Posts Tagged ‘Evan Longoria’

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Red Sox 2011 Post Mortem

October 5, 2011

Water is clean and pure and capable of washing away man’s sin. Last week, raindrops fell from the sky and struck my window sill with the cadence of a revolutionary enlisted regiment. I awoke in a foggy glaze of the night prior. The events transpiring in a dreamlike flash that could only be harbored in my narrowest subconsciousness. The better part of me forgetting what caused such a restless night’s sleep, I immediately snapped into an intense clarity from the slamming of metal whose rusted pistons signified refuse had been cleared from the street. Suddenly, water, with its solely unique volatility to sustain life and create decay,  became toxic when mixed with the human waste removed from the slick pavement. The Red Sox season ended earlier that morning. Moon light casted a midnight shadow over a vacant Fenway Park whose grass would go dormant and die before stitched rawhide rolled along it again.

Often, the feats of an athlete or team are romanticized in such a way to make Thoreau or Emerson himself wish they had crafted the words. I tried it for the previous paragraph, and found that aside from sounding like a douche, the 2011 Red Sox deserve no such pleasantries. The garbage removal description is a fitting coincidence to this Red Sox season. It’s a week later, and I feel no different than the minute after Evan Longoria did his best Dr. Kevorkian and used a walk-off home run to euthanize this Red Sox season. Sick, pitiful, and causing more pain with each passing day, it was the merciful thing to do.

Somewhere over the past seven years, the Red Sox shifted from an emotion-filled baseball team of self-proclaimed idiots and cowboys, to a faceless corporation of high paid suits working a 9-5. Maybe that’s what happens when you win the World Series for the first time in 86 years. Then do it again three years later. Gradually, the losses hurt less, the wins provided less joy, and I found myself  rooting for a team with about two likeable players. The Green Monster is littered with advertisements, center field tells me where to grocery shop, NESN is forcing Bill James “Temperature Gauge” down my throat like a Nathan’s Hot Dog contest, and Fenway Park is a summer social scene rivaling the swanky bars on the wharf. In 2003, I cried myself to sleep after Aaron (Uffin’) Boone ended the  Red Sox World Series hopes with a left field walk off homer. In 2011, I was numb to Longoria doing the same thing. If the guys on the field didn’t care, I couldn’t either. Quite frankly, I needed this loss. The Red Sox as an organization needed this loss.

Now, after the biggest collapse in regular season history, heads are starting to roll. Francona, the most successful manager in Red Sox history is the first to go. Citing a mutual decision, in which reports say Tito simply lost control of a clubhouse full of prima donnas. While many fans might wish it weren’t true, Tito became such a player’s manager, and kept things so “in house” that there was a mutiny. Unfortunately, captain’s go down with their ship.

The fact that fans and the media are so outraged by pitchers drinking beer in the clubhouse shouldn’t be such a “holy shit” moment. In the 60s, 70s, and 80s, guys were borderline stoned and cracked out on the field. Baseball and beer are practically synonymous. David Wells pitched his perfect game hungover on no sleep from the night before, and if you read any accounts from old-time baseball, most players were notorious drunks (Ruth, Foxx, Cobb, Mantle to name a few Hall of Famers). Blame this season on some Bud Light smoothies all you want, but it required much more for a collapse of this magnitude. True pros don’t let things like beer get in the way of their craft. I may or may not be shnockered right now, but it wouldn’t get in the way of amazing blogging.

Bud Light Girls. Because there haven't been any girls in this blog. I'm too focused.

More realistically, this season went to hell in a handbasket when the starting pitchers all dropped faster than acid in front of Jimi Hendrix. After Dice K’s elbow finally exploded from all those imaginary gyroballs he could throw, Clay Buchholz’ literal broken back was the straw that broke the idiomatic camel’s back. Suddenly, we were left with a rotation of:  

Jon Lester: Mediocre all season, with a few gems mixed in, until an embarrasing September in which he resembled a left-handed John Lackey.

Josh Beckett: Had a fine season, and I hate to come down hard on a guy with a sub-3 ERA, but this dude was straight up obese by the end of the year. In his final start, he was resting his glove on his pot belly while holding runners on like Homer Simpson rests a Duff on his gut.

Erik Bedard: What do you say about a guy who doesn’t just live on the DL, he buys up other property and becomes the landlord? Thanks for those 5 inning, 3 run efforts you served up.

Tim Wakefield: The quest for 200 wins took longer than Ulysses” god-forsaken Iliad and Odyssey combined. Night in and night out were were treated to Timmy lobbing watermelons up to the dish praying one night we’d score 12 and not give up 13.

