Month: October 2004 (Page 1 of 3)

Electoral Concerns

Thoughts accumulated during the Red Sox series clinching game four win in St. Louis.
So if people all over New England were waiting for the Red Sox to win a World Series before they died, should John Kerry be concerned about losing potential voters between now and Tuesday? Seriously, I think a lot of bitter, old New Englanders that have been holding on a little too long are going to collapse in heaps of hysteria in the coming days. Those states may not be so blue Tuesday morning.
The Sox win the World Series. Their center fielder looks curiously like what most people of European origin believe Jesus looked like. Should we be concerned?
While we’re on the subject of Johnny Damon, after he socked his first inning home run (You knew someone would hit one out in the top of the first), S. said, “I guess that’s what Johnny would do.” She was pretty pleased with that line.
I think Lonnie Smith would have felt at home on the Red Sox when they played the field. They made even the simplest plays look amazingly difficult at times.
In a series that had few highlights for Cards fans, Albert Pujols stop and throw home in the 8th was an absolutely incredible play. In a close series, that gets replayed for decades like Brooks Robinson diving on the Cincinnati turf in 1970.
Why the hell was Fox showing shots of bars in New York? Shouldn’t they have had 50 cameras perched inside 50 different bars in Boston?
Dumb stat of the series: each time Fox would show the “largest deficit” either team had come back from in World Series history, or something like that. Like the Cards coming back from three down to beat the Brewers in game 2 of the ’82 World Series had any bearing at all on what happened in this series. Throw that stat up AFTER the Cards come back from three down, not before.
Best line in the post-game press room, Manny Ramirez, “God has given me a lot of good stuff.” What is this, Christmas morning?
I hope my brother-in-law, who professed to me over the summer that he wanted the Sox to win this year so he could riot, is safe on the streets of Boston tonight. Seems he had papers due after both Patriots Super Bowl wins, so he could only watch from his dorm window.
The Curse is over, and thank God so the rest of us don’t have to freaking hear about it anymore. Sure, the Sox are just another big market team with a payroll the Royals would take three years to match. But the Sox are a unique entity. Cursed not by the Bambino, but by having a rival that will perpetually have more resources with which to obtain talent. Cursed by being a historic, regional franchise that perhaps only the Cardinals resemble. Each April they carry the hopes of not just a city, but an entire corner of the country. Each time a team other than the Yankees wins the World Series, I think of all the little kids who live and die for their team getting to experience the joy of a World Championship. Tonight, I’m thinking of old men from Maine to Cape Cod who have been sitting on the porch with a radio tuned to WEEI for five decades; old women who have been going to games for 50 years and know when the manager is making a terrible mistake in pulling the starter. I have many friends who are Cards fans, and I feel your pain tonight, but this is a special night in the history of baseball. Well done, Red Sox. Now celebrate safely and spend wisely in the off-season so we can join forces against the Yankees again next October.

 

Wow

Prepare to be bombarded tomorrow by articles and columns claiming we saw “vintage Pedro Martinez” tonight. That was not the case. However, Petey was exceptionally impressive over his last four innings. He can’t hit 97 and blow people away anymore, but when he’s on and pitching smart, like tonight, it’s a thing of beauty. So do Sox fans start to relax knowing they have four games to win one, or does the traditional pessimism still hold, especially after what they did to New York?
If the Sox do close the Cards out, the sequence in the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera in game four of the ALCS will be documented in as great detail as the fourth quarter and overtime of the Patriots-Raiders playoff game three years ago.
Of all the mildly inappropriate and slightly blasphemous t-shirts celebrating the similarity of Johnny Damon to the commonly believed image of Jesus, I think my favorite is the one that says “Johnny Is My Homeboy”. I say that several times a day and laugh.
New Fox low of the night: Chris Meyers speaking with “Leon” of Budweiser commercial fame and basically reading the script of one of the commercials while play was going on. I know they were in St. Louis and all, but that was truly, truly awful. While less offensive, Meyers’ attempt to interview the Walker brothers during a tense portion of the game was also brutal. As always, Fox finds a way to fuck up a perfectly good sporting event.
People I hate: All these idiots who said all summer long that the Cardinals didn’t have enough starting pitching to get through the playoffs. They will smugly remind us all of their theory unless the Cards win the next four games. Of course, that completely ignores the fact they managed to win the requisite seven post-season games that qualify a team for the World Series. Roger Clemens and Roy Oswaldt are sitting at home. As are Pryor, Wood, Clement, and Zambrano of the Cubs. The starting pitching may have let them down in the series, but I think the Cards can be plenty happy of how much they got out of their rotation this year.

