Saturday, April 29, 2006


Hero's Welcome v. Traitor's Lynching

With our first visit from the MFY quickly approaching, there has been some fringe discussion/disagreement over how our former fan favorite ought to be received. In case you've been riding out the winter on a deserted tropical island and upon returning just now to civilization have made reb sox your first stop to catch up on the news (ha hah) I should "inform" you that Johnny Damon has crossed enemy lines and is manning center field and leading off this year for the New York Skankees. On Monday he will walk onto the hallowed grass of Fenway Park wearing a gray uniform... And an arachnid* on his head. There will be a reaction from the crowd, and whatever it is will surely be spun into drama on Sportscenter.

Some claim "the world is watching" as if our "honor" is somehow at stake in this matter. It has been suggested that a negative reception would indicate a lack of appreciation for Damon's service while in a Red Sox uniform... That the only way for Red Sox Nation to PROVE we appreciate what he has done for us in the last four years is to cheer. Some of my readers have gone to great lengths to support this position, which I can only commend, but must repectfully disagree.

Others fume about Johnny's two-faced behavior and plan to exact revenge. The WEEI-caller types are out there stocking up on batteries as we speak, some even having their balls removed so as to have a place to hide them getting into the park. Those who advocate the ovation are calling them out, trying to plead with them to have mercy... And show some class. Nice try, but I have a feeling this is a lost cause. These aren't exactly the types to go online and make an educated decision on the matter... Some of them might check the DooDoo page (damn, it's hard to find a link to that thing on a decent blog these days... Wonder why?), so I guess there is some hope, but many will assume the "big" dog's being sarcastic, since he hardly ever has anything nice to say about our players. Hell, most of these drunk object-hurlers probably can't read anyway.

The problem with being in the crowd is that you're rather limited to what you can express. Not too much beyond "boo" and "yay" comes across effectively. The standing ovation given to Mariano Rivera last year may be the most complex message ever expressed in unison by an audience of this size. In the case of Johnny Damon, there is no simple way to demonstrate the mixed feelings held by most fans. "Johnny Damon is dead." Jere's mom sums it up quite nicely here, and if I were director of the "welcome back, Johnny" show, I would call for absolute silence. "Pin drop", as WCSG suggested. Let's all have a moment of silence to commemorate a hero who is now dead to us. (Click to sign the petition; thanks to the good witch for the heads-up) The worst kind of acknowledgement, you know, is none at all. Of course that's just a fantasy... 'twould be impossible to keep all of Fenway quiet without an army of people passing out flyers and screaming out on megaphones beforehand, and this itself is far more attention than the situation warrants. (er, actually even this post, along with the hundreds of other pieces written on the subject, is already WAAAY overboard.)

I don't understand why Red Sox fans are expected to show their loyalty when he didn't. Johnny followed the money, and we follow the laundry. That's just the way it is. I will cheer him, sure, when he strikes out, crashes into the outfield wall (as long as he doesn't make the catch), pops up, gets caught stealing, or grounds into a double play. Maybe he will get his standing ovation - someday when he shows up in another uniform, or even plainclothes. Even as a yankee he just might get a decent reception if he shows up to watch a playoff game once his team's been booted. To expect one now, however, is laughable- pure folly. If this is what you hope for, you are merely setting yourself up for disappointment. If you think a standing ovation is even a possibility, you might want to pinch yourself 'cause you are livin' in a dreamworld.

Johnny's not the sharpest tool out there, but even he knows what to expect on Monday night. He's seen enough players come and go to know the drill. If he wanted a standing ovation he would have gone to another - ANY other - team. He's enjoyed a lot of love from Boston in the past, and I'm sure it'll sting at first, but I think he knows not to take it personally. He's the type of guy who will just roll with the punches and learn to love it from the other side - he'll listen to his new buddy Jeter, who says "if I'm not booed the loudest at Fenway, I'm not having a good year." By the end of the season, those boos will make him beam, so don't feel sorry for him; the passion that drives our reaction is what made him love playing here in the first place.

