Monday, October 29, 2007

World Champs! Again!

Yeeeee Haaaawwwww!!!!!!!!!! Love my Red Sox!!!!!!!!!

And better yet, it turns out that Val and I got to watch the last two innings of game three and all of game four via ESPN International on the boat!

Thanks to Steve for guest blogging all the world champ goodness, and someday I hope to catch up on all the comments. Also Steve, as a big huggy knuckle-tapping thank you, I'll be sending you a 2007 Red Sox World Series champion gift!

Someday. Not right now, though, because we still have two more days of fun in the south Florida sun before heading back to Memphis.

I'll start posting lots of pictures soon, and I'm planning on writing a travelogue of the trip. "Travelogue?" "What's that?" Yes, yes, it's been a while, but now that I've been married a year and a day, I feel that Val and I can be separated for more than five minutes at a time. Maybe.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

world series [game four] live blog

Pregame Chatter
So how do you think Jeff is feeling on the boat right now? I am sure he is having a blast, but you know he knows by now that the Red Sox won last night and that they can win the World Series tonight.

Okay. They just showed the Red Sox winning the World Series a couple of years ago and I got chills. What an awesome feeling that was. Calling Jeff and just uttering over and over "they did it!!!" Such a cool moment.

Holy cow. Girardi has the most annoying voice EVER!

You know. I have no idea what it is about sports. But I get nervous as snot before every game in which I have a rooting interest. My hear rate is up and I am all fidgety the closer we get to first pitch. I guess that makes me either (a) wierd or (b) a good fan.

While we have a moment as Mrs. Garth Brooks sings the national anthem, let me remind you that as I hand the reigns of this bad boy back over to Jeff tomorrow, I invite you to all visit my blog. Ok. Commercial over. Back to baseball.

Fred Willard giving the Red Sox lineup? Give me a break. I should have been able to do it. Or Rann. Now that I would like to see.


Top of 1st- Lead off double. Not too shabby. Ellsbury starts this off on a good note. After a Pedroia sac grounder, Papi gets a single and we're on the board!!! Red Sox lead 1-0.

Bottom of 2nd- Helton leads off with a double. Atkins fails to advance him and Papi makes a heck of a play on a bad ball thrown by Lugo. So much for "he can't play defense." Helton to 3rd on a sac fly. Torrealba grounds out and the Sox escape. Red Sox lead 1-0.

You know. The one thing I love about being a Red Sox fan is being a part of such a great fan base. I cannot tell you how many random people I have passed and gotten a "go Sox" said to me over the past week. I even met a guy from Boston and we discussed baseball like we knew each other. You don't get that if you are a Pirates fan.

Bottom of 3rd- Matsui gets a one out double. Lester snuffs out the Colorado hopes by striking out the next two batters, including Holliday to end the inning. Red Sox lead 1-0.

Just wanted to point out that we are 1/3 of the way through game four with the lead. I would like to have some more runs. I am not sure my heart can take a game where only one run is scored.

Has anyone heard from Jeff at all during his trip? Are we even aware if he knows what is going on with the series? Or is tomorrow when he gets cell service going to be a huge surprise?

Todd Helton could be the ugliest person in baseball. Every time they put his mug on television I find myself saying, "geez he is ugly."

Top of 5th- Lowell starts things off with a double. JD does absolutely no good by dribbling one back to the mound. Tek with a base hit and Mike Lowell hustles home and is safe on the close play. Red Sox lead 2-0.

This has really settled into quite the pitcher's duel. And as we get closer to the end, I find myself getting more and more excited. Almost there, Red Sox fans...almost there.

I should point out that I also made a small frowny face picture to use when Colorado scores. Luckily, I haven't had to use it yet.

Top of 7th- Mike Lowell leads off this inning with a laser over the left field seats. Red Sox lead 3-0.

Lonestar gives us one of the best "God Bless America" renditions so far this postseason. They even got the cheap pop for the reference to "the mountains."

Bottom of 7th- Hawpe sends a Timlin pitch over the right field wall. Grumble. Grumble. Grumble. Thankfully no one was on. Nervousness once again sets in. Can we get Timlin in, STAT? Timlin comes in and gets us out of the inning! Rock on!!!!!Red Sox lead 3-1.

I'm going on record as saying that was a great move to bring Timlin in. Oki scares the crap out of me. And after all the pitching he has been doing I was going to be a nervous wreck.

Need some good news Red Sox fans as we wait out this inning? ESPN reporting A-Rod has opted out of his Yankees contract.

The just showed Gagne warming up in the bullpen and I had a seizure and threw up in my mouth.

I hate the creepy people in the Charles Schwab ads. Are they cartoons? Are they real people? They freak me out!!!!!

Top of 8th- Kielty?! Seriously?! Hell yeah!!!!! Red Sox lead 4-1.

Rann. I hope you know that I will be calling you when the game is over for congrats since I don't have Jeff.

Yep. That's right. I just scooped FOX. You heard it here first.

As all the A-Rod talk is going on, they show John Henry and he is smiling. Classic.

Holy cow. I am seriosuly sitting here bouncing up and down in my seat.

I knew my clothes had power, but had no idea they could help destroy the Yankees and win the Red Sox another World Series championship. I am a supehero!

5 more...

When we get through this inning we get Papelbon...

Bottom of 8th- Oki gives up a 2 run shot and suddenly I am a nervous wreck. DADGUMMIT! They immediately bring in Papelbon and he gets us out of the inning (Thank God!). Red Sox lead 4-3

3 outs away!

I feel woozy.

Insurance runs needed.

Sweet fancy Moses. I am a nervous wreck.

Here we go...bottom of the 9th...

2 outs away....

No No No No.....YES! Holy crap.

1 out away!!!!

1 strike away....




Just got a text from Jeff. He knows. He is pumped.

Thanks for putting u with me while Jeff was away. I'm turning this bad boy back over to him!

gotta get [pumped]

First thing I watched this morning when I got up.

Is it game time yet?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

world series [game three] live blog

Top of 1st- Red Sox start it off well. Dustin and Ellsbury get on. Unfortunately no one else can do jack squat and the Red Sox blow a great chance to start the game off on a good note. I blame this on the fact that I just walked in from the NASCAR race and am therefore not in my lucky outfit. I will now race home as fast as humanly possible an resume my blogging there. Score tied 0-0

Top of 3rd- Steven comes home. Puts on lucky outfit. Let's recap what happens after that. Double. Base hit. Double. Run scores. Intentional walk. Single. 2 more runs score. Pop-out. Single. Walk. Dice-K singles! 2 more runs score. Another double. Another run scores. In case you are counting, that now makes it 6-0 Red Sox. Josh Fogg, thanks for joining us tonight. You aren't needed anymore. Goodnight. Red Sox lead 6-0

I can't imagine poor Jeff at the moment on that boat. I am sure he keeps looking at his watch wondering what is going on with the game. At the same time enjoying time with his wife. In the same situation, I am thinking there would be many mixed drinks on tap as I waited for the late local news to come on the network stations he does get so he can see the score.

Just to go on record, the picture is what the "lucky outfit" looks like. Here's the story behind it. I wore this outfit for game 5 of the ALCS. The Red Sox won. I am superstitious. I wore it again. It has been washed but it gets worn for every game. I am convinced that it has powers that somehow go through the TV and help the team.

Just an observation. Isn't it odd that a team has a bunch of fans wave white handkerchiefs to get the team pumped up. It just looks like a bunch of "I surrender" flags to me.

Bottom of 5th- Dice-K is on tonight. 1 hit over 4 innings. Of course, I promptly jinx him and he gives up a lead off single. Add to that the Red Sox are playing good defense and you have yourself a very content Steven right now. Red Sox lead 6-0

Bottom of 6th- Great. We take Dice-K out and now the Rockies are stringing together hits. Lopez can't get anyone out. Perhaps he is Eric Gagne for Halloween. Francona to the mound. Timlin coming in to see if he can stop the bleeding. My heart is then sent to my throat as Timlin gives up a long fly ball out to straight away center. And I want to hug Lugo for the leaping catch he just made. Thank heavens we got out of that with no more damage. Red Sox lead 6-2

Cool. Earth Wind and Fire singer singing God Bless America. I kinda wanted him to bust into "September" when he got finished.

Bottom of 7th
- Momentum is clearly on the side of the Rockies. And it is making me nervous. We need a momentum killer. 1st and 3rd, no outs. Ack. Okajima into the game. And he serves up a 3 run shot to Holliday. Suddenly I am a very nervous Steven. Oki settles down and we get out of the inning. Red Sox lead 6-5

More runs needed. I am going on record now as saying that I do not feel good about having only a 1 run lead. I think we need a couple more for insurance in the top of the 8th or 9th to win this game.

