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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All streaks must end

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

I'm not sure what the question is, but I'm fairly certain that Brad Penny isn't the answer. And then there's Javier Lopez, evidently performing his best rendition of "Mother's Day Massacre with Kevin Millar and Chris Ray in C Minor." I mean one run is not the same as five, but the end result is familiar.

But we really can't get too bent out of shape about this one. Seemingly making up for Monday night's game which took all of twenty minutes, this one stretched on interminably until I called it a night, flipped off the television and figured there was every chance they'd still be playing when I woke up this morning. Last night's game was one that I didn't so much desperately want the Red Sox to win as I did for it to just be over. Maybe that makes me a bad fan. Maybe it just makes me tired. Maybe it just makes me used to the antics of a one Mr. Javier Lopez.

Not that errors can't happen to anyone. They surely do. Our beloved Mike Lowell isn't having himself the best season defensively at third but we forgive him because...he's Mike Lowell. Perhaps in this young season, we'd do best to forgive Lopez as well.

Or...we can blame all of this on Julio Lugo. Seems reasonable, no?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The power of positive...eating?

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Quite unintentionally I made chicken parm for dinner last night, only to realize as I sat down to eat that Tim Wakefield was pitching and perhaps my dinner was an unconscious tribute to everyone's favorite back-up catcher turned realtor, Doug Mirabelli. And maybe I was trying to channel some patented suave Douginess to get Wake through another stellar outing.

It wasn't until the seventh inning when Wakefield and Cliff Lee were locked in a battle of "anything you can do, I can do better" that I considered it might be working.

You guys? I might not even know my own power.

Of course, everyone's favorite Canadian had something to do with it as well. "You know," Orsillo mused after watching Jason Bay quietly take his seat on the Sox bench following his 9th inning 3-run homer off Kerry Wood, "he just kind of quietly goes about his business doesn't he?"

"He certainly does," Remy agreed.

Because Jason Bay is many things but flashy is not one of them. One gets the impression that were he to make like Jacoby and start swiping bases with any regularity, he'd be made uncomfortable by all the attention. Which is not to say he doesn't deserve it.

"Do you think Jason Bay should have a death metal version of 'O' Canada' as his at-bat music?" I posed to Chrissy a week ago.

"YES" she replied. "What can I do to assist you?"

"We both work at colleges," I told her, "surely some enterprising yound lads with a taste for PBR, some mad skillz on the guitar and the desire to make the world a better place can be convinced to help us."

"What I like about you is how you see the big picture," she replied.

I've no doubt Jason Bay would enjoy that, no? And after last night, he certainly deserves it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

How Sweep It Is!

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

So that was a hell of a thing, no? I speak, of course, of the sweep of the Yankees at the hands of the Sox over the weekend series though really, there are any number of things I could be referring to. Expert pitching by the young'uns, not so expert pitching by the veterans, Mike Lowell/Jason Bay/Kevin Youkilis' tattooing of the ball in dire situations or Jacoby Ellsbury's balls of steel and feat of derring do with that theft of home last night. But really, the whole series was remarkable.

And each game, despite the fact that the first two seemed to morph into one game lasting many weeks, had it's own distinct flavor. Friday night's was the patented Sox walkoff. And because something is up with him this year and he's yet to his his first home run of the season, David Ortiz kindly allowed Youkilis to take the reigns with the dramatic heroics. Of course, Youkilis doesn't get the chance if Jason Bay doesn't act in a way that I can only assume is contrary to his friendly, Canadian nature and welcome Mariano Rivera to the game quite rudely. Oh, Jason Bay, you never cease to delight me.

At one point during the tenth inning of that marathon contest, I turned to my boyfriend and said, "You realize we are going to die here watching this game. It will never end." To which he replied, "Bears are going to eat us." You see, he picked up the lingo quickly. Once the game headed into the 11th inning and each team seemed to be working on their fifteenth pitcher, I remarked, "I sure am glad this game is saving the series for the next two. Good thing we're not blowing through our bullpen tonight."

"At least," he replied, "we know that tomorrow's game is going to be high scoring."

And how. That certainly proved prophetic, no? My father called shortly after the dust had cleared and the Sox had been declared the victors of Game 2 in a 16-11 bloodbath. "Just calling to see if there's much discord around the homestead after that insanity," he wanted to know.

