Saturday, June 11, 2005

Good Fight. Dock Seven.

Chan and I saw Cinderella Man, aka "Seaboxcuit" last night. (Note: I didn't see Seabiscuit, but before we saw Cinderella Man, Chan said that it's supposedly similar to Seabicuit, so if it is, hopefully you enjoyed my "Fishtar"-style wordplay.) (Also, I think "Seaboxit" sounds better, but it's harder to tell what I'm talking about when you see it written out, whereas "Seaboxcuit" has that key "cuit" syllable that leaves no doubt.) (I've killed this already, haven't I?) (I know I can still delete all this, but I'll go ahead and leave it.)

So, I didn't know much about this movie going in. I didn't even know that Paul Giamatti and Renee Zellweger were in it. All I knew was that Mike & the Mad Dog and a lot of their listeners enjoyed the film, and that Russell Crowe did something totally fake just to get publicity right when his new movie was coming out. Oh yeah, and that it was about James J. Braddock.

So when I saw Renee, I, like a little kid who just realized that their favorite cartoon just got pre-empted for a speech by the president, literally said, "Awww, maaan!" It just irritates me how she's always crying or about to cry. How can you live like that? But I also got the bonus of being surprised to be suddenly watching a Paul Giamatti movie. He was great as usual. It's funny how you watch him and think, "This guy's kind of cheesy. But I'm on board and I don't care. "

It seems like there could have been a whole hour dedicated to "Hooverville," a shanty town in Central Park during the Depression. Instead, they summed it up and moved on. I guess they figured the non-eating and non-working is all we needed to know about the Depression. And maybe they were right, considering it is dumb Americans' money they're after. Americans don't have time to think, as we know.

The boxing was good. It wasn't like Rocky, where every punch lands somewhere. But there were an awful lot of swings and misses, which almost never really happens. And I'd still rather watch Rocky, especially because of the memorable music, which this movie didn't have. Maybe I need to see it again, and then I'll remember the music, but right now, all I hear in my head is "Gonna Fly Now." Also, Renee ZellMiller blatantly copied Talia Shire's frightened, pretend-it-isn't-happening boxing wife routine.

Crowe's Jersey accent occasionally turned Australian. One time he said he had so many wins as an amateur and so many as a "prew."

They definitely made you want the dude to win, which was good. And for that reason, and Giamatti's continued excellence, I enjoyed this film. It even made this non-violent reviewer want to turn around and beat the shit out of the people behind me who were doing that "loud whisper" the whole time. I give it 65.8 Chans out of 80. Chan probably would've given it 40 me's out of 80, but he's not here so I can't ask him.

Cardinals In: "Naivete Seen?"

CardNilly responded to lots of things I brought up about the Cards-Sox thing. Good stuff. The only thing I have left to sort out is this comment:

" think that the team you beat in the World Series last year wouldn’t want the chance to dish out some payback in interleague play the next year is either incredibly naive or stupefyingly self-centered."

Ah, naivete. Kurt Cobain once sang, "I'm too busy acting like I'm not naive," while the more arrogant Axl Rose crooned "I may be a little young but honey I ain't naive." That has nothing to do with this. But I always wanted to make that comparison in some place where people might see it. (Also, note how I used "sang," and then changed it up with "crooned," to avoid repeating a word, just like a real journalist would.)

My thoughts on whether or not I am incredibly naive are not fully in bloom, but I'd say I'm on a plane somewhere between the jungle of naivete and the paradisical city that is stupefying self-centeredness.

But basically, I feel like I'm neither I.N. nor S.S.-C. to think that there was really no reason for a specific payback. But that's just me. Here's my comparison: Let's say that the Red Sox won the World Series in '86. And then last year, the Red Sox lost to the Cubs in the World Series in four games. I'd be in the situation the Card fans were in last week. Having won a World Series within the last 25 years, and then getting swept by a team who hadn't won in over 80. I would've said, "Cool, the Cubs finally won. Too bad we couldn't win, but at least it was them that we lost to." The following season (this weekend), we'd be playing the Cubs, and it would be cool, and I'd want to win just like in any series, but I would feel no need for payback per se. Unless there had been some kind of bad blood from the previous post-season, which there wasn't in the Sox-Cards current situation.

And when CardNilly says that they weren't buying the feel-good story of the '04 Sox, well, is that because his team was the one that was basically ignored while ours had movies and books and everything else made about them? I kinda thought it "felt good" for real, without the media's help, for any baseball fan who isn't a yankee fan, although plenty of them were actually happy for us, too.

