(Photo from Boston.com)
Jason Varitek to Mariano Rivera: “Bitch, please.”
That was fun, wasn’t it? Wasn’t that good times? Wasn’t it just a nice, lovely night at the ol’ ballpark? Yeah, maybe in retrospect. But while it was happening, I’m fairly certain I said “I hate baseball” so many times that I started chanting it in my sleep. Yeah, those games are fun when you end up winning them. But when you find yourself down by four runs in the 8th inning after the Prancing Show Pony has already hit two homers, one of which nearly disemboweled your centerfielder, and you look to the pen and suddenly realize, if, by some miracle, you manage to enter the ninth either tied or, god forbid, up by a run, your personal baseball Jesus Jonathan Papelbon is unavailable…well, you’re probably gonna mentally call it a night and start filling the bathtub with tequila for the ritualistic soak.
But then…something happens. The Yankee fan you’re watching with breaks into his own tequila and starts freaking out – not quietly – about what the hell is wrong with Posada and why is Torre letting Vizcaino pitch and oh my god, not Mo in the eight. And you’re sitting there going, “Dude, it’s Rivera. He’s um, he’s pretty good, is the thing. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention but, uh, we’re also down by four runs. With Rivera pitching. Just a status update.” And then he starts telling you, “He’s not Mo against the Sox. I don’t know what it is. The Sox get in his head or something.” And you reply, “Bill Mueller’s not on the team anymore. Kevin Millar’s not on the team anymore. I think you got this one.” And then he argues with you some more as the runs begin to score and Rivera begins to look decidedly human and you wonder how the hell you found yourself in the position of arguing with a Yankee fan over whose team was going to blow the game first. And how it was that it ended up that he was the one draining the bottle of tequila.
I mean, Jason Varitek, of all people, hitting home runs and getting RBIs when they mattered. Sure, now my tendency is to say, “Oh, Tek, reliable as a Volkswagon. Always there when we need you.” But that’s quite different from the tirades I was unleashing in his direction last night. Something to the effect of, “Jason, listen to me. You are hitting less than your weight. Which, yes, is probably less than last season because of the knee injury and all that business but, if I may, I’d like to bring something to your attention. David Ortiz – you may have heard the name in passing – is currently being paid a yearly salary less than yours. And that man isn’t starved for hits. So, what I’m saying here is HIT THE GODDAMN BASEBALL FOR THE LOVE OF CHICKEN PARM SUBS AND MEATBALL CALZONES OR I WILL HAVE A WORD WITH TITO ABOUT SUBBING DOUGLAS IN FOR YOU IN CRUCIAL LATE GAME SITUATIONS AND FROM THERE IT’S A SLIPPERY SLOPE INTO EMOTIONAL EATING BETWEEN INNINGS AND POLISHING OFF PUPU PLATTERS FOR THREE FROM KOWLOON AND WHILE YOU’RE AT IT, CHRIST, MAN GET YOUR PANTS OUT OF YOUR ARMPITS WHAT ARE YOU, A NINETY-THREE YEAR-OLD RETIRE IN BOCA ON HIS WAY TO THE SHUFFLE BOARD COURT. I WILL TALK TO TITO, I WILL DO IT. DON’T THINK I WON’T DO IT BECAUSE I HAVE HAD IT WITH YOU, Jason Andrew.“
Honestly, I didn’t know what else to do.
But while we’re discussing unlikely Big Damn Heroes, we should probably talk about Covelli, or Mr. Crisp, if you’re nasty. Because in addition to laying out for that catch (which showed impressive effort and don’t let anyone tell you we don’t applaud effort around these parts), he also got that crucial hit in the eight that squirted away from Mientkiewicz (yup, still know how to spell it reflexively). Personally, I enjoyed watching it bounce around in right like a pinball machine but I’m not entirely sure Coco believed it himself. Homeboy looked kind of stunned. ‘Course, that could have been the after effects of his spine nearly severing in two.
And then there’s Okajima. Yeah. Exactly. I saw him warming and Papelbon sitting pretty on the bench and I said to Marianne, “Sometimes I think Tito is actually a masochist and he wants to see if he can make people cry.”
“Who is he trying to make cry with this curious decision?” she asked.
“Either a) me, b) Okajima, c) the baby Jesus or d) all of the above.”
“I’m going for ‘d.'”
As Annette says, “One of these days I’m going to Vegas with Terry Francona. We’re going to use his money but man, does that dude like to gamble.”
Okajima trotted in from the pen and I turned to Marianne and said, “I’m sitting on nineteen. HIT ME!”
Tito must be really good at this gambling thing since apparently, the house doesn’t always win.
However, the best part about the game, in addition to A-Rod’s home runs not making a damn bit of difference, was seeing Matsuzaka and Tavarez in an animated discussion in the dugout while Okajima was going to work. I don’t know what they were saying, but I would pay good money to find out.
“How long before Matsuzaka ends up in a do-rag with a Thug Life tattoo?” Marianne asked.
“Him and Youks are going together. They’re gonna get a two-fer deal.”
“So next week then?”
“I can’t wait.”