"Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned but heaven hath no sweetness like a sports fan vindicated." - Samcat

Monday, February 28, 2005

Double Vision

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I take it back, THIS is what heaven looks like.

Like Sam, Beth, Hoo and frankly any Sox lovin' female with a pulse, I can't get over this either. So, yeah, Teks In Stereo.

Seeing Double

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Apparently, there is another Varitek. Meet Jason's little bro, Justin.

From the Herald, (thanks, Hoo!):

At first glance, it appeared that Varitek had a stunt double on hand but it was only younger, look-a-like brother Justin, who was in uniform for the day. Justin Varitek played three minor league seasons in the Seattle Mariners system and with the independent St. Paul Saints and Berkshire Black Bears before becoming an assistant coach at Rollins College, in Winter Park, Fla.

"Look alike?" I'd say they're damn near identical. *Kristen does happy dance*

Good genes in that family.

Per Hoo: "Tek bookends." Excuse me while my brain explodes.

Just Say No

This is man-love:

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This is man-love on crack:

Any questions?

Wide A-Wake

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On a team full of idiots, goofballs, cowboys and cavemen, it's important not to overlook the guy who's been there longer than any of them. Bill Mueller is often called "The Professional" but I would argue that title is just as apt for Tim Wakefield.

Boston.com has a good article on Wake today. Of note:

"There's no question in my mind I can pitch until my mid-40s," he said, "[but] I'm not going to pitch that long."

Are you sure?

"No, I'm not sure," he said, "but I'm positive I can pitch to at least 42. If I sign a two- or three-year extension that would carry me to 42.

"The whole reason I want to pitch longer is I want my son to know what Dad did. I want to share the experience with him."

Baby Trevor may not be old enough to understand what his daddy does just yet. But he's got a hell of a legacy to look forward to.

Thanks, Wake. We'll see you soon.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Bye, Ty

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According to Boston.com, the Patriots have released Ty Law.

Colleen gon' be pissed, he was her Patriot baby daddy. First Pedro, now Ty. I say we stop letting Colleen have baby daddies in Boston. All in favor?

What Might Have Been

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(I love it when you call me Big Papi)

Hoo's already posted on this but it was sent to me via a coworker (thanks, Bridget) and it had me giggling madly and wiping tears from my eyes.

Title of the thread on NYYFans.com: "Should the Yankees Take a Look at David Ortiz?"

Salient (heh) points:

"i think the yankees have enough 1st baseman/dh types..." - KLJ

"Yeah, with the signing of Zeile there's really no role for Ortiz." - Mr. Mxylsplk

And perhaps most deliciously: "he's a fat and he can't run or field. we have enough DHs. and most importantly, he's very injury prone, which isn't a good sign for someone his age. all the guy does is hit home runs. besides that, he's worthless." - Trojan Pony

To all of them I say, "NEENER, NEENER!"

Has the season started yet?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

'Round and Around We Go

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(Like Wheel of Fortune, except without Vanna)

I am not a sports writer. But I do like to spout off unintelligibly about all things sports if given the chance. Even things I may not know too much about. Like basketball. Today was, well, with the trade deadline and all, it was sorta busy. Now let me see if I have this right.

Chris Webber joins Allen Iverson in Philly as the Sixers ship Brian Skinner, Kenny Thomas and Corliss Williamson to Sacramento. So now Webber and Iverson make a scary combo and everyone in Boston goes “shit!” while Mer does a happy dance.

Antoine Walker comes back to the Celtics after Danny Ainge essentially went, “Oops, my bad,” (and probably panicked a bit after the whole C-Webb to the Sixers thing). We sent Gary Payton, Tom Gugliotta, Michael Stewart and a first round draft pick to the Hawks. So now Pierce and Walker are back together again. Reunited and it feels so good! Reunited and it’s understood…

I guess that makes Jiri Welsch expendable so he goes to the Cavaliers for a 2007 first round draft pick. Maybe he can join Lebron’s posse.

Old friend (or thorn in side) Vin Baker gets packaged with Moochie Norris and ends up in Houston, hanging with Yao.

There were some other names bandied about as well – Nazr Mohammed, Jamison Brewer, Malik Rose, Eduardo Najera, Nikoloz Tskitishvili (and I thought “Mientkiewicz” was difficult), Rodney White, Mike James, Zendon Hamilton, Reece Gaines, Baron Davis, Speedy Claxton (Heh, “Speedy”), Dale Davis, Keith Van Horn (Ooo, I’ve heard of him!), Alan Henderson, Calvin Booth, Jamal Mashburn, Rodney Rogers and Glenn Robinson. But frankly, none of that really affects my team either directly, (like the prodigal son Walker deal) or indirectly, (like the C-Webb business) so it’s all so much alphabet soup to me. Chances are, if you follow a basketball team, someone you know just got traded or acquired or demoted to sweat mop up boy. Sure hope all them kids here in Boston hung on to their Walker jerseys.

I think I’m semi-happy about this. If this truly was Ainge realizing his mistake in trading away Walker in the first place, and doing what it’s in his power to do to make things better, then good. I appreciate that. If it was reactionary to the Sixers C-Webb deal, that’s a little different. Let’s see, let me attempt to put this in terms I can more easily deal with. If the Yankees trade for Randy Johnson and then, ah, no, that won’t work. Um, okay, if the Yankees beat us out to get a Cuban flamethrower, crap. Um, if the Yankees pick up a loud-mouthed shortstop-turned-third baseman after we couldn’t close the deal for him and then he gets into a fight with our catcher and...okay, um, never mind. My point being, reactionary trades aren’t necessarily the best thing. But in this instance, it might work out. I listen to enough WEEI (more than is strictly healthy, I’m guessing), to know that there are plenty of people around these parts who are still pissed that Ainge traded Walker and Tony Delk to the Mavs in the first place. They think he belonged here. They should be happy about this.

As far as downside goes, I wonder about Gary Payton’s influence on the whole thing. I know that when GP first came to Boston, he wasn’t all that happy about it. There was talk of him retiring and leaving the Celts in the lurch but he did the stand up thing, suited up, and played. He became a calming influence to the often exasperated – and exasperating – Paul Pierce, essentially telling him that he was too good to be making the Peyton Manning face when things didn’t go well. Apparently, Payton was also becoming something of a mentor to the 23-year-old Marcus Banks as well. (Also, 23? Yeah, I feel accomplished). And now GP’s gone, leaving that task largely to Pierce. And Walker, I suppose but I have to think it can’t be that easy being an on again, off again kind of guy and attempting to remain influential. I suppose we shall see how it all plays out.

In other, completely unrelated news, thanks to Netflix and the interminable month after the Super Bowl and before Opening Day, I’ve started watching the ESPN series, “Playmakers.” Partly because I never watched it when it was broadcast originally and it was deemed controversial and I’m usually one that goes, “Ooo, controversy? Let me at it!” Partly because it’s ostensibly about football and me? I like the football. And partly because it read like a season-long advertisement for Under Armour and eye black, both of which do funny things to me and should probably be considered controlled substances when I’m around. So more than a little bit because it is, as Amy would say, “an orgy of man-hot.”

