Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out.

Ernest Lawrence Thayer used those words to conclude his famous opus, Casey at the Bat, which was published in the Examiner in 1888. I use them tonight because there is no joy in doucheville, with Varitek at the bat representing the tying run in the ninth inning. Do I even need mention that he struck out rather lamely on a pitch 2 and 1/2 feet out of the strike zone to conclude the threat?

We've come a long way, indeed, since the days when Varitek was the apple of Red Sox Nation's collective eye having stood so bravely against A Rod when he was armored in catching equipment (complete with mask) and A Rod wasn't. Now he is mired in a slump which is so catastrophic that he finally looks as ridiculous on the field as he does off it.

On the plus side, at least Tek is working ever so hard, even on his precious days off, to lift himself out of this slump by his proverbial bootstraps. Of course, to bowdlerize the Sean Connery character from The Rock, losers always whine about trying their best; winners go home and experience coitus with the prom queen. Rest assured, Red Sox Nation, that, with Tek under the watchful tutelage of Dave Madagan, this slump is sure to end soon enough.

Speaking of Madagan, I hope he considers the example of his predecessor closely. After all, former Sox hitting coach Ron Jackson was part of that nightmarish turnaround in 2004. Jackson, more than any other outside influence, was largely credited with the adjustments that turned David Ortiz from a guy with a lot of potential into the Papi we all know and love (but me, apparently). And it was Jackson who was one of those purged from the organization after 2006 and the epic collapse. Maybe Madagan should have rented...

Leaving that aside for the moment, I think it's time we got to the bottom of a serious injustice. According to the build-up to this series, this was supposed to be about bad blood between the teams. Jonathan Papelbon, among others on this pitching staff, vowed retribution for the Devil Rays not disbanding their organization after a pitcher hit Coco Crisp in Fenway without the expressed written consent of the Red Sox. Why is Tampa stubbornly insisting on playing baseball and not simply forfeiting each game?

Perhaps someone in the Red Sox PR office was asleep at the switch. Maybe the Rays didn't get the memo that they were supposed to be pushed around and laughed out of their own stadium in this series. Instead, they've won two games. There haven't been any brawls. How dare they. And to top it off, they continue to help Varitek make a fool of himself.

And as for Papelbon, it's hard to take revenge on an opposing team when you aren't called upon to pitch. Nevertheless, it might be possible that he has already taken revenge. I think we all presume too much when we think Papelbon, with his tragically limited intellectual capacity, knows what revenge is, much less how a man goes about taking same.

But again, the real meathead in this is Francona. I can see that pinch hitting Varitek this evening was a desperate effort to shock his light-hitting catcher into some small measure of offensive production. And Varitek was, apparently, going to come into the game with Wake leaving. But surely there must have been a better option available, as in some bench player who might actually get a hit once in a blue moon? Or maybe not.

Speaking of meatheads, I forget how long it's been since I ripped the CHB. Since he'd spent so much time covering the Celtics (why, I don't know) and I spent so much time ignoring the Celtics, there just didn't seem to be a point. But know that he's back to covering the Sox and coming at Manny with guns blazing, it's time to revist everybody's favorite Boston newspaperman with a room temperature IQ (sorry, Bob Ryan, but you need to do some work to get to room temperature status).

It never gets easy to read a Shaughnessy piece. Buried in the middle of this particular "effort" is a sentence that reads "no one wants to demonize Manny." Was the man born with no sense of irony or did he have to work to lose it? He's ripping Manny for shoving the travelling secretary to the ground (which was kind of beat, but no one is saying exactly what the man may have said to Manny to provoke the normally spaced out slugger into shoving him in the first place. Not that that makes Manny right, just that we could use more info). Doesn't that demonize Manny? Not to mention the headline "This time, Manny being Manny is unacceptable."

And I seem to recall Shaughnessy finding it tremendously risible when Pedro mad-dogged Don Zimmer to the turf in ought four. But apparently that was OK because the old man in question (who is, incidentally, considerably older than the Red Sox travelling secretary) was affiliated with another organization. Or perhaps Zimmer didn't see the incalculable potential of an aspiring cub reporter for the Boston Globe who was still struggling to shake off his uncanny physical resemblance to Dr. Who while Zim managed the Sox?

