Monthly Archives: September 2007

Champagne stings. But it’s a sweet pain.

A familiar sight.

Dear Orioles,


Love and stuff,


Jonathan Papelbon is having “lots of thoughts,” Mike Lowell is covered in champagne and doing laps around the outfield at Fenway (delicious), Schilling is saying hi to his wife, the Sox are toasting Melvin Mora and the Orioles, Dustin Pedroia is surprisingly low key, my crush on Eric Hinske is out of control and David Ortiz is wearing the largest necklace I’ve ever seen for a reason completely lost to me.

Happy times are here again.

No, seriously, Mike Lowell and Hinske with the champagne? I don’t even know what to do with that. And if Theo doesn’t start showing up at Mike Lowell’s house with buckets of money until Lowell says stop, we’re going to have a SERIOUS talk, me and him.

Also, anyone else think that Lowell convinced Tek to pay a visit to El Montro to work on his facial hair? He’s got a bit of a designer stubble thing going on there. And I? Am fine with it. Where is Tek, anyway? He’s been noticeably absent from this celebration. Either he’s already preparing for tomorrow’s game with his Trapper Keepers or he’s off somewhere jumping on pitchers, hopefully Eric Gagne.

Okay, seriously? Jonathan Papelbon is certifiable. And I love how all the Red Sox players, managers, and owners alike are ragging on Kevin Millar for not swinging at that third strike. Though I think it’s safe to say that for a good, long time Melvin Mora wont be paying for drinks in Boston.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go toast the team, observe Jason Varitek drinking from a bottle of champagne, wonder why Jonathan Papelbon feels the need to walk around with a Bud Light box on his head, and watch the Red Sox have giant frat party on the infield at Fenway.

Cheers, Boston.


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"And with martians on, he’s also hitting at .339."*

*the wisdom of a one Mr. Jerry Remy in response to Don Orsillo’s report that Youkilis is hitting .339 with “people” on base.

Remy must not like those 5pm starts as it gives him precious little time to get into primo announcer form. No time to warm up the vocal chords or do Don Orsillo “Announcer Voice” promos. Seriously, does anyone else picture Orsillo warming up in front of a mirror all Ron Burgundy with the “I have some VERY. IMPORTANT. BREAKING. NEWS. Manny Ramirez ate chocolate cake for dinner.” Turtleneck sweater optional. No? Just me? Okay then.

But what did we do to deserve Jerry Remy? We must have been very, very good.

And speaking of another famous number 2? The magic number drops again, folks. No letting up now, boys. Go and get it.

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A Picture is Worth…

…inappropriate laughter in one’s office, apparently.

Seriously, I haven’t laughed that hard in a week. Oh, Paps.

(pic from the Sports Illustrated cover story on Paps)

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Breathing Room

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

So I’m thinking something really nice and exotic for the Devil Rays’ fruit basket. Maybe some mango? Some starfruit? Or we can do as Luna suggests and make it New England-themed with maple sugar candy and cranberries. That’d be nice too. Extra fruit for Dioner Navarro obviously. The boy needs his strength.

Look, things are by no means locked up just yet, but last night was a good sign from both ends of the spectrum. The Sox win one thanks to a good start by Schilling, stable bullpen work (mostly, Eric), and offense when it was needed. Also plate patience, plate patience was big. And the Yankees lost one in extras to the Devil Rays. The very same Devil Rays whose bullpen has caused many an opposing fan to sit back, relax, and enjoy the implosion all season long. So that was fun.

Not that today’s intakes of breath can be that big or dramatic. Oh no. There is still meaningful baseball to be played. It ain’t over until, you know, Pedro’s hefting a Dominican dwarf on his shoulders or something. (R.I.P. Nelson). And that time is not yet here, my friends. Not quite.

In unrelated news, Cam Neely has just been named the new VP of the Boston Bruins and pretty much the first thing he did was call all current NHL players pussies. Dudes, I love Cam Neely. One hopes he can inject the bastard stepchild of the Boston sports scene with a little much-needed adrenaline. Otherwise, we run the risk of using the Zamboni garage as Kevin Garnett’s personal locker room and harem area.

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To Hate or Appreciate?

