Thursday, August 31, 2006

serenity now.

So, like half the residents of the Boston metro area, I am moving tomorrow, and Katie has had work shenanigans and also has had to spend a lot of time listening to me complain about moving, and the Red Sox, well, it's reached a point where even fielding a nine-man roster every game is a moral victory. So for those reasons, we have not had very much to say this week, however! I emerge from my field of boxes and my sea of dust bunnies, I step back from the cliff that represents the end of my sanity to say:


Text message I received from Katie alerting me to this apocalyptic turn of events: Bus driver starting. Crab probably has the cancer. Even Coco is hurt. I fully expect Rudy to run me down on the T tonight.

The only reasonable explanation is that Tito believes that converting one of our relievers to a starter will actually kill him, making this situation the only time when Julian Tavarez is the only reasonable option.

Other than that, I don't know. I doubt there's been any Papelbon news because the Red Sox haven't created a save situation since the first Clinton administration. And ... scene.

Monday, August 28, 2006

phone calls from the ledge

The state of things these days is that only one of us can bear to watch the game at any given time. It falls to the other one to call and narrate:

Katie: Papi is ill. At this point, I think we should replace everyone on the team with someone named Kason.

Kelly: [makes noises of pain] [is stoned] [refuses to leave bed]

Katie: Here's the batting order: All Your Crappy Center Fielders Are Belong to Us, Emergency Back-Up Everything, Loretta, Youk is batting cleanup, Half-Caf, Hinske, Javy, Pena but not the one who's good and Baby Dusty.

Kelly: Why is Youk in the outfield? Why isn't Kaplar playing?

Katie: No idea.

Kelly: Oh, well, they'd probably rather have Youk batting.

Katie: Right! Youk has to bat clean-up!

Kelly: [makes more noises of pain]

Katie: Coco's trying the time-tested lead-off bunt! [...] No, okay. He just struck out.

Kelly: Looking?

Katie: No, swinging, Coco doesn't know how to look.

Kelly: You have to turn this off. Where is Gonzo?

Katie: Hey, Manny and Gonzo are standing together. Manny is taking forever to eat a piece of gum. First he offered it to Gonzo, then he sniffed it, then he offered it to Gonzo again, then he put the whole thing in his mouth so he could take the wrapper off with his teeth, then he spat the whole thing into his hand, then he spat just for fun, then he put it in his mouth.

Kelly: I hope they showed that instead of Coco striking out swinging. Can we turn it off now?

Katie: No! I want to see Kason. [...] Oh, hey! Kason! He looks like a combination of Snyder and Beckett.

Cspan: Sneckett!

Katie: Okay, awesome, he just walked the first batter on a four-and-oh count. Javy's coming out. The whole infield's coming out. The umpire is coming out. Oh! Now the groundskeepers are coming out. I think there's something wrong with the mound. They're bringing out a shovel and some dirt.

Kelly: ...

Katie: I think the shovel and the dirt are going to pitch, actually.

Cspan: We brought them up from Pawtucket.

Kelly: Are we blogging this?


Kelly: Okay. I'm gonna post. I'm stopping with the thing about the shovel and the dirt because that's the money shot.

Katie: Add something about how Kason actually closed out the inning. Otherwise people will think this is a suicide note.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

i bet timlin knew that 'baretta' rhymes with 'dresser'

8/24105.21641023Curious hands and fingertips

"Cut" is not just another word for "aggravated blister," right? RIGHT? Also, Josh, I've got a new hemp necklace for every curve you threw for a strike. Good boy. Now figure out how to toughen up your damn hands like a real man.

You think Dave Matthews whines about a few blisters? No, he sacks up, gets high, and gets back on that damn stage. ...I imagine anyway. I personally hate Dave Matthews, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, you don't look like the kind of guy who should have sensitive skin and it's really unbecoming, so fix it already.


It was nice to see a vintage (well, as vintage as a rookie can ever be) performance from Papelbon the other night.

We missed last night because there was some R. Kelly Sing-A-Long action going on and that was a place that we needed to be, but as far as I can tell, there was pretty much nothing nice about last night. So I'm just going to relive "Trapped in the Closet" and pretend I know nothing of baseball.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

papelbon, you are a bad-ass bitch and i always pay for your dry cleaning

As much as games when Papelbon gets called on for a save opportunity that spans two innings are nerve-racking, whiskey-making affairs, I always really enjoy the part where he stalks off the field at the end of the eighth. It reminds me of the Natalie Portman rap skit on Saturday Night Live -- I keeping expecting Papelbon to look into the camera on his way to the dugout and say, "No more questions."

But, as per usual, there is no rest for the weary. We finally snap the losing streak, Pap looked like the bad-ass rally killer of the early summer, but, hey! Let's all go read this article and whether or not he'll be on the MLB exhibition tour of Japan and
whether or not he's unhappy with his league-minimum salary.

As much as the knee-jerk reaction to any professional athlete hinting that they feel they're not making enough money is an eye-roll, I can't really blame him, keeping in mind, as we have previously discussed, that Seanez and Tavarez, the bus-driving game-blowing wretch twins, are taking home 1.9 and 3.3 million this year respectively. Even though he hit the wall like a crash test dummy earlier this month, Papelbon is such a mind-blowing bargain for the Sox this year that he could probably decide to hold the bullpen hostage, demand a couple million in unmarked bills, two hookers and an eight ball and I'd be like, "Yeah, that's his due." At any rate, I'm glad that everyone seems to be in agreement that it's pointless to talk salary until they've decided whether or not he's going to be starting, which is ... another thing entirely.

On the one hand, a starting rotation of Curt Schilling's Hair, Beckett, Wake, Papelbon and Baby Crab Lester seems like a dream. This, of course, is assuming that Crab continues to outgrow the bucket, Curt Schilling's Hair stays healthy, Wake avoids further sex/air guitar related injuries and, most importantly, Curt Schilling's Hair straps Josh Beckett to a chair at some point this winter, props his eyes open with toothpicks and makes him watch films into he agrees to learn to throw a splitter already. (If that doesn't happen, all bets are off and every Beckett start is a three-date Dave Matthews Band concert, and we all wake up high on acid, watching the long balls flit across the sky like comets.) But really, if any of that stuff happens, having Pap in the rotation becomes even more necessary. Fuck, man, every time he's had five or six days rest in a row and we're looking at the TBA spot in the rotation, Katie and I convince ourselves that maybe he should be converted to a starter this season. But, you know, Craig Hansen, etcetera.