The verdict so far is a resounding, “Eh?” It’s not a bad show. But it’s not a good one either. It is a bit demoralizing in that, aside from linebacker Eric Olczyk (Jason Matthew Smith), the requisite warrior with a heart of gold (#54, coincidence? I think not), there is not a single “player” on the team who isn’t a completely contemptible person. In one locker room – the Everytown Cougars – (I’m assuming “Everytown” as the uniforms are vaguely Lions-esque but there’s never any definitive city given), there are coke heads, wife beaters, criminals, murderers and juice heads. So it’s sort of like the Raiders, only with blue uniforms.

Look, I love football and I’ll watch it in pretty much any form, fictional or otherwise. I’ve even been known to watch arena football when nothing else is on. Hey, sometimes I’m rewarded with shots of Philadelphia Soul partial owner Jon Bon Jovi hanging with Bill Belichick (an unlikely combination if ever there was one). But I suppose that part of being a Patriots fan is expecting all football teams to be the Sunshine Huggy Bunch, a locker room full of good guys who babysit each other’s kids and send Christmas cards to each other’s moms. It’s probably unrealistic to expect that of a fictional team. Especially considering that in the real world, people consider the Patriots “boring.” Of course, by “people,” I mean, “not Patriots fans” and frankly, I don’t much care what not Patriots fans think. But my point is that in a world where Ray Lewis, Bill Romanowski, Jason Kidd and Kobe Bryant exist and draw headlines, it’s kind of hard to have a team that doesn’t have a single “thug or criminal” on it. But I think Hollywood can go a bit overboard with their depictions of “real life.” Example: in the episode I’m currently watching, the team’s marquee running back has just stolen morphine pills from a sick kid during a hospital visit, a veteran running back has been arrested for spousal abuse and a wide receiver has just sucker punched a gay man in a bar despite the fact that he, himself is gay. And no, I’m not kidding.

I’m not sure if I’d like this show more or less if it was less over the top, but I’d be interested to find out. It won’t happen since, to the best of my knowledge, ESPN didn’t get good ratings for “Playmakers” and they haven’t re-upped it for another season. But until Opening Day – excuse me, Open-RING Day! – it might take care of my football fix. I said “might.” I’m not going to stop searching absolutebrady.com. And neither should you.

Kristen vs. the Glass

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(Keith "Hot Lips" Foulke looks much the way I feel)

So apparently Kristen's hand + sudsy water + drinking glass = pain, suffering and bloodshed. At present, my right hand looks as though I've lost a fight with a particularly feisty lawnmower and the blood-soaked towels on my bedroom floor may lead the landlord to believe that someone has met an especially gruesome death. As such, posting something of substance today may be difficult. But I shall try my darndest. In the meantime, should you want to read more about the Great New England Road Trip of Aught Five, check out Amy's hilarious synopsis. Seriously, this shit makes me laugh and I was there.

Road Trip!
Road Trip: Friday
"What Are You Doing In Portland?"
Negotiable American Currency
The Happiest Place on Earth
IKEA Related Dialogue

Also, Chris Webber to the Sixers, Randy Moss to the Raiders (how apt) and the release of Earthwind Moreland. Discuss. And read some of those fantastic blogs over there to your right. No, over there. Yeah, read 'em. I shall try to be back in fighting form soon.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


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(Happy good times all around)

If you need me, I'll be sitting in the corner, curled up in the fetal position, rocking back and forth with hysterical laughter, garnering worried looks from my coworkers...again. Oh, Sam.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


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(Do you believe in Miracles?)

I am aware that the whole of my bank account is currently lining the pockets of burly, Swedish men named Bjorn and Sven who are responsible for the "some assembly required" boxes in my bedroom and as such, I do not have extra money to buy this. But so help me, I'm going to do it anyway.

Also, this is a fascinating article from today's New York Times, attacking the Miracle on Ice from the other side. (Thanks to soxfan for pointing it out).

Of note:

"Their eyes were bright, their eyes were burning," [forward Sergei] Makarov said. "It was team."

Interesting that the Soviets, at least in retrospect appreciate the American comaraderie.

"I don't have mine [silver medal]," Makarov said. "I think it is in garbage in Lake Placid jail."

In the cleanup of the Olympic Village, according to "The Boys of Winter," workers found 121 empty vodka bottles in the drop ceilings of the Soviet units.

I found this story interesting for two reasons. One is that we, as Red Sox fans particularly, are often associated with the heartbroken losers. There are many anecdotes about losses destroying us and driving us to tears. On more than one occasion, the 2004 ALCS win over the Yankees has been likened to the Americans beating the Soviets in the Miracle on Ice with USA's gold medal win over Finland paralleling the Sox win over the Cardinals in the World Series. It's just interesting to read the perspective of the loser in this instance.

Secondly, these players lived and died this game. Read the article for more. It's sad that a game that once meant so much to us as a nation, is now little more than a treacly footnote. Okay, that's it. I swear I'm done preaching about hockey. As you were.

Back in Action

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(I believe this is what heaven looks like)

I have returned from traversing the wilds of New England in a beat up Subaru Forster with Amy by my side and cheesy music blaring from the CD player. Thanks to the good folks at Strafford Tire, the car was not screeching along. Though, when given the choice between Ashlee Simpson and a loose timing belt, it’s a tough decision.

I did my damndest to try and refrain from talking about sports the entire weekend. A few comments as to the aesthetic merits of our new bullpener or a get well kiss tossed in the direction of Tedy’s North Attleboro home were acceptable. But for the most part, I stuck to other issues. Except for dinner with my parents on Friday night which derailed into a five-hour session of “Why People Who Have Dinner With This Family Don’t Come Back” in which my dad and I got into an “I can yell louder than you” conversation about an old Houston Oilers hat I found in his closet and took to wearing 50 Cent style at the dinner table.

But on Saturday morning Amy and I set out for Portland and I discovered that, despite all evidence to the contrary, I am in fact capable of talking about things other than sports. Of course, three days without Sportscenter or internet connectivity left me feeling a bit, shall we say, adrift. A rundown of what I missed.

