Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tinfoil conspiracy hat time!
Chicago White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle called the Texas Rangers cheaters on Tuesday, claiming that the team signals pitches to batters through a high-tech light system in center field.
"I've heard rumors, so it's not just me saying this,'' Buehrle said. "I've heard it from tons of people. It's not just me saying this. ... Something's going on because they hit so good at home. The way they hit here, you'd have to raise an eyebrow to figure something's going on. Look at the stats. I'm not just making this up.'' Buehrle accuses Rangers of cheating.
He's claiming that there's some sort of 'high-tech light system' in center field that the Rangers are using to signal what pitch is coming to their batters. Um. OK then? Lights? In centerfield? Are those the little lights the aliens put there, or was it just Buck Showalter? Mark Teixeira makes a good point in response:
"It's so crazy and it's funny... We're a good hitting team and every team plays better at home. I'm curious to how it would work logistically. He is so quick in between pitches it would be impossible to do. I'm not offended. It's an outrageous claim."
The whole thing just strikes me as a bit hilarious, and one of the funny things is that this is more something I could see crazy Ozzie Guillen coming out with, or a guy like Jose Lima, or David Wells, not necessarily Mark Buehrle. But I guess everyone is out to get him, so he can say these things. I do believe he was accusing one of the Cubs of using an illegal pitch earlier this year as well, so maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised.
Mark Buehrle: Conspiracy theorist. The Truth is Out there!
Also, this? Is downright disturbing. I can't remember the last time his cheeks were so clean. 0-for-4 on the night, by the by.
edit: My god, people. Here it is Wednesday, and on Saturday I'll be at a real, live football game, and the season will be started and I will be. In! The Big House. I am so deep in baseball right now that Kevin Millar's hair is entertainment and King Felix is big news and a rainout is tragedy, but man, soon I'll be watching football and worrying about how Northern Illinois has some kind of wicked good running game and we haven't had any kind of run-blocking defense in years.
Weird. But kind of awesome.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Oh hells yes that is Hazel Mae. Anyways.
Three games in three days.
*makes vague, incoherent gestures*
I'm sorry, but my brain is basically mush right now. I did a little write-up from the Tigers point of view, and I'm now so zonked that I'm not sure I'm up for the Sox. So, real quick, and we'll see how this goes.
Tim Wakefield vs. Jason Johnson
Basically, the Sox were lucky they ran into JJ v. 2.1 instead of JJ v. 2.0. He had a strong first half but is known to drop like a rock in the second half, and so far after the AS break he's been madly inconsistent. They had about equal chances of running into the 8-inning, dominant version and the 5-inning, meatball-serving version. They got the meatballs. Very lucky, because the Tigers 'pen was flawless (who wants Chris Spurling after this series? I want Chris Spurling), and because the Red Sox 'pen was very, very not flawless.
I sat with the BCRS brother, and Beth we-are-related-to as opposed to Beth-who-blogs stopped by to say hello.
See the post I already made about this.
Bronson Arroyo vs. Sean Douglass
Very, very exciting from a Tigers point of view, and the team showed great heart, fantastic bullpen, etc. etc., you don't want to hear it.
From a Red Sox point of view? The starter was chased after 3 innings and the Sox simply could not capitalize because their pitching was busy sucking even worse. Bronson looked like he hit an absolute wall in the fourth, and a quick recovery in the fifth wasn't enough to fool anyone. Then the bullpen stepped in and laid down on the mound and exposed their soft, fleshy underbellies to the cruel claws of the Tigers bats, and there was just viscera everywhere. Yummy.
DaMeat's grand slam in the fourth was the back-breaker, I think. It left the park fast, in a big way, and the crowd got almost eerily quiet. The Tigs were still down by 2 after that, but they started playing like they actually thought they could come back, and the Sox started playing like they didn't particularly care.
I met Jere.
Brandon Inge was a homerun away from hitting for the cycle.
Mike Remlinger was cut from the team after this game, to the resounding joy of absolutely everyone.
I watched the game with the BCRS mom.
David Wells vs. Nate Robertson
Miserable for a Tigers fan, particularly the way that Franklyn failed to produce, and the confusing addition of John McDonald to the day's starting lineup (Where's Omar?). Bill Mueller's homerun was a blast, and I got a photo of him hitting it, so, hard to be too upset about that sort of thing.
Homeruns aside, Billy was inconsistent in the field, making a couple of insane diving catches, but also nearly pulling Millar off the bag entirely once, and doing so for an error another time. Bad day for Gabe Kapler at the plate.
Brandon Inge hit the heck out of the ball again.
Screw the game, it was a beautiful sunny afternoon (if hot in the sun, thankfully, our seats were in the shade), I got autographs from 4 Tigers, I got several more to look over and wave and say hi. I got a ton of photos. That's all I need to be happy.
Carlos Pena. Haverhill High and Northeastern University. He's a local Tiger. He's looking at me.
I want to hug Curtis Granderson for ever and ever. He's one of the Tigers whose autograph I got, and it's worth noting that he took a TON of time to sign for everyone, up and down the dugout, all along the third baseline, and in both dugout corners. He did it with a huge smile and some banter for everyone and, yeah, I love him a bit.
I watched the game with the BCRS dad, and Leah (sister of the aforementioned Beth) came over to say hello.
So, yeah, exhausted, fried, brain-dead. I'm just glad I got to see three good games, from SOMEone's perspective. Check out what I said over at RotT, and check out all the photo galleries, because there's some good shit in there. In fact, I think this post kind of IS the photo galleries, because those tell the story, of my complete and utter joy at discovering that I now have a camera that does not suck, of my obsession with Brandon Inge and Bill Mueller (and curious fascination with Chris Shelton, aka Big Red, aka the Rodent of Unusual Size) and of the games themselves.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Day game tomorrow, and I want to get there early enough to catch some BP (I've tried to do this before, and have been basically thwarted every time), so I need to get to bed with all possible immediacy, and I won't have time to post before the game tomorrow. So I'll just throw up a few photo highlights to hold you until, well, Sunday night, probably, when I will have some kind of epic post of madness.
All photos clickable for bigger versions.
Curtis Granderson stretches before the game.
Bill Mueller. Need I say more?
Bronson wonders where it all went wrong.
The crowd seemed to think that anything (read: Roberto Petagine) was infinitely preferable to Kevin Millar.
He wouldn't be Pudge Rodriguez if he wasn't groping his pitchers.
Manny doesn't like having strikes called against him.
Jon(athan) Papelbon is not happy with himself.
Edgar, Tony G, and Carlos Pena schmooze at second base during a pitching change.
Oh yes, and I met Jere! The description of 'bright orange hat, blue streak in hair' was apparently enough for him to spot me, so he came over and said hi and chatted for a bit. Cool dude. I got a photo of the both of us grinning and giving the camera a thumbs up, but I don't know if he's one of those folk who don't like their photo on the magical interwebnet or something, so you'll have to just imagine it.
If it all works out, tomorrow I should take mostly BP photos at the game, and then I should be able to upload EVERYTHING and you should have like 200 photos from this series to look at. Good times.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
I wasn't expecting there to be a great many Tigers hats floating around Fenway for this series. But last night, I saw a single Tigers hat on the way into the park (on a guy toting a small child in Red Sox gear), a single Tigers hat the entire time I was in the park (on a small child whose father had no team gear on; who knows, it might've been a little league hat), and a single Tigers hat on the way out (on an older gentleman). I had a Tigers hat on, and my brother had a Tigers tshirt on, so that makes for a grand total of 5 Tigers fans I saw all. night. long.
JJ looked OK early, but my brother was already shaking his head and saying he'd never seen so many balls in the dirt. He fell apart in the third inning, the fifth inning, and the start of the sixth inning, and the only reason he didn't seem to fall apart in the fourth was because he got lucky... Mueller absolutely smoked a ball into left field, but right at Craig Monroe, and Dougie gave a ball a long, high ride, but it died just at the track and fell into Granderson's glove. Spurling and Walker were both surprisingly, well, not sucktastic, but by then of course the damage was done.
