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

Friday, September 28, 2007

Champagne stings. But it's a sweet pain.

A familiar sight.

Dear Orioles,


Love and stuff,


Jonathan Papelbon is having "lots of thoughts," Mike Lowell is covered in champagne and doing laps around the outfield at Fenway (delicious), Schilling is saying hi to his wife, the Sox are toasting Melvin Mora and the Orioles, Dustin Pedroia is surprisingly low key, my crush on Eric Hinske is out of control and David Ortiz is wearing the largest necklace I've ever seen for a reason completely lost to me.

Happy times are here again.

No, seriously, Mike Lowell and Hinske with the champagne? I don't even know what to do with that. And if Theo doesn't start showing up at Mike Lowell's house with buckets of money until Lowell says stop, we're going to have a SERIOUS talk, me and him.

Also, anyone else think that Lowell convinced Tek to pay a visit to El Montro to work on his facial hair? He's got a bit of a designer stubble thing going on there. And I? Am fine with it. Where is Tek, anyway? He's been noticeably absent from this celebration. Either he's already preparing for tomorrow's game with his Trapper Keepers or he's off somewhere jumping on pitchers, hopefully Eric Gagne.

Okay, seriously? Jonathan Papelbon is certifiable. And I love how all the Red Sox players, managers, and owners alike are ragging on Kevin Millar for not swinging at that third strike. Though I think it's safe to say that for a good, long time Melvin Mora wont be paying for drinks in Boston.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go toast the team, observe Jason Varitek drinking from a bottle of champagne, wonder why Jonathan Papelbon feels the need to walk around with a Bud Light box on his head, and watch the Red Sox have giant frat party on the infield at Fenway.

Cheers, Boston.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"And with martians on, he's also hitting at .339."*

*the wisdom of a one Mr. Jerry Remy in response to Don Orsillo's report that Youkilis is hitting .339 with "people" on base.

Remy must not like those 5pm starts as it gives him precious little time to get into primo announcer form. No time to warm up the vocal chords or do Don Orsillo "Announcer Voice" promos. Seriously, does anyone else picture Orsillo warming up in front of a mirror all Ron Burgundy with the "I have some VERY. IMPORTANT. BREAKING. NEWS. Manny Ramirez ate chocolate cake for dinner." Turtleneck sweater optional. No? Just me? Okay then.

But what did we do to deserve Jerry Remy? We must have been very, very good.

And speaking of another famous number 2? The magic number drops again, folks. No letting up now, boys. Go and get it.

A Picture is Worth...

...inappropriate laughter in one's office, apparently.

Seriously, I haven't laughed that hard in a week. Oh, Paps.

(pic from the Sports Illustrated cover story on Paps)

Breathing Room

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

So I'm thinking something really nice and exotic for the Devil Rays' fruit basket. Maybe some mango? Some starfruit? Or we can do as Luna suggests and make it New England-themed with maple sugar candy and cranberries. That'd be nice too. Extra fruit for Dioner Navarro obviously. The boy needs his strength.

Look, things are by no means locked up just yet, but last night was a good sign from both ends of the spectrum. The Sox win one thanks to a good start by Schilling, stable bullpen work (mostly, Eric), and offense when it was needed. Also plate patience, plate patience was big. And the Yankees lost one in extras to the Devil Rays. The very same Devil Rays whose bullpen has caused many an opposing fan to sit back, relax, and enjoy the implosion all season long. So that was fun.

Not that today's intakes of breath can be that big or dramatic. Oh no. There is still meaningful baseball to be played. It ain't over until, you know, Pedro's hefting a Dominican dwarf on his shoulders or something. (R.I.P. Nelson). And that time is not yet here, my friends. Not quite.

In unrelated news, Cam Neely has just been named the new VP of the Boston Bruins and pretty much the first thing he did was call all current NHL players pussies. Dudes, I love Cam Neely. One hopes he can inject the bastard stepchild of the Boston sports scene with a little much-needed adrenaline. Otherwise, we run the risk of using the Zamboni garage as Kevin Garnett's personal locker room and harem area.

Monday, September 24, 2007

To Hate or Appreciate?

So earlier today a commenter of mine, Jim H. from Minnesota, whom I respect a great deal and whose comments I always enjoy, made a very interesting point. He claimed – probably correctly – that the Patriots are verging on becoming the NFL’s Most Hated Franchise, if they haven’t already. And while this is certainly not the first time I’ve heard this, for some reason, it struck me today. Fresh off watching the Pats absolutely demolish the Bills yesterday (cobwebby first quarter notwithstanding), I have to think that Jim is probably right. Of course, I’m a Patriots fan, so that hurts me. I love the team like family and I wouldn’t want someone coming up to me and telling me they thought my brother sucked either. I wish it wasn’t the truth. Personally, I’m often too busy spewing venom in the direction of the Colts and Steelers to pay too much attention to the fact that people hate my football team. But when I do stop to think about it, I have to wonder, just what, exactly, am I supposed to do about it?

