Monthly Archives: August 2005

Trot for Boston

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(all photos from Boston.com)

A visual dichotomy of the two sides of last night’s televised events:

This was fun and good times.

This was sadness and woe.

I know what I said yesterday but that second one is a bit jarring when it becomes real and not some crazy internet conspiracy. Anyway, moving on…

The game, as it were, was watched primarily at Boston Billiards where Katherine and I took down Sebastian and Marianne (later pinch hit for by Steve Brady), three games to one.

*blows on fingers*

Aside from the satisfaction of whipping a boy at a tangentially related athletic contest (though if you can do it while drinking beer – and we did – I’m not sure how “athletic” you can consider pool), Sebastian’s rage blackouts are always good times. Especially when it’s coupled by the Sox staging a walk-off.

I cannot, for the love of all things good and holy, figure out what the hell is wrong with Kevin Millar. I don’t mean his swing or his glove, I mean his head. Seriously, what the fuck is going on in there? Have you seen him? Can you explain to me why he looks like Hulk Hogan? Better yet, can you explain to me what he slipped into Curt’s drink to prompt him to take the same actions minus the truly horrific facial hair? It looks like he mugged Goldilocks and is wearing one of her severed braids on his face like some sort of bizarre trophy. Bagged another blonde, eh, Kevin? Seriously, the hell?

As for Curt, well, five earned runs against the D-Rays is not what one would call “acceptable.” Schilling hereby owes Trotter all the Wild Turkey and dancing girls he wants for the rest of the season.

Let’s talk about Trot for a minute. Let’s discuss how he is, without a doubt, one of the scariest players in Major League Baseball. And not in the Gary “If I weren’t playing baseball, I’d be breaking legs for the mob ’cause I fancy myself like Shaft” Sheffield kind of way. And not in the Vladimir “Oh dear god, do we really have to pitch to this guy, holy shit, we’re fucked” Guerrero kind of way. But I mean in the Trot “One time a guy was sitting next to me at Kentucky Fried Chicken and he was chewing his biscuit too loudly so I snapped and stabbed him in the jugular with a plastic spork” Nixon way. I’ve gotten the feeling that Trotter has a lot of pent up rage and I’ve taken to coaxing him, via the television, “vengeance and fury, Trot, vengeance and fury,” when he’s up. All I’m saying is he’s liable to go apeshit at any time, and I wouldn’t want to be the ball coming towards him in such a situation.

Oh, and I don’t know how many of y’all noticed but did we see that with two on and one out last night in the bottom of the ninth inning, Jason Varitek DID NOT swing and miss at the high fastballs? Did we see that? You’re all welcome. We had a talk, me and him. Well, I talked, he listened. If by “listened” I mean, “continued to go about his business in that magical box in my living room since I don’t actually KNOW HIM.” Nevertheless, I feel like we’re getting somewhere. He was likely afraid that I would make good on the threat that if he struck out on another high fastball which he has NEVER been able to hit, I was going to march myself down to that park, wait outside the player’s entrance and pinch him on the fleshy part of his underarm until he cried. I was also holding a pool cue in hand when I made this threat in the general direction of the TV. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to cross me either. But I feel good about this. I feel like we’re growing. We’re finally communicating.

Of course, Tek was also the catalyst for some angsty debates on the part of Sebastian and myself. See, and I don’t like to admit this because otherwise, he’s a lovely person, but Sebastian is a Yankees fan. And when he started ranting up and down that Varitek “phantom tagged” Toby Hall at the plate (a valid claim, it seems, upon replay), and that all the runs that followed were gift runs, I just stared at him.

Sebastian: You’re going to win on a botched call! Doesn’t that feel cheap?
Me: I’ll take it.
Sebastian: But it was a phantom tag! They should have another run!
Me: Really, Knoblauch, what’s that like? Tell me that story again.

Pot, meet kettle.