Top of 8th- Lugo walk. Crisp single. Ellsbury double. Pedroia double. 3 runs and the Sox are back in business. Red Sox lead 9-5

I have stopped rocking back and forth in the recliner like Rainman thanks to the 3 runs. Something about having momentum back in our favor soothes me. That and knowing that if we can get through this inning we can get to Papelbon.

Bottom of 8th
- Ok. So we got to Papelbon a little earlier than the 9th. But he got the out and no damage is done. Red Sox lead 9-5

Question for Rann, Scott and the other baseball fans out there. When the Sox win tonight, do you think that equals a Red Sox sweep? We won game one with the blowout, game 2 with the pitcher's duel and are looking like we are going to win game 3 by out-hitting them in a score-fest. The Rockies have got to be wondering what they have to do to beat Boston.

Top of 9th- Red Sox play a little small ball and score another run. I'll take it! Red Sox lead 10-5

Bottom of 9th- Helton pops out. 2 outs to go. Papelbon gets Atkins to ground out. 1 out to go. Hawpe triples to the right field corner. Torrealba grounds out and the Red Sox take a 3 games to 0 lead in the World Series. BOSTON WINS 10-5!!!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

world series [game two] live blog

Alrighty. So I am a little late to get on to blog this game tonight. Blame work making me run and pick up surveillance video and the wife asking me to pick up O'Charley's on the way home.

All I know is the score is 1-0 Colorado and I attribute this to the fact I was unable to wear my lucky red socks.

So here I am. In my lucky chair. In my lucky outfit.

I should mention I got a text from Jeff earlier tonight letting me know he was sitting in a sports bar with his wife and father enjoying the game.

8:19 CST- Dustin Pedroia at bat. 2 out. Bottom of thrid. Just letting you know when I brought my good mojo to the game. He promptly earns a walk. See. I am good.

8:25- Youk walks as well.

8:28- Ortiz just missed a homer by 3 feet. Dang.

8:30- Shoot. Strikeout.

8:31- I work in Midtown. Live in Cordova. And visit my sister in Bartlett. I need a network that works in all places. Places like Midorvartlett.

8:41- This game is the opposite of last night's game. Funny thing is, I am very calm watching this. I have the feeling that at any moment the Sox are gonna score. As I type this, JD hits a double. Lowell to 3rd.

8:45- We have a tie game!

8:53- Flim flam. Dangit. Missed an opportunity there. We're like 3 feet and inches away from this being a 4-1 game.

9:10- This is my nightly request for runs. Papi just walked, Manny batting. Mojo has been sent from Memphis to Boston by me...come on Manny.

9:16- Lowell gives Boston the lead on a beautiful hit into the corner. 2-1 Boston.

9:21- Does Manny hate helmets? I've seen him take his helmet off every opportunity he gets. And wehn he is running he knocks hit off himself. Wier d. Or just Manny being Manny?

9:45- Ok. Schilling is out of the game. Now I am nervous. This period of time between the starter and Papelbon. Esecially with a guy on second.

9:47- Oki with the strikeout to end the inning. Nice! And I am now able to take a breath again.

9:52- Fantastic. A lead off hit. Let's see if we can actually do something with it.

9:55- I would really like that extra run. 3-1 sounds better than 2-1.

10:11- Argh!!!! More men left in scoring position. This is making me nuts.

10:18- Quality relief (knock on wood) we are getting tonight.

10:19- Egads. Boyz II Men sound horrible. Ack. Jeff and I could do a better job. Heck. I will sing off key to get one of those jackets.

10:41- Okajima getting the standing ovation. He deserves it. That was incredible pitching. Papelbon time!

10:43- So Papelbon comes out to Riverdance music now? Haha. Classic.

10:46- Picked him off!!! Wahoo! I am still wanting one more run. But I like our chances headed to the 9th with Papelbon pitching the way he is.

11:11- Make a wish. Oh wait. It just came true. Red Sox win!!!! Up 2-0 now. Wicked awesome!!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Series Game One, Take Five

10:06 - After five innings, the Sox have 16 hits, including eight doubles, which already ties a World Series record. Through five innings. Wicked awesome.
10:10 - Good thing Beckett has been able to stick around, giving the relievers time to rest in case they're needed tomorrow night. Not that I'm worried or anything. After all, tomorrow night pits Curt Schilling, he of the 10-2 record and 2.85 postseason ERA against rookie Ubaldo Jimenez. You do the math.
10:13 - And yet, all this feel-goodism, and we still have to watch Dane Cook doing these playoff promos. What, Carrot Top wasn't available? Don't get me wrong, I've got a couple of Cook's albums and he can be funny in his act, but as an MLB spokesguy?
10:17 - This is what it's come down to, looking to the Steal A Base, Steal A Taco promotion, where if any player steals a base tonight, Taco Bell offers free tacos to patrons on Oct. 30 from 2 to 5 p.m. It's like going to an NBA game and hoping that the 12th man on the bench hits a three to put the home team over 100 points to win fans a free sandwich. The entire crowd gets behind it, but you forget that you're down 130-100 at the time.
10:20 - What's up with all the restaurants now limiting ten spots right up front for "To Go" customers? Don't want to eat in the restaurant? Park around the corner and go get your food. Better yet, get delivery. The Chinese eateries leave five menus a week in your door. Not in the mood for Chinese? Call 362-3333 for Pizza Hut delivery.
10:30 - Dad asked why Beckett came back out for the seventh. My guess is that the bullpen is too busy "Stomp"ing out there in right field to bother with getting up.
10:33 - I kind of zoned out there, but I swear I heard something about Beckett using Derek Jeter's cologne, Driven. I'm not sure I want to know whether that was a metaphor or what.
10:36 - Barack Obama just called. He said that he won't stand for "God Bless America" in the seventh inning anymore because it's just a symbol for America's oppressiveness after 9/11.
10:52 - Do you think Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin are watching the fires in SoCal and seeing how organized and well-run the relief effort is going, and thinking, "Crap, stop making us look bad!"
10:57 - Mop up duties tonight will go to The Gagger, currently warming up as the Sox bat in the eighth. And yet I'm not worried. A 12-run lead does that to a fan.
And that will do it for tonight's blog diary. Attention must be fully paid to the newscast airing 2 1/2 hours later than usual, which as a result has been tinkered with more than a secretary with liquid paper high on cocaine.
Good night, and go Sox!

World Series Game One, Take Four

9:39 - Spent the last 40 minutes talking to Mom, then Val, sitting in the hall watching through the door, all the while the Sox are piling on for an 9-1 whipping in the fifth! Over in the visitor's dugout, the Rockies look like they want a do-over.
I would totally hope the Sox can sweep the Series and make quick work of the Rockies for our second title in four years, but sorta, kinda, a teeny bit, I might be a little hoping that the Sox win the first three and lose the fourth before clinching in the fifth game. See, we're not sure if the cruise ship will have the Fox feed on our suite's TV, meaning we might not get to see games three and four. That would be freaky, in international waters, unable to keep up. Ye gads. Will the baseball gods approve of my timing? I mean, I'm the guy who, along with Dad, took a week of vacation for the Series in April of 2004, just knowing that the Sox would be there, and we were right. Forgive me?
What was that nonsense earlier with that Malibu ad? The Transformers wipe is dumb enough, but they somehow got a guy in the stands to hold up a green card with the control room superimposing an animated advertisement over it? Give me a break. What's next, projecting an ad over the pitcher's bottom as he stands on the mound?
9:49 - J.D. singles up the middle for a 10-1 lead! So if you placed what looked to be a sure bet before the game that the Rockies would lose, but by less than nine, right now you're looping the rope over the fan. ... and now it's 11-1 after a bases loaded walk ... and 12-1 after another bases loaded walk. Should I start feeling sorry for fans in Colorado? Nah! They've only had a team for 15 years. This will give them character!
9:55 - McCarver's blaming the rout on the Rockies' eight-day wait. Figures. Couldn't be Beckett plus a hot Red Sox team. Nope, gotta be a long layover. This inning lasting 30 minutes thus far has nothing to do with a squad that spent too much time at Putt-Putt this weekend.  
9:59 - Another bases loaded walk, 13-1 Red Sox! Maybe it's time for the Rockies to start using backup outfielders.
At this rate, the game won't end until midnight, we'll do a half-hour newscast and I'll get home after 1, in time for 3 1/2 hours of sleep, waking up at 5, leaving for the airport at 6. I'm blissful, but sure to be tired!
10:03 - Inning over. *sigh* Guess we'll settle for a 12-run lead after five. If we have to.

