Formerly Felines for Anarchistic Green Democracies

A Bostonian at the University of Michigan.

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Spelling rant
Yankee Star Wars
A Tigers Comedy of Errors
How bad is Keith Foulke really?
Harry Potter and the Boston Red Sox
Bellhorn vs. Graffanino vs. Lamprey
Critiquing team slogans
Joey Harrington blogs a baseball game
Jason Varitek gets injured
Winter meetings fashion report
Mascot Rant #1
Mascot Rant #2

8 Days of Jewish Baseball
Day 1- Kevin Youkilis
Day 2- Brad Ausmus
Day 3- Al Levine
Day 4- Jason Marquis
Day 5- John Grabow
Day 6- Justin Wayne
Day 7- Shawn Green
Day 8- Gabe Kapler and Theo Epstein

the Story of Chanukah, Red Sox style
Part I: the cruel reign of Steinbrennochus
Part II: rise of the Soxxabees
Part III: the rebellion begins!
Parts IV, V, and VI
Parts VII and VIII

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Fun with Roster Photos
Note: Comments may not exactly correspond to images, as the images will change when the team puts up new photos. Adds a level of surreality, I think.
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Thursday, June 30, 2005  
Off day, and I think we all know what that means.

Time for Fun with Roster Photos! Back to the AL East, we're tormenting the Orange Birds today.


James Baldwin
Must be dangerous to have a water balloon for a head if you're a pitcher. What if you get hit by a ball? Won't your head explode?

Daniel Cabrera
Pitcher, or Easter Island stone statue?

Bruce Chen
It's a lollipop! It's a ball on a stick! Or it's Bruce Chen. Whichever.

Jorge Julio
Why's that football player wearing a baseball hat? Shouldn't he have a Ravens helmet?

Steve Kline
Ah hur hur hur hur. Dur hur.

Rodrigo Lopez
One of those rare roster photos that cause me to burst out laughing when I first see them. Holy shit, RoddyLo. I love how his eyes are two different sizes.

Hayden Penn
He's from California, but he still manages to look like an east coast kid trying and failing to look like a cool surfer dude.

Sidney Ponson
Sidney Ponson: made of ham.

Steve Reed
Why is it only ever the old guys with the porn 'staches? You never seem to see young players with them. Just to make it creepier?

BJ Ryan
Holy cats, Jabba the Hutt plays baseball!

Todd Williams
This is the face of a man who murders people in their sleep.


Sal Fasano
Look kids, a Keebler elf!

Geronimo Gil
The patented MLB portrait smrimace: halfway between a smile and a grimace.

Javy Lopez
I know he's on the DL right now, but still. Not bad, although there's a bit of a blockhead thing going on.


Chris Gomez
The Orioles on-field coaches had better watch out, lest a strong breeze carry him away.

Melvin Mora
Because what fun are roster photos unless at least one player per team looks stoned?

Rafael Palmeiro
He looks like he needs Viagra, doesn't he?

Brian Roberts
Sorry Marianne, but he does look kind of like a startled, nonverdant Shrek here.

Miguel Tejada
Mere centimeters from eyebrow unification.


Larry Bigbie
The ungracefully-aging frat boy look.

Jay Gibbons
Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!! Oh my god. The triangular eyebrows! The highly bridged nose! The tiny, creepy mouth! The big watery eyes! This is a horrifying combination.

Eli Marrero
I do wonder what the cameraperson said to give him that expression of combined confusion and sadness.

Luis Matos
His dimples are going to implode his entire face.

David Newhan
Is it just me, or are his eyes really, extremely, creepily pale?

Sammy Sosa
Sculpted out of clay, then smashed in the face with a baseball bat.

Ladies and gents, your 2005 Baltimore Orioles.

Oh, and this is a plea not just for Tigers fans, but for all of Major League Baseball: Please, won't anyone think of the kittens??

5:16 PM

Wednesday, June 29, 2005  
A picture's worth a thousand words.

But sometimes you have to add words to the picture to get the meaning across.

2:04 AM

Tuesday, June 28, 2005  

I was fully prepared to watch this one from home. I'd already been to 5 games at Fenway this year, and my dad had two tickets to tonight's game, so he was going to take my brother (who hadn't been to many games at all, what with finishing up his school year and all... yes, Michigan gets out much earlier than basically all of creation). I was OK with that. Fair is fair, after all.

Then I got an email from Kristen, saying that she had suddenly come into possession of an extra ticket for the game tonight. Right field grandstand, probably not obstructed view, and would I like to go?

I nearly fell over myself in my haste to type my reply. Would I like to go? As when my friend Nate asked if I wanted to go to Comerica for an afternoon game, really, not a question that had to be asked. The only issue is whether I would actually be able to go, like if I had something else to do that night, not if I'd like to go. Would I like to go to a baseball game? Is water wet? Is fire hot? Is Jeter overrated?

I met Kristen and her friend Amy at their Place of Employment (nice building, by the by), we gathered Annette, and walked down to Fenway, which is a pretty pleasant walk that was made slightly more onerous by the fact that it was hotter than Bill Mueller's ass in Boston today, and we were all basically shvitzing ourselves to death, because that is pretty fucking hot.

We met Steve near Kenmore, where it came to light that Steve and I were both wearing the same tshirt. This one, actually. We declared ourselves The Bellhorn Cheering Section That is Not Comprised of 30 Year Old Women Who Want to Stalk Him But is Rather Comprised of Youthful Fans Who Appreciate His OBP* on the spot. Steve was asked about the shirt by some people sitting behind us at the game. They wanted to know 'what it meant'. We all sort of looked at each other and shrugged. I believe Steve ventured some sort of explanation, but really, it defies all explanation.

Of course then Bellhorn had to go ahead and make an error that resulted in two runs. He later redeemed himself somewhat with a single and a snazzy stolen base, and of course his performance yesterday should earn him some slack, but you're more visible making your outs than you are hitting the ball, Fenway is going to have a pretty short fuse with you.

We got there early enough to see 'Tek walk over to the bullpens (Kristen: "Are you paying attention to this?") and to watch Bronson stretch in the outfield. Before he went out to stretch he put his glove down on the ground, then took off his hat and put it down too. He then set off at a brisk trot, blonde hair streaming in the breeze, tossing his head a little to probably loosen his neck up, but seemingly to showcase his flowing locks. We cracked up.

As for the game itself.... ah, t'was ugly. Going into it only one Wahoo batter had an average over .300 (Grady Sizemore), but you wouldn't guess it from the final score. That ball that Trotter tipped over the bullpen wall with his glove for a two-run homer was particularly painful. Trotter thought so too, because we could see him over the wall pretty well from our seats, and he slammed his glove down with an absolutely wrathful expression on his face after the play.

It was very sunny (and hot) in Fenway, but we were luckily sitting in the shade, although we not so luckily had the setting sun directly in our eyes for a bit.

Funny how Trot's shadow is sharper than he is.

Very nice sunset over Boston last night. Sort of like nature was giving us a consolation prize after the heat and the mess of the game.

You know, I hadn't even noticed that Steve flipped his shades back down until after I got this one on the computer. Nice going, Steve Brady. And yes, Kristen's wearing a Varitek jersey.

I'm not usually this insane, and Annette is probably not usually this angelic.

Fenway from the outside.

As Arroyo came out and Halama came on to warm up, all the fielders slouched around to chat with each other. Millar and Trot were schmoozing in shallow right field, Johnny was lying on the grass in center stretching. And Manny?

Manny was disappearing into the Green Monster.

He just wandered up to the door and sort of sidled in. I guess he sometimes goes in during a break in the game to chat with the guy who works back there. It was just totally unexpected and completely awesome. After Halama had mostly finished up Manny popped back out onto the field, and the door melted back into the Monster again.

Speaking of Arroyo, though, why is everyone talking about this loss like it was totally the offense/defense's fault? Arroyo got way too many batters behind in the count, only to run it full and lose them to a hit or a walk. And Sizemore may have gotten a cheap homerun, but there was nothing cheap about Hafner's shot. I realize Bronson abandons the high leg kick when there are men on base, to make a steal less likely, but last night he was letting a man on base a bit too often, and his delivery without the leg kick seemed to be lacking a little. Maybe he sometimes needs to just say screw the runner and throw like he always does, if he's having that much trouble putting the ball over the plate.

Kevin Millwood, well, what can you say? We ran all over him, with Johnny, Edgar, and the Bell each stealing a base, and we worked him for some long at-bats, but we kept stranding guys. The bats were having 'one of those nights', which is galling, but something that has to happen every now and again, I suppose. It's just unfortunate that on such a warm, humid night, when the conditions were perfect for the ball to start flying, we couldn't get anything started.

Regardless, it was a good time. Sure it was hot, and sure we got shutout at home by the fucking Inbreeds and the light hitting Aaron fucking Boone (my Personal Nemesis, and yes, it sucked that he got on base because of a HBP, but I didn't exactly object to watching him gingerly swipe at his mouth to make sure he wasn't bleeding) and the amazing fucking Grady Sizemore. But I did get to go to a game, and I did get to see it with people who are most wonderful to watch a game with.

And the Orioles did lose, although I can't say I was rooting for that to happen, because standings be damned, no one wants to see the Yankees win anything. But we don't move in the standings.

So that's alright then.

edit: Couple new Tigers links. Detroit What?, and Bless You Boys. The latter is SportsBlogs finally getting its act together and getting a Tigers writer, to which I say, 'bout time. Of course, I am now an MVN writer, and SportsBlogs is teh enemy!!!11! But no, it's just nice to see more Tigers blogs of any sort out there.

*Now, I realize my tastes have been called into question on occasion. I have gotten in arguments with certain of you people who do not agree that there is hotness to be found in Pudge, or Ichiro, even though there clearly is... anyways, the point is that my taste is not universal by any means, but I'm laying this out there right now: Mark Bellhorn is not attractive. He is not. Attractive. Can he work the count and take a walk with the best of 'em? Yes. Is he wicked hawt? No. OK. Settled.

