Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Ah, you east coast college kids have no idea how important choice of university can be. Ones university determines friends and foes, alliances and enemies. Families are torn asunder. Random strangers are perfectly willing to do battle. It's not entirely unlike the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, only more blatantly centered around football. Also, one side is several hundred times more intelligent than the other. Ahem.
I had the following conversation with Rob from The Cheap Seats earlier tonight. I find it a delightful example of how something like Tigers blogging can bring people together, but, in Michigan, the collegiate rift makes it all too easy to slip into heated argument...
(screen names, as per usual, changed to protect the blatantly guilty)
BostonFanMI (5:31:01 PM): OUR MASCOT IS NOT WEARING A SKIRT [referring to the Michigan State Spartan, who is wearing a skirt]
BleacherSeats (5:31:31 PM): your mascot is essentially a rabid weasel.
BleacherSeats (5:31:49 PM): (all apologies to the University of Wisconsin)
BostonFanMI (5:32:12 PM): our mascot is FEROCIOUS and A NOBLE WILD BEAST
BostonFanMI (5:32:26 PM): and it would totally rip off the leg of your mascot in a trice
BleacherSeats (5:33:25 PM): our mascot would smite yours with his mighty sword...(and then take a fifteen yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which that crazy SOB JLS would just chalk up to "effort.")
BostonFanMI (5:34:15 PM): oh please. our mascot would just have to bare his teeth and snarl and your mascot would flee in terror, feathered helmet flapping in the fetid east lansing breeze
BostonFanMI (5:35:08 PM): take THAT! i fight you with IMAGERY!
BleacherSeats (5:37:25 PM): our mascot would put out a few rodent traps and go hang out on the deck at the peanut barrel for a few hours, only to return and find your mascot ensnared, lured in by some of Ed Martin's "cake".
BleacherSeats (5:38:00 PM): (i don't need imagery when i can play the ed martin card.)
BostonFanMI (5:38:57 PM): i knew it! BLOODY FUR TRAPPERS! POACHERS! thwarting the law to entrap an endangered species simply to prove your own manliness by prancing around in camo clothing with a great big gun! just what i would expect from michigan state!
BleacherSeats (5:40:47 PM): camo, my dear feline anarchist, is not necessary when stalking an animal as guileless as a mere wolverine
BostonFanMI (5:42:35 PM): oooo, so you don't deny the shameless bloody gratification your mascot needs to use to prove himself a worthwhile human being? pah.
BleacherSeats (5:43:46 PM): and YOUR mascot wouldn't be engaging in shameless bloody gratification whilst ripping MY mascots leg off, eh?
BostonFanMI (5:44:04 PM): no, he would be doing what wolverines do naturally
And that, my friends, is why the blogosphere is awesome. Because it is populated with awesome individuals who have awesome conversations of this sort. God bless crazy Midwestern college rivalries.
Anyways, the point of all this, insofar as there is one, is that the Sox just finished up a series against the Seattle Mariners and I got to see quite a bit of JJ Putz. Former Michigan Wolverine JJ Putz, pictured up there at the top in his fine Maize and Blue.
Having spent this past series contemplating JJ Putz pretty closely, I have to say that he was surprising. Oh, I wanted to like the guy as much as I could like a Mariner we were playing against, but to be honest I didn't know much at all about his pitching style or how he had been doing in Seattle.
Putz was throwing hard against the Sox. We’re talking 96, 98 mph fastballs flung at the Boston bats, with really only that one rather large mistake that Trotter sent along its merry way to the tune of a grandslam. The thing is, with his gently baggy jersey about the belt (no doubt hiding a softly pudgy middle), his weakly receding chin (inexpertly and ineffectively camouflaged by a blonde scrap of goatee), his ponderous yet awkwardly rangy limbs, he’s got to be the most unassuming fireballer I’ve seen.
I mean, he doesn’t have the imposing height of a Randy Johnson, the compact spring-loaded look of a Rich Harden, the blatantly powerful muscles of a Kyle Farnsworth. He looks like he should be soft-tossing in the mid to upper 80s, junkballing on the side, which just goes to show that I guess you really can’t go ‘try to sell jeans’ when evaluating a baseball player, to put it Moneyball-ly. Yes I just made Moneyball an adverb. I’m a blogger, massacring the English language is practically in the job description.
So I was quite pleased and gratified to see a Michigan guy performing up to the high standards one would expect from a Wolverine, and I swear Rob, if you bring up Mark Mulder, I will have to go for a nice long drive until I find a field full of cows, and then I will mock them. Y'hear? I will find the beloved friends of Michigan State grads everywhere and I will mock them mercilessly.
Oh, and I know there's a Sox game going on right now... when I turned it off it was tied at 4. I would dearly love to stay up and watch the rest of it, but alas, I must awaken rather early on the morrow. Here's what I had in my notes from the early innings.
Ah, it’s always a pleasure to watch Youks tee off against Oakland. Ha ha, you have to wonder if they’re planning to use him twice in this series to really give Millar and Mueller a rest, or because Theo just wants to dangle him in Billy Beane’s face during this series. OK, it’s probably because they really want to give the corner infielders a rest, but I prefer to think otherwise in my deranged little mind. Also, he just worked a walk in his first at-bat. Youks is da man.
Mark Bellhorn just did what Mark Bellhorn does… watch the ball go by. In this case, he let Saarloos make his own mistakes until he gave him a little tailing fastball that Bellhorn didn’t entirely dislike and was able to drop in for a basehit. I imagine Bellhorn’s train of thought in this at-bat went something like this:
“Oh look another ball I will let that go by.”
“Another ball I will stand here some more.”
“3-0 I will still stand here oh he’s going fastball I see.”
“Look at that I am on first base also we have scored two runs.”
Mark Bellhorn does not use commas in his conversations with himself. Obviously.
The curveball Bronson struck Charles Thomas out on (bottom 3rd), in the replay, was a beauty. It ended up being snagged by ‘Tek in the dirt, but when Thomas saw it it was waist high, hanging fat in the air. It dropped down fast, too late for him to do anything but swing and look silly. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: that ‘chicks dig the longball’ stuff is bunk. Strikeouts are so much hotter.
The bottom of the 5th inning is downright hideous, with 9 men batting and Arroyo hitting two of them. It’s that damn breaking ball, not intention, of course… he didn’t lead the league in hit batsmen last year because he’s some kind of crazed headhunter, he led the league in hit batsmen because one of his favored pitches tends to break wildly inside and, well, hit guys. The A’s, to their credit, seem to realize this—they don’t make a fuss over the hit men, just take their bases with some light wincing. The Yanks would have started a brawl by now.
And that's all I've got, other than noting that Remy and Don seemed unnaturally preoccupied with Kirk Saarloos' hair. It is very voluminous and spiky and black. They compared it to Barry Zito's hair. Then Danny Haren sat down next to him and he's got the same hair. Creepy.
Oh yeah, and we all strongly dislike Eric Byrnes, but you have to admit that the video of him tackling the fan who ran out onto the field was bloody hilarious. I must now sleep, PLEASE let me wake up to a Red Sox victory.