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

Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Rick Rages

(Why do I suck so hard?)

Let’s say I’m watching the game. And let’s say the umpire – any umpire – makes a ridiculous call. I can pretty much countdown from ten and by the time I arrive at one, my dad will have called. Crappy umpiring is one of my dad’s pet peeves. He rants and raves like Carl Everett at an archeologist’s convention. Below, he takes on umpires, in a remarkably coherent way.

The Rick Rages:

So here's my issue with baseball umpires, Major League umpires in particular. It's my contention that umpiring baseball is so much different, and hence easier, than other sports and yet many, many umpires are still horrible. Why is that?

In baseball, let's say that 90% of the calls are predetermined – that is to say the umpire has to make a decision, be it fair or foul, strike or ball, safe or out. In virtually all those cases he gets to see it coming, and at least with balls/strikes and safe/out he knows precisely where the event will take place so he can better focus on that spot. And because there are umps at every base he should almost always be in a proper position to make the right call. Plus the players tend to be more stationary than the other team sports, again making it easier to determine where the call is going to be.

Obviously there are other calls that are required such as balks, interference/obstruction, foul tips, check swings, etc. that require unanticipated judgment but the vast majority of calls are served up to the umpires in a predetermined fashion.

Now compare that to football, basketball, and hockey where fouls/penalties are a big part of the calls. In any given game there are an infinite number of call/non-call decisions to be made. “Was that holding?” “Was that traveling?” “Slashing?” “Did he step out of bounds?” And so on. As an official you never know when there is going to be a call/non-call event so you have to be on top of it at all times. And because those games are so fast paced with players moving all over the playing surface, it must be very challenging to stay abreast of everyone.

Now, I'm not trying to say that Major League Umpires aren't good at there jobs, well, some of them aren’t. But I do say that their job is relatively easy when compared to their peers in other sports. And yet they still manage to screw it up a remarkable percentage of the time.

Granted, trying to determine whether a Wakefield knuckler or Wells curveball or a Randy Johnson fastball caught the corner can be challenging. But at least they know it's coming so they should be prepared for that moment of decision. But often they still miss the call, and balls and strikes are often notoriously inconsistent from umpire to umpire and even pitch to pitch by the same umpire in the same game. No wonder pitchers often get upset.

So while I'm on umpires, I'm glad they’re finally getting one thing right. They are now huddling on controversial calls to try and get it right, so that self-righteous arrogance they used to display in those situations is gone. Mostly. ‘Bout time, football has been doing it for years.

Finally, I pose one last question: When a batter check-swings, the catcher can appeal to either the third base (when a lefthander is at bat) or first base (when a right-hander is at bat) umpire to see if that ump will over rule the home plate ump and call the swing a strike. So why can’t the batter make the same appeal when the home plate umpire rules that the batter didn't hold up his swing and hence calls a strike? You never see that! Why not?

That’s The Rick, y’all. And his thoughts for today. In the future, I assume we’ll be arguing back and forth more often on certain things but I happen to agree with him on this one. However, I offer you a transcript of a voicemail I received from him last night shortly after Olerud’s grand slam:

“What’s wrong with you? You don’t have your phone on during such a pivotal moment? I’m disappointed! Sent you some stuff to post but dammit, get back on the job!”

Such pressure.

Speaking of pressure, the trading deadline has got me chewing my fingernails down to bloody nubs and alternately whimpering and raging. Aside from the fact that the Yankees have just signed Alan Embree which, frankly, I cannot bring myself to talk about yet, there’s nothing big to report. More later, I’m sure, assuming I survive the impending ulcer.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Pinch Hitter

(Like father, like daughter)

Okay, so, some of y'all have met my dad. For those of you who haven't, that's him up there. On this blog, he's often referred to as "The Rick." He's a good sort, and completely responsible for my own sports-related psychosis.

As such, he's become a bit of a cult figure on this here blog and Amy (sans nuts) floated the idea the other day that The Rick should have a recurring guest spot on Basegirl. He's agreed, if you all think it's a good idea, because if there's one thing my dad has, it's an opinion.

And so, I leave it to you, dear readers. Do you all want to hear from The Rick? I'm thinking maybe once a week or so we'll just grab a sports related topic and yak about it, argue over it or fight to the death. Thoughts?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Goodbye is the Hardest Word

(Photo from Boston.com)

In a rather stunning development, Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson has just announced his retirement after ten seasons with the New England Patriots.

Patriots.com has the story.

Most notable is the quote from Johnson:

"It is with deep regret that I have decided to retire from football. The decision was not an easy one, but life sometimes has a timetable all its own. I can no longer ignore the severe short- and long-term complications of the concussive head injuries I have sustained over the years."

This comes on the heels of Tedy Bruschi's announcement that he'll take at least a year-long hiatus from football.

I think sometimes we forget just how much of themselves these guys leave on the field. Sometimes it isn't just their blood, sweat and tears. Sometimes it's their actual health and well-being. Football is a brutal game. We all know that. No one more so than the players. But it often takes a staple of your team retiring to bring it home.

I'll miss referring to the havoc-wreaking D-line as "Big Willie and the Teds" but I wish Johnson all the best.

And I have a sneaking suspicion that in his era of Belichickian New England Patriots football, those that are part of the championship teams never really go very far away.

Good luck, Ted!

Red Sox Catcher Blood Feud Update

Phone message from Kevin during the 5th inning of yesterday's Sox/Devil Rays game: I demand a six pack for every base that Dougie steals. That is worth some beer. I will take a six pack of Coors Light.

Return phone call: You can't retroactively request beer.

Kev's response: Damn right I can. Dad says a Dougie stolen base is worth at least a six pack.

Rebuttal: Which would put you at two...total...career. The last time he stole a base was over five years ago.

Kev: Don't care. He's a speed demon today. I want beer.

Me: Okay, listen, you can have a six pack every time Dougie steals a base if I get one every time Varitek...throws out a runner trying to steal.

Kev: *prolonged silence* Deal.

Me: You're on.

Later in the evening, I relayed this exchange to Annette when I asked her to confirm that Dougie did, in fact steal a base.

Annette: He totally did. It's all anyone will talk about.

Me: What possesses him to do that?

Annette: I bet he just woke up today and thought, "I feel fast."

Me: Yikes. But still, a six pack for Dougie's steals vs. a six pack for Varitek's runners thrown out? I totally win.

Annette: You totally do.

However, I watched the replay of the game last night at 7:00 on NESN and was dismayed to see that Tampa Bay's lone run scored on a Doug Mirabelli passed ball. I quickly shot off an email to my brother:

"Now see, you neglected to tell me that the only Tampa Bay run that scored did so on a DOUG MIRABELLI PASSED BALL! This is pertinent information. But I'll let it slide...this time.

"Also, have you ever noticed that Dougie is completely square-shaped?* He's perfectly geometric. I hereby dub him, 'Dougie Mira-Squarepants.'"**

Still waiting for a response.

