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

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Red Sox Catcher Blood Feud Update

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(Dougie don't be needin' no bat, bitches!)

Actual email sent from yours truly to my brother following the Red Sox loss on Monday night:

"I was totally going to call you and give you shit because in the later innings, Dougie trucked out to the bullpen to start warming up relievers and he carries all of his equipment in a little rolling bag. That's lame! Real men carry their gear in a big bag on their shoulder like, ahem, the Captain."

Actual response:

"Bullshit! Dougie is the man! But that's fucking hilarious that he has a rolly bag."

And then yesterday, immediately following Dougie's 2-run homer to put the Sox ahead, I received the following:

"Told you Dougie's the man."

My response that he is, in point of fact, "A stud who hits bombs but who also carries his equipment in a rolly bag" was ignored.

The Blood Feud heats up!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


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A visual representation of last night's 8th and 9th innings.

A: Damn near everything.

Q: Name something that was more fun than watching Keith Foulke firebomb last night’s game.

I would have also accepted: tetanus tester, root canal model, live cadaver and javelin catcher for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field team.

Let’s put it this way, when I ran into Amy on the T this morning, she said, “So they won last night, right?” I dissolved into a fit of hysterical laughter while the gentleman seated next to us rolled his eyes, shook his head and said, THAT was bad.”

For real, are we being punked? There is no other explanation that I can come up with (at least not without the aid of recreational drugs) that would explain how our closer who was absolutely nails in the playoffs last year should be sucking so badly right now. And he doesn’t just suck in minor ways. Oh no. If your normal closer who blows a few games every now and again is your average, run of the mill Hoover vacuum, then Keith Foulke’s performance is that scary, bright yellow Dyson thingie advertised by the dude with the nondescript European accent. You know, the one who’s all proud of the fact that his vacuum doesn’t have any bags or filters to get in the way of the sucking? Yup, that’s Keith Foulke. Nothing to get in the way of the sucking.

I mean, I know he’s been dealing with some personal problems and allegedly they’re not pretty. Not for me to comment on because as much as I like to live in Imaginary Baseball World, I don’t actually know Keith Foulke or what goes on in his head and his personal life is none of my damn business. But so far as we know, he’s not broken so…what’s the deal?

Wait. Now I remember. Annette and I figured this out. I know who’s fault it is. Oh god, it almost pains me to say it. It’s given me an ulcer actually. I know who’s responsible for The Slow and Painful Demise of Keith Foulke. Jason Varitek.

I know, I know, I didn’t believe it either. But just listen up for a sec. It’s not because Tek is calling bad pitches because Tek, (future starting All-Star, god-willing) does NOT call bad pitches. And it’s not even because Foulke doesn’t understand his catcher. Really, it’s a matter of Varitek not knowing his own strength. Don’t believe me? Take a gander at this picture.

Right there, we can pinpoint the exact moment that Jason Varitek broke Keith Foulke.

Want further evidence? Look at this one.

That’s right, he broke Alan Embree too. I think it’s a bit too coincidental that Embree and Foulke have both been less than effective since Jason Varitek exuberantly jumped on them after the final outs of both the ALCS and World Series respectively.

Now, we all know how much I love Jason Varitek. But dudes, he is not a small man. Not by any measure. I say we start a petition to make sure that from now on, pitchers have to jump on him. I don’t want to have to live in fear of the day Arroyo pitches a no-hitter and Varitek runs out to the mound, arms splayed and jumps into Bronson’s arms, snapping his spindly stick legs like overripe celery stalks on the way down.


Despite the sucktastic performance last night of the Sox bullpen, I did get to watch the game in the company of Marianne who, between gamecasting back and forth between the Yankees/O’s game and screaming “DAAAAVEEEEE ROOOBEERRRRRTSS!” at the tiny, little pixilated image of Tom Gordon on my laptop screen, was great fun.

When Brian Roberts hit his walkoff homer off Mike Stanton’s first pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning, a loud shriek was heard down Beacon Street. That was Marianne, y’all.

“Oh shit,” she said a few moments later. “Today was Yankee Meeting Summit Thingie too.”

“Ha!” I laughed, using, as I’ve done so many times before, the Yankees’ suffering to salve my own wounds, “George is just going to start shooting people.”

Marianne laughed, “I’d love it if, in a fit of insane rage, he just up and traded Derek Jeter to the Devil Rays for like, Dewon Brazelton or something.”

“And,” I said, “He’d still refuse to move A-Rod to short.”

“Oh yeah,” Marianne replied, “He’d still be at third. And Womack would be a short. Or maybe Brazelton would have to platoon between short and pitching.”

“You know what?” I said, “Bernie Williams would be moved to short. He is a True Yankee ™ after all.”

Marianne fell over laughing.

“If Steinbrenner trades Jeter to the Devil Rays – excuse me, the Division Rival Devil Rays – and Bernie Williams ends up a short, I will pay actual American currency to get YES and watch this disaster unfold.”

“Screw that,” Marianne said, “I’ll drive my ass to New York to see it.”

Basically, it made me feel a little better.

As did, I might add, my continued snarking on the official Orioles’ program that Marianne had with her. Looking like it was designed by a remedial graphic design student with an overzealous fondness for the fade tool in Photoshop, it also featured a rather terrifying picture of Brian Roberts on the cover. He looks, minus the ears, exactly like Shrek.

Observe: Brian Roberts. Shrek. Yes?

In short, Marianne now hates me.

I don’t even know what to tell you guys about last night, aside from that it’s over. And that’s a good thing. If Keith Foulke again puts me in the position of having to defend Mark Bellhorn (that’s Steve’s territory, y’all), I am NOT going to be happy.

You know what? If MARK BELLHORN puts me in a position to have to defend Mark Bellhorn, I am not going to be happy. When I’m fielding calls from my dad that go like this: “You need to start another website. wherethehellistoddwalkerwhenyouneedhim.com!” there’s a problem.

Knock it off, you bozos. I’m not messin’ around.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Same Brand of Insane

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Just like this...but with more Bill Mueller ass discussion

Usually, people don’t make fun of you the first few times they meet you. There’s often a warming up period, a dance of social niceties wherein you tiptoe around each other and try not to offend the other person. Before you get to know each other’s sensibilities and senses of humor you stay away from off-color jokes and follow up comments with, “Um, you know, no offense or anything.” Even the most socially outgoing people tend to be on their best behavior when faced with new social situations.

Social conventions and courtesy? Meet the Surviving Grady crew.

It’s a bizarre thing, this new-fangled invention called the Internet. No longer simply a dwelling place for pedophiles and inmates (well, not entirely) it’s actually become a place where you can meet some pretty cool, like-minded people. And I don’t mean that in the “frustrating to the point of banging your head against a wall Match.com” way or even the “Oh look, here are other people that share my passion for collecting and stuffing intact road kill!” way. I mean it more in the way that it never ceases to amaze me how similar people tend to find each other across the vast reaches of cyberspace. Even when their shared passion is something as seemingly pedestrian as a baseball team, or, in fact THE baseball team, the Boston Red Sox.

In actuality, I blame Beth. It’s all her fault. This started months ago when we began emailing by chance after she happened upon this here fledgling blog and informed me, by force (if force can be gleaned via email correspondence) that I HAD TO become a member of the Surviving Grady message board. Actually, I believe her exact message was “We need you over there.” Some would call that prescient.

Fast forward to last Thursday. After having spent the past few months on “the board,” meeting a few of the more infamous faces in person and developing actual, real-life friendships with some of them (nearly satisfying my worries that none of them are, in point of fact, axe murderers waiting for the appropriate moment to strike), I thought I’d have all the local kids over for dinner at my new place. Seemingly a great idea considering that I’m not entirely unpacked yet and what I really needed was cooking for a crowd. But you have to understand, I just moved to Brookline from Weymouth which, if we’re going by its affect on my social life, may as well have been Siberia. No one came to visit me. Ever. Despite the fact that I lived on the beach and was in possession of a grill. No dice. Too far away. So now that I’m on a T line and easily accessible by many forms of transportation, I’m very nearly begging people to come over. I offer them food, drinks and, in one memorable instance, boobie cake. People tell me they’d come anyway since I’m apparently pretty cool to hang out with and my apartment is slammin’ but truth be told, I actually like hosting. I must get it from my mother.

