Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Few More From Last Night

1. Let's start with the fan reaction of the game. Woman catches ball in lap, man (maybe her son?) at left is in total shock:

2. Snyder's play on the first play of the game was huge. If Gardner beats that out, they might manny a run there and start believing in themselves. Instead they go down one two three and we fire the first salve regina.

3. That car racing guy they had in the booth, wow. I wanted to blow my head off. To me, "Loudon" means "Nikki Finn's love interest in Who's That Girl?" Anyway, shortly after that fiasco, Jonny Wad Gomes looked at strike three right over the middle and walked immediately to the dugout. Our Favorite Stunod, Don "Burgundy" Orsillo, somehow thought Gomes disagreed with the call and thought he had ball four before getting the bad news. Remy took over and called it correctly, saying Gomes knew it. At which point they go silent for about 60 seconds except for some squealing bursts of laughter that seep through the cough button's protection. I have to assume they were joking about how Don called it wrong and Jerry just ignored him and called it right without even acknowledging Don's mistake. But who knows....

4. When Nunez thought there were three outs and started running off the field, we never saw it. They kept showing B-Lil, who got stuck holding the ball. After two replays showing just him and then a live shot still showing just him, it finally occurred to the truck that they were showing the wrong guy, and cut to Nunez in time to see him say "my bad" with a hand-to-chest-ure. Thankfully, in this one extremely rare case, we had Don telling us what went on.

5. Another no-see-um was on an inning-ending play where Papi was forced at second. Cano got the ball, started to ruin off the field while looking back at Papi, and then flipped the ball to him. Papi was off screen at that point so no one would know this. But he had to be flipping it to him, as no one else would have been in that spot. Not some crucial moment they missed or anything, but a light-hearted Papi moment that would have been nice to see. (It's always weird when a player in a helmet touches the ball, too.)

6. Yanks' lineup card on their dugout wall: Hard to tell, but, OLD LOGO.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Red Sox now 7 up on Yanks after 4-2 W. Ellsbury goes deep off Pettitte to start game, Jonny Wad with a no-doubter of his own to make it 3-0. Yanks score twice but Iglesias insurance ribbie extends the lead late. Doubie rolls, Taz mania, Breslow gets out of jam after throwing meatball on 0-2 pitch to Cano, and Koji saves it. Biggest lead over Yanks since the last days of the '08 season. (I'm pretty sure.)

I thought it was odd that Don wouldn't note that Overbay's double leading off the fifth was the first Yankee hit.

I loved seeing Gardner get pissed and get himself tossed over a called strike that was in the zone. This is a team notorious for having John Squat on the bench, and he goes and O'Neill's it right in front of the ump. And this was right around the time Curses Zoiled Again was leaving the game--he's been sent to the DL.

Speaking of injuries, how did Don/Jerry not notice Victorino going so slow down the line? That shouldn't have been a double play! We knew he'd been having issues, but after 4 days off he was in the starting lineup, limps to first, and they don't even speculate! Sure enough, he was pulled from the game.

Tampa and Balty won so they keep pace. 2.5 and 4.5 out. Re-effin'-spectively.

Is this the beginning of the end for the Yanks? They play in Boston and Texas, come home for the Rays, then go out to the west coast. After that, they should be double-digits behind, but you never know what kind of hit-by-pitch-and-balk-fueled winning streaks they've got waiting up their asses to pull out. Fortunately they've got company in the wild card race--Baltimore and Texas are ahead of them for the final spot and they're tied with Cleveland. These other teams really should be able to make it a Yankee-free October.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Obtaining Things In The Yard

Zack Hample finished his blog post about his recent World Record, catching a ball from over 1,000 feet high. Fun-ass stuff. (I see the Red Sox still haven't done anything about that outdated logo their affiliate has plastered all over its park.) Zack--and the mastermind behind the logistics of the drop, Mike--were kind enough to invite me to this stunt, but I had to work that day. In a shitty twist, when I arrived at my shift, I found out it was canceled. Oh well. At least I got to be there last year for Zack's previous attempt, which was thwarted by Ma Nature.

In "cat family that lives in our back yard" news, Shoeless Jo Polniaczek had her kittens. Two have disappeared, but one remains and still stays close to its mom. That would be Billy Jo Robidoux. The "dad" has yet to be named but also hangs around with his wife and child. Here's Billy Jo eating some food I gave him (he's much less afraid of people than his parents, he'll even eat from your hand while they hang back), with dad behind him and Shoeless Jo visible on the chair in the final frame:

(Did you notice the fan that almost burned our house down?)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Little Fire In The Bedroom

Fitting as a mofo! Fans mistakenly vote the second-best second baseman into the All-Star Game, and he has to leave the game right away with an injury, allowing the best second baseman to play instead of some guy who mopes around.

Besides that, it was the "Show Mo after every pitch" game. Hey, at least we didn't have to see Jeter. In fact, isn't Jeter not being around this season a great preview of what will eventually, mercifully become our lives? But if they showed Mo all night long and then handed him the MVP award for not doing shit, can you imagine what Jeter's "last All-Star Game" will be like? Two words: Crotch. GoPro.

