Friday, September 03, 2004

Nothing (But Smiles)

OK. It finally happened. I have nothing to say, nothing to add to the victory roll zeitgeist.

The win was the Sox' 15th in the last 16 games and their 18th in the last 21. They've won 10 straight at Fenway, marking their longest home winning streak since a 10-game run July 16-25, 1993. The overall winning streak is only the 33rd in club history of at least nine games and the longest since a nine-game streak April 30-May 9, 2002 (Horrigan, Herald).

Not that I'm complaining. I like have nothing at all to say beyond, "The Red Sox win again. I'm so happy I could cry."

Funny story: For whatever reason when I awoke this morning, there was something amiss with my eyes, allergen/pollen related I suspect, and everything was all blurry. I couldn't read any but the headline size text on the computer screen. My first thought? "[Expletive] great. I'm going to go blind and then the Red Sox will win it all but I won't see it!"

Fortunately, my vision returned to normal after a time.

If only we could say the same for poor Dale Sveum, eh? Blind as a bat it seems.

Glad I'm not the only one who invokes "the gods" from time to time:

"I was just happy the baseball gods were looking out for me and gave me another opportunity to atone for my mistake," [Roberts] said. "It worked out great" (Hohler, Globe).

I'll say it worked out great. What a catch! Wonder if Roberts has a little shrine to the baseball gods like I do? Don't tell me I'm the only one with a little shrine full of Red Sox curious and good luck charms, either. I know you're out there with your novenas and your candles and your worry beads.

Actually, if you listen really close, you can probably hear my worry beads clicking just a tad. Texas scares me.

The Rangers come to town tonight for a three-game series with a four-game losing streak in tow. … But the team that no one expected to hang around is still hanging around. And thanks to the bats of Alfonso Soriano, Hank Blalock, and Mark Teixeira, along with one of the better bullpens in the league, this series has taken on added importance.… Much like the Angels, the Rangers have a potent offense, with 10 guys with 10 or more home runs (Nesbitt, Globe).

Oh, and they can pitch a bit, too.

The Red Sox can handle them, of course. But those pesky, I mean, those pleasant, so happy to have your around fo' shizzle, baseball gods, will hopefully continue to smile upon us.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend. I'm going to plan on taking all 3 days off from posting, as I don't want to upset the ritual of taking the weekend off. Not just yet. Once we can breathe easily and start unfurling the postseason bunting, then it's 7 days a week for sure.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Bending with Apples

We are not the only one seeing the paradigm shift in all things Red Sox, here's Angels' bench coach Joe Maddon's (who interviewed for the Red Sox manager position) perspective:

"I think the energy is totally different now - that's the first thing that hits you in the face when you see them. Just watching them warm up, just seeing a guy like Bill Mueller go through his routine.They're playing with more confidence, they seem to believe in themselves more. We try to evaluate the attitude of each team before each series and their attitude is different - in a positive way" (Silverman, Herald).

Meanwhile, I know many of you refuse to read the CHB, but no matter your feelings toward Curly, this line, in the midst of his being "positive" just cracks me up: "It is September. The leaves soon will turn brown." See, there's no world famous New England fall foliage, no vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows in Shaughnessy's world; it's straight to brown. At least he's consistent, right? No, "long, strong pull" on the wine of autumn for the CHB.

Me? I'm enjoying every drop of this "14 wins in their last 15 games, 17 in their last 20, and 20 in their last 24" late summer drink. I daresay I'm a bit drunk on it.

Now, hold your intervention on me. By enjoying these days fully does not mean that I think we're on easy street no more than enjoying the wonderful colors of Fall means that I do not realize that soon enough "the austere sun descends above the fen … brooding as the winter night comes on" (Plath).

No, nothing has been won yet, no wildcard, no division, and who knows any postseason play will be at hand — But don't cheat yourself out of the joy. Don't think of the brown leaves, think of the "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness."

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Throats to the Heavens Incline

Over at Bronx Banter, Alex Belth writes, "Man, I had the worst dream last night.… " I feel like I'm dreaming as well, but, unlike Alex, I don't want to ever wake up from mine.

This headline says it all, Let's be Curt: Red Sox are MLB's hottest team.

And how does two-fisted point, two homer night, Manny Ramirez feel?

"We don't have no pressure, man. Everybody's playing hard. Everybody's having fun, like I always say, and I think that's going to be key this year" (

And I you've got to love this line from Michael Morrissey in the NY Post:

Javier Vazquez exited a putrid outing in the second inning to a chorus of boos reminiscent of ancient Roman times.

When's the last time you've seen the word "putrid" used in describing the Centurions of the Bronx? Hell, when's the last time you've read the word "putrid" used in a sports column? (OK. Not counting Buckley or Shaughnessy that is. Heh heh.)

But Curt Schilling, like a Visigoth waiting to cross the Tiber, knows that vanquishing the Roman Legions, will not be easy:

"Contrary to the belief of a lot of people in this region, the Yankees don't suck," Schilling said. "I don't expect them to fall down on the job. They were good enough to put 10 games between us. We're going to need some help to catch up" (Horrigan, Herald).

Nevertheless, this September 1st should be thought of as a feast day. Let's turn to the always ahead of his time D.H. Lawrence again, from his poem "Autumn Sunshine,"

The time is now, the wine-cup full and full
 Of lambent heaven, a pledging-cup;
  Let now all mortal men take up
The drink, and a long, strong pull.