John Lackey: Shellackey, Mouth Breather, Big Hoss, pick your name for him, but this guy just put up the worst statistical pitching season in Red Sox history. If you missed it, don’t worry, there’s 3 years at 17 million per remaining on his contract. The only thing that could make Lackey more unlikeable  is if I told you he is in the process of divorcing his cancer-stricken wife. Wait. Crap.

Basically, we were taking the field every night with a disadvantage in pitching matchups come September. On top of all that, the lineup somehow stopped producing.

Adrian Gonzalez – turned into a singles hitter, as reports came up that his surgically repaired shoulder limited his power. Not sure how everybody forgot he even had a surgically repaired shoulder when he decided to use his SURGICALLY REPAIRED SHOULDER  in the Home Run Derby.  There were times during the season Gonzalez looked like me roping opposite field home runs during wiffle ball. There were other times he put up consistently horrendous at bats against the Yankees and Rays in every big September game.

Kevin Youkilis– You can’t be that out of shape and constantly banged up for so long without it taking its toll. I can’t picture Youkilis making any movement without a grimace and wince. Dude probably rips a hemi just trying to wipe. Now let’s see what a full year flopping around at third base got him: a hip flexor and sports hernia that landed him on the bench during  the most important month. Perfect.

Varitekalamacchia– The catching platoon that actually produced some of the best power totals from that position was nonexistant in the final month. ‘Tek simply is too old to be squatting when the September chill hits his bones. Salty hits breaking pitches worse than Bobbi Brown hit Whitney, and the league figured that out.

Carl Crawford– somehow, went from being the best statistical player in the game last year, to an anemic liability this year. He actually had a few walk-off hits early in the season that everyone assumed would snap him out of his slump. But for whatever reason, once he signed a contract for triple the Rays payroll this year, he apparently thought he had to bat .700 with 113 home runs and 346 rbis. What I still can’t figure out is how he wasn’t even stealing bases. I know you need to get on base to steal, but he was a total non-factor in every aspect of the game. Fittingly, the Red Sox lost the final game on a ball that Crawford failed to make the play on. It summed up his entire suck season in Boston.

In the end, the real Red Sox fans have their team back: chokers who invented new ways to lose. It just took a few seasons of looking in the mirror and lying to ourselves to finally recognize how much has changed. We see all of these problems and finally realize we need help. Theo has been living off World Series titles that  have masked his inability to add any productive piece to the team via free agency.  When you’re a big market ballclub, Moneyball is fun, but it’s the actual money that puts you over the top.

Stay tuned…

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MLB Nostradamusing 2011

March 30, 2011

Smell that? Well, of course not. You can’t smell words typed on a screen within the internets. But, hypothetically, you can conjure the smell: that mix of freshly cut grass, grilled hot dogs, oiled leather and salty nuts (including the ones in need of a shower after you baked in the bleacher’s sun during a day game). Yes, it is finally,

God. Bless. America.

wonderfully, baseball season. More American than a pair of blue jeans and a stars and stripes bikini on Burke Burke, riding in a Ford pickup listening to Kenny Chesney eating McDonald’s outside the White House, baseball season isn’t just the first true sign that winter is over, but it is the hope of summer. With baseball comes bikinis, broads, beaches, BBQs, beer, (party) buses, Brooke Burke and, obviously, alliteration. All the best things in life. Without further ado, and because I ran out of awesome things that start with a “B”, besides Boston Red Sox, I give to you, my official 2011 MLB Preview.

BEST NON-BASEBALL RELATED STORIES ENTERING 2011

Thankfully, Evan Longoria, David Price and Reid Brignac got robbed just days before I wrote this blog, or the only story I’d have to talk about is Alexi Ogando being involved in a human trafficking ring. Since they did get robbed, I actually have something to talk about. Basically, if I were writing the story, it goes something like: “CLEARWATER, FLA.- Evan Longoria, David Price and Reid Brignac know all about hard work. Bro’ing out hardcore in a mansion while playing Spring Training baseball, plowing through groupie slores away on spring break and balling out on the XBox sticks, whilst wearing insured watches and burning money can be an exhausting proposition for most. No ordinary human can fathom having to lock the aforementioned mansion’s door on top of all that. Well, in a real plot twist, all their cool stuff got stolen. Included are Price’s 50k watch collection, Longoria’s AK-47 Russian issued assault rifle, and Brignac’s 1976″ HOLD UP! Stop, Colt.

Fascist haircut.

