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

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Trot for Boston

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(all photos from Boston.com)

A visual dichotomy of the two sides of last night's televised events:

This was fun and good times.

This was sadness and woe.

I know what I said yesterday but that second one is a bit jarring when it becomes real and not some crazy internet conspiracy. Anyway, moving on...

The game, as it were, was watched primarily at Boston Billiards where Katherine and I took down Sebastian and Marianne (later pinch hit for by Steve Brady), three games to one.

*blows on fingers*

Aside from the satisfaction of whipping a boy at a tangentially related athletic contest (though if you can do it while drinking beer - and we did - I'm not sure how "athletic" you can consider pool), Sebastian's rage blackouts are always good times. Especially when it's coupled by the Sox staging a walk-off.

I cannot, for the love of all things good and holy, figure out what the hell is wrong with Kevin Millar. I don't mean his swing or his glove, I mean his head. Seriously, what the fuck is going on in there? Have you seen him? Can you explain to me why he looks like Hulk Hogan? Better yet, can you explain to me what he slipped into Curt's drink to prompt him to take the same actions minus the truly horrific facial hair? It looks like he mugged Goldilocks and is wearing one of her severed braids on his face like some sort of bizarre trophy. Bagged another blonde, eh, Kevin? Seriously, the hell?

As for Curt, well, five earned runs against the D-Rays is not what one would call "acceptable." Schilling hereby owes Trotter all the Wild Turkey and dancing girls he wants for the rest of the season.

Let's talk about Trot for a minute. Let's discuss how he is, without a doubt, one of the scariest players in Major League Baseball. And not in the Gary "If I weren't playing baseball, I'd be breaking legs for the mob 'cause I fancy myself like Shaft" Sheffield kind of way. And not in the Vladimir "Oh dear god, do we really have to pitch to this guy, holy shit, we're fucked" Guerrero kind of way. But I mean in the Trot "One time a guy was sitting next to me at Kentucky Fried Chicken and he was chewing his biscuit too loudly so I snapped and stabbed him in the jugular with a plastic spork" Nixon way. I've gotten the feeling that Trotter has a lot of pent up rage and I've taken to coaxing him, via the television, "vengeance and fury, Trot, vengeance and fury," when he's up. All I'm saying is he's liable to go apeshit at any time, and I wouldn't want to be the ball coming towards him in such a situation.

Oh, and I don't know how many of y'all noticed but did we see that with two on and one out last night in the bottom of the ninth inning, Jason Varitek DID NOT swing and miss at the high fastballs? Did we see that? You're all welcome. We had a talk, me and him. Well, I talked, he listened. If by "listened" I mean, "continued to go about his business in that magical box in my living room since I don't actually KNOW HIM." Nevertheless, I feel like we're getting somewhere. He was likely afraid that I would make good on the threat that if he struck out on another high fastball which he has NEVER been able to hit, I was going to march myself down to that park, wait outside the player's entrance and pinch him on the fleshy part of his underarm until he cried. I was also holding a pool cue in hand when I made this threat in the general direction of the TV. Trust me, you wouldn't want to cross me either. But I feel good about this. I feel like we're growing. We're finally communicating.

Of course, Tek was also the catalyst for some angsty debates on the part of Sebastian and myself. See, and I don't like to admit this because otherwise, he's a lovely person, but Sebastian is a Yankees fan. And when he started ranting up and down that Varitek "phantom tagged" Toby Hall at the plate (a valid claim, it seems, upon replay), and that all the runs that followed were gift runs, I just stared at him.

Sebastian: You're going to win on a botched call! Doesn't that feel cheap?
Me: I'll take it.
Sebastian: But it was a phantom tag! They should have another run!
Me: Really, Knoblauch, what's that like? Tell me that story again.

Pot, meet kettle.

And finally, because by some weird twist of sanity and logic, I've gone this long without mentioning it, how hot is Bill Mueller lately? I don't actually mean in the "Hello, Billy and thank you for wearing the tight home pants" way, though that's nice, but I mean at the plate. I know he's always been rather dialed in with runners in scoring position but he seems damn near automatic these days. It's fun to watch. Last Sunday he hit a home run, a double and put in some Gold Glove defensive work in the field, an excellent all-around day. The day that forces you to pay attention to Bill Mueller. On a team with the likes of Schilling, Manny, Tizzle, and Damon, Buelly often gets overlooked. I'm sure he's fine with that but I think he deserves a bit more recognition.

Tonight, it's Wake vs. Casey Fossum, the man we traded for Schilling. For that, I'll always have a bit of a soft spot for the guy. Not enough to actually want him to win, but more in an affectionate chuff under the chin sort of way. Thanks, Casey, for letting us bring in the big guns. Now, boys, after saying your hellos, kindly go out there and hit him like he owes you money.

Oh, and Bell-Watch '05 goes like this: 0-for-4. Yanks lose. Excellent.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Rats Rush to Sinking Ship!

Oh for crissakes...

Way to take all the fun out of releasing players from a championship team, Georgie. No, really, just dive right in. We didn't say much about the lefty reliever because, well, he was kind of stinkin' up the joint and we figure what better way to continue our long-awaited revenge than to send an embedded Red Sock your way? But now you're snapping up our second baseman?

I mean...

Okay, look, it's not like I was overly fond of The Bell myself. Ask my couch cushions, coffee table, living room walls, or just look into the terrified eyes of my poor roommate. The Bell was singlehandedly responsible for me uttering the words, "Is there more vodka left?" on more than one occasion and he may have something to do with the ulcer that formed sometime during the second half of last year. I'm certainly not one of those scary, scary Bellhorn fangirls who profess to love and cherish our middle infielder and offer him all manner of sexual favors, some legal, some not. I mean, we have a third baseman and a catcher for that sort of unsavory behavior.

I may, once or twice, have made a snide remark about Bellhorn getting to first only because Millar told him the first-baseman was hiding a bag of Cheetos in his pants. Just once or twice though. And, you know, now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure Sam and I had the following conversation whilst attending a game wherein Bellhorn quite uncharacteristically stole a base.

Sam: What the hell?
Me: Someone told him there were Funyuns at second.
Sam: This is probably what happened.
Me: Someone should tell him there are Pringles at home.
Sam: Nope, you've gotta go step by step. Say third. You tell him home and he'll cut right across the middle of the diamond to partake of their potato-y goodness.

But, you know, it's all in good fun.

That said, I want some sort of legislation put into place immediately that would forbid Red Sox and Yankee players from switching teams mid-season. Since we don't trade with each other anymore because Theo knows damn well that he'll be left holding a bag of used baseballs and a rubber chicken while Steinbrenner has Manny fitted for his bronze statue in Monument Park, waiver wire deals appear to be the only way to get things done. But to me, it feels like cheating. Like we're not going to notice? C'mon.

Perhaps I'm suffering from a case of "If I can't have it, neither can you." But you know what? I'm fine with that when it comes to the Yankees. While I certainly don't expect Bellhorn to kick Robinson Cano out of his job and start belting homers with the frequency of, oh, of anyone not Mark Bellhorn, there's no telling what the mandatory Yankee injections of HGH and Andro will do for him. (Don't you start with me, I want Giambi hooked up to a goddamn generator and powering New Orleans because there ain't NO WAY he just "got better...again.")

Don't get me wrong, I love Tony Graffanino and everything he's done. Probably not as much as Annette loves him but that'd be rather hard without committing a felony in 46 contiguous states. But I also don't relish having to take turns on Steve Brady Suicide Watch. One of us is now accompanying Steve at all times and has replaced all his utensils with child-proof Fisher Price flatware. His outlets have been covered and all medications are being dispensed by a trained professional. At least he has his fantasy football team to look forward to. (*snerk*).

Let's just all hope this is what it appears to be, a last-ditch attempt by a drowning and desperate man to right his very shiny and expensive ship. Let's also hope it goes down faster than the Lusitania.