Speaking of no rest for the weary, I have stayed up until after two in the morning watching baseball three out of the last four days. Therefore, I am just too tired to think about Manny taking an extended trip to the DL.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

pm: "curt schilling totally has a pitching muse."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

maybe timlin just thought the offense wouldn't read the paper

So hey, it turns out Papelbon is still around, but it didn't quite matter. I think the most important stat I heard all week was at the end of Sunday's AGONIZING game: the bullpen had given up 24 runs in the first 4 games of the series. It kind of all becomes white noise after that.

Nonetheless, a look at the last three days. In reverse chronological order so that the pain looks smaller as it recedes into the distance.



From: Kelly []
Sent: 10:06 AM
To: Katie
Subject: RE: 8th inning

anyway, whatever. i feel like i've BEEN in a foul mood since 1:30 this morning, the 3.5 hours i may or may not have slept didn't really count.

let's try this one: snakes on a plane II: snakes on the yankees team plane. go!


From: Katie []
Sent: 2:06 PM
To: Kelly
Subject: RE: 8th inning

I'm trying to be zen about it, you know.

Re: the best sequel ever, the part where pus comes out of Jason Giambi's eyes, but no one notices at first because they assume it's just the excessive sweat/grease as per? BEST PART.


From: Kelly []
Sent: 2:57 PM
To: Katie
Subject: RE: 8th inning

re: the best sequel ever, my favorite part is the part where a.rod has an opportunity to take out all the snakes in the coach section of the plane but then grounds into a double death-by-snake. good times.


From: Katie []
Sent: 3:04 PM
To: Kelly
Subject: RE: 8th inning

oooh, that is an EXCELLENT part. It really was kind of tragic the way Jeter thought he had managed to defeat the snakes in the cockpit and then got attacked mid-hop/fist pump.


From: Katie []
Sent: 3:50 PM
To: Kelly
Subject: what does it mean...

When David Wells might be your favorite person on the planet? Because I'm worried.

So, I'm thinking what might be a good idea is Snakes on a Bullpen.


From: Kelly []
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 3:53 PM
To: Katie
Subject: RE: what does it mean...

snakes on a bullpen: whoever wins, we lose.



Said the manager: "I thought Papelbon pitched his heart out."

So at least Tito hasn't lost ALL ability to accurately assess a situation. From here.


And Saturday brings us more Beckett by DMB.

8/19015.355.279192These crimes between us grow deeper

Saturday, August 19, 2006

papelbon might not even be on the team anymore at this point

I'm afraid of my doorbell now. No, see, everytime it rings, I have a panic attack because I'm afraid that Julian Tavarez, full-time busdriver, part-time Sox reliever will be standing there. I'll open the door, eyes squinted half-shut and there it'll be-- Tavarez's I'm-definitely-a-Stephen-King-villian face staring back at me, ready to collect. Because when he came in last night we were talking about how I would sleep with Robinson Cano if I had to sleep with a Yankee at gunpoint. And I noted that I would not sleep with the Bus Driver at gunpoint. But then. Then I said, "actually, if you can just get us through three clean innings, dude, I'd sleep with you sans gun." Kelly added that she would too.

And then. He did it. So now I'm spending my days worried that he might show up to collect the blood debt. Because maybe he doesn't get a lot of offers. Maybe it'll get back to him. Frankly, I wouldn't put it past the PM to send him an email with my address in it. So if you're looking for me, be sure to call first because I won't be answering the door for a while.


As you may have noticed, yesterday's post was a "Part I." Well, after that game, we couldn't deal with a Part II. So here's the highlights version:

On Crab being taken out after 3 2/3 innings of work: "But I DON'T WANNA go to sleep. I'm NOT tired...No, I don't LIKE my Spidey 'jamas anymore. I WANNA PITCH! Daddy Tek woulda let me stay out and play."

The way Jeter hops from one side of the plate to the other when he doesn't hit the ball makes it IMPOSSIBLE not to look at his butt. And after having to see his butt many, many times yesterday-- I think the guy's had a butt lift. And I sort of think that when he's in the clubhouse he wanders around without his towel and everyone hates it, but they tolerate it because, you know, Jeets, but they totally turn to each other behind his back and mouth "I paid A LOT of money for this ASS and I will SHOW IT OFF if I want to."

During the Hansen inning of death, we noticed how silly Dougie looks while calling pitches-- I don't think Tek ever looks quite that way. It was ultimately decided that while everyone thinks he's calling pitches, what he's mostly doing is singing "The Macarena" (and no, I don't feel bad for getting that in your heads, so don't bother asking).

To sum up, any night you can say that Julian Tavarez was the best pitcher on the team, that's the kind of night you have to consider just maybe packing it all in.


Today's not shaping up so well, but at least I got to hear the five most beautiful words in the English language: Rudy Seanez designated for assignment.

Friday, August 18, 2006

i was really into slayer one summer

Red Sox/Yankees Double Header Running Diary, Part I: All Organic Edition

12:00 PM: Organic hot dogs, organic hot dog buns, organic ketchup. Somebody stopped at Whole Foods on the way over!

12:30 PM: Tina Cervasio is on screen, twitching uncontrollably and smiling off into space. We decide that she must be replaced, by a parrot or Katie or the monkey who threw out the pitch on Wednesday or something. All you really need to do Tina's job is a bad hair cut and a crush on Mark Loretta. The helper monkey could really do a bang-up job, but he appears to have a crush on Craig Hansen.

1:00 PM: We decide that Jason Johnson at least looks like he should be a good pitcher, in that he is young, tall and ugly.

