Monthly Archives: December 2007

Simply the Best

(Photo from Boston.com)

Gonna go soak this one in, kids. This is something special. I don’t have cable or internet and won’t until Monday (which is probably good because the six hours of pregame surely would have killed me), so I’ll be buying all the papers tomorrow and basking in the awesomeness of my football team.

Because they are, without question, the best.

Happy New Year, indeed.

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The Red-Headed Stepchild of Boston Sports

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Thursday night and there wasn’t much to do, sportswise in this town, unless you’re me and you give your brother Sidney Crosby for Christmas. Which I did. Because I’m kind of an awesome sister. So last night saw Kevin and I in the upper decks at the FleetGardenArena watching the Bruins take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Or, more accurately, watching Crosby and Malkin take on the Bruins since the rest of the team? Not so much.

The game was thoughtlessly scheduled to take place before Christmas thus forcing me to search high and low for a card with penguins on the cover so that I could be oh-so-clever and mail it to my brother with a note all “Surprise! I’m getting you Sidney Crosby for Christmas!” Of course, the only card I could find had penguins kissing on the front and I’m not entirely sure what he should make of that in regards to said professional hockey-playing Penguins but it almost didn’t matter anyway because the snowplow took out my brother’s mailbox and all his mail was nearly lost to the elements.

ANYWAY. Point being, the Bruins almost ruined my awesome Christmas present last night by going down 3-0 after one period and 4-0 into the second. And if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s giving kickass Christmas presents. So I was not happy. Thankfully, Chara and the boys got their heads out of their asses long enough to make quite the game of it, tying things at 4-4 after three and through overtime, thus forcing a shoot out. A shoot out which the Bruins lost, mind you, but still, that’s some exciting hockey.

Now, so far as this Sidney Crosby kid goes, I’m of two minds: 1) If he’s really as awesome as people say he is, great, that’s cool. People should pay more attention to hockey because it’s an awesome, intense sport and very cool to watch and if someone like Crosby gets them watching, excellent, but 2) Sigh. Gretzky comparisons already? Really? And I’m not even a huge Gretzky fan. Plus, last night marked Crosby’s first fight. Granted, it’s only his second year in the league but, you know, you gotta drop the gloves every now and then if you want some respect. You can’t just expect to let your teammates fight your battles for you while you do your pretty pirouettes and what have you.

Perhaps I’m just unwilling to give the benefit of the doubt to phenoms. It’s not that I don’t want to see them pan out, it’s just that I appreciate it more when the MVPs end up being the sixth-round draft picks no one believed in. But still, the Crosby kid is impressive.

The Bruins, however, are getting virtually no love around these parts. It’s not hard to understand why. The Red Sox just won the World Series, the Celtics are tearing up the league (Seriously? Weird, right?) and you might’ve heard the Patriots are, you know, pretty decent. Hockey is most people’s fourth sport anyway, if they watch it at all, so now is a really inopportune time for them to be all competitive or what have you. But as someone who follows the Bruins casually (insomuch as I’ll watch a game if the Pats aren’t playing and I always watch highlights on SportsDesk), I’m kind of digging it. Their current standings are made all the more impressive considering that they’ve faced a rash of injuries this season (Patrice Bergeron, Andrew Alberts, until last night, Tim Thomas), that most people expected – and rightly so – to sink the team. So it’s kind of nice to see them doing well, even if they are playing above their heads.

Although admittedly, half the fun of Bruins games is sitting in from of the JV team from Billerica or the steam fitters from Southie. The best moment of the night may have been right before the second intermission when a gentleman behind us got up for a beer run. “Where ya goin’?” his friend asked. “It’s mini one-on-one! Ya gonna miss it!” Genius.

Speaking of, check out this 9-year-old’s skills.

Now that I’ve managed to alienate everyone who reads this thing and is all “Hockey wah?” “Puck who?” allow me to move onto more pressing matters.

For what it’s worth, I do not believe for a second that Jonathan Papelbon’s dog ate the World Series ball. I believe Jonathan Papelbon is messing with us. We’d believe him if he said that he didn’t remember where he put it as Paps often forgets where he put his pants. But “my dog ate it?” Come on, Paps. You can do better than that.

Also, Gabe Kapler is coming back to the majors. This is clearly due to that time when Amy and I saw him at the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse and sent him “Please don’t leave! You can totally still play baseball!” vibes. We’ll even forgive him for leaving before we could buy him a drink. Again. Because the Brewers play at Fenway this year which means we’ll be getting ready to shower our boy Gabe with a hero’s welcome. Awwww, warms the heart.

