Thursday, June 30, 2005

Off Day Thoughts

Thoughts while in Red Sox denial:

- There’s no need to move Keith Foulke out of the closers role just yet. You have to understand a couple points about that grand slam Travis Hafner hit on Tuesday night. First off, the ball would not have been a homerun in any other ballpark, the ball was a lined shot down the right field line that might have been foul in a normal stadium’s dimensions. Secondly, Travis Hafner is a proven major league slugger and not some unproven rookie that’s never seen the spotlight before. It was a clutch hit in a nice situation, but Timlin, as great as he’s pitched this season, is a perfect setup man. The closer responsibility may be too much.

- It appears Johnny Damon has grabbed that final outfield slot for the AL All-Stars, ousting Ichiro by a good margin on the last day (today). This is not official, but it will be a tremendous and well-deserved accomplishment for someone that is having a career season like Johnny. He’s my hero and always will be. Hot wife, too. But really, this means Manny, Tek, Papi and Johnny are all starting for the AL team. Yes, you read that correctly, the Red Sox make up four of the nine starters in the lineup. And our boy Tito will be filling out the card.

- Good to see Mirabelli and Bellhorn bust out yesterday with back-to-back homers. Jeez, when Bellhorn keeps his head down, focuses on the ball, and delivers that shortened, relaxed, smooth swing of his- he really looks good doing it. And other times, when he tries to kill any pitch and pulls his head, he looks like a complete fool. Oh well, you take the good and the bad with Bellhorn, who is a perfectly reliable ninth hitter in the bigs. All these callers on WEEI this week were complaining about him and saying we need to pick up a new ninth hitter or move Mueller to second and Youk to third, or any other crazy combination. I say “bah” to all that crap and think back to Game 1 of the World Series…

- Curt The Hurt made a rehab start for the PawSox last night and was really impressive. Along with a good stat line, Schill was smiling in the postgame interview and doesn’t feel pressured by the organization to come back sooner than ready. It’s great to have five excellent (at times) starting pitchers already in the rotation, then be able to add an ace to your staff after the Break. The single most important pickup any time will make before the deadline is Schill to the Red Sox. And the coolest part is we’re sitting in first place.

- A trade rumor going around may find Gary Sheffield heading to the Mets for Mike Cameron, Miguel Cairo and a prospect. I can definitely see this happening, even with Sheff ranting about how he “won’t accept this.” Well Gary, you just might have to. Sheffield is one of the only Yankees without a no-trade clause, a huge factor in why the Yanks would want to rid him of his contract and age. He’s getting very old, losing some speed and power in his bat, and the Yanks are officially looking for a new identity and makeover. They don’t want to trade prospects anymore, they want to trade major league players for other major league players. Sheff may be the first.

- I don’t want to say this either, but I strongly believe Kevin Youkilis will be gone before the deadline, especially if we want help in the bullpen or in other areas. It sucks, I know, I love Youk as much as all of you. But the guy has shown major spurts this season, and teams like the Twins and Padres may be looking for a young third baseman for the stretch run and the future. The logjam between Mueller and Youk at third will not work forever, and even though Mueller is a free agent after this season, it looks as though the Sox will resign him.

Mr. All-Star Johnny Damon, lead us into this series with Toronto…

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Boss, You Wanted To See Me

Keith Foulke talks to Theo Epstein the day after his blown save:

Foulke: Hey, Big T. We still on for that guitar session?

Theo: Yeah, come in, have a seat. Coffee? Donuts? Salami sandwich? Haha, just pulling your leg.

Foulke: Life sucks right now, man. I’ve got absolutely no zip on my fastball, my changeup looks about as big and puffy to a hitter as Drew Carey, and even the dude from Burger King across the street is booing me. I feel like everything’s my fault.

Theo: Well, that’s the funny part about all this. IT IS! Don’t you realize that? Your blown save ratio is off the charts to our standards, your ERA is near the highest for closers in the league, and it makes me wonder if we need to make some changes.