1:12 PM: If you're getting paid, you better run into the wall, Coco.

1:16 PM: Note to Jason Johnson: Throwing the ball badly isn't your only job, you should also at least try to field badly.

1:22 PM: Briefly soothed by a litany of abysmal stats about A.Rod. DonO and Remy have to make like auctioneers just to get them all in.

1:36 PM: Hey! Youk's growing a soul patch!

1:45 PM: Resisting the urge to make fun of the kids with cancer is gonna be a day-long battle, I can feel it.

1:47 PM: Mike Lowell (aka Half-Caf) makes a beautiful little hop skip and a jump catch into the Yankees dugout. God, he is such a fucking bad-ass.

2:00 PM: Katie: "I just realized he [Gonzo] has Johnny's number. Gotta mean something, right?" She also thought that Johnson's ERA matching her birthday meant something, so.

2:01 PM: We don't know why Corey Lidle is on bereavement leave. Maybe he wanted to fit in so he killed somebody with his pool?

2:08 PM: Re: Giambi. "How is he that sweaty? He's the DH! He just sits in the dugout between innings!" "Maybe he lowers himself into a vat of ... juice?"

2:14 PM: Loretta goes for two! Tina Cervasio knows how to pick 'em.

2:48 PM: No one is particularly happy for the traitor when he gets back into the dugout after his homer. And you can kind of see Johnny looking around and being like, "Why doesn't anyone care?" Because you signed with a team with no soul, that's why.

2:58 PM: Katie: "Robinson Cano officially wins this year's 'Yankee I would sleep with if someone was going to shoot me if I didn't sleep with a Yankee' Award."

2:59 PM: Katie: "Posada perpetually wins the 'Yankee I would make have sex with a cow if I could make someone have sex with a cow' Award. But that would be mean to the cow."

3:00 PM: The verdict on Jason Johnson: He didn't actually do that badly, there's no need for him to look like he's going to attempt to overdose on his insulin pump. Also, TITO SHOULD HAVE TAKEN HIM OUT TWO BASE HITS EARLIER.

3:08 PM: DonO calls Manny's solo shot a "one-handed home run." Um. What?

3:13 PM: Hinske for the home-run robbing catch! Hinske, okay, you can stay.

3:14 PM: Mike Lowell is wearing eye-block and sun glasses. Is it possible that by both absorbing and blocking the light, he is creating a vortex of darkness inside his eyes? Yeah, physics. I don't know, I'm kind of drunk.

3:20 PM: Tek! On the first step, talking to Dougie! Or, perhaps, trying his hardest to ignore Dougie? Hard to tell.

3:27 PM: Skendarian Apocathary: they let the babies make the drugs or the drugs are made out of babies?

3:30 PM: Katie: "I was a big fan of Snyder back when he was in Alice in Chains." Kelly: "I was really into Slayer one summer."

3:41 PM: Dunkin' Donuts song vid stretches out the Manny home run because it's the only good thing that's happened thus far in the game.

3:43 PM: Okay, so, we know that Synder tends to combust after thirty pitches, great. Does Tito realize this? Is he, you know, awake out there?

3:56 PM: How did it take us this long to notice this is the game between two pitchers whose names are euphemisms for 'pensis'?

4:09 PM: Giambi's fourth appearance, we figure out that what they're yelling every time he comes up to bat is "Baaaaalcoooooo! Baaaaaalcoooo!"

4:35 PM: Rudy loads the bases with no outs. I don't care that we're down by five, Tito, Rudy doesn't pitch here anymore.

4:36 PM: Damon drives in two more to make it 10-3, game takes let's-just-stop-now-so-we-can-rest-up-for-tonight feel.

4:39 PM: Wherever today's #1 Giambi fan is, he is right next to a mike. Now he's shouting about HGHGiambi.

4:44 PM: For Katie's brother's t-shirt empire:

4:48 PM: Rudy walks in his second run! Did Tito just leave the dugout? Did he just give up and leave? Nice job, Tito. Bet everyone on the field wishes they could do the same.

5:05 PM: Final score: 12-4. Total game time: 3 hours, 55 minutes. Apparently the pre-game show for tonight's game starts in less than an hour and a half. Does someone have a beer bottle I could break over my head?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

papelbon was born a snakehandler and he'll die a snakehandler.

So Dougie, having woken up from his chicken parm-induced nap, has been hitting homeruns and is now offering some deeply insightful discussion on the baby bullpen:

"Maybe you haven't noticed, but he [Hansen] has great stuff," said catcher Doug Mirabelli, who watched from the dugout. "You know about this kid [Jonathan] Papelbon? And if you're watching Friday night, you'll see this lefthander by the name of [Jon] Lester who has excellent stuff, too."

Please, Dougie, do tell me about this kid Papelbon. Tell me everything. Tell me about how last night's save (number 32) puts him tied for third for most saves in a single season by a rookie.

(The number one spot is
held by Kazuhiro Sasaki, who made 37 saves during his rookie year in 2000. So. Um. I don't want to jinx anything, but do with both that information and the number of games left in this season what you will.)

But to change fun-to-track-but-frequently-meaningless pitching stats for a minute here, I can't help but notice that we're seventeen days into the month of August and the Red Sox have won a whopping six games. Let's attribute out those wins, shall we:

Wells: 2
Papelbon: 2
Schilling: 1
Lester: 1

If that doesn't sum up the half-botched arson attempt that has been this team's August record, I don't know what does. When four of the last six wins are attributed to the (admittedly extremely bad-ass) closer and David Wells? Something is wrong. Do you see Josh Beckett's name up there anywhere? I wonder what that's about. Has he been out sick or something? Avian suck flu? Just checking.

A conversation I have had a few too many times this week:

Me: Yeah, my friend and I are taking Friday off so we can watch the double header.
Co-worker: You got tickets? That's awesome!
Me: Oh, no, we didn't get tickets, we're just gonna ... watch it at her apartment.
Co-worker: ...
Me: I gotta go.