And for those of you looking for last minute Christmas gifts, look no further than eBay where one of my esteemed professors has put his “Miraculous Happy Face Apparition in Bread Slice Relic” up for sale. Who’s gonna give a better gift than that, I ask you? This is way better than Manny Ramirez’s game-worn undergarments, surely. Yes, it’s a real thing and no, Harvard professors never have too much time on their hands. Why do you ask?

Updates might be a bit spotty for a while as I’m off to parts north tonight to partake of holiday shenanigans and tomfoolery. But if you’re good, when I return, I’ll share with you a masterpiece created by Amy and myself entitled “The sheet metal workers of the South Shore meet the Patriots offense” featuring such gems as “Don’t make Tom Brady pull the levah on the La-Z-Boy himself! He’s probable with a shoulda!” and “I watched the mountains on the Coors can turn blue myself, Mr. Moss. I think this beah is nice and fresh for you.” Good times.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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Hangin’ Tough


(Photo from NFL.com)

Okay, that wasn’t quite the rout that everyone was expecting. Bill Belichick didn’t channel old school Randy Moss and fake-moon Eric Mangini during halftime and Moss himself didn’t do any cartwheels into the endzone. In fact, neither Brady nor Moss even found the endzone and Brady threw for only 140 yards, his season low. But apparently Laurence Maroney is out of the dog house now (must’ve been an awfully nice fruit basket he sent to Belichick), and he picked up the slack, getting the Pats’ lone offensive touchdown and 104 yards on the ground. And today we find ourselves loving some rather unlikely characters instead of the usual suspects. Both Richard Seymour and Adalius Thomas had excellent games (though Kellen Clemens’s ribs would likely disagree). Then there was Kelley Washington who seemingly came out of nowhere to block that punt. Plus, Eugene Wilson, or “Geno” since that’s what Randy Moss calls him and who are we to argue with Randy Moss?

Personally, I think we should all stop favoring the Patriots by jillions of points. That does nothing so much as fire up the opposition and I don’t really begrudge them that. Yeah, I don’t like the Jets, but last I checked, they were still actually a professional football team and not the JV team from Hoboken High. And they have actually beaten the Patriots in the past. Perhaps not with the bastard son of Roger Clemens behind center (seriously, K-name Clemens? Someone is not telling us something here), but he was gone by the Jets’ second play from scrimmage anyway thanks to the freight train that is Richard Seymour.

Then it was quarterbackpalooza and the return of the Chadrick Pennington IV official photo which is one of Amy’s most favoritest things ever. “The turtleneck!” she said, “I love the turtleneck.”

What is that, ultra suede?” I said.

“Looks like it’s got a thick nap to it.”

Making fun of Chad Pennington is one of my favorite past times. Especially the hair which I only have about two weeks left to make fun of since my own esteemed quarterback appears to be growing an inexplicable baltie, the better to take up lacrosse in Baltimore or something.

And considering what Randy Moss was wearing in his postgame, I’m not entirely sure sartorial critiques are welcome either. But I get my fun where I can.

“Does Randy Moss have bowling league later on?” Amy asked.

“Yes. With underprivileged youth. And then he’s going with Vince Wilfork to deliver food to the homeless and then caroling with Tommy.”

“A big day!”

“Well, he has extra energy what with the not catching touchdown passes,” I said.

So next week it’s Winless No More Miami (obviously thanks to the presence of the Magical Don Shula and his Merry Band of Insufferable Jerks). My guess is the motivation will go something like this: “So Miami beat Baltimore who almost beat us. Therefore, by the transitive property of mathematics, Miami beat us. So we must avenge that loss at the hands of the Dolphins.” Belichick will confuse them with math, he’s crafty like that.

He’s also pretty crafty because you just know he loved beating Mangini and the Jets and he betrayed his “It’s just another football game” rhetoric just a little bit with his smile and fist pump after the midfield handshake. But he did seem exceptionally nice to Mangini, going so far as to say “Great game, Eric, great game. Awesome,” before hugging various Jets players. Possibly a Belichickian mind-fuck but aren’t those always good times? Might’ve worked too since Mangini looked like he was facing a firing squad in his postgame. “I don’t remember what he said to me,” he said in a monotone, “Great game. Or good luck. Or something,” he said flatly, staring into the middle distance. Don’t worry, Eric, it happens.

