(photo from Yahoo! Sports)
And so for the second day in a row, we must pose the question: Why does A.J. run? And by this, of course, we mean what the bloody hell was going on there when he clearly struck out to end the game, the umpire made an out call, signifying THE GAME WAS OVER and THEN Pierzynski decided to take off for first, hoping he could con the umps into reversing the call? Which he did. Because there is no instant replay in baseball.
Then he steals second and Joe Crede hits a double and before you can say “Jeffrey Maier” or “phantom tag” a game that should be going to the top of the 10th inning is over and the ChiSox have won on a walk off hit.
I am justifiably pissed off if I’m an Angels fan right now. And aside from those godforsaken Thunder Stix, it looks like Orange County-ers might be starting to get the hang of this baseball thing. And this isn’t good for them. This is how rivalries start. This is what gets blood boiling and starts tempers flaring.
It’s not the fault of the White Sox, per se. They were just taking advantage of what the umps gave them. But the Yankees do that shit all the time and you’ll never get a Red Sox fan to admit that it doesn’t fuel the rivalry. So if you’re an Angels fan, I say stomp your feet, curse the pale hose and throw something. Maybe a Thunder Stick.
It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out. If the Halos lose this series, they’re going to point to that botched call as the turning point. And I’m not sure they’re wrong. Who knows? Maybe we’re looking at the seeds of baseball’s next great rivalry. Maybe in fifty years, Angels/ChiSox will make Red Sox/Yankees look like a tiff over a parking ticket. Of course, for that to happen, someone is actually going to need to physically kill someone else. And obviously I’m not wishing for murder here, I’m a (mostly) reasonable human being. But rivalries sure do make sports fun, no? Gotta say, it’s nice to be a spectator for once, though. My poor heart, she can’t take it.
I would also like to express my displeasure with the fact that Lou Piniella appeared to be heavily sedated during the broadcast. The commentators have the benefit of instant replay. They saw it was a bullshit call. I saw it was a bullshit call. Likely A.J. Pierzynski knew it was a bullshit call. The only people who didn’t were the umps. But even still, Piniella calmly expressed his belief that it wasn’t correct and piped down. What? What the shit is that? This is Lou Piniella! If I have to hear senile old men rambling on in the booth, I at least want one of them to throw a temper tantrum and start ranting about how in his day, the base paths ran uphill and it wasn’t 90 feet to first, it was 180! And they played all year round and had to run through the snow in bare feet! And catchers didn’t get those pansy-ass big gloves to catch things, they used their bare hands! And the only way you got to first was knocking the ball (or another player) out cold! None of this “dropped third strike” horseshit! I mean, c’mon. You mean to tell me that had that call gone against the Devil Rays, Sweet Lou wouldn’t have eaten the catcher’s mitt or one of his middle infielders to prove a point? I don’t think so. Where’s the fire, Lou? Where’s the passion? Where’s the madness?
As for the other game, welp, not terribly exciting. Reggie Sanders sure hit the shit outta that ball though, huh? Funny, I don’t remember anyone talking about being scared of him last year. It was all Pujols, Edmonds, Walker, etc. But he can hit a piece, that’s for sure.
But after watching the Cardinals play some AL style big homer ball and follow it up with some very NL type suicide squeeze action, I’ve decided they just might win the whole damn thing this year. And that’d be okay. Because St. Louis? Good people, it seems. I got no beef with them.
(photo from Yahoo! Sports)
Dudes? This baseball thing? Kind of a good time when you’re not full of bile and anger and spewing insults at the television every time Joe Torre is shown probing his nose with his Go-Go Yankee Finger.
In fact, last night’s Angels/ChiSox Game 1 of the ALCS was actually kinda fun to watch. The Rick called about the third inning:
Dad: Whatcha up to?
Me: Oh, I’m just over at Annette’s new apartment. Eating some pizza and watching the game on a fuzzy TV with Annette and Marianne. We’re talking about how great Nomar used to be. And how the team went to hell in 2001 when Tek broke his elbow. It’s a very civil discussion. We’re hardly swearing at all.
Dad: I’m very proud of you.
Me: This is kind of fun, huh?
Dad: What’s that?
Me: This not having to hate the other team thing. Baseball is kind of fun.
Dad: Imagine that.
And it was.
Of course, it being a Fox televised game, we were treated to a stream of utter inanities on the part of a one Mr. Tim McCarver. Perhaps the most entertaining of which was the philosophical discussion he set forth when, after seeing Paul Byrd throw over to first to keep A.J. Pierzynski honest he asked, seemingly out of nowhere, “Why does A.J. run?” But it wasn’t the question so much as the tone. He asked it in such a reverent, awed tone one might say, “Do you take this woman?” or “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” He was positively wowed by this line of questioning.
