Saturday, April 24, 2004

Ha Ha Ha Ha

KEY WIN. A few days after yankee announcer Jim Kaat joined the Quantrill & Gordon Club*, (only he took it one step further and said those two are the yanks' "two most important" off-season pick ups) Quantrill takes the loss.

We're 3 1/2 up on 'em now, and the yanks' record is a beautiful 8-10, and 1-5 against the Sox.


Magic Number thru 4/24: 142

*I've been talking about this for a long time now, but in case you're new to this blog, here's the deal. To join the Quantrill & Gordon Club, you must: 1. Hear someone say that the yankees now can shorten games to six innings because they have Quantrill & Gordon. 2. Repeat that information as if you yourself thought of it. 3. Believe that these two ex-Red Sox were acquired by the yankees because they're amazing pitchers, and not just because George wanted to try and screw the Sox by getting their ex-players. and 4. Say "Quantrill & Gordon," in that order, just to prove you heard this crap somewhere else first.
My point is, Gordon USED TO be good, but he's had injury problems, and is much older now, and Quantrill never really lived up to his potential (until he strated pitching in Dodger Stadium). The yankees bullpen is hardly better than it was last year. Everyone's still buying the lies as of now, though. We'll see what happens.

A New Timo In Town

On Easter Sunday, Bubba Mania began--and ended--in the Bronx. yanks' rookie outfielder Bubba Crosby hit a long home run, for the second day in a row (I think), and made a great catch as well. The home crowd caught Bubba Mania that day. Sterling and Steiner couldn't say it enough: Bubba this, Bubba that. Bubba, Bubba, Bubba. It was another yankee miracle.

But I saw through it all. I noticed it right away: Timo Perez Syndrome.

Timo Perez came out of the minors late in 2000 for the Mets. He gave the team immediate results, and was the toast of---Flushing. As World Series time rolled around, though, and it came to be that the Mets would be playing the yankees, I knew there would be trouble. I tried to avoid the Series entirely, but I definitely was rooting AGAINST the yankees. Which meant that I was rooting for the Mets. So I begged Bobby Valentine (mentally), "Please, Bobby, go with your veterans, have Timo on the bench, and use him as a pinch hitter. You can't go in to the World Series with a rookie starting in center field. He won't be able to handle it, Bobby! Please!" But Bobby, who I always thought was on mind-altering drugs while managing anyway, went with the hot rookie.

Of course, it backfired, with Timo not running out a ball because he thought it was a homer, and the whole thing went downhill from there. And TPS was born.

So on that day when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus by telling our children that a giant bunny rabbit left chocolate eggs in the night, to quote Bill Hicks, while Steiner and Sterling were setting the record for most times saying "Bubba" in one broadcast, I explained to my fiance the concept of TPS as we drove to my folks' house.

"Don't worry, you'll see," I said. "Torre's gonna think his worries are over, but this Bubba guy'll crash and burn."

I don't think she was listening.

But the point is, tonight, I watched the first game of the Sox-yanks series in the Bronx, and Bubba came through big time.

The first Bubba blunder was when he caught a deep fly, and, instead of throwing to the cut off man, Jeter, who was waving his arms, for a play at second, Bubba decides he's gonna get the guy going from second to third. The problem was, he had no chance, because there was no cut-off man over there. So Bubba puts everything he's got into it, and even falls to the ground after the throw, Chad Curtis-style. And the ball flew, for a little while, and then rolled. And rolled. And almost DIED before it reached the infield.

Damon was safe at third by a month, and this throw, which looked like a tee shot by a nine year old golfer (not just because of the distance, but also because there was nobody anywhere near where the ball landed and rolled), allowed Ortiz to go from first to second.

Then later, there was a high fly ball to center. Bubba went back nervously, turned around a few times, fell to the ground, got halfway up, then dove desperately, as the ball landed a few feet away. This play, which allowed two runs to score, came moments after Michael Kay said that the yanks better not allow any more runs if they want to have a chance to come back (as it was 7-0 at the time).

Timo, I mean Bubba, also almost fell while chasing a ball to the wall. It woulda been really funny to see him AND the ball rolling to the wall.

And at the plate, he was an 0-fer. In his last at bat, he was robbed of a hit by Pokey, capping off a Bubbalicious night for Sox fans.

Now I know this kid could turn out to beat the Red Sox at some point. He could even become a Hall-Of-Famer, for all I know. But the key is, after tonight's game, there's less of a chance we'll ever find out.

Magic Number to beat the yanks thru 4/23: 144.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Magic Number Thru Earth Day:

Lowered by 1 to 146 as neither team could finish the sweep tonight.

