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

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

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No. More. Raycroft.

Oh for fuck's sake.

Listen, how many times do I have to say it? HANNU. It's not that hard. Hannu wins? Hannu should play. Raycroft wins? Raycroft should play. But poor Rayzor's not doing a whole lotta winning of late. Until he figures it out, stop dicking around and let Hannu be the starter. Tell him he's the starter. Tell him he's the Number One goalie. Let Raycroft back him up for a while. This isn't an ego thing. This is what's best for the team. Hannu has clearly been head and shoulders above Raycroft this season and while I understand that no one wants to make any knee jerk, reactionary moves, while they're waiting around for Raycroft to find his groove, the team is losing games and dropping in the standings. Teams thrive on consistency and consistency at the goaltender position is of the utmost importance. Raycroft, for all his brilliance in the past, has been anything but consistent this year.

Put the better goalie in. The team will get better. It's that simple.

This has been a Public Service Announcement from a concerned Bruins fan.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


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A conversation that began with Annette and I discussing lasagna recipes and ended - as most things do - in our thoughts on baseball.

Me: Let's talk about the World Baseball Classic. Let's discuss three points in particular. Please review the rosters.

Point 1) Andruw Jones is going to play all nine positions himself for the Netherlands.
Point 2) Doug Mirabelli is evidently Italian (and yet Tony Graffanino is nowhere to be found).
Point 3) The Dominican Republic is going to absolutely kick ass and take names.


Annette: Point 4) Marco Scutaro does not actually have a country of origin. Apparently, we are going to invent a country for him to play for or he is going to represent Antartica. Perhaps, his country will play against Andruw Jones' Netherlands.

Me: Unaffiliated vs. The Netherlands! A matchup for the ages!

Am I high or is "Scutaro" Italian?

Annette: It is Mediterranean. How is Tony not representing Italy?!? His name is TONY GRAFFANINO for crying out loud! My nonna calls him that "nice italian on our team." If 4-foot tall, 88-year-old Italian grandmothers place him on Italy's team, then dammit, he should be there.

Me: I agree completely. Also, it appears that Kevin and I have started another blood feud as he's already emailed me with "GO ITALIA!" I guess that means I have to root for the US, represented by Tek and all. 'Cepting they are totally going to get the everloving shit kicked out of them by the Dominican Republic.

Instead of countries, we should create alternate teams. Like "Guys Who's Names Make Spellcheckers Cry," or "Guys With The Best Porn Mustaches."

Why aren't we running baseball again?


So let's make up a list for the "All Spellcheckers Team."

First up: Zoccolillo, Pete

Me: Niether Mientkiewicz nor Grudzielanek
are playing. Which makes our Spellchecker team that much less complex. Bastards.

Annette: Sucks that team All Spellcheck is going to be lacking both Mientkiewicz AND Grudzielanek. I was having them be the centerpiece of the team.

Me: We can just call our Alternate Team Spellcheck the Kansas City Royals. But don't despair! We still have Kyuji Fujikawa, Frank Catalanotto, Alfredo Amezaga, Andruw "with a 'u'" Jones, Jason Isringhausen and Mark Texiera.

Annette: Check out the pitching on Team USA. We've got Sheets, Clemens, Smoltz, Dontrelle Willis, Barry Zito, Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia. The Dominican Repuplic has offense galore in Tiz, Manny, Miggy, and Pujols. It'll be a pitching vs. hitting deal.

Me: Also Vladdy. Don't forget Vladdy. He'll remind you. By force if need be. Do you know what I see happening? I see the Dominican team loving playing together so much that they all decide to start their own team, based in the Dominican and return to playing Major League Baseball but only if they can play for The Dominican Destroyers. They're going to create their own team and they're going to win the World Series every year. It's totally going to happen.

Annette: They don't have the pitching.

Me: They have Pedro. And they're going to engineer some kind of robotic arm for him. So it won't fall off. I'm pretty sure that's not against the rules.

Annette: But Pedro can't pitch every day. And I'm pretty sure Manny would get confused it they tried to show him the different pitches.

Me: Vladdy has a cannon arm. I'll bet they could convert him into a pitcher pretty quickly. And then people would die when he threw at them.

Hmmm, maybe we can get Posada to catch him? Crap, Rat Boy is Puerto Rican. The best laid plans...

Annette: Always go to waste. Sigh. Maybe we can make the Dominican Republic annex Puerto Rico.

Me: So in addition to being Co-Commissioners of Imaginary Baseball World, we've also deemed ourselves Rulers of the World? I just want to know what to put on my business cards.

Annette: Well, yes. World domination was always the ultimate goal. Nothing's changed there.

Me: I just want to make sure I'm on the right track. And while we're wishing for things, I'd like a pony and a house elf to do my laundry. Oh, and for Pedro to come back. Just 'cause.


(photo from Boston.com)


That is all.

Actually, you know what? That's not all. When an article starts out thusly: "
In a game between last-place teams, the Boston Bruins had the better sense of desperation," you know the team's in trouble.


The problem is not, as one might previously have thought, the Thornton trade gone bad. Rather the opposite, actually as the new guys (Marco Sturm in particular) have played incredibly well. The problem appears, as always, to be harder to pinpoint. At first glance, you'd blame the defense. First they lost Leetch. Now they've lost Boynton. Sing it with me now, second verse, same as the first. But then when you consider that the the Capitals were only able to scratch out a measly 18 shots on goal last night, you wonder if perhaps the defense is doing their job after all. I mean yes, the Capitals are abysmal, but 18 shots on goal? The overweight, middle-aged guys who win the "Get a Puck Near The Net, Win a Year's Supply of Penzoil!" contest can get more than 18 shots on goal. And they're usually blindfolded.

