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

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stretch...and Run!

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(Or the second half of the baseball season. Whichever.)

For the record, we are not talking about the Manny thing. If there is a problem with Manny that can't be solved with some twirly straws and a case of Capri Sun, I don't want to know about it. We are so firmly entrenched in the "Manny's a nutjob" camp that when he actually has a real, medical issue, we don't quite know what to make of it. I know only this: if Manny goes, so goes Ortiz. Then there'll be some tears. So let's not even talk about it. Good? Good.

So...how's everyone been? Good, I trust. Been spending the last week catching up on our sleep, restocking our Valium prescriptions and trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with Tommy Lee? Good, me too. (I still have not figured out that last one, by the way.) Ready for the second half of the season to begin? So am I. Did y'all hear that the American League won the All-Star Game? Was anyone surprised? Didn't think so.

Now would be a good time for me to stop with the rhetorical questions.

Honestly, I'm pretty pleased with the way things have worked out for the Sox in the first half of the season. I won't give a full recap because, well, you saw it. You know what went down. I will simply say that I am glad the Keith Foulke Experience seems to be in remission, our rookies have stepped up like majah leeg-ahs and our defense is sex-ay. That's right. Red Sox defense. Sexy. In the same sentence at the same time. With no sarcasm or anything. Who would have ever thought we'd see the day? I'll tell you who. Alex Gonzalez. And Mike Lowell. And Mark Loretta. And a dude I like to call Kevin "The Big KY" Youkilis. Actually, I don't like to call him that at all but I will bet my camo hat that he's called himself that on more than one occasion. I would probably also beg him never to do so again in my presence but that's neither here nor there.

Also, this team can hit. But you already knew that. I shall not speak of The Catcher except to say that I sincerely hope he spent his All-Star Break in a batting cage, attached to a set of electrodes that shock him severely every time he swings at a pitch at his shoulders. This is why I'm not a major league GM. They probably frown upon this kind of treatment of the players.

Yes, we have bullpen questions. Or rather, answers. Answers to the question: "Who is the worst possible person to bring in in this situation?" But what team doesn't have those issues? I've watched Marianne burrow, headfirst into my couch cushions when the Orioles' bullpen doors swing open to admit, well, anyone really onto the field. At the very least, we have Hansen and Delcarman who don't immediately turn us into the creepy child from The Shining, all rocking back and forth and chanting "Redrum! Redrum!" while blood pours from the walls. That's gotta count for something. And yes, our fifth starter is a bit of an enigma. But if you can name me a team with a fifth starter who could reasonably be considered an ace, please do. But I probably won't believe you.

All in all, I think we're in good shape. Things could be better. Things could always be better. But things could be a lot, lot worse. For instance, we could be Kansas City. Which is a team, I've noticed, that everyone uses as their Barometer of Suck. There but for the grace of God go...the Royals. Poor bastards.

So onward we march. Tonight, Ensign #2, er, Jon Lester opens up the second half as he faces off against the AL West leading Oakland A's. Esteban Loaiza pitches for the A's. Wait, Loaiza is on Oakland? When the hell did that happen? Last I knew he was getting slapped around for a game-winning hit by Ortiz (though really, who hasn't?) in Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS. Where have I been?

Season resumes tonight.