3:59 PM

Sunday, June 26, 2005  
I'm sorry, but I'm sitting here and watching the Yankees/Mets game, and Bernie Williams just trashed a water cooler or something in the dugout in a fit of rage, and the announcers said it was surprising because "Bernie Williams is one of the most serene players in baseball." Serene! I laughed out loud. What with all the calm eyes and the serenity on that team... man, they must have some mighty strong aromatherapy candles in the clubhouse.

And Kris Benson just struck out piggy-eyed Giambi, who is furious with himself. I haven't watched a Yankees game in ages, but knowing that they've already lost this series makes this kind of fun.

Anyways. More importantly,

Don Orsillo, trying to not laugh, watching the Phanatic grab his rear end and shake it at the fans, while Jerry Remy giggles in the background: "That is disgusting."

The Phillies made a game of it, mostly because David Wells started losing that effective curve for a reason of your choosing. David Wells lost it later in the game because

a) it was really hot in the park, and fat wilts in the heat.
b) running the bases without the benefit a refreshing beer at homeplate had exhausted him.
c) he reinjured his heel/ankle/footsie-wootsie in the run-down with Jim Thome at first base.
d) he swelled up in the heat and was no longer able to get his arm all the way across his body in his throwing motion.
e) Jason Varitek began impishly giving him the finger every at-bat instead of actual signs.
f) the Phanatic was using his tubular mouth to suck Wells' pitching ability out of him like some kind of hideous green pitching-ability leech.

The relief we all feel at seeing Manny Being Manny again is palpable, isn't it? That grand slam... the hit itself wasn't all that impressive, and truth be told it probably wouldn't have been out in another park (in Fenway it would've hit the Monster; in Comerica it would've landed harmlessly in center field). What was fantastic about it was Manny's reaction... trotting to first like he half expected it to be caught for an out, then seeing it go into the crowd and hurling his arms into the air, not in a 'praise de lawd' style, more a 'yaaaay i hit the ball yaaaayy yay yay yay!' style. Which is so Manny.

Later in the game, Ramon Vasquez let a ball skip under him and was standing at shortstop, futzing with the laces on his glove and looking sad. In the corner of the camera shot you see Manny wander in from left field, come up to Vasquez, and stick his finger in Vasquez' ear. Then he wandered away again.

The thing of it was, Vasquez didn't even act surprised or jump or anything. It was just like, 'oh, Manny's sticking his finger in my ear again'. I couldn't believe it. The whole thing was so nonchalant and so weird.

Oh, and, you know, a quick note on Mark Bellhorn. We were discussing him at the SG dinner party Thursday (which Beth has posted her recap for... you should probably read it, it's much better than mine, in part because she's just a better writer, and also probably because she didn't write it at 3 am the night it happened), as one would expect at any gathering with The Official Defender of Mark Bellhorn Using Logic™, Steve Brady, present.

Remy made some good points about Bellhorn's swing today (without giggling, surprisingly). The Bell has a very uppercut swing, so balls high in the zone are basically unhittable for him. It's not that he doesn't have any power, he does (witness the homerun today, and the series of homeruns in the postseason last year), it's just that if most batters have a milkbottle-sized hole in their swing, the Bell has got the whole freaking cow-- albeit a levitating cow, since it's the top half of the strike zone that counts as his hole, basically.

So to compensate the Bell has learned to take pitches, and take pitches, and work counts, and take pitches, and become a good batter, if not necessarily a good hitter (the clever wording of Mr. Brady, not me. I'm just sharin' for you folk who were not there). And that's why he's valuable (if frustrating at times), and why putting him and his .229 batting average in the 2-spot isn't so insane.

Ah, the Yankees game just ended in a thoroughly disgusting fashion. At least they lost the series, and at least the Wizened Unit, once again, was not nearly as effective as he's historically been. And I did get to see Sheffield flip the hell out on an umpire, which is always giggle-worthy.

The Orioles lost today. Again. Sorry dudes.

The AL East is looking awfully nice and red right now.

11:42 PM

Saturday, June 25, 2005  

There was a Red Sox moon tonight, huge and bright red low on the horizon. Maybe you have to be on the coast to see it. It being such a nice night out, me and my friends Jess and Dave went for a stroll along Lynnshore Drive (which is all along a great big long beach, for those unfamiliar with it), and gazing out over the water we could see this enormous red moon lurking fuzzily in the dark.

The moon on the night of Game 4 was of course famously pink-tinged, but this was that true, deep red that you can only get when the moon is very low and the light wavelengths are as long as they can be.

So Jess, Dave, and I were walking along, looking at this fantastic moon, turning our faces into the warm sea breeze, tripping our fingers along the metal sea wall railing, watching the streetlights create rippled pools of yellow and white in the inky high tide.

We talk about how comfortable the strong breeze is making the night, and I'm thinking about how this can't be the same weather they're having in Philly, but it sure seems like this would have been the perfect wind to make Tim Wakefield's knuckleball dance like it did tonight.

We sit down on the sea wall to hang out and watch the sketchy Lynn fisherman set up their poles (what on earth are they catching that close to shore?) and I flip my phone open and start swearing quietly when I see that the Tigers are losing 2-1 in Arizona.

It was at this point that Dave declared that I had officially become the most obsessive baseball fan he knew. "I'm not sure who you knocked off, but you're definitely it now." Of course, that was also after I told him I'd been trying to learn how to score the games (I scored todays game, used the diamonds... it worked out nicely, but I think I need a scorecard with slightly larger squares. Also, pinch hitters suck), but still. You get the picture.

The game was just as lovely as the night's weather, what with all those bombs we were hitting. A classic Manny shot, a massive Papi blast into the second tier seats, and Dougie goin' deep. Of course, Dougie then had to go ahead and try to stretch a perfectly nice single into a double and got his square-framed self thrown out by at least 5 feet, but three-run homers go a long way towards making that at least temporarily forgivable.

Plus we got to hear Remy's take on it, which was, as usual, amusing: "For one split second, Mirabelli thought he was Johnny Damon."

The announcer's booth in Philly is apparently quite nice, as Don and Remy discussed at great length. They seemed most impressed with the large fan provided for them.

Remy: "This is a great fan."
Don: "The best fan ever, maybe."
Remy (holding up the fan so the camera can see it): "Look at that. Big league fan."

They spent some time trying to think of one thing they didn't like about the park, and Remy finally decided that the sinks in the bathroom were too deeply recessed, so you had to lean in when you were washing your hands, and your tie would get wet, which, well, really needs no comment, does it?

The game was all about those bombs, and the fact that the Phillies were prevented from doing the same due to the elusive nature of the knuckleball. We've said it before and we'll say it again-- when it's dancing, that pitch is unhittable. There are going to be games where Wake will get shelled, but there are going to be games like today, when he'll throw 8 innings of sit-down-and-shut-up ball.

Manny's sliding catch in left field was as amazing as probably everyone else tomorrow will be saying, but the first time I saw it I honestly thought he'd broken his ankle. He slid leg-first into that wall and if he escaped that catch completely without injury it's a testament to something or other, maybe his shark-like cartilagenous bones. In a game that ended up being 8-0 I almost wish he had just let it drop. Web gems are all well and good, but I'd rather they not come with a potential price of Manny's tender little legs.

After he made the catch, though, the camera caught him looking around, then suddenly focusing sharply on something in the distance and doing a violent, overly happy double-point at them. A few minutes later the camera cut to the Sox dugout, where we could see Kevin Millar (who had the night off) leaning over, staring at someone in the outfield, suddenly making eye contact and doing a great big double-point out there. Is there anything in baseball cuter than Manny and Millar?

No. There is not.

Also, I'm sure it says something sad and pathetic about me that I had a little moment of 'aaww man' when I pencilled in Ramon Martinez' name under the Phillies' when he pinch hit for Lieber in the 6th. Ramon Martinez! Why should I care? But Pudge said he was going to miss him, dammit, and so shall I.

3:50 AM

Friday, June 24, 2005  

I am not even sure how to describe the night I just had.

To put things in their proper order, it started out innocently enough, with a meeting of people I knew only through the internet. Which sounds creepy, but it isn't, honest, because these were Red Sox internet people! A whole other breed entirely!

Yes, it was a dinner party hosted by Kristen and attended by your local blogging gremlin (that being me), Beth, Steve, Annette, and Caitriona (the last two are denizens of the SG messageboard).

Having met them I can now state with certainty that they are all as lovely as you imagine and I've no idea why they won't allow me to put up the photo I have of them all. Paranoid, the lot of 'em. Still, they were tolerant of me when I felt the irresistable need to break out the Dead Sea Lamprey story over dinner (it was huge! and sticky! and those rasping teeth! this is what you get when I come to dinner) so I guess I'll have to cater to their absurd whims.

As one would expect from a meeting of Sox internet people, the conversation (when not dwelling fondly on deceased marine petromyzontiformes) kept turning back to the internet and the Red Sox. Many and varied were the topics discussed, from Dan Shaughnessy (universally hated) to Mark Bellhorn (Steve explaining his prowess with logic, Beth reflecting on the creepy obsessive fan following he's developed in certain corners), from the ways different message boards attract different populations (SoSH-mostly male. Our own SG board-mostly female. No idea why) to how funny we all thought Amy was likely to be in person (very).

Afterwards, though. Ah, afterwards. I was going to take the T back to Wonderland, where my car was parked, and since Beth was driving north as well she very kindly offered to give me a ride.

Did you kids know that, sometime around midnight, the city of Boston shuts off every single access ramp to Rt. 93 South/Rt. 1A North to do some unfathomable construction on them? We did not know this. We rapidly discovered this, but it was too late. Because does the city admit that it has made Rt.s 93 and 1A completely inaccessible? No. Of course not. The city instead puts up a series of detour signs.

