Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Lucky S.O.B.

Prediction: He's going to lose 3 of his next 4 games and be in the bullpen during the playoffs. Then, he's going to get rocked and, just like last year, cry like a freakin' baby.

He got rocked but he didn't lose. A blown call by the umpire and craptacular relief pitching by the Tampa Bay Suck-Rays helped him avoid the loss. Guess he's gotta lose the next two for my prediction to hold... Oh, and he's gotta cry.

Scraping the Burnt Crust off my Toast

After giving Red a hard time, I feel it's only right that I tell you all what's happening in my mind regarding the Yankees...

Embree is not the answer. Bellhorn is not the answer. I never thought they would be. But, it's a start. It's a move in the right direction. You see, I know the Yankees are hosed this year. But, they just might be scrappy enough to get through to the playoffs. After that, I leave it to hitters 1-5, Mo, and a boatload of luck. But, I'm not going to say that I'm cool with things. I'm not going to say that any one player could provide a spark. No way. After all, it's all about the grind. And, I'm not going to piss on your leg by saying that I have every confidence in Randy Johnson's ability to get us there. After all, he's over 40. And has no velocity. And has a playoff track record that isn't exactly El Duque-esque... I guess I'm simply trying to temper my enthusiasm of the current Yankee run with a healthy dose of reality. You know, the reality that comes from not winning a World Series title for a long time. Red doesn't have it, since he won one last year. But, it's been so long for me that I'm cautiously skeptical of any runs or possibilities my beloved Yanks have in them.

Wake Up and Smell the Burning Coffee.

Red isn't worried. He's cool with the current Red Sox roster.

I think he's full of it. I think he's worried but he's too afraid to admit it. And so, he's making excuses...

"Schilling will be fine when we need him. He's got a lot to work through in his head... but he'll be fine when we need him."

HAHAHHAHAH. I love it. Are you trying to convince yourself, Red? He's horrible this year and he's going to continue to be horrible. He's just a shell of his old self. Here are his stats so far:

Record: 5-6
Saves: 9
Blown Saves: 2
ERA 6.89
WHIP 1.55

Man, that SUCKS. As a point of reference, here's the record for Byung-Hyun Kim:

Record: 4-10
ERA: 4.90
WHIP: 1.51

And, Kim is pitching at Coors Field this year. Wow. Schilling REALLY SUCKS. Be a man and admit it, Red. You can't make excuses for him forever. Remember, a winner always asks "What have you done for me lately?". You should pray to God that Epstein is doing that right now and looking to shore up the rotation with someone who doesn't SUCK. Maybe Curt can be a long reliever ala Tanyon Sturtze. It would be a good place for him. When Wakefield, Clement, or Wells gets rocked, he can step in and try to stop the bleeding while Ortiz, Manny, Damon, and Varitek try to get the team back into the game. It's a win-win. If he gets rocked, oh well. If he shuts down the opposing batters and they come back to win, he's a hero. He can chirp all he wants, but without any pressure. He'll be happier than a pig in poop.

Here's the other fun quote from Red:

"Kapler is motivated and can be this year's Dave Roberts."

HA! You wish! Dave Roberts is a one of a kind. He had a core competency that the Sox were able to work to exploit. That's right. He had really great wheels. Kapler has nothing to speak of except the ability to order sushi for the whole table. In 65 at bats this year, Kapler has exactly 1 dinger. He also has a batting average of .231 and an OBP of .271. That's positively Womackian. He isn't a catalyst. He's a rally killer.

Listen, I'm all for being positive, but try to at least be a little realistic. Just a
little.

Haiku for Mark Bellhorn

Boston let you go
Womack is still in the lineup
Welcome to New York

Monday, August 29, 2005

Haiku for Bronson Arroyo

curve balls or guitars
what is your weapon of choice?
you can't play with both

Saturday, August 27, 2005

LL World Series

This Little League World Series thing is not democratic. In fact it's badly broken. Why does the United States get half the teams in the tournament and an automatic draw into the championship game?

If this were a REAL tournament, there would be 16 teams of which the US would get... hmm, let me think. Oh yeah...

