Boston: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

 

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Field of Dreamers Discuss Big Papi in the Afterlife

DATELINE: HISTORICAL INEVITABILITY

 

The unbelievable has occurred.

We never expected to be wallowing in a World Series victory from this team when we first started compiling the essays herewith.

The Red Sox could not be denied.

When we first observed the tweaks of Ben Cherington, we didn’t think there’d be much to celebrate with this group.

The Bosox marched into history.

Our favorite target for bloated expectations and overblown size was the Big Papi, but he cemented a shrine in history with his World Series.

Beards trumped Red Stockings.

Every player contributed to the experience with solid seasons, not necessarily their career best, but together their quantitative strongest.

Boston Strong emerged as a phenomenon.

After a horrific terror attack on Patriots Day, the Boston team kept their “617” jersey in the dugout for every game and helped to foster the motto “Boston Strong.”

Triumph finally defeated terror.

The Red Sox were playing their traditional late morning game in April when the opening sports act of the holiday was blown apart. Singlehandedly, the Sox put the Boston sports world back together with an amazing season.

Cynical humorists were sent packing.

The lifeblood of satire is the hyperbole used to expose foible and folly, but the Red Sox undercut exaggerated parody and whimsical skeet shooting by simply showing that even the worst, lowest, crestfallen teams can turn it around in one year. They banished memories of 2012.

The best of times and the worst of times were indeed side-by-side, but the best will be remembered as the panacea to its ugly stepsister’s appearance.

 

 

 Red Sox fans now can read the entire collection of humor essays about the amazing season. RED SOX 2013: NAKED CAME THE LINEUP is now published on Amazon.com for smartreaders and in softcover.

 

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Obama in Boston to Honor Fundraising Donors

DATELINE: HUMOR!

President Barack Obama may surprise the throngs at Fenway by horning in on the World Series Game 6.

Mr. Obama is in town to deplete the overworked police department while he goes to a fundraiser a few hours before the first pitch is tossed.

Whether he decides to crash the party depends probably on how many Tea Party Red Sox are on the field. It is far more likely that the Cardinals are Republicans, but don’t forget that the Sox have their fair share of Texans among the starting pitching.

Whatever the reason Obama has to show up at Fenway Park, he may have more fans in the stands than he has in the dugouts.

Since he is not running for reelection and prefers basketball, we wonder why he has not scheduled his visit to coincide with Wild Bill Hickok Russell’s unveiling of his gun and holster at the bronze statue the city is dedicating.

Obama probably does not want his photo taken with wife-beater Jared Sullinger, now suspended for a game for a dropped charge never proven. 

At least we know that Tim Thomas won’t have to go AWOL at the TD Garden because Obama is in town. Thomas is now toiling in the steamy jungles of Florida where hockey is a purist sport.

The President could do everyone a favor to bring the country together: he could simply change his plans and stay out of Boston altogether. Didn’t anyone tell him the Tea Party started in Boston?

Red Sox Exemplify Magic, Momentum, and Miracles

 

DATELINE: HUMORESQUE

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The Boston Soulmates of David Ortiz

If batting .400 would be considered Mr. October levels in the World Series,  and when David Ortiz bats .800 over a half dozen pressure packed games, you are in a range that defies reality.

When you consider that Big Papi detractors (like these blogs and their smarmy writer) were disdainful of the big contract that the Sox gave to their aging designated hitter, the result is poetic justice. We have eaten so many hats this season that we will have no chapeaux left until spring training next year.

Ortiz has stuffed a sock into the pie holes of his biggest critics who now look worse than the villain in a Lassie, Come Home movie. How could anyone not love Big Papi and his amazing teammates?

It is an interesting storyline that Papi threw a big party for his teammates and families in the post-season, opening his home to inspire faith. And, how more interesting that the hero of Game 5, David Ross, did the same before the World Series.

No one had ever seen that kind of esprit de corps in major league players and never in the Red Sox teams where twenty-five cabs usually brought them to game 6 in any previous Series.

Those digging hard to find fault with the Sox and their manager’s decisions may be looking for gold in TV’s Ghost Mine. They have found only the dead spirits of Bambino curses and the legacy of former stars now in cryogenesis.

Sabermetric fans scoff at pressure-packed heroics.  They disdain magical moments. They decry momentum. These silly old baseball mantras belong in the 19th century according to these wonks.

