Thursday, September 29, 2005

My Fortune Cookie

This is what my fortune cookie said tonight, no kidding:

"The best prophet of the future is the past."

Yikes! Just one question. Is that the recent past (2004) or the distant past (2003)? The karma in the Sox clubhouse is bringing to mind the Mo Vaughn years... say 1995? By the way, thanks so much Boston media, for intentionally ruining the perfectly good chemistry we had. My new name for you is the-scumbag-losers-who-couldn't-ruin-it-for-us-last-year-no-matter-how-hard-you-tried-so-you-have-to-be-even-meaner-this-year.

The ChW are IN, as of this afternoon. It's disappointing because they fell apart enough in August and September to allow us to actually start seriously dreaming about finishing with home field advantage through the playoffs. Guess not. Right now I'll take the last wildcard slot with a Monday playoff against the D-backs followed by a Tuesday one against the Toledo Mud Hens.

We can do this people... pray for pitching!! LET'S GO RED SOX!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I Love Johnny D

I loved where Johnny D said that it's too late for the Sox to get the "hometown discount" for his contract next year. I thought that summed up perfectly exactly what's wrong with Theo's negotiation strategy. You've got to make people feel good about things. Johnny D plays hurt, he puts up numbers, he scores, he drives in runs from the leadoff spot, he's a team leader, he's a positive thinker, he hustles his brains out.

Of course I also love where he's one of the only guys who seem to be going on record every day saying that it's ALL ABOUT another World Series championship. I hear Ortiz and Wakefield say it, and Manny says it occasionally (whenever he gets in hot water!) but I hear Johnny D saying it ALL THE TIME. At the beginning of the season I heard Wells and Clement say it. I want to hear Schilling say it, and Arroyo and Varitek. And the other dudes.

Come on boyz, SAY IT!! You said it all the time last year!! DO YOU WANT IT MORE THAN THE YANKEES?

6 Games Left

Wakefield just pitched another gem in the early game of the doubleheader between the Red Sox and Blue Jays. Boston wins 3-1. That means that there's six games left and it's all tied up in the AL East. Plus, the wildcard is a three way tie between Boston, New York, and Cleveland. Wow. Even though there's only six games left in the season, I have a feeling we're going to have a year's worth of baseball between now and Sunday...

Rainout

I gotta say, I was very pleased that the Yankees were able to get a game in last night. Adds just that much pressure to the Sox to get at least one win, if not two today. The big question is this: Which Chirper will take the mound? Will it be the one who is lights out or the one who gets lit up? Will the real Curt Schilling please stand up?

On another note, I'm going to steal a page from Red:
Yankees up: All of them except Embree
Ex-Red Sox down: Embree

Monday, September 26, 2005

AL East or Bust

Successful trip to Baltimore.

If nothing else, we brought our personal season record to 3-2, and better yet, we squeezed a flat-out tie with the Yankees. (Nothing better than walking into a stadium and seeing TOR 7 NYY4 - F already posted on the board.) I was wrong about 60% of Camden Yards being filled with Sox fans; it was more like 90%! RSN was everywhere! These were essentially home games, kids.

Here's how we're shaping up for the final, scintillating 7 in Fenway against the Js and Yanks. And don't count on the Injuns to lose any more... it's AL East or Bust!

Mon - Bush v Schilling
Tue - Chacin v Wakefield
Wed - Lilly v Arroyo
Thu - Downs v Clement
Fri - Wang v Wells
Sat - Johnson v Schilling (are you kidding me!!)
Sun - Mussina v Wakefield (for all the marbles?)

Sox up: ER, Trot, Manny (thank God)
Sox down: Shaking pitching... let's GO dudes!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Let the Season Begin (Part II)

154 games ago, I had a post titled 'Let the Season Begin'. Well, 5 months later, we realize that that was just Part I of the season. Part II of the season starts today, but with one difference - there is no wildcard. That's because those crazy Indians won 17 of the last 19 and have a solid hold on a playoff spot. In the AL East, Boston and New York are tied with eight games left. Over the next 5 days, the Yankees have one game against Toronto and four against the O's, while the Sox have one game against the O's and four against Toronto. And then it will begin. War. A three game race between the two biggest rivals in all of sports for the right to keep playing. This isn't Ali/Frazier. This isn't Manchester United/Arsenal. This isn't Cowboys/Steelers. This is bigger. Way bigger. This is what we've been waiting for. This is what we've been hoping for. Unbelieveable.

