Saturday, June 30, 2007

Workinonit: David Ortiz

Author of this blog writes plays and has no idea why. Work in progress, David Ortiz is God, includes several monologues by players. This is one, in progress.

David Ortiz, a commanding presence, stands. Slide briefly displays his 2004 stats.

I can’t win every game. I can’t get a hit every time we need it. I can’t make the wind blow out or put the right fielder where he won’t catch something fat I smoke right at him. When Manny’s sitting out I can’t stop them from walking me every single time if they want. When Bellhorn or Johnny makes the last out right before I’m up, I can’t do anything. They don’t even let me play the field that often, man. I am designated to hit. I get four, sometimes three, a couple times five chances a game to help us win. Less if it’s too late. I hate losing, man, but I can’t hit no six-run homerun. (beat) If you want to play baseball, you have to learn how to strike out. Learn to take it. If you don’t learn to lose, you lose. (laughs) I didn't mean to sound all Yogi Berra there though.

No Context Necessary #4

Flickr shouldn't be directly stolen from, so please, just look here. And ask yourself, what does "Manny being Manny" really mean?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Halftime. (Almost.)

77 games down, 85 to go, which places us almost at the true midseason point, 9.5 games up, on a 100(.44)-win pace. Good times. And also a good time to check my preseason predictions, which you can find here. I have few/no predictive powers normally, although I'm at least in good shape and not paid to make bad predictions. AND, this year I seem to know what I'm doing so far. Let's look it over.

AAA East

Predicted Winner: Illadelphia.
Current Leader: NY Dodgers-Giants Replacement Franchise.
Teams in exact predicted order: 3/5.

--I didn't think the Mets had the pitching, and if trends continue...they don't. This is a fun three-way pennant chase, and absurd as Jimmy Rollins' prediction seemed when the Phillies started off awful, they may be the most balanced team in the division. This division could go any which way. As for Florida and Washington, only the delusional could pick them anything but 4th-5th.

AAAA Central

Predicted Winner: Houston Colt .45s.
Current Leader: Milwaukee.
Teams in exact predicted order: 1/6.

For the record, I said I had no idea what would happen here, so at least I predicted my awful predictions. What a shitty division this is, and what a fun team the Brewers are to watch. You've gotta love Prince Fielder, infamously mentioned as the player too fat for even Oakland to select in Moneyball, and watching him hit an inside the park HR ranks high on this year's highlights so far. They very well may be a team worth pissing yourself over. And it sure beats the other way of pissing yourself in Milwaukee: getting too drunk on PBR and losing control of everything. Things have improved since I made fun of the city six years ago.

Two predictions I will take pride are the general descent of St. Louis, and my one right pick, the 2nd place Cubs. The guy who started this site before the year even began is still an ass though.


Predicted Winner: Arizona.
Current Leader: San Diego.
Teams in exact predicted order: 0/5.

Not as bad as it looks, since the top three teams are essentially tied for first. Did I call the AAAA East a fun pennant chase? Lookee here. The only thing I'm annoyed about is underrating the Rockies, since I knew the San Francisco/New York/BALCO Giants were gonna suck; I didn't predict suckage of this degree, however, and underestimated the Rox, who very well may have a future. They sure buzzsawed the Sox and Yankees in interleague play.

AL West

Predicted Winner: Los Angeles/Anaheim.
Current Leader: Los Angeles/Anaheim.
Teams in exact order: 2/4.

I blame the Red Sox here, because were it not for the sweep to the Trident, I'd be 4/4 and be a golden god.

AL Central

Predicted Leader: Cleveland.
Current Leader: Detroit.
Teams in exact order: 3/5.

Detroit just overtook Cleveland by a half-game. Minnesota is as middling as I thought, the ChiSox just as far into their collapse. I am a golden demi-god?

AL East

Predicted Leader: Boston.
Current Leader: Boston.
Teams in exact order: 3/5.

I did have the balls to finally predict an end to the Sox's wild card run, a dynasty of regular season defeat, but this is all about the Yankees. No one, especially not Joe Morgan (see 6/26) could have predicted the Yankees' collapse. I predicted that Pavano-Pettite-Mussina couldn't stay healthy (right), that Clemens wasn't coming back (wrong, but considering the 5+ ERA he's sporting right now, esoterically right), and that Hughes wasn't ready this year (TKO), so pitching would hold them down. It has. The offensive collapse? Not predicted. A-Rod becoming the Good Yankee? Definitely not, even if it is essentially a contract year. Project A13 shouldn't shut down just yet though.

