Thursday, June 29, 2006
Well, that was different.
I think most of us were hoping for, and certainly expecting, a much closer game than that. We all wanted the Sox to win, of course, but a 1-0 or 2-1 victory, with the runs scored off of the Mets bullpen or something, that was more in line with how this maybe should have been. As The Eck-- who I firmly believe should be considered an expert on everything in life from personal grooming to baseball and beyond-- said, it was kind of sad, seeing Pedro without any of his pitches working, and in a way disappointing that we didn't get that big dramatic game that had seemed so inevitable.
Instead, Pedro kept throwing what The Eck referred to as 'spin balls'. I'm not exactly sure what a 'spin ball' is. Presumably it's a ball with some spin on it, but not in any particular directed way. The distaste with which The Eck used the term made it sound like it was basically the junkiest ball you could throw that wasn't a spinless knuckleball.
Maybe Pedro's just gotten used to the National League, which we all know is a big soft league of big soft teams with big soft lineups. Maybe he was distracted by all the goings-on and the cheering and so on before the game and didn't get his usual routine in. I could much more easily believe that Pedro is the type of pitcher who gets thrown off by not doing his pregame routine in perfect obsessive order than the type of pitcher who allows sentimentality to take the bite off his fastball.
But I don't think that muffed double play, where Pedro looked at every base before confusedly throwing it to first for only a single out, was a sign that 'his mind wasn't in the game', as so many are saying. Once again I concur with The Eck on this. Ortiz was batting and they had the shift on. I'd be willing to bet that Pedro was simply confused about who was covering what base, with all his infielders shifted.
In any event, Beckett certainly stepped it up. The latest version of the Boston Baseball program you get at Fenway has a cover story titled "Josh vs. The World". All the hype about Pedro certainly seems to have acted in a similar fashion here. Beckett, for all his youth and rageful reputation, does seem to pitch better when he's got a bug up his ass. Kinda like Rodney Harrison in a way. Maybe we should have writers staked out all over the country, and whenever the Red Sox come to town they can write things that DISRESPECT Beckett. He might never lose again.
Oh, and speaking of Beckett's rageful reputation, I was talking about this with one of my friends the other night, after Posada and Farnsworth had had a bit of a Cold War on the mound in New York. Posada doesn't seem to be able to handle the high-strung, problem pitchers like Randy Johnson and Farnsworth. I'm not saying it would be easy to handle those guys; they've both got reputations.
But look at Beckett. He came in with a reputation for hot-headedness. Same with Tavarez. And look at how relatively docile they've both been with Tek behind the plate. And we've certainly never seen either of them, or indeed anyone, regularly try to shake Tek off, like pitchers do with Posada.
Man. Anyways. Can we just play the NL for the rest of the season? That would make everyone happy.
Oh, and I'd like to point out that my little brother has an article on the front page of the sports section of the local newspaper! Granted, it's the Swampscott Reporter, so no need to get too excited (they've printed several of my photos before), but still! They gave him a byline and all! I'm wicked proud, yo.
Labels: baseball, Mets, MLB, Pedro Martinez, Red Sox
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
So, it's been a few days, and I think I've mostly recovered from Monday's game. Directly after it my ability to think was limited to things like "David Ortiz=happy tiny kittens" and "I am going to be so sunburnt tomorrow". Both of these things are still true today.
You know, having been rained out the day before and being determined to get my money's worth out of the goddamn T, I decided it would be a good idea to meet up with Friend Annette at the park right when the doors opened so we could watch BP. Of course, nearing the end of the 12th inning, something like 7 hours later, this no longer seemed like such a great idea.
The other unintended consequence of coming in early was the life of my camera batteries. I always have two sets with me, and I usually run them both down in the course of a game, but with enough to spare on the last set, so I can flip through them if I want, and download them into my computer on the same batteries.
As the game went into extras, I started nursing the batteries. Turning the camera off. Ignoring Phillies players. I didn't really have a feeling that something special was gonna happen or anything, but it just seemed, well, prudent, you know? We have David Ortiz. Unlikely as it seemed (when he came up in the 12th I said, shaking, to Annette, "He can't, right? I mean, there's no way, right?"), you just never know.
I'm really glad I nursed the batteries along. You've gotta click especially that first one for big, by the way... Alex Cora snugglehugging Papi in the middle of the happy little group is the best bit.
All of the photos are right here and I would recommend going to see them, but because I know some of you are LAZY SODS, here are a few.
David Ortiz scoring the first run of the game past Chris Coste's attempted tag. This was the run that got the Officially Mad Crazy 6th Inning started. The inning where the Sox batted around and 3 guys batted twice (Ortiz, Manny, and Trot).
This game, by the by, ended up being a pain in the coccyx for people scoring the game. Not only did it go into extras, causing me to dig into the designated AB, R, H, and RBI columns, but because both teams batted around once I had to scratch out and change the inning numbers too. Still, it woulda been fun if only the Sox had done it.
I have no idea what Manny and Gonzo are doing here. I mean, they're waiting out a pitching change, I know that much, but beyond that.... no, I won't even speculate. That could be heading into dangerous waters.
It's pretty much impossible to hate Jimmy Rollins, right? I mean, how can you fail to love that?
One of the best things about my cousins' seats (the ones I, obviously, had for this game-- a thousand thanks cousin Beth!) is that you're seated so as to have a good view into, and therefore a good shot at, the Red Sox dugout. And you get to see things like this.
