Friday, July 02, 2004

Hold Your Head Up

Call me naive, call me a fool, call me Shirley, but this is precisely my sentiment this morning:

"We played a great game, and we take more from this game than we lose. I bet we'll capitalize on the things we did tonight." — Pedro Martinez

"They got the better of us in this series, but this is going to be our worst dip in our year. We still believe we're going to go off and win the World Series." — Johnny Damon

Speaking as one fan, all I can say is a loss, even one to the Yankees, is much easier to take when the team played with heart. Heck, they didn't even make an error, which should be the default condition for a Major League club, but hasn't been these nine in a some time.

And hat's off to Derek Jeter for that amazing catch. Wow. That was just great baseball all around.

And regarding heroic shortstops, by now you've probably seen this headline at BDD: "SoSH Poster Reports Garsitaparra Deal Done"

Who knows the veracity to this one, but I can't help but feel The Soxaholix have the sentiment right:

Yeah, I love Nomar but ever since the A-Rod thing in December, everything's been [expletive] up for player and fan alike … It's like one partner in a relationship getting caught in bed with someone else and you try to forgive and make it work for a couple of months but you both know it's a facade…

I feel badly for Nomar and would rather he be happy somewhere else than unhappy with Boston.

Also, I wonder if Kevin Millar's abysmal play this year has anything to do with the public statements he made regarding his excitement at getting the chance to play with A-Rod when that now iniquitous trade seemed to all like a done deal? I know the "no hard feelings …we're all cool now" spin everyone put on it afterwards, but still, these guys are men with all the emotions that come with being men.

Onward we march to Atlanta. Have a great 4th of July weekend. Enjoy yourself, even if that means taking a break from baseball.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Laugh On Becomes Rage On

Did you see that movie 28 Days Later? It's one of my all time faves in that genre.

Remember that heart wrenching scene when kindly Mr. Bridges looks up and sees an infected corpse and right then a single drop of blood falls into his eye, thus infecting him, and knowing he has only a few seconds before he goes into a permanent state of murderous rage, he tells his daughter, "I love you" stumbling forward, sadly, and then the rage takes over and the other survivors have no choice but to kill Mr. Bridges violently and without haste?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's how I feel. You've been with me while I remained positive last season and through the enormity of the Game 7 ALCS defeat and through the mental punishment of the A-Rod fiasco, and you've helped spread the "positive visualization" vibe all this past Spring — But now I'm infected and only have a few second to say thanks and I love you all before all the positive is swept away and … *


Meet my new favorite columnist, Dan Shaughnessy,

It had to be the most excruciating defeat of this suddenly-southbound season.…The Stonefingers Sox are 7 1/2 games behind the hated Yankees. Eight games in the loss column. And now that July is here, the Sox officially just played two months of sub-.500 baseball (27-28 in May and June). …Somebody needs to shake things up and it's not going to be Francona …the closest thing we've seen to M.L. Carr since Pete Carroll …(Globe).

Watching the game last night, when the Red Sox had the bases loaded and no outs yet failed to bring a single run across the plate is when I became metaphorically infected with the rage. I knew the game was lost at that point. Then when Francona came in and, as a Yankee fan acquaintance described it in an email, made a very "Littlian" decision to pull Wakefield, well, it was only a formality at that point the game would go to the Yankees.

I'm abashed to confess there was no way I could summon anything positive to visualize. I was spent. When the Yankees tied it, I flipped the channel. Over and out.


  • Pedro is knocked around tonight and goes on the DL with possible season ending injury (so he's not even tradable).
  • Red Sox swept by Braves.
  • Devil Rays move into second place.
  • Theo makes a shrewd trade only to be shown up by Cashman who acquires Randy Johnson for the Yankees.

And in the "my life mirrors the Red Sox" department, my wife and I decided to begin cutting the asking price on our house to "shake things up a bit" realizing we were being overly optimistic, smug, and greedy, which is a foreshadowing of the possible temperament and fire sale soon to take place on Yawkey Way.