 

Warping Your Kid -or- Fun With Bodily Functions

Geometry sucks. Seriously, I’m feeling moderately confident about my GRE math review so far, but ever since I hit the geometry crap, I’ve got no clue what’s going on. Do I really need to know how to get the area of the shaded part of a triangle that has been drawn inside a rectangle with a superimposed circle over everything? I highly doubt it. So a break for some better things.
I don’t believe I’ve shared our nickname for our daughter with the full group. More often than not, when talking to M., we call her Tootie rather than her given name. Tootie McTooterson, that is. Tootie as in toot as in fart. See the kid, like most babies, isn’t afraid to rip them off any time she needs to. Let’s face it, farting may not be mature or appropriate in mixed company, but it’s always funny. A well-timed fart can erase the tension from even the most difficult situation. It can knock even the coolest cat off their game.
I’ve been admonished at great length to stop laughing hysterically when I’m holding M. and she decides to fill her diapers up. I can’t help myself; it’s quite possible the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. More often than not, the bowels decide to move either during or just after she takes a bottle. She’ll stop feeding or interacting and get a glazed look on her face. Her eyes tear up. The tip of her tongue sneaks out of her mouth. When it’s time to get things moving, her shoulders hunch up to her ears, her chin juts forward, and she starts grunting. It’s usually the grunting that gets me. If I’m not already laughing, when the noise from down under kicks in, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to lose it. No matter what S. says, I don’t think my reaction affects M. in any way. She goes about her business, grunting, straining, and farting as need be, then relaxes and gets the biggest grin on her face (In the past couple weeks she’s thrown in a laugh or two). In general she’s a very happy baby, but she’s particularly happy when we get that nasty diaper off of her. I think she puts up with my laughing because she knows she’s going to be freed from her Pamper prison for a few minutes soon.
The tooting isn’t always associated with filling the drawers, though. I think my favorite comes when I go to wake her up. I’ll reach down softly to touch her and slowly wake her. As soon as my hand comes into contact with her, riiiiiip. It’s as though she got it out to the very edge, and was concentrating on holding it in, but I surprised her and it escaped. It always makes me think of my grandmother, who would try to hold them in when she walked to the bathroom, and never make it more than halfway through the room before they started slipping out. If you’ve not had the pleasure of experiencing them, baby farts are, well, less mature I guess than adult farts. M.’s, for example, tend to be higher pitched and shorter that those of an adult. Sunday night, however, she nearly knocked S. and I both off of our kitchen stools. She was sleeping in her crib in the living room while we quietly ate dinner. She ripped one off that would have made a 19 year old college boy proud. We nearly choked on our pasta trying to stifle our laughs. Later in the evening, as she and S. napped on one end of the couch while I watched the World Series on the other, she ripped tiny fartlets off every five minutes or so, each one followed by a small moan.
Just as it’s not terribly mature to fart in public after you’re seven, it’s probably not mature to joke about your three-month-old daughter’s bowel sounds. I can’t help it, though. The kid kills me. And that’s why we call her Tootie.

Chili And Fenway

I busted out the sacred chili pot Friday night. I have to say, for the first time ever, I disappointed myself. I went with my chicken-white bean recipe which I perfected last year. I don’t know what I did wrong, but I got a rather bland concoction rather than the tangy, slightly spicy treat I expected. It’s most concerning and something I’m going to spend many hours rectifying. We’re hosting a get-together the day of the Kansas-Missouri and Indiana-Purdue games at which I’m supposed to produce both versions of my near-legendary chili. I’m feeling some pressure, in other words.
Sox up 2-0 despite committing four errors in each game. Ordinarily, I would say Cards fans would be seriously upset, but we all know the Cards can’t win on the road and don’t lose at home in the World Series. Why don’t we just make it 3-3 and fast-forward to game seven?
My two favorite people in the world right now: the old lady Chris Myers interviewed Sunday night during the game. 80ish, been going to games at Fenway for 40 years, keeping score, and breaking down pitching moves. She’s the stereotypical Sox fan. I also loved the guy who was at both games in his full Red Sox pimp outfit. I bet that guy gets wicked amounts of play from the ladies.
There are a few friends in KC who I’m worried about. This small band supports the professional sports franchises of St. Louis and attended the University of Missouri. I fear after the weekend’s games, they may be in danger. Please check on them and give them a pat on the back for me. They’re just games, my friends, they’re just games. (Please save this for March/April when I traditionally need a kick in the ass to put athletic events back in their proper perspective.)
Your Sunday night genius music lyric:
In a fast German car, I’m amazed that I survived
An airbag saved my life
An interstellar burst
I’m back to save the universe.

