Saturday, December 31, 2011


Yesterday, I had my cell phone replaced due to the fact that I couldn't hear the callers unless I put it on speaker phone. This had been going on for three months, and it created some awkward situations in restaurants and other public places. Therefore, I stopped talking on the phone and sent text messages to people instead. On Thursday, I finally hauled my lazy ass to Verizon and had a replacement phone sent to my house yesterday. Seeing that nothing in my life goes off without a hitch, in the process of switching over phones, I lost all of the phone numbers for my family and friends. Now, I realize I could call Verizon, wait on the line for forty years, and then talk to someone in India about the problem, but I have beer to drink and a tap-dancing routine to choreograph. I'm a busy man.

While meditating on the problem, however, I also realized that my lost contacts provided me with a chance to take some personal inventory (How's that for optimism? From now on, call me Sunshine). The truth of the matter is that I only talk to a handful of people with any regularity, and my number hasn't changed, so if someone wants to get in touch with me, they can. And there's always the "bitch" button...

So I started thinking (always a bad sign for Sunshine) about New Year's and taking inventory. If nothing else, New Year's is an opportunity to look back at what you've accomplished, failed to accomplish, and ignored over the past 365 days. So the one thing that I've been meaning to do all year, have failed to, and will now accomplish is post Frank Zappa's 'Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?".

Done, done, and done. Happy New Year, kids.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This year was a veritable train wreck for The Red Sox. In many ways, the 2011 atomic collapse of The Best Team Ever was the worst experience of my life as a Red Sox fan. Sure, the chokes in 1978, 1986, and 2o03 bred a generation of nihilists, but those collapses could not be attributed to a lack of character and gumption. This year's Red Sox, however, represented professional athletes at their most detestable and has made it difficult to rally behind these guys looking forward. But, alas, come spring training, we will.

So on this holiday season, I'm choosing to remember the good times. This clip of the Sox completing the total evisceration of the Spank-jobs in 2004 warms my heart with holiday joy. Enjoy. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my imaginary blog readers.

Go Pats! Go B's! And, yes, go Sox!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holy shit, Bobby V. It's Christmas for Boston smart-asses.

Today, the Red Sox officially hired Bobby Valentine. This seems almost too good to be true. Not good because Bobby Valentine is some kind of panacea that can bring health to all of the lame in The Crypt Keeper's clubhouse. Oh hell, no. The Red Sox could have named Jesus Christ as their next manager, and Beckett still would've cracked a beer in his face and said, "Who the fuck do you think you are, buck?"

No, Bobby Valentine brings with him better qualities than the ability to heal the sick: He's brings with him a Broadway personality and an ego that makes John Lackey look like Anne Frank.

If you haven't seen this list yet, it's well worth checking out. Bobby Valentine was, among his other venerable life feats, a "pancake eating" champion at 18 years-old. The fact that you can Google his name and find out that a 61 year-old man won a pancake eating contest when he was 18 years-old tells you everything you need to know about him.

So what do you think of Bobby Valentine's appointment to be the next manager of The Boston Red Sox? asks one blog reader...okay, it really wasn't a blog reader. I never get questions from blog readers. Ever. In fact, I'm still fairly certain that nobody reads this blog, so I'm forced to turn to my imaginary blog reader, who is a 23 year-old slutty calendar girl, built like a roller coaster, with nothing else to do all day but wait for my updates and masturbate. So my imaginary blog reader asks: So what do you think of Bobby Valentine's appointment to be the next manager of The Boston Red Sox?

Listen, I think all of the changes the Red Sox have made so far this off-season have been good ones. After the shit this team pulled last September, they needed to gut the management and try something else (while, granted, Lucchino should have gone out with them). There are a lot of things that sports fans can forgive. Red Sox fans forgave the team's epic collapses in 1975, 1978, 1986, and 2003. But one of the things that is simply irreconcilable for any sports fan is watching their team quit on the season. And this doesn't forgive the players, who quite frankly still owe us fans an answer, and that answer must come next season. So it's Bobby V.'s job, at very least, to ensure that these beer-guzzling, fried-chicken munching dick-hats either play like professionals or sit their fat-asses on the bench.

Other than that, I expect Bobby V. to be entertaining. I understand that the Red Sox didn't hire Jim Leyland or Tony LaRussa, someone great enough to nearly assure a turn-around next season. Bobby V. is a band-aid who can't really lose while the Sox wait for Farrell's contract to come up in 2013. Bobby V. is not the greatest manager out there, but, goddamn, the guy can eat some pancakes.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fare thee well, douche bag.

If the title of this post is somehow ambiguous to you, let me air my thoughts on Jonathan Papelbon leaving Boston without any trace of equivocation: See you later, asshole, and don't let the door hit you in the ass.

Sure, on paper Papelbon is unparalleled in Red Sox history. He owns the career record for saves. He was the only closer in major league history to reach 35 saves in his first three full seasons. He was lights out in 2007 and, more importantly, he owns a ring. However, I am going to ask any real Sox fan sentimentalizing over his departure and playing your Dropkick Murphy's CD's while crying into your Bud Light one question (and someone is feeling the colon today; no pun intended): Did you ever feel completely comfortable with Papelbon coming out of the pen these past three seasons?

Let's forget his goofy attempts at intimidation with that stupid stare into home plate and be completely honest in our assessments. He was never that scary to hitters. He has one pitch, and if he can't locate the fastball---and as he ages the zip will wear off it like mattress tracks on a whore's back*---he's going to get shelled. Early in his career, Schilling tried to show him the splitter, but it never took. Granted, in closer lore, all you need is fastball. Right. Assuming you're Mariano Fucking Rivera and no one on the planet can hit your cutter. Papelbon is no Mariano Rivera. He's no Trever Hoffman. He's an above average closer who is being overpaid on a Lackey-level.

And, Red Sox fans, don't buy this guy's bullshit. He never planned to come back to Boston. This guy's career path---and, yes, it's a business and you can't fault him for this---has been crystal clear from Day One. He's been playing for the payday, and he got it. He never signed long term with the Red Sox because he wanted to get back on the market when his contract was up. He said as much. So let him choke on his cigars and dance his dumb-ass jigs in Philly. Like most of these guys, he was a mercenary in Boston. Now he's gone. Big deal.

Finally, let's remember Papelbon by his last games in a Boston uniform in both the regular season and the post-season. His last post-season game was against Anaheim in the ALDS where he coughed up three runs, blowing a lead in Fenway, and sending the Red Sox home for the season. His last regular season was in Baltimore last September, where he had two outs and a chance to give the Red Sox a puncher's chance at the post-season. Papelbon gave up three hits, two runs, and again sent the Red Sox packing.

Enjoy it, Philly. In the immortal words of Kenny Powers: you're fucking out, Papelbon.

*How about that simile. Someone has his A-game today.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Getting my Led out

As an adolescent, growing up in Rhode Island in the early-90s, on the local rock station, 94 HJY, each day they had an hour of programming called "Get the Led Out,"devoted to the worship of my rock gods: Led Zeppelin. And each day, I was tickled fucking pink. Mind you, by this point, John Bonham was already a decade dead, and the band's last album, In Through the Out Door was an afterthought (note: I don't count Coda as a real Zeppelin album; it was swag thrown together to honor a contract). As Pearl Jam and Nirvana and grunge began to replace the hair bands of 80s, Zeppelin was already being considered a relic, a staple of your rock diet, but definitely not hip. Jimmy Page was working with David Coverdale of Whitesnake, and Robert Plant had yet to tap the hot indie/folk chick musician market, yet Led Zeppelin was still very much alive in my baked teenage eyes.

As an adolescent, my bedroom was papered with Led Zeppelin posters. When my door was closed, I quietly dreamed of being skinny enough to wear Jimmy Page's jumpsuits with the Oriental snakes and moons and stars and black magic allusions embroidered on the leg. I lusted for Robert Plant's hair---as most women I know, to this day, still do. My wardrobe consisted of torn jeans, flannel shirts, and black Led Zeppelin concert t-shirts, although I did own a couple of Pink Floyd and Guns N' Roses shirts, as well. And I took heed of the advice from Fast Times at Ridgemont High about playing Led Zeppelin when you were alone with your girlfriend. Consequently, I'm sure my high school girlfriends throw knives at their husbands when a Led Zeppelin song plays in the background.