Prediction: I will leave the office for happy hour at

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Hey Boston, Julio Lugo here. Yeah, of the 0 for...whatever, 30? I stopped counting awhile ago, especially since thinking about it might undo all of the good those anger management courses did for me after I had that thing that I was totally not guilty of. Yeah, I did anger management on my own. That's the kind of guy I am. Anyway, I know that especially after striking out with two outs and the bases loaded yesterday, and my batting average dipping below the Mendoza line, we aren't getting off to the best start, but give me a chance and I know I'll put together some semblence of offense. Probably not enough to make up for my below-average offense, but hey. Brooklyn!

Hey all, Orlando Cabrera here, forever your hero. I'm batting .334 right now for the biggest threat to Boston in the AL. Still love ya.

Hanley Ramirez, yo. Beckett and Lowell are on some shit right now while Anibel Sanchez is on the minor league DL, so I imagine you think you came up alright in the trade. I guess you did. Sure, I'll probably rack up a second .900 OPS season in my second year in the majors and all...and I've got just two home runs less than David Ortiz right now, but...well, you'll find another shortstop next year, right? You always do. Renteria, Alex Gonzalez...those guys sure worked out, eh?

Edgar here. I'm a man of few words, so I'll keep it short. Dear Boston, fuck you all, thanks for the trade. Love, Edgar.

Lugo, don't you take Mario's name in vain. Mario could field.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A brief history of J.J. Putz*

March 25, 1894: Bertram Schmeidel Putzburger arrives at Ellis Island with his wife, Dagma, seeking a better life. An immigration official with a bad sense of humor offers to change his name to Putz to allow for easier assimilation into America, holding back laughter. Chatzekel says the name is pronounced "Poots." Chatzekel can't understand why the immigration officer breaks into uncontrollable laughter.

February 22, 1977: Joseph Jason Putz is born.

October 14, 1982: Tired of calling Joey Pooty Stink Pants, young J.J. gets in his first real fight against kindergarten bully Steve Jenkins. He not only loses the fight, but wets himself; his nickname becomes Pooty Stinky Pee Pants. Angry at the world, J.J. stops playing during recess with his few friends, spending his time throwing rocks at a wall. At home he does roughly the same thing, when he isn't rewatching a VCR recording of the "Thriller" video.

June 4, 1983: Steve Jenkins gets on J.J.'s nerves for the last time; instead of fighting Steve, J.J. throws a rock at him. The rock scars his face. J.J. is Pooty Stinky Pee Pants no more, and Steve becomes Creepy Stevie.

April 1, 1989: Against the Raymond Brothers Hardware Athletics, J.J. throws the first known perfect perfect game, striking out 18 on just 54 pitches, all strikes. Screenwriter Andrew Bergman happens to be in the crowd, watching his nephew Dave flail away along with the other Athletics. Adapting a Roger Angell article into a screenplay, the idea of the perfect perfect game returned to his mind: the nutty pitcher of his screenplay, Steve Nebraska, throws a perfect perfect 9 inning game. The movie sucks. Actually, it sucks and blows.

June 26, 2007: J.J. Putz, a full-blown ace reliever with utterly filthy stuff, finishes off the Red Sox in an 8-7 Mariners win, one of the few pitchers in the game with no runs to his name. His 1.2 IP includes a perfect, 3 strikeout 9th. Future Hall-Of-Famer Manny Ramirez, in to pinch hit, exerts himself so strongly trying to catch up to J.J.'s fastball that he actually shits himself. For the next week around the Red Sox clubhouse, he is known as Manny Manny Poopy Panties.

*No research went into this history; any semblance of fact is wholly accidental.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Delmon Young had a dream.

And now, as promised, something funny. I wrote this for a girl I met once who works here, who claimed Comedy Central connections and told me to write some webisodes. I haven't found her since. Your gain, their loss. And my bank account's loss, I guess. Whatever.

Oh, the inspiration came from a real quote. Guess what.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ clubhouse, pregame. Devil Rays manager JOE MADDON is talking to outfielder DELMON YOUNG, who clutches a bat, angry.

It’s just a slump, Delmon.

It’s the most frustrating thing, skip. The swing has been there, you know? I’ve been swinging the bat real good. Hell, if there wasn't nine guys out in the field, I'd have a hit every time. Except when I strike out.

MADDON (amused)
Well yeah, that’s obvious.

