Sunday, June 28, 2009

Braves New World

NATIONAL ANTHEM:


Seriously? The Atlanta Braves are the "regional rival" team for the Sox in the N.L. East? Mets-Yankees, Nats-Orioles, Rays-Marlins, that all makes sense. Sox-Braves? That's as useless as Phillies-Jays (march our Mitch Williams and Mike Timlin for these games!). Let's face it, there is no regional rival or any natural rival in the National League for the Red Sox, as with most teams with this Interleague business. The Braves are a stretch based upon them playing in Boston over 50 years ago.

Interleague was a fun idea at first that has lost all enjoyment and meaning. The excitement of seeing Nick Johnson lead the Nationals against the Red Sox for "the Revenge of Julian Tavarez" doesn't seem worth staying up to see. How about we bring in the Reds for "Bronson Arroyo and his carpal tunnel syndrome Live at Fenway Park featuring the brother or cousin of James Taylor or whoever the F-List celebrity they run out for these games happens to be." Or, the drama that is, "the Endy Chavez Show." Yah, the novelty is gone and I hate to think a division title or wild card being decided again on strength of Interleague schedule. Just end this idiocity already!

FIRST PITCH:

My bullpen explodes, then the next day your bullpen explodes. That is either any doubleheader in Little League or else it was the Red Sox & Orioles last two games of their series here on Tuesday night (6/30) and Wednesday afternoon (7/1). The Sox blowing a nine to one lead is not what anyone expects to see with this fantastic bullpen, but then again, I'd rather they get it out of their system in July versus Baltimore rather than versus the Rays in October.

Personally, I blame my mother for the Sox losing last night. When I was talking on the phone with her and she asked if I was watching the Sox, I said that at 9-1 I felt like I could switch over to the Discovery channel to watch "Deadliest Catch" (or as they called it on the always snarky Simpsons this year, "Drowningest Catch").

So my mom then decides to mention that she hates how when the Sox score all these runs and don't save any for the next game. I then told her to watch what she says because you can never score enough runs and you can't tell these guys to run out there and have them make outs on purpose. Then (further tempting the Baseball Gods) she brings up that they could be rained out and the Sox game wouldn't even count!

So did she curse the Red Sox last night? Nahhhh. Who would be that superstitous?

  • Of course, I am the same person who sat in the same position without moving during game six of the ALCS in 1986 after Don Baylor's home run (EVERYONE forgets that without Baylor's home run there would be no Dave Henderson heroics) and my legs cramped up so bad by the end of the game that I could not walk for the rest of the day;
  • the same person who waited until there were two outs in the ninth inning of game six of the World Series in 1986 to wake up my Dad so he could finally see the Sox win the series and never forgave myself for jinxing the Sox until 2004;
  • the same person who ate an entire box of Ritz crackers in the first period of the Bruins playoff series in the 80s some time because it coincided with an offensive explosion one game and all I ended up with was disappointment again and a stomach-ache;
  • the same person who was convinced he was the reason the Patriots lost to the Packers in the Super Bowl in XXXI in January of 1997 because I didn't watch the game at my apartment;
  • the same guy who during Super Bowl XXXVI ran upstairs to wake up his three month old son and hold him because the Pats were ahead 17-3 when I put him to bed and without him it was 14-0 Rams;
  • the same guy who knew Aaron Bleeping Boone was the result of moving from my spot on the floor in front of the TV in the bedroom at the condo to the living room downstairs;
  • and the same person who made his three year old son run around in a circle shouting "Ral-ly Weas-el, Ral-ly Weas-el" after I created the antidote to the Rally Monkey in the 2004 ALCS, and to this day I would probably admit under sodium penthenol that I truly believe the Rally Weasel carried the Sox in 04 through the ALCS and to the promised land against the Cardinals in the World Series.

Superstitious? Me? Perish the thought! What would give anyone that idea?

SITUATIONAL LEFTY CALL TO THE BULLPEN:
It's all about the top five memories of the 1980 Red Sox:

  • Was there a bigger tease in the past 30 years in Red Sox history than Dave Stapleton in 1980? Look at the slash stats: .321/.338/.463 and an .802 OBP for a rookie utility infielder.
  • Why does no one else remember back-up outfielder Jim "Pigpen" Dwyer? He was one of my favorite players that year. Yes, he was called "Pigpen" because rumor had it that he had body odor issues.
  • I remember being six years old in 1980 and my dad telling me Win Remmerswaal was from the Netherlands and for the next 29 years I've had this insane vision of him pitching in wooden shoes and a "dutch boy" hat with tulips growing in the outfield. And, no, I did not drop acid with Bill Lee in 1980.
  • The Sox had the HOT lefties up from Pawtucket that year: Hurst, Ojeda & Tudor. Later, the Sox gave away Hurst and Tudor for a cheese sandwich and a bag of batting practice balls. Ojeda and Tudor only starred in the 1985 (Tudor, St. Louis), 1986 (Ojeda, NY Mets), and 1987 (Tudor, St. Louis) world series.
  • What a bullpen! Bob "the Steamer" Stanley; my favorite player on the entire team, lefty Tom Burgmeier; Dick "the Dragon" Drago (I always imagined he probably tormented a young Dan Shaughnessy in the locker room by walking around naked and telling him to say hello to "the Dragon"); Skip "they traded Stan Papi for me?" Lockwood; and Bill "Soup" Campbell (true story, I never had Campbell's soup until I was in high school because my parents boycotted the Campbells soup company. Swear to God!).
SWEET CAROLINE:

Top Five Reasons the Sox are Rocking the AL East:

  1. ERA+ for the top four starting pitchers to date: Beckett (133), Lester (107), Wakefield (111), & Penny (97) (ERA+ is league ERA versus pitcher ERA and adjusted to ballpark). Good starting pitching is where it all starts.
  2. Bullpen checks in with ERA+ at: Papelbon (251), Ram-Ram (251), Oki-Doki (135), Manny DC (228), and Taka (143). Those numbers are INSANE!
  3. Youkilis brings up the question of "Texeira who?"
  4. The Rays were nice enough to leave David Price in AAA half the season. THANKS!!!
  5. The Yankees insist on trotting out some bizarre outfield/dh combo of Johnny Damon, Brett Gardner, Hideki Matsui, and Nick Swisher. Seriously, that's what $200 million plus buys in today's market?


EXTRA INNINGS:


  • I'd intentionally walk Albert Pujols every at-bat even if Barry Bonds was hitting behind him.
  • Seriously, Phat Albert has 30 home runs and 32 strikeouts. That is sick!
  • Anyone else expecting Manny to pop a hamstring his first night back in LA?
  • Nice of the Yankees to force the Pirates to eat $400k on Eric Hinske's salary. Seriously? The rich steal from the poor, literally?
  • Every Pirates minor league outfielder must be dying to get up to the majors so they can get traded out of Pittsburgh.
  • I said it five years ago and I'll say it again: Get Nick Johnson to Boston already!
  • It warms my heart to see the 1980s St Louis Cardinals still hate the 1980s Mets. Kick Gary Carter's ass, Jack Clark! Yeah!

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