In short, I was all about Led Zeppelin.

I'm now 36 years-old, and I've kicked my unhealthy obsession with Led Zeppelin to cyber-stalk the Red Sox, and, oh, and I have a wife and kids and all that stuff, too. But some days, I just need a taste of my old smack and this morning, when I woke up with a lingering headache, I knew the only way to resolve the problem was to get my fucking Led out.

Earlier today, I asked my close and intimate Facebook friends the question: What Led Zeppelin song would have to be included on the consummate Zep playlist? I limited my list to 15 songs and knew I'd have some tough decisions to make. So I listened to others, drank a lot of beer, and ultimately arrived at the following:

1. "Bron-y-aur" (from Physical Graffiti, not "The Bron-y-aur Stomp" from Led Zeppelin III)
2. "Good Times, Bad Times" (Led Zeppelin I)
3. "Hey, Hey, What Can I Do?" (a B-side of "Immigrant Song" from Led Zeppelin III)
4. "In the Evening" (In Through the Out Door)
5. "Night Flight" (Physical Graffiti)
6. "Nobody's Fault But Mine" (Presence)
7. "The Ocean" (Houses of the Holy)
8. "Out of the Tiles" (Led Zeppelin III)
9. "The Rain Song" (Houses of the Holy)
10. "The Rover" (Physical Graffiti)
11. "Tangerine" (Led Zeppelin II)
12. "Ten Years Gone" (Physical Graffiti)
13. "Thank You" (live version from The BBC Sessions)
14. "Travelling Riverside Blues" (a Robert Johnson cover released as a single)
15. "Whole Lotta Love" (Led Zeppelin II)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In other news...

So I found out yesterday that my short story "Fishbone" was one of five finalists for The Norman Mailer Award, a national creative writing contest for high school English teachers. First prize was a cool $10,000 and a fellowship to The Norman Mailer Writers Colony in Provincetown next summer. I'm getting a trophy.

Always a bridesmaid.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

They dropped so low--in my Regard

The other day, I was reading Emily Dickinson's "It dropped so low---in my Regard" with my high school American literature class, and it occurred to me to make a connection that might help explain the way I interpret her central metaphysical metaphor.

That connection: The 2011 Red Sox were "the Plated Wares" and shame on me for "entertaining" them "Upon my Silver Shelf."

As the Red Sox 2011 season's dirty laundry continues to air, following today's expose by Bob Hohler in The Globe, I could only read it and shake my head as I felt more and more like a ninny. The fact that I came to the defense, week after week, for this group of repugnant prima donnas, narcissists, and hucksters makes me somewhat culpable by proxy. For 36 years, I've cheered for this team with the proverbial blinders on. Sure, this is nothing novel. For example, after leaving the Sox, it was later revealed that Clemens was a world-class asshole, and Manny recently outed himself as wife-beater; and sure, there are always some bad seeds in every batch. The story line for this year's team, however, is that the bad seeds, the Kentucky Fried jerk-offs, were actually the norm in the clubhouse, and the players that respected the game and played the way it is meant to be played---Pedroia and Ellsbury and Aceves---were the aberrations.

Let's start with Lester, Lackey, Wakefield, Buccholz, and King Douche himself, Josh Beckett, appearing in front of the Green Monster in some shit-kicker's country music video for a song titled "Hell Yeah, I Like Beer." Don't get me wrong: I like beer, too, but this video was filmed some time in the spring, setting the tenor for season. Meanwhile, John Lackey's world was going to shit, or so he said to the media after one of his commonplace 10-run/four-inning starts. His wife had breast cancer---so eventually he had to, you know, file for divorce---and at the time, even the biggest cynic had to feel for the guy. Nope. The big lug found a few minutes during his deep, deep malaise to make a music video.

Until the last week, I have been a classic Josh Beckett apologist. I loved the guy. But now, it seems, I was completely wrong about this prick. He was allegedly the ring leader of the beer-drinking, fried chicken eating, video-gamers who took to the clubhouse to partake in the aforementioned activities while his team was fighting for a playoff seed.

And having Jon Lester's name implicated in all this is my first real "say it ain't so, Joe" moment.

Again, I was duped.

In short, I've been yapping on and on for years about the Yankees, but it turns out the biggest assholes in baseball have been my home team all-along. While it's easy to say fuck these overpaid millionaires for throwing their middle fingers at the fans and the region and the game; fuck them and their manager and their general manager, who have since been fired, and don't let the doors hit you on the ass on the way out town; fuck The Crypt-Keeper and rest of the ownership and those Liverpool pole-suckers on Henry's other team; while it's easy to dismiss all this and say they'll get them next year, something irreparable has happened. In a way, I've lost my baseball innocence through this whole ordeal.

And yes, my young students, "I blamed the Fate that flung it---less/Than I denounced Myself" and this thing stings the most. While I can move past the 2011 Red Sox epic collapse---it's in my DNA as a fan---I'm not sure, as a fan, I'll ever get beyond being deceived by this team, watching these guys I so fervently admired "go to pieces on the Stones".

So until next year, folks. I need the long winter to recover from this.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's all about the bricks.

This year, in anticipation of the 100-year anniversary of Fenway Park, the ownership team of the Red Sox started selling bricks. I'm not shitting you. For $250---and that's for the smaller brick---you can purchase a brick with a personal inscription to be placed in Gates C or B at Fenway Park. But that's not all. Oh no. You also receive a replica brick, a custom case to display your brick, a certificate acknowledging your brick, and your very own map so you can point out your brick to your friends on your next visit to Fenway Park. Chances are if you can afford $250 for a fucking brick, you can also afford Red Sox tickets where you get to watch other filthy rich men underachieve to the tune of $2 million a game and, rest-assured, your brick money is helping to pay their salaries.

You see, the brick is an apt metaphor for 2011 Red Sox season---ridiculously-expensive, inert, and ultimately useless, unless all of your replica bricks can come together to make a wall.

The brick is the perfect symbol of The Pink Hat fans who have been "selling out" Fenway every night for the past eight summers, where they sing "Sweet Caroline," start a wave, and leave in the top of ninth to beat the traffic out of Boston. These so-called "fans" have no real interest in the game of baseball and could care less if the team wins or loses. My hope only is they'll stop coming to games after this season's debacle, and I'll be able to afford to take my son to Fenway like my own dad took me.

For the past month, The Red Sox also played with the emotional torque of bricks, and in the end, it was impossible to light them on fire.

And the last game on the season was definitely a brick to the nose. In fact, it almost felt like old times, and I found a trace hint of nostalgia in my anger and dejection last night.

If I had $250 to blow on a brick, I might be tempted to buy one and really personalize my inscription:

Dear 2011 Red Sox,
Go shit a brick. You suck.
The Asshole Who Bought a Brick

All in all, you were all just bricks in the wall.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A dubious distinction

There's an afternoon game today on Fox, which translates to: don't make plans before 9 p.m. And there's the pleasure of listening to Joe "Fuck" Buck and Tim "Windbag" McCarver audio-blow the Yankees. There's a double-header tomorrow in the Bronx where the Yankees could do what I once dreamed the Red Sox would have the opportunity to do, which is play the role of the sniper. Then there's three in Camden Yards where the suddenly mighty O's can take the final dump on their corpses.

Yeah, it's been a great season for Red Sox fans.

In the end, The Red Sox will probably worm their way into the post-season, and God help me if they have the nerve to celebrate in their locker room if they clinch. There should not be a single bottle of champagne, a single can of Bud Light or Papelbon sucking on a stupid cigar and dancing like a jackass. If they make it to the post-season, they should simply thank the fates for aligning, take Ambien, and get a good night's rest so their sore backs and stiff necks don't keep them out of playoff games.

It's supposed to rain most of the weekend in New York City, and it's going to be unseasonably warm in Baltimore. If you clinch, the Pink Hats will be there on Yawkey Way to cheer you when you come home. They'll sing "Sweet Caroline" in their authentic David Ortiz jerseys outside your bus. They'll chant for J.D. Drew. They'll pay $200 a seat to watch you get smoked in the playoffs. Don't expect the real fans to be there, boys. You'll still have a lot of explaining to do.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hell freezes over.

