Monthly Archives: July 2006

Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself

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(pic from Sam)

In light of David Ortiz’s heroics (again) with a game-winning single in the bottom of the eleventh inning AGAINST THE SHIFT, I think I’ll just let the shirts speak for themselves.

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For Those About to Rock

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Rock. On.

Okay, I’ll level with you. I’m thrilled there’s no game tonight because that means I won’t miss anything while rockin’ out at the Bon Jovi concert at Gillette Stadium.

Go ahead, mock at will. But you KNOW deep down you’re jealous. You KNOW it.

Amy and I have shirts and everything. I fully expect to meet my first ex-husband there.

What I’m wondering is, exactly how certain are we that Doug Mirabelli will make a cameo appearance? 65%? 80%? 92%? I’m just sayin’, if Dougie hasn’t rocked the hell out to “Livin’ On a Prayer” or “Wanted Dead or Alive” while speeding down the highway in his beat up, red, Ford F-250, then everything I know about life is wrong.

I’m also calling an appearance by Bill Belichick as we know that he and Jon Bon are BFFs. (Weirdest. Pairing. Ever.)

I will bring back all Sox and Pats-related details.

As for the Sox. Sack up, boys. Objects in the rearview mirror are closer than they appear.

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California, Californiiiiaaaaaaa!

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(photo from Boston.com)

You know, I am all for this Kristen goes to bed with the Sox up a by a comfortable margin,* misses all the drama in the middle innings where things got dicey and wakes up the next morning to find that we shellacked the A’s to the tune of 13-5 thing. That’s not so bad. Of course, when that happens, I miss things like the sudden outpouring of offense in the six-run 8th inning which is a shame because I hear tell that was the only time that The Catcher saw fit to lay bat to ball in a way that did not result in at least one out. In fact, I read something about a “bases clearing double?” But I haven’t had enough caffeine yet. I could be hallucinating.

That said, it’s good to see Curt Schilling with his 13 wins and flames shooting out of his ears. Remember last year we weren’t sure we’d ever see that again. And earlier in the season, I think we all thought that Schilling would be a good, if endlessly talkative, influence on Beckett because of the whole grizzled veteran, come here and let me tell you a story, kid experiencecakes. But I’m not sure we envisioned the reverse happening in that every time Beckett goes out there and punks the other team, earning himself a win, Curt feels slightly more disposable, older and less “the man” and he immediately follows it up with a tough as nails game of his own. It’s an interesting dynamic. Curt can’t rock a visor like Beckett (not that Beckett is “rocking” it, per se, but he thinks he is), and he can’t figure out how to get a BC undergrad to put all his Toby Keith albums on an iPod for him, but he can sure as hell strike bitches out. So that’s what he’s gonna do.

I have, by the way, no evidence that this actually happens. It’s just what goes on in my own head. Which, as I’ve said, is short of caffeine at the moment. It is also a terrifying place.

It was also good to see Manny continue beating the ball senseless as if it personally insulted one of his fifteen alleged grandmothers. That guy absolutely confounds me. I really believe that if he wanted to, he could hit a home run in every single at bat just by deciding to do so. He’s just so nonchalant about everything and so, “I hit a home run now” that it’s easy to believe that he really is able to do whatever he wants with the baseball. He’s gotten better at hitting low pitches too, positively golfing some of them but his swing hasn’t changed. It’s as if he just woke up one day and thought, “I’m gonna see if I can hit the pitch at my ankles over the wall. That’ll be fun. Where’s my green pony? Can I have sherbert for breakfast? Today, I feel fast.”

And it was nice to see Trotter break out of his powerless slump as well. I was getting a bit concerned that all the rumors and talk were messing with his head. For the record, that’s as far as I’m going in addressing the Nixon trade rumors. There will be no more talk of that here. No, I’m not listening. *sticks fingers in ears* LALALALA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

Today, that Bronson Arroyo-lookin’ dude Kyle Snyder faces off against Danny Haren who you just know used to stiff Bellhorn’s dealer back in the day. I mean, lookit the dude. 3:35 start. Gameday away!

*Note: No margin can accurately be considered “comfortable” as long as the bullpen is still inexplicably boasting the Gas Can Twins.

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Air-Gon

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(photo from Boston.com)

I’m for serious not even kidding anymore about Alex Gonzalez being a superstar. Did you know he has eight home runs? That’s right, eight. Including the one he hit last night off Oakland’s Barry Zito (that saddest bastard that ever did live) to get the offense started for the Sox. If you had told me at the beginning of the season that Alex Gonzalez, who the Sox acquired for his defensive wizardry, would have a higher batting average than The Catcher and eight home runs a week after the All-Star Break, I would have assumed that was some excellent crack you were smoking and I would have inquired as to why you weren’t sharing with the rest of the class.

