Saturday, April 25, 2009

Game Seventeen, Part The Second

The score tells the tale:



NYY-Burnett, Veras (6), Coke (6), Albaladejo (7), Ramirez (7), Marte (8), Robertson (8) and Posada

BOS- Beckett, Delcarmen (6), Okajima (7), Ramirez (8), Papelbon (9) and Varitek.

27 runs
28 hits

4 hours, 21 minutes.


Bea Arthur, RIP (NSFW)

The actress Bea Arthur has passed away. Being an ignorant young 'un, I didn't know who she was until the Golden Girls television show.

But the most telling moment for me was when she showed up at one of the ubiquitous Comedy Central roasts, and comedian Jeff Ross, making fun of Sandra Bernhardt, noted that he wouldn't f&*k her with Bea Arthur's dick.

Now, it's hard to be a lot more insulting, and Arthur would have every right to leave the room in a huff. But, being a comedienne, she stood there and took it, and then waited her turn to give it right back.

I admire people who can laugh at themselves.

Game Seventeen, Part One: I don't drink, but...

...I think I'm going to start.

The Yankees dinked, and dunked, and chipped, and snuck their way to a 6-0 lead off of Josh Beckett.

But, not to be outdone, Boston rallies for 8 runs of their own, including a grand slam from none other than O Captain My Captain, a solo shot from Jacoby Ellsbury, and a 2 run double from Sitting By The Dock of The Bay to take the lead 8-6.

But then Johnny Damon homers into the bullpen in right field to tie the game at 8.

And we've only played five full innings! Good heavens!

I both love and hate this game.

Some more of the true greats...

It's Al Pacino's birthday...

...and Ella Fitzgerald's.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Game The Sixteenth: Bonus Baseball

In the top of the tenth, it is The Lord of The Dance against a randomly selected Molina.

Molina singles to open the inning.

They bunt Molina to second.

Pedroia ROBS Jeter on a ball up the middle, diving and throwing him out on a very nice play.

Papelbon walks Judas Damon.

Damon steals second.

And PAPELBON STRIKES OUT TEXEIRA with two men on to push us to the bottom of the tenth.


I'm going to be EXHAUSTED by Monday.

Bottom of the tenth now.....

Damaso Marte against New Guy, shortstop du jour Nick Green.

Green chases ball two for a swinging strikeout, one down.

Marte makes short work of Ellsbury on a popup, two down.

And Marte strikes out Pedroia.

Top of the eleventh....

New Guy Ramon Ramirez against Jorge Posada.

Posada works a walk.

Well, not so much works...Ramirez is struggling with location.

Brett Gardner now.

Gardner tries a bunt, but Youkilis charges in, wheels, and retires Posada at second on a nice play. One down.

Robinson Cano now.

Cano singles to right.

The Melkman, Melky Cabrera, now.

And Cabrera grounds into a 4-4-3 double play.

On to the bottom half of the eleventh.....

Marte against Big Papi, David Ortiz.

Ortiz strikes out swinging.

Our Man Youk, Kevin Youkilis, the Man, The Myth, The Legend, The Greek God of Walks, YOUK CRANKS ONE, high and deep into the night, way back, up and gone, over the MONSTAH and onto Lansdowne Street for the walk off game winning homer.

Cue the Standells....

"And I love that dirty water....."

I'm exhausted, but exhilirated.

What a night-what a game!

Game Sixteen: Athens V. Sparta, Take I

So what's with all this Red Sox-Yankee stuff?

One hundred and five years ago (literally-1904), when the teams were called the Highlanders and the Americans, Yankee pitcher Jack Chesbro threw a wild pitch in a late season game that gave the championship to Boston, and for the next hundred and five seasons, Boston and New York have done battle.

The rivalry didn't really develop spice until 1920, when George Herman "Babe" Ruth, probably still the most famous baseball player who ever lived, was sold by the Red Sox to the Yankees. Folklore tells you that it was to fund a Broadway show, "No No Nanette", but more recent investigations have questioned this idea.