Screw it, I'm excited. My goals are to drink my own volume in Miller High Life and try not to die. Also, Doug Mirabelli tells me that if I haven't passed out in stupor by Friday night that there will be this lefthander pitching? Excellent stuff, apparently? I'm kind of afraid that Jason Giambi is going to confuse Jon Lester with an item on the buffet table, but let's all continue to hope for the best.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

when you say 'supposed to lose' what exactly do you mean?

Hey, who knew, Papelbon's tired. I think we're all tired Pap.

Things That Are Getting Me Through Right Now:

1. A little song I made up about Rodney Harrison. It's harder than you might think to find a rhyme for "reconstructed" but surprisingly easy to work Bon Jovi into a song about football.

2. Creating Snakes on a Plane
phone messages from Varitek to the pitching staff. Trust me, hearing Samuel L. Jackson tell Schilling to stop messing with his hair and pick up his "homeboy" Jason to go see Snakes on a Plane will DEFINITELY make you smile.

3. Thinking about a world in which someone let Isiah Thomas enter and win a contest to run the Yankees for a week. Even money says that within two hours he'd trade three pitchers for another 3rd baseman with 21 errors and by the end of Day 3 he'd have forced Torre to resign and named himself manager.

And that's not much, but it's all I got. Well, that and:

Excerpt: Jason Varitek's Rehabilitation Diary, Day 9: August 15, 2006

6:30 PM:
Meets 17-year-old teen who recently recieved liver transplant. Considers recommending to Tito he add the kid to the bullpen as he can't really be any worse.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

this post sponsored in part by

1. Something to make you want to whip up a Clorox and #34 flavored Vitamin Water cocktail for sure.

In 43 innings this season with Jason Varitek as his batterymate, Papelbon has a 0.42 ERA while limiting opponents to a .148 batting average and 1.3 walks per nine innings. In 17 innings throwing to four other catchers this year, Papelbon has a 2.12 ERA, .183 opponents BA and an average of 3.2 walks per nine innings.

Elias Says. Of course, any Sox fan could tell you about the -- what's the word I'm looking for -- intangibles of losing Varitek, but seeing it spelled out like that is a lot like waking up in Tiny House: not awesome.

2. Excerpt: Jason Varitek's Rehabilitation Diary, Day 8: August 14, 2006

7:00 PM: Grabs Josh Beckett by the collar, says, "We must protect. this. house. Will you protect this house?"

7:20 PM: Hands spare bat to rehab buddy Wakefield, asks Wake to hit him over the head a couple times.

3. The Josh Beckett Random Mediocre Performance Generator

We have decided that if dangling Dave Matthews Band bootlegs like incentives for non-sucktastic pitching performances will not work on Josh Beckett, we might as well start summing up each Josh Beckett pitching performance with a Dave Matthews Band lyric. Yes, that's insane logic, but look around you, people, this is about where we're at. We'll backdate this tradition to his first appearance this month.

Katie: Did you want to go back and do DMB lyrics for all Beckett's starts this year and post to include whatever happens tonight, or just going forward starting with tonight?

Kelly: As much as I would enjoy doing all of his starts, I fear that there is going to be a limited number of applicable lyrics (most of their lyrics are, shock of shocks, nonsense rhymes about getting high), so maybe we should just start fresh tonight?

Katie: Are you implying that nonsense rhymes about getting high wouldn't apply to Beckett? If so, I think I have to respectfully disagree.

And with that, we present Josh Beckett's August appearances, as summed up through Dave Matthews Band lyrics:

8/3015.006.00117303But leave a trail of busted stuff
8/9004.926.062005If I had it all / Oh I'd fuck it up sure
8/14015.026.065046Here there's more than is showing up

Basically, we're all going to learn a lot more about the Dave Matthews Band in the next couple months. So pass the bowl and settle in, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

Monday, August 14, 2006

time to watch my stories

So, was Jonathan Papelbon doing his best Muhammad Ali or Smokin' Joe Frazier impression yesterday afternoon as he pummeled Manny Ramírez near the first-base bag after another walkoff win by the Red Sox?

"I was Mike Tyson," proclaimed Papelbon, who with two scoreless innings in a 10-inning, 8-7 Red Sox win over the Baltimore Orioles reclaimed the title of reliable closer that he'd briefly relinquished this past week. "That's the fun part of it. He knew what was coming. Below the belt? Naah. Right in the gut."

From the Globe's Saturday
game recap. It's out of date and all, but one of the rules we live by here is always always highlight Mike Tyson references of any kind.


No Pap tonight:

Jonathan Papelbon, after 24 pitches Saturday and 31 yesterday, will not be available tonight. His 31st save tied him with Billy Koch (1999 with Toronto) for the third most ever by a rookie.



Lastly, an update on the Papel-babies and their minor-league hijinks:

On Tuesday, Jonathan's and Jeremy's teams launched the "Papelbon Papel-bet," in which the twin with the lowest ERA at the end of the season will get to name a charity to which his brother's team must make a donation.


In related news, I'm willing to donate money to Josh Beckett's official DMB Bootleg/Hemp Necklace Fund if he finds it within himself to throw a curve ball or three tonight and hey! maybe try NOT giving up a homerun. I know it's a wacky idea, but 9 out of 10 certified dentists say it's a proven technique both to fight gingivitis and to win baseball games.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

now that dougie's batting over .200, anything's possible

"We just swept the Orioles. How can I have a bad taste in my mouth? It's just one of those games where you have to keep grinding and just find a way to get through it."


"I'm battling and battling [and] my first reaction is he picked me up. That's what they've been doing all year, and that's what they're great at. For me, it was a relief. That's a huge play. [If] he doesn't make that, it's probably a tie ballgame [and] maybe they go ahead. He's just been clutch for us all year."

Jonathan Papelbon, reminding us again that the sky still isn't falling and giving some much-deserved love to Mike Lowell. And as much as I would always prefer to see Paps come in guns blazing for a one-two-three inning, there's something to be said for knowing that he can get out of a pretty mucked-up jam, keeping it together after walking in a run.

