Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lionel Osborne

On the field, I've gone from numb to psyched for the final month of baseball. We're in this race. Great job by Snyder tonight.

Off the field, it's just one thing after another. Terry looked like he'd been crying when I saw him at the press conference. Papelbon is now hurt. He says he may just need a few days. Hopefully nothing serious. Schilling will now be missing a start, after stiffening up after his last one--so tomorrow we start Kevin Jarvis, pitching for his tenth team.

But the worst news is Jon Lester. As Royal Tenenbaum said, he's "got a pretty bad case of cancer." They try to make it seem like good news that it's "treatable." But the truth is there's no cure for what he's got. Such a young guy. So sad. He will have to undergo chemo most likely, and even if it goes away, it could come back at any time in his life.

Did I ever tell you I thought Lester looks like Sid Vicious? I mean, if you put Sid in a baseball uniform and cleaned him up a little, of course. Sid's real name was Jon, too, actually. Here's hoping our Jon's got a little Sid in him to fight off this disease. You know, sneer and spit at the thing.

Papi should be back Monday, though. I'll be there. What a moment that'll be, when he's announced. And Tek and Trot and Gonzo won't be far behind. We've got head-to-head action with all three teams we're chasing, so we've got a shot. Just don't think about Jarvis, Gabbo, and [unknown] being our starters. It's better for your mental health, trust me.

Scarlet Fever tells us what really happened on that ball that the dude knocked over the wall. (Scroll down for video. No, past the nickname thing. No, keep going, past the Arabian Knights cartoon from 1968. There ya go.)

A note about perspective. Even if it was true that serious off-field issues "put things in perspective," how about we just don't use it because it's really, really cliched? But if you do use it, think about it: Did you really forget that people get diseases because you hadn't heard of someone close to you getting one lately? Do you normally watch baseball and think, "Wow, everything's right with the world"? I'm not saying I go around reminding people not to have too much fun because they might die and that there's too much suffering in the world to think about baseball or YouTube videos or cotton candy. But when I hear the dreaded "this really puts it all in perspective" line, it makes me think the person doesn't care about bad things as long as they don't directly affect them. Of course bad things happening to you or your loved ones hurt more than if it were a stranger. But perspective? Don't we have that already? Why do we gain perspective only to lose it again so quickly that we are forced to gain it every single time somebody has a health problem? How about this--if you're only just now getting perspective, hang on to it! Realize that bad things are happening constantly all over the world. When they happen to you, do your best to make lemonade, or better yet, squeeze that lemon til the juice runs down life's leg. And live, dammit, as a wise person once shouted. When someone else is suffering, make them laugh. And when someone dies, celebrate who they were and make someone else laugh using a joke the dead person once told you.

I think Bob COSE-tass said this better than me once. But I tried. (That link isn't to Costas taling about this. It's just a funny skit featuring Costas that me, Chan, and apparently JS have always liked.)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Knight Cruz

Click above. From Berman's Nickname Show, Xmas '93. On the Julio Cruz stolen base higlight, check out Remy, who receives the throw. He tries to fake out Cruz by pretending he's forgotten about him, then turning around real quick. Doesn't quite work. For Remy to think Cruz would've actually strayed off the base in that half-second where he turns around is ridiculous. I thought it was funny. Game is May 6th, 1983. (This explains how I inadvertently came up with theMays/Buckner/Griffey thing.) I saw that number 22 was at first, and I thought it was Buckner. Turns out he only wore 22 for the Sox in '90. It was Ed Jurak at first. A little more retrosheeting led me to only two games where Cruz ever stole second for the M's at Fenway. On May 8th, he did it, but Remy had left the game before it happened (don't know why he left after one at bat; he started the next game and played in 146 games that season)--and it was a day game. So this night highlight with Remy has to be the sixth inning of 5/6/83. Cruz would steal third after that, and then score on Jamie Allen's two-run single, giving Allen the first two ribbies of his career. He'd end up with 21. That gave the M's a 4-2 lead, but Jim Rice's three-run double in the seventh gave the Sox the win, as Remy scored the go-ahead run on the play, before Rice was thrown out at third trying to stretch. Later, Jurak knocked in Rich Gedman with an insurance run. 6-4 Sox, final. We stayed in first by .5 games over the Orioles, who kept pace with a 9-2 victory against the A's at Memorial Stadium. Daryl Strawberry would make his major league debut on this date as well.

