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Home » Monthly Archive » May 2005

May 31, 2005


Game 50: May 30, 2005
Orioles (31-19), 8
Red Sox (27-23), 1
W: Rodrigo Lopez (4-2)
L: Bronson Arroyo (4-2)

David Newhan isn’t your prototypical power hitter, slugging just .321. Yet he broke this game open for the Orioles in the 3rd inning with his grand slam. Annoyingly, he’s one of those players who toiled in the minor leagues for so long you just can’t begrudge him of any success he finds in the majors. This article from last year shows his scrappiness, a necessity in a profession that considers 5'10", 180 pounds too small. Moreover, his multiple shoulder operations cast further doubts on his ability to perform. He earns $365,000, fairly paltry in comparison to other platoon players. Ramon Vazquez gets paid a little less than twice as much, and he doesn’t play the outfield.

I’m not ready to press the panic button yet on Arroyo. Expectations were too high for him to continue to meet them. He wasn’t exactly the paragon of pitching perfection in the postseason last year, going 12.2 innings total with an ERA of 7.82, but since he was in the midst of the pivotal slap play in Game 6 last year, fame and attention accrued to him. He does have outside pursuits such as his music career, but I won’t attribute this as a distraction contributing to poor play. Rather, he’s showing that he is the typical third or fourth starter, and you can’t expect extraordinary performances every start.

The blinding shine of John Olerud’s helmet continues to astound me. There’s some sort of sticker on the top of it that he hasn’t yet removed since the Yankee series. Despite him being the reason for Dave McCarty’s ouster, I’m enjoying him on the team immensely. Recently I heard Terry Francona on WEEI talking about how great it was to have “a classy kid” like Olerud on the team. I’m not misquoting there. Did the Pawsox haze Olerud when he got there? It was his first time in the minors, ever. You can’t tell me Abe Alvarez and company weren’t tempted to put BenGay in his jockstrap or some such. What would they do if they got caught? “Uh, sorry, John. Er, I mean, sir.”

May 30, 2005

Juan Pedro Villaman

VillamanJuan Pedro “J.P.” Villaman died in a car accident this morning on his return drive from Logan Airport after flying from New York City. His nickname with the Red Sox players was “Papa Oso,” which means “Papa Bear.” When an opposing hitter struck out, his signature call was “Sientate!” He is survived by his wife and three children.

This April article from The Eagle Tribune tells of his joy in receiving a World Series ring as well his influence in broadening the fanbase of the Red Sox to other continents. In 2001, when Bill Kulik founded the Spanish Beisbol Network and acquired the rights to broadcast every Red Sox game in Spanish, he immediately called upon Villaman to be part of the broadcast. Kulik plans to honor Villaman’s memory tonight by using his signature strikeout call.

Requiescat in pace.


Game 49: May 29, 2005
Red Sox (27-22), 7
Yankees (27-23), 2
W: David Wells (3-4)
L: Mike Mussina (5-3)

It was a night of Davids, a name whose meaning is possibly derived from the Hebrew “dod,” meaning “beloved.” And for once, Wells was deserving of affection. Perhaps he’ll change numbers with players that are going hot every game now. He switched numbers with Edgar Renteria and wore “16” instead of his habitual “3.” Next time Wells pitches, I fully expect to hear, “Pitching for the Red Sox, number 34, David Wells.” Everyone wants a part of Ortiz; witness Ramirez wearing his wristbands.

I actually took notes during the course of the game. While I’m not on par with Andrew’s game posts, I wanted to give it a try, especially since this was such a key game.

1st inning
Renteria and Wells switch numbers (16 and 3)
Damon strikes out swinging
Renteria 10-pitch battle; line drive to Womack
Ortiz bomb. My god what a blast. He watches it as it takes orbit. 2 runs score.
(Morgan prattles about Bill Mueller not hitting Mussina well.)
Ramirez ground ball single to Womack
Nixon hits one hard, but right at Williams
Millar pop fly to Sanchez, our old friend
(36 pitches for Mussina)

Jeter leadoff home run after 6 pitches
Womack fly out center
Sheffield line drive home run. Wells tries to sneak one past Sheffield on the first pitch. Highly inadvisable.
Rodriguez ground ball single to right field
Posada GIPD
(21 pitches for Wells)

2nd inning
(Did Morgan mention enough times that Mueller is 0 for 20 against Mussina?)
Mueller BB on 4 pitches. What was Mussina afraid of? Didn’t he hear Morgan? 0 for 20.
Mussina interlude where he waxes philosophic about pitching: “Hope you have everything, most days you don’t.” Very glad he wasn’t selected. So very glad.
Morgan says, “I wanted to go to Stanford. I didn’t have the money or the grades.” Dude, you think reading Moneyball is too taxing.
Shoppach K swinging
We are informed that Bellhorn has 4 hits and 6 Ks in 23 at bats against Mussina.
Bellhorn BB on 7 pitches, the last 3 of which are balls.
Mussina upset with plate ump.
Damon GIDP
(24 pitches for Mussina)

Matsui flies out to center first pitch
Williams soft line drive out to center first pitch
Russ Johnson pop fly out to right second pitch
(4 pitches for Wells)

3rd inning
Renteria home run on 5 pitches
Ortiz home run first pitch. Hello, batter’s eye black seats.
It’s Mother’s Day in the Dominican Republic.
Manny singles to left
RBI double for Nixon (over Williams’s head, unsurprisingly)
(Morgan says, “This is good hitting, not bad pitching. They are the world champions.” The strain on Morgan to give the Red Sox a compliment nearly killed him. I’m surprised his head didn’t explode and leave bits of his cerebral cortex splattered on the high defintion television in the booth.)
Millar grounds out to short
Mueller flies out to left
Shoppach grounds out to short
(25 pitches for Mussina)

Sanchez lines out to Bellhorn
Wells throwing error to first, Jeter safe
Womack GIDP
(8 pitches for Wells)

4th inning
Mussina gone, Chien-Ming Wang replaces him
Bellhorn flies out to Womack
I can’t believe Williams made that catch to get Damon. (The crowd chants his name.)
Renteria singles up the middle
Booing for Ortiz
Ortiz line drive single to center
Bernie misses on a Ramirez single to center. Renteria scores. (That’s more like the Williams we know. The crowd isn’t chanting so much any more.)
Nixon BB
Millar strikes out swinging
(23 pitches for Wang)

Sheffield K swinging (3 pitches, 3 strikes)
Rodriguez pop flies to Millar
Posada grounds out to Wells on the first pitch
(7 pitches for Wells)

5th inning
Mueller ground ball out to 1st baseman
Soppach ground out to Rodriguez
Bellhorn ground out Sanchez
What the hell was that? A 1-2-3 inning for the good guys? I don’t recall what those look like.
(12 pitches for Wang)

Matsui flies out to center
Williams doubles to right
Johnson lines out to right on the first pitch
Sanchez grounds out to short. That’s the Sanchez I remember.
(17 pitches for Wells)

6th inning
Damon infield single
Morgan gets huffy regarding scoring Damon’s at bat a hit or an error. “I’m not going to comment. You just have to catch the ball.”
Renteria GIDP
Ortiz pops out to Jeter
(11 pitches for Wang)

Jeter grounds out to Mueller
Womack strikes out looking
Mueller stops Sheffield from getting extra bases, but he gets a single nonetheless
Rodriguez grounds out to Mueller. It’s the Mueller defensive show.
(12 pitches for Wells)

7th inning
Ramirez strikes out looking
Sanchez ranges to his right to get Trot Nixon out. Heaven forbid Morgan compliment a 2B playing well.
Talk about Rodriguez’s therapy
Millar reaches on Rodriguez error. Morgan says that’s not an error. Who are we to argue with a Hall of Famer?
Mueller flies out to center
(20 pitches for Wang)

God Bless America, a.k.a. icing out the Red Sox pitcher. I prepare a soufflé from scratch whilst Ronan Tynan sings.
Olerud defensive replacement at first
Posada lines out to Bellhorn
Matsui uses “Kashmir” as entrance music. Flies out to Ramirez.
Williams grounds out to Mueller
(8 pitches for Wells)

8th inning
Shoppach grounds out to first
Bellhorn grounds out to second
Damon singles to right
Renteria reaches on Rodriguez error. Changed to base hit.
Stanton replaces Wang
Ortiz RBI single, Renteria to 3rd
Worcester’s own Tanyon Sturtze takes the mound
Manny grounds into force out, Ortiz out at second
(12 pitches for Wang, 7 pitches for Stanton, 1 pitch for Strutze)

Johnson lines out to Bellhorn
Sanchez flies out to Nixon
Jeter grounds out to Bellhorn
1-2-3 inning
(8 pitches for Wells)

9th inning
Tanyon Sturtze hits Nixon and it looks to have been on purpose. Both teams warned.
Olerud strikes out on foul tip
Mueller GIDP
(12 pitches for Sturtze)

Sierra grounds out to Mueller
Sheffield ground ball single to center
Wells doesn’t get a complete game, gets booed. Looks upset that Francona doesn’t keep him in. Hey, look, you didn’t have rehab starts and look what happened before. Not risking it.
Foulke up
Rodriguez flies out to center
Posada flies out to left
(9 pitches for Wells, 5 pitches for Foulke)

May 29, 2005

Grave Situation

Danny Graves was designated for assignment on May 23, 2005, a day after he had made an obscene gesture to a fan that yelled, “Go back to Vietnam, you slant-eyed [epithet].” Graves was born in Saigon to a white American father and Vietnamese mother. The “Baby-Faced Assassin,” as he was known (a nickname I have issues with), was the first player born in Vietnam to make the major leagues. The fan was seated in the high-priced seats near the dugout. Being able to afford such seats doesn’t buy one class, intelligence, or tolerance to people of different ethnic backgrounds.

