Saturday, October 18, 2008

ALCS G6 LB VI: The Return Of The Ninth

Top Nine

Cue Heath Ledger: "And Here.....We.....Go!"

Drew up against Bradford. He hits a bullet to left field, but it's caught for an out.

Jason Bay now. He grounds out gently to short.

Maddon out again, and Trever Miller is on to face Mark Kotsay.

Mark Kotsay, Hitter Without Portfolio, Pops Out to Third.

Bottom Nine

Here comes the Lord of the Dance, Jonathan Papelbon.

He had to face The Desperate Third Baseman, Carl Crawford, and Erick's Brother.

The DTB grounds out to short.

CC Hit Factory strikes out swinging.

Papelbon is not throwing as hard as he usually does.

Aybar hits it hard, but it's snagged by Youkilis, and it's over.


From the brink of disaster, all the way back to win Game Five, and now winning Game Six in gutty, demanding fashion, and now onto a Game Seven.

The Tampa Bay Rays have got to be swallowing their gum right about now.

ALCS G6 LB V: The Eighth Strikes Back

Top Eight

Crisp up against the aptly named Balfour, who is struggling with control.

Coco takes a walk, and it wasn't even close.

Maddon comes out again, getting Chad Bradford, Professional Righty Killer, to face Pedroia.

Bradford gets Pedroia to line one back through the box off his leg, but Bradford keeps his wits about him, throws out Pedroia, allowing Crisp to advance.

Bradford walks Ortiz intentionally to face Youkilis.

Youk hits into a 5-4-3 DP to end it, just the kind of luck the Rays needed so badly.

Bottom Eight

Six Outs To Go

Justin Masterson, Ruff Ruffman's favorite player, is on for Boston.

Masterson hits Bartlett with a 3-2 pitch. Ouch, figuratively and literally.

Iwamura now, who is showing maddening self control.

2-0 count.

Called strike.

Breathe, Justin.

Swinging strike on a vicious slider.

Easy, big fella.

Iwamura swings and misses at ball three. Phew.

One out.

Five to go.

Upton now.

He fouls off the first two pitches.

Come on, big guy.

Upton fouls off another one.

And another one.

Upton reaches for an outside slider and pops it way up. Our Man DP tracks it down. Two out.

Pena pops out to second to end the inning.

Kid showed something there-he could have cracked, but we're on to the ninth.

ALCS G6 LB IV: A New Hope (Seventh Inning)

Top Seven:

Howell still on to face Drew.

JD Drew, The Ballad of a Well Known Line Drive Hitter, flies out to center.
Jason Bay, Canada's Gift To The World, is hit by a pitch.

It seems like Tampa's manager Joe Maddon, who has been so right about so many things all year, seems to be coming apart at the seams. Baseball luck is getting him-the same things that worked in June aren't working now.

Mark Kotsay, Door To Door Bat Salesman, dribbles one in front of the mound and is retired at first, Bay to second.

Maddon comes to the mound to get Howell, as Farmer Jed is up next.

Grant Balfour, Australia's gift to the Red Sox, is on now. He's been sharp all year, but Boston tap danced all over his head in Game Five.

Balfour goes 3-0 on Lowrie, then walks him.

Varitek now. First a swinging strike, then a foul strike. Then a ball, and another foul, and a passed ball to advance the runners to second and third. Then ball three.
Then Varitek sends a very high fly to short right for the third out.

Bottom Seven

The Okeydoke still on. Willy Aybar, whose brother Erick played such a key role in Boston's win over the Angels in Game Four of the DS, fouls out to Our Man Youk.

Dioner (Maker) Navarro is up. He fouls out to Bay. Seven outs to go.

Zobrist is up now. Zobrist flies out to deep left center for the third out.


On to the eighth.....

ALCS G6 LB III: Time is growing short, o cursed spite!

Top Six

Zobrist is in the game to play right field. There is speculation by Rob Neyer on his chat that they might go for Fernando Perez , but I think they are keeping that bullet in the gun for later-Perez is blindingly fast.

