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Entries from Empyreal Environs tagged with “McDonald (Darnell)”

Small Talk

The top 11 things Jiana McDonald, Darnell McDonald’s daughter, has said this past week: Why did you have to cut your hair? Is it because Uncle Dusty called you “The Predator”? You said maybe I could work with YES, so I looked at their website. Why does Michael Kay have such a big head? It’s as big as Mr. Orsillo’s. Could I stay here in Boston so I can still be a kid reporter? Can Jenny come over for a sleepover? Daddy, when you hit 400 home runs can I interview you? Can I wear makeup? Can you ask Mr. A-Rod where he got his lipstick from? If I can’t be a kid reporter on NESN can I be a Navy SEAL? Why is Uncle Dusty all angry and trying to take off his cast? I thought if you did radio you were supposed to sound good. That Mrs. Waldman has a funny voice. How come you’re in the teeny, tiny clubhouse when we go to Fenway now? What is that picture on your cap, Is that a spider? Eww, get it away, I don’t like spiders. Game 83: July 6, 2012 New York Yankees50-32 10 W: Boone Logan (4-0)H:...

Edge of Seventeen

Seventeen innings requires seventeen haiku, each of which has seventeen syllables. Early home run byFormer Milwaukee playerMany beers neededChris Davis strikes outRain rapping on a tin roofRepetitive soundsIs this a repeatOf the first inning? Solohome run by HardyReynolds walks, home runBy Andino.The world isComing to an endMiller strikes out sideCan the Red Sox come back?Middlebrooks grand slamValentine should haveLet Miller keep on pitchingSecond guessing’s funGonzalez groundedInto the shift with two onEight men left strandedDropped foul pop errorBy SaltalamacchiaThen drives in a runAviles singlesBut is caught stealing afterSweeney struck out, bahKevin Gregg can’t fightWith Ortiz thanks to BobbyMcDonald DHGammons quipped, “ChavezIs designated bunter.”Franklin catches buntPedroia two-outBase on balls but GonzalezPopped out on first pitchDavis not onlyWhiffs but grounds into doublePlays, neat 3-6-3Middlebrooks rookieThrowing error doesn’t costA run. Lesson learned.Instead of endingAn inning Gonzalez justGrounds out leading offMistake and Byrd’s onAviles’s double landsByrd thrown out at homeMcDonald roughed upDavis pitches better thanHe hits. Ballmer wins. Game 27: May 6, 2012 ∙ 17 innings Baltimore Orioles19-9 9 W: Chris Davis (1-0) 2B: Adam Jones (7), Mark Reynolds (7), Matt Wieters (5), J.J. Hardy (5)HR: Hardy – 2 (6), Robert Andino (2), Jones (8) Boston Red Sox11-16 6 L: Darnell McDonald (0-1) 2B: Mike...

Arctic Expedition

Cody Ross and Darnell McDonald both donned balaclavas last night, looking more like Robert Peary trekking northwards than ballplayers. Dominican-born David Ortiz eschewed such frippery. The cold did nothing to Ortiz’s bat; the designated hitter launched the ball into the stands in the second to give his team a 2-1 lead. The Southsiders tied the game in the bottom of third thanks to the opposition’s miscues. Alexei Ramirez reached on a throwing error by Kevin Youkilis. McDonald made a run at Paul Konerko’s wind-affected fly ball to shallow left but it dropped for a single. Ramirez advanced on A.J. Pierzynski’s fielder’s choice to Adrian Gonzalez and then scored when Kelly Shoppach couldn’t come up with a pitch to Alex Rios that deflected off his mitt. Konerko broke the 2-2 tie in the fifth with his 401st career home run, but the Red Sox notched five runs in the following frame. Setting the stage, Gonzalez and Youkilis walked and Ortiz singled to load the bases. Ross, still looking like James Clark Ross, singled to knot the game 3-3. Fellow explorer McDonald lined a shot down the left field line that reached the wall and was deadened by a ricochet off the...

Flustered Flutterball

The Oakland Athletics repaid upon the Red Sox the violence visited them by the Yankees in the epic drubbing on Thursday. The typically feeble Athletics offense exploded for 15 runs, the most runs they have scored in a game this season. The only thing dazzling from Tim Wakefield was the sheen of his sweat; the knuckleballer was torched in his four innings of work, surrendering four earned runs. Scott Atchison was called upon to burn innings and lasted for three innings. The same cannot be said for Matt Albers, who gave up as many earned runs as Wakefield but in just one inning. Terry Francona tapped Darnell McDonald, who became the first position player this season to take the mound. McDonald had some fun with his fill-in duties. “Trying to throw strikes, I was a little wild early on. Couldn’t find my release point. You know, a couple more bullpen sessions with [pitching coach Curt Young], I’ll be ready for the playoffs.” David Ortiz, who blasted a solo shot in the fourth right after Dustin Pedroia’s home run, commented on McDonald’s pitching appearance. “It was cool, man, to see my man out there performing as a pitcher. Now he knows...

