Tuesday, July 31, 2007
RHP Proctor, as you might have heard, was traded today by the Yankees for Wilson Betemit, a capable 3B who isn't going to live up to his potential. Then again, neither did Scott "Gasoline" Proctor. I gave him his nickname when he was an even more mediocre reliever then he was presently, which made him an incapable fireman. Thus, putting him into the game in, say, the 7th inning, with the bases loaded and two outs, was akin to this exchange:
Chief, there's a four-alarmer! We need to put it out!
CHIEF JOE TORRE
We need to put out a fire...hmm...put some Gasoline on that!
Sir, are you...?
CHIEF JOE TORRE
Use some Gasoline! Now shut up, I'm talking with my brother Frank. Don't you know he survived cancer??
Scott Proctor, we'll remember the leads you blew fondly. Enjoy L.A. We'll be missing you.
Are you ready to be disappointed? It's trading deadline time!
As usual, most of the awesome, drool-inducing talk just amounts to one big ice cream castle in the summer time, which particularly frustrates with the Red Sox, who end up attached to every trade rumor every year because, well, they're the Red Sox, so any big player on the block is assumed to be a possibility. "If anyone can do it, the Red Sox can do it." Or whatever.
The difference: this year, the Red Sox are really trying to land big fish. This truly will be our year if the front office has anything to do with it, because they're going for two free agents to be.
1) Eric "Racer X" Gagne.
--Used to be awesome.
--Still pretty awesome.
--No Red Sox starter will ever have to pitch the 7th. (Okajima + Gagne + Papelbon= game over.)
--Sandwich pick to come when we don't resign him in the offseason.
--Barring injury, acquisition of Gagne will effectively end the home field advantage race. It'd be ours.
--About as durable as one of those Aiwa stereos with the 3CD changer. Did you used to have one? Did it break before it was two years old? No? Are you lying to me?
--Not gonna be resigned by Boston.
--Gonna cost us something like Manny Delcarmen. (Better not cost us Justin Masterson, who will be a starter in the bigs by 2009.) Make the trade if it doesn't cost any blue chips. Give 'em Craig Hansen.
2) Jermaine Dye
--Not Wily Mo Pena.
--Can play corner OF, 1B, allowing rotation of players to rest David Ortiz's knee.
--Not Wily Mo Pena.
--Has started hitting for average again. Already has 19 HRs.
--Not Wily Mo Pena.
--Trade could involve Wily Mo Pena, thus making for no mo' Wily Mo ever again.
--Could cost a whole bunch, for a 4th OF demanding to be played 5 games a week.
--Durable as an XBox 360. (Mine broke yesterday!)
--Not much else. Make the trade.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Some of the bar's faithful have contacted me on other forms than the comments (hint, hint), disappointed that posting has become a lil' erratic. Forgive me, please: between day job and a rather active night job putting together a first draft of my first brand new full-length play in two years, New Haven and the Problem of Change in the American City, I haven't been able to get to all the stuff I want to write here. And there's a bunch. Like last night's scintillating pitcher's duel (thanks Ben Francisco!); a list of things one can trade for Wily Mo Pena (such as the same quantity of beads the American Indians got for Manhattan, or the proverbial bucket of baseballs); and a did-you-know on Coco Crisp. His father's nickname as a boxer: "SUGAR" CRISP! His daughter's name: a misspelling of what Hermoine Granger's name sounded like from a Harry Potter viewing! His bat right now:
So yeah, I haven't forgotten you all; the bar will probably be open on a more regular basis around August 4th. Until then, enjoy Mo Vaughn Is A Babe.
Hoo'wee. Give me some Mo!
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
The last time I saw a team score fewer runs on more hits, it was probably the Boston Red Sox of 1994, in the classically easy slugfest of Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball. It was a station to station game: you hit a single or you hit a homerun, basically. The Sox were like that yesterday, without the homeruns; instead, Manny Ramirez hit one 415 feet to the triangle. Even Jason Varitek's near-cheap homerun fell a few feet short of the pole.
