Monday, June 30, 2008

What We Learned From NESN Tonight.

... Papi, even though there is no way on earth he'll be able to play, will be at the All-Star Game at the Toilet this year. Of course he will. Would you expect anything less from the Large Father?

... Papelbon asked Remy if the AL won the All-Star Game did it mean Remy and Orsillo would call the World Series? Yes, Pap. And pigs will fly, Beckett will walk on water, and Manny will win the Gold Glove. Seriously, is he perpetually drunk, or does he really mean this stuff?

... Pap also claimed he didn't know who was the WS MVP last year until way after the fact, forgetting that folks living in a third world country with one phone line knew Scenic Lowell drew the honor about 3.5 minutes after the fact.

I'm starting to think all those Bud Lights have affected his short term memory.

... Remy said "Tamper" instead of Tampa AT LEAST 358 times. And I giggled every time. Sue me.

... Justin Masterson has as much trouble with the long ball as that chick from the O.C. has with saying no to the camera. Which is WAY to much.

... Heidi Watney is incapable of a natural smile. Seriously, you are a sports reporter, not the U.N. liaison for Iran and it's nuclear program. RELAX a little, and show some teeth.

... the Rays are most definitely for real. Great pitching, clutch hitting, and those retro Joe Maddon glasses are around to stay. Somebody wake up Big Papi and tell him we need him back, ASAP.

This New World Order is tough to understand; I need The Large Father to talk me through it.

Wake tomorrow, and all will be right with the world.

At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Swim Lessons. Or Dad pays for Therapy.

Rakes starts swim lessons tomorrow, and I'm a tad worried. See, the lady he's taking the lessons from would make "The Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld seem like a pacifist.

Don't get me wrong; whatever she does, it works. Ciera was 4 years old and afraid of the water, and after 5 days she was diving off the diving board, swimming the length of the pool, and has been swimming like a fish ever since. However, she cried every day before she went and every night before she went to bed that week, begging me not to make her go back.

I have no idea what goes on in these sessions, as parents are only allowed to watch the last day. From the way she acted, you'd think they were treated worse than prisoners at Gitmo. Ciera is a tad on the sensitive side, though. It may have been the drill Seargent like atmosphere was just a little much for her.

We didn't warn the teacher about Rakes, and we didn't warn Rakes about her. I just figured it'd be best if the two of them got to know each other on their own terms. This lady has been doing this for about 20 summers now; Any takers on if she makes it to 21?

This may make the battle of wills between Hank Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman seem like a day in the park.

If she does survive? Little does she know I've got this one waiting in the wings.

The Red Sox take off to Tampa tonight, dropping 2 out of 3 to the Astros. Beckett went 7 innings, gave up 2 runs, and should have won the game. Instead, we had Oki lay an egg in the 8th inning and as I head to bed the Rays have sole possession of 1st place in the AL East.

Enjoy it while it lasts, Tampa. Tomorrow night, hells comin'.

And the Red Sox are comin' with it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

In Beckett We Trust

Does this look like a guy who's going to lose?

Especially after the Sox took the lead not once, but TWICE in tonight's game and still lost?

Yeah. Me neither.

Tough loss to take, but if it's any consolation those boys in Houston can rake. Berkman, Lee, Tejada, etc.. can flat out knock the cover off the ball. And if you're pitchers aren't on top of their game, you get stuff like tonight's 11-10 loss.

Meh. It happens, and all you can do is dust yourself off, pick yourself up, and get ready for tomorrow.

If there is just one thing I can assure the Astros of, it's this.

Josh Beckett don't play.

You can't say you weren't warned.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Holy Crap. I was actually right.

5 innings, 2H, 3BB, 4K, 0R

Not bad for a guy who didn't last more than 1 inning his last time out.

I've got some kind of virus my baby boy has generously decided to pass on to the rest of us, so I'm keeping it brief tonight.

In full disclosure, my post from yesterday was made with my typical blowhardiness; I honestly had no idea what to expect out of Daisuke tonight. To say I'm pleased would be an understatement.

Finally, if you stopped by today and couldn't comment, I apologize. Every time I checked it seemed like the comment option wasn't there. Hopefully the new post will be fine.

Lester tomorrow and Tex is in Houston cheering him on.

Far as I'm concerned, it's in the bag already.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Don't call it a comeback

In reading and watching all the hand wringing that went on when Daisuke Matsuzaka lasted all of an inning in his first start since coming off the DL, it struck me how quick we forget.

We forget his 15-12 record last season in his FIRST YEAR in MLB, his 204 innings pitched, and his 32 starts. Now, I'm sure the talent in Japanese baseball is good, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say there are no A-Rods, Vladdys, or Ryan Howards he ever had to face over there. Which makes what he did in his First season in big boy ball even more impressive.

To do it in a Seattle or Arizona or even Los Angeles is one thing; to do it in a fish bowl like Boston, in the beast that is the AL East is even more impressive.

As for 2008, all the man has done so far is go 8-1 with a 3.46 era and strike out 56. Yes, he's walked 41 batters, throws entirely too many pitches, and I'm sure makes Tek want to stuff him in a locker every now and then.