World Series Game One, Take Three

8:05 - By the way, check over at Steve's blog for his gametime updates.
8:08 - Four strikeouts in a row to start the game for Beckett. I'm not saying he'll throw a perfect game, but "Perfect Josh" will have a ring to it for many years.
8:09 - Never mind. Rockie Atkins hit a ball about a mile high and off the wall, about ten feet from a homer. When he connected I could have sworn it would have ended up on the Mass Turnpike. Lucky break. A rookie of their own, Troy Tulowitzki, hits a double off the wall for a run anyway. Damage done, 3-1 mid second inning.
8:16 - Because I know you're dying to know, here's what else is going on in the sporting world tonight:
In 3rd, Carolina 3, Buffalo 2
In 3rd, Washington 4, Tampa Bay 2
End 2nd, Florida 3, Philadelphia 2
End 2nd, Detroit 3, Vancouver 1
In 1st, Minnesota 0, Calgary 0
The Griz are hosting Houston here at the FedExForum, but it's preseason so no one has noticed.
8:24 - Out of nowhere Big Papi hits a routine single to left and it gets to the wall and Youk keeps going and going and scores easily! 4-1 Sox! Were we really down 3 games to 1 in Cleveland a week ago?
8:28 - An hour for the first two innings. This could take a while.
8:40 - Val will have to go without this anniversary, but I see that Mariah Carey has a new fragrance. The title is not Crazy Like A Loon, but I imagine the commercials will be particularly high on the unintentional comedy scale. In other entertainment news, China recruited Jackie Chan to sing an official song promoting next summer's Olympics in Beijing. Imagine if in 1996 Atlanta's games featured a song by Steven Seagal, and you can see why it's not a good idea.
8:45 - I'm finding that I'm unattractively obnoxious tonight about our chances. Even Rockies fans have to admit, a 4-1 deficit looks enormous against Beckett.
8:55 - Still 4-1, middle of the fourth. Time to call Mom and wish her a happy birthday!

World Series Game One, Take Two

7:44 - Beckett strikes out the side in the first! Unstoppable!
7:45 - One reason I'll be majorly bummed when the season ends, I'm not ready to say goodbye to Curt Schilling or Mike Lowell, both of whom will be free agents after  the season and possibly goners. Who won't I miss? Matt Clement. Yep, he's still under contract after missing all season with an "injury." I think he was diagnosed with chronic choking. Hopefully he's carrying the others' luggage so they won't strain themselves. I imagine he's trying, though:
Matt: Theo, I'm feeling great! Really!
Theo: No you're not. You'll be dead in a week.
Matt: I'm happy!
Theo: Shut up!
7:47 - I want to give Yaz a standing ovation just for reading the starting lineups.
7:48 - Little mighty mite rookie Dustin Pedroia hits a home run over the Monster, right in front of where Dad and I were sitting last June, on the first pitch! Okay, Beckett has his run. We can cruise the rest of the way. No, wait, not good enough, Yoooouuuuk follows with a double!
7:50 - By the way, I'd like to thank Indians catcher Victor Martinez for hitting the home run that gave the American League home-field advantage in the World Series. Think he's stabbing himself in the foot knowing what could have been?
7:51 - The AP wire already has the list. Last Red Sox to hit a home run leading off the first inning of the Series? Johnny Damon in game four against St. Louis, Oct. 27, 2004. (By the way, in case you haven't heard a million times, Dad and I were in St. Louis at the time, and watched the celebration from the stands afterwards.)
7:52 - Trivia question: The only other Red Sox to lead off a game with a homer in the Series? Patrick Doherty in the very first Series, won by the Sox (then called either the Americans or Pilgrims) over Pittsburgh in 1903.
7:53 - Manny strokes a single to score Youk and a 2-0 lead!
7:56 - More AP trivia: The other Red Sox besides Pedroia to hit a home run in their first World Series at-bat: Big Papi in 2004 and Jose Santiago in 1967, the Impossible Dream team that lost to St. Louis.
8:00 - J.D. Drew comes through again with a $5 million double down right field, scoring Manny, and if Varitek was a tad bit faster, another run would have scored. 3-0 Sox, still in the first!
8:03 - End of first, 3-0 Red Sox! Good times.

World Series Game One, Take One

My work email is back! Time for a running blog. I'll post at the top of the hour, every hour, given the chance.
7:24 - Red Sox! Rockies! The World Series! It's Rocktober! Um, Actober?
I am a bit worried. About the weather, I mean, not the game. (I think the Sox will win the Series in five. Those Rockies pitchers aren't ready for AL hitting, and Beckett is almost a guaranteed two wins.)
Weather guy Ed tells me that they're expecting showers in Boston by 9. My nightmare is that a two-hour rain delay by the third inning wastes a Beckett start. Should Francona start Jon Lester instead, just in case? Okay, maybe not. But we will see Lester in game four, since veteran Tim Wakefield was left off the roster due to shoulder pain. Not that I was looking forward to seeing his knuckleball flutter in the high altitude of Denver.
Like I said last night, I'm not delusional; I'm well aware that the vast majority of the country is rooting either for the Rockies or against the Sox. We're the Dark Side, the Fratellis, LIberty Valance, the Decepticons, the support person at Comcast. They're tired of hearing about quirky Fenway Park and see us as a free-spending juggernaut with obnoxious fans. Yeah, pretty much, but I still like to think of the Sox as an underdog, weird as it sounds. There's a lot of young talent, and only eight of the players on the team were here in 2004, including Wakefield.
Is the five-hour pregame finally over? Alright, then, let's get it on!

Today's the day!

A worrisome development. My work email won’t let me log in, so my World Series Game 1 diary is in peril.

No worries. Scott and Steve are talking about guest blogging a little bit to fill the void and keep you entertained with all the ups and downs of the Red Sox’ second trip to the Series in four years.

This is also important because Val and I will be flying to Miami early Thursday morning, and on a cruise during games three and four this weekend.

Elsewhere .... I’m well aware that most fans in the country will be rooting either for Colorado or against the Red Sox, and I’m cool with that. I can see where they’d be tired of us. We’re an obnoxious bunch. We just won three years ago. The Rockies are new, fresh and on a roll.

But Rudy Giuliani declaring that he’s rooting for the Red Sox because he’s an “American League guy” is just lame. I like you a lot, Rudy, but seriously, I’d have more respect for you if you remembered that you served as the mayor of the dang Yanks for a decade. Would someone who went to Auburn root for Alabama in the national title game? Heck no. Better yet, would Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and Rudy’s challenger, pull for the dang Yanks in the Series? He’d better not, lest I never vote for him. Yes, I’m that emotional and petty about my team. I’m a Red Sox fan.

UPDATE 10:50 a.m. - Any Sox fans have a few thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket? Over at StubHub , playoff tickets start at $599 apiece, and that's for the bleachers. Ouch.

Stop Believing

“Sopranos” creator David Chase finally opened his yap about the controversial finale of the HBO mob drama, and he’d rather you shut your trap about it. No, Tony and his family didn’t get whacked as the screen went to black, and why would you bloodthirsty tyrants want it?

He also gets the award for being completely blind to the pop culture phenomenon his show created and taking himself far too seriously: "There WAS a war going on that week, and attempted terror attacks in London," says Chase. "But these people were talking about onion rings."
Chase says the New Jersey mob boss "had been people's alter ego. They had gleefully watched him rob, kill, pillage, lie and cheat. They had cheered him on. And then, all of a sudden, they wanted to see him punished for all that. They wanted 'justice'...

"The pathetic thing -- to me -- was how much they wanted HIS blood, after cheering him on for eight years."
He says it's "just great" if fans tried to find a deeper meaning, but "most of them, most of us, should have done this kind of thing in high school English class and didn't."

The best part of the interview? After insulting his loyal viewers like that? He says that he didn’t mean to confuse viewers with the ending, because, "Why would we entertain people for eight years only to give them the finger?"

Maybe because they’re “pathetic” morons, David?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"View Your Bill Online"

  • Paul McCartney says the inspiration for the title of his latest album, "Memory Almost Full," came from a phrase he saw on his cell phone. Rejected titles include:

    "Unable To Send"
    "Hello, Moto"
    "View Missed Calls"
    "Call Failed: Retry?"

  • Something for my neighbors to the west to be especially proud of:
    Arkansas lawmakers won't have to give up their portable spittoons or cans of snuff after House members rejected a rule banning chewing tobacco from their chambers Thursday.

    With a 51-27 vote, the House of Representatives fell short of the 67 votes needed to change the rules to ban the use of all tobacco products. House rules and state law already prohibit smoking cigars, cigarettes or pipes in the chamber.
    Next year lawmakers will hold a vote on whether they can put their cars on blocks on the front lawn of the state house and hunt quail on the governor's property.
  • Sunday, October 21, 2007

    ALCS game seven take 4

    10:27 - Guess I should be getting the show together, eh? Wonder if the postgame show will last an hour?