So we detoured. Can't get 93 from Storrow Drive? OK, head up to next hookup point. Oh wait, that's blocked off too. How about the big hookup down by the waterfront? Oh look, flashing lights to tell us we can't go that way. So we'll try the other hookup. Ooops, trucks doing construction. Oh, this looks promising, that's.... uh, we just saw that, didn't we? I think we're going around in a circle. Head over across town. Wait, we were already here too. We're in a different circle. Oh no.

We've entered Boston Detour Hell.

The detours sent us back 'round in circles. Literally. Occasionally we would temporarily break out of the circle and end up by Mass General hospital or Mass Ave. (fuck knows how), but in the end, right back to the waterfront and Atlantic Ave. we would go, merging irritably with the reams of other drivers attempting to reach Rt. 93 and failing miserably, blinking police lights giving us headaches, Beth stressed-ly chain-smoking out the window. After we passed the Aquarium for the 3rd or 4th time, I began to have a few small concerns.

Firstly, I was afraid that we were never going to be able to leave the city, and the car would run out of gas, and we would have to stop, and we would be eaten by ravenous bears. You think this is not likely to happen? The Boston Bruins are all out of work these days! And you cannot fool me, I know what bruins are. BEARS. Boston is filled with out-of-work, hungry bears. We were in imminent danger of ursine consumption!

Secondly, Beth was going through cigarettes at an alarming pace. I started to worry about what would happen if she ran out of cigarettes. Would she go mad and drive through several sets of concrete barriers? Would she pass out at the wheel? Would she turn into a bear and eat me?

Thirdly, each time we went around the same places again, we got more and more hysterical. If we did this often enough I feared we would lose our minds entirely and become unfit for human society, going to live instead among roving packs of rabid wild bears, or Yankees. Whichever was closer to hand, I guess.

I've worked up a little tracker of where we were at least some of the time. Doesn't cover all the streets, just one's I'm relatively certain we went down. We almost certainly covered far more than this. I know we were on Mass Ave. at one point, and I know at various times we were driving alongside Chinatown or Mass General Hospital. I know we were on Storrow Drive for a while. I know we passed Government Center, the Aquarium, and Rowes Wharf more times than my tired mind can count. You'll note the extra-red blotch on the right near Rowes Wharf, that was the worst circle we got stuck in, although there were several larger loops we also found ourselves in a couple of times.

By this point I was on the phone with my mother, who was puzzling over routes and trying to figure out how to get us out of town. She suggested we try Rt. 1 North. OK. Sounds good. So we suffer through the Aquarium loop one more time, with its attendant red lights and burgeoning traffic and annoyed cops. We drive and drive and drive. We see signs for Route 1. We get to the exit ramp.

Closed for construction.

Suffice it to say, we left Kristen's around, what, 11:20? 11:30 pm? We did not manage to get out of the city until around 1:30 am, and even then it was only by driving through Everett and halfway to Medford on Rt.s 99 and 16, respectively, that we managed to escape. I only wish I was exaggerating.

Plus side? Beth and I now know each other much better, and having spent such quality time with her, let me assure you kids, the Sox blogosphere is in capable hands.

In any event, I think the moral of the story is twofold.

1. Never attempt to drive out of Boston by major roads after midnight, and
2. Never offer to give anyone a ride back to Wonderland.

3:15 AM

Thursday, June 23, 2005  

OK, I try like the dickens to avoid doing more than one post on the same day, and I try in general to avoid just reacting to articles, but I was trolling the newsosphere this afternoon and, well... I couldn't just let this lie.

Via the Rocky Mountain News, and no, don't even ask why I was reading the Rocky Mountain News.

Right-handed reliever Dan Miceli joined the Rockies on Tuesday, happy to be out of Japan.

Miceli signed with the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Giants during the off-season, but after four appearances he worked out a settlement on his contract and was released.

He reportedly received a $1.8 million payoff, but in turn agreed not to discuss his Japanese experience.

Outfielder Gabe Kapler, who also played for the Rockies, was Miceli's teammate in Japan, and indications are he is trying to negotiate out of his contract so he can return to the Boston Red Sox.

What does that even mean? He got out of his contract and the team gave him a payoff, but only on the condition that he not discuss his 'Japanese experience'? I can't be the only one who is mildly freaked out by this. Is there something about the Yomiuri Giants that we aren't hearing? Someone needs to get on this and ask Hideki Matsui, or any other former Giants we've got floating around the league.

Anyways, it's just another reason to want Gabe Kapler back. Crazy Japanese team, don't you be hurtin'/otherwise-wierding-out my Gabe Kapler!

3:53 PM

Well, tonight was different in the Blue Cats and Red Sox den.

I tried scoring the game.

Bear in mind that I have never scored a game before and am in the process of learning how to do so from a combination of my mother, my father, and issue number 1 of the 2005 Detroit Tigers magazine. I think I did pretty well, in that I got all the boxes filled and all the runs added up properly at the end and all that (sort of like balancing a checkbook, no?). I got a bit tripped up with pinch hitters and runners and couldn't figure out how to fit them into the little boxes but other than that, relative success!

It's a mess, mind you, because I scored it by using the corners of the box to indicate bases instead of drawing the basepaths to make a series of cool little diamonds, so it's just a whole bunch of little letters and numbers and you have to look up close at individual boxes to really read it, but it's all there. My mother yelled at me for this, by the by. She came in when I already had half the game scored from what the Tigers program had taught me, and she was horrified to see that I wasn't drawing the little diamonds.

I have to say, it's an interesting way to watch the game. I definitely found myself paying close attention to every at-bat, instead of occasionally having stare-downs with the cats for two or three batters. I found myself yelling at the inadequacy of the camera at times, when it would only show the guys throwing the runner out briefly, and you could tell that it was someone standing near second base... but was it the second baseman or the shortstop? 6-3 or 4-3? I am trying to learn how to score a game, NESN, do not thwart my tentative initial efforts.

Sickeningly, the more information I put down, the more I wanted to be able to put down. Writing 5-3 wasn't enough, I wanted to write in that Bill Mueller made a beautiful jump to get the ball and threw off-balance to make the out. Writing that Jay Payton hit a double and advanced to third on an error in the 9th didn't capture the way he ran all-out the whole way, making it look like an honest-to-gosh triple.

I did end up sticking in a few extra notes. Victor Martinez has a box with an 8 in it for his 4th inning at-bat, but underneath that I pencilled in '12P'... sure, he flew out to center, but he did so after a 12 pitch at-bat of Grueling Insanity. And over the K(s) for Jason Varitek's 6th inning AB I have a tiny little word smooshed in at the top of the box-- 'aargh!'-- which doesn't quite sum up the agony of watching him strike out with 2 outs and the bases loaded, but it's an indicator.

The scorecard I used was the one that came in the Detroit Tigers magazine (I got it when I went to the game with my dad this April), so the Red Sox were the Tigers on it and there's a Detroit D on the side. In the final tally columns it's got AB, R, H, RBI, and E, which pissed me off. No final tally for BB? Welcome to the Moneyball ERA, Tigers program-scorecard-makers. Here in the future, we count walks. Heady stuff.

I did enjoy it, and I think I'll give it another try on Friday if I'm home for the entire game, maybe with the diamonds this time. But I do have one pressing question, one great difficulty that I did not run into but found myself fearing in the longer innings.

What on earth do you do if the lineup bats around?

12:20 AM

Wednesday, June 22, 2005  

Trot Nixon's thought process as he makes this catch:

"Bases loaded. Bases loaded. He's hittin' it hard, he's goin' for broke. Look alive, Trotter. It's comin' out. It's comin' out.

Pat the hat. Pat the hat. Sticky hands, Trotter, sticky hands.

OK OK OK OK pitch comin' OK OK.


Foul. Arright loosen up, Trotter, loosen up. He's lookin' to go big. He's lookin' wall. You got the wall. You got the wall covered.

Look at Johnny where's Johnny find Johnny he's over there. He's over there. You got this much ground to cover, Trotter. Got that figured.

OK OK OK OK pitch comin' OK OK.





That was the wall hey ow. Ow.

Throw it in throw it in throw it in bases loaded bases loaded.

Hey OK only one run that's cool that's cool Bronson's got it we got it. Sticky hands, Trotter. Patted the hat.

Point at Johnny. Point at Johnny. Ha ha yeah whoo! Good catch, Trotter. Good catch."

Also, David Ortiz smashing two out of the park? Manny going yard yet again? Mmm. Offense. Spicy goodness. Millwood certainly had his struggles, but I have to say that, early on, there were a few pitches that looked like strikes to me but were called balls. Mind you, I'm not complaining. I'm just saying.

Oh, and how embarassing must it be to have that Chief Wahoo cartoon on your hat? I mean, you can take real pride in having the classic Boston B or the ornate Detroit D, or even the spidery New York NY, if you're a sick bastard who takes pleasure in that kind of stuff. Even the Tampa Bay devil ray is classier than that weird, goofy, vaguely racist Wahoo thing.

You hear guys say they're proud to wear the Boston B on their hats. I just have a hard time seeing someone say they're terribly proud to be able to wear the maniacal Chief Wahoo.

12:14 AM

Tuesday, June 21, 2005  
Ah, the times, they are a-changin'.

I hinted a couple of posts ago that things would be changing around here at Blue Cats and Red Sox, and so they have. I'd gotten the impression (possibly mistaken, but eh) that the Red Sox people could really do without the Tigers content, and the Tigers people could really do without the Red Sox content. There's also the fact that this is, after all, Blue Cats and Red Sox. Lions and Sox. The Tigers, originally, didn't exactly figure into the writing plan.

I'd been idly thinking about ways to streamline things for a while, so when Evan asked me if I'd like to get in on the Most Valuable Network Internet Empire, I figured it would probably be the best for everyone.

So! I hereby declare that Tigers content will now be posted over at Roar of the Tigers! Click the banner* to get there.

