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

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Champagne Showers Never Get Old

(Photo from Boston.com)


I have to confess, I've been an extremely calm Red Sox fan this year.

Part of it is accepting that they are just not going to win every year and we've been remarkably lucky, and part of it is is rooting for another team, one that hasn't made the postseason in 26 years. I've been able to put Red Sox losses in perspective because Terry Francona is not Ned Yost and thankfully Craig Counsell stays far, far away from the Red Sox -- the team is unquestionably good, basically. Sure, there will be ups and downs. Nothing is a given and this moment should never be taken for granted. There's been way too much heartbreak over the years for that.

Even in my happiness, I didn't anticipate getting all emotional over this one tonight, since it was pretty inevitable as long as the Red Sox didn't lose all the games between now and Sunday and the Yankees didn't win all their games in that same frame. And then there's the whole having to root for the Cubs for the next couple days, which is just gross, and certain epic wild card collapses... You know how sometimes when you're reading a book and the main character is doing something catastrophically stupid and you really want to flip ahead and see if it turns out alright? That's sort of where I'm at with baseball at the moment.

But when the relief corps busted out of the locker room clutching bottles of champagne and rushed onto the field with one goal in mind -- dousing The Bullpen Cop -- dear reader of Kristen's, I cried. And then there was little Justin Masterson just trying to poke his head in the frame of the camera and laughing like a teenager. Papelbon doling out bases to the crowd. Jason Bay playing the role of Orlando Cabrera. Tek being the grown up and doing the shaking-hands-and-kissing-
babies tour of Fenway.

I kept getting frantic instant messages from a friend throughout this game, convinced the Red Sox would blow it and I was worried not being concerned made me a bad fan. But maybe relaxing and enjoying the games and this era of good Red Sox baseball is better than getting so worked up. I'll admit that I wore full-out Brewers gear to the last game of their series at Fenway. I was discussing being a fan of both teams with someone in my row and I explained at that moment, I was rooting for the Brewers because they were in last place and needed it more.

"But the Red Sox are in second place," the guy countered.

And they still are at this moment. But they're going back to the postseason and that's a pretty amazing thing. I'd make a cheesy "good times never seemed so good" statement here, but this is schmaltzy enough already. So I'll just say enjoy this one, y'all. And also, drunk Mike Lowell is awesome.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The less said about that, the better.

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Ow. My pride.

I leave for vacation tomorrow morning so y'all will have to truck on without me for the next week or so. Amy has agreed to write some guest blogs in my absence. Treat her nice, you hear?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Obviously, Dustin Pedroia thinks the Rays are a giant pain in the ass. Couldn't agree more.

David Ortiz is only one man, people. He cannot do it all himself.

Maybe emasculating the rookies prior to the trip wasn't the best idea.

And therein lies the Tim Wakefield Paradox. Brilliant his past eleventy starts in Tampa. Serving up batting practice in this one.

Why does this entry read like a pretentious undergrad poem?


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pretty Tied Up

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

David Ortiz points to the divisional standings.

Look at the look on Tito's face in that picture. It's adorable. Part proud papa, part smirk. I love it. Perhaps he's just glad that he can stop hearing my grandmother shit talk him about the Rays and their relative standing in the division. I'm guessing she does that to him too. She probably sent him the same email she sent me last week saying, "The Red Sox should learn to play more like the Rays. Love, Ma." I would imagine my grandmother would not hesitate to harass Tito about the team's performance. But on last night, she'd probably not have much to say.

Evidently it was Home Run Derby night at the Trop. I got home late because I had an important engagement (read: drinking), and had seen that the score was 4-0 Sox in the fourth. I figured we'd put something together against Kazmir and that might be enough to stake us to the lead for the remainder. Imagine my surprise when I turned on the TV and saw that the Sox were up 12-1 in the 6th. Highlights tell me the Rays were handing out home runs like so much delicious candy. Even 'Tek hit one.

This is a good thing. This is good news. Various people who Know Things About Baseball have been claiming all season that the Rays would eventually fade away, scared off, I guess, by the bright lights of a pennant chase. I wasn't quite so quick to dismiss them because, as they say, any given Sunday. No, wait, they say that about football, don't they? Okay, maybe they're using black magic in Tampa or some wondrous witch-type potion made from the algae growing on the manta ray tank in the outfield. I really don't know. Whatever it is, the Sox are caught up now with a handful of games to play so it's almost like we're starting from scratch. Except that Mike Lowell has a torn hip labrum. But he's gonna play through it because Mike Lowell? Does not let a little thing like a torn hip labrum stop him. And also, probably he knows that we're not really prepared to handle another major sports-related injury around these parts. Mike Lowell is sensitive to our fragile psyches. Mike Lowell cares.