In the meantime, the Sox won against Tampa Bay, Ortiz continues to terrorize the sleeping hours of the Minnesota front office and Bill Mueller provokes unnatural and certainly not Christ-like thoughts in damn near everyone. Oh, and Schilling goes tonight. Someone hold me.


All kidding aside, yesterday's hurricane in New Orleans was completely devastating and attention should be paid. Colleen, my roommate just moved to Boston after spending six years, including four undergrad, in New Orleans and she's frantically trying to get in touch with people and make sure everyone is okay. I'm not sure what most of us can do to help but I only ask that we do what we can. Some people lost everything and at the very least, we need to offer our support. Thanks, guys.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Reason #6,549...

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...why Steve Brady is not going to win Fantasy Football.

Overheard yesterday while watching the Sox game:

"I'm going to win. My wide relievers are excellent."

I rest my case.

Friday, August 26, 2005

A Really Powerful River in Egypt

In lieu of talking about last night's game which did not happen, I'm going to let you all in on a coversation overheard between Amy and Marianne. This was a phone conversation, mind you, so I technically only heard Marianne's end of it, but I feel confident in my knowledge of Amy that I can pretty accurately describe what was happening on the other end.

Amy: You know how old people, when they hold babies, they sniff their heads?
Mariannne: Wait, what?
Amy: Old people. They sniff babies heads to like, inhale their youth or something.
Marianne: I'm going to assume this is eventually going to come back around to baseball.
Amy: It is.
Marianne: Continue.
Amy: Okay, so, I think that's what happend to Jon Papelbon.
Marianne: Someone sniffed his head?
Amy: Yes.
Marianne: Who sniffed Jon Papelbon's head?
Amy: Mike Remlinger. He sniffed Papelbon's head to try to get some of the not suck youth and Papelbon caught some of the suck.
Marianne: Are you sniffing something right now?
Amy: No! See, listen, it totally makes sense.
Marianne: Um...
Amy: Because Remlinger wanted to stop sucking right?
Marianne: Okay.
Amy: And Papelbon didn't suck.
Marianne: Right, with you so far.
Amy: So Remlinger sniffed Papelbon's head. Makes perfect sense.
Marianne: Are you saying that Remlinger stole Papelbon's soul?
Amy: Sort of. Well, not really.
Marianne: Yeah, no, he ate his soul. I get it.
Amy: What? No, there was no eating of the soul.
Marianne: There totally was. Remlinger turned into like, that dude from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and reached into Papelbon's chest and took out his soul.
Amy: And then he ate it?
Marianne: And then he ate it.
Amy: But, wait...?
Marianne: Yeah, totally. Because if there was just head sniffing happening, then that doesn't explain why Papelbon would start to suck.
Amy: Because he sniffed his head!
Marianne: Yeah, but, the old people who sniff the babies, are they making the babies old with the sniffing?
Amy: No they're...well, I don't know.
Marianne: It's totally soul eating. Look at the goatee. The scary, two-tone goatee. Clearly he is Satan.
Amy: That is a good point.
Marianne: It's a big ball of white light. The soul. And he ate it.
Amy: White light?
Marianne: Yeah. Bitch, what's the matter with you? Haven't you ever seen Ghost?
Amy: Um...is it like in Harry Potter?
Marianne: I've never seen Harry Potter, I'm talking about Ghost here. There was very clear soul eating happening.
Amy: A white light. Hmmm.
Marianne: Kristen says that happened in The Little Mermaid too.
Amy: It totally did. Except it wasn't a soul. I don't know about this soul thing. I think I was right with the head sniffing.
Marianne: Nope. Soul eating. I think we both agree on the fact that there was a transfer of soul. It's the only possible explanation since Remlinger was able to record an out and Papelbon was teh suck. We just differ on the method.
Amy: Good point.
Marianne: For real, though. Are you sniffing something right now?

And these are my friends.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Unbearable Exhuberance of Jason Varitek

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(photo from Boston.com)

Last night's game was the suck. Ain't nobody going to deny that. Even after a rain delay and ChadBradFad-WhateverAd getting out of a dicey situation in the 8th, I somehow knew the game was going no place good. And so, to bed I went. (And evidently during my REM sleep, I developed a taste for talking like Yoda.)

You know those games that you're not actually losing but you can just tell you'll regret staying awake for? That was last night. The rain delay didn't help but it's hard to say that it was more damaging than the big slugger's penchant for stranding a small Macedonian village's worth of runners on base. Aside from Edgah (3-for-4) and Millar (of all people), it just didn't seem like the team came to play.

That said, let's focus on the positive, which is, clearly, that picture up there and the televised, live broadcast of same. Find me a more stoic, goes-about-his-business-with-no-fanfare player than Jason Varitek and I will tell you that you are a dirty liar, sir. So how fantastic was it to see Tek sit on the bench after Millar launched his homer, bounce up and down, as Annette said, "Like a kid on Christmas morning who just found out he got the bike he really, really wanted" and then, while the rest of the team was doing the customary, "ignore the dude who just hit the homer" thing, completely lose his shit and tackle Millar as he walked past? It was most excellent is what it was. Of course, being Tek, it's likely that he broke something important in Millar as he is wont to do with the players he jumps on (Paging Mr. Foulke. Paging Mr. Embree....).

What can we do about getting him to jump on Mike Remlinger? Probably for that to happen, Remlinger would have to record an out of some sort of historical import and since he has an apparent affliction to recording outs of any kind, that seems unlikely. Lead pipe it is then...

Tonight, the Big Schill returns to the rotation and looks to right the ship against Jose Lima, he of the 4-12 record. I'm not a religous person but please, please, please, please let Schilling be Schilling. Pretty please?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Rick Rambles

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Steve reacts to The Rick's suggestion that Graffanino is kicking Bellhorn's ass out of town.

Pic from TGIC.

So some of the peeps met The Rick this past weekend and they can now state, unequivocally, that he kicks so much ass he needs special shoes. Continuing on the quest for ass-kickery, The Rick rambles on about all manner of things. As usual, my comments are in italics.

At the end of the 2003-04 season, Vancouver Canuck forward Todd Bertuzzi (a very good player, by the way) blindsided and mugged Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore, driving Moore’s face into the ice and breaking his neck, among other injuries, thereby seriously jeopardizing Moore’s career. Bertuzzi was immediately suspended by the NHL (and deservedly so) for an undetermined amount of games/time which ultimately amounted to the final 17 games of that season as well as the playoffs and the non-season of 2004-05. Two weeks ago the league reinstated Bertuzzi while Moore says “I still have a long way to go, and not just in hockey, but with my health,'' according to the Denver Post. My point is this: Hockey is trying very hard of late to put the work-stoppage behind it and draw fans back to the game by improving their product. But for those of you that don’t like or don’t follow hockey, my guess is that you point to this Roller Derby-like frontier justice system that the league adheres to and wonder how the game can be taken seriously.

I would actually argue that oftentimes, the opposite is true. For whatever reason, people that don’t like or follow hockey get sucked in by the cheap violence and the fighting. And the sport, because it allows this kind of behavior, further appeals to the lowest common denominator. It’s unfortunate because hockey is a great sport, but blood and guts sell.

Tony Graffanino must have had a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. How else can you explain his trade from the worst-place Royals to the first-place Red Sox in the heat of a pennant race? And he’s getting the job done in spades at a spot where the Sox were badly lacking. (Sorry, Steve.) All of Theo’s moves don’t work out but this one is looking more and more like a winner every day. And how could Kansas City let him go? Theo must have promised his first born male child. (Who would then, I assume, grow up to be a Robo-GM for the Royals?)

Back in my youth every major league team had a four-man rotation, and it was routine for the better pitchers to have 20 complete games. Sure, there were sore arms but the injuries didn’t seem to be as debilitating as these days when teams and managers baby these guys and seemingly everybody has Tommy John surgery.

