Thursday, May 31, 2007

GAME FIFTY TWO: All Things Must Pass

Restocking the bar and working on some new entrees for our June menu, so we're gonna make this a quick one.


Fun little winning streak while it lasted; actually, I'm just as crestfallen over the end of Youk's multihit streak as the game's results, since sweeping a team like the Injuns just doesn't happen often. Daisuke was amazingly hittable (12 hits in 5.2 innings...yipe), Paul "Cy" Byrd (love that old school windup) was working his game, striking out and walking no one as usual but getting the outs all the same. If Byrd meets the Sox in a playoff series, I'm predicting it's gonna be a little like Jon Lieber in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS; let's call it one to grow on. Oh, and the slide Mike Lowell pulled off to get second on Barfield (inside of the bag...didn't see that coming, did you, Junior?) was three times dope.

Day off before we start a (yawn) series with a struggling team with no chance at the AL East pennant. You may have heard of them. They used to be called the New York Highlanders. Think they won some championships or something.

And if you must shed a tear, shed it with the natives, for the ecology. They don't make ads like this no more:

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

GAME FIFTY-ONE: Itsoweezee (Hot)

Well they are, ain't they? Josh Beckett is undefeatable right now, putting in an impressive outing sans rust. Hideki Okajima continues to bring me joy as an unlikely second closer. Kevin Youkilis (whose blog is up; check the sidebar links) has two hitting streaks going--regular and Jim Rice-ian (tied the should-be Hall Of Famer yesterday with his 8th straight multi-hit And as an added bit of fun, the New York Post is having Yankee-related fun! Compare/contrast:

A) The blonde A-Rod (probably) cheated on his wife with. Picture might not give you the best view, but on the 1-10 scale, she's not exactly Bo Derek.

B) A-Rod with wifey Cynthia from the cl(ass)y Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

Compare: They're both blonde.

Contrast: Cynthia is HOT. Aren't affairs best as an opportunity to cheat with someone nothing like your girl or upgrade?

Man, yesterday the Yankees give up a game by errors and give up their first steal of home since, like, Jackie Robinson in the '55 World Series even the AL home run leader is slumping. I'm feeling a bit of Yankee pity.

No, wait, that's heartburn. Shouldn't have gone with the spicy rice and hot sauce on the halal plate today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

GAME FIFTY: Chief Knockainsidetheparkhoma.

After a pleasant Memorial Day weekend vacation whupping the Rangers, the Sox are embroiled in a real matchup and possible ALCS preview with the Cleveland Unspecified Native American Tribe, my favorite fictional ballclub. This one got a little more exciting than was desirable as Papelbon was more Papelmédiocre, and it nearly got Papelmauvais. No need to focus on the negative though. Here's the good stuff.

1) Kevin Youkilis is more than just the (Jewish) Greek God of Walks; he's a Manny Ramirez-esque gangsta (near a 1.000 OPS!) and today he is the Greek God of Inside-The-Park Home Run.

2) Curt Schilling got his splitter back. In a way he hasn't since 2002, he claims. Let's party like it's November 2001.

3) Beckett's back, going for 8-0. Oh, you didn't notice he was gone? Fair enough; it hasn't exactly been a struggle without him. As things are, this is not a .700 team; if Lugo and Drew come around (Crisp would be a mere bonus) + Beckett (+Lester?), this very well may be a .700 club with the resistance the AL East is putting up.

4) Brian Cashman is on the hot seat. I can't say how stupid it would be to fire him now, in the middle of replenishing/rebuilding the Yankees. You don't change horses midstream.

The Indians might have to conjure the ghost of Chief Nokahoma to get out of Boston with a win or two. Whomp 'em, Sox.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Off-Day Entertainments: EXTREEEEEME!

In honor of the unofficial end of Carl Pavano in pinstripes, I present the genuine dumbest idea ever. Thanks to Knuckle Curve.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

(portland sea dogs game thirty nine: malleable as clay.)

Forget about what the big leaguers did, especially since we all know, as the New York Post's George King told us, this was just a matter of good triumphing over evil...

"Before the Angels arrive Friday night, Andy Pettite will face Curt Schilling tonight in a battle of Good (Pettite) versus Evil (Schilling) in a game that has to be labeled a 'must win' for the Yankees..."