Well, so do the Red Sox beards. Looking like a bunch of Civil War generals at Gettysburg, the Red Sox are about to go to the Cathedral of Boston for one more miraculous victory in Game 6.

Belichick Hears It From the Fans

Image Belichick in Happier Times

 DATELINE: DROLLERY!

The impervious Bill Belichick gave one small hint in his post-game press conference about how sensitive he really is.

Belichick noted that the Patriots did not play well in the first half of the game against the Dolphins. He mentioned off-hand that was why the fans were booing as they went off the field.

What on earth is this? Bill Belichick is responding to a poll of public opinion? Apparently the coach knows when people are displeased with him and his team’s effort.

Not surprisingly, upon returning to the field, the Patriots looked like the team of yore—minus many of their biggest stars. This is the new fangled, Belichick Laboratories’ creation.

The mad scientist of the NFL has been concocting winners for years, and this year he went back to the recipe book for something new and not as sweet. Alas, his soufflé has fallen flat on a weekly basis, but at halftime against the Dolphins, a dollop of dolphin fish oil seems to have done the trick.

The Patriots then gave the fans a treat.

Knuckles Brady denied his edema of the fist had any effect on his game. Though some worried he should not have been playing, we saw Belichick come to the sidelines and speak some sweet nothing at his star. Tom gave a cursory nod and played like a man ten years younger.

Purists may decry the state of the Patriots, but if your record says who you are, this is a team that may not look pretty, but they are compiling wins however they can gather them.

The New Bill Buckner & Calvin Schiraldi

 

DATELINE: WHIMSY

 

Every ugly slander spoken of the St. Louis Cardinals after game one is now being repeated on behalf of the Red Sox after game three.

Choking, rationalizing, and revealing their 2012 roots, the Red Sox who have overachieved were suddenly underachieving. Only the anti-perspirant of victory can change that.

The difference is that the manager has injected his reputation into the mix. He needs one victory in St. Louis to rebound.

Callow as the World Series experience goes for  a manager, Farrell has suffered stinging rebukes for nearly every move he has made. The third game will go down with his reputation as the Titanic of his nights as captain of the luxury liner heading downward.

Now if a single decision has changed the game to the Sox favor, the doubters would be accused of cynicism and over sensitivity. Now they will be accused of sentience and perspicacity. Not a bad call for uneducated morons. They have peaked too soon, as usual.

The umpires stole the third game as much as they did with a push and shove to the Patriots defensive line. To win the World Series will have sweeter taste after theTarot cards laid out a Sox defeat.

Will Middlebrooks may be ruined from here onward. We think of young Calvin Schiraldi so many years ago, sitting forlorn after blowing the big game in the ninth inning. He was ruined in Boston, ruined in baseball, and ruined in character by his flub.

Now Will Middlebrooks will hear it far worse from 24/7 sports media for eight days a week.

In arcane terms, he obstructed in the bottom of the ninth. It might be called choking in his callow youth, or it might be a judgment call out of the St. Louis Rapture with the apocalypse looming.

Will Middlebrooks may succeed Bill Buckner as the goat of the series. The curse on the Red Sox appears to be reinstated, but only if the Sox fail to recover. One victory in St. Louis brings them back to Boston for an advantage. Middlebrooks prays for that chance. 

 

Meet Me in St. Louis, Red Sox

DATELINE: HUMOR!

When the Red Sox played their second home game and looked flat, fans hung up the effigy and shaved their beards. They gazed all over the Park—from dugout to bullpen and could not find a grand slam home run, a whiffenpoof strikeout, or even a stolen base.

John Lackey did not lack for effort, but the seventh inning stretched all the way to St. Louis.

The fans asked themselves, “Can the funhouse ride be over already?” Three games on the banks of the Mississippi where the Cardinals love to beat their feet in the mud. Alas, the Sox may be under those feet.

Blogs and media reports from spies reported that Clay Buchholz was really injured and may not pitch, let alone pitch well. The Mighty Buchholz may not strikeout anyone.

Media fan boys posted and read on the Internet and what they heard on sports radio made them cry: the refrain was sung a cappella by one and all,  “It’s too slow for the Sox here in Boston. They want to ride the Gateway to the West.”

And, so, fans have to meet the Sox in St. Louis. Phooey. That Golden Arch is not an advert for Mickey D, but for Tom Sawyer’s Cards.

