Thursday, May 19, 2005

BOOMED

Great job, Boomer. Nothing like a 9-1 game in the third inning. At least I do not have to bother with worrying about missing the getaway afternoon game while at work. But, hey, Boomer does not need a rehab start. Jeez, who cares if the fatso gets ticked off, he is under contract, send his fat ass down to Pawtucket for a tune-up start.

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KIELBASA TIME:

Poor Yaz. Bad enough his son died last year, but to find out after the fact that you are on the hook for thousands of dollars because the kid stole your identity to get credit cards and ran them up? That is sad.

Carl Yastremski, a.k.a. Yaz, was the man, the myth, the legend. When I remember him playing, he was so far past his prime that he was a shadow of the player he once was, but you still saw that long-striding swing and bat whipping around in a perfect follow-through as his hands finished near his ears every single swing. Whether he hit the ball or not was immaterial at the time; it was the swing of beauty that captured the eye.

Yaz was kind of a reluctant sports hero, and it is hard to fault him on that looking back through history. The job of replacing hall of fame hitter and currently a popsicle Ted Williams in left field and in the hearts of Sox fans was no easy task. Yaz did it the old-fashioned way: short of a five year run between 1967 and 1971, Yaz just went out and did his job and out-worked everyone else. Like Henry Aaron, he may not have been the most spectacular, but he was the most consistent.

Yaz was also a Polish superstar. That was big in my family. A baseball and cultural hero for my mom, an endless supply of mirth and a target for Polack jokes for my dad. For example, Yaz would crank a homer and my mom would shout out, “Polish power!” My dad would then respond, “I hope he remembers to run the bases the right way” or some other cutting remark like “of course he homered, they are up by six runs already. If it was a one-run game, he would pop out” (The pain of 1978 apparently still lingered).

Plus, he had that Hillshire Farms Kielbasa sign on route 24 heading to Brockton that, while unrecognizable today, is still there.

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OTIS MY MAN:

It is official, but at least he went out with the only team that ever appreciated and embraced him: the Patriots. Yes, Otis Smith signed a one-day contract and retired as a New England Patriot. A fourteen year career for an undrafted free agent, that is not too bad of a legacy.

Smith will always be remembered by me for his huge interception in Super Bowl XXXVI in the third quarter which should have sealed the game (damned penalty call on McGinest during the Tebuckey Jones interception and the illegal pick by the Rams receivers that freed Ricky Proehl to get open - and yes I am still bitter about those calls four years later even though the Patriots still won the game).

Otis was a true pro, he kept his mouth shut, he made big plays, and he worked hard. What more can a fan ask for from a player?

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DAMNED RAY MILLER:

The Orioles are being stubborn. They are settling into the top of the American League East and resisting any push to remove them. Red Sox win six of seven? The Orioles respond in kind. The Yankees reel off ten wins in a row, and the Orioles maintain the status quo, allowing New York to only gain three games in the standings. How are they doing it? One answer: It is one man, pitching coach Ray Miller. He has done it before with the Orioles in the eighties, and he is doing it again. Maximum results from minimal talent. I understand that he is not the most popular or easiest to get along with, but the results speak for themselves. Just imagine how good the Yankees could be if they had a real pitching coach like Miller.

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