When I say that, you might say I'm naive. Like when my friends and I went to Chicago in '98, and my one friend was made fun of for his yankee shirt. He was like, "Why do they care about the yanks? There's no rivalry there." And I said, "Dude, don't you know that every other team's fans HATE the yankees?" That was naive of him. But am I naive to think that basically everybody was rooting for (at least the fans of) the "cursed" team, or "lovable losers," or "underdog," or whatever you wanted to call us? Maybe. But I figured all the weird hair and wacky personalities were enough to clinch it for us, in the way the Phat Phillies and Superbowl Shufflin' Bears captured the aortas of the nation. But I guess some people don't buy into it.

When I told my dad about how once, at Camden Yards, the scoreboard operator deceived the fans on the yankees score update, seemingly to piss off the thousands of Sox fans in attendance, he said, "They have a right to be pissed, with us buying up all of their seats." So that makes me think that it's the way we take over other teams' stadiums that make some fans hate Red Sox fans. To that I say, "When your team's tickets go on sale, buy them. We've all got the same internet capabilities, only you have the advantage of having the ticket office in your own area. Terrible job."

Then there's the whole "big payroll" thing. Which I also have an answer for, and that is, A. Don't compare us to the yanks, because they can spend at will, while we're pretty much maxed out, and B. Our team has dough because we care about them enough to pay basically whatever price they ask for a chance to see them, and they did all they could with a tiny ballpark, and we fill the place every night, giving the team enough money to produce a winning team every year, despite the fact that they don't have 55,000 seats to work with.

So, self-centered, naive, maybe I'm both, who knows. But I'm a pretty good guy. And I was born into it, so I'll defend it til the end. Because if I am one thing, it's stubborn. Which I could call loyalty, but that would be self-centered and naive.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Favorite Sox, From A To Z, (Part Eye Eye)

Here's the list of my favorite Sox from N-Z. Recap of the rules: Has to be someone I remember, and can't be a 2004 ringholder, as they are on their own list. HM=honorable mention. (For A-M, click here.)

Tim Naehring, 90-97. Always liked him as a 3B, could have been HoF material if he hadn't been injured so much. Built a mini-Fenway in his area near Cincy. HM: Reid Nichols, 80-85. Called Reid-y Deid-y in my house, and appeared on my puzzle of 83 Red Sox baseball cards. I don't know, I guess I just liked the name.

Spike Owen, 86-88. I had a cat named Spike from 84-01. Was at the beach in Old Saybrook watching the game when he got six hits. One of my favorite memories. Was very tough to see him on the yanks. HM=Troy O'Leary, 95-01. To clarify, only the first few years of O'Leary count here. Terrible job by him in the later years, but I liked how he's one of the six regular left fielders we've had since 1940.

Tony Pena, 90-93. Fun-lovin guy, sat on butt with one leg extended while catching at times. Couldn't believe we got such a big superstar at the time, even though it meant the end of Gedman. HM: Phil Plantier, 90-92. Another guy who I still can't believe didn't have a HoF career. Had that low, fun-to-imitate stance, and hit some monster dongs.

Carlos Quintana. 89-91, 93. A teenage years fave. Another guy who lost out on glory due to injury.

Jim Rice, 74-89. The classic Red Sox player from my youth. Like Evans, he was there from birth to mid-teens for me. A truly great baseball player. Should be in the Hall. HM=Jerry Remy, 78-84. Loved the "Scooter," (long before he was known as RemDawg) and he had the same name as me, if spelled incorrectly. Could relate to the little second baseman thing. We got his autograph in the mid-eighties at Fenway, when my dad spotted him in his streetclothes.

Lee Smith, 88-90. Menacing, and also had the same name as me, spelled correctly. HM=Jeff Stone, 89-90. A true Sox fan should know why. HM=Dave Stapleton, 80-86. Don't have a reason.

Luis Tiant, 71-78. Can barely remember the playing Tiante. Another guy who was hard to see in pinstripes. Good to see he went our way in the long run. And he signed a personal autograph to my mom for me, even though he initially said "No personalized."

Ugueth Urbina, 01-02. Terrible job, Ugi. Never liked his over-celebrations, and I'm a dude who loves guys who are really into the game. But he his the only Sox player whose last name started with "U" after the fifties, so by the rules of my list, he's my favorite "U." But note that he's also my least favorite. I feel bad for him with that ransom situation, of course.