  • The NHL season was cancelled. Then it was uncancelled. Then it was cancelled again. Gary Bettman got snippy with the players. The players got snippy with Gary Bettman and now everyone is giving everyone else the silent treatment. Excellent, this is how adults handle things. Ignore the problem and hope it goes away. Idiots. Also, America still doesn’t care. Sigh.
  • It’s the 25th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice. *pops over to Netflix and adds “Miracle” to top of queue.* This, of all things, should make people care about hockey. It does not. Everyone is watching spring training reports. Sigh. Miracle on Ice, people? Big deal? Good vs. Evil? Surely you’ve heard of this. Argh.
  • The NBA held it’s All Star Weekend in Denver. I watched the skills competition in a crowded Portland bar on Saturday night wherein Amy and I decided that, as Mer pointed out on her blog, Kyle Korver is clearly Ashton Kutcher’s evil twin (or perhaps it’s the other way around), Steve Nash deserves a share of Amare Stoudemire’s props for making the Slam Dunk finals (and dude surely played soccer in a past life to be able to head a ball off the backboard like that). Likewise, Kenyon Martin who did not so much as flinch when Josh Smith jumped OVER him to clinch the winning dunk. I argue with the best of ‘em that the NBA is played too much above the rim and watching a game feels like watching a skills competition. But when you’re actually watching the skills competition, well, it’s kind of fun.
  • The Eastern Conference won the All-Star Game besting the West, 125-115. Allen Iverson won the MVP award. That’s pretty much all I have to say about that since during said game, I was eating what appeared to be crack-laced pizza in Rhode Island. Either that or there was a serious case of Highway Hijinks happening as Amy and I were cracked. Completely cracked.
  • Outside the Newport Creamery where we ventured for ice cream, a newspaper box for the Providence Journal was featuring this fetching picture on their front page. Amy was on the phone with Erik when I started squealing and jumping around.

Erik: The hell?
Amy: Oh, nothing, Kristen’s about to get her tongue stuck to a newspaper dispenser.
Erik: Oh, right.

  • Position players reported for Spring Training. David Ortiz was hilarious. Bro-Yo was adorably huggable. Apparently everyone hates A-Rod and has stopped just short of threatening his mother. Jason Varitek wore some hideous sunglasses. I developed a crush on Matt Mantei.
  • My dad and I went on a bizarre tangent involving strange things that happen at baseball games. Eventually, this prompted me to find links to Izzy Alcantara’s karate kick fiasco and Randy Johnson’s exploding seagull caper to erase the confused looks from my Mom and Amy’s faces.
  • My mom put her feet on the commemorative issue of Sports Illustrated, eliciting much squeaking in protest from me. She actually apologized to the magazine and said, “I’m so sorry, Thomas,” before setting it lovingly aside. Now you people know where I get it from.
  • I asked a charming fellow in a bar in Portland if he was a Yankees fan. Said boy had eight heart attacks and I spent the next twenty minutes calming him and assuring him that I only asked because I make it a rule never to indulge Yankees fans in conversation and I sure as hell wouldn’t allow one to taunt me. I ended up showing him the piece of championship parade confetti I keep in my wallet to calm him down. And no, that’s not a euphemism.
  • I purchased a Celtics hat and a Pats Championship sweatshirt in North Conway for half price. I very nearly bought a Richard Seymour jersey too but it was white and I want blue. I called my dad (not an NBA fan) to inform him of the Celtics hat purchase.
Dad: You know what Corey Dillon says.
Me: What does Corey Dillon say, dad?
Dad: Not in my house!
Me: My head is cold. It’s between football and baseball seasons. What do you want me to do?
Dad: Wear a Bruins hat.
Me: How about I wear the Celtics hat and you wear that butt-ugly Oilers hat?
Dad: Ouch.

  • The Patriots are prepared to slap the franchise tag on Adam Vinatieri. While I am not sure if this is a good or bad thing from Vinatieri’s perspective, I assume it will help them retain him. Which they need to do. Now.
  • Did I mention spring training started in earnest?

Did I miss anything?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Road Trippin'

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Captain's Orders

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Read this immediately and I defy you not to wet yourself laughing.

You should be reading this site every day, regardless. I shouldn't have to prompt you. First thing. Before coffee even. Read it. I'm not kidding around here.

Them's Fightin' Words!

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(photo from Boston.com)

David Wells on A-Rod:

“I remember reading the press conference or something when he went there. [to New York] He said: ‘When we.’ He said a ‘we’ in his comment about like he’s won three of four rings with them and he hadn’t, and that kind of disturbed me. He shouldn’t put himself in that category. You’ve got to earn it. It’s like he’s been there the whole time.”

I read this on the T this morning, albeit half asleep and drooling in my coffee (you all have Beth and endless one-upmanship on the part of Joaquin Phoenix and Tom Brady to blame for that) and so help me, I thought, “Boomer, you just might fit in here, after all.”

The man has been a member of the Red Sox in an official capacity for one day and he’s already badmouthing a Yankee. Cheers. I still don’t know about the whole Wells thing seeing as how I’ve spent the better part of my life actively hating the man. But, and I say this with more than slight trepidation, if he keeps up the attitude and pitches like he can, especially against the Yankees, I might just let bygones be bygones.

I would, however, prefer that he wore sleeves.

Randy Johnson about the Red Sox:

“I haven’t done anything to them. So they’ll be mad at me if I pitch well against them? Bring it on then.”

Oh, Randy. We’ll forgive you the asinine comment because you’re new here. But come on, man, you’re a reasonably smart guy. You were, if we remember correctly, partially responsible for vanquishing said Yankees on a November night in Arizona a few years ago. And I believe, if my hops-riddled mind is not playing tricks on me, that when your purple-outfitted Diamondbacks came to Boston the following year for an interleague series, you were feted as though you were a local son simply for beating those pinstriped princesses. So this rivalry thing isn’t new to you. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.

He says he knows what he’s gotten himself into. He says he’s up for the challenge. He says he’s ready to win. Okay, have at it, big fella. Jayson Stark doesn’t think you know what you’re in for. He thinks you perhaps might not be familiar with this type of pressure. Let’s leave it to the immortal Billy Joel, shall we?

But you will come to a place
Where the only thing you feel
Are loaded guns in your face
And you'll have to deal with

Hey, the Joelster’s a New Yorker. Maybe he understands.

Oh, Randy. Personally, I would love to see your 6 foot 10 frame crumble under said pressure but I’ve a sneaking suspicion you’re too good for that. Maybe it’ll just mess with your head a bit. Let’s hope there are no roving cameramen in the way.

Some people claim that they don’t like the fact that the players on the Sox and the Yankees appear not to like each other. They say it makes for antagonistic baseball. Me? I freakin’ love it. Much more disturbing to me was watching Jeter slide hard into second and then practically whip out his wallet to share snapshots of his nieces and nephews with Nomar. That shit is upsetting. These teams used to hate each other. There was no love lost between Carlton Fisk and Thurmon Munson. And the games were better for it. Baseball has a tendency to be a gentlemanly, pastoral, “Boys of Summer” type game played in summer twilight with fireflies and gospel choirs humming quietly in the background. I’ll take some fireworks. Some death metal. Some bench-clearing if that’s what it takes to stoke the fires.

Perhaps the whole A-Rod saga is what we needed to get this blood feud started again. Perhaps Varitek’s mitt sammich to Slappy’s overly moisturized face is what it took. Perhaps it was Gary Sheffield’s comments that the Red Sox were a “walking disaster.” To which Johnny Damon replied in true self-deprecating, idiots, fashion, “Give us a little credit. We’re a total disaster.” Whatever it was, I, for one, am happy for it.