So maybe it's the offense after all. The Bruins outshot Washington by a margin of 43-18 for the game. That's a ridiculously one-sided number. The B's had more than twice as many shots on goal as the Capitals and they still only managed to score one more goal. And it didn't happen until overtime. Granted, Olaf Kolzig (Olie the Goalie!), Washington's netminder is one of the best in the game, but come on. 43-18? That's not a shots on goal count, that's the score when the Colts play the Texans. That's insane.

Of course, all credit still goes to Hannu Toivonen (Holla!) despite the fact that he managed to stop only 15 shots all game. But he still got the win. Somewhere, Raycroft has broken an Easton goalie stick over a locker room attendant's head.

And while we're on goalies, is there any other position in any other sport that has so many cool nicknames? Off the top of my head you've got the aforementioned Olie the Goalie, Rayzor, Felix the Cat, Eddie the Eagle, Jiggy, The Dominator, Cujo, and, my personal favorite The Bulin Wall. I move we come up with one for Hannu. The Finnish Fury? Suggestions? Favorite nicknames? It's a slow work week, people.

Also, I'm linking to the site that The Rick works on for New Hampshire high school hockey. It's comprehensive and well done and, so far as we know, the only site in New Hampshire dedicated specifically to high school sports. Take a look and see if you can figure out who the next wave of NHL players will be. You'll find it permanently entrenched in the sidebar under Sports Links.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Crass Consumerism and John Madden's Sausage Fingers

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Random Thoughts While Watching Monday Night Football

You know, I was just thinking, Bill Belichick might actually be magical. Think about it. Belichick in his grey hoodie calls to mind Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars trilogy. I’m pretty sure that if the camera focused on him closely enough during a challenge, you’d see him waving his arm and calmly reciting, “You WILL overturn the call,” while the referee walks slowly to the sidelines to review the play chanting to himself, “I WILL overturn the call. I WILL overturn the call…”

Earlier in the day, my mom and I found ourselves in Kittery, Maine doing a little post-Christmas outlet shopping. Normally, the last place you’d catch me on the day after Christmas is anywhere near a mecca of consumerism (like, say, an outlet mall), but I was there for two reasons. 1) I’m trying desperately to start dressing in a manner befitting a semi-professional 25-year-old woman living in a cosmopolitan city, and 2) if I didn’t get out of my parents’ house for at least a few hours, I was liable to stab myself in the trachea with a butter knife. I was doing really well with the “semi-professional dressing,” even picking up a few sweaters at Old Navy, and then, on my way to the Gap outlet, everything went to hell. We passed the Reebok Outlet. “Okay,” I said to my mom, fully intending to walk right past into Banana Republic, “I just want to see if there are any more sweaters and—“ SCCCRREEEECCCHHH! My head snapped to the right. “50% off NFL jerseys?” I looked at my mom. “Can I? Just for a second?” She rolled her eyes, “Go ahead,” as if to say, “And you were doing so well too.” But it was a lost cause. All my good intentions flew out the window once I saw that sign. Within three minutes, my arms laden with Vrabel, Vinatieri, McGinest and Brady jerseys, I started wandering around the store in daze, mumbling to myself like Rain Main. “Dunno if I want a Vinatieri. Everybody’s got a Brady. Dunno if I want a Vrabel…” My mom, trying desperately to keep everyone in the store from realizing that her daughter was completely insane, kept trying to get my attention. “Kristen, look! A Patriots windbreaker for $12!” “Uh huh,” I said, my eyes glazed, “Uh, huh, I’ll get that too.”

Now, I think it’s worth it to point out that under most circumstances, finding a veritable treasure trove of Patriots jerseys for half price (from $18 to $25) would not have presented a dilemma for me. But as it’s the day after Christmas and I’m a bit, shall we say, cash poor right now, I disciplined myself to get only one. I finally narrowed it down to McGinest and Seymour, reasoning that everyone has a Brady and I’ve always been a big defense supporter. McGinest or Seymour (a question, I imagine, the Pro Bowl voters were also asking themselves. They will learn what I have just learned. The answer in that situation is always “both.) Ultimately, despite the fact that I’m still slightly miffed at Richard Seymour for his “Why do the fans hate us?” business after the game I went to, his jersey ended up being a mere $18 to McGinest’s $25. Even as I write this, less than five hours later, I’m kicking myself for not buying both. I mean really, what’s the matter with me?

I’ve already instructed my mom to throw herself to the lions of consumerism as she drives back to Kittery tomorrow to snag me that McGinest jersey. That, and when I returned with my bounty, my dad piped up, “Huh. I could go for a Vrabel jersey.” “Now you tell me!” my mom said. “It’s no big deal,” The Rick said, “It’d just be cool to have.” Of course, after Vrabel caught his second touchdown pass of the first half in tonight’s Pats/Jets game, The Rick changed his request. “Nope,” he said, as the Jets AGAIN failed to cover Vrabel on a goal line situation, “Now I DEMAND a Vrabel jersey.”

The Vrabel thing is quickly becoming the “Somebody cover McGinest” of goal line situations. ABC just flashed his offensive stats. 6 regular season catches. 6 touchdowns. 2 Super Bowl catches. 2 touchdowns. I’m just sayin’, I’ve been to a game (thanks again, Beth!) and the refs announce to the stadium at large when an unconventional player is checking in. “Number 50 is checking in as an eligible receiver.” It’s not like it’s a surprise. Unless Belichick has worked his Obi Wan magic on the Jets (which, frankly, is not that far out there), they clearly hear the announcement. They see Vrabel lining up as a receiver. And yet still, no one remembers him. I couldn't tell you why this is. But I'm certainly glad it is. You know Brady’s going to Vrabel. I know Brady’s going to Vrabel. Seemingly the only person who doesn’t know Brady’s going to Vrabel is the defensive player assigned to cover him. Let’s hope they never learn.

