Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Six Hour Game

The Rays, who are better than Dice K made them look yesterday, chased Josh Beckett in the fifth and now lead after 5, 8-6. Ops.


In a wild, back and forth contest, Boston is leading Tampa, 6-5, after 4 innings of Game Two of the ALCS. Boston has answered homers from Evan (The Desperate Third Baseman) Longoria, Cliff (AARP) Floyd, BJ (And The Bear) Upton with their own salvo-two from Our Man DP, one from Jason (Sittin By The Dock Of The) Bay, and one from Our Man Youk.

Game One To The Good Guys!

After wriggling out of a number of traps, Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched seven scoreless, which was followed by piece work from Hideki Okajima and Bat Masterson. Winding it all up was the Lord of The Dance His Own Self, father to be Jonathan Papelbon, who smartly closed up a 2-0 win. A narrow one, and one that could have gone either way, but one we will take most assuredly.

Game The Second tomorrow. (Or, truth be told, later today.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

And it begins....

I am viewing the financial apocalypse something like an earthquake or an avalanche-there is really very little I or anyone else can do about it. I am exposed to the market, of course, as is, really, everybody. But it’s going to happen, whatever I do about it. It’s like watching a car accident as it occurs-I am fascinated, in a sick, scientific way.

I could go off into a rant about Republicans and free market ideology-whoever voted for whatever bill, it is a fundamental tenet of conservatives that the market can do everything better. And if this scandal/tragedy/mess is anything, it is a free, unregulated market doing what it does, with disastrous results. If you’re going to enjoy the sex, you have to clean up after the baby, too. But that doesn’t interest anyone, including me, really.

The Red Sox/Rays series begins tonight. ESPN has been all a twitter about the “new rivalry” and talk of “bad blood”. This is true, dating back to the great Gerald “Ice” Williams and Pedro Martinez, back when he was still Pedro Martinez. These two teams have been somewhat contentious this season as well, I would say-this year featuring an alleged hard slide by Coco Crisp on a steal attempt, followed by a plunking and a donnybrook.

Up until 2008, Tampa had gone from being a Napoleon special-just throw your hat out there and collect your win-to a pain in the neck series-if you let your guard down and made a mistake, they’d beat you. Now they are legitimately good-strong, but not overwhelming starting pitching, a lineup full of young, fast, good hitters, and a fairly deep bullpen. Not only will they beat you if you don’t play your best, you can play well and they’ll still beat you. So it’s going to be a long, difficult series.

I don’t buy the whole “experience” business. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon has them playing good ball, and he seems to have the Fairy Dust of the Baseball Gods on him. He’ll make sure they obey the Hoosiers Principle-Still 90 Feet To First Base, Just Like It Was In April, and Just Like It Was In Double A. My heart says Boston, but my brain says Tampa is too good. Like Chicago in 2005, the other side just has the breaks going their way, and they are deep, good, and confident.

I can’t help but find the Tampa-Boston rivalry a little cute. They have been such a miserable franchise for so long, and I have sympathy for that, so I can’t really generate a lot of hate for the Naughty Fish. I will be disappointed if we lose, but not crushed. And, minus Boston’s involvement, I would absolutely favor Tampa against anyone else.

Except Philadelphia. As another blogger pointed out, if Philadelphia loses a championship, especially late on some kind of controversial call, the citizens might just burn down the city. This city needs a title pretty bad.

I watched the West Wing again this morning. It was the episode where CJ takes over the Chief of Staff job from Leo, which I completely missed, so it must have been after I stopped watching. It was a tremendous episode, of course. I completely love this show again, and it makes me start wanting the DVDs. I think there were 8 or 9 seasons all together, which would be mighty expensive. Not to mention the time required to watch all that TV.

I really don’t watch that much TV any more. I loved the new Terminator series, but they moved it to 8pm, so it is usually over before I get home. Never seen Survivor, never seen American Idol. Don’t know, don’t care. I guess it’s my job, mostly, that causes this-I am at work a lot of time while the majority of people are at home watching, uh, TV. I resent this more than I should-this is what I do, and I’m not likely to be changing any time soon.