Some Things I Learned This Weekend, by Kelly M, Age 23 and 11/12ths

1. Footage of Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield long-tossing before the game on Friday was absolutely enough to have me reaching for the smelling salts.

2. Mike Lowell is not human. Gets hit in the head and makes a diving into the seats catch on Friday, hits a grand slam and makes a game-ending snag tonight. Mike Lowell is a bad-ass new god. I know it, you know, Jonathan Papelbon knows it, as seen with his "you are a bad-ass new god" pointing and hugging after the end of the game tonight.

3. Doug Mirabelli has now homered in his last three games. Me: "It may be time to admit that he is, in fact, a stud who hits bombs." PM: "Oh, he is. Sometimes it's reality, sometimes it's just in his head, but he's always a stud who hits bombs."

4. Terry Francona hates me. He lets me know it with these seemingly endless lineup shenanigans. I know that today's dance card shuffling was mostly due to Papi having the day off, but it seems like we've had about twenty-six different batting orders since the All-Star break, and they've all involved the lukewarm Coco at lead-off experiment. My dream batting order was, as we previously discussed, last Wednesday's, with Youk back at lead-off and Wily Mo in the five spot. I can't decide if Tito switched it up again because we lost that game, and if that's the case, Tito, that was the fourth loss in a five-game losing streak. We lost that game against the Royals because Allah hates us, not because you had Wily Mo batting fifth. Here's what I want to see: Youk, Loretta, Papi, Manny, Wily Mo. I'll leave the bottom of the order up to you -- I'd play it Lowell, Coco, A.Gon/Cora, Catcher of the Day, but, hey! You're the manager! You make the call!

5. I am rather sad that Manny's hitting streak has ended. But then again, Manny being Manny, I suppose it's possible he didn't even know he had a hitting streak.

6. You can't have nice things and win a baseball game. Today was a beautiful day, and when we were up 10-6 after seven innings, I thought, hey, I'll walk down to the Upper Crust in Coolidge Corner and watch the last of the game there. Hahah, my punishment was having to watch the seemingly endless ninth inning in public, shredding my napkin, involuntarily cursing under my breath and scaring old ladies and non-English speaking tourists. Good times, good times. From now on, I vow to only watch games from my hole in the dining room.

Friday, August 11, 2006

i can't remember the rest, but your mother's a whore

Message I just left on Katie's voicemail:

"Finding out that
Curt Schilling is considering being on Celebrity Jeopardy is like one of those things that I didn't know that I knew until I knew it, and then I found out and realized it was completely inevitable. Unfortunately, it's the real Celebrity Jeopardy, not the Saturday Night Live version. That's a huge disappointment."

Thus, the following was necessary:

Curt Schilling's Top 5 Dream Jeopardy Categories
1. Famous Motor Neuron Diseases
2. Notable MMORPG Avatars of the late 20th Century
3. Experimental Surgeries on Body Parts that Begin with the Letter "A"
4. Military History (Dawn of Time – Present)
5. The Lord, Wearing Bling for

that's right, i forgot you're insane

It's that time again. The writing's on the wall and I am feeling VERY superstitious. For example, before beginning the painful process of sorting through my Papelbon google alerts, I opened one of those snack size bags of M&Ms and I dumped them out on my desk. There was only ONE blue one. I don't eat the blue M&Ms (probably because I'm insane), so this is clearly a good sign and because of this, I knew that the content of these google alerts would be important.

Except, you know, mostly they contained words like "blown" and "meltdown." So I get worried-- clearly the M&Ms wouldn't lie, so what am I missing? And then!
MSNBC gave me the following:

Jonathan Papelbon, whose 30 saves are one off the major-league lead and with an ERA that hasn’t been above 1.00 all season, blowing two save opportunities to go with a 6.23 ERA this month.

It sounds bad, right? EXCEPT, 6.23 is my birthday. And I love my birthday. A lot. So CLEARLY this is the good sign, this is the message from on high proving to me that Papelbon isn't lying when he says he's gonna get his shit together. Clearly all will be well from here on out. Because I always knew the higher power would speak to me through an old guy named Tony with a terrible mustache.

And, if you try to question my logic, I'm not going to be able to hear you because I will be too busy imagining the segment of
Hangin' With Paps and Papi where they cook Big Papi's certified Maine lobsters for the team. First they name them all after Yankees (Jeter's the one with all his own teeth and hair!) and then Papi puts them on the floor for Paps to chase around the kitchen the way my Dad used to do. While Pap's doing that, Papi introduces a pre-recorded segment of their road trip to Maine-- hitting the NH State liquor store, stopping in Portland to pick up an official Papelbon Sea Dogs bobblehead which Papi can compare in size with the lobsters, then doing the same with Papi and the Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor, a visit with Stephen King, etc, etc-- and when they come back they've both decided they don't have the heart to cook the lobsters themselves, so they're just going to go out and buy Paps a new camo shirt while Papi's chef makes dinner.

Seriously, it's a great episode. And until the whole 6.23/no blue M&Ms sign-from-above thing works out for me, I'm gonna stick with that version of reality. Okay? Okay.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

"I didn't see the end of the game, I accidentally passed out." "You made a wise, wise choice."

You know, it would be one thing if, right out of the gate, the 2006 Red Sox had been a struggling, transition year team with enough holes that you'd think the Big Dig was responsible for its construction and the only bright spots were occasional moments of improbable offensive ecstasy (look up "improbable defensive ecstasy" in the dictionary and it will say "see also: Big Papi"). Because I get that. I spent a whole lot of years growing up watching the Giants try to build a team around Barry Bonds; I know what that kind of team looks like. And it would be another thing if it was only the veterans who were breaking down, Seanez and Tavarez aborting it up on cue, Timlin trying his best to pitch from AARP land, etcetera. And we'd all gnash our teeth, but we'd know that the rookies were transitioning in and getting it done, and that we just had to wait. But Hansen and Delcarmen have been making like Rudy junior and Julian junior lately, and Papelbon, well.

