Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween and a Special Birthday

Took the all the kids trick or treating for the first time tonight: our church always has a carnival where there are games, rides, horses, mouse trap mazes, etc.. but this year it's taking a break.

So off we went through the neighborhood.

Hoo boy: you haven't lived until you've taken a 4 year old with ADD dressed as Bibleman, a 9 year old Hannah Montana with leadership qualities usually associated with Marine Corp Drill Sergeant, and a 19 month old demented Woody the Cowboy.

Here they are with my in laws right before heading out: in the smartest decision of the night, my Mother and Father-In-Law went home RIGHT after this picture was taken.

Besides all the cars driving through the neighborhood, candy being consumed, and them typically being 4.7 houses ahead of me at all times, I'd say it all went pretty well.

About the only thing I can compare tonight to is this: have you ever tried to wrangle 3 hyperactive sheep into a straight line and into a chute at the same time, all the while dodging charging bulls (cars), a herd of angry goats (all the other kids out at the same time), and the farmer from the spread next door (your Atlanta Braves loving neighbor wanting to debate the merits of the Edgar Renteria trade with you while you are desperately trying to keep your 4 year old wielding a sword from taking on a SUV in hand to hand combat) wanting to talk shop?

In no particular order, I need a stiff drink, 15 Valium, and a week long stay at a "mental health facility".

On the plus side, the kids had a ball, got enough candy to last through a nuclear winter, and went to bed with a smile on their faces. So I guess you could consider it a success.

Finally, I don't know if she'll see it or not, and it doesn't matter if she does: I've got to wish my adopted sister from a different mother, Tex, a very happy birthday today. This weekend she's flying to Boston to celebrate in style, and I wish I could tell her in person, but I hope it's the best birthday she's ever had.

She's responsible for helping me get this blog off the ground (so blame her for the train wreck). She's also responsible for helping me try and understand my wife better, for helping me remember it's OK to laugh at yourself, and for giving me COUNTLESS stories I can tell to my friends and family.

I hope you had a VERY happy birthday, Tex. Your friendship, advice, and insults mean more to me than you'll probably ever know: thanks for putting up with your obnoxious "little brother".

You be careful out there.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Riverdancing at City Hall

Tek is a very smart man. John Henry and Theo Epstein: listen to your Captain. Forget the stats on 34 year old third basemen: I seem to remember a guy in Baltimore playing pretty well into his late 30's. Mike Lowell is a leader on this team: a level headed presence in a sea of insanity.

He's one of the few players on the team who is bi-lingual: Tavarez teaching Daisuke and Okajimer how to curse in Spanish doesn't count. He plays 3B like he's defending the Alamo, can groom a beard like nobodies business, and without his 21 HR's and 120RBI's, I really don't think the Red Sox are celebrating their second World Championship in 4 years. This is not a guy on his last legs, but a integral part of the team and clubhouse.

Listen to your Captain.

I was going to write about how my life is one three legged dog away from being a country music song. Angie's heat went kaput in the man van last night, so I had to take it to the dealership this morning. At the same time, Trot had a Dr. appointment, Rakes had his Halloween party, the guy was coming to fix the dishwasher, Ciera had a parent/teacher conference, and I had to try to convince clients with full inventories and no money that they absolutely, positively, HAD to have the bedroom suite I was showing them. Then I get to figure out someway to get the man van picked up from the dealer, get home, and take the family to Rakes soccer party/trophy ceremony.

Somehow I made it: I'm pretty sure there were speeding violations, illegal U Turns, and crimes against humanity committed during the day, though I can't swear to it.

Rakes was beaming when he got his trophy in case you were wondering.

I decided against it though: even though I thought about the Rolling Rally Parade all day, I'm trying to spread my happiness out over the winter. Figure I'll try and hold out until mid November before I actually watch the whole thing.

However, I did watch bits and pieces online tonight, and I've come to the following observations:

A. Jonathon Papelbon is, without a shadow of a doubt, certifiable. He at various points in the parade smoked a cigar, Riverdanced, wore a kilt, used a broom as an oar, and generally acted like Vince Neil in his prime.

B. Sharing Pap's duck boat were Mike Timlin and The Dropkick Murphys, which is awesome on about 10 levels. Can you imagine the Yankees letting a rock band share in their parade? Can you imagine Mariano Rivera doing a jig with Kyle Farnsworth? Better yet, given their championship drought lately, can you even VISUALIZE the Yankees in a World Series parade? (OK, that was a little mean spirited. And I could care less. Hehe.)

C. Watching my team celebrate winning the World Series will never, EVER, get old. It's a little sad to think that Schilling may not be back next year. Or that Senor Doubles may leave as well. But seeing the joy the fans got in thanking the players, and the joy the players got in thanking the fans was great to see.

I thought after 2004 I'd never feel as good about a Red Sox team again.

Happily, I was wrong. Different team, different guys, but just like your children, you can't pick a favorite.

You love them equally.

Thanks for a wicked awesome season guys.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Family of Champions

If this picture doesn't sum up the 2007 Boston Red Sox, I don't know what does.

Guy on the left? 20 game winner, workhorse, and should be the AL Cy Young winner.

Guy on the far right? Stud closer, certified whack job, and the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera as the dominant closer in the game.

Guy in the middle? A late pickup off the scrap heap who I THINK pinch hit once and whose claim to fame with the Red Sox is the phrase "How you gonna tell me I ain't got my taco yet?"

Josh Beckett, Jonathon Papelbon, and Royce Clayton: 2 stars and a bit player who most likely will be playing somewhere else next season. Just 3 of the cast of characters, goofballs, and professionals that made up this team.

Manny and Papi, the 21st century version of the Babe and Gehrig, just with a little more facial hair, dreadlocks, and 1000 watt smiles, bashing their way through the post season.

Youk with his redneck beard being overshadowed only by his morphing into Keith Hernandez playing first. If you hadn't heard, NO errors at 1B this year. If he doesn't win the Gold Glove it's official: Oswald didn't act alone, we never did land on the moon, and Keith Richards really DID snort his dead fathers ashes.

Munchkin, all of 5' 2" and a buck fifty soaking wet with all his clothes on, swinging like Reggie Jackson, playing like a Hoover at second, and leading the team in flexing his arms and shouting "check out the guns". If it hasn't already been said, I wanna be Pedroia when I grow up.

Lugo, carrying with the weight of a $36 million dollar contract on his back, hitting .237 in the regular season and he still managed to drive in 73 runs. Under the bright lights of the World Series? .385 with 5 hits. I think he'll be fine.

Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek: two consummate professionals who do all the little things and are the examples you point out to your kids when you tell them they need to play the game the right way.