But in reality, no drugs were needed. Unless you’re Barry Zito. In which case, I don’t know…’shrooms? I don’t know what the kids are into these days. But even after being nothing less than “a magician” in the field (per The Rick) during the first half of the season and coming up with some pretty clutch hits as well, I’m still not sure we’re paying enough attention to Gonzalez. Sure, we joke about how he loves it when we sing Nickelback’s “Hero” to him (and if you even think I’m not gonna try to get to the Bon Jovi concert early on Thursday so I can thank Nickelback, the opener, in person, well, you just don’t know me very well at all), but it’s almost like he doesn’t need it anymore. Can you imagine? Someone not needing our musical mojo. Madness!

Then there’s Manny and Papi. Who continue to hit the everlovin’ shit outta the ball. Just another day at the office.

You know, in the past, the Sox have reminded me a little bit of those St. Louis Rams teams of about 1999-2002. Yes, that’s football. “The Greatest Show on Turf” they were called because of their ability for offensive explosions and dazzling displays of football athleticism. But their defense was for shit. Kind of like the Sox over the past handful of seasons. Well, except for that turf part because turf sucks, Toronto. But there was never any question that the Sox could bash the ball. It was when they had to stand on the field that there was a problem. It’s like Big Papi has been known to say, “I ain’t here for my glove.” But in the past few years, starting with the Nomar trade in 2004, that’s changed. And now, much to many people’s surprise, the Sox boast one of the best defenses in the majors. We tied a major league record earlier this season by going 17 consecutive games without committing an error. These are things I never thought would be said about the Boston Red Sox unless it was backwards day in bizarro world. But man, is it fun to watch. It’s like the sentiment that Sam so ingeniously crafted into a lovely t-shirt, “Fangirls dig the K, give me a good groundball pitcher with a solid infield defense.” Sexy! And the Sox have not, as I thought they might, gone all glove and no bat on us. We’ve still got Manny and Papi acting like the baseball insulted their mothers and Trotter is not messin’ around. But perhaps the best part is the offensive contributions from the defensive-minded part of the batting order. Gonzalez, Lowell and Loretta have given no one cause for concern and even Little Alex Cora has done his part. And freakin’ Youkilis. I don’t even know what’s up with that guy. Homeboy must have taken some yoga classes in the offseason or something to prompt the NESN Lowell/Youkilis, “You want them on the corners. You need them on the corners. Do not fear them. They are here to protect you.” commercial. (Best. Commercial. Ever.) So…hooray for defense! And hooray for defenses that can hit.

All of this, apparently, was a long-winded way of saying that Alex Gonzalez is awesome, Barry Zito is a nutjob, Sox take Game 1 from the A’s and tonight we roll on with the Big Schill.

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His Pimp Hand Is Strong

(photo from Boston.com)

I’m pretty sure I’ve stolen that post title from Red. But I trust he’ll forgive me. Also, like I wasn’t gonna use that picture? (Edit: Apparently SG had the same idea on the picture as well. Heh.) Pshaw, okay. I like to think that David Ortiz, taking the day off yesterday and chillin’ in the dugout with his sunglasses, headband and pink Vitamin Water (or Papi Water as we’ve renamed it), had a little talk with his offense. He probably reminded them that even though it’s technically only necessary to score one more run than the other guys, it’s often a lot more fun to score, you know, more than that. He probably showed them what hitting looks like by cranking up some footage of his towering home runs and demonstrated how awesome it was to take a slo-mo pimp stroll around the bases. Then, I’m guessing, he told them that scoring runs for Curt is a particularly good thing because when you do, he won’t corner you at your locker for thirty-five minutes after the game and discuss Everquest with you to work out his frustrations.

Then he sent them all on their way to do his bidding, as he sat back and enjoyed the applesauce being spoon-fed to him by a Playboy model. Because, as Sam so deftly observed, “We’re all just hoes in the semi-legal employ of Pimp Papi.” Truer words have never been spoken.