Tonight, Josh Beckett, hopefully inspired to reclaim his ace status, faces off against Andy Sonnanstine, whom I always confuse with Kirk Saarloos because of how their last names would ably befit a couple Lord of the Rings villains. I'm all about the scientific analysis, don't you know?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Matt Cassel's Mom told you he could do it

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Okay, so I'm now less concerned with Matt Cassel's ability to lead a football team and more concerned about his potential dehydration as the poor boy was a veritable faucet of perspiration in his postgame.

"Tommy never sweats," I said lovingly.

"No," Amy replied, "he glistens."

I mean, I love ya, Matty, I do, but maybe you should look into having your press conferences sponsored by Gatorade and Right Guard.

Okay, I only kid those I love. But you gotta learn that people aren't going to be scared of you if you keep apologizing for sweating. It's unavoidable probably but instead of apologizing for it, you have to revel in it. Start press conferences by saying, "What? This ain't sweat. This the glisten of a winner, baby. This pure awesome comin' out."

Because I don't know about you guys but the persona of Matt Cassel's mom that we've all invented in our heads is maybe my new favorite thing about football season.

"I'll bet she sent him a care package," Amy said.

"Or, after he took that first sack, she probably sent him a picture message with that kitten hanging from a tree branch that said 'Hang in there, baby.'" I said.

"I think Momma Cassel is big on Successories posters," Kim added.

"Courage! Fortitude!"

"You guys?" Chrissy said, "I kind of love Matt Cassel's mom."

And, I mean, right? Don't you? SportsDesk on Friday told me that after last Sunday's game against Kansas City, Cassel got over a hundred text messages. Normally he just gets one: from his mom. Probably saying something like, "You looked so nice and clean on the sidelines there, Matty. Good job! Tell Tom I said hi."

So basically, Matt Cassel is exactly who we think he is. And if anyone has evidence to the contrary, I don't want to hear it.

He also appears to be quite a little football player. It seems the national media is obsessed with talking about how he didn't fuck anything up but the bottom line is that not only didn't he fuck things up, but with the help of Wes Welker and LaMont Jordan (whose iTunes mojo is now Montell Jordan's "This is How We Do It" obviously), he made some things happen and outplayed Brett Favre. And because of it, the Pats are 2-0. And LAT (Life After Tom) is going along as well as can be expected. There was a tense moment there wherein Cassel banged up his knee a bit but he apparently heard Chrissy's entreaties to "rub some dirt on it" and shook it off and went back to work.

"Just like Brady would do," Steve DeOssie observed.

And can I just say something about Tom Brady and The Injury? People, he's not dead. Seriously. Perhaps aside from Randy Moss, no one is taking the injury harder than I am (as evidenced by the irresponsible amount of drinking I've done over the course of the past week), but the fact of the matter is that it's a leg injury. He's going to be okay. He's going to come back to us. There really is no need for everyone in the league to play the season with a black armband or for us all to sit shiva and light some candles in Tommy's memory. I repeat, he is not dead. Sure, I'd love to see him on the sidelines too, possibly with his baby in a Baby Bjorn strapped to his front and learning firsthand about the NFL offense, but reports about him being in good spirits and calling Cassel and Moss to give them pointers are enough for me right now. I care a great deal - possibly too much - about the mental state of someone I've never met but if he's okay, I'll be okay. Promise.

Now, as for the Red Sox, they made things rather interesting themselves in the 9th inning there. I wonder if perhaps Jonathan Papelbon is feeling a little ignored what with New England being up in arms over this Tom Brady thing so he's acting out. Getting all riled up and feeling ignored and a near blown save is his little version of an attention-getting tantrum. Stop it, Jonathan. Mommy loves you all the same.

Regardless, the magic number for making the playoffs is down to 8 thanks to - gulp - the Yankees and the Orioles sacking up and playing like men. It's getting down to it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The best offense is a good insanity plea.

Consider yourselves warned, you might be called as character witnesses.


Yesterday, the Patriots brought veteran free agents Chris Simms and Tim Rattay to Foxborough for a visit and, presumably, to work out. But in a curious twist reported by the NFL Network's Adam Schefter on his blog, when Simms and Rattay arrived at Gillette Stadium, they were told "the situation had changed and they were no longer needed," and they departed without working out.

Me: Okay, that message was totally delivered to them by Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork wearing dark suits and sunglasses and those Secret Service ear piece thingies.

