Sunday, April 30, 2006

Heir Apparent

The Mohawk is gone.
Yet the awesome remains.
Jonathan Papelbon, Major League Record Holder.
I think that I may have finally found an heir to the All-Powerful Vegetable Mojo. While no one can really replace the Poor Beloved String Bean, the Mojo is a eternal and temperamental thing, demanding to be used.

Bow, Jonathan R. Papelbon, that ye may receive the gift and responsibility of the All Powerful Vegetable Mojo.

Use it well. May it help you assist Sir Schilling reach 5-0 today.

(P.S. Last week was concert week, and thus crazy. I promise to both watch more baseball and post more frequently this week.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tuesday's Game As Expressed Through Badly Adapted Popular Songs

*to the tune of Barry Manilow's Mandy*

Oh Maaaaatty.....
Well you came and you pitched without whining....
But they didn't score runs, oh Matty....
You came out, for the seventh, and were shaky
But you still pitched real well oh Matty.....

*to the tune of "Lump" by Presidents of the USA*

Youk, he came to the plate down 1
His team needed runs, he knew in his heart
Mojo flowed throw him, down into his high socks
He totally confused all the pitching Devil Rays

He's Youk He's Youk
I love him so
He's YoukHe's YoukHe's Youk
Scored runs ahead we go...

* to the tune of the Beatles' "Get Back" ( props to my mother for the inspiration)*




*to the tune of Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' But a G Thang"*
One, two, three and to the fo’
Jon Papelbon and Dr. Schill are at the do’
Ready to make an entrance, so back on up
[cuase you know we ’bout had to rip shit up]

Gimme the splitter first, so I can bust like a bubble
Louisiana and Alaska, now you know you in trouble

Ain’t nothin’ but a Sox thang, baaaaabay!
Two fastball geeks so we’re craaaaazay!
Theo Epstein is the Gangsta that paaaaays me!
Unfazable, so please don’t try to faze me [hell yeah]

*to the tune of "O Canada"*


This season is some crazy shit, y'all.

Monday, April 17, 2006

"Hey Baby..."

*Barry White Playing in the Background*

"It's Mark. I knew you were worried about today's game. Hoping we could come out of this series with a win. And I know we didn't do very well, keeping it cool. Back and forth, back and forth, Papi homers, Everett homers, V-Tek ties it, Seattle pushes across a run, down 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth.

So I decided, let's bust out with the dramatic, two-run, walkoff homer, bring my team the win. Because I can't have my baby girl spending the rest of this fine afternoon feelin' blue. Just ain't my style.

Happy Patriot's Day, sweetheart."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Up and Down, Up and Down

( Yes, I know, I'm late and remiss in my posting duties. If you had to hand in a 23 page paper on the military in Jane Austen on Monday morning, you would be remiss too.)

Sigh. This seems to be our destiny as a team now, and as a fanbase, to be a roller coaster. When our pitching is on, we are on. When our pitching is off, we suck the big one.

I love pitching, so I should love this, right? I don't really know. Beating up people with slugging last year wasn't so great, because we had to, due to the suckage of the bullpen. However, we were always sure we could do it, "it" being "bust out with a 9 run game on the fly".

This year- it's very very good that our pitching has improved, because our offense has, at the very least, changed. Not by a huge percentage, we haven't become the Pirates or anything. But watching inning after inning go by on Thursday night, soaked in offensive futility, it the very least, unsettling.

Friday, was what we hoped our new pitching would bring. Score just enough runs to support a fantastic pitching performance by THE CURT. ( Yes, he merits all caps now.) 2-1 games are stressful, but fun.

What was not fun? YESTERDAY'S LINEUP. *Comic Book Guy* WORST. RED SOX LINEUP. EVER. This is what happens when EVERYBODY takes an off-day at once. And poor Wake got the business end of the bull's horns.

Yes, that's not gonna be the longterm lineup. Maybe I'm just overreacting, and it would probably be a good idea to reserve judgement until Coco and Trot are simultaneously back. And I'm much more confident in the starting rotation than I was last year. ( Go ahead, take away my Bronson binky card.) It's great to know that we can break out with those 2-1 games more than we did last year.