Despite Graves being the Cincinnati Reds’ career saves leader, a two-time All Star (2000 and 2004), and winning the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 2002, he was unceremoniously cut shortly after the incident. It was an unsurprising move from a team that boasts Marge Schott as part of its illustrious history. Playing in a Rust Belt city as a person of color, particularly of a minority group that is considered perpetually foreign is a challenge, more so when your ERA is 7.36.

In baseball terms, the move can be justified. But I think the Reds organization was remiss in not strongly condemning the fan who verbally assaulted Graves. The Reds could have done what the Red Sox did to the fans that interferred with the ball in play at Fenway Park. Some measure of punishment in terms of being ejected or having his ticket privileges revoked is in order. I also wonder why this incident was not covered more extensively by the media. I was on the road when this happened, so perhaps I missed it, but usually debate is sparked by such happenings. I have seen nothing in response on ESPN, not even a segment on “Outside the Lines.”

Given Keith Foulke’s recent difficulties and ERA of 6.65, if Graves comes cheaply, he might be worth trying out for a spell. With the Red Sox fans’ history with pitchers of Asian descent, however, I doubt that Graves would find Boston an appealing option. And it’s a sad thing if players don’t want to come to Boston because of the team or its fans’ reputation, since the Henry ownership team has tried to overcome its past problems with integration.

(On a different tangent, my problem with Graves’s nickname is that it alludes to the myth of the Asian male as somehow less manly than white American males. “Baby-faced” infantalizes him, while the “assassin” part of the name reinforces the “shifty” stereotype that plagues Americans of Asian descent. Furthermore, “assassin” is rife with cultural resentment because of its origins as the appellation of a clandestine group of Muslims in the 11th century who fought against Christians during the Crusades.)


Game 48: May 28, 2005
Red Sox (26-22), 17
Yankees (27-22), 1
W: Matt Clement (6-0)
L: Carl Pavano (4-3)

The Boston Red Sox hit parade countdown:

  1. 1st inning: Johnny Damon fly ball double: “Hit Me Like You Did the First Time,” The Flaming Lips
  2. Manny Ramirez ground ball single: “Hit 'Em Wit' Da Hee,” Missy Elliott
  3. 2nd inning: Jason Varitek ground ball single: “Closer to Home (I’m Your Captain),” Grand Funk Railroad
  4. John Olerud line drive single: “King of Birds,” R.E.M.
  5. Damon line drive single: “Crush,” Jimmy Eat World
  6. Edgar Renteria ground ball single: “Greatest Hits,” Sublime
  7. 3rd inning: Ramirez line drive single: “Somebody’s Got to Do It,” The Roots
  8. Varitek ground ball single: “Never Will I Break,” 3 Doors Down
  9. 4th inning: Renteria soft line drive single: “Never Be Beat,” Tupac Shakur
  10. Ramirez line drive single: “Bang Out,” Snoop Dogg
  11. Trot Nixon soft line drive single: “When Tomorrow Hits,” Mudhoney
  12. 5th inning: Bill Mueller line drive single: “Hit,” The Sugarcubes
  13. Mark Bellhorn line drive single: “Heavy Things,” Phish
  14. Damon line drive single: “Can I Get a Flicc Witchu,” Snoop Dogg with Bootsy Collins
  15. Renteria grand slam: “Boom! Boom!” John Lee Hooker
  16. Ramirez fly ball single: “Nappy Heads,” Fugees
  17. Nixon home run: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” Pat Benatar
  18. 6th inning: Mueller line drive single: “A Kissed Out Red Floatboat,” Cocteau Twins
  19. 7th inning: David Ortiz line drive single: “Boom!” The Roots
  20. Jay Payton home run: “Payday,” Elvis Costello
  21. Olerud ground ball single: “Old Ways,” Neil Young
  22. 8th inning: Damon soft line drive single: “Fall at Your Feet,” Crowded House
  23. Ramon Vazquez soft line drive single: “One Hit Wonderful,” Reel Big Fish
  24. Ortiz ground ball single: “Hold It Now, Hit It!” Beastie Boys
  25. Nixon fly ball single: “I Could Turn You Inside Out,” R.E.M.
  26. Olerud ground ball single: “Arpeggi,” Radiohead
  27. 9th inning: Bellhorn line drive single: “#1 Hit Song,” Minutemen

Today, should you choose to wear eye black, wear it like Nixon did.

May 28, 2005


Game 47: May 27, 2005
Red Sox (25-22), 3
Yankees (27-21), 6
L: Tim Wakefield (4-4)
W: Randy Johnson (5-3)
H: Tanyon Sturtze (8)
H: Buddy Groom (2)
H: Tom Gordon (12)
S: Mariano Rivera (12)

What won’t a Yankee take a curtain call for? Singles up the middle? A close force out at second? It seemed that every time one of the New York players did something even remotely warranting adulation, they sought it out like preschoolers angling for gold stars. I think that might be the key to Torre’s managerial excellence; he has a chart with all his players listed and spaces to place scratch and sniff stickers saying “Data Way!”, “Ham it Up!”, or “Eggspertly Done!”

Flush from his success at the Hall of Fame Game, Dale Sveum seemed to think that his arm was blessed with the unerring ability to judge when wave home runners. Maybe instead of Mark Bellhorn lumbering around the bases he seem to believe it was Lou Brock. The 6th inning was as brutal a scene I’ve seen in a while, including the drill scene from Marathon Man. Terry Francona didn’t throw Sveum under the bus, saying “You know what? They made plays. I don’t think we made outs. They made plays.” Sure, they made plays, but why give them the opportunity to do so? Is it safe? Most assuredly and on many levels, no, not safe at all.

If there is any consolation to be had from this match-up it is that Edgar Renteria did well against Johnson, and that the lanky lefty didn’t seem to have his usual dominating fastball, at least according to Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano. To them, the radar gun seemed to be overstating velocity. Maybe the stadium radar can be recalibrated with the help of Derek Jeter’s personal radar technician?

Past Programs















May 27, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: The Decision

EE: As much as I would like to, I can’t take another trip to interview another candidate. The EE coffers are nearly empty. We’ve got to go with the folks we’ve seen so far.

dEEvil: You should really pick Mike Mussina. I’m certain your fanbase would love that. [Cackle]

angEEl: Don’t be tempted by the dark side, EE. Consume you it will, as a friend once told me.

dEEvil: What’s dark about Mussina?

angEEl: His hair, his eyes, his heart, and his intentions.

dEEvil: Typical naïve goodness. Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.

angEEl: Are not!

dEEvil: Is to!

angEEl: Are not!

EE: Guys... and by “guys” I mean imaginary apparitions of me at about 1/20 scale perched on each of my shoulders with the requisite horns, tail, and pitchfork and wings and halo, respectively... calm down. There’s a choice we’re making....

dEEvil and angEEl: [Singing] We’re saving our own lives....

EE: I hate you both.

dEEvil and angEEl: [Snigger]

EE: So, who’s it going to be?

angEEl: You must take into account the 1,972 voice mails you’ve gotten from David. He truly misses his weekly chance to shine.

dEEvil: I particularly liked message number 784, where he proffers up his soul. That’ll get him places. In fact, hold on a sec. [Whips out mobile phone.]

dEEvil: [Into the phone] Yo, Belial. Did that deal we were considering go through or what? No kidding? Excellent. Tell Dantalian “hi.” Talk to ya.

dEEvil: Okay, then, I’m fine with McCarty.

angEEl: Hold on a second, I don’t like how that sounded. Was that about David?

dEEvil: No, of course not.

angEEl: Ah, all right. [Smiles placidly]

EE: [Sighs] If we go with McCarty, we go with what the readers want. I’m all about making them happy. Except if they are Canadians, of course.

angEEl: Heaven’s coming out with a encyclical about them, and it was determined they have no soul.