Watch Your Back

Red is out to get me. I'm so scared. Terrified, in fact. Here I am, thinking that I know him so well, but I recently woke up to find a knife buried squarely in my back...

Here's what happened: I'm in the finals of our fantasy league against a Red Sox fan, Tyler. He's got an amazing lineup, but I think that my method of managing, picking up and dropping new pitchers every day, might be able to get me the title. I'm doing great until my "friend" Red goes and tells his fellow Sox fan how to beat me. This is after I tell him explicitly not to tell him anything about my strategy. I share an office with Red, thinking that what happens in the office, stays in the office. Well, I guess that's true only if you're not trying to go against Red Sox Nation.
Needless to say, Tyler's hitting has been off the charts, my WHIP and ERA have hit the proverbial fan, and I'm barely holding on in Wins and Ks. I'm a dead man walking. Red sold me out. Red hates me. And, if he could do this to me, he could do it to you... Don't say I didn't warn you.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Welcome to the Jungle

Well, it's a whole new world out there kids. Welcome to the jungle! And beware of Injuns...

We can do this people! We just need a nice streak of starting pitching, plus we have to build some bullpen-proof leads. And pray for the D-Rays. 10 to go, and we need to go 8 and 2. At least.

Tonite we're headed to Baltimore to see the Friday and Saturday games. We'll be in Section 74 tonite and Section 374 tomorrow. Fingers crossed that the Os roll over like they did for the Spanks. You just know with the Os in free-fall that RSN will populate two-thirds of the seats.

It'll be interesting to gauge the mood of their fans compared to last year and the year before. When you think about it, this is one of the worst years ever for an MLB franchise, starting with the Nats stealing half of their fans, peaking with Raffy's needling and then (unfairly) firing Mazilli. The icing is that rock-like fall from the top floor. Ouchers youchers.

Btw - Don't blame Timlin for yesterday or Papelbon for the day before - they are OVER WORKED. Keith Foulke, are you there? HELLO???

Sox up: Manny, Papi, Wakefield. Maybe Arroyo.
Sox down: Jeez... the whole rest of the team!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

How to Fix Matt Clement

Matt hasn't been Matt ever since he got bopped in the head. I think maybe he's living in an old Warner Brothers cartoon. One of those where the character gets hit in the head and gets amnesia. And then they try a million different ways to fix it, but nothing works. And in the end it turns out the only way to fix it is to get hit in the head again.

Ha ha. 8^)

Maybe this is a bad time to bring this up, but how about Matt in short relief?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Sports Talk

Some things that have been bubbling up inside - not all baseball:

- Well, I derided Yankee fans for not appreciating being in a pennant race and now we're in the thick of it ourselves. Serves me right. But you know what? BRING IT ON!!
- I could care less if Ortiz wins the MVP. I'll tell you what - he's MY MVP. Give it to A-Rod, that's fine with me, I won't even give you an argument. He's the Yankees best player and if they go to the next round, he deserves it. But all I really care about is making the playoffs and getting me another ring.
- Now, more than ever before, my favorite team is the Red Sox and whoever plays the Yankees. Let's break their post-season streak! I've reached the point where I can't watch Yankee games anymore - not because of one of my well-documented superstitions, but because at this time of the year they make me PHYSICALLY ILL.
- Wakefield is the ace of the staff, kids. Plain and simple. But the knuckler comes and goes mysteriously. Most knuckleballers, including Wake, are pretty much .500 pitchers over the long haul. Let's just hope this current streak has some legs.
- Here's my playoff rotation (knock on wood): 1) Wake, 2) Schilling, 3) Wells, 4) Clement. My heart won't break if Arroyo takes 4 and Schilling goes back to the pen to support Foulke (still shaky) and Timlin (god-like). Let's watch the next two Schilling starts, but that might be the right move.
- College football, quick comments... the Cuse, WVa and Pitt should abandon ship and join the ACC... in retrospect, BC made the right call (and it kills me to say that)... I don't like the Orange's new jerseys... they look like Illinois, or (gulp) Virginia... I'm withholding opinion on the new coach, I'll give him to the halfway point of the Big East schedule... can he beat Louisville?
- Pro football, quick comments... don't think I didn't notice the Sox lost on Patriots night... can't let that happen again... I'm withholding comments on the Pats until they are halfway through the AFC East schedule, but only because I don't want to jinx anything.
- Which reminds me: The ChW have a pitcher named Jenks. I laughed out loud when he came out of the pen against the Sawx. Can you break a jinx with a guy named Jenks? You decide.

