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

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm sorry...what?

Yeah...no. That was, what we in the business call "unfuckingacceptable." Like a horrible nightmare you can't escape from, that just kept getting worse and worse. And no disrespect to the lovely Greta or any of the other charming Orioles fans I know but...what the shit? That does not happen. I realize this is Birdland and all that but come the fuck on.

Perhaps we have learned our lesson, bullpen, about either assuming rain delays or seeing a 10-1 lead in the seventh, kicking back and opening up the Jaeger tap in the bullpen before all is said and done. HAVE WE NOT? HAVE WE NOT LEARNED THAT LESSON?


Look what's happened. You've made me yell. I'm yelling now. You see what you've made me do? You haven't given me much cause to yell at you for a while and frankly, I didn't miss it. BUT IT SEEMS YOU DID. YOU MISSED THE YELLING. HAPPY NOW?

And John Smoltz had done so well too. The man is a Hall of Famer, you jerks. Show some respect. Keep this nonsense up and he'll gang up with Tim Wakefield and form a modern day Butch and Sundance and make you all pay. Don't think he won't. It's always the quiet ones.

And Nick, Nick Markakis. I am going to lay it out for you ONE. MORE. TIME. You are to play like an All-Star in 143 games out of the season. During the nineteen you play against the Red Sox, I'd prefer mediocrity to middling performance. I really thought I'd made myself clear. I named my cat after you, dude. It's really the least you can do.

But in the end, this is not on Nick. There are, in fact, a few people I'd like to blame this on and for once, not a single one of them is named Julio Lugo. Mark that down, that's gotta be a first.

Honestly, gentlemen, your mothers must've taught you better than this. Or did you never learn about chickens and the premature counting of same?

/shakes head in disgust and goes off to bed, muttering about how baseball's a stupid game anyway...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Who is man enough to step to this?

Thought I'd draw your attention to a new NESN.com post about the personalities that fit in so well in the Boston sports scene.

I promise, there's nary a Michael Jackson reference to be found.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dave Roberts: World's Nicest Man

Now, of course those of us in Red Sox Nation with dear memories of 2004 are predisposed to loving Dave Roberts. There's little the man could do that would cause us to turn on him. Short of kicking a puppy, insulting my mom and donning a Yankees cap, I'd say the guy's pretty golden around here. (Though my mom is a lovely women and I'm sure she and Mr. Roberts would get along swimmingly as he'd no doubt take a keen interest in all her scrapbooking activities). That said, there's a very clear difference in the NESN booth between Dave Roberts' commentary and that of our other Remy-filler-in-er, Dennis Eckersley.

Take, for instance, last night's game against the Nationals in which Massachusetts Senator and erstwhile Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry visited the NESN booth. Where Dave Roberts surely made his mother proud and referred to him quite respectfully as "Senator" (treatment far better than I'm sure he frequently receives in Congress), I can only imagine that Eck would have brought up the 2004 election and been all "What was that crap about, huh? Does it cheese you off that you lost to a guy stupider than a roisin bag?" (I may be editorializing a bit as I've got no clue as to Eckersley's political leanings). Where Kerry and Roberts quaintly discussed the Nationals park and how it compares to Fenway, I'm sure Eck would have mentioned something about how it's easier to find a strip joint in DC than it is around Fenway. I mean, I'm guessing.

Then there was the talk about the Sox ownership group and what it's done for the team and the fan experience over the past few years. "Mr. Henry, Mr. Lucchino and Mr. Werner have done a terrific job," Roberts said. And while that's certainly true, I thought, "Mr. Dave? Jesus, you've got the job already." But it's all part of his charm, surely.

