Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Here's a funny -

This was on "The Brushback" today - "Crisp Excited to be Part of Storied Rivalry Between Red Sox, Media. It's got some hysterical (and accurate?) lines!
“Whenever you think of Boston, you think about that rivalry,” said Crisp, who came to Boston as part of a seven player trade with the Cleveland Indians. “There is definitely a hatred between the Red Sox and the media. When they go head to head, it’s just electric. For me, I just have to keep my cool and not be intimidated. They’re just like any other reporters, except there’s more of them and they make shit up.”
Says Globe reporter Bob Ryan:
“Coco’s not going to have a problem here in Boston,” he said. “This whole rivalry thing is overblown. The media always comes out on top. That’s not a rivalry. A hammer and a nail can’t have a rivalry, can they? See, no matter what happens, we’ll still be here. We’ve outlasted every player that’s ever hated us, except for Manny Ramirez, and he’s only staying because they’re forcing him to.”
It's a fun read!

I was not alone..

in the Virtual Waiting Room, apparently. According to my buddy Chris Snow (watch out, buddy, I'm coming back this summer!) in the morning's Globe:
The Sox already have sold more than 2 million tickets, which is 55,000 more than they had sold at this time a year ago, which was a record pace. The total through the weekend: 2,135,540
Wow!! And now that they've filled those holes in center field and short stop, this team is looking like one that's going to be fun to watch!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Oh, how sweet!

You Are a Boston Creme DonutYou Are a Boston Creme Donut

You have a tough exterior. No one wants to mess with you.
But on the inside, you're a total pushover and completely soft.
You're a traditionalist, and you don't change easily.
You're likely to eat the same doughnut every morning, and pout if it's sold out.

True RS Confessions

My name is Beth, and I am addicted to the Boston Red Sox.

I offer this proof: I sat and stared at a computer screen for nearly five hours yesterday, stuck in the Red Sox' Virtual Waiting Room. Every thirty seconds, the browser refreshes - and you MIGHT get into the ticket buying area. In the past, it was possible to open dozens of windows - although I'm not really sure that you bettered your chances by doing it. They seem to have done something to stop that this year - I could never get more than one window open. Fortunately, I do have two different browsers on my computer - so I actually got three windows open (thank you, Firefox). But it still was a waiting game. But, finally, there was the seating chart for Fenway and I was in! And after waiting so long, I happily handed over my credit card info for the best seats money would buy - field boxes right behind home plate!

And here's the further proof - I was really satisfied with tickets to two games. Until I got up this morning. Over my coffee, I was struck with the thought - are two games REALLY enough? The answer: NO! So, back on line - no VWR this time but not great seats either. What the heck - give me bleachers! So my third game I'm in that tiny little sliver of seats in section 34 - right against The Monster!

That done, I went to the mall (way before they open at noon) to do my daily walking. I flicked on the iPod - and what plays first? "Sweet Caroline." For those of you who have tragically never been to a game at Fenway, in the middle of the 8th inning at every home game, they play "Sweet Caroline." Everyone sings along at the top of their lungs - especially the whoa-whoa-whoa part of the refrain. (At one game I went to, they tried to cut off the song early because the visiting pitcher was ready - and the crowd just kept singing). Anyway, the song came on and I started singing along. When I got to the whoa-whoa-whoa part, I actually got teary - I'm going to be there hearing it again this summer. My life is ssoo good!!

I really thought the obsession was easing. I feel like I spent all of last year caught in the spell of the Red Sox - from the beginning of Spring Training until the last sad ending in October. Actually, I think the spell was cast during the playoffs in '04 - and it carried through the off-season. I spent so much time rewatching the playoffs on my pirated DVDs, and watching the archives of old games on mlb.com. Then, through that wonderful tool called Direct TV and their MLB Extra Innings package - I think I broke records for hours of RS games watched. Seriously, out of the 162 games last year, I think I missed maybe fifteen, twenty tops. Heck, Manny Ramirez missed more games than I did! When I started turning down opportunities to go out on Friday and Saturday nights so I could watch, I knew I was hooked!

This off-season has been totally different. Maybe it's been all the turmoil in the Front Office at 4 Yawkey Way, or the departure of most of our '04 champions, but I was feeling so-so about the upcoming 2006 season. But when the magical day that tickets go on sale arrived, I was just as jazzed as last year. Now I'm counting the days until I get to go back to Fenway - hey, it's only six months away!

