Monday, April 28, 2008
That’s the first time I’ve actually typed that. This is a step forward. It was a great series. It really was. I expressed cautious optimism. I got swept up in the momentum. I refused to get discouraged. In the end, though, I was left weeping sloppily in my apartment with my roommate sympathetically attempting to feed me rice as Montreal coasted off with the series win. Au revoir, fuckers.
However, we’re still in the thick of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a thing like crippling depression or crushing disappointment keep me from enjoying the greatest month of the greatest sport in the world. BOOYAH. (Hey, and the Providence Bruins are leading their divisional playoffs series 2-0!)
That said, it’s time to pick sides among those who remain. My first loyalty obviously, inevitably goes to the San Jose Sharks, who cruised into the playoffs at the top of the Pacific Division with a whopping 108 points on the season. I get a little twinge every time I watch the Sharks play: god, I miss Joe Thornton. The Sharks are currently down 2 games to Dallas (GO BACK TO MINNESOTA YOU LAMEWADS) in the Conference semifinals, but I remain confident that my Joey will lead them into the Cup finals in a blaze of glory – or, at the very least, will pound the shit out of Steve Ott for being a dirty-hitting little rat. Observe:
Mmm. That goes down smooth.
My pick for the Eastern conference? Well, that’s a little embarrassing to admit. Obviously, I adore Sidney Crosby. This is not optional. If you love hockey, you love Crosby. People who whine about him taking dives and deliberately drawing calls don’t fucking know what they’re talking about. The kid is the purest incarnation of the sport we’ve seen since Wayne Gretsky. He’s obviously been coached to play cautiously and avoid the hit, since he’s a) the team captain, b) the strongest offensive player on the team, and c) an easy and obvious target for ice thugs. This isn’t football, kids. Crosby is god.
Speaking of ice thugs, though... you know who else I love?
Heh. I love Avery for the same reason I love Roger Clemens and Chad Johnson: he’s just such an unrepentant bastard. He loves playing the villain, and he does it gleefully and well. My favorite Avery moment ever came in an interview after the oh-so-contentious series with New Jersey, when the much put-upon Martin Brodeur (understandably, perhaps) refused to shake Avery’s hand following the final game. Avery’s response: “Everybody talks about how unclassy I am, and fatso over there forgot to shake my hand.” BAHAHA. I would totally go drinking with Sean Avery. I freaking love Sean Avery. So, here we go: LET’S GO RANGERS!
Is it a coincidence that both teams I’m pulling for have blown 3-0 game leads in the playoffs already? Ah, well. A Sharks/Rangers final series would be scrappy and entertaining as hell – and virtually guaranteed to go 7 games. Bring it on.
The Conference Semifinals: EIGHT TEAMS ENTER. FOUR TEAMS LEAVE.
Not so catchy?
(Avery picture unabashedly stolen from Melt Your Face Off)
Thursday, April 24, 2008
David Pauley: 24-year-old righty. His MLB debut was on May 31, 2006; he ultimately started 3 games for the Sox that year and posted a 7.88 ERA (eek!) with 10 Ks (not bad) over 16 innings. Not likely to ever be above a 4th starter, but reasonably consistent and a good fielder. His best pitches are his sinker and his curveball. His fastball is low-90s. He started 26 games in Pawtucket last year and posted a 4.33 ERA over 153.2 innings, with 110 Ks and 49 BBs (blech, buddy, throw that shit OVER THE PLATE). Pauley took Beckett's start on Tuesday against Anaheim/Los Angeles/whatever, where it became evident that his sinkers sometimes don't, uh, sink. Pauley's real weakness, apart from his control issues, seems to be a tendency to give up HRs. He's back in Pawtucket now. FUTUREMRS SAYS: Not clear more time in AAA will develop him significantly more, especially given his tendency to walk batters; if anything, time in the majors will help him learn how to work more seasoned batters. He can throw strikeouts, so let's stick him in the bullpen and let him work the 6th and 7th for a while.
