Monthly Archives: September 2005

Savior

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(photo from Yahoo! Sports)

The thing is, I’m pretty sure David Ortiz might actually be God. I’m not sure I can envision someone else “delivering us from evil” in quite the same way. That may seem like heresy and I’m fairly certain that the nuns at my Catholic high school would cluck disapprovingly at such a declaration, but Red Sox baseball is both a religion and a drug, and David Ortiz is my savior. A messiah in a Kangol hat with ice in his ears, Ortiz brings us to the edge of the Promised Land…yet again.

There have already been far more eloquent statements written by far more gifted writers about how much David Oritz means to this team…and I won’t try to outdo any of them. I will simply say that insomuch as it is possible to actually love someone whom you’ve never met, I love David Ortiz. Ignoring the imaginary baseball world scenarios where I run into Ortiz on the street, he envelopes me in a giant bear hug and says, “Hey baby, what’s going down?,” I really, truly love the man. As much as Jason Varitek is the “heart and soul” of this team, Ortiz is the circulatory system that keeps it all together. And thanks to him, this team’s heart is still beating.

And let’s not forget Jon(athan) Papelbon because he isn’t going to remind us. In the mess and destruction that’s been the Sox bullpen this year, it’s easy to overlook the specter of Papelbon, rising from the smoking rubble. This guy, since he took an unassuming seat on the bench, has been rock, solid nails. His ERA is under 3 and he’s become the closest thing we have to a sure thing in that bucket of fun we call “the bullpen.” A week or so ago, Bill Simmons wrote a column wherein he mentioned that the Sox don’t make it to the postseason – or anywhere from there – without Jonathan Papelbon. A few weeks ago, it would have seemed like a ridiculous statement, but now, it’s fact. And he’s right.

How great must it be to be Papelbon right now? A reporter on NESN’s Extra Innings show posed the question to him in the locker room this evening:

Reporter: “How much fun is this?”
Papelbon’s eyes light up and he couldn’t suppress the smile that he’d kept hidden so well all night, “It’s more fun that I’ve ever imagined.”

And damned if he isn’t right.

It all comes down to this. And we knew it was going to. We have all these great fantasies about the Yankees getting eliminated (and don’t even try to tell me there isn’t some serious karmic voodoo waiting for them for having Shawn “Who?” Chacon and Aaron “Whatshisface?” Small pitching like they have. No way, no how. But as with all karmic debts, this one will come back to bite them in the ass. Hard.) There is no easy way.

I remember last year, I was cheering for the Twins to eliminate the Yankees in the Divisional Series because, if you are a sane person, you want the Yankees to lose in any way possible (hopefully, in a painful, humiliating way, but we’ll get to that in a second), and I remember someone saying to me, “If the Red Sox win the World Series and they don’t have to go through the Yankees to get there, doesn’t it become less special?” And I scoffed and denied it. But after laying the 0-3 smackdown on us, and having the Sox come roaring back to humiliate the Yankees IN THE WORST WAY POSSIBLE, they were right. In retrospect, they were absolutely right. It wouldn’t have been the same if we’d beaten the Twins or the Indians, or the White Sox, or the JV Squad from Hoboken High. We need to beat the Yankees.

And we still need to beat the Yankees.

Real season starts tomorrow at 7:05.

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Nervous Wreck

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(It’s as if all of this…exploded)

I am actually making myself sick.

I don’t know if it’s psychosomatic or if this is an actual, physical problem. But I do know that I do not feel well. My stomach is in knots, my nose is stuffy and my TMJ is back, which means I’m spending an inordinate amount of time clenching my jaw and/or grinding my teeth.

I WONDER WHY THAT IS?

I haven’t eaten anything solid since lunchtime yesterday and even that didn’t set too well. Last night, I just…forgot to eat. This is not like me. This is not normal.

