Monthly Archives: May 2008

Go ahead, impress me.

(Oooo, shiny!)

So the nice folks at A&E sent me an email the other day wanting to know if I’d be amenable to receiving a box set of The Essential Games of Fenway Park to review. You might’ve noticed, I like baseball, so I said yes immediately. Then they told me that they’d throw in another set for me to give away to a reader, however I see fit. Well really, it’s all about you people so of course I took them up on that one.

The set includes such highlights of awesomeness as 1975 World Series Game 6 (obviously), the 1999 All-Star Game, and the April 22, 2007 game against the Yankees where four Red Sox players conspired to hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs and destroy Yankee pitcher Chase Wright. Also, there is Bonus footage of Dave Roberts’ “The Steal,” Bill Mueller’s walk-off against Rivera in the Brawl Game, and the last inning of Claybelline’s no-hitter against the O’s last September 1st. So basically, this box set is like a Red Sox fan’s suicide prevention kit in a set of handy DVDs. You want this, is what I’m saying. And you can have it.

So here’s the deal: I’ve developed a little contest based on – as most things are – a conversation I had at a bar.

The setup:

Amy: Here is what I want: a transcript of Jason Varitek’s postgame from Lester’s no-hitter, because I am still confused about how people turn from boys to men.

Me: He is talking about slick balls. I know that much.

Amy: First he gave us a meteorological report and then he explained biology.

Me: I love listening to Tek’s interviews. He makes no sense whatsoever. For her sake, I hope Karen didn’t have them write their own vows.

Amy: I just love that after he made the rambling boy-young man thing, he did this little nod. Like, “Yup, that’s what I’m going with.”

Me: Maybe in an alternate life, Tek is a frustrated poet.

Amy:

Behind the plate
Am I protecting
My chest
Or

My heart?

Me: Tek does Williams Carlos Williams should be a new regular blog feature.

Amy:

The mask I wear
Covers my feelings
And my face
My heart is reeling

Who am I?

Me: You’re frighteningly good at this.

So here’s the deal, Jason Varitek: Secret Poet. Run with it, people. I want the best ‘Tek-penned poems your sick and twisted minds can come up with. Haikus are probably the best form though if you absolutely must do iambic pentameter, knock yourself out. Bonus points for hilarity and references to missing Dougie. Email ’em to me at snowtackle (at) gmail (dot) com. (Email link also on the sidebar). I’ll select the best entries and post them on the site here and have the readers vote on a winner. And said winner will get a shiny, new, shrink-wrapped box set of Fenway’s Greatest Games.

I’m out of town this weekend, heading to Steelers country to witness Katherine and Sebastian get married. (You know I love them if I’m willingly heading to a place that prides itself on serving “Roethlis-burgers”), so you’ve got all weekend to get the creative juices flowing. I shall return Monday, hopefully to a few Sox wins and my inbox overflowing with delicious, Tek-poetry goodness. Good luck!

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This stopped being funny several starts ago.

Tim Wakefield is so not amused, you guys. So not amused. After giving up eleventy runs in his previous few starts, he holds the Mariners to one stinkin’ run and his teammates can’t manage to score any? Zero? None? Wakefield makes one little mistake and he loses the game? You’re kidding me with this, right? I thought we were done with the whole “Not scoring runs for Wake’s starts” thing. Didn’t the Red Sox front office rescind that memo? This is upsetting is what this is.

Also upsetting? The fact that former Oriole and current Mariner Erik Bedard can get the snot kicked out of him by the Yankees and then “learn something” and pitch like a dude who was a possible Cy Young candidate a year before. And this is after I reimagined a song for him and everything. You know what, Erik? I take it back. I TAKE IT ALL BACK.

Why do we suppose the Red Sox are playing like the Celtics? That is winning exactly ONE game on the road in the past million years? Why is that happening? Are they not used to the weather outside of Boston? Don’t understand what a “mariner” really is? Still in hiding from the four-wheeled menace Mariner Moose? Could I possibly ask more rhetorical questions in this post?

Whatever it is, FIX IT. They have today off to travel and, presumably, think about what they did. Or didn’t do as the case may be. For his part, I hope Tim Wakefield spends the entire plane ride home making the Dad Face at his teammates. You know the Dad Face. The one your dad gives you when he’s so disappointed, he doesn’t even have words. I hate the Dad Face. Let’s hope the offense gets the message.