When Beth arrived, I answered the door in my apron. And the thing is, despite the fact that this was only the third time we’d actually “met” in person, I knew instantly that she was going to make fun of me. I was not wrong.

“Look how domestic you are!” she said.

“Heh,” I laughed, “Shut up.”

When Sam called a few minutes later, and I ran down the street to rescue her, I forgot to take the apron off.

“You made me walk down the street in my apron!” I said to her. “What will my neighbors think?”

“But,” she said, holding up a grocery bag, “I brought strawberries!”

“Hmph, okay then.”

I forgot to introduce Beth to Sam because I figured since I’d met both of them before, surely they’d met each other. After all, these were the girls who’d been the founding forces behind “Three Chicks Talk Football” (along with Mer), and who adopted my wayward spirit and blustery prose sometime around the playoffs. Turns out, there was no need for an introduction. Sam is very clearly Sam and Beth is very clearly Beth. They knew each other instantly.

That’s another thing I’ve learned about this SG crew, their voices, whether on the board, on their respective blogs or in person are highly unique and distinctive. They are very much who they appear to be. No speechless wallflowers among this group.

“What do you think of this color?” I asked them, gesturing to my newly hunter-green bedroom walls. I’d been a bit trepidatious about the color since everyone I told about it kept saying, “Are you sure? That’s awfully dark.”

“Well,” Sam, a University of Michigan student shrugged, “Michigan State. But other than that, it’s great.”


Steve arrived next, bearing a bottle of wine. “What are we having?” he asked.

“Zucchini with feta, chicken florentine and key lime cheesecake. Oh, and a baby spinach and mushroom salad.” I said.

“Damn,” he said, extracting the bottle of red wine from the paper bag, “I guessed wrong.”

“That’s all right,” I said, stirring the bubbling Florentine sauce, “I like red better than white anyway.”

Steve made his way into my bedroom while I continued to futz around in the kitchen. I figured he could take care of introductions on his own and when I heard a shrieked, “STEVE BRADY!” from the other room, I knew that at least the three of them weren’t standing there, staring at each other, waiting for me to come in with dry macaroni and glitter glue and to suggest an arts and crafts bonding project.

When Caitriona appeared a few moments later, I’d just put the chicken into the oven for the final warming and was shuttling back and forth between my bedroom where, for some reason everyone stationed themselves, and my kitchen.

Annette arrived last, bearing bread from the North End. She’d been to my place before and when I opened the door she greeted me by saying, “That was the longest T ride of my life!” She made her way upstairs and joined the rest of the group in my bedroom.

“Um, you guys,” I said, standing in the doorway, observing everyone spread out in my room, standing against walls, reclining on the bed and sitting on the floor, “You can sit on actual chairs in the living room if you want. I even have a couch!”

“Pshaw,” Beth said, “We’re staying here. Can’t you bring the food in to us?”

I laughed, “I’m glad you all like my bedroom. But I have, like, big people chairs and an actual dining room table to eat on. I think this means I’m a grown up.”

“Is that a hint?” Beth said as I opened a bottle of wine.

“Food, kids!” I said, gesturing towards the dining/living room. “Come and get it.”

Just call me the Pied Piper.

We all spread out around the table and Sam said the Ha-Motzi because, well, why the hell not, really?

As Steve pointed out and as Beth has already detailed in her post, it was weird, how not weird it was. Moments of awkward silence were immediately diffused by someone saying, “Awwwwkwaaaard!” and inciting giggles from the rest of us. It was, to put it in a treacly manner, as though we’d all known each other for years. Even if we didn’t “know” each other.

Amy said to me earlier in the day, “So everyone knows each other, right?”

“Well…no,” I said, “Well, sort of. I know them all. And Steve knows Annette and Caitriona. But I don’t know if Caitriona and Annette know each other. And Annette has met Sam, but I don’t think Sam has met Caitriona. And Beth hasn’t met any of them. Except for me.” The degrees of separation had more twists and turns than the Olympic rings. But by the end of the night, everyone knew everyone. And it wasn’t weird at all.

Poor Steve, having to listen to illicit Bill Mueller talk for hours. But then, if it really did make him uncomfortable, he wouldn’t be the steadfast male posting on the board. The estrogen levels would have risen and flushed him out long ago if he didn’t at least partially enjoy himself.

It still amazes me sometimes, the candid manner in which we were all able to speak. I mean, it’s one thing to say something scandalous about your take on Jason Varitek’s thighs through the animosity of the internet and it’s quite another to, in person, say, as Beth did, “Kristen sent me this picture of Bill Mueller today at work and HOLY SHIT! I was talking to some bigwig, and I was totally supposed to be working. And all I could think about was that picture! And I thought all my co-workers could tell what I was thinking. Kristen totally broke my brain.”

And later on, when we were all sitting around and Sam insisted on getting a picture of us, we found ourselves laughing uproariously when Annette said, “Brady, your crotch is going to be the focal point of this picture.”

“Yeah,” I said, tears ready to stream down my cheeks, “You want to make sure you don’t end up with a ‘Varitek on the plane’” situation.

Steve, used to my brand of humor at this point, blushed and shook his head. Like I said, he’s a good sport.

You’d think that with a group of people who’d known each other, at least in the beginning, because of a shared interest, nay, obsession with a baseball team, the talk would be mostly baseball. You wouldn’t be entirely wrong in this instance but if we’d stopped ourselves there, we’d have missed out on Sam’s enthusiastic retelling of her find of a large, intact, dead sea lamprey and it’s “Giant! Rasping! Mouth!,” complete with digital pictures. We also would have missed the general discussion of blogging and blogs we love to read as well as theories about the other members of the board who weren’t there to defend themselves. We all decided that we can’t wait until Amy makes her pilgrimage North in a few short weeks and that it would have been an even better time if Marianne were present. In short, we didn’t run out of things to talk about. It’s almost as if we’re *gasp* actual friends.

When everyone left around 11:30 and Beth and Sam began their shared journey home which would quickly deteriorate into an “ordeal” and then shortly thereafter into a “debacle,” I looked around my messy kitchen and living room and smiled. “I may be a grown-up in name only,” I thought, “but it’s always fun to do things like this.” I guess we all have the Red Sox to thank for bringing us together and forging friendships and all that business. As Sam observed once during one of our hilarious IM conversations, “How did we all become the exact same brand of insane?” Indeed. But, if it works out like last Thursday did, I, for one, can’t think of a better outcome.

The View from the Top

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A visual representation of David Wells running the bases.

They say revenge is a dish best served cold. But if I’m Terry Francona, I’m thinking revenge is a dish best served as a side to some moldy cheesesteak by a waiter flashing a World Series ring on his middle finger while smiling maniacally. I mean, right? How great must it feel to be Terry Francona today? Following a sweep of the formerly storming Cleveland Indians in their own ballpark, you take your club to Philly, your former home where they were, shall we say, less than appreciative of you, and you kick their jammie-wearing asses into next week with your second series sweep in a row. Oh, and you return a world champion to the town that has called you everything from “soft” and “a moron” to “clueless” and things that aren’t printable. No, not even on this blog. Now that’s good revenge.

Because Tito is a classy guy, he’s not going to come right out and say that it was especially cathartic to beat the snot out of the Phillies, but I’ve noticed that ever since he got that ring, it’s like he’s be able to exhale just a little bit and there’s a bit more of a mischievous twinkle in his eye. You know what he’s thinking.