True Relievers

It’s a good thing that Erik Bedard is of the non-rioting breed of Canadian. The Navan, Ontario native had to cope with Tim McClelland’s rather unforgiving strike zone. All four of Bedard’s walks came in the torturous first inning which the Twins shot out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a sacrifice fly by Michael Cuddyer and a bases-loaded walk to Delmon Young. The Twins are a shadow of their usual second-half selves. Instead of mounting an attack on the AL Central they are floundering with a losing record and their past MVPs, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, in varying states of disrepair. Their rotation hinges on Francisco Liriano, last night’s starter who at his most brilliant is not the dominant force he was before his Tommy John surgery. His no-hitter on May 3 of this year, the first of the season, featured just two strikeouts and six bases on balls. There’s something more to the Bullpen Band than rhythmic tapping. They seem to exercise some sort of neurolinguistic programming on the Boston lineup so that the batters score late to give them wins. Alfredo Aceves has eight wins, more than Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz, who are both stuck...

Lester’s Left Latissimus

If you say that three times in a row while clicking your heels together perhaps the southpaw will avoid the disabled list. The Red Sox roster seemed subject to some sort of perverse algebra. Just as Carl Crawford is poised to return to action Jon Lester was forced from last night’s game in the midst of a no-hitter. Since he only pitched four innings he wasn’t in line for the win; he left with one base on balls and five strikeouts to his name. Offensive support came early and from an unlikely source. Darnell McDonald’s second-inning check swing ground out advanced David Ortiz from second to third and Jason Varitek’s clanger off the scoreboard plated the designated hitter. Ice-cold J.D. Drew scorched a grounder past second baseman Aaron Hill to plate Varitek. Dustin Pedroia clouted a home run in the third inning from the clean-up spot. Ortiz looked on from the on-deck circle and seemed to question his selections for his “Bomb Squad:” Jose Bautista, Adrian Gonzalez, and Robinson Cano. Matt Albers, Franklin Morales, and Daniel Bard kept the scoreless stranglehold on the game, allowing just two hits and two walks between them. But against Jonathan Papelbon the heart of...

We Have Liftoff

Yamaico Navarro launched his first major league home run in his seventh-inning pinch-hitting appearance. He acted like he had been there before, if by being there before one means he had hit 366 career homers like David Ortiz. Navarro’s bat flip wasn’t Papiesque by any means and his brief admiration of his home run’s trajectory wasn’t exceptionally egregious. But a rookie should know better. Payback likely won’t come in this series, but somewhere down the line Navarro may face J.A. Happ or one of Happ’s friends. When that happens and if the circumstances are aligned, Navarro might find himself with a pitch in the ribs or dropping into the dirt to duck a high and tight pitch. In the next inning Darnell McDonald clouted a three-run homer to the train tracks to make the score 9-3, a lead that was Bobby Jenks-proof. McDonald homered off Fernando Abad, whose last name isn’t pronounced in a way that would provide commentary on his pitching ability. Or at least Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy said Abad’s name in such a way so as to save him embarrassment. Adrian Gonzalez played in right field for the second time this season and the world didn’t...

The Price Was Right

Even though the Red Sox out-slugged the Rays in tonight’s game, the visitors knocked their singles with runners on base. Jon Lester allowed four singles in the fifth and three runs scored as a result. One the other side of the ball Darnell McDonald kicked off the third inning with a solo homer off the Sports Authority sign, Dustin Pedroia led off the sixth with a double (his first hit off David Price), and Jed Lowrie smacked two doubles. The problem was that only one of Lowrie’s doubles came with a man on base. Joe Maddon is often painstaking about defensive positioning and that diligent attention to detail seemed to work in his team’s favor. His infielders hardly needed to move from their spots as Red Sox batters scorched balls right into their gloves. Aside from McDonald’s home run the highlights were few and far between. Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy joked about Kevin Youkilis’s hooking foul ball and threw in a Charlie Sheen reference. Sure, Sheen is so March 2011, but credit should be given to the straight-laced Orsillo and curmudgeon Remy for keeping current. Orsillo’s tie resembled the cell walls of plants but obviously lacked chlorophyll. David Mellor,...

