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Monday, March 31, 2008

AL Predictions.

Because I had one of those nights where I'm positive somebody is going to knock on my front door and demand I turn over my Dad card, I'm not writing about Huey, Dewey, and Louise tonight. In fact, after I post this I'm going to bed and pretending today never happened. You hear me? It NEVER happened.

As we wrap up Opening Day, I decided to lay out my picks for the 2008 season. Keep in mind the name of this blog is Red Sox Dad, so if you expect impartial analysis of each team and the factoring in of VORP and how a team hits with 1 out, a guy on 2nd, and the beer vendor down the first place line at row 3, you may not be interested in the rest of what I have to say. I hear Bill James is a whiz at that sort of stuff. You may want to head his way.

AL EAST:
1. Boston Red Sox. Why? World Series Champs, virtually the same roster, and Manny in a contract year. Sort of.
2. The MFY's. Even with Richie, Potzie, and Ralph Malph penciled into the starting rotation they have enough thump to finish second. Although I'm guessing they don't even make it as the Wild Card. Do you honestly think The Chin is going to hit .338, or whatever he hit again? Jeter is 32, Damon should be used for glue at this point, and it's still not clear whether Giambi can function without the aid of chemicals.
3. Blue Jays. They are counting on A.J. Burnett to save them. That's like hoping the Shiites and Sunnis will all of a sudden have a slumber party together. It ain't happening.
4. Rays. If they EVER get consistent pitching, look out.
5. Orioles. As long as Angelos remains the owner, this once proud franchise will continue to provide updates to the rest of the division on what the cellar looks like.

AL Central:
1. Cleveland. I know the Tigers are the obvious pick, but that bullpen scares the beejesus out of me. Todd Jones is the closer, for Pete's sake. And while I know he's done it for years, sooner or later he's GOTTA revert back to the beer league softball pitcher we all know he is.
2. Tigers. I won't be surprised if they do win it, but Dave Dombrowski better get some bullpen help STAT. That said, they very well could set the watermark for 14-13 game wins. That is one scary lineup.
3. White Sox. Ozzie Guillen is a classic. Yes, I'm basing my pick on the manager being an absolute nut case. It wouldn't shock me if he sprinted out of the dugout and tackled a player running to first. Fact is, I'm a firm believer baseball needs more guys who if they had a real job would be declared mentally incompetent.
4. Kansas City. Just because. Like I said, there has been absolutely NO real analysis given to these picks. I'm old school: straight from the gut. Plus I think George Brett has threatened to hit Alex Gordon in the giblies with a fungo bat every time they lose. And we all know you don't want THAT to happen.
5. Minnesota Twins. They lose their best pitcher in Santana, best hitter in Hunter, and the manager looks like he's one shot away from tending bar at " Jimmy's Place" in Fargo.

AL WEST:
1. The California/Los Angeles/Santa Monica/Beverly Hills 90210 Angels. Even with the top two starters beginning the year on the DL, they have Vladdy. As time goes on, I'm more and more convinced Vlad comes from the future, sort of like the Terminator. How else do explain a guy who walks like he's 78 and can hit a ball off his shoelaces onto the Freeway passing by the stadium? That sort of stuff is NOT normal.
2. Texas Rangers. Only because Josh Hamilton is playing for them now, and other than the Red Sox going back to back, there is NOTHING more I want than to see this man do well. Carolina boy, drug addict, collector of REALLY cheesy tattoos, I'd like nothing more than for him to win Comeback Player of the Year. And hitting in that bandbox? He very well could do it.
3. Seattle. Only because Oakland would have a hard time beating the Bad News Bears right now. I'm not buying the hype; unless Jr. Griffey comes back, they don't have the bats to compete over a full season.
4. Oakland. A banged up 3rd baseman is your best player. 'Nuff said.

Now, come October I'll post how my brilliant predictions actually played out in the AL. If the Royals end up in the WS it won't shock me; I just needed a diversion tonight.

Tomorrow, the NL picks.

Unless Rakes does something REALLY funny, then all bets are off.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday is just another day to Rakes.

I REALLY hope this isn't a glimpse into the future.

Rakes sporting a really bad tattoo and looking like some 4 year old version of James Dean in "Rebel without a Cause". Also, notice the pistol he somehow rigged up to hang from the back of his shirt. I'm still trying to figure out how he did that. Finally, take a look at his eyes; you ever seen a 4 year old give you the chills? He looks like Woody Harrelson in "Natural Born Killers" for God's sake.

As noted in the previous post, his Mom got him the tattoo pack last night at the grocery store and he HAD to have it put on before bed last night.

We should have thought about today being Sunday. By the time I checked on him, he'd taken his shirt off 3 times so he could, and I quote, "Show ebebybody my tattoo, Dad. Dey hadn't seen a tool tattoo like dis one, Dad!"

Yep. That's my boy. Disrobing in Sunday School to show the rest of the class his Pirate tattoo. Can somebody tell me what in the world I'm gonna do when this maniac is eligible to drive? I mean, there are rules about locking your kids in their room for 5 years and stuff.

I'm ending the day the same way I'll end every day for the next 6 months; watching a baseball game. Yeah, it's ESPN and yeah, that means Joe Morgan. Usually Morgan makes me want to stick a rusty nail in each ear while listening to The Backstreet Boys as I read poetry outloud.

Tonight? I could care less. There is real, live baseball that COUNTS on my tv and it'll be that way until the end of October. Baseball is BACK, everybody.

Which can only be considered a good thing.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Shopping With Rakes

For some strange reason, Ang took Rakes grocery shopping tonight. Why would she voluntarily take him when I was home and available to guard the valuables? I'm going with temporary insanity.

In the end, I'm REALLY glad she did, because it gave me my post for tonight. Apparently, taking Rakes grocery shopping is the G rated version of "Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip".

From LOUDLY proclaiming that "we dust DOT to have dis, Mom" while on the feminine hygiene aisle, to lying prostrate on the floor at one point and uttering "I tan't do on, Mom", shopping with Rakes is a competitive sport.