Craig Hansen: 24-year-old righty. Being groomed as a reliever and, ultimately, a closer. Throws comfortably in the mid-90s and is rumored to possess a nasty slider -- his ability to throw that consistently will make the difference between his minor-league and major-league careers. His MLB debut was ON MY BIRTHDAY in 2005, and he worked 38 innings for the Sox in 2006, striking out 30 on a 6.63 ERA. He was called up for yesterday's loss to the Angels, where he was plunked into a tie game in the 6th. His pitching looked speedier than it has in the past and he was able to retire 2 batters, but was ultimately ganked after giving up a solo HR to Casey Kotchman that would go on to win the Angels the game. Like Pauley, Hansen was shipped back down to Pawtucket immediately following the game. FUTUREMRS SAYS: I see this kid getting shellshocked if he spends too much time in the majors right now. Let him keep working on his speed in Pawtucket; he could ultimately be a nice complement to lefty Okajima in September.
And finally, today's man:
Justin Masterson: 22-year-old righty. Masterson is making his debut TODAY at Fenway. Woo! The lanky sinkerballer is 1-0 over 4 starts with an other-worldly 0.95 ERA in Portland this season. The strength of his sinker is said to be the variation with which he can hurl it, fluctuating between mid-80s and mid-90s and thus baffling hitters. Masterson only converted to starter last year in single-A Lancaster; he started 10 games for the AA Sea Dogs in 2007 and posted a 4.34 ERA with 59 Ks and only 18 walks through 58 innings. The stat I really love is his 16.50 K/BB ratio over 31 innings pitched in Lowell in 2006. Yowza! No wonder Boston is all a-twitter about this young lad taking the mound for Dice-K today. FUTUREMRS SAYS: I really don't see the rush to make this kid a starter yet, but if he's going to develop as a starter he needs to stay in AA for a while before making the permanent move to Pawtucket. Averaging 5.8 innings per start isn't going to wear him out, but it'll give him a chance to acclimate to working lineups (the kid only has 27 career starts, for pete's sake) and developing his pitch arsenal. The worst thing to do with talent like this would be to force it before he's ready.
Bring it on! Game at 1:35 pm today. I'm predicting a sharp decline in productivity. Thanks, MLB Gameday!
Update: Masterson pitched beautifully, allowing just 1 run (a solo homer to Mike Napoli in the 5th) and 2 hits over 6 full innings while striking out 4. However, the Sox bullpen combined to do a neat little job of blowing a 3-1 lead and ensuring that Masterson wouldn't pick up the W in his major-league debut. Maybe they were all jealous of how much attention he's getting. Unless something awesome happens in the bottom of the 9th right now it's going to be 7-3, Angels.
More update: Something a little bit awesome happened when Jacoby Ellsbury reached base and Ortiz then hit a 2-run ding-dong to make it 7-5. Manny came up to bat but flied out to Torii Hunter to end the inning so I got all excited for nothing.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
So, to recap from this weekend:
- The Sox swept Texas in a 4-game series at Fenway, outscoring the hapless Rangers 30-14. I still wish we'd held onto Kason Gabbard instead of trading him for that no-good sack of crap Gagne.
- The Celtics took Game 1 of the first-round playoffs series against Atlanta behind dominant performances from Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce (who hit 3 3-pointers within the first 5 minutes of the game). I've literally been waiting for this series to happen since last July. It felt good.
- Something like 40,000 people ran past my apartment in a spectacular display of tenacity and athletic prowess while I drank beer and sat in the sun.
Yep, so that's it for sports in Boston this weekend!
Friday, April 18, 2008
So I tried to write a post on the Bruins' 5-1 thrashing of the Canadiens last night. I really did. And all that came out was "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Last night was amazing. Last night was the kind of game that rewards true fandom, where the heavens seem to be smiling down and handing you a moment of pure glory to make up for all those regular-season losses to Montreal; for that 10-2 drubbing by the Caps; for that end-of-the-season slump that threatened to knock us out of playoffs contention altogether.
