Maclone’s Musings

On sports and life…

Opening Night At Fuller

Posted by rich on June 15th, 2007

You ever feel like you’re in a place that you belong? That’s how I feel right now at this moment. I’m sitting in the press box at Guv Fuller Field in Falmouth. It’s late in the game, the Commodores are up 2-0, and it’s a crisp late-spring night.

I love the Cape Cod Baseball League. Everything about it resonates with me. I love seeing the same faces each and every year. When I pulled up to the front gate here at Fuller the first person I saw was Al Irish, and it made me happy. Wareham’s John Wylde is in the press box keeping score, as he always does, and that makes me glad. John is the CCBL to me.

It’s just great that this is back. One game down (almost) and 43 left to play. It goes by way too fast, so you’ve got to enjoy it while you can.

FYI, the players I like so far for the Commodores are David Adams, the shortstop, and tonight’s starting pitcher, Kyle Gibson. Adams, of Virginia, has a ton of speed and a good glove. He legged out a triple earlier tonight and later scored. Gibson threw six scoreless and threw hard. The Comms’ staff looks deep.

Also good to see Matt Nuzzo back. He’s from Everett and has a temp contract. He played the whole season with the team last year and I’d love to see him stick this year too.

That’s all for now. It’s the top of the ninth and Preston Claiborne’s out to close for the Commodores. Here’s to a 1-2-3 ninth.

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How Did This Happen?

Posted by rich on June 13th, 2007

lyraIt’s late on Wednesday night and I just realized that I haven’t blogged in like 48 hours, and that’s not like me, so I figured I’d throw something up there just to see if it sticks. This has been one of the busiest weeks ever, with the FHS tennis team going for the state championship tomorrow and the Cape League opening up on Friday night, plus all of the Summer Stars stuff we’ve been doing, there’s no time for anything.

Tonight I’m stuck working at home because my dad decided to sign his two daughters-in-law up for some kind of gun training class. All I know is that Lyra left the house nearly four hours ago and she’s not back yet, and she’s been playing with firearms. I’m not saying a Quentin Tarantino film broke out at the gun range, but let’s just say you can’t help but think about stuff like that when your wife is late and she’s been at a gun range.

I’m trying to work on a feature story right now for Summer Stars about former Commodores’ catcher Kevin Cash, who is toiling right now for the PawSox. I’m trying, but it just aint’ coming. Probably the reason is that I like the guy, and most likely he’s never getting another taste of the big time. He’s the back-up at AAA now, and that’s never a good sign, and he’s not hitting. In fact, since he’s been playing pro ball he’s never really hit, which is a shame. Hey, he’s played more than 100 big league games, how many people can say that?

I’m wondering if its time to start worrying about the Sox and Yankees. NYY is winning big right now and the Sox are losing. That would slim the lead to 8 1/2 games. Normally you would feel great about that kind of lead, but it’s still only mid-June and those smug Yankees fans keep telling us “don’t worry, the Sox will blow it. We’ll be in first place in a month.”

Rationality tells you that the chances are slim. But, we are Red Sox fans, we’re not rational. I can’t help but think about the potential for a collapse, even though, in all reality, the Sox aren’t playing that bad right now, it’s just that the Yanks have caught fire.

Anyways, gotta run, have to finish this story that isn’t exactly writing itself. Sometimes this is real work, I tell ya. Not that often, but some times.

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Real Quick

Posted by rich on June 11th, 2007

It has been a busy, busy AM here at the Enterprise. We are just putting the wraps on our first issue of Summer Stars magazine, and it looks pretty good. Make sure to check out my article on Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox next big thing. I sat down with Jacoby last week at McCoy Stadium and he’s pumped about his future. Ellsbury is going to be a star, mark my words.

The reason I have to be quick is that i have to get out on the road ASAP. I have to be in Lexington for the Div. 1 boys’ tennis semifinals. The FHS boys keep winning and winning and winning and I’m along for the ride. I hope to finish up in time to make it back to Dino’s to play a little cards this evening, but it will take some Stewart-esque driving on my part to make that happen. We’ll see.

As for The Sopranos, I may get more in depth into this later, but I actually enjoyed the finale. I know lots of people are feeling that it left them feeling unsatisfied, but how could they really wrap that show up and satisfy everyone? I’m happy, for one, that Phil Leotardo met a gruesome death. He deserved that.