Look, I could talk myself blue in the fact about how Tom Brady is a nice boy (I’m guessing) and Tedy Bruschi has a very firm handshake and shiny, shiny hair (both true) or how Mike Vrabel totally helps old ladies cross the street (probably). But people who don’t like the Patriots players aren’t going to start liking them just because I said so. Even if said people like me or respect my ability to call the Red Sox on their shit when the situation demands it. That’s part of sports. That’s how being a fan goes. It’s not rational and I, of all people, clearly understand that.

But I’m also not going to apologize for my team being successful. They have worked very hard to be as good as they are. Spare me the CameraGate bullshit too since the NFL has determined that the Patriots will face no further charges and they consider the matter closed and if you can find me an NFL franchise that hasn’t broken or bent the rules, I will give you a medal. The Patriots are a good team because they have talented players, a smart coaching staff and the ability to execute their game plans on any given week. As a fan, I shouldn’t have to apologize for that.

Likewise, it’s not like I’m new around here. I was born in New Hampshire. I have never lived outside of New England. I have spent my entire life being a Patriots fan. I’m not going to apologize for having the good fortune of rooting for them now. Because in 1990 when they were going 1-15, it didn’t seem like such good fortune. But I am in no way claiming that because I had to suffer through so many years of the “Patsies” that I somehow deserve this current run of success. That would be ludicrous. It is, for all intents and purposes, the luck of the draw. I could just as easily have been born in San Francisco or Cleveland or Arizona. And then the story would be different.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am beginning to understand how these kinds of things happen and how fan bases become so hated. Eventually, you grow tired of defending yourself when everyone starts hating you. Through no fault of your own – unless you are always with the trash talking and then you reap what you sow – people start hating you as an extension of your team. And no one wants that, really. This is why even I will admit that there are some Yankee fans I don’t hate. Hell, if you’ve been a Yankee fan your whole life then there’s really nothing I can say to you that you haven’t already heard. They’re your team. I get it. Doesn’t mean I have to like them but I respect the fact that you do.

Likewise, I love the Patriots because they’re the Patriots. Plain and simple. Sure, I appreciate the fact that Tom Brady is extra nice to look at and that Belichick is a master schemer but I would still don a worn Pat Patriot hat on Sundays because they’re my team. They’re what I know. If Tom Brady performed as well as he does now but he looked like David Wells? Well, I wouldn’t have a picture of him as my computer wallpaper, but he’d still be my quarterback.

This is not to say that people aren’t free to dislike my team. More power to you. Randy Moss has surely earned the ire of people in the past and just because he’s wearing a different uniform now doesn’t mean I expect these people (like the aforementioned Jim H.) to change their tune and start liking the guy. Belichick is, for all intents and purpose, a professional asshole and while I think he’s a brilliant coach, even I’m not sure I could ever work for the guy. But the fans are not their team. Much as I might like to, I can’t be the one to go out there and throw or catch touchdown passes. I can’t be out there guarding Brady’s blind side. I’m not the one wearing a ratty hoodie and calling plays from the sidelines. (I’m doing it from my couch). But just because I’m cheering for the guys that are doing those things – and doing them well – doesn’t mean that I’m a front-running jerk.

I’m probably fighting a losing battle here. It’s probably pointless for me to claim that Patriots fans are good people. The ones I know are but I’m sure they’re not the ones that get all the media ink and camera time. None of the Pats fans I know think we deserve wins or expect to go undefeated. (I could share with you the text messages I sent to my friend Chris during yesterday’s first quarter wherein I lamented our lack of defense but if I clean it up, it doesn’t really make much sense). I am, as are my friends, prone to irrational fits of anger and panic attacks when it comes to the Patriots. I’m sure there are smug assholes out there who never have a doubt and are always 100% confident that things will go our way. But I’m not built like that. It’s not in my makeup. I guess what I’m saying is, I realize this isn’t going to last forever. Tom Brady is not actually an ageless robot. Tedy Bruschi is human (I think). These good times will eventually end. And I will still be there. Because the Patriots are my team. For better or worse. And for that, I won’t apologize.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Touchdown Robots

(Photo from Boston.com)

I'm sorry, but can you just look at Junior Seau's arms in that picture? That's ri-goddamn-diculous.

Anyway, Wes Welker has evidently decided he's going to help out my fantasy team since no one else is going to, New Orleans. But honestly, I couldn't possibly care less about that. I want to win the real games. And I'm not gonna lie to you, it was touch and go for a while there today.

I ventured out to the Sports Depot to watch the game with Greta as her Ravens were on at the same time and we managed to get a prime spot right between two TVs showing both the Pats and the Ravens. Now, those of you who have never watched a Patriots game with me don't really understand what a big step this was for me. But I am not, shall we say, usually fit for public consumption on Sundays during football season. It's part nerves, part insane, irrational fear and part the fact that I just get really, really mean and usually can't stop myself from saying something uncalled for regarding Peyton Manning's lineage or the hygiene of Steelers fans. I can't help it. It's football. Something happens to me. I totally lose my appetite and start looking for things to destroy. And today, before the Pats decided to play defense, things weren't pretty. Greta actually had to remove all sharp objects from the table and I was reduced to picking at my Cobb salad with a drinking straw.

