Goodbye, Hope to See You Soon!

Since last summer, I’ve been blogging here, but some recent changes and activities have made me think it’s time to move on from mlblogs. I mean, if it’s not fun, why do it, right? But I love the format and the chance to do some writing, so I’ve decided to continue it in another atmosphere. Although it’s nowhere near the format I’d like it to be, you can find me from now on at http://redsoxstateofmaine.typepad.com/my_weblog/

Thanks everybody and have a great season!

Question for All

Ok, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the Red Sox (who are winning 3-0 right now, a gift from the Angels), but I just have to ask this. Maybe someone out there can help me. I watch a lot of sports, and as such am continually bombarded by commercials promising men hope to overcome their erectile dysfunction, generally by using the medication Cialis. That’s all fine, but can you tell me-what the h*ll is with the bathtubs in these stupid ads? Bathtubs on the beach, on the mountain top, overlooking a rocky ledge…I just don’t get it. Have clawfoot tubs become a staple of outdoor sex and leisure that has passed me by? Am I missing something great?

Also, just in case you were wondering…don’t expect to see the Blue Stater decked out in any of this **** anytime soon. The Souvenir Store works fine for me, thank you very much.

A Small Tribute to Drew

It’s a quiet day after a rainout, with at least one more rainout likely this Patriots’ Day weekend. According to local forecasts, the Boston Marathon is going to be run in monsoon conditions, threatening as well the Red Sox annual mid-morning start (spring in New England is actually a pretty shoddy affair, but at least it’s not winter). So, while there’s a break in the action, I’d like to take a brief moment to shift the focus. As you all likely know by now, former Pats quarterback Drew Bledsoe announced his retirement this week, ending a 14-year career in which he threw for 44,611 yards and 251 touchdowns, and I, for one, would like to reflect on that a bit, if for no other reason than it makes me feel a bit old. It seems like he was just drafted a couple years ago…

It’s become almost automatic for New England fans to dis Drew Bledsoe. Too stationary. Rattles too easily. Thin-skinned. While it may be the case that Bledsoe never was able to live up to his hype-although he fared far better than the other wunderkid in the draft that year, Notre Dame’s Rick Mirer-all the snide talk has more than a little "what have you done for me lately," bandwagoner quality about it. A real fan, one who sat through every game of those miserable years between 1989-1992 (when the Pats went an overall 14-61 to be the laughingstock of the league) knows that’s an unfair characterization. The young Bledsoe came into the league a model of consistency and accuracy, with a gun for an arm and the ability to thread a football through the eye of a needle when he needed to-his second year with the Pats he led the league in passing attempts, completions, and touchdowns. His best overall year with the Pats came in ’97, with an 87.7 passer rating and went to his third Pro Bowl. It’s also true he didn’t age gracefully, and was never able to modify his game as his physical ability declined. Still, he retires seventh all-time in yards passing, 13th in touchdown passes and fifth in completions. So he must have done something right along the way.

My own personal fondest memory of Bledsoe will always be that 2001 AFC Championship Game against the Steelers. After losing his job to Tom Brady, and riding the bench in what must have been humiliating fashion that season, Bledsoe rose to the occasion and led New England to its’ only offensive touchdown in a 24-17 upset. It was a nice final touch to what we all knew was likely his last game in a Pats’ uniform.

So, good luck, Drew, and thanks for the memories. Hope to see you around the NFL very soon.

Back to the Real World

Ok, Tuesday was fun but apparently that’s over now. Ummm, guys? It’s called  baseball, and in order to get the "base" part into the equation, you have to hit the ball with the bat. I know you know how to do that. Don’t tease me with 14 runs one day and a near no-hitter the next (actually, a no-hitter might have been preferable. Might have really lit a fire under them). Man, there’s just no excuse for being one-hit at Fenway Park, even if Cy Young himself is on the mound…I’m now going to petition the league to see if Jeff Weaver can pitch against the Sox every game from now on.

(In a related observation, the boobirds started coming out in earnest for Coco yesterday…he’d better find a way to turn himself around soon before he permanently alienates a significant portion of the fans, many of whom unfairly blame him for the Sox allowing Damon to walk.)

