Friday, April 29, 2005
Probably not so much with the homophobia, on the Red Sox.
Very interesting article in the Weekend section of the Globe today about the play "Take Me Out", which is coming to New England. It's the story of a gay baseball player who comes out of the closet and "throws his team into turmoil".
The Globe piece is interesting, as they talk more about the actor than the actual play, really... and let me note that the actor was specifically selected to be "a biracial superstar who is cocky but lovable and who, by the way, looks great". The photo they provide shows the guy's baseball uniform, which is, uh, black and white pinstripes. The team name appears to be 'Empires'. Gee whiz, insinuating much?
The most interesting bit, though, is that they interviewed a bunch of players and writers about what would happen if a gay baseball player really did come out of the closet.
Jim Bouton: "I would say that the better a player you are, the more gay you would be allowed to be. I would say you could be quietly gay if you hit between .275 and .300 or won 10 to 15 games. You could be flamboyantly gay if you hit anywhere over .330, drive in 100 runs, win 20 games. Because winning is more important than anything else."
David Halberstam (author of The Teammates and Summer of '49): "If he was really good, the local fans would cheer and his teammates would appreciate him, and other fans would be incredibly cruel. If he was not good, his teammates and local fans won't be very good. Everyone eventually gets over it. The key to Jackie Robinson-- and this is an apples-and-oranges situation and a different kind of prejudice and a not-so-insidious prejudice-- was that he was not only the first, but very, very good."
Johnny Damon: "If he came out years ago, there definitely would be some harassing or whatnot, but I think in today's day and age, it's normal-- not so much normal in the baseball aspect but normal as in life. If someone came out on the baseball field I don't think it would be a big deal, just as long as there was respect on both ends... If I had a gay teammate I'm sure we'd keep slapping each other on the butt."
Bronson Arroyo: "I don't think it would be accepted that much. Most of the teams I've played with, probably half the team are pretty religious guys. For me personally, I couldn't care less.... It would matter [how good a player he was]. If it was a guy who was young in the league and kind of like a rookie, I'm sure it would be a lot harsher than if Manny Ramirez came out. If Manny Ramirez came out today and said, 'I'm gay,' you know what? Most people probably would accept it and it would be like, 'Well, that's just Manny'."
Jason Varitek: "It probably would be tougher if you found out afterward rather than if you found out while they were playing. I think that honestly in that situation is key. I can't really say how I'd react unless it actually happens."
Seems to be quite a bit of agreement on the fact that the better you are, the easier it would be for you to come out of the closet. So if we had, say, Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez announcing to the world that they were gay (just to throw some names out there completely at random) it would of course be a big deal, gasp gasp, gayness in baseball, o woe is me. But it wouldn't be half so bad for Jeter as it would be for, uh, let's say Bubba Crosby, to stick with the Yankee theme, if he decided to say he was gay.
It's not entirely unlike how you're allowed to be an ornery old fat man who wants to stay at home and keeps threatening to leave the team if you happen to be Roger Clemens. The fourth and fifth starters of the world can demand treatment like old Rog gets, but they'll be called insane and lazy and self-absorbed and all that. But if you've managed to go 21 seasons with a lifetime ERA of 3.18 and a lifetime winning percentage of 66.67%, you're allowed lots of things. Rogers Clemens is probably the least gay fat old man to wear a salmon jersey with a big star on it, but, theoretically, if he announced one day that he was gay, I somehow don't think too many of his Houston teammates would have a problem with it.
As for the responses of the Red Sox players here, hmmmm. I'm not at all surprised that Johnny couldn't care less-- if someone put a pygmy hippopotamus in a Red Sox hat and stuck it in the lockerroom, I'm pretty sure he'd slap it on the ass and call it a great teammate. Yes, I too am getting annoyed by his 'lookit me, I'm a celebrity and an athlete too!' schtick, but whatever you say about the guy, he is not in the least way judgemental of his teammates.
Bronson seems to have a slightly more realistic and wider view of the thing. He doesn't care, but he recognizes that the Holy Roller contingent probably would. Note one very loud voice missing from the people interviewed here... what's Schilling's take? Lord knows he's got an opinion on every other issue in the news today, and he's usually pretty willing to share them. Perhaps the Globe had a sneaking suspicion of the attitude he'd take, though, and didn't even try to ask. You'll note that they didn't interview any of the other well-publicized Christians either: no Mike Timlin, no Bill Mueller, no Trot Nixon (or am I imagining that one? Why do I have Trotter in the 'Jesus huggers' category of my brain?).
Of course, they interviewed 3 players on the entire team, so it's possible (probable) that I'm reading too much into that.
Upon reflection, it would be very interesting to see the reaction of a guy like Pudge Rodriguez, who is very, very Catholic but is also very, erm, secure. I don't think I've ever heard him asked about what would happen if a gay ballplayer came out of the closet, but I'd be rather interested to see his take on it.
Hard to make much of what 'Tek said, although of course he would be more concerned about honesty than anything else. The 'I'm not sure how I'd react unless it actually happened' thing is probably a very honest response, for which you can't fault him. I just wish he'd been able to say, 'You know, if that happened, it wouldn't matter to me at all.' If one of his teammates did come out that probably would be his ultimate reaction, because 'Tek's nothing if not professional, but I do sort of wish he'd been able to say it now. You know what I mean here.
Oh, and can we all just take a moment to reflect on how awesome it is that the name Bronson used for an example was Manny Ramirez? Hee hee. Seriously, I wouldn't read anything into that at all, because if you're looking for a player whose quirks have already been embraced by the public due to his immense skill on the field, Manny Ramirez is it. And Manny's probably one of the few guys in that clubhouse who honestly wouldn't get upset about their name being used in such a way. But, with the manhugging and all (see photo at top of entry for example), it's still giggle-worthy.
I think I probably used the word 'interesting' about 500 times in this one blog entry, but oh well. Too bad. Red Sox baseball recommences tonight, but I must admit I'm just shaking with excitement for Monday and the Red Sox/Tigers series. As I'll probably be a wreck during that entire series, you guys should have some entertaining blogs to look forward to.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
I will get to Omar Infante in a minute.
This is one of those times that I thank the sweet heavens for the Tigers.
Curt Schilling is out for however the hell long he's out for, with what is being called a bone bruise but is being speculated about as a possible stress fracture (on the magical interweb, grain of salt, grain of salt). David Wells is out for however the hell long he's out, with whatever the hell he did to his ankle. Our rotation, as it stands right now, is as follows:
1. Knuckleballer, which on any given day is either a really really good thing or a really really bad thing.
2. Guy aiming to have the highest number of hit batsmen in the league by the All Star break.
3. Some of the worst chin hair in baseball, attached to a potential headcase.
4. Guy with eyebrows of doom, who should only ever be used in relief.
5. Mystery minor leaguer to be announced later-- the best candidates being a kid from AAA who played in exactly one major league game last year, and a guy whose scouting report compares his emotional on-mound behavior to that of Derek Lowe.
Say what you will about keeping the panic to a minimum, that's not a real confidence-inspiring rotation right there. And no, I am not going to hang all my hopes and dreams on the imminent return of Wade Miller. I'll believe it when I see it.
So this is really one of those times when I was, you know, freaking out a bit (as perhaps the last couple of entries have hinted). So what do the Tigers do? They get together in the clubhouse and they decide that I have had more than enough and deserve a break.
Jeremy Bonderman: That poor lass has had to deal with Pitching Implosion after Pitching Implosion. I will remind her what good pitching looks like! 97 mph fastball! Strikeouts aplenty!
Craig Monroe: I must cement my position in the Red Sox Corner! I will hit the ball 421 feet! Two-run homer, yay!
Carlos Pena: This will be the game I start hitting in again, because that girl has had enough sadness. Time for a double!
Omar Infante: Yes, I too am inspired to begin hitting again! Time for a double!
Carlos Guillen: I will have one of the best batting averages in the American League! Hooray for small sample sizes!
Pudge Rodriguez: Yay, a single! Throw it up to God! *points at the sky*
Nook Logan: I will be the fastest baserunner you ever did see who is not named Dave Roberts!
Jeremy Bonderman: *gives up a homerun to Aaron Boone* Whoops.
Craig Monroe: Don't worry, Bondy! 9 run lead!
Dmitri Young: Raarrgh, a powerful single!
Mario Impemba: The hittin' shoes are on tonight, Detroit Tigers fans! The hittin' shoes are on tonight!
Rod Allen: Oh yes! That ball had some hair on it!
Mario Impemba: Ha ha, oh Rod, sometimes you just say the darndest things!
Carlos Pena: Let me work a walk from an 0-2 count! Awesome eyes! Sticking it to the Oakland team that gave up on me, and for my man Jeremy*!
Alan Trammell: I think I will pull Bondy in the middle of this inning.
Jeremy Bonderman: *glares*
Alan Trammell: I think I will go sit back down in the dugout for a while.
Bob Cluck: *passes Tram a new pair of underwear* Did you know I used to play in a band called Bob Cluck and the Chickens**?
Rod Allen: Not a surprise! Cluckie's a left-hander!
Mario Impemba: Ha ha ha! You crazy, Rod, you crazy!
Bobby Higginson: *comes in for one at-bat at the end of the game, flies out*
Jeremy Bonderman: No no Bobby, that's not what we're here to do tonight. *strikes out Aaron Boone*
Aaron Boone: *falls into giant, fiery pit which has suddenly opened up in the ground*
Satan: COME, MY SON, RETURN TO YOUR TRUE FAMILY.
Aaron Boone: Yaaaaaaaayyyyyyy.......
Bobby Higginson: Sorry, I don't know how to do anything else.
Brandon Inge: *snaps his gum*
Thank the sweet heavens indeed.
There was one other thing from the Tigers game tonight that absolutely could not be glossed over. During one of Omar Infante's magically interminable at-bats, Rod and Mario began to deviate a bit from the usual baseball announcer style. These are actual quotes, I'm not making them up.
Mario Impemba: And he spoils another pitch! What an at-bat put on by Omar Infante!
Rod Allen: He's a handsome young man too.
*both chuckle heartily*
Rod Allen: You think he has any trouble getting a date?
Mario Impemba: Ha ha! I'm not too good a judge of these things, but I don't think Omar does too badly!
No, I have absolutely no idea what prompted this exchange.
But I put it to you, the readers, to decide: Omar Infante, HOT or NOT? Rod and Mario: insane, or spot-on?
