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

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Can't Win 'Em All

I really have no reason for that picture, other than the fact that it makes me happy like puppies and sunshine and finding $10 in my pocket.

Now, it's not that I'm not unhappy about the outcome of the game. Obviously, I would have preferred to win. I would also prefer to have J.D. Drew decide to pull his weight and not float around on that 0-fer-the-evening inner tube he's got going on there all too often. But, I mean, the way I figure it, the pressure's on the Yankees. They just got smacked around to the tune of 16-0 by the Tigers and find themselves in a now 7 game hole. It's not insurmountable, of course, but it's difficult.

I'm not taking anything for granted as there are always things to worry about. Like, you know, the fact that Manny's back has apparently decided to go fucko bazoo. Which is maybe contagious as Bobby Kielty had some back spasm issues of his own so maybe there's a new rule that no one is allowed in left field without an Outbreak Hazmat suit or maybe an iron lung?

Anyway, tomorrow is a new day and I find it hard to believe that Josh Beckett is going to take this whole series lying down. Especially since he'll be facing off against his idol, Mr. Ass the size of a Buick himself, Roger Clemens. And if there's anyone who will relish showing up his idol, it's Josh Beckett. Which doesn't mean that I don't wish that we could somehow timeshare Trot Nixon back for the day considering how he used to OWN Clemens but I'll take what I can get. Especially since I'm pretty sure Trotter is in Cleveland cheering on his old time bros against the Evil Empire.

Now, did anyone else notice Julian Tavarez and Eric Hinske chatting it up on the bench this evening? What can they have been discussing? Nothing good, I'm guessing. Best way to keep Manny from bringing Tinker Toys onto the field? Color schemes for home hunting blinds? Recipes for people stew? Considering Tavarez's, well, crazy, and Hinske's penchant for always vaguely looking like he's on happy drugs, this is a sitcom in the making. I'm fairly certain people would rather watch that than the next episode of Sox Appeal, NESN. Now get on it.

Back at it tomorrow. Here's hoping Beckett's in a take no prisoners kind of mood.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Friendly Rivalry

(Photo from Boston.com)

So um, what do we need to do to play the White Sox for the rest of the season? I have so greatly enjoyed these last three games. Of course, now that I've said that, we'll get shellacked 63-2 today and start a shame spiral that'll end with us getting swept by Tampa Bay in a four game series in that putt-putt course they call a stadium.

Or maybe I'm just paranoid.

Anyway, I know it's not exactly a new observation but how awesome is Tim Wakefield? I'm so in love with Wake right now. As is most of Red Sox Nation, I would imagine. And Kevin Cash? Can totally stay. Remember how in his first start catching Wake last week, the Globe reported that Cash would be using Varitek's special "knuckleball mitt?" I envision a really touching scene, postgame, wherein Cash tries to give Tek back his mitt.

"Here you go, Mr. Varitek, here's your mitt back." (Everyone totally calls Tek "Mr. Varitek" unless instructed otherwise.)

Tek turns and looks at the boy. Gives him an affectionate pat on the head, "Keep it, kid. It's yours now."

And then Tek naturally rides off into the sunset. Or, more likely attaches two Costco-sized bags of party ice to his 35-year-old knees.

So I'm guessing that maybe no one loves Kevin Cash more than Jason Varitek.

Of course, now that Wakefield and Beckett are tied for the league lead in wins, Annette and I theorized that there might be some trash talking going on.

"You mean that Beckett will saunter over to Wake's locker and start talking smack while Wake sits there and sighs and calligraphies baseballs for local needy children?," I said.

"No, I mean between Dougie/Cash and Beckett. Like Dougie/Cash will start being all 'How hard do you throw again? Wake was blowing them away with 71 mph fastballs today'," Annette said.

"While Wake sits there and shakes his head."

"Exactly," Annette said, "And then Beckett will be all, 'Oh, I'm sorry. I don't need to make my freak pitches dance to be effective.'"