However, what happens when Beckett, or Schill have an off-week, or an off-start? *shudders*

Ah well. At the very least, we've learned the season won't be boring.

Bonus Feature: " Random Notes Scrawled on My Score Card from Thursday Night's Trip To Fenway"

*Expert Opinion from The Right Field Boxes: WILY MO IS ONE BIG DUDE.
* "Silly Tek AB Music"- I have no idea what this means. It may just be my aversion to anything Three Doors Down.
* The Vernon Wells Grand Slam- Best example ever of the collective emotional state of a baseball crowd. Matty was going okay, had a few guys on, but seemed to be working. Pitch to Wells-the moment that ball came off the bat, we all knew. You could feel the air around you change.
* Me, One AB After That: "Oh, sure, NOW you get the ground ball. DISPLEASING, MATTHEW!"
*Note to Self: If you ever bring a 7-year old boy relative to ball park, bring other adult. Force other adult to sit next to boy, to absorb fidgeting.
* I don't think I had ever been to a game where Youk started before. Because it's amazing how Zen-like the YOOOOOOUK chant is. Deep and low, like a herd of cows.
*Mark Loretta's AB Music: "Lowrider". Because Mark is one funky white boy.
* Yelled "Dusty" after great catch by Mr. Mohr, and started to sing "Son of A Preacher Man". Got really strange looks from surrounding people.
*The Crowd, despite the 8-1 score by the 7th inning, was really fun, really loose, one of the best I've been in. A bunch of people joined me in singing along with "Dream On" when it played on the Jumbotron, and Sweet Caroline was, as always, fun. The late-game homer by Papi helped too.
* I have to tell you, being in the crowd as we stood en masse, in the ninth inning to cheer on Wily Mo Pena? And the cheer for a walk as if it was a 400 foot homer? Almost made up for everything else. As did the immediate infusion of hope and excitement after Youk's RBI double to bring us within three. Sure, Papi flied out, as the tying run, to end it. But for that brief 2/3 inning, we were golden. It's amazing how a Fenway crowd can come together just like that. Just amazing.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

About Last Night sucked.

Nothing was on; the Fat Man displayed none of the tendencies of say, control, or pitching, that made me not dislike him at certain points last year. Memo to David Wells: You may have pitched seventy bajillion years, in several World Series, and have a perfect game to your credit. BUT NO ONE IS ABOVE TAKING ANOTHER REHAB START IF THEY NEED IT. Fuck your incentive. That suck would have been better expunged down in Pawtucket, and with the arrangement of off days, we could have afforded it.

You were outpitched and outcooled last night by the Other White Boy, Lenny Dinardo. That should tell you something.

However, I am rational enough, and it's early enough in the season that I realize it wasn't compleeetely his fault. I was watching with a Cubs fan last night, and we were talking on what has been alleged to be the Cubs offensive problem the past few years. That they have had the power hitters, and the home runs, but NO ONE ON BASE WHEN THEY HIT THEM.

We had the home runs last night. Hell, we had a DUSTAN MOHR DINGER last night. However, the middle of our lineup was not the problem. Kevin? Mark? A combined 0-8 is not good, dearhearts. You were working Chacin, as you should, but nothing was coming of it. No table setting means the food stays cold. With table-setting, there could have been a lot more than 4 runs scored off Chacin.
(one happy note: I never though seeing a player take a walk could make me so, so happy. But Wily Mo managed to surprise me. :)

But it's April. And we're 6-2. So it's cool.
Tonight's another game. But you better win this time. Because if you don't, I will be watching 100 feets away. I will stomp down from the right field boxes, and teach you a lesson.
( Yes, all 5'4 of me. I'm feisty.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Dispatches from the Home (Opener) Front

Dear Papi,


P.S. Yaay homers! Yaay for saying Baise-Toi to the stupid Blue Jays shift at least once. ( It's something rude. In French. Because they're Canadian, you see.)

Dear Coco,

NO MORE HEAD FIRST SLIDING EVER. It annoys me no end, how cunning you are, that you work so hard to make me like you, and I submit, and than stupid shit like this finger fracture happens. ( I feel for you too, because jamming your index finger hurts like a bitch. I did in volleyball in sixth grade, so I should know, obviously. Although it only prevented me from playing the violin.)
I can't bear to blame you. So I will blame the base. And possibly, and collectively, the city of Baltimore. STUPID BALTIMORE WHERE IT IS 6:42.