I also love Shaughnessy calling Manny fans sycophants (not that they aren't). After all, it can be ever so difficult to understand the CHB when he talks, what with the proximity of his lips to Larry Lucchino's derriere and all. That said, I really hope America's Prom Date is enough of a douche to let Manny go to another team because he dropped the travelling secretary with a forearm shiver. Wouldn't that be a grand gesture to the morons in Red Sox Nation?

And in other news, Dan Duquette is being probed by the state ethics commission for selling World Series tickets to the mayor of Pittsfield at face value when he was working to secure a city site for his minor league team to play in Pittsfield. If you're going to get caught for something like this, why not just make it an outright bribe? And I still hate Duquette after all these years, even though he reminds me of a slightly more amusing version of Dan Akroyd from Caddyshack II to his turn as the auto parts mogul in Tommy Boy.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tonight looked ever so close to becoming a disaster. The Red Sox managed to mount a disconcerting ninth inning rally, closing a 5-2 deficit to 5-4 and having two runners in scoring position with 1 out in the ninth. It took all of the hidden talents of Jason Varitek and Julio Lugo to kill said rally before it could become a catastrophe.

It got me thinking, though, or more precisely, reminiscing about an event that occurred in Tropicana Field about two years ago now. Tonight, Brandon Moss hit what looked like it was going to be a routine fly ball, albeit one probably deep enough for Mike Lowell to tag and score from 3rd. But the strange configuration of Tropicana Field intervened. The ball hit the catwalk and landed in fair territory. Moss got a double, Lowell scored and Youkilis advanced to third on the play.

Two years ago, during a three game sweep of the Red Sox at the Trop, Kevin Youkilis hit a ball off the catwalk in left. There, the Red Sox were not quite so fortunate. Carl Crawford tracked the ball off the catwalk and caught it before it could hit the ground. Because of the ground rules, Youkilis was called out, causing him to throw a fit. Terry Francona at the time referred to it as "putt-putt golf stuff."

I remember this because I blogged about it at the time, back in the day when Sedition in Red Sox Nation used to blog about baseball from time to time. I ripped Youke and Francona for that at the time. I ripped them because it's beat to whine about something like that when it hurts your team but consider it one of the amusing little novelties of the game when it boosts your team.

Perhaps it is unfair of me to rip Varitek as a rally killer when he did manage to drive in a run with a sac fly in the ninth. That said, I have no real interest in being fair to Varitek, noted archdouche that he is. And had he gotten one of his base hits, which occur about as frequently as papal conclaves these days, he probably would have managed to tie the game. Of course, in order to do that, he would have to stop sucking and/or being a giant douche. And I'm not sure I'm believing in miracles this week.

Before I move on, I do need to rip into the Remdawg and his partner. After Troy Percival came up lame and had to leave the game, they were all excited at Francona's brilliance. Because Terry hadn't announced a pinch hitter to take Lugo's spot in the order, he didn't have to remove that offensive Juggernaut when JP Howell came in to finish the ninth. True, Lugo is a righty and Howell is a lefty, so conventional wisdom says that match up favors Lugo.

However, conventional wisdom would also tell you that Lugo sucks. Better to have any lefty up there than a guy who is a weak hitter to start with and is 0-3 (with one RBI, to be fair) in his career against Howell. I don't know why I'm complaining, after all Francona played the percentages right into a loss which put the team 1 and 1/2 games behind the Rays in the AL East.

Of course there is the possibility that MLB might be looking to overturn the result of the game and award the win to the Red Sox. After all, Papelbon was warming in the pen when the game ended in case the Red Sox managed to take the lead in the top of the ninth. And we all know that Papelbon is the greatest closer of all time, and would have shut the door on the Rays. So by the transitive property, even though the failed to score the amount of runs necessary to win the game outright, the Sox still won, at least by Red Sox fan logic.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Yeah, I haven't updated in over a week. So I am a bad blogger and a catastrophic failure as a human being. I have come to accept that about myself, which puts me on the path to enlightenment. The next step is to care that I am a bad person, and after that comes the actual process of doing something about my flaws. Of course now that I've done all that heavy-duty self-awareness type stuff, I might have to slow down and rest, lest I have too little energy to continue on the path to enlightenment as I get older.

