Wednesday, March 23, 2005

D-LOWE RETURNS

Other than Terry Francona getting off a good line about how no one is late now with Pedro being gone, there was very little excitement, enthusiasm, or controversy from the reunion with Derek Lowe. Granted, there was not exactly a large contingent of regulars headed out for a three hour bus drive to play against the Dodgers in Vero Beach where my boss is on vacation chowing down on Mama Pellegrino’s pasta.

The Dodgers, with their head-case and sore arm rotation, certainly present a quandary when it comes to a talented team constantly underperforming. Carried by pitching for the past three years, this year they tried to jump start the offense by letting Aramis Ramirez (he of the 48 home runs) leave and traded their only other offensive threat Shawn Green, as their stellar pitching finally fades. The rotation:
Derek Lowe – Total head case, no explanation necessary for Red Sox followers.
Odalis Perez – Seems to be more like former Braves pitcher and inaugural member of the “For God’s sake turn and run away from this guy” club, Pascual Perez. Great stuff + no mental toughness + strange behavior = twelve wins, low ERA, and a spot on my fantasy staff. I should have moved up Oliver Perez from Pittsburg. What was I thinking?
Brad Penny – From Florida, guess what, he’s hurt again.
Jeff Weaver – D-Lowe’s separated from birth fraternal twin. Could you find two pitchers as flakey and shaky as these two if you tried?
Scott Erickson – Injured, yet again.
Kaz Ishii – Traded to the Mets. They can team him with second baseman Kaz Matsui and have their own little overpaid Japanese underachievers named Kaz club.
Jose Lima – He pitched well, so they let him go. To quote Homer: Doh!
Wilson Alvarez – Didn’t he pitch at an all-star level, in, like, 1996? Yikes!
Darren Dreifort – Of course, he is the highest paid pitcher on the staff. Yet, due to various injuries over the past few years since he signed the mega-deal (outbidding the Sox—thank you baseball Gods!), he has barely pitched at all to earn that huge contract.

So Lowe gets his money, and no pressure in L.A. because, guess what, they don’t really care. A perfect fit. Good luck to him. But couldn’t he at least have referred to Larry Lucchino as the anti-Christ or something on his way out the door Monday after the game to liven things up in camp tranquility?

CELTICS ANTICIPATION

OK, the Celtics have little to no chance to knock off the Miami Heat or the Detroit Pistons in the playoffs. Heck, they would have their hands full with New Jersey if they stay hot and somehow sneak into the sixth seed. The important point, however, is that, as I have been saying all year long, they are at least entertaining to watch. That point cannot be underestimated. Too long we fans suffered under the boring and relentless wild three-point shooting contests waged nightly in what was loosely referred to as the offensive game plan under former coach Jimmy O’Brien. O’Brien, who is also known as the coach who made Walter McCarty a household name in New England, with a huge assist from Tommy Heinsohn—gee, thanks, I love watching power forwards launching three-point shots willy-nilly.

Another interesting week for the Celtics with games on the road at New York Wednesday night, at home Friday night for the athletic, young Chicago Bulls, and then the world champion Detroit Pistons at the Palace in the greater Detroit area on Saturday night. This would not be a good time to pull out a 0-3 or 1-2 week. A sweep may be too much to ask, but the Celtics should beat New York handily and take care of Chicago at home.

ROIDS:

Well, it certainly didn’t take long for the baseball steroid controversy to blow over. Congress turns its collective head to Terri Schiavo and the ever-widening right to life argument, and Bud Selig and Donald Fehr offer up a miniscule compromise on the testing (no fines, but minimal suspensions instead) and slink away into the night as the nation moves on.

Of course, in retrospect, what was accomplished by the Congressional hearings? A minimal change to the steroid policy, public awareness (yeah, right, Fenway bleacher-ites were chanting “Steroids” at Jose Canseco while he stood in the outfield back in the late eighties), humiliation of Barry Bonds (whoops, where was he again?), a chance for Rafael Palmiero and Sammy Sosa to try to clear their names, or was it all, as often stated, just grandstanding? Unfortunately, I’m forced to lean towards the grandstanding. Other than Mark McGwire costing himself a chance at the Hall of Fame—and what a travesty it would be to see him inducted, he’s as unworthy as Pete Rose as far as I’m concerned—there were no tangible results. Canseco, not wanting to hinder the possibility of giving away material for a second book, and for some bizarre reason not given immunity, didn’t add anything of value. Palmiero and Sosa both denied the charges, which did nothing to change my opinion of them both as steroid users. Schilling seemed, rightfully, just plain annoyed to be wasting time he could be rehabbing sitting in the congressional chambers.

All in all, a colossal waste of time.

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE WALLFLOWERS?

It has nothing to do with sports, but I’m just throwing that one out there. Jacob Dylan provided the star power, tunes like 6th Avenue Heartache, One Headlight, The Difference, and Three Marlenas were some good old fashioned pop songs. They had four solid hits on a solid album, and then nothing? Did I miss them releasing another album? Did they break-up? Did Papa Bob tell Jacob he was an embarrassment to the family name? OK, I’m done venting.

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