JD Drew: having to deal with a sick child, a pregnant wife, a personality usually seen on pita bread, and trying to live up to a $70 million dollar contract while replacing a local icon. I'm pretty sure there aren't too many players who could deal with all that, still hit .270, come alive for the playoffs, and maintain the same facial expression over 176 games counting the playoffs. I did see him dance: and more than once.

Coco/Jacoby: All year long, Coco dazzled with the glove, frustrated with the bat, and carried the facial expression of a guy walking the Green Mile. After looking like that deer right before the 18 wheeler says hello for most of the post season, Tito pulled the trigger and put Jacoby in CF. I gotta be honest: I've never seen a guy score from 2nd on a wild pitch before Jacoby. THAT is the very definition of speed killz. I'll miss Coco, if only because I think it's bitchin' our CF had a name like Coco. Long live the Jacoby Ellsbury era.

In addition to all the regulars, you had Eric Hinske, he of the stone-cold serial killer smile, Alex Cora, Dougie's going deep tonight Mirabelli, and Bobby Kielty. The same Bobby Kielty who took the one and only pitch he saw all post season and put it over the fence in Denver last night. It should surprise no one that his HR was the deciding run in the series clinching game.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Daisuke and Oki, the Japanese version of Ricky and Fred who helped usher in 4,000 more media members to Tito's office for post game quotes. I've had my fill of hearing "Was he REALLY worth $103 million dollars?" He plays baseball for a living: of course he's not worth $103 million dollars. Unless you can cure cancer, aids, and can tell me the winning power ball numbers you aren't worth that kind of coin. After game 3 however, I'm willing to sell a kidney if John Henry needs some help making payroll.

I can't forget the Bullpen jug band, led by head pirate Mike Timlin: MDC, Corey, Snyder, Tavarez, Donnelly, Lopez, Bucholtz, etc... were all key cogs in the 2007 Red Sox Machine. If you think about all the little things that have to go right: all the bounces you have to get your way, and all the luck it takes to even make the playoffs, it boggles the mind.

Bottom line is this: a great baseball team is sort of like a family. You've got the Dad (Tito), the Grandfather (John Henry), the kids (the players), and that crazy uncle everyone tries to avoid during the holidays (Lucchino). Throw in your brainy cousin (Theo) and your sister's weird fiance (Warner) you've got a typical, dysfunctional group that always seems to somehow make it work.

Lastly, because it takes a village (RSN) to raise a child, you've got your family.

Your family of Champions.

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, your 2007 World Series Champions.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rockie Mountain High

According to all the doubters, last night was supposed to have been the game the $103 million dollar albatross allowed the Rockies back in it. Going to their park, playing NL rules where Daisuke would have to hit and Ortiz would do the Red Sox in with his horrible glove at first.

Where Manny wouldn't be able to cover the big outfield and Ellsbury and the Munchkin would wilt at the top of the lineup.

Yeah. About that...

Daisuke strapped on a pair and was flat out dealing for five innings. Oh yeah, he got his first Major League hit as well, a 2 run, bases loaded single. Manny made not one, but two great plays in LF, and Ortiz played 1B like he'd been out there all year. Ellsbury and Pedie went back to back with doubles in the 8th inning that made the score a little more comfortable than the 6-5 it had been. Combined, they went 7 for 10 and Ellsbury had three doubles on the night, with 2 of them coming in the same freaking inning. As much as I like Coco Crisp, I hope he didn't buy a house in Boston: it's not exactly a sellers market right now.

Only blip on the night? The bullpen, with Lopez, Timlin, and Okajimer making it interesting. Some nights you got it, and some nights you don't. Other than the relief corps drama, the Red Sox just grinded the Rockies into the loss: just when you thought the Rockies were going ahead, Pap comes in and gets a one pitch flyout to end the 8th and the game was essentially over.

So far they've won a blowout in game 1, and tight one in game 2, and a get out in front, they get close, then put it away game 3. Tonight, Jon Lester takes the mound for what could be series clinching game 4.

How sweet would THAT be? 14 months after being told you've got cancer to starting in the World Series: if it got pitched as a movie idea, they'd turn it down for being too unrealistic. I'm not getting ahead of myself, however. We all know that it ain't over until it's over, and a desperate team is a dangerous team.

From the great philosopher Manny Ramirez:

"We don't want to eat the cake before your birthday,"

Amen, Manny. Amen.

*Update: The game is going into the bottom of the 8th. Lowell and Bobby Kielty have hit HR's, and it's 4-1, Sox. Also, the entire left side of my body has gone numb: I'm not sure that is normal.*

*Update #2: Garrett Atkins just hit a 2 run shot off Okajimer: it's 4-3 Sox, with 1 out in the bottom of the 8th. In a related note, the right side of my body is now also numb. So I have that going for me at least.*

*Update #3: The Papelbot came in after the home run and got out of the inning. I'm also starting to feel some tingling on my left side, which I can only believe is good news.

*Update #4: SOX WIN! THE SOX WIN!!!!! MIKE LOWELL IS NAMED MVP AND THE SOX FREAKING WIN! 2 World Series wins between '04 and '07 after 86 years of not winning: I LOVE THIS TEAM!!!!!!!!!!! More tomorrow: for now, I've got to see if Beckett keeps his promise and Riverdances with Papelbon.*

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Seeing into the Future

Rakes was invited to his buddy Daniel's birthday party today and he got to visit the children's museum for the first time. He had a great time, and as I looked at my little man sitting in that big chair, I had one of those "moments".

If you have children, you know the kind I mean: one of those "I'd better enjoy this time, because one day, he'll be off on his own, living his life, and I'll be sitting home alone with nothing but my memories" kind of moments. As we wandered through the museum and looked at all the different things, I could see my little man doing in real life one day what he played on today.

Maybe he'll make his living on the left turn circuit, thanking Hot Wheels, Pontiac, Budweiser, Depends, and Viagra for making this victory possible.

What about a fire fighter? His close proximity to the ground, having no fear, and his love of anything LOUD make this another logical choice.

How about an X Gamer? A protective God, having a short distance to travel before hitting the ground, and sheer blind luck are the only things that have kept him from a body cast so far in his young life.

Still, one image from today is sticking with me. After seeing him in cars, trucks, planes, banks, post offices, and doctors offices at the museum today, for some reason, this final picture is the one that gives me chills.

Rakes. In the BACK seat of a police car. Scary thing is, he looks right at home.

Game 3 tonight from Denver, with Daisuke squaring off with Josh Fogg. We already know Youk is sitting, Ellsbury will be in Manny's hip pocket to help cover LF, and it'll be a different scene than what we saw in Fenway.

It don't matter.

As long as the result stays the same.


* Update: In what was the longest game EVER for the World Series, the Red Sox won 10-5, with Jacoby Ellsbury as the star. It's now 3-0, Sox and there ain't enough white towels in the world that can save the Rockies.*

Friday, October 26, 2007

Who's on First?

