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Home » Category Listing » June 2005 Game Comments

June 29, 2005


Game 77: June 29, 2005
Indians (41-35), 2
Red Sox (45-32), 5
L: Scott Elarton (4-3)
W: Tim Wakefield (7-6)
H: Matt Mantei (8)
S: Mike Timlin (1)

A day game, which means I listened to Gameday Audio and was tethered to my desk by my iPod earbuds. (Earbuds? So, sound flowers into my head? Or my brain gets high on noise?) Radio play-by-play has its merits, but I don’t count getting “truped” as one of them. The bad jokes I don’t mind; as a fellow trafficker in this illicit substance, I’m all for puns and punchlines my favorite uncle would find dated. Rather, it’s the deceptive fly ball calls, eliciting either joy and dread depending on who’s at bat (something I’m not always completely sure of because I do try and get some work accomplished), that get to me.

Jerry Trupiano had a classic line about Doug Mirabelli: “He has deceptive speed... he’s slower than he looks.” Mirabelli went to first after he was hit by a pitch in the 3rd inning. While Johnny Damon was at the plate, Elarton actually threw a pickoff to first base. Recall that Mirabelli was at first. He’s slower than cooking 8 pounds of pork for kalua pig in a Crockpot (trust me, that’s slow).

The game wended its way through my afternoon. Despite losing the first 2 match-ups, I still felt fairly confident. Victor Martinez, the new Red Sox killer, or Frank Catalanotto Version 2, hit a homer in the 6th inning, breaking the tie and rendering the score 2-1.

Outlook politely notified me with its insipid tone that I had an e-mail. This is what I received from a Yankee fan at 2:56 PM:

Getting swept by the Indians at home?? At least that's how it looks at them [sic] moment ... Perhaps it's time to turn the Orioles/Red Sox reversible shirt back to the Red Sox side (even though it probably spirited the Os into winning last night).

Immediately after I read the note, Mirabelli hit a 2-run home run to take the lead in the 6th. He broke the tie accomplished by Ramirez and Nixon’s back-to-back doubles. Mark “The Hornicator” Bellhorn, not to be outdone by the dual two-baggers, hit a home run of his own after Mirabelli. I think this Yankee should send me more taunting e-mails when the Red Sox trail. The baseball gods are pleased to reward those who must suffer the barbs of their nemeses.

The 6th inning and a bitter Yankee fan’s e-mail was all that Wakefield needed to win his 7 inning, 5 hit, 2 earned run, 4 walk, 3 strikeout outing. He gave up 2 homers, one to Casey Blake in the 5th and another to the catcher Martinez in the 6th. Timlin earned his first, and perhaps not last, save of the season. Ship Foulke off to Alabama again, and send Mantei and Miller this time, too. The Red Sox will be the American League East champions if these three perform as they are expected to.

Special thanks to Andrew for providing the title for this post and reminding me that Mark Alaimo portrayed a weirdly goateed Cardassian in Star Trek: The Next Generation.


Game 76: June 28, 2005
Indians (41-34), 12
Red Sox (44-32), 8
BS: Arthur Rhodes (3)
W: Matt Miller (1-0)
H: Mike Timlin (14)
BS, L: Keith Foulke (3, 5-4)

After the huge 5-run 7th inning, this recap was going to be a paean to comebacks and applesauce. Ramon Vazquez spoonfed Manny Ramirez applesauce, who had just driven in the go-ahead run. After getting his treat, Manny hugged Vazquez, and it appeared the much maligned and deservedly so utility infielder actually had a job he was capable of completing. This year’s Crespo could have gone down the line feeding Payton, Youkilis, Bellhorn, Damon, Renteria, Ortiz, and Milllar, who all contributed to the rally.

Disclaimer: I am not qualified to be an umpire at any level of competition and I have extremely bad vision. I’m rather short, so I probably wouldn’t be able to have a good view over a crouching catcher. (And from that vantage point, it’s not likely I’d be very interested in calling balls and strikes, but that’s another story for another time.) That said, I probably could have done a better job at the plate than Larry Young did last night. Foulke could have pulled a full-on Pedro; remember that night when he angrily gesticulated to the umpire the demarcations of the strike zone? He could have even done a more restrained Wade Miller, with a subtle hand gesture of a squeeze that we saw this past weekend. Instead, he took the blame upon himself.

Manny almost had another assist in the 9th inning when he played the carom of Jody Gerut’s fly ball with perfection and threw accurately to second base hose the Cleveland left fielder. Bellhorn muffed the backhand sweep, and instead of 2 out and nobody on, Foulke faced 1 out with a man in scoring position. Then, carnage. Not to mention mayhem. Havoc, devastation, ruination. Did I mention the boos and jeering?

The local morning news had a brief feature on Leo Fitzgerald from Raymond, New Hampshire. The name isn’t familiar to you, but his underwear should be. The man that Fox exposed retrieving a foul ball in Philadelphia is making his rounds. He’s more personable than Angry Bill or Boston Dirt Dog, and unlike them, the fame hasn’t gone to his head yet. I demand a segment hosted by on the NESN pre-game show, something like “Leo’s Briefs,” “Our Guy in Tie Dye,” or “Fitzgerald’s Flash.” Those aren’t any better or worse than “Inside Your Sox,” right?

As I mentioned before, some of the people of the Native American nations that used to inhabit Ohio were of the Iroquois language group. The current Iroquois Confederacy, or more correctly Haudenosaunee, is the oldest living participatory democracy. The nations in the confederacy are the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and the Tuscarora. The Iroquoian language from Ohio, Wyandot, appears to be extinct. The Mingo of Ohio were also most likely Iroquoian speakers, but did not have a distinct language of their own.

June 28, 2005


Game 75: June 27, 2005
Indians (40-34), 7
Red Sox (44-31), 0
W: Kevin Millwood (3-5)
L: Bronson Arroyo (6-4)

The Red Sox looked as if they had been abducted by aliens and replaced by animatronic players, and their pre-programmed motions were seemingly inspired by outtakes from the Bad News Bears (which is being remade with Billy Bob Thornton). Only Johnny Damon, Edgar Renteria, and Mark Bellhorn managed hits. For the second time this season the team went scoreless, and Cleveland exacted a small measure of revenge for being swept on their homefield.

With 1 out in the 4th inning, Bellhorn blundered a throw from Bill Mueller to abort a double play. As the ball trickled past him, Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez scored and Ben Broussard advanced to third base.

Trot Nixon should be credited with a home run assist for aiding Grady Sizemore hit a home run in the 7th inning. As he was tracking the ball towards the right field wall, his glove made like Jose Canseco’s head and the ball bounced from the mitt into the visitor’s bullpen. No one could have been angrier than he was at himself.

Animatronic Arroyo was a spiritless collection of gears and pulleys that went 6.2 innings with 6 hits, 7 runs (5 earned; thanks again, Bellhorn Version 9.75), 3 bases on balls, 4 strikeouts, and 2 home runs. The Sizemore homer was a gift from Nixon, but Travis Hafner’s cleared the bullpens and made it into the lower bleachers.

Native Americans nations originating in the state now known as Ohio include Delaware, Miami, Mingo, Ottawa, Shawnee, and Wyandot. They were from two major language groups, Algonquin and Iroquois. The majority were taken from their homeland with the Indian Removal Act of 1830. If the Cleveland organization truly wanted to honor Native Americans, they would change their name and logo, perhaps using the glyphs that the native peoples of their area used to chronicle their lives.


June 26, 2005


1915wsprogramGame 74: June 26, 2005
Red Sox (44-30), 12
Phillies (39-37), 8
H: Matt Mantei (7)
BS, W: Mike Timlin (2, 2-1)
L: Rheal Cormier (2-2)

Brett Myers’s facial hair is more annoying than Matt Clement’s, which I couldn’t believe was even possible. It’s trimmed to a distinctive point in a modified musketeer style, and he wears it impertinently as if to say to his teammates, “Hey, mes amis, après the game, let us journey together to nearest bistro and drink us some vin, huh huh!” But his rakish appearance was not enough to beguile the Red Sox batters, who booted him out of the game after only 4 innings, during which he was abused for 8 hits, 7 earned runs, 3 walks and 2 home runs. He did manage 5 strikeouts.

Manny Ramirez not only garned his 10th outfield assist in the 1st inning by hosing Jason Michaels at third base, but he also moved into a tie with Eddie Murray for second place on the career grand slam list with his 19th. His 4th inning homer brought in Wells, Mark Bellhorn, and David Ortiz. Only Lou Gehrig, with 23, is ahead of Ramirez and Murray. Largely because of Ramirez’s Gold Glove season so far, Red Sox outfielders lead the league in assists. The only things that could be less likely than this outcome would be if Boston led the league in stolen bases or sacrifice bunts.