    10:31 - How do you spell insurance? J.D.! Lowell doubles, J.D. drives him in, it's 6-2 and it's party time in Red Sox Nation!

    10:50 - Had to go plot the show and use the little boys' room, and now it's 11-2. I'm feeling pretty safe. I'll sign off here, and say that we'll be back Wednesday night! I'll be back at work, so back here taking up valuable Internet space. Good times!

    ALCS game seven take 3

    10:09 - Wait, why is Okajima in there for his THIRD inning? Is Francona serious? And because of that genius move, the Indians have their first runner on first.
    Oh, yeah, what's been happening while I was in my car listening to XM, eating a Mr. Goodbar and talking to my honey? Little Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run shot in the 7th to put us up 5-2!
    Which is good, because for a while there, I was feeling like we were losing instead of up one run. Boston fans felt more nervous than Cleveland. I even did a quick text survey and everyone concurred that they were freaking out. Val would have made a good lifelong Red Sox fan pre-2004, 'cause she is more pessimistic during the game than I ever was!
    Crap. Another single. Runners on first and second, no outs. Again, WHY WAS OKAJIMA OUT THERE FOR A THIRD INNING? Has he ever pitched that long?
    Here comes Papelbon, whom I don't entirely trust to pitch two innings and get six outs. I know, seems weird since he's such a stud and considered one of the best closers in baseball, but he's not entirely reliable when he inherits runners on base.
    I see that the AP's early running story leads with Dice-K "pitched five solid innings." Um, if you mean he made Sox fans crap solid bricks, then yeah, sure, go with that as your lead. What?
    Anyway, reviewing 9:30 to 10:05, Westbrook turned into Pedro for two innings and in the span of five minutes, Lofton got to second on a gift drop by Lugo, helped us by stopping at third on a single to left, and then a double play got us out of the top of the seventh unscathed.
    Meanwhile, the assignment desk editor convinced two of the production guys to look at her engine for an hour, after getting me to help her record some resume tape material in the studio. Is it that she's blonde, or we're just suckers? Probably both.
    10:18 - Papelbon strikeout for the first out. Should have gotten out with a double play, but Lugo's playing like he's scared and can't turn it. First and third, two outs. Ellsbury runs down a deep ball to center and we're down to three outs for a World Series! Weeeeee!!!!!!!

    ALCS Game Seven, take 2

    8:09 - Sorry for the delay. I actually had to go do some work, so I missed how we scored the second run. But I'm excited! From what I could tell, Tek hit a double to open the inning. Best part: Dice-K looking okay so far. The further he makes it before his six-walk, five-run inning, the better for our bullpen.

    8:13 - It's a good thing that MLB pushed back the start of the World Series this year. It's not like they expected the Rockies to make it, or else they wouldn't have a game start at 6:21 local time, especially after it SNOWED several inches today. By comparison, tonight it was 65 degrees at game time in Boston. It will be cooler next week, but not 35 and snowing. Next Saturday and Sunday, Val and I could be sipping virgin daiquiris on our cruise ship balcony while the Sox and Rockies are wearing snow boots in the field.

    8:18 - Dice-K is through three. He allowed a hit so the perfect game is over, but I'm okay with that. Not that my expectations are high or anything. Let's just say that if J.D. justified year one of his contract with a grand slam last night, Dice-K has $100 million riding on this start. How do you say, "NO pressure" in Japanese?

    8:30 - What song could the guys at Fenway play if Indians pitcher Paul Byrd comes out of the bullpen tonight? "Dirrty?" The theme to "The Hulk?"

    Haven't heard yet? Byrd, whose win in game four moved the Tribe to one win of the Series, bought nearly $25,000 worth of human growth hormone and syringes from 2002 to 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday.

    Before the game, Byrd says that yes, he took it, but that it was prescribed. The Chronicle says yeah, but two of the prescriptions were from a DENTIST. Guess he thought Byrd had small teeth.

    "I do have a pituitary issue," he said. "I don't know exactly

    what that means yet."

    Because that's the best excuse he could come up with. You'd think after five years he'd know what it's all about.

    "I have had temptations to cheat," he added, but he didn't inhale.

    "I have nothing to hide," Byrd said Sunday about two hours

    before Game 7 of the AL championship series against the Boston Red

    Sox. "Everything has been done out in the open."

    How AP sports writer Tom Withers decided religion mattered in the story, I don't know, but in the story he makes clear that Byrd is a "devout Christian." Byrd likes sushi, too, but I don't see how that's relevant either.

    8:22 - Our first batter has reached in all three innings. If you wagered that the Indians would have the first guy in the bullpen warming up, congrats!

    8:25 - Val catches me up on the second inning. She's very excited. Could be this game, could be the Cowboys' win. That should bring her off the ledge after the Vols were whipped in Tuscaloosa yesterday.

    Since we went to church this morning and took a nap while watching the Titans' game, I didn't check the computer, so she's reading me your comments from last night's post. Sorry Dad. Didn't realize I left you out. Here's your second mention of the night!

    Speaking of, if it's October 21st, it's the 32nd anniversary of Carlton's Fisk's infamous home run to win game six of the '75 World Series. I was two days old, yet remember it like yesterday.

    8:30 - Youkilis leads off with a double, gets to third on Ortiz's out, Manny is walked intentionally hoping for a double play and Lowell makes 'em pay with a sac fly. 3-0 Red Sox after three, so at this rate nothing short of 9-0 will do.

    8:44 - While talking to Steve, Dice-K gives up a run. Obviously it's bad luck, so we had to hang up. I'm not even joking. Dice-K is starting to nibble, meaning he's losing confidence. Anyone warming up yet? Might be time to do so. Damage is limited and the inning is over, 3-1 Sox.

    8:55 - What ad wizard decided that it was a good idea to put that half-page folded over the comics section? I just rip it off. Here's my rule: Any advertisement that inconveniences me, I ignore your company forever.

    8:59 - Another double play. Dangit. Red Sox threatened again in the fourth with a perfect hit-and-run to put Ellsbury on third, but Pedroia couldn't come through with a hit or sac fly. Know what would have helped? Having Julio Lugo steal second to prevent just that from happening. As Dad just texted, "Francona is an idiot." Many, many times I've shared that sentiment.

    9:03 - Punk Lofton gets caught trying to stretch a single into a double! Okay, the replay shows he was safe, but this makes up for other calls from games two, three and four. Like Manny's home run. (I will NOT let this go.)

    Another single. It's time. Pull Dice-K, Francona! NOW!!!!!!!

    Another single. 1st and 3rd, one out. Should be no outs. NOWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!

    9:12 - I'm going to be gentle and say that Dad is, um, unpleased with Francona's coaching.

    Sac fly, Indians within a run.

    Meanwhile, Youkilis has spelled out "SOS" in the dirt in front of first base.

    9:15 - He gets out of it!

    If Tito sends Dice-K out for the sixth, you'll see a few thousand Sox fans storm the field and block him from getting to the mound.

    Nope. I see Tito shake Dice-K's hand on his way to the dugout, so he's done. Maybe he cracked a finger while at it. Can you imagine both Dice-K AND Wakefield pitching in the thin air of Denver next weekend?

    9:20 - Wonder when we'll finally see some realistic iPhone commercials, like, "I stalk Hugh Laurie. With my iPhone, I'm able to snap pictures of him under the toilet stall and post them to my House Rulz bulletin board. Thanks, Apple!"

    9:24 - My phone battery is low, so I'm going out to the car to charge it and listen to XM. Back in a jiffy ...

    ALCS Game Seven, take 1

    7:05 - Game seven of the ALCS. It's all the marbles! Bring out the big guns! It's Jake Westbrook vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka! Tim McCarver and the suicide hotline! On FOX!

    The over/under for the number of baserunners Dice-K allows has been set at 2 for Tito to start warming up Josh Beckett in the bullpen.

    7:10 - Ignoring Jeannie McBighair in the studio ... There are three columns that The Sports Guy writes that I tend to avoid, when he writes about 1) the Celtics, 2) the Patriots and 3) his fantasy teams. We'll ignore the first since it's the NBA and really, he's the only fan left. But he tackled BOTH of the other two in one column on Friday.

    You already know that I consider the dang Patriots the dang Yanks of the NFL, so that's no surprise. I'm a big fantasy sports player and pretty doggone good, too, but there's a reason I don't talk about it on the blog: It would bore the beejeezus out of y'all. Ye gads. Besides, I'm only like 3-3 in my keeper NFL league this year. What can you expect when I had to start Joey Harrington in the opening week? Oh yeah, you don't care.

