Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Haiku Appreciation for Matt Clement

you soar like a star
yet we find inspiration
when you fall to earth

Monday, July 25, 2005

On My Nerves

These are things that are on my nerves:

1. The AL Least. Are we really sitting atop the worst division in baseball? This is when the Wildcard begins to look unfair. The teams that are feasting on head-to-heads in lesser divisions have an advantage. The AL East teams are killing each other. But it's not just THAT. You begin to get the feeling no one wants to win the division. It's not even back and forth - it's just stagnant. Just when the Sox, Yankees and Orioles seem to be ready to move past their toughest times and start a legitimate winning streak, they sputter. Here's what I think - I think one of them is going to need to put together a REAL streak to wake the other two up. I'm not looking forward to the Yankees putting together another streak like they had in May, the one they started when they were 10-19 (or whatever it was). Please don't let that happen.

2. Arroyo. I didn't think staging an album party the night before a start against the White Sox was too cool. And I think the results proved me right. Didn't Bernie Williams release his dopey album in the off-season? Focus on the game, dude. THE GAME. Having said that, please don't trade him. When the time is right, his curve ball will start SNAPPING.

3. The trading deadline. Would A.J. Burnett really get more quality starts than Arroyo? Billy Wagner I'll take, just so we can get Schilling back in the rotation where he belongs. I trust in Theo to get it right.

4. Dirt Dogs. Don't you think they should start apologizing to Manny right about now? Or maybe they should apologize to ME.

5. The Millers. Just because Wade Miller pitched a shutout, which I officially consider a fluke, I'm not letting you guys off the hook. Unless Millar is giving us .280/25/85, then he is a liability. I'm lobbying for more PT for Olerud. Unless Mueller is giving us .300/15/80, then HE's a liability. Why is Youk in Pawtucket?? And I'm willing to give Cora and Grafanino plenty of time to spell Bellhorn (a legitimate liability and my honorary 4th Miller). They couldn't be any worse.

Sox up: Wells, Timlin, Johnny
Sox down: Schilling, the Millers
Trade bait: Arroyo, the Millers
Please don't trade: Trot

No

No. We don't.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Three Rivals?

Just found out our new co-worker Fred is a Mets fan. That's right. He openly roots for the likes of Beltran, Piazza, and Petey while constantly praying for the demise of our beloved Yankees and Red Sox. Do we dare open this forum of ours up to the musings of someone who celebrated in 1986, wept in 2000, and calls Shea freakin' Stadium hollowed ground? Do we?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Liar.

80 Miles Per Hour? C'mon! Give us a break. I guarantee that if we got a radar hooked up, you'd barely crack 60. Now, with that said, if the remote hit a lamp and smashed it, at least you could say that you had "lights-out" stuff...

Oh, and by the way, here are my guesses for Schilling's 3 ESPYs...

1. Best Shameless Use of a Championship by 'Endorsing' a Presidential Candidate
2. Biggest Crybaby. Literally.
3. Best Impersonation of a Chirping Bird

Actually, I just looked, and he only deserved 2 ESPYs. The guy didn't play in game 5 of the ALCS, Red. It was Pedro, Timlin, Foulke, Arroyo, Myers, Embree, and Wakefield.

Technology Lesson

Well, I learned a few things about Panasonic TV remotes last night. If you throw one at, say, 80 miles an hour, and make contact in just the right spot – on the top-left corner, I think – it will splinter into 5 perfect pieces (plus two AA batteries)… without breaking!

You can snap it back together as good as new… ALMOST before your wife comes into the room to find out what’s going on. (It took a while to hunt down the batteries.) And here’s the cool part - it will still work! (The reward: you can watch Schilling take home 3 Espy’s. Woo woo!)

Here are the 5 components of a remote:

1. Top cover, with holes cut out for the keys
2. Bottom cover, with built-in braces to support the circuit board
3. Rubber keypad (surprised to find it was floppy, like a small fish)
4. Touch-sensitive circuit board (really cool! includes battery springs and infrared light)
5. Plastic battery door

Well-crafted technology. I don’t think we should take it for granted.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Yankees 5, Red Sox 3. Yankees win series 3-1.


Looks like we have a race, folks... Dan Shaughnessey can kiss my ass. It was precisely 3 weeks ago that he declared the race for the AL East was over:

"It's OK to say it. Don't worry about jinxing them. The 2005 Red Sox are going to win the American League East. By a landslide. Come late September, this is going to look like Secretariat at the Belmont in 1973.