ONE!

Have we become so pathetic that we have to stack the deck against the rest of the world? Why can't we be like other countries and have our own domestic tournament the month before the LLWS tournament? Are we special for some reason? Does it strike anyone as ironic that, ever since the Iron Curtain fell, this is the same strategy we have used to stimulate the international economy? Here's a clue: IT DOESN'T WORK.

Are you beginning to understand why the other countries HATE US??

Friday, August 26, 2005

What Me Worry?

Lots of emails today, asking if I'm worried about Schilling. Drum roll please. The answer?

NOPE.

Schilling will be fine when we need him. He's got a lot to work through in his head... but he'll be fine when we need him.

Think of it this way: Everything has gone wrong this season that didn't go wrong last season. We're basically where we are - which by the way, is 1st place - without any contriibution from Schilling, Pedro, Lowe, and Foulke. Guys who had career years last year - like Bellhorn, Mueller, and Millar - are nowhere NEAR the zone. (I have way more faith in Graffanino and Kapler than in Millar... which is not good.)

Thankfully, the following things are constant (Lord hear our prayer): Johnny D, Manny, Ortiz, Varitek, Trot, and ER. Believe it or not, Olerud is a constant. Timlin, Gonzalez and Myers, in the right slots, are all constants. Kapler is motivated and can be this year's Dave Roberts. These are a few of the reasons that you still see us at the top of the AL East.

We've got a lot of time to get this together people. If it's a wildcard, it's a wildcard. You figured the Yankees would win the division anyway. (I still have them to win it all - is there a reason to change?) I have faith in Schilling, I have faith in Clement. In big games, I have faith in Wakefield. I have a new-found faith in Wells (but I think he needs some pre-playoff wins against the Angels and Yankees to cement his confidence). That's four. The ups and downs of Arroyo and Miller won't necessarily hurt us. What will hurt us is going into the playoffs without Foulke at 100%. I repeat:

WHAT WILL HURT US IS GOING INTO THE PLAYOFFS WITHOUT FOULKE AT 100%. PERIOD.

Once Again, With Feeling

Prediction: He's going to lose 3 of his next 4 games and be in the bullpen during the playoffs. Then, he's going to get rocked and, just like last year, cry like a freakin' baby.

One down, two to go.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Deep Thoughts...

* Schilling's first start in God-knows-how-long is tonight. I think his arm will fall off trying to be go back to the starting rotation. Prediction: He's going to lose 3 of his next 4 games and be in the bullpen during the playoffs. Then, he's going to get rocked and, just like last year, cry like a freakin' baby.

* Raphael Palmiero is a cheater. Plain and simple. He's not going to the Hall. He should have quit after last season and ensured his own enshrinement. Instead, he got greedy. He deserves what he gets. Which will be NOTHING.

* Why is the penalty for gambling worse than the penalty for using steroids? After all, both are done so you can make cash. In fact, I'm willing to go on record to say that steroids are worse than gambling. Pete Rose never bet on his team to lose. He never threw a game. What's the harm? It's a victimless crime! But, Palmiero got his little slap on the wrist and can potentially still get into Cooperstown. His little chemical foray hurt every person he passed in the record books, it hurt every single player he played against, it juiced his own team's records, helped every one of his teammates... The list goes on and on. He's scum.

* Shawn Chacon is a stud. So is Jaret Wright. Just hope they don't turn into pumpkins over the next month!

* I have Rookie fever. Jeff Francoeur. Rickie Weeks. Huston Street. Clint Barmes. King Felix. David Wright. Zach Duke. I love following these players. Gives me hope in the future. Just can't wait for old, curmudgeonly farts like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Gary Sheffield to retire so we can bring some new blood into the game.

* The whole Kansas City fan base should be rioting. That damn owner pockets all the revenue sharing money and puts a Double-A team out on the field every night. You can fault Steinbrenner for a million things, but don't you dare ever criticize him for not caring enough to put a winner out there. He could roll over like all those other owners, but he wants to win. He feels like he owes it to his city to do that, and so he spends. Yeah, it's embarassing to have a payroll north of $200M, but at least he's not on the other end of the spectrum. That's downright rude.