A Boston win seemed to be inevitable. Charlie Manuel got himself ejected in the 5th inning, probably to get into some air conditioning. The bottom half of the 5th inning saw a minor revival for the Phillies. After permitting Mike Lieberthal to reach on a ground ball to center, Wells initated a sparkling 1-6-3 double play, nimbly fielding Ryan Madson’s bunt off the mound. But with two outs, 4 runs crossed the plate, including a Pat Burrell 2-run home run. At that point, Wells had 93 pitches and the bullpen had to prove its mettle.

Alan Embree melted under the heat and pressure. Add some diced jalapeños to him and you have tasty dip for your nachos. He gave up a leadoff double to center to Jimmy Rollins and then walked Michaels on 5 pitches. Bobby Abreu reached on Ramon Vazquez’s (he’s still on the roster?) error, scoring Rollins and advancing Michaels to second base. Embree is pulled with righty Burrell taking the plate, but Timlin is atypically unsteady, allowing Abreu to cross the plate with the tying run on a Jim Thome sacrifice fly.

The Red Sox were relentless in the 8th. Johnny Damon’s drag bunt up first base line set the stage and proved the team could resort to National League tactics as required. Damon scored on a Bellhorn double, netting the later with 3 RBIs and 7 total bases for the game. Ortiz hit an infield bleeder that Rollins pursued but should have been fielded by Chase Utley. The miscue placed Bellhorn 90 feet from home, just in time for Ramirez to bring him in with a sacrifice fly to center. Trot Nixon grounded into a force out that erased Ortiz from the bases. Jason Varitek’s subsequent home run proved he is the best catcher in the league and that when the Red Sox smell blood, they go in for the kill. With back-to-back sweeps on the road and looking like the champs they are, the team returns home tomorrow as the leaders of the American League East.

Baberuth1915wsThe history of these teams reaches back into the early years of the world’s series, as it was then known. The National League Philadelphia team met the Boston Red Sox for a five-game series in 1915. A rookie named George Herman Ruth, called “Babe” going back to his minor league days in Baltimore, contributed only one pinch hitting appearance in place of pitcher Ernie Shore in the 9th inning of the first game, and he grounded out to first baseman Fred Luderus. Ruth did not even pitch a game in this series despite having an 18-8 record in 28 starts with an ERA of 2.44.

The Red Sox lost the first game, but went on to win the next four games straight. Had a most valuable player award for the series been bestowed in those days, Duffy Lewis most likely would have won it. He led the team with 5 RBIs, hit 1 home run, and batted .444. Harry Hooper would also be a candidate with his 2 home runs, 3 RBIs, and .350 batting average. As for pitchers, Rube (George) Foster’s 2 wins, 13 strikeouts, and 2.00 ERA distinguished him from his fellow starters Ernie Shore and Dutch Leonard.

The Red Sox won their third world championship in three trips, and looked for all the world as if it was going to be the team to dominate baseball for generations to come.

June 25, 2005


Game 73: June 25, 2005
Red Sox (43-30), 7
Phillies (39-36), 1
W: Matt Clement (9-1)
L: Vicente Padilla (3-7)

Jason Michaels botched a David Ortiz fly ball in front of a sign that said, appropriately enough, “Turkey Hill.” Edgar Renteria, who reached base on a ground ball single, scored with ease. Tim McCarver, a former catcher, prattled at length about how Michaels should have fielded the ball by getting to the outfield wall first and then working towards the ball. Since catchers have so much experience fielding long fly balls. Next Trot Nixon drove Ortiz in on a line drive, granting Clement a lead to work with.

He of the Amish facial hair went 7 innings with 7 hits, 1 earned run, no walks, and 4 strikeouts. The scouting on Clement always mentions the natural movement on his pitches which often leads to bases on balls. It appears that the combination of working with Jason Varitek and knowing that his offense will supply him with support has enabled Clement to more aggressive. Rather than try to pitch strikes, he could concentrate on making hitters miss, just like Sandy Koufax said.

The 3rd inning wasn’t the best milieu for Chase Utley to showcase his talents. Leading off, Renteria hit a grounder that seemed routine until Utley broke in the wrong direction. I’m in complete sympathy with Utley, because I often get right and left confused to this day. But he’s a professional that’s paid to know which direction to go. You can’t assign a job to someone that is intrinsically incapable of accomplishing its constituent tasks; that’s like hiring Tony Womack to hit or Grady Little to manage.

(Note that at this point McCarver dusted off his curse rigamarole and babbled incoherently about “future memory.”)

Manny Ramirez singled to left and Renteria advanced to third. Varitek doubled, scoring Renteria easily, but then Utley further butchered the inning by sailing a throw to home to the backstop, allowing Manny to score. The sound you heard then was the wheels coming off. Bill Mueller’s RBI double scores Varitek, and at this point Padilla is so out of sorts he walks Clement after Mark Bellhorn was intentionally walked to get to the pitcher.

The Fox interview with Terry Francona revolved around the field manager’s tendency to wear long-sleeved pullovers. Joe Buck basically called Francona a coward by asking if he wears it to hide his name from spiteful fans. Ever the diplomat, Francona diffuses the situation with humor, saying “I actually thought my name was “You Suck” at one point.” As I understand it, Francona wears such clothing because of the medication he is on, which makes him more sensitive to cold.

Fox, the family network, the stronghold of virtue in an otherwise debauched nation, then showed a Red Sox fan lose his pants as he retrieved a foul ball.

The scoring in the late innings was superfluous, but Utley attempted to redeem himself in the 7th by doubling and driving in the Phillies’ only run, negating the chance for the Red Sox to add to their shutout victory total. We see an old friend in Ugueth Urtain Urbina, who gave up a homer to Ramirez in the ninth. Urbina’s mother’s kidnapping ordeal is finally behind him. He might be a good rental player for the end of the season if the bullpen doesn’t achieve greater stability. Not to mention it’s good to have a former boxer in your corner in the case of a basebrawl.

The Red Sox remain in first place in the AL East, the Orioles and the Yankees lose, and our team goes for another series sweep tomorrow.


Game 72: June 24, 2005
Red Sox (42-30), 8
Phillies (39-35), 0
W: Tim Wakefield (6-6)
L: John Lieber (8-7)

He slices, he dices! He lifts and separates! He has his own website! (“Not the fame... love the game and you shall triumph.”) Manny Ramirez starred in what could have been a one-man show, but there were memorable appearances by the Backup Catcher, the Wily Knuckleballer, and the Hulking Power Slugger as well. He made a spectacular catch in foul territory for first out in 4th inning, robbing Jim Thome of more chances at the plate. To get to the ball, he had to slide and came dangerously close to injuring himself as he had to stop his momentum with his right leg. If he were Jeter, he would have dramatically hurled himself into the stands. But since it was Manny, he got up, put his cap back over his do-rag, and double pointed to the dugout. Then, “as so often happens,” Ramirez hits a 3-run opposite field home run the very next inning with 2 on and 1 out. (It was not technically Lead Off/Outstanding Fielding Alignment, or LOOFA, but it was close enough for me.)

Perhaps Doug Mirabelli felt badly that Manny had that overly aggressive running play last series and didn’t want his teammate to feel alone. So he got himself thrown out at second base to end the 5th inning, providing some comic relief. All is forgiven, to be sure, because of his 2nd inning 3-run home run and for being Wakefield’s steadfast mooring.

Wakefield’s last 3 outings have seen him return to form. He went 8 innings with 2 hits, no runs, and 6 strikeouts. He was on track to have a complete game, but ran into trouble when the 8th inning started off with a throwing error by Bill Mueller, allowing David Bell to reach first. Bell then proceeded to second on a passed ball during Mike Lieberthal’s at bat. Wakefield walked the bases loaded, but got Bobby Abreu to whiff to end the inning.

Where’s my Ortiz canned text, the stuff about him blasting a homer into the stratosphere? He did it again. In the 9th inning this time, with Johnny Damon on base.

Since the Red Sox are playing the Phillies, I get to tell my one and only Phillies anecdote. They played at Fenway last year and I got to go to the game that Pedro Martinez pitched on June 25, 2004. I hung out near the visitor’s bullpen because Martinez was long tossing in the area. The Phillies pitching coach made his way towards the bullpen, and I thought, “Hey, that guy looks like Bob Brenly.” Then it dawned on me that it was actually Joe Kerrigan, former Red Sox manager for part of the 2001 season and under whose guidance the team record was 17-26. Martinez pointedly ignored Kerrigan as they crossed paths. I was right near the door, and called him several times, using my best polite voice. “Mr. Kerrigan! Mr. Kerrigan!” He seemed surprised someone would remember his name. I guess because I knew his name and didn’t seem threatening or verbally abusive, he paused to talk with me.