Friday, January 27, 2006

AL East news

Another big shake-up in the American League East - the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are going to change their name at the end of the season. Said team president, Matt Silverman :

After talking with fans in focus groups, the team learned there was a "negative association" with the terms, "Devil Rays," and "devil," Silverman said.

"When they liked something we did, they would refer to us as the Rays. If they were discussing a complaint or gripe, we were the Devil Rays," Silverman said.

So I guess they got called the Devil Rays alot!

Only 22 days until pitchers & catchers report!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Random Wednesday Thoughts

Been trying to get on to Blogger all morning to finish this post, but it's been down for "upgrades." Hmm. Anyway, here are my mid-week thoughts...

1. Syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts had a great editorial this week about Brokeback Mountain and why it has created such fear. (You may have to register on this site to read it; if you're reluctant, do a Google search on his name) He says what scares people isn't the sex:
Rather, it's the emotion, the fact that the movie dares you to deny these men their humanity. Or their love.
A good read. For a lighter view, read Larry David's editorial that originally appeared in the NY Times.

2. Red Sox single game tickets go on sale Saturday!! I'll be propped right up there at the computer, living through the hell we call the "Virtual Waiting Room." But the payoff - getting to be at Fenway - it worth it, IMHO!

3. There's been an interesting debate on the Sons of Sam Horn board, about the changing team chemistry. Many there have the opinion that some of the off-season moves are the FO's way of shifting to a more "professional" approach by the team. The idea of the seasoned veterans like Snow and Schilling being there to mentor and teach the younger players, like Beckett and Papelbon. Some say that although the FO loved what the '04 team accomplished, and gave some them an extra year as thanks (Millar? Bellhorn?), the frat boy atmosphere had to go. It's a thought-provoking discussion.

4. Barry Bonds not playing in the World Baseball Classic. Hmm. He claims he doesn't want to jeopardize his season by playing (a sentiment actually echoed by Curt Schilling on WEEI this week), but one has to wonder if the Olympics-style steroid testing might not be a factor.

5. Finally, the guys over at Deadspin reminded me this week of a really funny blog called "The Dugout." The backstory is that this is supposedly the MLB chat room, where all the players go to have online discussions. Some of them are hysterical!

EDIT TO ADD: Boston Dirt Dogs has an hysterical photo that sums up what's missing from our 2006 team:

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Ben & Jed & Johnny & Curt

Here's an hysterical post from over at Barstool Sports - shows the organizational chart for the Red Sox!

It looks like Coco Crisp will be joining the Sox, in a trade involving much-anticipated prospect Andy Marte (whom we just acquired from the Braves for Renteria). Crisp says he can play center and bat lead-off, so perhaps he'll be a low-cost solution to the Johnny D. departure.

Speaking of Johnny, this interview on Floridatoday.com really got on my last nerve! Get over it, Johnny, and move on! It was interesting that the columnist says Johnny is still caught up with the Red Sox, and can't really think of himself as a Yankee yet.
He talks from the perspective of leaving the Red Sox, and not that he has joined the Yankees.
This is the part that really irked me:
"It's tough. But you know who it's the toughest on? The kids. Those kids who are fans. They don't understand what happened."
OMG, playing the kid fan card. GAG! And while I agree that he was an important part of the fun and success of '04, I don't think I'd go this far:
"I helped change the culture there"
Hello, Dr. Phil, delusions of grandeur in the outfield! The bottom line is that, for Johnny, it was all about the money. Money for him equals respect, and the Sox dis-respected him by not matching the Yankees' offer. Boo-hoo. At least no more "In style" reports from Mrs. Damon to clutter up our pre-game shows....

And finally. Curt Schilling gave an interview on WEEI this morning. Really upbeat - sounds like he's got a great positive outlook for next year. Very happy that Theo's back. He closes with this note:
I will be in as good as shape as I was, if not better, than when I went into the 2004 season. There's no question about that.

... No reason for me not to [expect 30-40 saves out of Keith Foulke]. From everything I've heard from people that have talked to him, he is in the best shape he's been in in four, five years so I see no reason why he doesn't walk in here and have the same season he had in 2004.

Now that gives us reason to hope!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Movie Review: Capote

Wow, what an incredible performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman! He not only plays Truman Capote, he totally inhabits him - it's like he's channeling the author.