"And then Dougie will be all, 'Right, dude, you just need to throw twelve million miles an hour, cowboy. Good luck pitching until you're fifty with that.' And then Beckett will start swearing indiscriminately."

"This is exactly what's going to happen," Annette said.

"We have scripted the future."

So, you know, if anyone was privy to the postgame locker room scene, could you let us know if we're right. I suspect we are.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

No Runs For You!

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Dear Daisuke,

Sucks, doesn't it?

Tim Wakefield

I mean seriously, what did he do to the rest of his team to make them not want to score runs against the Devil Rays? Not even Devil Ray bullpen, the very worstest bullpen in all of sports? Not even them?

Wait, I know, this is totally an initiation process isn't it? This is what they do to the new guy, to make sure he can hack it here. That has to be it. I'd hate to think our offense, meager though it's been sometimes, is really capable of being stymied by the mighty Devil Rays. I expect an email from my grandmother giving me shit any second now.

In other news, wow, the Orioles suck at football. Ouch. The Rick called last night to make sure that Greta was among friends and did she need any horse tranquilizers. According to her, "It's just black comedy now." Wow, I should hope so.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hulk Smash

Blogger decided to be a big, giant whore this morning and delete my entry while I was in the process of posting it.

And I can't possibly summon forth the energy to come up with that level of brilliance again (I flatter myself), so I'll break it down for you: Devil Rays=bad. Angels=good. That about sums it up. So instead, I will give you the products of my insanity. See, last week, I rewrote the Shaft theme song about Erik Bedard. Yesterday, Orioles fan Chris and I reimagined Jay-Z's "99 Problems." Apologies to Luna who was the first to declare that "Josh Beckett has 99 problems but a pitch ain't one," but we, as they say, took it to another level. Behold the madness. And dudes, Erik Bedard should totally be winning the Cy Young this year. For reals.

If you're havin' mound problems I feel bad for you son
I got 99 problems but a pitch ain't one
The year's Aught-seven and my talent is raw
All my victims in the rear-view just be standin' in awe
I only got two pitches, boy, heat or the round
Look for cheese and then the hook'll screw you into the ground
Now I ain't tryin' to see no Cy Young chase with Beckett
If you put me on the Red Sox, you know I'd be respected
So I'm...sittin' fools down like they ankles are sore
Ump said "Son do you know what I'm stoppin' you for?"'

Cause I'm young and Canadian and fast as a doe?
Do I look like a mind reader sir, I don't know
Am I ejected from the game or should I guess some mo'?
"Well you was throwing ninety-five in a ninety-fo' "
"Rosin and the baseball and step away from the mound"
"Are you carryin' sandpaper, like a lot of you clowns?"
I ain't steppin off of shit, man, my pitches legit
"Well, do you mind if I look round the mound a little bit?"
Well I just got finished with a CG win
Twenty-one Ks and a big-assed grin
Now you gossipin' reporters wanna ask me some shit
Like what's my favorite bar, what kind of honeys I get
I'm just tryin'a get a shower and get on back to my flat

I know my rights, ain't talkin'a no reporter about that
"Aren't you sharp as a tack, some type of player or something'?"
"Or are you some kind of simple-assed country bumpkin?"
Nah, I ain't pass the bar but i know a little bit
Enough that I don't legally have to tell you shit.
What type of gear do I wear, what flavor Pop Tart I like?
What I think of Lindsay Lohan, and how chrome is my bike?

And it ain't ya damn business what I do for fun
I got 99 problems but a pitch ain't one
Can't hit me

Monday, August 20, 2007

Death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!

The creature in question that evidently spent the entire game terrorizing Don Orsillo in the NESN booth.