W, wait, what?? Annoyingly overloquacious (a hyperverbalist's way of saying "talks too much"), maybe, but evil? Even in the Post, out-and-out "evil" is usually reserved for Saddam, Osama, Hillary Clinton, or gay people. This was a matchup of Jesus v. Jesus. Obviously, Jesus loves Andy Pettite more because Pettite has more championships, just as God loves the Yankees as evidenced by the championships. That does not make Curt Schilling, the Boston Red Sox, or their fans evil, however. (Author excluded.)

Back to the Boston-New York game that mattered last night...Portland v. Trenton. That Clemens guy was pitching, but this younger kid pitched better.

“I would have more confidence in this kid (Buchholz) starting a major league game tomorrow than the other guy (Clemens),” said one American League scout in attendance for Clemens’ second minor league tune-up for the New York Yankees, a start for the Double-A Thunder in their 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Portland Sea Dogs. “We need one game to win the division and you’re giving me a choice between starting (Buchholz) or Clemens, I’m taking (Buchholz) off of what I saw tonight.”

Yeah, seriously, Clay Buchholz is that good.

One can withhold judgment on Clemens until he's in the majors: I choose not to do so in full, noting that his fastball is struggling to break 90, and when it comes to pitching with lesser stuff, Clemens isn't exactly latter-day Pedro Martinez, let alone Keith Foulke. The rest of the Herald article I pulled the scout's quote from is telling. The old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be. (Ain't what she used to be.) (Ain't what she used to be.)

Nine and a half rounds up to ten, by the way. As expected, Curt isn't happy about yesterday either. "Craptastic," indeed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

GAMES FORTY-FOUR and FORTY-FIVE: $200 Million don't buy ya what it used ta.

Georgie, get your gun: here come your 2007 New York Yankees...

1. Samson Damon, CF (.263 BA/.366 OBP/.358 SLG)

You know what happens when once-great centerfielders come to New York and start to fade away? Mets fans do:

2. Derek Jeter, SS (.360/.411/.480)

Do you think Jeter does the fist pump in bed? I imagine the Jeter fist pump as the egg timer of the young, naive starlet, denoting the end of another prematurely brief session swinging the lumber. No one said fame would be easy, darling.

3. Hideki Matsui, LF (.283/.379/.460)

Has his own museum. And a cool nickname. Also: boring.

4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B (.308/.390/.680)

Yesterday, again showed his dirty side in a really filthy play on Pedroia, reminding us all of the slap play from Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. I await payback today. Coming out of slump, which gives him a chance to be Mr. May as well as Mr. April. The most excellent and most irrelevant player of a generation.

5. Jorge Posada (.371/.431/.594)

Having a great year. The magic was within you all along, Dumbo.

6. Bobby Abreu, RF (.239/.317/.307)

Slugging percentage isn't much bigger than his batting average. Was missed so badly by the Phillies last year they went on a tear without him and almost took the wild card. Not exactly a big presence at the plate anymore. At least Eddie Gaedel could always draw walks.

7. Jason Giambi, DH (.268/.396/.449)

Drug-addled womanizer who can't play a lick of first base with deteriorating numbers. In other words, my favorite Yankee, although I sure miss Ruben Rivera.

8. Robinson Cano, 2B (.248/.288/.370)

An overrated book, an overrated player.

9. Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B (.210/.286/.360)

A golden god. Clearly. Would some guy with Photo Shop skills and too much time on his hands lie to you?

Monday, May 21, 2007


Lots of rain, lots of Kason, Devern and Julian, two doubleheaders in three days, but the results remain the same: 7-3 in our last 10, again. Take that, "rivals!" If you were the classic era Boston Braves, your new slogan would be "Spahn or Sain, prepare for pain."

Would type more, but the game's on. Finish them.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Public service announcement: taps are closed until 5/21.

Should have mentioned this on Friday, but I'm taking the week off to do some other writing and to hit Atlantic City tomorrow.

Sox are first in runs scored, runs allowed, as well as being just plain first in the American League; good times.

Friday, May 11, 2007


So that's a cool diagram of how a knuckleball works.

That's the weird way it looks as the former minor league infielder throws it; lately, no one can hit the damn thing. (Three hits last night, no threats at all after the 1st inning, AL best ERA.)

That's the 1992 Rookie of the Year's rookie card. Feeling good about that waive, Pittsburgh?

