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Friday, April 16, 2004

Nitwit Fox Yankee Apologists. Just a few thoughts on the game, and the idiots Fox broadcast team that brought it to us.

The stupid Scooter feature on the knuckleball was played twice, was uninformative, and cut into a nice play by Billy Mueller at third. Buck told us they were replaying it again because of audio problems but I heard every annoying moment both times. Then they played the Bucky Dent deal with no audio. Thank God we didn’t have to suffer through that a second time too.

Speaking of Mueller, don't tell me last year was a fluke.

Buck needs to lay off Johnny Damon and his hair. Seriously. How 'bout talking about his 5-for-5 last week or better yet, how he's recovered from his concussion? Don't they remember that scary scene last October with the stretcher and the ambulance on the field? And thanks to Red Sox Haven for showing me this link.

A-Rod, A-Rod. It was a big nothing, wasn't it? At least, until he ran the Balco Bombers (thanks, DirtDogs) out of a big inning with a bone-headed attempted swipe of third with one out on a 3-1 count. He either was trying to do too much or just forgot what the count was. Either way, it was a hell of a lot more harmful than Manny's drop. But of course Fox would have you think otherwise.

Anyone excited for tomorrow?

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

I'm looking for a good pop-up stopper. It's not the pitching that bothers me in this one. With each Gabe Kapler pop-up, Trot Nixon’s absence grows more and more profound. I'm watching the Orioles telecast tonight and the broadcasters were talking at length about how Nixon’s absence is hurting the Sox. For sure, and how the Sox deal with it is going a long way towards who’s going to win a tight A.L. East.

In the bottom of the second tonight, as well as extra innings in Baltimore, the inability to hit with runners on and nobody out stalled a rally. And while Damon and Mueller bailed Kapler and Reece out, the bottom of the order needs to deliver for the Sox to be successful.

Aggravating Kapler pop-ups:
4/1/04 v. Baltimore: 8th Inning. No on, no out.
4/7/04 v. Baltimore: 9th Inning. Bases loaded, one out.
4/8/04 v. Baltimore: 13th Inning. No on, no out.
4/10/04 v. Toronto: 2nd Inning. One on, two out.
4/11/04 v. Toronto: 10th Inning. One on, two out.
4/15/04 v. Baltimore: 2nd Inning. Two on, none out.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

On tarpaulins, reprise. The Nation suffered through night with no Sox game to watch. Here's how I spent it.

1. Watched Sunday night's Sopranos.

2. Read a few articles in the April 19 & 26 New Yorker (consider: Is John Kerry too French; a master using good metaphors to help pianists play better Schubert).

3. Read about baseball blogs on Slate. No Sox blogs were mentioned. Shame!

Let's play ball tomorrow night, eh?

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

On tarpaulins. If you're a baseball addict, a rainout is like a fix just out of reach, a brutal withdrawal. From the dugout, watching the rain fall, you look for a glimmer of light, a brief respite from the deluge. It's like watching the returns on Election Day and knowing your candidate is going down, but waiting for returns from that one friendly precinct that briefly narrows the gap.

Oil Can Boyd must have felt like that when it was raining on October 26, 1986, the date he was supposed to start Game 7 of the World Series for the Sox against the Mets. As it rained, Oil Can knew that if the game was canceled Manager John McNamara would start lefty Bruce Hurst in the make-up game the following day. The game was postponed, Hurst was named the starter, and Boyd, famously, cried.

Nearly ten years later, in the spring of 1996 I was the starting first baseman on my high school baseball team in Southborough, Massachusetts. Due to injuries, I had gotten the call start a Wednesday afternoon home game. I had been a JV pitcher, a crafty lefthander I suppose, but a soft thrower with control problems. I still hoped to pitch a few innings on the varsity in that Spring, my senior year. I was a dorm prefect that spring, and my pre-game nerves were keeping me awake lying in my dorm room bed the Tuesday night before the game, but eventually I drifted into sleep.

I didn't sleep for long. Unexpected April thunderstorms swept in overnight. Coach Glavin banged on my door after midnight and I staggered out of bed to answer.

“Hurry up,” he said, “we forgot to put the tarp on the field.”

We didn't expect the rain so we didn’t cover up the field after practice. As I followed Coach down to the field with a couple other players, the rain soaked me to the bone. The ground was soaked, the field was slop, and the game, for sure, was off. I thought of Oil Can Boyd, because goddamn, I wanted to pitch that game.

Rainouts frustrate and tease and hurt. But rainouts also tantalize: with the extra day off we can look forward to Pedro v. Kevin Brown in Yankee Stadium on April 25.

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