Longoria’s AK-47 Russian issued assault rifle?! THE UFF?!” Yes. Apparently, Evan Longoria is the most anti-American mother-uffer in the MLB because dude straight up legally owns an AK-47, not an M-16. Wait, you’re surprised? You thought he rocked that faux-mullet-mohawk because he wasn’t an eastern European post-Soviet break-up insurgent preparing to waste anyone who dare attempt stealing his pricey American trinkets?! Oh, word.

Now back to that Alexi Ogando story, because, I shit you not, dude is a registered human trafficker (I feel like you have to register for such an offense, right?). Back in

Because that last picture of Evan didn't do it for you, the reader.

’05 (I don’t know how to type the “Aught” sound people are using for the 00’s, but read it like that, for fancy historical context) Ogando was minding his own business re-entering the United States, trying to get his pitch on, when federal agents were waiting for him. It seems, an inordinate amount of Latin players were marrying chicks who got denied US Visas (I couldn’t get a credit card for a while either) at the time. Ogando pleaded guilty to this crime, got arrested, and banned from US re-entry for five years. If you’re thinking: “Shit, that’s illegal?!” I’m right there with you. If this whole underemployment thing doesn’t keep working out for me, I planned to get some money/a wife this way. Just goes to show, the “human trafficking” world isn’t all about finding US-born virgins following U2 around in France, abducting them, getting them addicted to meth, and auctioning them off to Saudi Sheiks. That’s just the plot to Taken. Thankfully, it’s been five years, Ogando is pissed, and is just striking out Americans with fastballs from hell. He’s back to being a rich baseball player, a fifth starter in the Rangers rotation, an ace in my heart, and on my fantasy team, obviously. God Bless America. Again.

BEST OFF-SEASON ACQUISITION

AL: Carl Crawford, Red Sox

Unfortunately for Carl, the Red Sox signed Darnell McDonald and his neck tattoos just before last season, or Carl Crawford would be the first Sox player to hold such an honor. Look, this isn’t the NBA, neck tats don’t just grow on Rule V drafts. Fortunately for the Red Sox, Crawford might be their most dynamic player, ever. By dynamic, I mean most freakishly athletic with all five of the tools that smart people say players have (six if you include neck tats as a tool). He will make a huge impact in the clubhouse (where rap music immediately moves up the locker room playlist), and on the field (where he’s just really good at baseball).

NL: Cliff Lee, Phillies

Uncle Cliffy gets absolutely no props for this one. While the Phillies made an amazing move acquiring the best pitcher in baseball via free agency, Lee made an amazingly whipped move of going back to an ex-girlfriend, er, team. While hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, apparently, Cliff Lee hath no problem with a team trading his ass and then going back to them once they begged. If you’re wondering how the “woman scorned” thing comes into play there, I’m not sure. But here’s a woman that has been scorned once or twice…

Oh hey, Jenn Sterger's ready for the baseball season!

WORST OFF-SEASON MOVE

AL- NY Yankees, Idle

“Idle hands end up doing work the Devil would do if he were in the Yankees front-officegoes the old saying. Sure enough, this off-season, the Yankees whiffed on every pitch they saw. Even when everyone penciled in Cliff Lee as their newest $100+ million man, nobody took into account the whole “When Cliff Lee faced the Yankees in the World Series, ignorant classless NY fans heckled his wife in the stands… Effect.” Ouch, brah.

NL- St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols Contract

When you have Albert Pujols under contract, and you own not only Anheuser-Busch, but also the St. Louis Cardinals, you “pay zee mon hees moniez”, as Teddy KGB would say in Rounders. Instead, the Cardinals balked at the concept that Pujols isn’t worth 30 million a year, and now, they get to duel with the Red Sox or Yankees this off-season to try to re-sign him. Thankfully, the Pujols distraction may not matter since Wainwright’s injury probably killed their season dead, anyway.

I'd still go to a Cards game without Albert there, if these chicks are... with Budweisers... just sayin'

BEST PITCHER WHO THROWS BASEBALLS BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE

AL: Felix Hernandez, Mariners (Again)

King Felix (I just Googled who King Felix actually was, you know, in history. Can’t find anything… so yeah, sweet nickname, brah) is just too good at throwing a baseball. Jon Lester is everyone’s pick this year, but just because the Sox offense got better doesn’t mean he’s not facing the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays and even an improved Orioles lineup 76 times this year. Felix the Cat (much more recognizable nickname, I think), on the other glove, gets to face crappy AL West lineups like the Angels and A’s. CC Sabathia may have lost weight this off-season, but I’m pretty sure I’ve read that five consecutive years, and I think his innings and calories toll finally starts wearing him down into more of a tier-two pitcher.

