bwop: baseball without pity
Six thoughts (mostly) about tonight's game, only one of which really matters:
1. PM and I were discussing how little we actually know about David Wells (turns out if we want to know more, we could always buy his autobiography -- I told her we should order it so we can sit it next to the self-help masterpiece Living the Life You Imagine by Derek Jeter on the bookcase), and rather than actually learn any factual information about him, we just assigned him a role in our Red Sox trailer trash universe. Uncle Boomer, the PM says, is the uncle who was telling baby Simba and baby Crab pussy jokes before they could even imagine wanting to see a naked woman, and who would have them over to his house to watch his bulldogs breed in the back yard. And it's all very jovial, but also creepy. And he's been on SSDI for his bum knee since 1988.
2. His longball power notwithstanding, Willy Mo looks like Papi's bastard child. I hope they stand side-by-side in the locker room manicuring their chin stripes, and then they spontaneously break out into that jubilation hand-slapping/interpretive dance routine they did after Willy Mo's homerun.
3. Did anyone else catch the conference between Dougie and Boomer during the Sizemore at-bat in the fifth? Did Boomer actually push Dougie away from him via a glove to the face?
4. The thing about NESN is that sometimes the commercials (the ones that don't feature Taylor Hicks or some crazy guy nonsensically screaming "we will protect this hoooooouse!" while wearing pec-form-fitting white work-out gear) actually improve my mood during rough spots. When Tito pulled Wells in the fifth, there was the double whammy of the Papi + Mayor Mumbles "Keep the Peace" ad (have two more incomprehensible people ever appeared together in speaking roles? is it possible to understand more than three words between the two of them?) followed by a Papelbon spotlight ad thingie where he knocks fists with the bullpen cop on the way out to the mound. These two so-called commercial advertisements are like a blood transfusion, and I am ready to face the rest of the top of the fifth.
5. The six, seventh and eighth (and top of the ninth) innings = a mixed bag of slow torture. Snyder settles down, strikes out six, has a couple 1-2-3 innings and the offense dries up after scoring six in the first four? It was like the opposite of Sunday's night's abortion, where the offensive signs of life in fourth were powerless against the relief (Taaaaaaaaaaavarez) shitting the bed in the fifth.
6. Youk walks and I say to the PM, "You know who's coming." PM says, "Loretta?" (Who we decided tonight really looks like a young Tim Robbins) and I say, "Well. After that." Right as he walked into the batter's box, Remdawg said there wasn't a person in that stadium who wasn't waiting for Papi to hit a three-run shot to end the game, but seriously, how does he do it? He is so clutch that the sheer combined expectations of everyone in New England can't jinx him, he just does it, and does it, and does it again. I can't even.
(P.S. -- The more I think about it, the more this Monday night game against a team that's about a zillion games out of first place in their own division was a semi-significant win, in terms of keeping your fans from killing themselves and starting a downward spiral of suck mentality. Theo resisted making any big trade moves because he believes that we've got guyus like Wells, Wakefield and even, God help us, Clement coming back. If the Red sox had lost Wells' first game back on the same day as the trade deadline, I'm pretty sure the fans would be screaming for blood right now. But the strong young relief and the offensive production -- because Papi's walk-off is a pretty depressing solo homer without the Greek God of Walks -- continue to pull it out of the bag, so everyone lives to nail-bite another game.)
eventually, i hope to get a job at NESN as the official melon polisher
It's good to know that, while Katie and I write a blog called the Papelblog, we are not actually the most hyperbolic people out there when it comes to describing the bad-ass new closer:
A beautiful gift fell from the sky this spring and landed at the feet of the Boston Red Sox. It was so radiant, they didn't know what to do with it at first. So precious, they have come to treat it with exceptional care. So powerful, the mind races at what the future could hold. For now, however, it is simply a gift that should be shared with and enjoyed by the world. All behold, Jonathan Papelbon.