Don’t tell fans, but the lights are shining only there. So, off to the Midwest the fans must trudge to meet the Sox at the fair to Will Middlingbrooks.

Three games in St. Louis? Phooey, indeed. The Sox plan to dance the hootchy-kootchy on the road. Ortiz will be the tootsie wootsie, but not the designated hitter.

Napoli will ride the bench, and Nava will appear from his cloak of invisibility.

St. Louis. Phooey.

 

The Thinning of Henry VIII

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP!

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Eric Bana, Better Looking than Six Wives in a Plot

We have seen King Henry lose weight like Jenny Craig was among his six wives.

The Other Boleyn Girl proves to be an opulent tragic romance, penned by that brilliant master of historical and royal people, Peter Morgan who gave us Frost/Nixon, The Queen, and others.

This early effort put his talents upon the old chestnut of Anne Boleyn and her ill-fated marriage to a king who made ‘off with her head’ one of his calling cards.

Henry has been losing weight in recent years and becoming more of a media darling—jacked and athletic, looking less like Prince Fielder than his portraits suggest. He has gone from the piggy style of Charles Laughton to the debonair Jonathan Rhys Meyers, nearly a waif, and now through Eric Bana, Henry is a king in and out of bed. His adultery comes across as fun only a king could have in those days.

The camera lingers on his abs during one heady bedtime with Anne’s sister Mary. Yes, Henry kept it in the family. Mary won his heart and kept her head. As a sidelight she marries William Carey, played by Benedict Cumberbatch in another curio role. 

Even as the quisling, weakling husband of Mary Boleyn, he manages to make a mark in a limited role.

Tracking familiar territory, the tale of the intrigue in Henry’s court finds another offshoot to make it watchable with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johanssen as the Boleyn sisters.

We also enjoyed Kristin Scott Thomas as their mother whose common sense was simply ignored as the temper of the times demanded.

You’d almost think this was a BBC/PBS special cable movie, but you’d be wrong. This movie is strictly the big time, big budget, and big pomp.

LeBron James Opens Mouth, Inserts Two Feet

DATELINE: HUMOR!

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LeBron James finds hypocrites everywhere except in the mirror.

LeBron James called Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce a couple of hypocrites for being mean to Ray Allen after he left the Boston Celtics. In LeBron’s twisted world, Garnett and Pierce left Boston too.

Now Doc Rivers has piped in to criticize the loudmouth, blabberhead, imbecile that is LeBron James. Once a Celtic, always a Celtic, Rivers noted that Garnett and Pierce were TRADED, and they did not choose to leave Boston—like Ray Allen.

Doc noted too he chose to leave Boston, but has not criticized Ray Allen.

All of this controversy sparked angry responses from Garnett who told James to mind his own business on South Beach. Pierce was dumbfounded by the notion that he left Boston or wanted to.

Instead of admitting he was wrong, James has told media sources he is done talking about other teams. He might add that he should be done talking about anything of which he is ignorant. Of course, that would mean LeBron could only talk about his mother Gloria and Delonte West.

LeBron famously dumped Cleveland for the warm cllimes of South Beach where his talents would be on ample display with his own version of the Big Three of Garnett, Pierce, and Allen.

Defenders of LeBron think he meant to protect his dear new teammate Ray Allen who has become D’Artagnan to the photocopy Big Three of LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.

All this goes to show that old Celtics die hard and they are not likely to fade away.

 

 

Lester Pitches with Green Mold Growing on His Glove

 DATELINE: HUMOR!

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Satellite Photo of Lester’s Offending Glove (courtesy of Homeland Security)

With all the speculation that Clay Buchholz is doctoring the baseball, one of the minor league flaks of the St. Louis Cardinals has come out to say that Vaseline was clumped on the inside of Jon Lester’s glove.

Photographic evidence reveals something akin to a melted Gumby inside the glove. MLB says it’s inconclusive, and most of the Cardinal organization is running as fast as a Lester fastball away from the allegation.

Green globules inside the glove could be anything from antifreeze to keep the glove solvent, to a wad of chewed gum.

That the item seemed to glow in the dark has added a level of intrigue to the foreign substance. Lester admitted to the media that the photo looked bad, but refused to say what it was.

He did reiterate that he would do the same thing next time he pitched. The Boston media immediately accepted this as an excuse that served as a denial. It seemed to objective people to be neither an excuse, nor a denial.

