Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sox lose game, 5-1, and Papelbon for a week

Former Marlin A.J. Burnett tosses 3-hit CG

The struggling Sox could muster only 3 measly hits and 1 run (on a DP groundout) against Toronto's prized free-agent signee A.J. Burnett, a former teammate of Boston's Josh Beckett.
But the more important news came when the team learned that closer Jonathan Papelbon has a slight muscle strain in his pitching shoulder that should dissipate in about a week.

So add his name, and Schill's, to the injury list that now reads like an AL All Star ballot:
Alex Gonzalez
Willy Mo

Needless to say their season is over, despite the fact that Trot, Tek, and Gonzalez are all due back on Monday, with Papi a possible return that night as well. But what does it matter now? They are almost better off sitting these guys and letting them heal up for next year and really seeing what the kids can really do. Hey, David Murphy (sorry, Boston- Murph) had his first big league hit today. Because they're all meaningless games from here on out; so why risk further injury to your meaningful players?


Another day, another Sox regular down

Yesterday it was Lester and Papelbon, today it's Schilling

As the team dealt with the news of starting pitcher Jon Lester being diagnosed with lymphoma, then watched their prized closer go out in the 9th inning last night with an apparent shoulder in jury, today comes word that Curt Schilling will skip his next scheduled start due to a strained side muscle.
I think Tito should gather up the remainder of his squad, herd them aboard some kind of ship, and ferry them to a faraway island where no harm can befall them. I mean these guys are becoming an endangered species, the healthy Red Sox player. It's getting to be downright scary how many players are going down and with all different sorts of maladies. From blisters to knees to cancer to heart conditions, the Red Sox have morphed into the Bed(rest)Sox.
Let's see how they hold up today in a game that had to be moved up 6 hours because of strong storms expected to hit the Hub later this afternoon, the remnants of Tropical Storm Ernesto. If they get the game in, it will be interesting to see who plays where (newly recalled OF David Murphy is expected to start somewhere), who gets the start, and most importantly if they all make it out of the contest intact.

Once again, The Nation will be keeping our collective fingers crossed...

Today's game: vs. TOR, 1P Burnett (6-6, 4.53) vs... DiNardo? (we'll see)



"...a singular masterpiece that strips down the elements of today's society...
V for Vendetta
Rated R for violence, language and disturbing images
Starring Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman,
Stephen Rea, John Hurt

Directed by James McTiegue

On DVD: now

*** This comment contains minor spoilers ***

"...violence can be used for good...justice..."
That single line tells you all you need to know about the mindset of the title character, V (Hugo Weaving), who uses violence to get back at those who wronged him and his native Britain in this marvel of modern cinema. It isn't just simple, mindless violence that the masked terrorist uses to avenge his injustices; no, he uses a calculating form of destruction specifically designed to punish those responsible. The results are both horrifying and gratifying at the same time.

We are introduced to V through Evey ("E-V, of course") Hammond (Portman), an employee at the government-run news channel BTN. She is out after the imposed curfew and finds herself being detained by agents of the High Chancellor (John Hurt). As they threaten to rape her, the masked figure emerges from the shadows and promptly slices up the men in order to save the girl. Rather than leave her there he takes her to his "lair," a plush retreat he calls the Shadow Gallery. Once there, he reveals his intentions to Evey by showing her the fruits of his labor: the demolition of a downtown landmark and subsequent spread of panic and fear throughout London. "People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people," V tells her with voice that both comforts and chills. "Are you going to kill more people?" "Yes," he answers flatly. THAT line alone could win Weaving an Oscar- I still have chills down my spine from his heartless nonchalance regarding human life.

As the tale unfolds, we learn that it's not the lives of ordinary citizens that V is planning to terminate but those of a select group of government leaders and influential community members. Why is the man in the Guy Fawkes mask vowing to carry out what the British freedom fighter and his co-conspirators could not do in 1605- bring down Parliament? Because those inside are responsible for the condition that V is currently in, burned and barely human, but determined to settle the score with those responsible. "I've not come for what you'd hoped to do, I've come for what you've done," he tells one of his victims as she pleads for mercy. "Are you going to kill me now?" she asks. "I killed you 10 minutes ago" he tells her. As his reign of revenge renders hypocritical higher-ups in pools of poison-filled puke, Evey is both mortified and mesmerized by the mysterious masked madman. So was I. A police officer, Chief Inspector Dietrich (Rea), has been trying to solve the case of who the man behind the mask is, but every time he digs deeper into the past he is ordered to look away, or else. Still he continues to piece together the puzzle, and what he discovers puts the exploits of the terrorist in new light- V may have a just cause for his vendetta after all; the men in charge of the country are not the people they appear to be, but they are responsible for the state that their nation is in. On the 5th of November, the day that Fawkes is celebrated and one year after his reign of terror began, V will go out with a bang, bringing down Parliament and all of its' corrupt members. Or will it be his beautiful muse who lights the fuse?

Much has been said about this film glamorizing terrorism and demeaning government. After all, the central character is a debonair terrorist and the totalitarian government is portrayed as a controlling, corrupt, power-hungry entity. I don't believe that the talented director, James McTiegue, nor the creator of the graphic novel the story is based on, Alan Moore, intended it to be seen in that light. It is what it is-a fun, fascinating, thought-provoking story that is like nothing ever seen before on film. It has been said to contain elements of everything from "Batman" to "Phantom of the Opera," but V FOR VENDETTA is a singular masterpiece that strips down the elements of today's society and asks us to examine what's inside.

Everything about this film stands out! The acting is top-notch; Weaving, wearing a mask the entire film, should easily earn an Oscar nod for his entrancing portrayal of the chilling villain, and Princess Amidala Portman finally conveyed a range of emotions, proving she's NOT just another (very) pretty face. The supporting actors are terrific as well. Hurt, as the megalomaniacal Chancellor; Rea, as the gutsy cop; Steven Fry, as Evey's co-worker and confidant; Gordon and Tim Piggot-Smith, as the loathsome politico Creedy. The music was also excellent; from the "1812 Overture" during V's destruction of property, to the golden oldies in his antique jukebox, to the perfect closing number: the Stones' "Street Fighting Man" (listen to the words). The cinematography was simply amazing; the Wachowski Brothers' "Matrix" influence could definitely be felt, especially in the awesome dagger showdown scene near the end. The lighting, colors, shadows and camera angles were all perfect and set the tone for an actual graphic novel come to life, without all the gimmicks of a "Sin City."