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That is the sound of the other shoe dropping.

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Ugh. Boo. Do not want. Etc, etc.

Didn’t see a pitch of this one as I’ve taken to getting up at the crack of dawn to go running with Greta (someone spiked my coffee, obviously), but it’s probably just as well as I would have likely gone to bed around the time Matsuzaka was getting pulled with “shoulder fatigue” and then I wouldn’t have slept well, fighting off nightmares of frayed rotator cuffs and shoulders going kablooey. So basically, not knowing was better, I think.

Of course, that also means I missed Manny’s 499th home run, apparently the only offense the Sox could muster in this one. I’m glad Manny’s hitting again but if the rest of the team would care to follow suit, that’d be swell.

Also swell? Tim Wakefield. He’s a swell guy. He’ll be taking the mound tonight. He’s not had the best of starts lately but he’s Tim Wakefield. Predicting his starts is like dancing about architecture, or…something. Let’s just win, please?

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All jokes at Bartolo Colon’s expense will cease until further notice.

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Honestly, we have to stop making so much fun of Bartolo Colon if he’s going to be the only pitcher capable of winning on the road. Kevin Youkilis is also going to have to stop calling him “Fartolo” which thing I believe happens daily. I mean, I know Seattle is terrible and all but come on, dudes, 1-hit against a dude in Oakland whose last name surely made him the butt of playground jokes as a child? Uncool.

I don’t have much else to say about the sweep at the hands of the A’s, watching the games as I did through a haze of post-race endorphins (best time yet!) and sunburn-fever. I can almost pretend it didn’t happen. Except that it did because somehow, the Rays are back in first place again. This is becoming worrisome.

As for last night’s win, I’m surely not alone in claiming Tek’s fancy camo catcher’s equipment as the highlight of the game, right? (Well, maybe also Ichiro’s highlight reel catch). But the camo gear made Tek look like more of a super hero than he usually does and the mind reels at the possibilities of spin-off comic books a nation of over-imaginative fans could come up with. Apparently he’s auctioning off said gear for charity? Which is awesome but I have to wonder two things. 1) Mike Timlin is behind this, isn’t he? And 2) Did he take the time to have “Tek” stitched into the chest protector like he has with his normal gear? Because that little detail is precious and gets me every time. I have to believe it’s force of habit from years of Dougie stealing Tek’s gear and stretching it all out and not putting it back in it’s proper place. Tek likes order, people. And he’ll thank you to keep things organized.

Baseball aside, a big fist bump is in order for Colleen, Colleen’s dad, Amy, Greta and my parents as they all either ran or walked the 5K on Sunday. My brother, I am sad/proud to report, did not make it back in time as he was up until 6am drinking with Kanye West at Foxwoods. But his sister did him proud, posting my best time yet. Training for the half marathon is on track, people. And I look forward to next month’s Sharon Timlin Memorial 5K Race to Cure ALS. All I want is a high-five from Mike Timlin. I’m a simple girl.

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Eyewitness confirms Gamecast nonsense.

(Photo from Boston.com)

I had spies at the game, you see. That’s how I was able to confirm the seemingly insane reports from Gamecast that were telling me that JD “Jessica” Drew hit a grand slam in yesterday’s afternoon game. Amy and Sam were there and they saw it. And though they’ve been known to hallucinate on occasion, it was two in the afternoon and they seemed to have their wits about them. So yes, JD Drew did, in fact hit a grand slam yesterday. Will wonders never cease?

As did Mike Lowell but that is much easier to believe. I mean, would you look at this man? Mike Lowell is a Silver Fox, my friends. And you know what silver foxes do in baseball? Hit grand slams. That’s right. Remember when Bill Mueller hit two in the same game from opposite sides of the plate against the Rangers a few years ago? I do. So basically, the Mueller to Lowell trajectory is working out perfectly. Which is handy since I was pretty sure I would never love anyone like I loved Bill Mueller.

Anyway, Matsuzaka, despite getting his eighth win without a loss is still somewhat worrisome. That boy likes high pitch counts and digging himself holes, doesn’t he? It would be tempting to chalk it up to the fact that he wasn’t throwing to Tek yesterday but really, he’s a major league pitcher. You have to be able to not walk the ballpark to get the job done.

