Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Soxcast 4-28

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Here's this week's Soxcast. It's a little late, I apologize.

I do, however, want to address and excuse my accent. I'm originally from Rhode Island, and when I read something aloud (my students and anyone who has heard me at a book reading will attest to this) the accent, for some reason, becomes pronounced. While it might seem like I'm trying to add histrionic color to these Podcasts, I assure you, I'm not that much of a douche.

AND it is NOT a Boston or Massachusetts accent; it's a Rhode Island accent, thank you very much. No self-respecting Rhode Islander wants to be lumped with Mass-holes.

Enjoy, and Go Sox!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Literary stuff

All right, the Sox are beating up on Baltimore. Way to go, guys. With the O's bullpen, it's a little like beating a newborn in an arm-wrestling match then celebrating afterwards.

I am, however, going to briefly step out of my role as an imaginary sportswriter (if you're jonesing for a Graziano sports fix, I have a new article on Slurve Magazine here) and don the garbs of a literary man, the type of guy who scratches his chin and wears blazers and boat shoes.

A veritable shitload of my writing has been published in a number of on-line journals this week, starting with a flash fiction piece titled "The New Girl" in one of my favorite literary journals, Night Train. The couple in this piece is revisited in a short story titled "My Husband, Houdini" on a really nice-looking new on-line journal called Bananafish, I'm assuming after the Salinger masterpiece. Mark and Lisa, the dysfunctional couple in these stories, can also be found in the archives of The Trailer Park Quarterly with "The Man of the House" and in annals of Night Train again with "Almost Christmas" and "Moon Walk."

I know, that's a lot to take in. But if you have some time to kill, it'll give you some reading material to check out on your new iPad, you hipster.

I also had poems appear in both the print version and on-line edition of Verse Wisconsin. Check out my poem "Elizabeth Graziano" here.

There you go, folks, an entire afternoon's worth of Nate Graziano for you. Caution: in certain tests, Nate Graziano's writing has been known to cause cramping, vomiting, rectal bleeding, dizziness, shortness of breath, irrational anger, headaches, and flatulence. If you have an erection lasting more than three hours, seek immediate medical attention.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Final thoughts on the Red Sox today

My father, who raised me as a Red Sox fan, sent this picture to me. He took it in Woodstock, Vermont, last weekend, and after the Sox couldn't produce a run with the bases loaded with no one out in 11th inning (nice work, Big Poopy), he felt it accurately represented the team.

I concur, Dad. And ditto for Game 2.

My New Soxcast

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Here's my new podcast. Check it out.

Spew and Poopy (or why the Red Sox ruin my life)

I'm going to rant, rant in a Kerouacian burst of pure, unfettered piss. If you have young children, cover their eyes because this isn't going to pretty (nor necessarily sensible). If you're so inclined, fix yourself a beverage. If you're not already, sit down. Buckle in. This is what I really think.

For those of you willing to give JD Spew (a nickname credited to my college friend Rob who was kind enough to share his spite with me) and Big Poopy mulligans, then stop reading now because they're in my cross hairs.

Let's start with statistics: Spew is currently batting a miserable .129 and, get this, has struck out nearly half of the time he's stepped to the plate (14 K's in 31 AB's). Aside from this, the man plays with the enthusiasm of a fucking corpse, and don't forget this, he is currently the second highest paid player on the Red Sox (Lackey earns more), making a cool $14 million to suck ass. Here's a guy who goes on the 15-day DL if his dick hurts. Goddamn it, I can't stand the guy. I want to see suffering on his face, the torment of man in the twilight of his overpaid, sadly-average career as a baseball player. But no. Spew's facial expression never changes. While on the field, he looks about as interested in his job as the someone who bags groceries. I can't stand it. Sure, he had a great post-season in 2007. If that's all the Sox get for their money---and remembers, Boras the Ass snuck Spew's contract into the Dice-K deal (nice one, Theo!)---to put it bluntly, they got bent over in that deal.

Oh, Big Poopy. Big Poopy, Big Poopy, Big useless Poopy. How does one go from folk-hero to someone who is so painful to watch play that you almost have to turn away. Wait, I know. He stops using steroids. A friend recently asked me why Boston fans are getting so down on the guy after all that he's done for the Sox. And let's face it, without Papi and Manny, there are no World Series rings in Beantown. But this is, reciprocally, why we're so quick to throw the big lug under the bus. Sox fans had a helluva time taking the high-ground on the steroids issue, especially when A-Fraud got slammed, but when the truth about Papi and Manny was revealed (in hindsight, it was a beautiful game of denial by Sox fans), it hurt more than we care to admit. Now that Big Papi couldn't hit water if he fell out of a fucking boat, we're rechanneling our disappointment with him into pure disdain. Let's look at Big Poopy's stats so far (by the way, he's the third highest paid player on the team at $12.5 million worth of whiff): He's batting .172, having struck OVER half the time he's been at the plate with 15 K's at 29 AB's, and he looks like an old man waiting for his Viagra to kick in every time he steps into the batter's box. Pure poop.

I seriously need to stop watching them. And, so far, this teams has all the personality of a planter's wart. So go ahead, Pink Hats, keep belting out your Neil Diamond songs during the eighth inning and pretending that this team is exciting to watch, but by their very construction, having been built on pitching and defense, they're a snore. I don't want to watch them anymore. I need to find a hobby. I need to get a life. Fuck the Red Sox.