Albert Pujols is the young National League superstar that everyone’s heard of –but the one you may not know of is Miguel Cabrera of the Marlins. Just 22, Cabrera cut his teeth with the Marlins in their World Series championship season two years ago. He, Pujols, and apparently Derek Lee (where did he come from?) along with a now mature Andruw Jones should be battling for a variety of batting awards over the next decade or so.

Have you watched any of the Little League World Series this week on ESPN? Used to be the games were all pitching dominated – but now the long ball is king – and some of them are significant shots. One kid who played for the Saudia Arabian entry was 6’5” and I believe they said 240 lbs. 12 years old! And I don’t buy all that stuff about TV causing too much pressure on these young kids. Looks to me like they are all having a blast and it’s good experience for them to perform on a stage of sorts.

The experts think Southern Cal, coached by old friend Pete Carroll, can readily three-peat their NCAA D1 football championship this year and here’s why: USC’s Matt Leinhart may be the reigning Heisman Trophy winner but USC running back Reggie Bush is the best player in the country.

Just wondering what folks think – but ESPN, especially SportsCenter, is starting to bore me. Not enough highlights, too many quiz games and contests, and lame chatter from the hosts. And of course everything is sponsored. The Worldwide Leader’s game coverage is excellent, and their Baseball Tonight focus-type shows are great, but there seems to be more and more junk, like mini-series etc. I wish they would be more true to their roots, ratings be damned. That said, I’ve had the opportunity to watch Cold Pizza several mornings of late and I have to tell you it’s pretty good – decent guests, excellent regular contributors, timely topics and decent debates.

Don’t know if you’ve noticed but the Patriots schedule this year is a killer – the AFC East (6 games) may be the strongest division in the NFL, plus four games against the AFC West (SD, OAK, KC, Den), four against the NFC South (Carolina, TB, NO, ATL), plus Indy and Pittsburgh thrown in for good measure.

Looks like we’ll be seeing more and more of John Olerud down the stretch and less and less of Kevin Millar. Reportedly Millar is okay with that. (Not sure how he’s argue. His bat certainly isn’t doing his talking for him).

After all that has been said, I believe we are getting exactly what we expected from Edgar Renteria. I like what I see so far from Jon Papelbon. He looks ready to me and I’d rather see him in there these days than Wade Miller, who clearly has disappointed. (And made me cry. Frequently.)

I hope everyone enjoys the interplay between Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy. Sometimes I don’t know what they are laughing about but they make it fun anyway. Over the years my travels have exposed me to many local play-play announcing teams, some of whom are deadly dull, but these two are the best by far. What I particularly like is that they don’t take everything too seriously. And they don’t assume that the viewing public is made up of retarded monkeys. Which is why you won’t hear them saying, “That was ball two on the outside corner which means that the ball was located just outside the strike zone.” You will hear them giggling incoherently for three innings but I would imagine covering baseball in an obsessed town like Boston would drive anyone to the brink of insanity occasionally.

Anyway these are my thoughts – but you have yours. Let’s hear ‘em!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Worth a Thousand Words...

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...most of them, "Cheetos."

I don't usually try to sell you people things. But for real, check this out.

Designed by The Girl in Camo, it's truly spectacular. A bunch of us have been shooting around the idea of doing T-shirts for a while now. TGIC finally got off her ass and actually did it. And the result? Fan-fucking-tastic. I'm sure all the cool kids will soon have one.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Back on Track

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(Papi's a lover, not a fighter.)

Right, so, where were we? Pretty much right about here, I gather as the Sox and Yanks remain four games apart in the standings, Jon(athan) Papelbon continues to make me forget the name “Wade Miller,” Timlin is still letting inherited runners score at an alarming pace and I’m still not getting enough sleep. So, yeah, stasis.

Admittedly, Friday night’s game provided some good drama as Mike “Oh shit, these ones count against my ERA” Timlin, was entrusted with Matty Clement’s 3-1 lead, promptly got two quick outs then let up a single, intentionally walked Vladdy Guerrero (I WANT!), watched the Angels execute a perfect double steal and then served up a game-tying two-bagger to Casey Kotchman. Nice work, Hoss. No, for real. Good one. We were getting just a little too comfortable with your ability to keep your own baserunners from scoring. Good to know you’re all for equal opportunity sucking. And now I hear Big Fitty is going to be our closer. Excellent. Hold onto your butts. The boys managed to pull it out, I’m still not sure how as I was pretty much dead to the world by that point, but I vaguely remember Gabe Kapler crossing the plate and Schilling pitching balls-out, return to form, four strikeouts, that’s the Schill we know type-pitching in the 9th and 10th innings. That happened, right? Don’t worry, it won’t be the only thing I don’t remember from the weekend.

Saturday, well, Saturday saw me greeting all manner of guests at the outdoor tiki bar and directing them as to where to put their lobsters and clams. Even though the game was playing on the outdoor television (you’re daaaaaamn right!), I was inundated by the arrival of friends and family and could not give Messrs. Red Sox my full attention. I gather, from reports passed along by Annette, Marianne and Butchie that I did not miss much. Bronson Arroyo apparently pitched well but the Sox continued what I believe Sarah would call “their collective pants-shitting” when faced with a rookie pitcher they’ve never seen before. To put it bluntly, Ervin Santana made the Sox’ normally thunderous bats his bitch. I wonder if they’d have done better if we’d told them it was Cy Young winner Johan Santana pitching. Worth a shot.

Saturday night, bereft of Red Sox action saw me engaging in some “athletics” of my own including a beer and whoopie pie fight with Marianne, beer pong with my brother and his friends and an especially spirited bout of Kung Fu fighting with Butchie which left me with a rib bruise of the most violent purple shade you can imagine. I’m simultaneously very proud of and horrified by it. But I shouldn’t really be surprised. That kind of thing tends to happen at my lakehouse. Or around Butchie. Frankly, with both of them in concert, I’m surprised all my limbs are still attached. That said, the beer pong was a near disaster as my teammate and I were being schooled by my brother early on. But! We came back! We came back from being down by five cups to tie it at two before they finally won on a triple cup score! (I don’t actually know what any of that means but I have decided that John Madden needs to start calling beer pong during halftime of Monday Night Football.) Annette threatened to tell everyone that I was the Kansas City Royals of beer pong but I would argue that the comeback and near victory puts me at the very least at Texas Rangers or perhaps Oakland A’s level. Besides, I went to art school. I’m not supposed to know any of this.

Sunday, I had the best of intentions. I was going to get a ride back into the city, take a quick nap and get up and watch the game while live-blogging. Not so much since what actually happened was that I got home, had some lunch, decided I’d lay down for a quick second and woke up six hours later to an apparent Red Sox win. Six hours, people. That’s almost a double-header. Clearly, I needed the rest.

I caught the highlights on replay as Marianne and I watched the Braves/Padres (DAVE ROBERTS!) game on ESPN. And I have just one thing to say: Papi…bunts? I am reminded of one of Amy’s finer posts in recent history wherein David Ortiz’s mugshot says, “Bitch, I can bunt if I want to.” Because, what? NESN, apparently aware that the viewing public was going to need to see this more than once before they actually believed they were not hallucinating due to some bad shellfish, replayed it over and over. And it gets more spectacular and wonderful with each subsequent viewing. Manny’s catch and excessive theatrics of the “banging into the wall and stumbling around like you’ve been shot before falling to the ground in the most dramatic fashion” variety were lovely as well, but ain’t nothin’ better than watching Tizzle bunt. And beat it out. It’s entirely possible that Ortiz, like Dougie, woke up yesterday morning feeling fast. But I think it’s more likely that he stood in the batter’s box and thought, “You shiftin’ on me, bitches? Go right ahead, you ain’t seen this shit before.” Bet Ted Williams never psyched out an opponent like that, eh?