Out of the hell-queen’s cup, the heaven’s pale wine—
  Drink then, invisible heroes, drink.
  Lips to the vessels, never shrink,
Throats to the heavens incline.

Enjoy the happiness today brings with all the celerity and earnestness we felt in more strident times. We deserve it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

It's Showtime

Remember right after the Nomar trade when the conventional [cough] wisdom was that Theo Epstein had been snookered into making a horrible roster move and Curt Schilling went on record backing up the GM over the trade because the Red Sox indeed really needed to improve on defense?

Once again, Schilling proves he knows a thing or two about this game of baseball:

Curt Schilling attributed the Red Sox starters success in the four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers to one word. Defense.

… I think defensively we are playing so well right now, and it changes the starting pitcher's outlook. You are throwing fewer pitches and fewer pitches means more innings. Defensively we have been phenomenal the last few weeks. As a rotation we have been throwing the ball well, and the bullpen has been solid and deep. But then again, it all goes back to defense (Thompson, Herald).

That's the kind of talk Bill Belichick could agree with, no?

And you know what they say, "Defense is superior to opulence." (Truth be told, nobody says that, do they? I've never heard it before. Though it is fitting in this case if one things of "opulence" as the Red Sox' historical proclivity toward filling the roster with Wall-clearing sluggers.)

Elsewhere, this is intriguing if you are between the ages of 15-20 or you have kids who are:

Bentley, a premier business university located just minutes from Boston, is offering you an exciting chance to break into the biz of Major League Baseball. If you are between the ages of 15-20, you may be eligible to win a one month internship with the Boston Red Sox. Just fill out the form, along with a 50-100 word essay describing why you should be chosen, for a chance to win.

See Official Rules for details.

A "maximum of 100 words" in the essay? Whoa, that'll force you to focus.

I was going to say that I wished they would have had a contest like that when I was in that age range, but, as it goes, that period of adolescence was when I really tuned out the Red Sox. I recall '78 vividly, but the rest of that time I couldn't have been bothered with the comings and goings along Yawkey Way, being too worried about pimples and peer groups and all the teenage angst that seems like so much nonsense once you get past it.

Back to the present (put down the Oxy-10 and turn off the MTV, kids), tonight's the night: Schilling vs Lackey and the start of the most important nine games of season. Here's to hoping for great defense and over the top opulence at the hands of the "Manny Ortez."

Monday, August 30, 2004

"Don't sleep on the Sox!"

So said Derek Lowe [see title],"who was one of several Sox players to catch the Yankees defeat on a clubhouse television late yesterday afternoon" (Massarotti, Herald). Interesting way to phrase it. Sort of boggles me if I think too much about it, but I get the gist of it at least.

More importantly, I appreciate the intensity we are seeing from the players. Not only are they winning, but they are into it, just like the last month of last season.

"Go right back at him," Pedro Martinez shouted at a big screen in the Red Sox clubhouse yesterday as he watched the Blue Jays try to finish off the Yankees with two outs and the potential winning run at the plate in the ninth inning in Toronto. … With a number of Martinez's teammates riveted to the game, Frasor heeded the Sox star's advice. Matsui popped out and the Yankees … lost 6-4 … (Hohler, Globe)

Think there's a connection between this sort of scoreboard watching intensity and winning game after game? Moot question, really, isn't it, since the intensity, at least among some, has always been there:

That [the Sox would have a great second half] was the thinking in this room all along -- I know I've always felt that way," said Schilling after the Sox won their sixth in a row, matching their longest winning streak of the season … (Edes, Globe).

Wish I could have been as cool and certain back through the May fray and the June swoon. That all seems like the memory of a bad hangover now. No more drinking that cynical rot gut no matter how things go over the next 9 games, right?

Meanwhile, I need to get one of those camera cell phones ASAP. I can't keep missing important sightings that must be documented to this blog. What I'm talking about, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is the mullet. If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you know how I view the happenstance appearance of certain (but not all) mulleted gents as an omen of good fortune.

Well, Saturday at the local mall, at the Chick-fil-A, I saw, no kidding, the most extreme mullet I've ever seen. Words, my friends, cannot do this one justice. You need to see it for yourself. But sans cam-phone … So this thing was long, first of all, going almost to the skinny guy's waist. (More skinny guys have mullets, right? Why is that?) Brown, wispy, mostly straight but with a some wave action (little rollers?) building along it. OK. That's the back. Now the front, ohmigaw, totally Vanilla Ice styled, but even longer, so that the crew cut gone wild part was a good 4-5 inches at the brow, then cutting back, severely, at an angle, to meet in glorious, coiffeuse harmony, the mane at the back. Unbelievable. And to add that perfect bit of backwoods hipness, an heroic defiance to his dad's generation of mullets, the guy had 8 hoop earrings running along the cartilage at the top of his left ear. Hell, yeah! ("Who you calling backwoods? See these earrings?")

The best part of it all (and this is at the heart of mullet fascination) is the guy seemed so happy to be out at the mall with his smiling wife and his grateful-to-get-a-little-Chick-fil-A kids. See, that's the world working out, right there. And the lesson, of course, is learning to love (or at least accommodate) people for who they are not how we want them to be.

Long live the mullet!

This is going to be a great September. Mark my words.