Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Told You This Would Get Worse Before It Got Better

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"During my years here I've seen how they have mistreated other great players when they didn't want them to try to turn the fans against them. The Red Sox did the same with guys like Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez, and now they do the same with me. Their goal is to paint me as the bad guy. I love Boston fans, but the Red Sox don't deserve me. I'm not talking about money. Mental peace has no price and I don't have peace here."

-- Manny, in an interview with ESPN Deportes

Is this it?

Various sources -- Buster Olney, Peter Gammons, Boston.com, Fox Sports, etc. -- are absolutely buzzing right now over a rumored three-team deal that would result in the deportation of Manny Ramirez to Miami and the John Henry Secretly Still Owns Us Marlins. In return, the Sox would receive multiple (the number is currently believed to be three) prospects from the Fish, including one of their two young outfield prospects, Jeremy Hermida or Josh Willingham. Olney reports that the Sox have brought the Pirates in on the deal, with some (or all) of the Marlins prospects headed to Pittsburgh for outfielder Jason "Willow" Bay and LHP John Grabow.


Gratuitous Willow Bay Picture


Any way you look at it, this is clearly a deal that the Sox will jump at... IF they can overcome the non-trivial hurdle of Manny's 10/5 rights. For those of you not well-versed in the arcane technicalities of the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, under the CBA a player with 10 years of accumulated MLB service time AND 5 years of accumulated service time with his current team has the functional equivalent of a no-trade clause imputed to his contract, whether or not it already has one. Hence, Manny must approve any trade that the Sox come up with. (There is a report that an additional hurdle -- a Florida demand for a Sox prospect in addition to Manny -- also is out there.) Manny hit that point back in 2005, right after the will-they-or-won't-they trading deadline afternoon where Manny wound up pinch-hitting a single to win the game for starter Jon Papelbon. But I digress.

When push comes to shove, would Manny accept a trade to the Marlins? Well, he's pretty much made his feelings about staying clear: he wants the Sox to give him a big warm fuzzy hug (i.e. a 4-year extension), or they should cut bait and "send him a letter" saying that he won't be back. This employer/employee relationship is clearly beyond repair -- the "fuck you, we know you're lying" double-MRI last Friday pretty much sealed that deal. Manny has a home in South Florida, and given his long-standing discomfort with English, he'd probably welcome being in a community where Spanish is effectively the primary language. He'll have to play the field -- every night -- but he's always appeared to prefer that to DHing. So I say yes, Manny would probably go along with the deal. Of course with him you never know... but I don't see any real deal-breakers that would absolutely preclude any cooperation from him.

Now, what would the Sox get back for the #4 hitter in their lineup? Well, Bay is ABSOLUTELY the real deal. Since his 2004 Rookie of the Year campaign, he's been one of the better hitters in the NL, putting up numbers in the .280/30/100 range in both 2005 and 2006, before his numbers fell somewhat in an injury-plagued 2007. And NOBODY KNOWS THAT, because he plays for the poor, unloved Pirates. He's under contract until the end of 2009, so he wouldn't be a two-month rental. The bottom line -- in exchange for Manny, the Sox would be getting back someone who is basically a right-handed J.D. Drew (2008 version). And he's only 29, so if he likes it here, you could be looking at the long term answer in left.

The Marlins outfielders are nothing to sneeze at, either. The likely primary target of the Sox is Hermida, who's probably best known for being the first player ever to hit a pinch-hit grand slam in his first MLB at-bat. Hermida's numbers in 2007, his first full season in the bigs, aren't jump-off-the-page awesome -- .296/18/63 in 429 AB -- but his OPS+ was an impressive enough 125, and he showed a lot of discipline at the plate for a 24-year-old. I'd compare him -- sort of -- to a younger Kevin Youkilis offensively. Josh "The Hammer" Willingham is older at 29, and has show an BIT more power in his three MLB seasons. Either of those guys could slip right into left field and contribute at the major league level, with Hermida probably having the better upside potential, but Willingham closer to his prime years as a player.

Grabow is a slider-throwing lefty whose main claim to fame is his effectiveness with RISP. Yeah, I think the team could probably find a use for him....

If you want my opinion -- and I know you do -- you do this deal if you're the Sox. I like Hermida as the consolation prize for ending Manny's sideshow. I LOVE Bay as the consolation prize. If a Manny deal would net you Bay AND a quality lefty bullpen arm.... Um, why are we even discussing this?

Oh yeah -- because he's the greatest pure hitter we've seen in our lifetimes. That's why. And I'll miss the galoot if he goes.

Also, if you haven't figured out yet -- the Angels, right now, are a MUCH better team than your Red Sox. It isn't even close.

Ok, On Three Everyone Go Deep

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Need a fresh new approach to a stagnant offense? Want to try a new and original system that could take your league by storm? Tired of throwing the ball to James Thrash and Joe Horn? Instead how would you rather send a down lineman 30 yards down field on a slant route? Then the A-11 offense is for you.

Is this witchcraft? Heresy? Something created for Matt Millen? Short answer, yes.



The A-11 offense is designed for a team to have two starting QB's lined up in a shotgun formation. It was created by a group of small high school programs out in California that wanted a chance to compete against some of the bigger programs. All of the players have to wear numbers that would allow them to be eligible receivers, spread all of the players with a TE hiking the ball and you have the A 11 offense. Of course you can only have 6 players eligible but that is the whole fun of this thing. Lots of positives about trying this new system, you don't have obese lineman constantly getting hurt, you keep the defense guessing, and according to the "A11 website" it's fun for everyone. Whoopee!!!

The only negative about the A-11? Well, see some refs feel that this is illegal, but no worries the A-11 association has a whole cheat sheet to convince the refs that the rule book allows it!

How could this translate to the NFL?

Dallas Cowboys- Terrell Owens gets in fight with both Tony Romo and Drew Hensen as they both fail to "give me the ball"

San Fransisco 49ers- Alex Smith becomes frustrated with his team as the entire team fails to ever get open.

Houston Texans- Don't get what the big deal is, as they have played with no offensive line for the past four years anyway.

Green Bay Packers- Brett Favre throws a vicodin induced fit, as he refused to share the backfield with anyone.


How well does the A-11 system actually work, well the guy who created it won an undefeated High School Championship in Cali. Jesus for a team like the Bills, it couldn't make their offense worse right? Right? Something about this whole system seems cheesy, I smell late night TV promos following Tom Emanski.

Mass Hysteria's NFL Spectacular: The NFC North

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Football season is almost upon us. As the summer continues to unwind, we at Mass Hysteria will be previewing the divisions in the NFL to prepare you for what will inevitably take over your life for the next five months. So grab your Doritos, drink a few cold ones, ignore your loved ones and enjoy.

NFC North Divisional Preview.

Why the Bears will win the NFC North

Finally the Bears can move on from the two headed stumbling attack of Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones. Benson is stumbling around somewhere in Chicago in a drunken blur, and Jones is sucking ass in NY. The backfield is now led by Matthew Forte, who played at Tulane, and therefore I know absolutely nothing about. If Kevin Jones can come back from his knee injury he could give the Bears an offensive weapon. The Bears still have one of the strongest defenses in the league anchored by Brian "I have herpes from Paris Hilton" Urlacher, Mike Brown and Lance Briggs. Having a defense that can win you games (or make it to the Super Bowl) is enough to help a team win the Uber Shitty NFC North.

Why the Bears will not win the NFC North



QB Option A. QB Option B. Pick whomever you want, they are not going to win you alot of games. Sexy Rexy and Kneckbeard Boozehound both are crappy QB's who get flustered easily and have games that make you want to projectile vomit. But all of the blame can not be leveled at them. These sorry sacks have no one to throw the ball to, no seriously who is playing WR for the Bears. Devin Hester is crap unless he is returning kicks, he is an undersized receiver with terrible hands, and Brandon Lloyd and Mark Bradley won't be catching many balls this year. The Bears let their only legitimate wide receiver go after last year, and even he wasn't that great. With such a poor passing game, defenses can look run and neutralize that, causing Da Bears to pray their defense wins them games. Not going to happen all the time.

Why the Lions will win the NFC North


They have ALOT of wide receivers. Jesus, Jon Kitna could throw it to a half a dozen players and look like the best QB in the NFL. Calvin Johnson, Roy Williams, Charlie Rogers, Mike Furrey and Shaun McDonald. The Lions can hope that a rebuilt Offensive Line built around Gosder Cherilus can keep Kitna safe long enough to heave the ball around the field and keep D's guessing. Thats about all I can come up with here, most of that was a complete stretch and I want to make sure I save my word count for the next section...