What does this mean? Both this site and RotT will be updated regularly (read: near-daily), but RotT will be all Tigers and AL Central stuff, while this site here will go back to Red Sox, AL East, other random baseball that catches my eye, and, in the fullness of time, football. The 'trademark' 'humor' that I deposit on the internet will continue to be in both blogs. All the features (like Fun with Roster Photos) will continue to be posted over here, but bad poetry may appear in both locations.

I realize that most of you kids will probably not add that link to your daily list of sites to check out, but I hope at least a couple of you will, because I plan to go all out for this thing. I've never worked with a blogging partner before, so I hope he's prepared to be freaked out.

With Tigers content cleared out, expect some Lions news to show up here relatively soon. And, for those of you who look forward to such things, the next Fun with Roster Photos will be coming up shortly, and we're going Orioles.

All that business done with, we can get onto the important things, namely, the fact that we have finally discovered why Alan Embree sucks so goddamn much.

Yes, it is true. Not only does he look like a deranged chipmunk, especially with a cheekful of chaw, he actually is a chipmunk. He's been distracted by thoughts of acorns while on the mound recently, and this has made it nearly impossible for him to pitch well in relief.

Now, you can't make a leopard change his spots, and you can't make a chipmunk change his stripes. We can't make Embree's weak, brittle chipmunk forelegs throw any harder than they're already doing, and we can't make him into a creature who wants to eat opposing batters instead of acorns and other assorted nuts. These days it seems like the only option is to find a nice sandy burrow for Embree to live in, somewhere far away from Fenway, and somehow pick up a relief pitcher who is not a chipmunk, or any other sort of small rodent.

This game ended up being far closer than it should have been, although to their credit the Inbreeds played pretty solid ball for most of the time, as we've recently come to expect from their racistly-logoed club. Wells seemed to suffer standing blackouts when he had two outs, simple fielding plays were made much more difficult than they had to be, and of course THE FUCKING BULLPEN did its thing.

I'm calling the high point of this one the 3-run homer that Manny hit. There would be other homeruns in the game, but this was the most lovely. The ball was down and away, and Manny just reached out and grabbed it with the head of his bat. It didn't even look like he killed it, but it lofted majestically up and Manny dangled his bat for a second before letting it theatrically drop, a move that made me squeal with glee but probably made Inbreed fans want to kill him.

Jerry Remy was in top form tonight, giving us the following gems:

On how CC Sabathia fell off the mound sideways after a pitch, "It's because of his tilted hat, it unbalances him."

On the vast swarms of flying insects that inundated The Jake tonight, "I think those bugs'll look great in HD... you can really pick out the detail on those bugs, y'know?"

On the Cleveland writers, while the camera focused on them, apparently referencing this incident which involved a bit of an altercation between Boston and Cleveland media, "Look at them. A motley crew."

Oh, and you know what? If we have to listen to that assinine indian drumbeat thing that they play between pitches when Sox pitchers are on the mound for two more entire games, I might have to resort to breaking small pieces of crockery. Annoying, constant drumbeat, the invasion of the insects... I noticed they had one of those volume indicator things on a ribbon board at one point.

The Jake does not sound like a particularly fun park.

edit: Stuck up a slew of links to RotT on the side, so you can always reach it from this site. I also finally put up links to a few Sox sites I'd been meaning to link to whenever I decided to not be lazy: Witch City Sox Girl, Reb Sox, 12eight, and Red Sox! you are the only, only, only....

That last is the livejournal of commentor Cathryn... yes, livejournal, yes, occasionally the scary kind. But she seems like a relatively cool person, she also writes about the Tigers (and Astros, randomly. Also randomly, I think I'm going to be at a Nats/'Stros game in DC this July), and, well, yeah. If you're brave enough to handle the scary livejournal, this is a pretty good one to go for.

Witch City Sox Girl, while livejournal, is, as I've said before, not the scary kind. :)

*For the record, I had nothing to do with designing this banner, it was there long before I was. And yes, if I had my druthers, it would be quite different.

1:19 AM

Sunday, June 19, 2005  

Why My Dad is Better Than 10 Tigers

1. Wilfredo Ledezma: My dad is awesome now, not in some nebulous, hopeful imaginary future time.
2. Pudge Rodriguez: There is no controversy about my dad and steroids.
3. Nate Robertson: My dads mustache is much less terrifying than Nates.
4. Rondell White: My dad is not dangerous behind the plate only to be possessed of a weeny arm in the field.
5. Kyle Farnsworth: My dad has never put himself out of commission by kicking a metal fan.
6. Tony Giarratano: My dad does not make me feel old.
7. Magglio Ordonez: My dad did not sign a contract with my mom and then spend the first half-year of it sitting around twiddling his thumbs.
8. Bobby Higginson: When my dad needed surgery on his elbow he went and had it done, he didn't sit around for a while complaining about things before finally deciding that yeah, maybe it needed to be looked at after all.
9. Brandon Inge: My dad wears his socks up even when not dressed up for work.*
10. Dmitri Young: When my dad says something funny, as he often does, I can laugh and let him know. I have no way of showing my appreciation for all the crazy things Dmitri regularly comes out with.

If you missed the Mother's Day edition, you can check it out here. did their little Father's Day feature, with Kevin Millar representing the Sox and Tony G representing the Tigs. Also, Tony G, STOP LOOKING LIKE YOU ARE IN HIGH SCHOOL. Seriously, look at him! He looks 15! I also love the photo that Jeremy Reed of the Mariners sent in, if only because he, uh, must not have been an Ms fan growin' up...


Happy Father's Day, everyone!

*Much to the horror of my brother and myself when he does so in public and on family vacations.

3:31 AM

Friday, June 17, 2005  
Wow, kids, I am sorry. I have been dropping the ball. I am Chris Shelton at first base, I am Kevin Millar in left field. I check the scores, I see the ball coming at me from the sky on a great big pop fly, but then I remember that I am Chris Shelton and I fall down, or I remember that I am Kevin Millar and I get distracted by the Fenway Frank someone in the stands is holding. They're holding it right there over the wall! A Fenway Frank with all the fixin's! And I am Kevin Millar! God, what do they expect? I let the ball drop and, somewhere, Torii Hunter falls to the ground in exquisite fielding agony.

Basically I have not been seeing the games. On Wednesday night I naturally had to go see Batman Begins with the local crew, and naturally we had to truck all the way out to Reading so that we could see it in IMAX, and naturally this meant missing both the Tigers and Red Sox games. For the record, I liked Liam Neeson, and Christian Bale made a great Bruce Wayne but a lousy Batman. Scarecrow was awesome. It was good if you completely ignored all the ones that came before it and just took it as a completely new and different movie. No one cares about this, just thought I'd lay it out there.

And then the Audobon people were all like, 'Hey, we have these people coming in on Saturday for a garden tour, could you maybe get us some interpretive materials by then?' and I was all, "um but i have been working on the marsh not the wildflowers' and they were all, "Yeah, maybe you could do the wildflowers for a little bit just so we can get this done,' and I was all, 'um ok but 2 days?' and they were all, "Thanks, you are a good intern, here are some books to help, we are going to go get some sandwiches in Newburyport, don't OD on coffee."

I did get the thing done, and gave it to them today, and they all ooohed and aaahed over it like John Audobon himself had come down from on high and guided my pen because I guess they don't get too many illustrators coming through there so they don't recognize subpar talent when they see it, the poor dears, but the point is that I have not seen the games, nor have I been able to follow them all that closely, nor have I actually been, y'know, sleeping (hence: run-on sentence). And I think I may have, in point of fact, ODed on coffee.

And now my friend Leslie is in town, and she lives in New York and goes to school at Georgetown, so I see her basically never, so I must spend as much time as possible hanging out with her for the few days she is here, which probably also means no baseball.

And yet!

I note that both (both!) the Sox and the Tigers swept in their respective series, which is all kinds of good. It is more good than I can even contemplate. Yes, the Reds are not exactly the best team in the NL right now, but the Padres had been on a bit of a hot bend and the Tigers, well, you know. I also notice, in passing, that the Royals swept the Dodgers, and what? the hell? is up with them?

The latest rumor out of the Tigers camp dealing with the Urbina plane brawl is that Ugie did/said something nasty to/about Rondell White, which caused Brandon Inge to attack Ugie. I know nothing, I merely share the baseless rumor. I like the idea of Inge being a scrappy little fightin' dude, though.

With his latest victory Jeremy Bonderman became the fastest Tiger pitcher to 8 wins since 1993. Guess who did it back then? Yeah. I was surprised too. Look at how (comparatively) svelte he was back then!

Also, I got new shoes.

Look closely!

I am not a 'shoe girl', not in the least (I have one pair of sneakers, one pair of slip-on type things, and a pair of sandals. That's it), but I had absolutely lusted after and madly coveted these shoes since I had first seen them. The problem? They came in men's and women's sizes, and the smallest men's size available was still too large for my weeny little feet. Gosh, why would I want to wear men's shoes anyways?

Probably because the women's version ONLY CAME IN PINK.

I'll leave the attendant rant about that to your imaginations. You all know my feelings on the subject, suffice it to say that I was a mite annoyed.

It turns out that I can fit into the boy's sizes, however, and I was thusly able to attain shoe happiness with only a minimum amount of 'Rargh I hate the world!'ing.

New internet toy! I have drawn a picture of how tired I am. This thing is too much fun and, therefore, dangerous. Um, I'm relatively sure you need Macromedia Flash and a good connection to see it, but I don't know, it loaded kind of automatically and instantly on my computer.

I must now run, because my friends want me to 'come into the city tonight to have fun' and to 'have a life' and to 'probably not watch baseball' and, as a side bonus, 'drop dead of exhaustion'. Let me just drop a hint that there may be some changes around here very soon... I have a sneaking suspicion that the Sox fans who read this really don't enjoy slogging through all the Tigers drivel, and the Tigers fans don't really enjoy all the Sox talk. This may be rectified in the near future. I'm talking it over with some folks and we shall see. Just wanted to give you lot an advance warning, as it were, to be on the lookout for some big changes soon. Ish.

