Down in Tampa

I’m TiVoing through the White Sox/Rays game. A work-related meeting that just happened to be in my neighborhood ended early. It’s the bottom of the second and Evan Longoria just made an emphatic first hit of the series with a home run. Cliff Floyd just slammed the ball ten feet foul. That’s bad news for Javier “anticlutch” Vazquez.

I was very bullish on Floyd when he was a stud rookie prospect in the early 90s. His infamous Bowman rookie card showed him dunking a baseball on a basketball goal.

Longoria’s a guy I drafted on my fantasy baseball team, released him when he got demoted to start the year, then watched the last place team snap him up.

Talk about some hideous jerseys in the Rays’ history. I liked the green caps, but the neon color with Wade Boggs, Fred McGriff and a bunch of stiffs must have been tough to stomach as fans. I don’t know if I dig the star on the R of the front of the jersey, but overall it’s a clean look that they may keep for a whole five years.

I felt less smug when I encountered my Cubs-loving boss this morning. He has a friend who bought 16 face-value tickets for every Cubs playoff game. Talk about a goldmine. My manager, a former college football player who looks like Brian Ulracher, shared the feeling of all Cubs fans. Are we going to blow it again?

The Sox let a Dioner Navarro duck-snort land between three players. It was an “I got it, no you got it” moment.

It seems like every player is trying to hit a home run. Getting an early lead is huge in the playoffs.

I was giving my cat a place to nap. He decided that he doesn’t like baseball. Ramirez and Pierzynski get singles, Uribe moves them over with a bunt, Cabrera pops up (worst thing to do with a man on third) and DeWayne Wise, a AAAA player if I’ve ever seen one, hits a three-run homer. The playoffs bring strange heroes. Benching Swisher makes sense now.

There’s no rest for the wicked, as Vazquez has a few miles to go.

Wait a sec, Jermaine Dye hits a double with two outs. Also, Carlos Pena is out of the lineup for the Rays. That injury has not been properly explained yet.

Has there been a team with so many hitters batting under .250 in the playoffs since maybe the Hitless Wonders?

Jason Bartlett hit a single followed by Iwamura getting a triple. Yep, that’s my Vazquez. Sac fly gets Iwamura home, even though he ran like my grandma. Evan Longoria hits another one. Dude. Has he seen more than two pitches?

Pierzynski might be the worst person to execute a hit and run, unless Joe Maddon’s at first. That’s managing, folks.

Longoria is up again. Two guys are on. Intentional walk? First pitch was down. Longoria “only” singles in a run. Vazquez needs to be traded. Get something for him in the offseason, Sox. Work on that minor-league depth. Vazquez is gone, and good riddance. Can we go with a three-man rotation?

Viva Viagra commercials, perfect for a game in St. Petersburg. And there’s the ad behind the plate. Go MLB.

It’s 6-3 but it feels like 25-3.

Pierzynski is hit by a pitch and it’s bases loaded in the top of the 7th. Juan Uribe is up. It’s Uribe time isn’t the best mantra, but it’s all I got. He had a good first-cut swing but it went foul. Cabrera’s up and this is the game, folks. Cabrera tries to get into the pitcher’s grill by dumping dirt on the mound. Balfour strikes him out on a pitch right down the middle. Uber ugh. It’s the bottom of the seventh. Six outs to go.

Clayton Richard has pitched well, but with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth, it’s time for a change.

Octavio Dotel aka gasoline on the fire, comes into the game. He gets B.J. Upton.

Paul Konerko has an epic at-bat. He starts 0-2 and works the count. At 3-2 he tries to go to first. Good try. He hits a home run and injures Dan Wheeler’s feelings. It’s still a game.

I couldn’t decide what was more lame: Thundersticks or cowbells. Cowbell wins. Can’t you make your own noise, Tampa fans?

I wouldn’t like football as much if players adjusted their shoulder pads every play. Alexi Ramirez strikes out and it’s one out to go.

And Chicago starts 0-2 in the playoffs. It’s not a good sign.

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