*observation courtesy of Amy and her dad.
**nicknamed invented by Marianne.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Turning Point?

(Yahoo! Sports)

I hate to quote myself but...half an hour ago I wrote this:

"Obviously, I want the Sox to win this game. I want this to turn into one of those "Moments" that we come back to, like last year's brawl game, where the team metaphorically kicks itself in the ass and comes back to win and to turn the season around."

I guess time will tell.

As for me...

*collapses on the floor in a sobbing heap*


To Hear a Pin Drop

(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

The game is not over yet - it's currently the top of the 8th inning and the Sox are down 8-6, but I can't seem to think about anything other than Carl Crawford's line drive that dropped Matty Clement like a sack of fertilizer. And, like Beth, I found that as I stared at the television, my face a rictus of horror, there were tears forming in the corners of my eyes. Because, no matter how much time you spend making fun of a player's imagined penchant for Cat Fancy magazine or his alleged peanut allergy, you realize that you really do love the guy. And you don't want anything bad to happen to him. You realize that through the wins and losses ERA and WHIP and BB/K ratio, there is one thought repeated over and over like a manta in your head, "Be okay, Matty, be okay, Matty, be okay, Matty, be okay..."

The Sox are playing lackluster baseball right now and honestly, I can't blame them. For as much money as they make and as many trade rumors as litter the sports pages every day, they do spend most of their waking hours together and they are a family. And they have to care right now. Not about the game, so much as they want it to be over, but about their fallen teammate.

The worst part was how quiet it was. I've been to the Trop and it's not a loud place, in and of itself, but the faces of the fans in the stands after Matty went down - Devil Rays and Sox fans alike - said it all. There was nothing to say. Remy and Don-O didn't know anything more than we did. They were watching right along with us. We're so used to them being the voices of reason, or insanity, but we're used to looking to them for explanation. For me, they've always had an uncanny way of answering my questions immediately after I voiced them, either to someone in the room or to the empty room at large. But this time, they had nothing to say.

Then there was Millar's face. For as long as he's been on this team, Millar has always had at least a semi-smile on his face. Even being down 0-3 to the Yankees in last year's ALCS, he couldn't stop smiling and joking around. But as he stood over Matty, his body curled into a loose fetal position, his face was stony with no hint of smile. Millar's face, combined with Varitek's slow, determined walk away from the mound, made it clear that this was bad.

The inevitable comparisons to Bryce Florie popped up after mere minutes. "No," I said to the TV, as there was no one here, "No, Matty, be okay." I called my dad. It was all I knew to do.

"Are you watching the game?" I asked.

"No," he said, "We're in the car. But I've got it on the radio."

"It's bad," I said, my voice shaking a bit.

"WEEI says he's alert and aware of what happened," Dad reassured me, "He's going to be okay."

"Okay," I said, pacing the kitchen, "Okay."

"Everything else okay?" Dad asked.

"Um," I said, "Yeah, I guess so." I paused, "Dad, that was really bad."

"It's going to be okay. He's going to be fine."

Sometimes, that's just what you need to hear.

According to Eric Frede's in-game updates, Matty is alert, concious and "in good spirits." These are all good things. Nevertheless, this kind of stuff is so scary. I'm a hockey fan so it's not like I'm not used to violence. I love football and celebrate a bone-crunching sack with the best of 'em, but there's just something different when it's baseball. Or when it's so unexpected. Hockey and football players know they're going to get hit. They prepare for it. It's part of the game. But baseball is not a contact sport. When the ball comes back to the pitcher, a lightning-quick screaming liner, there is no time to react. And that's what makes it so terrifying.

In the game, Varitek has just hit a 9th-inning home run to bring the Sox within a run and Millar has singled to put the tying run on base. Obviously, I want the Sox to win this game. I want this to turn into one of those "Moments" that we come back to, like last year's brawl game, where the team metaphorically kicks itself in the ass and comes back to win and to turn the season around. But right now, my thoughts are still with Matty.

Be okay, Matty, be okay, Matty, be okay...

Nerds Bite Bullies

(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

No, no, no, no, no. Just...no. We don't lose one run, extra inning games to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Or rather, we do, I guess, but I'd really prefer it if we didn't. Look, if the Devil Rays had an online dating profile, it would read like this:

Being assholes, making people cry, wearing stupid vests.

You, Me, laughter, sunshine, kittens, fun.

Unacceptable. The entire team lives in constant fear of their manager short-circuiting and eating the shortstop or a utility infielder. Carl Crawford is probably safe because I don't think Sweet Lou's gonna run him down without the aid of a motorized Sequeway. But as for the rest of 'em, how can you focus when you might become Lou's lunch at any second?

I love Mike Timlin. I really do. Despite all his blustery "I'm a big, huntin', Nascar watchin', god-fearin', Southern baseball player" business, I really kind of love him. But it is not necessary for him to let eleventy billion inherited runners score. Just because someone happens to be on the basepaths does not mean they're allowed to touch home plate. This is not a manifest destiny situation, Big Fitty. You can do that snarl thing you do, turn to spit on the grass and say, "Screw you. You're staying right there. This land of 'home' you've heard tell 'bout ain't nothin' but a legend for you." I don't know why Timlin speaks like a 1940s gold prospector in my mind but just go with it. I'm starting a new campaign right now. "I Heart Wins. I Hate Inherited Runners." Who's with me?

As for Manny, well, he's Manny and as Beth so brilliantly pointed out, when people get on him, I get really defensive because I think of him as a small child who doesn't know any better. And so, to that end, if last night's 9th inning with the bases loaded and two outs was a third grade report card, Manny would get As in "Attitude," "Skill Level" and "Plays well with others," but he'd be rockin' Fs in "Follows directions" and "Performs according to potential." A pop out to right with the bases loaded in a tie game is not what I ordered, Manuel. Not what I ordered at all.

Also? There was that business where Olerud got a hit and yet the ball somehow nails Trotter who is then called out for "interfering with a ball in play." Not intentionally, mind you. But still. That happened and I typed to no fewer than four people who I was conversing with at the time, "What other team does that happen to? None other team is the answer." And yet does it really surprise any of us that the Red Sox were able to pull that off? Call me a prophet.

But what can we do? The trading deadline is rapidly approaching and there are rumors that everyone from Bro-Yo to the bat boy are getting swapped. What we need is pitching, clearly, but name me a team who doesn't need another arm. All faith in Theo but for the next week, I wear my fingernails down to bloody nubs waiting for the announcement that my favorite binky has been shipped out of town. And when you get right down to it, aren't they all my favorite binkies?