Foulke: You’re gonna cut me? Let me go? Shoo me out into that unforgiving wilderness full of beasts and famine and Glenn Ordway. We were doin’ so well, boss. Remember that strikeout against Tony Clark in Game 6 of the ALCS, huh, ya remember that ball-busting inning I magnificently executed. Any other closer and your cursed honky ass would be watching the pinstripes dance in the middle of that field.

Theo: I don’t think we can keep you in the closers role, Keith. You’ll still be on the team and all, but Timlin has pitched pretty well and we want to try him out as the big man on campus. His ERA when starting an inning is under one.

Foulke: God, you guys. Isn’t he like 48?

Theo: I walked right into that one, didn’t I. But really, I can’t stand watching you close out games anymore. It’s like jumping on a roller coaster and not knowing when the hell it’s going to stop. Every pitch, every inning, every at-bat is complete and total torture. After that Hafner ding-dong, I immediately had to call up my hookers before the game ended just to sooth the pain. That never happens!

Foulke: I had some great ideas for us, too. Like The Life And Times Of Keith Foulke: Hero To Tragedy. We’d sell millions and be richer than the Hilton sisters.

Theo: Listen, you’re still on the ball club, which means there’s a slight chance Johnny Damon’s wife will walk into the locker room at any moment. You’re practically a household name after making the last out, huh. C’mon, you’ve got the chicks. Who can resist that sexy upper lip.

Foulke: Okay, okay. Did you consult Tito about this?

Theo: Are you kidding? He’d come up with some “aw, give him another chance, he’s a great guy and a great player and we love him” routine. Followed up by tobacco juice pouring out of his mouth.

Foulke: Yeah, that was probably a good idea. So, you still got that salami sandwich?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Turning Away

Last Monday, the Cleveland Indians were riding high. Coming off a nine game winning streak mostly consisting of beating up weaker teams, their confidence level was high and the Red Sox were nothing but another victim to them. Then a guy by the name of David Ortiz (God bless him) and his rampaging partner Manny Ramirez woke them up and reminded those Indians who the World Champs are. Three days later, the brooms were out of the closet and we strolled out of Jacobs Field with our heads high.

Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox were in another world. They’d experienced a nice seven game winning streak, mostly on the road, bolting them to heavenly first place as the Orioles continued to slide like a wet piece of soap. The Yanks weren’t doing much hotter either. The fans and the team saw this home stand as a perfect way to pad that AL East lead and beat up on average teams like the Indians and Blue Jays. But the Tribe are better than average. With a little help from Trot’s glove, Bellhorn’s blunder and Arroyo’s sack grabbing, the Indians walked out of Fenway Park very pleased with a big win.

That’s baseball.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Rise Of The Rem Dawg

(I couldn't think of a good title or picture, so I went with this. Always works.)

Sorry for the delay on posts here, but it may have to do with the fact that I haven’t seen an entire Red Sox game since last Tuesday. I’ve been busy, ya know, keeping the Fenway Franks on the table for the wife and kids, mowing my new lawn with the Sox logo in the middle and starting my novel all about Mike Myers’ resurrection from the dead. Anyway, life and baseball are going very smoothly. You might have heard that the friggin Boston Red Sox are in first place.

There may be larger forces at work here. The Orioles and Yankees keep losing, stretching our AL East lead now to a solid two and a half games, the largest two and a half games ever witnessed by man. The Sox made me squeal and kick over the pretzel bowl numerous times yesterday as they blew an 8-1 lead (when I turned on the TV to hear RemDawg and Orsillo- one of my midday or nightly sexual pleasures). The game was tied in the seventh after another Alan Embree implosion. But Marky Mark Bellhorn came to the rescue, putting the finishing touches on a breakout game, and bringing a whole new meaning to Saved By The Bellhorn. His RBI double gave us the lead once again, and the insurance gave us a 12-8 win.

And how bout big Boomer chuggin it around the bases last night? That was the highest comedy level ever reached on a baseball field since the Padres put on those hideous brown uniforms again. Look at him go!! He was obviously tiring early though, partly due to the heat, partly due to the fact he carries around a good amount of meat with him. I don’t care, he’s Boomer.