I’ve started having these scary moments when I realize, with my birthday one week away, how little I have done and how dim my prospects are. You reach a certain age, and suddenly you start to realize that you don’t have it anymore. It’s not about sex, really, but in a way it is-you’re not dangerous any more, and young girls don’t look at you any more. Not that I’m craving the chance to be unfaithful, but I guess I’d like it to be a possibility.

I was also reflecting earlier about how many events in the Angels-Red Sox series I can’t remember ever seeing before. The first one was the Kevin Youkilis short-right-field-trap-and-throw-out-at-third of Vladimir Guerrero, the next one was Ellsbury sliding over the bag, and the third was the Varitek chase-and-tag-and-tumble on the blown squeeze. I’m sure they have happened before, but I’ve never seen them before.

What are political yard signs for? Seriously. You see them everywhere, and I just don’t think anyone is going around saying, “I didn’t know who to vote for, but now that I see that he has a name with letters in it, I think I’ll vote for him.” I guess the appeal is “all my neighbors are voting for x, so I think I will too.” That’s a stupid reason, but then again, I don’t know my neighbors, and I could care less how they are voting.

Now at home, and in the fifth, the Red Sox lead Tampa, 1-0, after 5. Dice K is apparently not struggling much at all, having given up not a single hit through the first five stanzas. Earlier today, the Red Sox Alumni Team (aka the Los Angeles Dodgers) lost again to Philadelphia. The NLCS moves to Los Angeles on Sunday with the Phillies up 2-0.

The Tampa Bay fans have been apparently equipped with noisemakers that sound like thousands of baby rattles being shaken. That's kind of cute, fans at their first ALCS game. I remember my first ALCS. Ah, memories.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

In other news of the pointless...

Mike Timlin was added to the ALCS roster by the Red Sox.

Really? Timlin?

If he gets in a game this series, we're in big trouble.

Pat the Bat

Home runs from Pat (The Bat) Burrell and Chase (Pretty Face) Utley helped power the Phillies to a 3-2 win today and a 1-0 lead in the National League Championship Series. Game Two is tomorrow afternoon, followed by the Red Sox and Rays tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Sometimes a Fantasy

I finished fourth, it turned out, in fantasy baseball this year-which is not bad, out of 20, and the highest I've ever finished. But I'm not sure if it was worth the $40 or so in books or magazines I bought to help me prepare.

I am 2-3 in fantasy football, but there's not too much I can do about that. I traded away Vernon Davis in the preseason to my brother, but other than that, I have just stayed with the hand I've been dealt. I don't care nearly as much about fantasy football as I do fantasy baseball, though, and I feel similarly about real baseball and real football.

The Red Sox play Friday, of course, in Game One of the American League Championship Series. It's hard to get over how odd that final inning was-the blown squeeze and then the ground rule double and the single and the headlong dive into the plate.


I watched an episode and a half of The West Wing. I used to love this show, but I kind of fell away from it, and I've been catching up, somewhat, on Bravo. Bravo is an interesting network for me-sometimes their programming is right in my wheelhouse(JFK, The West Wing, The American President, Law and Order). Other times, it is something I would rather undergo dental surgery than watch(The Real Wives of Whatever, and The Rachel Zoe Project(which I don't believe is related to the Alan Parsons Project, but I can't be sure), and Project Runway, and Top Chef, and virtually everything else they broadcast.

They sure promote the holy heck out if that Rachel Zoe Project, though. I don't know who she is, but she appears to be a woman who wears high heels and evening gowns and complains a lot. That doesn't seem to be a basis for a television program.

But anyway, back to the West Wing. I forgot how much I absolutely love that show. Even dropped midway into a season, it isn't hard to pick up on the storylines and get right into it. For those who have never seen it, Martin Sheen is the President of the United States, and basically is a highly idealized version of Bill Clinton. They wrote in elements from real life, of course, fictionalizing them, and it is a television program-but it's hard not to ache with the knowledge that it IS a TV show, and that you can't vote for him.

That brings me back to the election. My son told me that his best friend that his family are McCain supporters, but he didn't appear to be upset about that fact. My son asks a lot of questions, as if he isn't sure how he's supposed to feel about things.