So tonight we go with Matty against that poor devil Mark Hendrickson who didn't make it out of the first inning last time we faced him. In fact, the Sox scored six runs before he made an out which, if I'm doing my math correctly, puts his ERA for that last game at infinity. That's gotta be a wee bit demoralizing. And well, I'm sure he's a nice kid and all but I'm going to need to Sox to hit him like he owes them money tonight. I want a win!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

One Down, One to Go

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(photo from jasonhoke.com)

The Bring Dave Roberts Back! Fund currently totals a whopping $14. C'mon now, folks, we can do better than that. I kid, actually, (well, mostly) but our bitching and whining worked to the tune of bringing back the World's Most Perfectly Sculpted Jew. Can Super Dave be far behind?

Just think, Kap's back, the team is playing mediocre ball and even Hyzduuuuuuu!, my personal chew toy, has shown up again (though perhaps not for long if he continues making plays like his fly-on-a-windshield gaffe last night in left). Throw a bitching Pedro and a blustering Schilling (oh, wait), into the mix and it's almost like, gasp!, last year.

And maybe that's part of it. Maybe that's part of the reason I seem less worried about this team than I perhaps should be. Granted, last night's game should probably have me frazzled considering Wake's alarming penchant at giving up home runs but for some reason, I just shrugged it off. Yes, I'd like to win. But I suppose my point is that when you're facing the team with the best record in baseball and your knuckleballer is going through a bit of a gopher ball phase, things aren't always going to go your way. Plus, the Sox are in first place, the Orioles and the Yankees both lost (again) and it's pretty much status quo out there right now. A slightly infuriating status quo since this team really should be much better than this, but status quo nonetheless. Of course, the addition of Kapler isn't going to hurt.

Oh, and as an aside. Memo to the Chicago White Sox: It's a home run, not freakin' Independence Day. Fireworks really aren't necessary. You hit a lot of home runs. You're a good baseball team. But damn if that isn't more obnoxious than the bat flip or the occasional Manny Ramirez "Look how far I hit that one, bitches!" slow trot. For real, tone it down a bit. Don't want to get yourselves all worked up over a single shot dinger in the 4th inning of a game you're already losing by twelve. However, the fireworks did prompt this discussion between Sebastian and myself:

Me: Those fireworks? Have got to stop. Bit of overkill, that.
Sebastian: Big talk coming from someone whose football team sets off cannons when they score a touchdown.
Me: They're the Patriots. It makes sense. Also? Whatever you say, Mr. Terrible Towel. *snicker*.
Sebastian: Don't make fun of the towels! They towels are awesome!
Me: Dude, the towels are lame.
Sebastian: They are not! They're the greatest!
Me: No, for real, man, we're all making fun of you. All of us.

And speaking of football...I realize I've not yet talked about Tedy Bruschi. And frankly, I need to. I mean, he's Tedy Bruschi. He
is Patriots football, plain and simple. Perhaps even more than Belichick or Brady, Bruschi is the physical and emotional embodiment of what it means to be a New England Patriot. And he's decided not to play this year. Which is...okay. Sad and upsetting insomuch as we're not going to see him running around the field like his pants are on fire and making Peyton Manning's receivers wet themselves but it's okay because Tedy never let us forget that in addition to being a football player - before being a football player - he is a husband and father. And his family needs him to be healthy. I feel like that's such a typical estrogen-laden response. "Well, his babies and wife need him." But the odd thing about the Bruschi decision is that I don't see reaction falling along gender lines. I've heard and read just as many males say the same thing about him. And I've listened to plenty of females express disappointment that he won't be taking the field this year.

Bruschi is a rare case in professional sports. We all say that we have favorite athletes and players and we act like we know them. But the truth is, we never really do. And we can never be sure they love us back. Just think back to how many of us were burned by Pedro "No Respect" Martinez. Did Pedro love us back? We'll never know. But with Tedy, it's almost like you
do know. Sure, an athlete can tell you they appreciate and love the fans and the support we give them but they can show it by signing a multi-year, below market value deal so as to stay in the city they consider home. See also: Wakefield, Tim. And that means a lot to us. We all learned in kindergarten that showing is greater than telling. And telling doesn't mean much unless you've shown us something to back it up. Bruschi backed it up.

And you can say what you want about his decision to take to the sidelines this year, but I honestly believe that there is such a mutual respect between Bruschi and the New England fans that we truly want what's best for him. We're not like that with other people. How many of us accused Nomar - either publicly or privately - of dogging it? Has anyone said that about Bruschi? Didn't think so. And no one will.

So while I feel that this decision is in Tedy's best interest, I also don't think it's forever. And even if it is, he's still a Patriot and he's still going to find a way to impact this team. Football is his life and New England Patriots football is where he's made his legacy. I think the odds are good that we see him running up and down the sidelines with a clipboard, yelling at the newbies and showing 'em how it's done in the near future.

And speaking of sticking around...(you like how the bullet points are all segueing into each other?), I met someone the other night who was the living embodiment of a true fan. First, a little background:

My father (The Rick to most of you) works in the veterinary industry and over the past thirty-odd years, he's struck up some pretty sincere friendships with his colleagues, not the least of which is that with Bob and Karen Messenger. Bob and Karen live in North Carolina and I met them for the first time last summer. "Bob's a huge Red Sox fan," my dad told me. "You'll love him."

My dad knows how to introduce people to me.

Not long after Bob and Karen returned home, the Sox began their playoff run. Occasionally Dad would forward me emails from Bob, laced with excitement about the Sox' chances. I've always known that Red Sox Nation is national, no, global, but it was a thrill to be feeling the intensity from someone so far away from Boston. Occasionally, living right in the center of the madness, I found myself losing perspective on just how big a deal this World Series win would be. But the emails from Bob always helped put it back into focus.

Shortly before the ALCS, I got an email from Bob's wife, Karen. "Your dad said you might know where I can get those 'Why Not Us?' t-shirts," it read. "I'd really like to get one for Bob and his father." A few mouse clicks and a donation to the K ALS fund later and two t-shirts were winging their way to North Carolina. Karen was infinitely grateful, and, evidently, Bob and his father were ecstatic.

Fast forward to last Tuesday. Bob and Karen, along with Bob's father Mel and brother Bill were in Boston. Not for business, not to visit family and not out of necessity. They were here solely to take in a Red Sox game. My mom sent me an email a few days before, "Bob and Karen are going to be in town for the game," she wrote, "Do you want to have dinner with all of us afterwards?"

"Absolutely," I wrote back.

And so we did. We met up at the No Name Restaurant on the harbor and proceeded to talk baseball. They'd just witnessed the systematic dismantling of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the hands of David Wells and the relentless Sox bats so there was a win to discuss.

"Where were your seats?" I asked.

"About ten rows back," Bill replied, "Along the third base line, behind the dugout."

"Wow," I said, "Great seats."

"Yeah," Karen said, "And Mel (her father-in-law) has never been to Fenway before so they were excellent."

My dad turned to Mel, incredulous, "You've never been to Fenway before?"

