Monthly Archives: June 2006

Cheaper by the Dozen


(photo from Boston.com)

Since I became one of the approximately twelve billion people to use the Spinal Tap reference in yesterday’s post title, I thought I’d go for the easy joke again and see if I can hit the jackpot twice.

Anyway, what more is there to say about this team? They’re pretty freakin’ good, eh? It’s strange that on this extended winning streak, things seem to be going the Sox way. We’re getting the good bounces, getting the calls and, as in the case of Coco accidentally revealing his alternate identity as Spiderman last night, making the plays. I know someone who would not have made that same play and would still have managed to concuss himself on the warning track whereas Coco just popped right back up like a Whack-O-Mole…

As for David Ortiz, sigh, as Amy said, “just another day at the office.

The Rick has now taken to calling me, or rather, having my mom call me to harass me when Varitek does something to contribute, like get himself an RBI. Wonder how often he’s calling my brother re: Doug Mirabelli’s offensive contributions? Right.

Dear Theo:
The National League is fun. Let’s play them all the time.
K thnx,
Red Sox Nation

And Schilling picks up his tenth win of the season. Because you just KNOW there was no way he was going to let that newbie punk Beckett have a better won/loss record than he did. I like that about this team. I like that the veterans are challenging the new guys to step up and the new guys, by stepping up, are challenging the veterans to show they’ve still got it. It’s working well. And it’s a lot of fun to watch.

Speaking of fun to watch, Mike Timlin’s fist pump and look or pure awe when Coco made that catch yesterday was fantastic on about fifteen different levels. In fact, it’s the happiest and most unabashedly joyful I’ve seen him look since this happened.

That was fun.

So we keep rollin’ on.

Next up, the Marlins. Let’s make sure that if anyone attempts to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera, they pitch somewhere in the vicinity of the on-deck circle.

Updates might be somewhat sporadic this weekend as I’m heading to NH to spend some time at the lake. I trust you all to keep the Sox homefires burning while I’m gone. Have a fantastic fourth, everyone.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

This One Goes to Eleven


(photo from Boston.com)

Things You Can Tell About Josh Beckett Just By Looking At Him:

He has a visor and a puka shell necklace.
He has an iPod full of illegal Phish bootlegs.
He has a Dave Matthews Band sticker on his Hummer (probably yellow).
He has cruised the BU and Northeastern dorms more than once.
He has friends named Chase, Landon and Dexter (at least one of whom owns a sailboat).
He thinks a pink, popped-collar polo shirt is a smart look.
He spends a good amount of his life hungover, a side effect of perfecting the keg stand.
He was not happy about getting the short end of the media stick in last night’s game.

And so, Josh Beckett did what Josh Beckett should have done and sacked up and pitched like his pants were on fire. We’re so accustomed here in Boston to hearing Pedro’s claims about a lack of respect that we made sure to give it to him. Over and over again. And it was Beckett who was left going, “Hey, guys? How about me? I am actually your pitcher now.” So then he must’ve figured that showing instead of telling was a good idea. Works for me. If we have to make him angry for him to pitch like that, I say we all take turns taking away his Jagermeister and his Maxim subscription.

Pedro, for his part, did not pitch like the Hall of Famer he is sure to be. Rather, he pitched like the Pedro who always got the ball on Opening Day and, unaccustomed to the cold weather, would get rocked by the likes of the Blue Jays or the Orioles. Not that these Red Sox aren’t capable of rocking just about anyone in their present state. But it’s worth noting that Pedro, usually so calm, collected and just flat out proud on the mound, looked flustered, distracted, and occasionally overwhelmed, especially when fielding Papi’s comebacker and brain-cramping on what would surely have been a double play. Not that anyone could really blame him. But it was strange to see Pedro visibly trying to keep it together.

Manny, for his part, didn’t even try. Dude has the worse poker face ever as he resorted to smirking and making all manner of weird facial expressions to keep from laughing and smiling while up to bat.

And poor, doomed Lastings Milledge. First, you’re saddled with a name like that which is, as Amy pointed out, not so much a name as it is a bridge in Southern Connecticut and then they stick you in front of that big, looming green wall in left field and expect you to track down fly balls with ease. It’s just not that simple. The poor guy, you could actually see him thinking, “Don’t screw this up again. Don’t screw this up again. Don’t screw-DAMMIT!” last night as Mike Lowell’s pop fly popped into and then out of his glove, plating two runs. Some days you’re better off not having gotten out of bed.

