What a day. Opening Day. NCAA championship day. The perfect day to sit in the chair, an ice chest full of drinks by your side and the TV on.
So that’s what we did.
9:52 a.m.: For some reason Kim is watching the Amazing Race – the Amazing Race? – from last night, so I’ve been unable to wrest control of the television.
9:58: OK, the two guys were eliminated, so the TV is mine. ESPN is showing – don’t be shocked – the Yankees’ game. The opening is screwed up, with Karl Ravetch’s voice battling with the Yankees’ P.A. announcer before Pat Summerall narrates a video montage that is supposed to make you cry, I guess. But Pat Summerall? How about a baseball voice, like Vin Scully’s?
10:16: A-Rod’s first error on a pop up. Booooo. I guess I’m an honorary New Yorker.
10:39: The washing machine just quit working. I boo. I guess I’m a real New Yorker. Especially when I don’t boo Jeter when he makes an error.
10:56: The pride of Lakeland High, Josh Phelps, opens the season at first base for New York and walks in his first at-bat.
11:14: Baseball on four channels, with Lou Piniella on two of them. His Cubs are in Cincinnati. Sweet Lou won a World Series there, something he couldn’t do in Seattle. Maybe if Ken Griffey Jr., had stuck around.
11:25: If the Cubs don’t get better pitching, Lou won’t be winning a title in Chicago either. Adam Dunn just drilled a two-run home run off ace Carlos Zambrano.
11:44: Cheerleaders at a baseball game? Even with jerseys and short skirts, the Reds’ cheerleaders waving pom-poms between innings doesn’t seem right. Neither does having a chicken quesadilla instead of a hot dog for lunch, but that’s what’s on the menu.
12:19 p.m.: Derek Jeter’s two-run single lifts the Yankees into a tie with the Devil Rays. A quick click and Rafael Soriano is blowing smoke past the Phillies. The Braves are tied at three in the eighth. How could the M’s have given up Soriano?
12:34: As Tom Gordon works himself out of a bases-loaded, ninth-inning jam, you can hear a young fan yell “c’mon Flash,” over the TBS broadcast. That’s baseball.
12:54: Edgar Reinteria just hammered a ball over the right-center field wall in Philadelphia to give Atlanta a 5-3 lead. That’s baseball, too. So is A-Rod hitting a two-run dinger after the Yanks have built a lead.
1:17: Gil Meche throws a 0-2 pitch belt high on the outer half to David Ortiz. It’s called a ball. Ortiz lines the next pitch for a run-scoring double.
1:46: The Cubs lose 5-1 in Cincinnati. Fire Piniella.
1:53: Royals rookie Tony Pena Jr., hits a triple off Curt Schilling. Only 26 more to catch his dad.
2:17: George Brett is in the ESPN booth with John Miller and Joe Morgan and they show the Pine Tar incident. Now that’s baseball.
3:07: Fell asleep for a few minutes watching the Red Sox try, and fail, to hit Meche – will he win 20? When I wake up it’s hailing outside. If God is an M’s fan, he must have been showing his disgust with letting Meche go.
3:18: Switched to the M’s pregame – could Meche help them? – and watch the Mariners jog down a red carpet from the outfield to the infield. A little over the top, perhaps?
3:41: Felix Hernandez’s first pitch is a fastball for a strike. The fifth is a breaking ball on the outside corner for strike three. It was the start of a 1-2-3 inning.
4:01: Hernandez has more than just a 98-mph fastball. He has a maturity that belies his age. Not a bad combination for a 20-year-old.
4:10: Richland’s Travis Buck’s first major league at-bat comes in Safeco for the A’s. His first major league strike out comes in the same place.
4:28: Jose Vidro gets the M’s first hit of 2007. He’s stranded at first.
4:36: Switching back and forth from the M’s on Fox and the Twins on ESPN2 in high-definition the difference is startling. When will Comcast get Fox in high-def?
4:48: Buck gets his first major league hit, a double to lead off the sixth. A few cheers are heard. He’s left at third as Hernandez strikes out Jason Kendall and Shannon Stewart.
4:59: Kids, let that be a lesson. Bobby Crosby takes his eye off the ball for the second time in the game and commits his second error. This one leads to the M’s first run of the season, as Ichiro, who hit the ball 20 feet to start the rally, scores on Raul Ibanez’s sacrifice fly.
5:03: Richie Sexson follows with a three-run line shot to center. All four runs are unearned.
5:19: He’s the king today. Hernandez strikes out Swisher and Crosby back-to-back to kill the A’s seventh-inning rally.
5:42: Hernandez is not going to pitch the ninth, that’s going to be up to closer J.J. Putz. But Felix’s three-hit, 12-strike out performance is enough to give M’s fans hope for the season.
5:49: Putz gets the last out and the M’s win 4-0. It’s over to the Twins on ESPN2 before hitting CBS for the NCAA final.
6:22: It’s almost tip-off time, and it’s time to pick a winner. It’s going to be Florida repeating.
7:09: The first half is a clinic with one team (Florida) taking advantage of the other team’s strength (Ohio State’s Greg Oden) to get easy outside shots (and lead 40-29). Pretty impressive.
7:32: Watch Sammy Sosa strike out, then dig into dinner. Burgers.
8:29: Two in a row for the Gators, 84-75, culminating a day of unmatched sports television, a day of shining moments. And it kept me from having to deal with the washing machine.