*description, I believe coined by Jere, of the intertwining letters on the hats of the MFY.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


More People Triply-Screwed

It has recently come to my attention that citizens of Red Sox Nation in the Waterbury area of Connecticut have been screwed over for years. It seems that Adelphia Communications / Tele-Media Cable has REFUSED to get NESN for their customers, despite enormous grassroots support for the Red Sox in this area. I come into this information waaaay too late, as Adelphia has recently been purchased by Comcast, and the problem will finally be remedied in about a month.

I was talking to a guy about this last night who recently purchased the Extra Innings package so he could watch the Red Sox games. He specified to the cable rep that this was why he was ordering. She assured him that he would get all the games. Now he's pissed. I certainly hope they give the guy a refund- the rep either lied or didn't know what the F she was talking about. Since the Waterbury area is outside of Fairfield County, the only way to see Red Sox games is on NESN - either through satellite or your cable provider (who in this case does not provide). Last night's game was aired nationally on ESPN... but not in New England. Whoever that programming director was at Tele-Media- I hope king georgie padded that off-shore account of yours pretty well.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Please Pardon this Interruption of Coverage

Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging. This week it's going all haywire and I'm trying to settle things down before my new neice arrives on Monday. I am working on a piece about Johnny's return to Fenway on that same day, and I'll find a way to pump it out before it happens. In the meantime, the most I saw of last night's game was the brief highlight reel on Sportscenter... and I have a feeling it will be more of the same tonight.

That pic up there was taken by Jere last September, as most of you know. He sent it to me the other day, and of course whenever I see this pic I'm embarrassed that I did not recognize Billy Mueller at the time. But look at him; it's like he's got his nerd costume on. That is not the hot Billy we all know & love. That IS Gabe the Babe, who (I'll say it again) thanked ME for taking a picture with him. Jere thought it was cool that they are both looking at me like that in the (video still)- and since I could use the ego boost right now, I'll take it. At that eensy-teensy moment in time, I was indeed the center of attention among several Red Sox players (believe it or not, there were others looking at me at that very moment, not pictured.) But I really shouldn't brag about it, since they were probably all wondering if I was crazy.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Man is Back

Sometimes it seems like the moment you say something nice about a player they go and screw up. Such is not the case this weekend with Keith Foulke, who continues to dominate players with precise location. Clement may walk out of Rogers Centre with a win today, but we all know who really did the job for us.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Garbage Game

We've officially lost our second series this season, both to those bastard blue-birds. Now to complete my deal with the devil, our boys must get through tomorrow's game with nary a scratch or bruise to behold. Also, I won't complain if we break off this losing streak at three, which is already the longest of the year.

Just when things seem so sunny and optimistic in the Nation, some damn flying creature comes and shits in your eye. Twice. And in between the two droppings, while ya can't see, nasty gray clouds roll in to take over the blue sky. And while the first was eased by the help of our dearly departed and now orange-feathered friend playing this weekend in the Bronx, there looks to be no such joy today, unless you count the misery on the faces of shivering skankee fans looking on...

ugh. I'll be going out to drown my sorrows tonight. Please, Mattie, tomorrow: don't make me wish I had never gotten out of bed.


The One that Got Away

I just want to go on record as saying that I was against taking Keith Foulke out in the bottom of the twelth. (And yes, I fully intended to declare that, regardless of the outcome.) Then again, I also felt pretty strongly against a whole lot of the plate calls last night... The last pitch Keith Foulke tossed was a STRIKE. Ah, phooey- A hex on you, plate ump Jeff Kellogg. No one got hurt last night *knock, knock*, and we move on.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Boring Batting

Last night we couldn't even help the Rays beat themselves.

Fitting, I suppose, that our first blowout is followed by a game in which we can get nothing going. A hum-drum game most of the way, and then there was the ninth...

Tavarez comes in and manages with just twelve pitches (and nary an out) to double the troubles on the scoreboard, and improve his popularity as a WEEI call subject. I suppose you're not in this to make friends, Julian, and that's a good thing since pretty much NO ONE likes you right now, unless you count the eighty or so D-Rays fans in the Florida panhandle (22 of them are wives of the players) or the three yankee fans who are paying attention. Not that those runs mattered in the end, of course, but still -

We needed a grand slam to tie, and a bobble by Wigginton, who obviously dips his fingers in buttercream in between innings, ensured the possibility. After the ninth innning heroics witnessed earlier this week, I doubt I was the only one thinking this might actually happen. And then it didn't.

