Wednesday, October 31, 2007

boo to you!

the Sunday before last, i got to go to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. the atmosphere was fantastic: characters dressed up in costume. cast members handing out candy as you exited attractions. an awesome soundtrack of villain songs & spooky music playing all throughout the park. all announcements made by "The Ghost Host" from the Haunted Mansion. Mickey's Boo to You parade. and HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular. it was great, festive, the whole park decked out in Halloween style -- if you could get past the fact that it rained the whole night. i stayed for the parade at least, but was too soggy to handle staying for the fireworks (i'd actually gotten to see HalloWishes last year, so it was not too mush of a disappointment not to see them) -- and anyway, i needed to get home to watch the Sox play Game Seven of the ALCS, which i was DVR-ing. ;-)

quite a few people were in costume. the best of the night, hands down, were the giant man dressed as Fred Flintstone, carrying his tiny baby girl, dressed as Pebbles; the group that was dressed as the cast of Gilligan's Island; and *my* personal favorite: the group who came dressed as that night's starting lineup of your Boston Red Sox!

unfortunately, due to the fact that it was not only nighttime, but dreary & rainy, not too many of my photos of the parade or the costumed characters came out, and none of my attempts to capture the spooky Magic Kingdom, with its special effects lighting & strategically placed fog machines, or the giant inflatable alien lurking over Tomorrowland, were successful, but in honor of Halloween, i thought i would share a few at least:

hope you all had a fun & spooky Halloween!


Dear Theo...

my fellow Sox fan blogger Ted posted this photo and then he followed it with a really nice blog entry about this year's Sox and yesterday's Rolling Rally through Boston. *i* promptly swiped the photo for *my* blog, and i promise to be succinct. after which, you can head right over to read what Ted wrote.

i really only want to remind you of one simple thing we all know:
we never ever shake off Tek.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Sing Along: October 29, 2007

Well maybe I've been too caught up
To see what you've been going through
All that I can say is that I'm here now...

("Everybody," Keith Urban)


where did the summer go...?

(photos from the Boston Globe)

by now, i have missed blogging three entire baseball games. and unless you live under a rock, or truly just don't pay attention to sports, you know that the Red Sox won the World Series last night.

first, i want to congratulate the Rox. they are an impressive young team with lots of talent & lots of heart. they play a good game. they never stop trying. their fans are classy & appreciate the game of baseball. there is a real future in Colorado & i truly enjoyed watching them play through the post season. i'm really sorry we had to sweep them, but they took it like men. just... you maybe should have avoided handing out the towels to your fans because i think the Sox saw them & forgot they weren't still playing in an elimination game against the Indians. i look forward to the possibility of meeting the Rox again in The Big Dance. soon.

second, there are some very specific things i will miss until April.
1. Manny throwing his helmet off as he runs like a crazy man around the bases, dreadlocks flying.
2. the way Papi looks genuinely filled with delight & pride for his teammates' successes, almost like a parent regards its child's accomplishments as if they were the only accomplishments in the history of ever. for such a superstar caliber athlete, Papi is always the first at the top of the dugout steps to greet a teammate, a beaming smile all over his face.
3. the Cheerio Mouth, the Josh Beckett rage, the Pedroia scrappiness, and the Ellsbury speed.
4. the C on the Captain's jersey.
5. Remy & Don.

third, a few things that don't have photos to match, but that i want to remember about the World Series:
1. the Boston Pops playing the National Anthem in Game One.
2. Royce Clayton after Matsuzaka's two-RBI single in Game Three: "He Ichiro!" Royce Clayton mic'd up for live sounds of the game is worth the price of admission.
3. the way Tek's voice cracked with emotion during his post game interview.

and the ones with photos:

what may have been Schilling's last start at Fenway Park. not the dominating performance he gave us in post season past, but just as gutsy as one he pitched with a now infamous bloody sock. his opinions are forgiven for the way he honors the game, appreciates the fans, and never ever gives in.

Mike Timlin on fire. not the tired, broken down reliever we feared in 2006. a reliable out we can call upon. and he brings as much passion as Papelbon.

the Papelbon pick off in Game Two. that i thought i dreamt. turns out Jonathan really does rock that much, that his first ever pick off should come in the World Series.

Coco. i feel bad for Coco. i think the last sands are rapidly falling in the hourglass marking his time in Boston. his defense has been excellent. a joy to watch. gravity-defying, body-jarring, awe-inspiring defense in center field. i am a little afraid of his hair though. i think it may expand with the application of champagne...

the opportunity to enjoy post season baseball played in a ballpark that is as unique, if not completely opposite, Fenway Park, yet just as beautiful. and filled with fans who respect the game & support their team in a way that should make them very proud.

Mike Lowell. World Series MVP.

our closer who brings his own special brand of crazy to every game. he manages to switch from dead serious intensity to uncontainable joy in a split second. and i never doubt that he loves every second of what he does.

the ever-drumming Red Sox Bullpen Percussion Band.

Youk-on Cornelius. =) and i am sorry to inform Joe Buck, but Youk's beard is way better than Casey Blake's. or Todd Helton's. ;-)

Bobby Kielty's one-pitch pinch-hitting eighth inning Game Four home run.

Beth calls Papelbon "the Precious" -- and if you doubt the validity of that nickname, just look at how Lestah is admiring Boston's shiny treasure after Game Three.

and my very favorite game action photo. not just because it's Lowell, but i love the dirt flying, how it represents the all-out effort of the whole team, and a moment captured that sums up why this man was honored as our MVP.

like Tito said last night: this never grows old.
and it doesn't.
is it April yet?

ps. i can *not* handle Slappy replacing Lowell. i would curl up in a ball, a part of my Sox-loving soul dying, if Lowell ends up in pinstripes, because if he does, it's not going to be his fault. the Sox need only to not "Torre" him with their offer. because you know that the EE will be all over picking him up & flashing a sparkling contract to lure him away. that makes me want to throw up. what i hope makes the Sox office think twice about ARod is the fact that he needed to be all drama queen & make this announcement in the middle of the World Series, while the Sox were on their way to clinching. he couldn't wait til today at least, but needed the spotlight turned back in his direction, and that's not how we play in Boston. it's time for Theo to loosen up the ol' purse strings & pay Lowell what he's worth. you don't let your World Series MVP, and possibly the Red Sox season MVP, walk away because you're too cheap to make him an offer that doesn't insult him. his value goes far beyond just what he might do in the field and at the plate. he became an immediate foundation for this team when he arrived as a Josh Beckett add-on before the 2006 season. his quiet stability & veteran experience with the young home-grown Sox beginning to emerge in the historical walls of Fenway Park is invaluable.

sign Mike Lowell.


put on your big boy pants

one more time:
there is no mercy rule in the NFL.

a football game is sixty minutes long.
you play for the whole sixty minutes.
that means any team is allowed to keep scoring any time they have the opportunity to do so.
even the Patriots.
what do you want them to do? stop playing four minutes into the third quarter?

don't like them scoring so many points?
boo hoo.
bring a defense & stop them.

this is not powder puff football where we play by gentler rules.
this is not peewee football where everyone gets a trophy at the end.
this is professional football where grown men are paid millions of dollars to play a game.

take off your skirts.
stop whining.
play the game.
or be a cheerleader.

also? i wonder if the rest of the NFL hates Mangini now for pissing off Bill Belichick?


no, really!

i swear i am posting today & making my rounds to everyone's blogs.

stop shaking your head at me.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

the hurrier i go, the behinder i get

this last week has been so weird. actually the last *month* has been, between jury duty & post season baseball... and just... it's been crazy.

i have posts that i am behind on. i still haven't talked about Game Two of the World Series, and we're heading into Game *Four* already. i have some other notes for posts i have been wanting to do that i just haven't had the time and/or energy to get to. and then yesterday i spent the day laying on the couch with a very unhappy tummy.

we won't even talk about the fact that i haven't visited hardly anyone's blog or left a single comment in like over a week.

i'm going to work on it today, i promise. i just need to hit the grocery store, and then i am coming home, throwing in some laundry, and while it washes, and while i half listen to some football, i'm going to plop myself down here & get caught up. deal?


