Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We do not control the vertical in this house

04/29/08: Blue Jays 0, Red Sox 1

RCN and NESN conspired to keep us away from baseball-induced ulcers by refusing to broadcast last night's game until it was well underway. Therefore, we spent a good portion of last night watching an exhibition softball game between Team USA and the Oklahoma Sooners and imagining Jonathan Papelbon's rapture over watching Jennie Finch in the circle for Team USA. She's blonde, she's an amazing pitcher, and she wears short shorts with thigh high socks as her uniform. Obviously Pap is in love with her. And he won't hear you talking any smack about her, okay? Okay.

So, thanks, RCN, we missed most of last night's game. In fact, when the softball game ended, our NESN feed still wasn't working. We were forced to watch basketball. And not women's college basketball, a sport that we (like Manny Ramirez) respect and love. Oh, no, this was professional basketball. NBA basketball. Where's the fun in that?*

But luckily the blue screen of doom finally went away, and we were dropped head-first into a crazy pitchers' duel. And how proud are we of Little Jonny Lester**, who finally started throwing some first-pitch strikes and showing that will to win we all know he has? How awesome is our Second Base Midget***? What about that Youk fellow? And how thrilled are we that our Captain seems to have survived the flu, minus a few pounds that he hardly had to spare, and he's back behind the dish where he belongs? And did we mention Little Jonny Lester? And Pap, of course. It would've been nice for Lester to get a complete game, but we were starting to worry Pap would explode if he didn't get to throw.

Yeah, what a game. We assume. The last couple of innings were good baseball, at any rate. M-may we have some more, please?

GBMU for last night: one infield single against the Doc. Which is more than anyone not named Youkilis, Ramirez, or Varitek managed.

*Please do tell us where the fun is in that, if you happen to have its coordinates. As far as we can tell it retired around about the time Michael Jordan switched numbers. We like Kevin Garnett and everything, he seems like a good dude, but the actual games are just shy of NASCAR levels of boring.

**Who would likely kick our asses for continuing to refer to him as Little Jonny Lester, but we just can't help it. It's not his size or his talent level or even his age that causes it, necessarily; we don't think of Jose Reyes as a kid in the same way. Maybe we could convince him to take it as a compliment. We'll just tell him it's his blues musician name. Like Little Walter, or Blind Willie Fill-In-The-Blank.

***In the immortal words of one Vernon Wells, he is "Superman at second base." Our Infield Midget can totally beat up Toronto's Infield Midget.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

We do not watch Jamie Foxx movies in this house*

4/26/08: Red Sox 1, Devil Rays 2

Games like this are why wins and losses are bullshit statistics for a pitcher. Hats off to Clay tonight.

*Because we hate Rays.

Friday, April 11, 2008

We do not pay royalties to sing Happy Birthday in this house

36 candles on a chocolate cake for our favorite catcher and superhero, Jason Varitek! What does one get for the Cap'n who has everything, if one can't afford to buy him a sixth starter? We hope that the festivities included funny hats, handmade cards from the kids that left Tek covered in glitter all day, and a serenade from Manny Delcarmen's Bullpen Band. And that he came out the other side of all that in good fighting form.

Of course, we all know about the shiny new diamond ring he got this week. That's a hard act to follow.

We watched the opening ceremonies live, watched it on tape again, and might not be done yet. See, we're suckers for all things involving Mr. Johnny Pesky, the score from Jurassic Park, and/or Lord Stanley's Cup**, and we don't understand how anybody could face all three at once without shedding at least one single, perfect tear. Manny kissing Pesky on the cheek was the highlight in terms of unforgettable moments, but almost as sweet was the big smile on Okajima's face as he tried his ring on for the first time. And then of course there was Buckner's triumphant entrance (beautifully described at Cursed to First; if you haven't read that, go now and choke up all over again). We don't see the world through Cardinal-colored glasses, so we really don't get where Deadspin's coming from when they called it awkward. While we agree that most fans didn't have any grudge left against the B-man (see also: our secret Mets fandom), it was obvious that he was really moved by the reception, and it gave fans an opportunity to shower him with love and force the media to bury the hatchet as well.

Though we suppose it was a tiny bit awkward when the red-tailed hawk got an even bigger ovation. But funny-awkward, like The Office was before we stopped ever watching scripted television. Damn you, MLB.TV!

It's been nice to see the bats wake up a little tiny bit against El Tigres; very not nice to see Mike Lowell wounded in battle--now, were we just not paying enough attention in previous Aprils? Is it normal for every team to have at least three people on the disabled list, or is this year special?--and very strange, given the extremely gradual unfolding of this season, to have the first Sox-Yankees series suddenly upon us.***

It seems like only yesterday we were finagling our rotation so that Beckett was guaranteed to pitch against Roger Clemens, a torch-passing moment that's sort of lost its jazz since we learned way too much about Clemens' medical history and his nanny's swimwear. They're pretty much the same teams, though, minus a few pounds and plus a few extra hemp necklaces, and we can't help but wonder what it would be like if Epstein and Cashman were a little crazier and we were watching a Beckett-Santana duel (or a Santana-Wang duel) tonight. There would be blood, and not just on Roger's pants.

Our biggest wish for this particular series, honestly, is that there aren't any rainouts****. We'd prefer to avoid the Morgantastic, McCarverrific hype of a Yankees-Sox doubleheader late in the season. We won't be able to stand it. Our insurance doesn't cover the necessary medication, and they know us at the bars and won't let us run a tab.

