Monthly Archives: May 2005

Back Where He Belongs

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You all know about this already, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t post something about it. So, without further ado, Basegirl announces that Troy Brown is returning to the Patriots! And here I am, reporting it to you only two weeks after the rest of the world. Cutting edge, I am.

Anyhow, as I’ve freaked about the potential loss of my main man Troy in the past, I thought it quite important to let you all know that this recent signing (one year, $1 million, reportedly which represents quite a pay cut/hometown discount) has done wonders for my football-starved psyche. Especially with the way the Red Sox are currently playing *ahem,* Patriots season looks awfully shiny and fun from over here.

Welcome back, Troy! You belong here!

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Look Familiar?

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(Up, down, up, down…)

Hello, we are the Boston Red Sox, or, sometimes, the World Champion Boston Red Sox, although we only occasionally play like it. We enjoy losing in excruciating, nail-biting fashion, leaving our starting pitchers in too long, giving up grand slams to outfielders batting .169 and making girls cry. Just for variety, sometimes we also score many runs off the Yankees and pound them into horsemeat. But that doesn’t last for long. We also don’t like Kristen and have decided never again to win a game that she attends in person, be it Fenway’s friendly confines or some other stadium, even if it’s in another country.

We also enjoy being an emotional rollercoaster of a team and causing heartache and woe for our fans (especially Kristen) who are in the process of a move and don’t have time to pay attention to every pitch. We realize that it would be far too benevolent of us to perform as expected and WIN BASEBALL GAMES so that she can be reasonably stress-free and continue living her life, secure in the knowledge that we, the Boston Red Sox, are playing like the champions we allegedly are.

Upon first glance, it probably appears to the casual observer that we are punishing Kristen for being distracted and focusing her attention on things not related to baseball including said move as well as other, more unpleasant and much more serious matters. But in reality, she can’t leave us alone, continues to write and bitch about us and will not stop saying things like “Do the Toronto fans think we’re going to disagree with their assessment that David Wells is fat?” and “If I had to stare into Jorge Posada’s crotch to get signs for nine innings, I’d stab myself in the cornea with a spork.” So really, it’s quite obvious that she can’t leave well enough alone.

We’ve decided to show her. We issued Saturday’s 17-1 thumping of the “esteemed” and “historic” Yankees as a public apology for the multiple debacles she was forced to watch, Clockwork Orange-style in Toronto and we even kept the good feelings going for another day with a 7-2 smackdown of those very same Yankees. However, we felt she was getting too comfortable with our newfound place in second and yanked the proverbial rug out from under her yesterday as she sat in Grandstand 29 next to her brother and watched us get bitchslapped by the Baltimore Orioles to the tune of 8-1. Even her previously steadfast faith in Bronson has been shaken.

We’ve even got her friends turning on her now. Annette, Amy and Beth have forbidden her from attending any more games until she gets her winning mojo back. Her brother has taken to berating her for choosing the wrong games to attend (as if it’s somehow her fault that we were going to play like chimpanzees with epilepsy), and she’s starting to feel quite depressed about the whole thing. Excellent, a Red Sox fan should never be comfortable.

In conclusion, we’ve caught wind of the fact that Kristen plans to attend Wednesday night’s game pitting Matty Neptune Nuts Clement (her name) against…some dude from the Orioles. Apparently, she was planning on sneaking in, trying to slip in under our radar, perhaps attired in something other than her trademark Varitek jersey and Tom Brady baseball cap. But we’ll be on the lookout if she tries anything funny. We expect, should we blow this one in spectacular fashion as well, that she’ll throw up her hands in exasperation and have done with us for a while. Or so she’ll say. We know Red Sox fans, and we’ve hooked ‘em good.

Sincerely,

The Boston Red Sox

**************************

All joking aside, I’d like to offer my sincere condolences for the family of Red Sox Spanish language broadcaster Juan Pedro “J.P.” Villaman who was killed in a car crash this weekend. Descanse en la paz, J.P.

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Blogging Across the Border, Part the Third

Or: I. Hate. Everyone.

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Who wants to venture a guess as to whether or not Johnny Damon ran into the wall after this attempted catch? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

I best keep this short lest I inadvertently start an international incident with Canada by saying something uncharitable about their…everything.