As for the Sox pitching, well. There weren't many walks given up, which you can probably put down more to the Tigers' complete inability to take a pitch than to Sox control. The third inning was kind of funny, one-two-three, every out made by Kevin Millar over at first.
Of course, the fourth was where the troubles began. Craigger worked himself a leadoff walk, which should have been an immediate warning sign, since "Tiger walking" generally equals "pitcher not having any idea where the ball is going". Then Brandon Inge smashed a two-run homer to center, surprising the hell out of the crowd and quieting everyone.
John "wicked dangerous hitter" McDonald followed it up with a double, and then Curtis Granderson hit... well, he hit the ball, and it went down the first base line, that much we're all agreed upon. Was it a homerun? From where I was sitting, we had a view straight down the first base line, and... you know, as I was watching it, I thought that it had just bent fair around the pole. The woman sitting next to me thought that it had hit the pole, and everyone else around us, including my brother, thought that it had been blatantly foul.
The umpires called it a homerun, though, so what's done is done. The crowd was not very happy about it, and every subsequent foul ball saw all of Fenway raising their hands and making the 'homerun' sign, which I have to admit was kind of hilarious.
Jeremi gave up back-to-back homers to Pudge and Magglio, good hitters both, but still not a comforting sight for Sox fans, especially as he'd been one of the guys we were less worried about in the 'pen.
ChadBrad was OK, though he got burned by letting both Nook and Granderson get singles in the 8th. Nook is one of the fastest guys in the league, and Grandy is pretty quick himself, so when they took off on a double steal, and when Nook later sped a sac fly into an easy run, it was kind of something you could see coming a mile off. The Tigers fan in me was happy to get to watch a run get 'manufactured' like that, and the baseball fan in me was just happy to get to see Nook run the basepaths.
There's more to say, but my dad wants to leave early for tonight's game (it's an entire BCRS family outing for this one), so I must trot.
All the photos can be seen here. I refuse to apologize for the sheer profusion of Brandon Inge shots. Expect more Bill Mueller shots from tonight, as I'll be closer to third base.
What. a. game.
For Kristen. He wasn't even playing today, but still I managed. Such is my love for my fellow Sox bloggers.
For Red and Denton. Because they have this thing with DaMeat, and, yeah.
For Beth, because I taunt her enough about Curt anyways.
For Cat. Hee hee.
For Amy, for Mer, for Marianne, for basically every woman with a pulse. Oh Billy.
For me, but really, for everyone.
All photos clickable for a bigger version. If anyone wants a really honking big version, just drop me a line. I'm accomodating like that.
This is just a taste, but as I spent ALL NIGHT resizing the 150-some-odd photos I took, so that they are uploadable, I am no longer in a state to write anything coherent. All the photos will be up, along with the tale of madness, at some point before tomorrow's game.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Well, that was fun!
No, really, I know what Schilling did for us last season. I know that we wouldn't have won it without him, and the toll it took on him to push on like he did. He's paying that toll right now.
86 years worth of Sox fans are thanking him for it.
Sure, a gloriously hypocritical majority of the rest of baseball dislikes the Sox now, or at least their fans, citing the classlessness, crudity, loud sarcasm, the annoying fanatical attachment to and obsession with the team, and hysterically overwrought rivalry with the Yankees... in short, all the things that were amusing and mildly endearing when we hadn't won anything in generations. These people hate Schilling more than I do, and I get mightily annoyed by some of the stuff he trots out these days. Sorry Beth.
I very much doubt that you could find a single real Red Sox fan who would give up Schilling, or the bloody sock games, or the World Series, or any of it, just to get back our lovable loser status.
So, yeah, we owe a fucking lot to Curt Schilling, and you've got to give the man his due.
But for fuck's sake, Curt! What was that? What! Was that!
I guess the plus side is that he threw 5 strikes in 5 innings. But it's not like he was just getting beat by Mike Sweeney, who I guess you can call a threat, or David DeJesus, who is probably better than you think. Denny Hocking? Paul Phillips? Angel Berroa? Paul Phillips??
Then again, the Royals were just coming off of a surprising dismantling of Oakland, to avoid the consecutive loss record. The very same Oakland that just now got done dismantling the Tigers, the very same Tigers who just recently dismantled the Sox. So by that token, I guess we were supposed to lose, right? Pardon me if that sounds like rationalization, I'm trying to find a way to make this series less surprising, and therefore less painful.
I was watching the end of the game with my friend Kate, who doesn't know a terrible lot about baseball. We watched Edgar neatly hit into an inning ending out, and she turned to me and said, "I heard that he does that a lot. Make the out that ends the inning."
I think I was in shock for a moment. I mean. Even the people who don't follow baseball have noticed? I know, I know, he's been doing loads better lately. Still. I'm not sure, but I'd go so far as to call that a breathtakingly bad sign.
Note on Kauffman: possibly it was mic location, but I actually think I heard a lot more 'Let's Go Royals!' chants than 'Let's go Red Sox' chants in the stands. Got to give the Blue fans some credit for showing up like that. Bet they were quite surprised to see their team show up as well.
I can't be the only person deeply disturbed by how much of our bullpen we had to waste in this series. These. Are. The Royals. Not the bloody St. Louis Cardinals! And we had to dig Arroyo out of the pen? And I know the idea was to put Papelbon out there in the 'pen, but it's still a bit nerve-wracking to think of two potential backup starters working in this disaster of a series.
Positives to this game? It is possible (possible) that Curt just pulled a Boomer here, came back a game too early, and will be able to be dominant from here on out.
Um. I think that's all I got.
Later today, the Tigers/Red Sox weekend begins. Expect photos. Expect me to lose my mind. Expect bright orange hats to be worn. Hey, SOMEone has to win, so at least this series will be soothing for me in that regard.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Wow, sorry I've been so sporadic lately, folks. The Internship is drawing to a close (along with the summer; along with nondorm food, along with clean bathrooms, etc. etc.), and it has been completely kicking my ass this past week or so. Imagine frantic 2 am index-compiling, and shakily trying to draw something that looks like a fair approximation of a saltmarsh bulrush at all hours, and you've about got the shape of it.
It's also been a bit hard to concentrate on baseball when I keep looking forward with nearly painful excitement to the weekend, when the Tigers come to town. Due to a fortunate series of events (i.e. my dad, and his cousins Beth and Leah, are the best people ever), I will be ATTENDING ALL THREE GAMES. Yes. Yes, indeed. I also have a new camera, with a zoom that will hopefully perform much better than my old one did, but in any event expect massive photo spammage and insane blog entries starting late Friday night (or, knowing myself well enough, probably very very early Saturday).
I'll try to get a proper post up about how much this losing to/playing close games with the Royals sucks (hint: A BLOODY LOT) Thursday afternoon. This is just a placeholder, as it were, to let you all know I'm still alive and, if not exactly well, at least not twitching so badly that I can't type.
In the meantime, because I feel so bad about neglecting this space so much in recent days, have this photo of shirtless Barry Zito.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Well, it looks like this is the end of the line for Mark Bellhorn. He's been designated for assignment, and with Tony Graffanino playing as well as he is, plus the ever-present possibility of picking up a good dead sea lamprey on the cheap to fill the position, it seems highly unlikely that Bellhorn will remain on the team.
Much like DLowe, it seems best to let him go, fondly remembering the postseason heroics but breathing a small sigh of relief over the fact that his dead weight will no longer be dragging the roster down into the briny deep. Of course, unlike DLowe Bellhorn has not, so far as I know, married some woman only to cheat gratuitously on her, but you know what I mean.