Awesome. I bet this guy would totally sit around and sing "The Circle of Life" with me. From a Washington Post article available here. The rest of the article is mostly blah, blah will the Sox make him a starter next year, blah, blah will he win the Cy Young/Rookie of the Year/AL MVP. My feelings on the latter, for the record, is that all awards in the MLB became meaningless when Big Papi didn't win the AL MVP in 2005, so I don't really care one way or the other. Simba's feelings on the matter, according to this article in the Boston Herald: “I think Rookie of the Year would be the most important to me because you only get one chance at it."
So, anyway, I have noticed recently that my still-rather-hyperbolic co-writer and I appear to be operating as a minority within a minority in the blogosphere: Red Sox bloggers who are women who don't hate Hazel Mae. At first, this puzzled me. But then I remembered that I'm a lesbian, and that ... explained some things. Katie, on the other hand, is not a lesbian. But right after we first met three summers ago, we were going to hang out with someone we didn't really like, and I said, "Well, you know, she has a nice rack, so if what's she's saying gets irritating, just focus on that," and Katie agreed to at least try, so I really recommend that you at least try to give Hazel Mae the same treatment, because, seriously, did you see
that catch Coco made that sweater Hazel wears in the Red Sox Rewind commercial?
Also, let's not forget that there is a unsourced, unproven and unreliable internet rumor that she is hitting it with Tito, which I like to pretend is 100% completely true because it makes the world a better place.
he really does say "my lord" a lot
"They've been really good," Francona said of Papelbon, Delcarmen and Hansen. "You have Timlin down there to anchor it and I'm sure he's doing a lot of babysitting down there, a lot of teaching."
From this article about the baby bullpen (+crab) which is not really that remarkable, but if you think I won't link to an article just because it has good Timlin content, you don't know me that well.
In fact, let me quote all the Timlin stuff:
Timlin has helped Delcarmen visualize a game, even if he's not pitching in it, by thinking about what pitch he would throw in a particular situation.
"He's an awesome guy to talk to," Delcarmen said, "gives me a lot of advice."
Most of Timlin's tips are about the mental part of the game, although he can spot flaws in a pitcher's delivery.
Can you imagine Timlin's tips about the mental part of the game? Delightful.
He leans back in his chair, Pap and Delcarmen and Hansen all sitting cross-legged on the floor, staring up in awe. Timlin nods toward Delcarmen and says, "the way you throw a fast ball, I can tell you've never killed a woodland animal for fun. You NEED the batter to see your ability to kill in your eyes." Delcarmen nods excitedly, Timlin promises to take him bow hunting as soon as the season starts. Then he looks at Hansen, "Have you ever slept with an opposing player's wife? Because until you have, my LORD, I don't want to see you even attempt to pitch a game that I'm watching." Then he stares at Pap, nods, and hands him a camo glove of his own. It's a touching moment, really.
Um. Timlin, man. Timlin.
Also, this bit on Boomer is mostly only useful for the following:
"That needs to happen. He doesn't need to go to Triple-A. That would be great (having him start next week)," Papelbon said. "Watching him throw in these simulated games, he's been able to throw five innings easy. Shoot, if he can give us five innings, that's all we need right now."
Shoot, man, that's all we need.
to get keith folkey: (v) to lose all cartilage
As aforementioned, I was at last night's game in Oakland. And after a weekend of any-port-in-a-storm watching the Giants and Padres series on TV ** while watching the Sox drop two painful games to the Mariners on ESPN Gamecast, I needed it. Some notes about the game and being part of the visiting team:
1. As far as being a Sox fan at an As game, it's ... not that hard. When I'm at Fenway, I always see fans of the visiting team rushing up to greet each other and exchange high fives like refugees stuck in a foreign country where they don't speak the language. There wasn't much of that going on last night because Sox fans were at least 50% of the attendees.