NL: Roy Halladay, Phillies

Doc Halladay (I get this nickname, Doc Holliday was a famous gunfighter… if you didn’t get it) wins this award by default. I think Cliff Lee has a bit of a problem adjusting BACK to the NL, Josh Johnson would be my pick, but he has to face the Phillies and Braves and all their good pitchers/lineups far too often. Lincecum finally snaps his arm off at the rotator cuff, Wainwright is already out for the year, as previously mentioned, and Ubaldo Jimenez will regress from a season that still wasn’t enough to win this award last year. Plus, it’s not like Halladay isn’t amazingly consistent and gets to face the Mets a lot or anything.

Since that's the only time I'll mention the Mets in this blog, this Mets fan is dedicated to my friend, Bertie... I drink whiskey and talk baseball with him sometimes. America.

MAN WITH A BAT AND GLOVE WHO USES THOSE INSTRUMENTS THE BEST

AL: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

Dude got to leave the worst hitter’s park for Major Leaguers, but nicest place for normal humans to live, and come to a park tailor made for his swing. There’s this huge green wall in Boston that makes it easy for left-handed hitters, who use the opposite field, to get hits and home runs. A-Gon (I know there’s like 13 of these currently playing in the major leagues), I mean, Adrian Gonzalez, happens to be one of those perfect left-handed hitters. He also happens to be hitting behind Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford. Add it all up, add in gold-glove caliber defense, and you win my award for using a bat and glove the best.

NL: Albert Pujols- St. Louis Cardinals

There's just something about a girl in... knee pads...

Because he only loses this award when voters get tired of writing his name. In my opinion, those voters are probably racist and think he should Americanize his name to Pooholes. Well, this isn’t Ellis Island, bitches, and Pujols is still the best hitter alive and probably ever. Seriously, when it is all said and done, he may be the greatest player ever. Plus, he dated a chick with an Autistic son, married her, adopted the kid, and does more charity work than Mother Theresa in a down year (you know, when she was living and doing whatever charity work it was that she did?). I guess some other contenders are Hanley Ramirez, Prince Fielder and Carlos Gonzalez ::yawn::

BEST YOUNG PLAYER WHO WINS THE AWARD FOR BEST FIRST SEASON

Honestly, I’m not even making this prediction, because the award is kind of dumb, has almost no impact on the rest of the recipients career and almost always goes to a top prospect who gets called up during the season. Since I try to be perfect, or at least better than everyone else, I refuse to open myself up to ridicule. Gun to the head, though, AL goes to Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, because he’s supposed to be real good. NL goes to Giants 1B Brandon Belt, because I read about him yesterday and he sounds real good, too. Here’s what I can predict: this next picture will be hot.

Yup, I was right.

SO, WHO IS WORLD SERIES CHAMPION

Word count tells me I just hit 1,750. As a reward to those of you still reading, I’ll get right to the winner. San Francisco… will not win it again, this year. Sure, they’ve got nice pitching and all, but like I said, Lincecum is snapping his arm off this year, and their offense sucks… so, the Yankees… won’t even make the playoffs since I’m positive no more than 19 of their fans can name their #4 and #5 pitchers, and that includes AJ Burnett as their #3, which is gross (quick side note: back in college, a late night Red Sox/Yankees argument broke out between my best friend and Yankees fan, Angelo, and myself. In the heat of the drunken moment, I repeatedly asked him to name their #3 starter at the time. In his defense, they had a rash of injuries, and I’m not sure Brian Cashman knew the answer. Short story, long, we almost came to blows, but decided shotgunning a beer would be better. It was a great decision)… so, the Phillies… won’t win the World Series, because Atlanta will beat them in the NLCS thanks to a pitching staff that is nearly as deep and a lineup that is far deeper (particularly with Utley’s status in doubt). With Atlanta in the World Series, all that’s left is naming the AL champion… the Rangers… are not it, though, as they lose to the Red Sox in the ALCS because, well, they aren’t as good. Which leaves us with the World Series matchup of Red Sox vs. Braves, to be held in Fenway Park after the American League restarts their All-Star win streak.

So… the Red Sox win the 2011 World Series. Yes, as a diehard Red Sox fan this is biased. Yes, I’m sick even making this prediction. I don’t know why I’m not giving the Yankees a guaranteed jinx and picking them, but instead I’m giving this the reverse jinx. With Lester, Buchholz, Beckett, Lackey and Dice-K, nobody in the American League matches up 1-5 in the rotation. With a lineup that adds Crawford, Gonzalez and a healthy Pedroia and Youkilis, no lineup matches up in all of baseball. All joking aside, my honest opinion says it’s the Red Sox World Series to lose.

If you didn't like this blog... this is all I have to say.

Stay tuned…