How d’you figure?

Beat. Maddon, not sure how to respond, pats Young on the shoulder, walks away.

YOUNG (laying his head back)
Yeah. If it wasn’t for those nine guys I’d have a hit every time. (drifting to sleep) A hit every time…every time…every time…

Cut to the baseball field, inside Delmon Young’s dream; it looks like a baseball game on TV. Young is at the plate against a Toronto Blue Jays pitcher. We hear a radio announcer, and the action unfolds just as he calls it.

Up steps Delmon Young. Here’s the pitch.

Young hits a hard fly ball to center field. Toronto centerfielder VERNON WELLS ranges back.

This one has a chance. Way back! Way back! Wells is at the wall, he might bring this in!

Wells jumps up, but before he can make an amazing catch, he vanishes into thin air. The ball goes over the wall.

Gone! Home run!

Quick montage of at-bats, possibly to “You Got The Touch” from Transformers: The Movie, or something equally awesome yet inspiring song.

1. Young hits a hot ground ball to short. SHORTSTOP dives for the ball, comes up with it, but as he’s about to throw to first, he vanishes; the ball and glove fall to the ground, Young is safe at first.

2. Young bunts down the first base line. Ball is about to go foul, but before the UMPIRE can call it foul, Young waves his arms in the air; UMPIRE vanishes, Young is safe at first.

Music stops. Delmon Young at the plate. His statistics briefly flash on the bottom of the screen: he’s batting 1.000 with 85 home runs and 500 RBIs.

Oh, what a game! Bases juiced, bottom of the 9th, D’Rays down by three, and up steps Delmon Young. Here’s the pitch.

Young barely hits the ball. Rest goes exactly as announcer says.

A weak groundball back to the pitcher, but wait, what’s this? Yes, the pitcher has vanished! The pitcher has dissipated into the moist Tampa Bay air, oh, doctor! One run scores, two runs score, three runs score, and in comes Delmon Young! D’Rays win! D’Rays win!

We hear the crowd chanting M-V-P! M-V-P! as the dream fades. Back to a sleeping Delmon Young in the clubhouse, with Joe Maddon hovering over him.

Delmon. Delmon.

YOUNG (mumbling in his sleep)
M-V-P. M-V-P. M-V…


Young wakes with a start.

It’s game time, Delmon.


Scratch me.

Young closes his eyes. Maddon shrugs, erases his name from the lineup card, walks off

YOUNG (closing his eyes)
Batting title, here I come.


GAME SEVENTY FOUR: Weave-boozled.

Jeff Weaver, who brought such delight into my life last start, is probably feeling pretty high today after a nice start against our Somersets (and NOT Pilgrims), Pilgrims making so lame a mascot that some teams hide behind their uniform colors rather than acknowledging that name.)

Anyway, perhaps because he didn't need to relax himself after a road trip, and definitely assisted by one awful inning where our fifth starter actually looked like one, Weaver was solid, throwing more junk than Eddie Harris at us; he may have taken another run or two off his once infinite ERA, even. Consider me a doubter, though. One still sick as a dog, however, and overworked. A funnier post than this when I get home to come.

Monday, June 25, 2007

GAMES SEVENTY ONE-SEVENTY THREE: Sox be chillin', I be illin', old material be stealin'.

A cold I thought yesterday was just a terrible hangover earned from gettin' a little too Sparked is actually a really bad cold, and I'm a little too tapped at work to write too much up, y'all. Shame, because this weekend's series with the Padres, a (cliche alert) possible World Series preview, was a very good series, featuring Daisuke again getting a win the hard way (three walks in the first inning, one run, then nothing more) and Beckett reaching 11 wins by outpitching the scary, scary Jake Peavy...the 3 runs the Sox scored on Peavy are equivalent to 7 against a normal pitcher.

So as to not make today a dark night, as the theater terminology goes, I thought I'd post something off the old blog, in light of my team name reworking from a few days ago. These are the teamnames me and my friend Matthew, currently travelling this great land, came up with for a new football league...there's already an arenafootball2, a minor league of a minor league, so I called this arenafootball3: League of DEATH! Enjoy.

Baltimore Sadness

Lynchburg Genocide

South Texas Hangmen

Boise Potato Famine

Los Angeles Melanomas

Fargo Frozen Corpse

Maine Suicide
(Matthew's imaginary commentator: "And the Suicide shoot themselves in the foot again!)