Of course, his love affair with Jacoby Ellsbury is fantastic as I'm sure he sees himself in the "young speedster" as he might call him. But it'll be amusing to see how he keeps his raging mancrush under control. What might be good times, however, is to put Roberts and Eckersley in the booth together some evening and watch the show. I delight in the metaphorical pearl clutching Dave Roberts would surely engage in when Eck calls someone a bozo or challenges the likes of Joba Chamberlain from the booth by taunting "No one likes you anyway!" It would be, in the parlance of Mr. Roberts, splendid.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fever Dreams

(I'm sure I looked much more pathetic than this)

New NESN.com post is up wherein I recap the last week of sports happenings as seen through my swine flu haze and fevered hallucinations.

Now I ask you, what's weirder? Flu-induced imaginings or reality? Ask Luis Castillo.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Remember what your mom taught you

New post up at NESN.com regarding the Sox/Yankees rivalry and how Sox fans should act. In short: be nice.

Sorry there's not much commentary on last night's game, kids. I watched most of it from the fevered depths of swine flu and I'm not sure how much of it was a hallucination.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lucky 7

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Speaking of lucky, how lucky am I that I managed to get tickets to this game? Thanks to HJ's friend Rob, also a long time reader of mine. (The same Rob who very seriously asked me, when ascertaining that I was, in fact, the author of this here weblog, "You know he's a Yankees fan, right?") I like to think he was looking out for me.

Regardless, he offered HJ and I tickets to last night's game and we gladly accepted, unaware of the intense cloak and dagger business we'd have to go through to retrieve them. It involved a lunch time super secret drive to the depths of Newton, shimmying down a drain pipe to obtain the tickets contained within, donned sunglasses and wigs and wire transfers to banks in the Cayman Islands. Okay, only part of that is true, but I'll let you decide which part. Rob claims we should consider ourselves lucky to have escaped without an attack by fluffy bunnies or an armada of Volvo-driving suburban moms. Espionage and intrigue indeed.

It all ended up being worth it though (well, for me anyway, I can't speak for HJ who has now seen his beloved Pinstripes go 0 for 7 against the Red Sox thus far this season). That said, he remains an extremely good sport and even bantered with me about such things as why he couldn't see Papelbon's stash of Tonka Trucks in the bullpen from our seat and which Yankee player's names sounded like delicious menu items.

Me: What about Matsui? Could you order a Matsui?

HJ: No, that's not a real thing in a restaurant. What would that even be?

Me: It would be delicious is what.

HJ: Alfredo Aceves is one. But Alfredo is an actual menu item so...

Me: Could you order an Alfredo Matsui?

HJ: Ew. That'd be like octopus in cream sauce.

Me: Oh so now you can tell me what a Matsui is.

This kind of thing is pretty much par for the course.

We both also marveled at the resilience of the human liver on display all around us. Truly astounding that and the examples of douchiness weren't limited to fans of either team as one might expect. Nope, there were Yankee fans in attendance whose seeming only mission was to wank poetic about Derek Jeter (again, some more), and there were Sox fans who couldn't find anything better or more creative to do than to repeat the insipid "Yankees Suck" chant. And here's the thing about that: if you're going to insist on doing it, you might want to do it after the Yankees have done something especially bone-headed, like Nick Swisher's error leading to Pedroia's ground rule double. Or "past a not quite diving because he really doesn't seem that interested A-Rod." You certainly don't want to break it out after Johnny Damon goes yard or Swisher redeems himself with an amazing diving catch. Oh, oh that is when you'd like to reassert that the Yankees do, in fact, suck? Okay then. Sigh.

Look, I realize that it seems that I'm perhaps getting soft on the rivalry or that I'm bagging on my own people here but I think the issue, really, is that the rivalry has gotten a lot less one-sided of late. And we need new blood. Or at the very least, new chants. The Yankees don't suck. Neither do the Red Sox. Admittedly the Sox have owned the Yankees this season, or, in the parlance of 14-year-old Twitter devotees (and, let's be honest, probably Jonathan Papelbon), pwned them. And that I find delightful. But there's certainly enough insanity and rivalry-ness on the field to go around. You want to boo Mark Teixeira? By all means. Go to town. Want to roll your eyes every time someone mentions Jeter's clutchiness or calm eyes? Please, I do too. But seriously, watch the game. It's usually a pretty good one.

