(photo by Sam)
Meh, "tomorrow", day after, same dif.
There are a lot of reasons for this, but I've actually found myself with a bad case of writer's block w/r/t the Red Sox this weekend. Part of it is simple fatigue from other stuff this week, but part of it is also just trying to figure out how to take the first bite out of the elephant that is writing about all that happened. There are lots of thoughts floating around in my head about it, but none that have suggested themselves in coherent posting form yet.
In the meantime I've been all too happy to fire up several email and IM threads and make the rounds at blogs, all of which has yielded quite a crop of random tidbits. And there are some patches of NESN dialogue I feel the need to share. What's sticking out to me most about the celebrations this weekend has been not one coherent philosophical point--at least not one that hasn't been expressed by me at length in the "Why I've Got My Panties in a Bunch About the Division" posts of the last two weeks or so--but a few choice moments. So even though it's probably a cop-out, I finally decided that this weekend is getting the "notes post" treatment from me.
Below the jump, the posts, pics and random thoughts on what made this weekend one of the best I can remember in Boston sports since three years ago. I'm going to be updating this for a while on Sunday, 9/30/07, so keep checking back if you happen to be reading today.
Title is part of a Keats quote that my lit-dweeb mind considers relevant, btw.
Jerry Remy: Want to track the moon again tonight? Right now it's over the right field light tower, ok? Right now. 8:05.
Don Orsillo: Here's the thing I don't get. And I've thought about this since we started talking about it the other night. The sun, east to west, I get that. But the moon...is not in the same direction. It zigzags!
Jerry Remy: The moon has a mind of its own. It goes wherever it feels like. In other words, if it doesn't feel like going left, it'll go right. Sometimes it goes up, sometimes it goes down.
DO: This is grounded back up the middle into center field. Let's check with Tom Caron, maybe he knows. TC?
Tom Caron: Well, Don, I know it's a bad moon rising over Camden Yards. The New York Yankees with a four run third inning, A-Rod as you said, Don, with a two-run homer, his 54th of the season, we're now in the bottom of the third with Mike Mussina pitching. Let's go back to the moon, Don?
DO: All right, TC, bad moon rising, that was very good--
JR: Very, very good.
JR: Tom's all set for postseason. He's in top form.
DO: Very sharp.
(Back to the moon)
JR: Now there it is, now where's it gonna go tonight?
DO: I betcha in ten minutes, it's diagonal.
JR: You don't even know what diagonal is.
DO: Sure I do. It's gonna go up and to the left. That's my guess.
JR: That's diagonal, going up toward the left?
DO: Sure. Yeah. Diagonal. If I could get to touch the TeleStrator I'd show you, but you never let me.
JR: The reason I don't let you touch the TeleStrator, Don, is because I'm kind of a germ freak--
DO: Kind of!
JR: And you know once somebody touches it, that means...there's germs. (On the TeleStrator) Okay, so here's the moon, are you saying it's going to go up in this direction?
DO: Yeah, that's where I think it's headed. Based on the other night.
JR: I disagree. I bet it's gonna go this way.
DO: I wonder if the wind is involved.
JR: (incredulously) The wind pushes the moon.
DO: (defensively) I don't know! Do you have an explanation?!
JR: Well, if the wind is a factor in moving the moon, with the right to left tonight, I'd say my directon's going to be accurate, it's going to move to the right.
DO: So it's going to be over by the Pru soon, is what you're saying.
JR: Yes. If the wind is a factor.
This is all completely, 100% verbatim dialogue from the NESN Broadcast. Samuel Beckett couldn't have written better. (Lit Dweeb! Strikes again!)
Now that I've covered the broadcast, it's on to the next most important event that took place at Fenway Park this weekend, which was the "Frat Party" staged by the various twentysomethings / rookies who make up your 2007 Boston Red Sox following the clinch of the AL East. (I may get to the actual games next, just in case you're tracking my priorities here.) This party began in the clubhouse, spilled out onto the field, and then to various bars around the Kenmore Square area (most notably Game On).
There are a number of moments I want to touch on in this celebration, which has been gloriously and thoroughly documented on video by Texas Gal. I don't know how she gets all these clips online, but I'm not asking any questions at this point. She knows exactly which clips are post-worthy and they're always in high quality. I realize it might make NESN upset, but I'm just glad someone put up a comprehensive video of all the party action somewhere.
