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

Monday, August 31, 2009

So long, old friend

Well, it was probably only a matter of time. When Mike Vrabel left for Kansas City to keep Matt Cassel company, I worried that Tedy Bruschi simply wouldn't be able to find the strength to keep on keepin' on.

Turns out, Bruschi is retiring after all.

We're going to miss him around these parts, that's for sure. Though something tells me that Bruschi will never be far from Patriots football and I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised to see him join Belichick's army of be-hoodie'd coaches sometime in the near future.

More later when I have a chance to process and reflect. But for now, be well, Tedy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

No pressure, Tom.

Switching gears from baseball, this week's NESN.com post tackles (heh, see what I did there?) Tom Brady's recovery, the upcoming Patriots season and what we all want and expect.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Feels Like Football

(Photo from Boston.com)

"Okay," Chrissy said as we sat down, raised our beers to Tom Brady's surgically-repaired leg and toasted to another football season, "here's the plan: as soon as the ball's snapped and Brady either throws it or hands off, he turns and runs wildly in the opposite direction."

"Away from large men lunging for his knees?" I asked.

"Yes, exactly."

"I endorse this plan."

Because, the thing is, as glad as I am to have Tom Brady and his two functional knees back on the turf, it's going to take a little while to overcome the PTSD effects I'm going to feel every time a 400-lb linebacker comes within three feet of him. I can't imagine what his own mother must feel like since everyone in New England will be holding their breath every time the ball is snapped.

But I assume, eventually, we'll get over it. Because we missed football around these parts. We really, really missed football.

Chrissy is concerned about the Randy and Tommy relationship as she thinks that the pair might need to attend couples counseling to deal with Randy's abandonment issues. But I told her that I think it's like when your husband goes away on a business trip for a long time and when he comes back, you don't sleep well for a few nights because you forgot how your arm goes there and his leg goes there or whatever. Basically, they just need to work out the kinks. Meaning, I don't think Randy was dropping passes on purpose to act out because Brady was throwing touchdowns to Chris Baker.

And then there is that Julian Edelmen fellow who I'd previously never been aware of but who is awfully scampery and fast and, frankly, I enjoy him. He was delightfully excited about everything that happened on the field which is what I believe a fan would act like, if given the chance to play. He also inspired what I'm calling "Game Plan #2" for the season.

"That's how we're going to score half our touchdowns this season," I said. "Kickoff returns. That way, Brady doesn't even have to be on the field."

"I enjoyed the strategy of using a quick-deploying, impenetrable steel wall the second the ball was snapped but this also works," Chrissy replied.

There was some sadness, of course, as there always is at the beginning of a new season. When the list of notable Patriots departures was flashed on the screen, I felt a special twist seeing Mike Vrabel's name up there.

"What I don't understand," Chrissy said, "is why we needed to lose Mike Vrabel."

"Because some one has to be the head cheerleader at Matt Cassel Confidence Camp in Kansas City and put the nice notes with the smiley faces in his lunch box."

"Well that makes sense," she said.

Also, as I mentioned to my mom later on the phone, Cassel is going into an unfamiliar system. It'll help if he has someone that can catch touchdowns. Apparently that's all Mike Vrabel does.

Losing Vrabel is going to sting. I second Amy's feelings when she said that she'd find herself getting really excited about football season and then she'd be struck with the mental image of Vrabes and Tedy sitting in front of rain-streaked windows and contemplating calling each other and she'd get sad all over again. I'm just saying, there's probably a lot of John Waite's "Missing You" playing in the Bruschi household. Tedy seems like a man who enjoys his slow jams.

That being said, Bill Belichick has never been the kind of guy to dwell in the past. He probably also doesn't acknowledge the 2007 Super Bowl as a thing that happened and he remains laser focused on the immediate future. That being, apparently, berating his newly-titanium'd QB 1 on the sidelines. But I gotta tell you, that picture makes me happy. Because Bill Belichick does not care two whits about Tom Brady's knee. He does not care about his pregnant supermodel wife or his Details magazine cover or whatever shenanigans Matt Light has in store. Bill Belichick cares about the fact that Brady just threw a long interception and he is not happy. And that, my friends, is why we like Bill Belichick.

So football is back and the Pats notched a win in a game that was meaningless in the long run but spoke volumes in our confidence as a fan base. Can't wait for the next one.