I mean, I can't even keep alcohol down when football things aren't going my way. It's bad.

Thankfully, things turned around and Tom Brady, in and amongst dink and dunk passes to the likes of Welker and Gaffney, seemingly remembered "Oh, right, Randy Moss is on my team now. Awesome," and started throwing bombs his way. Which, I mean, ridiculous. I called my brother during the first quarter and demanded that someone return my football team. And then I called him during the fourth quarter and he just answered the phone with a, "Duuuuuuuude. Come on. Randy Moss? Tom Brady? Come on." And you know what? He's right.

My friend Chris and I were discussing Brady's obvious delight in having Moss to throw to this year and Chris commented that one of Brady's touchdown passes to Moss was "Manning-esque." He was under the impression that I was going to eviscerate him for that comment but I calmly explained that I have never argued that Peyton Manning is not an outstanding quarterback. I've just said that, in my opinion, Brady had done more with less. But this season, he's got a freakin' Madden '08 lineup out there. It's gonna be fun. Please don't think that I am claiming that Tom Brady is underrated. That would be nonsense. But I actually did have a Colts fan tell me that he believed that the Colts have operated "under the radar" for the previous few seasons. I think he was serious. Evidently, this gentleman does not live in the world where Peyton Manning is in every commercial either throwing touchdown passes to himself, acting out John Mellencamp's godforsaken "This is our Peyton" music video or trying to sell me a cable TV package. That must be a nice world. I'd like to visit some day.

But this is not about Peyton Manning. This is about the Patriots. I don't know what happened about halfway through the second quarter when suddenly, something clicked and the Pats started playing like Super Bowl favorites, but I was certainly glad for it. Despite the fact that all the TV talking heads tried their absolute best to jinx the Pats before the game by talking about them possibly going 16-0 this season, the Pats continue to not believe the hype. One hopes.

And yes, I still believe the Patriots can be jinxed. I've been a Red Sox fan my whole life.

Speaking of the Red Sox: playoffs, yay. It's not that I'm not happy about that. I obviously am. But I don't want to back into this. I want the division. We've had it all season and I would like to keep it. I did, however, see my future at the Sports Depot today. At the table next to us, two 60ish-year-old women, clearly best friends, kept checking the Red Sox score while reporting back to Greta and I. We discussed our usual love for the Tampa Bay bullpen among other things and I was just struck by how awesome these women are. I figure, if I make it to my mid-sixties (without being arrested for doing something untoward to a Jets fan at a sports bar) and I spend my fall Sundays watching Sox and Pats games with my friends, things could be a lot worse.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Greta and I have to go plan the Bon Jovi/Snoop Dogg Bill Belichick Freedom Concert.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Now This is Just Getting Creepy

Okay, seriously, are the Sox and Mets the same team this year or what? They're like AL/NL mirrors of each other with the awesomeness and then the not so much and then the bullpen implosions despite the good starting pitching and the "what the fuck is going on?" from the fan bases and the second place team being only a game and a half behind.

This is just getting weird.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stop It

Dear Red Sox,

Here is a time machine. Please use it to go back to the time when you had a 14 game lead in the division, things were coming up roses and we didn't all hate you. Because you obviously hate us or are getting some kickback from the region's cardiac surgeons.

Thanks very much,
Your Fans

Too Close for Comfort

(Photo from Boston.com)

Tito, what did I say about Eric Gagne? WHAT DID WE ALL SAY? Eric Gagne is not allowed to pitch in baseball games for the Boston Red Sox unless they are winning or losing by a number divisible by twelve. AND THAT'S IT. Nice job getting him that haircut and all, thinking that we'd forget all about him and wonder who the new, shorn pitcher in the bullpen is. But here's the thing, WE'RE NOT STUPID. We remember Gagne. And last night, we were all rudely reminded of why he's not allowed to pitch in close ballgames. EVER.

Look, forgive me, Tito. I really do like you. I mean, you're the Tito. You're the man. You take this job and you accept everything that comes with it with a sense of self-deprecation and "you people are freaks but I love you anyway" personality and you even have to explain to Manny occasionally that you can't send him down to work on his hitting because, well, right now, there is no down and according to Tedy Bruschi's book, you wrote him nice letters and emails when he was recovering from his stroke and told him how much you cared about him and frankly, anyone who is nice to Tedy Bruschi is alright by me, but dude, Gagne? NO.

It's not too late to fuck this all up, gentleman. It's not to late to turn this three game hiccup into a shame spiral which people will reference for years to come. And it seems like we just got over one of those situations so I don't know about you but I'm none too anxious to start that bullshit again.

The thing is, we're going to have to win more than just Josh Beckett's starts. I realize that he's probably either taken or Photoshopped pictures of every member of the Sox lineup in compromising positions with Northeastern undergrads, (I maintain Dougie's "injury" is due to an overzealous round of beer pong with Gamma Phi Epsilon), and that's why they're all scoring runs for him. But the rest of the pitchers? Need runs too. Runs for everyone, please.