As a recap, the series went something like this:

Friday: DOUGIE! Shit, now I owe Kevin more beer. Wake is en fuego! Manuelito! Welcome back, dude. Choice baserunning by Dougie. Subtract one beer owed to Kev. PAPI! Holy shit that thing is still going. Sox cruise to an 8-0 win.

Saturday: Matty is dealing. Papi makes opposing pitchers either a) cry, b) wet themselves, c) swear, or d) all of the above. Trotter with the bat! And Tek! Raising the average and bringing me that much closer to my promised case of beer. Also, RBIs. William Mueller, sir. Hot damn, Buelly! MANNY! AGAIN! Sox win 7-1.

Sunday: Okay, okay, okay. Mark…Bellhorn? Our Mark Bellhorn? Niiice. Is that the Fat Man running the bases? Dear sweet Jesus, someone hold me. Please don’t let his heart explode, please don’t let his heart explode. Manny fly out to right and—HOLY SHIT! GRAND SLAM! Manny is scary in the zone. Okay, 7 run lead, no problem, we got this one. Whoops, bit of a blip by Wells. No problem, under control. Okay, stop it, David. STOP IT! RAMON! Goddamit! Tie game? Are you freaking kidding me? Alan Embree, sit down! Do not get up. Ever. Timlin? Kindly handcuff Embree to the bench and do not let him move, under pain of being shot with your crossbow. Jesus, this freaking team- Damon, we’re bunting now? Oh, um, okay. And BELLHORN? Boy, whatchu been eatin’? CAPTAIN! Oh Jesus, Foulke. Someone hold me. 1-2-3. Heh, never a doubt. 12-8 Sox.

In short: Hooray! Yippee! D’oh, I mean, yay!

Take that, Phillies.

Tonight, the Sox return to Fenway to face off against the recently dismissed Cleveland Indians. I’ll be in attendance with the Bedford crew cheering the boys along to eight straight.

(Psst! Don’t look now, but we’re in first place by two and a half games. Shhhhhh!)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Clean Up After Yourselves!

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This means you, Manuel.

And now I’d like to present my impression of the Cleveland Indian’s nine-game winning streak upon encountering the Red Sox:

Chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-SCCCCRREEEEEEEEECCHH!!! Thump. Gasp. Splat.


Thank you.

Last night’s game has already been christened the best of the season by our dear Red Sox (take note: they would be “those bastard Red Sox” had the outcome been different), and the folks over at Surviving Grady are waxing poetic about what a fun game it was to watch. And in retrospect, it was. At the time, however…well, I’m not gonna say I got mad or anything but I might need some spackle for my living room walls, Jason Varitek.

The thing is, I hear people say, “Wow, that was a great game. Even if we’d lost, it still would have been a great game.” But I just can’t make myself feel that way. I can say that, but I won’t mean it. I know myself. And I know that no matter how closely contested or how well-fought the game, I’ll be in a righteous fit if my team doesn’t pull it out in the end. I’ll be proud of the boys for trying their best and I’ll grant reprieves to the Bill Mueller’s and the Edgar Renteria’s of the world (we’re going on a night-by-night basis here), but I’m still going to curse and yell if I don’t get what I want. And what I want is a win.

Thankfully, there was no need for such cursing last night. Well, mostly. Since Manny decided in the early goings to play left field like a 13-year-old princess afraid of the ball and Varitek has chosen now to start sucking mightily at the plate, there was some, shall we say, frustration on my part. Let’s put it this way: I was multi-tasking by making cheesecake and there were many times when I screamed something along the lines of “No cheesecake for you, MARCUS!” There may also be graham cracker bits ground into my hardwood floors. Or rather, there were, until the bottom of the 8th and 9th innings after the Sox had taken the lead and we trusted the game to the “sometimes capable but sometimes makes you want to eat your fist in anger” talents of a one Mr. Keith Foulke. Foulkie’s appearances now cause such agita for me that I literally have to physically remove myself from the room. Or, as was the case last night, clean like a madwoman. It’s not like with Embree where you can just sit there and shrug, saying, “Alan Embree: Official Sign of Surrender” and be reasonably certain that he’s going to let up a gopher ball or twelve. (Imagine my surprise last night when he got out of a bases-loaded, no out jam without giving up a run. Shocking!). Foulke is more infuriating because you simply don’t know what you’re going to get. Could be Balls of Steel Foulke from the playoffs. Could be Tape Measure Shot Foulke from times this season. Could be anything in between. So, because of Keith Foulke, my apartment is now spotless.

In the end, the real kudos belong to John “Benevolent Alien” Olerud, Edgar “That Boy’s a Majah Leagua!” Renteria, Jay “Please Play Me, Trot Can’t Hit Lefties” Payton, and Bill “I know your secret, sir!” Mueller. And Wade Miller, save for some slippage in the later goings, didn’t do so bad his own self. And naturally Tizzle continues his dominance of damn near everyone…but it’s asskickery with a smile.

Sweeps are good. I like sweeps. I especially like sweeps of a formerly streaking team that came into the series all blustery and badass. Combine that with the Devil Rays ending the Yankees’ superb one-game win streak (*snerk*) and the Blue Jays beating the O’s (or rather the O’s beating themselves as the winning run came on a balk. Sorry, Marianne!), and we’re one game back and cruising. Good times to be a Sox fan. Off day today with a series in Philly looming. Terry returns to his roots a gold-plated winner and the team looks to continue on it’s roll. As for the rest of us, well maybe “A Different Season” is on tonight?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

What I've Been Up To

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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Dudes? Spiderman plays for the Sox? Cool.

Suuuuunnnnburned! Shonda Schilling would not be very happy.

Okay, so, what have I missed? Oh yes, that would everything up to and including last Thursday which, yeah, okay, Thursday is tomorrow. I know that’s almost a week. But kids, you’ve got to give me a break here. Since then, I’ve been to New York and back, traversed the state of Connecticut twice and dealt with Car Fiasco '05.

Probably best to begin in the beginning…

Amy (sans nuts) and I boarded the really quite reasonable Greyhound and departed for points South to – as I told my mom who has learned to shrug and shake her head when I say such things – “meet people from the internet and argue over baseball.”

“So you’re going to Brooklyn for…baseball?” she said.

“Yeah,” I replied, “And to meet some people.”

“Don’t you have baseball in Boston?” A logical question.

“Yeah, but this is a Yankees game.”

She looked at me strangely, “You’re going to a Yankees game?”

“No,” I said, “I’m going to a bar to watch the Yankees game. And to make fun of Yankees fans. And to talk baseball and meet some people.”

“Um,” she said, “So you’re going to New York to meet people and pick on them for liking the Yankees? There aren’t any bars in Boston?” She paused for a minute. “You know what? Never mind. Just have fun and be careful.”

Really, I think she’s just flat out given up on me making sense anymore.

But the people we met were excellent. Including Sars as well as a handful of Yankees fans who – this shocked me too – could discuss baseball intelligently without resorting to the “Neener! Neener! We have twenty-six rings!” tactic that I’m so used to from the Boston brand of bandwagon Yankees fans. It was, dare I say it, refreshing. The highlight, I would say, was seeing a charming gentleman change into full Varitek uniform halfway through the evening.

“Wow,” Amy said, “That takes balls of steel.”

“This was my Halloween costume,” he explained.

“You went as Jason Varitek?” I asked, surreptitiously checking to see if he measured up.

“No,” he said, “I went as A-Rod’s daddy.”

Beer? Meet nostrils. Charming young man? Meet Kristen hugging you. It was good times.

Because we’re good little publishing assistants, Amy and I decided to head to The Strand bookstore in Greenwich Village on Friday. “18 Miles of Books!” the signs promised. And I am here to tell you that the signs don’t lie. I am – this will shock you all, I am sure – a bit of a book geek. So is Amy. We’d also both just gotten paid. A three-story bookstore including a full floor and a half of half-priced reviewers’ copies spells disaster. Also? An entire comprehensive sports section. “Sweet!” I thought, “Father’s Day taken care of!” I picked up “A Tale of Two Cities” by Tony Masseroti and John Harper for my dad, reasoning that no Red Sox fan can read enough about last year’s ALCS. Plus, there was the added sweetness of buying it in New York. The knife? She is twisting.