We all know Curt and Beckett have been inseparable this season, standing together on the dugout rail at every game when neither is pitching, chatting the game away. We all know that Curt is taking this opportunity to share his vast and no doubt long-winded wisdom with the kiddies very, very seriously, and very, very happily. He's probably the kinda guy who leaps at the chance to talk to (at?) a captive audience.
This particular conversation, the one I have photographed, went on for several innings, with Annette and I checking back every so often to say, "They're not still talking, are they? Who's Curt bugging now?"
Perhaps it was the heat, perhaps it's the scuzzy facial hair, but whatever it was, Beckett looked like a goddamn mess. He seemed zoned out most of the time, too... I have other photos, that I didn't upload, where he's sitting elsewhere in the dugout, also staring vacantly into space and possibly trying to see if he could feel the individual bristles of his beard grow. With Curt talking and talking and talking and talking, it seemed for the first time, so far as I could tell, that Beckett was not listening. At all.
Jon Lester, on the other hand, was gazing at Curt the entire time with a look that I can only really describe as 'awestruck". He seemed unable to tear himself away. At one point in the 'conversation' Curt started pointing across the field, indicating something. Beckett turned his head in a half-hearted kind of way, but Lester didn't even look up. He could not take his eyes off of Curt for one moment, lest Curt in that moment drop some priceless pearl of wisdom that he would regret not picking up for the rest of his life, or something.
It was great.
Anyways. Things that are pretty:
Gabe Kapler. Pinch hit for Trotter in the 9th.
Mr. Varitek. Pinch hit for Dougie in the 10th, although, as Annette pointed out at the time, Tito was obviously trying his hardest to give Tek a whole day off.
Things you don't notice at the ballpark, but learn upon getting home and perusing your photos of the day's event:
1. Aaron Rowand thinks he's a college frat boy.
Everyone wears the armbands. Most guys have either blank ones, or bands with their number and the logo of whatever sportswear company makes them embroidered on. But Rowand here has his own special pair. When I loaded the photo in I thought, "Hmm, he's got an awful lot of writing on those armbands, I wonder what they say." Zoom proved the horrifying truth.
Yes. Aaron Rowand is wearing armbands that say "BEER PONG CHAMP" on them. Which is not only the sort of absurd, vaguely distasteful and classless yet utterly hilarious sort of thing I would normally expect from AJ Pierzynski, it is also a load of wank. Everyone knows that it was a pair of Wolverines who won the World Series of Beer Pong. Our finest moment, indeed.
But really now, Aaron. You have a Baseball World Series ring. Stop pretending that you have any sort of claim to a Beer Pong ring as well.
2. Mike Timlin has finally gone off the deep end.
We all know he's a hunter and he has a strange, almost manic love affair with the camo pattern. Camo Red Sox hats, clever. Camo shirts under his jersey, acceptable.
But a camo baseball glove? MIKE TIMLIN YOU CRAZY. I didn't even know they made such a thing.
What's next? He paints his face camo and claims it's some new application of eyeblack? See, I shouldn't even have said that, now someone's going to get Ideas.
So yeah, I do recommend checking out the rest of 'em, because there are plenty more and the only reason I don't post them here is I don't want to bust anyone's weakling computer or anything.
That was the second David Ortiz walkoff I've seen live (I saw his afternoon walkoff blast last summer), and man, they just don't stop being awesome.
Labels: Aaron Rowand, baseball, David Ortiz, extra innings, in attendance, Mike Timlin, MLB, photoblog, Red Sox
Sunday, June 25, 2006
OK, scratch that, I will be going to the game on Monday, despite the fact that it was not, you know, actually, uh, raining. Downtown. At all. There was a sort of light mist, and apparently that was enough to send people into a panic. Either that, or their ironclad weather forecast for later in the day told them that something much worse than a light mist was coming. This, let the record state, turned out to be a big fat Sidney Ponson of a lie.
Just to make things more fun, the subway decided to do some sort of mysterious, unspecified 'work' on the blue line rail between Aiport and Government Center. The very line I need to take to get downtown. This led to rather a lot of running up and down stairs in confusion, and taking buses driven by maniacs.
On the way back we somehow ended up on a bus with a kid who worked at Fenway and was now grumpily wending his way home. He stared at my tshirt for a bit (I *large red heart with his face superimposed over it* Dave Roberts) and then proceeded to grouse to his friend.
Imagine the following in your typical thick Boston accent.
"They didn't even give us no wahnin'... we hadda throw out 20 fuckin' pizzas!"
"Usually they make 'em sit around for a houah or whatevah before they send 'em home... I dunno why they sent 'em home right away this time."
"People just wouldn't fuckin' leave! I'm like, the game's cancelled, get outta heyah! And they're just sittin' in their seats. People don't wanna fuckin' leave, they just wanna sit in the seats."
Possibly it was funnier if you were there.
Let's hope no one spits on the field tomorrow. They might mistake it for a vast bank of thunderstorms and cancel this one too.
Labels: baseball, MLB, rain, Red Sox
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Do you see this baseball here on the left? The Official Major League Baseball? I have it right now in my little hands and here is the list of things, in backwards order, that it last touched.
1. My hands
2. My dad's hands
3. My dad's seat at Fenway
4. The floor of the grandstand
5. My dad's arm (when he got home from the game, you could still see the mark from the stitches on the ball, on his arm)
6. Jason Varitek's bat (!!!)
7. Brett Myers' hands
Yes. A foul ball off of Tek's bat. Because my dad is as awesome as awesome can be, and gave it to me, so now it is mine and it is marvelous.