By the way, if you’re wondering why I’m not discussing the Bruschi injury, it’s because as far as I’m concerned, it didn’t happen. I need to convince myself that I hallucinated Bruschi being driven off the field on that little cart thing. Otherwise I’m going to dunk an angel ornament in Drano and chase it with some broken Christmas tree bulbs.

I felt an odd sense of betrayal when Ty Law intercepted a Tom Brady pass and returned it for a touchdown. As, I imagine, did Brady. Ty Law’s not supposed to be picking off Tom Brady. He’s supposed to be picking off Peyton Manning. He did it well. He did it often. But since he left for the Jets because the $10 million contract the Patriots were paying him evidently didn’t enable him to feed his children the gold-plated filet mignon they required, now he’s intercepting Tom Brady. Et tu, Ty? Et tu? Truth be told, I don’t actually hate Ty Law. I actually have very little animosity towards Ty Law. It’s not like he bolted for, oh New York or anything. Oh wait. Well, it’s not like he left because he felt he wasn’t wanted. Um, actually. Well, at least he didn’t go to a division rival. Crap. Okay, it’s not like he’s Johnny Damon. There, that makes sense. Plus, he remains Colleen’s Patriot Baby Daddy, even as a Jet.

“Tom Brady is as smooth as a good drink,” Christian Fauria reported to us, via John Madden. I have nothing to add to this. Absolutely nothing.

While we’re on John Madden, I though I’d let you all know that Marianne and I usually watch Monday Night Football together and we’ve taken an almost manic obsession to John Madden’s giant, baseball mitt-sized hands. Imagine Madden wheeling a grocery cart down the pasta aisle and swatting boxes of elbows and angel hair into his cart. His fingers, big as sausages, sweep back and forth, knocking cans of tomatoes off the shelves. We’ve also decided that he makes a sound like Chewbacca when he does this. (I have no idea where all the Star Wars references are coming from either). Especially amusing is when Madden shills for whatever cell phone company he’s currently endorsing. He holds up a normal sized cell phone, reduced to doll-sized dimensions in his monstrous hands. “There’s no way he can punch the buttons on that phone,” Marianne said. “He has one of those voice activated ones,” I said. “He just screams at the phone, “’PIZZA HUT!’ and it calls and orders him an extra large sausage.”

I realized yesterday as we were opening presents that I’ve turned into the teenage boy my parents always wished they had. This is not a slam against my 22-year-old brother as he’s turned into the 25-year-old daughter they always wished they had as most of his presents were for the new house he just purchased. Yup, he’s buying a house and getting vacuums and salad bowls and I’m barely squeezing out rent and am rewarded with baseball cards and books about the Red Sox and Patriots. I toyed with the idea of getting my brother a Mark Loretta shirt to replace the Doug Mirabelli jersey (now vintage) that I got him last year, but I figured this would come back to haunt me when he locked me out of the house in my bare feet during a torrential downpour.

But I now have all kinds of new reading material. Over the next few weeks, (or, let’s be realistic, days as work will be so slow, it’ll make a joint session of Congress look lively), I’ll slog through “Now I Can Die In Peace” by Bill Simmons, “Three Nights in August” by Buzz Bissinger, “Aces” by Michael Urban and “Next Man Up” by John Feinstein. I’m already halfway through the Simmons and so far, it’s about what I expected. Simmons’ trademark informal writing interspersed with footnotes to all of his relevant Red Sox related columns from 1997 to 2004. It’s funny, occasionally scathing and more often than not, on point. Trademark Simmons. I’ll be sure to let you know how the rest of them fair as well. Of particular interest to me is the Feinstein which chronicles a season behind the lines for the Baltimore Ravens. I’m curious to see if Ray Lewis showed Feinstein the slate he uses to sharpen his shivs or if Brian Billick ever forced him to babysit Kyle Boller during a trip to the ATM.

The Rick has a couple of questions: Is there a rule in football that allows for a free kick after a fair catch? What I mean is, could the Jets (or whomever) lob a pathetic 25-yard punt, Tim Dwight call for a fair catch and then could Vinatieri and his holder line up and attempt a field goal with no defense on the field? The Rick swears he’s heard this before and he couldn’t make it up. Anyone know? Also, are drop kicks still legal? And if so, how come no one does that anymore? Can you drop kick while running down the field or does it have to be from the line of scrimmage? For instance, could Corey Dillon break for a run and decide to drop kick the ball through the uprights from the 10-yard line? Not that he would, because Corey Dillon seems reasonably intelligent, but could he? Somebody’s gotta know the answers to these questions. Anybody? Bueller?

Doug Flutie is so tiny. I'm sorry, I can't get over it. He can't launch a pass without hopping and throwing with all of his might. It's endearing. I'm not sure a 43-year-old professional football player would appreciate me thinking that his stature is "endearing" but it all comes from love.

The Pats have just wrapped up a more-intense-than-it-needed-to-be 31-21 win over the NY Jets and thus endeth the bazillion years of Monday Night Football on ABC. No more John Madden sausage finger jokes, which, if you ask me, is the real tragedy. However, next season has already opened itself up for endless installments of the Joe "My God That Was BRILLIANT" Theisman-isms. Oy.

I sincerely hope that everyone has had a fantastic holiday thus far and that the new year brings great things for you all. Thanks for reading. Onward and upward. This means you, Red Sox front office. Ahem.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


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(Baby Tek!)

So that up there? That's my Christmas present from Marianne. A MINT CONDITION, 1992 JASON VARITEK ROOKIE CARD!

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to our waiter and the rest of the patrons at The Publick House last night as I'm fairly certain that my shriek of glee may have left them all with permanent hearing loss.

Also to Marianne who I hugged so hard, I might have cracked a rib or two.

Baby Tek now lives happily next to the Official 2004 World Series baseball autographed by Jason Varitek that my parents got me for my birthday.

/is a 12-year-old boy.