So the Celtics won it all. Big effing deal. It's nice, I suppose, for the 8 people who stuck with the team through all the lean years. And it must be a great time to be an orthopedic surgeon or an acupuncturist in New England these days. God knows that 99.999999999% of those who defined themselves as Celtic fans as of this winter must have hurt themselves jumping on the bandwagon.

Or perhaps they have sufficient practice in discovering new found ancient allegiances to the local teams over the past several years that they can spring from bandwagon to bandwagon like Batman traversing the rooftops of Gotham City. And let's not kid ourselves, I am old enough to remember that prior to Bill Parcells coming to coach the Pats, games at Foxboro were routinely unavailable on local TV because the team had failed to sell a sufficient number of tickets and the NFL blacked the game out.

And Fenway is as much a place to be seen as it is to see an actual ball game. Can you honestly tell me that there aren't at least 15,000 people in those stands on a given night that haven't given more thought to what they might look like in high def on NESN or to what exact stupid, insipid and cloying effort to get some dap from the Rem Dawg they're going to put on some poster board and hold up like a meathead than they've given to who is pitching for the opponent and when Papelbon will finally join the ranks of the literate?

I'm not really a stranger to jumping on bandwagons, but I like to start early and I like to get in on the ground floor. And I don't have the facility of intellectual dishonesty or simple inability to appreciate irony that one must show to jump on a Boston bandwagon. Because no one here can ever admit that they jumped on the bandwagon.

Boston fans must instead prove that not only have they been fans for their entire lives, but every single last descendant of theirs down through the first to set foot on Ellis Island all the way down to the first homo sapiens in their family tree to hit the European continent in the last Ice Age rooted for every Boston team despite the notable handicap that Boston itself was a millennium or twenty away from being settled.

I've mentioned this before, every Red Sox fan who discovered the team right around the 1998 divisional series with the Indians will tell you that their fathers, grandfathers, greatgrandfathers and the missing link (since Red Sox fans represent a lower order of our species, they can trace themselves back only so far) all were die-hard Sox fans. And yet, somehow, when every American knew it was Ted Williams final game at Fenway (it was so clear that the writer John Updike who grew up in Pennsylvania and lived in New York came to Fenway specifically to see Ted's last game in that lyric little bandbox), only 10,000 and change were on hand to see his final at bat culminate in a home run.

Funny how that works for generations of die hard Red Sox fans. Hell, If Detective John MacLaine of the NYPD held himself to that standard in the film Die Hard, Die Hard's sequels would have revolved around Hans sitting on the beach drinking cocktails and earning 20% on the money he stole from Nakatomi while the feds sifted through the building's wreckage looking for him.

To make a long story short, I hate bandwagon jumpers who try to pass themselves off as legitimate fans. I haven't forgotten that Ainge, while he backed his way into a title thanks to Kevin McHale's turning the Minnesota Timberwolves into a China Syndrome instead of a basketball team, is still the same man who traded one of his best players for magic beans because of a petty, personal argument and, in so doing, turned a playoff team into a shit show. I just can't find it in my heart to be cool with that. Sorry.

That said, the NBA Finals blew. The games were on way too late, as everybody and their brother said. The officiating sucked. I don't know that a single player set a legal screen in the entire series. I could understand when Jordan got away with palming the ball the way he did, I wasn't crazy about it, but he was Jordan. Now the ball is palmed and carried and players take an obscene number of steps and get away with using multiple pivot feet to the point where you wonder why a rule book is even printed any more. But David Stern runs a tight ship, and the league is in great shape.

And in case you haven't heard, the NBA is trying to extract $1.4 million from Tim Donaghy, the ref who admitted to gambling on games he worked. Thanks for the smoke screen, Commissioner Stern. Because it all goes back to that situation, not the fundamental problems with games that start so late and last so long that even unemployed insomniacs start thinking twice about watching them and the fact that the one thing that keeps every fan from being fully convinced that the fix is in is that the officiating is so wildly inconsistent that no one could possibly have rigged it.

In spite of all that, the NBA makes money. I guess it goes to show you, the average American is a complete moron. And they trust these people to elect their own leaders...