There's something about a game-used ball, isn't there? That pleasing tensile weight, the neat flat thread stitching, the softly stippled texture of the surface of the thing (made visible by the dirt ground into it... Fenway dirt! eeeeeeeeeeeee *has fresh spasm of glee*), all of it makes a baseball cry out to be handled, doesn't it? A baseball lying down won't remain there for long; it's like the human brain is somehow wired to biologically want to pick it up, and, once it's picked up, throw it around, or at least up and down in the air.
If you examine it minutely (as, naturally, I do), you can find the little smudge of what looks like green paint, smashed in with the dirt, probably marking where it hit the stands. You can see the slightly whiter, minutely scraped oval where the bat probably made contact with it. You know that Brett Myer threw it, probably while the crowd was jeering him mercilessly for his off-field activities (rightly so), and that Jason Varitek hit it. It's a whole little story all its own, in addition to the aesthetically pleasing little sphere that it is at its most formalist.
In other words: yay!
I almost don't need to say anything else about the game, right? David Ortiz continues to do insane things that make sane people join him in his happy, happy insanity. Jon(athan) Papelbon continues to make everyone--male, female, any combination thereof, or neuter-- become inappropriately aroused with excitement. Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett continue to make the Marlins look stupid (not that that's saying much). The grounds crew continues to work ridiculous miracles.
Weather permitting, I'll be at the game tomorrow. Here's hoping the rains hold off and the bats stay on.
Labels: baseball, gameball, Jason Varitek, MLB, Red Sox
Monday, June 19, 2006
What a curious set of series that turned out to be. Now, I knew full well that the Braves had been struggling mightily this season, because I sort of vaguely follow the Braves... but doesn't everyone sort of vaguely follow the Braves? They're that sort of team. And when I vaguely follow a team I tend to have at least a working knowledge of the players on it. And when the Braves are rolling out a bullpen filled with names mostly unfamiliar to me aside from Macay McBride, the tortured remains of Mike Remlinger, and Ken Ray (who we'll get to shortly), that's a bad sign.
So sweeping them, that's wasn't a surprise to me. But the thing of it is, I had expected the Twins to be just as bad. Or, well, maybe not quite as bad, but right on up there next to them. A quick and nasty look at the numbers shows that the Twins' collective bullpen ERA is actually 0.56 points worse than that of the Braves, while the Twins starters are only throwing 0.38 points better. The Twins are hitting for average and getting on base at a slightly better rate than the Braves; the Braves are hitting for more power (79 team homeruns, as compared to the predictably weak 57 the Twins have to offer).
Sweeping the Braves or the Twins, or both, would have made sense to me. But I have a hard time wrapping my brain around a sweep at the hands of the Twins, and then a rapid turnaround to dribble all over Atlanta.
I dunno. I suppose it boils down to the old "thank cats baseball has as long a season as it does" business again, right?
Anyhow. Some thoughts from last night's game.
--Here’s what I want to know. Who in their right mind is going to get screened for prostate cancer at the ballpark? I mean, goodness yes, by all means, encourage guys to go to their doctors and get tested. But what kinda guy is gonna go to see a baseball game and think, “Hey, the prostate screening van is here at the park! THE VAN! WHERE THEY SCREEN MY PROSTATE FOR CANCER. HERE AT THE BASEBALL PARK. In I go!”?
--ATTENTION NATIONAL MEDIA: JOE MORGAN HAS “A GOOD RELATIONSHIP” WITH MANNY RAMIREZ. So good of him to share this, isn’t it? He is personally BFF with Manny. Joe insinuates (but does not outright say, oh no, that would be crass) that he often speaks with Manny, for they have 'a good relationship'.
If you asked Manny who his best friends were, I would guess that the top 5 list would look something like this:
1. Kevin Millar
3. Enrique Wilson
4. all my Spanish speakin teammate yaaay
5. Kevin Millar again
It might be a little different, but I can pretty much guarantee that Joe Morgan would not be on it.
--OK, look. I try to keep a level head when listening to Jon Miller broadcast a game, mostly because he's usually in the booth with Joe Morgan and most of the stuff I hear that makes me want to put a fist through a pane of glass comes out of Morgan's mouth. But Miller is paid, paid, mind you, to narrate the ballgame by way of his vocal chords. I cannot listen to this any longer without screaming about it.
It's LangerHANS, Miller, LANG-err-hanz, not lang-err-HONZ. Stop trying to pronounce it in a pretentious fashion! And you know what, cut it the heck out for Wilson Betemit too, OK? Bay-tuh-maaaAAAaay? You're not French. We all know you're not French. So stop saying his last name like you're a Frenchman who hates America and is going to wildly overpronounce every vaguely French-looking word you run across as a result. I know Joe Morgan cancels you out here by saying "Betemint" even though there is, last I checked, no "N" in the dude's name, but for the love of Vin Scully would you stop doing that?
That's not even the worst of it, though. Oh no. The worst bit was how he decided to say Rudy Seanez's name.
Now, I've heard it SAY-nez, SAY-uh-nez, SEE-nez, and SEE-uh-nez, and I've heard a slurred sort of mix of the last two, from people who aren't sure which one it should be and how much attention they should pay to that 'A'.
But I have never, ever heard it said see-ON-yez.