Manny and Ortiz are also climbing those HR and RBI charts very quickly. Clement is at nine wins before the break. We have the bulk of our remaining schedule at home, including an upcoming series with Cleveland, followed by Toronto. Keep those brooms handy once again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

First Place Over The Horizon

Just another night where it pays off to be a Red Sox fan. I don’t mean it in the “we won again, four in a row, one game back” type of way, I mean it in the “edge of your seat with every pitch, massaging my Bill Mueller commemorative statue” type of way. Seriously, how many fan bases give a collective dry heave when a bullpen pitcher enters the game like The Nation with Alan Embree. The ups and downs come automatically with the pressures of rooting for the Red Sox, but instead of knowing that our beloved team will blow it, we expect to win the game. I could have easily turned off the TV when the Indians went up 4-2, but I stayed with my guys, kept the faith, and watched us sweep the formally red hot Tribe.

Entering this series, I was a little bit worried. Yes, we were coming off a nice blowout victory at home over Pittsburgh, but maybe the guys will be over their heads and continue playing sloppy baseball on the road. The Indians, on the other hand, have beaten up cellar dwellers on their way to a nine game winning streak, and they’d like nothing more than to collectively bitch slap the defending champs. Show them bastards who rules this part of town. Three days later, the Sox have a little streak of their own, and that 41-30 record is looking mighty fine.

This game was the best of the series. So many ups and downs, so many suicide thought clouds, so many “jump around the room and dance to Styx” moments. The Indians went up 4-2 and I was ready to write an Adventures Of Alan Embree: Days Of Disgust article for tonight. Then the pro Billy Mueller tied it up with a very clutch ripped single to right center in one of the most nauseating and nut-busting at-bats of the season. I was not only standing up, but pacing around the room. Another clutch hit for Mueller, and it looked good with Timlin coming in. Foulke gets out a jam in the eighth and Edgah! delivers with an RBI hit that gives us the lead. In the words of my fellow fans, he hit that ball “wicked hahhhd.”

So we sweep the Indians. Nice work, boys. Now it’s on to the launching pad known as Citizens Bank Park for another broom-related series. Keep it goin! Oh by the way, the Orioles lose to Toronto and the Yanks continue their season-long struggle with Tampa Bay. Nice day all around.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Listen Up Manuel

Dearest Manny,

Whats up? That thing you wear under your hat, the rag deal with the big Boston B, it looks exemplary. But I’m concerned about some re-occurring themes involving you. It seems like you don’t care. It seems that you won the precious ring, you’re getting a bit older, and you just feel like hanging it up this season. There’s a contract and a nation that think you should do otherwise.

We have so many memories together, well, not together, but you’ve brought me to sheer joy like I’ve never felt before. Remember that homer in Game 3 of the World Series? Just put the sledgehammer down on those friggin Cardinals. It’s like you said, “no, this is our series, and nothing will stop us.” Represent! And remember that huge hitting streak you had in the playoffs? Even your errors in Game 1 were comical. You’re always there to make us laugh.

I’m not doubting the fact you’re funny and good to your teammates and make everyone else smile, I just think the focus isn’t there. When you got hit by that pitch against Pittsburgh on Saturday, I said to myself, “there is no way he’s going to play tomorrow.” Tito even went to Payton after the game and told him he was going to play. He knows, and we know, that you don’t really care anymore. And it shouldn’t be that way.

It might be a little different if you were putting up massive numbers and carrying the team on your back, but .260 isn’t cutting the butter either. We’re not asking for a triple crown or batting title, but I’m speaking for Red Sox Nation when I say, we just need a little focus and effort from you. That’s all. If you get hit by a pitch, do every possible thing you can to get back onto that field the next day. Please.

The two greatest moments of my life- watching you run in from left field after the Sox won the World Series, and the first time I saw Jessica Alba in person. I just hope that sprint and jump into the team celebration doesn’t mark the end of a historic, hall-of-fame career. Make it last a little longer. Keep smiling and hugging, but when you run on that field, or make your way to the batters box- focus. A little effort, that’s all we’re asking for.

Red Sox Nation

Monday, June 20, 2005

Monday Links

Being Johnny Damon Does. Not. Suck.