Detroit Welfare

New Haven Rubble

Seattle Slain

New Jersey Swamp Dragons*

Atlanta Arsonists+

El Paso Border Patrolmen

Montreal Contempt

Tennessee Tribulation Force

Boston Cirrhosis

San Francisco Homosexuals

Montana CarCrash

*Yeah, click that link. Truth is stranger than fiction.
+It really, really is.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Today's dose of obvious.

""It felt like we scored eight or nine runs but they weren't on the board," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We had 17 hits. I have no complaints other than the final score."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Off-Day Entertainments: Wholly unrelated.

And now, for no good reason, five excellent song and music video pairings.

That coal miner sure can dance.

When they did this, they did it live backwards...and replayed it...backwards!

A recent addition to my list. This would make a good animated feature unless Disney got his dead and deadly hands on it.

Either you love or hate "Genius of Love," and so it is with the video. I prefer cheaply-drawn animation to the expensive flawless sort.

One of the first music videos of any kind. One of my favorite non-album tracks, too.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

GAME SEVENTY: Now give me my money back.

After a Wednesday night game at my house in which my main solace was the short trip home afterwards, in which I took bad beats from (how the fuck could you call the flop with a just a Queen? that wasn't a draw at all) and then just wholly misinterpreted (why would you bet that hard with a good hand?) the play of my friend Patrick, it was around midnight, I was wired, not drunk enough and with no desire to finish off the remaining beer (who brought Blueberry Ale?), and thoroughly steamed. There are cures for this mind state; last night, opening up the Sox-Braves recap was one.

Coco Crisp has himself confused with Jimmy Rollins as of late, and I hope he never remembers his own identity if this power surge can continue. Staked to a 5-0 lead before his first pitch, Julian Tavarez pitched his best game of the year, seven innings of shutout ball, giving up just three hits. The Braves put up all the resistance of a plate of nachos, the Yankees continued to validate Colorado and the Sox's recent problems with them, while also bumping up the number to Bo Derek. Soon thereafter, I fell asleep at last.

Today, I'm tired and a few dollars lighter, but at least some millionaires I'll never get to know made me feel briefly better by beating other millionaires. Unfortunately, this is a off-day. Leaving me way too much time to think about those fucking Queens. Now who wants to buy me lunch?

Don't forget the "act like every pitch on the inside half nearly hit you" play.

A bit from Bad Altitude, the Rockies' arm of the Baseball Toaster juggernaut:

"The captain made a couple of those specialty Jeter plays where he flinches immediately when the ball is hit, stands absolutely still for a moment, then dives heedlessly in the general direction of where the ball passed several seconds ago. Jeter is awesome at this play. He is better at making it look like he almost got to balls he completely misread and missed than anybody else in the game today."

Don't forget the "jump unnecessarily while making a throw" play. And the "do the fist pump after premature ejaculation with unsatisfying starlet of the moment, wishing he could only make love to a second self."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

FYI: Schilling's shoulder.

If you've got a few bucks to spare and love baseball, Baseball Prospectus is worth the investment; the annual $35 subscription will change the way you see baseball, and I'm not even a stathead. And having given that of the non-statistical reasons is Will Carroll's Under The Knife column, the best injury news available anywhere; with the Schilling story, I thought some people might want some stolen content. Carroll on Schilling:

After a start that was as bad looking as they come--full of altered mechanics and reduced velocity--Schilling was sent back to Boston for an MRI on his pitching shoulder. Terry Francona was a bit circumspect in his comments regarding Schilling, saying only that he "had trouble getting loose." Sources have been equally opaque, which is not often a sign of whether something is good or bad, but just that it's being taken seriously enough to visibly tighten the circle around information. Early reports from the Boston Herald say that the MRI found no damage, but Schilling's top reading on his last start was in the high 80s and the ball didn't seem to have its normal movement, making us wonder whether reduced velocity might affect his ability to muddle through. It won't be until his bullpen session--normally today, but likely to be delayed--that we learn more. Schilling does have a history of shoulder problems, but it's a relatively ancient one. His labrum was repaired back in 1995 and, stunningly, he returned to form. It's important to note that while the pitch counts of his near no-hitter and the subsequent outings were not high, it makes me wonder if he pitched on adrenaline late in games, throwing harder than he should have relative to his fatigue level when he came so close to history.

Forgot about how fucked up Schilling's shoulder was in 1995. Apropos of nothing, let's remember 1995 with one of my favorite recently-passed bands, Luna. That'll pass a few more minutes of my work day...41 minutes to go.