Seriously, what the hell is that? Not once have I heard a single human being pronounce "Seanez" like that, with the emphasis on the second syllable and a 'y' somehow inserted in there, and in fact each syllable lovingly overpronounced, so that there is no doubt at all about his erroneous pronunciation. The first time he did it I thought it was some kind of mistake, but then he proceeded to say it again and again, two or three times.
I would normally leave this alone, like if a football blogger misspells Mientkiewicz... it's not his area, it's not an obvious name to spell, who cares, right? But this is Jon Miller. It's his business, in a sense, to pronounce this stuff properly, or at least you would think so. Argh. Like we really needed another reason to cringe at the thought of ESPN broadcasts.
Also, Miller at one point, in all seriousness, called Schilling and Smoltz "baseball warriors". I almost couldn't see for a full minute, I was laughing so hard.
--This was my impression of the 8th inning.
Aaaaaahhhh 8th inning two outs men on first and third Mike Lowell doubles tying and go-ahead runs in aaaaahhhhhh Mike Lowell aaaahhhhhhhhhh 6-5 Boston aaaaahhhhhh.
Ahhhhhhh Cora doubles in Lowell ahhhhhhhh little Alex Cora aaahhhhhhhhhhhh.
“How does this happen? The first two guys in the inning are David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, and they both strike out! And THEN the Red Sox score 4 runs! How does that happen?” –Jon Miller. Thank you.
Ahhhhhhhhh YOOOOOUUUUUKKKKKK 2 run homer ahhhhhhhhh ahhhhhhh Yooooouuuuuuukkkkkkkkk
Ahhhhhhh Mark Loretta singles ahhhhhh now Ortiz is back up aahhhhhhhh batted around batted around
Ahhhhh Ortiz gets hit by the pitch, right on the padding thank fuck, and two men on the inning continues this is insaaaaane.
--You know how Coco flutters the fingers of one hand when he’s in the batting box? It’s not his top hand. It’s the same hand that he always does. When he’s hitting from one side of the plate, it’s his top hand. But when he’s hitting from the other side it’s his bottom hand and he flutters it all the same while his top hand stays stationary around the bat, which just looks awkward. So it’s a handedness thing, not a top-hand thing. I find that inexplicably fascinating.
--Jon Miller and Joe Morgan on Jon(athan) Papelbon:
“Papelbon, with the closer look, that menacing. *obvious and unnecessary pause* Glare.” -Miller
“He’s got the LOOK, he’s got it down.” – Morgan
“That stare is right out of a Steven King novel. I’m sitting up here and I’m intimidated.” –Miller
“He of the horror movie glare.” –Miller
I swear, if Papelbon's Scary Closer Face turns into the new Jeter's Calm Eyes, I'm gonna be sick.
--Ken Ray is the sort-of closer for the Braves right now, since Reitsma is on the DL with awfulness and Kyle Farnsworth snubbed them in favor of the Yankees and woe. This is a positive sign that the Braves are in deep, deep canine excrement in their bullpen, because Ken Ray used to pitch for the North Shore Spirit, an independent-league club that plays in the crummiest little ballpark in the history of crummy little ballparks, in the heart of lovely sunny Lynn, the city right next to mine.
Let me put it like this. Lynn makes me feel like I'm back in Detroit, a little bit. Or maybe Lansing, if I'm being generous.
Even more gloriously, Ken Ray told Peter Gammons, apparently, that the Spirit field was so pathetic that they didn't even have lockers, they had trailers they had to use, and it was "the worst place he'd ever been in his life," and it made him thankful for every day he could spend at the major league level shagging balls for all his teammates and getting the snot beat out of him during games.
The North Shore Spirit! You guys, that's PRETTY MUCH MY HOME TEAM!
I am, by the by, going to Spirit games this summer. Maybe even as soon as next weekend, if they're home. If any of you sorts are in the area and want to join me for one or several at some point, we should totally do that very thing.
Labels: baseball, Braves, gameblog, Ken Ray, MLB, North Shore Spirit, Red Sox, sweep, Twins
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I've had some time now to sit and ruminate on Tuesday's game, and it comes down to this.
Johan Santana is kind of a big deal.
I realize that this is no surprise, but he's always been something of a quiet worker. It's easy to forget about him for a minute, if you're not careful. That would be a grave mistake, but it's one that's easy enough to make.
By the end of the game, neither he nor Schilling had much to say about the outcome, which is a shame in one way and a good thing in another. I mean, to essentially nullify outings of that nature by both guys, it is a damn shame. But on the other hand, with both pitchers just feeding into the eternal Battle of the Bullpens, it's easier to look at their outings in a vaccuum-state, and when you do that, well. That's some mighty beautiful baseball, right there.
Schill's pitching can't be overlooked, he was every last bit as effective as Santana was. I'll be the first to admit that a good groundball pitcher with a solid infield defense makes me squidgy in the heart just as much as a K. An out is an out is an out. The stat-loving part of me knows and embraces that.
But the aesthetically-minded part of me, well, there's something about that strikeout. There's something that makes your heart stop a little bit when you see batter after batter swing 'round and hit air. It pleases the eye to fill a scorecard with tidy little Ks, even if at the same time you're grumbling because it's being done against your team.
If the end result is a wall of solid blue, maybe you can reach it by having a big machine spray paint it in one swipe, but if you reach it by having a team of artists paint it blue, there's a different quality there. In the end you've got a blue wall. But that second wall, if you watched them painting it, little individual brushes masterfully wielded. Well. The ends are the same, so it's a bit irrational in one sense.