Friday, October 26, 2007


for the last several years, i have been lamenting the lack of good tv. my favorite shows were retiring. the new ones coming out were painfully unwatchable. i felt doomed to watching shows on dvd & reruns on tv, with Boston Legal being my only actual *new* television.

then last year, Nichole hooked me on Grey's. and over the summer, i found myself really enjoying the reruns of Men In Trees. so at least there were three shows to have on at night. even if i am not sitting on my couch doing nothing, i like to have the tv on. i live by myself. i don't want to live in utter silence, ya know?

i have to say, i am especially pleased with some of the new shows that have premiered this fall. i've really been enjoying Private Practice, which is kind of Grey's with a little sillier twist in place of all the darkness. and Cane has been good too -- sort of like a modern day version of Dallas, with sugar cane being the new oil, and south Florida being the new location. but i think the best surprise of all has been Samantha Who? it's funny. and lighter than the other shows i watch. i needed a good half hour comedy to get into, and i think this is going to be it. this show makes me laugh out loud. and believe me, that's not always the easiest thing to accomplish.

so... if you haven't watched, check it out! ;-) if you click the button, it will take you to the site, explain a little more about the show. there are some clips, and a link to watch the first two espiodes online!


Thursday, October 25, 2007

life is hard & the lessons don't get any easier

Thursday, i served on a jury. i had heard the law in question, and before the trial, it would seem the case was cut & dried. and then i sat through seven hours of testimony, followed by me & five other people being forced to make a decision that, while easy to reach based solely on the law, was also unbelievably difficult to swallow for so many reasons.

i am undecided, at this point, how much of this case i want to share here. it's a sensitive subject, but one i feel is easy to judge from the outside looking in, yet when the details are presented to you, you can't even imagine how *not* black & white this really was.

i feel deeply compelled to share two thoughts, though, as a result of what i sat through today:

first, do not kid yourself. kids have sex. *eleven* year olds have sex. i'm not saying all of them, but it happens, more than we realize, and while they are not permitted by law to consent, that doesn't mean the sex they are having is against their will. they're still babies, but the hard truth is that these babies try to make adult decisions. more & more, parents need to inform their kids about sex, and at a younger age than ever before. i know you're recoiling as you read this. i know no one wants to acknowledge that kids this age know anything about sex firsthand. *please* don't stick your head in the sand and allow denial to lead to regret.

second, we warn our kids about the dangers of having sex. we talk about diseases. we talk about pregnancy. we even talk about the longterm emotional ramifications of making this decision too soon. something we *don't* think to mention is yet another way this choice can affect the rest of your life. it does not discriminate between boys & girls. the laws may vary slightly from state to state, but i can tell you that in Florida, someone between the ages of twelve and seventeen cannot engage in sexual intercourse with an eleven year old -- and it does not matter if that eleven year old begs for it, agrees to it, or lies about their age. (and take my word for it: there are absolutely eleven year olds of both genders that not only look, but talk & act older than their chronological age.) the older person is accountable. period. one bad choice, one lie when you don't really know the truth, can give you up to life in prison and label you for life as a sex offender.

we have so much more to protect our children from now than we ever did before. and we need to protect & educate them at an increasingly younger age. eleven years old is not what it was for me twenty years ago. preteens know more now than i did at almost twice their age. this is a scary world we live in, and sometimes the only way to protect our children is to inform them, to arm them with the facts. i know we want, more than anything, to preserve our children's innocence, but the facts are that they are exposed to so much outside the home now, that protecting them from the *real* thieves of their innocence becomes more imperative. it's hard to accept and even harder to do, but no child should ever have to go through what i witnessed two children live through today. one will have more severe consequences than the other -- and trust me when i say i have *very* mixed feelings about that, based on what i saw & heard today -- but rest assured both their lives have been irreversibly altered.

i'm sorry for being so heavy & controversial, but the world changes, not always for the better, and the best i can hope for, after a day like today and the way it has affected me as well, is that some child may be spared sitting in a court room, whichever side of the law they may find themselves on, because regardless of the verdict, no one wins. i would never dream of telling anyone how to raise their children, but please don't discard what i have said here without at least considering that sometimes silence hurts more than it protects.


Joshua P Beckett takes no prisoners

(photos from the Boston Globe)

it's almost like it's been too easy for him. not so much from the fans' point of view as his own. pitching a complete game in the ALDS apparently bored him to the point that six innings and eighty pitches into Game One of the ALCS, he'd had enough of not being challenged. he took the ball in potential elimination Game Five, pitched eight innings, striking out eleven, to bring the Sox back home -- and still this wasn't challenge enough for Commander Kick Ass. i could just see him in my mind's eye last night, hear his long Texas drawl saying: "World Series against the team that hasn't lost in a month? Against the pitcher who handed me my first loss earlier this year? ::shrug:: Let's actually make this interesting. How 'bout I pitch it in the rain?"
Nine Ks and seven innings later, he would leave the field... probably rolling his eyes & saying "Awwww... that wasn't anything. You guys get me another Game Five & then I'll pitch blindfolded." He just looks as calm as if he's playing a game of catch with Tek out there.

i feel bad for Jeff Francis. no, *really*. i like him. i paid attention to him most of the regular season because he was one of the pitchers on my fantasy team, and as he racked up the points for me, i started to pay attention to this previously unfamiliar name. i know he came into Fenway in June, and was the first pitcher to smudge Joshy's pristine record. but these aren't the same teams they were back then. the Sox were in the middle of their annual June Swoon. October in Boston is an entirely different proposition. especially since Game Five of the ALCS when Cleveland woke "the sleeping giant" that is the Sox offense.

suddenly everyone can hit. wee Pedroia is aiming high above the Green Monster. the heart of the order is working singles & doubles, and somehow turning them into RBIs. the bottom half is being disciplined enough to earn walks in bases loaded situations. there is suddenly confidence in the swings of the Boston bats.

so much so, that i'm going to tell you: i didn't see the end of the game. it was 10-1 in the fifth inning when i dozed off for good. for me to do that during the Sox in the World Series is nothing short of... well, unheard of. but the seven-run innings are (at the moment) in the Sox favor. and the calm lulled me off to dreamland, and i didn't see Gagne come in to pitch another clean inning to end Game One.