So, we'll miss you, Bellhorn. We'll miss your complete and utter lack of expression, the stoically turned double plays, the way you remained entirely unrattled by something so mundane as an opposing player charging at you and sliding in spikes up. We'll miss your high socks, and we'll miss making fun of all the creepy women who obsessed over you for no readily discernible reason.
We'll always remember that homerun in the ALCS, clanging off the foul pole, making that fantastic rattling gong sound that meant it was fair, not foul. I don't think I've ever seen another homerun like that, where the sound was what MADE it a homerun... until it clanged into the pole, it was just a ball flying through the air, possibly foul, possibly fair. It was only when it sent that noise rolling through the park that it ceased to be just a fly ball and became instead a back-breaking (for the Yankees) homerun. That's not something that Red Sox fans will be forgetting in a hurry.
We'll miss the on base percentage, maybe, but we won't miss the strikeouts, and we won't miss the giant levitating cow that is the hole in his strikezone.
Good luck wherever you end up, Bellhorn.
Oh yeah, and Mike Timlin is moving over to the closer's role, with Curt returning to the rotation. We can only hope the boys upstairs know what they're doing with this one. If I was Christian this would be a good time for me to cross myself and gaze supplicatingly up at the heavens. Since I'm not, I'll just have to settle for muttering, "Oy vey," and going to harass Theo about why he hasn't picked us up "a nice Jewish boy for the bullpen".
Friday, August 19, 2005
This photo, of course, is pre-ubercreepy-two-tone facial hair.
But ah, Mike Remlinger. Bottom of the 8th, and he gives up a deep, lofty fly ball to Darin Erstad... caught up against the wall by Adam Stern. Lucky pitcher. Vlad 'Rargh Swing at Everything!' Guerrero grounds out to first... lucky, lucky pitcher. Bengie Molina however remembered that Remlinger wasn't any good and promptly doubled. Casey Kotchman singled (moving Bengie over to third on a hit that would have sent almost anyone else home, as Don and Remy pointed out. Bengie may be many things, but 'fleet of foot' is not one of them).
Already feeling bad about loading the bases and allowing three runs the previous inning, already feeling bad about the hundreds of thousands of Sox fans back on the east coast stabbing themselves in the legs with sporks to stay awake and watch the game (although lord knows why), Mike Remlinger glances over at the bullpen, desperate for any kind of help.
Lo! There is a man warming in the 'pen! Relief is near at hand! But wait, who is this right-handed pitcher slinging balls at Jason Varitek out there? Too dark to be Timlin, too late in the game to be Jeremi, too small to be Manny Delcarmen or Curt Schilling. Not a submariner, so it can't be Chad Bradford. So who....
But oh yes indeed.
There must be a certain kind of deep, dark, terrible shame that you feel in the pit of your stomach when you realize that the game has gotten so completely hideous, and that your pitching has gotten so incredibly, mind-numbingly bad, that your manager has got your backup infielder warming in the bullpen. Presumably the message, or at least one of the messages, is that you are so utterly useless out there that even a utility shortstop couldn't do any worse on the mound.
Remlinger did manage to get out of the inning by himself, striking out Steve Finley two batters later. Most unfortunately, the batter before Finley had seen fit to dump a 3-run homer into the stands, but the difference between 10-3 and 13-3 was apparently of little consequence to Tito at that point.
Myers gave up a 3-run homer earlier in the game, but it came off the bat of a righty (and the two men on base were inherited runners), leading me to believe that the time zone difference has addled our managerial staff to the point where they're actually falling asleep during the game.
Granted, the situation wasn't ideal, as Myers was coming into the game so early because Tim Wakefield had been removed from the field with an injury to (at last update) his shin.
Because he got hit in the leg by a line drive.
We didn't take a single walk tonight either.
Oh, and Papi was 0-for-4 on the night. Manny had a costly, costly error in the field, and for once failed to back it up with anything more than a double. Edgar was hitless. Millar continued the recently acquired Sox prediliction for grounding into double plays.
Ladies and gents, your 2005 Post All Star Break Boston Red Sox: Where the backup outfielder is strong, the catcher is good looking, and Bill Mueller is above average.*
Ironically, I got my first ever Hare Krishna 'be happy' spam in my inbox tonight. I am apparently supposed to "Call out Gouranga be happy!!! Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga... That which brings the highest happiness!!"
I gave it a shot (quietly, since everyone else in the house and probably the neighborhood is asleep) but it didn't do much good. I kept picturing Orlando Cabrera shouting "Gouranga! Be happy!" as he went through some insane handshake ritual with a teammate, which only made me madder. To be Jereish about it, Terrible Job, Hare Krishnas.
In happier news, Zach Duke was completely awesome, again.
"I hope he'll be around a long time," [Mets outfielder Cliff] Floyd said. "The game needs guys like him. He can turn a franchise around."
"Why not?" Floyd added. "I won't be around much longer."
*Many points to you if you know what this is from.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
So yeah, I already went over this game once for my Tigers blog, it hardly bears repeating. Messy. From the Sox point of view, that huge offensive explosion in the top of the 10th was fun and impressive, but once again it turned out to be way too necessary. Johnny Damon forbid we have the sort of lineup that can't explode for eleventy billion runs in one inning; if we did, our current bullpen would give away every single game.
Remlinger certainly tried his damndest here with that grand slam to Craigger, leading me, my immediate family, my friends, my fellow bloggers, the whole of Red Sox Nation, and the squirrel in my backyard to wonder why exactly we bothered to bring him on board. Sometimes stats don't tally up with what it feels like you're seeing on the field, but in the last couple of games he's gotten into, opponents are batting .750 off of Remlinger, and that feels about right.
Something's gotta happen in that bullpen by September. Darned if I know what (Hansen? Dare we even hope he turns out that well?), but something's got to give.
Why was the entire NESN crew suddenly calling him 'Jonathan Papelbon' instead of just 'Jon Papelbon'? Did he, like, issue some kind of press release while I wasn't looking, requesting to be addressed by his full name only? Weird.
Beth called me up in the 9th inning, when we were all knotted at 3 and I was grumbling over Vance Wilson's awesome approach at the plate. She was convinced that the world was going to end, and the Sox were going to lose, and woe woe woe. I couldn't tell if she was really that down about last night and the subsequent Sox blogosphere panicfest, or if she was doing her reverse mojo ranting. Worked, if it was the second.
Awesome quote from Dmitri Young, on how upset everyone is that Rondell White, Clubhouse Guy Extraordinaire, has exploded his shoulder:
"Why couldn't it happen to a bad guy?" Dmitri Young said. "The worst thing was to see him that down. I mean, I'm a moody person, but he's a guy who just exemplifies joy."
"I'm a moody person."
Brilliant. The day DaMeat stops giving us fantastic quotes is the day we shake our heads in disgust at the way baseball has gone so precipitously downhill.
Also hilarious is this story about (currently DLed) Braves catcher Johnny Estrada:
During Monday's day off, Estrada, went to Cobb County to help kick off the start of a DARE Program at a middle school. It was a program he believes helped him stay away from drugs and gangs, while growing up in the Oakland, Calif. area.
Minutes after leaving the school, Estrada, who has been told he's the first local professional athlete to get involved with DARE, stopped at a nearby gas station. As he stood there wearing an anti-drug hat and T-shirt, a man approached him and asked him if he wanted to buy cocaine.
"I couldn't believe it," Estrada said. "I just told him, 'You've got the wrong guy.'"
Are you serious?
Anyways, Bondo/Boomer in a few hours. I'm excited. As is usual with these Sox/Tigers series it's a sort of free-floating 'yay baseball on both sides!' excitement, but still, should be a good one.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Well, OK. Let's see how right I was.
Hacking: Lots and lots and lots of it. The Tigers, as a team, had 16 hits, struck out 6 times, left 19 men on base, and had only one walk. That's some mighty big hackin', boys and girls. That is a team that would swing at a bowling ball if you rolled it towards them.