At least until tonight, at 7 p.m. when, like a battered wife, I go crawling back, crawling back to those bastards.

Go Sox!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Four-game rant

Okay, so it's only four games into the season, and Tito and Theo and Larry (oh my!) will impress upon us to not go smacking the panic button like some two-bit stripper giving her own ass a wailing on stage.

I'm not going to panic. I'm not going to panic.

Oh, fuck that! With a team supposedly built on pitching and defense---giving up a free out each time Big Poopy steps to the plate---if your bullpen can't hold a lead YOU'RE FUCKED!!

Did you see that? I just used two exclamation points. Do you have any idea how pissed I am right now? They dropped two of three to the Spank-Boys, and---the coup de gras---last night they lose to the goddamn Royals. There are Special Olympic softball teams that can out slug Kansas City. This is pathetic. Papelblown-save (there will no ass-monkey gigs in centerfield if you keep this up), Big Poopy (see above), Choke-a-jima, Josh (re)Bard, Marco Who-the-fuck-are-you-and-where-are-you-throwing-the-ball, all of them, pathetic.

Strap in,Sox fans. If these first four games are any taste of what we have coming in the next 158, we're going to start to thinking about the Patriots in June. Oh wait, the Pats suck, too.

Get thee to a liquor store. Now!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Look inside my crystal ball...

(I said "ball.")

Happy Opening Day, folks. While I am adamantly against Opening Day being on a Sunday night, I still have this "kid on Christmas Eve" feeling swirling in my gut right now (although it might be the Mexican food I had last night). Baseball season starts today. Oh fuck yeah!

For whatever reason---which is mostly my self-centered world view---I also feel it's incumbent upon me to make some predictions. However, let's make this clear: I'm not a stats guy. While many true baseball fans are disciples of Bill James and study numbers and scouting reports, I like to take a more humanistic approach to the game. In other words, I go with my swirling gut, embrace my prejudice, and generally talk out my ass (if you haven't noticed). So here we go.

Disclaimer: I'm terrible at spelling last names, so forgive the abundance of butchering in this post.

AL East: My baseball universe revolves around the AL East, with the Red Sox playing the role of God, in the ass-kicking Old Testament sense. However, I'm also a lifetime fan and grew up with each season being another chapter of disappointment. Despite two World Series titles, I can't shake my pessimism and would never be audacious enough to predict the Sox winning the division. I also would never pick the Yankees to win anything, other than The Douchiest Team in the MLB Award. Therefore, and you're hearing it here, I'm predicting Tampa to take the AL East this year. While The Rays are often fall off the radar, they have rock-solid starting pitching (Shields and Gaza), possibly the best bat in baseball (Longoria), and a kick-ass manager (Madden). They're always a headache for The Red Sox, especially in Tampa, and I can see them sneaking up on The Sox and Yankees and repeating a 2008 performance. Well, not really. But I won't pick the Sox or the Yankees, so Tampa it is.

AL Central: The Tigers trade in Granderson for Johnny "The Asswipe" Damon. While their pitching has a ton of potential with Verlander and Nate Robertson, I won't pick them for the simple reason that they signed Judas (it's Easter, dammit). I'm also a fan of Ozzie Guillen and think his motor-mouth and straight serum is great for baseball. The White Sox take the Central.

AL West: This is going to be a dog fight. Anaheim let go of their ace (thank you), and for a big market team, that's Bush League. Texas has some fierce bats, but I'm going with Seattle. My reason (aside from Felix Hernandez): Brian, a Mariner's fan, is one of the only people who comments on my blog, so I'm throwing him a bone. There you go, buddy. The Mariners rule The West.

Wild Card: Dah Sox.

Now, I'm going to be honest, other than interleague games, I pay little mind to the National League until the playoffs. In fact, for a guy who purports to write "a baseball blog," I'm terribly ignorant about the NL. Here's what I know about National League in bulleted points:

  • Albert Pujols is the modern-day Babe Ruth. The best player in the game.

  • The Mets spend a butt-load of cash and, somehow, still manage to suck.

  • Philly is pretty good.

  • Manny plays for the Dodgers under Joe Torre.

  • They don't have the designated hitter, and that might be fine in little league, so Tommy can learn how to swing the bat, but I like watching homeruns, and I love the fact that pitchers in the AL can throw at hitters with no repercussions. I like dirty games, cheating, and steroids for professional athletes.

That's about it. For baseball purists and fans of the game, you've probably stopped reading already so this is a moot point. For those who give a shit, here are my NL picks:

NL East: Philly is pretty good.

NL Central: Other than the Red Sox, the only team in baseball that I like is the Cubs, probably for obvious reasons. Let's go Cubbies.

NL West: Manny being Manny. Torre being Torre. The Dodgers take it.

Wild Card: I left my heart in San Francisco.

There it is, folks. Those are my completely biased and ignorant picks. And a reminder for those of you who are interested: I'm going to be writing some pieces for Slurve Magazine this season. Check it out. And Jon Konrath, the editor of Air in the Paragraph Line, did an interview with me. Rock on.

Play ball. (I said "ball.")

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's Day

By the way, that last post was an April Fool's Day prank.

Yankees suck!