Mo Vaughn, 91-98. My dad taught for years with Mo's dad, as Mr. Vaughn was the principal, down in Norwalk. We followed Mo's progress, and when he got drafted by the Sox, we were amazed and delighted. Great guy, great hitter. His mom gave me a big hug when I met her at Fenway. Too bad about the injury. HM: John Valentin, 92-01. Pretty solid, overall, when you think about it. Will never forget Game 3 of the '99 ALCS against Clemens.

Todd Walker, 03. Really grew on me throughout that crazy, crazy season.

X: No Red Sox player ever had a last name starting with X. Terrible job, X people. You all clearly didn't try hard enough.

Carl Yastrzemski, 61-83. Listened to Yaz' last at bat on the radio in '83, in probably my first year as a full-on radio listener. Had a Yaz pennant that said "3000 Hits, 400 HR." The first legend I got to root for.

Bob Zupcic, 91-94. Wins by default, but I really liked him. Had some key hits, but never lived up to his potential.

Non-arabic letter: None. Was too young to remember Eddie 9burg.

Players who didn't have a last name: None.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Mighty Mississip'. The Ole Miss. The Old Man...

My blog, along with lots of other Sox blogs, was mentioned in this post at Willie McGee's Willie Nilly Cardinal Nest. Alright, it's actually called "CardNilly," but I'm stickin' with my version. The link to me is in the comments section--it's the quote "“Eh — these aren’t real baseball games anyway,” which was said, in different words, by me, about interleague play. Mr. Nilly also writes, in the comments section of that post as well, that my attitude is "disrespectful to the opposing team and their fans." And he says, in that same paragraph, "Part of being a fan, I think, is being there for the losses and the down times, too — not acknowledging the losses doesn't get you there."

So I'd just like to clarify some things:

I'm sure this guy is a good guy, and didn't have time to read every post at every blog, especially since he visited so many sites. So, I'd like to say to him that he need not worry about me--or most other fans of the team who went 86 years without winning--not being a fan. I "was there" for the losses and down times for 29 years, 1 month, and 19 days. I wore my Red Sox clothes my whole life growing up 50 miles from New York City. Most kids probably wouldn't have been able to take the abuse. In fact, besides me and Pat (and Chris Schmidt depending on the day), no one even tried. I stayed til the bitter end of 19-8 last season, saying, "The yanks are wasting their runs for the rest of the series! It's okay!"

I acknowlege the losses. I promise you. I'm not the type fan who can just forget about a game. My "shrug it off" attitude is just that. I wanted the Sox to move on from their loss. I feel confident with this team, and I thought they could get over the two losses in St. Louis. Look at my blog from last summer, you'll see I had the same attitude. I knew how good we were, and I didn't worry about losses, because they never seem to devastate these Sox (see the "Jeter catch" game last year--which I call the "Pokey catch" game). I get mad, throw-stuff-at-the-wall mad sometimes, but I needed to move on from this series without going crazy. (In fact, now that I think about it, I was really pissed during game one, with all those ground balls going through. But again, just had to move on.)

Maybe the confusion comes from the fact that I just don't like interleague play. So my attitude about that is: Since this idea is so stupid, with us suddenly having to have our pitcher bat, I can't worry about it too much when we lose, because my head will explode if I do. It's the one part of the season I have a negative attitude about. I'm totally confident when the Champs go into yankee Stadium, but making our pitchers bat--that's ri-goddamn-diculous.

I don't see how this is disrespecting to other teams and their fans. I hate National League baseball. It's a different sport to me. I have nothing at all against the teams or their fans, though. When interleague play started, I was immediately against it, thinking it was just done for New York, basically. Even if the Sox had gone undefeated in interleague play up until three days ago, I'd still hate it, and have this attitude about it. I hate the wild-card, too, even now, after we won a World Series as one.

He also gave five general themes of what Sox blogger were saying after the first two games of the Cards series. I'll only respond to the ones that apply to me.

There's "The yanks lost, too, so it doesn't matter!" (Then he gives the definition of monomania: "mental illness especially when related to one idea or area of thought.")

That's my disease, baby! Who woulda thought it had such a cool name? I'm a yankee-hater of monomaniacal proportions. Sweet. Seriously, dude, try livin' around here, you'll be a monomaniac, too. Join us, it's so fun. The yanks have recently added boredom and shitty play to their usual deception- and chicanery-filled ways. It's more fun to hate them now than ever.