5:54 PM

Wednesday, June 15, 2005  
Just some quick hits for tonight, since I have vastly important things to do tomorrow. Like, uh, driving up to Joppa Flats, mucking about in the marsh getting specimens, and drawing plants. You know. Vital stuff. I missed the first few innings of tonight's game anyways, as I was in Boston (ironic, no?). There were 6 seals in the Aquarium outdoor tank instead of the usual 2, which was like all kinds of bonus. Three of them were much smaller and sort of fuzzy, I think they were juveniles. Anyways.

--Always good when both teams win on the same night, and both win comfortably. 7-0 for the Sox, 8-4 for the Tigs. Looks like everyone is happy to be home again (and using the DH again).

--I can't be the only one who sees David Ortiz sliding into bases and is immediately and forcibly reminded of a jumbo jet coming in for a ponderous landing.

--Wells threw, uh, well, from what I saw, but I noticed something worrying in the 5th and 6th innings. He was panting. Hard enough so that you could see his shoulders sharply rising and falling in the panned-out shots, 'though it was most obvious in the close-ups. It wasn't just normal heavy breathing, either, it was most definitely dog-on-a-hot-day panting. Those two consecutive walks in the 7th were another sign that he was tiring, but actual panting disturbs me. I realize that pitchers don't need to be in the same kind of shape that position players generally are, but it may be time for Boomer to cut back on the sticks of butter he eats before bed.

--I just realized this... the Sox had 3 guys in their starting lineup tonight hitting over .300, and one of those is Olerud who doesn't really count due to the small sample size (the other two are Damon and Varitek). The Tigs had 4 guys hitting over .300 (Inge, Polanco, Rondell, and Nook... although I guess you could argue small sample size for Nook as well). The average ERA of the Sox starters is 4.53; the average ERA of the Tigers starters is 3.96 (although again, a little skewed, since the Tigs are currently running on 4 starters). Both teams have been plagued by injuries-- Schilling the big one for the Sox, Guillen for the Tigs.

And yet Boston is 35-29 while Detroit is 29-32. What can you say? Just more proof of how inexplicably frustrating the Tigers have been at points this year.

--Brandon Inge hit a homerun 428 feet to dead center field in Comerica, which I saw, thanks to the magic of the internet and Major League Baseball's fantastic policy of putting up video of this stuff as quickly as possible. Kids, let me tell you, this was a heckuva homerun. Comerica's so big that it landed in the foliage inside the park, behind the fences (right under the GM fountain)... in Fenway or, say, Wrigley, it would've been bouncing into traffic and cracking someones windows.

There's nothing quite like the joy of watching Inge go yard. Seeing David Ortiz or Dmitri Young crank it over the wall is practically a seismological event, but there's a simple happiness to be found in seeing a short little guy with high navy socks and some of the goofiest facial hair in baseball absolutely demolishing the ball in one of the biggest parks in the league. Take that, steroids!

--Inge also had a lovely dive into the crowd to catch a foul popup and make an out. That's a neat photo for a few reasons. One, Brandon Inge. If you don't know of my love for him, you haven't been hanging around here long enough. Two, the way the crowd is sort of cradling him as he bursts into their midst. The gentleman in the yellow shirt is holding him about the middle, and if you look at his right arm you can see someone else has their hand on him there. How fantastic would it be to be in those seats? Hmm.

Anyways, shades of Derek Jeter's Heroic Catch from Last Year, no? No. Because Inge is actually a third baseman and is therefore entitled to cover that part of the field, unlike Jeter, who came charging over from shortstop (dude, you're paying A-Rod to play third base! I'd understand if you don't trust him farther than you can throw him, but let him cover his own ground). Jeter also hurled himself into the crowd with reckless and unnecessary abandon, while Inge kept his wits about him and I think had one hand on the railing at all times, so that he tipped right back out of the crowd after making the play. Now, I'm not saying that Brandon Inge is a better baseball player than Derek Jeter, but thems the facts, kids.

--Three homeruns in three games, one questionable, two beyond all shred of doubt. Manny! You are our sunshine, our crazy Dominican sunshine, you make us HAPPY, when skies are gray! If only you knew, how much we love you! Please don't take, our Manny, away! And with that albatross of a contract, it's not bloody likely he will be taken away. If his bat really is warming up again, though, that's a plenty good thing for now.

--Anyone else see Kevin Millar on the postgame show? First off, he had absolutely no right to be making fun of Jim Rice for the royal blue suit (which was, in all fairness, hideous), because he (Millar) was wearing some sort of tan fitted tshirt with an eye-rendingly complex print on it.

Also, I think it's possible that the Queer Eye stuff actually took. Because, and it pains me to have noticed this as I find Millar not attractive in the least, he looked pretty damn well groomed tonight. The beard, while eccentric, was trimmed very nicely, and the hair was styled nicely. Judging from how most of the NESN personalities look on camera I'm going to go ahead and guess that they don't have any stylists on board, or at least not very good ones, so Millar must've done all that himself. Good job, Kevin. It didn't look like you'd skinned an albino hedgehog and grafted the resulting pelt to your scalp tonight.

TC naturally inquired about the well-being of the new twins, and Millar said that they were doing great, keeping him up at all hours, the usual. Jim Rice looks over and chuckles, "They're cowboying it up at 3 am, eh?" and Millar started giggling. Just wanted to share that, in case you missed it.

--Carlos Guillen finally got put on the DL, albeit retroactively, so he can be activated again soon if need and hamstring be. May as well. His hamstring was sore, his knee is more delicate than the hollow bones of a hummingbird, it's just a good idea to solidly rest him for a bit. Tony G hasn't been the most productive of fellows lately, but he's being asked to do a bang-up job of it anyways, and Tram has said that he might give Omar Infante a game or two at shortstop, now that Polanco has got second base locked up. Next Saturday will either see Sean Douglass called up to pitch, JJ asked to pitch on short rest, or some other mystery pitching event. It's all very experimental in Detroit these days, but we shall see what we shall see.

--Stuff you should be reading:

-Good post about watching the Mets from Mike over at ECA.

-Mer was at two out of the three Cubs/Sox games and wrote about it.

-Tigers fans may want to get stories from the other side for this series with the Padres (and Red Sox fans may want to keep track of Dave Roberts). I recommend Friar Faithful and, of course, Ducksnorts.

-Bat-Girl is always good, but the commune of Bat-Girl writers has been nothing short of amazing lately. First a Dune parody with Minnesotans as the natives of the Atreides homeland Caledon (nice to see I'm not alone in my dorkitude, I guess), then a truly fantastic Back to the Future parody involving the kidnap of Sandy Koufax, then something incredibly disturbing involving the Twins coaching staff.

-Tommy Lasorda is trying to convince Dodgers fans to vote Cesar Izturis in at shortstop for the NL All Star team. He lists many reasons why Izturis is an awesome human being and baseball player, including the following:

Cesar is like a breath of fresh air.  He plays baseball like my wife shops…all day long.

Hee hee hee.

-Are you reading Witch City Sox Girl? Why the hell not? She's on livejournal, but not the scary kind, and she's practically my neighbor, in the town-sense. I'll stick her over on the sidebar as soon as I feel like not being lazy again.

-The Dugout takes on the UM softball championship, complete with The Farns cameo. Can't go wrong, really. Also, this. Basically, if you are not as completely obsessed with the Dugout as I am, I am not sure we can be friends.

-Oh hey, and don't forget about your All Star voting, as we discussed yesterday. Remember, kids: Teixeira at 1st, whoever you like at 2nd, Guillen for short, whoever you like for 3rd (*cough*Inge*cough*), either Pudge or 'Tek for catcher, DaMeat for DH, Damon/Hunter/Trotter for outfield. We can make a difference! Especially you should vote for Guillen, to Right a Terrible and Immense Wrong.

Vote, you lazy sods.

1:04 AM

Tuesday, June 14, 2005  

Tim Wakefield needs Doug Mirabelli behind the plate, Matt Clement needs Jason Varitek behind the plate. Part of it is actual performance (with Mirabelli back there, Wake can throw the knuckler with a little more aplomb, since he knows his catcher has at least a middlingly fair chance of coralling it properly) and part of it is mental (Clement is just more confident with 'Tek feeding him signs). Either way it's starting to become more and more evident, Wake for the year and Clement in comparison to his past seasons with the Cubs (and their various, forgettable catchers).

'Tek was playing today despite the fact that his wife gave birth to a baby girl (their third) at around 4 am. I doubt Mrs. Varitek was best pleased at being left to her own devices so her husband could play a baseball game the very same night, but 'Tek probably had a good idea that Clement, known for skittishness and fussy mound behavior, would be reduced to a shivering wreck of a pitcher if he wasn't there to guide him through the game (ambiguous pronoun usage ahoy!).

So we, as Red Sox fans, owe 'Tek some very sincere thanks. Because his wife may or may not be furious with him, but in any event Clement today pitched like a man who had got his special catching friend behind the plate, and the Reds responded by hitting like they had never seen such a happy marriage of veteran catcher and starry-eyed pitcher before.

Also, Manny, better. I don't mean the homerun, that was nice, but tenuous; if Wily Mo makes that catch, it's just a really spectacular Web Gem. What was good to see was that tonight Manny was hitting towering fly balls for outs instead of striking out looking or (wince-inducingly) swinging. That means that for whatever reason he was seeing the ball better all night, and so long as Manny is seeing the ball well I am not as concerned. The power will come back, and eventually those fly popouts will drop where they are no fielders.

It was the idea of Manny not seeing the ball that caused me to become nervous. If he's making any kind of quality contact at all it means that his mechanics themselves are the problem now, not his ability to see the pitches. Which is not to say that I'm not concerned about Manny, still, but it sure is heartening. He's on his home turf, the weather is turning warm just like he likes it, and the Reds pitching staff is not the most formidable in the majors. This would be a good time for him to start turning it around. If he's still battling to eke out a meager run here and there at the end of this homestand, I'll be seriously uneasy.