At one point he threw 4 rump roasts into the shopping cart when Ang's back was turned and a short while later, upon seeing some Chicken of the Sea cans, loudly proclaimed "We DOTTA have dis, Mom. If we eat it, we'll turn into MERMAIDS!"

After procuring a "Pirates of the Caribbean" tattoo pack, he finally settled down enough for Angie to get home with the groceries. Bless her heart, Ang somehow ended up around $13 dollars over what she was banking on.

Turns out Rakes snuck in 3 cans of Tuna, 2 cans of Vienna Sausages, and one box of Hamburger Helper not on the list, along with three large cans of Chipotle Chili.

At least it wasn't a box of Maxi Pads.

Finally, I'm ending my day watching an exhibition between the Red Sox and the Dodgers from the LA Coliseum. It's roughly 200 feet down the LF line with a 60 foot high screen to counter the small dimensions.

I'm pretty sure when Rakes starts T-Ball next month, it'll be farther than that to hit one out.

Also, I'll go out on a limb and say that Tanner Boyle will have NOTHING on my boy once he starts to play.

Now I know why Morris Buttermaker was always drinking.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Stateside

Out on the Left Coast, the Munchkin and the boys spent the day trying to get their body clocks reset and work out the kinks of a whirlwind trip to Japan and 2 unGodly flights, as every non pitcher not named Manny or Coco worked out today. They play the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium tonight, then head down the 405 (No clue if that's what it's called. Poetic license and all that) for a exhibition in the LA Coliseum, where 115,000 are expected.

For an exhibition game.

In California, where people arrive late and leave early to beat the traffic, there is no NFL team (no matter it's the 2nd biggest TV market), and following celebrities around is considered a sport.

Hank Steinbrenner can take that "there is no Red Sox nation" quote and bite my tweeter. I can GUARANTEE you there will be more red than blue in the stadium tomorrow night. Then it's off to Oakland, then Toronto, and then? Home. And that brutal 21 day road trip will be, thankfully, a thing of the past.

A VERY Happy Birthday tomorrow to my little boy Trot. Turning 2, he starts that road from baby to little boy and in a great example of being like Dad, he's sick on his birthday. He's got some type of wicked diaper rash along with an infected finger that is as red as a beet and apparently hurts at any type of movement. Remember everybody: antibiotics are your friend.

Just like his namesake though, he's a true Dirt Dog and is gutting his way through the pain. At least as much as a two year old Mama's boy can.

So Happy Birthday, little Trot.

Daddy loves you.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Float like a Butterfly....

Tonight at dinner, Rakes started chanting the following:

"I'm the Host... With the Most"

He then did some weird musical interlude before repeating that over and over.

I'm not sure if it's some Disney channel song or he's just channeling his inner Ali.

Who knew I had a miniature version of Don King on my hands?

Only in America.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It picks TODAY to actually work?

I miss most of the come from behind TWICE to win game 1 and get ALL of the 5-1 Game 2 loss.

Yep: seems fair.

About the only thing positive about today's game was Manny getting HR #1 for the season and #491 for his career. Of course he celebrated in typical Manny fashion, pimping at the plate and joyfully pointing skyward as he rounded first. In the 6th inning. Making the score 4-1, A's.

I know a lot of people give Manny a hard time about stuff like that, but I honestly don't think he means it maliciously; I just think he's naturally goofy. Besides, he's just carrying on the Red Sox tradition of having that one guy everybody just scratches their head over, ala Bill Lee, Oil Can Boyd, and Wade Boggs. Boggs you ask? Surely you're not gonna tell me a guy that ate fried chicken every day because he thought it was lucky isn't a few bats short of filling up the rack?

Trust me, I'm currently raising a little Manny in Rakes. Perpetually acting like an escapee from the loony bin, he does stuff on an hourly basis that just make you shake your head. Like tonight, for instance. As he's eating his cheese nips before bedtime he looks up and says "Dook Dad. I tan eat my trackers like George", then promptly puts one between his toes, lifts his foot to his mouth, and munches away.

Why? Who knows. That's just Rakes being Rakes.

But don't tell me you honestly can't picture Manny looking over at Papi on the flight to L.A. tonight, holding a cracker up and saying "Hey look at this, mang. I can eat my crackers like that monkey who lives with that dude who wears the big yellow hat".

'Cause I know I can.

Thankfully, it's back to the states for the boys.

Give me a 10 p.m. start over getting up with the chickens any day of the week.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Letter to DirecTV

Dear Whoever is responsible for the cluster mess that was today,

Last spring I switched from Dish Network to DirecTV for one reason; you made an exclusive deal with MLB to be the only satellite provider of the Xtra Innings package. It was a minor inconvenience to switch, and I had to pay some money to opt out early, but it's OK. You can't put a price on Red Sox baseball, pally.

Since then, I've been a loyal customer. Never complain, never call and ask the C/S people "do you have Prince Albert in a can?", and even let you charge me for that stupid magazine I never asked for. Even though I called 4 freaking times and asked you to stop sending it.

Other than the occasional lost service due to lightning, I've really had no complaints. I didn't even mail that letter I had Miss Hathaway (yeah I've got a secretary named Miss Hathaway. Doesn't everybody?) type about how you can put a stinking satellite in OUTERFREAKINGSPACE, yet you can't give me a dish that doesn't stop working when there is a thunderstorm?

That's why what happened today must never, EVER, happen again. I rolled myself out of bed at 5:30 (that's 5:30 a.m. btw, pencil pusher.), stumble to the living room, and turn on ESPN2. What did I see? Not Daisuke Matsuzaka, Manny, or Gary Thorne. Though I'm sort of glad about the Thorne thing; that guy really burns me up when he starts going on and on about Schilling faking the blood on his sock.......