EE: That was pretty apparent with Alan Thicke.

dEEvil: About time. The exchange rate for Canadian souls was paltry.

EE: Anyway, I’ll give Dave a call. Hopefully he’ll have time to do this.

dEEvil: He probably has time to broker peace in the Middle East.

angEEl: Or invent cold fusion.

dEEvil: Hey, that was pretty good, wingy.

angEEl: I have my moments, my hooved friend.

EE: [Sighs] Not even my internal dialogues are unique.

May 26, 2005


Game 46: May 26, 2005
Red Sox (25-21), 1
Blue Jays (26-21), 8
L: Wade Miller (1-1)
W: Gustavo Chacin (5-3)
S: Pete Walker (2)

Times have changed
Our team is getting worse
They won’t obey the coaches
They’re beginning to believe the curse!
Should we blame Bud Selig?
Or blame talk radio?
Or should we blame the morons on the Big Show?
No, blame Canada
Blame Canada
With all their beady little eyes
And flappin’ heads so full of lies
Blame Canada, blame Canada
We need to win the AL East
The Jay’s lead increased!
Don’t blame me
For Shea Hillenbrand
He’s slugging .470
And now he’s feeling grand!
And that boy Shea once
Had Theo’s picture on his shelf
But now when he sees him he tells him to fuck himself!
Well, blame Canada
Blame Canada
It seems that everything’s gone wrong
Since Canada came along
Blame Canada, blame Canada
They’re not even a real country anyway
My son could’ve been a 40-40 man, it’s unfair
Instead he burned out like Soriano on a tear
Should we blame the strikeouts?
Should we blame the swinger?
Or the trainer who let him try to hit the next dinger?
Heck no!
Blame Canada, blame Canada
With all their healthcare hullabaloo
And that bitch Lisa Ruddy, too
Blame Canada
Shame on Canada
The losses we must stop
The pitches we must bash
The lack of the timely run
Must all be undone
We must blame them and cause a fuss
Before somebody thinks of blaming us


Game 45: May 25, 2005
Red Sox (25-20), 1
Blue Jays (25-21), 6
L: Bronson Arroyo (4-1)
W: Ted Lilly (3-4)
H: Vinnie Chulk (4)

I liked it when Ted Lilly was not in the same division as the Red Sox. Whenever he became available, I would be hopeful that he would make it to Boston, primarily because it was frustrating to watch him shut down the lineup time and again. Case in point is Game 3 of the 2003 ALDS, where Lilly could have came away with a win and Oakland with a series sweep if Rich Harden didn’t blow it in the 11th inning.

From the “It Couldn’t Last Forever Department,” Arroyo lost his first game since August 15th of last year. He lasted 6 innings with 6 hits, 5 runs (2 earned), no walks, and 1 strikeout. Perhaps on any other day this would have been enough to continue the lossless streak, but it was an evening where only Renteria, Mueller, Nixon, and Bellhorn had hits, and they only had 1 apiece.

I’ve come to the conclusion that those scoreboards on the outfield walls aren’t truly scoreboards. When an opposing team is at bat, I think a harmful wavelength of light is transmitted that swells the blood vessels that supply the optic nerve, causing temporal arthritis. It’s just a theory I’ve been pondering. I wish Dave were here to discuss it with me.


JohnsonhrGame 44: May 24, 2005
Red Sox (25-19), 6
Blue Jays (24-21), 9
BS: Mike Timlin (1)
L: Alan Embree (1-2)
W: Miguel Batista (3-0)

I am destined to pitch a nearly
Perfect 1.1 innings with no hits or runs and 1 strikeout
If it weren’t for that strikeout, my line would look like
e.e. cummings, you know that poem with the uppercase O’s
Am I trying too hard here, trying too hard to make you hear
Varitek’s bat swinging at nothingess
Slow thundering of Millar grounding out
The thud of Mueller’s flesh
A pleasing burst of futile noise from Bellhorn’s bat
Echoed by the bootless line out by Damon.

Embree is not like me
The fly ball fireballer grooves one on the mound,
Not on the mic
Three runs later, three wins for me.
— Miguel Batista

In real life, Batista would of course write much better and in Spanish. Please excuse my Fauxtista; I just couldn’t resist.

May 25, 2005


Game 43: May 22, 2005
Braves (24-19), 2
Red Sox (25-18), 5
L: Roman Colon (0-1)
W: Matt Clement (5-0)

There are so many ways to make fun of the losing pitcher’s name. So many glorious and perverse means to twist his cognomen into something amusing. However, because my given names are similarly manipulable, I won’t descend to that level of mockery. In fact, I felt a bit of empathy for Colon as he was brought into the 5th inning after John Smoltz gave up 2 runs. He wasn’t able to stem the tide in the 6th, with Johnny Damon hitting a leadoff single, David Ortiz doubling, and Manny Ramirez homering on the first pitch he threw.

On the good guys side, Clement threw his first complete game this season. In fact, it was the first complete game for the Red Sox in 2005. He had 4 hits, 2 earned runs, no walks, and 7 strikeouts. When Clement has no bases on balls, you know that he is dealing some nasty action and/or that the batters are being too aggressive. He threw only 110 pitches, 76 of which were strikes, giving him a strike percentage of 69%.

I’m still not quite sure what I think of interleague play yet. I am sure, however, that ESPN annoys me because they seem to have a lacuna of knowledge when it comes to the history of the Braves franchise, which most people know were originally in Boston. ESPN had a poll on the non-traditional rivalries and included Atlanta/Boston along with Arizona/Detroit, Colorado/Pittsburgh, and Washington/Toronto. Quite a shoddy job considering that the club formerly known as the Beaneaters had a rich history in Massachusetts. The Boston National League team had luminaries such as Babe Ruth, Rabbit Maranville, Bill James (not that one), Jim Thorpe, Rogers Hornsby, George Sisler, Warren Spahn, Johnny Sain, and Eddie Mathews on their roster. I think I’ll buy the ESPN factcheckers this book so that I won’t be so aggravated by them.

May 24, 2005


Game 42: May 21, 2005
Braves (24-18), 7
Red Sox (24-18), 5
W: Kyle Davies (1-0)
L: Tim Wakefield (4-3)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a rookie makes his debut against a hard-slugging team of veterans and shuts them out, going 5 innings with 4 hits, 3 walks, and 6 strikeouts. It sounded quite familiar to me, reminding me of Erik Bedard and Scott Kazmir of last year. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, except this boss barely shaves yet.

Despite a late rally in the 9th led by a Johnny Damon single, the Red Sox again suffered lack of timely hitting. They had 10 players in terms of men left on base, as Don Orsillo would say. I watched the game through the filter of the TBS broadcast team, who had the same threadbare observations that everyone does about knuckleball pitchers. I’ve never truly appreciated that brilliant gem of insight that Bob Uecker bestowed upon us, “The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling and then pick it up.” My eternal thanks, Joe and Chip, were it not for you, I would not have this treasure in my store of knowledge.

Cooperstown is a quaint, walkable place. In the course of the day, I would see the same folks over and over again. There was a Yankee fan with family in tow who oddly lingered long over the Ted Williams exhibit on the science of hitting and tarried in front of Mickey Mantle’s plaque while I was trying to take a picture of Cool Papa Bell’s plaque. I later saw him in the Shortstop Cafe. There was also a helpful Red Sox fan who told me that the Red Sox part of Babe Ruth’s career presented near the turnstile of his shrine and to skip the Yankee parts, which was glutted with pinstripe fanatics anway. I saw her multiple times in the course of the weekend and we always had a smile for each other. Citizens of a nation, greeting each other in foreign lands.

May 21, 2005


Game 41: May 20, 2005
Braves (23-18), 3
Red Sox (24-17), 4

L: Tim Hudson (4-3)
W: Wade Miller (1-0)
H: Mike Timlin (12)
S: Keith Foulke (11)

Sporadic posting alert: I’m posting this from Cooperstown. You may have heard of this town. It’s where Abner Doubleday supposedly formalized the rules of modern baseball. But the game’s origins are more disperse and divergent than the Doubleday myth would have us believe, and I’ll be writing about this in a future post. Nevertheless, to be in the town where myth and history gathers around what I believe is the best sport invented has been nothing short of spectacular.

For better or worse, I’m following this interleague series through the TBS broadcasts. Joe Simpson and Chip Caray were spouting all the same platitudes about Fenway Park that you always hear, including the infamous, “No lead is safe here.” In the main, however, it was an upgrade over Joe Buck doing play by play for the Yankees when they are on Fox.

