Monday, April 30, 2007

GAMES TWENTY ONE-TWENTY THREE: You saying Jesus can't hit a curveball?

Not a bad April. Not a bad April at all, capped off as Julian Tavarez was actually really good except during a mystifying three-batter sequence to the 7-8-9 hitters (walk, walk, too wild to let Doug Mzkwhefjrkhvlitch bunt, causing Doug M. to...hit a three run homerun?) marring a solid five innings. Hideki Okajima (Oh-ka-jih-ma, not Oka-gi-ma, announcers) hasn't given up a run since his first batter of the season. Jon Papelbon hasn't given up a run this season at all. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez (and Alex Cora?) are powering up. The Sox are 16-8 and are only starting to hit, and have their biggest division lead at the end of April ever; it isn't easy to be up by four games already, although the last time they had a three game lead, 2004, it obviously didn't last. And then they won the World Series. It worked out okay.

In New York, the question remains Joe Torre. Or does it? I miss the old Steinbrenner, the one who would have gone through three managers by now, probably Torre, Yogi Berra, and Torre again.

With no fire and brimstone coming, and with a mild desire to have the Yankees get back into contention just for the excitement of it (i.e., postpone total collapse until just after the All-Star break), I'm not sure what will keep the Yankees whole. Although their once Christ-like centerfielder went all Samson on us when he cut his hair, the Yankee pitching staff is still all about the Jesus, and nobody fucks with the Jesus. Although I have seen these subway ads tagged in all sorts of filthy ways. To revise: no one fucks with the Jesus, except in New York, where everyone fucks with the everyone.

If the Jesus plan fails, as Andy knows, there are more important things than baseball, which is good, because Jesus can't give him back his cutter, or give him another chance to protect the lead yesterday. Nor can it give the Yankees David Wells, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, or any other actual warm bodies to fill out their pitching staff. Nor can it give Mariano back his good stuff if he has in fact lost it.

Hmm, maybe Jesus and sports are a mismatched pairing, like Bernie Williams and a recording studio. Or maybe I just need my free brochure.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Only Yankees Bleed: Today's fun stat!

From the ProJo via STATS Inc:

"Since 2000, Red Sox pitchers have hit Yankee batters with 80 pitches; Yankee pitchers have hit Red Sox batters with 48 pitches."

Maybe Spaceman Lee is avenged on a regular basis. Or maybe Joe Torre's just a pussy.

GAME TWENTY: Mighty Casey has...hit a grand slam?

Wily Mo Pena, who I still believe could have a very good future ahead of him and currently in his 11th season at age 25, has been the ultimate Three True Outcomes hitter so far this young season. It's either HOME RUN (or extra base hit), WALK (not that frequently) or STRIKE OUT (very, very frequently, in the midst of a .150 start), with a few token accidental singles thrown in for fun. He is a mighty, mighty man who could probably lift David Ortiz, and if necessary, break his back over his knee; we'll hope it never comes to this.

Until yesterday. 8th inning, three on, O's closer Chris Ray (who had a rough time against the Yankees a few series ago in giving up an entire ninth inning rally with two outs, including A-Rod's first walkoff of the year) on the mound, showing just how badly the Orioles wanted this game. Wily Mo's up because Jason Varitek was IBB'd to a vacant first base.

Fastball; Ray's best pitch, Wily Mo's favorite pitch. Straight ball, he hit very good, curve ball, bats are afraid. Is very bad to throw Wily Mo a fastball that catches the plate. (Insert more Major League quotes here.)

The bat and the ball collide in mid-air. BANG.

(Waiting for ball to land.)

(Still waiting.)

(Forget it. Grand slam. Sox take first lead of the game, and hold it.)

Beckett is 1/4 of the way to 20 wins, Boston's the best in the bigs, and the Yankees made Kei Igawa the majors' highest paid long reliever for now. When Jeff Karstens is taking your place in the rotation, you know things are going badly. Steinbrenner's gonna pull some old school Steinbrenner shit soon. Unearth the corpse of Billy Martin, stat. Shame the Yankees might line up Wang and Pettite and no one else, as today's rain might shorten this series to two games.

