I consider myself a pacifist.

But there are a few notable exceptions.

To whit: Evander Kane of the Atlanta Thrashers absolutely leveling Matt Cooke (aka Public Enemy Number 1). Somewhere, Marc Savard – and anyone else who’s ever been cheap-shotted – is smiling.

Drinks are on us, Mr. Kane.

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All apologies to the Captain.

Photo from Yahoo! Sports

Well someone sure wants back in the lineup. Can’t say I blame him. It’s not like the team has exactly been going great guns since he’s been riding the bench. Not that I have anything againt Victor Martinez. He seems a lovely man. Even myself, the biggest Tek apologist I know, has been saying that I understand the team’s moves with the catching situation because it’s not like Tek can hit his way out of a paper bag anymore and heaven knows we already have enough potential offensive holes in our lineup without a sentimental spot for the Captain.

So is now the time I say I’m sorry? Because I’ll say it. I’m sorry, Tek. I’m sorry I ever doubted you. First of all, if this is how you’re going to perform every fifth day, well, Doug Mirabelli is going to be holding press conferences left and right telling everyone who will listen that he taught you everything you know about being a backup catcher. But more importantly, it’ll be a bit of a wrinkle for Tito to deal with when setting his lineup. Honestly, there are worse problems to have.

Thankfully, one of those problems is not “what are we going to do now that Josh Beckett has been lobotomized by a comebacker” because Beckett’s cat-like reflexes managed to keep him just clear of some real damage. And I remember Matt Clement (I mean, sort of, I’ve mostly tried to block that unfortunate experience out), and I know what it feels like to see your starter lying prone on the mound because someone just brained him with a fastball. That said, perhaps no one was more worked up about it than Dennis Eckersley. Understandably, sure, as I’m certain Eck has been close to that position himself but admittedly, his PTSD was somewhat amusing only because everyone turned out fine and the thought of Eck’s pearl-clutching over some potential damage to his flowing locks amuses me.

Additionally, Boston Bullpen, I would like to have a word with you. I would like to discuss how, by and large, you’ve not been good at your job and you’re making the starters – who actually have been good at their jobs – angry and that way lies madness. I’m telling you, Josh Beckett hunts with large guns. I do not think you wish to anger that man. And Tim Wakefield seems nice and all but I’ve expressed my concerns before about what happens when the nice guy snaps. I really don’t think any of you wish to be on the receiving end. Mirabelli is busy terrorizing high schoolers in Michigan and is no longer available to hold Wakefield back, should he snap and attempt to run you all down with a vintage bullpen car he’s outfitted to look like Road Warrior.

I’m also slightly concerned with what I see as the overuse of Daniel Bard. Sebastian asked me if he was Tito’s go-to eighth inning guy and I told him that my personal theory is that he really wants Ramon Ramirez but he can’t remember which Ramon Ramirez he wants so instead of risking an embarrassing incident of mistaken identity, he just calls the bullpen and asks for Bard. Seems simpler. That is, of course, until he becomes the Scott Proctor to Francona’s Joe Torre and his arm falls off mid-pitch. Although if it ultimately ends with a Proctor-like episode of pyromania, at least we’ll all be amused.

So regarding last night’s game, all’s well that ends well and despite Kansas City’s best attempts to murder our pitcher and the Sox’s best attempts to keep Ol’ Captain down, the good guys emerged victorious in the end. Let’s hope they can carry that over into this afternoon’s game and Clay Buchholz has remembered his big boy pants.

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I don’t care if he did pitch well, Lackey still looks like a Monty Python character.

Nii! (Photo from Boston.com)

The thing about games like last night is that they are frustrating on several levels. There’s the loss, of course, which is just annoying. But really, I dislike the fact that I can’t blame the loss on the starter because, honestly, it’s usually easiest and I’m sort of lazy when spreading the blame around, classically-conditioned as I am to blame things on Julio Lugo. So if it’s all the same to you, I might just go ahead and blame this one on Lugo too.

Because Lackey sure pitched well. And you never know about these new, high-priced guys and how they’re going to perform. Granted, he was more of a known quantity than someone coming from, say, Pittsburgh or one of those places where it’s cute that they try to field a professional baseball team (I kid, I’m not really that elititst, I just enjoy poking fun at Pittsburgh every chance I get), so the loss doesn’t get pinned on him. Which I suppose is a good thing because I don’t think I ever fully realized before looking at the roster in the program the other night how absolutely gigantic that man is. He’s listed at 6’6″, 245 lbs which is sizeable to say the least. Point being, I’m shifty and all and I’ve run a marathon so I have the endurance, but if he showed up at my door taking issue with some smack I’d talked about him, I might just cave and invite him in for coffee and some leftover Matzo toffee crunch. I mean, eventually, I’d totally get around to asking him what the hell is up with the Rally Monkey and does Papelbon demand lockers for his imaginary friends but, you know, at first, I’d be a bit scared.