Bottom line is, he's a gamer, he's got mad skills, and if Boston wants a repeat of last season, we need him to sack up and be the front of the rotation pitcher we need to go with The Commander.

Tomorrow night in Houston he gets a chance to make us all forget about that last start when he goes up against Runelvys Hernandez and the Astros. Yes, the great Runelvys Hernandez; personally, I think Dice can take him.

I just hope Tek pulls him aside and issues the following instructions:

"Look, that guy Lee? He can mash. And that guy Berkman? You throw ANYTHING remotely close to the plate and I'm playing tether ball with your head after the game. We clear? Good. Go get 'em, kid."

My adopted sis Tex will be present for 2 of the games this weekend, tomorrow and Sunday, which I'm positive will bring the boys luck. So if you see a slightly deranged looking woman charging the mound and waving a Texas flag at Beckett?

Don't be worried; she means no harm.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Credit, Just Cash

I imagine being Tim Wakefield's personal catcher is sort of like being the substitute mailman in my little small town. You're doing an important job, but it's only for every 5th day, nobody pays attention, and much like catching, you're doing a vital, yet largely unnoticed job.

Now, I'm not equating putting envelopes in a mailbox to trying to catch a ball that is dipping and diving more than Ali in his prime; just trying to make a point in a way most people can understand. I'm pretty sure I'd wet myself if I ever had to attempt to perform the equivalent to capturing a butterfly with a pair of tweezers, plus my respect for the everyday postal carrier has never been questioned.

All I'm saying is baseball is a game of repetition; the more you can practice, the better you are. And while Cash is money when it comes to catching Wake's demon of a pitch, he'd hit approximately 0 HR's and driven in a whopping total of 6 runs heading into tonight.

Which makes that 3 run shot all the way over the Green Monster tonight that much sweeter, and the Sox win 5-0 to take the series with the Diamondbacks. As a long time admirer of Doug Mirabelli, this is hard for me to type, but to paraphrase a popular beer commercial....

Kevin Cash, catcher of the knuckle ball, whatever offense you bring to the table is a bonus, toiling in anonymity, we salute you.

1st place and a record of 49-32 at the half way point?

Sounds good to me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Superstition to Add to the List

Right about the time Julio Lugo led off the bottom of the 8th inning with a single, Ciera came out of her room to inform me she was ready for me to come tuck her in, say her prayers, and go to bed.

I asked her if she wanted to watch the bottom of the inning with me, and so it was that we found ourselves with her head resting on the bannister, my arm around her shoulders, and both of us hoping for a miracle.

Next thing you know, Jacoby and Pedie single, making the score 4-2, Diamondbacks. JD strikes out, Manny hits a funky ground ball to 3rd that results in him being thrown out at first and Ellsbury and Pedroia at 2nd and 3rd with two out.

Thanks to a Mikey Lowell wall ball double, the score is tied, I'm freaking out, and Ciera is laughing and giggling like there is no tomorrow. I gotta say; when Tek hit that single that scored Lowell, I'm not sure who was happier, her or me.

One Jonathan Papelbon save later, and the Sox win 5-4 in one of, if not THE most exciting game I've seen so far this year.

It's the newly famous "Ciera Mojo" at work.

There was no easy way to tell her that from now on, whenever the Sox are losing going into the bottom of the 8th inning at Fenway, she's gotta get out of bed and lay her head on the bannister while I give her a hug. So I kissed her good night, we said our prayers, and I closed her door, silently apologizing for the lack of future sleep she'll have to endure.

I wonder how many more years I've got before she realizes I've completely lost my mind.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Funny. I don't remember this from Field of Dreams

While watching the Red Sox/Diamondbacks game tonight, the following conversation took place.

Rakes: Who him, Dad?

Me: BJ Upton. C'mon Josh.

Rakes: T'mon, Josh Beckett.

Me: Hey bud, I'm proud of you for knowing that was his last name.

Rakes: Why Toto Trisp not pitching, Dad?

Me: Coco is playing Centerfield, Rakes. Hey, you wanna know something? I love you, little man.

Rakes: I thought Toto pitched, Dad.

Me: (Puts arm around Rakes proudly, enjoying the Father/Son moment). No son, he plays in the outfield.

Rakes: Stop that, Dad.

Ah, the great game of baseball.

Still bringing Fathers and Sons together after all these years.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Walk-Off Sundays RULE

Days like today are what helps keep me a jangling ball of nerves. It's not as if I don't have enough things that are potential ulcer inducers in my life; a sales job in a bad economy, imagining the first time Ciera says "this is my boyfriend, Dad" and two boys that are always seemingly one missed jump away from a visit to the Emergency Room.

So I look to the game of baseball, and more specifically the Boston Red Sox, as my stress reliever. Which if you know me is pretty funny, considering I spend the entire game pacing back and forth, screaming at the top of my lungs during day games and cursing under my breath at night.

Take today for instance. The game was supposed to start at 1:30 but thanks to Mother Nature, it was an hour later before the festivities commenced. Then Jon Lester gives the Sox 7+ innings and only allows 2 runs, the boys fight back and take a 3-2 lead before turning it over to Pap for the ninth.

1st batter? Struck him out.

2nd batter? Struck HIM out.

