Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In other news, the Indians have racist hats. Discuss


We realize that you're losing just because we haven't been blogging. BLOG IN YOUR FACE NOW.

Ahem. We don't actually believe that. (Really.) (Not really.)

Let's just say, though, that it's awfully early in the season for us to be turning away from the Sox game in order to watch a show on Animal Planet about killer catfish.*

And no, mainstream media, we're not panicking; we know the sky is not falling; we're not flying paper airplanes into Theo Epstein's office with directives on who he should trade, where, for what bag of baseballs. We're actually quite tired of the narrative that Red Sox fans are freaking out that the season is over before it's even a week old. The truth is that none of us are panicking. What we are? Is not having fun yet.

Hang on a second. The killer catfish has a name. It's called "The Goonch." Okay, back.

Perhaps this is the problem with the amount of spring coverage we get here at the molten core of Planet Red Sox. The early games in March took the very edge off our baseball jones, allowed us to make all our "crack of the bat, roar of the crowd" comments and used up our relevant Bart Giamatti quotes. We got acclimated to the joy of having baseball back on tv with Jerry Remy pontificating in our ears. And now we want winning. Or at the very least, we'd like to see some quality baseball instead of the Keystone Kops version. And for the time being, the Red Sox are as bad at baseball as... as... as we are at finishing sentences. Put another way, Dan Shaughnessy is to journalism as... well, okay, maybe that's unfair to the team.

We believe this team will sort itself out. In the big picture, these 6 losses are a small percentage of the season as a whole. In the present, however, they're 100% of our baseball season, and that's just less fun than a guy sitting on a wet rock, waiting for a killer catfish to come get him.

That's right, Red Sox! We have betrayed you for a...catfish hunter!

Okay, now that we've reached the bottom of the pun barrel, will they start winning games?

A game?

An inning?

An at-bat?

...excuse us, we have to go get umbrellas. That piece of sky up there looks awfully loose.

*This show is called River Monsters, and it appears to be the love child of Charlie Moore Outdoors and No Reservations. So, you know, season pass!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

This is Not the Opening Day Post You're Looking For

No, really, we had an entire AL East preview post planned--err, by "planned," we mean that we talked about it all the time and cracked ourselves up doing so, but never quite got around to writing anything down--but this MLB Mancave Fancave Frat Boy Extravaganza Real World Reunion Tour 2011 distracted us from our plans. Heck, it distracted us from baking (for our men) while wearing heels and pearls and cleaning (for our men) while rocking a beehive and loving pink (for our men) and putting on makeup (for our men) and all the other stereotypically girly things MLB apparently thinks we spend all of our time doing.* Be assured, though, that we'll at least share the Red Sox and Yankees sections of the post, and hopefully sooner rather than later. Before the All Star Break at the very least.

And, hey, we'll admit that we basically mocked the initial contest concept--who could watch all the baseball? how would that person have time to, you know, shower? or actually physically go out to the ballpark to watch a game?--and neither of us entered. However, we know that at least one female fan did. So it's not like there weren't any female contestants from which to choose.** We didn't sit down and watch all of the video submissions, so we have no way to judge whether or not the ones that won were the best. We did watch the clips from the Yankees fan's submission that are online, though, and let's just say we were decidedly whelmed. We're pretty sure that MLB saw all the memorabilia he has and thought "KA-CHING, we have a winner. Oh, hey, and he probably does drunken impressions at the bar--just like us!" (No, we're not linking. We don't want to give them the traffic.)

But let's just say there weren't any "qualified"--quotes used more because the qualifications were maddeningly vague from the start of the contest than for the sarcasm they may imply--female contestants. It's possible. That doesn't mean that MLB needs to market this entire thing as a glorified mini-frathouse, complete with Z100's Greg T the Frat Boy. That doesn't mean that they need to interview an underwear model to celebrate Opening Day; we'd argue that even if the VS model in question is a hardcore baseball fan, that advertising the event as "interviews with an underwear model" rather than "interviews with this totally hardcore baseball fan who, by the way, happens to be a VS model" basically tells that MLB is pretty damned sure that their audience is male, straight, and into underwear models. When dealing with a PR-based initiative--which the Mancave surely is, wrapped up in Real World nostalgia and Jersey Shore mystique--perception is a huge part of the equation.