I never thought this day would come. It once seemed unfathomable, blasphemous to say what I'm about to say. If you listen to sports talk radio, however, you've been hearing this from the die-hards all day; meanwhile, the Pink Hats have been loosening their vocal cords to assure they really belt out "Sweet Caroline" in the 8th inning tonight. Here it is:

I hope the Red Sox lose.

There. I said it. I hope Tampa hands this bunch of overpaid, underachieving whining Delilahs their asses in the final three games of this series, takes possession of The Wild Card and sends these apathetic douche bags home to play golf in October.

In my lifetime, I'd be hard-pressed to recall a more contemptuous Red Sox team than the one that will take the field in a couple of hours. Minus a couple of hot streaks, the 2011 Red Sox have played without passion, without fire, without personality, and without the will to win. They weren't prepared to play in April, and they're playing their fiddles as Fenway burns around them now. It's as if the entire team has morphed into clones of JD Drew, collecting their paychecks and caring less. This ball club's nonchalance has made them a veritable snore to watch and easy to hate. And, in my opinion, the king's share of this epidemic apathy falls on the shoulders of the manager.

Tito Francona has sat in that dugout spitting seeds and shrugging while his team has swirled down the shitter. Tito makes excuses for his players under-performing. Then Tito shrugs. Tito tells the press that Bard looked good after blowing the second of what would be three straight blown saves. Then Tito shrugs. Tito stands by idly as his superstars bench themselves because they slept wrong on a plane ride. Then Tito shrugs. But the one Tito can say is that all his players love him. He's a great fucking guy. Guess what, Tito? They loved Grady Little, too.

As Tito shrugs and spits and shrugs, Joe Maddon wins with a quarter of the salaries.

Right now, Tampa is playing for their lives, and honestly, it's refreshing to see a team who cares out there on the field. That team, regardless of their jerseys, deserves to win. Maybe the Red Sox will come out of the dugout and sing along to Neil Diamond with the dipshits at the ball game tonight as Tampa hands them their jocks for the sixth straight game. I say, "Good!"

I used to say it'd be a cold day in hell until I'd root for a team against the Red Sox, and mind you, I'll still never root for the Yankees. But, sadly, the day has come, and a small part of me just died.

The cliche says that "money can't buy happiness." In the case of real Red Sox fans, nothing has ever been truer.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Top 10 Hurricane Songs for Douches

While the Red Sox rolled over Texas these past three nights, swinging perhaps the hottest bats of the season, and Wakefield is going for his 200th win in Fenway tonight against an Oakland team that gave up 22 runs (that's not a typo) against the loathsome Spank-jobs yesterday, all this good baseball news is being railroaded by this god-forsaken hurricane business.

As the fear-mongers in the media are already busy beating their drums, telling people to strap themselves to their beds like the girl in The Exorcist and buy out the stocks of bottled water at BJ's wholesale store---seeing my emotional age is roughly 14, I couldn't resist the BJ's reference---you're also starting to see Facebook users posting links to songs that reference hurricanes and storms. Please, folks, resist the urge. By posting any of the following ten songs, you are stamping your own "I'm a douche" certificate.

I posted this earlier today on Facebook and need to credit the people who came up with some of these titles. So without further adieu, here are The Top 10 Hurricane Songs that will assure you're a douche if you play or post them anytime in the next three days.

10. "Come Monday" by Jimmy Buffett. Given the timeline of the storm, and Buffett's ties to all things nautical, you're not only a douche, but an ass-hat for this one.

9. "Riders in the Storm" by The Doors. Jim Morrison gets my vote for one of the biggest DB's in rock and roll history, and if you think you're creating a storm-worthy ambiance with that cryptic little keyboard riff in the beginning, you're beyond my help.

8. "Against the Wind" by Bob Seger. Listen, Forrest Gump owns that song, so unless you're Forrest Gump or Bubba the shrimp guy, please, don't do it. (Diane Morin)

7. "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" or "Who'll Stop the Rain" by CCR. The answers to these questions are, respectively, "Yes" and "I have no clue." Listen, we're all well-aware that it's raining. It's a fucking hurricane!

6. "Come on Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners (changing "Eileen" or "Irene"). This is so douchey, I'm apprehensive to even address it. Listen, if my name was Eileen and you decided to interchangeably call me Irene, I'd fart on your head. (Dave Pichette)

5. "Storm Front" by Billy Joel. Shame on you if you're familiar with this crappy song. Shame on me for being familiar with this crappy song, which was the crappy title track to a crappy album I once owned. Uh-oh, I think I just douched myself.

4. "The Rain Song" or "Fool in the Rain" by Led Zeppelin. If you have to use a hurricane as an excuse to get your "led" out, you're a douche. Non-douches will rock out to Led Zeppelin anytime, anywhere.

3. "Hurricane" by Bob Dylan. If you're posting this song as a witty musical retort to Mother Nature, you clearly never listened to any of the lyrics, and there are about 36,000 words in this beast, and it's not about the weather.

2. "Like a Hurricane" by Neil Young. Whether it's the rock-your-balls-off electric version or the sweet unplugged version Neil plays on the pipe organ, you're cheapening the song by tethering it to weather. Granted, it's not Neil's best simile, but this song kicks ass, so don't ruin it by being a douche.

1. "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by The Scorpions. Seriously, isn't this one pretty self-explanatory?

Does anyone else have songs that I might be missing? Post them in the comments section.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sports Talk Radio

My wife got in my car the other day, and as we were pulling out of the driveway, she made a face like she had picked up the scent of something decomposing. "What are you listening to?"

"The Sports Hub," I said. "It's a Boston sports talk radio. You know, they talk about the Red Sox and the Bruins and The Patriots and The Celtics."

"They talk about it all day?"


"Don't they ever run out of things to talk about?"

"No," I said, gripping the wheel out of shear frustration that this line of questioning was making it impossible for me to hear what Mazz was saying about John Lackey, the Red Sox starting pitcher that night. "Sports talk radio is a soap opera for males. The story lines are endless."

"I can't believe they talk about sports all day."

"They do," I said and turned up the volume.

My transition into a full-fledged sports talk radio listener has occurred, slowly, over the last year or two. Around five years ago, I dumped listening to music on the morning commute to work in favor of NPR, a move that made me feel old at the time. But now, as a loyal listener of 98. 5 The Sports Hub, I think I can officially include myself in the venerable subclass of Middle-aged Married Man (MMM).

There's no way around it.

Being a MMM isn't as bad as it sounds. Essentially, most men hit an age---circa 35 years-old---where we give up on the whole idea of looking or seeming cool. Blasting music in our cars seems more like a sad attempt at holding on to our younger, wilder selves than a genuine expression of our innate need to rock, so we ditch the tunes, and instead of listening to electric guitar rip through our brains, we want to hear other MMM's with lives more pathetic than our own call into these programs. If you've never listened to sports talk radio, it's worth spending half an hour just hear the one guy---and every show has one---who calls in from his parents' basement, working himself into an apoplectic fit about whether or not the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry is bigger than the Bruins/Canadians rivalry in New England. While most of this manifests from the fact that said caller is 42 and has never touched a bra, it's still great theater.

Now, while not all MMM's like sports, most like talk radio. If you're an MMM and an intellectual, you might choose NPR for your commute, or if you happen to have an extra chromosome, you might listen to conservative talk radio. But a good number of us choose sports. Why? For the very same reason we follow sports teams: It's a diversion from our every day lives, which---let's face it---are no longer filled with parties, wild bars, and different women each weekend.

That is, of course, until we hit our mid-life crisis, somewhere in the vicinity of 45-50 years-old. Then we buy convertibles, drive around blasting Jay-Z, and date girls half our age who likes us only because we pay for everything.

"Are you ever going to call into one of these shows?" My wife asked.

"Maybe," I said, dreaming of a witty comment that would earn me the respect of the talk show hosts Felger and Mazz, or even Toucher and Rich. "Maybe, I will. Maybe someday I will."

We have Nate from Manchester on the line. How's it going, Nate?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Totally distraught

Being kicked in the nuts with a steel-toed boot. Passing urine that burns with the intensity of hell-fire. Stubbing a toe. Accidentally crapping your pants on a first date.

