Saturday, August 03, 2002

Amores de Affleck

It's a Saturday and I'm feeling good and silly, so file this one under the bizarre posting category …

We all know Ben Affleck is a member of Red Sox Nation and, for a Hollywood type, he's fairly die hard. And right now Affleck is at the top of his game: movie star, on sexiest man alive lists … it seems he can do no wrong — He's dating Jennifer Lopez for pete's sake!

It seems to me, then, that what Ben wants, Ben gets: He's got the full mojo in effect.

Now, as a Red Sox fan, Ben must also want the Red Sox to win the World Series. Maybe he wants that more than J-Lo even.

See what I'm saying?

Crazy logic? Maybe. But no crazier than a Curse.

"Danny, get me into a damn plane!" - Ben Affleck as "Capt. Rafe McCawley" in Pearl Harbor (one of the worst films I've ever seen, or nearly seen, as I never did get all the way through it).

Friday, August 02, 2002

The Damned Don't Cry*

16 runs scored against 1 by the end of the 3rd … 19 - 7 final … .183 BA Everett gets a homer and a slam … Offerman throws a fit … Shaughnessy preempts vacation to reiterate claim that Offerman is a "piece of filth" …

It can only get better. (Right?)

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Light in August

August is upon us and "an already-compelling 2002 season just grew downright riveting" with the deadline trades and the Red Sox playing winning baseball again.

31 days: TEX, OAK, MIN, SEA, TEX, ANA, NYY

... the Curse is my own memory ...

Hopeful perseverance in the face of mortality. That's the recurring theme in William Faulkner's Light in August and it's a fitting one for Red Sox fans as well.

Indeed, this quote from the novel expresses my own feelings about being a Red Sox fan better than anything I've ever come up with:

"Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders."

You see for me the Curse isn't supernatural or phantasmagoric. I don't literally believe the demonic ghost of Babe Ruth flitters around Fenway trying to gum up the works.

No, for me, and perhaps for some of you as well, the Curse is my own memory, my own personal problem with summoning perseverance in the face of mortality. And the Red Sox serve as the symbol of that struggle.

So here's to perseverance in conquering our inner demons. Play ball!

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Pedro doesn't Mickey Mouse around

Pedro Martinez outclassed wannabe Ramon Ortiz and the rest of the Anaheim Angels in a 6-0 victory at Edison Field. In running his record to 14-2 overall and a sparkling 10-1 following a Red Sox loss, Martinez allowed just two weak singles, struck out nine and threw only 92 pitches in eight very easy innings (Massarotti).

A healthy Pedro in September?

An extended run of that kind of brilliance is what Little had in mind when he sent Urbina out for the ninth inning rather than let Martinez go for his first shutout of the season.

''We want him going out there for us in September,'' Little said. ''We've been keeping to a program with him and we're going to stick with it.''

If this holds true, you've got to like the Sox' chances when the leaves begin to turn.

Still need another pitcher, though. We'll know by 4pm today.

I'm naively happy to get Floyd. I say naive because I confess to not knowing too much about him. My enthusiasm at this point has almost everything to do with the fact that ownership didn't sit on its hands and made a deal to better the team. They are walking the walk.

And this was comforting news:

A potential deal for Rangers lefthander Kenny Rogers remained snagged on the Sox' refusal to include lefthander Casey Fossum. Last night, CEO Larry Lucchino reiterated the team's intention to hold on to Fossum, who started Monday night's 5-4 loss here.

''I think it's safe to say Casey Fossum is an important young building block for this franchise,'' Lucchino said (Edes,The Boston Globe).

I have a gut feeling that Casey Fossum is going to play a very big role in making our Red Sox dreams come true one of these days.

For you out of towners, tonight's game is on ESPN2 at 10pm EDT.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

A Rumor of Angels

The California Angels, "a team that because of the three-hour time difference exists back East primarily for insomniacs, but could wreak havoc with any dreams the Sox might have of playing in October."