It gets hard to write anything when a team is as uncompelling as the Red Sox have been in June and July. The team is a couple games below .500 for these months, and in a reasonable division, they would have a three or four game lead, while in the old two-division league system, they would be a game or two behind. They have two five starters in their rotation right now, one of whom is more like a #6 starter. And Freddy Krueger look-alike Julian Tavarez should know from his movie character look-alike that 6 is a bad number.
WRKO actually had an ad on for Dr. McGillicuddy's Mentholmint Schnapps and Vanilla Schnapps. They also make a cinnamon-flavored whiskey, Fireball, a kinda busted-ass one-bottle Fireball, itself not that good a cocktail. There were also a lot of ads telling me to advertise on Red Sox radio, which isn't that surprising if you think about it. And as the Red Sox continued to hit singles and not score runs, the idea of drinking mentholated schnapps, though still not a pleasant one, seemed a valid enough one.
Luckily, there was Brooklyn Summer Ale in my fridge and I said to myself, "Hey, at least Pedroia had his second straight three-hit game. That's cool." And I drank my beer and fell asleep on the couch.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Hey, Kason, there's no need for that. I like you, in concept: drafted in the deep double digit rounds, a veteran in the system at 25 (just a year and a month younger than me, which makes any rookie sympathetic to my quickly-aging leather ass), Gabbard gets ground balls with a nice sinker. Last night he even struck some Royals out on his way to a complete-game shutout, an impressive game against any competition. (Kansas City is 19th in the majors in runs scored: not great, not shabby.) Whatever value you contribute, as a starter or maybe a long reliever, is nice, with whatever team you may ultimately land with if the Red Sox can trade you for value. I'm not a hater. I'm a hoper.
What I was hoping for is that Clay Bucholtz would rushed up to the majors for a cup o' coffee start, or that Jon Lester was pitching well enough in Pawtucket to get promoted already. Instead, Clay made his AAA debut yesterday (not great numbers, but he looked pretty good), and Lester is walking a ridiculous number of batters, 4+ per 9 innings. As a friend of mine put it, he needs to put the CAN back in CAN-cer recovery.
But Kason, you proved me wrong for a start. My bad. I won't miss you when Curt finally takes his slot back in the rotation, but I won't mind seeing you again either, in Boston or elsewhere.
"I don't know anything about that, surprise, or all those other adjectives, or what do you use, adverbs? Prepositions? I like gerunds. I went to high school with a guy named Gerand Thornquist. His dad drove a bus for Greyhound. He was almost the valedictorian. You'd have to be with a name like that."
Monday, July 16, 2007
Don't do it. Larry, I know you still have a hard-on for him, and hey, he's a good looking guy, better still when he's utterly mashing. Mike Lowell's gonna be a free agent anyway, unless Alex can still play SS, in which case maybe a buncha moving around will put Lugo in a position he's better suited to, like...the league's most expensive utility infielder? Never mind. I'm not here to tell you how signing A-Rod to a gajillion dollar contract would work.
I'm begging you not to offer that contract, kick up rumors, or otherwise break my heart. I'm not ashamed to say I had my heart broken when we lost A-Rod; hindsight says, "Nice thing we kept Manny; Orlando Cabrera was a nice pickup too; and fuck that overpriced 3B headcase in the Bronx." (Headcase label doesn't apply currently: no one's got anxiety when they've got a 2,000.000 OPS.) I was excited by the prospects of having the best player in the league wearing red, white, and navy, and it's revisionism to say there weren't tens of millions like me in the 2003-04 off-season. But not now.
I know Boston baseball fans will support almost anything in a Sox uniform if it's hitting/pitching well (see above, OF on the Red Sox All-Insane Team), but beyond the limited successes of recent former Yankee pickups (remember Ramiro Mendoza? No? Oh. Sorry for bringing up the subject.), one must remember one thing about A-Rod: Boston doesn't like him. The slap play, the nasty take-out of Dustin Pedroia earlier this year well outside the basepaths on a broken double play, the infamous/famous brawl with Varitek, all of this isn't exactly under the bridge yet and may never be. But there's a bigger reason I really don't like A-Rod.