Why the Lions will not win the NFC North



The Lions are going to be awful this year, you can mark that in your little notebook. Oh you forgot your notebook, well fine, keep it in your brain. This will finally be the year that Matt Millen loses his job and Detroit fans will stop bitching about it. Look I am a huge BC fan/alum, and even I think it was stupid drafting Gosder Cherilus where they did. The defense is bad, really bad and won't be any better, and they have a rookie running back in Kevin Smith (no not the one who wrote Mallrats.....it's the one who wrote Jersey Girl). Jon Kitna may guarantee 10 wins, but there is only so much magic this god of his can do.

Why the Packers will win the NFC North

Aaron Rogers is going to get his chance to show that he can take the reigns from "4", and call it a weird intuition but he will succeed this year. Where did I base this intuition on? I have no idea, just a guess, a dumb uneducated shot in the dark. But he has a solid running game behind with Ryan "I saved your fantasy team after you were stupid and drafted Reggie Bush" Grant, and possibly the best young WR in the league in Greg Jennings. The Packers have a solid defensive backfield with Atari Bigby and Charles Woodson and should be to expose most of shitty offenses of their divisional rivals. They could win this division alone based purely on having to play the Lions, Bears and Vikings a total of 6 times.

Why the Packers will not win the NFC North



They lost Brett Favre. No seriously, the loss of their QB could actually come back to bite them. What happens if Aaron Rodgers turns out to be gigantic stiff, or worse yet gets hurt? Brian Brohm? Nope, he is not going to be much help. This team will be in the shitter quicker than you can say Cheesehead. I don't buy the whole Favre is going to be a huge distraction if the Packers don't let him go thing, but there is something to be said about a team who has 35 career snaps. Al Harris is a terrible CB too, who vanishes against good WR's.

Why the Vikings will win the NFC North


ADRIAN FUCKING PETERSON. If Barry Sanders could carry a team single handily, so can Purple Jesus. He may be only one man, but he can tear up an entire defense all on his own, man he is fun to watch. The Vikings had the best run defense last year, and with Chester Taylor backing up the Savior the Vikes have a solid back up. Pat Williams and Kevin Williams combine for 630 pounds of run defense, and their enormous girth helped the Vikings to the leagues best run defense.

Why the Vikings will not win the NFC North

The rest of the Vikings. They have no semblance of a passing game, and it still is shocking that Tavaris Jackson is going to be their QB of the future. GIVE UP ON HIM HE ISN"T GOING TO BE GOOD. Who else could they plug in, is Brad Johnson still on the team? No. Oh Gus Frerotte and John David Booty? Yikes, going to be a long season. Sidney Rice is their #1 WR, and Visanthe Shiancoe is their starting TE, that should be an ominious sign for the Vikings. Expect lots of 100 yards passing games this season. And the final reason is Tavaris Jackson, yes he gets to be on this list twice.


Hazel Mae's Landing Strip's Pick for the NFC North: The Green Bay Packers they will win solely because the rest of the teams have giant holes and well, suck. Goodbye Brett Favre, hello Aaron Rodgers.

GHABY!'s pick for the NFC North:This division sucks ten dicks, and I'm not as high on Minnesota as everyone else is. They still have no passing game to speak of, Purple Jesus has always had trouble staying healthy, and their secondary isn't anything to write home about. Still, I'm gonna pick the Vikes, if only because Detroit can't stop anyone, Chicago can't score on anyone, and Green Bay has too big of a Vicodin-loving distraction to get on track this year (and they way overachieved last year anyway). I'm reluctantly picking the Vikes, though I think they're a lot closer to 9-7 than 12-4 or 13-3.

APNDR's Pick for the NFC North: Purple Jesus has "always" had problems staying healthy, Gabby? Really? In his ONE YEAR IN THE LEAGUE? Pfft. If that's the case, then he's always had a habit of rushing for 300+ yards, so there you go. Okay, I know you're talking about college, dammit. I need to take my mocking opportunities when they arise. Anyhow, you're right that the rest of the Vikings squad is less than appealing, so unless P.J. learns to throw a 45-yard tight spiral, the Vikes are just in the mix, not presumptive favorites. The Bears aren't going to win diddly squat unless they pull a QB out of the ass of Lake Michigan. And the Pack have already been torpedoed by that overrated arrogant braying hick jackass that used to play for them. In my heart, I want to pick the Pack to go 14-2 and go deep in the playoffs, where Aaron Rogers will NOT break the play and throw a shitheaded interception because he arrogantly wants to win things HIS way and not the TEAM'S way. In my head, this division is weak, so I'm picking the Eagles to somehow win the NFC North as well as the East. FLY IGGLES FLY!!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What to Name Your Band?

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So my girlfriend is in an a capella group, and they're trying to come up with a name. In about 30 minutes of work time, I whipped up the following possibilities:

I Stabbed Seal in the Face And All I Got Was This Stupid Tshirt
Daniel Benoit Was Supposed to Tap Out
Turdy Brown and his Band of Renown
Back Door Bob and the Puckering Ruby Starfruits
Songs to Euthanize Your Grandmother To
The Tuning Fucks
The Banging Forks
My Mouth Harmed Monica
Zubaz: The Band
A Capella for Max Casella
Magnus Ver Magnus-songs
We Don't Have a Band Name, But Some of us Have Tits
Billy Mays Sold Me Some Useless Shit
Rovery Rinda and the Smirre Bligade
I'd Like to Spelunk Your Trunk
Sic Semper Anus
Pardon Us, This Is Our First Time Making Noises With Our Mouths
I'm What Horsemen Call A Gelding
The Beatles
Barney Rubble and the Muff Stubble
Excuse me, That's My Uterus You're Elbowing
Eat a Bag of Richards
Exploratory Ladyfingers
Cocaine Lines off a Unisex Bathroom Urinal
Great-Grand-Milf Hunters
I Got Salmonella From the Dollar Menu
We Sing Better than Your Mom
If It's Yellow, Let It Mellow, If it's Brown, It's Voting Obama
I Once Jerked Off to the Pink Power Ranger
Diabet-us? More Like Diabet-you, Motherfucker
The Tortoise Shaving Hair
Grape Ape: Convicted of Rape
FUPAs Escaping from Elastic Waistbands
The Anal Wrath of Mickey's Malt Liquor
Less Instruments Than Dr. Mengele
Purple-headed Pickle Pannini (with Horseradish Sauce)
Free Beer (And Herpes)
Subject Verb Adjective (Prepositional Phrase) Noun.

Feel free to add your own ideas...

Manny Being Northwesty -- Why Not?

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I'd really like to do a full-on post about possible trading partners for the Red Sox on the Manny Ramirez front -- because the Sox WILL absolutely trade him if the right deal is offered -- but sadly real life is in the way, and I don't have the time to do a proper, well-researched glib post.

I did want to throw one possibility out there, though, that I have not seen discussed in the blogowebisphere, or even floated out there: what about moving him to Seattle for Raul Ibanez?

The Mets had been talking with the Mariners about a potential Ibanez deal, one of the multiple feelers they sent out towards the goal of filling their gaping hole (Fernando Tatis) in left field. However, the deal never got off the ground, because the Mets have apparently decided to stick with Tatis, at least until the waiver deadline. (That could, of course, change in a Wilpon Minute.) So we know the Mariners are at least open to discussing the option of trading Ibanez.

The question is, of course, "Why would the Mariners want Manny Ramirez?" And the answer would be -- they don't. At all. However, if the Sox and Mariners could put together a straight deal for Ibanez, I'm sure the Sox could find a way to convince (i.e. pay) the Mariners to take on Manny for the remainder of the year as an add-on.

Here's the problem, though -- the Mariners, who don't really need to do anything (they'd probably be happy with the draft pick(s) they'd get if Ibanez walked at the end of this year), would probably look to extort any trading partner in the deal. And by "extort", I mean the discussion would probably BEGIN with Ellsbury and Masterson, and the debate would be who else gets thrown in. For the rental of a 34-year-old outfielder, albeit one with a good bat. On the other hand, if the Mariners truly believe that they will not be able to resign Ibanez after this season (or if they just don't want to), they may, as the deadline approaches, be more reasonable in deciding to take back someone who is a more known quantity than "whomever is available at pick #220 in next year's draft". If the price came down -- say, to a B-level prospect and a couple of very-low-level projects -- I think the Sox would jump at the chance to be rid of Manny while getting some measure of offense back.

But right now, I just don't see anything happening on the Manny front. The Sox are holding a pair of twos in this poker game, and everyone else knows it. Nobody out there truly needs to rent Manny. And this ownership/management group doesn't seem likely to give the farm away just to be rid of a problem. So I think Thursday will come and go, and Manny will still be being Manny in left field at Fenway.