You also have to be able to not give up nine runs to the Kansas City Royals, CRAIG HANSEN AND DAVID AARDSMA. I find Craig Hansen to be particularly infuriating since some days, like Wednesday, he’s positively lights out. And then the very next day he’ll be all “Here’s a home run for you. And a walk for you, and here’s a home run for your friend there.” And don’t give me “fatigue” because you’re a major league reliever. You have to be able to pitch in back to back games. Apparently my argument today is that if you’re a “major league something or other,” I don’t want to hear excuses. “You’re a major league bat boy, son. You have to be able to put the right amount of pine tar on the bat. Let’s see some hustle out there.”

All right, I concede that I’m nitpicking since the Sox did just manage two series sweeps and a perfect 7-0 homestand. Maybe I’m like the gruff coach who rides his charges hard but only because he loves them so much. Tough love and all. Except for you, Lugo. You I’m still watching.

So tonight the Sox head to Oakland where things promise to be a bit different in terms of facing good pitching. Damn west coast time difference. As for me, I’m running in my first road race this weekend, the 11th Annual Runner’s Alley/Redhook Memorial 5K in Portsmouth, NH. This is all in training for the larger goal of the half marathon in November but you gotta start somewhere, right? I’ve managed to rope Greta, Amy, Colleen AND The Rick and The Sue into participating with me. And possibly my brother if he manages to make it home from a bachelor party in time. But there’s beer at the end of the race so perhaps that’ll be an enticement. Anyway, wish us luck.

And finally, this weekend is also time to celebrate the birthdays of both Father of Basegirl, The Rick, and Brother of Basegirl, Kevin. (Perhaps we’ll make Kev run in a party hat). Without these two, I wouldn’t be half as insane and sports obsessed as I am. So basically, it’s their fault. Show ’em some birthday love, eh?

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Enjoy!

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It’s not his fault his name is so pun-friendly.

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

But seriously, how many variations of “Master-ful” are going to be popping up in baseball headlines this morning? Not that it isn’t warranted. It surely is. I’m also probably gonna have to stop calling the 6’6″, 250lb Masterson “Little Justin Masteron” as well since he could likely eat me for breakfast.

But he would never. Because he’s like puppies and rainbows and 1-running the Royals over 6 1/3 innings last night. And he didn’t even freak out when Okajima came within a hairsbreadth of blowing the whole thing. He just peeked out from the dugout in trepidation, watching it all go down. And I swear to you that if you looked closely, you could see Tim Wakefield over his shoulder, nodding sagely and readying himself with the words of wisdom in re: your bullpen blowing your fantastic pitching performance. But alas, Wake will have to save that talk for another day. Papelbon done took care of the newbie. And all was right with the world. You guys? I like the under 25 portion of our team a WHOLE LOT. We’re getting to the point where Josh Beckett will be the grizzled veteran at 28. That kind of stuff makes me giddy.

Also? Paps making with the Tek-like head pats and acting all older brother to Masterson. Which is hilarious on several levels, chief amongst them being that if Papelbon actually decides to form his own little Merry Band of Young Pitchers and declares himself Supreme Ruler and Badass, we’re in for some good times. We’ve all heard stories of the competitions he used to get into with his younger brothers, the Papel-Twins. I can only imagine what madness would befall the Sox bullpen. Something involving wild boar and squirrel hunting probably. Or sudden death Scrabble. Plus, you and I both know that Pedroia would not take kindly to being left out. Hilarity would surely ensue.

Speaking of? The Yankees and Orioles nearly got into a bench clearer last night because of some beanball antics and LaTroy Hawkins throwing at Luke Scott and his Texas Hair. In retaliation, apparently, for Daniel Cabrera hitting Derek Jeter on the wrist earlier in the game. Now, I wasn’t watching but I have it on good authority that even the YES announcers were all, “Um, yeah, so that wasn’t intentional” because first of all, the Orioles were up 10-0 and second of all, it’s Daniel Cabrera, not known for his pinpoint accuracy. So really, Hawkins was overreacting and trying to hit pretty, pretty Luke Scott. Who then went all righteous vengeance on them an inning or so later and hit a 2-run moon shot. Apparently Kevin Millar was spoiling for a fight (been a while since he brawled with any Yankees), and the Orioles bullpeners were raring to go. (Jamie Walker can throw down, I’ll tell you whut). But order was restored. As was a 12-2 Orioles win. Which is fun for everyone outside of the Bronx.

