Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Long Sad Goodbye

He's gone. After 7+ years, 5,694 man hugs, 3,138 finger points, and 2 World Series wins it's over.

That 4 p.m. deadline I asked about yesterday? It came and went; with it went the greatest right handed hitter these eyes have ever seen. Manny being Manny in Boston is over and he's now out in Cali, playing for Joe Torre and roaming the streets of Hollywood.

When you think about it, is there a more appropriate place for Manny than LaLa Land? There he can rub elbows with movie stars, play his games in relative anonymity, and hit the beach whenever he feels like it. In Boston, the guy couldn't leave his house without getting accosted; Out there? He's just another famous face for people to arrive late and leave early to see.

So thanks for the memories, Manny. For the championships, unbelievable home runs, and occasional moments of brilliance in the field. But just as much, thanks for the laugh out loud moments when you high fived the fan in Baltimore, spent the better part of an inning rubbing Julian's head like a cat, and pointing into the dugout like some Tourettes patient badly in need of his meds.

I realize he's acted like the southern end of north bound jack ass lately; and I'm not excusing that. But if Rakes all of a sudden decides to put Trot in the washing machine and turn on the spin cycle I'm not going to forget about all the traits that make me love him so much. I'll just get angry, hang him from a hook on the wall, and move on.

That's sort of how I'm dealing with a world without Manny right now. One day I'll be over it and just move on. In the meantime? I just wanna remember Manny.

Just being Manny.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Strange Days.

It's hard to believe it was a little over two months ago I was sitting with Kelly in a Loge seat, about even with the pitchers mound, watching the first game of an eventual 3 game sweep vs the Brewers.

On the night I flew home, Jon Lester threw a no-hitter, the countdown to Manny's 500th was nearing it's end, and with the Sox in first place all was right with the world.

Man, does time change everything; here we are on July 30th, the freaking Tampa Bay Rays are 2 games up in first place, and with the Red Sox losing to the Angels 8-2 in the 7th inning it's fixing to be by 3 games. The Yankees are one game behind us and we're in an honest to God pennant race heading into August.

Throw in Manny going postal the last few weeks, getting swept in LA and now most likely at home by the Angels, and dropping 2 out of 3 to the Yankees last weekend and it's like I've stepped through the baseball equivalent of the looking glass.

Add to all of this excitement is the 4 p.m. trading deadline tomorrow afternoon; various rumors have Manny going to the Marlins, Phillies, Mets, and some team in Cozumel, Mexico for a case of Corona's and the previously unknown Molina brother. 'Cause you know there has to be more of those no hitting, slow footed catchers around somewhere.

What does it all mean? I got no clue; all I know is I want the boys to start winning, the Rays to start losing, and a meteor take out The Toilet. I want Manny to shut up and start hitting bombs, handing out man hugs, and randomly point at Eric Chavez this weekend for no reason.

As long as I'm asking, let's shoot for the moon; I'd like to see Beckett go on a 10-0 run to end the year, Jason Giambi gets his stupid moustache caught in a cheese grater and JD Drew put the MLB record for consecutive at bats with a home run out of reach with let's say 27 straight. It'd thrill me to no end if Pedie charged the mound against 6 ft 6 Daniel Cabrera with a wiffle ball bat while screaming "Remember the Alamo!", Youk to line a Joba Chamberlain fastball right off that dinks NY logo on his cap, and I hope that come October I'm laughing at how worked up I got about a series vs the Angels in July.

Just like Red in "Shawshank Redemption", I hope. I hope they win the division and I hope Manny quits acting like Rakes when I tell him that 5 donuts is most definitely enough.

Mostly though?

I hope Slappy gets his foot ran over by a NYC bus while stepping of a curb tomorrow.

Simple guy = simple pleasures.

Is it 4 p.m. tomorrow yet?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

This isn't a baseball team; It's 25 Sybil's. With bats.

Lose 3 in a row to Los Angeles in California.

Take the 3 game series with Seattle in Washington.

Get back to Fenway, lose the first two games BADLY to the MFY's, then put 9 runs up on the board and humiliate Girardi and his minions on national television.

Follow THAT up by dropping the first 2 games of a set against the Angels, the second being a near no hitter before Pedie and Youk at least made it respectable. If I'm going with a pattern, I've gotta guess Beckett looks like Bob Gibson tomorrow, the hitters remember they are actually pretty freaking good, and we drop a 10 spot on the Halo's tomorrow night.

Look, I realize John Lackey is a pretty good pitcher; but there is no excuse other than the whole team contracted Bird Flu 3 hours before the game for him to throw a no hitter through 8 innings in Fenway Freaking Park. I'm not really sure what the problem is; don't know if it's fallout from this Manny nonsense, everyone is mad that one dude got voted off "So you think you can dance", or just the dog days of summer rearing it's ugly head a few weeks early.

All I know is the trading deadline is midnight on Thursday; back in '04 Theo shipped Nomar to Chicago and they won the World Series. Last year, it was David Murphy and some prospects for Eric "I can't pitch in a pressure situation" Gagne, and while he didn't exactly represent the second coming of Mariano Rivera, they won it all again.

So maybe we ship Jed Lowrie, Michael Bowden, and Wally to the Astros for Miggy. Or better yet, we package Buchholz, Craig Hansen, and Luis Alicea to the Phillies for Pat Burrell, The Phanatic, and a cheese steak. All I know is we need something, ANYTHING, to shake up the current situation and cause some excitement.

Meanwhile, I did my part to break up the no hitter; going against everything I've always believed about not calling fellow Sox fans during the game, I picked up the phone, dialed a Vermont phone number, and spoke to JD in the 8th inning. And wouldn't you know it? Pedie got a single and Youk hit a Home Run in the 9th to at least give us a moral victory; nobody no no's the Sox at Fenway Park. Little does she know that my superstitious, idiotic self will be calling her if some moron in Oakland has gotten everyone out in the first inning come the next West Coast trip; sorry, Jane. I just can't help myself.

