Friday, August 06, 2004

Forever Young

There's an entertaining "On or Off?" thread (referring to the Red Sox fan bandwagon, of course) over at SoSH. This joke, posted by "SpikeMyOwen" had me LOL:

One day Wally and the Beaver were sittin around talking when the Beav pipes up,
--"Gee Wally what's a Red Sox fan?"
Wally sat there for a minute and finally said,
--"Well Beaver that's a guy who watches the MFYs buy up players by the truckload and his team go down and flames and says 'Ya but wait till the playoffs!' '."

I'm laughing now as I type. Too funny. And too true.

What is it exactly, this universal, cosmic unconsciousness among Red Sox fans that has us collectively thinking, "Ya but wait 'til the playoffs!"? I've got it bad or rather good today, that "you just wait" feeling. Mira, I'm not sure if it's because I'm so content in my own life at the moment (what with the new house that is even better than I'd imagined now that I'm all unpacked and settling in and some other cool work related stuff going on) or if it's that August in betweeness I wrote of yesterday or if it's the closure of the Nomar thing or what, but I'm telling you I haven't felt this good about the Red Sox since the euphoria of last April. (Remember April when the hyacinths were in bloom?)

The 2004 Boston Red Sox are going to make the postseason. And if they don't, well we'll have plenty of time for that sturm und drang later. I'm in a rare state of zen-like baseball bliss.

Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do is succeed utterly; keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain forever young. — Roger Angell, "The Interior Stadium", The Summer Game

Thursday, August 05, 2004


When my eyes are weeds,
And my lips are petals, spinning
Down the wind that has beginning
Where the crumpled beeches start
In a fringe of salty reeds;
When my arms are elder-bushes,
And the rangy lilac pushes
Upward, upward through my heart;

August is a strange month, isn't it? With all the full force of summer bearing down, the sticky heat and humidity, the burnt out lawns, and the impenetrable haze hanging over every hill, yet also full of the nervous energy of a nascent autumn found in a single leaf turning red here and another going to yellow just over there And baseball in August bears this dichotomy, this seasonal in betweeness, when the games come each day and having been coming each day for so long that it's a routine, a few wins, a few losses, it goes on, there is time, or maybe you want there to be plenty of time because, really, it's just there, September, just around the corner, the post season harvest, in the heat of an August afternoon, the October fruit hangs, undeveloped, yet sweetening, growing, juicing up, getting a little heavier each day. You don't want summer to end but you can't wait to taste that apple. So these Red Sox losses in August, 9 back in the division, a game and a half back in the wildcard, mean nothing but they mean everything

I'm still not quite sure whether I love August or hate it.

On the verge of completing their first road series sweep since April 23-25 at Yankee Stadium, the Sox blew a three-run lead and fell to the Devil Rays, 5-4. Bronson Arroyo [stats, news] toyed with Tampa Bay for six innings before being tagged for a tide-turning grand slam by Toby Hall, which obliterated his 4-1 lead.

The Sox nearly tied the game in the ninth but Rocco Baldelli threw out potential tying run Dave Roberts [stats, news] at the plate to preserve the win (Horrigan, Herald).

Motor on to Detroit

Summer, do your worst!
Light your tinsel moon, and call on
Your performing stars to fall on
Headlong through your paper sky;
Nevermore shall I be cursed …

(from Dorothy Parker's poem "August," 1926)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

No Gloaming, No, Not Yet

Can you believe the Red Sox are actually guaranteed a road series win after last night's win?

And with Bronson Arroyo going tonight, I'm feeling like Johnny Damon when he says,

"We feel real good about the team, the energy seems to be back in the team" said Damon, who went 0-for-4 as the No. 3 hitter. "We're happy with the situation we're at right now and hopefully we can get the sweep" (Shalin, Herald).

Moreover, when a club has someone as heroic as Curt Schilling in their starting rotation, can things ever be all that bad?

Schilling (13-5) allowed only six hits and a walk, while striking out seven batters en route to his third complete game of the season. No other Boston pitcher has gone the distance.

My new mantra I'll say to myself each morning:

"You want to be part of the cure instead of the problem" — Curt Schilling

Seriously, if you only had to live by one philosophy for all you life entails, that'd be as good as any.

But, wait, there's more. Did you read this from Schilling at DirtDogs?

Ballplayers are there to perform and be cheered, booed and jeered, to entertain fans with their god given ability, and to perform at a level no one else can. Then, at the end of the day, we go home and do the same things you all do.hen, at the end of the day, we go home and do the same things you all do.

While other ballplayers obviously share similar sentiments, I've never come across anyone quite like Curt Schilling who does such a superb job of laying it all out. He's like the Oprah of Major League Baseball. When he retires, some savvy network should offer him a show. No kidding.

Elsewhere, Dave Pinto offers a caveat about speed:

I was watching the pregame chat among the Red Sox announcers tonight, and they seemed excited that Roberts, Cabrera and Damon were batting 1,2,3. They thought it was great to have all that speed at the top of the order. Of course, there's a problem with speed; you have to get on base to use it. Tonight, those three went 0 for 12 with 1 walk.…

And have you heard about this?

The [Farrelly Brothers] begin filming next month the American version of British author Nick Hornby's best-selling novel Fever Pitch, about a man torn between his obsession with Arsenal and his girlfriend Sarah.

