Archive for October, 2007

Love A Parade, Pt. II

Posted by rich on 31st October 2007

Another good friend also headed to the parade yesterday, and she also shared her pics for The Musings. Martha Scanlon eschewed her responsibilites at The Enterprise for a coupe of hours and headed into the city as well. Our Falmouth reporter is a big Sox fan, and I’m glad I talked her out of jumping off the Bourne Bridge after the Sox went down 3-1 to Cleveland.

Coco gets his final views of the city of Boston. You can almost see him saying to himself “I’ll have to remember to eat there when I come back to town with the Twins next year … I used to love heading in there for breakfast … I hope Minneapolis has a place that can handle my hair.”

More Paps and the Dropkicks. Has anyone ever taken over a town on personality alone like Jonathan Papelbon has done over the last few weeks. He could stumble drunkenly into the statehouse and declare martial law right now and everyone would just kind of nod and say “okay, sounds good.” Something tells me he’ll be making a great deal of income from endorsements over the next few months.

even when he’s happy Josh Beckett looks like he’s ready to stare down a batter and buzz a fastball under his chin. While Papelbon captured the city on a combination of stuff and style, Beckett has done the same with willpower and command. Today is Halloween. Paps you could see dressed up as one of the Animal House guys, Beckett is more like Braveheart.

And finally Theo overlooks all he commands. Here’s a guy that could have waited just a little longer to get married, don’t you think. I’m sure Mrs. Epstein is a beautiful young lady, and quite good looking, but Theo may have signed off on being single just a tad early, don’t you think. He and Jacoby Ellsbury could have single-handedly owned Page 6 of the Boston Herald for the next24 months. I’m sure Jacoby can find another running mate, though.

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Love A Parade

Posted by rich on 31st October 2007

My good friend Kate Kester, the top barista at the local Starbucks, went and sat in the sea of humanity in Boston yesterday to cheer on the champs. I thought about going, but decided that there would be far too many people there to take a four and a five year old into. Watching it on TV, it turns out I was right. That was craziness to the Nth degree.

Unfortunately Kate’s camera was not too great, but she did share some photos that I was able to make usable for this space. Enjoy, and thanks Kate, now get back to work making me my Americanos.

red sox

I’m not really sure when these guys were created. Apparently they are the Red Sox.Wally’s scary enough, but imagine trying to explain to your children why a big red bean is waving at them.


Dustin would have been the MVP if he’d had a good game four. It’s kind of funny how they came about giving it to Lowell. He’s a great guy, and had a great series, but he didn’t really stand out that much more than several other guys. Still, I’m glad he got it.

paps rocks out
It might have made more sense, though, to give it to Papelbon, shown playing a mean broom guitar. Paps was on the same float as Okie-Doke and Timlin, and the Dropkick Murphys. They belted out a mean Dirty Water that was shown on NESN. However, as much as I like the song, I don’t know if I can stomach another playing of Shipping Up To Boston for a while. NESN went in and out of every break with it. I like it and all, but enough is enough.

papi

Try to look at Papi and not smile. Just do it, I dare you.

manny

I think Manny had the trophy just so he’d realize why they were having a parade. There’s still a 50-50 chance he thought it was Thanksgiving and he was back in New York. It’s too bad this image wasn’t sharp, it would have really been a keeper. Oh well, Kate needs photo lessons.

lowell


I saved the most poignant image for last. Hopefully this is just a bad coincidence and not a sign of things to come. Couldn’t he have sat somewhere else on the duck boat?

*****

Maybe it’s just because I’m a nerd, but I too wondered why the spelling of the word for feet garments is socks, but when we talk of our beloved champs it is instead sox. Now we know.

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A-Fraud Strikes Again

Posted by rich on 30th October 2007

It’s no secret that i’ve held Alex Rodriguez in low regard for a while. As a baseball player, he’s outstanding in the regular season.

As a person, he’s just …. fake. That’s the best way to put it.

I remember hearing a story about when the Sox were trying to get the deal done with him prior to 2004 (thank goodness that never happened). Theo and company showed up at his hotel room late at night, near midnight if memory serves. A-Rod answered the door wearing a fully pressed suit, ready for business.