I don't want to have to beg you, but I will. I'm not above it. Now, I'm venturing out this Sunday to watch the Patriots game in public. This is something I don't normally do because of my tendency for rage blackouts and bars don't generally like it when you threaten people with broken off beer bottles if they dare argue with you about the legitimacy of a pass interference call. So it'd be awesome if, instead of adding to my already high stress levels, the Sox could, you know, win some games and finish this thing up. Please? 'preciate it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Football = Good, Baseball = Bad

(Photo from Boston.com)

Len Pasquerelli's column on ESPN.com today is titled "We should know better than to make the Pats mad." Truer words, Len, truer words.

Anyone else care to comment? LaDanian, perhaps? Because seriously, you do not want to make Belichick angry. Without Rodney Harrison spouting his usual, "We get no respect. You talk shit, you get hit" mantra, Belichick and his team have seemingly spent an entire week quietly seething and looking for someone to smack around. Luckily for New England fans, San Diego was only too happy to oblige.

I'm not gonna lie, I was nervous about this game. Or perhaps "terrified" is the right word. The way I figured it, if the Pats won, they could definitively say, "Look, the league is watching us like a hawk, all of our i's are dotted and our t's are crossed. Everything is copacetic. Nothing untoward is going down. We're on the straight and narrow here. And still, we beat a pretty good football team. So there. Neener, neener!" Of course, had the Pats lost, we were likely in for endless "So they can't win without cheating" stories, bullshit though that is. Frankly, I'm just glad that everyone can shut the hell up for a while.

Because 38-14 is definitive. Especially definitive considering the defense is still operating without Harrison and Seymour. But Adalius Thomas will do nicely, thanks.

Plus, you done went and made Tommy mad. And when Tommy gets mad, Tommy gets even. Sure, he may look pretty in a wet t-shirt or cuddling a goat or escorting supermodels to fancy parties, but Tom Brady is a tough bastard. And he is still pissed off about that sixth round draft pick thing and he doesn't plan on letting you forget it.

So there you have it, San Diego is the latest team to attempt to pysch the Patriots out before the game even happened. They are also the latest team to fail. And you know what? I would have loved it if every single member of the team and coaching staff had run out onto the field at the end of the game and mocked Shawn Merriman's sack dance. But they're all classier than me. And they prefer to do their talking on the scoreboard.

As for the baseball, weirdly, the loss didn't hurt as much as the errant peanut projectile I took to the face. Seriously, people, stop throwing shit in the bleachers. You might accidentally wing a Sox fan who'll spend the next day with a fat lip while explaining to people that she honestly didn't do anything to deserve it despite the fact that she spent a Yankees/Sox game in the bleachers muttering uncharitable things about Giambi's mother and Derek Jeter's ballet background.

I think perhaps I was too preoccupied with the Pats game that I was attempting to pretend wasn't happening to really get too terribly upset about things. I mean, it's not like we didn't try. We certainly did. But here's the thing. I am tired, like, completely and utterly exhausted with the whole hating the Yankees thing. Now, don't get me wrong. I still hate them. A lot. Fire of a thousand exploding suns and what have you. But it is physically exhausting expending the energy necessary to work up the requisite level of hatred for the bleachers at Fenway. Not to mention that I'd spent a weekend drinking my weight in beer in New York and taking shit for being a Pats fan from a Mets fan on the New York Subway DESPITE THE FACT that I was being perfectly nice and even wearing a Mets shirt. I'm just saying, yesterday sort of felt like it happened in a haze for me. I know only that the Pats won, the Sox lost and my cat, Rocky Dave Roberts Markakat, was evidently so glad to see me return that he'd left me a present in the form of a dead mouse in my shoe. Very thoughtful.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go sleep under my desk, dreaming of Adalius Thomas interceptions.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Simple Request

That's really all there is to it.

Full disclosure: I won't be in town this weekend. Not until Sunday night when I'll be in the bleachers at Fenway trying to make Johnny Damon cry again. But I'll be spending the rest of the weekend in, well, not enemy territory exactly because I don't think frequenters of Shea Stadium are big on the Yankees either. But regardless, I'll be in New York, enjoying a pennant race game at Shea, provided my eardrums can handle it.

This, of course means that I'll also miss the Chargers/Pats hypefest on Sunday night as well unless the Sox front office sees fit to broadcast it on the big screen. But it really does feel like a pick your poison kind of situation. Especially after the week Pats fans have had. It's either go to a Yankees/Sox game and spend the entire nine innings trying to control your homicidal urges or watch the Chargers/Pats and attempt to refrain from turning your living room furniture into kindling. As Greta said, "Would you like a swift kick to the right shin or the left?"

And yes, I realize complaining about such things sounds insane, but I am not well. You already knew that.

As for the Pats, I'd say they need to win, if, for no other reason, than to silence the idiots who are claiming that every win of the Belichick era is somehow tainted. Come on. Seriously? Seems every player the Pats have beat along the way has had their say, including Crying McWhinypants Hines Ward who is tragically STILL not over the fact that the Steelers were outplayed by a team they underestimated in the 2001 AFC Championship game. Really, Tear Ducts, time to let it go.