And, to a female fan right now, the perception is that MLB either doesn't care or doesn't recognize that female fans make up about 45% of their demographic. That's pretty damned close to half, or so we hear; we're girls, doncha know, which means we don't understand the complicated math.***

It's just, look, we're constantly being asked if we understand the infield fly rule, no matter how many times we're the ones in our section who can tell you the name and scouting report of that kid they just called up from Portland. We're the ones buying kids' player tees because the men's ones don't fit--and we're lucky because we're both shorter than Dustin Pedroia and can fit into kids' t-shirts, even if they don't particularly fit our shapes properly--and we don't want to wear sparkles or bangles or pink or PINK. And while it's nice to be told by the grandfatherly type two seats over that he was "relieved" when we "proved our knowledge" because he "groaned" when he saw us coming to sit near him because we "look like teenage girls," well. It's actually not. And we'd really like to think that MLB the Giant [redacted] Entity thinks better of us than that guy, you know? We'd like to think that maybe the fact that we buy tickets and the Extra Innings package and scorebooks and baseball cards might make our fandom just the teensiest bit important. The sparkles and the bangles and the pink and the PINK really should've been a clue.

Heck, and this is just off the top of our heads here so please bear with us on this, but if they want to start things out by bringing a beautiful woman into the Mancave, why not invite Alyssa Milano? We hear she's definitely into baseball.

*Please note that we mean no disrespect to anyone who does any of these things--we do some of them ourselves!--because all of these things are awesome too. Though as neither of us currently has a man, per se, we're doing them for ourselves. Because who doesn't love a delicious Iraqi cardamom whole wheat cookie? Or a really great pair of heels?

**We're not even going into the fact that both winners are white-seeming dudes who root for AL East teams. But, you know, both winners are seemingly white dudes who root for AL East teams.

***Actually, math isn't our strong suit. But that's because we're liberal arts majors, not because we're women.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Leslie Knope for President & Other Signs of Spring

Jim Leyland ruined all our "best shape of our lives" jokes. In fact, he ruined all of the "best shape of his/her life" jokes. Ever. Normally, that sort of thing would get him cult hero status in Casa de Respect the Tek, but the way he went about it was disturbing and offensive enough to kill that movement before it could get started. We're still going to keep calling him "Crazy Old Jim Leyland, Hmmm..." in our best Gaston voices though. Because we can.

But Camp Tuck is in full effect, Lil Papi's taken his cuts and high-fived his newest teammate, and it even feels like spring here in Boston for a couple of hours. We're ready for baseball season (and not at all writing this to step away from KaberleKaberle 2011: The Electric Trade Dance Boogaloo*). We're ready for Fenway Park, and overpriced beerwater; we're ready to stand up to see if that ball's going out, only to sit down again when it lands anticlimactically in an outfielder's glove.

We're so ready for baseball, in fact, that a few weeks ago, we bussed it down to Enemy Territory (aka Manhattan) to listen to people way smarter than us talk about baseball. Yes, that's right, we want to Baseball Prospectus's SABR Day event at Foley's. And we were ready to write about it that night, only we had a little too much to drink. And then we were ready to talk about it the next day, only we had to ride a bus all day, which required the taking of all the Dramamine in the land. And then we had to watch the Bruins. Or Parks & Recreation. Or we had to re-watch Parks & Recreation again and again during the intermissions of Bruins games.*

Of course, enough time has now passed that a) no one really wants to our recap anymore and b) we've forgotten most of the truly awesome stuff we were going to tell you. Still, here are a couple of tidbits too amazing to sweep under the rug just because we're lazy and also hockey fans and viewers of brilliant situational comedy.

1. There is nothing quite like the groan of a entire room of baseball geeks--including many a Mets fan!--at the mere mention of Jeff Francoeur's name. Except maybe the groan of an entire room of baseball geeks when a panel member dares to mention the RBI or the Golden Glove in trying to convince us all that Dale Murphy should be in the Hall of Fame.

2. We are possibly living in a golden--nay, chocolate wrapped in gold foil--age of baseball-related facial hair. Dennis Sheehan was rocking a killer handlebar during his discussion of the drool-worthy Kansas City system and baseball scouting in general. Jay Jaffe could give Ron Swanson a run for his money.

3. You just can't shout down a tech geek who wants to know what mainframe PitchFX runs on, no matter how much you want to ask about what PitchFX can do.

4. However, we did learn that FieldFX--which is designed to track everything that moves on a baseball field--is still in the works, and when it comes out the data will be made available to those of us who don't currently have our dream jobs in baseball ops.We're already planning a brand new website dedicated to tracking umpires and manager tantrums based on this new technology. How far off Country Joe West can Jim Leyland bounce? We may soon be able to calculate this figure to within 1/18th of an inch.

5. Sometimes, a player's mom will write a letter to the author of one of the approximately 70 billion out there prospect lists because she thinks her precious son should've been ranked higher. Have you seen his fastball?

