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!