This has to stop. The Pats have been punished for their current rule-breaking and we need to leave it at that. You can't retroactively punish someone for all that they've allegedly done wrong in the past just to prove a point. The end. Let's move on. This means you too, LaDanian. Though for our sakes, I hope you're moving on into a brick wall of Vrabel, Bruschi and Thomas. And also? Shut up.

One must also hope the Yankees are demoralized by their loss last night at the hands of Frank Thomas. Not that the Yankees get demoralized because they're robots but still. I knew I still liked Frank Thomas for a reason. And while Sunday's matchup of the Yankees/Red Sox Old Folks Home Representatives in Clemens and Schilling looks like it could be a matchup for the ages, I must remind everyone that this is not 1989. Or even 2001. Sure, it's possible they could both go out there and pitch gems but I think it's more likely that this will be a "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" situation with both old men raging against the dying of the light. And it probably won't be pretty.

Yeah, I just referenced Dylan Thomas in a post about the Red Sox. This is what happens when a liberal arts degree gets the best of you.

For now, I'm off to Queens and Brooklyn, spreading good cheer and sunshine. And by that I mean, "kidnapping David Wright by means of tequila shots and misdirection." Hold it down, will ya, kids?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

We've Reached that Time of Year...

(Photo from Boston.com)

...where David Ortiz says, "Fine. I'll do it myself."

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An Open Letter to the New England Patriots

To: Bill Belichick
CC: Rodney Harrison

Fr: Concerned fans

Re: Stop it

Here's the thing, gentlemen: you need to stop this immediately. And by "this" I mean this whole cheating thing. HGH, spy games or whatever. Next I feel like we're gonna hear about someone spiking the opponent's Gatorade cooler with ipecac.

You do not need to do these things. You are better than this. We, as fans, are confident that without all this shady bullshit, you're still among the best - if not the best - team in the league. I mean, did you see the Brady to Moss show on Sunday? Badass. No video cameras needed.

So what the shit, man? What's the deal? Are you just bored with the NFL the way it is now? Things have gotten a little too mundane for you? You're sick of winning in the old-fashioned way? Pulling off draft coups and building an uber-team isn't enough for you? Seriously, what are you doing? If you need to get your rocks off, can't you just start jamming with your good pal Bon Jovi or picking out do-rags with known acquaintance Snoop? Don't fuck with the NFL.

In addition, do you realize what this is doing to your fan base? We're very upset. You've put us in the unenviable position of having to defend the team's indefensible actions to freakin' Steelers and Colts fans (I've still never met an actual Colts fan), and Chargers players since The Danian obviously has something to say about this. WE WERE PERFECTLY HAPPY KNOWING THAT WE WERE WINNING BECAUSE WE WERE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE. And I'm not saying that we're not. I still think we are, BUT I DON'T APPRECIATE THE ABUSE I'M GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE HERE. Do you understand?

This has really put a lot of pressure on me as I would like nothing more than to pretend that this wasn't happening. I'd very much like to stick my fingers in my ears, avoid all print and television media and pretend that I live in a happy world of marshmallow clouds and puppy dog tails where the Patriots are perfect and JD Drew is a bad dream. Unfortunately, life - and sports - don't work that way. I'm dealing with it. AND NOW YOU DEAL WITH IT TOO.

Seriously, suck it up and take the punishment. Draft picks or whatever. And while I think it would have been hilarious if you were just pretending to film the sidelines to fuck with Mangini's head, the fact that it actually happened needs to be dealt with. And also, fucking stop it.

Probably also wouldn't be a bad idea if you apologize to your fans because of all the shit talk they're going to have to hear. And yes, I realize that asking the freakin' Patriots - the gold standard in the NFL - to apologize to their fans, is somewhat insane. But come on, we're gonna hear so much shit. And if you insist on doing this spy shit, at least employ hot spies like Jason Bourne or Michael Vaughn with the teeny bowtie cameras and the disguises. But barring that, knock it off.

Now you'll have your opportunity to present your case to the NFL on Friday. And for your sake, I hope your defense is "replaced by pod people." But in the off chance that it's not, fucking deal with the consequences. And then go out there and kick ass. The right way.

Disappointed Regards,
Patriots Fans

Oh and Red Sox? You really need to make with that fruit basket for the Tampa Bay bullpen. Like now.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hello, New Friend!

(Photo from Boston.com)

Yeah so that Randy Moss guy doesn't suck, huh? Not so bad at the catching. It's early times, undoubtedly, but as my brother observed around the time of Moss's touchdown catch, "Brady is so geeked out right now." And you just know he was. He probably spent some time in the locker room after the game getting down to "Big Pimpin'." As well he should. Hopefully we can have a season full of Moss teaching Brady some complicated touchdown dances and Brady can pass on his sweet first down moves. A girl can dream, right?