Reclusive millionaire Howard Phillip Hughes looked like a rookie pitcher yesterday. No real judgments worth making here. This is also the last time I will use that nickname on young Phil because I'm afraid I could become Chris Berman at any minute, and I don't want to be annoying and overweight even if I'd love to be overpaid.

One door to close: Gary Thorne= moron.

By the way, Willy Mo's brute strength could come in handy if the Red Sox ever take full vengeance for Bill "Spaceman" Lee. (Note: break Chien-Ming Wang's arm; taking out Hughes before he's shown anything is cruel, and possibly unnecessary.) We really do have to right the score for the original Rocket Man. At the same time, it's almost cool to imagine a time when baseball brawls got so big, you could intentionally wound your opponent. Manny should keep a shiv in one of his red dreadlocks.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

GAME NINETEEN: Blood, blood, blood!

Nice game last night: the Sox beat on the Orioles' expensive bullpen, Schilling went seven strong, and Pembleton couldn't get pock-marked killer Julian Tavarez to reveal where he hid the kids' bodies. Apparently, when it comes to the AL East team that somehow owns Boston, Toronto is the new Baltimore, and Baltimore is the new Tampa Bay, whereas Tampa Bay is the new Toronto? No, wait a second...let's reconfigure this with the assumption that the Yankees aren't going to right their pitching this year, an assumption I wouldn't make otherwise. So, "[blank] is the new [blank]," in current order of standings.

Boston is the new...New York. (Note: must win a division flag first. It's been twelve years. This blog ain't named after Mo Vaughn for nothing.)

Baltimore is the new...Toronto. Third place at best. No one really cares.

Toronto is the new...Boston. Pre-2004. The team that always seems to be getting better, but may never get There.

Tampa Bay is the new...Baltimore. (In recognition of the fact that they might not be finishing last in years to come. They'll be finishing fourth.)

New York is the new...Tampa Bay? Circa 1999, maybe. Fading veterans? Check. Inadequate pitching? Check. Steinbrenner even has his whole separate secret Yankee branch based out of Tampa.

(Look, someone other than Tampa Bay had to play Tampa Bay. Oh, and I'm way too optimistic about the suckage of the Yankees. As you've noted. But a five-game losing streak is a five-game losing streak, and Phil Hughes is no Steve Nebraska.)

The bit of controversy to come from yesterday's game, yawn, is over the authenticity of Curt Schilling's bloody sock, Game 6, 2004 ALCS. Broadcaster Gary Thome (who I thought was more a hockey guy, actually) said Doug Mirabelli told him the blood wasn't real; Doug Mirabelli denied ever saying anything of the sort. Which I guess means the conversation went like this?

THOME: Was the blood real?
MIRABELLI: (Vague gesture.)
THOME: I knew it!

I don't much care if it was blood; it was a cadaver's tendon holding Schilling's ankle together, a surgery that cost Schilling any semblance of effectiveness in 2005 and is unlikely to be repeated again because it's just not a very good idea, unless you absolutely need a pitcher to go. Now if the sock had been painted and Schilling just chose to suck in 2005, that would be another issue. An issue requiring a really, really stupid theory.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

GAME SEVENTEEN: Feelin' great, feelin' good, how are you?

Sorry it's been awhile; was sick most of last week up 'til yesterday, along with patches of lazy. I'll try to get a bit up to speed, but having neglected my duties, this might take a bit of time. Let's do it in punchy fashion.

A-Rod is a gifted athlete!

The Yankees have lost four straight all the same!

"Four straight" are the magic words!

Manny Ramirez has not one but two children named Manny Jr.!

Taken to the chest, either of the two bombs Cuban Mike Lowell hit on Sunday would have killed Fidel Castro!

Some Yankee fans don't know how to take losing! (See: lil' baby who walked out of Mugs before the game was over, whining.) That makes it more fun to watch them watch their team get swept!

Kei Igawa :: Daisuke Matsuzaka
Buying a buncha lottery tickets :: 401k.

Andy Pettite has been the most effective bullpen pitcher for the New York Yankees!

David Ortiz isn't a very good baserunner!

We lost last night! But Dustin Pedroia hit a two-RBI double! And my new nickname idea is on hold for as long as he shows strong signs of life! That's all I want to say about that game!

The Red Sox held their Jackie Robinson Day a week late due to rain! It was so late, they should have called it Pumpsie Green Day!