 

Sox-Cards

This is going to be a very, very good World Series, I think. Two teams that absolutely deserve to be there. Both are great on offense, have spotty starting pitching (I’m not ready to accept Schilling will be able to provide two starts at full health yet), great bullpens. They play similar styles of baseball. They have arguably the two most rabid fan bases in the Majors. Loads of history on both sides of the field. I’m very excited about this one, mostly because for the first time in many a Series, my rooting interest won’t be primarily against one team or the other. I predicted the Cards in seven a few weeks ago. I think it goes at least six games for certain. I honestly think you can flip a coin and get your winner.

Our Long National Nightmare Is Over

Paul Hamm keeps his gold medal and the Red Sox beat the Yankees. The downside to all of this is I think M.’s a Yankees fan. She cried when David Ortiz went yard Sunday night. She cried when he knocked in the game winning run Monday. She cried when A-Rod was called out on the play at first base Tuesday. And last night, she cried when Johnny Damon hit his grand slam. I fear she, like so many other well-meaning women, has bought into the myth of Jeter. S. isn’t nearly as concerned as I am. “I’m sure you’ll teach her to hate them.” “Yeah, I just need to make her a fan of a team that loses to them every year in her formative years. That should do the trick.” In a way she is keeping up a family tradition. The Yankees used to make me cry a lot too.
Regardless of which team wins tonight’s NLCS game seven, it’s going to be a fascinating World Series to watch. All three managers can be described as “interesting”. Tony LaRussa can suck the life out of any game by totally over-managing it. Both Phil Garner and Terry Francona have made decision after decision in the playoffs that made even the most casual of observers scratch their heads. Somehow, Francona has survived.
How about Peter Gammons positively gushing after the game on ESPN last night? Gabe Kapler has a great line when he appeared with Gammons live, “Come on, Peter, you can admit that you’re a Red Sox fan now!” I’m really not sure why people would be shocked by that, although he could have been a little more professional. He’s the best baseball writer in the game and has been covering the Sox for 30 years. I think he’s allowed a little fun.
In speaking with Cardinals fan Dale Smith earlier this week, I predicted a Roger Clemens meltdown today. Since he’s in the NL now, I can see him reaching base, having to go into second hard to break up a double play, and taking out Edgar Renteria a little too hard. A scuffle ensues, and Roger is left protesting to the umpires, “I thought he was the bag!” Go crazy Cardinals fans!

 

Heavens To Betsy! More Baseball!

If you told me last Friday that the Red Sox would be able to force a game seven, I would have slapped you in your face. Hard and with impunity. Yet here we are, in a baseball fan’s nirvana: game six of the incredibly entertaining NLCS this afternoon and then the final showdown between the Yanks and BoSox serving as the nightcap. Looks like another evening with no studying is in my future.
The only downside to the ALCS going seven is the hype machine has been cranked into overdrive. “Red Sox. Yankees. Game Seven. Anything can happen!” By default, can’t anything happen in every baseball game? Even if we had Pedro circa 1999 and Kevin Brown circa 1998 on the mound tonight, it could just as easily be a 13-12 game as it could be a 1-0 15 inning epic. Calm down, folks. I know it’s exciting that we’re at this point, and so many crazy things have happened that it’s tough to gauge who has the advantage, but it goes without saying this is a big game. We don’t need Peter Gammons hyperventilating and telling us this is the most anticipated baseball game OF ALL TIME! (Said in Mohammed Ali voice.)
Go Cards, Go Sox.

 

Complete Insanity

I’ve watched almost every inning of the last three Yankees-Red Sox games. I’ve taken copious notes of things I could write about. But sitting in a basement in Carmel, IN and being a Yankee hater isn’t like being at Fenway as a lifetime Sox fan. I recommend (big surprise) Bill Simmons’ excellent summary of the absolutely incredible games four and five.

The surreal life at Fenway

As a Yankee hater, I’ve become a defacto Sox fan over the past few years. They are certainly an entertaining group of guys to watch. When looking at them through the prism of “How does sports related to life?” I think the Red Sox represent the struggle each of us has at some point with a nemesis. There may be something you love and are good at, yet there’s was always someone who was a little bit better. Who was a little luckier. Who was a little better financed in their pursuit of excellence. We all know what it’s like to be the Red Sox (Red Sox fans are a whole other story) and I think that makes their epic battles with the Yankees even more compelling. As if the drama on the field wasn’t enough already, I suppose.