All in all, one of the best films I have seen in a long time and easily one of the best of the year; one that will remain in my head for a long time to come. It did not make me want to embrace terrorism and anarchy-- it just made me think.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Whaddaya know, Sox win 2 in a row

Sox win second straight but may have lost Papelbon

Has anyone checked to see if the Four Horsemen rode down Landsdowne Street in the past few weeks. Because with the way Red Sox players have been going down from injury and illness, there's got to be an apocalyptic explanation.
Yes the Sox won the game with 2 runs on a solo job by Lowell in the 2nd and a balk by Ted Lilly in the 5th. But that is basically lost in the face of the rookie closer gripping his shoulder after throwing a pitch in the 9th. The air came out of the stadium as he gingerly gripped his arm and was taken off the field just 2 pitches after he earned his 1st error of the season by throwing a pickoff into centerfield.

So the beat(ing) goes on down on Yawkey Way. On the same day that a starter is diagnosed with cancer and Papi extended his absence caused by his heart condition now the potential Rookie of the Year could be potentially out for the year.

It's time to get an investigator on the case to find out what is happening to this ballclub, and who's responsible. 'Cause this has gone beyond freaky and into surreal.

Will someone check Demon's locker for a voodoo doll?!


Things getting ugly between Pats & Branch

The trading deadline passed at 4PM today and Deion Branch remains under contract with the Pats. Despite reports that both Seattle and the Jets had offered contracts to Branch as well as compensation to New England, in the end the Patriots' asking price was just too high- at least 1 if not 2- 1st round picks.

It's become quite clear that the Pats brass, as usual, is not about to buckle in this protracted standoff, of which there appears to be no end in sight. Talks have been stalled for weeks, and Branch is being fined $14,000/day. Now Branch and his agent have decided to persue a grievance against the Pats, saying they could have completed a trade but their demand for compensation was not in line with what other receivers of Branch's caliber had gotten in similar deals.

It would seem that this is getting very ugly very slowly, and with the season opener only 8 days away, if something doesn't get done soon it is going to be very shameful. To the Patriots and their fans, but mainly to Branch. Because nothing decreases your value more than inactivity. And right now Branch is even more inactive than Treadmill T.O.

Stay tuned...


How can it get worse? Lester has lymphoma

Toronto @ Boston 7P, Lilly (11-11, 4.78) vs. Kyle Snyder (3-3, 6.91)

More bad news hit the beleaguered Sox today as they learned that previously-thought injured starter Jon Lester actually has lymphoma.

After extensive tests to determine the cause of Lester's back problems, it was determined that the young lefty has a treatable form of the cancer called anaplastic large cell. He will undergo treatment immediately and doctors expect him to make a full recover y from the disease.

It just keeps getting more and more depressing by the day along Yawkey Way. Earlier this afternoon Big Papi announced he will not return to the field until the tests on his ticker are complete; that will be happening on Monday, so earliest return for him could be Monday night when the White Sox come to town.

And to make matters worse, Boston has to face one of the members of the Sox Killers Club, Pitchers Wing when crafty lefty Ted Lilly faces off against Kyle Snyder. In his last 4 starts at Fenway Lilly is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA, including a 10-strikeout, 0-walk game in April

Maybe another act of God will help them pull out a win tonight.


Delmon's Dynamite

Young phenom's Chi-Town debut a mashing success Whaddaya know. Turns out the kid was right. He was ready for the Big Leagues.
With a phenomenal performance in his first series in the majors, the D-Rays rookie RF wowed his opponents, teammates, and coaches. He may have also silenced some of his critics and doubters who thought the pressure of Major League Baseball would crack the kid like a nut.
Check out the numbers from his first 3 games vs. the World Champs:

Tuesday: 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBIs, 2 runs. Hit by first pitch; homered for first hit.
Wednesday: 2-for-3, 2B, sac fly, 2 RBIs. Both hits came with two outs.
Thursday: 4-for-5, 2B, run. Started winning rally with 10th-inning single.

Grand totals: 8-11 (.727), 2 2Bs, 1HR, 4RBI, 1(big)HBP, 1 blown catch, 1 ton of praise.

Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen has already punched his ticket to the Hall after witnessing Delmon's destruction first hand. After denying that he instructed series-opening starter Freddy garcia to hit Young with the first ever pitch he saw as a big-leaguer, Young went on a tear that culminated with a rally-starting single in the 10th inning yesterday that preceded Jorge Cantu's game-deciding 2-run base hit. In between he misjudged a fly ball by Jermaine Dye in the first inning of game 1 that went for a 3-run HR, ran the bases flawlessly while spraying the ball to all fields, and hit a 2-run jack into the bully for his first major league homer in his 2nd career AB.
All of that activity promted the garrulous Guillen to proclaim:
"He's a future Hall of Famer..he has a long way to go, but this kid's not scared. He's for real."

So Delmon passed his entry test. We'll see how he fares at home this weekend vs. Seattle. I'll be at the game Saturday night and get an up-close look at the kid, and I'd love to ask him one question:

did his teammates gave him a Perrier shower after his first game?


Thursday, August 31, 2006


Wells heads to San Diego but Sox score 6-4 victory over Jays, Halladay

I should've known that all I had to do was predict a Sox loss and they would stop their slide; we all know my track record with predictions. But this win could not have been predicted by Nostradamus himself.

News came down about an hour before game time that Boomer was traded to his hometown Padres (at least someone can thank Theo); Julian Tavarez got the call to start his first game in 3+ years.
Funny thing is, the Gas Can held his own, allowing 3 runs in 3 innings on 5 hits- about his normal effort out of the pen. Boston's rag-tag line-up (corner infielders playing the corner outfield?!) managed to get to Cy Halladay for 4 runs in 4 innings, 3 of them coming on Lowell's 1st inning 3-run bomb; that blast alone accounted for more runs than they had averaged per game in the last 2 weeks.
They added another in the 4th on 2 singles, a walk and a DP grounder by Javy I'm Done Lopez.
But the improbable was about to happen with the game tied at 4 in the 7th.

