Monthly Archives: March 2005

Can’t talk, good things are happening!*

Just three days left till REAL baseball and it’s come to my attention that I have some power. Or rather, me and some of the other Sox bloggers, especially those of the female persuasion, have some power. I mean, check out this irrefutable evidence:

  • “Tushies for Tek” is founded on the SGMB, clamoring for the re-signing of our catcher and captain. What happens? The man’s back, ain’t he? Granted, I can’t claim responsibility for this one since I’m a slow kid in coming to the SGMB and was not an actual member of the movement. However, you can be sure I conducted my own vigil involving fasting, binging, swearing and possible deals with the devil.
  • Bring Back the Bullpen Car!” is founded by Amy, Hoo, Sam, Emma and myself during an especially sanity-taxing day. In it, we deliver impassioned rhetoric, heart-wrenching testimony, cold, hard facts and fantastical dreams detailing the need for the return of the bullpen car. Thus far, the Minnesota Twins have reinstated the use of the magical, miniature vehicle. It’s only a matter of time before the other twenty-nine teams comply.
  • Just two days ago on this very blog, I called for the release or disappearance or termination (I mean that in a figurative sense, I don’t want the dude murdered or anything), of BK Kim. Evidently, Theo loves me. See ya, BK, enjoy Colorado! That, I must admit, was satisfying. Jettisoning a particularly infuriating piece of baggage – with baggage of his own – was cleansing. Hey, I’m sure BK is a nice guy, but if you can’t get along in a clubhouse where Kevin Millar does naked jumping jacks and Edgar Renteria sings country songs, well, I’m not sure I want you on my team.

Other baseball things which I had no part in but which I am happy about nonetheless:

  • This hits newsstands soon. I would like to apologize in advance to the nice man who runs the newsstand on the first floor of my office building for my constant presence over the next week and a half and my repeated questioning of, “Has it come yet?!?” I promise to mop up my own puddle of drool. And for those of you who don’t understand my affinity for eye black, take a good, long look at this picture and tell me that does nothing for you. If you can honestly say that, well, I won’t believe you, and then I’ll think you’re an android, but hey, more Tek for me. Thanks to Hoo for pointing it out.
  • Mike Myers has returned to the Boston Red Sox. He was a pretty handy guy to have around during the stretch run last season and came in useful on more than one playoff occasion. Apparently it was Terry’s lobbying and not mine that made this happen but it’s never a bad thing to have a reliever who shares his name with one of the twentieth century’s most famous horror movie villains and who enters the game to the strains of the “Halloween” soundtrack. I mean, I don’t even like horror movies and I think that’s cool. So I’m glad he’s back, if for no other reason than he increases the camp and atmospheric quality of the team.

I have a lot of respect for Jason [Varitek],” Rodriguez said Wednesday. “That’s why he’s the captain of that team. In the heat of the moment, New York-Boston, sometimes you do things you regret. I’m not really proud of it now that I have a daughter.

“But you play hard, you live and, again, I do have respect for Jason and what he’s done. And he’s a world champion and I’m not.”

First of all, nice approach there, Slappy. We almost forgot you’re a complete tool now that you’re a dad.

Secondly, according to A-Rod:

It’s been a lot more stealth, going back under the radar screen and focusing on one thing and that’s winning,” Rodriguez said. “Everything else is secondary.”

Okay, I get it, so he’s a superhero now. All hail, Stealth Man! And this guy has a publicist. That’s what kills me.

And thirdly, it’s not “Jason,” buddy, it’s “Mr. Varitek.” “Captain” if you’re nasty.

Also? “He’s a world champion and I’m not?” I believe I speak on behalf of all Red Sox fans when I say, “NEENER!”

Thanks to Sam for the link.

  • I walked past Fenway Park last night en route to a mojito research mission (really!) and I would like to tell you that I didn’t squeal, jump up and down and hug the facade. But I would be lying.
  • There is a new McDonald’s commercial wherein a guy in a Sox cap sits in his truck at a red light. After a moment, he smiles and pumps his fist. The voiceover says, “Every now and then it hits you.” I am not ashamed to say I am that guy insomuch as I do that, oh, let’s say once a day. Good on ya, McDonald’s. And I didn’t think I’d ever say that.