In other news, there was a baseball game played tonight, and the Red Sox lost. At least that's the way the outcome stands at the moment. Rumors have it that the league will set aside the outcome, award the victory to the Red Sox and suspend Dan Harren for two months for the heinous offense of making the Red Sox lineup look ridiculous while simultaneously looking like a stunt double for one of the guys from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

Alas, the Red Sox are still in first place in the AL East. And there is a large portion of the season left to be played. But there are some encouraging signs. For instance, Papelbon has already blown more saves than he did in all of last year. Good thing for him he has his keen intellect and stunning good looks to fall back on should his arm burn out on him... Too bad he's a total meathead with an IQ that rivals that of a cinderblock and he looks like a lizardman from one of the old cartoons.

And then there is David Aardsma. So he pitched himself out of trouble in the top of the 9th this evening. Awesome. You did your job. But I think the fist pump he gave walking off the mound was a little excessive. First, it's not as though you somehow reversed the rotation of the earth and altered the fact that the D-backs were up a run. And perhaps more importantly, you pitched yourself into the trouble in the first place, letting up a hit and walking a guy (not counting the intentional walk).

Then there was Youke, his freak accident this evening had to be somehow related to his squabble with Manny Ramirez earlier. After all, Ramirez had to have been in the wrong, a veteran of his caliber and with his achievements daring to question Youke, who is the baddest badass on the planet, just ask him and he'll tell you in agonizing detail. I'm just amazed that Manny is still alive. In case you don't know all the real Chuck Norris facts are doubly true for Youkilis.

That said, as much as I think Manny can effect players like Youke and warmup throws from Mike Lowell with the Shining-esque powers of his mind, I have to think Youke got hurt because he's bald. My sources in the medical profession tell me that bald people, and in particular bald men, have tremendous difficulty with idea retention. The ideas simply waft into the ether because there is no hair to hold them in the skull. In extreme cases, it can also impact the portions of the brain that manage common sense, motor coordination and the section that governs the ability not to look like a total dumbass. And that is why Youke took a routine warmup toss off the noggin tonight.

Finally, Varitek got a hit to end his 0-24 slump tonight. Not only that, but it was an extra base hit as well. Unfortunately, his spot in the order came up at the end of the seventh, with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position with two outs. Even though Harren looked tired and the game was on the line, Varitek found a way to do what he does best, and the rally died in his arms. And so I dedicate this song to Varitek in memory of the rally he killed tonight and in the hope that he can find the magic to go 0-his next 24 or so ABs.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

After a certain point, I don't really know why I bother with this blog anymore. If I'm going to update it once every two weeks, it's obviously not going to develop into anything, not that it ever was going to become something in the first place. But anyway, the Lakers have survived to play another day.

After watching this evening's travesty, and seeing the Lakers do everything they could to try to put up one more epic collapse, I have several things on my mind. And I'd like to start with this:

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If all those things can be applied to you, then you probably don't play for the Lakers. I'm reasonably sure that Kipling (the author of those lines, in case you didn't know already) never saw a basketball game. It's possible that he may have, since he lived in Vermont for a short time and married an American woman. But that is neither here nor there.

What matters is that the Lakers can't defend the pick and roll, even though KG's screens tend to stretch the limit of what is acceptable even though the refs don't call it. They seem to look around for another person to step up and make a big defensive play, and even to take a big shot. And they don't help Kobe when he needs to get free on the offensive end.

And the Celtics don't really deserve to win, either. I'm hardly the first person to notice this, but Doc Rivers has some serious issues. With the way he juggles his lineup, he's either responding to some sort of insult or slight with all the petulance of a spoiled child or he has serious short term memory lapses. There is no rhyme or reason to the way players not named Pierce, Garnett or Allen (Ray) get minutes on this team.

Davis played really well against Detroit and is MIA in this series. Powe has shown flashes in big minutes against the Lakers but was MIA in the Detroit series. Sam Cassel is old, overrated and, to be quite frank, not quite ready for primetime in HD. Not only that, but he's a chucker. And a championship caliber point guard isn't supposed to be a chucker.

To make a long story short, since it's late and even I have things to do tomorrow, the NBA blows. And it sickens me to see people walking around the city in flaunting their newfound Celtic pride. The same dbags who bailed on the team in the 90s and bailed on the team in the early Ainge years are back in force, and it's like they never left. It doesn't sit well with me.

