Monday, July 24, 2006

Official Break

I'm signing off the blog for a week or so. Not that this spotty posting of mine hasn't already experienced such gaps, but I've got lots of pots on the stove these days. So, yes, I am making it official. Folks, you've all been patient and loyal. For those of you who visit daily (I do know who you are, incidently, as I have statcounter) thank you for taking time out of your day to read my humble little blog! Here is my promise to you: When I return, I will also bring new window dressing. Maybe some new colors, new graphics, stuff like that. Additionally, I am going to add a bit to the embarrassingly hollow "Reading" section. And by mid August, I hope to have enough cleared off my plate to write daily.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

How I Assisted the Red Sox Last Night

So, this was really weird. And totally random.

After work last night, I drove to a nearby gas station to fill up. I had to drive up to (you guessed it) Salem to install some carbon monoxide detectors and check in on the recent work done by an electrician (I am crossing my fingers that the fire department inspection goes well today so that the smoke certificate can be obtained.) Anyway, I pulled up to the pump and IMMEDIATELY recognized the man standing less than 4 feet to my left. Julian Tavarez. He was asking this guy all gussied up in bicycle gear for directions. Evidently, he was completely lost and could not find his way home. This is understandable, I guess, if you are new to the area and you get spilled out into backroads from the 95. I waved at him and he nodded to me. I'm not sure what triggered the wave. When I saw Johnny Pesky in a parking lot in Swampscott, I shouted his name at him. Not classy, but it was one of those knee jerk reactions.

After a couple of minutes, it became clear that Bikey Jones was not helping, so Julian came over to yours truly and asked me how to get to (the street he was looking for). Let me first say that he was perfectly mannered. He extended his hand and introduced himself: "Hi, my name is Julian Tavarez. I pitch for the Boston Red Sox." I (a) told him that I knew who he was and (b) gave him my name. He apologized for his "accent." which, truth be told, was not at all severe. I offered to write some directions down for him, and he thanked me but urged me to pump my gas first. I then decided that it would be easier to escort him there than write it all down to which he agreed and thanked me. As I pumped, he was showing off a high definition-looking television and stereo combination deal (situated in the trunk area of his shiny hummer-like vehicle) to a group of males who had quietly started to gather around him. I caught him say something about getting this or that customized in Florida. I finished with the gas, got in my car, looked at him and the group of males and literally said, "Are you ready?" This was so funny. Here I am, little old me in my Ford Escort with no air conditioning and a side view mirror secured with tape, prompting Julian Tavarez to get in the car. He got in and followed me all the way to his destination. The whole time, I kept thinking: Tavararez is driving behind me. He's reading my bumper stickers. He's depending on me to get him home. No one else knows that Tavarez is behind me. The bumper sticker thing is especially amusing, as one of them is "I'm Straight But Not Narrow" and he was once accused of making an anti-gay comment at a game. Maybe this will make him think a little. Liberals who support gay rights can be nice enough to escort lost Red Sox pitchers home. Don't you forget it, Julian!

When we reached the cross street, I got out of the car and explained that this was indeed the street he was looking for and asked him if any of it looked familiar. He said he thought so, but wasn't totally sure. He then asked me if I lived close by. I said no. He asked me where I lived. I told him. He offered me a ticket to a game for my hospitality. Mind you, we were in a very busy intersection with no shoulder and lots of impatient drivers swarming around. I said, "Thanks, that's very nice of you, but that's okay." Yes, I'm kicking myself a little but it was awkward.

So, there you have it. My Julian Tavarez encounter.

The thing that upsets me a little is the fact that I've developed a little soft spot for him and won't be as inclined to throw styrofoam bricks at the television when he exits the bullpen. Maybe the soft spot will harden the next time he sucker punches someone during a game. Who knows?

So, the Texas make up game is today. Schilling vs. Rheinecker. 2:05.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Kansas City's Game Strategy

From the ever-popular 1985 classic, Spies Like Us ...

Austin Millbarge: We need a plan.
Emmett Fitz-Hume: Let's play dead.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fenway Park 7/17/06

Wow, have I ever been delinquent. This is not due to laziness, actually. I have been swamped with work. Not so much the work that I get paid to do, but work in my personal life. Basically, I've been dealing with electricians and contractors and agents and real estate attorneys and weird neighbors, all while continuing to clean out stuff at the Salem condo. Intensely exhausting. Yesterday's big project involved removing boxes and boxes from an eaves closet in 90 + degree heat. Heaps of crap to sort. I keep feeling like I'm never going to get everything done in time for the closing, but I know that there isn't much choice. Needless to say, I have been enlightened through this experience. In more ways that one, actually. I've saved the delightful basement clearing project for last. It might be dark and scary down there, but at least it will be cooler. Alright, 'nuff said.

