All is right with the world – Opening Day

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again.

Snow and the Sox

My latest idea of heaven has to be a snowy Sunday in March with a Red Sox game on NESN and laptop at hand to geek out on baseball stats. With some 30 days until opening day, I went cruising on redsox.com for some April seats but alas, the frigging ticket system is a total boner and not coughing up any pairs, only singles. So, off I go to one of the ticket brokers to get gouged hard for a pair for my son and me.

Soon will come the question of which Sox t-shirt to invest in this year. Last year was Dice-K Matsusaka – a smart choice as it turns out when I walked out of the stands at Wukesong Park in Beijing following the US-Japan bronze medal game in last summer’s Olympics. The Japanese fans were very effusive and back slappy and all thumbs up. This year … I dunno. I’m thinking Ortiz as something tells me this is the Big Papi’s big season – the crescendo after his extra-terrestrial performance in 2004. Shirt selection is everything. I’m talking the official red t-shirt model, the one with the name of one’s favorite player printed on the back. A fan must wear it to the game, and one’s choice is, by extension, a proxy for one’s entire karma and psychological proclivities. Last June, when I took the kids to the bleachers to see the Orioles get thrashed by the Sox, the dominant shirt was Ramirez – a situation that certainly shifted after Manny’s mid-summer meltdown and trade to the Dodgers. A lot of Ortiz and Papelbons, but me, being mister eccentric, had to go with the Japanese ace last summer.

The pride of the closet is the Lowell 2007 World Series away jersey. The real deal with buttons, etc.. After all “Scenic” Lowell was the World Series MVP that year, and is the Churbuck-family God of Doubles according to my son Eliot – for whom the shirt was bestowed as an Xmas present as part of his misalignment in Manhattan as a student at NYU and occasional infiltrator of the Toilet, aka Yankee Stadium. I wore the Lowell shirt last October to the Sox-Rays playoff series (thank you kind people at CNET) but we lost in a nasty game that was over before I even got of the first inning beer line.

Colleague Steve S. – a fellow Masshole transplanted to RTP – and I are discussing wallpapering the wall between our offices with a 8’x12′ poster of the Green Monster

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Bed of Nails

Boston Globe (Jim Davis)
Boston Globe (Jim Davis)

I went to bed in the seventh inning, Red Sox down five to nothing. I lost all faith in the first inning, truth be told, but hung on as it got uglier through the demise of my man Dice-K.

Woke up this morning, sat down with my coffee, and used the Blackberry to Google “Red Sox Score.”

“F%$K me,” I said. “Of course they won.”

I just watched the last two innings on MLB.com in the condensed format.  Two things hit me in the heart.

  1. David Ortiz is the man and the reason they came out of their dugout, pounded their chests and made Tampa TASTE THE LIGHTNING.
  2. There is no more quintessential Boston moment than Kevin Youklis doing a primal scream as he rounds third base and the PA lights up with the first bars of “Dirty Water.”

Going ugly early

Any evening that ends with a Kamikaze shooter after midnight in the Cask & Flagon is either an evening of triumph or one of ineffable despair. The case of post-alcohol depression I am carrying this morning is indicative of the latter. Put it this way, I was gifted magnificent seats to Game Four of the ALCS, Sox vs. Rays, in the Temple of Awesomeness; got dressed up, one step short of a face painting; arrived, stood in the $8.50 beer line for 30 minutes, emerged from tunnel, looked out at the emerald green of the Green Monstah and saw, like a turd in the punch bowl, that Shakey Wakey had already conducted batting practice and helped the Rays launch three runs out of the park before 8:15 pm.

It didn’t get better from there.

But hey, this is October. This is the Red Sox.  Red Sox and October is a privilege, not a right. They’ve been here before, worse off in fact, so now they (insert sports cliche here) and get the win on Thursday. Otherwise the world is staring at the most boring, generic World Series imaginable. The Sox will save the world from mediocrity.

Bright side being in Fenway last night:

1. No Viagra ads. Sorry, but if side effects include loss of hearing and vision, AND the risk of a priapistic woody lasting more than four hours, then am I wrong in imaging some hapless deaf and blind man staggering and shouting naked, helpless and tumescent through his home, stubbing himself into the walls and door frames? Am I? I am so glad the children of America are singing “Viva Viagra!” on the playground today.

2. No TBS announcers. I threatened to start a “F$%k you TBS!” chant but there were children sitting in front of me and I could not be profane nor horrible.

3. The comradeship of fellow Massholes. It felt good to boo the home team, to hear the ugly discussion that what was needed was a good bench clearing, charge-the-mound brawl. Nice. That’s the Boston I know and love.