I think it's important to note who got us out of that ninth inning. Yeah, that was our old friend Keith. Despite the aches he claims to have coming back, Foulke's been putting up some good numbers this year. Last night he needed just four pitches and two batters to make three outs. Maybe if we had him out there in the first place some less conservative base-running in the bottom of the ninth could have tied the game... but that's one for the coulda-shoulda-woulda pile, I 'spose, along with the second strong outing by Wake wasted by a pathetic show at the plate.

That's right, pathetic. Is there something wrong with our sluggers? I understand that this award is a poor substitute for what should-have-been, but let's not take it for granted. And Manny - it's a baseball, not a freakin' Easter egg; it's ok to smash it. I do believe you're starting to get your stroke back, man, but it wouldn't hurt to show us some proof, you know.

'Tis a shame to end such a pretty homestand on a low note, but buck up, boys! Beckett takes the mound across the border tonight, trying to tie big daddy Curt's four wins. As we enter our first series of the year in Toronto, let's cross our fingers and hope Rogers Centre is kinder to our players this go-around. So far the Jays are the only team we've lost a series to, and I'm ok with losing another one (I guess) if all our players come back from that dangerous place in one piece.


A Few Random Notes

Warning: this is really stupid stuff that no one cares about but me.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Our First Blowout

Sure feels good.

So good, in fact, that I deserted the game in the middle of the fifth to hang out with some friends who came acallin'. I know the game was still young and Schill was not at his sharpest (although I'll take a blunt 2006 Curt Schilling over a sharp 2005 one any day.) AND it's the Devil Rays, who have that nasty little habit of creeping up on a big lead... but they didn't, did they? In part due to something we seem to have this year called a bullpen.

There is no decent explanation for the lack of posting here on Reb Sox lately, except for the fact that our team has been leaving me in a speechless bewilderment on a daily basis. I was watching on Sunday, when a gift run and another balls-solid performance-of-insanity by Beckett teamed up for a win. On Monday, hanging my head as I watched for that third out until suddenly... scaring my cats and neighbors with all my jumping up and down and yelling, scaring myself with a sudden overwelming love for Youk and Mark Loretta. On Tuesday- noting that it was about time our Pappy was less than perfect, pounding the couch cushions with clenched fists as I hoped it would not cost us the game. Yearning to smack Adam Stern and maul him with kisses and hugs simultaneously for that spectacular-but-crazy-risky catch to end the game. Yeah, I was there. Watching on the telly. At a loss for words. And yet here I am, finally posting, on a game I didn't even stick around for. tsk, tsk.

It's only April, as I keep telling myself. Back when I lived in seacoast New Hampshire I was a less-than-faithful fan, giving *the hand* to enthusiastic diehards each spring with the words "talk to me in August". Those were the days of the Duke, when it seemed an annual Boston tradition to soar the hopes of new life in the Nation with a fast start, and slowly watch it wither in the dry summer sun. But that was then. Our young stat-geeks now running the FO have already trained us to believe in a team built to last not just long enough to sell the seats for the season, but into the post-season. "It's only April" is not quite the shrill warning it used to be.

April is a time of appraisal for a new team. March was scaring me, I admit, for despite attractive new parts and pieces our boys did little to try and actually win. That's ok; they used the time for what it was for, and saved the wins for when it counts: NOW. Now is when we see what we really have. Although the words SMALL SAMPLE SIZE keep screaming in my head, what we seem to really have is a pitching staff. Sure, there is that "little" problem of Wells, and it really would be nice to have Bronson right about now... but don't you think this little "gap" in our pitching staff is is positively tantalizing to a certain unemployed Texan right now? I can just about guarantee the guy is hitting the gym with new vigor as wife Deb calls old friends and hunts rentals in the Boston area.