And tonight, to follow up on two fantastic performances by the Young Guns, the Sox have former Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon going. Which could be a mixed bag but you gotta figure that anything effective they get from him is gravy. Mmmm, gravy. Heady times, my friends, heady times indeed.

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A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius*


(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Of course Tek called for the high fastball. Of course he did. Heh.

I guess that’s a sufficient answer to the question of why we’re all so excited about this team’s farm system and why we didn’t want to trade Jacoby and Lester – not both, not either – for Johan Santana. Because moments like that are priceless.

I called my dad – of course I did. Though really, since his TV is about ten seconds ahead of mine, he probably should have called me and spared me the half-moment of anguish, seeing into the future as he can. We sat there on the phone, not really speaking but both watching Lester being interviewed by Heidi Watney.

“God,” I said, “he looks like he’s ten-years-old.”

“He’s got more gray hairs than you and I combined. That kid has had some kind of life,” my dad replied.

He’s got that right. Everyone will touch on the positively “you couldn’t write something this schmaltzy for Disney and expect them to buy it” storyline of the Jon Lester Story, but personally, I think the best part is how absolutely joyful he looked immediately afterwards. Because, let’s face it, the kid has been through some shit. Cliched though it may seem, he’s dealt with the highest highs and the lowest lows. And it’s so, so, SO wonderful to see him just flat out enjoy something like this. I mean, Eckersley is nattering on about Lester’s sense of perspective (frankly, Eckersley is nattering on about a lot of things, so excited is he), but he’s right. You think Jon Lester is scared of Alberto Callaspo? Bitch, please.

Also, I am only human. When Lester said that Tito told him he was proud of him and that he thinks of him as a second dad, I lost it. Just lost it. I am not made of stone, people. I can only take so much. And Tito’s press conference is not helping in that matter, what with him talking about how fatherly he feels towards Lester and that he’ll “sit here and brag about him all night if you want me to.”

And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Jacoby. Not only his stellar catch but also his triple and the base-stealing and the run scoring which takes pressure off a starter in a whole different way. THANKS ANYWAY, MINNESOTA BUT WE’LL KEEP THESE GUYS IF THAT’S COOL.

And there is, as there always is, Jason Varitek at the heart of it all. Now with a major league record for no-hitters caught, Tek is indisputably and inarguably THE MAN.

Of course all of this lead to some frantic postgame emailing with fellow denizens of the blogging underworld.

Luna: Lookit his little camo shirt! God, he is so wiped out.

Me: If I hadn’t eaten the last of my homemade banana bread for breakfast, I would march right down there this minute to give it to him.

Luna: How drunk is Josh Beckett going to get him tonight?

Me: Oh Jesus. We should really bring him some Chaser and a truckload of Gatorade, just as preventative measures.

And naturally Amy and I were emailing each other during the game but refusing to talk about it. Instead we discussed the relative sizes of baby polar bears and pandas and whether or not, if Tony Gwynn, Jr. rode around in a kangaroo pouch, the baby kangaroos would behave themselves. I realize that sounds like we’re insane but really, these are pretty standard conversations between Amy and myself. Just, usually, we’re not actively avoiding talking about baseball.

Jason Varitek’s postgame press conference is just furthering my belief that great pitching is better than sex to that man. Can you remember the last time Tek looked so relaxed? So sprawly and, you know, just sort of hanging out? I can. It was September 1st of last year. True story. Of course, he’s Tek so he’s going to pretend that a laundry basket with a chest protector would have been just as effective behind home plate, but we know the truth. Because did Lester shake off Tek even once today? I don’t believe he did. Lest we forget that Tek is actually one out away from having caught five no-hitters, Curtis.

But tonight is about Jon Lester and what Jon Lester managed to do. And the next week represents my favorite part of the post no-hitter circus. The coverage and the buck-passing in the credit-spreading sense. “Tek did this,” “No, this was all Jonny,” “No, really none of it would have been possible without Jacoby’s defense,” or even, “Actually, Theo had the foresight not to trade these kids.” Love it. Love all of it. Congratulations, Jonny Boy. Congratulations, indeed.

*The Dave Eggers book that I’d been reading during commercial breaks was spine-up on the coffee table when the game ended and the title just seemed appropriate here.

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