we're down to three more wins before we can think about hoisting a trophy over our heads one more time. i am not naive enough to believe that the Rockies didn't learn something last night. when you get to this level, every night is a new game, and the night before has to be put away, no matter the outcome. Joshy's performances make this all look so deceptively easy to execute, but tonight when Schill throws his first pitch, anything can happen. and i'll be right there watching.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

if you're Tom Brady, it's like your birthday *and* Christmas every time you get to throw deep to Randy Moss

ya know what? the media can spout all the doubt & disdain they want that the Patriots are as good as their record shows.

it just occurred to me again that Sunday afternoon, i watched with absolute breathless disbelief as Tom Brady launched a 35-yard pass into the arms of a double-covered Randy Moss in the end zone for a touch down.

and then i saw him do it again, only for *fifty* yards the second time.

who cares if no one else wants to believe this team is for real?
say anything you like, but if you're a football fan, you know that's no small potatoes.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

ladies & gentlemen of the jury

thaaaaaat's right.
i get to go back Thursday to sit on the jury of a criminal case.

actually, one of us will be an alternate, but we don't know which of the seven of us it will be.

yesterday was the first time i have ever been summoned for jury duty so i had zero idea what to expect. some thoughts & observations from my day:

1. the process of jury selection is fascinating. some of the questions they ask the potential jurors are enough to make you feel like *you're* the one on trial. also you get a pretty good feel for the direction the two sides will be taking in their arguments.

2. when it takes nine hours to select a seven person jury, you know the trial is going to be something. you guessed it: that's the one i am on.

3. you would think that if they are going to make you sit for nine hours, the least they could do would be to give you something softer to sit on than unpadded benches & hard plastic chairs. my backside is finally recovered from that trauma. thank God i get to sit in the comfy chairs on Thursday.

4. because it took so long & so many panels of people to fill the seven spots, and because once you are chosen, you are required to sit in the court room until the entire jury is selected, let's just say you hear the introduction given by the judge, and the questions from the attorneys so many times, you start to feel a little silly. by the time the final panel of potential jurors entered the court room at ten minutes to five, we had long since been placing bets on which jurors would never make the cut & who would be picked.

i can't say that i am excited about being chosen, but... on the other hand, this should be one interesting, if not potentially disturbing, case.


it's just not fair that they make babies this freaking cute

if this doesn't make a girl's uterus ache, i don't know what does.

(for those of you who don't know, that's Alison's Gracie on the left and Baby Brother of Heather creation on the right)


the champagne is only sweet if you're the one who gets to drink it

i am going to make a confession to start. i wrote the eulogy for the 07 Red Sox on the afternoon of October 16, when the Sox were down two games to one in the ALCS.

now don't misunderstand me. i wasn't sure that they were going to lose. i just wasn't sure they were going to *win*. so i wrote the first draft, as it came to me. and then they lost their third game that night. maybe if they had won to even up the series, i would have deleted it. but i didn't. i mean, seriously, how many teams can come back from near elimination, down three games to one (or worse!), more than once? and the Sox had already defied the odds, and done it twice. to expect them to pull it off again seemed... less than probable.

so i left it there. and it's still there. because being the kind of superstitious Sox fan that i am (hey! at least i'm not the only one!), i don't dare get rid of it now.

the funny thing is, even after the Sox rallied back behind October victories for Joshy & Schill, i still didn't feel the swagger. we were sending *Matsuzaka* out there, after all, in the loser-goes-home game and... i think his starts should come with complimentary Pepto Bismol & ginger ale.

as i chewed my nails, and pleaded with my television, watching the Indians fight every bit as hard as the Sox for that trip to the World Series, i kept hearing the voice of former Arizona Cardinals coach, Dennis Green, during his press conference after playing the Bears last year: "They are who we thought they were."

and it's true, even now. the Indians *are* who we thought they were: our equal. both in talent & in scrappiness. in desire & in gutsy play. in record, right to the very end, playing in a true elimination game, and competing in every second of it. and even though the final score appears to show otherwise on the surface, that game was so much closer than anyone not actually watching it could possibly fathom. every good pitch made by the Sox was matched by one from the Indians. hits & runs were being traded back & forth like goods at a nineteenth century general store. it seemed no matter how hard the Sox fought, the Indians were right there on our heels.

the Sox nibbled with a run in each of the first three innings... which was never enough despite Matsuzaka's first three innings of shutout pitching. finally turning his back on the fifth inning demons, he secured himself a potential post season win before being swapped out for Jeemer. and it was the first time i felt we'd seen him pitch with his whole repertoire in i don't know how long. that's not to say that the fifth was as pretty an inning as his earlier ones, but when he retreated to the dugout, at least the one-run lead was still in his favor.

it was impossible to rest easy though, knowing the Indians were knocking at the door, and perfectly capable of throwing seven runs up on the board faster than we could warm up relievers to give them up. the momentum shifted back & forth so quickly, it's a wonder RSN wasn't seasick. when JFL botched fielding a ball he'd waved everyone else off of in the top of the seventh, i couldn't help but think "if he just cost us this game..." and then a crazy fair ball hit up the third baseline followed, and the Sox were somehow saved from giving up the tying run because Lofton was inexplicably held at third. when a perfectly executed double play ended the inning without Cleveland scoring a run, i couldn't help but notice that it didn't include the gaping hole that prevents Boston from having a completely perfect infield.

a scorching blast into the Monster for Pedroia, on the heels of an Ellsbury double gave the Sox a little breathing room, but it was another feeling of dread when Jeemer was brought back in the eighth after already pitching two full innings. there was simply no rest for the the battle weary fans in this game. not for me, on my couch. and not for the masses packed into Fenway. when Cheerio Mouth made his first pitch with two on & no one out, being asked for a six-out save, something his shining record had yet to boast, the chanting became noticeably faster, more frantic. a strikeout & an unturned double play later, we were looking at two out, runners at the corners, and suddenly i realized that Papelbon, that the whole team really, was feeding off the intensity, and when Speedy McEllsbury navigated the tricky triangle to catch the third out, the roar was indescribable.

it was all so... electric. the MVP chants when Lowell stepped up to the plate in the home half of the eighth. the shot of Cheerio Mouth in the dugout looking like a wild animal, his hair standing in every direction, as if electrified by the very air around him, or possibly from within, as his eyes flashed. the Bullpen Band, banging away, though i have yet to determine whether it is from nervous energy, superstition at this point, or just showing their own special brand of support -- perhaps all of the above.

and then, something about that air unleashed the bats. it was the very thing i envisioned happening at Jacobs Field in Game Four, when i said: "i want nothing more than to see the boys take the field tonight with fire flashing in their eyes, lightning bolts for bats that leave the sound of thunder echoing in the stunned silence of Jacobs Field as the ball is slapped out of sight, pushing across home plate an obscene number of runners with Boston worn proudly across their chests." only it wasn't a silent Jake, but a frenzied Fenway, and the home-uniformed chests boasted Red Sox. after Manny popped out to second, Lowell hit a double. Drew singled him home. 6-2. Tek bounced one out of the park for a ground rule double on the same sort of screwy error Lugo made. an intentional walk for Ellsbury loaded the bases. Lugo Kd swinging -- which is better than hitting into an inning-ending double play anyway. when Pedroia stepped up, i hoped for a single, or even a walk, but never expected that he would clear the bases with a double. 9-2. Youk brought him home on a moonshot off the Coke bottles. the score would be 11-2 before Papi would suffer his second strikeout of the night. it was cake after that. Ortiz, already in goggles, watching as Coco, who struggled so mightily with the bat, ended the ALCS with his signature defense on the final out.

