I'm deeply concerned that the caption of this photo actually says something incredibly offensive in Japanese.
5:45 AM. I woke up 15 minutes ago. I'm still not quite sure why. The song my alarm clock selected for purposes of waking me up was "Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado. At the time, I remember thinking that this particular song was strangely appropriate to the point of humorous. I'm going to have to tell someone about this, I remember thinking. I have no idea why I thought that. I hauled ass out of my toasty warm apartment to go get coffee only to discover that my Starbucks was closed. Heathens. HEATHENS! I had to go to Dunkin Donuts instead, where the guy behind the counter looked as unimpressed by me as I was by him. Lord help me, this is turning into a Peter King column before I've even gotten started. I'm wearing a T-shirt my brother gave me in honor of the occasion that reads, "It's not over 'til the Big Papi swings." I am not wearing pants, because it's too FREAKING early for pants. Apparently, 5:30 AM makes me write like Ernest Hemingway.
5:52 AM. I have suddenly become convinced that this entire "Japan" game concept is simply the universe playing a colossal prank on me -- me! -- for the sole purpose of making me look like an ass, and that at 6:05 my TV is going to Rick Roll me or something. Aha, there's the proof: the analysts just tried to convince me that Scott Kazmir is going to win more than 15 games this season. Now I know this is all just a big joke.
6:09 AM. I am being forced to listen to Mike and Mike debate whether or not they care about this game. You know what, Mike and Mike? I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU.
6:19 AM. Where is the baseball?!
1st Inning. I am a moron, because the game here is being shown on NESN and not ESPN2. All my conspiracy theories have gone out the window. I come in late -- Dice-K is pitching to Jack Cust and appears to have already let up one run. Guess the Sox did nothing in the top of the inning. One on, one out. I wonder what they sell in the stands at Japanese ball stadiums. I have visions of shouting, "Hey, Sake Man!" Ooh, nice changeup. Yikes! A wild pitch will advance the runners -- 2 men in scoring position, and still only one out. This is less exhilarating than I would have hoped. Matsuzaka has now walked the bases loaded, and the 7th batter for Oakland is Bobby Crosby. I have to admit that I don't know much about the A's this year, as they got distinctly less interesting once they traded Haren and Swisher, but I have always thought that Bobby Crosby looks like kind of a douchebag. Matsuzaka is able to field a hit towards the third-base line and throw Crosby out at first, but a run scores. Finally, a strikeout, and we have an end to an 18-minute, 30-pitch half-inning.
2nd Inning: Mike Lowell is on base, and my fantasy team collects its first hit. My dad just called me to ask if I was in a bar. Give me a LITTLE credit, Dad. Joe Blanton, the current pitcher for the A's (I'm assuming that Rich Harden is in the hospital recovering from massive hemorrhage following a paper cut), has a truly bizarre delivery. Inning over on a double play. I'm not entirely convinced this was worth waking up for.
Oakland opens the bottom of the 2nd with yet another man on base. OK THAT WAS A STRIKE YOU DIPSHIT UMP. Travis Buck looks like the archetypal fratboy wankoff at some East Coast liberal arts school who all the girls assume is deep because he's from California and wears flip flips even when it's cold, man. I have decided to eschew all legitimate sports commentary in favor of poorly constructed ad hominem attacks on each of the A's in turn. I am the Rush Limbaugh of sports blogging. Hey, guess what I'm not doing right now? Facebook-stalking my ex-boyfriend's vacation pictures. Nope, definitely not wasting my time on that. Kurt Suzuki is holding on at 2nd with 2 outs as we are back to the top of the A's batting order with Mark Ellis. ANOTHER walk from Dice-K.
News on the Boston catcher front, courtesy of my NESN crawl: Dusty Brown has been optioned back down to AAA, and the Sox have purchased the contract of Kevin Cash. Cool, I guess.
ANOTHER GODDAMN WALK. WHAT IS GOING ON?! John Farrell is (finally) out to the mound. Something seems legitimately wrong with Matsuzaka's delivery. I've seen him rebound from situations like this before, though, and I remain optimistic (bases loaded 2 outs eeeeek). Strike one. Strike two. Julian Tavarez is warming up. Ball one with a high changeup. Foul tip. STRIKE THREE CALLED! Ellsbury, Lugo, and Pedroia are up.
3rd Inning: Ellsbury down, but Lugo sends a fastball up the middle for a single. Pedroia ALMOST hits a home run. Youk up with 2 down and 1 on. Apparently the "YOUUUUK!" cheer has reached international proportions. Youkilis beats out a hit to first and Ortiz is up with two men on. My T-shirt is happy. It's really been killer how great Manny and Papi have looked this spring. Eh, and on that, Ortiz is out at first.
