The lines from Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Texas Flood” are much more damning than the way we ought to feel right now. Three out of four hurts, but not bad enough to report that the” dark clouds are rollin in and man I’m standin out in the rain,” I saw SRV and Double Trouble once. It was a blistering two hour set, where the man never took his fingers off of his guitar. Inside the RPI Fieldhouse in Troy, New York, where the sound was passable, something in the high range of his guitar left my ears ringing for several days.
I was thinking that yesterday was double trouble, Lackey against Lee. There are those times that Lackey simply bears down, and I think he can do that as the season moves into August and the games increase in meaning. I know they are all meaningful now, but I am not ready to turn the season in until I see Beckett, Pedroia and Clay back on the field. As we all know, Lee is pitching for a team that plays in a park where his ERA is the highest of any other. He lost two games in row as a Ranger, but that is what our offense can do when it’s pressed, especially Youk. You may have noticed (or maybe not since there were no comments on the Top Ten List) that Youk didn’t make it on the top highlights of the first half. I will add the comeback and walk off hits to the list of the second half, if I have to. What I am hoping for is that there will be so many other important and wildly terrific moments in August & September, that this series will drift in a pleasant amnesia. Maybe the kind that gives us 7 wins out of the next ten.Those are my numbers.
I had to miss this afternoon’s game(still waiting for that potent phone) as I was driving to Virgina for 6 hours. Professor Abraham said that he hoped the Sox could keep last night’s mojo going. I listened to Mojo by Tom Petty several times, having the same hopes. Even with Cameron’s monster seat shot, another comeback was washed away. But the music of Petty and Vaughn can remind us that a few dark days can easily turn into clearer skies, where “baby, the sun shines every day.”
Down on the Farm:
Later in the week, I will catch the Salem Red Sox against the Lynchburg Hillcats I hope to have a few photos for you.
I don’t even want to look. This game do that to you. I had some terrible dreams and tried to remember we are at the All-Star break. I don’t even want to read any of the news. It’sYouk and that ankle. His stance, besides his grimaced bouncing out of the box, looked as though his weight was shifting differently. Well, hell, his stance is like that. He could have nails inside his cleats and we wouldn’t know.
Crazy things can and will happen in the second half.
This season has had some exhausting lows and wild highs. This game do that to you. (You have your own ideas of its best and worst moments. I have to ponder that further.) Everyday I turn to the Globe and MLB.Com. Later in the day, I tune into WEEI and 98.5 and Red Sox blogs. I forgot I am supposed to vote to get him into the All-Star. Will he end up on crutches and join that crew on the bench? Last night, before Darnell smacked that double down the line, the camera panned a slovenly, tired group of guys hanging over the railing. That wasn’t a shot of disheartened, drunk Red Sox fans in the beach bar near left field. It was the Sox bench. A comeback would have changed that body language, more like the slang of losing. It would have changed my dreams, too. This game do that to you.
There have been essays written about optimism when one is a Sox fan, including one excellent piece by Jerry Thornton. It comes up a lot, this optimism/ pessimism thing. On the blogs and in the comment boxes, persnickety and downright mean peeps sling metaphorical pig snot at each other when the Sox lose. Three losses in a row guarantees some good action today.
Some will question Tito. Some will bemoan the Ramones of the bullpen. Pun and misspelling intended. Some will want Theo’s head. Some will tell Peter Abraham that he is a closet Yankee fan, even though he covers the Sox with a Sox-like grit and passion. Others will tell me to shut up. This game do that to you. “The Stresses of the Game” is the title of the next chapter I’ve reached in Doug Glanville’s new book. It helps to keep that in mind. There is a set of stresses for us as fans. Then there is the unimaginable stress as a player.
But as I write this, I am drawn back to video clip of Dustin provided by my fellow blogger, Fenway Bleacher Creature(FBC) Dustin says, in so many words, people counted us out in April and May, They talked about my slump. They talked about Papi’s slump.Then what happened??! Laser show. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have him as a teammate. Hysterical.
