Paul Pierce Versus Jon Lester: Boston Send Off

 DATELINE: HUMOR

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Media insiders are having fits over the departure of Jon Lester after seven years and World Series glory.

For the goldfish memory world of attention deficit old timers, Lester is the worst that could happen in Boston sports.

Pardon us: Didn’t we have this same experience last year with Paul Pierce—and his kemo sabe, Kevin Garnett? Wasn’t that twice as worse? Or are we being half-bad?

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If you like Chinese water torture, the media has plenty of drops to fall on your head. Each day now for a month, the media supplies us with “So long, Lester,” stories. As we recall, this refrain lasted months with the Celtics. It could have been a year in the making.

Pierce was on the Boston scene for much longer than Lester, and the Celtics really didn’t insult him with one lousy, lowball contract offer.

The Red Sox took their vaunted cancer-survivor lefty starter and offered him a box of Crackerjack and the secret prize if he stayed in Boston. Talk about opening the door a crack and singing, “Hit the road, Jack.”

Paul Pierce and Jon Lester both have told media insiders how much they love Boston and may want to end their careers here—some day. Ain’t sentiment sweet?

Of course, such impassioned feelings may change by the time the final hammer is dropped on your noggin.

Let’s not hear how players will do anything for money when it comes to Pierce or Lester. It is the creepy media that creates tidal waves of destruction on their cat’s paws. When the online world and radio blabbers of sport say your time is up, you better believe it.

Red Sox Pitchers Rotate Counter-Clockwise

DATELINE: HUMOR

EINSTEIN'S PICK

Once again we ask the pointed question: why is that the Red Sox have “mentally damaged” pitchers?

The latest victim of the contagious Daniel Bard disease is the bizarre Clay Buchholz. Once a man who dunked his head in Gatorade to pitch better, he is now simply all wet. The way the Red Sox starters toss the ball is re-defining Einstein’s Theory on Relativity.

When Mr. Buchholz goes out to pitch nowadays, the wet job is the infanticide of another Red Sox victory.

With the disappearance of his fellow wet head, Jared Saltalamacchia, Clay is stuck in the mud.

Daniel Bard simply went bonkers on the mound. He wanted to start and then lost his way in the jungle of a five pitcher rotation. Perhaps we’d understand more if Buchholz expressed a desire to be the next Jonathan Papelbon.

The Red Sox pitching counselor of the past decade has been the present manager. John Farrell used to be the Sigmund Freud of the pitching staff. Now he is the Sigmoid Fraud of the franchise.

In case you are wondering what other Red Sox pitchers are looney-toons, we offer Felix Dubront and John Lackey as Exhibit A and B.

All this follows on the heels of whack-job Josh Beckett throwing a no-hitter. It’s not bad for a non-starter. They had to unload Beckett because he was a malcontent, but worse yet, he was the tip of the iceberg. His mania knew no bounds, and it still resonates in the locker room with the present pitching staff.

Can the Red Sox fire the entire pitching staff? Or should they fire the entire front office that brought in this pitching staff? We won’t even bring up Jake Peavy’s weird talk-to-himself on the mound habits.

The only sane pitcher the Sox had, Ryan Dempster retired suddenly in spring training to great acclaim. You begin to see there is a problem here. You begin to realize there is no solution evident.

Red Sox are now thinking about signing rapper 50Cents Curtis Jackson after watching his debut throwing out the first ball for the New York Mets.

 

 

RED SOX 2013: Naked Came the Lineup

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DATELINE: HUMOR!

When an author is asked to explain his title choice, he is in trouble.

The notion that metaphor and whimsy might titillate goes down like an unfurled parachute at 5000 feet. Look out below.

Students always ask me why sports movies of recent years feature the athletes completely naked in the locker room.

 Well, obviously, it is a place where young men with chiseled muscles tend to most display their wherewithal.

And, the answer is not to please the gay crowd and the in-between bisexual fans.

No, athletes are completely unassuming, like newborn babes; they come into the world and remain in the world as innocent as their arrival at a new team. They have nothing to hide. And, the Red Sox of 2013 came out of nowhere (or worse, out of the depths of Bobby Valentine’s reign of terror). They had no expectations and showed only their hearts on their sleeves and their beards on their chins.

It was a natural progression to the World Series, and the book was written chronologically, one step and one game at a time. You won’t find too many scores in the book as it focuses mostly on human interest tales—usually funny ones.

If there is no humor in a situation, we endeavored to dress it up with the emperor’s new clothes.

We hope Red Sox fans give the book a tryout. It worked for Joe Hardy, and we hope it works for you.