All of this is preferable to watching the Red Sox lose to the Spank-boys.

Make no bones about it, Sox fans, last night's 3-2 loss, with Lester on the hill in Friendly Fenway, was nothing short of catastrophic for a team that has been routinely splitting series with sub-.500 teams for the last two weeks.

Am I overreacting? Of course. Barring some unforeseen atrocity, The Red Sox will make the playoffs, either as the AL East champions or more likely wearing their most comfortable underpants as the wildcard team. I'm fairly confident of this. But the fact that I'm so distraught over last night's loss speaks to my larger point.

There is nothing, nothing worse for Red Sox fans than watching the Yankees beat the Red Sox. My unfettered rancor for the ass-clowns in pinstripes could possibly be the most fervent feeling I possess as a person on this earth, and seeing the Yankees---and by proxy, their fans---experience any kind of joy makes me puke in my mouth. I can't stand seeing a Yankee smile. In my ideal world, every player donning a New York uniform would wear the countenance of eternal suffering, like the inhabitants of Dante's Hell (see above).

Am I overreacting, again? Of course. But this the Red Sox/Yankees, in August, in the middle of a pennant race, no less, and things aren't looking so good right now. With the Dough Boy throwing for the Spanks today and our special $16 million dollars worth of below-average, our (excuse me while I gag thinking about Lackey) "big game pitcher" going for the Sox, I'd say things are looking downright awful.

Having a tooth rot in your mouth. Blowing your nose and discovering viscous blood. Being caught masturbating. Running out of beer.

Yes. It's all preferable to losing to the Yankees.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trading deadline ephemera

And here we go.
  • Reportedly, a former Orioles executive said before the trade for Erik Bedard that all signs point to the fact that Bedard didn't want to be traded and he's unreliable health-wise. He wasn't a big-market pitcher. Then Bedard went out on Friday night, coming off the DL, and pitched for an inning two-thirds, getting shellacked, and pulled from the game. All signs point toward bad move. Is it me, or does this have train wreck written all over it.
  • As I posted on my Facebook page, my six year-old son told me the other day that "a burp is just a fart in your mouth." The more I think about it, the more I think he's right.
  • Last night, Philip Humber pitched for Chicago, and I giggled throughout his entire outing, thinking about what a tough time high school would've been for him. Do you still wonder where my son gets it from?
  • All of the bands that I listen to, everyone has heard of. Just saying.
  • It's occurred to me---and the numbers prove it---that no one really reads this blog. Does that make me delusional for continuing to write blog entries? What's next? Will I declare myself King of Nate-Land and march down the street carrying a scepter and a six-pack? Oh, the possibilities.
  • I think "Laser Show" is fairly accurate description of what Pedroia does when he catches fire at the plate.
  • Republicans and Democrats, I'm tired of all of them. This video, albeit from England, does a nice job describing the world's economic problems in terms even morons like me can understand.
  • If I owned a horse, I'd name it Lester.
  • This version of my friend Dan Cray's song "More Than Booze" is gorgeous. Wait, have you ever heard of him?
  • At the trading deadline, The Red Sox have the second best record in baseball, the best in the AL. It seems this team is for real. I'm a happy panda.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

OchoCinco es bueno

As the trade deadline looms, and The Sox are sniffing around for a starting pitcher, seeing The Ugliest Dude Alive with the Hottest Wife, a.k.a. Clay Buchholz, might not return until 2015 due to a sore back, I'm going to reserve my comments until tomorrow after 4 p.m. Let's just say this: I'm cool with Derek Lowe coming back, and so are the Boston bar owners.

This week, however, the Patriots have usurped the headlines with a couple of outrageous acquisitions. Make no mistake, I don't think anyone with half a brain will question the talent of Albert Haynesworth and Chad OchoCinco: it's the personalities that raise questions.

Flat-out, Haynesworth is a uber-douche. His checkered history as a sidelines headcase, a selfish teammate, and a Big Ben-esque misogynist make me wonder how he's going to translate in Hoodie-World. Oh, and he goes on trial Aug. 23 for sexual assault and faces a possible 180 days in the clink. But he only allegedly fondled a waitress. He didn't carry a gun or organize dog fights. I'm sure he won't see any time.

Then there's Chad OchoCinco, and I have to say I LOVE THIS GUY! From the Sharpie on, I've always liked him. When HBO filmed the documentary of Cincinnati's training camp for Hard Knocks a couple of years ago, I watched it simply to see Chad OchoCinco (Johnson, dancing machine). He's a character, and being someone who fiddles with fiction, I like characters. In the same way I liked watching Manny until he completely bailed on the team; in the same way I loved hearing Pedro in interviews; in the same way I found myself glued to Marchand and Seguin's epic partying after winning the Cup, I'm sucker for the off-field story line. My wife calls them "male soap operas," and I think it's an accurate term.

I honestly can't wait to read OchoCinco's tweets this season. I love this stuff. I'm not a stats guy, and I'm not even going to touch the Moss vs. OchoCinco debate, which will inevitably arise when you have similar eccentric receivers, but this acquisition has suddenly made the fall---and the end of my summer vacation---a little more palatable.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Foul balls

Is it me, or has a butt-ton of attention been paid to foul balls lately? In fact, the foul ball seems to be the story trumping the ones that are actually hit in play. Now, let me get all Socratic on your asses. Is this a reflection of the slow pace of baseball and our society's collective short attention spams? Or is this a bastardization of reality television, where the stars are the audience?

I'll pause while you ponder.


To begin, I'd be remiss and irreverent---irreverent even by this blog's standards---if I didn't at least mention the tragedy in Texas [note: I didn't link the video, just the article]. However, as the father of a six year-old son, a son who is already inheriting my love of the game, I find it difficult to think about this, forget writing about it.

On a much, much lighter note, perhaps my favorite foul ball clip of the season, so far, is this one. This guy, who most likely has never even kissed a woman, not only steals the foul ball from a female fan, he launches himself two rows to get it. Listen, buddy, I'm certainly no Casanova, but if you're looking to get laid, you need to work on your game.

The most bizarre clip of the season comes from a Sox game. Watch this. The ball lands in this guy's beer! Now, at Fenway Park, with beers costing $8 a pop, would I rather have a souvenir or my beer? Give me the beer. As far as I know, you can't get a buzz off baseballs.

And I know I posted this last season, and it became a media spectacle, but this foul ball still takes home the trophy for the most amusing clip. This guy sucks, plain and simple. While granted I'm not a certified relationship counselor, ladies, if the guy you're dating (or married to) won't cover you from a foul ball at baseball game, there are fundamental problems that likely will never be resolved. Get out. Now.

That'll be $500. You're welcome.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Red Sox Report Card: Part II (Offense)

A few minutes ago, I grew misty-eyed watching a highlight reel from the first half of the Red Sox 2011 season on NESN. As a fan, I recalled all the hours I've spent, the beers I've knocked back, the f-bombs I've detonated over the first half of the season and, well, I got choked up. Of course, and this is great thing about being a Red Sox fan, it is always one losing streak away from planting my foot through the television screen.

The Catchers.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: B-. Again, I realize I devoted an entire post to "The Salty Sack of Suck" and obsessed over the fact that he married his high school gym teacher, but he really hasn't been too bad. The bat has come around a bit, and defensively, he's competent. Victor Martinez, he is not; however, he's batting .251 and, for a catcher, you'll take it.

Jason Varitek: C+. Oh, Captain, my Captain. If I could grade intangibles, he'd be off the charts, but Varitek is getting old (sadly, he around my age) and he doesn't have the bat speed he once had. But I still love the guy.

The Infield.

Adrian Gonzalez: A+. I was telling my father the other day that Adrian Gonzalez may be the best all-around ballplayer I can remember playing for the Red Sox in my lifetime. He is my man-crush, our Savior, simply brilliant. In fact, I'm going to stop writing about him and dedicate a song instead.

Dustin Pedroia: B+. Pedroia started slow, but he was so pissed at himself for not making the All-Star team that he's come back with his patterned "laser shows" lately. I love his grit, his post-game interviews, and his awkwardness in Sullivan Tire commercials.