If (when?) we win this series, the crux of it all will be the second goal of the third period, when team captain Zdeno Chara unleashed his laser beam of a slap shot on a slowly crumbling Carey Price to score his first goal of the post-season and put the B's up 3-1. In baseball, the "go-ahead run" is the run that gives a team the lead; last night, though, it was Chara's goal that served as the true go-ahead, spurring an absolute frenzy of Bruins offensive activity that would ultimately result in 2 more goals before the final buzzer rang. That goal, coupled with a phenomenal save by Tim Thomas (31 saves on the night) immediately beforehand, represented an unbelievably crucial shift in momentum in the game and possibly the series as a whole. You could SEE the crowd at the Bell
A sampling of the text messages I got last night:
Pinch me this is too good
and the oh-so-eloquent
Holy shit !!!!
Game six tomorrow, kids. This shit's about to be epic. GO BRUINS!
Oh, the Red Sox beat the Yanks too. Sweet!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The Back Bay T Stop on the Orange Line, near Copley Square is also a convenient stop to access the Back Bay as it is just to the south of Copley Square, and approximately halfway between Arlington Street and Massachusetts Avenue. In this area, you'll find plenty of red sox fans, wearing the uniform, with their beer bellies and whorish wives, and bratty kids. If you tell that the red sox suck dick, you'll probably get beaten to death. Your best defense from the mindless mob of drunken mediocrity is to stay inside on game days. Traveling in backbay on game days is dangerous for non-conformists. Good luck.
My goodness. I mean, I've got my issues with the Hynes stop too -- the Boylston Street entrance is always closed, which is massively inconvenient to me, and there are always like 300 Berklee students carrying things like upright basses and harps onto already-packed cars. But this isn't the stop for Fenway Park, dude. That's Kenmore, or Fenway if you feel like stopping at Bed Bath and Beyond first. Do we think this person is a Yankees fan? If so, has (s)he seen the guts in the upper levels of Yankee stadium? Perhaps (s)he is merely opposed to the shackles of traditional family structure. Yeah, there's nothing I hate more than the sight of a family enjoying America's Pasttime together either, brah.
I think I like the idea that "Traveling in backbay on game days is dangerous for non-conformists" the best. It's like Yawkee Way is actually Tiananman Square or something. "In Red Sox Nation, baseball watches YOU!"
"I was on my way to the airport last year at this time."
We can pile the Player of the Week honors on Kevin Garnett. We can laud Doc Rivers as the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month. (Actually, no we can't, because I don't want any part of that, but you can do whatever makes you happy, pumpkin.) But the person I personally was happiest to see strolling out of the Garden following the Celtics' 66th and final win of a spectacular regular season was Paul Pierce.
It's simply impossible not to love Pierce. He's not the kind of player you just like. You LOVE him. The 6-time All-Star has suffered through almost 10 goddamn years of Celtics ineptitude and disappointment. He came back from being stabbed 11 TIMES and needing subsequent lung surgery to emerge as the team's unquestioned leader. He's still responsible for the biggest 4th-quarter comeback EVER in the NBA Playoffs. He's the first member of the Celtics since Larry Bird to top 2,000 points in one season. As His Royal Shaq-iness so eloquently put it: Paul Pierce is the motherfucking truth.
It's been easy this year to get distracted by the visceral, hypnotic dance that is Kevin Garnett on the court or the breathtaking, buzzer-beating 3-pointers of Ray Allen. But behind it all, Paul Pierce is still the motherfucking truth. He's averaging 19.6 PPG with 4.5 assists over 80 of 82 games this season. Moreover, he's looked so freaking HAPPY at every game this year. The beaten, hangdog look Pierce used to wear on the sidelines belied the ferocity of his play; watching him in years past, it's been almost impossible to understand how he continued to play the way he did for a team that was so obviously holding him back from the championships he deserved. Not this year, though. Pierce's enjoyment of his new team has been evident every step of the way. He'd physically slimmed down with the intent of becoming a more effective defender in the offseason, but there was a mental lightness in his step as well. The Truth doesn't always have to hurt. The Truth had been set free.
The Big Three weren't in for much of last night's win; their lone appearance was a 3rd-quarter cameo that wound up being less than impressive as they allowed New Jersey to go on a 17-4 run. But there's no question that they will be the explosion that everybody turns to watch when the playoffs kick off on Saturday. And nobody will be happier than Paul Pierce to be at the center of that explosion.