“So, how is it in Philly? I heard the media is rough there,” I asked.

“They’re pretty bad,” he assented.

“As bad as Boston?” I presssed.

He responded, “No place is as bad as Boston.” Fans around me laughed knowingly.

He was eager to get to his bullpen duties, so I closed with a half-hearted “Good luck today.”

“But not too much,” added a guy near me.

I can’t find any information on what Kerrigan is doing now. With the churn in the coaching situation in the Philadelphia organization and since pitching coaches are usually an anonymous entity in terms of baseball coverage, any Kerrigan updates were difficult to uncover. I’ll always remember him because he bothered to spend a few seconds talking with a random fan.


Which team leads the league in shutouts? Us, with 7. Which team is number 1 in the American League East? Us. Yay, us.

June 23, 2005


Game 71: June 22, 2005
Red Sox (41-30), 5
Indians (37-33), 4
W: Keith Foulke (5-3)
H: Scott Sauerbeck (7)
H: Bob Howry (10)
BS: Arthur Rhodes (1)
L: Bob Wickman (0-2)

As I’ve said before, “David” means “beloved,” and Ortiz is the most loved, and not just by Red Sox fans. So far he has garnered the most votes of any All-Star Game candidate with nearly 2 million votes. With 2 outs and on the first pitch, Ortiz doubled to right in the 1st inning. Although he didn’t end up scoring, what I liked most about this appearance is that he slid into second base feet first. I didn’t have my heart forcibly removed from my throat seeing another one of his head first dives. Ortiz is slipping, however, his only other hit being another double on the first pitch to Jody Gerut again. No RBIs tonight? No home runs? I expect a full dissection of his skid by Steve Buckley or Dan Shaughnessy any minute now, their poison pens poised to puncture the Ortiz mystique. John Olerud and Edgar Renteria both hit home runs to pick up for the slacking Ortiz.

The early innings saw a field etched in half sun, half shade from pitcher’s mound to plate. The chiaroscuro of the Jake may have affected fielding; both Manny Ramirez and Jay Payton made late breaks on fly balls. Alex Cora’s leadoff fly ball out in the 3rd inning was nabbed by Ramirez, but the ball shaded more into Payton’s territory. It was difficult to tell if it was a “Manny being Manny” moment or if it could be attributed to the lighting. After Manny caught it, he sort of spread his arms out, whirligig-like, and it looked briefly as if he were a Little Leaguer making a surprising catch. “Look, I caught one, ma! Whee!”

Wade Miller left in the 5th inning with more than a little sound and fury as he thought Larry Vanover was squeezing him. His line, 6 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 3 walks, and 4 strikeouts, is a bit circumspect because of this tight strikezone. If you’re like me, you had a Bryce Florie flashback when that liner came whistling back right toward Miller’s head; his reflexes were thankfully sharp enough to avoid injury.

After Bill Mueller hit into a double play in the 5th inning, Don Orsillo pointed out that Mueller leads league in grounding into double plays with 14, and Renteria is not far behind with 12. With the tendency for both these players to hit up the middle, increasing the chances for a double play, it is best that they are separated in the lineup. We all know, when those ground balls sneak up the middle, eluding the limbs of pitchers and gloves of infielders, good things have happened.

Jason Varitek always seems to fall victim to high fastballs. He couldn’t lay off the high heat with the bases loaded, full count, and 2 out in the 6th inning. Ironic, because he so often exploits this vulnerability when he’s behind the plate, often flagrantly taunting by basically standing up as if to say, “Come on, you know you want to swing.”

The Cleveland Indians’ bullpen is a repository for former Boston relief pitchers, featuring Sauerbeck and Howry. (Perhaps they’d like to take Alan Embree out for a spin again.) Facing these former Red Sox hurlers, as well as Arthur Rhodes, Olerud and Mueller led a 2-run resurgence in the 8th inning with RBI singles. The comeback was underway in the 9th with leadoff hitter Payton doubling a 2-1 Wickman pitch into center. Grady Sizemore (he of the porn name, as 12eight points out) didn’t come up cleanly with the ball, so Payton proceeded to third base, where he was driven in by Renteria to score what would the winning run.

The Red Sox are now 10-7 in one-run games and swept the once incendiary Indians. Cleveland Indians? Who are Cleveland Indians? We have no respect for that team. We are Red Sox.

June 22, 2005


Game 70: June 21, 2005
Red Sox (40-30), 9
Indians (37-32), 2
W: Bronson Arroyo (6-3)
L: Kevin Millwood (2-5)

The name Bronson Anthony Arroyo has terrific poetic resonance. “Bronson,” despite popular belief, does not mean “deathwish” but rather “son of the dark-skinned one;” his middle name is “Anthony,” means “priceless, inestimable;” and “Arroyo” means “stream.” The middle name might be overstating Arroyo’s value just a bit, but $1.85M for for an ERA hovering around 4; the team could be paying $5.67M for Jaret Wright’s 9.15 or $9M for Carl Pavano’s 4.53. He delivered a solid 7-inning performance, allowing only 1 earned run, 1 walk, and striking out 4. “Stream” obviously refers to the rush of fans that will be in line to get buy his upcoming CD Covering the Bases, dropping July 12. “Son of the dark-skinned one” is of course in honor of the Big Papi himself, David Ortiz, the god of designated hitters. These days it seems that every pitcher is Ortiz’s son.

I got a circular from Comcast today. Usually junk mail goes straight into the trash, but this one featured Ortiz, complete with replica autograph. His signature looks more like “Hip Pipate,” but upon closer inspection it does resemble his name. It’s one of those optical illusion signatures. The main motto is “Connecting is Believing.” “Comcast is my most valuable player,” the glossy bit of advertising proudly proclaims. There’s a picture of him relaxing at home with the taglines “Choice and convenience are always solid hits in my house” and “It’s how I connect when I’m not connecting with the ball.” I guess he hardly ever has a chance to surf through Comcast, because he’s always hitting, this game’s 3 for 4, 2 home run performance serving as an example. I am saddened to report that no recipe for mango salsa was included, and there was not even a coupon to D’Angelo for a Big Papi sandwich.

My obsession with Bill Mueller is well-documented, so here’s a requisite mention of his great deeds, as I hadn’t written any hosannas or hallelujahs about him lately. He scored from from 1st to home on Mark Bellhorn’s double to center field in the 9th, and has batted .345 with an OBP of .409 for the month of June. So I tip my cap, àla his appearance in the Bob’s Store commercial, to my favorite gentleman of leisure.

Trot Nixon actually made Baseball Tonight’s Web Gems with his spectacular catch of Ben Broussard’s sacrifice fly in the 8th inning with the bases loaded. He ran full bore into the wall, treating his body like he treats his hat.

It was such a calming, non-stressful game, by the late innings Don and Jerry show was in full swing. In the 9th inning, Orsillo said, “Not much banging going on up top” in reference to the ubiquitous Jacobs Field drummer. A perfect setup for Remy to say something, but he didn’t come through, surprisingly. My response would be, “Nope, not like in that Toronto hotel room.”

June 21, 2005


Game 69: June 20, 2005
Red Sox (39-30), 10
Indians (37-31), 9
W: David Wells (6-4)
S: Keith Foulke (14)
L: C.C. Sabathia (5-4)

When I was a girl, I did those hand-clapping rhymes that the boys would make fun of. One of them went:

See see you play me
Come out and play with me
And bring your dollies three
Climb up my apple tree
Slide down my rainbow
Into my open door
And we’ll be jolly friends
Forever more, more
Shut the door

Kids’ rhymes always have some great homoerotic subtext going on, don’t they? This is the rhyme I think of when I hear Sabathia’s initials. We bestowed upon the rotund lefthander the most runs he had ever had (9) in just 4 2/3 innings, with 3 doubles and 2 home runs. He supersized it, much to Eric Wedge’s consternation. When pulled out of the game, Sabathia went to the clubhouse and changed into his “Property of Manny Ramirez” t-shirt.

Nine runs going into the 8th inning with a 4-run lead seems comfortable until you see certain members of the Red Sox bullpen take the mound. Myers, Timlin, Embree, and Foulke combined for 4 innings of agony, racking up 5 earned runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, and 2 home runs. Embree and Foulke gave up back to back home runs in the penultimate frame, which winnowed the lead to a single run.