As I cursed under my breath about the lack of hits and wondered how Pat Sajak still has that plush gig, I walked into my bedroom and saw this:

Beavis and Butthead, apparently enthralled with the latest edition of "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse". It was right about here I realized they must think I'm completely nuts to get myself worked up into a lather over a stupid game.

I just figure it's best they realized it sooner rather than later.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bull Durham. The cure for what ails you.

Losing to the Angels 7-4 in the bottom of the 8th, I went looking for a happy place.

Found it with this clip from the movie Bull Durham.

Somehow, I imagine this is what most mound visits are like, give or take a sacrificed chicken every now and then. I can actually imagine Youk walking to the mound with Beckett pitching and when they all get there Beckett re-creating George Carlins "7 Words you can't say on television" in graphic detail.

After losing 2 out of 3 to the Yankees, reading about the latest version of "As Manny Turns" and reading 1,589 articles about why the Red Sox should trade Manny, I needed a diversion.

God Bless Ron Shelton and Kevin Costner for making this movie.

Nothing like Crash, Nuke, and that dude who played Arliss to calm my nerves.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'll take the Known over the Unknown please.

Even though I've tried to avoid the 2008 version of Manny Being Unhappy has finally found it's way into my wheelhouse.

I've always taken the position that I was fine with Manny and his Jackass-esque antics at time were just part of the package. To be honest, 99% if the time the stuff he does doesn't bother me at all; going into the Monster, high fiving the fan in the outfield, and making Lucy the Peanuts character look like a Gold Glover most days is funny.

Not running out ground balls, taking time off for sick relatives, and ill timed shots at management? Not quite as amusing. But I deal with it because he's STILL one of the most dangerous hitters I've ever seen, 36 years old or not. Plus I'm raising a mini-Manny of my own in Rakes, and I have some personal understanding of an independent personality; sometimes you've just gotta let them be themselves.

So with all the "Will Manny get traded?" talk and the media in hyperdrive with this latest installment of insanity we've heard a lot of comments from reporters, broadcasters, and fans about Manny being traded. Most I've heard say it's time to cut the cord and just get rid of him; apparently there are a lot of folks fed up with Manny being Manny and want to see a change.

Can I just ask one question?

For WHO? Who is going to protect Papi in the lineup and make opposing pitchers wish they were ANYWHERE than on the mound pitching to Manny with 2 on, 0 out and that maniac standing in the batters box? Better yet, what team is going to be willing to give up equal talent AND have to deal with Circus de Manny for the rest of the year?

For all his "eccentricities" Manny is still a bad man win it comes to the plate; take tonight for example. With all the hoopla swirling around him the past week, in a nationally televised game against their most bitter rival, Manny is 2 for 2 with 2 doubles and a running catch deep in the corner to get out of an inning.

Until somebody can prove to me that whoever would replace Manny would be better than him, I'll take a few trips down Insanity Lane all day long.

At least I know what I'm getting with the status quo.

Sometimes Manny being Manny is just fine with me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Crash, Nuke, and Rakes. Sounds about right.

Ang and I took Rakes to his first Durham Bulls game tonight, courtesy of my good buddy ab who was accompanied by his brother BB and his wife DB and son BB and girlfriend EB. Yes, I'm aware it sounds like an episode of Sesame Street and these boys are not PBS material. But like I told Ang, they were on their best behavior and Rakes didn't expand his vocabulary much beyond "Beeah" and "Guitah".

Early on into the game, Rakes was clearly into it; after figuring out his free program could turn into a sword, he challenged ab, BB, and little BB to a sword fight. Only big BB took it seriously and threatened to teach Rakes what a wedgie was.

One of my favorite pictures of the night; ab showing what I already knew. He's a big softie when it comes to kids.

Kids being kids; only one of them is 4 years old. I think Rakes found a new favorite "Uncle" in ab.

BB, me, Rakes, and ab. Sort of looks like a police lineup that took a wrong turn somewhere, but I can assure you nobody went to jail.

At least they hadn't when I left them.

Finally, proof there actually was a Crash Davis. Even though he played in 1948.

I'm not sure there was ever a Nuke Laloosh.

If he was real, I can pretty much promise you he was AT LEAST one thing.

A lollygagger.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I think God wants me to die young.

I'm pretty sure Mikey would have kneed him in the Gibleys if he knew he wouldn't get suspended until the Election in November. Mr. Freaking Magoo would have called the pitch Scenic was rung up on a ball.

Meh. That's baseball and one my favorite things about the game I love is you get another chance tomorrow; it's Pettitte vs Wake, and my money is on the guy with the beer belly and the 65 mph Knuckleball.

Losing to the MFY's is bad enough; to lose 1-0 is pure torture, but like Bruce says Better days are coming. And Joba running one up around Youk's chin deserves some payback; Bob Gibson would have already hit Slappy, Jeter, and thrown one into the dugout trying to drill Girardi by now. Tito is old school enough for me to take comfort in the fact that payback is coming, whether it's tomorrow, Sunday, or even in September. This Joba/Youkilis nonsense has a receipt coming one way or another.

To get rid of the Yankee's winning, I downloaded my pictures saved in the camera. What better way to put the pain of a MFY win at Fenway behind me than this:

Rakes, his Teddy Bear, and Wally, heading off to sleep.

Sort of puts it all in perspective, you know?

Although Wally wants to see one in Slappy's ear hole as well.

He really carries a grudge.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rakes Cracks Me Up, Part 4,957.

After getting home @7:30 and scarfing down a hamburger, Rakes and I spent the next hour and 15 minutes helping Sponge Bob fight his way through Goo Lagoon on the PS2. I finally convinced him to watch a few minutes of Handy Manny before he went to bed; as we got his water and headed to my bedroom, he was talking non-stop about getting through Bikini Bottom on his game, why did Anakin Skywalker have a blue light saber instead of a red one, and is Manny's long hair really his.

