Results tagged ‘ Albert Pujols ’
It is October and the Phillies are not playing baseball. So what did I do in response to this devastating turn of events? I fled the country. Seriously. I recently returned from a 2-week excursion to a variety of places including Italy, Egypt, Greece and Israel. If anyone else out there is totally bummed out by the end of the baseball season, I highly recommend this adventure :O)
But it is back to reality now and I arrived just in time to see the start of the World Series last night. It was still depressing, but some baseball is always better than no baseball.
And with former Phillies player and announcer Tim McCarver on the job in the broadcast booth, hilarity is sure to ensue. So even if the game stinks, Mr. McCarver will inevitably, and totally accidentally, spice things up.
He did just that during Game 1. As the crowd chanted, “Barry! Barry! Barry!” for a base hit by San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito, McCarver and partner Joe Buck had a very interesting conversation that went like this (this is not a joke; he actually said all of this):
McCarver: “That’s a sound he has not heard too often in this ballpark. That sound of ‘Barry! Barry!’” (referencing Barry Zito)
Joe Buck: “They used to say it for someone else around here.”
McCarver: “When Barry Manilow was here at concerts.”
Joe Buck: “Or Barry Bonds.”
***McCarver then went silent, in probable humiliation. Eventually, Buck had to coax him back on air…
Joe Buck: “Come back to me over there.”
McCarver: “Sorry, it’s one of those moments.”
Well, at least McCarver recognizes that he has had more than his share of “those moments” over the years. But surely mistaking Barry Manilow for the San Fran Home Run King, Barry Bonds will go down in history as one of McCarver’s biggest gaffes ever.
And for the belly laughter that ensued, we all thank McCarver and his Hall of Fame announcing skills.
Did I forget to mention that the Panda, Pablo Sandoval, hit 3 home runs in the game, tying a record set by Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols and others? I did? Sorry, I was totally distracted by the Manilow thing…I will do better next time ;o)
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After Saturday night’s NL East title celebration, both the Phillies and the fans came out a little sluggish on Sunday against the Cardinals. The crowd was quiet and so were the Phillies bats. After the late night champagne shower, everyone looked a little hung over.
A few bad pitches from Cole Hamels put the Phillies into an early 2-0 hole when Albert Pujols smacked a 2-run homer in the first inning. Hamels seemed to bounce back quickly after that, but the offense did nothing to help him. Then in the sixth inning, Hamels gave up another 2-run homer.
With only eight hits in the game, all of them singles, the Phillies did not have too many opportunities to score. But the few times they did have runners on base, they hit into double plays. Hunter Pence, Raul Ibanez and Ross Gload all hit into double plays, ending any possible offensive threat.
Three of the Phillies’ eight hits came off the bat of Chase Utley, which was one positive in the game. Utley has struggled to find his swing again since getting hit in the head with a pitch. That sort of shot would scramble anyone’s brain. But it appears that Utley has found all his marbles and got his timing back at the plate.
Down 4-0, the Cardinals padded their lead in the eighth with a solo shot off pitcher Joe Blanton. It was Blanton’s second appearance since coming off the DL and one he is sure to want to forget.
On the other hand, Justin DeFratus made his major league debut which was almost spoiled by Lance Berkman. DeFratus’ first pitch was destroyed by Berkman, but the ball landed in Shane Victorino’s glove inches from the center field fence. DeFratus managed to escape the inning without allowing a hit.
Slightly more exciting than the actual game was batting practice, where I spotted all of the newest members of the Phillies:
And even more exciting than that was the community mural painting which I participated in. The new Phillies Mural will be eight stories high, facing the Schuylkill River. It should be done by next summer. In the meantime, the Phillies are allowing fans to help paint with large chunks of the mural drawn out in pencil like a paint-by-number. Here I am painting part of the Phanatic:
Game 4 with the Cardinals starts tonight at 7:05pm. And here is the full Photo Album from the game, including pre-game ceremonies.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
While they were unable to sweep the 4 game series, the Phillies still made life miserable for the Brewers, winning the first 3 games. But today, they went down in a 3-2 loss. The team win streak with Vance Worley on the mound ended at 14 games.
