Tuesday, August 28, 2007
My excitement for the upcoming Yankee series is only heightened by having seen what the Tigers just did to them.
Traditional baseball thought indicates that the Yankees can react in one of two ways. They can be crushed by these epic defeats and wither away to a mere memory of a ghost of a team, OR they can be fired up and energized by the way they were dispatched, leading to an overwhelming surge of victorious marching. Real-life baseball thought indicates that their offense is great, but it's only as good as their pitching. If Pettitte, the Clem-bag, and Wang all pitch really well, the Yankees have a damn good shot at taking the series. If Pettitte, the Clem-bag, and Wang pitch less-than-spectacularly, the Red Sox will come down on them like a sack of overweight capybaras tied to anvils.
Obviously we are all hoping for the capybaras.
When you think back to the start of the year, it seems insane that we're worried about the Yankees now. They've shown that they can be the most annoying team on the planet, though (as if we've forgotten), and the scariest thing is that if by some catastrophic chance the Sox drop in the division, the wild card is by no means ensured. As the Tigers grapple with the Indians from afar, all Tigers fans view with wild card race with deranged and immense fear. I would be pretty happy to not have to do this with the Red Sox as well.
It is true that the Yankees have a juggernaut offense.... but they do not have overweight capybaras tied to anvils. That kind of "knock 'em down and out and then laugh 'cause they got flattened by a giant hamster" power will hopefully only reside with the Sox. We just saw it against the White Sox (admittedly not that hard a team to capybara-paste, these days) and hopefully the Sox will have got a taste for it now. I know I have.
Let the capybara-wrangling begin!
Labels: baseball, capybara, MLB, Red Sox, rivalry, Yankees
Friday, August 17, 2007
Oh, Wily Mo. You may have been a lovable hug machine and a friend of miniature ponies everywhere, but it was time to face facts. Facts like your .218 batting average. Facts like your .676 OPS. Facts like your complete and utter inability to field the baseball, possibly related to the fact that you are about as quick on your feet as an overfed dead sea lamprey.
In case you hadn't heard, Wily Mo (and cash) was traded today to the Nats for a player to be named later. A lot of people are going to be pretty happy about this; it was often near-agonizing to watch Wily Mo stagger around the outfield, and while his homeruns were majestic, they were also too rare to make waiting around for them worthwhile. I mean, come on now... Dustin Pedroia, who is about a third of Wily Mo's size, has the same number of homeruns (one more, actually, since he just hit one out).
At the age of 25 Wily Mo's still got some potential left, but there just wasn't enough room on a team that has Jacoby Ellsbury waiting in the wings to see if he still might develop. Ellsbury's bat might not end up being any better, but at least he's got speed on the basepaths and in the field, making him valuable in two ways that Wily Mo can't even dream of.
This has been a weird game. Clay Buchholz made his debut, and ended up doing OK: 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits over 6 innings. He looked like he had good movement on his pitches but wasn't overpowering or anything like that. Doug Mirabelli did something heinous to his calf while rounding third (looking a mess as he did it, 'tho that's SOP for when Dougie tries to run), meaning that Varitek had to come into the game, meaning that the night game is going to be caught by... well, nobody knows just yet.
I guess they kind of HAVE to call someone up from one of the minor league teams, but can someone get here in time? In a dead emergency I suppose they could have Alex Cora catch... I'll be at that game, and would LOVE to see that happen, just for the comedy factor. I mean, surely Beckett's enough of a pro that he can pretty much call his own game and throw to a terrible catcher if he has to, right?
(edit: Looks like Dougie's heading to the DL, and the Sox are trying to get Kevin Cash up from wherever he is, Pawtucket I think, in time for the night game. Oh well.)
We also learned, thanks to Don and Remy's interrogation skills, that Eliza Dusku is dating Brad Penny. At least, I learned it. Some people may have known it before (apparently they've been known to show up places wearing mildly classless matching outfits) . I tend to not follow these things, and it seems that Don and Remy don't either, but when Ms. Dushku dropped a hint that she followed one Dodger in particular, her fate was sealed. There was no way she was getting out of that booth without telling all to the NESNites.
Thank cats for our hard-hitting announcing crew, eh?
Labels: Brad Penny, Clay Buchholz, injury, trade, Wily Mo Pena
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Best moment from the Barry Bonds 756 press conference: a Japanese reporter in the crowd asks him (I'm paraphrasing), 'Well, what about Sadaharu Oh and his 868 career homeruns?'
Barry responds weakly with something about Josh Gibson and his '800 homeruns' and 'have we forgotten about him?' Except most everyone knows that the 800 homerun total is mostly apocryphal, and Gibson probably hit 150-200 runs in official Negro League games, hitting the rest in games against unofficial teams, some of whom may as well have been high school teams and the like.
Nice try, Barry. But the Japanese just pwned you. Hard.