After about 10 minutes of non-stop chatter, the following exchange took place:

Me: "Rakes, you are making me weak in the knees with all these questions."

Rakes: Dad! YOU are making ME beak in de knees ben you don't answer!"

Kid's got a point.

Although this happened a few days ago, I feel like I need to get this one down in writing so I won't forget it. Rakes, upon finding something on the hall chest in the foyer decides he needs to share it with me.

Rakes: "Oooh. Bhat is dis, Dad?"

Me: (sleep deprived from the first 2 Sox/Mariner games) "It's probably something Trot picked out of his nose; go throw it away in the trash can."

Rakes: (with the most devilish grin you can imagine) "I dust ate it, Dad."

He's 4 years old.

What in God's name is he going to be saying in 5 years? Or 10?

It's nights like this I need the Red Sox to help me keep myself sane; the fact they are off doesn't bode well. Considering the Yankees come to town tomorrow night you'd think I'd be renting that padded room out sooner than I figured.

Turns out I'm fairly calm; maybe it's the fact the Sox have won 2 championships in 4 years. Or it could be I'm comfortable in the knowledge Matsui, Posada, and Damon may miss considerable time for the rest of the year.

Or maybe, just maybe, the past 4 years have cleansed me of that angry, agitation laden feeling I'd always get when we played the Yankees and I just waited for the other shoe to drop.

The MFY's have just become another team on the schedule that we need to beat in order to get to October. My imaginary shrink would call that progress.

Who am I kidding? I'll be wishing carnage and destruction on those pinstriped dinks less than 24 hours from now or my names not the RSD.

Red Sox/Yankees.

I live for this.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Innapropriate Sweeps. Or Something.

As much as I love NESN and the Red Sox games, I'd have to say Ang loves the E network almost as much. Personally, I don't get it; a bunch of botoxed anorexic people pontificating about the personal lives of random celebrities with various pseudo reality shows thrown in for good measure.

But I'm pretty sure she doesn't understand why I'll watch a 4 hour baseball game, then stay up another hour to watch some guy in nerd glasses and another guy with an honest to God male version of the Farrah Fawcett haircut talk about what I JUST got done watching. So that makes us even. Sort of.

Anyways, I bring the E network up because of the following incident that took place with Rakes tonight. They get home from church, we scrub the daily grime off the boys in the tub, and while Ang puts Trot to bed, I get Rakes a snack so he can watch Power Rangers for a few minutes in our bed. As I turn the tv on, it's on E; normally this wouldn't be an issue, but tonight they were showing one of those previously mentioned pseudo reality shows. It just so happened to be the one about that 95 year old perv Hugh Hefner and his trio of bimbettes "The Girls Next Door".

Wouldn't you know it, they were all standing around in their underwear while I frantically tried to remember what freaking channel out of the 5,895 choice was Toon Disney. Before I could find it (it's 290 on DirecTV come to find out), Rakes utters the following.

"Ooooooh. Dis is inappropriate for me, Dad!"

I could only respond with "Who in the world taught you that term?"

Turns out it came from some conversation with his Mom about the new Batman movie, Star Wars, and some kid named William. I have no idea what any of this means, but I did get my laugh for the evening.

Out in the Emerald City, the Sox finished up a 3 game sweep over the Mariners, with Scenic Lowell putting the boys ahead in extra innings. Craig Hansen gave my ulcer an ulcer by loading the bases in the bottom of the 12th, but wriggled out of that particular jam and the fellas head back to Fenway sitting .5 games back of the Rays with the MFY's coming to town on Friday.

Great. Just what my high blood pressure and sleep deprived body needs; a three game series with the Yankees where every game lasts 5 hours, I feel like throwing up at least 4 times a game, and I utter profanities the likes of which you haven't seen since Richard Pryor was Live on the Sunset Strip.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Captain Comeback?

I know one game is a small sample, but man was it nice to see the Captain get two hits last night.

Best part? One of them was a 2 run dinger that put the Sox ahead 2-0, which turned out to be all they needed, even though they plated two more runs as some insurance in an eventual 4-0 win.

For all the gnashing of teeth about Tek's extended slump, gone unnoticed by the casual public has been his typical stellar work behind the dish and handling of the pitching staff. Name me 5 players who have looked as bad as Varitek at the plate over the past few months that HASN'T had their fielding affected adversely. Not too many players can separate the two, but somehow he has. And that's just one of the myriad reasons he wears the C.

I loved Tito's response after the game regarding his catcher:

He said he wouldn't pinch-hit for Varitek, batting .114 in his past 26 games. "I won't hit for him. We need him. I believe in him. I will always believe in him. When times are tough, you don't waver from that".

God love Francona; the rest of the world is screaming for Tek's head and Tito just calmly lays it out. IMO, the man doesn't get near enough credit for the way he handles the team, both on the field as well as off.

In other news, Manny almost got arrested for jay walking after the game last night.

Of course he did.

Finally, I've got the ear worm from hell because Rakes spent tonight screaming this song from Monsters Inc. at the top of his lungs:

"Put that thing back where it came from, or so help me so help me Goodbye!
Put that thing back where it came from, or I'll poke myself in the Eye!"

Only with him it was more like this:

"Put dat ting back bere it tame from, or so help me so help me Doodbye!
Put dat ting back bere it tame from, or I'll poke mytelf in de Eye!"

Over and over and over again for what seemed like hours, but was most likely only minutes before I told him I was going to sell his vocal chords to science if he didn't immediately cease and desist.

Who knew boys came with built in megaphones?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Just another day for the RSD and Rakes

I was grilling steaks for dinner tonight and Rakes wanted to come out on the back deck with me to "help". While walking around, he discovered we needed some nails pounded back in on the steps and a few on the deck, so I got the hammer and let him go to town.