I got my share of hatin' for getting good grades in school, but I did my best to sometimes be a not-so-good kid, including making merciless fun of my bad teachers, sometimes out loud, asking questions about test questions that either made no sense or were just idiotic, and otherwise being the questioning pain in the ass I'm proud to be. A-Rod was redeemed in my eyes briefly with the Stray-Rod "scandal," and gains minor points with me for playing in underground poker clubs, behavior ill-fitting a Yankee that he has cut out since. Still, he's the good kid. The suck-up. The guy who, if Joe said take out the trash, would take out the trash. (I made a sketch out of the quote where A-Rod really mentioned taking out the trash. Dude, isn't that Miguel Cairo's job?) If you didn't hate that kid, you were that kid. And ultimately, no one likes Tracy Flick unless they're boning her.
The Red Sox have no place for Tracy Flick, or no need for her, anyway. We're the team that gave Kevin Millar's goofy ass a place to goof out and cowboy up. We love it when Manny's being Manny if it doesn't cost us the game. The Red Sox are David Ortiz's massive personality and bulk, Nomar Garciaparra's neurotic/obsessive compulsive routine, "solid" third baseman Bill Mueller fucking around and winning a batting title out of the 9 hole, Jason Varitek's Thurman Munson act (now with 55% less asshole!), and Hideki Okajima's weird little necklace rattling as he falls off the mound, part of his normal delivery. Alex Rodriguez belongs in pinstriped uniforms and pinstriped suits; some Sox players may very well go out to dinner dressed like Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in the restaurant scene from Major League. Don't get me wrong: Edgar Renteria and J.D. Drew are both signs that there is no consistent Sox personality in the free agent signings, although one signing worked out as a total fiasco, while the other remains to be seen.
So Larry, Theo, please, don't don't do it, b-b-baby. Is it for the betterment of the team you do not? Not necessarily: we're talking about the best position player in the league right now. But you could also resign Mike Lowell for reasonable money/years, or get a first baseman and move Youk back to 3rd, or, or, or. You've got options beyond giving Scott Boras part ownership of the Sox, options better than leaving the Nation baffled and unsure what to do when #13 steps to the plate. Just don't. Don't. Don't:
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Upon bad performances:
Mike's second wild pitch of the game. The Moose is loose!
Moose Season opens early in the 5th inning, and Vlad Guerrero has bagged himself a big one; 7-3 Angels.
Ball four, and Mike takes objection with the strike zone again. He thinks that's pure Bull-winkle.
Out comes Joe to take the ball from Mussina, and it looks like the Moose is making tracks.
Monday, July 9, 2007
"Intestinal turmoil" put Manny Ramirez on the bench Sunday, in a game where one amazing Curtis Granderson catch made the difference, and, yes, Manny's presence in the lineup would have been appreciated. But "turmoil" is nothing to tangle with. Other names for what Manny's going through:
a peacekeeping force to the gut
(soft) shell(ed crab) shock
post-turkey stress disorder
gambling debts (the bet: "bet you can't eat just one!")
colonic civil war
hot dog hostilities
the all-star break.
One beatdown, one extra-innings squeaker, one near comeback on a Daisuke off-day, blah blah blah, All-Star break. Sox barely hold onto best lead in division, too hot in New York (106 heat index tomorrow) to talk blah blah getting swept at home, Tigers are good, Andrew Miller can only throw fastball but fastball all he need blah blah blah early lunch.
Friday, July 6, 2007
As previously mentioned, I'm working on a play presently entitled David Ortiz is God which I'll periodically be posting pieces of here. Here are two monologues, one short one from Keith Foulke, forever my hero and the true World Series MVP, the second about Nomar Garciaparra, based on a dream a friend of mine had. Enjoy.
Keith Foulke, RHP
5-3, 2.17 ERA, 32 Saves
Keith Foulke, serious and somewhat ill-tempered, with the top button removed from his cap, speaks.
I’m not gonna tell you it’s just a game. That’s not my job. My job is closing the game. I’ve got a fastball slow but accurate and a changeup slower but impossible to hit you think the not-fast fastball’s coming. I tread the line. A good team loses 62 games; a good closer loses three at most. If we get credit for a win, we usually blew the lead and didn’t get the job done right.