I'm guessing someone made a joke about Big Papi's fielding ability, or lack thereof.

Tito announced today that Youk would be riding the bench tomorrow night for game 3 in Colorado with the big man playing first base.

I've read a lot of stuff today about who would sit because the World Series has switched to the NL park: I'm just not as worked up about it as some people. The best argument I've heard against Ortiz playing first is his health: his knee is cottage cheese right now and looking at his face after scoring from second last night you can tell he's in some serious pain.

However, I don't think Papi would say he could play if he felt he'd hurt the team. and if the Sox can win tomorrow night the Rockies would be in a really difficult spot: win or go home. While I hate the fact Youk and his bat won't be in the lineup tomorrow, you've got to think that if the Sox have the lead after the 5th inning, Youkilis will be in the game faster than you can say "Whadda think of that, Mel Gibson?"

It's a really nice problem Francona has right now: his biggest worry is out of three guys, which hot bat does he have to sit on the bench. We'll probably see Lowell sit on Sunday with Youk moving over to third, and if it goes to a game 5, Ortiz get a day off against the lefty Francis.

Besides, if it gets to game 5, Beckett will be on the hill. Anyone else see the similarities between Beckett in '07 and Pedro in 1999?

I was going to post about my daughter Ciera and the science experiment that is her bedroom: you won't believe how much stuff my wife picked up off the floor and put on her bed today. However, the cord we use to download pictures from the digital camera to the computer is missing.

Something tells me I'm gonna find a G.I. Joe action figure hanging from a camera cord noose in the near future.
*UPDATE* I found the cord and it wasn't a GI Joe action figure: However, I'm sad to report Malibu Barbie is no longer with us.
Take notice of the 7 water bottles/cups on the nightstand, as well as the clothes, boxes, food wrappers, and shoes on the bed. This was ALL on her floor: either in the room or in her closets. And according to Ciera, her room was clean when she left for school this morning.
If you've never seen a grown woman freak out, you should have been here this afternoon.
I'm STILL scared: needless to say, Ciera is grounded from the computer and the tv this weekend.
One day we'll laugh about all this.
I'm afraid to bring it up tonight.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

For Mom

My Mom found out yesterday she has cancer: She wasn't going to tell me until after the game last night because she wanted me to enjoy the game. That's my Mom, thinking about me and my Red Sox obsession before thinking about herself.

This morning she told me she was grateful that the Sox were in the World Series because it'll be good for her and me to sort of focus on that and try to smile awhile before she goes under for surgery in 2 weeks.

Anytime you hear the words "Mom has cancer" it'll throw you for an ever lovin' loop, and I'm still trying to not think about it. Good news is the Doc says it's localized and she won't have to have chemo, just radiation, so it's about the best case scenario other than not having it in the first place.

I posted the picture of Pedroia, because after Papelbon, he's Mom's favorite: you should have seen her light up this morning when we were talking about the Munchkin cranking one over the Monster last night.

You always hear about sports being a great diversion: that thing that helps us take our minds off that idiot boss at work wanting to know where the focus group reports are and your 3 year old son who you PRAY won't set the backyard on fire before you get home. It keeps you from jumping on the moron in front of you at the store buying $300 worth of powerball tickets when all you want is to pay for your STINKING MT DEW AND BE ON YOUR WAY, and from plowing into the stupid dink talking on his phone, oblivious the light has turned green.

Right now, the Red Sox are my escape from thinking about the greatest woman I've ever known having cancer. And it's helping her forget about it too, at least for awhile.

Love you Mom.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Time is NOW.

Bob Gibson. Sandy Koufax. Jack Morris. Curt Schilling.

Joshua Patrick Beckett. With what he's done this post season, combined with what he did in 2003 while he was with the Marlins, Beckett now resides among those men as one of the greatest all time playoff pitchers.

Who else would you rather have than the foul mouthed Texan on the mound to start Game 1? Cocky, confident, poised, and oh yeah, REALLY good. Back in June, Beckett matched up against Jeff Francis, the Rockies starting pitcher tonight, and lost. I'll bet you ten to one he is STILL ticked about that: probably drifted off to sleep last night yelling "FYYO" at Rockie players instead of counting sheep.

I keep hearing how Francis is a really good pitcher and this won't be easy, and that may be true: I just keep thinking about how we were all concerned about Sabbathia and Carmona, and that turned out pretty good. I can guarantee you that playing in Fenway now is NOTHING like playing there in June. The Sox have 3 players on their roster who have been World Series MVP's: Schilling, Manny, and Beckett. The Rockies have one guy, Wily Tavares, who has even PLAYED in a World Series.

Welcome to the big time fellas.

Finally, Beth over at SG posted a article from today that may be the funniest thing I've ever read.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

24 hours and counting.

As I deal with a daughter turning into a pre-teen before my eyes, a boy who is on the verge (seriously) of getting tossed from PRE SCHOOL, and a baby who, while cute as can be, is showing signs of being the 21st century version of Evil Kenivel, I continue to keep my eye on the prize.

The World Series.

Sox vs. Rockies.

Game 1 is tomorrow night from the Cathedral known as Fenway Park. I CAN'T WAIT.

Today brought some sad news though: Tim Wakefield's balky shoulder is keeping him off the World Series roster, which means the Game 4 starter is most likely Jon Lester. And while I'm rooting for Lester with everything I have, the thought of him starting a game in Colorado has me more than a little nervous. I'd rather it be Bat***t.

Speaking of which, he's off the roster as well, and Gagne is in. Which means one of two things: either Gagne has pictures of Julian and Theo in a compromising position, or else someone is trying to justify giving him $4.5 million dollars in return for, well, a healthy dose of crappy pitching.

Jacoby gets the start over Coco in CF for game 1: if this development shocks you, what rock have you been living under the past week or so?

My biggest worry today has been wondering what in the world Tito is going to do when the series gets to Denver: no DH in the NL parks, so there is an odd man out with Youk, Mikey, and Papi. Who sits? What is he going to do? Yep: there's a war on terror in two countries, wild fires in CA, a drought on the east coast and Ryan Seacrest still has a job, yet my biggest worry is who plays first base for 3 games in Colorado.

What is WRONG with me? Do I need a shrink? A lobotomy? Or just a good, hard smack upside my head?

So: who do you think IS going to play 1B in the National League games?

(I asked what was wrong with me: I didn't say I was going to change.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

Jonathan Papelbon is certifiable. In a good way, but still, certifiable.

That's the best closer in the game in this picture: with over sized goggles on his head, smoking a cigar, and pouring a perfectly good Bud Light over a TROPHY.

I'm not sure if this was pre or post River Dance last night, and I don't even care. He has possibly passed Manny Ramirez as the biggest goofball in baseball. How a guy can be so intimidating on the mound, yet remind you of a skinnier, healthier Chris Farley off it, I have no idea.