6. The Mets should be a valid major league organization once again in 2023. Book it.

We also experienced a minor baseball miracle during the post-event pre-leaving-the-bar portion of the day, while mingling and staring at all the cool sports paraphernalia hanging on the walls of the bar. We stood around chatting about baseball with Mets fans, a Phillies phan, and a couple of Yankees fans, and no one lost a limb. Not even a pinkie finger. It was like Christmas, only with 100% less frankincense and myrrh!

Sso that got us through the winter and now that it's spring (sort of! not really!) we're ready to watch us some baseballl, with stats in our head and crazy Carl Crawford love in our hearts, with spreadsheets to the left, beer to the right, and a Captain Fenway hoodie keeping us warm on those oh-my-god, it's-still-April nights. And we're ready to tell you what we see. We're gonna do this blog up right. Because spring is all about new beginnings, blah blah cliche blah. And, besides, have you seen us? We're in the best shape of our lives.***

*We would officially like to admit that we are bummed to lose both Stu and Wheels, even if these trades do make the team better in aggregate.

**No, seriously, Parks & Recreation. We can't recommend this show highly enough. DVR it if your favorite sports team is playing that night: Ken Tremendous would totally understand.

***Do not test us on this; we just baked a cookie the size of home plate.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In non-Doctober news

Six for our Sox:

1. Let the record show that on Sunday, October 3, 2010, we ran into the following people wandering the concourse at Fenway before the game: Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Josh Reddick, Kevin Youkilis, Robert Coello, AJ Burnett, Larry Lucchino, Rich Hill, Mark Teixeira, Lance Berkman. Let the record also show that we neither committed physical harm on the Yankees nor embarrassed ourselves unduly around the Red Sox. Let the record further show that Derek Jeter wearing a sports jacket and rolling a small suitcase behind him looks exactly like Derek Jeter wearing a sports jacket and rolling a small suitcase behind him would look like.

2. Sunday's game was the best season-ender we could've hoped for in a non-playoff season (non-perfect game &/or no-hitter &/or hitting for the cycle division). First, the home nine won--and, in doing so, thwarted the Yankees' division hopes. Playing spoiler! Good times! Second, we got to watch Jennifer's brother-in-law look slack-jawed and incredulous over Jorge Posada's insane decision to throw to second with a runner on third--thus allowing the runner to score when he, inevitably,* failed to catch the baserunner stealing--a move we haven't seen work outside short season ball. Third, Jedediah Jethro Lowrie, y'all. We even got to watch John Lackey be mostly quite good at that pitching thing the Red Sox pay him so much to do, and we got to standing O our blogsake multiple times. There were no tears, except for the ones we were forced to cry because it was so frickin' cold.

3. If JD Drew decides to retire once his contract expires next year--hey, he did bring up the possibility--and he actually makes the decision before the end of the season,** the Red Sox probably won't hold a "Thanks, JD" night. Therefore, we propose that those of us chilling in the Mom's-basement-o-sphere hold our own such event. T-shirts, posters, people who appreciate what a great ballplayer JD is, all getting together to say thanks while drinking overpriced beers and nachos. Because JD Drew is several kinds of awesome, no matter what Bill Simmons says, and he deserves a goofy video montage as much as anyone.

4. We wish Adrian Beltre and his family the best--we're singing "Happy Birthday, young Beltre child" right now--but we wish we could've watched him play just one more time with the Red Sox. Which obviously means that Theo needs to get started on re-signing him yesterday.

5. We're rooting for the San Francisco Giants*** this postseason. Consider this our official apology to any lifelong SF Giants fans whose team we've just jinxed. (We have an entire hierarchy of rooting interests after this one, but the Giants are the cart we're hitching our metaphorical horses to. You can probably guess who happens to be at the very bottom of the hierarchy, in a big box marked "DANGER: CONTAINS EXTREMELY LARGE PLAQUE.")

5. We kept saying (and saying, and saying) that we weren't going to be too upset if/when the Red Sox were officially eliminated from postseason contention. "The injuries," we'd remind ourselves. "We're going to honestly be thrilled with a winning season, given that our team this year was comprised of Papi, Beltre, and shrubbery." But under all that swagger, we had a niggling fear that we'd become that which we've long disdained: the fan who Expects the Postseason and Considers Anything Less Than That Abject Failure and a Reason To Fire &/or Trade Everyone. Finally, it happened. The Red Sox were eliminated. And the world didn't end. We were sad, yes, and disappointed that we're not getting bonus baseball this year. But we're not angry, or irrationally upset, or any of that. We're proud--in that weird way fans can be proud of professional athletes--of this crazy, injured, random team of ours.

Although, we're a little sad that we'll never get a job with WEEI.

*We mock because the Red Sox had Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek catching this year, if you know what we mean.