After the Red Sox swept in the ALDS last year, I made a list of three reasons to have hope. The first one was that Papelbon retired eight batters in the seventh and eighth innings of the third game, and the other two things were about the Yankees. The reason I declared during spring training that I wanted everyone to be always thinking about Papelbon is because he was the alpha and the omega of my big hopes for this season. When he starts faltering, I don't even know what.

So, anyway, Papelbon blew his fifth save last night in a completely reality-questioning loss to the Royals. If you like rubbing salt into your own festering wounds, you can read about it
here. Apparently aware that we're a fan base on the verge right now, Paps does have some words of wisdom that I will try and probably completely fail to take to heart:

"I won't bring this home with me," he said. `"As soon as I leave the ballpark, I'm done with it. There's no reason for me to take this home with me. You don't take your job home with you, and neither do I. Tomorrow's a new day, sun's going to rise tomorrow, and I just have to study a little bit of film, make a few adjustments, and keep moving forward. We've still got two months left in the season, and we've got a lot of work to do. There's no reason in sitting right here and pouting or getting upset or any of that."

Well. Okay. Four things, then, that don't make me want to drink at my desk:

1. Saw my first Big Papi Vitamin Water advertisement wrapped Green Line subway car yesterday.
2. There's a new Red Sox Rewind commercial. Paps is looming over Hazel, wearing what appears to be a pink or purple shirt under his wind breaker and turning in the kind of dramatic delivery we've come to know and love from such gems as the
125Auto ad. Also, Hazel in a tight v-neck. It's the little things.
3. Tito finally fixed the line-up. Poor Willy Mo was probably wondering if he was going to have to hit a home run to the moon to get that fifth spot.
4. I managed to not completely fuck our Blogger template and implement a site re-design.

And in the interest of blaming everything on Javy Lopez, last night in the eighth, Don said that Javy had been unhappy with his role with the Orioles because he'd been used primarily as a DH. Seriously, Javy Lopez filled the role of designated hitter for the Baltimore Orioles. There's sucking, and then there's that. And we've got a loooooooong way to go before it gets that bad.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

do his teeth and hair smell like grapefruit, too?

Papelbon blew a save the other night. It was his 4th. Read about it here and here. He says some endearing things, as per, but I can't bring myself to care because in case you missed it, we lost to the ROYALS last night.


No, really.

kelly and I went to the movies, we decided this was the best course of action because if we lost to the ROYALS we would have to throw ourselves in front of a bus and goddamn it, we were going to help Kevin Smith pay his mortgage before we died.

You know, the worst part of all this is that we ANTICIPATED that we might lose to the Royals. I hate my life.

Anyway, I didn't actually watch, I just had kelly and my brother keep me constantly updated via the magic of the cell phone in between discussing other things like Scissor Sisters tickets and my brother's ambitions to be an internet t-shirt magnate. It was almost more painful this way because normal convo was always being interrupted like "I think the seats are pretty good, but-- oooh, we're not losing anymore" and "you're just a douche if you're wearing a 'vote for pedro' t-shirt-- Papi hit a homer-- these days" or "tell him to make a t-shirt that says RUDY NEVER PITCHES and give it to Tito." And so on.

In the end, I went to bed before the game was over and this morning in the shower I wondered what the outcome had been and then suddenly had a sharp, vivid memory of being half asleep as kelly asked me if I wanted to execute our suicide pact at Park Street. I still haven't bothered to look at an official score, but I've confirmed with her that that was a memory and not a nightmare.


Since I can't talk about the game because I am not a sane person, let share with you an email the PM sent to me back when Lowell was telling the Herald that he hopes Castro dies (him and many, many US Presidents, man).

"...Lowell said, '(Raul Castro) is the head of the military and no cookie of a guy, but there’s always hope.'"

You heard it here first: Raul Castro? No cookie of a guy. Half-Caf*? A DELICIOUS BAKED ITEM OF A MAN. Now with tasty political opinions. Oh, the vapors.

DELICIOUS BAKED ITEM = what I will be calling Lowell (formerly called "half-caf" because the PM thinks he looks like a half-caffeinated version of Jeffrey Dean Morgan and thus loves him) going forward. Well, assuming he stops bouncing foul balls off vital parts of his anatomy and thus makes himself worth mentioning again.


Yeah. That's quite literally all I got right now. Well, that and the always charming fact that Derek Jeter smells like grapefruit. Which, btw, is and always has been a scent that makes neauseated. So clearly, Jeter and I were never meant to be.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Jason Varitek's Rehabilitation Diary

With apologies to the Sons of Sam Horn.

Day 1: August 6, 2006

6:00 AM: Wakes up at house in Newton. Slept poorly, had horrible dream where last night's starting battery was David Wells and Javy Lopez.

6:02 AM: Flips on ESPN. Learns horrible dream was … not a dream.

6:30 AM: Wife offers prescription pain medication, Tek declines.

7:00 AM: First session with physical therapist. Tells her that he's got a theory that if they do twice as much therapy, he can be back in action twice as fast. Says he's got a date with ARod's face on August 18, let's make it happen.

8:00 AM: Therapist says that was great, but they've probably done enough for today.

8:30 AM: Therapist says, "Okay, seriously, I think we've done enough for today." Tek makes "talk to the hand" motion.

9:00 AM: Therapist attempts to suggest the possibility of re-injury. Tek tells her to bring him some more weights or he will fuck her shit up.

9:30 AM: Tek doing weight resistance training, therapist is self-administering hits of oxygen. Tek flips on ESPN, sees today's starting line-up includes some guy named Corky behind the plate.

9:31 AM: Tek grabs phone, calls Tito, shouts, "Corky? Corky?" Like the retard in Life Goes On? Fuck this rehab shit, I'll meet you guys in Tampa Bay."

9:32 AM: Therapist offers prescription pain medication, Tek declines.

9:40 AM: Changes into red mock turtleneck, Hugo Boss suit.

9:45 AM: Calls wife en route to Logan. Tells her to kiss the girls, the Captain is needed.

10:00 AM: Flight to Tampa Bay takes off. Sitting in airplane seat causes knee to swell, Tek has to bite own hand to stop from screaming in agony. Flight attendant asks if he has any prescription pain medication or something, Tek declines.

