Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Coveted Undefeated Week...Almost

It's cool. Still 2 1/2. And we come right back with Schilling tomorrow.

1080-Hartford had UConn football today instead of the Sox. Despite the Red Sox being on that station for over fifty years, it will still pre-empt them for things like UConn sports and Rush Limbaugh (during weekday afternoon games). What's more important? A Sox game in a pennant race or a UConn football game at any time?

Fortunately I happened to notice that the game was on EPSN radio. So I got to listen to it on 1050 (a NY station) with non-Castiglione announcers. A lot of yankee fans probably heard that game in their cars on the way out yankee Stadium, and were crapping their pants in that last inning, knowing we'd cut an 8-1 deficit to 8-6.

Speaking of the yanks, how sweet is it that Torre, managing every game like it's the World Series, brought in Gordon and Rivera, despite being down 2-0. And then Mariano getting taken out of the game, because instead of keeping the yanks in the game, he put the O's lead out of reach.

The yankees have gone 2-3 since the day everyone said the yanks have an "easy schedule" the rest of the way, and therefore have essentially clinched the division.

And Kevin Brown is getting surgery. It was funny hearing all the different sports reporters telling the Brown story, and every one of 'em chuckled about it. You just can't help but laugh at him.

You know why the Sox lost today? Because that would've been an undefeated week. And they just can't seem to win every game in a given week. I've been waiting for it all year. The last two weeks, the record has been 5-1 and 6-1. This week it was 5-0 going into Saturday.

edit: Does this entry look kind of like it was written by a drunk person? Maybe the first Sox loss in almost two weeks threw me for a loop. I have no other explanation.
The week before the All Star break was 5-1, and the second week of the year was 3-1. Just can't get that undefeated week. Oh well, I'll take 3 consecutive 1-loss weeks any day. The magic number is down to 31.

"Kevin Brown Angreee!"

Ah- hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa!

That was my reaction when I heard that that shaved ape Kevin Brown broke his own hand by punching the wall. What an ass. And what I'm wondering is, why the hell was he so mad in the first place?? It's not like he gave up 22 RUNS or something, he only gave up three. I'm tellin' you, George's heart is gonna explode right through his chest.

I am so psyched right now. We've cut this thing down to 2 in the loss column. Manny with another dong, along with Mueller, who also made a nice catch on a popup where some large man almost crushed him. And Varitek! With the throwing out runners thing. I love these guys. I wish I'd gotten to see Pedro tonight, Castiglione and Trup' made it sound really fun at Fenway tonight. Of course, I watched all the CT news stations and saw the highlights, and yankee lowlights, several times. I feel like the CBS station is the most pro-Sox, even though they're the one that carries yankee games when they play their network games. It's almost like there's a backlash from all the apparent Sox fans at the station. The station owner must've said, "I'm sorry, I've chosen to pick up the feed for network yankee games, so to be fair, you're allowed to rip them on the sportscasts." The sports guy came on and started going, "Two and haaalf. Two point fiiive. Halfway between 2 and 3...can you think of any other way to say it? Here's one, yankee fans, you're 7 up on the wild card." Them's proverbial fightin' words! And then the ABC station's sports leads off with the yanks' footage, and their guy acts all serious. And the NBC station, it depends on the sportscaster, but they've been known to be pro-Sox. But anyway, this is one time when television fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather*. Or in this case, a blog failing to capture the true excitement of me.

I missed Pedro's mastery (visually), but I got to see Rodrigo Lopez shut down the yanks. It's weird to see the O-bags beat the yanks. Because you're so sure the fix is in, but then, suddenly, you realize, they must really be trying. Even that Julio guy did great, and got the save. I was hoping they'd get a win in this series, and now they've got it. Anything more is a bonus, although not a stretch the way the yanks have been pitching. "Hell, No" network showed something rare tonight: a Jeter reaction shot at the moment the yanks LOST. It was great, and led to a diabolical laugh from me, kind of like when I heard that "Brownie" punched the wall--after surviving two near injuries during the game.