2. With the few fellow fans I actually did chat with, I felt a little bad admitting that I'm just visiting the Bay Area and actually live in spitting distance of Fenway. Boston plays, what, six games in Oakland this year? Everybody there had a game-of-the-season attitude, particularly all the awesome wretches in my section, which was, I'm not kidding, probably 85% Sox fans, to the point that there was a family of As fans in the row behind me, who spent most of the night complaining that the rowdiness of the visiting fans was ruining their enjoyment of the game. Apparently "enjoyment of the game" = "sitting quietly, complaining that Frank Thomas isn't earning his keep and eating their chicken caesar wraps," but, hey, what do I know? Other favorite things about my sectionmates: loud, obnoxious "Let's go, Red Sox!" chants pretty much every inning, my father suggesting that we try to start an a capella "Sweet Caroline" in the eighth, a drunk Oakland fan arguing with a bunch of drunk Sox fans about the tuck rule (!!!!!), some guy wearing the requisite Sonny McLean's t-shirt, everybody heckling Milton Bradley to see if we could get him to flip the bird.
3. Was pleased to see Tek catching for Beckett -- Dougie caught his last start, which had me vaguely worried that Tek and Beckett weren't getting along because Beckett likes to shake off calls.
4. A.Gon! I mean, what the hell? Remember when the situation was so dire that little kids across New England were spending their birthday candle wishes on the hope that he might someday hit .250?
5. Our seats were right behind the visitor's bullpen, which meant I couldn't create my own bullpen cam, but we had a nice view anytime anyone came out. Timlin came out at one point in the fifth to say hello to a Coliseum employee he seemed to know, and everyone was whistling and trying to take pictures of him with their camera phones, and the lovely As fans I mentioned earlier said, "What are they all so excited about? Isn't that just the set-up guy?" Timlin, of course, promptly climbed into the stands and slept with his wife.
6. Just like the last time I was at Fenway, Papelbon came out during the seventh for his jogging and his deep knee bends, and just like the last time I was at Fenway, he was the only one of three relievers to do any calisthenics. When he was warming up in the eighth, the guy sitting next to me said, "I don't understand why he's putting him in, it's not exactly a save situation." And I said that I thought he was probably going to get sent in because he hasn't worked in five days, and we don't want him to get -- at this point I trailed off because the word "rusty" had momentarily left my brain, and the guy said, "Keith Foulkey?" Exactly. Papelbon, baby, you do as many deep knee bends as you want, if it keeps you from getting all Keith Foulkey.
** In re: the Giants v. Padres, it was one of my favorite kinds of regular season situations: the series between the first and second place teams in a division where the number of games between them in the standings is less than the number of games they're going to play, thus allowing the Giants to hang on to the NL West lead for, oh, about eighteen hours. However! The lead-off hitter for the Padres is, of course, none other than St. Dave Roberts of the stolen base. So every time he came up to bat, I felt a little bit touched by a higher power. In the eighth inning of the Sunday game, he was trying to steal first and the announcers mentioned his most famous stolen base, arguably the most famous stolen base in Red Sox history, and just the memory of it was good. It was real good.
the lion king, the one bar in the salt lake city airport, the barry bonds apologist
In 1990, Sheila accepted a job in Jacksonville, and the Papelbons moved to Florida. It was a difficult time for all of them, but especially for Jonathan, who was 10. After all, the twins had each other.
"One day," Sheila recalls, "and this was so sad, Jonathan came home from school and said, 'You know what? I wish I was a twin, because then I would always have a best friend.'"
From a Boston Globe Magazine cover story back in March, which can be read here. And yeah, I'm a big girl's blouse, but the idea of ten-year-old Paps without any friends is pretty sad, though the forced exile in Jacksonville does remind me of something else:
Brad Neeley would say that lions are just lions, and gods are just gods, and the PM would say that the lion/Christ figure that the young Jonathan Papelbon most closely resembles is Simba, the tragic Hamlet from The Lion King. See, look, the resemblance is really uncanny. I dare you not to notice the next time he's prowling around up there on
Pride Rock the pitching mound.
As the three-point bio on our profile page indicates, I am both a west coast expat Red Sox convert and one of the last three Barry Bonds fans. I've returned to the motherland for a couple days, and while it's nice to be back in the warm bosom of Barry apologists (this article was waiting for me on the front of the sports page of the local paper), I kept the Red Sox close to my heart in my travels.