Tonight we welcome Willie Harris as we say a fond farewell to a very funny guy who's truly won our hearts this spring - we have not seen the last of Adam Stern, I'm sure. We hope to break out the brooms to end the homestand tonight: 7:05, Wakefield. Be there.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Hard to Win When Ya Don't Score

Much like Terry Francona, I like to put a positive spin on things wherever I can (so much so that I'm sure it gets on your nerves at times, dear readers.) So I'll say this as sweetly as I can: Can you pretty please bring your bats to the park tomorrow, boys?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Still, It's Nice to Have a Bullpen

The 'jays smacked the ball all over the field tonight, tearing up the basepaths to hand our boys one for the loss column, where that one game in Texas last week was starting to get a little bit lonely. Now those canadians are not quite as meek at the plate as Josh and Jon(athan) made them seem yesterday, but they had a little help tonight.

Mr. No-I'm-not-ready-but-gimme-the-damn-ball Wells was about as good as I expected in his first start of the year. I'm not too concerned. He couldn't get anything where he wanted it, but he fought on, and he sharpened up as it went on. Maybe Gabe the babe came by with one of those brownie/cookies as a morale boost in the second- and it worked for awhile. I wonder if Wells has trouble pitching in cold weather? It would be strange, as he certainly has the most insulation of anyone on the team, but it would explain why he's so desperate to get back to San Diego. And why he sucks so hard in the springtime.

I think Boomer will be back to his unhittable ways soon, if not the next start then surely by the 22nd, when he's due to face the Blue Jays again. He may be a cranky bastard, but he sure is a good man to have on the mound when he shows up with his curveball and can hit his spots. In fact, I bet some of those west coast teams will be salivating over him by mid-june (just in time for roger to sign up in his place.)

At least the game never got too out of hand, and Tito wasn't shy about seeing Wellsie out in the fifth. There's an extra swagger to Terry this year, it seems. He's settled in and will not waffle about taking the ball. 'Course, that could have a little bit to do with having another arm to go to.

Funny thing about our bullpen this year: we have a couple of new characters, but a whole lot of familiar faces. And yet it's like night and day from last year. And in pitching terms, this year's the night.

Ok, so Lenny and Rudy were not exactly "lights out" tonight, but they were pretty decent. They each let an inherited run score. They both got into some trouble, and they both got out of it. Lenny worked himself out of a bases-loaded, no out, about-to-unleash-a-nightmare "situation" in the sixth and followed it up with a three-minute top of the seventh. It was seriously shorter than an American Idol commercial break. And not just by one thirty-second spot, either. Rudy rebounded from his disasterous appearance in Baltimore and managed to demonstrate the reason he made it onto the roster. (And if he wants to stay there, he'd better keep it up; another appearance like last Friday anytime soon, and the nation will be yelling for the axe. Forgive us, we've still got a short fuse from the carnage witnessed last year.)

So we didn't win. But we had a chance. Our "B" group kept us in the game, which is better than what our "A" group was capable of half the time last year. And we get another go at 'em tomorrow, with Mattie Clement at the helm. If we see anything like Matt's first six innings at Camden, captain cupcake will become but a distant memory (one we hope not to re-live anytime soon.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


He Loves Us

Papi describes to his new teammates why it's so important to him to stay in Boston:

Said Ortiz, "I told them, 'Wait till you play your first game at Fenway. You might need a diaper.'"

...sure would've come in handy for me while I was reading that quote.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


My, How Things Have Changed

How sweet it is. Our boys are off to a bold start, and seem determined to prove right off the bat that they are quite a different team this year. I feel like I'm in therapy, watching the lead stay firmly in place through the ninth. How many points has it taken off your blood pressure?

Meanwhile the skanks are already reminding me of last year's sox. A scary lineup that doesn't always produce, an unreliable rotation, and a shaky bullpen staff... yikes, even the leadoff centerfielder that keeps hitting while everyone else flops.


Double Bonus

It's raining in New York this morning, and appropriately so for the three skankee fans paying attention to the standings. Clearly it's far too early in the year to play baseball for the bombers (including ex-bomber Wells).

My sis, being eight months pregnant with nothing else to do, is one of those three fans looking on in the middle of the night as her team goes down for a third night in a row. "Sweet," I told her yesterday, upon learning the skanks would be playing the Angels. "Orlando Cabrera's on a tear, and he LOVES to beat the yanks."