Oh, well, the nice thing about baseball is that it’s played every day. A bad performance yesterday can be erased by a good one today.

Tim’s on the mound. Given the Sox problems getting him run support, and what he witnessed yesterday, he must be a little trepidous about his chances today.

C’mon, Sox! Pick it up! Get Tim in the "W" column!

Far East History

On the off chance you haven’t heard about it, it’s Clash of the Titans Act I tonight-Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Ichiro Suzuki. No doubt Dice-K is anxious to repeat his first performance vs Ichiro, and Ichiro in turn would just love to knock another "shot heard round the world" (literally-Tokyo is just a little less than 7,000 miles from Fenway Park) off our new pitcher. By all accounts, though, these guys are friendly…until the game starts.

I’ve never travelled to the Far East, and know little about Japanese culture besides I love their cars (I drive a Subaru Legacy, the nicest car I’ve ever owned). So in honor of the historic meeting tonight, I’ve assembled my very own personal Top Ten Greatest Moments in Japanese Sports and Leisure:

10. The original "Shall We Dance?" was released in 1996. I saw it while on vacation in the Cape. Great movie. Far better than the Richard Gere version.

9. Samurai Bakery

8. in 1959, Sadaharu Oh joins the Japanese big leagues and over the course of 22 seasons becomes the world’s all-time home run king, retiring in 1980 with a grand total of 868 big flys.

7. Toyota redesigned the Camry in 1992. Until then, it was a utilitarian vehicle, known more for function than style. After the ’92 makeover, it became the rock star of family sedans.

6. The Hanishin Tigers in 1985 win their first and only Japan Series championship, thus initiating the Curse of Colonel Sanders.

5. George Steinbrenner, ever the picture of decorum, calls Hideki Irabu a "fat p*ssy toad." Stay classy, Boss!

4. Japan wins the World Baseball Classic, Dice-K named MVP, just a harbinger of things to come.

3.  Shizuka Arakawa wins a gold medal in figure skating in the 2006 Torino Olympics. Once every four years I care about figure skating, and she did a fabulous free skate that vaulted her past the two big favorites from the US and Russia. She had the best outfit on that night, too, as I recall. Blue sparkly thing.

2. Pedro Martinez gets Hideki Matsui to line out to right with the bases loaded and 2 out in the 6th inning of Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS, on his final pitch of the night, ending a Yankee threat to the Greatest Comeback in Baseball History.

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his 2007 MLB debut in Kansas City, pitches brilliantly, goes on to win 20 games, ROY, the Cy Young and Game 7 of the World Series. Ok, I made that last bit up but in October I’ll come back to this!

Go Dice-K, Go Sox!

Coming Home

Fenway Opener today. I’d thank the good lord if I believed in one. Going 3-3 on a road trip isn’t really that bad-better than 0-6 for sure. Let’s hope the sight of the Green Monster and the Fenway Faithful sparks some life into these bats! Actually, it will be more like finally getting the keys to your new house for some of them. While Julio Lugo has certainly played his share of games at Fenway, this will be his first time in a home uniform, and believe me when I tell you I think he is more than up to the task of dealing with the raucuous Fenway crowd (after the Renteria debacle that is something you always worry about with new guys!) I’m not sure J.D. Drew-Papi theatrics notwithstanding, Drew’s the only hot bat on the team right now-has ever set foot in Fenway in a game capacity, but I certainly could be wrong. Anyway, it’s different when you’re "with" us instead of "against" us.

So, welcome home, guys. I’ll be sending good vibes to Josh Beckett to mow down the Mariners today, who are probably out of shape after being snowed out the last couple of games in Cleveland…kind of like the Portland Sea Dogs, who after four snow days finally got underway with an 8-6 win at Hadlock on Monday.

Go Sox! Let’s start getting some big hits!

Ms Crabby Me

It’s not a happy day in the great state of Maine.

First, it’s like thirty effin’ degrees here. What the h*ll is that? It’s April!