Sorry, got off track for a second. That's what happens when you get up at 5:30 IN THE EFFING MORNING. Look, I'm not unreasonable; I understand acts of God like storms and hurricanes, or an asteroid hitting the satellite as Bruce Willis and a team of oil drillers fly in a rocket to blow it up with a nuke (How in the name of all that is holy did THAT idea get approved?). But this was Opening Day, man. It's not like this crept up on you or something; you've known about it for MONTHS. Could you not have, you know, prepared or something? Made sure everything was plugged in, the green wire was in the green hole, and if all else failed, had somebody whacking the machine on the side while uttering profanity laced tirades?

'Cause you made me miss Papi doing his best Roy Hobbs...

Jacoby channeling his inner Spider Man...

Manny letting the boys know he missed that Home Run by THIS much...

And finally, you made me miss this. A guy who makes $18 million a year smiling like some ditch digger who just won the power ball. Holding a check for, well, I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure it's not $18 million dollars, over his head like it's the greatest thing that ever happened to him.

Thanks a pantsload, dink.

In closing, you ruined my day. Can you please get Darrin in tech support on this, ASAP? Just to make sure it doesn't happen again? 'Cause if I can't see game 2 and have to wait until next Tuesday to see the fellas?

You just tell whoever the head bottle washer is the following.

To quote Wyatt Earp from the movie "Tombstone":

You tell 'em I'M coming... and hell's coming with me, you hear?

Sincerely,

The deranged, sleepy, punch drunk RSD.

P.S. How about a free weekend preview of HBO every once in awhile? Throw us a bone, will ya?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wake: "Does he EVER stop talking?"

Roughly 8 hours to go.

At the unGodly hour of 6 a.m. I'll stumble out of bed, hopefully remember to put my pants on, grab a glass of Mt. Dew, and park myself in the easy chair.

Maybe Trot will sleep in, Rakes won't want to play the PS2 until AFTER he's destroyed the toy room, and my long suffering wife can get some much deserved sleep. A guy can dream, right?

Ang called me this afternoon, ranting at me about WHY the DirecTV bill jumped up $40 dollars this month. After convincing her I hadn't purchased "Naughty Nurses Part 3", I explained that the MLB Xtra Innings package kicked in this month. Funny how one thing can make one person freak out, while leaving another smiling from ear to ear.

Baseball season is here, people. And tomorrow morning, Daisuke will be on the mound, Manny will be wearing his hair net, and a baseball game that actually counts will be played. Yeah, it's in Japan. And yeah, it's on ESPN2, so no DO and Remdawg. I could care less.

Pedie will be manning 2nd, Tek will be catching, and Senor Doubles will be playing 3rd base. And so it begins.

This year is a little more special for me. Not only are the boys defending their second championship in 4 years, it also marks my first trip to Fenway. In May, I'll somehow get on an airplane and ship myself up to Boston.

I feel like Red at the end of The Shawshank Redemption.

"I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain."

Let's get it on.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's Official. Peter Pan plays LF for the Red Sox.

Can I tell you how much I'm loving the fact I've not seen one normal picture of Manny since Spring Training started? Poor Julian has no idea he's about to get accosted while he limbers up. At least that's what I'm guessing he's doing; for all I know he's practicing some move from his upcoming "Yoga with Yo Yo" video series.

I'm fairly certain the only person who would look more uncomfortable receiving a bouquet of flowers than Tito would be me. Look at him; poor guy looks like he doesn't know whether to laugh or cry, and is probably trying to figure out who to actually give them to. Mrs. Tito? Or Papelbon? Because you KNOW that lunatic asked for 'em as soon as Francona got back to the dugout.

After getting home from Easter services at church, I spent the better part of the day playing "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Shrek 3" with Rakes on the PS2. I figure the Easter Bunny decided to try and divert Rakes' attention from Star Wars, which I'm all for. Except I let him watch the movie this afternoon during quiet time, and he spent tonight running around the house yelling "Dou've dotta det yourself a dirl, mate!" All the while jumping from chair to chair and swinging an imaginary sword.

Throw in Trot getting up every hour, on the hour last night and Ciera thinking her room is a landfill, and it all adds up to one exciting day. Ang is sleep deprived and I'm more twitchy than Otis on the Andy Griffith Show when Barney shut down the little old ladies still.

At least they clean up nice.

Just another day in the life of the RSD.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I smile because it's Manny

Have you ever seen a professional athlete look as goofy as Manny does in this picture?

Hat askew, sporting a grin you'd usually find on Rakes watching an intense light saber battle between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

If you don't like Manny, I've gotta wonder if you have a soul.

From me to you, have a blessed and happy Easter everybody.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Decorating Easter Eggs. Or Giving Ted An Ulcer.

We spent part of Good Friday decorating Easter eggs with the kids, and while it looks like Rakes is the picture of calm, just remember. Looks can be deceiving.

If you can't make it out, that's Darth Vader on his egg. Thankfully, we only lost 3 eggs due to dropping them on the kitchen floor.

Ciera was her usual neat, organized, and bossy self while her and Rakes argued about whose egg was whose and between all the yelling and grabbing, only one cup of yellow dye fell on the floor. The same floor where I'd spent the previous hour and a half sweeping and mopping. Timing is everything, I guess.

Even Trot got in on the act, putting some stickers on eggs that Ciera and Rakes had dyed. It amazes me every year how they can turn something as easy as decorating eggs into a battle to the death, complete with yelling, screaming, crying, and the occasional "That's it! I'm leaving!"

To catch a break from the "2008 Easter Egg Coloring Contest of Death", I hit the interwebs looking for images of the boys in Japan. I found Papi and Tito in a Geisha robe, plenty of shots of bewildered, exhausted players exiting the airplane upon arrival, and one of Coco that for his sake I'm not posting.

I found one, however, that made me smile in a way I'm sure I haven't since I was 11 years old and finally got that Atari Game System I'd been dreaming about.

Manny, Julian, and Papi.

May God have mercy on the citizens of Japan.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Leprechauns, Rakes, and really long plane rides

This afternoon, upon being found by his Mom lying on our bed with an entire bag of candy laying all around him in various states of unwrappedness, Rakes the Destroyer uttered the following:

"The Leprechaun did it, Mom".

