Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mom's Brush With Royalty

My mom is on vacation with the mother of the person whose alleged movie rating title is in question in Quiz XII. I won't say where they are, to protect the vacation hot spots of my mom or the person she ran into, except that it's in the southeast quadrant of the mainland U.S.

Last night, after a long search for a restaurant to eat dinner in, my mom and her friend found a nice little place and sat down to eat.

Mom looks over at the next table, and sees a familiar face. A face which an even more familiar voice often emerges from, on summer nights in New England, since 1983.

That's right, dining with his wife a few feet from my mom, hundreds of miles from home, is the voice of the Boston Red Sox, Joe Castiglione.

Mom quickly went into action, asking her waiter to ask the white-haired gentleman if his name is Joe--even though she's 99 percent sure it's him. The waiter asks, and Castig responds, "Who wants to know." The waiter points at my mom. "That lady."

Joe acknowledges, and my mom and friend settle in for a 15-minute fireside chat with the Castigliones.

She said they were really nice. Joe even flashed "the ring," which he apparently usually where upside down to avoid drawing a crowd. Mom said it was incredible to see the ring on someone's hand. They also talked about their Connecticut backgrounds, and 1960s CT high school basketball.

The best part? My mom had Joe do a personalized autograph--for me! It says "Can you believe it?" How cool is that? I'll have to scan that one when it gets back to the northeast.

The Inevitable Weather Post

It's 70 degrees. I'm goin' outside.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sent Away (Oh, Randy)

I'm too busy revelling in the fact that the Yankees had to trade away their superstar, Hall of Fame pitcher for a bunch of prospects to deal with the fact that in the long run, there's a chance they get the better of this deal.

Look at what the Yanks did: Traded pitchers Brad "Cerebral" Halsey and Javy Vazquez, and catcher Dionysius Dave Navarro for Randy going into '05. The two pitchers' ERAs weren't much higher than Randy's in the two years since, and they both outpitched him last season. Meanwhile, Randy lives this gloomy existence in New York, nobody likes him, he likes nobody, and he brings George exactly zero pennants, when they were guaranteed each year by plenty of people. And this is Randy Johnson, the big superstar! So they basically turned those three dudes into that, which they're now turning into four other dudes, all of whom could be busts.

So my question, yet again, to the media is: Where are the stories of the Yanks being "cursed" and "pathetic" and "losers," who, even when acquiring the best players in the league, just can't seem to win? A few years after the '01 World Series, which, contrary to popular belief that states "both teams won!" or "New York City won!" or "America won!", the Yankees blew with the great Mariano on the mound, the Red Sox got one of the Diamondbacks' aces, and promptly won the World Series. The Yanks got the other, and have to trade him for Luis Vizcaino after two seasons of not even reaching the ALCS. It's gotta be a curse, right? Right?

My quick January prediction about 2007: Sox--Good. Yanks--Not nearly as good.

Coming soon, the story of my mom's brush with greatness! (She ran into about the coolest baseball person you can possibly run into, in my opinion, this side of Richard Leo Gedman. And she was far from New England.)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

"Do You Wanna Change Your Bullshit Story, Sir?"

The Red Sox are a team that looks great, except for the fact that we don't have a closer. Keeping Papelbon as the closer will turn us into a team that looks great, period.

It's not that I think Papelbon will fail as a starter. I think that guy will succeed no matter what, and I'm just happy he's on the team. But with no solid closer, we leave a question mark that has the potential to affect every single game.

If you have four awesome starters and an awesome reliever, you could win 80 percent of your games. If you have five awesome starters and no closer, you could lose 100 percent.

Now let's talk about these doctor's orders. The Red Sox claim that Papelbon will be healthy throwing a lot of innings every five days. And that he'll likely injure himself if he pitches a little bit at a time, but more often than once every five days. I'm no physician, but you know what I say about that? Horse. Poop.

Here are my reasons:

1. No precedent. Have you ever heard this about a baseball player before? "This guy can only be a starter. He can't be a reliever. He'll get hurt." "Oh, that guy? We know he stinks, but we put him in the rotation because it's the only way he can pitch without injuring his arm." I've never heard that before.