Johnny Damon led off the 9th with a homer on the third pitch after David Riske threw him 2 straight balls. This turned out to be an essential run as Damons’s name-mocker, Jhonny Peralta, doubled in the bottom of the inning after Foulke walked the leadoff batter, allowing yet another run and bringing Cleveland within 1 run, yet again. Foulke not so much closed the door, but left it ajar, realized that he was letting some flies in, and then lackadaisically got up to shut it. Grady Sizemore and Coco Crisp, his last 2 outs, could have easily been base hits, but Payton and Damon made the required catches.

I didn’t expect the game to be a cakewalk, since the Indians had won 9 in a row. It’s not every night where a blowout turns into a nailbiter. I guess I should send a little thank you note to the bullpen for bringing some excitement into my life. I’ll include the bill for the automated external defibrillator I had to buy.

June 19, 2005


Game 68: June 19, 2005
Pirates (31-36), 0
Red Sox (38-30), 8
L: Kip Wells (5-6)
W: Matt Clement (8-1)

My first reaction upon hearing the lineup was one of mild disappointment, but not complete surprise. It was better to have Manny Ramirez take a break after getting drilled and Johnny Damon has had enough encounters with the ground, walls, and scoreboards to warrant a day off. He’ll probably want more, if the recent rumors about Gabe Kapler returning to the Red Sox pan out. My memories of him consist of pectoral muscles and near collisions with other outfielders.

Trot Nixon led off for only the second time in his major league career and had 2 hits, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout; perfectly respectable. We were treated to 2 triples as well, with David Ortiz legging one out in the 3rd and Bill Mueller hitting one to center in the 5th. Jay Payton continued to make his case that he should get more playing time by hitting a home run into the Green Monster seats in the 5th inning.

Clement was dazzling with 7 shutout innings, allowing only 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 9. Even Alan Embree was able to whittle down his ERA to something below 7 (6.75 to be exact) when he completed the last 2 innings with only 1 hit and 3 strikeouts. He wasn’t completely cheese today. Does that make him Velveeta®?

I’ve been seeing more All-Star Game commercials (link requires Windows Media Player), and I am actually enjoying Fox’s baseball merged with pinball motif. Back in the 1930s, pinball and pitch and bat games simulating baseball evolved in parallel. Pinball is one of those pastimes that has fallen by the wayside with the advent of home-based video game systems. When I was young, we didn’t have a washer and dryer, so I would have to go to the laundromat with my mom about 20 miles away, as our town didn’t have a laundromat. There was a small arcade near the back, past the vending machine that sold cigarettes. Even then pinball was falling out of favor; there were only 2 cabinets. I would play those on occasion, but they were old (analog score displays that only counted to the hundreds of thousands) and in disrepair. How could those begin to compare with Tempest, Galaga, Centipede, and Q*Bert? By the time I was in high school, pinball technology had progressed, and a Fun Factory (Hawaii’s version of Chuck E. Cheese’s, sans pizza) had sprung up in town. The Kahului Fun Factory had a Black Knight 2000, one of the best pinball games ever. I can’t begin to calculate how much money I spent on that machine. Hours spent playing that and arguing about football with my dad. I liked football more back then; I, too, have evolved.

Just as the All-Star Game has evolved, now that it “counts.” The selection of the American League pitchers isn’t in the clutches of the evil empire, so we’ll see some of our familiar faces, like Clement and Mike Timlin. For the hell of it, Terry Francona should invite Randy Johnson and make him pitch 9 innings.


Game 67: June 18, 2005
Pirates (31-35), 2
Red Sox (37-30), 0
W: Rick White (3-3)
S: Jose Mesa (18)
L: Alan Embree (2-3)

I jinxed it. Don’t look to place blame on the field manager, the bullpen, or the men left on base, because it’s all on my head. I alluded to the 5-game win streak in the title of my last game comments post, and it doomed the Red Sox’s chances for this game.

Tim Wakefield played against his former team for the first time. Despite pitching seven scoreless innings with 7 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts, the offense behind him failed to get the well-timed hit and left 11 on base. NESN showed clips of him as a rookie, and he looked eerily like Tom Cruise. He refrained from jumping onto the dugout roof and declaring his unabiding love for Katie Holmes at the middle of each inning, thankfully. The Wakefield retrospective included a clip of slim Barry Bonds putting Wakefield in the same category as Roger Clemens, calling him “great.”

Incredibly, the home plate umpire, Jerry Crawford, did not permit Ryan Doumit to get a base after he was “hit” by a pitch in the 2nd inning. According to 6.08(b), a batter is entitled to first base when:

“[h]e is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (2) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball; If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched. APPROVED RULING: When the batter is touched by a pitched ball which does not entitle him to first base, the ball is dead and no runner may advance.”

Finally, there was an umpire with enough integrity to make this call, and it was primarily because Doumit looked as bad as a soccer player faking an injury or an NBA player flopping to get the foul call when he stuck his elbow into the path of Wakefield’s pitch. Wakefield in particular should get the benefit of this rule more often because his knuckleballs don’t carry the intimidation of a Mark Prior fastball. Hitters aren’t afraid to get hit by him and have the recourse of blaming the erraticness of the knuckler’s flight. Doumit struck out swinging at the very next pitch.

Manny Ramirez left the game in the 8th from the after effects of getting drilled by Dave Williams in the left calf back in the 5th inning. It’s not something that I noticed until now, but Ramirez goes to bat basically unshielded. Most other sluggers are adorned with an assortment of elbow, ankle, and shin armor, but not Manny. He does seem to be the type to be weighted down and distracted by anything; for him, it’s all about the swing.

Alan Embree entered the game in the 8th inning with the score tied at 0-0; not the most confidence-inspiring sight. Surprisingly, he gave up no earned runs, got an out, and left a runner at second base for Matt Mantei. Mantei gave up the wall-scraping double to Humberto Cota to drive in Doumit, that faker, with the go-ahead run. So, for the first time this season the Red Sox were shut out, and were blanked in a game that barely captured the historical resonance of the teams’ first meeting.

They played in the first “world’s series” in 1903, an eight-game series that the Red Sox (then known as the Americans, the Pilgrims, or Puritans) won 5 games to 3. The Royal Rooters, a rabid group of several hundred fans with their own band, traveled to Pittsburgh to cheer on their team. To unnerve the opposing team, they sang “Tessie,” a popular song from a Broadway play “The Silver Slipper.” The song was remade in 2004 by the Dropkick Murphys and another group of avid fans continue their obsession virtually on the fanboard named after those that came before them.

The caption says: Photo by Staff Photographer.
Standing row, reading from left — Winter, p.; O’Brien, utility; Farrell, c.; Dineen, p.; LaChance, 1b; Dougherty, lf.; Hughes, p.; Freeman, r.f.; Criger, c.
Seated — Stahl, c.f.; Parent, s.s.; Young, p.; Collins, 3b, (Capt.); Ferris, 2b.; Gibson, p.

Tessie, you make me feel so badly; Why don’t you turn around?
Tessie, you know I love you madly; Babe, my heart weighs about a pound.
Don’t blame me if I ever doubt you, You know I wouldn’t live without you.
Tessie, you are the only, only, only.

Although the Royal Rooters were most strongly associated with the 1903 American League team, some members also cheered for the Boston National League team, known by many names, including the Red Caps, the Beaneaters, and the Braves. In his Third Base Saloon, Michael T. McGreevey would settle disputes between the Americans and the Nationals fans by yelling, “Nuff ced!”

June 18, 2005


Game 66: June 17, 2005
Pirates (30-35), 5
Red Sox (37-29), 6
L: Rick White (2-3)
H: Matt Mantei (6)
BS: Mike Myers (1)
W: Keith Foulke (4-3)

The hold is perhaps one of the most useless indicators of pitching performance devised. In the game thread at Royal Rooters, gerky asked why Mantei earned a hold and Myers got the blown save despite the fact that Mantei was responsible for Matt Lawton getting on base in the 7th inning. I didn’t know the answer myself and wanted to know why. I found the definitions for holds and saves:

A hold is credited any time a relief pitcher enters a game in a save situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game never having relinquished the lead. Note: a pitcher cannot finish the game and receive credit for a hold, nor can he earn a hold and a save.

A relief pitcher is in a save situation when upon entering the game with his club leading, he has the opportunity to be the finishing pitcher (and is not the winning pitcher of record at the time), and meets any one of the three following conditions:

  1. He has a lead of no more than three runs and has the opportunity to pitch for at least one inning.
  2. He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, at bat, or on deck.
  3. He pitches three or more innings regardless of the lead and the official scorer credits him with a save.

When Mantei entered the game it was a save situation, but he himself did not relinquish the lead and since he did get Freddy Sanchez to pop out, he met the criteria for a hold. However, his ERA was still impacted by Lawton scoring on Daryle Ward’s ground out. Myers entered the game before the score was tied, so it was still a save situation. The lefty got Ward to ground out, but Lawton scored while Myers was on the mound, so it was the southpaw that blew the save. Since there is no correlation between earned runs and earning a hold, the utility and value of a hold is largely illusory.