This is the back-story to Capote's classic work, In Cold Blood. Blood was what Capote called a "nonfiction novel" - it's the true story of the brutal murder of a family in Kansas, by two drifters. Capote - hot off his success with Breakfast at Tiffany's - flew to Kansas and followed the detectives as they solved the crime, then kept up with the case until the execution of the murderers. Capote wormed his way into the life of one of the killers, Perry Smith - ingratiating himself to get the killer's story. Along the way, Capote developed one weird relationship with Smith, coming to think of him as a friend. As the character says, "It's as if Perry and I grew up in the same house. One day, I went out the front door and he went out the back." In the end, when Smith was executed, Capote was devastated - so shattered that he never wrote another book.

The supporting cast is superb. The ever-reliable, always wonderful Chris Cooper is the head KBI agent; Catherine Keener is awesome as Capote's childhood friend and confidante, Harper Lee. An actor named Clifton Collins Jr. plays Smith - another wow.

But it's Hoffman who just blows you away. I would imagine that younger viewers - younger than me! - would think Hoffman is over the top, that such a person could never exist. WRONG! He is spot-on - every mannerism of body and voice is exactly like Truman's.

What an incredible race for the Best Actor Oscar!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Movie Review: Brokeback Mountain

I finally got the chance to see this potential Oscar contender. I wasn't sure it would ever play here in the Scenic City - too controversial! But it finally opened last weekend, and this weekend they even had to add a second screen. Amazing. The crowd at this afternon's matinee was a real mix - truly diverse. One of my friends marvelled over a few, musing "Do you think they realize what this movie is about?" (And it's not a "gay cowboy" movie - they're really shepherds!) I did notice some nervous laughter in the early part of the film - some I thought inappropriately loud. A sign that some of the audience was a bit uncomfortable with the subject matter.

I had read the short story by Annie Proulx, upon which this is based, in New Yorker. The story is really affecting - it truly haunted me for days. It was very spare - a lot is left unsaid but not unfelt. It says a lot about love - about how we can miss out on opportunities to love, and sometimes realize too late what we have missed out on. (New Yorker recently had the story available online in their archives, but the URL doesn't seem to work anymore. It's in the issue for October 13, 1997, if you have access to hard copies).

I was looking forward to the movie for that reason - and I wasn't disappointed. It is beautifully filmed - the cinematography should win the Oscar. Director Ang Lee fills the screen with the beauty of the West, and really captures the loveliness and loneliness of the landscape. By now you know the story (unless you live in a cave): two young men spend the summer on an isolated mountain, babysitting a herd of sheep. Over the course of the summer, they become friends and - after a night of whiskey drinking - lovers. At the end of the summer, they go their separate ways, and try to build "normal" lives. Eventually, the pull of their feelings grows too strong, and they reunite. They continue to meet over the years, going on "fishing" weekends.

The performances have been written about quite a bit, but they really are wonderful. I was particularly impressed by Michelle Williams as Alma Del Mar, wife to Ennis (Heath Ledger). The haunting scene where she realizes that her husband is more than buddies with Jack Twist is devastating. She has come ssoo far from Dawson's Creek! Really, the supporting cast is fantastic - Anne Hathaway as Lureen Twist, Jack's wife, is a hoot as she morphs from rodeo queen to Texas housewife. Randy Quaid as the shepherd's boss reminds us why he's been nominated for Oscars and Golden Globes. Linda Cardinelli is memorable in a very small role.

But most of the kudos go to the two leads: Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal has the showier role - he subtly manipulates Ledger's character into their relationship while his love for his "friend" beams from his beautiful blue eyes. My heart broke when he realized that Ennis was giving him all he could, that he could never expect more. Ledger has received most of the praise and the press, but without Gyllenhaal, Ledger would have been lost. As for Heath - wow. What a contrast to his other recent role as Casanova - or to his role in A Knight's Tale. His character is not verbal (which is true to the story) - all of his emoting has to be done non-verbally. And he does so incredibly. The scene where he visits Jack's parents had me reaching for the kleenex.

Once I got beyond the fact that this was two guys - and as liberal and open as I am, it did take a bit of adjusting, I have to admit - I found this to be a sad, poignant love story - one that transcends the cultural norms. How sad that the one true love they find is forbidden - yet they both realize that they can never openly love the other. I guess one could argue that they did find love, that they were able to enjoy that, although briefly and furtively. I guess I've gotten to a stage in my life where I think that's all we can ask - the chance to love someone and have them love you in return.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Here's a great story

I caught this link over at SoSH. When the hostages returned from Iran in 1981 (it was 25 years ago today - can you believe it?), they were given lifetime passes to any MLB game. The Washington Post today reports on how some of the former hostages used them. I thought the story of how Barry Rosen used the tickets to reconnect with his family was particularly moving.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

He's BACK!

