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April 29, 2012

Things Not Thought Possible One Week Ago

  1. Being on the brink of a winning record.
  2. A six-game winning streak.
  3. Daniel Bard having two wins, one in relief and another as a starter.
  4. Winning.
  5. Winning blowouts.
  6. Winning one-run games.
  7. Jon Lester winning a game.
  8. Ryan Sweeney the second-best hitter after David Ortiz (batting average .391, on-base percentage .412, slugging pecentage .594, and the hitter who scored the only run of the game).
  9. The bullpen only allowing one earned run in the past seven days (Scott Atchison on April 25 against the Twins).
  10. Alfredo Aceves pitching lights out.

Mark Twain memorably stated “one of the brightest gems in the New England weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it.” The same can be said for this year’s edition of the Red Sox.

Game 20: April 28, 2012
WinBoston Red Sox
10-10
1
W: Jon Lester (1-2)
H: Franklin Morales (5)
H: Vicente Padilla (2)
S: Alfredo Aceves (5)
2B: Ryan Sweeney (11)
Chicago White Sox
10-11
0
L: Jake Peavy (3-1)
2B: Paul Konerko – 2 (9)

April 5, 2010

Opening Delights, Opening Frights

The one, the only Pedro Martinez throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, hugging Johnny Pesky, and double pointing to Big Papi did much to wash away the schmaltz of last night’s festivities.

Many would point to Josh Sacco’s Miracle speech as exhibit one in the case against melodrama, but I think charged words foretelling the dissolution of an evil empire issuing forth from a cherub-like face was in its way subversive. Some fire in the belly of children who are fed pablum that passes for education programming is a welcome thing. That Sacco’s utterance of a somewhat risque word probably compelled dozens of dowdy biddies to pen letters expressing their stern opprobrium also delighted me.

I’m not sure whose camp I fall in with respect to fireworks; I love pyrotechnics but they are a spectacle in and of themselves, and furthermore baseball requires no further adornment. They were part of the presentation of the national anthem sung by Keri Hilson, who just days before forgot the words of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” With everyone ohh-ing and ahh-ing any slips by Ms. Hilson would be missed.

Steven Tyler slogged through “God Bless America” with one gangly arm slung around a young girl. It was just chummy enough to make one wonder who the lass was, but when she opened her mouth to harmonize it was clear that she was Tyler’s daughter. Not Liv, of course, but Chelsea.

Speaking of big mouths, Curt Schilling has joined ESPN Boston. He, Nomar Garciaparra, Karl Ravech, and Bobby Valentine sat behind a desk ridiculously placed in the foul territory near first. Red Light looked somewhat awkward behind the luminous monstrosity, but certainly when there are less people taking attention away from him he’ll be much more comfortable.

LeBron James schmoozed with and was schmoozed upon in John Henry’s box. It wasn’t enough for His Highness to get the regular luxury boxes. All so he could watch his favorite baseball team (Yankees) while he checked his Blackberry for any offseason updates on his most beloved football team (Cowboys).

In the middle of the eighth, Neil Diamond groggily emerged from the hot tub time machine fresh from a jaunt through Kings County circa 1957. The singer was proudly attired in the fashion of the mid-50s and, since he was always a man to wear his convictions on his back, his blazer blared, “Keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn.” After leading a stirring rendition of “Sweet Caroline” (even Nick Swisher joined in), Diamond lurched back to the time machine, setting the course for a time when his music was relevant.

Wait, so the hot tub time machine not only travels through time but spans the gap between parallel dimensions?

August 2, 2008

Ecstatically Helping My Friend Move

Scott Boras ecstatically helped his friend Manny move, since the agent would benefit from the brokering of a new free agent deal and would not have profited if a team exercised the 2009 option. Boras did convey Manny’s last ditch attempt to stay with the Red Sox, but the bridges were not only burned but rendered into subatomic particles.

You neglected to mention the vast left field
I forgot all about the lack of DH
Ecstatically collecting my 10 per cent commission

Inspired by the Dunkin’ Donuts commercial.

June 6, 2008

Little Girls Take Offense to Crisp’s Comments

Young girls across throughout Massachusetts were appalled by being compared to Tampa Bay Rays last night by Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp. Crisp was involved in a dust-up with the Rays in which he was tackled by Dioner Navarro. Akinori Iwamura, Carl Crawford, and Jonny Gomes then proceeded to claw and flail away at the subdued Crisp, who was pinned under Navarro.

In his post-game interview Crisp compared his fellow combatants to “little girls,” saying the Rays were “trying to scratch out my eyes” and “trying to pull my hair like little girls... [i]nstead of throwing some real punches or something like that�”

Elspeth Roeniger, a 13-year old student at Matthews Martial Arts in Medford, Massachusetts bristled at the comparison. “I’ve been taking classes for three years here and I can hold my own. I would never do anything as unsporting as scratch or pull hair.”

Fourteen-year old Sachiko Moreno of Roshankish Tae Kwan Do School of Martial Arts, also in Medford, echoed Roeniger’s displeasure. “Lots of people think girls can’t defend themselves or resort to underhanded measures in hand-to-hand combat. I can tell you most of the girls I spar with here have better form than that pitcher dude [James Shields, Rays starter].”

“Crisp had pretty good form,” conceded Moreno. “I just hope he stops comparing girls like me to those Rays because that’s pretty insulting. I’m a Red Sox fan and all, but when someone like him buys into stereotypes like “girls can’t fight,” it’s discouraging.”

Both Roeniger and Moreno stated they would be happy to demonstrate basic fighting techniques to the Rays so that they will no longer be an embarrassment to little girls across the nation.

April 13, 2008

Eleven More Legal Actions the Yankees Should Pursue

Besides considering filing suit against construction worker Gino Castignoli for placing a jersey in the foundation of the new Yankee Stadium, which other parties should the Yankees pursue legal action against?

  1. The red-tailed hawk at Fenway for copyright infringement on behalf of Challenger, the American Bald Eagle
  2. Majestic Athletic for manufacturing the offending Ortiz jersey excavated from Yankee Stadium
  3. Norm Abram, host of “The New Yankee Workshop,” for use of the word “Yankee” in a manner misrepresenting the franchise
  4. Mike Kittredge, founder of Yankee Candle, as above
  5. Cease and desist order to the State of Connecticut for the use of the song “Yankee Doodle Dandy” as their official song
  6. The 982 Little League teams using the trademarked nickname “Yankee” without permission
  7. Wilson Sporting Goods, for shoddy manufacture of Robinson Cano’s glove, causing his three errors this season
  8. Elmax Builders Supply Co. for the uneven basepath from home plate to first that caused Derek Jeter’s strained quadricep
  9. Rawlings, for poor construction of the baseballs that caused Philip Hughes to pitch badly on April 13, 2008
  10. George Lucas, for the creation of the “Star Wars” universe, which blatantly portrays aspects of the Steinbrenner family in a disparaging manner
  11. Vatican City, for excessive requirements surrounding the visit of Pope Benedict on April 20, 2008

November 13, 2007

Shorn and Forlorn

A warning to Mike Lowell:

Youkshaved

Damonbeforeafter

Kevin Youkilis cleaned up for charity while Johnny Damon did so for $52M. Another difference is that Youkilis has the option to wear his whiskers from April to September and conceivably deep into October.

Millar Copes with Life Post-Boston

Kevinmillar

Former Red Sox utility man Kevin Millar still has not accepted that he is no longer part of his beloved Boston club. His return to Fenway Park to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series propelled Millar into a fugue state where he believes he is still a member of the Red Sox.

While in this delusional mindset Millar agreed to be part of a “Where Are They Now?” segment on NESN. As the interview unraveled, however, it became clear that Millar had selective amnesia of his whereabouts since becoming a free agent following the 2005 season. NESN reporter Hazel Mae asked him numerous questions about being an ex-Red Sox, befuddling Millar. Instead, Millar opined on his preference for Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein to sign Alex Rodriguez since the exclusive negotiating period with Mike Lowell had lapsed at midnight. It was reminiscent of the brouhaha the player caused in the 2003 postseason where he appeared on SportsCenter stumping for Rodriguez over Nomar Garciaparra.

When Mae attempted to redirect Millar to discuss what life was like in the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse for the past two years. “Now, Hazel honey, I know you got this practical joke thing going with Tito, but this is taking it way too far,” laughed Millar. as Mae questioned him “And if I’m the one saying it’s gone too far, well, that’s really saying something.”

“So, where are they?” Millar demanded with grim laugh as he dashed from the interview and tore apart the Boston Red Sox locker room. “Timlin! Schill! Belli! You guys can’t hide from me.” Cameras followed the boisterous ballplayer as he searched through the training room, Jacuzzi room, and showers.

This was just the latest in a series of incidents where Millar demonstrated his ever-loosening grip on reality. Last month he showed up for the Rolling Rally through Boston celebrating the Red Sox’s seventh World Championship requesting his name be added to one of the duck boats. “I know I’m not in the MLBPA, but I still deserve to have my name up there with the rest of y’all. Just as long as I get a matching ring for this baby,” he said while displaying his 2004 ring to the police and security personnel who blocked his entry in the parade.

Millar was a replacement player during the 1995 players’ strike and was subsequently barred for life from joining the union representing professional baseball players.

Millar’s wife Jeanna has urged her husband to seek professional help to no avail. “I’ve just about given up. He seems so much happier now that believes he helped win their second title in four years. Before his break from reality he would give dates in relation to October 27, 2004. “Happy six months since we won it all!” he yelled after I gave birth to twins.”

Millar repeatedly declined to comment on recent events, citing his hectic schedule filled with post-World Series appointments such as a ring sizing session. “Funny how you can add on a few pounds over the years. Just ask my buddy Schill.”