That’s just weird to me. If it’s that late at night, and you’re in a hotel room, who wears a suit? I don’t know about you, but if that’s me, I’m probably wearing sweats. Maybe jeans and a t-shirt. A pressed suit?

Then there was the time he slapped the ball out of Arroyo’s glove in the ALCS. Sure it was somewhat defendable, but it was still a punk move.

But the biggest punk move was the announcement A-Rod’s people made during game four of the World Series. “Let the world know,” the screamed from their ivory tower, “that Sir Alex Rodriguez will opt out of his contract with the New York Yankees and become a free agent.”

That couldn’t have waited a day or two? Really, they needed to let us know just 30 minutes before the Sox won the World Series.

And you thought Red Sox fans couldn’t hate this guy any more than we already do. Go to espn.com and you’ll find Peter Gammons skewer A-Rod for this move, and it’s funny. Peter says during tirade that the announcement came while “Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester were doing something that Rodriguez has never done, play for a world series title.” I love it.

Mr. Infidelity. Mr. April. Mr. Big Bucks can take his announcement and stick it. I’m glad the Yankees are losing the guy, but I feel for whichever team gets him. He’s a lot like Barry Bonds: greats stats, poor attitude, no results.

Stat machines are nice. Winning baseball players are better. The Red Sox did not have a single player anywhere near A-Rod’s stats this year, neither did the Cleveland Indians for that matter. Both teams went further than the Yankees, and had to deal with a whole lot less drama.

After all, let us not forget that this is the same guy that was found messing around with Professional Ladies of Leisure in Canada. He’s also the guy that tried to make the biggest baseball game of the year, one he wasn’t playing in, about him.

Buyer beware.

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Champions … Again

Posted by rich on 29th October 2007

champsIt was different in 2004. There was a sense of relief for all. A weight was lifted off our collective shoulders. We shed decades of pain, anguish and frustration.

In 2007, I think it might actually be more fun. I didn’t cry when the Sox won this one. I just smiled, really, really wide. I laughed.

How could you not laugh when that goofball Jonathan Papelbon lost his mind on the pitcher’s mound, hugging Jason Varitek. I’m just surprised he didn’t break out the jig right then and there.

What a season 2007 was. The Red Sox grabbed first place way back in April, and they never let it go. There were some scary days in August and September, when the Yankees were breathing down the Sox’ necks. They came close to catching the Sox, so close, but the Sox were ever resilient, which is what we’ll probably remember most about this team. Whenever their backs were against the wall, they came back fighting off of that wall like warriors.

papsThis team was one game away from being eliminated from the postseason, just like it was in 2004. Unlike that year, though, we had Big Game Beckett, and knew that they were the favorites to beat the Indians in that pivotal game five. Once it came back to Boston, there wasn’t much doubt that they could pull off the comeback. And they did it.

The World Series, to me, was never in doubt. We heard about how good the Rockies were, how hot they were, and it didn’t matter. The Red Sox were the train, and they were coming through. The Rockies tried to get in the way, and ended up like a slow squirrel stuck on the tracks. They were flattened.

How could you not have a little extra happiness for the guys that came through in game four. Mike Lowell, Mr. MVP, who they must sign, was awesome. He hit a homer, scored a big run and did his usual stellar job in the field. I asked my little guy Rye tonight why Mike Lowell is his favorite player, and it was funny what he said. Maybe he heard me say it before, but what I prompted him, he said “because he does everything the right way.” When a five-year old notices that stuff, you know that guy is special.

I’m not going to remind you that Jon Lester is a cancer survivor (okay, maybe I just did), but how could you not love watching a guy who went through that much come through with such a great performance in his first World Series start. He got them into the sixth, and didn’t give up any runs. That was an awesome performance.

And then there’s Bobby Kielty. The guy hadn’t had an at-bat in the World Series. He had sat on the bench, waiting. He got an opportunity, probably the only one he was going to get in the World Series, and he delivered. That homer ended up being the difference for the Sox. Without that homer, the champagne doesn’t flow.

Finally, my personal favorite. In the playoffs there has been no one more fun to watch than Paps. That guy was just lights out, and so much fun to watch. He saved three of the four games, and arguably should have been the MVP of this series. I’m so happy he had the guts to go to Tito back in March and tell him that he thought he had to close, that he was supposed to close. He was right, and without him someone else is hoisting that trophy.