(If you're gonna ask why I'm a Barry Bonds apologist, don't bother. The secret to staying one is to never attempt to justify yourself ever. I cried when the man's father died, okay? My blind spot when it comes to Barry Bonds is, well, roughly the size of his head at this point.)
Reason why I love living in Boston, #4356: Watched the game through the sixth inning at the Game On in Terminal A (lots of TVs, beers not too terribly over-priced for an airport bar, A++ would definitely afternoon binge drink there again), got on the plane with the score still tied, figured I'd just find a TV showing ESPN while changing planes in Salt Lake. While de-boarding, I called my gay disaffected hipster coworker for reasons relating to the in-flight movie sucking like Rudy Seanez. (It was She's the Man -- hey! Maybe Rudy Seanez is actually Amanda Bynes in drag!) As I was walking through the Salt Lake airport, I mentioned that I was worried I wasn't going to be able to find a bar to check the Sox score, because it's, you know, Salt Lake. Gay disaffected hipster coworker, the person least likely know any baseball score ever, said, "Oh, hang on, I'll find out," and then called out, "Hey, who won the game?" in the general direction of a group of guys standing around on the Northeastern campus, who informed him, of course, that the Sox won 6-4. Red Sox Nation: it's not just a marketing ploy, it really is a way of life.
Eventually, I did find a bar, and sat down just in time to see this, which was almost enough to soften the blow of Utah regulation 4% beer.
Anyway, that's all the news from California. If I could see tonight's game, it'd still be on at 7:00 PM for me, but, sadly, it's not to be. Still, we will be seeing the game in Oakland on Monday. (Yeah, I purposefully timed a visit to my parents' with a Sox visit to my parents' neck of the woods, you wouldn't have done the same thing?) Look for me, I'll be deep in enemy territory with a sign that says "Hey Remdawg, tell Hazel Mae I said hi!"
t-shirts with witty sayings about topical things happening in town
Were Papelbon to change his number, Saklad said, "That would be a worst-case scenario. It's one thing for a lesser-known player to change his number, but if Papelbon were to do it, it would be upsetting to a lot of fans."
I was just talking about t-shirts yesterday and now the Boston Herald is telling me that Papelbon's is "flying off the shelves." Read the article here, as well as the related one about the rookie's "bad" numbers here. And be sure to "maximize" the photo because it's a delightful shot of the baby bullpen in all their glory.
I myself have TWO Papelbon t-shirts, though since kelly found me a red one for my birthday, the never-worn navy blue one is being shipped off to my brother.
When I startd this post (at 10:30 a.m.), I had more to say. I guess, anyway, because I didn't post it. But now that I've spent all day running errands for a very demanding client and then complaining about them whenever they were in a different room (both very exhausting tasks), all I can do is fall back to that special place where I imagine Timlin staring at said clients like he might kick them for fun and telling them, "Yeah, I slept with your wife. [nonchalant shrug] She wasn't that good. [beat, eyes narrow] But I might do it again anyway," just to see them cry. It's probably psychologically unsound, but today it's what gets me through.
replace the 't' and the 'e' with an apostrophe
This is a pretty generic article about the wonder of the Sox baby bullpen (as most articles from fox sports tend to be), but I link to it anyway for the following reasons.
1. The graphic that pleases because:
a) I can not determine what the hell kind of order it's supposed to be in which is weird, but amusing.
b) Eric Gagne looks all impressive there and my WonderTwin totally traded Pap for him on her fantasy team and then he went right back on the DL. And I am mean so that makes me laugh, so I like to think about Gagne often.
c) Any time Papelbon's name is next to Eck's, I spend at least 10 minutes imagining Pap with the Eck-stache and that? Is my happy place.
2. The authors's name is Dayn. Dayn? SERIOUSLY? Did he make that up so as to sound more like a beatnik performance artist of ambiguous sexual orientation or what? I want to know. Love.
