Friday, October 12, 2001

Worm Burners and Lollipops

Even if you didn't know beforehand that President Bush is a huge baseball fan (former owner of the Rangers, for those of you keeping score at home), you would surely know it by his metaphorical use of our spoken language:

Actually, I will say it again. "If you cough him up and his people today that we'll reconsider what we're doing to your country. You still have a second chance. Just bring him in, and bring his leaders and lieutenants and other thugs and criminals with him" (President George W. Bush, press conference 10-11-01).

Cough him up? Ah, that's beautiful. I wonder how and the heck that gets translated into Uzbek, Tajik, Turkmen, Pashto, Dari and Farsi?

Reminds me of the time in grad school when I was assigned the task of teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to a class of foreign students at a big state university. In addition to teaching the ins and outs of rhetoric, as ESL instructors we also had an onus to explain the culture of America to students. Since this particular big state university has one of the best college baseball programs in the country, I had the bright idea that I'd take the entire class out to the college's ballpark, a short walk away, for an afternoon ballgame. Well, I don't think we were even 2 outs into the top half of the 1st before I realized just how difficult it is (I'd say impossible) to try and explain even the most basic aspects of a game as complex as baseball.

But the day wasn't a total loss: I did have marvelous success with the great American pastime of eating hot dogs (not the Muslim students, of course, but the Chinese students particularly enjoyed it) and peanuts and cracker jack.

And while we were there, we saw several worm burners, a couple of lollipops ... at least one guy hit a can of peas. Fortunately, there were no Chinese homeruns. I wouldn't have wanted to get into that one!

What are some of your favorite baseball slang terms?

BTW: If you try to post a comment via the link below, but you run into technical difficulties of any sort, please email me and let me know:

Thursday, October 11, 2001

How hard do you work?

Today's Boston Herald has good article from Michael Silverman detailing 10 problem areas the Red Sox must find solutions to if they expect to be contenders in 2002. Many, if not all of the points made, won't be earth shattering to anyone who has followed the Sox all year. Still it's helpful to see it all spelled out so concisely.

One of the most obvious points is #5: Trade Carl Everett. In addition to a Everett's questionable emotional state "there is growing concern that Everett does not work hard enough at keeping his skills sharp and his body lean" (Silverman, The Boston Herald).

This got me thinking: How many of us in our own careers work at keeping our skills sharp? Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to be an apologist for Carl Everett. No way. I'm just trying to draw attention to the fact that much is expected of a professional athlete. It's easy from our vantage point as fans to be critical of players and get flustered over their enormous salaries, yet it's very easy to forget just how hard these guys must work to stay at the top of their game.

I look at my own life and my job and while I do try my best to always be upgrading my skills, reading articles, learning new software, attending conferences, I'm most likely not even coming close to the level of dedication towards what I do for a living as a Pedro or a Nomar or a Lou Merloni do towards their own.

The next time you feel not going to work or letting things slide, ask yourself, ''What would Trot Nixon do?''

re: Technical difficulties

If you've been having trouble accessing all or parts of Bambino's Curse for most of this week, sorry. First, the minor earthquake last Sunday in Los Angeles, where the server in located, led to the trouble we had on Monday and into Tuesday.

Then yesterday, Wednesday, The Boston Globe's Gordon Edes Mailbag email contained a direct link to Bambino's Curse appended to a question I had asked Edes. While I'm absolutely elated to get such a major boost in traffic to the site by way of the Globe email link, truth be told the server holding Bambino's Curse is not up to the task.

Unfortunately, I don't see myself upgrading to a better server with the winter and off-season just around the corner. I'm expecting that average traffic and daily readership will drop off precipitously from now until Spring Training.

Of course, I run the big risk of turning away potential readers, both regular and new, who may become so frustrated with the erratic/slow behavior of the site that the decide it's not worth visiting any longer.

Well, the Red Sox have far bigger problems to solve than my own, so I should count myself among the lucky.

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Thanks, Joe

OK. I'll take it. It ain't the postseason but at least the Yankees aren't rubbing salt in my wounds:

New York Yankees manager Joe Torre thinks the late August/early September sweep in Fenway Park toughened his team for the playoffs. ''In my time here, I don't think we played a tougher series than we played in Boston,'' said Torre. The Yankees won three straight by scores of 3-1, 2-1, and 1-0 ... (Edes, The Boston Globe).

Yeah, and OK, I'll admit it: I'd rather see the Yankees win than the Mariners. It would hurt less. I mean, c'mon, I still think of the Mariners as an expansion team.

Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Still wondering . . .

I keep asking this same question over and over in my head.

Do you think there is anything to the notion of "a culture of loss" at work with the Red Sox? I mean, not a "Curse," per se, but rather a climate of defeat, an emotional block of sorts . . . Players say that when they put on the Yankees' pinstripes something happens to them emotionally: They just "expect win," as winning and Yankees are inseparable. Do you think that perhaps just the opposite happens when someone, be it player, GM, etc., joins the Red Sox organization?

Monday, October 08, 2001

The Fall . . .

It's official. Complete. Fenway is shuttered. Another Red Sox season in the books.

as soon as one leaf's off the tree
no following can fall free
of the drift of melancholy

[ "Absolute September" reprinted from "A Kiss in Space" by Mary Jo Salter]

That's how it'll feel now until February. And this is going to be an off-season like no other.

''I think this is pretty much off the charts, particularly when given the events of the last month,'' said baseball historian Glenn Stout, author of ''Red Sox Century.''

''The fallout from the '86 loss against the Mets was considerable but it took a much longer time, more than a full season before John McNamara was gone and everything turned over. This all went in six weeks. This is in a whole new realm'' (Edes, The Boston Globe).

As fans, we have much to wonder about and worry about during the winter. But that is part of the fun, no?

I had originally planned to shutter Bambino's Curse during the off-season, but now I remember how the off-season is every bit as important, especially for those of us who like to dream. And what Red Sox fan isn't a dreamer, a romantic, at heart?

So I'll continue posting, if not daily than close to it, right through 'til spring. And then we can start all over again . . .

Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

[ ''East Coker'' by T.S. Eliot]