"No," I said, "things are fine here, and we are about the have a lovely dinner with friends. But I would probaby not want to be DeMaso Marte around these parts anytime soon." Because, you see, my boyfriend, being a Yankees fan, has much the same reaction to DeMaso Marte that I used to have to Rudy Seanez. That being a blood-curdling, cover your face and hide the children scream. Warranted, it seems. So I can feel his pain. I've been there is what I'm saying. The flip side of which is, of course, that personally, I'm growing rather fond of Marte. Him and all his friends and their double-digit bullpen ERA. But I do not mind telling you that Jason Varitek's grand slam? Surprised no one so much as yours truly and you all know I've long been a 'Tek apologist. A thousand pardons, Captain, I should never have doubted you.

Then of course, there was yesterday. While Friday's game was fraught with drama and tension and Saturday's day-into-evening slugfest was about nothing so much as seeing how long these two teams could keep trading touchdowns, yesterday's game meandered along with a 1-1 deadlock for five innings where nothing much happened and you're left with the brain-cramping task of trying to make sense of whatever nonsense Joe Morgan is babbling. A fool's errand, surely. So in response, I fell asleep. That is, until just before Ellsbury made like Jackie Robinson with the larceny. "I have never seen that," I exclaimed as my phone blew up with text messages from all over the northeast. Somewhere, from the depths of the couch I heard, "Siiiiiiigh." You see, it's a give and take. However, I enjoyed nothing so much as Terry Francona's reaction to Ellsbury upon returning to the dugout. Tito being so dad-like and all, he hugged Ellsbury who couldn't stop smiling, and did that Italian grandfather, grab the other person's face thing, and looked to say something to the effect of "That was great. Way to go, son. Don't ever do it again." No one seemed more surprised that Tito. With the possible exception of Andy Pettitte.

Steve Phillips, in a rare moment of lucidity and sense - though really anyone seems like a Rhodes Scholar when sharing the booth with Joe Morgan - described every Yankees/Red Sox series as a "war of attrition." Usually one team wins when the other one runs out of arms. There was talk of how, in this young season, the Red Sox seem to have more answers than the Yankees but, you know, they're the Yankees. You can't count them out at any point. They can and will always acquire new players. Though, I did have to wonder out loud, at a team that added Burnett, Sabathia and Teixeira over the off season, "Who else is there?" Clearly, I'd forgotten about the Yankee-Robot Genetic Testing and Research Labs located under the concourse in the new stadium. It's only a matter of time before the robot prototypes are ready. Until then, however, I'll revel in the sweep. Won't you join me?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rain, rain go away.

(Photo from msnbc.com)

New NESN post up in which yours truly gives some suggestions for the best way to kill a rain delay. It's not all tarps and Slip 'n Slides, my friends.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mon Dieu!

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Milan Lucic will thank you not to get fighty with him.

Bruins win, you guys. Four games to zero. While the series may have lacked suspense, it surely wasn't wanting for satisfaction. Deeeeelightful!

How's it go again? Oh, that's right, "Bruins, the Bruins what?"

Monday, April 20, 2009

A question for the ages

Chrissy asks, while watching today's Orioles/Sox Patriots' Day matinee:

"What is scarier? Mike Tyson or Dustin Pedroia after three Red Bulls and a bag of Sour Patch Kids?"


Three to get ready...

I use a picture of the fascinating Hideki Okajima because - and I'm not sure if you know this if you haven't been to a game in which Okajima has pitched in the past few years - but the man has the most ridiculous entrance music in baseball and it's been stuck in my head ever since I heard it Friday from the right field bleacher seats.

It's infectious and hilarious and why it isn't the sound of more Bay State ring tones is beyond me. Don't believe me? Have a listen. (You will need headphones lest you scare coworkers).

Pretty amazing, right?

Anyway, Friday's game - which did not begin all that well thanks to Derek Lowe Redux, er, Brad Penny, ended in splendid fashion with the Sox on top 10-8. (Less splendidly for Greta who, decked out in her Orioles gear finest was my seat companion thanks to some free tickets from Joey D. who is pretty much the greatest Yankees-turned-Red Sox fan I could ever hope to know).

