Thursday, August 30, 2007

5

The Sox only needed to win one, and came away empty handed. Today's game was definitely awful, no doubt about it, but it was not the disaster it will be portrayed as in the papers tomorrow. Ok, maybe it was, but it's not catastrophic. Not even close. If any of us had the choice of going into September with a five game lead, I'm sure we'd have jumped at the chance. We're still in good shape, in theory.

What does concern me, though, is how lackadaisical and punchless this lineup has become. I know everyone is making a big deal about the expanding roster, but really, is there much pop on the way? Right now, with Manny and Crazy Red on the shelf, our lack of depth is really being exposed. That concerns me, too. We got three pretty decent starts from Dice, Becks and Schill. I think Tito really screwed up the first two games by letting those guys get into the seventh innings. What's the point of having "the best bullpen in baseball" and then letting tiring starters get in over their heads? When we got Gagne, everybody in the organization said, basically, now these are six-inning games. So what happened to that? All three of these games were pretty winnable, and we got Grady'd in two of them.

Random side question: At what point does Theo get some heat for some, in my opinion, pretty poor decisions? We're paying Lugo and Drew what, $23 million combined? I guess Coco was the best we could do at the time, but he's been maddeningly inconsistent and frustrating, too. There's a startling lack of late inning pinch-hitting and defensive options available as well, considering our fairly monstrous payroll. I'm not a fan who's satisfied resting on the ever-fading laurels of 2004; I want to win really bad every year. At what point does Theo's grace period start to fade? I know we have the best record in baseball, and we're set up well in the standings. Maybe I'm just being selfish. I just have some, I think, legitimate concerns about how well we're really put together for a deep October run.

Had a fun time listening to the game on EEI today, and getting in on the chat over at Joy Of Sox. I've never gotten in on one of those game threads over there before, and it was pretty entertaining. I wish some of the chatters would ditch the "I'm a better Sox fan than you" routine, and I wish there were less comments of a personally attacking nature, but all in all, it was a great way to release stress during a stressful game. Good times. And thanks to Jere for the email updates after I left for work...

With the O's coming to Fenway, it seems like a great time to get back on track. No Bedard on Saturday; maybe we can catch a break or two before this thing is done...

Update link thingy: If you haven't read this, you must. Fucking Awesome...How did I ever doubt that guy?

5or7

Do I think the Yankees will catch us and win the division? No. Do I think they're better than us right now? I have no idea. Do I want to see them in the playoffs? Hell no. Am I frustrated as hell with the Sox right now? Hell yes.

After last weekend, I think everybody thought they had it figured out. We absolutely smoked the White Sox; but then again, they're so bad right now that Ozzie is screaming, cursing and begging for Double-A call-ups to replace the shitty players playing shittier he has now. So I'm not sure what that means. And the Yankees lose three out of four to the Tigers, getting embarrassed in the finale. And now, the Yanks beat us two straight, Anaheim sweeps the Mariners, and Detroit can't beat Cleveland. Who the hell knows what all this means? Is this why "they play the games on the field?"

I do know this, though- anytime the top or middle of the order gets a rally going for the Sox, it will be short-lived. Crisp/Hinske/Lugo does not a long inning make. When Coco wakes up in the morning, does he step out of bed into an 0-2 count? And Drew...I don't even know where to begin. He went on and on to Cafardo in the Globe today about how he's back on track and finding his stroke, and yada yada and all I know is that in two games, with men on base, he's feebly struck out on check swings at the most critical moments of games. No wonder he's been hated everywhere he's been. He seems to have the most selfish at-bats; like Cafardo's article said, if it's not perfect, he won't swing. Well, with runners on base in a one-run game, at least take a rip at something for God's sake. If I have to watch him kill one more rally with a confused, weak ass at bat I will be forced to jab a pen in my eye until the spurting blood has completely covered my TV screen.