No pussyfooting around with the rings. In fact, I would pay real, negotiable American dollars, of which I do not have many, to watch the entire ceremony play out as Red has so brilliantly outlined over here. Real money, people. Let’s make it happen. Let’s then capture the looks on A-Rod’s and the freshly minted Unit’s faces as the pressure mounts and the weight becomes realized. Let’s make it a Kodak moment, splash it across billboards all over the entire six-state New England region and sell postcards featuring “The Slap” and “The Steal.” Greetings from Boston, indeed. Let’s get the blood boiling, people. The season starts soon.

Bring. It. On.

Thursday, February 17, 2005


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(photo from Boston.com)

Curt Schilling arrives at spring training in a Tedy Bruschi jersey in what can only be a show of solidarity and support for the ailing Patriots linebacker. Thank you, Curt. We needed that.

Requiem for a Lost Season

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For those of you who don't care about hockey, and I'm betting that's damn near everyone, you can look at this or this. The rest of you, read on.

Hockey: a game played on an ice rink by two opposing teams of 6 skaters each who try to knock a flat round puck into the opponents' goal with hockey sticks.

I figured a definition might be necessary as those of us currently living in the Land of Milk and Honey, or the Land of Plenty, or Titletown, or Trophytown, or, you know, New England, might have forgotten about a little game called hockey. Can’t really blame you if you have. No one’s been paying much attention to it for a few years now. You might have heard though, in and amongst the rumblings about pitchers and catchers reporting and Trot laying the verbal smackdown on A-Rod, that the NHL has been forced to cancel its 2004-2005 season after the players and owners couldn’t reach a decision on a collective bargaining agreement. This is too bad. This is a bad thing. Hockey is in trouble, people. And you should care.

No, no, don’t you shrug your shoulders at me. This matters.

I understand in a town that’s delivered us three sports championships in the last calendar year, we’re having trouble paying attention to something that isn’t somehow Red Sox or Patriots related. I get that. I know. Me too. But we’ve got a team ‘round these parts that’s been known to win their share of things too. No, I’m not talking about the Celtics. They’re still playing, or they will be once they return from the All-Star Break. I’m talking about the Bruins. The Black and Gold. Orr, Bourque, Neely, Middleton, Raycroft, Thornton, Samsanov and Bergeron. Past and present. And, *gulp* hopefully, future.

The National Hockey League is in shambles. Fans don’t watch it on television because it does not lend itself to the format. People don’t attend games in person because the tickets have gotten prohibitively expensive. Anyone who cares enough about hockey to go to a game can go watch college hockey for a significantly lower price. But it’s not the same.

There are many reasons why professional hockey is in trouble. Not the least of which is the fact that the players and owners are deadlocked over the ideas of a salary cap, revenue linkage and contraction. But there are other problems as well. Hockey, unlike football, does not translate particularly well to television and therefore, does not have the same lucrative contract that football does. Networks have attempted to remedy this in the past but aside from the disastrous addition of the “glowing puck” that Fox introduced a decade or so back, little leeway has been made.

There are too many teams and therefore, too much market saturation. There is little need for a team in Nashville or, god help us, Phoenix. Who plays, or cares about, hockey in Arizona? Yes, I know that the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup last year but they beat out the Calgary Flames (Calgary, now that’s a hockey town!) to do it. True, some of the teams in traditionally non-hockey areas are expansion teams (Carolina is the former Whale of Hartford) but really, do people in the hot, Southern states need this much hockey?

Perhaps to fix some of these problems, hockey needs to, as has been suggested, stop thinking of itself as one of the Big Four. Previously, that had been football, baseball, basketball and hockey. But recently, hockey’s popularity has dwindled at an alarming rate and Nascar has replaced it as a spectator sport. Nascar, people! This is not good. If you are more fascinated by watching a guy drive around in circles for hours than you are by a bone-crushing hip check, then you’ve got more problems than I can solve.

But that leads me to my point (‘bout time, yes I know). Aside from all the problems and issues and backbiting and arguing and labor disputes and egos and contracts and the giant mess the NHL finds itself in right now, hockey is still a fantastic sport. It is, as Mer points out, “the most beautiful, artistic, poetic sport in the world.” And it is worth watching.

I grew up in a hockey family. My brother started playing when he was young and he continues to this day in a men’s league. I’m used to being around the game. I figure skated myself for many years and I was forever sharing ice time and warm-up room benches with hockey players. (My own personal attempt at hockey ended with much wailing and gnashing of teeth and bruised patellas so let’s just leave it at that). So maybe I appreciate the game more than most people considering that it has always been at least a peripheral part of my life. But the fact that people can’t or won’t care, is staggering to me. In an email to Mer, I said: “I've long thought that hockey, if you don't know anything about it, looks like complete chaos. Guys strap blades to their feet and skate all over the ice while trying to put a little rubber disk into a net with a curved stick. But, as you said, if you do understand it, it is poetic. There are few things more breathtaking to watch than a perfectly executed butterfly save or a top shelf wrist shot.” The adrenaline is addictive.

Picture it: a forward takes the scorching pass from his center. He crosses center ice, stickhandling and moving the puck from left to right. He dekes out one then two defenders. It’s just him and the goalie who he fakes out with a sweet move to his right. Wrist shot, top shelf. Goal! It’s a beautiful thing. And we’re missing it.

Hockey is such a throwback game, when it’s played right. Admittedly, I have a soft spot for the good ole days of hockey, most of which I didn’t even live through. Quoth Mer: “I have good-old-days syndrome when it comes to hockey. I definitely think the sport was so much better in the mid 70s. I love watching video of games from that era. No advertising on the boards or ice, very few helmets, goalies with scary-as-fuck masks and faces of stone, and absolutely no clutching and grabbing. Just hockey in its purest form.” Exactly. Today there is far too much Steve Moore/Todd Bertuzzi, Marty McSorley/Donald Brashear business, but when the sport is played right – clean hits, sharp passes, crisp shots – it’s a fantastic thing to watch. I said: “You are right. And hockey goalies have the coolest freakin' nicknames. Razor, The Bulin Wall, Felix the Cat, Beezer, The Dominator, Cujo. What's cooler than that?”

Come on, people. Get on board.

Yesterday, right before the season was officially cancelled, the players and owners agreed on a salary cap in principle, a concession the players weren’t previously willing to make. Then Commissioner Gary Bettman cancelled the season: "It is my sad duty to announce that because a solution has not yet been attained, it is no longer practical to conduct even an abbreviated season," Bettman said. "Accordingly, I have no choice but to announce the formal cancellation of play." Now we’re back to square one.

I can only hope that this is not the death rattle for what will be a slow and painful demise to the NHL. The players, many of them barely old enough to shave yet possessed of some superhuman talent, are missing out on their formative years. The fans are being robbed of some extremely good competition (or it could be, if the right circumstances are met). And the owners are missing out on what could potentially be hugely lucrative if they’d only learn how to market their product correctly.