Wait, did I dream this or did McCarver....wait, McCarver? I thought he finally retired....anyway, back to the sentence, did I dream it or did he say about Mariano Rivera that "he's never been criticized for anything"? And did this come after Joe Buck was giving it the ol' Class Warfare, saying how Mo "always carries his glove the same way, the uniform's always the same..."? I mean, are there parents out there telling their kids, "now watch this classy guy, his uniform is always the same"? And even in this extra-classy world where uniform uniformity matters, didn't Mo suddenly decide to wear high socks like a week ago? I wouldn't normally have a problem with somebody slightly altering the way they dress, but if you're gonna insist that he's the classiest of all time for not doing that, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to point it out when he does! That's entrapment, Joe Buck!

Random eff-up by the boys: Ground(s)-rule double late in the game. Hit field, bounced over orange line, hit black wall above and bounced back to field. Announcers never mentioned that it bounced over. Treated it like a regular double. Showed super slo-mo. Ball hits well above line. Still no mention. Why do I care? I don't know. Maybe because it's their chance to explain baseball to all the Cazh Fridays tuning in.

I missed the kid in the Cano jersey getting his dumb ass tackled. But I saw it online since it's 2013 and all.

Final, A.L. 3, Crap Factory 0, Injured Yanks 1.

PS We have this fan. I think Chan and I bought it when we were roommates in NYC. It now lives with Kim and I in Providence. It squeaks. So I took a little bottle of "oil" that looks like it was produced around 1968, and squirted it in there. It kinda stopped squeaking. Still, we kept it in the basement as the "backup" fan. After a recent visit by Chan, when it was called up to blow from the basement bullpen, he claimed it began squeaking again in the night, so he turned it off. Back to the basement it went. During the recent heatwave, we sent for the squeaker again, since, unlike our main cat-fur-covered fan, it actually gives off air that you can feel from more than six inches away. We decided we'd put up with the squeaking in order to give the AC in the bedroom some extra help, and maybe to motivate its non-squeaky ass to work a little harder for its paycheck. So last night at 3:00, Kim smells burning and wakes me up. That old fan is no longer squeaking, or doing anything else for that matter. The motor had obviously died and it's now smoking. I bring it outside to its grave, and when I come back in, I test the smoke detector. Nothing. So I take it down and turn it over, to find this:

Wow, 10 years later...from 2003...from July 16th, 2003! Now I'm not saying the thing died that day, but don't you think it's pretty weird that the one time in the five years we've owned this house that I question that thing's ability to detect smoke, it's the exact day it was telling us to replace itself? From ten years earlier? What are the odds? I guess 1 in 365*5-ish.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Apparently, the average baseball fan isn't really "into it" until they're 9 or 10 years old. At least that's what sports personality types tend to say. For me it was more like 0 years old. I was born in '75, and by '76 I was swinging a Whiffle bat. By '78 I was saying "Ankees Stink." I knew Thurman Munson jokes before I knew about the chicken crossing the road. By '80 I'd been to Yankee Stadium to see the Red Sox play, and in a tape of my dad giving the first name and me giving the last name of every Red Sox player ("Carl?"..."Ya-shrems-kee." "Fred?"..."Lynn-stone!"), I pointed out to him that he'd omitted obscure pitcher Jim Wright from the list. By '81 I had collected the entire set of Topps baseball stickers (inaugural edition) and was pissed that they had flipped the picture of George Brett on the cover, making him appear to swing right-handed.

But 1983 was a big year for me. Seems like at that point, as a 7-year-old, I was finally really paying attention to individual games. It must have been my first year of listening to the Red Sox on radio on my own, as it was Castiglione's first year, and I have no recollection of hearing anyone before him. Of course, my all-time favorite, Ken Coleman, was the main man then. Since the Sox weren't on TV too much in Fairfield County, CT (sound familiar?), I'd watch the Yanks on channel 11 after Barney Miller and listen to the Sox on 1080-AM out of Hartford (the "pulse of New England"--I still don't know if they were referring to the station or the city).

There were a lot of milestones that year. There was the pine tar game, which taught me a lot about the "Yankee Way" ("no, you didn't win, we win, we always win, you must have cheated").

There was Rags's no-hitter on that sweltering July 4th. My friend Chris Jones's brother, Tommy, was at that game. I'd gone three days earlier to the July 1st game (box) with two other kids from my Little League team and our dads. Cory Plock seemed way more upset that the minivan we were traveling in hit a moth than about the Red Sox loss. Though we did see a lot of home runs--our entire outfield of Dewey, Rice, and Armas went deep, but for some reason the one I really remember was the one by catcher Jeff Newman.

There was Yaz's last at bat. I sat and listened in my room as they threw him 3 balls, and he had to swing on a high pitch to avoid walking, popping out. Stupid Cleveland pitcher.

But my favorite event that year was the All-Star Game. The game meant more back then, with the leagues still being two distinct entities. We loved our A.L. guys and wanted to see them bash the shit out of those bunting commies. We'd root for Dave Winfield but made it very clear that it was just for this one exhibition game and hey, if he gets injured, it's a sweet bonus. It was such a thrill to see all those guys from baseball cards come to life on one field for one night.

