Thursday, October 28, 2004

Sheer Bliss

To all of those who know and appreciate the meaning of Red Soxiness*, I can only hope that last night you had a hand to reciprocate your high-five; lips to accept your kiss; arms waiting to embrace you in a hug; ears to hear the blasting of celebratory car horns; cameras and VCRs to record the moment; a Sam Adams to swig while watching your team swarm the field; and a heart that swelled as much as mine.

*Much thanks to Judy for introducing me to this rad term.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Pre-Game Warm-Up

  1. Dan Shaughnessy on the Sox connecting generations - Yes, it is true - I have been communicating with select people more frequently than usual due to Sox excitement. I just wish he had included "grandmother" in the list of possible relatives that the Sox remind you of...
  2. Ex-teammates host Garciaparra love-in - The unofficial "26th Man" called up Varitek and Nixon to wish them luck. You've gotta feel bad for him, missing out on this trip to the World Series by a couple of months.
  3. Current teammates (and coaches) host Pedro love-in - I'll admit, I'm nervous about his start tonight. I don't care about his woeful batting stats; I just want the man to pitch well. And for Francona to yank him as soon as he reaches the dreaded midnight-hour, coach-into-a-pumpkin 100-pitch mark.
  4. Everyone participates in a Keith Foulke love-in - And deservedly so.
  5. A comment on the newly realized Red Sox Planet - Does that mean there are no Yankees fans in Paris or Bangkok? I doubt it.

Friday, October 22, 2004

A Brief Respite

Since you have no baseball scores to check, go look at the rest of Mikhaela Blake Reid's political cartoons and her blog. [NOTE: Click on cartoon for a larger, easier-to-read image.]

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Don't Call It a Comeback

OK, call it a comeback.

So, what's it going to be? A repeat of the '67 matchup? A Massachusetts v. Texas duel to mirror the election? (Would that make Roger Clemens the Zell Miller of the Series?) The Cards and Astros will decide it for us tonight.

Not to be a pompous jerk or anything, but I invite you to go back and read the last paragraph of my post yesterday. The man - and this team - certainly did not disappoint.

Game 1 of the World Series to be played at Fenway Park Saturday night. A pronouncement too long in coming, but one I will savor for a mighty long time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Ultimate Red Sock

I was really excited when I first received this poem as a forward; upon further examination, I see that it's actually quite bad. I think the author was just using the poem as a vessel for showing the world that he knows MacGyver's first name. Am I posting it anyway? Yes, of course.

From The Boston Globe's website:

Ode to a bloody sock
There once was a bloody sock,
Attached to the end of the BoSox rock.
Our man Curt Schilling is the ultimate gamer,
Angus MacGyver must be a Red Sox trainer.
The first time Fox zoomed in on Curt’s shoe,
That’s no magic sneaker … and what’s seeping through?
Then came the bloody sock.

Oh bloody sock, oh bloody sock,
Call ESPN Classic because we have to talk.
Schill the Thrill denied common sense,
And now Game 7, could this get more intense?

One game, 27 outs, and on to the show,
Slapping balls out of gloves is an MLB no-no.
But as we watched the blood seep out of our rock,
We also witnessed the birth of the Boston Red Sock.
-Chris Rattey, The Lighter Side

Other links to check out:
Catching up with Spaceman Bill Lee
Who needs sleep?
Bottoms up for Bellhorn
A-rod a bigger villain in one swipe
Get your own Red Sox rally cards
No surprise to these Sox
He pitched his ass off (for real, check this site out!)

Whatever tonight's conclusion, this has been one amazing series. It's Damon's night, I swear!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Give That Man a Hug

To celebrate the absolute absurdity and beauty of baseball, vote for your favorite Sox hairstyle.

Obviously Johnny Damon is in a rough spot right now. But, I'm glad to see he still has a sense of humor about it all:

"It's awful," Damon said. "I'm having the worst series of my life right now. But you know what, maybe it's a blessing in disguise. Maybe it will turn around real good. Not getting that bunt down, most of Boston wanted to have me hung -- and I wanted to help them out."

Maybe scoring the winning run last night will give him the jump start he needs. Or maybe it'll be the sweet hug from Dougie Mientkiewicz. Either way, my confidence in Damon is as high as ever - he will come through for them.

And the work of Tim Wakefield and Terry Francona certainly deserves this spotlight. I'm not sure who told David Ortiz he should steal second last night (was it Francona or Big Papi himself?), but I still maintain it was a brilliant, unexpected move. The man was safe.

Some birthday analysis for you: Yesterday was Doug Mirabelli's birthday and today is Keith Foulke's. Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek were born exactly two years apart. Dave Roberts was born the day after Manny Ramirez in the same year - 1972. Don't tell me this all doesn't mean something.

