For a moment, I’m going to pretend the Celtics triple-overtime loss didn’t happen last night, and ignore that 13-0 thrashing the Rays laid on the Sox. Instead, let’s take a moment to talk about our favorite punching bag: A-Roid.
This week, a couple of new allegations from Selena Roberts’ upcoming book came out about the lipstick-wearing wonder. The first was that there is information A-Roid used steroids in high school and as a Yankee. Really no big surprise there. I mean, c’mon. Does anyone really believe his paper-thin story that he only used ‘roids while in Texas?
The other allegation is harder to believe — that Roidriguez tipped-off opposing players about pitches, so they’d help him out in return. I don’t know what to think about this. The claim seems so far-fetched, so ridiculous, that it just couldn’t possibly be true. For A-Roid to do that, he would have to be absolutely insane . . . just an obsessive nut-job.
However, to date, the reporting done by Roberts and her team has been thorough and top-notch. Which gives this report some credibility. And, among the things we know about Roidriguez is he’s an obsessive nut-job. So, if the crazy fits . . .
My favorite chant of all time is back . . . I hope. C’s fans need to be screaming this at least one-hour prior to game time tomorrow night. If not, we need to yank those fans out of the Ga’den early on and put our bench fans in there.
Now, you may not remember this, but once upon a time, there was an era when the Red Sox couldn’t beat the Yankees. What’s that you say? You can’t imagine that? We’ve won two World Series in four years, and the Yanks . . . ? But, trust me, it is true. Prior to Big Papi’s historic Game 4 home run in the 2004 ALCS (oh, did I mention I was there and you can see me in those highlights???), the Sox always found a way to lose to the Yankees. We felt oppressed. We got made fun of by Yankee fans. Some even believed we were cursed. Really.
As a sign of rebellion, some Sox fans started what became a popular chant — “Yankees Suck.” I never liked this chant. Sure, I had my moments of weakness, and there were times I chanted it when the Sox played the Yanks . . . or the Royals . . . or the Mariners. But, still, the chant stunk. That’s because it wasn’t true. The Yankees were winning four World Series in five years. (Honestly. They did that once.) Four rings in five years is not sucking . . . unfortunately. I tried to advocate a “Beat New York” chant. Same syllables as the “Beat L.A.” chant, and equally encouraging and energetic. Alas, it never stuck.
Maybe I should have made T-shirts for it and sold it outside the park . . . like that other chant.
Anyway, I can’t wait for that to ring through the Ga’den tomorrow night. I am so pumped for this series. Although, I am a little apprehensive. Not about the fate of the series. I just . . . . I just hope the Massachusetts State Police make Kobe where a GPS tracking device. We don’t need any trouble.
BTW, one last thing about the Pistons series: I couldn’t believe Pistons fans were lame enough to have all those Thunder Sticks in Game 6. I thought Detroit fans were better than that. But, just when I thought they couldn’t get any lamer . . . . with the Pistons down by just 6 points with little over a minute left to go in a playoff elimination game, fans started streaming for the doors. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! Since when did the Detroit fanbase become Atlanta?
- GM’s might be the professionals, but they also might not be any smarter than you. Case in point: The Milwaukee Brewers. Signing Eric Gagne to a $10 million contract was ridiculous — a fact almost everyone pointed out at the time they signed him. Sure, some in Milwaukee may have had visions of him returning to form, just like Boston fans once had visions of Andre Dawson, Jose Canseco, Ricky Henderson, Jack Clark, Kevin Mitchell, and many, many more has-beens returning to form. Doesn’t happen. And $10 million? Who were they bidding against? The Answer: Themselves. After Gagne’s atrocious second-half last year, Milwaukee got played. Now Gagne has lost the closer’s job (for now), and the Brewers have a washed-up middle reliever taking up 1/8 of their payroll. What was their GM thinking? Despite what Theo and other baseball people say about “the professionals,” turns out they are often just as dumb as the rest of us . . . and quite often even more so.
