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Home » Monthly Archive » December 2004

December 31, 2004

St. Elmo’s Fire 2: Burnt Out

I was bored one day and thought of this sequel idea. Why hasn’t this been made yet?

We reacquaint ourselves with that ragtag group of college graduates that defined and deified the 80s. They are 20 years older, but perhaps not 20 years wiser.

Kirby Keger (Emilio Estevez) came to terms with his homosexuality in the 90s, and is now coming into his own. He and his life partner have just returned to Chappaqua after marrying in Massachusetts. Now the star of the hit makeover show “From Straight to Great!”, who but Billy Hicks (Rob Lowe) is slated to appear as one of his projects. Billy is a married real estate agent who has rebuilt his life into something much more mundane than he thought possible, and is seeking closure with the remnants of his previous wild life by reuniting with the daughter of his first wife. Billy’s appearance on FSTG sets into motion a chain of reunions.

Alec Newbary (Judd Nelson) attempts to piece together his life after a sex scandal destroyed his political career. While mending bridges with his ex-wife Leslie Hunter (Ally Sheedy), he attempts to resuscitate his flagging opportunities by getting into the television business. He calls on his old college buddies to help him.

Kevin Dolenz (Andrew McCarthy) is an embittered, cynical author who grapples with the torment of commercial success combined little artistic credibility. Teaching part time in a liberal arts college, he meets Billy’s daughter, Samantha (Lindsay Lohan) and attempts to woo her, not realizing who her father is. She seems to embody the youthful idealism he used to revel in, and he plays the father figure she never had.

Wendy Beamish (Mare Winningham), like Kirby, has acknowledged her sexuality and is a rabbi in her progressive synagogue. Always the voice reason, she tends to the neuroses of her old friends as they muddle through their various crises. But, what happens when the feelings she used to have for Leslie come to light?

Jules Jacoby (Demi Moore) appears in cameos through flashbacks. No fun exploring the angst of an exhumed corpse.

December 30, 2004


Red Sox vanity plates abound according to Michael Demasi in the Boston Globe. This calls for... license plate haiku.



Rjohnson_2The Yankees sign a big ticket free agent. In other news, the sun rose and water is wet.

Best Reruns Ever

Fire up those VCRs...wait, no one but my grandmother owns one of those any longer. Time to invest in a DVR and tune into NESN in the new year. Beginning January 3rd, NESN will be replaying the 1975 and 1986 World Series. Sadististic, don’t you think? Except that we’ll get sweet relief with the replaying of both the 2004 ALCS and World Series later on in the month. I don’t quite remember what happened in those series, so if it was truly real, this will be the visual proof I need.

December 27, 2004

Hub Hero

Theo Epstein was named Bostonian of the Year by the Boston Globe Magazine. The Architect he is called, and not in the AI that devised the Matrix sense. He designed the team that finally won it all, so all the acclaim garnered is well earned. But he, like Bill James, is extraordinarily private, although his family says “Theo’s girlfriend is a critical presence in his life.” Which is a telling quote that serves as the lead-in to:

Top 11 Critical Things Theo’s Girlfriend Says to Him
11. Aren’t there some other hats you can wear besides the one with that funny “B” on them?
10. You have a BA from Yale and a JD. Can’t you get a better job?
9. Well, if you don’t want me breaking your precious cell phone, don’t leave it lying around.
8. There’s all these Bill Jamison books in the bathroom. Be a dear and put them away.
7. Why can’t you come visit my relatives in October? Some stupid games?
6. That shirt from October STILL smells like stale champagne. Will you get rid of it?
5. I thought you were important at the Red Sox; why do you get seats behind that guy with the mask? You have to look at his fat butt the entire game.
4. I tossed out that weird trophy with all the little gold flags. It clashed.
3. Why are they putting up Ks? Doesn’t Curt’s name start with a “C”?
2. Well, as long as you don’t shave your head like in 2003.
1. How was I supposed to know that the voice mail from Billy Beanhead or whatever was important?

This list appears in a slightly different form in The Soxaholix. My lists go to 11, just like BBspot and Nigel’s amps.

