Monthly Archives: September 2008

Champagne Showers Never Get Old


(Photo from Boston.com)

A GUEST POST BY AMY

I have to confess, I’ve been an extremely calm Red Sox fan this year.

Part of it is accepting that they are just not going to win every year and we’ve been remarkably lucky, and part of it is is rooting for another team, one that hasn’t made the postseason in 26 years. I’ve been able to put Red Sox losses in perspective because Terry Francona is not Ned Yost and thankfully Craig Counsell stays far, far away from the Red Sox — the team is unquestionably good, basically. Sure, there will be ups and downs. Nothing is a given and this moment should never be taken for granted. There’s been way too much heartbreak over the years for that.

Even in my happiness, I didn’t anticipate getting all emotional over this one tonight, since it was pretty inevitable as long as the Red Sox didn’t lose all the games between now and Sunday and the Yankees didn’t win all their games in that same frame. And then there’s the whole having to root for the Cubs for the next couple days, which is just gross, and certain epic wild card collapses… You know how sometimes when you’re reading a book and the main character is doing something catastrophically stupid and you really want to flip ahead and see if it turns out alright? That’s sort of where I’m at with baseball at the moment.

But when the relief corps busted out of the locker room clutching bottles of champagne and rushed onto the field with one goal in mind — dousing The Bullpen Cop — dear reader of Kristen’s, I cried. And then there was little Justin Masterson just trying to poke his head in the frame of the camera and laughing like a teenager. Papelbon doling out bases to the crowd. Jason Bay playing the role of Orlando Cabrera. Tek being the grown up and doing the shaking-hands-and-kissing-

babies tour of Fenway.

I kept getting frantic instant messages from a friend throughout this game, convinced the Red Sox would blow it and I was worried not being concerned made me a bad fan. But maybe relaxing and enjoying the games and this era of good Red Sox baseball is better than getting so worked up. I’ll admit that I wore full-out Brewers gear to the last game of their series at Fenway. I was discussing being a fan of both teams with someone in my row and I explained at that moment, I was rooting for the Brewers because they were in last place and needed it more.

“But the Red Sox are in second place,” the guy countered.

And they still are at this moment. But they’re going back to the postseason and that’s a pretty amazing thing. I’d make a cheesy “good times never seemed so good” statement here, but this is schmaltzy enough already. So I’ll just say enjoy this one, y’all. And also, drunk Mike Lowell is awesome.






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The less said about that, the better.


(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Ow. My pride.

I leave for vacation tomorrow morning so y’all will have to truck on without me for the next week or so. Amy has agreed to write some guest blogs in my absence. Treat her nice, you hear?

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Obviously, Dustin Pedroia thinks the Rays are a giant pain in the ass. Couldn’t agree more.

David Ortiz is only one man, people. He cannot do it all himself.

Maybe emasculating the rookies prior to the trip wasn’t the best idea.

And therein lies the Tim Wakefield Paradox. Brilliant his past eleventy starts in Tampa. Serving up batting practice in this one.

Why does this entry read like a pretentious undergrad poem?

Fin.

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Pretty Tied Up

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

David Ortiz points to the divisional standings.

Look at the look on Tito’s face in that picture. It’s adorable. Part proud papa, part smirk. I love it. Perhaps he’s just glad that he can stop hearing my grandmother shit talk him about the Rays and their relative standing in the division. I’m guessing she does that to him too. She probably sent him the same email she sent me last week saying, “The Red Sox should learn to play more like the Rays. Love, Ma.” I would imagine my grandmother would not hesitate to harass Tito about the team’s performance. But on last night, she’d probably not have much to say.

Evidently it was Home Run Derby night at the Trop. I got home late because I had an important engagement (read: drinking), and had seen that the score was 4-0 Sox in the fourth. I figured we’d put something together against Kazmir and that might be enough to stake us to the lead for the remainder. Imagine my surprise when I turned on the TV and saw that the Sox were up 12-1 in the 6th. Highlights tell me the Rays were handing out home runs like so much delicious candy. Even ‘Tek hit one.

This is a good thing. This is good news. Various people who Know Things About Baseball have been claiming all season that the Rays would eventually fade away, scared off, I guess, by the bright lights of a pennant chase. I wasn’t quite so quick to dismiss them because, as they say, any given Sunday. No, wait, they say that about football, don’t they? Okay, maybe they’re using black magic in Tampa or some wondrous witch-type potion made from the algae growing on the manta ray tank in the outfield. I really don’t know. Whatever it is, the Sox are caught up now with a handful of games to play so it’s almost like we’re starting from scratch. Except that Mike Lowell has a torn hip labrum. But he’s gonna play through it because Mike Lowell? Does not let a little thing like a torn hip labrum stop him. And also, probably he knows that we’re not really prepared to handle another major sports-related injury around these parts. Mike Lowell is sensitive to our fragile psyches. Mike Lowell cares.