10:10 AM: In flight, flips through the following books:
The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, Primal Leadership and Patton on Leadership.

1:00 PM: Flights lands in Tampa. Tek crutches out to the curb, hails cab. Says, "Take me to that fucking excuse for a mini-golf course."

1:05 PM: Cab pulls up in front of
Celebration Station Amusement Park. Tek screams, tells cabbie he meant the other excuse for a mini-golf course, the one where they play baseball.

1:10 PM: Cab pulls up in front of Tropicana Field.

1:15 PM: Tek crutches into dugout as team is taking the field for the first inning. Grabs Tito, tells him he could catch with the crutches, is sure he would still run the bases faster than Dougie. Tito rocks back and forth.

1:20 PM: Crutches over to Josh Beckett. Tells him, "I just want you to know, every time you shake off a pitch call, a kitten dies. You just think about that."

1:25 PM: Crutches over to Curt Schilling for ten minutes of catching up on Curt's last appearance, the problems Curt feels he might be having with his delivery, those mean bitches from the internet who keep telling lies about Curt on the Yankees message boards, Curt's totally blasé opinion on Curt's Hall of Fame chances, the status of Curt's bowel movements, other stuff.

1:35 PM: Pats Curt on the back.

1:36 PM: Removes cotton from ears.

1:37 PM: Spies Beckett tying additional hemp bracelet around wrist. Calls out, "Oh yeah, and I saw your Improper Bostonian cover. When I was
on the cover of the Improper Bostonian, I wore a fucking suit jacket."

1:45 PM: Settles down next to Al Nipper. Says, "Just think of me as Nipper Jr. for the next couple weeks." Doubles over in pain. Nipper tells Tek to take a pain pill, for God's sake. Tek declines.

2:00 PM: Accidentally steps on Jon Lester. "Sorry, kid," Tek says, "I didn't see you down there."

2:15 PM: Up 2-1 at the bottom of the fourth, Tek decides it's time to take a trip out to see the bullpen.

2:30 PM: Crutches into bullpen. Sees Timlin, knocks fists. Timlin tells Tek that the road ain't no place to raise a family, but is distracted by a Devil Ray wife he hasn't nailed yet. Sees Seanez, says, "Didn't we dump your ass by the side of the road back in Cleveland?" See Tavarez, tells him the only good thing about being on the DL is not having to catch the game-ending abortions he calls pitches. Sees Papelbon, pats him on the head and says, "You're alright son, you're alright."

3:00 PM: Stops by the stands on the way back to the dugout, uses crutch to beat
Happy Heckler to death. Looks around menacingly and says, "You're next, cowbell," to no one in particular.

4:00 PM: Johnson leaves game having staked a 6-1 lead. Tek beckons Johnson toward him with crutch, tells him he's proud of him. Johnson near tears, asks Tek if he can get him a pain pill or a glass of water or something. Tek declines.

4:30 PM: Timlin gives up a homerun to Navarro. Tek blames self.

4:40 PM: Papelbon gives up a homerun to Lee to tie the game. Tek blames self. But also that retard Corky, only a retard wouldn't have called for a splitter.

5:00 PM: Tavarez gives up a homerun to Norton. Tek blames Tavarez.

5:01 PM: Team files back into dugout, dejected. Tek glares at Tito, hits him over the head with crutch, says, "Somebody get me a wheelchair, I obviously have to go with you to Missouri."

5:02 PM: Tito holds out prescription pain medication. Tek declines. Tito says, "No, these are for me," dry-fists.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

scrabble is apparently a big part of my life these days

"I don't give any credit to those hitters," Papelbon said. "They're out there trying to beat me and I'm out there trying to beat them. I give credit where credit is due, but I'm not going to go out there and give somebody credit for just showing up with a bat in their hands. For me, I go out there and kick somebody's ass any day of the week."

Oh, Pap. From here and honestly, I feel like I've posted this article before, but it swears to me it's not that old. And there are some "new" facts, so perhaps it's a rework of something linked before? Whatever, it's REALLY enjoyable if you like to gush about Papelbon and I think we know I do.


And then! This is the part of the week where we thank my brother for his ESPN Insider status and re-post an entire piece for those who aren't so lucky. Which is really fine because frankly, I don't think I could have picked a quotation if I had to.

From here.

The bullpens in Fenway Park are separated from the right-field stands above by only a short chain-link fence. So it's not unusual for Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox closer and people person, to chat up fans and flip a few balls over the barrier.

Emboldened by Papelbon's approachability, or perhaps what Mike Timlin calls "a couple of cups of courage," a fan wandered down to the fence one day with an odd request. "Hey, Papelbon," the guy called, slurring his words, "will you sign my leg?" Before the pitcher could respond, a prosthesis landed at his feet. "Oh my god, dude!" Papelbon shouted. Of course, he and the other relievers dutifully signed the right thigh, handed it back and gawked as the guy attached it to his hip and walked away. "The fans were hooting and hollering," Papelbon says. "It was wild."

So it goes for the 25-year-old rookie from Baton Rouge, who's embracing his role as one of the most important players in the AL East race. Of his first 29 saves, 13 protected victories for aces Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling. Like them, Papelbon seems born to his role. "He loves the pressure of playing in Boston," says his mother, Sheila, who was a pitcher on LSU's first women's softball team, in 1977. When Jonathan was in eighth grade, he challenged his mom to pitch to him. "I struck him out," she says. "He didn't like that."

No doubt because he had to battle for attention with his younger brothers, twin pitchers drafted this June (and off to good starts in the low minors -- lefty Jeremy for the Cubs and righty Josh for the Red Sox). "It was a very competitive environment," Sheila says.

These days, Jonathan is mainly inflicting embarrassment on others. What makes him so lethal, says an AL scout, is his ability to complement a mid-90s fastball with an 89-91 mph splitter. And, the scout adds, "You can tell he's feeding off all that energy the fans are bringing him."