Mark Kotsay, professional hitter, hits the ball hard , but Iwamura leaps and spears it for the first out.

Farmer Jed Lowrie takes called strike three.

The Captain-THE CAPTAIN-who hasn't had a hit since Seinfeld went off the air, it seems, HOMERS to right center to give Boston a 3-2 lead.


Coco singles off of the pitcher's foot, and that is all for Big Game James Shields.

Lefty JP Howell now.

Our Man DP is up now. He hasn't had the most thrilling postseason of them all, either, but clearly, anything can happen in this game.

I think Bartlett's home run, followed by Varitek's, are two of the less likely events in recent memory.

DP grounds to short, and Bartlett throws the ball in the general vicinity of The Gulf of Mexico for an error.

First and third, two out

Ortiz up.

ORTIZ RIPS A SINGLE TO RIGHT CENTER, scoring Coco. 4-2 Boston.

His Majesty The Ortizzle Indeed.

Rays fans are looking like Boston fans, circa 2003.

Our Man Youk is up now, battling JP Howell to a 2-2 count.

Youk whiffs on a curve in the dirt to end the inning.

Bottom Six

After finishing off two Nabokov novels this week, I just started reading Sean Lahman's "Pro Football Historical Abstract", and it is quite fascinating. One thing that stuns me right away is 75% of all quarterbacks drafted have little or no impact in the league. That stuns me.

Lahman ranks Donovan McNabb as one of the top 25 quarterbacks of all time, which I think is about right. He has the second lowest rate of interceptions per pass in league history, which stunned me as well.

The Okeydoke, Hideki Okajima, is on now.

Upton lines out to third-one down.
Pena gets rung up on a high inside pitch-two down. Close pitch.
The DTB works a walk.
There's talk about how McClelland calls "his own strike zone". The strike zone is in the flippin' rule book.
Crawford grounds into a fielder's choice, and the inning is over.


ALCS G6 LB II: Hope springs eternal (Innings 4-5)

Before the top of the fourth, home plate umpire Daryl Cousins had to leave due to an injury-he was struck by a foul ball in the top of the 3rd. Tim McClelland is taking over for Cousins behind the plate. Strategically, it is interesting to the extent that Shields, Tampa's starter, has been struggling with his control. It also reflects on Beckett, because the delay, plus any sort of rally Boston puts together, gives Beckett nearly 30 minutes rest between innings.

Farmer Jed flies out
The Captain grounds out
Coco singles
Our Man DP battles, but strikes out.

Bottom Four

Northeastern's own Carlos Pena pops out
Evan Longoria, The Desperate Third Baseman, flies out
Carl Crawford, The Man Who Would Be King, lofts a single into left field that finds a hole between Lowrie and Bay.
Crawford steals second relatively easily.
Cliff Floyd, who first played under Ethelred the Unready(I think he's an actual former Montreal Expo draft pick!), grounds out very sharply to first. Beckett has to hustle, but just does beat him to the bag for the third out.

Top Five

They get all shifty for Ortiz, who flies out to left.
Our Man Youk lines to third.
JD Drew, The Man Philadelphia Loves To Hate, hits a ball over Gabe Gross' head (again!) for a double, but the Bay State pops out to end the frame.

Bottom Five

That commercial from T Mobile still bothers me. It's okay for the Dad to crush on women at the soccer game, and it's not okay for the daughter to call a boy? It seems to me neither should be okay, and his passes without comment. Of course, I don't have a daughter.

Dioner (Maker) Navarro singles sharply to right.

The Rays fans are rattling their stupid little cricket things.

Ben Zobrist is on, pinch hitting for Gabe Gross. Gross was, at one point, a highly touted prospect. Now he's getting hit for by a guy who can't hit. Zobrist flies out softly to center.

Ironically, Zobrist's numbers are a little better than Gross'. I didn't realize Gross has had that bad of a season.

Navarro is thrown out by about 20 feet stealing second. Ops.