That's how the Blue Jays are feeling right now. Don't cry, Sal Fasano. Your mustache is reason enough to live, for people who aren't even you.

That's the hottest hitter on the Red Sox (three straight games with a HR...I still believe in J.D. Drew, but I think it might be time to bat Lowell 5th, yo) and one reason why the Josh Beckett trade is working out after all.

Actually, the Red Sox may be doing even more Awesome than this picture. Consider the team ERA, the fact that this lineup could still click even better than this. (This is true even after a series in which we scored 26 runs including a game in which we lit up gunslinger [Roy] Doc Halliday.) We've played 7 games more on the road than at home. 7. Remember that number.

That's our lead in the AL East. We ain't halfway through May, people, and I'm already considering putting up our magic number.

That's how I'm feeling. Azucar!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

GAME THIRTY TWO: Second verse, same as the first.

Red Sox 9, Toronto 2 redux. (Content yawn.) A little too tapped today from writing Spider-sploitation for a weekly comedy show I'm writing for (coming the Monday after next), but I've gotta share the best bit of video I've ever seen on Daisuke Matsuzaka's (accidental?) gyroball. This would go a long way towards explaining his denial. Maybe.

One more thing: my fun moment of the day.

In my office break room, one Yankee fan enters; another is stirring milk into her coffee:

.500, baby!


Celebrate good times, bitches.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

GAME THIRTY ONE: Beckett= Victory

This is getting amazing. Thanks to Beckett's 7th win in 7th starts, the Red Sox's record now stands at 21 Becketts and 10 Anthony Youngs, 11 Becketts over .500, 6 Becketts ahead of the Yankees, who are admittedly showing a pulse: 7-3 in their last 10 games, same as the Sox. Dustin Pedroia is also showing a pulse, esp. with his three-run HR, and slumping Julio Lugo had two hits; if J.D. Drew comes out of his slump (remember when he was carrying this team?) maybe the offense will really be clicking. And yes, I'm saying that after a 9-run effort. It was Victor Zambrano, yo.

Oh, hey, here's an off-topic laugh.

Quick story. It's game three of a Patriots' Day series against the Yankees at Fenway, April 2001, and the Yankees, after losing the first two, are beating the Sox into submission. One plus to this is that me and my Yankee fan friend Nick can move into the vacant dugout seats, then brand new. The combination of Natty Light, the frustration of the first two games, and too much direct sunlight, inspires my friend to pull a Fenway faux pas: shouting "Nomar, you suck!" as Mr. Garciaparra came into the Red Sox dugout. We heard him mutter "Fucking Yankee fans..." as he tailed his way in. No surprise. No one expects Nomar to ignite a screaming match.

But then...out comes Sox supersub Rickey Henderson! To jaw with my friend for like four minutes. (Well, it was a one-sided jawing. To Nick's credit, I dunno how I would defend his actions to a Hall Of Famer.) The disappointment? Rickey didn't use the third person on himself at all.

Sigh. Josh doesn't like it when Rickey disappoints Josh. On the plus side, maybe this means Rickey will sign with the Newark Eagles again and I'll have an excuse to see some independent league baseball again, like when I saw Newark v. Bridgeport in the very very nice Bridgeport, CT stadium. Bonus fun: Bridgeport DH Jose Offerman, the free agent who essentially replaced my beloved Mo in Boston, went 0-4 with 3 Ks. Somehow Minnesota brought him back to the majors anyway. If Offerman can be retread once, Rickey deserves a ninetieth opportunity. And may I suggest no matter who signs him, he wear this cap?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

No Context Necessary #2

(For context, see Uni Watch.)

The other side of the Clemens signing, acknowledged.

A comment yesterday encouraged me to look beyond "rational" baseball thought, a confusing comment insomuch as I've never attempted true rationality with this blog: it might be fun for some Yankee fan readers who can look past my "partisan" insanity and frequently inane predictions, but I doubt there are many who can.

Anyway, the Clemens signing to the Yankees has, yes, another side. It's the Clemens Bob Ryan talks about here that's the one causing some fans to shed tears onto their 1986 AL Champions pennant. Like I said, I missed that guy's career, but I understand. Unfortunately, I remember the guy who played the Sox and the Yankees to sign for more money with the Blue Jays, a pure money move (chance to win a championship my ass), much more strongly. Sorry.

