashman. I'll mail the Emmy. Second of all, Kay clearly didn't remember the name of Francisco Cervelli, the catcher run over in the spring's most famous play. Kay said it 20 seconds later, but surely only after someone chirped it in his ear.

Top four: "Some pitchers don't like to pitch with a lead."

* Name one. Shouldn't be too hard. All the ones I talk to prefer to be bombed and trailing by five runs. Takes the pressure off. Kay later adds "big" to "lead" but even Leiter calls him out on his stupidity. "I'll take 10 runs any time."

Bottom four: Leiter shows the difference between a two-seam and four-seam fastball. Kay doesn't remark on with which hand Leiter is demonstrating tonight. He also looks mighty uncomfortable, eyes darting back and forth, not at the camera, and not at Leiter either.

Kay brings up the Beckett deal with the Marlins. Oh no, here it comes! Wait, no, he just says that Hanley Ramirez will be an MVP in the National League. Fair enough. Coast clear? Nope.

Leiter: "The intriguing part of that trade was that Mike Lowell was a throw-in."

* Amazing! This trade happened on Nov. 24, 2005. Is there some clause in Kay's contract that requires him or someone on YES to mention that Lowell was a throw-in? Jeez.

Top five: Another update on that mind-numbingly stupid story about the David Ortiz jersey buried in the new Yankee Stadium. It was dug up on Sunday and now the Yankees have "donated it to the Dana Carve-- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ... David Ortiz jersey, bringing in a lot of cash so far."

* Let's leave aside the hilarious slip of tongue -- Dana Carvey running a cancer foundation. Not yet, Michael. It's an auction. People bid, and then when someone has made the highest bid, that person, and only that person, pays. Surprised Kay hasn't ventured into the whole ebay world.

Top seven: Krazy Kyle Farnsworth throws one behind Ramirez's head. Kay: "You can't read anyone's mind, and we're not even going to try, but do you think that was on purpose?"

* Hmm, maybe we misunderstood, but seems like you do want to try.
Bottom ninth: Melky Cabrera goes deep. Hideki Matsui comes up. Under his image on screen, a Cabrera graphic appears.

No word on if Kay is heading to Baltimore, but we hope he is.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wang crashes Taiwan's economy

Game 16: April 16, 2008 - 7:05 p.m. ET
Yankee Stadium, New York, N.Y.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: John Flaherty and Al Leiter

Open: YES' highlight-reel opens are getting better and better. The production value remains high -- this time Gothic overtones accompany footage of the Yankees & Red Sox doing battle. But the best part? No nasal Kay voiceover to spoil it this time. The images do indeed speak for themselves. The less Kay, the better.

Kay: "Well, the Yankees have won two in a row, the Red Sox have won four in a row. They're neck-and-neck in the AL East. So what else is new?"
  • Ummm, we don't know....could it be that you're actually calling a game?

Bot 1st: "Let's take a look at the Red Sox defensive schematic behind [Clay] Buchholz."
  • What is this? Football? Let's not get cute and just stick with defensive alignment.

Heading to break: "A history-making home run by Alex Rodriguez ... the 522nd of his career, passing the great Ted Williams and Willie McCovey. A couple of Hall of Famers. A-Rod will join them soon."
  • Oh, that's right. We forgot that Induction Weekend 2023 was next month.

Top of 2nd: On a ball in the dirt that hits Chad Moeller on a bounce: "Another nice block by Moeller."
  • According to Kay, any block is a nice block. A catcher could miss a ball with his glove by three feet only for the ball to hit him in the face and Kay would say it was a nice block. Kate Moss is about the only person capable of not making that block. OK, maybe Calista Flockhart too.

Bot 2nd: On Jason Giambi and his miniscule batting average: "I would think that Jason would want to get off the interstate and get three or four cheap hits."
  • Prior to the at-bat, Giambi was hitting .094. After grounding out, Giambi's hitting .091. It would be progress for him to get on the interstate. Kind of hard to get off when you're not on.

Bot 4th: After Al Leiter displays how to grip a change-up: "We got Leiter now on camera -- with the right hand he showed the change-up, not the left."

Leiter: "What? What are you looking at?"

Flaherty: "No, he showed it with the left that time."

Kay: "Really? Are you sure? Well, then I'm wrong. I was looking at it in a mirror."
  • Or you're just an idiot. Either way works.