**Because, c'mon, the only reason Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield aren't getting "Thanks for Gloving A-Rod in the Face" and "Thanks for Getting Us Out Of a Pickle When Hideki Matsui Meandered Over to Third Base That Time" nights, respectively, is that both want to play next season. We're not getting into whether or not they actually will--there are emotions involved, damn it, and emotions cloud objectivity--but there's obviously a chance neither will be dressing for the Sox come April.

***We actually fell for this team and their Tim Lincecum and their Buster Posey way back at the beginning of the season. (Hell, the fall started last season, if we're going to be honest, with Jonathan Sanchez's no-no and Pablo Sandoval's Kung Fu Panda action and, yes, Tim Lincecum's nasty, beautiful change-up.) Now, of course, we're stuck pinning our hopes to Pat Burrell.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

These are, in fact, your father's Red Sox*

Maybe next year? Is that what we're supposed to say after two painful losses to that irritating team down south?**

It's weird. We're pessimists by nature--the glass is always half-empty, and the water's always lukewarm with that funky chemical aftertaste--but we haven't quite lost hope this season. Maybe because it's, you know, not mathematically over. Maybe because we were there when the Mets screwed things up last year. And the year before that, etc., etc. And we watched from afar as the Colorado Rockies found Je--uhh--made their amazing run in 2007. We've got approximately a month of baseball left, and we're not about to start watching preseason football.

So it's time to give up on the tired "every season in which the Red Sox fail to make the postseason is, post hoc ergo procter hoc, a capital-F Failure" meme. If life in the big, bad AL East continues apace--hell, if the Matuszes and the Morrowses and the Wieterses and the Sniders of the world continue to improve, it could theoretically get even more competitive up here in the sports world's scariest division of all time***--we could see more seasons just like this. The same team won't be left playing golf in October every season, but when you have three or more legitimate World Series contenders in the same division, well...

Shit happens.

Look, between that glorious day when the Red Sox fielded their actual roster (oh, Opening Day, a time of joy and sunshine and hope) and the present, the Red Sox have lost their MVP-caliber first and second basemen, as well as 2/3 of their opening day outfield. They're down fifteen catchers and seventy-four Jonathan Van Everys. Hideki Okajima, Scott Atchison, Manny Delcarmen,**** and a motley cast of clowns have been allowed to pitch in actual games. Major league games, against other major league teams. The Red Sox are also on pace to win about 90 games.

Think about that, then get back to us about this being a lost season. A bridge year. Run prevention, ha ha ha.

Sure, the Red Sox face long odds against making the playoffs. We're not math people--liberal arts majors FTW!--but we're pretty sure the Red Sox need to win 79 of their remaining 31 games, while the Yankees and (Devil) Rays only have to tread water (literally: they're not even obligated to play out the remainder of their games, so they're all getting into the hot tub). But that doesn't we should consider the season a waste, or stop watching and rooting for our team. There's a difference, we think, between facing up to the odds and the reality behind them--the Sox lost too many games to bottom-dweller teams, and lost too many players to supremely freakish injuries--and giving up, full-stop, on the season.

This is a good team. One of the best in baseball. There's lots of fun left to be had.

  1. Take bets on how many more head taps, exactly, it'll take for Adrian Beltre to really go medieval on Victor Martinez. For a team that has "no star power" he's mighty fun to watch: from the defense to those one-kneed proposal home runs he's fond of hitting. The dude may not have a Beard of Truth or Dreads of Destruction, but otherwise he's definitely our idea of star power: great baseball skills, fun personality, and a sideline in wacky brotherly dugout hijinks. We're bummed that he'll likely be playing for a West Coast team next year.
  2. Dance to the beat of "The Kids Are All Right." Ryan Kalish, Felix Doubront, and whoever ends up on the roster next. We're hoping for a Josh Reddick sighting as early as tomorrow. Now we have all of September to give all the rooks crazy new nicknames. Can we do better than Yamaico "Me Feel So Young" Navarro? The answer is yes. We hope.
  3. Clap if you believe in Jed Lowrie. C'mon, you were starting to think that he was just a figment of our collective imaginations, too.
  4. Write that Made for TV movie you've been talking about writing lo these many years. Base it on the lives and careers of Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava. Shop it around only to have execs tell you it's too farfetched to be believable and that maybe you should head over to Disney with this one.
  5. Invent a sandwich in Terry Francona's honor. No, wait, that's a bad idea--it would probably involve ham that had been left out too long. And by ham, we mean starting pitchers. (We kid, Tito, we kid. But we have wondered if Leo DiCaprio inceptioned you into believing you manage in the National League.)