Worley had some interesting innings today, but every jam he worked into, he managed to get out of. But with two outs in the 7th, back-to-back doubles created trouble and gave the Brewers the lead. Worley was pulled after allowing 3 runs on 8 hits and a walk.
One of the doubles hit by the Brewers in that 7th inning came off the bat of Nyger Morgan, who then proceeded to celebrate at second base like his team had just won the pennant. Morgan, who has publicly named his own alter-ego “Tony Plush,” is possibly the biggest clown in the majors.
Morgan’s behavior is consistently inappropriate (he tries to incite fights on a regular basis) and he even went so far as to call Albert Pujols a girl in a recent Twitter post. This guy is a fungus. The Brewers should be embarrassed to have him as a member of their team. So today’s display of childish behavior is really no shock.
Back to the game…The Phillies offense had a few big hits today with home runs from Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard. But they could muster little else against Brewers pitcher, Yovani Gallardo, who was very, very good today. The Phils ended the day with only 6 hits and 14 strikeouts.
The Phillies have another interesting series coming up next with the Astros. It will be the first trip back to Houston for both Hunter Pence and Roy Oswalt since coming to Philly. And oddly enough, Oswalt will pitch in the first game against former Phillie Brett Myers. Game time is 8:05pm; be sure to watch this one, it should be a lot of fun.
In closing, I wanted to share a photo with everyone that I took about 20 years ago. Having grown up in North/Central New Jersey, this was a common sight for me as a kid. On the 10-year anniversary of 9-11, take a moment to remember.
Post-Season Magic # – 2 games
Division Magic # – 6 games
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Towers photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Morgan photo: Yahoo Sports
The Phillies jumped out to a 3 run lead in their first inning against the Cardinals tonight, giving false hope to Phillies fans everywhere. Mr. Inconsistent, Kyle Kendrick, took the mound and quickly dashed those hopes. Kendrick allowed 1 run in each of the first two innings and then plunged the dagger into our hearts with a 5-run 5th inning.
The killer 5th inning started with a walk, a double and then a 2-run homer from Albert Pujols. Kendrick gave up two more home runs before the Phillies even bothered to get the bullpen warming up. What was manager Charlie Manuel waiting for? Did he think Kendrick was going to magically morph into
Roy Halladay (oh yeah, Halladay got rocked yesterday)? How about Jamie Moyer (nah, 5 runs in 3 innings last time out)? Ok then, Cliff Lee? We wish…
Actually, when Manuel had not pulled Kendrick after the 3 home runs, I was waiting for Kendrick to throw his hands in the air and yell, “I surrender!” to the Cardinals. They could have just slapped the cuffs on him and taken him away to the clubhouse like a prisoner.
So Kendrick did not get dragged off the mound and he certainly did not morph into a better pitcher. But reliever Chad Durbin tried to follow in his footsteps, giving up a solo homer in the 6th inning. Meanwhile, the Phillies offense scored a few runs, but they were facing the Cards worst pitcher. They should have destroyed this guy. Instead, they collected only 4 runs, even when Blake Hawksworth walked Kendrick…twice.
Many players, like Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard, had multi-hit nights; Shane Victorino had 2 RBI with his one hit. But most hits were not timely, or something stupid happened right afterwards. Like Jayson Werth, who is not hitting at all, finally dribbled a bunt down the third base line for a hit and then proceeded to get himself picked off at first base. The Phillies went on to lose by a score of 8-4.
The Cardinals will be sending 3 very good pitchers to the mound in the next 3 games. The Phillies may have blown their chance today to show off some offensive power before having to face the better pitchers. Tomorrow’s game time is 8:15pm.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
After tonight’s horrifying loss to the Cubs, what I would like to know is, who kidnapped Roy Halladay and replaced him with an imposter? After six innings, this Halladay imposter had given up 6 runs, 5 of them earned. Who IS this guy? Will Ruben Amaro Jr. pay the ransom to get the real Halladay back? He wouldn’t pay to keep Cliff Lee, so I am not holding my breath. ;o)
Ok, back to reality… In one of Halladay’s worst outings as a Phillie, one thing did not change: he still did not get any run support from his offense. To make matters worse, the Phillies fielders did not bail him out in big situations either. In the 2nd inning, after already allowing 3 runs, Ryan Howard missed a foul ball pop-up from Derrek Lee that would have ended the inning.