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Progress Report

(Photo from Boston.com)

That was a tense afternoon, no? There were some erroneous early reports that had me attempting to come to terms with my many, many years of baseball fandom and the wisdom of choosing a favorite player instead of just rooting for the laundry. There was a good hour there where I was functioning on auto pilot and was absolutely heartbroken. Which kind of made me feel like a 10-year-old kid and what a 10-year-old kid feels like when their teams loses an important game or when their favorite player strikes out in a big spot. When you’re 10-years-old, that’s the worst thing you can imagine. Except for maybe this.

Fortunately, (or not, depending on your ability to separate personalities from paychecks and championships from performance enhancers), most of us are now blessed with some age and wisdom. By that I mean that very few of the names on the Mitchell Report came as a surprise to me, and, I would venture, to most people.

The implications of this are many and far-reaching. Especially when it stands that the revelations could impact someone like Roger Clemens’ Hall of Fame chances. Clemens was the first baseball player to break my heart when he left town for Toronto when I was sixteen, and though I’ve always rooted against him in subsequent years (some people don’t agree with that but we do not forget our first heartbreaks), I have never argued that he is anything other than a great, great pitcher. I’ve long said he’s not the player you want on the mound with the season on the line but he is still the man with the records and the awards. So what happens now?

Contrary to what some people might think, I am not taking pleasure in the names of Yankees on the list or those of other players whom I’ve never liked (okay, I might have snorted a little bit at Gregg Zaun), but I know too many people who are fans of other teams and who are having a hard time with this. The Orioles have enough problems without this report. True, Miguel Tejada is no longer their problem and they’ve been trying to get rid of Jay Gibbons for years now but people in Baltimore LOVE Brian Roberts. This is no good for them. And this reminds me of what my father said when I was musing about how this wasn’t really going to change the way I felt about Mo Vaughn when I was twelve. “Kristen,” he said, “This isn’t about you.” But you know what? It kind of is. It’s about all of us. These guys do whatever they want to themselves, but what about the kids that grow up watching and loving them? That’s who this is really about.

Obviously, some of these names would seem to prove the arguments about steroids and HGH not making people into Supermen. For every Roger Clemens there is a Mike Lansing. For every Barry Bonds, there’s a Ron Villone. For every Jason Giambi, a Jeremy Giambi. But if nothing else, that also brings into sharp relief what a problem this kind of thing is. It’s not limited to the elite players and it’s not just the guys with giant heads we’ve come to suspect.

There is dark comedy to be found in this, of course, as that’s how we deal with these things. There’s the fact that Paul Lo Duca was bright enough to leave notes essentially saying “Thanks for the ‘roids. Love, Paulie” which Greta likened to the moments of comic relief in a Sopranos episode where the mobsters are committing a grisly crime with amusing ineptitude. Or the fact that Jose Canseco evidently tried to get into the press conference to…I don’t know, deny allegations? I think the jig is up with you, Jose.

So what do we do now? Bud Selig has promised to put Senator Mitchell’s suggestions into play but Selig’s reign as commissioner has been decidedly toothless so we’ll see how well that works. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Despite the cumbersome 409-page report, it seems that Senator Mitchell has left us with more questions than answers. This saga is far from over.

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Putting Up or Shutting Up

(Photo from Boston.com)

You know, Tom Brady made a really good point in his post game interview last night when the press was trying to bait him into saying something stupid or newsworthy about Anthony Smith’s “guarantee” of a Steelers victory yesterday. Brady largely deferred to “executing the game plan” and “playing smart football” but he did finally say, “You know, he’s the one who has to go back in that locker room.” Fair point, Thomas. And I, for one, would not want to be Anthony Smith showing up at Steelers practice tomorrow.

Because the Patriots certainly would never claim that they don’t respect the Steelers. The Patriots would never claim that they don’t respect anyone because that would be bulletin board material and they don’t so much do that. But this wasn’t coming from Hines Ward. It wasn’t coming from Willie Parker. It wasn’t even coming from Ben Roethlisberger because, despite what I often find to be Baby Ben’s, um, lack of intelligence, he at least appears smart enough not to let fly with something like that. But it came from a second year replacement safety who was picked on mercilessly throughout the course of the game. That, I’m sure, a result of his fast mouth. The Pats would deny it, I’m certain. But my guess is that if Troy Polamalu had been playing, they wouldn’t have victimized him in the same way. That’s largely to do with the fact that Polamalu keeps his mouth shut and plays excellent football. In fact, I consider him the Mariano Rivera of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The one guy who, if he were on my team, I’d totally dig, despite the fact that he currently plays for my enemy. So yeah, Polamalu not playing definitely helped the Pats. But after Smith’s guarantee, I’m not sure they needed much help.