Dear Mark ,

You know that you pretty much have the second base job locked up, don't you? I know we're pretty tough on second basemen, but I think you're sticking around for a while. We understand that people go 0-4 occasionally, we won't sneak in the middle of the night and put your stuff in the parking lot if you have an off game. Not that I am not incredibly turned on by all the big sexy defense you and Gonzo are playing, and would object if it continued. But dude. That "jump 10 feet in the air and deflect the ball with your body for the double play" play looked tiring. Pace yourself.

Dear Keith and Wily,

le sigh. That was not fun.

Dear Jonathan,

You are one bad-ass, ass-kicking, dead sexy mothafuckah.

Dear Josh,

Okay, yeah, you too.

Dear Red Sox,

Well played, boys. Hell yeah.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Leaving the Nest

(From TSN)
Any other DC comics fans out there? If there are, they will remember that there came a time in the life of Dick Grayson, the first Robin, when he grew up, and went out into the world, and left the sheltering darkness of the Batcave. He was no longer a sidekick, he was his own superhero, Nightwing.

I feel like that's what we're watching right now, with our own pitching superhero. Only better. Because, while on his own, Nightwing was a pretty lame superhero, Jonathan is anything but lame. Tonight, for the second time in 4 days, I watched him go out there and scare the shit out of three major league hitters. He made the usually dignified Michael Young look silly. He gave Miguel Tejada, no slouch in the offensive department, fits, sending him back to the dugout shaking his head. Last year he was pretty unflappable, especially for rookie; this year he has iceblood running through those veins. Until he gets the job done, and then he lets loose with the passion that has endeared him to the rest of Red Sox Nation. It's like if Dick Grayson has grown up to become another Batman. (In the coolness factor alone.)

Last year, it was a rare and wonderful pleasure when we were on the good end of a 2-1 game. We've now won two of them within the space of the first week. Apart from Wake's awful Tuesday outing, we've had our starters give us a strong 7 innings in each of the first 5 games.( Yes, even with the shaky 7th, the rest of Matty's outing last night was highly pleasing.) Josh Beckett may indeed have a rather large head ( which I feel for, having a big melon myself), but he also has a pair of very large cojones, and seeing him pump his fist or playfully talk with Manny in the dugout, I like him already. And Wake will come around, as good knuckleballers inevitably do. Watching our rotation perform as it's capable of gives me warm fuzzies. It makes me ALMOST not miss String Bean. ( Almost.)

The only slightly worrying thing is that our bullpen still seems a little thin towards the end there, and Seanez just flatout sucked last night. However, Foulkie's looking better, Timlin looked like Timlin tonight, and we've got the closest thing to a sure thing in the ninth that we've had in a year or so. And there's Hansen and Lil' Manny percolating in the minors, if needed. So, in all, very optimistic.

Some fans say they like baseball for the hitting, and there's all that bullshit about "Chicks dig the long ball". I won't deny that watching Papi hit one out is one of the sweetest things in the world. But I'll tell you, there's nothing like the rush I got watching Jonathan mow down the middle of the Orioles lineup tonight without breaking a sweat. You don't last very long, I think, as a baseball fan, if you don't on some level enjoy watching good pitching. It gets you up on your feet, it gets your blood pumping, and when a pitcher is hitting his spots, you feel it viscerally like nothing else.

Which is what makes Papelbon's coming of age so incredibly satisfying. A very good, possibly great young pitcher coming into his own. Nothing like it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dr. Red Sox and Mr. Hyde

Well, that was a pair of games to give you whiplash.

Monday, everything seemed to go right. While Millwood had the lineup pretty much solved for the first three innings, it didn't matter. Schill was holding up his end of the bargain, looking the best that I have seen him look in a year. He was doing what an ace was supposed to do, playing the guy holding the barbarians back with a fruit knife while the rest of the battalion suits up.