RED SOX 2013: NAKED CAME THE LINEUP is available in ebook and in softcover at Amazon.com. It is best for smart readers.

Lester & Lackey Redemption Center

  DATELINE: HUMOR!

If ever there was an opportunity for a heartfelt apology for 2011 and 2012, Red Sox pitchers Jon Lester and John Lackey may be seeing a convergence of man and moment.

Forever associated with the greasy chicken and watery beer collapse and Bobby Valentine’s march to oblivion, the two pitchers survived where so many others were sent packing.

King John Henry VIII and his court jester Larry Lucchino, in their infinite wisdom, chose to give a second chance to the Lester and Lackey comedy team. They could have turned this season into another attempt to do the Abbott and Costello routine of “Who’s on First?”

Instead, they turned in stellar performances for the season with only minor lapses. They showed a new attitude and gave fans a sense that they were reformed and redeemed, like born-again coupons.

Now they face the crunch time when more than six-pack abs are on the line. Joe Maddon’s loosey Tampa Bay Rays are no longer the Devil you know.

The Rays have impressive pitchers in the likes of Matt Moore and David Price who can match the Sox resurrection boys.

If Lackey and his partner Lester don’t win, then they may be buried more prematurely than an Edgar Allen Poe hero and cast into the pit. If they do win, they can write their own ticket for the next fifty years as legends in the Red Sox cause.

They have been given rare opportunity denied to their mentor and partner in crime, Josh Beckett who has taken the medical path to safety in Los Angeles this season.

There will be an uncomfortable reunion with Beckett if the Dodgers become the Red Sox counterparts in the National League. The Devil will size up his handmaidens who have gone over to the Sons of Light.

If Lester and Lackey lose the first series for the Sox, their redemption will be on the order of a soda pop bottle. You won’t give a plug nickel for them.

Redemption is a high-priced product.

John Lackey Writes Revisionist History

DATELINE: HUMOR!Image

If one must pay for one’s sins, then Red Sox starter John Lackey is spending a season in Purgatory. It is a step up from the season in hell that Bobby Valentine suffered.

Lackey gave fans several lackluster years with the Sox, including one in which he distinguished himself as a chicken and beer man. 

In 2012, he had a lost season in which he had Tommy John surgery and simply stayed in the dugout as witness to collapse and trades, This season he has returned to the rotation, at first as the nominal fifth starter.

His pitching did not woo many fans at first. Lately, he simply puts one quality start after another, going many innings and allowing few runs.

Alas, it is his year to be punished by the baseball gods.

His record nowhere reflects the high standards of his pitching. Ever since he showed up in spring training, a pale shadow of his doughboy self, he has shown remarkable abilities to turn it around.

We were among those who wished he too had been sent to LA-LA Land with the overpaid grousers of Beckett, Gonzalez, and Crawford.

No one wanted him, owing to the mercurial condition of his pitching arm. So, the Red Sox held on to the contract, to their everlasting delight.

If Lackey lacks anything now, it is run support. He seems unwilling to show up his teammates this season with eyerolls, arm tosses, and facial criticism. It has endeared him to fans.

Whether Lackey has any good will toward Boston is unlikely. He received brutal press last year, bordering on personal attacks on his marriage situation. He only wants to make a statement to the doubters and haters.

He seems to have succeeded.

 Red Sox fans may want to read RED SOX 2012: BOBBY VALENTINE’S SEASON IN HELL to truly appreciate 2013. Book is available on Amazon in softcover.

 

Red Sox Meet a Slump, a Speed Bump, & a Pothole

DATELINE: HUMOR!

Mother of Mercy, can this be the end of the Red Sox in 2013? The road to glory seems to have run out of pavement.

After a glorious 100-game run, spending most of the time in first place in the hearts of Red Sox Nation, the home town team seems to have hit a bump in the road. At least there are no sinkholes ahead.

Yes, the Red Sox are no longer in sole possession of the top spot to the playoffs. They are in their first slump of the season. When your first slump comes as the dog days of August are about to dawn, you may either celebrate or worry.

The last time a Red Sox team came into a late season slump, they went into the poop shute faster than you can say Carl Crawford.

We are less inclined to worry this time. There is no way they can equal the sinking of the titanic team of 2011, which stands as a benchmark of hubris.

This time their bats have gone soft. We have not exactly seen a team with endless home run power, but their ability to make timely hits has won more games than expected.

Now the bats, like the guns over Flanders Field, have gone silent. Scarce heard below are the dead Sox of previous seasons hoping the present underdogs have caught the torch and will hold it high.

Short days ago the Sox won, Iglesias batted .400, and John Lackey looked like an ace, but now the Sox are starting to look like the embalmed teams of the past.