The book was first adapted into a British film in 1997, starring Bridget Jones heart-throb Colin Firth, however the US version's lead character will be crazy about baseball team Boston Red Sox. Jimmy Fallon will play sports-nut Ben opposite Drew Barrymore's Lindsay.

Jimmy Fallon? I'm underwhelmed. I really hate that SNL Sox fan character he plays. Worse, the film is mostly going to be shot in Toronto. Considering the Farrelly Brothers oeuvre (e.g., Dumb and Dumber, Me, Myself and Irene, There's Something About Mary) you've got to figure Boston fans are going to be cast in a less than flattering light for the sake of a laugh. But I've got to admit I've laughed pretty hard at some of their work, and the brother are from Rhode Island and are Red Sox fans, so I remain cautiously optimistic that it'll be a good show.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Everybody on a Bobblehead

I really enjoyed reading through the comments yesterday regarding Nomar memories (or, in some cases, the lack thereof).

Beth's reference to the notion put forth in the 100 Years DVD about how when one Red Sox idol leaves another comes to fill the void was particularly heartening. As the old proverb goes, "When one door closes, another opens wide." Let's hope this is true for Nomar as well.

Though, such sentiments may haunt us as Chris proposes:

If [the trade of Nomar to Chicago] plays out in typical Red Sox fashion, the "Nomar" moment is yet to come. He'll do something dramatic to help the Cubs win the World Series.

Meanwhile, an idol in the wings, the Greek God of Walks, is back with the big club:

… the Sox gave Wakefield breathing room as Youkilis, renowned for his patience, pounced on Hendrickson's first pitch to him in the fifth and whistled a two-run double down the left-field line. Youkilis scored the final Sox run when third baseman Aubrey Huff misplayed a grounder by Manny Ramirez (Hohler, Globe).

And maybe Beth's right and Youkilis is the next "Mr. Boston"?

Let us hope.

So, evidently, yesterday's game at Tropicana Field featured a Don Zimmer Mini Bobblehead promotion. Check this thing out! My question to you is the following: Is there a bobblehead that bears a more uncanny resemblance to the actual person than the Don Zimmer Mini Bobblehead? Or perhaps that should be rephrased as, Is there a human being who more uncannily resembles a bobblehead than Don Zimmer?

Speaking of bobbleheads, in this age of reality TV and such, where so many people scratch out their 15 minutes of fame in the most bizarre ways (reality TV contestants for instance) how long do you think it'll before someone comes up with a way to make individualized bobbleheads? You know, a bobblehead of you, a bobblehead of me, everybody on a bobblehead.

You think I'm joking? Mark my words. Heh. (Well, it's already happening to some degree, but I'm talking about a real bobblehead and not just a photo stuck on an existing, generic type.)

Monday, August 02, 2004

Nomar and Bidding Adieu

Nomar, Bidding Adieu

Laying in bed this morning after a weekend a surreal weekend in which not only was discombobulated from the trivial of not knowing where anything is in the new house to the profundity of the Nomar trade, I came up with a great idea for today's post: Write about your favorite Nomar moment and encourage the readers to do the same in the comments.

So I begin thinking. And thinking … and still thinking … Then I start to berate myself to think harder. Apply yourself, damn it, the guy's and All Star and has spent his entire career with the Red Sox, there must be something, some pivotal play or hit that has a permanent and revered place in your memory.

But, no. I can't come up with anything. The best "favorite Nomar" memory I had was the beautiful moment with Nomar and Ted Williams at the '99 All Star game at Fenway, but I don't think that really counts as it didn't occur in an actual game.

And, oh, I have lucid and fond memories of Nomarisms: the herky jerky motion of his touch each stair stutter step coming out of the dugout; the batter's box toe kicks and batting glove wrist tightening twitches, the hook nose, the superman physique, the smile (oh, what a smile!) …

But I don't have a game memory, don't have one of those Carlton Fisk '75 World Series type memories, nor one of those Clemens 20 strike out memories. Heck, I don't even have one of those Mike Greenwell hitting for the cycle kinds of memories. I have lots of bits and pieces, a great throw here, a forceful smash off the wall for a double there, but nothing defining.

Is this just me? Am I in some sort of denial, blocking off memories as a way to dull any emotional pain that Nomar is no longer wearing number 5 for the Boston Red Sox? Or maybe I'm just suffering from a leaky memory in general?

Meanwhile, I don't want to engage in Nomar bashing. No, not at all. Still, these words from Gammons haunt me:

Garciaparra did not hang out with teammates, and this season became increasingly distant as his body language became despondent.…veteran teammates constantly made private comments like "he is the biggest disappointment of my playing career -- I never knew what he was like."

Dang. And then all this stuff about being too hurt to play for the Red Sox but OK to play everyday for the Cubs? Doesn't sound good does it? I'm prone to believe all of this at face value because this has been what my gut instinct has been telling me for a while now. For the past couple of seasons, perhaps going back as far as the wrist injury announcement in Spring Training 2001 something just didn't feel right anymore. I can't really explain it and certainly can't quantify or verify it, but Nomar no longer seemed to me like the old Nomar of the 90s.

But even considering all of the above, there is no joy at all in seeing him go. And, without a doubt, I hope Nomar has a great rest of the season with the Cubs.