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

Friday, June 30, 2006

Cheaper by the Dozen

(photo from Boston.com)

Since I became one of the approximately twelve billion people to use the Spinal Tap reference in yesterday's post title, I thought I'd go for the easy joke again and see if I can hit the jackpot twice.

Anyway, what more is there to say about this team? They're pretty freakin' good, eh? It's strange that on this extended winning streak, things seem to be going the Sox way. We're getting the good bounces, getting the calls and, as in the case of Coco accidentally revealing his alternate identity as Spiderman last night, making the plays. I know someone who would not have made that same play and would still have managed to concuss himself on the warning track whereas Coco just popped right back up like a Whack-O-Mole...

As for David Ortiz, sigh, as Amy said, "just another day at the office."

The Rick has now taken to calling me, or rather, having my mom call me to harass me when Varitek does something to contribute, like get himself an RBI. Wonder how often he's calling my brother re: Doug Mirabelli's offensive contributions? Right.

Dear Theo:
The National League is fun. Let's play them all the time.
K thnx,
Red Sox Nation

And Schilling picks up his tenth win of the season. Because you just KNOW there was no way he was going to let that newbie punk Beckett have a better won/loss record than he did. I like that about this team. I like that the veterans are challenging the new guys to step up and the new guys, by stepping up, are challenging the veterans to show they've still got it. It's working well. And it's a lot of fun to watch.

Speaking of fun to watch, Mike Timlin's fist pump and look or pure awe when Coco made that catch yesterday was fantastic on about fifteen different levels. In fact, it's the happiest and most unabashedly joyful I've seen him look since this happened.

That was fun.

So we keep rollin' on.

Next up, the Marlins. Let's make sure that if anyone attempts to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera, they pitch somewhere in the vicinity of the on-deck circle.

Updates might be somewhat sporadic this weekend as I'm heading to NH to spend some time at the lake. I trust you all to keep the Sox homefires burning while I'm gone. Have a fantastic fourth, everyone.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

This One Goes to Eleven

(photo from Boston.com)

Things You Can Tell About Josh Beckett Just By Looking At Him:

He has a visor and a puka shell necklace.
He has an iPod full of illegal Phish bootlegs.
He has a Dave Matthews Band sticker on his Hummer (probably yellow).
He has cruised the BU and Northeastern dorms more than once.
He has friends named Chase, Landon and Dexter (at least one of whom owns a sailboat).
He thinks a pink, popped-collar polo shirt is a smart look.
He spends a good amount of his life hungover, a side effect of perfecting the keg stand.
He was not happy about getting the short end of the media stick in last night's game.

And so, Josh Beckett did what Josh Beckett should have done and sacked up and pitched like his pants were on fire. We’re so accustomed here in Boston to hearing Pedro’s claims about a lack of respect that we made sure to give it to him. Over and over again. And it was Beckett who was left going, “Hey, guys? How about me? I am actually your pitcher now.” So then he must’ve figured that showing instead of telling was a good idea. Works for me. If we have to make him angry for him to pitch like that, I say we all take turns taking away his Jagermeister and his Maxim subscription.

Pedro, for his part, did not pitch like the Hall of Famer he is sure to be. Rather, he pitched like the Pedro who always got the ball on Opening Day and, unaccustomed to the cold weather, would get rocked by the likes of the Blue Jays or the Orioles. Not that these Red Sox aren’t capable of rocking just about anyone in their present state. But it’s worth noting that Pedro, usually so calm, collected and just flat out proud on the mound, looked flustered, distracted, and occasionally overwhelmed, especially when fielding Papi’s comebacker and brain-cramping on what would surely have been a double play. Not that anyone could really blame him. But it was strange to see Pedro visibly trying to keep it together.

Manny, for his part, didn’t even try. Dude has the worse poker face ever as he resorted to smirking and making all manner of weird facial expressions to keep from laughing and smiling while up to bat.

And poor, doomed Lastings Milledge. First, you’re saddled with a name like that which is, as Amy pointed out, not so much a name as it is a bridge in Southern Connecticut and then they stick you in front of that big, looming green wall in left field and expect you to track down fly balls with ease. It’s just not that simple. The poor guy, you could actually see him thinking, “Don’t screw this up again. Don’t screw this up again. Don’t screw-DAMMIT!” last night as Mike Lowell’s pop fly popped into and then out of his glove, plating two runs. Some days you’re better off not having gotten out of bed.

Also? Alex Gonzalez: Home Run Monster. That is all.

Oh, and NESN? While we’re here. Enough with the goddamn Taylor Hicks Ford commercial. Aren’t his fifteen minutes up yet? Why won’t he go away? Why are you forcing him on me? He does not motivate me to buy a Ford vehicle. He motivates me to find the mute button. What was wrong with the Kelly Clarkson Ford commercials? I would actually consider buying something she endorsed because she’s fun and I love her and think she would be a blast to do tequila shots with while mocking Guarini. But not Taylor Hicks. Never Taylor Hicks. Don’t you have Foxwoods or Southwest Airlines to advertise or something?

Anyway, force-fed “pop” stars aside, it was an interesting game, on the whole. Beckett rose to the occasion and Pedro shrank from it. Frankly, I had the script reversed with Beckett pitching well, Pedro dominating and one or both of the bullpens blowing it wide open. And speaking of bullpens, did we notice that Tito’s break with reality has ceased and there was not a single shot of either Seanez or Tavarez warming last night? Surely that would have turned the crowd into an angry lynch mob.

We have also decided that the Sox are so happy to have Kapler back that they’ve been scoring upwards of eight runs a game to guarantee that he’ll get some playing time. Oh, and Trot Nixon would like you to know that right field at Fenway Park is his territory (occasionally on loan to Gabe because they are the BFFiest of BFFs) but that no one else will be taking it over anytime soon and if he has to prove it to you with his bat, he will not hesitate to do just that. Jesus, Trot, .330? Damn. He is not messing around.