'Do rags: Did you see when Dmitri slid into third base and his helmet came tumbling off, revealing his majestic 'do rag? Yeah cause I saw it, and it was pretty awesome. And when he got taken out of the game for a pinch runner, and he came off the field with his batting helmet in hand, waving it to the crowd? Yes, more 'do rag.
Triples: Two of them, shockingly both of them by the Tigers. I thought if I was going to be right here it would have to be Red Sox doing the hitting but damn, Big Red and DaMeat certainly stepped up (and in Dmitri's case, slid in).
Shots of Alan Trammell looking upset in the dugout: Well, maybe not shots per se, but there was a ton of discussion about benching Infante after he Manny'd it down the line on a maybe-yes-maye-no-but-Billy's-got-it-so-you're-dead-meat-anyways foul/fair ball. Tram is a vet, Tram appreciated hustle in his players, Tram won't stand for that, etc.
Bad umpiring: I don't know that it was bad, per se, just iffy. That fair/foul call. Quite a few pitches that Manny thought were walks but were called strikes. At least all the homeruns were decisive, and no one got hit by a pitch but forced to continue the at-bat. God my standards are low for umpiring by now.
The roaring tiger over the PA system: Uh, yeah. That. RAWR! I was wrong here. You hears it quite a bit
Brandon Inge's ass: As expected there were not, sadly, too many shots of Brandon Inge's ass. However, NESN did oblige us with some lovely long closeup shots of his face during his early at-bats. Please note that, in a highly unusual turn of events, Inge was not the only Tiger with his socks up today. Rookie Curtis Granderson also had his socks up, and while he has all manner of mad crazy potential, you can't really compare his posterior to that of Brandon Inge. It is, well, incomparable.
Pudge being sulky: I'm sorry, who did we have catching again? 44th round. OK, that aounds, uh, good. He's nearly batting .200 these days, you know.
What a crazy game. I think we can clearly and squarely blame Curt Schilling... I mean, the walkoff winning run? John McDonald? It's not even like he gave up that last hit to Maggs, who is a very good hitter when all in one unherniated piece, or Dmitri, who hasn't been terrific this year but is always a vague threat. But, John McDonald? Something's wrong with Schill if he lets that happen. KEITH FOULKE IS NOT DEAD, CURT, SO PLEASE STOP CHANNELING HIM.
And the Tigers 'pen did the exact opposite of the Red Sox 'pen. Douglass made his shaky exit and Roman Colon, whom I've been uncharitably calling 'NotKyleFarnsworth', went 4 solid. Grooming the next Kitty starter? Maybe. In any event, the kid done good against some of the scariest bats in baseball, and the one run he gave up was a blast from David Ortiz. That was just Papi doing what Papi does, though, there's no shame in getting beaten like that.
Don and Remy were in fine form tonight, first giggling madly over the Detroit freeway situation (bad, very; apparently Remy had to resort to driving up a closed ramp to reach the freeway they wanted, leading to this horrified and amused Don Orsillo quote: "We've driven up on sidewalks and the wrong way down one-way streets, but that was the first time we've seen a great big sign saying 'DO NOT ENTER' and we entered.") and then completely losing their minds over the streakers.
Obviously NESN doesn't show the guys on TV, so we had audio of Don and Remy gasping helplessly for breath in the booth and video of the bullpen guys crowded along the fence to watch the action. It was hilarious. Remy was laughing about it like 3 innings later, which is one of those things that you either absolutely love or absolutely hate about NESN broadcasts.
Of course the best part was that when the cops finally came out and subdued the guy, they handcuffed him and led him off the field through the stands, onto the concourse. Without even wrapping a towel around him. They handcuffed and marched him off, still completely naked. Don and Remy were in fits over this too.
Oh, Detroit police department.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Oh, bloody heck, is it time for this again?
And to think, I'd been so relatively sane lately, too.
Well, for those of you who do not follow the Tigers, let me give you some tips about what you can look for in this series:
-Hacking. Lots of it. The Tigers, as a team, are apparently morally opposed to taking walks. I think it offends their sense of macho tough Detroitness or something.
-'Do rags. Watch Dmitri Young.
-Triples. Well, you may not see any, the way the Tigs have been hitting lately, but I'm just warning you now, this game is in Comerica Park. It has a large outfield. This is conducive to the hitting of triples. Because you just know that if and when triples are hit, Don and Remy are going to start talking about it endlessly. So now you're forewarned and prepared for it.
-Shots of Alan Trammell looking upset in the dugout. I'm not sure if NESN will oblige with these, but if they're on the ball they'll be sure to catch him in the throes of his agony. It's something to see, when he really loses it.
-Bad umpiring. I swear to Johnny Damon, bad umpiring has been like some kind of horrible deranged rally monkey on the backs of the Tigers this year. It just follows them around and it won't go away and it keeps claiming it's from LA even though so far as we know it was from Anaheim and ugh. The worst, of course, was Carlos Guillen getting hit in the foot but not awarded a base, and then taking a ball to the head the very next pitch, but there has just been a lot of shoddy umpiring around the Tigs. I'm not using this as an excuse for their recent suckitude, by the by; good teams overcome bad umpiring (see: homeruns, Gabe Kapler). I'm just saying it's One More Thing when the Tigers really just didn't need anything else piled on.
-The roaring tiger over the PA system! Listen for it every time the Tigers score! RRRAAWWR! Ha ha, no, you won't be hearing it much.
-Brandon Inge's ass. There probably won't be that many shots of it on NESN, especially given how he's been mired in a suffocating and bewildering hitting slump, but keep an eye out for it and you will be richly rewarded. It is a very nice ass. It should be easy to tell which one is Brandon Inge, for Tiger-watching-novices: he's number 15, and he's also the only Tiger who regularly wears his socks up.
-Pudge being sulky. If you haven't been following the Tigers... well, don't ask. Suffice it to say that Pudge and THE REST OF THE KNOWN UNIVERSE are not on the best of terms right now.
If someone can get Renteria to figure out what, exactly, it was that Pudge was doing in Colombia over those 4 days of his suspension, Tiger Nation (such as it is) would really like to know.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
No such thing as clutch hitting and blabbity blah blah, I know, but damn if David Ortiz just doesn't seem to come through when we need him to. The team sitting on top of the AL East has a DH batting under .300... in fact, he's only 3 for his last 20 at-bats. Insane, right? But I swear, that has to be the loudest sub-.300 batting average in the big leagues. But, man. From just watching the games you'd think he was hitting .400, and that's what it feels like.
If anyone even breathes the words 'underperforming' or 'replace' with regards to Big Papi I will rip their heads off and I will find some really hungry wild wolverines and I will feed them the offending heads and then I will have them vomit the resultant partially-digested material in the middle of East Lansing where it will be promptly set fire to by Michigan State students and then the ashes will be mixed into a keg and these will be consumed by the Michigan State football team at their annual couch-burning party and then they will vomit them back up.
That is how crazy you would be to suggest that David Ortiz has been anything but awesome for this team. You would be so crazy that you would have to destined to end up as headless-wolverine-eaten-regurgitated-burnt-drunk-reregurgitated goo, there would simply be no other place for you in the world.
Kevin Millar, man! What's wrong with hiim? He's seeing the ball OK, because he's still taking quite a few walks. His pure power isn't gone, because he's still hitting the ball really hard a couple of times in each at-bat. But he just cannot. hit. the goddamn. ball. straight. It is starting to become foolish, the number of balls he has hit for incredible towering foul homeruns. Is this a bat speed thing? Is he catching balls too late or too early and pulling them too hard so that they don't fly straight out? Or does he just have the worst luck ever?
Either way, it's frustrating to watch and is starting to become painful.
Curt Schilling: YEEEEEARGH. I think my eyes melted out of my head, all atomic-bomb style, watching him give up those massive blasts. No, Curt. Just, no. You are not Jose "Homeruntastic" Lima. You are not Keith "I give up homeruns in the 9th to make the girls cry" Foulke. Your knee is not made of ground beef. Please do not start pitching like it.
