Friday, October 17, 2003

Bring Me the Head of Grady Little!...

This is why I hate baseball. Obviously there are no baseball Gods, or if they are, they are sick, twisted, cruel little creatures with black hearts who thrive on crushed hopes and forsaken dreams...

I'm looking at my little notebook. Seven outs to go, Two men on, 4-2. Little Evil Karim Garcia is the tying run. Soriano is at the plate. Ball. Foul. Strike. Foul. Ball. 2-2 count. Pedro strikes him out, for the fourth time that evening.

I went upstairs, told Wifeypooh Pedro has just masterly saved his bacon and got out of the seventh, and we were going into the eighth ahead 4 to 2, but Pedro was definitely done for the night.

Eighth inning.

Manny bats, out. (By the way, what the heck's with all that scmooze on some of the Red Sox batting helmets? Looks like dog crap.)

David Ortiz, Pappy. Homerun. 5-2. Little note in the margin: "wine".

Bottom of the eighth.

Six outs from the World Series. Six outs. Five batters later we're five outs from the World Series, except it may not be us, because it's tied 5-5 after Grady "Forrest Gump" Little lets Pedro stay in after bringing not one, not two, not three, but four batters to two strikes before giving up hits. At this point Pedro has thrown approximately 9,000 pitches and his right arm is seven inches longer than his left.

"Aw Crap" is scrawled along the bottom of the notebook.

Six freakin outs.

I knew it was over at that point. Oh, sure, my heart leapt a little when Ortiz hit that nice double, but I knew as soon as Kapler was sent in to pinch run we were done for. Not that Kapler can't run, but that putting in a pinch runner who can score from second is a smart managerial move -- which assured that Kapler would never make it home; as nothing Grady Little ever does looks like a smart managerial move.

Jeez. At this point I'm ready to bring back the Gerbil.

Listened to Grady Gump's post game interview. Two questions. Both basically the same. To paraphrase: what the Hell were you thinking?

Of course, had Grady sat Pedro after the seventh and someone from the bullpen came out and lit themselves afire, as had been the case for huge chunks of this season, then Little would share John McNamara's fate, who seventeen years later is still answering the question "Why didn't Roger go out to pitch the eighth?"

Well, for new Red Sox fans this was certainly instructive. I don't know why I fell for it this year; I feel like a fatter, hairier, version of Charlie Brown as the BoSox yet again play Lucy with the football.

Oh, this was supposed to be different. This was so different. Looking at the notebook now: "9:25 PM EDT - Clemens' career ends as he's pulled in the fourth. Score: 4-0."

Now he gets another ring, and we get... what exactly?

Well, the media will be happy at least, they, like the Baseball Gods, feed on misery and despair. Chow time, fellas.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Just to be on the record before tonight

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: "the Red Sox are going to win the Pennant."

Tonight's the big night. Seventh Game. One Hundred Years after the first Boston World Series win (held on what is now the Alma Mater, no less), and it's Red Sox / Yankees for all the beans.

The Yankees; winners of 101 regular season games, four World Series' since 1996, with the biggest payroll in baseball (okay, I'm making that up -- I don't have time to look up the actual numbers) versus

The Boston Red Sox; perennial "wait til next year" victims of improbable and sometimes sensational August / September / and October train-wrecks, the underdogs, the lovable mutts with their shaved heads and Johnny Damon's Mullet.

I'm a big time beliver in a heavenly bureaucracy: there's God, and then there's all these minions that handle things like, well, like nipples on men. Things that are really out of the whole life/death/cosmos area that's the purview of the big guy.

So, this "heavenly bureaucracy" (see, as a bureaucrat myself I like to imagine bureaucracies are necessary parts of everything) finds the time to get involved in other stuff. For instance, as Gregg Easterbrooks from ESPNs Page 2 points out, there are the Football Gods. My belief in the football gods got a big boost when the Pats beat the Rams. Look at that story: it's the 9-11 year, a team named "Patriots" wins, only after their longtime QB is lost for a huge chunk of the regular season, but comes back to save thier bacon in the AFC championship game, etc etc. It had destiny writen all over it.

Can't you feel that same thing happening with this Red Sox Team? C'mon, only the baseball gods could write an ending of the Roger Clemens / Red Sox saga like this. Either his last game is a loss to his former team, putting them in the World Series for the first time in 17 years, or he again stabs out the heart of New England and ends his career in the World Series, pitching for the mercenary Yankees. After which, he descends directly into Hell for his assorted misdeeds.

I prefer not to think that the Baseball Gods could be so capricious; I have faith in bureaucrats - the want the happy ending. And tonight's happy ending has the Traitor Clemens getting the L.

If the Red Sox win, then Basball can be saved -- baseball has meaning, for the Gods of Baseball offer salvation and mercy. If the evil minions of Lord Steinbrenner again take the prize, then there are no Baseball Gods, and the sport is a hopeless parade of random violence and soul-crushing despair.

In this battle for the heart and soul of Baseball Nation I am reminded of this exchange between Connor MacLeod and Ramirez from Highlander (the coolest movie of all time).