But enough about that, click above for one of the greatest cartoons ever. Actually, this is from a Banana Splits episode (one of my favorite shows as a nursery schooler, depite not being high while watching) that I taped during a BS marathon on TBS in 1993. I watched this the other day and thought it was so funny how...succint is was. Then I realized there's an edit there right after the opening theme. But it works as a ten-second cartoon. Opening title, summary, donkey, the end. Perfect. From 1968.


Willie Mays started his career on May 25th, 1951. He later played in the same game as Bill Buckner on September 21st, 1969. Buckner later played in the same game as Ken Griffey, Jr., on May 2nd, 1990. Griffey played Wednesday. 55 years, connected by three dudes.

If anyone wants to take this further back, be my guest.

I can't even remember why I started doing this research. It wasn't to find that out. But thanks once again to, for being the best thing since intersliced bread.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Warning Track Power

I've seen outfielders have the ball bounce off of them and into the stands for a homer. But this is ridiculous. And hilarious. From tonight's Sox game. Click above.

And we get the win. Great defense.

Chan emailed me earlier, from Central Park. It's wi-fi now. So he was sitting there, in the park, watching a movie, and he emailed me. Weird. Speaking of Chan, he's pretty much done with the Yanks and baseball at this point in his life, but every once in a while, he'll surprise me. He had the day off, and he went to the day game today at Yankee Stadium. I don't get that boy. He says he goes once a year. He told me of the huge crowd, and I reminded him of all the crazily discounted tickets they sell.

Wells is gone. The only time I ever felt anything good about him was recently, when he came back from his injuries and pitched well at a time when we were stinking. Good job by him there. But, oh well, end of that era.

Papi is out of the hospital. I'm sure he and Lester will be just fine. I'm thinking, if Papi is okay, he ends up coming off the bench, Willis Reed-style, giving us the division win with his 51st homer in the final game of the season.

Tirade Clause

A dude who you all know (hint: he, like, wrote some book or something) who doesn't need any more attention, has "come up" with a theory. Ooooh. I bet you can't wait. He, a mere month after the fact, has decided to tell us about how that black bird on the Fenway field was bad luck. Regardless of your stance on omens, the point is, weren't people takling about that bird being a sign of something--good luck or bad--when it happened? Answer: yes.

By simple googling, I found this, from the day after the incident, August 2nd. [NOTE: LINK ACTUALLY WORKS NOW.]

Then there was this article in the Phoenix from a week ago.

I don't expect the guy in question to have read these articles. But it just seems like he had to have known that he wasn't the first to come up with this theory 30 days later. Maybe he was just waiting to see if the Sox did either really good or really bad so the theory would at least be relevant (again, whether omens exist or not).

I've been wondering ever since that book--no, ever since the excerpts from that book came out, if people are paid by his publisher to promote his book on their sites. He wrote a book. Fine. I'm sure it's great, even though it's the baseball version of telling the children of the world* that Santa Claus isn't real. But why so much attention on the corresponding blog? The other day he made a baseball/girlfriend analogy. Come on. Am I jealous? No. Do I think it's a huge injustice when someone gets attention just because they wrote a book while others don't, despite better writing on all levels? Opposite of no. He's already published. He wins. Fine. Does that mean his daily thoughts on the Red Sox, especially that he's no longer in Fenway Park every day, should be considered more legitimate than some random blogger? I don't think so. See the links to the right for much better blogs. Go to those, and I don't even ask that you ever come back here if you don't want to. But if you do, well, I hope you like 80s commercials.