Yes, our boy, Theo Epstein is rejoining the Red Sox - in a " full-time baseball operations capacity, details of which will be announced next week.”
It it's like a huge sigh of relief is sweeping RSN. I was just over in the Remy Report chat room - and there was a lot rejoicing and alot of "I told you so's" I think we all knew he was probably coming back, but yeah!

And the other good news - Bronson Arroyo signed a three-year deal. Finally some good things are happening!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Random Wednesday Thoughts

Well, thank heavens, I can finally sleep tonight. I have been ssoo concerned about whether Alex Rodriguez was going to play for the US or the Dominican in the World Baseball Classic...

What a class act that A-Rod is. One day he wants to be true to the red-white-and-blue; the next, he wants to play on the winning team (face it, the Dominican's team is stacked!) Then, he's not going to play at all. On Tuesday morning, he was on t
he preliminary roster - for the DR! Then, Tuesday afternoon, he announced that he would play - and for the Americans. Of course, it's the second time he has chosen to pass up the chance to play on a World Championship team. (Hey, I'm not unpatriotic - but, like I said, just look at that Dominican team!)

A-Rod is being universally mocked over this whole thing. A sampling: Deadspin; Joe Saraceno in USA Today, ("the most handsomely paid of the diamond merchants, Alex Rodriguez, who long ago became a businessman first and a ballplayer second."); and my favorites at the Soxaholix ("And remembah, Alex, our great nation turns it's lonely eyes to you, so don't be afraid to, you know, give it the ol' 110%, risk of injury be damned"). I was looking at a Padres MB earlier today - and even the left-coasters were ragging on him.

And speaking of ugly players , there's a discussion over at Athletics Nation about who is/was the ugliest player in MLB. Here's my vote:
That picture could scare small children.

Oh, the classy folks at MLB.com have started selling this t-shirt:

Finally, it looks like the Padres have assigned numbers to their new players. Doug Mirabelli is going to remain #28 (like he was on the Sox). Mark Bellhorn (who has worn both 28 and 12 in his career) will be #29. Hey, that's just one off from MY lucky number (which happens to be 28). Now I've got to find a nice site to get me a Bellhorn player shirt! (No number yet for Millar - but there doesn't appear to be another 15 on the Orioles roster).

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ciao - well, maybe not...

I'm planning a trip to Italy this spring, and thought the arrangements were all made and we were set to go. I booked via a site called Go-Today - it's a great place to find deals on packages. We got a package for Venice and Florence - includes air, hotel and the train between the two cities. Nice hotels, too.

Anyway, I got a call 10 days ago from GT, saying that our airline had made a schedule change, and they couldn't get us into Florence on the day requested. I told them I didn't care what order we saw the cities - could they rebook us into Venice first. They worked it out, and yes, we could go to Venice first, then fly back from Florence. We had to change our hotels, but the new ones look better than our originals. Great.

So last night, I get another call from GT. Yes, another change by Lufthansa - but for a good reason. Apparently the airport in Florence is closing on February 2nd - for THREE MONTHS! That explains why we had that original change. Would have been nice if Lufthansa had explained that to GT in the first place, because now we're flying out of Pisa - which is @an hour from Florence - at 6:50 AM! That would be fine - if there were some way of getting to Pisa at that hour!! The last train would get us into the Pisa Airport at @1 am - that would give us, what, five hours to kill. The next train goes at 12:03 am - and arrives at the Airport at 5:45 am - where in the heck does it go for 5 1/2 hours?? Does it just ride you around Italy all night? The NEXT train goes at 5:30 - and gets us to Pisa five minutes before our flight departs! AARGH

Lufthansa said this morning that they would be providing ground transport from the Florence airport...but by 12 noon, had backed off on that. I guess since the closure is not their fault, they don't have to provide a transfer. (They're also transferring all their operations to the Pisa airport, so that may have been the deciding factor).

What to do?? I suppose we could get into the airport at 1 am - pay a one day membership for the Lufthansa club room and just go drink for a while (or sleep or shower or whatever other fabulous services they offer in those "exclusive" rooms). We could rent a car...

No. What GT and I worked out is that they're finding us a hotel in Pisa for that last night - our last night in Florence was actually an add-on anyway, so they just cancelled that. Guess we'll go into Pisa in the afternoon - go see the Leaning Tower and retire early. Then an EARLY morning trip to the airport. The hotel mentioned by GT says on their website that they offer a shuttle to the airport, so that might be okay. Now I just have to wait for GT to hear back from the Pisan hotel if they have space for us!