What I love most about this team is that while it's definitely not the 2004 Idiots, they still seem to remember this is a little boys game: and while winning is the most important thing at this level, you won't be able to win without having some fun along the way.

Which is why I love seeing Pap river dancing all over Fenway, Lowell lighting up like a kid at Christmas last night, and the much improved bullpen jug band, led by head Pirate Mike Timlin, jamming away while the other team hits. Some guys like Manny and Lugo, the joy they get at playing this game is obvious: Others, like Tek, Beckett, and JD Drew are a TAD harder to read.

Papelbon is an open book, though. Serious as a heart attack while on the field, nuttier than an out house rat off it, he is a shining light of goofiness for the rest of the team to follow.

Lead the way to the promised land Jonathan: just don't forget to bring the Bud Light case, cigars, goggles, and River Dance lessons with you.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Boyhood Dreams Do Come True

Like some funky baseball version of Rip Van Winkle, JD Drew woke up from his season long siesta at the plate with a Grand Slam in the first inning last night, metaphorically kicking the Indians square in the the marbles.

I know, he's been MUCH better since September, but through the playoffs had struggled: how many other $70 million dollar players do you see sitting on the bench, not once, but twice during the post season? It had to feel like an anvil was removed from his back last night.

I've watched almost every game this year, and JD is normally as demonstrative as the rosin bag: not last night. Fist pumping, yelling to himself, and meeting up at home plate with Papi with fire in his eyes, JD was finally accepted by RSN.

Tonight, it's Daisuke's turn to play hero: after all the hoopla over signing him, an up and down season, and a ugly couple of playoff games, it's a shot at redemption for Matsuzaka. He's saying all the right things but you've got to believe Tito has Beckett ready, just in case.

I woke up antsy, and it hasn't gotten any better: Angie had to hit me on the leg during church this morning because my right leg was bouncing up and down like a pogo stick. I've spent the better part of the last 2 hours figuring out how I'm getting all the kids fed, read to, and in bed by 8, even though I know FOX will drag out the start time for 15 or 20 minutes.

Dinks that they are.

We are going to the World Series!!! Here's to the bullpen jug band, The Munchkin, and Papelbon: Rockies vs. Sox. EVERYBODY RIVER DANCE!!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Legend of Pedro

I honestly don't know what to write about: I've got so many thoughts ping-ponging around in my head, and I can't seem to formulate them into anything that makes sense.

Schilling vs. Carmona.

Win or go home.

I'm amazed at all the former players who STILL pull for the Sox. Kevin Millar, who plays on a team in the Red Sox DIVISION, was on FOX wishing the boys well.

The Professional, Billy Mueller, now a Dodgers front office executive, is throwing out the first pitch tonight.

Somewhere, hopefully, Pedro is pulling for his former teammates. The last time these two teams met in the playoffs was the 1999 ALDS. Petey, fighting a bad back, loses game 1 and the Indians win game two 11-1. Battling back, the Red Sox win games 3 and 4 tying it up 2-2.

Game 5, the Indians jumped out to a 8-0 lead, and it was here where Pedro went from a great pitcher to a New England Legend: fighting that same bad back, he comes in and pitches 6 innings of HITLESS relief. He and Troy O'Leary (grand slam AND a 3 run homer) carried the Sox into the ALCS.

Somewhere in Fenway tonight, the ghost of Pedro will be lingering: for all the talk about the Sox breaking the Curse in '04, the White Sox in '05, and the never ending tribulations of the Cubs, people forget the Indians last championship was in 1948: 59 years ago.

Baggage? They got it in spades.

Tonight can go a long way in adding to their misery: I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. (Sorry Mattie: just couldn't resist.)

Editor's note: The Sox just won game 6, 12-2. Schilling was dominant, and JD Drew had a Grand Slam. Down 3-1, the Red Sox have tied it 3-3. The Indians are on the ropes: I. Am. Floating. On. Air.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Field Trip to Pass the Off Day.

Angie and I tagged along with Rakes and his pre-school class on their field trip to the Pumpkin Patch today. It was a damp, rainy day, but we had a blast. Plus, it took my mind off the fact that I won't see the Sox play until tomorrow, when Father Curt extends our post season one more day.
First picture is Rakes and his buddy Tommy sitting atop the giant spider hay bale: you wouldn't believe the convincing it took to get him up there if I told you.

Here, Rakes is giving me his best serial killer look while in the corn maze: I'll admit it, I had a few horror movie images float through my mind. He looks a tad demented here. On a side note, we had to do the maze three times: I'm just hoping he wasn't practicing for any future corn field encounters.

Here's Rakes pretending to be a cat: how he can look ornery in this setting, I have no idea. Yet he pulls it off like a true pro.

Rakes and his friend Natalie: he wants her to "Come to my house for dinner and a deep over Dad". He's three, and already wanting girls to stay the night: yep, that's my boy. I've got a sinking feeling I'm going to be getting a lot of phone calls during his teenage years.

Rakes and his old soccer foe Jeremy during story time: leave it to those two to find the only ghost at the pumpkin farm and plop down right next to it. Could have been worse, I suppose: they could have tackled it to the ground before beheading it. I take my small moral victories wherever I can get them.

A rare shot of Rakes being still with his Dad: hey, it doesn't happen every day. I'll always treasure pictures like this: you only get to have one first born son.

Tomorrow, baseball will be played in Fenway Park. And Curt Schilling will be taking the ball and hoping to extend the Sox season by one more game: me? I think he's up for the task. Watching Beckett dominate the Indians last night seems to have pumped the old guy up.

I've said it since Tuesday night: we get back to Boston, and all bets are off. But for today, getting to spend some time with my boy was just what the doctor ordered.

Josh Beckett laughs at your Series clinchers.

3-2, headed back to Fenway.

'Nuff said.

(Is that "Tessie" I hear in the background?)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Key's to Victory. Or Just One Idiot's Rant.

Yeah: they look stressed about being down 3 games to 1, don't they? Manny being Manny, and Beckett looking, well, bemused is the best I can come up with.

For the Red Sox to play a game 6 on Saturday, my limited intelligence has come up with the following.

Josh Beckett needs a reminder he is the Commander of the Kick A** Brigade and bring his A game. Nothing less will do. We need at least 7 innings of fastballs that top out at 98 mph, curve balls that fall off the table, at least 3 FYYO, and at a minimum, 1 busted water cooler.

Manny and Papi need to continue treating each AB like batting practice: HR's, doubles off the wall, and random pointing of fingers and goofy hand shakes. And in Manny's case, if you hit a Home Run, nothing less than 15 seconds of admiring said shot will be accepted: if they don't like it, tell 'em not to throw it where you can hit it.