    All I'm saying is, rolling my eyes as yet another Celtics/Patriots/fantasy Sports Guy column, I understand how Heather feels as I write yet another Red Sox diary. (She won't even make it this far to see my sympathetic rant. So let's talk about her behind her back. What Scott and Dad don't know is that in the middle of my Dancing with the Stars blogs, we're secretly talking about what to get them for Christmas.)

    7:33 - How do you know it's early and we expect this game to go another four hours? Via texting, Scott wondered if the Red Sox would have Tawney Kitaen to sing the national anthem, same as the Indians had Beckett's ex to do the same this week. Of course, Kitaen stabbed Chuck Finley in the thigh, not Westbrook. So we tried to come up with someone Westbrook could have dated. I decided he likes the cougars (hot women in their 40s and 50s), and suggested Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles. Apparently Jenn is Googling this, and says she's taken. Okay, how about the lead singer of Bananarama? They have to be available! Nope. Finally, the lead singer from Vixen. Eureka! She's free! (Modern technology is grand.)

    Also, I've already spoken to Val, Steve and Dad, so this should be a big night for my cell phone. Also, buy stock in Pepcid. I'll be using plenty.

    7:45 - First two runners on, Big Papi strikes out. Manny hits one at Peralta, who flinches like the ball is a cobra as it goes into left field for the first run of the night. Boston 1-0!

    7:48 - J.D. hits into a double-play to kill a bases loaded rally. Let's take away about $2.5 million of that $10 million grand slam from last night.

    Saturday, October 20, 2007

    Red Sox give me a late birthday present

    7:15 - Saturday night, at work, eating pizza, watching game six of the ALCS at Fenway, it's FANtastic!

    This isn't a running diary, only a compilation of notes throughout the night, watching the game, waiting to do the news, playing with the switcher and training folks while waiting.

    Thanks to those of you who expressed birthday wishes yesterday. It was a great 32nd birthday. For starters, it's my first as a married man. (Well, there was that drunken night in Vegas when I exchanged vows with both Britney and Lindsey, but the rules of annulment work in my favor.)

    Val and I went to our favorite restaurant, Outback, for dinner. One blooming onion, Alice Springs chicken and prime rib later, we stayed out at Wolfchase all night, getting a jacuzzi suite. This morning, before going home we had lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings while watching the UT-Bama game. Team Valfrey also dominated some trivia, playing four games and winning all four, including the top twenty nationwide. What a team! Then again, the theme was TV, so most likely everyone else wasn't old enough to remember Jessica Fletcher or the dobermans on "Magnum P.I."

    7:52 - J.D. Drew hits a $10 million grand slam! Worth every penny and seven-month wait to get some production.

    The first inning just took over a half-hour to complete. Me thinks we'll be here a while.

    8:01 - Victor Martinez hits a homer over the top of Pesky Pole to close back to a three-run deficit for the Indians. Dangit. Still not convinced. That ball must have curled right over the top. Whereas Manny could hit it off the top of the pole and the umps would call it a double. I'm not bitter about that call Thursday night. Not at all. Did I mention we won the game?

    By the way, the AP just listed the number of grand slams hit in LCS history. The last one in the AL? Johnny Damon, then the Red Sox superstar centerfielder, in dang Yankee Stadium in the first inning of game seven in 2004.

    8:05 - My vision of an eternity in heck: Dane Cook singing "Cleveland Rocks."

    8:38 - J.D. comes through again with an RBI single! Red Sox up 5-1! Maybe J.D. stands for Just Doit!

    Meanwhile, Fausto's deal with the devil is done, and he's being pulled. No! Cleveland, give him another shot!

    8:45 - Good night for Theo Epstein to send out a release promoting his recruiting tools as a GM, as rookie Jacoby Ellsbury drives in the sixth run of the night, starting in place of Coco Crisp, who must be crying in his cereal tonight knowing he may not start another game in the postseason. Julio immediately follows with a two-run double, making it 8-1! Cleveland fans no doubt are turning over to see what's on ESPN tonight.

    Meanwhile, Scott, I see that Melinda Doolittle is hosting Belmont's annual Christmas concert Nov. 19, airing Christmas Eve on PBS. "American Idol" star Clay Aiken was announced as the headliner for the Albus Dumbledore Tribue Concert on Bravo.

    8:53 - 10-1 Sox! Youkilis knocks one off the wall. Still bottom of the third! Maybe they're going for 32 runs to celebrate my 32nd birthday?

    That retching sound you just heard was from the legion of dang Yank fans turning on Fox and seeing the score for the first time. Speaking of the Evil Empire, please do send Joe Torre packing! Thanks a bunch! Love, Jeff.

    9:45 - Ho hum. Cruising through the Cleveland lineup, while no one seems to notice. The Indian managers are skimming through Sky Mall, either looking for a left-handed reliever or one of those cool Christmas lawn globes.

    10:00 - Time to get the show ready, since this one should go quick the last two innings. I think we're all trying to ignore that Dice-K is still slated to start game seven tomorrow night. Might ruin the feel-good vibes.

    Friday, October 19, 2007

    ALCS Game 5 postscript

    One of the truly bizarre and hilarious stories of last night's game was that Cleveland invited a country singer - Danielle Peck - who just "happened" to be an ex-girlfriend of Josh Beckett to sing the national anthem and "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch.
    That really should catch on, don't you think? I don't know if they're still together, but imagine the Redskins trotting out Carrie Underwood to sing the anthem when the Cowboys come to town, or any NHL team to invite Anna Kournakova to throw down the puck to start the game. Since she's dated a quarter of the league, she could become a pro at this.
    Also, it looks like Beckett and punk Kenny Lofton have a history between them. They got into it a couple of years ago when Beckett pitched for Florida and Lofton for Philly and Kenny tried the same bat-flipping motion on a walk, and they traded sweet nothings then, too. I'm sure it went something like this:
    Beckett: "Pardon me, Mr. Lofton, but I would appreciate it if you wouldn't try to show me up at the plate."
    Lofton: "Up yours, whitey!"
    Beckett: "My, but that seems rather harsh. Please be civil."
    Lofton: "I'll kill your family!"
    Or I'm biased. I'm fine with that.

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    But he supports the troops

    During debate on the SCHIP children's health care legislation today, California Rep. Pete Stark stated: "You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement."

    If you're wondering how long it will take the mainstream media, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Democrat presidential candidates and every Democrat who laughingly claimed that Rush Limbaugh called every one of our troops "phony" to rebuke Democrat Rep. Pete Stark for these comments, you'll be waiting a long, long time.

    Along similar lines, George Grider Jr., board chairman of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, had a column in the Commercial Appeal a week ago. He doesn't want the military anywhere near your kids. Apparently, there is a test given to high schoolers that measures aptitude for military service that also has benefits for civic work.

    His opening argument is that we're predisposing our kids to be violent:

    "It begins at home. On television and in video games we teach our kids that force makes right. A loaded gun wins the argument."

    Yes, playing with GI Joe makes your kid want to join the Army. Especially when he's making out with Barbie. That only makes it more enticing.

    On the other hand, when a terrorist is flying a plane at a building, yes, a gun could win that argument.

    "The mission of the military is and has always been to wage war."

    Like the test, the military is completely voluntary. He wants parents to think that men in uniform are going to drag out their 11th grader kicking and screaming and force them to stand on the front lines of Baghdad because they had a good aptitude for learning.

    "School board commissioners who reviewed the resolution prior to voting voiced enthusiastic support. On the day the resolution was to be voted on, a group of soldiers dressed in combat fatigues marched into the hearing room. Board members, seeing America's might up close, backed down and no vote was taken."

    I guess they heard about the entire school board in Peoria being sent to Guantanamo Bay after voting for a similar resolution.

    Of course, Grider admits that it turns out that the school district did make changes, such as halting mandatory testing, students had to sign up to take the test and parents have to be informed. But other than that, the Board was terrified of those guys in camouflage entering their chamber. They could hide anywhere in that room!

    "Especially during this time of unrelenting crime and violence in our community, we need a more complete perspective on how we are raising our children. We need to work on recruiting children for peaceful professions..."

    So enlisting is just another way that encourages crime and violence in Memphis. I prefer to think along the lines of National Review, which often makes the point that the U.S. Department of Defense should get the Nobel Peace Prize every year for ensuring the safety of hundreds of millions around the world for the past 100 years.

    Near the end, he claims that he's just concerned about students' privacy. Which is hogwash. "Privacy" is a red herring. He wouldn't give a flip if the Peace Corps was giving a test in schools and the results were used to recruit members.

    "To offset the military influence in our schools, the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center is preparing a booklet describing nonviolent careers and job opportunities to distribute to high school students during the lunch hour or at career fairs."

    See? He's just a big baby who isn't getting his way. Can't get the schools to spread his hippie propaganda.