Tonight, Josh Beckett, hopefully inspired to reclaim his ace status, faces off against Andy Sonnanstine, whom I always confuse with Kirk Saarloos because of how their last names would ably befit a couple Lord of the Rings villains. I’m all about the scientific analysis, don’t you know?

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Matt Cassel’s Mom told you he could do it

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Okay, so I’m now less concerned with Matt Cassel’s ability to lead a football team and more concerned about his potential dehydration as the poor boy was a veritable faucet of perspiration in his postgame.

“Tommy never sweats,” I said lovingly.

“No,” Amy replied, “he glistens.”

I mean, I love ya, Matty, I do, but maybe you should look into having your press conferences sponsored by Gatorade and Right Guard.

Okay, I only kid those I love. But you gotta learn that people aren’t going to be scared of you if you keep apologizing for sweating. It’s unavoidable probably but instead of apologizing for it, you have to revel in it. Start press conferences by saying, “What? This ain’t sweat. This the glisten of a winner, baby. This pure awesome comin’ out.”

Because I don’t know about you guys but the persona of Matt Cassel’s mom that we’ve all invented in our heads is maybe my new favorite thing about football season.

“I’ll bet she sent him a care package,” Amy said.

“Or, after he took that first sack, she probably sent him a picture message with that kitten hanging from a tree branch that said ‘Hang in there, baby.'” I said.

“I think Momma Cassel is big on Successories posters,” Kim added.

“Courage! Fortitude!”

“You guys?” Chrissy said, “I kind of love Matt Cassel’s mom.”

And, I mean, right? Don’t you? SportsDesk on Friday told me that after last Sunday’s game against Kansas City, Cassel got over a hundred text messages. Normally he just gets one: from his mom. Probably saying something like, “You looked so nice and clean on the sidelines there, Matty. Good job! Tell Tom I said hi.”

So basically, Matt Cassel is exactly who we think he is. And if anyone has evidence to the contrary, I don’t want to hear it.

He also appears to be quite a little football player. It seems the national media is obsessed with talking about how he didn’t fuck anything up but the bottom line is that not only didn’t he fuck things up, but with the help of Wes Welker and LaMont Jordan (whose iTunes mojo is now Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It” obviously), he made some things happen and outplayed Brett Favre. And because of it, the Pats are 2-0. And LAT (Life After Tom) is going along as well as can be expected. There was a tense moment there wherein Cassel banged up his knee a bit but he apparently heard Chrissy’s entreaties to “rub some dirt on it” and shook it off and went back to work.

“Just like Brady would do,” Steve DeOssie observed.

And can I just say something about Tom Brady and The Injury? People, he’s not dead. Seriously. Perhaps aside from Randy Moss, no one is taking the injury harder than I am (as evidenced by the irresponsible amount of drinking I’ve done over the course of the past week), but the fact of the matter is that it’s a leg injury. He’s going to be okay. He’s going to come back to us. There really is no need for everyone in the league to play the season with a black armband or for us all to sit shiva and light some candles in Tommy’s memory. I repeat, he is not dead. Sure, I’d love to see him on the sidelines too, possibly with his baby in a Baby Bjorn strapped to his front and learning firsthand about the NFL offense, but reports about him being in good spirits and calling Cassel and Moss to give them pointers are enough for me right now. I care a great deal – possibly too much – about the mental state of someone I’ve never met but if he’s okay, I’ll be okay. Promise.

Now, as for the Red Sox, they made things rather interesting themselves in the 9th inning there. I wonder if perhaps Jonathan Papelbon is feeling a little ignored what with New England being up in arms over this Tom Brady thing so he’s acting out. Getting all riled up and feeling ignored and a near blown save is his little version of an attention-getting tantrum. Stop it, Jonathan. Mommy loves you all the same.

Regardless, the magic number for making the playoffs is down to 8 thanks to – gulp – the Yankees and the Orioles sacking up and playing like men. It’s getting down to it.

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The best offense is a good insanity plea.

Consider yourselves warned, you might be called as character witnesses.

Amy: THE LEGEND OF MATT CASSEL GROWS!

Yesterday, the Patriots brought veteran free agents Chris Simms and Tim Rattay to Foxborough for a visit and, presumably, to work out. But in a curious twist reported by the NFL Network’s Adam Schefter on his blog, when Simms and Rattay arrived at Gillette Stadium, they were told “the situation had changed and they were no longer needed,” and they departed without working out.

Me: Okay, that message was totally delivered to them by Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork wearing dark suits and sunglasses and those Secret Service ear piece thingies.

Amy: YES.

Me: Randy is gonna fit Matt Cassel for some bling. Just you wait.

Amy: Oh I will. With baited breath.

Me: At some point this season, Cassel is going to pull his helmet off only to get it stuck on his ear bling. They’re going to have to call a time out and a jeweler to get his head extricated.

Amy: Please. They’ll just use butter.

Me:

Amy: I am overcome with the visual of Belichick buttering his QB’s head.

Me: He’d totally roll his eyes and call for the butter which they keep for just these kind of emergencies because of course they’ve planned for this kind of thing.

Amy: Belichick’s emergency butter is going to get us through this season.