Then, with 2 strikes on Lee and runners at first and third, Carlos Ruiz had a brain cramp. He decided to throw to second as Starlin Castro tried to steal and Ruiz botched the throw. Tyler Colvin scored easily from 3rd. Ruiz was given an error and Lee struck out on the next pitch. So that was one more unnecessary run handed over to the Cubs.
Things got monumentally worse in the 7th inning when the Phillies bullpen was called upon. JC Romero gave up 2 singles without recording an out and was pulled. The rookie David Herndon took over and the Cubs absolutely destroyed him. Herndon allowed 3 hits and a walk; by the end of the inning, 5 more runs had score. Two of those were charged to Romero and the other three to Herndon.
The score was 11-3 going into the 8th inning and basically, this game was over. Howard, Greg Dobbs and Ben Francisco all hit solo homers later, making the score 11-6, but that was the end of the scoring. The Phillies have not been hitting, now they are not pitching and even the fielding has been sloppy. In short, they are now worse than the Cubs. And that is very, very bad news.
This is just not the same Phillies team that fans have been used to seeing. They are not doing the little things right, as well as some big things, and they seem to have lost their Mojo. Maybe the Mojo was kidnapped along with Halladay?
Even more disturbing, Howard hit home runs in 3 out of 4 games of this Cubs series and the Phillies lost all three of those games. When even the Howard magic is not lighting a spark under this team, the Phillies are in big trouble.
The team travels to St. Louis next for a 4-game series with the Cardinals. It is just a guess, but I am willing to bet that facing Albert Pujols is not going to help the Phillies find their Mojo any faster. Game time tomorrow is 7:05pm.
Why ESPN Broadcasts Are So Entertaining:
In the first inning alone, ESPN viewers were treated to these gems:
- Joe Morgan says that Placido Polanco “runs well from the right side.” As opposed to?? He only hits from the right side.
- As Carlos Ruiz ran to catch a pop fly in foul ground, Jon Miller called him “Soto,” as in, Cubs catcher, Geovany Soto.
- While Roy Halladay was pitching, Milled said, “There’s an inside pitch to Halladay.” Wow. The man is really talented if he can pitch to himself.
And then in the 5th inning, another classic from Morgan: “If he had gotten the ball there (1st base) quicker, he’d have gotten him out faster.” It is official: Joe Morgan is a GENIUS.
The Phillies pulled out a win today, although it was with heavy hearts. One of the best Phillies pitchers of all time, Robin Roberts, passed away today at age 83 of natural causes. Roberts played for the Phillies from 1948 – 1961 and in his entire career he had a 3.41 ERA over 676 games which included 305 complete games.
Roberts was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976 and has been a regular around the Phillies for all these years. Roberts returned to Philly every year for annual induction ceremonies, special events and attended Spring Training each year as well.
Actually, Roberts was scheduled to attend a golf and dinner outing in honor of Harry Kalas in just a few weeks, along with many other Hall of Famers. I have been invited to the event and was very much looking forward to seeing him and having the opportunity to chat with him. But more than being very saddened by this news for that reason, I am terribly sorry for his family and the entire Phillies organization. My heart goes out to everyone who knew him. He was a very special individual.
But the game went on today despite the sad news and the Phillies won it for him. With the 1950 pennant hung at half mast and a black drape around Robert’s Wall of Fame plaque, Roy Halladay took the mound and was a true professional, as usual. Against the Cardinals, he pitched 7 innings and allowing only 1 earned run, Halladay was not super sharp, but still extremely effective.
Halladay walked 3 batters and had a lot of base runners; in the 7th inning with two outs and 2 men on, it even looked like manager Charlie Manuel may pull him from the game. Manuel went out to the mound but with a stern look on his face, Halladay convinced him that he could finish the inning. And with that, it only took one pitch to Matt Holliday to end it. This guy is amazing.
Jayson Werth had a special connection to Roberts as they grew up in the same town and spoke about that often; Werth channeled his grief into a huge game at the plate. He hit 2 doubles and a 3-run homer in the game. Werth did commit an error in right field when the wind and sun helped him drop a fly ball, but no one was complaining after his offensive output.