Bucking the Trend

Since assuming the helm of the floundering Orioles organization Buck Showalter has reversed the team’s course. Baltimore is 28-17 since August 3. Over the same period the Red Sox are 23-21, but more than a handful of the losses seemed like they should have been wins. The opening game of the this series was one of those eminently winnable games. The local nine tied the game twice. Hot-hitting Victor Martinez starched a single in the bottom of the first to plate Darnell McDonald and knot the run tally 1-1. In the bottom of the sixth the Red Sox had all the fixings for a home-cooked rally: Mike Lowell walked with one out and Jed Lowrie was hit by a pitch to push Lowell into scoring position. Bill Hall blooped in Lowell with a single to right. Lowell was able to reach home on the single because Nick Markakis clumsily tripped and bobbled the ball. Lowrie reached third on the miscue. Markakis’s mistake was countered by Lowrie’s baserunning blunder. On Jason Varitek’s strikeout Matt Wieters fired to shortstop Cesar Izturis to tag Hall, who was part of a failed hit and run. Izturis noticed Lowrie breaking for home and threw back...

Over Priced

It was like the old days in the Trop last night: Red Sox fans were louder than the Rays supporters and the visiting team came away with the victory. The irony is that Boston devotees are indirectly supporting the Rays. This is because the revenue-sharing scheme in MLB has luxury tax-paying teams like the Red Sox forking over money to small market teams such as the Rays. Compared to the Marlins and Pirates, the Tampa Bay franchise is the exemplar of how revenue-receiving teams should reinvest the funds they receive to improve on-field performance. As a follower of a team in the Rays’ division, however, I really would prefer that the Rays ownership were more like Bob Nutting and Jeffrey Loria. Although I was reeling from the news that Dustin Pedroia would probably be out for the year his teammates soldiered on. Jon Lester twirled seven innings, allowed only two hits, and struck out ten. The game was in the balance in the sixth when walked B.J. Upton to start the sixth and then allowed a frozen rope off Jason Bartlett’s bat for a single to center. Upton didn’t go all out around the bases and was surprised to be...

These Go to Eleven

Daisuke Matsuzaka and Victor Martinez seemed to be working together much better than they did during Matsuzaka’s streak of troubles. The battery fought through the Blue Jays’ three-run rally in the sixth to turn in two shutout, 1-2-3 innings, keeping the score knotted 4-4. Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon combined for three scoreless innings to get to the home half of the eleventh. Jed Lowrie, when not re-reading political theory classics introduced to him as a political science major at Stanford such as On the Social Contract or A Theory of Justice, hits game-winning home runs in extra-innings games in his spare time. No offense to Lowrie, but if you put him in street clothes he would be high on the list of least likely to be identified as a professional athlete. Like other political science majors, he should be bringing a senator some coffee or toiling away on an obscure blog. But Lowrie can swing a bat, throw leather around the diamond, and avoid slipping on home plate after launching a walk-off four-bagger and thereby suffering a season-ending injury, so he can avoid lackey tasks and carpal tunnel syndrome for a while. He’ll still have to deal with dirty...


Who knew Darnell McDonald picked his jersey number 54 as a mnemonic for his favorite windshield repair company Giant Glass? The outfielder’s third-inning home run cleared the left field wall and shattered the rear window of a Toyota Camry with Rhode Island tags parked in the lot next to Gold’s Gym. I hope he got Dennis Drinkwater’s digits; there has been no sweeter marketing synergy since David Ortiz named is son D’Angelo around the time he had a deal with the sandwich chain. McDonald’s four-bagger also broke the scoreless tie. The sheer spectacle of the shot even overshadowed Torii Hunter’s sensational snare of Adrian Beltre’s fly ball in the bottom of the second. Hunter reached over the Red Sox bullpen’s wall, nearly tipping into it as he robbed the Red Sox third baseman of a homer. Beltre was so upset he ripped off his helmet, not even thinking about how vulnerable it would make him to a head rub. Jered Weaver is the American League leader in strikeouts, no small feat for pitcher facing the loaded lineups in the junior circuit. Last night the hurler didn’t have his ace arsenal: 5 innings pitched, 6 hits, 6 earned runs, 2 walks,...

