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Home » Monthly Archive » October 2006

October 26, 2006

Grumpy(?) Old Man

I’m Mike Timlin and I’m oooooold! And I’m not happy! And I don’t like things now compared to the way they used to be.

All this progress -- phooey! In my day, we didn’t have this pre-made pine tar when you needed it. You’d have to take down the trees yourself with your bare hands. Then you’d have to distill it yourself with the heat generated from burning the fat of the bear, or hyena, or whatever ferocious wild beast you killed, also with your bare hands. It would take you decades before you even had one smidgen of the stuff to work with, so you never washed.

Just ask Kenny Rogers. He’s old-fashioned like me! He’s got his four-year old son working on another batch of pine tar right now so that it’ll be ready for his great-grandson to use. Ol’ Kenny is gonna die before he ever gets more pine tar to use. And that’s the way it was and we liked it!

Life was simpler back then. We didn’t have no agents with their fancy suits. Why, to get my $2.8 million for next year, I marched right into the Red Sox front office with the crossbow I made from the remnants of those pine tress and guts from the deer I’ve killed. Agents?! Flobble-de-flee!

Hmm... almost three million simoleons, eh? Well, I’m oooooold, but maybe I’m a little happy!

October 18, 2006

Papi of Invention

David Ortiz recently participated in a Backyard Wiffle Ball game for Good Sports, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing fitness and recreational activities to disadvantaged youths.

Ortiz’s charitable work has long been lauded, but now the slugger may well be better known for his contributions to industrial science. The force and heat generated by one swing of the designated hitter’s Wiffle bat rendered a Wiffle ball into an as yet undiscovered plastic endowed with near-miraculous properties.

The new compound, which Ortiz has taken to calling “Papilastic,” bounced 34 times higher than a SuperBall. When thrown, its trajectory was traced in rainbow colors. When bounced along the ground, lilies of the valley, morning glories, and alstroemerias bloomed spontaneously wherever it touched.

The mood of those who came in contact with Papilastic lifted immediately, but the imagined sources of their newfound happiness varied. “It was like getting TMX before everyone else!” exclaimed five-year old Juliana Oshiro as she grasped the formerly mundane Wiffle ball in her tiny hand.

“I feel as if I completely paid down my mortgage,” gushed Seth Cabasa upon being handed the orb.

In his rapture, the sphere slipped from his hands into a pitcher of water. On contact, the liquid was transformed into fresh-squeezed lemonade.

As word spread of Papilastic’s astounding attributes, multiple companies attempted to persuade Ortiz to exclusive Papilastic production contracts. Ortiz declined, however, and will create his unique compound for strictly humanitarian purposes.

“Like me, this sort of thing can’t be contained. Papilastic will be free to whoever needs it. Peace!”


Photo courtesy of Good Sports, Inc.

October 9, 2006

It’s Your Duty, Judy!

Lasorda SCENE I: In a dark room in an apartment in Brooklyn there is a hunched silhouette in front of a computer monitor.

LASORDA: Vinnie? What are you doing hiding in here? It’s baseball playoff season!

VINNIE: But, the Yankees are eliminated.

LASORDA: Vinnie, you’re a baseball fan.

VINNIE: I’m looking up front-runners to cheer for. There’s Chelsea or Manchester United for soccer... Ohio State for college football. I’ve ordered my retro Montreal Canadiens jersey, as you can’t argue with 24 championships, and I’ve got a Lakers cap being FedExed to me.

LASORDA: Don’t bother with those other sports and go watch some quality baseball!

VINNIE: I’m not a baseball fan. I’m a fan of winning.

LASORDA: Quit mouthing off and watch some postseason baseball, you wuss!

SCENE II: A young woman with overly-coiffed hair peruses magazines at a newspaper stand while loudly cracking gum.

LASORDA: Maria, what are you doing here? You should be watching playoff baseball. You’ve been watching the Yankees all season, why stop now?

MARIA: Well, now that Derek and Alex aren’t playing, there’s no more hot guys to root for. So why bother?

LASORDA: What are you talking about? There’s still scads of young men to watch! Beltran! Verlander! Zito!

MARIA: Oh, yeah! I heard of that last guy. He’s pretty cute. But the first guy, he’s not Italian, is he?

LASORDA: He’s Catholic, though.

MARIA: Oh, okay!