If you think about it, nearly every guy on the roster made a contribution. You could go position by position and come up with something that that guy did that helped the team win the whole thing. That’s a team. That’s what it’s all about.

I’ll have more tomorrow, but right now I’m spent. Smile big today folks, your favorite team just won the championship. We know how tough they are to come by, so when you get them, enjoy them. Enjoy them a lot.

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Three Down ….

Posted by rich on 28th October 2007

Man, during the ALCS you could not have kept me away from my TV for more than a pitch or two. I missed a couple of plays here and there, walking the dog mostly, but saw at least 98-percent of the plays against the Indians.

Last night, for Game 3 of the World Series, I picked things up somewhere around the top of the fourth. I missed the big six-run third inning.

Now before you start to question my fanhood, let me explain myself. I had planned on TiVo-ing the game, but it was impossible to not hear what was going on with the ballgame, so that didn’t work out. Instead of tailgating in front of the tube for a few hours, though, I had to take care of priority No. 1, my wife. She’s been out of town for the last few days, attending to some family business, and she came home this morning. I had to take her out for her birthday, which was yesterday.

We went to Tomatoes in Sandwich, and let me tell you, great Italian cuisine. I had chicken parm, and I can’t pronounce what Lyra had, but both were outstanding. It was also pretty affordable, all things considered. Man, it had been so, so, so, so long since we had a date. When you have kids, especially kids involved in million things, and you work two jobs, it’s tough to do anything together as a couple. It was so nice to actually sit next to her without constant jibber-jabbering from the munchkins. I love my kids, but, well, you other parents understand.

After dinner, we caught the 7:15 showing of Dan In Real Life at Heritage in Sandwich. It was okay. Typical romantic-comedy type of flick, with a predictable story and ending. I was able to make Lyra laugh out loud when Dane Cook came out on the screen and I turned to her and said “there’s only one Oc-TOBER.” Unfortunately my little line was as funny as anything we heard from Steve Carrell and company. The movie didn’t stink, but it just didn’t offer anything really memorable. Sitting here three hours later I’m having a hard time remembering anything in particular, and I didn’t have any drinks with dinner.

So, back to the game. This is an official diary, as I did during the ALCS, because I’ve been in and out during the middle innings, trying to keep the house in order (we had company over), but it’s close.

Daisuke seems to pitch well in big spots. He was pretty good in Game 7 of the ALCS. Tonight, in the World Series, he’s been awesome so far. No runs and just three hits through five innings. The one jam he got into, he quickly escaped. And, his breaking ball seems to be just fine in the thin air.

Actually the only thing about the thin air that’s really stood out to me is that the ball seems to hang in the air longer. There was a fly to right that fell in front of JD Drew that I think he could have caught, and in retrospect he probably thinks the same. The way the ball was hit, though, anywhere else it would fell in easily for a hit. But, it just hung up there for a few extra moments.

The Colorado crowd wants something to cheer about, but it’s hard when you’re down 6-0. They really don’t seem to know how to root for a baseball team, either. The cheers they’ve got going seem to be more like football cheers, which makes sense, seeing that they’ve got a lot of history rooting for the Broncos and U of C. Not enough clapping with the cheering. Baseball rooting has a certain cadence to it that they just don’t understand. You can’t blame them though. Baseball is still relatively new to the area. It’s only been there for a little over a decade.

And they need to throw away those white towels. Hasn’t anyone ever told the fans in either Cleveland or Denver that waving the white towel means you’re giving up? At least in Pittsburgh the towels are yellow. The Minnesota Twins are to blame for all of this towel stuff, and only my readers over the age of 30 probably know what I’m talking about.

Since I turned on the game, the one thing that I really have been cheering about is the Red Sox defense. Julio Lugo made teamed with Mike Lowell to make a spectacular play for a force out at third to help Dice-K get out of the fifth. Lowell just made a sweet play in the sixth as well to take a hit away from the Rockies.