seeing Papelbon whoop with joy & beckon Tek to the mound where he caught the Captain mid-leap through the air... the deafening crowd... the beaming faces celebrating over the Sox logo cleverly designed on the infield grass... i couldn't help but remember being in the car earlier that morning, and hearing "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey on the radio. i remember wishing that it would be a sign of sorts. because we Sox fans? we believe firmly in things like curses & superstitions & jinxes. there were tense moments when the only thing that kept me sane (moments like JFL's glaring error in the seventh, for example) was holding onto those very same superstitions, remembering that in Cleveland they were already selling World Series t-shirts. and quotes like Ryan Garko's: "The champagne tastes just as good on the road as it does at home." and the one by the Elyria Chronicle-Tribune's Scott Petrak: "This Indians team is better than the Red Sox and will prove it once and for all in cramped Fenway Park. Sure a home field celebration would be nice, but silencing Red Sox Nation in its house will be just as sweet." in the early hours of Monday morning (i was watching the game on DVR since i didn't make it home in time for the first pitch live), i was clinging to the hope that those cocky displays would forebode certain demise for the Tribe, and relieved that they hadn't come from the Sox.

all in all, from fist-pumping to pacing and back again, it was a fantastic ALCS. and the Indians deserve a lot of credit for being every bit the formidable opponent. they deserved to be there, right til the very last out, because they are who we thought they were. so difficult an opponent, that it still hasn't completely sunk in that my boys came back & are going to the World Series. every so often, it hits me again, and i just start smiling.

Sox-Rox. tomorrow night the mayhem begins. and if any two teams have shown us that anything -- **anything** -- is possible, it is the 2007 Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies.


still not as good as their stats show, apparently

i headed up to WDW late Sunday morning. when i got there, it was drizzling, so i headed over to ESPN Club, figuring i would take the opportunity to see the Patriots game.

yeah. me & two hundred other Patriots fans.

i was starving & part of my plan had been to get some lunch but there were no tables available, and not so much as two inches of space at the bar. right nearby me was a group of women, all in t-shirts reading "The Bruschi Bandwagon," some of them wearing Sox caps as well. i managed score a corner of their table for the rest of the game. i'm thinking my Mike Lowell jersey helped out with that -- you know, kindness to your fellow fan & all that.

as i watched the Patriots absolutely obliterate the Dolphins (sorry, Debi), i came to some conclusions:

1. Tom Brady has always been able to throw to whatever receivers he was given to work with, but seeing him throw to receivers of the quality he has this season is mind-boggling. seriously, Tom threw for *six* touchdowns & he didn't even play the whole game!

2. i like Wes Welker more each week. he is a perfect fit in New England.

3. it must make Miami nervous to have players that perform well against the Patriots, because it seems as soon as that player reaches free agency, it's a ticket to Foxboro.

4. i cannot believe Ronnie Brown's season is done. and of course i have him on one of my fantasy teams. that really stinks.

5. i am not feeling particularly confident in Matt Cassel after seeing him come in & immediately throw an interception that got returned for a touchdown. the rookie, Matt Gutierrez, looked better than Cassel did!

6. Randy Moss has been a better addition to the team than i ever would have believed. not only for his production, but he hasn't been a lick of trouble, even though he has to deal with Tom's style of spreading the ball all around.

last night, while watching the Colts on Monday Night Football though, something really ticked me off. i know that the Patriots have received a lot of attention, and that some people feel Peyton is being overlooked this season -- though i say far from being underrated, we all expect it of Peyton at this point, but Brady has been a surprise this season, with astronomical numbers. that wasn't what upset me though. talking about both teams being undefeated, the Patriots are *still* being slighted, even though they have now won seven games to Indy's six, due to the bye week. i am astounded that people are still claiming that the Patriots have not played any teams that were harder opponents than the Colts have faced, and so the Colts being 6-0 is still more impressive than the Patriots being 7-0. call me crazy but i thought defeating the 5-0 Cowboys would at least qualify as "a win against a real team." apparently not.

the extremes in media opinion on the Patriots are ridiculous. half claim the 2007 Patriots are the best team in NFL history and will go 16-0, and half claim the Patriots are not really that great & have proven nothing because they haven't played a team worth mentioning yet. sometimes i wish the media would just shut up already.


Monday, October 22, 2007

stay tuned

there will be all sorts of posts.
but not til later.
i have jury duty.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

gasoline on the fire

here we are. the perfect culmination of a baseball season. the two best teams in baseball this year, battling it out in a death match. they couldn't have been more equally suited to play one another for the AL pennant, and it couldn't have been more perfectly scripted than to have them duke it out to the very last moment before determining who would move forward.

i didn't feel the same sense of certain belief going into Game Six that i did behind Joshy. this was different, even with Schill pitching. because the Schill that led us in 2004 is no longer the same flame-throwing pitcher who would just as soon mow you down as look at you. this was Schill, redefined. and i didn't know how deeply that redefinition went. last night, he proved to baseball fans that Schill may throw different pitches, and he may top out at 90mph, but the drive still lives in the core of his gut. Schill does not want to go out as the guy who blew the ALCS. his guts & his admitted fear of losing were his foundation in 2004 . and they were his foundation last night.

all the Joe Bucks in the world can claim he was too old & too tired to make it through a third inning of pressure. they can claim that all these mechanical changes have altered the fundamentals of Curt Schilling's mental game -- or as was stated during Game Six, that he is just not "bloody sock" anymore. i wouldn't expect a horse's ass like Joe Buck to grasp that "bloody sock" is not about age or velocity. it is about determination, dedication, the iron will not to lose. Curt Schilling may have less giddy-up on his fast ball, but his mental sit-down-and-shut-up is absolutely intact. with a whole new ball game to pitch this season, after completely reinventing himself, Schill showed everyone last night that "bloody sock" isn't an artifact in the Hall of Fame, but an attitude he wears with the game on the line -- whether it means picthing through the pain of a sutured ankle or being forced by time to rely on a new game instead of the familiar one from his youthful success. one thing is constant: with the season on the line, Curt Schilling is a winner. he may be a blowhard at the most inopportune times, but he is *our* blowhard and with perfect timing, he pitched a seven-inning masterpiece to give us the opportunity for a Game Seven.

it was not all Schilling though. he gave up only one run, but the Sox offense has sprung to life. it rumbled & grumbled into motion in Game Five. and as Papelbon stated, and i paraphrase: you woke the sleeping giant & there will be hell to pay. i spent this season, bemoaning the loss of my Trotter in right field, and ragging on JD Drew with his utter lack of anything to show for his appearance on the Boston scene. i do not look at him with the same disgust as i do JFL (Julio Freaking Lugo, for those of you joining us late), but for all the accolades & crowing that he would be everything Trot wasn't... well... he was exactly that, except not in the way we were promised. he made me miss Trot every single game, not simply because he had "replaced" Trot, but his lack of fire, his lack of "Dirtdog-edness," his inability to hit or roam right field like his predecessor... all of it made the season so frustrating to watch in the right corner. last night, when JD Drew stepped up to the plate with his bat, bases loaded, two outs, i rolled my eyes. i'd seen countless instances in which he wasted this chance, and i had no reason to believe it wouldn't just happen again. all i can say, JD, is that with one well-placed swing of your Louisville Slugger, an entire disappointing season has been erased. your slate is clean & all has been forgiven. ok, maybe not the 7 on the back of your jersey, not yet, but you have officially endeared yourself to this skeptic. though i relished every camera shot of Trot Nixon last night, and though he will always be the number seven on the back of my jersey, i officially welcome JD Drew to Boston.