Yes, I let Rakes have a hammer; what can I say? I was flat out exhausted. In one of my patented moves as a Dad, I decided we'd all go swimming for 3 hours this afternoon to wear them out and I could get a few hour of peace during nap time. Worked like a charm with Trot, but Rakes was having none of it. He watched Pirates of the Caribbean for awhile, then wanted to play Sponge Bob on the PS2, then finished up with Captain Jack Sparrow, while all I wanted to do was lie on the sofa and read in silence. Needless to say, I didn't get a lot of reading done.

After pounding nails on the deck for 20 minutes you'd think he'd be so wore out he'd be begging me to put him to bed. Sadly, that assumption was wrong; not 5 minutes after dinner he hit Trot with some sort of pro wrestling move that ended with both of them sprawled on the hardwood floor and Trot crying for the next 30 minutes.

At first we thought Trot had dislocated his shoulder, but by the end of the night he could put his pajamas on without crying so I'm wondering if it's just a bruise. We'll check him out in the morning to decide whether he needs to see the Doc, but if 3 different trips down the stairs didn't send him to the ER, I'm counting on this being just a blip on the radar.

While Ang put the little dirt dog to bed, I got Rakes a snack and a drink and put him in my room to watch Noggin. Which is where I found him 10 minutes later, cup on the floor and sound asleep amidst a pile of popcorn he'd knocked over.

As I shut his door after tucking him in, I listened to the suddenly quiet house settle down around me while the NESN pre-game show dimly played in the background and came to the following conclusion.

I have no idea how my wife does this everyday and isn't addicted to some kind of mind-altering drug.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pedie puts it all in perspective

Ignoring the fact the Sox just got swept by the Angels, I'm using today's blog to post my favorite Dustin Pedroia quotes. If I want to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich and pretend the weekend didn't happen, I will.

Besides, the boys head to Seattle tomorrow night and we could be 3 games ahead and in first place come Thursday. It's like my little brother candaon said to me today; it's a long season.

While you imagine the drum roll, here are my Hall of Fame lines from every body's favorite Munchkin. (Please don't take this as gospel. I'm going off only my own hazy memory, and considering the fact I have Rakes for a son I hope everyone will forgive any error I make.)

Remember, this guy is 5 feet nothing and weighs about 160 pounds; Soaking wet with his shoes on.

A. While flexing his arms to a group of athletes that include NFL players, Pedie yells "Check out the Guns!" at a training complex in Arizona.

B. In college, playing for Arizona State Dustin would yell at the opposing pitcher "you better get used to it... I'm gonna be hitting rockets off you all day!"

C. Taking batting practice with the Sox before games, the wee fella likes to yell "Get ready for the laser show" and I hope I don't hurt any kids in the upper deck today!"

D. Hitting a HR off anyone, the diminutive 2B will come back to the dugout and shout to anyone who'll listen "It was 95mph coming in and 195mph going out!"

E. After fouling off countless pitches from the Rangers closer Eric Gagne, Pedie hits a go ahead HR. Upon reaching the dugout he exclaims "That guy better learn another *expletive* pitch!"

F. Either Joe Mauer or an anonymous Blue Jay player (blame Joe Morgan for my confusion) once told Pedie "We don't know how to get you out." Pedroia's response? "Neither does the rest of the league."

Finally, the one that makes me laugh every time. After striking out against the same guy again, Pedroia comes back to the dugout and has one of his teammates ask the following question.

"What's he got?"

Pedie's response?

"He ain't got s**t."

Off to Seattle, and bigger and better things.

A Pedroia Home Run wouldn't suck either.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

When Manny being Manny goes bad.

Yep, that's Manny. And no, he and Jacoby aren't practicing Lamaze exercises.

Somehow, Manny ended up on his back with the ball underneath him after missing a fly ball after a completely unnecessary slide trying to make a catch. What followed was usually only seen at 2 a.m in the morning when O'Grady's pub in Dorchester closes. I can only describe it as a humpback crawl, followed by a cartwheel Rakes would describe as lame and ending with Manny lying on top of the ball.You can catch the carnage HERE.

Mind you, I'm all about Manny being Manny; and personally, I don't think this was done on purpose or with any malice. It wasn't some statement he wants a new deal or he's upset that he can't live on Mars. It was just a perfect storm of bad luck, bad decisions, and Murphy's Law.

In a 11-3 loss, if it CAN go wrong, it WILL go wrong.

What I DID have issues with was the laughing about it afterword; had the Red Sox been on the winning side of the equation I'd have been yucking it up with him. But losing? In THEIR park? Bad form all the way around. And from the looks Tito and Theo were tossing him after that fiasco, I've got a feeling the three of them had a come to Jesus meeting sometime last night.

Another loss tonight, with Beckett tossing a complete game but coming out holding the short end of the stick, 4-2; I hate playing the Angels, who play small ball like some 1970's NL team almost as much as I do the Yankees.

Old Man Wake goes tomorrow and he's been fantastic as of late. Here's to that knuckle ball preventing a sweep and sending the boyos off to Seattle on a high note.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Grandfather? Or Nut Case?

My Pop is taking this maniac, along with Ciera, Trot, and their two cousins hiking and picnicking in the mountains tomorrow.

By himself.

This is the same man who, when we all get together for the Holidays has to go into his room after an hour, take two nitroglycerin pills and sit in his recliner because, and I quote "All that noise just makes me really edgy".

I'm pretty sure he's lost his mind. I wouldn't take all of them hiking at the same time and I'm half his age so he's either tripping the light Fandango or an alien has taken over his body.

I can't tell you how happy this picture makes me; Papi in an actual baseball uniform with a bat in his hand. Yeah, it's in Pawtucket but still; he's on the road back to Fenway. All the stuff hanging in front of him is a PawSox ritual where the fans hang stuff over the dugout and hopefully get it signed by some of the players.

On a side note, this little tradition resulted in some good fortune for a couple of friends of mine, Cyn and Kelly. If you're interested, you can read about it HERE.