Amy: YES.

Me: Randy is gonna fit Matt Cassel for some bling. Just you wait.

Amy: Oh I will. With baited breath.

Me: At some point this season, Cassel is going to pull his helmet off only to get it stuck on his ear bling. They're going to have to call a time out and a jeweler to get his head extricated.

Amy: Please. They'll just use butter.

Me: ...

Amy: I am overcome with the visual of Belichick buttering his QB's head.

Me: He'd totally roll his eyes and call for the butter which they keep for just these kind of emergencies because of course they've planned for this kind of thing.

Amy: Belichick's emergency butter is going to get us through this season.

Me: Amy, I have to tell you, I think Billiam is up to something.

Amy: What kind of something?

Me: I don't know. Maybe robots. OR DRAGONS.


Me: I'm pretty sure that's within the rules.

Amy: Absolutely. As long as he stays in the pocket.




Amy: That is what is going to happen, just you watch.

Me: You're right, we should have seen this coming. Dragons. Obviously.

Amy: That's hardly even thinking outside the box.

Me: Not when it comes to Billiam, no.

Amy: I can't believe they let them use guns after Sunday:

Matt Light and several of his Pats teammates made a big bang yesterday at the beefy lineman's celebrity shoot-out, an annual fund-raiser for the Light Foundation. The event, ably emceed by comedian Lenny Clarke, was held at Addieville Farm in Mapleville, R.I., and featured some fine barbecue from Capital Grille and plenty of live music. Teammates pulling the trigger included Russ Hochstein, Dan Koppen, Logan Mankins, Larry Izzo, Sammy Morris, Stephen Neal, Lonie Paxton, Ty Warren, Nick Kaczur, Pierre Woods, and Stephen Gostkowski, among others.

Me: That seems particularly unwise. The good thing about dragons though is they are impenetrable to fire arms.

Amy: Obviously. Billiam would have known that.

So, obviously, we're dealing with this in a completely rational and well thought out manner.

Also, Jonathan? That is absolutely not what we discussed. We're gonna have to have a talk, me and you, huh? Maybe less Dirty Dancing, more not giving up home runs?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Spitting Distance

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

I would like to personally thank the Red Sox for at least temporarily, lifting the spirits of a grieving region. Jason Bay would not want us to cry, people. Jason Bay would want us to be happy. And Jonathan Papelbon would probably make some obscene sock puppets to get us laughing again if he thought that'd work. But instead he just recorded the final four outs of the game and secured another game in the standings. Because he wants us to be happy, dammit. He doesn't like seeing us sad. He wants us to smile. And so we shall as the Sox pull within .5 games in the division and face off against Tampa Bay again tonight.

Also? The Yankees got smacked around by the Angels and they are now in fourth place. Which, yes, it's the Yankees, shit could always happen - but it's amusing at the moment.

I was told yesterday that I should keep my eyes on the prize in re: the Red Sox and their possible division title. Meaning, I assume, "stop whining about Tom Brady, at least your baseball team is good," which is really quite rich coming from someone whose quarterback is still in possession of both of his knees. And also baseball and football are not the same thing. But the fact remains, the Red Sox, at least at present, do not want us to mourn. So they win. So we are happy.

Doesn't it sort of feel like some kind of cosmic shift has happened in New England, maybe in the last couple years or so? Like, after years and years of being Team B around these parts, the Patriots might've surpassed the Red Sox? Maybe it's just me and maybe it's impossible to compare because of the nature of the sports and any one person's roll in the team game, but I don't remember us going into a regionally-mandated mourning period when David Ortiz went on the DL. Of course, David Ortiz is not our quarterback and we've seen on multiple occasions how the Red Sox function without him. We have no idea how the Patriots function without Tom Brady. It is dark and uncharted territory we're in here, kids and I'm a little scared.

But last night, while drinking (because that was obviously the only reasonable course of action), Amy and I decided something. We decided that tomorrow, during the Pats' team meeting, Tedy Bruschi is going to get up and he's going to declare this Matt Cassel's football team. And he's going to give an impassioned speech about how this team can be down, but it's never out. He's going to reference the Bledsoe to Brady switch back in '01 and talk about how, lo, those many years ago, veterans on this team saw it handed over to an untested backup and all that's happened from there is three Super Bowl rings and a perfect season. And he's going to talk about trying times. And injuries and ailments and accusations and losses and trials and tribulations. And he's going to talk about heart. And he's going to declare that Matt Cassel has heart. And he's going to talk about not going outside the organization to bring in a hired gunslinger but in keeping it in the family and closing ranks and winning with their own. And then Rodney Harrison will start chanting about getting no respect. And Tedy will place his hands on Matt Cassel's shoulders and call the team to him and say, "How do we feel about winning football games with Matt Cassel as our quarterback?" And he will lead a rousing call and response and there won't be a dry eye in the house. And then Tom Brady will emerge from the shadows, on crutches but otherwise dreamy-eyed and, you know, Brady-esque, and he will ceremoniously hand over his playbook to Cassel. And they will hug. And it will be beautiful.