*children who celebrate Christmas

RIP Glenn Ford

"There's one thing I know for sure, son. And that is, you are here for a reason. I don't know what it is, exactly, but I do know this much: it's not to score touchdowns."

Superman, his real father, and now his Earth father are all gone. It's weird, because since Ford's character dies in the film, I guess my mind never made the connection that the actual actor has been alive this whole time. It's kind of like how daddy on Good Times died on the show, but only recently did it occur to me that John Amos is still alive and well. I should write him a fan letter, as he was like the black father I never had. (I'm still waiting to write that "first fan letter;" the one in which you tell the celebrity that you've "never done this before," to which they'll probably think you say that to everyone. Other contenders for my first fan letter: Well, the list starts and ends with Joe Castiglione and features him sprinkled throughout as well, I can tell you that much.)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

While You Chew

Tonight's video presentation is made up of three old commercials. The second one is the classic Freedent song. The other two will be a surprise. Click below (and crank the volume):

This is from Boston's channel 7, taped in 1988 (despite the '87 copyright date on the Freedent ad). "Wait a minute, didn't you grow up in southwest Connecticut, Jere?" Why, yes. Glad you're paying attention. But my mom was on the Boston news back in '88, and someone (my cousins?) taped it for us. So I have several hours of this channel on tape. Soon, I'll show you the clip of the sports from this same newscast. It's got some interesting stuff, and features someone still prominent in the Boston media today. Anyway, I hope you Boston people get a kick out of these local ads from yesteryear. I'd never heard of either store. Just Freedent.

It's funny, I was going to post this a few days ago, and then I found out that a song written by someone I know about Terry Francona's gum-chewing featured not only a Freedent mention, but the songwriter also threw in the classic Freedent tune at the end! So now I have to post this, since it features that same tune. Freedent's the one, yo. I love that part of the song where it goes up to that minor chord: "Yeah, moistens your mouth..." And the background oozin' aahs, as Bad Religion would say. Classic 80s. And that horse! Why does it go fucking crazy like that?? I think right after they cut away it must've busted right through the fence, or worse, ran amok among the actors, crew, and equipment. And in the first commercial, how'd you like that scream? I'll give her this: It actually did scare me. And the lady at the end of the last commercial--she's so Long Island. But I've recently noticed a certain Long Island-ness to select Bostonians. From which region, I couldn't tell you.

Also: I'm obviously proud of the fact that, like Disco Stu, I don't advertise. I do this blog for fun. These commercials are for kitsch value only. I'm not paid by Freedent. Watch this: Freedent molests children. Could I do that if I were paid by them? I'm just saying, in case anybody was gonna try to call me out on that. I'm opposed to the concept of marketing and being influenced by someone because of money, but I'm not opposed to showing classic footage, no matter what form it's in.

In today's baseball action, we once again only lost a half-game in the standings. Woohoo! Seriously, have you ever been more convinced the Sox will lose going into games? Even the freakin' '92 team had at least a chance to win by pure luck every now and again. We are in bad shape. Was great how the Tiyg's came back to win game two tonight, in dramatic fashion. Down to their last out, they get a 3-run dong to win 5-3. Nice.

Dayseball Update

Schilling gets his 3,000th K, but gives up 2 early homers, so we're down 3-1.

So, I've been checking all day, waiting to hear news from the hospital about the welfare of a family member. His name is David Ortiz. Weird how that works. Still no news.

The Tigers, of course, couldn't hit the magical, mystical Wang today in the big, scary stadium. Maybe tonight they'll try to prove why they have the best record, instead of exposing their tummies for tickling.

When Jeter's Face Broke: Requiem In Two Parts

You may know that it is my contention that the "famous" Derek Jeter catch from July 1st, 2004 (one of the best Red Sox or Yankees games played so far this century) was not even the most spectacular catch of that game.