I drank too much coffee!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Doug Mientkiewicz Has Good Hands (Webisode script)

Little too tired to write something fresh today...I swear, ICHIRO VERSUS will be written some day, yeah, when we walk in the rays of a beautiful sun, but until then, I've got a little script for you. Copyright J. Drimmer 2007, y'know, since I'm soooooo likely to sell this and we're all a little Mientkiewicz sometimes, and property gets abused when that happens. Any notes in the comments appreciated.

The Boston Red Sox clubhouse, after hours, in shadows. We see two silhouettes, one much larger than the other. The lights flick on: the figures, in uniform, are Red Sox designated hitter DAVID ORTIZ and former Red Sox/current New York Yankees first baseman DOUG MIENTKIEWICZ. David is comfortable; Doug is happy to be here, but is very, very twitchy.

Welcome back, Doug Mientkiewicz! It’s good to have you back here, my friend.

Um. Yeah. Great. Good. Same to you.

At the speed of light, Doug steals a batting glove from a locker. David doesn’t see it.

Did you ever think you would be back here in the clubhouse?

Zoom. A glove vanishes.

I wasn’t sure. (looks to his hand) But I still wear our World Series ring everywhere.

You were an almost important part of our team! I know it must be strange to be here, now that you play for our rivals, the magnanimous New York Yankees…

Zap. There goes a box of baseballs.


And that whole matter with when you tried to keep the ball with which the final out of the Boston franchise’s first championship in 86 years, well, that was rather unfortunate…

Zip. The entire contents of Jason Varitek’s locker are gone.

Perhaps. I mean, um, yes.

But you were somewhat necessary to our team’s success! Your sterling glove shone on the rare moments we needed you at first base, even if first base is a defensive position easy enough that I can play it adequately!

…and a water cooler is gone.

You’re, um, you’re not that bad a first baseman.

Ha ha ha. Come now. I am. Anyway, I just wanted to bring you down to let know that to me, you aren’t a thief. You’re a friend. A good, occasional friend!

DOUG (almost teary-eyed)
Thanks, David. It means a lot. (beat) I’ve got to go.

Take care.

Doug leaves. Close shot of David Ortiz’s face.

He’s a nice guy. And an excellent first baseman. Really good hands. Really good hands.

Shot further away from Ortiz; his uniform was stolen from him when he and we weren’t watching, and now he’s down to boxers and socks, as he’s just noticed

Ha ha ha! Really good hands.

Beat. Ortiz picks up the clubhouse phone.

DAVID (into the phone)


Thursday, April 12, 2007

GAME EIGHT: Duke Felix becomes a Prince.

I'm a skeptic by nature. At age 8, upon my first visit to the Guggenheim, I saw a particular installation consisting of three apples on a white table in a white room and asked my parents, "THIS is art?"

So when my friend Nick, a Yankees fan but in many ways a better general baseball fan than me (probably a result of the luxury one gains from years of a certain comfort level I may never attain as a Red Sox fan, much as 2004 changed things...also the result of him not being raised a dickhole like too many Bronx Blowhards and Massholes) offered me a long-shot bet, I completely forgot my personal detente on sports betting and signed off on it.

The bet seemed easy enough: 3-1 odds, $20 with a potential $60 payoff for Nick, on whether Felix Hernandez would throw a no-hitter in the next two seasons. I knew Felix was good; at the same time, no-hitters are weird games, convergences of sheer domination, efficiency, and good defense, usually including at least one big play. You can give up a run and have a no-hitter, be wild as fuck and get a no-hitter, drop acid because you forgot you were pitching that day and get a no-hitter even throw nine no-hit innings and NOT get a no-hitter. (Pedro wasn't alone at this, either. They don't happen often. Period. Two years ain't that long. Oh, and the kid's still 21...sure, he was great against the A's his first game, but...


...oh, fuck me.

Needless to say, yesterday was an exquisitely painful game. Painful because $60 isn't peanuts to's a few weekends out, or a copy of MLB 2K7 when I finally get an Xbox 360. Daisuke, in case you forgot (funny that his first home start was the pregame story here, no?), wasn't sharp, but also wasn't bad: 6 IP, 3R, and apparently Kenji Jojima's 100 or so at-bats against him in Japan helped. He got into too many 2-0 counts, and with his stuff, he's got to catch batters looking before he can get them to swing, since every pitch he throws can be a Wha??