My New Best Friend

My new best friend is Chopping Guy Birthday Hat.

Where are you when I need you Liberal Elite? Don't abandon me TylerSalt!! Photes don't fail me now!! And what ever became of Big Tony and the Os? And Pete the Angels fan? Come on guys, we're in the home stretch!! THIS IS IMPORTANT!! I'M TREADING WATER IN A POOL OF YANKEE SEWAGE!!

Chopping Guy Birthday Hat is a lot like David Ortiz - he's the only one who's taking meaningful swings at the moment.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Jimmy the Greek, Non-Racist Version

That's right, checkin in and I'm calling myself Jimmy the Greek. But, without the bigotry and lard-assness. My prediction was that Schilling would get Shelled and lose 3 of the next 4. Well, I do believe I was right. I pray for you Sawks fans because that big, fat CHUMP is looking kinda like butt.

Today's Truths

1. Britney Spears having a baby was covered by the press as if it were the capturing of Bin Laden.
2. I find myself rooting more for the Yankees to miss the playoffs than for the Sox to make it. And it's not working.
3. The Sox bullpen is an absolutey horrendous NIGHTMARE. Perhaps we should have kept Schilling there. Are you telling me there was no one Theo could have moved on at the trading deadline? NO ONE?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Radio and TV Guys

Everyone I listen to on radio and TV - and I mean 100% of them - think it's a forgone conclusion that the Sox will win the division and the Yankees could miss completely. I couldn't disagree more. There's some weird statistic that shows that your position on Sept 3 pretty much foreshadows your position on Oct 3, even if your lead is slim. I just don't buy that.

How easy would it be for the Sox to play really well and go 11-9 with a couple of tough losses while the Yankees play well and get a couple of gifts and go 14-6? REAL EASY. We gotta keep bringing it, EVERY DAY.

And sorry to be a broken record, but I have to repeat my Foulke mantra - we're not going anywhere unless he has it all together. And I'd feel much better if he started getting it together right now!!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Winning Ugly

Talk about winning ugly! Neither of these teams look playoff-worthy at the moment. In fact, they look a little jittery to me, and they're making me nervous just watching. Last year seemed mano a mano. This year seems like the LLWS. I just watched the Cardinals club the Mets and they look ROCK SOLID. I've caught the Angels recently too, and their game is ON. Can you handle StL vs LAA? How bout the ChW? Having said that:

Schilling was MONEY MONEY MONEY... how good did THAT feel? And Manny was MANNY MANNY MANNY. But how can you bench Johnny D against the Yankees? YOU CAN'T. I'm not digging ER on defense... should I be? I hope Trot and Tek are saving that next clutch hit for a big spot because they haven't done anything with men on recently. A couple of weird moments with Embree, Olerud and Bellhorn, eh? Also, I was thinking about Wells. His D let him down, but he pitched well enough to win. A Rod's homer was a good pitch, he barely got half of it. He's just a titan. A-Rod and Giambi both. Thank God Sheffield's not in the line-up - but you know he MUST be really crippled if he's not playing.

Wakefield vs Unit should be the best game of the three today. Hopefully they won't be kicking the ball all over the field again. Since we took our one game, there's almost no pressure to win (but it wouldn't hurt). At this stage, we would get a moral victory just by again proving that RJ is hittable.

Schilling: He was Good, but he still Sucks.

Wow. Schilling was lights out. I didn't expect that, but then, it's a game on Fox and it's against the Yankees. Shame on me for doubting he would be any good today... With that said, I truly believe it was a fluke outing. I stick to my prediction that he will be positively Byung-Hyun Kim-esque for the rest of the season. This win gets his suck-fest record to 2 for 3. He'll blow up the next time out, making it 3 for 4, just as I had predicted.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Dale Sveum: The Gift that keeps on Giving


Thanks for sending Varitek, Dale. You're a champ.