What can I say? I have great friends.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Insert Religiously-Themed Betrayal Headline Here

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Acceptable terms include but are not limited to: Judas, Anti-Christ and/or Heresy.

The way I figure it, if Yankees fans are unhappy, it's gotta be good news for us.

Also? You can't teach an old dog new tricks. And you can't force an old dog to get a shave and a haircut and teach him to hit the cutoff man.

It may sound like sour grapes on my part but those of you who know me know how I feel about Johnny Damon. Namely, I tolerate him because he was one of The Twenty-Five but given half a chance, I will tell him to shut up. No, for real, shut up, I mean it. That's not about to change now. In fact, Annette seemed to think I'd be downright giddy about this turn of events. "I fully expect Kristen to be doing cartwheels in the streets tomorrow and kissing strangers. I mean, the stranger kissing is just par for the course, but she busts the cartwheels out for the special occasions." And while I don't NORMALLY make a habit of molesting strangers, I can't say I'm too upset. Just, eh.

What bothers me most about this, I suppose, is not Damon's move 250 miles to the south (because any halfway self-aware Sox fan had to know that his "I could never play for the Yankess" bluster was bullshit), it's that I WASN'T surprised. And that it's NOT sending me into a depressive funk. Which is not to say that I WANT to be rending my garments over the loss of our center fielder (see what I did there? I made a religious joke.) It's just that the list of Sox players who's departure would cause me to destroy a small Macedonian village is rather short. At present, it consists of: Tek, Ortiz, and Trot. Coincidentally enough, those look to be the ONLY three players remaining on the team when I show up to bother them in Fort Myers in March.

My point, I guess, is: when did I get so jaded? When did we all get so jaded? And by "we" I include the players in that. As Annette so deftly added in one of our Neverending Email Threads that I checked at 3 am when I got up for a moment because I have a PROBLEM, people!: " Somewhere Mo Vaughn is going 'They're never going to love you anywhere else like they did in Boston.'" And really, that's the bitch of it, isn't it? I resent the Johnny Damon-centricity of the team over the last three seasons or so because I felt all the while that I was being force fed. It wasn't organic. It wasn't as though he was someone that fans just gravitated to like they have with Tek or Trot. Even Papi's popularity is due to his megawatt smile and his ability to jack one over the Monster, not a publicity tour or some mad genius whipping up a brilliant PR scheme. But with Damon, it just got to be too much. "Face of the Red Sox, people! Get your face of the Red Sox, right here!" It felt calculated.

And now, it appears, it was.

I realize the players, save for some rare occasions (Tek/A-Rod anyone?), don't have the same animosity towards each other that the fans do. I understand that the Yankee pinstripes don't cause Red Sox players to shudder as their skin crawls, but if anyone was going to talk out of both sides of his mouth regarding The Rivalry, it was going to be Damon. And hey, here we are. Am I hurt? A little, I suppose. But part of me feels like he was never really ours to begin with. That's why he had to try so damn hard to make us love him. Not that I fault the fans who went all gung-ho Johnny. That's fine, everyone has their favorites. I don't fault them for a second (but I am most assuredly NOT upset about the far fewer numbers of pink #18 t-shirts that will be littering Fenway this year).

I think, when it really boils down to it, the one issue that sticks in my craw is the fact that so many memories about 2004, The Year, The Deliverance, if you will, are awash in Johnny Damon. Because he wouldn't let them not be. True, he did some great things for us. I'm not going to deny that for a second. But when you look at those highlights now, it's probably going to sting just a little bit because of your knowledge that the guy who professed to be "just an idiot" is now clean-shaven and shagging flies for the Other Side. Who knows what's true anymore? I'm bothered by the sheer amount of bullshit and hype that will spring from this. Johnny Damon is JUST a ballplayer. An integral one, sure, but I'm still more upset about the Theo debacle than I am about this. And I think Theo would have called his bluff too so I'm okay with that.

From a purely functional standpoint, the Red Sox now have a leadoff hitter problem. Namely, we don't have one. But hell, we don't have a shortstop or a first basemen either so maybe we're not concerned about these things? I don't relish having to play against Damon eleventy billion times over the course of the season but I didn't want to face A-Rod either and that worked out pretty well for us.

And, since I'm not a dude, I will most definitely NOT miss the Michelle Damon Fashion Round Up or whatever the hell that ridiculous bullshit on NESN was. Which brings me to, finally, my last point. If Damon harbors any delusions that he's going to be anywhere near as beloved in New York as he was in Boston, he can check them at the door. No way, no how. We're a persnickety bunch here in Beantown, sure, but once you're in, we tend to accept you and your quirks. However, Damon's going to have a tough road in New York. Without the hair, he's a good leadoff hitter with below-average fielding abilities and a lack of self-preservation instincts. Which is fine. But I gotta wonder how a media hog like Damon fares with someone like Jeter around. Should be interesting.

In the end, I feel like the ancient knight at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The traveler, in this case, Damon, has chosen the jewel-encrusted gold cup (or an extra $12 million over four years) instead of the more modest cup of a carpenter. After sipping from it, he quickly shrivels up and vanishes into dust. "You chose...poorly." the knight says.

Really, people, this shit writes itself.

So au revoir, JD. May the outfield wall at Yankee Stadium become familiar with the contours of your cranium. And as for Boston, Torii Hunter is still available, right? *salivates* Onward and upward.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Late Night Phone Call...

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Between Peyton Manning and Chris Simms.

Ring! Ring!

A telephone rings in the darkened Simms' house.

Ring! Ring!

A battered figure pulls on a bathrobe and hobbles to the phone, nursing his left foot and cradling his left hand. Ice packs are strapped to both his knees and his shoulders. The stench of Icy Hot fills the air.

Ring! Ring!

"Hello?" grumbles the man.

"Chris?" A hayseed accent inquires from the other end. "That you?"

"Oh, uh, hi, Peyton," Chris Simms answers.