To show that I'm not all bitterness and cynicism, I will be rooting for Rocco Mediate in the US Open playoff. Real, genuine, honest underdog stories like this hardly ever come along. And while I have no problem rooting for Goliath under most circumstances, I cannot root for a whining, pouting Goliath like Tiger Woods.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Before I get around to the Celtics Lakers series and its game 1, there are a few things I need to mention. I realize that I wouldn't have to cram so much random stuff into these posts if I weren't living with a weird psychosis that makes me lazy and violently opinionated at the same time. But we all have our crosses to bear...

We have a tool of note to discuss and an honorable mention award in the same category. First, the honorable mention goes to a Swedish couple who have been blocked from naming their daughter Elvis by the Swedish government. The government's rationale is that Elvis is a male name while the parents contend that Elvis is a gender neutral name.

Leaving aside the notion that Sweden is ludicrously overregulated by an underintelligent government (which I do, in general believe), I think the Swedish government is right for a change here. How is Elvis a gender neutral name? Can you show me one female Elvis in the world (who isn't a lesbian Elvis impersonator)? If Elvis is gender neutral, why is Elvira a name??? Only a tool would name a girl Elvis, and you must be a pretty damn big tool to have the Swedish government interfere in your toolery.

But the tool of note is Oprah. I hate Oprah, but I generally leave her alone in this space because her minions are so obviously brain dead that they are beyond reclamation like those people in Guyana who drank Jim Jones Kool Aid. Ironically, I still attempt from time to time to redeem Red Sox fans who are equally brain dead and brainwashed by the image Red Sox Nation projects to the world, but as bad as the Red Sox are they don't moralize and whine as Oprah does.

Oprah, in case you didn't know (because it was one of those water is wet type of well kept secrets), is on a vegan quest to purge toxins from her body. And that's all well and good for her. It's none of my business, or at least it was. Once Oprah started shooting her mouth off about the billions of animals that die in the name of human gluttony and how that makes her ever so sad, that's when it becomes my business.

Millions of Americans who work hard, pay taxes, live from paycheck to paycheck and hope to God they make it out of this recession without losing everything they own eat meat. They can't afford personal chefs and fad diets and spa treatments. Consider how much Oprah spends on herself (and I don't consider those carnival barker-esque "giveaways" she does on air to be charity) and then consider the balls it takes to tell hardworking people who might lose their homes any day now that they're gluttons for eating meat or chicken.

What a tool. Where does she get off with this crap? I have a friend in the genetics racket at a well respected local university. His response was that if these animals didn't want to be eaten, they should have evolved to be less tasty. There is nothing wrong with eating animals. And every time I read a story like this, I wish I had the time to personally strangle every animal who finds its way to my plate. I'm not a cruel man, but I do get my Irish up whenever people preach at me or try to guilt me into taking their view of things.

And it sure would be a grand shame if Oprah were to die of natural causes. By the by, aren't we supposed to be sending the message to young girls and women that a person ought to feel comfortable with his/her own body and not take risks like this extended vegan fast of Oprah's? But God forbid anyone question whether Oprah's impact on the world is anything less than 100% positive. After all, it's not as though she doth bestride our narrow world like a colossus...or is it?

In other news, the Eighth Amendment is reeling yet again. The d bags who trashed the Robert Frost Museum have been sentenced to mandatory poetry classes. If being forced to study the poetry of Robert Frost isn't cruel and unusual punishment, I don't know what is. First, Robert Frost is massively overrated. Second, they should have put the kids to work in economically blighted areas bringing help to the destitute for about 8 months. That would teach them a good lesson about trashing landmarks, being d bags and associating with Middlebury people in general.

And I feel I must respond to the Kobra Kommander, who felt that my characterization of opera buffs as pretentious show-offs was excessive. I have recently had a change of heart on opera. I spent the 16 hours or so it took to listen (and I mean really listen, like to the point where you can actually see the music as its played) to the score of Wagner's Der Wasteoftime. And it spoke to me in ways I've never been spoken to before. Or in actuality, opera still sucks and ought to be banned for the good of the Republic.