Watching the West Wing, first, made me wish Jeb Bartlett was running for president, but second, makes me think about why I support Obama. I guess to sum everything up in a single factor, that would have to be judgement. Palin is a joke, of course, the grinning parakeet parroting lies in fashionable shoes. But McCain himself, based on his actions and the opinions of others, is rash and thoughtless. I don't know what he thinks, first of all, because he has turned his back on his beliefs from the 2000 campaign, and second of all, he doesn't appear to deliberate about things. I don't like his attitude, and I question his judgement, and I disagree with his policies.

Obama seems the opposite-calm, rational, thoughtful, deliberative. Statesmanlike.

I support Obama because, inserted into any situation, I trust his judgement, whatever he decides.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Farmer Jed Plows The Field

Unable to stand it anymore, I took to my bed, while the following transpired:

Boston takes a 2-0 lead on hits by Ellsbury and Our Man DP, his first hit of the series. Lester cruises, handing the lead to Okeydoke in the 8th. After two outs and a walk, Bat Masterson comes on, only to walk Guerrero, and then wild pitch the runners to second and third. (Bob Stanley? Will Bob Stanley please pick up the white courtesy phone?) Die Hard The Hunter knocks them in, and we're knotted at two.

But the wierdness is just beginning.

Scott Shields pitches a scoreless 8th, schooling Youkilis and Ortiz, and then Bat answers the bell for the ninth. Kendry Morales doubles smartly off the wall, the blindingly fast Reggie Willits coming on to run. Kendrick bunts Willits to third. Erick Aybar is next, and he squares around to bunt. The squeeze play.


Jason Varitek, I'm sure feeling every day of his 36 years, chases the fleet Willits back up the line. He chases, and chases, and chases. Finally, as Willits is about to get to the bag, Varitek dives, and tags him, going, as my mother would put it, ass over teakettle, ball coming free. The umpire correctly rules that when the tag was made, the play was over, and the ball coming free on the ground is immaterial. Aybar is retired and we move on into the bottom of the ninth.

Shields strikes out Drew.

Jason Bay, the once and future king, sends an opposite field cue shot into short right. Willits, who was just involved in the wierdness at third base, comes in hard, dives, and just misses the ball, which conveniently hops into the seats for a ground rule double. (If it had stayed in the park, that would have been an easy inside the park homer, and a wierd entry in its own right.)

Mark Kotsay rips a ball down the line-pulverizes it, smokes it, hits it ON THE SCREWS.......RIGHT into the glove of Teixeira. Two out.

And then it's Farmer Jed, Our Jeddars, The Jedster, Dr. Jedosky-Jed Lowrie who lines a single into right field. Bay is off on the pitch, coming around third and to the plate. The throw is there, but it's just a hair late. Bay slides in headfirst, tagging the plate with his hand (Matt Holliday? Will Matt Holliday please pick up the white courtesy phone?) and the Boston Red Sox are in the American League Championship Series.

As the great Hunter S. Thompson used to say, when the going gets wierd, the wierd turn pro.

Monday, October 06, 2008

ALDS G4 LB II: The Foth

Top Four

Torii (Die Hard The) Hunter whiffs on a nifty curve. Mike (Pain In The Neck) Napoli chops a broken bat grounder to short and is thrown out. Juan Rivera grounds out to third, and the Angels are done.

Jon Lester is a man.

Bottom Four

DP grounds out hard to short.

Big Papi lines a single to center.

Youkilis grounds out hard to third, but Figgins' throw to Kendrick draws him off the bag, and all hands are safe. Drew flies out deep to center, allowing Papi to rumble to third. Bay takes strike one from Lackey. Bay swings and misses at strike two from Lackey. Bay takes a curve way outside for a ball. Bay pops out on a fourth straight curve to end the inning.

Goldang it.

ALDS G4 LB: Facing the Angles

Jon Lester is doing what Jon Lester does-riding the fastball, snapping off the curve. A hit and a walk in the second, but no damage, as we move on into the bottom half, still scoreless.

It's odd how losing last night really changes the complexion of the series. Theoretically, being up 2-0 means you have to win 1 of 3 to advance. But now, having lost game 3, Boston desperately needs to win game 4. You don't want to travel out there, knowing you're at risk of coughing up a 2-0 lead. This really is a must win contest.

Drew takes Lackey the other way with one out in the second for Boston's first hit. Bay walks, but Lackey gets the DP to end the inning.

In the top of the third, The West Coast Aybar grounds out.