There's something about playing the Devil Rays that soothes the soul. Now, I don't mean to sound like a playground bully all, "Bring me the nerdy kids so that I may beat upon them and inflate my sense of self-confidence!" (Look, in my world, playground bullies talk like Knights of the Round Table), but the fact remains, Tampa Bay is not a good team and the current series is our best chance to make up some of the ground that we've ceded to the Yankees of late. Assuming, of course, the Angels can handle the Yankees. But we can't worry about that right now. We have some Devil Ray butt to whup.

Now Tim Wakefield is clearly not taking any chances. And, admittedly, it was touch and go there for the first inning. When Cash started racking up the miles, chasing the knuckleball to the backstop, I started staging a dramatic reading of "Come back to behind the plate, Doug Mirabelli, Doug Mirabelli." Alas, it was not needed. Young Cash acquitted himself rather well back there, bat notwithstanding. But hey, it's not like Dougie was burning down the house offensively either.

Despite the issues with Tampa Bay as a whole - per Don Orsillo: "If you have good pitching and good defense, you have a good team. Tampa Bay has neither." - beating Scott Kazmir is no small feat. The Sox always seem to have trouble with him. Allegedly, he's only 23-years-old which I think is completely impossible because the Sox have been losing to him for like seven years straight now and unless he started pitching when he was a fetus, I am not buying this 23 thing. Nice try, Tampa Bay, but if you're going to build robots, at least make their back stories believable.

Tomorrow, Jon Lester faces that dude Sonnastine who was a giant pain in the ass last time out. One hopes the boys will carry some of today's momentum into tomorrow and continue administering the beatdowns.

One hopes. At the very least, I hope Remy and Orsillo are entertained. Because when that happens, we all win.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Eric Gagne Does Not Live Here Anymore

(Photo from Boston.com)

Okay, here's the fortunate/unfortunate bit. I got to see a game at Fenway yesterday. Problem was, it was the second game. Without looking a gift horse in the mouth, I wish to thank Luna and Jen from Respect the Tek most awesomely for the tickets. (That sounds like I just called them horses. I assure you, that is not what I meant. Though horses are noble and beautiful creatures). ANYWAY, it was one of those games where you mentally prepared yourself to lose 4-1. You were all set for it. Good to go. Unfortunate but hey, we won the first game, what are you gonna do? The opposing pitcher has an ERA over six so obviously, he'll pitch a 2-hitter.

But then those bastards got your hopes up.

And then Eric Gagne happened.

Gagne's record was listed at 3-1 on the scoreboard after the game. That didn't seem right to me but then I remembered he didn't get losses for either game in the Baltimore series, though he most surely should have.

"That record is CLEARLY not indicative of his performance to date," I loudly declared. "History shall judge him harshly!"

"NOWstory will judge him harshly," Luna replied, "I mean...damn."

I called The Rick on the walk to the T after the game to explain what had happened. "Gagne blew another one? They're going to boo him out of town," he said.

I really hate that this is happening. Not just because it's costing the Sox games and all that but I hate it when things turn ugly between a player and the fans. It tends to reflect poorly on the fan base as a whole and honestly, we're not getting the best PR as it is. I'm not saying we shouldn't express our displeasure with Gagne's performance, just that, I don't know, I wish we didn't have to.

Julio Lugo is another story entirely. Look, I realize that he's raised his average like fifty points since the All-Star break but you have to do more than start in the basement and scramble to the first floor for me to be impressed. You also have to NOT MAKE TWO CRUCIAL ERRORS, JULIO LUGO. I knew they were coming. Sitting in Grandstand 17 with a miraculously unobstructed view, I saw the routine grounder bounce to Lugo and I swear to you, I thought, "This is going to end badly." I thought that twice. Both times I was right. Sometimes, I really hate being right.

Now, let us talk about the first game for a moment and the one they call Buccholz. Well played, sir. Well played indeed. Of course, I was away for work for the afternoon and missed all but the last two innings of the game and had a mini heart attack when Greta texted me and said, "You should probably bring your catcher's gear to the game tonight." I fumbled to call her back and could not shake the thoughts of last year, "Oh god, it's happening again."