Lester would do whatever he has been doing. And, everyone else in MLB happily ignored the byzantine substance and the odder comments by the Sox ace.

As for the National League pennant winners, the St. Louis team has certainly proven they have mastered the notion of rationalizing their defeat. Infielders say the surface of Fenway Park is not standard, and that has caused balls to bounce out of gloves in the infield.

In the meantime, pitchers on both the Sox and Cards scoured the Internet for bargain sales on green goup.

Rajon Rondo May Win This Year’s ‘Angst’ Award

DATELINE: HUMOR!Image

                                                    Garbo Award Winner Rondo Now In Running for ‘Angst’ Award

Rajon Rondo won’t say when he will return from ACL surgery by date, but he knows when he will be ready. Unfortunately, no one else does.

Rondo may find himself the next in line for the Rob Gronkowski Award for playing the Lady in Waiting to the Media.

If Rondo has paid attention to the hue and cry about Gronk’s long-awaited return, he knows that each year the Boston media selects someone to offer them the newly minted “Angst” award, given to the player who seems to milk his injury beyond anything predicted by the medical staff callers on the local radio talk shows.

The “Angst” has been given several times to Jacoby Ellsbury, and he may retire into the Boston Hall of Fame of long-gone injured players when Scott Boras takes this award to Seattle to show Ellsbury’s value.

The Red Sox also had a winner in David Ortiz last year. His Achilles tendon won the least supporting actor in the worst year that the Sox have had in a generation. As a reward for his award, Ortiz was given a two-year megacontract by Sox ownership. It has paid dividends.

Of course, Sox fans expected Mike Napoli to be this year’s leading candidate for the coveted “Angst” for his necrosis of the hips, but he confounded everyone by playing more games in a season than in his entire career.

So, it is time the award went to another sport. Danny Amendola was immediately handicapped as the second Patriot to win the accolades for missing nearly every game with the New England football team, making Belichick’s decision to cast off Iron Man Wes Welker look like Seward’s Folly.

The dark horse to succeed Gronk now turns out to be the mercurial Celtics star, Rajon Rondo. Playing coy and temperamental makes Rondo perhaps the most fascinating “Angst” nominee of the past few years.

Rondo is, of course, day-to-day, practicing and waiting for doctor’s clearance. This is the standard patter from every winner of the past decade.

Many have noted that Rondo has won the prestigious “Garbo Award” in Boston for several years running. The “Angst” will be given for not running.

The Eyes Have It

DATELINE:  MOVIE MASHUP!

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Re-discovered movies sometimes show how miscast our eyeball test can be. Cast your eyes on this chilling movie about serial killing in the name of medical science.

Eyes Without a Face was made in France fifty-four years ago.

It was thought to be a cheap horror exploitation film in an age when Last Year at Marienbad and Truffaut trifles of New Wave Cinema vaulted the French movie-making into the forefront of art.

Yet, in retrospect, this gem belongs up there with Diabolique in the Hitchcock mold. It is at the least in the Pedro Almodovar mode of movie making. Indeed, Almodovar must have had this picture in mind when he went about with his The Skin I Live In.

Both films deal with the horrors of plastic surgery. The difference is that Eyes without a Face uses face transplants as a far-fetched plot device. Fifty years later it is sentient beyond medical science.

The horror is squeamish as a doctor keeps trying to find the right face for his disfigured daughter. He sends his mad assistant (Alida Valli) out to stalk down a litany of girls who end up dead and missing their faces, discovered floating down the river.

The movie is effectively creepy.

Organ rejection is such a problem in the old days that radiation and blood transfusions just can’t cut it in the post-operative world. Edith Scob is the daughter wearing a stunning facemask like the Phantom of the Opera, leaving only her eyes to act up. It is tour de force stuff.

Alida Valli is the big star here, looking like she was about to lose the beauty she exhibited in movies like The Paradine Case and The Third Man.

She wears a leather trench coat (as she did for Carol Reed a decade earlier) with aplomb and stalks young girls. It is a role to savor, but seemed to be on the side of Baby Jane and other aging actresses taking on horror to keep their name on the marquee.

Eyes Without a Face is brilliant in its composition. Its sets and settings are murky and striking at the same time. Winter in France is seldom a backdrop, but this black and white gem deserves its reconsideration.

Understated direction is right on the mark by Georges Franju.

Cardinals Err on the Side of Catastrophe in World Series

DATELINE: HUMOR!

To err is human; to forgive, divine.