Man this is so complicated. But what would we do without the Internet to look over all our options? I actually enjoy all this planning. If it weren't a dying profession, I might have become a travel agent in my retirement. Although it's much more fun to plan your own trips than someone elses!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Movie review: Glory Road

I saw this new film today, and I really enjoyed it. Of course, I love an underdog sports film! This is the story of the 1965 Texas Western basketball that beat Kentucky for the national championship - a Kentucky team that had Rupp as coach and an all-American player named Pat Riley. Coach Don Haskins put together a team of players unrecruited by other Division I teams - unrecruited because they were black. It's the great story of a team dismissed by the media and the general public, who overcame incredible odds and prejudice to triumph. Yes, a few happy tears at the end. And that Josh Lucas is definitely easy on the eyes! 8-)

It got me thinking about my favorite sports movies. Anything with a baseball theme, naturally. Major League (hey, the ballplayer falls for a librarian, after all). Bull Durham, of course. (I loved the interview with Jason Varitek last year,when he quoted verbatim Costner's discourse on love and baseball - hot!). And, I'd get crucified by most Sox fans when I list Fever Pitch - many thought it played into the worst stereotypes of Red Sox fans, but the scene of Ben's first visit to Fenway with his Uncle Carl always gets me.

I think my all-time favorite sports film, though, is Miracle, Disney's 2004 adaptation of the 1980 Gold Medal winning Olympic hockey team. The whole cast - from Kurt Russell as Coach Herb Brooks down to the individual players - was so well cast. And the story just lends itself to drama. I bawl every time I see it. I remember that victory over the Russians so well - I was actually AT a college hockey game that night, so you can imagine the reaction there. I don't think I felt such passion for a team again - until the 2004 Sox. What always strikes me about the movie is how they maintain the excitement about the climax. I mean, we all know how the story ends. Yet the writers and directors keep you on the edge of your seat. I've seen it several times, and every time I find myself thinking, "Will they win?" Now THAT'S a sports movie!

And I have to mention a couple of other films. Seabiscuit, Bend It Like Beckham, Remember the Titans. And the chick in me really dug Wimbledon - the tennis playing scenes were really well-crafted.

What's YOUR favorite?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Best - and worst - of 2005 movies

In looking over the list of films released in 2005, I realized that I have seen 32 of them. Not a huge number - but probably a lot more than most people see. But being in this city, I often don't see some of the award winners until months after their release. For example, I never had the chance to see Million Dollar Baby until after the Academy Awards in March 2005. And Brokeback Mountain has just opened here! Some of the critical favs (like Millions) I had to wait to see on DVD. So keep that in mind as I give my review of the 2005 movie season.

Best Performances
David Straithairn in Good Night and Good Luck
Steve Carrell in The 40-year Old Virgin
Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line
Naomi Watts in King Kong
Amy Adams in Junebug
Everyone in Million Dollar Baby
Jason Varitek in Fever Pitch (kidding!8-) )

Glad I saw on the big screen
King Kong
War of the worlds
Fantastic Four
Batman Begins
Chronicles of Narnia

Glad I saw it - but won't see again or buy the DVD
Million Dollar Baby
Upside of Anger

Good for a cathartic crying jag
The Family Stone
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Mindless fun

The Producers
Wedding Crashers
The 40-Year Old Virgin
Fever Pitch
Wallace & Gromit
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Popcorn Movies
King Kong
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire
Chronicles of Narnia

Thought Provoking
Good night and good luck

Saw it - and have already forgotten it
Herbie: Fully Loaded
The Wedding Date
Must Love Dogs
Phantom of the Opera
Just Like Heaven

Unexpected Pleasures
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

These critical favs of 2005 have still not played here:
Match Point
The Squid and the Whale
The Matador

Thursday, January 12, 2006

My cowboy has a home

I know - 3rd post of the day! But I had to share this exciting bit of news, via Boston.com
Free agent first baseman Kevin Millar has reached a tentative agreement on a one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles.
Millar and the Orioles on Thursday neared finalization of the deal, according to a team official who requested anonymity because the former Boston Red Sox star has not yet taken a physical. The exam, which was expected to take place Thursday, was the only remaining step in the process.

I am going to be taking SUCH full advantage of my MLB Extra Innings package this year! Now I've got to follow San Diego (yeah Mark & Doug); Los Angeles (D-Lowe! Buelly!); Orioles (Kevvy); and of course the Sox! I hope no one else gets dealt - I will never be able to leave the house from April 2nd until October 1st!