Secondly, MLB, take note: not one but two steroid abusers left the yard in a big way yesterday-Giambi for the Yanks, and then Sosa in the Sox game last night. Big moments made possible by baseball’s cowardly refusal to take the steroid crisis seriously until Jose Canseco threw it in their faces and made denial no longer an option. Of course, to the fans of the teams these guys play on, nothing else matters as long as they produce…even to Yankee fans who were sending Giambi death threats not that long ago. I guess principle is measured at-bat to at-bat nowadays, eh, guys? Not that that’s any different than it ever has been. Whatever.

Jason Varitek and Coco look awful at the plate so far this year. 

Then they switch today’s game from 2p to 8p, just to accommodate ESPN. That means I’ve got to listen to Morgan tonight. I will for a couple of innings, until I can’t stand it anymore. Then I’ll turn the sound down.

The whole thing p*sses me off.

Oh, and happy Easter to all who celebrate it.

Opener Delayed

Slugger_in_snow_2 For the third straight day, the Portland Sea Dogs, AA affiliate of the Red Sox, were postponed due to snow and wet field conditions. For those of you "from away," we were socked with a spring snowstorm Wednesday and Thursday, blanketing the Portland area in over a foot of snow in some spots. We have to hand it to our grounds crew though-they’ve been out there ’round the clock   shoveling and hauling, and HOPEFULLY the 1742 season opener will be held tomorrow at 1pm. Lest anyone forget, the Sea Dogs are also the reigning Eastern League champs, and the championship ring ceremony will be held right before the game.

Let’s go Sea Dogs! Here’s to another championship caliber season!

(photos lifted from http://www.portlandseadogs.com/)

The Prodigal Son Returns

Andy Pettitte was shaky in his return to the Bronx, allowing six hits and four runs (two of them earned) in 4+ innings before giving way to Scott Proctor, who promptly gave up two more. Of course, Yankee fans are more likely to pin the loss on ARod, who popped up with the bases loaded in the 8th and the score 7-6, and left seven men on base during the game…yikes.

I’ve always liked Andy Pettitte (really, I have), but I think for Yank fans to pin their hopes that he will return to c.2000 form is…well…misguided. He’s older, has some chronic injury problems now, and has probably gotten used to the less challenging demands of the NL, where he posted a career best 2.39 ERA in 2005. Don’t look for that this year, IMO. I said that when I heard they were bringing him back.

As Thomas P. Wolfe noted, you can’t go home again.

And that’s good news for us Sox fans!

Up To Date in Kansas City

First series down, here are my early thoughts…

1. What’s the matter with you people in KC? Only ten thousand of you show up for the major league debut of the next Cy Young? Man, if you had the chance to go today and passed it up, you are going to so regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.

2. I like the new Josh Beckett. He threw a lot of pitches, gave up too many walks for my liking (four in five innings) but he wasn’t trying to blow everybody away and wasn’t afraid to go to something other than a fastball. Same intensity, too.

3. Daisuke Matsuzaka is worth every penny. Great debut.

4. Putting Paps back in the closer role is going to pay dividends, I guarantee it. IMO the biggest difference betwenn the Red Sox and Yankees of the past decade has been Mariano Rivera, and Papelbon is rapidly proving he can close that gap. Nice job today.

5. Coco Crisp got a hit and an RBI today. That’s good, because I was about getting ready to jump off his bandwagon. Keep up the good work, Coco.

6. Who’d’ve thought the guy with the hottest bat after the first series would be…Dustin Pedroia?

7. Will Jason Varitek ever have a good swing again?

8. It seems funny to have a right handed leadoff guy. Yes, I know Coco was a switch hitter last year, so did start off some games right handed, and I know Youk led off a fair amount of games too, but still, it just seems odd. (Am I still hoping to see Johnny Damon leading off, and just in denial about it? Nah…)

9. I’m so far liking what I see from J.D. Drew, but seeing another left handed hitting right fielder wearing #7 still makes me sad (Trot, by the way, is hitting .556 for the Tribe right now).

10. Hope J.C. Romero doesn’t die of exhaustion before Memorial Day!

As the iconic musician Meatloaf once declared, two out of three ain’t bad. Now on to Texas.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.