2. Babying. Maybe they really do believe it. Maybe if you play it out a thousand times, he gets injured at a closer 5% more often than he does as a starter. They hear that and they panic. This is a young kid who can do anything. You start babying him and that's when you're gonna hurt him. And this goes for all pitchers. I do agree with the bitter old people who say "pitch counts ruined pitchers." A pitch count is like a flu shot. All a flu shot does is give you the flu. Or, like those people who mess with their car all the time. There's always a problem because they're always messing with it. Or, like those people who go to the chiropractor. Have you ever heard of one of those people going to the chiropractor, getting their muscles fixed, and then never having to go back? It's like Chris Rock said: "A cure for AIDS? That'd be like Cadillac makin' a car that lasts fifty years!"

3. Makes no sense. Would you rather have some guy kick your ass every five days, for seven and two-thirds hours at a time? Or every three days, for an hour at a time? Do the math. The first way is gonna give you way more of a beating in the end. But wait, you'd have more time to heal the first way! True, but overall, is that gonna make a huge difference? You're getting your ass kicked either way.

I think we're seeing the momentum swing back my way. People are talking about Pap possibly be the closer again. One article made mention of the Sox' new closer situation, "with Papelbon as a fallback." Joy of Sox posted about Pineiro and the bullpen situation, and the name alone prompted commenters to respond: Papelbon, Papelbon, Papelbon.*

You know what will prove my theory that they're full of shit with this doctor's diagnosis? If the team, at any point, choosed to put Pap in the closer role. If they really believe it, they'll come out tomorrow and say, "He's a starter, end of story."

The good news is, there's a chance we turn out to bean awesome team either way. We have a lot of young guys that could turn in to starters and/or closers. I'd just prefer the proven solution to our single biggest concern.

*Since the post I was referring to, Joy posted again, citing an article that says the incentives in Pineiro's contract point to him becoming the closer. This only makes my case look better. As soon as this news gets out, New England will make its choice for closer be known. Here's your chance, Red Sox, to change your bullshit story.

Okay, Now It's Really (Almost) Official

The Randy thing, I mean. Looks like the Yanks will get Luis Vizcaino and one pitching prospect. I'll take it. It seems like you should be able to get more for a Hall of Famer, even if he is an old man. This makes their staff much worse. A so-so Randy was better than nothing. If I knew that's all it would've taken, and I was the Red Sox, I would've given them one prospect, gotten Randy, then turned around and traded him to a team way dumber than Arizona for five more prospects. Then I would've gotten back the original prospect from whatever team the Yanks trade him to for another bat they don't need in July.

Looks like Loretta's going to Houston, Minky's going to the Yanks, and Foulke's definitely a grinning savage.

[Update, 8:30 PM: Now it's definitely official. -Ish. Great reporting, reporter idiots. The actual deal is four players to the Yanks for the ol' man. Two minor league pitchers, 24 and 25, a minor league shortstop, and Vizcaino. I like looking at the Yanks' rotation now. It's fun.]

Local News

Yesterday I read about these cabs going around dressed like cows. Then I left work and one flew right past me on 86th Street. What are the odds of that, considering there are only five? Then again, there are only a few checkered cabs left, and I walk by a parked one all the time. (The driver of it must live in my neighborhood or something.)

And the world can't get enough of this story. Some kid pulled an Or Trenchant at the subway, and this stranger saved him, leading to incredibly awkward moments between the boy's father and the hero. I can just feel the dad thinking, "I'm so happy you saved my son's life, really, but will you be going away soon? You're not gonna, like, hang out with us now, are you?" And terrible job by the girl on the news last night, who, when asked if she'd jump onto the tracks to save a stranger, said no, because "my life is more important than anyone else's." Wow, that girl must have an awesome myspace page. Some things are just too important.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Joel Man

Wait! Stop! I know what you're thinking! "Soul man, Joel man, haha, real funny, you unoriginal bastard." Yourrrr mistake. The term "Joel man" describes me--and male humans like me--, referring to the fact I prefer the Joel Hodgson-hosted episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to the Mike Nelson-hosted ones. (This is based on reasons mentioned before on this blog, though I am a fan of Mike Nelson as well.)

Anyway, the reason this post is called "Joel Man" is because the Red Sox appear to have signed pitcher-you've-heard-of, Joel Pineiro.