I wasn't watching the game today all that closely, since I was doing layout work at the time, because I'd spent all day doing woodblock carving. Don't even ask. It's really nice to realize you can go 3 or 4 years without once picking up a chuck and then when you get it back in the palm of your hand you can still do mad crazy art things with it, that's all that needs to be said about that.
I'm in a linking kind of mood, so!
Imaginary baseball world! Wherein Beth and Kristen lose their minds and we get to reap the benefits. They definitely cleaned this up quite a bit from the conversations I've had with them. There's a lot more "what we do with the players in a hanging out sense" and a lot less "molestation". Way to water it down for the general public, ladies.
Idiots Write About Sports takes on the massive power of Rafael Palmeiro's raging erection. I don't even know why, but this brought tears of hilarity to my eyes. I do not even know why! At heart, I am but a puerile 12 year old. This entry about Bobby Kielty dressing up as Ronald McDonald for no readily available reason is also one of the best things I've read about baseball this week. Possibly this month.
Avoiding beers with Boomer. Apparently Mark Buehrle learnt all he knows of pitching from his ol' mentor David Wells. But he feared the prospect of coming to town, because Wells would probably want to go out. And poor Marky, he knows he cannot keep up with the mighty iron liver of Boomer. Hee. I love how his drinking prowess is such that it strikes fear in the hearts of even those who know him well, not just us idle internetly speculators.
Just Hanley being Hanley. What is it with being a Boston superstar, having issues with the media, and having the last name 'Ramirez'?
On Perception, Momentum, and Resultant Idiocy. Mgoblog goes off on a beautiful rant about human nature and biological imperatives and how this applies to our opinions of sports players/teams, and the upshot of it all is that Troy Smith still sucks. I was stunned by its beauty.
Harrington goes 9-for-9 in two drives but offense stalls. OK, at least Joey put in a good showing. We lost but hey, preaseason, right? It's still early, best to stick with what you know, and if what the Lions know is losing, so be it. For now. Save the wins for the regular season! All is good and happy and fluffy and Honolulu Blue and Silver. But wait, what?
Fullback Cory Schlesinger broke his right fibula early in the first quarter of Friday night's 10-3 loss to the New York Jets at the Meadowlands. He will be out for six to eight weeks, coach Steve Mariucci said.
Meanwhile, Lions Den seems to have misplaced his pants, although what this has to do with his game analysis, I am unsure. Nice of him to let us know, though.
Jays 12, O's 0. Sorry, man. I know they're division rivals, and I know they were sitting atop the division for a while this season. But man oh man, how the mighty have fallen. The Tigers are busy sucking as much as it is possible for a team to suck right now so yeah, sympathy for our Halloween-color-clad brethren in baseball fandom. At least you get to look at the prettiness that is a healthy Javy Lopez again, right?
Really, Tigers, sucking. First, everything goes to hell in a natty tiger-striped handbasket. Then, Pudge goes AWOL. Then, I start crying and screaming, "Why?!? Why me, why, why anyone, why me??!" all Nancy-Kerrigan style.
Remember, many moons ago, when the Singapore Sox Fan had all those links to the fake player livejournals? We all know how I fear livejournal (deeply), but those were funny.
Anyways, I still pop on over to check out The Farns every so often, and it still cracks me up. I also usually have a look to see what Brett Tomko is saying, because it is dead hilarious.
Also, the guy is an artist in, like, real life. Seriously. He does all these creepy pencil renderings of his teammates for team charity auctions and things. They're not bad in a 'he's probably been drawing for a while but is making the sort of proportion errors that let you know he's never taken a life drawing class in his life' kind of way. Like, OK, here, he drew this one of Barry Bonds.
Pretty obviously drawn from a photograph. It's not a great or probably representative shot of the drawing, obviously, but you can still tell that Tomko's ignoring proper fabric flow in the pantlegs, and that he went overboard in the shading on the face. Also, this is just a general tip for everyone, but floating orbs don't make a great background unless the atmosphere you're trying to convey is 'alien abduction'.
Still, Major League baseball player doing art. I love him for it.
That got tangential, huh?
Pirates' miscue short-circuits opener. The Pirates lost. So what, right? Well, Zach Duke was pitching, and we all know how I covet Zach Duke. He finally had a bad outing, only going something like 4 innings. Well, every sports magazine and website in the land suddenly noticed him and decided to write articles about it, it was inevitable that this would happen. He wasn't the pitcher of record, though, so he still has yet to record a loss. Yay!
It wouldn't be links without a Dugout link!
[Johnny Damon] started talking to me, and I swear to God it was so unintelligible that I began traveling backwards in time. One day I will meet the dude (or dudette) who is writing these Dugout things. And I will hug them. A lot.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
I'm not positive, because I don't know where one would go to find the data on this, but I think the Red Sox may have made Major League baseball history tonight.
In the top of the ninth inning, the defensive arrangement looked something like this--
P Manny Delcarmen
C Jason Varitek
1B Kevin Millar
2B Tony Graffanino
3B Kevin Youkilis
SS Edgar Renteria
LF Gabe Kapler
CF Johnny Damon
RF Adam Stern
Take a closer look at that.
All at the same time.
Ladies and gents, the Boston Red Sox may have just become the first team in history to have three Jewish baseball players on the field at the same time.
If anyone can definitively confirm or deny this, or point me to a place where I can work it out on my own, please do so. In any event, if this isn't the first time, it is certainly the first time in a good long while.
And it's possible that this defensive arrangement came up already this season and I missed it... if so, it's still the Sox, just on a different date.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Tonight's game, as seen from the bench and, more specifically, the vigilant cooler-occupying post of Kevin Youkilis.
Man is it warm tonight.
OK Matty, you show 'em. Way to pi-- ooh, hey, sunflower seeds! Arright!
*crunch crunch crunch*
Cora, you can't do that stuff, man. Givin' the bench a bad name!
*crunch crunch crunch*
*crunch crunch crunch*
Great, Billy's up. Whoop de freakin' doo. Watch him strikeout or do somethin' else not nearly as well at the GREEK GOD OF WALKS woulda done it. Watch him ground out. Watch him pop out weakly. Watch him
I'm never going to get playin' time at this rate.
Wow, damn, Renteria. I dunno man, that's pretty weak. I'd rather have Alex Machado out there like back down in Pawtucket, and I sure never thought I'd be sayin' I wished anything was like Pawtucket up here.
Arright, Billy Ked!
Hey, Peta-jean! Way to work it! Arright! Damn I wish I was in I play like 500 times better at first base than this schlump but hey. Hey. Chin up there Youk, is he a fan fave? Does he have his own chant? Does he have ladies hurlin' themselves at him? Does he have a nickname that causes said ladies to assume some fun things about his little Petagine? Nuh uh. You're the man, Youk, you're the man.
Shut up Tony, I am NOT talkin' to myself! I'm keepin' my head in the game! You wanna come over to this damn cooler and say that? No? I DIDN'T THINK SO. Hurt pinkie my ass, lazy showboater.
What? No way, Tito, no trouble here. Just sittin' on my cooler here. Eatin' some sunflower seeds. Watchin' the game. Tryin' to not think what the weather's like in Pawtucket right now. You know how I do. Not makin' any trouble. You're subbin' in Kapler? OK, Tito. Sounds good t'me. Just remember your friendly infielding bench option right over here, OK?
*crunch crunch crunch*
*crunch crunch crunch spit*
Jesus fuckin' Johnny Damon, who the hell is this guy? Rem-linger? Is he related to the Rem-dawg? Oh my god, I think he's old enough to be my dad. He's got more gray hair in his goatee than brokedown old Bill Mueller, and everyone knows how ready he is to turn things over to a younger and more capable replacement.
Wow this guy sucks like a cheap AAA-affordable baseball groupie whore.