And, just 2 weeks ago, he became a daddy.
Congratulations, Celtics, and congratulations, Paul Pierce. You've earned your way here. Now show 'em what you've got.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The long-anticipated (by me, anyway) debut of Red Sox SS/3B prospect Jed Lowrie at Fenway Park last night was nothing short of dazzling. Yippee! First singling Jacoby Ellsbury home in the 5th and later knocking in two with bases loaded in the 7th, Lowrie was responsible for all three Boston RBIs on the board until a pinch-hitting Jason Varitek knocked in a solo homer in the 9th to give the Sox the lead. Final score: Boston 5, Cleveland 3, "Lowrie" shirts to be worn by female bartenders at Whiskeys and Cask & Flagon 87.
No, I did not just put in a claim for Lowrie on the waiver wire in one of my leagues. What kind of silly gal would I be if I did that?
Charity time! I will be doing the Walk for Hunger on Sunday, May 4. If you'd like to sponsor me as I walk 20 miles around the city of Boston and raise funds to feed hungry families in the area, please shoot me an email.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
This game could have gone either way.
No, seriously. That's such a lame thing to say, I know. I ripped on my Colts fan roommate for a week after the Colts-Pats game this season for insisting upon that very same statement. "Sure, it COULD have gone either way... but it DIDN'T. BOOYAH!" Eh, I was young and reckless and we were in the throes of the best season in the history of professional football. Let it go.
But seriously: this game could have gone either way.
Game 1 against the Canadiens had most people around town singing gloom and doom. Yes, in a lot of ways, that game was nothing but ugly from a Boston fan's perspective. Montreal skated circles around us offensively, out-shooting us by a solid 2:1 ratio and ultimately beating us 4-1. For playoffs hockey, that's a thrashing. As the Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont wrote, "It had the look of the first day of school, the Bruins as students, the Canadiens as teachers."
Am I crazy? Somehow, I didn't walk away from that game as depressed as I should have been. I saw two things in that game that, despite the scoreboard, served to bolster the guarded optimism I'd previously indulged in. First, we shut the Habs' killer power play down, holding them 0-5 on the power play through 3 periods of play. Second, our goaltending was SOLID. I mean it. I've betrayed my undying admiration of Thomas' netminding style before; technically unconventional though it may be, it's dazzling and clutch when he's on. The question looming over the playoffs, obviously, was would he be on? And by god, Thomas was ON last Thursday. When you're getting absolutely rained on with shots the way he was, 4 goals are going to happen; Thomas still had 28 saves (including 7 out of 7 on power plays) on the night. That's hot, kids. That's playoffs hockey. That's a goalie.
Since that night in Montreal, the Bruins have stepped up like few would have believed. In game 2, we out-shot the Habs 39-31. We took another loss, sure, but it was clear that game 1 was far from being an indication of what was to come in the series. Thomas notched another 28 saves, and the Bruins looked ready to skate with the Canadiens for the duration of this round. Then, of course, came THE WIN: a dramatic Marc Savard (Savard is my current vote for MVP of this series, by the way) goal in OT to lift Boston over Montreal and blast the Bruins back into contention. The hugeness of that goal cannot be overemphasized. Years from now, that goal will echo in the minds of Bruins and Habs fans alike. Boom, bitch. WE'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE.
Sigh. Then we had tonight. Again: THIS GAME COULD HAVE GONE EITHER WAY. This was playoffs hockey at its finest, as both teams flew back and forth across the ice and defensive lines on both sides fought back with all their might. So swift and clean was the play, in fact, that the 3rd period saw not a single penalty called. Lucic, in particular, was electric: he dominated the ice in Game 3 and squared off in in a ferocious physical game against Montreal's Mike Komisarek tonight. The goaltending, too, was spectacular. I've raved about Thomas, but a tip of the hat is certainly due to rookie goalie Carey Price, who's been unflappable in the net for Montreal. This game was as beautiful as hockey gets. The loss didn't feel like the punch in the face that Thursday night's did; it cut as sweetly and devastatingly as a blow from a saber. Series advantage: 3-1, Canadiens.