So earlier today a commenter of mine, Jim H. from Minnesota, whom I respect a great deal and whose comments I always enjoy, made a very interesting point. He claimed – probably correctly – that the Patriots are verging on becoming the NFL’s Most Hated Franchise, if they haven’t already. And while this is certainly not the first time I’ve heard this, for some reason, it struck me today. Fresh off watching the Pats absolutely demolish the Bills yesterday (cobwebby first quarter notwithstanding), I have to think that Jim is probably right. Of course, I’m a Patriots fan, so that hurts me. I love the team like family and I wouldn’t want someone coming up to me and telling me they thought my brother sucked either. I wish it wasn’t the truth. Personally, I’m often too busy spewing venom in the direction of the Colts and Steelers to pay too much attention to the fact that people hate my football team. But when I do stop to think about it, I have to wonder, just what, exactly, am I supposed to do about it?

Look, I could talk myself blue in the fact about how Tom Brady is a nice boy (I’m guessing) and Tedy Bruschi has a very firm handshake and shiny, shiny hair (both true) or how Mike Vrabel totally helps old ladies cross the street (probably). But people who don’t like the Patriots players aren’t going to start liking them just because I said so. Even if said people like me or respect my ability to call the Red Sox on their shit when the situation demands it. That’s part of sports. That’s how being a fan goes. It’s not rational and I, of all people, clearly understand that.

But I’m also not going to apologize for my team being successful. They have worked very hard to be as good as they are. Spare me the CameraGate bullshit too since the NFL has determined that the Patriots will face no further charges and they consider the matter closed and if you can find me an NFL franchise that hasn’t broken or bent the rules, I will give you a medal. The Patriots are a good team because they have talented players, a smart coaching staff and the ability to execute their game plans on any given week. As a fan, I shouldn’t have to apologize for that.

Likewise, it’s not like I’m new around here. I was born in New Hampshire. I have never lived outside of New England. I have spent my entire life being a Patriots fan. I’m not going to apologize for having the good fortune of rooting for them now. Because in 1990 when they were going 1-15, it didn’t seem like such good fortune. But I am in no way claiming that because I had to suffer through so many years of the “Patsies” that I somehow deserve this current run of success. That would be ludicrous. It is, for all intents and purposes, the luck of the draw. I could just as easily have been born in San Francisco or Cleveland or Arizona. And then the story would be different.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am beginning to understand how these kinds of things happen and how fan bases become so hated. Eventually, you grow tired of defending yourself when everyone starts hating you. Through no fault of your own – unless you are always with the trash talking and then you reap what you sow – people start hating you as an extension of your team. And no one wants that, really. This is why even I will admit that there are some Yankee fans I don’t hate. Hell, if you’ve been a Yankee fan your whole life then there’s really nothing I can say to you that you haven’t already heard. They’re your team. I get it. Doesn’t mean I have to like them but I respect the fact that you do.

Likewise, I love the Patriots because they’re the Patriots. Plain and simple. Sure, I appreciate the fact that Tom Brady is extra nice to look at and that Belichick is a master schemer but I would still don a worn Pat Patriot hat on Sundays because they’re my team. They’re what I know. If Tom Brady performed as well as he does now but he looked like David Wells? Well, I wouldn’t have a picture of him as my computer wallpaper, but he’d still be my quarterback.

This is not to say that people aren’t free to dislike my team. More power to you. Randy Moss has surely earned the ire of people in the past and just because he’s wearing a different uniform now doesn’t mean I expect these people (like the aforementioned Jim H.) to change their tune and start liking the guy. Belichick is, for all intents and purpose, a professional asshole and while I think he’s a brilliant coach, even I’m not sure I could ever work for the guy. But the fans are not their team. Much as I might like to, I can’t be the one to go out there and throw or catch touchdown passes. I can’t be out there guarding Brady’s blind side. I’m not the one wearing a ratty hoodie and calling plays from the sidelines. (I’m doing it from my couch). But just because I’m cheering for the guys that are doing those things – and doing them well – doesn’t mean that I’m a front-running jerk.

I’m probably fighting a losing battle here. It’s probably pointless for me to claim that Patriots fans are good people. The ones I know are but I’m sure they’re not the ones that get all the media ink and camera time. None of the Pats fans I know think we deserve wins or expect to go undefeated. (I could share with you the text messages I sent to my friend Chris during yesterday’s first quarter wherein I lamented our lack of defense but if I clean it up, it doesn’t really make much sense). I am, as are my friends, prone to irrational fits of anger and panic attacks when it comes to the Patriots. I’m sure there are smug assholes out there who never have a doubt and are always 100% confident that things will go our way. But I’m not built like that. It’s not in my makeup. I guess what I’m saying is, I realize this isn’t going to last forever. Tom Brady is not actually an ageless robot. Tedy Bruschi is human (I think). These good times will eventually end. And I will still be there. Because the Patriots are my team. For better or worse. And for that, I won’t apologize.