July 6, 2007

Raymond Bares All

Raymond tries to show up Wally in his own house, but retribution is sweet for the Green Monster. His team swept the Devil Rays by winning last night’s game in grand fashion, 15-4.

July 4, 2007

Neshek Courts Skinhead, Yankee Votes

In the heated race for the final spot on the American League All-Star roster, Minnesota Twins reliever Pat Neshek urged two of his largest bases of support, skinheads and Yankee fans, to “rock the vote.” Neshek admitted there is sizable overlap between the two groups, but is unconcerned because fans have unlimited votes. “If there’s one thing my proponents are known for it is their zeal.”

Neshek characterized his campaign as one of two choices for those supporting truth, justice, and the American Way. “You got Kelvim Escobar, born in Venezuela and playing out there in that leftist hotbed California, and Roy Halladay, who was born in Colorado but chooses to be a turncoat by pitching for an entire nation of liberal pansies,” said Neshek as he summarized his opponents’ shortcomings.

“Jeremy [Bonderman] is pretty American, but I was born in Wisconsin, which was admitted into the United States 41 years before his home state, Washington, was,” conceded Neshek. “He plays for a city that is true blue, Detroit, so I find him an acceptable option should voters not select me.”

Neshek explained his particular enmity towards Boston Red Sox set-up man Hideki Okajima. “I really feel for that city, that whole state, really. It was totally victimized by Japanese car makers. That’s why I’m calling out for my biggest supporters to help me quell the surging of the yellow tide. I mean, they stole all our jobs in the Steel Belt, it’s obvious that the next target are the starting rotations and bullpens of America’s game.”

“Even though the Red Sox are always portrayed as a bastion of baseball tradition and history, they have sold out to the this internationalization of the game,” continued Neshek, drawing conclusions based on the Red Sox front office’s trends towards scouting Asia. “They’ve got a sign right outside of the stadium proclaiming their fans as the United Red Sox Nation. Boston stood the longest against forced integration and now the organization is kowtowing to the swamis of political correctness.”

When informed of the Red Sox’s recently announced alliance with the Chiba Lotte Marines, Neshek was visibly shaken. “This is how it begins, America. Are we going to be saying “baseball, teriyaki, empanadas, and Toyotas” soon? Stem the tide and vote American!

May 31, 2007

Let it All Out

arodshoutAlex Rodriguez parlayed his recent heads-up play to distract Howie Clark into an endorsement deal with SC Johnson Wax’s for their flagship Shout line of products.

Spokesperson Reid Harrison stated the company had no qualms about signing the Yankees third baseman to a multi-million dollar deal. “We figured we should strike while the iron is hot. A-Rod is as versatile as Shout products, and every aspect of his life will be used to demonstrate Shout’s utility.”

“There’s Shout Wipes to take care of those stains that happen while you’re on the go. Lab-tested to remove lipstick and other cosmetics,” Harrison said while giving a knowing wink. Rodriguez has been the subject of tabloid speculation of extramarital encounters both on the road and in New York City.

“Shout Trigger attacks those insistent dirt stain you can get while sliding hard into second base, and Shout Citrus Action, with an effervescent lemon scent, is perfect for cleansing and freshening the garments of a toddler, like the one Alex and Cynthia are raising,” beamed Harrison while displaying mock-ups of the Rodriguez family with various Shout products. In addition to his controversial play at Toronto, Rodriguez was also criticized for attempting to knock over Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia after a hard slide into second base.

When asked about the terms of the deal, Rodriguez declined to provide specifics. “I can’t tell you the many ways Shout keeps my family’s clothes clean,” he said. When further pressed, he stated, “I literally can’t tell you. Ask my maid.”

February 22, 2007

Lefty & Righty: On the New Baseball Caps

Leftyrighty

“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.

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!”

Papiwiffle1

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!

May 6, 2006

You’re Beautiful

Here’s wishing Alice Evans and Grace Needleman A Night to Remember, Under the Stars, probably in Paris, but Venice or Monte Carlo are also possibilities. They’ll be with their Forever Friends, where Romance Awaits, in Portland, Maine. Theo Epstein won’t be able to make it, but perhaps the pair will have a swanky limo ride or stunning corsages.

Prom

April 22, 2006

Lefty & Righty: On Transgendered Mascots

Leftyrighty LEFTY: Shortly after I became a full-fledged mascot, just days from being less than mote of lint on the knitting needle of my maker, I felt pressure from society to be a boy or a girl. “You have such pretty smile,” they’d say. “That must mean you’re a girl.” Or, “What a masculine chin you have; you’ll make a strapping young man.”

Things just aren’t so cut and dry these days. Mascots the world over are exerting their right to express or renounce the gender roles ascribed to them. The equipment you’re given should not determine if you entertain in a masculine or feminine manner. Really, what constitutes what is manly or womanly anyway? These characteristics originate in societal norms and perceptions and are not essential aspects of nature.

I think the best mascots traverse gender roles with a blink of their ostrich feather eyelashes. One second you’ll see the Phillie Phanatic flirting with an umpire and the next it’s ogling a female fan in the stands. (Hmm, notice how it is just assumed that an umpire would be male? Anyway, that’s another topic for another week.) Would anyone question the fitness of the Hall of Famer Philadelphia Phillies mascot as a role model for children?

On behalf of the Phanatic and other gender-oppressed mascots, I proclaim: “Philadelphia freedom!” From restrictive gender stereotyping, that is.

RIGHTY: God made men and women separate and different for a reason. Now people make a mockery of this symmetry with these polymorphously perverse mascots. In Cincinnati, this Gapper character traipses about the field. But what is it? Man, woman, something in between? It’s very undefined nature will rend asunder society as we know it.

If you go up to Milwaukee, you’ll see a real man’s man, Bernie Brewer. Down in San Diego, they have the Swinging Friar, another perfect paradigm of the properly demarcated and different positions men and women should have in today’s world.

We’re role models for children. It’s confusing enough to be a child in such perilous times. Predators lurk everywhere, from the dark corners of suburbia to the weekend getaway beaches. Have you seen the increasing rates of bear and shark attacks?

Indeed, it’s dangerous to be a child these days. Which is why we shouldn’t be distracting them by filling their heads with willy-nilly notions of it not being important if you’re a boy or a girl. Of course it’s crucial; how else will children know whether to seriously pursue a career like a man or learn the intricacies of housekeeping and raising children as a woman? Let’s save them a lot of needless stress and worry. Show them what they should be, not what they can be.

Lefty & Righty is a blatant rip-off of the Onion’s Point/Counterpoint feature, but new and improved with the inclusion of Red Sox mascots. Love it, like it, hate it? Let me know if you think this should be a regular.

Continue reading “Lefty & Righty: On Transgendered Mascots” »

March 24, 2006

Support Groups See Upsurge in Numbers

With the departure of sports icons Adam Vinatieri and Bronson Arroyo, support group facilitators throughout New England have seen a marked increase in attendance by bereaved fans.

“Usually there’s a slight increase around the time of Spring Training or when the Patriots do their annual salary dump,” said Shelly Lazaro, a facilitator of numerous Boston area support groups. “This year it has been almost untenable,” Lazaro continued. “We thought Johnny Damon’s departure was going to be the peak of intake, but we’re accruing more people than we can currently accommodate.”

Samantha Tearce, owner and administrator of the Vinatieri fan site “Adam’s the Apple of My Eye,” said her web traffic had tripled as word of the clutch placekicker’s departure spread. “As soon as I heard I set up a guestbook for fans to post their memories of Adam, but it became clear that some fans needed more assistance to endure this trying time. I linked to Shelly’s support group service. She and her staff have been an absolute godsend.”

Lazaro initiated several player-specific groups to oblige the needs of the public and coordinated the groups for larger gatherings. “I thought it would be good for the lovers of different sports to come together to explore their emotions in the aftermath of their loved ones’ leaving.”

“Those combined groups were so awesome,” exclaimed Trina Dugmore, a former Damon constituent who crossed over to Arroyo upon the center fielder’s departure to the Yankees. “I had no there were so many football and hockey hotties until I met with the other groups. There were even some Joe [Thornton] and Sergei [Samsonov] fans that were totally cool and taught me how to cope with serial departures. Now I’m a triple threat!”

“I know there’s some big stereotype that a good-looking player has only female fans,” said a long-time member of Sevier’s fan forum who asked to remain anonymous. “But that’s just what it is: a stereotype.” Holding back tears, Bedgegood commented shakily, “I made around $3,000 in the Super Bowl against the Rams. But it’s not just about the money to me. I stuck with the team and Adam even though the odds on the Patriots got shorter and the payoff smaller. It’s what true fans do.”

Devotees of Bronson Arroyo are particularly irked because he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Wily Mo Peña after signing a “hometown discount” contract with the Red Sox. Unlike Damon and Vinatieri who were free agents who chose to pursue bigger contracts with rival teams, Arroyo signed the deal with the hope to remain on the Red Sox. The right-handed pitcher appeared genuinely saddened to have to leave the city that embraced him. When interviewed about the trade, Arroyo said “[We’re] just pieces on the freaking board.”

Pamele Trehint, although an ardent Arroyo follower, took the trade in stride. “Dude, I’m so understanding the deal with sports being a business these days. It’s annoying, but I just take out my frustrations by writing. I have this humor piece I’m working on--Top Ten Things Bronson Arroyo Will Do in Cincinnati to Feel Better.” According to Trehint, number eight in the list is “Get a Sharpie® and write “Sox” after “Reds” on his unis” and number three is “Pretend Adam Dunn is Big Papi, only taller, heavier, and slugs less. And doesn’t smile as big.”

But other fans in the Arroyo support group take umbrage to Trehint’s easy-going attitude. “It’s just plain betrayal by the front office,” said Eddie Kretz. “Everyone likes to point out how greedy players are, but when a club doesn’t honor loyalty, no one’s busting down John Henry’s doors for quote about how he pinches pennies.”

