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?