Back to that not knowing how to cheer for baseball thing. I’m sitting her and the Rockies just got their first run of the game, which I’m happy about because it means that they’re trying at least (seriously, you had to wonder for a while there). Brad Hawpe singled to left and then people start going somewhat, somewhat what, it wasn’t wild, more like contained happiness. Anyways, the PA started to blare Steve Winwood’s “Valerie.” You know the song, “Valerie, call on me, Valerie, call on me …”

Valerie? Really? By the way, it’s 6-2 now, it’s almost a ballgame. I still feel like I might fall asleep during this inning though. Oh no, pitching change, I’m fighting an urge to make coffee. I have to get up early tomorrow.

A half-hour has passed, and now I’m officially back in the game. The Rockies just got three on a homer by Matt Holliday, who helped carry my fantasy team this year, and now it’s 6-5 Sox. I’m not liking the fact that both Ortiz and JD Drew are out of the game due to defensive switches. Honestly, though, I’m still not all that worried. Okajima’s not throwing too well, though, and I really don’t want a Gagne sighting any time soon. At least we still have Delcarmen in the pen.

Single by Helton, tying run on base, no one out. A double play ball would be huge right here. Well, no double play, but Oki gets out of the jam and all is well that ends well.

Top eight and the Sox are starting to get something going. Lugo reaches, Coco — Coco?? — singles and then Ellsbury bloops a double to become only the third rookie ever with four hits in a WS game. That makes it 7-5. Next Pedroia, who is making a case for the MVP at this point, lines a double and the lead is back up to four, at 9-5. What a tease for the Rockies fans. They were feeling it for a while, singing Valerie and having a blast, now they’re down four again.

If you had to vote for the MVP right now, who would win it over Pedroia? Beckett was great, but only had an effect on one game. Paps was awesome, but again, limited action. Plenty of Red Sox have hit in this series, but Pedroia has been on fire since his first swing, which landed in the Monster Seats. I think the little guy’s going to be making the minimum salary next year, but have an incredible trophy to show the chicks when they come over.

Man these games take forever. I’m falling asleep. It’s nearly 12:30 AM and we’re still in the bottom of the eighth. First two in the inning go down quick, then the next two reach on a single and a a walk. I think we’ll be seeing Paps, yup how about right now. H’day swings at the first pitch, and for a second it was scary, but then you could see the look on Holliday’s face and know he just missed it. Side retired and the Sox are now 30 outs from their second World Series title in our lifetime. About five years ago I wondered if I’d ever write anything like that.

Speaking of that. I was reading a story in the Globe by Brain McGrory about Sox fans and how we’ve “lost our identities” now that the Sox are winners. Excuse me Brian, but I did not revel in the losing. I reviled it. I hated coming close and not winning. I hated commiserating over tough losses. I wanted to win, and now that the Sox are winners, I do not feel apologetic. I do not feel lost. This was what we dreamed about, and it’s sweet. It’s everything that I ever wanted. I am happy, and don’t miss being the loveable losers by any stretch. Let’s leave that tag to the Cubs and their fans, who truly do identify with it. So what if the Sox have become a high-spending big market monster. They play within the rules, bring in players that help and they win. Good enough for me. Should be good enough for you too, if you’re a fan.

Top nine, Tek drives in a run with a sac fly, and now it’s up to a five-run lead. Good times. I’d love to have something more interesting to say, but I’m dead to the world right now. This late starts are awful. Would it kill them to start at 7?

Helton pops out to Jacoby, 29 to go (and I’m developing a quasi-migraine from fatigue). Lowell throws out Atkins, 28. Hawpe hit’s a triple to right, and the game’s still going. Of course, I’m tired, this game had to be extended. I wonder if SNL was any good tonight? I didn’t even realize how late it was until about an hour ago, and was too tired to look for the remote.

Yorvit Torrealba, one of my favorite names of the postseason, with a man on third. Hopefully Paps ends it here. Broken bat roller to short, and that’s it.

The Sox win, and now are one victory away from their second title of the 00s.

Tomorrow will be a busy day. We’re doing a family portrait at 9 AM (Christmas card time), then I have to drive to Boston to shoot a wedding with my uncle. I finish that up at 4:30. I’ll listen to the Pats on the way home, watch the second half here and then get ready for game four. Unreal, we’re potentially less than 24 hours from the Pats going 8-0 and the Sox winning the World Series.

If this is a dream, don’t wake me up.