Transitioning from insignificant things that are memorialized in the box score to events of significance that don’t appear in the game summaries, in the 8th inning Manny Ramirez and Jason Varitek executed a put out of Jack Wilson at home plate to perfection. MLB Gameday said of the play: “Freddy Sanchez singles on a line drive to left fielder Manny Ramirez. Jack Wilson out at home on the throw, left fielder Manny Ramirez to catcher Jason Varitek.” How evocative is that?

With the score tied in the 8th, Mike Timlin replaced Mantei and got 2 outs, but also had runners at first and second. Sanchez lined a single to Ramirez and it looked as if Wilson would easily score the go-ahead run. He didn’t count on the Wall of Varitek barricading his path. This sequence was shown repeatedly, and its magnificence warrants it, unlike the Jeter poaching Cano play in shallow right center.

After a 1-2-3 top of the 9th for Foulke, Kevin Millar hit a ground-rule double to right field, and I didn’t dyslexically state the incorrect part of the field; Millar actually went opposite field. With Kevin Youkilis pinch-running, Varitek executed a bunt that was mishandled by Rick White, yielding runners on first and third. Bill Mueller is intentionally walked to load the bases, and when Mark Bellhorn ground into a force out with Youkilis out at the plate, the Pirate’s strategy looked as if it might be successful. They brought out a left-handed pitcher, Mike Gonzalez, to take care of Johnny Damon. These by the book decisions don’t always pan out, and Damon proved you can’t keep a good hitter down with conventional wisdom. His single up the middle pushed the winning run in the form of Varitek across the plate.

The Pirates, like the Reds, are another lackluster National League team we should beat. Their team stats after last night’s game:

  • 22nd in batting average (.259)
  • 18th in strikeouts (415)
  • 24th in hits (572)
  • 21st in on-base percentage (.325)
  • 13th in earned run average (4.06)
  • 19th in earned runs against (262)
  • 24th in strikeouts against (376)

The foundering Yankees were able to sweep this team, although they required the aid of umpire Tony Randazzo in the second game of the series. The Red Sox are on track for similar success.

June 16, 2005


Game 65: June 15, 2005
Reds (26-39), 1
Red Sox (36-29), 6
L: Aaron Harang (4-5)
W: Bronson Arroyo (5-3)

I just can’t keep up with the blogging efficiency of Witch City Sox Girl, Reb Sox, and A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory. We were all at the game and they’ve already posted about this. I’m the last one to write about it, and I can’t even say it was because I was up all night developing a Blogger Efficiency Rating Factor (BERF). If I did try to derive a formula, I would get McCarty’s expertise and we would probably come up with something that takes into account number of words per post divided by the time elapsed from actual events subtracting for travel duration. Which would make me really pathetic, since I live less than 10 miles away from Fenway Park. I can expand upon how the MBTA Orange Line has shuttle buses from Sullivan Square to Wellington (where I park my car for afterwork games) that added to my travel duration. But that’s a pretty lame excuse considering Jere now lives in the Big Malus pumila, Rebecca is in the state named for an Algonquin word meaning “on the long tidal river, ” and WCSG lives in the town named after the Hebrew word for “peace.”

So, I’m a big zero in BERF. I could be traded at any time. My listings in blogrolls across the globe will plummet, because people will tire from reading my ruminations on a game that happened over a day ago.

You might recall that I was also at Monday night’s game, so you could say that I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. You may also remember that I am originally from Hawai‘i, so large fluctuations in weather used to be foreign to me. But since I’ve been here since 1997, I can come close to saying that the variations in weather are almost fun. Talking about atmospheric conditions in New England is a lot more interesting than it is where I’m from. Not much small talk in Hawai‘i about the temperature or precipitation, and surf reports replace pollen counts.

To propose a 70s television show analogy (which, truth be told, is how I live my life), it was a Red Sox bloggers meets “Charlie’s Angels” kind of night. (The real television, not the recent movie retreads.) Give me a pack of Marlboros, I can get that Kate Jackson voice down, although secretly I’d love, for once, just once, to be cast as the blonde. (Heather Locklear, hear my prayer. Immaculate Queen of the Most Holy Night Time Soap Operas and of Guest Appearances on Middling to Excellent Sitcoms, hear the prayers of brunettes. Teach me to bleach, to tease, and to coif. And forgive us our visible roots as we forgive those whose roots appear to us.)

The Red Sox swept the Cincinnati Reds, but consider the stature of the opponent:

  • 24th in batting average (.257)
  • 1st in strikeouts (522)
  • 21st in hits (570)
  • 9th in on-base percentage (.336)
  • 28th in earned run average (5.57)
  • 2nd in earned runs against (353)
  • 16th in strikeouts against (384)

The Boston club should beat this team soundly, and they did so, consecutively and convincingly. Varitek had the opportunity to finally hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th, but struck out looking. The other captain, he of the intangibles, still hasn’t, either, so that takes some of the edge off. The Pirates are next; we’ll thank them for Tim Wakefield and Bronson Arroyo, but beat them to a pulp for pawning off Scott Sauerbeck on us.

The illusory ladder.

Bob Loble isnt a lyar! Old Hickory in the background. (If this caption doesn’t make sense to you, you don’t go wyaback on redsoxnation.net.)

What the sign really means: “Hey, you. Yeah, you, lady. Stop stalking the players.”

Door in a door. What will they think of next?

Technical stretching.

Dave Wallace thinks to himself, “Why can’t I work in a normal town where they don’t know the pitching coach’s name?”

Wednesday, she’s looking for a friend....

The Red Seat.

June 15, 2005


Game 64: June 14, 2005
Reds (26-38), 0
Red Sox (35-29), 7
L: Luke Hudson (1-1)
W: David Wells (5-4)

The Red Sox are your father, Luke. Search your feelings; you know it to be true. Hudson lasted only 5 innings. The first signs of weakness came in the 2nd inning when he walked Manny Ramirez in 4 pitches, got Trot Nixon to pop out to third, walked Kevin Millar, and let Jason Varitek on with a single to left. Bill Mueller then smacked a single to fairly deep center field, scoring Ramirez and Millar and moving Varitek to third. (It would have to be pretty deep for those speed demons to score, but I digress.) Continuing his hot streak, Johnny Damon doubled his pleasure, doubled his fun on a line drive to left to Ryan Freel (who will later play a crucial role in this game) to score Varitek and advance Mueller.

Was it not so very long ago that everyone was questioning Wells’s utility? That he gave up back to back to back home runs to the Blue Jays? That we wondered why he was starting a major league game without any rehab outings? I was ready to label him Mendoza and write him off. Then he goes and tries to win us over with a near no-hitter, only spoiled by Freel, a light-hitting outfielder, who sprayed a single to right in the 6th inning. Wells walked only 2, and they were surprisingly back to back to Willy Mo Peña and Adam Dunn, two of the largest ballplayers I have seen in person, and neither known for their patience at the plate. Mike Timlin and Keith Foulke pitched for 1 perfect inning each, completing the one-hitter.

In the postgame show, Millar was interviewed and he mentioned in passing that he was talking with Ramirez about hitting. (Manny, don’t listen!) Actually, though, it seemed more like a counseling session, and Millar went on to defend Manny’s production despite his batting average falling off. To me, this incident shows why Millar is still around. Who else could relate to players as diverse as Ramirez to Renteria to Damon? And it was comforting to see Manny begin to return to his usual self, not just in terms of hitting, but his demeanor as well. There was more than an air of concern around him recently as he looked lost at the plate. With the recent servings of taters and meatballs, however, he’s looking more content. The double point and the helmet fling are his ways of saying, “I’m back, boys.”

June 14, 2005


Game 63: June 13, 2005
Reds (26-37), 3
Red Sox (34-29), 10
L: Eric Milton (3-8)
W: Matt Clement (7-1)

Yes, it really was as hot and humid as the announcers probably kept on telling you. Even while sitting perfectly still I sweat continually. As far as that old saying that horses sweat, men perspire, and women merely glow, I offer you photographic proof below to refute this.

I got to Fenway Park right at 5:00 PM hoping that the Red Sox would take batting practice. Since they had a Sunday night game and it was sweltering, they skipped it. Perhaps they sensed that Milton would be throwing BP during the game. So instead, the BP fans got a show from Ken Griffey, Jr., Sean Casey, and Wily Mo Peña. Junior’s swing is as sweet as they say in person, but the way the ball sounded recoiling from Peña’s bat was thunderous. He launched more than a few completely over the Green Monster, arcing into Lansdowne Street.