I brought actual work from my actual job home to work on last night because when one area of one’s life explodes with complications and stress, all other areas must follow suit. So it was work-work to freelance-work to baseball-anxiety. Do not pass “Go.” Do not collect $200. Do not remember to eat dinner.

I found myself downing a giant mug of coffee and a sliced tomato at 10:30 last night. Surely, this is not healthy living.

This morning, when I got up and ran into Colleen on the way to the shower, we grunted our good mornings and she asked me how I was feeling. “I’ll tell you one thing,” I said, running my toothbrush under the faucet, “I’m not raising my kids to be sports fans.”

She looked at me quizzically, her hand on her hip and cocked her head, “Oh no?”

I spit out my mouthful of toothpaste. “You’re right,” I said, “Half the reason I’d like to have kids is to raise them as sports fans. We’re all doomed.”

“That’s what I thought,” she said.

She has known me for a decade. She can call bullshit with the best of ’em.

And speaking of bullshit, would you like to know what I was doing after the debacle of a Sox game ended last night? I will tell you. What I was doing was stealing Marianne’s MLBTV feed on my laptop (reasoning that she was not using it), and watching the top of the 9th inning of the Yankees/Baltimore game. The 9th inning of a game in which the Orioles were leading by a score of 17-9. There was already one out. I repeat: the Orioles were winning by eight runs and I felt the need to watch for myself to ensure that they would not self-destruct and implode, allowing the Yankees to improbably take the game.

“Kristen,” Colleen said as she cleaned the kitchen and benevolently organized my path of destruction, “Go to bed. The Yankees are not winning this game.”

“One time,” I responded, “they scored thirteen runs in an inning.”

“When was this?” she asked.

I was cut off by Michael Kay spouting off from the YES network feed, emenating from my laptop speakers, “Earlier this season, the Yankees scored thirteen runs in an inning against the Devil Rays, so anything is possible.”

“Oh,” Colleen said.

“Bite me, Michael Kay,” I growled.

But in the end, she was right. The Yankees did not win. Neither, I might add, did the Red Sox, or the Indians. Leaving us right back where we started. A two-way deadlocked tie for the AL East and a three-way tie for the AL Wild Card. It’s as if last night never happened since no one accomplished anything. I suppose of the best and worst case scenarios, it’s right down the middle. But even though I prefer it to slipping, there’s something unsettling about stasis.

“What happens if the season ends with all these teams tied?” Colleen asked me.

I began to read to her from the article on MLB.com: “What if the Yankees, Red Sox and Indians all finish with the same records? The Yankees and Red Sox play in New York for the AL East title and the loser plays the Indians for the Wild Card berth on Tuesday. New York is at the Jake if the Yanks lose and the Tribe is at Fenway if the Red Sox lose.”

“Got that?” I asked her.

“Ow,” she said, “My head.”

Word.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to track down some Advil and ginger ale. Better stock up.

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It’s Back!

Chicks Talk Football is back. This time with it’s very own site!

Beth, Mer, Sam and yours truly discuss, argue, hypothesize and fight with knives.

Design work still to be done but check it out. We get down and dirty about, among other things, Rodney Harrison’s penchant for claiming disrespect, the heroics of one David Akers and the infamous Tom Brady goat picture.

Link added to the sidebar as well.

Girls talking about football. Does it get any better than that?

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Deja Vu, All Over Again

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(photo from Boston.com)

Roethlisberger learns: Mess with bull, get horns, etc.

This is how the story goes:

Tom Brady leads drive. Adam Vinatieri makes kick. New England wins.

Some would say it’s time for a re-write, but an entire six state region would argue otherwise.

Tom Brady leads drive. Adam Vinatieri makes kick. New England wins.

It’s become my favorite bedtime story.