Mel shook his head, "Nope. Grew up in Brockton and I was always a Sox fan but today was the first time I ever went to Fenway."

"Imagine that," my dad said, "And you stayed a fan all this time. You kept the faith?"

"Oh yeah," Mel said, "Always knew they'd do it."

My dad smiled and shook his head, "How about that?"

The conversation drifted on to discuss Manny's disappearance into the Monster and the ongoing argument and wager between Kevin and myself regarding Dougie vs. Varitek but I kept mentally coming back to what Mel had said. "Always knew they'd do it."

I often feel somewhat guilty about the fact that I'm merely twenty-four-years-old and I've seen the Red Sox win a World Series. I wouldn't change the circumstances for anything but meeting someone like Mel, someone in his eighties who'd never previously been to Fenway Park, serves to yank into focus just how lucky I am to be twenty-four, to have working memories of a Red Sox World Series victory and to - all things considered - get to visit Fenway fairly often. Because eighty-odd years is a lot of believing. It's a lot of faith. Especially when you consider that before last Tuesday, Mel had never had the opportunity to worship in the chapel.

I have to wonder if other teams have fans like this. Do they have people who latch onto something and don't let go, despite geography, family situations, poor ownership, bad player management, historical losses and frustrating history? Do they have people who spend their entire lives believing? I don't know. I don't love any other team like I love the Red Sox and it seems like Mel's story, while wonderful - isn't terribly rare for Red Sox fans. Because in Red Sox Nation, it's about more than just baseball. It's a way to connect generations. Bob likes to tell the story of their family reunion when he tried to get his son, also named Kevin, interested in baseball.

"I told him, 'Go and ask your grandfather about Ted Williams'," Bob said, "Ted Williams was always Dad's favorite."

"Ted Williams was something," Mel chimed in.

Bob continued, "And Kevin comes back to me a little while later and says, 'Why was I supposed to ask grandpa about Hank Williams?'"

The table erupted in laughter. "He's just not much of a baseball fan," Bob said.

And that happens too. That's part of it as well. Not everyone is going to love what you love but that's okay. That doesn't make it any less special. I often think of myself and my father and how, though we've never had a problem communicating like so many fathers and daughters do, what we talk about most often is sports. When dad works from home, he emails me day game updates like clockwork. Rarely does a game go by without an email or phone call analysis from one of us to the other. We're constantly trading books back and forth and offering our opionions, ("
Bloody Sundays is a little lacking but you'll love America's Game"). I don't remember when or how exactly that my father started treating me as an equal in sports discussions but I know that all of what I know, I know because of him.

And this is how it happens in so many places to so many people and throughout so many families. Passion and excitement for a team is passed down, even without witnessing it in person. And that is truly special. We're lucky to have that around here. We're lucky to be a part of it. I'm thrilled that Mel finally was able to visit Fenway and that when he did, he was able to see the World Series Champions banner blowing in the summer breeze. It seems fitting, somehow, for someone who believed for so long, to finally be rewarded with the ultimate visual proof. They did it. Finally. But he always knew they would.

Friday, July 22, 2005

'Bout Damn Time

(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Like a Mack Truck with the breaks cut...

That is more like it. That is what I like to see. Winning ballgames against the best team in baseball, despite a shaky start by our “All-Star” starter and a blown save by our newly minted “closer.” Then we rely on Manuelito, as we have so many times in the past, to come in and say, “It’s okay. Don’t worry. I fix it.” And then he did.

I had made plans to go out last night and had resigned myself to the fact that I’d only be able to see the first inning or two of the game. However, when I arrived at Club Q (so tragically, tragically hip and so not traditionally my scene as I am most assuredly not hip), I was relieved to see the television screens behind the bar showing the game.

“Thank god,” I breathed to Heather, “the game’s on.”

She just laughed. She knows me too well.

We got our complimentary drinks and settled into a VIP area (I swear to you guys, I am not this hip), and chatted about all manner of things before I saw a commotion of sorts on the television in the corner.

“Hang on,” I said, “I think we just scored.”

I marched over to the bar and accosted the poor soul sitting there.

“What just happened?” I asked him.

“Uh,” he said, “what?”

I gestured impatiently, “The game. What just happened in the game?”

“Oh,” he said, “Uh, the Red Sox scored.”

“So we’re tied now?” I asked.

“Um, yeah.”

“How’d that happen?” I said, glancing at the television, waiting for a replay.

“The, uh, the second baseman. He dropped the ball. And so the runners were allowed to advance.”

“Dude,” I said, giving him a “for real, you are not about the explain the rules of baseball to me,” look. “Iguchi made and error?”

“Uh, yeah, I think so.”

“And Damon scored?”

He looked at me, completely confused.

“Uh, I think so.”

“Come on, man,” I said good naturedly, “Pay attention!”

I don’t think he got it.

So it was with great excitement that I saw the Sox pull it out last night, despite all evidence that they might fall victim to playing the “Best Team in Baseball!” with their All-Star Game starter on the mound.

Tonight, I’ll be watching them go for Game 2 of the series at Katherine and Sebastian’s. Sebastian, a displaced Yankee fan will undoubtedly be cheering for the White Sox. But I plan to stuff him so full of taco dip that he can’t get out more than a “Murmphhearnfnf!” from time to time. Ah, the power of taco dip.


Stay tuned for more updates about the 80 something-year-old gentleman I met this week who, despite being a Red Sox fan his entire life, had never been to Fenway Park before. And, of course, my musings on Tedy Bruschi.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


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(Yankees fans crawl out of the woodwork after having overtaken first place)

What’s that Yankees fans were always advising us after we won the World Series, “Act like you’ve been there before?” It’s good to know that sentiment is apparently completely optional when it comes to Yankee fan behavior regarding their position in the standings.

Yes, it’s true, with a win last night over the Texas Rangers coupled with a Sox loss to the improbable Devil Rays (Grrrr, grrrrrr!), the Yankees find themselves in first place in the AL East by a half game. And with all the hooting and hollering and posting and screeching and taunting they’ve been doing, you’d think it was Free Pint Night at Alpha Gamma Epsilon. During Mardi Gras. On the weekend. At the MTV Beach House. Because seriously? Yankees fans are NOT acting like they’ve been here before. Not in the slightest. They go away for months at a time when the team is tanking and their starting rotation is sucking more wind that a Boeing 747 and they reappear – totally coincidentally, I’m sure – as the Yanks scratch and crawl their way into first place. Klassy.

Now look, I’ll be the first to admit that I gave them more than my fair share of shit when they were bottom-dwelling and being swept by the likes of the Royals and the Devil Rays. Because that was good times. And I don’t regret it now. The schadenfreude tasted delicious and they deserved every pointed barb and biased criticism I tossed at them. Why? Because I knew it’d come back to this. The Yankees are often regarded as a sleeping beast or the monster in a horror movie who you can never be sure is completely and totally dead. It’s not like it was about to change this year. I mean, we all hoped, but come on, we’re Red Sox fans, we know it ain’t going down like that.