Now I go back to
updating spreadsheets eating smarties tending to clients watching GameCast and secretly wondering every time Curt gives up a run if it's because he knows I hate him.
Also, kelly's on vacation, but I bet she'll find a way to update us from the coast of the west.
but matt "i'm afraid of the ball like a girl in 6th grade gym" clement has one in every color?
Because he needed to win, even then. Because winning meant eating the last of the macaroni and cheese. Winning meant getting to the toy or the bathroom or 21 first. Winning meant recognition. For a kid who was sharing parents with younger twin brothers, winning meant everything.
From a piece apparently written by a Boston Globe staffer, but not appearing on boston.com. Possibly because it's melodramatic like WHOA. "BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD! And um, also a sweet mom?" Though you'd think she could have shopped it to the Herald.
Good times, quick read, found here.
Despite all the blood in Pap's past, the best thing I read today was still from ESPN's Rumor Central (let's all pause and thank my brother for his Insider account) regarding the Sox's potential interest in Colorado's Ray King:
According to the Denver Post, the Rockies are shopping King in exchange for a reliever such as Boston's Rudy Seanez or Atlanta's Jorge Sosa, who have slumped and could benefit from a change of scenery.
Slumped? SLUMPED? I think that when you're SLUMPED OVER DEAD there's a different way to put it. Also, will Rudy really want to leave now that he's got that gig on the Red Line? They definitely don't have the T in Denver, so I guess it'll be back to the ol' bus route for him. More on the trade talk here.
I told kelly at dinner tonight that I want a Timlin shirt, but had little hope. My online search did finally find it, but only in navy, and since I look like death if I wear colors that dark, I weep. On the up(?) side, I did learn that, as predicted, Papelbon has been deemed a pink t-shirt worthy kind of guy.
And now it's back to convincing the PM to learn reiki and head on over to Wake's house with her healing hands.
crab is growing up (and out of the bucket)
"These are the moments you cherish in baseball, especially with me and Lester coming up through the ranks together," said Papelbon, one half of the first combined one-hitter by the Red Sox since June 14, 2005, and the first rookie combined shutout since Aug. 24, 1990 (Dana Kiecker, Jeff Gray). "He’s going to be able to develop at the big league level, which is very special."
From the Boston Herald recap of last night's game, which earned Lester his fifth win and Papelbon his 28th save. Also, you might have heard, they combined for a one-hit shut-out, which sort of makes it sound like they got together, had a love child and named it "AL MVP 2030" because that's obviously the future that would be in store for any Lester-Papelbon spawn.
Speaking of the Herald, the free copy I used to blot myself with while sweltering down in
hell Government Center last night contained an article that was both vaguely interesting and kind of informative, which last happened, well, never. Apparently, a pitcher has fielded the last out of a World Series only eight times in the history of Major League Baseball, and three of those pitchers (Foulke, Beckett and Timlin) currently play for the Red Sox. At the end of the article, Timlin was asked about what would happen if they ended up in that situation again with their current closer on the mound and said: “If the young kid’s out there, we’ve got a pretty good chance of No. 4. That would be great.”
This, along with the above-mentioned effort, only added unnecessary fuel to the fire of the combined imagination of myself and the PM, which is mostly a trailer trash urban fantasy where Jon Papelbon and Jon Lester have two daddies, Timlin and Varitek, who are mostly just bad-asses and wear wife-beaters. And Pap spends a lot of time carrying Lester around in a bucket because he's so small, and crazy Uncle Curt (who is, you know, obsessed with Civil War re-enactment and reading about Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories on the internet) comes over sometimes to play catch and Uncle Dougie's always in the kitchen making chicken parm and sometimes Varitek spots Randy Johnson and his child molesting mustache across the street, wearing running shorts and knee-high white athletic socks, and he says, "Mike, that Randy Johnson is back again, get the hose!"