I also picked up a well-loved looking copy of “Wait Till Next Year” by Doris Kearns Goodwin for my dad. It’s one of my favorite baseball books. Not so much because it’s about someone growing up, waiting for their beloved team to win it all (though that is part of it), but because it is, at it’s heart, about the relationship between a father and a daughter and the way in which the father passes his love for baseball down to his daughter, who, in turn, passes it down to her children. I don’t have any kids yet, but I know that in the future, if I ever do, I will explain baseball to them the way my dad explained it to me: with patience, reverence, respect and love. And when they grow up and move out on their own, I hope they will, as I do, call their parents to talk about a fourth-inning strike out or a particular second-baseman’s cringe-inducing tendency to ground out to short. I expect that they’ll know what the infield fly rule is by the time they’re old enough to grip a baseball, even if, no, especially if, they’re girls. And if I ever serve as assistant coach on my daughter’s high school softball team and she tears a ligament in her forearm while trying to tag out a runner advancing from third and I sit her for the rest of the game because I fear permanent damage, I hope she’ll yell and scream and curse at me the way I did to my dad when he sat my injured ass. If I remember correctly, I held a grudge for a week, despite the fact that my arm necessitated a bandage and one of those tennis-elbow pillow doohickeys to hold the ligament in place. My dad, as has been the case many times in the past, was right. But don’t tell him I told you so. Anyhow, Doris Kearns Goodwin says it better than I ever could so I thought the book was appropriate for Father’s Day.

Since we had to buy tote bags to carry our new (and used) books around Manhattan, Amy and I decided we’d head over to Times Square and see if maybe we could get some half-price tickets to a Broadway show. Reasoning that we were about thisclose to Emerson revoking our liberal arts degrees for never having seen Rent, we ponied up and got two mezzanine seats. To kill time before the show started, we figured we’d head to a bar and have a few beers. “Ooo!” I said, glancing around, “ESPN Zone!” Amy, because she is long-suffering and a wonderful sport, agreed.

The bartenders were all decked out in Mets t-shirts but I noticed that on their nametags, underneath their names, were what I took to be their favorite sports teams. “Ohio State Buckeyes?" I asked our bartender, after he'd explained that the Mets shirts were a promotion designed to get people to accept, get this, free tickets to see the Mets play.

“Yeah,” he explained. “They’re my team.”

“Huh,” I shrugged.

“Hang on a second,” he said, rummaging around behind the counter, “I’ve got another one for you ladies.” He reached into a Crown Royal bag and pulled out another nametag. This one said “Pittsburgh Steelers.”

“Oh, so it’s like that, huh?” I asked, laughing.

“That’s right,” he said, “I pegged you guys as New England fans as soon as you came in.”

“You’re damn right,” I said.

“Your reign is over!” he yelled, “OVER!”

“Okay,” I said, laughing, “We’ll see about that.”

“Both your coaches are gone, plus Bruschi’s not gonna play,” he argued, “That’s huge.”

“If I told you I wasn’t a little worried,” I said, “I’d be lying. But-"

He interrupted, “But if anyone can do it, it’s your coach.”

“Ha!” I said, “You fear him!”

“I do,” he replied, with, what I would call the requisite amount of reverence, “That guy’s amazing.”

So I mean to tell you, Patriots fans, that Steelers fans, despite all their blustering and trash talking, are still knock-kneed with fear. Man, I miss football.

You might possibly argue that shit-talking with a bartender who’s responsible for charging your drinks and pouring your beer would not be the wisest course of action. But with this particular bartender, you would be wrong. Our conversational banter and friendly back-and-forth earned us a television turned to the Sox game on NESN as well as a replacement beer, free of charge, when I knocked over my half-empty one, gesturing in my French Canadian fashion. So the ESPN Zone folks? Good people.

And speaking of the Sox…during Rent, I was getting updates on my cell phone from Annette who, if you read the messages, underwent a serious case of panic, obsessive, bipolar disorder. In quick succession I received messages that said, “FILLED WITH RAGE! ER leadoff triple and he doesn’t score with Manny and Tiz up!” “I. Hate. Our. Bullpen.” And finally, “JD walkoff hit, we win 6-5!” Seriously? Sox people are the best.

I caught the highlights on ESPN News when Amy and I got back to our hotel room and Tek? With the blocking of the plate? This is why the man is the captain. That was some stellar baseball, right there.

As we entered Boston on the bus on Saturday afternoon, I saw for the first time the sign that lives outside of the city announcing, “Welcome to Boston, home of the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox.” “Fuck yeah!” I said a bit too loudly and involuntarily. Amy, because she is nothing if not accommodating, treated me to a spoken-word rendition of “Dirty Water.” I tell you, it was something to hear.

Saturday night’s game was watched at my camp alongside my dad. We traded off hurling insults and praise at the television.

“Gentlemen,” I tried to reason with them, “Timmy pitches a gem and you’re going to lose a 2-run game to the Pittsburgh Pirates? Unacceptable.”

My dad chimed in with what has become his traditional complaint, “Bellhorn is awful. How is that guy playing major league ball?” Bellhorn, apparently feeling slighted, immediately made a great play to throw out a runner. My dad didn’t miss a beat, “That guy’s the best!” he said with a straight face. Later, when Edgar bobbled a ball to short, I turned to my dad, “Bellhorn would have had it.”

When Dougie blasted a double off the wall, I exclaimed, “Shit! Now I owe Kevin another six-pack!”

“He gets a six-pack every time Mirabelli hits a double?” my dad asked.

“Six-pack for a double, twelve-pack for a triple and a case for an inside the parker. Plus, you have to eat your shirt.”

“That seems unfair. What do you get?” Dad asked.

I shrugged, “I get to see Dougie haul his piano all the way around the bases and I get to see you eat your shirt. That seems worth it.”

When my brother came bellowing in the next day for Father’s Day dinner all blustery with the “Now you owe me two six packs! Dougie’s the man! I’ll go easy, Miller Lite is fine. I’ll wait to ask for the Sammy’s Summer until he hits his inside the parker!” we decided that the wager needed to be amended.

“Wait a minute,” my dad said to Kevin, “What does Kristen get when Tek does something good?”

“Um,” Kev thought about it for a second, “Tell you what, if Tek ends the season batting above .350, you get a case.”

“.350? Manny doesn’t hit .350. Come on, be reasonable.”

“Okay, .300 then.” Kev relented.

“Deal,” I said, “He’s at like .324 now so you might want to start searching for a good case.”

My mom looked at my dad and rolled her eyes, “They’re your kids all right.”

I caught most of Sunday’s game in between my dad and grandfather’s stubborn insistence on watching some golf something or other on another channel. My grandmother laughed at me as I shuttled back and forth between rooms as they flipped channels. “What?” I said, “Matty’s on fire. I want to see this!” But hey, it was Father’s Day, so I was happy to share the TV.

Monday’s game was a near disaster and I must admit to seeing only the first and last two innings. In between, Annette, Amy and I watched The Incredibles. I can justify this by saying that a) it was David Wells pitching and he started to botch things up but good around the second inning and b) Mr. Incredible bears a striking resemblance to our good friend Youks. Also? Annette hits hard and has apparently taken to smacking me by proxy when Keith Foulke screws up since Beth wasn’t available to take the beating. And speaking of Mr. Foulke and Mr. Embree, I will say only this: Grrrrrr.

Yesterday’s game was a bit more relaxed in no small part to David Ortiz who has taken it upon himself to go apeshit on opposing pitchers of late. Kevin Millwood can’t be too excited to face him, is all I’m saying. And Manny, continuing his demonstration that he clearly loves us more than Cleveland, hammered his second homer of the series way, way, way far back. Also, Nixon made a Kenny Lofton-esque, Spiderman type play in the 8th to save John Halama’s bacon. I, for one, don’t think Trot gets nearly enough credit for his stellar defense. Let’s give it up for him, people. If we don’t start paying attention, Trot’s gonna get angry. And I’m pretty sure none of us want to see Trot angry.