Excerpt from Scene 4.
Come on, give it to me.
Okay, okay. (breathes deep) Evil dream. Reaaallly evil dream. I can’t remember how it started, but where it ended was, well, I was a serial killer on the lam, running from like a hardcore police pursuit, and I looked the part, kinda like John Malkovich, but with a beard. They were chasing me down a this wooded area near some river, and at first it was lightly wooded. I grinned a crazy grin, taunted them, like (pig call) “Sooo-eeey! Can’t catch me now.” But oh how hubris comes before a fall…so then I tripped over a branch, and it hurt. I got up, but there was this one lone cop, right? Slim. Athletic, I mean, not fat like the others. I couldn’t care less about who the cop was when I first arrested me, of course, ‘cause fuck the po-lice, but…as we walked to the wagon, I asked, for some reason or other, “You got a family, officer?” And he said, “Not yet, but I’ve got a wife. I love her. She’s a renowned soccer superstar.” That hit me as strange. So I looked up. And it was none other than Nomar Garciaparra, wearing a police uniform with a Sox cap. He was firm but gentle as he walked me over. He kind of stroked my wrists around the handcuffs, even, sort of doing that (mimes some of Nomar’s at-bat routine) OCD thing he does, like, at the plate? And it wasn’t so gay…well, it wasn’t that not-gay, but the consolation was nice.
We got to the van, and I began to bawl as the enormity of what lay ahead of me…death penalty…started to dawn on my crazy bearded ass. I turned to Nomar, who sat behind me, and said to him, weeping, "I don’t wanna die. I don’t. I just wanna live. That's why I ran. I JUST WANT TO LIVE."
He just looked at me for a moment, almost lovingly, and asked the obvious question: "If you care about life so much, why'd you kill all those people?" I tried to tweak him with the response, "Murdering people was the only way I could really feel alive." But his expression didn’t change. Nomar’s face never moves. Then I bawled some more and contemplated suicide as we rode.
But Nomar was a nice guy. The Sox should offer him a fair extension.Beat.
You need help.
Least I've never dreamed of Paul O'Neill.
And now, the latest curiosity I should not have researched on Baseball Prospectus:
Julio Lugo's present VORP, even after his big 1st inning hit on Tuesday: -12.1.
Tony Womack's VORP during his infamous year as a Yankee: -12.3.
Oh, what a sweet sweet act of total brutality we inflicted upon the dorsal-finned. I've got a belly ache. There are four basic kinds of victories:
1)The squeaker/thriller, everyone's favorite because it follows the dramatic structure (Mamet, David, Three Uses Of The Knife, page 8.) Comes in comeback variety, the Cadillac of victories, and "phew" form, where victory seems certain, then less certain, then not at all certain until it's over at last.
2) The hard-to-remember game: your team takes lead, wins, maybe by three or four runs. Drama-free.
2a) The comeback turned "eh" game: often memorable, so it should be noted even if it is just a variety of 2.
3) The fantastic blowout (Night, Last, Red Sox 14, Devil Rays 4).
The blowout has a special place in my heart. It's like the bonus round in a video game, where you just shoot the targets knowing the targets won't shoot back; it's like the home run derby, only it counts for a win. I'll forever remember the Sox's most notable blowout as a sort of apex in one period of my life, post-college in New Haven without real plans but without real cares, writing at home when my girlfriend of the time called me from the game to tell me the Red Sox had scored 14 runs in the first inning, 10 before the first out was recorded. It was still early in the year, not even the midpoint (6/27/03), but it was a moment when I really thought this team could be not just good but special. (Of course, the Sox lost the game after, seemingly exhausted by all the swinging and running around the bases, a la the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, where Game 3 bizarrely took more out of the Yanks than the Sox; I probably cursed their inconsistency again right then and started doubting the bullpen. You can't fight your nature.)