Oh yeah, and this.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Back To NormalCy

After a tough loss last night, complete with an offensive meltdown that blew another nice Wakefield showing, the Sox had almost no time to recover before an afternoon game the next day. Well, they recovered. Quickly. The O got on Kip Wells right away (seriously, who the hell names their son Kip), with everyone contributing just like Friday nights game. I love what I’m seeing out of the regular starters, bench guys, and most of all, Matt Clement.

Clement has the tools to win the Cy Young this season, and if you think I’m kidding, just watch this guy pitch once in a while. He’s got four out pitches, including that sinker that drops off the shelf on hitters with two strikes. A decent fastball and good changeup, and you’ve got yourself an 8-1 pitcher with a low ERA in the top ten. He’s quickly turning into the ace of this ball club, and with Schill out, it’s really nice feeling overly confident in a pitcher in our rotation. Every time the Emancipator steps out on that Fenway mound, it seems the Sox are on their way to a win.

Jason Varitek. The MVP of this team, hands down. I have to comment on that awesome block of the plate he had on Jack Wilson on Friday- just an amazing heads up play by an experienced catcher that has uncanny reactions to quick plays. He does so much for the team as a whole- making every young pitcher better on the staff, always hustling and sprinting to the batters box before he hits, always teaching and helping others. A great teammate, not to mention a great defensive and offensive catcher.

Billy Mueller. The Pro is so unappreciated for what he brings to the table. Numerous times today he made outstanding plays at third base, first on a sharp grounder to his right that he dove, made the transfer, and threw to first just in time (with a great stretch from Olerud). Then, he jumped and caught a sharp broken bat liner by Wilson to get Clement out of a tough jam in the fifth. He also had a big triple near the 420 sign, a sac fly early in the game, and ran the bases with perfection. The guy gets the friggin job done.

Saturday: I also have to second guess Tito last night for some of the moves he made. First off, you don’t bring in a pitcher with a 7.02 ERA in the seventh inning of a tie ballgame. Embree’s given up too many long balls and has pitched like cow dung this season, I don’t care if he hasn’t worked in a while or whatever the lame ass excuse was. Then you double your trouble with the inconsistent Mantei. Top that off with pitching John Halamamama in the ninth and you’re bound to lose the game.

Jay Playton delivered today also with a homer. Maybe we should play….na, trade him. Gabe Kapler on the horizon?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fashion Statement

Tonight, a meeting with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team with the coolest throwback unis and throwback players the game ever saw. Honus Wagner and his pointy nose, along with the coolest nickname in baseball history- the Flying Dutchman. The great 70’s teams with Clemente and Stargell, sporting the pimped-out stripped hats and the occasional bright yellow pants. There’s nothing like those old Pirates unis, so they should wear them for a few games this weekend. While were at it, why not have the Sox thrown on that old Cy Young throwback? Would anyone be against this? I'm paging Bud now.

The 1979 championship team also had the greatest names such as Bill Madlock, Ed Ott and Rennie Stennett. Read that last name again. Omar Moreno was the starting center fielder. And the all important Doe Boyland even got a ring. Can't forget Enrique Romo.

Possibly my favorite non-Red Sock of all time. The guy did everything with such grace and easiness, I only wish I could have watched him every day in his prime. The gun in right field, the speed on the bases, the power and clutch hits- I've heard all about them and how easy he made baseball seem to the average person. Watch some clips from the 1971 World Series, you'll see what I mean. Baseball will always miss Roberto Clemente.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Yo Dude, Where Did You Put The Broom

A sweep.

Much needed, to say the least. The recipe was not Edgah’s bat heating up, nor Foulke getting some big saves, not even a nice Miller to Mueller to Millar double play. It was a simple as coming home and playing quality baseball. All the guys needed was some home cooking, playing under the friendly Fenway lights, and all is well in Sox Nation. Plus, getting three awesome starts from Cy Young Clement, Boomah and Cornroyo never hurts.

But there’s this slight problem here: those damn Orioles keep winning. I know it’s only June 15, and looking at the playoff picture would be pretty useless and absurd, but well, I’m useless and absurd. That’s the just the way I am. I like looking at the big picture. So when I see the Orioles are beating up on teams like the lowly Astros at home while we sweep, it takes a little fun out of the whole winning deal. A little bit.