Also? Alex Gonzalez: Home Run Monster. That is all.

Oh, and NESN? While we’re here. Enough with the goddamn Taylor Hicks Ford commercial. Aren’t his fifteen minutes up yet? Why won’t he go away? Why are you forcing him on me? He does not motivate me to buy a Ford vehicle. He motivates me to find the mute button. What was wrong with the Kelly Clarkson Ford commercials? I would actually consider buying something she endorsed because she’s fun and I love her and think she would be a blast to do tequila shots with while mocking Guarini. But not Taylor Hicks. Never Taylor Hicks. Don’t you have Foxwoods or Southwest Airlines to advertise or something?

Anyway, force-fed “pop” stars aside, it was an interesting game, on the whole. Beckett rose to the occasion and Pedro shrank from it. Frankly, I had the script reversed with Beckett pitching well, Pedro dominating and one or both of the bullpens blowing it wide open. And speaking of bullpens, did we notice that Tito’s break with reality has ceased and there was not a single shot of either Seanez or Tavarez warming last night? Surely that would have turned the crowd into an angry lynch mob.

We have also decided that the Sox are so happy to have Kapler back that they’ve been scoring upwards of eight runs a game to guarantee that he’ll get some playing time. Oh, and Trot Nixon would like you to know that right field at Fenway Park is his territory (occasionally on loan to Gabe because they are the BFFiest of BFFs) but that no one else will be taking it over anytime soon and if he has to prove it to you with his bat, he will not hesitate to do just that. Jesus, Trot, .330? Damn. He is not messing around.

So Pedro got shelled, Beckett pitched like a big boy and in the Bronx, A-Rod hit a walk-off homer, thus dulling the boos for one day. (But seriously? Most pathetic excuse for a walk-off celebration ever.) All in all, the Sox era of good feelings rolls on. Tonight, it’s another marquee matchup of Billerica boy Glavine vs. Schilling. Overshadowed by last night’s hype, this just might be the best duel of the bunch. Guess we’ll see.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Rollin’

(photo from Boston.com)

Guess that answered that question, didn’t it? Honestly, I don’t see what the debate is. When Pedro Martinez, the best pitcher to ever don a Red Sox uniform takes the mound at Fenway tonight, you will stand and you will cheer. There are no two ways about it.

“But we booed Johnny Damon.”

Yup. Damon’s a Yankee. We booed that more than we booed him. You don’t leave the Sox and go to the Yankees. Especially after specifically saying you wouldn’t. It’s just not done. That uniform supercedes a lot of things.

“But Pedro left for the Mets.”

Pretty sure the Mets are not the Yankees.

“But he left for the money.”

Uh huh. Or maybe he left to pitch more years in a weaker division in the NL where he could continue to be dominating for a bit longer.

“But…”

Look, we can go at this all day. There are lots of reasons Pedro left. But as far as I’m concerned, Pedro Martinez was the best, most dominating pitcher I’ve ever seen. And I’d like to think we can thank him for that. As well as for being One of the 25. We cheered O-Cab. We cheered D-Lowe. We cheered Dave Roberts. Man, can you imagine what would happen if the Dodgers played an interleague series at Fenway? Bill Mueller would get a HUGE ovation. And I’d bet money we’d cheer Nomar too. Grady Little? Not so much. And this is Pedro we’re talking about here. Pedro effing Martinez. The guy’s a maestro. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I still love the guy. I suspect I’m not alone. Johnny Damon was never truly one of ours. Pedro was. We haven’t forgotten that.

I also really, really, really miss the Pedro and Manny Comedy Hour. How these two have not landed their own show in the offseason is beyond me. Can you just imagine them prank calling Theo to ask if his refrigerator is running and then messing up the punchline and giggling like two five-year-olds after snorting a handful of Pixie Stix? Braiding each other’s hair and swapping wrist bands? Drinking Mountain Dew and spinning around in circles in the outfield until they threw up? I’m not the only one who would pay to watch this, right?

But that’s all tonight. How about last night’s game? How about Jon Lester, fully realizing that this show is bigger than him, knuckling down and delivering when he had to? You just don’t know about the rookies, is the thing. You don’t know how they’re going to react, especially against a good team. And the Mets, as presently constituted, are a good team. But I like this Lester fellow. Or, as a reader dubbed him, Ensign #2.