Here’s an interesting theory I’ve heard about the show. Apparently Janice was late meeting the family for a dinner when Johnny Boy Soprano was whacked, when the kids were younger, much like Meadow, and I’ve heard that the guy at the diner was Phil’s cousin. If you think about it, him walking by Tony into the men’s room is a bit reminiscent of Mike Corleone going to the head to grab the gun at the italian restaurant in the original Godfather.

The tension of the final five minutes was palpable. Hey, it’s David Chase’s show, and we were along for the ride. If that’s how he wants to end it, so be it.

Another interesting theory is about the cat. Apparently Chris was the rat that the cat caught, and that’s why he kept staring at the photograph. I don’t know, that seems out there, but who knows. For a show about the mob, The Sopranos gets very deep and you have to think outside the box to really get it. I enjoyed it, though.

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Schill’s Back In The Saddle

Posted by rich on June 8th, 2007

Just like Steven Tyler around 1984 Curt Schilling looked Back in the Saddle yesterday afternoon. Wow, what a performance by the outspoken one. It was unfortunate that he lost the no-no at the end, but it just goes to show, you never shake off your catcher when he’s calling a near-perfect game. That’s one thing that people need to realize, it’s not just the pitcher throwing the no-hitter, but the catcher is quite involved, too. It’s not like Schilling was overpowering those guys, he only had four K’s all day long. His one mistake was changing that pitch to Stewart. Would the one that Tek had called for been a hit? Who knows. But, you’ve got to trust you catcher, especially when he’s that on.

We vacated the office in the top of the ninth to get over to Liam Maguire’s to see the bottom of the ninth. Like good baseball fans, Mark, me and Don all made sure not use the words “no-hitter.” You just don’t want to jinx it, even though all rationality tells you that there is no way that you actually can effect circumstances 3,000 miles away, but since when did rationality ever come into play with sports fans?

So we’re at the bar watching the game and making sure to tip-toe around those words, and we’re really into. Schilling got the first two outs with ease on grounders, and we’re high-fiving and fist-bumping and having a grand old time. Then, it happened.

Some idiot sitting at the bar, who had obviously been spending more time at the bottom of his pint glass than with the TV looked up and said, ‘what, does he have a no-hitter or something?’ We all groaned out loud. “Dude, what are you doing? You don’t come out and say it like that.” Two seconds later, line drive, right field, no-no over. Thanks idiot.

Of course, had Schilling not pulled a Nuke Laloosh, and shook off Varitek, well maybe it never would have mattered. There’s plenty of blame to go around, half for Schilling’s decision-making at the end, and half for the drunk guy that violated an important rule of baseball etiquette.

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Time Keeps On Slippin’ Slippin’ Slippin’ …

Posted by rich on June 7th, 2007

Big, huge, gargantuan story today going down in Falmouth with former FHS star Steve Cishek about to be drafted very highly in the MLB draft. I’ve heard our boy could go anywhere from the second round through the fifth, and I’ve already talked to him once, and he seemed a lot more calm about the whole deal than I am.

The worst part of it is that everything else for me, on deadline, is done. I’m just waiting for a team to call Stevie’s name. I have the bulk of my story written — we met yesterday for a cup of coffee at Starbucks (where else?) and talked the whole thing over — and just need to call him after he’s taken and get his feelings.

How cool is it for him, though. Sure it’s got to be unnerving, waiting by the phone and watching the draft on TV (ESPN is the reason this is taking so long, in the past the first round took about an hour, 90 minutes tops), but at the same time, he knows he’s being selected today. It’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when and which team takes him.

While he waits, I wait. I’ve got the draft tracker open on my computer, draft stories, some World Series of Poker coverage and also the Sox game track. I won’t mention the Sox game, though, because we don’t want to be responsible for jinxing anything. All I’ll say is that something cool is happening, and it’s in the top of the seventh right now.

I’ve got one cool link to check out if you’re trying to waste some time. Also be sure to pick up tomorrow’s paper, or check capenews.net to see the Cishek coverage.

Links

very niceAll I know is that if Borat had chased me through the streets, I would have given him the hug he asked for. But, I know who Borat is and believe that the character is one of the funniest things ever. Seriously, people will sue over anything. Does this guy really think that people saw the Borat movie and walked out making fun of the guy who ran away while Borat tried to hug him? Honestly I only vaguely remember this part of the movie. I prefer when he opens up his suitcase in the subway and a chicken comes out or when he thinks that the toilet bowl is a water cooler. To me, that’s comedy.