3rd batter walked, Coco misjudges a fly ball and all of a sudden it's all tied up.

Now, when you lead off an inning with a double, you sort of figure there is a pretty good chance that guy is gonna score, right? A sacrifice bunt here and a sac fly to RF there and it's all over but the party. Not only do the Sox lead off the 10th inning with a double, they led off the 11th and 12th inning with one as well. And NOT ONE of those 3 players ended up scoring.

By this point, Trot is up from his nap, Ciera is begging me to make dinner for her, and Ang is on the computer, supposedly paying bills. Of course I'd worked myself up into such a lather I just KNEW she was up there reading while I'm downstairs losing my mind over the game, trying not to burn the macaroni and cheese, and keeping Trot from climbing on top of the playroom tv.

I should mention it's a good thing Rakes wasn't home during all this (My Pop took him to get a hot dog) because I was like Ray Liotta in that scene from "Goodfellas" where he's trying to make dinner, he's got his poor brother stirring sauce all day, and there are helicopters following him wherever he goes. I actually got a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought about calling EMS, then realized if I did I'd miss the rest of the game. So I told myself there were worse ways to shuffle off this rock, regained some composure, and sat down.

Oh yeah; I'm pretty sure I yelled something about Tony LaRussa and his mother at the tv right around this time, but I'm not 100% certain.

Thankfully, Youk ended my misery with an absolute BOMB over the Green Monster in lucky inning number 13 and the Sox won 5-3.

With my voice sounding like I'd smoked a carton of Camels, my ears beet red from my elevated blood pressure, and my stomach feeling like I'd just rode Bodacious, I smiled the smile of the contented fan.

Just think; we get to do it all over again tomorrow night at 7.

Man, do I love this team.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's a Hard Knock Life

Rakes, not liking the fact we wouldn't let him have his light saber tonight (long story: suffice it to say that Rakes + Lightsaber + Trot's head = more issues than I care to address at one time), pitched the mother of all hissy fits tonight.

As I tried to explain to him, being 4 isn't the worse thing in the world. I told him that he got to pretty much live the life of Tarzan with no worries, no responsibilities, and his biggest decision was which vine to swing from and which toy to eventually break.

Our little talk worked out ALMOST as well as that Peace accord Clinton worked out with Arafat and Israel back in the day.


At least the little sucker eventually goes to sleep.

Even if it's not when and where you want him to.

Hey; I'll take some peace any way I can get it.

Oh yeah, that Red Sox/Cardinal game today? The one where the Red Sox were down 8-0 after the top of the second inning?

I'm just gonna pretend that never happened.


Friday, June 20, 2008

The Icon

In all the moves Red Sox ownership made after the 2003 season, from firing Grady, hiring Tito and signing Keith Foulke, none was bigger than convincing Curt Schilling to come to Boston.

With today's announcement that Curt is having season, and very likely career ending shoulder surgery, we may have seen the last of a guy who has embodied the Red Sox spirit the last 4 years.

From insisting his contract automatically get extended if the Sox won the World Series to calling the local sports radio shows to posting on the SOSH message board, Father Curt embraced being a member of the Red Sox like few had before him.

Clearly, he GOT what it meant to put that jersey on. He'd initially been drafted by the Sox, and even though he was known as a Phillie and a Diamondback, even vanquishing the MFY's in 2001 and sharing the Series MVP award with Randy Johnson, since he's been in Boston it's hard to remember him when he WASN'T a Red Sox player.

Johnny Damon said he'd never play for the Yankees, then jumped ship the first chance he got. Schilling said the same thing, and you believed him. In fact, I can't think of a thing Schill ever said I didn't believe he meant, whether I liked what he said or not. And yeah, he's a camera loving, quote making, attention seeking kind of guy. At least he was honest about it.

So if this is it, I'd like to say thanks. Thanks for nutting up and sacrificing your career in the ALCS. Thanks for telling the world there was nothing you could think of that was better than making 50,000 New Yorkers shut up. Thanks for changing the culture around this team from one of "When is the other shoe gonna drop" to "Somehow we're gonna end up winning this thing."

Because those 2 World Series trophies the boys have won the past 4 years? They don't happen without The Big Schill.

And for that, all of Red Sox Nation owes Schilling an eternal debt of gratitude.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Just when I think I've got him figured out...

If you stop by here on a regular basis, you know that my boy Rakes is, well, a little hard to handle at times.

I'm subjected on a daily basis to various random acts of destruction which usually result in me yelling at him to "quit hitting your brother on the head with that Power Ranger!"

So tonight, in a rare moment, he caught me off guard. After a spirited T-Ball game where he went 2 for 2 with a wicked hard throw to first to record an out (which in T-Ball comes along about as often as a Solar Eclipse), a bath where I'm pretty sure more water ended up OUTSIDE the tub than in it, and a competitive game of, well, I'm not totally sure. It involved Ladybugs, Aphids, and Rakes hollering about the number 5, the little sucker got to me.

After saying prayers and tucking him into bed, he uttered the following in the sweetest voice you could imagine:

"Dad. When I det big like you, be're donna be big baseball buddies and watch the Red Sox games together, right Dad?"