If you need more evidence to reach a decision, here are a couple more shots. Let me know what you think. Ladies and gentlemen are both free to comment-- after all, it's Rod and Mario who got us rolling here.
Tomorrow (er, later today) Mike Maroth puts on his Extraordinary Mental Makeup Mike cape and his bright orange Extraordinary Mental Makeup Mike undies and prepares to take on the Indians, while the Red Sox have an off day. This is good, because it means that Kevin Millar can spend all day with his new babies.
For those of you who don't recall, the Millars have been trying to have kids for a while, and last season his wife had a miscarriage, which they both took very hard. So I am absurdly, ridiculously happy for the both of them. 5 BILLION CONGRATULATIONS TO THE MILLARS. And a very sincere 'good luck' to his kids. Because you just know he's going to embarass the fuck out of them once they're old enough to have friends to be embarassed in front of.
*If you don't know this story... well, I won't get into it right now. Suffice it to say that certain persons in the Oakland administration said some very nasty things about Bonderman when they drafted him, and they make me downright furious, and I want to kill puppies when I think about them.
**100% of FACT. You can't make that stuff up.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
An educational list of
Things that suck and what they suck:
-Lamprey (fish flesh)
-Vacuum cleaners (dust and detritus)
-Black holes (light)
-Sink drains (water)
-Ocean undertow (small unwary children)
-Suction cups (air)
-Baleen whales (krill)
-Starbucks (my money)
-Straw (soda, not pop, you freak midwesterners)
-KEITH FOULKE (A LOT)
I DON'T FUCKING KNOW, KEITH, WHY DON'T YOU FIGURE IT OUT AND LET US KNOW?
edit: So A-Rod had 10 RBI tonight, and the last player to do that was Nomar, with the Sox. Behold.
"Definitely tonight was one of those magical nights," Rodriguez said. "I've hit three home runs before, but nothing feels as special as this, doing it in New York, doing it in the pinstripes... right after I hit that last base hit up the middle, I felt like I was in the clouds-- you just don't want it to end."
VOMIT, VOMIT, VOMIT, VOMIT.
This literally makes me feel physically ill.
REMIND ME TO NOT WATCH SPORTSCENTER FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS, OK?
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Right, so we lost to the Orioles. Laugh it up while you can, buddy.
It's the lovable, asthmatic Matty Clement against Rodrigo 'Holy fuck is his ERA really 1.91?' Lopez tonight, and we all know what happened last time we had that matchup.... that's right, a pitcher's duel that could've gone either way. Great. Anyways, I was at last night's game, thanks to my dad's cousin Beth, who gave me her tickets to the game, thank-you-a-billion-times-Beth-those-seats-are-kickass.
Warning: this is going to be long. I'm not sorry at all.
The poorly-lit photo I've been waiting my entire life to take.
The rest of the photos I took, bad focus and all, can be seen here.
I would just like to mention that a girl got on at Symphony* with a pink Red Sox hat, and I was filled with a deep, brilliant desire to break things. All that time in Michigan, I'd nearly forgotten how much I sincerely despise those hats and, yes, those who wear them. I'll be as judgmental as I want, thank you.
So far as I'm concerned it's a bit like someone wearing a star-of-David necklace because they think it's a cool design and goes with their shoes, not because they're Jewish or have any actual respect for the Jewish faith. It's taking the symbol of something that I hold pretty dear and cheapening it for the sake of fashion. It makes me angrier than a Vikings fan at a beer-less social event, and I have to try really hard to not throw whatever heavy objects are at hand at the offending wearers of the pink hats.
We walked down to Fenway, and found our seats, and these were my initial overriding impressions:
-The amount of people streaming into Fenway and in the areas immediately surrounding Fenway is much more reminiscent of the scene just before a U of M football game than the scene just before a Tigers game. Take it how you will.
-Not too many Orioles hats floating around today.
-Thank cats I brought gloves.
-These seats fucking rock. Pity Mueller's still sick, I would've had great views of him all game long.
-Who the hell is that in the outfield? (I forgot to check the lineups before heading out... imagine my horror when I finally realized that, yes, that was indeed Kevin Millar holding down the fort in left field)
-God, David Wells is really fat.
-Fenway is tiny. I hadn't been inside the park since last summer, and in the interim I'd been to football games at Ford Field (large) and Michigan Stadium (largest in, uh, the world), a hockey game at Yost (loud), and baseball games at Comerica (large). Especially compared to Comerica, Fenway is midgetal. And I don't just mean the field, because, outfield nonwithstanding, it's still 90 feet in the right places and all that. But I'd nearly forgotten how small Fenway itself is. The concourses at Comerica are as roomy as they are at any football stadium, and stuff like the Big Cat Court, with its rotunda of eateries and full-scale merry-go-round of rideable tigers, is simply inconceivable at Fenway. And of course you can sit in any seat at Comerica without contorting yourself painfully. Although I think the Loge Box seats at Fenway have more leg room than the Grandstand seats do. Either that or my legs shrunk at some point during the year.
All that said, if they ever try to change Fenway in any appreciable way, I'm rioting.
We settled in, and poor Corey got the full, character-enhancing experience of baseball with me. You see, Corey is what we call a 'normal' art student, in that he knows little or nothing about the Red Sox or, indeed, the sport of baseball**. Which is not to say he's no fun to go to a game with-- he's got all the enthusiasm for the team, just in a more general I-live-and-go-to-school-in-the-Boston-area sense. So I started giving him little anecdotes about each player who came up.
"That's Mark Bellhorn, now you have to expect that he's going to strike out, because he does that a lot, but over the course of the season his walks and hits sort of make it worthwhile," and "That's Ramon Vasquez, he doesn't normally start, but Bill Mueller is out with the flu, and I don't much like Vasquez because his bat's not worth a tinker's damn, that's why he's hitting ninth," and "See, the pitcher will throw the ball to first base a bunch of times to check Johnny Damon, because Damon's fast, you generally want your leadoff man to have a really good on base percentage and to be pretty speedy, although that's not always true, they don't do it like that in Oakland for example, and if I'm boring you or telling you stuff you already know just tell me and I'll stop."
Here Corey made the cardinal error of telling me that not only was I not boring him, I was giving him insight into the game and he appreciated it a great deal. This basically sealed his fate for the evening, as he had to listen to me prattle on in such a fashion for the entire game, up to and including commentary on the entire Sosa saga, the concept of pitch counts and the subsequent overreliance on relief pitchers, and the pink hat rant. It was only interrupted so that I could occasionally scream at the top of my lungs things like, "LET'S GO EDGAH!" and "DON'T HACK AT IT, DON'T BE AFRAID TO TAKE A BASE ON BALLS, MANNY!"
I tried to explain things about the Orioles too ("Gil isn't their usual catcher... Tejada's a great player, damn him... Roberts has been on a homerun tear, but it won't last"), but I'm not sure some things got through. The first time Javy Lopez got into the on-deck circle I excitedly punched Corey in the arm. "Oooo! Look! Javy Lopez!" Corey was not impressed. "So? He's on the other team." "Yes, but he's Javy Lopez." "Yeah...?" How can you explain 'he's an Oriole but just look at how cute he is, and have you seen his batting average?' without sounding like a bad Red Sox fan?
David Wells, I have to say, did indeed look pretty bad, and not just because you'd hate to see what his arteries look like. Even before he injured himself (on a play that, by the by, he definitely did not need to make) he wasn't doing anything special with the ball. It looked like he was having trouble getting the ball over the plate ("COME ON BOOMAH, LOCATE THE FUCKING BALL!") and his velocity was very lukewarm.
I was willing to assume it was the cold at first, but after a couple innings of watching him blow on his hands and struggling obesely through each batter I abandoned the rational viewpoint and decided that he, personally, wanted me, personally, to suffer. This let me spend the rest of the short time he was actually on the field stewing angrily and clapping sarcastically whenever he finally threw a strike, which is pretty much my default attitude anyways.
After David Wells pulled up limping and mysteriously continued to pitch until he'd driven us into a deeper hole, we got the litany of relief pitchers. Blaine Neal as the long man was, uh, unexpected. I treated Corey to the "God, I hate this guy, look at his ERA, and we always put him in as a sign of surrender, why the hell aren't we putting in Halama, our starter's out in the 4th inning and I thought Halama was our long guy, but anyways, he did good in the brawl yesterday," rant. I guess he didn't suck, at least not as badly as Wells did.
When Mantei pulled up limping and slunk from the field, I threw up my hands and shouted, "TWICE? Twice in one game?!? Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? WHAT DID I DO? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?" along with the rest of the people in the crowd who were actually there to watch baseball and not just to drink beer and tell all their friends that they'd been to Fenway last night. People, crazy as this sounds, I don't give a shit if there's a fight over there in the stands. There happens to be a baseball game being played right now. I'd really appreciate it if you would sit the fuck down and pay attention to the fucking game, which is what we're supposed to care about to begin with.
Annoying as the 'I'm only here because it's cool and I don't care about baseball' crowd was, there were some quality individuals. There were three very drunken and very vocal gentlemen sitting about two rows behind us, one of whom had a deeply rooted hatred of Sammy Sosa.
"SOSA! YER A BUM! YER A BUM, SOSA!"
"HEY SOSA, YOU FUCKIN' TRAITAH! HOW 'BOUT THOSE CUBBIES, EH SOSA?"
"HEY SAMMY, YER WASHED UP! GET OFF THE FIELD YOU WASHED UP BUM!"
"ANY CORK IN THAT BAT, SOSA? TOO BAD IT DON'T MATTAH, BECAUSE YER A BUM WHO CAN'T HIT THE BALL!"
"HEY SOSA, YOU FUCKIN' JUICAH!"
"SAMMY, YER A BUM!"
I was actually a bit surprised by the level of disdain Fenway as a whole had for Sammy Sosa. I'm not sure why I wasn't expecting it, what with the steroid stuff and all, but the first 'BALCO' chant didn't come until sometime in the 7th or 8th inning anyways, and most of the heckling didn't seem to be steroid-based. He was booed mercilessly every time he came up to bat, sometimes just when he got up into the on-deck circle. There were a lot of people yelling stuff about the Cubs and cork. I guess maybe Red Sox fans get defensive on behalf of the Cubs out of a sense of brotherhood or something. We had suffered next to them for so long, it's almost like the crowd felt it was as much their duty to torment Sosa as if they'd been at Wrigley.
This same gentleman, it should be said, was very much for equal treatment and was not above heckling his own team.