Interesting that commentator Orel Hershiser stated, more than once, that he believes in the gyroball; I saw something with some real screwball action that I hadn't seen before, something like a backdoor slider that was not accidental. I wish they'd showed the spin, as that will be the only proof one way or another of his ability to throw it: if it spins like a football, that's it. And again, I am a skeptic.

But enough on the Monster. Let me just give it to you from some stuff my man Nick found:

"That kid can have a career like Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan or Pedro Martinez," Boston designated hitter David Ortiz said. "If he behaves and takes care of himself, he can be somebody really big in this game. He's very powerful as a pitcher. I don't think I've seen anything like that in a long time."

Felix Hernandez has faced 58 batters in his two starts, and among those, he's generated:

• Twenty-eight groundball outs.

• Eighteen strikeouts.

• One infield pop-out.

• Four walks.

• Three flyball outs.

• Four hits to the outfield.

So that means seven of the 58 batters he's faced this year have hit the ball to the outfield -- and only one has mustered an extra-base hit, for an .075 batting average.

Sick. I mean, sick.

Analysis isn't really what I'm here for, but I had to put ICHIRO VERSUS vol. 2 on pause just to take a breath. With the possible snowout today (equally rainout in New York, and I had a Mets ticket...sigh...), I'll take the rest of the day to dream. My dream being that Jose Vidro continues batting 3rd in their lineup. Maybe we can beat Felix 1-0 next time?





Better count my money while I have it. Mercy. All hail the Prince.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

GAME SEVEN: Ball four...ball eight...

Got to watch all of one inning of this game because that inning was the first, and it took all of my lunch break, minus the time it takes to get from 53rd Street to the ESPNZone in Times Square, where I can always stand around the arena arcade (fix the goddamn MoCap Boxing, ya lazy bastards! Great game and the greatest video game workout since World Track, you can't cheat, unlike World Track Meet. (Oh yeah, act like you didn't jump off the mat on the high jump and pound the Power Pad with your hands when you were racing Cheetah.

Anyway, the awfulness of Jeff Weaver's start cannot be understated. No command whatsoever, to the point that it's amazing he didn't start off with eight walks...the Red Sox were doing him a favor in actually getting hits off him. He could have been out in the first inning with a little more luck. (And if Dustin Pedroia didn't show off his, um, warning track power, as he finally got his first at-bat...making the last out...of the first inning.) It could have been like this classic 2003 game, and Weaver's performance might have reminded one of this one from the 2003 Fall Classic.

Command= none.

Strike throwing: little. Something like 22 of his 38 pitches in the 1st inning were balls, maybe more...look it up yourself, this ain't Baseball Prospectus.

(Side note: For non-subscribers to BP, I recommend their BP Radio Podcasts and the free blog, Unfiltered, highly. Their knowledge reigns supreme over nearly everyone's.)

Composure: he made variations on this face quite a lot:

Weed: possible. But I don't inherently believe non-performance enhancing drugs are always a performance detriment. Besides, I doubt Weaver's stash (below, circa 2003) is what it once was.

Rust: Yeah, sure, the Indians and Mariners went a long way between games, and Weaver was supposed to start like six days ago. But it might be worth mentioning that the Mariners are not a good team, saved a loss via some serious craftiness in their aborted series with the Indians, and, oh, the Indians won. (How C.C. Sabathia gave up just one earned run giving up 10 hits is a riddle, though.)

Suck: Jose Vidro is their DH. And bats THIRD. Adrian Beltre's failure is shocking in that never before has a player had a breakout year during his contract year, signed that contract, and proceeded to...never mind. Enjoy, Angels. (Come to think of it, the Jeff Weaver signing was based off ONE GOOD WORLD SERIES, wasn't it? This guy seems like he was an adequate GM more and more as the days go on.)

The best comparison I can give to Weaver's performance, not that the Sox don't deserve credit for their Critical Beatdown, is this guy, before he got glasses:

Oh, Josh Beckett looked amazing, by the way. Those three strikeouts were two weeks worth for Ichiro.