December 25, 2004

Red Sox Monopoly Values

One of my presents was the Red Sox Monopoly game. I found the player values amusing:

  • RedsoxmonopolyTerry Francona: $60
  • Dave Roberts: $60

Light Blue

  • Bronson Arroyo: $100
  • Pokey Reese: $100
  • Doug Mientkiewicz: $120


  • Doug Mirabelli: $140
  • Gabe Kapler: $140
  • Mark Bellhorn: $160


  • Bill Mueller: $180
  • Trot Nixon: $180
  • Jason Varitek: $200


  • David Ortiz: $220
  • Orlando Cabrera: $220
  • Johnny Damon: $240


  • Alan Embree: $260
  • Mike Timlin: $260
  • Keith Foulke: $280


  • Derek Lowe: $300
  • Tim Wakefield: $300
  • Pedro Martinez: $320


  • Curt Schilling: $350
  • Manny Ramirez: $400

I think I heard Martinez whinging about how he isn’t a blue property like Schilling, and that this is one of the reasons why he didn’t re-sign with the Red Sox. Not being assigned blue is obviously a sign of little respect. Sabermetric analysis correlating Monopoly values and win shares to follow shortly....

December 23, 2004

Varitek’s Back

It looks like Jason Varitek is finally going to sign with the Red Sox. It took a while, and that is probably the fault of Scott Boras. The AAV of $10M for four years is a bit high for me, but with any luck Varitek will disprove the aging catchers theorem. The no-trade clause requirement was finally dropped, which was the deal-breaker for the Red Sox.


December 22, 2004

Reclamation Project

Wade Miller has been signed to a 1-year $1.5M deal laden with incentives that can put him up $3M. Obviously having a championship grants the Red Sox clout we haven’t seen before. Nice to see a player having to earn their money in a league of guaranteed contracts. Another NL pitcher who will hopefully make the leap to the AL. In Miller’s favor is that pitching in Minute Maid Park is somewhat similar to Fenway because of its dimensions, specifically the short porch to left field.

Meet the New Pitcher, Same as the Old Pitcher

Cpavano The Next Incarnation of Weaver - Contreras - Vazquez. Presenting Carl Anthony Pavano, career ERA of 4.21. That equals to $10M per earned run for his four-year contract. His K/9 is decent at 5.92. Many of the questions that plagued previous signings by the Yankees apply: Can he pitch under the scrutiny of all of New York? What of the transition from NL to AL? Does pitching in a new park factor into his success?

Doesn’t he look cool tossing up the ball? When it lands in his palm he can ponder it as Hamlet did with Yorick’s skull.

December 21, 2004

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

Thanks for the memories, Dave Roberts and Orlando Cabrera. You both came and left on the same day, and were indispensable parts of the 2004 World Champion Red Sox.



I wrote this limerick for Roberts and posted it previously on redsoxnation.net:

A speedy outfielder named Roberts,
Disaster in ALCS averts.
He steals a pivotal base,
Flouting a Yankee ace;
Sabermetricians become smallball converts.

NYY Ticket Office Humor?

I tried to get opening day tickets for the Red Sox-Yankees games. The word that appeared for the CAPTCHA: “labrum.” Cute. On my second try: “victory.” Wishful thinking. They seemed sold out by the time I checked, in case you were wondering.

December 20, 2004

Clement Joins Rotation

Thirty-year-old right-handed pitcher Matt Clement joins the Red Sox pitching staff, according to the Boston Globe. It is obvious that Billy Beane, Oakland’s General Manager, is wisely not dealing any of his pitchers to his potential competition in the American League, so Clement was one of the few options available. Clement came up through the San Diego Padres organization, and Theo Epstein is likely familiar with him. Despite his career ERA of 4.34, scouts recognize his pitches have natural movement, which is the source of the control issues he has had in his career. He is a primarily a ground out or strikeout pitcher, which is suitable to both the Red Sox infield defense and Fenway Park. The question is whether or not he can make the transition from the NL to the AL. Typically strikeout pitchers have an easier conversion, as witnessed by Curt Schilling. Maybe Clement can borrow Schilling’s notebook and figure out how to get those pesky 8 and 9 hole hitters that he is unused to dealing with.

December 19, 2004

Faux Fenway

Combining two of my favorite things, the Red Sox and Legos, here’s an auction of a scale model of Fenway Park.


December 15, 2004

Red Sox Season Sestina

First in a series of poems in various forms celebrating the Red Sox. The sestina can be well done in the hands of real poets like Elizabeth Bishop or John Ashbery (move down the page for “Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape”), but for me it was just a fun way to celebrate this past season.

I. Hot Stove
Not every year begins in April, sometimes it starts with the holiday season,
With intensive talks over Thanksgiving dinner in Arizona. Is he game
To pitch in Fenway Park, homey, but considered a hitter’s park? The Red Sox
General Manager had data compiled, so that Schilling should not despair;
The Green Monster plucked home runs from the air, and pitching there would be a win-win.
Drafted under close scrutiny, Schilling signed the contract in good faith.