After looking up at the Orioles for two frustrating months, the Sox moved into first place Friday night and they are there to stay. Stop worrying about the Yankees, Orioles, and Jays. It's not even going to be close."

He's a tool.

Here are some other random thoughts about the series, the teams, and the players...

1. Leiter is God. He's was lightning in a bottle, just like Cashman had hoped for. Three hits, one earned run, tons of strikes. Money.
2. A-Rod is officially free of that monkey that everyone (particularly annoying Sox fans) kept imagining.
3. Don't ever throw at or behind Sheff. He's a very, very angry man. Evidently, he takes it out on the ball.
4. How can any baserunner trust Dale Sveum? I mean, shit, I would never, ever pay attention to that guy if a game was on the line.
5. I'm psyched that Johnny D has the hitting streak going. He's definitely deserving. I just hope, for the Boston fans, that the Sox can keep him out of the Bronx next year. I'd take his throws-like-a-girl arm over Bernie's throws-like-a-girl arm any day!
6. Jeter is like a deer in the headlights when batting against the Sox, but he sure was flashing the leather, huh?
7. Why does Giambi sweat so damn much? It's creepy.
8. Robinson Cano almost gave me a heart attack in the 9th. The wife had to leave the room she was so mad. Would love to see her watch a game with Red!
9. I still love Manny. But what's up with that weird shell around his neck? It was Turk Wendell-esque in it's weirdness.
10. Hey Trot, wash the freakin' hat and batting helmet. The hat looks like a walrus made love to it and the batting helmet looks a lot like my toilet the day after a night of heavy drinking. Superstitions are cute and all, but those lids are just plain rude.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Yankees 7-4

Now that I've simmered down, three thoughts:

1. Well, I asked for a more interesting game. Serves me right.
2. We live in a mystical world where Mark Bellhorn can homer off of Randy Johnson.
3. I was really feeling good about 3 out of 4. Now... not so much.

People I'm feeling the love for right now:

JEREMI GONZALES! Manny! Schilling! Timlin! Johnny D! Trot! Tek! Al Leiter! Yes, AL LEITER!

People I'm trying to get out of my head right now:

Clement... no no NOOOOOOOO!
ER... biggest AB of the game... where were you?
A-Rod and Sheff... no love, but alas, respect. I guess.
Dale Sveum... by now if I'm a baserunner, I do the opposite.

Sox 17-1

That score and that game were boring to me. Piling up the score is useless in baseball. The Yankees do it all the time too. The outcome and momentum shift is nice though, after the "A-Rod" game. I'll always take a split going into the weekend, especially with these Sat and Sun pitching match-ups.

After Thursday, everyone on NYC TV and Radio was saying A-Rod is now a true Yankee and that if they win something this year, that game will be remembered as a turning point. I agree on both - ya gotta beat the champions if ya wanna win it.

But people got a little too excited for July. Let me take a second to dispute ESPN radio guy (and Yankee play-by-play guy) Michael Kay, who said yesterday afternoon "If the Yankees didn't win that one, they could have fallen apart - Seriously, they really could have."

DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT. They will not fall apart, not with their sluggers hitting like this. Nor would one game prompt a team loaded with this many all-star veterans to fall apart. (Though it's nice to dream! ;^)) Nor does a 17-1 loss mean they're falling apart. They have the best hitter in the game (also the AL MVP) and top-to-bottom the best line-up in the game. The problem is the pitching is average and getting worse with the injuries. BUT NO ONE HAS GOOD PITCHING!

If anything, 17-1 symbolizes the Yankee modus operandi this season: inability to carry momentum from big wins. Anyhoo... Hoping today will be more exciting with Unit and Clement.

Sox up: Trot, Johnny D, Papi (the Yankee killers!)
Sox down: Schilling, Bellhorn, Embree

Friday, July 15, 2005

Clutch?

A-Rod was. Steroid-boy wasn't. Maybe he should pitch more and chirp less. Loser.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

8-6 Yankees

And we're back... with a symbolic score no less.