If you are feeling like me this morning. Game over. No fight. Like we knew it all along with all those line-up changes and Lackey lacking, like you are looking at your shoes and can’t see the next game, remember there is another whole half of a season. And tomorrow is another game. Go watch Fever Pitch and have a cold beer. Or come over and watch it with me. I have the beer. And after last night, I have a case of it. This game do that to you. But then what happens?
Right of the Pesky Pole: Notes
I lifted the phrase, “This game do that to you” from the outstanding short story by Nicholas Mainieri in the baseball issue of The Southern Review. See my links for more about the lit mag.
At the end of our 8-1 run, as we were westward bound, I asked Professor Abraham if there were any challenges ahead. Of course he said, Jimemez, Cain, and Lincecum. In my joy, I had forgotten about two of the best pitchers in the National League. My bet was that our bats would be the ones to challenge Ubaldo. I wasn’t bold enough to put it in writing. Right now, I think Cain will be more overpowering than Timmy. Again, just a hunch. Hunches don’t always win you money.
As I drove north from Atlantic City and passed Exit 58, I thought of no one else but Papelbon.I was cut off from the baseball world because I was winning money on a slot machine called The Time Machine. My luck was best in the game’s past, where my paths led me to ancient ruins with green emerald’s behind them.Papelbon’s Coors Field past proved much better than the present. I kept getting reports on the games only with distant views of large tv screens and espn highlight reels.Some of it was painful to watch. After reading today, I am happy to know Pap eventfully and eventually closed the game last night.This kept me in mind of the consecutive appearances against the Yankees(By the way, it was nice to see Yankee hats outnumbered by Phillies hats by about 5 to 1 in a single location in New Jersey.) Pap finished it on a higher note. He’s still the closer, no matter what, as our middle relief is still plagued by inconsistenticitis.
So what happened to the humidified baseballs? Do the filters down there need cleaning?
I finally saw the highlights of the Dustin Laser Show. Incredible is all I can say.
The 7% air humidity in Denver will turn into 83% humidity in San Francisco. Quite a different feel on the field I would imagine.
Let’s hope the glory of Rome is not of another day but for Wake and company brightest in the city by the bay, where the knuckleball will have more heart in its dance.
In the 70’s there were several highly publicized exhibition matches between boxing legend Muhammad Ali and an assortment of wrestling stars. Andre the Giant even fought Chuck Wepner. Wepner, also known as the Bayonne(NJ) Bleeder was the inspiration for the first Rocky movie. These were pure spectacle, ridiculous and sometimes dangerous for the boxers involved.
I have a love-hate relationship with the All-Star Game and as I am anticipating it here on the first day of summer, I think of it as the Andre the Giant fight with Wepner, an odd mix, forced together by those interested in an event, not in the sport itself. I am even weeks behind in writing about it; commentary on stories and blog entries have been plump with voting results and insights.
I love it, though, for the way it seems to bring fans and players together in what looks and feels like a celebration of baseball. My mom took my brothers and me to the 1977 All-Star game at Yankee Stadium. I remember Joe Morgan’s home run and Tom Seaver’s walk from the bullpen, when the crowd gave him a lasting, loving standing ovation as he appeared in a Reds uniform in what was I think his first return to New York after leaving the Mets. Other than that I remember the brutally hot car ride home as the old, brown caddy was on the brink of overheating and we had to keep the AC off.
The other reason I like the game is that it provides some baseball over a few dry days without baseball.
I am not really concerned about the voting, even though I voted a few times for Youk, Dustin, Vmart, Papi, and Beltre. Mostly, I would like to see Clay honored. He wants it, and he deserves it– one inning to show the baseball world that Clay Buchholz is one of the best pitchers in the game. Clay has been my focus since my first blog entry, and thus far has proved vital. His fastball, which was noticeably more powerful as I watched him during spring training, reached 97 last night. Awesome. The proper retribution for LA was delivered in the form of this sweep, perfectly concluded by Clay, who in many ways has saved this season from derailment.