(after Vasquez had made another uninspiring, not-in-time throw from third) "WHERE'S BILLY? I WANT TA SEE BILLY MUELLAH OUT THERE! YOU SUCK, RAHMON!"
There was also a young lady who kept standing up every time BJ Surhoff was attempting to bat.
"YOU SUCK, SURHOFF! MY GRANDMOTHER'S GOT BIGGER BALLS THAN YOU!"
"HEY, WHAT THE FUCK DOES 'BJ' STAND FOR ANYWAYS?"
Brian Roberts got some boos the first couple of times he came to the plate, but then people seemed to lose interest. Other than that the crowd seemed relatively tolerant of the Orioles, and the biggest jab anyone took at them came in the form of a man even fatter than David Wells, who ran, shirtless, out onto the field in what I think was the 8th.
Let the record state that I have never seen a worse case of manboobs.
This floppy fellow barrelled out of the left field stands to immense cheers and made his way towards centerfield, where he was met by a security guard who had had to come racing all the way from the bullpens. After making an 'aw c'mon man' gesture he allowed himself to be led back towards the Orioles dugout, whereupon he began saying things and gesturing into the dugout. The security people, realizing that this was a bad idea, did an about-face and led him off in the other direction. The crowd, annoyed by the score and the lackluster play on the field, was absolutely ecstatic.
High points involving the actual game? Well, they weren't too numerous. 'Tek's booming homerun over the Green Monster was a delight to see, although I did sit back down afterwards grumbling, "Well, great, it's still 7-3." Every strikeout of The Bat-Eared Corker was greeted with immense cheers and, in a dog of a game, was plenty reason for mild celebration. The 9th inning substitution of Bill Mueller for Replacement Level Vasquez got one of the biggest cheers of the night. Everyone was just so fed up with Vasquez, but even more happy to see Mueller alive and well and holding a bat. He struck out, but it was almost OK.
On the whole it was an offensive day we could probably afford to forget, and the defensive arrangement was just plain old wince-inducing. Manny Ramirez is far from an ideal left fielder, but I would rather see him a thousand times than watch Millar lumber around out there like someone had severed his legs below the knee. Our pitching was sad and uninspired and I just heard that David Wells is out for a month so, great. Just great. WONDER-FUCKING-FUL.
In the end, though, I can't be too mad. I mean, yes, it was cold. Yes, the team as a whole played like they were in Pittsburgh. But it was live baseball, at Fenway park. And I got to stare at this for a while:
So that's alright, then.
*Yes, I was on the E line... no, I was not lost. My friend Corey, with whom I was going to the game, is a student at MassArt, and I was meeting him there.
**As opposed to an abnormal art student who knows (and cares) a bit too much about these things, i.e. me.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Now, I know that we’re firmly in the thick of baseball season, and it’s hard to turn our minds from the summer sport. I admit that I have trouble thinking about football when the Red Sox and Tigers are playing (OK, so the Tigers aren’t playing today… game was cancelled due to snow. I’m not kidding. It’s snowing in Detroit. Thank fuck I got out of there already).
But today and yesterday is (was) the NFL Draft, and here at Blue Cats and Red Sox we have managed to get a series of exclusive interviews with many important figures in the draft, and baseball-centric as we may all be right now, one must address these matters in good time.
Blue Cats and Red Sox: Our first interviewee is the number one overall draft pick this year, taken by the San Francisco 49ers… Utah’s Alex Smith. Welcome to Blue Cats and Red Sox, Alex.
Alex Smith: Thanks. Uh, should I call you Blue Cats and Red Sox, or can I call you by your name?
BCRS: Oh, see, what’s that, snark? I hadn’t heard about these personality issues from the Combine reports.
Smith: Erm. *looking around for the closest routes of escape*
BCRS: BCRS will be fine. Now, there’s been a lot of chatter about how high you scored on the Wonderlic test… you got a 40. Most quarterbacks score somewhere in the 20s. Dan Marino got a 16 on his. So what’s the deal here? Football players aren’t smart.
Smith: Well, at Utah we were always encouraged to treat our academics as seriously as our athletics. After all, that’s the point of being a college athlete…
BCRS: Ha ha ha ha. Ah ha. Oh man. *wipes tears from eyes* Sorry, excuse me, I go to Michigan. That’s not exactly what Michigan looks at when they try to recruit a college athlete. Hee hee, smart football players, what a concept. Speaking of whatever we were speaking of, what was it like at Utah, being America’s Cinderella small-conference team and whatnot?
Smith: It was just great to be able to show everyone the kind of program that we have in Utah, that you don’t have to be SEC or Big 10 or whatever to play hard. It was great to prove that we had the heart and the ability to play with those guys when no one thought we could.
BCRS: What about Boise State?
Smith: What about them?
BCRS: They have a blue field. They’re small-conference too, and they did better than lots of people expected, and they have a blue field. Doesn’t that make them more awesome than you?
Smith: Uh… I don’t think the color of the field really matters all that much.
BCRS: Sounds like someone’s jealous. Jealous that their football field isn’t blue and awesome.
Smith: Jealous? I just got told, basically, that I’m the best college football player in the draft. You see any Boise State guys up here in the first round? No. And you probably won’t see any in the second round either. Trust me, I’m not jealous.
BCRS: That’s a pretty good point, I’m gonna have to concede that one. OK, thanks to Alex Smith for taking the time to talk to us. Our next guest is the number three overall draft pick, taken by the Cleveland Browns… Michigan’s Braylon Edwards. Hi Braylon, welcome to Blue Cats and Red Sox.
Braylon Edwards: Yo. *waving casually, thus exposing the enormous, diamond-encrusted watch he’s wearing*
BCRS: So, Braylon, you’re going from one of the classiest and most attractive uniforms in college football to one of the ugliest uniforms in professional football. How do you feel about that?
Edwards: It’s gonna be tough, yeah. You get used to wearin’ that cool maize and blue, and then you gotta wear some orange and brown shit. But I ain’t never backed down from adversity before. It’s gonna be tough, but I’m gonna overcome.
BCRS: Terribly brave of you. Now, I notice you’re wearing a lot of diamonds. And I heard you just bought a Bentley. What’s up with that?
Edwards: *indicating diamond earrings, diamond watch, and expensive suit* Yeah, I figure, a guy lookin’ as good as me, gotta have the bling to make my natural handsome face sing, y’know? And a man’s gotta have a car just as hot as him. My agent says I’m gonna get tons of endorsement opportunities and shit, ‘cause I’m so good and so good-lookin’, so payin’ for it all ain’t gonna be no thang.
BCRS: I’m not even going to touch that response. Obviously it was tough playing with John Navarre… I mean, we all know John Navarre sucked pickled eggs. How much did the presence of Chad Henne improve your play on the field in your senior year?
Edwards: Braylon Edwards does not acknowledge the presence of other impact players at Michigan.
BCRS: Uh. OK. Well, congrats on being the first Wolverine selected in this year’s draft, and good luck in Cleveland. You’re gonna need it. Now, our next guest is the 4th overall draft pick, selected by the Chicago Bears, out of Texas… Cedric Benson. Hi Cedric.
Cedric Benson: We beat you in the Rose Bowl.
BCRS: *screaming shrilly* SHUT UP.
Benson: Well, we did.
BCRS: *mastering self with great restraint* Nnngh. Now. You were often compared to Ricky Williams during your college career… your running style, your hair. How do you feel about that?
Benson: It was a great honor, to be compared to a runner as great as Ricky. He had such talent, and he was so good. Just an honor.
BCRS: What about the whole ‘screwing his team over so he could go be a complete loser hippie in the mountains’ bit? Is that why you cut your dreadlocks off?
Benson: I cut my hair because I wanted a fresh start. And Ricky Williams, he shouldn’t be disrespected because of the choices he made. Guy deserves respect. I… I had to deal with a lot of that…. No one givin’ me respect. No one… no one ever… gave me any… respect… *bursts into tears*
BCRS: Oh, yeah, I figured we’d get to this. Brother Blue Cats and Red Sox says that you’re a sissy and a wimp. What do you have to say to that?
Benson: *tears streaming down his cheeks* This isn’t anything new. I never get no respect. It’s because I’m a black man, isn’t it? They call me a sissy and a wimp and don’t give me no respect ‘cause I’m a black man.
BCRS: Actually, I think it’s less a function of the fact that you’re a black man and more a function of the fact that your post-draft interview with Suzy Colber, on national TV, consisted of you alternately sobbing and rambling incoherently about respect. I think Brother BCRS is reacting to that. He also says that Cadillac Williams is the better running back anyways, that he has more upside, and you’re pretty much as good as you’ll ever be. Anything to say to that?
Benson: *starts hysterically crying and hiccupping, occasionally managing to blurt out the word ‘respect’*
BCRS: You played minor league ball for the Dodgers this offseason, didn’t you?
Benson: *hiccuping* Y-yes. S-so did Ricky, back in the day…
BCRS: Man, you had a chance to play pro baseball. You idolize Ricky Williams. You had to bring up that fucking Rose Bowl. I’d feel bad for you and your respect issues, but nope, not happening. Good luck in Chicago, but I wouldn’t cry like that in front of Brian Urlacher, he doesn’t go in for that sort of thing. Our final guest here today is the president and CEO of the Detroit Lions, Matt Millen. Welcome to Blue Cats and Red Sox, Mr. Millen.
Matt Millen: What the fuck is this? This isn’t a newspaper interview.
BCRS: No, this is a blog. Think a newspaper without the editors or the integrity, and with opinionated rants. But I care about the Lions, which is more than you can say for 10/11ths of the major newspapers in this country.
Millen: Ouch. But true.
BCRS: Yeah. OK, so you guys took Mike Williams with your first pick. What’s up with that? I mean, did we not already have Roy Williams and Charles Rogers for promising young wideouts?
Millen: Sure. But for once we didn’t have any gaping holes to fill with this draft, so we figured we’d just take the best guy available, and that was Mike Williams. And it sure won’t hurt to have one of the most explosive offenses in football. And let’s be honest here, we’re pretty much expecting Charles to break his collarbone in the first game of the season, I think Williams will be good insurance for when, er, I mean if that happens.
BCRS: Mike Williams hasn’t played football for, what, a year now? Since he ‘took time off’ at USC. You seriously think he’ll still be a quality football player?
Millen: Oh, yes, he matured quite a bit, if you’d seen him at the Combine and talked to him like we had.
BCRS: I’m a blogger. Assume I know nothing whatsoever, and you’re right on track.