That said, Christ on a bike, are they annoying! I have fielded emails from people who have actually told me in the past “I’m not really a baseball fan” who now feel the need to ask me “What do the standings say? I can’t read them this morning.” These people are usually regarded with a quizzical look morphing into a choking sound. And the best part about that is, they have no response to that. Because what are they going to say? Exactly.

So while it is with much anger, gnashing of teeth and venom spewed in the direction of the Red Sox dugout that I watch this rapidly deteriorating series against the Devil Rays, it is with a mild “pshaw” that I keep an eye on the Yankees. Yes, the Sox have got to start playing better. No one knows that better than me. But, seriously, I don’t want to go all pretentious and start quoting people but Yankees/Red Sox is the “same as it ever was.”

However, I would like to say to any and all Yankee fans who insist on crawling out of the woodwork like the proverbial front-running termites you are; save it. We’ve had enough. And if you insist on taunting us because you are a MERE HALF GAME in front of us in the standings, well, shit, *cough*, *gasp*, *choke*. What I read into that is fear. Because if there’d been hide or hair of them to be seen for the entire first half of the season, I could respect the taunting now. I could understand it and I could accept it. I wouldn’t like it, but at least I would realize that they’d stuck it out all year long. But that it’s just coming up now, when the Yanks are back on top, however tenuously, tells me that Yankee fans are spewing all their bullshit when they have a chance. Because they damn sure remember last year and they know that a second place team is not something to be taken lightly. So go ahead, taunt all you want. But careful up there at the top. We’re gaining on you.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Party Postmortem

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(not my actual kitchen but a reasonable facsimile)

I wasn't going to post again today but after Beth read the following email I sent regarding Saturday's party and threatened, "if you don't post this, i will fucking kill you. that is hysterical," I've decided I fear for my life. Beth is not one to make empty threats.

And so:

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions relating to Saturday evening's throw-down:

  • Yes, my roommate is single.
  • No, that wineglass was not a family heirloom.
  • No, my bedsheets are not satin.
  • Yes, you were dancing, Steve. And quite enthusiastically from what I hear.
  • Yes, my coffee table managed to sustain further damage.
  • No, it was not related to any kind of anatomically shaped cake.
  • No, there is no more sangria.
  • Yes, there is some Advil.
  • No, no one sullied my couch. They all made it to the bathroom.
  • Yes, there are two Amys. With and without nuts.
  • Yes, you're all insane.
  • Yes, we talked about you all at breakfast on Sunday. And we made up stories too. How could you, Sam?
  • Yes, there will be more parties.

Thanks to all of you guys for coming out on Saturday - and for those of you I saw Friday night as well. You're all of a good sort. But it's bibs and sippy cups for you lot next time.

Weekend Warriors

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(a rough approximation of how I feel this morning)

Okay, look, it’s not like we didn’t all know it was coming down to this. I mean, you can’t honestly tell me you’re surprised. There was a feeling of inevitability. It is now, as it has always been and always shall be, between the Yankees and Red Sox. The Sox, after losing three of four to the Yankees at Fenway, cling on to first place in the AL East by the skin of their teeth. But we knew if was going down like this. It always does and it always will.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’m happy with the way things have turned out. I spent Saturday standing on the Monster next to Amy, Annette and Steve and feeling the sun cook my scalp (as I’d left the Tom Brady hat at home, reasoning that it was the source of bad luck), and screeching at the Yankees fans that someone managed to slime their way into the park. The best exchange of the day was either the following between Slimy Yankee Fan and Big, Burly Sox Fan to my right or the one between my brother and I after the Dual Dougie/Sveum Baserunning Blunder.

Yankee fan after Sheffield’s long single off the Wall: Nice park! Any other park and that would have been a home run!

Sox fan: So you want us to apologize because our park doesn’t facilitate Yankee home runs? We’re so sorry!

And then, a batter later after a called strike.

Sox fan: Jesus! That’s crap! Any other park and that’s ball four!

God, I love Red Sox fans.

And my brother and I, continuing the grand tradition of the Red Sox Catcher Blood Feud:

Me, after Dougie gets thrown out: What the shit was that?

Kev: Don’t be calling me to tell me that crap. I’m watching the game. I saw it! That was all Sveum. ALL SVEUM!

Me: Well Dougie’s not exactly fleet of foot.

Kev: I watched the replay four times and he had his head down and was running hard. THAT’S ALL HE DOES! That’s on his business cards: Doug Mirabelli: Head down and running hard!

Me: Whatever helps you sleep at night.

But here’s the thing: when it’s a beautiful day out, you’re standing on top of one of the most storied structures in sports, you’ve got three wonderful people by your side and you’re watching your team of defending world champions take the field, there isn’t much that can get you down. Oh, and it probably makes it a bit more tolerable knowing that the previous evening, the Sox had kicked the crap out of the Yankees to the tune of 17-1 (for the second time this season, no less.) There’s always that to fall back on.

So no, I’m not surprised that we find ourselves with little to no breathing room in the AL East. The Orioles still stubbornly refuse to go away and the Yankees, beginning their knee-jerk panic moves, up and bought Al Leiter on Saturday. True, he pitched like a rejuvenated Robo-Leiter against the Sox last night but the move smacks of desperation. Let’s not forget that the Yankees are missing 3/5 of their starting rotation and, because apparently I’m twelve-years-old, “the Yankees have broken their Wang.” They are the Yankees, after all, you can’t ever expect them to go completely away for good. Every story needs a villain.

Anyway, aside from the games, the highlights of this weekend were the atmosphere and the company I kept. Friday night found many of the Surviving Grady folk at the Sports Depot in Allston, sucking down Sam Adams and screeching our weird little hearts out for any number of things, including but not limited to the following:

  • Trot Nixon’s inside-the-parker.
  • Jerry Remy’s do-rag.
  • Sam’s non-sequetorial outbursts about the Tigers’ game playing on a smaller TV.
  • Tizzle’s grand slam.
  • Bill Mueller’s grimace. (Still recovering, frankly.)
  • Steve Brady’s good sportsmanship when surrounded by the Estrogen Patrol.
  • And Maura picking up the ENTIRE TAB because, wow. Just wow.

In short, there were many things to celebrate and I was in perfect company to do so.

Even Colleen, knowing that she would need to spend the next evening with most of these people as I’d played a get-together at our place, showed incredible intestinal fortitude when she didn’t run screaming out of the Depot and into the nearest police station.

And speaking of the next night? Y’all are insane. As Steve so succinctly put it: “The bold Surviving Grady tradition of total ridiculousness continues apace.” Indeed. Good thing those wineglasses weren’t family heirlooms or anything. Next time we’re going with sippy cups for you lot.