It was all I could do to get out "You bet, son. You bet."

It's not often a conversation I have with Rakes ends with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Well, unless I feel like I'm gonna hurl.

I'm man enough to admit it happened tonight.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Man on Fire and Mess on Carpet

13 HR's, 43 RBI's, 14 Doubles, 2 Triples, .327 BA, .432OBP, .601 SLG, and the best accent this side of Gomer Pyle in MLB.

JD Drew is playing the game of baseball in a way that would make Roy Hobbs envious. In all seriousness, if JD has a magic bat named "Wonderboy" I wouldn't be a bit surprised.

It's not just the hitting; it's the "holy s**t I can't believe he made that catch" play in RF, where he's almost, for the first time since he got here, made me stop wishing Trot could come back as his backup, a special assistant to the G.M., or "designated guy to stomp Jonny Gomes into a mud puddle the next time we play Tampa".


Even more impressive has been his ability to stay relatively injury free; usually by this point in the season, Drew has found a sprinkler head to trip over, had his back injured in a spirited game of "tackle the man who sounds like Bo Duke" with Manny, or been dive bombed by that crazy hawk that lives on top of one of the light towers at Fenway. So far, so good, and with the way he's playing we're all getting to see why Theo and Co. were salivating over him for so long.

As Angie and Ciera left for church tonight, I enjoyed about 15 minutes of relative calm with the boys before I heard a sentence that will give me chills for the rest of my life. Or until he can top this one, whichever comes first.

Rakes: "Dad. You better tome see dis. Trottie dot poopie ALL over de floor."

Too scared to look, I slowly walked over to the balcony, looked down, and saw Heckle standing over a spot of burnt-orange throw up while Jeckle looked up at me and uttered the following:

Trot: "Me sick, Dad. It dere. Me no sick now, Dad."

Combine that with Rakes doing his best Lloyd from "Dumb and Dumber" in my bathroom and having to change one of Trot's more fun filled diapers and my OCD was in hyper drive.

15 hand washings, 3 vinegar baths, and 1 brief consideration of a move to Antartica later, everything was back to normal.

Or what passes for normal around here, anyway.

Somebody pass the Prozac.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Crab Cakes Strikes Again

Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Jon Lester.

Who would have thought that on the 17th of June the guy I'd feel the best about taking the hill every 5th day would have been Lester?

Sure, Beckett is still Beckett, although he's been a tad more shaky this year than I'd have expected after turning into the 2007 version of Sandy Koufax. And yeah, Daisuke is 8-0 with a ERA under 3.00, but let's be honest; is there ANY ONE who isn't waiting for the other shoe to drop and him turn into the guy who walks 6 guys in 3 innings?

Wake and Schill are old and at least with Schill, disabled. So that leaves Lester. Or Crab Cakes, as Cyn so brilliantly named him for his tendency to somehow look like a 88 year old in a 24 year old body.

Tonight, against a lineup that made Bartolo Colon look like a rookie AND sent him to the DL, Lester was brilliant; 7 IP, 5 K's, and O runs, marking his 3rd straight outstanding outing. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins? Just three names on the lineup card.

Oki with a scoreless 8th, Pap striking out the side in the 9th, and I could SWEAR I heard "Dirty Water" playing over the Philadelphia loudspeakers as the game ended.

Or was that just in my head?

Whatever it was, all I know is the Sox won and all is right with the world.

Tomorrow, Rakes may announce his manifesto that will allow him to rule the world. And I'm OK with that.

Crab Cakes shut out the Phillies TONIGHT.

Life is good.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fun with Hank

One of the more unexpected, yet pleasant surprises this year has been the emergence of Hank Steinbrenner as the new blowhard voice of the New York Yankees.

It's June the 16th, and we've already had about 2 years worth of innane quotes, a hilarious lack of understanding of the game of baseball, and the worse haircut I've seen since Gomer Pyle USMC ruled the airwaves.

Among other things, he's been quoted as asking Alex Rodriguez if he wanted to be remembered as a Yankee or a Toledo Mud Hen during contract negotiations and saying King George didn't get enough "respect" from Joe Torre. A baseball lifer not appreciating the fact his rich, over bearing, belligerent owner didn't respect his managing style? How dare Torre not listen to his suggestions, which I'm sure included batting Jeter in the 4 hole and letting him pitch the 8th inning.

Hank also got his knickers in a knot in Spring Training after a dust up with the Rays. Apparently, the delicate flowers known as the New York Yankees don't like to have to mix it up with inferior opponents. To quote Hank: "I don't want these teams in general to forget who subsidizes a lot of them, and it's the Yankees, the Red Sox, Dodgers, Mets...I would prefer if teams want to target the Yankees that they at least start giving some of that revenue sharing and luxury tax money back"

And yes. He's serious.

But in one instance, he went too far. Hank decided to chime in on Red Sox Nation, which is sort of like throwing a gas can on a small fire; if you don't watch out, it can turn into a roaring inferno.

Keep it up, Hank. The next 10 years are gonna make the George Steinbrenner/Billy Martin years seem like Nirvana for MFY fans worldwide.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers Day


Growing up, I never understood some of the stuff you did and said. Like whenever you'd have to spank me you'd say "this hurts me more than it'll ever hurt you". I pretty much thought you were an ogre whenever you'd make me clean my room, feed the dog and horse, or mow the lawn.