I expect every blogger out there will be talking about Don and Remy's foray into the world of manhugs today, but let me recap it swiftly for those of you who will have already read about it 5,000 times. Manny gets back to the dugout after hitting one of those long flyball outs. Kevin Millar, who is apparently very big on positive reinforcement, gives Manny a great big Red Sox hug. Don and Remy are sent into a tizzy over this, replaying it several times and talking about how this is not a 'baseball hug' (the awkward, manly, one-armed affair), but is instead a 'full-on manhug' (both arms, all-out).

They then go on to discuss how the Red Sox team in its current incarnation is 'very huggy' and all about the full-on manhug, as opposed to the baseball hug. They trace the roots of the phenomenon back to Carlos Baerga, seemingly the original manhugging member of the Sox, and Remy relives a little tale about how he approached Nomar for a handshake only to be enveloped in a hug, in which he (Remy) had no idea what to do with himself.

That is not a 'baseball hug'.*

Don and Remy are gleefully crowing about this for the remainder of the half-inning (as they do), and you can almost literally see male viewers all around the Boston area shifting awkwardly in their seats, while female viewers all around the Boston area squeal for unadulterated joy. As if we needed to be reminded why, in part, we love this team so much.

It's easy to feel better after today and yesterday, but two wins does not a winning streak make, and the Sox today capitalized heavily on a great many Reds defensive miscues, which probably will not be repeated. Wait and see.

Interesting little article on Carlos Pena that I pulled out of the San Jose Mercury News, of all random places. He's working hard down there in AAA, as he bloody well should be.

"Life is not over," Pena said. "It's not the end of the world. God blessed me with some talent. I know this."

Sigh. You all know I'm a Carlos Pena fan. I dearly hope he manages to put that shattered swing back together.

The Brewers, faced with a series of interleague play, are taking the opportunity to showcase some of their rookie talent while they have the use of the DH. Yup. They called up Prince Fielder. He went 0-for-4 today while Lyle Overbay, perhaps sensing competition, went 2-for-4 with a homerun. Of course all Tigers fans know the sad tale of Cecil Fielder, recapped here. Oy. What a mess.

I feel like I'm writing an awful lot about the Brewers lately. Honestly, I do not care a whit about this team. National league. Milwaukee. Their team symbol is a big gold M with a stalk of wheat under it. I do not care about the Milwaukee Brewers.

Detroit: get ready for The Return of Robert Fick!

Anywho, some dude named Hudson is pitching for the Reds tomorrow. All I know is that he's most definitely not Tim Hudson. He's about 12 times less hot, judging from his roster photo, and, more importantly, his 7.50 ERA is much less attractive than the 3.78 that Timmy's boasting. Y'hear that, Sox bats? 7.50! Go git 'em!

A plea to those who have not used up all their All Star votes yet! This is how the AL All Star team is shaping up so far.

Please, for the love baseball, vote Mark Teixeira for first base. Millar hasn't got a whelk's chance in a supernova** to get there (and, much as I love the guy, doesn't deserve it), and Teixeira is the only one who's poised to knock Tino Martinez out of the first place slot, and we must knock Tino out.

You should also all vote heavily for Dmitri Young at DH. Yes, even you Red Sox fans. No one is overtaking Ortiz, he's already got plenty of votes, but it's a close race for backup, and I think we would all rather see Dmitri there than Palmeiro or, god forbid, Giambi. A chance to see David Ortiz and Dmitri Young on the same team! You know you want it.

Manny, Ichiro, and Vlad look pretty locked in for the outfield, but you should probably bump some votes to Trot Nixon and/or Torii Hunter, both because they deserve it and because we need to knock Matsui and Sheffield down a few pegs.

I'm voting Bellhorn, but you can't really argue with Brian Roberts at second base.

It looks like no one is going to catch A-Rod at third base, so vote for whoever you want. Personally speakin' I'm stuffing the ballot box for Brandon Inge, although if you vote for Bill Mueller I can't really fault you.

I love Jason Varitek but I still think Pudge deserves it. Everyone needs to go vote for Pudge, now, and often. I know the all-Boston folk are going to beat me up for that one.

The relatively small number of votes that Carlos Guillen has amassed so far is a travesty. Everyone's saying how his selection as an All Star last year was 'shocking', but you know what? Ahead of him in the voting this year are Miguel Tejada, Derek Jeter, and Edgar Renteria.

You know who has the highest batting average of all these guys? Carlos Guillen.

You know who has the highest on-base percentage? Carlos Guillen.

You know who has the highest slugging percentage? OK, it's Tejada, but there's still no fucking way that Guillen should be behind those guys in the voting, wonky knee or not. Seriously. This one pisses me off. Now I'm mad.

Dammit. Really mad. I'm never getting to sleep tonight.

*And yes, I know I've used both these images before. They both stand reuse, I think. The manhug picture especially will never go out of style.

**You get so many points here at Blue Cats and Red Sox if you immediately recognize where this is from.

1:39 AM

Monday, June 13, 2005  
Wrigley Field, the park most often offered up as an answer in the same breath as Fenway in response to the question, "Where would the most crazy baseball fans want to have their ashes scattered after they die?" Green ivy, and red brick, and people watching from rooftops all around the place... the only remaining ballpark that can look at Fenway and say, "Creaky joints actin' up again? I hear ya, buddy."*

I'll admit I was looking forward to this series, because it was Wrigley, and because Todd Walker would be playing, and because Nomar would at least be there, and because we would be throwing to a lineup with both a pitcher and Neifi Perez in it, and that seemed too good to be true.

Most unfortunately, it turns out that Neifi Perez is only half-sarcastically referred to as Neifi! by Cubs bloggers these days, and Greg Maddux can hit homeruns. It also turns out that Bronson has yet to get back in his groove (or get his groove back... we need a Stella here, maybe), and that ivy out there in centerfield? It eats things. Balls, mostly, but possibly also Red Sox batting ability, leading to perplexing situations like this one:

I'm not even sure what to say about this. Yesterday, especially, Manny was nothing short of painful to watch. 1-for-5, with 2 strikeouts and no walks, but that hardly gives you the whole picture. Those 2 strikeouts felt like, and looked like, 10. Some of it was Zambrano, who had one of his inexplicable 'walk two guys and looks wild, strike out two guys and look dominant, give up a towering homerun' nights, and Manny just kept coming up when Zambrano felt like being unhittable for a couple batters. Part of it, though, was that he was swinging at balls that were far too high in the zone for him to hit, and that he was swinging early or late and whiffing badly.

Tigers fans are saying that sometimes Tony Giarratano looks completely lost at the plate, just totally overwhelmed by major league pitching (I note he had an RBI today, though), and it makes sense. You see this kid who's 22 years old but maybe 5 times less mature than a 22-year-old Jeremy Bonderman, this skinny little kid from Queens, NY who went to Tulane and got called up right out of AA ball, and when he swings at a ball with all his mass behind him but misses completely, it just. makes. sense. Not saying it's fun to watch, but you can hardly fault the guy.

The point is that when you see Manny Ramirez (Manny! freaking! Ramirez!) taking cuts that look pretty much the same as the ones Tony G is taking, you can't help but be disturbed.

Now, yes, tonight he had a homerun of obscene proportions, and I dearly hope that this, combined with a return home to good ol' Fenway (finally), will jumpstart Manny's bat and bring him back up to snuff. It was nice, very nice, to see Manny look like, well, Manny tonight... the towering homer, the way he was actually paying attention in the outfield (always a big day, when Manny doesn't space out on defense), the headbutting Mark Bellhorn on the shoulder, the getting groped by Ortiz in the dugout, the schmoozing with Youks... but I just can't forget about how lost he's looked lately. I wish I could, but I really just can't.

Also, speakin' of the Tiger rook, there was a batboy in the Red Sox dugout yesterday who looked exactly like Tony G. I couldn't decide if this was cute or unbearably pathetic (the Tigs' infield is in such a state that they have to call up guys who look as old as the batboys...). I mean, hello:

I'll bet he gets carded in bars all the time, poor bugger.

Bartender: How old did you say you were again?
Tony G: I'm 22! I play for the Detroit Tigers!
Bartender: Uh huh, right kid, like I'm gonna believe that...
Tony G: No, really! I play for the Tigers! Dmitri, come over here and tell the man I'm a major leaguer!
Bartender: Here sir have a drink on the house.

Carlos Zambrano, as I said before, had one of those weird nights where he looked like Pedro Martinez for one batter and like Alan Embree for the next (only, you know, a whole heck of a lot heavier than both combined). I had definitely heard that he was an emotional pitcher, but jeez... after something bad happened he would go through a series of facial contortions so violent and exaggerated that they would make The Derek Lowe Face look downright calming. We were also treated to the story of how he was suffering from forearm tightness earlier in the season and it turned out that this was related to the fact that he was spending 4-5 hours a day IMing with his brother in Venezuela.** Carlos Zambrano: HE IS ONE OF US.

Anyways, tonight was good, I guess... Wake was on fire. We all know that the knuckleball is a 'live today, die tomorrow' kind of pitch, but in his last three outings Wake has had the following performances:

1. Jason Varitek catching. Weather relatively cool. Knuckleball flatter than Mike Ditka's singing voice. Ball hit a bajillion times. Wake shelled.

2. Jason Varitek catching. Weather relatively cool. Knuckleball dancing up a storm. A bajillion errors. Wake shelled.

3. Doug Mirabelli catching. Weather relatively warm. Knuckleball dancing up a storm. No errors. Wake dominates.

Now, he had two outings with Varitek, one in which the knuckleball just wasn't knuckling at all and one in which it was knuckling all over the damn place. So we lost one of those because of Wake, and one because Tek was catching Wake. Tonight he had that same nasty knuckleball but he also had his buddy, his pal, his bestest personal batterymate Mirabelli catching, and yes, I think it made a difference. I love Tek, naturally. But there's a reason why we have a separate catcher for the days Wake pitches, it's not just for show.