But there's something to be said for the means.
Johan Santana, he's got the means up to his ridiculously lovely dark eyeballs.
And sometimes, painful as it is, you're still thankful, as a fan of baseball, that you get to see mastery at work. I'm sure even Schilling would admit that.
As for Matt Clement... who? Who's Matt Clement?
(That image at the top of the post, by the by, is my current desktop. Click to get the big version. Knock yourselves out.)
Labels: baseball, Johan Santana, MLB
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I salute you, poor bastards who worked at Fenway this weekend.
Think about it. You've got a double-header on Saturday, so the weekend is looking long to the people who work in our fair park already. The weather seems iffy-to-miserable right from the start. You get to the park, do what you need to do to open things up. Doors open for the first game at 11:30. It's sneezing rain and it's miserably dampcold, but, this being Boston, people are staggering in with their trashbag ponchos right when the gates unlock.
Then they're just hanging out in the park. All these people. Miserable, agitated, Bostonian people. They want hot dogs. They want shelter from the rain. They want, mostly, to see some freakin' baseball. And you're the usher, or the ticket dude, or the hot dog vendor, and you're cold and wet and miserable, and you have to deal with them all, and the rain isn't stopping. And you have no idea when you're going to be able to go home but when you see your boss walk by, well, they look tired and cold and harassed and about to burst into tears like Brett Tomko when faced with AJ Pierzynski and a card game, so you know you're not getting out of here until they do.
The game gets pushed back, and pushed back again, and you don't know how this is gonna work, man, it's a double header and already you're starting to bite dangerously close to the posted start time for the second game, and the first one isn't even off the ground yet. If you're on the ground's crew, you're busting your Fenway-employed ass to do everything you can dream up to keep the field in playing condition, because the people upstairs are insisting that they're going to get at least one game in tonight, because they're already supposed to be making up a game today, they're gonna freakin' play, even if they have to send Manny out there in bright yellow waders.
Eventually it's announced that the second game will be pushed to tomorrow, and the first game pushed all the way back to 6:10 tonight. Remember, some people have been in the park since 11:30 am. These people are now raving beasts in Red Sox hats. People getting to the postponed game and confused people trying to find out what's up with the second game are cramming into Kenmore Square and milling furiously around like ants when the nest is stirred with a stick. Babies are crying. Old people are tottering. Dudes from Southie are screaming. It's like Lord of the Flies out there, and inside the park is barely better, no one knows what's going on but if you work there you've got to calm that mother of 3 down and assure her and her wailing, exhausted tots that Wally the Green Monster will show up eventually, you promise.
The game is played. You make some vague attempt at cleaning the park as usual, and the grounds crew sobs violently over the state of the field. Someone sacrifices a pigeon on the pitcher's mound, in the hopes that it will stop the rains.
Sunday dawns bright and sunny, and here comes a double-header, 1 pm and 5 pm starts, so there's hardly any time between them and people coming in for the second game had better not expect anything remotely like a clean ballpark.
And no one, so far as I know, died.
So yeah, I'm sure it was tough on the players and I feel especially bad for Texas, who had to fly back home so that they could get dumped on by the White Sox today, but my sympathy for them is limited. The MAD CRAZY BCRS PROPS instead go to all Fenway employees who worked this weekend. It must have been hell. I was at the second game on Sunday (sheer luck; my brother was supposed to go but the later start time meant he was otherwise occupied at that hour and the ticket defaulted to me), when everyone must have been mere minutes away from mental collapse, and it was a perfectly enjoyable game that went smoothly in every respect except for the score.
But let us not speak of Rudy Seanez, or Keith Foulke. For we do not wish to dwell upon such things, for fear of seeming Irrational.
Click on Kevin Mench's dirt dive to see photos from the game. The light was good, and I'm starting to get the hang of this lens, I think.
We lost, pitching sucked, end of transmission. But the weather was kind and I still had a ton of fun, and a seriously big thanks is due to the Fenway crew for keeping the damn place standing.
Labels: baseball, MLB, rain, Red Sox
Friday, June 09, 2006
OK, I saw Curt taking notes on this outing. I fully expect that Beckett is going to get locked in a room with these notes for three days and three nights, or until he's learnt them by heart. Whichever comes first. I hope his powers of memorization are strong, because all he's getting fed for those three days are the leftovers from David Wells' breakfast spread, and living on that and nothing else is, I'd bet, enough to send a man into cardiac arrest after half a day.
Awfully good of Tek to give us a homerun that was so far from being in doubt at any point in its existence that even the blind mole living three feet under the field saw it and was like, "Hot diggety, that orb be gone."
And of course it's always enjoyable to see ARod fulfulling his ultimate destiny by, naturally, making errors.
But, O HAPPY DAY.
Jeff Kunkel signed!
He signed, and and and! He's a Tiger!
I'm so happy. He was drafted last year, so all he had to do was either choose to sign before the draft, or re-enter and see what came of it. The night before the draft he decided that the Tigers were good enough for him, and the deal was done, and YAY.
They also drafted Paul Hammond, a Michigan pitcher. The Red Sox did not make any glorious Wolverine signings. In fact, they didn't draft anyone out of the Big 10. Way to underscout the midwest, Sox, jeez. They didn't even touch Notre Damn.