The Red Sox are still mathematically in things, and if this season has reinforced any of the many lessons we've learned in our time as baseball fans it's that sometimes? Athletes get hurt. Ballplayers underperform. Pitchers throw meatballs right down the middle of the plate, and batters swing through a pitch that's sitting right there in their sweetspot. Baseball is unpredictable. As Kevin Garnett would yell, eyes bugging out of his head, "anything is possible."

In the meantime, why not relax with a nice cold beverage and enjoy what's left of the Red Sox season? Maybe it'll end on October 2. Maybe they'll make one of those miracle runs we'll all talk about for years to come. Either way, it's baseball. And we like baseball.

*And your father didn't whine about it on Twitter, so suck it up, punk!

**Our plan: if the Rays can't scam the city into building them a new park, they should relocate. To Montreal.

**The obligatory "in any other division" disclaimer: in any other division, they'd be no further out than 2 games (and, it could be posited, based on their record vs., say, the NL West, that they'd have more wins and ergo be in first place in that division, blah blah blah conjecture-cakes). But, of course, they're not in any other division. We're not going to go all George Steinbrenner on you and start railing against a tough division our team, in part, helped create, but the facts are facts. The Yankees and Rays are both projected to win close to 100 games. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap. (But not to the Orioles, not anytime soon.)

***Bye, Manny in the Del! We'll probably miss the idea of you--you're from Boston!--more than actual you--you can't throw strikes and give up too many home runs!--but you were a part of a championship season and no one will ever be able to take that away from you. Or us. Maybe now you'll be able to put "Blame it on the Rain" behind you and live up to your potential.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We're not here to talk nonsense to Bob Loblaw

Sometimes, Twitter lets you follow dramatic news or intricate political stories as they break. Sometimes, you just get bored sportswriters during rain delays. Obviously, we prefer the latter.

And so it was that Joe Haggerty brought this to our attention:
It's time to think about how to store Red Sox players safely over the offseason.

Haggs suggests bubblewrap, a classic choice. We're sure that armed guards and giant cotton balls have also been considered. But by investing literally minutes of deep thought in this, we've come up with an even better plan: Comas.

Not just any comas, protective comas! You know, the kind that doctors on medical TV shows put patients into while they're busy with A) their romantic entanglements, B) their daddy issues, or C) their thoroughly unbelievable hair? Well, we're not sure they're real, but then we never thought Adrian Beltre could break a man's bones with an I-Dream-of-Jeannie-esque blink. And with Dustin "I'm Not A Midget, I Just Play One On TV" Pedroia back in the boot, well, it's time for a surreal conclusion to a surreal season.

Of course, once we came up with this idea, our minds went immediately to Dr. Gregory House, MD. TV's least ethical doctor is an excellent candidate for practicing nonconsensual sports medicine. Just picture House administering a "routine check-up" to one player at a time, slipping 'em a "B-12 shot"* and then tucking them in for a long winter's nap. Sure, some players might put up more of a fight than others--

PAPELBON: I can't be in no coma, man, I got ducks to shoot!
HOUSE: Hold still, I'm pretty sure you have vasculitis!
PAPELBON: Get that needle away from my booty!

[Cue chase scene set to the tune of Yackety Sax]

--But in the end, we think Theo Epstein would agree: nobody puts patients in comas like House, and comas are definitely the way to go. That way, nobody strains a muscle in the winter while golfing or inhaling a pumpkin pie. Everyone will show up healthy to spring training!

And if anyone sues for malpractice, our lawyer, Bob Loblaw, is on retainer. And he's got a blog, so he must be smart.

*Not one of Roger Clemens's B-12s, and we swear that's all we have to say on that subject.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Limping off the DL.

SCOREBOARD: "Last year, JD Drew ranked fourth out of all AL outfielders with a .911 OPS"

GUY BEHIND US: "Does anyone even know what OPS is?"
GUY: "RIght, so what is it?"
GUY: "OPS, dude, it says OPS."
FRIEND: "Well, it's OBS."
GUY: "Fine, OBS, OPS, whatever. But what does it mean? You claim you know, so tell me."
FRIEND: "OBS means...on-base percentage."
GUY: "Is 900 good?"

US, REFRAINING FROM TURNING AROUND AND SAYING THIS TO THESE FINE GENTLEMEN, AND INSTEAD JUST LAUGHING BETWEEN OURSELVES: "Nah, man, a 900 OBS is just walking and clogging up the basepaths. Everyone knows JD Drew's a baseclogging jerk who doesn't care about baseball. Now, 900 RBI and a dirty cap, on the other hand..."