A side note as the Sox closed it out last night taking the first two of the series with the Indians and the O’s beat the Jays, splitting the first two games of that series: Tampa Bay? What the fuck? If we can’t count on you to hold an 8-run lead after you’ve beaten Randy Johnson to within an inch of his life, you’re worse than we ever thought. And by “we” I of course mean “Red Sox fans and everyone who delights in the struggles of the Yankees.” A 13-run inning? Really? Come on, you vest-wearing, carpet playing, dome-dwelling bastards. That is ri-goddamn-diculous. Even my grandmother, who is steadfast in her love for you, is probably about ready to kick your sorry asses after that display. I just…don’t know what to say to you anymore. And if this monumental collapse on your part is what it takes to spark the Yankees on a tear, well, it’s your heads I’ll be coming after. That’s if Piniella doesn’t beat me to it. 13 runs…Jesus! I mean, the Yankees are familiar with monumental collapses, they’re just used to being on the other side of them. Rimshot! But that felt good.

Anyway, tonight the Sox look to close it out with the Indians, going for their second sweep in the last three series. Wade “Zen Master” Miller takes the hill, undoubtedly hoping that his offense likes him as much as they like Matty, Bronson and apparently Wells. Somewhere, Wake is swearing.

And that, kids, is what I’ve been up to. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find some aloe. Ooooowwwww!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Back, and more tired than ever...

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So...Brooklyn huh?

You guys? I’m getting to it, I swear. Brooklyn happened. Baseball happened. Broadway even happened. And I promise I’ll talk about it. Soon. Not now. But soon. The problem with taking off work for a few days is that there is much shit waiting for you when you get back. I was going to write last night but instead, after the nearly four hour trip from Maine to Brookline (thanks, MBTA!) I found myself tired and drooling, watching “O” courtesy of Netflix and unable to so much as check my email. Me! No email! I know! So tonight, I’ll fill you all in. Scout’s honor, (which means nothing, one would assume, if one was not, in fact, a Scout). Promise! In the meantime, read Beth's recounts of the past few games. Goddamn, that girl can write.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Asked for...and delivered

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(Bronson gets back his big boy pants)

Gentleman? A word before I go.

Okay, excellent. This pleases me greatly. Now, listen up, boys. Today is an off-day. Enjoy it. You deserve it. You’ve done well. Get some sleep, play some dominoes, fry some plantains, talk to your dealer. You know, whatever. But I want to see y’all ready for Friday. I want to see no mercy. It’s true that I won’t be able to watch the game due to my being in, you know, Brooklyn, but through the magic of ESPN, text messaging and my uncanny ability to harass unsuspecting passerby into telling me the score, rest assured that I’ll be keeping my eye on you. You’re not out of the woods yet, boys.

I see that every other team in the AL East won last night as well. In fact, the ESPN announcers on SportsCenter have taken to holding textbooks in front of their crotches, such is their excitement over Jason Giambi’s walk-off homer in the Bronx yesterday. Ah, I see George has ordered Giambi back on the juice. We all knew it was all a matter of time. I won’t get into how the game was, in point of fact, OVER in the 9th inning when Gary “The Right Field ‘Roid Monster” Sheffield grounded into a double play and was in fact out, thus ending the game. And I won’t get into A-Rod’s ill-advised attempt at running over the Pirates’ catcher, despite the stop sign thrown up by his third base coach. An attempt at appearing “tough” I would venture, as well as a “True Yankee.” I won’t get into any of that.

What I will get into is this: Bronson Fucking Arroyo. He’s back, y’all. Also? Bill Mueller. Mr. Mueller is on a 7-game hit streak and while I can’t reveal to you all the details of his newfound mojo (he’d be awfully embarrassed and we can’t risk upsetting the delicate balance of karma), I will tell you that it came into being approximately seven games ago. Just sayin’. We (that being Marianne and myself) should not be messed with. Because we will figure something out about you (or make something up) and we will hold it against you and threaten to share your dirty little secrets with everyone. And then, you will need to win. Don’t believe us? Ask Billy Mueller.

Okay, I’m off to make my way to South Station and brave Amy’s rendition of “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” for roughly the next four hours. Great fun, I assure you. Take care, kids. And Red Sox? I’ve got my eye on you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

If there's a picture of David Wells on my blog, you know he did something pretty damn good.

Okey dokey, I’ll take it! It almost pains me to admit it but damn, that was, um, pretty freakin’ impressive on the part of a one Mr. David Wells. A one-hitter (thanks also to Messrs. Timlin and Foulke) will do a lot to curry a girl’s favor. And Mr. Wells, after his last two outings, has made it pretty damn clear that he very much wants me to like him. So, grudgingly, I will.

I will also admit to being criminally jealous of Beth, who was at the game, and a twinge envious of Katherine who, in a hell of an indoctrination, got her first taste of Fenway Park. Except for that “twinge” part. Color me Green Monster green, actually. Katherine called me, post game. Times like these, I do not stand on ceremony.

“I can’t fucking believe you got to see that goddamned game!” I shrieked, eschewing the usual “Hello?”

“I know!” she said, “That was pretty cool.”

“Dude, no,” I replied, “That was a fucking one-hitter. That hasn’t happened in 15 years!”

“Wow,” she breathed.

Wow indeed.

So David Wells has been given a respite. I will not require a pony, giraffe, monkey or other exotic animal for at least, oh, let’s say his next three starts. This does not mean he’s allowed to Hoover-up the joint from here on out. It simply means that if he does, I won’t complain. Right, that’ll happen.

And again, for the third day in a row I say: Manny? With the bat! Now that was a Manny shot. Monster-seat grabbing and all. Seriously, I don’t know what’s happened to him but I like it. I like it a great deal. Perhaps he realized that as wonderful as Varitek is, he should not be rivaling the Great Manny Ramirez for yearly home run total. Because while this was reflecting well on Varitek, it was doing quite the opposite for Manuelito. Perhaps Millar really did kick him the ass and tell him to suck it up and be happy to be playing baseball for a living. Perhaps he saw what happens when we boo Edgah and he just couldn’t stand the thought of being booed himself (Manny strikes me as the very sensitive type). Or perhaps he just…felt like hitting. He’s Manny. We’ll never know. But as long as he has truly found his swing and he continues to give us heartswelling moments of adorable manlove and childlike glee in the dugout, I’m not sure I care.

And speaking of the dugout? MLB and NESN need to get on a Dugout Cam immediately if not sooner. Tell me you would not watch this. I would venture a guess that most people would not only watch this, they would pay to watch this. And by “most people” I mean “Red Sox fans.” This is the reason picture-in-picture was invented, folks. It doesn’t need to happen for every team. I doubt anyone much cares about seeing the Rockies’ dugout, sitting stoically and occasionally punctuating the suck by spitting sunflower seeds. But for the Sox, this would be better than any Must See TV that NBC or any of the other major networks are spewing out right now. Come on, can’t you picture it? Bellhorn turns his head away from the camera every few minutes and a telltale puff of smoke rises towards the field. Damon walks over to get a cup of Gatorade and, naturally, bangs his head on Dougie’s butt, sitting on the cooler. Trotter, steely eyes of intensity, places his hat underneath his feet and slowly and methodically grinds rosin, sunflower seed husks and pine tar into it with his heels. Matty edges farther and farther away from David Wells. Manny tries to build a Stretch Armstrong doll out of his Big League Chew. You just know it would be the greatest thing ever televised. Let’s start a petition to get this to happen. Who’s with me?