So Pedro got shelled, Beckett pitched like a big boy and in the Bronx, A-Rod hit a walk-off homer, thus dulling the boos for one day. (But seriously? Most pathetic excuse for a walk-off celebration ever.) All in all, the Sox era of good feelings rolls on. Tonight, it’s another marquee matchup of Billerica boy Glavine vs. Schilling. Overshadowed by last night’s hype, this just might be the best duel of the bunch. Guess we’ll see.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


(photo from Boston.com)

Guess that answered that question, didn't it? Honestly, I don't see what the debate is. When Pedro Martinez, the best pitcher to ever don a Red Sox uniform takes the mound at Fenway tonight, you will stand and you will cheer. There are no two ways about it.

"But we booed Johnny Damon."

Yup. Damon's a Yankee. We booed that more than we booed him. You don't leave the Sox and go to the Yankees. Especially after specifically saying you wouldn't. It's just not done. That uniform supercedes a lot of things.

"But Pedro left for the Mets."

Pretty sure the Mets are not the Yankees.

"But he left for the money."

Uh huh. Or maybe he left to pitch more years in a weaker division in the NL where he could continue to be dominating for a bit longer.


Look, we can go at this all day. There are lots of reasons Pedro left. But as far as I'm concerned, Pedro Martinez was the best, most dominating pitcher I've ever seen. And I'd like to think we can thank him for that. As well as for being One of the 25. We cheered O-Cab. We cheered D-Lowe. We cheered Dave Roberts. Man, can you imagine what would happen if the Dodgers played an interleague series at Fenway? Bill Mueller would get a HUGE ovation. And I'd bet money we'd cheer Nomar too. Grady Little? Not so much. And this is Pedro we're talking about here. Pedro effing Martinez. The guy's a maestro. And I don't know about anyone else, but I still love the guy. I suspect I'm not alone. Johnny Damon was never truly one of ours. Pedro was. We haven't forgotten that.

I also really, really, really miss the Pedro and Manny Comedy Hour. How these two have not landed their own show in the offseason is beyond me. Can you just imagine them prank calling Theo to ask if his refrigerator is running and then messing up the punchline and giggling like two five-year-olds after snorting a handful of Pixie Stix? Braiding each other's hair and swapping wrist bands? Drinking Mountain Dew and spinning around in circles in the outfield until they threw up? I'm not the only one who would pay to watch this, right?

But that's all tonight. How about last night's game? How about Jon Lester, fully realizing that this show is bigger than him, knuckling down and delivering when he had to? You just don't know about the rookies, is the thing. You don't know how they're going to react, especially against a good team. And the Mets, as presently constituted, are a good team. But I like this Lester fellow. Or, as a reader dubbed him, Ensign #2.

And poor, misguided Jose Reyes, thinking he's gonna win in a head-to-head collision with Jason Varitek. Silly man. If the brick wall at Camden Yards couldn't defeat Tek, you think some puny, little infielder is gonna do it? According to the MLB listed stats, Tek has two inches and 55 pounds on Reyes. Yeah, my money's on the Captain.

I would also like to point out that since Marianne and I stumbled upon Alex Gonzalez's Nickelback mojo, his average has gone up 70 points. I'm just sayin'.

So this team is cruisin'. Kickin' ass and takin' names. I suspect Mike Timlin and his camo glove are behind this (photo courtesy of Sam). But tonight it's a battle of the rock stars. Martinez vs. Beckett. Jheri Curl vs. Fat Head. Often, when pitching matchups are hyped so much, they fall short. Like all those Pedro vs. Clemens duels everyone worked themselves into a lather about. I seem to remember Clemens folding like a card table in most of those (which is why Pedro, not Clemens, is the best pitcher I've ever seen). But tonight could be a good one. I can't wait. Welcome back, Petey. Welcome home.

Additionally, I would like to wish a speedy recovery to Peter Gammons. Gammons and my dad combined to instill in me a love of baseball, and baseball writing. And I've long marveled at what a head for the game, and the words to describe it, Gammons has. I doubt there is a more respected and revered sportswriter working today. Get well soon, Gammo. We miss you already.

Monday, June 26, 2006

There Goes My Hero

David Ortiz, of course.

The thing is, when you sit down to write about David Ortiz's latest walk-off heroics and you want to reference the last time he did something like that and you need look back only as far as the PREVIOUS GAME, well, that should tell you something. These are heady times. This is wild stuff.

True, this game should have been won long before the 12th inning. In fact, the Sox should have wrapped it up in the seventh. But until Tito learns that unless the question is "Which current Red Sox reliever would you pay a year's salary to tie to a tree and beat with sticks?" the answer is NEVER Rudy Seanez, we'll likely be in for some rollercoasters. But the way I figure it, if Papi's there to catch us at the bottom of the hill, things will be all right.

Of course it was a day game so of course I had to Gameday at work and long about the third inning I gave up any illusions of doing actual work and just served as a de facto department Red Sox status reporter, informing my curious coworkers of any pertinent developments. Look, it's hard to proofread when you see, "In times of war, the Etruscans turned to GODDAMIT, SEANEZ KEEP THE EFFING BALL DOWN WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU DO YOU HAVE COMPROMISING PICTURES OF TITO WITH WALLY OR SOMETHING?" (How something to that effect has not yet ended up in a book I've edited is beyond me). Then Amy and I headed to the bar for lunch to catch what we could on TV. We saw all the scoring on our part, including Ortiz's, um, interesting "slide" into home to score the first run. We left the bar, secure in the knowledge that Wake was working with a six run lead and therefore, would probably not feel it necessary to cut a bitch. Hell, even the red-hot .164-hitting Doug Mirabelli got in on the fun with an RBI. Clearly, things were in good hands. Or so we thought, conveniently forgetting that for some inexplicable reason, the hands Tito saw fit to entrust the game to belonged to Rudy "Gas Can" Seanez. Things pretty much went to shit from there.

The following is an email exchange between myself and Amy while we were "working." Note: our desks are literally four feet apart.

Amy: Seanez needs a new nickname. I said it will be "this dead motherfucker" if he blows this thing.

Me: He does not warrant a nickname. I want to punch him in the face. That is all. I have teh rage. He should not fuck with me.

Amy: "She has girl rage, which has been known to fell the mightiest of men. And you, sir Seanez, are not mighty."

Me: Indeed, this is truth. I have leveled several small villages. They have yet to recover.

