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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “Boston Celtics”

Verdant Victory

Ignoring anything that happened on field, this was one of the best games I have ever attended. I didn’t get to attend Opening Day in either 2005 or 2008 and will likely not be able to see the banner being raised later this year at the Garden, so this was a fine substitute. Before going to Fenway I stopped by the Garden to get some pictures of any finals regalia remaining. The New Garden: finally a worthy replacement to Boston Garden? Can litter make you smile winsomely? The Cardinals take some practice hacks....


Game 74: June 17, 2008 Red Sox 3 W: Jon Lester (6-3)H: Hideki Okajima (14)S: Jonathan Papelbon (20) 45-29, 1 game winning streak Phillies 0 W: Jaimie Moyer (7-4) 42-31, 1 game losing streak Highlights: Another thing Hank Steinbrenner and I agree on: Mike Mussina should pitch like Moyer. Just swap over to the sinister side after a lifetime of throwing right-handed. Easy peasy! Look, Lester can do it, too. Coco Crisp tried out his home run swing in another dainty National League park. The Red Sox center fielder has hit a homer in each of his last three starts; two in Great American and one in Citizens Bank Park in the second inning. Should Crisp and the Red Sox decide to part ways, senior circuit scouts take note.Good things come in threes: the last three starts by Jon Lester have been quality starts and wins to boot. This win brings Boston’s record in shutouts to 6-5 so far this season.Three innings remained in the game when I switched over to Game 6 to watch the latest incarnation of the Big Three dribble their way into history. Lately Kobe Bryant has been to compared to Alex Rodriguez as both...


Game 69: June 12, 2008 Orioles 2 L: Jeremy Guthrie (3-7) 32-33, 2 game losing streak Red Sox 9 W: Jon Lester (5-3) 42-27, 2 game winning streak Highlights: When a baseball game featuring a grand slam by the reigning World Series MVP, two home runs (one by the much-maligned free agent signing turned team pinnacle and the other by the homegrown All-Star), and a solid start by a pitcher with a no-hitter on his resume is but an appetizer to your town’s sports main course, you know you are blessed to live in the right place at the right time. When a beanie baby replica of one of your team’s mascots receives a mini championship trophy of his own, you know you are happy to share it with people as or more maniacal than you. What is it that makes a team great?One can recite examples from history, like Celtics of the 50s and 60s or the Cleveland Browns of the 40s and 50s, but such analogies often fall on unbelieving ears. Grainy footage of players unaided by modern, shall we say, nutrition and mega-contracts doesn’t impress the video game generation, a wave of kids who think they can...


Game 66: June 8, 2008 Mariners 1 L: Sean Green (1-2) 22-41, 2 game losing streak Red Sox 2 W: Justin Masterson (3-0)H: Craig Hansen (4)H: Hideki Okajima (12)S: Jonathan Papelbon (18) 40-26, 2 game winning streak Highlights: Since they both started on the same day again, here’s a comparison of the Red Sox and Yankees starting pitchers.Masterson: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 0 HR, WChamberlain: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, NDI’ll pay a little more attention to the Yankees since their two wins against the last-place Royals have launched them into a tie with Toronto for third in the AL East. This was the J.D. Drew Theo Epstein expected to get when he shook hands with Scott Boras in January of 2007. This sort of production and this level of defense may well be worth $14M annually.Drew was responsible for all the runs his team put on the board. In the bottom of the third Coco Crisp led off with a single that was not only the first Boston hit of the game but Crisp’s first hit off Erik Bedard in his...


Game 57: May 30, 2008 ∙ 13 innings Red Sox 5 W: Mike Timlin (3-3)S: Jonathan Papelbon (15) 33-24, 1 game winning streak Orioles 2 L: Chad Bradford (2-2) 26-27, 2 game losing streak Highlights: The Red Sox game started before and ended after the Celtics’ beatdown of the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 89-81. Seemingly out of consideration for fans of both Boston teams torn in loyalties, the Red Sox scored only when their crosstown brethren were not in action. Early in the game it looked to be one of those typical steamrollings by the Red Sox of the scuffling Orioles. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double to the opposite field and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Dustin Pedroia. David Ortiz manhandled Daniel Cabrera’s second fastball over the shift to plate Ellsbury.I had to look up “suicide squeeze” because I had no idea why Coco Crisp got caught three-quarters of the way to home with Alex Cora at the dish in the second. Earl Weaver, the best Orioles coach ever, Hallf of Famer, and proponent of the three-run homer would have disapproved of such a strategy. A team such as...