Anyway. I will get to all the little images and moments in bulleted-list form in a second, but the item I want to highlight first can most concisely be filed under, "Beth's Love for Jonathan Papelbon Only Grows Stronger and More Terrifying."
Throughout the conversations I've had since the Red Sox clinched, the NESN cameras cut to the inside of the clubhouse, and he jumped clad only in a jockstrap and a skintight Red Sox Under Armor shirt into the shot to grab for bottles of champagne, the phrase I've heard everyone repeating is, "That boy ain't right." Or some variant thereof. Seriously, every single person, from Sam to my dad, has made some variation on that comment.
So maybe I ain't right myself. Or maybe I've just been a goner from the beginning, since he's a closer, and we all know how I get about closers. At this point, it's unclear whether or not my favorites always happen to be closers so far or whether the closer will always be my favorite by default.
Either way, once again, our closer has earned the title of my favorite overall Red Sox player. It's an entirely different love than the love I had for Keith Foulke, though it's nearly as crazy (yes, still just nearly, but keep in mind Sam has expressed the opinion that my aggressive, evangelistic infatuation with Keith Foulke may never be equalled). I can claim legitimate baseball reasons for this, of course, but let's not kid each other. I also feel about Jonathan Papelbon the way Peter Griffin on Family Guy felt about Lindsay Lohan:
You know what really grinds my gears? This Lindsay Lohan. Lindsay Lohan with all those little outfits, jumping around there on stage, half-naked with your little outfits. Ya know? You're a... You're out there jumping around and I'm just sitting here with my beer. So, what am I supposed to do? What you want? You know, are we gonna go out? Is that what you're trying to - why why are you leaping around there, throwing those things all up in my, over there in my face? What do you want, Lindsay? Tell me what you want.
This Jonathan Papelbon. Jonathan Papelbon in his little Under Armour shirt, jumping around doing an Irish jig in the middle of the field. Jumping around in his jockstrap in the clubhouse. Drenching himself in champagne and dancing around barefoot in little sliding shorts. What am I supposed to do? What do you want? Why are you hitting on me through the television, Jonathan Papelbon? Pitching a perfect inning in your little white home pants and then hanging your bare ass out on TV? Throwing all that champagne and stuff all up in my, over there in my face?
What do you WANT, Jonathan. TELL ME. WHAT. YOU WANT.
(screencap via Out in Center Field)
Speaking of Jonathan Papelbon! Tom Verducci, my favorite baseball writer after Roger Angell, had a fantastic piece on Papelbon's shoulder program accompanied by some absolutely to-die-for photos of the Pap himself from Walter Iooss Jr. in this past week's Sports Illustrated.
"On the mound with the ball in his hand and the game on the line," says Boston bullpen coach Gary Tuck, "he is pure rage."
Blue eyes ablaze, ferocity broadcast from his face, Papelbon looks like a man who's armed and has malicious intent, which, given an extraordinary and unique fastball that he swears is a gift from God, is at least partly true. He lives for confrontation, going back to the scuffles that interrupted driveway basketball, trampoline dodgeball or even family dinner (vying to see who'd finish first) when he was growing up in Jacksonville with his twin brothers, Jeremy and Josh, three years his junior and now both minor league pitchers. Why, just two years ago, while getting together over Christmas, the Papelbon boys couldn't complete a game of Yahtzee without a scuffle breaking out. A family game of Balderdash degenerated into another fight.
I love the mental image of the man-child Papelbons tussling with each other and knocking over their mother's lamps.
And so, finally, without further ado, here are the rest of my favorite moments and / or quotes from the celebration:
- First, of course, the crowd waiting around at Fenway. Like Jere (who was AT the game and has pics and video up at his place), I can't believe how many people left--even though I would have been pessimistic had I been there, because that's my nature, I would have stayed there just on the off chance that it could be the night. This is where the risk of missing the celebration would not be outweighed by the convenience of going home early, in my book. But the crowd all waiting, all the closeups of people with their hands folded and clasped to their lips in prayer, fingers crossed, then jumping and hollering when the deal was finally sealed at Camden Yards? That was an all-time moment for Fenway Park, right there--the one monkey not thrown off the back of the Red Sox by the 04 victory and the first clinch to be celebrated at Fenway since the ALDS in 2004, and before that the Wild Card in 2003. You could feel not only the crisp, promising chill of fall in the air just watching it, but the nostalgic whisper of ghosts, from 1967 through 2004. That moment, when the cheer went up in the stands...Fenway Park, and beyond it, Boston and New England, from Lansdowne St. to my apartment, melted into a riot of happiness the likes of which hasn't been seen around here since...well. You know when.
