Answer: The Italian. Always the Italian.
Live Stream here with me and Wild Thing
Go get some peppers and giard and muffuletta from tasterealchicago.com
To the game notes:
We're far removed from Live Blog culture so pat yourself on the back if you're still on the inside of this one with me. The reality is that I'll actually update this blog. Or I won't. You'll just have to follow along to find out how much of a live blog this truly is.
Semantics notwithstanding, it's a big game for Barstool Baseball with the Italians taking on Cuba today at 4am mountain time. It's the 3rd game in the Taiwan pool that features Italy, Netherlands, Panama, Cuba and Chinese Tapei. We've been inside the locker room with Vinnie this week leading up to the game in his vlog series. Don't wait for him to hit .300/.400/.500 to give a shit.
We're just an hour out from first pitch. Matt Harvey is starting for Italy against a Cuban I am unfamiliar with. Feels good to know we'll see Matt Harvey competing intensely to start the day. I say o/u 5.5 pitches before he stares a hole through the umpire's face. He didn't fly 16 hours to Taiwan to get squeezed buddy. Game hasn't even started and I'm saying open it up back there.
In other news, the Cuban team is pretty fuckin talented up the middle if you're a White Sox fan from 2019. Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert are very good when healthy, not hungover and engaged. Did the Taichung night life get into the Cuban clubhouse after their opening day loss to the Dutch?
Probably not. I feel like they'd physically punish their players much like my college pitching coach would have preferred. Go sit up against that wall for 25 minutes. Perfect posture or I'll make the rest of the pitching staff join you.
Those were no hollow words. One time he made a pitcher run barefoot because he hit 3 batters in a row the week before our season opener. He stopped practice. Walked out to the mound calmly. Took the ball and pointed to the corner of the indoor facility. Softly: you gotta get the fuck off this mound right now. Go stand in the corner and do your arm exercises.
So pitcher jogs over to the corner, mildly embarrassed after years of the same old bullshit from coach. He does his arm exercises. Nobody talks to him. Kind of an awkward situation. The coaches finish up practice maybe 20 minutes later and call it a day.
Pitchers over here!
A famous line said at the end of each practice signaling an additional round of conditioning. Every practice of every season of my career across the spring, fall, winter at Illinois. Every single practice ended with the the pitchers running extra. Some days it would be a couple casual miles. Some days it would be 20 short sprints. Most of the time it was completely and utterly random with absolutely no connection to a broader physical development program. Some days he just wanted to see us struggle and every single day he wanted the position players to see us working harder.
Anyways he calls us over for team conditioning this one day and my guy Billy is still in his spikes. Hey coach I never changed into my turfs (running shoes) can I do that real quick? Ask one of the guys you fuckin drilled for their shoes. Absolutely not. Get on the line.
Coach it hurts my feet.
Then run barefoot. I don't give a flying fuck. On the fuckin line right now or we'll just do it again all fuckin night.
I wish I was making this up. And honestly I forget why I'm even telling this story. I just know that my college pitching coach would love the fact that I'm up right now talking the game, scouting Cuba, getting the mind right.
We never clicked on a personal level, mostly because he hated my guts inside and out. But he pitched me a ton on Friday and Saturday nights when our top starters got in trouble and I would later find out that he enjoyed coaching me. If you fuckin knew that then you'd be an even bigger pain in my ass.
One time he drove us to a soccer field at 4am in Tampa Florida to literally "run it into your fuckin skulls" that we needed to pitch inside more.
A guy sprained his ankle in the dark that morning then pitched in the afternoon. I believe he got shelled.
Hopefully that doesn't happen to Matt Harvey today.
Good luck to Italy and let's have a nice ball game.