Non-baseball related things that I also find interesting. Y’all can stop reading if you go into a catatonic coma between the World Series and Opening Day. I’ll understand. But for those of you still reading:

  • The Carolina Panthers football program is being scrutinized for suspected steroid use among its players prior to Super Bowl XXXVIII where they played (and lost to) our New England Patriots. Jeff Mitchell, Todd Sauerbrun and former player Todd Steussie had steroid prescriptions filled prior to the Super Bowl. Dudes, Sauerbrun is a punter. A punter, for crissakes! A punter needs steroids in the NFL? I don’t know exactly why but I find this almost unbearably hilarious. Imagine the flack that’d be flying now if the Panthers had won?
  • The NHL Players Association and the NHL Owners are scheduled to meet again for the first time since St. Patrick’s Day. Since then, they’ve cancelled the draft in Ottawa, bandied about the idea of using blue ice, widening the goals by 2 inches to increase scoring and allowing cameras into the locker rooms. Mer (the only person outside of my family that I know that gives two shits about hockey) and I have discussed this in an email exchange.

Kristen: So, making the nets bigger. A proposal of switching from 4’x6′ to 4’2″x6’2″ or bowing them in the middle to make them wider but not taller. Is this really what they should be concerned about?

Also, how much difference does 2 inches really make in the amount of scoring? Maybe a lot, I’m not a goalie, but still. I feel like there are more pressing concerns.

Mer: It’s amazing the things the suits think will help the sport.

Here are the things most detrimental to the NHL:
1. Missing a year due to a lack of CBA
2. Clutching, grabbing, trapping (which leads to the very lack of scoring that they’re so worried about)

Have they done ANYTHING to fix either of these problems?

They can talk all they want about bigger nets, blue ice, and smaller goalie pads, but those are miniscule changes in the grand scheme of things. They need to test bigger changes, such as removing the red line and getting rid of the 2 line pass.

It’s frustrating to see people wasting their time with things like the color of the ice.

And as for allowing cameras into the locker rooms or miking the benches and penalty boxes? Let me put it this way, for an audio project my freshman year in college, I miked the bench of my brother’s high school hockey team. The shit I came away with would make your toes curl. And this is high school. A private, Catholic high school. In New Hampshire. If the NHL wants to mike the benches in the pros, they’ll end up with nothing but a shrieking constant censor beep. I’m not sure that adds to the enjoyment of the game. And until you have smelled a hockey bag up close and personal, you do not understand that the last thing people need is access to the locker room. Let me tell you, it is the most foul smell known to man, capable of stripping the paint off walls or removing rust from a car bumper. There is no worse smell on this planet. None. “But football players-.” No. “Running shoes are-.” NO! There is nothing worse. I promise you that. My point being that even a visual of a forward’s sopping wet elbow pads, hanging in his locker is enough to give me unfortunate olfactory flashbacks to my high school years when the basement of my house smelled strongly enough to kill all household pets within a 12-mile radius. I do not need implied Aroma-Vision. Keep the cameras on the ice.

Okey doke, I think that’s it. I’m sure other fantastic things are bound to happen over the course of the next few days that will make the seemingly interminable wait until Opening Day seem that much shorter. Until then, to quote Tom Petty, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

*it’s a Scrubs reference. I don’t know.


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Dueling Backstops

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My phone rings at 7:15 this morning. I’m drying my hair. The caller ID says it’s my brother. I immediately start to panic since my bro hardly ever calls me of his own volition (a function of being so damn popular, one assumes), and certainly never calls me at 7:15 in the bloody morning.

“Oh god,” I think, “His car is in a ditch somewhere and he doesn’t want to call Mom and Dad…again.” Or, “He thinks I’ll know what to do with the bodies.”

“Hello?” I answer.

“I just wanted to tell you that I’m watching Sportscenter right now and Doug E. Fresh hit two doubles against the Yankees yesterday,” he says.

“Okay,” I reply. “They didn’t mention on SportsDesk who got the hits.”

“No,” he shoots back, “Don’t play it off like that. All you haters’ll see. Dougie is the man!”

“Um, I have nothing but love for Doug.”

“No!” his voice rises, “All of you saying that he’s struggling. Pshaw! You’ll see. He’s gonna be a monster. A MONSTER!”

“Kev?” I say, “I love Doug.” I pause, then, I can’t resist, “Besides, Varitek was catching Schilling in a minor league game yesterday, so, you know, he wasn’t available to go yard. I guess we’ll settle for Dougie’s doubles.”

“SCREW VARITEK! DOUGIE RULES!” he yells into the phone.

I just laugh.

“I have to call Dad and tell him to stop hating on my boy,” he says before hanging up.

And so begins the Kristen vs. Kevin Red Sox Catcher Bickering Discussions of 2005. In a game to save the world, who do you want behind the plate? It’s so on.