The Large Father has hit 2 HR in 2 rehab games and reports there is no pain with his wrist; looks like he's on track to be back a week from tonight when the MFY's come to town.

That sound you just heard?

The rest of the AL East cursing under their breath.

First pitch from Anaheim due in about 15 minutes; 10 pm starts when you have to work the next day?

They still beat getting a root canal.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Trot, Me, and Off-Days

As I briefly mentioned in the previous post, Trot's decided he doesn't want to wear a diaper anymore.

Which is fine by me; I could use the extra $3,000 dollars a month I'll save not buying something he's gonna pee/poop in 30 minutes later, cause me to wash my hands for 5 minutes under water that would blister a normal person, then throw in the trash can only to repeat the whole thing over an hour later. The guy who invented the disposable diaper is in a weird spot; half of me wants to throttle him for making me spend so much money over the past 9 years, while the other half wants to build a bronze statue of him in my front yard because if I'd had to wash the cloth ones? I'm pretty sure I'd be in a sanitarium right now, begging someone to let me stay forever.

Or at least until he was potty trained.

Problem #1 is, he's got an Adam & Eve complex. He just wants to let it all hang out and run around naked; now I may be a lot of things, but I'm not letting my boy run around in his birthday suit just because he can. So we make him wear big boy underwear.

Problem #2? He has no concept what he's wearing NOW is any different than the diaper. Ang had to clean the living room carpet FIVE times today, plus machine wash a pair of Crocs. Let's just say I'm glad I was at work and leave it at that. Mind you, the half-bath is FIVE FEET AWAY from where he did the deed and we have pounded into his head the concept of peeing/toilet/flush.

Problem #3 is you have to physically take him to the bathroom every 5 minutes, set him on the toilet, and wait until he decides he's ready to go, which just kills your romantic time with your other half. Shocker, I know. I came up with the following solution; tie him to the deck outside and let him pee wherever and whenever he wants.

Ang had to ruin it by spouting off something about the police, child protective services, and social workers coming around at all hours. Which brings us to tonight, around 7:30.

I'd just gotten home from work and was asking everyone about their day after forcing all of them, except Ang, to put down the PS2 remote, the toy, and the phone to give Dad a hug and a kiss. I lowered myself into the easy chair, sat down, and immediately realized I'd sat in a puddle of apple juice.

At least that's what I keep telling myself it was.

I hate off days.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All-Star Purgatory

Not sure where the Captain was when this picture was taken at Fenway on Sunday (most likely to the right of Youk, though knowing the Captain he declined to take part because he didn't want the spotlight. The players voted you in, Tek; it's OK) but there are your 2008 Red Sox All-Stars, minus one Jason Varitek.

Best part about last night? In what might be the last significant game played at Yankee Stadium, JD Drew won the MVP award for the All-Star game. The fact Hank Steinbrenner probably didn't sleep a wink last night makes me happier than it should. By a LONG shot.

Everyone had today off, and the season starts again tomorrow, though not for the Sox. They fly to LaLa Land and begin a series against the Angels, though it doesn't start until 10:05 pm Friday night.

What in the name of all that is holy am I going to do until then? Actually have to communicate with my wife? Stain the deck? Build that padded, rubber, sound proof room I've been dreaming of ever since Rakes was born?

On the home front, Ciera wants a puppy, Rakes and I annihilated some Storm Troopers playing Star Wars on the PS2 tonight, and Trot has decided he doesn't want to wear a diaper anymore. He's gone in the potty a few times, but let's just say his success ratio between making it to the bathroom and going in his pants is spotty at best.

And we'll just leave it at that.

Is it Friday night yet?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Man Child at the All-Star Game

Is there anyone he WON'T hug?

Red Sox First base coach Luis Alicea gets the Manny treatment before the All-Star Game tonight, which I'm guessing is par for the course for him.

Best part about this photo?

Slappy, with what I imagine a look of dismay on his face while Manny does his best impression of a 5 year old.

Yes, Alex. You CAN have fun while playing a kids game, make millions and still make the Hall of Fame. Plus, you don't have to wear the Hamburger Helper's gloves and great big clown shoes to do it.

Dreadlocks are optional, although I'm pretty sure you can't carry that look off as well as Manny.

And to the dismay of Yankee fans everywhere, JD Drew just hit a 2 run HR in the bottom of the 7th to tie the game. IN THE TOILET.

The over/under on Hank Steinbrenner making a motion to ban Red Sox players from the All-Star game?

It just red lined.

Hey Hank? Still think Red Sox Nation is a load of s**t?



In what can only be described as ironic, the American League won the game 4-3 in extra innings.

MVP of the Game? JD Drew.

Further proof God has a sense of humor.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better.


As if just making the Home Run Derby wasn't good enough, Josh Hamilton hit 28 freaking bombs in the FIRST ROUND. Which is 4 more than the previous record for HR's in a round. Rakes and I watched every one while sitting together in the chair; even at 4 years old, the boy figured out pretty quick he was watching something special.

By the end of his round, he was yelling and laughing at the top of his lungs, with every HR Hamilton hit matched with a pint size "WHOA Dad! Did you see how far DAT one went?" And with every David Ortiz hand wave, Ian Kinsler mid-round hug, and Milton Bradley taking Clay Councel a vitamin water and rubbing his arm, my grin grew bigger and bigger.

Can you imagine the emotions running through his mind right now? Just a few years removed from hell on earth, he's in Yankee Stadium with 50,000 + chanting his name with the best of the best of his peers cheering him on. The smiles on the faces of all the other All-Stars tells you everything you need to know about how they feel about Josh Hamilton.

Even though he didn't even have to hit, Hamilton comes out and hits 4 more dingers in round 2, setting up a 2008 HR Derby final of Josh Hamilton and Justin Morneau. Going first in the final round, Morneau hits 5; which means all Hamilton has to do is hit 6 to win.