And poor, misguided Jose Reyes, thinking he’s gonna win in a head-to-head collision with Jason Varitek. Silly man. If the brick wall at Camden Yards couldn’t defeat Tek, you think some puny, little infielder is gonna do it? According to the MLB listed stats, Tek has two inches and 55 pounds on Reyes. Yeah, my money’s on the Captain.

I would also like to point out that since Marianne and I stumbled upon Alex Gonzalez’s Nickelback mojo, his average has gone up 70 points. I’m just sayin’.

So this team is cruisin’. Kickin’ ass and takin’ names. I suspect Mike Timlin and his camo glove are behind this (photo courtesy of Sam). But tonight it’s a battle of the rock stars. Martinez vs. Beckett. Jheri Curl vs. Fat Head. Often, when pitching matchups are hyped so much, they fall short. Like all those Pedro vs. Clemens duels everyone worked themselves into a lather about. I seem to remember Clemens folding like a card table in most of those (which is why Pedro, not Clemens, is the best pitcher I’ve ever seen). But tonight could be a good one. I can’t wait. Welcome back, Petey. Welcome home.

Additionally, I would like to wish a speedy recovery to Peter Gammons. Gammons and my dad combined to instill in me a love of baseball, and baseball writing. And I’ve long marveled at what a head for the game, and the words to describe it, Gammons has. I doubt there is a more respected and revered sportswriter working today. Get well soon, Gammo. We miss you already.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

There Goes My Hero

David Ortiz, of course.

The thing is, when you sit down to write about David Ortiz’s latest walk-off heroics and you want to reference the last time he did something like that and you need look back only as far as the PREVIOUS GAME, well, that should tell you something. These are heady times. This is wild stuff.

True, this game should have been won long before the 12th inning. In fact, the Sox should have wrapped it up in the seventh. But until Tito learns that unless the question is “Which current Red Sox reliever would you pay a year’s salary to tie to a tree and beat with sticks?” the answer is NEVER Rudy Seanez, we’ll likely be in for some rollercoasters. But the way I figure it, if Papi’s there to catch us at the bottom of the hill, things will be all right.

Of course it was a day game so of course I had to Gameday at work and long about the third inning I gave up any illusions of doing actual work and just served as a de facto department Red Sox status reporter, informing my curious coworkers of any pertinent developments. Look, it’s hard to proofread when you see, “In times of war, the Etruscans turned to GODDAMIT, SEANEZ KEEP THE EFFING BALL DOWN WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU DO YOU HAVE COMPROMISING PICTURES OF TITO WITH WALLY OR SOMETHING?” (How something to that effect has not yet ended up in a book I’ve edited is beyond me). Then Amy and I headed to the bar for lunch to catch what we could on TV. We saw all the scoring on our part, including Ortiz’s, um, interesting “slide” into home to score the first run. We left the bar, secure in the knowledge that Wake was working with a six run lead and therefore, would probably not feel it necessary to cut a bitch. Hell, even the red-hot .164-hitting Doug Mirabelli got in on the fun with an RBI. Clearly, things were in good hands. Or so we thought, conveniently forgetting that for some inexplicable reason, the hands Tito saw fit to entrust the game to belonged to Rudy “Gas Can” Seanez. Things pretty much went to shit from there.

The following is an email exchange between myself and Amy while we were “working.” Note: our desks are literally four feet apart.

Amy: Seanez needs a new nickname. I said it will be “this dead motherfucker” if he blows this thing.

Me: He does not warrant a nickname. I want to punch him in the face. That is all. I have teh rage. He should not fuck with me.

Amy: “She has girl rage, which has been known to fell the mightiest of men. And you, sir Seanez, are not mighty.”

Me: Indeed, this is truth. I have leveled several small villages. They have yet to recover.

And then…bad things happened with Papelbon. Well, one bad thing but it was enough to shake my faith for a few moments there. I immediately began knitting him an afghan in which to wrap him and keep him safe from all the bad things in this world. But homeboy is strong. And he can take it. I should have known.

A billion hours later when I crowded in front of the plasma big screen at the gym with about fifteen other people, David Ortiz did it again. Are we sure he’s actually human? Perhaps other teams might want to look into the Red Sox purchase orders and see if we’ve been buying lots of robotic parts or something.