Leads can be safe if you have adequate pitching. Miller picked up his first win by going 6.1 innings, 3 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts. With his appearances verging on almost Quantrillian frequency, Timlin pitched yet again and had a perfect 1.2 innings with 3 strikeouts. Foulke was just trying to improve the one-run game record of his team by giving up 2 runs in the 9th. He’s a team player that way, allowing his ERA to increase to 7.29.

May 20, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: Replacement Candidate #3

EE: So, Lance, what we try and do with the weekly Friday columns is bring to the audience topics that may interest them, such as developments in engineering, medicine, or other technologies, and couch it in terms of a major league baseball player’s experience. With your degree in engineering from Rice, we think you would be ideal to replace Dave.

Berkman: Your timing on this is outstanding. While I was on the disabled list, I started on a project to redesign Minute Maid Park’s monstrosity in center field, Tal’s Hill.

EE: That’s an idea whose time has come.

Berkman: You may have seen me make some incredible plays on that incline when I played center, but I tell you, it totally compromised the health of my knees. In fact, I believe that hill is the reason I was put on the DL.

EE: I thought it was because you were playing flag football in the offseason?

Berkman: That may have also been a contributing factor, but the primary cause is the stress placed on my body from having to navigate that difficult terrain.

EE: I could definitely see this Tal’s Hill thing being a column.

Berkman: A column? Like, one single post? No way. This would be at least a 12-week project.

EE: We like to be exhaustive, but 12 weeks on a single topic seems like overkill.

Berkman: And that 12-week estimate, that’s an overly optimistic timeframe, frankly. I could have easily said 20 weeks. So, here’s how I would map it out: the first 5 weeks would cover demolishing the current hill, the next 5 would be presenting the 5 different combinations of clay, dirt, and turf I have devised, the next 5 would be the installation of the selected field stratum, and finally, a 5-week evaluation of the new field performance.

EE: I need to interject here that our readers expect a certain depth as well as breadth in the Friday columns. For example, Dave would write about knee biomechanics one week and the entropic end of existence as we know it the next.

Berkman: This always happened to us engineers. We’re forced to come up with a solution to a pressing problem and not given the proper time and resources to successfully execute it. There’s just one reason why I’d rather be playing in the bigs than actually putting my degree to use. It would just be wasted on unaware project managers. Or content editors, in this case.

EE: You also have $85M other reasons that you signed for just this past March.

Berkman: There’s no denying that. Anyway, I’d be interested as long as I can fully document the Tal’s Hill project.

EE: I’ll run this past the other staff members. Thanks for your time, Lance.

Every Friday, Dave McCarty used to join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site. Since he was designated for assignment recently and will mostly like retire, EE is in the process of finding a replacement. Help....

Anonymous Comments

Due to a recent spate of anonymous, spam-like (no offense to Spam lovers) comments that added nothing to the conversation, I am going to have a policy of sorts where I delete nonsensical comments. Some will argue that if I strictly adhere to this policy the entire blog would wink out of existence. If that were the case, then this post would go unfini

May 19, 2005


Game 40: May 18, 2005
Red Sox (23-17), 6
Athletics (16-24), 13
L: David Wells (2-4)
W: Seth Etherton (1-0)

Apparently Wells thought he would be using the Force to get batters out today. Rehab start, mehab flart he seemed to think, hubris overflowing. His line is gruesome: 1.1 innings pitched, 9 hits, 7 earned runs, no walks (which is good), no strikeouts (which is probably the reason why there were no base on balls), and 1 home run (better than that time he gave up 3 taters in a row at least). At least I did’t have to stay up late for this particular torture session. In fact, with my Gameday Audio subscription, I selectively heard only the portions of the game I wanted to. In my parallel universe, innings 1 and 2 never happened, the final score was 6-4, and I was the field manager who stood up to Wells, sending him down to Pawtucket for some rehab starts.

I learned something from Harold Reynolds on Baseball Tonight (part of ESPN’s trifecta, if you hadn’t heard). He gave a summary of how pitchers and catchers change signs when there is a runner on second base. There was one catcher whose signs would vary with the pitch count. It made me think about how Dave McCarty would have different signs based on the angle of the sun in relation to the time of day or the decibel level of the crowd. You know, something simple like that.

Top 5 Things That Would be Better to Watch Than Game 40:

  1. Take Me Out (Thanks to twitch for this.)
  2. The Hall of Fame Game
  3. Paint dry
  4. Grass grow
  5. Charley Young Beach in Kihei

(These Top 5 lists won’t be a regular thing. This is just my mild protest about the recent performance of the team.)

May 18, 2005


Game 39: May 17, 2005
Red Sox (23-16), 7
Athletics (15-24), 5
W: Alan Embree (1-1)
H: Mike Timlin (11)
S: Keith Foulke (10)
L: Juan Cruz (0-2)
H: Ricardo Rincon (5)
BS: Huston Street (2)

That’s more like it. Maybe by the end of today we’ll upgrade our “losing record” t-shirts to “road trip split” souvenirs.

Matt Clement pitched for 5.2 innings and wasn’t part of the decision. He seemed to take a slight step backward in his progress with 6 hits, 5 earned runs, 4 walks, and 2 strikeouts. The facial hair was in near-Amish state. Remember when Kevin Millar got rid of his whack beard at the end of last season and started hitting better? As difficult as this is to admit, I think Millar’s example must be followed.

It was all about the 8th inning in this game. Cruz was doing anything but: he hit Jason Varitek to start the inning and walked the next two batters to load the bases. Don’t give the Red Sox extra outs. Scott Hatteberg and Eric Byrnes both committed errors leading to a 4-run inning. Byrnes to me is the epitome of the bonehead hustler. He’ll give it his all, but from time to time he’ll attempt the spectacular only to achieve the absurd.

Top 5 Names that Huston’s Parents Should Have Named Him Instead of Huston:

  1. Easy
  2. Our House in the Middle of the
  3. Sesame
  4. Picabo II
  5. Ten Downing


Game 38: May 16, 2005
Red Sox (22-16), 4
Athletics (15-23), 6
L: Mike Myers (1-1)
BS, W: Keiichi Yabu (1, 3-0)
S: Octavio Dotel (8)

I don’t dread Friday the 13th. The number itself is usually of no concern to me, even though it is Alex Rodriguez’s number. But when it’s thirteen left on base in a game, I have an issue. The score should have been something more like 29-6, and Kirk Saarloos should have been cursing the Red Sox like his eponym cursed the Klingons. “You Red Sox bastards! You killed my ERA!” He wasn’t named after James T. Kirk? My apologies, I had geek on the brain. If you click on the video links on the right, you’ll find some Saarloos defensive action, with some moves outdoing the corbomite maneuver.

These West Cost games are killing me. I am coming up with even less insightful comments than before, if that is possible. If these were blowouts, I could go to sleep early and think of something funny to say about the match-up the next day. Instead, I stare at a blank screen, any wit killed by sleep deprivation and the resentment of hanging on until the final out without a win. I don’t even get to enjoy the games as much as I usually would because part of it is a battle against slumber. I hear Don Orsillo giggle somewhere along the edges of my consciousness and I wonder if it’s because of Jerry Remy being truly funny or if Announcer Boy just had a typical titter fit. Meanwhile, Californians arrive in the 4th inning and leave by the 7th, in the sun.

Time zone differences form my sports memories in odd ways because I grew up in Hawai‘i. Monday Night Football would be shown on tape delay, because if it were live, it wouldn’t be playing during primetime. The local sports segment would still report the score in the early evening newscast, but the announcer wouldn’t say the results aloud. Instead, he would say, “It’s close your eyes time as we show the final score of the Monday Night Football game on the bottom of your screen.” For these Pacific Time Zone games, by the time of the final out, it’s way past close your eyes time for me. Come home soon, team. And bring back something better than the “We went on a road trip and all we brought back was a losing record” t-shirt. It was amusing before, but not so much so now.

May 16, 2005


Game 37: May 15, 2005
Red Sox (22-15), 4
Mariners (15-22), 5
L: Tim Wakefield (4-2)
W: Gil Meche (3-2)
H: Shigetoshi Hasegawa (2)
H: J.J. Putz (8)
S: Eddie Guardado (10)

My sister was born in 1981. And yet she claims to be nostalgic when she watches VH-1’s “I Love the 80s.” I guess she could legitimately yearn for 1985-1989, but it’s not as if she really remembers facing the threat of death by combination of Pop Rocks and Coca Cola. She never used the term “record store,” or even “wrecka stow.” She’s not particularly fond of baseball, so it doesn’t matter to her that Manny Ramirez hit his 400th home run. At first, even Ramirez wasn’t overly concerned about his milestone, saying that it “means nothing to me” at first, but then later stating that it was “a great moment” in his life. The Zen of Manny, who cares and yet doesn’t all at once. He is only the fifth Red Sox player to reach 400 in a Boston uniform; the others are Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, and Andre Dawson are the others.