Not counting all the Home Runs, the crowd at Yankee Stadium is cheering for this guy like he's the second coming of Reggie Jackson, Micky Mantle, and Babe Ruth all rolled into one. Who knew 50,000 ex-cons could show such compassion?

Sometimes, even Hollywood gets it wrong. Hamilton only hits 3 in the final round and Morneau wins the derby. It's sort of like last years Super Bowl; the Giants won the final battle, but everyone remembers the Patriots undefeated season.

I guess somebody realized Jerry Bruckheimer needed to figure out the ending to his next blockbuster on his own this time.

Well done, Josh.

Your Grandmother should be proud.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Cinderella Story Continues

21 Home Runs, 95 RBI, and a .310 batting average. On the freaking 13th day of July.

3,708,709 votes to start in the All-Star game, which was about 300,000 more than the second OF to get voted in; some guy named Manny Ramirez. Josh Hamilton is having himself quite the year.

I know his story has been repeated over and over on tv, magazines, and in the Interwebs, but I just can't get enough of reading about it. 2nd overall pick, crack addict, alcoholic, out of baseball and seemingly on a path that had only one final destination: Death.

But through his faith, family, and sheer will he survived. Not only did he survive, he's THRIVING in a mentally and physical grueling sport and around more temptation than an every day guy like myself can even imagine.

I was positively giddy when I received this link from my brother Matt earlier this week.

It mentions how when Hamilton was playing American Legion ball in High School, he told the guy who threw him batting practice, a baseball lifer named Clay Council, that if he ever got to the Home Run Derby he'd fly him in to pitch. Council, now 71 years old, got a phone call a few weeks ago; Josh Hamilton was on the other end, asking if he'd be willing to fly to NYC tomorrow night for the Derby.

Guys like him aren't supposed to turn out like this. From Heath Ledger to Lenny Bias to River Phoenix, history is littered with stars who had the world by the tail, only to throw it all away.

Crack addicts don't come back; they don't lead the league in RBI or start in NYC in the All-Star game or have their old batting practice coach throw to them in the Home Run Derby in The House That Ruth Built.

They don't get the world watch them tell their story, share their faith, or be the feel good sports story of the year. Usually, they end up a cautionary tale of the perils of fame for the rest of us and Happily Ever After is only found in the stories I read Rakes and Trot before they go to sleep.

Except this time?

You can find it tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I swear. He gets it from his Mother.

I swear. One day, when I get the time or I'm committed to an institution, I'm writing a book. Not just any book, but one where I lay out in finite detail what it's like to raise an absolute maniac for a son.

From finding him playing the PS2 looking like the lost member of The Village People to his total obsession with all things Star Wars, it's all coming out.

And when I do, they'll be a chapter called "Things Rakes said that made me laugh so hard I peed my pants".

Take Thursday for example.

Having just taken swimming lessons the other week, the little Tazmanian Devil can now jump off the side of the pool and swim, all by himself, to the steps. Only thing is, he hasn't quite grasped the concept of not drinking the pool water. Which leads to some wicked scary trips to the bathroom.

So it was I found myself taking him to the restroom at the pool for the THIRD time the other day, and he was making noises that put Jeff Bridges, after taking that laxative in Dumb and Dumber to shame.

Actual conversation between Rakes and Me in the poolhouse bathroom:

Me: You OK, bud?

Rakes: Yep.

Me: Are you done yet?

Rakes: Dad. Ben your done pooping, your bottom gets to breathe. BEALLY loud, Dad. Me done.

Me: :: rolling on the floor, LMAO::

Can I just say that being a Dad has it's moments?

And when those moments come, they are one's for the ages.

Over in Boston tonight, Wake went 7 innings, gave up 2 hits, 1BB, and 6 K's. JD and Manny went back to back, and Youk hit a Grand Slam and had a career high 6 RBI's in a 12-1 win over the Orioles. Throw in a Rays loss, and the boys head into Sunday .5 games out of first place.

I love this team.

Friday, July 11, 2008

When you don't feel good and still get hits, you know you're a bad man

Sox are losing 6-3 in the bottom of the 8th to the Orioles, which harshes my mellow something fierce. I'm flat out exhausted from playing all week and I need to get back to work just to get some rest.

I went looking for something to make me smile, and Manny, in a suit and tie answering inane questions from reporters during the playoffs last fall fit the bill.

One day, Manny will be retired or playing for another team.

I can't put into words how much of a sad I'll have when that happens.

I'll be back with an update if we can pull off the Mother's Day Miracle on July 11th.

If not?

Enjoy Manny.

Just being Manny.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New Job, Vacation, and Captain Jack Sparrow

I haven't really said anything here, but 2 weeks ago I made a huge decision to leave a job I'd had for 16 years, or basically all of my so-called adult life, to take another position. Positives are it comes with a 401K they match, plus health insurance for my whole family, not to mention it's 15 minutes from home. Which means instead of fillling up every other day I'll put gas in my car every 8 or 9 days. And with gas at $4.00 a gallon and the Saudi's holding us hostage by our marbles, you can see how that makes a huge difference.

Not to mention a slow economy, stress from driving half my life away, and my kids growing up faster than it takes a Manny HR to leave Fenway.

So I start the new job on Monday, and I've taken some vacation time with the family this week, which if you read this train wreck on a regular basis you've already deduced.

Today was "Shrek 3" at the dollar theatre, swimming this afternoon, and playing "Pirates of the Caribean" with Rakes on the PS2 tonight. You would not BELIEVE how excited the boy got that we beat Davey Jone's ship and rescued Elizabeth Swann from Tortuga. I have no idea what any of that means, but if Rakes is happy, I'm happy.

Plus, the fact he did it with the help of his Dad seemed to please him to no end. Which made me tear up like a girl, but that's a whole nother story.

My boy wants to be Captain Jack Sparrow, an alcoholic, effiminate pirate with father figure issues.

I keep telling myself it could be worse.