    But if you dare say anything, I'll bet he says he supports the troops and "how dare you question" his patriotism. Our no good, warmongering, baby killing troops.

    Wishing I could listen to XM while watching the game

    The Red Sox just got robbed of a home run that clearly went over the right field wall, and all Joe Buck and Tim frakin' McCarver want to talk about is that Manny Ramirez didn't run to first base. Talk about missing the forest for the trees. Morons.

    So we're only up 2-1 instead of 3-1. Feeling pretty good, though. Maybe that will light a fire.

    UPDATE: Kenny Lofton is a punk. I didn't like him when he played in Atlanta, and now I remember why. His arrogant, "me first" attitude divided the Braves' clubhouse all season and no one was sad to see him go. Trying to show up the ump, then dare to jaw at Beckett after flying out and go to the mound, is pure punk. Beckett should throw over his head next time up to bat.

    UPDATE 10:37 - Feeling good about our chances! Might even go ahead to bed, since I have to get up in four hours for the morning shift. Up 7-1 in the middle of the 8th, call me crazy, but I'm looking forward to watching game six from work Saturday night! Josh Beckett = Boston King!

    The difference tonight? Beckett, of course, but also the last few games it seemed every bounce went Cleveland's way, and tonight we finally started to get a few of those 50-50 plays go our way. Good times. The Indians' crowd was silenced almost the entire game.

    B*tch session

    Maybe there's something to using public transportation after all. I'm done with auto repair places. They're all liars, cheats and frauds, every last one of 'em. From Midas to Firestone to Roland's to the Toyota dealer to the Pontiac dealership, not a one has given me satisfactory service.

    Today's lesson is "How to get in a bad mood very quickly": Earlier this week my "Service Engine Soon" light came on, so I took it to the dealer for a diagnostic and whatever service is required. Much, much, much money was spent, only for this afternoon for the light to come on again, proving to me that the mechanics at the dealer were guessing what the computer told them was wrong, and hoped to get lucky. What will happen when I take it back tomorrow to have them actually look under the hood this time? We'll find out. I might be riding my bike to work starting Monday. It's only 25 miles one way, I'm sure it won't take more than, what, a half-hour?

    Best-case scenario: The "Service Engine Soon" light is broke.

    Speaking of gnashing my teeth, tonight's game five of the ALCS: It's sucktastic! Let's see, our last three starters haven't made it out of the fifth inning and our hitters are swinging and missing more than Mike Vick's defense team. And yet, I'm not standing on the ledge yet. I like the Red Sox' chances, strangely enough, in this post-2004 world.

    We've got Josh Beckett going tonight, a postseason stud, and a win gets us back to Fenway this weekend where Curt Schilling should be able to rebound with a victory, giving us enough momentum to overcome Dice-BB and his annual fourth inning walkathon. So yeah, I may be delusional, but there's hope here. Ask me again in eight hours.

    *cough(Did anyone happen to know that tomorrow is my 32nd birthday?)*cough

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    A Memphis Rendezvous

    A photo tour of our Friday evening downtown, as Valfrey was joined by the Jackson gang:

    Not a good place to be for vegetarians.

    Nobody had the nerve to tell Heather that her pretend tea was sweetened with Splenda, not sugar.

    For the engaged Mark and Sarah, it's been a Good Year, indeed.

    That is how Val posed for pictures her entire normal life.

    This is what happens after she marries me.

    In the Native American world I'm called White Man Who Scuff Jeans For Joke.

    Contrary to public opinion, Chad was not dragged here against his will.

    Want some cheese with that cake?

    Sarah is making sure I'm not taking any weird pictures of her.

    A night of BBQ, dessert and glitter becomes legend.

    Monday night avoidance

    Because I really, really, don't want to talk about a certain baseball game last night, lest I be diagnosed with Tourette's, not to mention having to repair the holes in the wall, let's go elsewhere.

    Val and I haven't seen "Heroes" yet, watching the aforementioned frustrating game, so a brief recap, then, of "Dancing With the Stars?"

    There's some serious score inflation going on this season. I grant that Lady Jane and Marie dance very well for women their age, but they shouldn't be scoring this good, Last year if Joey or Apollo were merely very good they'd get the same scores.

    When Carrie Ann tells Helio and Julianne that watching them dance "makes her happy to be alive," first I wonder if she spends all her time drunk in discos, and second, yes, watching them perform is a joy to behold. They're inspirational, like the Colorado Rockies of dance.

    Floyd bounced around maniacally like Mark Cuban had put a scorpion in his pants, yet still came away with decent scores. I can't figure it out. Every step he looks like he's counting and looking for the next move, yet because he basically threatened the judges they were all, "So much passion! You're great!"

    (Side note: I'm watching the SNL 80s special on NBC from two months ago, and there's a promo for Memphis Tigers football. How sad. Everyone looked so positive, so focused. So doomed. What an awful, disastrous season. They lost 21-7 at home to Middle Tennessee State. Oy.)

    Anyway, so Cuban does his normal boring routine while smiling way, way too much, which I can't blame him since he's like 35 and a billionaire. What's he got to worry about? Not a stupid dance competition, that's for sure. We'll call him the Diamondbacks of dance. Not expected to do much overall, he sticks around long enough to make a name for himself, and goes home without much fanfare. At least, he will go home without much fanfare. And soon.

    Who's left? Oh yeah, Cheetah Girl, who got the season's first perfect score, which again, I thought was a little too generous. I think the judges are just excited to have a woman contestant who moves as well as the men did last season. She's the Indians of "Dancing with the Stars," plucky and keeps moving and not realizing she's toppling all these bigger names.

    Jennie's still my favorite. I can't explain it, except that she was on "90210," she's adorable, and she's running with that "most improved" role. Guess I can explain it.

    Cameron, meanwhile, has taken that Clark Kent comparison way, way too far, even if I did think it was wicked awesome to see him dance to the "Superman" theme.

    I'm not forgetting the Spice Girl, I'm just saying that I don't care how Scary Spice does.

    Tonight, another baseball game, hopefully one worth talking about.

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Patriots anti-American

    Their first few Super Bowl wins, I rooted for New England. They seemed like a scrappy bunch where team came before individual. Now? They're cheaters, and after watching them run up the score on the Cowboys today by letting the tiniest white guy on the team run in a meaningless touchdown in the final seconds to flip the bird to the league, it's official: The Patriots are the dang Yanks of the NFL. I will root against them in every game from here on out until coach Bill Belichick is gone. I couldn't dislike them more if A-Rod was a receiver for the Pats.

    Saturday, October 13, 2007

    Running Diary of ALCS game 2

    7:10 p.m. CDT - It's game two of Red Sox/Indians in the ALCS. I love this game! And since it's on Fox and I'm at work, I'll be able to keep a running blog while waiting for our half-hour news to follow. If anybody from work reads this, then I actually wrote this after the news and made up all the times.

    Last night, Val and I braved downtown with the Jackson gang (Heather, frequent commenter on this here blog, Meredith and Chad, Sarah and Mark, who drove up from southern Miss'ippi to see his fiancé.) By the time we got to the Rendezvous, via XM we listened as the Sox went up 5-1, so I was already pretty confident in our chances.

    7:15 - David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez just got on base again, and the game hasn't even started.

    7:16 - Last night was the first time in postseason history that teammates both got on base all five times they came to the plate. Together, they've gotten on base 29 of 36 times in the postseason. I don't care if J.D. Drew has to sacrifice a chicken, just do whatever it takes to keep those two hot!

    7:17 - Speaking of J.D., do you think he's secretly happy that his brother Stephen made a bonehead baserunning error last night to kill Arizona's rally in their loss to Colorado? Since, after all, finally J.D. isn't the one everyone's ripping on for choking in the clutch? Stephen even has the same facial expression, the Drew "I just messed up royally" Face.

    7:21 - Tonight's pitching matchup: Curt Schilling vs. Fausto "Made a deal with the devil" Carmona, who was phenomenal this season and came out of nowhere. Let's just say that if you picked him up in your fantasy draft back in March, I would have accused you of owning a 2012 Sports Almanac from your "uncle Biff."

    7:23 - The ALCS and NLCS have just started, but scanning the AP sports wire I see that AP sports columnist Jim Litke decided to turn in a piece on steroids. Talk about not knowing a time and place for a story. That's like publishing a piece in the middle of the NBA finals about which flavor of Gatorade the teams prefer. (I'm guessing the Mavericks use one of those made-up ones like Winter Avalanche Extreme or Citrus Kangaroo Extreme.)

    7:32 - Indians take an early 1-0 lead after one. No worries, they scored first last night, too. Didn't work out so well in the end.