Derek Jeter singles with the bases loaded, driving in two and knocking Buchholz out of the game. Kay: "Clay Buchholz said he dreamed of facing Derek Jeter. As they say, 'Be careful what you wish for.'"
  • Not a bad line, but this is now the third time Kay has made reference to Buchholz's childhood dream. As they say, "Be careful of knowing nothing and saying the same dumb thing over and over."

Top 5th: The Red Sox score a run and then load the bases with none out.
Kay: "Now how's this for pressure for a pitcher? An entire economy in Taiwan rests on how Chien-Ming Wang does."

  • Yes, because another hit here and Taiwan is going to have to get the IMF's phone number. Just about the worst hyperbole I've heard from Kay. And given his talk about the Taiwanese stock exchange -- the TSEC for the uninitiated -- I'm pretty sure he was serious.

  • J.D. Drew singles to center, plating two runs. Time to send over the Peace Corps.

Top 6th: "Russ Ohlendorf still in there."
  • Nice to see Kay taking a page out of Tim McCarver's book. And going a step further -- getting the name wrong of a player on his own team.

Bot 8th: Kay's call on Jorge Posada's two-run single: "That one's off the ....... handle of the bat and he dunks it for a base hit. One run scores. Here comes A-Rod, he'll score. Posada's at second with a double. The throw gets away, but the pinch-runner, Johnny Damon, stops at third."
  • Anatomy of a bad call: First, Kay was completely frozen and left a good two full seconds of dead air while he tried to think of something to say. Then the throw in from J.D. Drew hit Posada as he slid into second base, but we can't rely on Kay to mention something like that. To top it off, he mentions Damon for the first time as he reaches third base. Always a good sign. Another reminder that while Kay is terrible away from the action, he's also terrible calling the action.

Top 9th A foul ball off the bat of Julio Lugo is retrieved by a cameraman in the first-base dugout. Kay asks the cameraman, Matt, if he's all right. Matt visibly says something along the lines of, "Yeah, I'm all right," but since YES shockingly isn't in the habit of having their cameramen's mikes hot, Kay doesn't hear him and assumes he's being ignored.

Kay: "Doesn't even answer. They all ignore me. Absolutely no respect."
  • Drop me a line when you give them some reason to. Giving notice would be a good first step.

The Yankees win the game, 15-9. The game took 4:08 to play -- way too much Kay for one night. Anyone know of a good emergency eye wash shower in the area?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Who does he think he is, Joe Buck?

Michael doesn't make the trip to Tampa (Bay). Stunner. Last time we got on Kay for this, it turned out his mother was dying. We're understandably loath to do it again. That said, let's take a look at the standings.

Michael Kay 8
Kenny Singleton 4
Joe Buck 1
Jon Miller 1

Joe Buck is famous for not doing that much work. All Kay has to do is go on an uninformed rant about how distasteful a player's celebration is and he's right on track. Oh, and call the World Series and the Super Bowl and have a Hall of Fame broadcaster for a father.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Quick update

Play-by-play for Yankees games in 2008:
Michael Kay: 8
Others: 5

Keep it up!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Welcome back, Michael


Game 11: April 11, 2008 - 7:05 p.m. ET
Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: Kenny Singleton and David Cone

Michael Kay makes his triumphant return to the booth. He tells the viewers that he spent part of his time off doing "research" looking up Jason Varitek's numbers on his birthday, which is today.

Some early game highlights:

YES doesn't have the game Saturday -- it's on FOX's air. Damn it! Promoting the pitching matchup, YES tells its viewers on a graphic "Postgame after the game."
  • Is that when a postgame is? Man.
"Chien-Ming Wang has faced the minimum nine Red Sock"
  • Red Sox is plural in almost every form, but Kay decides to make it singular here. Bizarre.
Kay calls Bill Buckner a borderline Hall of Famer.
  • Now, Kay was right when he said that Buckner was unfairly made a villain after that ball rolled through his legs in 1986. But he was a one-time All-Star and had a career OPS+ of 99. That makes him below average offensively, and he played first base and the outfield, not positions where people are supposed to be below average offensively.
Mike Lowell is on the disabled list, robbing Kay of his favorite story: "The Marlins ACTUALLY FORCED the Red Sox to take Lowell. He's been saying this since the deal happened.
  • How does Kay fill the time? He's moderated roundtable discussions about aluminum and wooden bats, where to ride on the team plane and the grammatical correctness of the New York Smokers Quitline question. What's next? Asking Kenny if he wants Obama or Clinton -- or McCain -- to get elected?
For 1,000 years, Kay has told us that Fenway Park opened on the same night the Titanic sank. Not quite. April 14-15 was the Titanic; April 20 was Fenway. He makes no mention of the "coinciding" events tonight. Maybe he read up on that when the team was in Kansas City. This has made us and others wonder, how many other stories are Kay fabrications?

