Listen, I love Bill Simmons as much as you can love someone that you’ve never met (other than you, Dustin, don’t you worry your place is secure). I’ve read everything that he’s written since 2000. I may not have survived the tumultuous and ultimately triumphant Octobers of 2003 and 2004 without his column. It was my therapy. So trust me, I know that the Live Diary is his thing. But do you know what else used to be his thing? Baseball. Now he’d rather spend 80 minutes on a podcast talking about the state of American movies than spend a single minute talking about the first-place baseball team from his hometown. So, I’m stealing his gimmick because there is a small chance that he’s actually watching this game (and not some movie reruns on AMC) and a non-existent chance that he will be doing a Live Diary for this game.
We are ready to go with one of my favorite days of every summer, the Major League Baseball All-Star game! The kids are asleep, the dog is passed out at my feet, and my wife is engrossed in some atrocious chick-flick that she’s been saving for this occasion. It’s the mid-summer classic live on FOX!
7:30 — I’m not much into gimmicks, but the SNL knockoff introduction was a solid start to the night. Until Joe Buck appeared.
7:31 — Why is Joe Buck standing at a podium? If he’s going to do that, should he have the presidential bullet-proof glass? Search his name on Twitter, that isn’t such a crazy idea.
7:38 — I wonder what movie FOX will indiscriminately shove down our throats for the entire broadcast tonight? Oh, Grown Ups 2? Awesome.
7:39 — Is Kevin James playing in the All-Star Game really that crazy? Bartolo Colon made it.
7:47 — I love the player introductions in the All-Star Game. I have since I was a kid, but I will be so annoyed if some Yankee fans sneek into this game and boo Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, and David Oritz. Boo the Phillies and Braves players all you want, but leave the Red Sox out of this.
7:48 — Yup, a few of them did. Enjoy your 4th place team, morons.
7:50 — Those goofy Rays! Matt Moore and Ben Zobrist changed places in line. I bet that Joe Maddon came up with that to keep things fun and light in the clubhouse. He’s such a genius. What’s next, a mariachi band?
8:08 — Joe Buck is sweating like he just ran a 5K with his suit and tie on. Get yourself together Joe, even Chris Berman thinks you’re disgusting right now.
8:09 — Hide your kids, it’s Tim McCarver. I hope he remembered to take his pills tonight. He’s barely lucid even when he’s medicated. We’re less than five years away from him wandering on to the field looking for a pet cat that died in the 60’s.
8:19 — If Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, Joey Votto, and David Wright all get hits I could win free coffee for a year from Dunkin Donuts. Let’s make that happen, boys! The only thing better than caffeine is free caffeine.
8:20 — And Mike Trout already has me 1/5 of the way there!
8:28 — Joe Sheehan points out that Robinson Cano has accounted for 53% of the Yankees position-player WAR, as he limps off the field injured. Yankee fans grab their shoes and start wandering toward the nearest bridge. How many bad years do they need to have before we get to start throwing around the term “Once proud franchise”. Three?
8:40 — We have a Tom Seaver and Erin Andrews interview going on, and I am rooting hard for a Joe Namath/Suzy Kolber situation here!
8:41 — No dice. Seaver seemed sober. Disappointing.
8:48 — I love Chris Sale, and I would trade any prospect not named Xander or Jackie for him — but the way he throws the ball looks like an informercial for Tommy John surgery. There’s no way that form holds up in the long run, is there?
8:59 — Earlier, Miguel Cabrera clowned Petey about being short. Now, Joe and Tim wait less than a minute into his first at-bat to make the obligatory mention of Pedroia’s height and also to remind us that he “leaves it all out on the field.” Check those things off the checklist and let’s all move on with our lives.
9:07 — I don’t see a lot of the Colorado Rockies but they have a couple of the games best, most exciting players. And Michael Cuddyer.
9:13 — Grown Ups 2! In theaters now! Kevin James is too fat to play third base! It’s so funny! He is diving and falling all over the place!
9:28 — Is Elysium a movie? A new TV show? Is it a brand name for Ecstasy? That was all very unclear.
9:33 — Joey Votto leaves the game hitless. The dream of free coffee is over. I should have stuck with American League players.
9:40 — Brandon Phillips is the best defensive second baseman that Tim McCarver has ever seen? Is catching a soft underhand toss with your barehand really that impressive? Tim just laughed in a way that will haunt me later tonight when I close my eyes to go to sleep.
9:44 — Oh that’s right, the Red Sox play the Yankees on FOX this Saturday. So that means I have to endure Buck and McCarver twice in a week? The only time I’m alright with enduring that kind of hardship is during the playoffs.
9:47 — Joe loves to brag about the things that Tim accomplished in his career while McCarver sheepishly acts like he doesn’t revel in the attention. It’s more awkward than seeing your grandparents kiss.
10:24 — Manny Machado being Manny Machado! This kid is absolutely spectacular. I hate when great young players show up on teams that I have to root against 19 times a year.
10:30 — Pitching changes for everyone!
10:40 — Come on, Jim Leyland. You have to appreciate the moment enough to have Mariano Rivera pitch in the bottom of the 9th tonight. I get why you would throw him in the 8th, but that has to be a chance that you’re willing to take. This is the most important game that Rivera will get to close out this season. Do the right thing, Jim!
10:46 — I don’t want to say that Neil Diamond is on the Back 9 of life, but he’s on the field looking for McCarver’s cat right now.
10:50 — Leyland is an idiot.
10:52 — The scene with “Enter Sandman” playing and Mariano Rivera standing alone on the mound was an absolutely incredible sports moment. The admiration and reverence that the other players have for him is almost palpable. It reminded me of the seeing the players’ reactions to Ted Williams coming out in a golf cart at the 1999 All-Star Game in Fenway. I was so blown away by how my heroes were in awe of one of their heroes. This had a very similar feeling tonight. I have all the respect in the world for that guy, but I can’t wait for him to move on to the next chapter of his life.
10:59 — Never forget where you were when Tim McCarver recited Metallica lyrics like they were a Shakespeare poem.
11:07 — While you’re remembering that, add Prince Fielder legging out a triple to the memory bank.
11:25 — It’s a 3-0 win for the American League tonight in Queens. Give Chris Sale the win, Patrick Corbin the loss, and Joe Nathan the save. Mariano gets a hold and the MVP award, because in the end this is all just a big nostalgic exhibition game. (Except that it determines home field advantage for the World Series. But otherwise, it’s all for fun guys! Someone email Bud Selig to tell him that doesn’t make sense.)
The unofficial second half to the baseball season for the Red Sox begins on Friday in Boston. Let’s hope that we just watched the American League secure home-field advantage for Boston in the World Series!