It is also, I feel I should tell you, impossible to love David Ortiz too much. I’m fairly certain that were I ever to see that man in person, the jaws of life would be needed to remove me from his leg. There’s no one I can think of that sparks the urge to hug so much while simultaneously making the opposition soil themselves. Just look at how angry he gets from time to time. I wouldn’t want to be on the business end of one of Papi’s rage blackouts but in a tight spot, I want no one else up there going, “Don’t you worry, baby. I’ll take care of it.”

And how about Jon(athan) Papelbon? How about that shit, huh? Newbie takes over a spot in the rotation from the recently displaced (and largely ineffective) Wade Miller and suddenly, he’s become – well, not our ace, exactly – but a solid starter we can count on. Welcome to the big show, baby. We hope you stick around for a while. If only because Matty needs a co-chair in the “I *Heart* Tek” Fan Club.

Tonight’s an off day and that’s all right by me. The Yanks and Blue Jays are currently knotted at zero in the second inning but no matter what happens, I can take solace in the fact that yesterday, the Big Eunuch gave up four home runs…in the same inning and ESPN.com is currently debating whether or not Joe Torre should be fired. Spec-fucking-tacular. As for me, I’m about to turn on the Cubs/Braves game and behold the wonder of Derek Lee. In that vein, I present to you an exchange between myself and Marianne:

Me: If Derek Lee wanted to call me every night and say “Good night, sweet girl,*” I would not be mad.
Marianne: Indeed.
Me: Sebastian said he could arrange that if Gary Sheffield calls him every night.
Marianne: And says what? “Where my money, bitch?"

Tomorrow it’s Fat Man vs. Zack Greinke of the Lowly Kansas City Royals who, prior to yesterday, had lost eighteen games in a row. Seems a likely place for Lard Ass to get back on track after his last disastrous outing but this is the Red Sox, we take nothing for granted. Be warned, Fattie, the stable’s on hold with a nice Arabian pony should you put your foot in it again. I’m not kidding.

I feel it also necessary to inform you all that due to Bellhorn's recent DFA'd status, Steve Brady has been put on suicide watch. He's currently in deep denial, insisting that The Bell has "another month to win his spot back," but we've mostly been shaking our heads at him as Steve endeavors to destory his liver and remaining internal organs as he drowns his sorrow. We're attempting to help him work through this as best we know how. We appreciate your support.

Also, completely unrelated to baseball, I want to send a warm congratulatory hug to Annette who became an aunt for the first time today! There were many discussions this weekend about the fact that none of us would know each other were it not for the internet and the Red Sox and just how sad that would be. It truly is amazing that in such a short amount of time, I’ve made such wonderful, caring, hilarious, perverted and insane friends. But I wouldn’t trade them for anything. So congratulations, Annette! That’s one lucky niece you have there. I know you’ll spoil her silly.

*Name the movie, get a prize! Or my eternal respect. Whichever.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Excuses, excuses

Okay, I'm back, but...not for long. It may be a few days before I post again, kids. I attribute this to one of five things:

1) The West Coast swing which has me sleepwalking the next day and hearing things like a coworker telling me that Alex Cora was warming up in the bullpen and the fact that Mike Remlinger is somehow still on the roster.

2) The largest of my family's annual shindigs is tomorrow. And if you know my family, claiming something as "the largest" is quite a bold statement. Anyhow, I've been mired in preparations to get the clan up to Maine for the weekend and have spent a goodly amount of time trying to figure out who I could bribe for his car and exactly how much beer needs to be purchased.

3) There is football? Happening? On television?

4) It's all been a dream and I'll wake up tomorrow morning realizing that none of the recent suck has happened so I've no need to acknowledge it.


5) I'm just that popular and busy and have been pulled in sixteen different directions. It's a tough job making the world happy, kids. But someone's got to do it.

That said, next week, I promise to start updating daily again. More thoughts from The Rick to follow as well. In the meantime, read some of those stellar blogs over on the right hand side there. Pay particular attention to Cursed to First as Beth's writing is so damn good it makes me want to learn how to say "Do you want fries with that?" in four different languages, and Rallycuff as Sarah has just moved to Boston and is finding out for herself that this is truly the greatest city around.

Have a great weekend y'all and I'll see you back here Monday. Same Bat time, same Bat channel.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Thank Heaven for David Ortiz

(photo from Boston.com)

Sam has her Blue Cats and Red Sox corners. Other people have their shit lists (or “fecal roster” if you’re Amy’s mom). I have my Glaring Looks of Hostility and Warm Embraces of Love.

And so, after last night’s game which I did not watch a pitch of (people keep wanting me to have dinner at places that don’t get NESN. I don’t know), I present the following recipients of the my Glaring Looks of Hostility and Warm Embraces of Love.

The following people would do well to wear a helmet when coming within a 50-foot radius of me:

Mike Remlinger
Curt Schilling
Kevin Millar
Mike Remlinger
Mike Timlin
Mike Remlinger
And just for good measure…Mike Remlinger

The following people get affectionate head nods and baskets of arsenic-free muffins:

David Ortiz
Jason Varitek
Whoever is responsible for grabbing Tizzle off the Minnesota scrap heap and resigning Tek to a well-deserved contract. So…Theo?
Alan Trammell for yanking Nate Robertson after 80-something pitches and three hits.
Fernando Rodney
Bill Mueller – just ‘cause
Jon Papelbon
Scott Proctor (Hee!)

So, it’s not technically the most efficient or easiest way to get a win, but it worked. Plus, newbie got some work in and continues to impress. Keep in mind I only saw the highlights on SportsDesk this morning but I second what I said last night when my dad called to tell me about Ortiz’s second home run: “I think we’ll keep him.”

Y’all might have noticed that there’s another sport starting up soon. Large men strap mattresses around their bodies and hurl themselves at a small, oblong ball. Football, people, it’s happening.

This year, to either commemorate the occasion or because we’re just that damn dorky, a bunch of us chicks (and Steve) decided to start a fantasy football league. Steve thinks he’s winning, but there is no way in hell he beats my team, the Bulldozers. Marketing plan already in place. Behold!

QB - Tom Brady - NE
WR - Marvin Harrison - IND
WR - Chad Johnson - CIN
WR - Drew Bennett - TEN
RB - Curtis Martin - NYJ
RB - Kevin Jones - DET
TE - Jermaine Wiggins - MIN
TE - Chris Chambers - MIA
W/R - Ahman Green - GB
W/R - Eric Moulds - BUF
Bench QB - Brett Favre - GB
BN - DeShaun Foster - CAR
BN - David Givens - NE
BN - Marcus Pollard - DET
K - Mike Vanderjadt – IND (I hate myself for taking him, by the way, but Adam was already snagged)
New England Defense
D - Tyrone Poole - NE
D - Champ Bailey - DEN
DB - Asante Samuel - NE
DB - Jamal Brooks – CLE

Also, I believe ours was the only fantasy football draft in recent memory where Peyton Manning lasted till the 4th pick. Ha!

Also, this happened yesterday. Which led to this. Which led to…mayhem and insanity, I would assume. I hate to say it, only because I fear a stern look from Bill Belichick, but the Patriots are almost, well, fun.

Anyway, today’s game pits Fat Man, I mean, David Wells against Jeremy Bonderman. It’s a 1:05 game which gives me plenty of time to Gamecast, precariously place my Walkman on the metal shelf above my head and inadvertently strangle myself while straining to hear the dulcet sounds of Troup and Joe. It’s a tough life.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Do Over

(photo from Boston.com)

Things I am categorically denying the reality of:

  • Last season’s Monday Night Football game between the Patriots and the Dolphins during which the Dolphins dressed as traffic cones. Also, the subsequent score.
  • Godzilla’s heavily-publicized blood feud with Mothra.
  • The discovery of Atlantis and the following Disney animated movie.
  • My purchase of over $100 of alcohol at the liquor store on Saturday afternoon.
  • Yesterday’s game.