It became a bit of a joke with us. Whenever someone would make a great play prompting the, “Wow, how did he do that?” question, one of us would inevitably say, “Yes, but the real question remains: Why does A.J. run?” You can only guess the fun we had when Pierzynski attempted to steal second, only to be gunned down by one of the Juggling Molina Brothers.
Oh, that’s another thing. We’ve decided – in our position as commissioners of Imaginary Baseball World – that Bengie, Jose and Yadier Molina should hereinafter be referred to as the “Juggling Molina Brothers.” And should the Angels meet the Cardinals in the World Series, they should entertain the crowd between innings by juggling chest protectors, helmets and shin guards. Maybe they could be lit on fire to really get the crowd into it. Their at bat music will also be changed to that circus song. You know the one, Do do doodle deedle do do do doo!
Aaaaanyway…Annette, Marianne and I also decided that if Theo and Bill Belichick ever teamed up on anything, they would rule the world. No one else would stand a chance. We even went so far as to invent an alternate sport for them to run. In which the players wear padding and the object is to knock the ball away from the other team. We went on like this for about twenty minutes without pause until I said, “Did we just invent rugby?”
“Huh,” Marianne said, “I think we did.”
“We so rule.” Annette confirmed.
Other things that would happen if we ran baseball:
See? Giving yourself ultimate power over imaginary sports is fun! So I leave it to you, dear readers. What would you do if you ran baseball?
Welp…guess that’s it then, isn’t it?
And you know what? It’s okay. I mean, it’s not OKAY. I’m not gonna pretend like I wasn’t screaming my fool head off when Tek struck out for the eleventy billionth time this year on the high fastball or that I wasn’t mainlining Corona in an effort to recapture summer or that I wasn’t screaming curse words in front of my parents’ friends. But even with all that, it’s okay.
The thing is, as someone pointed out, had this happened last year, I would have been furious because I KNEW the Red Sox were a better team than that? I KNEW it. This year? I knew no such thing. The White Sox were clearly a better team. And good for them.
Their catcher and manager aside, I’ve got no beef with the White Sox. Yes, I would have preferred that we not be swept, and I would have preferred that we not lose in our house and see our field sullied by an opposing team’s celebration but you know what? Maybe it is their time.
Doesn’t mean I didn’t want to win. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to win them all. But them’s the breaks.
Here’s how I look at it: prior to last year’s World Series, everyone with a computer or a microphone kept talking about how, if the Red Sox won, their fans would lose the passion that had made them famous and they’d cease caring so much about their team. No, Bill Simmons argued, that’s not it at all. People think Red Sox fans delight in our suffering when really, we just want to be like everyone else. And now, we are. Sure, other baseball fans of other teams are hurt and angered when their team either loses, misses the playoffs or is eliminated. But then they get over it, and they move on, focusing on next year. Red Sox fans can do that now. We can say, “Next year…” without the twinge of sadness and desperation that’s plagued us for the past 8 decades. Because we remember. And the future does look bright. We’re finally just like everyone else. And I’m okay with that.
And as for that future, it does look bright indeed. Yeah, a healthy Schilling and Foulke and blah, blah, blah. But what I’m really excited about is the new blood. I’m positively giddy about Papelbon and Manny El Camino has the potential to be dangerous. And if Craig Hansen can focus his brain behind his fastball, he’ll be deadly.
Then there’s Hanley and hopefully a better year from Edgar and Tek will still be here, leading the charge.
In the end, there is much to look forward to.
So yes, I’m upset. But I’m not surprised. I had such a fantastic time this season, following every pitch with my SG peeps and drinking far, far, far too much, that I’m left with an overwhelmingly positive experience. So while the team may have exited a little earlier than I’d have liked, I wouldn’t change anything. Call this a love letter to the team if you want, but I think it’s more a love letter to the people who love baseball. You know who you are.
And hey, it’s already October. Spring training is only four months away.
Come on, Red Sox. This is nothing new for you. Most of y’all have been here before in either 2003 or, most notably, 2004. You’re old hands at this. So get crackin.’
Nice of you to spot the White Sox (tenacious and firey lot, aren’t they?), the first two games but it really wasn’t necessary. And while I appreciate the flair for the dramatic, one of these days, your comeback kid powers are gonna run out. Might be tonight. I sincerely hope not. Whichever team they may be, I don’t want to see them celebrating in our house.
There really isn’t too much motivational hooey I can toss your way that you’ve never heard before. You’ve got Kevin Millar for that. If you feel the need to suture something, have at it. But you know the drill, boys. Backs against the wall and start fighting.