"Hey, Chris. I, uh, I saw your game yesterday."

Simms settles onto the sofa, cradling the phone between his bruised shoulder and a pillow. He readjusts the ice pack on his left knee. "You did, huh? Well, not one of the better ones, I'm afraid."

"Oh, it was all right," Peyton replies. "Them guys are kinda tough up there in New England."

Simms winces at the pain in his arm, "You can say that again."

"Plus," Peyton adds, "It's cold. And they don't got no roof. My daddy says that it's a sin to let them run around in the snow and all. He says football's a gentleman's game and gentlemen don't get dirty. Daddy says they ain't no need to be playing out in the elements. He said if God wanted us to play football outside, he'd a never given us Astroturf."

"Doesn't Eli play outside?"

Peyton pauses, "Daddy don't like Eli."

"Oh," Simms replies, "I see."

There's an uncomfortable pause.

"So, uh, Peyton," Simms continues, "I, uh, caught some of your game today."

There is silence on the other end punctuated by what appears to be quiet weeping.

"Uh, Peyton? You all right?"

Peyton sniffles, "I'm fine, Chris. I'm just fine."

"Well, hey, you can't win 'em all, right?" Simms shrugs.

"I, I guess not," Peyton sniffles. "But now everybody's talkin' 'bout how I won't never be as good as my daddy. It's just so hard. You don't know. Nobody knows."

"Actually, I
do know." Simms replies.

"Oh, uh, right." Peyton says. "But, I mean, we was supposed to win it all this year, ya know? We was supposed to win all our games and finally beat them Patriots and win the Super Bowl. Your team wasn't supposed to be no good. But the Colts are God's chosen team. I mean, that's what God wants, right?"

Simms begins to get irritated, "How do you figure?"

"How else do you suppose they got a whole Pro Bowl's worth of players all busted up in New England? And they gotta play the tough teams. We been playing the likes of Houston all season long!" Peyton begins to grow animated and his voice raises. "How they doin' it? Must be black magic! That ain't right. Daddy says that ain't right!"

Simms rolls his eyes and shakes his head, wincing at the pain in his neck. "Peyton, you can still win, you know? This was only one game."

Peyton, near hysteria, starts crying openly. His words are choked with sobs, "BUT DADDY SAYS WE WAS SUPPOSED TO WIN ALL THE GAMES! WE WAS SUPPOSED TO!"

Simms sits up, preparing to hang up, "Peyton, look, it's going to be fine. You could still win. Look, why don't you talk to your dad about this? I'm sure he'll make you feel better."

Sniffling, Peyton replies, "Daddy won't take my calls. Momma says he's talkin' to Eli."

"Oh, well, why don't you just take some Ambien and try to get a good night's sleep?" Simms says, "I'm sure you'll feel better in the morning."

"Yeah, okay, that's probably a good idea," Peyton answers, "Except..."

"Except what, Peyton?" Simms asks, annoyed.

"Except it's just, I can't sleep too good. 'Cause whenever I close my eyes, I, uh. I see him. I see him coming towards me."

"See who?" Simms asks.

"He just keeps comin' and nobody can stop him. He just keeps comin'."

"Who keeps coming, Peyton?"


"Peyton! Who's coming right at you?" Simms demands.

"Willie McGinest!" Peyton cries, "He's always comin' at me! WHY DON'T NOBODY COVER MCGINEST? I see him in my sleep!"

"Oh," Simms replies, lying back on the couch and cradling his sore arm, "Uh, me, uh, me too."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Division Champs...Again

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(photo from Boston.com)

That's right, bitches. PLAYOFFS! Again. And no pussy-footing in either. The Pats laid the smack down on a seemingly hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers team today and were able to record an impressive 28-0 shutout. Thanks in large part to the defense turning much-hyped "Cadillac" Williams into Yugo Williams (per Beth), and a one Mr. Tom Brady playing without fear for his own safety. Oh, and Willie McGinest. He had a little something to do with it too.

So here we go again. Strap in and hold on tight.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Grab Bag

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Things Which I Have Not Been Able To Write About At Length For Fear Of Causing My Head To Make Like That Bomb Thingie Up There But Which I Now Feel As Though I Can Tackle Because Enough Time Has Passed...Maybe:

Thing the First: The departure of Bill Mueller.
This one hurts. This one, actually, feels a little like the break up that you knew was coming. He's a good guy. You had fun together, but there's really no place in your life for him anymore. It hurts, because it always hurts when things end. But it's for the best. You're both moving on.

Okay, that's what a sane person would say. But, for those of you who read this even a little bit, you will know that I am many things, but sane is not one of them. Loud, yes. Opinionated, definitely. Drunk and a right bitch? At times. But certainly not sane. And so, my reaction to the whole Bill-Mueller-to-the-Dodgers scenario is as follows: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! WWWWWHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY????????? STAAAAAYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!

*pounds fists on table*
*rends garments*
*exhibits much wailing and gnashing of teeth*

And...scene. Basically, I'm not acting rationally. I love Buelly and wanted him to stay around forever. And probably, a small little part of me wanted to believe that he'd stay behind, despite our current roster which boasts "14 third baseman and Mark Loretta" to, I don't know, coach third base or something. Because he likes us. Yeah, well, it was worth a shot.

But I will wish him well, and wipe away a dramatic tear as he sets off for L.A. where, as Annette says, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is doing a bang up job of reassembling the 2003 Red Sox. And if I read so much as one negative word about Bill Mueller *cough*
Dan Shaughnessy *cough* I will take a pitchfork and torch to whatever journalistic establishment uttered it. Because Bill Mueller is likely the most inoffensive ballplayer ever, and we were lucky to have him.