Marco Scutaro: C. I feel about Scutaro the same way I feel about lettuce: not much. However, seeing Jed Lowrie hurts himself each time he takes a shit, and Jose Iglesias isn't quite there yet, it's Scutaro for now. Bleh.

Kevin Youkilis: B+. Is this man arguably the biggest whiner in professional sports (in the running with the creepy Sedin twins)? Yes. Am I glad he's on the Red Sox? Affirmative. Now, since a gynecological injury kept Gay-Rod out, Youk is going to the All-Star game. Nice.

The Outfield.

Carl Crawford: C. He's overpaid. Everyone knows this. And he's been hurt for the last month. While I'd be remiss to not acknowledge his knack for the walk-off so far, unlike Gonzalez (I swoon mentioning his name), this is not the package that was promised.

Jacoby Ellsbury: A. After last year's debacle, where I told my wife she couldn't wear her Ellsbury t-shirt anymore, he's come back and sent a resounding message to doubters like me. However, don't be shocked to see his name thrown around at the trading deadline.

JD Drew: F. Mr. Blutarsky...

Josh Reddick: A. Here is a glimpse at the future rightfielder, and there was much rejoicing. The kid can play. So far, he's batting a cool .414 in the big leagues. I just wish he'd get rid of the douche bag chin-strap beard.

The Designated Hitter.

David Ortiz: A. People will say to me, "Papi is back on the juice." And I'll say, "So what." He's putting up incredible numbers and is, once again, a formidable force from the left side of the plate. In other words, he's Big Papi, again.

The Best Thing to Happen This Season.

Here. The dude grabs his girlfriend's boob on television. Mad props for this play, but Remy and Orsillo's responses are even better.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Red Sox Report Card: Part I (pitching)

I'm a teacher and, as part of my job, I have to assign grades based on my assessment of performance. With the All-Star Break looming, this seems an opportune time to assess the 2011 Red Sox because, you know, what I think really fucking matters.

With tonight's game against the Orioles two and half hours away (and I'm still slightly in love Buck Showalter's countenance after last night's back-to-back-to-back home runs because the douche ran his mouth in a Men's Journal article in the off-season), here's an assessment of the Red Sox pitching staff, based on...well, nothing. I'll handle the offense tomorrow.

The Starters.

Jon Lester: B. Lester was my man-crush last year before I was swooned away by Adrian Gonzalez. And while Lester has been his bullish "fuck cancer" self at times this year, he's also been somewhat inconsistent. Before the season, I tried to make the case for Lester as the best left-hander in baseball, but after watching Cliff Lee put on his clinic against the Sox last week, I can't begin to make the argument anymore.

Josh Beckett: A. Not only does Beckett look a little like me, plus six inches (height, assholes), he has been the Sox veritable ace so far. I saw Beckett pitch against CC Dough-boy and Spank-jobs on Sunday Night Baseball at Fenway in April. Amazing. I fell in love again that night, and he's hardly disappointed since.

Clay Buchholz: C+. The only reason I'm giving Buchholz such a high grade is because he's so goddamn ugly, and his wife is so goddamn hot. You have to give points for that. Otherwise, aside from his injuries, he has yet to show a glimpse of the pitcher he was last season.

Dice-K: F (as in "fuck you" and your apocryphal gyro-ball and your huge contract and your ostracizing yourself from the team and your sad mediocrity in American baseball)

John Lackey: F. Mr. Blutarsky zero-point-zero.

Tim Wakefield: B. Wakefield, who started the season as a 45 year-old mop up man, has once again come through for the Red Sox in a pinch. If you're a baseball fan and you don't like Tim Wakefield, most likely you're a flaming asshole-ish dickhole.

Andrew Miller: B-. This kid was drafted by Detroit with his cock swinging in the wind about five years ago. Then the Tigers rushed him into the big leagues, which fucked with his head, and he became a long-shot for the Sox. So far, however, he's done all right. Maybe, dude. Maybe.

The Bullpen.

Bobby Jenks: D-. He was supposed to be a contender, albeit a fat contender. Between injuries and sub par outings, he's been a Glass Jaw Joe for Mike Tyson's Punch Out, plus 250 lbs.

Matt Albers: B. Who? What? He's been all right.

Dan Wheeler: D. I was rooting for this guy because he's from Rhode Island---in the same way I root for Ferrally Brothers' movies and the band Deer Tick. He grew up in Warwick, the town next to mine. But, so far, when he hasn't been injured, he's been a liability. Dude, come on, do it for Little Rhody.

Daniel Bard: A-. I'll admit, I wrote Bard off with the rest of Red Sox 2011 roster after the first two weeks of the season. I thought he was a guy who could only throw a fastball, and hitters had figured him out. I was wrong. He's developed his change-up and has been one of the best set-up guys in baseball.

Jonathan Papelbon: B+. Contract year, and he's making his case as a career closer. However, I still never feel completely comfortable when he comes in with a lead less than two runs. Why is this? Oh, because he's blown a ton of saves the past three seasons, thus earning the nickname Papelblown. Clever, huh?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th of July, America, F--- Yeah!

Okay, so maybe this is a little bit dick-ish to post on the country's birthday, but if you can't laugh at this satire (you really should see the move Team America, if you haven't), I'd venture to guess you're not someone who spends a ton of time on this blog anyway. You might also believe that I care as much about baseball as my blogging persona does, which would bump me right toward to the top of the list of recipients needing "life" donors.

A couple of literary short shout-outs then I'll let you return to your steaks (fuck yeah!) and beer (fuck yeah!) and fireworks (fuck yeah!) and potato salad (fuck yeah!). I recently had a short story titled "The Wild Men" in the Spring 2011 Issue of The Hawaii Review, and I have a poem titled "The Teenage Couple Who Has Sex in the Slasher Flick" in the 2011 Issue of The Meadow, edited by my good friend Lindsay Wilson (fuck yeah!).

We'll get back to baseball, including my All-Break Report Card next week. In the meantime, fuck yeah!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Whiny bitches

There are a few simple rules in life that I try to adhere to in order to maintain some vague trace of sanity. Here they are:

1. Don't bet on the Red Sox.
2. Don't date a woman who can beat you at arm wrestling.
3. Don't drink before noon.

Simple, right? However, when Tito FranCOMA is batting Darnell McDonald second against a team that might be the best in the majors, with an offense that has managed one run in the last 18 innings in the Cheese Steak Mecca, Rule #3 gets thrown out the window.

For years now on this blog, I've been preaching what seems to be common knowledge: the NL is an inferior league. And Sox usually, to use the parlance of Sir Dustin Pedroia, "rake" in these inter-league games, and going into the inter-league games this season, The Red Sox were the most formidable team in baseball.

And then the whining started.

Fine. I can deal with a slump (not really), but what has been the most difficult thing to stomach has been watching my team morph into a bunch of whining bitches on par with any of Bravo's Real Housewives. It started a week before they went on the road with this whole overblown issue of how they were going to get Papi into the line-up. Tito started getting his panties in a bunch over whether or not Adrian Gonzalez should play right field, and it becomes a regional crisis---far more significant than, say, global warming---in the Boston media. God fucking forbid the Red Sox have to play nine games without a DH. Oh, woe is me! Youk starts calling on Bud Selig to re-examine the injustice. The bitching and whining in the clubhouse hits a fevered pitch.

Are you serious? So instead of going into Pittsburgh and kicking the snot out of the Pirates, they bitch and whine and pout and drop two out of three games. Now, they're hours away from being swept in Philly while that dumb-ass green-thing mascot with the stupid dick-like snout dry-humps the top of the dugout. Nice.

Ultimately, you can gauge the character of team by how they behave when they're losing. Yes, the Red Sox had one of the most impressive paper-clubs (behind Philly) going into the season, but watching these cry-babies for the last three weeks has made me sick to my stomach. Not to sound like a beer commercial---although I'm going to sound like a beer commercial---but man-up, bitches, and win some goddamn games.

Either that, or set your date to go shoe-shopping with Tamara amd Gretchen. One or the other, please. You look ridiculous.

[Edit: I realize how sexist this post is, but sometimes, when you're a man who thrives on sports-talk radio, the urge to swing your cock becomes irresistible.]