I think many of us have felt the Angels are not much of a threat. "They'll collapse; they always do," is a sentiment we've felt. I still do feel this is the case, but for now Disney's team is punching holes in our playoff teacups.

Focusing on the positive:

While losing another game to the New York Yankees in the standings last night, they may have taken some steps toward solidifying their starting rotation.

Enduring a shaky beginning in his first start of the season, left-hander Casey Fossum pitched into the seventh inning of a 5-4 loss to the Anaheim Angels at Edison Field … his performance was a step in the right direction for a starting rotation that has too often depended on the tandem of Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe (Massarotti, The Boston Herald).

Yeah, baby, yeah!

Monday, July 29, 2002

Time to get serious

The Red Sox begin a stretch in which they play 24 of their next 34 games against the American League's best - Anaheim, Oakland, Minnesota, Seattle, and New York.

The optimists know it. The pessimists know it. You know it and I know it.

How the Red Sox fare in these series will determine if they have what it takes for the postseason. It's that simple. No more lackadaisical just one loss out of 162 games talk. This is the real deal.

Day Early

I'm posting a day earlier than I anticipated. Figured I'd take today to just decompress but after the Fenway brawl yesterday with the Orioles and the impending mother of all road trips, I couldn't wait to jump back in.

Random observations from my recent trip back home, being a native New Englander, I'll start with the bad stuff and complaints as is our nature:

Driving in Boston is still the most hair-raising behind the wheel experience a non-Nascar driver can have. MapQuest/Blast directions are useless; if I hadn't had earlier working and driving in Boston experiences to draw from, I'd still be caught somewhere on the central artery (may that abomination die a painful death soon with the completion of the Big Dig); I was rear-ended once, but luckily it caused no damage to the rental (hooray Saturn!) … I had forgotten how old and decrepit so much of Boston is; things are rusty, stinky, broken down; you could power a small African nation by burning the rat droppings that are piled along the abutments in the Sumner Tunnel; the "4-star" hotel we stayed in, despite its pedigree and history, was bordering on dumpy, and would barely be classified as a 1-star elsewhere; most people you meet are rude and loud; Logan Airport security is laughable, and United didn't have any speedy e-ticket check-in (how positively last century is that?); the rednecks in my little Granite State are as frightening and backwards as their gun-toting, tobacco chewing cousins in the South; there remains an impossible to miss lack of color up there once you go beyond the demographic of the service sector's buspersons (not waiters, of course!), chambermaid's, taxi drivers et al (at least the Red Sox have improved drastically in this regard, but I can understand why many ballplayers of color would still put Boston on their list of clubs they'd rather not play for) …

Now for the good stuff:

Fenway. Fenway. Fenway. What can I say? The place defines the perfect ballpark experience in so many ways. The Boston brokeness and decrepitness that I wrote of above, while annoying in other respects, is just what makes Fenway feel so good to me. With the exception of urinals in men's room (when did the get rid of the piss troughs?), it seems the very same Fenway as my first trip with my dad at age 7, and, undoubtedly is the same as my dad's first trip there at a similar age. The Sausage King's sausage and peppers are better than ever. The walk from Kenmore to Yawkey Way is still the greatest fan experience there is. I was happy to see the addition of so many Spanish speakers lingering outside the gates in pregrame chatter and excitement and slices of pizza. And speaking of chatter overhearing the snippets of conversation only strengthens my certitude that the Red Sox fans are the most knowledgeable and passionate in the world … seeing Pedro for the first time live was everything I expected … my seats were awesome (despite a slight obstructed view from a support column making it difficult for me to see any plays at short); the "9" etched in the left field grass, beyond words … the fried whole clam remains one of mankind's greatest culinary feats; New England seafood has no worthy competitor; 70 degrees in July! Who can complain about that? … My parents are in good health; my little niece is as precocious as ever and my even littler nephew has a smile that goes on for days …

It was a wonderful trip.

Heck, it seems even my non-posting/vacation jinx was broken as the Sox went 3-1 while I was away.