So now, we trust Schilling, who's given up at least five runs in all of his starts against New York this year, and we get to watch the Yanks lug their .372 average against Schill into the Stadium for what is, to them, the biggest game of their season so far. As much as I enjoyed leading the division by 14.5 games, a lead like that does seem to rob the boys of any sense of urgency. This feels like old times- they're playing to win and we're playing not to lose. I'm not panicking, and I'm not even very worried, but damn, it'd make me feel a lot better to hear some enthusiasm and energy on RKO today...so Let's Go Sox- a win today would be weddy nice.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pitt is Fixed

So we're moving the headquarters of SBF to the greater Pittsburgh area as of October 1. Yes, me, a die-hard, black & gold hating, Steelers bashing Pats fan will be calling the home of the crackback block and signature QB-knee-taker-outer-maneuver my home.
Right in the middle of football season. Nice one, Matty.

Speaking of Foulke, I was watching the end of '04 ALCS game 6 today, and man, looking back at it now, the bottom of the ninth sure seems fixed...The two walks, one of which involved a terribly blown missed strike call, the two baserunners, the strikeouts, especially of former Red Sock Tony Clark to end it, just after midnight, just so Joe Buck could gravely state, "It's just gone past midnight here in the east..." Looking back on it now, was there ever a question that series wasn't getting to a seventh game? Am I being too jaded here? Look at that series:

Game 1: Yanks jump out to big lead, silencing big mouth injured expensive free agent pitcher, but just as the casual fan is ready to call it a night and turn off the tube, BAM! Big Red Sox rally...but alas, it falls short.

Game 2: The straight game, so that three years later people can point to it and go, "No, that series wasn't fixed by FOX- I mean, look at game two for God's sake- very boring game...nothing fishy..."

Game 3: The gut-punching, at home blow out, sending our heroes to the brink...How Humiliating! How Horrible! How Obvious! I've seen batting practice pitchers fool more guys than Arroyo that night...didn't even look good...

Game 4: Mariano Rivera can't find the plate against Millar? Come on...Him blowing the save allowed FOX to play up another angle for the johnny-come-latelys and casual fans: that Mariano Rivera has blown 99% of his save opportunities against the Sox over the years. Incorrect of course, but Dramatic, yes! And that straight fastball he threw to Mueller? Pshaw...

Game 5: The Epic...probably played on the level, much like game 2. Just an anomaly. Although there were certainly things you could point to that were fishy...Ortiz stealing, lots of first pitch swinging by both teams in the later innings, an ever widening then shrinking strike zone...but a great game nonetheless...

Game 6: We discussed some of it above, but also the unprecedented TWO umpire conferences, the perfect positioning of the fan in the all black hoody who was the target, and clear background, for Mark Bellhorn's three-run homer. Gave Bellhorn something to zero in on, and made the shot look great on instant replay at home and in the booth, thereby allowing McCarver to, for once, make the right call. And the riot police ON THE FIELD? I'd forgotten all about that...what a stroke of genius...what better way to underscore The War that is Sox-Yanks than to actually require a troop deployment to finish the game. FOX News was definitely in on this one..."See, this is what Bagdhad is like now that we've 'won' the war! Just baseball, all the time! Nothing to worry about! Good job, W!" No explanation for the Slappy play- A-Rod's just a douche.

Game 7: Due to liability issues, i.e. thousands upon thousands of Sox fans having heart attacks and aneurysms then suing, FOX had to make this one a blowout from the get-go; once the Sox raced out to their big lead, and middle America started getting ready to switch to the local news, BAM! Pedro inexplicably comes in, though he started just two nights before, and re-electrifies Yankee Stadium, reeling back in the guy with the remote in his hand...Not to worry, though, FOX will make sure this is THE BIGGEST CHOKE IN THE HISTORY OF WORLD. Thanks, FOX! Good lookin' out...

And no, I don't really believe any of that. Well, ok, maybe a little of it. Either way, we're 8 up with 31 to play, and I don't think even FOX can do a damn thing about it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Goodbye, Goodbye, Hello!