Jeter's catch was, and still is, played over and over, while Pokey Reese's catch is overwhelmingly ignored. Yes announcers, and plenty of other people, acted at the time like it was the difference between the classy Yanks and the disheveled Sox. The "winners" will sacrifice their bodies, the "losers" (meaning Nomar sitting out that game) won't even try. In one of the happiest moments of my life, that theory was proven to be total horse shit. It was Pokey who made the better catch, and our band of "losers" with their abnormal hair and attitude won it all that year, while Jeter and his big phony production number went home. I'd never trade what happened in October of that year to see the Pokey catch be recognized for its greatness. But I'll always argue it was the better catch.

Tonight, the Yanks game was rained out, and that fateful game from 2004 was shown on Yes Network. I was at the ready with my (Chan's) little video-capturing machine. I now ask you to take a look at both catches, so you can judge for yourself. Many people reading right now may even be saying, "What's this other catch you speak of?"

First, Pokey Reese's catch:

What did you see? The guy hit the wall right as he caught the ball. He went head over heels, unconcerned with his own well-being. This is a guy who played second base most of his career, playing shortstop, going full-speed toward and into the stands in a hostile environment. Look, I don't even need to tell you this stuff. It was a better catch regardless of anything else. At the very least, I would think both catches would always be shown together. But I'm just adding the truth to this great travesty.

Can you believe Michael Kay actually suggested Pokey dropped the ball and secretly picked it up? And then Murcer breaks into a story of how he himself once did that very thing?! You can hear, at the moment he admits to cheating, that he can't quite say "put the ball in his glove." He says "next to the glove," before saying that the ump saw the ball "in" the guy's glove. And then they laugh about it like, well, like it's me doing an impression of them. That's not fake. That personification of evil-style laugh is really Michael Kay.

Now get ready to see a not-quite-as-good catch, and get ready to barf up all you've eaten today at the severe ass-kissing you're about to experience:

First let's get it out of the way: Jim Kaat did reply to Kay's "the Yanks don't want to lose," by saying the Red Sox didn't either. There is a good side to Kaat. It dwindles each year, but it does come out on occasion. But, now, about that catch: It came at a later, more important time in the game, but does that make it better? No. He got blood on him. Does that make it better? No. They were both really good catches. Jeter went into the stands that way because it's a really low wall. He actually was trying to save himself from injury. And that's natural. He had time, even if it was only a half-second. Pokey, however, had no time to think about that, as he caught the ball at the moment of impact. Had there been a sharp object down there, he would've been bloodied up, too. He truly gave up his body. The actual Jeter catch was good, but nothing special, it was all about the aftermath. He simply made a similar catch, but with a cooler-looking aftermath. Who knows what Pokey would've done if he'd had a few steps before he hit the wall. He may have done a handspring over it. He had no time to do anything that would add anything to the entire experience of the catch.

I just think MLB is missing out on a great chance to have a catch they can show all the time, which actually was by the team that won it all. "2004: The year of the comeback, and the catch." Instead, they go with Broadway Derek and his blood. Hey, maybe he quickly smacked a ketchup packet against his eye when no one was looking, huh, Kay? Like the way everybody's favorite "class act" Joe Torre accused Schilling's blood of being fake?

You can almost feel the announcers realizing "Hey, we can get a lot out of this. We need to show this and hype it as much as possible." Pokey's catch got one replay, and then two more when they came back to it the next inning so they could accuse him of cheating. Jeter's got five replays in a row. All because of the blood, and Jeter's inability to avoid putting his face into a chair. And what about Sterling at the end there? I actually have to pause it, go barf, and come back to the computer every time I hear him say "winner." And at the end, unfortunately it got cut off, but it gives you a chance to predict what he said. "It's a catch that will be talked about and shown probably for the next..." What do you think he said? For the next few seasons? The next five years? The next decade? Few decades? Nope. "...for the next fifty years"! So that's what I'm in for, I guess. Maybe Pokey's will be shown for the fifty after that.

