Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Look Back. And a Look Ahead.

Starting in Spring Training, I had the same wish every other fan of the Boston Red Sox had: win the division and get to the post season. That has happened.

If the Yankees somehow managed to suck and miss the playoffs entirely, that would have been the cherry on top of the sundae. Well, that didn't quite work out so well.

Other than that, there is not too much more I could have asked for out of my team this year: great baseball, a lot of laughs, and a great 6 month run.

Some of the highlights:

Eric Hinske, early in the year, making this balls out catch to rob the Tigers of an extra base hit, then coming back later in the game to hit the deciding Home Run:

(I really hope that works: if it doesn't, hopefully you can copy/paste it and it'll show up.)

Josh Beckett, after one year adjusting to the American League, becomes the ace I knew he was.

Curt Schilling, older and wiser, reinventing himself into a "hit your spots and forget the gas" pitcher, ala Greg Maddux.

Papi, battling back, shoulder, and knee problems still gutting his way to a .332 BA, 35 HR's, and 117 RBI's.

Emerging youngsters Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Clay Buchholz giving us signs of the future, and Kevin Youkilis, Coco Crisp, and Jason Varitek coming through with solid years. In Youk's case, unless his penchant for grimacing at EVERY strike call or close play at the bag works against him, the Gold Glove for 1B should be sitting on his mantle come this winter.

Lastly, Michael Averett Lowell: I hate to think about where this team would be with the efforts of the Red Sox third baseman. .324 BA, 21 dingers, and 120 RBI's. In a year where Manny was not being Manny, Sr. Doubles stepped up in a big way. To a man, I bet any player on that team would tell you Mikey deserves to be the Red Sox MVP for this season.

Sox vs. Angels Wednesday night. Josh Beckett vs John Lackey. Papi, Manny, and Lowell vs Vladdy, Anderson, and Figgins. Mike Scioscia and his small ball play vs. Tito and his let it rip philosophy. Papelbon vs. KRod.

As an added plus: no Joe Morgan causing my ears to bleed and giving me visions of stuffing my ears with brillo pads to MAKE IT STOP.

I can't wait.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

We are the Champions

The Yankee game ended after I had posted last night and while I got to see all of the celebration, meetings at Furniture Market today kept me from posting on the win until now. Just a few pictures from last night: above is Papelbon and Daisuke early on in the festivities. If you missed seeing any of this, you've gotta trust me: Jonathan Papelbon was the STAR of the celebration.

Here's some of the fellas on the field: notice Pap is now sans pants. This is some of the young guns on the team: Buchholz, Pap, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Corey, etc..

Papelbon and Wakefield dousing Big Papi: 0nly player still on the Red Sox who was on the team the last time they won the AL East in 1995? Tim Wakefield. This had to be a special night for the elder statesman of the Red Sox.

Pap "dancing": it was at this point I was hoping he had a designated driver for the ride home. Sadly, I wasn't able to find any photographic evidence of him wearing the Bud Light box on his head with eye holes cut out or the impromptu Riverdance he performed. Trust me though: It happened.

Finally, there is my friend Kelly from on the far left getting doused with champagne by Jacoby Ellsbury: congratulations Kelly on getting to be part of history!
Last night was just the beginning, and I know there is a lot of work left to be done, but man, was it sweet to watch all this happen. Congratulations to the players, coaches, and management of the 2007 AL East Division Champions: The Boston Red Sox.
It feels REALLY good to be able to say that.
*All pictures from*

Friday, September 28, 2007


*Picture from the Boston Globe*

"One love
One blood
One life You got to do what you should
One life With each other
Sisters Brothers
One life
But we're not the same
We get to Carry each other
Carry each other" (courtesy of U2)

One game. After a long off season spent wishing things would have gone differently in '05, chasing Daisuke over the off season, and the JD Drew saga, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After wondering who our closer would be for most of the Spring, then screaming for joy when Papelbon went to Tito and said he wanted the ball in the ninth, it's almost over.

After 160 games and nearly 6 months of every day baseball, the post season is upon us: and all we need is one. One game, either a Sox win or a Yankees loss, and for the first time in 12 years, the Red Sox will be the AL East Champions. As I type this, it's 9-6 Yankees over Baltimore in the bottom of the ninth, so it looks like we may have to wait until tomorrow for the celebration.

If we do, it's all right with me: because Tim Wakefield takes the mound for the Sox on Saturday. And I can't think of a scene with more poetic justice than Timmeh getting the division clinching win: this is a guy who has been here since the last time the Sox won the division in 1995. Who has done anything the club has asked of him: starting, closing, long relief in the 'pen, whatever.

Carry us into October Wake.

How epic would that be?

NOTE: I'M an idiot: the Sox clinch the AL East, thanks to a bunt by Melvin Mora. Melvin, if I ever have another son, he'll be named after you. What a night: for the first time since 1995, the Red Sox are the AL East Champions. I. Am. Spent.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Curse This.

The Red Sox lost tonight, 5-4, to the Minnesota Twins: and it's all SI's fault. The vaunted "Sports Illustrated Curse" works it's black magic again for putting Papelbon on the cover this week.

Screw that noise: curses connected with the Boston Red Sox went the way of the dinosaur in 2004. When you come back from 3 down to beat the MFY and SWEEP the Cardinals in the World Series, you can take any talk of curses and pound sand where the sun don't shine.