Sam and Beth both have posts up about the weekend that sum it up more eloquently than I ever could but the main point is the same: we’re all in his together. And I, for one, could not think of a better group to go through this with. I like my friends like I like my sports fans: Insane with a dash of crazy and a side of humor. It only makes sense that my friends and fellow sports fans would end up being the same people.

Friday, July 15, 2005


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Word, dude. Word.

This week? Insane. So you’ll forgive me if I update slightly less than daily. But rest assured, I won’t be gone for long.

Tonight is the big SG meetup wherein those of us who haven’t met each other will meet and scream and throw things at the television together. Something tells me we’re all going to be the last to see each other alive.

I’m not talking about last night’s game save for a few choice quotes tossed about by Amy, Marianne, Annette and The Rick.

Amy, on Bellhorn’s flyout: Bellhorn could walk down to Hits ‘R Us with $70 in his pocket and the dude behind the counter would go, “Sorry, dude, we’re all out.”


The Rick, after Bellhorn’s eleventy billionth strikeout of the game: Where’s the column? Who’s the guy they just got from the Indians?
Me: Alex Cora?
The Rick: Yeah. “WherethehellisAlexCora.com.” Write it.
Me: I don’t know what to tell you, Dad. They sent Youks down, so he can’t play second.
The Rick: Yeah, what the shit was that about?
Me: They needed to activate Schilling.
The Rick: I’m going to look at the forty-man roster and figure out who the hell else can play second base besides Bellhorn. Jesus, that guy is bad.
Me: How ‘bout Kapler?
The Rick: Perhaps a bit of a liability defensively but a huge upgrade in offense. Yeah, get on that, “Kapleratsecond.com.”


Annette on Terry Francona going with Schilling in the 9th inning of a tie game: I swear, I’m going to go gambling with Tito one of these days. We’re going to use his money but it’s going to be fantastic.


Marianne on the Schilling-as-closer science experiment: “This is kind of like NASCAR. Except less white trash. You’re just waiting around for a fiery crash.”


And finally, me, after the game: *Whimper*

Amy, Annette and I also began to develop our rudimentary rules for our Red Sox/Yankees drinking game. So far, we’ve established that the following acts warrant a drink:

  • Arroyo plunks (insert Yankee here).
  • Jeter claps for himself.
  • “Past a diving Womack.”
  • Manny makes outfielding an adventure worthy of a pith helmet and pickax.
  • Varitek swings (and misses) at a high fastball.
  • Gary Sheffield swings so hard he almost falls down.
  • A Yankee tags up on Damon.
  • Jeter unnecessarily jackknifes out of the way of a pitch four feet outside the strike zone.
  • Special to the game airing on Fox: Any reference to Jeter’s “calm eyes.”
  • Brawls, bench clearing or otherwise = social.

I’m guessing that if things continue in this fashion, at least one drinking game is going to be necessary.

However, I’ve decided it’s best to think about lovelier things including the fact that football season starts relatively shortly. And the Patriots are, as they were last year, Defending Super Bowl Champions! I know I’m excited about it. So is Jay. Sebastian? Less so. Witness the following exchange that took place on Tuesday night during a commercial break in the All-Star Game:

Jay: So who wants to watch twenty-four hours of Patriots DVDs with me and Kristen?
Sebastian (a Steelers fan): Will you show the part where we broke your streak?
Me: Yes, just before the part where we broke your quarterback. And your hearts. And your soul.
Sebastian: Remember when you guys sucked forever and people used to call you the Patsies?
Jay: Yeah, what is it they call us now?
Me: Champions?
Jay: That’s it!

It’s been a crazy week, kids. But rest assured that I haven’t forgotten about you. I promise to be back in full force in no time. Perhaps I’ll even have some incriminating pictures to post. Like, oh, I don’t know, this one of my brother on his birthday in Toronto. This is what happens if you’re part of my family. Clearly, the madness is genetic.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Off the Fourth Ring of Saturn

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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Okay so, can we get someone to check Bobby Abreu for a pulse please because that shit was NOT human. Twenty-four home runs in the first round alone? Forty-one overall? He hit more home runs in the span of three hours last night that he’s ever hit before IN A SEASON! I mean, just woah.

I’m not really an Abreu fan, insomuch as the National League is largely a far off land of legend and mystery but that has got to be respected.

I was wrong when I called Teixeira to win the whole damn thing yesterday and, despite my well-publicized affection for David Ortiz, I didn’t really give him a shot either. I guess I underestimated the power of traveling with Ron “Papa Jack” Jackson. The man knows Tizzle’s swing as well as anyone and I’m sure it didn’t hurt having him along. Toting Dale Sveum as his own, personal BP pitcher probably helped a bit as well. Also? Did we notice that Teixeira was using Sveum as well? Chris Berman made a comment about the young guys not warranting their own BP pitchers but my guess is that Teixeira, in his first All-Star appearance, showed up not knowing that he was allowed to bring his own pitcher and Ortiz, because he is a giant huggy monster, took one look at Teixiera’s crestfallen face and said, “It is okay, my Ranger friend, you can use my pitcher!” Because he’s a giver, is why. Besides, with the three day respite between games, Sveum’s windmill arm is liable to get stiff.

I have to admit that when he’s not playing against the Sox and showing his well-publicized “heart,” Miguel Tejada is kind of fun to watch. His Swedish masseuse impression on Ortiz was hilarious, especially combined with Tizzle, backwards hat-wearing, badass, “I’m’a wreck you all” look. And he damn near did with his seventeen first round bombs. Had Abreu not just jacked twenty-four, Ortiz’s seventeen would have set the single round record.

There’s something so fantastic about David Ortiz’s swing. It’s almost like the power behind it is so much that he almost knocks himself over with the follow-through. The way he lets go of the bat with one hand and sort of windmills it around his head after connecting with a ball is something I don’t remember ever seeing before. And it’s one of my favorite things about him. Because for all his clutch ability and talent, sometimes, he still looks like a kid who can surprise himself with his own strength.

But, you know, it’s a good thing Minnesota released him because he’s not a power hitter or anything.

Along the “They look like little kids,” line, Colleen watched the Derby with me and commented that it looked as though the players snuck in, set up folding chairs and had themselves a home run hitting contest. “Is this like an actual professional thing?” she asked. “What’s with the folding chairs? Don’t they make millions of dollars?” I laughed, “I’m guessing it’s all informal.” “Hmm,” she said, “Well, Manny’s having a good time.”

And was he ever. I kept hoping that Ortiz would need Manny for something since the Tizzle/Manuelito dynamic is one of my favorite things about baseball. As Denton pointed out, Sox fans are used to seeing teammates have that much fun but the rest of the baseball fanship might not be. I’m happy to share with them for an evening. But would it have been too much to ask to fly in Edgah to feed Papi applesauce between rounds? I sincerely hope this team is looking into an endorsement deal with Mott’s.