But we were there. We skated with them. We held them. We had 27 shots on goal to their 28. We played this game without Phil Kessel, without Patrice Bergeron, and with everything to lose. We played our asses off, and we emphatically showed Les Glorieux that we are not to be counted out. Say it with me now: THIS GAME COULD HAVE GONE EITHER WAY.
My point, ladies and gentlemen, is this: don't count us out yet. DON'T YOU FUCKING COUNT US OUT.
Plus, anyhow, any good Boston fan knows a 3-1 series deficit in the playoffs only means more games for us to watch.
Charity time! I will be doing the Walk for Hunger on Sunday, May 4. If you'd like to sponsor me as I walk 20 miles around the city of Boston and raise funds to feed hungry families in the area, please shoot me an email.
Hotshot Tampa Bay rookie/my own personal anointed one Evan Longoria hit his first major league home run off Yankees reliever Brian Bruney at Tropicana Field last night. Nice job, Evan!
The run came in the 7th amidst a veritable flurry of homers -- BJ Upton and Carl Crawford also went yard -- and tied up the game at 7, which is pretty exciting given that the Rays had been down 7-2 heading into the 7th. Sadly, Robinson Cano being what he is, the Yanks went on to win the game 8-7 behind a classic 4-out Mariano Rivera save. I have to imagine that sending in Rivera to close at this point is like using up the last of a bottle of lotion, where you keep shaking it and shaking it trying to get the last little bit out, and your sister keeps asking, "Why didn't you just buy more?" and you keep saying "NO dammit I KNOW THERE'S STILL SOME LEFT," and enough comes out that you feel justified in not having gone out to buy more but secretly you know you were just being lazy because you didn't want to miss the first half of "Rock of Love."
Fun fact: Longoria has been dubbed "The Dirtbag" by the Rays Index because of his aggressive playing style and the mascot of his college baseball team: the Long Beach State Dirtbags. Somehow, it's not as catchy as, say, "The Ignitor" or "The Hoosier Thunderbolt," but I guess we can run with it.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Boston.com reports today that the Red Sox have called up shortstop prospect Jed Lowrie from the PawSox. Although not on the roster for tonight's game against the Yankees, Lowrie will be in the dugout wearing number 12.
The soon-to-be-24-year-old (his birthday is on April 17!) Lowrie honed his skills at Stanford (smart cookie!), was a first-round pick in 2005, and has played stints in Lowell, Portland, and Pawtucket. He's noted for his speed on the basepaths and his remarkable plate discipline -- a rare quality in a rookie. Scouts say he needs to work on his throwing accuracy, but he fields well and has good throwing power.
Awesome. I'm so sick of Julio Lugo I could puke. PUT IN JED LOWRIE!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Let’s cut right to the chase.
The eighth-seeded Bruins face off against the top-seeded
The realist says: We’re toast.
The fan says: We’re due.
Nah, we’re not the Big Bad Bruins that tore up the NHL in the early 70s. We’re not even a terribly great hockey team, to be honest: our goaltending is patchy at best, our much-lauded defense tends to fall apart within 30 seconds of an OT period, and our offense is much too heavily reliant on the slap shot. But I’ll be damned if this hasn’t been an exciting season. The loss of Patrice Bergeron in October seemed to doom our playoffs hopes before they had even begun to materialize, and yet we’ve fought through the season to somehow hang onto a playoffs berth. Sure, we skidded across the line panting and last-minute, like a fat kid in gym class. Sure, we looked frazzled and weak in the regular-season closer against Buffalo. But you’re crazy if you think this team doesn’t have momentum, especially as Bergeron and goalie Manny Fernandez return from months-long injury hiatuses. (Bergeron will not be playing in tonight’s game, incidentally, but has been cleared as an option for the remainder of the series.)