All knotted up and hey Tito! You need defense! It's sittin' pretty right here!
Shut UP Tony, I don't mean 'sittin' pretty' like gay! You're just jealous of my hot Youks self. Admit it, Royals boy. Quit laughin'.
Hey look, more sunflower seeds!
*crunch crunch crunch*
*crunch crunch crunch*
Dammit, I'm gonna miss the Simpsons if we don't hurry this thing up!
Hey, what, Skip? Sure I'm ready to go in! I've been ready to go in! You takin' Mueller out? Cause I gotta say, I don't blame you, he's looked flat out there tonight... uh, ever since his homerun. Wait. First base? Huh. OK. I can do that too. Kevin Youkilis, man, super infieldin sub!
No runs for you, Texas! The sight of Youk at first just sends you tremblin' away in fear, doesn't it? Ha ha, bite me, blue shirts! Bite meeeeeeee!
Now all we gotta do is get someone across here. All we gotta do is... hey, sunflower seeds!
*crunch crunch crunch*
Arright, hey, Edgar! Way to redeem, man, Machado doesn't do that if we got him here. C'mere man, lemme give you a big ol' hug. That? Oh, don't mind that stuff on my jersey none. It's just sunflower seed bits. Brushes right off. Now c'mere and gimme that hug.
Edgar? C'mon man, you've hugged Manny enough. Don't worry, the sunflower seeds don't bite!
Heck, well. Arright! Red Sox win! Whoo!
Now let's see if I can't 'accidentally' get Billy to trip down some stairs over here.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Well, it looks like Graffanino might be edging out the dead sea lamprey after all.
This is another one of those 'everyone and their own personal dead sea lamprey is going to be writing about it' kind of posts, but really, why not give the guy his due? He's basically a career backup, who's bounced from team to team over 10 years, and now he's landed here, in the midst of this deranged, baseball-obsessed city, one year after nearly signing onto what turned out to be a historic World Series drive. He's getting playing time because the bizarre cult hero second baseman hurt his thumb. His son is in the hospital recovering from surgery to remove a lump in his neck. Kevin Millar forced him to shave his head in a terrifying infielding ritual.
The poor guy has gone through (and is currently going through) all kinds of shit. So when he has a good night for us, the kind of night that makes you sit back and go, "Lookit dat. Boy done hit da ball and also fielded it," by golly, we're going to wallow in it shamelessly.
So anyways, Tony G(raffanino-not-to-be-confused-with-Giarratano) went 3-for-3 with an intentional walk and 4 RBIs on the night, which is a good night for Manny Ramirez and a mind-bogglingly orgasmic night for a replacement player we snagged from the Royals. He also stole a base. He also charged the hell out of a wild pitch and dove across homeplate to score (TC to Jim Rice after the game: "Now, I know you don't like the headfirst slide.." while Rice grudgingly grunted at the high quality of the play). He also saved Petagine's ass by charging over from second to snag a ball that Roberto had lost sight of. He is currently batting over .300 and slugging over .400 which, hey, that's pretty damn good, are you listening Mr. Millar?
I'd imagine that no one ever likes to get walked when they've got a hot bat, but there must have been some small measure of satisfaction for Tony G when it became evident that the Rangers had grown to so deeply fear his bat tonight that they would rather intentionally walk him than give him the chance to swing at a fat pitch.
That's two ridiculously high-scoring games in a row... seems like the regular sluggers got hot last time, and the little guys at the bottom of the order were raking tonight. I guess that's good. Spread it around and we can keep it up over multiple nights, and all that.
Don and Remy were talking about how they had expected high scoring games from the Sox/Rangers matchup, because both clubs are such strong offensive presences. True, but this game seemed less about strong offensive presences and more about completely awful pitching. Ricardo couldn't even get himself out of one inning, and Wade Miller was once again lucky to make it even into the vicinity of the 5th inning. The PawSox probably could have put up some quality numbers against these guys today.
Jeremi came in and was great... I'm still riding the mellow wave of happiness from when we brought him back up. Timlin... ah, I'm worried here. They said today that he was second in appearances only to Tom Gordon, and that is not a good thing. Joe Torre overuses his bullpen, that's just how he does things. He nearly ran Gordon into the ground before, and he had so abused The Fruitbat last year that The Fruitbat refused to even pick up a baseball in the offseason. If Timlin is being used in a similar fashion to one of Torre's pet Yankee relievers, that means he's probably being overused, and his ability to pitch well in October is thrown into doubt, especially when you consider his age.
ChadBrad effectively closed it out. Watching that ball come rising up across the plate is really something.
But really, tonight it was the Tony G show. We watched him hit, we watched him run, we watched him field, we watched him get his uniform all dirty and we watched him wearing something tight and red and with the goatee and the buzzcut and we drooled in the postgame interview. It's a good night to be a Red Sox fan when you win and can spend the night feteing the backup second baseman.
A note on all the errors: Not the ones we've been committing, the ones we've been profitting from. I know that I said we can't count on 'this stuff' happening all the time, but it seems that we're getting a lot of other teams to make boneheaded plays against us-- all that craziness when KC was in town; the ball-tossing woes the last time the Twinks were in town, and so on. And here's the thing: on another team, that's no big deal. But because the Red Sox almost always have someone on base, we can score on these errors more like as not.
That's good. Now if only we could cut down on the ones we perpetrate.
Monday, August 08, 2005
Well, I'm home from Florida, land of miserable humidity, miserable architecture, miserable drivers, and miserable baseball teams. We were staying pretty close to Dolphins Stadium, but alas, the Marlins were not playing at home. I bet it wouldn't have been that hard to get good tickets if they had been home, so that was just one more reason to hate going to Florida.
Basically the high points were all the times spent inside enjoying the air conditioning, and the fact that I was prevented from seeing the absolutely asstastic baseball the Sox chose to play this series. Six errors over three games is inexcusable, even when you factor in the TwinkieTurf.
Of course, we made something like 8 errors over the first two games of the World Series and that worked out alright. But, as a Boston fan, I waive my right to rationality and declare that this was some baseball that truly sucked like a leech... or rather, didn't, since if they were sucking perhaps that would have suctioned the ball into their gloves instead of, you know, the outfield, or the stands, or someone's dugout.
Everyone is in the Blue Cats Corner until further notice. Everyone. The only exceptions are Tim Wakefield, who is da shit, and Gabe Kapler, because he went yard and he stole a base last night. Everyone else will be joining the other guys I'm pissed at right now, which includes most of the Detroit Tigers.
Speaking of Blue Cats... we're getting to that time of the year. You know the one. That time of year when men in tight pants and plastic helmets go at each other like territorial male sheep on a mountaintop. Football season.
And already they're booing poor Joey Harrington. At practice. File that one under 'You know the season's started when...'
Saturday, August 06, 2005
You know how sometimes you're just sitting around, and then all of a sudden you feel really, really nauseous?
And then you leap up and race into the bathroom and just start vomiting everywhere?
And you just can't stop throwing up, and your stomach is making all those awful heave-y motions until your abdominal muscles start to hurt, and your throat is searing something awful?
And then, by golly, it starts shooting out your nose too?
And then when you think you've thrown up everything there possibly is to throw up, your stomach just keeps on going and you heave bile for a while?
And then when you're done with that, you have the dry heaves for another hour or so, until you're lying on the cold tile floor in the bathroom, vomit probably everywhere, your nose and throat burning, all covered in tears and still gagging kind of weakly into the toilet?
Ha ha, yeah. That game!
Or, you know, food poisoning.
Friday, August 05, 2005
Tek go boom! It only took, oh, about 3,000 at-bats or so. Hopefully now that he's got that particular monkey off his bat he can lean back, relax, and let Manny tell him a thing or two about hitting some more of those fun little 4-RBI thingies.
So saith Tito: "I'm not sad that he hit a grand slam, I'm kind of sad that we don't get to get on him anymore because we've had some fun with it."
