Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Acts And Bravery of Lord Daisuke Matsuzaka, and his Sidekick Sir Papelbon


There is a tree. A DAMSEL is tied to that tree. The lights come up, we see it is PRINCESS EMMA, BLOGSTRESS OF THE CRIMSON SOX.

EMMA: Oh my! Oh dear! I have been tied to this tree, the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE, deprived of my pens, bound by the EVIL THESIS MONSTER! WHO WILL HELP ME!


ETM:BWAHAHAHAHAHAAH! Your case is hopeless, my dear! Not only is that really strong rope, it is enchanted rope, ensorcelled so as not to break until the proper time, and the proper man comes to save you.

EMMA: Proper man? Screw that. *starts searching with foot for sharp objects*

ETM: That will do you no good, my dear! By your explorations into these wilds of Scotland-

EMMA: This is Metro Boston, dude.

ETM: Ahem. These wilds of Scotland, you have fallen into my trap.

EMMA: Only because you looked like William Wallace. The cool one, too, not Mel Gibson,

ETM: Oh will you just shush please. But, even if you manage to free yourself, you will be like Cassandra of old, plagued with all manner of thoughts about baseball, but unable to express them.

EMMA: OH HEAVENS! Wait. Why the hell am I talking like this? Fuck this noise.

*Monster cackles evilly, Emma struggles, and THEN!*
*Tall but oddly rotund figure enters stage left*

FIGURE: Domo arigato, my lady. I have come to assist you in your time of need. You are needed back in the kingdom of Sox, and I was deemed the most worthy and brave knight.

EMMA: BAD-ASS! It is Lord Daisuke of Matsuzaka! And who is that handsome but goofy manchild behind him?

GOOFY MANCHILD: Hey, y'all, it is me, Sir Papelbon. And I bring with me THE ALL POWERFUL VEGETABLE MOJO!

ETM: HAhahahaha! You shall never defeat me!

D and P: Wanna bet?

*They throw fastballs at the Evil Thesis Monster until it goes away*

P: Nicely done, Lord D.

D: Thank you, Jonathan.

P: But how are we to free Princess Emma?

D: Simple. We have my Sword of Awesomness to cut the rope. And it is now the fateful Ides of March, the time when it is prophesied that the Glorious One will come to return the Princess to the Land of Baseball. You must return that Mojo that is rightfully hers.

P:.....okay. That sounds good.


Both: Okay.


EMMA: Oh! I am free! How can I ever thank you?

D: By returning to your glorious kingdom, and continuing in the guardianship of your portion of the Sacred All Powerful Vegetable Mojo.

EMMA: I can do that.

*All three walk off into the sunset to glorious Spring Training*


Monday, January 15, 2007

The Saner Morning After

Some thoughts on the game that didn't quite fit in to the poetic mood I was in last night:

*Goddamnit, is Donnie Edwards annoying! Whatever defensive frustration the Chargers were able to put up last night, he seemed to be part of it. I mean, I guess that's what Mike Vrabel must have seemed like to Chargers fans: everpresent, and even when he didn't make the spectactular play, he made the necessary one, and apart from the end of the 2nd and 4th quarters, the Pats could not get any flow going, no big runs by Lomo or Corey. But, thing is, Edwards can't do everything, couldn't cover the CB's man for him, and that completion on 3rd and 10 to Reche was the beginning of the end.

*I guess luck really is too big a part to ignore in this game, isn't it? I mean, you have two potential interceptions, a game apart. McCree ( I guess) juggles one, and Rosie Colvin draws in the other like he's got velcro on his hands. And there's your game.

*And I would really like to thank the Defensive Corps of San Diego for their All New Adventures in DumbAssery. They could have won, they could have kept their cool, but those Personal Fouls at two key times, just acted as oxygen to a Pats team hanging on for dear life. Just behave like grown men. But I guess that's hard enough for normal men at the best of times.

*Once again, we see how frakking important special teams are. As someone said on the West Wing once, their successes are private, and their failiures are oh so very public. If they do their job, it's rare if they get the credit, like Osgood batting that ball in on the 1 yard line. But if they don't do their job, Katie bar the door, as with that punt-recovery-fumble-whatever the heck that was by Parker. So, ladies and gentlemen, go thank your special teams players today.

*As deemed by Amy of The Mendoza Line, New Kicker now gets his name back, for being so awesome, for doing nothing else but his job, he is now Stephen Gostkowski, Kicker. (And thank you, Matty Cassell, for holding ON to the ball; a praise that a week and two days ago, he wouldn't have gotten.)

And now we go on an Indy roadtrip. As opposed to other matchups in recent years past, I think the Colts and Pats are pretty well evenly matched. And as a 4-seed who knocked off a one-seed yesterday, in a victory that I believe outstrips the 3 seed Colts beating the 2 seed Ravens, the Pats are playing with house money now. Should be a hell of a game; I'll be on the Cape, but I may even convinced my dyed-in-the-wool baseball fan grandparents to watch it with me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Pain and the Pleasure

24-21 Patriots doesn't even begin to cover it.