As for Papi, people have to start considering him a top notch player in baseball. He’s already known as a clutch hitter, but I’m talking top ten hitters in the league, maybe even top five in the power rankings. Not playing the field ever hurts his chances, but if he keeps carrying the Red Sox, people have to start considering Ortiz as a possible MVP candidate. It brings tears to my eyes every time he crushed an inside fastball over the foul pole. You don’t get the feeling a player is going to hit a home run on EVERY SINGLE PITCH that often. That’s how I feel with David Ortiz.

I’m just happy the pitching staff is back on track. Time for Embree and the bullpen now. We can’t get too cocky here, those pesky Pirates are playing with nothing to lose. This could be a tougher series than most people think.

As for right now, the Sox are running on all cylinders. The cockiness, the confidence, the hugging- it’s all there. And with our luck, we have an off day tomorrow. Keep the mojo flowing, guys.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Near Perfection

Thoughts going through my head as David Wells put on a clinic last night:

Bottom of the 2nd inning: This is nice, we’re pouring on major run support for Wells. I wish I didn’t feel this way, especially after Boomer mowed down the Cardinals like chopped liver, but I still don’t trust the man. He’s been too inconsistent this year, sometimes explodes on the mound, and often times has too much control, if that’s possible. Plus, anyone who gets lit up by the friggin Oakland Athletics needs to be examined.

Top of the 4th inning: Man, is Boomer putting on a show tonight or what? Sure, it’s only the fourth inning and he’ll probably blow it later in the game, but I’ve never seen a guy hitting his spots like he has tonight. From my view, every time Tek set up somewhere, BAM! There goes the ball. It’s uncanny, almost unreal. He’s got decent speed too, just nails the right location on what seems like every single pitch. Seeing him and Cap’n Tek work together like this gives me the willies. Good ones.

Bottom of the 5th inning: Alright. This is good. We’ve got some runs on the board, Boomer is working on a near perfect game. Wait, he hasn’t given up a hit yet, has he? Interesting…

Top of the 6th inning, 1 out: Just struck out Wily Mo Pena, and is now only 11 outs away from introducing me to pure hysteria. I’m out of my seat, jumping around, this is just the way I am. He’s got a hell of a long way to go, but it’s re-assuring that he’s been familiar with this type of situation before. Plus, this is the Cincinnati Reds. Most Beer League teams could beat Cincy on the road. This. Can. Happen.

Top of the 6th inning, 2 outs: Just got some backup catcher, Sardinha I think, to fly out to center. I just peed my pants, man, I actually believe this is going to happen.

Top of the 6th inning, 2 outs, 0-2 on Freel: There’s this buzzing in my ear that I can’t seem to get out. Maybe it’s the presence of MISTER BOOMER WELLS making my brain go insane. That made zero sense.

Damn, Freel just got a hit and the no-hit bid is over. It was fun while it lasted.

Brooms tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

There's A Rumble Behind The Mill

Some rumblings from around the mill:

According to the Hartford Courant, Manny Ramirez is planning to retire after his current contract expires in 2008. But given a choice, the Red Sox would love to get rid of his huge contract (roughly $20 million a year) after this season.

Unfortunately, this is extremely likely to happen. Manny’s contract may essentially be a factor if the Red Sox lose in the postseason, granted they make it there, this season. That $20 million is prevented them from dishing out a large sum for a guy like Tim Hudson or Carlos Beltran last off season, and may hold them back from signing a marquee player during this years deadline. It may continue to hold them back until 2008, when the contract expires. Nobody wants Manny to remain in Boston more than me, but when you look at the big scheme of things, getting rid of that money would open up so many possibilities in improving the team in needed areas, such as first base. Whatever happens, we know Theo will make the right move.

Speaking of Theo, if you actually look at the first base situation closely, he did the right thing. I mean, Tito now has three solid options in Millar, Olerud and Youkilis over there while Dougy M is stinkin it up at Shea. The guy is hitting .208, and there were many articles in the New York papers saying they need a change at the position (possibly Huff or Overbay). The guy may be outstanding defensively, but his best offensive days are behind him. And Renteria still has better numbers than Cabrera.

