I can’t decide if this is brilliant or insane: ESPN is going to do a “a special reenactment” of Hank Aaron’s 715th home run tonight. Meaning a reenactment of coverage. They’re calling it Aaron 715: Live in 2014. and it’ll be done in real-time on their website:
ESPN.com will start this reenactment at 7:15 p.m. ET tonight, with photos, videos and “reports” from the now-demolished Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta. Network baseball insider Jayson Stark will even serve as an “on-site” reporter. He’ll provide updates, statistics and player reaction throughout the evening, culminating at 9:07 p.m. ET, the exact time Aaron hit the home run 40 years ago.
If Stark is dressed as a 1974 reporter than this goes a long way toward putting it in the “win” column. Absent that, though, I feel like modern crazy coverage of historic events would be sort of awful. Cutting to the Baseball Tonight crew to mouth cliches about something that is and was fantastic and superlative on its own doesn’t seem like it adds anything, for example.
I’m prepared to be pleasantly surprised, though.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.