I wonder if the O.C. thinks about, when he plays those skanky yankees, the thousands of red-clad rooters pulling mostly for him. I don't mean Angels fans, as I'm sure you know.


A Long Walk with the Birds

Ever get bored by your own team's walks? That's what happened to Kevin Youkilis last night, before he even made it to the plate. After three had alreaady walked in a run, the "greek god of walks" refused to be a victim to Cabrera's justcan'tthrowastrike disease, and took the first pitch he got for a ride all the way to the warning track to get a real rbi.

In case you missed it, here's how the game went:

Sox up 4-0 after the first

7-0 after the second

10-0 after the fourth that point anyone paying attention on a Friday night in early April seriously needs to get a life. And I mean besides the one you live vicariously through Papa Jack. (And yes, I include myself in those comments.)

The first six innings last night was exactly what RSN needed to remember how solid gold Clement was for the first half of 2005... and then came the seventh, (lest we forget how the second half of last season played out.) Dude needs to work that shit OUT. Still, let's not forget how AMAZING the man looked for most of the evening, and remember he's suposedly our "#4" pitcher? (And as if David Wells is actually a "#5"- although apparently he looked like one, or worse, in his rehab start with the PawSox.)

Tito obviously wanted to get seven innings out of Clement, and stubbornly so, but the hit parade kept on coming and you've got to wonder how long it would've lasted without an eleven-run lead. After giving up a fourth run, we finally saw some action in the 'pen- and finally got that last out from Matt.

Of course, we all knew that was going to happen, that Seanez had to warm up early and then stand around as the offense tacked another three onto our lead. I wish I could pretend that was to blame for what happened next... the Sea*N*ez (as opposed to "shawn"ez, as I automatically read it no matter how many times I correct myself) got basted for six hits and four runs in what Tito was once again determined to get- a full inning. And once again, after the fourth run, Francona finally made the call over to the 'pen and surprised us all *AGAIN* by warming up Jonathon Papelbon.

I had been thinking that this would be a great game to get Foulkie into, to get him some work and take a look at his stuff. With a six-run lead, why waste the kid? It didn't take me long to think of an answer. I've noticed, and for good reason, that Tito is careful of who he brings in with runners on, and tends to shy away from Timlin in these situations, and also Foulke. Thing is, we could afford to give up more runs, but not additional damage to Keith's ego. With the suspension of Tavarez, the 'pen's a bit sparse right now, and Tito needed a fire extinguisher. I fully believe, had he needed to bring Jonathan in to get the last out of the eighth, we still would have seen Keith in the ninth. As suggested by BSM earlier this week, Tito's taking a slightly less conventional approach to the bullpen, at least for now, and will be bringing in his best arm in a squeaker, regardless of the inning, and apparently in this case, the score.

In "closing", Keith gave up a hit, but looked sharper than last time. For the record, put me in Francona's camp of high expectations for Foulkie this year. Right now he still makes me nervous as all hell, but I fully believe he's in the process of leaving his toubles behind.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


The Payroll Report

Once again, the Red Sox and Yankees top the list of payrolls for 2006. And that's the way you'll read about it in the press for the next year, with no distinction between them. You'd never know, by the way they are described, that the gap between them is enough to fund over half the the teams in the league. Last year I set out to describe that gap tangibly for the casual observer, and I feel a moral obligation to my readers to update the situation.

Before jumping right into the gap, I should let you know about some major changes in payroll around the league. Eighteen teams increased their payrolls this year, by an average of 23%. This puts a slight damper on our fun here today, but makes for a more competitive league, of course, which in the end is what we are shooting for. That revenue-sharing must be working, or at least it seems to be for the Toronto Blue Jays, as they take a stab at competing in the AL East with a 57% increase in payroll. Also breaking the bank are the Milwaulkee Brewers, whose 44% bigger budget pulls them out of the MLB $40 million ghetto. And it may pay to win the World Series, but it also costs big bucks to sign guys when you're done - as we can see from the 37% increase in payroll for the Chicago White Sox. Last year we could field both Sox teams in place of the Yankees and still have almost $10 mil leftover; this year we'd need an extra $30 mil.