It would aggravate me to no end when you'd come home at night and make me repeat whatever I did during piano practice or make me tell you what happened at school that day, even though I'd already done it for Mom. I could never understand why I had to go over my report card with you at the end of the week when you got home from your business trip, because Mom had already read me the riot act and I was pretty sure she'd relayed the happy news already.

In fact, from the time I was about 15 until I turned 22, I was fairly certain you were the dumbest man I knew.

It's amazing how smart you got that year.

Now? I know you did all that because you didn't want to miss a thing that happened. That even though you couldn't be there at the time, you wanted to experience it for yourself. I DID notice you never missed a game, practice, or recital I was in, even if you had to drive 4 hours from wherever you were to see it, then drive those same 4 hours back to work the next day.

I saw you standing on the sidelines at every baseball or football game I ever had, even if you were still in your shirt and tie because you didn't have time to go home and change. Thanks for riding my tail about a C on my report card and getting on me when I did a chore half way. I was always grateful that after travelling all week and then mowing the 2 acre lawn on Saturday, you always had time to have a catch with me that afternoon.

You taught me how to treat my wife with respect and dignity, as well as what NOT to say sometimes. I've had a hard time absorbing that lesson fully, I gotta admit. You always got the most upset at the stupid stuff I did, like dumping the grease from the chicken on the front lawn or throwing the GI Joes up at the ceiling, knocking paint all over the bath tub.

But you were always loving and understanding with the serious stuff, like speeding tickets, car wrecks, and some random girl breaking my heart. As much as I've tried, I can NEVER remember a day where you failed to say "I love you" to me, and that includes the last 15 years not spent under your roof.
I've strived to be the same type of Dad to my kids, although I know I'll never be as good at it as you.

Thanks, Pop, from me and The Stooges, for helping to make me the Dad I am today.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Home Town Boy Makes Good

For a professional baseball player, other than winning the World Series, I can't imagine there is a better feeling than being the key part of a win over your hometown team. Especially when you desperately wanted to be drafted by that team, yet were picked in the 8th round by somebody else.

So I'm guessing Kevin Youkilis is feeling pretty good about himself right now. The Red Sox led the Reds 4-3 going into the bottom of the ninth today, and with the Papelbot on the mound I figured all that was left in doubt was which type of victory cigar Tito would be puffing on later tonight.

An Edwin Encarcaion HR on a splitter that didn't split? Threw that bit of brilliant deduction right out the proverbial window.

Top of the 10th? Youk DRIVES a ball, Coco follows right behind him, and all is right with the world; Sox win 6-4, and Youk gets a single, a double, and a HR for the day. Plus a big screw you to the Reds for passing on the local boy who has gone on to win 2 World Series, a Gold Glove, the Major League RECORD for consecutive chances at 1B without an error, and is the owner of the baddest beard in all of baseball.

Yeah, he takes every a/b like it's Game 7 of the World Series, and he may throw a random helmet or bat when he strikes out, grounds out, or gets his pick caught in his enormous facial hair. And sometimes even the most serious of teamates like Manny occasionally take offense and there is a minor slap fight in the dugout. Meh. Some guys can shrug a bat a/b off and move on; Youk just don't roll like that.

Who am I to judge? Whatever he's doing, it's working. The guy is a machine at 1B, one of the toughest outs in the game, and other than needing a few anger management classes I think he'll be OK.

Besides, with Trot off in New York, we need another guy who'll punch somebody in the marbles when the occasion calls for it, pitches a random fit, and ends every game with his uniform looking like he took a mud bath in it.

Kevin Youkilis.

The 2008 Red Sox Dirt Dog.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Win some, Lose some.

You give up a total of 3 runs, with guys named Manny, Drew, and Lowell in the lineup?

You've got a pretty good shot of winning the game.

Not tonight, however. Either Aaron Harrang morped into Steve Carlton or the boys just had a bad night at the plate. Reds win 3-1 and I'm left banging my head on the computer desk and wondering where it all went wrong.

The guy I feel most bad about? Justin Masterson, who struck out 9, gave up 3 runs with the 2008 version of Murderer's Row behind him, and STILL lost. Welcome to The Show, Kid. Stuff happens.

On a personal note, I bought myself a new gas grill for Father's Day, and it only took 3.5 hours to put it together. I'm still not sure I won't send half of the neighborhood to Mars when I actually light the thing, but for now I'm doing my best impression of Tim Allen on "Home Improvement".

And finally? RIP Tim Russert.

My Pop loved to watch you and that's good enough for me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some Things I've Learned

Tonight, the following conversation took place between me and Rakes.

Rakes: "I'm Luke Skywalker, Dad."

Me: "Really? How'd that happen?"

Rakes: "I bent to Bonderland, Dad. And this guy waved his hand and BOOM! I'm Luke Skywalker."

Me: "Can he turn me into Brad Pitt?"

Rakes: "Who him, Dad?"

In addition to coming to the realization Rakes has an imagination that would make Stephen King green with envy, I've discovered the following over the past 9 years as a parent.