They lost tonight because Josh Beckett turned back into a mere mortal and gave up 2 HR's, a triple, and NEVER had an inning without a base runner. They lost because they had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth, and Tek, followed by Youkilis, struck out.

Stuff happens: they still lead by two with three to go. So they clinch the division tomorrow. Or Saturday: big freaking deal.

Bottom line is this: they are IN. And no matter what the Yankees, Angels, Indians, or for that matter, the Twins do, THEY. ARE. IN.

And come next week, it won't matter what happened in the previous 162 games: it's what happens in the next month that counts.

In my opinion, Beckett-Schilling-Daisuke in the starting rotation with MDC-Okajima-Papelbon in the 'pen trumps any group of pitchers the other 3 teams in the AL can run out for the playoffs.

Is Manny healthy? Check.

Is Okajima healthy? Check.

Is Youk healthy? Maybe not 100%, but he's ready to roll.

That's good enough for me: let's get this clustermess started already.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Not bad for a throw in

When the Red Sox made the trade for Josh Beckett around 2 years ago, RSN was apoplectic about the guy they HAD to take in order to get him.

Coming off one of his worst offensive years in '05, Mike Lowell was looked upon at being on the downhill slide of a big league career. Well, last year he showed some flashy leather, a good stick, respectable numbers, and some of the best facial hair you'll ever see on a professional athlete.

This year? He's been better than anyone could have imagined: 20 HR's, a career best 116 RBI's, and a .326 batting average. With Manny on the shelf for the better part of the last month, what Sr. Doubles has done this year just gets magnified a bit more.

Not only that, but playing on a team with a 106 year history, guess who now owns the single season record for most RBI by a Red Sox 3rd baseman? Mike Freaking Lowell. Beating the former record of Butch "That's not MY cocaine" Hobson, Lowell has made history. Think about that for a minute: a franchise this storied and WE are watching the best ever run producer at his position for this team.

It boggles the mind: what is even more puzzling is that Theo hasn't run down to the dugout mid-game with a sparkling 3 year contract extension at some point this year. Is it as hard for you to remember the hot corner being manned by anyone else other than Lowell as it is for me? And I'm as big of a Bill Mueller fan as you'll find.

This guy just brings so many intangibles to this club that it's hard to imagine life without him: a GREAT glove, the aforementioned 116 RBI's, and the leadership role he has embraced. Fluent in English and Spanish, he is a natural bridge for the melting pot that is the Red Sox clubhouse.

Tonight, he only had 3 hits and 5 RBI's in the Red Sox 11-6 win over the A's. 4 games left in the season, and the boys have a 3 game lead in the division. And for the first time since 1995, the Boston Red Sox will be able to say they are the American League Eastern Division Champions.

Without Mike Lowell, I'm not sure they can say that.

Hopefully, Theo is watching and taking notes: 'cause a Red Sox team without Mike Lowell would be a sad thing to see.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Through the eyes of a child

Rakes had a soccer game tonight, and we got home around 8. (2 more goals for the 3 year old version of David Beckham, btw)

After bath time, snack time, and story time, Rakes and I settled down for a few minutes to watch the game: Angie grabbed the camera and snapped this picture of me and the boy.

What you don't see is the proceeding conversation.

Rakes: Who dat Dad?

Me: Curt Schilling.

Rakes: What him Dad?

Me: The umpire.

Rakes: Me want to go in there Dad.

Me: In where son?

Rakes: In the TV Dad: me want to sit in the dugout with Papi.

Me: Rakes, you can't do that.

Rakes: Why not Dad?

You get the drift: for the next 25 minutes, the conversation didn't deviate a whole lot from that vein. Somehow he thinks he can climb into the tv and just join right in. I'm both overjoyed and more than a little worried my 3 year old can recognize Manny, Papi, Tek, and Schill by sight.

Sitting there on the couch together, watching a game with my oldest son? Good times.

Final score? 7-3 Sox, and the Yankees are doing every thing they can to drop a game to the vaunted Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Hopefully by the morning, we have a 3 game lead in the division and a magic number to clinch at 4.

I don't know what caused the earth to spin off it's axis: all of a sudden, JD Drew is our hottest hitter, Gagne is pitching scoreless innings (with a little help from Papelbon), Manny and Youk were back in the lineup, and this team is firing on all cylinders. Whatever it is, hopefully it won't stop until November.

As for that look Rakes is giving me? I like to think it's a look of "Wow. My Dad is really cool."

However, I'm worried it's more a look of "Wow. My Dad is really deranged."

Way I look at it, it's better the boy finds out sooner rather than later his Dad is mental when it comes to the Red Sox.

Sooner he finds out, the sooner he accepts his lot in life.

Update: Dioner Navarro just hit a walk off HR for the Devil Rays: 7-6 is the final. The Red Sox have a magic number of 3 to clinch the division.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Musings on the final off day of the season.

Very quietly, the San Fransisco Giants announced over the weekend that Barry Bonds will NOT be playing for them next year: while I understand their reservations, the fact is Bonds is the only reason they have drawn fans since 2002, when they went to the World Series. Some American League team is about to cash a check for the playoffs next year: the man is 400 years old, and STILL has hit 28 HR's in 337 AB's. The fact he's the poster boy for performance enhancing drugs doesn't bother me: the fact that I'm afraid some of my Red Sox players are going to be outed does. I don't fault the players: I fault Selig and the owners. They turned a blind eye for so many years, and now they are on the verge of reaping the whirlwind.