By the way, don't look up because the sky is falling.

There I feel better now.

* My sci-fi/thriller metaphor was inspired by Deane's "Poltergeist" comment from yesterday.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

"Went to the city and got so so so ditty"

I was so jumpy going into last night's game that I made the foolhardy decision to hit the sauce hard and early in an attempt to put myself in a pleasing stupor — But like every drunk on I've ever had, what starts out as bliss ends up feeling like someone hit you on the head with a baseball bat. Not at all unlike what took place in the Bronx last night.

Derek Lowe [stats, news] was hammered for nine runs in only five innings and three Red Sox errors resulted in four unearned runs, leading to a humbling 11-3 loss in the first of three vital games between the American League East rivals.  The defeat, the Sox' sixth in their past nine games, dropped them a season-high 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees (Horrigan, Herald).

Oddly, I feel far worse about my hangover than I do the Red Sox. I've tried to be as positive as possible this year, and the acquisition of Schilling and Foulke really did get my hopes up. However, in my heart of hearts I've all along had the same feeling I had back in late October of last year:

I don't think we'll be 5 outs away from the World Series again anytime real soon… [and] …I worry it'll be another 5 to 10 years before the stars and planets are aligned in the Red Sox favor again…

That doesn't mean I don't think wonderful, unexpected things cannot or will not happen this year (That's like a triple negative sentence!). The '04 Red Sox are still a formidable club; they still could win the AL East outright; or they still could win the Wild Card and then who knows?

But I'm no longer going to pretend that such an outcome is destiny rather than anomaly. I'm still going to enjoy the hell out of this season, too. The way I see it (and, yes, this is called rationalization) even if the club sinks and gets displaced by Tampa Bay, it'll be fascinating to watch how Theo Epstein et al maneuver.

Elsewhere, Boston Dirt Dogs has a lot of information about The Red Sox seeming to come unglued as well as the story about Pedro goofing around while the team is getting clobbered 11-3. It sounds horrible and wrenches my gut, but I have to remember how things can be taken out of context or misrepresented by TV cameras and even first hand reporting. (And I'm not just talking about baseball, of course.)

One thing on BDD that did really catch my attention was the transcript of Gammons' talk on WFAN's Mike and the Mad Dog show yesterday:

There were fans were down there (at Fenway) screaming obscenities at Mia Hamm (after Nomar's error against Twins in 10th). It's insane! I had to have people removed for what they were yelling at Derek Jeter.

Such behavior is deplorable, of course, but what do you expect? Countless words have been written about how baseball, or sport in general, often mirrors or otherwise anticipates the national culture as a whole. We are right now living in a world where on one side we have the Vice President of the United States telling a Senator from Vermont to "**** off!" And on the other side we have citizens and politicians claiming the the sitting President is somehow worse than Hitler and more of a threat than the fascist madman Saddam Hussein ever was.

And Gammons expects baseball fans, and of all fans already half insane Red Sox fans, to be somehow more mannerly than everyone else?

I can say with all honesty that I've never been more ill at ease, confused, and depressed by what is going on around me. I held out hope that baseball would be the one place where I could find a little of paradise lost, but I should have known better. We are what we are.

Yesterday, I mentioned a Grandmaster Flash line, and later Alex Belth wrote in to correct me:

One minor note, it was Melle Mel who sang, "It's like a Jungle, sometimes it makes me wonder how I keep from going under." He was the lead vocalist for Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Flash was the DJ.

Coincidentally, while the Red Sox were going knee deep in the poo-poo-poo, I turned my attention away from the iBook and MLB.TV to watch the BET Awards and who makes a surprise appearance? None other than Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. And they sang "The Message" from which the "sometimes I wonder" line comes from. Too cool. Now if you read yesterday's post you may be wondering how they handled the "Sometimes I think I’m going insane, I swear I might/Hijack a plane!" lines … No surprise, they skipped it.