Affleck Nation

So Ben Affleck has become the "spokesman" for Red Sox Nation. And Sox fans are pissed.

If someone, who has the ability to speak to the press whenever he wants, decides to profess his love of the Red Sox, and bad mouth the yankees, then I think they should. So I have no problem with what Ben Affleck does or says.

I think the real reason people are mad is NOT because he misrepresents us, but because he's Ben Affleck, and if you like Ben Affleck--in the minds of macho dudes everywhere--you're automatically a homosexual.

If it was DeNiro, or anyone from Reservoir Dogs, I don't think people would mind so much.

To me, the people who are really offended by Affleck in this situation, are like the coffee drinkers where I work. Maybe you can relate. These coffee addicts get FREE coffee every day. I drink orange juice. Do I get an unlimited supply of free orange juice at work? No. But if I did,I'd appreciate it, and just drink it without complaining. And if it was absolutely undrinkable, I'd BUY MY OWN. We just got a new coffee machine at work. It's very fancy looking, and offers all different kinds of coffee. My boss pays for this. I'm not big on defending authority, but my boss is nice, and gives the whole office FREE coffee. Today, within ten minutes of the machine's debut, the complaints were flying in. I wanted to go up to people and say, "Please stop complaining about your FREE coffee."

I just heard about a study that concluded that the reason most people drink coffee is not because of the positive things about it, but to avoid the negatives of NOT having it.

The point is, I see Affleck as my brand new orange juice machine, stocked with a lifetime supply of FREE OJ. Whoa, I said "Free OJ." Anyway, whenever Ben rips Steinbrenner, that's an amazing OJ. When he says something stupid, well, it's still FREE orange juice--meaning at least it's a public figure saying positive things about the Red Sox. And that's a good thing.

And whether you like his movies or not, you have to admit he's earned the right to speak to the media whenever he wants. He made movies, people (somewhere) saw them, and he made millions of dollars, he's famous, and when he talks, like when anyone famous talks, people (albeit often against their will) hear him.

So if you really want to tell everyone what Sox fans are REALLY like, do whatever you gotta do, and get your message out.

Ironically, Dirt Dog's complaining a lot about this, and meanwhile, who's the unelected "spokesman" for Sox fans on the internet?

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Magic Number Thru 4/21: 147

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Michael Puts The "Kay" In WeaKness

If you know me or have ever read this blog before, you're probably familiar with my disdain for yankee play-by-play man Michael Kay. I can say with conviction that I HATE Michael Kay the announcer. And the interviewer, and the talk show host. As for Michael Kay the person, I just wish he'd get some therapy already. He has several neurological problems--you know what's funny and weird and sad is that I hear his voice right now, and while I can't hear the words he's saying, I can tell he's gloating. See, I've got the Red Sox on the radio right hear next to me, and between innings I turn it off and can hear the yanks game on tv from the other room. (This wall of sound I'm producing in the apartment is a benefit of my fiance Lys being out at an open mic for the evening.) So I just went to the other room and was proved right; Kay was very happy to see the team he feels he is an integral part of up 3-0 in the first. Actually, I just heard him again. His call of what I think was a three-run double (in April, mind you) was reminiscent of the famous "Oh, the humanity!" line, only in a positive way, if you get my drift.

I used the word "sad" before not just to describe Kay's vicarious lifestyle, but to describe my own near obsession with this man, and the fact that as I started to write out a rant about him, I heard his voice from a distance, sounding much the way it does when I hear it in my head (!)

This rant does have a point, fortunately. Here goes. When the yankees were in Japan, Michael Kay was talking about Hideki Matsui and his days growing up in Japan. He told how Matsui was a fan of a team called the Tigers, I think, as a kid. This is the team that Kay compared to the Red Sox, as opposed to the Giants, who are the "yankees" of Japan, and who Matsui was drafted by. So Kay is telling this story like it's just inexplicable that anyone could PURPOSELY root for the team who doesn't win all the time. He goes on to say that when you're a kid, you don't know the history, so you just root for whoever (your home team, the team with your favorite colors, etc., he meant).

Now this, to me, implies that the Kay method of fandom is: Once you've figured out who the "best" team is, you drop all allegiances, and convert, guiltlessly, to being a fan of that team. (And, of course, act like you're one of the "chosen ones" who gets to "be a part" of this winning tradition.)

For whatever reason, i.e. procrastination, I never wrote out that story, but after what I heard earlier today, I knew I had to tell the story, which now has a perfect ending.