Papelbon infuses that energy into what has become a low-key clubhouse. Bullpen catcher Jason LaRocque, a Harvard man, says Papelbon has "social intelligence." That means Pap not only gets along with people, but also beats them at Scrabble.

"The last word I think we tested him with was 'duplicity,' " Timlin says. "He got the definition and spelled it right."

"He's always asking questions about random things," adds reliever Javier López. Just then, Pap walks by and yells out to no one in particular, "Hey, ever tried OxiClean?"

"See, that's what I mean," Lopez says, shaking his head.

It's Papelbon's nearly spotless season that's driving The Nation's adoration. Clutching a McDonald's bag, he was spotted at the Pittsburgh airport while waiting to board his flight home from the All-Star Game. By the time he fulfilled every autograph and picture request, his Chicken McNuggets and fries were stone cold.

"At times it can get intrusive, and you can get a little overwhelmed," he admits. "You never get used to the fans wanting a piece of you."

Or, for that matter, giving you a piece of them.

It's got almost everything I really want in a Papel-piece: Scrabble reference, old-timey and yet still intimidating Timlin quote, reference to fighting the twins for attention, wacky character note (Oxi-clean works wonders, btw). The only thing missing is a vaguely insane line about "kicking ass" from Pap himself. Good times, ESPN, good times.


And, last, speaking of ESPN:

Dave Matthews's biggest fan proves that he should always stay in his uniform. (For further evidence, see previous post.) Besides, the uniform has to guarantee him one extra undergrad girl a night, if not more, right?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

i pride myself in reaching new lows of heat-related delirium every day

I know that this is going to completely destroy what little credibility this blog has managed to scrape together, but, I'm sorry, it had to be done: Voice mail messages you probably hope you'll never receive:

Hi, it's me, and I really want to discuss whether Josh Beckett looks like Chris Kirkpatrick on the cover of the new Improper Bostonian, so, uh, call me back.

For those of you who didn't spend the mid-nineties, uh, in high school, Chris Kirkpatrick was the elder statesman figure in the boyband-recently-turned-closet-door *NSYNC. Pick up a copy of this fine publication (personally, when you get that far down on the free weekly food chain, I prefer Barstool Sports) if you can, on the inside, he's striking a similarly pop star-like pose and wearing mandals! The article, in a shocking turn of events to no one, is completely useless. Unless you didn't know that Beckett is only 26. And, there. Now you know.

Some thoughts about tonight's game:

1. Dougie is (I think) batting .333 in his last three games. And, yes, I am grasping at such slim straws that I attempted to hastily calculate his last-three-games statistics myself, because nobody calculates "since the injury that dare not speak its name smited us" statistics.

2. Papelbon gets the win! I was looking up to see how long it's been since he last worked (Saturday) and realized that he only had six appearances in the entire month of July. And, yeah, I'm glad we're not using him as a one-size-fits-all Band-Aid, but am I the only one who's worried that he's not getting enough work? I mean, admittedly, I am biased. Be honest.


katie says she can't talk about it, but she knows better than anybody that not talking about things isn't exactly my strong suit

"He’s going to still be around here, around the ballpark, giving us the advice we need and the leadership we need," closer Jonathan Papelbon said.

here. And thus Paps says the only thing about the Varitek injury that has not immediately made me want to drink bleach. It's like I was saying to Kristen -- he might not be able to play until early September (awesome, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit), but if I can't have him behind the plate, I want him joined at the hip with Al Nipper the entire time. The only time he's allowed to leave Nipper's side is for occasional strolls down to the bullpen, so he can pat Jonathan on the head and tell him he's doing just fine and glare at Julian Tavarez and tell him that the only good thing about being on the DL for four weeks is not having to catch the abortions he calls pitches.

Oh, who am I kidding, Tavarez hasn't even actually done anything to enrage me in weeks, at this point I'm just lashing out at everybody. I'm pretty sure that the only thing that could make me feel better if is someone broke Matsui's other wrist.

And videotaped it.

And sent me a copy.

Taped to a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

that thing that just happened to half-caf's foot? bird's fault

Today it's a bit of "Papelbon On..."

First, On Papi:

"To have that guy on your team," said closer Jonathan Papelbon, "and to be able to take those pressure situations off everybody else on the team, put it on his back, and take care of the ball club like he does is pretty amazing. He's going to be the guy that we're leaning on a lot. But he's the type of guy that accepts that role and enjoys it."

From here.

And, On The Bus Driver:

Papelbon’s ERA is 0.51. Tavarez' stands at 5.17. The closer hears the treatment Tavarez gets from the fans.

"As players we don't pay any attention to that," Papelbon said.

From here.

What's really special about this one is that just a few paragraphs earlier, Tavarez said, "Any player that says he doesn't hear (the booing) lies,". Good times. Also, worth reading because the man sounds just about as bitter as the guy who forced everyone off the B line today in the 103 degree heat just because he could. At least the T driver isn't making a million dollars to suck.


The only thing I really need to get me through the day is an article every day about how Timlin is the zen master of the baby bullpen.

"(Timlin) is an awesome guy to talk to, an easy guy to talk to, and he gives me a lot of advice."

Not a lot of Pap, but the MDC gives new meaning to the word man-crush when he's talking about Timlin. Oh! And they call Schill "elderly." I can only hope he reads this and writes an angry letter to The Patriot Ledger from the Coot in the Car. Elderly! Heh.


I feel it's REALLY important to note that you may not know it, but I am TERRIFIED of birds. Like, full-on, raging phobia. The only thing I am more afraid of is Elijah Wood's eyes (they will eat your soul, trust me). So to see this crow strutting around Fenway tonight (and there was one point where Rem-Dawg was completely distracted by it and they showed more of the bird than they did of the inning) IS NOT OKAY.

Clearly, the bird is the problem. That bird is a bad, soulless omen of doom and SOMEONE SHOULD GET IT OFF THE FIELD NOW. Ahem. Really. No birds. Ever.


In conclusion, I can't talk about that thing. With the knee. And the sur--. Well, you know. I just CAN'T.