I'm infinitely glad Kunkel came back to Michigan for his (5th) senior year, because otherwise I wouldn't have had a chance to see him play there (or to take these photos... let me hug my camera some more), and he would have missed out on the SEASON OF AWESOME that ended up in WINNING THE BIG 10 CONFERENCE TITLE and then going on to WIN THE BIG 10 TOURNAMENT and was filled with things like SWEEPING OHIO STATE IN FOUR GAMES AT HOME and other such joyous events. And in the end he signed with the Tigers anyways. There's still time for him to glom on with low-A Oneonta maybe, as their season hasn't started yet.
Leave me be. I'm gonna be squeeing over this for days.
Labels: baseball, draft, Jeff Kunkel, Michigan, MLB, NCAA, Red Sox, Wolverines
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
A sad and gory scene it was.
Beckett had stepped into the gladiator's ring expecting to have to face another human, equally matched in softness and might. Imagine then, if you will, his sheer horror upon viewing his true opponent.
For his opponent was massive in stature, with a long aristocratic nose, and feet shod in steel. He was broad in the chest and powerful in the legs. He had shaggy brown hair and a gleam in his eye... a gleam that promised DEATH.
For this was no man entering the ring, oh no.
It was A MOOSE.
A HORRIFYING MOOSE OF DESTRUCTION AND ALSO HORROR.
Beckett looked down at the weapons he had chosen. His baseball and glove seemed so puny and helpless before this ravening vegetarian beast. Trembling with fear he raised his eyes slowly to see the weapons of his enemy. And it was with good reason that he trembled. For THE MOOSE had no mere glove and ball. He had instead a FIERY BALL OF MAGMA, and a huge cruel glove, made from the TANNED HIDES OF HIS ENEMIES.
Frantic, with tears starting in his eyes, Beckett turned to the edges of the gladiator's ring, where the spectators were arrayed. He caught the eye of his mentor, the great old warrior, Schilling. Schilling merely bent his head, acknowledging the impossibility of the situation. It was unheard of, throwing A MOOSE from the depths of hell into the ring with a mere mortal, and yet here it had been done. There was no help for the kid.
"I'll help you, amigo!" cried a brave voice. Beckett looked around, suddenly brighter with optimism, to see David Ortiz charging into the ring, swinging a bat and making for THE MOOSE with riteous anger on his face, apalled at the unfairness of it all.
"Bitch, please. 0-for-3," THE MOOSE said, and with one kick of his steely hooves, Ortiz was sent flying right back out of the ring.
The spectators jeered, and Beckett felt sick. He hefted his glove and ball and turned 'round to face his destiny. He squared his shoulders and readied his eminently hittable fastball. He was going to go out like a MAN, dammit. He raised his chin proudly.
Looking for just such an opening, THE MOOSE took that opportunity to impale Beckett on his horrible hell-antlers. Lifting his monstrous head he separated Beckett's from its body, and raised the blood-stained bust high into the air of the gladiator's ring.
That is exactly how it happened, and don't let any NESN reruns tell you otherwise.
Labels: baseball, Josh Beckett, loss, Mike Mussina, MLB, Red Sox, storytime, terrible, Yankees
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Ah yes, the Red Sox/Tigers series. Time for me to defend both teams to the opposing fanbases. Time for me to root for the batter for one out and the pitcher for the next. Time for every single person I know asking me who I'm rooting for. Time for head asplodey.
Hadn't done a gameblog in a good long while, and this seemed like just the occasion for it, since due to exhaustion and insanity I haven't got anything particularly coherent to say about this series yet. Lucky, lucky you, readers.
Don and Remy are giving the Tigers a lot of props right before the game. There seems, initially, to be little or no attention paid to this latest series. Perhaps the last game you play is the defining one, in which case the Tigers should be all set…
CLOSED CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY FINAGLE A BAGEL.
Vance starting over Pudge. Well BE STILL MY HEART. *insert a thousand eye-rolling icons here*
Yes, Don and Remy, The Farns did in fact get his shapely ass whupped but good last night. I still kinda like the guy, but I have to say that I was hooting like an owl in joy.
Inge. Baby. Actually, I think that bobble was on Shelton’s end but, Coco on first. Inge scooped that shit backhanded and ended up soaring and throwing it from foul territory. C’mon AROUS. You gotta make those. I would stick in an obligatory "Carlos Pena woulda had that” note here, but no one, not even a fan of the dude like me, can honestly say that with any feeling anymore.
Ks Loretta. Christ, that was a fastball? Sunk like a damn curve it had so much movement.
Kenny Rogers has a jaw like a Tyrannosaurus. It’s not quite Bill Cowher territory (really, what is?), but it’s up there.
Siiiick DP on Papi with the mad shifty action to end the first. That may be the worst sentence I have ever written. Shelton snags it, throws to Inge at second, who throws back to AROUS at first, out out bang bang *dramatic blowing motion on ‘smoking’ finger guns*
Still seeing lots of empty seats at Comerica. C’mon Detroit. It’s a Friday night, you won big last night. Late-arriving crowd, hopefully.
Plonkers one-hops the wall in left. Manny looks so lost without a huge wall behind him. He needs the Monster there, it’s like a giant green safety blanket for him.
The River Thames hits a barely-liner down the third base line. It bounces around in the corner of the outfield and Manny sort of fails to handle it. Not an error, just not a sharp play. The kind of play where the ball is rolling slowly on the grass and Manny is trailing hopefully after it like a puppy after a butterfly. Plonkers scores, The River on second.