And so here we are. Nine games in a row. Three series sweeps back to back to back. Good times abound and they’re drawing up ballots to elect Ortiz mayor as we speak.

Bring on the Mets!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

From Up Here, Things Look Mighty Fine

(photo from Boston.com)

Yep, the view from the top is a good one. And none of us know how long it’ll last so it’s best to drink it all in now. Because we’ve been here before. Salad days and good times, only to realize that the center can’t hold. So soak it up, take it in, and let the good times roll.

Two games, two wins, one walk-off, one rainout, one segment of Red Sox Nation doing us proud by booing the shit out of Brett Myers.

Friday’s game was good fun with Beckett tossing a no-hitter through five. Offensively, things were out of control. And when things are out of control, y’all know that means hijinks of the Remy and Orsillo variety. And that means good times for everyone. Even the Yankees fan I watched the game with admitted that he’d rather watch Sox/Yankees games on NESN than on YES because Remy and Don-O are so much more entertaining (and one would guess, less likely to make you try home root canals) then the chuckleheads at YES.

Apparently, Manny woke up feeling, as Amy would say, “hitterish” on Friday, belting two Monster shots from the clean-up spot. Evidently, number four was the “Home Run Slot” as Gabe Kapler joined in on the fun and his hit first Red Sox homer of the season. And then gave a curtain call. Only in Boston do fans stand and cheer for a relatively meaningless home run by a backup outfielder and demand a curtain call. But you know that no one appreciates that more than Kapler. It’s just good to see the guy back.

And speaking of Kapler, what I wouldn’t give to see him locked in a steel cage match with Brett Myers, arrested late Thursday night on Boylston Street for domestic assault. Real men don’t hit women. They just don’t. Kapler has been one of the most outspoken athletes against domestic violence in recent years. My guess is that he did not take kindly to the Phillies and Major Leauge Baseball turning the other cheek to Myers’ actions and allowing him to start on Saturday. What kind of message does that send? “Oh, well, yeah, that was kind of a bad situation but he’s our ace and we need to win this game so we’re just gonna ignore it and go with him anyway and pretend that nothing ever happened.” No. Unacceptable. Some things are bigger than a baseball game. And this is coming from me. So kudos to the Fenway Faithful who let him have it on Saturday every time he poked his head out of the dugout. And kudos to the Red Sox hitters for taking it out with their bats. Though credited with a no-decision, Myers didn’t get a win and however small, that matters.

Okay, honestly, I’m going to create a Macro for “David Ortiz walk-off,” because I’m developing carpal tunnel from typing it repeatedly. Not that I’m complaining. The Rick, who has seen many, many baseball games in his time had this to say: “That guy is freakin’ unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s almost like the place was silent because everyone just stood there with their mouths hanging open thinking no way he could do it again.”

But he did. That’s the thing with David Ortiz. You don’t want to say you expect it, because that’s just a short pinstripe away from taking it for granted, but if anyone in baseball can justify the hype, it’s David Ortiz. The man just delivers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, man am I glad he’s on our side.

Oh, and there’s that little matter of the bullpen being stellar combined with the fact that we saw nary a trace of anyone named “Seanez” or “Tavarez.” Coincidence? I think not. Or, as Amy put it: “The Boston.com poll about who people trust more out of Delcarmen and Hansen vs. Seanez and Tavarez is like asking you if you want gold or a punch in the head.”

So two games, two wins. Yesterday’s game rescheduled for today at 1pm which does not, I’m guessing, make ticketholders with, you know, jobs, very happy. But that’s what Gameday or Gamecast or, if you’re really enterprising, MLBTV is for. Let’s keep up the good feelings for Tim Wakefield and carry over with that run scoring stuff. He seemed to like that. And we all know we want Timmy happy.

Go Sox!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Era of Good Feelings

(photo from Boston.com)

There’s really no other reason for posting that picture except that it might just be the cutest thing ever. David Ortiz with small children, David Ortiz with puppies and David Ortiz with Johnny Pesky have been proven to be so sweet, they cause cavities. But come on, that’s David Ortiz and Johnny Pesky. How can you not want to look at that?

I guess that best represents the incongruous nature of a one David Ortiz in that one minute, he’s hugging old men in the dugout and creating new handshakes with Manny and the next he’s doing his patented bat flip and pimp stroll around the bases after launching a grand slam into the deepest part of the park. Simply put, the man can do it all.