Before the game started, the left field pole was officially named the Fisk Pole. I have no living memory of the 1975 series, but thanks to NESN’s replays this past winter that team is almost as familiar to me as the current one. Fisk throwing out the first pitch to Luis Tiant was a poignant role reversal. It seems that I also missed another touching ceremony in which Jerry Remy’s Wally beanie was awarded his own replica trophy and ring.

That’s the thing about attending a game in person; in some cases you know less about the game than if you watched it on television or listened to the radio. Because of my angle from Section 11, I had no idea that Manny Ramirez’s home run in the 6th was the result of Peña botching up the fielding. I do know that my heart was in my throat when he slid head first into third to advance on Javier Valentin’s throwing error in the 4th.

Clement, the replacement ace, went 8 innings and had 3 earned runs, 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts. The first 4 or so innings he seemed to be working at a painstakingly slow pace, but started to pick it up towards the end. Which was nice, since I was at that point considering taking out a loan to pay for my $3 bottles of water.

From my seat, I could see Hazel Mae in canvas alley. She would high five the grounds crew as they left the field. In fact, she was almost Cabrera-like in that she would have special patterns for some of the guys.

I didn’t realize until later it was the Kelly Barons that got nailed by an errant ball; I thought it was a random fan. I wondered what the hold up was, and may have even yelled out the suggestion that whoever got hurt should walk it off. Then Chang-Ho Lee and Jim Rowe came running, and realized it was a bit more serious than I originally thought.

All in all, a great game and I shed approximately 10 pounds in water weight. I can’t wait until my next visit to Fenway Park and Spa, which will actually be this Wednesday thanks to Jere and Reb.

And it also hurts when the player whose number you wear gets traded.

The last time the scoreboard said Cincinnati was in 1975.

The Kid.

I was 3.

Carlton Fisk is the beige spot to the right of the pole.

Fisk’s aloha shirt isn’t as offensive as mine, though he did try.

The naming ceremony is complete.

What’s brightest: the ring, the shirt, or my sweaty face?

June 13, 2005


Game 62: June 12, 2005
Red Sox (33-29), 8
Cubs (33-28), 1
W: Tim Wakefield (5-6)
L: Glendon Rusch (5-2)

The tale of our National League roadtrip through the heartland of America ends with Game 3 of the Cub series with the supposedly hapless Chicago Nationals, in which we avoid a sweep. Many moments of wonder abound. Who would have ever thought that Kevin Millar could actually hit to the opposite field to leadoff the 2nd inning with a single?

Millar’s hit was for naught, however, as Mirabelli was thrown out at second base in the same inning on Wakefield’s single to right. Mirabelli botched two baseball miracles with his subpar baserunning.

ESPN did their typical in-game interview with the field manager, but mercifully it wasn’t conducted by Sam Ryan. Jon Miller and Joe Morgan talked with Terry Francona about his daughter graduating, to which he quipped, “Considering I’m her father, it’s an incredible thing.” He’ll be here all week, ladies and gents. Please, try the veal.

In the 4th inning, Morgan proved that he is the king of unsubstantiated proclamations and talked about the 1918 World Series possibly being fixed, saying that he read something somewhere. He made no mention of Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox written by Allan Wood, to whom I would defer any and all discussion of this particular series. (Be sure to visit Allan’s fine blog The Joy of Sox.) Morgan also believes in Ruth’s called home run, the Easter Bunny, that Billy Beane wrote Moneyball, and small ball for every situation.

How long is this grass in the infield at Wrigley? Wakefield had an RBI in the 6th primarily because the ball he hit toward Todd Walker moved so slowly through the verdant infield that he could not get the ball to Neifi Perez in time to turn the double play. Not only that, but the knuckleballer scored on Damon triple to center field as a result.

Is Manuel back to being automatic again? In the 7th, Ramirez blasted a home run that rocketed into Waveland Avenue with 1 on and no out. This is hopefully a harbinger of the return of the slugger we used to know.

Johnny Damon and Kevin Youkilis both almost hit for the cycle, with the former needing a measely single and the latter needing a triple. Cliff Bartosh threw 4 straight balls to Damon in the 8th inning, but Damon had another chance in the 9th which he squandered with a first pitch fly ball to right.

I’ll be at tonight’s game, a part of my “Spirit of ’75” Sox Pack, wearing a very loud Red Sox aloha shirt. You’ll be sure to hear me.

June 12, 2005


SubterraneandylanGame 61: June 11, 2005
Red Sox (32-29), 6
Cubs (33-27), 7
L: Wade Miller (2-2)
W: Todd Wellemeyer (2-1)
H: Mike Remlinger (3)
H: Michael Wuertz (6)
S: Ryan Dempster (8)

Subterranean Bullpen Blues*
Johnny’s on base again
Trot’s playing insane
I’m on the internet
Thinkin’ about the last upset
The man on the mound
Shoulder hurt, laid down
Says he’s got his pitches back
Nothin’ is out of whack
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
Myers better duck down the alley way
Lookin’ for a new friend
Mantei in the Red Sox cap
In the bullpen
Can’t get a strikeout
Here we go again

Olerud ain’t so fleet foot
Gets on base, don’t stay put
Edgar gets on base next
Pity on the team that’s hexed
Manny doubles anyway
Trot pops out to end the day
“They must bust in early May”
Usually what the writers say
Look out kid
Don’t matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes
When wearin’ crimson hose
Better buy more of those
That carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don’t need Carson
To know which way the hairdryer blows

*With apologies to Bob Dylan.

June 11, 2005


1918wsprogramGame 60: June 10, 2005
Red Sox (32-28), 6
Cubs (32-27), 14
L: Bronson Arroyo (4-3)
W: Greg Maddux (5-3)

Chicks do not dig the longball. Not this chick, not when 3 members of the opposing team, including the light-hitting left fielder who is slugging .357 (Todd Hollandsworth off Arroyo in the 2nd; it was 2nd homer of the season) and the starting pitcher (Maddux off John Halama in the 6th) hit them. It was Maddux’s 5th home run of his career; at this rate, he might eventually surpass Jerry Remy’s spectacular 7. The countdown should start now, so if he does, a banner would be unfurled. Fans may wonder why there’s a “5” in the outfield ivy season upon season. Is that for Nomar, to wish him well?

As with other day games, I tried to follow this game from work, so the only images I have of the Red Sox playing at Wrigley Field are photographs. Even though I obviously would have no memory of 1918, just seeing the Red Sox outfielders against the backdrop of ivy elicited a simulacrum of nostalgia in my mind. A compilation of the vestiges of the photo archives perused, books read, and oral histories heard that makes this historic series resonate with a depth that you just will not find when the Devil Rays play in Pittsburgh, to name just one example. When these teams last played in the 1918 World Series, the teams did not play at Wrigley Field (then known as Weeghman Park), but rather at Comiskey Park, primarily because of greater capacity and therefore, greater revenue.

Real nostalgia permeated Nomar Garciaparra’s voice during his press conference. He said that Boston “will always be there in my heart. Fortunately for me, I’m in another beautiful place, too, that has a big spot in my heart. I must have somebody up there looking after me because I’ve been pretty blessed. Two wonderful, wonderful cities that have great fans.” He will receive his World Series ring at some point this weekend in a private ceremony. I can’t help but think that some other shortstop (or rather, former shortstop) would take the opportunity for news crews to expend the ink in their pens and photographers to burn out their flashbulbs. Garciaparra is a throwback who would have been much happier playing in the days before mass media, when no video would capture his quirks, just the imaginations of fans.

June 10, 2005


Game 59: June 8, 2005
Red Sox (32-27), 4
Cardinals (38-21), 0
W: David Wells (4-4)
L: Chris Carpenter (8-4)

Well, well, well. Maybe Mr. Not Perfect really is a National League pitcher. The lefty’s line (8 innings, 4 hits, no runs or walks, and 2 strikeouts) continued his maddening pattern of inconsistency. Foulke had a somewhat uneventful save, although Albert Pujols and Reggie Sanders both singled with 2 outs in the 9th. With the count 3 and 1, Foulke was able to get Jim Edmonds to line out.

The David Ortiz At Bat Scenario Generator

In a pivotal game of the series, Ortiz
a) muscled
b) blasted
c) sprayed
d) launched
e) ________

a) stratospheric home run,
b) surprising infield hit,
c) opposite field double,
d) sacrifice fly,
e) ________,

a) generated the only runs the Red Sox scored.
b) broke the tie in the 6th inning.
c) brought the Boston club the lead.
d) soared into the right field bleachers, hit a fan in the head, causing a minor concussion.
e) ________.

a) hulking
b) mango salsa-making
c) applesauce-eating
d) ever-smiling
e) ________

designated hitter cum first baseman continued his streak of
a) clutch hits, winning
b) extra base hits, breaking open
c) late-inning RBIs, bringing the Red Sox the lead, saving Keith Foulke
’s butt, and winning
d) superb swinging, tying the score to lead to Wells
’s victory in
e) ________

the game. All hail Big Papi.