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Final Tune-Up

It’s almost that time. Almost time for things to start counting…for real. And not a moment too soon. The Sox take on the Yankees at Legends Field today in another meaningless Spring Training game that will surely only stoke the fires for Opening Day if A-Rod so much as spits his sunflower seeds in the direction of the Sox dugout. Which? Not a bad thing, this passion. I’ll be the first to admit that I like it better when there’s some bad blood between the teams. I’d rather they be sniping at each other and sliding hard into second than playing canasta and drinking Shirley Temples together after the games. That said, the Sox do play 143 games against teams who are not the Yankees. I know, I know, I’ve heard nothing about these alleged “other teams” either. But there’s a nasty rumor that those games count too. Assuming that’s true, there are a few things the Sox need to do to make sure they’re ready for the new season, or, as I like to call it, The Title Defense of Aught Five. All pertinent players and people are addressed personally:

Dear Theo:
Nice job on the Jay Payton thing. Oh, and also Edgah. Really, good work. But about this stubborn insistence on BK Kim? Yeah, what’s happening there, man? Just swallow your pride and admit you made a mistake. It’s okay, we won’t hold it against you. No one wants to trade for him either. What should that tell you? Okay, here’s what you do: Put him in the Witness Protection Program where he’ll be renamed Steve Jones and take up a respectable job as a mid-level paper pusher with a no-name insurance company. You can still pay him his $6 million. And when the roster comes out and his name is nowhere to be found, in the minor leagues or otherwise, you disavow any knowledge of him, Mission: Impossible style. Never admit to knowing he existed. Plead ignorance. Really, we’ll give you a mulligan on this one. Just get rid of the guy.

Dear JD:
I don’t know if this is true. I mean, it’s the flippin’ Herald for crissakes. To be taken with a truckload of salt. But here’s the thing; this is none of my business. None. At all. Dude, I don’t love you because you’re faithful or unfaithful to your wife. I don’t love you because you have adorable children. I love you a little bit because of the hair and the fact that you’re no stranger to the batshit crazy and the possibility that you might need to be medicated but mostly I love you because you’re a damned good leadoff hitter and center fielder for my favorite baseball team. That’s it. That’s what it comes down to. You “wrote” a book and that’s lovely and all but if it’s not about baseball, I really don’t care. I mean, you do what you want in your personal life but really, I’d be happier not knowing. You’re a self-proclaimed “idiot,” man, sometimes, ignorance really is bliss.

Dear Edgah:
Whenever someone offers you a hug, accept it. And hug them back. I’m beginning to think that’s all you need to know to fit in around here. Oh, and keep playing like you do. I think you got that part down pat. We’ll get to the handshakes in due time.

Dear Manuelito:
Actually, you’re fine. Can’t really improve on a World Series MVP type season, now can we? The beads, um, well, whatever you want to do. I’ve given up on giving you advice because you’re gonna do what you want to do and it’s probably going to work. So you just do what you do. Oh, and hug Edgah.

Dear Doug E. Fresh:
For the love of all that is good and holy, shave that godforsaken soul patch! Really. Right now, if possible. We’ll wait. Christ, man, what’s with the insistence on that? It’s got to be more trouble than it’s worth. Also, take Varitek shopping. And nice work marrying a woman named Kristen. Spread the word. Kristens rock. Oh, and when you hear a deranged sounding twenty-something duo screaming your name in the cavernous confines of Skydome this summer for nine straight innings for three straight days, regardless of whether you’re playing or not, that’s me and my bro. Just tug on your left ear if you hear us. Also, we won’t shut up. So no use trying.

Dear Lord Thighsmore:
Since you apparently learned nothing from the Queer Eye makeover, I throw my hands up. Just wear your uniform 24/7. How’d that be? Oh, and congrats on the Captain thing. Your playing? You’re fine. Really, change nothing. Unless you want to stop wearing pants. That’d be fine.

Dear Cowboy Kevin:
I will tell you now because I will probably say it many times throughout the season and I won’t really mean it so I just offer this as a preemptive blanket apology. “Shut up and hit the damn ball!” And, “Sorry, I didn’t mean it.” There, taken care of. Also, hug Edgah.

Dear Papi:
No more Steelers or Colts jerseys. The Celtics are fine. Yeah, like I’m going to tell you what to do. You could crush my head with one of your gargantuan hands. While smiling. Oh, and take Varitek shopping.

Dear Bellhorn:
You can’t even hear me, can you? You’re not even seeing this, are you? Are you even awake? Hello? Well, ECA predicts that you’re going to suck an inordinate amount of rotten eggs this year. So just, you know, prove them wrong. When you wake up.