******

NFL Picks

Well, they’re at it once again. I had a decent week (any time I go .500, I’ll take it), but the kids won again. Last week was a 6-6-1 week for me, but the kiddos went 8-4-1 as they increased their lead to the point where it’s going to take me having a perfect week, or them taking a bagel for this thing to turn around. For the year, the kids are now 45-32-1 while I am just 35-42-6.

Kids: Carolina +7 over Indy; Cleveland -3 over St. Lou; Miami +10 over NYG; Philly -1 over Minnesota; Pittsburgh -4 at Cincy; Tennessee -7 vs. Oakland; Buffalo +3 at NYJ; Tampa Bay -4 vs. Jacksonville; Houston +9.5 at San Diego; San Fran +2.5 vs. New Orleans; New England (-16.5) vs. Washington; Denver -3 vs. Green Bay.

Me: Indy; Cleveland; NYG; Minnesota; Pittsburgh; Detroit; Oakland; Buffalo; Tampa Bay; San Diego; New Orleans; New England; Green Bay.

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Clippers Deliver

Posted by rich on 27th October 2007

You know sometimes you go to a sporting event expecting it to run of the mill, but the great thing about sports, regardless of the level, is sometimes they can surprise you.

That was the case last night at Guv Fuller Field in Falmouth.

The Falmouth High football team has underachieved all season long, and finally picked up its first win last week. Facing off against a good Plymouth South team, which as perhaps the best football player in the conference (Derek Duquette), I didn’t expect much. I was hoping the Clippers would compete, and make a game of it.

Did they ever. In a game that resembled “a track meet,” according to the coaches, the two clubs went back and forth, scoring nearly at will. It was like watching two experts in Madden go at each other. Score … score … score … score.

Defense was at a premium. Over the course of the game, the Falmouth defense made two defensive stops all day. That was one more than the Panthers, and that mattered quite a bit as Falmouth won by a 30-29 score. It’s not too often in high school football, where the quarters are only 11 minutes, that you’ll see 59 points scored. It’s even less often you’ll see that when one of the teams runs the option (Falmouth).

Hey, they may only be 2-5, but you know what, the FHS football team has been fun to watch the last two weeks. They’ve found a way to win, against two decent clubs, and they’ve played with heart. What more can you really ask for?

Way to go boys, you did your town proud tonight. And you made a grizzled veteran of the press box smile on several occasions. Andrew Vitaglianno and Tyler Mansfield, you two need to go out and buy your O-linemen some pizza on Saturday. They did a great job. You guys did too, but if you want that line to get bigger, fatten them up with a couple of slices.

******

Well, the barroom debates can end. Tito Francona has made his decision, at least for game four, and the answer to the $64,000 question is that it will be Big Papi at first base, and Yoooouuuuk on the bench.

The decision certainly wasn’t an easy one, I know that. Starting Papi makes sense, he’s one of the best hitters in baseball, and he’s having a great postseason. However, so is Kevin Youkilis.

What might be the most interesting part of all of this is that it has forced Tito to switch up his lineup. The manager said he’ll move Jacoby Ellsbury to the top, move Dustin Pedroia into Youk’s No. 2 spot and then keep the rest the same until the nine hole. Obviously Julio Lugo moves up from 8 to 9 and Daisuke will hit in the final spot.

Speaking of Daisuke, this should be quite intersting for our friend from the Orient. Breaking balls are said to not move very much in the thin air of Denver — just ask Daryl Kile. That means Daisuke will have to use his fastball more, which is probably a good thing, and also his change, which can be deadly when he’s throwing it well. The gyro will probably have to be shelved.

Enjoy Game 3. If the Sox win this one, we can head to the store, buy the champagne and put it in the fridge. You have to be prepared, after all.

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Halfway Home

Posted by rich on 26th October 2007

Even if you weren’t a Red Sox fan you’d have to enjoy last night’s ballgame. Well, maybe not if you’re a Rockies fan, but other than that, it was a fantastic baseball game.

I kept saying that to myself throughout the evening, ‘what a great game.’ That’s what the World Series should be like, great pitching, great defense and some timely hitting. Winning 13-1 is fun, but as far as quality baseball goes, I’ll gladly take what we saw from Fenway.

You can’t say enough about the job that the Red Sox pitching staff did last night. Let’s start from the top, shall we.