But I digress.
the execution of all things
While watching Papelbon earn his American League leading 27th save last night, I realized that it seemed like it had been about sixteen years since I've watched him come into the game in a close situation and rule the fucking school. Turns out it had been eight days, which is either just barely a week (and therefore not really that long at all) or forever, depending on whether or not you are a crazy person. Still, I'm just saying, during these dark times, when I find myself jubilant that the team managed to snatch victory out of the toothless jaws of the Kansas City Royals, I need Papelbon on that mound. I need it.
(1) Me to the PM: "Dougie went deep tonight!"
(2) I only had one eye on the television screen during Trot's at-bat in the eighth, so I initially thought that he'd walked, not struck out, because Papi was stealing that base with all the determination of an advanced runner. I loved the look on his face when he got up, the one that said, "Yeah, that only worked because you didn't believe I'd try it" and almost as much, I loved Manny and Youk's insane hand-waving celebration from the dugout.
(3) After the last out, Papelbon and Mirabelli went out for the handshake, and Papelbon repeatedly pointed at him as though to say, "No, this one was all you." N'aww.
(4) Is there such thing as an anti-voodoo doll? Maybe an positive visualization acupuncture doll? Don't laugh, if I thought there was such a thing, I'd be crafting one in the likeness of Tim Wakefield, and sticking its back up like a pin cushion.
rollin' with some cajun queen
Blew off work yesterday afternoon and lined up for day-of release tickets to last night's game. Ah, non-profit life, you pay me shit but you are good to me. At the game, I was reminded that while you may get a better view of the action when you watch at home on TV, NESN has not yet rigged the all bullpen, all the time camera, which is both what I want and what I need. My favorite moment they probably didn't show you on television last night (as viewed up close and helpfully narrated by the PM and her field glasses) was when Paps came out of the bullpen outhouse with his pants still down, and proceeded to take his time zipping and buckling in completely full view of everyone. Stay classy, kid. Stay classy.
Other thoughts on last night's game:
(1) Jon Lester is so small that he could probably wear the concession stand soft serve helmet as a batting helmet.
(2) Looks like Tavarez was showing Hansen and Del Carmen the route again over the break. It kills me that our middle relief cannot be trusted to preserve a lead of less than 26 runs. Kills me.
(3) But I do like how they handled the ninth and tenth last night, pitching-wise. I feel like, several times this season, they sent Papelbon out and he either preserved or created a tie and then there was a bunch of hand-wringing about whether to send him back out for the tenth, and it seemed much more sensible to assume that we might not be able to go ahead in the bottom of the ninth, send Timlin out and save Pap for the tenth. It's a great plan if your option for the eleventh isn't Tavarez, but ... we'll speak no more of that. My blood pressure, you know.
(4) Katie only watched part of the game, so when I called her when I got home last night, she said, "Okay, so, tell me, how many did Tek go 0-for?" and it was very enjoyable to be able to report two hits! one RBI! Slump showing signs of asking for mercy! Thank god.
(5) It would be great if Paps entered to "Born on the Bayou." Anything's better than Godsmack.
come on straw, get it together
Ryan Howard's eyes widened when someone asked him about Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon.
"Nasty. Nasty, filthy stuff," the Philadelphia slugger said Monday. "His split-finger is ridiculous."
Howard also wanted to pass along a message to the Red Sox rookie: "Keep what you're doing man. Just don't do it to me anymore. I'm tired of it."
Awww... cute. Much like both Papelbon and Ryan Howard themselves. From the AP, as seen here.
"I’ve always set my goals really high for myself and that was one of the goals I set for myself this season, to make the All-Star team and be a part of this," Papelbon said. "If you set your goals high enough, if you don't reach them or fall just short of them, you've still accomplished a lot."
This nugget of soulful wisdom makes me realize that Pap's true talent is wasted-- he should CLEARLY be writing self help books.
And I say this as someone who has read many many parts of Derek Jeter's Living the Life You Imagine, so I feel qualified to judge who would make a good athelte-turned-self-help-book-writer. Which, by the way, the answer is "not Jeter," something we learned after he went on and on about being 26 and having all his own teeth and his own hair like that was an ACCOMPLISHMENT and thus caused kelly to nearly drive off the road she was laughing so hard. Getting in a car accident =/= self-help.