GAME SIXTY NINE: Cowboy and Indians.

The Texan with the big curveball was doing his thing, and probably coulda kept doing it for another couple innings when the rain came down, the rain came down-down, and when it stopped, the bullpen held the zero in place. Never trust a cowboy amongst [Indian Team Name Franchises]. Beckett even smacked an RBI double to finish his veritable Custer's Revenge on they asses. It wasn't on TBS for some reason, but I GameCast my way through it, and it was fun.

Coco Crisp made the greatest catch ever again, according to Beckett. (My call: not as good as this one.) I shoulda mentioned his weird power surge yesterday, especially since I still want Crisp to thrive as a Sox, and as one of the best defensive centerfielders in baseball, he has a lot more value than people think even when he's struggling. I heard he's batting .350 over his last few games, though. That's also worthwhile.

After tonight's rubber match, it's off to where the pets go for a series with the San Diego Celibates; the West Coast trip concludes in Seattle, where Beckett will be back to take down the Seattle Poseidons. When hopefully I'll have recovered from the spell of Gregg Easterbrook-like team renaming syndrome I'm suffering. No word yet on if the team will continue to the Dulles afterwards.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No seriously, Mo Vaughn really is my hero.

No Context Necessary #4

GAME SIXTY EIGHT: 40 is the new 50.

This is the great Satchel Paige, the black Cy Young. When he finally came over from the Negro Leagues to the American League, he was supposedly 42, but many thought he was more like 50. Older than Jessie Orosco, older than El Duque. He pitched pretty good, and had he pitched a full season in '48, might have merited some, er, "Rookie" of the Year attention.

This is Curt Schilling. A power/location pitcher who probably can't get away with throwing in the high-to-mid 80s for an entire night, as his changeup is not Pedro Martinez's, and his splitter hangs more than it used to. He caught a cuff or two last night from the team of Chief Nokahoma, now located in the city of parking lots. His ability to locate gives him a chance to pitch well even when his velocity is shit, as it was last night. (Note: during the no-hitter, Schilling hit 95 a couple times. Last night he hit 90. Once.) For right now, he's still a former power pitcher trying to figure out what he is, and is especially confused due to periods of time (sometimes just one start) where he is a power pitcher again. Then again, maybe age is just mind over matter: if you don't mind, it don't matter.



Nah. It matters. For some pitchers, 40 may as well be 50. And for the rest of us, 30 ain't the new 20, either. Jay-Z's damn near 40, anyway, which is 60 in rapper years.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mo Vaughn owns New York.

Mo Vaughn is still my hero; this is one more reason why. Check out the photo gallery for the picture of the security room of one of the former projects he owns though: Vaughn's cameras are there to stop drug dealing. ("It's better than the Man.") But in the movie script, the cameras are for other purposes. Nino Brown shit.

In other news, the Foxy Lady's still in business. Just if you were wondering, boss Vaughn. I'll go back to slicing fruit and ordering the kegs now.


Barry Bonds (above, in more innocent times) doesn't mean anything to me. I actually remember a time when I didn't want to believe he was juiced (though we all knew it if we thought about it, or weren't from San Francisco) and still defended him as the greatest left fielder of all time; now he's technically the greatest of all time, but we're on the alternate timeline where he becomes a behemoth to crush all records and we'll never know what his natural numbers would be. (My guess: something like Ken Griffey Jr's, which ain't shabby a'tall.) With its focus on the chase for 756*, ESPN remains convinced I give a shit. I don't, not enough to boo or hold signs. The Bonds element of the story would have only been interesting if he was standing of the verge of breaking the record, as it seemed he might when he started the year hot. Or if he'd played left field and tried to play balls off the Monster. That'da been funny.

And now a quick series summary.

ONE: Julian Tavarez goes seven, giving up just two runs. No one hits except the top two of the lineup, but the top two get eight hits and eight RBI, including Dustin Pedroia getting five hits and raising his batting average twenty points in a night.

TWO: Monster Zero twirls an excellent game, then Okajima, then Papelbon, then shutout. Manny hits a homerun. That's it.

THREE: Matt Morris throws pitches that look like this. Red Sox hit accordingly. Wakefield's line doesn't end up so good, and he gives up home run to some guy with a big head. Good enough though, thanks in part to a tough hold by...Joel Piniero?

Next up, more of our "natural" rival. Yee haw.

Friday, June 15, 2007

GAME SIXTY FIVE: Fuck you, Cal Ripken!