... kids can throw up in a way that makes that girl in the Exorcist look normal.

... when your 4 year old comes running into the room yelling "I gotta go pee BEALLY bad, Dad!" you'd better unlock the bathroom door or get the mop.

... when you have a 2 year old, you'd better lock the bathroom door. Because the havoc a 2 year old can wreak in an unlocked bathroom FAR outweighs the damage a 4 year old with a bladder the size of a raisin can do.

... Never, and I mean NEVER, teach your daughter how to hit a baseball without wearing a cup. Just trust me on this one.

... just when you think you've seen it all, you'll get a call from your wife telling you about your son rubbing lipstick into the carpet, on the wall, and down the banister. Oh yeah, she'll ask you to get some Turpentine on the way home.

... when your wife just had her third child and wants to watch E? Don't tell her you are busy watching Hell's Kitchen and goofing around on the Internet and she can't turn the channel.

... when she protests, and this is REALLY important, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES do you utter the following unless you want to live the life of a monk: "I'm the only one working around here, and I'll watch whatever I want, wherever I want". Seriously. Don't do it.

Finally, I've learned this. No matter how bad they've been, how tired you are, and how much you don't want to do it, never go to bed without telling anyone under your roof that you love them. It's amazing how much those 3 words will mean.

For the first time since 1975, tomorrow night the Sox will be playing a baseball game in Cincinnati. This isn't The Big Red Machine vs. Fisk, Lee, and Lynn; this is Youk returning home, Jay Bruce vs. Jacoby Ellsbury in the battle of the ROY's, and the hottest man in baseball trying to keep it going on the road.

JD Drew says hello, Cincinnati.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Help Me

Ciera is having a sleep over tonight with 5 of her friends, celebrating the end of the school year and the start of summer.

To sum up? I've got six 10 year old girls running roughshod over my house as I type, leaving wet towels, giggle fits, and scattered food in their wake. I feel like ET when he landed at Elliot's house; what IS this place?

Thankfully, my Saint of a Mom said she'd keep Mutt and Jeff for the night, so we've avoided any bull charges into the bedroom, stealing of hair care products, and most of all, no utterances of the phrase "wanna see my willy?"

When I left them, they were tickling my Mom's old butter churn she has in her kitchen and giggling like Cheech and Chong in "Up in Smoke". Why? Who knows? You'd be better off trying to figure out why Wendy's has square hamburgers, what in the world we are spending billions of dollars with a probe on Mars when we've got gas at $4 a gallon, a debt my great, great Grandchildren will be paying off, and how does Al Roker still have a job?

It boggles the mind.

Finally, a big high five to The Large Father for becoming a U.S. Citizen today.

Well done, Big Papi.

Now THAT is how you dress to become a citizen of the United States.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Riding the Storm Out

Final score from tonight? 10-6, Orioles.

Sox take the lead, thanks to back to back Home Runs from JD Drew and Manny, then have to watch Okajima gack it up with Craig Hansen contributing to the carnage.

Usually, I'd lose it like Al Pacino in Glengarry Glen Ross, (NSFW) but that little guy with the blanket wrapped around him and mayhem in his eyes? He sorta helps me see the big picture.

Don't get me wrong; I still cursed out Aubrey Huff under my breath, hoped Brain Roberts had an unfortunate incident with the pine tar, and hit myself repeatedly in the gibleys with Rakes' light saber while muttering "Why didn't Tito bring in Delcarmen instead of Okajima?"

Hey, don't judge me. It's progress.

As I slip ever so quickly toward middle age, I see more and more what's really important, and my wife and kids help keep me somewhat grounded. And I realize daily that this game I love is just that: a game.

But seriously. The Orioles? At Fenway? AFTER we take a 6-4 lead?

Screw that noise.

Even Ghandi would've lost his mind.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sons and Daughters

My brother Matt and his wife Amanda, already parents to a beautiful little girl named Caroline (not named after the Neil Diamond song: I'm the mental case when it comes to the Red Sox) found out today they are having another little girl a little later on this year.

Which I find hysterical. In the Coyote gets hit in the head with an anvil, Moe hits Larry and Curly with a hammer, and Slappy gets hit with a fastball to the gibleys sort of way.

With two daughters he'll be a basket case when they hit the age of 14, won't know a good nights sleep for years afterwords, and may take up competitive shooting as a hobby. However, he's gonna miss out on a few things.

Like watching a 4 year old run through the house buck naked, shaking his willy with no HINT of self consciousness. Or peeing outside the door of the van. IN THE GARAGE. He'll miss the 4,009 questions he'll get about why that guy in the X-Men has claws, how do the Power Rangers fight like that, and why does Big Papi stay in the dugout when everyone else is in the field.

He'll never get the pleasure of watching food flying about the kitchen like fireworks on the 4th of July, sword fights with Yard Sticks and spatula's, and the question with no answer: How can Han Solo be Indiana Jones?

He'll still get memories like this:

Plus he gets to pay for TWO weddings and will be chugging Antacids for about 10 straight years.


Congratulations, little brother.

Welcome to the Jungle.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rakes, JD, and the pool.