Of course, the bleachers at Fenway are never complete without a beer shower which I received in the second inning while moving seats (Row 11, Row 12, they really should mark those things more clearly). The game was not entirely pleasing for either Greta or myself for the first few innings and surely not for both of us at the same time. I must remember to have another talk with Mr. Markakis about the rules set forth in re: his performance against the Red Sox. A grand slam most certainly does not qualify.

However, when Okajima came in in the eighth, Greta and I both dissolved into fits of giggles because how can you not when faced with that kind of aural Japanese insanity? Would you like to hear it again?

By all means.

You're welcome.

The Sox also took care of business on Saturday and Sunday as they are wont to do it appears. You know what they say about water finding it's own level and such. You'll forgive me if I don't have a terrible lot to add about the games as Saturday's was pre-empted by the Bruins Game 2 (Bruins, the Bruins what?) and I spent much time yelling at the television and monitoring the level of my increasing crush on Milan Lucic. (Threat level: severe). I also woke up with a sizable bump on my head this morning the origins of which I am unclear. It's possible I was head-banging in my sleep again but I suspect that perhaps Chrissy is right when she suggests that I might've been living a vicarious hockey game in my sleep and am suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Seems just as likely an explanation as anything else.

Friday, April 17, 2009

You want fries with that?

(Wouldn't you trust your children to this man?)

New post up on NESN.com, kids. Take a gander, if you so dare. Included therein are suggestions for current Red Sox second careers. Inspired, of course, by Dougie's foray into real estate. What a world we do live in.

(Also, I've added a space on the sidebar with a link to the backlog of NESN.com posts, should you be so inclined.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

In the market?

(Photo from Coldwell Banker)

You guys? Look what's happened?

Faaaaaaaaaantastic. I'm sure if we all band together, we can put a down payment on a place somewhere, no?

This is...I mean...there's really not much to add here is there? Let's all just bask in the awesome.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Couldn't have (almost) happened to a nicer guy...

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Well, at least Tim Wakefield won't have to worry about waking up in a cold sweat, years from now, repeating the mantra "Shouldn't have shaken off 'Tek. You never shake off 'Tek." At least there's that. And Young George Kottaras, who took one off the tender bits earlier in the game, wouldn't be completely out of line if he did a little strutting around the clubhouse this afternoon. You know, provided he's physically able.

It's always an issue with no-hitters, how long the pitcher's teammates make them wait before they give them another shot at the mound and a chance to resume the business of sitting people down as fast as they come up. And when the Sox exploded for five runs in the eigth, I did wonder if maybe Wakefield had been sitting for too long. But he is Tim Wakefield, after all. He's the same guy who's been pitching on this team since 1995 and who can, if he's on, give you millions of pitches a night. You know, if he's on. Though, being a knuckleballer, there's less science to that than one might expect. Point being, the wait might not have mattered in the slightest. Though I am fairly sure he didn't mind those additional five runs.

It was a good sign all around, really, since aside from Kevin Youkilis and his Milk Dud head (TM Kevin Millar), the team wasn't hitting it's shoe size lately. The JD Drew bobblehead, you'll be happy to know, is now allowed to face front. For the time being.

Of course, it all goes back to your starting pitcher, and with Matsuzaka going on the DL after last night's disastrous start (the things you miss when you refuse to endure sleep deprivation for April West coast games), our pitching is beginning to look more and more worrisome. Perhaps karma is going to bite me in the ass for laughing about Nick Swisher's stint on the mound for the Yankees a couple of days ago. Things keep going like this, we might have Nick Green pitching in about a week.

Speaking of Green, it's been two games with him as our full time shortstop and it might take another few before I stop asking, every time he's up "Who the hell are you?" Besides someone who's evidently been spending some time perfecting the "taller Wes Welker" look, of course. That said, Green did make the play that, but for a knuckleball that didn't knuckle, would have been referred to as THE play that sealed Wakefield's no-no. You know there's always one.