And then...bad things happened with Papelbon. Well, one bad thing but it was enough to shake my faith for a few moments there. I immediately began knitting him an afghan in which to wrap him and keep him safe from all the bad things in this world. But homeboy is strong. And he can take it. I should have known.

A billion hours later when I crowded in front of the plasma big screen at the gym with about fifteen other people, David Ortiz did it again. Are we sure he's actually human? Perhaps other teams might want to look into the Red Sox purchase orders and see if we've been buying lots of robotic parts or something.

And so here we are. Nine games in a row. Three series sweeps back to back to back. Good times abound and they're drawing up ballots to elect Ortiz mayor as we speak.

Bring on the Mets!

From Up Here, Things Look Mighty Fine

(photo from Boston.com)

Yep, the view from the top is a good one. And none of us know how long it'll last so it's best to drink it all in now. Because we've been here before. Salad days and good times, only to realize that the center can't hold. So soak it up, take it in, and let the good times roll.

Two games, two wins, one walk-off, one rainout, one segment of Red Sox Nation doing us proud by booing the shit out of Brett Myers.

Friday's game was good fun with Beckett tossing a no-hitter through five. Offensively, things were out of control. And when things are out of control, y'all know that means hijinks of the Remy and Orsillo variety. And that means good times for everyone. Even the Yankees fan I watched the game with admitted that he'd rather watch Sox/Yankees games on NESN than on YES because Remy and Don-O are so much more entertaining (and one would guess, less likely to make you try home root canals) then the chuckleheads at YES.

Apparently, Manny woke up feeling, as Amy would say, "hitterish" on Friday, belting two Monster shots from the clean-up spot. Evidently, number four was the "Home Run Slot" as Gabe Kapler joined in on the fun and his hit first Red Sox homer of the season. And then gave a curtain call. Only in Boston do fans stand and cheer for a relatively meaningless home run by a backup outfielder and demand a curtain call. But you know that no one appreciates that more than Kapler. It's just good to see the guy back.

And speaking of Kapler, what I wouldn't give to see him locked in a steel cage match with Brett Myers, arrested late Thursday night on Boylston Street for domestic assault. Real men don't hit women. They just don't. Kapler has been one of the most outspoken athletes against domestic violence in recent years. My guess is that he did not take kindly to the Phillies and Major Leauge Baseball turning the other cheek to Myers' actions and allowing him to start on Saturday. What kind of message does that send? "Oh, well, yeah, that was kind of a bad situation but he's our ace and we need to win this game so we're just gonna ignore it and go with him anyway and pretend that nothing ever happened." No. Unacceptable. Some things are bigger than a baseball game. And this is coming from me. So kudos to the Fenway Faithful who let him have it on Saturday every time he poked his head out of the dugout. And kudos to the Red Sox hitters for taking it out with their bats. Though credited with a no-decision, Myers didn't get a win and however small, that matters.

Okay, honestly, I'm going to create a Macro for "David Ortiz walk-off," because I'm developing carpal tunnel from typing it repeatedly. Not that I'm complaining. The Rick, who has seen many, many baseball games in his time had this to say: "That guy is freakin' unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it. It's almost like the place was silent because everyone just stood there with their mouths hanging open thinking no way he could do it again."

But he did. That's the thing with David Ortiz. You don't want to say you expect it, because that's just a short pinstripe away from taking it for granted, but if anyone in baseball can justify the hype, it's David Ortiz. The man just delivers. I've said it before and I'll say it again, man am I glad he's on our side.

Oh, and there's that little matter of the bullpen being stellar combined with the fact that we saw nary a trace of anyone named "Seanez" or "Tavarez." Coincidence? I think not. Or, as Amy put it: "The Boston.com poll about who people trust more out of Delcarmen and Hansen vs. Seanez and Tavarez is like asking you if you want gold or a punch in the head."

So two games, two wins. Yesterday's game rescheduled for today at 1pm which does not, I'm guessing, make ticketholders with, you know, jobs, very happy. But that's what Gameday or Gamecast or, if you're really enterprising, MLBTV is for. Let's keep up the good feelings for Tim Wakefield and carry over with that run scoring stuff. He seemed to like that. And we all know we want Timmy happy.

Go Sox!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Era of Good Feelings

(photo from Boston.com)

There's really no other reason for posting that picture except that it might just be the cutest thing ever. David Ortiz with small children, David Ortiz with puppies and David Ortiz with Johnny Pesky have been proven to be so sweet, they cause cavities. But come on, that's David Ortiz and Johnny Pesky. How can you not want to look at that?

I guess that best represents the incongruous nature of a one David Ortiz in that one minute, he's hugging old men in the dugout and creating new handshakes with Manny and the next he's doing his patented bat flip and pimp stroll around the bases after launching a grand slam into the deepest part of the park. Simply put, the man can do it all.

Turns out Ortiz's grand slam was all the offense the Sox would need behind a solid, 10 strike out pitching performance by Jon Lester. Of course with the Gas Can Twins (TM The Rick) in the bullpen, more runs is never a bad thing. So pile on we did. I wonder if Larry Bowa called Tito during a time-out in the Yankees/Phillies game to complain about the Red Sox running up the score?

But I'll be damned if the Z boys (TM Red), didn't try to make it a little interesting. Let's just say Amy broke out the Rudy Seanez voice and we listened to her go on for a half inning about his love for tomato sandwiches. I...don't know. You really have to hear it in person.

Lester, in a 9th inning interview with Remy and Don-O was equal parts awed, poised and terrified. Not to mention boring as shit. I see he's been reading the Jason Varitek Guide to Giving Interviews. But that's okay. He's already started to emulate Papelbon with the fist pump and the way he wears his hat so I'd say he's in good hands. That, and Curt Schilling stood at the dugout railing, grinning from ear to ear like a proud father so you just know that kid's gonna be all right. You know, until Curt starts getting tough with him and refusing to give him any Gatorade until he throws 100 consecutive strikes.

Possibly the most entertaining part of the evening, however, aside from Papi's, you know, Papi-ness, was Kevin Youkilis, wired for sound. At one point, the microphones caught Youks talking to Tito.

Youks: When you get fired, can I come play for your team?
Tito: Only if I'm in Triple A.