Good things that happened today’:

My baby brudder turned 22! To celebrate this, we went to a steakhouse and had a gigantic dinner. However, the best part happened when my brother’s girlfriend informed the waiter that we would be needing some sort of celebratory dessert. We expected the customary singing and dancing waiter bit that is always more embarrassing for the wait staff than it is for the customers, but this guy outdid himself. He didn’t sing and he didn’t dance, but with the strawberry dessert concoction, he also brought a tinfoil donkey hat, constructed out of approximately eight yards of aluminum foil, with sparklers in the giant ears. He then proceeded to place said hat on my brother’s head and light the sparklers. My brother, who didn’t see this coming, sat perfectly still with an “I’m’a kill you all” look on his face. It was, quite simply, the funniest thing I’ve seen in a good long while. I laughed for a good twenty minutes. Oh, and you better believe there will be pictures of this forthcoming. Bloody brilliant, that was.

The new Star Wars movie? Bit of ass kickery, that is. Seriously, it rules. We killed some time earlier today by scoping out a theater and catching a matinee. It’s easily the best of the three prequels and made me remember why I loved Star Wars in the first place. Hayden Christensen can’t act his way out of a paper bag but neither could Mark Hamill so perhaps it’s fitting. However, all due credit to George Lucas but would it perhaps have been possible for him to write an ending that didn’t remind me quite so much of the “It’s just a flesh wound!” scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail? No? Those of you who’ve seen it know what I’m talking about. But that’s a minor issue. So, in short, Star Wars=teh rawk!

This conversation happened at dinner:
Bro’s girlfriend: The white jerseys don’t have names?
Bro: Nope. Just the gray ones.
Me: Except for the Yankees, they don’t have names on their home or away jerseys.
Bro’s girlfriend: How come?
Me: They’re just that cool.
Bro: It’s like a code. Jeter is number two which clearly means he likes it in the ass.
Me: Bwahahahaha! (cue Keith’s India Pale Ale shooting out of my nostrils)

The hilarious text messages I received from no fewer than four parties requesting that I get my ass out of Canada posthaste. I will comply as soon as humanely possible.

My brother’s ingenious heckling of Gregg Zaun and his hockey mask: “Atta boy, Belfour!” (so…three of you got that, eh?)

Bad things that happened today:

Pretty much everything else.

*cries*

Home tomorrow night, kids. And like Jennifer Love Hewitt and her giant…hair, I can’t hardly wait.

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Blogging Across the Border, Part the Second

Or: Heckling for Dummies.

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Sadness and woe.

Okay seriously, Canadians have absolutely got to learn how to heckle. “Trot, your name sucks!” is the worst they can come up with? The worst? Wow, that’s just pathetic. It was all I could do to keep from turning around and yelling, “His name is Christopher!” But what I have learned, is how to hit them where they live. For instance, after the aforementioned “heckling” on their part, I found it’s quite wounding to turn to your companion and loudly declare, “Hey, how’re the Leafs doing?” “Dunno,” your brother will say, “But judging by the hockey mask on that catcher, I’d say some of them have found work playing for the Blue Jays.” It’s a cheap shot but the Canadians love their hockey and if you remind them that it’s just not happening right now, you can almost hear their little maple leaf-engraved hearts breaking.

I realize that’s a bit disingenuous considering that I spent a goodly amount of time at the Hockey Hall of Fame today myself and I certainly love, love, love hockey. But come on, you’re gonna boo David Ortiz and you don’t expect any retaliation? That’s just bush league is what that is. Also, how you gonna boo David Ortiz? Bellhorn, okay. Millar, sure, we do it too. But David Ortiz? Really? I guess whatever helps you sleep at night.

Speaking of the Hockey Hall of Fame, (we’ll get to the clusterfuck of the baseball game in due time), it’s pretty much the coolest thing in the history of ever. I realize that the vast majority of you (save Mer) could not care less about hockey but the Hall of Fame is just so…accessible. Even if you don’t know the difference between icing and a two-line pass. I’ll admit that all the “Gretzky, Saviour of Canada and Disciple Who Walks On Water” business can get a bit tiring after all, but I mean, he is Wayne Gretzky. Me? I was there for Ray Bourque and all his pertinent information. Because to me, Bourque was and continues to be The Man where hockey is concerned. The last time I visited the Hall of Fame, two years ago, Bourque had yet to be inducted. Now he’s there, right where he belongs. Additionally, I wasn’t allowed to touch the Stanley Cup last time either, but this time I walked right up to it and rubbed my finger over Bourque’s engraved name. I might have kissed it were I not wise to all the places that trophy has been.

