Friday, July 27, 2007

We do not go to sleep to dream in this house

Great game tonight, but it's too late at night for a substantive post. We simply wish to note that ESPN just showed Barry Bonds hitting a pop fly, and the SportsCenter talking head said:

"That would have been a home run if they were playing in a silo."

We don't have the keen insight of the Fire Joe Morgan fellows, so we will simply post that without comment. And stare at it.

Like a zen koan.

Om, shantih, shantih, om...


Thursday, July 26, 2007

We do not stop to smell the roses in this house

07/25/07: Red Sox 0, Indians 1

Picture it: Cleveland, OH, last night, an anonymous bar somewhere. C.C. Sabathia and Josh Beckett are doing tequila shots like there's no tomorrow, playing a rousing game of, "no, my team did a worse job of helping me get my 14th win," and getting completely and utterly trashed. Then they go out and get tattoos of their dogs' faces on their pitching arms. Okay, no, not really, but isn't it fun to imagine?

Less fun, of course, was last night's game. The pitching was stupendous. Out of this world. A thing of beauty to behold.* Unfortunately for us, this was true on both sides, and the Red Sox completely botched up each and every chance they had to score a run. Seriously, inquiring minds want to know: what was with that action? Let's break it down, what if? moment by what the fuck? moment.

1. The Coco Crisp Slow-Down in the Sixth: Remdawg made a point of telling us, over and over again, that Coco must've slowed down when approaching home because Manny forgot to tell him whether or not to slide. While taunting us with the replay. Again and again and again, until we spent more time yelling, "Shut up, Remdawg! Are you trying to get us to commit Seppuku?" than hitting ourselves in the forehead. So at least he saved us from possible brain injuries? All we can say is, well, it confused the heck out of us (he was running, full speed, and then he was jogging? and then trying to run again? no, really, someone explain it to us), and it was certainly a costly and emotionally scarring play. And it was somehow entirely Manny Ramirez's fault.**

2. The Botched Hit-and-Run in the Eighth: Jason Varitek is not going to stop Alex Cora's face with his glove because he has moved beyond that sort of thing, and it is very bad for our sport. That said, there may be multi-colored signal flashcards in Cora's immediate future. And by "may be," what we mean is, "they are already in Alex Cora's bag, and he has a quiz on them on Friday."

3. The Strikeout of Dustin Pedroia in the Ninth: We include this mostly because that last "strike" sure looked like a ball to us. Also because we wanted to make a point of addressing all opposing pitchers, past and future, with a few friendly words of advice: yes, Petey is small, but he is also tough (remember when he stopped Cinco Ocho from killing an umpire?), and if you continue to hit him with pitches he will fuck your shit up.

Of course, there was also the fact that, until Coco Crisp hit his single in the sixth, Fausto Carmona of the Awesomely Named Carmonas and the Absolutely Filthy Pitching was throwing a no-hitter. When the Red Sox finally managed to hit him, they were held to singles, and when you're not running the bases well, singles just ain't gonna cut it. Neither are walks. And while we're normally huge fans of plate discipline and getting on base however possible, last night's game made us pray for nothing less than a well hit home run, because that was apparently the only way the Red Sox could've managed to get on the board. And Carmona wasn't allowing any of that. Not in his house.***

In other news, we're busy singing, "la la la" and sticking our fingers in our ears until the trade deadline has safely passed. Teixeira? What's that, a new brand of Mexican beer?

*Josh Beckett has 99 problems, but a pitch ain't one.

**As is war, famine, pestilence, global warming, moldy bread, and tofurkey. Manny also plays too shallow, and there are allegations that he may or may not have a grill which may or may not be for sale and which may or may not even work. There are also those who claim that his uniform is too big. If you have any additional information regarding the Infamous Manny "C'est Manny" Ramirez, please contact our home office.

***Disclaimer: The Cleveland Indians are Jennifer's official baseball nemesis. Yes, she hates them more than the Yankees.**** Deal with it. So admitting that, yes, Fausto Carmona not only beat us down and made us cry last night, but that he did so by kicking ass and taking names, is no mean feat. In fact, it sort of burns. Like swallowing acid.

****Don't worry, Caroline is handling the Yankees Hatin' for the household just fine.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We do not nap in this house

...No matter how desperately we would like to, some days.

07/23/07: Red Sox 6, Indians 2

Pour a little on the ground for our fallen homey, the living room TV. Jonathan Papelbon in Kill Mode on Sunday evening was too just hot for it to handle. Either that, or the TV was afraid that Tina Cervasio was going to eat somebody during her post-game interview with Mike Lowell. Possibly Mike Lowell himself.