- Joe Morgan should be fired, and networks don’t care how bad broadcasters suck. Actually, this revelation is nothing new. It was just reinforced this week. At least Joe Morgan seems to like our young outfielder, Jacoby Ellswood. Does Joe Morgan even watch baseball?
- We are stuck with Julio Lugo. This weekend, I heard some ESPN knucklehead saying the Sox defense was very good, making his case with this statement: “Take away Julio Lugo, and the Red Sox only have 10 errors.” Oh, how we wish we could take away Julio Lugo. (Theo, see the above section on GMs.) No matter, how much we bellyache about it, Lugo is our shortstop this season. He has a terrible contract no one wants, and forget about replacing him with an unproven rookie. Ain’t gonna happen. Now, I’ve heard some people saying, well, we won a Series with him last year. I would like to amend that statement and say: We won a Series last year in spite of him. Although Lugo is a headache, if that is our biggest problem, I’ll take it. We can still win it all . . . in spite of him.
- Lowry is our shortstop next season. No, he won’t supplant Lugo this year. But expect Lowry to take over next season, ala Ellsbury-Coco. Lugo is just too bad to be at short through 2010. Sox brass would be reluctant to go to a young rookie like Lowry now, so they are looking to ease him in over this season, much like they did with Ellsbury. But look for them to dump Lugo in the offseason rather than bring him back as a disgruntled backup infielder next year. They’ll eat much of his contract, like Renteria and Offerman, and pay him to play elsewhere. But watch him play now and then tell me it won’t be worth it.
- The Celtics are not a championship team. Watching this team in the playoffs has so far been the ultimate exercise in frustration. And, after watching them drop two in Cleveland, I’ve sworn off watching the rest of this series. I loved watching Kevin Garnett this season. But, for all his pre-game hollering and chest-thumping passion, he has no fire when it gets to crunch time. In fact, it seems nobody does. This season has gone from “what a great collection of unselfish players” to “where is a leader on this team? Would somebody please step up!” Great teams almost always have a leader who steps up, demands the ball, and looks to shoot, challenging the opposition to stop him. Bird, Magic, Jordan, Olajawon, Duncan, all could take over a game when it got to crunch time. Instead of that, we get stuck with Garnett who gets the ball in the paint, and instead of looking to shoot, kicks it out to the likes of James Posey. Against the Hawks, and now the Cavs, Garnett has disappeared in close games down the stretch. Of course, no one else has stepped up either – Pierce? Allen? When games get close now, the Celtics look timid and full of doubt. And, if they were going to step it up, they would have by now. This team is done.
- Listening to Cedric “I Am A Crazy Person” Maxwell on the radio and Tommy “Super-Homer” Heinsen on TV during Celtics games has really, really — REALLY– made me appreciate the quality of the Red Sox broadcasters.
- You have to like how the season has gone so far. The Sox are at the top of the American League, and you just have that feeling that they haven’t even started playing to their full abilities yet.
- The way things stand right now, it’s hard to see where the American League Wildcard will come from this season. My suspicions about the Yankees pitching staff is so far proving mostly true, although their ability to go out and get an arm or two mid-season may give them an advantage. The AL Central has so far been mediocre top to bottom. In fact, it seems the entire American League (outside of the Angels and Sox) are treading .500. And don’t talk to me about the Athletics; there’s no way they are this good. In fact, if they keep up this success it could prove trouble for Billy Beane who no doubt knows this team isn’t a real contender and wants to justify dealing some players mid-season to boost his stock of young talent.
- For fans of The Office: If you want a laugh, check out Dwight’s chart from the May 1 show, now posted online at http://www.nbc.com/The_Office/downloads/dunder_mifflin_org_chart.pdf.
- I recently said the Marlins were for real. But I’m not sure I really believed it. They sure are making me look smart.
- Meanwhile, the Cardinals are making me look really stupid. They just can not be this good.
- Lost really is that good of a show.