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Long West Coast Nights

Posted by rich on June 6th, 2007

First off, there’s this cool thing with the blog where you can check out statistics on how many people are reading the blog and where they’re coming from. Usually I can’t get an idea of who is reading the blog because it will give just some random IP numbers. Other times you have a better idea, like this morning when I saw that somewhere in Starbucks land I had a bunch of people reading my entry about their superiority to Dunkin’ Donuts. Well, that’s cool. And if they want to send across some gift cards to one of their biggest supporters, that’d be cool too. I’m just saying, I’m not above taking handouts.

Last night I stayed up to watch the Sox-A’s as best I could. As I know many of you also experienced some strange stuff with the NESN broadcast. I think that they were having digital issues from the site. I also called Comcast to find out if it was my cable and they said that the whole east coast was having issues, and on top of it there was an upgrade going on in the middle of the night to our services here in Falmouth.

Despite the spotty picture I kept up with the game. Daisuke was very good. He only gave up two runs and any time a starter does that you’re in good shape. Unfortunately the Sox only got three hits all night long as former Sox pitcher Lenny DiNardo was channeling Orel Hershiser. The Red Sox hitters looked horrible, hitting into five double plays.

The worst of it was when the Sox loaded them up in the seventh for Youkilis. Youk thought that he walked on a 3-1 pitch that appeared a bit up and in. He had a case with that argument, but once the call is made they aren’t going to change their minds. He then got sawed off and hit into a 5-3 DP to end the threat and that was that. The ninth inning was painful as the Sox really went quietly into the night, with Tek fanning on a check-swing to end things.

zakim So the Sox have lost four of five as of this writing and are in the midst of their worst stretch of the season so far. Despite this I implore you, it is not time to panic.

So what. They’ve hit a rough patch. This is baseball, you know, a 162 game season. Show me a team that’s never had a bad stretch during a season. Everyone has their down periods. The key is limiting them. Here we are in June and the team’s worst losing streak so far is three in a row. I can handle that.

At 37-20 Boston is still 17 games above .500 and has given back just two games in the standings to Toronto over their last 10 games. The Jays won an unreal game last night against Tampa, rallying for six in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Rays, but it’s Tampa. Lost in the midst of their big comeback is the fact that Roy Halladay was knocked around like a rag doll, which is no good for Toronto (he’s coming back from having his appendix out last month), of for my fantasy baseball team, which is having its worst week of the year right now.

Even having lost three in a row, and four of five, the Red Sox still are the owners of the best record in baseball and regardless of what happens tonight, they’ll have the best record in baseball tomorrow. No reason to start booking space on the Zakim Bridge.

What the Sox need tonight is for Wakefield to find some knuckle in that knuckleball. He’s been pretty hittable lately. Over his first six starts of the season Wake never gave up more than three earned runs. Over his last four, though, he’s been hit around for 8, 4, 6 and 5, going 2-2 during that stretch. He needs to rebound and put up a big outing tonight, especially with Jon Lester man love
>chomping at the bit to get back into the big leagues. Lester will be ready very soon and it’s either Wake or Tavares that’s going to have to give up a spot in the rotation. I know Wakefield is the elder statesman of the team, but with a gun to my head right now if I had to pick between the two to win a game I think I’m leaning toward Julian Tavares, especially if Manny is going to be rubbing his head in the dugout between innings.

And lastly, while the losing stinks, this certainly will make you smile. I apologize for the bad video, I couldn’t find it any better, but this is just another reason that I love Matt Damon. You will laugh and smile for the entire video.

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Sox v. A’s, Starbucks v. Dunks

Posted by rich on June 5th, 2007

It’s about 1:30 AM Tuesday morning and I’m still watching the Sox-A’s game from the left coast. It’s been a back-and-forth affair, and while I’m glad that the Sox tied it up in the ninth, it would have been easier to go to bed at a more Godly hour if they hadn’t. My little sister Katie, who’s staying with us this week, just gave up on the game and told me to tell her what happens in the morning (it is morning Kate, I told her). It’s been fun to have her with us this week because I’m starting to get her into baseball. She’s actually my sister-in-law, but I started dating Lyra when she was like six year old, so she’s my little sister, too. She came home from their trip to the Vineyard yesterday with a brand new Red Sox hat to take back to school with her for the fall semester. While I woud have preferred that she’d gone with the traditional red ‘B’ on the hat, I can live with the pink one for now. Baby steps.

While the game got into the wee hours I started perousing the internet and came across Bill Simmons’ new column. I laughed when I saw that he linked to the same Yellow Ledbetter thing that I posted earlier this week. Great minds do think alike I guess.