One more quote from Roger Angell's The Summer Game (with some necessary modifications):

Reasonable hope cannot be constructed out of such a sad pile of feathers [the '67 Sox], but the lifelong Red Sox fan is not a reasonable woman. In her is the perpetual memory of a dozen seasons when the best of hopes went for nothing, so why is she not to believe that the worst of prospects may suddenly reward her fealty?...I have studied the diehard Boston fan for many summers. I have seen the tiny, mineral-hard gleam of hope in her eye as she pumps gas under the blighted elms of a New Hampshire village or sells a pair of moccasins to a tourist in the balsam-smelling dimness of her Down East store, listening the while to the unceasing ribbon of bad news by radio from Fenway Park. Inside her head, I am sure, there is a perpetual accompanying broadcast of painful and maddening import - a lifetime's amalgam of ill-digested sports headlines, between-innings commercials, and Fenway Park bleacher cries... (pp. 174-75).

...of "We believe!"

Friday, October 15, 2004

"More Met than Yankee in every one of us..."

Some fantastic quotes from Roger Angell's The Summer Game:

Over the years, many of [the Yankees'] followers have come to watch them with the stolidity, the smugness, and the arrogance of holders of large blocks of blue-chip stocks. These fans expect no less than perfection. They coolly accept the late-inning rally, the winning homer, as only their due. They are apt to take defeat with ill grace, and they treat their stars as though they were executives hired to protect their interests. During a slump or losing streak, these capitalists are quick and shrill with their complaints: "They ought to damn well do better than this, considering what they're being paid!"

Suddenly the Mets fans made sense to me. What we were witnessing was precisely the opposite of the kind of rooting that goes on across the river. This was the losing cheer, the gallant yell for a good try - antimatter to the sounds of Yankee Stadium. This was a new recognition that perfection is admirable but a trifle inhuman, and that a stumbling kind of semi-success can be much more warming. Most of all, perhaps, these exultant yells for the Mets were also yells for ourselves, and came from a wry, half-understood recognition that there is more Met than Yankee in every one of us. I knew for whom that foghorn blew; it blew for me. (pp. 51-52, 1972 edition)

I realized that her affair with the Giants was a true love match and that she had adopted her mate's flaws as her own. (p. 89)

Baseball is a commercial venture, but it is one of such perfect equipoise that millions of us every year can still unembarrassedly surrender ourselves to its unique and absorbing joys. The ability to find beauty and involvement in artificial commercial constructions is essential to most of us in the modern world; it is the life-giving naivete. But naivete is not gullibility; and those who persistently alter baseball for their quick and selfish purposes will find, I believe, that they are the owners of teams without a following and of a sport devoid of passion. (p. 113)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Welcome to the Jungle

I have a personal policy against making predictions about Red Sox playoff escapades, or ticking off the list of Red Sox advantages or disadvantages in playoff match-ups. The following people, apparently, do not follow the same policy:

And I'm sure there are many more floating around the web. Here's what I say: Sit back and enjoy and try not to beat up your housemates or curl into a fetal position and cry like last year. [Well, at least that's what I'm continously telling myself.] Hot damn, I'm excited!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Televised Microcosm of the Problem

Gwen Ifill: But in particular, I want to talk to you about AIDS, and not about AIDS in China or Africa, but AIDS right here in this country, where black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts. What should the government's role be in helping to end the growth of this epidemic? [Ok, let's see if these boys can deal with an intelligent question about a serious issue facing black women in the U.S.]

Cheney: some parts of the help in the international effort...I have not heard those numbers with respect to African- American women. I was not aware that it was -- that they're in epidemic there... [Hey - no one told me there was still a domestic HIV/AIDS problem - and certainly not one affecting women of color! Why don't I know this? Aren't I the vice president?]

Edwards: Well, first, with respect to what's happening in Africa and Russia and in other places around the world...The AIDS epidemic in Africa...the people of Africa... [Der...]

Ifill: OK, we'll move on. [Thanks, boys, for proving me right about your complete ignorance of a fucking serious domestic issue.]

I've seen that some other people (space waitress and alas are a couple) have already commented on the completely shameful breakdown by the Cheney/Edwards monster on this question. No, we don't expect them to be experts on every single policy issue, but they should have some general awareness of what's going on with the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their own country!

Some quick and dirty stats from a Kaiser Family Foundation 2003 fact sheet:
  • In 1986, women comprised 7% of newly reported AIDS cases; by 2001 that number had increased to 26%.
  • African American women comprise 12% of the U.S. female population, but represent 64% of new HIV infections among all women.
  • Latinas comprise 13% of the U.S. female population, but represent 18% of new HIV infections among all women.
  • In 2001, among the U.S. teenage population (ages 13-19), girls accounted for 57% of all new reported HIV infections.