But you never know.

Monday, July 28, 2008

There's Never A Right Time To Say Goodbye

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I didn't think anything could possibly drown out the already deafening bally-hoo that inevitably arises on a Red Sox-Yankees weekend. Clearly, however, I underestimated the ability of one Manuel Aristides Ramirez to throw Boston and the general baseball media into an absolute frenzy of speculation, accusation, and pointless recommendation. It seems that things are coming to a head with our beloved slugger, but there's no question that tensions between Manny and the Sox front office have been escalating for quite some time. An abbreviated time-line of the key events in this rocky season:


June 5: Manny and Kevin Youkilis exchange heated words and a girly slap or two in the dugout during an already brawl-filled series with Tampa Bay. The altercation reportedly arose over Manny taking exception to Youkilis' tendency to argue calls and be excessively demonstrative at the plate (also known as Paul O'Neill Syndrome).

June 28: Manny shoves traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground after McCormick expresses an uncertainty over his ability to fill Manny's day-of request for 16 tickets to that night's game in Houston.

June 30: Manny apologizes publicly for the shoving -- a full two days after the incident. (He was later fined an undisclosed amount.)

July 18: Bob Lobel contends that some Sox brass-types think Manny intentionally struck out against Mariano Riviera in Boston's most recent match-up with the Yankees. (This is unverified.)

July 25: Manny opts to sit against the Yankees in Game 1 of a crucial mid-season series.

July 27: Manny gets his silly mug plastered all over the news following some less-than-tactful comments concerning the possibility of being traded out of Boston. "I'm tired of them, they're tired of me... I'm happy, but enough is enough, you know?" he says.


Now, as fun as it is to play Armchair Executive, I won't pretend to know everything there is to know about the ins and outs of running a pro baseball franchise. But if there is one thing I'm a motherfucking expert on, it's FAILED RELATIONSHIPS. NO ONE knows disastrous, prolonged, bridge-burning breakups like me, bitches. And from my extensive experience with relationships collapsing in spectacular fashion, I can tell you this much with certainty: this shit needs to end. Now. Let's reexamine our time-line for clarification:


The Little Quirks That Never Bothered You Before Starting To Piss You Off Stage. Youk's always been kind of a whiny bitch, and it's never bothered Manny until this season. This is when couples usually try and go on vacation or some shit, where those little quirks will only serve to irritate them even more because they're around one another 24 hours a day. This is where you convince yourself that shit is fixable. Trust me: this is where it all starts to go downhill. You're just channeling your real dissatisfaction into everyday peeves.

The Shove. All couples fight. It's stupid, it's sad... but it happens. Relationships involve sacrifice and compromise, and who the fuck ever WANTS to do either of those things? So fights happen, and they're not the end of the world. HOWEVAH (ladies, pay special attention) : when shit turns violent, it's over. I'm lucky. I've never had a dude raise a hand against me. But I've slapped the shit out of my boyfriends when they've pissed me off (or thrown beers at them, which is more fun), and I can say with certainty that it fundamentally changes the dynamics of a relationship when someone finally loses their cool enough to express it physically. [Ed. note: Of course this is an imperfect analogy, and real domestic violence shouldn't be in any way conflated with a hot-tempered biddy like me throwing her boyfriend's car keys out the window. The point I'm making here applies more to the moment when you just lose it to the point of no longer being able to adequately express it verbally. Longer discussion for another time, ya dig?]

The Empty Apology. We've ALL done this. What you say is, "I'm sorry," but what you mean is, "...that you're so full of shit that I need to be the bigger person and apologize when IT'S CLEARLY YOUR FUCKING FAULT." Then you have awesome makeup sex -- or, in Manny's case, go back to getting clutch hits -- and temporarily restore order. But there's no two ways about it: the first time you apologize and don't mean it is the last time you will ever, ever feel the same way about that person again.

The Swirling Rumors. When the rumors about cheating or any kind of dishonesty start to fly, it honestly doesn't matter whether they're true or not. Good relationships simply don't foster that kind of shit. A LOT of people (girls especially) will fight me on this point, but it's 100% true. If you hear that your boyfriend cheated on you Saturday night, even if you hear it from the least reliable source and every single one of your close friends swears up and down it wasn't true, here's the cold ugly truth: he was doing something, somewhere, that wasn't being your boyfriend. He did something to make someone think he might want to cheat, and that's the first step down a long, slippery slope of paranoia and duplicity. The point isn't whether or not Manny actually MEANT to strike out against Mo Riviera. The point is that if he were acting the way he was supposed to be acting, we'd have no cause to assume he did anything amiss, and the rumors would never have gotten started in the first place. RED. FUCKING. FLAG.

The I'm Not Coming To Your Shit. Look. If someone loves you, they show up to whatever god-awful affair you drag them to, be it Family Bowling Night, your brutally awkward office holiday party, or Planned Parenthood. Period. When someone you love looks at you and says, "I need you," you drop everything you're doing and go. You love them. They need you. It's the world's simplest equation. When the Bronx Bombers are in town, WE NEED MANNY. Boy's a gat-damn Yankee killer: he knows it, they know it, and we know it. We needed Manny on Friday, and he made up some bullshit excuse to get out of it. You can make excuses all you want, but this is one of the surest signs that your shit is on the rocks.

Loose Lips Sink Ships. It's the most painful fucking thing in the world when it gets back to you that someone that you love and would do anything for is going around telling people it's over. But that's exactly what Manny did to Boston this weekend. This guy is fucking jerking us around and we'd be nuts to stick by his side. Of course we still have good moments with him. When you love someone and are with them for years, you never totally lose the connection you built up. But -- and this is the key takeaway here, kids, both for baseball and for life -- IT ONLY TAKES ONE PERSON TO END A RELATIONSHIP. If Manny wants it to be over, then sorry Boston: It's already fucking over. Cut your losses and move on. I vote we trade Manny within the week.


Excuse me for a minute. I'm going to go sit in the supply closet and cry.

One more chance to join TEH LEAGUE OF AWESOME

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Due to unexpected bail-age, we have ONE MORE slot now left in the Mass Hysteria Fantasy Football League. I'd give it to one of my retard friends who'll sleep through the draft and trade me all their running backs for Matt Ryan, but that doesn't seem fair. So shoot me an email if you're down. futuremrsrickankiel (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks to those who've signed up already! As always, please include a sentence or two stating why you think you should be in our league... it's more fun that way.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ok, it's time to freak out

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Here we go, the season is beginning to unwind. TIME TO PANIC. The Yankees haven't lost in weeks, the Rays are still winning while our beloved Red Sox continue to struggle. Manny is half-assing it out on the field, Clay Buchholz is throwing batting practice, our bullpen is terrible. How many answers will Theo be able to pull from the minors?

WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE GOING TO DO???

*Trade Manny- He's gone at the end of the season. Get another power bat now and let him destroy another clubhouse. Adam Dunn and Jason Bay are both available, spin Manny to another contender for some prospects and throw them to the Reds and Pirates. Manny's goodwill in Boston is over.

* DO NOT TRADE FOR BRIAN FUENTES- The Rox wanted Clay Buchholz for him. Please remember that Colorado took him out of the closer role because he sucked. In fact none of these relievers that are floating around seem very good.

*Breathe. We still have two months to go, a few series against the Orioles/Jays could easily put the Sox on the right track. Look I am freaking out as much as everyone else, but things are going to gel. Justin Masterson will fill in fine, Okajima will regain his form and Papi will complete this lineup.


Let's take the final game and move on....

Friday, July 25, 2008

Your Definitive Red Sox-Yankees Preview

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So the Big Bad Steinbrenner Bus rolls back into Beantown this weekend for a 3-game series. Hurrah. 4-hour baseball games and endless video montages... just what I fucking wanted. HOW DID YOU KNOW BUD SELIG

Ahem. While it's been a distinct paradigm shift (and, frankly, a welcome relief) NOT actually feeling threatened by the pinstripers for the majority of the season thus far, this series has actually garnered some significance since the Break, as Boston and the Tampa Bay "Ok, guys, we get it, you're a serious baseball team who won't be underestimated so can you please get back in the gat damn basement where you belong kthxbai" Rays are currently deadlocked in first and New York is only 3 games back thanks to a 6(!)-game win streak. GROSS. (Actually, not a single team in the AL East is currently under the .500 mark... except Baltimore. Wah-wahhh.) So the fires of competition have been rekindled juuust in time to have Boston fans foaming at the mouth for this classic confrontation. HOW CONVENIENT.