This loss ends the 5-game winning streak the Red Sox had in one-run games. They are now 7-6 in these types of games, and one of Terry Francona’s goals is to improve upon their 16-18 record from last year. Hopefully Keith Foulke won’t continue to allow games to narrow to a 1-run margin to pad the stats.

Rather than dwell on this series loss, be sure to see Opie Otterstad’s painting of the 2004 World Series celebration. On May 19th, the Boston Globe will have an exclusive on the creator’s motivation on the work. I guess it will be like a director’s cut of the canvas. Between that and Revenge of the Sith, my Thursday is all set.

May 15, 2005


Game 36: May 14, 2005
Red Sox (22-14), 6
Mariners (14-22), 3
W: Mike Myers (1-0)
H: Matt Mantei (5)
H: Mike Timlin (10)
S: Keith Foulke (9)
H, L: Ron Villone (8, 0-2)
BS: J.J. Putz (2)

Grand slam, thank you ma’am. Er, Trot, that is. Bill Mueller, the leadoff hitter of the 7th inning, got on base by hitting a single. Mark Bellhorn then doubled Mueller in with the count at 1-2. Johnny Damon grounds out, but Edgar Renteria subsequently singled, also on a 1-2 count. You have to love how they perform on 2-strike counts. Then David Ortiz is hit by the first pitch thrown by Villone. It made me wonder briefly if it was some sort of perverse retaliation for the foul (as he believed) ball that Ortiz hit against him in the Seattle series at Fenway Park. No one would be so stupid as to load the bases for what he perceived as a slight, right? Certainly one would have to pay for such idiocy.

The price was 4 runs, but they were not driven in by Manny Ramirez, who could have hit his 4ooth home run. Instead, it was Nixon on a 0-1 pitch hitting his 8th grand slam and giving the Red Sox the lead in the American League for grand slams with 5.

Wade Miller was basically cruising until the 6th inning. He got the first 2 outs easily, but then gave up 2 consecutive home runs to Richie Sexson and Raul Ibanez. Miller got the count to 1-2 on Bret Boone, one of the accursed spawn of the Boone family, when Boone hit a single. (Is the Boone home run not supposed to hurt any longer because of 2004? I guess it need not bother me as much, but it still does.) Miller ended with 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts.

Next time Mantei, Myers, and Timlin make appearances in the same game, I want Matt to say, “Hi, I’m Matt, and this is my brother Mike, and this is my other brother Mike.”


Game 35: May 13, 2005
Red Sox (21-14), 7
Mariners (14-21), 14
L: Jeremi Gonzalez (1-1)
W: Julio Mateo (1-0)

That’s odd. All the wins, losses, and scores for this game are divisible by 7. Man is 5, the devil is 6, god is 7. You can say it’s 7, even though I see 11.

Theo Epstien was featured in the brilliantly named pre-game segment “Inside Your Sox.” There were many interviews with his family members and video from his childhood. I can imagine Epstein’s mom handing over the videos to the segment producer happily and the evil gleam in the eyes of the NESN crew. Larry Lucchino told the story he always tells about how Epstein impressed him as an intern with the San Diego Padres by proposing an event to celebrate the Negro Leagues. “You’re judged in life by your entrances and your exits,” said Lucchino.

The 1st inning was an entrance to be forgotten. Trot Nixon was put out with the unusual combination of 8-4 at 2nd base for the second out because an umpire incorrectly indicated that center fielder Jeremy Reed made the catch. To kill this inning, Manny Ramirez got the third out at 3rd with an almost Suppan-like play.

It would be masochistic to go over this game any further, but I wanted to point out that Cla Meredith’s ERA is 27.00. In fact, nearly every pitcher who made an appearance in this game (Gonzalez, John Halama, Meredith, and Keith Foulke, but excluding Matt Mantei) have ERAs above 6. The devil is 6.

And, because I’m a sadist on occasion, here are Dan Roche’s jokes from the evening. This was the most entertaining part of the game, which should tell you something.

Q: What does the dentist of the year get awarded?
A: A little plaque.

Q: Why did the banana go to the hospital?
A: He wasn’t peeling well.

Q: When is a traffic light like a former president?
A: When it’s Abe Lincoln.

May 13, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: Replacement Candidate #2

The Scene
Lula Lounge, Toronto. Open mic night.

EE: Is Miguel Batista performing tonight?

Bouncer: Yes, and it’s $5 cover.

EE: Can you give me a receipt on that? Because I’m doing this for this site I write for, and I’m expensing this trip, so....

Bouncer: No receipt.

EE: Okay, so can I, like, listen to him from the doorway?

Bouncer: No, it’s against the fire code.

EE: [sighs] Here it is.

[EE correspondent makes her way to a table where a guy is already seated but one seat is open.]

EE: Is this seat taken?

Guy: Not at all. You here to hear Miguel?

EE: Yes, I’m scouting him out for a column for the blog I write. We might go in a new direction for one of the columns.

Guy: [snorts] A blog? Doesn’t everyone have one of those?

[Miguel Batista strides onto the stage with an acoustic guitar. He seats himself on a barstool in the middle of the stage. A lone spotlight shines on him. He strums a violent chord.]

Batista: Placental beings overtake oviparous sluggards, fur flies

[Light, rhythmic strumming, more subdued than his initial attack.]

Batista: Flight evolved in parallel paths
Freed from the ground, rules in the sky

[Executes a rapid flamenco-like flourish.]

Batista: Flashback, screen wipe
Rivera yells “Catch the ball!”
Futile syllables aloft

[Batista bows. A smattering of applause.]

Heckler: Good thing you make $4.75M a year. I’d pay you that much to get off the stage!

Guy: Ugh. No one appreciates art these days.

EE: [whispers into iPod voice recorder] See if Lance Berkman might be interested.

Every Friday, Dave McCarty used to join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site. Since he was designated for assignment recently and will mostly like retire, EE is in the process of finding a replacement. Special thanks to Andrew of 12eight for the Miguel Batista suggestion. He’s a fan of “bad puns.” This seems to indicate that he believes good puns exist. Who will break the truth to him?


VaritekwalkoffGame 34: May 11, 2005
Athletics (14-20), 5
Red Sox (21-13), 6
BS, L: Octavio Dotel (4, 1-2)
H: Mike Timlin (9)
H: Mike Myers (4)
BS, W: Keith Foulke (2, 2-3)

Does Billy Beane ever wonder how his life would be different if he remained the Boston Red Sox general manager back in 2003? He backed out of a deal that would have paid him $12.5M over 5 years. He stated that one of his first moves would have been to trade Jason Varitek. Varitek, who is currently .343 BA, .396 OBP, and .627 slugging. Varitek, who, along with Kevin Millar, will haunt Dotel for the rest of the season.

Two years after Beane was Red Sox GM for a day, he’s leading a team that has deteriorated. In 2003, the A’s were eliminated by Boston, and last season his team limped into the last month of the season and failed to make the postseason. The window he had to take “The Big Three” to the World Series has passed, and Beane kept Barry Zito, the pitcher whose effectiveness could be considered the most dubious.

Beane was also on the losing end of the Keith Foulke negotiations. Despite Foulke’s recent difficulties and his blown save in this game, having a closer that can conceivably get more than 3 outs is a huge advantage. The late resurgence by Oakland and necessary heroics by Varitek aren’t the ideal ways to close out a series, but I’ll take a sweep any way it can be had.

Continuing with my corporate America meets the Red Sox, I think an “Improving on-field Communications” sesssion is in order:

Sveum: I want you guys to trust me when I wave you in.

HR rep: Is there any reason why they shouldn’t trust you?

Mirabelli: [cough] Baldelli!

Sveum and HR rep: Who?

Bellhorn: It’d be cool if you guys could, you know, like tell me if I’m about to get picked off 2nd base or something.

Millar: I gotta agree with that. Sometimes I’m out there all ready to break for 3rd with my blazing speed and then boom! Some dang pitcher zips one over and I’m deader than a deer in the back of Timlin’s truck.

HR rep: How does it make you feel when you’re picked off?

Bellhorn: Dumber than Millar.

Mueller: Is that even possible?

HR rep: Let’s remember the ground rules. We have respect each other’s feelings here.

May 12, 2005


MillarwalkoffGame 33: May 10, 2005
Athletics (14-19), 2
Red Sox (20-13), 3
H: Ricardo Rincon (4)
BS, L: Octavio Dotel (3, 1-1)
W: Matt Mantei (1-0)

Still catching up. After dinner with my co-workers, I proceeded to my room at a brisk pace, trying not to appear too desperate to get a glance of the game. Who am I kidding, it’s a well-known fact that I’m a fanatic with no pride. I practically sprinted back. I got back in time for the 9th inning. Perfect timing.