Last night, we went to a baseball game. It'd been a while--Futures at Fenway was our last attempt, and the skies opened and poured down on us and, lo, we were soaked to the bone and the poor kids from Salem had to take a long busride back home without playing a single inning on the hallowed grounds--and we were getting antsy. But things worked out in our favor, and by 5:00 we were pre-gaming at McGreevey's.* A couple of really weak drinks and an inning or two of the LLWS, and we were on our way.

We're not going to get into an intensive play-by-play here--either you watched the game, or you didn't, and there are plenty of places on the internet to get that kind of information--but we figured, hey, what better way to get off the DL and into the game than by talking about a game we actually attended? Much better than bitching about Sullivan's Tire commercials.

And, while we're profoundly not thrilled about the injury parade,** how cool is it to see kids we know from Sea Dogs and Spinners teams past playing for the big team? How awesome is it to look up and see Ryan Kalish on second base or Yamaico Navarro fielding a grounder? We admit it. We cheered for those guys harder than we cheered for almost anyone else. The kids, y'all. They're kind of all right.

Even Daisuke Matsusaka impressed us. Maybe we were still slightly tipsy, but he seems to be working faster and more authoritatively. Sure, he had that one inning where it seemed like everything was hit hard, but for most of the game he kept a really good hitting team off balance and off the basepaths. We approve of this guy. This guy didn't drive us back to the bar once.

Of course, this being our 2010 Red Sox, things weren't easy. As we all know, the game ended up tied through nine, and we had ourselves a little bonus baseball. We dashed to the ladies' after the home nine failed to score in the tenth, then set up in standing room behind home plate for the eleventh. (Papelbon works slowly enough that we really only missed one batter. True story.) A nearby usher started talking about the fact that he really thought Bard should've stayed in for another inning. Another guy looked like he was about to throw up. Someone in another section started the wave.

The wave. Top of the eleventh. Heart of the order up and a closer who had imploded the last time he faced this very opponent on the mound. What better time to stand up and down and lift your hands in the air like you just don't care? Not like there's anything happening in the game or--

--Jed Lowrie drops a routine pop-up in foul territory, and everyone in our section moans and grabs their hearts--


As we stood there, pounding our chests and hoping we'd remember to breathe at some point, Papelbon struck John Buck out. And suddenly the air seemed more oxygenated. We were going to be okay.

Plus: "now that Lowrie kid can redeem himself," someone said. "He has to."


GUY: "But I thought he stole third."
FRIEND: "Nah, man, he had to go back because the batter swung. You can't steal a base if the batter swings the bat."

If there's one thing we enjoy, it's the film Overboard, starring Goldie Hawn and--

Okay, strike that, if there's one thing we enjoy, it's watching Red Sox players embrace each other at home plate. If there's two things we enjoy, it's walking out of Fenway Park singing.

Overboard would make the top five, though.

*Look, we'd seen Friday's game. We figured hard liquor might be key to our enjoyment of Saturday's game.

**We blame Gary Bettman. As every hockey fan out there knows, there's pretty much nothing out there that you can't blame him for. In this case, though, we even have a reason. Bettman brought us the Winter Classic, the Winter Classic brought the Bruins to Fenway, the Bruins brought their broken-itis to Fenway, and the Red Sox all fell down

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kevin Millar begs to differ.

Nothing gets us all riled up and angry like a bad sports analogy or cliche run amok.* Maybe those of you who follow our twitter feed have noticed us @broadcaster'ing whenever the NESN Sports Desk folks tell us that "the Flyers wanted it more" or that "momentum momentum momentum."** Well, we tweet because the TV finally stopped listening to us when we told it that it was being ridiculous.

In the last 24 hours, we've noticed a disturbing trend on the internets: people actually comparing the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers to the 2004 Red Sox. Yes, our 2004 Red Sox. The Idiots. "Don't let us win tonight." The Steal. People have had the gall to compare Carrot Top and his Merry Band of Diving Mustachioed Flyers to Sir Curtis Montague Schilling And His Right Esteemed Sock Monkeys. As our ex-roommate's third cousin would say, "that shit ain't right."

We know all of you out there in loyal-reader-land understand why the 2010 Flyers are in no way analogous to the 2004 Red Sox, but for any random souls who have stumbled upon our humble blog when they were looking for Respect the Ted: A Blog about Ted from Scrubs, well, we've prepared a handy-dandy list. With pie charts. Because who doesn't love a good pie chart?***

Reason #1: No Aaron Fuckin' Boone.

In 2003, the Red Sox were defeated by the Evil Sorcerer Boone in what has largely become known as The Shot That Launched A Thousand Bucky Dent Flashbacks*. In 2004, the Red Sox staged an epic comeback by stealing a base, hitting a home run, and breaking the Mariano Bot for a couple of innings.