Oh, and the big news, of course: Big Papi will be back in the lineup tonight. YAY!

Let's lookee the matchups, shall we?

FRIDAY (7:05 pm) -- Joba Justin Wilt Fatty Chamberlain (2-3, 2.52) will try to avoid bursting into sloppy, bacon-scented tears against the finally-returning-to-form stylings of His Joshiness (9-6, 3.98). Expect lots of strikeouts and absolutely zero visible bone structure.

SATURDAY (3:55 pm) -- Crossword puzzle enthusiast Andy Pettite (11-7, 3.86), who I kind of wish would just fuse with Mike Mussina already because they're pretty much the same person, takes on Tim "Knuckles" Wakefield (6-7, 3.69). This game is being broadcast on Fox, incidentally, so you may as well just gouge your eardrums out now and spare yourself the agony of listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver be white and talk about the 2007 World Series.

FRIDAY (8:05 pm) -- PFFT HAHAHA. The Yanks' rotation is such a goddamn mess they don't even have a pitcher announced. Oh please, oh please let it be Sidney Ponson. PLEASE. We're sending out Jon Lester (8-3, 3.20). This one's on ESPN, so, like, again with the ear-gouging and all that.

It's the Evil Empire vs. the Red Sox Nation! Either way, everybody's a winner a loser drunk. Have a fantastic weekend, everyone.


Please check out GHABB,Y!'s post below, incidentally... it's hilarious (and a lot more entertaining than the pregame crap on NESN).

Wrestler of Yore: Colonel DeBeers

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Ed Wiskoski is probably a pretty nice guy. He played football for the Bengals, he owns a kitten farm, and he apparently enjoys banjo music. I’m sure that, if we ever shared a beer together, he’d have some pretty entertaining stories to tell. But, invariably, I would probably bring our conversation to a screeching halt by asking one simple question:


“Why do you hate black people so much?”


You see, Wiskoski is better known to the world as Colonel DeBeers, one of the many characters he played as professional wrestler, and certainly the most well-known. Wrestling promoters in the 1980s often played on foreign stereotypes when making heel, or bad guy, characters, whether they be savage Samoans, ruthless Russians or hoity-toity Brits. But DeBeers was one of the most dastardly of the bunch, as he played an apartheid-loving South African soldier.


Let me repeat that. He was in favor of apartheid. As in, he thought it was a good thing.


Worse yet, DeBeers’ anti-black bias wasn’t just a subtle thing, but rather, pretty brazen. He goose-stepped to the ring, holding a South African flag. He would often give interviews downgrading the United States for their treatment of blacks. He even refused to wrestle in matches where there was a nonwhite opponent or black referee, as shown here:


Oh yeah, he had an eyepatch and a handlebar mustache as well, though those were less “racist” and more “awesome.” While not a great wrestler, DeBeers had a memorable feud with Superfly Jimmy Snuka in the late 1980s, which started from DeBeers refusing to wrestle Snuka because he was from Fiji, and therefore not white. DeBeers would escalate the feud when he pushed Snuka off the top rope to the floor, causing Snuka to bleed profusely. During the Snuka feud, DeBeers also gave an interview to “The Wrestler” magazine while in character, excerpts from which I've provided below:


“You must pick these animals off one by one, or else they multiply like rabbits and roam in killing squads. To them, life is cheap and human life is cheaper. These people have been known to eat their young when hungry.”


“The term black encompasses all that is not pure.”


“Scott Hall is a well-known Negro sympathizer, which accounts for the thrashing I gave him.”


“I’m trying to impart a philosophy vital to the perpetuation of a free society. Minorities have no place in a free society. If violence be part of such philosophy, such the better. I shall overcome.”

Wiskoski currently runs a feline kitten farm in Oregon (seriously). He has raised three prized cats - Sargent Snuggles, Private Puddles, and Captain Cuddles. I suspect none of them were black.

Mass Hysteria's Super Spectacular NFL Preview: The NFC EAST

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Football season is almost upon us. As the summer continues to unwind, we at Mass Hysteria will be previewing the divisions in the NFL to prepare you for what will inevitably take over your life for the next five months. So grab your Doritos, drink a few cold ones, ignore your loved ones and enjoy.

NFC East Divisional Preview.


New York Giants- Why the Giants will win the NFC East.


The Giants showed the world last year that they could be something a bit more than the laughingstock of the NFL. Eli Manning can command a team, the defense could be the most vaunted in the league, and Tom Coughlin isn't as stupid as we all thought. Was last year a fluke? Possibly, but hey: a lot of critics thought the Patriots were when they beat the Rams in 2001. They are now a playoff-tested team that knows what it takes to win a Super Bowl, and with Burress, Boss and Jacobs all returning the offense could continue to improve. Jeremy Shockey was traded to New Orleans, and no one is a bigger Shockey "hater" than myself -- he is an intolerable whiny bitch who always drops passes and gets injured constantly. They won without this loser and having this douche go away is enough reason for any team to win.

Why the Giants won't win the NFC East.


Teams do not win consecutive Super Bowls. It just doesn't happen anymore. Well, one team did, but if I gloat about that people are going to tear me a new one. The Giants lost a good portion of the defense that won them their Super Bowl; Strahan retired, Mitchell and Gabril Wilson are both gone. They will not be able to put as much pressure on the QB as they did last season The Giants had a great run last year, but I don't think lightning will strike twice for this team. Call me stubborn, stupid or pig headed, but Eli Manning is still Eli Manning and if he doesn't have the league's best D behind him he will be exposed again.

Dallas Cowboys

Why the Cowboys will win the NFC East.


It's hard to believe that the gigantic shit Romo has taken on the field the past two playoff games are going to be representative of his playoff resume. He is too dominant during the regular season to be that bad. As he continues to mature, he will improve in the playoffs as well -- it has got to happen right? DeMarcus Ware is a fucking beast, and had a breakout season last year with 14 sacks. He could possibly anchor a defense that now includes the archaic Zach Thomas and has the potential to be as solid as the Giants in '07. If TO can avoid attempting to kill himself, getting fined, holding ludicrous press conferences, getting fined, criticizing his teammates and coaches, or getting fined he could be the best pure receiver in the NFL.

Why the Cowboys will not win the NFC East


Jessica Simpson. Just kidding that is stupid. What a stupid thing to say. But seriously now, will Patrick Crayton actually become a legitimate threat? Can Marion Barber become an every down back now that Julius Jones is gone, instead of just being the one yard touchdown machine he has been in past years? Roy Williams is an overrated stiff that knows how to hit a guy but can't cover ANYONE. Jerry Jones added CB Pacman Jones which should do miracles to chemistry for a team that already has gun-wielding Tank Johnson and sociopath TO. And it has got to be hard to get excited to root for Wade Phillips -- he is a terrible coach that will continue to show that he can't win big games.

Redskins

Why the Redskins will win the NFC East



Jason Taylor. Dan Snyder has never been shy about spending insane amounts of money on has-been players. After watching Twinkletoes chase Tom Brady around the field for years with the 'Fins, critics say he may be hitting his downturn, but he still is one of the most dominant DE's in football. He alone can help a team take over and win games. Clinton Portis will be anchoring the backfield again, and Coach Janky Spanky always plays the game at full tilt. This has been a double edged sword for Dolemite Jenkins, who gets hurt often, but if he could stay healthy he could anchor a rejuvenated Skins offense. And, as always, the Skins bring back Rock Cartwright, who has possibly the best name in the NFL. He sounds like he belongs in a western film ready to fucking blaze down an entire gang of bandits.

Why the Skins won't win the NFC East

Jason Campbell has not proven that he is anything more than a younger Byron Leftwich: a slow QB with a decent arm who doesn't do a hell of a lot on the field. Now this isn't all his fault: having a receiving corps of Santana 'OWWWWWWW" Moss and Antwawn Randle El would make any QB look inept. Until I see them win a game, I find the Skins to be too old, with no outstanding talent, and far too many injuries to compete. They could be a playoff team but that's usually where their story ends.

Eagles

Why the Eagles will win the NFC East


The Eagles had glimpses of brilliance last year, but they flickered and faded rather quickly. Kevin Curtis may not be a flashy WR, but he had some great games last year, and has speed that is almost unrivaled in the league. LJ Smith, when healthy, can be a serviceable WR, and Brian Westbrook is one of the best players in the game. Andy Reid can be the coach he wants to be this year, as he can finally focus on the game and less on his drugged-out son who will be spending some quality time in jail.