Dear BillyMueller:
Take good care of your knees. We love Youk so don’t be afraid to tell him he’s got the corner on any given day but really, take care of yourself. Not that you wouldn’t have many attractive and humorous Sox fans willing to nurse you back to health but we’d prefer that wasn’t necessary. I mean, sort of. Watch out for that turf.

Dear Trot:
Learn to hit lefties. Put some more pine tar on your hat. Stop shaving. That is all.

Dear Big Schill:
I don’t care one whit about your politics or your religion or your outspokenness. I care about your pitching. Just keep doing that. You are permanently exempt from ever ending up on my personal shit list because of what you did for us last season. If it’s not too much to ask, could you do it again?

Dear Fat Man:
I’m sorry, that’s your name and ever shall be. I can’t call you “Boomer” with anything other than a sneer. You should send me cookies. Then maybe I’ll like you. Or beat the Yankees. Whichever. And no fraternizing. That’s not allowed.

Dear Matt Mantei:
It’s almost enough for you to just be pretty but if you wouldn’t mind striking a guy out every now and then, that’d be nice too. Thanks, ‘preciate it.

Dear Hot Lips:
Is Manny listening? No? Okay then you totally should have gotten the World Series MVP. I would have given it to you hands down for saving every game. But no worries, right? I’ve just got one small request. Could you stop scaring the piss out of me? I mean, I know you’re great and you deliver in the clutch and I am totally sold on you and I know you’ll come through when we need you to but, um, it’d be nice if I could get through the ninth inning of a close game without suffering eight heart attacks. All faith in you, Keith, really, but, my poor heart, she can’t take it.

Dear Bro-Yo:
I like you very, very much and have a soft spot for you and will defend you to the death (not that you don’t have a catcher for that), and I would like for you to continue doing what you did last year. And you should definitely have your guitar in the dugout for between inning Kumbaya sessions. That would be excellent.

Dear Matty Clement:
Breathe in. Breathe out. It’ll all be okay.

All right, boys, that’ll about do it. I’m not about to tell you how to play baseball. You surely know that already. Just have fun. And if that means you’re doing shots of Goldschlager before the games or pantsing each other in the bullpen then have at it. But just remember, it’s a long season, pace yourselves.

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Sam is a Genius, Part the First

You've heard about this already.

Sam has something to say.

Sam rocks.

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What you’re missing…

(Take that!)

You should be watching this. You really should. “This” being the NCAA hockey tournament. Basketball? Pshaw. Whatever. The real game is college hockey. This is playing with heart. This is playing for the love of the game. How many college basketball players have damn near guaranteed careers and jillions of dollars in the NBA once they decide to leave school? A bunch, that’s for damn sure. How many college hockey players have a lucrative future in the NHL waiting for them? What’s the NHL? Exactly.

College hockey is a fantastic sport. One you should be watching. Granted, it’s easier for me to get hyped up about it because I’m New Hampshire born and bred and though I didn’t attend UNH myself, my dad did and I spent the first 18 years of my life ten minutes down the road from the Durham campus. I come from a hockey family. It’s a great game. I know, I know, none of y’all care. But seriously, this rocks.

At the moment, UNH is deadlocked with the University of Denver in a 2-2 tie, five minutes into the third period. It’s been a good game. But there are a number of reasons why college hockey is so great to watch.

Penalty shots. This almost never happens in the NHL but damned if it doesn’t make for a more exciting game. Forward Daniel Winnik got tripped on a break away during the second period and the refs immediately called for a penalty shot. Ignoring for a second that a penalty shot seems somewhat unfair in that the goalie has to defend the sins of his players who created the penalty in the first place, there’s so much drama inherent in a penalty shot. Goalie vs. shooter. Offense vs. defense. Two players alone. No distractions. It is excellentness. Also, UNH scored a goal. Which was great.

Barry Melrose’s mullet. This is hockey hair at its best. Seriously, Melrose, a mainstay of NHL announcing but, as it goes, most assuredly out of work this season, has taken to announcing some college games. He’s got the quintessential Canadian/hockey fan accent and the entire effect is compounded to an infinite degree when the camera cuts to the booth during a lull in the action and we, the fortunate viewer, get to gaze on the wonder that is Barry Melrose’s hockey hair and his penchant for flashy, brightly colored suits. It’s as if Deion Sanders bred with a family of Nascar fans. It’s awesome.