"What happened?" I demanded, "Is Tek hurt? Because if Tek's hurt I'm not coming home. I'm...giving up all my earthly possessions and taking up residence under a bridge somewhere in Western Massachusetts." (This made sense to me at the time.)

She explained what had happened.

"I will give Tek a medal if he catches both ends of a double header," I said.

So herewith, Sir Varitek, is your medal.

It's for awesomeness. You win.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hooray for Fun!

(Photo from Boston.com)

Would ya look at that, the boys actually came from behind to take one in dramatic fashion. I knew I hadn't been imagining the fact that they don't score runs after the 8th inning as NESN's helpful graphic told me that last night's game improved their line to 2-41 in games when they went into the 8th inning behind. But Mike Lowell was not having it. Really, does Mike Lowell ever have it? I don't think so. So very fitting that Lowell, a cancer-survivor himself would hit the home run to spark the rally. Perhaps somewhat Hallmark Movie of the Week but come on, baseball is full of drama for a reason.

"Nice to see our boys jumping on each other," Francona said in the Globe. That's one way of putting it, Tito. He's nicer than I am so he probably wasn't spouting profanity-laced tirades throughout the course of the game, wondering why no one felt like scoring runs against the Devil Rays. And yeah, sure it was Kazmir and he's good but Tampa Bay Bullpen is like my favorite thing ever (second only to Yankee Bullpen), and had they not decided to feast on said soft underbelly, I was...well, I was going to march right down there and stare at them reproachfully.

Luckily, that wasn't needed and headpats and handshakes were all the rage.

Additionally, it was a great outing by Jon Lester in his Fenway debut (re-debut?). Emotional and touching, sure, but it was also great pitching, which, I'm pretty sure, is all he ever wanted anyway. I heard his postgame interview this morning while I was getting ready and I had to step out of the bathroom where I was brushing my teeth because I didn't immediately recognize his voice. He sounds so much older than I remember. Sure, that's likely a cliche but I don't remember him seeming this in control before, and I think that can only mean good things.

Also good? I'm fairly certain that Don Orsillo blew a gasket calling the walk-off last night. I'm 84% sure I heard him refer to Tek as "Captain Varitek" when he slid in safely as the winning run. Orsillo was very excited as he's not had the opportunity to call many walk-offs this year. I fear he might've strained something.

Oh, and the Yankees? Got annihilated 12-0 by the Orioles. Doing a quick turn around from "team we must beat, oh my god why?" to "team that is totally my favorite please to be beating the Yankees," the Orioles did their job well. Day games for everyone today so warm up that "minimize" finger for the MLB.com window on your work computer. Perhaps the Sox will have realized that scoring runs is fun and finally get Matsuzaka his 14th win? No time like the present.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tim Wakefield Does Not Need Your Stinkin' Run Support

(Photo from Boston.com)

You know who loves fun? Tim Wakefield. Tim Wakefield LOVES fun. Big fan of fun, that Tim Wakefield. Big fan of being the stopper too, it seems. Which is nice. Because someone has to. Fair to say that Wake is probably also not a fan of Eric Gagne as he went eight full, surrendering only two hits, thereby bypassing that pesky "setup man" thing entirely and handing the game over to the capable Jonathan Papelbon. Apparently, that's what we have to do now. So if Curt Schilling or Josh Beckett or Jon Lester or Daisuke Matsuzaka have any illusions about being six or seven inning pitchers, they better just check those at the door.

Actually, Beckett seems to have figured that out. As have the hapless dugout coolers. But the rest of them are on warning. And I don't want to hear any bitching about "pitch counts" or "arm stress" or "fatigue" or "boo fucking hoo." This is the stretch run and we need the arms now. So if you have to use duct tape and airplane glue to keep shit together, fucking do it. This is not the time to be messing around and handing things off to our suddenly shaky bullpen.