Return of the RemDawg

New NESN.com post in which I suggest that the boys start playing well. You know, for the RemDawg.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A sight for sore eyes

(Photo from Boston.com)

Ah, Remy. We missed you. Please come back soon to stay.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fighting Spirit

(Photo from Boston.com)

Good lord, that is the stuff nightmares are made of. I mean, I totally had a dream last night that I was fishing with someone who got torn apart by a shark but that picture up there is nearly as scary. (Side note: I might need to take a break from the Discovery Channel's programming and subsequent Netflix rentals). But Kevin Youkilis is one angry dude. And it's not pretty.

Though I do applaud the Sox tactic of "We can't seem to hit this pitcher, let's get him thrown out of the game by inciting some kind of benches-clearing brawl and get another, suckier pitcher put in." Very shrewd. Whether or not the beaning was intentional is up for debate. Kevin Youkilis does seem to get hit an awful lot. And part of it, I'm sure, is his stance. That said, eventually, even the most even-tempered guy (which Youkilis, I'm guessing, is not), is going to lose it and want to take someone down with him. I suppose you can't blame the guy.

Plus, and I know some people hate this argument as it's akin to the "fights get the team fired up" philosophy from hockey, but maybe it's what the team needed. Sure, they won on Monday night but they've been decidedly below water for the past week and a half or so and replacing Youkilis with Mike Lowell who belted two home runs might be just what the doctor ordered.

Of course, this prompted a discussion between HJ and I as to which member of the Red Sox you'd least like to piss off. He weighed in with Victor Martinez because "he's like 800 feet tall and he seems generally even-tempered. So when he goes, he goes." I countered with Dustin Pedroia because he's got years and years of little person rage to build upon. HJ scoffed at that, claiming that he thinks Pedroia's all bark and no bite. Which probably means that at some point today, HJ will open the door to find Dustin Pedroia on the doorstep, calling him out into the street to settle this like men.

But also, I don't think you can discount the power of Kevin Youkilis in a baseball brawl. If only because brawls are generally harmless and no one really ends up hurt. There are rare exceptions, of course, but for the most part, they're largely for show. Except I don't think anyone ever told Youkilis that. I mean, look at that face. Does that look like the face of a man who's kidding?

Of course, then there's Tito and Jim Leyland, who I was not all sure wasn't going to incite an old man brawl and start ranting about six-shooters and panty-waits and whatever else it is old men like Jim Leyland talk about. I wouldn't have been at all surprised if he'd attempted to step in himself and throw, oh, I don't know, David Ortiz to the ground. I don't suspect anyone would have been able to toss Leyland quite as easily as Don Zimmer went down.

All that said, in the end, the Red Sox won. And Tazawa didn't collapse into a sobbing heap on the mound. So really, we can consider that a double win. Right on.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Good Boys

(Photo from Boston.com)

Was that all they needed, you think? Some tough love? Because I could do that all day, every day if that's what's required. Last night's game was a welcome respite in what had become a disconcertingly long losing streak and all of a sudden, I saw flashes of the baseball team that, on occasion, has made me happy, instead of inspiring me to reach for the vodka.

Timely hitting, good-turned-adequate pitching and an ability to recover when things didn't go their way. Now that's my baseball team. Not this sloppy band of miscreants and ragamuffins who just dropped four straight in the Bronx. It's so much more fun for all of us when people are hitting home runs and pitching out of jams then when they're masquerading as the Durham Bulls and discussing how candlesticks always make a nice gift. Though really, if the losing streak had gone any longer, it's entirely possible my NESN columns for the remainder of the season would have verged into similar territory as I discussed what to get the General Manager who has everything (a nice patio barbecue set, clearly), and whether or not we think Jason Varitek has spent more time on the phone with Doug Mirabelli lately, brushing up on his real estate facts as the trade for Victor Martinez has made him a might nervous.

I'm sure Dougie's giving him some excellent tips. Like how a pocket square really adds a professional touch to any business meeting.

Of course, tonight the Sox throw wee, young Tazawa into the mix as this evening's starting pitcher. As if shoving him onto the mound at Yankee Stadium during the 15th inning of a do or die game in his first game in the majors, only so he could give up the walkoff home run to Alex Rodriguez weren't psychologically damaging enough, they're going to see if they can finish the job tonight. Perhaps none of us will be happy until he tears at his uniform, does barrel rolls around the infield and runs screaming into the door in the Green Monster. Wouldn't be the first time. Baptism by fire, indeed.

But maybe he'll surprise us all. Here's hoping. That's the thing about baseball, right? Hope marches endlessly - and often foolishly - on.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stern Talking To

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

I would hide my face too, Daniel Bard.