And so score runs they did. Of course, they also let the Rangers score a few as well but Papi can’t do everything. Papi don’t pitch or play defense, after all. Some things, these boys gotta do for themselves. However, unlikely RBIs from The Catcher and Wily Mo were most welcome. Wily Mo hit one so far that it knocked over Rangers right fielder Mark DeRosa. Knocked him clean over. It was excellent many hours later when I saw it upon review because *grumblegrumble*GameDay*grumblegrumble*

Mark Loretta has evidently been taking lessons at the Jeremy Giambi school of baserunning. Lord help us all.

And speaking of Giambis and things that suck, the Blue Jays victimized the Yankees and Indomitable Closer Mariano Rivera (I think that’s his official name now) for a walk off win off the bat of Vernon Wells. I present to you the email received from The Rick mere seconds after Wells’ jumped on home plate, getting mobbed by his teammates (though someone needs to learn something from Ortiz as he didn’t remove his helmet and will surely have one HELL of a headache today):

Subject: Yankees lose, Yankees lose, Yankeeees Loooose!
Body: Vernon Wells is good, huh? Actually really good. And VERY underated. And I also like Frank Catalanatotoloalotoaonnnoto – or whatever his name is. Maybe Shea is right – the Blue Jays should be better – Gibbons should not have yanked Halladay in the 8th.

For serious, dude, what is up with Shea Hillenbrand?

Anyway, back to 2.5 games up in the standings and things are lookin’ all right. See? This is what happens when you listen to Pimp Papi.

Oh, you may also have noticed that I added a new link to the sidebar. The Papel-Blog. Check it out. Frankly, these chicks are renting a luxury suite in Imaginary Baseball World and I cannot for the life of me figure out why we don’t know each other yet. The poor universe, she can’t take it.

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Good News, Bad News

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(photo from Boston.com)

The good news: The Red Sox won another game, thus sweeping the Royals.
The bad news: They only managed to score one run in the form of a Manny Ramirez home run.

The good news: The Yankees lost, putting 1.5 games between the Sox and Yanks in the standings.
The bad news: They should have lost last night too but Joe Torre is in league with dark forces.

The good news: Jonathan Papelbon is still a robot.
The bad news: Sometimes, humans have to play baseball games.

The good news: Josh Beckett, clearly not content to let the rookie steal his thunder, pitched eight complete innings of shut-out baseball. Immediately after the game, Theo announced that the Sox had signed Beckett to a three-year extension.
The bad news: Three more years of worrying about Beckett’s potential for blisters. Not to mention the iTunes bills for all the Phish and Dave Matthews Band downloads.

The good news: Our rotation might be coming together. I cannot emphasize “might” enough.
The bad news: Tim Wakefield has a fractured rib and will almost certainly go on the disabled list. I blame an overenthusiastic hug from Dougie, his hetero lifemate.

The good news: Doug Mirabelli is hitting over the Mendoza line.
The bad news: Never mind.

But hey, a sweep is a sweep is a sweep. And someone very wise once said that “you only have to score one more run than the other guy to win.” Probably it was Tim McCarver. In which case, replace “wise” with “incompetent, bumbling jackass.” Nevertheless, one is still more than none and these wins count just as much as any others.

Personally, I’m glad it’s Wednesday night so I have Rock Star filling the dark, baseball-less void of my evening. But does anyone else feel like the Red Sox are having their own little Rock Star reality show right now? Like they keep auditioning pitchers to figure out who’s worthy of joining their supergroup? Like maybe Mike Timlin fancies himself the hatchet man and has to tell the aspiring newbies that they didn’t make the cut and have to go back to fronting a AA farm team somewhere in Des Moines for peanuts and beer? Would that make Mike Timlin the Tommy Lee of the Red Sox pitching staff? Who’s the Jason Newsted? Who’s the Gilby Clarke? What happens when Axl Rose inevitably shows up looking like he ate his former self and beats up a bullpen catcher? More importantly, what the hell am I talking about and why do I watch so much damn TV?

Until tomorrow, kids. Seattle’s in town (Edit: Or Texas. I’m hallucinating, apparently). Best bring it.

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Enough Monkeying Around

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Well, how do ya like them apples?

Evidently, Jon Lester had had just about enough of the collective freak out we were all having about our fifth starter. He clearly wanted to hear nothing more about the sadness and woe we were all predicting. And, apparently, he took what Amy said to heart when she yelled at him from the third baseline field box this evening that he should, “not fear the sixth inning but instead, embrace it openly, as your friend.” Except she used more swear words.

Because I don’t know if you know this or not, but not only did Jon Lester pitch like his pants were on fire and go eight complete innings (thus earning him a giant fruit basket from the bullpen, one hopes), but he also gave up precisely one hit. That’s “one” as in the number that comes after zero and before two. O-N-E, one. Damn, kid, that’s showin’ ’em.

