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!