The 2009 Bruins did not do anything to make Flyers fans gaze longingly at whatever Philadelphia's version of the Tobin Bridge happens to be. The 2010 Flyers have not actually completed an epic comeback, at press time, and the 2010 Bruins do not feature an ageless robot who throws a cutter.

Reason #2: No ghosts.

In 2004, Yankees fans were known to dress up as the ghost of a long-dead fat slugger. This was mostly in an attempt to hide the fact that they'd split their pants at the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet down the street from the Stadium, but also referred to an unfortunate incident in which Red Sox ownership traded--well, you know the story. Let's not rehash it here.

Bruins fans in 2010 do not dress up as the ghost of...well, any player traded from the Flyers to the Bruins. No, we're not going to do any research to find out who that might be. You know why? Because if it was in any way equivalent to Babe "George Herman" Ruth, we would already have heard of it. The only ghosts involved in this series are those of Marco Sturm's slaughtered tendons.

Reason #3: 1918.

Before 2004, the Red Sox had not won the World Series since 1918. Maybe you recall those charming, sing-song, "19-18" chants the Yankees faithful used to serenade us with (it's like Montreal's "Ole Ole" song, only completely different!). The Yankees had won 17 billion World Championships between 1918 and 2004, approximately 1.4 million per season.

Before 2010, the Flyers had not won the Stanley Cup since 1975. The Bruins? 1972. So, not a Yankees/Red Sox type dynamic at all. By our calendars, it's a lot more like the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles.

Hey, the team colors even match up, so we must be right!

Reason #4: Not enough bad blood.

We weren't alive during those 1970s years we just mentioned. So we're not really sure who Bobby Orr would have considered his archnemesis at the time. We'll stipulate that the Big Bad Bruins and the Broad Street Bullies were enemies. Bitter enemies with big hair. Fine. But What about the eighties, and nineties? We're reasonably sure we remember those decades--we have the peasant blouses to prove it--and we don't remember any Bruins and Flyers rivalry lighting up our radar screen.

Oh, we hate the Flyers, don't get us wrong, but not nearly enough to call them our rivals. It's just not like that. Flyers and Bruins fans don't fight in the street--and these are sports fans from Boston and Philly; it's not like they need anything bigger than a hamburger bun to fight over. The Habs, now? Give us the Habs and we'll show you our hate.

Reason #5: Instant karma is not gonna get you.

There are people out there wondering if the Bruins' possible case of the chokesies is karma's way of punishing us for the Red Sox' 2004 miracle. These people are clearly not scholars of sports mojo like ourselves. You know, if the real world worked that way, it would be colossally unfair to the athletes--to say nothing of the fans that root for different towns in different sports (here's looking at you, Connecticut, with your weird combinations and your lack of Whale). But let's forget about justice and look at the logic of it. If karma really has nothing better to do than balance Boston's sports luck, then what happened in the 1950s and 60s when the Red Sox were bottom of the barrel? It's not like the Celtics spent those decades winning all the--

Oh, snap! Karma!

Uh...we'll get you that pie chart right after we go to Calcutta to work with the poor.

*Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

**Which reminds us: are we the only people left in the world who a) remember Joementum and b) use it to describe the opposite of forward momentum on a semi-regular basis? Inquiring minds want to know!

***Mmmm, pie. /Homer Simpson

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pessimism: it's what's for dinner!

In the grand tradition of the MLB Post-Season on Fox, we have compiled Seven Keys to the Game for the Bruins going into the pivotal game 7 that should've never come to pass:

1. Shoot the puck
2. Score goals
3. Don't let the Flyers score goals
4. Stop taking stupid penalties
5. Hit Mike Richards
6. Score even more goals
7. Don't let it go back to Fenway

Look, we may not always have had faith that the Bruins would make it to the playoffs, but now that they're here we want them to win this series.* And then we want them to beat the Habs. And the Sharkhawks. And we want that shiny, shiny Cup. We really don't think that's too much to ask.

Especially since the Red Sox are currently doing their upmost to make us cling to hockey season for as long as humanly possible, what with their losing and their getting hurt and their letting outfielders pitch because their pitchers can't and did we mention their getting swept by the Orioles. Sure, there have been bright moments: the midget's taken to wearing tall socks more frequently, which make him look even more like a member of the Lollipop Guild than he normally does, and Jonny Lester remembered how that whole pitching thing works. Tek's OPSing 1.287, which is just a crazy video game number. JD Drew still thinks his strike zone is superior to any umpire's. Oh, and we've decided to call Marco Scutaro Scoots McGoots. It's fun to say! You should try it!