4. Something will come to mind.

Thanks to James, Heather, Tim (nice soul patch dude, stick with it, it will pay off) and Sean for the invite and hospitality. And Nicole for being the mastermind. And Starkey for making me laugh until it hurt.

Rocktober

What could be finer?

  1. There is no wind at 8 am so I am about to go for a pleasant fall scull around the harbor.
  2. The dogs are frightened and avoiding me because of my bellicose behavior at 1:30 am when J.D. Drew homered to bury the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the second game of the ALDS.
  3. Hence my new motto, courtesy of Surviving Grady is: “WE ARE THE MOTHERF@#KING BOSTON RED SOX, CHUMPS, AND THOSE WHO OPPOSE US WILL TASTE THE LIGHTNING!”
  4. I am on vacation. Ten days of being and nothingness. It’s time for the Fall Run and I am off to the Great Backside Beach to stand in foamy surf, sling eels into the darkness, and ponder my existence while staring across the Atlantic at Portugal.
  5. I am going to cook a roti de porc au lait for my dinner tonight.
  6. Perhaps I shall seek bivalves in the mud later today. Must check tides.

So, whereabouts this coming week? Going nowhere. How to contact me? Don’t. Blog probabilities? Low, except to lie about fish I haven’t caught, and to gloat about the BoSox.

A damn shame – Manny

I’m bummed. The guy was deadly effective, goofy, and a lot of fun to watch. I like my athletes out on the fringe. Bill “Spaceman” Lee. Bill “Deadhead Walton. Manny was …. just too great a package to ignore. The pine tar crudded batting helmet, the dreadlocks, the white Mickey Mouse batting gloves, that he held up, fingers splayed, after whacking the snot out of a homer, bat dropping out of his hands as if to say, “Take that!”

And now he’s gone, melted down and sent packing. Surviving Grady has, as always, the best requiem:

Since then, he went on to be one of the most productive, beloved and befuddling players of this century. After a string of players who “should hit the tar out of the ball at Fenway”–including the likes of Jack Clark, Andre Dawson, Rob Deer, Nick Esasky, et al–Manny was a legitimate menace. The type of batter who could change the course of mighty rivers with one swat of the bat. And, even better for folks like me who enjoy players with character, there were those “Manny Moments.” Losing his earring on the field at Pawtucket during a rehab stint. The water bottle in the back pocket. Martini time with Enrique Wilson. Ebay Hucksterism. That bizarre dance maneuver in which he seemed to demand a trade every season, then back off, saying he couldn’t be happier here. Cutting off Johnny Damon’s throw to the infield. Saying that he’d like to play for the Yankees–which, in these parts, is like saying “I enjoy kiddie porn and poisoning rabbits.” High-fiving that fan in Baltimore. But the production spoke volumes; when the game was on the line, there was no one I’d rather see up at the plate than Manny Ramirez.

Opening Day

Traffic into the city was brutal late morning (writing this from Logan on my way to RTP), I guess because its Opening Day for the Sox and they get their World Series rings for last fall’s victory.

I hope I won’t be blocked from watching this afternoon on MLB.com. I dropped $75 for the service and suspect it is not going to be of much help during home games.

Anyway, play ball!

Opening Day

Ten days until opening day for the Red Sox and I thought I’d confess my return to the Sox after regaining the zeal like a classic rainy day fan in 2004 when they broke the curse.

I was an old school Sox freak, back in the mid-60s, when the 1967 Sox lost the World Series to St. Louis and started a forty year tradition of disappointing me and a few million other people each and every fall.

The final straw was 1986, when that retard John McNamara left Bill Buckner in the sixth game against the Mets so Bill could be on the field to celebrate when the Sox won the series.

Hah.

For the next 18 years I literally would avert my eyes, change the channel, turn the page, or excuse myself if the words “Red Sox” came anywhere in my vicinity. I gave up. The rage attack I displayed when Buckner dropped the ball was so profoundly primal that I had to stop watching for my own health.

It took a freak-a-zoid son who is an ultra fan to drag me back into the game,
So, with ten days to go, and on the eve of that other classic Massachusetts Milestone — Evacuation Day (the Suffolk County holiday commemorating the day the British abandoned Boston under the threat of George Washington’s guns on Dorchester Heights, and which coincidently falls on St. Patrick’s Day, a nice benefit for all those city woikers who need their green beer) I present to you three good Sox Blogs:

1.  Wicked Clevah: From Stephen O’Grady at Redmonk, is this side-blog with a high obsessive compulsive humor factor.

2. Joy of Sox: very, very funny.  The Nickname Guide is essential reading.

3. Surviving Grady: courtesy of O’Grady, this is by far one of the funniest things I’ve read.