Not everyone is cash-crazy. Three teams remain within 1% of last year's budget, and all three moved down in payroll rankings. Omar Minaya, after throwing a ton of money at free agents last year, kept things status quo for the Mets this year. Also sticking to the budget were Seattle and San Fransico.

Nine teams cut costs, and none moreso than the Florida Marlins. While other teams feasted on the firesale in Florida this off-season, the Marlin organization has accomplished the remarkable feat of decreasing their payroll by over 75%. Last year the Marlins boasted a moderate payroll of roughly $60 mil... this year people are wondering how it's possible, but they are indeed fielding a major league team down there for less than $15 million, almost half of last year's cheapest team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Most teams cutting costs were slightly more conservative, with the only other significant drop by the Colorado Rockies at 14%.

While it's not going to make any headlines, The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox both cut payroll this year by 6.5% and 2.8% respectively. The difference between them also went down by about $10 mil, leaving the gap at a mere $74.6 million. (More than the payroll, maybe I've mentioned, of 16 out of 30 Major League teams.)

So. With all king georgie's money, and none of his men, what could we do in addition to fielding the second-richest payroll in the MLB?

We could field the Boston Red Sox +

We could field this year's Red Sox opening day WITH the Rangers, and give an extra $6.3 million to charity or just drop it like confetti into the stands during the seventh innning stretch. We could pay Boston's favorite PLUS their (last night's) second favorite, ESPN mag's hot-pick, the Moneyball A's, and still have $12.3 million to play with... that's almost enough to pay the Marlins, too!

What's that? You would really like to field three teams? Well the bottom third of last year's payroll ranks really stepped it up this year, so I'm afraid that's not possible without the help of those penny pinchin' Floridians. So we don't have the kind of variety we had last year, but it's still feasable.

How about the Boston Red Sox +

I don't want to make your head spin with all the combinations, but let's just say we could fund Fenway PLUS all the major league ballplayers in Florida, and we'd be just $2 million short of putting a fourth team on the field, the Colorado Rockies. That Steinbrenner's got some big bucks.


Good Morning

What can be better than a Red Sox win? Heh. You know. Once again I turned off the tele while the score was tied in Oakland. Once again I awoke to good news. via yahoo sports:

Cano was almost as helpful as the A's hitters, making two mistakes that led to five unearned runs.

Oakland rallied with three runs in the fourth inning, aided when Cano and Jeter both bobbled a one-out grounder. Cano initially kicked the ball but managed to toss it to Jeter, who couldn't catch it at the bag.

"I'm not perfect," said Cano, who made 17 errors as a rookie last season. "Some things are going to happen in a game. I don't want them to happen, but I'm going to learn from my mistakes."

"I took my eye off it a little too soon, but I've got to make that play," Jeter said. "Everyone is talking about our offense, but it doesn't win games. It's pitching and defense. We're not always going to hit."

Pitching and defense. (Like I have already mentioned today), a new way to win in 2006.


No More White-Knuckin' the Ninth

So far the most obvious difference between this year and last is that Tito cares about the fans with heart conditions. He made this message loud and clear over the phone to the bullpen last night, calling out the biggest pair of balls he had - green they may be. Foulkie looked on with the kind of interest you would see from someone watching hip-replacement surgery on TLC. via

"The Sox won," said Foulke. "That's always my first concern. It's one of those deals where, [heck], when I get my stuff together and I go back and earn the spot, so be it. As long as we win, that's all that really matters."
...and if you wanna get that Center Ice package I've been talking about, [heck], I'll sit on my [rear] back there all you want. [Heck], I'll even hang out in the bullpen on our off-days.

The anxiety over here in the land of reb was reaching root-canal levels when the Rangers' broadcast came back from commercial break for the top of the ninth. Suddenly the screen held our young Pappy, and the tension took a nose-dive. The Rangers' dudes sound surprised and a bit baffled. Probably disappointed. The excitement 'round here rises slowly to giddiness in perfect harmony with the high heat zooming into home plate. By the eleventh and final blow, all of Red Sox Nation is on its feet, aching to hug the young Jonathan Papelbon and dance around with him.