I wrote a few times this season about Josh Hamilton: unless you've been living in a cave, you've heard his story before, so I won't get into it again. But after all the crap we heard this year about the likes of Ankiel, Spezio, Bonds, etc.., following this young man's season was one of my favorite things to do. For the year, he has 19 HR's, 47 RBI's, and is hit .292 in 90 games: however, his season ended on 9-13-07 with a bad hammy. I'm not Bill James, but if you project those numbers over a 162 game season, he'd end up with around 35 HR's and 110 RBI's. Not bad for a guy in his FIRST full season of MLB ball. The bigger accomplishment? He's alive. Good for you kid: I'll be pulling for the Reds as my National League team next year.

Next up? Beckett: my first ever post at this train wreck of a blog was about him, and I got it right: yes, I'm fully aware that even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then. But Joshua Patrick Beckett has epitomized the Boston Red Sox this year. Tough, ornery, and unflappable: if he doesn't win the AL Cy Young, I'm paying for Tex's plane ticket to New York so she can stand outside Selig's office with a sandwich board sign demanding a recount.
Forget his 20 wins for a second: as a fan, you LOVE to see your ace stomping and cursing around the mound when he makes a mistake, yet by the time he's ready to throw the next pitch he's forgotten about the screw up and is ready to go. You like to see that ace in the post game press conference take responsibility for a loss, yet praise his teammates for a win. Sure he may drop a few F bombs every now and then: at least you know he cares about what he does.
Finally, unless you are a member of the White Sox organization, Beckett forever endeared himself to the rest of MLB and all of RSN when he uttered the infamous "FYYO!" to A.J. Pierzynski this summer. Unless you root for the bad guy at the movies or think Donald Trump is a swell fella, you had to cheer this moment. Pierzynski, for those of you reading this who may not know, conjures up emotions in most people that cause you to go to confession.
I'm really glad today is the last off day of the season. I'm ready to finish it out, win the division, and start the march toward the World Series.
Mostly, I'm ready for a Sox game to write about: this took WAY too much thinking for me to get through it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Thoughts on the Post Season

*Picture from the Boston Globe*

Wrong sport Manny: although I appreciate the sentiment.

Celebrating Julio Lugo's 2 run HR Saturday night, all of RSN feels like Manny does: we're IN. After agonizing all off season, going through Spring Training, and then following this team since April, step one of the Big Picture has been achieved: the Red Sox are in the playoffs.

Once the actual match ups are official, I may give a position by position breakdown, but until then, this is what we know.

The Angels and Indians have clinched their division, the Red Sox are at least in the postseason, and barring a historic collapse by the Yankees (Not giving up hope on THAT yet), so are the MFY's.

After today, Boston has a 1.5 game lead in the AL East with an off day tomorrow: the Yankees have one more game against Toronto left, so if there is any justice come Tuesday morning the Sox have a 2 game lead.

If the season ended today, the Red Sox would play the Indians and the Yankees would play the Angels. Like I said, once the schedule is finalized, I'll get into it more: but one big fact I'd like to bring up is this.

Christopher Trotman Nixon will be playing post season baseball: yeah, it may be for the Indians. And yeah, I wish he was still in Boston.

However, I couldn't be happier for the guy: and if we play Cleveland, I hope Trot goes 12 for 12 and we sweep them into winter. I'm genuinely happy for the man: And even though he's been relegated to a part time player, check out this blurb from an ESPN.COM article.

"And after every one of Cleveland's home wins, the star player got smacked in the face during their TV interview with a whipped-cream pie, a tradition outfielder Trot Nixon started and one he continued during Sunday's postgame mayhem by first nailing manager Eric Wedge and then general manager Mark Shapiro."

Sounds like the old veteran has fit in pretty good in that clubhouse, doesn't it?

Just one more reason I'm proud I gave my son his name.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I hope you Dance: And we are.

Tonight, the Boston Red Sox punched their playoff ticket for the 4th time in 5 years: the Sox beat the Devil Rays 8-6, and combined with a Tigers loss, the Red Sox, no matter what happens in the next week, WILL be in the post season this year.

Down 6-5 going into the ninth, Tek hit a game tying Home Run, and ex-Devil Ray Julio Lugo hit a 2 run shot to get us to the final score, 8-6 Red Sox.

At the start of the MLB season, 30 teams dream of making the post season: tonight, with over a week to go, THIS Red Sox fan can go to bed knowing his team will have a chance for the ring.

As a fan, that's about as much as you can ask for: now, Tito can set the rotation, get key guys some rest, and give his team the best chance to win. All that said, I want to win the division in the worse way possible: hopefully the Yankees will continue to spit the bit.

If they do, great: if not, who cares? The Boston Red Sox are in the post season, and that gives me tremendous hope.

As my friend JET told me in an email: a 2007 Championship would really help offset a long, cold New England winter.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Superheros and Texans: It's gotta be Friday Night.

