Saturday, April 12, 2003

In the Faint Moonlight, the Grass Is Singing

Yesterday's rainout is giving me an excuse not to post today… As this is the first day I've seen the sun in a week, I'm going to make my way outside as quickly as possible.

Go Pedro!

Friday, April 11, 2003

Of Thunder of Spring Over Distant Mountain

Tip your hats to the thunderous Red Sox offense:

� a lineup that is generating April runs at a pace (a major league-leading 72 in 10 games) not seen since the Sox of '01 - 1901, that is - who scored 79 runs in 10 road games before coming home to win behind Cy Young (Edes, Globe).

And let's all root for a win for the Dominican reincarnation of Cy Young, the ace of aces, the crier of contracts, the flash of lightening, co co rico co co rico rooster himself, #45 -- Pedro Martinez.

Meanwhile, Lou you'll never find a love like mine Rawls is singing the National Anthem at today's Fenway home opener. Lady, oh what a night (or afternoon!)


Reader and fellow blogger Jack Hodgson writes,

Here's a suggestion that doesn't necessarily apply to any of the recent postings, but is something that has occurred to me repeatedly over the past couple of years:

Often it is not readily apparent, when reading one of your postings, whether it was written before or after that day's game. This is important context, and I've often scratched my head while reading, trying to decide when it was written.

Maybe adding something to the first line, or something.

That's interesting and, truth be told, it isn't the first time a reader has suggested something along those lines. In my solipsistic haze, I assume everyone does what I do, ie., read the the major media stories first, then venture into the independent sites and blogs to get an alternative spin on the current Red Sox news.

On top of that, since I conceive the postings early in the morning (typically between 530-6am), I guess I'm taking it for granted that readers know that what I write each morning is written in response to the previous day's Red Sox game and/or the media stories appearing in the morning editions of the Boston newspapers.

Jack's idea is worth considering. Maybe I should add the score of the game (if there is one) at the beginning of each post to make the setting more explicit?

On the other hand, a part of me likes the loss of context that Jack speaks of, since I feel that many times you can take any given day's posting from Bambino's Curse and insert it somewhere else in another season, and while the names and numbers may change, the overall tenor/theme of the writing doesn't. For baseball is all about repetition and the rhythms of the seasons and the relation therein to our own lives and dreams. This, I'm sure, is what Giamatti is getting at in his famous quote:

� The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive�

Do you know what I mean? In the daily diary entries here, I'm trying to speak to the greater zeitgeist of being a baseball fan; the specifics of any given game, then, become just a jumping off point. Now whether I'm successful at getting at that sort of transcendence on any given day is another story. But that's what I'm swinging for. And perhaps Jack's "head scratching" is me getting it right? I dunno.

As always, thanks to all of you for reading and sharing your thoughts and being part of this great thing we call Red Sox Nation.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Breeding Lilacs Out of the Dead Land*

You could choose to panic now. I don't think you should, but I won't hold it against you if you unravel. After all, regarding Mendoza, it's not easy living with the "gnawing doubt about why Yankee owner George Steinbrenner would willingly allow anyone to leave the Empire to join his sworn rival" (Edes, Globe).

Mendoza, of course, threw the grand slam ball, the cause celebre in the most recent bullpen failure.

"Our starting pitcher (Fossum) was in a good groove to start the game, then he hit a little rough spot and couldn't get out of the inning," said Little. `"Then the bullpen came in and the ball went into the seats, it's as simple as that" (Silverman, Herald).

So panic if you need to. But I'm not going to.

It really is too early. The club hasn't even played a game in Fenway yet.

Besides in the past two seasons the Red Sox have just torn through April, breaking club records for wins, leading the Majors in most categories only to fade away sadly in the livin' is easy summertime.

I'll take my chances in a reversal of fortune, ie., a mediocre April in exchange for a red hot August.

And I'll admit that the Red Sox losses the past couple nights have been tempered considerably by the news the bigger team we all (or rather most of us) root for is putting some serious notches in the Wins column:

I’m not stupid enough to think that we’ve just created a nation of 22 million wannabe Americans. But tonight parents can look down at their children in bed and believe they will have better lives. Not just hope for it, but believe it. Some of us call that the American Dream - hold the scare quotes, please - and we pray for the day when it’s no longer an American concept but a universal birthright (Lileks, The Bleat).

One must have faith, a perseverance in the face of mortality, in baseball, in life…

I still have lots of hope for this year's club. Despite the losses, I haven't had any sense that they aren't doing everything possible to win games. There is no slacking, no lack of hustle. And we know how important hustle is to our perceptions:

"I've always said that to play in certain towns, Boston and Chicago, for instance, all you have to do is bust your ass," said former Red Sox utility player Steve Lyons, a career .252 hitter in nine scattered seasons. "That's what those fans do in their lives and that's what they want to see from you. Look at me, I didn't have the talent other players had, but the fans loved me because they saw I was working hard. If they don't think you're doing that, you're finished" (Bryant, Herald).

Let's play another nine and see how it goes, eh?

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Someone Has Taken Their Love of Sequels One Step Too Far*

Say it ain't so�

[Derek Lowe] is reviving memories of the insecure kid who lost his confidence in 2001 after posting 42 saves the year before.

[After the 8-4 loss Lowe displayed] body language that suggested an agitated commuter who had just missed the last train home, instead of an elite pitcher on top of his game (Edes, Globe).

Will we see a return of that most ignoble countenance that strikes icy terror deep into the hearts of all Red Sox fans: the Derek Lowe face?

closeup of scary, haunted faceNooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

(To ward off the horror, read Dave Pinto's interview with Bill James.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Now I Can Get Some Sleep

Well, the recurring nightmare many of us have been having of a day in the future in which Pedro Martinez is pitching in the Bronx and wearing pinstripes is no more. We can all sleep soundly now.

There will be rumblings and grumblings, I'm sure. (Massarotti's already headed down that muddy path.) But Howard Bryant gets it right in suggesting that "[m]aybe, for once, ego and machismo were pushed to the side and the result was a business decision that benefits both sides equally."

Furthermore, Bryant points out,

the decision to trigger the option came down to deciding which of the following risks was the bigger one:

  1. Having triggered the option, Martinez gets injured this year and is never the same pitcher.
  2. Martinez pitches this season without the option.� Each start, the smile is there for the cameras, but the anger bubbles.� The season is over, and Martinez is no longer so inclined to return to Boston (Bryant, Herald).

I'll take the risk of #1 over #2 any day of the week.

In other news:

  • If you're in the DC/Richmond area, consider joining a group of us for a PawSox game against the Richmond Braves.
  • I didn't have an opportunity to test out MLB.TV over the weekend, as the Red Sox were at Baltimore, so I should be blacked out since the games were on regular TV. We'll see what happens tonight when I try to login.
  • As usual, the switch to daylight saving time is killing me. I'd never make it as an MLB player having to deal with the constant time changes on road trips. I'd be sound asleep in the dugout during West Coast swings.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Knuckleball Is Evildoer!

Who needs a tank of piranhas with laser beams attached to their heads when you have Tim Wakefield's knuckler?

There is a reason the Boston Red Sox use Tim Wakefield as their second starter behind Pedro Martinez, rather than a more conventional choice such as Derek Lowe. To a team that has just been traumatized by Martinez's laser-like fastballs the day before, the contrast of Wakefield's fluttering knuckleball is downright evil.

"When you start to swing, your eyes see where the ball is," said Baltimore Orioles first baseman Jeff Conine, "but when your bat gets there, it's gone" (Sheinin, WaPo).