    7:35 - Singer James Taylor is reading our starting lineup. Not doing well. Obviously having to read off cue cards, he says that our "first base player" is Kevin Youkilis. Or did he mean "first bass player?" Unclear.

    7:42 - Big Papi walks on four pitches, men on first and second with one out. The Indians are terrified of Ortiz. Fausto's britches are brown, and he hasn't slid into anything.

    7:46 - Manny hits into a double play. We're doomed!

    7:47 - I really, really, really hate those insurance ads with the people helping each other. Not that I'm against "paying it forward." It's the song. It makes me want to throw something at the television. I think if I could manage to pull those ads, that would be the best way to "pay it forward" to fellow viewers more than pulling those Frank TV ads on TBS.

    7:55 - Red Sox get their own double play to get the leadoff guy and keep it 1-0 Cleveland. The Indians don't seem too afraid of Curt so far. I would encourage J.D. to be useful and put some red paint on Curt's sock to psyche out the opposition hitters.

    8:04 - Still 1-0 Tribe after 2. Waiting patiently. Eating my Domino's thin crust pizza and BBQ wings while taking a break. Val's at longtime friend Tracy's wedding over at Woodland Hills, no doubt eating much better food with fancy names that start with the letter Q.

    8:27 - Long third inning. The Sox finally get a hit, get an infield hit from Ortiz and then Manny walks on four pitches to tie the game! Mike Lowell, unheralded despite driving in three last night, gets a hit to send two more home! We're in the lead, 3-1! Can't wait to watch the World Series from Florida with Val and Dad on vacation! (The cruise says we get closed-circuit TV, which I hope means we can watch games three and four from our suite. If not, you'll be able to Google "Royal Caribbean+Red Sox+freakout+Homeland Security" and see plenty of articles about me.)

    8:46 - Oh crap. Three-run dinger by Peralta in dead center field, which is like 600 feet in Fenway. Indians lead again, 4-3. Val just texted to say she's drinking champagne and eating cake, while I'm having to listen to Tim McCarver make out Fausto to be the next Bob Gibson. She's having a better time.

    9:08 - Commercial Appeal sports writer Geoff Calkins quotes a Kansas University study that concluded, "sport fans suffer fewer bouts of depression and alienation than do people who are uninterested in sports." Apparently this came out before the Mets blew a seven-game lead in 17 games.

    9:10 - Or before Grady Sizemore just hit a homer to put the Indians up two in the fifth, as I sit here alone in the control room, suddenly embarrassed about the amount of pizza I just ate. Which was wicked awesome.

    9:20 - For one of its wipes to replays Fox is using the Transformers logo, in conjunction with the DVD release soon. This is insulting and offensive on so many levels. But I wish they were getting paid to promote something like Becoming Jane, just to see that wipe between shots all game long.

    9:30 - Schilling and Fausto are both out so this will come down to the bullpens. Talking to Val on her drive home. She gets to sit in her pajamas, play with the dogs and watch the game, I'm still at work for the next six hours or so.

    9:36 - Manny ties it up with a two-run blast!

    9:38 - Mike Lowell keeps it up with a solo blast over the Monster! Back in the lead! Giddy is the word you're looking for.

    9:56 - This one has ESPN Classic written all over it, as the Sox can't hold the lead and Cleveland ties it at 6 in the top of the sixth. Almost three hours into the game and we're not even in the bottom of the sixth. I may be sleeping in the control room tonight. And yet, it won't even lead SportsCenter tonight, since both No. 1 LSU and No. 2 California lost tonight. As everyone else moves up, is this world ready for a No. 2 Boston College and No. 3 South Florida? I'm not so sure. It's like when I used to play out the NCAA basketball season in our driveway, and teams like Tulsa and SW Missouri State were perennial powers. Fun in theory, scary in reality.

    10:02 - I don't work with any other baseball fans. The chyron operator just asked how long the game would last, and if it would be over after six innings.

    10:06 - End of 6, tied at 6. Okajima gets the Red Sox out of a jam, as second baseman Dustin Pedroia plays the role of the fourth outfielder in softball, standing in shallow right field to nab a liner.

    10:13 - Producer tells me that if the game's still going on at 11:45, we go home without doing a newscast. But we're going to pre-record an A block just in case Master Control needs filler, so I'll be back later ...

    11:07 - This is exhausting. End of the eighth, still tied at 6. This game may never end. Coups have taken less time. I just tucked Val in over the phone, shortly after we pre-recorded the A-block just in case we skedaddle in thirty minutes. Which now I'm hoping this game keeps going, so that we get to leave at 11:45, 'cause if we don't start the show until 11:30 we don't leave until midnight, and my car turns into a pumpkin if that happens. Did I mention the "Service Engine Soon" light came on today? Ye gads. It doesn't say "Check Engine" like older cars, since I guess that's not urgent enough, just "Hey, when you get around to it, pop the hood someday, make sure the belts aren't melting." "Service Engine Soon" makes it sound like the radiator has tiny gremlins inside that shouldn't get wet.

    11:10 - James Taylor's still in the stands with his wife and young twin boys. Okay, I take back making fun of him earlier. If he's around this long he's enough of a fan.

    11:13 - Off topic ... This afternoon while running errands in Millington, we saw no fewer than SEVEN, possibly eight cop cars in use to escort a half-mile long line of classic cars driving through town. In a city where they can't be more than ten or twelve cops on duty at any given time, is this really a good use of the city's resources?

    We saw all this after lunch at the brand spanking new IHOP in town, the city's first, which of course mans busy. It took a half-hour to get our food, which was lukewarm, and she didn't bring out our soup before the meal. When the main course came, I told her that we didn't want it anymore, and she sounded surprised, saying she was going to get it right then. Um, what? Who wants soup during the meal? This IHOP needs work. I'll stick with the Perkins across the street. Never had a problem there, and the pancakes are just fine. Maybe we'll try it once more. We had the Gagne of servers today, is all I'm hoping.

    11:20 - It's past Tim McCarver's bedtime. He's talking only once every ten minutes, and he just compared Barfield's stealing second with Dave Roberts stealing second in game four of the ALCS to save our bacon and lead to the greatest comeback/collapse in sports history. This is game two. Calm down, Champ. We're not there yet.

    11:23 - Skimming through the Sports Guy's weekly NFL picks column. Even I'm skipping the thirty paragraphs he devotes to the Celtics and Patriots, because I'm tired of him writing about them. I don't care if Kevin Garnett helps the Cs, and the Patriots were caught cheating and deserve to lose the Super Bowl, so stop acting self-righteous about how great it is to be the bad guy for once. Meanwhile, Papelbon just got out of the inning and we're tied heading into the bottom of the ninth. Guess Barfield's steal didn't end up the biggest in Cleveland history after all, eh, Tim?

    11:33 - Pedroia singles! McCarver's so choked up he can't even get the words out. It's not past his bedtime, he just forgot to drink his vial of blood to keep him alert.

    11:35 - Jacoby Ellsbury comes in and steals second. McCarver does not compare this to Dave Roberts. Instead, he wonders why catcher Victor Martinez didn't even try to throw him out. He did not wonder why Varitek didn't care when Barfield stole second ten minutes ago.

    The crowd isn't exactly lifting the Sox to a winning end. They're cold and tired. The fans in the first few rows won't even stand up with two outs and a runner on second. They're gathering pillows for the long haul. My production crew is behind me hoping we don't score so they can leave. I still want us to win, so I won't go that far.

    11:45 - Youkilis flies out, extra innings, we're going home without a newscast. I'll post this and update later, since I'll be listening to XM radio. Come on Sox!

    12:33 AM - I'm home, and it didn't take long for this game to get out of hand. One word: GagMe. Yep, Eric Frakin' Gagne started an Indians rally by letting two runners on with one out, and that was it. Ballgame. By the time I walked in the door it was 13-6 and the fans were on the T back home. Awful. Just awful. Can we leave the Gagger off the World Series roster? I don't care who takes his place, even Julian *gulp* Tavarez. The entire stadium, city and Red Sox Nation knew the game was lost when Gagne came in. More people were sure that Gigli would win an Oscar than expected Gagne to get out of this game without the loss.

    Thursday, October 11, 2007

    Can we go back to using rocks as wheels?

    It's kind of tough to save up to pay off bills and buy a house when we keep spending all of our money on our automobiles.

    A few weeks ago I went to a nationally recognized auto repair place. I won't use their name here, but we'll call them "Liarstone." My tires were rotated and my alignment was fixed, and yet my car was pulling to the left and shaking worse than ever before like Rosie without her first cup of puppies in the morning.

    Turns out, they rotated the tires, but apparently balancing wasn't included. Thanks a bunch guys. I only asked about it twice while I was there. Maybe you took a wiz in my radiator while you were at it? Much appreciated.