For Mike Lowell: continue what you've been doing, sir. Great defense, a few doubles to the gap, and if it's not too much trouble. a 3 run HR.

JD, Tek, Coco, and Lugo: I'm not asking for the moon. Just a few timely hits here and there, with the random stolen base snuck in between, and the occasional clutch play on defense. I'm not going to go crazy: just pitch in where you can.

Youk: keep on keeping on, brother. You've been a rock all year and in the post season. Don't change a thing.

Munchkin: you are my role model and my hero: candaon and I look up to you. Literally. You are the Rookie of the Year: quit pressing and act like it. OK?

Tito: on the off chance you get a "hunch" to bring in Gagne? Just fight that feeling off like it was Joe Torre shooting for your job: take a look out at that bullpen. You see that guy that looks like he'd take your head off with a pair of rusty pliers and some WD40? That's Mike Timlin: he'll do just fine.

And if you're tempted to go with the Baseball 101 book and bring Lopez in to face a lefty? Give yourself a good hard shot to the marbles, throw that idea out the rear view window, and bring in Okajimer: sure his arm is tired and he needs some rest. That's what the off season is for.

Jonathon Papelbon. I've seen your work: it's quality stuff. Be in your managers office, sitting in his chair and drinking his coffee when he arrives at the park tomorrow. Tell him you are ready to throw the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning if needed. You are 26 years old, full of piss and vinegar, and recently paraded around Fenway Park with a Bud Light box on your head: I think you can handle a few innings extra of work.

Because this is it fellas: lose tomorrow, and you go home. For 6 LONG months. You don't want that any more than I do. If we win tomorrow, you get to go back to Fenway and Curt Freaking Schilling gets a shot at redemption.

Does anyone in their right mind not think Schilling would KILL for this opportunity? He of the bloody sock, the "nothing would make me happier to make 50,000 people shut up" quote, and never met a camera he didn't like wouldn't rise to the occasion?

After that, it's game 7. To paraphrase Kevin Millar: "Who knows what would happen in Game 7?"

Yeah: it's a crazy plan. But it just may be crazy enough to work.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Live from Cleveland. Sort of.

Posted the Tek picture to remind myself that even though we lost last night, Tek did give us an example of some late inning magic with his Home Run late in the game.

So far tonight, Wake has been outstanding: 3 innings, 5 K's, 2 walks, and 0 hits. Top of the 4th, it's still 0-0 with Byrd throwing junk and Wake matching him knuckle ball for knuckle ball. Listening to Buck and McCarver go ON and ON about Paul Byrd is a more than a little annoying, but to their credit, have given Timmeh his props so far.

Heading to the 5th, and Wake is pitching his tail off: finally gave up his first hit, a double, but pitched out of it. So far, it's the fastest game I've seen this post season: the bats just need to wake up and score a couple of runs. I've got a feeling with Wake pitching like he is and Papelbon waiting and rested, it's all we need for a win.

May have spoken too soon: Wake gave up a BOMB to Casey Blake in the bottom of the 5th, and it's 2-0 with runners on 1st and 2nd with two out. In a related note, I've lost feeling in the left side of my body: that's not a good sign, right?

Crap: Martinez just came through with a single, and it's 3-0 Indians and Wake is coming out of the game. Be back in a minute: going to change shirt, hat, and possibly underwear to rally the mojo.

Well, that didn't work: Peralta just hit a 3 run home run and it's 6-0 Indians. I've gotta give the Indians credit: they have out pitched the Red Sox (unless your name is Beckett), out hit the Red Sox, and outplayed the Red Sox. It's not about what we HAVEN'T done, it's about what they HAVE done. Having our work cut out for us doesn't begin to cover it.

Mercifully, the inning is over: however, the score is now 7-0 and a lonely RSN turns it's eyes to Josh Beckett to keep hope alive. Well, I'm not ruling out a repeat of the Mothers Day Miracle yet, but it's getting pretty dicey.

May have spoken too soon: Youk and Papi just went back to back, and it's 7-2, nobody out, top of the 6th. Now the right side of my body has gone numb: at least it's all evened out.

Manny just hit a bomb, and yes, they just went back to back to back: it's 7-3 with 3 innings to go and 4 runs needed to tie. Just when I think I'm out, they pull me back in. I'm now going to hunker down behind the couch until the 6th is over.

Jon Lester gives up a lead off walk to Sizemore and that's it: heading to the 7th, still 7-3 Indians.

Keeping the Fair, Keeping the Fair, Keeping the Fair.

After Tek hits a seeing eye single, Lugo grounds into a double play and Pedie lines out to end the 7th.

Nothing doing in the 8th, and while Lester has pitched some fine innings in relief, we head to the top of the 9th down 7-3 and needing a miracle to win this thing. Tough game to watch: down the whole time, praying for the comeback when we get the 3 HR's in a row, then getting deflated every time after those hits.

3 outs left and 4 runs needed to tie. I'm just praying they bring in Borowski: if they do, we've at least got a fighting chance.

Lowell pops up: one down.

Drew flies out: two down.

Crisp lines out to first: three down, ball game over.

Heading into the off day, the boys are down 3 games to 1: it's not over, and I'm not going to officially start to freak out, but we need some help. We need Beckett to sack up on Thursday, Schilling to remember he IS Mr. Big Game pitcher in game 6, and God help us, Daisuke to come through in Game 7.

Stranger things have happened.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's OK Little Buddy. I've Got Your Back.

Tough game tonight in Cleveland. Down 4-0, Tek gave all of RSN hope with his 2 run shot to cut the lead in half, but it wasn't meant to be.

Going into tomorrow, the boys are down 2 games to 1, which makes one think I'd be raging against the machine right now.

However, Zen-like is the best description I can come up with for how I feel. I sort of thought all along that if we ended up facing Cleveland, it would be a battle. And if this thing doesn't go 7 games, you can knock me over with a feather. That is a good, solid team they have and it ain't gonna be easy.

Of course, nothing worth having ever is: and I'm not a doctor or a pitching coach, but Daisuke is flat worn out. All those innings in Japan + pitching every 5 days instead of 6 + him throwing 467 warm up pitches before the game = one dead, tired, arm.

Tomorrow night, Wake takes the mound. And other than Beckett, there is not one guy I'd rather have going out there. Timmeh's been there: he's seen the bad (Aaron F*****g Boone) and the good (2004 anyone?), so I gotta think he's up for the challenge. Besides, it's still only 2-1.

Now, if after tomorrow night it's 3-1, I may start freaking just a bit.

Here's to that not happening.

I believe. I believe in the knuckle ball.

I believe in Wake.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Dirt Dog Returns. With Vengance.

When Angie and I found out our third child was going to be a boy, I immediately knew what I wanted to name him. We had already covered her side of the family with Ciera, and Rakes is MY moms maiden name, so I had a clean slate to work with.