Frankly, I don't know how Ms. Ifill kept her temper as well as she did after this pitiful performance. I wasn't impressed with everything she had to offer, but this question was original and phenomenal and needed to be asked. It's a given that none of the other moderators would have come close to asking such an insightful question about an important issue specifically facing women of color in the U.S. today. Now will someone tie these guys to a chair and educate them?

Monday, October 04, 2004

Friday, October 01, 2004

Take Me to the Dirty South

While the blogosphere is rightfully focused on last night’s debate – go Kerry! – with this post I break from the expected topic to finally report on my most recent Earth-shattering, booty-shaking concert experience: the seemingly never-ending performance by the Drive-By Truckers at 9:30 last Friday night.

First, let’s just say that the opening act, Allison Moorer and her band, were less than enjoyable. Too loud and too boring. And goddamn it all if her website isn’t the most annoying thing to happen to me today. At least she seems to be doing some decent stuff politically.

After recovering from a post-Moorer retch in the bathroom (I swear to God), I rejoined Eli in eager anticipation of the DBT set. [Completely unnecessary detail: I was totally rejuvenated by my heave in the loo, which Eli coined my “boot and rally.” The feeling I had upon leaving the restroom strongly reminded me of my childhood, which seems, in my recollection at least, to have been one continuous “boot and rally.”]

I had heard from Mark that DBT put on one spectacular live show, which had apparently converted more than one skeptical DBT novice. Well, having heard only a few of their tracks, and not being of the type to like “Southern rock bands” (whatever that means), I certainly fit into the skeptic category. But, dear Lord, was I converted.

DBT opened with a rocking rendition of Puttin’ People on the Moon and never looked back. Spurred on by an obviously hardcore DBT-lovin’ crowd, the band played inexhaustibly for almost three hours straight. [I say “almost” because they did leave the stage for about five minutes after 2.25 hours before coming back for a remarkable .75 hour encore.]

Highlights for me included DBT playing the two songs with which I’m most familiar – Marry Me and Let There Be Rock – and being able to watch the quiet awesomeness of singer/guitarist Mike Cooley. (Click here for a quick-and-dirty bio of each band member.) It’s so obvious that this band enjoys playing music together and their excitement and happiness completely infected the crowd. I imagine this infectious giddiness is present at most every show they put on and that it is one of the primary reasons for their loyal fan base. It just feels so good to listen to their music and watch them perform.

The absolute low point occurred fairly early on in the set when Patterson Hood turned the show over to the young one, Jason Isbell, for three straight songs, including the heartbreakingly awful Never Gonna Change. The energy in the crowd noticeably diminished and eyes started to wander from the stage to the ceiling, to the walls, to the drunk woman dancing in the balcony – essentially to anywhere but on the band. Thankfully, Isbell’s songs that came later in the set were better divided and, actually, were much better than these three. And by the end of the show, I was so entranced by the band and their stamina that I hardly remembered this brief period of blandness.

Another comment from Eli – the boy is so clever with the words – was that the show seemed like a “war of attrition.” Indeed, we were not leaving that venue until the band had left the stage for good, no matter how sore our feet felt or how often our knees were buckling. This show was one I’ll remember for a long time and one of the few that I’ve felt left me indebted to the performers. I’m going to have to buy at least one album now, because whatever tiny portion of the $15 ticket price went to the band was certainly below their deserved pay. Especially given the fact that it was their 18th night of performing like this in a row!

A couple final notes:

  • I usually go to indie rock or pop punk or womyn-dominated concerts. If men are present at these shows, they’re generally painfully thin (and therefore their physical presence is hardly noticeable) or they’re overly sensitive to the politics of space. Well, that was not the case for the DBT audience. Perhaps it was my fault for standing by the bar, but I have never been jostled by so many beer-thirsty brutes the size of pro-football linebackers at a show in my life. I also noticed much more leering at the females at this show than at most I’ve been to. I don’t doubt that such scoping-out goes on at all concerts, but emo-boys are certainly more discreet.
  • Patterson Hood’s urging of the audience to register to vote, followed by a partisan declaration about getting Bush out of office because “life’s too short to be playing with this fucking shit,” was fantastic. Most of the crowd roared in approval, but seeing a few Republicans shake their heads in disgust was super amusing.
  • Before you think I’d like just about any ol’ band that can play an energetic show for three hours and make me feel good while doing so, let me say that DBT have the musical skills to merit a performance of this length. They have three (well, maybe 2.5) talented singer/songwriters, three excellent guitarists that can alternately rock or strum as needed, and a drum-and-bass team that, while not overwhelmingly amazing, is certainly a dynamic force. Yeah, quality stuff.
  • This hard-working and gifted band is still on the road, so check out their tour dates to see if they’re going to be in your neighborhood. And then buy a ticket and a comfy lawn chair, and prepare to be thoroughly entertained for hours by one of the best rock bands in existence. Yup, you heard me right. Told ya I was converted.