So it appears true after all, with the rain comes a new beginning. Yesterday, Matt Clement did not have trouble finding the strike zone. Carl Everett does not continue to be a three-sheets-to-the-crazy thorn in our sides. And we didn’t field a lineup consisting of the JV squad from Brookline High.

Denial is fun. I could get used to this.

Tonight, it’s time to face reality again as Saturn Balls Arroyo faces off against Sean Douglass (who, exactly?), of the Detroit Tigers. I’m going to have to defer to Sam on this one for a ruling but is it now appropriate to refer to the Tigers as the “Lowly Detroit Tigers?” For the Sox’ sake, I hope so. Our bullpen is really starting the scare the crap out of me, especially since we need at least a twelve-run lead for me to feel comfortable handing things over to the Runs ‘N Fun Gang. That said, Texas continues to deviate from the plan of Screw The Yankees and the pinstriped princesses won’t just die already. So we need all the wins we can get.

Comerica is the fabled land o’ triples so we’ll see if anyone manages to cruise into third. I’m willing to put money on the fact that Tizzle won’t be doing his airplane coming into the hangar impression around the Comerica third base bag but I wouldn’t put my grocery budget up against JD or Kapler legging one out.

Bronson, despite an 8th inning hiccup last time out against those stubborn Rangers, has been pitching fairly well recently. I’m not gonna say it’s to do with the return of the cornrows but hey, whatever he needs to do. Besides, with our dear String Bean, it’s either cornrows or the flat iron. Pick your poison.

Oh, and on a related note, in fifty years, when Bronson Arroyo looks back on his life, what do you think he’ll be more embarrassed about? The Cornrows or “Covering the Bases?” Tough call.

Game on.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Straddling the Line...

...between sane and insane.
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Basically, this is what happens when it's 2am, you have access to a computer, your television decides not to show you either the Red Sox or the Patriots game and you're feeling a little...crazy. You may also have consumed your share of two scorpion bowls at dinner.

Venture on over to Beth's blog to behold the madness.

A choice example:
"Trot storms around the house while I cook dinner and keeps going on and on about "'What the hell's wrong with venison?'"

Go on, read. But be gentle.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Please Don't Feed the Bears

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(Trotter prepares his bat for a savage beating)

Okay…so like, remember that time that we got into it with the Devil Rays? You know, that one time. Earlier this year, I think it was. Man, that feels like ages ago. Anyway, “a certain someone” who shall remain nameless, (unless I decide to call him out as Dewon Brazelton, which I do), decided to go after Trot and The Trotski was forced to “give him some information?” Well remember how we then realized that that right there was the only conceivable reason that Blaine Neal was on the roster? To hold Trot back? Well, my question is this: Where the hell is Blaine Neal now? ‘Cause I think Trot was about one spewed sunflower seed away from charging out of the dugout his own self to go all Mortal Kombat on the umps for blowing Kapler’s home run call.

I'm just sayin', if I'm ever in a street fight, (and let's just take a moment to consider what ridiculous scenario would end in that situation), and I get to pick three Red Sox players to be on my side, I'm'a pick Timlin, Tek and Trot. Hands down. Trot's nasty as a caged bear who hasn't eaten in a week, combined with a healthy streak of Righteous Christian Vengeance and Justice and I want that boy fighting for me. That's all I'm sayin'. Last night, the Hebrew Hammer himself no doubt learned that he may eat barbells for breakfast and speed bags for dinner but Trot's ready to defend his teammate's honor - in the box score or in a fight, it would seem - with equal intensity.

Not that I blame him.

I watched the game with Katherine and Sebastian and found myself saying, “If we lose this game by one run, I sincerely hope Tito has a S.W.A.T. team with tazers stationed outside the dugout. Otherwise? Trot’s gonna tear someone apart with his teeth.”

Despite the surely hilarious Wrestlemania implications of that scenario, it was not to be. In the bottom of the 8th inning, the Sox bats, apparently convinced that their bullpen was trying to give the game away (for the second night in a row), like it was a holiday fruitcake, got to smacking and turned the damn thing into a track meet. You could practically see the grounds crew dragging out the shot puts and drawing the lines for the javelin toss. A nine run inning has a way of demoralizing the opposing team. Especially when said opposition has just scored four of their own in the top half of the inning and has, in fact, made a game of it.

I can only liken it to the nerdy guy in high school who admired the prom queen from afar and finally, one day, got up the courage to ask her out. At first, she’s all nice and smiley and he thinks she may be going for it. Then, without warning, she turns into a demon Medusa character and pours tapioca on his shoes, leaving him in her figurative dust.

Um, yeah, it’s just like that. Possibly I should start sleeping more. Or stop drinking tequila.

In the end, despite our bullpen’s apparent stockholdings in Tums and Pepto Bismol, the boys were able to close it out. A hearty ‘atta boy!’ to Manny El Camino who, because he is younger than me, I feel justified in claiming as a binky. I also offer an understated head nod of affirmation to Edgah because we know Edgah’s not all about the flash and loud noises tend to scare him and make him pee himself.

So I’m happy with the win. For the most part, things are looking good. Those of you who still need work, you know who you are. Bullpen Bozos, I’m looking at you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Natural Selection

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Perhaps Darwin was right.

So this happened. Via Amy:

"Yankee Stadium Fan Plunges From Upper Deck."

Um, okay. So my first thought was, "Is he/she okay?"

"H(arper) was in stable condition at (sic) early Wednesday"

"Okay," I thought. "How did that happen? Was he pushed? Was there a fight? Surely even a Yankees fan wouldn't be stupid enough to-"

"Harper told three friends he was sitting with that he was going to test whether the net would hold his weight — and then he jumped, police said."

"Um...I know the team is bad and all, but, is it really 'cause for suicide?"

"People think we threw him off, but we're all best friends, so I don't think that would ever happen," said 20-year-old Giusseppe Tripi, another one of Harper's friends."

I'm pretty sure I don't "think" I'd ever throw my best friend over a railing either but hell, I'm not a Yankees fan.

The best part?

"That was the only exciting thing that happened today," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said after Chicago's 2-1 victory."

Just when you start to give them a little bit of credit, they do something to alert you to the fact that yes, in fact, they are that stupid. Guess Darwin was onto something here.

Oh, and the Sox won. Edgar became the hero despite himself. Good times in Sox-land .

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Welcome to the Jungle

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(photo from Boston.com)

The Giraffe slides!

Here’s what I think: I think Wade Miller has incriminating pictures of everyone on the Sox offense. Otherwise, I’m not sure they’d keep bailing his ass out of jams like that with big bats of their own. I mean, I know you gotta want to win and Eye of the Tiger and all that rot, but dude, your starting pitcher gives up three runs in the first inning BEFORE RECORDING AN OUT, and you gotta be thinking, “Fuck this noise. Let’s go get six-dollar pitchers of PBR at Jacob Wirth’s. Wade’s on his own.” Seems the regulars would petition Tito to throw the B team out there so they could get some rest and take some “medicine” for their “poked eyes,” rather than slug away, trying to dig Wade’s ass out of its considerable hole. But, hey, I’m not a ballplayer. And just because I’m willing to give up on Wade Miller doesn’t necessarily mean his teammates are. I guess we’ll just consider ourselves the beneficiaries of their intestinal fortitude.

Intestinal fortitude which was displayed to no better effect than by a one Mr. Tony Graffanino. Amy came into our shared cube at work this morning and said, “Did they win?”

“Yup,” I said.

“So Wade Miller stopped making girls cry?”

“Nope,” I replied, “Wade tried his damnedest to reduce everyone in six states to tears but Tony Graffanino of all people saved his ass.”


“Uh huh. 4 RBIs, a three-run home run, a stolen base, a headfirst slide, some great defense. He was on fire.”

