Monthly Archives: March 2009

Going the Distance

(It’ll probably look like this in October, except twice as tired).

Hi kids. How’s everyone doing? Well? I hope you’re well.

Me, well…I’m training to run a marathon. Crazy talk, right? But I’m nothing if not crazy. I assume that’s why you all follow my ramblings in this here space.

Anyway, I need your help. I realize it’s a terrible time to ask anyone for money…but I’m going to do it anyway. Y’all stepped up big time and made me proud when Kim needed help raising money for the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk last year so I’m calling on you again to help me out.

Here’s the deal: I’m running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC on October 25th to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Katherine (the lovely lady up there in red) will be running it with me for moral support (and possibly to drag my tired ass across the finish line). My personal goal is to raise $5,000 which works out to just over $190 per mile.

The Alzheimer’s Association holds special meaning for me because my Memere, who was one of the most important people in my life, was diagnosed with the disease in 1998 and passed away in 2004. As I said in my fundraising email to family and friends:

Growing up, Memere was a constant figure in my life. She may have been 4-foot-eleven but she was the most fiercely independent women I know and set a wonderful example for everyone she met and cared for. I still miss her terribly and still notice her influence in many things I do. She taught me so much – how to love coffee ice cream and how to nurse a Whiskey Sour among them – but most of all, she was one of the warmest and most generous people around. So in that spirit, I run this marathon for her.

It’s not easy divulging something so personal, especially to people who know me solely as the crazy girl who swears at Josh Beckett in print and pontificates on the spy-shenanigans of a one Mr. Mike Lowell, but this is important to me and it’s very, very worthwhile.

My personal donation page can be found here. Or, if you’d rather send a check, email me at snowtackle (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll get you that information.

So if you can help, It’d mean the world to me. Regardless, thanks for your support. And thanks always for reading! You guys are the best readers a girl could ask for.

~Kristen

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Hell on Wheels

We apologize for the picture of Alex Rodriguez in his underwear…

The newest issue of InSite is out wherein Amy and I address an open letter to Tony Hawk and raise our concerns about the company he keeps:

See, it’s like this: it’s great that Guitar Hero wants you to be in their commercials and all. And we confess: Guitar Hero totally rocks. But we take issue with your costars in said commercial. And we’ve gotta wonder: Tony, have you paid attention to what’s happened to your Guitar Hero “band-mates” recently?

Attention must be paid.

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Goodbye To All That

(Photo from Boston.com)

Curt Schilling and I have not always gotten along. Given the opportunity I’m sure we’d get into a knock down, drag out fight about politics and the role of religion in society. (During which, I’m sure, he’d cue up footage of his 2004 press conference which, admittedly, made me a little teary, as he bloviates on the healing power of faith). And that is all well and good. Given the celebrity and the platform, I’m not entirely sure I wouldn’t shoot my mouth off whenever I felt like it and educate the masses on what I was certain was the best way to run the country or how those of you using pre-chopped garlic are wrong (I feel very strongly about this). But that said, Curt Schilling and me did usually agree on the baseball.

Our common ground, as it were, was found in the fact that when he played for my team (which he did for the past four years though we’re not counting last year’s aborted attempt at a season), I wanted very badly for him to be successful. He seemed to want that too. We were in agreement.

Oftentimes Schilling takes heat for his pomposity and the way in which he paints his heroics to elevate himself above the team. Perhaps fairly and perhaps not. Baseball is a game that lends itself to heroes and goats and the poetic, bucolic nature of the game has long inspired meandering and epic prose on the men who play this little boy’s game for a living. Historically, baseball has been a repository for all our better angels and hidden demons. And that, at least, is something I’ve long felt that Curt Schilling has understood.

Say what you want about the man – and many have and will – but he was and continues to be a student of the game. He knows the history inside and out (and sure, is well aware of his place in it), but he can certainly never be accused of not caring.

In the same way I’m concerned that when my father eventually retires, he’ll have more time to drive the stock boys at Home Depot crazy looking for the exact right kind of pressure-treated decking (I mean, more crazy than he already has), I worry that Schilling will find himself with plenty of free time with which to skewer certain other players and herald those he deems above reproach. But, like I said, the man has been given a platform and he intends to use it. I’d love it if he wouldn’t do so speaking on behalf of the Republican party but we don’t get to choose these things.

All of that said, mouth and loud opinions aside, Curt Schilling deserves our respect as a ballplayer. In the way that many of us have watched our childhood heroes fall, so has he. (He will be glad to tell you, I am certain, what he thinks about Roger Clemens now). He has had good days and bad days. There was that closer experiment that we find ourselves not wanting to talk about. And yes, there was the bloody sock.

If we try to separate the very Curt Schilling-ness from his playing, the brash, confident and at times arrogant swagger that often chafes, we’re not left with much in the way of a ballplayer. In the same way all politicians – even the ones we consider humble and noble – must have a healthy dose of hubris to believe they can and should run for office, ballplayers need some ferocity and some “screw you-ness” as well. Josh Beckett has it. And we love him for it. Curt Schilling has it too. That is part of what made him so successful as a pitcher.

He’s built like – as Sam once famously put it – “an egg on stilts.” He doesn’t have the mean glint that Pedro used to get or the preternatural calm that Mariano Rivera brings. But he often seemed as though he had a will. And that would be all he’d need. He’s had his own humbling moments (We do NOT shake off Tek), and has become something of a mentor and cheerleader to the younger members of the staff. And perhaps we have him to thank for that as well. There is no better teacher than experience and surely he has imparted much of that on Beckett, Lester and their ilk.