You know what I've been hearing a lot lately? "The yanks are just teasing the Sox," followed by the inevitable Lucy/Charlie Brown football reference. Well, I say, if you're gonna believe that teams purposely lose to tease another team, you might as well look at it from the opposite perspective: It's the yanks who've been getting teased all year. We've just been making them think they're ten games better than us, when we've clearly been the superior team all year long. And now they're in a downward spiral with no end in sight. They'll be the ones flat on their backs.

The magic number is 32. Which means we can clinch the division 16 games from now.

Finally, let me be the first Sox fan, as far as I know, to say, "Who needs Tessie when we've already got Sweet Caroline?"

*the squirrel line is said by Phil Connors in the movie Groundhog Day

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Cash Back Rewards Program

The Red Sox left 14 runners on base. And won. Now we play a dying Texas team, at home, with Pedro, Wake, and Schilling. Everything continues to come up Millhouse. Our cuffs are bone dry. 9 in a row. Castiglione is psyched. And he's now said the name "Dropkick Murphys" more times than all the people his age combined have ever said it.

Going back to the 22-0 game. I heard two different callers on two different sports talk shows say the same thing the day after that game. And they both said it as if it were this great idea that, if stated to the right talk show host, just might muster up steam and get to the Boss himself. And that thing was:

"Steinbrenner should refund everyone's money who went to that game."

If you said that as a joke, in passing, I'd think it was funny, and say, "Yeah, double their money back." But these people were completely serious.

Their money back?

I don't know where to start. So I'll just start with this: If the Red Sox gave me my money back after every huge dissappointment, well, you know what I'd be...

26 world goddamn championships and they want their 20 bucks back because the yanks played a bad game. Why don't you just bring your glove and ask to play if somebody makes a few errors? Or go out to the movies every night, and hey, if you don't like the movie, just ask for your money back. What kind of world are these yankee fans living in?

You know, according to one Simpsons episode, Bill Gates didn't get rich by signin' a lot of checks, and George didn't, either. Do you know what 50,000 times $20 is (and most of the seats cost way more than that, I'm just giving a low estimate)? It's a million dollars. Asking a millionaire to give up a million dollars is like, I don't know, it's like something, but it ain't gonna happen.

For my fellow Bush/yankee-haters: Did you puke up your dinner when suddenly Derek Jeter and the yanks were the stars of the little "featurette" before the w-meister spoke tonight? I kinda like how this election is also Sox vs. yanks in a way. Hopefully the Sox win in late October, and Bush loses in early November.

I wrote a song during Bush's speech. It goes, "You say 'bla, bla'/ I say you're dumb"

Oh but there's more:

I strategically change it up for the second line: "You say 'bla, bla'/I say you're done"

And then the lines repeat a million times. I didn't say it was an epic song.

The magic number is down to 34.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Winning (And Pooping) Continues

Tonight at 6:55 PM, I was sitting on the couch eating my poor-person's-baked-ziti*, psyched to actually get to see my Sox on ESPN.

But then Dan Patrick (least funny man in sports broadcasting, but funniest in his own mind, just edging out Michael Kay in both categories, if that makes sense) said something about the Kobe Bryant press conference. I figured, okay, they'll talk about this breaking news until 7:05 and then switch over to the game. I was wrong. Patrick was talking to some other dude, live from Colorado, about nothing at all, as they waited for the press conference to start. Meanwhile, I've got to go to the familiar radio to hear the top of the first. After the Angels were retired, ESPN realizes that the press conference is just not starting, and goes to Fenway for the bottom of the first, but says they'll go back to Colorado when this stupid thing gets underway.

Great. Then, while switching back and forth, the yanks go down 1-0 to Cleveland on Yes. I go back to ESPN, and they give a "Priority Score Alert," and proceed to tell the nation that the yankees went up 1-0. Terrible job, ESPN.

Then around 8:00, I missed a Red Sox run because the press conference started. I had the radio back on, with the tv muted, and every time I'd turn the sound up on the tv, the guy talking would say, "And I'd also like to thank..."

He was talking so damn slow. I think Steinbrenner hired this guy so we'd all miss the Red Sox game.

Couldn't ESPN put that crap on ESPN News, or moved our game to ESPN2 while it was on? How come everybody watching the hockey game on the proverbial deuce got to see that uninterrupted? We were on the main network!