Lazaro remarked on the passions of the sports buffs of the area, saying, “I thought it was rough during the championship drought, but now people are unnaturally fixated on individual players who were on title-winning teams. We encourage them to reach out to friends, family members, and the new players on their teams. We don’t have to go through this alone.”

“And now with this Juan González incident,” continued Lazaro, “I’m going to need to add even more resources.”

February 9, 2006

Truthiness and Baseball

Unlike the French, I am all for the the continual reinvigoration and evolution of language... within limits. This philosophy leads me haphazardly between my virulent mistrust of truncated instant messages (or, “IMs,” if you prefer) and mobile phone texting and my wholesale embracing of flashy neologisms. The English language, vast as it is with its Germanic origins and Latin enhancements, cannot keep apace with this modern world. Fortunately for us, pioneers like Stephen Colbert are here to help us forge a path through these eerie and unknown forests of syntax.

These days, the distinctions between hope and reality, news and spindoctoring, are ever more nebulous. “Truthiness” comes to our rescue. This toothsome word pertains to that which has “the quality of stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than the facts.” Although the word is new to us, baseball has indulged in fits of truthiness almost from its inception. Here are my top 10 instances of truthiness in baseball history.

  1. Baseball was invented spontaneously by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, New York. Tim Wiles’s book on the origins of baseball is an assault on truthiness.
  2. “I’m not here to talk about the past,” said Mark McGwire when responding to a Congressional subpoena but not to actual questions on March 17, 2005.
  3. George Herman Ruth had a tremendous bellyache the entirety of 1925 season.
  4. There was no friction between Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein.
  5. It’s 310 feet to Fisk’s Pole.
  6. “This is about me and the mistakes I’ve made. I can’t get into specifics because of all the legal matters involved,” quoth Jason Giambi when giving a 45-minute press conference in February of 2005. He did not say the word “steroids” once.
  7. When the Red Sox invited Sam Jethroe, Jackie Robinson, and Marvin Williams to try out for them on April 16, 1945, the club had every intention of honestly evaluating them.
  8. Players cashing in on free agency using every justification but money. Roger Clemens was being truthy when he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. It is a well-known truthi-ism that this particular Canadian city is closer to Texas than Boston.
  9. Every rule in the MLB book is justifiable; just ask George Brett about 1.10(b), which has since been repealed.
  10. That is Tim McCarver’s natural hair color.

Truthiness. It’s the new black--it goes with everything.

This piece was inspired by NU50’s worship of Colbert and Fiskian Pole Shot’s vast baseball memory.

February 4, 2006

Preferred Providers

The Boston Red Sox proudly announce F. W. Webb Co. as the official plumber for the organization. The team is also on the quest for “an official document storage company for the Red Sox, an official timekeeping device, and an official home security provider,” as stated in the Boston Globe. What the article did not mention is that the club is also actively looking for sponsorships in the following niche categories:

  • Beachball puncture product
  • Fertilizer (supplies have been dwindling since Theo Epstein’s return)
  • Dugout waste receptacles and spitoons (to minimize slipping incidents and reduce injury risk)
  • Dreadlock maintenance appliances and products
  • Signmaker (to sustain advertising targets for the organization)
  • Soil and warning track materials (zealous fans pocket said matter for memorabilia and the team needs a consistent supplier)
  • Security services (to curtail the theft of dirt from the field)
  • Packagers of soil and warning track materials as memorabilia
The Boston Red Sox expect to have a record-breaking season in 2006. The team anticipates providing its extensive and devoted fan base with a competitive summer and believe we will return to the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. To bolster this goal, the Red Sox have aggressively pursued alternate revenue streams to fund the fielding of a contending team for this season and beyond.

This release contains forward-looking statements that are based on management’s expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “believes,” and variations of these words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, which include but are not limited to projections of revenues, earnings, on-field performance, cash flows, and game attendance. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual future results and trends may differ materially from what is forecast in forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including, without limitation:

  • Ability of Keith Foulke to rebound from a trying season;
  • Curt Schilling’s further recovery from injury;
  • Work stoppages and other labor problems;
  • The production of Mike Lowell returning to pre-2005 levels;
  • Terry Francona managing the bullpen rationally;
  • Jonathan Papelbon sustaining the trajectory of his meteoric rise;
  • The continued deity-like capacity of David Ortiz to produce in challenging circumstances;
  • Regulation of Julian Tavarez’s mood;
  • The presence of competitors with greater financial resources; and
  • Resolution of Josh Beckett’s blister issues.

December 24, 2005

Making a List

Franconaclaus

Hey, folks! Hope you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Joyful Kwanzaa, and what have you. I’m not usually one to make a wish list of my own since I’m Francona Claus, but this offseason season being what it has been so far, I find a have a few requests:

  1. A backup catcher (Ha! Pulling your leg there. I sure as heck got enough of those.)
  2. A center fielder (Doesn’t necessarily need to hit leadoff, as number 3 below could do the same.)
  3. A shortstop
  4. Case of Dubble Bubble (Much better than that Bazooka stuff, I tell you.)
  5. Healthy knees
  6. A first baseman (There’s some guy whose name I forgot the entire 2005 season I suppose I could use. Perugina or something?)
  7. Cheatsheet to understand the areas of responsibility for Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer (Maybe some sort of flowchart?)

As Francona Claus, it’s my duty to distribute lumps of coal to those who have been naughty. Unfortunately, the list is longer than the nice list, that’s for sure:

  1. Johnny Damon (Last I checked, lying gets you put on this list.)
  2. Larry Lucchino (Loose lips sink ships.)
  3. Steve Silva (For the usual muckraking.)
  4. Dan Shaughnessy (Although I figured he uses the coal to fuel the media conflagrations he enjoys starting.)
  5. Kevin Millar (His slogans just didn’t have that same catchiness this season. Also, .355 OBP and .399 slugging.)
  6. John Dennis and Gerry Callahan (WEEI’s resident propagators of close-mindedness and hate.)
  7. Theo Epstein (You gotta grow a little thicker skin. Wait, you’re coming back when Lucchino bolts to the Nationals? Well, next time give us a little warning, will ya?)

I wish the nice list could be longer, but at least there is one:

  1. David Ortiz (Papi has come very close to eclipsing the popularity of Francona Claus. Ah, jeez, who am I kidding? He’s way more popular.)
  2. Janet Marie Smith, Vice President of Planning and Development (Lucchino gets all the face time, but Ms. Smith has spearheaded the Fenway Park renovations, including this offseason’s restoration of the seats behind home plate.)
  3. Red Sox bloggers (There’s no funnier, smarter, and devoted group to be found. I really learn a lot about how to second guess myself from them.)
  4. David Mellor, Director of Grounds (Sure, Edgar Renteria complained about the infield. But Dave oversaw the replacement of the field and installation of the new grounds sprinkler and drainage systems during last year’s offseason. He also led the incredible effort to replace the outfield after the Rolling Stones concert. It was enough to forgive any part you may have played in selling championship sod.)
  5. Matt Clement (Gutty comeback after that frightening accident in Tampa Bay.)

Merry offseason to all, and to all a good night!

December 12, 2005

Good Grief!

Lucchinowaits

DEAR GREAT THEO,

I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR RETURN. WHEN YOU LEFT ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT, YOU LEFT A HOLE IN THE HEARTS OF RED SOX NATION, SORT OF LIKE THE HOLES LEFT IN PUMPKINS WHEN THEY ARE TURNED INTO JACK O’ LANTERNS.

NO ONE ELSE BELIEVES THAT YOU WILL COME BACK. IN FACT, SOME DON’T EVEN BELIEVE YOU WERE A GREAT GM. BUT I KNOW YOU WERE GREAT BECAUSE I HELPED MAKE YOU. I WILL PATIENTLY AWAIT YOU IN THIS MOST SINCERE OF BASEBALL TEAMS.

YOURS FAITHFULLY,
LINUS LUCCHINO

December 9, 2005

The Dodger Dunces

Come and listen to a story about a man named Ned
Assistant GM, barely a thought in his head
Then one day by the Dodgers he was wooed
And soon he moved south, plumb full of gratitude

GM of the Dodgers, he is. Head honcho. The Big Cheese.

Well, first thing you know ole Ned’s full o’ hot air
Grady called and said, “Ned, we’d make quite a pair!”
Said “Californy is the place I oughta be.”
So he finally pulled Pedro and headed toward the sea.

Chavez Ravine, that is. Traffic jams, pitcher’s park.

Well, now it’s time to say goodbye to Ned and all his kin
And they would like to thank you folks for kindly droppin’ in
You’re all invited back again to this locality
Just don’t leave the park when the score’s tied at three

In the bottom of the 7th, no less. Sit a spell. Try and stay for a full nine innings.

Special thanks to Piney for inspiring this parody with her comment.

October 3, 2005

Carl’s Primer on Life

A is for Adam, who was not gay.
B is for Bible, which shows me the way.
C is for Creation, which God hath wrought.
D is for Demons, against whom I have fought.
E is for Evolution, a damnable lie.
F is for Fornication, an act I don’t deny.
G is for God, who rules high above.
H is for Heaven, a place I would love.
I is for Infidelity, a sin I abhor.
J is for Jesus, the man I adore.
K is for Strikeout, just 99 times.
L is for Lifestyle, some of which are crimes.
M is for Morals, in which I believe.
N is for Nature, from God we receive.
O is for Orangutans, not related to Man.
P is for Piety, a fine trait for Woman.
Q is for Quiet, when I am a parishioner.
R is for Rock, who should be Commissioner.
S is for Sauropods, whose fossils are forged.
T is for Temptation, my life’s greatest scourge.
U is for Umpire, good for head-butting.
V is for Victory, which will get me a-strutting.
W is for Wright, an architect I admire.
X is for Xanax, without which I perspire.
Y is for Yard, out of which I hit frequently.
Z is for Zealot, a name you could call me.