It's really quite a shame though, when you think about it. Wakefield, by far the longest tenured member of this Red Sox team has seen five managers and countless players come and go. He's lived through the Manny Era, the Nomar Nonsense and the Curt Schilling as Closer Experience. And Grady Little. After the disastrous and heartbreaking ending to the 2003 playoffs, Wakefield walked off the Yankee Stadium mound a loser, having served up the game-winning home run ball to the infamous Aaron Boone. One year later, Wakefield vanquished those same demons on that same mound. Also, he's never snapped and threatened a drunk Doug Mirabelli with Indian burns or stuffed Dustin Pedroia in his locker...that we know of, such restraint clearly demonstrating the patience and long-suffering nature of some kind of latter day baseball saint. Also, the kids seem to like him and no one has yet to discover any human heads in his freezer (it's always the quiet ones) despite the fact that, save today, the Sox often steadfastly refuse to score runs for him.

These reasons, all of them, are why it would have been especially sweet to see Wake get his no-hitter today. But, being the team-first guy he's always shown himself to be, I'm sure he'll tell us he'll settle for a win and for - hopefully - getting the team back on track. That Wakefield, what a guy, huh?

What I wouldn't give to hear Doug Mirabelli's inevitable voicemail message to him though...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


(Photo by Yahoo! Sports)

Above, JD Drew does an interpretive dance of the Red Sox play thus far this season.

But, I mean...if we're looking for bright sides here, I guess we can hang our hopes on the fact that at least our first basemen didn't have to pitch an inning, unlike with some other teams I can name? Though honestly, that mostly falls into the realm of black comedy. And there's really nothing that humorous about our wee shortstop's DL stint (he must be so scared! For all he knows, the DL is a place where shortstops go and from whence they never return!), and our pitching staff's shakiness. Also, et tu, Nomar? And, though it may be Red Sox fan suicide to admit this, I find myself growing somewhat fond of Nick Swisher, if only because in addition to being willing to quite literally take one for the team and pitch an inning (scoreless at that!), he's also injecting some much needed life into that bunch of buttoned-up, corporate, no fun having automatons. Don't get me wrong, I'd still appreciate it if they'd continue losing in embarrassing fashion, but at least Swisher's Twitter feed is amusing. (For serious).

The Sox, however, would do well to win one of these days. It's still early days yet, of course as we're in the land of early season 28.00 ERAs (or 0.0 if you're Swisher), and .800 batting averages and reason holds that these things will return to form. But in the meantime, I wouldn't mind a win here and there? What say you, gentlemen?

Friday, April 10, 2009

New Digs

Yup, so I've got a gig with NESN.com to contribute content to their website. How 'bout that, huh? It's only a matter of time before I bombard them with my pitches for Rain Delay fillers such as "Hangin' with Paps and Papi" and the inevitable "Bill Belichick's What Not To Wear." One step at a time.

Here's the link to today's piece. I'll be popping up over there from time to time. Feel free to leave glowing commentary in the comments section. Thanks, kids.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

I can already tell that I'm going to spend the first couple months of the season exclaiming aloud to my empty apartment (or all the dust bunnies in residence therein) "Huh, so-and-so is on such-and such a team now?" Which was last night's reaction to Pat Burrell. The long, long, looooong offseason has somehow erased all this brand new information from my brain and while I apparently have no problem remembering and informing people apropos of absolutely nothing that "Nomar is an A now," I evidently can't remember the players in the division. And despite knowing it happened, I still had a moment of confusion when Carl Crawford hit a fly to right and Don Orsillo exclaimed, "Crawford flies to right, Baldelli comes in and makes the catch." Because...oh right, Baldelli=Red Sox now. Brain synapses must rework themselves. Got it.

It's gonna take some mental adjustment is all I'm saying.

Like with Gabe Kapler, who it's always nice to see. According to Jerry Remy, he ran into Kapler in the weight room (because of course he did), and Kapler was incredibly touched by the Opening Day ovation he got at Fenway. Say what you want about us, but we remember the good guys.

The game last night, however, was slightly less lovely and heartwarming. Lester's control is somewhat worrisome (but, you know, Game 2 and all that), but Kazmir is Kazmir is Kazmir and despite perhaps aging in the Benjamin Button style, the dude is no joke as a pitcher. Neither are most of the members of the Rays' staff. It's looking more and more like last season was not an abberation which is really going to be a pain in the ass come mid-summer and playoff push time.