And finally, because by some weird twist of sanity and logic, I’ve gone this long without mentioning it, how hot is Bill Mueller lately? I don’t actually mean in the “Hello, Billy and thank you for wearing the tight home pants” way, though that’s nice, but I mean at the plate. I know he’s always been rather dialed in with runners in scoring position but he seems damn near automatic these days. It’s fun to watch. Last Sunday he hit a home run, a double and put in some Gold Glove defensive work in the field, an excellent all-around day. The day that forces you to pay attention to Bill Mueller. On a team with the likes of Schilling, Manny, Tizzle, and Damon, Buelly often gets overlooked. I’m sure he’s fine with that but I think he deserves a bit more recognition.

Tonight, it’s Wake vs. Casey Fossum, the man we traded for Schilling. For that, I’ll always have a bit of a soft spot for the guy. Not enough to actually want him to win, but more in an affectionate chuff under the chin sort of way. Thanks, Casey, for letting us bring in the big guns. Now, boys, after saying your hellos, kindly go out there and hit him like he owes you money.

Oh, and Bell-Watch ’05 goes like this: 0-for-4. Yanks lose. Excellent.

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Rats Rush to Sinking Ship!

Oh for crissakes…

Way to take all the fun out of releasing players from a championship team, Georgie. No, really, just dive right in. We didn’t say much about the lefty reliever because, well, he was kind of stinkin’ up the joint and we figure what better way to continue our long-awaited revenge than to send an embedded Red Sock your way? But now you’re snapping up our second baseman?

I mean…

Okay, look, it’s not like I was overly fond of The Bell myself. Ask my couch cushions, coffee table, living room walls, or just look into the terrified eyes of my poor roommate. The Bell was singlehandedly responsible for me uttering the words, “Is there more vodka left?” on more than one occasion and he may have something to do with the ulcer that formed sometime during the second half of last year. I’m certainly not one of those scary, scary Bellhorn fangirls who profess to love and cherish our middle infielder and offer him all manner of sexual favors, some legal, some not. I mean, we have a third baseman and a catcher for that sort of unsavory behavior.

I may, once or twice, have made a snide remark about Bellhorn getting to first only because Millar told him the first-baseman was hiding a bag of Cheetos in his pants. Just once or twice though. And, you know, now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure Sam and I had the following conversation whilst attending a game wherein Bellhorn quite uncharacteristically stole a base.

Sam: What the hell?
Me: Someone told him there were Funyuns at second.
Sam: This is probably what happened.
Me: Someone should tell him there are Pringles at home.
Sam: Nope, you’ve gotta go step by step. Say third. You tell him home and he’ll cut right across the middle of the diamond to partake of their potato-y goodness.

But, you know, it’s all in good fun.

That said, I want some sort of legislation put into place immediately that would forbid Red Sox and Yankee players from switching teams mid-season. Since we don’t trade with each other anymore because Theo knows damn well that he’ll be left holding a bag of used baseballs and a rubber chicken while Steinbrenner has Manny fitted for his bronze statue in Monument Park, waiver wire deals appear to be the only way to get things done. But to me, it feels like cheating. Like we’re not going to notice? C’mon.

Perhaps I’m suffering from a case of “If I can’t have it, neither can you.” But you know what? I’m fine with that when it comes to the Yankees. While I certainly don’t expect Bellhorn to kick Robinson Cano out of his job and start belting homers with the frequency of, oh, of anyone not Mark Bellhorn, there’s no telling what the mandatory Yankee injections of HGH and Andro will do for him. (Don’t you start with me, I want Giambi hooked up to a goddamn generator and powering New Orleans because there ain’t NO WAY he just “got better…again.”)

Don’t get me wrong, I love Tony Graffanino and everything he’s done. Probably not as much as Annette loves him but that’d be rather hard without committing a felony in 46 contiguous states. But I also don’t relish having to take turns on Steve Brady Suicide Watch. One of us is now accompanying Steve at all times and has replaced all his utensils with child-proof Fisher Price flatware. His outlets have been covered and all medications are being dispensed by a trained professional. At least he has his fantasy football team to look forward to. (*snerk*).