I hope this is not the beginning of the end. I sincerely do. I appreciate the Patriots and the Red Sox more than anyone but from one hockey-deprived soul to the greater nation as a whole, I implore them: Bring it back.

Charge the Batteries

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Pitchers and catchers report to camp...

*does happy chair dance*

Full Tilt, Full Time

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Get well soon, Tedy.

Love, Patriot Nation

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Blades of Silence

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(R.I.P. 2005 NHL season)

The NHL season has officially been cancelled.


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Like Father, Like Son

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Ray Bourque (center) celebrates his first NHL goal.

Chris Bourque (19) celebrates his overtime game winner in the Beanpot.

“He'd say, ‘I'm gonna be like you, dad. You know I'm gonna be like you.’” – Harry Chapin

It sounds strangely familiar. “Bourque, with a shot in overtime, won the game and took home the MVP.” We’ve heard this before ‘round these parts. Seemingly more than once. After all, this is Boston. Ray Bourque belongs to us. Sure, he won his Stanley Cup in Colorado but when all is said and done, the man from Montreal who began his playing career at age 18 is a Bostonian through and through. For 18 seasons, we got used to his heroics and his steady play on the ice. He did the black and gold proud. He was our guy. He played to make his fans and his family proud. Number 77 will forever be remembered in this town and the phrase, “Bourque named MVP” will forever resonate. It was uttered again last night. Except this time, the player wore number 19. This time it was the son who did his father proud.

Chris Bourque is nineteen years old. He’s a freshman at Boston University and plays forward for the Terriers. Last night, his heads-up shot in overtime won the Beanpot for Boston University for the 26th time in history. His dad never did that.

"Scoring the overtime winner was like my dad in the '96 All-Star Game when he won the MVP," [Chris] Bourque said. "I guess it was fun."

History is full of sons who’ve tried to live up to their fathers’ legacies. John, Sean and Julian Lennon, Martin and Charlie Sheen and even George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. But perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the world of athletics. Bobby and Barry Bonds, Bob and Brian Griese, Bobby and Brett Hull, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr. Now you can add Ray and Chris Bourque to that list.

To make your dad proud is difficult enough. We all strive to do it, whether we admit it to ourselves or not. There are plenty of children who have followed in their father’s footsteps and attempted to accomplish something similar to their dads. But what if what your dad accomplished was to be one of the greatest of all time? If you join the family business, so to speak, what do you build on? How do you make your dad proud?

If you’re Chris Bourque, being named MVP in the 2005 Beanpot tournament is a good way to start. But in truth, it began much earlier than that. The younger Bourque was a standout player at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts before enrolling at Boston University. He was drafted in the 2nd round (33rd overall) of the 2004 NHL draft by the Washington Capitals. For comparisons sake, his dad was drafted in the first round, (8th overall) by the Bruins in the 1979 draft. Were the NHL playing right now, we might well see another Bourque patrolling pro ice. At present, college hockey is all we’ve got, and the Beanpot is just about as good as it gets. We should consider ourselves lucky that we’ve got another Bourque to watch as well.

Last night after the game, a reporter interviewed Bourque on the ice. “Put a Bourque in Boston and something good happens, huh?” the reporter asked. For a split second, a cloud crossed Bourque’s face. You’d miss it if you weren’t looking closely but it was there. A cloud that said, “Can you please stop asking me about my dad?” But then it was gone. “Yeah,” Bourque said, “I guess so.”

He knows how this works. He understands that if you are the son of arguably the best defensemen ever to play professional hockey (with apologies to Bobby Orr), and you choose to make your career in hockey as well, you have some mighty big skates to fill. True, Chris is a forward while Ray played defense but that is merely semantics to a national sports media hungry for another father/son story. No one wants to say complimentary things about Barry Bonds anymore, Brian Griese is nothing to write home about and the Earnhardt thing is largely played out. We need fresh blood. Bourque is it. I hope he’s up for the challenge.

Personally, I grew up watching Ray Bourque play. He was and most likely always will be my favorite hockey player. My brother, an athlete and also a defenseman, idolized him. He learned much of what he knows about the game of hockey from watching Ray Bourque play. Everything from sportsmanship to speed skating techniques to the way he tapes his stick has some Bourque in it. He couldn’t have a better role model.

I don’t know if Chris understands that he’s inheriting that too. When his father lost three teeth to a high stick during his last season in Colorado and he wouldn’t let the media film him before he got them fixed because he didn’t want to glamorize the violence of hockey, he passed that along to his son as well. When he spoke to my then nine-year-old brother who had waited in line for three hours for an autograph and made sure to address him by name, he passed that along to his son as well.

It would be one thing if Ray Bourque had been an average player or a goon or a flashy, talented pretty boy. But he wasn’t. He was the consummate sportsman, a 5-time Norris Trophy (top defenseman) winner, 19 time All-Star and a Stanley Cup winner (2001). He served as the quiet and stoic captain of the Bruins and then the Avalanche for a combined 21 seasons and grinded it out, day in and day out on the ice. Bourque was not blessed with the natural talent of a Gretzky or a Lindros so he worked himself twice as hard. His son has inherited that too.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. But Chris Bourque has the fortune of being the son of an athlete who meant so much to a city and a region. He has a lot to live up to. I don’t know if he’ll do it. I don’t know if he’ll accept the challenge. I don’t know if he’ll continue the Bourque family legacy. But there is one thing I do know, he’s already made his dad proud.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Poetry in Motion

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A good read.

"Without sports, 17.3 million New Englanders wouldn't worship one man's foot." - ESPN advertisement

That ad was published in the Boston Sunday Globe following the Patriots' win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. A year later, it's no less true.

Since the Patriots are evidently incapable of winning Super Bowls by more than three points, we have Adam Vinatieri to thank yet again. Somehow you knew that was going to happen. Shortly before this year's Super Bowl, I was watching the NFL Films DVD of last year's contest and during the Media Day interviews, someone asked Vinatieri what he thought of Carolina. He replied, "They're a tough team. They're going to give us a run for our money. Who knows, maybe it'll come down to a kicker in the end." How very prophetic.

At this point, it's getting to be old hat. Pats get to the Super Bowl. Smashmouth football ensues for the better part of four hours. Vinatieri lines up to drill one through the uprights. Patriots win by three and are the team left standing and hoisting the Lombardi trophy at the end. Yawn. (Sense the sarcasm, people, before you start sending me hate emails accusing me of being another apathetic Patriots fan. This is not getting old. At all.)

And it's not just the Super Bowl winning kicks. Vinatieri is the very definition of clutch. Mike Vanderjagt (or "Vanderjerk" per Rodney "No respect!" Harrison) can mouth off and call himself "money" all he wants but when the money's truly on the table, guess who bangs it through every damn time? I'll give you a hint: he shares a family tree with Evel Knievel.