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A great game

Last night, I had the privilege of watching a baseball game played to near-perfection. The final score was 1-0. One of the pitchers took a no-no into the sixth inning before having it broken up on a wall-ball double that ended up scoring the only run of the game. There were no errors, only a past ball, and there was sacrifice bunting, small ball, and a couple of web gems. In the ninth inning, the tying and go-ahead runs were on with the closer in. The game was played in a little under two and half hours because the batters weren't stepping of the box every ten seconds to dick with their batting gloves, and the pitchers weren't knitting sweaters between each pitch.

In short, it was a dream game to watch, and I didn't have pay $200 for tickets and another $40 for parking, and $8 for a "bend me over" Bud Light like I would have at Fenway Park. Instead, my wife and I took our son to a New Hampshire Fisher Cats AA game against the Altoona Curve---and, yes, I admit, I had to look up where the hell Altoona was located (it's in Pennsylvania, in case you're curious)---and for $30 we bought seats a row behind the third base dugout, where we could almost see the seams spinning on the pitches.

And when we got home---no traffic coming out of the game---The Red Sox were still playing the pathetic Padres, and it was still in the sixth inning. The games, by the way, started at roughly the same time. The Red Sox lost, which was completely unacceptable, but, all in all, I had a good baseball night.

Listen, despite my posturing on this blog as an obnoxious Red Sox fan, I am, first and foremost, a fan of the game. Unlike most of the Pink Hats in the box seats posing as the "Fenway Faithful" in their brand new Bruins t-shirts, I stay off my cell phone when I'm watching live baseball and actually watch the game. While I realize I'm at risk of sounding sanctimonious here, I find very few things in life as satisfying as being in the stands for a well-played baseball game. For me, it's right up there with an ice cold beer on a hot summer day, an afternoon nap, and the moment I experience when something I've been writing clicks and comes together.

While the Red Sox start and three minutes, and I have every plan of parking my ass on the couch to assure they don't lose a series to fucking San Diego before going on a nine game NL road trip, it's reassuring to know that instead of taking out a second mortgage to bring my family to Fenway, any time I have a hankering for live baseball, I can drive five-minutes and catch The Fisher Cats.

As someone perpetually on the slow end of the learning curve, I've finally discovered this little AA gem that the middle-class baseball fan in New England can enjoy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Open Letter to the 2011 Red Sox


On the eve of your ninth straight win, a veritable carpet-bombing of the lowly Blue Jays, after sweeping the paltry Oakland batch and the Spankees with ritualistic precision, I come to you contrite. I come to you begging for forgiveness. My sarcasm in earlier posts, when calling you "The Greatest Team in the History of Professional Sports," was both stupid and unjust, as you're making a case for the aforementioned title as I type. Clearly, I have no intuitive sense of irony. I am a dumb, dumb man and my abject attempts at humor were fatuous and vapid.

You see, gentlemen, when you started the season with a miserable 0-6 record, I was at the head of the lynch mob, my torch afire and screaming until my own miserable lungs were exhausted. In fact, the pre-2004 Nate Graziano was quietly enjoying the masochism, enjoying the stage where I could spew my tired Gen. X sarcasm.

Again, I was wrong.

Adrian Gonzalez: You were the best kept secret in baseball, tucked away in San Diego with your bat on your shoulder---waiting, waiting, waiting to woo us in a big market. You have been everything that was advertised, and seeing gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, I'd be happy to be bride, as long as we don't have to consummate the union. I don't swing that way.

Papi: I am so, so happy you're back on the juice. What a difference! You're smiling in the clubhouse, making the Yankees look like bitches; in short, you're your old self! Great to have you back!

Josh Beckett: for the past couple of years, I've been slightly surly when people would approach me and say I look like you. Now I'm considering shaving so we can have identical facial hair. You rule, Josh, my brother!

Jon Lester: Money.

Jacoby Ellsbury: I'm am truly sorry about all of my "Lady" Ellsbury cracks last season. I now believe your ribs were legitimately bothering you, preventing you from being the A-list lead-off man you've been so far this glorious year. Admittedly, I had no way of gauging your pain, and my irreverence is unforgivable. I'm a douche. I suck.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: I apologize for the whole "Salty Sack of Suck" stuff with the South Park clip.You've proven me wrong, and it is me, sir, not you, who is the "salty sack of suck."

Theo Epstein: God, it must feel good NOT to be Brian Cashman right now.

John Henry: You're creepy.

Please, gentlemen, accept my humble apology. Thank you for sweeping three straight series; thank you for putting Yankee fans back on their heels, forcing them to bring up their "27 rings," which is the only thing Yankee fans can say when they've been blatantly out-dueled; and thank you for being so fucking good.

With love and admiration,

Nate Graziano
"A Salty Sack of Baseball Blogging Suck"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Let's Go Bruins!

This is very cool if you haven't seen it yet. An impromptu "Let's go Bruins" chant breaks out at a Phish concert of all places. Damn, even the hippies hate the Canucks, and hippies love everyone.

And while we've been blinded by the Bruins' recent ass-kicking of a team that almost makes The Spankboys seem likeable, The Sox have coolly taken four in a row from the Yankees in their [edit: somewhat] new whiffle-ball field.

Go Sox and Bruins!

[edit: Okay, I realize they've been playing in the "new" stadium for four years, but for guys like me, who used to watch Dimaggio and Mantle in the old Yankee Stadium, it is still relatively new.]

Monday, June 6, 2011

Go Bruins

There's only one place to turn when you're facing defeat at the hands of a better opponent with a seemingly insurmountable task ahead of you. That place resides inside the 90-minute Cold War propaganda film that has prompted many, many unfit American men (present company included) to try and lift their bodies at 45-degree angles while lying flat on a table.

Yes, the Boston Bruins are in an unenviable position, not only battling a fearsome opponent, but an entire country. Critics are saying, "Vancouver is too strong. The Bruins can't win."

Sound familiar?

So in the stupidly patriotic American-tradition, The Bruins need to whoop these chumps, Rocky-style, and teach the damn Canadians that no amount of donuts and Molson beer and untouched natural resources can compare to America's vast reserves of heart, soul,, guns.

Go Bruins.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Am I a Pink Hat?

To anyone who reads this blog, meaning the two of you (counting immediate family), it's common knowledge that I have been one of the harshest critics of the Boston Pink Hats. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, "Pink Hat" was coined following the 2004 Red Sox epic run to their first World Championship in 86 years, which included the abject humiliation of a certain group of smug shits in pinstripes. As the Sox beat the Yankees to advance to the World Series against St. Louis, the bandwagon fans started pouring into Fenway Park in buckets of affluent ass-sludge, wearing their new Red Sox regalia, specifically the female "fans"---who couldn't tell you who Ted Williams was---with their pink Red Sox hats and their bouncy little ponytails popping out the back.

Contempt doesn't come close to describing my opinion of these people who ultimately helped Lebron James and his buddies at The Fenway Sports Group drive ticket prices to an obscenity and coined the loathsome media term "Red Sox Nation."

Now, with the Bruins taking the ice in a couple of hours for their first Stanley Cup final in 21 years and chasing their first championship since 1972, the Pink Hats, or fair-weather fans, are again coming out of the woodworks. And to my own disgust and dismay, I believe I might be one of them.

I have never been a huge a hockey fan pre-playoff season. Seldom do I watch regular season games, but when it matters, I'll root for the home team and I find hockey to be one of the most exciting sports to watch. For example, regardless of whether you're a hockey fan or not, last Friday's Game 7 against the Lightning was one of the finest New England sporting events I've ever seen, up there with "The Bloody Sock" and the 2002 Super Bowl.

Since I've started listening to The Felger and Mazz on The Sports Hub 98.5 on my commutes home from work (I now listen to sports radio, thus I'm solidifying my role as a middle-aged American male), I've become more cognizant of the passionate Bruins fans who have been sitting on their hands while the other New England teams have enjoyed their successes in the past decade. And if I were to be honest with myself and try to empathize with these fans, I would despise the likes of myself, the guy who goes along for the playoff-ride.

Perhaps the old wisdom is correct: we act out against the things we hate most about our selves. Yes, I'll watch all the games in this Stanley Cup series, but if the Bruins topple the Canucks and hoist the Cup, my hat is off those fans who have been through the long, painful and often heart-wrenching trek of the true fan. For these people, more than any one else, I want to see this happen.