Kevin Millar is so easy to mock, especially after miscues like an error that led to an unearned run in the 1st inning and then missing the bag in the 7th inning on a fielder’s choice. He was getting fitted for the goat horns when his chance for redemption came, and he lined the game-winning 2-run home run over the Green Monster. Jeers turned to cheers with a single swing of the bat.

Both starting pitchers did well, with Kirk Saarloos going 5 innings, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 3 walks, and 2 strikeouts. Bronson Arroyo could have tacked on another win with his 6.2 innings, 3 hits, 1 unearned run, 1 earned run, 3 base on balls, and 4 strikeouts. With this win, Boston’s one-run game record was 6-5, and they have won the last 4 of these squeakers.

Does the “A” stand for “anemic”? After this game, not one player in the starting lineup had a batting average above .300. The highest was Mark Kotsay’s at .299.

It would be amusing if baseball players had to participate in team-building workshops like corporate workers. A human resources representative would facilitate the proceedings:

HR rep: Now, Kevin, tell us how it feels when you get sent down to Pawtucket?

Youkilis: Well, I sorta feel like I’m being taken for granted and underestimated.

HR rep: Does it hurt?

Youkilis: Yeah...like that time I hit that home run when I was a rookie. I know it was meant in fun but [sniffs], I was real...proud and stuff. And no one was there to high five me.

Mirabelli: Dude, it was a joke.

Youkilis: How was I supposed to know? I was new and all.

HR rep: Okay, team! Group hug for Kevin.


Game 32: May 9, 2005
Athletics (14-18), 5
Red Sox (19-13), 13
L: Danny Haren (1-5)
W: Tim Wakefield (4-1)
H: Mike Myers (3)
H: Mike Timlin (8)

Do baseball players consider the first game of their series to be Monday? This game happened on Monday night for all of us 9-to-5 stiffs, but most of the team had just pulled a double shift the day before. Any days off would be their weekend, maybe they would call it Satursunday. Since there are no 5-game series during the regular season, players can never say “Thank God [or other applicable system of belief] its Friday.” Which begs the question: are there pagan ballplayers? There must be, some guys are always talking about some pantheon of baseball gods. For this game, for this season so far, in fact, Johnny Damon must have been invoking the God of Flowing Locks and Red Hot Hitting.

To me Oaklands field manager Ken Macha looks like Vice President Dick Cheney. Macha got thrown from the game in the 6th inning for the first time ever. (Do field managers call each other after they get ejected for the first time? “My first time was by Mark Carlson. He was okay, and it didn’t hurt, but I was a little disappointed. I heard Tim McClelland was better. I’m going to try it with him. It’s supposed to be unforgettable.”) Maybe Carlson was also reminded of the vice president when he saw Macha, and just felt compelled to toss him out on principle. This is for Halliburton!

I’m sure I wasn’t along in thinking that Danny Haren was going to get lit up. He was one of those Cardinals right-handed pitchers that all basically threw the same stuff, although he did do better than the starter, Woody Williams. Haren was the World Series Game 1 reliever, a game the Red Sox won despite 4 errors.

May 11, 2005

Out of Touch

Just wanted to let you folks know that I’m sorry for neglecting you. I was away on a retreat with my coworkers at an inn that didn’t have wireless internet access. Now I have an entire series to catch up on. Until then, enjoy some of my favorite links (in no particular order):

  1. BBSpot (Satire for smart people...and me.)
  2. news @ nature.com (Dave and I check this constantly.)
  3. Nihon Sumo Kyokai Official Grand Sumo Home Page (A fascinating sport once you learn more about it. I miss seeing the tournaments on Nippon Golden Network.)
  4. Good Morning Silicon Valley (A blog before blog was a word.)
  5. I, Cringely (Can there be such a thing as a curmudgeon technologist? If so, it’s this guy.)
  6. McSweeney’s (They rejected me. I’m over it.)
  7. Elizabeth Bishop (One of my favorite poets.)
  8. Animal Diversity Web (What genus was the red panda again?)
  9. Powers of 10 (A PBS classic. On this site, every order of magnitude has links to other pages, some of which are quite interesting.)
  10. Carl Zimmer (Why are all the good geeks taken?)
  11. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (She needs a better agent; more people should know about this woman.)

Go visit them for a while. Come back later and hopefully there will be something new.

May 9, 2005

Sunday Album

My favorite player

Unintentional art sort of

Don’t be dull, be Elvis

He was at both games

Dear Cla: I’m sorry your MLB debut was somewhat stressful.
(I know a little something about pressure.)
Please tell your mom I apologize to her as well.
Sincerely, Tito


Game 31: May 8, 2005
Mariners (13-18), 6
Red Sox (18-13), 4
W: Ryan Franklin (2-4)
H: J.J. Putz (5)
S: Eddie Guardado (9)

L: John Halama (1-1)

Mother Nature was unkind on Sunday. It’s not nice to fool with her, and she made that abundantly clear all Sunday long. For this game I sat under the .406 Club with the previously mentioned Rebecca and Jere, watching as the rain collected on the netting like dew on a spiderweb. Our trio got into a spirited discussion on Willie Bloomquist’s stat line with two guys in front of us, which at one point stated .167 BA, .160 OBP. It was an impossibility, but somehow we had convinced ourselves that there must be some reason why this was so. We even tried to call WEEI to see if they had a reason for discrepancy. The answer was simple: a typographical error. By the time Bloomquist was up again, it was corrected to 167 BA, .2 something something OBP.

Nice to spend the game with knowledgeable, friendly fans. Quite unlike a group of about 6 in front of us who arrived completely wasted, spoke loudly throughout the innings they were there, and stood up at random moments. The loudest one of them was either a Seattle fan or bet heavily on them. His appreciation of the game was so shallow it was difficult to tell exactly what he stood for. At least these seats have the benefit of a television monitor, so we got to see the NESN replays of David Ortiz’s fair ball that Ron Villone strongly contested.

Pitching debuts galore today. Wade Miller, who soon may have the appelation “our saviour,” went for 5 innings, 3 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts. The success couldn’t be shared, however, as Terry Francona saw fit to hang Cla Meredith out to dry. Feet of Cla. (This is so late, I’m sure someone has already blogged that pun. Sorry if you’ve had to read that elsewhere.)

This is the first time I’ve been to every game of a series. I was hoping for a series sweep, maybe catching a foul ball, or seeing Manny’s 400th home run, perhaps. Despite that, I got to spend time with two great fans who grew up in enemy territory. How easy it would have been for them to turn to the dark side. But they didn’t, and that’s good for us.


Game 30: May 8, 2005
Mariners (12-18), 3
Red Sox (18-12), 6
L: Joel Pineiro (2-3)

W: Jeremi Gonzalez (1-0)
H: Mike Myers (2)
H: Matt Mantei (4)
H: Mike Timlin (7)
S: Keith Foulke (8)

There was a moment of silence at the noon game for Bernie Logue. The public address announcer simply said that he was part of the Red Sox organization, so I didn’t know more about him until I came home. By his picture on the jumbotron and the year of his birth, you could tell that he was young and that his passing was unexpected. Combined with the grey and cold, a bit of a pall was cast over the day. There was no batting practice for either team before the game, but as the Red Sox players were warming up, I remember seeing David Ortiz put his arm around Kevin Millar. At the time, I thought it was your usual expression of camaraderie, but it was probably more given the circumstances. Requiescat in pace.

There’s quite possibly no one I fear more at the plate and on the basepaths than Ichiro Suzuki. He’s a human catalyst. Once he gets on first with no outs, you might was well mark down a run. In the 1st inning he singled, stole second, reached third on a throwing error by Doug Mirabelli (but no one was backing up second), and scored on Richie Sexson’s sacrifice fly.

Some things never make it to the boxscore. Suzuki fielded Jay Payton’s 2-RBI single in the 4th inning and made a throw from right field that made it to home plate without a bounce and was right on target. Payton’s hit itself was a thing of beauty from my vantage point in the left field loge boxes, right below where the .406 Club ends and the luxury boxes begin. It bounded down the right field foul line, receding into the curve past Pesky Pole.

For Rashomon accounts of Games 30 and 31, visit Jere and Rebecca’s sites, as they were there and might remember things differently. In-person Jere noted that there is usually an opposing team-inspired song before “Centerfield,” and he mentioned it should be a Seattle band. I recommended “Jeremy,” but that song wasn’t played, and no one could recall what eventually did blare from the speakers.

Jeremi with an i went 5.2 innings, ending with a line of 4 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, and his first win this season. Let the record show, however, that Dave McCarty can pitch, too. Can Jeremi field?