Of course Youkilis is gonna be the one to give Tito shit about getting fired. Of course he is. Was there ever a doubt? It's not like Mike Lowell is going to be having a lively discussion with Tito about anything other than the best way to properly glaze a pear tart or where the best sushi in the Greater Boston area can be found (free plug for Super Fusion Cuisine in Brookline). Though I am certain that the mention of "Triple A" make Youkilis recoil as I just know that something untoward went on down there in Pawtucket and he can't go back there for reasons I can't get into other than to say they involve Tom's Topless, a high-ranking state official and someone named "Bubbles." I've already said too much.

So things are lookin' up. Yes, winning streaks tend to make even the hardest of hearts soften a bit but it's finally stopped raining (note: I am not testing you, weather gods, merely making an observation), I've only complained about the heat four or five times a day (my average is more like fifty), and the Sox are playing good baseball at a good time. Today's an off day where we can savor two consecutive sweeps in a row and gear up to "welcome" the Phillies to Fenway Park. Summer time is here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Straighten Up and Fly Right

(photo from Boston.com)

Cool as the other side of the pillow...

Clearly, all they needed was a little talking to from the man himself. The Sox obviously just needed to be told that this whole lack of runs for Wakefield thing was very funny, no really, HI-larious, but that the joke was getting old and Wake was really starting to develop a complex. Hell, even Doug "So much do I respect the Mendoza line that I won't even deign to hit within a hundred points of it" Mirabelli got in on the fun with an RBI double. Then everyone else followed suit and fired up the merry-go-round en route to an 11-3 victory.

So much the better too because a night after supporting Royals cast-off, yes, you read that correctly, Kyle Snyder in a 6-3 win, Wake would have had some serious words for his teammates had they let him down. There would have been yelling. There would have been screaming. There would have been tears and, most likely, someone would have pointed out that Josh Beckett has a higher batting average than Doug Mirabelli. I'm just sayin'.

Thankfully, none of us had to deal with that.

So welcome to Boston, Washington Nationals. Poor Frank Robinson looks, as Amy pointed out, as though he's plotting a murder in the dugout. "Someone get him a rifle and a cart," she said. "He's not bothering himself to go out there and yank them personally." Yikes.

And we know that Remy's happy because he always likes it when his predictions come true. And when Little Alex Cora (I don't know when we added the "little" but I suspect it was Sam's fault), goes 3 for 3 on the night after Remy spotlighted him in the pre-game, everyone's happy. Marianne even stopped calling him Señor Potato Head for the evening.

Tonight, the Sox send Wee Jon Lester to the hill against, interestingly enough, Shawn Hill. Is it just me, or does Lester look like an extra from an old episode of Star Trek? Okay, just me then.

I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to wish my parents a very happy anniversary. 32 years is a hell of a long time to put up with anyone and The Rick and The Sue are quite an inspiration. So happy anniversary, mom and dad. You guys are the best.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Weekend Warriors

(photo from Boston.com)

I just want to clear something up.

Dear Jon Miller:

It's "Jonathan" not "John." And you'd do well to include the "Papelbon" too. Unless he has given you express, written permission, notorized in three states to refer to him as "John," you will call him "Jonathan Papelbon" and you will do so in low, dulcet tones while looking at the floor.

K thnx,
Red Sox Nation

Now that that's taken care of, it's time to get down to the matters at hand. A quick list of Things That Are Awesome And For Which We Must Be Thrilled Despite The Fact That We Spent Too Much Time In The Sun This Weekend Drinking Beer And We Are Reasonably Certain That There Are Grill Marks On Our Shoulders:

My Dad. Or, as you lot know him, The Rick. It too often goes without saying that I've got the best dad out there. When lots of little girls are begging their dads for a pony or a new car, mine was explaining to me the intricacies of the infield fly rule and convincing me that he was a genius by calling Joe Carter's walk off home run in the 1993 World Series. (I am still baffled by that, frankly).

My dad coached my softball team in high school and miraculously didn't disown me when I refused to speak to him for a few days after he took me out of a game when I tore a tendon in my arm trying to throw out a runner who took off for second.

He taught me how to not throw like a girl (step toward your target, throw across your body), information that I've since passed on to many people and that Johnny Damon could still benefit from.

My dad instilled in me The Fear of Game 7s considering how we're so often disappointed by Game 6 and he was the first person I called after the last out in 2004. And when my brother called me, the first thing I asked him was, "Did you talk to Dad?" And I knew that when my phone told me I had a message this morning that it was my dad, calling to bitch about Rudy Seanez. My dad doesn't disappoint me.

Because dads and baseball, or dads and sports really, are what it's all about, isn't it? It's more than that, obviously, but this is a sports blog and you all wouldn't enjoy (I hope) what you read here without the influence of The Rick. Y'all know words are my thing but sometimes, it's hard to find the right ones to express gratitude for the man who taught me both how to mix a martini and how to score a ball game. So Happy Father's Day, dad. And I'll give Theo a call and see what he can do about having Rudy chloroformed.

The return of Gabe Kapler. Now look, you all know that I don't tend to get overly fan-girly. I don't wear pink jerseys or hats with twee, little, glittery number "33s" on them. You know I have my favorites and I tend to be a little kinder to them above others but I do not frequently let my voice go to that high, scary place that only dogs can hear. However, that may have happened on Saturday as Fox showed Gabe Kapler standing at the railing in the Red Sox dugout. Because I didn't quite realize how much I'd MISSED that guy. I mean, really, really missed him. Probably not as much as Trotter but you know, I missed him all the same.

Of course, my jubliation at seeing the return of Kapler was nothing compared with Lou Piniella's drunken, rambling man-crushing. "He's a good lookin' guy," Piniella slurred. "When he's done with baseball, he could be a commentator. Or maybe an actor. Probably do Shakespeare." Um...Erm, okay, Lou.

As Red pointed out, Kapler likely won't be the reason the Red Sox either succeed or fall short this year, but it sure is good to have the guy around. And, as his call-up came at the expense of Matt Clement (now going by the name Tom Sanders of Boca), so much the better.

Jonathan Papelbon. I mean, come on. I love the guy as much for his pitching as for the fact that he inspires genius like this and conversations like the following:

Beth: Curt Schilling babies Beckett and Papelbon and has even taken to favoring them over his real kids in various terrible and psychologically damaging ways. Ten to twenty years hence, Gehrig Schilling will cite Jonathan Papelbon as the reason for all those therapy bills.

