Tag Archives: Red Sox

Friday Random 10: Anniversary Edition

Pax Arcana

It’s as gloomy and shitty as ever outside today, but thanks to the Joy of Sox my spirits are buoyed. That’s because today is the five year anniversary of one of the greatest games in baseball history — the July 24, 2004 brawlfest between the Red Sox and Yankees that featured not only loathsome douche Alex Rodriguez getting a glove sandwich shoved between his stupid purple lips, but also a six-run comeback by the Sox, capped by a game-winning 9th inning home run from Bill Mueller.

And I was there.

arod_varitekNot just me, but the straight-but-not-narrow then-future Mrs. Pax Arcana, her mother, sister, and mother’s husband. We were in the right field grandstand, at first just hoping the rain would hold off (it did) and that none of the calzone-stuffed mongoloid Yankee fans in our section decided to shave their backs mid-game. Instead we were treated to the wildest game I’ve ever seen.

In the third inning, Bronson Arroyo hit A-Rod with a curveball. Because he’s dumber than a sack of turnips, A-Rod assumed it was a purpose pitch. Jason Varitek intervened and the fisticuffs erupted. Normally I’m not one to condone fighting in baseball. But if there was ever douche who needed to be slapped in front of 40,000 people, it was the 2004 version of A-Rod.

Tek and A-Rod were both ejected, Tanyon Sturze (nice career, dick) bled from the ear, and the Red Sox capped a miracle comeback when Bill Mueller smoked a 3-1 cutter off Mariano Rivera into the visitors’ bullpen — a two-run homer to give the Sox the win.

At the time, the Red Sox were 8 1/2 games behind the Yankees. Soon after the brawl they would embark on a crazy win streak and end up winning the World Series after executing the greatest comeback in history in the ALCS. Several of the players on that team still point to the July 24, 2004 game as the spark that led to their eventual triumph. I don’t know about that. All I know is I was convinced that Fenway Park was going to crumble into pieces from everybody jumping up and down.

Update: Cool interview with Curt from the Car on his site at the new WEEI.com: http://bit.ly/I4oox

The songs:

Waterfalls — TLC (Chili I still love you. Call me.)
Don’t Know When But a Day Is Gonna Come — Bright Eyes
Elq Milq — Black Moth Super Rainbow + The Octopus Project
California Stars — Wilco
The Piano Has Been Drinking, Not Me — Tom Waits
We Are All Accelerated Readers — Los Campesinos!
Windowsill — Arcade Fire
Can You Tell — Ra Ra Riot
Boneless — The Notwist
Public Service Announcement — Jay Z + DJ Danger Mouse

Bonus video:

The Rake’s Song — The Decemberists (Live)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

Valvoline Instant Oil Change

15 Spring Street W. Roxbury, MA 02132

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Friday Random 10: Curses Edition

Pax Arcana

a-rod-kisses-himselfThe Red Sox have now won all 8 games against the Yankees in 2009, and I think you know what that means:

PROBABLY NOTHING IN THE LONG TERM!

No wait. I mean:

SOMETHING SUPERNATURAL MUST BE THE CAUSE OF THIS!

Red Sox owner and animatronic pipe cleaner John Henry got things started last night, when he typed into his Twitter account the following:

“The MT curse?”

…by which he meant that the Yankees have yet to beat the Red Sox since swooping in on stoic jowly automaton free agent Mark Texiera in the offseason.

Jack Curry of the New York Times, while stopping short of calling the thing a “curse,” basically calls it a curse:

How rare is it for this rivalry to be so lopsided? The eight-game losing streak to the Red Sox is the longest to open a season since 1912, back when the Yankees were called the Highlanders. Before 2009, the Yankees and the Red Sox had played 162 games in the last nine seasons. Both teams won 81 times. But the Red Sox broke that tie in April by conquering Mariano Rivera and have added to it all season.

Also, did you know that Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy and Kennedy’s secretary was namend Lincoln? And that Lincoln Kennedy’s secretary is named Eugenia? It might be true!