These clips have everything. Everything I've been sickened by my whole life with these Yankee people, plus a bunch of other stuff that symbolized that era of the rivalry:

Kay making fun of the Red Sox and laughing at us like a mad scientist.
Jeter appearing somehow greater than he actually is.
Murcer's half-wit shenanigans.
Yankee cheating praised or dismissed as a joke while Sox legitimacy passed off as cheating.
A Bellhorn strikeout.
Jeter's parents. (So funny how YouTube put the still frame of them as the cover of the clip. I don't choose that, it's just a random point in the video. Possibly the exact midpoint.)
Sterling acting like he is a better human being than us for being the Yanks' announcer and acting like Jeter and the Yanks are god's gift to humanity.
Kay misleading the audience. (Not only with accusing Pokey of cheating, but, not shown, him saying that Pedro had, in the past, "threatened to throw at Posada," referring to Pedro pointing at his head, which could've meant anything.)

And seeing some other parts of that game again (mainly I watched that Katrina show. Really good, told the whole story from the people's perspective, and was really sad, too. And now watching tonight's Sox game, down one going to ninth...and now it's over, we lose. Again.), all the old memories came back. I forgot about Kay's orgasmic "triple play" call on a double play. As well as all of their constant criticizing of Pedro and the Red Sox, as they were clearly threatened by our style of play, which ended up beating their button-up style when it counted. Oh, and they mentioned Pedro's career under 3 ERA and 10-8 record against the Yanks. (Pedro "just never can beat the Yanks," right?)

I've timed how long each ball was in the air. Pokey's had a little less time to get to the ball, which landed right at the wall, whereas Jeter's was at or to the fair side of the foul line. Again, talking just about the catch, Pokey's was better. But please, judge for yourself.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Big Kat

Tonight HBO is showing Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, from 8 to midnight. Despite our differences when it comes to sports teams, and despite the title seeming a little self-important (seriously, why don't I invite my friends over to "my sacred temple" that is my living room to enjoy the "Jere existence" while "digesting" the documentary? That's all it is, Spike. A documentary. A very important one, which I fully support going in, but a documentary nonetheless), I will watch, knowing that on this issue, we agree. I'm sure Spike will tell it like it is.

Four hours is a little much, though. I figure I'll hit a wall around ten. Perfect. Then I can switch to the start of the Sox game. And I'll hit another wall when the A's score ten, and by then I'll be ready for more Katrina action.

Richard/The Lyin'-Hearted

Looks like this team has broken David Ortiz' heart.

I'm sure he's fine. Do you know anyone with a regular heartbeat? The heart isn't a metronome, it's a living thing. Its beat is irregular by nature. Of course, I'm talking out my ass here, but I think I've got armchair biology down to a science. An armchair science, anyway.

My heart skips beats like my body skips church: consistently. I don't always notice it, but when I'm in a certain position, or if something is leaning on my chest, I feel my heart beating. And every once in a while, it pauses before a beat, and then comes back strong with a big thump, and then it kicks in again. My sister is a nurse, and she says this is normal. Apparently, if you ask anyone to pay close attention to their own heart, they're going to hear a beat that's a little off every now and again. So David will be fine.

In other news, I'm still in complete shock over Mr. and Mrs. Harden purposely naming their son Richard. Seriously. Don't tell me they were oblivious. My guess is the dad was also a Dick, and wanted his son to go through what he had to go through. Cruel.

[Note: Futures at Fenway pictures are below, scroll down please.]

Monday, August 28, 2006

Everyone Is Loved. Delicious Time To You.

Click for supersize.

Futures Report

Looking down Canvas Alley at the Futures at Fenway doubleheader, August 26th, 2006. Click any picture to anti-small-ify.