Okay, I’m establishing a ground rule right now and I expect Major League Baseball to adhere to it in future. Yankee players are not allowed to have cute children. And if they somehow bend the laws of genetics and physics and the evil does not get passed down genetically and manifest itself in scales or third eyes, they are certainly not allowed to appear with their cute children on television. It makes my head hurt. Yankees=bad=hate=evil and when you throw cute children into the mix, it just confuses matters. I like my rivalries in black and white with no messy gray area.

Ortiz and Manny, however, are allowed to have all the cute kids they want. Hell, they can rent other people’s kids if they feel like it. It almost seems like they did from the legions of mini Tejadas and Moras roaming about the place last night. It was like a Venezuelan/Dominican daycare center on the field. Although something tells me that the kids were the ones taking care of Manny. I swear, sometimes I honestly think that he’s not aware of the fact that he makes $20 million a year.

Johnny Damon still needs to shut up.

And Jason Varitek, for as much as I love him, could maybe stand to, I don’t know, be less boring? It’s not entirely Tek’s fault since he hung with Berman and Morgan during Ortiz’s first round and seventeen home runs is a lot of talking to get through. But Jason? Snooooore. We know there’s crazy shit that goes down in that clubhouse, now let us in on it.

And speaking of Berman and Morgan? You know what, let’s not. They’re perfectly content to speak for themselves. I’m honestly surprised that with the two of them in the same stadium as Johnny Damon, there were no noticeable tears in the fabric of the universe owing to all the air being sucked out of the state of Michigan. Even Colleen noticed the suck. “I watched the replay of last year’s Home Run Derby earlier today because I was too lazy to change the channel,” she said, “and Berman kept saying the same thing. Except instead of saying, ‘It’s headed for Ann Arbor!’ he’d say, ‘Look out in El Paso!’ or ‘Remember the Alamo!’ He needs a new schtick.” “Yeah,” I said, “Berman’s pretty much been saying the same thing for thirty years.” Sometimes, boys, “Woah, that’s really far,” will do.

Tonight we get the All-Star Game, heavy on Red Sox and light on Yankees. Nary a Jeter to be found. And let’s not forget, our boys’ introductions will come with the requisite, “From the WORLD CHAMPION Boston Red Sox…” Chills, people, chills.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Welcome Back!

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(Kapler's the one with the mustache, clearly).

You guys? Gabe is back! Or will be. Soon.

I thought I’d jump right on the “Most Overused Headline for the Next Week and a Half” bandwagon and throw that out there. Plus, I'm delighted to be able to use this picture again.

The thing with this is, I remember saying to my dad, who always loved Kapler, “Why can’t they keep a guy like that around? He’s so great. I hope that if things don’t work out in Japan, he’ll consider coming back to Boston.” But you never think that something like that will actually happen.

I recall back to the first week Kapler was here, when he hit something insane like .750 and I said, “Who the hell is this guy?” He was built like he ate barbells for breakfast and his uncharacteristic, (uncharacteristic for a pro baseball player), intelligence was a refreshing contrast to Johnny Damon’s well, idiocy. I knew I’d miss him when he was gone. And I did. But now, he’s coming back!

This is fantastic news. Depending on who you listen to or what source you’ve been reading, the Sox clubhouse isn’t nearly as buddy-buddy as it was last year and I don’t think I’m the only one to believe that the absence of Gabe Kapler is a big part of that. Witness the difference between Kapler and the recently disposed Jay Payton.

Kapler, so far as I know, and, admittedly, that’s not far, never complained about playing time. Sure, he wished that he could have been a full time player and that’s the reason that he up and left for Japan when the opportunity presented itself but I don’t recall him ever bitching in the media about not playing. I don’t remember ever reading about him getting into tiffs with Tito because he wasn’t being used enough.

Seems that’s all Jay Payton did. Granted, this is second, third or sometimes fourth-hand knowledge so it’s entirely possible that wasn’t how the situation played out either. I don’t know. But what I do know is how lucky we are as a baseball town to be able to serve as a lure to a great team player like Kapler.

Think about it. He’s coming back, of his own volition, knowing full well that he won’t be an everyday player. He knows he’ll back up Trot, mostly. Sometimes Johnny and sometimes Spaceshot, er, Manny. But he knows that he’s not going to claim a starting spot. He had his shot with that in Japan. It didn’t work out and Kapler, swallowing his pride, returns to a team and a city that loved him. And we’re ecstatic that he’s coming back. He’s the kind of player who makes the difference down the stretch run and he’s the kind of player we don’t have enough of so far this season. Here’s hoping he brings with him what we know he’s capable of.

Welcome back, Gabe!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Time for Another Lecture

Boys? Listen up and listen good. I don’t have time for this so I’ll make it short. I spent all of yesterday clutching my stomach in dramatic fashion and cursing the Chinese food place down the street for their chicken finger preparation techniques. And this was BEFORE I watched last night’s game. So ears open, please.

In short: knock this shit off. Knock it off right now. I’m not even talking about the losing. Although you’d do well to stop that too. I’m talking about the bickering. The whining. The “He plays more than me,” “We want him as our closer,” “Wahhh, I want to be traded” bullshit. Enough. Uncle. Suck it up.

May I remind you that you are all ostensibly professional athletes. Or you’re Kevin Millar. But even Kevin Millar gets paid millions of dollars to do what he does. Do you know how many guys there are, languishing away in the minor leagues who would cut off their right legs to get a shot at what you have? (And, even uni-legged, some of those guys would still run faster than Mr. Millar). Hell, even Gabe Kapler, the Hebrew Hammer himself is wasting away in Japan and counting the days until he can be a part of this team again. And you guys, you spoiled, whiny crybabies, are…bitching? You’re bitching about playing time? And closing? And probably the fact that the postgame spread in the clubhouse features Hellman’s instead of Cain’s mayonnaise?

Seriously, boys, grow the hell up. I’m tired of hearing about it. All I want is to follow a baseball team who looks like they’re having fun out there. I want antics in the dugout. I want applesauce for everyone! I want the biggest complaint I hear to be about how David Wells stole Bellhorn’s bong and wore it as a hat while sitting in the whirlpool.

I don’t want to hear about who did or didn’t get selected for the All-Star Team. I don’t want to hear about how Jay Payton doesn’t get enough playing time. I don’t want to hear Johnny Damon (pretty much, I never want to hear Johnny Damon speak ever again), complain about how Schilling shouldn’t be going to the bullpen. And I sure as hell don’t want to hear that Millar wants to be traded. I’ll address you all in turn. Now sit there and shut up.

Matty. Matt. Matthew. You weren’t selected for the All-Star Team. We know, it’s a crock, we’re upset about it too but damn, dude, ain’t no one going to remember how brilliant you’ve been this year if all we hear is you whining about how it broke your heart to be left off the roster. Now, I’m not a professional or anything but maybe, just maybe, Terry thought it’d be beneficial to get you a full week’s rest so you’d be ready to go for the second half of the season? You’ve been the team’s rock, man, and we need you to be a gamer. I don’t know much but I’m’a tell you one thing; opposing hitters are not intimidated by a skinny guy sobbing into his Abe Lincoln beard about not getting picked to play. Sack up, buddy. Pitch like your pants are on fire.