Then there's "Hey! Screw the game — the Queer Eye with the Red Sox was on last night!"

I didn't exactly say "screw the game" per se, but of course I'm gonna watch a show about World Champion Red Sox players goofin' around behind the scenes! And ask Rebecca, we sat there with the computer screen right next to the TV, so we could keep tabs on the game while we watched Queer Eye.

Another thing he brought up is how some of us said, "We swept them in the World Series, so it doesn't matter." Which he follows up by comparing us to yankee fans for saying so.

Okay, why the hostility toward the Sox? This series didn't seem particularly special going in, except that it's cool to see the stadium we won the World Series in. But it seems like the Cardinals were "out for revenge" or something. I've always felt that the Cards and their fans were classy, and was proud to play them in the World Series, instead of the Marlins or something. And I would have graciously accepted defeat to them, and I thought they were doing that with us. Instead, I read things like people cheering when Youk got hit by a pitch, and when Ortiz hit himself in the face with his helmet. I don't go to Fenway and root specifically against Cardinal players. And I love Ozzie Smith like a second, handspringin', back-flippin' dad. Is this that thing I've heard so much about, that everybody hates you when you're number one? If it is, my advice, again, is to just go ahead and keep hating the yanks, and be happy when one of the classier (every other other team in baseball) teams wins out over them, even if they beat your team to do it. I mean, seriously, if you Card fans are really pissed about losing last year, I'm sorry. I know what it's like to be one goddamn strike away from winning the World Series and NOT winning, so I can relate to anything you may have gone through last October. Seriously, the Red Sox aren't out to get you. And my guess is, any of us saying that line was probably just reacting to all the talk from Card fans getting some kind of revenge that we didn't even know was at stake. (Also, about Empy's quote about the midwest being the fulcrum: The woman's a regular comedian, trust me. I think you just couldn't see her tongue in her cheek 'cause it was so far back in there.)

Now beat those fuckin' yanks this weekend, all right? We cool?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Pic by Mark Leporati, I'd guess
Jere originates the Johnny Damon look, 1994.

How come Damon looks cool with his hair, but I looked like a boob? Anyway, the funny thing about this picture is how a young Chan is in the background. (What's he holding, his thesis?) Eleven years later, we're roommates in NYC. And I loved that Helmet shirt. Too bad about the sweat stains, though. They really killed that shirt.

New York media update: As I predicted, they're all shocked and surprised about the following items: A. Pedro's really good. B. Pedro gets along with teammates. C. Pedro pitches well against the yanks.

Mike & the Mad Dog must have read my mind, and decided to see how pissed off they could make me. "NOBODY thought he'd do this good." "He gets along with everybody!" "He looks like a Cy Young winner!" "He even pitched well against the yanks, which he NEVER does." I'm really fuming about this, even though I knew I'd be hearing it all. The yankees thing really gets me. It's the best example of how people will believe what everyone else is saying, even if they see the opposite with their own eyes. No, wait, they don't see, because they don't even look.

Was I exaggerating when I said, "Hey New York, Pedro's awesome, you'll love him, etc, etc."? We all knew this, right? All of us who pay attention anyway. And we saw him strike out 17 yanks. And outduel Clemens not once, but several times? And even in the "Grady Little" game, pitch his heart out, after Roger had long dried off from his early shower? These people are complete idiots.

Then, of course, Kay chimed in on his show, saying he'd ask Minaya if he thought Pedro would be THIS GOOD. These people know who this guy is, right? I just don't understand humans.

It's just a shame that dirtdog drove our Pedro out of town. At least Pedro's pissing the yankee fans off, too. Except for those 90% who "just root for New York," i.e. "always have an alternate when one team is shitting the bed."

I watched the Brewers third baseman just blatantly miss a line drive by Sheffield with two outs in the first. Then A-Rod homered,and the Brewskis never recovered. Terrible job.

The Red Sox are in the fifth, and it looks like ESPN is NOT showing the game due to the rain delay, screwing us as usual. I guess Castiglione will sing me to sleep tonight.

Queer As Foulke

Conversation I have with a different person every day at work:

Co-worker: "You're moving to New York? Heh, I thought you'd move to Boston!"

It's really a one-sided conversation, you'll notice. A few more days of this job, then I'm out of CT for good. The commute from NYC to Danbury is actually not bad, a little over an hour, and I'm moving the whole time, as all the traffic goes the other way. But I don't sleep much these days. Getting some sleep will be another advantage of finally getting out of there.