Anyway, good game tonight. I think Arroyo was pulled too early, he wasn't really getting bombed. But the pen did a pretty good job. And Fred Lynn was in the booth for an inning! He was an early fave of mine (we both started our careers in '75). He said, about the 22-0 game, "It was nice to see the yankees going into the record books for the wrong reason." What a guy.

I like the thought of our post-season roster. It'll be all dudes who played at one time or another during the year, as opposed to the regular starters plus a bunch of inexperienced minor-leaguers.

Kay has gone from "spontaneous combustion," to "they'll win," to "they'll most likely win" the division, meaning the yanks. All day today he was saying all the stuff I've been saying, even saying that it's ridiculous to point to history as the reason why the yanks will win. It's like this current stretch has knocked some sense in to him. Which never seemed like a possibility.

Check out The dude over there has started a poll based on something I've thought about for years. He's asking if you (as a Sox fan) would rather see the Sox win the east and have the yanks not make the playoffs, or the Sox make the playoffs and play the yanks in the ALCS.

Every year, I think, What if the Sox win the World Series, but the yanks don't make the playoffs? All the yankee fans will say we didn't beat the yanks directly, so it's no big deal!

Isn't that crazy? First of all, it's a thought that right away assumes that the Red Sox have won the World Series. Which pretty much proves my eternal optimism right there. Then there's the issue of worrying that the yankee fans who have ridiculed me all my life would still make fun of me even after the Red Sox win the World Series. I'd like to hear a psychiatrist's take on that one.

But could I really root for the yankees in an ALDS, just so we'd have a chance to beat them? It would be great to beat them in a playoff series, but I just can't root for that if it means rooting for them. If it happens, it happens.

However, lately, yankee fans have gotten it in their heads that the Red Sox have "never beaten the yankees." I've written extensively about this, but I'll sum it all up by saying, Apparently the Red Sox finishing way ahead of the yanks and going to the World Series just doesn't qualify as "beating the yankees." It's like they won't ever admit defeat unless our team is celebrating on their field as their season comes to an end. I used to think that that's how the Sox are really cursed: The year we win would be the year the yanks don't make the playoffs, and the team we play in the WS will forfeit due to some illness. There wouldn't even be a parade. The season would just stop, with the Sox being given the trophy, but having to share it with the families of the dead players from the NL team.
But this is 2004, a very special year. And I'm not letting any of these thoughts get in the way. I'm still rooting for the yanks to lose every game, and us to win every game. I still want that ten-game lead. I want the yanks to lose heartbreakingly. I want them to miss the playoffs on the last day of the season, thanks to some very un-fundamental play by Derek Jeter. And if they make the ALDS, I want them to lose game 5 in the ninth inning. And if they get past all that, oh well, then we get to kick their butts in the ALCS. They're a team I'm very confident we can beat.

And to all you wild card people: We're now closer to to the yanks than the Angels are to us. So let's concentrate on the matter at hand! All together! The magic number is 35, and their lead is just 3.5.

I'm currently doing the same thing with as I've done with Paris Hilton: That's right, the "Just Don't Look" policy. (The same one that got the Simpsons out of that jam when all the advertisements started coming to life and destroying Springfield.) This is also similar to my friend Brian's idea that if nobody turns on their headlights, it will never get dark.

Anyway, I hadn't gone there in a while. Until today. I heard the ESPN announcers saying how "they're still hung up on Nomar here." I was like, "What? I've kind of been concentrating on this pennant race, as has every other Sox fan I know." So today, I went to dirtdogs, only because I wanted to see a pic of Trot with his mohawk, and I figured they maight have one there. Instead, I got, "Nomar Does Something For The Cubs Which Garcia-Proves My Crazy Conspiracy Theory That No-(Mar)-body Cares About!"

Speaking of that site, notice how nobody--Boston or New York media--has mentioned the "weird hair= clubhouse anarchy" theory, since the team with the weird hair has won 14 of 15?