after a glorious reminder of October Schilling, the redemption of JD Drew, the reappearance of Jacoby Ellsbury, and the smack of Boston bats on Cleveland pitching, the only icing that could make this Game Six sweeter was the sight of Eric Gagne striding onto the mound. this game was too magical, the atmosphere too electric, for our struggling mid-season acquisition not to get his too. his first clean inning as a Red Sock capped off this evening for me, if for no one else. i've been waiting for this moment, through all of his struggles, and i hope this does wonders for his personal morale.

but most of all, what i wanted to see, coming out of this game, was the momentum firmly shifted in the Sox favor: a strong starting performance, shut down relief, big plays in the field, and hits that just keep coming. what we saw behind Joshy in Game Five needed to carry over if there was to be a Game Seven. it needed to happen for another pitcher. if Beckett lights the fire on this team, then Game Six needed to be the gasoline on the fire, creating a blaze so hot, it could ignite Game Seven. this game played out exactly the way i hardly dared to hope.

and now... tonight there is a Game Seven. a Game Seven that some of us predicted (not me) and a Game Seven that most of us, if we're honest with ourselves, at one point or another, feared would never happen. tonight, we pull out all the stops, all the pitchers, all the desire to be the best that we can dredge up from the tips of our toes. tonight, we pray that the bats we found in Game Five keep making sweet music in the Fenway October evening air. tonight, every other game we played no longer matters. tonight, we decide.

tonight, one of the two best teams in baseball will go home.
whatever happens, we do not go quietly.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

there is only tonight

it's almost go time.
i've been sitting on this blog entry for two days now. or well, sitting on Joshy's victory that brought us back home to Fenway one more time.

i just wanted to soak in the supreme awesomeness our ace brought to The Jake Thursday night. remember the feeling of fist pumps & screams of power, as only Joshy can summon up.

i never doubted that he would lead us home. i've been saying it for days now: we would win Game Five behind Commander Kick Ass, because something happens to this team when he is on the mound. they draw on his fire, and rain brimstone down on the opposition with relentless fury. and they proved my gut feeling right. Youk busted out of the gate with a solid shot over the left field wall, and the Sox never looked back. nothing could slow them down. they stole the Indians' momentum like a bully steals your lunch money. they didn't just have one whacked out inning of scoring; they spread their hits & their runs over the whole game, not caring who was throwing the baseball off the mound, and reminding us just what this offense is capable of. there was nothing these boys wouldn't do for Joshy, and nothing, not even field rules that made what would be a home run in Boston the game's longest single ever, not endless revisiting to a Manny quote that i still feel was taken out of context & proving why Manny hates talking to the the press, nothing was going to force them to waste that gem he was pitching for them.

and we got what "they" have said we needed: to bring the series back to Boston. to put the ball in Schill's hand and let him do what he's done so well for so long. especially in October. the towels have been put away in Cleveland. the drum is silent now, traded in for "Tessie" and "Sweet Caroline." the roar of the crowd tonight will chant "here we go, Red Sox, here we go!"...

...but tonight, though i want more than anything to win, to see a Game Seven on Sunday, i want to take in the sights & sounds of Fenway Park one more time in 2007. just in case it's the last one for this incredible season. just in case it's the last time we see Schill in a Sox uniform, to appreicate what he has meant to us. just in case Theo breaks my heart and Mike Lowell is not manning the hot corner in Fort Myers in February. just in case this is my final view of The Green Monster til April.

since Joshy can't start every game in the ALCS, i can't think of anyone else than Curt Schilling that i want to see out there tonight. and i am going to remember that little pre Game Six pep talk we were treated to -- oh how i ♥ Kevin Millar! -- and i am going to believe. i am going to enjoy.

and it doesn't hurt to know that Jacoby Ellsbury will be patrolling center field, hopefully bringing with him the spark that rallied us late in the regular season, maybe to rally us again, late in a series where every spark is priceless. because there is no tomorrow. there is only tonight.

And sometimes when the game is on the line
Tessie always carried them away...


Friday, October 19, 2007

Sing Along: October 19, 2007

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I'll keep checking the horizon
I'll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down down down, on me

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in
But don't you understand
I already have a plan
I'm waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened
But in my dreams, I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path, and up this cobbled lane
I'm walking in my old footsteps, once again
And you say, just be here now
Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin
Let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win
I'm waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
And I'll check my machine, there's sure to be that call
It's gonna happen soon, soon, soon
It's just that times are lean

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart, let the light shine in
Don't you understand
I already have a plan
I'm waiting for my real life to begin
("Waiting For My Real Life to Begin," Colin Hay)


And I Quote: October 19, 2007

You know what I'll never get? Is why you could open up your heart to someone who broke it into pieces, but you couldn't open it to someone who... just wanted to heal it.
(Marin Frist on Men in Trees, "The Indecent Proposal")


Friday's Feast: October 19, 2007

Feast One Hundred & Sixty Five

If you were a dog, what breed would you be, and why?

cocker spaniel. because i know first hand that with those long silky ears & those big brown eyes, there is just no way you can not cave in. i think cocker spaniels are the reason the term "puppy dog eyes" exists in the first place.

What does the color purple make you think of?


Approximately how long does it take you to get ready each morning?

like actual getting ready? or including all the puttering around i do, because i hate to rush around in the morning, and start my day all frazzled? if i have to buckle right down to the task of getting ready, it takes me half an hour. but most mornings, i get up at 6 and leave the house at 7:30. i mix getting ready for the day with checking my email, reading a few blogs, have an early morning email conversation with Michelle, eating breakfast.

Main Course
How many cousins do you have, and are you close to them?

i have three on my dad's side, and six on my mother's. i haven't seen the ones on my dad's side since my Gramp passed away almost five years ago, and i haven't seen the ones on my mother's side since my brother got married last June, and that was the first time in about... ten years. so... i will answer the second half of this question with a question: what do *you* think?

Take your initials (first, middle, last) and come up with something else those letters could stand for. (Example: SFO = Sweet Funny Otter)

Determined Little Redsox ;-)


Friday Fiver: October 19, 2007

Don't let me out of your sight

1. What makes you feel exposed?
annual dermatology screenings. people who betray my trust.

2. What do you have to force yourself to do?
be polite to certain people

3. Where do you like to spend your time outdoors?
at WDW. or in California. or in New England in the Autumn.

4. What surprises you?
lots of things. unexpected treats that show up at my door. seeing people behave compassionately. that my friends continue to put up with my ridiculousness.

5. Friday fill-in:
Late at night I'm
very wide awake, just like early in the morning, but don't talk to me mid-afternoon.