Carlos Ruiz had a 3-hit day as well with Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard collecting 2 hits each. Ibanez hit a solo homer in the 5th for the 900th RBI of his career. The opposing pitcher, Kyle Loshe, lasted only 4 innings and allowed 5 of the Phillies 7 runs, although 2 were unearned due to errors. Actually, it was a sloppy game all around defensively with each team committing 2 errors a piece.
The umpires did not have a clean game either. Andy Fletcher, who played the villain in Game 1 of this series, had another blooper today. While trying to turn a double play, the Cards Albert Pujols had to jump off first base to catch the ball for the 3rd out of the inning. Replay showed that as Wilson Valdez crossed the bag, Pujols was in mid-air and not on the bag. Valdez was called out by Fletcher who refused to argue with Manuel after the play and walked away. The home plate umpire had some questionable calls as well, but Halladay handled him with a quick chat after the 5th inning.
So the Phillies walk away with a 3 games to 1 series victory over the Cardinals, the best team in the National League. Although now, the Phillies have just 1 less win than the Cards and hold a 2 game lead for first place in the NL East. Tomorrow at 7:05pm, they will begin a 3-game series with the Braves and Jamie Moyer will pitch. The Phillies will begin wearing #36 patches on their jersey’s tomorrow as well in honor of Robin Roberts.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Phillies fans were singing in the rain tonight as Roy Halladay drown the Marlins. Sprinkles fell throughout most of the game, but had no effect on Halladay’s performance. He went through 8 innings, allowing just 2 runs and striking out 4 batters. Halladay’s home debut was exactly what fans had looked forward to seeing, minus the rain, of course.
The Phillies offense had another spectacular game as well, scoring 8 runs on 12 hits and 5 walks. Every position player except Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez collect at least 1 RBI and everyone, except Ibanez, had at least one hit in the game. Even Halladay knocked a single. The big fish of the day however, turned out to be Juan Castro; he had 2 hits for 3 RBI while filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins.
And of course, Chase Utley hit yet another home run, passing Albert Pujols for the most in the National League with 6. It was also Utley’s 4th game in a row with a homer. Clearly, Utley is in the zone, where we hope he will stay for a long time.
What looked like an easy win, turned into a near disaster in the 9th inning. With an 8-2 lead, rookie relief pitcher David Herndon allowed 4 runs on a bunch of ridiculously unlucky dribbling infield hits by the Marlins. Ryan Madson had to be brought in for the save. A huge sigh of relief overcame the fan as Madson got the last two outs and the Phils went home with an 8-6 win. Whew! Tomorrow, they will start Jamie Moyer, a notorious Fish killer, in the 7:05pm start.
Here is a quick injury update as well: JC Romero made a rehab start for the AAA Iron Pigs tonight and pitched a scoreless inning. He threw 17 pitches, 13 of which were strikes. He is inching closer each day to a return to Philly. This is very good news for a bullpen that appears to be struggling without him.
Starter Joe Blanton threw a bullpen session today and is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for single-A Lakewood on Tuesday. Kyle Kendrick will continue to fill in as a starter until Blanton returns, despite two very bad outings so far.
Brad Lidge is working towards his return, which looks like it may be at the end of the month. His pitch speed has improved, but he still has a lot of work to do. Cross your fingers… ;o)
In the 3rd inning of today’s Phillies-Pirates match-up in Bradenton, FL, Placido Polanco tripped on the pitcher’s mound trying to catch a pop-up. He limped off the field and is said to have a right knee strain. Initial reports are that it is not serious and Polly should be back in action in 3 or 4 days. This is first real injury for the Phillies in camp thus far and we hope it is the last.
Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire
The other interesting news came from Buster Olney of ESPN this week; he claims that his “sources” had reported that the Phillies were talking about swapping 1st baseman with the Cardinals.
That’s right, in Olney’s alternate universe, Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols would trade places. Perhaps Olney’s “sources” were aliens from Mars? Or maybe it was just the little voices inside his head who yearn to see Olney locked up in a padded room?