Me: I see Papelbon as more of Timlin's protege at this point. Especially since the blown save went against Hansen's ERA. That's vintage Timlin right there.

Beth: Or maybe Timlin and Curt are warring for Papelbon's soul.

Me: Oooo, that one will only end when Schilling shows up dressed as his Everquest character or whatever the fuck and challenges Timlin to a duel.

Beth: Which would probably look something like when that ninja tries to step to Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Me: Hee. Excellent.

Also, according to this week's Sporting News (the one with David Ortiz blowing a bubble on the cover), Godsmack sent Papelbon one of their songs and asked him to use it as his bullpen entrance music. That is so badass. He is SUCH a rock star.

Red Sox Sweep. Okay, I know four things: 1) It's really freakin' hot in Atlanta. 2) Don't give Papi anything to hit. 3) Curt Schilling batting is one of the most awkward looking things you'll ever have the pleasure of seeing (aside from Kevin Youkilis) and 4) Rudy Seanez is about one bad pitch away from joining Foulke and Clement on the Island of Misfit Pitchers.

Yankee Hijinks and Incompetance.

Dear Sebastian,

You are a lovely person and I'm very glad you had a fun time cheering your Yankees on in RFK. And I'm very glad that you are, as you said, "enjoying the Johnny Damon Experience." But here is the thing: if 2004 taught you anything, it should have been that you WAIT UNTIL THE GAME IS OVER TO CALL A RED SOX FAN AND GIVE THEM SHIT ABOUT IT. I'm just sayin'.

Noodle Arm is all yours,

So let's take stock of the past weekend shall we? First place secured? Check (for now, anyway). Burned to a crisp? Check. Yankees making embarassing blunders? Check. Internal organs sloshing around in Corona? Check. Rudy Seanez and Jonathan Papelbon being dependable but in two entirely different and opposite ways? Check. Coolest dad ever? Check.

Looks like that about covers it.

Tonight the Sox roll into DC to take on the very same Nationals that took two of three from the Yankees this weekend. We've got some dude I have honestly never heard of before (Kyle Snyder) going tonight. Um...I trust the Sox will forgive me if I watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals instead.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Bad Scene

(photo from Boston.com)

The scene inside the Visitors' clubhouse at the Metrodome last night:

A disgruntled Tim Wakefield stalked the clubhouse late Thursday night after the Red Sox suffered another demoralizing loss to the Minnesota Twins. The loss completed the three game sweep for the Twins and Wakefield, a victim of poor run support all year, fell to 4-8 on the season. Wakfield was clad in what appeared to be a 'do-rag borrowed from Manny Ramirez (it's hard to wear a 'do-rag askew but Wakefield made a valiant effort), an unbuttoned G-Unit shirt believed to be borrowed from David Ortiz, smoking a cigar and carrying a half full bottle of Wild Turkey, rumored to have been left behind by Kevin Millar after the Orioles recent trip to Minnesota.

Wakefield, clearly agitated, went from locker to locker and laid into his teammates before addressing the room as a whole.

"You guys're buncha ashholes," Wakefield said, his speech slurred.

"Buncha ash-
hic-holes. I'ma ELDER STATESMEN of this team and you don't gimme no respect. No runs. You can't score no runs."

Wakfield stumbled over to Doug Mirabelli's locker and laid a hand on the catcher's shoulder. "Dis guy," Wakefield said, gesturing with the bottle of whiskey, "Dis guy comes back and evybody says, 'Don worry, Dougie's back. Wake'll pitch good now that he don't gotta worry about that kid chasing pitches to Framingham.' And I pitch good. Don I pitch good?"

Mirabelli, never one to shy away from the spotlight, answered in the affirmative. "Course you've been pitching good, Timmy. Ain't he, guys?"

The team added a collection of "yes's" and "sures" while Mike Lowell quietly corrected their grammar by saying, "He's been pitching
well, yes."

"S'what I thought," Wakefield nodded. "But here'sa thing," he said, leaning on Mirabelli for support, "You're a good catcher, yeah, I know," here Wakefield pointed to Kevin Youkilis with his cigar, "But did you know this fuckin' guy is hittin' more than double your batting average? More'n double! Lookit how goofy he is!" Mirabelli hung his head by way of response. "I can do math," Wakefield continued, "And I know's that .156 isn't good batting average. S'not even a lotta money to pay for anything. You spend more'n that on chicken parm subs in a month."

Jason Varitek, Red Sox captain, stepped in to defend his fellow catcher. "Now, Tim," he said, "Is that really fair? Doug's trying real hard."

Wakefield stumbled over to Varitek's locker, "Least he can catch the knuckleball," he replied. "This one here," he said gesturing to Varitek, "nearly killed us all, 'member? Freakin' balls goin' everywhere. Yankees runnin' bases. Babies cryin' 'n all that. Gives me nightmares." Varitek, humbled, sat down.

"An another thing," Wakefield said, "stop swinging at the goddamn high fastball."

"Hey, man," David Ortiz interjected, stepping up and taking Wakefield by the shoulders, "C'mon, papi, we're doin' our best."

"Buncha ashloes," Wakefield responded.

"How 'bout this, okay?" Ortiz asked, "How 'bout if on the team plane from now on, we let you have a window seat and you can lean back as far as you want?"

"Then I'll fall asleep and one'a you guys'll write on me with caligraphy marker," Wakefield pouted.

Manny Ramirez could be heard giggling at his locker in the corner while coloring in a Little Mermaid coloring book.

"Nah, man," Ortiz said, "We won't do that anymore. And how about if we make Dougie stop eating all the grapes outta your fruit salad?"

"Yeah, I hate melon," Wakefield replied, "He only leaves me melon."

"Okay, no more melon," Ortiz agreed. The rest of the team nodded. "Oh, and you wan' me to talk to Bronson? Have him let you sit in on his next album? S'gonna be a good one."

Wakefield sniffed, "Okay."

"Good," Ortiz answered. "Anything else you need?"

Wakefield, still dejected, sighed deeply, "Why don't you guys jus' score some goddamn runs already?"