According to USA Today, Shea Hillenbrand could be dealt by the trading deadline if the Blue Jays fall out of contention. The Jays have yet to put Hillenbrand on the trade block, but they are willing to listen to offers. The leading candidates seem to be the Red Sox, Rangers and Yankees.

This won’t and shouldn’t happen. Farmer Shea would probably like playing at the Fens again (anything’s better than the Dump Known As The Rogers Centre), but there’s no need for a corner infielder when you’re already carrying 200 on your active roster. Jeez, Youk can already play both, Vasquez can play third and we just signed Olerud. Add that to Millar and Mueller, and that’s settled.

Also, Womack’s days are numbered in New York. How can a guy in that lineup have ZERO homers and TEN runs batted in. He plays every day, just at the wrong position. It’s pretty much a mess. I never understood why they gave up on Cairo, anyway.

And how bout the Emancipator!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Paging The Knuckler

Great game last night. You put all the pieces together- a nice Wakefield performance that was overly due, solid hitting out of the subs like Mirabelli and Youkilis, and even a stellar bullpen job- and the Sox find themselves “avoiding another sweep” at the hands of an NL opponent. Great, now we get Cincy, who are abysmal on the road, and Pittsburgh, who is very beatable, with some momentum following that win. This could be a big step in the season and make Theo’s head a little less dreary.

And how bout Wake chugging the bases!! Was that high comedy or was that high comedy? The guy even scratched out a nice oppo hit, then collects an RBI, then pulls a rabbit out of his ass and runs from first base to home on a double. He looked alright out there too, you know, for being a pitcher and all. The Baller’s been working on the wind sprints too, I see.

Manny even homered as I was just about to set fire to my bronze statue of him. Call him uninterested, call him a slacker, call him done, but I still will always love the guy and know he will break out eventually. Could this be the start? Tomorrow, I’ll analyze what Theo should do to improve this team for another postseason run. Does it involve Manny?

What a genius idea to honor Fisk’s homerun tonight. I love this ownership and what they’ve done to the ballpark, team, etc. Let’s get the Emancipator a nice win.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Postgame Review

Wow, that really sucked. Arroyo was getting hammered from the start, with a little help from the Wrigley wind, of course. Even Maddux homered, and I’m probably the only Red Sox fan in the word that’s actually happy for him. Also, Embree and Halama need to start pitching like major leaguers or pack their bags. At one point in the game, I even saw Embree shake off Varitek as he tried to visit the mound. You quite simply do not disrespect the captain.

Papi had two blasts. Bellhorn homered. Gotta find some silver lining here, folks. And since I have nothing else to say, I’ve decided to do a final grade report on the “off the field” rewards following the Red Sox championship:

Faith Rewarded DVD: Very well documented, and some of the images are priceless. The ending left me in tears the first couple times I watched it, even though I tried very hard to cry because I’d feel guilty if I didn’t. Schilling has some great comments and this DVD follows the entire season so much better than the World Series film, which tends to just jump past everything that happened throughout the journey. Any Red Sox fan must see this immediately. Grade: A

World Series DVD: Denis Leary, even though I think he’s a great actor, really sends a drowning voice into such a glorifying moment in Sox history. He’s a great fan and all, just not the right choice. Even though I loved that Mastercard commercial. Overall, the film follows the World Series so well (hence the name), but ends with the annoying Tessie instead of Faith Rewarded’s Dirty Water. That’s just a hint of the difference between the two. Grade: B

Fever Pitch: This was that movie with Jimmy Fallon….yeah, that thing. Well, I can’t say it was bad considering it portrayed everything that I will probably end up to be in a few years, but there were some prime glitches that bothered me. First off, the whole laptop issue with Drew Barrymore bugs me to this day… I can’t even discuss this rationally without vomiting all over my computer. And Fallon watching the Buckner clip over and over again, not even a drunk, stoned, beaten Red Sox fan would go there. The part with Fallon’s friends shaving his balls was also not needed. Grade: B-