Curt Schilling may never pitch another game at Fenway Park. He doesn’t have a deal for next year. He’s nearly 41-years old, and at this point I’d say it’s 50-50 at best that he’s coming back. So this might have been his final outing at the old ballpark, and if it was, what a way to go out.

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver pounded the fact down our collective throats that Schill is no longer a power pitcher. He can’t throw in the mid-90s any more. So what. The guy knows how to pitch, and he got into the sixth.

Schill gave everything he had. Those were five and one-third tough innings. He gave up just one run, and it was a cheapie. Taveras was leaning over the plate in the first, and just got a glancing blow that nicked his batter’s glove. Somehow Julio Lugo and Kevin Youkilis were able to get out of the way of pitches that nearly took their heads off, but Taveras couldn’t get out of the way of a pitch in the heart of the strike zone. You figure it out.

Taveras then got to third on a bad hop off of Lowell’s glove and scored on a groundout. That’s all that Schill gave up. He got through it, and walked just two, gave up four hits and struck out four. Tip your cap to him, we may never see No. 38 on the hill at Fenway Park again. If we don’t I’ll miss him. He was very good here, and pitched some of the most important games in Sox history.

Then after Schill, who is now 11-2 lifetime in the postseason, there was the bullpen. All season long those guys were good. Last night they were just great.

Okajima gave his best performance of the season, period. He came in and mowed the Rockies down like nothing we’ve seen him do before this year. Sure he’s had some great outings, but this was the biggest spot of his big league career and he worked two and a third, and retired all seven men he faced. Okie struck out four of the seven batters he faced, and threw 20 of his 28 pitches for strikes.

“Okajima was perfect, just absolutely perfect, every single pitch … those two guys, that was the story tonight … we had to have it, and they both answered the bell,” Schilling said about his bullpen support.

And what can you say about Paps. The guy might be slightly tapped mentally, but he’s a monster on the mound. He threw 16 pitches, and 12 were strikes. He fanned two and got the biggest out of the night for the Sox, without throwing a pitch. After Matt Holliday, who seems to be the only Rocky that has shown up so far, smoked a single up the middle, Papelbon picked him off by a wide margin to end the eighth.

The Rockies got good pitching too. Before last night I thought Ubaldo was just something that you yelled at Costanza look-alikes. Ubaldo Jiminez can definitely bring it. However, he can’t find the strike zone enough and once the Sox calmed down and started to take their kind of at-bats against the starter they began to have some success. They didn’t have a ton, but some nights scoring two runs is enough, and last night it was.

Offensively, Lowell was the story. He took third on the hit by Drew with pure hustle, which allowed him to score on the sac fly by Tek. He then drove in the game-winning run in the sixth with a rope to left. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, sign this guy Theo. He’s been your team’s MVP all year long, a team that is two wins away from winning the World Series. You need him back.

And now the Sox are two wins away from the Series title. It’s going to be a whole new ballgame out in Colorado. I don’t know what the Sox should do in terms of the Lowell-Youkilis-Ortiz troika. Who do you sit? As crazy as it sounds, I’m leaning toward Papi in game five, simply because his knees could use the rest. That’s tough to do, though, because the two guys the Sox will be facing in games three and four are both right-handers. I’m glad Tito has to make the decision and not me.

Saturday will be interesting. A win in game three will all but wrap this thing up. A win by Colorado and all of a sudden the Rockies are back in it.

******

eaglesWhat a shame that the BC-Virginia Tech game was on opposite the Sox game. I watched most of the first quarter, and Matt Ryan and Co. couldn’t do anything in the driving rain. The offense looked bad.

I kept checking back as the game went on, like I’m sure many of you did. It was 7-0 VT, and then 10-0 in the second half. Start of the fourth quarter, the Eagles were still down 10. It seemed to me that the curse of the No. 2 team was going to hit the Eagles. “Oh well, they were probably over-ranked anyways,” I said.

During the last few minutes of the ballgame, the Red Sox were playing the fifth, which was the biggest inning of the game. During a pitching change I turned over to see a replay of Ryan finding a wide-open Calendar in the corner of the end zone for the winning TD with 11 seconds left.