II. Beginning
The cruelest month saw torrid play, the only warmth for the fans bundled in stands, blind faith
In the Olde Towne Team guiding them through the crisp spring season.
15-6 in April, including a sweep of Evil Empire on their home territory. To win
Each time they took the field seemed a given. Other teams were the game,
Prey to the team’s talent. Despite the injuries and insinuations, there was no reason to despair;
A new nation declared its sovereignty, and the flag that was flown said “Red Sox.”

III. Swoon
From May to June, they seemed determined to prove that the Red Sox
Were the same old deal. Mired in mediocrity, reeling from unearned runs, faith
Evaporated like dew from the infield grass. A deluge of despair,
The déjà vu of too many summers preceding, sweeping over the season
As a torrent of spite spewed from daily papers. Players, managers, front office – all were game
For the ravenous press. All were starving for a resurgence, hungry for a win

IV. Trade
Streak to steady the club. What would it take to win?
Retooling. Would it mean trading a longtime Sox?
Probably. How to acquire to right pieces to play the game?
With panache. Will the fans lose faith?
Time will tell. Who will save the season?
Not one man, but many. When ends the despair?

After the first match-up the stadium, we weren’t completely down. Despair
Only lightly limned the stretches of our confidence. Most certainly we would win
The next one. There was no reason to think that our spell in the post-season
Would be brief. But after a squeaker and a laugher, the 0-3 Red Sox
Did not dwell, but delved deep. Every bench member found a way, an act of faith
Propelling them, compelling them to triumph four times straight. After the seventh game

VI. World Series
Celebrating a pennant was just the beginning. Needing to capture a game
Or three more to cleanse the air, wash away the despair.
No more supposed ghosts, curses, lapses, just pure faith
Pouring forth from reserves of past pain and hapless hopes to win
A title, the title that had eluded them through four score and six years, the Red Sox
Conquered hands, minds, and hearts for a fitting close to a cathartic season.

VII. Waiting for Pitchers and Catchers
After long decades, faith is rewarded. Is it just a game?
For us, probably not. A season is fulfilled and we only despair
The long wait for the next win. “Now starting for the Red Sox….”

Renteria Mania

He’s in, he’s out.... According to the latest report from the Boston Globe, he has just signed for 4/40. I’m surprised by his price, particularly since Orlando Cabrera probably could have been had for cheaper and is a proven commodity here. Hopefully, Renteria’s concerns about the Boston media were overstated, because if they weren’t, we might have another sullen shortstop on the team.

December 14, 2004


Pedro leaving...Schilling out until May. If the exclamation points used in posts to Red Sox fan forums were molecules of sarin gas, the nation would be under severe threat advisory.

Pedro Martinez: Meet the Mets... Greet the Mets

I can’t say that I’m not entirely surprised that Pedro has decided to accept the Mets’ offer. After getting over the initial shock, this is a smart decision by all parties except Omar Minaya. Pedro gets to go to the National League and not have to pitch to a designated hitter in a park more favorable to pitchers. Also, there has been mounting evidence that he was losing his effectiveness against American League East hitters. The Red Sox continue to make rational decisions that keep salary flexibility at the forefront. Guaranteeing a fourth year could potentially hamstring them; they knew exactly what they wanted to offer Pedro, and four years was too much of an expense as well as a risk.

Minaya is acting like the late 90s Dan Duquette, wanting to make high impact, splashy signings without considering the future of the team. However, at least when D. Duquette was signing Manny Ramirez to an outrageous deal, the Red Sox were a contending team. Furthermore, the free agent market was like a freewheeling dotcom speculative market with everyone overpaying. How does someone let go of a talent like Scott Kazmir and then sign pricey, aging pitchers like Al Leiter and Pedro Martinez? I guess the Mets are expecting a massive turnaround with Willie Randolph at the helm, but I am highly skeptical on how realistic that is.

Focusing on the business aspects of this deal helps me from the kneejerk, gut wrenching emotions I’m actually feeling. Let’s just say I’m glad he was here to help win a World Series and that we had him when he had some of the best seasons any pitcher of any era ever had. Looking back at that time, had the current ownership been in place, there probably would have been more championships. This idle speculation, however, doesn’t change the fact that the front office now has a large void to attempt to fill. But they at least have the funds to try and do so.

December 11, 2004

X-Mas at Fenway Sound Clips

The entire escapade for me was dashed when it was announced at 11 a.m. that the Opening Day pack was sold out. However, there were some compelling things to be heard around Fenway today. While in line, 3 a.m. to 7 a.m.