We got beaten. We got pummeled. We got stuck in a blizzard, and it wasn't from DQ. We got buried in a Rocky Mountain landslide and were forced to shotgun Coors Light until we were sick, then woke up in a pool of our own vomit next to a heaping plate of Rocky Mountain oysters and Mountain tendergroins, with no pants and a Terrell Davis jersey on. We put our #1 and #2 starters out there, and they made the Colorado lineup look like it was still in a humidor-free Coors Field, or maybe the old Mile High when it was even more extreme a pitcher's park. You know, the park where Sid Bream hit the first ever check-swing home run? That's what it was like, with Kaz Matsui (is there any position player time in Colorado can't resurrect?) playing the role of Sid Bream. We couldn't swing our bats for shit and haven't lately. (3.7 runs per game for the month.) Now continuing on...

Walking out of the office down 8th Avenue to grab my lunch, I picked up my cell phone and found I had a voice mail; upon hearing the first part of the message, I thought it was my friend Patrick, but I couldn't understand what the shit he was talking about. This isn't really anything new with Patrick, however, as he is prone to spouting off lots of random shit, including making up stuff in the voice of the Busher from Ring Lardner's You Know Me, Al.

Then this voice identified himself as Cal Ripken Jr., and started pitching me on XM Radio, and how I could listen to it anywhere, even if I had to move in with my parents or something. This seemed like a bit of a low blow, as I am presently making an adequate salary to maintain the lifestyle I am accustomed to living and am unlikely to be moving in with my parents anytime soon. Then he wished my Red Sox, "your passion," luck, "but not too much luck." Then he pulled a shocker on me:

CAL RIPKEN JR: "Let's go Yankees! Let's go Yankees!"

After erasing this demonic presence from my phone and wondering if the message was actually from Billy "Fuck Face" Ripken, I figured out that this was the origin of my confusion. To whichever of my many Yankee fans put me onto this, hardy har har. I know, you're "back in it," so long as "it" is the wild card standings. My congratulations. Now when I find out which one of you pulled this shit on me (why not Derek Jeter?), you're gonna get repeated messages from David Ortiz promoting XM Radio to you. And if anyone else sends me these, I'm going all rolling thunder on everyone I know. There are no innocents.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Well, that sucked. Curt'll tell you himself, 6 two-out runs isn't a formula for success...more like Formula 51. By the time Kyle Snyder, playing the role of Royals castoff/Mechanic in this year's bullpen, got involved, it was already a joke; Kyle just elevated it to tragicomedy of a sort. Meh.

I promised my friend Jeff from the neighborhood coffeeshop. I would make some acknowledgment of the Yankees and their rise to 8.5 back. Well, there you go. Rock on. You know it's a good year when this is what constitutes the annual Sox fan's Yankee anxiety. Of course, you know it's a bad baseball day when all I've got is a measly two paragraphs to write about it. In other words, a meh day. For real. Buy, buy, buy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

GAME SIXTY THREE: Landslide a-coming?

The Colorado Rockies 2.0 (the jerseys above are the Rockies 1.0) got a knuckle sandwich yesterday, in the kind of game the 2005 and 2006 Red Sox had next-to-no chance in: the low-scoring kind. It's getting harder to understand how last year's team contended as long as it did; 2005 isn't much more unimaginable. Remember Matt Clement, All-Star? Closer Curt Schilling? Jason Johnson's starts from last year? More power to you if you don't, so long as that's not a medical condition. Even Wakefield broke down in 2006.

Now? We've got six viable starters; much as I can't believe I'm calling Julian Tavarez a viable starter, it's true. Remember the almost-trade of Todd Helton for Mike Lowell (currently playing out of his mind) and Julian Tavarez (somewhat out of his mind, but easily soothed with some petting by Manny Ramirez)? Does that one still sound like a good idea? Theo's a good GM, but sometimes it's the inability to put a deal together (aka pure luck) that's served him best. Like this time. Or even more so, this one.

The other notable happening from yesterday was the wife beater dropping from lead-off to #9. Lugo seemed to take this one well, saying he was just happy not to be dropped to the #10 slot. (Not that the #10 slot's that bad...I once hit in the #10 slot in a high school baseball game where we had a DH and the pitcher hit. I had the only 4-hit game of my career.) Lugo also hit a big double to score the first run of the day, on a day runs were as scarce as this piece of cardboard. Pedroia just belongs in the leadoff slot for now. And don't call him Scrappy.