Ruth, of course, went on to become the most famous baseball player who ever lived, and Boston, who had won 5 World Series titles between 1903 (the first year of the World Series) and 1918, would take 86 years to win another, the famed campaign of 2004.

The rivalry had some real potency during the 1970s, when Red Sox-Yankee games resulted in actual fighting on the field, and two teams and fan bases that had some genuine animosity for one another. Since the 2004 crown, the rivalry has cooled somewhat-more of a genuine respect and fear than a full force loathing the way it used to be.

For the first time this year, the Yankees and Red Sox meet in Boston, facing off with identical 9-6 records.

I got home in time to see a series of unfortunate events (a Jeter line drive into the right field corner that JD Drew just missed, a bunt by Johnny Damon that Hideki Okajima bungled, a jam shot by Big Tex into center that fell in for a hit, and a tumbling catch in right by Jason Bay off of the bat of Robinson Cano) that scored two runs to open up a 4-2 lead for the Yankees in the top of the seventh inning.

The bottom of the seventh resulted in a routine 0 for Boston, (I'm learning from the announcers that Boston has hit into FOUR double plays tonight, which is a serious buzzkill) and the top of the 8th resulted in a 0 for New York.

Somehow you KNEW this game was going to wind up causing gastrointestinal discomfort. Boston has the bottom of the order coming up in the 8th, and then, of course, for the bottom of the ninth, we have to face Enter Sandman. It's not that we've never come back to win against Rivera, but it's still damn hard, even so.

Boston threatened but did not score in the 8th, and the Yankees did the same in the top of the ninth.

There's a reason why these games take 6 1/2 hours to play.

So it's on to the ninth, down two runs against arguably the greatest closer of the modern era.

Ortiz strikes out swinging for the first out, then Our Man Youk rips a single right back through the box, nearly taking Rivera's head off. Drew breaks his bat and dribbles a grounder to second for the second out.


Joy, rapture, tumult.

And Mike Lowell lines a single into short left field!

Jonathan Van Every, another entry in the Red Sox Players Whose Names Sound Like US Presidents Club, in to run for Lowell.

Oh Captain My Captain, Jason Varitek, strikes out swinging, and we're into extra innings.



"In contrast to most things in life, baseball provides important certainties: almost everything important happens out in full view, success is measured to three decimal places and at the end of the day, everybody knows the score."

-Neal Conan, National Public Radio

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Common Sense?

The Red Sox are off today. Boston takes on the New York Yankees tomorrow for a weekend series.

Dan Carlin's Common Sense ( was outstanding this week. Carlin interviews Vincent Bugliosi, the author of, among other books, "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder" and "Reclaiming History:The Assassination of JFK", both of which are outstanding, and both of which I have read.

In his monologue section, Carlin also touches on the Tea Parties, a subject which has come up here now and then. Carlin cited Janeane Garofalo's slightly unhinged comments on Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" accusing all Tea Partiers of being racists, and notes that this is ludicrous-all presidents attract the kinds of extreme rhetoric that some Partiers exhibited towards Obama. I have to admit that Carlin has a point there.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm Too Sexy For My Blog

An old friend ( recently noted a theme that I also have been picking up on from time to time among media types- the notion that blogging and Facebooking and twittering is making us a nation of narcissistic jerks, so convinced of our own importance that we must broadcast our every last thought into the universe. A similar reaction developed a little while ago when the "20 Things About Me" craze was all over Facebook-there was soon a rash of "I Don't Care About Your Stupid List" articles in magazines and newspapers.

My first reaction: AM NOT! AM NOT!

My second reaction: Don't you have to first be good looking before you can be narcissistic?

My third reaction: Look, if you took everybody who has ever read my blog, I'm not even entirely positive we could form a softball team, never mind a media empire. (But if we do, I have dibs on pitcher.) I have no illusions about how important I am. Hell, I'm a married man with a teenaged child-there are people in my life who remind me regularly how unimportant I am.

