Weekend Warriors

(photo from Boston.com)

I just want to clear something up.

Dear Jon Miller:

It’s “Jonathan” not “John.” And you’d do well to include the “Papelbon” too. Unless he has given you express, written permission, notorized in three states to refer to him as “John,” you will call him “Jonathan Papelbon” and you will do so in low, dulcet tones while looking at the floor.

K thnx,
Red Sox Nation

Now that that’s taken care of, it’s time to get down to the matters at hand. A quick list of Things That Are Awesome And For Which We Must Be Thrilled Despite The Fact That We Spent Too Much Time In The Sun This Weekend Drinking Beer And We Are Reasonably Certain That There Are Grill Marks On Our Shoulders:

My Dad. Or, as you lot know him, The Rick. It too often goes without saying that I’ve got the best dad out there. When lots of little girls are begging their dads for a pony or a new car, mine was explaining to me the intricacies of the infield fly rule and convincing me that he was a genius by calling Joe Carter’s walk off home run in the 1993 World Series. (I am still baffled by that, frankly).

My dad coached my softball team in high school and miraculously didn’t disown me when I refused to speak to him for a few days after he took me out of a game when I tore a tendon in my arm trying to throw out a runner who took off for second.

He taught me how to not throw like a girl (step toward your target, throw across your body), information that I’ve since passed on to many people and that Johnny Damon could still benefit from.

My dad instilled in me The Fear of Game 7s considering how we’re so often disappointed by Game 6 and he was the first person I called after the last out in 2004. And when my brother called me, the first thing I asked him was, “Did you talk to Dad?” And I knew that when my phone told me I had a message this morning that it was my dad, calling to bitch about Rudy Seanez. My dad doesn’t disappoint me.

Because dads and baseball, or dads and sports really, are what it’s all about, isn’t it? It’s more than that, obviously, but this is a sports blog and you all wouldn’t enjoy (I hope) what you read here without the influence of The Rick. Y’all know words are my thing but sometimes, it’s hard to find the right ones to express gratitude for the man who taught me both how to mix a martini and how to score a ball game. So Happy Father’s Day, dad. And I’ll give Theo a call and see what he can do about having Rudy chloroformed.

The return of Gabe Kapler. Now look, you all know that I don’t tend to get overly fan-girly. I don’t wear pink jerseys or hats with twee, little, glittery number “33s” on them. You know I have my favorites and I tend to be a little kinder to them above others but I do not frequently let my voice go to that high, scary place that only dogs can hear. However, that may have happened on Saturday as Fox showed Gabe Kapler standing at the railing in the Red Sox dugout. Because I didn’t quite realize how much I’d MISSED that guy. I mean, really, really missed him. Probably not as much as Trotter but you know, I missed him all the same.

Of course, my jubliation at seeing the return of Kapler was nothing compared with Lou Piniella’s drunken, rambling man-crushing. “He’s a good lookin’ guy,” Piniella slurred. “When he’s done with baseball, he could be a commentator. Or maybe an actor. Probably do Shakespeare.” Um…Erm, okay, Lou.

As Red pointed out, Kapler likely won’t be the reason the Red Sox either succeed or fall short this year, but it sure is good to have the guy around. And, as his call-up came at the expense of Matt Clement (now going by the name Tom Sanders of Boca), so much the better.

Jonathan Papelbon. I mean, come on. I love the guy as much for his pitching as for the fact that he inspires genius like this and conversations like the following:

Beth: Curt Schilling babies Beckett and Papelbon and has even taken to favoring them over his real kids in various terrible and psychologically damaging ways. Ten to twenty years hence, Gehrig Schilling will cite Jonathan Papelbon as the reason for all those therapy bills.

Me: I see Papelbon as more of Timlin’s protege at this point. Especially since the blown save went against Hansen’s ERA. That’s vintage Timlin right there.

Beth: Or maybe Timlin and Curt are warring for Papelbon’s soul.

Me: Oooo, that one will only end when Schilling shows up dressed as his Everquest character or whatever the fuck and challenges Timlin to a duel.

Beth: Which would probably look something like when that ninja tries to step to Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Me: Hee. Excellent.

Also, according to this week’s Sporting News (the one with David Ortiz blowing a bubble on the cover), Godsmack sent Papelbon one of their songs and asked him to use it as his bullpen entrance music. That is so badass. He is SUCH a rock star.

Red Sox Sweep. Okay, I know four things: 1) It’s really freakin’ hot in Atlanta. 2) Don’t give Papi anything to hit. 3) Curt Schilling batting is one of the most awkward looking things you’ll ever have the pleasure of seeing (aside from Kevin Youkilis) and 4) Rudy Seanez is about one bad pitch away from joining Foulke and Clement on the Island of Misfit Pitchers.

Yankee Hijinks and Incompetance.

Dear Sebastian,

You are a lovely person and I’m very glad you had a fun time cheering your Yankees on in RFK. And I’m very glad that you are, as you said, “enjoying the Johnny Damon Experience.” But here is the thing: if 2004 taught you anything, it should have been that you WAIT UNTIL THE GAME IS OVER TO CALL A RED SOX FAN AND GIVE THEM SHIT ABOUT IT. I’m just sayin’.

Noodle Arm is all yours,
Kristen

So let’s take stock of the past weekend shall we? First place secured? Check (for now, anyway). Burned to a crisp? Check. Yankees making embarassing blunders? Check. Internal organs sloshing around in Corona? Check. Rudy Seanez and Jonathan Papelbon being dependable but in two entirely different and opposite ways? Check. Coolest dad ever? Check.

Looks like that about covers it.

Tonight the Sox roll into DC to take on the very same Nationals that took two of three from the Yankees this weekend. We’ve got some dude I have honestly never heard of before (Kyle Snyder) going tonight. Um…I trust the Sox will forgive me if I watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals instead.

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