Really, you guys? REALLY? You couldn't win one measly ball game? You had four chances. FOUR. Ted Williams once famously said something about how baseball is the only venue in life where someone can fail a third of the time and still be considered great so it's not like the stakes were too high here. But instead you choose to fail ALL OF THE TIME. I'm disgusted.

Look, sometimes I hate it when I'm right. And as my column at NESN.com on Friday indicates, sometimes I'm downright prophetic. I am not proud of it, no how, no way. Do you think it was fun for me, dear Red Sox, to spend the weekend in New York at various functions to be introduced to many people I'd never met before and, upon hearing that I'm a Red Sox fan, they'd do that teeth sucking, intake of breath that translates loosely to "Ooooo, that suuuuuucks." Because that was not fun for me. (This had nothing to do with the people I met, mind you, as they were all charming and delightful, but in a room full of Yankee fans, it was like smelling blood in the water).

Which is somewhat apropos because Shark Week just ended and I would rather watch shark attack simulations and diver's dummies torn apart FOR HOURS AND HOURS than watch John Smoltz get shelled on the mound at Yankee Stadium or Daniel Bard surrendering back to back home runs. Seriously, bring on the carnivorous shark carnage any day. It's less painful to watch.

You know what isn't fun? Listening to the idiots on WFAN dissect Ortiz's press conference and opine in the most blow hard fashion possible that Ortiz is somehow MORE guilty of cheating than A-Rod because at least A-Rod has a compelling story to go with his steroid use. Really, someone actually said that. At which point, HJ, seeing the steam coming out of my ears, switched the station to some nice, calming slow jams, lest I put my fist through the windshield. I mostly try to be reasonable when in enemy territory because I don't want to draw undue attention (or abuse) to myself but I needed a moment after that one. A moment and several strong drinks.

You know who's probably just as disgusted as I am? Josh Beckett. Because with the way Friday's game was pitched, it's really a shame anyone had to lose it (though, obviously, I would have chosen the alternate ending, especially if I'd known how the rest of the weekend was going to shape up). But there is little doubt in my mind that when A-Rod's home run (anyone but him, Universe, really), landed in the seats, Beckett set about the business of destroying whatever water coolers, helmet racks and small children were in his path. And I can't really say I blame him. Had I been in possession of any projectiles at that point, I might've thrown them myself. Who knows, perhaps the Red Sox would like to sign me to pitch for them since NO ONE ELSE SEEMS TO WANT TO DO IT.

Okay, that's not really the problem. Or it's not the sole problem. Everyone is equally at fault here and I'm not the least bit happy about any of it. I'm pretty much at my wit's end with this team. I suspect time outs won't work and Victor Martinez can only do so much. So...what? What do they need? They don't get a respite as the Tigers are in town tonight and Brad Penny, who I swear pitches EVERY DAY takes the mound. I will watch, provided I can find enough alcohol in the house to dull the pain of what may very well become a seven game losing streak. And if it is, well...football preseason begins on Thursday?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Ow, my pride

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

NESN.com has my take on what to expect from this weekend's series and the remainder of the season.

In short, ::whimper::

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

I liked it so much better when we played the Orioles every day. Really, that was fun. And I must again submit my plea to Major League Baseball that hits can carry over so we can take a few of our 23 from Sunday against the O's and put them to better use last night against the Rays who, tiresomely, insist on being a giant pain in the ass. Again. Some more.

Look, I understand that it's all cute and feel good-y and whatever and gosh darn shucks do people like that Evan Longoria kid and all that but more often than not, I feel like I end up shaking my fist at the sky and yelling "Zobrissssssst!" in the manner of not a few of the patrons of this here blog. Because we are enemies, the Rays and I, and Ben Zobrist just has the most cartoonish name with which to express our comic book-like struggle.

But see, we knew this was going to happen. We knew there was no way we were going back to the status quo this season with the Sox and Yankees beating the crap out of each other until only one was left standing. Not after last season. Not after The Ascension of Tampa. They seem to have gotten a taste of that whole winning thing and they appear hungry for more. (You'll forgive me for the dramatic prose but it's Shark Week and I really can't help it.)

Side note: know what's more fun than watching the Red Sox blow it in extra innings to the Rays when the eventual outcome was all but certain? Watching a show about shark attacks complete with bloody stumps, 911 calls and massive amounts of red food coloring.

So the way I see it, I'm glad Shark Week is lasting for another couple of days - right through the remainder of the Sox/Rays series. That way, in case the carnage on the field gets too difficult to bear, I can turn my attention to the animal kingdom variety and make myself feel marginally better by discussing with anyone who'll care to listen how a ray wouldn't stand a chance against a testosterone-riddled bull shark. Don't think I won't do it.