Meet my new virtual pet!

my pet!

Are you a Red Sox fanatic?

I came across this quiz from last year as I was cleaning out some computer files. It's scary how many I checked! Of course, some of the questions aren't valid anymore - but it's fun anyway!

[ ] I know at least 5 players' birthdays
[ ] I'm glad they traded Nomar
[ ] David Wells is my favorite pitcher on the Red Sox
[ ] Doug Mirabelli should play more
[ ] Theo Epstein is a genius
[ ] I find it amusing when Terry gets ejected
[ ] I know who Rem Dawg and Announcer Boy are
[ ] I have season tickets to the Red Sox
[ ] I have at least 3 Red Sox shirts
[ ] My friends think I'm crazy because of how much time I spend watching the Red Sox
[ ] I respect some of the Yankees players
[ ] I have something that says "Yankees Suck" on it
[ ] I can spell Mientkiewicz without looking it up
[ ] Jason Varitek is a great Captain
[ ] I have Bronson Arroyo's CD
[ ] I hate the Devil Rays even if they are not competion
[ ] Some part of my e-mail/livejournal/profile has something to do with the Red Sox
[ ] I cried when the Red Sox won the World Series
[ ] I went to the World Series parade
[ ] The World Series Trophy came to my town/school
[ ] I would root for the NL team in the World Series if the Yankees were playing
[ ] I hate bandwagon fans
[ ] I admit to being a bandwagon fan
[ ] I live/breath/sleep/eat Red Sox
[ ] I watch all 162 games no matter what
[ ] I have a lucky spot to watch the game from in my house
[ ] If the Red Sox lost I blame it on myself because I didn't follow the routine
[ ] I never lost the faith during the playoffs
[ ] "Boston You're My Home" has a meaning to you
[ ] I've met a Red Sox player
[ ] I go to spring training
[ ] Kevin Youkilis is a good player
[ ] I'm glad we have Manny
[ ] My favorite player is David Ortiz
[ ] Pedro Who?
[ ] I have eaten/bought Red Sox ice cream from Hood
[ ] I read Faithful
[ ] I am a citizen of Red Sox Nation
[ ] I've watched a game from the Green Monster
[ ] I watched Queer Eye for the Straight Guy when the Red Sox were on it.
[ ] I get angry when the game is on Fox/ESPN because I hate the announcers
[ ] Hearing about Schilling's bloody sock more then once in the 2005 season annoys me
[ ] I went to a World Series game
[ ] I named a pet after a player on the Red Sox
[ ] I hate Keith Foulke
[ ] We need to get rid of Keith Foulke
[ ] I live in Massachusetts
[ ] I live in New England
[ ] I get NESN even though I don't live in New England
[ ] Redsox.com is my home page
[ ] I swear at my TV/throw things at my TV when the Red Sox make errors/lose
[ ] I cut out pictures/articles about the Red Sox from a newspaper/magazine
[ ] My computer background has to do with Red Sox
[ ] I saw Fever Pitch
[ ] Johnny Damon looks like Jesus
[ ] I have a Red Sox Monopoly game
[ ] I stay in on Friday/Saturday nights to watch the Red Sox games
[ ] I tell my friends I can't go out with them because I'm watching the Red Sox games
[ ] I am obsessed with the Red Sox!

How many did YOU answer? 8-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Some Random Sox Notes

I was going to do my picks for 2005's top flicks today, but I don't have the energy to do it tonight. Maybe tomorrow! In the meantime, a few Sox thoughts.

Interesting article here about Doug Mirabelli and his place on his new team, the Padres. It sounds like he's excited about playing every day -
"I've always been that guy who has been a backup catcher who felt I could start every day," Mirabelli said. "I've never had that opportunity, and I have a little chip on my shoulder. I have something to prove."
It also sounds like we might see a buffer version of the "stud who hits bombs" -
In appreciation of "that carrot in front of me," Mirabelli has ramped up his offseason conditioning to ready himself for the rigors of regular catching. He's pursuing greater mobility through agility drills and treadmill work and hopes to develop enough durability to catch 100 games for the first time in his career
Hey, no mention of his new teammate, Mark Bellhorn. Wonder if he's buffing up too. Ooo, yummy prospect!

Speaking of yummy, check out the gallery of photos on redsox.com, from this weekend's Hot Stove Cool Music concert. Oh, that Lenny DiNardo could be a new fav! And my Bronson...