And I’m not gonna lie, it was indeed sweet to see him burned on two of those touchdown passes. Especially the wacky gadget play that Brady and Moss pulled out that resulted in a Gaffney TD.

And the fact that they both call him, “Jab?” Love.

Everyone seems to be saying that the whole perfect season thing is now a foregone conclusion, the Pats having gotten the remaining hurdle in the form of the Steelers out of the way. I, of course, won’t look at things that way because, despite the fact that the next two weeks against the Jets and Dolphins are the definition of “trap game,” I think—what? Stop laughing! Any given Sunday, people. I know I pretend that the Monday night game against Miami where the Dolphins dressed as traffic cones and blinded the Patriots and Brady into a confusion and forced him to throw interceptions from his ass never happened but the truth is, I remember it. I’m in no hurry to relive it. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Eric Mangini went AWOL before his sojourn to Gillette next week but, you know, perspective, people. Let’s keep it all under wraps until it’s all said and done.

However, if Randy Moss and Tom Brady don’t record a duet of Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There For You” posthaste, I’m going to be very upset. Especially since I’m sure Billiam – who was wearing his special “Sunday go to meetin'” puffy coat yesterday – could pull some strings to get the rights for them.

What I wouldn’t give for a microphone in the Pats locker room immediately after the game. They’re so good at doing their talking on the field, as it were, but you just know that they let loose occasionally and I would LOVE to hear it. Just once. Especially Rodney. ‘Cause you know Rodney was preachin’. After that 4th down stop at the goal line? Both the stop and Rodney’s ensuing celebration were reminiscent of the stop Willie McGinest made on Edgerrin James a few years ago in Indianapolis. That year ended well if I recall correctly. Here’s hoping.

Now, who wants a “Stephen Gostkowski has a posse” shirt?

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Tom Brady Makes Babies Smile!

So Amy and I wrote a song based on today’s Patriots’ victory:

I. Love.
Brady on TV.
A Randy Moss TD.
Jerseys on baby twins.
And wins.

Those charming gentlemen up there are my new baby twin cousins, Ricky and Riley. Or Brady and Bruschi. Pats onesies a gift from yours truly. How else do you tell twin boys apart? Anyway, those boys are definitely smiling today after the Pats quite convincingly beat the Steelers 34-13. There are several things I could say and heaven knows there are several things I’ve wanted to say all week. But my Steelers fan friends took me to a party with an open bar last night so I should be nice to them. Plus, some of them were at Gillette today for the game and I’m certain the abuse they took was more than enough.

So perhaps I’ll just stick to observing that the “Holy crap, that shit doesn’t even work in Madden!” look on offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels ‘ face after the Brady-to-Moss-to-Brady flea flicker fumble recovery turned touchdown thing was my favorite part of the game. That or the shit talking our good friend Tommy engaged in with Anthony Smith after the first touchdown. Because the boy is only human so sometimes when you piss him off, he’s gonna let you know about it. Loved it.

In Randy Moss’s post game press conference he spoke about Brady in glowing terms, using words one uses to talk about their bestest friend. “We talk about everything. I hope he knows he can come to me for anything too.” Then he spoke lovingly of Belichick.

“That boy says all the right things now, doesn’t he?” I observed.

“Honestly?” Amy said, “he goes home at night and does jigsaw puzzles.”

“Yeah,” I said, “like the Thomas Kinkade kind.”

I don’t know how Belichick has brainwashed them all and I don’t care. I know only that I have spent a considerable amount of time doing my own personal dorkilicious 13-0 dances in my apartment to the great bemusement of my cat.

So I go to bed happy, secure in the knowledge that the Pats have defended their territory and certainly stepped up their game when they needed to. Thems my boys.

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Tuesday Morning Levity

Also, this:



Isn’t your life complete now?

“This jelly won’t leak through because there’s peanut butter on both sides of the bread.”

Wow.

(Thanks to Annette for the link.)

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