Friday Fun: October 19, 2007

Your Future Friday

1. When you were in high school, how did you envision your future? Kids, college, marriage, professional, etc.?
oh yes... the good old days, filled with innocence & naivete... when i thought i would go to college & get my degree in teaching. get married at 24. work for a couple of years. have my first baby at 26 & become a stay-at-home mom. my second at 28. and my third at 31. and when the littlest was in school full time, i would go back to work, and have the perfect working mom career because i would be off when my kids were.

2. How does that compare to the reality of what was to come?
ok i think i'm done. i went to college. discovered that all the politics involved with teaching were not for me, so i majored in Child Development (with a side of English). turns out that no matter how much education you have, you will never be able to survive as a day care provider, which is a shame because i love kids. but after five years working with my babies, it just wasn't a financial possibility. so... here i am. not married. no kids. i've taken so many detours, i don't even know where i am anymore. they really should hand out navigational devices with high school diplomas. =P

3. What, if anything, would you change about your choices, had you had the benefit of knowing what was to come?
i wish i could say nothing. but that's not true. since i can't go back though, i just choose not to dwell on it.

4. Do you believe that the cliche about clouds and silver linings holds true, that out of bad can cause good?
absolutely. i don't think it just falls in your lap, as a rule. i think you need to keep your eyes open for it, recognize it and take the opportunity for it to happen. but silver linings often present themselves, sometimes in ways we never would have dreamed.

5. What about karma? Does what goes around come around?
i'm not sure if i believe in karma or not, but i think it's not the kind of thing you take your chances with. i think you should do your best to earn some good karma every day, just in case this karma thing is for real. (and admit it, you've seen enough scenarios where it looks like what goes around, comes around. at least i know *i* have.) and if karma is just another "myth" then what have you lost? you've lived a good life, tried to be the best person you could, and there is nothing at all wrong with that.


if you're a guy, you just want to skip this one.

still reading? ok, well... if you are one of the male faithful readers of this little blog (which counts for about two of you out of the five readers i have), don't say i didn't warn you -- *twice* in fact -- to stop reading right here. if you continue beyond this paragraph, that's your own fault.


ok so... yesterday i had my annual *ahem* doctor's visit. and unless i have been i have been receiving less than standard care up to this point in my womanhood, i think you might just be a little jealous. not that i got to go, because who wants to go *there*. but if you have to go, who wouldn't want the Cadillac version, right?

for starters, they asked me to get there thirty minutes early, because i was a new patient. i arrived at 3:30 for my 4pm appointment. you know how doctor's offices are though. the later in the day you arrive, the longer you wait for your turn, because you are dealing with the back-up from the whole day, and people who were late for their appointments, and people who took longer than anticipated. so imagine my astonishment when they called my name at 3:40.

secondly, i had a pillow on the exam table. and not one of those cheesy little travel pillows. it was a real, honest-to-God pillow.

next, it wasn't 40 degrees in the exam room, with icicles hanging from the a/c vent & penguins needing to be shooed out of the way of the nurses.

and now for the best part: you know how you always get the stupid little paper gown? the one that is almost more of an insult than just standing there in your birthday suit? the one that does nothing to save your dignity or protect you from frost bite? and then the little paper cocktail napkin to put across your knees? so you're laying there, teeth chattering & lips blue, the paper all crinkling from the shivering & blowing in the a/c breeze. and you'd try to go to your happy place but you can't get there because you're half numb.

except for here. because it's not cold, and you have your nice little pillow. and... the gown is big, like wearing your father's bathrobe when you were a kid. it covers everything & practically goes to the floor. and there isn't a napkin, but a sheet, of generous size, that cover not just one knee cap, but almost your entire body. and. it's all--every last bit of what they give you--real, actual *cloth*.

do these kinds of doctor's offices still really exist? have i really been missing out on something here all along, and thinking it was the norm?

or, while you're probably not all that envious right *now*, when your next annual comes around, as they always do, are you going to look at the paper gown, so short you wouldn't be allowed through airport security, in the arctic exam room, and then be just a smidge jealous? because based on my former experience, i know i would be. who knew this kind of doctor's office still existed?? surely not me!


Thursday, October 18, 2007

whatever it takes

this is the game where we have to pull out all the stops.
because either way we go back to Boston tonight.
but this decides whether it's to fight behind Schill in Game Six...
...or just pack up the lockers for the winter.

for my part, i am busy collecting rum, cigars & live chickens, in an effort to appease Jobu.
i'll even throw in strippers.
or Julian.
at this point, he can have anything else he wants too.
because we need bats.
like we've never needed them before.

"In Beckett we trust, all others pay cash... ...because I have nothing but utter confidence in Commander Kick Ass of the F#ck Yeah Brigade."


for lack of imagination...

...i am lifting this from Krystyn's blog.

1. Name: Dawn

2. Pink - Love it or Hate it? i like some pink, but it depends on the shade & what it's being used for.

3. Signature shade of lipstick, lipgloss, etc.: i have one but i don't know what the name is. it's a warm reddish color, just a shade darker than my natural lip color, light with a little gloss. i don't wear it often though. i usually just wear some vanilla-flavored SoftLips.

4. Do you have a best girl friend? yes. and i am quite lucky. =)

5. Do you have a woman mentor? no... used to look to my Gram for that sort of guidance, but no one anymore.

6. Are you a woman mentor to someone else? not that i am aware of!

7. Tomboy or Princess? all of the above. i don't like to get dirty or sweaty all that much. not a fan of bugs or camping. i like to have my nails done, and i hardly ever leave the house without makeup. but i *love* me some football & baseball. i am happiest in track pants or jeans and a t-shirt. i would rather go to the Baseball Hall of Fame than to a spa, any day. and unless i love you an awful lot, i have no patience for drama.

8. Favorite Girl Band: don't really have one to be honest with you.

9. Are you a mom? Do you want to be one? i am not a mom, but if it's in the cards for me one day, i am up for the challenge. children are blessings.

10. Do you and your mom have any rituals? yeah... not so much.

11. Fashion magazines - yea or nay. sure, if it's laying around & i'm bored, but i am not paying for a subscription or anything.

12. Do you have a feel good outfit? my black yoga pants & my Mike Lowell batting practice jersey.

13. Have you called your grandma or special aunt, or special older lady lately? my Gram passed away five years ago this coming Saturday, and i don't have any other special older ladies in my life, so... no! ;-)

14. Signature Scent? Vanilla Bean Noel

15. Favorite female tv character: Meredith Grey on Grey's Anatomy (yeah, i know she's whiny sometimes, but i identify well with the character. take that as you will.) or maybe Marin Frist on Men In Trees

16. Favorite place to hang out with gal pals? Disney World! =)

17. Did you ever ditch your girl friends to be with a guy? Do you still? i did for a while but... i think that was partially immaturity & partially to avoid one of the people i considered a friend back then. (should've told me something, huh? took me another year or so to figure it out though.) i wouldn't do that now, at least not in a way that would be considering "ditching my friends." more like make special time for all the important people in my life.

18. Friend you call when you need a laugh? usually Heather or Alison

19. Friend you call when you need a shoulder to cry on? while i know there are several people ready, willing & able to be that shoulder, i tend not to call people. i might text a little or drop an email, but mostly i get kind of quiet & "pull into myself" which usually leads to one or more of them calling *me*.