LASORDA: Get your butt in front of a television now and watch some playoff baseball!

SCENE III: A Lids store in Manhattan mobbed with teen-aged boys.

LASORDA: Why aren’t you guys watching baseball? It’s the playoffs!

DEION: We’re buying some Mets stuff to replace the Yankees lids we own. Gots to represent.

LATROY: This Mets gear is the ish!

LASORDA: Well, now that you’ve bought the hats,  you should root for the team.

DEION: What, watch baseball? That shit is boring. We bought this as a fashion statement.

LASORDA: You preening punks stop gawking at yourselves in mirrors and go watch playoff baseball!

October 3, 2006


Game 162: October 1, 2006
Orioles (70-92), 0
Red Sox (86-76), 9
L: Hayden Penn (0-4)
W: Devern Hansack (1-1)
5 innings; completed early due to rain

There won’t be the kind of October baseball we’ve been accustomed to these past three years.

But there will be Red Sox, or potential Red Sox players, on the diamond in October.

Halfway across the Pacific there is the rejuvenated Hawaii Winter Baseball league. Sea Dogs Manager Todd Claus, this year’s Double-A Manager of the Year, will lead a team comprised of prospects from the Diamondbacks, Padres, Rangers, Red Sox, Royals and Yankees as well as youngsters from the Yakult Swallows and Orix Buffaloes of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. Jeff Corsaletti, John Otness, and Ryan Phillips will take Hans L’Orange Field in Waipahu, a former plantation town.

On the outskirts of the Sonora Desert the Arizona Fall League will begin on October 10th. The Peoria Javelinas will feature quite a few standout Red Sox farm hands: Dustin Brown, Jacoby Ellsbury, Barry Hertzler, Kyle Jackson, David Pauley, and Chad Spann.

The one game the Red Sox played in October lasted only five innings because of the weather. It seemed to encapsulate the season on a small scale, with forces beyond human control predominating the proceedings. Injuries rained down on the squad and the downpour brought a merciful end to the season.

The scoring started early in the game with a majestic Mike Lowell three-run homer off the Coke bottles. In my head I imagined the bottle breaking open and showering the masses with carbonated beverage goodness.

In the third, the home team loaded the bases for Carlos Peña. Rookie pitcher Hayden Penn, unnerved despite having two outs on the board, walked the first baseman for another run. Gabe Kapler doubled down the left field line to empty the bases to render the score 7-0 just as the Patriots’ 2006 first round draft pick Laurence Maroney scored a touchdown against the Bengals.

Two other unlikely players launched home runs: Mark Loretta lofted his fifth of the season in the fourth and Eric Hinske propelled his first and perhaps only roundtripper in a Red Sox uniform in the fifth.

David Ortiz walked in the fourth. The designated hitter is the AL leader in homers (54) and walks (119), a near-perfect balance of power and patience but with a dash of walk-off panache. Doug Mirabelli pinch ran for Ortiz, giving the fans a chance to say farewell to the player who is their MVP.

Devern Hansack pitched all five innings and didn’t allow a hit. He walked a single batter and struck out six. Nature conspired against him, however, and the chance at a no-hitter was not in the offing.

Terry Francona understood the import of the fifth. He pulled Loretta and replaced the second baseman with Dustin Pedroia, who will most likely be the starter in that middle infield position. With two out and the rain drenching the park, Trot Nixon departed from the field, perhaps for his final time as the starting right fielder. David Murphy took position on the patch on the turf well-worn by Nixon’s cleats.

It won’t rain all the time
The sky won’t fall forever
And though the night seems long
Your tears won’t fall forever
Jane Siberry, “It Can’t Rain All the Time”

October 1, 2006


Game 161: September 30, 2006
Orioles (70-91), 5
Red Sox (85-76), 4
W: Chris Ray (5-9)
H: Lenny DiNardo (1)
H: Bryan Corey (3)
BS, L: Mike Timlin (8, 6-6)

It’s not so much the loss that upset me last night. It was uncertainty about the future.

Manny Ramirez was the designated hitter last night and he did his thing: two for three, walk, home run. His longball in the sixth inning cleared the wall with ease. Will this be one of his last appearances in a Red Sox uniform?

Wily Mo Peña followed Ramirez by getting a base on balls. Will the young slugger harness his untapped potential and possibly replace Ramirez in the lineup?