The odds of this sort of swap happening are astronomical; it is not even a fair trade. No offense to Howard, but clearly Pujols is the better overall player. Yes, Howard is from St. Louis, but this is no reason for the Cards to think they would get him cheap. And the Phillies could never afford Pujols. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was so perturbed at the news, he flat out called Olney a liar. “It’s ridiculous,” Amaro said. “It’s unequivocally false. It’s unfair to Ryan. It’s unfair to the organization to have to answer the questions.”
Despite all the drama, the Phillies went on to win today by a score of 5-1. Roy Halladay gave up his first run of Spring and also walked two batters; all this means is we now have proof that the man is not a robot. I think we can all live with the 1.00 ERA.
While the starting pitching looks good, some of the relievers do not. JC Romero will not be ready for Opening Day so one of the young lefties will need to step up to fill the void. However, neither Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona or Mike Zagurski have looked ready to do so thus far. Bastardo has allowed 3 runs over 2 innings of work; Escalona has 5 runs allowed in 3 innings; and Zagurski only made 1 appearance. He is still trying to get back in the groove after Tommy John surgery. One of these three lefties will need to show that they can do the job and right now, it does not look good.
Pet Peeve of The Week
So many MLB teams these days have radio and TV announcers that leave a lot to be desired. Realizing that Philly fans were spoiled for decades with the great Harry Kalas, it may be an unfair comparison. However, during the Phillies-Pirates match-up today, a Pirates announcer took “unprofessional” to a new level. Tim Neverett, hired in December 2008, does play-by-play for the Bucos. And today, he did not win any brownie points from Philly fans.
In the middle of the 4th inning, Neverett began praising the team’s mascot, the Pirate Parrot and mentioned how he was harassing Philly fans in the stands. He went on to say, “I think the Parrot likes this. There’s no better group of fans to tease than the Philadelphia fans…(pause)…Because there’s no worse fans. The same people who boo Santa Claus are now getting it from the Pirate Parrot.”
First of all, the Santa Claus incident was in 1968 at an Eagles football game. Get over it. Secondly, there are “no worse fans?” Seriously? Apparently, Mr. Neverett must be a world traveler who has first-hand knowledge of such things. While I am not going to waste time comparing Philly fans to experiences I have had elsewhere, I will say that such a general statement is both ignorant and rude.
A small segment of fans of ANY team are bound to be obnoxious and disruptive. That is human nature. You expect to hear this sort of prejudice from those obnoxious fans, not from the radio announcer who is being paid to be objective and professional. You want rude? Ok then, BOO YOU Mr. Neverett! You should be ashamed.
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Photos by Jenn
The curse continues for the National League as they lost their 12th consecutive All-Star Game tonight against the American League. And poor Charlie Manuel became the first Phillies manager in history to lose the All-Star game :O( Phils now hold a record of 6-1. No worries Charlie…just bring us another Championship and all will be forgotten :O)
The first inning did not exactly kick the game off right for the National League as Tim Lincecum struggled and allowed one earned run. An unearned run also scored in the inning after an error. Yes folks, as Albert Pujols booted a ball at first base, an angel lost its wings…and the American League took a 2-0 lead. It’s ok though…we still love Albert :O)
The NL battled back and scored 3 in the 2nd inning thanks to hits by David Wright, Shane Victorino (yeah!) and Yadier Molina. After that, offense all around was fairly quiet until the 8th inning. Curtis Granderson tripled, Victor Martinez was given the intentional walk and then Adam Jones hit a sac fly to score Granderson and give the AL a 4-3 lead. The NL got their shot in the bottom half of the inning; Ryan Howard was sent in to pinch hit with 2 outs and 2 on in the 8th and he went down on strikes to end the threat. Ugh. The ever-adorable Mariano Rivera closed out the game for the AL in the 9th and so, the curse goes on.
As for the rest of the Phillies, Chase Utley went hitless, but had several stellar defensive plays. Victorino ended up 1 for2 with a run scored; Jayson Werth struck out after a great at-bat against Jonathan Papelbon and later, made an amazing running catch in centerfield; and Raul Ibanez went 0 for 2, but looked thrilled anyway just to be playing. It was his first All-Star appearance in his 14th major league season at 37 years of age. Congrats to Raul for finally getting there!
