Saturday, August 16, 2008

We do not give up the big inning in this house

A coworker called it, "a game you can tell your grandkids about." We're more apt to describe it as something we survived, barely, something we're still recovering from all these days later. A day so crazy we're still half-convinced Mikey Lowell successfully executed a double steal. We've tried a couple of times to piece together a narrative, to tell you all about Wally (not that one) and his stories and the 2004 World Series cup he brings with him to every game. We're pretty sure the sucker punch feeling of losing a 10-0 lead was the same whether you were at Fenway or sitting on your couch or at a bar, and we're just as sure that the sharp joy of Youk being Manny was just as universal. But Wally is one of a kind.

Tomorrow we're heading up to Portland to see Lars and Josh and all the little Sea Dogs. We're mostly hoping for a nice day: a good game and a chance to see all the Baby Sox before they're rookies of the year and pitching no-hitters up at Fenway, maybe even a win. We'll settle for no storms.*

*We may like pina coladas, but we're not quite as fond of getting caught in the rain.

Monday, August 11, 2008

We do not know how to catch a fly with a chopstick in this house

"This is everything I have ever dreamed of. It has come true now and I'm going to the major leagues. It's ridiculous. I'm at a loss for words. I really don't know what to say about it. I'll be smiling forever now. This is just awesome. Awesome."

Wow, our button-making campaign, while still in its infancy,* was a complete and utter success. Charlie Zink toes the rubber on Tuesday, and we are just thrilled to death for him.

*Often referred to as the "my term paper's due in about fifteen minutes and all I've got is my name, the course number, and a haiku about cheese" stage.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

We do not go back to the future in this house

No photo credit, Jennifer took this one all by herself.

While the big team struggles to sort out its business in Chicago*, and our current president is interrupting perfectly entertaining Olympic gymnastics to talk about--well, we're not sure what he's talking about, but the wildly incoherent closed captioning suggests it's a message he's sending to the Cheese People**--we bring you some notes from a day in the Future.

Futures at Fenway, naturally.

All the Lowell Spinners looked so tiny in their vest-y uniforms, none tinier than the pitcher Stolmy Pimentel. Stolmy Pimentel, besides having a name that's really fun to say, is a small Dominican pitcher who wears #45 and who pitched 5 effective innings while we revelled in the requisite Pedro Martinez flashbacks.

That picture at the top of this entry is Stolmy with his catcher, the baby-est of the baby catchers we saw on Saturday, one Tim "FedEx" Federowicz, late of UNC. We got to know FedEx thanks to a UNC fan friend of ours, during the College World Series, and what we hear is that he doesn't like to talk to pitchers, or be touched. What we saw with our own eyes was a couple of excellent throws to second to cut down basestealers, which may have kept the Spinners in the game.

Because it was a long game. We're talking 12 innings in total, with the Hudson Valley Renegades vacuuming up everything that flew into the outfield, capped with a walkoff single (while Fedex was on base, no less!). It was a long enough game that cries of "Come on, Deshaun" and "Get 'er done, Mitch!" rang out in our section, because we'd had time to learn everyone's name. It was a long enough game that the Spinners pitchers were seen out in the pirate pen, forming a baby bullpen band. Manny Delcarmen, watch your back: these kids have got soul.

In addition to the baby band's performance, we were happy to enjoy the minor-league entertainments between innings, like guys in sumo costumes, frisbee dogs, the giant toothbrush that ran the bases for undisclosed reasons***. A little girl seated in the row behind us summed it up perfectly, after a small child raced the Spinners mascot: "So when that kid raced the alligator, that was a commercial? No commercial's better than that."

As for the PawSox, it seems like the cream of that particular crop has either been called up to the big club or traded to the Pirates. And it cannot possibly surprise anyone who's been reading this blog at all that we're a little catcher-centric. So we were especially thrilled that while Dusty Brown was starting, George Kottaras was first-base coaching. Two wee catchers for the price of one! Actually, not so wee. We've always thought George was skinny, because we've always seen him standing near Brown or Varitek or Mirabelli. Turns out, he's a pretty good-sized guy, just not built like a brick house or a Mack truck. Or a brick house riding in a Mack truck.

Brown had a hard day behind the plate; he overthrew second base twice, but his game plan was definitely effective. David Pauley went a sassy seven innings--four hits, two runs, two walks, four strikeouts--and he had the Charlotte Knights guessing. Think the big club's putting the coffee on for him, in light of recent tragic events****? Because he was fun to watch, but we were sad not to see knuckleball fraternity member Charlie Zink on the mound. Is it time for us to start a campaign to get Zink called up? Should we get buttons made?

It was a really nice way to spend the day (and, okay, way too much of your money) at Fenway, not least because nobody at all stayed in their assigned seat and we ended up with a bettter view than we paid for. We also got to see our prospects gaze in awe at the Green Monster, and cut loose in the dugout to do the Chicken Dance. But the best part? Both home teams won. Our farm system, in fact, is undefeated in Futures play.

Now if only the young guns could teach their big brother team a thing or two. If they can't make the Red Sox win, maybe they can get them to do the Electric Slide.

*Is now an appropriate time for us to say that we're worried about our man Claybelline "Why Can'tcha Be True" Buchholz? Because, um, whatever he was doing last year, when he was the shiniest of the shiny, this ain't it. Maybe we need to run him through the dishwasher with some Electrasol.

**Actually, now that the words "Balco" and "Barry" and "Baball" have appeared, we're pretty sure they're discussing steroids. Which might be an interesting interview if, you know, it involved someone other than the President, who really ought to be more concerned about anything in the world more important than baball.

***It seems like some kind of clean base=clean teeth analogy was at play, but really, who are we to try and understand the mind of the Great Toothbrush?

****Okay, maybe Wakefield's sore shoulder does not quite rise to the Aristotelian standard for tragedy, but we're definitely crying in our official terrible lite beer of Major League Baseball. Come back soon, Wake, and come back strong.