He cares about nothing or no-one.
He is completely evil.
If he wins the Prize, mortal men will suffer an eternity of darkness and slavery beneath his boot.

How do you fight such a savage?

With heart, faith and steel.
[In the end, there can be only one…]

Yes, there can be only one. And tonight, that one will be the Boston Red Sox.

Saturday, October 4, 2003

Hitman Needed, Include References and Salary Requirements

"It's just that wasting old ladies isn't nice." - Otto West, A Fish Called Wanda

One of my many bosses at work is planning a nice little mid-fall trip, one of her many, many vacation forays, to a tropical island in the western Antillies. Problem is, her elderly aunt is at Death's door. Well, perhaps walking up Death's front walk, or maybe just admiring Death's farmers porch. She is certainly loitering somewhere in Death's front yard like a meter reader searching for the watermeter, and, wouldn't you know it, Death hasn't trimmed his hedges in ages.

If Auntie were to shuffle off this mortal coil, then, in proper Irish-American fashion, Little Mary Wimpypooh would have to fly home from her tropical vacation and do the whole waking/mourning/drinking/arguing/burying/drinking/arguing thing. Now, if Auntie were to have the common decency to pass three or four days before the flight is scheduled, then Mary could do the proper Irish mourning, and wing off to climes tropical.

But the problem is, Auntie is rallying. Or maybe not. Allegedly in a coma two or three days ago, she was downright perky last night. But there's still enough time until departure for a couple more go-arounds; rallying and failing, rallying and failing. And it's not like we're talking about some middle-aged person for whom their passing would be for their family a tragedy beyond all understanding; this is an ooooold lady who's about to get her reward for a lifetime of 9:00 weekday masses and at least three Mary's on the Halfshell (seriously, there oughta be a law...).

So, in the interest of helping out Little Mary Wimpypooh, I am seeking the services of a gentleman with certain, shall we say, talents. Now, we've taken up a collection here at work, and we've gotten it up to about $8.37, but, really, it's not like I'm asking you to take out the Pope, for goodness sakes. One well-placed trip over a cord could probably do the job. Think of the good you'd be doing; Mary would get to go on her annual pilgrimage to tropical climes where pliant non-english speaking cabana boys await to fufil her every desire (hey -- get that mind out of the gutter, I'm talking about drink orders!! -wink wink-), Auntie would meet her maker and finally learn the truth about what happened on the Grassy Knoll, and, for you, Mr. Professional Assassian of Old Ladies, there may be some work in it for you later -- Motherdear ain't getting any younger. Or, for that matter, is Wifeypooh....

Friday, October 3, 2003

There but for the grace of God....

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - An enraged Ethiopian mother of five will be tried for the murder of her husband who died after she crushed his testicles in a fight, police told the state-run Ethiopian News Agency.

Police said on Friday the man was so embarrassed after the incident that he declined to seek treatment for the injury, and died days later.

"Following a disagreement over the husband's spending habits, his wife refused to give him his dinner and also decided to sleep alone," police in the western region of Wellega said.

"The husband was so angered by this affront by his wife that he tried to beat her. In the melee that followed, the wife grabbed and twisted his testicles causing serious damage."

Police said the unnamed woman, a resident of Wayu-Tuka district in Wellega, had had several arguments with her husband about the amount of money he spent on booze.

So, Men, be grateful she's only throwing plates at you for spending the last $20 on that football pool at work. It could be worse. Much, much, worse.

And Next Week, an Interpretive Dance Praising Stalin's Agricultural Policy...

Dear Old Alma Mater is hosting a "multimedia tribute to the Black Panther party," titled “The Black Panther Suite: All Power to the People” composed by "cutting edge Asian-American artist" Fred Ho. Well, Fred's pieces are always interesting, for instance, "The White Peril" which, as the Village Voice says:

" burned with a seething inner flame, its passion so restrained and compressed that it shot out of his sax bell in pithy phrases of irresistibly cogent logic ... Rage eloquently channeled is always a thrill."--Kyle Gann, The Village Voice

Oooh, more seething inner flame, please! What manner of eloquently channeled rage are we in store for at Dear Old Alma Mater. Apparently audience members in the first couple of rows should wear fire-resistant ponchos, as Ho is some sort of pyromanical Gallagher, what with his seething inner flame shooting out of his sax bell.

According to the advertisement, "Power to the People" is an

"interactive video and martial arts choreography that addresses the civil rights struggle of the 1960s and 70s, and explores its relevance for modern America."

Hmm. Here's Black Panther relevance for modern America: when someone stabs someone in the head with a kitchen knife, as Huey Newton did at a party years before founding the Black Panthers, don't let them out of jail.

When a petty thief, the self-same Mr. Newton, who used to lurk outside emergency rooms and steal from the cars of people rushing in for medical attention, forms a group posing as Social activists, watch out.

When a person kills a 23 year old police officer, and wounds another, in a traffic stop shootout, don't screw up the trial and let them get off on "reversible error."

Penultimately, when an organization murders their bookkeeper when she discovers they've been embezzling from anti-poverty programs, don't write "multimedia tributes" to them.

And, finally, when you are a major urban university and host this multimedia tribute, don't hold your breath during pledge time.