I have no idea where in his fertile little mind he comes up with this stuff; the only thing I can possibly think of is they talked about Leprechauns at school this week, being it included St. Patrick's Day. Problem is, according to Ang, he said it so convincingly and with such a poker face, if she hadn't know better she'd have believed him.

After a plane ride of more hours than I care to even contemplate (I'm wondering how I'm going to survive a 1 1/2 hour plane trip in May) the Red Sox arrived in Japan today. While you wonder how the rest of the players kept from either killing Papelbon or stuffing him in the overhead compartment, consider this. Along with the motor mouthed closer and Pedroia SURELY challenging any and all comers to an arm wrestling contest, they flew that far with the 5 month old son of Manny Delcarmen.

The fact that none of them had to be wrestled to the ground by the flight crew boggles the mind.

We found out that Pap bought a state of the art poker table to pass the time, only to have it broken just a few hours in an a still unknown incident. My guess? Timlin wanted to have a Dwarf tossing contest and threw Pedie JUST a bit too hard. That's only a guess, mind you.

Becks commented at Surviving Grady today that Manny and Papi in Japan had international incident written all over it, and someone else said the same about the Papelbot. I'm just hoping there are no Led Zepplin-ish moments where tv's come flying out of 6th floor windows and Papelbon doesn't drill some Japanese player in an exhibition game just for having the nerve to wear a cup when he comes up to bat.

This could be a VERY interesting trip.

Finally, I'm firmly convinced only Manny could pull off this particular look.

Welcome to Japan, Mr. Ramirez.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stand Up and Be Counted

"I'm so super proud of this team. When we put it to a vote it was unanimous, we're all in agreement that we're not going to put up with this.''

With that quote, Mike Lowell cemented himself as one of my all-time favorites. Sure, his Gold Glove play at third the past two years, along with his stellar offensive numbers last season, WS MVP, and award winning facial hair had pretty much made that a given already. But if I had a vote, after today my man would get his own statue outside Fenway and a lifetime supply of beard groomers.

Long story short: early today it came out that the Sox players had discovered the coaches and trainers wouldn't be getting the $40,000 appearance fee the players were, despite the fact this had been agreed upon by MLB before the Red Sox agreed to start the season in Japan, of all places.

Whether this was a misunderstanding on the part of the Red Sox, or just some evil plan by Uncle Bud and his minions really doesn't matter. What does matter is Mikey, along with Tito and the rest of the players saw an injustice being done, and like some bearded and scruffy crew of righteous avengers, they stepped up and made a stand.

As Tito put it, " It wasn't about being greedy. It was about trying to be unified." And that is the thing about this whole story that makes me proud to be a fan of the Red Sox. From ownership to the players and all the way down to the guy that picks up the dirty uniforms off the floor at the end of the game, this organization is a TEAM. And when the highest paid part of that team is disgusted at the way the lowest paid part is being treated? Well, that just gives me a case of the goosebumps.

And just so you don't think that today was all about conflict and tension, I'll let Manny close this post out for me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rakes in Action.

Due to the fact Ciera apparently is a fan of really LONG movies, I can't show the clip of Rakes scoring a breakaway goal. I guess 2:37 is too long for Blogger to be able to process.

Needless to say, it was classic Rakes; score the goal, run over and high five Dad, then dart back to the starting circle, jump around and remind everyone HE was the one who scored, then take the ball and run about 30 yards out of bounds while the ref's whistle blows.

Reminder to self: Go over the basic rules with Rakes before the next game.

In addition to finding out I've been made assistant coach (I've got my own green Sharks jersey to prove it), Thursday night brought us a new, and not necessarily improved, Rakes.

First is the aforementioned loss of hearing. Second is the tendency to wander off the field when he wanted a drink of water, forget the fact that the GAME is going on. I just gotta keep telling myself he's 4, not 14.

As you watch the video, keep in mind that this was taken at the END of a 45 minute game, yet he runs around like he just showed up. Coach Wendell has given him the nickname "Popeye" and made Rakes promise he'd bring spinach for everyone else next time.

Finally, notice the look of absolute bewilderment on his face toward the end when the little girl grabs the ball with her hands; he asked me AT LEAST 12 times on the way home "why dat dirl use her hands? You TAN'T use your hands in soccer, Dad."

Leave it to Rakes. The only time he follows the rules is when there is a ball involved.


video

Monday, March 17, 2008

Blogger can go pound sand.

Ciera taped 3 different videos of Rakes playing in his second soccer game of the spring.

I downloaded it with no problems.

I've spent the last 3 hours trying to post in on my blog. And I can't seem to figure out how to do it.

It's late, I'm tired, and blogger can take a long walk off a short pier.

He scored 3 goals, had 6 "Rakes" moments, and I laughed my tail off.

Oh yeah: Screw the MFY.

I'm heading to bed.

::curses blogger.com::

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Visit Down Memory Lane. Part Deux

Due to the fact Ciera is grounded until NEXT Sunday, Rakes has rattled my nerves so bad I resemble one of those bobble heads you see on somebodies dashboard, and I had to threaten Trot with severe corporal punishment just to get him down for a nap, I need a diversion.

So tonight I decided to post about another one of my favorite ex-Sox players.

Spaceman Bill Lee.

If you don't know his story, this guy makes Manny look normal. He played for the Red Sox from '69-'78, and the phrase "he was a character" doesn't do him justice. He may well have been the first hippie in MLB, and he was a quote machine for the media.

From talking about sprinkling pot on his cereal to calling former manager Don Zimmer "The Gerbil" Lee was, well, entertaining. Zimmer HATED Lee, and even though he was a Yankee killer, Zimmer stuck him in the bullpen in 1978. The rest is history, and if you don't know what 1978 means to a Red Sox fan? Bucky Freaking Dent is what it means.