* Tom Gordon is a headcase, and I'm scared as hell of how he's going to perform in September (and hopefully, October). He needs to chill out. Bad. Maybe Randy Moss can hook him up with some kind bud. It'll definitely help.

* Milton Bradley is a total POS. I hate the term, but maybe it's fitting to call him a cancer on his team. It's so sad. He and Terrell Owens should go play canasta together and stop bothering everyone else who's having a good time.

* Armando Benitez rules. Here's a guy who could have called it in when he ripped his groin in half, but instead he's out there tossing a ball exactly two days after his operation. He worked out like a man (take that, Barry Bonds!) and got himself back to a place where he could help his team out. Awesome. Every team should be so lucky to have someone like that on their roster.

* I'm a big fan of the Washington Nationals. They're competitive. The city loves them. They have Frank Robinson running the show. They keep at it. I would love to see them in the playoffs (though I bet Montreal would be pissed, eh?).

* Jae Seo is the first Asian player who has shown real emotion on the field. More than both Matsuis, more than Ichiro, more than Iguchi, more than Choi... In fact, the only Asian player who comes close to matching his emotion is Byung Hyung Kim. And, that isn't the kind of emotion you should be proud of. After all, you wouldn't brag about crying on the mound during the playoffs or giving your home crowd the finger, would you?

* Why is Womack still playing? Cashman really screwed that one up.

* Timlin is timid. He shouldn't be. He has lights-out stuff when he wants it. Maybe he and Gordon can split an ounce of weed.

* Manny still rules. So does Big Papi. I wish I had those guys on my team. That would be awesome.

* Doc Gooden is on the lam. So sad. I just hope he isn't hiding out with Darryl. If so, there's more snow there than Aspen in January.

That's all for now. I promise I won't be a stranger...

A Perfect Triangle

The AL is symmetrical today:

On the ends, in the East and West, the Sox and Angels lead the Yankees and A's by 3 1/2 games. The Sox and Angels are both 20 games over .500.

In the middle, in the Central, the ChiW leads the Sox and Angels by, yep, 3 1/2.

And here's the cool part: The Yankees, Injuns and A's are in a dead heat for the wild card. Precisely the same record. That forms a perfect triangle.

Schilling starts tonite. Still worried that we're messing up Timlin more than we're messing up Schilling. But we'll see...

Sox up: Gonazalez, Papelbon, Graffanino, ER (but please CATCH the ball!)
Sox down: Pitchers

Monday, August 22, 2005

Angels in the Outfield

My life has turned upside-down. Now that we've got the championships, thinking about baseball is the most relaxing thing in my life:

- Getting a split in Anaheim is always a plus. My whole life seems to be filled with losing 3 of 4 in the OC. I'll bet the Angels are happy too.
- What did I say about the White Sox? They're on the way DOWN baby. What did I say about the Injuns? Say HELLO to a real contender.
- Note that the Angels, Injuns and ChiW are the only three AL teams with winning road records (Sox are .500). To me, that makes them playoff scary.
- Both NY starters got rocked yesterday. The Unit gives up 4 bombs to the weakest hitting team in the league. Even funnier, Kris Benson can't get out of the 1st.
- What's the deal with the A's? Why is August the only month they play? Can't they get a script writer for the other 5 months? And it looks like their August was short this year.
- Timlin's gonna close for a while. I hope we don't mess him up. But I'm glad Schilling will start. And I'm psyched they are actually giving Pawtucket and Portland guys a real chance this year.
- Two points for Papelbon.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Say It Ain't So

Well kids, this weekend I got word from the underground that Manny has tested positive for steroids. The reason that it hasn’t been on ESPN or in the papers yet, I’m told, is that it’s still in arbitration. (Raffy and the other shooters went through the same pre-announcement arbitration ordeal. In fact with Raffy I think it lasted almost a couple of months.)