Didn’t see that one coming. Maybe the Eagles aren’t over-ranked after all. Maybe they are one of the elite teams in the nation. When the team puts out its highlight DVD at the end of the year, you can be sure that October 25 is going to be right at the front of the reel.

That’s a great, great win for BC. They had no business winning that one the way that they played for 56 minutes. However they played a great final four minutes and found a way to pull out a miracle. Good for them.

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WS Game 1 Very Nice

Posted by rich on 25th October 2007

You just knew that the Sox were in good shape in the first inning. Could things have started any better for the Old Towne Team? I think not.

borat red soxFirst three batters for Colorado went something like this: strike three, strike three, and then … strike three. Big Game Beckett was feeling it, and he was out to make a statement to the Colorado Rusty … err … Rockies.

Then the Sox came up and two pitches into the game they were on the scoreboard. Dustin Pedroia is the perfect Boston baseball player, he hustles, gives his all and has a sense of the moment. That little uppercut swing connected on that Francis flatball and went about 350 feet long, and 37 and one-half inches high. It hit off the lip of the Monster seats. It might not have been a Manny moon shot, but it counted just the same, and the Sox were on their way. The hits kept coming, with JD — which I swear really does stand for Just Delivering at this point — Drew driving a double down the line to make it 3-0.

The Rockies would get one run to make it 3-1, but did you ever really worry about them making a comeback? There was no way that the Rockies were about to get three more in that game against Beckett. You could have given them another 15 innings and I’d be surprised if they could manage two more against him. Beckett is the best kind of pitcher, the kind that gets better when it matters the most.

So the hits kept coming, and it actually got a bit boring. I did laundry in the latter innings. I couldn’t tell you too much about what happened after the sixth. The Sox had more on the scoreboard than a some NFL teams scored last Sunday.

ohboyWhich brings us to today. Game two, the all important game two. Game two is the difference between a short series and a long one, it’s that simple. If the Sox win tonight, they’re in the driver’s seat and can put away the Rockies on the road. A loss tonight nullifies yesterday, and makes this series a lot more interesting. Fox-TV is hoping for a Colorado win because it will help the ratings if things are close. Us, we need to root for a Sox win, not like we weren’t already, because who wants a long series when you can have a short one. Me, I want to be going to a parade early next week, not sweating a big game six or seven.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself just yet, I know the Rockies are much better than they showed us last night, but I really want to take my kids to a victory parade in Boston. As a dad, I want to give them that memory forever. The tickertape, the crazy fans, the festive early morning drunks. I went to the Pats first Super Bowl parade, and had the time of my life. I haven’t been to one since (I wanted to go to the Red Sox one, but other things came up). I want another one, although if we miss this one there’s another scheduled for February, but that’s a story for another day.

So tonight the Sox have one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all-time, Curt Schilling, taking the hill with his 10-2 lifetime playoff record. Schilling’s good in these spots, but you knew that.

But the Rockies’ pitcher is an unknown commodity. I had no idea who Ubaldo Jiminez was before I went to ESPN.com to do a little research. To hear Erik Byrnes, of the D’Backs, talk about it, he’s the greatest pitcher since Sandy Koufax. He described his slider as a hellacious thing that starts in the visitors’ dugout and hooks the strike zone down to the hitter’s feet. You’d think that splitting the atom was tougher than hitting it.

So, Mr. Byrnes, riddle me this. Why was the guy just 4-4 this season with a 4.28 earned run average. I mean the kid’s been decent in the postseason, but he was facing the Phillies and the D’Backs, not exactly the same type of lineup that the Sox have? No offense to Byrnes, but his team’s lineup doesn’t really compare, does it?

We will find out if Byrnes is right about Jiminez, or if the pitcher is just another National League pretender.

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It Starts Tonight

Posted by rich on 24th October 2007

Here’s the question: Should Red Sox fans fear the Rockies?

The short answer is: yes. I don’t know if fear is the right word, but certainly the National League champions deserve your respect. The rally from the brink of elimination during the regular season to the World Series has been well-documented. There have been several great stories done on this on ESPN over the last couple of days. Jokes have been made about the Rockies being God’s team, with the way they have seemingly had wins fall from the sky over the last month as they’ve won 21 of 22.

You don’t win that many games without being good. And, there is something to be said for momentum. However, the Red Sox have plenty of momentum these days themselves, winning three in a row and coming back from the brink of postseason elimination.