The reward for all the work was attending last night's game with my mom. A bit steamy, but well worth all the sweating. Come from behind wins are my favorite kind. Especially after my mother grew pessimistic. One thing I seemed to be more acutely aware of at the game was the overabundance of Irish-themed Red Sox gear. I've got nothing against the Irish, but since when did the Red Sox partner with this particular group so closely? They're really shamrocking in the free world. I was psyched when other ethnic gear started surfacing, but it didn't take off and that disappoints me. I think they should create a cap that's green with a yellow B and a Brazilian flag on the back. Perhaps other countries could join in the fun. Portugal, Poland, New Zealand. Don't you think there are Red Sox fans in Scotland who would like some representation in RSN? Anyway, it was the first time my mother has been to Fenway and actually left with a W. See, Mom, you aren't cursed!

We were lucky enough to see 2 ceremonial pitches. The first was thrown by Meat Loaf (funny hearing the announcer say his name. Meat *pause* Loaf). The second was thrown by Will Ferrell dressed up in Tiante's uniform. He was being caught by Josh Beckett, who (whom?) he kept shaking off. Ferrell was all serious-like. Very amusing. His mother-in-law lives in Natick or something, I hear.

The Kansas City Royals brought some crazy little women with them to Fenway. There were two teenaged girls (wearing KC shirts, I think) standing above our section who kept tossing their sodas or slushies or whatever down below. Some of the contents splashed on folks who were sitting about 6 rows up from me and my mom. Needless to say, they were less than pleased. Middle fingers were exchanged and lots of shouting, The girls did the typical "tongue sticking out" business, holding their cups up, as if threatening to drop more down. At the peak of their arrogance, a guard made his way over to them and gently led them away, triggering huge applause and whatnot from our section. Beyond that excitement, there were two dueling heavy set dudes wearing AC/DC t-shirts. I noticed one give the other the stink eye as he climbed the steps. "This section ain't big enough for the both of us, fella!" Another interesting observance was the fact that the Royals all have exceptionally long last names. [They could barely squish them in to the diamond when their fielding positions were displayed.]

Graffanino (*sniff*)

Announcer man had a little trouble with Grudzielanek. He sort of flew right through it, hoping he got it right. Matt Stairs continues to be my favorite major league name, though my mother has altered it slightly by changing "Matt" to "Back."

Overall, I was impressed with the work of the bullpen last night. Delcarmen held up really nicely. Hansen sparkled - and not just his huge freak teeth!

I forgot to charge my battery, so no pics from last night. Again, I've been super busy, so I'm cutting myself a little slack.

My friend Anne and I are getting together tonight (not that you care), so I'm not sure how much of the game I will catch. But, I will say that we need to beat these guys up. Seriously. Two out of three, at least. The lead must be padded! Go Lester!

Monday, July 10, 2006

See You After the All Star Break

Jason Varitek is taking a break, and so am I. I never much cared for the All Star festivities. I always vote, but I never watch any of it. Do you really think, with the NL looking the way they do, that there is any chance of them obtaining home field advantage? Maybe they'll make it interesting. Who knows?

Anyhoo, I really need the time off from baseball. Especially after that killer game yesterday. You know it's bad when it gets to a certain point in the game and you just don't care who wins anymore. You're like someone, please stick a fork in this!

Ciao for a few!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

"You're gonna need a bigger broom."

I've spent the majority of the weekend tying things up with the sale of the condo (yay!) and hanging out with my girlfriends. Seems like the more I sort of keep an eye on the Sox from a distance, the better they do. And what's with all this sweepy business? If (BIG IF) we beat the White Sox today, it'll just be plain weird. If we aren't getting swept (alright, we walked away with 1 measly dignity win in the series against the Rays after losing 3 in a row and there was that one loss against the Marlins, but still), we're sweeping. It's wacky.

So, I'm going to do my part and go out, do some laundry, and toss the ball around in the park with my friend, Anne.

P.S. Is it not overkill to light "homerun" fireworks off during the day in Chicago? It's the same as the Liberty Bell stuff in Philadelphia and the tiger roar in Detroit. Necessary?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I Suspect

... we haven't seen the last of Johnson. Unfortunately.

