Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New stuff for The New Year

In the past couple of weeks, as The Red Sox have been blowing up the headlines, I've had a few pieces published on a couple of cool websites. These short prose pieces are tethered by a loose narrative and set on a lake at the foothills of The White Mountains. For years, I've been picking at this project, but only recently have I started submitting some of the work.

The first piece is titled "Not for Vegetarians" and appeared in the Rusty Barnes (editor of Night Train) online side-project Fried Chicken and Coffee.

Then, this piece, titled "Memorial Day Weekend," was published in the reputable and fantastic Word Riot and includes an audio file of me reading it.

Finally, "The Maple Leaf" was published in a recent edition of Red Fez, an impressive online journal of accessible fiction, poetry, and everything else.

Okay, that's enough about me. Let's talk about you. What do you think of me? Seriously, though, I don't mean to be self-indulgent, but then again, this whole blog is self-indulgent (see blog name). In other words, I apologize for myself... I mean, have a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's hard being a hypocrite

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

---Walt Whitman "Song of Myself"

I've used this Whitman quote throughout my adult life to explain away the numerous, rather multitudinous hypocrisies I've embraced. Let's put it this way: I'm no choir boy, and generally speaking, there isn't a ton of moral combustion inside my dank, sordid soul.

However, with this week's signings of Dan Wheeler and Bobbie Jenks, I'm experiencing a true existential quagmire, seeing my baseball fandom is the one thing that I hold to a high moral standard. For over a decade, I've bitched and moaned about The Yankees' obnoxious acquisitions of All-Star teams. I've found their Hot Stove spending-sprees---think A-Rod, Texeira, Grandersen, Sabathia, Burnett (hee-hee), Giambi, Sheffield, Clemens, etc---distasteful and deplorable, perennially raging about The Spank-boys "buying rings." I couldn't understand how Yankee fans could find any gratification in victory, knowing their team used cash over chemistry.

Well, now I'm starting to get it.

Stacked to the ceiling, The 2011 Red Sox have no holes, except for catcher. Thanks to Cliff Lee jilting New York (note to Yankee fans: stop spitting on opposing pitchers' wives; it might come back to bite you), no one in The American League can match up with Boston---at least on paper. And, honestly, I'm a bit disgusted by this.

While I'm sure The Boston Pink Hats are pissing themselves with hollow bliss right now (this whole thing stems from the fair-weather fans losing interest last season), for longtime Sox fans, this is akin wearing someone else's pants. Part of my love for The Red Sox has been their role of the gritty underdog. While The New York Yankees have historically represented affluence and ostentation and...well, New York City, The Red Sox have been the screwed-by-life bastard sons of Dostoevsky novels, the consummate lovable losers. This is largely what made 2004---and 86 years---worth the wait. It was true sweetness.

For these reasons, I simply can't celebrate what the front office has done in the past month. The Red Sox may win a World Championship this year, although The Phillies have a starting rotation that could arguably be one of the best in baseball history. Yes. The Red Sox should win World Series rings this year.

They bought 'em, fair and square.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Please Welcome the 2011 Dorian Gray Sox

For those of you struggling to blow the dust off your memories of sophomore English in high school, A Picture of Dorian Gray is the playwright Oscar Wilde's most celebrated novel about (surprise) flamboyantly vain, hedonistic homosexual men, one of whom (Dorian Gray) sells his soul to stay forever young and handsome and debauched and gay. The catch: his gruesome soul is reflected in a portrait of him painted by his gay painter friend, Basil, a portrait that turns hideous.

I'm not sure where the portrait of The 2011 Red Sox is hanging, perhaps in the bedroom of owner/crypt-keeper John Henry and his impossibly hot young wife (she doesn't care about his money), but wherever it is, I'm guessing the uniforms are sprouting pinstripes.

Boy, I did a lot of leg-work to set this up: The Red Sox have turned into the Yankees.

Let me start by acknowledging that, in the past, I have been one of the most vociferous critics of the Spank-boys off-season spending sprees in an attempt to buy rings. Let me also point out that only once in the past decade has that worked. On the corners in the infield at the new Yankee Stadium are two players the Red Sox coveted, and the Yankees swept up with their bags of cash, symbols of the abject humiliation felt by Sox fans, the perpetual underdog-ness. To carry my book analogy to the next level, The Yankees have always been the Lord Henry's, the older (and queer) proponents of self-indulgence without heed of the luxary tax.