Inspired by this interview posted in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Yankees Want Say in Other Teams’ Postseason Rosters

Following the Angels’ defeat of the Texas Rangers on Sunday, several Yankee players and Joe Torre himself expressed their surprise over field manager Buck Showalter’s decision pull his starters early in the match-up. Michael Young, Mark Teixeira, and Hank Blalock were all pulled for pinch-runners in the 3rd inning with Texas leading 4-1. Anaheim rallied to defeat the Rangers 7-4 and earned home-field advantage in their upcoming playoff series against the Yankees.

“There’s a code of honor when so much is on the line,” Yankees shortstop Alex Rodriguez told the New York Daily News. “I mean, I don’t have to follow it, and neither do the rest of my teammates, but I expect other teams to do so.”

Other members of the Yankee organization also expressed their dismay and added that they expect some compensatory action in the postseason. “It’s surprising,” Joe Torre told The New York Times. “If his team was in the playoffs, I could understand it a little bit more. It’s just surprising he pulled them so soon. I’ll be making sure the Yankees get the proper show of respect in the ALDS, however.”

As a result of this slight, the Yankees have requested the right to determine the other teams’ playoff rosters. “It’s only fair,” continued Torre. “I’ve called [Terry] Francona, Ozzie [Guillen], and Mikey [Mike Scioscia] and sent them preliminary lists of who I want to see on their rosters. I even included some batting order suggestions to get them on the right track.” Torre then brought out a piece of Yankee stationary with a Red Sox lineup that had Kevin Millar batting clean-up and David Ortiz in the 9-hole. “Oh, this is for the ALCS... if they make it that far, that is.”

Torre then produced another sheet dedicated to the upcoming ALDS against the Angels. “See, here’s what I faxed to Mikey just now. I’ve recommended that [Vladimir] Guerrero get a breather for the next few games and that he sit Orlando Cabrera against Randy [Johnson].” Angels shortstop Cabrera hits the lefty at a .364 clip with an OBP of .481.

“We just request that other teams do what we ask in the name of good sportsmanship,” concluded Torre. “That includes making reparations for how shoddily the Yankees were treated in the course of Showalter’s game mismanagement this past Sunday.”

September 12, 2005

New Nike Ad Campaign

Arodjustdoit

Disappointed by the lukewarm response to their “Find Your Game Face” campaign of earlier this year, Nike has secured Alex Rodriguez as the primary focus for their next advertising push.

“A-Rod combines just the right mix of humor and intensity that strongly appeals to our primary demographics,” said a Nike spokesperson. “Everything he does seems to bring a smile to the faces of fans near and far.”

Nike envisions a line of accessories, such as handbags, to be launched with the A-Rod ad blitz. “That A-Rod is so hot right now,” explained the spokesperson.

Special thanks to Joe a.k.a. gerky for the image, inspired by this thread at redsoxnation.net (free registration required).

September 9, 2005

The Yankee Players’ Handbook Revealed

YankeehandbookIn this world exclusive exposé, EE reveals the workings within the sanctum of the New York Yankees’ clubhouse as described in The Yankee Players’ Handbook. An anonymous former Red Sox player who recently signed with the New York City club turned the tome over to EE. The player still felt a kinship with his onetime teammates and wanted to pierce the aura of mystique that shrouded the dynastic squad.

Edited by the team’s fabled captain, shortstop Derek Jeter, the handbook painstakingly details every aspect of bringing honor and integrity to the pinstripes. Every inductee into the Yankee brotherhood is required to study the writings of current and former greats so that they may better understand all that being a true Yankee means. The 523 page book includes the following chapters:

“My Rights and Your Responsibilities” by George Steinbrenner
“Fan Acceptance” by Roger Maris
“Public Relations: A Foolproof Approach” by Gary Sheffield
“Temperance” by Mickey Mantle
“Compiling Your Yankeeography: Lights, Camera, Action!” by Alex Rodriguez
“Leading a Championship Team” by Don Mattingly
“Memorabilia Marketing and You” by Ruben Rivera
“Time Flies: Leaving the Game with Grace” by Bernie Williams
“Concise Public Speaking” by Yogi Berra
“Hats Off: Curtain Calls for the Uninitiated” by Jorge Posada
“Avoiding the Pox” by George Herman Ruth
“Pharmacogically Speaking” by Jason Giambi
“Towards Job Stability” by Billy Martin
“Good Grooming” by Joe Pepitone
“Harmonious Marital Relationships” by Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson

To understand the driving philosphy of the Yankees organization, key excerpts from notable chapters of the handbook are now accessible for the first time to non-Yankees.

From “Temperance”

“Growing up in Oklahoma you get a solid foundation for your life. You get to know the difference between right and wrong, plain as the nose on your face. Out there you learn that the quickest way south is through the mouth of the bottle.”

From “Compiling Your Yankeeography”

“Lighting is an important but often overlooked aspect of video production. Proper lighting can make or break your Yankeeography. Even the stunning Greta Garbo knew the importance of lighting and had a favorite cinematographer, William Daniels, work on her films whenever possible. A list of lighting technicians, all with fabulous references, accompany this article.”

From “Time Flies”

“Some have cited Jim Brown, Barry Sanders, and Lance Armstrong as their role models for knowing when to leave the game. But I say there is honor in lingering for as long as you are able. As a true Yankee, anything you accomplish on the field is matchless.

“If you are a real competitor, you face every adversity, including diminishing skills, without concern. Play despite what the naysayers spout in their envy. They are only trying to rob you of your final moments of glory that you so richly deserve as a member of the greatest franchise of all time.”

From “Hats Off”

“Other clubs reserve the curtain call for extraordinary feats. I’m here to tell you that because you are a Yankee, your every action is worthy of the highest exaltation. When you sacrifice fly your teammate from second base to third in the 4th inning with no one out with the opposing team leading 18-1, you should take a curtain call. You must tip your hat to your adoring minions. For you are a Yankee, and your every movement is imbued with an inimitable elan. You are entitled to bathe in the light of your unparalleled splendor.

“For you are a Yankee, and it is your birthright.”

From “Avoiding the Pox”

“A good thing to look for is the presence of things that look like blisters on the palms, soles, and scalp. You can usually give a lady a good once-over when you first meet her. Hold her hands in yours and check for these blisters. Say something to make her swoon. She should avert her eyes out of modesty, and at that moment you may check for the same telltale blisters under her hair.

“The saying that Ben Franklin left with us is undeniably true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

From “Good Grooming”

“Many haircuts are acceptable, as long as they are tidy. Extreme, eccentric, or trendy haircuts are not permitted. Should you use dyes, tints, or bleaches, they must result in natural hair colors. Colors that detract from a professional appearance are strictly prohibited. In order to maintain presentability, always carry a blow dryer and hair spray so that you are kempt at all times.

“Facial hair is not allowed, except mustaches which do not extend past the ends of the players mouth. If the player does have a mustache, it must be trimmed neatly above the lip with no stray whiskers.”

August 16, 2005

The Inaugural Class

Like the inaugural class of the Baseball Hall of Fame enshrined in 1936, the names of the members of the first class of the Mascot Hall of Fame will forever be intoned with the utmost respect and admiration. The Famous Chicken, Go Gorilla, and the Phillie Phanatic were inducted into the hall today and will stand for all time as the standard against which every mascot will be judged.

Plaquechicken

Plaquegorilla

Plaquephanatic

August 10, 2005

Yankees Expand Entertainment Options

Inspired by Scott Harper, the risk-taking teen who flung himself from the upper deck of Yankee Stadium into the netting behind home plate, Stanley Kay, Director of Entertainment for the AL New York baseball club, has initiated a new and enterprising amusement option for fans. Called “HomeBASE,” the new program will allow Yankee fans to take leaps from various spots around the house that Ruth built.

“We understand that watching the Yankees play lately has been about as palatable as eating a hot dog from a player’s jock, although it’s been said that Michael Kay might enjoy that kind of thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. No relation, by the way,” said Stanley Kay. “So, we’ve created HomeBASE, an exciting new program to get the fans back into Yankee baseball through adrenaline addiction.” BASE stands for building, antennae, span, and earth, the four types of places from which jumpers spring, either into netting or with a parachute. “The Yankees are trying to bridge the gap between baseball and other emerging sports, and HomeBASE is they way we will do it,” continued Kay. Participants in the program will purchase a HomeBASE passport and get a stamp for each jump they complete. Fans will be able to leap from the upper deck into the netting, as Harper did, as well as from the flagpole with the Boston flag, which signifies that team’s position as American League East division leaders, and the famed white facade into the batter’s eye black seats in center field. Should these initial launching points prove popular, the program will expand into other, more extreme options. “Let’s just say that the heights we’re thinking of might even scare Challenger the eagle,” hinted Kay.

Doug Behar, Director of Stadium Operations, worked closely with Kay to engineer the program. “Every position has been completely tested for safety and quality to ensure a first-class jumping experience. Which is more can be said for the play on the field.”

Longtime Yankee fan Jay Van Winkle was enthused about HomeBASE. “That is so totally cool. Yankee Stadium was awesome before, with all the sound effects and stuff, but hurtling through space while the “Cotton Eye Joe” rings through the air--that’s awesome. There’s nothing like this at Fenway, man. 26 to 1!”