Turns out Ortiz’s grand slam was all the offense the Sox would need behind a solid, 10 strike out pitching performance by Jon Lester. Of course with the Gas Can Twins (TM The Rick) in the bullpen, more runs is never a bad thing. So pile on we did. I wonder if Larry Bowa called Tito during a time-out in the Yankees/Phillies game to complain about the Red Sox running up the score?

But I’ll be damned if the Z boys (TM Red), didn’t try to make it a little interesting. Let’s just say Amy broke out the Rudy Seanez voice and we listened to her go on for a half inning about his love for tomato sandwiches. I…don’t know. You really have to hear it in person.

Lester, in a 9th inning interview with Remy and Don-O was equal parts awed, poised and terrified. Not to mention boring as shit. I see he’s been reading the Jason Varitek Guide to Giving Interviews. But that’s okay. He’s already started to emulate Papelbon with the fist pump and the way he wears his hat so I’d say he’s in good hands. That, and Curt Schilling stood at the dugout railing, grinning from ear to ear like a proud father so you just know that kid’s gonna be all right. You know, until Curt starts getting tough with him and refusing to give him any Gatorade until he throws 100 consecutive strikes.

Possibly the most entertaining part of the evening, however, aside from Papi’s, you know, Papi-ness, was Kevin Youkilis, wired for sound. At one point, the microphones caught Youks talking to Tito.

Youks: When you get fired, can I come play for your team?
Tito: Only if I’m in Triple A.

Of course Youkilis is gonna be the one to give Tito shit about getting fired. Of course he is. Was there ever a doubt? It’s not like Mike Lowell is going to be having a lively discussion with Tito about anything other than the best way to properly glaze a pear tart or where the best sushi in the Greater Boston area can be found (free plug for Super Fusion Cuisine in Brookline). Though I am certain that the mention of “Triple A” make Youkilis recoil as I just know that something untoward went on down there in Pawtucket and he can’t go back there for reasons I can’t get into other than to say they involve Tom’s Topless, a high-ranking state official and someone named “Bubbles.” I’ve already said too much.

So things are lookin’ up. Yes, winning streaks tend to make even the hardest of hearts soften a bit but it’s finally stopped raining (note: I am not testing you, weather gods, merely making an observation), I’ve only complained about the heat four or five times a day (my average is more like fifty), and the Sox are playing good baseball at a good time. Today’s an off day where we can savor two consecutive sweeps in a row and gear up to “welcome” the Phillies to Fenway Park. Summer time is here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Straighten Up and Fly Right

(photo from Boston.com)

Cool as the other side of the pillow…

Clearly, all they needed was a little talking to from the man himself. The Sox obviously just needed to be told that this whole lack of runs for Wakefield thing was very funny, no really, HI-larious, but that the joke was getting old and Wake was really starting to develop a complex. Hell, even Doug “So much do I respect the Mendoza line that I won’t even deign to hit within a hundred points of it” Mirabelli got in on the fun with an RBI double. Then everyone else followed suit and fired up the merry-go-round en route to an 11-3 victory.

So much the better too because a night after supporting Royals cast-off, yes, you read that correctly, Kyle Snyder in a 6-3 win, Wake would have had some serious words for his teammates had they let him down. There would have been yelling. There would have been screaming. There would have been tears and, most likely, someone would have pointed out that Josh Beckett has a higher batting average than Doug Mirabelli. I’m just sayin’.

Thankfully, none of us had to deal with that.

So welcome to Boston, Washington Nationals. Poor Frank Robinson looks, as Amy pointed out, as though he’s plotting a murder in the dugout. “Someone get him a rifle and a cart,” she said. “He’s not bothering himself to go out there and yank them personally.” Yikes.

And we know that Remy’s happy because he always likes it when his predictions come true. And when Little Alex Cora (I don’t know when we added the “little” but I suspect it was Sam‘s fault), goes 3 for 3 on the night after Remy spotlighted him in the pre-game, everyone’s happy. Marianne even stopped calling him Señor Potato Head for the evening.

Tonight, the Sox send Wee Jon Lester to the hill against, interestingly enough, Shawn Hill. Is it just me, or does Lester look like an extra from an old episode of Star Trek? Okay, just me then.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to wish my parents a very happy anniversary. 32 years is a hell of a long time to put up with anyone and The Rick and The Sue are quite an inspiration. So happy anniversary, mom and dad. You guys are the best.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized