Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Sons Of Bino-Gate

yankee Stadium to be flushed down itself for good.

We've heard this before, but maybe this is the real deal. But the last line of the article--the quote from Levine, does that seem a little naive or what?

I just saw a headline that read "Is L.A. Cursed by Shaq-bino?"

So I guess every curse is a "-bino" and every scandal is a "-gate" and every message board is a "Sons of..." (And as I've mentioned before, every crappy movie is an "-ishtar.")

While totally uncreative and ridiculous, this is an interesting phenomenon. Because you know there are some dumber folks out there who just don't grasp the concept, and think the non-existent suffix "-gate' actually means "scandalous." And I'm sure some people think "Right, 'Sons of,' as in, 'people who talk about a subject as if it's their father.'" Because surely some fifteen year olds in Idaho have never heard of the Son of Sam killer.

I watched that Ortiz grand slam online over and over. It's so good to have that summertime magic back. The Red Sox at Fenway with the uniforms glowing in the lights. The little white ball flying through the night, landing in a frenzied crowd.

I'm on my way up there right now.

And David Wells pitched well and I forgot to give him credit!

I've always loved you, Boomer. (As long as you simply never, ever lose another game. Ever.)

[Edit from 4/17: That last line makes no sense, but you get the picture.]

When Chefs Attack

So while we were at the concert, Pat would get Sox-yanks updates on his cell phone. Before Sonic Youth played, the last one we got was 5-5 (with two homers off Randy!). After the show, already psyched about that, we got the final: 8-5 Red Sox. Such a great feeling, when the Sox win a series against the yanks. We got in the car and heard something about someone taking a swipe at Sheffield. What the F, we thought. As we strained to hear the FAN, we pretty much gathered that someone in the crowd threw an elbow at Sheffield, who threw a punch back.

When I got home and watched it on the internet, I was pretty amazed at how weak this "swipe" was. There was no elbow, and it was lighter than A-Rod's slap. And that was before I realized that it wasn't any kind of attempted punch at all. I feel like the dude was reaching down, and then, realizing the ball was way too far down to get, (he shouldn't have been trying to get it anyway) just kind of waved at it, lightly brushing Sheffield, if at all. And on the thousandth look, it seems like the guy is trying to get his hand the hell out of there, after it accidentally made contact with Sheffield.

So after hearing all the talk the next morning, I started getting pissed, because everyone was defending Sheffield, even though, in my opinion, his retaliation punch is the only reason this became an issue at all. And I personally don't think it was spur of the moment. It looks like he feels something on his head, looks up, sees a dude, and takes a shot at him with both hands. During the play. He knows he's not in any danger because right after he throws his punch, he goes right back to the ball. Then he throws it in, and goes back with the intention of fighting with a fan. Only when he sees that no one is or was ever starting to fight with him does he decide not to start going after anyone. Also, a security guard has stepped in at that point.

I think it's another case of someone doing what they're supposed to do, and getting credit for it as if they went out of their way to do it. Except that in this case, he actually did the wrong thing first, then did the right thing. Much like he and Giambi with the 'roids.

One guy, Steve Phillips, came on the ESPN radio morning show and agreed with what I've said completely, but was shot down.

I knew it would be an important afternoon. Mike & the Mad Dog needed to calmly tell everyone the truth, as they were all being fooled by all the other goobers. And I was so relieved when they actually did. And they ripped "Mr. Torre" for his absurd comments that he made after the game, before seeing a replay: "Somebody elbowed him..." (wrong) "...and then somebody dumped a beer on him" (a quarter of a beer, accidentally spilled). Then he said people like that shouldn't e allowed to walk the streets. They ripped him for not coming out with new, correct, rational comments to offset his initial ridiculous response.

Then I heard Dan Patrick saying how Shef will be fined. And to cap it all off, Michael Backwards Kay of all people actually said he thought the dude was trying to push the guy next to him out of the way, not trying to hit Shef at all. He even told off a caller who feared that it was now open season on yankees for "drunken, red-faced, New England vermin." Kay pointed out how there are, of course, bad fans at yankee Stadium, too.

So I think it just took a while, but everybody came to their senses. And I'd probably be doing an anti-beer rant right now if I thought that guy actually did anything bad. But he didn't really do anything.

A total non-story, made into one by Sheffield himself, and then a few crappy sports casters who are trying to improve their careers by having strong, phony-sounding opinions which show that "class" is really important to them. As George Carlin has said, Dudes who point out classiness are really just bragging about their perceived talent of being able to recognize class. "That guy's got class. I recognized it. You probably can't."

Tonight, it was another pressure-free win for me, as I saw Fever Pitch, and got in the car to hear that we were up 10-0. Everybody's hitting now. And with the yanks losing 8-1, it was an 18-1 overall night.

1080 Hartford was back to it's old tricks, almost as non-existent as 630 Providence.

Of course, as is the tradition, the Baltimore station was as clear as if it were being broadcast from the back seat. Fortunately, they were playing the yanks, so I got to listen to the end of that game while avoiding Sterling and Waldman. Bruce Chen does good against the yanks again. The O's have won 3 out of 4 against 'em. The yankees are in deep trouble. Every time they lose this year, I'll think of Kay saying "I don't see any way the yanks cannot win the A.L. East," and Francesa saying oh so nonchalantly, "Oh, they'll win." (the WS)

Oh, and Fever Pitch was really good, I thought.

Tomorrow, it's back up to Fenway for Clement against a Devil Ray who is 0-11 on the road.

By the way, male Sam, I knew I'd get static from you when I mentioned the Rays' "Watch shit happen" slogan. Don't worry, I was just messin' around with the little guys. Also, I bet somewhere there's a porn actor named Ray Stalk who's ready to sue you over the "Rays Talk" name.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Be Excellent To Each Other

I saw Sonic Youth, Cat Power, and Dred Foole last night in Northampton, MA. It was a benefit for the Greenfield Center School, which seems like a place I'd want to send my non-existent kids. They basically teach you to be a good person as well as a good student. According to Thurston from Sonic, whose daughter attends the school, they teach peace as a viable alternative to violence.

Sonic Youth ruled as usual, plenty of noisy energy, with guitars feeding back all over the place. I love how they can take a song to the point of near chaos, and then bring it back down to a calm groove that's still rooted in punk rock, as opposed to a hippie groove. And just when you get comfortable with that, they take you back to the edge again. Last night they also had weird slow motion images of mundane things projected on a screen behind them.

And the coolest thing about that band is how they're such regular people, just members of their community. (Kim and Thurston live in Northampton.) When Pat & I saw Thurston on Lansdowne Street last summer, before a Sox game and a Sonic show at Avalon, we just went right up to him and chatted about Connectiut (he's originally from a town right near the one we're from) and his nephew, who lives down here. He's just a totally normal dude. And an amazing musician.

That night, we told him we'd try to get to his show if there was time after the game. He said he'd try to get the game in on the radio and play it through his amp. Nice.

I'd heard that Cat Power, who is made up of one woman, was really pretty crazy. As in mentally disturbed. Like, she'll just run off stage mid-show or whatever. She came out and played her terribly sad songs on piano and guitar, and everything seemed normal. But you could see she was a little weird. At one point she made a motion toward her piano that indicated she wanted to strangle it. After one song, she raised a "thumbs down" up in the air, as if to say, "I fucked that up." Really good songs, either way.

And Dred Foole is a local older dude, who I'd seen before, who plays purposely (I think) out of tune songs and makes ridiculous noises with his throat. He gets my respect.

Now a quick note hyping up my own comedy stylings. The show was at the Academy of Music, an old timey-looking theater. Pat and I were discussing the Lincoln assassination since the place had balconies near the stage. Pat said that some witnesses claimed that Booth said something other than "Sic semper tyrannus," after he killed the president. I thought it would have been funny if someone in the back of the theater had perceived Booth's words as "San Dimas high school football rules!" I am so funny.

So I got a Sonic Youth T-shirt. It's a skull and crossbones, only instead of a skull, there's an audio cassette.

Which brings me to my stance on that. I love tapes. I came of age in the ain't-ies, which is the name I've (just) given to the ten year span from '85-'94. And let me tell you, tapes rule. Audio, video, everything was on tape.

There are some people who swear by vinyl. I like it, but records aren't exactly portable, and they're more fun to look at than play, for me anyway.

And the kids today love their CDs. But they're just so delicate. I can throw a tape into the back of my car without worry about smudges or scratches that will render the music unlistenable. You have to hold a CD like it's an egg on a spoon on field day in elementary school. Tapes are rugged.

You might be saying, "But A Red Sox Fan In Pinstripe Territory, with a CD, I can skip right to my favorite song."

Well, in my day, if we wanted to hear a song that was five songs away from he point the tape was at, we hit fast forward and we waited! "And we liked it!" to quote grumpy old man. Modern technology is great, but not having it builds character. Kids today won't know what it's like to anticipate anything, because whatever they want, they can get instantly.

Back then, we'd just rewind and fast-forward til the cows came home, not wanting it any other way, and wearing out tapes like a good pair of jeans.

And by the way, you know how I get that "worn-out" look from my jeans? From WEARING THEM. My so-called whiskers are made of actual creases and actual dirt. Next thing you know, they'll be selling jeans that already have a "willy mark," as Tracey Ullman once called it on Dave Letterman's show.

And then there are MP3's and iPods and whatnot, but I really don't know what those are.

The Thing

Something brushed against my face at work today, so of course I swung wildly with both hands. Turns out it was my boss's elderly mother. When I realized this, I figured, It's on now, and went to beat the crap out of her. After all that time, I finally figured out that she never had any intention of harming me (in fact, the brush was so light, my head didn't even move). So I didn't punch her in the face.

My boss, Mr. Newyorkmedia, has elevated me to vice president because of the restraint and, especially, class that I displayed.

(He's also very proud of me for not doing drugs at work any more.)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Fenway Park, April 13th, 2005

I'm gonna do that thing where you only look at something from your own perspective and say that the Red Sox should have scored more runs, and Curt stayed in the game a little too long. That was a very win-able game.

It was good to be back in the bleachers in the same 10-game plan seats Pat & I had last year. Looks like the same crew that took up a large chunk of the upper east side of section 43 last year has renewed. It's a bunch of thirty-ish dudes who all went to college together. They can be funny at times.

We also saw a lot of other familiar faces out there, which is weird since this is our first ever experience of being (partial) season ticket holders the second year.

On Opening Day, it was true what everyone was saying: Hardly any yankee fans. Last night, there were a few more, but nothing like every other year. Usually on the drive up, we'll see yankee cars. On these last two trips this week, I saw none.

Although we did see one on the way home last night. It was a CT plate that said "YNKS 26". This tells me some things about that person. For one, they couldn't be a longtime yankee fan, or it would've been likely that they'd have a lower number of championships on their plate. It also tells me that they've realized that the yanks have stalled at 26 titles, and decided now would be a good time to get the plate, so they wouldn't have to change it.

During batting practice yesterday, a roughly nine year old boy tried to reach down and grab a ball rolling around the right field corner. His dad was holding his feet as he stretched all the way down, before falling out of the crowd...and out of his pants. So this completely bare-butted kid was just laying on the field. He quickly was hoisted back into the crowd, where he re-pantsed.

But he got the ball.

That was the first bare ass on the Fenway Park field since the one that said "Jim Rice" on it. Remember that? Some fan ran on the field during a game, went to secong base, and pulled down his pants to reveal Rice's name. I didn't see it, but I was listening on the radio, of course. This was '88-ish, if I had to guess.

I think the championship flag is too heavy. It doesn't wave in the wind like it should be doing. At times, the American flag will be fully extended, while the championship flag, just below it, hangs limp.

I might put up some more pix from O.D. and last night when I get a second. There just aren't enough hours in the day sometimes. Especially this week.

Tonight Pat & I are going to Northampton, Mass to see Sonic Youth and Cat Power. Cat Power's real name is Chan Marshall. Which is funny to you only if two of your best friends' last names are Chan and Marshall. (Which is true in my case.) (Or else I wouldn't have said that.) Something tells me I'll have no trouble finding out what happened in tonight's game. I'm telling myself that it's okay to miss one Sox-yanks game of a three game series when you actually attended the other two, and you're going to see two awesome music acts who rarely play live. And it's April. And you know the Sox are going to win anyway.

Bronson/Johnson tonight.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

2004 Karat GOLD

Johnny tries to sign three hats, a book, and a ball at the same time.

yankees choke.


The first time the wind caught the flag.

"I like what you've done with your hair."

Two legends. Yaz. Geddy.

The Spaceman, Dewey, and the trophy.

Ortiz faked out Manny at the last second.

Watch out, dude, a tiny plane is headed for your face!

yankee Stadium looked like a little bitch today...

Fenway Park, April 11th, 2005 (Opening Day)

Opening Day. The best one of all time. Any team. Any league. Any sport.

That sounds pompous. But you're saying it in a Jon Sterling voice. Try saying it in your regular, humble Red Sox fan voice. There you go.

I met up with Evan and Dave of Most Valuable Network/All-Baseball over at Northeastern. Very nice campus. Very nice dudes. We made our little perfectly legal ticket exchange, and a few hours later, I was in the park.

It was cold in the shade, but up on the roof, it was a beautiful day. I even got a little burned.

About the chanting. I had anticipated some kind of year-related chant, which didn't happen. And that's fine. Once the yankee fans latched onto "2090" after "1918" lost any meaning, I think they gained exclusive rights to year-related chants that have no relevance whatsoever. Besides, "2000," though it would've been done on an ironic level, could just be seen as sinking to their level.

And twice I heard a "yankees suck" chant. Now I've made it pretty clear that I feel the new chant needs to be "yankees choke." Both times I heard "yankees suck" yesterday, a person right near me (different dude, different location each time) kind of whispered "yankees choke."

So I think that the smarter, quiter people all know what the chant should be, while the dumber loudmouths are still going the "ys" route. Which is fine with me, because it's also true, and it feels so good to hear, having lived among yankee fans my whole life. And it pisses off BDD. But I think "yankees choke" is better.

Speaking of dirt dog, I expected him to say something to piss me off about the ceremony. And he didn't. Until the next day. He made fun of the "This is for Teddy Ballgame" song. I was really pissed about that. That song made me cry. My dad said it made him cry. I don't see any hint of a problem with it. It mentioned lots of great Red Sox from the past. Just thinking of it--"This is for Dewey Evans" makes me tear up. And Ken Coleman, radio voice of my youth, was in that song. So amazing. Played as the flag was raised.

And dirt dog didn't like it because it mentioned the curse? It said that the curse was bullcrap. What's wrong with that? F'n Dirt Dog, man. I'm not only mad at that ass-head for saying that, but also for being in this post because of it. I wish I hadn't gone to his stupid site. He's just digging for something to complain about. So let me get this straight, newspaper boy. The yankees don't suck, but the song about Red Sox legends that was played live when the Red Sox raised their first World Championship banner in 86 years does? Yeah, you're right on the pulse of Sox fans...

Back to the happiness:

As I walked into the park, I went right down to the Red Sox dugout. The first person I saw, standing on the field in front of me, was Michael Kay. I figured I should take his picture, so I can photoshop the hell out of him. I snapped the shot.

And my camera broke.

No, really, the battery died at that moment.

It was my parents' digital camera, and they didn't know how much juice was left. Apparently not much. So all the shots you see are video stills. (I taped the whole ceremony, from RF roof box 29, Row B, seat 7. Just about even with Pesky's Pole.)

Speaking of Pesky, that was touching when he hugged the owners, considering the trouble he's had with, let's say, authority in the past. The way he was welcomed was well deserved.

Then Johnny and Millar signed lots of autographs, and the no-longer-with-the-team types were down there: Malaska, Seibel, Dinardo, Abe.

What else?

Those ring boxes were pretty huge, huh?

Good to see Oil Can, the Little Professor, Sam Horn, Jim Ed Rice, The Eck, Yaz, Bob Montgomery, and all the other greats.

The two I was most excited for, of course, were Bill Lee and Rich Gedman.

Lee had his old time cap, and was the only old-timer to bring with him a glove and ball.

Glad Joe Castiglione was a co-emcee, but that was a no-brainer.

The Boston Pops kicked ass, orchestrally speaking, of course. That was great when they played that song from 2001 (and Sesame Street, I think), and the banners of all the championship years came down, culminating with the huge '04 banner. I've got pics of all this stuff, but have only posted ones that probably weren't on TV.

The flyover was really cool. I actually saw them when they were really far away, having been up on the roof. They came in right over my head, loud as a muthafucka, I must say.

Seeing Derek Lowe was just a beautiful site. And Dave Roberts, man. He hugged everybody on the whole line. Only a slight boo for Mendoza, which turned to cheers, and Wells was cheered as well. It was all about cheering on this day. Except for the yanks (but not Mo, see post below). The last three games I've been to have been Red Sox-yanks, each time with both entire teams being announced. In other words, I've booed the yankees' massage therapist at the last three baseball games I've attended.

Sweet lord, the game! A perfect day capped off by a trouncing of the yanks.

It's so fun to look at these superstars they've bought, and just laugh in their faces. And watch them fail again and again. What a day for A-Rod. Glorious.

This has been an incredible six months. A time we'll all remember for the rest of our lives. They really did a great job putting all of this together.

And it goes on. I'll be there Wednesday night, back home in the bleachers w/Pat. for the first (official) game of our ten-game plan. Schilling vs some shitty yankee pitcher.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Opening Day: Pacino/Mariano

On April 8th, three days before Opening Day at Fenway, I wrote:

"My mom pointed out tonight that on Opening Day at Fenway, when they announce the yankee players, Mo will get one of the biggest ovations of the day. And you know, if he does, he should pull an LAPD in Heat, when Pacino's character realizes he's just been had, and he just smiles and throws up his hands, knowing that the criminals are taking his picture. If he did that, I'd have some respect for him. But I'm sure he'll just look down and frown. Which would be good to see anyway."

Well, mom was right about the ovation. About the movie comparison, you be the judge:





That's right, Mo nailed it.

And I will be true to my word. I respect him for it. It was great to see a human moment like that. Right then, all I knew was that a crowd of people was reacting to a person, and that person put everything aside and just laughed. It seemed really genuine of him. And it really worked because my seat was in the right field roof boxes, so I had the same angle as DeNiro did of Pacino, taking pics from high above. If you've never seen the movie, I hope you're not totally confused.

As the Jere rulebook states, on the rare occasion that I say something positive about a yankee, I must counter it with at least one negative.

It seems like sports reports (in NY at least) last night all started off by saying, "The New York yankees showed class today by not running and hiding while the Red Sox had some ceremony or something."

Maybe not that bad, but the Channel 2 guy said that the yanks pulled an "un-Red Sox-like" move by "taking the high road."

So I'd just like to point out a few things.

Yes Network did not show the Ring Ceremony. As Mad Dog pointed out, if the whole yankee team watched, then their network could have showed it to the fans. Mr "16 non-championships in 22 years" Steinbrenner is as classless as they come. History in the making essentially pre-empted by highlights from yesterday's loss to the Orioles.

And Jorge Posada decided he needed to do some sprints in the outfield during the Ceremony. He always was one of the classy ones, that Jorge.

And as for the whole yankee team watching from the dugout, well, you know Torre was gonna be out there. And once his little helper Jeter went out, which surely led others to follow, well no yankee was gonna take the chance of being called "the one who hid."

If you don't see another post above this one with more (huge, sorry) pictures, it's because I'm still workin' on it.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Opening Day, A Teaser

Things I've risen before the sun to do in the last ten years (that don't involve an airport in some way):

1. Go to World Series Parade.

2. Go to Ring Ceremony.

It's been a long day. But it was the best day.

And with that teaser, I'm going to bed before midnight for the first time this century.

Look for pix and more here tomorrow. Toward evening, of course. I don't remember what my job is at this point, but I have to work tomorrow. Hopefully my instincts take me to the correct building.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Where I'll Be Tomorrow

That's the RemDawg behind us

Jere, age six, and Jene (aka "The Eck"), age nine, at Fenway Park, July 1982. Don't worry, me at six, only twenty-two more years...

It's the eve of a day many of us never thought would come. The day a new championship flag is hoisted above Fenway Park.

Looking at the picture of a young me, I am reminded that baseball isn't about winning. But sweet Gedman who art in Framingham, it feels good to get a taste.

I really hope anybody who decided to jump on board this past season continues to discover all that is beautiful about following the Red Sox and don't lose interest should the team fall out of contention at some point down the line.

I couldn't have hoped for a better way for this to have happened. And not only with the way we came back against the yanks in historic fashion. But the way this ownership group came in and seemingly knew exactly what I wanted. They kept Fenway and improved upon it. They brought in a GM who really knows the game, and just happens to be a life-long fan. They came up with a ticket package that was the logical next step for me: 10 games per year. They put a team on the field that's the perfect mix of talent and likability. (Neither of which is sacrificed to get the other.) To call them the "anti-yankees" might be becoming a cliche, but that is one cliche I'd tattoo on my ass any day of the week. The anti-yankees. World Champions.

And the way I witnessed Red Sox fans turn into a nation--it just seemed like we all got to the point where we decided that if this team needed one more thing to get that championship, it was us. One hundred years from now, people will look at the attendance numbers and say, "Look at this increase right before the '04 championship...Did they know the Red Sox were going to win? Maybe ticket prices went down or something?" Not quite, Future Boy.

Part of the reason we all travel to see the Sox, supposedly, is that Fenway sells out. But every trip I've gone on, I would've gone on anyway. And this year, I'll be taking my longest trip to see the champs.

Tomorrow, I'll be cheering and thanking on behalf of every Sox fan I have ever known. Look for the pics here.

All Things Considered

I have to say it was a good day.

The yanks needed about five innings from Sturtze after Pavano got hit by the line drive, and didn't quite get it. So their pen is a little screwed up going into Fenway. Also, just about every hit the yanks gave up was solid.

And I'll take being one back of the yanks going into the flag-raising series. I admit I had some nightmares about being 0-6 and them being 6-0 going into that series. (But it would've been the best day of my life even under those circumstances.)

If the Jays played on a real field, we might have swept. Damon missing a game cost us, and in the bottom of the ninth today, Bellhorn slipped on that ridiculous sandy turf, putting the winning run on.

I've decided I'm happy with Renteria doing as bad as he wants at the plate, as long as every three games, he gets a key late inning hit. But I really don't think we'll have to worry aboout him.

I loved how we were down to our last strike several times, and hung in and tied it up.

Does anyone else find it ironic that Clement's number is three-oh? As my dad put it, that guy is maddening to watch. I like the guy, though.

And I didn't even have to use my AK.

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