Upon being traded to the Expos following that season, Lee said this: "Who wants to be with a team that will go down in history alongside the ‘64 Phillies and the ‘67 Arabs?" A pawn of the man he wasn't.

For all his kookiness, the man could pitch. He specialized in the Eephus pitch, alongside various other junk pitches; Nolan Ryan had nothing to worry about. If you don't know what an Eephus pitch is, go down to the local softball field this spring and watch a game. THAT is an Eephus pitch. Can you imagine the marbles it took to throw that thing to Reggie Jackson? It's sort of like watching Wake throw the knuckle ball; it looks like you should be able to hit the Mass Pike with it, but you just end up looking silly in the end.

However, the biggest reason I'm a Bill Lee fan? He HATED the Yankees. Still does. For years he blamed Graig Nettles for ruining his shoulder during a Sox/Yankees brawl, and if you ask him today what he thinks about them, get ready for an expletive filled rant at anything and anybody in Pinstripes.

The guy oughta have a statue out on Landsdowne Street.

As recently as 2007, he was playing the topic of yesterdays post, Oil Can Boyd, and a team of former major leaguers in a barnstorming tour where they honored the playing style and heritage of the Negro Leagues.

Still fighting the man at the age of 61.

God Bless, Spaceman.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dykstra, Oil Can, and Rakes?

I got my new Sports Illustrated on Thursday, and while perusing it in, well, let's just say the "reading room" today, I got quite the shock. Lenny Dykstra, who spent the better part of the early 90's playing CF for the Phillies, drooling tobacco juice down the front of his uniform, and being the poster boy for "What steroids can do for YOU" is apparently some sort of financial genius.

Turns out the guy who used to crash into walls as often as he crashed his car, was a compulsive gambler, and the leader of the "Idiot" Phillie teams of the early 90's now owns THE PLAYERS CLUB. While the name leads one to think it's some sort of strip joint, it's actually a financial service for professional athletes designed to help them manage the money they make playing sports and keep from blowing it all.

It got me thinking about former Red Sox players who sort of fell out of the public eye after playing, and where they were now.

First one to come to mind? Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd.

A career 78-77 pitcher, Oil Can was Manny before Manny even came along. He gave us quotes like "I am The Can, and I am going to come right at you with my best s**t, and if you can hit it, I want to see how far Bo Jackson can hit The Oil Can." Bo then deposited Can's first pitch up and over the 71 foot high scoreboard in Fenway.

Or "You've got to do what's good for The Can." This sounds innocent enough, until you find out he was referring to crossing the picket line in 1994/1995 to play with the "scabs" before the infamous "Let's just cancel the World Series strike". I'm guessing that didn't exactly endear him to his fellow union members.

Even better was this: "That’s what they get for building a park on the ocean." The park he was referring to? Cleveland Municipal Stadium. In Ohio.

Last seen, he was bouncing around the Independent Leagues in 2005 at the young age of 45.

I don't know why I've always been drawn to the Manny and Oil Can's of the sports world. I guess I just liked the oddballs and eccentrics all my life. Maybe it's because I CAN'T be that guy who just says whatever he wants and doesn't care about the consequences.

Or better yet?

Maybe Oil Can and Manny were just prepping me for having a son like Rakes.

He DID score 5 goals in his soccer game today, then babbled for an hour tonight about how Soccer and Darth Vader were somehow intertwined.

I still have no clue what he was talking about.

But it WAS funny.

Friday, March 14, 2008

An Image From The Future

A few weeks from now, images like this will be commonplace as the Red Sox start the 2008 season.

Manny, helmet slightly ajar, being greeted at home plate with a friendly tap on the head by the Munchkin and slapping hands with Senor Doubles. As much as I've enjoyed seeing pictures from Spring Training and catching the odd game on NESN, I'm ready to get the season started.

Even though there'll be no more chants of "Dougie's Going Deep", we'll get the chance to yell "Straight Cash, Homey!" every 5th day. Jacoby seems to have won the starting CF job, basically because Coco is a walking M.A.S.H. unit, so he sort of gets the job by attrition instead of actually winning it outright.

Other than that, the 2008 version of the Boston Red Sox is gonna look virtually identical to the 2007 version that went wire to wire and won it all.

I gotta say: I'm feeling pretty good right about now.

We hadn't had a picture of all three kids taken together since Trot came along, save for my inept job with a digital camera. While I considered flying Kelly down here and having her work some magic, we decided the coupon we got in the mail that got us 36 prints for $6 dollars was still a better option. Although I'm seriously considering her for our 20th Anniversary print.

Thankfully, they take after their Mum.

Except for Rakes.

Poor kid: he looks just like I did at that age.

Hopefully he'll follow my lead and marry over his head.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Step One

As a card carrying member of the OCD club, I've dealt with all sorts of stuff over the last several years.

The birth of three children while I somehow managed to stay upright and conscious.

More nights than I care to remember where I checked the same freaking lock for the 30th time.

Winters spent with cracked and bleeding hands from all the stupid hand washing I've done. Although I curtailed that pretty much when I decided MY skin wouldn't touch a public door.

Ever.

My tie, jacket, and sleeve get a pretty good workout now. If you're a guy, you sort of know what I'm saying. Men? They're pigs. If you've ever seen a guy do his business, check his hair in the mirror, then walk out of a public restroom without so much as a glance at the sink, you know what I'm talking about. So I just avoid touching ANYTHING after I've washed my hands. So far? So good.

Which brings me to tonight. As some of you know, I haven't been on a plane in 11 years. After Ang and I celebrated our 5th anniversary in Cancun (the night before we left, she told me she was pregnant with Ciera) we were flying back to Raleigh, NC and for no apparent reason, I panicked. I haven't been on a plane since then.

63 days from now, I'm shipping myself up to Boston. Much to Ang's chagrin, it seems that a weekend in Boston, by myself and going to 3 games at Fenway, is my magical cure.

Only it isn't. I'm freaking out just thinking about it. Today, I took the first step in assuring I'll actually do it. I went to the airport.