*Jere's poor-person's baked-ziti recipe: Buy pasta. Buy sauce. By pre-shredded mozzarella cheese. Draw picture of Steinbrenner on top sheet of toilet paper in bathroom. Boil water. Put in pasta. Remove pasta. Put in bowl. Pour sauce on pasta. Spread cheese on top. Put in microwave until cheese melts. Eat. Later, poop out meal. Wipe butt with Steinbrenner's face. Flush him down the toilet with the rest of your excrement.

The Greatest Day Of My Life

That's right, it was, save for the birth of my child, Thelonius Yaz.



Going into today, we were sitting 4 back in the loss column, on a hot streak, and still at Fenway. And the yanks pitching was still showing no signs of life. But for some reason, everyone on the radio today seemed to think that the yanks were poised to pull away, because their schedule is sooo much easier than ours. WFAN yankee reporter Sweeney Murti said, "the yanks understand that the Red Sox have been playing out of their minds lately," (BS), and even the yankee-hating Mad Dog said the yanks will gain ground over the next nine games. It's almost like the day off for both teams somehow confused everyone: "After Sunday, 4 1/2 games; after Monday, still 4 1/2 games. I guess the Red Sox little run has stalled."

The intro to the yankee game (against Cleveland) consisted of mainly shots of the Red Sox winning, and Kay talking about how the race is heating up. Then that ass said, "but pinstripes don't run..."

Well, we picked up where we left off tonight. And the pinstripes ran and hid like Ahmad (again from the Bad News Bears) after striking out four times. And all the yankee fans, after being told, as if it were fact, that the yanks would be beating up on "easy" teams, while the Sox would struggle against the powerful west, sat stupified as Cleveland scored at will. 3 in the first, 3 in the second, 3 in the third, and the Sox jumped out in front of the Angels early.

Around eight o'clock, I though to myself what a great hour it had been, with the yanks down 9-0, and the Sox up 5-1. But the next two hours would see the Tribe score 13 MORE runs. And the Sox go up 10-1, before giving back 6 runs, but I never felt any pressure. (I heard they showed a little montage of the Indians' scoring on the board at Fenway, and the crowd went nuts.)

It's not really about the 22, it's the fact that it happened today, the day that everyone said the run was over. The yanks have such a weak schedule, there's just no way---uh, a-hem, TWENTY-TWO TO NOTHING.

The whole game, those yankee announcers were just making one excuse after another. Kay kept setting Kaat and Murcer up: "Surely some players get a liiiittle nervous?"

"Oh, noooo," they'd say, "they've still got a 3 1/2 game lead."

"Better to be up 3 1/2 games than down..."

"Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla..."

Hey Joe Torre, your team just gave up 22 runs to the Indians.

Hey Michael Kay, your guaranteed division is going down the tubes.

Hey A-Rod, I can still smell your soul burning from here, and you look very much like a goat, in more ways than one.

Hey Derek Jeter, I forgot to call you out on that key error you made that cost your team the game on Sunday. Oh, maybe you forgot about it, because nobody said anything about it. You catch a meaningless pop up, and your the hero of a blowout win, but you make an error that costs your team the game, and nobody says crap about it. So just so you know, all the fans saw it, despite that the announcers all denied it's existence.

So many great plays in this game tonight: CJ Nitkowski gives up on a ball that rolls back fair and the Indian runner reaches base. Matsui caught off second, even though the pitcher who bobbled the slow roller had all but given up on the play, until he saw Hideki, for some reason leaning toward third, ten feet off the bag. A-Rod diving back to third on a two-out roller in a 16-0 game. Vizquel goes 6 for 7. Tribe scores 6 runs in the ninth, forcing the yanks to warm up Quantrill, down 22 runs. George must be in the freakin' hospital right now. What a day.

Tom Verducci of has written a piece about how the yanks are poised to tumble. As much as I enjoy reading things like this, my message to Tom would be, "Read my blog, I was telling you all this stuff in April. Way to discover that the yanks are tumbling now. That's like predicting the ancient idol will cause bad things to happen to the Bradys after Greg has already wiped out on his surfboard and Alice has thrown her back out hula-ing. But thanks for speaking the truth, though."