20. Have you reminded your friends of how much they mean to you lately? some. but i think that's one of those things that can never be done too much.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sing Along: October 17, 2007

Tell me, princess, now when did you last let your heart decide?
("A Whole New World" from Disney's "Aladdin")


on signs & jinxes & such

i unintentionally stepped on a *frog* in the laundry room just now.
after which, it promptly flipped over on its back & died.

i hope to God that wasn't an omen of the Sox tomorrow.


because i get analytical when circumstances come right down to the wire

i've thought about it. as i watched last night unfold before my eyes, i started to contemplate the 2007 Red Sox. everyone around me, it seems, is mad. they're mad at Tito. or Matsuzaka. or Drew. or just... just plain mad, i guess. and i'm not. and i wondered why that was.

it's not that i don't care or that i've given up rooting for my boys or that i don't still want them to win. because i do want them to win. i am pulling for them with every fiber of my existence. and i really really want to believe we're going to pull off a miracle. but i think that 31 years of being a Sox fan has conditioned me into mental preparation. if i start accepting imminent defeat now, it won't be such a shock to me when it happens. and if the improbable happens, the surprise will be a pleasant one. i'll take the pleasant surprise over the crushing reality check any day, but maybe that's just me.

i still think this series will end in six games. unfortunately, that means the Sox are the team packing in it, should that be the case. but i don't think the Sox will lose on Thursday. not with Joshy starting -- provided that he's healthy & all this talk about being pulled after 80 pitches in Game One because his back was stiffening up was just a shortlived concern remedied by a few days' rest.

i do think now is the time to make some changes though. there is no more looking ahead. there is only the next game. because setting up for the future won't help anymore when losing the next game means the future is Spring Training.

1. starting pitching: they say you win the playoffs with pitching. at first i was being rather critical of our starters, but the more i look at the facts, the numbers, and the stats, the more i believe that our pitching hasn't been bad as i first thought. the problem is that the Indians are swinging some ridiculously hot lumber, while our bats have been running hot & cold -- but more on that in a minute. what this boils down to is that "pretty good" isn't going to cut it. what we need now is for our pitching to be exceptional, lights out, near perfect. i don't think there is any need to address Commander Kick Ass's start in Game One. so, moving along to Game Two, i wanted to be hard on Schill, but the more i think about it, the more i have to admit that he was in that game. we didn't lose til the eleventh inning. that wasn't so much Schill's fault, and starting pitching was not the reason we lost that game. Wakefield actually looked good last night, coming out of the gate. the knuckleball was working, and then these kids seemed to figure it out. that is what can happen with the knuckleball, and then suddenly it becomes hittable. but all in all i can't really complain about Wakey's start either -- yes, five runs on five hits, i know, but seven Ks didn't just happen by themselves. after some careful consideration, i have to say that, though i feel bad picturing the inconsolable Matsuzaka, staring silently into his locker for over an hour after Monday's game had ended, if we get through Joshy's game like i think we will (although remember that we *will* have to face Sabathia who just might shake off this post season black cloud hanging over his head), then i would stick with Schill in Game Six back at Fenway, without a doubt. he doesn't have a 9-2 post season record for nothing. and then if by some miracle we find ourselves facing Game Seven, i think it's time to look at all the options. i just don't think i want Matsuzaka pitching with the season hanging on the line. and i don't see how Joshy could possibly pitch Sunday on two days' rest. Game Two's appearance aside, when he was brought out of the bullpen mid-inning, something which he is completely unaccustomed to handling, i think i would take my chances with starting Lestah over Matsuzaka, based on what i saw last night. Change Number One: swap out Lester for Matsuzaka.

2. the bullpen: tight situations require Timlin-Jeemer-Papelbon. period. MDC-Lopez-Gagne need to not be seen so much as getting up off that bench in the bullpen without a minimum ten-run lead. this will demand our starting pitchers making it deeper into games. at least through the sixth inning. Change Number Two: just accept that we have a three-man bullpen.

3. the line up: it's difficult to decide who to be upset with while you're watching the game. nothing about our offense is as it seems, at least to me. until you start taking a hard look at the numbers. running purely off the emotion of the game, it's easy to ask our big sluggers why they aren't doing more. but i find the fault falls mostly on four individuals, no matter how it feels otherwise, which i realized when i examined the following stats for the ALCS:

Papi: i can't be mad at Papi. he's playing hurt, but he's not hitting that way when you consider he is hitting .385, has gotten on base 10 out of 18 chances, and though he only has one RBI, he has scored five runs -- so he isn't driving in runs, but he is getting on base to set the table -- and he has only struck out once & hit into one double play.
Youk: has also reached base 9 out of 18 plate appearances. he is hitting .400, and like Papi, has only one RBI, but has crossed home plate 4 times. he's struck out twice but hit into no double plays.
Manny: the bad - one K & two double plays. the good - has been on base 11 out of 18 chances, driven in 7 RBI, and scored 4 times. i would say that the good outweighs the bad here too, no?
Lowell: he's not hitting for the average he did in the regular season -- only .250 for the ALCS, only reaching base 5 out of 18 appearances, including a strike out & a double play -- but he is also responsible for 6 RBI. still a contributor.
Tek: hitting a pathetic .200, only reaching 3 out of 15 chances, a double play & 4 Ks. but his 4 RBI save him from getting the evil eye. mostly.

which bring us to the four who have not been doing *anything*:
batting averages of .188 (Coco & Pedroia) and .147 (Lugo). Drew is hitting .267 but that make be his only semi-decent number.
Pedroia: reached base only 4 out of 18 chances. 5 Ks.
Coco: reached base 3 out of 16 chances. 4 Ks. 1 GIDP.
Lugo: reached base 2 out of 15 chances. 2 Ks. 2 GIDP.
Drew: reached base 4 out of 15 chances. 1 K.
and are you ready for this? *zero* RBI between the four of them. so they aren't driving anyone in, and they're barely making it on base to be brought around themselves. 64 chances to do *something* and what we get is managing to arrive on base 13 times and bring in no runs.
i keep looking at our options. we have Cora, who can play SS & 2B, but i don't think that's going to be the answer here, much as i like him. so ultimately that means we're stuck with Lugo & we need to pray Pedroia finds his big boy pants while he's off today. we have Drew, who i will acknowledge is marginally better than the other three on my angry list, and the plan is to sit him on Thursday anyway, and use Kielty against Sabathia anyway, like in Game One, when, incidentally, he had a hit, an intentional walk, 2 RBI and scored a run himself in 3 plate appearances. so that's a change but not a new one, though i wish we'd used him a little more perhaps. which leaves me with Coco. i love Coco. i love what he's done for us. but the man is not hitting. like hardly at all. and even his defense has lost some of its sparkle. do you remember how we earned the AL East pennant? the rookies. the little sparks of life when we needed them most. i think it's time to see what Ellsbury can do out there in center. even if he does nothing, at least we can say we tried, and we certainly weren't missing out on something spectacular from Coco. i feel like we need something to shake up our line up, and adding in a new face seemed to work at the end of the season. Change Number Three: Coco on the bench to give Ellsbury a shot.

if ever there was a time to push the Panic Button, i would think this would be it. but i don't want it to be in full blown panic mode. i want it to be calculated. i want to look at the options. but something has to change or we are done. Tito wasn't afraid to make changes before, and they almost always paid off. let's not revert back to last season's inflexibility from deviating from the original plan, even when the original plan is imploding before our eyes.