It would also be nice if the offense wanted to get in on the fun and score some damn runs already but honestly, how many times this season can we have that discussion? Doesn't it feel like we're always going, "We have no run support, oh nooooes!" I suppose that's better than, "God, I hate third place," or "You know what would really jazz things up around here? Vests!" So I guess it could always be worse.

Now, just because Tim Wakefield is the recipient of today's Awesome Pants Award does not mean that we can let up. The Yankees are staging walk offs because they're still insisting on being giant pains in the ass. So we're gonna need Jon Lester to go all gung-ho cowboy on the Rays tonight. I know we're facing Kazmir but come on, dudes, do it for the children.

On a personal note, if any of y'all lovely readers know of any place where my um, talents could come in handy, could you let me know? A corporate merger eliminated my position and I'm in the market for a job that'll utilize my skills, such that they are. "Snarking, making fun of Josh Beckett's giant head, inappropriately referring to Jason Varitek's thighs and yelling at the team through the medium of the internet." We'll call that last one "motivational speaking." That'll look good on a resume, no?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On the Edge

No. NO. Bad. We are not doing this. We are not blowing a 14 game lead in the division. It is not happening.

Do you hear me, Red Sox players? Do you hear what I'm saying to you? We are NOT letting the Yankees take first place in the division. We are NOT doing what we did last year when the wheels fell off, everyone got hurt and the team got cancer. We are NOT.


And Eric Gagne? IS NOT ALLOWED TO PITCH. Not if he doesn't stop it. RIGHT NOW. Because Kason Gabbard could have blown two saves to the Orioles, I am fairly certain. Hell, I could have done that and I would only have cost the team like $14.79 and a sushi dinner with Mike Lowell. If Mr. Gagne doesn't stop with the sucking, I will learn French specifically so I can shit talk him. Don't test me, Goggles. I am not kidding.

And this is the thanks I get from Nick Markakis for adopting him and cheering for him and traveling to freakin' Baltimore to cheer on the Orioles against the Yankees a couple weeks ago? Perhaps that brain of his with the internal Pong monologue did not understand the rules. For his benefit, I will restate. They are as follows: Nick Markakis is allowed to perform up to MVP levels SO LONG AS HE IS NOT PLAYING THE RED SOX. Perhaps I was not clear. Let me be clear. 143 games of the season? Fine. Go nuts. Home runs and RBIs and game winning hits, etc. The other 19 games against the Sox? FUTILITY AND SUCKAGE. Really, I cannot be more direct about this.

To make up for it, I'm going to need the Orioles to beat the Yankees this coming series and give back the two games they took from us. Because in what freakin' universe is this kind of sick joke acceptable? On what planet? Because if we're still living on Planet Yankee, I'm gonna have to request a transfer.

I don't know why I ever let myself entertain the delightful pipe dream that perhaps the Yankees would just go away and it wouldn't come down to next weekend's series against New York. I don't know why I ever considered that might be a possibility. I am not new at this. I know how these things work. That's what you get for dreaming.

But this cannot happen. My heart can't take this. I really don't think I'm prepared. There is not enough booze in the world. Or certainly not in my liquor cabinet. I'm going to need reinforcements. One would think that I would have learned by now. "Don't touch the stove." "Ow." "Don't touch it, it's hot." "Ow." "Okay, fine, you'll learn." "Ow." "Idiot."

Don't they say the definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over again and expecting a different result? Yeah. Guilty, Your Honor.

I mean...I guess...on the plus side...football season is starting soon? And speaking of, have y'all seen the new mascot the Steelers unveiled? Per Greta, "It looks like Bill Cowher had sex with a gay banana. And then that happened." Steely McBeam? This is totally a character from that Simpsons episode where the steel mill turns into a gay disco that the producers dismissed as "too obvious" isn't it? Wow. And I thought Ben Roethlisberger was am embarrassing enough mascot. Fire away.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Do Not Want

Dear Red Sox,

Stop it.