Ortiz shrugged his massive shoulders and clapped Wakefield on the back, "Hey, man," he said, "Don't worry. I take care of it."

Wakefield, in a break with tradition, was not made available to the media after the game as reports were that he was "sleeping it off." Instead, pitcher Mike Timlin sat at the podium. Timlin, clad in camoflauge with a crossbow slung over his shoulder, addressed the crowd of assembled reporters.

"It's been taken care of," Timlin said, "We won't be having any more problems with run support this year."

The Sox open a three game series of interleague play with Atlanta tonight at Turner Field.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

This is Not Working

(photo from Boston.com)

Look, baseball is hard. I understand this. It's difficult to always throw the ball, catch the ball and hit the ball at all the right times. I get it. Sometimes they make you play games in stadiums with Hefty bags in the outfield and meany pants fans who boo you and say mean things and dare cheer for the other team. I know, I know, there, there. It's okay.


Let's just put it this way, if your team's sole offensive output comes from Coco Crisp (who is, at the moment, the only one of you jokers not currently ON THE LIST), you have problems.

Full naming Matthew Paul Clement seemed to work for one game since his last outing was acceptable. Reader Peggy in Florida shot me an email after that start saying that as a teacher, she frequently has to speak to her misbehaving students in the same way I address baseball players. One would assume with less profanity. I am also assuming that the students listen better, Matthew Clement.

Because I am not as patient as a teacher. And I am nowhere near as comforting as Mike Lowell up there in that picture. Unless his left hand Vulcan nerve pinched Clement into a quivering pile of goo (I don't know, I had already flipped to The Sopranos), then he is a more understanding person than I. But these are professional ballplayers. Play some freakin' ball.

I'm just...frustrated with them right now. I'm especially frustrated with Clement because it's not like he's a 22-year-old upstart who's waiting to realize his full potential. He's not even a late-blooming 28-year-old prospect with promise. At this point, he's an almost 32-year-old man who just Can't. Get. It. Done. Remember last year's Game 1 of the ALDS against the White Sox? Or, as they call it in Chicago, "Merry Go-Round Day." This is what I'm saying.

Maybe what Clement needs is for someone to whip out one of those Men In Black memory eraser thingies after each of his starts and eradicate his memories of the game. Maybe he'll pitch better if he thinks every game is his first. If he's got no record to go on.

I am now advocating make-believe science fiction technology from a Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones movie with a talking pug to help Matt Clement pitch better. DO YOU SEE WHAT THEY'VE DONE TO ME?

I do not wish to speak of this anymore. I no longer wish to discuss What's Wrong with Matt Clement. I prefer to imagine scenarios in which Mike Timlin, fresh from his DL stint, sauntered into the Red Sox bullpen, stared down Keith Foukle, spit at his feet and said, in his best Clint Eastwood, "This bullpen's not big enough for the both of us" prompting Keith Foulke to scram to the DL his own self.
That might have happened.

Wakefield tonight to try to salvage the final game of the series. You bozos best score some runs for him, Douglas, lest I get really mean. Trust me, you don't want to see it. Pretty sure Patriots training camp is just starting up and if you didn't like it when I switched the channel for twenty minutes to watch Idol, just wait'll you see what happens when I pop in a Patriots DVD. Don't test me, boys.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Visual Aids

Okay, Tito, we'll go over this One. More. Time.

Right answer:

Wrong answer:

Right answer:

Wrong answer:

Right answer:

Wrong answer:

I'm not really sure how I can make this any more clear. I believe Jason Kubel has driven the point home.

Monday, June 12, 2006

When the Going Gets Tough...

The tough make fun of the backup catcher.*

Me: I am harrassing my brother about Dougie. He seems to think that .164 is a perfectly respectable batting average. I have asked him on which planet this is true.

Amy: Maybe your brother is thinking baseball is golf.

Me: That might be it. I am about to fax him the scorecard from Friday's game that CLEARLY shows him going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

Amy: Oh my God. Do it. DO IT NOW.

Me: I have already inquired as to why he was not answering or responding to my calls requesting that he have a discussion with Mr. Mirabelli Re: acceptable batting average. He is now ignoring my emails.


Me: I am going to be the reason my brother gets fired.

"Um, Kevin, you've got another fax. I don't know what 'Dougie Does Not Equal Stud Bombs' means but it's written in capital letters in what appears to be magic marker."



*please note. I continue to love Doug Mirabelli, but he is a handy target for my late in the day boredom-induced mean streak. And if anyone can take it, it's Dougie.

Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

(photo from Boston.com)

I choose to focus on the positive baseball-related things that happened this weekend (that being Friday and Sunday Game The First) and to ignore the less than excellent things that occured (Saturday and Sunday Game The Second). Hence the hug picture.

Look, it's my blog, I can ignore or acknowledge whatsoever I choose.

I will not, however ignore the fact that the Yankees managed to get swept in Yankee Stadium this weekend by the previously sub-.500 Oakland A's. I will also not ignore the fact that the Johnny Damon/Melky Cabrera Experience combined to result in a most delightful inside-the-parker for Nick Swisher. The schadenfreude is delicious.

Anyway, as for our own little team, Amy and I settled in "comfortably" in the right field bleachers to take in the matchup on Friday. It was good times with two notable exceptions. 1) the girl in front of us, clad entirely in turquoise, who spent the entire game turned around backwards in her seat and asking her boyfriend questions about the freakin'
O.C. (and no, I do not mean Orlando Cabrera). To her boyfriend's credit, he mostly ignored her and the tense line of his jaw led me to believe that he was seriously considering kicking her down the stairs.

Dear Boy in the Schilling Jersey Who Was Just Trying To Enjoy The Damn Game Already,

Not a jury in the land would convict you.

The Girls Next To You Shooting You Sympathetic Looks.

And 2), the emo-looking dude two rows in front of us who felt the need to "impress" the girls behind him by spouting nonsense about Ted Williams' home run in his last at-bat hitting the red seat (No). Or that Doug Mirabelli was developed by the Red Sox organization (incorrect). Which wouldn't be that big of a deal if he didn't insist on standing up for half an inning for no conceivable reason. Listen, Bright Eyes, is your seat wet? Do you need another beer? Perhaps you should get one SOMEWHERE ELSE. Also, if you insist on hitting on the poor girls behind you (who, frankly, didn't look too damn impressed), at least get your facts straight. You sounded like a moron. And, I didn't have the heart to tell you, but I think you sat in mustard.