So there I was on July 6, 1983, in scenic Old Saybrook, Connecticut, where my grandpa had his beach cottage. If you're thinking about sun-porches and verandas and cool ocean breezes as the waves lapped upon the shore, you'll be sorry to hear that it was actually a small shack on swampland a long walk from wave-less Long Island Sound with showering facilities that were, how do I say this....not indoors. But we loved it. Katherine Hepburn had a beach house of her own in the same town--sometimes I wonder what would have happened if her dinner guests had been given the wrong address and showed up at 5 Kenn Road.

Sometimes on our trips to Old Saybrook, we'd stay at the motel down the road from the cottage, where the amenities were almost-modern and we didn't have to say "blue" every time we said "red," or "D" instead of "four." (I had an autistic uncle who lived in the cottage, and was portrayed on film by Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. That's not actually true but it might as well have been. We had to make sure we did and said the right things so he wouldn't have a cloud of pins hit him in the face.) This was the Heritage Motor Inn. (It's still there!) That night in 1983, in our room at the Inn, the big game wasn't on. Or the TV didn't work. Or it didn't get the NBC channel. Or my sister wanted to watch something else. Whatever the reason, we had to do something, and do it fast. We were gonna miss the All-Star Game! So my dad took me across the parking lot, past the crab apple tree and the AstroTurf that led to the pool with the Coke machine, to the owner's quarters. Old guy named Cy. (Si? Psy?) We asked if we could watch the game at his place. He said yes.

We got to see the intros. Our guys in their pristine home whites at Comiskey Park. Jim Rice. Yaz. Big Foot. And of course, Fred Lynn. Fred Lynn was an Angel, you say! But you'd be wrong. Fred Lynn was and is a Red Sox. Freddie was as much an Angel as Reggie Jackson was.

The game was going well for the Americans. Jim Rice started the third with a homer to make it 3-1 A.L. It got to 5-1 in the same inning, when Fred Lynn stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. It was the 50th anniversary of the All-Star Game, and no player had ever hit a grand slam in one. But "our" Fred Lynn? Watch the video. It's the whole at bat.

And that's the end of the story, guys. I look forward to telling it again next year with maybe a slightly different spin on it. Oh. What happened after that? Not much. I probably watched a few more innings and then went back to the room, went to bed, got up, swam in the pool, went to T 'n' T diner with grandpa, played mini-golf, and then got married 30 years later. Talk about burying the lede! But yes, later this month Kim and I are tying the sheepshank, and we're not saying how short we want it. I'll be using my grandpa's ring.

Da-mon After My Own Heart

Anybody who likes the Red Sox and Huskers is okay with me! (Presuming they're not a murderer or racist or somehow also a Yankee and Sooner fan or something.) Kim had found an article about how Matt Damon had attended a student/parent orientation at the U. of Nebraska this year (when my mom and I went to mine in 1993, I saw a "Tornado Shelter Area" poster and thought it was the name of a band on a concert flier! But no, they really have those), but now my friend (not cousin) Kara has found this, the holy grail, Damon in a Sox shirt and Husker hat, a combo I have worn many times in my life. Nice job, everybody!

Now, in honor of Matt Damon, let's go down MemLane and look at my posts from 2007 when I took pictures of him filming on the streets of New York right outside where I worked at the time. (Man, that top post title is a stretch even for me, going for a play on the "stuff those sorries in a sack, mister" line.)

(Photo above courtesy People magazine)

Monday, July 15, 2013


Some people don't like the HR Derby. But it's just supposed to be a fun thing. And it's a chance to root for Yankees to fail, what more could anyone ask? Speaking of that, Cano hit like -2 dongs and was immediately out. So that was cool.

I also looked for Zack Hample, who said he'd be wearing his Homer Simpson shirt. I didn't watch the whole thing, but I did spot him in round 2 in left field.

The ball has just landed in the deck above him, but you can clearly see Homer. On Zack.

I also spotted his buddy Ben Weil in right field. I'm very proud of myself for this spotting, as you can tell from this video I made:

And here's a ball that totally didn't go 541 feet:

Cespedes was your easy winner. Put on a nice show, and we didn't have to hear about how he'll definitely become a Yankee soon.

Random pic I took in Newport tonight, for your V.P.:

So where was I? Oh right, that last game that I never talked about. Nice joRb by Workman nearly throwing a no-hitter. And it was a tough extra-innings loss, but, as usual this year, it was the kind of loss you could live with. We're 6 up on the Yanks (who lost a home series to the Twins!!!!!!) at the break, 2.5 up on the 2nd-place club. I Mos Def would have signed for that on March 32nd this year.

Tomorrow night is the 30th Allstarversary of my all-time favorite All-Star Game, the '83 MS Classic. I know, you've heard THAT story before. But I'm sure I'll re-tell it tomorrow.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Pretty blah game. Rays close to 3.5, but O's and Yanks stay 5.5 and 6 back. I'm just happy the Twins beat the Yanks for the first time in 10000000000000000000000000000000 tries.

The first half closes out on Sunday at 4:05, the Work Man against the Ass Man.

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