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

Monday, June 12, 2006

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.