Thing the Second: The Two-Headed GM Monster.
Allow me to describe for you exactly how I thought this "Red Sox Press Conference to Announce the New Direction of the Front Office" thing was going to go:

Larry Lucchino steps to microphone: "Since the resignation of Theo Epstein as GM of the Boston Red Sox some six weeks ago, we have looked long and hard to find a suitable replacement. Finally, we have reached a decision which we feel will be beneficial to the team, the front office and the fans. (Dramatic pause) Allow me to introduce you to the new General Manager of the Boston Red Sox."

A man wearing a gorilla suit steps to the podium.

The room begins to buzz.

The man removes the head of the gorilla suit to reveal Theo Epstein, tan and well-rested after his trip to Argentina with Pearl Jam.

Theo speaks: "Come on, I was the GM of the Boston Freakin' Red Sox. The job I wanted my entire life and that all of you would kill to have. You think I was giving that up? Nah, I was just fucking with ya. Man, you people sure can't take a joke."

Then, likely, the room would dissolve into a chorus of Kumbaya with Theo on acoustic guitar, Lucchino on harmonica and Manny dispensing hugs and "Manny Wants To Stay" t-shirts to everyone in attendance.

Isn't my mind a fantastical place to visit?

But instead of that heartwarming scene, we get Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington who will deal with the major league and minor league aspects of General Manager-ing respectively. And we get more conspiracies than the Kennedy assassination about whether or not Theo's actually pulling the strings and will return anyway. Frankly, this whole thing is exhausting. EXHAUSTING. And nowhere else but Boston would fans wake up in a cold sweat going, "Is Theo coming back?" God, we're insane.

Thing the Third: MannyGate.
I don't care. Seriously, I've had enough of his crap. And normally, I don't believe in appeasing a player - especially one as infantile and irrational as Manny Ramirez - to shut him up but this team, as it's currently fashioned, stands more than a little chance of being tossed into upheaval WITHOUT his bitching and moaning. So fine, get rid of him. If Tejada wants to come here, GREAT. Although now he's all, "Um, or not?" I'm sure David Ortiz has already ordered some blinged out BFF necklaces in the shape of the Dominican flag to give to Miggy, so it's all good either way. But please, no more MannyGate. No more. This is reaching Damon-level proportions of SHUT UP ALREADY.

Thing the Fourth: Tom Brady's Leg.
Per Tom in today's Globe:

''I'm doing better than I was a few days ago," Brady said. ''You guys know Belichick, so I'm not going to talk about this stuff. He's given me strict instructions to keep quiet, so that's what I'm doing."

So he's got a "lower leg injury" which could mean anything from a stubbed toe to an amputated tibia. Belichick redefines "withholding" with these injury reports. However, I choose to believe that Brady will be fine and that he will play. Because if I even entertain other possibilities, it's likely you'll find my curled up in the fetal position, rocking back and forth and chanting something about "goddamn quarterback sneaks." I mean, Brady's played hurt before. Brady's played ill before. We need only to look back to last year's "He's got the flu so bad he needs to take intravenous fluids and is hallucinating dolphins in the endzone" game against Pittsburgh. Ain't no little shattered femur (or, hangnail) gonna keep him out of this one.

And finally, Thing the Fifth: Da Broons.
Hey, they won last night! Check that action out. Damn good thing too as I got home yesterday to find my impulse-purchased tickets to the January 10th game vs. the San Jose Sharks (or, as it's known in B's parlance, "Jumbo Joe's Return"), in my mailbox and had the boys turned in a stinker, well, let's just say I have a lighter and I know how to use it.

Goals by Patrice Bergeron, Sergei Samsonov and new guy Marco Sturm and the B's are at a decidely metiocre 3-3 for the month. But hey, a win is a win. Baby steps indeed.

Oh, I lied. There is one more thing.

Thing the Sixth: Hooray for Feedster!
Yours truly was just informed that Basegirl has been chosen as Feedster's "Feed of the Year Finalist #17" which, I gather, is pretty cool indeed. You can read all about the contest here. This came as somewhat of a surprise but is still a great honor. So thanks to everyone who reads this site and to everyone who comments or passes along links. And, most especially, to my fellow bloggers who are all crazy lunatics like myself. I really do appreciate it.

Okay, so, I think I'm caught up now. Right? Did I miss anything? Your thoughts?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Doubting Dale

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(Damn right, juniors are over. Time to step it up.)

Dale Arnold has some unappreciated things to say about our good friend Hannu Toivonen in today's Netminder's Blog on Boston.com:

The goaltending has also been subpar on a night-in/night-out basis. Andrew Raycroft may be pressing more than Zhamnov right now, and the results are every bit as depressing. I'm not sure that Hannu Toivonen is ready to take on the status of Number One goaltender, but he's almost been forced to of late as Sullivan does whatever he can do to help his team win. Toivonen has looked good a lot more than he's looked bad and as a result he's been given more of a chance to play. But I can't help but think this team has little chance in the long run without a return to form from Raycroft.

I have merely one thing to say: Holla! Prove him wrong, Hannu. Prove him wrong. I, for one, know you can do it. And I also know that the Bruins current state, (a sad, sad state of affairs), is not the fault of the goaltending. Not solely, anyway.

Let's see how the boys in black and gold fare tonight against the Minnesota Wild, which, last time I looked, wasn't actually a, you know, thing. Nebulous mascot and all, they come into town tonight sporting a 12-14 record which is only slightly less depressing than the Bruins' pathetic 10-15 one. So it's not like it's a match of the heavyweights here. More like two nearsighted monkeys trying to hit each other with rocks. Oy. Doesn't make sense either. Boston and Minnesota are hockey hotbeds. Or at least they should be. Instead, we've got teams in such ridiculous places as Dallas, Carolina (which one, we'll never know) and Tampa Bay at the tops of their respective divisions. In the immortal words of Will Ferrell, "I feel like I've taken crazy pills!"

And, you know, HOLLA!