- Of course, to make up for the lack of Joshie incidents, there's always the mental image of "Beckett pistol-whipping Jim Belushi" that Red dreamed up. The moment I saw the festivities commence, I knew Red would have something classic for us, and I have not been disappointed.
- The Soxaholix has another great line, in a similarly great post: What panic?
- Jerry Remy's PizzaGate-esque review of the Kevin Youkilis / Papelbon dancing clip over the last two games has been almost as good as the original events. And Papelbon's uber-serious face while dancing the jig? I just...I'm still not over it. "Paps is plowed," wrote a commenter at SoSH (via Joy of Sox). He was indeed. And deservedly so. "Did Papelbon finish the 30 between closing tonight's game out and the Yankees losing? It looks like it," wrote another.
- Josh Beckett was actually very low key over the course of the celebration. Or, if you agree with Papel-blog, his mouth can't be trusted with the live feed. either way, the only Joshie moment I really saw, aside from the hollers of "HE ACTUALLY BUNTED!" during the clubhouse celebration, was his creepy, leering, perma-grin at Mike Lowell while Kathryn Tappen tried to interview Lowell on the field, as if double-dog daring someone to put him on TV. And also standing around being creepy and leering. Since no one was taking him up on his dare, it was the only way he could get attention, even if it was only Mike Lowell's unnerved glances in his direction. I repeat, what a weirdo. But he's my weirdo.
- Mike Timlin and Mike Lowell crowd surfing? How much would I have killed to be in that crowd? I still can't believe how many people left. Just think, some of those people have to live with knowing they could have touched a booze-soaked Mike Lowell if they'd only stuck around for a few more minutes. I wouldn't want to be them.
- Alex Cora taking over the sound booth at the park was a totally classic moment. For some reason, its unbridled, special-occasion awesomeness made me think of the classic Surviving Grady line about "floating in a pool of iced Pabst Blue Ribbon."
- I love the image of Larry Lucchino right after the game, standing in his luxury box looking out over the field with a contented, calm smile on his face. Someone remarked afterwards that they didn't know Tito "had that vertical" but Lucchino was understated in his appreciation of the moment. Yet for some reason that understatement made watching his reaction that much more poignant.
- Texas Gal pointed out Mike Timlin's "Scottish-squeal-speak" (e.g. "Geh out o' the weeeeeeeeeeee"). I also noticed a hoppy little jig from Timlin and his creepy old-man snicker in the footage, which I remember as characteristics of Timlin Extreme Happiness from years past.
- Seeing Curt in the thick of the celebrations just made how little we've seen and heard from him of late stand out that much more starkly. But it still did my heart good to see him communing with the fans and leading his teammates in beer showers. With the most World Series experience of anyone on the team, he's had a lot of practice at both.
- Mike Lowell while taking a deep drag on a stogie: "It is illegal to smoke a cigar in Fenway Park." I hate feeling like Tito let the fans have a moment with Lowell as he walked off the field today for a reason. But I would also like to take this moment to officially join NDRaPRSFftEMRSoML, except I don't fit the "NDRaP" part, nor do I feel it's necessarily "EM" either. But the "RSoML" part, that part I'm behind 110%.
- How awesome was it that Eckersley was in the studio this weekend? Well played, NESN. Choice quotes: "Papelbon needs to put some pants on." and "Papelbon's taken the beer case off his head, so that's progress."
- BTW, I've noticed that JD Drew has really been coming on the last few days. My feelings on the matter can be summed up by what I said to Steve last night after JD hit the winning home run: "If this guy comes around right now, we are all gonna look like assholes." But as Iain said when I repeated that to him today, "I'm happy to look like an asshole if JD starts hitting."
- But by far the absolute best series of moments in the last 48 hours? Was the five or so minutes in which Mike Timlin, Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield--the grande dames of the pitching staff--let their tender love for Varitek shine forth brilliantly in the form of kisses (Timlin and Wake) and booze showers. The part that still makes me so happy I get all squirmy, though, was the part where Curt Schilling was spraying Tek down thoroughly with champagne and Varitek did this laugh...this childlike giggle...and even better than that? Is the thought that Timlin, Wake and Schill may have been trying to elicit that laugh all along.
*Squirms with happiness*