Go Bruins!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


There are things that are difficult for any man to say---"I feel (insert any abstraction)" or "You're right, honey, I don't need another beer" or "Okay, Jeter is not really gay."

But, far and beyond, the most difficult thing a man can say is "I was wrong."

You will rightfully note my past posts titled "A Salty Sack of Suck" and "They're Going To Be Fine (Notes From an Asshole)" and "Charlie Says, 'Relax." And it seems like each baseball season I come out spewing optimism, followed by a complete and total rejection of the team where I make cynical and snarky comments (perhaps posting South Park video clips), which ultimately results in contrition, and reverts back to a renewal of my pessimism.

Right now, however, the Red Sox are playing, as advertised: Like the Best Team in the History of Professional Sports. Baseball fans are now seeing what will happen when this line-up, busting at the buttons with potential, will look like running on all cylinders. Crawford is starting to earn his money (relatively); Lady Ellsbury is red hot; Youk is Youk; Pedey is Pedey; and even the aforementioned "Salty Sack of Suck" is starting to make Theo look good. Josh Beckett is back to his "I'm an asshole so try to hit my shit" self. My man-crush Jon Lester is stellar, and even Tim Wakefield---who, if you have a baseball soul, you have to love---has been solid.

The cynic is saying that I'm jinxing the bastards by writing this, but the realist knows that this is a team that is, far and beyond, better than any of their opponents. When sportswriters looked at the 2011 Red Sox on paper, they unanimously agreed that this team has an unfair advantage. When they started the season like late-Bea Arthur doing the pole vault, baseball fans outside of the Hub rejoiced with indignant high-fives, and Sox fans, like myself, resorted to apocalyptic posts and snide scoffs.

So here it is: I was wrong.

The 2011 Red Sox are the real deal, folks. They are the team to beat. And while I wouldn't waste the gas money to see John Lackey pitch at McCoy if I were stranded in Pawtucket;and if Josh Bard doesn't develop a second pitch he's going to continue to throw batting practice at the set-up position; and Dice-K can stay forever in Japan, as far as I'm concerned; this team is clearly very good. The team to beat.

I was wrong.

For the first time in my life, I'm not worrying about the Red Sox. This, of course, could be (to use the cliche) the Kiss of Death, but, for now, I'll save my fretting for the Bruins, trying to win the first Cup in 39 years against a formidable Vancouver team.

And, by the way, Jeter is gay. It was all histrionics. You get the point.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


It's May 22, and I'm alive! Talk about a hangover: imagine waking up the morning after you told everyone the world was going to end, like this Camping douche. Do you even bother getting out of bed? Then again, after the Red Sox and Bruins' apocalyptic chokes yesterday, I didn't particularly feel like showing my face today.

Oh wait. I never leave the house. Problem solved.
  • Adrian Gonzalez came as packaged, and you can make an argument that he's the best player in baseball. I want to put a poster of him in my bedroom, like I did with Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs when I was a kid, but my wife vetoed the idea. She thinks it's "creepy."
  • There an interview with me on Cheek Teeth, the blog for the literary journal Trachodon, where I contributed a poem in Issue #2. Check it out here.
  • "Fuckin' A" might be the most versatile phrase in the English language: You stub your toe ("FUCKin' A!"); you hit a lottery ticket ("fuckIN' A"); your best friend tells you he found his wife in bed with another guy ("aww, fuckin' a, dude"); you find yourself reading this crap ("fuckin'a, what's wrong with me?").
  • Boston Globe sportswriter Dan Shaughnessy compared Claude Julien to Grady Little in his column, and he's spot on. I'm worried about the Bruins. They have "choke" all over them, right now, and the perfect dipshit to watch it go down.
  • Here's a video of my poem "Cracker and Me." I'm now a YouTube presence.
  • Yes, I was one of the first and most vociferous naysayers when it came to The Red Sox pathetic start out of the gate. Yesterday, I was going to admit I was entirely wrong then last night Tito FranCOMA, thumb firmly up ass, watched as his bullpen gave up eight runs to the Cubs in the eighth inning, blowing a two run lead. Where was Bard? Papelbon? Do inter-league games not count anymore?
  • I bet Arnold Schwarzenegger was rooting for The Rapture.
  • Gregg Yeti kicks ass.
  • I'm reading it again with my American Lit. class, and I have to say, The Great Gatsby is the great American novel. The older I get, the less I feel the need to dissect the book and can simply enjoy the story. That's the point of reading, right?
  • Did I mention how impressed I am with Adrian Gonzalez? The other big acquisitions from the last two years---Crawford, Jenks, Lackey, Wheeler, Salty---not so much.
  • There's nothing better than a Sunday afternoon nap. Had the rapture happened, I would've been shit out of luck. The Great Gatsby on the couch on a Sunday afternoon, life, even this sordid den of iniquity we inhabit here on Earth, is sometimes pretty sweet.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

They're going to be fine (notes from an asshole)

Last night, I had the pleasure on sitting next to a Canadians' fan at the local watering hole as we watched the Bruins advance to their first conference final in 19 years. While the poor jilted soul haplessly cheered for the deflated Flyers, cursed Chara (because that's what Montreal fans do: whine and bitch and cry), and snorted in disgust as The Bruins drove the nails into the coffins, I grinned in the self-satisfied way that only an obnoxious New Englander can.

Let me preface this by saying, I'm not a huge hockey fan. As this guy rattled off the underwear sizes of each player on the ice---I'm guessing as a backhand pissing contest to prove me inept in my fandom---the Greatest Team in the History of Modern Civilization, the 2011 Red Sox were getting shellacked for the second day straight, a grand total of 20-2 in two games.

Plot twist: This dope was also a Red Sox fan.

So as The Best Team Since the Coining of the Word "Sport" was getting cock-slapped by the Twins, I couldn't help but bring up the parallels between 2004 Red Sox and the 2011 Bruins---the gritty underdogs, retribution, a post-season run that seems mystically destined.

Snort, snort, stats. "I'm fine with the Red Sox," he said, changing the subject. "I'm sick of people overreacting. They're going to be fine."

Which brings me back to the Red Sox of 2011, as opposed to the Dirt Dogs of '04. Watching this team lately has been like dating a schizophrenic. Every now and then we'll see flashes of the team that was advertised. For example, the eighth inning Tuesday night's game when Gonzalez and Papi went back-to-back after Lester was his usual bull on the mound. But then you look at the standings, and this team is 14-18 in LAST PLACE IN THE AL EAST!

I believe I am justified in saying that I am sick and tired of people telling me to calm down, looking at this team on paper and saying they're "going to be fine." It simply is not acceptable. It's not "fine" how this bunch of overpaid dandies is under-performing. And it comes down to one thing, the essential quality that any team worth their weight in shit possesses: a passion for the game.

This year's Red Sox have no fire on the field. Maybe they need a game where the benches clear, where Veritek feeds A-Rod a fistful of catcher's mitt; maybe they need a manager who will throw the bats at them in the showers, ala Bull Durham; maybe they need to start playing like athletes instead of employees; maybe they need to take a lesson from the Bruins and Tim Thomas and grind it out. Unless something lights a spark under these jerk-asses, I'm going to be sitting at the bar next to a paradoxical Canadians/Red Sox fan spewing stats and telling me the Red Sox are "going to be fine."

The lesson here for Red Sox fans is don’t be a Hab. Because until this team starts playing with a modicum of passion, and until we all start calling them out on it, we’re all complicit in the problem.

And, hey buddy, go Bruins! They're going to be fine.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Charlie says "Relax."

In a season that becomes more and more absurd by the hour, we find out today that Charlie Sheen---yes, Mr. Tiger Blood---said last night in an interview on The Sports Hub that Red Sox fans need to "relax." According to The Warlock, the Sox should start "duh-winning" any day now.

Of course, Charlie Sheen telling people to relax is akin to Tommy Lee telling someone to sober up, and, honestly, with the Red Sox currently sporting the worst record in the MLB, there will no relaxing for this cowboy.