Maybe it’s a hoax (perpetrated by a Sheffield fan no doubt!) or maybe it’s true and Manny will somehow prevail in arbitration so that it never comes to light. But if it IS true – and this DOES come out in the open – then we’re about to experience Mannygeddon. Perhaps the saddest commentary that I can offer you is the fact that the prospect of Manny on roids does, indeed, seem plausible. Not as much as a bunch of other guys I can think of doing roids, but… Manny Being Manny will take on new meaning.

So let’s pretend this IS going to happen, and allow me to pre-empt the vultures with the following points of reason. (Then I won’t have to write about it if it actually happens.)

To Manny:

- I STILL LOVE YOU!!!
- But if you juiced, this time I AM going to be mad at you, bro. (As mad as one can be at Manny!) So please do this for me: Be a Giambi. Don’t be a Raffy-Sheff-Bonds. Admit wrong-doing, beg for forgiveness, apologize to RSN. Weather the storm, and then we can all move on.
- PLEASE don’t pull the old “I have no idea how human growth hormone could have snuck its way into my enchilada” routine. SPARE US the indignity.
- I wonder if this is why you wanted to leave Boston two weeks ago. Because maybe you didn’t want to be around when the poop hit the rotating blades. Hmmm…
- Stay positive. Stay focused. Don’t get down on yourself or on the fans when they boo you. And next time just say NO.
- You’ve got the best teammates in the world and a pretty understanding coach. Listen to them!

To Fellow Sox fans:

- The saddest thing of all will be accepting the fact that the “sweet swingin’ days” of Manny Ramirez may have been juiced. If that’s the case, load up on Zoloft and Paxcil and Tequila. And call your fellow Sox support hotlines because we’re all gonna need to help each other through the crisis with some Manny-therapy.
- Yes, this will be a sad day in Sox history, but not as sad as any of those tough losses in ‘03 or ye olde 20th century. This is an hombre-made problemo and the hombre will just have to take his deserved darts of poison for a while. So will the team and the management.
- We as fans don’t have to take any darts. We didn’t inject the juice (we just drank the kool-aid). So don’t take any junk from people. Draw a line in the sand!
- Don’t despair the ’05 season. If Manny broke the rules, he broke the rules. We lose him for 10 days, he comes back, we win it all. Let’s not let the team get down and let’s keep pushing forward in his absence.
- In your saddest moments, remember the TROPHY!! Fire up the ’04 DVD!! Woo woo!!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Battle of the Soxes

Sox v. Sox redux starts tonite at Fenway. This time they are the top two teams in the AL.

Amazingly the Whites are 35 games over .500, compared to the Red’s 19. Which means our Reds are 8 games – 8 GAMES! – behind the Whites. Which means if the playoffs started today, the Whites would draw the wildcard… which today would be the Angels (the Injuns are behind the Angels… and the NYY, against all things rational and aligned in the universe, are behind the Injuns). And the Angels, dear Rivals fans, are, believe it or not, the team you would rather face in the playoffs. You don’t want to go anywhere near the A’s this time. NOWHERE NEAR THEM I TELL YOU.

Either way you look at it, life looks good for fans of both Soxes. So, today, I guess I have to begrudgingly start giving some love to the Caucasian Sox… or do I? At the risk of putting my Sox where my foot is, here’s where my head is at:

I don’t understand why the Whites have such a huge lead, but I do understand why they’re in 1st place. They’re in 1st place because of Buehrle and Garland. I don’t drink the Konerko koolaid, I don’t buy the Ozzie thing. (I’ll give you the Podsednik thing, because he’s a guy that helps you win the 3-2 games.) But THE reason they are in 1st is because they’re the only team in the AL that’s had their 1-2 pitchers on top of their games all season.

After the 1-2, however, there’s a big drop off to Contreras and El Duque. And by big I mean HUUUGE. These are two guys who have recently proven to not deliver in the playoffs, and they’re both sketchy against the D-Rays. I would say the Buehrle-Garland thing might be an advantage in the playoffs, except that:

- Oakland is deeper, with a solid 1 through 3, maybe even 1-4,
- The Sox are deeper, with a solid 1-4, (especially with Schilling in the rotation),
- Garland and Buehrle aren’t playoff tested and will have put in too many innings by the start of October, and,
- Dustin Hermanson is gonna get roped in the playoffs. ROPED I TELL YOU.