In any case, it did take us beyond the scary, bases-loaded, no-outs top of the ninth and into victory, for which we are deeply grateful. Only afterwards did it begin making truly frightening noises and giving off smoke. RIP, TV. You will be missed. Not that we don't have four of your tinier siblings around the house.

Speaking of tiny things, how about that Jon Lester fellow? We could've done with a few less shots of his parents--they made us cringe because they were so intrusive; if his mom can't even stand to look, how can we look at her?--but we gotta echo what even Dan Shaughnessy has said today: The boy done good. He done real good. It wasn't the cleanest performance; Lester got himself into some jams, but he also got himself out of them, which is something we can totally admire, something that bodes well for his future. Nothing like forcing one guy out at home and then striking out Grady Freakin' Sizemore to say, "hey, how about instead of talking about my feel-good 'I beat cancer story' we start talking about my kick-ass pitching, huh?"*

On the other side of the scorecard, how about the red-hot El Coco Salon and Day Spa? And Li'l Petey Pedroia? How about that Manny "C'est Manny" Ramirez? Everyone seemed determined to make sure they started Lester's night off well, and four runs in the first frame is a real comfy cushion. Naturally, we're knocking on wood** all over the place, in hopes that Becky and Gabby and all the rest of the mean girls pitching rotation get the same kind of run support going forward.

To cap it all off, the Red Sox West Coast Old Folks' Home and Feel Good Softball Team*** also notched a win last night. Yay! No, we're not sure when that became worthy of "yay." All that residual Billy Mueller love has somehow joined forces with our lingering distaste for their division rivals in San Francisco and San Diego, and formed a vague, affectionate rooting interest.
Hey, at least it keeps us off the street.

*Which isn't to say that we don't have worries about his control, or that one winning game has us resting easy. Still, it's not like Tavvy has gone very far away. And if the trading deadline arrives and finds the Nation dithering--"Dearie me, we seem to have an overabundance of talented pitching--whatever shall we do?"--then we're pretty happy to see so many guys contributing to the dilemma.

**And faux-wood, wood laminate, things that are brown and sort of look like wood if you squint just so, trees, pencils, our own foreheads...

***You may also know them as the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

We do not play with matches in this house

07/22/07: White Sox 5, Red Sox 8

We are not dead.

We felt it necessary to post and let everyone know this after the Sox bullpen did its damnedest to put the population of Boston into cardiac arrest. In fact, we really hope everyone else on ye olde blogroll sends up a survival flare, because that? Was some dangerous stuff.

Exactly what was going on in the bullpen today? Did Manny "The Cheese Stands Alone" Delcarmen and Cinco "Jonathan Papelbon" Ocho have a bet going on who could cause the most trauma without actually blowing a lead? Manny got out to a good head start, but Paps just said, "Pfft. Inherited runners? That's cheatin'. I can load the bases with no outs, just to get started!*"

Boys, it is all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.

(And thank heaven nobody translated the bet for Okajima.)

Please, let this not be a blood pressure practice drill for upcoming events. Like: what is up with them suddenly calling up Lester? Not that we want to watch Tavvy start again anytime soon, but it seems as though only yesterday we were singing another chorus of the "Lester isn't ready, he's struggling in the minors" song, and now...he's...ready? For Cleveland?** One of the four strongest teams in the league? Somebody explain this to us. Preferably more gently than they explained it to Joel Pineiro.

Of course, if Lester really can hold his ground in his first start, it'll be a thing of beauty to behold. Either way, there will be no relaxing. Start brewing Tuesday morning's coffee now.

Finally, in his post-game press conference, Tim Wakefield just called the young White Sox knuckleballer "another member of the fraternity." Why, exactly, don't we motor down to batting practice and give Wake hugs on a semi-weekly basis?

*The Thome strikeout and the death-defying double play were gorgeous, but we'll admit that right up until the final out we were arguing that they should at least put Tek in for Mirabelli, because it might have settled Jonathan down. We're pretty sure we should feel guilty for expressing doubt.