Why the Eagles will not win the NFC East


The Eagles have gotten derailed by stupid distractions seemingly every year. In 2005 it was TO, this year its going to be Lito Sheppard and possibly Brian Westbrook who are both pissed off about their contracts. Oh I am only making 3.5 million dollars to run a football 25 times a week, oh I am getting ripped off, WAAAAAH. Fuck you. You are one sloppy tackle away from working for minimum wage for the rest of your life. Another reason? Donovan McNabb. Some players find ways to win; he, on the other hand, finds ways to lose. This year won't be any different. McNabb will be limping around Lincoln Financial Field as fans whip car batteries at him.

Hazel Maes Landing Strip's Pick To Win the NFC East: Dallas Cowboys. They have too much talent, and if they can keep Romo's head from between Jessica Simpson's legs he is easily the best QB in the NFC.


A Pimp Named DaveR's Pick to Win the NFC East:

IGGGGGLLLEESSSS!!!!!!


And if they don't break Westbrook free for 24 yards on the first play of scrimmage..... BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


futuremrsrickankiel's Pick To Win the NFC East:

Haze, you're wrong. DaveR, you're a retard. Gotta go with the Giants here for the simple fact that their schedule is stupid cushy. With the possible exception of the C-Hox in Week 5, I really don't see them getting tested until Week 8 against the Steelers. Eli Manning's still going to throw picks like it's going out of style, but that defense and receiver corps are going to go a looong way. Plus, we all know Pacman -- excuse me, ADAM -- Jones ain't doing shit in Dallas, and I really and truly do not think that playoffs bitch extraordinaire Tony Romo can continue to effectively lead a team composed of increasingly volatile older players. Team chemistry is important -- Pats fans, we know this better than most teams in the league -- and that's something the Giants (especially minus the 200+ pounds of dead weight they just sent packing to New Orleans) definitely have the Cowboys beat in. I say the G-men win the division on a 13-3 record and lose in the first round of the playoffs. Don't let the screen door hit you in the ass on your way out, you trophy-stealing fuckos.


GHABB,Y's Pick to win the NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys. YEEEE HAWWW WHOOO HOOOO! I AM FUCKING CRAZY!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

PATRIOTS TRAINING CAMP STARTS TODAY!

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AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

IT'S FINALLY HERE! TRAINING CAMP HAS STARTED! WHEEEEEEEEEE!

Too bad it's, like, monsooning here. I hope the players have people around to hold little umbrellas over them while they practice.

Anyhoodle, because we're all busy (like you should be too, you slacker), here's an old-timey football cartoon to celebrate the first step in the eventual glorious return of the NFL to our lives, and the reclamation of Sunday afternoons from [shudder] our families. To football!





***UPDATE because StartingAces is funny***
StartingAces: wait, new england has a football team? wow, something awful must have happened in february that made me forget it existed.
futuremrsrickankiel: no nothing happened in February
everyone was on vacation
punch was served
StartingAces: punch in the dick was served

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Boston Sports THIS AFTERNOON: Special Edition!

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Red Sox v. Mariners, 4:40 pm. The Sox are toying with the non-bristly end of a broom at The Safe this afternoon as Clay "Remember My No-Hitter? Trade Me For Brian Fuentes" Buchholz (2-5, 5.88) takes on Felix "I Kind Of Look Like Melky Cabrera Only Without The Derisive Sneer" Hernandez (7-6, 2.95). King Felix has 109 Ks on the season, but the totally lame M's have only given him an average of 3.47 runs per start over 17 games so far this season. Strikes me that he should still have been able to eke out a few more wins with those stats, given that 2.95 is LESS than 3.47, but what the fuck do I know about baseball? The Mariners have never seen Buchholz' dancing curveball and irritating array of hemp-y necklaces before, though, so this pitching matchup actually has quite a bit of potential for excitement (more so than last night's game, anyway, which was about as lame as I predicted). Too bad we're all stuck at work.

Frivolous prop bet of the afternoon: Last August, Coco Crisp narrowly avoided becoming roadkill when the Mariner Moose clipped him with his ATV near the Red Sox dugout. (The Moose has since had his driving privileges indefinitely suspended.) Yesterday night, Crisp was nearly rammed into by a hustling Jacoby Ellsbury when running for a fly ball in the 9th (it's supposed to default to the centerfielder, I believe). Boy's like a walking Chevy Chase sketch whenever we get out to Seattle. What wacky mishap will befall him today? I would love to see him get stuck in the retractable roof at Safeco somehow, but that seems unlikely. Maybe that hideous chandelier made of bats will fall on him and trap him like a foiled villain in a bad spy thriller. "CURSE YOU, RAÚL IBÁÑEZ! I WILL HAVE MY VENGEANCE!!"

Serious prediction of the afternoon: It'll be a lengthy game with a high strikeout count; both pitchers will tire by the 6th and it'll be a Suckoff Royale between these two totally lame bullpens for which team manages not to lose. Whoopadeedoo.

Breakfast With the Hysterics

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*Red Sox defeat Mariner Menace 4-2 - All-Star MVP and "Dude We're All Really Sorry For Making Fun Of" J.D. Drew knocked in two runs in an otherwise nondescript game. Matsuzaka (If I read "Dice-K" one more time, I'm going to test out the "rapists choke" maneuver that I saw on UFC one night) is now 11-1 with a 2.63 ERA, and allows a .158 OBA on the road. Weirdest Daisuke stat ever: No. 5, 6, 7 and 9 hitters are batting a combined .089 against Matsuzaka. Number 8 hitters? They're hitting .342. Somewhere, Jose Molina is wringing his hands in anticipation.

*In the ugliest fight this side of a Klitschko brother sparring session, some WNBA players got into an "Adam's Apple Battle" last night. Former Mass Hysteria correspondent Doyle McPoyle put it best when he noted this morning that "I haven't seen that many dykes go nuts since Hurricane Katrina." Below, we have a video of the strategy for a WNBA fight, through the joy of song:

*Nicky the Rat Kaczur paid a $355 fine and had his drug possession charge thrown out after getting caught with 202 OxyContin pills. The hearing was presided over by 80-year-old Town Justice Steven Wolanin, an undertaker by trade. Wolanin apparently let Kaczur off light after Kaczur revealed the location of Paul Bearer's urn. In a related story, there's just one day until training camp starts, and the Patriots can break our hearts all over again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Boston Sports Tonight!

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Red Sox v. Mariners, 10:10 pm. After snapping a 3-game post-All Star Break hangover thanks to some fine pitching by Jon "Mo" Lester and the slap-happy bats of Jason Varitek and Jed Lowrie (!!), the Sox look to keep on a'rolling against the so-awful-it-pains-me Mariners at Safeco Field tonight. Seattle's answer to Tim Wakefield (like the regular Wakefield, only he comes with a cup of coffee and a Patagonia fleece), R.A. Dickey (2-4, 3.73), will bring his plodding knuckleball and weird chin to the mound against the still improbably excellent stats of Daisuke Matsuzaka (10-1, 2.65). Sigh. Only on a team like the 2008 Mariners could a starting pitcher with a 3.73 ERA have a record of 2-4. Thanks, Bill Bavasi!

Lowrie, whose ability as a switch-hitter and patience at the plate have prompted comparisons with beloved former Sock Bill Mueller, was batting 9th last night. Haven't yet found the lineup for today. I would have thought his performance from earlier this season might have made him a natch for the #2... Pedroia's far and away the hottest hitter in the Boston bench right now, though, so I guess there's no room for Lowrie at the top of the lineup. Kind of like baby Jesus and the inn.

Also, if Amalie Benjamin were a Dugout character, her screen name would be AmalieBoutTheBenjaminsBaby.

Frivolous prop bet of the night: The Mariner Moose's conspicuous absence from the game leads to a delay and an all-out search that ultimately turns up the Moose crying over a postcard from his departed best friend Richie Sexson. "DEAR MOOSE. CAMP IS GOING GREAT. NEW YORK IS A LOT OF FUN. ME AN' KYLE FARNSWORTH SOMETIMES BEAT UP THE HOT DOG VENDORS DURING THE SEVENTH INNING STRETCH. HOPE IT'S NOT TOO RAINY IN SEATTLE. LOVE, RICHIE."

Serious prediction of the night: The ground-out-after-ground-out stylings of a knuckleballer paired with Dice-K's ability to scatter like 18 hits and still not allow a single run? Blech. DO NOT WANT. I'll be asleep by the 3rd inning.


SEXY LINEUP UPDATE YAY
Ellsbury
Pedroia
Drew
Ramirez
Lowell
Youkilis
Lowrie
Varitek
Crisp





Oh, and a reminder! If you want to join our Super Awesome Fantasy Baseball Football League Of Amazingness, please drop me a line at futuremrsrickankiel (at) gmail (dot) com. No super hard-core entry requirements; just please don't send me an email IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. DO YOU LIKE ERIC MANGINI? I LIKE ERIC MANGINI TOO. Guhhhhhhh.