I watched Queer Eye: Red Sox tonight. Pretty damn funny. I love that some of our guys did this show, and that the team supported it, and that they helped out those Little Leaguers whose field was destroyed by a hurricane. It's pretty sad that some other guys refused to do it, because of their "beliefs." Great priorities they've got: Hate before love. I also read the article where a Red Sox fan said that other fans are laughing in our faces. Well, that person better just put on their yankee hat and pretend to be a yankee fan until this blows over. That way they won't be associated with a team that has fun, helps kids in need, and does a TV show which stars people who happen to have a different sexuality than theirs. (And go ahead and keep on wearing that yankee hat afterwards, you stupid ass.)

And one fan said, about the Sox having the Queer Eye guys throwing out the first ball at Fenway, "As long as they win." Uh, so, if they don't win, you're gonna get loaded, grab your gay-bashin' stick, and hit the streets on a hate mission? F you, too, dude. And keep having sex with farm animals while you complain about people's "weird sexual habits."

The one thing I didn't like was that they had Johnny and Doug in pinstripes.

About tonight's on-field action: I'm not worried about the Sox. Interleague play, especially the road games, just piss me off. I just hope we can win one game per series in these NL parks, two per at home, breaking as close to even as possible before moving on with real baseball. At that point, we'll start winning games in bulk again. Plus, we're still up on the dying yanks, and Baltimore has to go on a major cold streak soon. Actually, they're kind of on one already, but nobody wants to catch up. But we will soon. No problem.

Monday, June 06, 2005

I Write Like A Six Year Old

Life's A Beached Whale

The first beach day of the year, even though the water was colder than a yankee player at a World Champions banquet in December. Still, always a good feeling to walk along the really sharp rocks and scalding sand barefoot. Reb Dog came down to the beach, and I was happy to find out she was down with foot torture, too. It's just fun. Add to that a Red Sox win, with another key hit by my brother David, and a yankee loss. After the Twins took a 9-3 lead in the eighth, Sterling said, "Good night, Gracie." Indeed. Which reminds me, another thing from yesterday that pissed me off was when the yanks had come back to tie the game at three late, and Sterling said, "The yanks were dead in the water at 3-0 in the fifth." Yeah, no $200 million team has ever come back from a three run deficit with five innings left to play.

I finally got all my crapptiy crap out of my sister's attic, as her house is in it's final days in her hands, before being sold to a Red Sox fan dude and his family, who I met the other day. Now half of my crap is New Haven, (where the above-mentioned beach is) in my parents' attic. The other half will be crammed into my apartment here in NYC. It seems to be 75 degrees out now, past midnight. Which in the city feels like 95. But I like it. I like my feet bloody and my t-shirt drenched.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Pitying Fools

Things Jon Sterling said during the yankee game tonight that nauseated me:

1. Jeter missed the game with some type of flu or something. Jon said, "They showed a shot of Derek Jeter in the dugout, and he looks so sick. It's amazing that he's even here. But he's the captain, so he's here to support his team." Okay, have you noticed that Mr. "Will Play Under Any Circumstances" has been missing an awful lot of games lately? Even though Torre supposedly is not letting him play (possibly, according to Rebecca's theory, because Jeter's playing really crappily, so why not jump at the chance to bench him?). But still, if you're gonna tell me for all these years how, "If he can walk, he can play," then don't turn it into, "Wow, he's not playing, but he IS in the dugout, even though he's sick. AMAZING."

2. In the bottom of the ninth, no outs, and the yanks up a single run, Jon described the yanks' rally in top of the ninth as "the yanks' winning rally."

There was more, but this one other thing deserves a more in-depth post. You'll know it when you see it.

Also, Suzyn Waldman said "RBA" instead of "RBI" tonight.

There was a new show on NYC's WFAN, which had several hosts, one of whom is a Red Sox fan since after the 86 Series, when he switched over from the Mets. I only heard the beginning of the show, but this dude said "If Mad Dog makes you mad with what he says about the yanks, you're gonna HATE me." Nice.

And I can't believe I forgot to mention this, but the Mr.T In Your Pocket device is SO handy for when McCarver is announcing. Especially "Quit your jibba jabba," and the more to-the-point "Shut up, fool." It sounds like when Mr. T recorded the messages, he was listening to McCarver announce a game with his favorite team playing in it. He's that pissed. Unfortunately, by the end of the game, I was exclusively playing "Don't make me mad! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr."

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