Daisuke "Monster Zero" Matsuzaka v. Ichiro "No Nickname, And No Last Name" (Suzuki) and "King" Felix Hernandez tonight...can't wait. We're gonna be like Oliver Cromwell on that bitch. ICHIRO VERSUS Part #2...coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No post today: off-days are always hard, but with the current condition of today's ballgame, I'm also grinning ear to ear too much to write much beyond Fuck yeah. I'll have plenty to say tomorrow though.

Monday, April 9, 2007


Well, Yard Work is always recommended, but this is quality. Manny being Merlot? Manny is NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!

GAMES FOUR-SIX: 1-2, and good?

Yes, I can hear the fatalists: "Buhhhh. We're 3-3. What's wrong with these guys? Mwa mwa mwa mwa." Easy, people. Let's compare and contrast by the only point of comparison y'all seem to care about. The MFYs.

Red Sox: 3-3. Could be 4-3 if it weren't for total power failure in one game (in classic Tim Wakefield gets no run support fashion), but basically, 3-3 is what they should be.

Yankees: 2-4. Could be...0-6. If Chris Ray hadn't fallen completely apart in the 9th inning for the O's, quite uncharacteristic for the burgeoning (yup, he's "burgeoning" good: the B.J. Ryan non-resigning has worked out just fine and dandy) young closer, that's 1-5. No big comeback on opening day against the rather shitty D'Rays bullpen and that's 0-6. I'll grant that the snow game (well, one of a few) with Pettite on the mound could have gone either way. That's it.

Red Sox: Excellent starting pitching, excellent relieving. Schilling's first game seemed like an aberration based off his excellent start yesterday; particularly considering Piniero's near-blown save/game in the 8th, I would have considered keeping him in, Francona, but caution with a 40-year-old starter is understandable. Fun watching yesterday's game on ESPN: the K Zone showed Schilling continually hitting the corners. By which I mean, the exact diagonal corners of the strike zone. Gotta love a power pitcher with pinpoint accuracy. Far as his least he's in favor of stem cell research?

Far as Saturday's game, Julian Tavarez apparently, um, forgot his sinker?, but he's a fifth starter; wait until Lester returns. You know why he and Manny are best friends? Because they're both fucking crazy. At least Manny hasn't exhibited irrational violence since charging Roger Clemens after a pitch nowhere near hitting him in Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS. But I still have fond memories of that.

(Did Zimmer deserve that? Sure. That's for 1978, bitch.)


Yankees: Um, you've still got Mariano...and Andy Pettite pitched really well in his second appearance...pitching one inning in relief yesterday because your bullpen was really tired...because in four of your five games, your starter failed to go five innings...and the one pitcher who did gave up seven runs in those five innings. Here's my breakdown of the supposed AL East favorite's rotation:

(Chien-Ming Wang= DL, future unknown.)
Mike Mussina= Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On. (Retirement, that is.)

Andy Pettite= Welcome back to the American League; here's your 5+ ERA.

Kei Igawa= future long reliever.

Carl Pavano= Carl Pavano. Also, liable to die in this season's car crash.

Darrell Rasner= Darrell Rasner, waiver wire pickup...from the Nationals. (See their rotation and think of that.)

(Phillip Hughes/Roger Clemens: One isn't ready. The other's a long shot to return, especially if he wants to come back to Fenway and put a full circle on it all; plus, it might be too late if and when he does come back. Don't overlook the Blue Jays just yet.)

It's easy for the rational baseball fan to take a second and be high on the Sox's start. (I didn't even mention the bullpen; there are still question marks, but so far so good. And Papelbon yesterday? Sooooo good. The Rangers couldn't hit him if they had four strikes to a strikeout.)

So yeah, Red Sox: okay start, great signs of excellence to come. Yankees: don't panic yet. But don't say I didn't warn ya.

And now, some highlights from idiocy incarnate. Yup, it's Joe Morgan. Last night's obvious and oblivious statements (selected):

"You know, I don't think this fastball was away, I think it was supposed to be away, let's look at it...(replay shows outside pitch) Well, I guess it was outside."

On having a good hitter bat third:

"See, the good thing about having a good hitter batting third, the first two batters might make outs and you still get an at-bat in for one of your best guys. (So THAT's why Francona didn't bat Alex Cora third! GENIUS!)

