Thursday, May 27, 2004

Laughing one off. You can easily expect a couple of stinkers like tonight's 15-2 loss to the A's at Fenway every year. Jarring as it is to tune in and see the scoreboard read 12-2 in the sixth, it’s another testament to Sox fans that the stadium wasn't empty by the fifth. You wouldn't see that kind of loyalty at, say, Yankee Stadium…Tonight aside, it's turned into a pretty fine month of May for the BoSox as the bats heat up and the pitching stays steady. The defense, while still a concern, isn’t making me queasy anymore either. Watching Manny and Johnny Damon play caroms off the Monster it occurs to me that their aptitude out there has got to save as many runs for the Sox at home as a Gold Glover would for any other team in any other stadium. Familiarity with the environs of Fenway simply must be the biggest home field advantage in the game…Speaking of Damon, he has reached base leading off the last eight games and his average is up to .292 from a low of .245 on May 5…It wasn’t too long ago that we were singing Bronson Arroyo's praises in the space. Literally. But how much does this surprise you:

B.K. Kim’s three starts: 1-1, 6.17 ERA over 11.2 innings
Bronson Arroyo’s last three starts: 1-1, 5.71 ERA over 17.1 innings


Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A Hardy Welcome. My good friend Sam, Australia's greatest Red Sox fan (now living in Boston) brought his brother Pete to Fenway for the first time last night. I remember my first day at Fenway – May 17, 1986 - vaguely (the Sox beat Texas 8-2). I'm guessing Pete won't have a hard time remembering his initiation in Red Sox Nation. Sam reports that in addition to seeing the start by Schilling, a homer off the Pesky pole, a blast by Manny over everything in left, and two major league debuts, Pete was also treated to two sausages outside the park and later, while having beers at a nearby pub, they ran into Terry Francona and friends who were stopping in for a drink.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Silence afoot? A three game sweep over the Jays at Fenway, a two game lead over the Yankees in the standings, and now what? Sure, the injury bug continues to bite, you can complain about Derek Lowe and a lineup that is nothing compared to the slugging bunch of 2003, but is much really going wrong? Are the Sox actually silencing critics in Red Sox nation? Open the Globe and the patently miserable Dan Shaughnessy seems downright cheery. The irritable Bob Ryan sounds like an old softy, complaining more about Fenway's idiosyncrasies than the product on the field. Critics are silent in Red Sox Nation.

In silent moments, however, much happens, like in a performance John Cage's 4:33. Or, as Leo Carey reminds us in a brief New Yorker piece, in Erwin Schulhoff’s "Five Picturesques" for piano. Caray writes:

"Although John Cage’s 4'33" (the 1952 piece in which a performer armed with a stopwatch maintains silence for the eponymous duration) is easily the world's most famous silent piece, Schulhoff's piece came first….Schulhoff's silence…is very different from Cage's. 4'33", originally written with entirely blank measurers, is a model of Zen calm, whereas Schulhoff's page is about as busy and frenetic as silence can be. There are long rests and short rests, triplet and quintuplet rests, and a fast run of thirty-second note rests. There are fermatas, exclamation points, question marks, and, in the middle and at the end, enigmatic signs that look like a hybrid of a half and a smiley face."

And then, at the end of the silent movement, a jarringly loud chord to begin the next. Silence in the Nation is fine right now, though we are well aware that a loud reaction to something, anything, will come next.

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