In semi-related baseball news, Amy and I will be departing for points slightly farther South as we leave tomorrow morning for Brooklyn to attend the Tomato Nation Baseball Con. We are set to meet the illustrious Sars of the very same Tomato Nation (which, if you’re not reading it, what the hell is wrong with you?) and talk some baseball. She’s a Yankee fan and this is going down in Brooklyn but, because we are ostensibly nice, polite girls, we shall try to keep the shit-talking to a minimum. Besides, it’s for charity and small children getting baseball equipment and the like. Plus, talking baseball is fun. Especially with knowledgeable people. However, I must admit to being absolutely fascinated to experience the New York attitude on the current state of the Yankees from inside the belly of the beast. Call it a covert operation, if you will. Will report back with findings.

As for the Sox, we turn to Bronson “BE the Saturn Balls, man, BE the Saturn Balls!” Arroyo who looks to both continue the Sox’ current domination and right his own self. Obviously, we know he can do this. Because he is Saturn Balls Arroyo. And no man with balls the size of Saturn is going to lose a game to the freakin’ Cincinnati Reds. Right, Bronson? Right.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Return of the Manlove!

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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Yes, yes, yes. More of this, please. Excellent pitching combined with timely and relentless hitting make Kristen a happy girl. And don’t you want to make Kristen happy, Red Sox? Don’t you?

Carlton Fisk, despite wearing a truly horrifying shirt that Jerry Remy was forced to make fun of enjoys making Kristen happy because he was just generally awesome and fantastic and gracious during the pre-game ceremony in which the Sox officially named the left-field foul pole, “Fisk’s Pole,” in commemoration of his game-winning home run of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Plus, he looks pretty damn good for a 57-year old. Looks like he could still play, in fact. Also? The original Pudge is a New England native and a New Hampshire boy. Yes, sir, that is how we represent the Granite State, yo. Plus, we know how I love them catchers with questionable fashion sense.

The Sox themselves beat up on the Cincinnati Reds to the tune of a 10-3 win. Matty, who has re-earned the right to be called “Neptune Nuts,” pitched his little butt off, scattering six hits and three runs. But most impressive, and most important if we’re being all stathead about it, are the nine strikeouts and only one walk he issued. He made it through eight full innings on 107 pitches and I do think our little Matty is coming into his own. Naturally, those of us who have, erm, active imaginations spent a goodly amount of time talking about Matty man-crushing on Tek and have developed all kinds of theories as to why he’s pitching better this year. Say what you want about this but I think we’re right on. Was it a coincidence that when Tek was removed for the ninth inning, most likely to get some rest after a long night (more on that in a bit), Brad Mills (acting as manager as Terry was attending his daughter’s graduation) yanked Matty as well? I know he was up to 107 pitches and with the game pretty soundly in hand there was really no need to throw him out there to try to get his second complete game of the season, but I like to believe that Matty looked over, saw Dougie donning the Tools of Ignorance and his eyes got big and panicky. His head started to swivel from side to side like, well, like Orlando Cabrera, actually, and he ran over to Tek, then luxuriating on the bench.

“Mr. Varitek?” (you just know Matty refers to Tek as “Mr. Varitek.”), “Are you not going out for the ninth inning?”

“Nah,” Tek most likely said, “Dougie’s got it from here.”

“But, but, but…” Matty undoubtedly stammered, “but…I NEED you!”

Varitek, at this point, surely laid a reassuring paw on Matty’s head and gave him a fatherly hair ruffle, “No you don’t. You’ll be all right.”

I then like to imagine that Mills approached Matty, gave him a baseball-y pat on the rump and said, “Great work tonight, ole’ buddy. Mantei’ll take it from here.”

Then, obviously, Matty let out a huge sigh of relief and sat down happily next to Varitek as Mantei took care of the ninth.

See, kids? Imaginary Baseball World is fun!

Surely this is why us creative types should never get into sports. That way lies madness.

And speaking of Imaginary Baseball World…Marianne and I have further decided that from here on out, Jason Varitek is the bearer of “Tea Party Mojo.” This decision came about after hearing that Mrs. Tek gave birth to the couple’s third daughter sometime around 4:30 in the morning yesterday. Caroline Morgan, I believe is what they’ve decided to name her. I like to think that Tek petitioned his wife to name their daughter after “Sweet Caroline” in a tribute to the passion of Red Sox fandom and I will not be dissuaded from this line of thinking. (Amy, in the SGMB Game Thread made an excellent point that, "Not to be outdone, Trotter's next [child] will be named 'Tessie'.")

The “Tea Party Mojo” comes into effect when we realized that really, there is nothing funnier than a large, large man being forced to sit on a Fisher Price Tea Party plastic chair and don barrettes with his three wee daughters. Like in that Friendly’s commercial. Probably Tek will be made to wear a bonnet too. That is the highest of high comedy. Also, when his daughters are old enough to date, we pity the poor buggers who show up at the Tek house, angling to take the Tekettes out. You just know Varitek, still in playing shape but with perhaps a bit of added bulk ‘round the middle will be sitting at the kitchen table scrutinizing scouting reports on the potential boyfriends. Name, age, grades, Social Security numbers, family income, tattoos or distinguishing marks, preferred brand of bath soap, pulp/no pulp stance on orange juice, and the like. Poor kids. They don’t stand a chance.

As for other childlike behavior, (we call that a “seamless segueway,” kids) is Manny Ramirez not the world’s most delightful creature on occasion? His home run last night, which, if Wily Mo Pena had been at all familiar with Fenway Park, would most likely have been a fly out, was a sight to behold. Manny, believing the ball to have been caught, was just about to turn and trot back into the dugout when he realized that Pena had lost the ball over the wall. Manny broke into a huge smile, raised his arms in a celebratory gesture and began his home run trot. And then the manlove began. For those of you without NESN, get it immediately. I don’t care what it costs. It’s worth every penny to hear Remy and Don O. go on for a half inning about the difference between “baseball hugs” and “man hugs.” This Sox team, in case you’ve been living in baseball-free Siberia for the past few years, is all about the man hugs. Especially Manny Ramirez. And it is a wonderful thing. Last night also marked the second night in a row that Manny has taken an opposing pitcher deep. This is also a welcome sight as I’d begun to worry a bit about Mr. Monkeyshines. But the return of the manlove is a promising sign. Perhaps Millar gave him another of his patented, “You play baseball for a living, you big oaf! And you get paid eleventy billion dollars to do it! Stop sulking and cowboy up, man. Yee-haw!," verbal ass-kickings. If so, then we are again reminded why Kevin Millar is on this team. As Amy observed over 7-11 Slurpees in my rainforest-like living room “That shit-eating grin of Millar’s has gotten him out of more things…” “I know,” I responded, “And damned if it doesn’t work.”

Tonight it’s David Wells (still thinking on an appropriate nickname for that one although admittedly, Manny’s head rubs did make me squeal with delight,) vs. NotTim (but in fact “Luke”) Hudson for the Reds. Hudson’s sporting a hefty 7.50 ERA but tonight will be only his second appearance of the season. And we all know how the Sox behave around newbie pitchers. So I’m here to tell them that tonight, we’re going to knock that shit off. Tonight, we’re showing no mercy. Tonight, we’re scoring runs! Go on, boys, go get ‘em!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Riding the Wake

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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Wake with the wheels!

So I get home on Friday around 12:45 (gotta love summer hours), and wait for the Comcast dude to show up. The last time he was supposed to come, he rang the doorbell once, waited for approximately .4 seconds, stuck a note in the door and booked it out of there all “Sorry we missed you! You’ll be without cable, internet or contact with the outside world for the foreseeable future until we can further inconvenience you!” So this time, after speaking in a controlled and yet stern voice to the Comcast dispatcher, “No, you will not come on Tuesday between noon and 3. You will come on Friday between 1 and 3 because that is when I will be home. I work for a living. At an office. And you will not leave until I have cable and internet. Understand?” I spent the time waiting by painting my bedroom walls in an ADD type manner. But I was afraid to turn on the radio or the ceiling fan lest I drown out the sound of the doorbell. Oh, and did I mention that it was 8,000 degrees centigrade on Friday? And that I’d spent a few hours inhaling paint fumes? And that the trees outside my windows (Trees! In the city! I know!) have seen fit to mate and spew a thick coat of pollen through my windows and onto everything I own, giving all my possessions a faint yellow tinge? Yeah, so, Comcast dude rings the bell, I nearly break my neck climbing down from a stepladder like a not particularly agile gibbon monkey, run down the stairs, paintbrush spraying hunter green dots all over everything and I fling open the door for him:


“Um, I’m here from Comcast?” he says, eyeing my warily.