The cursed and the formerly cursed meet for an historic series. Two clubs with diverging destinies play for the first time at Wrigley Field, where the Red Sox will hopefully douse the scorching Derrek Lee, who, up until recently, was leading the majors in the triple crown stats.

June 8, 2005


Game 58: June 7, 2005
Red Sox (31-27), 2
Cardinals (38-20), 9
L: Matt Clement (6-1)
W: Jeff Suppan (5-5)

Matty Mo>Em Clem, at least last night. Another brutal game. The redbirds might be the hottest team in baseball right now. They are so hot, they are too sexy for the game, with Al Reyes and Tony La Russa both getting ejected in the 8th. Matt Mantei and Terry Francona were also scorching, getting kicked out in the 7th.

The Boston club couldn’t even manage more than 2 earned runs against Jeff “Soup’s On!” Suppan, although they did scrape up 6 hits. They were the untimely kind, however, and the 3 double plays (2 for Edgar Renteria and 1 for Manny Ramirez) were not helping the situation. I come not to bury Edgar, but to praise him, for he is not as brittle as Nomar Garciaparra nor as free-swinging as Orlando Cabrera. I beg a hair of the pre-wrist injury Garciaparra for memory, and dying, mention it within my will.

Switching between the plunkathon and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: We’re Professional Ballplayers and We are Doing this for Charity... Seriously!” edition was sensory overload for me. Fortunately, I have a digital video recorder and I will closely watch the Fab Five at a later date (as if they won’t show it over and over again). Until then, enjoy twitch’s insightful commentary. It makes me want to buy an EyeTV unit, too.

Not much more to say here except permit not those whom you would sweep to sweep against you.


Game 57: June 6, 2005
Red Sox (31-26), 1
Cardinals (37-20), 7
L: Tim Wakefield (4-6)
W: Matt Morris (7-0)

“Matty Mo”? Is that how the Midwest co-opts urban nickname conventions? Yeah, that’s about all I can do to make fun of him, because he schooled the Red Sox. The good guys should have all just brought shiny red apples to Busch Stadium and presented them to Mr. Matty Mo, who went all 9 innings with only 4 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk, and 1 strikeout.

Wakefield lost his 5th straight game, but trends and knuckleball pitchers are neither easily or heavily researched because of their paucity. They also aren’t easily coached, not because of personality but because of rarity, so it’s usually up to the pitcher himself to reanimate the butterfly. Wakefield was only able to go 5.2 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 4 walks, and 3 strikeouts. Jason Vartitek’s unfamiliarity with Wakefield continued to plague the battery with the backstop getting 3 of his 4 passed balls in this game.

The offense was lackadaisical, earning only 4 hits and grounding into 2 double plays, Edgar Renteria responsible for both. We like seeing you turn them, not flounder into them. As classy as Cardinal fans purport to be, they did take particular pleasure in seeing their former shortstop fail. I believe it finally caught up to them that they were swept in the World Series. Before, they were happy for Red Sox fans, until a winter of bitterness thawed into a summer for scorn. They are, after all, the National League team with the most championships at 9. Only the Yankees surpass them. Writhing under those amber waves of nice is a maelstrom of contempt for those profligate people from either coast. They see themselves as the fulcrum of the nation. The fulcrum is strong, but unmoving and stagnant.

June 6, 2005


Game 56: June 5, 2005
The Former ESPN Company Softball Team (32-24), 3
Red Sox (31-25), 6
L: Jake Woods (1-1)
W: Mike Myers (3-1)
H: Mike Timlin (13)
S: Keith Foulke (13)

The baseball portion of the day started well because the weather could finally accommodate my need for Baseball Nut ice cream from Baskin-Robbins. For the April and May games I attended, my favorite B-R flavor was either not available or it was too cold. Baseball, ice cream, a day that required sunscreen--what more could I ask for? Maybe a few friends to enjoy the day with?

Asked and granted. It was Royal Rooters outing day at Fenway Park. When you meet people virtually before you meet them in person, it can be confusing. You have to remember not only faces, but also handles, and then associate those with real names. We all spoke the intergalactic language of baseball, however.

Unsurprisingly but disappointingly, there were boos for the cast members of the Fab Five who threw out the first pitch. After they pitched, there were the inevitable frat boy cackles and taunts about them throwing like girls (not from any Rooters). Jai Rodriguez also sang the national anthem and did a passable job; he did lose his key along the way. Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle explores the impact of the Red Sox players appearing on this show in this editorial.

With lefty Jarrod Washburn starting, Johnny Damon and Trot Nixon didn’t start. This led to one of my least favorite lineup configurations: Mark Bellhorn leading off. Reminds me of when Jeremy Giambi was announced as the leadoff hitter for the Oakland A’s in 2002. I think Bellhorn has hit first twice this year, and both times I’ve been at the game and witnessed the same quizzical looks and responses from those around me. He ended up striking out twice and getting an RBI on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and no out in the 7th inning, giving the Red Sox the lead.

Bellhorn’s at bat was proceeded by Jay Payton, who stayed in the game despite Mike Scioscia swapping Woods for righty Joel Peralta. This year, Rooter beatlesfab4fans binky is Payton, and fellow posters BostonSox37 and TimlinIn8th had one of many great debates, this one on the wisdom of leaving Payton in, the former against it and the latter for. I called a ground ball single up the middle to gerky, who somehow heard me even though he’s nearly 2 feet taller than me. (Thanks for providing some shade on this 83 degree day in the bleachers!) Payton ended up singling to left to load the bases for Bellhorn, so I was a shade off.

BostonSox37 would later prevail, however, when he got the correct answer to the trivia question, “Which Red Sox player has won the most Gold Glove awards?” My guess was Fred Lynn and TimlinIn8th’s was Wade Boggs. Dwight Evans with 8 was the correct answer, Lynn had 4, and Boggs won 2, but with the Yankees, so that doesn’t count. Yankees get Gold Gloves for just having a pulse.

I should just have copy and paste verbiage for David Ortiz providing the timely hit. It’s getting pleasantly redundant. With 2 out in the 7th, he drives in 2 runs with a double. And Keith Foulke going 1-2-3 again is something we want to get tired of, so let’s see more of that.

The only thing (and there’s always something lacking for Boston fans, isn’t there?) is Manny Ramirez continuing to struggle, something gerky noted. Not only is he not productive, he isn’t making loud outs but is rather striking out, looking overmatched while doing so. We need some applesauce, stat.

June 5, 2005


Game 55: June 4, 2005
The Team Formerly Known as the California Angels (32-23), 13
Red Sox (30-25), 6
W: Bartolo Colon (7-3)
H: Brendan Donnelly (8)
BS, L: Alan Embree (2, 1-3)

It was former Red Sox player reunion time on “This Week in Baseball” with Derek Lowe hosting this week and Orlando Cabrera next week. There was a pseudo-“Cribs” like segment where Lowe shows his sparsely lived-in Beverly Hills home. He has about 5 items in his refrigerator and no books on the shelves. Most of TWIB was actually enjoyable, showing old footage from the Brooklyn Dodgers, in particular the 1955 World Series and their fans dressed as clowns.

After Johnny Damon’s collision with the bullpen wall, Mike Timlin put a police outline of Damon in center field. I did something similar in my dormitory’s lobby, putting a tape outline in front of a vending machine. It was good for a laugh during midterms.

David Ortiz came to the plate in the 2nd inning with the bases loaded and 2 out. Ortiz can read lips in Spanish, says Tim McCarver as Colon and Jose Molina confer, covering their mouths. I had never heard of this skill before, and I doubt that Ortiz would like that fact widely circulated. Read my lips, McCarver: You are an idiot. Ortiz ended up striking out, but the team looked good scoring 3 runs. That would be enough, right?

Fox showed a nice segment on the dedication of the fields along the Charles River as “Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Fields at Lederman Park.” Teddy was killed along with two others in a plane crash last November, but was at least able to see the Red Sox become World Champions before his death. (When Fox showed the box that the Ebersol family was in during the game, Bob Costas was in the line of sight and ran from the camer; there must be some kind of exclusivity clause that stiuplates that he will not appear on other networks.)

