All aboard. All aboard!
Last month I kept rewriting lyrics to Tom Waits’ song, “Big in Japan.” He sings in his throaty growl, “I got the stripes but not the tie, got the boat but not the lake, got the sizzle but not the steak. I was hearing, “got the pitchers but not the pitching, got the bats but not the balls, got the bodies but not the souls.”
I think it was John Kruk two nights ago who said, “[t]his might be the Red Sox train on the move.” Shutting down the Rays two games in a row, and adding more heat to our bbq’d rays platter, makes me feel like the cruel days of April are long gone. My oh May what a month it has been. How does one player go from a .286 slugging percentage to a .792 in a a month to month comparison? More than resounding is Papi’s answer to his you-can-now-eat-crow critics. One wonders if the passionate blues ballad to Amalie in the Globe’s all you can quote buffet of Papi was exactly what the doctor prescribed. Call it good therapy and let’s all move on, because if we don’t we will miss our train, non-stop to the All-Star break, when our place in the standings will look like the landscape we want to photograph from our chosen window seat. All aboard!
Wait, there are a few pieces of baggage you might need to leave behind on the platform. . .
The first time I saw the Sox play in Citizens Bank Park, in 2006, when it was easier to get tickets there, Josh Beckett hit a home run. Things just seem to go right when we play in Philly.(By the way, my dream World Series is Sox-Phils I asked Santa Claus last December. He never emailed me back.)
This time it couldn’t get any better. Dice K. Youk. Beltre. Wake, plus the happy return of Ells. It was all what we dreamed in the off-season. The questions about Wake’s potential are always relentlessly doubtful, but he is relentless in proving that he could pitch into his late 40’s as did Phil Neikro, knuckleballer of my youth.(I have to reread the New Yorker Article on Wake and the knuckleball,
“Project Knuckleball” by Ben McGrath from May 17, 2004.) Is the knuckleball better in warmer, humid weather? Something we may have learned in the post-Boone era.Ramon I bemoan Ramirez likes to makes us sweat, and I had fears that he would blow it as he did following Wake on July 3, 2009 against Seattle as I watched from a right field box.Professor Benjamin reported today that Sox starters posted a 1.66 ERA in the last turn through the rotation, allowing seven earned runs over 38 innings. Wow. A 1.66 ERA supports the philosophy of Run Preventionism, a movement we have seen in theory, not so much in practice. And there is that beautiful element called luck that gives us magical moments like Dice-K snaring Future Red Sox Star Werth’s liner.
Can it be any better? I ask in my joyful daze. No. Wait. Assign Ramon to Pawtucket.
Beating the Rays would make me dizzy.
Does anyone know if there is any software that blocks out the sound of cowbells?
Painting by Frank Tencza
Guess what? I’ll take it.Yup, I was happy about last night’s game. No, I am not writing this from the inside of a bread truck taking me off to yahoo land. After almost turning off the game in the 4th inning, I got to see a brutal but satisfying drama..I feel a bit bruised. But Papi hit one into the second deck. Vmart hit two! I’ll take it. Papelbon struck out Jeter with a diving splitter. He gets a D+ though from Professor Benjamin at the Globe, who talked about how often he is mixing pitches this season, giving him 9/9 in Saves until last night. 1 splitter out of 15 fast balls isn’t a good mixture. Maybe when you are diluting old-fashioned darkroom chemicals, that is a solid ratio. On the mound???
I am happy I didn’t turn it off like I did on July 24, 2004 when Bill Mueller hit that walk-off at Fenway after the Yankees appeared as though they were rolling over us like the Acela Express. If this were October, I might say we gave up the ghost. But hell, it’s May.
When I met a man from St. Louis at a wedding two weeks ago I asked him if he liked baseball. He said, “Well, I like the Cardinals,” gulping a Budweiser, the only beer he ever drinks. Well, I love the Red Sox and last night when ESPN showed the Aaron Boone home-run I just about lost my dinner. But hell. I love baseball, all of it.
Last week I mentioned that I was haunted all winter by a blown save. I didn’t mean to criticize Pap but it was obvious last fall’s woes needed adjusting.Professor Amalie Benjamin(she’s not really a professor–it’s just my way of showing gratitude and respect) in today’s Boston Globe unravels the mystery behind last year’s late season’s unraveling. With a higher percentage of pitches coming from the slider and the splitter. Papelbon is reaching his numbers again. From the blown saves, we know that the best hitters in the American League can tune up to a 95 mph fastball. As I have learned in my rookie days as a blogger and fan, it’s the variety and change of speeds that fool hitters. Those are the basics, I know. In pre-saason talk and with informal exchanges with fellow Sox fans, many were saying that they hoped we let Pap go after his current contract expires.I was almost agreeable. But John Farrell is a hell of a pitching coach and he knows what to do with Papelbon. As my Yankee fan friends always say, they can’t stand his cockiness.When the Orioles were playing on the MLB Network, the commentators were praising their closer, Alfredo Simon, for his confidence on the mound. Mitch Williams said that is one factor that is crucial for a closer. I may be stating the obvious again, but we all know when it comes to mound prowess, Pap is the best in the majors. I don’t how many other pitchers try to imitate the glare, but they have to have it inside, too. That’s the Papelbonus and why he ought to have that longer contract