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!