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

Monday, May 16, 2005

Pomp and Circumstance

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(These people are far more well-behaved than anyone I know)

I’m back, kids! Graduation weekend (because Friday is officially part of the weekend now, right?) was a whirlwind. Things of note that went down between Thursday morning and Sunday evening:

The Red Sox lost. Actually, no, that’s not right. The Red Sox got slapped around like the proverbial rented mule. Jeremi “I was doing so well, too” Gonzalez got his AAA ass kicked all over the field by the flippin’ Mariners of all teams and even poor Tek looked exasperated, as if he was thinking, “Let’s just call a do-over. I’ve got some pay-per-view to watch.” I could have been mad about it but really, Jeremi Gonzalez was never supposed to be anything other than a placeholder until our rotation shapes itself up again. His first two starts were bonuses. So re: Friday’s game, you win some, you lose some.

My baby brudder graduated from college! Southern New Hampshire University held its commencement exercises in the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on Friday and my family - because, as previously established, we're completely insane - took up residence in the first row of the balcony in Section 220. The better to do a choreographed wave when my brother received his diploma. Also, thanks to the cameraperson who dutifully put each graduate on the Jumbotron as they walked by. That made it much easier for us to scream our fool heads off. Apologies to Karen Miller, the poor girl who had the misfortune of being listed behind my brother in the program. Sorry we drowned you out. But if your family loved you, they would have screamed louder. The best line of the day came from Carolyn who’s college graduation from Anna Maria College was on Sunday (more on that later), “Kev gets the New Hampshire Fire Honor Guard with the drums and the bagpipes? That’s so unfair. I probably get a nun with a recorder.” Also, because Deb is awesome, Kev’s graduation present from his big sister was Red Sox tickets. Orioles/Sox. May 30th. Aww, yeah!

All day Saturday I spent working. And I mean All. Damn. Day. I swear I’m about an hour and a half away from completing this entire project and then you’ll never have to hear about it again. And I can stop having nightmares about spreadsheets and Wisconsin 12th graders. (Don’t ask.) Saturday night I started to watch the game with my dad but was out by the fourth inning. I made myself stay up until Wade “Steely Eyes of Doom” Miller gave up a hit because I’d be damned if I wasn’t watching a no-no go down, but I shuffled off to bed with the score 3-1 Mariners. My dad, in his infinite wisdom, taped the game. When I woke up the next morning and stumbled out into the living room, he had the tape on. “Perfect timing,” he said. Trot was up with the bases loaded. I plopped down on the couch, rubbing the sleepies from my eyes. “Do you know how this ends?” I asked. “I think so,” my dad said, and hit play. And just like that, Trotter did the job. I had been thinking that the Sox had been hitting an inordinate amount of grand slams this year and turns out, that was not merely a function of my overworked and under-rested brain. Trot’s grand slam was the team’s fifth of the year. They had six all of last season. Them boys can hit. I watched the remaining three innings in fast forward, partially because I needed to get ready to go to Carolyn’s graduation in Paxton, MA but mostly because Keith Foulke is less excruciating sped up. Like ripping off a Band-Aid. Apparently, he heeded mine (and Amy’s) warnings that, “Varitek and Millar will tell you, it’s always better when your kids don’t think you suck!”

Sunday commenced with a long, long, looooong drive down to Paxton, MA to Anna Maria College to watch Miss Carolyn graduate . Carolyn is…how should I explain this? Let’s see. I don’t have a sister. But if I did, Carolyn and her two older sisters, Beth and Jen, would be it. Her parents are my godparents and both of our parents went to high school together. But even that doesn’t really cover it. Let’s put it this way: my mom gave both Kevin and Carolyn a photo card of pictures taken of both of them throughout the years, starting when they were just a few months old and Baby Carolyn is giving Baby Kevin the exact same look of exasperation she gives him now. These people are as close as you can get to family without blood ties. So there was no way I was missing Carolyn’s college graduation. Even if it did mean driving all the way out to North New Backwoods, Massachusetts and freezing my ass off while standing under a tent on the lawn and listening to some ancient nun prattle on about cedar. (I don’t know.) Butch (you’ve all heard of Butch, no doubt), tried to keep a dance beat to the drumming said nun was doing (again, I don’t know), but it proved mighty difficult when she made us all turn to the East, West, South and North and say some sort of wind prayer. Bottom line, if you want a respectful crowd at your graduation, don’t invite my family.

After Carolyn grabbed the diploma that she swears Anna Maria can’t take back, we all piled in cars and headed over to a Japanese steakhouse for some post-grad celebratory munching. The crowd, as they are wont to do, found their way to the bar and arrived approximately twelve seconds after Manny had launched his 400th career home run, a three-run jack that made it 5-4 Seattle, which would prove to be the eventual final score. I’m not sure what’s going on recently but the Red Sox have a habit of doing dramatic thing when I can’t watch them. Just the other day I was in the ATM for Kevin Millar’s first homer of the season, I missed Varitek’s walk-off shot because I was at work and last night, Manny’s homer happened as I was walking from the car into the restaurant. Something fishy is going on here. Luckily, because of the enormity of the blast (and think about that for a second: four hundred home runs. Before his 33rd birthday), NESN replayed the shot again and again. Still, the gentleman with Matty Clement facial hair seated at a table near the TV was kind enough to recount the at-bat in detail for me. Most likely because when a crazed-looking blond, wielding an alcoholic drink comes tearing into the bar and bellowing about “Manny hit a homer?” you’re going to tell her whatever she wants.

And that, kids, was my weekend. These damn West Coast games are killing me but I sincerely hope that the Sox can again make Oakland their green-stocking bitches and take a few much needed games. Apparently, because we knew it was too good to be true, the Yankees are never going to lose again and Tino “True Yankee” Martinez, will single-handedly wipe out world hunger while simultaneously hitting 84 home runs. Baseball, she is a fickle mistress. Tonight it’s Saturn Balls Arroyo vs. Kirk “Excessive Use of Vowels” Saarloos, Part the Second. Here’s hoping the outcome is the same as the first time around.

Edit: Cannot believe I forgot to mention this. You know who I don't like? Ichiro. And I'm'a tell you why. And it's not because I don't think he's hot (something that has Sam all worried and equating me with a weasel), but it's because he is so frikkin' disruptive that he's bothering ME out there and I'm not even the one pitching. This is most likely one of those "Hate him because he's on the other team, would love him if he were on my team" things but I'm just sayin', if he had to, I dunno, go away for a while for some unspecified reason, I'd probably be okay with that. However, since we're all done with the Mariners this year, I'll let it slide. He is, of course, required to show up for all Mariners/Yankee games and he is most definitely required to drink an extra shot of espresso or two before games to be at his most mosquito-esque. Argh. Freakin' Ichiro.