Matsuzaka opens the inning with two down. Dude, he pulls this every time he starts. He'll be fine. Jack Hannahan sounds like the friend who would get killed in a movie about the Irish mafia, leading the main character to thirst for revenge. Oh, except now he's apparently the guy on first. Amazing jumping backhand grab by Lugo to end the inning. That will silence my "PUT IN JED LOWRIE" catcalls... for now.
4th Inning: Note that the Sox are actually outhitting the A's 4-2 even though we're losing 2-0. Manny is up. Manny will hit me a home run. Manny loves me. Nope, just kidding, he hates me and decides to fly out to Travis Buck (guhh) instead. I am going to take a loss by the Red Sox this morning as a personal affront. Manny looks great, by the way. Like in really good shape. Oh, Manny, I can't stay mad at you. Lowell flies out. Brandon Moss (who looks eerily like Bobby Kielty) is out at first. I think I need a shower.
FINALLY, a 1-2-3 inning from Dice-K. Shower time. Maybe that will make me feel less like a zombie.
6th Inning: Uh, it's now 3-2, Red Sox. I knew that was going to happen. It's been scientifically demonstrated that the Red Sox like to score the minute I leave the room. You can thank me for that later. Alan Embree and his giant wad of cheek mush are in for the A's, pitching to Varitek with 2 down and 1 on. Tek out on a foul tip into the catcher's mitt.
Kyle Snyder is in to pitch to Crosby, of whom I have become quite sick. What do we want to bet these people from New Hampshire being interviewed in the stands at the Tokyo Dome have never been to Europe? Also, I wonder if anyone in Oakland is even watching this game. Freaking Hannahan hits a 2-run home run off of Kyle Snyder. Well, that was over quick. Someone needs to teach Suzuki how to bunt. Rich Harden looks brooding and green-eyed in the dugout... mmm. Suzuki makes two down, and I'm going to have to leave in 10 minutes to go to work. UGH. Inning's over, and it's 4-2, Oakland.
7th Inning: Ellsbury is on, and then Lugo grounds into a double play. PUT IN JED LOWRIE.
Do they not have a Seventh Inning Stretch in Japan? Bwahaha I forgot Keith Foulke signed with Oakland. That makes me mildly more optimistic. PUT IN KEITH FOULKE! Snyder is out, at last, and I've got my fingers crossed hard that we'll see Okajima, which is making it really hard to get dressed and do my hair. Nope, just kidding, it's Javy Lopez. Who is cute. Yay. Out number 2. Lopez tosses a strikeout to end the inning. Heroics are coming up, most likely as soon as I leave to go to work.
I can't BELIEVE I have to leave right now. Someone call me if we score... please?
10th Inning: Oh man! I made it here just in time to catch Manny Ramirez knocking in Lugo and Ortiz with a double! Not quite as thrilling on MLB Gameday, perhaps, but hot DAMN. I was a fidgety mess on the T the entire way to work. 6-4, SAWX! Apparently it was Huston Street that let up those runs, that posturing pretty boy. He's out in favor of Lenny DiNardo, who I think was supposed to be in the A's starting rotation this year.
In case you're wondering what you (and I) missed, Brandon Moss (who the hell is Brandon Moss?) hit a game-tying home run in the top of the 9th. He spent most of last year in Pawtucket, but did play a couple of games in the Big Leagues... and looks to be off to a promising start this year. Moss actually scored in the 6th as well. Good for him.
Papelbon (obviously) is doing his thing for the Sox, and for my fantasy team as well. This was actually a pretty decent game, although I still resent MLB for making me endure it. Papelbon appears to be struggling to get outs, as Daric (is that really how he spells his name?) Barton walks. Jack Cust strikes out swinging, and we're two outs away from our FIRST victory of 2008 (and me getting a cup of coffee the size of a kiddie pool). Emil Brown is out at 3rd, but has knocked a run home. WHAT IS PAPELBON DOING?! 6-5, Sox. Smarmy-looking Bobby Crosby is up and singles on a line drive up the center. Now Hannahan (that spoiler) is up again. I'm already sick to death of this Oakland lineup. And, holy crap, Hannahan singles too, and there are 2 on with 2 down. Too bad no A's fans are awake to enjoy this. I bet Papelbon hasn't seen this many singles since the first taping of "Sox Appeal." (Ba-zing!) Kurt Suzuki is up. 2 balls (heh) from Papelbon. THANK GOD, Papelbon gets the out, and a whopping 9.00 ERA to start my fantasy season off right.
6-5, Red Sox! It wasn't pretty, but I'll take it. I'm just so happy there's real baseball on TV again, I could kiss someone.
Thanks for the handful of you checking in this morning. If you get a chance, the boys at Walkoff Walk double-teamed this game today as well, so check it out. And, with that, it's time to, uh, work. Sighhh...