Obligatory 119-game-loss mention. Most in the AL, uh, ever. God, we shall always be so proud of that 2003 season. Not that it was particularly fun watching the Red Sox cough it up to EvilBoone that season either, but at least the run up to that point was tolerable.
Um, Maggs? I appreciate your hair. I do. But not when it’s all greasy and lank and tangly from being under a helmet. Because then, you just look like a child molester.
Wow, Curt elevates and busts Guillen up. He had no shot on that.
Uh. Manny Ks and is NOT happy about it. Yells at the ump and everything. Remy notes that he very rarely does that, which is true… Papi will whine about everything, it’s as much a part of his batting routine as the glove spit and clap, but Manny usually just sort of goes, “Oh well yay bubble gum in the dugout!” and skips on back. However, the final pitch didn’t look that bad to me. It MIGHT have been a tad low, which is what Manny was saying, but it looked just about knee high to me… at least, it was at his knees when it reached his front leg, in slow-mo it looks like it dropped down some behind that. Well. Sinkerball. Y’know?
And somehow, just like that, the inning is over.
I will never, not in a million million years, get over how incredibly deformed Chris Shelton appears to be. I think it might've been Amy who said something to me along the lines of “He looks like a bunch of recessive genes.” AROUS Ks. He needs to be more patient when he’s scuffling. And also, to never breed.
Craig’s gotten rid of the high socks for today’s game. He had them on yesterday, I guess his sucky performance inspired a change.
I missed the rest of this inning because I was showing my brother the photos I took of him before his prom. I assume Curt kicked some more ass.
My mother walks by the room. “Well, one of your teams is up.” She sounds very bitter. My mother is a Red Sox fan and does not, to be honest, give a shit about the Tigers. It’s my dad who’s from Michigan.
Youks wipes his eyes with his jersey and appears to go temporarily crosseyed. Hee. K.
Inge! Grabs it
over near the railing! Nothing too dramatic, but STILL. BRANDON FREAKIN’ INGE.
OH YES A CLOSEUP OF INGE HE IS SMILING YAY.
So. That was also a fast inning.
No, Papa Johns. Not everyone loves fajitas. I actually have a long-standing, deep-seated hatred for fajitas. Get them away from my pizza.
Vance Wilson. Woot woot. Where my Vance fangirls at, yo! I know you exist. I’ve seen it in action. A hawt Vance Wilson special right here, baby. Groundout 6-3.
Coco on Granderson: "He has pop for a [something, mumbling] small guy." The slightly wry, stupid grin he had while saying this made it even better.
Remy thinks he’s a work in progress ‘cause he isn’t great at stealing, and has a ton of Ks. Well. It’s not like he’s with an organization that discourages Ks or anything. The Oakland A’s this ain’t. (K)
God, they’re showing a closeup of the whale mural. I’m so ashamed.
The tape on Coco’s hands makes me want to huggle him and feed him cookies and keep him safe from harm. Singles. As he runs back to the bag he’s picking at it. DON’T PICK AT IT, COCO.
Coco steals second. I bet ten bucks if Pudge was behind the plate, he’s out. Also, CHRIST COCO THE FINGER DON’T DIVE FACE AND THEREFORE FINGERS FIRST ARGH ARGH ARGH.
ARod, we are informed, is not playing today because of a tummy virus. Awww. Pukey ARod. That’s what I say when my overweight Siamese cat, Izzy, has hairballs. I call him Pukey Cat. Overweight Siamese cat>ARod.
Big K of Papi, who swings through it like it’s invisible. The woman who runs the Mass Audubon bird banding station has a pet canary named Big Papi. A CANARY. Named BIG PAPI. For the record.
Manny singles to left, Coco comes around to score. This game is being very well-pitched.
The River, former Yankee. Figure Don and Remy to concentrate on that. Leave the poor guy alone! He didn’t mean it! (K)
The Tigers and Red Sox are tied at third for fewest stolen bases as a team. Immediately after this graphic is shown, Carlos steals second and Tek throws sort of halfassedly form his knees. At that point I'd rather Tek just hold onto the ball and show some studious catcher's indifference. If you haven't got a shot at throwing the guy out anyways, don't take a chance on the ball somehow shooting through the infield and into the outfield on an error.
AROUS grounds out. Hrm.
Inge faceplants on Lowell’s liner through the gap at third. Single. That was very sharply hit. Wasn’t he [Lowell] supposed to be hurt or something?
AROUS stabs the fuck out of a Youk liner to first. Great play. And he holds Lowell to first too.
Trotter’s helmet looks remarkably clean, for Trotter. I wonder if he got a new one recently and hasn’t let the tar accumulate enough yet.
My friend Jess just came over to watch the game. She wants to know who I root for when this series comes up. I say, eek.
Craig singles to left. Manny rolls over his own self to get it on the short backhand bounce to keep it from going to the wall. He looks beyond goofy when he does shit like that. I mean not only is he going head over ass, but his baggy clothes are flopping everywhere, as are his dreads, and half the time his hat falls off at some point.
Brandon Inge Can’t Bunt.
Also, K. 6 for Curt. OH NO A SHOT OF BRANDON INGE WITH HIS HELMET OFF IN THE DUGOUT LOOKING DOWN AND BEING SAD OH NOOOOO. This slump of his is really getting awful.
Andy Van Slyke needs to not grope Vance at first base, because that causes me to suffer Traumas.
