Saturday, June 19, 2010

Game 69 and 70: Kicking Them Out of Dodge

Last night, young Felix Doubront made his debut, and the Red Sox beat up on the Dodgers, giving the rookie a 10-6 win in his debut. Today, it took a game winning single from Our Man DP in the bottom of the 9th to push Boston to a 5-4 win over these same Trolley Dodgers. Boston is now 42-28, and a single game behind the Yankees atop the division, a sentence I didn't think I would write this season.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Am Comic

While trying to come down from the euphoric lows of rooting for the doomed Celtics, I caught a documentary on one of the movie channels called "I Am Comic". It is basically a whole bunch of comedians telling stories and jokes about the art of comedy, surrounding the story of Ritch Shydner, a standup from the 1980s who is trying to make his way back. He had one of those specials that you saw all the time on Comedy Central and HBO for a while, but it contains a couple of my favorite bits of all time. It's not groundbreaking or anything, pretty standard Tim Allen style "Boys are different from girls" stuff, but it was funny.

The documentary was tremendous, though-somewhat similar to "Comedian" and "The Aristocrats" in that it's a lot of comics just being funny, one after another. Terrific thing to watch, although I wound up staying up way too long.

Here's a clip from the documentary:

It's Friday, So That Means....

Tomorrow is Saturday.

It also means it's time for the Friday 55, a story told in exactly 55 words, hosted by Mr. Knowitall over here.

Here's mine, with a theme that should be obvious, given the events of last night. It's called "One More".

I stare at the floor. I can hear, and feel, the rocking sounds of joy through the walls. I ache everywhere. I want to cry, but I'm too tired even for that. Could I have done more? One more shot made? Steal grabbed? Rebound corralled? I know I may never have another shot. One more.

Game 68: Can we play Arizona, like, every day?

The Red Sox completed a sweep of the Fanged Ones last night, an 8-5 win with another lacking performance from John Lackey. However, everyone's favorite game show host, Daniel Nava, came through with a 3 for 4 performance, and Papi bonked his 14th off of Disco Dan Haren. The Red Sox welcome the Dodgers and the Bad Man, Manny Ramirez, to town today.


Speaking of Los Angeles, the Celtics led, but struggled with offense and rebounding, finally falling to the Lakers, 83-79, giving the Lake Show their 16th NBA title, Kobe Bryant's fifth and Phil Jackson's 11th. As I sadly forecast, the Lakers were too long, and the rebounding edge, and rebounding's bastard son, extra possessions, proved to be too much for the C's. Ah well. They gave it a game effort, and nearly pulled it out. Hat's Off To Them.

Attention should also be paid to the man my wife lovingly calls "F^&kNut", Mr. Ron Artest. He came up HUGE for the Lakers, playing pesky defense, scoring twenty, and, in an NBA first, thanking his psychiatrist after the game.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Game 67: Getting Closer

In Boston last night, a pair of two run homers from Youk and DP, along with 7 strong from Jon Lester, paired up to give Boston a 6-2 win over those Arizona Diamondbacks.

Boston is 39-28, in third place, but only 3 games behind the Naughty Fish and Evil Empire atop the division.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hanna Rosin hates men, and why the Celtics are doomed

That's an exaggeration, of course. I don't know Hanna Rosin, and she is married to a man, so arguably, she doesn't hate at least one man. (Those who have been married may dispute this conclusion. But I digress.)

What I am certain Hanna Rosin did do is write this, a piece in The Atlantic magazine talking about how men, generally speaking, are fairly useless as far as American society goes. I don't want to believe this, but I can't dismiss it-I have felt for years that men, especially undereducated men, are just getting squeezed out of American society in 2010-there isn't any place for them anymore.


The Boston Celtics were beaten, tied up, and whipped like dogs last night, losing Game Six of the NBA Finals. Game Seven, the winner of whom will become NBA Champion, is Thursday night, and, though I don't wish to believe it, the Celtics are doomed.

Throughout the series, when the Lakers exert effort on defense, they are simply too tall for the Celtics-they disrupt passes and shots too aggressively for the Celtics to counter. Without Kendrick Perkins probably out for Game Seven, that makes one less big man to guard Gasol and Bynum, and even the screwball antics of Messrs. Odom and Artest may not be enough to allow the Celtics to win.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Game 66: Getting Your Kicks

In Boston, the Red Sox beat Arizona and Yankee alum Ian Kennedy, 6-3, while across the country, their neighbors the Celtics are being humiliated in game 6 of the NBA Finals.

100 Saucy Words: "Visitor"

100 Words, blah blah blah blah. The word is "sauce" this week. The piece is called "Visitor". Here goes...

I watched her serving dinner. Ladling sauce, assessing, adding a little more. Judging. She always made sure everyone got the right amount. My brother, my father, myself-was there room for more? I knew the answer, but something kept me from entirely believing it. “Dinner,” she called out. They came from different rooms to the table. I watched them assemble, then took my place. The food looked fine, but I was vaguely nauseous, turning the smell acrid in my throat. I looked at her, then down at the napkin in my lap. “I'm not really hungry,” I said softly.

It's Not Wednesday-No, Wait, Yes It Is.