I want you to go out there tonight, guns blazing and playing like the badass sons of bitches I know you can be. Play like your lives depend on it. Because today, they actually do.
We play today. We win today. Get it done, boys.
(Like this, but a wee bit smaller)
I’m’a get to the Sox shortly, but before I do, I thought I’d share with all of you one of the most entertaining moments of my evening last night.
So I went to the Bruins home opener. It was sweeeeeeeet! Apparently, hockey done some good business last night.
But the best part of the evening happened as we were leaving the Fleet/Garden/Arena/Dome/Whatever. We’d just gotten the final Sox score from Amy and seen the Bruins lose after a questionable obstruction call sent a man to the box and opened it up for Montreal to score the game winner with 11 seconds remaining in regulation and for a bunch of fans in attendance to throw their replica Stanley Cups on the ice.
You see, upon entering the Garden, we’d all been given teeny, tiny replica Stanley Cups as, I guess, a way of saying to the fans, “Our bad. Sorry. Please stick around.” Marianne, who’d never been to a hockey game before, immediately assumed that she was supposed to throw it on the ice. When I informed her otherwise and then she saw everyone else do it, she gave me a stern look.
But the best thing, and the thing that was so absurd that it made me feel a good bit better about the sporting world in general occurred as we were getting on the escalator to go down to North Station. A very large, VERY drunk gentleman hoisted his tiny Stanley Cup over his head and started yelling at the top of his lungs, “Bob Kraft has nothing on us! Theo Epstein has nothing on us! They have Lombardi trophies and World Series trophies but we have…TRINKETS! EAT YOUR HEART OUT, BOB KRAFT! WE HAVE TRINKETS!”
It was so, so excellent.
Sometimes it’s the absurdity of sports that makes it all worthwhile.
(Hey, New York, David Wells thinks you’re full of shit)
So first this happened:
And then this happened:
And frankly, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I unleashed a profanity-laden and malice-fueled tirade via email to some unsuspecting friends. Beth begged me to post it. Here you go:
So lemme get this straight: It’s not enough that the Yankees, by some freakin’ miracle, or, more likely Faustian bargain are in the playoffs to begin with, thereby utilizing cheating of the “Look the other way, nobody on THIS team does steroids but I heard something about that Damon fellow,” school, but they are now attacking Texas for not winning that game against LAA that would have given the Skanks home field advantage (neglecting that had the Yankees just won the goddamn game against the Sox themselves, it would have been a moot point), and now they’re saying that David Wells was cheating? So because they’re the Yankees, and therefore, as our good friend Steve Brady has said, GOD’S OWN TEAM, their road to the postseason should be as swift and obstruction free as possible and also paved with good intentions and well wishes because they’re the YANKEES, DAMMIT and THEY DESERVE IT!?!
Fuck them all right in the ear. THIS is why we hate the Yankees. We don’t hate them because they’re good. We hate them because THEY THINK THEY DESERVE IT. Based on absolutely nothing. Listen up, you fuckwads, the Red Sox won the World Series last year and it certainly seemed like the White Sox could not possibly have cared less about that last night. And nobody is crying for us. Nobody is calling it a poor show on Chicago’s part with the curtain calls and the piling on. Nobody thinks we deserve a damn thing. So get your pinstriped, entitled heads out of your asses and play some fucking baseball if you want some goddamn respect. You have to fucking EARN IT. Nobody is going to give you anything. Just because you’ve won eight bazillion rings in the past doesn’t give you a free pass for the rest of all eternity. That’s not how the game is played. We all start the season at 0-0 and work from there. Last year, you bitched about hurricanes keeping the Devil Rays in Florida and you actually pissed and moaned and demanded that the DEVIL RAYS FORFEIT GAMES TO YOU BECAUSE THEY COULD NOT LEAVE THEIR STADIUM TO FLY TO NEW YORK BECAUSE OF A NATURAL DISASTER THAT PUT THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR HOMES IN JEOPARDY. You assholes. I STILL can’t believe you did that. And now, you DESERVE home field advantage? Why? Because you’re the Yankees? Mystique and aura and all that shit? Bite me. Seriously, get over your damn selves and EARN your respect.
And by the way, slapping balls in play, obstructing the umpire so he can’t see that you didn’t tag anyone (Shut UP, McCarver!) and fucking accusing the other team of cheating in a monumental display of sour grapes is NOT the way you earn respect, you assholes. Shut the fuck up, play the game the right way, (without the cheating or have you forgotten how to do that?), and quit your bitching. No one feels sorry for you. No. One. You have to earn it like the rest of us.
I actually feel much better now.