Bottom of the 7th and Alex Cora steps up to the plate with Dustin Pedroia on first when one of the oddest plays in Fenway's storied history occurred: Cora lofted a pretty decent fly ball towards the bleacher section in right field; Jays RF Alex Rios drifted back and appeared to have a bead on the ball. But a funny thing happened on his way to making the catch- it popped out of his mitt, and as he tried to snag it with his barehand, it slipped out like a wet bar of soap and into the bleachers for a 2-run, game-deciding HR. Cora's first homerun in 245 ABs. Off Halladay. Game over.
Paplebon (remember him?) came in to shut the door on the Sox' first win in like, a month and a half, and there was finally reason to sing "...well I love that Dirty Water...."

The way Boston stopped ended their 6 game losing streak can be attributed to many things: a gritty effort from a desperate, proud team; a stroke of good luck the squad had been needing for many weeks; great managing by Tito the Bloody Lip for putting together a lineup of has-beens, retreads and kids who managed to get 7 hits and a victory against one of the best pitchers in the game.

But my explanation: divine intervention. All the prayers off all the members of the Nation, combined with the departure of Wells (and the Sox' playoff aspirations) and possibly the dying wish of Charlie Wagner, a member of Boston's 1946 team and longtime Boston fixture who died of a heart attack at 93, to produce a play so fluky and fortunate that there had to be a higher power at work. Right?

But whatever the reason, all members of RSN will take it.

As Earl would say:

" now that's what I call karma."



College Football Kicks Off Tonight

BC @ Cent. Mich, So Car @ Miss. St., No. Az @ Az St. are just a few of the contests that start the season off tonight.

And that's my preview. Because unlike those so called 'experts', I don't try to predict the unpredictable. It's the same advice I would give to Florida weathermen during hurricane season.

Go Noles.


Who's gonna start?

Tonight's game: 7P vs TOR ? (?-?, ?.?? Era) vs Halladay (16-4, 3.12)

It's about 25 minutes or so till game time and a lot of interesting things are going on at Fenway. Click the link to read the story about tonight's scheduled starter, Boomer Wells, who also appears to be scheduled to be pitching for another team by tomorrow. So Lenny DiNardo, who has been injured for like 8 months, might come up from Pawtucket to spot start. Against Roy Halladay. You know, the 2003 Cy Young winner who could win his second this season.

Big Papi is out till at least Saturday; apparently his heart palpitations have been caused by stress and fatigue. I guess that's what happens when you carry a Nation on your back for 4 years.
Manny- who knows when he'll be back. 5-10 days maybe.
Lester is in the hospital with a lymph node issue.
Cue the theme from M*A*S*H please.

The Globe has just posted Julian Tavarez as tonight's starter.
Let me save myself the trouble of writing my post later tonight:

Sox lose Wells and their 7th straight with no end in sight.



Right off the bat I have to admit that I did not watch the broadcast of the 58th Annual Emmy Awards on Sunday night, and judging by the ratings I wasn't alone. But I wanted to do an Emmy-related post anyway. Why, you may ask? Well reason one is RED SOX BURNOUT! If I have it, I'm sure my loyal readers do too, so it's time to move on. Plus with some of my favorite shows just ending or beginning, and some of them taking home statues, I thought now would be a good time for MY TOP 5 TV LIST:







As you see, I didn't have any of the "hip" shows like 24, LOST, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, GREY'S ANATOMY, or HOUSE. Why? Because my wife and I are leaders, not followers. If we don't jump on a show from the very first episode, we don't jump on the bandwagon later. I have a rule- if I miss the pilot, I don't watch an episode of a show until it's in syndication. Just my rule, you don't have to agree with it.
So that's "my list" (an Earl reference folks; watch it). Notice I say FAVORITE, not BEST. These are my choices; if you have a better list, drop a comment and we can get a good old fashioned debate started.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Schilling gets 3000th K in loss to A's

Sox lose 7-2 despite Schilling's historic strikeout
Milestones are always nice; they put a player's career into historic perspective, allowing him to be compared to his peers over many generations. They can also help take the sting off of a deflating loss.
So when Curt Schilling fanned Nick Swisher for the first out of the 1st inning to become just the 14th pitcher in ML history to reach the magical number, and the Oakland crowd gave him a standing 'O', it had to be a sweet moment amidst all the turmoil of the past few weeks.

But knowing the competitor that Schill is I'm sure he didn't bask in the glow of becoming the first hurler to join the 3000 K Club since Greg Maddux last July; no, he was too busy being roughed up by the scorching Oakland hitters to the tune of 11 hits and 6 runs to go in 5 1/3 innings, including 2 HRs. He has not won since Aug 4th at Tampa Bay.

With the nucleus of Boston's attack all back east nursing their various injuries, the Sox really had little chance of beating Oakland lefty Barry Zito (15-8) unless Schill pitched a shutout. And although Hinske had an RBI single for the second straight game to get the Sox on the board in the 2nd, Oakland answered in their half when Bobby Kielty belted a solo shot with 2 outs. In the 3rd Mark Ellis lead off with his 10th blast, and although I didn't see the game(thankfully) I'm sure all RSN members thought the exact same thing: "uh-oh, here we go again", possibly followed by the 'click' of the remote.

Oakland tacked on RBI hits in the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 7th, but the way this team is playing it was over after Ellis' dinger. You could have labeled this the TEAMS GOING IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS BOWL. Boston's record for August fell to a ghastly 8-21, the most losses in a month since 1984, and they have currently lost 6 straight and 12 of 14. Meanwhile Oakland is ready to put a Pat Riley-like patent on the term 'second half comeback' as the streaking A's have ripped of a 21-6 run in the Dog Days off August to stretch their once tenuous AL West ead to 7 1/2 over Anaheim. To put it into perspective, on July 4th Boston had a 3 game lead over the Stankees in the East; today they are 8 1/2 behind.