Rakes got his Halloween costume today: he's going as Bibleman. For those of you not familiar with this particular character, he's a Superhero who has a light saber and fights the bad guys while quoting the Bible. If you are above the age of 5 it will drive you crazy: the acting makes Barney seem like Jack Nicholson. However, it's a really positive thing for kids: teaches them good life lessons and it has Rakes spouting off scripture. The fact he's doing this while brandishing a sword and yelling like a maniac notwithstanding, at least it's a good message.

According to Angie, Trot had an ever lovin' fit when he saw Rakes cape: seems like he needed one too, so one towel and one clothespin later he was a happy camper. Man, do I wish I'd been home when all this was going on.

Finally, the Dynamic Duo together: I've said it before, but now I'm convinced. One day in the not too distant future, there will be a YouTube video of the two of them lighting bottle rockets out of their rear ends. It's as much of a sure fire lock as you'll ever find.

In Red Sox news, tonight was a GREAT night: Beckett got his 20th win, getting 8 K's, 1 run, 4 hits, and 2 walks. That's the definition of an ace: go up against the best the other team has to offer and slam the door shut.

Sox win 8-1 and as of right now, it's 4-4 in the 13th in New York. The Blue Jays wasted an outstanding outing by Doc Halladay, gacking up 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth and letting the MFY's right back in it.

I'm not sweating that tonight: my team took care of business and dropped the magic number for making the playoffs down to 2. Plus, Eric Gagne actually had a clean 1-2-3 inning in the ninth, and all of a sudden life is good again. In related news, they're playing hockey on the River Styx tonight.

It's amazing what a couple of capes and a Red Sox win will do for your mental outlook.

Here's to more of the same tomorrow.

UPDATE: The Yankees, after that 4 run comeback, LOST in the 14th inning after a Greg Zaun HR. The magic number to make the playoffs is now 2, and to win the division, 7.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Smile: And the whole world smiles with you.

*Photo from*

I'm on a sports boycott until tomorrow.

Yet I needed my Red Sox fix.

I also needed a smile before I went to bed.

This picture sort of covers all the bases.

Back to the insanity tomorrow.

Final thought: if the world had more Manny in it, it'd be a much better place.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


*Picture from the Boston Globe*

I finally know how Charlie Brown feels: after Lucy pulls the football away for the umpteenth time, I can now empathize with the lil' bald 8 year old.

Losing tonight to Toronto, after Pap gave up the Grand Slam to make it 6-1 in the 8th, I can at last empathize with Charlie.

It feels like you took a sledgehammer shot to the stomach and there is nothing you can do about it. After 3 straight losses, I just KNEW tonight would be different. Sadly, it was not meant to be: the lead is now 1.5 games heading into the weekend.

I'm not worried, depressed, or suicidal: I'm just numb: hopefully a weekend in Tampa Bay will cure me of all my ills.

Tomorrow is a day off for the boys, and it's the first time all year I'm actually looking forward to it: Rakes has soccer practice, Ciera has cheer leading practice, Angie has choir practice, and I'm spent.

I've got Prison Break and Kitchen Nightmares on the TiVo and Furniture Market coming a week from Friday: I think I could use a day off myself.

From now until Friday night, I'm on a sports boycott: it's local radio and Opie and Anthony for me from now until then.

Keeping the Fair.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

There WAS something to cheer about

Forget about Gagne gacking up a 1 run lead in the ninth: If my memory serves me, winning the division is not a prerequisite to being the World Series winner. And besides, we still are in first place: so unless I find out otherwise, all I can hear is "blah, blah, blah, blah"

Ciera had her first REAL game tonight as a cheerleader for the Yellow Jackets.

Between chasing Rakes off the bleachers, telling Rakes to STOP kicking dirt on people, and threatening Rakes with corporal punishment if he DIDN'T LEAVE THAT LITTLE BOY'S TOY alone, I thought she was fantastic.

In fact, a prettier cheerleader you could never find. The fact that none of the girls had any idea there was a game going on doesn't matter: in fact, I couldn't tell you if the football team won or lost.

I was there to watch my little girl cheer: as a sports fan, you have no idea how weird that is for me to type. But I honestly don't know: when it comes to your children, everything you've ever believed in just sort of gets tossed to the side.

A big thank you to JD for updating me during the game with the Sox score: I'm starting to think I should have stayed there for an extra hour: Rakes wouldn't have cared. He just wanted to climb the bleachers and terrorize the other kids.

Tomorrow is another day: the Sox have a 2.5 game lead. And the Natural is on the hill.

It's not perfect: but I'll take it.

Does anyone know a Dr. I can get some Prozac from cheap?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dear Red Sox Nation

Remember 2004? Yeah, I know it seems like a long time ago: especially after giving the Yankees 2 gifts over the weekend and watching 103 year old Frank Thomas do his best Reggie Jackson impersonation tonight by hitting 3 HR's.

But 2004 DID happen: down 3 games to none, the Red Sox DID IT. They won it all. Because of that, none of us should be freaking out and looking for the tallest bridge we can find just so we can jump off of it.

How about this?

It's what most considered the turning point in '04: Tek pimp slapping Arod and sending us down the road that eventually ended with winning our first World Series in 86 years.

As I type this, the Yankees are winning 5-2 vs the Orioles: if that holds up, come the end of tonight the Red Sox will have a 3.5 game lead. I won't know until the morning: as of now, I'm on "avoid all baseball news until Tuesday" mode. For all I know, Slappy and Jeter are streaking around Yankee stadium while Torre stands on the top step yelling about Yankee pride.