Montreal? Yeah, they look scary. But they’ve got a rookie in goal – a talented rookie in Carey Price, to be sure, but a rookie nonetheless. Montreal’s offense is powerful and efficient. They’ve scored 4 or more goals in 28 of 82 games this season (only one of those games resulted in a loss). Their power-play is league-leading, and their defense is tight. The Habs’ big weakness, though, is their inability to stand up to rough, physical play. The combination of Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara, and Shawn Thornton (xoxo) could be just the ticket to bringing down Alex Kovalev and his glimmering blonde hair. The offenses of both teams will score, but it’ll be the defense on either end of the ice that determines this series. If the Bruins can’t keep up with the Habs’ speedy, graceful offense, we’re toast; if we take the Habs to the boards every chance they get and never give them the few
Now, that’s a big if. I’ve expressed skepticism about this series all along, and I’m not going to play the homerism card and call the B’s to win this series just because I’m insanely excited about it. A lot hinges on tonight’s game, though, and there’s no question that two different teams will skate off the ice tonight than skate onto it. It’s all about momentum here, folks: a win for the Bruins could rattle Montreal past the point of recovery.
Incidentally, lest you somehow think that being consistently stronger than us has dampened Montreal’s enthusiasm for the rivalry, I invite you to check out the Canadiens’ website, which is simply laden with tidbits on the history of Bruins vs. Habs. They’re foaming at the mouth for this up in Canada tonight, and you’d better believe it.
I could describe the excitement of this series in terms of Red Sox-Yankees to you, and then you’d get it. But I’d rather not. I’d rather tell you that this is exciting hockey. Playoffs hockey. Hockey in the crucible of THE most bitter and storied rivalry the game has to offer, playing for the oldest professional sports trophy in North America. (Suck it, Lombardi!) The true spirit of a Boston fan is that of an underdog, and right now the Bruins are as underdog as it gets.
Can we beat the Habs? I don’t know yet.
But god, I hope we do.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Let's play a little game.
The following is a series of snippets of writing taken from various locations around the Web. Your task, dear reader, is to determine whether each of these tidbits is talking about Bartolo Colon, portly Red Sox pitcher; the colon, a lovely (if generally misused) bit of punctuation; or the colon, a section of the large intestine reaching from the cecum to the... well, you know. Sounds like fun!
[Note that all uses of "colon" have been capitalized, and all indefinite articles removed, to make the challenge slightly more difficult.]
- Colon is not necessary
- Think of Colon as a gate, inviting one to go
- The wheels started turning and Colossal Colon was born!
- You will find differing advice on the use of Colon
- A healthy Colon is essential
- Once Colon gets fully stretched out
- Stuffing ourselves with good food is something that we all need to do once in awhile, but if we want to keep our Colon healthy, and in top shape, we have to do a little cleansing afterwards
- On the fast track? Colon solid in debut
- Colon really does only one thing
Bonus fact: A History of the Naming of Colon, MI.
This town was founded in the mid 1830’s by the Schellhouse family, one of the first to settle in the area. It was named by Lorensie Schellhouse when he opened a dictionary at random and saw the word: "colon."
(no I am not making that up)
Update: Others find this as funny as I do. Thanks, Kevin!
After a grueling 18-day road trip that included stops in 3 different countries (and severely disrupted my sleeping schedule), my beloved Red Sox are finally, finally returning home to kick off their season at Fenway Park this afternoon. Quite frankly, I'm freaking out. Like a little kid on Christmas. Like a 14-year-old at a Jonas Brothers concert. Like a fat kid finding a 2-for-1 frosting coupon in the Sunday paper.
Obviously, every radio station in Boston will be playing "Sweet Caroline" at least 12 times today, so this isn't THAT much of a coincidence... but yes, I did wake up to the melodious tenor of Neil Diamond issuing from my clock radio. If I said I wasn't curled up underneath my covers and fist-pumping along with every, "SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!", I'd have to punch myself in the face, because I'd be lying.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, who's already notched one win over two solid performances against Oakland this season, takes the mound against mall food court fried chicken magnate Kenny Rogers and the currently 0-6 Tigers. No doubt Detroit will be looking to snag their first win of the season and thereby somehow justify all the ducats they dropped in Florida during the offseason, but sorry: No chance, boys. THIS IS RED SOX COUNTRY.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Just in time for the first-round playoffs series with Montreal, the dashing Bergeron has been cleared by team doctors to return to play. Bergeron has been practicing with his teammates for several weeks, but while wearing the red "no contact" jersey. The return to play will mark the first time Bergeron has taken the ice for the Bruins since October 10, when he suffered a concussion following a nasty hit against the boards in a game with Philadelphia. Although it's still not clear that Bergeron will play in Thursday's series opener, his return will undoubtedly have a significant impact on what would otherwise have been a very lopsided (methinks) series.