I’m going to borrow from him too. I read this story that he linked to about Dunkin’ Donuts. As we all know, New Englanders can be very provincial when it comes to Dunkies. It’s actually very polarizing as to where you get your coffee. It seems you’re on one side of the fence, either Dunks or Starbucks.

ddMe, I am a big-time Starbucks guy. I spend way too much money there every week, but I love the place. I’ll go out of my way to go to a Starbucks over a Dunkin’ Donuts and can tel you where several of them are off of the highways, including Exit 12 off of Route 3 in Marshfield, Exit 17A off of Route 24 in Easton and there’s another one off of 95 in Taunton, although I’m not sure of the exit on that one, my travels don’t take me there too often. I know of several shops in Boston, a couple in Providence and Logan Airport.

So why Starbucks over DD? It’s simple, have you ever seen the scene in Pulp Fiction where Jules gets excited over Jimmy’s coffee as a way to suck up to Jimmy? I’m like Quentin Tarantino’s Jimmy character. I like to taste my coffee and I know that the coffee’s good. I don’t like having to settle for a “regulah” with waaaay toooo much sugah and waaaaay toooooo much cream. I like to put it in there myself. I like to have the option to get something different if I want to. And let’s be honest, it doesn’t cost all that much more for a venti (large) coffee at Starbucks than it does at your local Dunkies.

Is the place a bit snobbish? I guess that depends on your own point of view. I’ve gotten to know a lot of the workers at the Falmouth store and they’re good people. For the most part they seem to like their jobs and the company they work for. They like to give away free drinks from time to time and they’re more than happy to explain where the coffee comes from, how it’s brewed and what the difference between one drink and another are.

Try aksing a question that requires more than a yes or no at the local Dunks. You’re more than likely to be answered with a blank stare. Dunkin Donuts is a bit too assembly line-ish for me, and again, they put in waaaay toooo much cream and sugah. I like coffee, not just the condiments.

But if you’re a DD loyalist, I’m not going to change your mind. If you’re a Starbucks regular, you already know this. And, down where I work, there’s the whole Coffee Obsession obsession, too. Coffee-O is pretty good, and the owner, Hugh, is a great guy. I used to be a regular there, but one day one of his employees was ultra rude to me, and it caused me to start going to Starbucks instead. That was three or four years ago, and I’ve been much happier ever since.

I’ll tell you one thing, if this baseball game goes much longer, though, I’m going to need a cup of any type of coffee to keep my eyes open.

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RIP Baccala

Posted by rich on June 4th, 2007

I began watching The Sopranos way back when it all started, and have the first four seasons on DVD. Perhaps it’s a bit of the Italian in me, but I love the show, and have always gotten into gangster flicks. The Godfather II is in my all-time Top 5 movies and the original Godfather is definitely in the top 10.

The Sopranos has been great storytelling for all these years, and now it’s coming to an end (click here to read a great rundown of last night’s episode by the Newark Star Ledger). Honestly, a part of me is glad it’s going away because it can’t be good to fill your head with that kind of violence on a weekly basis. At least I know I’m not numb to it all because I cringed last week when Tony took his rage out on the NY flunky that bothered his daughter Meadow.

It all ends next week, and I’ll tell you what, David Chase and his crew are going to have a hard time eclipsing the penultimate episode that aired last night. Bobby Bacala’s death scene will go down as one of the best death scenes in television history in my mind. It was so well-crafted and yet remained true to the fact that mobsters live in a brutal world and come to heinous endings.

Bacala was one of my favorite characters. Introduced as a fat, nice guy underling to Uncle Junior, he became one of Tony’s go-to guys and top capos. He was loyal to a fault, but at times he stuck up for himself, especially at the lake house at the start of this season. He was funny, insightful and — perhaps most unfortunate — could have made it in the real world. I could have seen Bobby in a real job. He could have been a friendly salesman, and probably have made a “killing” selling insurance or something.

I also hated to see good ol’ Sil get gunned down. Silvio Dante, played so perfectly by Stevie Van Zandt, may have been the most interesting side character on the show. He was a bit whacky, but always seemed to understand what should happen in any given situation. He was the perfect consigliere to Tony S and it’s too bad that he won’t be around for the finale.