And then Belichick will yell at them to stop crying like little girls and get to their reps.

What I'm saying is, I think we have to drive the Matt Cassel bus now. Even if we drive it into the ground. Tommy would want it that way.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Redemption on Hold

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Meet the new boss?

So...yeah. The Patriots appear well and truly fucked. Awesome. Fantastic. Glad we can use this season to carry that grudge from last year's Super Bowl loss and barrel through the regular season and other teams like so much grist through a mill. Except, oh wait, no, Our Football Jesus is out with an apparent season-ending knee injury.

So that whole redemption thing is maybe gonna have to wait.

My mother actually suggested that this could be a fascinating season to watch in terms of game study and football theory and the mechanics and psychology of a football team. That assumes, of course, that I care about such things and that I can rationalize the injury - or rather The Injury - and view this through the telephoto lens of Sports on a Greater Scale. But there is nothing rational about sports fandom. The bottom line is that I want Tom Brady's knee to be fine. I want Matt Cassel to keep sitting his pretty self on the bench and holding a clipboard like only he knows how. And I want to slap people who are cheering an injury because that's just pathetic.

I'm just not sure we're dealing with a Friday Night Lights situation here, people. I want my QB1.

So does Randy Moss who was nearly distraught after the game. I'm sure he's currently ensconced at Brady's bedside, offering him apple juice and singing soothing Peter Cetera ballads because if Randy Moss is anything to Tom Brady, it's "a man who will fight for your honor." And even if the Pats bring in the newly-retired and currently unemployed but apparently completely healthy Daunte Culpepper for a Minnesota reunion show, it's not quite the same thing.

Personally, I'm torn. I don't know what the team should do. Part of me thinks it'd be a Patriots-like show of confidence to stick with Cassel and bequeath the team to him as Bledsoe did to Brady back in 2001 (kind of). Keeping it in the family, so to speak. But then there's the part that wonders who they're flying in and trying out. Although names like Brian Griese and Joey Harrington do not inspire confidence on my part. And I kind of think maybe the Pats will rally more around a guy they already know. But then, I'm not a football player. Which is a shame. Because both of my knees are still attached.

Also, the Red Sox won and they're now 1.5 games behind Tampa Bay with the division within reach and, wouldn't you know it? Tampa happens to be in town this week for a little showdown. Interesting. Very interesting.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Can't Win for Losing

(Photo from Boston.com)


/deep breathe


That about sum it up?

I swear to you, the words "we should develop some sort of impenetrable electric fence around Tom Brady's legs" were not out of my mouth yet when Brady went down. And now you all know what my nightmares look like.

Because for six years now, this has been the fear that dare not speak it's name. Tom Brady, out with a knee injury. For years, I've not mentioned it, not given voice to my greatest football fear. Not entertained the "there but for the grace of God" thoughts that went through my mind when the likes of Carson Palmer went down with knee injuries. Because Bill Belichick can use his patented mind-fucks all he wants but I'm pretty sure he can't convince us that Matt Cassel is Tom Brady.

Admittedly, Matty Ice played well today in the sense that he managed to get the game won (with an impressive assist from his defense), and didn't boot or otherwise soil himself on national television. Forgive me if I'm not bursting with confidence at the potential dawn of the Matt Cassel era but he's not done much to inspire said confidence and every time his headshot pops up on the bottom of the screen, I think that Jordan Catalano is quarterbacking my football team and really, that's gonna make a girl feel kind of desperate. I mean, yes, the Patriots won and that's great, but honestly, the game outcome really seems secondary, doesn't it?

I mean, it's possible that, as they appeared to do today, the team will rally around this and band together and blah, blah, blah, impenetrable wall, immovable object and all that. But I'm not sure a Tom Brady/Drew Bledsoe situation happens twice. Certainly not to the same team. Although Amy and I amused ourselves and kept the outright weeping at bay by giving voice to what we felt were surely Matt Cassel's comments during the game.

"All I needed was a chance. Just needed a chance. Don't think Tom's so great. Everyone thinks Tom's so great. He's not that great. He was a backup too. Just 'cause he's the MV- SHIT BLITZ!"