Right or Wrong?

Check out Jim Capel at the ESPN site.

Does he have it right or wrong? I was all prepared to say he had it wrong, but then I watched tonight's emotionless fiasco, where the fans clearly cared more than the players.

One thing I definitely disagree with is where he says the rivalry is no longer interesting because the Sox won last year. Yet he says he was rooting for the Sox all those years. Think about that - it's the antithesis of logic. Obviously the rivalry is going to be better now that it's not a foregone concusion.

efense

That's right, something's missing.

It's the 8th inning of this bile-inducing game and it occurs to me: every one of those defensive specialists we picked up at the trading deadline last year are gone. Cabrera, Mientkiewicz, Roberts. So who's supposed to pick up the slack? I'll take Bellhorn back right now, just for a steady glove.

With Schilling going tomorrow, I'll be happy to escape with 1 win this weekend and keep the Yankees 3 games back.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Wow.

The Yankees look absolutely HORRIBLE. It's embarrassing and difficult to watch. Arrrgh.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Three Little Words

El Papi Grande

Monday, September 05, 2005

The ChW

Ok, ok, maybe I'm starting to believe in the ChW. Sheesh. I didn't need to learn the hard way. If this McCarthy guy keeps it up, that really takes the pressure off of Buehrle, Garland et al. Only a couple guys have shut down the Sox like that this year... and the other one's you've heard of.

I watched every pitch today and Schilling seems a little better each time out. I think the baseball gods are timing this so he hits his stride during the last couple of weeks. Having said that, I don't like him against the Yankees this weekend. If they tattoo him, it'll set him back. I'll take my chances with Clement, Wells and Wakefield - they're all shaping up nicely. (My confidence has slipped in Arroyo however.)

How bout Foulke! That was the high point of the game for me. I thought he was ON. He can't be more than a game or two from closing again. Let's use Timlin for the Angels this week, then it's time for Foulke.

How bout Manny with the two throws! I swear he deked Blum into taking 3rd base in the 2nd inning, and would have had him if the throw were 6 inches closer to the bag. And it was even more beautiful when he took out Everett at 2nd, barehanding the carom and gunning him out in one motion. Where's the gold glove??

What was with that lineup? Seemed like Tito didn't care if we won since we've already won the season series against the ChW. I understand Johnny D is banged up so Kapler was in. But I'd rather have Olerud than Millar now, I don't care about the lefty-righty thing. Same for Billy Mill over Youk. Anyone notice Billy Mill is back over .300? That's all I asked of him, so I have to acknowledge it. And his hitting's been clutch.

Didn't get a chance to comment on Wells the other day. My new favorite player is officially in the zone now. Wonder what they said to him in the commish's office? I'd still love to see him dismantle the Angels or Yankees at least once each before the end of the month though, just for the confidence factor.

My previous post was premature - the Petrograd Bolsheviks slipped into the playoffs on the last pitch of the last game. It was a remarkable turn of events, with the Vickies winning big and the Nukes losing big this week. After 5 months of action, the final playoff team was decided by 1 stat category. In fact, the Nukes dropped down to 8th place - the 3G with a big win over the Nukes actually ended up being odd man out. Pretty thrilling actually.

And since the Vickies actually tend to their team (unlike the Nukes), I have revised the odds to make Vicky a slight favorite ahead of me. And that'll make the next round a little tougher for you Blue...

Sox up: Tek, Wells, Clement, Olerud, Billy Mill (need Saves from Foulke to make the list)
Sox down: Schilling, Arroyo, Johnny D

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Real Deal

It’s playoff time again – not in the bigs but in the all-important Fantasy league.

Last year I coasted to a 2nd place regular-season finish and drew a 1st round bye, only to get smoked in the 2nd round of the playoffs. This year, barring catastrophe in today's games, it looks like I’m going to finish 5th (6 of the 10 teams make the post-season). So on paper at least, this time I’m one of the cool teams – the kind you don’t want to play after your bye week.