Queer Eye For The Red Sox: Just a complete waste of time. The players looked uninterested, the gay guys are only funny for a while before their voices start to sound like birds chirping in your ear, and they spent most of the time at this Little League field with kids. The players didn’t even look different at all, just threw on some fashionable suits. They all look the same now anyway. But the show was just SO BORING, I felt like I was in solitary confinement. Grade: D

Shaughnessy’s Book: I’ve heard a lot of bad stuff about it, but I found it quite interesting. He had some in-depth, inside information that only Dan would get, and even threw in some nice Nomah bashing. It really showed the personalities of the players, pretty much describing every single players lives. I’m not even kidding. There were some weak spots, but overall, I enjoyed it. Grade: B

Schilling On Celebrity Poker: He sucked. Grade: F

Any other ones I’m forgetting?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Remember This...

Under Control

David Wells is out of shape. He’s bloated, fat and overweight. The guy has no fastball and his curveball is dead. It’s like a hanging volleyball waiting to be smoked into the bleachers. His career is over. It was Theo’s worst mistake yet.

Yeah, right.

Boomer came through in a big way last night, pitching eight masterful, tremendous innings over one of the best lineups in baseball. It was gravy from the first pitch for Wells, who continues to lower his ERA with every start. Maybe it was just some early season rust that was his problem, or the pressure of acceptance problems from Boston fans. I know I was pissed at him.

And the bats got rolling. Edgah! hit a dinger and the under-appreciated Bill Mueller and Jason Varitek had great games. How bout Ortiz’s moon shot, huh? The only thing is Millah in left field…let’s avoid that again, please.

We head to Wrigley where a series win would be really, really sweet.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

While Searching For A Silver Lining...

The Red Sox will attempt to avoid an embarrassing sweep tonight at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals. Was this expected? Actually, yes. I was talking to a friend the other day and hinted at the thought that the Cardinals would want definite revenge for the Red Sox manhandling of their team last October. They’ve been waiting for us all winter, circling these games on the calendar, plotting the most painful way to disappoint our fans and team. Well, I was right, wasn’t I?

Tonight, we need a win desperately. It’s time to shake this salt off our shoulder and grab a nice, easy win (barring a delay, rain is expected in St. Louis tonight). Maybe Boomer can have another big night on the road, but our main goal is to stay in the game. Our offense is due for a massive explosion, and the time is now.
Interesting quotes from Remy and Eck regarding Manny sitting tonight:

"Is it a slap on the wrist (Manny's) not playing tonight with the day off tomorrow?" -- Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley

"Well he's (Manny) been walking around the clubhouse all week saying 'I got Thursday off, I got
Thursday off'... he was begging for a day off." -- Jerry Remy

That Remy quote not only scares the living shit outta me, but it worries me even more. What if Manny was telling the truth last year- he just wanted to win a World Series, then he would possibly tank and call it quits very soon. Behind all that joking, hugging and laughing is actually a very serious man out to do what’s best for him and his family. I’m not trying to jump to the conclusion that Manny will never be MVP potential anymore, I just don’t think he cares as much. Not nearly as much.

Also, Damon is close to grabbing that last All-Star outfield spot. Vote now.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Dreaming For A Streak

Dear Mr. Francona,

Just checking in. How are the wife, kids and tobacco stash doing? Good to hear, and by the way, you look LOVELY in that retro Brewers jersey. Stunning doesn’t even start to begin how great you look with that ball-in-glove Olerud-esque helmet.

But I’m a little fed up. Actually “pissed off” would probably be the better word to describe my feelings right now. Your Red Sox are riding this 2005 wave like a roller coaster- up and down, up and down, up and down, win then loss, win then loss…it’s really getting annoying. So how bout a streak, huh? Get these guys fired up however you can. If you have to bring in a poster of a supermodel and tear off a chunk of her body like in Major League after every win, believe me, you have the most definite permission to do so. If you have to sacrifice a dead ostrich, go ahead.

All I want is a little taste of August from last year. It was so sweet for all of the Nation- everyone expected a win day in and day out, everybody was running on all cylinders, the Yankees (now Orioles) heard footsteps behind them and the fans knew this was the year. We would like a repeat. I know, I know, Wakefield’s knuckleball is about as effective as Matthew Broderick’s acting in Glory, and Manny’s OBP is extremely low for the amount of cash he’s reelin in. We have to work through those obstacles and break out here.