**While researching the pitching matchups for the Cleveland trip, we read C.C. Sabathia's Wikipedia page and discovered this factoid: He has his name tattooed uniform-style, across his back in large letters. This may be the finest tattoo we've ever heard about. Somebody tell us he also has a tramp stamp featuring his career stats as of 2003.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

We do not bury Bonds in this house

Dear FOX Sports,

We get it: Barry Bonds is going to break Hank Aaron's record. And soon. We're not thrilled with it, but we accept it. We're coping. However, this does not mean that you get to cut into a game we are watching, the game you are actually airing, every. single. time. Barry Bonds has an at-bat. For one thing, he's still two runs from tying the record, and three from beating it. So even if he does hit it out of the park right now, it's not a historical event. It's a home run, no more and no less than a home run hit by Manny Ramirez or David Wright or Bronson Arroyo.

Therefore, please do not do that again. After Bonds has hit two more roundtrippers, and only after he has gone yard two more times, can you start cutting into the currently airing game every time Bonds has an at-bat. We still won't like it, mind, especially if you're cutting into a Red Sox game, but at least it'll make some sort of sense, in the grander historical context.*

No Love,
The Girls of Respect the Tek

*At least, it will seem important for a decade so until we're talking about whether A-Rod, a known slapper, is worthy of breaking the Great Pumpkinhead's record, and whether he should wear an Angels cap in the Hall of Fame now that California is sinking into the sea. And, of course, will the Sox' first round draft pick be Manny Ramirez, Jr. or Manny Ramirez Jr., Jr.?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We do not rock around the clock in this house

Yes, yes, we're the worst new bloggers ever--we're on strike until the Red Sox either stop playing like crap or our emotional bruises heal (plus we have day jobs)--but we just learned from FSN that there is a movement to bring Kevin Millar back to Boston.*

Now, normally we would say things about illogical trades and statistical reasoning (okay, or pretend to), but given our emotional state after the last couple weeks of baseball, we say, bring it on. Bring on the strippers. Bring on the beer and the "I'd Go Wicked Fah With Millah" T-shirts and the insane bearhugs and complicated handshakes. Bring on the guitar--hell, Bronson Arroyo went yard the other night, let's make a Cincinnati deal and reunite the band for a rousing half-speed rendition of "Dirty Water."


But we draw the line at reanimating Pokey Reese.

*Actually, we learned from the latest Friendly's Scoop. Which apparently airs on TV, and is no less ridiculously awesome on a large screen. And Jonathan Papelbon is all for the return of Millar, in case you were wondering about his thoughts. Is it because he will no longer have the reddest neck and silliest white-boy hair on the roster?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

We do not scream for ice cream in this house

Dear Boston Red Sox,

Look, we know you used up your offense for the week against...some phantom team allegedly from Tampa. Clearly you weren't interested in winning last night* (c.f. Mike Lowell skying the ball over Not Youk at first, and also, Julian Tavarez). Tonight, despite a decent start by Little Suzy Gabbard, you (once again) couldn't move one extra run across the plate in twelve straight innings**. You guys need a break. Our hearts need less breaking. Is there any reason you didn't just forfeit the Detroit series and let everybody do something else fun for the weekend?

Big love,
The girls of Respect The Tek.

That said, we have a couple of non-game related items worthy of discussion:

+ Jason Varitek's Golf Mailbag. Oh, Captain our Captain. There's plenty to love here (Tek's baby Japanese! "Kevin can't steal my beard, his chin is too big!") but our favorite bit is his resistance to the implied suggestion that he might use a computer to collate his data on opposing players. Theo Epstein has probably tried to push this on him in the past--"See, you choose a name from this drop-down list, and the pivot table will break out the numbers for you like so!" Tek took one glance at the nice Excel fields and the tidy SQL backend and replied, "Theo, I got this binder here, it's my Central Division binder and it's organized by team and then by depth-chart position, and I went through with a highlighter so the lefties are yellow, the righties are blue--guess what color I used for switch hitters?"

And Theo probably didn't give up completely, he still sends out notes about corporate discounts on the Palm Pilot, but Tek just hugs his binder tight, secure in the knowledge that he'll still be able to look at hitter profiles when the peak oil crisis comes and the lights go out on Broadway.

Oh, and he has secret pregame rituals about which nobody must know. 'Fess up, Cap'n, said rituals involve staking vampires in the name of the Light, don't they?

+Friendly's Scoop with Jonathan Papelbon. He's serious, he's comical, he's sweet, he's surly, he surveys his teammates as to who's the sexiest pitcher*** and hitter, and he refers to himself as Cinco Ocho. After watching El Papelbon walk sadly away from the mound tonight, this is just what we needed. Well, that and a win later today to stop the sweep.

*Granted, Doug Mirabelli is a stud who hits bombs.