There were eight bloggers in attendance that I know of: Me, Witch, and Twitch sat together. We got to meet Red Sox Chick and Triumphant Sox Fan, who also went together. They were both very cool in person. I'd only known them in e-form. 12Eight was there with his dad, in neither section 12, nor row 8. We chatted with them and even more of the 12Eight family. Empy was there, but she was above us in the pavilion. That's okay, I saw her last weekend anyway. And the world's leading PawSox blogger, Baseball Heavy, supposedly was there, too. She is a woman of mystery. Witch and I looked for her, despite not knowing what she looked like. The chance of spotting someone out of 30,000 when you don't know what they look like is about 0%. My guess was a girl in a green shirt that said "Farm Fresh Wheat" or something.

I swear I didn't pose these Adam Stern fans.

The big dog was there. This dude is the leading Red Sox autograph hound. Go anywhere near the players' parking lot before or after any game, and you'll see this dude. I think this is his job. Here he goes for ultra-valuable Single-A autographs.

Here, an Oneonta Tiger tries to look inside the scoreboard.

Of course, they all started going in to sign the wall in there.

Insert jokes about there being no tall buildings in Oneonta. The warm up shirt for Oneonta looked like it was the same quality as my "Jim Grote 2nd Annual Billfish Tournament 1985" T-shirt.

A little kid looks at the Oneonta Tigers. Who were also little kids.

I photographed the Spinners, who were photographing each other.

And again. When the Spinners took the field, they sprinted. It was do great to see these guys so appreciative of getting to play where many of them would never play again.

The Oneonta Tigers. The manager, at right, is former Detroit Tiger Tom Brookens. Tom is best known, to me, as the guy who had a box put in front of him on a pop-up by a ball boy.

Mascots were abound. Here they stand, big hands on hearts, for the anthem.

I sprang for the 20 dollar seats for field box, 12 rows off the field.

Lowell has this frisbee dog. He actually missed a bunch, but caught a few.

And there were actually two different frisbee dogs. Here's the moment dog grasps frisbee. Actually, both pics capture that moment.

Here's a toothbrush.

This and the next two are the young Pap.

The Spinners are, you know, the ones who won.

Mascot race, above and below. Wally lost. But he showed some really amazing breakdancing skills atop the dugout. I'm not kidding.

Pawtucket's Matt Murphy.

The Australian, Trent Durrington. Yes, they played "Land Down Under" once before he batted.

I liked the gray, white, and blue of the sky here.

As close as we'll ever get to seeing Adam Stern's number retired. I'm sure this was done by the same people pictured earlier. Stern didn't play. Well, we left in the eighth, and he hadn't played yet.

We thought the crowd would get bigger for game two, but no. It was actually cold that night. Skinny me was shivering. My attempt at eating more junk food to gain weight has failed. I think that guy from Stephen King's Thinner brushed my face without me knowing.

A Rochester Red Wing waits his turn on deck.

On the way out, I captured the Citgo sign as seen from underneath the stands.

This was fun. I heard it called the "first annual," so I guess they'll do it again. Nice. I look forward to it. Then again, I'd look forward to any event that allows me to sit in those seats for 20 bucks. I really wanted to see some kid homer. Apparently, one did, after we left. To win game 2, for the PawSox.


Extreme sports, line dancing, swing bands, doomed internet companies, wine trips, polygamy, poker...what will America(ns be told to) think of next??


Monday night, if I don't do something else instead, I'll post my pictures from the minor-league doubleheader at Fenway on Saturday. Above is the teaser pic, the submarining, brothers-having Spinner, Josh Papelbon. "Greetings, Professor Fenway." "Hello, Joshua."

This will be a nice excuse to not talk about the Red Sox. All I'll say is, besides "TJ," especially by Timlin, is that Manny was safe. If you knock the ball out of someone's glove (without intentionally slapping at it, Alex), even if the fielder catches it before it hits the ground, you're safe. It's not football. Once that ball pops out, safe. Doesn't matter now, though. I guess having that huge advantage in the pitching match-ups this weekend didn't exactly pan out. TJs all around.

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