We've also been busy coming up with our own advanced pitching metrics. There's the standard quality start, of course, but even better is the wicked quality (WQ) start: 7IP, 2 or fewer ER, less than 4 wild pitches and two hit batsmen. And the WTF start, which is what Dice-K did last night.** We're still working on the math part, but we're sure these are going to be a hit with the BP crowd!

We're hoping to get back into the whole blogging groove now that we're done with this season's mandatory period of going to ballgames with our mothers (no, really, that's what we've been doing since Blogapalooza***), but we're over making promises of that sort. We'll blog when we remember to, and then we'll forget for a while, and then we'll think that blogging is jinxy before we remember that it's not blogging that's a jinx. It'll be a long, crazy, 162-game ride.

Unless the Stanley Cup Playoffs kill us first.

*Jennifer's other NHL team, the Devils, already lost to this particular Flyers squad. She really does not want last year's "both my teams lost to the Hurricanes" fiasco to repeat itself this year. Especially since the Flyers, unlike the Hurricanes, are actually Evil.

**No, really, WTF? We were there, and we're still not sure that happened.

***Hello to those of you we met! We liked quite a few of your t-shirts and would like to subscribe to your newsletters!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hit the panic button on your remote control

We're almost two whole weeks into the season, so it's definitely time to overreact. We'll finally be heading to Fenway tonight*, but until then, we've only experienced baseball through the magic of TV. No big--we finally joined 2008 and got ourselves some HD--that's how most of us end up watching most of the season. As such, there's been quite a bit of talk lately about televised baseball: the calling of, the filming of, the watching of. We don't consider ourselves experts, per se, but we're pretty dedicated amateurs. Of course we have some advice to impart on the fine folks at NESN.**

No, none of this is new, or groundbreaking, or even particularly unique. But it does come from the heart. Which is, as everyone knows, where pitching comes from.

1. It's too early in the season to be this punchy.

2. Let the Eck take a shift or two. We love Remy with the pureness of only the most Stockholm Syndromed of NESN-viewing fans, but the Eck not only brought us such genius as "the moss" and "hairy cheese," but also just a bit more inside-baseball talk than we get from the regular team. Nothing against the classic combo of the Dawg and the Don-O, but sometimes they're so comfortable bantering, they forget that there's a ballgame happening.

3. Do not--we repeat: DO NOT--film routine fly-outs as if they are (in descending order): game-winning home runs, game-tying home runs, doubles off the Monster, triples in the corner, bloopers, singles, or anything but the absolutely routine out they actually are. We get that sometimes an outfielder--damn you, Ankiel!--is going to make a spectacular play, but more often, a can of corn is just that.

4. Show us the outfielders on each play. One of the things we miss when we're at home instead of the park--besides seven-dollar diet Cokes--is being able to see B.J. Upton yawning with his glove hand held up, just waiting there for the "deep, far, caught" ball that Dustin Pedroia just hit.

5. We get it: you have overhead cameras! And a cartoon blimp! The main upside to watching road games these days is the lack of, "ooh, let's shoot this from overhead!" "okay, now this!" "ooh, and this!" going on. Night baseball at Fenway is really pretty from the air...the first five times. In one night.

6. No, really, Jerry, last week was way too early in the season to start pontificating about Don's wardrobe malfunctions instead of actually following the game. Way. Too. Early. In fact, we'd submit that, right up until the last game of the season, it is always too early.

7. Last but not least, maybe not so much with the weirdly sexist commercials. Have you guys seen the one where the cabbie ditches his fare for Heidi Watney, or the one where the (awesome cause) Run to Home Base is promoted by a posse of girls stretching in Baywatch-style slow motion? Seen them about a hundred times each? We're not being greedy, not asking for Eri Yoshida to get a bullpen spot*** or anything. It would just be nice if you maybe remembered that your baseball audience isn't all bros who wear their failhats backward. You have female viewers! Some of them even care enough to write thousand-word blog posts about their local sports network!

Weird, right?

Oh, NESN. You know we only bug you because we love you. Tell Charlie Moore we said hello.

*The weather forecast is promising temperatures in the balmy upper 30s! Who's got spring fever?

**We have advice for the fine folks at ESPN and FOX, too, mostly about firing Joe Morgan and cutting down on the excessive hype around Crosby and Ovech--oh, wait, that's NBC/Versus, never mind. But, since we've only really watched NESN (and other local channels, thanks to Extra Innings: did everyone else already know that sometimes SNY takes calls live on air? Can you imagine what would happen if NESN tried that? George Carlin would blush.) so far this year, we'll hold off on dissing the national networks until we suffer from one of our weekly bouts of writers' block later in the season.

***She may not be ready for a bullpen spot; so how about a buddy cop show with Eri and Wakefield? Knuckleballers united for truth and justice!