Dumbyankeefan

August 5, 2005

Succeed With Sheffield

GarysheffieldbookGary Sheffield, a major league outfielder for six different teams in his 17-year career, recently launched a book tour to promote his new book, Leadership Secrets of Gary the Chef. The book, written with the assistance of Rufus Williams, Ph.D., is a distillation of Sheffield’s clubhouse wisdom. The slugger is renown for his candid views on the Yankees organization, their current malaise, and his teammates.

The book succinctly summarizes Sheffield’s opinions on a wide range of topics, from the media to respecting the opposition:

On Leadership: “I know who the leader is on the team. I ain’t going to say who it is, but I know who it is. I know who the team feeds off. I know who the opposing team comes in knowing they have to defend to stop the Yankees.”

On Endorsements: “Why shouldnt I tell the truth? I aint trying to get no Pepsi commercial.”

On Chemistry: “This is the first team I’ve been on where no one sits at their locker. It’s where you build your chemistry from, how you get to know each other, just talking about life. I’m used to having six chairs around me, but here if there are six chairs, then there’s going to be 20 reporters around me.”

On Sacrifice: “Thats not happening. I tore up my shoulder, I tore up a knee. Im not doing that again.”

On the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox: “
They’re a walking disaster. They act like they’re tough, how they care so much about winning, but it’s all a front. They’re just a bunch of characters.”

Leadership Secrets of Gary the Chef will be available in bookstores beginning September 9, 2005, the day of the opening game of the last series against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium this season. He will autographing copies of his book prior to the game. Sheffield’s management kindly requests that his fans do not ask for photographs and that they make no sudden movements.

June 30, 2005

Pinstriped Pugilists

How you wish you were in the Yankee clubhouse for this fracas of the infielders, don’t you? Thanks to the miracle of chat technology and fevered imaginations, 12eight in collaboration with EE is pleased to present to you a recreation of June 20’s events in vibrant, living color:

Rodriguez walks by Jeter’s locker, mumbling something about his errant throw. The shortstop tells him to perform something physically impossible, and Rodriguez responds by slapping at him with his Prada handbag. Jeter marshals the Mystic Powers of the Intangible.

“You hit me with your purse, you bitch!” he yells, but then collects himself, knocking Rodriguez backwards with the Calm Eye Glare.

The so-called best player in baseball retaliates with the fake look of intensity at the plate, turning up his nose and squinting. “I’ve been up since 5:30 AM working out. What do you have to say to that, Mr. Overrated?”

Jeter is momentarily set off balance, but recovers with the Fist Pump of Empty Victories. Responding to his opponent’s renewed vigor, Rodriguez grabs the bat he used to hit his 400th home run from its climate-controlled display case and swings low; Jeter dodges with an exaggerated crouch.

A diamond-encrusted mobile phone rings. Rodriguez answers his $90M phone and is momentarily distracted with a call from one of his therapists. Jeter takes to opportunity to dramatically yet needlessly dive into the nearby covey of reporters and retrieves the 1999 World Series trophy. The Aura of the trophy blinds the third baseman. Bernie Williams throws his captain his ill-gotten Gold Glove, which Jeter uses to spank Rodriguez.

“That’s for questioning my authority, you prima donna!”

The prostrate Rodriguez records a voice memo to himself on his mobile phone, “Had a dream about something like this; discuss with therapist.”

June 8, 2005

People In Therapy Traumatized by Association with Rodriguez

Katie Norworth, a 24-year old Red Sox fan attending therapy for the past two months due to her divorce, was coping fine with the so-called stigma of psychotherapy. Norworth was making progress in her sessions until she heard that Alex Rodriguez was a proponent of mental healthcare. “It was all going good until I heard that A-Rod went to therapy, too. Who wants to be doing the same thing as that self-proclaimed ‘best player in baseball’ with the bush league attitude? I was enjoying getting out of some work because of my appointments, but if the cost is being like Slappy [a nickname for Rodriguez], forget it.”

Contrary to his intentions, Rodriguez’s actions have done little to heighten the esteem of therapy patients. “Maybe this psychotherapy thing is all a sham, then,” said 33-year old Wilhelm Ono. “I mean, Rodriguez is a total phony. I can’t imagine anything he’s endorsing is legit. In fact, I’m canceling my shrink appointment right now. Maybe there is something to that trepanation thing my friend was telling me about.”

Michael Faenza, president and CEO of the National Mental Health Association, is concerned about the recent backlash against Rodriguez. “At first, we were thrilled about Rodriguez’s purported advocacy. But, it seems that he turns off a large proportion of the population that requires therapy: Red Sox fans. To be certain, you might think there is a diminished need after the championship, but many fans seek out therapists to talk with because those are the only people that will listen to their recaps of the 2004 postseason over and over and over again.”

Cynthia Rodriguez, the Yankees third baseman’s wife, defended her husband’s impact. “I know where he came from and I know his background and seeing how successful he is as a man, as a husband, as a friend, it really hits home with me. It’s because of therapeutic intervention that he’s been able to discover and flourish as a person. Everyone wishes they were as great as him; it’s a very difficult life, you know, being the idol of billions of people around the world. These nutcases should be happy he’s speaking up for them.”

April 20, 2005

Paws for Thought

PawsoxpairThe jet set life of baseball mascots may seem like a world of luxury and glamor. I sat down with Paws, the mascot for the Triple A affiliate Pawtucket Red Sox, and his wife, Sox, to learn the truth about life behind the masks. They dispelled some of the myths built around being baseball novelty acts and offered their views on recent mascot happenings.

EE: Paws, you’re coming up on your 6th birthday this season. That’s 18.849 in human years. Tell me, what changes have you seen in your time?

Paws: Well, I has brought on to make McCoy Stadium and the Pawsox an affordable, family-friendly venue. With the skyrocketing prices at Fenway Park, Ben Mondor wanted to give families a price-conscious alternative. They have the Longest Game thing going, but they wanted something the kids could relate to, and that’s where we come in.

EE: How did you two meet?

Sox: I had been with Norton over at the Roger Williams Park Zoo for a while, but that relationship was going nowhere. Finally, April last year he just up and moved to Detroit. He had this “founder bear” obligation, so he’s very much in demand. Then Paws came along...

Paws: And I gave her the pawticular attention she craved.

Sox: Yep, I really have to hand it to him, I was pawsitively smitten.

Sox and Paws: (Laughter)

Sox: I love puns.

EE: Apparently. So, who are some of your mascot heroes? Characters that you look up to?

Sox: You know, I don’t think mascots should be idolized. We put our pants on, well, those of us who wear pants, the same way any other person, or anthropomorphic creature does. And that’s one leg, or equivalent appendage, at a time. I don’t want to be put on a pedestal. I’m just here to help promote the brand and maybe sell a few pieces of memorabilia.

Paw: Yeah, you look at Wally, how the fame has worn him down. It’s sad. He had it all, really, but it was empty. Private jets, fancy food, the nightlife. He could look at any woman, mascot, human, whatever, and know that he had her. All it took was a little eye contact and a suggestive head tilt. But in the minor leagues, you never get blinded by the spotlight. You bring the fans into the spotlight with you.

EE: The most difficult part about being a mascot?

Paws: Making little kids cry. I was talking to one of the players about this one time, that tall guy.

Sox: Dan something...? Don McCaffrey...?

EE: Dave McCarty?

Paws: Yeah, yeah, him. My overly large head and outsized eyes are supposed to inspire the nurturing instinct in humans, acting on people’s urge to adore neotenic beings. But little kids just see me as a competing threat for their parents’ attention. It’s a double-edged sword. Dave’s a weird fellow, isn’t he?

EE: Just a bit. Well, thanks to both of you for spending time with me today. Best of luck with the rest of the season.

Paws: It was our pleasure.

Sox: Not a problem. And don’t forget the fireworks spectactular on Friday, April 29th following our game against the Red Barons!

April 8, 2005

Behind the Scenes at the Fever Pitch Première

FeverpitchsignDramatis Personae
Drew Barrymore, the girl that was in E.T. Oh, yeah, and now she’s in Fever Pitch.
Tom Carron, resident NESN geek
Johnny Damon, CF and spotlight-adorer
Jimmy Fallon, “actor” and “comedian”
Hazel Mae, NESN SportsDesk anchor
Michelle Mangan, newly wedded to Johnny Damon
Kathryn Nixon, wife of Trot
Trot Nixon, RF
Curt Schilling, RHP
Shonda Schilling, wife of Curt and scarfbearer
Dawn Timlin, wife of Mike
Mike Timlin, RHP
Jason Varitek, C with the “C”
Karen Varitek, wife of Jason

The Scene
April 6, 2005. Fenway Park. The red carpet for the première of the movie Fever Pitch.

HAZEL: Here’s the lovely new wife of Johnny Damon, Michelle. Michelle, who did your dress? Versace?

DAMON: [Pushes MANGAN aside.] I have this new, uh, book coming out. It’s called Idiot. I’ll be doing a signing at Borders on....

MANGAN: [Nudges in front of DAMON.] Well, actually, no Hazel. It’s Armani.

HAZEL: I love how it drapes, simply fabulous.

CARRON: Wait... is that the Sumptuous Shonda’s music I hear?

[S. SCHILLING walks down the red carpet, myriad scarves wafting behind her.]

S. SCHILLING: Michelle, I have an issue with your and your media whoring husband.

FeverpitchdamonsMANGAN: Media whore?! Why, look who’s talking, Mrs. Endorse Bush the Day After the World Series victory?

S. SCHILLING: Strong words. I’m surprised they can come out of your face, you’ve had so much work done on it.

MANGAN: Your pert little nose doesn’t exactly look like it was granted by Mother Nature, either, honey.

[S. SCHILLING strides menacingly towards Mangan, scarves clasped in hands as if to garrote MANGAN.]

