Category Listing
Monthly Archive
Baseball Reference
Red Sox Links

Recent Posts
Recent Comments
Essential Empy

Home » Monthly Archive » February 2007

February 22, 2007

Lefty & Righty: On the New Baseball Caps


“Lefty & Righty” is a blatant rip-off of respectful homage to the Onion’s Point/Counterpoint feature, but new and improved with the inclusion of Red Sox mascots. Today they sound off on the new polyester 59FIFTY caps set to be unveiled this season.

RIGHTY: Bowing down before the gods of political correctness, the MLB, which stands for Milquetoast League of Baseball as far as I am concerned, have done away with the tradition of wool hats and replaced them completely with polyester. I usually allow the shallow and image-driven liberals of this country talk about the latest trends, but this particular change I could not allow to go unnoticed. I’m far from a fashion plate — I’m a walking sock with a hat on, for goodness sake — but ponder for a moment what polyester is made from.

Yes, that bane of fashionistas, that ubiquitous fabric of the sartorially vapid 70s is a petroleum-based vile textile.

The hidden villainy is that these new hats increase America’s dependence on foreign oil. I won’t bore you with the science of it, but polyester is made from oil by-products.

Our game, already tainted by performance-enhancing drug scandals and juiced or doctored balls, takes another black eye with the promotion of terrorist-funded hats, and those snazzy new artificial bills aren’t big enough to conceal that bruise.

I know my colleague met with a bunch of whiny sheep activists and is retelling their tearjerkers. Those sheep are suffering about as much as when a metrosexual gets a pedicure. The sheer arrogance of these ungulates thinking there is a greater destiny than having their fleece crowning America’s pastime is distressing.

If wool is not reinstated as the official material of MLB’s caps, the terrorists and special interest groups have already won.

LEFTY: You might think that because wool fibers are natural that I would side with Righty. But, I’m here to tell you about the absolutely revolting conditions under which the sheep that produced the wool for the former hats.

These sheep would be rent from their parents and herded to remote farms without access to education or health care. They would live in the stultifying vacancies of pastures dotted in the remotest parts of the country. Their ovine cries of impuissance went unheard day after day, their minds dulled to the point of tedium by the unfulfilling lives they lived.

Would you like it if you were driven into an enclosure for the rest of your life, your body and head shorn at your master’s whim for the sake of the accoutrements of a game?

This is the unrelenting horror wool sheep faced.

I interviewed a few sheep who wished to remain anonymous. They are trying to rebuild their lives as best they could even though they had been repeatedly sheared of their dignity at such a young age. Said one doe, “In my dreams, I still hear the bleats of my mother as she cared for me.” She hung her head heavily and continued, “But then those dreams turn to nightmares. My mother is drowned out by the sound of metal doors slamming shut and the alarmed baas of the other lambs around me.”

The buck next to her comforted his distraught companion by nuzzling her muzzle, which was dampened by her tears. “We’re going to try and make a better life together, and give our children the chances that we never had.”

For the sake of these lambs, I heartily endorse the MLB’s decision to replace wool caps with those made of synthetic fibers.

February 19, 2007

His Two Schillings’ Worth

Curt Schilling impressed the large contingent of media members at the Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers, Florida this weekend with his conversational Japanese.

“I am very aroused to be pitching along your great wealth of a thrower, Matsuzaka Daisuke,” Schilling solemnly intoned. “Health and long life towards the hero of the Koshien. Banzai!”

Schilling even attempted to field a few questions in Japanese:

“Do you have a favorite Japanese food?”

“I like Asahi, similar to Daisuke.” The remark elicited laughter as a commercial with Matsuzaka chugging down a glass of the well-known lager was recently released. “I am an adventurer in many things but not foodstuffs. I’ll attempt sushi maybe if consuming it grant me skill to gyroball.”

“What is your blood type?”

“In the power-filled land of America we do not have to respond to queries that are concerning private life. I would be aroused to speak at you about the freedom of America to greater lengths.” (Schilling was unaware that in Japan blood type is considered to be an indicator of personality. “Definitely a Type O,” noted a reporter near me, “just like Matsuzaka.”)

“What advice did you give to Matsuzaka today?”