So go ahead and sweep us in Fenway, Whitey. I still won’t believe in you. To tell you the truth, I won’t believe in you until I actually see you win the AL with my own eyes. But if you do win the AL and go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot to break Chi-town's own horrible curse, let me go on record saying this:

I WILL BE ROOTING FOR THE SOX IN THE SERIES.

Because being cursed is the worst.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Minnesota

Long story short, we’ve won 10 of 12. And the two we lost were the two we flew two hours for – in Minneapolis. So coupled with our 8-0 romp in Philadelphia in June, we’re 1-2 on the year. The question we were asking ourselves all weekend: For what reason did we choose Minneapolis?

Impressions:

- Minneapolis is gorgeous and surprisingly cosmo, and the people are great. They love their Twinkies (in more ways than one).
- Word on the street is that this year they’re only filling up the Dome for Sox and Yankees games. One guy who drives up from Iowa for all weekend home games said that at a recent A’s game, “you could hear crickets.”
- We talked to people from Iowa, both Dakotas, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The Twins own the hearts of – I kid you not – the crucial demographic region they call “the upper midwest.” We had to keep reminding ourselves we were in a blue state.
- Red Sox Nation represented, but no where near on the scale with which they descend on Baltimore or Philadelphia. Enough to freak out the Minnesota fans though.
- BTW, our banner said: "30 HR 100 RBI IS MANNY BEING MANNY." 8^)
- The Homerdome is a foul, gloomy, dirty, charmless, characterless CATASTROPHE. It doesn’t go with the rest of the city, and every single person we talked to HATES it. They’re about to break ground on a new stadium, so everyone is relieved.
- They call it the Homerdome, but the Tripledome would be more apt. Singles skip through the gaps and roll all the way to the wall. Fly balls are lost in the white roof. Bad hops carom off of seams around the bases. A giant RUBBER Dodge ad stretches from right-center to right field and is, inexplicably, in play. When the ball hits it, the rubber absorbs all the energy and it bounces straight down. Real exciting! NOT. We saw several examples of each. It didn’t seem like baseball, more like a weird variation that you play on a pinball machine.
- The echo in the stadium is overwhelming. When the 10 boy scouts in the row in front of us tried to start the wave it sounded like the Mongols were invading.
- This is football country, so they were disappointing baseball fans. They didn't cheer nice plays by the Sox, and cheered - loudly - when a batted ball hit one of their baserunners.
- Without Torii Hunter, the team, like the stadium, is also a characterless catastrophe. Santana, Nathan and Lew Ford (Loooooooo) are by far the fan favorites.
- The Sox were EMBARRASSING in the field, but we're going to chalk it up to the Dirt Dome and move on. Bill Mill and ER: all I have to say is AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!
- My new favorite Red Sox: David Wells. We saw him signing autographs before breakfast on Sunday. Plus it's a blast watching him pitch. He knows what he's doing! He gave up only one seeing eye single until the 6th when he inexplicably lost it. No more donut jokes, STARTING NOW.
- Manny, Ortiz and ER all piled into a Hummer while the rest of the team got on a bus. We saw Arroyo, Wells, Schilling (in a huge hurry), Johnny, and Bill Mill. Wells and Millar were the most friendly (even though Wells was robbed of a win the night before). The highlight was Kevin Millar. He signed a little boy’s MILLAR 15 jersey and talked to people gathered around the bus for 6 or 8 minutes. I have some pix, maybe I'll post them.

Sox up: Manny Manny Manny, Welcome Back Kapler, Graffanino
Sox down: Petegine (quoi?), Mirabelli, and those darn Millers

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I'm not worried. Really.

So, 4 1/2 back with two months to go. That's cool. I'm not worried. At least, that's what I keep telling myself. I mean, what do we have to fear? We can go on a 10 game run any time we like. You know, like next week. I hope. We don't have to be concerned with the A's and their turnaround. Not at all. I mean, what do they have that we don't have? 5 healthy starters, you say? Pffft. After all, we have Leiter and Nomo. And, we're getting Sele. And they're all healthy... So there! You see, we have nothing to fear at all. Nothing.