T. NIXON: All right! Girl fight! Kathryn, go join in. You’ll kick all those girls’ asses.

K. NIXON: I won’t degrade myself in such shenanigans. Besides, I have to run the marathon soon.

T. NIXON: Aww, come on. Look, Timlin’s wife Dawn is doing it, and she’s going to run, too.

[T. NIXON gestures towards D. TIMLIN, who has K. VARITEK in a Full Nelson.]

DAMON: Hey, this scene, it, uh, reminds me of this story I tell in my book. There was this three-way, and, uh....

M. TIMLIN: Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard this story. [Yells towards D. TIMLIN.] Go for it, Dawn honey, you almost got her! Pin her! Pin her!

J. VARITEK: Five bucks that Karen gets the better of your wife.

M. TIMLIN: You’re on. Get ready to pay up, cappy.

C. SCHILLING: Ten clams that Shonda beats the crap out of everyone.

DAMON, M. TIMLIN and J. VARITEK: [Simultaneously.] No bet.

M. TIMLIN: [Back towards DAMON.] You talk about it all the time. You tell the story to everyone in the center field bleachers. I hear you every game, I’m in the bullpen. Why don’t you just set up a stand and sell copies in the Triangle?

DAMON: Not a bad idea, Timlin. So, uh, look for my bookstand under the 420’ marker in the Triangle....

HAZEL: [Turns microphone away from DAMON.] Thanks very much, Johnny. Hey, there’s Drew Barrymore. Let’s try and see if we can flag her down. Drew! Drew!

FeverpitchfallonBARRYMORE: [Giggles.] Oh my God, I just love Boston. This is my love letter to the city. [Jumps onto dugout roof, flashing the crowd.] Love that Dirty Water!

DAMON: [Chases after BARRYMORE.] Hey, Drew. How you doin’?

HAZEL: Um, thanks, very much, Drew. [Spots FALLON.] Jimmy! Jimmy! A word?

FALLON: [Giggles.] Oh my God, I just love Boston. I mean, I was born in Brooklyn and the thought of eating New England clam chowder makes my skin break out in hives, but I just love this town. I feel like I’m really part of Red Sox Nation.

[S. SCHILLING grabs a bat weight, ties a scarf to it, and fashions a makeshift flail-like weapon.]

S. SCHILLING: You guys aren’t real fans! You desecrated the field where the first Red Sox World Series Championship in eighty-six years was won.

[S. SCHILLING takes out BARRYMORE and FALLON with her MacGyvered device.]

CARRON: Oh, the humanity...!

March 24, 2005

Patching Things Up

OpeningdaypatchYou’ve probably bought the jerseys with the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series patches. What’s one more? When I got the e-mail showing Red Sox Opening Day Commemorative Collection, I just had to stare and marvel. It required the shaking of the head, the blinking of the eyes, and the pinching of the back of the hand to confirm, again, for the millionth time, that this is indeed sweet reality.


OpeningdaypatchyankeesAfter luxuriating in being the defending World Champions, I then felt badly that the Yankees didn’t have their own patch memorializing their valiant efforts. I’ve made one for them. They’ll be able to look back at their spectacular finish in the ALCS and remember how close they were to getting into the World Series. All those times they were on the threshold in games 4, 5, 6, and 7. Oh, that’s right, they were never close in the 7th game.

March 12, 2005

Mean Acres

Mean Acres is the place for me
Bronx livin’ is the life for me
Shots spreadin’ out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me some place to hide

New York is where I’m going to stay
I get annoyed without high pay
I just adore a penthouse view
Schilling, I love you, but give me River Avenue

MeanacresjohnsonThe whores!
The scores!
Cut hair!
Times Square!

Hello to strife
Good bye, desert life
Mean Acres, I are there

With apologies to Vic Mizzy.

This is sort of Dirt Doggish, isn’t it? Sorry about that. Hey, I also heard that Randy Johnson is getting into the culture that New York has to offer. He likes Christo and Jean-Claude’s The Gates because the orange color reminds him of high visibility hunting gear.

March 8, 2005

Dirt Dog Shocked

During a routine morning walk, famed Boston sportswriter Dirt Dog was electrocuted when he traversed a portion of pavement charged by an exposed NStar Electric lamppost. Unlike the recent incident that caused the death of a year-old boxer named Cassius, the Internet personality survived the incident and is recovering in an area hospital. His condition is listed as stable.

Doctors attending Dirt Dog do not anticipate long term damage at this time, but indicate that he may experience the following symptoms until recovering:

  • Pains, headaches, tremors, weakness, sweating, fainting
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Deafness, visual disturbances
  • Insomnia, nightmares, panic attacks
  • Intrusive memories, nervousness
  • Feelings of powerlessness, worthlessness, irritability
  • Feelings of aggressiveness
  • Sexual disturbances
  • Feelings of alienation, depression, and guilt

“He’s slowly coming around to his usual self,” said an unnamed, unverified source possibly named Jennifer or Jessica. “I heard him mumbling about Nomar Garciaparra being the best Red Sox shortstop of all time and lauding Pedro Martinez for his charitable work in the Dominican Republic. He’s obviously experiencing extreme dementia at the moment. I fully expect him to rebound and continue to be the voice of all the diehard fans out there.”

Attorneys for Dirt Dog are expected to demand a $17.5M settlement from NStar. “It’s a symbolic amount, being the salary of Pedro Martinez in 2004. Dirt Dog was instrumental in exposing Martinez as the selfish, preening prima donna he is, and NStar is possibly depriving his audience of future breaking and substantive news. We believe this amount is representative of Dirt Dog’s vast, historic, and lasting contribution to the Boston baseball club and its fandom.”

NStar would not comment on any aspect of the settlement negotiations.

February 20, 2005

Varitek Accepts Captaincy’s Challenges

RikertekThis season, Jason Varitek will be the first Red Sox captain since 1989 and only the fourth since 1923. When he resigned with the team in December of 2004, the team unexpectedly conferred this rank on him. It was the granting of a title that many believed he already held.

With pitchers and catchers reporting to Fort Myers for spring training, the new captain faced questions about his additional duties. “It’s a very big honor, but my role isn’t going to be any different,” he said. “It’s the same responsibilities I’ve always had. My most solemn oath is that I will give my life, even the lives of my entire crew, rather than violate the Prime Directive.”

Ensign Dave McCarty has already begun compiling his “Top 100 Reasons Why Varitek is Better Than Picard, Kirk, and Jeter” list. “I’m so excited that Vari-, I mean, Captain Varitek, has been named captain. It’s so awesome. The captain was the second cadet at Starfleet Academy to beat the Kobayashi Maru simulation. I don’t need to tell you who the first was. I’d be the first to don a red shirt and die in a random mission for Captain Varitek.”

A high-ranking officer from Varitek’s crew added his voice to the chorus of support for the newly-instated leader. Commander Curt Schilling said, “[Varitek’s] impact is so significant, on and off the ship. I’ve always thought the consummate officers in the fleet, the best leaders, are guys who made their weakest crew members better. Remember how Picard helped [Reginald] Barclay? That’s what the captain does for our crew.”

The first spring training missions are on the horizon, and Varitek faces one of the biggest challenges of his career by having to prepare the new pitchers on his staff. But with him at the helm, the days of 25 officers, 25 shuttlecraft are over.

February 13, 2005

Giambi, Hallmark Announce New Card Line

GiambihallmarkFollowing Jason Giambi’s press conference on February 10th at Yankee Stadium, he and agent Arn Tellem announced a partnership with Hallmark for a new line of apology cards. Giambi stated that “I’m sorry, but I’m trying to go forward now. Most of all, to the fans, I’m sorry. I know it’s going to be hard, and I understand how they feel.” Giambi is taking this sense of simpatico to a larger audience by helping pen prose for a series of cards that feature him.

“These days people are so easily offended by any slight,” said Tellem. “We spoke with Hallmark and we found that the public is clamoring for a flexible approach to saying sorry. And Jason is just the man to symbolize this new trend.”

Some of the messages reflects thoughts from Giambi’s recent equivocations, like “I’m Sorry for... Something” or “Saying Sorry Isn’t Easy When There’s Legal Matters and You Can’t Go Into Specifics.” However, Giambi plans to eventually add more tangible sentiments, like “I Apologize For Being the More Talented Brother (Or Rather, For Having a Better Pharmacist)” and “I’m Truly Contrite for Being a Distraction in the Clubhouse.”

Prices for these cards start at $2.99, and will be found at all MLB ballparks this coming season.

February 12, 2005

The Precious Returns

LucchinoballLUCCHINOL: Lucchinol will takes care of the precious, yes? Makes it a nice home in the Red Sox Hall of Fame with the trophy.

GOLLARUM: Why, when we can have it for us?

LUCCHINOL: Because the fansies are so kind and sweet to Lucchinol. They high fives him and cheers. Fansies are my friends!

GOLLARUM: You don’t have any friends. Nobody likes you.

LUCCHINOL: I’m not listening, I’m not listening.

GOLLARUM: We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little mientkiewiczes. Wicked, tricksy, false!

LUCCHINOL: Yes, they betrayed us.

GOLLARUM: We waits ’til they sleep, puts them on waivers, or trades them to non-contenders, then takes the precious! [Gollarum! Gollarum!]

LUCCHINOL: Yes...yes! ...And take it for ME!

GOLLARUM: For us.

LUCCHINOL: I meant for us.

February 4, 2005

Cap-tured: Nixon Speaks

NixonSomething really strange happened while I was on the field last season. It’s only now that I’ve been able to talk about it....

During games, I wouldn’t remember what I did on the field. I’d be sitting around in the dugout while the other guys batted. I’d go up to bat and I’d remember everything. Then, when the opposing team came up to bat, I’d have no memory from the time I’d take right-field until I was back in the dugout. Completely blank.