(By the way...god-DAMN has Clemens been in the league for a long time. Breakin' was in theaters when he debuted? AND Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo came out in 1984 as well? Now THAT's a quickie sequel.)

Monday, May 7, 2007

GAMES TWENTY EIGHT- THIRTY: Return Of The Soldier Of Fortune

There's no real point in talking about weekend baseball, even if the Minnesota series featured three excellent starts. (Julian Tavarez has faced nothing but #1 starters and kept the Red Sox competitive all the same; if the lineup had been able to finish the deal on Johan Santana [a mere 5.0 IP] during one of his many times in trouble, this might have been a sweep.) All anyone wants to talk about is Roger Clemens. So let's talk about Roger Clemens.

I became a Red Sox fan in the summer of 1993, when Boston became Mo-Town, the Sox made an unlikely run at the AL East pennant, and Roger Clemens had another mediocre season, especially by his standards. I was too late to the game to watch the Rocket dominate. I thought Roger Clemens' MVP Baseball sucked. Roger Clemens means less to me than he does to most Sox fans.

I think Roger had a great opportunity to patch things up with Boston before going into the Hall of Fame wearing a B. (Do you really expect a Yankees cap on his plaque because he coat-tailed his way into a couple rings?) I also think he had a chance at another World Series ring, although I respect his pride. And capitalism.

I think he wanted to matter, and I respect that. The Sox greeted not getting Roger with indifference, and rightfully so. We've got our fifth starter waiting, and he's a future ace instead of a twilight ace.

I think when Brian Cashman gives a 45-year-old starter $28 million (prorated), the "younger, cheaper" Yankee strategy is out the window. I like the little implied "fuck you" to making him higher paid than A-Rod and thus the highest paid player in the league by a mil.

I think Roger Clemens is a mercenary. I think Bill Simmons had it right, back when he used to matter, and try. Some of his don't give a fuck attitude is a positive. Not so much to Boston.

I think my Sox fan friends ready to slit their wrists and my Yankee fan friends declaring their team back in the game both need to chill.

I don't think I'll miss it so much when Roger Clemens is out of the league.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Well, that sucked. Who do the Oakland Athletics think they are? Marco Scuturo hits a three-run home run to shatter Mariano's 2007 air of unhittability, and now another some more of the A's team grabbed off the 2/$0.99 rack mounts a rally/blown save by Jon Papelbon. I remember this from the 2003 season, all the way down to the Grady Little-Pedro Martinez game: losing games you've already notched as wins in your mind, sucks. What's with the city of Oakland right now? The Warriors are making their first playoff noise since, like, Run-T.M.C. and well before they took on the Power Rangers logo. I feel like Houdini after his stomach punch. (You know, the one that didn't kill him.) If I recover, I'll post some more today.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Maybe the New York tabloids have it right.

The entertaining Jayson Stark has some fun facts and figures for Yankee fans. I've gotten a little better at not entertaining/fueling myself strictly on Yankee schaudenfraud, but sometimes I just really relate to Method Man's immortal words on Biggie's "The What":

(Assume the position)
Stop, look and listen
I spit on your grave, then I grab my Charles Dickens,

Admittedly I'm reading Virginia Woolf right now, not Dickens. "Skank ho" rhymes with Orlando, but I'm not in a rewiring classic rhymes sort of mood. More like a taunting mood.

Off Day Amusements: Starting Lineup

For those who don't know or don't remember, Starting Lineup was a set of collectible pro sports action figure collectibles, exactly the sort of thing that's fun for kids and embarrassing for adults who have still kept them in their boxes. (Or should be.) The interesting thing my friend J. Laakso noted is that these figures look NOTHING like the athletes they're supposed to resemble. In an era of freakish verisimilitude in video games (seriously, compare/contrast), this seems almost quaint. A few examples. (There are worse, which I've seen in baseball card shops, but unfortunately good pictures of these online are hard to find.)

Barry Bonds, smiling. Additionally, his head looks a little big, since Pittsburgh Bonds wasn't yet San Francisco Bonds. That's not a 755+ home run swing there, by the way; Barry is nowhere near facing a pitcher, unless that pitcher's throwing from third base.

Someone at Kenner wasn't even trying.

It's not enough that this looks nothing like Barry Larkin; the features are so generic this may as well be a black Ken doll.

Below= Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson.
Above= Some guy with his fists closed coming to kick your ass. This was made in 1997, proving Kenner never stopped not trying.

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