*sob*

Reality Check

It's August 3rd, we're at the 2/3 mark of the season with two months to go, and...

- Manny is already at 30/100, leading the league in both. And for those of you who malign his D, he's also leading AL OF in assists. And he makes 1 web gem per week. Despite that scary collision with ER last night, HE HELD ON TO THE BALL. Amen.
- Johnny D is having his best season ever, leading the league in AVG, H and R. It's crazy. PLEASE don't let him go to the Yankees. PLEASE. PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE.
- Schilling has 7 S, 2 BS and 2 Ws as a closer. So we haven't lost a step from Foulke.
- Playoff rotation of Clement, Wells, Wakefield and Arroyo may be good enough to win AL. Don't talk to me about Miller.
- We're on a winning streak a couple weeks earlier than last year's winning streak - 7 in a row. (Let's peak at the right time though!)
- We're 4 1/2 up on the Yankees, who are 1 1/2 up on the Js. Hmm.
- Giambi is the most feared hitter in the AL. A-Rod is 2nd, Sheffield 3rd. Manny, Ortiz, Johnny might be 4-6. Explain.
- The Os and Raffy are plummeting to the ocean floor, about to join the Rays.
- Andrew says I'm too hard on Bill Muell, that he's great on D and has been solid and clutch at the plate. (Jury's still out on the other Millers though. Show me.)

Tomorrow we're joining T-Man and spouse in Minneapolis for our 2nd Red Sox Nation outing of the year. We'll be at the Fri and Sat games. We're making a banner that says "SOX FANS LOVE MANNY." Too bad we won't see Santana. Look for us!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Daylight?

Wow, a little daylight - 3 1/2 games. During that entire stretch of extreme chaos, the Yankees only saw 1/2 game ray of light for about 1/2 a day. Hard to believe.

Questions for you: What happened to Al Leiter. Is he the one-hit wonder? Are the Yankees going to prove me wrong and NOT go 26-4 this month? Come on, LOOK AT THAT LINE-UP! BTW, who's pitching today, Vladimir Putin?

ROFL when I saw Manny with the "Manny Being Manny" sign. Then of course he goes deep. Fans go wild.

What's up with the NL West? Sheesh. We should drop them to AAA and bring up Buffalo and Columbus.

Sox up: Manny! Grafanino, Wells, Johnny, Bill Mill
Sox down: Trot (ease up bro!)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Quickies

No time to write these days, but here's what's in my head:

- Manny is like the most beautiful girl in high school. The one who was psycho. You have an amazing year-long relationship, and you are king and queen of the prom. And then she dumps you. Because she's psycho. But you can't hate her because she's so beautiful. And in the end she decides she loves you again. But beware, because she could DUMP YOU AGAIN AT ANY TIME.

Therefore: I decided I'm not mad at the Fenway fans for booing Manny. I think it woke him up. Note to Manny - how are you ever going to upgrade from US? A little tough love. And if you wanted privacy, why were you going to New York?!? I'm not a celebrity, and I HAVE NO PRIVACY IN NEW YORK!

AND AND AND... I think Ortiz had a weird strategy defending Manny. But I guess that's what it took, because it worked. If I were in the clubhouse, my reaction would have been more like the Donut Man's. True.

- Jose Canseco was right! And while Raffy contemplates jail time, Giambi is suddenly the best player in the AL, Bonds is outta here (woo woo!) and Sheffield is on FIRE.

- Meanwhile if the season ended today, the A's would be the wildcard. The O's are in freefall without a parachute. But at what point do either the Sox or Yankees make their move? Things are getting a bit jello-y, don't you think?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Raphael Palmiero: HOF?

In light of the breaking news, I think 3000 hits and 500 HR is NOT a guaranteed ticket to Cooperstown. Discuss amongst yourselves...

Three Questions

1. Alan Embree is now a Yankee?
2. They gave him a no-trade clause?
3. Are you f**king kidding me?