anyone have any thoughts? agree? disagree? another option?
i'm curious to see what we come up with, how they match to the decisions Francona ends up making, and how they play out.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

that, my friends, was the dictionary definition of suckage, but in the playoffs it's not over til someone gets sent home

i find it interesting to note how looking backward can change your perspective. for example: the idea behind paying out all that cash for the Japanese pitching phenom, whose legendary (of Loch Ness variety) "gyroball" had the Red Sox & Yankees foaming at the mouth, seemed like a good one. not only were we adding a third ace-quality starter to our rotation, but we were wisely *keeping* him from pitching for our nemesis. brilliant move! check mate! except that now it looks like we put all our eggs (all hundred million of them) in one basket, and scored ourselves a wicked expensive Kei Igawa. hindsight, i tell ya.

or perhaps we could talk about the sneaky move we made during the dwlindling moments of the trade deadline, swiping one of the game's elite closers out of the grasp of (once again) the Yankees. we were going to have not one, not two, but *three* closer-caliber pitchers to fall back on when we picked up the bullpen phone. you think the Yankees are still feeling abdominal soreness after the uproarious laughter they surely had at our expense? because for all of that fist-pumping at landing Eric Gagne, we could have gotten the same by simply re-signing Rudy Seanez. i think, after all my support, no matter how the chips were down, i have earned the right to be disheartened by Gagne at this point. don't get me wrong. i am still pulling for him, but you've got to give me a reason to keep believing, and i am not even seeing the faintest glimmer of hope here. i wish, for his sake as well as our own, that he had simply put his foot down & pointed to his no-trade clause in silence. hindsight.

so in light of this whole "the true nature of the beast is not how good it looks tonight, but in what it looks like in the morning" philosophy, i am going to implement a little reverse psychology in regard to Game Three. last night looked, in a word, bad. and before you wag your finger at me & say that's not looking at last night's loss with fresh eyes, let me just say that i call it "bad" now, when last night words like "abysmal" and "dismal" came immediately to mind. bad is most definitely an improvement in disposition. what i am hoping is that tonight our elder statesman will stroll, with his calm, quiet demeanor, onto the mound, give the Indians a little what-for by means of a dancing knuckleball, and that suddenly we'll be back to an even record, so that i can look at Monday night with a shrug, chalk it up to a serving of humble pie, and be able to state, one more time: hindsight.

the game started out promising. i mean, how can you feel anything but fired up when Jonathan Papelbon gives you your Sox starting line up while biting back a grin that just reeks of mischief & shenanigans? i will even tell you that the raucous cheering coming from those Cleveland fans made me proud as a fan of the game. turns out, as the game progressed, i would begin to loathe that guy & his infernal drum-banging, and miss terribly the rousing Red Sox chants that followed the boys around the country during the regular season, but were noticeably absent when we needed them most.

i tried, valiantly, to shake off the feeling of foreboding i got, when i realized Coco must have forgotten the memo in which was clearly stated the Sox were no longer squandering bases-loaded opportunities because this is October now, and these games are for real. (for shame, Covelli. for *shame*.) at this point, i merely determined that the problem lay in the fact that i had donned my lucky Trot Nixon jersey, and its power was lost in this environment known as The Jake, where our Dirt Dog now calls home. off came the Trot jersey, replaced with the Lowell All Star option instead. surely *that* would right the ship.

i settled back on my couch, and just about the time i was chuckling to myself that Kenny Lofton walks exactly like Woody in "Toy Story," the old timer lets one sail, and suddenly a 2-0 deficit sucks the humor out of the moment. i crashed back to earth, recalling every start Matsuzaka has made since July. the only laugh i was able to manage, after that little trip down memory lane, was a dark one, when one of the talking heads commented on how Kenny Lofton is still chasing a ring. the sharp laugh was the accompaniment as i thought to myself: if that is the case, i am kind of wishing he had pursued that dream by way of Boston.

by the end of the game, i had changed from the Lowell jersey to my favorite "what's not to love?" Sox t-shirt, and then in a moment of desperation, layered the Lowell jersey *and* the Trot jersey on top of it. it wasn't going to help though. nothing would. not even a two-run shot by El Capitan. none of it would be enough. it was a hard game to watch. hard to admit that starting pitching not executed by Commander Kick Ass himself was no longer our strong point, that our bats never materialized, and that no combination of relief would be our savior. we couldn't even count on good umpiring last night, because i don't know what parallel universe the home plate umpire was watching this game from, but he was not calling a game that was happening in real life.

i think the shot of Schill, a cup in each hand, chewing sunflower seeds like a chipmunk with a nervous tic, about summed up the level of anxiety we have all reached as a collective nation. i want nothing more than to see the boys take the field tonight with fire flashing in their eyes, lightning bolts for bats that leave the sound of thunder echoing in the stunned silence of Jacobs Field as the ball is slapped out of sight, pushing across home plate an obscene number of runners with Boston worn proudly across their chests. i want to see Coco's backside glued to the bench & the youth movement that carried us into the post season patrolling center field with the name Ellsbury across its shoulders. i want Dougie to remind us why he once bore the nickname "Stud Who Hits Bombs." but more than anything else, i want to see them play like winning is the only option. because, ya know, my calendar reads October. and that's sort of the situation we're finding ourselves in these days.

that & i want to pretend the scariest thought ever (and i say this after seeing "A Hundred Million Reasons I Don't Want to See Matsuzaka on the Mound Again Anytime Soon") was never uttered, or that maybe the Sox have taken a page out of Bill Belichick's Guide to Making Your Opponent Feel Safer Than They Should. because taking Papi's bat out of the lineup right now? not so much a trip to the happiest place on earth.

since Daniel has informed me that it is, indeed, wrong of me to secretly hope that the business side of baseball is industriously making the necessary phone calls as we speak to ensure a Sox-Rox World Series because it's better for the ratings, then my alternate option is that someone with fury, someone with a substantial stockpile of firearms who is just crazy enough to make them all worry to the point of sitting up & paying attention, someone the likes of Mike Timlin, stormed the clubhouse last night, bellowing into the somber quiet, demands that they knock this sh*t off right this minute.

this is October, after all. and the chances are getting slim.
may the knuckleball be our saving grace.


Monday, October 15, 2007

live from my living room: Game Three 10:43pm

the current emotion you are looking for is rage.
and disgust.


line from my living room: Game Three 10:26pm

two outs ago, i was terrified of MDC getting the call.

don't let those pretty eyes fool you. MDC was out there spitting fire tonight. kicking ass & taking names.

now if only he could convince the bats to hit like he just pitched...


live from my living room: Game Three 9:36pm

oh Captain, my Captain.


live from my living room: Game Three 9:32pm

ok. ok. i get it now. Sox fans got too complacent with the easy wins. that is unacceptable for October baseball involving Boston.

nail biting.
ulcers ripping through our guts like the Grand Canyon through the Arizona landscape.

can you stop holding my Sox hostage now, oh powerful gods of baseball?


live from my living room: Game Three 9:24pm

hey... did you know there is football on tonight?
i had no idea i cared so much about the Giants & the Falcons...


live from my living room: Game Three 9:16pm

i thought everyone said Manny lives to hit the ball in Cleveland.
i am not convinced.


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