The Red Sox hit four fly balls in the fifth inning, one of which goes out for a home run. After the fourth, which was the third out of the inning, Kay says, "Well, about ... a mile of fly balls that inning."
  • A mile is 5,280 feet. If each of those balls traveled 400 feet (generous) that amounts to 1,600 feet. Now, maybe Kay has watched Shawshank Redemption too much ("500 yards ... Justy shy of half a mile") but that doesn't add up.
Great television from YES here, in all seriousness. They show Clay Buchholz shake off Varitek while pitching to Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez gets a hit, and Varitek gives a "told-you-so" look to Buchholz. Kay says it's the same kind of look you get from your parents when they tell you not to touch the stove, you touch it anyway and end up getting burned.
  • How many times do you think Kay touched the stove as a kid? Five? 10?
YES puts up a Mike Timlin graphic next to Bobby Meachem. Nice.

In the seventh, David Ortiz is up. "Grounded to third. First, I mean. Three in your scorebook."
  • Wake up Michael! It's only 9:15! You've had three days off!
Kay goes on and on about how brave people who wear Yankees apparel in Fenway Park are. "Everyone is looking at them and hating them right now."
  • A feeling Kay has had many times, no doubt.
"So Matsui reaches on a fielder's choice. So he's been on base all four times"

"Saturday's game is on FOX. Once it ends, BOOM, turn over to YES."

"He picked the right pitch there and bottom just dropped out of it. Speaking of bottoms, we're going to the bottom of the eighth."

"Got to give some props to Jose Molina."
  • To quote Sean Combs' character in Made, Michael Kay is not in a position to dis, give props or whatever [his] Real World sense of decorum tells [him] to do.
Joe Suck and FOX have tomorrow's game, but he's been known to say some dumb things. ESPN has Sunday's game. Rough weekend for Kay.

Monday, April 07, 2008

About to take a break


Game 7: April 7, 2008 - 7:05 p.m. ET
Yankee Stadium, New York, N.Y.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: Kenny Singleton and John Flaherty

Pregame: Michael Kay decides to go sans tie for the evening and wears a black turtleneck under a brown sports jacket. After a few games of conceding that the first pitch of the game is in fact baseball, Kay goes back to his "lineups, first pitch baseball" routine.

Top first: Kay blends fact with fiction when he says the "Yankees would never (emphasis his) shift like this under Joe Torre."
  • He's right that they have been more liberal in employing the shift under Joe Girardi. But David Ortiz comes to mind as a hitter who got Derek Jeter over to the first-base side of second base.
Top second: Kay busts out the ole "home run in a silo" joke on a popout by Willy Aybar. He never loses points for originality. Since the ball was caught in foul territory, wouldn't it be a foul ball in a silo?

Top third: Johnny Gomes hits a solo homer to left field. "A late edition to the lineup, and it pays off."
  • Cute, Michael. But he was only in the lineup because Cliff Floyd's knee acted up. If you were listening to yourself from an inning ago or to John Flaherty from earlier this inning -- we tune out too, it's OK -- you would have known that.
Commercial: YESterdays looks like a show to miss. Why? It's hosted by Kay. Don't the YES bigwigs get tired of seeing him? No one this side of Joe Buck is more overexposed at a network.

Bottom third: All Kay can come up with for Morgan Ensberg is "made the team out of spring training. Non-roster invitee."
  • What about his 2005 with the Astros? What about what he did last season?
Why does Kay say "Hey" before reading the disclaimer that says "This copyrighted telecast ..."? Why does he feel the need to say "aforementioned New York" every time he reads that thing? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Derek Jeter, who left the game in the third inning, has a "strained left quadricept" as Kay phrases it. Too bad it's "quadriceps," even when it is singular.

Top fifth: Kay tells everyone that Mussina allowed a .347 batting average with two outs and runners in scoring position. "Those are backbreakers." Then he reads a pitch-count graphic.
  • That's nice, but Mussina allowed all opponents to hit .311 against him last season. With runners in scoring position, that went up to .316. In the 75 at-bats with RISP in two outs, that number went up a bit. Stop the presses! Maybe Mussina just sucked altogether last season. His ERA was north of 5.00, after all
Bottom fifth: Bad news! Kay isn't going to Kansas City. He's going to take three days off, show up in Boston for one game -- two of the games are on national television -- then, maybe, IF we're lucky, grace us with his presence in Tampa Bay St. Petersburg.