A blown hit and run, clearly.

I am getting this sneaking suspicion that the momentum is tilting Boston's way.

As soon as I typed that sentence, Jason Bartlett (???????) gets a hanging breaking ball and tucks it around the foul pole in left to tie the score at two apiece.

Jason Bartlett had one home run in 454 at bats in 2008.

(expletive deleted)!

Iwamura grounds out to third.

Well, that didnt go so well.

At least it's only a tie.

ALCS Game Six: Staring Into The Abyss

After some technical difficulties, TBS has restored their feed from Tampa, and the American League Championship Series, Game Six, is on the air.

BJ Upton opened the scoring with a solo home run, and Kevin Youkilis answered with a solo shot of his own along with an RBI groundout to give Boston a 2-1 lead. However, Tampa's James Shields just escaped a bases loaded jam in the third, getting Mark Kotsay to fly out to center to end the threat.

So we enter the bottom of the third, with Boston leading 2-1. Josh Beckett, or someone wearing #19 who looks like Josh Beckett, is on for us. Beckett has had terrible trouble (for him-he has become merely mortal) most of the year, struggling with velocity and location. He seems to be dropping strikes in with ease right now, though.

After a hit by pitch on Jason Bartlett (which he could, IMHO, have avoided), Beckett goes 3-0 on Iwamura, then gets him to pop up. Upton now. Upton is a monster, and with one more home run, he ties the record for homers in a single postseason. Note well that postseasons are much longer now-if Mickey Mantle had three rounds of postseason to go through, he might have hit 15 in a few years.

Beckett gets Upton on a gentle bouncer to the mound, and he's out of the third. Phew.

6 innings to go!


Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) suggested on "Hardball" that members of Congress be investigated to see if they hold "anti-American" views.


The British word "gobsmacked" comes to mind. As does "stunning" and "McCarthyism" and "revolting" and "utterly without merit".

Although, truth be told, that last one is three words.

I wanted to post one more thing yesterday...

...but I forgot.

"KING: Old woman!


KING: Man, sorry.

DENNIS: I'm 37!

KING: What?

DENNIS: I'm 37, I'm not old!

KING: Well, I can't just call you, "man"!

DENNIS: Well, you could call me Dennis!

KING: I didn't know you were called Dennis!

DENNIS: Well, you didn't bother to find out, did you? "

-Monty Python and The Holy Grail

Things I learned about 37 so far:

Caligula became emperor in the year 37.

Probable year that Saint Paul converted to Christianity.

Makes me Older than Jesus.

As old as Marilyn Monroe when she died.

37 is prime.

37 is normal body temperature in Celsius.

In Kevin Smith's film "Clerks", Veronica reveals to her boyfriend that she has performed a sex act with 37 other men.

William Shakepeare wrote 37 plays.

Abraham Lincoln was elected to the House of Representatives at age 37

Dylan Thomas, Pushkin, Lord Byron, and Michael Hutchence died at 37.

The Green Monster is 37 feet tall.

Most of the above from

OK, all together now..

Been waiting 365 days to do this.

"Yesterday it was my birthday/
I hung one more year on the line/
I should be depressed, my life's a mess/
But I'm having a good time.

I've been loving, and loving, and loving/
I'm exhausted from loving so well/
I should go to bed, but a voice in my head says,
'Ah, what the hell'"

-Paul Simon
"Have a Good Time"

Friday, October 17, 2008

Subtraction is Our Friend

Good news- “We’re Both Right”, one of my favorite podcasts, is due to return in the next several weeks. It is a comedy podcast, with some light discussion of current events along with movie and music reviews. It’s hard to describe, really-you’ll have to listen to it to really understand what it’s like.