Worth noting is the sense of humor Red Sox fans exhibited at Fenway with their Beat LA chants crossing over to baseball. I think of this as a way of conceding that the Lakers were simply the better team and making it to the finals, not to mention Game 7, was joyous for Boston.
“Nava hot as lava” by the Globe’s Professor Abraham This is more in the form of dropping rhymes for Jay-Z. Abraham caught himself and said, “Man that is lame.” But, to me, it’s all about context. With the right beats, this works.
ipod sounds: I am a lonesome hobo Bob Dylan.
On May 26th, fellow Paisan (redundancy intended), Tony Massarotti, wrote, “[t]hough nothing is ever guaranteed in baseball, there is every reason to believe Lester has turned the corner for good.” Can I get a second motion on that? There’s a third motion and millions more. That was easy–nothing else seems as true when thinking about our pitching. I will repeat what Tony repeated: “Jon Lester has the highest career winning percentage of all ALL-TIME after 100 starts. ALL-TIME. If we start to doubt and get caught up in the Dice-Maze, we can rest assured with Lester, who clears us out of the rotational maze.
So what do we do about Dice-K, who made headlines today for all the reasons opposite his last start in Philly. Didn’t he make it look so easy, and against one of the toughest line-ups in baseball? When things are going well for any Major League player, it always looks effortless and natural. I have been watching baseball for 86 percent of my life, but I can’t pretend to know what the heck Dice-K is doing out there when he is that wild. As I tried to follow the Twitter feed(ing) frenzy during the first five innings last night, there were hundreds of ideas, but equal parts cheering and woes. It’s sort of like sitting in a room with a bunch of fans. Sort of.
I went to the bookstore after Bill Hall’s home run, which did, in fact, look quite effortless. When his balance falls on his back leg, he looks as though he can hit 50 at will.
I bought Doug Glanville’s The Game From Where I Stand. “[M]ost of us have only a dim understanding of the lives of major league players–until now,” the book jacket says. That phrase alone has kept me thinking about Dice-K and the mysteries therein. Will the next start be another strong one, alternating each time? Perhaps more importantly, what does he need to be nearly unhittable? Is it personal, cultural, Fenwayal? I return to the moment one Japanese reported revealed at Yankee Stadium. He had never, throughout Dice-K’s entire career seen him so mystified and emotional trying to answer questions, as “though he was about to burst into tears.”
PS. In the voodoo corner, I forgot to put the dice that came with my pack of playing cards out on the desk, as I did for the last start. I won’t forget next time.
In imitation of Professor Peter Abraham at the Globe, I will report “on the Ipod right now”–
West Country Girl by Nick Cave and Bad Seeds.
AP PHOTO BY CAMERON SMITH
When Jayson Werth’s home run took its space shuttle flight last night, all I could think about, besides the unlucky pitch from gritty John Lackey, was not what the pitch lacked but what the height of that soaring ball meant for the Red Sox. Let’s consider, too, what it means for the future of the Green Monster, and how it will look as Werth’s soaring home runs make it look smaller. If that ball left Fenway last night, there would have been parking lot attendees scrambling for it, or perhaps we might have seen kayakers in the Charles paddling after it like they do in San Francisco and did famously ( or infamously) for Barry Bonds. I am not celebrating the Phillies’ slugger right now but am toasting Jason Bay’s number 44, the Red Sox jersey Werth deserves. It is not my fault for thinking this way. Yesterday, in the Globe’s Extra Bases blog, Professor Abraham casually, but resoundingly to me at least, mentioned Werth was a “Future Red Sox Star.” At Spring Training, the buzz in the stands near the dugout was how awful he looked with his new beard. A few asked if he was doing ad work for Geico now. The beard and locks are trimmer now. I suggest that he let it grow so we can call by him his proper nickname, The Monster, for the face and for the wall he will look above as he watches home runs in flight. As for the home run last night, reports from NASA tell us it has docked safely at the space station.