*Picture courtesy of my sister, Stacy. See? I DO give proper credit. ;)*

Yesterday at my nieces 2nd birthday party, Rakes apparently did his best Indiana Jones impression. Timing his leap from the teeter totter to the chain on the swing, he repeatedly performed this move (I imagine humming the theme song every time) until his Grandmother made him stop. Nothing like an overprotective Grandparent to ruin his good time.)

Today, I took him and his sister to the pool, where he had to pull his shorts up 567 times, ate 7 pieces of water melon he begged off one of my neighbors, and had to sit in time out 2 times because he kept screaming out lines from "The Temple of Doom" while splashing his fellow swimmers with complete disregard for their well being.

I spend half of my time with him shaking my head in disbelief, while I use the other half laughing my head off. I honestly have no idea what I'm going to do with this child. He's already playing soccer and T-Ball; maybe I need to sign him up to be a cage fighter to round him out and take away the rough edges.

For now? He's sleeping peacefully in his bed like an angel.

He's probably dreaming about running the world someday.

In Red Sox news, they took 2 out of 3 from the Mariners today, with JD Drew continuing to show all of RSN why Theo and company were so high on him. His solo shot to deep center field was the difference in the 2-1 win over Seattle, as well as his Nixon-esque play in RF. About the only thing a Red Sox fan can complain about right now is he wasn't knee deep in the melee with the Rays the other night like that other guy who used to play RF and wear #7.

Personally? I'd rather have our best hitters as far away from that kind of donnybrook as possible. Give me the sweet swing, RBI's, and Home Runs any day of the week.

All that said, I still miss Trot.

Godspeed, Dirt Dog.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Just being Manny

This may be one of the best pictures of Manny I've ever seen. He does this all the time between pitches and I've yet to figure out why. Is he stretching his eye lids? Contact trouble? Realization that George Jetson is a fictional character? I have no clue, but it cracks me up every time.

2 days removed from getting into a slap-fight with Youkilis over the bearded one's penchant for throwing his helmet and abusing the water cooler, Manny was back in the lineup and wreaking his usual havoc.

He tied the great Eddie Murray for 23rd on the all-time Home Run list in the first inning of an 11-3 waxing of the Mariners at Fenway today. Day in, day out, Manny just goes about his business of becoming one of the greatest right handed hitters in the history of the game, while giving everyone who has the privilege of watching him on a daily basis at least a smile every time.

One day he'll be retired down in the Dominican Republic, relaxing with his kids and living the good life. And all we'll be left with is video, memories, and stories we'll tell our Grandkids about this long haired hitting savant who helped change the face, and destiny, of a franchise. Enjoy him while you can, 'cause he'll be gone before we know it.

For all the Manny being Manny stuff, I actually like the fact he was willing to get in Youk's face and tell him to dial it down a notch; I imagine for most guys on a first place team, seeing your first baseman pitching a hissy fit after a bad a/b when you are WINNING the game doesn't sit well. Good for him for being a veteran voice when something needed to be said.

Manny being responsible?

Who woulda thunk it?

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Toy Man

As I was walking with Rakes and Ciera to the pool this afternoon, the UPS truck pulled off of the side street onto our road and sped away. The following conversation took place.

Rakes: (In his own, demented way) Dad! Dere does the Toy Man!

Me: What are you talking about?

Rakes: Dat is De Toy Man, Dad! He brings you Toys, Books, and all tind of fun stuff! Me DOVE de Toy Man, Dad!

I can absolutely GUARANTEE you the UPS man, the pizza delivery guy, and the mail man get no better greeting than the one they get at my house. You'd think they were Santa, The Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy. Yep, that's my boy.

Looking back at video, pictures, commentary, and my own half baked theories on the fight last night, I stand by my initial conclusion.

Jonny Gomes is a King sized dink.

I don't ask for much. But a Josh Beckett 98 mph fastball to his ribcage definitely wouldn't suck.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Don't make Covelli angry

Coco Crisp is a BAD man.

After getting blocked at 2nd base last night by Jason Bartlett, Coco slid hard into Akinori Iwamura, complete with a punch to the gibleys for good measure.

Tonight, after James Shields had already hit The Munchkin in the first, Covelli led off the second inning while Rakes and I were headed out the door to his T-Ball game. Crisp gets plunked and all of a sudden it's The Greasers vs. The Soc's at Fenway Park. Check out Coco's Ali-esque feint of Shield's punch, then try to land one of his own.

Running late, Rakes and I head to his T-Ball game where I proceed to turn into Nolan Ryan, striking out 15 hitters. Bad part? They were OUR team and since the lil' fellas get 3 pitches before the tee comes out, we used the tee A LOT. Have you ever tried to get a 4 year old to focus on a ball while there is dirt to be played with, butterflies to catch, and mud to fall in?

Didn't think so.

Upon arriving back home, it's 7-1 Sox, Lester is still pitching, and apparently Manny and Youk got into a little slap fight. I know stuff like this happens every year with every team, but it usually doesn't happen in the dugout where the camera can catch everything. My money is on Youk telling Manny Santa Claus isn't real.

Jonny Gomes earns a permanent spot on my blacklist for his chickens**t move of jumping on Crisp from BEHIND and punching him repeatedly. And whoever the Red Sox player was that jumps on Gomes' back soon after is my new hero. I'd like to think it was Beckett.