And he never talks about it. Ever. Perhaps the greatest sign of respect is the way his teammates treat him. Kickers are not, shall we say, thought of as the most athletic guys on the football field. How can they be when 45-year-old Gary Anderson - he of the single bar face mask - is still lining up to kick 'em right down Main Street for the Titans? It's pretty safe to say that kickers aren't usually expected to make tackles, force turnovers, create plays or do anything other than kick. In a locker room full of guys who get pounded into lunchmeat every Sunday (and do their fair share of pounding), the kicker is usually the one left unscathed. He's relatively protected when he goes out there to do his job and no one expects anything more. So when a linebacker like Tedy Bruschi calls his kicker, "Tough, a real football player," that is no small compliment. Clearly the team views Vinatieri as one of them. When Vanderjagt claimed that the Patriots were "ripe for the picking" prior to the AFC Divisional playoff game, Bruschi, when asked for a comment said, "You want me to comment on what a kicker said?" It wasn't said, but you could almost imply that Bruschi then turned to Vinatieri and said, "Not you, dude. You're one of us."

That's the thing about kickers. Usually people only notice them when they don't do their job. (See also: Doug Brien). Most people don't pay attention when they do what they're supposed to. But then, most kickers don't possess quite the flair for the dramatic or the ice cold accuracy that Vinatieri does. Most kickers haven't consistently been put in such high pressure situations that would make a normal human being wet themselves with nerves. Most kickers haven't been responsible for the 3-point margin of victory not once, not twice, but three times in their team's Super Bowl runs. Actually, make that no kickers. None but Vinatieri.

Take a gander at these stats from the Patriots.com web page, will you. Keep in mind this is pre-2004.

  • Vinatieri has earned the reputation as one of the most clutch kickers in the history of pro football. His impressive playoff resume includes two game-winning field goals in the Super Bowl, two game-winners in the divisional playoff round and a record-tying five field goals in the 2003 AFC Championship Game.
  • Vinatieri ranks as the most accurate kicker in franchise history.
  • Vinatieri is the Patriots all-time leader in field goals with 212.
  • Vinatieri has kicked 17 field goals in the final minute of the fourth quarter or in overtime to give his team the victory, with his last seven regular-season game-winners coming in overtime.
  • Vinatieri scored 27 points during the 2003 postseason and is the top Patriots scorer in postseason annals with 81 points.
  • Vinatieri was successful on 90 percent of his field goals in 2002 (27-of-30), the highest percentage in the NFL and the highest single-season percentage in Patriots history.
  • Vinatieri boomed a franchise-long 57-yard field goal at Chicago (11/10/02).

Oh, and about that "athlete" thing?

  • Vinatieri caught Dallas’ Herschel Walker from behind and made a touchdown-saving tackle as a rookie at Dallas (12/15/96).

Elsewhere in this football crazed country of ours, kickers don't really get their due. Sure, Vanderjagt is good but even Peyton Manning, his own quarterback has called him an "idiot kicker" on occasion. There's always David Akers in Philadelphia, Morton Andersen in Minnesota, John Kasay in Carolina or Sebastian Janikowski in Oakland but not a one of them has the clutch presence of Vinatieri. Not one of them has delivered three Super Bowls with his right foot. Not one of them is worshipped by 17.3 million fans.

Vinatieri misses on occasion. He's not perfect. But he's as close to perfect as we need him to be. He quite simply makes the ones that matter. In last year's Super Bowl, he uncharacteristically missed a field goal and had an extra point blocked. But when he lined up for what would be the 41-yard game winner with nine seconds remaining on the clock, he never flinched and delivered a second Lombardi trophy to New England. He missed a 41-yarder in the Pro Bowl last night and shook it off, shrugging as if to say, "Dude, it's the Pro Bowl. We're already winning." Personally I think that since it was a picture perfect day in Hawaii and not a driving snowstorm in Foxboro and the hearts of New England weren't riding on the three points, he felt it wasn't nearly enough of a challenge. That, my friends, is a money kicker.

He won the kicking portion of the Pro Bowl's skills competition too, facing off against Philadelphia's David Akers and prompting Akers to ask, "Can I have one of your rings?" Vinatieri replied, deadpan, "No." (Read Sam's more in depth analysis of the adorable kickers convention here). The man is that good, people.

Did I mention he's also an unrestricted free agent? The man who has become as much of a New England sports icon as any other is facing potential re-employment. I know we've learned not to be sentimental around these parts when it relates to the Patriots. Postmortems on Lawyer Milloy, Drew Bledsoe, Ted Washington, Damien Woody and Antowain Smith have taught us to trust in the Patriots' decision makers. But when it comes to Vinatieri, I have two words for Pioli, Belichick and ultimately, Bob Kraft: Blank. Check.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Captain Speaks

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"The catcher, wrote incomparable New Yorker essayist Roger Angell, ``has more equipment and more attributes than players at the other positions. He must be large, brave, intelligent, alert, stolid, foresighted, resilient, fatherly, quick, efficient, intuitive, and impregnable.''

Read Gordon Edes' stellar article on Jason Varitek in Today's Globe.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Expanded Roster

Evidently, I forgot a few:
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Friday, February 11, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

No Words Necessary

Hypothesis: The Yankees have a monopoly on Muppet look-alikes.


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I really don't think further words are necessary. And if they are, I'll let you provide them. And you thought the two weeks before the Super Bowl was bad...

The Sweetest Thing

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“All empires fall sooner of later.” – Larry Lucchino.

Beth and the fellows at Surviving Grady have done this to a much better extent but, frankly, when it comes to the Red Sox finally vanquishing the Yankees, there can never be enough rehashing as far as I’m concerned. And so I sat, beer in one hand, remote in the other, and watched NESN’s rebroadcast of the 2004 ALCS Game 7. Red Sox/Yankees. Athens/Sparta. Good/Evil. Presenting, one woman’s descent into madness.

Now, keep in mind that this is all written upon the re-broadcast. I know how this game turns out. And yet still? Insanity. The first time around, I was packed into a bar in JP, tapping my leg furiously and dry heaving, unable to choke down the Oktoberfest that Mike kept thoughtfully providing, but glad it was there, lest self-medication become necessary. It was not to be. I also hadn’t seen any of these postgame interviews before as immediately after the Pokester tossed to Minky for the final out, I exploded off the barstool and out into the street where I spent the next hour or so dancing with the Dominican population of JP, hugging strangers and watching the voicemail total on my phone rise exponentially. It was perhaps the most joyous I’ve ever been. Who wouldn’t want to live that again? And so, the diary.

Top of the1st:

I sincerely hope that Mark Bellhorn demanded an apology from Tim McCarver after all the smack McCarver was talking about Bellhorn being a “highly unusual” number two hitter because he strikes out so much. Of course, Bellhorn being Bellhorn, he may not even be aware the game is being broadcast on television. God do I miss that expressionless and infuriating little monkey!