But here's what I really want to talk about: Manny Delcarmen and Dustin Pedroia's facial hair. For all the world it looks like Delcarmen is posing as one of those Wooly Willy kid's toys but that Pedroia got all greddy-like and stole most of the iron filings for himself. Probably to enhance his epic manliness. But really, I just think it makes Delcarmen look like a hobo and Pedroia resemble a kid who ate his Cocoa Krispies too fast.

Now that that important observation is out of the way, is it just me or does "Zobrist" sound like the name of an intergalactic race of space invaders? All hail Zobrist, invader of Earth? No? Just me then? Okay. The cheese stands alone.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Opening Day: Redux

(Photo from Boston.com)

That's right, Jason Varitek remains the Captain of my heart. Because on this, Take Two of Opening Day, I arrived home from the gym (where none of the ten TVs were playing the game because I guess business school students think there are other, more important things in this world, which, as you know, is clearly nonsense), flipped on the TV, sat down, and our very own Captain Varitek, sole owner of the Thighs of Freedom, launched one out of the park. Clearly, I can't turn my TV off until October. If he needs me to pay attention to his every movement for the remainder of the season, well, who am I to say no? It's for the team, people.

Personally, I thought this baseball season would never start. A seemingly interminable wait since the Sox were eliminated last year - a wait not helped at all by Tom Brady's absense from our lives all winter - and flipping on the TV today to see real, live "this time it counts!" baseball was certainly a joy to behold. Though it'd been so long that honestly, I won't lie, I came home and did the same thing I've been doing for months now, flipping past channels to find something, anything, when my brain pulled focus and I said out loud (to no one), "Oh yeah, baseball!" Which is when I flipped to NESN. Which is when 'Tek decided to shoot a home run over the right field wall. Which is when life began to make sense again.

Perhaps I'm being hyperbolic as it is, as people have told me, only baseball. But the way I figure it, we've been living in a Beatles song for the past few months and are just now emerging. You know, "it's been a long, cold, lonely winter" and all that? Here comes the sun, indeed.

Of course, this baseball season won't be without it's challenges. 'Tek's power shot today is a nice way to start things off but let's not forget that he has the wee Papelbon to raise and the elder Papelbon to keep away from firearms during game time. And it's really only a matter of time before Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis fully morph into their characters from The Dugout and start messing with Rocco Baldelli for sport to kill time during rain delays. I've begun to think that Youkilis does these insane things to his facial hair solely so lost bets with Pedroia won't make him look more bizarre.

Then there's Ortiz and Lowell, both of whom are looking to return to form. While I've no doubt that Chrissy has an eye out for any hitches in Lowell's swing or minute changes in his demeanor - trust me, she'd know and she'd report them with breathless haste - someone has to keep an eye on Ortiz. I trust you can all handle it?

Plus, there's always the pitching staff, helmed admirably by Senor Fathead today (all right, two hits warrants an actual name, Joshua), but let us not forget that Mr. Walks-The-Ballpark Matsuzaka will still hold court once every five days and we're not yet certain that young Mr. Kottaras has been given the requisite amount of psychological training to handle catching Wakefield. We certainly can't ask Josh Bard for help since he's almost assuredly developed quite the trust issues when it comes to our Red Sox. But if you can find me a team without some pitching questions at the beginning of the season, I'll call you a liar. Hell, even New Yorkers are lining up to chase CC Sabathia with torches and pitchforks after one disastrous start. Ah, overreaction, it is baseball season after all, isn't it?

On a personal level, this season promises to be interesting in a larger sense as I'm now dating a Yankee fan. (I know, I know, you think you know a person). But call it an exercise in bipartisanship and look forward to the he said/she said commentary that's sure to pop up in this space. And no, he's not one of those jumping in the Hudson after yesterday's Sabathia-Boggle. He really seems quite rational, all evidence and logic to the contrary. But go easy on him. Despite his questionable taste in sports teams, he's really quite lovely. And he finds you all delightful.

I do wonder how he'll react to my constant vigilance in re: Jason Varitek's thighs and the power contained therein though?

Whatdaya say, kids? Wanna play another one tomorrow? Oh let's!