Of course, I think Wes Welker might be the real new target that people aren't paying too much attention to and he proved himself rather dangerous today. Sure, Moss is the shiny, new toy that Brady is dying to take out for a test drive, especially considering that they didn't have a chance to play together in the preseason. But I have a feeling Welker is going to be very valuable this year.

As will, I'm thinking, Sammy Morris. With Lomo, Morris, Faulk and Evans, the Pats have a unique four-pronged running attack they can seemingly deploy at will. As they did today, when the running game stops being effective, Brady can spread the ball around to any number of receivers and throw jump balls for Moss. I'd say it hardly seems fair but this is football, this isn't about fair. This is about winning football games.

I'm still unsure why people are trying to convince me that Chad Pennington is a genius but I'll admit that even though his haircut makes me want to punch him in the neck, it sucked to see his ankle get twisted off. Especially repeatedly. In slow motion. So thanks for that, CBS.

I'm never sad to beat Pennington, et al though. That always agrees with me. I don't have quite the animosity towards the Jets that I do towards the Steelers or the motherlovin' Colts and NFL Savior Peyton Manning (be sure to genuflect when you say that), but the bottom line is that the Jets are a division rival, and all games against them matter a great deal.

Of course, my fantasy team, which is unintentionally a makeshift Mardi Gras parade with all the Saints in residence, is going to be horrifically bad this season. But I'd rather win the real games. The weather today even obliged by feeling like fall. Despite the fact that I spend most Sundays nauseous with nerves and more often than not I end up throwing things that don't belong to me, I really missed football. Especially now that my brother has a brand new widescreen Hi-Def something, something, whosiewhatsit TV on which the games look badass. "Tom Brady in 45-inch Hi-Def," he said to me, "You know you want to." That boy knows his audience, I'll give him that.

Oh, and Ellis Hobbs with the 108 yard kickoff return? Okay, AWESOME. I mean, imagine you're the Jets and you've scored a touchdown to tie things up and despite the fact that New England is up by 7, you still feel like you're in this thing. You've been able to move the ball fairly well and New England, missing both Harrison and Seymour on defense are not quite in top form. And then Ellis Hobbs runs the length of the field (and then some), shedding tackles along the way to drive that stake through your heart. Brutal. Or awesome. Depending on which side you're on. But Pats players setting NFL offensive records in the first game of the season bodes well, I think. Or that's just what I'm choosing to believe.

The Pats undoubtedly have a chip on their shoulder the size of Rhode Island after last year's playoff loss to Indy (I'm still finding glass shards from my personal temper tantrum), and it would be good if they remembered that for every game. Not that they're likely to forget considering the insane amount of Peyton worshiping and ever present commercials. Both of which are making it much more difficult for me to pretend that the Super Bowl was canceled last season, though. But that was last season. And now it's this season. And this season is here.

And I hear the Sox managed to take 3 of 4 in Baltimore too. Which makes me happy. Because hooray for winning.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Donnybrook at the Ballyard

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

That almost got ugly didn't it? I'm sitting here going, "Guys, come on, guys, we're not really gonna brawl with the Orioles are we? Guys, seriously, stop it. Can't you just settle this by doing competitive kegstands with Millar or something? Guys?" Because, I mean, you guys know, I like the Orioles. I like a lot of their players. And I feel for Orioles fans because their pitching staff is absolutely decimated and then the one guy who you can count on to eat innings decides to go all Guerrilla Baseball and get himself thrown out of the game for head-hunting the Sox' second base elf. Not cool.

And all O's fans I've talked to have said the same thing. There's a difference between "showing fire" and being stupid. Cabrera was stupid. Remy certainly got all worked up about it which is something you rarely see him do. And I wasn't privy to the Orioles broadcast team but apparently they were laying into Cabrera pretty deep as well.

I kept saying, "Dougie's gonna get thrown out. He was shit-talking Millar earlier from the dugout and him and Hinske are totally getting ejected." My dad kept asking me why I thought Dougie was causing so much trouble.

"Because," I reasoned, "He's a backup catcher. 90% of the time backup catchers don't have anything to do. And now he's an INJURED backup catcher, which leaves him with even less to do. He's totally starting shit. We're lucky he didn't light someone on fire in the dugout."

And who gets thrown out? Not Dougie, as he was probably too busy fine-tuning the stats as the commissioner of the Red Sox official fantasy football team (Dougie is totally in like five fantasy football leagues, you know he is), so instead, additional backup catcher Kevin Cash got the boot. Why? Because he got into it with Orioles backup catcher Paul Bako. I'm just sayin', backup catchers, man. They should really be assigned handlers.

Of course, then there was the drumming in the bullpen, involving impressively in sync efforts between Papelbon, Timlin, Lopez and Manny Delcarmen. Because you know who else gets into trouble with too much time on their hands? Bullpen pitchers. Especially Jonathan Papelbon. I remember being really impressed with the forays my brother has taken into Imaginary Baseball World when he said, "Paps needs to pitch more often. I know arm strength and all that but one of these days, there's just gonna be an explosion and a puff of smoke from the bullpen as the outfield wall collapses. Then he'll just be standing there going, 'Timlin did it.'"