My favorite Sox player since he arrived in Boston was Trot Nixon: how could you not love a guy who gunked his helmet with so much pine tar the B vanished, was perpetually dirty from diving and sliding, and would run through the bullpen wall to make a catch?

Better yet, how can you not love a guy who was on the disabled list and STILL managed to get tossed out of a game? Gabe Kapler had hit a home run and the ump blew it and ruled only a double. Trot ran out looking like he was gonna go upside his head and ended up getting thrown out.

So when Trot strolled to the plate last night with 2 on and the score tied 6-6, I got a feeling. A feeling that he was going to do something I wasn't going to like, and for the first time I'd actually have to say "Screw you Trot".

Wouldn't you know it, the S.O.B went and blooped a pinch hit single off lefty Javier Lopez (biggest knock on Trot has always been he can't hit lefties: think THAT hit felt good?) to break the tie and put the Indians ahead. Funny thing though: I didn't think screw you, or anything else negative. At that point in the game, I still had hope we were still in it: I was actually sort of happy for the guy.

After bleeding Red Sox red for 13 years and leaving parts of his body scattered all over Fenway Park and doctor offices everywhere, management basically told him his services were no longer required. Can't hit lefties, too injury prone, not worth the money you'll be wanting, etc...

Funny part is the guy who replaced him, JD Drew, could be called injury prone, not worth the money, can't hit lefties, etc... Don't get me wrong: I like JD, and at this point in their careers, JD is without a doubt the better player. He's had a lot of family stuff this season, pressure of a new team and new league, and I fully expect him to bounce back with a big year next season. I just miss Trotter.

So when he came through in his old stomping grounds last night, part of me was happy for the guy. Now, the perfect scenario would have been for us to stop the bleeding there and come back in the bottom and win. Didn't happen, and we head to Cleveland even at 1-1. Still, I think enough of the man to have named one of my children after him: so yeah, I may have smiled last night. Just a bit.

Finally, I think we did a good job picking the name. Little Trot has fallen down the stairs 5 times, fell off the couch and chairs more times than I can count, and has yet to meet a wall, table, or door frame he didn't think his head could take out.

Tough as nails: just like his namesake.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What? No Gold Glove?

After making 2 great plays in the field tonight there may be a legitimate argument for Manny winning the Gold Glove.

OK: maybe not. However, the leather he flashed tonight can't be discounted. After Beckett gave up a HR to Pronk in the first, Manny got him out of the inning by making a leaping catch of a Kenny Lofton line drive.

Later in the game, he made a rolling grab of a ball that he may or may not have trapped to prevent a run from scoring: the ump called it out, so in my book it was an out.

In addition to his defensive efforts, Manny, combined with Papi, was on base EVERY FREAKING TIME they came to the plate. If they even reach those numbers half the time, there is no way on earth Cleveland has a chance in this series.

Final score? 10-3, with Beckett going 6 innings and pitching like he hasn't skipped a beat since last Thursday. After 5 days of listening to every talking head on ESPN talk about how tonight would be a pitchers duel, a VERY unclassy win was great to see.

Getting the first win is HUGE in a series like this: with Carmona on the hill for the Indians tomorrow, and given his shaky history at Fenway, tonight could be the crack in the armor Sox fans have been wishing for.

*Pimping of a Blog alert: over in my links you'll find Angie and Amanda. Readers of this site will recognize Angie as my long suffering better half, and Amanda is my little brothers wife: and don't ask me. I have NO clue how he convinced her to marry him. Anyways, they are partners in a sewing business where they can make you anything under the sun. This helps pay for diapers, food, and in my case, my Sox addiction. So if you need a pocketbook, curtains, or just some pillows to put on your bed, contribute to the "Help Ted keep the EI package" fund and check it out.*

The blog pimping is now over: back to your regular scheduled programming.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

School Daze

Went to my first solo parent meeting at Ciera's school tonight, and I'm pretty sure it'll be my last.

I don't know why goofy stuff happens to me when I'm sans wife, but it just does.

Pulling into the parking lot tonight, I was amazed at my good luck: all of the reserved parking spots up front were empty, so I parked the Griswold mobile and headed inside.

Upon entering the cafeteria, I'm immediately struck by the following:

1. I'm the only dude in sight.

2. All the ladies are dressed to kill, while I'm sporting a long sleeve Eskimo Joe shirt with my Trot Nixon t-shirt over it, jean shorts, and wearing my Sox cap. Which is another way of saying I'm standing out like Forest Gump at the Black Panther party.

3. With roughly 95 4th graders at this school, there is MAYBE 20 parents at the meeting. Don't get me wrong, I understand that some people can't make a 6 p.m. meeting on a Thursday night. But are you telling me that out of roughly 75 other adults, not ONE of them could take the time to show up?

//Begins rant: Why is it that you have to be 16 to drive, 18 to vote, and 21 to drink, yet any moron can procreate? Male or female, I'm about ready to propose my "Everyone must be on birth control unless you can pass a test on parenting that a monkey mainlining meth could pass" amendment. Then, and ONLY then, could you have a child. It constantly amazes me that someone with a child can be so apathetic.//

Rant over.

In the meeting, the principal, who arrived a few minutes late, gets up to hand out the parent booklets. When she gets to me she leans down and says "I'm guessing with all the Red Sox gear you have on YOU are the one who parked in my spot". My Sox license plate frame gave me away.

My first thought? "Oh S**t." Second thought? "I'm never going to be allowed to do this by myself again." However, a few minutes later she comes by and says "It's OK: with the weekend Manny had last week, you can park anywhere you want."

Turns out she is a card carrying member of RSN and we proceed to have a really nice conversation about the season, the ALDS, and Beckett facing Sabbathia.

If you've read this thing more than once, you'll understand why I'm stoked about the events of tonight. Ciera will be moving to middle school after next year.

Rakes and Trot are still waiting in the wings: they'll need all the good will that Dad can build up to avoid detention, suspension, and expulsion in the coming years.

Game 1 is less than 24 hours away: I'm tempted to quote Morgan Freeman from Shawshank here, but don't feel like putting up with the ragging I'd get from certain family members.

Let's just say this: I can't freaking wait.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If the Glove doesn't fit

Just a little reminder of what awaits Red Sox Nation should the Sox make the World Series: the possibility of 3 games with David Ortiz at first base.

Personally, I think Papi's glove is a bit underrated by most, and every time I've seen him play there, he's done a pretty good job. He ain't Keith Hernandez, but then again, he's not Gary Sheffield either.

I just thought the picture was pretty funny, and it does NOTHING to help Papi's case for being a Gold Glove candidate.

Getting through the next 2 days is gonna be tough: this time off from Sunday to Friday is giving me a stark reminder of what the off season is like. Lots of long days with March feeling like it's 6 years away instead of six months.