So while we may not miss Schilling the orator (and that Schilling is surely not going anywhere), I will miss Curt Schilling the big game pitcher. That was truly something special to see. Provided he doesn’t pull a Favre or a Clemens on us and this retirement is the real one, Major League Baseball is one big game power pitcher lighter. And we should all miss that.

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I think they’re just messing with him now…


More on the Curt Schilling retirement announcement tomorrow. To tide you over, this brilliant observation from Deadspin (including the above photo).

Oh, baseball goodness, you shall be mine again shortly. Yes, you shall be mine.

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Honkbal Fever. Catch It!

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

Oh, I’ve picked a horse in this WBC, my friends. Never one to go all USA, ALL THE WAY! because I like to zig when people expect me to zag, I’m now fully on board the train for Team Netherlands. Because despite the fact that they twice defeated the powerhouse Dominican team to advance in the WBC and to eliminate said Dominicanos, they also refer to Major League Baseball as Honkbal Hoofdklasse, which, I am sorry, is just about the greatest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s quite poetic, actually. So much so that I might have to consider naming my firstborn “Honkbal.” Has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?

Anyway, despite being a New England fan and all evidence to the contrary, I do appreciate a good underdog story. And there’s really none greater currently than the athletes of honkbal taking on the mighty besibol-playing Dominicans and emerging victorious in the World Baseball Classic. That’s a true sporting David and Goliath story if ever I’ve heard one.

Not that I have anything against Team Dominican, mind you. On the contrary, their roster reads like a list of Team Most Likely To Embarrass You In Front Of Your Mom, but sometimes, the greats fall. This isn’t really akin to the 2008 Super Bowl and the Giants taking down the steamrolling Patriots because I’m pretty sure the world at large doesn’t harbor such ill will towards the Dominican Republic, but it’s an upset nevertheless, and a pretty big one at that.

(Also, did you notice how I totally acknowledged both the fact and outcome of the 2008 Super Bowl? This is what’s known as growth, my friends.)

But honestly, I cannot, in good conscience, root against a team that so joyfully plays honkbal with childlike wonder and abandon. If you ask me, the world could do with more honkbal. Though I will admit to being a tad bit disappointed to see old friend Julian Tavarez so unceremoniously eliminated from contention. Who knows what batshit nonsense he would have gotten up to had the pressure of international competition gotten to him. Now that I think about it, I wouldn’t put it past him to forge a birth certificate and declare himself Dutch so as to continue this tournament. In fact, I almost hope that happens.

Failing that? Honkbal for everyone!

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Things we know before we know them

So you know how we’ve gotten pretty good around these parts at predicting the personalities of certain players? Like we’re pretty sure that Mike Lowell makes fantastic brioche French toast and that Jason Varitek keeps all opposing hitter data in color-coded Trapper Keepers? We just know these things, right? They just make themselves obvious without us needing to be told about them explicitly.

But then there are players like Dustin Pedroia whose loud mouth and epic trash-talking garners headlines all on its own. And it becomes common knowledge that Pedroia is an angry little gnome with a chip the size of Rhode Island on his shoulder. And, you know, it’s sort of endearing.

But what makes it even better? Is when the advertisers get in on the deal. Behold, the new MLB 09 The Show commercials. Dustin Pedroia is exactly who we think he is. Now, what I wouldn’t give to see Tek claiming he can hit the high fastball…

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That’s, um, that’s one way to go.

(Photo from the Boston Herald)

So…what? The Patriots realized that the Red Sox were about to start spring training and basketball season was in full swing and, gasp! even the Bruins are doing well and they decided they didn’t want to be ignored so, like petulant children they traded one of the team’s linebacking leaders (and best model of designer stubble this side of Long Island), and their surprising upstart quarterback to Kansas City for…a second round draft pick? Just one? Were they annoyed that they weren’t getting enough attention lately?

Look, while it pains me to admit it, I can kind of understand the Vrabel trade. Now, no one loves Vrabes more than me – with the possible exception of Tedy Bruschi who must be positively apoplectic right now – but a 34-year-old linebacker isn’t usually the kind of player who’s going to be flying around and separating opposing players from the ball. I mean, yes, it happens sometimes, and possibly with Vrabel more than most, but it’s a rarity. Plus he’s the exact kind of veteran leadership that Scott Pioli has always loved so it doesn’t really surprise me that he’d end up in Kansas City, under Pioli’s watchful eye. And I will miss him, surely. The Pats and Chiefs don’t face each other next season which means we won’t have to be subjected to watching Vrabel jump all over our best beloved Brady but we also won’t get the thrill of watching him chest bump Tedy after a positively delightful sack of Roethlisberger or the like. But that, I’m afraid, is the way football goes. The Pats need younger linebackers like Jerrod Mayo and perhaps that’s what they’ll use their newly acquired draft pick for. One hopes.

The Matt Cassel thing is a bit more concerning. I, for one, would like to know for certain that Tom Brady’s robo-leg is going to hold up. They should be doing strength tests and drop pass drills and using that machine they used in Rocky IV to test Drago’s punching force. I have barely recovered from watching Brady limp off the field last September, despite Matty C’s coming into his own and his growing penchant for the patented Matty C Triple Laser Rocket Reverse. Point being, if Brady suffers another injury, either from pushing himself too hard or because someone decides to take a swan dive into his leg again, it may break me. I’m just saying, a backup would be nice. And while I’m often full of rage and sports-induced agita, I’m not sure I’m cut out for the job.

Also, I wonder if Matty C has managed to control that sweating in press conferences thing.

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