*Featuring a new arrangement of the alt-classic "(He Gloved A-Rod In The Face) For Me", comp. B. Arroyo.

**Since we're on the subject, go Bruins (and, Jennifer would like to add, Devils).

***The last time we saw them, it was still called Legends Field, nobody had yet made Jonathan Papelbon try sushi, and we didn't realize that the Orioles were going to take a running leap at leading the division. Abner Doubleday, we're pretty sure, was still alive. And a new invention called "the wheel" was all the rage with the kids...

****The Sox have been lucky thus far with weather, while the Yankees have had drizzle following them around. Is it because Jeter lied when he was seventeen?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

We do not E6 (three times!) in this house

4/6/08: Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 7

Notes on a Scandal:

1. Julio Lugo: now, we don't know stats, but doesn't it seem like his VORP is currently at, like, negative 500? Can we call up Jed Lowrie? Or, um, let Alex Cora play shortstop! Or, heck, let's call up Argenis Diaz from High-A Lancaster!

2. Toronto: our true AL East rivals. This series just confirmed something we've been suspecting for some time now.

3. Josh Beckett: we were worried when he came out throwing 98 in the first, not because we don't want him throwing hard but because we were concerned that he'd tire quickly. Which certainly seemed to be the case, control-wise, especially in the fifth. That said, he did better than his line will suggest, and we're nothing but thrilled to have him back in the rotation.

4. The 3, 4, and 5-hole hitters: need to step it up a notch, start hitting, get hot- whatever you want to call it, they need to do it.* And soon. Maybe finally coming home to Fenway will do the trick. We can only hope.

5. The bullpen: why bring in Manny in the Del just in time to face Frank Thomas with the bases loaded? (Okay, so that's more of a bullpen management question, but still. It seems like Beckett should've been pulled earlier or else allowed to face Thomas himself; bringing in MDC was rather a self-fulfilling prophesy of doom.)

6. The Big Snyde: we at Respect the Tek apologize for any and all jinxes, hexes, and/or curses we may have brought upon you when we mentioned that you looked good in the one spring training start of yours we saw. We wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors (unless you pitch against the Red Sox, in which case we wish you nothing of the sort).

7. "They were outplayed in almost every face of the game" -Jerry Remy: which leads to the question as to which facet of the game they were not outplayed in. We humbly submit that the Red Sox outplayed the Blue Jays in kickassedness of catchers and Papelbonness of Papelbons.

8. Tito: look, someone needs to get him his pullover back, stat, because obviously the loss of it is affecting his managerial skills. Not only was there was the whole bullpen issue mentioned above, but he kept Lugo in with 2 outs in the ninth and the tying run at the plate. Lugo! Who was 0-whatever in the game! When there were actually people on the bench! Does not compute.

9. The so-called bottom of the AL East: no, really, someone needs to get those memos out and fast, as Toronto's starting to get ideas. And the Orioles beat the Mariners. (The Bay Rays, alas, lost to the Yankees, so maybe the memo's on it's way?)

10. GBMU:** 1-4 with a walk and 2 rbi.

*Though Papi did have an RBI today. Which is more than we can say for Manny "GIDP" Ramirez (who at least played some defense, making that catch at the wall and giving us a false sense of optimism about the game for about 3.7 seconds).

**Gratuitous Brandon Moss Update.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

We do not E3 in this house

4/5/08: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 10

It feels like someone forgot to hand out the annual memo that the AL East is supposed to be all about the Red Sox and Yankees* (and the Tortimore Bay O'Blue Rays, whoever, no one cares about them, they're just there so Bud Selig can pretend it isn't a two team division) this year. While the Red Sox bullpen's been busy tossing some BP to the Blue Jays, the Yankees have been busy dropping two to their new rivals the Bay Rays. The Orioles are, of course, still the Orioles.**

We knew it was going to be a bad game defensively when the pre-game show focused on the lack of errors on the year thus far. We knew it was going to be a bad game offensively because, well, have you watched any of the games so far? The Red Sox bats are not exactly firing on all cylinders, to cross our metaphors, and the Blue Jays pitchers really like to beat up on the Sox. (Speaking of the Blue Jays beating up on the Red Sox, we're still working on that post about the spring training boycott. No, really, we are.) But, wow, was there some... interesting... fielding out there today.

We're not worried. Yet. We're not freaking out. Yet. We told ourselves coming into this season that we'll be thrilled if the Red Sox come out of April at .500, and we're holding ourselves to that. We're trying to focus on the good things, the "JD Drew seems to be swinging the bat well" things and the "Cash isn't committing twenty passed balls" things, rather than the "Coco/Youk would've had that" things and the "maybe y'all need to practice calling for balls if you're just going to watch them drop between you" things. It's even kind of sort of maybe a little bit working.

And, hey, Josh Motherfuckin' Beckett is coming off the DL, ready to execute some fucking pitches.

April showers bring May flowers, y'all, just keep that in mind. And down in Pawtucket, the Moss is in bloom.***

*Early sample size, obviously, and April's schedule would be a bitch even without the Three Country Epic Road Trip of Doom. Still, this division has the potential to be pretty exciting, if not this year than next year. Good for baseball, but stressful for us.

**We still love you, Millar!

***He went 2-2 with a walk, cats and kittens, and that's all we're gonna say about that.