As for next week, who knows what’s going to happen. All I know is that I hope that the despisable Phil Leotardo gets his comeuppance. I’ve never liked Phil at all, and he deserves an ugly demise. Johnny Sack was always a great boss in NY. He and Tony didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, but they figured out how to do business and coexist. Phil’s forgotten Michael Corleone’s mantra “business, nothing personal.”

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What did he say???

Posted by rich on June 3rd, 2007

Anyone that knows me knows that I love my family, God, the Sox and Pats, a good steak, wiffle ball, and Pearl Jam. Actually Pearl Jam is much higher on that list. I’ve seen the band 13 times live and that number would be much higher if I didn’t have a family and a job. Yes, responsibilities get in the way.

On a slow Sunday (I sometimes hate Sunday Night Baseball. I’d much rather watch the game and nap on the couch in the middle of the day. It’s the perfect Sunday and ESPN is denying me that today), with Lyra and the kids on the island with her sister, spending oodles of my money (it’s funny how even Cape Codders can be tourists) I had some time to browse the ‘Net and find stupid things.

One of the most famous Pearl Jam songs ever written is Yellow Ledbetter. It has been a fixture on rock radio for nearly 15 years and one of the beautiful things about the song is that no one knows the words, even Eddie Vedder.

What? Ed doesn’t know the words. No, he doesn’t, because they change every night. It’s basically whatever he wants to sing about. The song is probably about the first Iraqi war, but honestly it’s about whatever you think it’s about. Regardless of what Ed was singing about the first time he sung it, nothing changes the fact that it’s a beautiful tune and something that will close just about every Pearl Jam show I’ll see for the rest of my life.

Here’s what we believe the lyrics might be

unsealed on a porch a letter sat
then you said, i wanna leave it again
once i saw her on a beach of weathered sand
and on the sand i wanna leave it again yeah
on a weekend i wanna wish it all away yeah
and they called and i said that i want what i said
and then i call out again
and the reason oughta’ leave her calm i know
i said i know what i wear not the boxer or the bag
ah yeah can you see them
out on the porch yeah but they don’t wave
i see them round the front way yeah
and i know and i know i don’t want to stay
make me cry
i see ooh i don’t know why there’s something else
i wanna go my own a-way
oh i said i don’t i don’t know whether i was the boxer or the bag
ah yeah can you see them
out on the porch yeah but they don’t wave
but i see them round the front way yeah
and i know and i know i don’t wanna stay at all
i don’t wanna stay yeah
i don’t wanna stay
i don’t wanna stay
i don’t don’t wanna oh yeah ooh ohh

Okay, so you’ve got that. Now watch this, and try not to have anything in your mouth as you will certainly spit it all over the place.

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I’m Not Smart

Posted by rich on June 2nd, 2007

Took Don Parkinson, our best photog, to the Falmouth-Hingham lax game yesterday up in Hingham. What started out as a good day, ended up being a long, long day because I’m simply dumb.

Here’s what happened. The game started at 5 PM, a bit later than usual, but no big deal. About halfway through the game it started to rain a bit. I headed up to the press box and Don found some shelter where he could still shoot. Just before halftime the thunder and lightning began.

According to MIAA rules, they have to wait a half-hour after the last lightning bolt before restarting the game. They went into delay at halftime and it lasted about an hour, so the game wouldn’t restart until nearly 7.

During the delay I realized that I had left my cell phone in the car so I headed over to the Rodeo to call my wife and tell her what was going on. No big deal, we’re going to be late, but it shouldn’t be that late. During our conversation my phone beeped, and it was Don telling me that the second half was about to begin.

I said goodbye and then locked up the car because we had a bunch of photography gear in the back and didn’t want it pilfered. I then went to watch the game, and the Clippers fell apart. They played poorly, Hingham raised its game and it ended up being a pretty one-sided affair.

After interviews and stuff Don and I headed back to the car. I check all of my pockets, no keys. I looked in my bag. No keys. I looked in the car, and there they were in the ignition. I had left them there after locking up.

So, no keys, and it’s getting dark. I called AAA and they said that they’d have someone out there as soon as possible. Of course as soon as possible turned out to be about an hour.

Both of us were starving, so we headed to the Hingham 99 for burgers and watched the Sox get destroyed. By the time I got back to Don’s house in Sandwich it was 11 PM, I got home a bit before 11:30. A long, long night, because I was stupid.

The morale of the story, pay attention when you lock the car. Or, get a newer car that has keyless entry, as Don told me several times. That was the first time I’d ever done that in my life, but I’m sure not going to let it happen again anytime soon. Not good times, i can tell you that.

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