"Let's take this baby to the sixth."
  • I just love it when he says that.
Top sixth: Robinson Cano makes an error, but Mike Mussina gets out of the inning. "Mussina avoids trouble because of the E-4."
  • I think you meant, "He avoids trouble despite the E-4." Nitpicking? This is the bigs!
Bottom sixth: Kay gets on Bobby Abreu for not running out a ball that turned into a triple. Think that had to do with this?

WHOOOOSH. "Chat with other Yankees fans on" The sound effect for that graphic almost made me jump out of my chair.

Bottom seventh: Kay says the Yankees have had four no-hitters since they last had a cycle on Sept. 3, 1995, the date of their last cycle. "Including two perfect games."

  • That's three no-hitters by my count: Doc Gooden, David Wells and David Cone.
Top of the ninth: Not the time to identify yourself. Especially with two outs. Game over. On to basketball in earnest.

No fields, fires or oh, what a plays -- remember, Jeter left the game with an injury -- but Kay did owe Juan Rivera an apology for forgetting how many no-hitters the Yankees had thrown.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Rays and Kay, A Rare Combination


Game 4: April 4, 2008 - 7:05 p.m. ET
Yankee Stadium, New York, N.Y.
Play-by-Play: Michael Kay
Color: Kenny Singleton and John Flaherty

Three games into the season is apparently too soon for Michael Kay to take his typical Rays series off. Tonight he's joined by Kenny Singleton and John Flaherty. We join the action in the bottom of the first, and Kay gets off on the right foot. He quotes Baseball Prospectus, which he describes as "... a respected ... [long pause] publication among baseball people." Given his usual backhanded criticism of all things sabermetric, this is a step in the right direction.

Top second: Singleton points out that Nathan Haynes is a nephew of the Pointer Sisters (ouch). He gets in two Kay-esque jokes about "Jump (For My Love)" and "I'm So Excited." Can't be sure, but it sounded as though Kay was punching the wall of the booth that he didn't get those in himself. Those jokes are the kind of prep he does before the games. Then he rips Kenny -- outrageous! -- for only knowing two Pointer Sister songs. If Kay knows more, he should be ashamed of himself.

Bottom second: Kay says people have come up to him in the last "day or so and said, you know, the Yankees are really slumping."
  • Oh, Michael, living the life, walking down Fifth Avenue shopping for double-breasted suits and having people start conversations with him and telling him how worried they are about the Yankees' offense.

Top third: Carlos Pena at the plate. Everyone forgets that the Yankees had control of Pena in Triple-A in 2006. Kay is part of everyone. "Before last year, he had really bounced around. He had been with five different teams." Luckily Flaherty saves the day by pointing out that one of those teams was the Yankees.

Then Kay says that Pena took control and "wanted to stay" with the Rays. That's why he signed the three-year deal worth $24 million. If not for Pena's desire to stay, according to Kay, agent Scott Boras would have "shopped him around."
    • Now, I know Boras is a good agent. But please get back to me when he can get a player to be a free agent before his service time qualifies him. Pena still has two years left of arbitration eligibility and won't be a free agent until after the 2009 season. Just details to Kay.
Bottom third: Fun with accuracy: Jose Molina hits a ball off the base of the left-field wall. According to Kay, "he missed a home run by two feet." That's a short wall.

Two booth identifications in half an hour! It's also two in an inning. Who's calling this game again?

Bottom fourth: Credit where credit is due: YES plays Hank Aaron's 714th home run -- complete with Milo Hamilton's call. Kay, telling the famous Alexa Rodriguez story, but calls it a red hawk instead of a red-tailed hawk. Guess he's not an ornithologist.

Top eighth: Tampa Bay leads, 7-4. Second and third. "This becomes a very big batter in the game. 7-3 Rays. If it becomes 9-4 -- 7-4 Rays I should say -- 9-4 Rays would be a lot tougher."
  • Kay's been taking a nap through most of the game, which is a favor to his viewers but has made writing this post a little tough. He later adds "Rays lead 7-4" to reassure everyone he really did know the score the first time.
Not too many gold mines for Kay in this one. He laid out and let Kenny do his thing and Flaherty make his obvious comments. I wasn't too interested in watching LaTroy Hawkins and Co. throw batting practice in the eighth and ninth innings, so if Kay said anything stupid, someone else is going to have to tell you about it.