Let me tell you something, you can make a case for the Lombardi Trophy and the World Series Trophy being better trophies in sports, but I probably won’t listen to you. When it comes to commemorative hardware, there is nothing cooler than the Stanley Cup. Partly because there’s only one of them, awarded year after year. And partly because if you win one, you get your name put right on it. Win two, it goes on there again. But the majority of the reason the Stanley Cup rocks so hard is that it’s the most substantial trophy of them all. You’ve all seen Richard Seymour or Tedy Bruschi hoisting a Lombardi trophy and it is indeed a beautiful sight. But in the hands of those massive men, the trophy looks downright puny. The World Series trophy, shiny and sparkly and lusted after as it was, looks awfully delicate in the hands of someone like David Ortiz or Jason Varitek. But the Stanley Cup looks…hefty, weighty, heavy. It looks real. It looks solid. It’s the only trophy that accurately represents the amount of sweat and blood and tears that goes into attaining the right to hoist it. True, it’s beaten up and dented and smudged, but so are hockey players. It seems fitting somehow. I was glad to be able to touch it.

But enough about that. Very few of you are here to read about hockey that’s not even happening. Although, considering how things are going, you might not want to hear about the baseball that’s been going down either.

Oh Bronson Arroyo, I still love you, but your team, refusing to give you any run support, apparently doesn’t. Did you steal their flatirons? Did you keep them all up doing your Pearl Jam impression into the wee hours? Did you drive them all crazy by stalking the clubhouse and saying “Haven’t lost since last August, bitches. How you like that?” Because for some reason, the bats have chosen a rather unfortunate time to slip into a coma. Maybe it’s the exchange rate? Whatever it is, I’d really appreciate it if you’d take care of it come tomorrow. Tomorrow being the final game of the series and, I hate to tell you this but being swept by the freakin’ Blue Jays is not bloody acceptable. This is a team that plays on carpet. This is a team that sports softball-like black unis. This is a team who’s fans say “eh” after every sentence. Not cool. Fix this, please.

Tonight, unlike last night, was pretty much a debacle from start to finish. It got so bad at one point that my mom looked over at me, stewing in my seat down the right field line, two rows back, and said, “You okay?” I shot to my feet, “Gotta go for a walk before I tear someone’s throat out with my teeth,” I said. “That’s what I figured,” she nodded. I walked around the entire concourse and watched John Halama and Matt Mantei (oh look, he is there, funny how we didn’t see him YESTERDAY!), pour gas on the fire. And then, just as I was hanging up with Amy, Keith Foulke came in. “Oh good,” I said, “Foulke’s coming in. In no way will this turn into a complete and total fucking disaster.” Turns out, I was right, but at that point, it wouldn’t really have mattered. Oh baseball…what you do to me.

I really miss Fenway. I mean, it’s great to experience baseball at other parks and in other cities. But there comes a time when you want to be surrounded by like-minded fans who aren’t going to make fun of Trot’s freakin’ name for cryin’ out loud and who don’t cheer along to the bloody FedEx Special Delivery of the Game. Kee-rist. And maybe I care too much. After all, these are Blue Jays fans and were the Maple Leafs playing, this series would be little more than an afterburner thought but when they pick on MY BOYS, I get riled up. “No,” I think, “I can call Bellhorn a waste of space, but you’re not allowed.” I clench my fists and my knuckles get white, “I can tell Johnny Damon he sucks all day and night but you are not allowed to call him Mullet Man.” “I can sigh and say ‘Edgah, you’re killing me!’ but you are not allowed to make fun of the way he runs.” Those are the rules. They may be arbitrary and they may not be entirely fair but they’re MY rules, so I don’t much care what the Blue Jays fans think.

Anyway, game over and I’d rather forget about it. Save for a few moments before the game when Tek was throwing long toss approximately twenty feet in front of me and I was mesmerized by the pretty, there were very few positives to take away from this one. But at the end of the day, it was baseball. And baseball is always worth it. Wade “Steely Eyes of Doom” Miller goes tomorrow as we try to salvage the final game of the series. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll take it as a major hint that the universe clearly does not want me in Canada. So be it.

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Blogging Across the Border, Part the First

Or: At Least We Don’t Overuse the Letter “U.”

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Papi feels my pain.