It would figure, really, that it would take a game like this to get me writing again.

I mean, I spend my last 7 months writing about passion and blood and nationalism and death, and the last months of the Sox season and the entirety of the Pats season might get to seem a little inadequate.

Tom Brady, I love to death in ways incomparable to other mortal men, but William Wallace dying on the block on Tower Hill always has a bit of an edge, don't it.

But then a game like this emerges, and I remember why I do this in the first place.

It really is one of those games which embodies everything in the spectrum of professional sports. How you can be so infuriated, so frustrated, so completely exhausted by such mortal endeavors, and then so enleavened, lifted up, and illuminated at the same time.

The same group of men, who make you scream when they combine to create an intecerption, make you sing with delight at something like Reche Caldwell's 49-yard completion in the fouth quarter.

Those same mortals, who make you bury your head in your hands, as LaDainian Tomlinson strides almost 50 yards to set up a touchdown, make you look towards the heaven, thanking the strangeness of fate on a play like the interception-fumble that set up the game-tying touchdown.

It makes more sense after several quantities of liquor, mostly because right now it's just too incredibly strange to believe.

It could end all next week. It really might, considering the weird luck which combine to carry them to victory. But fate's glass has been refilled, and we live in the weirdness of statistical improbibilty for 7 more days.

this is why I write. this reminds me why I like watching sports. see y'all next week.

Monday, June 26, 2006


I am an unworthy creature. I am a Doubting Thomas. I let it hurt too much when I hope for the best and receive the worst, so more and more I recite the litany to myself. "They can't do this." "It's too much impossible." I would deserve a 7 game losing streak the way I think.

But they never blame me. They never punish me. And recently, more often than not, they come up bigger than my wildest dreams.

Saturday, sitting and watching with the Maternal Entity, we were both in that mindset. By the 7th inning, too much potential had been squandered, and it seemed like a fait accompli when the Phillies tied it up. And yet, arguing with our worse natures, was that little voice, born of 4 chilly October nights. "We're still in this. They can do it."

And even more than last year, that's true. Because we have the pitching complement to the clutchest hitter of all time. The Second Bearer of the Vegetable Mojo. (Which still resides a little bit with its former bearer, and no one is happier than me.)

It's like Jon-Boy has a secret identity that he puts on when he goes to the mound. Because the gulf between the boy lounging in the bullpen and the man glaring towards the hitter is miles, miles wide. "Don't make me bring out the Scrabble board...Don't MAKE me bring it out, man." It's adorable. It's endearing. And it's gone, ten feet on to the field.

There are several marks of a great pitcher, I think. He has shown many of them. And he showed yet another one in the tenth inning: he is man enough to clean up his own messes. He faltered, and yet caught that second wind.

And then there's the man of the 3rd, 4th and 5th winds. It's useless any more to ask, how many times can you go to that well. Because the answer is "David Ortiz". It is "How many damn times that he says he can."

I forget that sometimes. But he always reminds me. When my faith in my team is shaken by mere mortals like Rudy Seanez, his spirit catches me up and bears me onward.

It's so hard. Especially during games like today. Observing through the impersonal windows of the Internet and Gameday, it was like there was two games. The pitchers' duel from innings 1-6: the class that is Tim Wakefield, suffering through offensive futility, and than a shallow end of the bullpen (NAMED RUDY SEANEZ) which can't seem to find outs with a ten foot pole.

And then there was the second game, truly begun by an act which, this season, would be enough to shake the faith of any in the nation. The brief dimming of the All Powerful Vegetable Mojo, and Jon-Boy's first true blown-save. As befits it, in grand and shattering fashion off the Pesky Pole. Game tied.

I was about to leave work, to catch my bus. I thought, whatever happened, it would be over quickly.

But I was wrong. Oh was I glad to be wrong. On the bus, my mother and I made a absurd little portrait: me holding up my AM radio as far as I could, straining to hear and get whatever reception I could, her, head leaned over toward mine as I relayed balls, strikes, outs.

Manuelito came up so incredibly big, walking Abreu, but setting down Howard, Rowand, and Burrell in order. Yet, it couldn't last; the youth showed through, and though Craig Hansen tried his level best to pick his teammate up, we entered the bottom of the 12th, down 7-6.

The bus reached our stop; I nearly forgot my umbrella, I was so wrapped up in the game. Again, we thought it might be over quickly. But then Coco hits a ground rule double. Two blocks, two outs go by. As we come in view of our tiny little house, the strained tones of the Philly announcers came through my earphones: Youkilis slaps a double into center field. Game tied, again. We cross the street, fumbling for the keys: Mark works a walk, bringing you know who up to bat.

Finally, we reach the comfort of our porch, our couch, and the TV. And there he is. What was probably about 2 minutes seems like 30 seconds. Condrey sets; the pitch. And the ball goes up, up, up, and then down.....down......oh god let it fall......and my doubt is swallowed in the emanation of joy, both from my small family, and my bigger one, in Fenway and around the world. Jon Boy flying-tackle-hugs Papi, joined by Craig Hansen, joined by everybody.