Millen: OK, well, he matured. He just… uh… he matured.
BCRS: You mean, like, he got a year older? ‘Cause I do that kind of maturing too, and no one’s gonna be drafting me to play professional football.
Millen: You don’t understand my technical football language. When I say he matured, I mean lots of things that cannot be succinctly explained to someone who does not understand all the intricacies of the term.
BCRS: Bitch, please.
Millen: I AM A FANCY FOOTBALL MAN WITH FANCY FOOTBALL MAN WORDS.
BCRS: Uh huh, whatever gets you through the season, buddy. What about defense? We all thought you were gonna cover defense early, since that was the bigger need.
Millen: We’re pretty much going to try to play defense with our offense this year. I mean, if we score enough, we won’t really need an overwhelming defense.
BCRS: You are aware that the Detroit Lions are an NFL team, not an Arena Football team, right?
Millen: Shit. Really? Sorry to cut this short, but, uh, I gotta run… *races out of the room, suit jacket flapping*
BCRS: Well, uh, thanks Mr. Millen *waves to his rapidly retreating back*, much appreciated. Thanks to everyone who took the time to talk to us here today, and I hope you all enjoyed this draft day event as much as I did. We’ll be returning to baseball shortly.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
This is the view from the luxury box we were in at Comerica.
Well, I’m sitting in the car, driving back home… my iPod battery doesn’t last longer than 8 hours, and as it’s an 11-12 hour drive, I’m using the laptop iTunes for music until we get into range of WEEI and I can listen to crazy people for entertainment. We just drove over the Connecticut River, effectively taking us out of western Mass. I will post this when I get home.
The early morning Detroit sports radio was, of course, draft talk. Marc Spindler, former Detroit Lion, was on the show (for a segment called ‘Spindler’s list’, which is its own special set of issues), and they were discussing how, when Joey Harrington was first drafted by the Lions Matt Millen declared that they’d have to start calling him ‘Joe’, because Detroit would not tolerate a guy named ‘Joey’ as their quarterback.
This created an outcry among Detroiters, presumably ones who had no problem with a guy named Joey or, perhaps, were named Joey themselves. Spindler declared that the issue here was that, “People just got upset at the implication that you couldn’t have a quarterback named Joey because it meant he was a fag.”
The other radio guy attempted to say that he didn’t really think this was the problem, you know, maybe not quite in those words. But honestly, what can you expect when you put a former football player on the air? He’ll always be Joey Harrington to me, anyways, and I will bloody well love him for it.
Oh, man, WEEI just came in, we’re right near downtown… AAAAH I CAN SEE THE CITGO SIGN I CAN SEE THE CITGO SIGN YAAAAAYYYYYY. Anyways, they’re playing clips from callers for the Big Show or whatever the hell it’s called, and every other clip is some guy saying “Wells, shutaht, Clement, shutaht, what’s the problem with the Sawx now, huh?” or “We destroyed thaht lineup, you guyz wannah complain about the Sawx now?”
What has happened to WEEI? Have they… have they mellowed?? Are people now content with the team? This is sheer madness. So much has changed since I have been away.
Oh, and if you haven’t driven into Massachusetts from the New York throughway recently, the very first thing you see, right next to the ‘Welcome to Massachusetts’ sign, is a ‘New England Patriots-2005 World Champions’ sign. About a mile beyond that is a ‘Boston Red Sox- 2004 World Champions’ sign. Let me assure you, it is more than pleasant to come home and have those signs welcome me back into the state. I’d imagine it’s a bit bittersweet (or just plain old bitter) for all the New Yorkers driving in, though.
The latest news on Magglio Ordonez, by the by, is that he definitely, conclusively… will not be playing for a bit. Seriously, we have no idea what the fuck is wrong with him. The hernia? He went to a hernia specialist in Montreal and it turns out that it might not actually be a hernia after all. He was supposed to be getting a bone scan yesterday to ascertain if there was a problem with his pelvis.
I don’t even know what to say to this anymore. It would be comical if it wasn’t so detrimental to the team. The knee will give him no problems, worry not! But, whoops, he’s got the flu. Oh, sorry, it’s diverticulitis. And now it’s a hernia! And now it’s… maybe not a hernia! Maybe he’s got a fracture in his pelvis somehow. Maybe he has kidney stones! Maybe he has appendicitis! Maybe he has really bad, persistent gas! Maybe he’s pregnant.
I think that Magglio Ordonez’s Mystery Ailments are getting a space in the Blue Cats corner all their own.
I do rather like the latest Magglio Ordonez vs. Ozzie Guillen ranting that's been going on. Maggs apparently said, of Ozzie, "We never clicked, even when we played together. I don't consider him my friend. I have nothing to say. I don't want to see him. I don't want to talk to him. He's my enemy. Even if he talks to me and tries to apologize, I won't accept it." Which, OK, a bit harsh, but he didn't exactly go out of Chicago with sunshine and puppies.
Ozzie's responses, however, have been nothing short of hilarious. I quote, from the Chicago Sun-Times, with the bleeps replaced by the actual words because we're not exactly catering to a sensitive family audience here:
''He's a piece of shit. He's another Venezuelan shit. Fuck him. He thinks he's got an enemy? No, he's got a big one. He knows I can fuck him over in a lot of different ways.
''He better shut the fuck up and just play for the Detroit Tigers. Why do I have to go over and even apologize to him? Who the fuck is Magglio Ordonez? What did he ever do for me? He didn't do shit for me. But he said I'm his enemy -- he knows me. Tell him he knows me, and he can take it how he wants to take it.
''Did he play good for me? Yes, he did. Did he play hard for me? Yes, he did. He might like me. He might be sensitive of me. He might be jealous of me, I don't know why. But saying I'm his enemy, he hates me, I could care less what that fucker thinks. I don't give a shit what he does with the rest of his life. He fucked with the wrong guy, and he knows that, too. He knows for a fact that he fucked with the wrong people.''
Woooaaah now Ozzie. Dude, calm down. "He knows for a fact that he fucked with the wrong people"?? What are the White Sox, the Mafia all of a sudden? I mean, yes, that's hilarious, but someone needs to take a great big deep breath and maybe stop popping the greenies so often, OK?
Now, yes, we went to the Tigers/ChiSux game on Thursday. Only I’m not sure how much longer I can keep calling them the ChiSux, because recently they have most emphatically not sucked. I do believe they are currently leading the division. I may have to steal Bat Girl’s nickname and start calling them the Bitch Sox.
The luxury boxes at Comerica are lovely. You get a great view of the park and the Detroit skyline, and ours was just on the third base side of home plate, so we could see the strike zone pretty well and could also see right into the ChiSux dugout. The seats are padded on the bottoms, and I don’t think I realized what a huge difference this would make until I spent a game sitting in them. Blimey. Let me tell you kids, it makes rather a lot of difference.
Tiger dugout. The uniformed guy all the way on the left is The Anonymous Jason Smith.
The indoors portion of the box was nice as well, although I didn’t spend much time in there… none of us did. There was a computer, and I got all excited when we walked in and saw it, figuring I could go online between innings and do all manner of things. I ended up going in at one inning break to see what was going on in the Twins/Royals game (they kept flashing up the score in the outfield, it was a crazy one). I came back out right before Infante started off the inning, and reported, “Twins fans are pissed at Gassner,” already snapping my eyes back to the field. I guess I’d much rather watch the actual game than hang out in a fancy box and be in the general vicinity of the game. The great thing is that there’s no line for the bathroom, though. That alone is probably worth it.
We only had 5 people in the entire box—me, my dad, my dad’s friend Mitch, his son Brad, and the guy who owned the box, Scott, who knows my grandmother and is a very nice guy (not least because he got us into a luxury box). We got there early enough to see the teams stretching on the field. I got terrifically excited when Brandon Inge started tossing a ball around with The Anonymous Jason Smith right in front of their dugout, where we had a really good view of them. Naturally I tried to take pictures, and just as naturally they won’t come out, because I have a zoom that’s less powerful than you would get by taking a picture through a cardboard tube.
Carlos Pena was not playing, leaving first base to Dmitri, which is never a really pleasant prospect. Boston fans can get a handle on the situation by picturing David Ortiz at first base, when you could have someone who’s much closer to Doug Mientkiewicz than Kevin Millar out there. We came to rue this late in the game, when Jamie Walker gave up a hit that flew past Dmitri and scored the two runs that put the ChiSux up for the lead they would eventually win by.
Now, in Dmitri’s defense, he was playing way in at the time, so it was a difficult play to make anyways. Millar wouldn’t have made it either. But Carlos Pena probably would have, and that’s always a painful thought to have.
The only homerun of the game came off the bat of Rondell White, and it was a lovely one. When Rondell rounded the bases, he got fist-bumps from the third base coach, and whoever was on deck, and everyone in the dugout. Except for Pudge. Pudge trotted up the steps and gave Rondell a great big hug. Then Rondell continued down and got fist-bumps from everyone else. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned how much I love Pudge lately, but maybe by now it should just be generally understood.
Fuzzy Pudge in the on-deck circle.
Jeremy Bonderman looked much better than his numbers for the day will suggest. He had a rocky first inning, loading the bases and walking one run in, but then he settled down and was just as masterful as Buehrle for as long as he was in. The problem came when Trammell came out in the 7th inning to pull him in favor of the left-handed Walker, to face Scott Podsednik.
There were a few issues with this.
First of all, Bondy did not want to leave. At all. When he saw Tram coming out of the dugout he turned around and walked off the mound in the opposite direction, glaring at the outfield and stomping around a little to convey his extreme displeasure. When Tram did get up to him, he shook his head and stomped back to the dugout with his jaw set. I wanted to hug him. We love you Bondyyyyy!
There were, at this point, men on second and third, and I believe one out, and Bondy believed he was perfectly capable of cleaning up his own mess. He either didn’t trust the bullpen to do so, or simply didn’t believe that they should have to do so. As he said after the game, "It's the bullpen's job to come in and pick us up, but in that kind of situation, I want to stay in. It was a tough loss." The sad thing is that despite the lefty-lefty matchup that Walker-Podsednik would bring, Bondy had already been dominating Podsednik all game—something like a groundout, base reached on fielder’s choice, pop flyout, or some other combination of general pwnage.
Secondly, Bondy didn’t really look like he had to leave. He was not struggling to spot his pitches any more than he had been all game, his fastball was just as fast as it had been, and it sure didn’t look like he was reaching back for that speed with any particular exhausted desperation. I guess I could understand taking him out for the 8th and 9th innings, maybe, but to take him out for the 7th was absurd.