Not So Easy Lee

Darnell McDonald devours left-handed pitching. The splits say it all: .288 versus .262 batting average, a less striking difference in on-base percentage (.333 compared to .328), but a huge gap in slugging (an impressive .507 compared to .361). So it was not too surprising for the platoon player to come through in the first with a one-out double off the wall. Julio Borbon bobbled David Ortiz’s fly ball to center, allowing McDonald to cross home for the first run of the game. Kevin Youkilis followed the designated hitter with a nifty single to left, and as they had done to many a Cy Young award-winning pitcher such as Cliff Lee before backed their opposition into a corner early. Adrian Beltre grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, hobbling along the first base line, and the local nine did not have another baserunner until the fifth inning. John Lackey nearly matched Lee inning for inning until the sixth. Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, and Nelson Cruz sprayed Texas Leaguers about the field and Vladimir Guerrero refrained from swinging at anything in sight for a base on balls and the visitors inched ahead for a 2-1 lead. Lackey rebounded in the seventh against the...

Take These Broken Wings

And learn to flutter up the AL East standings over the molting Blue Jays. Toronto shed their early winning plumage in favor of the subdued hues of mediocrity they sport when playing the Red Sox. The Blue Jays have yet to defeat Boston this season but have been doing so well against the rest of the league that they remain a half a game ahead of the Red Sox in the standings. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched like the phenom he was promised to be when John W. Henry placed the highest posting fee ever for a Nippon Professional Baseball player. The starter struck out nine, walked none, gave up three hits, and gave up a single run over seven innings. Even Matsuzaka’s most vocal critic Jerry Remy admitted he enjoyed the starter’s improved, aggressive approach to batters. Blue Jays starter Dana Eveland carried on the tradition established by Brandon Morrow and walked more batters than he struck out. In the second inning Jason Varitek hit the sole home run off Eveland; playing part-time may have been difficult for the catcher to accept but the role has benefited him and his team immensely. Darnell McDonald had a smashing debut but has cooled...

Three-Headed Attack

This must have been the kind of win Theo Epstein imagined when he built the 2010 Red Sox: a superlative starter, a reliable reliever, and a shutdown closer combining forces to blank the opposition. What was unexpected is the summoning of Darnell McDonald and his impact on the team. The minor league free agent blasted his way onto the major league scene on April 20 with a game-tying pinch-hit homer and walkoff RBI single and since then has been a solid contributor. He led off the sixth with a stand-up double to the left-center gap, advanced to third on Marco Scutaro’s ground ball single up the middle, and tagged up on Dustin Pedroia’s sacrifice fly to center. The outfielder also drove in the insurance run in the seventh. Jon Lester’s seasonal pattern is a string of poor outings until a breakout game. His 7 inning, 1 hit, 2 walk, 11 strikeout performance might just be the switch that turns Lester from putrid to prodigious. Daniel Bard surrendered the only other hit for the Blue Jays: a soaring double to center off the bat of Alex Gonzalez. Cito Gaston pinch hit each of the next three batters, replacing the bottom slots...

Late Night Elation

Are the Red Sox a good team playing badly or a bad team playing well? Perhaps the team manufactures these dramatic late-inning wins so that they can draw Boston sports fans’ attention away from the playoff runs of the Bruins and the Celtics. Like so many games this season Josh Beckett conceded the lead early. The Rangers have an outstanding Josh of their own in the form of the reinvigorated left fielder Hamilton. His walk in the first led to the visitors’ first score and he singled up the middle to drive in the third run in the second frame. As he did in the opening game of the series Darnell McDonald provided the spark, this time by leading off the third inning with a walk. Bill Hall and Marco Scutaro then lined singles into right field to load the bases. With the count 2-2 J.D. Drew got under a hanging change-up and lofted the ball to right field, curling a home run around Pesky’s Pole. In the Nouveau Stade Fasciste the shot would have curved foul, but in Fenway it was a grand slam for the lead. As Drew completed the circuit Bruins winger Milan Lucic and Sabres defenceman...

Old McDonald From the Farm

What was the most memorable sound Darnell McDonald heard today? Torey Lovullo telling him to pack up his gear because they want him in Boston. While waiting to board a flight from Rochester to Boston, the amplified yet still indistinct voices of airport personnel counting off seating zones so achingly slow (The ticket says row 11 with an aisle seat, why is it Zone 4?). As the 1997 first-round draft pick made his way from triple-A to MLB for the fourth time in his career, what did he taste? Bitterness at first, perhaps, thinking of that week in July 2007 that the Twins gave him a shot and he went 1-for-10 over the course of four games. Or the sweetness of 2009 when he finally made a big league roster out of Spring Training. He had the opportunity to stay in the Reds system, but McDonald signed with the Red Sox instead. For a career minor leaguer even the off-brand airline snacks must taste like a meal from a Michelin-starred restaurant. Scents are supposed to evoke powerful memories, tied as it to a more primitive part of the brain, the limbic system. The smells from the sausage vendor’s cart near...


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