Wakefield tonight. Keeping my Sox on.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Redlining the Sphygmomanometers

Between the importance of this coming 3 game series in the Bronx and my ongoing thoughts of doom and financial ruin related to my Grady Little real estate decision, I'm totally redlining the sphygmomanometer this morning and will be all day until the 1900 hour arrives at which point the real anxiety will set in … I very well could spontaneously combust sometime around 9pm .

Asked about the Yankees-Red Sox three-game Baseball Armageddon that opens tonight at a sold-out Yankee Stadium, The Boss didn't blanch. "It's going to be a great series, Boston has a great team, but it's payback time," Steinbrenner said (King, NY Post).

Oh, and this made me want to wretch:

Joe Torre remembers The Sweep [in April] hiking Boston's record against the Yankees to 6-1. Torre believes … The Sweep served as a bonding tool for his team and the reason it got hot (King).

Just our flubbing luck, right? Sweeping the Yankees in April turns out to be a good thing for the Yankees?

As Grandmaster Flash might say, "it makes me wonder how I keep from goin’ under."

Speaking of the granddaddies of rock, funny (and by funny I mean ironic rather than "ha ha") how I just noticed this line from the same song:

Sometimes I think I’m going insane, I swear I might
Hijack a plane!

Whoa! Back in '82 when this song came out, that line meant so little that I didn't even remember it. Man, how times change, regrettably in this case. Like I said Friday, I miss the innocence I've know.

Now that I've got you all depressed, my only recourse is to cheer you up, and I've got just the thing to do it.

Today, as you're biting your nails in anticipation of facing down the Yankees, spend some quality time going through these images of wannabe rock band photos at If you're like me and thousands and thousands of other dingalings who once dared to dream of being a rock and roll star, you may see a little of yourself in some of the shots, a self you most likely would like to keep suppressed somewhere in your memory.

It's interesting how, for most of us, the dream of being a Major Leagues ballplayer dies somewhere between Little League and Babe Ruth League, when it becomes painfully obvious we aren't particularly gifted at the sport of baseball. Yet for the would be stadium rocker, the dream can live on well through adolescence.

And that's a good thing. As Journey would say, "Don't stop. Believing. Hold on to that feel-il-ing." (Today especially.)

Monday, June 28, 2004

In the Doldrums (Seeking Wind)

Jeff Horrigan writes in this morning's Herald that

Thanks to the continued Fenway Park dominance of Curt Schilling and the ongoing support of offensive mainstays David Ortiz [stats, news] and Manny Ramirez [stats, news], a region's premature panic has been put on hold.

And the always entertaining Bob Ryan of the Globe concurs,

… yes, yesterday's 12-3 victory over the Phillies was important, as was the way it was accomplished. There was, for one of the rare times this season, a little bit of that September '03 feel.

Having taken the weekend off from all things Red Sox, I'll take their word for it. Catching up on Red Sox news this morning, it certainly feels like the proverbial panic buttons would be pushed if the Sox had dropped another series. Still, while I positively have my Sox on, and while I'm riding along in the often bumpy ride of the bandwagon, I remain blase. My attitude toward the Red Sox at this point completely mirrors the club itself: I'm a bit over .500, with good days and bad days, mas o menos as they say Spanish.

The Red Sox hitting reminds me of my days of bachelorhood. When I didn't have a girlfriend, attracting interest from the opposite sex was something of a chore, yet, during those stretches when I had a hottie g.f. on my arm, it seemed all of a sudden that women were coming out of the woodwork with (wicked) wanton looks in their eyes. Similarly, the Red Sox hitters tear the friggin' cover off the ball when they're already up by 5 runs, but heaven forbid they need clutch hit with runners in scoring position while trailing by one run.

Meanwhile, I don't know quite what to think of this next series. If we make too much of it, we are accused of being "obsessed" with the other club. If we don't make too much of it, we'll be branded as being in denial or of being naive pollyannas. On top of that, I'm scared of jinx by even daring to imagine any outcome.

C'est la vie for a Red Sox fan.