The 266 days of waiting between meaningful Major League Baseball games wasn't enough as Mother Nature divined to interrupt last night's opener between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals. The rain delay put ESPN's top crew of Matt Vasgersian and Alex Rodriguez on-camera from the cozy comfort of a Bristol studio, where they are calling games this year. The latter proceeded to pay homage to America's pastime by proving that, no matter how much ball you watch, the chances of seeing something unexpected are high.
Rodriguez, who appeared at the top of the broadcast with a clean, coffee cup-free work station, re-emerged with no less than four cups within arm's reach. That's not counting the large bottle of water next to them. The man is either mainlining coffee, paying tribute to the late-great Howard Hughes, or using the cups for something else baseball players might use them for. Whatever the truth is, I personally loved it and would like to challenge A-Rod to double his in-game cup production. Four today, eight tomorrow, 16 by the weekend and 2,024 by August, infinity by the postseason.
The rain delay theater included identifying a sleeper as a World Series contender and Rodriguez went with the Houston Astros, the team with the third-best odds to capture the hardware. This wouldn't have been a big deal but the graphic showing these futures was right there.
Again, nothing to get mad at. We went 3/4 of a year without baseball. The world is on fire. Let's have some perspective. On the other hand, he asked commissioner Rob Manfred this statement, but to be fair, you can't expect someone so charismatic and ambitious to also be Isaac Chotiner.
To put a bow on all this, A-Rod at one point also knocked the microphone off his tie and spent 30 seconds re-attaching it while Vasgersian vamped. I searched for that video for at least 15 minutes before deciding to outsource the job to those of you interested enough to verify it.
Though entertained, we must wonder: can the man possibly keep up this pace? In a regular 162-game year it would be impossible. But in a 60-game sprint, he may just have the energy to turn in such arresting and layered performances every time he's called upon.