All hail Coco Crisp, even if we needn't all cover him in milk, which could be considered rude when not performed by a 6'4", 230-pound (listed weight) Dominican. Then again, if any baseball player could stay crunchy even in milk, it would be Coco Crisp, now with 14 essential vitamins and 5 RBIs in the same game! (Additionally, hail hail Mike Lowell; it shocks me to type this since it was the last thought on my mind when the Beckett trade went through, but I sure hope we can resign him.) (Wipes eyes in broad comic "Wha??" fashion, like the tap dancing cat in the clip below.)
I was considering doing a post consisting entirely of me typing "Coco Crisp hit a grand slam" over and over, so shocking was the event, but Coco is genuinely come alive. .265 is an accomplishment when you start off the way Crisp did, when Coco wasn't even hitting his outs particularly hard. J.P. Howell served 'em up, with extra chocolate chips, but it takes a genuine offense to knock any starter out in 0.2 IP. Beckett's back on a 30-win pace...in my own mind. Onto a real challenge, in Le Tigres. I'm at once bemused and repulsed by Gary Sheffield much as I am by Le Tigre, but I sure hate to see that goddamn bat waggle sending a threat with every wave at the Green Monster. Remember how he started this year? Where'd those 20 HRs come from? My guess: Jim Leyland ashed his 40th cigarette of the day on his locker, or did something else to jump start his pissed-offed-ness. All I know it's there's a lion in his lumber, baby, and it's ready to roar.
Keep the ball down, Julian. Way down.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
(Preliminary notes: a) I've fucked up the game numbers before now, if you care. I'll try not to do that again. b) Have you voted for Okajima yet?)
Tampa Bay is not the chump team they once were. Carl Crawford reached 900 hits before his 26th birthday with three hits yesterday; B.J. Upton's bat was never in question, and now he's found a position, enjoyable as it was to watch him play SS in a Jose Offerman/Gary Sheffield sort of way. Delmon Young has not threatened any umpires' lives in the majors. (Looking over that old clip, though, at least you can't question Delmon's eye...it was waaay outside.) James Shields could be the genuine article; Scott Kazmir could be too, if he controls the strike zone and stops regularly throwing 100 pitches in four innings. And Al Reyes serves a valuable service to us all, reminding us of how useless the Save is as a statistic. Not that I mean to insult ya, pal. You know me, Al.
So Tampa Bay are up-and-comers, and that's not the euphemism it once was in speaking of this moribund franchise. A "developing country" as opposed to an undeveloped country that falls under the same label. As long gone Rays GM Chuck LaMar put it, "The only thing that keeps this organization from being recognized as one of the finest in baseball is wins and losses at the major-league level." (Chortles.)
For 14 more dates with Tampa (yup, 14; I too didn't notice we'd yet to play them this year), the Sox get to dine on sweet, sweet cupcakes, and they aren't even pretentiously flavored and overpriced. Or so I hope. Never underestimate a team with young talent and a Gene Hackman doppleganger manager.
But you know what thinking of the Delmon Young bat incident makes me think fondly of? Izzy Alcantara. And to think, the Sox thought Hanley Ramirez had an attitude problem:
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Stop reading this now. Go outside. Go set off some Chinese firecrackers, or watch a hyperbolic adaptation of Japanese cartoons, or vote online for one Japanese Sox pitcher while reading about how good another one is, or even watch on TV as a Cuban, a buncha Dominicans, and a Texan are among those destroying the D'Rays. But better still, go outside and almost blow your hands off. It's your duty.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Way back...and Johnny is gone-ee!
Damon with a clean cut to right field! The Yankees win, the-uh Yankees win!!!
And Johnny Damon turns water to wine and defeat to victory with an amazing leaping catch!
Johnny got his gun!
Damon was aimin' for the seats, but got under it.
And Damon strikes out to end the game. As that German guy said, maybe God Is Dead.
Monday, July 2, 2007
This is John Sterling. He announces Yankee games. He has for a few years. He needs to be fired for the love of the game and big baby jesus. He is the man behind such inane catchphrases like "An A-Bomb from A-Rod!" and "Melky Cabrera! The Melky way!"
Here are a few things he didn't say, but could have, things not necessarily worse than "The Giambino!"