  • “Hey, where’s your wristband? He’s trying to cut!”
    —Guy to taxi cab trying to get around the mob on Ipswich
  • “Baseball is number one; Red Sox are number two. Am I right? Am I?”
    —Extremely wasted kid
  • “Get ’em! Hit ’em again! If they take each other out, we move up in line.”
    —Man in front of me commenting on fights taking place in front of us

Lenny DiNardo appearance

  • Woman in audience: “Are you dating anyone?”
    Lenny: “No.”
  • Question: “Who would you most like to strikeout?”
    Lenny: “Derek Jeter.”

Curt Schilling appearance

  • Kid: “Do you want Pedro to come back?”
    Curt: “Do you?”
    Kid: [Pause] “Yeah....”
    Curt: “Yeah, me too.”
  • Woman: “What is your Christmas wish?”
    Curt: [Long pause]
    Someone else in audience: “Varitek!”
    Curt: “Yeah, that would be a good wish. Getting Varitek back. I would like that to happen.”
  • Woman: “What do you think about being one of this year’s most fascinating people?” [Reference to the Barbara Walters special]
    Curt: “Well, I’m kind of torn about that. On one hand you have Mel Gibson, who has done some incredible things this year. On the other hand, you have...Paris Hilton. What has she done? Well, we know what she has done...let’s leave it at that.” [Laughter]

Many people thanked Curt for coming to speak with us as well as for the championship. I asked him what he thought the MLBPA should do about steroids in baseball, and he advocated a more stringent policy. He had some heartfelt comments about Jason Giambi and what kind of person Giambi is. Curt wanted a stronger policy as they have in other pro leagues so that it would eliminated from the sport and so that players would not have to play under the veil of speculation.

December 10, 2004

Preparation for Christmas at Fenway

Christmas at Fenway, T-minus 10 hours and counting. The grail of the Sox Pax is of course the Opening Day Pack, which grants the bearer admission to the April 11th game. It’s not eternal redemption of the soul, but seeing the raising of the banner will be something close to an epiphany for me.

I’ll be equipped with digital camera (for the “Red Sox personalities” to be on hand; let’s hope they don’t mean just Wally), Gortex jacket (50% chance of rain), fleece lining (highs in the lower 50s), and credit card (needn’t go into detail on Fenway tickets being the most expensive in the league).

I heard that last year’s attendees waited in the .406 Club, the apse of the cathedral that is Fenway. I hope that the trophy will be there for the celebrants. If there is one thing that elicits a remote amount of religious fervor in me it is baseball, Red Sox baseball. I’ll just think of the ticket purchasing as tithing, a necessary duty in the practice of my faith. I know of no other mass that lets you stand up and stretch, so I think I’ve made a good choice as far as what sect to be in.

December 9, 2004

Change Citizenship for $9.95

As threatened, the Boston Red Sox have begun issuing their Red Sox Nation membership cards. The listed benefits for 2005:

  • MLB.com Gameday Audio
  • ticketing preference
  • exclusive e-newsletter
  • access to members-only pages
  • membership card
  • special shop offers (no detail, I am assuming discounts)

The big deal for me is bullet point number two. If this frees me from Virtual Waiting Room purgatory, then I’m onboard. It’s a novel concept to generate new revenue streams. I understand why some fans are upset about the co-opting of the RSN concept and sentiment, but if this is a requirement to keep fielding competitive teams, it’s a price I’m willing to pay. Just get me out of the VWR. Nothing is more maddening than watching that counter taunt you.

December 8, 2004

Stove Finally Turns On

Matt Mantei was signed today for a one year, $750,000 contract. His line for the 2004 season is awful, but he only pitched 10 and 2/3 innings because of tendinitis in his pitching shoulder. He was also coming off Tommy John surgery in 2001. In my opinion, this is a good, low risk pickup that won’t cost any draft picks. His (hopefully still) 96-97 mph fastball will contrast nicely with Foulke’s style. With Scott Williamson gone, and Alan Embree and Mike Timlin aging, Mantei will fill the need for a reliable strikeout hurler. Remember when Mantei lost his job as closer to Byung-Hyun Kim at Arizona? Seems like Boston is the reclamation factory for Arizona pitchers. Perhaps Kim needs more processing....

On the empire front, the Yankees opted for Jaret Wright (3 years, $21M) instead of John Lieber, who is going to the Phillies for the same value and duration. I’m happy to see Lieber out of rotation, as he came up huge against the Red Sox during the ALCS. As for Wright, perhaps the Yankees are hoping that the Red Sox batters’ scarce showings against him (61 total ABs, with 3 of them being Arroyo and Schilling) will work to their advantage. We can all recall how well rookie pitchers, or pitchers that the hitters had little exposure to, did against the Sox this past season.

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