I suppose we could blame this one on Papelbon and he seems to be willing to take it and I guess, logically, it is his fault. But it worries me when we have to start blaming closers this early in the season. I know things are just getting going and all that and we’re just happy to have baseball back but it’s bad enough that I have to worry about David Ortiz’s suddenly fragile ego, now I’m concerned about Papelbon taking his ball and going home too? Though with Paps, tough love has always seemed to work better. Perhaps I should remind him that he got the gajillions of dollars he was whining about so maybe it’s in his best interest to, you know, get bitches out. Else I will take away his bullpen train set.

Come on, you know he has a bullpen train set.

Additionally, I am annoyed that I now need to dislike Curtis Granderson. He’s all old-timey and high-sockey and I usually like that in my baseball players. Dammit, Curtis, you’re ruining baseball world in my head. It’s a lovely place. Y’all should come visit some time.

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Mark Teixeira’s Soggy Pretzel Piles is totally my new fantasy team name

I have a theory about Mark Teixeira. I theorize that homeboy loves him some salty snacks but he still thinks carbs are bad for you so he enjoys nothing better than licking the salt off pretzels and leaving the carby-bits lying around. As such, I’m betting that people hate being assigned the locker next to Teixeira because they’re forever finding bits of his saliva-softened pretzel detritus all over the place. Therefore, the locker next to Teixeira is probably where the Yankees put the rookie they’re wanting to haze.

This really has nothing to do with last night’s game other than it serves as an example of what kind of nonsense my brain gets up to when plunged full on into baseball season courtesy of Chrissy and some sweet bleacher seats.

Also, as evidenced by the blurry picture of my scorecard above, I’m not yet in mid-season form and sometimes I blame “benevolent elves” for an out made my Curtis Granderson or “black magic” as the reason Mike Cameron somehow ended up on second. And when Chrissy took over scoring when I left for an inning and a half to get a Fenway Frank (seriously, get it together, Fenway vendors. People are going to want hot dogs. Perhaps you should have some pre-made), she editorialized the scorekeeping with things like “YAY!” for Victor Martinez’s home run and made note of show-offy Jeterian plays. Of which there were entirely too many if you ask me.

Additionally, we are so starved for a competent shortstop around these parts that we’ve already developed a game involving part of the park chanting “Marco!” and another section following up with “Scutaro!” which beats the stupid wave any day. Because if you are not clear on my feelings regarding the wave, allow me to share. It is stupid. It is pretty much always stupid. The only exceptions or times when it doesn’t make me angry are when there’s a blowout going on and not a whole lot to hold your attention. Know when that doesn’t happen? During the eighth inning of a tie Red Sox/Yankees game. Which is why I will thank you to leave me alone, girl who spent at least $60 on beer and got all pissy with me because I wasn’t doing the wave and was instead, watching the baseball game, despite the fact that I did not smack her during any of the seventeen times she got up and forced the entire row to let her out so she could get MORE beer.

I mean really, people. It’s not even good beer.

Anyway, all that said, it was a glorious night because we did not freeze until near the very end and the fans, despite the opposition, were mostly well-behaved. Perhaps we’re just all so happy to have baseball back that we’re in a perpetual good mood. I predict that lasts until, you know, tonight, but it’s a start.

Oh, and I think I have the solution to the Patriots lack of coordinator issues. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to think of it. But, you guys? Jason Varitek. The man probably already has a warehouse full of Trapper Keepers. You’re telling me he couldn’t start cataloging info on opposing running backs and safeties? Let’s do it. Let’s get Bill on board. Let’s make it happen.

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All’s well that ends after I go to bed

(Picture from Boston.com) Kinda missed that dude, actually.

So, to put it quite honestly, I am an old woman and cannot be expected to stay up until all hours to watch a baseball game. Especially when I did not sleep the night before and spent the first, oh, twelve hours of said game in back-from-New York traffic with Boston-affiliate radio stations deciding not to come in and New York stations assaulting me with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Also, from what I heard – and the profanity I spewed in his direction – Joshua Patrick Beckett did not do much to inspire confidence. When I finally got home in time to see the Sox rally from being down 5-1 to tying it up, there was a glimmer of hope, only to watch that go up in smoke rapidly as the Sox bullpen decided it was more fun to be playing from behind.

However, I’ve decided that Marco Scutaro was a bright spot. Fielding two balls cleanly puts him above what we’re used to here in Red Sox shortstop land but he didn’t force us too far out of our comfort zone as I still heard the phrase “past a diving shortstop” which, quite honestly, is something we’re used to around these parts.

HJ and I did have an interesting discussion in the car wherein I questioned whether New York in general and Yankees fans in particular are in denial that Derek Jeter is aging and, one day, possibly not too long from now, he will not be able to play shortstop. “Yes,” HJ confirmed, “I think that’s true. They have occasional discussions about what they’re going to do with him once he can’t defensively play short anymore.”