Am I exaggerating? Was it worth that much anxiety and excitement? Last year a one-run squeaker like that gets chalked up in our loss column - and you know it... So does Tito. Just read the relief between the lines as our manager describes the first outing by Beckett (via
yahoo sports):
"He was terrific. ... He enjoys competing and is fun to watch. I'm glad we didn't waste that outing."
We got the pitching we needed last night. Pitching and defense... a new way to win in 2006.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Not the Wind I Had in Mind

Timmy's tossing out meatballs tonight- the kind that like the bats, not the gloves. Four innings were enough for him, and Lenny's out there now, but the damage has been done. Our boys are on the short end of a seven-run gap. I heard mention that Timmy has not done well in past outings here, either. I hope this is an area the stat jockeys keep track of down there in the church basement. I'm no expert, but I bet each field is subject to unique wind patterns, which could affect the knuckleball a great deal more than other pitches. If we're going to use match-up stats to decide things like when Papi should sit out and what reliever to bring in, why oh why can't we plot where Timmy pitches? I mean we all know who we want on the mound when we play the Twinkies, right?


An hour later I'm flipping between the Red Sox and the "Hell, No" Network. Normally I watch these things side by side, since I get most of my sox games on - but this week extra innings is giving us a free preview. I can't bear to shrink the game down to my computer screen, and I can't put the skanks game on there because of blackout restrictions. So I give a workout to my favorite button on the remote, "last".

I quietly ask myself why I am bothering, with a score of 10-1 in the seventh. It's not like they're likely to come back and win this one. Still I stay tuned, and I notice the sox fans in the sparse Ameriquest Field crowd are sticking around as well. What is it that keeps us here, when the outcome of a game is all but certain? So many teams are known for fans who wander off in the seventh innning, no matter what the score. Not us. You won't catch a red sox fan making dinner reservations too close to the end of a ballgame, or sneaking out early to "avoid the rush". Still, what's the fascination that keeps us locked in, trailing by nine? They're still playing, and that's why we watch. Win or lose, there is no mercy rule in MLB; the players still come up to bat, and if you walk away, you just might miss something... like Wily Mo's first official rbi in a Red Sox uni.


Later I'm close to dozing off, one eye still open to the diamond out in Oakland, when the phone rings. I can think of only one person who would call at half past eleven on a Tuesday just to chat- and sure enough I'm right. The benefit to talking on the phone during a yankees game is that I miss all of Kay's idiotic blathering... the drawback is that you miss it, too. But I wasn't paying attention anyway, remember? The blatherings, that is... the game itself I was indeed watching. I'm not a big fan of talking on the phone while I'm trying to watch something, in fact I pretty much avoid it at all cost- Unless, of course, I'm talking to someone who is watching the same thing, which is occasionally like having our very own anti-dunbar broadcast of a skankee game. Someday we're gonna rid the world of all this "exclusive territory" bullshit, and Jere & I (or perhaps people who are slightly better than us) will get paid a ton of money for such commentary.


After hanging up with the blogger-friend, I wussed out on the A's in favor of a half-decent bedtime. Clearly I had forgotten that the Farns was warming up in the bullpen. And Mike Myers. But in the end it was neither of those cats, but Scott Proctor giving all clad in green and yellow (and red and white) cause to jump around. Sure, the A's deserve some credit, I suppose, but not very much; Out of twelve pitches, Proctor threw three strikes. He has handed us what I like to call a "compensation loss". Our first of the year, and a walk-off one at that. So let's all hear it for Scott.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Off and Running

The spring games mean nothing, yet still they've been building up like a lump on the back of my mind. I told my sis, as we watched Schilling blow balls by bats yesterday, how relieved I am to have it finally count... even if it only means it's okay to be upset by a loss. "Why?" she asks. "You can't take those games seriously. The real players aren't even in most of them past the fourth inning. The pitchers aren't even trying to get the guys out; they're just tossing their stuff." As if I haven't been saying the same things to myself over and over for the past month. It's all true... but by the twentieth loss, it's long past reassuring. I feel good about our team this year- actually I feel great about our 2006 Sox... but the line has not been helping, so to get out of the gate the way it happened yesterday was a salve to my sports-obsessed soul.