Monday, December 12, 2005

That Smarts

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(Photo from Boston.com)

I emailed the above photo to my coworker Kerri this morning. "This picture is fantastic," I said.

She wrote back, "He can kiss fathering kids goodbye."

And that, dear readers, was pretty much yesterday's game in a nutshell. The Pats hitting the Bills where it hurts. And then hitting them again.

Aside from the absolutely terrifying sight of Tom Brady limping around the field after apparently deciding that his running backs were having all the fun and running for a touchdown his own self, it was a good, dominant performance. Oh, and could we stop throwing blocks with our head, THOMAS?

When will they learn, someone cover McGinest?

As for the Bruins? *scoffs in disgust* S'okay, Hannu, I still love you. The rest of you lot, we have issues.

Oh, and now we learn that the errors weren't Edgar's fault. It was the field, you see. The field sucks. Oh, and he was hurt all season. But, you know, that's not an excuse. It's just the field and the owies, that was the problem. H'okay then, glad we got that straightened out.

*Rolls eyes*

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bye, Bye, Binky

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(Adios, Dougie.)

As you might imagine, my brother is NOT happy.

He's refusing to acknowledge the trade at present meaning either that he's focusing on the Bruins (fat lot of good that'll do for his psyche), or he's hidden under a rock all incoming air raid style, hoping that this will all blow over.

Either way, our nonexistant GM has been pretty damn busy.

Dammit, now who's gonna be the stud who hits bombs?

My money's on Youks.

As for the Bruins, a loss to the Avalanche, Raycroft can't stop the bleeding *ahem* HANNU *ahem* and defenseman Nick Boynton fractures his kneecap and is out for 4-6 weeks. Fucking hell. Good thing it's the season of spiked egg nog...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Hypothermia, Grilled Meats and Touchdowns

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(Pic from Beth)

The thing is, I really need to invest in some boots. I'm currently fighting a cold which I'm sure is a result of the fact that, despite the fifteen layers of clothes and socks, I still found it appropriate to wear sneakers to the Pats' game on Sunday. Yeah, I've lived in New England my entire life. I am aware of the whole snow, winter thing. But hell, no one ever said I was smart.

Anyway, frozen feet aside, lemme just say that being at a Pats game? Is. Awesome. The game itself (a handy beating of the Jets to the tune of 16-3) wasn't particularly thrill-inducing but it was actually more about the experience anyway.

I now know what it's like to a) sit in a car that smells like a meat locker, b) have no range of motion a la the small child in A Christmas Story, c) attempt to make noise while swaddled in mittens and blankets so that Richard Seymour won't think I suck, and d) look at Tom Brady through binoculars and decide that no, no there is no one he won't hug.

Seriously. The man will hug anyone. Ty Law I understand. They used to be teammates, I'm sure they're still friends, etc. And I can understand hugging Herm Edwards because, I don't know, it's a respect thing or something. But then Brady starts hugging members of his own team. David Givens, which, okay, because David Givens is pretty, but then he's hugging Doug Flutie and Christian Fauria and Russ Hochstein and I'm thinking, "Dude, did you not just see these people in the locker room seven minutes ago?" I wonder if Brady has some serious separation anxiety.


Further observations from a day in the snow:

There was a guy behind us, your typical blue collar, Massachusetts football fan type guy who took great delight in torturing the Jets' punter. "Nice punt, douchebag!" was his favorite. It was just like having Butchie behind us.

"That guy can be my friend," I said to Beth. "Right along with trinkets man and the high school hockey fans that always seem to be sitting behind me at the Bruins' games."

Upon hearing another gentleman cheer wildly every time Ben Watson did anything resembling movement:

Beth: "That guy must have Ben Watson on his fantasy team."
Me: "I have, uh, Tommy and David Givens on my fantasy team."
Beth: "Not that kind of fantasy team."
Me: "Heh, okay, both of my fantasy teams."

During the lovely halftime presentation wherein the team honored retired linebacker Ted Johnson, Johnson commented that his rookie year, the team lost the first four games when he was injured and won the first game he was back. "And then," he said, "we lost the next four."

The guy behind us piped up again, "That was Drew's fault!" Heh.

So, despite what Richard Seymour said, it was fun and good times. I hadn't realized how many players had previously been injured until Beth and I watched warm ups and I saw David Givens, Corey Dillon, Kevin Faulk and Bethel Johnson running around. And it's a good thing we had Dillon back as the Pats resorted to the running game in the conditions. Also, Dillon's teeny, tiny daughter Cameron was honorary captain for the coin toss and well, that was pretty damn cute.

It was also excellent to be there for Adam Vinatieri's breaking of Gino Cappeletti's Patriots franchise points record. And it was especially cool to hear Vinatieri's postgame press conference on the matter. His cornfed, farm boy, South Dakota accent never stops being endearing and I hope he realizes how much we appreciate him around here, Richard Seymour. I mean really, where else do people buy a kicker's jersey? Exactly.

For a better recap of the game and the day, read Beth's outstanding post. But from my end, lemme just say that this NFL thing, I can get behind it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Out With The Old...

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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Okay now calm down. Let's not get too excited. As Nancy Marrapese-Burrell points out, "One game does not a season make and no one would suggest one victory means all the Bruins' problems are behind them."

But lemme tell you something. That was a FUN game to be at. The place was jumping and Marco Sturm held his own "Welcome to Boston" party when he scored 77 seconds into the game. Nice work, new guy. Way to get us on your side.

From there, the B's never looked back, scoring twice more - one by Patrice Bergeron (assisted by Sturm and fellow new guy Brad Stuart), and once by Dan LaCouture scoring his first NHL goal. But the real key to the game?


For real, y'all, the kid's got SKILLS.

And I ain't the only one who's seeing it. Quoth Marrapese-Burrell: "and an inspired performance from goalie Hannu Toivonen, which might just spark a netminding controversy."