Oh, and one more thing: 2a) sometimes, girls keep score. No, for real, they do. They buy the program and get the little golf pencil and they write down lineups and outs and runs and all that business. It's really not that strange. I cannot believe that in Boston, this is a rarity. I am sure that I'm quite a vision in my mud-soaked jeans, Patriots hoodie and camo Sox hat but honestly, you should probably watch the game. It's a good one.

And I know I've said it before but I think it's worth mentioning again: Fenway Park goes absolutely batshit when Papelbon comes out of the bullpen. For serious, I don't remember a greeting like this since Pedro was Pedro. You know, back in '99, and 2000. This is some serious cheering. The place ROCKS. It's unreal.

My personal reaction to Papelbon is a bit different than some people's. I mean, I love the dude, don't get me wrong. And I am really, really, really glad he's on our team, but he just looks so young, so innocent, that I just want to give him a juicebox and wrap him in a blanket and let nothing bad ever happen to him. Which might be sort of incongruous with his kickassery on the mound, but I guess he just seems like such a breath of fresh air to me as the Keith Foulke Experience (more on that joker later) has continued to sour. More than anything, I think, I am just grateful for the fact of him. It's Papelbon's world, we're just living in it.

As for Saturday...well, let's just say that nothing makes a loss easier to take like pitchers of Sam Adam's Summer and a Yankees loss where Huston Street > Mariano Rivera.

Moving on...

How many times, exactly, can we expect David Ortiz to do that? Has he patented the walk-off yet? Can he get an endorsement deal out of it? Because when David Ortiz says "I just told them, get on base and I'll see what I can do," it's not arrogant. It's truth. The man speaks truth. He has expressed frustration with his hitting this year, acknowledging that he's hitting them hard, but right at people. And I'm sure the shift has to be irritating. But, as he says, "The ones they don't catch are the ones I hit out of the park." Ain't that the truth?

Honestly, there isn't much that can be said about an Ortiz walk-off that hasn't already been said a million times before by people far more eloquent than me. But they never get old. Amy kicked over a cup of water. I screamed. Marianne stood straight up and cheered. Those are the things that never get old. Turning a 4-2 loss into a 5-4 win with one swing of the bat. It can never be said enough: man am I glad that guy's on our team.

But for every high, there is a low. The low appeared in Game Two in the person of Keith Foulke who, come to think of it, also made a rather soul-crushing appearance in Saturday's game. Now look, some people love Keith Foulke. And that is fine. And I'm not about to forget what the guy did for us in 2004. Really, I think he should have been the World Series MVP. But it is not 2004 anymore. It is not even 2005. And so I must ask, as nicely as I can: WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR DAMAGE, KEITH FOULKE? For serious, what is the issue? Are you jealous of Papelbon? Because that can be understood. Are you mad that we're making you pitch out the rest of your contract instead of trading you to the Phoenix Coyotes so you can play hockey like you so clearly want to do? Are you upset there's no TV in the bullpen so you can't watch the Stanley Cup Finals? Honestly, what is your deal? Because it's about damn time you either sack up and pitch like we all know you're capable of or you tell us what the deal is so we can fix it. But DO NOT tell Tito that you're good to go when you fully intend on giving up seven bloody hits and four freakin' runs. And yes, I realize that I should be placing some of the blame on Rudy "Gas can" Seanez as well, but you, sir, are in no position to be pointing fingers at anyone else. So get it together, sir. I am thisclose to full naming you as well.

And so the weekend ends pretty much where it began. Papelbon still shows virtually no signs of being human (we've all agreed to pretend the blown save didn't happen because it was promptly followed by a win so who really cares?), David Ortiz did what David Ortiz does, Joshua Beckett is still in need of a stern talking to and Keith Foulke is getting the silent treatment until further notice.

Today's an off day. A sorely needed one, I think as it feels like we've been playing rain-soaked baseball for about three straight weeks now. I'm not sure the Metrodome will be an improvement. And speaking of the Metrodome, can I get a ruling on something? You know how they have a big number "34" along the baselines in memory of Kirby Puckett? Well, is it okay if I pretend they are also memorializing the loss of David Ortiz from the Twins' organization? No disrespect to Kirby, but I can't be the only person who thought that, right?

Anyway, so we begin tomorrow right back where we started from. Could be worse.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I Consider it a Moral Victory

(photo from Boston.com)

I just love the body language that Posada's got going there. As if he's clutching his pearls in disbelief of how far Papi just hit that ball. And Ortiz, stoic as ever, does that bat flip that I've grown to love. The one that translates to, "Bitch, please." Too bad it wasn't emblematic of the game as a whole.

However, as I said, I consider it a moral victory seeing as how newbie David Pauley, in just his second start above Double A, came into Yankee Stadium and held the Yankees to two measly runs, the second of which I'm choosing to blame on Mark Loretta and Rudy Seanez. I understand that technically, it was Pauley's run and it affects his ERA, but even accounting for that, two runs against the Yankees is pretty damn good for a rookie. It's pretty damn good for anyone, Josh Beckett. And anyone who tells you that they expected last night's Pauley v. Wang matchup to turn into a pitcher's duel now has their pants on fire.

Of course it would be the Reanimated Corpse of Bernie Williams who hit the damn home run to tie the game. Of course it would. The universe works in strange ways and if it can't occasionally give Yankees fans reasons to declare "BRNEI DA BSTAST 3V3R OMG HES TEH ROXOR111!" then something just isn't right. Cue thousands of rolled eyes in Red Sox Nation.

And of course it was some joker named "Melky" who pulled Manny's home run back from the abyss. Because that is the way things work in Sox/Yankees. It's never what you expect. Did you expect Clemens to get shelled in the Clemens/Pedro matchup for the ages a few years back? No. Did you expect Mark Bellhorn to hit a home run in Game 6 of the 2003 ALCS? No. Did you expect A-Rod to be a comedy of errors at third every time he comes to Fenway? Well, maybe. But the point remains; it's the Andy Phillipses and the Miguel Cairos we've got to worry about. Not the Giambi's and the A-Rod's. Yeah, those guys are going to deliver at times as well, because they're you know, them. But those are also the guys Pauley held in check last night. And that's impressive.