And you know what? It wasn’t perfect. Yesterday was not perfect. Not by a long shot. It was the kind of game where you go into halftime down by three points but feeling like you’re down by three touchdowns. Red zone turnovers and mental mistakes resulting in penalties seemed as if they were going to doom the Pats for the second week in a row. But then, somehow, quite possibly because he’s a magical wizard who makes Gandalf look like a hack, Belichick smacked some sense into his team and they came out ready to rock. I like to think that he just walked into the locker room, looked around slowly and said, “I’m so disappointed in you,” before retiring to the coach’s office and letting the team stew in the disappointment. Because I’m fairly certain that there are few worse things than disappointing Bill Belichick.

There were still some hiccups, like that last bit wherein the defense was all, “Wha? There’s still time left? Oh…shit,” as they watched Hines Ward catch a game-tying four yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger, thereby preventing the patented Ward Waterworks for another minute and a half. But then it ended how it always seems to end:

Tom Brady leads drive. Adam Vinatieri makes kick. New England wins.

Thank you and goodnight.

Oh, and while we’re at it, I’d like to echo Sam here and say that “for the safety of all future Patriots players, that entire stadium [Heinz Field] needs to be blown into little teeny tiny bits, set aflame, and paved over.” Because…word. Site of Brady’s twisted ankle in the 2001 AFC Championship game. Site of Ty Law’s broken foot on Halloween of last year. And now Rodney Harrison and Matt Light go down with serious injuries. I’m off to Pittsburgh in a rented bulldozer. Who’s with me?

I would talk more about Rodney Harrison right now but I’m not sure how to translate uncontrollable weeping to the written word. Let’s…just not speak of it.

But when all was said and done, when the smoke cleared and Hines Ward’s tears had dried, the world was as it should be, and the Patriots had locked up another win. Baby Ben was injured and both teams had taken quite the beating in another last man standing situation. It wasn’t dominance, but it was good enough. And I’ll take it.

Here is what we know: If you need a definition of clutch, you need look no farther than the men wearing number 4 for the Pats and number 34 for the Sox. This is greatness and performance under pressure. And damn is it sweet.


*******

Speaking of dominance, the Red Sox, in what seems like the first time in the history of ever, swept the Orioles and remain in a deadlocked tie with the Yankees for first place in the AL East. Seven games remain. All home games for the Sox, all away games for the Yankees. Let’s hope that home-field advantage really means something. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy. Strap in.

*readies gallons of water, flashlights, batteries and canned goods*

*straps on hard helmet*

Prepare for some apocalyptic baseball (TM Beth).

It’s so on.

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Phew!

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(photo from NFL.com)

*deep breath*

Isn’t Week 3 a little too early for last-second field goals and playoff intensity?

Per Amy: “Adam Vinatieri is like the tiny, white David Ortiz.”

More later.

*dies*

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*Hulk smash*

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Do you think those balls are juiced like the Yankees?

I…have nothing to say. I sincerely hope the Sox plan on winning their remaining 11 games. And then I hope they’re getting everyone who’s been paying attention to them this season a big fucking “I’m Sorry” card from Hallmark. The good shit with the watermark on the back and everything.

Because I don’t want to hear any slogans. I don’t want to know about any t-shirts. I want to win some goddamn baseball games.

And the Yankees? Fuck ’em. They got where they are largely by cheating (don’t EVEN consider arguing with me about this), and it’s not over yet. I hope the Yankees and their fans aren’t using their souls. They’re going to miss them.

I hate that sports do this to me. I hate that I can’t properly illustrate my rage with words and am reduced to throwing bottle caps at the television and damn near putting my foot through the screen before Amy stopped me to remind me that “Mike Timlin is not going to buy you a new TV.” But if anything good can come of this, it’s the hope that the team is just as pissed off as I am. And well they should be. They blew this and they have to work that much harder to fix it. And they better fucking try.

Apologies for my lack of synonyms for the word “fuck” but the game ended ten minutes ago and to keep myself from destroying my dishes on the hardwood floor or devouring an entire half-gallon of ice cream, I’m ranting here.