“Throw most strikes, learn the batters’ weak points, and hear all that hoshu Varitek talks.” (“Hoshu” is one of the Japanese words for catcher. Although there are some similarities between baseball terms in English and Japanese, there are quite a few terms unique to Japanese baseball.)

Later that evening Boston Globe reporter Gordon Edes noted his admiration for Schilling’s performance on NESN. “That takes a lot of guts, to address the members of the foreign press corps in their own language. They were very appreciative and applauded him.”

What Edes did not notice afterwards was how Schilling continued to hound the reporters and photographers following his question and answer session. “He kept on pestering me about how there should be less restrictive law about firearms in Japan,” Amiko Okuyama. “I didn’t want to be rude or anything, so I didn’t mention how I like being from a country where there is less than one gun death, suicide or homicide, per 100,000.”

Junpei Yoshida was similarly solicited by Schilling’s boisterous nature. “He was trying to get dial-in numbers for various sports radio talk shows in Japan. He synched up his Blackberry with mine for all my contacts. He was relentless.” The haggard reporter intimated he might request a different assignment in the US. “Ichiro can be a jerk, but he won’t be requesting interviews all the time.”

Numerous times Matsuzaka was asked if the large media presence discomfited him and he always replied with aplomb that he could handle such scrutiny. Perhaps he had the foresight to know that Schilling would not only be his mentor but his shield.

February 13, 2007

Pitcher, Heal Thyself

This is the third in a series summarizing the presentations from the Martin Luther King, Jr. SABR gathering. The next column will feature Red Sox executive Dick Bresciani.

Craig Breslow
“You will never be able to turn on a TV to see a game without thinking that could have been you.”

When you’re in a room full of self-avowed fans who revel in the lore and formulae of a sport, those who are actual professional athletes tend to stand out.

Not athletes like Craig Breslow. Breslow, a 26-year old left-handed pitcher, was of a modest stature and demeanor despite his accomplishments. He was given the advice to speak of that which he knows best, and he figured “the one thing about which I am an expert in is myself.” His undergraduate degree from Yale in molecular biophysics and biochemistry beg to differ, however.

While at Yale the lefty played for the four losingest seasons in the esteemed university’s history. Despite the squad’s record, however, Breslow performed well enough was drafted in the 26th round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002. So, the youth who had gone to college and happened to play baseball instead of playing baseball while happening to be at college found himself with a shot at living every boy’s dream.

After being released by the Brewers in 2004, Breslow had renounced the sport. He applied for medical school and was prepared to enter New York University School of Medicine in the fall when the San Diego Padres called.

Everyone but Breslow’s agent (of course) said he should go to med school. People in his parents’ neighborhood would ask about when he would open his practice so they could be treated by the neighborhood kid turned physician. His parents’ friends were “aging, and not so gracefully,” relying on him to do their hip replacements in the near future.

Facing the prospect of going back to the diamond or entering med school, it was the first time this young man found himself having to make a real sacrifice to play ball. He decided that school would always be there, but there is a small window to achieve success in the majors. So he would toil in San Diego’s system for two years, not entirely in vain. He appeared in 14 major league games for the Padres before his contract was not tendered.

He had been released before, so rejection’s sting was not as strong. He signed a minor league free agent contract with the Red Sox in January of last year and made his debut on July 16. In that game he struck out two, allowed one hit, and hit Frank Thomas with a pitch.

The Red Sox completely revamped the bullpen in the off-season, acquiring the likes of J.C. Romero, Hideki Okajima, and Brendan Donnelly. Despite the churn, Breslow remains in the mix for a role even though he himself admitted that he is “the most right-handed left-handed pitcher in baseball.” He won’t follow in the footsteps of his role model Trevor Hoffman, but it could be a while before a “Breslow, M.D.” sign is installed over the door of an office in Trumbull, Connecticut.

For more on Breslow, see Gordon Edes’s column about him and his friend Matt McCarthy’s parallel lives.

February 11, 2007

What the Truck

One thousand, four hundred sixty-seven miles to happiness. The trucks leave for Fort Myers tomorrow.


« Top « Home » Category ListingMonthly Archive


RSS Feed



  • Visitors to EE since November 2004
  • Boston Phoenix Best of ’06
    Phoenix Best
  • Blog contents, images, and design
    © 2004-2015 by Joanna J.M. Hicks.
    All Rights Reserved.
    Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law.