There was finally some offense tonight, Johnny being a single away from hitting for the cycle and Youks being a triple away from hitting for the cycle. The ESPN guys commented, after Johnny's homerun, that it was only his second on the year and they really would have expected him to hit more homeruns, it seemed silly that he wasn't, and I will freely admit that I went into a fit of rage, along the lines of "WOW OK I GUESS HE SUCKS, HE DOESN'T HIT HOMERUNS. THAT .343 BA IS JUST KILLING US UP THERE IN THE LEADOFF SLOT. YOU KNOW I THINK ICHIRO ONLY HAS 3 HOMERUNS ON THE SEASON SO FAR TOO, WOW HE SUCKS. IT'S NOT LIKE THESE GUYS ARE HITTING FOR AVERAGE OR ANYTHING, THEY'RE JUST WEAK HITTERS WHO AREN'T HELPING THEIR TEAMS AT ALL BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT HITTING HOMERUNS."

I mean, honestly. I'm a college art student who's getting 'paid'*** to draw botanical specimens all summer. These are sports broadcasters who have been in the business for however many years and are getting paid to follow, and talk about, baseball. And yet I seem to have a better understanding of things like 'hitting for average' and 'what is valuable in a leadoff hitter' than they do. There's something seriously wrong there. Maybe I should quit it with this art business and work for ESPN.

Whoops, I forgot, they'd never have a woman doing play-by-play commentary on nationally broadcast baseball. Silly me. They'd prefer to have Jon Miller dolorously singing 'Duke of Earl' in the middle of an at-bat, calling the Red Sox 'the Fenways' for no readily apparent reason, and mixing up Aramis and Manny Ramirez several times over the course of the game. ESPN: we prefer senility to actual broadcast ability.

So. Er. Sorry. Wasn't meaning to go off on a rant there. Anyways. David Ortiz sat the night out, but it ended up working out OK, offensively. Leaving the Big Papi on the bench doesn't mean he won't contribute, though. Johnny's homerun earned him a vigorous headrub from Ortiz, Manny's homerun earned him a vigorous headrub and a grope on the bench, Jay Payton's homerun earned him a lingering hug in the dugout, and Wake's haul-ass run scored all the way from first base (culminating in a charge down the third baseline that showed such poor running form I was lying on my side giggling hysterically and a frantic, feet-first slide into home plate) earned him a David Ortiz personal towel rubdown.

Basically, tonight's game was good, much like the David Wells game of the Cardinals series was good. It's not enough anymore. The Orioles are stumbling and the Yankees are more impotent than... well, OK, I was trying to think of some way to not make that a Rafael Palmeiro joke but nope, we're goin' with Rafael Palmeiro, anywho, we need to gain ground. It just isn't enough to win the last game of these series anymore. We need to start winning whole series, or god forbid even sweeping series.

It's bad and frustrating when the Tigers take 1 out of 3 in a series. But really, at the end of the day, I'll be pretty damn happy if the Tigers end the season at or over .500. The Red Sox, however, will be a huge disappointment if they don't make the playoffs. And if they continue to take 1 out of 3, they will not make the playoffs. And I will be hugely disappointed.

But, man, let's not end this on a depressing note! Have some fun things to check out! Inexplicable Korean cartoon about how Jason Varitek can't catch the knuckleball! Click the image to see it.

If you want to read about this all from the Cubs perspective, there are about 8 billion and a half blogs to look at, but I'm gonna go ahead and recommend Bleed Cubbie Blue's recap. The guy knows what he's on about, and he actually doesn't hate the Red Sox fans who invaded Wrigley.

Good-natured blog battle alert! Jere says this. Cardinals blog CardNilly says this as a semi-blanket response. Jere responds. CardNilly responds. Jere fires back. Bystanders win!

And, perhaps most importantly of all, Detroit Tigers centerfielder of the FUTURE, Curtis Granderson, lets us know that his favorite color is 'definitely blue!', and that committing 6 errors in one game is 'the worst'.

On that note, I bid you all goodnight.

edit: Or not. The Canton Rep has a nice interview with Braylon Edwards. You have to register to read it, so in case you're too lazy to do so I've pulled some of the highlights.

Braylon in response to being told someone had predicted a 2-14 season for the Browns: I’m not making predictions, but I guarantee we will win more than four games. I guarantee that.

Braylon on whether he can produce right out of the gate or not: I think the rookie thing is overrated.

Braylon on QB Trent Dilfer: He’s not a ‘freakish talent’ quarterback. A Daunte Culpepper, Donovan McNabb, Peyton Manning ... a Tom Brady with his relentless accuracy. The thing about Dilfer is he has been there, although defense carried the load for him that year he won the Super Bowl. He’s a veteran. He understands where the ball must go. He gets the ball there. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he doesn’t have to, because he knows the game so well. You hear him break down different schemes and scenarios. I hear these things and ... I’m a 22-year-old person just out of college, and I’m amazed. A lot of times quarterbacks try to outdo themselves. They take the wrong chances. Trent will never beat us...

Trent Dilfer is not 25 any more. He has some miles.

Heh. Not the most inspired recommendation for a quarterback I've ever heard.

Braylon almost always is a good interview. Thanks to mgoblog for the heads up on that one.

*Jeff Bagwell can also say this, but you don't get people travelling hundreds of miles just to sit on him, so he doesn't count.

**I have to say, I've spent lots of time on the computer, both out of necessity (you'd be shocked at how much art school stuff is computer-based these days [or maybe not]) and out of regular dorkiness, and sometimes my hands will hurt, especially if I've been using the trackpad a ton (which is why I now have a pen tablet which I love like woah), but I've never experienced 'forearm tightness'. So, uh, yeah, take that how you will.

***They're paying for my art supplies and gas, which is good, because it's about an hour each way from my house to Joppa Flats. But I'm not actually, you know, getting paid.

2:42 AM

Friday, June 10, 2005  

Got those pesky Cardinals by the throat! For one game, at least.

I'm behind. I know, I know, bad blogger, bad! I am chastened. I am shamed. Etc.

In the interest of streamlining things somewhat, if you want to read about Boston's draft you should just hop on over to Firebrand, and if you want to read about Detroit's draft you should hop on over to the Detroit Tigers Weblog. If you want to read about the Michigan softball championship game you should check out Mgoblog's liveblog of the event. Actually, even if you don't care a whit about softball you should probably read that, I was giggling out loud at points.

There's not much I can say about the draft (because I'm not one of you crazy people who follow every college and high school baseball player in the entire universe), except for the following points:

--I turned on the draft internet radio broadcast right around 12:30, because I wanted to listen to the first round. The draft was not actually happening, they were just talking about various players and speculating and whatnot. Turns out the whole thing was delayed because they did a roll call, and one team was missing, so they couldn't start the draft. What team?

The Yankees.

I kid you not.

--All the chatter on Red Sox draft pick relief pitcher Chris Hansen is about how he could be up with the big club as early as September of this year. Woah now. I know our bullpen has been, ah, less than stellar in recent games, but this strikes me as crazytalk. I don't care if the kid's as polished as the crown of David Wells' head, college is still quite different from the majors and I wouldn't expect him to be able to transition that quickly. Maybe he can. Huston Street jumped up pretty quickly. But I wouldn't count on it.

--Cameron Maybin is, by all accounts, a stud draft pick. He may even have taken the coveted (*cough*) 'Most Exciting Position Player in the Detroit Minor League System' title away from Curtis Granderson. He's also kind of cute, in a 'holy crap baseball players are now officially starting to be younger than me OMG I'M OLD' kind of way.

That said, I'm about 8 times more excited that the Tigers have drafted catcher Jeff Kunkel, because, well. He may not have the most majestic stats (he's batting .289 lifetime for Michigan, and it's not like the Big 10 is the most dominant baseball conference out there), but he's a Wolverine and I'll get excited about it if I damn well want to.

--Other Wolverines taken in this year's draft include second baseman Chris Getz (ChiSux), LHP Clayton Richard (ChiSux), RHP Derek Feldcamp (DRays), RHP Jim Brauer (Marlins), RHP Michael Penn (Royals), and first baseman Kyle Bohm (Blue Jays).

The ChiSux took Getz in the 5th round, and I tend to think that's a bargain. Every year he's played at the college level he's taken more walks than he's had strikeouts and has batted above .300. Perhaps he has signability issues, though... I believe he was originally drafted in 2002, out of high school, and opted for college.

OK, now that that's out of the way, we can move on to more important matters, like the question of who Pudge will kiss now that Ugie has been shipped off and fitted for red pinstripes. I kid, I kid. Obviously I mean more important matters like who was it that Ugie was brawling with after getting smashed on the team plane.

We were discussing prime candidates over on the Tigers 'board, and here are the possibilities as I see them:

-Kyle Farnsworth. Great big dude, and we certainly know he has a temper on him (clubhouse equipment in Chicago says 'hi'). Also, he's in the bullpen, so he's all close-quarters with Ugie and whatnot.

-Dmitri Young. He speaks his mind and pretty much takes crap from no one, so if Ugie got really drunk and said something that DaMeat did not like, I have no doubt that DaMeat would have let him know. Possibly by rising out of his seat on the plane like the riteous hand of a wrathful god to smite him, but if you figure that the rest of the team was there to keep him from actually killing Ugie, he becomes a definite candidate here.

He's also very, very big on sticking up for other guys, so if Ugie started railing on one of the Tigers, I wouldn't be shocked if DaMeat leapt to that guy's defense. "Raggin' on Percival? Oh you wanna do that where I can hear you? GET BACK HERE BITCH, I'MA CRUSH YOU LIKE A CRUNCHY BEETLE."

-Kirk Gibson. Bench coach for the Tigs, and as someone on the messageboard pointed out, he 'lives for shit like this'. I just wouldn't be surprised, ever, if someone said that a brawl started up in some way and Gibby was right in the thick of things.