I wanted to see where I'd need to be dropped off and I even went inside to find the Skybus terminal, just so I knew where I needed to go. And I didn't pass out, although I did have sweaty palms and my left leg wouldn't stop doing it's best impression of a jackhammer.

Wow.

I'm more of a Ninny than I thought I was.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Manny. Still Being Manny.

Forget all the stories coming out of Spring Training about Manny being more mature, what with all the reading of actual books and self retrospection. THIS is the Manny I've grown to love.

Standing around with his glove on his head, looking like he's trying out for the role of "Cousin It" in the 2008 remake of "The Adams Family".

Look, I'm all for Manny shedding his Muppet-like characteristics and joining the rest of us in reality. I just don't want him to lose that child like innocence when it comes to playing a kids game for a living.

As long as this new found maturity eliminates lolly gagging to first on ground balls and unnecessary pimpage of long hits that turn into singles, I'm fine with it.

Just give me trips inside the Green Monster during the game, petting Julian Tavarez in the dugout, and the random pointing at anything that moves and I'll be fine.

As Ang returned home from church tonight with the Three Stooges, she told Rakes to tell me what he had on.

Girls underwear.

Needless to say, this never appeared on my radar. Turns out, the little Tazmanian Devil neglected to mention to his teacher that he had to pee, resulting in him wetting his pants. Lucky me, the only child with a spare set was a little girl named Kylie.

I'd be remiss in mentioning the only way Ang found this out was when she put Rakes in his car seat to come home and he blurts out: "I've dot Kylies underwear on Mom. It's pink and it has flowers on it! Hee hee hee!"

I've already got tomorrow evening planned out. Wind sprints in the backyard, 20 minutes on the speed bag, and a mandatory showing of Tek punking out Arod immediately following.

Funny, this never showed up in any of those Parenting videos Ang made me watch.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Battle Royale

Rakes and Trotter, doing what they love to do best: Fighting.

This used to make me extremely nervous, but ever since Trot reached Rakes' height and now outweighs him, not so much. In fact, Trot is usually the instigator in all this. Rakes sits on the floor to watch tv and Trot charges like some deranged 2 ft. tall bull and just lays him out.

Luckily Rakes is tougher than he appears, and the two will then spend the next 5 minutes rolling around on the floor and laughing like idiots.

Tonight, as they did their best impressions of Sky Low Low and Captain Underpants, I had a brainstorm. You know that horn that small towns sound whenever there is a tornado or bad weather approaching? Some places don't have it because the thing costs too much.

I've got the perfect solution; for any town who needs one of these that is in a budget crunch, I've got the answer. I'll just tape my two human Air Raid sirens for about 5 minutes and your problem is solved.

By the way, while I don't think this will last too much longer, the older brother prevailed in the epic "Last Munchkin Standing" contest.

Even though they ended a 7 game losing streak today by beating the Mets, and Papelbon apparently decided to make it completely unfair and bring back the slider as an out pitch, the best news of the day, for me, came from the ornery Texan with the sketchy back.

"I got a good night's sleep," Beckett said when asked how he was feeling today.

It's not "I'm ready to go tomorrow", but it at least gives you hope he'll pitch again. 'Cause if you read the Boston media, that's not actually a given right now.

So maybe he won't be on the hill when the season starts in Japan. So what.

As long as he's able to go out there every 5th day not long after, snarling and cussing while he makes a bunch of Major League hitters look like loaners from the local beer league I could care less.

I want the Commander of the FYYO Brigade taking the ball when his name is called.

Nothing less will do.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's only Spring Training. It's only Spring Training.

I know how you feel, JD.

Yeah, it's only Spring Training, and the Devil Rays, I mean RAYS, are in first place in the AL with a 7-3 record. But do we have to be 3-8, sitting dead last? I'd be happy with middle of the pack by now.

I know they don't count. I realize the teams use Spring Training to work out the kinks, decide on final spots, and get guys ready for April. But man, does it suck to just keep losing. For my mental state alone, they need to roll off a 3 game winning streak, Manny needs to deposit one onto the highway, and Timlin has GOT to put one in somebodies ear hole, laughing like a serial killer the entire time.

Otherwise, I'm gonna go into a state of depression that only a Josh Beckett vs. Ryan Howard Hell in a Cell match up can make go away.

As I tucked Ciera into bed, said prayers with her, and got up to leave tonight, I learned I'm about to enter the frog breeding business.

Turns out Ciera's friend Alexia, who lives next door, has talked her Dad into buying her a pair of frogs tomorrow, male and female. Alexia will keep the male, Ciera the female, and after a few weeks, they will, in Ciera's words, "mate".

You could see the vapor trail I left in my wake as I left her room.

I don't WANNA raise tadpoles; I've already got her, Rakes, and Trot to deal with.

As far as the BIGGER issue goes, how in the world does she know what "mate" means? And what am I gonna do about it?

Sounds like a job for Mom.

I'm not waking her up tonight, but you can bet your mortgage payment we're having a talk in the morning.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Past 24 Hours

Last night at dinner, the little monster climbed into Trots high chair and wouldn't get down.

Tonight, he put one of their basketball toys on his head and spun around in circles. Why? Who knows. Why does he do half of the stuff he does?

Highlight of the day? Without a doubt, it was this afternoon. Sadly, it happened so fast I don't have photographic evidence; which furthers my belief I need to have a camera attached to my hip at all times, just to catch stuff like this.

Rakes, eating a banana. Trot, like some advance scout in the Army Rangers, sneaks up and snatches part of said banana. Rakes, with a look of righteous anger, whacking Trot about the head and shoulders with?

The banana peel. While pieces of the fruit fly every which way and Rakes AND Trot end up wearing it in their hair.

God help me, I laughed. Loudly.

You should have seen his face; Rakes looked like Rocky Balboa taking on Mr. T after he had killed Micky and invited Adrian over to his place to see a "real man" in Rocky III.

There is no way I survive Rakes from the ages of 12-16.