“Yes!” I say, resisting the urge to add, “about bloody time!” “I’m glad you’re here. The Sox/Cubs game starts in half an hour.”

“Okay,” he adds, edging past me like you’d circle around a particularly rabid looking dog tied to a fire hydrant. “I should be able to hook it up by then.”

“BASEBALL!” I yelled.

Poor guy. I very nearly hugged him.

When he left forty minutes later, I did indeed have cable and some “basic” instructions on how to install my internet so that I wouldn’t have to pay him the $49.95. Oh, and just a helpful side note from me to you: just pay the bloody $49.95. You’ll spare yourself a frustrating hour and half monkeying around with wires and cables and wireless modems, all culminating in you either a) dropping your entire laptop on the hardwood floor when John Halama, on your shiny new cable, gives up a home run to a freakin’ pitcher, or b) calling Comcast customer support, having the guy on the other end tell you “Oh, I’ll just remote start it from here,” and spewing vile in the form of “It would have been helpful if someone told me YOU COULD DO THAT! NOW WAIT, UNTIL MY COMPUTER STARTS UP AGAIN!” Or possibly both.

Of course, after watching the first two bloodbaths, I very nearly called Comcast and demanded my money back.

You know what that means? That means it’s time for a brief missive to the Sox again.

Dear Red Sox,

Hi, yeah, it’s me again. Listen, I’ve done my part. I’ve not been to Fenway or anywhere else to watch you play since the last time you made it very clear that you don’t want me there. I haven’t even watched all the games lately owing to lack of cable. And yet, this doesn’t seem to matter to you. You’re all, “Hey, you know what would be fun? If we lost 9 of 11. That would be ace!” So, what? The World Series wasn’t enough of a challenge for you? You wanted to give St. Louis fans something to brag about? That’s charitable and all but you are the World Champion Boston Fucking Red Sox! Perhaps it’s time to play like it?

Also, the Yankees? Not exactly on fire. In fact, if “on fire” is good, the Yankees are pretty much absolute zero. Like, they’re sucking. Hard. Joe Torre is pissed. He’s yelling at them. Jeter’s crying in the dugout. NYYFans.com is actually BANNING PEOPLE FROM THEIR GAME THREADS FOR EXCESSIVE NEGATIVITY. (Leading to some mighty barren game threads, I would imagine as aside from “pinstripes are kind of slimming” there really isn’t much in the way of positive comments one can make about that giant hole of suck New Yorkers are calling a major league baseball team.)

Plus, the Orioles are finally starting to show signs of giving up the ghost and pretending like they’re an actual grown-up, big person baseball team who expects to contend. Even the Blue Jays are faltering. And Tampa Bay, well, yeah. We must take advantage of these things, boys. We must be winning while the rest of the division is losing. You’ve even gone and pissed Theo off and I think we all know what happens when you piss Theo off. He curses you and important body bits start to fall off. Don’t believe me? Ask this guy.

So come on, gentlemen, no more of this “let’s flirt with .500!” baseball. I’m tired of it. You’re the goddamn Boston Red Sox. Act like it.



Last night was promising. Last night was good. Wake got his binky back and I think we all know how I feel about Jason Varitek, (I mean, we all know how I feel about Jason Varitek in a purely professional and family-friendly manner), but dudes, Wake needed his BelliBinky. I won’t deny it. The differences between his previous bunch of starts with Tek catching and then last night with Doug E. Fresh behind the plate was startling. And I’m sure no one is happier about this than Varitek. I do feel a bit bad for Kelly Shoppach who never did manage to get his first major league hit while he was sitting in Dougie’s stead but he’ll get another chance.

Also? Manny with the bat? Indeed. This is what I like to see. I like to seen Manny hitting balls clean out of parks. All “You ain’t throwin’ this one back, bitches.” And Youks with the home run. And Damon also. And JAY PAYTON! There was some serious anger and vitriol being spewed over at the SGMB game thread last night in regards to Miller and Morgan’s ESPN commentary. Could have been that the heat was making us all a bit persnickety but it could have also been that Miller and Morgan were sucking especially potent ass. Like, is it necessary to sing “Duke of Earl” in the middle of an at-bat? Really? And could we maybe get a bit more excited about Jay Payton’s home run? I seriously didn’t know that ball even had a shot until it landed in a fans outstretched hands. “Oh, that’s gone. *Yawn.*” Asshats. Just because the Red Sox are no longer America’s lovable losers does not mean we need to be all “Le sigh, they’re so last year” about them now. Yeah the Cubs are our brothers in suffering and now we all need to cheer them and blah, blah, historycakes. But dude, I don’t care how bloody lovable and squishable and smurfy the Cubs are, I’m not cheering for them at the expense of my team. That’s madness. I would prefer it if the announcers adopted at least an air of bipartisanship as well.

Although, I gotta admit, a cool thing happened during the game on Saturday. As is the tradition at Wrigley Field, some local celeb or athlete or personality or what have you gets to lead the crowd in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. On Saturday, they had Chris Chelios (formerly of the Chicago Blackhawks. That’s hockey, y’all), and Jack O’Callahan, (former Boston University defenseman for the Miracle on Ice team of 1980) leading the singing. Chelios was wearing a Cubs hat and O’Callahan, despite now living in Chicago, stayed true to his Charlestown roots by sporting a Sox cap. When they got to the “And it’s root, root, root for the home team…” bit wherein the crowd always inserts the name of their team, O’Callahan hijacked the microphone and screamed “RED SOX!” confounding the hell out of Chelios and the rest of the people in the park. The poor Cubs fans are so polite they couldn’t even find it within themselves to boo. Imagine if that had happened at Fenway? Anyway, it tickled me to no end, not the least of which because I went, “Awwww, hockey…” So good on ya, Jack O’Callahan.

Tonight, the boys are back at home where I think they need to be. This will undoubtedly make my commute a bit, shall we say, stuffier with all the Fenway partygoers but it never bothered me too much when I lived in Kenmore Square. After all, Sox fans are my people. We understand each other. Matty’s back at it and looks to rebound from his last outing wherein he was nearly bitchslapped by a frustrated Varitek. And rightfully so. Cincinnati’s in the house for the first time since the 1975 World Series and perhaps the most demure championship celebration ever. So come on, boys, let’s show these guys how a real championship team plays.

Oh, also, the Pats got their rings. Again. And it was, as it continues to be, awesomeness. Richard Seymour showed up to get his shiny quelling speculation that he didn't show up for training camp because he's you know, dead. One can only hope that he ends this childish holding out game because you DO NOT continue to be Kristen's Patriot Baby Daddy if you act in such a petulant manner. Just something to think about, Big Sey. Also, meep! God, I miss that guy an unnatural amount. The new one is oval-shaped one in the middle. Been a lot of sparkly thrown around Boston of late. Just sayin'.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Dark Ages...Without Cable

(photo from Boston.com)

Cam the Man

Stupid Comcast. I still have no cable (&%#@!), no internet (&%#@!), I'm going through NESN withdrawal and rocking back and forth like a crack addict gone cold turkey and I'd gotten erroneous reports that the game had been rained out. So I figure, what the hell? Marianne will come over, we'll watch the World Series DVD, we'll have a long and in-depth conversation about, um, less family-friendly baseball matters wherein we decide that Imaginary Baseball World is way more fun that Actual Baseball World and that if, in reality, Matty Clement is actually a "Playa 4 Life!" we'd be totally confused and not know what to do. And then, I get into work this morning and find out that David Wells has pitched a gem. Not only that but Papi (naturally) went yard, Edgah (Hey, buddy!) knocked one out and Kevin Millar made what sounds to be an embarassing (but ultimately harmless and therefore hilarious) fielding error playing for Manny in left. That's not to say Manny wouldn't have made the same blasted error but hey, I'm certainly not one to split hairs. Oh, and Johnny Damon ran into something. Some
one, actually - in this case St. Louis pitcher and New Hampshire native (Whoop! Represent the Granite State!) Chris Carpenter. But in the end, it was 4-0 Boston. The Sox avoid the sweep and get the hell out of dodge as they make their way to Chicago to take on the Cubs for the first time ever. Apparently, Nomar is also going to get his World Series ring. Dudes, Nomar. Remember him? That seems like eleventy billion years ago...