And, more sad Hall of Fame news for Jim Rice. Again, passed over for induction into the Hall. Darn shame. He's only got two more years of eligibility. I wonder what the problem is. His numbers make him worthy. I know he was surly with the press, and there could be some leftover bad feelings among the Baseball Writers (who vote on the inductees). I feel pretty certain the veterans' committee will right the wrong if Rice gets passed over by the Writers. But it's a disgrace that he should have been left waiting so long. (And how could they elect Bruce Sutter, and pass over Goose Gossage??)

From redsox.com:

The main reason, it seems, that Rice has been unsuccessful to this point is that his career totals aren't spectacular when compared to the majority of Hall of Fame sluggers. He produced 382 home runs, 2,452 hits and 1,451 RBIs to go along with a .298 average in 2,089 games.

It brings up the age-old debate: What means more -- dominance or longevity?

Apparently, the Writers think longevity is more important.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Book Review: Now I Can Die In Peace

In 1997, Bill Simmons launched a website called the "Boston Sports Guy." Unable to get a paying job as a sportswriter, Simmons tended bar instead and started writing for himself. Eventually, he found a following of fellow sports fanatics, and that led to his being hired by ESPN.com as a regular columnist.

Over the Christmas holidays, I picked up his new book, Now I Can Die in Peace, a collection of his blog entries and columns. It chronicles his life as a Red Sox fan, culminating with the World Series victory in 2004. I loved it!! There are so many spots in it when I found myself reaching for a pencil and underlining a line or passage. He knows what it's all about - he gets it! I actually had to get out the Kleenex as I read the last sections, about the WS and the indescribable joy we all felt as Foulkie grabbed that grounder and tossed it to Doug Can't-spell-his-last-name (Or as I often refer to him, "Doug the Ball Stealer.")

One column in particular struck a cord with me, from October 25, 2001, called "That Game." It's all about game six of the 1986 Red Sox-Mets World Series. That really was a defining moment for me as a Red Sox fan. I didn't even own a VCR then - they cost like $300 way back then! - so I had to tape it secretly in my library media center. I taped all of the games - because some day, I knew I'd want to relive the RS victory. After game six, I still had hope - even though that game pretty much crushed me.

For years, those seven tapes sat on my shelf, with all of my other tapes. Mocking me. I could never bring myself to watch any of them. Occasionally, I'd glance at them and think, Hey, I should watch one of those - not game six, of course but maybe game one. But I couldn't. Ten years later, my house was robbed. Among the items stolen: my entire collection of video tapes, including the '86 series. It was almost like divine intervention - I was relieved of the responsibility of ever having to sit through that again.

The other great part of Simmons' book is the perspective of time. When Faithful (another favorite recap of the season by O'Nan and King) was published last year, I was still in a hypnotic state. The victory was still fresh, still mind-numbing. Now, having survived (I guess) the 2005 season and this weird off-season, I have a different mind set - some distance from those incredible events. Simmons reminds us of how many times we wrote off the '04 Sox - how many times we screamed at Francona, moaned over the "Derek Lowe face," agonized over Nomar, and wept because we "missed out" on A-Rod. That was what made the victory so sweet - that we had resigned ourselves to another catastrophic loss to the Yankees, only to be pulled back by that team.

That team. Here's what Simmons writes (and quoting without permission!):
...I loved last year's team. I wanted to see those same players (as many as possible) defend their title. Isn't that part of being a champion? During the first six games of the season - all on the road, with a whopping 10 newcomers on the Opening Day roster - you couldn't help but feel a wee bit detached. These weren't the Champs. These were Most of the Champs. There's a difference.
And that's why I wonder about this year, 2006. The guys we'll see on the field won't even be Most of the Champs. They will be a Few of the Champs. Wake, Trot, Bronson, Tek, Schilling, Foulke, Youk, Big Papi, ?Manny. The rest are strangers. But deep down, there is that hope that next year at this time, we'll be saying they're the Champs. That these new guys - including Snow, Beckett, Lowell, and, yes, Manny - are the Defending Champs.

That's the essence of being a Sox fan. That never ending hope. We were ecstatic in '04, we were forgiving in '05 - but the free pass is gone now.

Friday, January 06, 2006

To cure the blues..

I know Julie Andrews said to simply remember our favorite things. So if I've got the blues, I pop in that dvd of game 4 of the ALCS 2004 - just watching the Dave Roberts steal and the Billy Mueller single - it'll make you feel awesome!

And for the worst blues - I pop in game 7. Just watch those faces in the Yankee dugout - man, there's nothing like it!!