I think that part of this whole social media/interactivity thing is that the gatekeepers (and by this I mean everyone from Steven Metcalf at Slate to Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe to Oprah Winfrey Her Own Self) are starting to get a little pissy because we are talking back to them. That's good, I think, in the long run. We need their experience-Dan Shaughnessy, for example, has seen a lot more baseball games than even I have-but we don't ONLY need their experience anymore.
I think it is challenging them. Some will get better, others will stomp their feet and cry about how unfair it is until they don't have jobs anymore.

So why do I do it?

I don't know. I have a few people who stop in here regularly, and it flatters me to no end that you bother to waste your precious seconds reading me, but I'm not getting rich doing this. I am making precisely $0.00 per hour, and I think I owe Katie ( half of that.

So why?

I have been writing for pleasure since approximately age 14 or so. I have been reading for another ten years or more before that. That means nearly four decades of being involved with words in some form or another, either consuming it or creating it and usually both. I do it because I love it, I do it because I need to do it, and I do it because I've always done it, and I can scarcely imagine not doing it.

If that makes me narcissistic, then lead me to the pool.

(Ten points for literature people/mythology geeks who understand that last sentence.)

Game Fifteen: How Sweep It Is

Boston sweeps the day/night doubleheader with a rain delayed 7-3 win tonight. Minor league veteran Jeff Bailey knocked one into the Monster Seats to give Boston the lead, and the Red Sox went on to jump on no less a personage than Francisco Liriano. Brad Penny pitched well, and New Guy Ramon Ramirez, the Okey Doke, and the Lord Of The Dance finished up. Boston is now 9 up and 6 down, and they have won 7 in a row. After a day off tomorrow, the Evil Empire makes their 2009 debut in the Pahk on Friday.

In news of a puckly sort, the Boston Bruins advanced to the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by sweeping Les Habitants, the Montreal Canadiens, 4 games to none.

In news of cagery far and wide, The Boston Celtics are tied 1-1 in their first round matchup against the Chicago Bulls.

We now return you non sports fans to your regularly scheduled nonsense.

Nick Hornby and Entertainment

Game Fifteen of the 2009 Season is due to start approximately,

Until then, we have this essay by Nick Hornby, an English author who I find tremendously entertaining and meaningful. (

Hornby describes an essay by English playwright Mark Ravenhill in which Ravenhill decries contemporary culture that treats adults as children.

Hornby writes:
"I like to think that I too am an adult who doesn’t need to be constantly diverted – unless, that is, I have paid good money to be in a place of entertainment (and even the theatre, which God knows has provided some of the dullest nights of my life, can still, at a stretch, be described thus) - in which case I demand diversion, every single second of the evening."

I have a pile of "good" books-Tolstoy, Kafka, Garcia Marquez, Proust, Melville-that are still waiting to be read, while I plow through much less meaningful books by the carload. Sometimes I feel guilty about this, and try to plow through a "real book", but I invariably wind up turning back to the "junk" again.

Life is too short to read a book or sit through a TV show or watch a movie if you're not enjoying it. I think reality TV is garbage-but that doesn't make you a bad person if you enjoy it, just a different person.

As John Lennon was trying to tell us, "Whatever gets you through the's alright...."

Game Fourteen, Final: Thank You, Rob McKenna

Ten points if you can identify why that headline is funny.

The Powers That Be have called the early game in the Day/Night Doubleheader at Fenway Park, thus putting a Win into the Red Sox' column, 10-1. That pushes the team to 8-6 with their sixth straight win.

They play again tonight at 7, Francisco Liriano against Brad Penny.

Game Fourteen: Victorus Interruptus

In the seventh, Boston leads Minnesota, 10-1. It is raining. Big frakkin' surprise there. In the Northeast, it has been raining continuously since Labor Day.
That may be an exaggeration.
I get a lot of spam. It used to not bother me at all, but it's really starting to. I'm afraid I might be missing emails.
I'm currently reading "A Baseball Winter", a behind the scenes look at the baseball postseason between the 1984 and 1985 seasons. It's rare that I stumble upon a baseball book I've never heard of, but this is one. It's interesting, at least partially because it's so very dated-front offices work very differently now.