Three thoughts from today:

I read somewhere that one of Michael Vick's lawyers said something to the effect of (and I'm paraphrasing here, but this should sound familiar to anybody that has read the Vick news from the last few days), "He's a father, and a son, and a human; I think people have lost sight of that."

Actually, we haven't. I didn't even know he was a father till I read that quote in umpteen different stories today. And it made the whole thing a lot more sad to me. I've read all these quotes from Falcons fans, and others as well, that lament the tarnished image he now presents to "young sports fans." But it made me really sad, and really mad, to find out he was a father. It's bad enough that thousands of parents around the country have to explain to their kids why he's going to jail. To me, though, how does he explain to his own kids why he's going away? I have no idea how old his kid/s are, but I pray to God they are too young to need an explanation. And if they aren't, then I damn well hope he tells them the truth about what a barbaric, sadistic fuck their father is/was. And I hope he helps them realize what an awful life he's led. Personally, I'm not a fan of dogs, but this story almost made me throw up my toast and coffee when I first read the details of the brutality of this case. I'll be the first to say he was an incredibly overrated quarterback in the NFL, but I'll also say that I hope he uses this experience to teach kids something, anything, from this. God help you, Michael Vick. You need it.
****************************************

To my buddy Ryan from the Old Ebbitt- may you enjoy moving into enemy territory in NYC. You and your beautiful wife are moving to the land of the asshole, but may you find sanctuary at Professor Thom's- look up the Mighty Quinn, and live happily ever after. I'll see you around...
****************************************

Thank you, Garrett Anderson, and your 10 RBIs. Six in hand with thirty-six to play sounds mighty good to me.

Friday, August 17, 2007

To Have and Have Not...Not that I Mean to Bragg

I really wanted to make my 165th post really special, so I waited over two months until I had some really important, meaningful things to say...

Here's how I've spent my summer vacation...

I have not seen more than five or six Sox games on TV.

I have not seen the Sox in person.

I have been to one more Pirates game in person, Father's Day, than any other baseball game.

I have worked a lot.

I have listened to a guest in my restaurant allege that our valets had siphoned gas from her car.

I have regaled many the listener with the tale of how some guy in my expensive restaurant got ricchochet-pooped-on by a homeless man who snuck into our nicely-appointed restrooms.

I have told many people that Michael Vick's lawyers were planning to use the "Them dogs is lying!" defense if his case goes to trial.

I have been hoping that Michael Vick's case goes to trial so that they can bury that inhumane bastard of bastards.

I have been having a love-hate affair with the Orioles.

I have not seen any good concerts.

I have been simultaneously looking forward to, and dreading, our eventual, but not definite, move to Pittsburgh.

I have enjoyed, but probably couldn't really afford, the Kona-crusted NY Strip steak at Capital Grille twice.

I have beaten my wife approximately 5-6 times at Pop Culture Edition Trivial Pursuit, no matter if she plays the roaming gnome piece or the KISS boot.

I have watched my kids grow up beyond my wildest dreams.

I have fallen even more in love with my wife, if that's even possible.

I have drunk too much beer.

I have updated SBF far too infrequently.

I have read all of your blogs and commented not as religiously as always.

I have missed having the time to write about things that make me laugh.

I have gotten a pretty good tan.

I have been secretly rooting for Hung on Top Chef, despite how I always tell my wife that he's a douchebag.

I have been dreading, and lately experiencing, the Yankee comeback I knew would eventually happen.

I have been telling everyone who will listen that if the Pats don't throw a 60-yard fly pattern to Randy Moss on their first play from scrimmage against the Jets in week one then this whole season is a waste of time.

I have been sweating my ass off during the hottest DC summer I can remember.

I have gotten sick of The Big Ry complaining that I don't blog anymore.

I have felt like a hypocrite for suddenly wanting to follow the Celtics again.

I have been wanting to order a Kevin Garnett Celtics jersey since the second they signed him.

I have been wanting a week off without kids.

I have been loving watching my kids fall in love with the swimming pool.

I have been putting off this post forever because I felt like I'd had a boring summer.