“Wow,” Amy said, “Dear potential employer. My name is Tony Graffanino and I would like to be considered for the position of starting second baseman for the Boston Red Sox. Please see my resume.”

“Pretty much,” I said.

Poor Bellhorn. I do so hope he’s enjoying the Witness Protection Program.

As for Wade, I just don’t know what to do with this guy. I want to like him, I really do. But he does not make it easy. Possibly he’s self-loathing and he can sense that when he gets through the first inning unscathed (which did not happen last night, mind you), the hearts of New England baseball fans start to warm to him just a little and he can’t have that. So he Hoovers it up for an inning or two making us cry, scream, throw things and dub him “Tic Tac Nuts.” I used to think that Bronson would win the dubious honor of “Pitcher Jason Varitek is most likely to bitchslap with his mask.” But now I’m thinking Wade’s making a strong showing of his own. The guy scares me, is all. And I see him being a real weak spot if we have to go deep into October with him. Although, to be fair, Derek Lowe, a similarly folicularly challenged individual, was a thorn in our sides last year and all the guy did was win the deciding games of the ALDS, ALCS and World Series. Slacker.

Oh, and just for a moment, can we all express our desire to see Bill Mueller recovering from these “back spasms” and back on the field? There’s speculation that he’s injured which is why he made that error the other night, (You know, if that game had happened. Which it didn’t. So…what?). So let’s hope he’s back to form soon. Heh, heh, shut up Beth and Amy. Bill Mueller, back on the field. Want to see it.

Tonight Matty looks to recover from his last start in which he served up hits like they were on Blue Light Special. He faces someone named Joaquin Benoit which sounds less like a baseball player and more like an understudy for a Spanish Shakespearean soap opera actor. I’ll go Matty.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Rick Rants

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(Train of...thought, perhaps?)

So I said, “Dad, why don’t you write a column in a kind of random thoughts format?” Ask and ye shall receive.

Your weekend list of thoughts first and foremost on The Rick’s sports-obsessed brain. With commentary from yours truly in italics tossed in when applicable.


****The Rafael Palmeiro saga just goes to show how complex the steroid testing issue is. As Papi noted earlier this year, the need for education of the players is paramount. That’s not to say that Raffy didn’t know what he was doing but it would sure seem idiotic of him after his bold statement at the hearings this spring. Not to mention his recent 500/3000 accomplishment. And this is the last thing the freefalling Orioles need at this point. (Well, this and the firing of Mazilli. E gads! Sorry, Marianne!) Their fans deserve better.

****I’m sure you all saw that old friend Peter Gammons was inducted into the writers wing of the Hall of Fame last weekend. I recall reading his Sunday columns in the Globe when I was much, much younger. Gammons pioneered the way modern baseball is covered. If he said something, I believed it. I still do. (As do I, most of the time. Although sometimes I wonder if baseball’s front offices read Gammons and assume things are happening because he says so. Even if they’re not. I would not be surprised in the slightest if they are more willing to talk to Gammons than to each other. Anyway, congratulations! Well deserved.)

****Let’s hope Torii Hunter can recover quickly from his crash into the centerfield wall at Fenway last week. (Odds that Johnny Damon was oddly jealous that the wall was cheating on him with a visiting player?) Hunter is about as exciting as they get and the Twins don’t have the bats to survive without him, especially if they expect to make a deep playoff push. (Agreed. I can’t hate the Twins. I just don’t have it in me. They gave us Papi and Minky and I’ve always liked Torii “Spiderman” Hunter.)

****How about those Molina brothers? Three brothers, all catchers in the bigs. Yadier with the Cardinals and Bengie and Jose with the Angels. That’s a bizarre family pedigree. I bet their folks were always tripping over their equipment when they were kids! (This is something The Rick knows a little something about as my brother and I were both catchers in high school. From there, undoubtedly, sprung the roots of the Red Sox Catcher Blood Feud).

****I think we all agree that the non-trade of Manny and Bill Mueller was the best move for the Sox. (And for their fans who were threatening hunger strikes, nasty letter writing campaigns and flaming bags of dog poo on Theo’s doorstep). Now we can settle in and leave the rest of the AL East in the dust. (God willing…)

****There’s a lot of imbalance in the National League. (National League? Wha?) All the teams in the NL East are at or over .500 while all the teams in the NL West are below .500 including the division leading Padres. (DAVE ROBERTS!) Probably safe to say the NL Wild Card won’t be coming out of the West…

****I’ve always been a San Francisco Giants fan, longer than I’ve been a Red Sox fan, even – dating back to the days of Willie Mays (the best), Juan Marichal (vastly under-appreciated) and Willie McCovey (sweet swing on Big Stretch) – but I have to tell you, Barry Bonds is such an egomaniacal jerk that I actually hope he isn’t able to return to pursue Hank Aaron and the Babe. (Agreed. The guy can sure hit but man, is he an ass monkey). It sounds like he’s shutting it down for the rest of this year and who knows if resting that chronic knee will allow him to return? I, for one, hope not.

****Why don’t the Sox make a little more use of the speed of Damon and Renteria? (Is Edgah fast? Why do I think he is not fast? Why do I think Dougie could beat him in a footrace? Without the piano, of course.) Are they waiting for the big bats to follow? (With Tizzle and Manny, that’s not exactly a stupid plan).

****If you don’t follow hockey (what’s wrong with you?), you may not have heard the name “Sidney Crosby,” who was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins last week. Sports types are notorious for hyperbole but this kid is already being compared to the “Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. They’re calling him the “Next One.” (Grrrr, Gretzky. One of these days I’m going to have to throw caution to the wind and delve into my feelings on Gretzky. I suspect I will be chased from my dwelling by torch-bearing Canadians). Crosby’s junior hockey numbers are through the roof (66 goals and 102 assists last year which is outrageous for any league), and he apparently has all the tools. This won’t be the last you hear from him. Oh, and he turns 18 this week. (That’s it, I’m officially O-L-D.)

****I have long felt that the strength of the Patriots defense was the system employed by their linebackers. So this will be the first thing I watch as to how new guys Monte Beisel and Chad Brown step in for Tedy Bruschi, (*whimper*) Ted Johnson (*meep*) and Roman Phifer. I expect a big year out of Roosevelt Colvin, who missed almost all of ’03 and I don’t believe was at full strength in ’04. It’s good to see they worked things out with good guy Troy Brown, regardless where he plays (TROY BROWN!)

I’m exhausted. How about you? Bronson “Saturn Balls” Arroyo vs. Brad Radke tonight in Hefty Bag Stadium. I’m giving it 2 to 1 odds that somehow, Johnny Damon manages to become entangled and end up hanging upside down in the outfield wall by the fourth inning.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Special Delivery

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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

that happened.

You ever get that feeling like you've just snorted twenty-eight Pixie Stix through a gasoline hose and followed them with fourteen shots of ghetto Jack Daniels while doing jumping jacks in 108 degree heat? That's kind of what that felt like.

Lemme say it slowly so we all understand. Jason. Varitek. Hit. His. FIRST. CAREER. GRAND. SLAM. And the best part? I was there. I. WAS. THERE.

Apologies for the excessive use of punctuation but I think it's necessary so that we all understand the magnitude of this. Maybe it doesn't mean as much to everyone else but I've had to endure the "Why does Varitek suck like a Hoover with the bases loaded?" question for years. And now I can say, "Um, he doesn't, actually." That's gonna feel good.

Because here's the thing about having a favorite player - especially when the entire WORLD (or the Sox-blog reading world), knows that you have a favorite player - you have to endure the slings and arrows when they strike out on a high fastball with the bases loaded for the umpteenth time, but you also get the back slapping and the atta boys in their stead when they hit their first career grand slam. And your chest swells and you feel unspeakable pride until all you can do is jump up and down, hug strangers and scream your fool head off.

Steve called: "There's speculation on the board over whether or not you're still alive."