And suit up they did. I could seriously watch an entire game of Coco Crisp scoring from first. He runs so pretty. And his mate at the top of the order ain't bad either. Though I had a soft spot for Edgar last year, more than other people did, I have to admit it's so nice to see our number two hitter battle through at-bats again. NewMark is smart, tough, and wily at the plate, and is definitely doing his damnedest to escape the shadows of the Bell and the Graffer. I think he shall succeed, verily.

Papi......I was heading out to rehearsal at the beginning of the fifth, listening to the game, and stopped to button my coat. I heard a crack over the radio and the tell-tale excitement in Castig's voice, and I just knew. David Ortiz is one of the few people in existence who can make me whoop and do an actual honest to God happy dance in the middle of the Quincy Courtyard. ( God, I missed baseball.)

I did not miss what last night's game brought with it, though that's part of baseball too. To paraphrase Aaron Sorkin, "In baseball, oftentimes, other people win." Which is bloody annoying, But last night, it was not just that they lost, it was how they lost. If Monday was clicking on all cylinders, than Tuesday was the car blowing up in a fiery wreck. Nothing was "on" last night, with the possible exception of Coco. Wake just did not have it. When that happens , Katy bar the door, because there is rarely a middle ground with knuckleballers, it's all or nothing.

And while I was loath to say so last night, it was poor Josh Bard's bad luck that Wake's firestorm of suck coincided with his first start. I have faith, or at least have optimism, that the PB number will go down, and Bard will improve. However, I can't resist one little bit of snark... DOUG MIRABELLI WOULD HAVE REMEMBERED HOW MANY OUTS THERE WERE.
(It's seriously the little things, people.)

So, given the extremes demonstrated over the first two games, I have no idea what to expect tonight. With Becks taking the ball, I have hope the pitching will be substantially better, and the offense less futile. Really, I'd just be satisfied with a happy medium. I am patient. ( Well not really. But the excitement of having Beckett out there for the first time is a nice sedative.)

Even in Cincinnati, The All Powerful Vegetable Mojo Lives on.

Hell yeah.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I would write more about Opening Day yesterday

Image hosting by Photobucket
(hat tip to Surviving Grady)
But Coco Crisp's cuteness is overwhelming my neurons.

Plus Wake just don't have it tonight. AND I MISS DOUG MIRABELLI SO DAMN MUCH.

(Yes it's only the second inning. But that first inning stunk. More later, maybe.)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Today, It's Not Tomorrow

I look out my window, and the sun smiles back at me out of a blue and balmy Boston skyline. As if to frame the day for what's to come.

Sure, the team themselves is physically 1500 miles away. In Texas where it's a relatively sweltering 66 degress, perfect weather for baseball. But they're here alright. In my new hat sitting brightly blue upon the the top of the dresser. In the strains of "Dirty Water" and "Tessie" playing over my speakers. In my itchy pointer finger hardly able to wait to check the score from the Chi-Sox-Indians game last night.

Today, and not tomorrow, all questions, pitching or otherwise, briefly fade away.

Today, Keith Foulke is the badass he was two years ago, ready to show all comers why goddamnit, he's back.

Today, Coco Crisp is not just a replacement, not just a centerfielder, but THE centerfielder, ready to erase all memories of that loudmouth in pinstripes. He's ready to draw of all of Red Sox Nation in his fond embrace.

Today, Jonathan Papelbon is the youthful pitching superhero, ready to carry the Red Sox bullpen on his broad shoulders with his oh-so-sweet smile.

Today Kevin Youkilis is ready to finally take his rightful place in the sun, to hear those chants of "Youuuk" for more than a couple days in a row.

Today, Josh Beckett is the second ace, the fiery linchpin of a rotation which could take on all comers. Ready to put all that intensity to good use, and blow all doubters away.

Today, Manny is Manny, and nothing else matters.

Today, Curt Schilling is about to reclaim his mantle of ace and number one starter, to take one of the league's top offenses and make them an object lesson in pitching aplomb. The Big Schill, back in the saddle again.

Today, Papi smiles his magnificent smile again, and is awesome in the ancient mythological sense. Adored by his followers, striking fear in the hearts of the opposition.

Tomorrow, we come back down to Earth, worry about wins and losses and ERAs and AVGs and statistics, and those things are important to be sure.
But today it's Opening Day, and our team is back, alive with possibilities.
Play ball.