Today on Kay's radio show, he was making fun of the saying "It's better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all." He thought he was so funny (he thinks he's not only a god, but a comedian) when he said, "I'd rather not have loved at all." He went on to say that the hurt is so much greater than whatever happiness had been there. If you know anything about the Red Sox and yankees, you know where this is going. Being a Red Sox fan is "having loved," every year from April to mid to late September, sometimes October...and then immediately having "lost." And while we Sox fans may occasionally feel like maybe we should stop loving, because we always seem to lose, we keep on loving anyway. That's called being STRONG.

Michael Kay is the epitome of WEAKNESS. He's admitted that both in baseball and in life, he'd rather take the path that requires no guts, no heart, no soul, and in fact no love at all, just the one with the slow, steady (band-)wagon, with plenty of cushions inside and LOTS of room, so anyone can jump right on and enjoy the ride. And in those rare times when he "loves and loses," like say, the 2001 season, well, "hey, you know, both these teams won this year, there were no losers. C'mon, terrorists attacked New York, so the yankees are WINNERS, don't tell me otherwise. If Mariano doesn't throw that ball into center field...." If, if, if. Isn't that what they make fun of us for saying? We can say nobody lost the '75 Series because a non-loss is like a win for us, it's all we've got. When you're the yankees, you damn well better get that last out before you go saying that you didn't lose. In fact, Torre said after that '01 Series, "We got to Game 7, ninth inning, with the lead and the best closer in baseball on the hill." Like as if that's all the mighty yankees could ask for! What the hell is that?? (There's a reason to not like Torre, for all of you who say, "Besides the uniform, there's nothing not to like about Joe Torre.) And then last year, with their attitude of, "At least we beat the Red Sox." Which is completely hypocritical of a yankee fan to say, considering they make fun of us for seeming like we feel it's more important to beat the yanks than to win it all.

Yesterday at work I was telling a co-worker about my Fenway trip on Saturday. I told him how despite what Michael Kay said (I saw the replay of the game), there was no "chill" in the air. My co-worker said, "Well he probably wasn't out in the sun. He probably has a special compartment he sits in so he doesn't touch anything the common man touches."

Note: This co-worker is a yankee fan.

Get help, Michael Kay.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Red Sox' Day

The old adage (in my family, anyway), "yankee fans don't pay attention until October," was proven true today. The company that shares a building with the one I work for seems to be run by yankee fans. For opening day, and daytime playoff games, they'll often have the game on the radio. I can hear it as I walk by their always open door. Today, every time I walked by--which was a lot, since I kept going out to my car for score updates--those guys were playing their usual classic rock. They had no idea the game was going on. Stupid casual yankee fans. (Proving again they're the least knowledgeable fans in sports.) Also, one time as I walked by I heard one of the yankee fans saying they were going to see Carrot Top. Man, what an awesome week it must be for him. First getting blitzed at Fenway, and then having to sit through Carrot Top live!!!

At one point, I had just heard the end of an inning late in the game, and on my way back inside my building, I passed this guy I work with, who every once in a while wears this really, uh, bombastic yankees World Champions shirt, with like a huge ring and spaceships flying around the yankee logo or something like that. Anyway, he's just SITTING there. He could've easily sat by his car with the radio on, but he's just sitting, completely clueless. He's a pod person, I swear. It makes me so mad. If Red Sox-yanks doesn't move you, you have no right to wear stupid-ass shirts like that. Every time he wears it, I wanna go right up to him and say, "What was the yankee score last night?" He would never know the answer.

Even though I was there for Schilling's win on Saturday, I was jealous of anyone who was there today. It seemed pretty raucous in that ninth inning. As well as after the A-Rod throw to center field. Oh, A-Rod, so glad to see you suffering...

Magic Number Below 150

Thanks to three out of four, el magico is now down to 149.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Frizzendly Fizzenway

Spent Saturday at Fenway Park. I'll try to give you some of what the cameras may not have captured.

Before the game, Pedro was running around during yanks' batting practice with a red "Ramirez 24" warm-up jersey on. It made him look like a little kid.

Got some pictures of Schill warming up from the fence behind the bullpen. He loosened up for a while, and then he was ready to air it out. But first, he stood there, staring intently up above my head. I turned around, didn't see anything going on. Then I noticed the clock on the scoreboard read 12:59. I realized he was waiting for 1:00 to start throwing. It seemed like more than a minute passed before it finally changed. I'm sure a lot of people knew he did this already, but I didn't. I knew about the Wade Boggs 7:17 thing, but not this. I was once at a game where "Mr. Non-Clutch" MISSED his moment and came out of the dugout at 7:18.