More on the B's playoffs outlook when I'm not in bed with a fever/getting acquainted with my On Demand selections. It pains me that "Daddy Day Camp" is the third-most requested movie on Comcast Digital, incidentally. I sincerely hope the overlap between the "Request Movies On Demand" and "Plan To Vote In Upcoming Presidential Election" circles in the Venn diagram of the American public is small, because I'm not convinced that either a wacky soccer-playing cat or a particularly moist Twinkie can successfully unify this country.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Anyhoo, I mention Hatteberg in order to transition (seamlessly and effortlessly) into an introduction of Kevin Cash, the catcher who will be starting behind the plate as Wakefield takes the mound in Toronto tonight.
And guess what? He sucks at offense too. His CAREER BATTING AVERAGE (granted, only about 100 or so major-league games, but still) is .167. Really? We jettisoned Mirabelli for this? Still, Cash had a
Poor Josh Bard. It's got to suck to be a talented prospect for a World Series-winning team and know that your only shot at ever playing is contingent upon learning how to catch some goofy pitch. If this were a movie, a magic talking goat or something would teach him how to catch knuckleballs just in time for the big game, and we'd all learn a valuable lesson about being true to who you are and always following your dreams. But because this is the real world, instead his ass gets shipped to the Padres and we end up with some dummy who'll be flirting with the Mendoza line all season.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Blech. What an icky taste in my mouth after that sudden-death shootout loss to the Devils last night. Like waking up the morning after a tequila bender, except I still know where my pants are. Honestly, even a win eked out in a sudden-death shootout (i.e. what happens when a team fails to win after regulation time, a 5-minute OT period, and a 3-round shootout) is a lukewarm accomplishment at best. By comparison, losing after all that is the hockey equivalent of flirting with someone at a bar for a solid three hours and then having them leave when you duck into the powder room to fix your hair.
Perception bias being what it is, it feels like the Bruins are simply incapable of winning in OT/SO situations. At the Florida game I went to earlier this year, I remember getting all amped up for the OT period only to see it end literally 25 seconds in on a Florida goal. I had just gotten a fresh beer, for chrissake. In reality, though, the B's are 3-5 in overtime games (not great, but not awful) and 6-7 in shootouts, leaving them 9-12 in games that go beyond regulation time on the season. What's frustrating about that, of course, is that it does not bode well for the playoffs, which are all about the fast goal and the clutch play.
A win last night would have clinched a playoffs berth for the B's. Now, it'll be up to the black-and-gold to seal the deal against Ottawa on Friday or Buffalo on Saturday. To speak frankly, though, no possible playoffs scenario looks good at this point. The 7th seed we're currently toying with would have us pitted against 2nd-seed Montreal since the Penguins took over the conference lead; given that we're 0-8 against the Habs on the season, I'm less than optimistic about our chances in this series. Slipping to the 8th seed under the Flyers would mean a first-round series against Pittsburgh and a healthy Sidney Crosby and Marion Hossa. Boston is 2-1-1 on the season against the Penguins, but neither of those wins were against a team with Hossa or Wunderkind (the February 28th win, immediately after Hossa was traded, saw Hossa injured after about 5 minutes of play).
In other words: playoffs berth or no, it's highly unlikely the B's are advancing past the first round. Still, a trip to the playoffs coming off a year that saw no playoffs action whatsoever is an important step forward and blah blah blah. Playoffs appearances are important to a franchise, regardless of the outcome. The Phillies got swept in the first round after getting ridiculously lucky last year, and the way they talk you'd think they'd won the damn pennant or something.