Game 48: May 20, 2008 Royals 1 L: Gil Meche (3-6) 21-24, 2 game losing streak Red Sox 2 W: Justin Masterson (1-0)H: Javier Lopez (5)H: Manny Delcarmen (6)H: Hideki Okajima (10)S: Jonathan Papelbon (13) 29-19, 5 game winning streak Highlights: Alex Gordon dismissed any possibility of a no-hitter by smacking a two-out double to the left field corner in the first inning, which was very thoughtful of him as we didn’t need another nine innings of drama. Masterson was workman-like in his six and one-third innings of work and struck out more batters than he walked by a margin of five to three. The one run marring his ERA was allowed by Manny Delcarmen on a John Buck single up the middle in the seventh. Okajima worked himself into a bases-loaded mess in the eighth, but Papelbon was able to tidy up the place, striking out three of the four batters he faced. Jerry Remy and Jeff Van Gundy are the ideal color analysts of their respective sports. Both provide sharp in-game interpretation while interlacing anecdotes from their lives in the sport in meaningful ways. Unlike Joe Morgan who believes that his Hall of Fame credentials grants him...


Game 46: May 18, 2008 Brewers 7 L: Carlos Villanueva (2-5) 20-24, 5 game losing streak Red Sox 11 W: Josh Beckett (5-3) 27-19, 3 game winning streak Highlights: Jim Rice was in rare form in the pre-game show. When asked about Jason Giambi’s gold lamé thong and his penchant for sharing it with his slumping teammates, he said, “I like my teammates, but I don’t like them that well.” The crowd chanted “We want Gagne!” as the score tipped heavily into Boston’s favor and the bullpen options thinned. Yesterday pitchers were handing out home runs like the sign-wielding evangelist on Brookline Avenue hands out pamphlets: indiscriminately but with determined vigor. For Milwaukee, J.J. Hardy, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Braun (twice) all added to Josh Beckett’s earned run average with home runs of various heights and lengths but all equally infuriating to the Texas native. On the home side, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and David Ortiz (also twice) notched four-baggers of their own. Beckett put on a clinic on how to allow longballs, and sophomore Carlos Villanueva and freshman Mark DiFelice took to their elder’s teachings well. In fact it was DiFelice’s first day of class and Pedroia stole...

Bamboozled by Basketball Officials

In Game 6 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics playoff series, Dick Bavetta, Joe DeRosa, and Joe Forte won, 74-69. The three teams return to Boston for a final showdown in Boston. I fully realize MLB umpires make their fair share of horrific calls, but watching NBA referees in action is akin to catching your local butcher placing his thumb on the scale. The officials obviously care more about following the dicta of David Stern than calling the game in front of them....

Going Green

Game 7s make me nauseated. I haven’t been able to collect my thoughts about last night’s blowout Red Sox win between worrying about the Celtics and supporting my friend’s soccer team Ipswich Town (who won but missed the playoffs by one point), so I’ll be writing about Saturday and Sunday’s games later on this evening. Go Cs!...

Jumping on the Bandwagon

The Celtics surged against the Hawks again last night in a 96-77 victory in Game two of the first NBA playoff series. Mike Bibby, who called Celtic fans bandwagon jumpers, came to regret his words as each time he touched the ball jeers rained down on him. When he came to the line the booing intensified and the point guard missed two of ten free throws. Perhaps the crowd didn’t get to Bibby completely, but his 12 points, single assist, and complete lack of steals didn’t compare favorably to Rajon Rondo’s 12 points, eight assists, and four steals. In the spring the green returns to the scene. Bruce Willis took in the game. Glen Davis had his hands full matched up against Al Horford....

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Thanks to some wonderful friends I am going to the Celtics game tonight. I’ll be wearing my Garnett player tee. It will be my first playoff game since the last game of the 2005 ALDS, but I don’t that fate will befall these Celtics. Pictures to follow. Also, hooray for DVRs. I’ll get to see Jon Lester (on just three days rest) start in place of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jed Lowrie replace Kevin Youkilis later this evening....

Less Than Million Dollar Baby

The Celtics played a tremendous game against the Auburn Hill Pistons last night, perhaps at last silencing sports pundits who have written off the team as untested against the league elite. Rookie Glen Davis broke through with a 20-point performance in just 23 minutes of play; he was also the highest scorer on either team. He’s the second-lowest paid player on Boston’s roster. I was at his first NBA start back on December 12 against the Kings. Clearly excited by the opportunity, Davis came out early to take warm-up shots that night. As soon as a “Big Baby 11” player t-shirt is available, I’m placing an order. Big Baby hit the parquet early. Although the scoreboard wasn’t updated at the time, this was Davis’s first start. Mike Gorman is laughing now, but little does he know he is the target of Kevin Garnett’s ploy. Is Greg Dickerson on Gorman or Garnett’s side? Who is on the other end of this surreptitious phone call? The power forward stalks his prey. Davis anxious to begin the game and oblivious to his teammate’s machinations. Garnett in range... ...and he successfully unleashes his attack on the hapless Gorman. Garnett congratulates Davis after their triumphant...


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