… I said it was a tiny pianist

I watched the All-Star Game last night, but didn’t really get engaged, though I had a few questions.

Like:

* Why did the teams line up on the infield base paths before the game? That was odd?

* Why didn’t Tony La Russa pinch hit for Aaron Rowand with Albert Pujols with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning. Nothing against Rowand, who I was hoping would get a hit to win the game, but Pujols is the best hitter in the game. Plus, I thought La Russa was a genius… doesn’t he know that Pujols is good?

* Do Joe Buck and Kevin Kennedy really believe the MLB is A-OK tripe they blather on about during the telecasts, or are they just “talking points?”

* Who is Paula Cole and why didn’t her piano work?

* Why does one need a piano to sing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch?

* Why do they continue to sing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch?

* Why is still funny to me when Billy Wagner gives up a home run? Frankly, Billy Wagner is about as interesting as a sack of rocks, yet I still laugh when he gives up a home run like he did to Victor Martinez last night.

* I missed the pre-game Willie Mays thing, but people say it was cool. That’s not really a question, but I thought it was worth noting.

Another thing, I’ve heard from lots of people that Willie Mays is the grumpiest old dude out there. Another friend told me that he met Willie Mays once and asked him to sign a baseball for him. Willie said, “That’s 30 bucks, kid…”

It serves him right for asking for an autograph.

* Another observation: in baseball the most exciting play is an inside-the-park homer.

***
I just watched the replay of Stage 4 of the Tour and I was fascinated that they showed the heart rate and cadence of a few of the riders during the telecast. It makes me think that it might be a good idea to get a heart rate monitor for training… then again I’ve come this far without one, and I can usually tell when my heart is beating harder than usual.

Still, it was cool that the technology has come so far as to show if the riders were anaerobic. It should be especially interesting to see what those hear rates will reveal when the race hits the mountains.

Anyway, they’re still racing in flat, northern France where veteran Thor Hushovd won in a big sprint thanks to a nice lead out by teammate, Julian Dean.

Stage 4 Final
Top 10:
1.) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway
2.) Robbie Hunter, Barloworld, S. Africa, same time
3.) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, Spain, s.t.
4.) Erik Zabel, Milram, s.t.
5.) Danilo Napolitano, Lampre, Italy, s.t.
6.) Gert Steegmans, Quick Step, Belgium, s.t.
7.) Robert Förster, Gerolsteiner, Germany, s.t.
8.) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium, s.t.
9.) Sebastien Chavanel, Française des Jeux, France, s.t.
10.) Mark Cavendish, T-Mobile, Great Britain, s.t.

Overall, not much has changed though CSC has made good on the promise to defend Yellow for as long as possible. There was an interesting story about it today in The New York Times as well as an excellent post from Martin Dugard in his blog.

For the record, Fabian Cancellara knows his time in Yellow will be short.

“For me, when I get into the mountains, it’s sure that it’s finished,” Cancellara said.

Overall
1.) Fabian Cancellara, Team CSC, Switzerland
2.) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, Norway, at :29
3.) Andreas Klöden, Astana, Germany, at :33
4.) David Millar, Saunier Duval-Prodir, Great Britain, at :41
5.) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, USA, at :43
6.) Bradley Wiggins, Cofidis, Great Britain, at :43
7.) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, at :33
8.) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel, Russia, at :45
9.) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, Belgium, at :46
10.) Vladimir Karpets, Caisse d’Epargne, Russia, at :46

The race will change a bit tomorrow when the riders face the first real climbs on the way from Chablis to Autun, covering 113 miles.

Yes, wine country.

***
Floyd Landis was on NPR’s Talk of the Nation this afternoon from Chicago. If you have Real Player and 30-minutes to spare, check it out here.

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