It is October 17, as has been noted, and that makes it five years to the day from October 17, 2003, the day Aaron Boone drove a stake through the heart of Red Sox Nation with an 11th inning homer that sent the Yankees into the World Series, where current Red Sox Josh Beckett took them by the throat and threw them back out again while pitching for his previous team, the Florida Marlins. Let me set the scene for those of you who aren’t mentally ill like me-the Red Sox had extended the American League Championship into extra innings, facing elimination. Good Old Tim Wakefield, who had mystified the Yankees thus far in the Series with his knuckleball, comes on in relief to blank them again, inning after inning. Wakefield can effectively pitch forever, while the Yankees have to wheel in more conventional pitchers.

Clearly, a situation that resounds to the Red Sox’ advantage, as Wakefield is having no trouble mowing down the Yanks. It seems like a Boston victory is imminent…until Aaron Boone, ARod’s predecessor at third for the Bombers, bombs a home run into the left field stands to win the game and send Boston home for the winter. I remember clearly sitting there, open mouthed, as Boone rounds the bases and the crowd goes bananas. It was early in the morning, my having just turned (subtraction is our friend!) 32.

C'est Magnifique

If Magnifique smells as good as Anne Hathaway looks in the commercial, they are going to sell a lot of perfume.

The Drums are Beating

Watched The West Wing again this morning-two more episodes from the period when I wasn't watching. They're covering the last year of the President's term, with primaries beginning and conflict, of course, everywhere. Then they play JFK, a movie I could watch a hundred times. I don't believe his thesis any more, but the themes still move me.

As my Dad wrote on the previous entry, the only comeback greater than last night's is October 12, 1929-the Chicago Cubs, after dropping the first 2 games, win game 3 and stun John Picus (Jack) Quinn in game four with six early runs. Chicago takes a 8-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh(!) before Philadelphia (!) comes back with TEN in the seventh to win, 10-8. Chicago, on the verge of tying the Series, then drops Game Five to give Philadelphia the title.

Of course, something else happened in 1929, too.

Plus, this gives me an excuse to write about Al "Bucketfoot" Simmons. One should never allow a chance like that to pass.

"Tell your statistics to shut up."

So the Red Sox are trailing 7-0, bottom of the seventh. "Unless the Earth opens up and swallows the Tampa bullpen," I say.

Our Man DP singles in Farmer Jed Lowrie.

That's good. Get a run for us. At least we didn't get shut out. But this game is over. 9 outs to go, 6 runs down? Come on. That's silly. Can't happen. I've written this team off, don't you know. Time to look forward to the World Series, then spring training and another fantasy baseball season.

David Ortiz, Big Papi, His Majesty the Ortizzle, homers deep into the grandstand. 7-4 Tampa.

Well, that's kind of nice. Ortiz showing a little spark. But it's 7-4 now, and into the bottom of the 8th. 6 outs to go, with a three run lead. Can't happen, right?

JD Drew, professional hitter, homers into the first row of the seats in right. 7-6.

Nice that we gave them a challenge, you know? Put a little scare into them. Send them into the World Series with our best wishes, right?

Mark Kotsay, Line Drive Hitter For Hire, drives a ball to deep center that BJ Upton reaches and just quite can't track down for a double.

Covelli Crisp battles, and battles, and battles, foulling off pitch after pitch after pitch, and finally drops a single into short right. Kotsay scores. Hello, what's this now?

So we enter the bottom of the ninth. Game tied. Our Man DP battles, but grounds out. Big Papi strikes out.

Oh, great, another 5 1/2 hour game.


Kevin Youkilis grounds out to third. The desperate third baseman, Evan Longoria, comes in on the ball, makes a nice pickup and throw takes a hop in front of Pena, over his head and into the stands.

Youkilis takes second.

Lefty JP Howell walks Jason Bay.

Howell gives up a line drive to JD Drew that rises, and rises , and falls just behind right fielder Gabe Gross for a base hit that wins the game for Boston.

Tampa coughs up a 7-0 lead, and Lazarus lives-popping up off the mat to pin their betters and live to fight another day.

Trailing 3-2 in games, Boston travels to Tampa to play Game Six, Saturday night.


In the East, it is the early morning of October 17.

In 1781, Cornwallis surrenders to Washington at Yorktown, ending the Revolutionary War.