**Can anyone explain why they even put Papelbon in at that point? Sure, we were running low on arms, but we felt like it was a bad omen to see him come in when we hadn't taken a lead in the top of the inning.

***You can actually see him thinking, Come on, say Jonathan Papelbon, say it! Aww, shucks, no one ever says I'm sexy. Of course, if anyone ever did, he would probably blush so hard he'd fall down from the head-rush. And Josh Beckett would owe him ten bucks. Come to think of it, that would be the funniest Scoop ever. Make it so, Friendly's! And hey, I ordered a sundae, like, an hour ago!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

We do not have enough alcohol in this house

06/29/07: Rangers 1, Red Sox 2
06/30/07: Rangers 5, Red Sox 4

07/01/07: Rangers 2, Red Sox 1

After the Safeco slump, winning the first game of this homestand was a pleasant and enlightening experience. We learned that Manny Delcarmen is a cool customer (delightful!), that Mike Lowell is more soothing a presence than Doug Mirabelli (shocking!), and that Dustin Pedroia does not fear the reaper (just plain awesome!).

Thanks to NESN, we also learned that Tek has a signal which causes Papelbon to pretend to shake him off. A fake-out signal! We just know they spent a whole lot of time working that one out, with Paps never able to keep a straight face. This calls into question the certainty of our blog tagline and pretty much all reality as we know it--and we love that.

As for the last two losses, well, we're trying to salvage something upbeat out of the pain, and here's what we got:

1. We went at Fenway on Saturday night, and we turned standing room into dancing room when Mike Timlin was warming up and "Black Betty" was playing in his honor. We thought it was just a catchy song, but he proceeded to pitch a beautiful top of the ninth. We hereby declare ourselves the Official Mike Timlin Solid Gold Dancers. Bam-a-lam!

2. No appearance by El Coco Salon And Day Spa at center, so we got a look at Jacoby Ellsbury both nights. He doesn't quite seem ready for primetime, but he's easy on the eyes. And speedy. And probably still gets carded every time he tries to buy cigarettes.

3. Julian Tavarez made fewer nervewracking mistakes in his start today than Josh Beckett did yesterday. Somehow, we knew that crazy old Jim Leyland would fail to recognize the Genius of Guano and leave Tavarez out of his All-Star bullpen. There is no justice!* Gang, let's meet up in San Francisco for a protest rally! Donna Martin graduates!**

Our pitching was not the problem in these games. Pitching, especially from the bullpen, was shiny and sweet, like an apple. Like an appletini. But the offense? A flat Miller Lite.

We've had five chances in seven days to watch this team struggle, inning after inning, and fail to come up with a single run, leaving the population of Rhode Island stranded on base. Sure, it's consoling that the rest of the AL East has been equally miserable this week. But it's hard to relax when our games seem destined to conclude with Papi or Manny striking out in a dramatic style that feels like the world's coming to an end.***

Inquiring minds want to know: Is this something we can fix, or is this the sign of a pox on our entire season? Is the era of our power hitters over or will they heat up again after the All-Star Break?

Inquiring minds really want your answer to that question if it's something hopeful and reassuring. Or if you are Dave Magadan and have the power to stage an intervention.

The first step is to recognize that you are powerless over Julio Lugo, and that he has become unmanageable.

*Speaking of not fair, it's really sad that Youkilis didn't make the team. Sure, he'll enjoy the time off--his blog indicates that he's debating between Cape Cod and Vegas for his vacation, and one shudders to imagine what Youk wouldn't get up to in Vegas--but it just feels wrong that he isn't getting the recognition. We're definitely excited for Mikey Lowell, even though he'd probably also prefer to join the crowd at Manny's Annual Tailgate Extravaganza And Slip'N'Slide Baserunning Clinic.

Don't forget to cast your Final Vote for Hideki Okajima.

**Anybody who's willing to do a point-by-point comparison of the 90210 cast to the 2007 Red Sox bullpen, with special attention to the profound Josh Beckett-Shannen Doherty parallels, please let us know so we can submit our marriage proposals to you in a timely fashion.

***Though a big chunk of the blame for Saturday's loss should land on Lugey's head, for taking a charity pinch-run and promptly, inexplicably converting it into an idiotic inning-ending out. It appears to have strained even the spanielesque loyalty of Francona. You know, he's almost inspiring, in a way. Somehow he became a professional baseball player and multimillionaire even though he lacks virtually every skill necessary to play the game, up to and including the common sense God gave a plate of coleslaw. Anything he can do, we can do better. So can our neighbor's cat. So can a shoe.