Because I’m nice and because he was fully capable of slamming on the brakes and kicking me out of the car, I refrained from the Red Sox fan’s favorite comment about Jeter’s lack of range and instead wondered if they were going to bronze him and place him in centerfield so that small children can rub him for good luck. Come on, you know you can see it happening.

Additionally, I feel like we missed an oppurtunity for Pedro Martinez, after throwing out the first pitch, to bean Posada from the dugout. Because you know he wanted to.

That said, I am glad things turned out as they did and can only hope the outcome further pissed off the idiot New York sports commentator on WFAN yesterday who talked nothing but trash about Fenway Park. I shall be in attendance at tomorrow’s game and will, actually stay awake for that whole thing.

Baseball’s back, you guys. And just in time.

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Miller Time

(Photo from ESPN.com)

A few disjointed thoughts immediately upon watching Team USA defeat Team Canada 5-3 in tonight’s game.

First, I get that this wasn’t a medal game and that’s fine and all, but that was surprising. I’d never go so far as to say that Team Canada was taking anything for granted but I’d venture that no one expected that. Of course, it’s not like Team USA is a bunch of no names, they’re all NHL players who make millions of dollars and have tens of millions of fans worldwide. Let’s not pretend that this is a pond hockey team from Billerica taking on the big, bad Canadians. That said, nice work, boys. You done us proud.

MIKE ERUZIONE!

Sorry, can’t help it.

Also, Ryan Miller looks like he should be hanging out in Central Square and bumming cigarettes in front of the Middle East rather than standing on his head in goal for Team USA during the Olympics. I was mostly hoping they’d let the poor boy sit down immediately after the game instead of insisting on interviewing him and expecting him to form a cohesive thought other than, “Seriously? I need a drink. And a nap. And a chiropractor.” But he done good. Of course, my heart wants to see Tim Thomas in goal but I surely understand the reasons and I’m proud of my team.

Team USA is now undefeated and with this loss coupled with their just barely eking out a shootout win over Switzerland the other day, Canada is looking anything but bulletproof. Plus, the Russians have lost to Slovakia and don’t have the swagger they once did. And the US is playing like they do not care to be thought of as underdogs or also rans, thank you very much. And I don’t know about you, but I like my hockey teams with a bit of attitude.

So this is the beginning. They haven’t proven anything tonight. But it’s a good start. Nice work, boys.

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Oh, Canada (shakes head)

(Photo from Deadspin)

I have several questions about Vancouver’s shall we say, lackluster opening ceremonies on Friday night (and into Saturday morning because, damn, Canada, it’s not like any of us need to sleep or anything.)

For instance, I’m fine with First Nations and giving tribute to your ancestors and all that. Really, that’s cool. I can get with that. I can even get with a giant glowing statue of a bear because, while it’s not quite as awesome as the Alaskan ice bear or the other Alaskan ice bear. Or the Alaskan ice bear turned fighter pilot (seriously, watch those videos. You will thank me), I can get with some ursine imagery.

But slam poetry? Come on, Canada, you can do better. It’s not bad enough that we had to listen to Bob Costas proclaiming Canada a warlike nation before the actual ceremonies got underway, but then we had to listen to a Canadian slam poet telling us that Canada is not a joke, thank you very much and respect us, dammit. I mean please. If that’s okay with you.

Because the thing is, I totally respect Canada. It’s lovely and every time I’ve been the people have been nothing but friendly and welcoming and wonderful. But if your Prime Minister needs to hold a press conference to tell the Canadian people to not be afraid to be loud and boisterous while cheering for their athletes (essentially: “Don’t be scared of the obnoxious and batshit Americans”), then come on, Canada. It’s something you shouldn’t have to be told. We’re all for politeness and we do appreciate you hosting the world for this Olympics party but Canada, I have to tell you to grow a pair.

We like you, Canada, we do. Many of us have threatened to move there time and time again and we certainly do appreciate the influx of your hockey players. But stand up for yourself, dammit. And stop being so polite.

Buck up, little camper. We all like you just fine.

That said, my primary question about the opening ceremonies, other than it often resembled a second grade talent show where everyone who wanted to tap dance or spin plates got a chance, was that the organizers totally blew it when it came to lighting the cauldron. No, I don’t mean the technical malfunction, that can happen to anyone. I mean the actual manner of lighting it. Because what’s awesomer than a flaming arrow shot into the cauldron by an Olympic archer like in 1992 in Barcelona? What’s cooler than a scrolling screen of fire like 2008 in Beijing?

A flaming slap shot, obviously!

Dudes, Wayne Gretzky was RIGHT THERE. He was holding the fire even! No one thought to give that man a stick and a flaming puck and have him launch the Olympic flame into that cauldron to light the torch for the next two weeks? No one realized that not only would that be incredibly Canadian but also totally badass and it would make everyone forget about the slam poetry and the odd Riverdancing and the children wearing Christmas lights? Come on, Canada, I expected more from you.

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