Basketball Stuff Happened

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The Offseason So Far

Thoughts on the basketball offseason:

  • James Posey signs with Hornets – I don’t begrudge Posey for signing with a team that offered him more years, but I think Posey can ask Damien Woody, Johnny Damon and Pedro Martinez how all of that turns out. Was Posey a great addition to last year’s championship team? Of course, and he'll be missed. But is he worth carrying around when he’s 36 and is still making $6.25 million per year? Definitely not, especially for a guy who has offensively averaged 9.2./4.9/1.8 for his career, and hasn’t averaged double-figure points since 2003-2004. Kudos to Danny for not overspending for sentimentality’s sake, something which Theo will probably do this fall when negotiating with Varitek.

  • C’s re-sign Allen and House, sign Patrick O’Bryant – Of these three, the only signing I really agree with is House, who finally seems to have found a fit with the Celtics after playing for nearly every team in the league. Tony Allen is absolute garbage, always has been garbage, and always will be garbage. My girlfriend cowers in fear whenever Allen is put into a game, because that’s when I generally throw something across the room. And all I can say about Patrick O’Bryant is that the Bakersfield Jam sure will miss his interior presence. Though it'll be fun to see how many Irish guys buy Patrick O'Bryant jerseys, only to find out he's a black guy.
  • Elton Brand rips off his shirt to reveal he’s joined the nWo signs with the Sixers – Does that make Baron Davis Fake Sting, Crow Sting or Red-and-Black Sting? Either way, the Sixers will still be mediocre and Baron will probably average 45 shots per game. So that’ll be fun.
  • Raptors trade for Jermaine O’Neal – So the Raptors now have two ridiculously soft power forwards who utterly cower in all pressure situations? And one of them has a bad knee to boot? Skeets is gonna be pissssssed. Though the Jose Calderon Era should be fun as hell to watch now that he doesn’t have to wait for T.J. Ford to slip out of consciousness in order to get playing time.
  • Players go back to Afr... Europe? – Recently, there’s been talk about how the strength of the Euro has drawn free agents to Europe, including Carlos Delfino, Bostjan Nachbar, Juan Carlos Navarro and Jorge Garbajosa. Wait, so a bunch of European-born reserves who never really made much of an impact are signing back in Europe? Does that make Viktor Khryapa the modern day Marcus Garvey? And while Josh Childress is reportedly entertaining an offer from a Greek team, it’s mostly because nobody here wants to pay him anything close to the midlevel exception. "Waah, nobody wants me and my stupid afro so I’ll blame it on the economy, waaah." Curtis Borchardt, Casey Jacobsen and the Collins twins would also like to blame the American dollar for their Stanford-educated epic failures.
  • Interlocking Cock Rings - The Olympic basketball tournament, or as I’m starting to refer to them, "The Ricky Rubio Coming Out Party," begins in a few weeks. I’m sure Kobe, LeBron and Carmelo will find a way to share the ball nicely while tailoring their games to the fundamentals-driven nature of international basketball. Also, Ricky Rubio owns your soul:

"Breakfast" With The Hysterics

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huh..... what...... late night..... west coast...... Seattle..... Lester..... win..... Papelbon.... LOWRIE!!!.... cup issues..... Varitek can't see straight.... HOUSE FOR THE THREE!!!! QUACK QUACK QUACK.... zzzzz..... need rest.......

Monday, July 21, 2008

EPIC FAIL

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Hey, remember how I said this series against the AL West-leading Angels would be a good test for the Sox?

FAIL.

Let's recap the West Coast Weekend, shall we?

Friday:

Jars of Clay "Council" Meredith Buchholz [Ed. note: Seriously DaveR? NO MORE POSTING ON CRACK -- futuremrsrickankiel] helps us all relive the thrills and fun of the Home Run Derby, or the NHL All-Star Game, or possibly the Battle of Waterloo, giving up eight runs (four earned, thanks to a terrible throw by Julio Lugo Alex Cora) on the way to a 3-11 non-victory. The Sneering Corpse of Garret Anderson went 4-4 with 5 ribbies to lead the Halos in a game that took an excruciating 2:35 to play. Meanwhile, APNDR First Half co-MVPs David Aardsma and Javier Lopez were injured and shelled respectively. When your best pitching performance comes from Mike Timlin, that counts as a.....

FAIL.

Saturday:

Oh sure, you'd think that Home Run Beckett would at least get you some quality innings. And you'd be right. And you'd even excuse him for giving up a moonshot to Vladdy Guerrero, because that's what Vladdy do. But when you're up 4-1 late in the game, and you give up a bases-clearing triple to ERICK FUCKING AYBAR.....

FAIL.

Sunday:

Ah, Timmy. Sweet, sweet Timmy, and your dancing magic. Surely you will save us despite the horrid screw-you-Southern-California-we-need-to-air-the-ESPYs start time of 3:00 PDT. (Trust me -- the sun positioning gets obnoxious for the fans at Angels Field (f/k/a Anaheim Stadium, Edison Field) after about 4:00 in the summer. Plus, it's hot.) And yea verily did you deliver unto thine promise, Sweet Timmy, twirling seven quality innings with only one Vladdy moonshot (plus a subsequent Torii Hunter moonshot).

And then....

I'm not going to criticize Terry Francona for leaving you in to start the 8th. I'd have done the same thing. Since you're probably not going to use Papelbon to get six outs, what else are you going to do? Use Hansen???? (/mocking laughter) Nor am I going to criticize Terry for sticking with you after the leadoff batter (Juan Rivera) doubled. Nor was I suprised when Howie Kendrick (one of the most underrated players in the league) then doubled to tie the game.

But you, Manny Delcarmen... They GAVE you an out, and yet you still gave up not one, but TWO additional runs. That is not clutch. That is....

FAIL.

Add it all up and you get EPIC FAIL.

(And now for something completely different.)

Here's some food for thought for all those know-nothing pink hatters out there (/pokes bear): there's a reason why it was not wise to give away Coco Crisp for pennies on the dollar in spring training. Let's look at the lovely Mr. Ellsbury's monthly stats (in the format BA/OPB/OPS):

May: .281/.375/.771
June: .245/.265/.591
July: .239/.282/.565

For comparison, the Artist Formerly Known as Julio Lugo put up .260/.372/.749 in June, and Crispy put up .310/.359/.880.

Is this a "Jacoby Suxx" post? Not at all. What I see is a typical trend for a first-year player, who will struggle as other teams scout him better and adjust to his particular hitting style. I don't think anyone reasonably expected Ellsbury to be any different. No, the important thing the remember is that Ellsbury is not Fred Lynn. He is a good player who has a chance to be great. The Red Sox, however, are a great team that has a chance to be champion. I am all in favor of handing the primary CF job to Ellsbury and putting him out there often. But -- and this is an important but -- I am NOT in favor of handing him the EXCLUSIVE CF job. Because he is young, and he will struggle, as he is doing now. Arguably, both Lugo and Crisp would be better leadoff options right now if either one of them were completely healthy. That does not mean that Lugo or Crisp are superior players to Ellsbury -- just that they have been playing better.

People often wonder what managers and coaching staffs actually do in baseball, other than fill out lineup cards and attempt to correct mechanical flaws. Well, this sort of thing is one of the big challenges a manager has to face. Ellsbury is clearly struggling right now, and his struggles are beginning to hurt the team. On the other hand, if he doesn't get enough at bats, he'll never work his way out of the struggles. And he's still a human being, with pride and desire and the ability to go into snits or resent people and all the crap we humans excel at. So what do you do? Coco may be a better option in the leadoff slot, but do you want to risk harming Ellsbury's confidence? But how long can you accept 0-5 nights before you have to do something to get runners on ahead of Youkilis and Manny? And if you DO play Crisp as the primary CF, and he plays well, how do you justify working Ellsbury back in (which you have to do, because he's clearly the long term CF)? It's a tough balancing act.

Jacoby isn't going anywhere, obviously. But, unless he shoots his way out of town like Jay Payton, neither should Coco. This little discussion illustrates why. Flexibility = key to avoiding EPIC FAIL.

On to Seattle....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Drunken Thoughts on a Saturday Night

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After a night of heavy boozing your faithful MH editor has some random thoughts for you to digest:

* Who the fuck cares how many elderly traveling secretaries Manny pushes, he is still worth his 20 million dollar option next year.