Of course, my probable 1st-round opponent – the 4th place Embodied Agents (formerly the Embodied Systems … don’t ask) is another scary team. The Embodied brings the offense and I bring the pitching, but he has manhandled me better than any other opponent in our head-to-heads this year. In preparation for the match-up, I’ve dumped a handful of my loyal players, mostly infielders (my Achilles heel all year), in favor of guys who have been hot for the past month or are playing on contenders (or for that matter, the world-beating D-Rays). Gotta pull out all the stops!

It was a weird year for me, but the competition was great. 3 points to our beleaguered commish for delivering the ever-evasive quality of parity (and for making sure the trash talk never got boring, and sustained a high standard of offensiveness).

My season was like the Tower of Terror at Six Flags – a sheer drop, straight down from 200 feet. I started off red-hot in the first week of April and carried it through to May but slowly came back to earth week by week. I fell out of 1st and 2nd place for good during June, settled in at 3rd and 4th for most of July, the spent the dog days mired in 5th, just hoping I could keep it glued together long enough to play .500 ball and land a playoff spot. Like my team of 40 year old former All Stars, I collapsed across the finish line. Whew!

What happened? I have no excuses, because the 4 teams ahead of me all drafted much better. In retrospect, the season-ending injury in June to my best hitter (Clint Barmes) took me out of it, and the season-ending injury in July to my best pitcher and most creative draft choice (Roy Halladay) pretty much put the nail in the coffin. With Halladay, my pitching was the best in the league. Without Halladay, my staff was still really good, but vulnerable. Meanwhile, I never could scrape up any reliable infielders, and with Beltran putting up a mystifying .260/14/62 season, I treaded water all year without an offensive superstar. My only rocks on offense were the odd couple of Johnny D and Matsui (the good Matsui, that is).

But enough about me. Let’s look at the winners and losers and check those pre-season predictions from April:

1. MANIC PHOTONS. I didn’t see this coming. The Photes were not only the runaway #1 team in the league, but they pretty much embarrassed everyone along the way. The cakewalk included headline-worthy scalpings of my 1st and 2nd place pre-season picks, the Liberal Elite and Lock & Load (Blue’s team). They had to settle for 2nd and 3rd, respectively. The Photes were the only team in the league to completely avoid injury, which needs to happen if you’re going to win, but it was the draft that won her the regular season title. The meat was Ichiro, Juan Pierre, Victor Martinez and Bobby Abreu, making her a lock every week to at least win R, SB, AVG, OPS and yes, 3B. Now add the potatoes to the equation: Derrek Lee, surprise triple crown guy. See what I mean? Also, having her money players in the OF and at 1B kept her E’s way down. It was a GREAT strategy given our stat categories. But it wasn’t all hitting – the pitching staff featured Peavy, AJ Burnett and Isringhausen and a better supporting cast than the rest of us drafted. Unless there’s a lightning bolt from the Blue (so to speak), the Cup is hers to lose.

2. THE LIBERAL ELITE. His draft was so unbelievably good that he has to be scratching his head right now. His anchors on offense are Big Papi, Ensberg and Jeff Kent. The pitching is even scarier, including Carpenter, Oswalt, the Big Unit and three A-List closers. I keep thinking the Elite would have contended for 1st if it weren’t for a couple of peculiar cold spells. In any event, he draws a bye for the 2nd year in a row, so he won’t have to play the Photes until the Finals (last year he went down in the 2nd round, same as me). This year maybe his luck will change. An Elite-Photes finale would certainly be entertaining and epic. If that happens, I will be checking that score every day!

3. LOCK & LOAD. The Load is an old-school throwback. He manages and conducts himself like Billy Martin or Earl Weaver. His trash talking is volatile and his roster changes are frequent. And by frequent I mean hourly. If you forget to check the standings one day, you could miss the entire Load career of some poor, doomed, spot starter. He built a team of solid journeymen around Pujols and Jeter and picked up Andrew Jones at just the right time. Most of all, the Load had a knack of riding guys when they were hot. He deserves the 3 spot, great job.

4. EMBODIED AGENTS. Out of the other nine teams, the Embodied Whatevers is the one guy I haven’t matched up well against. And of course I draw him in the 4 vs 5 matchup in the 1st round of the playoffs. Argh! He’s built around Manny, Burrell and Teixeira, and the draft pick that I let go, Jose Reyes. @#$%!! The relievers are great, with Nathan, Street and Rincon, and the starters are cool because they include Schilling and Clement. (3 points for sticking with Schilling.)