And amid all that, a basketball game managed to be played. Obviously, I am not happy that the Celtics won. But this is a long series and there will be many more chances for the Cs to choke. Plus, I just can't get all that psyched about rooting for the Lakers against the Celtics. I was a fan for a long time, too long to forget certain old habits easily. And on top of everything, the Red Sox retook the AL East lead this week. June is going to be a depressing month, I get the feeling. But at least the weather's good, right...

Monday, June 02, 2008

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a few days. But there has been so little joy in the sports world for me, and this is the 300th post in the history of Sedition in Red Sox Nation. Maybe I'm just getting too sentimental in my old age, but I wanted this to be a special one.

So while we have the Celtics and Lakers squaring off to see which team's bogus trades will trump the other's, I haven't been doing much smiling. As is my regrettable habit, I went on a nice mini-bender following the Celtics victory in Game 6 in Detroit. Recently, though, I have managed to confine my dangerously bitter and incoherent drunken rants to my personal life and kept them away from this space.

If it's any consolation, I may have put an old friend from high school whom I hadn't seen in five years and his wife into probate court. After last call at a local night spot, the guy offered (or, more likely, I managed to invite myself) to provide a couple of Bud Lights as a night cap. His wife, whom I had never met before (and technically, I suppose, I still haven't met her in the formal sense) had come home from some sort of party where she was designated driver, and was somewhat less than thrilled to come home and find a large drunken moron cadging Bud Lights at 3 AM. I guess it goes to show you that no good deed goes unpunished.

I felt bad about it, and the massive hangover that crippled me on Sunday. After all, this guy, despite being a BC grad, had the first good answer I've ever received when I explained my new rationale for drinking screwdrivers and forsaking White Russians and rum and cokes (just too many calories in white russians). The rum and cokes went because I am not ordering a mixed drink with diet coke, I might as well just grab a sign that says WUSS and rock that, no offense to those who do go that route is intended.

To make a long story short, I told the guys I was with at the bar that I switched to screwdrivers instead of beer because I was trying to cut down on my carbs. This is probably the fifth time I've mentioned that. Generally, people have just let it slide. But this cat, whom I inadvertently sent to divorce court, came up with a gem of a response, elegant in its simplicity. His answer: "So you're drinking effin' orange juice???" No one else had made that connection about the volume of carbs from sugar in the orange juice. Too bad I ruined his life...

There were a couple of things I should have complained about as they happened on this mini-bender, but just didn't get around to them. First, there was the goddamn spelling bee. In case you're keeping score at home, the finals of the National Spelling Bee was on ABC and the sixth (and final) game of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals was on cable.

A bunch of prepubescent mutants with a super pointless gift and nascent psychoses played prime time network TV and world-class athletes in the prime of their careers playing in one of the four major North American professional sports was banished to cable. So what if the kid can spell the hell out of guerdon. Can he dunk? Can he handle the rock? Can he flash gang signs like the Truth or disappoint anyone who made the joke "I think Spike Lee's planning a sequel called He Had Game" like Ray Allen?

No. The kid can't do a damn thing but spell, and just because that is a rare gift, doesn't mean it's TV worthy. I'm so sick of this damn country and its juvenile obsession with novelty. Another three years from now and we'll be remembering the day middle school spelling outgrew its brand and falls back to ESPN2's midday coverage like the X games. Hopefully none of these homeschooled creepshows end up too depressed not to commit mass murder ten years from now on that account.

Another thing I must complain about is the ongoing effort on the part of Elvis Presley Enterprises to tarnish the King's legacy at every twist and turn. The particular aspect of their profiteering that is pissing me off at the moment is the latest addition to the wave of worse remixes of bad songs they allow to come into existence.

A Little Less Conversation sucked ass when it was released. It didn't get any better, even though it was a hit. Just because nitwits bought it didn't lend it artistic merit. Ruberneckin' wasn't completely awful in the original, but it's remix was entirely beat. And now, the mental giants at EPE have allowed Baby Let's Play House to be remixed, by an Italian DJ to boot. If I might borrow a line from a song Elvis covered (Welcome to My World), "miracles, I guess, still happen now and then." But I'm not getting my hopes up, in fact, said hopes are probably as low as they can go.

