Sunday, April 30, 2006

A cell phone rings in the middle of the night... (Part 2)

(wearily) Hi Lenny.
Hey, B! S'up?
S'up? Lenny, you got your ass kicked again. That's "S'up"!
Dude, didn't you watch the whole game?
I didn't watch any of the game, Len. Johnny text messaged me updates.
Sox are getting their asses kicked, dude! Man, they sure do miss us!
B, dude...we won!
No way!
Cool. Did you get the win?
Well, no. Foulkie got the win.
Burger King for everyone, bitches!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, it looks like they saved your ass, yet again, dude.
Dude! That is so uncool!
I know, dude! The truth hurts. Just wait until they get'll be singing the blues in Pawtucket.
That's funny, B. I'm not the singer, you are.
Singer? Bro, he doesn't even know one Kenny Chesney song!
Listen, Len, I have to go...Dave Weathers...
Yeah, yeah...I know. Big deal. I have breakfast plans too!
Who would take you to breakfast?
Dude, he's not taking me. I'm taking him.
Wild thing. I make my heart sing.
(sighs and hangs up the phone)

Edited to add props (or apologies) to Surviving Grady and The Dugout.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Face of Red Sox Nation?

Every new baseball season there are always a new crop of ads on NESN that I usually find mildly amusing. It always tickles me to see the players doing ads the first few times you see it. Oh, by about the 1,000th time I heard Curt practicing his Boston accent or hitching a ride to "break a curse" it wasn't so amusing any longer.

I find myself chuckling this year over Wake ripping his shirt open to show a Sox t-shirt and holding up baby clothes he bought at the Yawkey Way Store, one upping Don Orsillo. I am still waiting for this year's Bob Store commercial, as last years put a smile on my face every time I saw it.

Now that being said there is a new commercial out there which has really struck a nerve with me. I've tried to ignore it all together but somehow I always seem to still catch the end of the commercial which is the worst part of all. The commercial in question is the new NESN commercial for Red Sox Nation. The one where they interview all these average Joes around Boston making comments about the Red Sox. The guys all look very average with a Sox jersey on or in fireman's gear. Then they show the women of Red Sox Nation. They're all dolled up and making comments about their beloved Sox team. So what is the problem?

Why aren't any of the women average looking wearing Red Sox gear or in uniform? I wouldn't mind if they had one young and gorgeous woman commenting but why all of them? I guess I thought that maybe NESN realized how large a proportion of Red Sox Nation were women. It irritates me that they are focusing their marketing campaign on men when we are such a large part of this baseball town. I know it is totally silly of me but when I see the Hazel Mae look alike at the end of the commercial saying "and then there's Manny being Manny", I just cringe.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A cell phone rings in the middle of the night...

(groggily) Hello?
(whispering) that you, dude?
Lenny? Why are you whispering?
Dude, they locked me in Roy Halladay's foot locker. I had to hide my cell phone in my butt...
What? Len, what are you talking about?
It's payback for today's game...they told me I need to smell the stink of a real major league pitcher. Man, I'm gonna yack soon!
It was one bad game, dude, shake it off. Look at me. Last year I was a mediocre pitcher with a mediocre cd out...this year I'm the Ace of the team. Go figure.
B, my ERA is almost EIGHT! Boomer isn't coming back and my next start is going to be against Tampa Bay...TAMPA BAY, man!
Lenny, Tampa Bay is the worst team in the league.
Yeah, but they play in a domed stadium...just like the Blue Jays....
Lenny, you didn't have a bad game because you were under a had a bad game because you suck.
Dude, I'm sorry but it's true. You're cute, but you suck. You sucked last year, you sucked in 2004, hell the only reason you have that World Series Championship ring is because I talked Theo into keeping you around. Now that I'm not there...dude, your days are numbered.
But, B...
Listen, Len, I have to go...Dave Weathers is taking me to an early breakfast...
Dave Weathers???? Bronson he's like a hundred years old.
Thirty-seven. But so what? His ERA is under four...and he has a bitchin' car!
Bronson, do I get out of Roy Halladay's foot locker? How do I get everyone to love me again???
Dude...I got my ass shipped to friggin' the hell would I know?
(sighs and hangs up the phone)

Edited to add props (or apologies) to Surviving Grady and The Dugout.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Is there anyone in the MLB who uses two hands to catch a fly ball?

This is something else that really irks me. Any of us who have played any sort of organized/coached ball know you should always use two hands when fielding the ball if you can.

As Ty Weddington (or whatever the Hell his name is) showed us the other night, when you're a showboat/lazyass/too cool studly outfielder who camps under a ball and then tries a nifty little one-handed snag, sometimes things don't exactly work out the way you'd planned.

I sit and watch games and find myself sounding like the tee-ball coach I was back in the day:
"Atta boy, Manny!" <--- because he actually DOES use two hands. Am I the only one who lets little things like this get to her? On the other hand, Manny has FINALLY hit his first HR of the season and Trot got a hit. He's my Beat the Streak player today and I now have a hot streak of an amazing THREE straight games! Woo hooo !! edit: When you run the blog's spell checker on "Weddington" it suggests a replacement of "hedonistic." Hee!