I believe my response was something like: "AHHHHAAAAHHHHHYYYAAAAYYY!"

Listen, I don't know Jason Varitek. Jason Varitek doesn't know me. But when you pick a favorite player, everyone associates you with that player for better and for worse. It's a choice you make, and if you're a Red Sox fan, you stick with it. Ask Beth about Keith Foulke. She's riding it out, despite every reason not to. But if a DL stint and a few blown saves - or eight years in the majors without a grand slam - were enough to make us turn against someone, well we wouldn't be very good fans, would we? So I feel like I've been validated somehow. Like my choice was a good one. Like Tek's my boy and I can be proud of that. Well, more proud.

As for the rest of the game, I fully expected the next installment of "Adventures in Outfielding: The Kevin Millar Story" and I was not disappointed. I was sitting in the left field grandstand so I couldn't see the balls hit down the line. But I
can count and I know that it doesn't usually take eleventy billion years for a left fielder - even Manny - to get a ball back into the infield. Millar must have been planting peonies down the line for it to take that long. In the meantime, three runs scored.

Matty didn't necessarily look scared in the early goings. Not so much as he looked like he didn't have his control. And for a while there, things didn't look good. I reflexively cringed when Tek attempted to throw out a runner stealing second as I watched Matty hit the deck like an Air Raid siren had gone off. Poor guy, flashbacks must be hell. But his catcher, after scaring the everloving crap out of him, picked him up. With his first career grand slam. Heh. Just wanted to say that again. In the parlance of the overexcited 7-year-old that I felt myself to be, "The game just got way funner."

And let's talk about Edgah for a second and what a freakin' game
he had. Let's talk about his 3 for 4 afternoon and his 4 RBIs. You know, I give Edgah shit - frequently - but he certainly deserves the praise today. Nice work, Edgie, they don't win this without your contributions. And merely a few hours after getting smacked in the noggin' too.

I can't imagine what it must be like to be a Kansas City Royals fan. Even Millar's defense looked gold-glove worthy next to the Royals production of "Adventures in Defense: The Kansas City Royals Story." Poor buggers. I declared the Royals my "Aw, shucks" team at the beginning of the season because it's entirely possible that the whole of the roster is made up of players from the scrap heap of a Missouri Junior Varsity team, and watching them boot the ball around the infield like it's futbol can't be fun for their fans. In one memorable instance, second baseman Ruben Gotay evidently fancied himself a hockey player as he attempted a hand pass with his glove hand to shortstop Angel Berroa as he covered the base on a grounder to second. The runners were safe. The ball ended up somewhere on the basepaths. The utter implosion of Kansas City defense continued.

That said, I don't mind
too much when the Sox benefit from said pratfalls.

It's also worth noting that certain players have idiosyncratic behavior that becomes apparent when you're present and watching them. The camera doesn't tend to focus on Bill Mueller when he's standing near third (and if you ask me, the broadcasts are the poorer for it), but he crouches down and gets in his "ready" stance for every pitch. Every one. He leans forward and approximates a football three-point-stance and when the pitch is thrown, his body gives a near imperceptible twitch as he jumps forward, anticipating a ball hit his way.

Tek, who must not have a recliner in his living room and likely watches "American Chopper" or "This Old House" while crouching, seemingly can't stand up straight for more than twelve seconds at a time. When he reaches base and isn't running or leading, like during a pitching change or meeting at the mound, he assumes his catcher's stance. Force of habit or for stretching purposes, I don't know, but it's something to behold. I mean, neither of them are exactly Nomar out there, but at least Buelly doesn't spend all his time kicking the dirt like a petulant child a la A-Rod.

Finally, there's nothing like the feeling that Fenway has been plugged into a giant electrical socket. When everyone stands as one and claps until their hands turn red. That happens when Curt Schilling comes out of the bullpen. And I will never get tired of that. A small hiccup in the form of a leadoff home run to Kansas City captain Mike Sweeney (and he wears the "C" too, so there), and Schill retired the next three in order. A fly out and two strikeouts. And there's nothing like a Curt Schilling strike out to complete a game and sweep a series. Dirty Water indeed.

Edit: I would be remiss if I didn't offer up a HUGE THANK YOU to my coworker Billy and his fabulous friend Laura, and, by extension WEEI for the tickets to today's game. I guess an unhealthy love for Jason Varitek CAN net you some rewards after all.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


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(For real, wrap the entire damn team in it.)

Memo to Red Sox Players:

Effectively immediately, all players will be required to take the field swathed in bubble wrap. This includes batting practice, fielding drills, on field autograph sessions, and team photo day.

This measure is being taken to prevent further injury to Red Sox players. As you are no doubt aware, injuries due to collisions have been a problem recently. At last count, the following players have been injured in an on-field collision:

Mark Bellhorn (collided with Bill Mueller, injured arm).
Johnny Damon (collided with Damian Jackson, concussed).
Trot Nixon (collided with outfield wall, injured back).
Johnny Damon (collided with bullpen fence, injured eye).
Manny Ramirez (collided with Edgar Renteria, injured face and chest).
Johnny Damon (collided with ground, injured elbow).
Edgar Renteria (collided with Manny Ramirez, injured hand).
Johnny Damon (collided with Kevin Millar, injured hand).
Matt Clement (collided with batted ball, injured head).
Johnny Damon (collided with...damn near everything. Injured...damn near everything.)

In light of this evening's collision between Mr. Ramirez and Mr. Renteria in which Mr. Ramirez left the game with "contusions" to his face and chest as well as a bloody nose, it has become necessary to institute such dire measures.

We've also considered wrapping players in packing peanuts but are concerned that said packing peanuts will restrict the movements of the players. This is of particular concern for players such as Mr. Ramirez, Mr. Ortiz and Mr. Millar who are not, to put it kindly, fleet of foot.

We are also concerned that the team has been spending an inordinate amount of money on bandages, antibacterial cream, gauze, Band-Aids and ice packs. If this continues, we may be forced to cut corners by trading a perennial All-Star left fielder or eliminating gourmet mustard from the postgame spread.

Concerns have been raised among the other major league teams that Red Sox players utilizing the protective nature of bubble wrap will gain an unfair advantage over other teams who choose to send their players onto the field unprotected. However, these concerns have been addressed when it was brought to the attention of the remaining twenty-nine teams that none of their players have to share a playing surface with Mr. Damon.

Additionally, the other teams have no problem with Mr. Olerud's ever-present batting helmet (another measure we are seriously considering making mandatory), and the proposed bubble wrap will serve a similar protective purpose.

Only Mr. Varitek and Mr. Mirabelli will be exempt from these new protective measures. The presence of their catcher's equipment renders the bubble wrap redundant. However, should either Mr. Varitek or Mr. Mirabelli find themselves playing long toss with Mr. Damon, they will be encouraged to protect themselves accordingly.

We, as a front office, are seriously concerned with the safety of all our players. And while we appreciate that even after this evening's unfortunate collision, the team was able to pull out an 8-5 win over the Kansas City Royals while the Yankees were losing to the Indians and thus putting another game (up to 4 1/2) between the Red Sox and the Yankees in the division, we consider the safety of all players to be of utmost importance.

Rest assured that should this new measure not prove effective in eliminating collision-related injuries, the team will not hesitate to try any number of back up plans up to and including inflatable Sumo-wrestler style suits.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Boston Red Sox Front Office

No respect!

Just received the following email from The Rick:

"Are you going to watch the game tonight or are you going to be cooking for a church bake sale or something?"


Rest assured, I'll be watching. And tomorrow, I'll be bringing the in-person mojo again. Days off for day games. It's a rough life, kids.

Dropping the Ball

(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Manny knows what's up.

My phone rang at 10:20 last night. The caller ID said “Dad.”

“Hi,” I said, “Did they win?”

I could almost hear him winding up, “What do you mean ‘did they win?’ You weren’t watching? Get on the stick!”

