What really pushed me over the edge was a moment in the 1st inning of last night's 4-2 Cardinals victory. Shortstop (spark plug?) David Eckstein had just made two diving stops on grounders and the trainer was out on the field examining his left shoulder. Examining it, rubbing it, and clearly asking Eckstein to exhibit range of motion.
McCarver announces that he thinks Eckstein may have hurt his left shoulder.
I start screaming at the television, "Well, yeah Tim! We can see the trainer and Fox is showing every replay imaginable of Eckstein landing on his shoulder including their camera from the surface of the moon."
Mrs. Ball seeing me on the verge of apoplexy says, "I thought you liked Tim McCarver?"
Foaming at the mouth, I sputter, "I used to, I don't know what happened to him."
Then I saw it. Like a vision it appeared to me. Time slowed down so that the A-B subliminal advertising technique became liminal. Every time McCarver commented redundantly, every time Fox replayed and replayed Eckstein diving from another angle, we would see the logo for Budweiser Select.
These people are driving us to drink!
So, as we prepare for Game 6 tonight at Shea, I am here to codify the "McCarver Drinking Game. Here are some McCarverisms that when heard should result in drinking Bud Select. Please send me additional ones (Bill@Billy-Ball.com) if we are lucky enough for a Game 7.
"Last night, the Mets watched the Cardinals enjoyed 'Leave it to Weaver' (B-B: this is in reference to the great pitching performance of Jeff Weaver) tonight we'll see if the Cardinals sing 'If I Were a Carpenter'." (B-B: the Cards' start their ace Chris Carpenter tonight in Game 6).
"If the Mets win tonight they will be playing for all the marbles tomorrow night in Game 7 and I'm sure that Willie will be losing his marbles if the Mets don't make it that far."
"Joe, you saw that Carlos Beltran caught that ball with his back against the wall and that's exactly the position the Mets are in tonight, hoping for a win. Their backs are against the wall."
"Last night, Albert Pujols homered and that's where he left the Mets, deep in a Pujols."
"The Mets are back home tonight at Shea and they are hoping that they won't have to 'Shea goodbye' to their fans."
"Rookie John Maine, who has allowed five runs (four earned) in 8 1/3 innings postseason, gets the call tonight. The Mets are looking for a memorable pitching performance from this youngster so that they can 'Remember the Maine.'"
"The Cardinals got a timely hit last night from Ronnie Belliard. The Mets are hoping that tonight the Belliard doesn't toll for thee."
"After last night's loss, Mets' third baseman David Wright said. 'We're backed into a corner. We're going to go out there and play relaxed, play loose tomorrow. Try to come out swinging and break their hearts.' We're going to see tonight if they play the Wright way or the wrong way."
"Cardinals rookie closer Adam Wainwright struck out Jose Reyes last night to end the game for his second save of the postseason. The Mets need Jose to get on base tonight and make things happen if they are to have Reyes of hope for winning this series."
"Last night's tying run was scored by St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen. The Cards are hoping that they will keep Rolen right into the Series."
"The last three times St. Louis has led a postseason series three games to two, they have let that lead slip away. They are hoping that this time the Cards are in their favor."
"Cards manager Tony La Russa is confident the reigning NL Cy Young Award pitcher, Chris Carpenter will be effective tonight, while Mets manager Willie Randolph hopes Carpenter won't be 'reigning' on their parade."
"If the Mets don't win tonight, you can be sure that tomorrow that will be suffering from the avian flu, because the Cardinals will have made them sick."
Well, there you have it - a (Dusty) Baker's Dozen of drinking phrases we can expect from Tim McCarver tonight. Enjoy the game and make sure you have a designated driver.
Billy-Ball is a baseball column by Bill Chuck who enjoys the fun of the game and, more important, enjoys making fun of the game. Bill's quirky look at the idiosyncrasies — and the idiots — of the sport is published Monday through Friday during the baseball season. For your free subscription, click here.