One time, I came back to the bench and Johnny [Damon] raved about some play I made. “Holy crap, Trot, that catch you made was insane.” I just smiled and nodded, since I didn’t recall a thing. Seems like I had just saved Pedro Martinez’s ass in Game 5 of the ALCS by making a diving catch of a ball hit by [Miguel] Cairo. I just looked down at the lucky cap in my hands, reworking the bill and getting more and more confused.

I decided to talk to [David] McCarty, since he’s the brainiac on the team. He got all excited. “Gee, Christopher, a few of my buddies were doing studies on the spontaneous proliferation of hive intelligence in microorganisms. In fact, these life forms seem to thrive in an environment of human sudor—”

“What’s ‘sudor’?”

“You know, perspiration. Sweat. Anyway, they need perspiration, pine tar, and heat. Then, once the proper proportion of these elements come together, a multi-cellular intelligent being is generated. This creature can mimic beta waves of anything near it, affecting the synaptic connections of the host.” His voice started going all high, like it always does when he gets excited about some geek thing. “Actually, my theory is that the cerebral parasite living on Eric Gagne’s hat is the one responsible for his Cy Young award. When they say he’s pitching out of his mind, I think it’s literal. How else can you explain an ERA of 1.2 in 2003? It’s inhuman, I say. And what about—”

My head hurt. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. ‘Synaptic’? You mean, like, my brain?!” I started to freak out.

“Indeed, the cerebral cortex. I can put you in touch with my friend with a degree in neuropsych and evolutionary biology. Really keen guy, actually. He just was awarded—”

“Hey, uh, thanks Stretch. Er, my kid just started crying, I better go take care of him.” McCarty’s a smart dude and everything, but goes into just a little more detail than I need. I just had to get the hell off of the phone. All’s I know is that something living on my lucky hat has been controlling my brain and I needed to get rid of it. I took that hat and threw it into the incinerator so that I wouldn’t ever have to be controlled by it again.

Now I need something else lucky. I did wear the same jock all last season....

February 2, 2005

Catch Him if You Can

YogiSomeone hold me back before I attain Yogasm. We should point out that he wasn’t even the correct answer for the definition of “Yogasm.” There are at least eleven catchers I can think of more likely to induce sexual ecstasy than Yogi Berra (and the list even includes the deceased):

  1. Carlton Fisk (who tied for the lead in triples in the AL in 1972, according to my handy Red Sox Page a Day Calendar)
  2. Jason Varitek (is there anything more alluring than this?)
  3. Kelly Shoppach (sending a little love to a Sox prospect)
  4. Paul LoDuca (admirable for his hustle, which may translate to other areas)
  5. Roger Bresnahan (his Hall of Fame plaque doesn’t do him justice)
  6. Josh Gibson (he would have dominated baseball in his time)
  7. Catcher I had a crush on (reigned supreme in Little League; name is lost in the mists of purposeful amnesia)
  8. Craig Biggio (is being singled out by Bill James akin to winning the Best New Artist Grammy?)
  9. Johnny Estrada (so fetching, like your cousin, Erik. Oh, they aren’t related?)
  10. Ivan Rodriguez (made more enticing by his on the mound kisses with Ugueth Urbina)
  11. Javy Lopez (whom I really can’t cheer for as he lights up Red Sox pitchers)

And those are just off the top of my head. Berra should feel flattered that his name is even remotely connected with amorousness. He might even be able to parlay this into an endorsement deal. Aren’t we all tired of seeing random, anonymous senior citizens bathing on secluded hilltops? Add in a Hall of Fame catcher and his wife to make it all the more compelling.

January 30, 2005

Red Sox Nation Fortifies Borders

Distressed by the recent overrunning of Red Sox Nation by bandwagon fans and refugees from mediocre franchises, President Larry Lucchino has enacted emergency border controls around the heart of the nation.

“We understand the excitement and goodwill that the Red Sox World Series Championship has generated, but there is only so much of that wealth that we can distribute to the citizens that we already have,” said President Lucchino. “To that end, I am placing an immediate freeze on the issuing of any new citizenships to Red Sox Nation.”

President Lucchino’s decision has met with varying reactions across the world. Some lower tier teams are thankful for his action, hoping that it will help them solidify their citizenry. “It’s difficult rooting for a hardscrabble team with no success,” said Mike Boyko, a Pittsburgh Pirates devotee. “Since this past October, I can’t tell you how many Buc bloggers have converted to Red Sox blogs in an attempt to get into the winning nation. I’ve spoken with the Fenway Ambassadors about the situation, but it’s difficult because my team is considered a loose confederation of pillagers rather than a true nation-state. If the Red Sox turn anyone away, the Pirates will welcome them with open arms.”

Borderpatrol

Lieutenant Gerda Edwards (pictured above while on patrol), one of the border control officers that are working overtime due to the state of the emergency, says she doesn’t mind the additional work. “We’re trying our best out here on the frontlines to keep out the johnny-come-latelys.” When asked about the tactics she uses to determine true citizenship, Edwards laughed, “Oh, it’s pretty easy. First thing we ask is what was Ted Williams’s batting average in 1941.” She shakes her head, saying “If they can’t get past that, we know we’ve got to turn them away.”

“The surprising thing has been the number of Yankee fans who think they can get into the nation with no resistance,” continued Edwards. “Just the other day Jay Jaffe tried to get in. I told him I saw that Futility Infielder was still up, and the pic of him in pinstripes was still posted. With that against him, I don’t know if he could ever get in.”

Commissioner Bud Selig continues to urge President Lucchino to take a less hardline position against team to team fan tranfers. “I need only to show him the example of the New York Yankees and how strong their franchise was when it welcomed the huge influx of admirers during its championship reign.” In response, President Lucchino said, “That’s hardly the example we as a nation wish to follow. We now see how the Empire has fallen. The nation must take extreme measures to be strong.”

January 25, 2005

Find Your Game Face

Nike_pujols

ALBERT PUJOLS: THE DECOYER
PUJOLS’S GAME FACE IS UNRELENTING, LIKE A GOANNA FORAGING FOR TURTLE EGGS. HE IS UNSTOPPABLE, SAVE FOR THE 2004 WORLD SERIES, WHERE HIS OBP WAS A LESS THAN STELLAR .412 AND 0 RBI.

Nike_rivera

MARIANO RIVERA: THE VOLDO IMPERSONATOR
RIVERA BRINGS OPPONENTS TO THEIR KNEES BECAUSE OF THE HINKY VIBE HIS MASK CONVEYS. IT’S SORT OF PSEUDO-SADOMASOCHISTIC, ISN’T IT? PERFECT FOR GENUFLECTING TO HIS OWNER, BILL MUELLER.

Nike_roethlisberger


BEN ROETHLISBERGER: THE FROZEN STARE
THE SLICING TOOL ON HIS HEAD IS IDEAL FOR CUTTING THE BURGERS THAT ARE HIS NAMESAKE. THE MENACING METALLIC SHEEN HIDES THE GLAZED LOOK THAT OVERCOMES HIM WHEN HE SEES A PATRIOTS DEFENSIVE SCHEME.




FIND YOUR GAME FACE. And discover which other opposing players the teams of New England own.

January 23, 2005

Angst Climate Pattern Shifts

LaagoniaLa Agonía, or “The Agony,” an enigmatic climate system of sports futility that previously plagued the New England region and Pennsylvania, has seemingly consolidated itself above Pittsburgh.

No one understands the intricacies of La Agonía, not even foremost expert Dr. William Patzert, oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. Dr. Patzert’s research delves mainly into proving that the oceans of the world regulate the workings of this phenomena, as well as examining how the major sports interact under its influence. “The baseball ramifications of Agonía in Boston have been profound and extensive over the course of nearly a century,” says Dr. Patzert. “But, in those intervening years, basketball and hockey were largely unaffected. We have some evidence that football subsystems are able to disperse Agonía, supported by recent events in Massachusetts. Conversely, it seems that baseball fluctuations have a lesser effect, as witnessed by the lack of corollary football success in Arizona, California, and Florida.”

Other researchers have refuted the oceanic origins of La Agonía, positing global electromagnetic fields as the source of tumult. Gary Glatzmaier, professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Santa Cruz, claims that “the fluid dynamics of the earth’s core and the resulting electromagnetic forces impact regional team performance more than bodies of water.” Furthermore, Glatzmaier theorizes that La Agonía might actually be more localized than previously believed, and cites the malaise of the Minnesota Vikings as proof. “Of course, the size of an Agonía-affected area will vary over time. We’re currently seeing the centering of the East Coast Agonía over Pittsburgh, where it used to spread far enough the east to encompass Philadelphia.”

Several owners of major sports teams are anxiously awaiting future data these scientists release. “If there’s anything that can stem the tide of our crushing defeats in the postseason, we need to have it. We need to know how to counteract this thing,” says Red McCombs, owner of the Minnesota Vikings. “We might even consider combining funding for further research with Dan Rooney [Pittsburgh Steelers owner]. Something must be done to stop La Agonía.”

January 21, 2005

Green, Gay-Friendly, and Genuine

Wally “Comes Out” in Support of FriendSpongebob

Wally the Green Monster spoke with EE today about the recent controversy involving his beleaguered friend SpongeBob SquarePants. SquarePants has been cited by the religious right group Focus on the Family as promoting the “homosexual agenda.” The character was in seen in a We Are Family Foundation video supporting diversity and tolerance in general, along with other luminaries Arthur, Winnie the Pooh, and Barney. Adding to the confusion, Focus on the Family mistakenly believes that the We Are Family Foundation is an affiliate of WeAreFamily, a South Carolina-based organization that strives to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth in their struggles.

Wally, currently embroiled in his own media relations uproar, made strong moves to stand by SquarePants, saying “I’m here today to speak out for SpongeBob, and for many others that have been by targeted by conservatives in this country and abroad. I guess the right wingers got tired of trying to vilify Harry Potter’s reputation, especially since he has deep pockets with all those galleons at Gringotts. Now they’ve moved on to their next target.