Thirdly, Walker may be a crazy lovable joker in the clubhouse, and he may be the most hilarious interview on the Tigers, but he’s not a strikeout pitcher. He’ll get guys out, sure, but he’ll do it because he’ll get them to pop out. Bondy can strike you out. The Farns can strike you out. I realize that he’s a righty, but there is such a thing as playing the lefty-righty matchup game to excess. Sometimes I rather think you should go for the guy who can get a K than the guy who happens to favor the same hand.
"Bonderman pitched his heart out," Walker said. "I messed it up for him."
I realize the rationale here—the Tigers have made no secret of the fact that they’re going to be keeping Bondy on a relatively strict pitch count, because he’s such a promising young pitcher, and they don’t want to burn out his arm by the time he’s 27 or something. Fine. He was barely at 100 pitches when they pulled him, 110 or 115 to close out the 7th would not have made that big of a difference, especially in a game where you had only a slender lead, the tying and leading runs on base, against a division rival in a game you probably kind of had to win.
The other big complaint on the Detroit talk radio waves was that Tram should have had Pudge bunt when, late in the game, we had two men on base and no one out, and needed a run to tie it back up. Pudge popped out, and Dmitri behind him promptly hit into a double play, and there went the rally.
I don’t have a problem with Pudge swinging away here. Despite the beauty of the bunt that Pudge laid down a few games ago, he’s not a bunter. He’s our number 3 hitter for a reason, you know. He popped out here, which was just bad luck, but he had just as much a chance of ripping one of his favored doubles and tying up the game. I don’t think you can really fault Tram here.
The Farns uncorking what the radar gun said was a 99 mph fastball.
I finally got to see The Farns live, and it was just as cool as I had thought it would be. As soon as he came out everyone’s attention shifted to the board flashing up pitch speeds, and conversation shifted imperceptibly from pitch location and the strike zone to miles per hour. He came right out firing 96 and 97 mph, and got it up to 99 a few times, which made us all exclaim with excitement. He’s just such a force on the mound, it’s really something to see.
In person, you don't even have to see the pitch to know when he's throwing flameballs... with your eyes closed, you could actually hear the ball popping loudly into Pudge's glove when he really let loose with it. It was awesome.
After he retired the side, The Farns was waiting outside the dugout to thank the outfielder who had caught the last out of the inning (I forget if it was Craigger of The River Thames), and people were patting him as they walked by. At one point Dmitri paused to give The Farns a congratulatory pat on the butt, and I saw a startling thing. Dmitri, as we all know, is nothing at all like a little guy. Standing next to The Farns, however, he looked… well, much reduced. Not like David Eckstein or anything, I don’t think Shaq could make Dmitri look David Eckstein-sized, but definitely kind of like a roly-poly little kid. I know the Tigers announcers are forever harping on it, but The Farns truly is a sizeable guy.
Fuzzy Farns 'adjusting' himself. God I need a camera with a good zoom so badly.
Ay, we’re coming out of the tunnel and I can see Logan. Oh boy, oh boy, so close to being home! HELLO LOGAN IT IS NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN YOU CRAZY ISLAND-BOUND AIRPORT YOU.
As should be obvious by the fact that I'm posting this online, I am indeed home, and there is ocean, and there are cats, and it is Good. Tonight I watched Michigan absolutely massacre Ohio State baseball on national television-- way to go, Wolverines. Jim Brauer went 7 innings with 10 K and 1 earned run. Outfielder Mike Schmidt had a pretty good day, and I mention him because he's a Red Sox fan and therefore awesome.
I also watched the Red Sox lose on a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the 9th inning to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. To the Devil Rays! That is so wrong. It is more wrong than Kevin Youkilis in a cheerleadering outfit (you only wish I was joking there). Mark Bellhorn had one of his crazy Mark Bellhorn nights: stolen base, yay! Caught cheating too far off the bag, boo. Error on a Sanchez grounder, boo. Stand-up double, yay! Strike out, boo. Another double, yay! But in the end it was all for naught, as our very own Alan the Chipmunk snapped his gum and tossed out exactly one gopher of a pitch that Eduardo Perez sent into the Red Sox-dominated stands at Tropicana. Le sigh.
The Tigs, in any event, finally got over their extreme embarassment at the hands of the Twinkies and pulled out a win with a walk-off homer by, surprise surprise, Pudge. In the 10th inning, after the Twinkies had rocked ol' Percy to force the extra innings. Not pleasant. At least we were able to win a one-run game this time around.
And it is always nice to see this sort of thing after a game.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
edit: I just watched 8 innings of the Cubs/Cards game before exhaustion set in and I just had to turn it off.
1. What the hell is up with Jeromy Burnitz's pants? Is he trying to return to the 1920s style of baggy baseball pants with high socks or something?
2. Carlos Zambrano does the most awkward-looking hunches ever on the mound. He just looks so big and hulking and round-shouldered. And yet, he was absurdly effective when I saw him (the only run he'd given up was a homer to Pujols, and there's not much you can do about that).
3. I know that Nomar isn't on the Red Sox anymore, but when I saw him go crashing down into the dirt, screaming in pain, trying to stand but having to be carried off the field by the trainers, it was awful. Jeez. They were calling it a soft muscle tissue tear last I heard, but whatever the hell it was Nomar looked like he was in a great deal of agony. Just horrible to see. Hope he's OK, and my sympathies to all the Cubbie fans out there who have to deal with this (on top of Todd Walker getting his knees chopped out from under him).
I have moved all of my things out of the dorm, I have returned my room key, I am free of the University of Michigan for the summer. Hallelujah.
As I've been repeating endlessly, I'll be at the Tigers/ChiSux game tomorrow, reclining at my ease in the luxury box seats, watching to see if Bondy's great big Tim Hudson-style stretch after delivery is as impressive in real life as it is on TV. There will be photos, obviously, and hopefully tales of Tigers batters doing terrible, unnameable things to Mark Buehrle, and maybe seeing why the ESPN scouting reports seem to equate AJ Pierzynski with a small bubonic-plague-bearing rodent.
All this will have to wait until I am back home in the distant East, however, as I'm online right now at my Bubbie's house, and I hate accessing the internet without my photo libraries and digital notes and whatnot behind it. The drive back will be on Friday, so expect something Saturday, unless Passover interferes (a great big Challah Back! to all those who will be eschewing the leavened foodstuffs with me... wonder if Youks keeps Passover?).
Also, a quick note to let Keith Foulke and Nate Robertson know that they've both gone to the Blue Cats Corner, and so they shall remain, stewing in their own Failure Broth, until they do something to prove that they should be removed.
"It's all mechanics... The other day, I went out there and felt great and things were definitely going in the right direction. But if I can't slow myself down, it's never going to get there. I know exactly what I'm doing. It's just correcting it, and I'm not doing it." Foulkie, what is this? "I can't slow myself down"? This sounds like the eternal 'don't let him get too strong between starts or he'll beat himself up' DLowe cry. I am not a fan. Foulkie, I enjoy clutch performances as much as the next gal, but it would be nice if you could deliver the game on occasion when it's not a matter of historical import, yeah?
"I don't want to overanalyze... Sometimes, I do. It's a rough start, but I don't need an overhaul or something." Nate, kiddo, I don't think you need an overhaul either, not really. But there is no reason on earth why Jason Johnson should have been able to handle that lineup and you could not. I realize Brian Roberts has fantasy baseball players who drafted him lining up on his doorstep to kiss his holy orange feet, I realize it's hard to pitch to Palmeiro when all you see every time he steps up to bat is a horrible mental image of him popping Viagra like they're sunflower seeds. But these are things that you've just go to do.
To the Blue Cats Corner, the both of you. And let's be sharpish about it, shall we?
Hey, speaking of Blue Cats, the Lions are actually doing things. The question of who we're going to draft becomes increasingly intriguing, in a terrible, nervous, 'dear lord don't let them make an awful pick that we will rue for years to come, as is indeed the Detroit tradition' kind of way. Of course I'm looking forward to the NFL Draft, as I'll be watching Braylon Edwards, Marlin Jackson, David Baas, and everyone else who's a draft-eligible Wolverine very carefully. And so should you all.
Oh yeah, and best healthy wishes to all those in need of 'em, namely Bill Mueller (the ubiquitous 'flu-like symptoms', which I guess could be anywhere from a mild cold to food poisoning to cocaine withdrawal) and Pudge Rodriguez (stiff back... shake it off, Pudge, shake it off, you didn't do all that work to take pressure off your knees and hips just to bust your back). Magglio... well, Maggs, thanks again. Thank you for being so effective a drain on our resources as a team.
And to think, sometimes I actually sigh and say that Scott Boras can't be evil, he's just doing his job. Alas, I was mistaken. He really is evil.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I just got back from my sophomore review.
As in, I JUST COMPLETED MY SOPHOMORE REVIEW AND DID THE PRESENTATION AND DID NOT MAKE TOO BIG AN ASS OF MYSELF. Of course it helped that the professors who made up my committee were literally the three best professors I could have possibly had. Seriously, I looked at all the possible groups, and this was the best one by far for me. I'm not sure if it was luck I got assigned to it, or if someone in the office loves me*, but whatever it is thank god for it.
Best bit? They were all entirely accepting of all the baseball content. They were amused that I had named my steel critter Mark Bellhorn, instead of incredibly weirded-out! They were not freaked out by the Manny-on-a-stick that I used to point to images on the projection! They were relatively understanding of my need to explain the circumstances surrounding the baseball-related pieces in great detail!
Oh, it was ace.
I will now proceed to temporarily ignore the art philosophy paper I have to finish today (which I have actually already made quite a bit of progress on, unlike many of my classmates, who have not started it yet) and the fact that I need to pack up my entire life of the past however many months into something that can fit in a slightly elderly station wagon (yes, I will be pulling an all-nighter, yes, you may egg me on over AIM at 4 in the morning if you're online). Because yesterday was cause for celebration! All sorts of celebration!
First off, CONGRATULATIONS TO MY FRIEND STEPHANIE, who ran the Boston Marathon and actually finished it, thereby proving to us all that she is, in fact, a crazy person. I was talking to my friend Jess, who apparently ran the last few miles with her. Jess had on a tshirt that said 'Cheer for Steph!', and Stephanie was wearing a Tufts tshirt. As they were running by the Fenway area, they noticed some people standing by the side of the road cheering on the runners. Jess, being the clever little Red Sox fan that she is, immediately recognized them.