The news on Papi is pretty positive- it looks like a common heart condition that can be caused by and corrected with many things- but with Boomer Wells apparently headed back home to San Diego in a trade for youth and the rest of the wounded in various stages of recovery, at least on this glorious Northern California afternoon The Nation's hero could enjoy a moment of personal satisfaction. Even if he didn't enjoy it for very long.

Next game: Toronto @ Fenway, THU 7P They don't even get the day off after flying across the country- can we get an injury timeout, Commissioner Selig? And with the Blue Jays only 2 games behind Boston in the standings this could prove to be a big series, morale wise. It's one thing to get swept at home by NY or at Oakland, but not at home to the Blue Birds.


Another night, another loss; 3 Sox fly home for tests

Sox lose 11th in last 13, 2-1 to A's

Another night means another loss for the artists formerly known as the A.L. East leaders. Although the rag-tag lineup and pitcher Josh Beckett gave it their all, the harsh truth is their all is not nearly good enough right now. Not even close.
The team had to have their injured mates on their minds, as Boston needed to reserve a private jet just to haul the injured back to Beantown. Papi went back for more tests, and has reportedly been admitted to Mass General again for overnight observations. On board were his teammates & buddies Manny and Willy Mo, who will both be examined by Sox docs tomorrow to fully determine the extent of their injuries.
It was against that somber backdrop that Beckett took the hill, and no one was sure how his blistered finger would hold up. Turns out it held up just fine, as Becks had one of his better games if the 2nd half, posting a nice line of 7IP, 5H, 2ER, 3BB, 4Ks, 0 HRs; he only allowed an RBI 2B by Eric Chavez in the 4th and a sac fly by Marc Ellis in the 5th.
But the same old problem that has plagued this team for weeks reared its ugly head again- failure to drive in runners in scoring position. The Sox left 12 men on base and half of them were in scoring position, 4 with 2 outs. But the anemic bats could not come thru with a clutch hit, save for Eric Windmill Hinske's 6th inning RBI single up the middle that scored Youk with Boston's 1st run since the 6th inning on Sunday! Carlos Pena had his first hit for his hometown team, Coco went 0-4 again and Dusty Pedroia went 0-3 and is batting .120 in his brief Sox career.
Top it all off with the news that the team is shopping Wells to a contender, and well it doesn't take a Mensa member to realize that means they're admitting THAT BOSTON ISN"T ONE!
Tito's spitting up blood, Papi, Manny & WMP are back home under doctors' care, and now Boomer, who has pitched very well of late (which is why he's going) is probably gone. Little wonder that I'm not taking comfort in the news that Tek, Trot and Gonzalez all are starting PawSox rehab stints. The playoff ship will have long sailed by the time they get here. Just ask the front office.

Next game: Today@ OAK, 3:30 PM, EST Schill (14-6, 3.95) vs. Zito (14-8, 3.64)
Pray Schill pitches a shutout!


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Can you say "waving the white flag"?

Bye bye Boomer?


Delmon Young makes D-Rays, ML debut

Troubled & talented phenom gets callup for tonight's game

This is what we here in Tampa Bay have been waiting for. A big storm is blowing into town, full of hot air and carving a path of destruction in its wake. And no it is not named Ernesto(Click the title link for Gary Shelton's humorous column comparing Delmon to a hurricane). No, the kid known as The Bat Tosser for his infamous heave of his lumber that struck a minor league ump, earing him a 50 game suspension has made the big leagues. Batten down the hatches!

Aside from the bat incident, this kid has been making waves in the Bay area ever since he was drafted with the #1 overall pick in 2003. I believe that because his big brother, Dmitri of the Tigers, was already a major leaguer, Delmon considered it his destiny to be here, and he immediately let everyone know it; he wanted to be in the majors from day one, never mind three years later. So as time went on, and the Rays continued to suck, and Delmon put up numbers at Durham and stewed, this whole situation blew up into a Category 4 on the Prima Donna Scale. After his suspension ended he told a USAToday writer that he and fellow phenoms BJ Upton and Elijah Dukes should already be with the big club, because they are like 30 games out of first and they suck. Plus the showers at Durham were horrible and the big boys shower with Perrier. Okay. Reality check time.

Now that you have finally achieved what you believe to be your birthright, young Delmon, you better be careful what you wish for. Because even in a non-baseball town, your actions and words have preceded your talents, and that will get you booed anywhere. So if you can't hit a curveball, or you lose a ball in the Teflon Trop roof, or you mouth off to one of your teammates or coaches, well good luck to you. Because humility can be a painful thing when you're having it shoved back in your face.

Good luck, Delmon; would you like a lemon for your shower?



Season 2, Episode 2
Not only is this show like a night-time soap, it's also a roller coaster ride that ties your stomach in knots and makes you want to close your eyes in fear of what's coming around the next corner.
Last night's ep showed the boys continuing their journey to Mexico via Utah, and although the primary group of 5 (Michael, Linc, Sucre, Abruzzi, & C-Note) split up, they are sure to see each other again down the road. As the brothers part ways with the other 3, Sucre mentions that he wonders what happened to T-Bag. We'll soon get to find out.
It seems that the Hindi vet made a pretty decent plastic surgeon after all, neatly re-attaching T-Bag's severed hand with the skill of, well you get the picture. But instead of thanking the doc and moving on his way, T-Bag shows his true colors by telling the doctor that he will not be leaving the building alive. Chilling, but we always knew how evil he was; now we are seeing it firsthand, outside the walls of Fox River.
Meanwhile Warden Pope (Stacy Keach) and Sgt. Bellick are taking it from the prison review board regarding the escape. Pope is incredul;ous that instead of catching the escapees they are being forced to answer questions about how the inmates got out and who is responsible. Although they all know Dr. Tancredi left the door unlocked, the board has also learned that Bellick was the one who let the inmates work in the guards break room. Did he abet the cons? He vehemently denies it, but the line is drawn.