The songs:

Where Did You Sleep Last Night? — Nirvana
Babys — Bon Iver
Already Young — The Whigs
Alternative Girlfriend — Barenaked Ladies
Big Takeover — Bad Brains
The Observer — The Flaming Lips
Loretta’s Scars — Pavement
Ain’t That Love — Ray Charles
Lost Coastlines — Okkervil River
Save Us SOS — Hot Hot Heat

Bonus Video:

Prizefighter — EELS

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

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Pedroia takes the crown

Pax Arcana

Congratufugginlations to Dustin Pedroia, who today was named the American League MVP for 2008.

pedroia_jockey_crown

It was becoming increasingly difficult to argue for anyone else to take home the hardware (though some ridiculous efforts have been made).

In the end, Pedroia, as Alex Speier over at WEEI.com notes, led the league in so many categories — while playing Gold Glove defense — that voters really didn’t have much of a choice but to give it to the little jockey:

While the Red Sox second baseman amazed with his power this year, slamming 17 homers, he does not fit the prototype of the power-hitting Most Valuable Player. Nonetheless, his all-around contributions–the second highest batting average in the A.L. (.326), Gold Glove defense at second, the most runs in the league (118) and 20 stolen bases in 21 attempts–defined his candidacy. He also had a .376 OBP and .493 slugging mark.

Pedroia was particularly brilliant down the stretch, hitting .374 with a 1.060 OPS in August, and then .326 with a .914 OPS in September.

I only hope this award can boost Dustin’s self-esteem a bit. Lord knows the little fellow needs an ego boost.

Pedroia takes home the MVP [WEEI.com]

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Congratufugginlations

Pax Arcana

I’m out of commission today on business in Florida (hey, someone’s got to rig these voting machines, right?), but I did want to take a few minutes to say congratufugginlations to the Tampa Bay Rays and their dozens of short-suffering “fans.”

In all seriousness, the Rays are a stellar team. There is not a single automatic out (cough, Varitek, cough) in that lineup, and their pitching is talented, deep, and young.

Here are a few other observations from the 2008 ALCS, lifted directly from a series of text messages with Father Scott last night:

Carl Crawford has the worst Rayhawk ever. The receding hairline in the front makes it look like someone took a bite out of his hair.

J.P. Howell is the grandson Thurston never liked.

Kevin Youkilis is abnormally sweaty.

Has anyone ever seen Matt “The Corkscrew Plancha” Garza and Count Chocula in the same room?

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Technical difficulties?

Pax Arcana

Technical difficulties, TBS? That’s your circa 1961 excuse for blowing this one?

Also, would it have killed you to show something slightly less, um, shit-tastic than the Steve Harvey Show while you get your fucking resumes ready?

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Ugh

Pax Arcana

Now that really sucked. Not only did the Dodgers and Red Sox lose last night, but the previously undefeated Giants went down to the previously 1-3 Cleveland Browns.

Here is my complete chronological recap of Monday Night Football:

[/throws three picks, including one from inside the Browns 10 yard line that is returned for the game-sealing TD]

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Tim McCarver will just make shit up

Pax Arcana

Back in the day, Pax Arcana would rush home from backyard wiffle ball games to hear Tim McCarver call Mets games on WWOR. Back then, McCarver was the knowledgeable straight man to Ralph Kiner’s hilarious progessive drunkenness throughout the games.

In 1999, McCarver was fired by the Mets for being too critical of the team. As a fan, it was my judgment at the time that there was no such thing as being too critical of that team. The late 1990s Mets were the biggest waste of goddamn money in baseball history.

For that, and because his was the first real baseball voice I ever knew, I have resisted joining the increasingly massive anti-Tim McCarver groundswell that has swept the nation.

I even tried to ignore his recent babbling about Manny Ramirez:

“It’s extraordinary — the dichotomy between what he was in Boston and what he is in Los Angeles,” MLB on FOX analyst Tim McCarver said, according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I mean, talk about wearing out your welcome in a town, and it was a long welcome with the Red Sox. But some of the things he did were simply despicable, despicable — like not playing, refusing to play. Forgetting what knee to limp on. And now it’s washed, it’s gone.”

But it’s just too much. Regardless of your opinion of Manny, the statement above is so full of shit that it’s a wonder that geysers of poo didn’t shoot out of Tim McCarver’s nostrils as he was saying it.