No freaking way.

At least I've got another good 8 years ahead of me.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The 3 B's: Beckett, Back Spasm, and Birthday.

*Picture courtesy of Kelly O.*

Instead of making his scheduled start today vs. the Marlins down at Spring Training, Josh Beckett threw all of 6 warm up pitches before waving Tek out to the mound.

Whenever you hear the words "back spasm" and Beckett in the same sentence, it's never good. Let's just say I was a tad concerned when I read about this tonight; Opening Day is March 25th from Japan, and I really want the Commander of the FYYO brigade to be on the bump when it happens.

Hopefully it's a minor deal, he recognized it early enough, and the trainers and medical staff can get him right by then. Starting the year without the biggest bullet in the Red Sox gun is not something I wanna think about right now.

As far as the home front goes, Trot seems to be getting a bit better. No new blisters yet and the fever seems to be gone. Rakes, however, started acting like he didn't feel good tonight before bed. His Mum and I are PRAYING he's just tired, because the thought of THAT maniac with blisters in his mouth is enough to cause me to sleep in a tree for the next few nights.

Finally, I've gotta wish a Happy Birthday for tomorrow to my brother from another Mother.

Josh, you've got the love of a good woman, Opening Day is less than 3 weeks away, and I'm coming to see you in a few months. Life is good, little bro'.

From one Munchkin to another:

Here's to this one being the best birthday yet.

::clink::

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday Night Ramblings

*Thanks to Kelly and her trip to City of Palms Park for the picture*

That's Bobby Kielty.

Potential 4th OF for the Red Sox this year, who made his bones in Boston with that solo HR in Game 4 of the World Series. It was his only A/B of the series, and it proved to be the winning run in the deciding game of the sweep.

With his hands down his pants like some baseball version of Al Bundy.

Of course he is.

This team may be more quirky, if it's even possible, than the '04 group. I wouldn't have it any other way.

On the home front, Trot is dealing with the Hand, Foot, and Mouth plague better than I thought. Don't get me wrong: little man is NOT happy with the blisters in his mouth, but he's actually cried less than we thought he would. Other than not eating every thing in sight, he's acted fairly normal today. Well, as normal as any of my whirling dervishes ever act.

'Course those blisters that were starting to form on his hands tonight may change the equation somewhat. Kids are nothing if not resilient, so hopefully he'll be able to ride out the next wave fairly well.

Finally, proof that if you can get him to get still, even Rakes will run out of gas. From tonight, around 6 p.m. while he and Trot watched "Finding Nemo"...

The only thing that shocks me about this picture?

Trot isn't whacking him upside the head with a whiffle ball bat.

I guess there are positives to being sick after all.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

You've Gotta be Kidding me.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. Something that should have been done away with when the Moores roamed the earth is what is wrong with my little boy? We can fly to the moon, have computers that give us instant information, and YouTube, yet we can't come up with a cure for some disease spread by children?

Give me strength.

After initially worrying that Trot had the chicken pox, we found out today he's got this. Turns out some other booger eater showed up at church on Sunday with it, and now I've got Ciera and Rakes turning into compulsive hand-washers.

If you've never experienced a not quite 2 year old with blisters in his mouth and a 103 degree fever, count your blessings. A Yak caught in a bear trap makes less noise.

Add to that the helpless feeling you get when you watch Tanner Boyle play shortstop in The Bad News Bears, and you get some inkling as to what my house was like tonight.

My one diversion was taking Rakes to soccer practice. Half way through he had to go pee, which usually isn't an issue. Except the public bathrooms were locked.

Just chalk it up to another plus playing in a sports league run by Goober from Mayberry.

So we did the next best thing; we went over to the fence surrounding the soccer field and he took care of his business. I'm fairly confident nobody would have noticed anything, except for the following two things.

He can't go to the bathroom with his shirt on.

And his pants were around his ankles.

'Cause as we all know, you don't want to get anything on your pants.

I'll be checking into rehab tomorrow if anyone needs me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mud, Fever, and Buzz Lightyear

Rakes, naturally, found the mudpit behind our house today. The subdivision behind us had to build a holding pond for any rain runoff, and lucky me, they put it right behind our house.

Ciera, Rakes, and the next door neighbor Alexia found some rocks to climb on right next to it, and according to Ang, it took Jr. all of 3 seconds to start Riverdancing in the mud last night's storms created.

When they got to the back door, Rakes uttered this:

"Mom, we're dust kids. We DOVE de mud."

I'm fairly positive his sister fed him that line, and yes, he's making the Devil horns.

Appropriate, right?

Got a call from Ang around 3 today that Trot was running a fever of 103 degrees. By the time I made it home, he actually made a slug look hyperactive. Once we got some Motrin in him, the fever broke and he was back to his usual shenanigans. He and I stayed home while Angie, Ciera, and the future Jesse James went to church tonight, and I somehow convinced him to eat an ice pop and about 10 crackers while he watched Toy Story.

Still not sure how that happened, but I'm just grateful he ate SOMETHING.

While scarfing down some dinner, I heard him rummaging around the toy room. When I finally found him, I saw this...

Guess you can't watch Toy Story without Buzz, Woody, and Jessie joining in.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

This is the part I hate.

If you've read here more than once, it's obvious I have great man love for Jonathan Papelbon. Anybody who can look like an ax murderer while on the mound and act like the 4th Stooge off it has a special place in my demented heart.

Without a doubt he's one of the best closers in the game; problem is, he REALIZES this and has thrown a monkey wrench into my fantasy that being a member of the Red Sox is baseball Nirvana.

Turns out, Pap wants to get paid. And while I'm in full agreement of this and would do it in a heartbeat, sadly, I'm not John Henry. I'm just some crazed fan in need of shock therapy.

Nobody would deny that our closer, who has been known to go pantsless, wear a beer box on his head, and use something you'd find in the womens section at the local Belks for a top is one of the best closers in the game. And I'm fairly certain we'd all agree he should be paid as such.