Cheer up, fans! This may be only an aberration on the road to the World Series. A team with character knows their fate is in the hands of the hot batter.

 

For those wanting to relive history, you could do it with panache while reading RED SOX 2011: A WHIMSICAL AUTOPSY, which is on Amazon.com in ebook and softcover formats.

Red Sox Provide Shades of 1967 in 2013

 DATELINE: HUMOR!

Good grief, can it be possible?

John Lackey is the best Red Sox pitcher.

Perhaps we should send a thank you note to Jenny Craig—or Dale Carnegie. Lackey now has more friends and influences more people than the pitching staff. He has kept his weight off (unlike Big Papi).

Who would offer criticism to the 2013 Red Sox who were put in the crypt as prematurely as a character in an Edgar Allen Poe tale?

The Red Sox are now winning games, friends, and influencing the American League. We haven’t seen victories with destiny dust like this since 1967 when they just kept winning after being putrid the season previous.

As we recall, Dick Williams was the antidote, just as John Farrell is this season’s impossible dreamer. Those managers were as far apart as Dudley Do-Right and Snidely Whiplash (or perhaps Bobby Valentine).

Tilting at windmills was all the rage back in the 1960s, but we don’t have a Broadway musical to tell us the back story. Somehow Tony winner Kinky Boots just doesn’t feel right, though it could be an impossible dream.

Perhaps we can get Nancy Sinatra to show up at Fenway and sing, “These boots are made for walking…”

Perhaps we can get the cast of Fever Pitch to return to Fenway for one more scene—and Drew Barrymore can jump out of the bleachers or get conked on the noggin with a foul ball to bring us luck.

Perhaps the scoreboard could flash the statistics on Moonlight Graham one more time and have that voice on high tell us to “Go the Distance.”

We just don’t want to see another Anthony Perkins in the Sox dugout swinging bats and climbing the net behind home plate. Leave that to the fans.

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Red Hot Sox Win

 

 

 

 

DATELINE: HUMOR!

 

Slim John Lackey returned again from an injury and actually did himself proud. Though we have not been one of his biggest supporters, we have come around on a team that plays well.

 

Winning is a great deodorant, and the Red Sox have fumigated the clubhouse and perfumed the dugout. Not even a ton of spat sunflower seeds can change the beauty found in a winning team.

 

Any time a team picked for the cellar of the American League wins with aplomb and finds themselves in first place in the standings, they are soon to be first in the hearts of their countrymen.

 

After all, it was this team that came up with the slogan “Boston Strong.” We doubt the Valentine team would have had the same heart for city.

 

David Ortiz has been hitting the ball like Babe Ruth playing with the Little League. Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz seem to have recovered from a nearly fatal dose of Josh Beckett last season.

 

Manager John Farrell has been everything you would expect from the politically correct Dudley Do-Right playing the team’s matinee idol. He looks perfect for the role, but speaks and acts exactly as the script calls. This Dudley is no dud.

 

When a team wins nearly two-thirds of their April schedule, you feel like you can glide into the All-Star break.

 

The sell-out streak at Fenway ended early in the month, and empty seats dotted the grandstands lately. However, with another month like April and people will come.

 

John Lackey Changes His Red Sox, His Body & His Soul

DATELINE: HUMOR!

John Lackey of the Red Sox didn’t pitch last year, and the last lingering memory of the injured hurler was that of dipping his hand into a bucket of fried chicken with the rest of the staff in 2011.

He returned this spring training as a new man. He had a new surgically repaired elbow, and he offered a new look: slim and trim. His attitude had changed from surly and sour to sweet and soothing.

The new Red Sox have done a 180-degree turn from last season’s unsavory bunch of prima donnas. Now we have a group ready to kiss babies and hand out lollipops during the 7th inning stretch.

Then Lackey took to the mound like a man bound to prove that he was a new man. And, in an instant, starting the first real spring training game against the Tampa Bay Ray rivals, he proved he was indeed a new man.

Lackey walked a batter to start, gave up a solid hit, and for good measure hit a bitter batter as though he were Daniel Bard last year. New, indeed. He turned into this year’s Dice-K—a pitcher now gone to eat Cleveland with his gyro ball.

One example is never enough for a generalization, but it is surely enough for an emblematic and symbolic statement.

Granted, Lackey survived the inning, allowing only one run. He had not pitched in game conditions for a year. He was bound to have a little rust around the edges.

In an age when athletes kill the ones they love and imagine ones who don’t exist, Lackey began to sound like a breath of fresh air.

Whether his change of heart and body is a change of soul only 162 games will tell.