Monday, June 11, 2007

So it's been a few days since my last post. I must confess, I haven't bothered to watch any of the NBA Finals. I've resigned myself to the Spurs winning it all, again. But that doesn't mean I have to watch it unfold. The NBA is rapidly becoming dead to me. LeBron is the only guy on either team that can play above the rim and play the game at the same time. The only other thing remotely interesting about this series is the fact that Tony Parker is about to marry an incredibly beautiful woman. Since that is all the NBA Finals have going, I have better things to do.

I wonder now, how Red Sox fans feel about their team. Roger Clemens is back with the Yankees. All of a sudden, the Bronx Bombers aren't bombing any more, at least not in the sense that had Red Sox Nation revelling not so long ago. I take it you remember those days, when the lead was 14 and 1/2 games. Now it's down to 9 and 1/2. And there are a whole lot of games left to be played.

Today, following Randy Johnson's solid outing, I find myself wondering if there is a little trouble brewing in paradise. Timlin did not look very good in his return to the big club. The trouble is, the Sox get a chance to bounce back from a stretch where they lost 5 games out of 7 against two playoff teams from a year ago. First they had the three game set with the Diamondbacks, and now they come home to play the Rockies and the Giants. Let's face it, neither of those teams are particularly good.

The worst part of the Giants series is that I will be forced to root against both teams. There is a maddeningly little conundrum for you, rooting against two teams one of whom is almost assured to win barring some sort of cataclysm like a meteor hitting the stadium. That might not be so bad, but for the fact that if a meteor hits Fenway, I'm pretty sure that it's not going to end well for me. I'm no astrophysicist, or any kind of physicist for that matter, but I'm willing to bet that I'd be in a world of hurt in that scenario.

I just can't root for Barry Bonds, at least not until someone tells me how he became the only power hitter to age like wine without turning into vinegar. I'm also not sure how he managed to develop shin splints at his age. I thought that was a malady that affected teenagers going through puberty, but then I'm not a doctor in addition to not being any kind of physicist. I just don't like Barry Bonds, and I never will.

Every now and then, I notice something and wonder if I'm the only person in the world that reacts to it in a certain way. Today it's the trouble I see brewing in paradise. Buried in the middle of Gordon Edes' Red Sox Notebook column in the Globe, there is this comment from Julian Tavarez: "Tavarez revealed he has been pitching with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. "[Josh ] Beckett would be on the DL with this,"." It seems frightfully rude of him to say a thing like that.

In certain circles, one would consider that throwing a teammate under the bus. If Terrell Owens dared say a thing like that, villagers would be chasing him down with torches and pitchforks. Or failing that, every sports writer with a deadline and more paunch than brains would be after him as though he'd sold poisoned milk to school children. Maybe Tavarez is free to say what he pleases about whom he pleases when he pleases because he's the only guy in the organization that can talk to Manny Ramirez.

Part of the reason that Tavarez has not been called on the carpet for his comment about Beckett has to stem from the fact that the organization and the fans are unusually slow-witted. No one in Red Sox Nation will even grasp the meaning of the blister comments for another two or three news cycles. So if the team plays well, it will all blow over. But if they keep giving games back to the Yankees and the atmosphere around the team turns negative, this is a story that could come back to haunt them. Give them another run like they had against NY and Oakland and the CHB will be on this like noxious odor on horse manure.

I meant to do this last week, but other matters intruded. In the past, I have been critical of Bill Simmons. That was before I realized that the Sports Guy is tough. Consider the way he laid the smack down on a Cavaliers beat writer who dared blaspheme against the mighty Simmons. Maybe I'm wrong, but that segment of his blog post had to be the online journalistic equivalent of the studio boss waking up to the horse's head in his bed. You simply don't trifle with Bill Simmons.

I really don't care if the writer from Cleveland criticized Simmons fairly or unfairly. Whatever claim to sympathy the Sports Guy might have had went out the window when he threw the coy little reference to the fact that he makes considerably more money than the beat writer in question. There was a time when Simmons was writing on high school sports for the Boston Herald as long as he could fit that into his schedule between shining Michael Gee's shoes with his face and serving as Steve Buckley's human footstool.

I couldn't help but chuckle at this little gem: "Bottom line: If you're going to rip another writer, make sure you've actually read the guy first." When did Bill Simmons become Stone Cold Steve Austin? Where did he acquire the right to set the bottom line in any question? At the risk of transgressing my new rule about people with no right to set the bottom line setting the bottom line, I have a bottom line for Simmons. He's a bully. And a fraud.

He has no problem ripping Art Shell. Or Isiah Thomas. But Heaven forbid that some minnow should dare think that turnabout is fair play and that mean things can be said about Bill Simmons. If one can say or write harsh words about another person, then one ought to be able to take a little bit from another person. Alas, lessons like that must not be taught on the mean streets of suburban Connecticut.

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