Game Fourteen, Part The First-Afternoon Delight?

Enough with all that rhyming.

A trio of 3 run homers off of Scott Baker, the Home Run Maker from Our Man Youk, Mike Lowell, the Greatest American Hero, and New Guy Nick Green have powered Boston to a 6-0 lead after 4 innings in Boston today.

It's Sox manager Terry Francona's birthday today. Both Francona and his father Tito were major league players.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about Dan Carlin's most recent Hardcore History show ( He is talking about the Eastern Front battles during the Second World War, and firstly the sheer volume of people who died on both sides, and secondly the extent to which so many of the soldiers on both sides were slaves to evil ideologies-there were victims on both sides.

It just made me think about demonization in general, and how casually people, myself included, throw around words like "evil" and "monstrous" and "barbaric". I'm going to try to be more careful about what I call people.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"You say in love, there are no rules..."

"...Baby, you're so cruel..."
-U2, "Cruel"

News, Notes, and Other Drivel:

Tonight's Red Sox game was rained out due to rain. Doubleheader tomorrow, barring nuclear holocaust.
The best Twitterer ever: @happysquared-follow him!
It struck me while bloghopping today that I really don't write very much about myself anymore. Way back in the day, (which, as Dane Cook taught us, was a Wednesday) I wrote a lot more about myself, and much more despairingly.

I'm still despairing, but I guess I've just come to the conclusion that no one cares.
Another good reason is that I simply bore myself silly.
I wonder how long the Yankees can keep playing in front of all those expensive empty seats before they lower ticket prices?
"Don't let the bastards grind you down"-U2, "Acrobat"

Good Idea, Bad Idea

Ok, enough seriousness.

From the subversive, brilliant, lamentably gone Animaniacs:

Happy (Sorta) Birthday, Jesse Orosco!

Jesse Orosco after throwing the final pitch of the 1986 World Series.

Jesse Orosco turns 52 today. Jesse Orosco was a relief pitcher who got major league hitters out for an astounding 24 seasons-from 1979 to 2003. Most of the time, he had one job and one job only-getting left handed hitters out. And he did it (mostly), time after time after time, until they finally made him stop doing it.

Even at 52, he could probably still throw a slider for a strike.

So even though he won one of my least favorite World Serieseseses, happy birthday to Jesse Orosco, who knew what he had to do and just did it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Usually Sensible Christopher Buckley

The usually sensible Christopher Buckley on torture:

"It is, yes, good that the U.S.A. is not doing this anymore, but let’s not get too sanctimonious about how awful it was that we indulged in these techniques after watching nearly 3,000 innocent Americans endure god-awful deaths at the hands of religious fanatics who would happily have detonated a nuclear bomb if they had gotten their mitts on one. And let us move on. There is pressing business. (Are you listening, ACLU? Hel-lo?)"

Yes, Christopher. We don't want to overstate, even though a) we sometimes did it to the wrong people, and b) some of the time it didn't work.

"The operative question becomes: What do we do now with captive bad guys who possess information that could prevent another 9/11? We may have moved on. They, assuredly, have not."

How about we try techniques that work?

Get Well Soon, Professor Hawking

Steven Hawking, one of the greatest minds of our generation, is reportedly very ill and has been hospitalized.

Best wishes for an eventual recovery to Professor Hawking.

Game Thirteen: Feeling Pretty Keen

In Boston for the Patriots' Day Matinee, the Red Sox climbed all over the Orioles, winning a 12-1 runaway. Justin Masterson pitched 5 fine innings, then handed off to MDC, Okey Doke, the Other Javy, and new guy Hunter Jones to finish up. On the striking side of the ledger, David Ortiz had a double and a triple, while Jason Varitek had a home run. Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Ortiz were 9 for 16 combined. The unusually named Radhames Liz of Baltimore took his lumps, allowing 6 runs on 28 pitches while only getting one out. Boston is now 7-6 , riding a 5 game winning streak.