117 pitches? I heard it on Sportscenter last night and nearly feel out of my chair. I pay less attention to the "little" details like that when I'm watching the game with others. Dude didn't even seem like he was tiring. The only thing I'm worried about with Curt this year is what's gonna come out of his mouth, and who it's gonna piss off.

On the other end of the spectrum, the men I (along with the rest of RSN) am most worried about this season stepped up to the plate with something to prove yesterday- and came through. Mike Lowell went yard. Another big question mark in my mind is Alex Gonzalez, who was 2/4 yesterday, which looks a helluva lot better than some of the swings I saw him make. Papa Jack has his work cut out for him here, and even if he succeeds, I still will miss the OC (who btw went 3/5 yesterday with 2 RBI) but not Edgah (despite his respectable 2/5, 2 RBI) or Nomah (hi again, DL).

Reb Sox friend Jay from LA gave us the heads-up on that new Nomah injury in his comments of this year's opening of the Dodger blues. It appears the beloved blue-eyed Billy is faring well out there (2/4, BB, RBI) but check out these other ex-loves: (quoth Jay)

A few innings later, Derek Lowe thought it would be a good time to try out his favorite pitching technique: starting guys with a mediocre fastball right down the middle. Tim Hudson: base hit. Chipper Jones: base hit. Andruw Jones: home run. Note to Lowe: next time you want to tell people about your pitching patterns, tell your kids, not reporters. Note to Grady Little: If you're at all interested in silencing those who doubt your managerial style, you might want to consider pulling a guy when he's getting shelled. (Witness Bobby Cox, who pulled Tim Hudson in the fifth after he gave up four runs.) Nonetheless, we thank Grady for making our "Days until Grady Little leaves Derek Lowe in too long" countdown a success.

yeah. (Wonder why Jay doesn't have his own blog?) Looks like some things never change.

And while we're on the subject of ex-loves... Number three on the list of things people are sick of seeing on Sportscenter (#1: Barry Bonds daily (non)reactions to steriod allegations and #2: will Brett Favre make a decision by his (newest) deadline) is Clemens: Will he play or will he go, and where? I can hardly believe it, but I'm actually starting to get interested in this question. While clearly keeping his options open for whoever's got the best shot come June or July, Roger's comments look more and more calculated toward pulling the heartstrings of Red Sox Nation the way Werner's pulled his. (Via

"I can tell you that my two little ones are even warming up to that," Clemens said. "They're starting to make comments now that baseball season is getting under way. You can ask Deb, she had tears in her eyes watching the video they brought down, too. Boston is very special to us, no doubt about it."

Call me a sucker, but I'm honestly starting to believe that Roger wants to return. Don't get me wrong; I know he'll sign with the skanks if they've got eight or more games on us by June, but the Rocket is rooting for RED. (Let's not let 'im down, boys.)

This all added up to a satisfying opening day in rebville, which even prince purple-lips couldn't put a damper on. (Let the record note the "value" of Arod's 5 rbi = a game that would've been won by seven without them) So the skanks won, too, in high-flying colors... but may wish they had saved some of those runs for some of their lessor-able starters. Moose puts his elbow to the test tonight at ten.

Wake puts his flutter to flight at eight. is forcasting a light wind straight into home plate. (that's not a desirable direction, is it?)

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Where's Bob?

MLB Disciplinarian Watson has been reported missing at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. Red Sox manager Terry Francona met with him regarding recent infractions this morning, but claims to have not seen him since. While not known for keeping his mouth shut when it comes to what Watson dishes out, David Wells had no comment on his whereabouts. Bats#*t reliever Julian Tavarez also declined comment, but looked rather pleased with himself despite learning yesterday of his ten-day suspension.

Red Sox reliever Mike Timlin was spotted having a private conversation with new teammate Julian in which Tavarez handed him what looked to be a bag of hunting equipment. Timlin was overheard telling teammates of a special "catch" to be grilled up after today's game. Pitcher Jonathon Papelbon has been telling reporters for several days of a special bayou recipe they would be using to ensure a great 2006 season. Let's hope it works.

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