I'm done for today: my team is in first place with less than 2 weeks to go. Until I'm told otherwise I'm just going to assume all is well. I can go to bed safe in the knowledge that no matter what happened tonight, it's ours to lose.

I know that Josh Beckett is the baddest mofo stomping around a pitchers mound this year. And I know that sometime, most likely Wednesday, Manny Freaking Ramirez will be stepping into the batters box again. More importantly, I know THIS.

So do me a favor: Keep the Fair.

We can now get on with our lives

*Picture from the Boston Globe*

This is how I'm choosing to remember this past weekend: Eric Hinske, sporting a facial expression usually reserved for guys named Dick Butkus and Ray Lewis, running over Jorge Posada on Saturday.

Because Saturday is the day Red Sox fans should look at as the measuring stick for this team: Beckett was dominating, the offense was clicking on all cylinders, and all the Yankees could do was sit back and watch the train go by as it steamrolled through.

Friday night, the bullpen had a bad night and we lost by one. Last night, Schilling gave a brilliant performance that ended with him wishing he could throw that last pitch just one more time. In the end, we had the bases loaded and Mr. Clutch at the plate: you couldn't have drawn it up any better.

But this is baseball, and unfortunately, stuff happens. Tip your hat to Clemens: I honestly didn't think the fat man had it in him to pitch that well. We've still got a 4 1/2 game lead with a magic number of 9: I say it's in the bag by the time we leave Tampa Bay this weekend.

For all the gnashing of teeth we do about the Yankees, we end the season going 8-10 against them: which means they won two more games head to head than we did. Two freaking games.

So enjoy your victory Yankees: and have fun out in SoCal in a few weeks. And if by chance you get lucky enough to somehow get by the Angels, we'll see you again in October. If that happens, make sure Jorge gets this message:

Eric Hinske says hello.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bend it Like.... Rakes

Rakes had his first real soccer game today, and here he is getting ready to head to the field of battle. As you can see, he's already doing the "cup check" move he's undoubtedly picked up from watching Julio Lugo do it 437 times on a nightly basis.

Getting some last minute advice from Coach "Bendall": notice Wendell speaking right at him, while Rakes intently looks across the field, imagining the beatdown about to occur to the opponent. Either that, or a grasshopper just jumped onto the field.

Seconds after scoring his first ever goal, making sure I saw him "kick dat ball BEALLY hard, Dad." Moments later he runs like a madman to the middle of the field and slides into the circle. I guess I should be glad he didn't drop trou and get yellow carded for excessive celebrating.

Showing a healthy dose of mock-humility after scoring his second (of three) goals with Jessica.

Taking a breather on the bench with Ashley: I'm pretty sure she's wondering what exactly is wrong with him. He had just ran around the bench 3 times, jumped on, then off, then back on the bench again, followed by telling her it was "beally beally fun playing soccer practice".

Finally, walking across the field to share a post-game snack with his buddy Jeremy, who was on the other team: it was at this moment we found out one of the reasons why Rakes team scored so many goals. Jeremy's Dad was the coach for his team, and kept asking Jeremy why he didn't go get the ball.
Jeremy's response? "Because Rakes was playing with it Dad."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Simple Things

As I stumble through my life on a day by day basis, I find myself checking my rising blood pressure and worrying about bleeding ulcers more than I need to.

Most of this is all on me, being that I tend to freak out over the least little thing I can find. Blame OCD, the Internet, or the I Phone: who knows. All I know it the older I get, the more stressed out I become.

Sadly, this particular tick I have in my life often times causes me to miss the beauty of the forest because of the big daddy tree in front of me.

Tonight, after hitting the door at a bit after 5, I was scrambling to get Rakes to soccer practice and wondering how I'd get back in time to take Ciera to cheerleading practice when I happened to glance over at Baby Trot while getting chocolate milk out of the fridge: all of a sudden, the light bulb went off over my head.

Here is my youngest boy, with chicken in one hand and macaroni in the other, shoveling it in as fast as he could. And while Ang had done a fine job of cleaning the bar up by the time I found the camera, the picture still sort of captures Trot in full on mess mode.

I stopped, I laughed, and then I went to find the camera: it's the little moments like this that often times I miss because I'm more concerned with the big picture. For instance, driving like a maniac to get Rakes to practice, I actually took the time to REALLY listen as he talked nonstop on the way there: seems as if getting that extra cookie before bedtime is a REALLY big deal for the boy: needless to say, he got his wish tonight.

Later, I stood outside Ciera's door and listened to her talk to the neighbors dog Duffy like it ACTUALLY understood what she was saying. The fact I've ended up watching this 'lil ball of fur all weekend is a story for another day: hearing her with that much excitement in her voice is enough to make me forget about the pee stains on the carpet and the wake up call at 2 am for a walk.

If you have kids, take a minute and try to enjoy the small stuff. If you don't, try and find one area of your life you take way too seriously, and find something funny about it.

And yes: if the Red Sox were playing tonight, this huge life realization never would have taken place: I'm man enough to admit it.

But they were off, it did happen, and the Yankees lost. What can I say?

I'm much deeper when the boys have an off day.