The Sox are .500 in their last ten, so as far as momentum goes, we're not exactly Juggernaut lately. But put it this way: if we go 54-55 for the rest of the season, a game below .500, we finish with 95 wins. A very reasonable 59-50, and that's 100. Let the Yankee fans navel gaze; they've got a good shot at the wild card. As for us, I get the feeling...

(Note: cover should not be taken literally. Do NOT shoot any Red Sox in the eye, even if they get fucked up on Everclear and ask you to. Most successful baseball players need both eyes.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

LOSS 9,987: You poor, poor bastards.

Good series against Arizona, boring series with Colorado approaching (in anticipatory terms, as interleague continues to unjustify its value), but I'd like to focus on another team today, and another city. The city is Philadelphia, the team, the Phillies. The approaching event: loss #10,000.

The Phillies are on the verge of a historical level of suck, much like our President is and will be by January 2009. But while our president only has eight years to send the country into the suck, the Phillies have had over 100 years to suck, and were it not for that one solitary championship season, the dread would be it is, the Marlins have more championships than the Phillies in about 1/10 of the time. They've had players like these on some ignonimous, and most infamously, blew a 6.5 game lead with 12 games to go in 1964. That's beyond the Sox's 1978, and to even compare them is like comparing losing a lot of weight on a three-month Atkins diet versus doing the same thing in a couple weeks, with stomach stapling and Dexatrim.

Oh, Philadelphia. The tourist attractions are psuedo-1776, the core hasn't changed since 1976. A city epitomized in its famous cheesesteak, a food one craves, then eats half of and starts feeling ill, then eats the rest of and feels nothing but heartburn, heartache, and regret. No championships for over 20 years will make you do stuff like booing Santa Claus.

The Phillies should be celebrated...for being around a very long time, and ultimately running the A's out of town, sorta. Philadelphia's a nice place, although it's easy to make fun of.

Philadelphia: It ain't Cleveland. But that William Penn (statue) sure is a vindictive sum' bitch.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Truth, at last.

The great John Sterling, a few minutes ago, in the middle of calling Yankees-Pirates.

"I know nothing...and find ways to exhibit it at every time."

This is what we call a breakthrough, Mr. Sterling.

GAME FIFTY EIGHT: Pass the one-hitter on the left-hand side.

The one-hitter. A pipe for those who don't want to get too high at one time. Portable, durable, and spartan (but not SPARTAN!), I used to own one. I also have clumsy hands and can't roll them wacky cigarettes. For as long as I don't learn, I won't end up being a walking stereotype.

Curt Schilling's one-hitter. Was he one shake-off from finally finishing a no-hitter? Maybe. Sure beats being one bunt single away though.

Great game by the 40-year-old, and since it gets the Sox off a slide (a 4-game losing streak cutting the AL East lead to 10 games being cause for worry in Boston...worry is as much a tradition as wasting tea in Beantown, after all. (Wasting this tea, that is, not that tea...Boston prefers its drink anyway.)

And now, interleague plays sticks it in us. There's no right choices as to who to play and who to rest on the corners, a big three in two NL positions: 1B-3B (Youk), 3B (Lowell), or the big big DH-1B (Papi! [Aka The Big, is this funny), the Sox are the sort of loaded AL lineup that especially lose force in interleague play at NL stadiums. One can't envy the Mariners for having Jose Vidro at DH, but Mike Hargrove's job sure is easier. And the D'Backs are a good team with a curious mix of veteran pitching and a youthful lineup with pop, including the younger (and currently, far far superior) Drew brother.

Too bad Schilling won't be pitching: as a Christian, he must hate snakes. Look out for Schilling's own take on the near ain't up, but it'll be worthwhile, I imagine.

And now, in the spirit of a summer weekend, and not a damn thing else, the worst rap song ever? The best? Whatever. I think it's the cat's nuts (Il massimo), Ike. Ring a dang a dong.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Attention Sox fans: an afternoon game is presently, at the top of the 8th, of interest to you. That's all I'm going to say.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

GAME FIFTY SEVEN: Sheffield is wrong/right/wrong/wrong/wrong. (Or: Like a dull knife.)

I don't have much to say about yesterday. Bats went silent, Lenny DiNardo has continued to baffle anyone who ever saw him in a Sox uniform (even while throwing less than 50% strikes yesterday), and Matsuzaka was a hard luck loser for a change. Let's hit something that's been putting butterflies in my stomach.