Upon Jason Giambi success:
--A grand salami for Giambi!
--Jason racin' around the bases! Safe!
--Moneyball four, and Jason walks.
--Giambi fucked your mommy!
Upon Jason Giambi failure:
--Jason went chasin'. Strike three.
--Giambi's not happy with that call, but it appears that home plate ump Bruce Froemming is telling him, 'Go tell it to the committee.' Strike three.
--Giambi, go back home to your mommy!
--Giambi tried for home that play, but he ran out of juice.
Yeah, I said it. Fuck you, Cynthia Rodriguez, wife of Alex. Reasons:
1) Looking good and letting A-Rod bang cheap-looking wannabe Playmate meat. I've gone over this before: either A-Rod is a big dick or there's something going on in that relationship we don't know or want to know.
1a) It's fun to make fun of the victim.
1b) It's funny because I don't know her.
2) Living in the clean and decent city of New York, never have I heard such language. We are a people of law, good public services, and decency. Won't someone please think of the children?
3) Angry celebrities (angry at celebrity itself?) don't turn out well.
4) Derek Jeter's girlfriends no longer have sleepovers with her.
5) She shoulda worn this shirt instead:
(Retail price [Times Square]: $6, two for $10.)
Rudy's Restaurant only recently became a restaurant; recently being more than five years ago, yes, but in the history of a place as established as Rudy's, the day they started serving Belgian frittes was like the day the Old Gray Lady went color, or the day noxious/obnoxious stores for trust fund artists started appearing in Greenpoint. It was hard not to assume the worst. But all was good.
Things have changed in New Haven since I stumbled away from school, and then five months later, was sent packing in the most literal way, as a girlfriend kicked me out. Right now, New Haven is very very different, because you are literally walking through a movie set. A functional movie set. The Starbucks on Chapel is made to look like a bar, the greasy spoon has become the Bedford Coffee Shop, a bunch of old milk delivery trucks are out, and assuredly several makeup artists are turning back the clock in the most difficult sense, making Harrison Ford look again like Indiana Jones. But from my cursory view, and it is definitely cursory, the city looks nicer than I've ever seen it. I don't miss the Coliseum, even, or the New Haven Ninjas. At least not as much as I miss the New Haven Ravens.
It's also more a Red Sox town than it used to be. New Haven is the the Mason-Dixon line of Sox/Yanks territory, and I essentially played both sides when I visited yesterday, smoking a couple nice brown cigarettes at the bar of the Owl Shop and watching Jack Cust pummel the Yankees awhile, then strolling into Rudy's to watch the Red Sox flail away at Eric Gagne's offerings. Rudy's had a Sox pennant up where it did not before, although most of the familiar stuff was on the walls and the men's bathroom had a fresh coat of profane shit written there. I carved out my name there too, just because I felt obligated.
I enjoyed Rudy's offerings more. I always do. I've never loved a bar the way I love Rudy's, and I never will. When I was just an idiot 20-year-old with a fake New Jersey state ID (apparently one of the easiest to fake, all the more so when the director of a shitty play you're acting in has a friend in the DMV), Rudy's was my "real" bar. Now I don't think in such absurd categorizations if I can help it, am six years older and at least three years wiser, and Rudy's actually feels more comfortable to me as a proper grown-up. The afternoon crowd watched the baseball game, but it also just enjoyed itself, chatting and eating big cones of fries with Samurai sauce (kind of a spicy Teriyaki mayo thing; I recommend it) between calling for more pitchers of "STELLLLLA!" And the result sucked, as did the series all things considered, but I was half-drunk on rye and Blue Moon and just felt really delighted to be in a place where no one was too hip and people banged their feet on the floor to the beat of "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" while carrying on a conversation at the same time. I made a lot of instant friends in New York bars during the 2004 ALCS and WS, especially Mugs, but I would have liked to be at Rudy's for game 7 of the ALCS. I would have felt better losing here, because sometimes, I just feel better being here anyway.
If anyone knows a place in Providence that makes them feel this way or something like it, post a comment; I'm swinging through the island that isn't an island soon.