In 1888, Thomas Edison files a patent for the Optical Phonograph, a prototype of the movie camera.

It is the birthday of Red Rolfe, Paul Derringer, Arthur Miller, Rita Hayworth, Montgomery Clift, Tom Poston, Jimmy Breslin, Evel Knievel, Cameron Mackintosh, Michael McKeon, George Wendt, Richard Roeper, Mike Judge, Ziggy Marley, Ernie Els, John Mabry, Eminem, Wyclef Jean, and Joe McEwing.

And me.

Happy birthday, me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Stars To Fill My Dream..."

In Boston tonight, Scott Kasmir (ha! Get it?) throttled the Red Sox on two hits through six innings, while his mates piled on for seven big runs. As I write this, Boston trails 7-0 with one out in the bottom of the seventh. As such, the Boston Red Sox' 2008 baseball season is all but at an end. Assuming the Earth does not open up and swallow Tampa's bullpen, the Rays will advance to the World Series to face the Philadelphia Phillies, beginning next Wednesday.

I'm disappointed, but not deeply so. This team went as far as they could with the personnel they had, and they provided countless thrills along the way. As the saying goes, good on yer, mates.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Reason Enough?

Esquire's endorsement of Obama.

If you won't read the whole thing, just consider this:

"There is no evidence at all that anything will change under a President John McCain, who has already identified Roberts and Alito as his beau ideals of Supreme Court justices. He has made brave noises about torture and the extraconstitutional prerogatives of the executive, but President Bush and his men went on and did what they wanted anyway, and McCain walked away, begging for votes from fundamentalists who hate him, meeping his displeasure in ways that were barely audible. The virus will gestate and spread on his watch, all throughout the federal government. Bushism must be ripped out, root and branch, everywhere it has been established, or else the presidential election of 2008 is a worthless exercise in futility. Barack Obama may not be the man to do it, but John McCain, for all his laudable qualities, clearly is neither willing nor able to do so."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Splat: ALCS Game Four

That sound you just heard was Boston's championship hopes hitting the ground and making a big mess.

In Game Four of the American League Championship Series, Tampa hit Boston early, and often, and then again late, pounding out 13 runs on 14 hits (?) on their way to a 13-4 win. Tampa now leads Boston, 3-1, with Game Five scheduled for Thursday, with Boston's back, obviously, against the wall. Once the other team wins four out of seven, of course, they don't let you play anymore. Well, you can play-it's just that they won't send umpires, or balls, or an opponent, or stuff like that.


I'm not even mad, really-Tim Wakefield has worked hard for this team, and he just didn't have it tonight.

As the 2007 champs, we really don't have anything to complain about. Oh, well-just a kind of resigned feeling.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Is Petraeus Naive?

Interesting piece by Fred Kaplan about General Petraeus' view that we should negotiate with our enemies in the world.

But I thought that was being naive? That's what Sarah Palin says.

Game Three Is Not For Me

Why do you ask a question and react with hostility when I give you an answer? I just had someone call me and ask me a question-whether or not two events were related. I told her that, given my professional knowledge, it was unlikely. She reiterated that she needed to know why the second event had occurred. I told her, again, that I couldn’t be sure, but it was not likely. She replied, curtly, “Fine,” and hung up.


It is my fifteenth wedding anniversary tomorrow.

This afternoon in Boston, according to my phone, Boston got hammered, losing to the Tampa Bay Naughty Fish, 9-1. This gives Tampa a 2-1 lead in games, and in a scene that is somehow prototypical of this long season, the Red Sox turn to Tim Wakefield to, in essence, save their season. As deep as Boston’s pitching appeared to be at times, the middle relief and starting pitching depth have not been strong enough. I am resigned to this-2004 and 2007 hangover lets me be more placid than a pre-2004 me could have been. According to my phone, Lester got rocked, and Paul Byrd came out of the bullpen to be rocked as well. If anyone else had pitched, they probably would have been rocked too. (Where is Mike Timlin when you need him?)