The Minnesota Twins visit Fenway tomorrow for a weird two game set, followed by the first visit of the Evil Empire over the weekend.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Yes, Torture Is Still Wrong, Even If They Told You To.


"During the Nuremberg Trials, the Allied Powers established that "I was just following orders" is not a legitimate defense for heinous and barbarous acts. It doesn't matter how legitimate the authorities above you might otherwise be, they don't have the authority to order to you break the law. It also doesn't matter if they tell you that their orders are legal. If you choose to follow such orders, then you are completely responsible for your own actions — as a morally autonomous and responsible adult, no other conclusion is legally possible. You are not protected by any laws or any international treaties...Government employees and independent contractors are not automatons whom we simply wind up and aim in some desired direction; they are morally responsible adults who must be held morally and legally responsible for actions they choose to take. They have a choice to not take action they suspect may be legally questionable or which appear to be morally dubious. Granted, there are grey areas where it's not always obvious what is legal and what is illegal. I'd like to think that those engaged in actively administering criminal treatments like waterboarding would have noticed that they were breaking the law, but I could accept that not every situation was quite so clear. Is that a reason to withhold prosecution? Absolutely not. If complete ignorance of the law is not a valid defense for breaking the law without consequences, then difficulty in discerning the boundaries of the law won't be either. Even the most junior members of the military are legally and morally expected to uphold these standards under far more difficult and stressful conditions. Does anyone really want to argue that soldiers should be immune from prosecution for war crimes if they are told that the Justice Department decided it was legal to summarily execute suspected Muslim terrorists? So I don't think it's not asking too much to have these expectations of experienced civilians who have the luxury of time and space to consider their actions. "

Torture is barbarism, a monstrosity against which all good people should be appalled. It is not vague, it is not contingent on circumstance, it is not "a few bad apples". It is wrong, it always has been wrong, it always will be wrong.

The people who sanctioned it should be tried, convicted, and imprisoned for crimes against humanity.

Bill Clinton on Freedom of Speech

"In this country we cherish and guard the right of free speech. We know we love it when we put up with people saying things we absolutely deplore. And we must always be willing to defend their right to say things we deplore to the ultimate degree. But we hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable. You ought to see—I'm sure you are now seeing the reports of some things that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today.

Well, people like that who want to share our freedoms must know that their bitter words can have consequences and that freedom has endured in this country for more than two centuries because it was coupled with an enormous sense of responsibility on the part of the American people.

If we are to have freedom to speak, freedom to assemble, and, yes, the freedom to bear arms, we must have responsibility as well. And to those of us who do not agree with the purveyors of hatred and division, with the promoters of paranoia, I remind you that we have freedom of speech, too. And we have responsibilities, too. And some of us have not discharged our responsibilities. It is time we all stood up and spoke against that kind of reckless speech and behavior.

If they insist on being irresponsible with our common liberties, then we must be all the more responsible with our liberties. When they talk of hatred, we must stand against them. When they talk of violence, we must stand against them. When they say things that are irresponsible, that may have egregious consequences, we must call them on it. The exercise of their freedom of speech makes our silence all the more unforgivable. So exercise yours, my fellow Americans. Our country, our future, our way of life is at stake. I never want to look into the faces of another set of family members like I saw yesterday, and you can help to stop it.

Our democracy has endured a lot over these last 200 years, and we are strong enough today to sort out and work through all these angry voices."

Game Twelve: Into Joy We Delve

Jon Lester was suitably Lestery, pitching 7 brilliant 4 hit innings, and New Guys Ramon Ramirez and Takashi Saito closed the door on a 2-1 win. Boston has now won 4 straight and is 6-6 on the year, tied for second place in the division.

Yeah, it's Baltimore, but still...the bullpen seems to be as good as advertised.