Speaking of, guy one section over who spent the entire game wacking a beach ball between sections and who seemed to be suffering from some sort of anger management problem if the force by which he was sending that beach ball aloft was any indication, you missed a pretty good game. Shame, that.

Of course, because it's Yankees/Red Sox, there had to be some drama. Sources at home tell me that the umpiring was shitty all night as in evidence, even from the right field box seats (most of which don't even face the right direction), when the ump badly blew the call at first resulting in Swisher being awarded an infield hit on a bunt. He was, I don't mind telling you, very, very out. So out that no Yankee fans in the area even bothered to put up a fight. The play ended up not mattering (except to Wakefield's pitch count) as Nick Green snared a smoking liner and doubled Swisher off first (perhaps rightly, perhaps it was a make up call), shortly thereafter and HJ began fielding frantic, angry text messages from Sebastian, a mutual friend and Yankee fan now living in Manhattan and listening to the game on the radio. "Tell him he can blame Julio Lugo," I said, "I usually do when things go badly." Because I don't know many things in this life for sure, but I do know that Julio Lugo would not have caught that ball.

Then, of course, there was the drama in Papelbon's ninth. While it wasn't quite the "load the bases then strike three guys out" heart attack I was fearing, things did get a little dicey. Honestly, they righted themselves when I threatened to take away Paps' Tinker Toys unless he finished the job.

"I'm glad the see he responds to threats," HJ said.

While leaving the park, I called my dad to inform him that, despite predictions, neither I nor HJ had killed anyone and no bail money needed to be ponied up. He answered the phone from the depths of sleep.

"Huh, wha? HJ killed someone?" he said groggily.

"No, dad, I'm telling you no one killed anyone. You should be proud."

"Huh, why'd he kill someone? What'd you do?"

"No, he didn't kill anyone. The Sox won 6-5. We're at the game."

"Oh, huh, say the Sox won?"

"Yes, dad, 6-5."

"Oh, oh good. Fell asleep. Hey, make sure HJ doesn't kill anyone, ok?"

"Right, thanks, dad. Will do. Go back to sleep."

I'm telling you people, the life I lead. Honestly. All that said, I'll take a 7-0 season lead on our biggest rivals any day. Even if espionage and intrigue is required to witness it. Hell, for that kind of lead, I'll make like Sydney Bristow in Alias and take the spy games international. Anything for my baseball team.

A thing of beauty

(Photo from Boston.com)

Man, seems it's been a while since we've posted a photo like that, huh? Maybe it's time again. All I know is, I was at the Cambridge Brewing Company on Saturday night enjoying a delicious adult beverage when Papi hit his second home run of the season in the game against the Rangers. The bar area erupted into spontaneous applause. We just want it so badly for him. I'm willing to bet those same people were clapping last night.

We've been hearing for the past week or so how the Yankees team the Sox would be facing during this series was not the same Yankees team they've smacked around so far this season. Maybe so. Personally, I was in New York for their three straight consecutive walkoffs and I did not relish playing a team that had seemingly found their magic. Maybe they are a different team. But then, they ran into a different Josh Beckett last night too.

This Josh Beckett, in addition to having absolutely no intention of letting any Yankee hitters do any damage whatsoever, also likely was annoyed at Eckersley for his jinxy jinxyness last time out and so was dominant from the beginning.

A.J. Burnett, on the other hand, well...he's growing a nice little Nascar-stache there. So...that's something?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Please, Papi, come back.

Hi, kids. I've got a new post up on NESN.com where I talk about David Ortiz and what we, as fans owe him. And also why it's so hard to let go...if letting go is required.