Jason Varitek. And Tim Wakefield.
'Tek, upon seeing both their shirts, yelled out, "Go Tufts! Go Steph!" as they ran by. Jess says that they were "feet away" from them. So that's, uh, you know, just about THE COOLEST THING EVER POSSIBLY. I am sure that the sight of Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield cheering you on would more than make up for the extreme agony of running a marathon (or part of a marathon... or more than a quick dash to the busstop... you know, I'm not really much of a runner). Much respect to Stephanie.
Secondly, I watched most of the Red Sox Patriots Day game. Unfortunately I had to do so on MLB TV, but we won 12-7, so it was worth it. I have to say that I was less than enthused with the way Schilling's pitch count ran up so early. Yes, he had a lot of strikes. But I'd rather see a guy making batters pop out on the first pitch and never get a K than get 10 Ks in a game but only after he's thrown 7 pitches in the at-bat. OK, Curt? You don't want to hurt your ankle again, do you? No, of course not. So you want to get off the mound as quickly as possible, right?
Manny made a series of errors in right field, but I'm pretty OK about that. For one thing, the sun was extremely bright yesterday (at least, it sure looked that way through the tiny MLB TV screen) and seemed to be causing fielding issues for both teams. For another, it's Manny Ramirez. You just have to accept his little adventures in the field, and cluck your tongue and smile indulgently, shake your head and say, "Oh, it's just Manny being Manny." Because you know damn well that he's goofing around and being a space cadet and doing his own Manny thing, and if you just let him be he'll hit a couple of grand slams for you and be the 2004 World Series MVP and it'll all be worth it.
And a 12-7 victory tends to ease the pain of fielding errors anyways. Remember all those errors we made in the World Series? Remember how that worked out? Yeah, so do I.
Thirdly, I watched the Tigers absolutely whup all of the ass that could possibly be whupped, simply obliterating the Orioles as though they were actual birds and the Tigers were a great big jet engine in their path, with a final score of 13-3. Yes, my friends, this is the very same Orioles team that was fresh off a sweep of the New York Yankees (remember when they were good? Remember when they could beat teams who weren't the Devil Rays? Do you remember what that was like?). The very same Orioles team that boasts Corky Sosa, and the wilted Palmeiro, and the current batting leader of the AL (Brian Roberts, and I don't care how well he hits, when it comes to guys named Roberts you just can't get better than Dave Roberts. You just can't).
We had Jason Johnson pitching, which is usually a good sign for all Detroit fans to just sigh and turn their eyes up to heaven in a martyred fashion, spreading their hands and listening while thousands of angels sing out in unison, "Why, why, why?" And Johnson was indeed pretty foul in his early innings, showing little or no control. Thankfully, the defense behind him was properly Tiger-ferocious, and the Orioles were so kind as to hit every single ball they could directly to Carlos Guillen. It was nice of them to want to help rehab his knee by giving him all the extra work, really.
Our bats... ah, our bats. Nook, Bingey, and DaMeat each had 3 hits and scored 3 runs. Guillen had an insane at-bat that started with him fouling a ball hard off his own foot and hopping around in agony, and continued on to become a 13-pitch at-bat. 13 pitches! Madness! Omah finally stopped using the bat in his hands as a limp rag and got a homerun. We had the most pleasant mixture of big (DaMeat ripping a homerun) and small (bunts and stolen bases) ball you'll ever see in a game.
Our defense... Nook was fan-fucking-tastic in centerfield, stealing not one but two sure homeruns from the Orioles, levering himself up over the wall and catching the balls in his glove on the other side of it.
The best moment of the game, by far, was when DaMeat ripped a ball into the gap that brought someone (I think it was Pudge, my oh-so-fast Pudge!) around to score. It should've been a single from Dmitri's standpoint, but he turned on whatever level of hustle he's able to turn on, and slid into second like a gently drifting Zamboni. He then got up and, well, I can't really describe it. He did a little dance. A little 'yo yo yo I am DaMeat, Dmitri Young, and I have made it into second base safely whut whut' kind of dance. I dearly wish I had video of this, because it was truly, truly spectacular. I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.
Here he is doing it, but the still image really, really does not do it justice.
Lastly, I actually met a real, live, hardcore baseball fan last night. If you're not acquainted with facebook, it's this online thing that let's you see the profiles that other people in your university create. You can join 'groups' on it according to your interests. Naturally I'm in the Tigers fan one (as well as a slew of Red Sox ones), and this kid had seen my profile and was simply shocked that someone could be a) an actual Tigers fan, b) a moderately knowledgeable Tigers fan, and c) female. So we chatted a few times on AIM, and after the immersion in art school that occurred this semester, it was such a relief to be able to just talk Tigers baseball with someone and not have them say, "Bonderman? Isn't he the quarterback?"
So last night he came over to watch some of the Tigers game, and it turns out that he's a wonderfully nice kid who does, indeed, know a lot about baseball, and for once I wasn't muttering to myself during the game-- I had someone else to mutter to. It's a pity that I only just met right before leaving for the summer, but such is life. Anyways, I think we can all agree that the internet is awesome and needs to make me meet more cool baseball fans in real life, because lord knows I'm not going to meet them through the art school.
And now I ought to go, er, finish my paper and, er, pack. Because tomorrow my dad is coming and I am MOVING THE HELL OUT OF THE DORM. We hang out in Michigan for a day so I can recuperate a little bit from the sheer horror of move-out, and so we can go to the Tigers/ChiSox game on Thursday, which as of right now is a Bonderman/Buerhle pitching matchup, which oh goodness. Oh goodness I am psyched for that. Friday is the epic drive, and then Red Sox games on real TV shall be mine.
Wish me luck, kids. If I want to survive tonight, I shall have need of it.
*Although, really, it can't be that someone in the office loves me... if they loved me they wouldn't make things like scheduling classes so bloody hard.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Well, I scalded the entire length of the little and ring fingers on my right hand tonight. Thanks, pasta. I guess the water does really get hot enough to burn you.
So it's a bit hard to type, and quite frankly the stress of the paper/packing/sophomore review business I have going on is killing me, but right now I'm hyped on coffee and blogging is, for whatever unfathomable reason, stress relief. And because I've been stuck in my room for long stretches of time lately, I've seen rather a lot of baseball and baseball highlights.
The Tigers just finished up a series against the Royals, and yes we took two out of three and did some serious ass-kicking at points, but the Royals were interesting. They're just so young. I know I've been harping on that lately, but I've been thinking about it. The average age of their starting rotation is 27.4. 27! The average age of the Red Sox starting rotation is 34.8*. The Yankees? 35. The Detroit Tigers, however? 26.8. The Oakland A's? 24.4. Yes, you read that correctly. The average age of the Oakland A's starting rotation is 24.4.
Zach Greinke is 21. The A's don't have a single pitcher over 26. I mean, these guys are almost my age. If the Mariners decide to bring up Felix Hernandez at some point this year, there'll be a guy pitching in the majors who's younger than I am. I mean, younger. Than I am.
I'm digging through the Sox Prospects site, taking a look at our big-name prospects. Hanley Ramirez? Older than me. Dustin Pedroia? Older than me. Manny Delcarmen. Jon Papelbon. Charlie Zink (think knuckleball). Ian Bladergroen (think Mientkie). Juan Cedeno. Anibal Sanchez. All older than me. Everyone on the PawSox is older than me.
In fact, the average age of the PawSox starting rotation is 26.6. Yes, again, you're reading that correctly. The Boston Red Sox AAA squad has an older starting rotation than the big-league Oakland Athletics.
The youngest guy on the Red Sox active roster is the 27 year old Blaine Neal (a bullpen pitcher with a gaudy 11.57 ERA), and he's been in the majors since '01. Not exactly a new kid. But that's the closest thing in our clubhouse to a rookie. I don't much like him.
The youngest guy on the A's active roster is 21 year old Huston Street (a bullpen pitcher with a, well, an adjective-defying 1.23 ERA), and this is his first season with the big club. He's so rookie you can practically still see the bubble packaging he came in. It's kind of hard to not like him.
Oh, I know full well that a team with money can afford established players, while a team without much money has to make do with the relatively unproven (and much cheaper) young guys. I know that a younger team is most definitely not necessarily better than an older team. *glances sidelong at the Royals* I know that the Red Sox are aiming to compete now, not several years down the road.
It just makes me a little nervous. Admit it, guys, we're an old team, and we're getting older. Our GM is younger than 3/5ths of our starting pitchers. I watched the Royals get batted around like a tether ball (except for that first game, it never happened, it never happened) and all I could think of was how much upside so many of their players had. I watch Sportscenter and see all these highlights featuring Rich Harden (23) and Nick Swisher (24). I watch Jeremy Bonderman pitch and think, "Wow, if he's this good now, just imagine in a couple of years..." I watch David Wells pitch and I think, "Jesus, I hope we can squeeze a final couple of good years out of him before he undergoes gravitational collapse and becomes a black hole."
Do I think we can be a very valid contender this year? You betcha. Am I basically just a paranoid Sox fan? You betcha. Do I think none of this is stuff that Theo hasn't already gone over and made a plan for? You betcha. But I look at our team and I wonder what the hell we're going to do in two or three years.
And I don't think I'm too crazy for doing so.
*Admittedly, one of these is a knuckleball pitcher, which almost doesn't count. But still.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
On Thursday I will be at the Tigers game with my dad. Then I am going home. Back east. For the summer. So it'll be getting a bit more Red Sox-heavy around here pretty soon. In the meantime, I'm gleaning as much as I can from these last few days of Tigers on the real TV*.
I can’t even… they start off the game with a story about Brian Anderson, the starting pitcher for the Royals. Apparently he was in a hotel on a team trip and went out to get a soda. The door closed behind him, leaving him naked and keyless in the hall. So he went down to the exercise room "holding a USA Today in front of him" and was able to get a towel. WHY DID WE NEED TO HEAR THAT? John Keating, what the HELL?
“Jose [Lima] is a man of his own, he’s got a lot of enthusiasm.” –Ernie Harwell. Oh, no kidding.
Someone remind me again why we have Brandon Inge in the leadoff spot. I mean, I love the guy to death, I really do, but. His OBP? Not so hot. I guess this is just a ‘we don’t exactly have anything better’ kind of deal, huh?