I’m not giving up. Because I can’t. I don’t have it in me. It’s not part of my nature. So I will continue to watch. And I will continue to hope. And make no mistake about it, I will continue to throw things and most likely will need to purchase a new television before the season is over. But I can’t give up. I couldn’t find my way off this bandwagon with a map.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tape a picture of Mike Timlin to my pillow and work out my, er, frustrations.

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And now, the severe beating of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays

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Who’s your Papi? Who’s your Papi?!?

Steve made an excellent point in the SGMB game thread last night after Schilling completed seven full innings of two-run ball:

“I really want to see the margins of Curt’s notebook.”

“I am awesome.”

“I am very awesome.”

“$14 million dollars / $60 per month = 233,333 months of EQ! – r0xx0r!”

“Paladin only at level 16. Have to get some work in.”

“Curt Christ. Jesus Schilling. Curt Schilling-Christ.”

And after that start, maybe I’m a believer again too.

THAT was more like it. That’s what I like to see. Relentless beating up on the playground nerds by the big bullies. Some guy named Seth McClung getting his ass handed to him on a whopping platter of back-to-backs by Pebbles and Bam-Bam (tm Steve). The middle of the lineup kicking ass and taking names. Our B-team in at the end and, despite the fact that we all now know what they look like in drag, closed out the job like the major leaguers they see fit to become.

And Lou Piniella almost, ALMOST, killing someone with a bat.

Good times.

The Yankees won too but they had to break teeny, tiny Brian Roberts to do so (and simultaneously sent Marianne into a downward spiral of depression and despair, the likes of which we have never seen). And who the hell runs over a 5’8″ first baseman anyway? On a bunt. Bubba Fucking Crosby, that’s who. Had to be a Yankee. Cheap ass way to get a run if you ask me. And a person’s arm should NOT bend that way. Way to end Roberts’ season, jackass. I sincerely hope you enjoy hell as you’ll be spending lots of time there. Get comfy.

The good news about the Yankee game, if there’s any to be had, is that with a four run lead in the ninth, the Yankees still brought in Rivera, apparently not sold on their abilities to get three outs before the other team scored four runs. And they were right to be as the O’s tagged on a couple. I see cracks in the veneer, kids. I see trouble for our pinstriped foes.

It’s not all Cracker Jacks and lollipops in Sox land but last night, last night was good. A good, old-fashioned beat down was just what the doctor ordered. And we like it. Embarassingly large margins of victory are good for the soul.

I don’t know who told the team that the Devil Rays said something uncharitable about their mamas but the middle of the order went OFF with vengeance and fury. Even Captain “You know what’s fun? Striking out.” Tek got in on the action. Speaking of, I need your help, people. Does a 4 for 5 night from the Captain warrant a beer purchase on the part of my brother? I need to know the limitations of my demands.

Oh, and you wanna argue against David Ortiz for MVP? You wanna step to the man? Because I’m pretty sure the traditional definition of Most Valuable Player is not, “Best Player” but rather “Player Who Gives His Team The Best Chance To Win.” And if you can find a better candidate than David Ortiz, well, I will call you a dirty, dirty liar.

But it’s a good thing the Yankees declined to sign him when Minnesota released him. Since he’s not a power hitter.

Tonight, we march on and conclude the very, very long stretch of games without a break. Wake takes the hill and faces off against Scott Kazmir, he of the inexplicable unhittable stuff. Let’s hope the Trop is kind to Wake and Kazmir gets tossed for plunking Dougie’s substantial rear end.

I shall leave you with an observation that Amy made last night whilst trying to talk Marianne out of her figurative tree: “There is only one thing to do in this situation. When the going gets tough, and there are hard days and rough roads ahead. You have to ask yourself one very important question. And that question is: What would Dave Roberts Do?”

Marianne sniffled and answered quietly, “He’d run really fucking fast.”

That’s it, boys. Run fast. Run really fucking fast, right to the end. And bring us home.

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