Well, it isn't in North America, but just like it being 5 o'clock somewhere, it is Wednesday somewhere, too. This week Janera has served up ten questions based on words from New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen, which you can find here.

1. “When it comes to luck, you make your own.” Do you believe you have that type of control over your luck?

No. I have long had issues with the notion that you get what you deserve, cosmically speaking-the idea that affirmations or the Secret or prayer will give you what you want. You can't control the cards you're dealt, only the way you play the hand, to quote Randy Pausch.

2. “You've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above.” What is something you have had difficulty rising above?

My weight and my melancholic temperament.

3. “Poor men wanna be rich, rich men wanna be kings, and a king ain’t satisfied till he rules everything.” Would you want to be rich?

Uh, yeah. They say rich people have problems, too, but I'd love to find out how.

4. “The best music is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with.” Tell us about a song that helps you "face the world."

Lots and lots of candidates. Billy Joel's "You're Only Human" has gotten me through tough patches.

5. “In America everything's about who's number one today.” Have you ever been a fan of someone you thought would last but turned out to be a flash in the pan?

I was a big fan of Tesla, a metal band from the 1980s that never quite lived up to the promise they showed.

6. “Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?” Has any dream of yours come true?


7. “Our American government has strayed too far from American values. It is time to move forward. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting.” What would you change if you became the president?

End the wars.

8. "Yeah, I had gay friends. The first thing I realized was that everybody's different, and it becomes obvious that all of the gay stereotypes are ridiculous." How do you feel about gay rights?

Absolutely, unequivocally, without reservation, I'm for equal human rights for everyone.

9. " It's a sad man my friend who's living in his own skin and can't stand the company." Have you ever been disappointed in yourself?

Only on days that end in "Y", my friend.

10. "The best music is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with." What's your favorite type of music? What's your favorite band?

In that horrible cliche that everyone seems to spout, all types of music. I have several favorite bands, depending on several different factors, including my mood, but the one musician who means the most to me, who I can (and have) listened to over and over again, first album to last, without getting tired of it, is William Martin (Billy) Joel.

Do Americans Like Soccer?

I'm home all this week, a sudden combination of poverty and mild illness combining to obviate any thoughts of travel, so I've been watching the World Cup on ESPN. (Admittedly, I'm a guy, so I would probably find a way to watch ESPN on top of Mount Kilimanjaro, but I digress.)(To be fair, I do nothing but digress a lot of the time.) (But, again, I digress.)

It is often remarked that soccer (which the rest of the world calls football) ( but I will keep calling it soccer both to distinguish it from American (NFL) football and because, well, that's what I call it) is wildly popular around the world, yet not popular here in the good old US of A. Paradoxically, art (if you can call it that) produced here (TV and movies) is wildly popular around the world.

I'm not a soccer guy-I never played it. I've read about it, which is my usual response to almost anything-starting with Nick Hornby's "Fever Pitch" and moving on from there. So, coming at it as a neophyte, I have found the World Cup to be marvelously entertaining and fun. The announcers, as far as I know English announcers from the Premier League, along with the occasional American like John Harkes, have been informative, and also critical in a way that US sports announcers never are.

I know the commentary is probably dumbed down, but I appreciate that. It drives me crazy as a baseball fan to hear, every October, Tim McCarver explaining again that it's important to throw strikes-but if that's all the baseball that you watch, you need to hear that from an otherwise intelligent man like McCarver. Soccer moves right along, too-as Bill Simmons points out, if you see the clock on a soccer game say "80:00", you're pretty sure that, 15 minutes from now at the most, you're done.

It's taken as a given that Americans don't like soccer. There are several childish reasons given-it's somehow gay, or Communist, or unnatural to not pick up the ball with your hands, or some other nonsense. ("Nothing happens" is another argument. Well, look at any other sport. Scoring plays in basketball take fractions of a second. I'll bet 80% of NFL football possessions go by without scoring. A perfect game, the summit of baseball perfection, is the very definition of nothing happening.)

There is pro men's soccer in the US-the oddly run (salaries set by the league) but slowly growing Major League Soccer. My general impression of it, world quality wise, is that it is roughly equal to AA baseball-the very best players in MLS (like Landon Donovan) can play at the top level, but the majority are either bench players or would not make a Premier League roster.

My contention is that Americans could, and would, like soccer, if it were presented to us properly. If ESPN had a three hour block, let's say, every Thursday, where they ran an hour of highlights and news, interspersed with little rule demos like they do on the MLB Network, followed by a tape delayed Game of the Week, with overlaid English "soccer for dummies" commentary, from the Bundesliga or Serie A or the Premier League. If it were presented well, and easy to find, Americans would enjoy it, I think.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday 160: Robert Green

Sunday means it's time for the Sunday 160, a story told in 160 characters. This week's is called "Robert Green".

Save-simple word, short, sweet, to the point.
Stop the ball, end the rally-save it.
A simple, easy dribbler, right at me.
Easy for you to say.

Game 65: Talk Me Off The Lidge

The Red Sox were outclassed, outmanned, and outgunned by the Phillies at Fenway today, 5-3. They did manage to get the tying run to the plate in the ninth against closer Brad Lidge, but Scu-Scu-Scutaro popped out to end the game.