"Ah thought this'd be a good place fer a bowling alley, y'all!" I said.

"Exactly. And then Tito will have another fake heart attack."

Paps certainly looked ready to go last night and the cameras caught him more than once in animated discussions with Timlin. Which is likely why neither of them made it anywhere near the mound last night. Tito's not a stupid man, he doesn't wish to deal with a murder conviction and insanity plea on top of a pennant race.

I do hope this animosity doesn't spill over to today's game because a frustrated team is not one you want to be matched up against. Especially while you're trying to stay healthy and make the playoffs. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail. Or Millar will have taken everyone out to the strip club for lap dances and Jaeger shots and they're all too hungover to put up much of a fight. Whichever.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Absentee Fan

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Okay, I'll level with you. I didn't see a single pitch of last night's game. Instead, I decided to kick off football season in style: by drinking. And while my animosity and hatred for all things Manning has yet to reach playoff proportions, I do think that if the commentators are making fun of how many commercials you're in, perhaps, I don't know, you're in too many freakin' commercials! Have you seen the new one? With the multiple Mannings? How could you not? They played it four times per commercial break. It's like someone tapped into my deepest, darkest subconscious fear and made a commercial out of it. Mannings running everywhere, passing to each other, infested every corner of the screen. Shudder. The whole season is gonna be like this, isn't it? My god, I'm not sure I can stomach it.

Also? Drew Brees? You are KILLING my fantasy team. Get it together, Hoss.

Now, as for the Sox, naturally, I'm happy they won and all but upon replays on SportsDesk this morning, JD Drew is STILL killing me. And the offense. And probably puppies. In the bleachers on Wednesday night, Drunk Fan Numero Uno kept telling everyone who would listen - and many who wouldn't - that JD Drew was gonna hit a walkoff. Still waiting...

That said, I hope you all enjoy that lovely picture of Tek up there who is showing promising signs of being a valuable offensive player yet again. And just all-around awesome. Because he's Tek.

Have a great weekend, everyone. I'm off to parts north for Luau-fest. So...aloha? Oh, and most importantly, GO PATS!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Wonder Boys

Yeah, these kids are all right, that's for sure.

I'm stuck between wanting to offer them milk and cookies and affectionate pats on the head and maybe buy them a puppy to cuddle and to be wary of doing that because they'll resent the implications that they're just young pups and need to be taken care of. But, I mean, you make up these stories about them - like imagining that Buchholz and Ellsbury are BFFs and spend their off days playing endless games of MLB The Show on Playstation wherein they always fight over who gets to be the Red Sox and who gets to have Manny and Papi - and then you find out that there is more fact to that than fiction. No word yet on the video game fighting but apparently they are roommates and very good friends. Awwwww...

I include Paps and Pedroia in the "young'uns" camp too despite the fact that Paps is no longer a rookie and Pedroia would likely start gnawing on my kneecaps with small person anger (those of you who know Greta will understand), but they're both still younger than me so in my mind, that makes them wee lads. Wee lads who are kicking ass and taking names at the baseball of late, but still, wee lads nonetheless.

I imagine a rookie road trip with those guys is really something that needs to be seen to be believed. Because does anyone doubt that Pedroia struts everywhere he goes? Little Napolean that he is, Dusty's clearly taking charge and showing the new call-ups how it's done. "No, dude," he says to Ellsbury, "Mikey's totally my cribbage bitch." And Ellsbury is, obviously, in the corner taking notes while Buchholz earmuffs it at the use of profanity. I feel confident that Pedroia has the foulest mouth on the team, to make up for his lack in stature. That just seems reasonable. And poor Buchholz doesn't even need to shave yet and has to be in bed (on the top bunk) by 9:30 every night. 10:15 on game nights but Tito doesn't even want to hear it if he's cranky and no one remembered to bring his juice boxes and blueberry Pop Tarts.

I think these guys need a babysitter is what I'm saying, baseball feats aside. And no, Josh Beckett, I do not mean "babysitter" in the Cinemax version of the word. Except maybe for Ellsbury. I'm just sayin'.

So Johnny Rockets milkshakes for all the boys for their performances for the past few days. And maybe some apple pie too. But not before bedtime.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

All Hail the Flame-Throwing Man Child

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Jason Varitek has finally learned not to jump on the pitchers but rather to catch them as he is a large man and keeps breaking them.

Well that'll certainly work, no? And here I was, all prepared for the Sox to lose this one so I'd have to write about meeting Tedy Bruschi today. (I totally did. He was totally nice and also I saw him pet a puppy. For reals.)

That said, the day clearly belongs to Clay Buchholz, flame-throwing man child of the title there as a no-hit bid is always special, but when it involves a rookie, it's doubly so.

Not to mention the fact that it stopped a four-game losing skid. That's helpful too.

And the Orioles are no slouch of an offensive team. Despite their struggles, they can surely hit the ball. We learned that last night. The final three that Buchholz faced in Roberts, Patterson and Markakis are by no means a sure out. Roberts and Markakis are good hitters and Patterson is always a threat to beat out a ground ball pretty much anywhere. So it's not like wee Clay could let up in the ninth.