* Red Sox chicks who tie up their T-shirt jerseys and show off a little stomach are FUCKING HOT (unless of course they have no right wearing a shirt like that).



* Jesus H. Christ Clay Buchholz needs to figure out what the hell is going on in the majors before he starts another game

* Alex Cora blows. He is a slower SS with far less range than the much maligned Julio Lugo. Let Lowrie start more often please.

* Ipswich Summer Ale is a fantastic beer.

* Kelley Washington is going to have a huge year this year. Mark that in your calendar.

* Sammy Morris will not finish the season without a season ending injury.

* Danny Ainge will look like a genius after James Posey becomes completely ineffective of years 2 and 3 of his contract. Patrick O'Bryant will be a gigantic failure.

* Maggie Gyllenhal's character in the Dark Knight looked like she hadn't slept for weeks. (I'd still do her)

* MMMMMmmmmm Heidi Watney.....


Alright, hopefully these thoughts are cogent enough to make sense! Off to shovel a few more beers down and then passing the fuck out!

Friday, July 18, 2008

This Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better

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So Bob Lobel -- who is still extremely well-connected in this town, despite no longer being on WBZ -- went on WEEI this morning and dropped a couple of atomic bombs on us concerning Mr. Manny B. Manny....

(1) Manny was fined in the six figures for his shove of travelin' secretary Jack McCormick.

But that's not surprising -- you figured the team was going to do something after that little incident. No, the bomb was....

(2) ... that Manny's taking three straight strikes from Mo Rivera on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball was may have been* an intentional "fuck you" to ownership.

Now far be it from me to argue against sticking it to The Man.... but if this is true, I mean, wow. (And let's be honest -- don't we all believe that this is exactly the sort of thing that Manny would do?) This wasn't some relatively harmless bird-flipping in the 2nd inning or something. This was in the ninth inning of a tie game against the Yankees, with the go-ahead run standing on third. I mean, there's Manny Being Manny, and then there's something that would be absolutely, utterly inexcusable -- and frankly, grounds for an immediate release or a very public benching for the remainder of the season.

Lobel may be wrong, of course. But part of me -- a large part of me -- suspects that he is correct in what he says. Ramirez has been uncharacteristically prickly recently, to the point of being almost aggressively hostile in his comments. Something is therefore up, and the fine triggering a series of petulant outbursts from MBM is a perfectly logical series of events.

This could be bad, people. The SS Red Sox has been on pretty placid waters for most of the Francona era... but this could be Nomar all over again.

Yikes.

*[APNDR update: Upon further investigation, it appears that Lobel was implying more that the Sox front office PERCEIVES the at-bat as a deliberate fuck-you, not stating outright that it WAS a deliberate fuck-you. Therefore, I have clarified the wording.]

APNDR Further Update: Gordon Edes reports via Boston.com that the six-figure-fine report is "wildly overstated", and that the actual fine was in the $10k-$15k range. The Sox, unsurprisingly, have refused to specifically comment on the issue. As Drudge would say, developing.....

In Defense of the Pink Hat

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It's time for me to take a stand.

It's common parlance around these parts and elsewhere to refer to the ever-growing body of bullshit, bandwagoneering Boston fans with the derogatory term "pink-hatters." And you know what? I'm sick of it. It's time I stepped up and took umbrage (GIVE ME SOME UMBRAGE WHERE IS MY FUCKING UMBRAGE) with this particular bit of nomenclature and threw it all on the line in defense of this most reviled piece of caparison:



/drops beat

Now let me break it down for you.

The first and most obvious response to the "pink-hatters" tag is that bandwagoneering is hardly gender-specific. There are tons of dudes in Dice-K jerseys who wouldn't know Mike Benjamin from a gat damn hole in the wall at every Sox game and sports bar I go to. Oh, you think Trot Nixon represents "the old guard" of the Red Sox? Get bent, loser. It's not fair to label bandwagon fans with a nickname implying that they're all female. Of course it pisses me off when chicks bandwagon. But it pisses me off when dudes bandwagon, too. Let's at least be equal-opportunity haters, yes?

The second, and quite frankly more important, point is thus: THERE IS NOTHING INTRINSICALLY WRONG WITH A PINK HAT. Got that? Nothing. Yes, I own a fitted authentic gameday hat, proudly on display in my Blogspot picture. That's usually my Sox gear of choice. Wearing it right now, in fact... nice wide brim to cover up a hangover with. But you know what? Sometimes I don't WANT to look all hard-core like that. Sometimes I want to look cute and/or girly and/or sparkly while still showing my support for my team. Sometimes I want to be a baseball fan while also showing off my nice, perky, 23-year-old tits in some kind of Alyssa Milano-inspired sports garb, or while showing off my ability to accessorize glitter effectively. Just yesterday I saw a hat that had "red sox" written on it in little rhinestones. And I wanted it. Fuck, I might go buy it today. I already own both Red Sox and Celtics belly button rings, fer chrissake. There's no going back for me.

Oh, and I OWN A FUCKING PINK HAT.

I got it back in high school... waaay back before the bandwagon kids showed up. Back when I used to put pictures of Tino Martinez on my wall and tape the Boston logo over his pinstripes while cursing George Steinbrenner and his army of dream destroyers with every waking breath. My sister and I had matching pink hats, in fact -- we went to go buy them together and it was awesome. Later, I got mine autographed by Jeff Suppan. I still wear it when I golf. It's cute and it's comfy and it looks awesome with my pink running shoes.

And I'm no bullshit fan, folks. I can calculate RER by hand. I'll explain to you exactly what's wrong with Craig Hansen's slider (NO LATERAL BREAK DAMMIT). I'll recite Dennis Eckersley's stats by team for you. And dad gum it, I WILL WEAR A MOTHERFUCKING PINK HAT IF I WANT TO. I'm, ya know, A CHICK, and I reserve the right to act like NOT a dude when I fucking feel like it. I like the Red Sox, and I like pink things, and if some article of clothing conveniently happens to represent the juxtaposition of those two things, then it must be my lucky fucking day. Don't begrudge me or the other fine ladies of Red Sox Nation our chosen apparel. You're the one wearing an "authentic" home jersey THAT HAS THE PLAYER'S LAST NAME ON THE BACK. RED SOX HOME JERSEYS DO NOT HAVE NAMES ON THE BACK YOU DIPSHIT POSER. HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?!

So please: hate the bandwagon fans. It's your right to. But back off the pink hats. Not all pink-hatters are created equal.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Boston Sports Tonight!

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There are no sports tonight in Boston. And since FMRA isn't writing this you don't get the Joe Mauer picture. Sorry folks!

Since the Major League All Star Game leaves us with another void in our television/sports watching schedule I have a list of alternative activities that you can do to waste time tonight.

* Exercise- Ok, let's be realistic here I am going to guess that most people reading this blog haven't been to a gym in years. And if you have been to a gym it was probably to watch that blonde wearing the sports bra run on the treadmill and do groin crunches. Here is a suggestion, walk down the street to a CVS to get Sun Chips, or stroll to Dunkin Donuts for a Boston Creme donut. Hey walking is exercise and its better than sitting at home all night.

*Rent a movie- Here is the trick with renting a movie, remember that 98% of the DVD's Blockbuster owns are shit. Are you interested in seeing the Hills Have Eyes 3 or some movie about Toby Keith and a horse, fuck no. Look around, see if there is a movie there that you might be interested, usually I end up leaving Blockbuster pissed off. And don't even bother with On Demand, unless you are interested in Police Academy 2. Then again you could always rent Into the Blue, close your bedroom door and enjoy the night. Lord Jessica Alba in a bathing suit. Here's an early birthday present:


* Read a book. If you are like me your attention span has completely eroded and that won't work. But there are lots of other pretty picture books that you can look at. In fact if you have actually read this far in this column I would be impressed. Pat yourself on the back.

* Talk to and spend time with loved ones

* Video Games. What is cooler than rocking through some nasty Guns and Roses riffs in Guitar Hero or Rock Band?
1)Actually playing a guitar
2)Getting laid
Silently I admit that I own both of these games and have wasted countless hours on both

So there you have it, the Red Sox may be off tonight but your friends at MH have compiled a list of alternative activities you can do on a Thursday night. Some may sound interesting, and others may be not your cup of tea And as always if those ideas don't strike your fancy you can do what I always do: DRINK HEAVILY

Come get hysterical with us!

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Feeling bored at work? (Duh, or you wouldn't be wasting time reading this website.) Looking for a new source of frustration over things you can't control? (Ulcers are fun for the whole family!) Think you're cool enough to play ball with the Mass Hysteria crew? (Trust me, you are.)