This reminds me, I've never asked my girlfriend if she's a Mike Woman or a Joel Woman. I think the relationship can sustain regardless of her answer.

Anyway, Joely, as Clementine might call him, could battle for the closer role until they come to their senses and put Papelbon right back there. (Fingers still crossed.)

It Continues To Be Almost Official

Some source with no name says Randy will be traded to Arizona, for two minor league pitchers and a major league reliever.

This is the ugliest case of deja vu I've ever had, as we went through weeks of talk that Randy was going from Arizona to New York in December '04 before it finally became official.

If he does go, I'll really, really miss making fun of him.

In other news, terrible job by Celizic, as usual.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Trup's Last Dance

I was listening to this call in a car last year. Remember that crazy Tavarez dive against the Orioles when time was out? I found the audio of it and added some footage of Joe and Jerry that I shot myself.

I still have never seen the play. This is closest you'll hear these guys dome to "losing it" a la Remy and Orsillo. This will count as my official tribute to Trup. We'll miss you, big guy.



I've always* said I wanted to live to see the year 2080 (--at least, I can go longer if necessary), since 1980 is my favorite year (since '92, before that it was '79), and I'd like to be able to write the date as "'80" again.

Today I came across the Death Clock. It estimates when you'll die based on your birthday, sex, body mass index, and whether or not you smoke. (Note: What if you're hanging from a cliff, and you flip open your laptop and check your death clock? It's not gonna say "a few minutes" because they don't ask if you're currently hanging from a cliff... TJ, DC.) I entered my info, and daethy McClock-Clock said I'll die on August 23rd, 2059. Okay. 52 years left. As Kenny** would say, "not baaad." Still, no way I'm goin' out before 2075, so I can see age 100. I will defy you, death clock.

Knowing that women live way longer than men, I changed "male" to female" to see how long I'd live were I not of the foul sex. And it came up...


Don't look for me to get a sex change operation, though.

* actually since, like, the mid-nineties

** you don't know him

Cinderella Story

You could watch football every week for an entire season and not see a hook and lateral or a Statue of Liberty play. I hardly watch any football and I just saw both in a half an hour. Boise State pulled off both, one to send the game to OT, and the other on a two-point try in overtime to win the game. And they could've just taken the one point to keep the game tied. Talk about guts. Seeing Boise State on New Year's Day is enough of an upset. But to have them win--against my least favorite team, Oklahoma, no less--is even cooler.

Wow, and this dude being interviewed, when asked if Okalhoma took them lightly, said, "We know they did." More guts. And then he proposes to the head cheerleader and she says yes. (That's actually not sarcasm. He just did that. Crazy.)

Monday, January 01, 2007

I Have A Favorite Golfer

Patrick Wilkes-Krier is his name. Why is he my favorite golfer? You know that dude Andrew W. K.? (If you don't, well, he's this metal dude who rocks and enjoys partying. Even if you don't recognize his name, you've probably heard his party-ful music in commercials or movies.) I was listening to an interview with him where he says his brother is a golfer. I did a little bit of research, and found an article on Patrick. Unless there's another golfer named Wilkes-Krier who went to Ball State University, this dude is Andrew W. K.'s brother. He's turning pro soon, according to an August 2006 article I found.

So, of course, since I'm a big fan of Andrew, his bro is now my favorite golfer. I've only had one other favorite golfer in my life, and that was Fuzzy Zoeller, circa 1987. No, it wasn't for any reason besides all those cool Zs.

I give you the W. K. family. Here's Patrick W. K., with Mr. and Mrs. W. K.:

photo courtesy

And here's Andrew W. K.:

Feels So Good

AP photo of Papi and Pedro at a charity softball game in Santo Domingo, from a few days ago.

Old Yeller, Jessica Lange, Stop Sign

Saturday night at midnight we saw This is Spinal Tap in a movie theater. Sunday afternoon we saw Ghostbusters in a movie theater. Two of my favorites on the big screen. Then instead of going to the show we had tickets to on New Year's Eve, we decided the way to go is the classic "stay in and do whatever, and watch the Twilight Zone" method. It was cool listening to the fireworks from Times Square out my window while watching them on TV, even though I'm really far from there.

A good NYE was had by all. Happy New Year. 1997 is, ridiculously, ten years old.

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