If we go position by position, I think that you’ll find the Red Sox are a better all-around team than the Rockies, and they play in a better league. I’m picking the Sox to win it all in six games, and there are more reasons for that other than the fact that I’m rooting for the Sox.

This series is going to be interesting because you’ve got a bunch of nobodies against a bunch of guys everyone knows. I know that many of you are sports fans, but how many of you are diehard baseball fans, real diehards. I love baseball, love it, I watch Baseball Tonight religiously. I can’t name the entire starting nine for the Rockies. I know a good portion of their roster, but not the starting nine. After Jeff Francis, I don’t really know any of their starting pitchers. I’m not sure who closes for the Rockies.

By the time tomorrow night rolls around, we’ll know quite a bit about the Rockies. What we do know is that they were good enough to win the National League, and that’s no small feat. Still, the National League is the National League; it’s an inferior league to the American League. It just is. In the AL the Sox had to face off against offensive powers all the time, and get through having the DH. The Sox had 19 games against the Yankees. They had 19 games against Toronto (the Jays are no joke offensively). They had to play the Indians seven times. They had to play the Tigers seven times. Yes they had the Orioles and the D-Rays on the schedule quite a bit, but the National League has plenty of those teams too.

At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to which team comes through in the big spots. The Red Sox have had to do that quite a bit lately. The Rockies have had their share as well, but I think miracle time is over in Colorado. They’ve been hot, but they haven’t had to play any of the big boys yet. They get their opportunity now.

It’s funny, five years ago I could never see myself having the utmost confidence in my team entering a big series. This was the Red Sox after all, a franchise that always took you to the brink, and then broke your heart. But something changed back in 2004. When they won the World Series back then, everything morphed in Boston. Red Sox fans are confident fans now. The Sox are owned by a group that doesn’t take shortcuts. They bring in players that they believe give them the best chance to win. They develop talent, and some of that talent actually blossoms here, and not in Houston, or San Diego, etc.

That’s right; something has changed for us around these parts. If you’re not confident in this team, and you back the Sox, well there’s something wrong with you. My mother thinks the Sox will lose. I told her she’s crazy. She doesn’t follow baseball that closely, and believes that 04 was an aberration or something. Me, I believe what I’ve seen. This is the best team in baseball. They have been all year. They will finish this thing off and a week or so from now we’re going to be enjoying a big parade.

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A Breather

Posted by rich on 23rd October 2007

Today’s a good day to catch our collective breaths, don’t ya think. No baseball games today. No football games today. Just time to take a moment for yourself and enjoy life, because it gets hectic again starting tomorrow.

Tomorrow we’ll start World Series Central. Today, it’s working on the iPod. Speaking of which, I’ve had a lot of fun playing with my toy. Here’s a playlist I put together for listening too while I play some poker on-line.

Release (live) — Pearl Jam
Brain Stew — Gren Day
Seven Nation Army — White Stripes
Brian Wilson — Barenaked Ladies
If I Had a Million Dollars — Barenaked Ladies
Grace Is Gone (live) — Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
Ants Marching — Dave Matthews Band
I’m Shipping Up To Boston — Dropkick Murphys
Hard Sun — Eddie Vedder
Lose Yourself — Eminem
99 Problems — Jay-Z
Mo Money Mo Problems — Diddy, Mase and Biggy
Why Georgia — John Mayer
Whiskey In The Jar — Metallica
Wake Me Up When September Ends — Green Day
Dirty Water — The Standells
Vertigo — U2
Bullet The Blue Sky (live) — U2

It’s a bit all over the place, and I’m sure some of you see the rap and say “really?” Yes, I do enjoy some rap. My iPod has some Biggy, Jay-Z, Beastie Boys, on it. Now that I think of it, I’ve got to add some Tupac and Snoop.

Basically I was looking for music that I dig, that would keep me thinking. Most of it is very beat-driven, and some of the other stuff just makes me smile. If you know of any good iPod playlists on iTunes that I should check out, let me know. I was looking through some of the celebrity ones the other day and they’re all over the place. Sarah Silverman’s was horrible, which surprised me because she’s smart and funny. I would have thought she’d have better taste in music.

Baseball tomorrow …

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