I also managed to fit in references to Jon Bon Jovi and Steve Perry. 'Cause I'm special that way.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Dennis Jinx-ersley

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

That game had pretty much everything you wanted in a baseball contest, no? A no-hitter by Beckett taken to the 7th despite some mighty jinxing on Eckersley's part (more on that in a moment), everyone - including David Ortiz(!) - getting in on the hit parade, some excellent defense in service of the then no-hitter, and even a little drama at the end there with the Tigers mounting what was an ultimately fruitless but still a bit nervous-making comeback. Also, the Sox won, which is always good times.

But about Dennis Eckersley...

Sir, are you or are you not a Hall of Fame pitcher? I know you are. I've been to the hallowed halls of Cooperstown and seen your flowing locks cast in bronze for all the baseball-loving world to admire. That fact alone should indicate that you, yourself, were a baseball player, among the world's most superstitious of characters. And you were, as you kept mentioning last night, also a pitcher. Now I realize that you've personally never thrown a no-hitter, but surely you've seen many happen. (Edit: I've been corrected by an anonymous commentor, Dennis, is that you? Eck has in fact thrown a no-hitter. In May 1977. Nevertheless.) As such, you clearly know the protocol of NOT MENTIONING THAT THE PITCHER IS THROWING A NO-HITTER. You cleverly dance around the issue. You say things like "All zeroes through seven frames for Beckett" or "Whole lotta nothing happening for the Detroit offense this evening." You might comment on the pitcher's superstition or how no one is talking to him in the dugout but you CERTAINLY DON'T SAY WHY. And you ABSOLUTELY don't mention the phrase "no-hitter." And if you break protocol and do mention it? You pretend it never happened. You don't say it seemingly thirty more times. The fans know what's going on. We're smart people. Trust me, we're paying attention.

Now, I realize that sometimes it's difficult. Especially for someone like Eck who is prone to verbal tidal waves. Especially when you disagree vehemently with something happening on the field. Like Gerald Laird's attempt last night to break up the no-hitter with a bunt bid. Cheap, Eck thought and I happen to agree. I also greatly enjoyed Eck's disgust and discussion with Orsillo about whether or not Beckett should throw the next pitch over Laird's head. See, Eck is just like us. He gives voice to his prejudices and emotions and is a paranoid homer. And it's delightful. But, Dennis, please, remember that we don't say "no-hitter" around these parts during a game. Not now, not ever.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Retirement of a Badass

(Photo originally from SI, I believe.)

I realize that outside of New England, Rodney Harrison is pretty much persona non grata. But the thing is, we love the guy around here. Every team has a guy like that. In every sport. There's always someone whom you love, but who you fully admit you wouldn't be able to stand were he on another team, especially that of your rival. I feel that way about Josh Beckett some days. And I'm pretty sure Dustin Pedroia's Napolean-complex would be more annoying and far less endearing were he a Yankee. Also? Bill Belichick. Think he's loved by fans of other teams? Or other teams? Or other coaches? I highly doubt it.

So that's how we feel about Rodney. We take his badassery and we make a thing out of it. We print up "Talk Shit, Get Hit #37" shirts. We wear it like a badge of honor. And Harrison? Well, he just keeps hitting people.

There's obviously contention about Harrison's so-called cleanliness or lack thereof as a player. Some of it warranted. But the fact remains that he is the only player in NFL history to record 30 sacks and 30 interceptions. And he played his ass off for the Patriots when he was here. That, we're going to miss.

Evidently Rodney is going to join NBC's broadcasting team which is just delightful. I imagine him as the NFL's answer to Dennis Eckersley. Spouting off about "cheese" and "junk" and occasionally warranting FCC fines. Plus also, it's not completely out of the question that he'll get so frustrated that he'll strap on a helmet, rush out of the booth and sack someone his own self. Also, Rodney did a stint reffing in NFL Europe, I believe, which is both hilarious and ironic. So he'll surely have something to say about the officiating.

Of course, the NBC gig means he won't start his smooth jazz radio show which thing I totally invented but which I also think would be exceptionally fantastic. Though I suppose there's always time. A girl can dream.