Category Archives: baseball

Juice, vintage 2003

I’m kind of amazed at the amazement of many of my fellow Sox fans that finally some Sox players are finally implicated in the steroids mess. I mean, it stings, sure. I wish it weren’t so. I really wish one of the names named weren’t David Ortiz who by all accounts is The Nicest Guy In The Universe. I agree that the guilty-til-proven-innocent witch-hunt-y way names are tarnished is a travesty (but also think it’s a little disingenuous to think that when I certainly allowed myself a little schadenfreude when the names Rodriguez and Giambi were so tarnished).

But come on, even at the time in question (2003), I have to admit, I had an eyebrow raised. The Sox offense was explosive, you had several capable players suddenly having superstar-quality years (Mueller, Varitek, Ortiz, Damon), and a couple of established superstars having great years, too (Garciaparra, Ramirez). Maybe at the time, the all-pervasive sense of being the perennial bridesmaid made people not even let that thought bubble into consciousness. But I gotta figure I can’t be the only one who had that thought, but quickly filed it away in the back of my mind in the bin labelled “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

A slightly cynical thought I’ve played with for some years now is that there should be two MLBs. One that allows steroids, and one that is “clean”. I don’t know. These dudes are highly paid, and if they’re willing to trade years of their life for cash and glory, so be it: it’s not cheating if everybody’s doing it. Also, my strong hunch is that the league with steroids allowed and out in the open would be vastly more popular, full of lots of home runs and lots of game twists (ala the Red Sox circa 2003 and 2004, where you could never count out the offense, even if they were down a couple of runs and it was 2 outs in the 9th inning). Those were years which have since been unmatched for sheer entertainment value.

Still, I do wish that the only juicing that had been going on was the slug of Jack Daniels that Kevin Millar claimed was part of the team pregame ritual.

PS: Lesson learned on schadenfreude. However, I will allow myself a slight bit of glee if that sanctimonious twit Curt Schilling gets implicated too, since he has clucked loudly at every name that comes to light.

PPS: As I’m writing this and watching NESN, Boston Mayor Tom Mennino and David Ortiz are urging the young people of the city to make good decisions this summer.

Manny being Manny, part dos

I’m sorry to see the Manny of up until 3 weeks ago go.

I’m not sorry to see the jackass of the last couple of weeks go. [if you care about these things, you must watch Eck bitching about Manny]

Still, I wish it hadn’t come to this. There’s going to be a big hole in watching a Red Sox games now; Manny era, watching the Sox come up to bat, there was always this Magic knowing Manny was in the lineup. As much as I have loved Papi and Varitek and Nomar and many others through the years of my Sox fandom, when Manny was in the lineup, there was always this magic when Manny stepped up to the plate that is now just gone.

I already apologized on Facebook to all my Pirates peeps for getting Jason Bay. Gar. Is this what it feels like to be a Yankees fan?

Manny being Manny

So, NESN is playing a “Manny being Manny” marathon. Currently, they’re playing the big 2005 game against the Twins on the day of the trade deadline. This is probably one of my all-time favorite Sox games. Manny was supposedly going to be traded in some complex 3-team deal, and was not in the starting lineup. The crowd was aware of this. The trade deadline was 4pm. In the 8th inning, the game was tied 3-3. 4pm came and went. David Ortiz was intentionally walked, and Manny came in as a pinch hitter. The crowd goes crazy as soon as they see him step out of the dugout. He hits a little base hit and Edgar Renteria scores. The crowd goes double-crazy.

“Manny being Manny” had been a phrase that up until that point people used semi-derisively– sure, he’s a great slugger, but you can’t always depend on him, say, knowing what inning it is, or how many outs there are, or to not disappear into the green monster to take a wee wee or chat on his cell phone. Those little antics were just “Manny being Manny”.

But after this game, Manny’s talking to Eric Frede about not being traded, and he says “this is the place for me… it’s Manny being Manny, man”. And it’s just brilliant. There’s nothing more “Manny being Manny” as Manny saying “Manny being Manny”. Because you don’t know if he really quite gets that it’s used semi-derisively, or if he does and he doesn’t care, or— and this is my favored interpretation— somewhere on the odd planet that Manny lives on, which the rest of planet Earth can see only with the most powerful telescopes, he has heard the term, and, he interpreted this as a compliment. Regardless of why he said it, the fact that he said it instantly turned the whole thing on its head. Planet Manny and Planet Earth’s orbits came a little closer, because from that point on, it was no longer semi-derisive, it was simply descriptive.

Also, watching that game now, I forgot how weird it was: it was an early game featuring Jon Papelbon. Curt Shilling came out of the bullpen as the closer. And Kevin Millar was wearing black under his eyes, and it streaked like he was in Kiss.

The Green Monster, now with 33% more green

I caught this nugget in a Reuters article today:

The 2007 World Series-winning Red Sox baseball club last month became the first professional sports team to go solar, installing solar hot water panels that will replace a third of the gas used to heat water at Boston’s historic Fenway Park.

Note, I noticed the article caught it because someone from my company was quoted in it:

“The solar industry will look very different just two years from now,” said Ted Sullivan, a senior analyst at Lux Research, a New York market consultancy.

He said he expects “a shake-out among companies that aren’t prepared to thrive in this new environment — particularly crystalline silicon players that haven’t invested in new thin-film technologies.”

Joe Buck and the manram

To appreciate the following quip from Editrix, you need one piece of information: her younger brother was Fox baseball commentator Joe Buck’s college roommate. She has many fine stories about his schmarminess even as a youth (apparently his closet was predominantly full of oxford dress shirts), but they are hers to tell.