This is what we call "looking on the bright side" and honestly, it's pretty new to me as well. Maybe I just felt some residual good will that Papi transferred to Pauley when he patted him on the head after his strong 6 2/3 innings. Because if Papi tells you it's all gonna be okay, you damn well best believe him.

Now, Schilling - doesn't it seem like it's been about fifteen years since Schilling last pitched? - goes tonight against Jaret Wright, Human Bullseye. I sincerely hope he'll show his protege how it's done, Josh Beckett.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

So when Marianne says, “Do you guys want to take the weekend and go to Baltimore to boo the shit out of the Yankees?” I say, “I’ll drive.”

Look, you know I’m a Red Sox fan. I don’t think anyone who’s ever met me for more than three seconds is unaware of this fact. But I’ve grown rather fond of the Orioles recently as well. It’s entirely Marianne’s fault. But how are you gonna not find a bit of a soft spot for a team featuring a 4-foot-tall second baseman (Yes, I know he’s allegedly 5’9”), and a catcher who enjoys being shirtless so very, very much? Obviously, if the Orioles are playing the Red Sox, I’m going Boston all the way, but when they’re playing the Yankees? Orange is my new favorite color.

There is really no possible way for me to document the entire trip. And some things are probably best left unsaid considering that, “If you clean it up, it’s not really a sentence.” But I will share with you a few choice phrases from the three game series at Camden Yards:

“I’ve had blood alcohol levels higher than that batting average!” – Amy, demonstrating tough love towards Luis Matos, currently batting an even .200.

“Did you hear the new rule? Whenever someone says ‘Derek Jeter,’ we have to genuflect.” – Me being a snarky pain in the ass in a section full of Yankees fans who were positively embarrassing themselves with the Jeter man-crushing.

“Is your midriff going to get warm, sir?” – Amy upon seeing Yankee Fan Prototype 2B entering the Sports Legends museum sporting a cutoff Giambi shirt, a Batman tattoo on his left bicep and a tattoo claiming to love someone named “Jo-Jo” on his right. I swear, I am not making this up.

“A reminder: I do not have tranquilizer darts.” – Me to Marianne during On Field Photo Day when Brian Roberts appeared behind home plate and began shaking hands.

“This joker’s due!” – Amy on, practically every Oriole without a hit.

“Kevin Millar has changed his at-bat music to The Jovi’s ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.’ I refuse to believe this is not a shout out.” – Me, considering we listened to the song approximately fifty-eight thousand times on the drive down.

Yankee Fan Prototype 3A: “Where are you girls from?”
Amy, Annette and me: “Boston.”
Yankee Fan Prototype 3A: “Oh, shit.”

“I like that you’ve reimagined Rudy Seanez as a gay interior decorator from Alabama.” – Me to Amy after hearing her Rudy Seanez voice.

“I am going to get my picture taken with John Halama.” – Amy, who did just that.

Yankee Fan Prototype 6F: “Oh, they’re playing small ball.”
Yankee Girlfriend Version Pink Jeter Hat: “What’s small ball?”
Amy to Me: “I’ll buy you drinks for life if you tell that girl that there is no way she’s dating that guy and doesn’t know what ‘small ball’ means.”
Me to Amy: “I am not saying ‘ball’ to a Yankee fan.”

“I will not beat up small children. I will not beat up small children.” – Marianne when the four-year-old in front of us turned completely around in his seat and screamed “Go Yankees!” in a voice that could peel paint off the walls. Of course, the very same kid said to his mom three innings later, “Mom, the Yankees are losing. Go Orioles!”

There is more. I’m sure there is more. But considering we spent a great deal of time either drunk or creating Imaginary Baseball World scenarios, my memory is shot. The other three compatriots can feel free to add anything I’ve forgotten in the comments section.

As for last night’s Sox game…I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Monday, June 05, 2006


(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

I don't even know.

I leave these jokers* alone for one weekend...

Argh. For reals.

*TM Amy.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Can't Fault Him For Trying

(photo from Boston.com)

I just really, really like that picture.

Some notes on last night's game:

When Keith Foulke is shown warming up in the bullpen and my roommate who, before living with me, was a bit of a baseball novice SCREAMS IN ANGUISH, that does not bode well.

You can tell rookies are still rookies when they listen to my entreaties to just "induce a goddamn double play already, I have to freakin' pack and at this rate I'm going to end up in Baltimore wearing unwashed bedsheets!"

Further evidence that the end times are upon us happened when Kevin Youkilis stole second (safely) in the 9th inning. The following conversation took place between Marianne and me:

Youkilis is stealing bases. We are all gonna die.

Who? What? WTF?

Exactly. I can see fire and brimstone outside my window.

I smell sulfur and blood.


Are we writing a death metal song or watching baseball?

Some days, I am not sure there is a difference.

And then we find out that Wily Mo is out for 6-8 weeks after having wrist surgery (which is going to leave Coco considerably less time to work on his phat beatz since he'll be spending his hours roaming the outfield and trying not to collide with Manny), Lowell goes down with a hamstring pull (argh), and for some reason Dougie? Was catching the newbie? Why? And if you tell me it's because Tek is hurt, I will stick my fingers in my ears and sing loudly to myself and refuse to listen.

And really, didn't that game kind of feel bigger than it was? Didn't it sort of seem like, in addition to a big night for the rookie, the Sox were also fighting not to get swept, fighting to stay on pace in the division, fighting to beat Ted Lilly for once in the history of ever? Or did it just seem that way to me because it's the last Sox game I'll be able to watch until next Tuesday? When we play the...Yankees? Again? Already? Argh.

Anyway, as I said, I'm off to Baltimore this weekend where I shall cheer on said birds against the pinstriped ones, restrain Marianne from stalking Brian Roberts and do my level best to go to a local Baltimore strip joint with Kevin Millar and reminisce about the good 'old days when the Sox won the Series.

Hopefully, I'll have stories to share. But then, with the company I'll be in, what happens in Baltimore may well stay in Baltimore.

Have a good weekend, everyone. See you Tuesday.