You’ll all have to forgive me if I seem a bit cranky. I’m about to attempt to sleep on a sofa bed despite ongoing, nagging insomnia and Alan Embree and I are not speaking. Argh.

The last time I traveled to Toronto to watch the Red Sox play and let Blue Jays fans know what real baseball fans were like, Frank Castillo ruined my weekend. Tonight, it was Alan Embree. Or maybe Terry Francona if it was in fact his fault that the bullpen was so horrifically mismanaged. I mean, Matt Mantei was right there. RIGHT THERE! Oy.

Nevertheless, you all know how the game went down if you watched it. It wasn’t head-clutchingly awful for the majority, however, it did seem to be one of those frustratingly typical up and down, up and down, seesaw Red Sox games. We have the lead, we lose the lead. We have the lead, we lose the lead. We tie the game, we blow it in dramatic fashion. Le sigh.

Now listen, I’m not saying that all fans are always right, but if Every. Single. Person. In my section was screaming at Terry “Hook him! Take him out!” then perhaps our manager should, you know, listen.

I also feel it is pertinent to mention that Blue Jays fans can be awfully dickish. Yes, all seven of them. But throw something back at them and they revert to typical back-on-their-heels fan behavior. Case in point: we’re leaving Skydome (I refuse to call it the Rogers Centre, mostly because I’m being persnickety tonight), and a Blue Jays fan turned to my brother and said, “Hey, guess who won the game, eh?” My brother, conspicuously fingering the World Series Champions patch on the sleeve of his Mirabelli jersey shot back, “Guess who won the World Series…eh?” The Jays fan, apparently not expecting that – though why not is completely beyond me – said, “Well, uh, I guess…see you later.” “See you tomorrow!” my brother cheerfully shot back. We turned a corner. “Was that what passes for heckling in Toronto?” I asked. “Guess so,” he said. “Pathetic,” I replied.

The great thing about attending a Sox game in Toronto, I have learned, is that it does actually feel like attending a Sox game. You don’t feel like the visitors. I’d say the crowd of about 35,000 was pretty evenly split between Sox fans and Jays fans. And frankly, I’m thinking that the only reason so many Jays fans showed up was because it was two dollar Tuesday. Not kidding. Our $27 seats were just past the third base bag and ten rows up from the field. That’s something to be said for Canada. $27 at Fenway gets you, most likely, a post in your lap. And you’d consider yourself lucky to even be inside the park. No such thing as $2 anything in Boston.

Virtually our entire section was full of Sox fans. Oh, and I’ve also answered the question: “Where are all the cute boys?” Many of them, it turns out, are on road trips following the Sox. Ah, baseball, what you do for me… However, a few rows behind us, the grade school kids who sang both national anthems were seated. And they were fine…for a while. And then the shrieking started. And when I say “shrieking,” I don’t mean, “occasional high pitched cheering.” I mean “ears bleeding, shooting looks of death at small children, very much wanting to render them mute.” Because dear holy Jesus, that was bad. I’m pretty sure I’m now never going to have small children. Which is probably good since I’m reasonably certain that the banshee imitations of those kids have sterilized me.

Here’s the thing: Canadians…don’t get baseball. I mean they understand the rules and they cheer at appropriate times (mostly) but secretly, in their hearts, I’m pretty sure they all really wish they were at a hockey game. And that’s okay. I mean, hell, Toronto has a 24-hour Maple Leafs network and were there no NHL lockout, the Leafs would most likely be in the thick of the playoffs right now. Nobody would give half a rosin bag about the Blue Jays. And so to, I guess, keep these people’s attention, Skydome and the Blue Jays have so much distracting shit going on between innings and during the game that it’s a sensory overload and those of us who are more traditional fans are all “Could we maybe just shut the fuck up and watch some freakin’ baseball? It’s a pretty good game.” But no. There will be no shutting up. What there will be are Fed Ex animated scoreboard races, roving camera people putting screaming children on the Jumbotron, free t-shirts, freakin’ cheerleaders for cryin’ out loud, the World’s Fastest Grounds Crew and the game ball special delivery. And then some. It’s…way too much. It’s like being at an overly caffeinated minor league hockey game. And these people eat it up. Look, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Blue Jays fans and I’m sure they are lovely people. I’m also sure that I’m completely spoiled since Red Sox fans, by and large, resist the encroachment of certain “amenities” and distractions upon their baseball. But this is ridiculous. Yes, we’re glad that Ben Affleck is here too (he was), but we really don’t need to put him on the Jumbotron and scream at him until he waves at us. Because, in all fairness, Ben looked pissed and probably just wanted to watch some goddamn baseball. Not do the wave. Baseball, people, it’s pretty interesting. You should watch it.