Thankfully, I've got the memory of 2004 to tide me over until we take on the Indians. Sweeping the Angels, coming back on the Yankees after being down 3-0, and sweeping the Cardinals in the World Series.

Hmm... swept the Angels again.

That HAS to be a good omen: let's just hope the Indians don't provide quite as much drama in the ALCS. The World Series part? Yeah, if that happens again, well?

It definitely wouldn't suck.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

If Only He Played For The Red Sox

Now that the Yankee season has ended, Jeter is scheduling his tee time for the next 6 months, and Slappy is preparing to bolt New York faster than a speeding bullet, I've got a confession to make.

I like a Yankee player.

Man, that was harder to write than I thought it would be. But if you have just the tiniest bit of heart, it's really hard not to root for Joba Chamberlain.

Let me get this out of the way first: I think he's a bit of a head hunter (throwing 2 pitches in a row over Youk's head), has a lot to learn about being a PROFESSIONAL big league pitcher, and ENOUGH about the bugs already.

However, the influence of the Rocket on the head hunting thing can't be discounted, and he's just a kid. A kid who made the leap from A ball to the show in ONE FREAKING YEAR.

Not only did he make it to the show, he was DOMINANT at the highest level a player can reach, pitching for one of the best teams in the thick of a pennant race: if you believed in fairy tales, you'd think the guy was a robot.

However, it's not his athletic talent that has me rooting for him: it's his relationship with his Dad. Afflicted with polio in 1952 which left him deaf in one ear, paralyzed in an arm and a leg, and in a scooter for the rest of his life, Harlan Chamberlain is a man all of us can admire.

No Mom (she left when he was young), no money, and a father who would play catch with his son by sitting on the steps and tucking his glove under his chin to throw the ball back. If you don't subscribe to Sports Illustrated, you need to go to the local library and read the October 8th, 2007 edition.

"Watch the son turn his back to the plate, look to the sky and hold his Yankee cap over his heart. Watch the father remove his Yankees cap and do the same as the tears stream down his cheeks...."

I like to think of myself as a good Dad: after reading that article, I've got a LONG way to go.

And I get as sick as anyone when FOX or ESPN shows Jeter's Mom and Dad or Joba's Pop every other inning: in his case, I asked myself this.

What if he played for the Red Sox?

I'd think it was the best story I'd ever heard.

Besides, it's not his fault he had the misfortune to get drafted by the MFY's.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Historic Day

Big Day for me today: my youngest boy, Trot, said "Sox" for the first time.

Actually, it was more "Dox": and it was paired with "baw" so it ended up being "baw Dox".

Still, so far his vocabulary has consisted of a handful of words, so him saying anything close to Sox is big for his Dad.

He's still a bit young to teach "Yankees Suck" yet, so maybe we'll work on "Papi" tomorrow.

Top of the 5th at the Toilet, and it's 6-1 Indians: so far, so good. If I can keep from going insane at the TBS announcers practically practicing witchcraft in order for a 5th and deciding game to happen, and ignore Chip Carey and his radio announcer voice, it'll be a miracle.

What a knob this guy is: he's going ape over a 1, 2, 3 inning and the Yankees are down by 5. Somehow he'll be able to spin Slappy being 0 for 2 with 2 K's the next time he pirouettes his way to home plate.

It almost makes me wish for Buck and McCarver.


Sunday, October 7, 2007

In Curt we Trust

In game one, we rode the arm of the 26 year old future and the bat of David Ortiz. Game 2 saw the Japanese import and Manny Ramirez carry the day.

For Game 3, until the 8th inning, it was back to back Ortiz and Ramirez HR's and the arm of the soon to be 41 year old Curt Schilling that brought out the brooms.

Whether it was the 11 game rest between starts, the fact he's a big game pitcher throwing in a big time game, or even the fact he was a little ticked off about pitching third in the rotation, I have no idea.

What I DO know is Curt Freaking Schilling was outstanding today in the Red Sox ALDS clinching win.

Whatever hope the Angels had of extending the series past today got slimmer and slimmer as the innings went by, as Schill kept kicking the Angels right in the marbles. When you think about it, it's amazing he has transformed himself from a power pitcher to a bigger version of Greg Maddux DURING the season: it's a testament to his willingness to change and his passion to win that he's done this and today we saw the finished product.

Watching the post game celebration in the clubhouse, I've realized 3 things:

1. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY enjoys the celebration process more than Papelbon.

2. We have seriously missed out on some high comedy this year with Manny boycotting the media: the stuff I've seen the past 2 days alone is priceless.

3. As much fun as it's been to see Papi, Timlin, and Lowell celebrating, I keep wishing I'd see Pedro in there, goggles on and holding a bucket over his head.

Oh well, onward and upward: next series for the Sox starts this Friday, and it'll be either the Indians or the Yankees coming to Fenway: it's 8-4 MFY's in the bottom of the 8th as I type, so they most likely will live to fight another day. However, they still have to win 3 in a row, and I just don't see it happening. We'll see.

All I know is the Sox just keep on rolling: AL East? Check. ALDS? Check. That's step one and step two.

Bring on step three.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Man-Child

*Photo from*

Lying in bed, eyes propped open with toothpicks, I watched Mike Scioscia call for Ortiz to be intentionally walked, and I'll be honest: my heart sank.

As much as I love Manny, I just KNEW we were going to extra innings. Now normally that wouldn't bother me, but with this stupid furniture market I'm in right now, I'm running on fumes. Knowing I was already getting 4.5 hours of sleep at the maximum, I was dreading staying up any longer.

I've never been more glad to have been more wrong: I'll never doubt you again Manny. With one crushed KRod pitch, off to sleep I went.

I don't care that he pimped it for an hour, or if Scioscia had a hissy fit over it: that pose Manny struck after hitting the walk off home run STILL has me smiling.

Memo to Steve Bartman: watch the video of Danny Vinik taking a foul ball out away from the Angels catcher Jeff Mathis. Instead of out number 3, Ramirez walks, Lowell hits a sacrifice fly, and the Sox tie the game. THAT is how you catch a foul ball, you dink.

Topping the whole night off was the fact the Yankees lost again to Cleveland and are down 2-0 heading back to the toilet, and Mr. April was in fine form, going 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts. Just in case you were wondering, Slappy is 4-for-47 (.085) with no RBIs in his last 14 postseason games. If he's the MVP of the American League, I'm 6 ft. 4 and handsome.

If there was ever any doubt which team God was a fan of, last night should finally put an end to that debate: how else do you explain that plague of bugs that attacked the Yankees during the inning Joba Chamberlain gave up the tying run? I kept waiting for frogs to start jumping out of the Yankee dugout and locusts to cover the field.