Then join our fantasy football league! It'll be a standard Yahoo! H2H league and will include lots and lots of shit-talking via email. Those of you who are regular commenters (hi, Rocco and Pepster!) as well as passers-by are all welcome -- just shoot me an email at futuremrsrickankiel (at) gmail (dot) com. Maybe include a sentence about why you're cool or what your favorite thing to do at summer camp was or whether or not you like cheese fries. Just so we're all friends, ya dig? There may or may not be amusing site features based off of what happens in this league, so this is your chance to become famous (not really). Anyway, hit me up if you're down and we'll go from there, and before you know it you'll be this guy:


Yeah, dummy, you drafted your running backs too early and wound up with Jake Delhomme. WHOSE FAULT IS THAT?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Other Notes from the ASG

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• Did anyone else notice that every one of the Hall of Famers on the field wore the cap in which they were inducted, except for one? That one -- Wade Boggs, of course. Which tells me one of two things:

(a) Wade is still really pissed off about being cast away in favor of the non-sex-addicted Scott Cooper, or

(b) Wade is kind of a dick.

I'll go with a little of each.

[Ed. note -- The folks over at Sawxblog noticed, too.]

• Sheryl Crow: DAMN fine looking woman period, let alone for her age. Plus, she's got those strong, muscular arms that A-Rod likes in his men women.....

• U-G-GLA!
Apparently you cannot play!
You're Uggla! (clapclap clap)
You're Uggla! (clapclap clap)

• Wade notwithstanding, I thought the whole "have a bunch of HOFers on the field" thing was extremely well done, and a great idea. In fact -- why isn't this made permanent? Invite every living Hall of Famer to the game to appear on the field (if they so desire, and if health permits), and do the introductions in the same way. It's not like the pre-game ceremonies are ever going to get any shorter, and would you rather see (a) Bobby Doerr, Whitey Ford, and Carlton Fisk, or (b) Three Doors Down performing their new hit song "This Song Will Be Forgotten Within Five Months"? Plus, there could be an Oscar-like rundown of everyone who's died in the past year. I'm really excited about this idea!!!!!

.... and then I remember that Bud Selig still runs baseball, and all hope drains from my soul.

• I am glad, and I think Yankee fans will begrudgingly admit that they are glad, that Terry Francona did not cave in to the ridiculous idea of having Mariano Rivera start the game. First, that would be nothing but a stunt that further trivializes what is already an almost irrelevantly trivial game (but for, you know, THE WHOLE PROGRESS OF THE WORLD SERIES DEPENDING ON IT.... /hope draining from soul /hope draining from soul). Second, it would have trivialized Rivera's career itself by putting him in an Eddie Gaedel-like freakshow situation instead of using him in the manner through which he has earned his ticket to the Hall of Fame. Rivera deserves better than that -- much better.

Instead, Francona did the right thing, giving the start to Cleveland's Cliff Lee, who -- despite tailing off a bit in the last month -- still ranks as the AL's most impressive and surprising starter this year. And he did the right thing by using Papelbon in the 8th to (unsuccessfully) hold the lead, then using Rivera in the 9th to -- as he has done so often -- shut down the opposition and keep his team in the game. That's the way it should be, because that's how Mo rolls, baby.

Now having said that, I can't wait until the bastard retires so the Yankees can have some crappy retread attempting to close games for him.....

• I've met George Steinbrenner. He's one of the most memorable people I've ever met, along with Charlton Heston and Ronald Reagan. (And a fellow Williams grad. Prince Hal was at Williams when I was, too. Nice kid.) He is actually a very gregarious and friendly guy, and not at all the blustery ogre that some would have you believe, but you just got the strong feeling that you did NOT want to cross him in business.

Which is why it was depressing and sad for me to see him carted out last night, possibly for the last time (because I doubt his family will want to put him on display as he deteriorates). George does not appear to be in good health at all, although it's not like he's obviously on the verge of death or anything. It's just another reminder that even the strongest personalities and people will eventually succumb to old age. Ow, I think my prostate just exploded....

• I'll be honest: I'm having some difficulty jumping on board the Josh Hamilton Lovefest Bandwagon. Yes, I am glad that Hamilton is not dead with a needle sticking out of his arm, or -- worse still -- dead along with several victims after he plowed his car into a crowd in a drunken haze. I wish him only the best with what will be a lifelong battle against addiction. But part of me is very, very disturbed to hear his story labelled "inspiring" or "heartwarming". Hamilton is a kid blessed with unbelievable physical ability; even if he were the worst player in MLB he'd still be among the top, oh, .0002% of athletes in the country. He was a can't-miss prospect out of high school in Raleigh, at which point he was as close as someone can come to absolutely guaranteed celebrity and riches.

And what did he do at that point? He CHOSE to start doing smack and coke. He CHOSE to piss away that opportunity entirely. Everything that happened to him is HIS fault. This is not a Jon Lester situation, where something life- and career-threatening was forced upon him through no fault of his own. This is a guy who had the ability to say no, but instead said "yes please, and with a vodka chaser."

I do give Hamilton all the credit in the world for -- at least as far as I've read -- taking responsibility for his own actions, and being very open about the mistakes he has made in life. But I'm just not as "inspired" by someone who overcomes adversity of their own making. Josh Hamilton, blessed by God or Allah or Yahweh or Tom Jones or Emperor Palpatine or whomever your deity happens to be with incredible talent, dug himself out of the hole he stupidly threw himself into. Yay. Where do I pin the medal again?

Congratulations, Josh, on not being dead -- like the friend I had who got hooked on smack. I hope you appreciate how lucky you are. And I think you do, to your credit. Now go out there and... um.... take August 12th through 14th off. And the first weekend in September. You'll need the rest, really....

• I don't know what this means -- but I watched the game last night, which was announced by Joe "I'm Not Jack" Buck and Tim McCarver, and not once did I want to gouge my ears out with an awl. Could it be that.... they're getting...... better????

• And finally, because I need a photograph to break up this text, I give you..... Dennis Eckersley's mullet. Long may his man-mane wave.



While You Were Sleeping....

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J.D. Poo Drew continued his 2008 F--k You Dave For Being A Hater Tour by going 2-4 with a HUGE 2-run home run and picking up the All-Star Game MVP award, as well as home field advantage for the AL in the World Series. Which occurred at approximately 4:45 in the morning, sometime in the 974th inning.

Well... at least Bud didn't declare a tie, right?

In a loooooong, looooooong snoozefest that had AL manager Terry Francona seriously considering (a) whether he could get away with blowing out Scott Kasmir's arm by leaving him in for 140 pitches and/or (b) whether it was too late to activate Eck and Goose Gossage for the game, the game finally ended when Michael Young (the Texas shortstop, not the former host of "Kids Are People Too") drove in Home Run Derby champion Josh Hamilton... er, Justin Morneau with a sac fly in the bottom of the 15th off of Phillies closer Brad Lidge. The big hits, though, came from Drew, whose 2-run homer off of Edinson Volquez tied the game in the 7th, and from Evan "Future Mrs. Rick Ankiel's Future Lover On The Side" Longoria, whose double in the 9th off of Mets (and former Phillies) closer Billy Wagner erased the one-run lead that the NL had taken off of Cinco Ocho, a.k.a Not Mariano Rivera.

Yeah.... Jon-boy had kind of a bad trip. Is it just me, or is Paps looking... um.... totally non-dominant in the past couple of weeks? I've seen too many recent Papeloutings where he gives up bad hits on poorly-placed fastballs, or tails off after getting two outs. It's starting to unnerve me. Paps does not have a non-fastball out pitch, and if he starts to lose speed and/or movement on his heater, we could be looking at Calvin Schiraldi Jr. before we know it.

In other Sox All-Star news, everyone else -- Ramirez, Pedroia, Youkilis, and very late substitute Jason Varitek -- combined to go 0-5.

After we all endure the Longest Day of the Year today, the Sox are off on their annual West Coast March of Death -- the inevitable late July / early August trek to some combination of Anaheim, Seattle, and Oakland (this year, it's the first two) that has often been the rock upon which divisional title hopes have been dashed. The clash with the AL-West-leading Angels, who are shockingly injury-free by their standards (I think only about 33% of the roster is on the DL), will be a real litmus test for this team. And hopefully sometime after the team returns to Fenway at the end of the month (for games against the Yankees and Angels), David Ortiz will have completed his minor league rehab and will be good to go. But we'll see. If that damn bullpen doesn't straighten itself out soon, baaaad things could happen. Baaaaaad thiiiiiings.

Bonus strange but true fact: Including tomorrow, the Sox have 8 of the remaining 11 Thursdays in the season off.