Immediately after Johnny Damon is thrown out at home plate – which I had mentally blocked out, by the way – Oritz hits a monster two-run homer. And by “immediately,” I mean “the next pitch.” What does McCarver want to talk about? Damon and how he should have stopped at third. Thanks, Tim, don’t pay any attention to the fact that the Sox are up by two now or that Brown is clearly struggling. Let’s talk about what you perceive is the Red Sox’ stupidity. Please, let’s.

Bottom of the 1st:

Shut up, Gary Sheffield, shut up and die. I hate you and your perpetual motion, metronome bat moving thing. And your sad excuse for a mustache. And your pants and the way they inexplicably remind me of Scrooge McDuck and his spats. I don’t know why it makes me think that but it does. And like Scrooge McDuck, Sheffield is not a nice man who can swim in giant vaults of his money. And so? Hatred.

Top of the 2nd:

I do believe Kevin Brown’s neck is as big as his head. Frightening, truly frightening.

I love how Joe Buck continually reminds Al Leiter of the time his Marlins blew a series lead in 1997. Yes, that will make the guy like you, remind him of his failures. Honestly, I keep forgetting that Leiter is even there thanks to McCarver’s ceaseless babbling. My father, no surprise, has been ahead of the McCarver hating curve. It’s trendy to hate him now but, as my dad says, “I’ve hated him for fifteen years.” To that end: http://www.shutuptimmccarver.com/.

According to Fox’s completely useless man in the stands commentator, some of the Red Sox players watched “Miracle” before the game. The Yankees had Bucky Dent throw out the first pitch. In case, you know, you weren’t aware of it, the Red Sox are the Sunshine Huggy Bunch and the Yankees are fucking evil. Keep in mind that I heard none of this commentary the first time around. Behold the wonder of McCarver/Buck.

Millar singles up the middle. I’m getting bounce up and down giddy just thinking of what happens shortly. Really, like, pee my pants excited.

Oh, so you mean that the team that wins this game has to go home? Thanks for clearing that up, Tim.

According to Buck, the Yankees have “Loaiza, Vasquez, Mussina and everyone else available in their bullpen.” Put in Vasquez. I beg of you. *Kristen giggles maniacally.*

Brown is on fumes. Punch a wall! Punch a wall!

Hee, “intestinal parasite.” The litany of “Brown being a flippin’ idiot” continues.

God I’m going to miss Cabrera, or, per Kerri, Chicken Man.

“The Yankees have had a lot of success with Cabrera…when they’ve gotten him out.” Ladies and gentleman, the genius of Tim McCarver.

Buck keeps reminding us that Al Leiter is there with these very obvious, “Al, tell us about this pitch selection,” questions. It’s like he’s purposely trying to make Leiter feel included. Interesting since Leiter is the only one of the trio with anything even remotely insightful to say.

Varitek looks like a warrior sitting on the bench in this red shin guards and chest protector. Like he’s ready to grab a sword, take to the field and just start decapitating anyone in pinstripes. In. Ten. Si. Ty. I’m just saying. Had this turned into an actual battle that warranted riot police like Game 6, Varitek is the guy I’d want leading the charge. Just thought I’d mention that.

Ooo! Ooo! This is the good part when Damon welcomes Vasquez to the game with a grand slam off his first pitch, right? Right? You know, this is sort of fun in retrospect. The Sox were laying the smack down and taking no prisoners. Heather, for one, is very glad that Vasquez is no longer a Yankee. She can now commence drooling over him. Seems wrong when he’s the enemy. See also: Kristen and Andy Pettitte.

Welcome to the game, Javy. If you’ll just follow Damon’s grand slam as it exits the park.

Hey, it’s Giambi on the bench. Hey, buddy, where ya been? Ladies and gentleman, the $82 million paperweight.

I almost feel sorry for Brian Cashman. Almost.

They’re still there, Manny. But thanks for checking.

Fox gives us highlights of Papi’s utter dominance. I sincerely hope the Yankees and their fans wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat screaming, “Ahhhh! Ortiiiiiiz!”

Bottom of the 2nd:

Objectively, or, as objectively as possible, I can officially say that Hideki Matsui is one ugly-ass bastard.

Buck is already trying to jinx the Sox. “The Yankees are the best come from behind team in baseball.” Good to know, Joe. “There’s not one fan of the Red Sox comfortable with a 6-0 lead in the second inning of Game 7 in New York against the Yankees.” Shut up, shut up and die, Joe.

Honestly, how does Jorge Posada put on pillowcases? The man has no chin. None whatsoever.

Top of the 3rd:

I love you, Jason Varitek! I love you to teeny, little squishy bits of awesomeness.

“Blown out of the tank?” What does that even mean? Tim’s been hanging out with John Madden again, hasn’t he? “And watch what he does with this bunt attempt here. I’m gonna show you. I want you to watch something. Boom!” God help us all.

Oh, hey, Al Leiter, forgot you were there.

Obviously, Joe, you are new here if you think Sox fans the world over are calling people to ask “Can you believe this?” It’s the third flippin’ inning. Kindly shut it.

Oh my god, my heart just filled with love for the Pokester! I hope he enjoys Seattle. I for one, will miss him dearly.

All the girls love the Bill Mueller. I am starting to see it. I love his swing. It’s one of the sweetest swings I remember. He does that follow-through where he pushes the bat with the palm of his top hand. It’s just a beautiful swing. Didn’t work there, but still.

Evidently, Derek Jeter gets his own promo and song. ‘Cause Fox is totally impartial. Bastards.

Bottom of the 3rd:

I completely forgot how fucking masterful Derek Lowe was in this game. I might actually, *gulp* miss the guy. Did I just say that?

Awww, Jeter’s all dirty. I am honestly surprised the Yankee front office Gestapo doesn’t make the players change uniforms between innings if they get dirt on them. *cue A-Rod furiously rubbing dirt on his uniform so he looks like he’s been busy too*

Tim, willing the ball to be fair does not make it so. Unless you’re Carlton Fisk. And you, sir, are no Carlton Fisk.

When Varitek throws to second to try to get a runner and his mask slides off the side of his face? I, um, at a loss for words.

I hate Jeter and his hits and his stupid Muppet face and his RBIs and his, well, his everything, frankly. *talks to self* Calm down, Kristen. It doesn’t matter. Right, okay, I’m fine.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that expression on Derek Jeter’s face.” I don’t even know what to say to that, Tim. There’s a really off-color joke in here but I’ll just leave it alone…for now.

Top of the 4th:

“Yeah, we spotted you one run but if you don’t mind, we’d like it back. Plus one” At least, that’s what I imagine Johnny Damon is saying as he follows the flight of his 2 run homer into the upper deck. 8-1 Sox.

After the Bellhorn walk, is this when we knew that the Sox were going to win? I mean, we didn’t know ‘cause they’re the Red Sox and all, but still, that was a good sign, yes?

McCarver is making fun of the hugging, specifically David Ortiz. I will now make it my personal mission in life to find that man and destroy him.

The Yankees have had $25 million in pitchers on the mound tonight. They’ve given up 8 runs. Hee. *cue happy chair dance*

An unbelievable tangent about peanuts. Hey, Al Leiter, enjoy the bathrooms?