Another victory for CT, as the Sox are now on the Quinnipiac station (Hamden/New Haven area), 1220 AM. I put it on and heard what sounded like some kind of helicopter of death. But maybe when I'm closer to NH, on a clear night....

The magic number is 36, and 3 1/2 games away from meaning something again.


Say it out loud, it's fun.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Radio Transmission

Shortly after I was saying I could never get 1490-AM, I was down in Bridgeport, CT, and I got it in, but only briefly before the static took over. 1080 Hartford had golf instead of the game, so I was searching the dial. (I noticed that 1080 was coming in crystal clear for once--while the golf was on.) So at least I know 1490 does carry the games, but I'm still tryin' to figure out what mountain you have to be standing on while wrapped in tin foil to hear them. 630 Providence is still a better bet from where I am. Which makes even less sense.

The Red Sox are 7-0 at home on Tuesdays this season. So...

I'm kind of wishing I hadn't noticed that right before a key Tuesday home game. But I'm bringing it up anyway. I refuse to bow to the pressure of my own superstitious weirdness. So here I go: Yeah, it's Tuesday, we're at home, you know what that means! Bad news for the Athletics*! *meaning Angels. If you don't get that joke, rent The Bad News Bears. But if you haven't seen that, why are you reading baseball blogs?

Today Michael "Backwards" Kay was talking about how he's not very confident about the yanks in the postseason. (You know they've got problems if Kay is admitting that.) But he still says, (about the division) "...they'll hang on there...," in the same tone as you might say, "The sun will set tonight..."

I guess he's gotta feign confidence in that, since earlier in the season he said that he's got a better chance of spontaneously combusting than the Sox have of winning the east. (See my June 29th entry.)

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Fenway Park, 8/28/04

Stats that only I would provide:

In the last 22 days, (August 7th-28th) the Sox have played 21 games. On the days of those games, the magic number has gone down 19 times--meaning that on 19 of those 21 days, there's been a Sox win, a yankee loss, or both. And the number has gone from 66 to 40 over that stretch, a total of 26 places.

By comparison, from May 1st to June 4th, the Sox played 32 games, with the magic number only going down on 18 game days, and only a total of 24 places (137 to 113)--in eleven more days than the current stretch.

You may need to read that twice.

I was at the game tonight. It was hot, but awesome. It's so great to see Pedro doing so good, especially since everybody insisted he was done at the beginning of the year. Especially my boy Kay, who kept saying that since he doesn't have his fastball, there's nothing he can do. When the caller he was talking to at the time brought up Greg Maddux' success without his old fastball, Kay said, "Well he's not Greg Maddux."

But he is Pedro Martinez. Which is what Kay was forgetting.

Meanwhile, El Duque comes back and doesn't have his fastball anymore, but does Kay point out that he isn't Greg Maddux (which would be a very appropriate argument in this case)? No, he just says how great his other stuff is.

And Pedro, who's rotator cuff was ready to--what was it--oh yes, tear in half, has pitched more innings, struck out more, won more games, and has a lower ERA than ANY yankee starter. (Sorry, I'm not counting El Duque's 50 innings of work.)

Go to hell, Kay.

Okay, this was a great day until I started thinkin' about Kay and his BS.

So back to the fun stuff: My automatic sink streak continues, as tonight on the way home from Fenway at the rest stop, I went with the second sink from the left, with no success. I noticed how I always go for the second from the left, and no matter which rest stop I'm at, it never works.

Also, someone asked me about where you have to be to hear the radio station in Greenwich that started carrying Sox games as of this season. My answer is that I've tried to get this station in my car while driving on 684 to NYC. The road goes through Greenwich, and I've never heard anything but static. I'm pretty sure it's 1490. Either that or 1390, but I've tried both. One time I got something, but it wasn't the game. I'll try to keep everybody updated on this mystery. I do know that the signal points south-ish and west-ish, giving the games to people on boats in the sound, I guess, and southern Westchester County, New York.

Finally, at the game tonight, Derek Lowe rolled a ball across the top of the dugout toward me. For some reason, my hand touched, but neglected to grasp the ball. Some girl got it. She seemed very happy and I think he was aiming for her anyway, so it's okay.

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