Joe Buck related his experiences during last year’s ALCS when he was chased by rabid Red Sox fans to his hotel. He then said to McCarver, “Everybody thinks you’re rooting for the other team. And in your case, you are.” During a Damon at bat, Buck and McCarver talked about Damon’s body extremely admiringly. As if he were Jeter, almost. Later on in the 4th, Damon robbed Orlando Cabrera of an extra base hit, a truly spectacular catch.

In general, the Fox coverage wasn’t horrible. When the game headed south, McCaver did have his usual comment on how quiet and concerned the fans get. Perhaps it is because, unlike other fans, the bulk of the people actually know what’s going on during the game and don’t need prompting by jumbotron messages or blaring music? Altogether too many “House” promos with the young man in bed writhing and yelling “Get out of my head!” Which is also what Embree yells to every hitter he faces.

The blame has to be laid at Terry Francona’s feet as much as Embree’s. It was entirely apparent that Embree wasn’t fooling anyone this game except Francona, who seemed to have forgotten that Embree’s left/right splits are hardly justification for leaving him in against Garret Anderson. Splits for this year so far are: BAA .295 for lefties, .245 for righties; OBP .327 for lefties, .302 for righties; slugging .568 for lefties, .592 for righties. In the 7th, as if on cue and with only 1 out in the inning, Anderson hit a 3-run home run and the Angels take the lead, 6-5. Boos. Mayhem.

June 4, 2005


Game 54: June 3, 2005
The Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States of America, North America, Earth, Solar System, Galaxy, Universe (31-23), 4
Red Sox (30-24), 7
H: Brendan Donnelly (7)
BS, L: Scot Shields (3, 4-3)
W: Mike Myers (2-1)
S: Keith Foulke (12)

The 3rd inning found the Angels falling over each other avoiding a foul ball. Jerry Remy mentioned that the players were all the way at the far end of the dugout because players don’t like being near their manager. I’d modify that to say that players probably don’t want to be near Mike Scioscia. I mean, you could look at him funny and he’d suspend you for the rest of the season, just ask Jose Guillen. Ultimately, that move benefited the Red Sox and it was a notable alteration from the typical managerial course of action that indulges players’ immaturity rather than have them face consequences for their misdeeds.

Lou Merloni is back in Massachusetts because of his season-ending injury where three of the major tendons of his right ankle ruptured. Maybe him and Flutie can hang out before Doug reports to Patriots minicamp?

Bengie Molina caught stealing in the 4th? Did Dale Sveum put on an Angels uniform and put on the steal sign? Career steal attempts: 7. Successful steals: 2.

What kind of geeky, 70s sitcom-loving, shut-in blogger could not help but write about David L. Lander, a.k.a. “Squiggy,” an advanced scout for the Mariners? Hello! Lander has an event on June 7th at the Reading Jordan’s Furniture. He’s appearing with Ellen Lathi, MD, and they will present information on managing multiple sclerosis. He was also one of the original 75 people that bought the first Bill James Baseball Abstract.

David Wells gets his 2,000th strikeout. Now let’s reduce his daily caloric intake by that much and we’ll be headed somewhere.

Johnny Damon’s bases-clearing double in the 8th makes for a spectacular resurgence. At second base, he talks with Orlando Cabrera about his eye. Cabrera was like, “What the hell did you do to your eye, man?” And Damon was all, “This? Dude, it’s permanent eyeliner and it’s great!” Couldn’t they do one of those OC handshakes for old time’s sake? Probably not; it’s against some rule or something.

June 3, 2005


OrtizwohrGame 53: June 2, 2005
Orioles (32-21), 4
Red Sox (29-24), 6
BS, L: B.J. Ryan (2, 0-1)
W: Keith Foulke (3-3)

I tried to listen to this game at work, and every single time the Giant Glass spot came on with Jerry Trupiano’s “Way back” voiceover, I thought it was a game call. Not only was I truped, I was faux-truped. Worse yet, I wasn’t able to listen to the entire game live because of a network outage. I get no radio reception in my building and didn’t have my portable radio anyway. Enough of the whining, however, because the team is back to winning.

Foulke should just buy Ortiz a Rolex now for the times his butt has been saved by a timely Davidian blast. If there was a way to buy stock on the number of game-winning hits by a given player, Ortiz would be Berkshire Hathaway. The bottom of the 9th inning sequence was brilliant:

  • B.J. Ryan replaces Jorge Julio
  • Johnny Damon flies out to center (but makes Ryan throw 8 pitches)
  • Mark Bellhorn singles
  • Kevin Youkilis strikes out swinging
  • Edgar Renteria with a strategic bunt for a base hit
  • A very frightened Ryan throws to Ortiz, who slugs over 800 against him. Seven pitches later, the Red Sox have a series split agaist the Orioles

The problem is that this dramatic win in a way glosses over the continuing Foulke engima. He wasn’t knocked around as in other late inning situations, but he let on the leadoff hitter, which is something you never want to happen with the score so close. David Newhan (who I have grudgingly grown to respect) steals second and is bunted over to third by Melvin Mora. Miguel Tejada is intentionally walked and Sammy Sosa is semi-intentionally walked. Rafael Palmeiro’s ground ball gets Sosa at second but scores Newhan, tying the game.

I know I should be celebrating, and I am inside, but I wouldn’t mind it if Scott Williamson had some miraculous recovery and ended up back in Boston. I was always leery of change-up artists like Foulke as closers.

(I just noticed on the screen captures of the final hits of games, MLB displays the current time even though it was yesterday’s game. Is that a bug or a feature? I hope that someday MLB will have a Gameday feature where you could click to any previous at bat for the pitch chart. It is hopefully stored somewhere.)

June 2, 2005


Game 52: June 1, 2005
Orioles (32-20), 9
Red Sox (28-24), 3
W: Sidney Ponson (6-3)
H: Todd Williams (4)
L: Tim Wakefield (4-5)

“Wake up, Tim!” Why did I go there? I just alluded to a Bernie and Phyl’s commercial. I’m extraordinarily desperate for material right now. Like how desperate Wakefield is for a win, this loss part of a 4-game schneid. It’s not good when the number of strikeouts you have (3), also equals the number of homers you give up. (What a great word that is, “schneid.” Read about its origins here.)

One of the only good things about this game was Trot Nixon’s outfield assist in the 6th inning where he hosed Chris Gomez at home. It was also good to see Johnny Damon back in the lineup so quickly, stitches and all. He went 2 for 4 but left 2 on base.

I’m not alone when from time to time I wish the Red Sox had Miguel Tejada, am I? I was against him as anyone for his over-reaction to Derek Lowe’s “crotch chop” and his boneheaded baserunning in the 2003 ALDS. It’s difficult to not want someone who is top 5 in average, home runs, and RBIs and whose fielding percentage of .965 is 5th amongst American League shortstops.

Forget this game and go vote. Vote early and often.


Game 51: May 31, 2005
Orioles (31-20), 1
Red Sox (28-23), 5
L: Daniel Cabrera (4-4)
W: Wade Miller (2-1)

John Olerud shines on the field. Not just his helmet, but the way he plays, too. In the 4th inning he had a gem of a double play, snaring B.J. Surhoff’s line drive and He was also part of the crucial 4-run 5th inning, where he hit a double that scored Jay Payton. Finally, Olerud was on the postgame show with Tom Caron and Jim Rice, sporting a glistening hairstyle and being his low-key self. On all counts, defensively, offensively, and sartorially, he’s outdoing Kevin Millar. Caron mentioned that Olerud’s swing seemed tailor-made for Fenway Park, and the first baseman agreed, saying he feels like Fenway will help his swing. He also mentioned that his father would have him watch certain players when he was growing up:, and one of those was Jim Rice, who at the plate had quiet hands. Last year’s ALCS was even brought up, and Olerud called it a great experience to witness the rivalry first hand, although at the time he was of course disappointed by the outcome. Finally, like every other Discussion on his role: looking for strength on the bench and give Francona options.

Wade Miller got back on track with this outing, his 7 inning line a symmetric 3 walk, 3 strikeout showing with only 1 earned run and 5 hits. After several opportunities to observe his delivery, it isn’t surprising to me that he has had injury issues. Unlike Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling, he doesn’t have the leg drive that they generate and seems to rely more on his shoulder and arm for torque. Even Pedro has a way of spinning his upper body and falling off to the side that alevates some of the strain on his arm. At this late stage, it is probably unrealistic to revise Miller’s mechanics, but hopefully with conditioning and judicious management reinjury will not be an issue.

The Mike and Mike show wrapped up the last 3 innings with perfection. M&Ms make friends.

Johnny fought the wall and the wall won. Walls tend to do that. Ask Kevin Brown. Fortunately, Damon only needed stitches and did not suffer a concussion. To this day he still remembers the words they told him after the collision in the 2003 ALDS.

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