Agent Mahone is busy trying to pressure Linc's son LJ into giving up his father & uncle's whereabouts as he heads in to court to be sentenced. He even starts off by saying how much he admires his dad and uncle for their planning and carrying out the escape; LJ is unimpressed so Mahone gets to the point: he will cut a deal if LJ gives up the boys. Yeah, sure buddy. When the tactic fails, Mahone promises that LJ is going to be serving a long sentence in an adult facilityin Arizona. Little does he know that Linc & Michael have planned a little detour from their Mexican/Utah vacation- Linc knows that LJ is going to be sentenced, and by impersonating his (deceased) attorney speaks to LJ directly before he heads into the court. He assures his son that he will get him out, and gives him a cryptic message before hanging up: "On the third, look for Otis right". Huh?

As the boys race to spring LJ, T-Bag is busy disposing of the good doctor. Despite his pleas and prayers, T-Bag shows the cold blooded killer he really is by injected a lethal dose of a lethal drug in his arm, and then proceeded to bleach his hair in the sink. Cold and calm, the real T-Bag emerges. Watch out, Abruzzi.

After a former guard testifies that Bellick was bribed into letting the inmates work the guard shack, he promptly gets booted from Fox River. Pope gets off with a suspension, but in his outrage over their treatment of his man, Pope resigns on the spot.
By now LJ is headed to the courtroom, but Mahone surprises him by telling him he knows he spoke to his dad earlier and he will not be seeing the light of day for a long time. As they take the walk to the elevators, LJ glances up and sees the big Otis sign overhead. Ding, lightbulb on- Otis right on 3 (floor). Trouble is, clairvoyant Mahone picks it up too and follows the lead. When they enter the elevator, Michael and Lincoln break in from the top and shove a spray-painted water gun at Mahone and demand LJ's release. That's right, a toy gun!- this show is so into goofing on itself it actually had them use a painted water gun-classic! But in the scuffle, LJ falls back down and the boys are forced to flee without Linc's son in tow. Mission not accomplished.

As all of this is happening our old friend Tweener, or Newbie, has popped back into the picture. He's taken up hiding at a college campus and is looking to hitch a ride to...drumroll please...Utah. and wouldn't you know, he finds a sweet naive college chick that happens to be going that way. So he's aboard for the Utah rendezvous. Anyway, now we get to see the real life of Sgt. Bellick. He heads back to his home in a state of disbelief and disgust-how could they have let him go after all his years of dedicated service. the real kicker is we see that he lives with...drumroll please..HIS MOTHER! If it weren't so funny it'd be sweet. This guy is so pathetic and mean, yet I empathize with him anyway- the mark of a great actor. As I tell y wife about Bellick & T-Bag, you love to hate them. Bellick heads back to his bedroom and pulls out a shotgun, and immediately the heartbeat starts racing: are they gonna knock off 2 key characters in 2 consecutive weeks? After some stomach-turning moments, his mom calls up to him about a $300k rewqard for whoever catches the cons. Tense moment over; a lot of money can cure a lot of pain for a guy like Bellick!

So the ep wraps with LJ headed to Arizona and most everyone else headed to Utah, including T-Bag and Tweener. You know they are all going to meet up again, soon (judging by the previews I'd say next week is soon), and you know that the brothers are going to try and have LJ there with them. The tension is ratcheting up and I know I can't wait to see which way the coaster turns next.


Papi's heart, that of The Nation hurting

With Manny still Being Manny & the rest of the lineup already in shambles, Boston and its Nation of fans got the news that even the most diehard rooter knows the squad cannot recover from- Papi had to return to Boston with a recurrence of the irregular heartbeat problem that hospitalized him during the Stankee Massacre.
You've heard of things going from bad to worse? How 'bout real bad to downright morbid as this team continues to lose players at an alarming clip. And now the heart, soul & backbone of the squad, its MVP candidate and emotional leader is out indefinitely. MLB needs to check the lockers of disgruntled former Sox players for voodoo dolls; they should start with Ball Stealer Mientkiewicz, then work through Pedro, D-Lowe & Bron-Bron.

One thing you folks outside of The Nation need to realize is that we can handle heartbreak and disappointment when it comes to wins and losses- outside of 2004 we've been dealing with that on a yearly basis since the Titanic last sailed. But it is the pain, suffering, or premature demise of our heroes that throws us for a loop. We've been down this road too many times before, from Tony C. & Len Bias to Tedy Bruschi & Reggie Lewis, and we take the pain of our beloved icons to heart. And now that the driving force behind the Red Sox engine for the past 3+ years, its literal heart & soul, heads back home for tests on, of all things his heart, we sit back and say "f- the wins and losses, is Papi going to be alright?"

I know as I sit here this morning I cannot focus on the fact that Boston is currently on a losing skid of epic proportions, one that is dropping them in the standings quicker than a Mentos in a Diet Coke bottle. That they got flogged 9-0 by a sizzling A's team with a lineup that consisted of no players that were on last year's ALDS squad. No, I can only hope that Papi's tests come back negative, that it is only a minor issue that can be corrected with rest and/or medication. Because we all remember the Lewis situation and that tragic ending, and the Bruschi stroke scare is still fresh in all our memories. But if Big Papi were to have a serious health issue, well then you would see what it's like for an entire nation to feel pain.

Get well soon, Papi.


No Manny, no Papi- no mas!

... The Big Hurt just put a big hurtin' on the first pitch from his old teammate Keith Foulke to lead off the 7th to make it 6-0 Oakland, and this could be the day the music died for Boston. I can't watch these things anymore; now we've got Papi out for some unknown reason, scratched just before the game, and Carlos Pena makes his Sox debut. It's gotten so ugly that I found out in honor of the new hit film Invincible, starring Beantown's own Marky Mark Wahlberg, Tito is holding open auditions for players when the team returns to Fenway later this week. So bring your liveliest fastball, your mightiest swing, and your favorite broken-in mitt to Yawkey Way and you may just become the star of the next Disney sports flick...uh oh, Foulkie just gave up another bomb to Swisher, and as he does a spastic dance in the dugout after, I am going to turn this off, close my eyes, and think only one thing:


Cause I sure am.
Goodnight, Boston.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Bosox head to Oak-town w/ questions & doubt trailing them