Anyway, the quote above is from the Boston Herald here.
Other discussion of All-Star Jonathan Papelbon can be found here and here.
Back, Ready, Rested
The All-Star Game media circus does yield some gems:
Johnathan Papelbon interview with Dan Patrick.
(above link is direct to an .mp3 file)In which Papelbon discusses being schooled in the full-contact sport that is the Boston media and the fine art of notebook doodling by the Schill, missing the traitor, pitching in Yankees stadium ("I love that the fans want me to do badly!"), rooting for the Braves and getting autographs.
Also, filed under "I watch the Home Run Derby so you don't have to," Papelbon was interviewed by the ESPN talking heads during David Ortiz's second round at-bat last night. He says he told Papi that he put $100,000 on him to win and if he did win, he'd split it with him. Knowing what we know about a) the kid's salary and b) the outcome of the derby, hopefully he was kidding.
the t and a 19-inning game have a lot in common, actually
Blown save #3. "It was one of those pitches you obviously wish you could have back," Papelbon said.
And a game recap.
I called kelly after the Dye homerun to bemoan the blown save, she called me back a few minutes later. She was headed to see Johnny Depp do the pirate thing and wanted me to text her when the game was over. No problem.
Except, I'm pretty sure the movie was over before the game and that movie is longer than any movie has the right to be. Two full ball games plus, man. I really thought cspan was going to pass out from the stress of trying to decide if the game would end faster if we turned it off.
After not having seen or heard anything of Seanez since June 30, we were starting to think that job he was looking for driving trains on the Red Line came through, but apparently not.
Rem-dog: After not pitching for awhile, it seems like Seanez doesn't know how to [something I missed, but was probably, you know, pitch].
cspan: But he knows how to go express from MGH to Harvard!
will this game be over before potc? who knows
There's no Papel-news to be found in my Google Alerts today, but as this game is making me want to KILL SOMETHING, I will instead post the conversation that kelly and I had after Friday's game. Remember Friday's game? SUCH a delight.
(Also, crab = baby, because, well. it just does.)
katie: I think it's time for one of the bus drivers to drive Lester to school, because I am watching him on NESN right now and he should clearly be tucked into a little schoolhouse desk with a number 2 pencil and a crush on the girl two rows ahead. TWELVE!!!
kelly: okay, i just checked, and lester? is younger than me! i had no idea. so basically, he's canonically twelve. and this picture made me feel chomo.
katie: !! Picture. Wow, that little baby is a baby. I officially nickname him Crab.
kelly: crab! maybe pod carries him to games every day in a little bucket.
lester: pod, c'mon, let me out! i can walk!
pod: okay, but tito said i have to hold your hand when we cross the street.
katie: crab: [pouts] like you're SO old, pap. I heard mike call you "kid" yesterday.
pod: oh, was he visiting your mom, again?
kelly: tek: hey, knock it off, you two! now come in and wash up for dinner.
tek: [head pat]
fox sports now brought to you by satan
Not so much Papelbon news these days, so it's really great that Joe Buck could weigh in with a few thoughts:
You can bring (Manny) Delcarmen in, who throws 95," Buck said, "or you can bring (Craig) Hansen in, who throws 96, or you can bring (Jonathan) Papelbon in, who has better stuff than any of them. They're going to have to rely on some kids in their bullpen, but I would say they're more well-rounded and better at the back end of the bullpen than they were in 2004 when they won it all. (Keith) Foulke had a great postseason that year, but was not Papelbon. Papelbon is a legitimate, shut-down, as-good-as-there-is closer right now."
I'm torn, because I like when people say good things about the boy, but I hate Joe Buck and still occasionally have PTSD flashbacks to him calling the 2004 Series. It's like when a demon sends you a nice bouquet of flowers or something.
