Friday, July 15, 2005


Okey doke. I'm back from my All-Star break. Unfortunately, I wasn't good enough to actually make the All-Star roster so I was forced to watch the game with Derek Jeter, but I digress...

Anyway, in the last week the Red Sox have seen Jay Payton head west for P Chad Bradford, Curt Schilling head 60 miles north from Pawtucket (on the way passing Kevin Youkilis), David Ortiz hit 48 homers in the first round of the home run hitting contest Monday (by the way, Ortiz might have actually won the whole thing if 3b coach/BP pitcher extraordinaire Dale Sveum didn't thrown 100 pitches -- 75 of which were balls during Ortiz's first round at-bat), and Tito rationalized to Brian Roberts why, instead of batting lead-off (I mean, he is leading the league in hitting ... as a lead-off guy), he'd be batting ninth while Damon assumed the top spot.

And now, despite all the hoopla, the second half of the season is officially underway. And for the first time in a long time the Red Sox are in first place. This'll be interesting (at least until the Sox either (a) win 40 in a row and go up by 25 games by early September, or (b) lose 40 in a row and go down by 20 games).

... First things first. Congrats to Jerry Remy for being named 'Sportscaster of the Year.' And I'm serious because I'm speaking from the perspective of a tormented soul who, before making the best investment in my life (Extra Innings baseball package), was stuck listening to the likes of Rick Sutcliffe, Chris Berman and Tim McCarver. In retrospect, this is the type of punishment that the prisoners at Gitmo should be lucky they don't have to endure. I'll take Christina Aguilera from here to Armageddon if it means no more Sutcliffe et al., but I'm getting a little far a field. Anyway, both Remy and Orsillo make watching the game an enjoyable experience. What a thought.

... Speaking of enjoyable, Manny Ramirez made perhaps the most unbelievable play -- even for Manny -- that I've ever seen. Yeah, yeah, people are still talking about Jeter diving in the stands last season (while Nomar sat mute in the dugout) as one of the greatest plays ever. It doesn't even hold a candle to what Manny did last night. Let me try and set it up:

In the first inning, Robinson Cano hit a soft liner down the left field line. Manny attempted what can kindly be described as a hook slide in the general direction of the ball (in all honesty, it looked like that guy from college who would invariably get drunk, and try to get a few laughs by taking a few laps on the slip-n-slide ... naked. Of course the dope would also forget to add water and what you'd have is a fat, drunk, naked guy who'd make it about a foot and a half before it looked like someone hit the emergency brake). Manny missed making the play by just about 15 feet. And as the ball rolled toward the corner, he actually rolled over on his side -- away from the play -- like a toddler just learning how to turn over. When he finally got to the ball, Cano was rounding third and looked like he would make it easily. And then, out of nowhere, Manny gave a fast-pitched softball toss to third base, and before the ball even arrived, he started towards Johnny Damon in centerfield, and did his patented 'point' as Cano was thrown out by five feet. There's your ESPY.

... Speaking of ESPN, I came across this great idea via Off Wing Opinion:
Our task is simple: to determine, via a time-tested method (the 64-team elimination tournament as seen in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, which ESPN used to show in its pre-sucking days) which ESPN broadcasting personality is the most totally loathsome and most deserves to suffer permanent paralysis of the vocal cords.
Geez. I could spend hours making a list of insufferable 'personalities' on the network. I think a tougher task might be naming someone (anyone) who was actually good at their job (off the top of my head I've got: Ron Jaworski, Greg Anthony, Jay Bilas).

... One more thought on Manny. I noticed last week during the Texas series that Manny looked like he was wearing his Ichiro specials: sunglasses that actually have earplugs that allow you to listen to music while out in the field. Oddly, I mentioned it in passing, but didn't really think it was out of the ordinary (which I guess is what makes it, um, odd -- I mean, it wasn't like he had a water bottle in his back pocket or something). Well, yesterday I found this. It looks like Manny had the sunglasses with the earplugs, but didn't inhale have batteries. That sounds about right.

... Oh yeah, the Red Sox lost and some guy named Schilling had a tough go of it. Despite the fact that Schilling gave up a moon shot to A-Rod in the 9th (I mean seriously, the ball almost cleared the centerfield wall. Not the Green Monster, the centerfield wall), I put the loss squarely on the shoulders of Tito, who looked to be asleep at the wheel late in the game; he let Embree start the 8th inning even though Timlin was ready and he promptly gave up a double (and yes, it was a double right down the third base line -- my real pet peeve on this team, outside of Millar, of course) that ended up leading to the Yankees tying the game.