Was sitting to the far right of the bleachers. It was weird to look up and see fans up on that right field roof. You get a hundred bucks worth of free food up there, which meant we got several hundred bucks worth of free food wrappers falling on our heads. Maybe not that much, but a lot. One woman, on the far left of the grandstand, got one of those french fries cups right on the noggin.

But that was nothing compared to what this one drunk dude got about 10 rows in front of us. Two right hooks from the girlfriend of the guy he was (initially) fighting with. He got a bloody lip--and an ejection from the park. This was Red on Red crime, but of course, several yankee fans were also tossed.

Speaking of female fans, Rich Wolfe wrote in the preface of "For Red Sox Fans Only" that "(Red Sox) female fans are as insightful and well-informed with the same emotional, intense feeling as their male counterparts." And then went on to say that in his opinion, female fans of only the St. Louis Cardinals and University of Kentucky basketball team can compare to those of the Sox. At yesterday's game, the drunk dude next to me asked in my direction, How many pitches did he throw?, referring to Schilling. I had been following the pitch count up until a few pitches before Schill was taken out, so I started to say, "One hundred and sixteen or something," but was immediately overpowered by the woman in front of me who said, "A hundred and twenty-one." I definitely agree that a higher percentage of Sox fans than that of any other team's really know the game and pay attention. Female, male, whatever. I laugh when I hear people say that yankee fans are the most knowlegeable in sports. I feel they're the least knowlegeable, if you're talking "as a whole." Just because there are way more "casual" fans of the yanks than of any other team in sports.

And the key to the day, of course, was: The Red Sox beat the yankees.

Learn From The Cheater

I can't stand Derek Jeter. This is the guy who's supposedly the class of baseball, the all-time king of hustling and fundamental baseball. All three of those titles were proven false this weekend. And I watch him all the time, I'm not pulling a NY Media deal where they just Red Sox players based soleley on games versus the yanks because those are the only ones they see. But on Saturday, he first missed an easy grounder for the second straight game. Then he took a 3-2 pitch, and decided it was a ball, so he threw the bat away, only to be punched out. And this is supposed to be the guy you teach your kids baseball by having them watch him. Man, I screamed so loud at that piece of crap, I couldn't even hit the high notes on "Get Into the Groove" in the car on the way home. (It was a way-back weekend on some radio station. I also thought it was funny that it was a "yankees suck" weekend on WAAF-Boston). Then in today's game, "Jetes" decided he wasn't gonna slide or even run hard from first to second on a force play where the throw was so far from the bag, it took Pokey like 5 minutes to get back and touch it. Had Jeter given 100--no, 70% on the play, he would've been safe. Did Kay or Kaat say ANYTHING? Nope. I realize all players have mental lapses, but I think it's time everybody stops treating Jeter like a god already.

When I was little, the Red Sox lost a game to the yankees, when, with the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, Willie Randolph walked in the winning run on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded. My dad pointed out to me how Randolph deceived the umpire by spinning around to the right, making it seem as if he was almost hit by the pitch and just barely got out of the way--of what could've been called a strike. So is it any wonder that Randolph has been a yankee coach for Jeter's entire career? Jeter's deception method, of course, is the "Whoa, that pitch would've hit me in the knees it was so far inside, as you can tell by the way i stuck my butt out, and quickly straightened my knees, while leaving my hands out over the plate." It really does look, from the position he's in and where the catcher's glove is, that had he not moved, the ball would've hit his knee. Why the umpires are still fooled by this, I don't know. And why does Jeter feel the need to cheat to win? Wouldn't he rather try and win fair and square? I hope people aren't teaching their kids this maneuver. It's almost as bad as the short kid in Little League who would crouch down at the plate so his chest would touch his knees, effectively eliminating his strike zone.

And one more thing: the fist-pump. When I do the fist-pump, you know, in those real life fist-pump necessitating moments, or when I see any other athlete in sports do it, here's what the face says at the moment of fist-pumpedness: "Woohoo! I'm happy about what happened! It could've gone either way, but it went my way! Nice." When Jeter does the fist-pump, here's what HIS face says: "Ahhh yes, just as I planned it. Mwahahaha..."

You can call that confidence, but I call it arrogance. And he'll do it after, like, reaching on a error against the Devil Rays. Sometimes you just gotta put your head down, and accept the fact that you did nothing good, but that someone else did something bad. If, in that situation, you choose to do the fist-pump, do it with more of a surprised and fortunate look, instead of acting like something you did made the other person fail. You know, like when the Sox lose but the yanks lose, too. I don't act like my team won, I'm just thrilled to death that the yankee fans had to suffer that day too.

C'mon, Jeter, quit being such an arse.

God, I can't stand that freakin' guy.

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