Anyway, I’m back at it tomorrow night after a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame (whee!). Saturn Balls Arroyo looks to make it all okay. Stay tuned for my adventures in downtown Toronto, eh?

Oh, and while I’m at it, check out the photos that Beth took at the game on Sunday. Ooo, pretty…

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The Great Emancipator

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This is what happens when you believe in and encourage your chew toys. They reward your faith with complete games. Matty Clement replaced Adam Hyzdu as my Red Sox chew toy this year when Theo made the unconscionable maneuver of trading Hyzdu for Red, White and Blaine Neal. But I’m willing to let it slide if Matty continues to perform in such an ass-kicking manner.

Once again, with Beth, myself and Jay present, SG in-person mojo did not disappoint.

Beth and I were seated in Grandstand 18, just to the third base side of home plate and up a section. Or, as I quickly dubbed it, “prime catcher viewing territory.” Yowza. Sporting a wine hangover headache the approximate size of Rhode Island, I entered the park with Beth telling myself, “a bottle is not a serving…a bottle is not a serving.” It’s entirely possible I’ll never learn. Waiting for Beth I’d mainlined some coffee and wouldn’t you know it, spilled the last sip all down the front of my pristine, white, Varitek jersey as I jumped when my phone rang. Bloody hell. Apparently, not only do I not know my limits but I can’t even transport beverages from cup to mouth without missing horrifically. I tried my best to cover up the mess I’d made of myself by zipping my jacket up to my neck, thus effectively negating the fact that I’d worn a jersey in support at all. I don’t know what to tell you kids. They keep telling me I’m an adult but I just don’t believe it.

Prior to game time, Beth and I made our way down to the first baseline to try to catch a glimpse of some players either signing autographs or stretching or doing whatever their player-y business entails. We say John Halama who I promptly called “Eyebrows of Doom!” throw a few long tosses with…someone, someone with a nice ass, before signing some autographs for kids and wearing his glove as a hat. Beth took many, many pictures which I hope to be able to link to soon.

I turned for a split second to talk to Jay and Beth was gone, nowhere to be seen. A few moments later when she reappeared, she told me she’d seen Terry come out of the dugout and she made a beeline for him, capturing a beautifully framed picture for her troubles. “Nobody should be as excited about Terry Francona as I am,” she said, “No one.”

The three of us made our way down through the concourse and over to behind the Sox bullpen where we watched Matty complete his warm-up routine. Correction, Beth watched that. I watched Jason Varitek throwing long tosses. To someone. Forgive me if I wasn’t paying complete attention to the other end of that game of catch but such close proximity to the Thighs of Freedom gave me head explody and made it rather difficult to concentrate on anything else. Even when the security people started shouting, “Time to find your seats, people!” I just kept staring, my brain registering something like “Seats…Section 18…far away…so pretty…unf love baseball…wheeee!” A girl in a pink Sox hat a few spaces down the line screamed, “Jason Varitek, I love you!” And I shot her a look that can charitably be described as “withering.” Beth looked at me and laughed, “I am rather protective,” I said, “Plus, I could snap her little pink wearing ass over my knee.” I was very nearly forcibly dragged from the railing.

Beth and I made our way to our seats and I realized, a few batters in, that I was sitting next to a Braves fan. I turned to Beth and said, “I don’t like sitting next to a fan of the other team. Makes me want to hurt someone.” To this gentleman’s credit, he was exceptionally well-behaved. He did not mock our players, nor did he cheer too loudly for his team. Just some polite clapping. He was even so helpful as to answer my questions when I wondered rhetorically, “Who the hell is Pete Orr?” And to show that he had a good sense of humor, when Julio Franco stepped up to the plate and the fratish boy behind us yelled, “You’re so…old!” he laughed right along with the rest of us.