Problem is, due to the rules of the game, he doesn't HAVE to be. Not yet, anyway. Because he doesn't have enough Major League time put in, the Red Sox can basically tell him what he's getting paid, and he's got no say in the matter. Next season he's arbitration eliglible, but he'll still be a long way from setting his price.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a firm believer in these guys making as much as they can as fast as they can. There aren't people lining up to watch me sell furniture, or buy one of my t-shirts. Fact is, these athletes are one breaking ball or one freaky slide into 2nd away from being yesterday's news. Pap is just caught in between right now.

I hope management does the right thing, but knowing how they've addressed stuff in the past, I'm not gonna hold my breath. All I know for sure is this: Pap WILL be on the mound this season, throwing gas and acting a fool.

And right now? That's good enough for me.

I had a great night tonight; played miniature golf, Madagascar style, with Rakes on the PS2, and we spent an hour laughing like idiots at the fact we couldn't get the ball up this one hill. I'm pretty sure it took us 47 strokes to get it in, but we had a ball doing it.

Not a bad way to end the day.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Random Spring Training Thoughts

How does Clay Buchholz even pitch with what looks to be at least 3, and possibly 4 necklaces around his neck? He supposedly gained weight this offseason; he must have bought another necklace or two.

I got a chance to watch the complete dance routines of Mike Lowell, Alex Cora, Dustin Pedroia, and Jonathan Papelbon tonight. Lowell has some skills and Cora at least tried. Pap you just write off as being certifiable.

But Pedie? The King of the Munchkins could have at LEAST practiced; Guy makes ME look like John Travolta in Saturday Night Live. I did come to the following revelation after watching him rip off his shirt mid-dance, then flex his muscles at the end; Rakes IS Pedroia.

5 feet nothing, he acts like he's 6 ft 6 and weighs 225. Rakes is the same way; apparently little is only a state of mind. How else do you explain my then 3 year old trash talking the biggest kid on the opposing soccer team last fall by running up to him, pointing his index finger, and yelling " I dust scored a doal on you!"

Maybe I'd better enroll him in karate.

Best part of the Dancing with the Stars: Red Sox edition? Javier Lopez, after Pap got through doing his thing (I can't bring myself to actually call it dancing) said the following:

"Lugo just called. He wants his shirt back when you're done."

Somewhere George and Hank Steinbrenner are fuming about how this is NOT acceptable behavior for Major League ballplayers.

My response to them, and anyone else without a sense of humor and who wants their baseball team composed of robots?

Go pound sand where the sun don't shine, fellas.

This is the Boston Red Sox. Talk about the "Yankee Way" all you want; Run down RSN and try and tell yourself the Yankees are Americas Team.

In the 21st century, the Yankees have won exactly 0 Championships.

Boston? 2 in 4 years.

Scoreboard.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Day in the Life of Rakes.

7:06 am: Wake up at this unGodly hour and immediately ask why Darth Vader has a red sword and Obi Wan has a green one.

7:07 am: Ask me if he can play Star Wars Lego's on the PS2.

9:15 am: after playing Star Wars for the last hour, he actually stops long enough for me to dress him for church. Notice the expressions on these two; you'd think they were watching a Lunar Landing rather than Rakes wiping out a platoon of Storm Troopers.

10:00 am 'till 12:15 pm: Church. Where I'm sure he terrorized his teacher, knocked 2 other kids down, and used way more glue than the bottle recomends.

12:30 pm: As his Mom puts his play clothes on, he keeps screaming "Not those pants; they don't have any holes in them!" Upon being asked why he wanted pants with holes, he reponds with great severity "To put guns and lightsabers in, Mom."

2:00 pm 'till 3:00 pm: Supposedly resting in my room. Although the sounds coming out of the room pretty much tell me no resting is getting done, the door is closed and it's otherwise quiet, so what do I care?

3:01 pm: Upstairs on the computer, I hear our door downstairs creak open. Walking to the balcony, I see a little hand pushing the door open inch by inch. In theory, this would keep me from hearing him if he got up. If I was 100% deaf. He's up on top of the nightstand, sticking his head out the door like some deranged turtle. After finally opening the door up enough for him to fit through, he emerges, shirtless (don't ask), to see where I am.

4:00 pm 'till 4:35 pm: Rides with his Mom and sister to get a slushy. Ang brings the baby inside to change his clothes (he'd poked his straw through the bottom of his cup, spilling orange slush all over him) and I hear Rakes hollering "somebody open the door!" I go out to the garage and see him climbing back into the van. He mutters something about peeing, so I try and get him to come inside to go, but he claims he's fine.

4:39 pm: Turns out he WAS fine. When I saw him climbing back INTO the van, he'd just got done taking a whizz on the front lawn. In front of our neighbor who was washing her car. I'm pretty sure Ang is done going outside during daylight hours for the next few months.

As for the next 3 1/2 hours, they sort of went by in a blur. We went to my Mom's, where Rakes spent 30 minutes trying to find somewhere to hang a helicopter while raiding Mom's pantry. After arriving home, he sort of ate his dinner while running back and forth to the tv to play "Madagascar" AND jumping from the sofa to the ottoman to the chair, then retracing his steps.

He finally went to bed about 10 minutes ago, raging against the machine until the very end, hollering "I gotta tell you sumpin" as the door closed. I wish I could tell you this was a rare instance.

Like I said, I wish.

Finally, last night at Spring Training, Mike Lowell held a "Dancing with the Stars" event to raise money for his charity. Taking a spin around the dance floor were Mike Lowell (who did a great job), Alex Cora, Dustin Pedroia, and Pap.


Pedie came out, ripped his shirt off like some member of the "Middle Schooler's Chipendale Fan Club" to reveal, weirdly enough, the word "Daddy" written in marker across his chest.

As for Papelbon?

I got nothing.


*The pictures of the two whackjobs dancing? Taken by Brita Meng Outzen. The one of the two whackjobs playing the PS2? Taken by me.*