Let’s just all hope this is what it appears to be, a last-ditch attempt by a drowning and desperate man to right his very shiny and expensive ship. Let’s also hope it goes down faster than the Lusitania.

In the meantime, the Sox won against Tampa Bay, Ortiz continues to terrorize the sleeping hours of the Minnesota front office and Bill Mueller provokes unnatural and certainly not Christ-like thoughts in damn near everyone. Oh, and Schilling goes tonight. Someone hold me.

******

All kidding aside, yesterday’s hurricane in New Orleans was completely devastating and attention should be paid. Colleen, my roommate just moved to Boston after spending six years, including four undergrad, in New Orleans and she’s frantically trying to get in touch with people and make sure everyone is okay. I’m not sure what most of us can do to help but I only ask that we do what we can. Some people lost everything and at the very least, we need to offer our support. Thanks, guys.

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Reason #6,549…

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…why Steve Brady is not going to win Fantasy Football.

Overheard yesterday while watching the Sox game:

“I’m going to win. My wide relievers are excellent.”

I rest my case.

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A Really Powerful River in Egypt

In lieu of talking about last night’s game which did not happen, I’m going to let you all in on a coversation overheard between Amy and Marianne. This was a phone conversation, mind you, so I technically only heard Marianne’s end of it, but I feel confident in my knowledge of Amy that I can pretty accurately describe what was happening on the other end.

Amy: You know how old people, when they hold babies, they sniff their heads?
Mariannne: Wait, what?
Amy: Old people. They sniff babies heads to like, inhale their youth or something.
Marianne: I’m going to assume this is eventually going to come back around to baseball.
Amy: It is.
Marianne: Continue.
Amy: Okay, so, I think that’s what happend to Jon Papelbon.
Marianne: Someone sniffed his head?
Amy: Yes.
Marianne: Who sniffed Jon Papelbon’s head?
Amy: Mike Remlinger. He sniffed Papelbon’s head to try to get some of the not suck youth and Papelbon caught some of the suck.
Marianne: Are you sniffing something right now?
Amy: No! See, listen, it totally makes sense.
Marianne: Um…
Amy: Because Remlinger wanted to stop sucking right?
Marianne: Okay.
Amy: And Papelbon didn’t suck.
Marianne: Right, with you so far.
Amy: So Remlinger sniffed Papelbon’s head. Makes perfect sense.
Marianne: Are you saying that Remlinger stole Papelbon’s soul?
Amy: Sort of. Well, not really.
Marianne: Yeah, no, he ate his soul. I get it.
Amy: What? No, there was no eating of the soul.
Marianne: There totally was. Remlinger turned into like, that dude from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and reached into Papelbon’s chest and took out his soul.
Amy: And then he ate it?
Marianne: And then he ate it.
Amy: But, wait…?
Marianne: Yeah, totally. Because if there was just head sniffing happening, then that doesn’t explain why Papelbon would start to suck.
Amy: Because he sniffed his head!
Marianne: Yeah, but, the old people who sniff the babies, are they making the babies old with the sniffing?
Amy: No they’re…well, I don’t know.
Marianne: It’s totally soul eating. Look at the goatee. The scary, two-tone goatee. Clearly he is Satan.
Amy: That is a good point.
Marianne: It’s a big ball of white light. The soul. And he ate it.
Amy: White light?
Marianne: Yeah. Bitch, what’s the matter with you? Haven’t you ever seen Ghost?
Amy: Um…is it like in Harry Potter?
Marianne: I’ve never seen Harry Potter, I’m talking about Ghost here. There was very clear soul eating happening.
Amy: A white light. Hmmm.
Marianne: Kristen says that happened in The Little Mermaid too.
Amy: It totally did. Except it wasn’t a soul. I don’t know about this soul thing. I think I was right with the head sniffing.
Marianne: Nope. Soul eating. I think we both agree on the fact that there was a transfer of soul. It’s the only possible explanation since Remlinger was able to record an out and Papelbon was teh suck. We just differ on the method.
Amy: Good point.
Marianne: For real, though. Are you sniffing something right now?