May 7, 2005


Game 29: May 6, 2005
Mariners (12-17), 2
Red Sox (17-12), 7
L: Jamie Moyer (4-1)

W: Matt Clement (4-0)

David Ortiz’s home run landed 7 rows down and 5 seats to the right of me tonight. From my viewing angle, I didn’t realize it was a homer until I looked at the field and saw the umpire give the sign. The folks in my area were cheering for the guy that caught the ball (barehanded and effortlessly) almost as much as they were for Ortiz. I wish I had a tape recorder, or, to be more current, an iPod voice recorder device, to capture the conversation I had with the one good Yankee fan I know (the one that got me free tickets to that game in May of 2003). He was trying futilely to have me say that I would want Derek Jeter at the plate in a clutch situation. This was sometime during the 2003 season, Ortiz was mashing, and doing so in key situations. I blurted out, “Ortiz!” and he laughed a bit, because all of the pivotal runs that Ortiz had drove in hadn’t happened yet.

And if I had a track of that conversation, I’d do some additional dialogue recording to enhance it with my laughter.

For the first time ever, I left the game before the final out. As you age, certain parts of the body are gradually upgraded, but others most definitely face precipitous decline. My formerly cast iron stomach can no longer withstand the rigors of a Fenway Frank.

The nice thing about leaving early was that I got to hear Bill Mueller give a postgame interview. He was humble as always, giving credit to the Mariners and taking none for himself on his 2 for 4, 4 RBI evening. When he hit the single and double in consecutive at bats, I began cheering for him to hit for the cycle in natural order, even as my stomach withstood the trials of processed meat. The only players to do this for the Boston Red Sox were Leon Culberson in 1943 and Bob Watson in 1979, according to the Baseball Almanac.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out for Piney that Bronson Arroyo was the Red Sox Hero presented on the jumbotron.

(“Abode” is an interesting word. Its Indo-European root, “bheidh-,” means to trust, confide, or persuade. The Germanic deriviation, “*bīdan,” carries the connotation to wait, but also with trust and expectance. It is borrowed from the Old English “bīdan,” meaning to wait or to stay. It is also the past tense of “abide,” a great verb with irregular conjugation that recall the days when English was much more complex. Now there’s texting and L337.)



May 6, 2005

Dave’s Diegesis: Replacement Candidate #1

EE: So the goal here, Mike, is to write about a topic in science, sociology, literature, and so forth, for an audience of baseball fans. Dave was very good about bringing his on-field experience, combining it with cutting edge developments, and presenting it to the readership.

Mussina: Baseball fans are interested in things other than beer and gambling?

EE: Well, sure, yes. The readership here is a fairly eclectic group. You really shouldn’t underestimate them.

Mussina: If you say so. So, I can talk about the differences between the classical theory of economics versus the marginalist economic theory, and your readers would eat that up?

EE: Yes, especially if you write about it using your team as an analogue. For example, you could describe the marginal utility of the Yankees winning a World Series. Frame it in terms of how much more happiness a customer receives from purchasing in contrast with buying less. Is the Yankee organization satiated, so that with the hypothetical next World Series Championship that your team buys, the winning won’t be as enjoyable as the previous titles, and so brings less marginal utility?

Mussina: Having never experienced winning a championship, I wouldn’t know.

EE: Oh, that’s right. My apologies. Slipped my mind.

Mussina: Upon reflection, I have to say this does intrigue me. It’s not like I hang around with my teammates a lot, so I have a surfeit of time to work on this.

EE: Glad to hear this is something you might want to contribute to. We’ll be in touch.

Every Friday, Dave McCarty used to join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site. Since he was designated for assignment recently and will mostly like retire, EE is in the process of finding a replacement.

May 5, 2005


Game 28: May 5, 2005
Red Sox (16-12), 2
Tigers (12-15), 1
W: Bronson Arroyo (4-0)
S: Keith Foulke (7)
L: Ugueth Urbina (0-3)

Did you folks get this e-mail?


Are visits to national toy store chains a regular thing? It seemed odd to me. It might be in conjunction with this new MLB feature shop in TRUs. It perhaps shouldn’t be so surprising that Arroyo came so close to a no hitter, as he has proved that he can throw a perfect game in Triple A, throwing only 101 pitches, 73 of them strikes. What may have struck everyone as strange before the season started is calling Arroyo the club ace. Given current circumstances, he is.

David Ortiz continues to define “clutch.” You don’t have to read Bill James’s article “Underestimating the Fog,” or even David Leonhardt’s piece in the New York Times about James’s article. See hits like his line drive double to center in the 9th; that’s all the proof I need.

There was an injury scare for Edgar Renteria, but as I listen to New England Sports Tonight, they are telling me that the radiographs were negative. A series win, and I get to go to the next 2 games. Please cooperate, weather.


Game 27: May 4, 2005
Red Sox (15-12), 4
Tigers (12-14), 3
W: Tim Wakefield (3-1)
H: Mike Timlin (6)
S: Keith Foulke (6)
L: Kyle Farnsworth (1-1)

There’s a new Bob’s Stores commercial with Tim Wakefield throwing to a regular guy who thinks he’s all ready to catch a knuckleball because he “went to fantasy camp for 5 weeks.” In short order he gets plunked in the head by Wakefield’s pitch. I have to admit I’ve entertained the thought of doing a fantasy camp, it might be terribly awkward for me. I’m five foot nothing, female, and fairly uncoordinated. The camp described in this article was composed of “130 middle-aged men, average age 46.” Camp director Ken Nigro stated that, “There is no golf or tennis or anything like that. Wooden bats, doubleheaders every day. Don’t bring your girlfriends, wife, or cousins to the field. This is baseball.” If I went, I’d be breaking down barriers while breaking open my piggy bank. Who’s with me?

Nothing like winning these games against subpar teams that we’re supposed to beat. Especially those one-run games that are so frustrating to lose. Last season the club was 16-18 in these games, and so far this season they are 4-5. These “minor” wins early in the season make a difference in the race for the pennant. (Yes, I’m thinking that far ahead.)

I haven’t been mentioning Johnny Damon much despite his 3 for 5 performance and .371 BA. Sure, he’s been a bit over-exposed, but he has been an exceptional leadoff hitter, perhaps the best in the league. It’s also good to see Mark Bellhorn and Kevin Youkilis back in the infield, both being productive in the 8 and 9-holes, respectively, and both going 2 for 3.

Consecutive series wins are possible with a win in Thursday’s day game. I hope I’ll be able to surreptitiously listen during work.

May 4, 2005


Game 26: May 3, 2005
Red Sox (14-12), 5
Tigers (12-13), 3
W: John Halama (1-0)
H: Matt Mantei (3)
H: Mike Timlin (5)
S: Keith Foulke (5)
L: Mike Maroth (2-2)

I have come to the disturbing conclusion that Don Orsillo and I may have been separated at birth. “It looks sort of like a between a giraffe and a tiger. The neck. It’s not really...tigerish,” he said about Paws, the Detroit baseball team’s mascot. Had I been Orsillo’s color guy (gal? chick? sidekick?), I would further comment that the Detroit Paws shares the same name as the Pawtucket Red Sox’s representative polar bear. I might have mentioned that I prefer “Paws” for the bear, since his name forms part of his hometown’s appellation. There are many better names for tigers: Stripes, Roar, Blake, to name a few.

When Doug Mirabelli hit the grand slam in the 5th inning, I briefly pictured Terry Francona in the image of Colonel Hannibal of the A-Team, chomping on a cigar and saying, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Stuntcasting the current group of Red Sox as the A-Team, I imagine:

  • David Ortiz as B.A. Baracus: “I pity the fool that hangs a curveball to me.”
  • Mike Timlin as Howling Mad Murdock: “I don’t wanna be a secret weapon. I wanna be an exposed weapon.”
  • Kevin Millar as Faceman: “Murdock, you’ll always be one of us. Question is which one.”

The Red Sox won, by the way.

May 3, 2005

Mourning McCarty

I’m consoling a somewhat distraught Dave McCarty right now. You may have heard about this already. He knew it was inevitable, but it’s still a difficult thing with which to cope. Dave did mention that his fellow Stanford alumnus, Mike Mussina, might be interested in filling in for the time being.

Worse yet, McCarty was designated for assignment to free up space for Jeremi Gonzalez. The ends with “i” Jeremus.

Be sure to return this Friday for “Mussina’s Musings.” Be gentle, dear readers.


Game 25: May 2, 2005
Red Sox (13-12), 3
Tigers (12-12), 8
L: Blaine Neal (0-1)
W: Jeremy Bonderman (4-2)
H: Kyle Farnsworth (4)
S: Ugueth Urbina (4)

I would have preferred a snow out. Something to block out the vision of the 4th inning, where, with no outs and the bases loaded, the Red Sox did not score.

