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

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.