Weird game otherwise. Apparently all we need to do to jumpstart Edgah's bat is make him feel really guilty about putting other guys out of commission. Next time I think we should have him knock out Alex Cora or something, though... someone we won't miss quite as much.
Matt Stairs seemed really excited about life this afternoon too. He was hitting .200 in the past 7 games, so I don't know why he was so batsy today. Maybe the roaring masses screaming for his blood were particularly inspiring under the midday sun or something.
Clement seemed OK, in that he wasn't hurling himself to the ground and screaming like
Derek Jeter a little girl every time a ball came somewhere near the mound. He did seem overrested, though. He battled through it, but let us be honest here-- it's not every day that you're going to get 8 runs in the 4th inning, and you can't always count on defensive ineptitude, which the Royals seemingly have in spades. If Clement had had a day like this for that black hole of run support they call the Cubs, it probably would have been a loss.
Our first look at Roberto Petagine was very 'eh'. It's too early to call it a wash, though. I would rather have Olerud back like woah right now, but who knows, maybe Petagine will impress sometime soon. Kevin Millar, on a completely unrelated note, was 0-for-5 on the day. Just, uh. Sayin'.
I don't know. A win's a win, and we swept the series. Hell, we swept the entire bloody homestand. I haven't felt very good about these past few games, though. We've been played almost right up to the end, the sort of games where one twist of bad luck would have turned it into a loss. And we've been playing the Royals, which in part explains why we haven't had that one twist of bad luck, because Lady Luck apparently got a mild infection or something from the Royals at some point in the past and now hates them with a ferocious, feminine passion. It doesn't explain why they were playing us so tightly, though.
The bullpen still feels shaky, I guess, and we're still not operating on a full tank when it comes to the starting rotation. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I'm kind of nervous about this.
Oh, and from that same article I linked before, we get Curt Schilling's take on all the craziness that's been going on lately:
"We go through three or four weeks of [distractions] every year off the field, and everybody except us gets all excited and in a panic and in a frenzy and all [of a] sudden we start winning games."
Right, well, OK. But Curt, buddy, you've only been here a year, you know. It was a pretty big year, but it was basically just, uh, the one. We go through this stuff every year off the field? How would you know? You have only been here for one year. Just a weird little thing that made me twitch my eyebrow skeptically at the computer screen.
Heh, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that this Royals blogger is not overly fond of the Sox. His take on Jason Varitek: "See my pretty "C" and my tough-guy facial hair? I could probably be a closer I'm so full of moxie and manliness." He probably wouldn't like to think that he's making Sox fans smile, but too bad, I laughed. Then I went right back to building the little clay 'C' to put in my Jason Varitek shrine.
Since we did just finish up a series with the Royals, it seems like a good time to mention Brian Anderson's blog. He's one of their pitchers, out for the season with an arm injury that required Tommy John surgery. But he's been blogging (albeit somewhat sporadically). There's some fun stuff in there, though.
So I basically went out early [to Mike Sweeney's charity golf tournament] to glad hand, meet some people and sign some autographs -- if anybody was asking for them. Needless to say I only signed one. It was for some guy as soon as I got out of my car. I was like, “Wow, this is going to be nice.” But that was it for the day. The poor guy. The trials and tribulations of pitching for the Royals. I mean, ANY pitcher on the Sox, no matter how big or little they are, is going to get harassed for autographs wherever they go. You think I wouldn't get all wide-eyed and 'Wowee itza Sawx player!' if I saw Jeremi Gonzalez or Chad Bradford wandering around? Because I would. But poor Brian Anderson, who was a freaking starter when healthy, gets no love. Ouch.
On a side note, Andrew Sisco is way too excited about his new bottle of teeth-whitening Listerine that he’s been taking out to the bullpen. I don't even know what to say to that, really, but I know that, somehow, it is awesome.
Now just imagine if we could convince one of the Red Sox to start blogging...
Also, I watched the Braves/Reds game on TBS tonight. Shut up, there was a chance The Farns would get in the game (he did). But that's not the point. The point. Jeff Francoeur, you guys. He's a year older than me. He's terribly cute. He's got 7 homeruns in 64 at-bats. He's batting .406 and slugging .828. I think I love him a little bit.
edit: Best search terms used to find this site evar!
'braden looper must die'
And the person searching for it was doing so from, get this, Pleasantville, NY.
I love it. God bless the internet.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Happy slightly belated birthday, Wake! Hope you enjoyed your present, in the form of a weird and convoluted win. It must suck for Royals fans to watch that sort of loss... their starting pitcher did well, their bats did well early, and still they lost. Then again, being a Royals fan must just be one disappointment after another, but this one must especially smart.
I love to see Tony Graffanino do well, and not just because it was against his former team. I just like the guy.
Manny came out of the Monster today holding a sign that said, "Manny Being Manny" on it. Lord knows where he got it, some fan must have handed it down out of the crowd or something. As Don and Remy said, it's funny hearing Manny himself use the phrase... it's kind of like speaking in the fourth person, or something. But anyways, "Manny Being Manny": this year's Cowboy Up or Why Not Us?
In his postgame interview, David Ortiz sounded slightly annoyed to be talking about Manny still. Perhaps people should start asking him about his own performance for a bit. There was incredibly loud rap music playing in the background, and when they cut back to studio the Eck was shaking his head and saying, "That's why I got out, that music!" Tom Caron started giggling and said, "You kids, turn that stuff down!" to which the Eck replied, "Exactly!"
Random bits from around the league:
Our old buddy DLowe has been a naughty lad lately. Somehow I am completely, entirely unsurprised. It was dumb of the female reporter too, because she's been taken off the beat and wow, yeah, way to advance your career, get a rep for sleeping with the players and breaking up their families.
Camden Chat has had some good discussions up about this whole Rafael Palmeiro mess. Initial reaction thread, subsequent reaction thread, does Raffy owe it to the fans?, it probably wasn't accidental. Check it out if you want to see how O's fans are taking this and to hop in on some discussion of the matter.
Flying Orioles also reacts. Marianne says it very simply.
Oakland A's fans: wrong in the head. In a good way, you know.
The San Diego Union-Tribune gets pretty good, if sporadic, photos of the Padres. They had a series of roadtrip albums up recently. This one is my favorite, because it's got a shot of Xavier Nady looking hot in it, but also because: DAVE ROBERTS!
Not just any old Dave Roberts, but Dave Roberts on a roadtrip with his Padre teammates, in a sports collectibles store, trying on a 1918 classic Red Sox jersey, and his teammates making fun of him for that, and him laughing good-naturedly about it.
Not get all internet-speak about this, but I really have one reaction to photos like that, and it is "OMG". I could try to explain the depths of my love for Dave Roberts, but there really are not sufficient words.
Billfer of Detroit Tigers Weblog has found a most wondrous thing. It is a clip of Alan Trammell and Lou Whittaker in a guest appearance on Magnum PI. That's a big-ish file, not for the dial-up kiddies. It took very little time to load on my computer, though. If you can see it, you really, REALLY ought to do so. Because it is hilarious and awesome on a large scale.
LOOK AT THEM! Trammaker! It kills me from joy! Tram is all young and hip but Whittaker, man.... he was one good looking Tiger in those days. Teh yummy.
Oh yeah, and a little something arrived in the mail the other day. A little something called FOOTBALL TICKETS. Our very second home game of the year is Notre Dame, we're jumping right into the madness. I can't. freaking. wait.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
When you go to a ballgame, you don't really have any control over what sort of game you see. You have to expect that some are going to be more memorable than others, but you can't get lucky every time.
I've been to some stinkers this year (the game where David Wells injured his ankle immediately springs to mind), but I've also been very, very lucky.