Of course, because he's a Red Sox pitcher and therefore contractually obligated to be enamored of Jason Varitek, he couldn't talk enough about how awesome 'Tek is and how great he is at calling games and how he's at least half responsible for all the awesomeness that goes down with the pitching staff. Which is fine. The young'uns seem to have learned what the veterans sometimes forget what with the shaking off of 'Tek, right, Curt? "He works harder than anyone I've ever seen," Buchholz said of 'Tek.

"The quizzes," Annette added, "no one knows about the pop quizzes."

"Would it surprise you in the slightest if Jason Varitek gave pop quizzes to his pitching staff?" I asked her?

"Not in the slightest," she said. "In fact, I almost expect it."

Which of course led me to realize that Jason Varitek has caught at least three no-hitters with Nomo's, D-Lowe's and now Buchholz's. That's not something many people can claim. So if anyone out there can find out who's caught the most no-hitters, I'd be much obliged.

But back to Buchholz, because if you showed me a lineup of ten BU freshman, I'd fully expect to see Buchholz there. The kid is clearly not old enough to shave, let alone buy alcohol. (The Red Sox official roster says he's 23-years-old but I am not buying that for a second. He is clearly not a day over fourteen.)

Watching his teammates' reactions was almost as awesome as seeing Buchholz try to keep his shit together throughout the game and immediately afterwards. "How many innings do you think it took for him to realize that his teammates weren't ignoring him because he smells?" I asked.

"Like three," Annette said, "He thought it was rookie hazing."

And Josh Beckett was so ready to completely flip out and come tearing ass out of that dugout as soon as the final out was recorded. I think we're witnessing a bit of a changing of the guards here as Schilling adopted Beckett and made him his prodigy, Beckett has in turn adopted Buchholz. He's his Precious. His Golden One. Provided that doesn't end in a paternity suit with a Northeastern coed, things could be worse.

Theo's Beckett-like fist pumps and freak out were also a good indication that good things are to come from this Buchholz kid. I look forward to it. I do also feel it necessary to point out that the day I saw Theo in Portland was also the day that Buchholz started for the Seadogs and was in the midst of a perfect game when he was yanked for pitch count reasons. I'm just sayin', maybe Theo and I should work together more often.

"Are the Red Sox breeding pitchers?" Marianne asked.

"He does look vaguely Papelbonian," I said. "Aside from the fact that Buchholz hasn't hit puberty yet and has no upper body to speak of, they might've come from the same mold." We haven't gotten Papelbon's reactions to the whole thing yet but I'm praying that FSN's Friendly's Scoop will get on that with a quickness.

I do love that Dustin Pedroia's flashy defense was a crucial piece of the no-hit puzzle. It seems that always happens. It gets to later innings, people become conscious of what's going on and someone makes a great play to keep the no-hit bid alive. I kept thinking it was going to be one of Coco's catches because seriously? How awesome is Coco this year? But then Pedroia absolutely laid out and came up with that ball, throwing Tejada out on a close play at first and demonstrating some intense fist pumping of his own. Rookies looking out for each other. Awwww, warms the heart.

So good on ya, wee Buchholz. That's the way to make an impression. And if you could tell Schilling not to shake off 'Tek, that'd be awesome. Thanks.

Shame Spiral Begins

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

So...that happened. I'm not even sure what to say about it. Apparently, we're all done with the winning of games. Guess we got that out of our system with the White Sox series and don't plan to do any more of that. Kind of wish they'd issued a press release or something so at least we'd know and stop going into games with high hopes and the belief that even though we're down by six, surely our offense can manage something against the soft underbelly of the Orioles bullpen. No disrespect to any Orioles fans out there. You're usually the first to admit that your bullpen is crap. But, alas, it was not to be. Nick Markakis continues to not understand the rules I set forth at the beginning of the season with regards to him playing well against the Red Sox. In short: he's not allowed to. Boys. Sometimes they're slow to learn.

And here come the rash of injuries, giving me horrible flashbacks to last year's shame spiral when the wheels came off and everything went careening violently out of control. Apparently Manny's got some "inconclusive" oblique issue. Good thing we have Wily Mo there to pick up the slack. Oh wait... And then there's Wake who got scratched last night with tightness in his back. Riiiight. Awesome. I'm terrified to see what's next.




I would yell at the team but the thing is, that hasn't appeared to work this season. Sometimes they kick it into high gear for a game or two, and then they're back to the whole not scoring runs, not hitting baseballs, not winnings games thing. And then I just get mad all over again. And really, I'm spending so very much time angry at baseball players lately, I'm thinking that it can't be healthy. Though I would like to humbly request that while I remain unemployed (and climbing the walls), and have plenty of time to watch the baseballs and read about the baseballs and what have you, they could maybe do something that WON'T MAKE ME WISH I WAS STUCK IN AN OFFICE 24-7 OKAY THANK YOU, SIRS.

So...who wants to talk about football?