Thankfully Baseball Prospectus is here to set us all straight:

In July, when Ramirez was supposedly “refusing to play,” the Red Sox played 24 games. Ramirez played in 22 of them. This was tied for fourth on the team with J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury. He was sixth on the team in plate appearances (AB+BB) in July. Not quite Lou Gehrig’s numbers, but he helped out a bit more than David Ortiz (six games), and was in the lineup somewhat more often than peers such as Moises Alou (one game). Oh, he didn’t get three days off in the middle of the month-Ramirez played in the All-Star Game.

When he played, Ramirez killed the league. He hit .347/.473/.587 in July. His OBP led the team, and his SLGAB. The Sox, somewhat famously, went 11-13 in July. Lots of people want you to believe that was because Manny Ramirez is a bad guy. I’ll throw out the wildly implausible idea that the Sox went 11-13 because Ortiz played in six games and because veterans Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek led all Red Sox with at least 25 has sub-600 OPSs for the month.

Four days before he was traded, Manny Ramirez just about single-handedly saved the Red Sox from getting swept by the Yankees, with doubles in the first and third innings that helped the Sox get out to a 5-0 lead in a game they had to win to stay ahead of the Yankees in the wild-card race.

If all of the above is “refusing to play,” I would sincerely like to see what “trying” looks like.

But as every real baseball person knows, statistics only reflect someone’s abilities to, you know, hit baseballs and do other things that don’t really help their teams win. What about all those scrappy intangibles like scrappiness and dirty uniforms and scrapdirt and try-hardness?

As McCarver says, sometimes Manny would forget which knee he was supposed to be limping on zomg!!!!1!!!!111!.

Or not. The Joy of Sox does the dirty work here, tracing the origins of McCarver’s groundless assertion right back to … TIM MOTHERFUCKING MCCARVER!

It turns out that McCarver was repeating that exact same story more than two years ago!

On July 10, 2006, Will Carroll of Baseball Prospects wrote that Ramirez had been

taking a disproportionate amount of heat for missing the [All-Star Game], even getting openly questioned on yesterday’s Fox telecast. Tim McCarver said the worst thing about his knee injury was “remembering which leg to limp with.”

But McCarver isn’t alone. Turns out a lot of people were talking directly out of their asses about Manny’s supposed knee forgetfulness:

It’s clear from Edes’s “evidently”, CHB’s relegation of the remark to a parenthetical, and Celizec’s labeling Chuck’s comment a “quip” that there was no real source for this “story” — it was simply a media guffaw/snide remark.

However, Peter Gammons repeated the story as fact three days later, in his July 31 ESPN column:

Ramirez tried to sit, citing his knee. … If Ramirez hadn’t forgotten which knee was bothering him, he would have been more convincing, but he got mixed up.

Gammons offered no source for his statement and because the entire column is nothing more than a bitter rant against Ramirez, I cannot accept it as fact.

In the aftermath of Ramirez’s trade to Los Angeles, the tidbit gained traction (though it was never sourced, not even to the popular “anonymous source with knowledge of the situation”):

Jon Heyman, Sports Illustrated, August 4, 2008:

One landmark moment came when Ramirez complained of knee pain but couldn’t recall which knee was hurting him. Red Sox doctors had to take the unusual step of evaluating both the right and left knee in an MRI exam.

Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports, August 8, 2008:

Last [the Red Sox] saw of Manny, he was stumping for a trade. He was crab-walking to first base. … He was trying to remember which knee hurt.

Tyler Kepner New York Times, October 5, 2008:

In the litany of Manny Ramirez controversies, it was not as egregious as reportedly forgetting which knee hurt when he visited a doctor this July. …

At least Kepner hedged his bets and said Manny “reportedly” forgot which of his knees hurt. … (It was also mentioned as a joke at The Spoof on August 19, 2008.)

Art Martone, the sports editor of the Providence Journal, told me the story

sounds awfully familiar, but I couldn’t find it anywhere in our archives. It may be an urban legend that’s been repeated so often it’s accepted as fact.

So there you have it. The story about Manny’s knee is as grounded in reality as those about Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.

Oh, by the way — as I type this, Manny is 2 for 3 with an RBI double and made a solid play in left to keep Pat Burrell out of scoring position on a laser beam to his right. So there’s that.

Facts About Manny Ramirez [Baseball Prospectus]
The Origins of “Manny Forgot Which Knee Hurt” [Joy of Sox]

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