Now, tonight, just after Manny hit the last in the string of back-to-back-to-back home runs, I swear, Joe Buck called Manny Ramirez “Man Ram”. I had to share this, so I jumped on ichat and had the following conversation with Trixie:

ME: i think joe buck just called manny ramirez ‘manram’
TRIX: you HAVE to be kidding
TRIX: we gave up and turned off the tv
ME: no
ME: not kidding
TRIX:manram. that is wrong on so many levels.
ME:alas
ME:”a long shot by manram”
TRIX: it’s like those “what if so-and-so had killed hitler when he had the chance” premises — my brother could have saved us from this horror.

Overheard In New York

“Sandra, what are the chances my daughter is pregnant?” the manager at “Kerbooz”, the bar in Penn Station where I had lunch since the Acela Express was 30 minutes late.

“Did you hear Phil Rizzuto died?” (same manager).
“Who’s Phil Rizzuto?” (same Sandra, behind the bar).
“I am not talking to you for the rest of the day. He’s dead so it doesn’t matter.” Pause. Manager visibly tries to stop talking to Sandra, and can’t contain himself. “He was a great Yankee. A great American. And I would say a great broadcaster.”
The manager walked into the kitchen.
“A great spokesman for The Money Store,” (me, not quite fast or jackassy enough to say it before the manager was out of earshot).
Blank look from Sandra, probably too young to remember those 80′s UHF-TV station ads for sub-prime personal loans.

Construction worker on a cell phone: “I got my hearing tomorrow. Yeah, I get to find out what they’re going to do to me. LIKE I FUCKING CARE.”

Who’s Bill Richardson’s handler? Manny Ortez?

The first time I realized John Kerry was incapable of articulating a clear position on anything was when I saw him interviewed by ESPN’s Jon Miller about the designated hitter. Miller asked him what he thought about it, and his answer was something like “uh, well, I think it’s good, but, you know, some people think it isn’t.” (of course, the look in his eyes said “what is a designated hitter?”).

I do have a lot of problems with the way that we– or at least our proxies in the media– demand a foolish consistency from public figures when changing one’s mind is something that any honest person should be allowed. And I think in general that swaying with public opinion is a virtue for a politician in a democracy. But still. At that moment, my heart went out of my support for Kerry, to see him not even take a tiny baby stand, one that just didn’t matter.

Anyway, the exchange below between Tim Russert and Gov. Bill Richardson, where he comes up with a convoluted way to be both a Red Sox and Yankees fan might also be a fatal moment for this long shot candidate in my book.

Candidates, when Tim Russert asks you “Red Sox or Yankees?”, you are just going to have to order off the menu. There are two safe answers that spring to mind:

  • The Chicago Cubs. Nobody can fault you for backing an underdog.
  • The Dodgers, if you say it’s because they were the first team to integrate, and that Jackie Robinson was your hero. And then qualify it as the Brooklyn Dodgers.

MR. RUSSERT: You spent a lot of time in, in Massachusetts. Are you a Red Sox fan?

GOV. RICHARDSON: I’m a Red Sox fan, but I got into trouble in New Hampshire. You know why? Because I said…

MR. RUSSERT: Luis Tiant, the fund-raiser. But, now, governor, this is very serious. In your book on page 18 it says…

GOV. RICHARDSON: No, about Mickey Mantle?

MR. RUSSERT: You said you’re a Yankee fan!

GOV. RICHARDSON: No, no, no. I said—no, no, no.

MR. RUSSERT: I mean, you can, you can…

GOV. RICHARDSON: No, no, no, no.

MR. RUSSERT: …you can have different views on immigration, assault weapons…

GOV. RICHARDSON: I, no no no no. No, what I said…

MR. RUSSERT: But when it comes to Red Sox, Yankees.

GOV. RICHARDSON: What I said, the Associated Press asked me, “If you weren’t running for president, if you weren’t running for president, what would you rather be?” I’ve always been a Red Sox fan, but I said if I weren’t running for president I would like to be number seven, Mickey Mantle, playing center field for the New York Yankees.

MR. RUSSERT: “Because of Mickey Mantle, I became a Yankee fan.”

GOV. RICHARDSON: I, my favorite team has always been the Red Sox.

MR. RUSSERT: You’re a Red Sox fan.

GOV. RICHARDSON: I’m a Red Sox fan.

MR. RUSSERT: End of subject.

GOV. RICHARDSON: End of subject.

MR. RUSSERT: You better get rid of this book.

GOV. RICHARDSON: Oh, no! I’m also a Yankee fan. I also like…

MR. RUSSERT: Oh, now, wait a minute!

GOV. RICHARDSON: You can—Tim…

MR. RUSSERT: I guarantee…

GOV. RICHARDSON: No, I know, I got in trouble…

MR. RUSSERT: …if you go—if you go to Yankee Stadium or Fenway, you cannot be both.

GOV. RICHARDSON: But I like—Mickey Mantle was my hero. If I weren’t running for president, and the Associated Press asked me, I’d play center field for the New York—I wanted to be number seven. And—but I still love the Red Sox as a team. I mean, this is the thing about me, Tim. I can bring people together. I can unify people.

MR. RUSSERT: Yankee fans and Red Sox fans?

GOV. RICHARDSON: Yes.

MR. RUSSERT: Not a chance.

GOV. RICHARDSON: Well, I bet you I can.

This is why people fantasize about being baseball players

Jerry Remy was just talking about how Joe Torre called a meeting with the ailing New York Yankees, who, as of this writing, are 13.5 games back in the AL East. To illustrate what a serious meeting this was, he said it was a one hour meeting. “That’s a looong meeting”. Play-by-play man Don Orsillo agreed: “that is a long time”.

Guys. If you think one hour is a long meeting… You have no. fucking. idea.