I would attempt to describe Matty’s performance but frankly, mere synonyms for “great” and “nails” just won’t do it justice. He wasn’t perfect, but he was damned close. He made it through four innings before allowing a hit and he never let the fact that his teammates weren’t scoring any goddamn runs for him despite the fact that THEY CONSTANTLY HAD MEN ON BASE bother him. I’ve long said that Matty always looks about one bad pitch away from collapsing on the mound in a sobbing heap but yesterday he looked…different. Strong. Like an ace, even. Matty struck out seven and walked exactly none which is a marked improvement on the few walks he usually sandwiches in there. Coming to Boston, we’d heard that his control could be an issue, and I’ve no doubt that working with Varitek is huge for him, but some credit must go to Matty himself. Despite the fact that Beth was itching to see her boy Foulkie, I think it’s safe to say the rest of us in attendance wanted Matty to finish what he started. And it only took him 110 pitches to do so. Thus far, Clement is 5-0 on the young season. And until yesterday, he’d mostly slipped quietly underneath everyone’s radar. We’ve been so focused on the status of Schilling’s ankle and the hair-pulling aggravation of David Wells’ existence and even the renaissance of Bronson Arroyo that Matty has mostly gone about his business and done his job with very little fanfare. I’d say yesterday was his coming out party, as it were. A real welcome to Boston and to Red Sox Nation. He showed us what he can do and we responded in kind, rising to our feet and cheering him as he emerged from the dugout at the top of the ninth, trotting slowly to the mound. And we stayed on our feet, clapping until our hands stung until he recorded the last out. Because he helps us, and we help him. That’s how it is in these parts.

Additionally, Manny’s home run came after a few frustrating at-bats where he’d either ground out weakly or hit a screaming liner directly at a fielder. It served as a reminder that no matter what he’s doing currently, he’s still Manny Freakin’ Ramirez. “Remember when you won the World Series MVP, Manny?” I said, “That was fun. More of that, please.” Manny responded by waving meekly at a pitch two feet outside the zone. “You know,” I said, turning to Beth, “There are people who say he only did that so Smoltz will throw him that same pitch next time and he’ll send it over the Monster.” Beth nodded, “The belief in his powers is unparalleled. I honestly think he could hit a home run in every at bat if he wanted to. He just chooses not to.” And then in the very next at-bat, he did.

My brother who was seated behind the Red Sox bullpen with his girlfriend summed it up thusly after the game, “That was a wicked shot. Like really, really far.” Manny Ramirez is still Manny Ramirez. Let us never forget this.

As for Varitek, he went 2 for 5 with a pair of singles and a run scored. Plus, he caught that gem. Because of the unfortunate coffee spillage, he was not aware that I was wearing his jersey in support but methinks he knew it anyway. Yes, I choose to believe that Jason Varitek can read my mind, what’s it to you?

My brother, who I met up with postgame, hypothesizes that Dougie strained his wrist by pouring Gatorade for the team from atop the cooler. As good an explanation as any, I suppose. He’d already figured out that we most likely won’t be seeing Wake in Toronto due to the way the rotation falls so Kev figures that he can just sit next to the Red Sox dugout and scream “Doug! E! Fresh!” for nine innings until he comes out to sign his jersey and shut him up.

So I’m out for a while, kids. I’ve no idea if I’ll be able to get wireless access in Toronto but if I can, I’ll try my damnedest to do some blogging across the border. Supposedly, we’re also visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame and posing with the Stanley Cup. Rawk!

Oh, and as an adieu, allow me to wish a very happy birthday to a one Mr. Steve Brady. Happy Birthday, Steve! May you be rolling in women after all!

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Rivalry Weekend! Argh!

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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

You know who appreciates SG in-person mojo? Jason Varitek. Also, Wade Miller. And most decidedly Bill Mueller who was so grateful for our collective presence that he hit his first home run of the season. Which, it should be noted, Steve and I called. It went something like this:

Steve: Now’s the time to go yard, Billy!
Me (to Steve): He’s the only one left without one, right?
Steve: Pretty sure.
Me (to Billy and the park at large): Bill Mueller, now is the time for your home run!
Bill Mueller: You asked for it.
Bill Mueller’s bat: Smack!
Pesky’s pole: Ouch! Dammit, not again.
Fenway Park: AAAAAIIIEEEEEEE!
Me (to Steve): You know what that was? That was prescient.
Steve: That is exactly what that was.

Obviously, Steve and I are magic. Lest you think I made this entire exchange up, Amy and Bridget were witnesses. Next week, we’re going to try to walk on water.