I don't like going to bed when you have a lead and waking up to find out that you've dropped the game AND an additional game in the division. I've got enough shit to worry about without babysitting your asses until the wee hours of the morning.

Fucking snap out of it.

It's almost football season and don't think for one, single, solitary second that I won't flip right on over to nonstop Pats coverage so I can see what Tom Brady ate for breakfast and whether or not Randy Moss got his braids done again.

(Sidebar: Can the Pats borrow El Montro? One can only hope.)

I know you think it's fun and good times when your centerfielder nearly gets run down by a moose on an ATV (well, "you" minus Jon Farrell who found it not funny in the slightest), but it's time to play baseball again, gentlemen. Like now.

So seriously, knock this shit off. For reals. I'm not messing around.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Welcome to the Nut House

(This man clearly belongs in the Sox bullpen.)

You know, it just occurred to me tonight that with the addition of Eric Gagne, the Red Sox bullpen might be the craziest in the majors. I mean, obviously, they're already pretty good and Gagne only makes them stronger (one hopes) but I think what we should really be focusing on here is the intimidation aspect inherent in boasting a bullpen that features the craziest nutters around. Sure, they're scary because they might strike you out, but they might also start basting you with barbecue sauce and gnawing on your leg. They might get you to ground into a double play or they might start wearing a tinfoil hat and claiming the aliens told them to distrust anyone wearing green. They might hit you with a 97 mph fastball or they might...hit you with a 97 mph fastball. NO ONE KNOWS. And I would imagine that as the opposition, that's gotta be kind of scary.

In addition to the ringleader, Captain Batshit himself, Julian Tavarez, you've also got Paps, Timlin, Donnelly (DL bound but still, Googles knows from crazy), and now Gagne. Poor Manny Delcarmen and Kyle Snyder must just spend all their time trying to keep from making sudden moves and alarming the inmates.

Everyone knows that Paps is nuts but I'm not sure we understand the extent of his psychosis. Tonight, before the game, NESN showed us part of Papelbon's hunting trip in Maine. They were very proud of the "Papelbon Moose Cam" which was, essentially, Paps wandering around with a video camera and commenting on what he saw including but not limited to the majesty of the mountains in Maine, the possibility of a truck fording a river that "looks like a damn lake!," and something about gittin' 'er done. But the bottom line is that someone let Jonathan Papelbon loose in the woods with guns. That cannot be a wise decision.

Then there's Timlin, who is crazy in the same way as Papelbon except with about twenty more years experience killing wild boars with his bare hands just for fun and such. I'm thinking Mike Timlin would be the absolute last person one would want to run into in a dark alley. Or a well-lit alley. Or even, you know, the middle of Mardi Gras with thousands of spectators. He's not right in the head is what I'm saying.

And now we've got Gagne who, as Denton pointed out, "has that half-crazed, I-might-throw-you-a-pitch-or-I-might-kill-your-entire-family look about him," and we really appreciate that brand of crazy in our pitchers. Plus, apparently Yankees fans are REALLY upset about the Sox landing Gagne and I refuse to believe that the fact that he wouldn't be required to shower every day if he played in Boston didn't factor into his decision. Want to go to work in your pajamas? Sure, here's one of Manny's spare uniforms! Want to sculpt some interesting facial hair? No problem, here's some of Youkilis' extra shaving cream! Want to bathe in whisky and gravy? Sure thing, take Kevin Millar's old locker!

My point is that we're very accommodating to the crazy around these parts.

No wonder Jason Varitek needs a break occasionally. The sole anchor tasked with keeping these psychos under control, Tek's due a day off every now and then if for no other reason than to prevent himself from shaving his head and fashioning the tablecloth from the postgame spread into a fetching toga to wear during his press conferences. Although if that did happen, would anyone blame him?

Now, as Tek has just managed to catch a foul pop for the last out in the second game of the Seattle series, I can safely say that I won't be pulling any crazykakes moves myself tonight and doing anything rash. But that promise is only good until tomorrow, game time.