That axiom holds true in the most upbeat of sporting events. You never expect to see it in baseball where the replay appeal won’t be utilized until next season.

However, in the World Series of 2013, five umpires overruled one bad call.

It was a sight seldom seen in baseball. Usually umpires form a Berlin Wall behind their fellow decisions and send good teams up the wall and into losing frenzy.

Not so in the first game between visiting St. Louis and home team Boston. The umpires did not meet in St. Louis, Louis, to change their mind and forgive their fellow man his erring. They did it in Fenway Park.

The call turned out to have catastrophic impact on the Cardinals, allowing the floodgates to open. Who would have known that a reversed call would reverse the fortunes of the best team in the National League?

The Red Sox look like a juggernaut on the road to glory.

We hate to say the Cards choked in Boston, strangled by the Sox bats and Jon Lester’s shutout garroting. Yet, something else was afoot. If this pressure continues, the Cardinals will hold a conclave under the Gateway to West and black smoke will waft over their chances.

If the Cardinals want to confess their sins, it may be good for the soul, but that won’t win important games in Boston.

Three errors is human; and the Boston crowd, unforgiving.

In the NFL this week, with its vaunted replay system, a bad call was left to waft in the air as the Jets benefited from a ridiculous new ruling imposed by referees at the most inopportune time to teach the Belichick boys a lesson. Pushing shoved the Patriots over the edge.

Suddenly the Patriot fortunes look as benighted as those of the Cardinals. Nearly every disaster in life can be traced to human error or bad judgment.

We have seen both this week for the Patriots and Red Sox, one for a loss and one for a victory.

Spitter Up for Clay Buchholz?

DATELINE: HUMOR!

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As the World Series is about to commence, the Red Sox have found a fly in their ointment.

Yes, the buzz is that Clay Buchholz is off his mattress again.

The unicorn of the Sox Glass Menagerie seems to have re-broken his horn. As you may recall, Clay hurt his shoulder by falling asleep the wrong way earlier this year. It resulted in three months on the disabled list.

Now after a semi-triumphant return to the starting rotation, he seems to be on the “Do Not Touch” list again. Another mysterious injury may keep Buchholz off the grass during this Series.

No one wants to put a curse on the happy days and string of feel good moments for the Sox, but if the dirty job falls to anyone, we are ready to take up pillow talk.

Clay apparently still sleeps without memory foam. His shoulder may be acting up like an exploding bottle of sparkling water dumped on his stringy locks. The air bubbles have given him the bends.

No one will go on record to state that Clay is not sleeping right, but what else could make his fast ball take a dip into watery cheese fondu territory? The mouse may take the cheese, but Dennis Eckersley will tell you the cheese takes the game.

With both Jarrod Saltalamacchia having more fluids on their heads than a spitball requires, both Clay and Jarrod have been adding a lemon spritzer to the repertoire of Buchholz’s pitch count all season.

Now with the national spotlight on them, the integrity of the game may be bringing the impressive statistics of Buchholz back down from the lemon/limelight.

The feats of Clay may not include a successful World Series start.

Red Sox Halloween Costume Party

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We are prepared to see every other Trick or Treater on Halloween to be in a Red Sox beard with matching cap and jersey.

This may be the easiest Halloween costume in Boston history, though we yearn for the days when kids dressed as Albert DeSalvo.

The size of the child may determine whether you are looking at a Dustin Pedroia costume or a Mike Napoli suit.

We contend the most difficult of the Halloween costumes this season will be Daniel Nava as the Invisible Man.

Any kid pouring Gatorade on his flowing locks will no doubt be emulating Clay Buchholz, though it will be hard to recreate the crazy look in the eyes without special goggles.

You will be able to tell the Jarrod Saltalamacchia costume because the wearer will have his fingernails painted white, but his stringy locks will be equally soaked.

Some enterprising college students may go out with a pin-cushion strapped to his tailbone with innumerable hypodermics sticking to it. The truly brave will go bareback with the needles reaching home before the candy high can hit.

You may think this is A-Rod in costume, but it could be Ryan Braun, or Jhonny Peralta.

The baseball player in the Yankee uniform carrying a satchel of money will clearly be a Robinson Cano costume.

Unfortunately these unimaginative costumes have been worn all season by the Boston Red Sox. On Halloween night, if there is a game seven of the World Series, these beard costumes will be retired into the Hall of Fame.