Wednesday, April 06, 2005

AGAIN!

Question: When is it that the team winning two games out of a three game series feels like it was the loser?
Answer: Today.

What a rousing victory for the Red Sox. After their game one letdown (hold on, after the post-season celebrations to end all post-season celebrations, raise your hand if you did not see that coming), the Sox lost the second game in what must be one of the best feeling losses ever in Red Sox history. Sure, Foulke coughed it up, but we all know he takes awhile to get in a groove during the season. But no one doubts Foulke. But to have Mariano Rivera blow a save against the Red Sox again after his game four and five debacles in the ALCS? Then to read about his angry comments to the press about how the Red Sox are not inside his head, all I could do is think to myself, Man, I hope the Sox get to face him again in game three, because they are so inside his head to make him come out and say the Sox are not in his head!

I really would hate to be a Yankees fan today. No, I mean it; I actually feel bad for them today. To feel like Randy Johnson arrived and ripped the monkey off their backs on opening day much like Dmitiri Da Meathooks Young hitting three home runs on opening day gave Detroit fans hope that their Sausage Smacking Tuffy Rhodes imitating slugger would usher in a 35-5 run like the 1984 Tigers had on their way to a dominating season.

The sarcasm drips like ink from the quill today!

Let me make a quick interjection about the Big Unit: he is not playing the role of Curt Schilling for the Yankees. He is playing the role of Roger Clemens on the Yankees which was not filled last year. Last time I checked, the Yankees lost the World Series to the Diamondbacks in 2002 and to the Marlins in 2003 with Clemens before choking last season. Having Roger Clemens did not guarantee them a world series victory, so why do they feel that having Randy Johnson will allow them to make plans to suck up to Rudy Giuliani so as to get free World Series tickets?

I wish I had a chance to watch the game against the Yankees (damned 1pm games) rather than trying to listen to it on the radio while at work. But to get to Rivera like they did in the ninth inning, it was amazing. The walks, the hits, the general discomfort of Rivera on the mound against the Red Sox was a sight not seen before with the Yankees erstwhile closer. This is not to say I expect the Sox to get to Rivera every time he pitches and score four or five runs off of him.

What a game! What a shame there is no game tomorrow.

* * *

Best wishes to manager Terry Francona. He has had enough health issues in the past, he does not need any more. Of course, bench coach Brad Mills saw his honeymoon end before the end of the game as I hissed at him through the radio for not pinch hitting for Doug Mirabelli with the game on the line.

Of course, in retrospect, maybe I just wanted Varitek in the game because I desperately need some offense for my fantasy league team.

* * *

The Celtics, with or without Antoine Walker, are still not a bad team. Their win Tuesday night was impressive, even if their opponent was not very impressive. The Wizards are a good team, but they stunk at home against a banged-up Celtics team. Although foul-prone, the Celtics young bucks, Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins, were aggressive on the boards and both showed good touch around the basket.

Although management probably feels otherwise, I would much rather see the team develop the young players at the expense of this season. However, I do not pay the bills, and, in retrospect, trading for Antoine put the Celtics back on the map-and that cannot be understated.

* * *

THIS AND THAT, A POTPOURRI OF STUFF UNSAID IN MY HEAD

It is nice to be able to watch baseball, not just the Red Sox, but baseball. Kids out playing on the soggy fields, chasing balls hit off the tee by the fourth after work, looking at my cleats and glove stored in the basement while doing laundry and smiling ever so slightly as I think of getting back out on the field. Better writers than I have pondered the meaning of baseball and springtime. I will just say that as seasons turn to spring, and the green life springs into being, the crack of a bat and the thump of the ball hitting a leather glove is as much a part of nature as the song of a robin and bubbling echoes of a brook.

* * *

The joy of Pedro Martinez giving up a three run bomb to Adam Dunn and then the bullpen blowing the game for him was tempered by the fact that Adam Dunn, for the first time in three years, is not on my fantasy team, and Braden Looper, a.k.a. the chump who gave up the two home runs in the ninth and now has an infinite ERA for the season is on my team.

* * *

Of course, twelve strikeouts in six innings by Pedro is quite impressive. Then again, this being the first week of April, I think that it moves the over/under for Martinez blowing out his shoulder up from August first to about July 15.

* * *

As far as I am concerned, the clock is ticking. I really do not see Johnny Damon in a Red Sox uniform for long. He is on the wrong side of thirty, his media hound routine has got to be wearing thin to ownership and the front office, and he is pricing himself out of Boston. Really, why did the sox trade Dave Robert and not Johnny Damon when there really is not much difference in their role? Simply put, Damon and his $8 million dollar contract had no where to go, while Roberts, at less than half that price, was much easier to move. If they can move Damon at the all-star break, I think the Sox will not hesitate to send him on his way. More than likely, they will be content to let him walk at the end of the year and recoup a first round pick in the amateur draft for him.

* * *

Follow-up to the note on Richard Seymour: Watch Jacksonville DT Marcus Stroud and his negotiations, as Stroud, who teamed with Seymour with the Georgia Bulldogs in college and were both number one picks in 2001, is expected to sign a contract extension soon that will make him the highest paid defensive lineman in the game. What Stroud gets is likely going to be the starting point for negotiations with Seymour.

* * *

Slow news day, I guess. The Boston Herald, who have plans to layoff or phase out over thirty editors according to the front page of the Boston Globe business section, has the front page headline of FENWAY FLEECE: Outpriced Sox lead league at $276 for family of four. Umm, is that considered news? The Sox have been number one on the list of priciest tickets and accoutrements for some time now. Of course, having sold out over seventy-five straight home games, is this a point worth a front page banner? Personally, I think it was incredible restraint showed by the Herald with only a small picture of the long-suffering Pope above the banner. For some reason, with the Herald, I was expecting CORPSE EXTREME CLOSEUP splayed across the entire cover.

* * *

Speaking of the Pope, this is truly the end of an era. For the past quarter-century, my Dad has been able to insult not only the heritage of my mother (Polish), but also her religion (Catholic) with a good Pope joke. Truly, it was a two-for-one special. Alas, those were the glory days.

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