Umpire conference. What? Are they debating whether or not Curtis got a piece of it? Um. OK then. Replay. Doesn’t look like Curtis got any of it. The ball doesn’t seem to change direction at all until it hits the dirt and is well past the head of his bat.
Plonkers singles in, um, Craig I think. Play at the plate but Tek was out in front of home and swept back too late, he was safe easy.
Dude. With two outs, no one on, Kenny Rogers DROPS DOWN. And it bounces in the dirt and is retarded. Never let us see this agian.
Vance goes out to talk to him a few pitches later and Rogers bursts out laughing. What I wouldn’t give to know what he said. Walks Papi.
Papi and AROUS laugh at first base. STOP BEING SO AWESOME RED SOX AND TIGERS I WILL LOVE YOU MORE AND THEN I WILL DIE.
Don and Remy mention the Michigan road construction. They got caught in it last time, I think, because it was all that pre-Superbowl crap and hoooey that was bad. It's still bad now, or at least it was when I left the state for the summer, but not quite as bad as it was.
Remy is still frightened by the Omen lower lefthand screen promo.
Wow. Manny does not like that call. Ks again, this time it looked more questionable than last time, but I’ll wait for replay if we get it. Manny though is FURIOUS. Chucks the helmet and bat (not at the ump, thankfully), starts yelling. He’s freakin' lucky he didn’t get tossed there.
OK, replay. Not close. Not close at all. Manny should be pissed.
Maggs singles. Dum te dum.
Maggs steals second. What is up with Tigers steals here? We just... don't. We are speedy like the Molinas are speedy. That's 'not at all', you know.
Nate and Verlander hanging out together on the rail. Poor Nate, his best buddy is on the DL getting bone chips dug out of his elbow right now.
Wow, great low grab by Gonzo to end the inning. I thought for sure that was in the dirt, but then again I am also freakin' exhausted.
Tek flies out for the 8 billionth time. It is all very sad.
Don and Remy are excited at the sight of Zoom warming up.
Kickass single for Lowell, almost takes Kenny’s head off, he flinches around like a Tasmanian devil cartoon. Mike Lowell. Why is he so fucking good?
Youk K. He’s unhappy. Again, a little low, a little inside, looked OK to me. He puts his hat and gloves away in the dugout and he’s still jawing.
Rogers is.. hurt? What? Back of the neck? What? Neck cramp?
And then he declared himself fine. Weirdness.
Riske in. Still the worst name for a relief pitcher ever.
Inge broken bat flyout to center. Yargh.
Granderson gives it a ride, but Coco hauls it in and that’s the inning. Aw. The Comerica outfield giveth and the Comerica outfield taketh away.
Zoom in. If he hits 100, Don and Remy may pee themselves. Remy says the crowd goes nuts when he hits 100, but come on now Remy, we know you do too. (although, admittedly, not as much as Rod Allen…)
“You could drive a truck through these dugouts.” –Don. Also, I swear they mention the huge dugouts every single time they come to Comerica. I think Remy may have actually been traumatized by the old titchy small Tigers Stadium dugouts.
Coco walks. I am tiiiiiiired.
EEEEEE. Papi gives it a RIDE, hoo ee, but he hits it mostly to center where it’s real deep, and Granderson comes running over from fuck knows where (way to the right in the shift probably) and makes an amazing running catch on the warning track. Papi is standing at home with his hands on his hips. He can’t complain. That was sheer awesome.
What the FUCK was that Yaris ad? With the spider gas nozzle thing? And the eating. And. The running over. And the noise it makes? And the splitting at the end. SERIOUSLY WHAT.
Seanez, ultimate fighting fan, in. His contract specifically forbids him from entering into the cage in the offseason, which I find awesome.
4-3 shoulda been on Carlos, Youk can’t handle it from Loretta and there’s men on 3 and 1, 2 outs.
Guillen takes second on a wild pitch that Tek knocks down, but not quite enough. I just don't understand this 'mobile on the basepaths' stuff. It's so foreign.
Jess and I are both falling asleep. It is not even 10 pm yet. We fail at being hip young adults. See, this is what comes of having jobs.
Oh god Rollercoaster Jones in.
Mike Lowell just keeps hitting.
And Rollercoaster Jones blows the save to a Youks homer. I called that. Not shocking, because probably everyone called it. Red Sox fans: he's kinda like Foulke, only right now even without the excuse of no knees.
NESN shows Paws’ reaction. He drops his deformed head into his giant motheaten hands. Awwww.
Trotter grounds to second and Plonkers boots it. E4. Oh my goodness.
All this is happening with 2 outs.
And then there were 3.
Jess and I agree on the awesomeness of the Quikrete commercial.
Papelbon in. Snow at first. Paaaaaaaapppppeeeeeeelllllllbbbboooooonnnnnn!
Cora makes an excellent fundamental snag and throw to 6-3 Inge. Looked like a basehit maybe but he made it look easy. Poor Inge, he just couldn’t catch a break if it ran him over in a Mac truck.
Pudge pinch hits for Vance. This gets the crowd excited again.
Papelbon, well, Papelbons Pudge on some vaguely high heat. Hotness.
I'll be watching tomorrow as much as I can, and I won't be seeing Sunday because it's an afternoon game and Sunday afternoon is my brother's graduation. Let us see how well my brain fares.
Labels: baseball, gameblog, MLB, Red Sox, Tigers