Labels: Barry Bonds, Japan, record, Sadaharu Oh
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Weird. That's the only way I can sum up my feelings about Barry Bonds tying (soon to be breaking) Hank Aaron's record.
Everyone in the universe has already chimed in on this. I've tried to maintain some semblance of media blackout, because I know I'll get very very sick of it very very quickly, but I did listen to Bonds' postgame press conference last night. As is usual when I hear Barry Bonds speak (as opposed to reading his words in a digital or print format), I found myself thinking that it was all good. Has anyone else noticed this? The guy's got a voice that soothes, that lends humanity to his words. I've read his words (properly quoted, in context) and come away thinking he's a douchenozzle and he's making a mockery of baseball, but I don't think I've ever come away with that impression when I hear him. Weird, eh?
So, there's this weird disconnect. Do I believe that Barry Bonds used liberal dosings of steroids? Yes. Do I believe that this is "bad", even though it wasn't expressly prohibited by MLB at the time? Yes-- at the very least, since 1990 the use of unregulated anabolic steroids was illegal so far as the federal government was concerned, and I rather think that trumps baseball rules.
Some people were grumbling about Bonds taking the day off after tying the record. Surely, they said, this is a sign of selfishness, of putting himself before the team-- Bonds himself said he wanted to spend the day with his family, savoring the moment. Selfish? Maybe so, but Hank Aaron had the day off after he tied Babe Ruth's homerun record, and he had the day off again right after he had broken it. (Thank you, Retrosheet!) If Hank Aaron could do it, I reckon it's more than fine for Bonds.
In a way, I wish we could just vault over Barry Bonds and wait for ARod to break the homerun record. Trust me, it is sickening to say that, but for all his failings, ARod has at least not been tied to steroid use. I wouldn't be happy that it was ARod breaking the record, just because he's ARod, and we could groan about whether or not he "deserved" to break it, but at least there wouldn't be much doubt about whether or not he honestly was breaking it.
Alas, if wishes were fishes we'd all be drowning in cod. There's no getting around the fact that Barry Bonds is going to break this record, either tomorrow or soon thereafter. And I hope he does break it pretty soon, because starting tomorrow the Giants play a 7-game homestand, and cats knows those poor Giants fans deserve to see that record broken in their own ballpark.
So, with all that, and believing that Bonds' steroid use was "bad", I shouldn't be happy about him breaking the record, right? Right... but it's not that simple, because I'm not UNhappy that he's breaking the record. I have reservations about Barry Bonds, for sure, but mixed in with those reservations is a sense of awe at what he's doing, something that I feel like most baseball fans, at some level, are aware of. This is a HUGE record, and no matter HOW he hit those homeruns, he DID hit them-- lots of them hugely, immensely-- and that's something at which we can't help but marvel.
This is history. We're living to see it. But you might call it tainted history.
I guess I still don't know how I feel about all this. Other than weird.
Labels: Barry Bonds, baseball, Hank Aaron, MLB, record
Thursday, August 02, 2007
So, I was at the game in the Sox/O's series that started with Josh Beckett giving up a homerun to Brian Roberts on the very first pitch. It wasn't pretty, and apparently I missed a pretty good Beckett freakplosion because my seats didn't give me a view of the dugout, but it was almost worth the pain to see David Ortiz get his bat back on track with a couple of homeruns. 'Cause, let's be honest: are there many things better than the way that Fenway reacts when Big Papi goes yard? I think not.
I don't have the photos from it up yet (I only just finished uploading all the shots from the last independent league game I went to), but that one up top is a preview, because in addition to the usual game photos, I did make it down early for BP, and thus saw endless Oriole action. Which is what it is (namely: orange), but...
Kevin Millar, of course, was there, and I SWEAR TO CATS that man does not know how to form a normal facial expression. I don't know if I got a single photo of him where he doesn't look somehow deranged. Some of it was him playing it up for the crowd, but most of it was just Kevin Millar being Kevin Millar.
I don't miss the enormous foul balls, and I don't miss the off streaks, but I was reminded how much I miss Kevin Millar the dude. Of course we still have characters on the team, but the Manny/Millar tandem was epic in its insanity and is unlikely to ever be replicated. I know he's been a good clubhouse influence in Baltimore (as much as one guy can be in Baltimore), but I wonder if he misses Boston when he comes back here.
I also want to point out that Gagné means win.
I guess I could be saying that in a metaphorical Eric-Gagne-is-good-at-baseball sense, but I'm not. I mean literally, in French, the verb "gagner" mean "to gain or to win", and if you wanted to say that Eric Gagne had won the baseball game you would say that "Eric Gagne a gagné le jeu de baseball."
I'm sure that someone else has already mentioned this, but I'm too lazy to go trolling through every Red Sox article and blog in the whole wide internets that's been written since the trade deadline. I'm just sayin'.
He already looks like a member of the Red Sox. He's definitely scruffy enough to fit right in.
Labels: baseball, Eric Gagne, Kevin Millar, MLB, Orioles, Red Sox