Thank God it doesn't happen often: my head hurts and I need an Advil.

In a related note, the MFY's are now 5 1/2 games back.

I'm going to get my broom out, just in case.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Smells like 2004

*Photo "borrowed" from*

Finally: a little '04 mojo worked it's way into 2007. Down 4-3 going into the ninth, it seemed like all was lost.

All of a sudden, Lugo works a walk, and while Pedroia struck out, you still had Papi coming to the plate. 1 out, 1 on, and 1 run down.

Prior to this year, you would have expected it: however, shoulder and knee problems have had us all doubting the magic of Ortiz and the 9th inning this year.

What does the big man do? Nothing more than send Fenway into a frenzy and cause all of us, well me, to run around the house like some drunk frat boy pumping my fist and shouting "Big Papi" at the top of my lungs.

With the Yankees sitting at 5 games back, I was dreading going into tomorrow having dropped 2 out of 3 to the Devil Rays. Thanks to David Americo Ortiz, that is no longer in the equation. Hitting his second HR of the game into the RF stands took care of that, and just like that, the Red Sox have walked off against Joe Maddon and his Mod Squad glasses.

It's really amazing what one win will do for the soul: instead of being 4 games up, we're still at a 5 game lead vs. the Yankees. And with Daisuke, Beckett, and Schill scheduled for the next 3 games, I really like our chances.

You think Beckett vs. Wang and Schilling vs. Roger doesn't have our boys pumped up? Shoot, Schill DREAMS about big games like that: the FUT doesn't stand a chance.

Come Monday, I predict a 8 game lead in the division with the MFY's clinging to the wild card lead. In addition, Manny comes back this weekend to put George's minions out of their misery.

Hey: it's my dream. Are you gonna be the one to take that away from me?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The SG Roadie and a Comeback.

Just a few images from the Surviving Grady get together: here we all are. Front row is Cyn, Tex, myself, Steve, and Kelly. Middle row is JD, Candaon, and Hayes. And in the back is Rob, DB, BB, AB, and Citizen. Thanks again to everyone for a great time: this Dad of 3 is eternally grateful.

Me and candaon, captured in the Munchkin Mojo pose: notice how both of us just barely clear the top of the salad bar!

Finally, Tex and her flag: forever immortalized with the signatures of the departed David Murphy, Kyle Snyder, and Mike Freaking Timlin: Even with Tex AND Kelly explaining this, I still have no clue how this happened. All I know is there is a picture of Kyle Snyder holding a ferret on his shoulder that 15 years from now he's gonna wish he'd NEVER agreed to pose for.

As for tonight, when you start the game losing 8-1, it's never a good sign: however, this Red Sox team doesn't quit. Coming back from a 7 run deficit, they end up winning 16-10, thanks to 19 hits and home runs from Pedroia and Drew.

After a 1-0 pitching duel last night, the boys come back and score 16 runs tonight: for my Yankee buddy Shawn, I say HA: and to my living on the edge sales manager Bob, would you please relax now?
5 games up, and the magic number at 13: your 2007 AL East champs are: the Boston Red Sox.

Man, does that sound sweet.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Road Trip

I got home from Baltimore at around midnight last night, and slept, to put it kindly, like crap. After working in the office for most of the day, I took a quick power nap so I could be ready for the Schilling/Kazmir match up tonight.

Matt and Ted's excellent adventure went well, and we got to Baltimore relatively unscathed: the only blip on the trip up was that we somehow ended up at the downtown Washington D.C. bus station. Don't ask me: HE was driving. All I know is we nervously cracked "Vacation" jokes until we found our way back to I295N.

We pulled up to the Sheraton downtown about 2, where Mattie dropped me off to meet up with some of the other commenter's at the SG board for a get together at Shula's Grille, with the reservations having been secured by citizenhbg.

You know how you get nervous meeting someone you've talked to for a long time, but have never met in person? Now, multiply that by a dozen and you sort of get how I felt as I walked in the door. Beating me to the table were the aforementioned citizen, Kelly, Cyn, kdb, and of course, Tex.

After about 3 minutes my nerves faded and I spent the next few hours getting to meet some really great people. Citizen is one of the elder statesman at SG, but you'd never know it: truly a gentleman if I've ever met one. Kelly was exactly as she'd been described: funny, engaging, and within 5 minutes made me feel like I'd known her for the past 20 years. Other than being jealous of her camera, I can't think of a negative thing about her.

Cyn was quiet at first, and I was hesitant initially to strike up a conversation. I'm glad we did though, as we had a great talk about Dads and daughters, blogs (thanks for the help, Cyn) and baseball. KDB is actually Kurt Busiek, who has written comic books all his adult life: I hunted through some of ours that Mom had saved over the years, and sure enough, there he was, listed as "head writer" in several of them. Other than skipping out without paying his bill, he was great! He'd actually brought copies of his graphic novels for all of us, and graciously signed books for each of us.

What can I say about my adopted sister Tex? Well, for one, if you can't laugh in the presence of this woman, you've got serious issues. An infectious laugh, a sweet Texas drawl, and enough personality to light up a room, it was an honor to finally get to meet her.