What, Me Worry?

You can't blame him. He did his job, allowing only two earned runs in eight innings. That ought to be enough to get your team a win, but in the surreal world of Tim Wakefield, it doesn't work that way.

In four starts so far this season, Wakefield has only one win to three losses. We all remember that first loss, the 7-run shellacking in four innings against Texas on that opening road trip. But his earned run average in the other two losses is 2.12. Let me say that again. In his two most recent losses, Tim Wakefield's ERA is 2.12. There are currently eight starters in the major leagues with ERAs lower than that, and they have a combined two losses in 28 starts.

Meanwhile, guess how many earned runs Wakefield had to hold the opponent to in order to get his one lousy win? I'll give you a hint: it's less than 1 and rhymes with "hero". And how many runs did his teammates score in each of his his starts? Four, one, zero, and one. It's hard to win games with that kind of offense, no matter how good the pitching is.

On the other, it's three weeks into the season and we have the best record in the American League. There is plenty of time for players to hit their stride, for the front office to fill the holes, for the coaches to work on areas of concern, for the team to learn to pick each other up. I keep reminding myself that a couple years ago when the team didn't get its act together until August, they ended up winning the World Series.

All I'm asking is that the team treat Timmy a little better. He deserves more than they've been giving him, and if they don't start picking him up, they'll have no reason to complain when the time comes when he can't pick them up anymore.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Did he say "Firetruck"?

Today, J.J. Putz gave up a single to Jason Varitek in the 8th inning of the Sox/Mariners game that scored Trot Nixon and tied the game. NESN showed the replay of Putz's reaction about three times. He watched the ball not get caught and he clearly yelled "fuck"!

Let me repeat that. NESN showed the replay of this more than once.

In the ninth, Keith Foulke got himself into a heap of trouble and was seen, on screen, swearing at himself. When he was taken out of the game and had to watch Mike Timlin let an inherited runner score for the 367th time in his career, (That's not the exact number, just an educated guess. It's completely possible Mike Timlin has only let 365 inherited runners score. I'm not a nitpicker), Foulke let loose with a few choice word. Which NESN got on video for posterity. And, yet again, NESN showed it more than once.

I am far from a prude. Any one of my blogging compatriots here will tell you that. I have been known to use a colorful word or two in my day. So my issue isn't these players out there swearing. My issue is the networks covering them showing replay after replay of the players swearing. NESN isn't the only outlet guilty of this. Fox Sports is actually a bigger offender.

Let's go back to 2003. The ALDS was one for the keeping. Down 0-2 to start the series, the Red Sox forced a game five in Oakland against the A's. At various times throughout the game, Miguel Tejada could be heard using the most popular 12 letter swear in America. Starts with a 'mother' ends with a...well, you get the idea. Fox had the field miked and picked up Tejada's rants every time he started. Not once did they try to mask it and it, apparently, never occurred to anyone to shut off the microphones. Ironically, after Derek Lowe caught Terrence Long looking to clinch the win, he did his patented thigh slap and Tejada lost his mind. He was in the A's clubhouse after the game, literally crying, complaining "Derek Lowe is going to be paid back for that sign." He also went on about how his children were at that game and had to see him do that.

I'm sure the irony of Tejada's complaints was completely lost on him.

My favorite instance of television practically glorifying the swearing of baseball players, came in July of 2004. Red Sox fans refer to it as "THE game that changed it all". It is, of course, 'the fight' game. The game that sprouted the infamous ARod nickname "Dora" (soon to be replaced by "Slappy", but that's a story for another day). The long and short of it is that Bronson Arroyo hit ARod, ARod wasn't happy about it and told Mr. Arroyo so. Jason Varitek took it upon himself to walk Mr. Rod to first base, and they exchanged pleasantries. Urban legend has Tek saying something snarky to ARod (he claims he told him "in choice words" to take first base) which led Dora to let loose with the "Bring it on, -insert twelve letter swear word- , bring it on!" tirade that became so famous.

Which, as we all know, Mr. Tek did. And then some. And we saw this exchange on Fox, over and over and over again.

I know there are worse transgressions taking place in MLB these days, but I still have a point. The media wonders why we have these athletes with attitude. They wonder why there so many Albert Belles and so few Bill Muellers...and I think they all just need to take a look in the mirror to see why that is. Just stop being so hypocritical, that's all I ask.

And, yes, I see the irony in my calling THEM hypocrites. And I'm perfectly fine with that.

Mr. Usher, I Have a Complaint

At the beginning of each game, the Fenway Park announcer and the electronic scoreboard announce a special security hotline that fans can call from their cell phones to report someone who is interfering with their enjoyment of the game. That's what they say, "If someone is interfering with your enjoyment of the game, call the Fenway Park security hotline," or something very close to that.