Pudge DHing. Weird. I feel like we're wasting valuable Pudge ability or something. I mean, hello, we're talking about Pudge Rodriguez here, he's maybe kind of good behind the plate. Maybe. Just a smidge. Still, I have a lot of confidence in 44th Round. He can get the job done.
Wild pitch went waaay away from Joe Buck and Guillen’s onto second easy. Ruben Gotay makes a sharp out, but Guillen’s on third. Two down for DaMeat. Ugh. DaMeat dribbles it to third for an easy out. BORING INNING. I don't like boring innings. Boring innings are ones in which we do not score.
BONDY BONDY BONDY BONDY BONDY BONDY
Jeremy, my man, my guy, my dumpy lovable starting pitcher, I am begging you here. We need this game. We need you to need this game. I know you’ve got 44th Round behind the plate, but you need to give us your A game here.
Just remember, Bondy, Bondo, ol’ buddy. Cleveland never happened. OK? We promise to forget about it if you do.
Dude. Mike Sweeney’s the captain of the Royals, and he wears the C. He wears the C! OK, so shut up about Varitek. It’s alright because other people are doing it.
Bondy sends one past DaMeat over at first on a wild pickoff move, and the Royals runner is over to second. Settle, Bondy, settle. Just keep your cool out there.
One K after one inning.
OK, I don’t like Brian Anderson. I don’t like him because he’s the opposing pitcher, and I don’t like him because he’s got a lot of tattoos, and I don’t like him because he’s shutting us down right now.
But from a completely formalist aesthetic perspective, the tight pants plus the high royal blue socks plus FSN’s posterior camera shot? I’m just sayin’ the view is a nice one, that’s all.
Not Joe Buck, though. I hate it when the catchers wear the hockey masks. I like the old fashioned catchers masks, a la Jason Varitek or, yes, Pudge. Joe Buck wears a hardcore hockey helmet. And a 1-2-3 inning, what the FUCK happened to our much-vaunted bats? Kitties, this is unacceptable behavior.
Ha ha, Kwame ad. Kwame ad! I swear to god you could not make a cartoon character a more perfect mayor of Detroit. The absurd, bigger-than-Jose-Canseco’s shoulders! The enormous suits. The wide-knotted shiny ties to try to make his neck look smaller. The scandals. The thuggery. Detroit would not be half so fun without Kwame.
Well, we made Terrence Long put on some strong brakes rounding first. Yeah, upon replay that pitch was indeed by his shoetops. How the hell did he pull that? Great. Just great.
Grr! Might’ve had a double play there, but Long slid into second all over Omah. He actually had to brace his hands on Long’s back to keep from being bowled completely over. Ugh.
Hey, then Omah gets a ball hit kind of behind him, but he picks it anyways and shoots it along to first in an impressive display, and that’s the inning. I don’t like watching DaMeat at first. Give me back my Carlos Pena.
The Royals have a $36 million payroll this year. I feel vaguely guilty about this, but only vaguely.
Nook Logan’s popping sunflower seeds in the dugout. I know it’s baseball convention,, but do these guys actually like sunflower seeds? I mean, they’re not all that tasty, really. And they make a mess, and you get bits of shell stuck in your teeth and stuff.
That was another 1-2-3 inning, in case you couldn’t tell by my less-than-enthused commentary. We’re not really doing much to give Bonderman a comfy safety pillow here.
44th Round makes a nice pounce on a stuttery little bunt and fires it on a laser line that even DaMeat can’t miss. Nice. 44th Round, for the record, does not wear a hockey mask.
K number two for Bondy. Good pitcher! Good pitcher! You earn a hearty pat on the rump there, Bondy.
1-2-3, but for the good guys this time. BATS. I’M LOOKING AT YOU. BONDY’S DOING HIS JOB, TIME TO GRAB YOUR TIGER WHISKERS, CLENCH YOUR TIGER PAWS, AND PICK HIM THE FUCK UP.
“I like Pudge, because he plays his heart out! I mean, the guy’s an 11-time All Star! My Dad says Guillen is the best shortstop since Alan Trammell. WHO’S YOUR TIGER?” WHO'S YOUR TIGER? WHO'S YOUR TIGER? WHO'S YOUR TIGER? That won't make any sense to you unless you've been watching the games on FSN, I guess.
Apparently it’s the 50th anniversary of baseball in Kansas City. Pfft. Young’uns. Guillen rips one along the foul line, by the by, and has a double. I do hope his knee’s feeling better. It’s natural grass here in KC, so he should be OK.
PUDGE. Mmm. Perfect bunt. No play for anyone, Pudge to first, Guillen to third. Way to get it DONE, Pudge.
DaMeat snips one into the gap, Guillen’s home, Pudge speeds around second like it’s hardly there and is on third. 1-0 Tigs.
Rondell White sac fly, Pudge scoots home, 2-0 Tigs. DaMeat flops into second base like a hooked fish, but somehow the second baseman can’t handle it cleanly and he’s safe.
That sounds really sedate, but my true state of mind during this little rally was something more like this:
AAAHHH PUDGE THAT WAS AN AWESOME BUNT PUDGEPUDGEPUDGEPUDGE! LOOK AT HIM GO! LOOKATHIMGO! RUNPUDGERUN! HE SO FAST! MY PUDGE IS SO FAST NOW! DAMEAT! LOOKIT HIM SLIDE! HA HA, DAMEAT, WAY TO HUSTLE!
Then we have a couple of pop flys and that’s the inning, but hey. Look. They were listening. Good Tigers! Good kitties. Kibble for all. ‘Specially for you, Pudge. You can afford to have some snack food now.
Another nice catch by Omah. I’m not so sure I like seeing his shoulder tested like this so much. Matt Stairs double. Poobuckets.
Mario says, “We’re so used to seeing the graceful moves of Carlos Pena on first, but that was a nice hop by Dmitri.” Heh. Yeah, DaMeat’s a lot of things, but ‘graceful’ isn’t one of them.
Oh! Oh, Brandon Inge just made a beautiful running catch to get us out of the inning… if he hadn’t caught that, it totally would have scored the guy on third. Oh, that was a very sweet catch, that was. Bingey!
So, Omah, when are you going to hit a ball that’s not a pop up? When is this going to happen? Sometime this season, perchance?
Eh, uneventful inning. Except I just learned that Brandon Inge and his wife live in Ann Arbor during the offseason. In! Ann Arbor! How did I not know this before?? Anyways, I’ll bet he doesn’t live on campus, and Ann Arbor is frikking huge, and I haven’t got a car, so my stalking abilities are sadly stunted here.
Heh. The ball went under the glove of Bingey, but Guillen was crossing right behind him and scooped it up with ease for the out. Way to keep your eye on the ball, Carlos. And I must say, DaMeat has yet to embarrass himself on first base. He’s actually made a couple good stretches.
Blargh. Back-to-back hits. Men on first and second, two outs. C’mon Bondy. Settle. Settle. 44th Round is chatting with him, settle him down out there 44th Round.
Oh wow, Rondell White just came out of pretty much nowhere to fall over and catch a ball that Craigger and Guillen were already converging on. Phew. Got out of that one.
You know, it’s kind of sad that no one give a shit about the Royals. They have what looks like a truly beautiful park here. They’ve got those nice royal blue jerseys, which look great with the classic lettering and the crisp white pants. They’ve got, well, they’ve got a ton of youth on their team, which must be exciting in a certain way… I mean, you really have got nowhere to look but forward, as opposed to, say, the Yankees, whose youngest player is 28 and won’t be on the team once Wallpuncher comes back off the DL, and all you can look forward to is the slow, aging disintegration of all your heroes.
So I guess it’s sad that no one cares about the Royals. Of course, they sucked like a teamful of lampreys last year, but still. You know what I mean.
Carlos Guillen gets a nice double there, Long could’ve had it but ran just a tiny bit short. Pudge sac flies him to third. What’s all this small ball we’ve got going on today with Pudge? Maybe he was so embarrassed by the Twinkie series that he’s started taking on their tactics.
Ah, and Rondell grounds out. I really wish we hadn’t stranded Guillen. That stuff always seems to come back and bite us on our stripey bums.
And Mike Sweeney, Royals captain, takes the very first pitch he sees and fires it into the stands. 2-1 Tigs. Keep it together, Bondy. We’re still leading. You’re still our guy. You da Tiger, Bondy, you da Tiger! Bare your teeth and dig your claws into the dirt and lash your tail and get these fuckers out.
OK, 3 pop flys. I knew we should’ve gotten Guillen in. Make it up this inning. You hear me, kitties? MAKE IT UP THIS INNING.
Craigger flips one off the centerfield wall for a double to lead us off. Craigger, you’re staying in the Red Sox Corner for now. Your good deeds have not gone unnoticed.
Oh my god, two outs. Don’t strand him. Don’t strand him or you’ll totally regret it. You KNOW you’ll regret it if you strand him, so don’t frikking do it.
Base hit by Omah, he’s out at second, but not before Craigger comes in! 3-1 Tigs. OK, see, that was all I asked for. I am so pleased that they are actually listening to me today. You put the dude on base, you bring him home, that is how we play Tigers baseball, right? Yes. Good.
Look at this, 7th inning and both starters are still in. Impressive. And fuck knows our bullpen could use the rest. We’ve reached the point where I’d really rather not see Urbina on the mound with the game this close, and German’s been overworked lately, and The Farns may or may not be injured, and Percy’s a one-inning kind of guy and I have no idea who the hell is left after that. Good? Ginter?
Bondy nearly taps Angel Berroa after Berroa takes a bloody long time getting into the batter’s box. I think Bondy was just annoyed with him. No harm done, just a little message pitch, as it were.
Another K for Bondy, 3 by my count but 4 by Rod and Mario’s. Did I miss one somewhere? Must’ve. Eh.
1-2-3 inning. He’s thrown 90 pitches after 7 innings. I do wish he had a few more Ks, just because I know he’s capable of it, but this is what I like to see.
Dammit, Bingey pops up. He’s had a very anemic day at the plate. Dammit, Inge, you’re not allowed to be that hot if you’re not producing.
Pudge’s batting gloves today are blue and safety-jacket acid orange. Nice. And he tweaks one hard down the foul line for a double, so extra nice. They’re walking DaMeat intentionally, what with the open base at first and the two outs and all. Rondell, it would be really nice if you could maybe make them pay for this a little. Because you know that you have two guys on base, and you know that stranding guys on base makes me sad.
And you don’t want to make me pout, Rondell, do you.?