As you probably all know by now, Gary Sheffield's tongue has set off a few more landmines. I was tempted to just ignore his dull knife that just ain't cuttin' (just talkin' loud and sayin' nothin'), because what else is new with Gary? Read the on the sidebar (I call it required reading for a reason, y'all) and you'll get great factoids/quotes like this:

"Concerns increased, however, about the ill will he created in the clubhouse. Gary had latched on to the idea that he could be a shortstop and blasted the team publicly when Spiers was hurt and Milwaukee kept him at third. When he accused the organization of being racist, GM Harry Dalton’s patience began to wear thin."

(NOTE: Gary Sheffield was an awful shortstop, who later admitted to making errors intentionally because he was dissatisfied, partially because of what he considered scoring errors. "I'll show you some real errors.")

"Believing the Dodgers were spending their money stupidly and sliding in the wrong direction, Gary began lobbying for a trade during the offseason. Prior to spring training, he decided to use the press to get himself run out of town. He insulted his teammates, derided club management, called chairman Bob Daly a liar, screamed racism when the club refused to double the value of his contract, and made vague accusations about misdeeds he had uncovered within the organization."

(NOTE: Race= Not doubling your salary? Even the glass ceiling doesn't extend this far.)

"The only thing that could stop Gary [in Little League] was his explosive temper, which he was barely able to control. Once, when he was late to practice, his coach benched him. Gary picked up a bat and chased the man all over the field."

(NOTE: !!!)

There's a reason Sheffield, a Hall of Fame talent who could only fail to gain induction by the Albert Belle-like animosity he's cultivated over the years, has played on seven different teams; part of it is the bad luck to be a part of two infamous yard sales with the Padres and Marlins; a lot of it is just the Hall of Fame talent to get traded when he inevitably gets angry with his team du jour.

But I'm just attacking his credibility.

I've just gotta consider the holes in his logic. Let's try some.

1) Language:

If you don't understand English, of course you're easier to control. You're in a foreign element. You don't even know the proper words to protest. Some teams have started to deal with this issue with more Spanish-speaking coaches and managers. But it's never going away all the way.

2) Draft:

Latin American players don't go through it. They even get cultivated in baseball academies. It's a sweet deal for teams, albeit one that should be patched up sooner than later because it's just unfair.

3) Black people don't play baseball:

Not in the same numbers. See all the Jackie Robinson related stories that came out on this issue on the eve of Jackie Robinson Day. Baseball is perceived as a white man's game, and a lame one at that, plus it's underfunded due to equipment issues. That applies even down to the cheaper fields: Sandlots aren't available in the numbers that blacktop basketball courts. Football and basketball are sports with more machismo related. Baseball is so unpopular, historically black colleges are recruiting white ballplayers in ever-growing numbers. Trumbull, CT still has a sign up proclaiming it the home of the 1989 Little League World Series. Baseball is the great American pastime. African-Americans have always considered themselves a somewhat separate entity from "America," whatever the hell that is, because, well, history backs this up.

4) You sure...? Latino players are easy to control? You sure you're not pulling your own stereotypes, Sheff? If nothing else, there are major exceptions to the rule:

I have to admit, I'm not the most qualified person to talk about this, and unlike all too many knee-jerk columnists, I will be humble in that. I also think in the interests of thinking this out further, I should hand the mic over to a man I may disagree with sometimes, but I always respect the opinions of, my good friend, Harvard Ph.D candidate in Afro-American Studies Cameron Leader-Picone.

camlp82 (1:27:11 PM): Everyone is simply dismissing the comments but its actualy a fairly universal feeling among both african americans, whites and black latinos
camlp82 (1:27:30 PM): And the sociological evidence backs it up
camlp82 (1:27:56 PM): Whites perceive immigrant blacks as less threatening and harder working
camlp82 (1:28:21 PM): And black latinos differentiate themselves along the same terms to explain their success.

Carlos Guillen and other Latino players must be heard out.

Sheffield, like Jackie Robinson, is a "race man." Unfortunately, some of his opinions seem to be from a somewhat different time. I enjoy Sheff spouting his mouth off, and don't really think America should ever be a land where "Shut up!" is a valid argument. But wrong is wrong, and race baiting, which this very well may be, might not be shouting "FIRE!" in a movie theater, but it can stoke fires. He might be right in a few accidental ways. But 75% wrong ain't right.

Now someone please hit the comments and tell me I'm wrong.

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