He could want to be THIS guy.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Strange Days at Fenway Park

Yep. That's Manny, inside the Monster, apparently talking on a cell phone during a pitching change today. Let's just hope it's not HIS phone, 'cause I'm pretty sure Tito doesn't want his left fielder running around the outfield with his Blackberry in his back pocket.

After watching today's game however, nothing would surprise me. Took the kids to play Putt Putt and when I got home it was the 4th inning and the Sox were winning 4-3. I thought I'd missed out on all the fun by that point, but man, I couldn't have been more wrong.

Up 6-5 in the bottom of the 7th with 2 men on, Tek sent a sinking shot into CF that the Ump initially ruled a catch, even though replays showed that without a doubt it was trapped. (Which brings up instant replay in baseball, which is a post all by itself. Still not sure how I feel about it, but if the Umpires had blown this, rest assured I'd be railing like a madman on the side of the tech geeks until I was blue in the face.) After an Ump huddle, the correct call was made, Ron Gardenhire lost his ever loving mind, and the Sox were on their way to scoring 7 runs in the 7th, 5 more in the 8th, and sweeping the Twins out of Fenway to the tune of 18-5.

Some days you sit down and watch your team flail away at the ball like drunks swinging at a Joe Girardi pinata; other days? Well, that's what days like today are for. 23 hits, 18 runs, Ellsbury cranking out 4 hits in one game, and Sean Casey doing the best David Ortiz impression this side of JD Drew in the month of June. Josh Beckett goes to 9-5, the MFY's beat the Rays, and all of a sudden we're 2 games out of first place.

With a few breaks here and there, the Orioles being the Orioles, and hoping Joe Maddon responds to that Craig's List add I placed in Tampa this week (That's all I'm saying about that. The Fed's read this stuff you know; I can't incriminate myself any further. Let's just say if he buys it, we won't need to worry about the Rays again. EVER.) and the Sox will be sitting a game up in 1st place come the All-Star break next week.

To top off the day, I got to read "Dad, Jackie, and Me" to Rakes at story time tonight.

Getting to tell your first born son about Jackie Robinson?

Not the worse way to end the day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lessons Learned

Through extensive reading, searching the Interwebs, and countless hours of watching Dr. Phil, I've come to the following realization regarding my children.
If you want them to sleep, wear them slap out. Which is one of the reasons I took The Stooges to the pool this afternoon. And what do you know, it worked. Rakes fell asleep playing the PS2 for 2 hours...

Trot took a 2 1/2 hour nap AND went to bed at 8:30...

And Ciera DIDN'T ask me if she could watch High School Musical 2 for the 239th time.

Tomorrow? Marathon running followed by 3 hours of rock climbing, with some 40 yard dashes sprinkled in for good measure.

Finally, Sox win 6-5 thanks to a Manny HR to tie it and a Brandon Moss single to put them ahead to stay.

I'd love to know what Manny whispered in Pedie's ear as he crossed home plate after that bomb over the Monster...

I'd like to think it was "Hey mang; I hit that ball a long way. And did you know you get a Indiana Jones toy with your kids meal at Burger King?"

Welcome back, Manny.

You've been missed.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Me, Chuck, and Daisuke

I may have finally lost it. Somehow, Ciera convinced me to take her, Rakes, Trot, AND her friend Alexia to Chuck E. Cheese today. I'm firmly convinced that place is designed to turn people into raging alcoholics or the Priesthood, one or the other.

'Cause after you leave, you feel like you have to make a decision. From the seemingly endless supply of yelling, screaming children to the incessant bells and whistles of the video games, to Chuck and his band of renown playing what possibly could be the worst songs EVER, the place makes you decide which fork in the road you need to take. Did I mention you need a shamee to wipe the grease from the pizza off your hands? That stuff could be classified as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

Trot and the Chuckster taking a ride.

Rakes playing skee ball. I guess you could call it that; it was more like Extreme Wiffle Ball, with Rakes throwing the ball like some side armed pitcher with his knuckles scraping the top of the game. Thankfully, we only had 4 balls bounce off the plastic shield and nobody was killed.

Which I consider a positive development.

After 3 hours that seemed like 3 days, we left with no broken bones and nobody needing stitches. Sometimes you've just got to look a bit for that silver lining.

Back in Boston, Daisuke pitched his tail off, leaving with 2 on, 0 out in the 8th inning with the score 0-0. Somehow Okajmer got out of it; I don't know how, as I spent the entire inning hiding under the chair in front of the computer and chanting "Please don't let them score" over and over again.

Bottom of the 8th, Pedie leads off with a double, JD moves him to third, and Manny hits a single to RF to score the wee one. And I feel bad for even doubting the outcome; I blame that 3 game sweep in Tampa.

1-0 Red Sox, and Dirty Water is playing at Fenway right now, thanks to a perfect inning from The Papelbot.

I gotta say. Going to bed after a win makes for a good nights sleep.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

If I Managed The Red Sox

... I'd never take Wake out in the 7th inning when he's given up two runs or less. Even if he'd thrown 327 pitches.

Other than that? I've got nothing. 'Cause if I actually had to do it, I'd more than likely stroke out in the dugout in the 4th game of the year. I have no idea how Francona does it, day in and day out, with everyone from the writers of the major Boston newspapers to idiots like me blogging about every little decision he makes.

As I type this, it's 4-4 in the bottom of the 8th in New York, with Jeter up and Slappy looming in the background. If it were me, I'd be curled up in the corner yelling "I don't wanna do it anymore!" while Brad Mills slapped me about the head and told me to act like a man.

'Cause while I can play a mean PS2 version of Major League Baseball, I caused 9 year olds to get thrown out at home playing softball when I thought they had a clear path to scoring.

Bottom line is, it's not as easy as it looks. And the guy HAS brought 2 World Series Championships in his first 4 years in Beantown.

I gotta think the guy has some idea of what he's doing.

Make me proud, Tito.