Frankly, I did not expect that. I was expecting a close game, to be sure, because usually, no matter how well Kansas City is playing, they’re still Kansas City. But, to be honest, I did not expect a pitcher’s duel. This Duckworth fellow, as far as I can tell, is named after a Disney cartoon or something. A little research tells me that he bears a fantasy comparison to Jonathan Papelbon which, frankly, makes me laugh for all of the years. But it’s not like the Red Sox have never before had problems with a relatively unknown pitcher. In fact, it’s become sort of a calling card for them. An endlessly frustrating and infuriating calling card, but a calling card nonetheless. And so, knowing this, Amy and decided not to fuck around and to do our damndest to reverse jinx this Duckworth person as soon as we could. Which is why we decided to let our section know that in the second inning, Duckworth was throwing a no-hitter. No sooner did we say it than Youks laced one to center. The woman sitting next to Amy turned to her with a look of wonder on her face, “Wow,” she said, “You girls totally called that.” We shrugged since calling a hit against a Royals’ pitchers is kind of like predicting that the T will be crowded during rush hour. Sometimes you’re wrong, but it usually takes some wacky alignment of the planets for that to happen. Nevertheless, fist bumps were exchanged all around and I gleefully marked down a “1B” on my scorecard. (Yes, I printed out scorecards and brought sharpened pencils to the game. This either makes me a complete dork or utterly precious and I’m coming down firmly on the side of Team Precious until I hear otherwise.)

Of course, nothing came of the Sox offense until the fifth inning when, fitting as ever, The Captain, the day’s honoree, knocked a double high off the wall and was knocked in by an RBI single by Alex “Nickelback is my favorite band” Gonzalez. Turned out to be all the offense they needed.

And I know that I’ve been giving Tek shit lately. Believe me, I am aware of the abysmal nature of his batting average. Oh, boy am I aware of it. But tonight, after five innings as the game became official, Fenway Park rose to it’s feet and gave The Captain a lengthy standing ovation, honoring the fact that tonight, in his 991st game, he broke Carlton Fisk’s record for games by a Red Sox catcher. Well, I got a little choked up. I know, I know, I’m such a freakin’ softie. A chick in a sweat-soaked Dave Roberts t-shirt and a backwards (or urbanized, if you prefer) camo Sox hat, standing there and getting teary. Ridiculous. But Tek’s my favorite. I have a soft spot for the guy. I can’t help it. And I don’t for a minute believe that pitchers like Lester and Papelbon would be anywhere near as effective as they are without the guidance of Varitek. And, well, 991 games is a freakin’ lot of games. Twenty minutes on the Stairmaster is enough to prompt my knees to call a lawyer to draw up a “Cease and Desist” so I can’t imagine the trauma his body has gone through. And he’s still out there, anchoring the team, utterly without complaint. That’s truly something. So while I’ve been referring to him as “the catcher” lately because of his lack of output, tonight he was upgraded to “The Captain.”

That moment of fangirly-ness aside, can we again mention that Jon Lester rocked the house and Jonathan Papelbon is a god amongst men? Also, Mike Lowell is a handsome man, but his defense? His defense is downright SEXY.

I would also like to point out, because the Fenway Park scoreboard operators apparently deemed it important, that according to scouts, Joey Gathright can jump over a car with a running start. I’m assuming this skill would come in handy if either A) teams start playing “obstacle baseball” and littering the basepaths with Yugos or B) he’s up for the lead in Spiderman 3. And exactly what kind of car are we talking about here? Are we talking a Saturn or more like a Hummer? Because I suspect the results might be slightly different. But thank you, Fenway Park scoreboard operators for that moment of Zen. I am a better person for knowing that.

I do not, I would like to note, think that it’s a coincidence that the last game I attended was the Sox first shutout of the season and tonight marked the second. I’m just saying, perhaps they just do not like giving up runs when I’m around. Maybe they’re showing off. Maybe they don’t want to make me cry. Maybe they realize that the insane heat has made me homicidal and it will not take much to push me over the edge. (Seriously, “96 and feels like 101” is not a weather report, it’s an oven setting). But whatever the case, I appreciate it.

So we rack up another one while the Yankees remain tied in a rain delay in the bottom of the ninth at the black hole in the Bronx. But tonight was all about Jon Lester and The Captain. Well done, boys. The Young Gun and the Veteran got it done. Beers are on your teammates tonight.

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