Before I spout off about this overpaid pack of lolly-gaggers, let me start with a positive thing in this young baseball season---for me, at least. On Friday night, I received a Facebook message from my friend Chad, a guy I haven't seen since childhood, offering me "the impossible ticket" for Sunday night's game against the Yankees. Not only did Chad and I get to actualize lifelong dreams of seeing the Red Sox play the Yankees at Fenway, but Beckett threw his best ball since the 2007 post-season. Afterwards, I left Fenway Park elated, and despite a dismal record, I was brimming with optimism about this season's prospects. "I had them all wrong," I said to Chad. "If Beckett pitches like this, the Sox are going to be tough to beat."

Then came Dice-K, a guy who could ruin a vacation to the island of Ogygia with Calypso and her nymphs.

And then came last night's rusty nail on the chalkboard, a 3-2 loss where Lester threw well. Mercifully, tonight's game, with John "Big Game" Lackey taking the hill, has been rained out.

Now I can understand why people would tell us not to hit the panic button after the first week, but now, almost three weeks into the season, The Best Team Ever has THE WORST record in baseball. To overcome the deficit they've already created for themselves, they're going to have to play some near-perfect ball and prey for an internal collapse on par with their own from The Yankees. Tony Massarotti dices the numbers in today's article in The Globe, and it's frightening. I think I'd rather watch Tom Brady dance than a Red Sox game these days.

While it's not impossible to imagine The Sox coming back, it's fair to say no one imagined a train wreck of this magnitude so early in the season, and the odds already seem insurmountable.

So we're supposed to relax, right, Charlie? Suck my Adonis DNA, you douche.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tossing and turning.

I can't sleep. I've seriously worked myself into such a fit about the goddamn Red Sox that every time I close my eyes and try to sleep, I hear Terry Francona's voice: "You have to stop trying so hard. You're forcing things."

Perhaps a small rant will serve the purpose of an Ambien. If not, it's time to take the train to the pharmaceutically-induced slumber station.

I'll start with the obvious: This is bad. This is really bad. Logic tells us that a team with this much talent will eventually start "duh" winning, so the cause for alarm should not be the fact that the Red Sox are "duh" winless in their first six games. That's not getting to the root of the problems this group of overpaid dandies are facing right now. They can make up six games. They can make ten games. A team with this much talent could get hot and tear up the American League like expected, but I have some serious doubts.

For starters, right now, the Sox look like the main characters in an ancient-Greek tale of hubris. They came into the season unprepared, and the fault for this lies largely on the manager and his coaching staff. When is Francona going to stop letting these guys "lolly-gag" (to borrow the term from Bull Durham) during spring training? They lost 10 games in a row during The Grapefruit League, but it seems the team figured they couldn't be beaten when it counted; they were too good. All of my cultural references and world views stem from one of the six Rocky movies, and right now, I keep thinking about Rocky's haphazard training before his first fight with Clubber Lang. And look at the results. Like The Italian Stallion, the Red Sox came into this season unprepared to play. They thought they were too good to lose.

Surprise, dickheads. Now you're 0-6 and going into a series with The Yankees where you're going to have to turn to John "Big Game" Lackey.

Which brings me to my next reason for being so dubious: Their starting pitching isn't nearly as good as its packaging. Yes, Lester is a bull, and he'll go out and almost always give the team a chance to win, and, yes, Buchholz has nasty stuff and he'll be competitive. But Lackey's a lemon, and Beckett is looking more and more like he's washed up (with only four short years left on his fat contract). And Dice-K...the guy is a fucking train wreck. Watching him pitch is physically painful (I get stabbing stomach pains). Without this much-ballyhooed depth in the starting rotation, this team is not only screwed this year, but for years to come---unless they can somehow trade Lackey and Beckett. I hope I'm wrong on this one, but I'm starting to think I'm not.

When this team takes the field for the Opening Day ceremonies tomorrow, they deserve to booed back into the dugout. Imagine if you went to work unprepared to do your job. Would your boss and colleagues cheer for you? Would they say, "Don't worry, it's a long life, and Tommy will be working here for at least another decade. He'll come around"? Would they?

You can bet The Pink Hats will be on their feet tomorrow, cheering and belting out "Sweet Caroline" with $150 dollar box seats, but that's The Pink Hats. There shouldn't be any noise at the ballpark, no celebrations and no cheering. This team is expected to win, and they should start doing their jobs before you cheer them.

But, again, I'm concerned that it's not going to happen.

Good night, Tito. I think I'll go to sleep now.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Salty sack of suck

I know, I know. It's only been three games, and Red Sox fans need to chill the hell out. We're acting like the season is over, like the Greatest Team in the History of Civilized Sports is packing it up and heading for the gold course. I know. It's unreasonable and irrational behavior.

But let me ask you this: when have you ever, ever known a Red Sox fan to behave reasonably and rationally. Sure, the company men at NESN are telling us that all is well in the same breath they plug Creep Henry's Liverpool footsie team, but all is not well. All is far from fucking well.

While there are many facets of The Greatest Team in the History of Civilized Sports' first three games worthy of my ire, I'm going to concentrate on one, mostly due to the fact that this player's name on the line-up card makes zero sense to me. In fact, this player's name wastes about as much space on a line-up card as said player does in the batting box. The player is Jarrod "I Married My Cougar Gym Teacher" Saltalamacchia---nicknamed Salty, as Chocolate Salty Balls (see video above).

Theo Epstein has had a hard-on for Salty for three or four years now and has constantly referred to him as a big "prospect." But at what point---dare I ask---does a prospect who never produces become a bum? By the end of Sunday's game, when Chocolate Salty Balls came to the plate, I was wishing Doug Mirabelli was back. So I went and looked up Salty's statistics, and let's just say, they're sour.

Since his rookie season in 2007 with Atlanta and Texas, where he put up decent numbers, The Salt-lick hasn't played more than 90 games in a season nor batted above .255. Now I realize .250 is respectable for a strong defensive catcher, but seriously?

In the writing world, we don't have this latitude. No one says: "He has a lot of talent, he's just never written anything good" or "He can really write a great sentence, he just can't put them together in a paragraph."

Or how about the ugly kid who everyone keeps saying is going to someday fill out, turn into a beautiful swam, but never does. At what age do you throw it in and admit it's never going to happen?

Right now, the Red Sox have a giant salt sack of suck behind the plate and only our Captain, fallen cold and dead, in the dugout to replace him. After Texas finished their two-step on the faces of The Greatest Team in the History of Civilized Sports last weekend, the Red Sox are now in dire need of a big series in Cleveland, something to wash away the salty taste of the Snowball The Nation's received via Theo.

Should I start on the starting pitching now? It's too early to be this angry.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Play ball

I've long believed that Opening Day for a baseball fan's home team should be observed as a holiday. It takes hours of mental preparation for a true baseball fan to get ready for Opening Day, and due to the copious mental expenditure (as well as the necessary beer consumption), we're simply not fit to work. Whether you're a teacher, a lawyer, a CEO, an executioner or a porn star, your heart is not in your work. Although, admittedly, society will need some doctors, firefighters, police officers and bartenders to take one for the team.

This year I got my wish, and I have Opening Day off. However, in keeping with the ancient wisdom that advises one to be careful what they wish for, Opening Day in Red Sox Nation came with Mother Nature dropping one last Cleveland Steamer on our chests.

As I type, close to six inches of snow has already accumulated outside, and it's still going strong.

This isn't right. As look out the window, I can only shake my head. While I don't expect a lot from the weather (it is New England), it's now snowing in April. Seriously? This isn't baseball weather. This is all wrong. Make this stop. I hate you, winter! I hate you, you evil whore.

One of the many salvations offered by baseball season is supposed to be the symbolic end of winter. If you have never lived in a cold weather climate, you might not understand where I'm coming from, but winters are spiritually and emotionally exhausting. And where I live in New Hampshire, spring is almost non-existent. We go from snow to mud to summer. Therefore, the start of baseball is our spring, our season of rebirth. Instead of flowers budding, we have Youk throwing tantrums, Pedroia growing a comb-over, Buchholz getting uglier, and Drew waiting to be injured.

It's fucking bliss, folks!

Still, with the first pitch under five hours away, I have that kid-on-Christmas giddiness that even the snow can't steal from me. Later this afternoon, in Texas, will officially demarcate what I hope to be a long season of Red Sox dominance.

So I say, snow or not, spring starts today. Play ball, boys, and go Sox!