    So today I go to Goodyear for the balance, since I like to spread my wasteful spending around evenly. You might remember it was only back on August 1 of last year that my tires blew out on the interstate en route to see my darling Valerie during our courtship.

    Those tires were 55,000 miles old at the time, and now my car has over 101,000 miles on it. Yes, in a span of less than 15 months I've driven 46,000 miles. Ye gads. That's twice around the Earth!

    Not only that, but since I was in the middle of Nowheresville, Tennessee at the corner of Banjo Playing Highway and Pig Squeal Blvd., the place didn't have the right size tires and I needed all four replaced, so I went ahead and did so. Thus, today I decided to go ahead and get all four replaced again when the guy from Goodyear called me at lunch and told me there was something fishy with them.

    Let's face it, if I was born 125 years ago the saying would be, "There's a Jeff born every minute." That guy could have told me that my tires were suffering from Buttitation Smellyosis Displacement, meaning that "the tires feel depressed and are worried they're letting you down, and addicted to tar, so we need to remove them," and I would have said, "here's my credit card." Whatever, just make me feel safe and cozy.

    Way behind on my DVR

    Catching up with the new fall TV shows: 

    I'm intrigued by "Chuck." The star is a likable less quirky Jimmy Fallon, and the nerd-turned-spy plot is fun. In support, Adam Baldwin's a nice touch as the iffy NSA agent, but just how many blond women in this country look just like Marcia Brady? First Christine Taylor (aka Mrs. Ben Stiller), now the main spy chick love interest? I heard on the radio last night about something I didn't catch in last week's episode, when Chuck's brain is being tapped by the evil scientist and he's rattling off government conspiracies, he blurts out that "Oceanic Flight 815 was shot down." Nice shout-out to "Lost!"

    On the flip side, "Cavemen" - which I looked forward to earnestly - is awful. Not one laugh in an entire half-hour. Even the stuff that doesn't rely on ethnic humor (since the show treats the guys like another race) isn't funny. This show needs to be relegated to ABC's ancient history vault.

    After that disappointment, "Carpoolers" was almost funny. I like the stuff in the car, the guys singing along with Air Supply, riffing on one another in that male bonding tradition, so I'll give it a few more episodes to see if it can find a niche. Just one question: What's Jerry O'Connell doing on this show? Wasn't it just a year ago that he was on the talk shows as the stud from "Crossing Jordan," now he's on a second-rate comedy that probably won't last until Thanksgiving?

    I knew that I wouldn't get along with "K-Ville" when the pilot was about drive-by shootings and targeted killings, and the antagonist wasn't a thug taking advantage of the depleted police force by running rampant over New Orleans, but an elaborate conspiracy by a rich white blond who didn't want the black folks coming back home to the Ninth Ward. Seriously.

    Tuesday, October 09, 2007

    Because I said so

    This one's from Mom, and no doubt very funny for mothers and children (that pretty much encompasses everyone, right?):

    Monday, October 08, 2007

    Bring on the rain. No, not that much!

    It's 10:10 on a Monday evening, I'm typing this via dial-up on Nana's computer while Val falls asleep behind me.

    (Yes, this is one of those blogs like a movie where the ending comes first and you wonder, "how'd they get there?")

    It starts Sunday night, when our weather guy tells Memphis to expect 93 for a high on Monday and only a 20 percent chance of pop-up showers. That 20 percent became the heaviest gullywasher this area's seen in a long, long time. We're talking big boat, old guy with a beard and animals forming two-by-two kind of drenching.

    Fast-forward to a normal Monday afternoon, my day off, playing on the computer and watching Pardon the Interruption on ESPN. I hear a scratch at the door, quickly rule out a pizza deliver guy, look over and down and see Sam's paws underneath, where he and Patches had previously clawed away the carpet in a vain attempt to reach that mysterious room where Val and that new guy hide. If they made their way through the gate at the bottom of the stairs and are sitting outside the door in the hallway, then it must mean a storm is brewing. They get frazzled by thunderboomers like a dang Yankee fan watching them peter out for the seventh-straight postseason.

    (Just checked Yahoo's in-progress box score and it's the bottom of the ninth, their season on the line, and the next out reads: "Last Play: A. Rodriguez flied out to deep right." I know, you're shocked. Never saw it coming, did you? One more out and we'll be seeing the Indians this weekend!)

    Once the thunder starts and the heavy downpour begins, I go downstairs and sit on the couch, Patches to my left, Sam to my right, playing the part of Jeff The Dog Whisperer to calm them down, with every boom of thunder Sam stands on my lap either blaming me or wanting me to sniff his butt. Val calls to say she's on her way home, aware of the rain rain rain coming down down down, so I tell her to be careful on the way back to our Hundred Acre Wood, and steer clear of any small pigs on chairs or bears stuck in honey pots.

    (Heeeee!!!! Dang Yanks lose! No surprise, but it's fun to watch nonetheless!)

    And then, as I'm washing my hands to prevent an asthma attack from petting the dogs, the power goes out. No biggie, I reckon it happens frequently enough in these here parts of rural Shelby County near the Tipton County line. *adjusts belt and spits*

    Not so much normal this time, though. The dogs are apoplectic at this point, and once I get a flashlight and make my way downstairs, I see a few cars out the window on the street stopped, and turning around. Not a good sign. Even worse than "Watch tomorrow for a live performance by Britney Spears." Avoid at all costs, is what I'm getting at.

    I walk out to see if a tree has fallen in the road, which is also normal in these parts. A lady in a van pulls in and yells at me, asking what road we live on because she's dialed 911 to report that a tree has fallen over a powerline and they're both on fire. Now I'm intrigued.

    I look over two houses down and yep, sure enough, there's a tree hanging over the road on a line, and despite the rain the fire continues. Considering the lines hover almost directly over our house, this is slightly disconcerting. Not as much, however, as the idiots who actually came upon the scene and drove under the dangling tree and powerlines. Sometimes you want to see people get their due. Not death or getting their car totaled, but maybe a limb or two falls, scratching the paint job, am I right?

    It's at this point I call my father-in-law to make sure he comes from the direction not blocked by tree, powerline and fire, and he tells me it's raining so badly that traffic in Millington is inching along due to flash flooding. I mean, inching slower than normal. Better call Val. Uh-oh, she decided to pull into the parking lot at Lowe's a few miles away because she's unsure of road conditions, and even though she doesn't tell me, she wants me to come pick her up. I hem and haw, since if it's that bad I won't be able to get out, and this doesn't win me points. She continues on her own. I'm down three points today. Better buy her some Dove dark chocolate with almonds.

    At this point, I'm on the couch with the dogs, looking out the window when I see the reflection of three successive fireballs, woosh - woosh - woosh, which, while super cool like the fireballs at a Japanese steakhouse, aren't good in any circumstance. Stepping outside I see that the tree made it to the ground, the powerlines are dangling off the poles and the lines crossing our yard are swaying but holding steady. Probably not a good idea to stay outside, lest I go for a listing in the Darwin awards.

    A minute later a fire truck and support truck show up, can't do much since the fire is put out, though they look fabulous in their uniforms, the rain has dissipated to a sprinkle, a sheriff deputy shows up to turn on his lights and turn people around, my father-in-law's home by this time, and after the deputy comes to use our bathroom, we're really just a few guys standing on the porch oohing and aahing at all the flashy lights. An MLGW truck shows up to check the problem, quickly deduces that it will take a few more trucks and workers (or that it was dinner time) and leaves the scene, and we realize this is going to take a while.

    So Val and I packed a bag, called Nana to let her know we were coming, and all of us met up with sis-in-law Cheryl, nephew Cody and I got to finally meet his girlfriend Katie for dinner. I don't think we embarrassed him too much.

    (Holy moly, the Cowboys just scored twice in the last twenty seconds to win. Fantastic turn of events between them and the dang Yanks losing!)

    We'll have to catch up with "How I Met Your Mother," "Dancing With the Stars," and "Heroes" online later this week, but I didn't feel any withdrawal symptoms so I guess we're alright. We did get to Nana's in time for "CSI: Miami" and Val has to get back to sleep for some zzzs since she has to work at the Lamar campus tomorrow morning. And I have to take her, so I better join her. Toodles!

    Red Sox moving on

    In the end, the Angels crumpled like a bird flying into a window as the Sox cruised to the ALCS with a 9-1 rout, awaiting the winner of the Cleveland-dang Yanks series after the Evil Empire finally showed up last night. Best case scenario: The next two games go 20 innings apiece, the Indians pull it out, the dang Yanks are sent packing, and Cleveland is so tired that their pitchers have to be carted out on those old baseball golf carts.

    But that's for later. For now: Party! Let's go Sox!