I saw Marcus Thames' grand slam at Comerica (an 11-1 victory for the Tigs, that was... remember that, kids? Remember when the Tigers actually won games? Those were fun times) back in April. I was in Fenway for David Ortiz' walk-off homerun in early June. I saw Roger Clemens strike out 10 in RFK just a couple of weekends ago. And I was in the park for Sunday's Red Sox game, which involved the following memorable moments:
-Jon Papelbon's major league debut.
-Manny Delcarmen's Fenway debut.
-A sick defensive play by Gabe Kapler.
-Back-to-back homeruns by Big Papi and John Olerud.
-The triumphant return of Manny Ramirez.
It must be the seats. I was in these exact same seats for the walk-off homer game.
Jon Papelbon got cheered the moment he stepped out of the bullpen and walked across the field to the dugout, before the game even started. On the T ride in my brother and I had listened a group of 30-something male Bostonians in Red Sox gear talk about the starting pitcher for the day. They decided that someone named 'Trumblebum' was pitching, then thought that it was Manny Delcarmen. The urge to correct them was fierce, but I was too busy holding in the laughter. In any event, it was good to see that the majority of Fenway did know what was going on, and cheered the kid appropriately.
It didn't exactly hurt that he came right out of the gate throwing 93, 94 mph fastballs with great regularity (my brother and I wondering if the radar gun was juiced, or if he was just amped about pitching in the big leagues), and that he stone cold struck out the first two batters he faced. His first major league strikeout was Shannon Stewart, the very first batter he ever saw at this level. There's a tiny little smiley face in the corner of my scorecard box for that at-bat. Some people stood up and cheered after the K, and quite a few stood up after the 1-2-3 inning he turned out.
5.1 innings later he'd given up two homeruns and shown some shaky control (especially when he had a runner on... seemed to rattle him a bit), but he also had 7 Ks, and that is some insane stuff, kids. The homeruns weren't even that worrisome... a guy who throws a lot of hard fastballs is going to have some of that velocity going the other direction and over the wall sometimes. The 5 walks and one HBP were more disturbing, but he is after all still young.
He got a standing ovation when he left the field, which felt awfully good. People stayed standing to cheer a bit for Manny Delcarmen, the hometown boy who was getting his first Fenway pitching experience. A strikeout, an error on Bill Mueller that resulted in an inherited runner scoring, and a walk. Not the most wonderous of first outings, but he'll have that first K to look back on, and what a great game this was to make your debut in.
Brad Radke had been looking untouchable for the first three innings, so when Papi went yard off of him, the place erupted. We were still standing and high fiving each other when Olerud came striding up to the plate and immediately hit one out. I'm sure you can imagine the glee. There were two small children in big floppy fishing hats with embroidered Boston Bs on them and opposing David Ortiz tshirts (one kid in blue, one in white) who were nearly besides themselves. They kept standing on the seats to see around everyone standing up, then getting back down because if they jumped around in excitement on the seats they'd probably fall over.
David Ortiz hitting homeruns with regularity is nothing new to Fenway, but the weekend that Olerud was having was the talk of the stands.
The Twins weren't anything special offensively, and it was their pitching that kept the game close. It seemed very frustrating to think that after Papelbon's emotional start he might still lose the game, and the crowd reacted accordingly.
First off, you have to bear in mind that we all noticed Manny in the dugout sometime in the second or third inning. He came up from the clubhouse and plopped himself down on the bench next to David Ortiz. Later in the game he tied a towel around the lower half of his face like a bandit and started gesturing to someone... either someone on the field, or someone in the Twins dugout. Another few innings later he marched up to Edgar, who was sitting on the very lip of the dugout, and gave Edgar a good, vigorous rubdown with the towel. It was cute.
The crowd, as I said, was frustrated with the lack of offense. They were aware that Manny was still on the bench with the trading deadline mere minutes away. Which is why I ended up cocking my head towards the bleachers some time in the 5th inning, mildly confused. I turned to my brother and said, "Is that a Manny chant?" It was. Ah, we're such fickle fans, but in the end we come 'round.
Then, of course, there was the 8th inning.
Kapler and Johnny made two quick outs. Edgah doubled. Papi came up, and Joe Mauer stood to intentionally walk him. Adam Stern was standing in the on-deck circle. With two outs and first base open, why wouldn't you rather take your chances with Stern than with Papi?
"We want Manny! We want Manny! WE WANT MANNY!" the crowd screamed. I don't think anyone really believed he was going to come out. But then we saw Francona saying something to him. Manny got up and disappeared into the corner of the dugout. The chants got louder and more frenzied.
Then he came bounding up the steps and into the on-deck area, helmet on and bat in hand, and the pandemonium of the homeruns earlier seemed calm and sedate. Fenway went completely beserk. It was like someone had unleashed a horrible weaponized version of laughing gas or something. People were shrieking and jumping around and stamping their feet and through it all you could hear the rhythmic chant of "Man-ny! Man-ny! Man-ny!"
Juan Rincon didn't really stand a chance. It wasn't a matter of if Manny would get a hit... at that point, it was almost inconceivable that he wouldn't make contact. It was just a matter of where he hit it and how hard. A hard RBI single doesn't seem like much, but it was the winning run, and it was more than enough to drive the frenzied fans even louder. You could probably hear the park from the Aquarium.
When Manny ran out into left field for the top of the 9th, the cheers resumed. He gave a smart little double-point to the guys inside the Monster, who had held the door open just long enough to receive the gesture. The very first out of the inning was made on a ball hit to left center, and he nearly collided with Johnny, who came across to make the catch. Johnny managed to hold on and started ribbing Manny about it. Manny shook his head and laughed and the crowd was in the kind of zone where a Manny moment like that is of absolutely no consequence.
So, OK. We're tough on our stars. When they dog it a little in the field or the clubhouse we, as a fan base and as a region, get on them like little kids on a new Harry Potter book. But when we welcome them back to the fold, there is nothing, absolutely nothing like it in baseball.
In the midst of all this, and in the midst of sweeping the Twinkies right out of town, this gentleman, sporting a Corey Koskie shirt and quite a bit of Twins gear, proposed to his girlfriend, also a Twins fan. He went marching up the stairs holding out a ring, and the entire section turned around to watch. She said yes, and everyone cheered. It was very sweet and probably salvaged an otherwise painful game for such obviously hardcore Twins fans.
I do wonder why he proposed in Fenway, though. Surely the Metrodome would have been more appropriate. Perhaps he just thought that Fenway was, enemy ground notwithstanding, the much more romantic location, in which case he was entirely right.
It really was a heckuva game to go to.
Second little guest article up at Firebrand, this one on the migratory bird of the Boston Red Sox. Go see. That should be it for now, Evan can write his own damn blog again soon.
I know we're starting a series against the Royals, which might not seem very interesting or important. But tomorrow (er, later today) is Hernandez vs. Wake, and WE MUST WIN IT. It is imperative. If you don't know why, probably you should have a look at what happened the last time any of my boys ran into Runny Elves. He must be made to pay, clearly.
For more on that incident, see here.
And for the record, no, I'm not over The Farns yet. As I said in the previous entry, I watched the Braves/Pirates game earlier, mostly to watch Huddy and Zach Duke Whom I Covet, but also in the sad hopes of seeing The Farns. There was one brief shot of him sitting on the bench in the bullpen in his Braves jersey.
Monday, August 01, 2005
It's fuzzy, but it's Jon Papelbon!
Will post about the game probably at some point tonight. Seriously, kids, it was exactly as awesome to be there as you probably thought it was. There were "Manny, Manny!" chants as early as the 5th inning.
Also, I watched the Braves/Pirates game earlier today, because it was Tim Hudson versus Zach Duke, and we all know how I love Huddy and covet Zach Duke. Duke, my friends, was two outs away from a complete game (when his manager pulled him, much to the complete mystification of both me and the Braves announcers), and he held the Braves to one run, and and and, it was his first earned run in like 15 innings or something. I am more covetous than ever.
Also, Rafael Palmeiro, wtf?