Arriving a little later were BB, his wife DB, and brother AB: I didn't get to talk much with them, but came away feeling here are 3 people who enjoy life, don't sweat the small stuff, and especially in BB's case, the kind of guy I'd want to walk into a dark alley with on MY side. Also getting there a bit late were Rob and JD: a nicer couple you couldn't hope to meet. To have never met them, they made me feel like I'd known them for years in a matter of minutes. They also sent me multiple text messages during the game, including the one at 8:30 Saturday night:

Last, but not least, are candaon and hayes: hayes immediately came in, gave hugs all around, and started rearranging all the glasses, silverware, and napkins on our end of the table while candaon made the rounds. As much as Tex may be my adopted sister, candaon could very well be my brother from another mother: don't know if I've made a friend as quick as I made one with him. Another plus is we had a contest to see who was the taller lil' fella: and I'm happy to announce I won! Together, hayes and c make the world a brighter place.

I have no clue what they thought of me: all I know is I've never been more happy to have been so wrong. There was no way, in my mind, that all these people would be like they are online: no way they could be that nice, funny, or welcoming. And they weren't.

They were even better.

In addition to the meet up, Matt and I spent Saturday night with my buddy Randy and his great family: thanks to Wendy for the Sunday morning breakfast, and to both of them for the free place to stay. And as far as our trips to Baltimore have gone, this one was the best of so far: we got to see Daisuke pitch (not well, but we saw him) on Sat. night, and we saw Beckett win number 18 on Sunday, with Pap getting the save.

I'm already looking forward to next year little brother.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Guy's Weekend starts Tomorrow.

I know I'll never hear the end of it, but I took my picture straight from Tex's blog: I'm lazy. Sue me.

Tomorrow morning, Mattie and I head to Baltimore for our annual Red Sox fix, and I'm ready to see some live baseball.

Getting to go is always a good time: this year marks the first time we've ever gone with a 7 game lead in the AL East: at least it's 7 as I type this. I'm just hoping the Royals will remember they ARE a MLB team and figure out how to beat the MFY's.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is a great place to see a game: Boog's BBQ alone makes it a must see event. I've just gotta figure out a way to keep Matt from spending his time standing by the tent and not watching the game.

No blogging until at least Monday: Scotty, keep the light on for me, and don't go messing with the furniture while I'm gone. An added plus this trip? I get to meet Tex, and some other commenter's from the SG site as well as getting to spend some time with the Jumpster, a childhood friend from Oklahoma.

See you all on the other side: and Rakes. BE GOOD for your Mom while I'm gone.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

WAY out of my element.

While this particular injury Rakes is sporting on his nose didn't happen as a result of soccer, I have a sinking feeling pictures like this are going to become more and more common.

Somehow I've been drafted, or coerced, into being the assistant coach for Rakes soccer team. Being that I know absolutely NOTHING about the game, this makes perfect sense: I'm pretty sure all they were looking for was someone upright and breathing who showed an interest in what was going on.

Regardless, there I was, the baseball fanatic, faking my way through soccer practice, screaming "GET IN FRONT OF IT" and "KICK IT THAT WAY". See, tonight was the first scrimmage Rakes has had in soccer: Rakes, Wes, and Lane vs. Ashley, Jessie, and Adian.

After 15 knockdown/collisions, as little as I know about soccer, I've figured out this much: Rakes and Ashley better be there for every game, or else The Sharks are going to get KILLED every time. They are the only two who grasp the concept of "go where the ball is, kick it toward YOUR goal, and RUN".

Watching the butterfly flying by, or the coach on the other team, or looking up at the plane that isn't there seems to occupy the rest of the team's attention: talk about having the patience of Job. Coach Wendell has it in spades: meanwhile, I'm trying not to cheer for Rakes so much and encourage the other kids.

Other than the numerous knock downs by all the hooligans, tonight went fairly well: just had to tell the boy that if you get knocked down, you get back up again. Yes, I'm quoting really bad songs just to inspire the kids: you walk a mile in a man's shoes, then feel free to criticize.

As far as that Ashley goes: I may have to talk to her Mom about an arranged marriage for Rakes.

Cute, athletic, and a mean streak a mile long: sounds like she's right in his wheelhouse.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's only 1 game.

*Picture from*

I think this picture sums up RSN's feelings pretty well: we're all aggravated with the way the game turned out tonight. Having a one run lead TWICE tonight and still losing is like getting the wind knocked out of you while you are walking the dog. Not a pleasant feeling.

Still, they took 2 out of 3 from the O's and the Blue Jays, so you can't exactly call it a disappointment. I feel for Schill, who pitched well enough to earn the win, but I can't be too disappointed. It's still a 6 game lead and they're off to Baltimore.

So am I, along with my little brother, in 2 days for our annual trek to the House that Cal built: this time, I'm mixing in a SG travelling road show which includes meeting my long lost, adopted sister, Tex. Should be a great time meeting everyone, and let me take this moment to wish Tex, Kelly, Cyn, JD, Rob, BB, Citizen, Candaon, Hayes, KDB, and anyone else I've missed safe travels to Baltimore.

Forget ARod hitting 2 HR's in one inning tonight. Forget the loss to the Blue Jays.

Just think how sweet it'll be to be the AL East Division Champs for the first time since 1995.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

$10 Million a year CAN be a bargain

*Picture from*

17-6 with a 3.30 ERA. Ace of one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. All that with marbles the size of grapefruits.