As for the broadcast, FOX was annoying as usual. I think I heard more about Taco Bell and Domino’s Pizza than I did about the game. And while it was nice to hear the President Obama in the broadcast booth, was it really necessary to see him? Don’t get me wrong; I love Obama and all that, but I already know what he looks like. I’d have been just as happy to hear him speak while the game was showed in its entirety on the TV screen, instead of the annoying flashes back and forth from individual pitches to a visual of Obama in the booth.
Pedro – Say It Ain’t So!
Much to the dismay of Phillies fans everywhere, Pedro Martinez passed his physical and has been signed by the Phillies. Pedro will get 1 million plus another possible 1.5 million in incentives. He will need about 3 weeks of rehab and minor league work to be ready. The good news is that the price is cheap; however, we are all familiar with the saying “you get what you pay for.” If Martinez has some magic left in that arm, then this deal will turn out to be a real bargain; if not, at least they did not overpay.
Personally, I worry more about the clubhouse chemistry being disrupted than anything else. Martinez is notorious for his sandpaper-like personality and penchant for creating controversy. If he does not pitch well, no biggie. It was a small investment. But if he wreaks havoc on the peaceful and serene Phillies-vibe, then the deal will not have been worth the risk. We shall see how it goes…
A Day Without Baseball?
So no baseball tomorrow…except for the Double-A All-Star Game in Trenton, NJ. I will be risking life and limb as I venture into Trenton, the dregs of Jersey, but will be attending the game anyway. ;O) Four Phillies prospects will be in the game, with Michael Taylor participating in the Home Run Derby. I will return (I hope) with photos and all body parts still in place. Wish me luck :O)
Photo by Jenn
The St. Louis crowd loves Ryan Howard. But when Albert Pujols made his entrance, the fans officially went nuts. Both sluggers were favorites to win the 2009 Home Run Derby; Pujols playing for the Cardinals and Howard, a St. Louis native, both had a lot of support going into the contest.
The first round results, which put Pujols into a swing-off with Joe Mauer and Carlos Pena, ended with both Pujols and Howard making the second round along with Prince Fielder and Nelson Cruz. Pujols ended round #2 with 11 total homers and Howard wound up hitting 15. Cruz stepped in for his turn and out-did Howard by just one home run for 16 total. Howard’s last hope was that Fielder, the final batter in round 2, would not surpass his 15 homers. Sadly for Phillies fans, Fielder wound up hitting 17, knocking Howard out of the contest. Ryan seemed relieved though, as exhaustion set in and he was likely happy to be done.
It was a nice effort all around, although not as exciting as last year’s derby where Josh Hamilton put on a show that will probably never been repeated. Hamilton hit 28 homers in the first round, many of which disappeared from sight in old Yankee Stadium. Although he went on to take 2nd place to Justin Morneau, those of us who witnessed the amazing display of power and grace will not soon forget it. I had a feeling this year’s derby would pale in comparison, but how could it not?
But the derby is always an entertaining event that I look forward to seeing every year. And the 2009 champion is Prince Fielder, who hit 6 in the final round to Cruz’s 5. Congrats to Fielder!
Tune in for the All-Star Game tomorrow night at 8pm on FOX. Tim Lincecum will start for the NL and Roy Halladay for the AL. As for your Phillies, Chase Utley gets the start at 2nd, Raul Ibanez in left and Shane Victorino in center. Howard and Jayson Werth will be available on the bench.
My predictions for the game are as follows:
- The NL will finally break the curse of 11 straight AL wins (plus 1 tie) and win the game!
- Chase Utley will look FABULOUS, even if he strikes out multiple time. I guarantee it.
- Tim Lincecum will be asked by at least 15 fans if he is the teenage son of one of the other players.
- St. Louis fans will chant “RAUUUUUUL!” even if they do not know why they are doing it.
- The broadcasters for FOX will screw up simple facts at an approximate rate of 2.3 times per inning.
- The FOX broadcast will also be boring, redundant and completely void of any redeeming value…sorry to have to break it to you. But, enjoy the game…with the volume turned down :O)
Photos by Jenn