Sox take a 2-0 lead out to the Left Coast with Father Curt looking to take the mound on Sunday: with that horse on the hill, I think the chances of a game 4 are getting smaller by the hour.

Finally, a quote from Manny: "I haven't been right all year. When you don't feel good and you still get hits, that's how you know you're a bad man."

Yes you are Manny. Yes you are.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

And Pronk Shall Lead Them

With the Red Sox off tonight, my entertainment for the evening was provided by the Cleveland Indians playing the New York Yankees.

If I were Roger Ebert, I'd give tonight 2 thumbs up: final score of 12-3 with all sorts of interesting subplots going on: Kenny Lofton finds the fountain of youth and goes 3 for 4, Victor Martinez hits a 2 run bomb, some rookie named Asdrubal Cabrera became the youngest player in Indians history to hit a postseason home run with his solo shot in the third, and Travis Hafner, aka Pronk, hit a shot that gave the Indians a 10-3 lead.

Forget about CC Sabathia looking like a 4th starter while he was in: the club formerly known as the mistake by the lake put the whooping sticks to the MFY's tonight. It's official: the Yankee dynasty of the late 90's is on the Iron Lung, Mystique and Aura really ARE strippers (er, exotic dancers) at the Bada Bing Club, and Joe Torre best start looking for his next employment opportunity.

Best part about tonight? ARod realized it was October and all his regular season stats don't mean squat. His line for the night? 0 for 2 with 2 walks: not exactly what you'd think $25 million per year would bring.

Somewhere in Southern California, Scott Boras is feverishly working the phones to line up the next sucker to take on Slappy's contract after he opts out this off season. Because I've got a sinking suspicion that no hits and 2 walks is going to be the biggest offensive output ARod puts up this post season.

By the time he comes to the plate tomorrow, the bat could very well be nothing but sawdust, given how uptight he already is. A man struggling this much with his sanity should not be funny to me.

However, God help me, it's hysterical.

Author's Note: I just realized I never updated on my Dad's condition except in a comment to Horsham. His cauterization came back negative and all the tests they ran were good news. It was a combination of stress, not enough rest, and a bit of panic. Thanks to everyone for the good thoughts.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Commander of the Kick A** Brigade

*Picture from Yahoo*

How often does what you imagine happening in your head actually come true? If you're me, not too much: tonight, Josh Beckett made my daydream come true.

All day long I kept envisioning an outing by Beckett that was one for the ages: 99 mph fastballs, curve balls that Barry Zito would envy, and Angel batters breaking bats and punching water coolers in the dugout in frustration.

I don't know about the bats and anti water cooler behavior, but the fastball was there. And I'll bet Zito was taking notes: the Angels are asking each other right now if anyone got the number on that train that just ran over them.

9 innings. 4 hits. 8 K's. 0 BB's. He retired 19 consecutive hitters after allowing a leadoff single in the first inning, and ran his post season scoreless streak to 18 innings. This is a guy who has 4 complete game shutouts in his career, with THREE of them being in the post season. THAT is the definition of a big game pitcher.

Throw in Youk's first ever playoff hit being a home run and Papi remembering he is the new Mr. October by hitting a 2 run HR, if you're a Sox fan, tonight was a very good night. Now it's the Angels who have to win 3 out of 4 and start to press. Hopefully, we get the Daisuke Matsuzaka who pitched the AL East clinching win vs. the Twins: you know, the really good Daisuke.

Tomorrow night, Trot Nixon and the Indians take on the MFY's. Nothing would please me more than CC and the Indians pimp slapping the Yankees in game 1, and the Yankees getting swept away in the ALDS.

Hey, it COULD happen.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

You know I'm gonna be like him.

"I'm having chest pains and they are taking me to the Hospital".

Words you never want to hear under normal circumstances, even worse when it's your 72 year old Dad saying them to you.

Pop had a heart attack 2 years ago June, and in September of '05 had quintuple bypass surgery. So when he says the magic words "chest pain" and "hospital" your adrenalin kicks into overdrive.

Good news? The doctors are 99.9% sure it's nothing wrong with his heart. Most likely it's due to running around like a mental patient for the last 2 weeks, not getting enough rest, and being a workaholic.

This morning, we're pretty sure the 4 am wake up to go to the gym, a sausage biscuit and a cup of coffee (a no no for someone who's had a heart attack) and forgetting to remember to bring a nitroglycerin pill with him didn't exactly do wonders for his condition.

Now, even though the doctors are relatively sure nothing is wrong, Dad has convinced himself he needs to have a cauterization just so he can know for sure. Granted, he's a grown man and I'm not gonna change his mind, but for some reason I just have a problem with a man his age going under anesthesia when it's not actually necessary. I guess I'm just funny that way.


One of these days I'll be worrying my boys (and girl) the same way my Pop worries me, I'm sure. I'm not exactly known in the family as being the most healthy of men, and try to avoid doctors and hospitals like the plague.

I really need some baseball to take my mind off of Dad, the market, the stress, and real life. Of course, if this off season is anything like the past few the Red Sox have been in, Pop and I may be sharing a room in the cardiac unit.

Late addition: I fear I've passed on my Red Sox obsession already. As I was putting Ciera to bed, she asked me if Manny was going to be well enough to play in the postseason. She is nine. And a girl.

What in the name of all that is good and holy have I done? Not only to her, but her future husband? At least I can be pretty confident she won't marry a Yankee fan.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The 7th Circle of Hell. AKA Furniture Market

This is the Showplace building in High Point, NC, home of the International Furniture Market every April and October.

Trust me: it's not all it's cracked up to be. 10 days of boredom, interrupted by brief periods of frustration so intense you feel like that guy Michael Douglas played in "Falling Down".

Years ago, this particular event was a key part of the industry: now, with everything being made overseas, it's a major pain in the keester that still exists only because of the obscene amount of money it pulls in for the cities that host it: High Point, Tupelo MS, and Las Vegas.

For me, it means long days, short nights, and meetings that start a 7 a.m.: that is for Sales Manager Bob in case he reads this post. When the Fall market rolls around, it also signals playoff baseball: I'm currently watching the Rockies/Padres play a one game playoff to determine who gets to play the Phillies in the NLDS.

Here's how the playoffs are shaking out:

Sox vs. Angels starting Wednesday night.

Indians hosting the MFY's beginning Thursday.

Diamondbacks vs. the Cubbies, and the Phillies hosting either the Rockies or Padres.

MLB has got to be happy: Cubs, Yankees, and Red Sox are in, plus teams in L.A., Chicago, and Philadelphia. Not exactly a crew of small market teams.

My wish for the WS? Sox vs. Cubbies.

My actual prediction? Sox vs. D-Backs. If they can run Brandon Webb out 3 times in a 7 game series, the Diamondbacks are going to be tough to beat.

Can we get a Fast Forward button for life and get me to Wednesday NOW?