I am an unworthy creature. But Big Papi doesn't care. He loves his closer. He loves his team. He loves his fans. He loves the game.
I love this game. This game can bring so much joy. I forget it at times.
But to quote Aaron Sorkin, "When I forget, something always reminds me."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty


Imagine the above said in the manner of William Shatner in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, and you have some idea of my state of mind last night.

After a pleasingly low-pressure ass-kicking of one of my adopted NL home teams by the other, the Maternal Unit and I noticed that the Schilling-Santana Match Up was still scoreless in the 7th. So we performed the sad and sacred rites of the Red Sox Fan, Sans Satellite in Exile: we Ticker-Watched.

Oh, did we. The Mets game ended; we watched. Schilling and Santana gave up mutual 8th inning homers; we rejoiced and groaned. And then....the extra innings. Oh, the extra innings. They lasted all the way through an hour and a half of Baseball Tonight, and ten minutes in to SportsCenter.

Relief was promised, in the top of the twelfth, when the ticker brought the joyous news of a run pushed across, and BBTN showed us the glorious results of Gonzo's hustle.

However, it was not to be. Because of that hobgoblin looking phone punching SOB.



I want the kids. I want them now. I don't care about money or contracts, but I don't want any member of our bullpen over 30, except Mike Timlin. You say they're not ready, or they're inconsistent? I say they can't be any worse than this. If our bullpen must suck, I want there to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Or it's gonna be a long, muggy summer with no relief in sight. And god help me, I'll become a full-time Mets fan.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I'm Still Alive.

I promise I will update more substantially, soon. Real Life has intervened until now, in the form of Finals and having a really good summer job.

However, god bless ESPN, who's airing the third game of this next road trip, vs. the Twins on Thursday. But I'll try to find some highlights tonight. :)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Can We Come To Order Please?

(Scene: A random conference room deep in the bowels of Fenway Park)
(KEVIN YOUKILIS, J.T SNOW, MARK LORETTA, ALEX CORA, and MIKE LOWELL sit around a plastic card table)

YOUKILIS: As chairman, I call this meeting of the Red Sox Infielders World Domination and Cooking Club Club to order.....(notes Cora waving insistently) Yes, Alex?

CORA: I forget, why exactly are you chairman again?

YOUKILIS: Because I have seniority, remember?

CORA: All four of us are older than you.

YOUKILIS: Red Sox seniority, Alexander...

LORETTA: And the fact that he's hitting the best out of all of us.

CORA: Oh, right.

YOUKILIS: Now, let's see how the Club Offiicial Plan for World Domination is coming. Mike, what's your report?

LOWELL: (in dulcet German tones; think Alan Rickman from Die Hard) Indeed, Mister Chairman. I am highly pleased with the success of Phases One and Two.

YOUKILIS: AKA " Operation Reduced Expectations", and the current phase, "Operation Double"?

LOWELL: Exactly. By first emphasizing my vulnerability, and then going on a hot streak, I have drawn in that pool of fans previously utilized by Herr Mueller, leaving them ripe for indoctrination in to our army of WORLD DOMINATION! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

YOUKILIS: (bangs gavel) All right, Michael, calm down, calm down. And stop using that German accent, it's creeping me out.

LOWELL: (normal voice) Oh, you're no fun.

YOUKILIS: Watch, J.T, how are we coming on the scientific side of it?

SNOW: It's going pretty well, I think. Tito has played right into our hands, giving me all that time on the bench. I have been repeatedly able to slip out to work on our Brainwashing Machine, under the Third Base Concourse. It's looking splendid.

YOUKILIS: Good, good. Now, time for Mark's report. (notices LORETTA is not paying attention) Mark? MARK!

LORETTA:(looks up and over his hornrim glasses) Aw shucks, what? I just saw a really pretty luna moth for my collection.

YOUKILIS: (sighs) This is the problem, Mark. You're not pulling your weight, you're off with your beetles, when you need to be working on your hitting, drawing in new fans for indoctrination. This cold streak you've been on could have seriously damaged The Plan.

LORETTA: Oh, Kevin, please, don't kick me out, I promise, I promise I'll be good.

YOUKILIS: Well, all right, you better be, but for now, you're moving on to Cora's project.

LORETTA: The Subway Infiltration? Aw, but it's dark down there.

CORA: You're telling me...

YOUKILIS: (angrily) ENOUGH! I am the Chairman here. And trust me, I know what is best. Do you want to go back to being a normal infield, or do you WANT TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD? Becuase, we can do it, we have the power, we can bend the fans to our will, and mold them to our nefarious puposes. ARE YOU WITH ME?







(knock on the door) (everbody turns the lights off, runs and hides)

ALEX GONZALEZ: Hey, is anybody here? Yoooo-hoooo....Damnit.
There's something going on here, I just can't figure out what. (leaves)

(Nefarious chuckles emanate from the darkness.)