“Like Tinky Winky before him, SpongeBob will prevail. The issue here isn’t whether or not they are gay, or even if they support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people, mascots, or fictional characters. The issue here is to respect the rights of mascots and other fictitious beings to speak out and appear in whatever outlet they want about the issues that concern them. And when they do speak out, to not have their opinions dismissed by real people and their realist agendas. Sure, conservative elements publish their screeds on an issue that involves “made-up” characters, and then their liberal opponents bash them by saying that we’re not even real. Not real, I ask? My pain as the product of a public relations machine is real, as real as any of you,” said Wally.

Wally_1Some see Wally’s latest statements as a ploy to garner media attention and heighten his public profile. “Come on, do I really seem that jaded to you? I’m here to support my pal. You can read more about our relationship in the book I have coming out in April 2005, and you’ll see what a loyal friend I am. That’s April 2005. I’ll be doing a signing at Borders Downtown Crossing in Boston on April 11. I’ll be joined by my friend the San Diego Chicken, who has a yoga video coming out at the same time.”

January 16, 2005

Spudbrenner Prototype Unearthed

SpudbrennerThe New York Yankees organization has recently hired new personnel to strengthen its marketing department. Part of that effort appears to be making Yankees owner George Steinbrenner more fan- and kid- friendly.

An EE correspondent has intercepted e-mails between the Yankees, Hasbro, and BJ Enterprises revealing a follow-up product to the heavily anticipated “Darth Tater” item. “Spudbrenner” appears to be an attempt to salvage Steinbrenner’s flagging popularity with his fanbase. One of the e-mails appears in edited form below:

To: Xxxx Xxxx
From: Deborah A. Tymon
Subject: Project Spud
Date: January 14, 2005 3:55:09 PM EST

Hi Xxxx,
Thanks so much for your comments and suggestions on this exciting new collaboration. The entire Yankees organization is looking forward to unveiling the spudster at one of the Red Sox series, most likely during the May series (27th to 29th). Thanks also for the protoype drawing.

Some suggestions for accessories (What are the manufacturing logistics for these? Could you check with Xxxx?):

  • NYY cap
  • Diagram/instructions for the Heimlich maneuver
  • Checkbook
  • Michael Kay’s lips (can be affixed to posterior; could be problem with removal, however)
  • Brian Cashman’s scrotum
  • White gloves (similar to Alex Rodriguez’s)
  • Turtlenecks with monogrammed Yankees logo
  • Hypodermic needles (see Gary Sheffield for example)
I’m nixing the pinkslips, however.
Best Regards,
DAT

Special thanks to BlackJack for the “Spudbrenner” concept.

January 7, 2005

The San Diego Chicken Speaks

Offers Hope, Encouragement to Wally

SdchickenAfter hearing of Wally the Green Monster’s recent travails, the San Diego Chicken had a candid conversation with an EE correspondent about the lessons he learned as a high profile MLB mascot.

“I know exactly what Wally is going through. I was the toast of the town once. I was a folk hero, a cultural phenomenon. They called me the Mascot of the Millennium.

“Since then, I’ve intentionally lowered my profile. You can’t be ubiquitous, because people will tire of you real quick. Just ask Jennifer Lopez. Decrease the supply, demand increases.

“What Wally has to do is refocus his image. I feel sorry for him for having to impress a bunch of tight-assed New Englanders while all I had to do was amuse some Californians who are already happy because of whatever new therapy, drug, or diet they are on. Forget about the older folks; they’re too preoccupied with finally winning the World Series. He’s got to concentrate on the echo boomers, and the thing these kids want is to be uber-ironic. Each metal lunchbox, Trapper Keeper, and thrift store t-shirt they buy could be money in Wally’s pocket if he plays his cards right. So what if the Red Sox want another mascot to cater to toddlers? If he can strike a chord with the mavens of the consumer market, the older echo boomers, I see an unstoppable Wally resurgence.

“You’re wondering how I know all this pop culture theory stuff? Well, I was able to use my earnings to send the kids to some fancy pants Ivy League schools. Then they come back and spout Geertz, Althusser, Barthes, Baudrillard, Butler at me. Funny thing is, there’s profit in poststructuralism.”

The Chicken is currently planning a sports scene comeback of his own. “Soon I’ll be strutting back on the diamond at Petco Field, I guarantee it,” he says. “These days, you say “Catholic church” and the public thinks “pedophiles.” Parents aren’t apt to buy some Friar Tuck bobblehead for their child.” The Chicken sits back on his chair and places his feet on the desk, smiling contentedly. “But I think they are ready for a Famous Chicken limited edition iPod case. Pricepoint of $15 is good, I think.”

January 4, 2005

Mascot Controversy Hits Beantown

WallyThere have been scattered stirrings of new mascots on the horizon for the Boston Red Sox. Wally the Green Monster (pictured left, fending off paparazzi) has been falling out of favor due to some questionable after hours activities. Sox officials have noted his recent erratic behavior, including fisticuffs with Mr. Met (apparently related to extra-marital activities with Mrs. Met) and all-night binge drinking with the impressionable young Portland Seadog mascot Slugger.

“Just look at those bags under his eyes, his green complexion, and continually frazzled expression and you know that things just aren’t right,” said an anonymous clubhouse worker. “I’ve tried, we’ve all tried to get him help, but he has to recognize for himself the downward spiral he is in.”

When questioned about the rumors, Wally said, “You would think after all these years of service the Red Sox would respect me. I’ve been a fan since 1912, and moved into Fenway in 1947. The ownership back them let me do as a please, knowing what I brought to the club. When I finally started making the PR rounds in 1997, I had the world on a platter. But as soon as a fellow hits some rough spots, it’s “Bam! Get outta here.” I don’t know what this Larry guy has planned, but he’ll lose a big piece of heart and soul if he gets rid of me.” Wally then blinked back tears and shook his head. “As for my fur coloring, I’m Wally the [expletive omitted] Green Monster. Geez, Kermit was right. He was right all along.”

Larry Lucchino, president and CEO of the Red Sox, could not be reached for comment.

December 31, 2004

St. Elmo’s Fire 2: Burnt Out

I was bored one day and thought of this sequel idea. Why hasn’t this been made yet?

We reacquaint ourselves with that ragtag group of college graduates that defined and deified the 80s. They are 20 years older, but perhaps not 20 years wiser.

Kirby Keger (Emilio Estevez) came to terms with his homosexuality in the 90s, and is now coming into his own. He and his life partner have just returned to Chappaqua after marrying in Massachusetts. Now the star of the hit makeover show “From Straight to Great!”, who but Billy Hicks (Rob Lowe) is slated to appear as one of his projects. Billy is a married real estate agent who has rebuilt his life into something much more mundane than he thought possible, and is seeking closure with the remnants of his previous wild life by reuniting with the daughter of his first wife. Billy’s appearance on FSTG sets into motion a chain of reunions.

Alec Newbary (Judd Nelson) attempts to piece together his life after a sex scandal destroyed his political career. While mending bridges with his ex-wife Leslie Hunter (Ally Sheedy), he attempts to resuscitate his flagging opportunities by getting into the television business. He calls on his old college buddies to help him.

Kevin Dolenz (Andrew McCarthy) is an embittered, cynical author who grapples with the torment of commercial success combined little artistic credibility. Teaching part time in a liberal arts college, he meets Billy’s daughter, Samantha (Lindsay Lohan) and attempts to woo her, not realizing who her father is. She seems to embody the youthful idealism he used to revel in, and he plays the father figure she never had.

Wendy Beamish (Mare Winningham), like Kirby, has acknowledged her sexuality and is a rabbi in her progressive synagogue. Always the voice reason, she tends to the neuroses of her old friends as they muddle through their various crises. But, what happens when the feelings she used to have for Leslie come to light?

Jules Jacoby (Demi Moore) appears in cameos through flashbacks. No fun exploring the angst of an exhumed corpse.

December 27, 2004

Hub Hero

Theo Epstein was named Bostonian of the Year by the Boston Globe Magazine. The Architect he is called, and not in the AI that devised the Matrix sense. He designed the team that finally won it all, so all the acclaim garnered is well earned. But he, like Bill James, is extraordinarily private, although his family says “Theo’s girlfriend is a critical presence in his life.” Which is a telling quote that serves as the lead-in to:

Top 11 Critical Things Theo’s Girlfriend Says to Him
11. Aren’t there some other hats you can wear besides the one with that funny “B” on them?
10. You have a BA from Yale and a JD. Can’t you get a better job?
9. Well, if you don’t want me breaking your precious cell phone, don’t leave it lying around.
8. There’s all these Bill Jamison books in the bathroom. Be a dear and put them away.
7. Why can’t you come visit my relatives in October? Some stupid games?
6. That shirt from October STILL smells like stale champagne. Will you get rid of it?
5. I thought you were important at the Red Sox; why do you get seats behind that guy with the mask? You have to look at his fat butt the entire game.
4. I tossed out that weird trophy with all the little gold flags. It clashed.
3. Why are they putting up Ks? Doesn’t Curt’s name start with a “C”?
2. Well, as long as you don’t shave your head like in 2003.
1. How was I supposed to know that the voice mail from Billy Beanhead or whatever was important?

This list appears in a slightly different form in The Soxaholix. My lists go to 11, just like BBspot and Nigel’s amps.

December 21, 2004

NYY Ticket Office Humor?

I tried to get opening day tickets for the Red Sox-Yankees games. The word that appeared for the CAPTCHA: “labrum.” Cute. On my second try: “victory.” Wishful thinking. They seemed sold out by the time I checked, in case you were wondering.

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