It’s rare that Manny Ramirez looks awkward against a pitcher. He looked overmatched against Francisco Rodriguez last year. Against Bonderman he didn’t look as befuddled, but struck out in that key inning. Joe Castiglione has said he believes Ramirez sets up pitchers, making them think that their offspeed pitches are working by swinging at them freely. Then, when the pitcher throws the same pitch thinking that it’s working, Manny pulls the string. That wasn’t happening against Bonderman.

So, in the battle of the Jeremae (Jeremies? Jerice?), the traditional spelling won. Nice name, Hebrew in origin, meaning “appointed by God.” In baseball, when spelled with an “i” it means 5 innings pitched, 6 hits, 3 earned runs, 1 base on balls, 7 strikeouts, and a no decision despite a surprisingly strong outing. When ending with a “y,” it means 6 innings, 8 hits, 3 earned runs, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts, getting out of a bases loaded, no out jam against the meat of the order unscathed, and the earning the win.

Mike Maroth, the former 20-game loser, pitches against John Halama tonight. Despite Maroth’s history, it’s said that you can’t get to the 20-game mark without some talent. Otherwise, why would they keep on sending the pitcher out game after game?

May 2, 2005


Game 24: May 1, 2005
Red Sox (13-11), 6
Rangers (12-14), 5
W: Matt Clement (3-0)
H: Alan Embree (2)
H: Mike Timlin (4)
S: Keith Foulke (4)
L: Ryan Drese (2-3)

Finally, a series win, this time at the expense of the Rangers. It was closer than I would have liked with Foulke giving up a 2-out home run to Mark Teixeira with David Dellucci on base. Foulke looked visibly upset with himself, but Jason Varitek took the blame. “That was a selection error on my part,” he said. “We stayed in one too many pitches to Teixeira. We got those runs to play with, so you have a little bit of a margin of error.”

I was surprised to see that this is the first series the Red Sox have won at this ballpark (formerly The Ballpark in Arlington, now Ameriquest Field) since August of 2000. I find the visitor’s bullpen badly placed, and Don Orsillo mentioned that it seems like an afterthought. Nothing like warming up in a hallway. They should just throw some balls in the aisles of Section 54. That would probably be just has hospitable. It is better than the loosely-termed bullpens in foul territory in Tropicana Field, the self-styled “Ballpark of the 21st Century.” I’d like to interview Embree and Timlin and find out which facilities they prefer. I’d ask them if spitoon placement was a selling feature, or if optimum urinal placement was more important.

Clement has become more consistent with location as the season progresses, but he allowed the same number of walks as he did strikeouts (4). He went for 6 innings with 6 hits and 3 earned runs.

This game comment is pretty late. I was wrapped up in my minor league adventure. Interesting to note the difference in timbre between Triple A and the majors. I’ll write about it some time.

May 1, 2005

All Helmet, All the Time

The Red Sox signed John Olerud to a minor league deal today. It would be his first stint in the minors since he went directly into the Toronto Blue Jays, platooning with Cito Gaston. As you can imagine, Dave McCarty is less than thrilled, but understands the need for a left-handed bat. Whenever I think of Olerud, I think of this story, which is funny, but unfortunately apocryphal:

Rickey Henderson, who played with John Olerud with the Blue Jays and Mets, knew the first baseman wore a batting helmet in the field. When the two played together again later in Seattle, Henderson said it was funny, he knew another guy in who did the same thing. Olerud replied, “That was me. We were teammates.”

One of my friends is a Seattle Mariners fan, and Olerud was one of her favorites. He’s fairly solid, but his offensive production precipitously dropped between 2002 and 2003, and the Mariners released him in July 2004. I recall that Joe Morgan would go into paroxysms of pleasure over Olerud’s swing and playing. Let’s see if he does the same when he plays for Boston.

(Spell checker wants me to replace Olerud with “Older.” One of his nicknames on baseball message boards is “Olderdude.”)


Scranton/Wilkes-Barre vs. Pawtucket
Red Barons (12-11), 1
Pawtucket Red Sox (10-13), 6
L: Pedro Liriano (0-2)
W: Tim Kester (2-1)

Mister Kester was dealing today. He is on the older side; I wonder if the younger players make fun of him because of his age? He pitched for 6 innings with only 4 hits, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. Mark Malaska and Jack Cressend finished out the game. Cressend gave up a home run to Marlon Byrd in the 9th, ruining the shutout.

Tim Hummel and George Lombard hit homers in the 6th and 7th respectively. Lombard made up for being picked off first base. I was saddened to see that Alejandro Machado wasn’t in the lineup, since I really enjoyed watching him play the last time I was at McCoy.

Triple A games are a great mix of serious baseball and family fun. A father and son to the left of me were totally into the game, scoring it and listening the radio broadcast at the same time. Meanwhile, a family with two small boys were in the row in front of me. The y0unger son would copy his brother and cheer “Go Ged Dox!” when something good happened.

Other things of note:

  • There’s a definite hierarchy amongst the grounds crew. Bottom of the list are the infield dirt spreading and raking guys. Above them would be the tarp dudes. I would say the people in charge of the essential aspects of the field of play, like bases, foul lines, and the batter’s boxes, are next. That would include the base installation person, the batter’s box stencil person, and the foul line chalkers. The alpha grounds crew minion is the infield tractor man, mainly because he can kill or main anyone else with his vehicle.
  • I learned from the father and son duo’s radio that Shane Victorino is from the same island as me. He went to a rival high school, however. I’m cool with him, but go Baldwin Bears.
  • The weather wasn’t great, but at least it didn’t rain. Just a grey, raw, two hot chocolate day in the stands.
  • The crowd wasn’t very large, so I could hear many of the conversations around me. Unfortunately, one of the exchanges involved a husband and wife bickering. She said she couldn’t tell which players were which because the photos of the visiting team on the jumbotron had them wearing their home colors. He condescendingly explained home and away uniforms, told her she should write a letter to the SWB front office, and offered to look up the address of the organization to “help” her. A cringe-worthy conversation.
  • A foul ball fell about three seats away from me. A little boy ended up getting it, so I wasn’t upset. Besides, he really had to work for it as I was shoving him out of the way and stepping on him. I’d say he earned it. I had a bead on it the entire way, but I couldn’t Flutie it.




Go Ged Dox! And I really didn’t step on the kid.


Game 23: April 30, 2005
Red Sox (12-11), 9
Rangers (12-13), 2
W: Bronson Arroyo (3-0)
L: Pedro Astacio (1-3)

It was difficult for me to follow this game with any consistency as I’m in Newport, Rhode Island for a mini getaway. In recognition for something I did at my job I got a free night at a hotel I would otherwise be hard-pressed to pay for on my own. (They could give me a raise so that I could, but that’s another story.) At any rate, they know what a baseball fan I am, so they also got me tickets for the Pawtucket Red Sox game on May 1st.

I was at a pub called Buskers eating dinner and trying to keep tabs on the game, but my seat had me at an acute angle from the closest television. Everyone looked Arroyo-thin; it was amazing I was even able to see Arroyo because of his slight figure. Don’t let the thin frame fool you, however. He pitched 7 innings with only 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.69. He’ll need to keep on appealing that 6-game suspension because only he and Wakefield have been viable starters.

Despite the bad viewing angle, I know the batting stances and peculiarities of the players enough so that I could see who was up. I recommend the Irish Stew and Bailey’s Creme Brulée, by the way. Even the tiny bit of alcohol that was in the dessert made me drowsy because of my lack of aldehyde dehydrogenase, so I had to get back to the hotel. For some reason, I think Red Sox games are blacked out from the FM signal for WEEI. Either that, or I am an idiot and couldn’t find the correct station. Compounding my lack of access, the hotel doesn’t offer NESN as an option. So, I logged on to Gameday Audio. The feed dropped off every few seconds, probably because of the HotSpot wireless access. “Blalock hits a ____ to center field. That one was really smoked. He’s batting ____ this season so far. And that makes the score ____.”

The things we do for love.

Mike Timlin and Keith Foulke allowed only 1 baserunner between them. It helps that the young Texas team is impatient at the plate, although you can’t use that excuse with Alfonso Soriano any longer. Joe Castiglione commented on Soriano’s lack of discipline, stating that it was surprising for someone with his experience and talent to continue to swing at will. Last year there was only a .044 difference between his BA and OBP. Castiglione also hinted that he might be uncoachable, bringing up the fact that he was resisted transitioning to the outfield.

A winning record in April, even though just barely, is a fine accomplishment given the injuries and inconsistencies of the team. They stopped a losing streak and the bats went Peter Frampton. The club goes for the series in the afternoon. If eating at Buskers was any help, I’ll be happy to return and bring the mojo back for a return engagement. (I just ran a spellcheck, and the dictionary suggested “Ballcock” for Blalock, “Fluke” for Foulke, and “Castigation” for Castiglione. I’ll stick with what I have, thanks.)

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