With this week's signings of both Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, The Red Sox have essentially sold their souls to look beautiful through 2017. Listen, I'm not complaining. Like any fan, I want to see my team win; although in my case, I also want to see The Yankees suffer from a stubborn case of season-long diarrhea that has their player awkwardly squeezing their cheeks each time they enter the batter's box. However, something about this week's signing feels wrong to me.

Here is my full-disclosure, seeing I spent most of this week trying to be as obnoxious as possible to my Yankee-fan colleagues and friends, who are now in the unenviable position of having to sign Cliff Lee until he's 72 years old. Behind my fist-bumps with fellow Sox fans, I've been hosting a vague malaise, a feeling like this isn't right. It's as if The Red Sox got a makeover, and they look much, much nicer, but they don't look like The Red Sox anymore.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I've needed to come to terms with the fact that the climax of my life as a Red Sox fan occurred in 2004, when the cast of Idiots took four straight from The Yankees and celebrated in their kitchen as The Spank-boys' dejected fans quietly tried to tuck away their "1918" signs. Any true Red Sox fan will tell that was highlight, not The World Series. And it will never get better than that night when fell to my knees in front of my television, crying, and threw both middle fingers at the screen, yelling, "Fuck you, Yankees! Suck on this!"

Nor will it come close.

So the 2011 Dorian Gray Sox will be fielding seven All-Stars along with an All-Star closer and four All-Stars in the starting rotation. On paper, they're going to be tough to beat. And I have the privilege of watching a team that will be competitive every season in the foreseeable future. Have I indulged in the new Sox fan game of guessing the batting order--Will it be Ellsbury, Crawford, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Youk or Ellsbury, Pedroia, Crawford, Gonzalez, Youk? It's a fun game and totally indulgent.

I'll get used to the new All-Star team and, I'm sure, raise a toast or two to them. Just be sure to keep that portrait covered, Crypt-keeper, far away from Fenway Park.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Excited about Gonzalez

If you're sensing a cosmic disturbance today, don't be alarmed. The disturbance can be easily attributed to the fact that every male Red Sox fan, from New Haven to Bar Harbor, got a hard-on this morning after reading that, at long-last, Theo got his man. There's no need for Viagra in New England today; Cialis, see you later. Simply whisper the name Adrian Gonzalez, and you'll find five guys with stiffies that can cut through diamonds.

As of this morning, and pending a physical, San Diego's superstar first baseball will now be donning the threads of The Olde Towne team. Like most rabid Red Sox fans, who have no life of their own and live vicariously through baseball, I am elated. This is analogous to spending years trying to land a date with one of the hottest women you know---to quote Van Halen, "A blue-eyed murder in a Size 5 dress for years---flirting and getting close to her, and closer, only to have her pull away each day. Then you wake up one morning, and she's in your bed, going down on you.

That's gives you some idea of the unfettered joy we're experiencing right now. And, yes, I understand how gay all of this sounds. And, no, I don't have a man-crush on Adrian Gonzalez. I'm monogamous in my man-crushes, and Jon Lester and I still haven't broken up from last season.

However, I'm not alone here. Check out this article on NESN ambiguously titled "Top 10 Reasons to Get Excited About Adrian Gonzalez."

So what, exactly, does all of this mean? If you're not a baseball fan, I'm assuming you've already stopped reading before getting to this point---unless, of course, you're curious about how far I'll take this clearly homoerotic post. I'm like Mr. Garrison writing his romance novel on South Park. If you are a baseball fan, I don't need to explain it.

But I will!

What this means is the rest of The American League, particularly the peckers in pinstripes, are going to start scrambling to follow suit. What it means is The Yankees are going to throw obnoxious amounts of money and maybe the keys to Gotham at Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee. What it means is The Red Sox now have a top of the order that rivals any in baseball with Ellsbury, Pedroia, Gonzalez (I giggled like a giddy little girl while typing that), Youkilis. And, hey, why not go after Jason Werth? You match that with a starting rotation that is arguably the deepest in baseball---Lester and Lacke and Beckett and Buchholz, oh my---and the holiday season just got sweeter for Sox fans.

Careful standing under the mistletoe tonight, ladies. There's a virile group of Sox fans prowling town. Boston got Gonzalez. Grrrrr, baby. Grrrrr.