Trot Nixon doubled off the Monster and a hustling Peña scored from first. Would that be one of the right fielder’s last RBIs for the only team he has known?

Carlos Peña drove in a run in the sixth with a grounder just past the glove of the diving Brian Roberts. The Haverhill native, who was one the pinnacle of prospect lists, now is an itinerant infielder looking for someone, anyone to give him a sustained chance in a major league lineup. But he had his autumnal moment in a Boston uniform, something he probably never dreamt was possible. Where will he be given is fourth chance?

Mike Timlin came apart in the ninth inning. He relinquished two consecutive singles in the final inning, meaning he had to work out of a runners at the corners, no out jam. Has Timlin reached the end of the line?

Neither team seemed to want to win. Ramon Hernandez grounded sharply to Mike Lowell who checked the runner at third and relayed to Mark Loretta. Loretta was slow to relay to first, however, so again there were runners at first and third.

Corey Patterson, who had pinch ran for Miguel Tejada, didn’t manage to score from third on a passed ball. But Kevin Millar, who never lacks for enthusiasm, showed some spark.

The Orioles first baseman singled high off the wall to plate the tying and go-ahead runs. In most parks the hit would have likely been a homer. The galumphing Millar, however, ran into the second out of the inning.

David Ortiz pinch hit for Dustin Pedroia to lead off the ninth and very nearly tied the game with a mighty blast to center field. Will the Red Sox renovation crew build out Williamsburg further to catch more of Ortiz’s deep fly balls and provide more space for tomato plants?


Game 160: September 29, 2006
Orioles (69-91), 3
Red Sox (85-75), 4
L: Erik Bedard (15-11)
W: Julian Tavarez (5-4)
H: Craig Breslow (3)
H: Javier Lopez (6)
H: Keith Foulke (14)
S: Mike Timlin (9)

According to Jerry Remy, Kevin Millar planted himself in Terry Francona’s office and was drawing up a lineup card for the home team. If this is the lineup Millar devised, perhaps I do miss something about him. But he seems to share the same misgivings about David Murphy in the starting nine.

  1. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
  2. Mark Loretta, 2B
  3. David Ortiz, DH
  4. Wily Mo Peña, CF
  5. Mike Lowell, 3B
  6. Jason Varitek, C
  7. Trot Nixon, RF
  8. Gabe Kapler, LF
  9. Dustin Pedroia, SS

Millar brought his special brand of kooky crazy to the clubhouse. Julian Tavarez’s crazy is a shade more intense.

In the third inning with the bases loaded and one out, Tavarez took it upon himself to try tag out Brian Roberts by charging the keystone sack.

This was just seconds after Jason Varitek made a visit to the mound and time was still called. In fact, the backstop had not even made it back to the plate yet.

Even stranger, Tavarez actually called out Pedroia in his postgame press conference, implying that the rookie shouldn’t have been chit-chatting with the runners, because “that’s how they get you off your game.” The shortstop was asked about the incident and he did mention that it was his impression that time had been called.

As the starting short fielder, Pedroia turned a Nick Markakis grounder into an inning-ending double play. I hope Don Orsillo is working on his “Dustin Pedroia! D.P. for the D.P.!” call for next season.

Mike Lowell had an evening to remember. His 47th double of the season in the first drove in two runs and he plated a key insurance run in the fifth. He also elevated in the eighth to rob Millar of a potential extra base hit. Then again, it was Millar, so it probably would have only been a single.

These former Marlins are canny. In the fourth, Lowell attempted the “oopsie, I dropped the liner, I’d better go tag third, and oh my, does that mean it’s a double play?” trick, again. It didn’t work, again. Paul Nauert wasn’t having any of it. I think the umpires must have a special Mike Lowell workshop during Spring Training.

Kevin Youkilis doubled in the sixth and was in obvious pain as he lumbered to second base. The infielder moved more like a 20-season veteran than a 27-year old man who had just completed his first full season of play. Carlos Peña pinch ran for his platoon-mate in what is likely the hometown boy’s final series in a Red Sox uniform.

Another local hero, Manny Delcarmen, had a rough outing. The young righty loaded the bases in the seventh but was bailed out by sidearmer Javier Lopez. Keith Foulke and Mike Timlin combined for two perfect innings to secure the series opener against Red Sox nemesis Erik Bedard.

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