Great Moments in Musical Numbers Involving Baseball

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Due to a misunderstanding with the wonderful Ms. Markie Post and a restraining order that is totally bogus, my contract with NBC specifically forbids me from talking about “Night Court.”  But I think I can talk about other NBC entertainment programming without running afoul of the contract.

Well, “Quantum Leap” may be off limits too, but that’s Dean Stockwell’s fault and HE KNOWS WHAT HE DID.

Anyway, a new show debuted on NBC last night. Because I really don’t watch much TV I hadn’t heard of it until, like, yesterday. It’s called “Smash” and it’s a musical and the very fact that I’m explaining it when all of you have probably already heard of it just underscores how out of touch I am with these things. It’s OK.

The reason I mention it is that there was a musical number about baseball in it. I gather that the overall plot of the show is pretty people making a musical about Marilyn Monroe, and that the baseball number is about her meeting Joe DiMaggio.  Anyway, this is it if you’re into that sort of thing.

Look, I realize that musicals in general and “Smash” specifically aren’t intended for the same demographics as the sports blogs are. But really, would it have hurt NBC to throw in some HardballTalk product placement here? Like, have Debra Messing hold up an iPad with HBT on it?

Synergy, people. Gosh.

Mike Leake loses perfect game bid on leadoff single in the ninth

Mike Leake
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Just one week after Taylor Cole and Felix Peña tossed a combined no-hitter against Seattle, Mariners right-hander Mike Leake worked on his own perfect game through eight innings against the Angels.

It was an ambitious form of revenge, and one that Leake served up perfectly as he held the Angels scoreless in frame after frame. He sprinkled a handful of strikeouts throughout the first eight innings, catching Matt Thaiss on a called strike three in the third and getting two whiffs — called strikeouts against both Brian Goodwin and Shohei Ohtani — in the fourth.

The Mariners, meanwhile, put up a good fight against the Angels, backing Leake’s attempt with 10 runs — their first double-digit total since a 13-3 rout of the Orioles on June 23. Daniel Vogelbach led things off in the fourth with a three-run homer off of reliever Jaime Barria, then repeated the feat with another three-run shot off Barria in the fifth. Tom Murphy and J.P. Crawford helped pad the lead as well with a two-RBI single and two-RBI double, respectively.

In the ninth, with just three outs remaining, the Angels finally managed to break through. Luis Rengifo worked a 1-1 count against Leake, then returned an 85.3-m.p.h. changeup to right field for a base hit, dismantling the perfecto and the no-hitter in one fell swoop. Leake lost control of the ball following the hit, issuing four straight balls to Kevan Smith in the next at-bat and giving the Angels their first runner in scoring position. Still at a pitch count of just 90, however, he induced the next two outs in quick fashion and polished off the win with a triumphant eight-pitch strikeout against Mike Trout for the first one-hitter (and Maddux) of his career.

Had Leake successfully closed out the perfecto, it would’ve been the first of his decade-long career in the majors and the first the Mariners had seen since Félix Hernández’s perfect game against the Rays in August 2012. For their part, the Angels have yet to be on the losing end of a perfecto. The last time they were shut out in a no-hitter was 1999, at the hands of then-Twins pitcher Eric Milton.