Game time: 10PM, EST Gabbard (0-2, 3.38) vs Esteban Loiza (7-7, 5.12)

This article by Shaughnessy (click title link) sums up the Sox woes much better than my mediocre writing ever could.
As usual he pulls out his scalpel and carves through what he feels is really tearing up the team right now- MannyBeingManny, injured(?) version. My man Dan makes no bones about the fact that ManRam, if not faking the injury, is using it as an excuse to bail on his mates in this dire time. With half the lineup either on the DL or banged-up (with the exception of Youk, whose two-day flu most likely resulted from too much Yager & Red Bull) now is NOT the time for Manny to be begging out of games that mean so much in the playoff race.
But let's get real here, RSN- this team is likely not even going to come close to making the playoffs, and if they miraculously did it would be a painfully embarrassing early round exit. I can see Schill starting GM1 of the ALDS and willing the team to 1 victory, but only if he goes 8 innings, gives up 1run, and throws about 150 pitches. Beckett would then pull a Clement in GM2, and Wake & Wells would have to back out of their starts due to OLD AGE, causing the Sox to forfeit the series. Or something like that.
Bt seriously, check out this injury list going into tonight's contest- WARNING, it ain't pretty

On the roster but ailing:
LF Manny Ramirez -- Couldn't play yesterday because of contining right knee soreness
C Doug Mirabelli -- Jammed his left ankle during batting practice on Saturday
LHP Jon Lester -- Hurt back in recent fender-bender; won't make his start tonight
RHP Keith Foulke -- Back woes kept him out of Saturday night's game
1B Kevin Youkilis -- Missed two games with stomach flu; back in lineup yesterday in left
RHP Josh Beckett -- Cut finger in last start but will try to take mound tomorrow night
OF Wily Mo Pena -- Injured his left wrist at the plate Friday night and has missed two games
2B Mark Loretta -- Was in lineup yesterday but dealing with sore right quadriceps
On the disabled list:
SS Alex Gonzalez -- Right oblique strain
RHP Tim Wakefield -- Stress fracture in rib cage
OF Trot Nixon -- Strained right biceps
RHP Matt Clement -- Right shoulder strain
LHP Lenny DiNardo -- Neck strain
C Jason Varitek -- Surgery on left knee

Get the picture? Needless to say that with Manny, Boston has a chance to score some runs, because they can't walk Papi. But without Manny's bat in the lineup, the offense is a one-trick-pony: as you can see by the results of the past 1+ weeks, Papi is still hitting HRs but Boston is averaging about 3 runs/game in that span.

So we'll just see how it can get worse from here. I thought they would beat that kid yesteday in Seattle, and he nearly no-hit 'em. Who knows, tonight's emergency starter Kason Gabbard has pitched decently in limited action for the parent club this year (0-2, 3.38 ERA in 3 apps), so maybe he'll go for a no-no tonight. But will the patchwork lineup get any hits themselves?

Looks like it could be another long, late night here at the post.

Fingers crossed, RSN.



" agent by nature is a lying, money-hungry c***sucker; that's the breed, and Ari's Best in Breed" Drama, to the boys, regarding Ari's status as Vince's agent

Appropriately said, considering Jeremy Piven took home an Emmy tonight for his portrayalof the dog, though Ari is most certainly no shoo-in to remain Vince's agent as the season finale gets underway. In fact, the show opens with Vinnie wandering into E's bedroom and waking him with this comment: "I can't sleep- I think we should fire Ari".
Okay, bombshell dropped early, but not unexpectedly if you watched the previews last week.
So where does it go from there? The whole episode becomes a 'will he or won't he?' game of cat-&-mouse, as Vince tries to get a hold of Ari to break the news but Ari is dodging and weaving around town in an attempt to salvage the union. That evasiveness leads Drama to suggest that Vince try other agents, which sets the wheels in motion for the stunning (if foreseen) conclusion. Or, as Vince so eloquently put it: "F**k it, Ari's a dick- let's flirt."

As the boys go off to scout agents, Ari gets a meeting with Allen and his hottie VP/Ari's ex-one nighter Dana Gordon at Warners in an attempt to convince him to let Vince play Joey Ramone. Allen gives Ari 2 minutes to plead his case, but it was all for show, just so Allen could stick it in his face; he gleefully (for Allen) tells Ari that he wishes he would have cast Jake Gyllenhaal in Aquaman" because "the gates would've been higher"- OUCH. When Dana defends Vince's role, Allen tells her that her commentary is unwanted and promptly ends the meeting. As a defeated Ari exits, he gets off one last blast to the bitter studio head: "Hmm, hard to believe you've been divorced 3 times Allen."
Next shot we see Dana running out to the parking lot to admit the truth to Ari- Allen has no plans on making the film, he's just buying the script to shelve it forever to spite Vince. But if he can talk to Bob before the deal is finalized, maybe he can foil Allen's plan.

Meanwhile the boys are being wooed by posh agencies all over town,including Ari's nemesis Josh Weinstein. But even using Drama's grading criteria they find that the agencies are all alike- shiny and modern with conference rooms filled with suits promising to turn Vincent Chase into a brand name such as Mercedes, Coca-Cola or Apple. The looks on Vince and E's faces say it all: disgust. These clowns want to treat Vince as a commodity, not an integrity-filled actor who values honesty & friendship more than money and fame.

Ari has now high-tailed it to Bob's mansion to beg him not to sell the script to Allen. He even offers his 750i, claiming he will "make the payments until they expire, unless Bob expires first". But we know Bob doesn't want that "Nazi sled", nor does he appear to want to please Ari. So Ari pulls his trump card, admitting that Allen has no intentions of making the movie. When Bob doesn't believe him, Ari reveals his source:
"Dana Gordon, VP of production; I used to f**k her back in the day, so she owes me". Uh-oh. Bad move.
Thinking he has convinced Bob, Ari dances into his office on the air of confidence, singing to Lloyd and professing his love for Dana when he learns she is on the phone. But as she is cleaning out her office and calling Ari a "slimy piece of shit" for screwing her over in this thing, Ari realizes the old coot called Allen out on Ari's revelation, which got Dana immediately canned.
"Ari, you have one day to find me another job or the next time I see you at The Palm I am going to squeeze your f***ing dick with a claw cracker " It's going to be fun seeing her work at Miller/Gold next season!