One classic Fox moment I had to share that I’m sure most of you missed since it took place before 5:00 PM CDT yesterday. In the third or fourth inning, Pedro Martinez buzzed Hideki Matsui high and tight. The Boston crowd went nuts celebrating Pedro’s attempt to throw the .897 batting Matsui off his game. Fox proceeds to find shots of as many Asian Sox fans cheering as possible. One woman alone was shown three different times. What, are all Asians supposed to cheer for Matsui regardless of their team affiliation? Is Fox trying to drive a wedge into the Asian viewer demographic? When Pedro hit A-Rod, they didn’t find every Hispanic face in the crowd to gauge their response. I doubt it means anything, but I found it hilarious and typical of Fox.w

 

Much Respect For the House Spouses Of The World

S. is out of town for a couple days, which leaves the house to just M. and I. While I already had great respect for housewives (and househusbands), that respect has increased immensely over the past 24 hours. M.’s in a bit of a clingy phase, making it tough to put her into her crib, swing, bouncy seat, or really anything and have 10-15 minutes to accomplish things. Unlike S., I apparently don’t have the gene that allows for carrying out regular activities while holding a baby. It’s a bit frustrating to realize I have to plan when I go to the bathroom, when I eat, and so on. M. did pass out in her swing briefly last night, and I was literally running through the house to get all the trash collected and to the curb before she woke.
I’ve done this on a smaller scale when S. works, but I always had the crutch of her showing up at about 8:20 after her shift ended. I could hand off M. and drink coffee, read the paper, come work on the computer, or go grab a nap. I do have some sister-in-law babysitting help this afternoon and tomorrow, but my hopes of not letting dishes pile up, studying, or even just doing some laundry is pretty much dependent on M. being able to take a nap some place other than in my arms. If I would have planned better, I could have trained her to figure out the whole opposable thumb thing by now so she could at least entertain herself with toys. There is always the bright side, though. I watched almost 12 straight hours of sports on the Fox network yesterday. I managed to completely avoid ads the other night in protest of the two LCS games being on at the same time. Unfortunately, I think I more than made up for that protest yesterday. First pitch is only 20 minutes away!

Damn

1:00 AM, my night home alone with M., and I can’t sleep. I don’t get it. I’m basically off the caffeine. It’s not like I did anything this evening that got me hyped up so that I couldn’t sleep. Perhaps, though, this is how I get her to sleep when S.’s working. Of the last five nights, M. has slept for at least seven hours during four of those nights. The other night, she slept only four hours then had a two hour fit. If you guessed the night she didn’t sleep was the night S. was working, you just won yourself a duck. The 8 1/2 hour sleep is the shit, though. There’s nothing like getting up at 4:00 to make the preemptive bottle because you hear some noise coming from the baby’s room, and then getting to sleep 3+ hours before you actually have to use the bottle.
I praised the virtues of watching the St. Louis Cardinals play earlier this week. Allow me to break it down a little and say Albert Pujols might be the most enjoyable hitter to watch in the game right now. It’s absolutely sick how good that guy is. Fox is using some funky camera angle at Busch so I have no idea where pitches are, but he crushed a pitch that appeared to be up and away tonight to left field. In modern baseball, you send that same pitch to right. No way do you pull it. But Albert did. Sure he grew up elsewhere, but it’s pretty cool that his US roots are in Kansas City and there’s a small claim to him.
If you look up prick in the dictionary, will you find Jeff Kent’s picture there? To parrot Jim Rome’s line, this is the guy that made Barry Bonds seem like a decent guy. Kent always looks like he’s ready to whine about something, and generally does anytime someone gives him an opportunity. He didn’t even look happy after he hit a home run in game one; he was too busy bitching about something Mike Matheny said to him once he got back to the dugout.
Speaking of Kansas City, I caught a portion of A&E’s More American Eats yesterday that had a lengthy section on barbecue that was truly fascinating. I had no idea that barbecue was often used as a social event by politicians in the pre and post-revolution days. Kind of an old school Get Out The Vote effort. The bigger barbecue you threw, the higher your social status was. I need to really go all out when I finally buy a smoker, I guess. The program went into a little detail on the different styles of barbecue, but rather smartly focused on Kansas City, stating it was the capital of corporate barbecue. Here’s one for you KC residents to put into your caps: the old Penny’s barbecue, which became Arthur Bryant’s, is in many ways credited with speeding integration in Kansas City. It was so good that even affluent whites went into the heart of black KC to purchase fine smoked meats. Noted food historian Calvin Trillin painted the lovely picture of troops coming over from Fort Riley in integrated groups and “walking into the greatest restaurant in the world” and seeing whites and blacks dining in the same room. The message of integration that had been drummed into their heads in basic training was validated in the real world. See, barbecue isn’t just tasty, it’s helped bring us together as a people. So take that Memphis, Texas, and Carolina! Bonus points to A&E for making sure KC specialty burnt ends got some air time.

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