Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sometimes, you tune in to Celebrity Jeopardy and see a panel of actors from the seventeen different Law and Order shows accidentally restaging one of the SNL sketches with Will Farrell as Alex Trebek. Other times, you tune and see Curt Schilling looking like a jackass and getting entirely too giggly with the mother from Malcolm in the Middle.

I must say, Big Schill looked a little better in his brief stint on Jeopardy than he did on the mound this season. Yeah, he finished with $0, but his charities still got some money. He certainly looked better than he did after the big home run Giambi hit off him in April. That is, he did until the final Jeopardy answer left him and Lois from Malcolm in the Middle (it's way too hard to spell her name) with the same stupid question and a creepy semisexual tension.

More importantly, it provides us with a convenient jumping off point to return to the purpose of this blog as stated in the title. Outside of a brief aside on the team picking up Wakefield's option, I really haven't had a lot to say about the Red Sox since August. With the team falling apart the way they did, you'd think I would have more to say, but the health scares for David Ortiz and Jon Lester, I felt a little guilty about rubbing salt into wounds. Plus I watch a lot of My Name is Earl, so while I don't necessarily believe in karma, I'm not taking any chances. With a thousand mile flight in my immediate future, I'm not tempting fate.

Now the story has come out that the Red Sox are the leading bidder in the Daisuke Matsuzaka sweepstakes. I don't really know what I think about this. Yeah, he pitched really well in the World Baseball Classic, for what that's worth. Allegedly, he dominated against the best MLB has to offer. I'm not sure I believe that. The WBC wasn't that good. All the teams we expected to be great (the US and the Dominican Republic among them) were much better on paper than on the field.

Then there is the question which must be asked. How will he handle a shift in environment and culture from Japanese baseball to America? There is a huge culture shock in store for him if he comes to Boston. What is the over/under on the first booing in Fenway Park should he sign with the Red Sox and pitch more like Tom Tucker from Family Guy than Tom Seaver? How will he handle the gently insightful and earnestly perceptive media in the Boston market should his performance fail to equal the promise? Maybe we ought to think about these things before we get all kinds of crazy picturing him in a Boston uniform.

Of course, it is just possible that this is a rumor spread by Scott Boras, the agent for Daisuke Matsuzaka, to induce the Yankees to come into this bidding process like Colonel Kilgore in the Ride of the Valkeyries scene from Apocalypse Now. I'm not sure I beleive that, not because Boras isn't a snake in the grass, a low profile Drew Rosenhaus of sorts, but because the Red Sox need to make a big splash in this free agent market to show fans that they're doing something to justify the highest (and getting higher by the day) ticket prices in the league. I know that sentence runs on just a bit, but who has the time to fix things like that?

Another reason to discount the misinformation theory is the source from which I heard it. I was talking to a Red Sox fan I know (the name withheld to protect the guilty) who said that Boras played Buster Olney. Of course all free Americans know that you have to get up very early in the late mid-afternoon to put one over on the likes of a Buster Olney. That aside, the Red Sox fan in question has appeared in this space as the guy who assured me in mid-April that he would be satisfied with a 12-7 spilt against the Yankees in 2006 in favor of the Sox. I think we know how that one worked out. The Unknown Sox Fan might be right about this rumor, but I have to discount his Sox stories since he comes out with WEEI info as though it were fact.

I must say I was disappointed to see Gary Sheffield go to the Tigers this week. I was really hoping that he'd be coming to Boston. What a disaster that would have been. He would not have fit in with the team and its overall concept (which I think is not good, based on last year's results). He also would not have fit in with the fans and the media. Too bad, we might have seen the CHB flee in terror from the Sox facility for the first time since Carl Everett called him the CHB. And how I would have loved it. Alas, that was a Dan Duquette move, not a Theo Epstein move.

If you were reading this blog in the early summer, you might have noticed that I like basketball. I watch the NBA and on occasion, I comment on it. I was a Celtics fan once, and maybe I will again. But Danny Ainge changed all that by trading Antoine Walker. In the post Walker era, the Celtics have made just one playoff appearance (which they earned after reacquiring Employee Number Eight in midseason). Now people expect fans to get excited over a team that cornered the market on players trapped between the 2 and the 4, while not really filling any spot.

According to Bill Simmons and his minions, the problem is Doc Rivers. While I agree Doc is a bad coach, I think he's also a bad coach coaching a fatally flawed team. Say that five times fast. Maybe Don Nelson could turn this nightmare around, but while we're dreaming of that scenario let's not wake up and count the titles Coach Nelson has won just yet. That might result in a "if you die in your dreams, you die in real life" Nightmare on Canal Street for Celtic fans. But in the misdirected (at the time, and at her target target) words of Sinead O'Connor, fight the real enemy.

Maybe I might have missed something here. Unless my nearly photographic memory was out of film that day, Doc Rivers did not take a team of mercenaries into the team offices and seize control of the Celtics like Hans taking over the Nakatomi Building in Die Hard, did he? There is a man out there in whom the power to hire and fire the head basketball coach of the Boston Celtics resides, right? Danny Ainge may not be the devil, but like the devil he has tricked mankind into believing he doesn't exist.

It has not ceased to amaze me that this papier-mache Mephistopheles is still employed by the Celtics. On the off chance that some Celtic executive reads this, or a reader knows a Celtic executive please read this section as many times as it takes to sink in: Danny Ainge took over a team that had made the playoffs both seasons prior to his hire, including making the conference finals in 2001. I know this. I was at the games. Since he returned to the Celtics, they made the playoffs exactly once.

He traded Antoine Walker for a group of players whose NBA career success inspire more comparisons to the squirt gun full of jelly, the train with square wheels and Charlie in the Box rather than Russell, Heinshon, Cowens, Bird and the other ghosts of Celtics past. He married a coach who can't win with his team to a team that can't win with its coach. And he still has a job running a franchise in the NBA. I guess I must point out that terrible executives have roamed the NBA landscape with impunity since the league began. A man did trade the rights to Bill Russell for the Icecapades, and did not face the firing squad.

By the way, I thought part of the reason that Antoine Walker was expendable after his second stint with the Cs was the devlopment of Al Jefferson. And now, if you read the piece in the minions link above, you'll find that Bill Simmons has given up on him. I won't depress you further by telling you exactly how many of the players obtained for Antoine are still wearing the green.

I never thought I'd be so virulent in my criticism of a guy who had won titles for the Cs, but I never thought I'd live to see the day I would have to leave the Celtics behind either. Thank you Danny Ainge.

And now for the postscripts...

I imagine those of you who read this blog might be surprised to see a post like this roll up in the early evening when I usually post in the middle of the night. Today was a special case, with the Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame playing their game against Air Force on CSTV. I do not have CSTV on my cable package. Nor do any of my friends. Nor do any of my casual acquaintances from work. I went to great lengths to watch this game, but I elected not to add the channel to my cable service, since it wouldn't be worth it for one afternoon.

TNT decided to throw a terrible movie lineup at Notre Dame fans reeling from their team's bizarre absence from a widely available national network for the first time since I can remember. Gone in Sixty Seconds and Walking Tall. Two movies that never should have been made in the first place, but were remade for some strange reason. A pair of reasons for the CHB to wet himself, after all he said God forbid ND should make the BCS title game on Rome is Burning this week. And that is why I vent on the blog.

And in case you're wondering, in addition to the Apocalypse Now reference, there are Heart of Darkness, Baudelaire and Island of the Misfit Toys from the claymation Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer special references in tonight's post.

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