-Brandon Inge. A scrappy little guy who wears his socks up and has been a lifetime Tiger... I could see him taking offense to something spouted by a drunk Ugie and scrambling over some seatbacks to get to him, tiny scrap of goatee bristling menacingly. OK, well, maybe not menacingly, per se, but a wee little amount of bristling for sure.

-Pudge Rodriguez. I know. I know. Pudge and Ugie are best friends 4-eva! But best friends fight, and Pudge doesn't strike me as someone who would be particularly amused by teammates getting drunk and raucous on flights. Plus there's that whole 'he has an injured hand all of a sudden?' saga, although the timing doesn't match up (flight was Sunday, Pudge didn't sit out until Wednesday). It's still hilarious to contemplate.

So, beyond all that, and the fact that the trade was perhaps rushed a bit because Ugie was suddenly not getting along very well in the clubhouse, what of it? Obviously it caught everyone off guard-- Ugie was expected to get traded, but we were all thinking later (closer to the trade deadline, anyhow) rather than sooner, and we were all thinking prospects, or at least prospects-in-addition-to-[insert random name here]. To trade him now, for Placido Polanco and, uh, Placido Polanco's immense jaw, well, that's just not what anyone was expecting.

Straight-up trading Ugie for Polanco (we're ignoring Ramon Martinez, can you tell?) means two things, namely that a) the Tigers have a lot of confidence in their bullpen sans Ugie, which means that they think Percy can stay healthy*, they think The Farns will continue to be a dominant strikeout reliever even with more pressure on him, and they think that everyone else in the bullpen (Walker, Spurling, Ginter, German) will continue to produce like they have been doing; and b) the Tigers are not giving up on this season just yet and are willing to take a quick fix of offense over developmental prospects.

I also think that Omar Infante is young enough that the Tigers can send him down to AAA to get his at-bats and let Polanco take secondbase this year. Polanco's only on a one-year deal, and Omar's perplexing issues at the plate don't have the death-knell look to them that Pena's did. He's young, he's probably still got some residual soreness in his shoulder. Let him be a 'prospect' for the rest of this year, and hope he produces more next season... maybe not the ideal policy, but not one I have a huge problem with.

As for the Sox.... well, who among us did not tremble in abject fear when Keith Foulke came out and allowed two men to reach? Who among us did not see David Wells in the dugout, nervously leaning on the railing, and who among us did not feel a great sympathy for him and the possible fate of his shut-out? I think we all felt that one.

Which of course just served to remind me how even the best closers can very suddenly and very prominently go bad, which was perhaps another reason for dealing Ugie so early... he's been hot now, and that might not last to the deadline.

Anyways, it was nice to see Wells go out there and look like he knew what he was doing, on the mound at least. At the plate, there are three kinds of batting pitchers: the guys who can't hit at all and look lost in a batting helmet, the guys who treat the whole thing like a huge joke, and the guys who can actually hit. Wells belongs, very firmly, to the first category.**

How scary is it that I saw a little guy come up to the plate with 'Schumaker' on the back of his jersey and shouted out, "Skip! Skip Schumaker!", mere moments before Don and Remy told us that this was Schumaker's first major league at-bat and his first name was indeed Skip? He's a minor leaguer in the Cardinals system, why in the hell did I immediately recognize him? I think it had something to do with the fact that I saw him at some point in spring training this year wearing high socks, which is very unusual for a Cardinal (they have stripes on them, and look old-school), so it must have made an impression on me. Still, scary.

I also just want to point out that there has never been a more overhyped fanbase in this league. 'The Best Fans in Baseball' my coccyx, those people were booing Edgah like he had a giant neon sign saying 'Boo at me!' pointing to his head by the third game. I'm not saying booing someone who leaves your team for a more glamorous club with more money is necessarily a sign of bad fans, but for a fanbase that's said to be one of the classiest and nicest in baseball, it's absurd.

You can't have it both ways, St. Louis. Either you recognize what the guy did for you in 6 years and ignore his departure, or you rag on him and become exactly like all those other 'mean' fanbases you pretend to be superior to.

Yes, I did see the Red Sox Queer Eye episode. Naturally. I have say, it was pretty funny, but not nearly as wonderful as it could have been. There was an awful lot of hanging out with the wives, which I guess makes sense-- the guys were probably all rather busy, and they probably only agreed to this in the first place if their wives would be prominently featured (look at me! So not gay! Look at my wife!)-- but it wasn't as funny as it therefore might otherwise have been.

There were still undeniable highlights, like the fact that there's a wrestling-champion-style belt that goes around the Sox lockerroom and is given to whichever guy happens to be the funniest at that time (at the time of the filming, the belt was in the posession of Doug Mirabelli), or the fact that Millar and Mirabelli torment each other, or the fact that Johnny Damon was clearly the least bothered by the idea of a very gay man rubbing his chest, out of all the guys involved, or the fact that Wake appeared to be about 8 times more level-headed and mature than anyone else there.

Jason Varitek was also magnificent, from his dramatic arrival in terrycloth (the very first things Carson went for when he saw 'Tek were the thighs... I swear, before he even saw 'Tek's face he was calling him 'Quadzilla' and attempting to lift the robe up. Nice to know the ladies are not alone in noticing this) to his stoic reception of the back-waxing, which was made more impressive by the squealing of Millar and Wake when submitted to similar treatment.

There was the tedious business with the small, heart-warming children, and as usual they went a little heavy with the product placement ("Let's go to DUNKIN' DONUTS, where we can drink DELICIOUS DUNKIN' DONUTS BEVERAGES, and also have donuts! Let us display this BOX O' JOE prominently so that all may see how we are consuming DUNKIN' DONUTS products while sitting inside a fine DUNKIN' DONUTS establishment!"), but it was all worth it.

The only part of the show that I was actually offended by was the pink Sox gear the Queer Eye guys were sporting at times. I don't care if you're a sorority girl or a gay TV personality, no one should ever be wearing pink Sox gear. It is an abomination, and yeah you all know my thoughts on this, I'm not going into the rant again. Anyways. You have to gain a lot of respect for these guys, for doing the show, and anyone who has a problem with it can blow it out their ass***.

As usual, I have no good way to close this out, so have some random observations that have been on my mind lately.

--Colorado's pitching staff in stuck in an interesting conundrum. No good pitchers want to go there, because they know that having all their home games at the steady launching pad of Coors Field will kill their stats. So the Rockies are stuck with guys who aren't all that good, but they also get stuck with guys who were good or should be good and are trying to jump-start their pitching careers again. These guys can't get a job anywhere else, so they have to come to Colorado. The problem, of course, is that Colorado is the worst place in the majors to try to jump-start your pitching career, due to the aforementioned launching pad nature of the park.

The upshot of all this, of course, is that it all goes 'round in a vicious little circle of pitching suckitude that ends in no one on the starting pitching staff being able to boast an ERA under 5.00, and Byung-Hyun Kim being called a starter again, while the bullpen boasts such luminaries as Matt 'burn out faster than a match in a highly oxygenated environment' Anderson and the infamous Blaine 'sign of surrender' Neal.

--Adam Hyzdu, former Sox minor league dude we all kind of liked, was designate for assignment by the Padres sometime around May 4, and hasn't been heard from since. I don't think anyone's picked him up, so we're left with the mental image of him wandering around from team to team, nomad-like, wrapping himself in a sackcloth robe, looking for a city to call home.

--Gabe Kapler has apparently been doing not so hot out in Japan, to the point where he had been hitting .153 in 38 games and has, the last I heard, been 'deactivated' by the Yomiuri Giants. Ouch. You pack up your family and your things, you fly halfway around the world to play baseball, you don't really speak the language or know anyone there, and you end up riding the pine because you're not hitting your weight. There are many reasons to like Kapler (one of The 25, beat the snot out of Tanyon Sturtze in The Brawl, very smart guy, used to sometimes bring 'socks up' mojo to the Tigers, Jewish, abso-fucking-lutely gorgeous, etc.), so this news is distressing.

--I saw a little of the first (or second?) game in this most recent series between the Yankees and Brewers. Not only did I learn that A-Rod and Jeter together make more than the entire Brewers roster (due to a clever sign in the crowd), I also discovered a marvelous thing that the Milwaukee fans do when first baseman Lyle Overbay comes up to bat. The entire crowd raises their arms and makes giant YMCA-style 'O's, while chanting, "Oooohhhhhhhhhhh..." It is impressive and I was unspeakably delighted to see them do that. To see the fans showing that level of enthusiasm, creativity, and initiative... it gives one hope for the fate of baseball in Milwaukee.

--Bill Mueller had a fantastic day at third on Wednesday. It was so defensively awesome that I found myself completely ignoring the fact that he inadvisedly shaved his goatee off. He is still hot. Women (and perhaps some men with good taste) everywhere heave a sigh of relief.

--The Tigers scored only 1 run on Wednesday night, and that was a single-run homer. Hit by Jason Johnson. Yes, the pitcher. The American League pitcher. I watched the video of it up on the Tigers site, and Pudge (wearing his jacket, as he had the night off) was laughing loudly and clapping while JJ rounded the bases. And rounded the bases. And rounded the bases. It might have been the slowest trot around the basepaths I've ever seen, and David Ortiz doesn't like to hurry himself unduly.

--Much thanks to everyone who checked in and commented on the last post. It's awfully nice to see that other people enjoy my descents into madness and time-wasting. Seriously guys, I do appreciate it.

--For the sake of a little early nostalgia... one last time. *sniffle*

*I'm not wholly convinced. Flexor pronator muscle mass pain is sometimes an indicator of UCL problems, and with Percy's age and injury history... well. I'm just not convinced, is all.

**An example of the second category would be Pedro Martinez. An example of the third category would be Jason Marquis.

***It's my blog. If you come here and are the sort of person who thinks 'teh gayz are teh wrong and should be removed from the public eye before they corrupts our precious childrens!', seriously, you can blow it out your ass. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

12:34 AM

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