The announcers (The Commander in Chief, Buck Martinez, former Met and Yale graduate Ron Darling, and graduate of the college of Nepotism, Chip Caray) have just revealed that Lowell is out for the series.

Chone (sp) Figgins singles to left. Garrett Anderson taps out to first, Figgins advancing.

Lester walks Teixeira.

Big Bad Vlad fouls off three high hard ones, then taps an agonizing roller to second. Lester can't get it, but Our Man DP is on the scene, flipping over to first quickly for the out that retires the side.

Bottom Three

Farmer Jed flies out just in front of the warning track in dead center, and then Tek, a lost and lonely man, rolls out to second. Ellsbury taps out to the mound. Three in the proverbial books, no score.

The End Of The Beginning

Early this morning, Erick Aybar singled in a run off of The Other Javy Lopez to give the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles of California the win, 5-4.

Game Four is to be played tonight, about an hour from now, in Boston, with Jon Lester facing off against John Lackey.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

ALDS G3 LB: Da Ninth

Still tied 4-4, JD Drew (pinch hitting) strikes out and Coco flies out. Ellsbury flies out, and we go to the tenth.
Good night, everybody. (Good night, Dr. Nick!)

ALDS G3 LB: Inning Seven

Torii (Die Hard The) Hunter now against MDC. He whiffs on a ball in the dirt for one out. Juan Rivera grounds out to short for the second out. Mike (Casa De) Napoli now. Napoli, who has homered twice tonight, is clipped by a pitch that brushes his jersey, putting him on first. Kendrick singles sharply to right field, pushing Napoli to second. That's all for MDC, who leaves the game for the Okeydoke. Erick Aybar, who is one of the Flying Aybar Brothers, not to be confused with the Flying Molina Brothers, chops out softly to third to end the inning.

Arredondo is back out for the seventh. Ellsbury up first. He works a walk. Arredondo is still throwing hard, but appears to have lost location. Our Man DP now. DP flies out for the first out, and here comes Big Papi. Scoscia summons Darren Oliver, because of the Law Of Bringing In A Lefty, No Matter How Crappy, To Face Ortiz. Ellsbury steals second easily, but slips off the bag, and is tagged out. You NEVER see that happen. Ortiz then walks, and Shields is called on to get Youkilis. Youk whiffs, and we move on to the 8th.


Because the White Sox-Rays game ran long, the telecast of the Red Sox-Angels game was moved briefly to TNT. TNT was showing "Titanic".

The Titanic sank the same week that Fenway Park opened. The game is being played guessed it....Fenway.

We pick up the action in the bottom of the fifth, Angels leading 4-3.

Jacoby Ellsbury sends a semi difficult fly to the base of the left field wall that Garrett Anderson egregiously muffs, Ellsbury cruising into second. Our Man DP battles to a 3-2 count before popping out. This is the second muff for the Angels tonight, Kendrick and Hunter muffing a fly into short center. Papi strikes out swinging on a nice high fastball from Joe Saunders. Our Man Youk doubles smartly off the wall in deep center, scoring Ellsbury to tie the game at 4. Everybody's Favorite Canadian, Jason Bay, works the ever popular walk.

Scoscia goes to the mound and puts in Jose Arredondo, who throws, as we New Englanders put it, wicked hahd. Now it's Mike Lowell, American Hero, who whiffs on a called strike. A borderline call, but nothing much Mike could do.

Metropolitan District Commission comes on for the sixth, which does not lend one to calm, rational thought. MDC has shown a knack for getting rocked, but at times blowing people away. Garrett Anderson chops a ball to first, that Youk tracks down and just barely gets to the bag in time to retire Anderson. Teixeira also grounds to first, much easier play for Youk. Big Bad Vlad now. Vlad hits several scary fouls, then rolls out to second. A 1-2-3 inning for MDC. Phew.

Arredondo is back out, facing Farmer Jed with his way out, leaning over, guy falling out of a window delivery. Lowrie strikes out swinging, and Varitek takes called strike three on a nasty split. Covelli Crisp grounds out softly, and it is on to Inning The Seventh

McCain: Iraq Is ‘A Peaceful And Stable Country Now’

As the great Lewis Black once put it, "I'm going to repeat that. Because it bears repeating." "A Peaceful and Stable Country."

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