Jay Payton. Guess you’re gone now, huh? You see what happens when you mess with the bull? In this case, the “bull” being an angry Trot Nixon who is none too happy about sharing his position and playing time. And I’ve got some news for you, Jay Pay, Trotter’s been around here a good, long while and he ain’t about to take a backseat to anybody. Least of all you. I mean, you’re not even Dave Roberts! We liked you fine, Jay Pay and we appreciate what you did for us but don’t be slammin’ on the Trotter. He’s as Boston baseball as the Green Monster and we aren’t letting go of him anytime soon. You can consider yourself a casualty of our devotion to another player.

JD? I. Have. Had. Enough. No more out of you. Ever. Just stop talking. About everything. I don’t know who made you the official mouthpiece of this team but if it comes down to having to choose between Varitek (who is, you know, actually the Captain and official spokesman), yammer on dryly about Schilling’s pitch count or Matty’s velocity and you telling us for the umpteenth time about your naked pull-ups, I’m going to go with Tek any day. I don’t want to hear about your hair, I don’t want to hear about your wife, I don’t want to hear about your shoulder, your workout program, your two-story closet or your theory for eliminating third world debt. At the most, the MOST, I want to hear about you hitting that triple or making that catch. Other than that, shut up. And definitely shut up about your teammates and how you don’t agree with things. You’re not a pitcher. Unless you’re ready to toe the rubber and come in and save games, I don’t much care what you think about it. Give it a rest, JD. Just close the yap for once and see how it feels.

‘Course it’ll never be completely silent around that clubhouse because of Mr. Motormouth himself, Kevin Millar. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Buckethead. What’s this I hear about you asking to be traded? You? Kevin Millar? Weren’t you the one who pitched twelve hissy fits when the team was going back and forth between trading you and Mientkiewicz? Pretty sure that was you there, Cowboy. And it was all because you loved this team so much and couldn’t see yourself playing anywhere else and blah, blah, blah. And you got your wish. And now the team brings in Olerud to play occasionally and you’re all wrapped up in your sense of entitlement about that? You think you should be playing first every day? Have you met yourself, man? Not all of us enjoy “Adventures in Defense: The Kevin Millar Story” day in and day out. Especially in the later innings. Let the Benevolent Alien get his shots. You hang with Manny or one of the newbies on the bench. That’s pretty much your job, anyway. You’ve admitted as much. What you are to this team is a morale-booster. Not much morale is going to be boosted if the team’s class clown is whining about playing. Suck. It. Up. And put on a happy face.

We got that straight, boys? That was longer than I anticipated but what’s a girl to do when y’all are fighting and sniping at each other in the papers and verbally loosening the wheels on an already tottering wagon? I’m sorry if that pains some of you, but you needed to hear it. It’s for your own good.

Now…let’s right the ship and get things back on track. Just win ballgames, gentleman. And smile while you’re doing it, dammit.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

How to Ruin a Roommate 101

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(photo from Boston.com)

Manny makes Roommate happy!

How to Ruin a Roommate 101:

Prior to Roommate moving in, spend a goodly amount of time on the phone with her, bellowing on about the various fortunes of the Sox and Pats and how certain players are playing, behaving and/or not amounting to a bucket of baseballs in a trade.

Spend every Monday Night Football Patriots’ game on the phone with Roommate (in New Orleans) and interject calm game commentary with anguished shrieking and screams of “Fuck YOU, Peyton Manning! I don’t care how many MVPs you win! Big Willie Style owns your ass!” And when Roommate declares, “The Manning’s house is near here. I walk by it a lot,” request that she make with the flaming bag of dog poo.

Do not discuss the Miami game. The Miami game never happened.

At 1:30a.m. on a Monday, field calls from Roommate, intoxicated during a Mardi Gras party, wherein you reassure her that no, no matter what the mean boys are telling her, Manny was not traded to St. Louis. And that yes, the Varitek/A-Rod throw down happened this year. Tell Roommate to drink some water.

When Red Sox win World Series (still weird to type), run down to Kenmore Square, barely remembering your shoes. Answer cell phone call from Roommate (“Where are you? Kenmore Square is on TV! Are you there? Are you wearing a Sox hat? I think I see you!”), in a calm and dignified manner. “Calm and dignified” meaning, of course, alternatively weeping with joy and screaming your fool head off.

As Roommate begins her long and arduous drive North from New Orleans and calls you as you sit in Grandstand 18 at Fenway, watching the Sox get their butts handed to them by the inexplicably fearsome Orioles, (“I can’t believe you’re actually at the park. They’re like famous. And you’re like hanging out with them!”), reassure Roommate that you do not, despite your blustering, actually know the players but that if Tim Wakefield doesn’t stop giving up gopher balls, you’ll have no compunction in marching your ass down to the field and pinching him until he cries.

When Roommate arrives in Boston, discuss, in detail how Ty Law’s release from the Patriots has thrown a monkey wrench into her plans to seduce the All-Pro cornerback and make him her baby daddy. Agree that such a development would be a welcome change from the usual drivel in your high school’s alumni newsletter. Vow to find a way to get Law signed by New Orleans if not the Patriots so Roommate can at least visit him when she makes the occasional trip back down South. Agree that the Saints could use Law, as well as Roommate as she is mobile and possessing of all four appendages, seemingly all one needs to play for the Saints.

Discuss with Roommate, over a six-pack and fireworks, how one or the both of you should hold out for a boyfriend with Patriots season tickets. Self-explanatory.

When driving to Connecticut in a borrowed truck, and Roommate, eager to learn the intricacies of baseball, asks you what makes a person an effective or ineffective closer, subject Roommate to a thirty-minute diatribe about velocity, location, sweeping curves, knee-buckling fastballs and devastating change-ups. Go off on a tangent about what made Pedro effective and observe a moment of silence for his departure. Finish off with a rousing rendition of “Why Keith Foulke Hates Fun.” Apologize for long-windedness.

While assembling Scandinavian furniture in your sweltering living room, cataloguing bruises obtained by lifting boxes of said furniture, drinking 7-11 Slurpees with vodka and watching the 8th and 9th innings of last night’s Red Sox/Rangers game, observe Roommate screaming obscenities at the television, questioning the manhood of the Rangers’ catcher, squealing with gleeful love over the replay of Manny’s grand slam, warning the Rangers of Papi’s potential terror and berating the Red Sox bullpen. Sit back and smile at a job well done.

Meet Colleen, y’all. She’ll be the long-suffering Roommate referred to herein from now until the duration. You’ll love her. Trust me.