“I have friends over, Dad. We’re having a dinner party. The game isn’t on.”

“YOU’RE NOT WATCHING THE GAME! This is August! It’s not like it’s May or something with some little dinky series against Tampa Bay. It’s freakin’ August!”

“It’s the Royals, Dad.”

“It’s August! It’s pennant race time!”

“So…did we win?”

“What? Yeah, we won. Manny hit a three run homer and they won 6-4 after being down 4-0.”

“Oh yeah, I got your message about Manny’s homer.”

“And what the hell were you doing?” Dad said.

“I have people here. High school friends, Dad. Mollie, Lauren, Muy. They don’t care about baseball.”

“Well it’s about damn time you teach them!”

“Colleen’s learning. But the rest of them don’t care.” I said.

“Where did you find these friends?” he asked, laughing, “They’ll understand.”

“So what you’re saying,” I said, “Is that I’ve been friends with these people for ten years. They’re still going to like me if I check the score of the Sox game?”

“YES!” Dad said.

“Okay then.”

A few minutes later, after hearing an abbreviated play by play from The Rick, I hung up and rejoined my friends in the living room.

“Sorry,” I said, “Rick was very disappointed that I wasn’t watching the game.”

They all laughed.

“So,” said Mollie a second later, “Did we win?”

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

(Big Sey ends holdout)

According to Boston.com, Richard Seymour has ended his holdout and will report to Patriots training camp no later than tomorrow.

Sources say that Seymour will earn a reported $5 million for the 2005 season but that he did not get the contract extension he initially sought. Raise your hand if you're suprised.

There are three things you don't do: You don't run from the cops, you don't spit into the wind, and you don't mess around with Bill Belichick. The man will cut you and not look back. Seymour outta know that, he's chummy with Lawyer Milloy and Ty Law.

That said, I'm glad Big Sey is back. The defense was looking a bit thin without either of the Teds returning and Seymour would have been sorely missed.

Welcome back, Big Sey. Now, let's play some football!

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Gang's All Here!

(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

“PAW-tucket.” “PAAAW-tucket.” That’s how Jon Papelbon says it. It’d be tempted to declare that the best thing about him, his Baton Rouge twinged with Mississippi State hayseed accent, but that wouldn’t be fair to his pitching. And yesterday, amidst a storm of controversy swirling around one of the game’s biggest superstars, Papelbon stepped up and pitched like his pants were on fire. 5.1 IP, 3 R, 7 K. I’ll take it. Welcome to the big leagues, buddy. It’s not PAAAW-tucket, but you’ll like it just fine.

The other newbie, Manny Delcarmen, or Manny El Camino per Marianne, contributed as well. Not quite as rock steady as he was in Tampa Bay a week ago but solid nevertheless. However, the best thing about El Camino’s performance most likely was his postgame interview. When asked what it was like to pitch in Fenway Park and to be playing on the same team as people like Manny Ramirez, Hyde Park Manny said, “It’s amazing. I mean, I play videogames with these guys in them.” That right there might just be the quote of the day.

Either that or Papelbon’s retelling of his discussion with El Camino in the dugout while they watched Manny the Elder stride to the plate with the game on the line in the bottom of the eighth inning. “I was sittin’ next to Manny Delcarmen,” Papelbon said, “And I said ‘Man, I got goosebumps.’ And he looks and me and says, ‘I know, man, they go all the way up to my neck.’ It was pretty awesome.” I wish I could do his accent justice in print. It’s that fantastic.

“Goosebumps” pretty much sums up the day. When all was said and done, when the smoke had cleared, everyone who started the day on the roster, remained there. Everyone went to sleep last night secure – for the first time in weeks – that the 2005 Red Sox roster still boasted Bronson Arroyo, Kevin Youkilis, Bill Mueller and Manny Ramirez. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I slept pretty well last night.

And the Manny thing, well, it’s Manny, right? I mean we can say that until our faces turn blue and we can rant and rave and be all “He disrespects the game” this and “He’s dogging it” that, but when it comes right down to it, Theo was smart not to make that trade. Mike Cameron and Aubrey Huff do not a Manny Ramirez make. Especially if they insist on throwing Hanley Ramirez, our prospect o’ the future, into that trade as well. Good job, Theo, not buying that “$100 carton of milk.”

Ditto on the nixed Bill Mueller for J.C. Romero trade. Buelly’s been tearing it up at the plate of late which could have both increased his trade value and/or made it less likely for the Sox to trade him after realizing they need his production. Especially since nobody knew where Manny was going, if anywhere. This whole trading thing is such a delicate house of cards. Tap one piece just a little too hard, and the whole thing comes crashing down around your ears. Last I heard, the Twins had changed their demands from Mueller (a 34-year-old third basemen with bad knees) to Kevin Youklis. I was on the phone with The Rick when I read of this.

Me: So now the Twins want Youks instead of Mueller for Romero.

The Rick: Theo’s not that stupid.

Good on ya, Theo. We don’t need a Backstreet Boy (TM Marianne) in our bullpen anyway.

And did we all see what happens when Manny’s not in the lineup? Did we all see Papi get walked four times? Because Theo, in his gutsy way, decided not to make the trade, we don’t have to get used to four walk nights from Ortiz. But had Manuelito left town, it would have become an irritatingly familiar sight. The power of the Papi/Manny tandem is just that. They’re a tandem. They come in a pair. “If the left one don’t get ya, the right one will.” There is no better 3-4 punch in baseball and I would hate to pass on the opportunity to make opposing pitchers cry four or five times in a single game. All respect to Helmethead for doing his Manny impression but you know, it’s not the same without that space cadet striding to the plate. “Just Manny being Manny,” he said after the game, which, admittedly, shows a level of self-awareness I was not certain he possessed. But damned if he isn’t right.

And let’s talk about the hit for a second, shall we? Let’s talk about how that was “Manny being Manny.” Because as much as we use that term to dismiss bizarre behavior, or gloss over potentially embarrassing hijinks, what we often forget is that “Manny being Manny” is also Manny hitting 28 home runs and knocking in 92 RBIs less than a month after the All-Star break. “Manny being Manny” is providing the team with clutch hits when they need it most. “Manny being Manny” is disappearing inexplicably into the Green Monster during a pitching change but it’s also smiling and goofing around in the dugout and striding to the plate with the game on the line and smacking a miracle single up the middle for the eventual game-winning run. That is also “Manny being Manny.” And I’m glad he’ll continue to be Manny while wearing a Red Sox uniform. He just wouldn’t fit anywhere else.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the return of Gabe Kapler to Fenway Park. His fantastic night at the plate on Saturday combined with his acrobatic catch in right field yesterday to save the game just served to remind us how much we really did miss this guy. Beth says she doesn’t really have a striking visual memory of Kapler, save for his role in last July 24th’s brawl game wherein he laid the smack down on Tanyon Sturtze. But what I most remember is his first week as a Red Sox where he hit something ridiculous like .800. I remember watching the games with my dad at our lakehouse and saying, “Who’s this guy?”

“Gabe Kapler,” my dad said, “He’s gonna be good. Not an everyday player but he’s gonna be good for them.”

“He’s not gonna be an everyday player hitting .800?”

“Nah,” said my dad, “He’s trying to prove himself right now after being traded. But he’ll be useful down the stretch run.”

What do you know? Dad was right. Then again, I should have known. He said the same thing about Dave Roberts.

So Gabe’s back, Manny and Buelly never left, the rookies look promising and the team’s on a winning streak. Even with all that, I’m glad today’s an off day. The trading deadline takes a lot out of a person – especially when you’ve sworn to go on a hunger strike if a certain third baseman is traded – and you need a day or so to get things together. And so I echo Terry Francona who said, when asked what the team was going to do today with all the drama – not to mention a sweep of the Minnesota Twins – behind them; “We’re all going to take a nap.” Amen, man. Save me a mat.