5. WHO’S YOUR DEALER. What I didn’t have in offense I made up for in high-energy, democratically distributed trash talk. I think I projected myself to finish in the middle of the league, so at least that was a good call. Even if I had been patient with Jose Reyes, Travis Hafner and Andruw Jones – all of whom I dropped before the All-Star break – I still wouldn't have finished in the Top 2. Oh well… Woulda shoulda coulda. My offense is weak, so I’ll be relying on Pedro, Roger, Smoltz and Lieber in the playoffs, plus the Hold/Save combo of Flash and Mariano. Wish me luck!

6. NUCLEOPHILIC ATTACK. The Nuclear One was silent but deadly, making only one roster change all summer long. (Compare that to 80+ roster moves for the trigger-happy Load.) The Nuke’s laissez-faire strategy had to be extremely frustrating to the hyperactive, yet doomed GMs in the 2nd division below him. He is top-heavy with closers; the starters are weak. Everyone in the line-up, paced by Soriano and Aramis Ramirez (DL!) is batting .290 with at least 20. Ironically, the Nukes draw the Load in the 3 vs 6 match-up in Round 1. I expect there to be, shall we say… fireworks. Bonus: if the Nukes win the Cup, the Load wears a Sawx hat all winter. Woo woo! The visual image alone is enough to perk me up.

7. PETROGRAD BOLSHEVIKS. How do you say Ouch in Ukranian? Lady Vicky managed his team the same way he trash talks: As if the toilet is overflowing. Whenever he'd make a roster move, I always had a visual image of the Three Stooges wielding plungers, wearing furry Russian ushanka hats, and bumping into each other like Keystone cops. A-Rod and Junior were his best players. The rest of his offense (I-Rod, Edmonds) batted .300 but let him down in the other categories. The pitching came up way short of expectations. Dontrelle was great, but Pettitte and Zito were too little too late.

8. GOING GOING GONORRHEA. The 3G was easier to beat than he was to spell. Having said that, he took me down late in the season when I really needed a win. I don’t think he was ever happy with our league because no one would ever make trades, but that didn’t stop him from trying. Unfortunately, we were more interested in trash talking than trading. Even at this point of the season, he’s still great on paper: Sheffield, Dunn, Cabrera and Tejada. Of the starters, though, only Bartolo Colon supported him – Schmidt and others disappointed. The 3G was very, very shrewd and deserved a lot better. One time the commish accidentally hit “Accept” on a 3G proposed trade (and later had to exercise his commish powers to "undo" it). Also this: one day in July, I checked the scores early before leaving for work, fully intending to pick up Giambi before the sunrise. But it was already too late – the 3G had picked him up the night before!

9. THE REBEL ALLIANCE. When good teams go bad… There’s really no rhyme or reason for the Alliance ending this far down, especially since her draft was really good, especially on offense. A lot of those guys ended up 30/90 but should have been even better. And NONE of her pitchers – all big-name starters and relievers like Mussina, Prior, Lackey, etc. – emerged to have a great season. The Alliance was sort of like the Cubs – lots of good things that should have happened but somehow didn’t.

10. HAVANA DAYDREAMERS. Both communist bloc members missed the playoffs this year – they should have known better – but all of our hard-luck stories pale in comparison to Havana’s. Bonds and Nomar went down for the season before we even had a chance to start exhaling after the draft. And from there it went downhill. Pretty much everyone, save Carlos Delgado, let him down on offense. And he had three ridiculously good closers – K-Rod, Cordero and Wickman – but none of the starters lived up to billing, including Santana. Esto es una pesadilla. No mas, no mas!

PLAYOFF ODDS:

Photes, 1-1
Elite, 2-1
Load, 5-1
Whatevers, 8-1
Dealer, 15-1
Nukes, 20-1

LOWER BRACKET:

3G, 3-2
Alliance, 10-1
Vickies, 12-1
Havana, 20-1

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Brave New World

Well, it took five months, but we finally woke the sleeping Blue giant. And he's a little feisty, don't you think? Lots of Blue language. And I have the feeling that during Yankee games he holds his breath until he literally turns Blue. Maybe I can put him back to sleep with a couple of haikus.