- You have to feel for the Milwaukee Brewers. Despite what many Cubs fans have told me, the Brewers really did have a great chance to win that division this year. But their pitching is decimated with injuries, and it looks like they may plummet into mediocrity this season. If that’s the case: Go Cards . . . or anyone but the Cubs.
- Travis Hafner is single-handedly screwing me out of a fantasy baseball championship. As if I needed any more reason to hate the Indians (see my previous post).
- A week ago, I was heading to Fenway park, with the Sox enjoying a nice winning streak and the best record in the AL. That night, I thought nothing of it when they lost; I even went “cha-ching” to my brother when K-Rod saved the game for the Angels (he’s on my fantasy team). The Sox then dropped five straight, including a three game sweep at Tampa. That’s why you never take the success of your team for granted.
- Sometimes, I watch The Office and think, “Oh no, I’m Michael.”
- I’d be a hell of a lot happier with Lester’s performance last night if he hadn’t sucked so bad in his previous outings. Because of that, he was sitting his (a)rse on my fantasy team’s bench when he finally decided to be a real pitcher. Ninety-six pitches in eight innings? Usually he hits 96 pitches by the middle of the fourth. And he never goes deep into games. I actually was beginning to think he wasn’t so much a starting pitcher but more an early reliever.
- When I flipped it over to the C’s the other night (Why watch the entirety of a first-round game since they’ll crush Atlanta anyway?), they had a comfortable 10-point lead to start the fourth quarter. Now the series is tied 2-2. I want to watch tonight. But, for the good of the team, should I skip it?
- The Seventh Sign of the Apocalypse: My imaginary brother has posted two of the last three blog posts.
As we get ready to kick-off the greatest rivalry in all of sports tonight, all I can say is: I’m just not ready for this.
I’m just can’t get up for the Yankees coming to town in early April. I’m about as excited for this series as I am on those very few mornings when I get up at 6 to go running. All I can think of is, ‘Not yet.’
I know some fans are pumped; I’ve heard some poo-poo us fans who say it is too early. And if you are amped for this, good for you. But, despite the fact the games now mean the same as they do in September, April is extended Spring Training. Managers are still trying out things, getting a feel for their lineups and bullpens. Sure, we know it will likely be the Sox and Yanks duking it out come September, but right now just lacks the excitement of a pennant race. We don’t even know for sure what these two teams are really about until mid-May. (Remember JD Drew lighting up pitchers last April?)
And it is just too (d)amn early. Look, anybody who says this isn’t the greatest, most exciting rivalry in all of sports — by far — is just simply in denial. But given the amount of times these two teams play over the course of the season, and given the amount of over-the-top “World’s Collide” national coverage every game of theirs gets, it has just become too much, even for some of us diehard Sox fans. There’s going to be a ton of hype – A TON OF HYPE – as these teams play each other as the season goes on. Let’s keep some excitement, some energy, some hype left in the tank for when it really means something.
Quite frankly, I hate the Sox early schedule, with important games like the Tigers, Yankees and Indians. April should be about playing the Mariners, the Royals, the Texas Rangers. I’m just not ready.
When do the Celtics playoffs begin anyway?
Moments before he jacked a pitch into the centerfield bleachers for a grand slam in Game 6 of last year’s ALCS, I said if J.D. Drew did something big at that moment, I’d never say anything negative about him again. Now, with his back aching, am I violating that pact by voicing my hope that Drew lands on the DL so the Sox can void his terrible contract after Year Three (next season)? I’m quite conflicted here.
BTW, how awesome was it to hear The Garden absolutely rocking the other night as fans chanted “MVP” every time Kevin Garnett went to the foul line during the Celtics-Suns game? It’s the first time the C’s have really been alive since the Bird Era, and it’s fun as (h)ell to have fans energized again. Can’t wait for the real season to begin (playoffs). In the NBA, the regular season really is extended preseason, because if your team isn’t in the Top 5 of your conference, you’d rather have a top draft pick.