Now it's on: when Bob confesses his signing of the deal to Ari, he instructs Lloyd to phone Vince and get it over with. The boys ponder life without Ari, but Drama provides words of wisdom: "don't do it; it's a mistake...we know where we stand with him; he's been with us from the beginning".
Lloyd gives Ari one of his " 'Queer as Folk' pep talks", which Ari takes as an inspiration to fight for Vince like it's WW III. They arrange a sit down at the office, and all Vince really wants Ari to do is say he's sorry, like a real friend would, for all he's done to screw Vince's dream project. But when they arrive at MGA, they are greeted by an all-too familiar vibe: squeaky clean office, Lloyd calling Vince 'Mr. Chase', and a conference room full of suits ready to blow smoke far up Vinnie's nether regions: oh no, not Ari too. The reconciliation went up in smoke when Babs told Vince he would become "a brand name like Microsoft or Mc-Donalds". As Vince and E walk away, disgusted, Ari comes groveling out to ask what went wrong. When Vince tells him all he wanted was Ari to "act like a friend, look me in the face, and apologize", Ari says "is that all, then I'm sorry Vin".
"It's too late"
E- "Ari, you're fired"
Cue the best of what has been a season-long selection of outro music: Ted Nugent's 'Stranglehold'.

So that's it for season 3; a terrific ending for what was a strong junior year. Plenty of places to go next year, starting with Vince's looking for an agent/work, Ari scrambling to retain Vince, Turtle & Drama's sputtering careers, and possibly a little more with E & Sloan (please!). I predict the talented writers will drag out the split for at least 5 episodes, milking Ari's pain for all it's worth. I think E will find Vince another great script, perhaps from Bob, forcing Ari to go all out to get his boy back; he might even have Dana as his hench-woman. Hopefully we see more of Sloan, Babs, Dana, Bob, Allen, Eddie Burns, and Mrs. Ari, and less of Ari's daughter. Enjoyed the season, can't wait till next March!


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Battered & bruised, Sox swept in Seattle

Seattle rookie shuts down bats, Sox miscues contribute to 6-3 loss.

The size of the Boston injury report is starting to coincide with the extent of their slump- both are very lengthy. Add Belli (ankle), Willy Mo (wrist) and tomorrow night's intended starter Jon Lester (back) to the list of walking wounded which still includes ManRam, who missed the game with his lingering hamstring/knee issue. All of that added up to a hurting performance on a beautiful day in the glorious Pacific Northwest.

Rookie righty Cha Seung Baek took a no-hit bid into the 7th before Papi hit his ML-leading 47th HR off him to make the score 6-2. Even when Lowell hit his 15th later in the inning to send Baek to the showers, the damage had been done earlier. It was a day of futility all around for Boston, especially in the field.

The team that was the best defensive squad in the majors beginning this trip has started to play like a Little League squad lately. Actually, judging by ESPN's Baseball Tonight Top 10 Plays of the Week, which were all from the LLWS, that is insulting to the Little guys. Boston was charged with 2 errors on the day, by Javy & Pedroia, but misplayed numerous others, including a horrible sequence in the 3rd when newly installed LF Youk misplayed one ball over his head for a double and allowed another one to fall in front of him as he lost it in the blinding SafeCo sun.
Throw in gaffes by Cora on a ball that should have been a force out at third, and another baserunning mistake that quelled an inning as Pedroia got caught napping rounding 2B on a play that scored Boston's first run and it was just an ugly day all around for the normally sure-handed Sox. But when you're mired in a slump as prolific as this, everything goes bad- hitting, pitching, fielding, baserunning, even
managing, although Tito can't be blamed for fielding this squad today.
Bronson Arroyo double Kyle Snyder kept Boston in the game for- 4 innings. But as the Sox hitters were being baffled by Baek's breaker Snyder couldn't hold off the awesome powerhouse that is Seattle's offense (25th in ML in runs scored) any longer. The Mariners loaded the bases in the 5th on a single, double and a walk with no outs, and then the hot-hitting Raul Ibanez stepped up and grooved a Snyder pitch into the leftfield porch for a killer slam and a 5-1 Seattle lead. It was all over but the stat padding after that, with Lowell and Papi adding to their numbers, but not much else to look at in terms of positives to take out of this crushing loss.

So it's on to Oakland tomorrow night, where Jon Lester was supposed to take the mound but now it will be youngster Kasson Gabbard. At least it's another 24 hours away. Plenty of time for them to lick their wounds, and see whose wounds have healed enough to take the field in the Colisueum.

Oh, and RSN can take some joy out of the fact that E-Rod just completed his swing through Seattle & Anaheim with a 2-20, 14k monstrosity.

GB: 6 1/2 East, 5 1/2 WC
Next game: Tomorrow @ OAK, 10PM EST


The Best Part of the Golf Outing

I purposely left this item out of my post of Bob's Golf tourney because I felt it needed an entire column all to itself.
In addition to the auction and prizes given away at Buffalo City (5631 Park St. No, St.Pete) after the event, there was a trophy ceremony to honor the winners and losers in the tournament. You know like best score, longest drive, worst team, worst score, and the mack daddy of all awards- "WORST PLAYER."
I'll give you all 3 guesses as to who was the proud recipient of the very first Worst Player trophy presented in the event. That's right, look at this thing and weep:

Now I know some of you are saying "is he nuts; he's excited to have been named the worst player?" and the answer is yes, for 2 reasons:

  1. I know for a fact that I was probably not THE worst player out there. I've only been on a course 3 times in my life, and although I was no Tiger, I was no Duvall either. In fact, some of my teammates had shots equally as lousy as some of mine. But when the time came to nominate the winner of the award, with no clear front-runner and no one exactly jumping up to claim the prize, my teammate, co-worker, and friend Michael jumped up and pointed to me, shouting "right here, right here, Jeff was the worst player." When Michael's brother Ricky seconded the nomination, next thing I knew I was the winner in a land slide, and I was in front of the crowd accepting my trophy in tears- of-laughter!
  2. The trophy, as you can see, is a great looking piece, with a plaque commem-orating the event and a golf ball mounted to the right. As Captain Darrell pointed out to all trophy winners, the balls were from Chicago Bob's personal supply, and had all been used by Bubba during one of his numerous rounds (obviously not one of the many that he lost along the way). So the ball and thus the trophy itself is an actual keepsake of our friend, something that he once used and has now been bestowed upon me. I will be able to look at it every day and think of Bob, and the terrific event that his friends put on in his name.