And these are my friends.

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The Unbearable Exhuberance of Jason Varitek

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(photo from Boston.com)

Last night’s game was the suck. Ain’t nobody going to deny that. Even after a rain delay and ChadBradFad-WhateverAd getting out of a dicey situation in the 8th, I somehow knew the game was going no place good. And so, to bed I went. (And evidently during my REM sleep, I developed a taste for talking like Yoda.)

You know those games that you’re not actually losing but you can just tell you’ll regret staying awake for? That was last night. The rain delay didn’t help but it’s hard to say that it was more damaging than the big slugger’s penchant for stranding a small Macedonian village’s worth of runners on base. Aside from Edgah (3-for-4) and Millar (of all people), it just didn’t seem like the team came to play.

That said, let’s focus on the positive, which is, clearly, that picture up there and the televised, live broadcast of same. Find me a more stoic, goes-about-his-business-with-no-fanfare player than Jason Varitek and I will tell you that you are a dirty liar, sir. So how fantastic was it to see Tek sit on the bench after Millar launched his homer, bounce up and down, as Annette said, “Like a kid on Christmas morning who just found out he got the bike he really, really wanted” and then, while the rest of the team was doing the customary, “ignore the dude who just hit the homer” thing, completely lose his shit and tackle Millar as he walked past? It was most excellent is what it was. Of course, being Tek, it’s likely that he broke something important in Millar as he is wont to do with the players he jumps on (Paging Mr. Foulke. Paging Mr. Embree….).

What can we do about getting him to jump on Mike Remlinger? Probably for that to happen, Remlinger would have to record an out of some sort of historical import and since he has an apparent affliction to recording outs of any kind, that seems unlikely. Lead pipe it is then…

Tonight, the Big Schill returns to the rotation and looks to right the ship against Jose Lima, he of the 4-12 record. I’m not a religous person but please, please, please, please let Schilling be Schilling. Pretty please?

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The Rick Rambles

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Steve reacts to The Rick’s suggestion that Graffanino is kicking Bellhorn’s ass out of town.

Pic from TGIC.

So some of the peeps met The Rick this past weekend and they can now state, unequivocally, that he kicks so much ass he needs special shoes. Continuing on the quest for ass-kickery, The Rick rambles on about all manner of things. As usual, my comments are in italics.

At the end of the 2003-04 season, Vancouver Canuck forward Todd Bertuzzi (a very good player, by the way) blindsided and mugged Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore, driving Moore’s face into the ice and breaking his neck, among other injuries, thereby seriously jeopardizing Moore’s career. Bertuzzi was immediately suspended by the NHL (and deservedly so) for an undetermined amount of games/time which ultimately amounted to the final 17 games of that season as well as the playoffs and the non-season of 2004-05. Two weeks ago the league reinstated Bertuzzi while Moore says “I still have a long way to go, and not just in hockey, but with my health,” according to the Denver Post. My point is this: Hockey is trying very hard of late to put the work-stoppage behind it and draw fans back to the game by improving their product. But for those of you that don’t like or don’t follow hockey, my guess is that you point to this Roller Derby-like frontier justice system that the league adheres to and wonder how the game can be taken seriously.

I would actually argue that oftentimes, the opposite is true. For whatever reason, people that don’t like or follow hockey get sucked in by the cheap violence and the fighting. And the sport, because it allows this kind of behavior, further appeals to the lowest common denominator. It’s unfortunate because hockey is a great sport, but blood and guts sell.