Yeah sure man, but that was a FUN game! If all 4 are like this, this is gonna be an EXCELLENT weekend. Lots of plot twists, tons of action, and until Mariano came in, lots of juicy pitches. A coupla things:

- Waaaaaaay too early to bring Schilling into a do-or-die situation. Obviously he's not even close. DUH. Didn't Tito say he would "ease" him back into the starting role? I was SHRIEKING at the radio. He should have broken Schilling in either by setting up the short relievers or by entering a game with a 4-run spread (either team ahead).
- Two points for A-Rod. Yankee fans (and I) have been saying he ain't clutch. Well, it's not Sept or Oct yet, but he did it.
- Minus two points for the bald-headed moron who blocked Trot from reaching Giambi's tater. (Giambi!!)
- There are lots of scenarios where this weekend ends with a virtual 3-way tie in the east. I'm down wid dat! See ya tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

All-Star Things

Thoughts about things:

1. The Home Run Derby was fun, albeit tedious after a while. The international format was outstanding. People who don’t like it are pathetic old school American jingoists who hate other countries and other cultures. And there are a lot of them around these days.
2. Between Manny, Papi and Tejada, the Dominican guys have so much personality that it’s almost not fair to the other teams. I was sad for Big P when he pooped in Act II. But not as sad as I was for the Canadian dude who posted a donut.
3. As long as they were using guys who weren’t selected to the All-Star game, Matsui/Japan should have been there too.
4. Note to ESPN: I would rather watch the Minor League All-Star Game than watch another celebrity-jock softball game.
5. Note to the Commish: The Baseball World Cup is a GREAT idea. I can’t wait!
6. My 2 cents: Wouldn’t November have been a better choice than March?!?
7. And then there was this beautiful moment for America: While all of the Latin and Asian players celebrated and embraced the World Cup, Gary Sheffield said it wasn’t important enough to risk injury, so he won’t play. I’m absolutely shocked that such a legendary team player would have that opinion. Shocked I tell you.
8. Two questions: 1) Who would have asked Gary Sheffield to play? 2) I don’t want Me-Me’s like Sheffield on Team USA. Oh wait, that wasn’t a question. Hey Sheffield, here's an idea... DON'T PLAY! Oops, that wasn't a question either.
9. One or two more Sheffields and I just might find myself rooting for the Dominican. Or maybe I'll root for one of those countries where people actually vote, and don’t take all their blessings for granted. That’s my right as a free American. In fact maybe I’ll burn a flag today.
10. Prediction: The NL finally breaks through and wins the All-Star Game, 12-9. Pujols and Derrek Lee will come up big. Why? Because of the law of averages! Nine AL wins in a row would be too many. As I’m learning in the fantasy league, baseball is a giant probability equation.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Controversies

Well, every Red Sox season reaches this point when our boyz start making "dysfunctional family" headlines. You thought this season might be different for a million reasons, but it's same ol' same ol':

- Johnny D mouths off about the decision to bring Schilling back in the pen. You sort of agree with him, but wish he shut up.
- Wells mouths off about the Kenny Rogers thing, just trying to be provocative, but you wish he'd shut up. (So far the only thing I agree with Wells on is donuts.)
- Payton mouths off about playing time, and since they cut him I'll bet HE wishes he'd shut up. I wish he was still here because he's a great outfielder, decent hitter, and nice speed. The next best thing to Dave Roberts. Sort of a Sophie's Choice, I guess... but would you rather get 500 at-bats for the Brewers or get 250 at-bats for the defending champs and play on national TV every week and go deep into the playoffs? Duh-yee.

There are 3 thoughts bouncing between my ears (on the dysfunctional topic, that is):

1. The dysfunctional angle is always blown out of proportion by the Scumoftheearth, oops I mean the Boston Media. This year it's blown up even more so because we are the champions and the whole world is following the soap opera. Believe me, it doesn't impact the players that much, especially when you have steady guys in the clubhouse like Papi and Varitek.
2. Tito and Theo have fostered an environment where people can blow off steam by being big kids and by mouthing off. It's one of the reasons they won and it's one of the reasons we love em. So, I guess what I'm saying is Live by the sword, Die by the sword.
3. Knowing this team, this won't make too much of a difference in the long run. But at the moment I have to admit that all this looks like enough of a distraction to cost them a couple of games. Remember what I said about the rollercoaster being part of the fun...?

Having said that, let's not take our eye off of the fact that the bigger problem is bullpen depth. As we speak, I'm watching the Miller brothers and Halama stink up Camden Yards, when we should be pinning the Os with our foot jammed into their throats. The Yankees are having a much worse season but have won 8 of 10 and are only 3 1/2 back. I think the All-Star game is coming at a good time.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

81 Down, 81 to Go

We're just past the halfway mark, so I was curious to revisit my pre-season predictions. For the record, the Sox are actually 47-35, 3 1/2 up on the Os, 4 on the Schmanks, and 5 1/2 on the Js.