There goes Brian Anderson. Yeah, he does deserve that applause. We’re leading, but he held us pretty tightly all game long. A quick and reluctant round of applause for Brian Anderson and his ass, at which we have been staring for 8 innings now.
So who’s this guy? Shawn Camp. I know nothing of him. Ooo, hey, Carlos Pena’s pinch running for DaMeat at first. Pena! Yay!
And Rondell hits right to third, that’s that. I don’t like it. I don’t like this stranding of runners business. A squandering of resources, that’s what it is. Hrmph.
Wow, there’s actually a ‘Let’s go Royals’ chant going on right now. Good for you, Kansas City fans. I didn’t think they had it in ‘em.
4th K of the day. Or 5th. Depending on whether you’re going on my count or Rod and Mario’s. They’re holding fast with their count here, so once again I am thrown into doubt. I have been trying to do other stuff, so it’s perfectly possible I missed one.
1-2-3 8th for Bondy. Oh, how cool would it be if he got a complete game? They showed Percy standing up in the bullpen (and presumably warming), but no heat’s come off of Bondy’s fastball yet, he’s still tossing in the mid-to-low 90’s range, and I think he’s still under or right around 100 pitches. Oh, that would be sweet.
Craig Monroe’s pants are Manny Ramirez-level baggy. Craigger, you’re playing baseball, not rapping, you don’t have to have your pants sagging at the knees like that. And he walks to lead it off. There haven’t been a lot of walks today on either side.
Jeez, Camp, stop throwing to first already! Just make your pitch already! The River Thames awaits! It’s not like Craigger’s some kind of insane speed demon out there or something.
They just showed Bondy in the dugout, sitting between Carlos Pena and Nate Robertson. Bondy was demonstrating something to Nate, and he held his hands up a few inches apart like he was saying “this big”, and then he gestured sort of towards his lap. I’m just going to sit here and assume that conversation is not about what it looks like. Hee hee.
Rod Allen, talking about how many bases the DRays have stolen already this season: “Lou Piniella’s got some rabbits on that team!”
After checking Craigger at first base a bajillion times, and working a full count on The River Thames, Camp finally gives up a base hit and Craigger’s around to third, we’ve got men on both corners. No outs. We all know what I want to see happen here.
44th Round flips one right past the second baseman, if he’d been standing more to the first base side that could’ve been a double play, but it is not, Craigger’s in, 4-1 Tigs. Men on the corners again, still no outs. I’m shaking the kibble can, guys! You can hear it! You want the kibble! It’s so close! You are so close to earning the kibble!
Nate Field is the new pitcher for the Royals. Again, I know nothing about this kid. Sorry.
Damn, I’m tired. Want coffee. I was going to get some this morning, but I had to wait in the dorm because I had some boxes being delivered for move-out. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go and sit with my books and take some notes for my art philosophy paper and drink coffee in Starbucks like some hideous stereotype of a college student. If an art student also majoring in zoology with a green streak in her hair and an obsession with baseball can be called stereotypical.
Brandon Inge! BINGEY! Hits a floater out to centerfield, hits the wall, Bingey’s around to third for a triple and both The River Thames and 44th Round are in to score. 6-1, Tigs, and Bingey finally snaps his little one-game hitting slump. Hugs and kisses for you, Bingey. You are allowed to be hot again.
Base hit for Guillen, right up the left side gap, and Bingey scores! 7-1, Tigs. This is more like it. This is more what we should be doing against the Royals. Gotta feel a bit bad for Brian Anderson, though, the poor guy pitched a heckuva game and his bullpen is just hemorrhaging all over the field. We know how that feels, all too well, so I can’t help but toss a small morsel of pity over into that Royals dugout.
And Pudge hits one off the wall, Guillen to third, Pudge to second because he’s a speedy li’l devil these days. Pudge is reaffirming his reputation as a doubles hitter. His 416th career double, that was.
Let’s see who’s pitching.
*suffers stoically through yet another Wallsides Windows ad.* We can do that! We are the factory!
Oh, OK, see, I like this ad. It has that clip of Mike Maroth pumping his fist after throwing a one-hitter against the Yankees in the rain last year. That was a sweet thing.
Aw, Percy’s in. Darn. I was hoping to see a complete game. But we’ll have to take it. I guess the final number on Bondy is indeed 5 K. I don’t know where I missed one, but oh well, such is life.
Hmmm. The first guy popped out, but Percy walks the second guy. Now, he’s not Ugie, so I’m not saying anything here. But Percy. Remember. Be the Tiger.
Another pop fly. Two outs.
Angel Berroa, who’s been a bit of a Tiger killer in the past, hits into the final out and that is that. That was a fine piece of Tigers baseball. Of course, it was against the Royals. But it was just what we needed after the last few games… that Twins series, and that horrible and inexplicable loss last night (no, not inexplicable… the explanation is, mostly, ‘Ugueth Urbina’). A nice, solid outing from Bonderman, a nice, solid showing from the bats, nothing too egregious in the field.
First road win of the season.
Alan Trammell, on the win: “It feels great. I mean, we needed to stop the bleeding.”
“I know we looked OK, and then we hit this road trip, and the Twinkies kind of humbled us a bit.” OMG TRAM CALLS THEM THE TWINKIES TOO! FANTASTIC! He also called Bondy his ‘ace’. Aaaahhhh. My little heart, it goes pitterpat. Anyways, that should be enough for now. Good game. Nothing to get too wild and crazy over, but good game.
Now it's all on you, Exceptional Mental Makeup Mike. Go get 'em tomorrow, Tiger!
*As opposed to MLB TV on my computer, which is titchy small and will probably buffer like shit over the occasionally patchy wireless I have at home.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
I know I said I'd be doing the National League questions, and so I shall. But there are a few matters which must be addressed first.
Over here at Blue Cats and Red Sox, there are two corners you can sit in. You can sit in the Blue Cats corner, or you can sit in the Red Sox corner. Since the Red Sox are Winners Who Win, that's the corner you go in if I'm happy with you. Since the Blue Cats (aka the Detroit Lions) are Trying Really Hard But Make Me Really Sad, that's the corner you go in if I'm pissed off at you. If you've been extra bad, you go in the Blue Cats corner and you have to put on the pointy Dunce Hat of Shame.
Current residents of the Red Sox Corner
1. Jay Payton. Home run against the Wizened Unit? The home run that showed everyone on the team that he was not unbeatable that night? The towering homerun that welcomed you to Fenway? Big cute smile? Jay Payton, you get to sit in the Red Sox Corner. And you get delicious baked good while you are there.
2. The Portland Sea Dogs. Mostly for things like this. Charlie Zink is making an appeal for continuing the knuckleball-in-Boston saga even after Wake retires. Dustin Pedroia is reminding me why he is my minor league imaginary boyfriend. Having a sea dog as your mascot? Portland Sea Dogs, you get to sit in the Red Sox Corner.
3. Jason Marquis. Pitching 6 2/3 innings with only one run given up? Hitting a three-run triple that absolutely destroyed the soul of the Reds? Exiting the game with a 1.46 ERA? Being an old friend of ours on this here blog? Jason Marquis, I know you'll find this somewhat bittersweet, but to the Red Sox Corner with you.
4. Justin Verlander. For getting his first win at the professional level. Good for you, Justin Verlander. Tigers fans have had little (nothing) to look forward to from their farm system for a long, long time, so you'll have to excuse us for getting a bit misty-eyed over you. You get to sit in the Red Sox Corner.
5. Craig Monroe. For hitting a three-run homer today and making a numerous impressive grabs in the field recently that I'm too lazy to find links for. Seriously, Craigger, we knew you had the bat, and we knew you had the general raw ability to field, but all that chatting with Torii Hunter was an awful good idea. You've been proving Tram right (on this, at least), and you've been making us happy. And for this photo. Craig Monroe, head to the Red Sox Corner.
Current residents of the Blue Cats Corner
1. Magglio Ordonez. Magglio. Ordonez. MagglioFRIKKINGOrdonez. It had to be a stomach condition, didn't it? It couldn't be the knee? IT COULDN'T BE THE ONE THING WE COULD ACTUALLY NOT LOSE MONEY ON? IT HAD TO SOMETHING NOT MENTIONED IN THE CONTRACT? I can hear the ChiSux laughing right now. I think that's Ozzie Guillen, giggling. Excuse me while I go strangle him with telepathic ropes of rage. Maggs, you're in the Blue Cats Corner.
2. ESPN. Go on, whine about the Red Sox. Whine about how much media coverage they're getting. It's not as though you guys aren't the ones, you know, doing all the hyping in the first place. Really. Write trite little columns about how the Red Sox have 'jumped the shark'. Then bombard us with 50 promotional spots in 10 minutes for the upcoming Red Sox/Yankees game. Really, I don't find this ironic at all. I'm not going to vindictively Photoshop your homepage or anything. And I'm certainly not banishing you to the Blue Cats Corner. Oh wait.
3. Jason Giambi. Because, what, you can do steroids, and totally ruin the happy memories of an entire nation of baseball fans (that would be Athletics Nation, not Red Sox Nation), and totally set the stage for a certain freak of humanity to write a book which I am steadfastly refusing to purchase, and everyone feels bad for you? Oh, poor Jason Giambi, it's not like he had a great eye anyways, he totally needed to shoot extra testosterone into his buttcheeks to make his millions of dollars. Pity Party time! Go to the Blue Cats Corner.
4. Ugueth Urbina. You want to be a closer? You're pissed we're using you as a set-up guy now that we've got Percy? Well, what's the best way to either convince us you can be our closer or to convince some other team that they want you to be their closer? How's about you blow lots of close games for us? How's about you rack up a 9.00 ERA? How's about you suck so badly that we have to use the rest of our bullpen until they're already getting sore and overused [check April 15 12:31 AM. Don't that beat all?]? HOW DOES THAT SOUND UGIE? That sounds like something that will get you stuck in the Blue Cats Corner.
5. Blaine Neal. As of right now, Blaine, you're officially 'The Guy Who Gets Put in the Game as a Sign of Surrender'. Until you shed that label, you're in the Blue Cats Corner with the rest of the inmates.
National League questions next. And don't ask me about Gary Sheffield. Seriously. I'm in the middle of prepping for the Sophomore Review and doing my final assignments/papers, not to mention packing for move out. You mention Gary Sheffield or his 'restraint' (shoving this fan before I return to playing the game is great restraint!) or that 'fan' (I have better seats than 100,000 more deserving Red Sox fans and look how I appreciate them!) and I will. Bite. Your head off.