The Bus Drivers
Unfortunately, the Red Sox have relief pitchers who are not Jonathan Papelbon, or his clones, or his younger brothers, or his younger clone brothers. Unless Mike Timlin is sleeping with your wife, this is terrible.
As you have undoubtedly forgotten, the Red Sox played a series against Toronto on May 29 through May 31 of this year. They dropped the first two games, which seems totally meaningless now, but seemed extremely dire back then, particularly because this was around the time that Keith Foulke and Mike Timlin went on the DL at the same time, and we realized that we were going to be seeing a lot more of the back alley abortion twins, Rudy Seanez and Julian Tavarez. If you check out their game log statistics, you'll see that they completely contradict what I'm about to say, and both pitchers had been putting in relief appearances with increasing frequency throughout the month of May. But that series against Toronto sticks in my mind as the moment when I was like, "Hey, wait a second! These guys are going to totally fuck us!"
(If you click on the game log stats, please avert your eyes from the demographic statistics at the top of the page, particularly 2006 salary. The knowledge that we are paying Rudy Seanez 1.4 million dollars, Julian Tavarez 3.3 million dollars and Jonathan Papelbon $335,400 makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.)
The point of this little anecdote is, despite what you might think, not to make you want to blow your brains out, but to note that on May 29, Toronto transportation workers staged a walk-out in protest over a labor dispute. And thus, the theory that Tavarez, Seanez and anyone else who emerges from the Red Sox bullpen striking terror into your heart because you completely believe that they could blow a six-run lead in one inning is actually a striking Toronto transportation worker and thus the nickname "the bus drivers" was born.
It adds a certain amount of gallows humor to the proceedings. When you see craggy moon face of Tavarez crawling out of the bullpen in the seventh inning, you can say, "Oh great, they're sending in the bus drivers." And, when Manny DelCarmen finally settled down over the last couple weeks, Katie and I were able to remark with a great deal of satisfaction that he was a bus driver no more, and officially "off the route." Bus drivers: learn it, live it, love it.
Incidentally, my two favorite stories about Julian Tavarez, in no particular order:
1. Sometime in early May of this year, I saw a game at Fenway with my parents, who were visiting from California. Bay Area born and raised, my father is a life-long Giants fan (the truth comes out: I am a bit of a closet sports bigamist), and when Tavarez came out to pitch the eighth, he turned to me in horror and said, "Tavarez? You guys signed Tavarez?" Apparently he pitched for the Giants for a few years in the late nineties and earned a charming reputation there as well. This ought to be a sporting rule of some kind: any time a new acquisition on your team makes a fan of one of his old teams absolutely recoil in horror, you should know you're in for a bad time.
2. Some may recall that the Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals in a defensively sloppy but totally righteous fashion to win the 2004 World Series. Recently, Katie and I were watching the MLB World Series DVD (the only suitable dessert course for having watched the entirety of Game 3, aka the last game Pedro Martinez ever pitched in a Red Sox uniform) and we realized something horrible: At no point during the entire series did the Cardinals ever lead the game. The closest the Cardinals came was during Game 1, when the score was tied 6-6. The St. Louis relief pitcher who blew the tie? Julian Tavarez.
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Today in Papelbon, we've got:
+ A franchise record.
Papelbon held the Florida Marlins scoreless for the final 1innings to establish a club rookie record for saves with 25. The old mark of 24 was established by Dick Radatz in 1962.
"It's neat to be part of Boston Red Sox history, but it's not really what I thought I would do this year," said Papelbon, who was converted to closer early in the season. "It just kind of happened."
+ And an All-Star appearance.
Terry Francona, given the duty of alerting his bevy of All-Stars that they had made the American League team, called Papelbon into his office, a place that seemed far less comforting back in 2000, when Francona was fired as manager of the Phillies during an end-of-the-season series against the Marlins. He recalled the experience to Papelbon, in the process breaking down, his tears mixing with a genuine joy at delivering the news that he had been named to the All-Star team, getting the most votes of any reliever in the balloting from AL managers, coaches, and players.