Me: Amy, I have to tell you, I think Billiam is up to something.

Amy: What kind of something?

Me: I don’t know. Maybe robots. OR DRAGONS.

Amy: FIRST DRAGON QB AWESOME.

Me: I’m pretty sure that’s within the rules.

Amy: Absolutely. As long as he stays in the pocket.

Me: IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME.

Amy: LIKE 10 MINUTES PROBABLY.

Me: PROBABLY THEY WILL BREAK INTO THE BASEBALL GAME WITH BREAKING NEWS.

Amy: That is what is going to happen, just you watch.

Me: You’re right, we should have seen this coming. Dragons. Obviously.

Amy: That’s hardly even thinking outside the box.

Me: Not when it comes to Billiam, no.

Amy: I can’t believe they let them use guns after Sunday:

Matt Light and several of his Pats teammates made a big bang yesterday at the beefy lineman’s celebrity shoot-out, an annual fund-raiser for the Light Foundation. The event, ably emceed by comedian Lenny Clarke, was held at Addieville Farm in Mapleville, R.I., and featured some fine barbecue from Capital Grille and plenty of live music. Teammates pulling the trigger included Russ Hochstein, Dan Koppen, Logan Mankins, Larry Izzo, Sammy Morris, Stephen Neal, Lonie Paxton, Ty Warren, Nick Kaczur, Pierre Woods, and Stephen Gostkowski, among others.

Me: That seems particularly unwise. The good thing about dragons though is they are impenetrable to fire arms.

Amy: Obviously. Billiam would have known that.

So, obviously, we’re dealing with this in a completely rational and well thought out manner.

Also, Jonathan? That is absolutely not what we discussed. We’re gonna have to have a talk, me and you, huh? Maybe less Dirty Dancing, more not giving up home runs?

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Spitting Distance

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

I would like to personally thank the Red Sox for at least temporarily, lifting the spirits of a grieving region. Jason Bay would not want us to cry, people. Jason Bay would want us to be happy. And Jonathan Papelbon would probably make some obscene sock puppets to get us laughing again if he thought that’d work. But instead he just recorded the final four outs of the game and secured another game in the standings. Because he wants us to be happy, dammit. He doesn’t like seeing us sad. He wants us to smile. And so we shall as the Sox pull within .5 games in the division and face off against Tampa Bay again tonight.

Also? The Yankees got smacked around by the Angels and they are now in fourth place. Which, yes, it’s the Yankees, shit could always happen – but it’s amusing at the moment.

I was told yesterday that I should keep my eyes on the prize in re: the Red Sox and their possible division title. Meaning, I assume, “stop whining about Tom Brady, at least your baseball team is good,” which is really quite rich coming from someone whose quarterback is still in possession of both of his knees. And also baseball and football are not the same thing. But the fact remains, the Red Sox, at least at present, do not want us to mourn. So they win. So we are happy.

Doesn’t it sort of feel like some kind of cosmic shift has happened in New England, maybe in the last couple years or so? Like, after years and years of being Team B around these parts, the Patriots might’ve surpassed the Red Sox? Maybe it’s just me and maybe it’s impossible to compare because of the nature of the sports and any one person’s roll in the team game, but I don’t remember us going into a regionally-mandated mourning period when David Ortiz went on the DL. Of course, David Ortiz is not our quarterback and we’ve seen on multiple occasions how the Red Sox function without him. We have no idea how the Patriots function without Tom Brady. It is dark and uncharted territory we’re in here, kids and I’m a little scared.

But last night, while drinking (because that was obviously the only reasonable course of action), Amy and I decided something. We decided that tomorrow, during the Pats’ team meeting, Tedy Bruschi is going to get up and he’s going to declare this Matt Cassel’s football team. And he’s going to give an impassioned speech about how this team can be down, but it’s never out. He’s going to reference the Bledsoe to Brady switch back in ’01 and talk about how, lo, those many years ago, veterans on this team saw it handed over to an untested backup and all that’s happened from there is three Super Bowl rings and a perfect season. And he’s going to talk about trying times. And injuries and ailments and accusations and losses and trials and tribulations. And he’s going to talk about heart. And he’s going to declare that Matt Cassel has heart. And he’s going to talk about not going outside the organization to bring in a hired gunslinger but in keeping it in the family and closing ranks and winning with their own. And then Rodney Harrison will start chanting about getting no respect. And Tedy will place his hands on Matt Cassel’s shoulders and call the team to him and say, “How do we feel about winning football games with Matt Cassel as our quarterback?” And he will lead a rousing call and response and there won’t be a dry eye in the house. And then Tom Brady will emerge from the shadows, on crutches but otherwise dreamy-eyed and, you know, Brady-esque, and he will ceremoniously hand over his playbook to Cassel. And they will hug. And it will be beautiful.

And then Belichick will yell at them to stop crying like little girls and get to their reps.

What I’m saying is, I think we have to drive the Matt Cassel bus now. Even if we drive it into the ground. Tommy would want it that way.

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