The Nation is telling me I should reply point-by-point to Blue's recent Septemberfest, and it's tempting. (Having said that, I do need to clarify one point: my Kapler/Roberts comparison was referring to Kapler's ability to be a clutch pinch-runner and play late-inning D in the playoffs. I think everyone in the world knows that neither of them hit home runs.)

But rather than crossing swords, I'd really just like to reiterate three points I've been trying to make all year, apparently unsuccessfully:

1 - This is the first baseball season I have EVER enjoyed. I don't think Blue will ever understand how liberating 04 was. Pity, that. It's a feeling I'd love for all my friends to feel. If the Sox ever win another one, it will be unexpected - and thoroughly enjoyable - icing on the cake. I want to win and I love my Sox, but 04 was fulfilling enough to last my lifetime. THAT'S THE POINT! And hey, check this out... pennant races are fun!

2 - Even in the pre-championship world, I had a filter to screen out noise from Yankee fans. People who think that 26 championships in 82 years somehow makes them superior beings are not enlightened, not interesting, and not worth listening to (I'm not talking about Blue here; he is a GREAT baseball fan and, yes, very interesting!). Yankee fans think differently than all the other fans, and it will never make sense to the rest of us. What other fans EXPECT their franchise to win every year? (And yes, this time I AM talking about Blue!)

3 - The Yankees are the team to beat. Not the Red Sox, White Sox or Cardinals. The Yankees. They have the best starting pitching, the best bullpen, the best bench, and the best 9 hitters in baseball. They're healthy and they're currently in the thick of things. Forget the wildcard - in one weekend series, they can take over first place. What more can you ask for? WAKE UP CALL FOR YANKEE FANS - THIS IS WHAT A PENNANT RACE IS LIKE. (And why do I need to try to cheer you up anyway? Why doesn't having the best team cheer you up? For that matter, why don't those 26 titles cheer you up?)

There's another thing too. Because of last year, I LOVE EVERY ONE OF THESE GUYS! The place they have in Sox fans hearts is unprecedented. If I see Doug Mirabelli in Burger King in the year 2046 I'm going to buy him 17 whoppers and 32 chocolate shakes. And I'll be hugging him like it's October 28th all over again. I don't know how else to drive this point home.

I'll tell you what IS interesting. That this year the shoe is on the other foot. That this year it's the Yankee fans I hear panicking on the radio on the drive home every night, insisting that WE CANNOT LET THE RED SOX DO THIS TO US AGAIN. This year it's the Sox fans who believe! Who'd a-thunk? We're in a parallel universe. It's like beautiful music every night. Evidently, the 1 we have since 1923 is so big that it outweighs all 26 of yours. HOW COULD THAT BE, BLUE?

If it makes you feel any better, any other season would have been a very different story. For the past 35 consecutive years I have been tearing my hair out on Labor Day. I'm still not sure how I talked myself out of slashing my wrists in 78. Or 86. Or 99. Or (heaven help us) 03. And if they'd lost in 04, I really don't think I would have even blogged with you. How's THAT for honesty?

If we had been blog brothers at this point last year, I would have been absolutely freaking out - FREAKING OUT - about not being able to beat the Yankees in the big games, about losing Nomar, about the Randy Johnson rumors, about the inevitability of another Yankee year. (Again - why am I trying to cheer YOU up?)

But this is 05 baby. The post-apocalyptic era. Blue, it's a brave new world. Despite having no Pedro, no Schilling, no Foulke, there is only one team in each league with a better record. I wish I could turn back the clock for you, but I can't. It's changed forever. So deal with it - win or lose, Sox fans now have reason to keep believing.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Why Big Papi is Big Papi

You know, I watch SportsCenter alot. Like, 3 times a day. Once in the morning, once when I get home from work, and once before I go to bed. The two things that you know you're gonna get from SportsCenter are witty statements (e.g. Boo-yah!, Bring Me the Finest Meats and Cheeses, and en Fuego everything) and highlights of the Yankees and Red Sox. So, I'm watching last night and I realize something. I've probably seen highlights of almost all of David Ortiz's homers, and they all seem to come between the 5th and 9th innings. He doesn't pop them out at the beginning of the game when the opposing team has lots of time to get those runs back. No, he hits them when they count, when they can really make a difference. It's amazing. He is so good it's scary. You Sox fans better be thankful.