Anyway, in other sports news that I actually DID know was going down, Cam Neely has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Forgive the horrid pun but, SCORE! Neely, next to Bourque was always one of my favorites. He played the game right and did the black and gold proud. Kevin Paul Dupont sums it up perfectly in today's Globe:

But it takes the tale of the tape, the videotape, to capture the true essence of Neely and why he was named yesterday to the Hockey Hall of Fame. In his prime, which was shortened by injuries, he was the game's mightiest force -- dynamic on his skates, powerful with his shot, and often a raging, runaway locomotive when it came time to execute bodychecks or deliver an even more physical message.

Were his career not ended prematurely by injuries (damn you, Ulf Samuelsson
, damn you!) he might still be playing (assuming there'd be hockey to be played.) Neely, just 40, follows his longtime teammate, Bourque into the Hall of Fame, a most deserved accomplishment. Though he played for only ten years, a relatively short tenure, he played all of them in Boston and during his career, there was no one else more respected and feared. It'll be a rightful honor to see his plaque next to Bourque's in the Hall. Congratulations, Cam!

"You guys want to kick my dog while you're here?"

Comcast informs me they're coming tomorrow to hook up my cable and internet. Seeing as how today is a travel day for the Sox, I just might make it. I said might. Don't be surprised if the cable dude has to coax me out of the closet where I've taken to hiding with the radio and a pair of rabbit ears.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Things Just Keep Getting Better

(photos from Bravotv.com)

Those of you who come here for informed game commentary aided by the snarky are going to be a bit put out today. Because the game? Let’s just say Hoover makes a better product. The pitching? Matty is about one “ball four, high and outside” away from being bitch-slapped by Tek’s mitt. The hitting? Brutha, please. The bats, as Manny would say, are in a “coma.” However, we did get to see Manny, in pursuit of a routine fly ball (as much as anything is ever routine with that spaceshot out there) fall down, get up, STILL make the catch, and give Matty and everyone else on the field the double finger points, old school Pedro style.

And speaking of Pedro, he made an earnest bid for a no-hitter last night. He didn’t get it but he did pitch a complete game. I know some people want, or at least predict, that this is the year his arm will fall off. But I stand by my prediction that he’ll win the NL Cy Young. And that’s okay. I know Pedro was a jerk a lot of the time but goddamn, he was also Pedro Freakin’ Martinez. And he meant something. He still means something to us. I, for one, was rooting for the guy.

Also, it should be noted, the Yankees lost (again) to the Brew Crew. Granted, Milwaukee had Ben Sheets, their ace going, but it’s noteworthy that on successive nights, a Wang and a Johnson have left Yankees fans dissatisfied. And the phallic jokes come even before the Queer Eye rundown.

As for Queer Eye…better get this out of the way now: SQUEEEEEEEE! What else is there to say other than the fact that it was pretty much the greatest hour of television in the history of ever. I do not remember the last time I laughed that hard and for that long. (Hard! Long! I’m not even trying anymore.) Amy and I headed over to Annette’s with Marianne and the four of us ate pizza, drank girly drinks and watched our boys get their wax on. And just when you think it’s impossible to love a team more, this happens:

Mirabelli (getting his nails shaped) to Kevin Millar: How gay do you feel right now?
Millar (feet soaking in rose petal water): Whoever said gay was bad? I am now gay!

I fully expect that sound bite to show up on WEEI posthaste and for the entire right wing, conservative world to get their bloomers in a twist but me? I loved it. Every second of it. Everything from the camera cuts between Tek’s stoic grimaces while getting his back waxed to Wakefield screaming bloody murder at having his eyebrows tweezed. From Johnny Damon taking heat for having his own personal stylist to Tek claiming that he “just goes to the nearest Supercuts.” From Carson Kressley asking a small child if he could show him “anything in a sensible pump” to Kyan Douglas looking not entirely out of place in a baseball uniform. From Millar “pitching” to Little Leaguers and Wake mock-berating Carson for his shoddy fielding. All of it. It was good times.

Here’s where you boys may want to tune out. Because I’m about to tell you that I very nearly wet myself when Carson greeted Varitek by calling him “The Quadmaster”* and lifting up his terrycloth robe to expose the Thighs of Freedom. Not to mention that when Tek did show up (late, as he was playing an exhibition away game) he was choppered onto the field and the legend read “Jason Varitek Arrives” complete with dramatic musical crescendos and Steven Seagal-movie timestamp. And when he entered the media room-turned-spa, Millar greeted him be saying, “Hi, Cap’n.” Awwww! Plus, arms! Usually Tek is all about the legs but, arms! It’s fairly safe to say that my love for Jason Varitek continues to grow exponentially. Anyway…you were saying?

I must once again express how very, very proud I am of our boys for doing something like this. Not simply because it’s a great way to show tolerance for something that really, should so not even be an issue anymore in the year two thousand and freakin’ five but also because their main intention, aside from giving their fans a laugh, was to raise money to rebuild the Port Charlotte Little League field that had been devastated by Hurricane Charlie. And that they did. I’m not going to pretend like the best part of that show for me personally wasn’t seeing Varitek in a suit but the looks on those kids faces when they realized they were getting their field back was almost as good.

People have said to me “You realize that the Sox appearing on Queer Eye is going to put a lot of pressure on them. They’re going to get made fun of.” To which I’ve always responded, “More pressure than an 86-year championship drought? I don’t think so.” And as for the “making fun of” part? Do you honestly think the Sox take themselves seriously? I mean really, according to today’s Globe, the Sox go out of their way to keep from being too serious. To whit:

In a not-so-stunning upset, Kevin Millar was the talk of the day before the game even started for two reasons: No. 1, what he was wearing around 3:30 p.m., and No. 2, what he did about that time.

Millar, you see, was taking batting practice on an oppressive afternoon when the temperature hovered in the neighborhood of 90, and he was wearing nothing but cleats, socks, and compression (read: white Spandex) shorts that players usually wear under their pants.

''Couple of those people were on those tours, I saw two ladies throw up," Francona said. ''Nobody should have to endure -- there's a limit to how much someone should have to endure. I know there's about five coaches who feel a lot better about themselves right now.

While dressed down, so to speak, Millar accomplished a rather impressive feat, best recounted by Francona.

The skipper: ''I was standing in the bullpen. I hit a fungo as high as I could toward home plate. It didn't quite get there. It was out near shortstop. He saw it coming, he got going as fast as he could with his bat and hit it, and hit it for a home run. I told him to go buy a lottery ticket. It's [expletive] incredible."

Oh, Red Sox. This is why I love them. They can be getting their asses handed to them by the Cardinals in some sort of watered down “revenge” on one channel and on the other, they’re whining about back waxing and playing baseball with Little Leaguers. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s a good time to be a Red Sox fan.

*Apparently the term was "Quadzilla" which I am certain I would have caught upon rewatching. But, you know, there was lifted terrycloth and exposed Thighs of Freedom involved. Y'all are lucky I'm still alive.