Why not Syder? Why not anybody else? We've given the guy a fair shot. He didn't come with consistency. He came with, "he's a ground ball pitcher." *Ahem* I saw a lot of balls whizzing around in the air during his last 2 outings.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

This Series, Thus Far

Warning: Sarcasm Up Ahead

Corcoran pelted Youk, then almost got Loretta in the head. It must be weird to hit someone with a pitch and not really be able to apologize. You know it stung like a mofo, and I'm sure a human's natural reaction is to run up to whoever and be like, "Oh my, are you okay?!" I do this to inanimate objects, sometimes. Meanwhile, a pitcher accidently lops some dude's head off with a pitch, then stands there all awkward while the headless batter goes to first. It must be strange, is all I'm sayin.

You see how no one talks about that horrible heckler? Neither Orsillo nor Remy even acknowledge it. Do they even hear it? Is the heckler the same person making that obnoxious "banging on the cowbell" noise? I wonder if it's one of those deals where if it's talked about, then the heckler "wins" somehow so the idea is to pretend it isn't happening. Meanwhile the sound quality of this game suffers. That's a good compromise, huh?

Lead off single for the Rays ... and catcher's interference. Weee! Baldelli brings Lugo home for the first run. And no outs! Well, at least we've got Johnson going tonight. He'll settle down and give us a bunch of "ground outs." Yep, you watch. [I wonder if the Rays will get on base due to more weirdness and shitbag pitching.]

Quick Pre-Game Look Alike

When I first saw Zdeno Chara on the news tonight, I thought - Hey! What's Andy Pettitte doing playing hockey?




Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Bing Bang Boom

I'll give New York New Year's Eve, but man, Boston's got the best 4th of July celebration EVAH! I've always wanted to be on a boat floating on the Charles during the display. Ah, someday.

I can hear the fireworks booming out my window while watching it on the tube.

Meanwhile, in Steinbrenner Land ...

Alright, I know that we Sox fans are very humbly holding onto first with a padding of 4 games, but I just caught the final score between the Yanks and the Indians and woah, what a wolloping! 19-1, Tribe. I had to read it several times to make sure it was right. That's some serious humilation, there. I grant you, Cleveland has a decent team, but still.

However ...

we've got Johnson (ironically from Cleveland) going tomorrow and, well, let's just say I hope our defense is totally on and our offense can light it up against TB's 1.17 ERA starter.

Messy, Messy, Messy

Well, that didn't go well.

    The pitching gets a C-, at best.
    Were Kaplar and Ortiz the only ones working, offensively (not counting the rally in the 9th)?
    Youk's error in the 8th inning massacre was both rare and awful.
    I've had it with that mascot of theirs who demonstrates the worst sportsmanship imaginable (obviously jealous that we are at opposite poles in the division standing).
    The man screaming behind the plate was way out of control, too. He must have season tickets or something because I hear him shouting during these matchups in Florida a lot (isn't he the guy who used to heckle Damon mercilessly?). How is this allowed? Shouldn't an overzealous a-hole like that get ejected? Especially when it interferes with the game audio!

I just hope that we don't get swept. If so, this series and the one with the Twins would serve as bookends for a very impressive run. And that would be strange.

On a quasi-related note, twice I saw the Classic Moment commercial in which Ted Williams and Joe Cronin's numbers get retired and twice I cried. Gawd, I'm a sap!

Gonzalez Rules At Short

That is all.

Wicked Loss

Why, oh, why do the Sox have such poor results against Kazmir? Is it the lefty thing? What is our record against lefties? Better or worse than RHPs? According to Bob Ryan, various shifts were on David. The Rays were trying to psych him out with different ones. I guess that’s what a last place team has to do against the power house that is Papi. Also crappy, the Red Sox were the opposing team during Kazmir’s first career complete game. A game I’m glad I missed.

I did see some post game, and the more I think about my friend Ilene’s theory, the more I am convinced: When McCarty joins Tom Caron or the occasional Eric Frede, the Red Sox lose. Personally, I don’t think it’s McCarty per se, but rather the bad James Cagney hair. Please, McCarty, if you are reading this, for the love of Mike, do something about the hair!

An aside - I was actually happy to read that both Lugo and Baldelli are back in the TB line up. That team needs them, to be sure. I’m a fan of Rocco’s (a) because his name is so freaking cool and (b) he’s from Rhode Island and rumored to be wicked* into the Pats. And I am a fan of Lugo’s, as we share the same birthday. Note: This is not the same as my blog’s birthday.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July, all!

*So far, I can only think of 2 grammatical uses for the word wicked.
1. Adverb, like the above example: I never thought he cared for stamp collecting, but now he’s wicked into it. ~OR~ I wicked need to buy that book.
2. Adjective: She was driving wicked fast and I lost her!