Now, I’m not saying there’s a connection or anything but I’ve been to three games this year and in two of them, Jason Varitek has hit a home run. Could be he’s just that damn good, which I am not going to argue with. But maybe, just maybe, he enjoys hitting home runs for me. I’m fine with that too. Last night’s home run was no small shot. It landed dead center over the triangle on top of the camera box. That’s a ways. It’s 420 feet to deep center field. I think it’s time we acknowledge that “Captain Crush” might not be such a hyperbolic nickname.

Also, confidential to the Fenway Park video board operators: If you are going to show video of Jason Varitek frolicking and smiling with wee little children and of Bill Mueller having his neck forcibly massaged by Trot Nixon in some kind of kung fu karate chop gone wrong, you’re going to need to warn the likes of Sam and myself, who, frankly, cannot take this kind of thing without warning. Plus, you’re around this team all year long, there have to be more incriminating videos than that. And I’m not talking about the Rally Karaoke Guy, or pretty much anything else featuring Millar since I’m fairly certain that he is beyond embarrassment. But come on, this team engages in debauchery, I know it. Now let’s see it.

Anyway, I did notice a few things prior to the game which boded well for the Sox chances. I mentioned them to Steve.

Me: We’re going to win. And I’m going to tell you why.
Steve: Okay, why?
Me: Because Johnny Estrada wears a hockey mask. And this is not hockey.
Steve: No, it’s not. Hockey is for old, Canadian people.
Me: Right, so obviously, we’re going to win.

And:

Me: I know another reason why we’re going to win. Would you like me to tell you?
Steve: Please do.
Me: Hudson is wearing long sleeves. His forearms of death are covered.
Steve: Plus, he’s no good against us. Our lineup is going to pound him. He’s always had trouble against us.
Me: You with your logic. It’s the sheathing of the forearms, I’m telling you.

We also decided that Johnny Estrada’s soul patch cannot reasonably be called a “soul patch” because, according to Steve, “It’s not patchy. It’s kind of triangular.” So we named it “The Estrrrrada,” complete with rolled “r.” From it, all his power is derived. I did also move that we just cut to the chase and start calling Estrada “CHiPs” but Steve vetoed because apparently, he thinks he’s the boss. Pshaw.

If I am not mistaken, this is the second game in a row in which Wade Miller has pitched into at least the fourth inning without allowing a hit. I’ve always been of the mind that you cannot start thinking about a no-no until at least the 6th but still, that seems promising to me. Of course, the Braves have about two and a half players actually hitting right now so maybe that’s skewed information, but my point is that Theo? I’m reasonably pleased with this Miller fellow. Good work. It was obvious that Miller started to tire toward the later innings but that’s to be expected for a guy coming off a fairly serious shoulder injury. The important part, I think, is that he was still able to get guys out, albeit with longer at bats and by relying on his defense, which, for a change, did not let him down. And the few walks that he tendered did not come back to bite him in his shapely ass. So much the better.

Now, you knew we were getting to it sooner or later. It can best be summed up thusly: Foulkie…fucking christ. Bizarrely, when Foulke came in for the ninth with a three run lead, the entire park appeared to take a collective deep breath and resign themselves to the Foulke fate, whatever that may be. We stood and cheered him because it’s as if we’d all decided that he needed positive reinforcement and booing wouldn’t do anything but make him cry. Or, as Steve yelled out, “We won the World Series because of this guy, Christ!” Yes, but what has he done for me lately?

It was, as it appears to be written, a rollercoaster ninth. Doubles to Chipper Jones are to be somewhat expected because, despite the fact that he’s ostensibly a grown man who refers to himself earnestly as “Chipper,” he can still hit. What is not to be expected and is much less acceptable, Keith Foulke, are triples to Andruw Jones with a man on second. And then infield hits to Johnny Estrrrada. Screw it, CHiPs. Look at the way Andruw Jones spells his name? You’re going to give up a triple to that guy? Come on. And Estrada wears a hockey mask! A hockey mask, for crissakes! You’re a hockey fan, Keith, surely you don’t approve of this. Foulkie…fucking christ. I shall quote Sam, who, due to Communist standards of “legal drinking age” I did not meet post game, “Did we not know Keith Foulke was going to do exactly that? I hate when I’m right.”

But a win is a win is a win. Plus, felt good to stick it to our natural rivals, no? I’ll be back at it again on Sunday, attending with Beth before heading out to, essentially, cross international borders to catch the series in Toronto. No Dougie for a while, it would seem as he’s on the 15-day DL with a strained wrist. My brother? Pissed. Nevertheless, the blood feud continues. See you all Sunday.

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