Right now. I’m not even kidding anymore.

The big win streak begins tomorrow night.

And did you give Millah permission for THIS?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Sympathy For The Angels

Excitement, amazement and sheer happiness can not explain the amount of joy I’m experiencing right now. It feels like Eva Longoria just sat on my hand. I’m beaming, you can practically see the sparks of flickering light coming out of my head. The Red Sox, like they do numerous times during the season, have brought me to a better place where nothing goes wrong, baseball rules, and Playboy models are serving me pina coladas on a beach on a remote island. Life is sweet.

So, okay, let me get this friggin straight. Johnny Damon hammers a beautiful two-strike Shields pitch into deep center, scoring three and sending Fenway Park into a complete dream world. The Green Monster was shaking after that rip. And this is off one of the most surprisingly awesome relief pitchers in baseball. With two strikes. Bases loaded. Johnny Damon has nuts of steel.

Foulkey plays with fire, but ends it in the long run. And ya know what, especially with Cabrera in the building tonight, this is starting to feel like October again. Still it’s only June, early June actually, but every game is starting to matter as we head closer to the All-Star Break. Anything can happen at this point, that’s just the way Red Sox Nation feels after the last two postseasons and this roller coaster ride in 2005. The big players like Ortiz and Damon are carrying the guys on their shoulders. All the defensive gems by Trot in right field, and the fooling, laughing and teasing of Manny at all times.

Take yesterday, for example. The Red Sox could have easily shaken the game off and let the series slip right out of their hands, pass it along as another loss and move on with their lives. That’s not what these boys, do. David Ortiz decided to end this stupid mess with a bomb to center. Then the jubilation and celebration at home plate, a tradition the Red Sox have made ordinary over the last few summers.

The memories from last year- Damon sprinting for dear life against Oakland like Allen Iverson’s wife was chasing him, McCarty’s walkoff homerun against the Mariners and Papi at Fenway vs. the Jays, the fight game and Mueller’s walk off, the magical postseason- I remember it all so clearly, and I just long for another season like that to happen. Well, we took a ride in the time machine tonight with that big victory. Wins like tonight makes all the smiles, tears, hangovers, extra inning marathons, tough losses, sleepless nights and partying worth it. No doubt.

There’s nothing like Red Sox baseball.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Let’s take a spin through the ninth inning of today’s game:

Damon flies out to deep center. After this out, I’m feeling about 110% less confident in our chances to win this game. Not only does B.J. Ryan usually dominate the Red Sox in the ninth inning, but our leadoff hitting, on-base, hitting machine just made the first out. Not exactly the “spark” you need against a dominant closer like Ryan. I just looked at the on-deck circle and threw up in my mouth.

Here comes Mr. Bellhorn. He’s done it before in the clutch (Game 1 of the World Series) but his production this year didn’t have me hoping for much. I was just wishing he’d get on base and start something for the top of the order, maybe give Youk a chance to become a household name in Boston. Now, maybe Mark Bellhorn isn’t a guy you can expect 20 homers out of, a near .300 average or anywhere near gold glove play, but he does give it his all every time he steps on the field. Legging out an infield single in this inning was just another example.

So here comes Youk. Time for a walk off. He quickly strikes out.

Renteria steps to the plate to the overwhelming joy of the Fenway crowd. Maybe he doesn’t understand, but our fan base as a whole would like nothing more than to see him succeed. He’s a good guy, just look at his innocent face. He wouldn’t kill a fly. Plus, we’re all trying to end our love affair with Orlando Cabrera, what better way to forgot OC than Edgah providing the fireworks? Surprisingly, Renteria lays down a perfect bunt single and Bellhorn is in scoring position down one run.

Ortizzle is up. There’s no freakin way he can do it again, right? It’s uncanny how this guy succeeds in tough positions. He runs the count full on Ryan, and I figure he ‘s got too many tricky pitches in his arsenal to let Ortiz beat him with one pitch. Wrong decision by Ryan, and Ortiz cranks the pitch to deep center and gone.


Sox win.