"Whatever, got my chance. Time to script my legend. Time to write the Matt Cassel Story. Time to FUCK TAKE IT RANDY!"


What I'm saying is, I wouldn't be terribly surprised to learn that Randy Moss was taking snaps at QB in practice this week. He had that reverse last year that worked pretty well. He can totally work that into a QB job. Or, wait, is Troy Brown still around somewhere? He was our emergency fourth string quarterback at some point, I believe. Troy'll totally do it. Shit, I'll do it. Somebody get me a helmet.

Let's just...let's just hope this was a precautionary measure on Billiam and the team's part and Brady just has a hyperextended knee or maybe a contusion or, since it's the Patriots, an "owie." Because I'm pretty sure that as goes Tom Brady, so go the Patriots. And frankly, 22 minutes is not long enough to be enthusiastic about this football season. I would have liked a bit longer.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

That certainly got out of hand quickly, no? David Ortiz surely has reason to smile since he and Dustin Pedroia had about eleventy billion RBIs each and Baltimore is...well, they're having a bit of a rough time is what they're having. So much so that it was only the fourth inning and Remy and Don were lamenting the fact that they had five more innings of airtime to fill and were going to have to resort to playing Celebrity Look-Alike. Thankfully, they didn't have to look very far considering Baltimore manger Dave Trembley's resemblance to William Shatner but things certainly had the potential to get ugly in the booth there. They've not managed to get themselves fired yet - Remy and Don - but we still have a month of baseball left. There's still time.

Also, to prove that I should really not be allowed to hold forth on baseball until I've fact-checked myself, I clearly though Matsuzaka was starting this game because apparently, I think he pitches every day now. Which, I maintain, would just be irresponsible.

Now tonight, the internets and teevees tell me, Matsuzaka is actually starting. They wouldn't lie, would they? At this point, I do wonder if Tito will just send Pedroia out to hit every third batter, reasoning that he'll take the outs for batting out of order if he can get Pedroia's zillion hits. Seems like it'd perhaps be a wise gamble.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

You guys are gonna have to bear with me for a while this morning. See, I begun this post-Labor Day week by spilling coffee all over my bathroom and myself and, in addition to being dangerously under-caffeinated, I will also spend my day smelling like French Roast.

However, if I remember correctly in my sleep haze, the Red Sox have managed to go 3-1 since last we spoke which can only mean good things. And if I didn't know, I'd have to guess that the loser in that "1" was Tim Wakefield probably because those assholes refused to score runs for him again and what do you know? I'd be right.

As for the rest of the games, it appears to have gone like this: Dustin Pedroia. Strut. Strut. Pimp Stroll. Dustin Pedroia. Repeat.

In this day and age it's a little dangerous to wonder out loud what anyone might be on but I think we're safe in assuming that in Petey's case, it's nothing more than a heaping helping of Awesome Flakes and a profound sense of "not being good enough, little man." Which, if that's what it continues to take, I say we develop some sort of phone tree system wherein we all take a few hours and are responsible for calling Pedroia or bringing signs to the ballpark claiming that he ain't shit. That'll fire him up, but good.

Additionally, Jason Varitek appears to be undergoing a reverse season of sorts. Tek notoriously drops off in September and forces me to haul out and dust off the tried and true mantra "his value to the team is not in his offense" to the derision of all and sundry. Only this season he seems to be heating up. I've theorized that it's because now he's not all alone in his secret pain anymore but maybe he's just thinking "Fuck it, let's go for broke." (Not that Jason Varitek curses, mind you. There's his influence on the Papel-fetus to consider.)

Frankly, I'm surprised that Tek and Mrs. Papelbon didn't develop some sort of radio silence/media blackout so that Papelbon wasn't made aware of Chad "Ocho Cinco" Johnson's latest exploits. Because Papelbon does not need any ideas.

Anyway, 3-1 is a more than respectable Labor Day Weekend. More than acceptable. The O's are still in town tonight and it's Matsuzaka's turn again. Speaking of, I should really let you all know who you're dealing with here when I tell you that I watched the replay of Friday night's game on Saturday for a good hour before I realized that I wasn't watching a live game. And I only noticed because someone mentioned Matsuzaka's pitch count and I thought "That's awfully irresponsible of them to make him pitch on back-to-back days." You'd think I might've noticed that it was dark at Fenway Park and not so much at my apartment which is, you know, a mile and a half down the road. You'd think that would have occurred to me. You'd have been wrong.

What I'm saying is, sometimes my brain stops working. Can't be helped.