I just wanted to also take this time to thank Barb, Darrell, Joe, and Frank at Buffalo City and everyone else who was involved in this terrific event. They really made it come together in a very short period of time and the results couldn't have been better. I also wanted to thank everyone for all the kind words regarding my kind words following Bob's passing; the outpouring of emotion to me just validates the amount of love everyone had for Bubba.

They announced plans to hold the 2nd event next April 10th, Bob's birthday. Please be sure to make plans now to attend. Because if there is one thing I can guarantee, I will be there to defend my title!


Hapless in Seattle: Mariners Sink Timlin, Sox

``It was a good pitch," said Timlin of his offering to Beltre. ``It was 3-4 inches outside. I felt it was where I wanted to go or at least where it ended up I thought it was safe. I guess he was looking out there.
``I threw the ball exceptionally well. I can look at myself in the mirror and know I did exactly what I wanted and I got beat." Timlin in today's Globe

The scary part about that quote is that he said it with a straight face. This guy has made Julian look like Mariano Rivera lately, and all he can come up with is that lame s**t. How about: "I suck right now. I cannot pitch well anymore because I've led the WORLD in appearances the past few years and now my arm resembles a dryer vent hose. I am going to retire immediately to my ranch and hunt some more defenseless creatures to make myself feel better."

That's all I want to hear from him now,some accountability, because it's gotten to the point that you absolutely cannot bring him in with the game in the balance anymore. I literally got the same feeling last night when he came on in the 8th that I normally get when Julian takes the mound- we're gonna lose. No lie, I had that exact thought about 10 seconds before Adrian "Go on Take the Money & Run" Beltre blasted that aforementioned Timlin offering into the starry Seattle night.

The Sox had a good chance to win this game after getting another solid effort out of Boomer Wells: 7IP, 8H, 2ER, 1BB, 4Ks, 1HR; but it was that one HR, a solo shot to the newest member of the Sox Killers Club, Yunieski Betancourt (he also tripled on a ball that Coco wanted no part of), with 1 out in the 7th that was the beginning of the end. Up until then Wells had been cruising, given a 2-1 lead courtesy of a solo HR by Coco in the third and an RBI single by Loretta in the 5th. Then after the Mariners tied it, the Sox fought back to take a 1-run lead in their half of the 8th inning.

Papi started it with a 2-out double to left, and then ManRam (0-3 in his return) was intentionally walked. This set up a clutch AB by Lowell, who despite his 2nd half slump blooped a clutch single into left that scored Papi to make it 3-2 Sox. But then a strange play occurred that would come back to haunt Boston: Manny tried to get to third on the play, but 3B Beltre bobbled the ball after tagging Manny on the helmet. As Manny scooted to the base, Beltre caught the bobble, and 3B umpire Ron Mea Kulpa called Manny out. Inning over and a possible insurance run wiped off the bases,
All that was left to complete the implosion was Timlin's "good pitch" to Beltre, who had missed the previous 3 games with his latest injury-du-jour, who whacked it for a morale- killing, game-tying bomb that sent the SafeCo crowd into a frenzy. A few more hard hit balls later, the Sox had lost,and Timlin was the goat (again).

The club is now mired in an 8-17 month-long slump and have scored just 13 runs in the 5 games on the trip thus far, although they held ground in the playoff "races", 5 1/2 behind in the East & WC,thanks to NY and CHI also struggling. But even when the injured troops return, how is that going to make up for their other many deficiencies, namely lack of a bullpen, a meek centerfielder/leadoff man, and too many games to make up with too little time left in the season?
Buckle down, RSN, it's gonna be a LONG offseason.

Next game: Today, 4P (thank God!) @ SEA Snyder (3-2, 5.35) vs. Cha Seung Baek (who?!) (0-5, 5.40)- if they can't beat this clown, I'm done with them!


T.O. = Turn (him) Off!

Haaa haaa haaa haaabahaaaa-pardon me, I'm just laughing my ass off!...hahahaaaa baaahhaaa haaa... Parcells & Jerrry Jones dealing with this..baa haaahaaabaaaa...prima dona a-hole...hahahahahhhaaaaaaaa...this is the most fun, well since Philly thought they could change him, too!
Dallas is like the girl who dates the bad boy, but when everyone tells her to break it off because it's getting too dangerous, the girl makes a long-term committment to the jerk and utters this infamous line to her protective girlfriend:
"But I know I can change him!"
Baaahaaahaaahaaaa... good luck, Tuna...hahahahahaah...and you thought Quincy Carter & his cannabis fever was annoying! Heeheee hooohooobahhahhaa...


Captain, abandon ship! The SS BoSox is sinking!

Sox winless in Seattle, 4-3.

I really can't take much more of this...another late night, another excruciatingly painful loss...this team is beyond staggering and into reeling, freefall mode.
Even with Manny back the stumbling Sox "offense" could only muster 7 hits and 3 runs against Gil Meche and his Seattle cohorts. One of those hits was a homer by COCO of all people. But it is quite clear now, to everyone but Tito, that MIKE TIMLIN CAN'T PITCH ANYMORE! After the Sox fought to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the 8th on a clutch single by Lowell, Timlin relieved in the bottom half of the inning and promptly gave up a homer to tie it, then two singles and a sac fly to blow the lead, the game, and the win-AGAIN. Just can't take's become 2003 all over again- the grace period for the Championship is over..if Tito, Theo and the rest of the brass don't get their heads out of their asses and figure out something quick, the only thing this team is going to be fighting for these last 33 games is their dignity!
As usual, more gory details in the AM.....