AL East
1. Yankees I'm sticking with it.
2. Red Sox (wildcard) Sticking with it.
But overall the Yankees are WAY too strong and want it too badly this time. I don't want to be them if they don't win it all. Agree. I'm sticking with the whole scenario.

AL Central
1. Twins OK.
2. Injuns Sure.
And watch the Tigers.Hmm. We're missing the ChW. Well, guess what, I'm sticking with it. They're gonna go 39-42 in the 2nd half.

AL West
1. Angels Yep.
2. A's Maybe. But I think the real challenge to the Angels will come from Tex.
LA (or Anaheim or whatever) will have it sewn up by Labor Day. Yep. The A's look strong again, so the real unknown here is Tex.

NL

1. The NL will field 3 completely different playoff teams than last year. I'll stick with it - how about Nats, Pods, Mets?

2. The Braves will go to the Series and lose to the Angels. OK, the Yankees. But the Angels are the only team that will threaten the Yankees. And people besides me will call the 2005 Yankees the Best Team Ever. Hmm. REWRITE: The Yankees may yet make it to the World Series, but no one will call them the BTE, including me.

3. Yankees win season series over Sox, 11-8. Three bench-clearing brawls, including two in one game (at Fenway). "Roid Rage" Sheffield and "Wild Man" Mantei at the center of the fracas. This time there are real injuries to both teams. REWRITE: Sox win 10-9. Sticking with the fracas thing.

4. Matsui wins the AL MVP over A-Rod thanks to mondo total bases and RBIs. RJ wins 23 for the Cy over Santana. Matsui wins RBI title by a dozen over Sheffied and Tejada. Jeter has his best year ever with the bat, and 6 Yankees go 25/95. WOW. OK, let's take them one at a time. A-Rod will win the MVP. RJ will finish 19-12 and in the Top 5 for Cy but that's it. Manny is going to win the RBI title over Matsui and Tejada. It's not Jeter having his best year with the bat - it's Johnny D! And unbelievably, only 3 Yankees are going to do better than 25/95.

5. Manny-Ortiz battle for HR title. Schilling has an off year (17-11) but comes alive in Aug-Sep to lift Sox to wildcard. Clement also wins 17, Arroyo 15, Wakefield and Wells 13, Miller 12. But not having Pedro and Lowe will be the difference in the playoffs. Sticking with 90% of this. Schilling can't win 17 thanks to the injury, but will definitely come alive in Aug-Sep. Switch the wins for Wakefiled and Arroyo.

Ex-Sox Per-dictions:

1. Nomar will be the Cubs MVP, but they'll come up short. Might make the wildcard. REWRITE!
2. Cabrera will become an All-Star with the Angels. REWRITE!
3. Pedro will go 17-7, Mets will contend until the Break. Yes! How do you like me NOW?
4. Lowe will go 16-8, Dodgers will contend until late Sep. Close. I'll stick with it.
5. Mientkiewicz will bat 8th but still get 18/80 and a gold glove. Um, no.
6. Roberts will steal 66, 3rd in the NL. Nope. Not gonna happen
7. Banished to Yomiuri, Gabe "Welcome Back" Kapler will date the goofy food-taster actress chick from Iron Chef.Maybe - but I also found an article that says he talking to Theo about coming back. Nice story, but I'd rather have a bullpen guy!

A bigger question for the 2nd half... what about POKEY?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Praise for the Js

The Yankees loudly pulled to within 4 games during the July 4th weekend Foulke festival, but no one has noticed the Js who are also 4 back - very quietly. They made the red hot Sox look like PawSox. How could that be? Mostly because of Doc Halladay. No one else in the AL East has a pitcher as consistently dominant as my boy Roy - especially against other AL East teams. A couple of points each for ex-Sox Hillenbrand, Vernon Wells (who is clutch), and Miguel Batista too. I can vouch for Batista because he's on my fantasy team.

Other than that, it's smoke and mirrors. Can they pull a wildcard or division title out of this? Heck, if they can get to the halfway point only 4 back, why not? They could easily go 12 games over .500 in the 2nd half - and bring down the big 3 while they're at it.

BTW, Giambi jacked two against the Os yesterday. So of course the airwaves this morning included joke after joke about Giambi being back on the Juice. Really funny. Not.

Sox up: The All-Star starting quartet (especially Manny!)
Sox down: Mantei, Foulke