Apple is brilliant. Despite our mutual agreement to cut corners until the apocalypse is over, my wife bought a Mitch Hedberg album last night on ITunes, and I bought Bruce Springsteen’s Live at Hammersmith 1975. They just make it so damn easy to spend money!

I certainly didn’t need more live Bruce Springsteen, and we already have all of Hedberg’s recordings except for that “new” one. Reminds me of one of his bits-“The only way I could get my old CDs into stores was to leave it there. ‘Sir, I think you forgot this-‘ ‘No I did NOT. Please alphabetize IT.’” Hedberg was brilliant, and gone way too soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

So Jaded/ALCS Game Two Backwash

Brilliant beginning to the DSC ( this week, with some scarily prescient Bill Hicks (“Go back to bed, America”) overlaid over a techno beat.

You know what? Coming inside to see me and telling me how beautiful the weather is outside? Everyone enjoys that but me.

Adam then played “Once In A Lifetime”, which made me think of two things. First, one of the most clever Beavis and Butthead jokes ever-Beavis is watching a David Byrne video, and he intones solemnly “You may find yourself in a beautiful house/With a beautiful wife/And you may ask her/’Hey, where’s the bathroom at?’ ”.

The second was my physiology professor, who I had an earth shattering crush on in college, and who was a big Talking Heads fan.

“My God, What Have I Done?”

…and then, after a segment of a Ron Paul speech, “Nothing Else Matters.” I love Adam Curry. I never would have thought to put that song here, after a long economic rant, but it fits. Clearly, the man is unhinged, but brilliant. Adam Curry for President.

Adam’s talk about the election reminds me of something I read a long, long time ago-Joseph Heller, in Bill Moyers’ “A World of Ideas”, noting that he doesn’t vote any more, because he doesn’t see any need to support one wing or the other of the Big Money Party.

I don’t want to admit it, but I think he’s right.

Early this morning, Tampa scored a run in the eleventh inning to beat the Red Sox in Game Two of the American League Championship Series, 9-8. Game Three is Monday in Boston.

According to Dwight Silverman on Twitter, there is going to be a Prisoner remake, which is somewhat of a mixed blessing. The Prisoner was an English series, somewhat like Lost, I guess, never having seen Lost, where it is never entirely clear what is going on. The Prisoner is a secret agent of some sort, presumably English, who tries to resign and is kidnapped and transported to The Village, a bizarre seaside village where everyone and everything is controlled to a disturbing, Orwellian degree. It is deeply bizarre, with its own rituals and symbols and just general late sixties weirdness, but I can definitely see its relevance to today’s events, living in “Gitmo Nation”, as Adam likes to put it.

The heavy metal band Iron Maiden did a song on one of its albums about the show, and you can sometimes see the show on PBS once in a while. BBC America should really bring it back. The phrase, “I am not a number, I am a free man” on my disclaimer is from the opening credits of the show. Apparently, the new Prisoner is going to be a reimagining, a la Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Battlestar Galactica. That will probably lose some of the psychedelia, but maybe not.

I remember I read somewhere that Patrick McGoohan, who played the prisoner on the show, was up for the part of James Bond at one point, only to turn it down because he had religious objections to the character. If that’s true, it’s certainly interesting. There was very little violence in the TV show, and no gunplay, if I recall correctly.

OH (overheard): “I need to go in front of you! I have a dog in the car without air conditioning!”

b)Why don’t you roll the windows down?
c)Why didn’t you leave the dog at home?

Some pet owners, like some parents, are incredibly presumptious and overbearing about things like this. It’s called planning and foresight. You should try it sometime.

That’s obnoxious, but I’m sorry. Bad planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

“How on Earth did I get so jaded/
Life’s mystery seems so faded-“

Soul Asylum, Runaway Train

Ah, Soul Asylum. Work for years in tiny, crappy clubs, and all I remember you for is one line in one song. I guess that beats not being remembered for anything at all, right?