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Touchdown Robots

(Photo from

I’m sorry, but can you just look at Junior Seau’s arms in that picture? That’s ri-goddamn-diculous.

Anyway, Wes Welker has evidently decided he’s going to help out my fantasy team since no one else is going to, New Orleans. But honestly, I couldn’t possibly care less about that. I want to win the real games. And I’m not gonna lie to you, it was touch and go for a while there today.

I ventured out to the Sports Depot to watch the game with Greta as her Ravens were on at the same time and we managed to get a prime spot right between two TVs showing both the Pats and the Ravens. Now, those of you who have never watched a Patriots game with me don’t really understand what a big step this was for me. But I am not, shall we say, usually fit for public consumption on Sundays during football season. It’s part nerves, part insane, irrational fear and part the fact that I just get really, really mean and usually can’t stop myself from saying something uncalled for regarding Peyton Manning’s lineage or the hygiene of Steelers fans. I can’t help it. It’s football. Something happens to me. I totally lose my appetite and start looking for things to destroy. And today, before the Pats decided to play defense, things weren’t pretty. Greta actually had to remove all sharp objects from the table and I was reduced to picking at my Cobb salad with a drinking straw.

I mean, I can’t even keep alcohol down when football things aren’t going my way. It’s bad.

Thankfully, things turned around and Tom Brady, in and amongst dink and dunk passes to the likes of Welker and Gaffney, seemingly remembered “Oh, right, Randy Moss is on my team now. Awesome,” and started throwing bombs his way. Which, I mean, ridiculous. I called my brother during the first quarter and demanded that someone return my football team. And then I called him during the fourth quarter and he just answered the phone with a, “Duuuuuuuude. Come on. Randy Moss? Tom Brady? Come on.” And you know what? He’s right.

My friend Chris and I were discussing Brady’s obvious delight in having Moss to throw to this year and Chris commented that one of Brady’s touchdown passes to Moss was “Manning-esque.” He was under the impression that I was going to eviscerate him for that comment but I calmly explained that I have never argued that Peyton Manning is not an outstanding quarterback. I’ve just said that, in my opinion, Brady had done more with less. But this season, he’s got a freakin’ Madden ’08 lineup out there. It’s gonna be fun. Please don’t think that I am claiming that Tom Brady is underrated. That would be nonsense. But I actually did have a Colts fan tell me that he believed that the Colts have operated “under the radar” for the previous few seasons. I think he was serious. Evidently, this gentleman does not live in the world where Peyton Manning is in every commercial either throwing touchdown passes to himself, acting out John Mellencamp’s godforsaken “This is our Peyton” music video or trying to sell me a cable TV package. That must be a nice world. I’d like to visit some day.

But this is not about Peyton Manning. This is about the Patriots. I don’t know what happened about halfway through the second quarter when suddenly, something clicked and the Pats started playing like Super Bowl favorites, but I was certainly glad for it. Despite the fact that all the TV talking heads tried their absolute best to jinx the Pats before the game by talking about them possibly going 16-0 this season, the Pats continue to not believe the hype. One hopes.

And yes, I still believe the Patriots can be jinxed. I’ve been a Red Sox fan my whole life.

Speaking of the Red Sox: playoffs, yay. It’s not that I’m not happy about that. I obviously am. But I don’t want to back into this. I want the division. We’ve had it all season and I would like to keep it. I did, however, see my future at the Sports Depot today. At the table next to us, two 60ish-year-old women, clearly best friends, kept checking the Red Sox score while reporting back to Greta and I. We discussed our usual love for the Tampa Bay bullpen among other things and I was just struck by how awesome these women are. I figure, if I make it to my mid-sixties (without being arrested for doing something untoward to a Jets fan at a sports bar) and I spend my fall Sundays watching Sox and Pats games with my friends, things could be a lot worse.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Greta and I have to go plan the Bon Jovi/Snoop Dogg Bill Belichick Freedom Concert.

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Now This is Just Getting Creepy

Okay, seriously, are the Sox and Mets the same team this year or what? They’re like AL/NL mirrors of each other with the awesomeness and then the not so much and then the bullpen implosions despite the good starting pitching and the “what the fuck is going on?” from the fan bases and the second place team being only a game and a half behind.

This is just getting weird.

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