McCarver is talking about hurricanes and riptides as relates to walks in a baseball game. Yeah, I don’t know either. Sometimes I honestly wonder if the man is completely coherent. Like, if you rapped on the side of his head, would he notice?

I’ve said it before but it warrants mentioning again; I love Jason Varitek. Not only does he get a base hit but he quite possibly injures a Yankee infielder in the process. Except now it’s not a base hit. Now it’s an error on Cairo. McCarver is displeased. “Anyone who scores that an error has never tried to field one of those. Put them out there and see how they like it.” I would pay one million dollars to watch McCarver – current McCarver, not playing days McCarver – attempt to field a scorching one-hopper. Can we do this? I’m not kidding, I will call my bank right now.

Evidently, the Sox have committed only one error in the ALCS. Marked contrast to what will eventually happen in the World Series when they turn into the flippin’ Marx Brothers out there.

Jim Leyritz is in the stands. He looks an awful like Joe Pantoliano from the Sopranos. And he wants the Yankees to win so I sincerely hope he meets a similar fate.

Top of the 7th:

NESN just skipped three innings. Pedro is warming in the bullpen. I’m so confused, it’s like time just sped up and I didn’t get to go along with it. Again, I repeat, Pedro is warming in the bullpen. This would be when my heart palpitations started. Who would have thought the sight of Pedro warming up would make me nervous? This is still the same man who came out of the bullpen in 1999 and made the Indians his bitch. What the hell is going on here?

I will say it again, more Al Leiter. Less McCarver and Buck. I believe I’ve made my point.

Felix Heredia? Yes, good choice. No, really, I mean it. Go with that. Double play, out of the inning. Fine then, be that way.

Bottom of the 7th:

Pedro is in the game. Sweet Jesus why couldn’t we have skipped this inning? I didn’t really need to relive the “Who’s Your Daddy?” business again. Okay, McCarver is questioning this move. Mc-fucking-Carver. That is not good news, Terry. And, naturally, Matsui rockets one to deep right. Naturally. Fucking Tito.

Bernie Williams hits one off the wall in center. I hate you, Yankees fans, I hate you something awful. Way to plug Yankee Stadium back in, Tito. *mumbles cursing under breath* 8-2 Sox.

8-3 Sox. Seriously? I am hyperventilating. And I know how this ends.

Hey, Captain Batting helmet, how you been? Anyone remember the Yankees bitching about Olerud’s bruised instep? Yeah, like the team that boasts a Franken-pitcher who had his flippin’ foot sewn back on is going to feel any sympathy for you.

Sometimes I wish there was a “re-insertion” rule in the majors like there is in Little League. Can Lowe go back in? Did I really just say that? Seriously, did the earth just tilt on its axis or something? I am banishing Pedro and pining for D-Lowe? Can that be right?

First of all, how fucking stupid are Yankees fans? The most insulting cheer they have all year they had to be GIVEN by Pedro? They couldn’t come up with that themselves? And their atrocious spelling on their hand-lettered signs breaks my little editor’s heart. I suppose that’s to be expected. I mean, they’re Yankees fans.

Pedro has had E. Nough. 95mph to blow away Olerud. Then he bears down and makes Cairo his bitch. Which is nice. Now can we stop these shenanigans?

Top of the 8th:

Flash Gordon is pitching with Captain Batting Helmet playing first. Bellhorn clangs the foul pole in what is frighteningly reminiscent of Todd Walker’s homer in last year’s ALCS. Fox brings out the “clang” noises again. Thanks, Fox and your crack team of sound technicians. Buck and McCarver are enamored with that sound. Enamored. They cannot stop talking about it. Evidently they are unaware that it is the 8th inning of a pivotal game. Al Leiter has fallen asleep again.

AHHHHH! Oh, sorry, Stephen King in the stands. That man is more terrifying than any of his imagined beasties.

Just ‘cause Jeter takes balls away from his center fielder does not make it a “great play.” He’s not Willie Fucking Mays out there so shut it.

Dear Jason Varitek: Name your price. Love, Kristen.

I just realized that I’m pretty sure that Jeter and A-Rod have some bizarre Morse code going on between them with their gum chewing patterns. I can’t tell you how I know this. I just have a feeling. I wonder what it means when A-rod chomps down really hard? Right, backing away from that one.

Bottom of the 8th:

Awwww, Pokey! I can't wait for him to launch himself bodily onto the pigpile. Wait, getting ahead of myself.

Hee. Buck just said, “colossal collapse.” Which? Yeah, awesome. Say it again, Joe. I believe this is the only time I’ve actually implored the man to speak.

Brian Cashman seriously needs oxygen.

Al Leiter: “Could this be the worse loss in the Yankees history?” Why yes, yes it could, Al. Thanks for asking.

McCarver just called Minky “the human vacuum cleaner,” which, I’ll admit, made me giggle. Not so much because McCarver is clever but because, hee, Minky. Hee “vacuum cleaner.” Hee. I’m nine.

You know, for Lowe being so bitter about being in the bullpen to start this series, he sure left Boston on a high note. I appreciate that. It’s nice when that happens *cough* Pedro *cough*

Top of the 9th:

Flash is still in. Fox is breaking out the “Major Upsets” graphic. They’re still trying to jinx us. And to that I say, “Neener, neener, neener!”

Cabby gets Trot home on a sac fly. Yankees fans are strangely quiet. As they should be. Forever and ever. To prove my point, a Yankees fan almost nailed Johnny Damon by throwing a foul ball back on the field. Monsters. All of them, fucking infants.

Bottom of the 9th:

Big Timlin starts off. Base hit by Ugly Godzilla. Last gasps here, people, last gasps. The fans know it too. They’re just waiting now. Hey, that’s our look.

Hi Giambi, you crazy, unblinking, steroid riddled bastard.

McCarver is breaking out “tenacity” and “exhausting.” It’s nice that someone finally gave him a thesaurus.

Rat Boy pops up. The Sox are one out away as Manny helpfully reminds us. I heart Manny.

A-Rod is pouting on the bench. Pouting, I tell you. It’s awesome. I would pay good money to see that every day. What can I say? That man’s misery amuses me.

Lofton walks. *gasp, gasp, gasp*

Embree replaces Timlin. I can only imagine the 76-year-old Ruben Sierra is thinking, “Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck.” As well he should be.

“Ground ball to second. Reese. The Boston Red Sox have won the pennant!”

And then? Pandemonium. It was beautiful.

The thing about Game 7 is that the Yankees were running scared. The Red Sox weren’t just blowing smoke when they said that the pressure was all on the Yankees. It was. Things never should have gotten to that point.

But the fact that they did and the fact that the Sox did what they did – never stopped having fun and played some kick ass baseball – is a testament to many things. Chief among them, giving up or laying off is for losers. And there are no losers in Red Sox Nation. Sleep well, members of the Nation. The World Series starts next week. Sweet dreams.