The Golden Gophers. The Golden Frickin’ Gophers. Of Minnesota, natch. Tell me that is not the coolest mascot name ever to grace the ice rinks of this great land of ours. Assuming your team – if you have one – has either already been eliminated or never made the tournament in the first place (or you’re all, “Hockey? Isn’t that the sport in that movie with the Jamaicans in the Olympics?”), how can you not root for a team called the Golden Gophers? It’s so delightfully absurd. Truth be told, whenever I hear someone mention this team, I am always bombarded with images of that golden idol that Indiana Jones tried to steal in Raiders. Except on skates. And with sticks. That, my friends, is the coolest image ever. And if you can’t root for a team called the Golden Gophers, clearly you are a Communist.

Ghetto cable feed. Pro hockey is obviously not the most popular game around and college hockey is like its bastard little brother that everyone tolerates but no one pays a particular lot of attention to. Well, no one but my family apparently, but still. Nevertheless, we get the feed on CN8 and its, well, “poor” would be being kind. Every few minutes, a line of text appears in the middle of the screen, reading something like “C? andfrh aen? $$$ aedn #####@@!! Dafg dcaCA!” This can usually be removed by changing the channel for a split second and then flipping back. But what the hell is going on? I’ve come to the conclusion that either the closed captioning people have thrown their hands up in frustration at some of this impossible to spell hockey names and have just given up completely and decided to generate text by banging their heads against the keyboards, the same closed captioning people are afflicted with some sort of bizarre Tourettes that manifests itself through their typing or they’ve decided that a grand total of four people are watching this damn game anyway so no one will notice if they do some routine maintenance and it fucks with the feed. Although, as I type that, Denver scores a goal to go up 3-2 late in the third and the screen went fluky again. So maybe the closed captioning people are actually Wildcat fans. Hmmmm…

Heart. As established, these players don’t have piles of money and hookers waiting for them once they make it to the pros. If they make it to the pros. If there even are pros. They play for the love of the game. They play for pride and for heart. For their teammates and their schools. They play for themselves and to make their families proud. In the case of North Dakota or New Hampshire, they probably play because there isn’t a whole lot else for them to do. And hockey players are fantastic athletes. They have to be. They move constantly, on offense and defense. “But what about the goalies? They don’t even move.” No, wrong. Goalies may well be the best athletes on the ice. Have you ever seen some of those slinky-for-a-spine positions some of those goalies contort themselves into while trying to make a butterfly save? Amazing. There are quite a few hockey goalies who could give yoga instructors a run for their money.

My brother. My little bro, in his position as Bauer/Nike intern was put in charge of making sure all the appropriately silk-screened pucks made it to the NCAA tournament. He had to jump through hoops and fix lots of other people’s mistakes but he’s a super star and all the pucks got where they needed to be. Good thing too. Otherwise, presumably this tournament would be played with a sweat sock wrapped in black electrical tape.

Bah! Denver has just scored an empty net goal to put them up 4-2 with 22.2 seconds left in the game and effectively squashed UNH’s dreams of continuing on to the Frozen Four. Soooo…GO GOLDEN GOPHERS!

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Genetic and geographic predisposition forces me to say:

U! N! H!

U! N! H!

U! N! H!

Go Wildcats!

The UNH Wildcats beat the Harvard Crimson 3-2 in overtime in the NCAA hockey tournament to advance to the next round where they will face the University of Denver. Just so y’all know what’s been happening while you’ve been watching basketball or praying fervently for Opening Day.

As you were…

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Man Up

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According to Chris Snow of the Boston Globe, Single A Sarasota pitcher Jon Papelbon took a big step in becoming a legitimate major leaguer yesterday. No, he didn’t get out of a jam with the bases loaded or strike out a slugger or pitch a perfect game. But he did show that he wasn’t scared of anyone. And that’s saying something.

Jon Papelbon
, who has never pitched above Single A Sarasota, was on the mound yesterday for what could be one of those seminal moments in a prospect’s career.

Papelbon, 24, went 0 and 1 on Sammy Sosa in the fourth inning of the righthander’s first spring training game. In the top of the inning, Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera had twice gone inside on Jay Payton, hitting him the second time. So, ahead on Sosa, Papelbon busted a mid-level fastball inside. Sosa took one step toward the mound.”I didn’t know what he was doing,” Papelbon said. “He didn’t say anything. He just stared at me.”

That won over some people in Red Sox uniforms.

“And I’m one of them,” Francona said.

Sticking up for your teammates and not backing down to Corky McHopsalot? Nice job, newbie.


Also, this. I’m just sayin’. If this keeps up, people are going to start thinking I know what I’m talking about.

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