On Ron Washington changing from 3rd base coach to manager:

"And there's a difference between being a third base coach and a manager! Somewhat different relationship with the players."

On Ron Washington, as A's third base coach v. as Rangers manager:

"And there is a difference between being a manager and a third base coach! Somewhat different relationship with the players."

After K Zone showed a borderline pitch was a ball:

"I didn't have any doubt it was a ball because [apparently perfect home plate umpire] Culbreth called it a ball!"

During a pitching change, just before Javier Lopez walked out to face a batter:

"Papelbon must be coming in because I don't see anyone else in the bullpen. Oh, wait, there's Lopez."

On Kenny Lofton's power: Mentioned he has just over 100 homeruns. Or, you know, SEVEN homeruns a season, roughly. Get ready to run to the warning track when he's up!

Enough of that, since I'm sure picked up on plenty here. Credit due to Joe for not making standard stupid anti-Moneyball comments as the A's kept coming up as a subject.

And happy birthday, Peter Gammons. Never slow down, never grow old.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

No Context Necessary #1

(A recurring feature of images without captions, but this time, I can't post it proper because the image is too big. Click here. By the way, as I heard a couple Teamsters say in classic New York accents, "Hey, y'know, that Al Gore was right.")

Oh, and for at least the second time this year, "WE WANT BERNIE!" is coming from the stands in Yankee Stadium. The first was just as expected, during the roll call opening day. This one comes as Miguel Cairo is forced to play left field with Matsui out of the game, and no outfielders on the bench. In good news, Yankee fans, future long reliever Kei Igawa made it through five innings, making him the first Yankee starter to do so.

I mean, sure, he gave up seven runs and had no command of his curve, but hey, celebrate good times, I guess. Oh what a bizarre sports anthem "YMCA" is.

(Shakes fist at his bar-mitzvah DJ for not only playing "YMCA" but not having Midnight Marauders on him. Bastard.)

Friday, April 6, 2007

GAME THREE: Enter Monster Zero, exit Kansas City.

"I can't say that my overall condition was that great today, but I think the role of a starting pitcher is to set up the game and give my teammates the opportunity to win."
--Daisuke Matsuzaka after yesterday's game, giving up one MFing run in 7 innings and striking out TEN; this is about the third time I've heard him quoted as being only semi-satisfied with his performance while everyone else was wowed.

"I'm not really a rookie, so I wonder if perhaps I didn't have as good a season as some people told me. Still, small air of insult though I breathe here, I suppose this is something of an honor."
--upon receiving the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year

"I really wasn't throwing that well today. The ball was there to be hit, they just failed to."
--after throwing a no-hitter against the Washington Nationals, August 2008.

"I really failed to establish my slider this season, but I suppose I found ways around that. Still, it was disappointing to lose that pitch."
--receiving the 2009 AL Cy Young Award.

"I could have gone 11 if I'd only induced more groundballs. Why didn't I throw more sinkers? Stupid, stupid, stupid!"
--receiving the 2010 World Series MVP, after a 10-inning shutout in Game 7 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I have a stomachache. I should really eat better. I'm getting fat. This upsets me. Perhaps my wife doesn't love me anymore? And is anyone going to hire a pitcher whose first language isn't English as a Major League manager? The future seems bleak."
--Hall Of Fame induction speech.

So, yeah, I like the Kaibutsu's apparently inability to be satisfied. This bodes well. But yes, it's Kansas City. I know I'm getting ahead of myself. Just let me, okay?

One more fun bit before I go. From the ever-entertaining Fire Joe Morgan...

"Visit the Ritz Carlton Three Hole Resort and you will have answered the question: 'Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?'

The Ritz Carlton Three Hole Resort sounds like something a frat guy would call a hot rich girl.

"Dude, I totally spent the night at the Ritz Carlton Three Hole Resort, if you get what I mean!!! I mean I fucked a girl."

Beer, high fives, exeunt."

That's staying in my slang dictionary. Monster Zero is a work-in-progress...if anyone has anything better, particularly a more ideal match for Daisuke from the Godzilla library, let me know.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

GAME ONE, TAKE TWO: Our winning percentage jumps 500 points!