So picture, if you will, the following scenario. I'm at last Saturday's game vs. the Mariners, it's the bottom of the second, no score, and Seattle's Joel Piñeiro has loaded the bases with nobody out. And the crowd goes wild, until this happens:

  • Alex Gonzalez strikes out looking.
  • Adam Stern strikes out swinging.
  • Alex Cora grounds out to second.
Really, nobody could have blamed me at that moment if I had called that special security hotline. "Hello, Fenway Park security hotline? Joel Piñeiro is interfering with my enjoyment of the game!" Click.

Later I asked my game companion and blog-mate, Beazer, if she thought anyone had ever made such a call to the special security hotline. We laughed about it at the time, but in retrospect there were actually several moments throughout the afternoon that I considered to be very good reasons to make that call. Among them:

  • The sexist pig sitting next to me who insisted that Wily Mo Peña's ground rule double (the one that hit the warning track before bouncing into the bullpen) was really a home run. He stuck to his story despite my patient and repeated explanations to the contrary, right up until the man in front of him said the same thing. Excuse me, but did he not notice that I was keeping a meticulous scorecard while the yahoo in front of him was acting like an adolescent with his friends?

  • Josh Bard and his two passed balls in the top of the third.

  • The Johnny Damon butt boy behind us who wouldn't stop pontificating about how "real fans" won't boo Damon when he returns to Fenway as a Yankee. Um, yes, we will. He is no longer Johnny Damon; he is Judas Demon.

  • Everyone who just had to get up and go to the concession stands every stinkin' time the Red Sox were at bat. Hello, people, are you paying absolutely no attention to the game?

  • Adam Stern, 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. That's what you get for playing during Passover, you heathen.

  • The "fan" who triumphantly started throwing around a beach ball the size of Neptune, designed to obstruct the view of the greatest possible number of people. It took seven seconds for it to drift over about a few sections, and then I never saw it again, which was justice.

  • Carl Everett. Just because.
On the other hand, Tim Wakefield did manage to keep us in the game, I didn't spill my beer even once, and the weather was a sunny 65° at game time. And even if it weren't, a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day almost anywhere else.

Friday, April 14, 2006

What If Baseball Games Were Scored Like Diving or Ski Jumping?

Here's the line score from last night's game:


Now suppose each team's highest and lowest scoring innings are thrown out. That would give us:


That would be one way around Matt Clement's tendency to choose one inning per game in which to implode.

How NOT to Heckle

Let's say you have some money burning a hole in your pocket. Then let's say you spend that money on a baseball ticket. If you go that far, you're probably going to want to actually go to the game.

But then what? What to do once you're actually sitting in a major league baseball stadium?

There really are only three options:

  1. Watch the game
  2. Drink heavily (usually accompanied by eating heavily)
  3. Heckle. Doesn't matter who. The players, the umps, the coaches or managers...just pick a victim and stick to it.

The first two are no-brainers. Any run of the mill fan can become good at them. But number three? Ah, there are some rules you should follow if you want to come across as a first-rate heckler and not some know-nothing, baseball heckling virgin.

So let's go over some things you shouldn't say while heckling, lest you want to sound ridiculous.

"Throw Strikes!"

This is obviously directed at the pitcher. Now, if the pitcher needs you to tell him to 'throw strikes', he shouldn't be out there in the first place, should he? The only good part about hearing the 'throw strikes' heckle is the inevitable response from another fan who is sick of your stupid ranting - "Why didn't HE think of that?".

"You're a bum (insert name of former MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, Cy Young winner here) !"*

Through 2005, Manny Ramirez had a career batting average of .314, over 1400 rbi, over 1900 hits, scored almost 1200 runs and had an on base percentage of .409. He is not a bum. He is a pain in the ass who could make a little old schoolmarm swear like a sailor when he starts his "Manny being Manny"crap, but he is not a bum. Yelling "You're a bum, Manny" because he strikes out against a pitcher who is striking everyone out during the second week of the season makes you look like a horse's ass.

Besides, Manny can't hear you. And if he could, he'd just smile and wave like those penguins in "Madagascar".

"Yankees Suck!"

Wait...that's always a good one. At least when the Yankees are playing your team. Or if a Yankees fan does something stupid like, you know, look at you.

"You should have had that!"

"No shit? Really? Was I supposed to catch that? Why don't they teach us these things in practice?"

And, the red-headed cousin of "You should have had that", "What were you swinging at?".

If you don't know what he's swinging at, I'm pretty sure you're at the wrong sporting event.

Be creative people. If you have to be an ass at the game, make it original. Give us something to remember you by after we get security to kick your drunk, ignorant, never played a day of baseball but think you can do better than the professionals, ass out of the park.

* Even Alex Rodriguez is NOT a bum. He's a bush league punk who only cares about padding his stats and couldn't care less what the rest of his team is doing...but by no means is he a 'bum'.