Tony Graffanino must have had a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. How else can you explain his trade from the worst-place Royals to the first-place Red Sox in the heat of a pennant race? And he’s getting the job done in spades at a spot where the Sox were badly lacking. (Sorry, Steve.) All of Theo’s moves don’t work out but this one is looking more and more like a winner every day. And how could Kansas City let him go? Theo must have promised his first born male child. (Who would then, I assume, grow up to be a Robo-GM for the Royals?)

Back in my youth every major league team had a four-man rotation, and it was routine for the better pitchers to have 20 complete games. Sure, there were sore arms but the injuries didn’t seem to be as debilitating as these days when teams and managers baby these guys and seemingly everybody has Tommy John surgery.

Albert Pujols is the young National League superstar that everyone’s heard of –but the one you may not know of is Miguel Cabrera of the Marlins. Just 22, Cabrera cut his teeth with the Marlins in their World Series championship season two years ago. He, Pujols, and apparently Derek Lee (where did he come from?) along with a now mature Andruw Jones should be battling for a variety of batting awards over the next decade or so.

Have you watched any of the Little League World Series this week on ESPN? Used to be the games were all pitching dominated – but now the long ball is king – and some of them are significant shots. One kid who played for the Saudia Arabian entry was 6’5” and I believe they said 240 lbs. 12 years old! And I don’t buy all that stuff about TV causing too much pressure on these young kids. Looks to me like they are all having a blast and it’s good experience for them to perform on a stage of sorts.

The experts think Southern Cal, coached by old friend Pete Carroll, can readily three-peat their NCAA D1 football championship this year and here’s why: USC’s Matt Leinhart may be the reigning Heisman Trophy winner but USC running back Reggie Bush is the best player in the country.

Just wondering what folks think – but ESPN, especially SportsCenter, is starting to bore me. Not enough highlights, too many quiz games and contests, and lame chatter from the hosts. And of course everything is sponsored. The Worldwide Leader’s game coverage is excellent, and their Baseball Tonight focus-type shows are great, but there seems to be more and more junk, like mini-series etc. I wish they would be more true to their roots, ratings be damned. That said, I’ve had the opportunity to watch Cold Pizza several mornings of late and I have to tell you it’s pretty good – decent guests, excellent regular contributors, timely topics and decent debates.

Don’t know if you’ve noticed but the Patriots schedule this year is a killer – the AFC East (6 games) may be the strongest division in the NFL, plus four games against the AFC West (SD, OAK, KC, Den), four against the NFC South (Carolina, TB, NO, ATL), plus Indy and Pittsburgh thrown in for good measure.

Looks like we’ll be seeing more and more of John Olerud down the stretch and less and less of Kevin Millar. Reportedly Millar is okay with that. (Not sure how he’s argue. His bat certainly isn’t doing his talking for him).

After all that has been said, I believe we are getting exactly what we expected from Edgar Renteria. I like what I see so far from Jon Papelbon. He looks ready to me and I’d rather see him in there these days than Wade Miller, who clearly has disappointed. (And made me cry. Frequently.)

I hope everyone enjoys the interplay between Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy. Sometimes I don’t know what they are laughing about but they make it fun anyway. Over the years my travels have exposed me to many local play-play announcing teams, some of whom are deadly dull, but these two are the best by far. What I particularly like is that they don’t take everything too seriously. And they don’t assume that the viewing public is made up of retarded monkeys. Which is why you won’t hear them saying, “That was ball two on the outside corner which means that the ball was located just outside the strike zone.” You will hear them giggling incoherently for three innings but I would imagine covering baseball in an obsessed town like Boston would drive anyone to the brink of insanity occasionally.

Anyway these are my thoughts – but you have yours. Let’s hear ‘em!

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Worth a Thousand Words…

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…most of them, “Cheetos.”

I don’t usually try to sell you people things. But for real, check this out.

Designed by The Girl in Camo, it’s truly spectacular. A bunch of us have been shooting around the idea of doing T-shirts for a while now. TGIC finally got off her ass and actually did it. And the result? Fan-fucking-tastic. I’m sure all the cool kids will soon have one.

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