I have more complaints about more things that transpired in my recent silence, but they must wait for tomorrow. I am tired, and I have two items that actually made me smile recently to share with you. First, the fabled Metropolitan Opera House in New York City is infested with mice. Good. Serves people right for going to see the damn operas in the first place. People only go to operas to appear pretentious and pedantic and impress the hell out of their snooty neighbors.

But the main thing that has me smiling right now is that the Cowboys brass got its act together and signed Terrell Owens to a four year deal worth $34 million (with $13million guaranteed). I am glad to see that he'll be taken care of (for the moment) and once again hopeful that he can keep putting his past issues behind him. Considering the Patriots will take at least one step back, and the Giants won't have another magical run in them (consider how closely their playoff run mirrored the 1980 Oakland Raiders wildcard championship team, right down to preceding a year of labor disputes, and those Raiders took two seasons and a venue change to get back to the Super Bowl), that makes Dallas a very strong contender in the upcoming season.

Sadly, one can only wonder what TO would be worth if he had the NFL chops of say Matt Ryan. Imagine that a proven workout warrior who ought to be able to withstand the ravages of age better than any other human on the planet and who ranks in the top ten of all time in the three most important statistical categories (9th in career catches, 10th in yards and 3rd in TDs) for his position is only worth $13 million in guaranteed money while a rookie who played against glorified 1-AA teams and a diminished ND squad in his "breakout" year is guaranteed to make $34.75 million (more than Owens' entire deal).

I enjoyed this blogger's take on Ryan, comparing him favorably against Tim Tebow of Florida. First, Tebow is massively overrated. But Ryan's massively overrated in his own right. When Notre Dame threw caution to the wind and sent the speedy freshman OLBs every time Ryan dropped back, all of a sudden, his mystical ability to see the whole field and find every open receiver took a big step back. Now imagine that's an NFL pass rusher with Mario Williams' size and speed coming in. Ryan isn't ready for it now, nor will he be. He has bust written all over him in capital letters.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Well, you win some and you lose some. The Celtics, under the inspired leadership of Doc Rivers, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory this evening despite finishing the evening plus 12 from the line. Under those circumstances, a team must have to try its ass off to lose by 19. Alas, the Seattle Mariners weren't quite so cooperative tonight, and the Red Sox are leading in the 8th as I write this.

It surprised me to see the level of commitment the NBA officials showed to securing a potential Celtics Lakers final. Given the propensity for flopping and what should have been home-cooking, you'd have thought the Pistons would have been on the receiving end of a free throw disparity like that. Just think, Rip Hamilton (who under ordinary circumstances flops and whines to the point where Reggie Miller feels uncomfortable watching him play) didn't get to the free throw line for the first time until the fourth quarter.

And as for those who will point out that the Pistons got away with any number of uncalled holds and hacks, I would ask them if what Kendrick Perkins was doing tonight could reasonably be called basketball? I know he fouled out eventually, but if he'd been called for half the hacks he committed (in limited minutes on account of the actual calls against him), he'd have fouled out in the first minutes of the third.

And the Big Ticket did more than his share of hacking as well. Some might think it showed his competitive fire when he blocked a shot Theo Ratliff took as a lark after he'd already been fouled and the play was whistled dead. As for me, I thought he should have been called for a foul of his own there, because it wasn't a clean block. But perhaps he was still emotionally traumatized from the play where Maxiell came up behind him and made our favorite overrated superstar look ridiculous by blocking a sure dunk from behind.

Far and away the most mystifying event of the night had to be Doc Rivers awkward, verging on sexual harassment compliment of Michelle Tafoya's ensemble in the first half. I understand that his fragile little mind must have been overtaxed trying to reconcile himself to the fact that his team was lighting it up from the line but still trailing, but if he didn't want to answer questions, he should have simply said he didn't want to answer questions. We didn't need to see that.

I have some questions, too, that are bothering me at this point. First, is it ironic that Ratliff has played more productive minutes against the Celtics in this series than he played in his entire Celtic tenure? Sure, they gave him up in the Garnett deal and sure, he was taking up space and getting paid handsomely for it in Boston, but every thing he does to help the Pistons win and the Celtics lose has to sting a bit, no?