They booted Kenny!

Sorry Kenny Mayne! He got booted off "Dancing with the Stars" tonight. I'm sorry, he was ssoo funny -- I voted for him 3 times on the 800 lines. Oh well. Now I think I'll root for that wrestler lady...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Oh no more Manny please

So, now ESPN Deportes is reporting that Manny wants to continue being Manny in Boston. Puleeze. I wish ST would hurry and get here so that we can stop agonizing over every little whisper. Come on - didn't we all know that Manny would still be with us when the season started? As I said in an earlier entry, I can't imagine that any other team or town would put up with his nonsense.

For a REAL laugh, read this Google translation of the above article. Go Red Averages!!

On another note, I must admit I am actually watching "Dancing with the Stars." I HOPE Kenny Mayne makes the cut. He may not be able to dance, but he sure looked like he was giving it his best shot. I can't wait to hear what the other EPSNers have to say about this. Wonder if he'll make SportsCenter tonight??

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Yeah Buckeyes

Here's one bit of potentially great news: those guys over at Deadspin are reporting rumors that Ohio State is about to be hit with some major sanctions:
If the rumors are true, be on the lookout for potential sanctions against the Buckeyes, with the offenses ranging from taking tests for athletes to unauthorized payments (from whom we’re not sure; boosters, maybe).

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Starting the New Year right

I actually went to the mall this morning at 8:30 am- long before their opening time of noon (love those Blue Laws). I walked over 3 miles - yeah! It felt great - and psychologically it was a boost to feel like you're finally doing SOMETHING right!

And to further get me going: I have to lead a Weight Watcher's meeting at 10 am tomorow morning. One part I dread about it: the staff has to weigh once a month, at the first meeting we work in the month. That means I'm supposed to weight tomorrow morning. I totally dread it!! The one good thing is that it's first thing in the morning, when you tend to weigh less. But it'll be gruesome.

On a positive note: I am totally in love with my new iPod Shuffle! I've been staying up way too late every night, loading songs from my cd collection. It is VERY cool!! I'll probably end up upgrading to the Nano at some point - but this has 1 GB and holds 240 songs. That should keep me going for a while.

Happy 2006!

Wow, hard to believe it's 2006. I remember as a kid thinking that at the end of the century I would be incredibly old. And yet, here we are 6 years beyond that...and I still don't feel old!

I was lucky to see the new year in with some great, close friends. I think I've seen the new year in with them for, what , ten years?! We have a great, comfortable routine. Drinks and appetizers at my friend Bill's house - a chance to get caught up with what has transpired over the Christmas break. Then we stroll across the street (literally!) to my house for dinner and the new year's celebration. We usually drag out a board game to kill the time till midnight - and we always make up our own rules. Tonight, it was Taboo. We see in the new year, then head home to bed! I always feel so OLD!!

A great meal - baked ziti, caesar salad, bread - dessert was individual pound cakes with chocolate or raspberry topping. Yum. Hors d'oevres were veggies, cheese ball and weenies en croute (I love those!!). Some nice red wine, champagne, kirs...the best.

So, any resolutions for the new year? I really don't think so. I'd like to travel more - I've already resolved to see the Sox play in a few venues beyond Fenway. To get back "on program" immediately - I've been quite lax in counting points and even journaling.

I asked my friends what their absolute highlight to the year was. Mine came instantly to mind - it was July 31st at Fenway Park. Manny coming in as a pitch-hitter - after surviving the trade deadline - to drive in the game winning RBI. One of the most dramatic moments in the annals of the 2005 Sox - and I was lucky enough to witness it in person. I get goose bumps just remembering it - the swell of the crowd's "Manny -- Manny -- Manny" cheer - even with Ortiz still standing in the box waiting on his intentional walk. Man, I hope to have the opportunity to witness another such moment - to feel the wave of emotions coming off the crowd, all focused on one player.

I'm not sure Manny will have any other such moments in Fenway - the latest rumors are of a 4-team deal that will eventually land Tejada in Fenway and Manny at Camden Yards. But "for that brief shining moment," he was the king of Boston....

Low points of the year? Losing my dad in October is the stand-out. Something I'm still grappling with. It's kind of a turning point in your life - marks you as a real adult. Makes you evaluate you relationships with your sibs - have to find new ground on which to meet and relate. And I think it makes you appreciate them all the more. I couldn't have made it without their support.

Randomly - now playing on my iPod - "Sweet Caroline" - woo woo woo - good times never seemed so good!
Happy New Year!