That's more like it. Josh Beckett threw too many pitches in too few innings and was wild (4 walks, or as many as he threw in all of spring training), Mike Lowell committed his year's allotment of errors in one game, and Coco Crisp's bat is co-co-cold, but the Sox got hits when they needed them, and then got some more after that. Beckett gave up all of two hits, overcoming the weird moment where Mike Lowell briefly became Alex Rodriguez (back-to-back errors) with cool and calm; as a commenter noted, this was a HR-free game for the 2003 World Series MVP, and after last year, no HR-free Beckett game will go unwelcome. I feel like we're going to come out of extended spring training...I mean, Kansas City...okay. And following up an awful 7-1 loss with a 7-1 win just gives a nice sense of balance to it all, like we just wiped lame-ass Tad Ghostal off the stage and replaced him with Swingin' Chad.

Pesky Pedroia got on base a bunch, as did the 3-4-5 hitters (9 times!), and if J.D. Drew keeps playing this way, perhaps he'll no longer be called, cough, Nancy. (Although as I told a friend when the signing was something I was still very much against, the nickname seems unfair to the "real" Nancy Drew to me. I'd like to see him try to solve The Curse Of Maiden Hollows without straining an oblique.)

This picture is the only bit of hype I'll give for what we all await with baited breath. (Those are sunglass-replacement contacts, by the way; freaky, no?) Now let us celebrate our first victory of the year with popping, locking, and bad special effects. Wikki, wikki, wikki.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I hear colors. (They sound like album filler by REO Speedwagon.)

Although Paul Lukas might hate purple a lot more than me, he makes some interesting observations on the Uni Watch blog today about the atrocity of baseball alternate uniforms. Sure, home whites and road grays can be boring when not done well, but it's true: we are nearing the day of having our athletes look like they are wearing candy shells. Gary Sheffield ain't melting in your mouth or your hands, damnit.

But in his fury over the Purple v. Red (Rockies v. D-Backs) clash, Lukas sort of only sort of passes over a battle of AL West rivals. It reminded me of certain less civil battles a couple other West Coast rivals like to have. Compare/contrast this with this. Westssside!

It's like the white and gray uniforms have melted away, and I'm freaking out, man.

Oh, I was going to give this its own post, but I may as well put this one down: an early candidate for worst sports/pop cultural collision of 2007, from ESPN's baseball preview:

"Yes, the Tigers shocked the baseball world last season, but there was still something missing: a middle-of-the-order guy who could dent outfield walls and make consistent contact. So the addition of Gary Sheffield is as natural as Fergie joining the Black Eyed Peas."

Look, I don't like Gary Sheffield. But if not pissing yourself on-stage is clutch, Sheffield is clutch, Fergie is not. Sheffield is a Tiger. Fergie is a Cleveland Spider. The Sports Guy is tired; ESPN's other writers trying to ape their own Sports Guy reaching for references

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

GAME ONE: Meched, mashed, and mangled.

A picture speaks a thousand words; rather than ramble too long about Schilling having no command of his fastball and thus no command at all (Schilling and Pavano had disturbingly similar opening day lines, the difference being that the Yankees won anyway), the Sox lineup making an admittedly impressive Gil Meche look like Walter Johnson out there, and, y'know, the whole losing to Kansas City thing, I'll sum this game up just like this:

Fuck, I can't help myself. More on the game. (PS: that's chocolate, not actual shite. It disturbs me that someone would make that, though.)

So, yeah, Schilling got shelled. (Is this too much of a cliche now to use? Schilling took a killing? Schilling was illin'? Help me out here, people.) The offense didn't make the most of eight hits. But after a friend of mine sent the inevitable "Kansas City is clearly the best team in the majors" facetious bitter e-mail, I've gotta advise some calm, as much to myself as you, since I'm already in 162 games/162 seasons mode, and it feels like we just finished last in the AL East.


Hey, Dustin Pedroia had two hits, even if he made a youthful indiscretion in trying to stretch one for a double. He was only out by 15 feet. Boys will be boys. J.D. Drew looked good up there for as long as he doesn't fall down a staircase breaking everything. And Hideki Okajima, who desperately needs a nickname so as to avoid the inevitable Boston name of "the other Jap," had a pretty good debut after giving up a home run on his first pitch, itself an impressive feat. (With him being another Hideki in the majors, may I recommend he be Mothra to Matsui's Godzilla?) And, um, it didn't happen at home?

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