Make me proud.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Minor Setback

Sometimes it feels like life just hauls off and kicks you in the gibleys with a set of industrial grade steel toed work boots.

Down 2-0 to the Yankees in the 9th inning today, the Sox plate one run and have the bases loaded, nobody out against the greatest closer the game has ever seen. These days however, when you are depending on Lugo and Tek (You have no idea how much that hurts to have to type that) to pull out the win? I feel like that guy down to his last $5 playing the kazillion dollar lotto; the odds are slightly against it happening.

Sure enough, Rivera somehow pulls it out of his rear end and the chance the Sox had to pound that first nail in the 2008 MFY coffin is gone, just like that. At least until tomorrow night.

Wondering how I was going to erase the image of those pinstriped dinks high fiving each other like they just won game 7 that didn't involve huge shots of moonshine, electric shock therapy, or Ciera watching "High School Musical: The Wonder Years" was proving to be a challenge.

Until I flipped over to The Discover Channel and found a "Deadliest Catch" marathon on.

If you ever think your job is tough, catch 15 minutes of this show and you'll think you've got is as easy as Vanna White flipping those letters over. BTW, was it REALLY that hard for her to have to turn the letter completely around that they had to make it where she has to just touch it to change? I realize she's close to drawing social security and all that, but at least make it a challenge.

Anyways, watching these maniacs fishing for crab in sub zero waters with chain smoking captains and one big wave away from Davy Jones locker is like television crack for me. I can't get enough of it, even though it really does make me realize what a complete wuss I am. Full pots, Edgar the deck hand, and that guy with the second coolest voice (outside the guy who does movie promos) I've ever heard have got me hooked.

Game 4 tomorrow at the toilet and I'm calling my shot for a Sox win and a series victory.

Something tells me Captain Sig could never be a Yankee fan.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day in the Bronx

After spending most of the day at the pool, I came home this afternoon, turned on NESN, and the first thing I saw was Mike Lowell hitting one about 5 rows deep in the left field seats at the Toilet.

God Bless America, and God Bless Mikey Lowell.

And you gotta love The Captain rocking the Patriotic chest protector and mask; he's like Captain America in cleats and eye black.

For everyone who's serving in our military now and who's served in the past, a big 4th of July thank you from my little corner of the world. You do a job guys like me could never do, and on behalf of myself and my nut job family we'd like to give you a big thumbs up.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Grumpy leads the Way

*Picture courtesy of the awesome Kelly O'*

5 hits. 8 K's. 2 BB's. 9 innings.

Final score? 7-0 Red Sox and all of a sudden, all is right with the world.

Jon Lester walked into the House that Ruth built and gave the proverbial bird to the ghosts, the Monuments, and the Steinbrenner family all at once. Jeter, Slappy, and HGHiambi? Meh, what else you got?

After watching 5 straight losses, words can't express how bitchin' it was to sit back, relax, and watch the hapless MFY's flail away at everything he threw up there. Captain Intangibles, the great Derek Jeter even had an error. Thankfully, I was watching the NESN feed and didn't have to listen to the Yankee announcers blame it on the dirt, the wind, or his ED problems.

Only thing better than that would have been Slappy taking a ground ball off his marbles and being taken off on a stretcher screaming "WHY? WHY ME, Madonna?"

Hey. It's a 4 game series.

A guy can hope.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

For A Bigger Fire, Just Add Gasoline

*Picture courtesy of Kelly O*

I'm still not sure how it happened, but the Sox entered the 7th inning of tonight's game leading 4-1 and started the 8th losing 7-4.

Team MDC began the inning and faced 3 batters with 0 outs to show for it. Craig Hansen came in, and apparently in some deranged sort of solidarity had the same line. It was like one of Rakes' T-Ball games where everybody hit and I was halfway shocked the ump didn't tell everyone to just "Run all the way home and score!" after the 3rd out.

I've got no logical explanation why the Sox can't seem to buy a win these days. It could be just one of those weeks where everything that could go wrong DOES go wrong. Maybe the Rays are just that good and we've got to deal with a world where up is down and left is right.

Personally? I think Joe Maddon has a got a voodoo doll of Wally tucked away on the bench somewhere and has Jonny Gomes sticking short pins in it every time the Rays come up to bat. Other than that, I've got nothing.

And we end the game with Lowell getting caught stealing on a hit and run play with Tek, the one guy who wouldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat right now, swinging and missing. Then, to the shock of nobody not living on Pluto, Tek struck out looking to end the game.

Don't get me wrong; I love me some Tek. It's just right now I'd prefer to have Little Trot up there swinging with the game on the line. At the very least I know he'd give the pitcher a shot to the marbles with his bat after striking out.

Now, fresh off the sweep by the Rays I've gotta endure 4 games in NY with the Skankee fans and Buck/McCarver thrown in for good measure.

I'm sort of getting how Job felt.

Hopefully, Lowell and Youk have a come to Jesus meeting with the rest of the boys on the flight to New York tonight. You know, remind them about water boarding, chinese water torture, and the little known " Dewey Evans makes you weep for your Mother" modification treatment.

Whatever they do, just be ready tomorrow night.

I'd like Big Hank to be in full on panic mode by Saturday if it's at all possible.

Somebody pass the valium.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Your Red Sox Double Play Combo in 2025

Forget Lugo to Pedie.

This is the partnership for double plays in the future.

The one on the left is the bruiser.

The one on the right is who'll play the hidden ball trick.

You can't say you weren't warned.

Oh yeah; he's also the one who is gonna slide into second with a fist aimed for your gibleys, charge the mound with the bat and the express intent of turning the pitcher into a living Popsicle, and will be the most likely person to jump on your back and ride you like a bull at The National Finals Rodeo.

And when he finds out the Sox dropped tonight's game 3-1?

I'm just grateful he has no idea what "Bite my Tweeter" means.

It's just Rakes being Rakes.

Which may make us all nostalgic for the heyday of Manny being Manny.

I'm just sayin'.