Bottom line? We won the game, swept the Rays, and screw all the drama.


You just know Josh Beckett made a mental note to put one in Gomes' earhole at a future date.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


While I was watching the first 4 innings of the game, Rakes and Trot were pretending I was Mt. Everest.

There were 539 near misses to the marbles, 17 falls off the ottoman, and 5.7 instances of one of them yelling "Catch me, Dad!" Just so you know, I was giving them a Red Sox pop quiz the whole time, making sure they knew who was up and why a foul ball with 2 strikes didn't mean it was an out.

I'm not sure they got everything I was teaching them, but I do know they realize the Yankees suck, Jeter is a tool, and when Dad yells "Get Out Ball!" it usually means a round of high fives, smiles, and me lapping the living room like Carl Lewis.

Sox win 5-1 and the Rays are given a Fenway Park welcome to Big Boy Baseball.

To quote Eminem:

"The clock's run out, time's up over, blouww!Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity."

This is the AL East, boys.

We play for keeps.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

22-5 at home. Which is pretty good.

JD hits a home run and makes an epic catch in RF.

Lowell goes yard and continues to lead the league in the best facial hair category.

Justin Masterson goes to 2-0 in his Major League career with a performance that would make Curt Schilling jealous.

And the Red Sox beat the Rays 7-4. As a result, all is right with the world; the Red Sox are back in first place, the Rays are searching for answers, and Joba Chamberlain was yanked before 4 innings were up.

On the home front, I've got a sick wife, a sick pre-puberty daughter, a 4 year old with a built in megaphone, and a 2 year old who all of a sudden learned how to talk.

I'm pretty sure that qualifies me for financial relief from the government.

At the very least I should be declared a Federal Disaster area.

Somebody hold me.


Monday, June 2, 2008

It just keeps getting better and better.

Trot was in bed by 8:30.

Rakes fell asleep watching "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in my bed and I took him upstairs at 8:35.

I said prayers with Ciera at 8:45 and she never left her room.

It's quiet.

Too quiet.

I'm expecting complete and total mayhem by 7:30 tomorrow morning. Mark my words, the inmates are preparing for a revolt; I just hope I see it coming.

To top it all off, the Red Sox just lost 6-3 to the O's, ruining the 4 game sweep and sending my post about Kevin Millar, Wake, and the magic lucky bat in my garage to the scrap heap. And I REALLY wanted to work the lucky bat in. Maybe someday.

Luckily, I'm a shallow sort of guy and could come up with something on short notice. If you didn't see the game, the Sox took a 3-2 lead into the 8th inning and Okajima gave up 4 runs to put the Orioles ahead. And that sucks.

To put the cherry on top of the sundae, Papi hurt his wrist last night and the reports include things like "out for a month" and "season ending surgery". This is me, doing my best impression of an ostrich in the path of a charging Lion; burying my head in the sand and pretending it'll all go away.

All isn't lost, though. Thanks to Giambi and his lucky porn 'stache, the MFY's lost again. And the Rays were off, which makes the series starting in Boston tomorrow night that much bigger. Here's to the Red Sox wiping the floor with those upstarts and restoring order to the AL East.

And if you don't hear from me tomorrow? Assume the coup was successful and Rakes is now the Grand Supreme Leader of Casa de Ted.

If that happens?

God help us all.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Steal of the Year

Bartolo Colon is 3-0 after beating the Orioles 9-4 today.

Yes, he still looks like he ends every dinner order with "Super size me, please", makes Curt Schilling look like a Jenny Craig spokesman, and I worry for every fan in the front row on the off chance one of his shirt buttons pops off during a game.

But my man is running it up there around 98 mph at times, striking guys out, and generally acting like it's 2005 and he's the Cy Young winner. Only it's 2008 and almost everyone in baseball thought this guy was toast.

Which makes the move Theo Epstein pulled in the off season look even better. Taking Colon off the scrap heap, the Red Sox may have pulled off the best move of 2008. With the Big Schill still on the DL, Matsuzaka's shoulder suddenly figuring out he's thrown 3.7 billion innings in his short professional career, and Buchholz down in Pawtucket, Colon has stepped in and kept the ship pointed in the right direction.

Hopefully Hank Steinbrenner has been berating Brian Cashman with random phone calls at 3 a.m. wanting to know "why did we stick with this Hughes stiff when we could have had Bartolo?" and firing off an expletive filled letter to Carl Pavano telling him to grow a set of marbles like Colon.

Frankly, I don't care if the guy eats his weight at the Golden Corral all you can eat buffet and looks like he ate Pedie for a midday snack; he's 3-0 and throwing gas. He could take the mound with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pecan pie; it wouldn't bother me one bit.

Do your thing, Bartolo. Do your thing.

In Rakes news, I took him and his sister to the pool this afternoon. As I'm getting his swimsuit on, he yells out "My willy is pointing up, Dad. I tan't do swimming with my willy pointing up!", all the while shaking himself like a hula dancer to correct the problem. With a smile, a thumbs up, and a "It's down now, Dad", we headed out of the house.

Serenity now.