Might indeed. And probably should.

Look, I love Rayzor too but I have to wonder how the new rules and the more open ice are affecting him. He's not been spot-on this year, to say the least and I think that might be attributed to a few different factors. One is the new rules and the less time he has to make decisions due to the increased quickness in the game. Another is the abslolute shit-tastic performance of the Bruins defense (save last night in their first shutout of the season). That's not his fault. But I have to wonder how Toivonen, new to the NHL this year, seems to be taking it all in stride. In essence, he doesn't have to adjust to the new rules since this is his first go-round in the NHL. Not that Raycroft is exactly a grizzled, old veteran (he's 25) but in the fast-paced NHL, every year counts.

Anyway, the Bruins shutting out the Senators is fun and good times. It remains to be seen where we go from here but that's a good way to start. Don't make me regret the euphoria, boys.

And speaking of euphoria! I think you should all know that Beth is quite possibly the greatest person in the history of ever. She wins at life and other worthy endeavors. Because she is completely awesome, she is taking me to my FIRST EVER NFL GAME on Sunday! That's right. I will be at Gillette, wearing fifteen sweaters and an atrociously yellow Bruins ski cap and providing oodles of childlike excitement and glee. And probably also some profanity. 'Cause that's how I roll. When I called my dad between the first and second periods of last night's game to tell him, he said, "You've never been to a Pats' game before?" "No," I said, "When would I have gone?" "Hmmm," he thought, "I guess you're right. I haven't been since...(long pause), they sucked." Heh.

So! Patriots! Sunday! Hooray!

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't share with you Marianne's pre-game observations at Boston BeerWorks regarding the Johnny Damon situation. One of the sports newsmagazine shows was shown on one of the many televisions with a caption that said, "Is Damon worth 7 years?" I nearly spit out my beer. "No!" I said. "No way!"

"His arm will fall off before then," Marianne said.

"Or he'll concuss himself into oblivion," I answered.

"I'm actually not worried about his head," Marianne replied, "because he'll play stupid. Pretty sure he doesn't know any other way, actually."

Hee. She speaks the truth.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Hoping for a Nomar Redux

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(Bye, Joe. Thanks for all the jersey sales.)

Let's let The Rick say it:

"Seems Jeremy Jacobs just isn't interested in bringing a competitive team here to Boston. And Mike O'Connell has got to go. Mike Sullivan ought to go as well because it's obvious he isn't a winner. Want to start a website? Should have stuck with Pat Burns."

So, clearly, this is all Joe Thornton's fault. I mean, obviously.

Look, I know Thornton was overhyped by the Bruins PR machine, little sputtery thing run by two anemic hampsters on wheels that it is. But I don't think the current state of the Bruins was all due to Joe Thornton. He was just the easiest guy to get rid of.

Here's what I think. I think the powers that be took a good, long look at the state of the team and the standings and the fact that they have nothing even resembling an NHL-caliber defense and they went, "Holy shit, we suck. Whatshouldwedowhatshouldwedowhatshouldwedo?!? I know! Let's trade Nomar, er, Thornton! Worked for the Red Sox!"

But hockey is not baseball. And I don't see the name "Dave Roberts" listed anywhere in the trade. Nothing against Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau or Brad Stuart but Joe freakin' Thornton is a good goddamn hockey player. And it's tough to replace a guy like that.

Here's the thing: I've been going back and forth with this all year as I've been to a few games and have watched most of the rest of them on TV. I wasn't quite sure how to describe it but Kevin Paul Dupont sums it up pretty nicely in his column in today's Globe.

"But, at close inspection, to the trained hockey eye, there was just no there there this season with Thornton."

Exactly. Something was missing. You wouldn't know it from his stats. He was still up there with the top 10 scorers in the game. And he could still hit as hard as anyone, but there was something else. As if the burden of being a 26-year-old captain finally became too much for him. As if he couldn't handle following in the footsteps of Ray Bourque any longer, the constant comparisons - especially considering Bourque's deity status in Boston and high profile position with the team - finally got to him. We'll never know, I guess, but something about this feels wrong.

True, if the Nomar trade taught us anything, it's that sometimes a shake-up is the right thing. The Red Sox weren't going to win a World Series with Nomar at shortstop and shoddy defense on the field. And it's likely that the Bruins weren't going to be hoisting a Stanley Cup with their own defense shot full of holes. But it seems like simple math to me. If your defense sucks, you need to score more goals. So it makes little sense to me to ship one of the best goal scorers in the game out of town. I'm sure the new guys can score goals too but, well, let's hear what goalie Andrew Raycroft has to say:

"I have no idea if they're good or not, to be honest with you."

Great. Just what we need. More uncertainty.

This trade smacks of desperation to me. It feels like the front office is trying to pull a fast one. As if they're imagining that trading the captain and biggest offensive player will distract the fans from the fact that the GM and owner have no idea how to run a successful hockey franchise. Because otherwise, they'd be held accountable. Explain to me why we didn't push harder for Peter Forsberg. Explain to me why we're so loath to upgrade the defense and get rid of Hal Gill. Explain to me why Raycroft has no protection. Explain to me why this is a good idea.

Look, I could be wrong. It's been known to happen. And I sincerely hope I am. But scapegoating your franchise player because you can't get your head out of your ass long enough to attempt to build a competitive team doesn't set well with me. And the sad part is that Boston could be a great hockey town. People would come. People would care. But when the front office sends the message that they're giving up, what do they expect the fans to do? All of a sudden our captain is dealing with the dual horrors of wearing teal and playing on the West Coast and he's left behind some mighty big shoes to fill. Who knows how it'll all work out. But if things continue to go downhill, I'm pointing the finger at ownership and the front office. Not for trading Thornton. But for neglecting to give this town the hockey team it deserves.

I'll be there tonight amidst a sea of now vintage #19 jerseys. Should be an interesting scene.