Saturday, August 10, 2002

Cuz you gotta be!

I didn't see or hear any of last night's game, just the score and box.

Seems Red Sox Nation is getting restless:

Boos rained on Castillo when he entered in the sixth. They escalated when the exiled starter surrendered a leadoff single in the seventh to Luis Rivas. And the voices of acrimony rose again when the next batter, Cristian Guzman, beat out a nicely placed bunt.

Then the walls of civility crumbled as Castillo suffered a barrage of boos and catcalls after he coughed up a run-scoring single to Corey Koskie that made the difference in Minnesota's 5-4 victory over the Sox before 33,973 at Fenway Park (Hohler, The Boston Globe).

But as the original boy band and Boston's own New Kids on the Block would say, I'm hangin' tough:


Friday, August 09, 2002

Lowering the stress

Yeah, OK, I couldn't resist doing one of those faux-clever titles built around "Lowe."

And why not? The guy friggin' awesome.

He outdueled Zito in head-to-head competition, allowing only one run on five hits in seven strong innings to end the Red Sox' two-game losing skid with a 4-2 victory at Fenway Park.

Lowe (16-5) beat both Zito and Martinez to the punch to become the AL's first 16-game winner. He walked only one batter, struck out six and held the A's hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position (Horrigan, The Boston Herald).

Don't you just love to imagine seeing Lowe take the mound in an October, postseason game?

Meanwhile, DK over at Yankees-Suck hits on something I've been a bit unnerved about from time to time: The ubiquitous love fest between players of opposing teams:

Players are simply too friendly to each other these days. Many players around the league seem a bit overly concerned with saying hello and making small talk to one another. While I would not stoop so low as to blame this idle chatter on the recent subpar play of the Sox I do think the removal of it could help turn things around. At least it's worth a try (DK).

I'm tired, too, of all the positive words about the opponents: "They are a very good club." "We really respect the such and such club." Blah blah blah.

I good go for a good Fisk v Munson battle. I like the sound of a player saying "I want to beat the living daylights out of those guys."

Guess I'm old school in that regard.

Thursday, August 08, 2002


Holy Jesus that hurt.

It was the kind of play that can kill summer as suddenly as an overnight frost … Terrence Long, who plays center field for the A's out of necessity rather than choice, reached above the low wall of the Red Sox' bullpen last night to catch what would have been a game-winning, three-run home run by Manny Ramirez. His glove banged hard against the top of the wall, but refused to yield its content, which came as a shock to the uniformed cop in the bullpen who was waving his arms wildly, celebrating what he thought was a certain Sox victory (Edes, The Boston Globe).

And it figures that such a moment occurred during one of the games I get to watch as it was on ESPN. And watch it I did.

You know, it's just one play. It's just one game. But boy oh boy it feels like a whole lot more. In literature class we'd file this one under symbolism and foreshadowing.

Time to turn to the master again for solace:

"… my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time." -- Addie Bundren in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying

I need to stop thinking about baseball for awhile.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Hint of Fall

Last night even here in the upper reaches of Dixie we slept with the AC off and the windows open. A Canadian front moved South bringing temperatures down into the low 50s.

Today is expected to be perfection: highs in the 70s and not a cloud in the sky.

But weather that feels so good can have a darker side.

The first cool night in August is nature's way of telling you the baseball season is getting serious. Pennant races are real now. Scoreboard watching is no longer a mere diversion. Losses don't just count, they hurt.

Traditionallly [sic], the wind shift that carries the first hint of summer's end never has been a very good omen for the Red Sox. They must hope their dismal 9-1 pasting at the hands of the Oakland Athletics was just a game, not a portent of their future (Gee, The Boston Herald).

Hopeful perseverance in the face of mortality.

Now more than ever.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

People get ready

This is it. It's show time for sure.

With little more than a third of the season to play, the Red Sox tonight enter a critical passage in their quest to escape the franchise's 84-year championship famine … the Sox will open a stretch 12 games in 13 days against the A's, Twins, and Mariners, including a trek through Seattle and Minnesota. The stretch leads toward a final five-game showdown between the Sox and Yankees at the end of the month (Hohler, The Boston Globe).

I think Boston can do it. I'm a factor of 10 more confident than I was in mid-July. But what about an unbiased view?

A major league scout rarely has an ax to grind and can be counted upon for a dispassionate point of view. When one was asked recently to handicap the Red Sox' moves and their chances the rest of the way, he offered, interestingly enough, plenty of hope.

"They've done a nice job," the scout said. "They are clearly in the mix. St. Louis, Oakland and Boston helped themselves as much as anybody. Boston's got good, high-quality people in their clubhouse" (Silverman, The Boston Herald).

In the words of Eminem:

Lets get down to business.
I don't got no time to play around what is this
Must be a circus in town,
lets shut the shit down on these clowns.
Can I get a witness?

Monday, August 05, 2002

Pedro says, "Better than any other season"

No need in further commentary, as this says it all:

"I think I'm pitching equally as well if not better (than 1999 and 2000) because I have been pitching after a loss most of the time and I've been able to pick up the team" [said] Martinez, now 11-1 after a Sox loss. "That's something I take pride in."

I guess the fall into the rabbit's hole was just what Pedro Martinez needed.

"You'll get used to it in time," said the Caterpillar; and it put the hookah into its mouth and began smoking again.