Tonight, Josh Beckett established himself as one of the elite pitchers in the game: matched up against Roy Halladay, a Cy Young winner, Beckett did what aces do. He sacked up and slammed the door shut.

8 IP, 7 K's, 3 ER's. In fact, his pitching line almost matches Doc's: biggest difference? Beckett allowed 3 runs and Halladay allowed 5. For a pitcher, there can't be a much better feeling than going head to head with one of the best in the game and getting the better end of the deal.

With all the monopoly money being tossed at the Barry Zito's and Carlos Zambrano's of the world, Red Sox fans should be dancing in the streets that we have a 17 game winner with at least 3 more starts locked up for the flea market price of $10 million per year.

There is NO WAY Theo lets him walk once his contract expires: much like Schilling, Josh Beckett was born to pitch at Fenway.

In addition to all the excitement over Beckett, there's another youngster making waves in Boston. Jacoby Ellsbury, the ONLY player I've ever seen score from second on a WILD PITCH continues to impress: HR, triple, and a single tonight, all the while making web gem after web gem in the field. Even Beckett has noticed, talking in his press conference about kidding Manny he's Wally Pipp. For those of you lost at the mention of that name, Lou Gehrig had to take SOMEBODY'S spot.

7 games in front, with less than a month to go: all I'm hoping for now is a quick clinch so Tito can rest some guys and set the rotation.

Wow: that felt really weird to say. Usually at this point, I'm running 43 different scenarios around in my head trying to figure out how we even MAKE the post season.

Don't let anybody tell you otherwise: the view from the front is the best one of all.

Monday, September 3, 2007

I'll Miss my Stooges. Just a little.



And the Princess.

They all spent the night with my parent's last night. Tip of the cap to my Mom and Pop: their Mom and I can't thank you enough. And as I prepare for my two day excursion to Baltimore with Mattie this weekend, I'm a little bit torn.

While I'll miss them like crazy, the thought of a child free weekend with my brother and some of the SG contingent is becoming more and more appealing: no diaper changes, no picking up toys, and absolutely, positively, no temper tantrums. Well, unless Boogs BBQ is closed for some strange reason: then all bets are off.

I don't golf. I don't hit the bars. And I don't play Texas Hold Em' on Friday night every week. I'm really looking forward to a weekend of live Red Sox games without any pauses in the action due to a child climbing onto the counter top.

As for the game tonight, I'm still trying to figure out how a 10-1 lead turned into a nail biter: after Daisuke cruised the first 5 innings, the Blue Jays all of a sudden decided to make a game out of it. Fortunately for all the Red Sox fans, the bats didn't decide to go into early hibernation.

Final score? 13-10 Red Sox. I got to see Mike Lowell get his 100th RBI for the year, Daisuke get his 14th win, and the Red Sox go 7 games up over the Yankees.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Future is Now

Today was a day for the young guns: Jon Lester, fresh off kicking cancer's tail pitched into the 7th inning, giving up two runs.

Jacoby Ellsbury got his first MLB Home Run today, as well as saving Lester's bacon with this catch here, plus running to the Bermuda triangle of Fenway to chase a ball down.

With Papelbon, Moss, Okajima, and Pedroia contributing to the cause today, it was readily apparent that the future stars of Fenway are more than able to step up and step in.

For these kids to come into a pennant race and be VALUABLE contributors to the club, not just filler for the bench, is a testament to Theo and his crew of young baseball junkies.

As a fan of the team, seeing this much quality waiting in the wings is a great thing to witness.

The Future is indeed bright.

Back to a 6 game lead: all you doubters may now come in off the ledge.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

My Day

*Picture from*

7:16 a.m. Pretends to be asleep when Rakes wakes up, causing Angie to get out of bed to get him.

7:43 a.m. KEEPS pretending to be asleep when Trot wakes up, once again causing Ang to go upstairs and get the boy.

8:12 a.m. Finally gets up when Ciera does because Rakes has soccer practice at 9:00a.m.

9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Takes Rakes to soccer practice. Laughs nonstop the whole time at ten 3 year olds practicing kicking. Reminds self that at this age there is no goalie, and laughs some more. I also took Rakes to play on the playground for 20 minutes after practice, since I'm a sucker for a 3 year old asking if "me tould do play on dat playground for a dittle bit, Dad."

11:00 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. Takes Ciera to cheerleading practice, where I spent the whole time alternating between watching her and reading my SI 2007 NFL preview issue, silently hoping candaon from SG would ask me to be his "assistant to the general manager."

12:30 p.m. to 1:07 p.m. Ate lunch.

1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Takes the dervishes to the pool.

2:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. While the boys napped, watched Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares" online: I have no idea why I'm obsessed with a foul mouthed Englishman who cooks. I just am.

4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. I honestly can't recall it all: I remember many threats of punishment, throwing of baseballs, and sword fighting, and that's about it.

7:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. Watched Clay Buchholtz, in only his second MLB start, pitch a no hitter: Yep, at the ripe old age of 23, Clay Freaking Buchholtz pitched a NO HITTER against the O's. And I got to see it.

A 5 game lead, a no hitter by a wet behind the ears rookie, and a 10-0 win over the Orioles on a day the Yankees beat the Devil Rays.

And it's still a 5 game lead.

If this isn't a sign for the post season, I don't know what is.