By the way, the 2006 Sox have 12 new players, including four in today's starting lineup:
1. Coco Crisp, CF
2. Mark Loretta, 2B
3. The Real 2005 A.L. MVP, DH
4. Manny Being Manny, LF
5. Gerry McNamara, RF
6. Jason Varitek, C
7. Mike Lowell, RIP-er, 3B
8. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
9. The Alex Gonzalez Who Always Does Well In The Winter World Series, SS.
11:11 -- Crisp strikes out, Loretta pops out to first ... that brings up Big Papi. There are about 7,000 reasons why I'm excited to have baseball back, but I think the chance to have David Ortiz back in my life on an everyday basis cracks the top 10. It might even rank first.
(Other reasons: Fantasy baseball ... every Sox-Yankee game ... the thought of a half-asleep Grady Little relieving Derek Lowe three batters too late as a distraught Nomar looks on from first base ... Mets fans getting overexcited about a team that looks great on paper and ends up underachieving ... )
11:22 -- You know, Michael Young's 2005 batting title was kinda like "Shakespeare in Love's" Oscar back in 1998 -- I know it happened, but I'm not quite willing to accept it. Are we sure Ichiro didn't win last season? We're positive?
12:08 -- [Elderly, deadweight trade baggage Mike] Lowell grounds out to end the inning. Every one of his at-bats could double as an opening for "Six Feet Under."
12:54 -- ... the top of the sixth just ended with a pitcher named Feldman striking out Youkilis. That's the Jewish baseball moment of the year so far.
1:00 -- Good Golly. Manny just chased down a Michael Young bomb, hauled it in and crashed into the fence, followed by Schilling accidentally making an "I can't believe that nimwit just saved my ass" face ... quickly followed by Manny sitting down Indian style and eating three handfuls of paste. OK, I made that last part up. But the rest
1:16 -- Random highlight of the Sox game: A father holding his young son leaned over the third base railing and nonchalantly one-handed a foul ball chopper with his left hand. Then he gave the ball to his startled kid. Now THAT is a dad, my friends. You have to love baseball.
1:49 -- Holy crap! Mike Lowell just ripped a homer to left field. So much for the "Six Feet Under" and "Last Out Lowell" jokes ... well, at least for today. Plus, we were just treated to Benoit's "I can't believe I just gave up a homer to Mike Lowell" face. We can't believe it, either, Joaquin. I need to rewind my TiVo to make sure that happened.
1:50 -- Yup, it happened.
New York's starting lineup [against the Oakland A's]:
1. Judas, CF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Alleged Roider Gary Sheffield, RF
4. Mr. March, Alex Rodriguez, SS
5. Roider Jason Giambi, 1B
6. Avid Porn Collector Hideki Matsui, LF
7. The Wuss, Jorge Posada, C
8. The Artist Formerly Known As Bernie Williams, DH
9. Robinson Cano, 2B.
7:50 -- Singleton breaks down what just happened: "And the Yankees, with one swing of the bat, they've scored the most runs they can score: Four." Thanks for showing up, Ken.
Meanwhile, my cell phone starts ringing: It's my old college roomie (and Yankee fan) Jack O., who starts screaming, "Lemme just tell you this right now -- you don't want this, Bill! You do not want this!" And the rivalry is back! Man, I missed baseball.
8:21 -- The Yankees have an Aflac trivia question as well: "Which current Yankee player once played on Opening Day with enough artificially injected testosterone running through his body to kill a medium-sized child?" I'm going to say Sheffield ... nah, I'll say Giambi.
8:29 -- Three-run homer, Matsui. 11-1, Yankees. This running diary is on life support right now. We might even give it the Silent Clock like Edgar got at the end of "24." Just be ready.
(And speaking of "24," it's on in 31 minutes. Hmmmmm.)
8:59 -- Halsey walks Bernie with the bases loaded: 13-1, Yankees. That's followed by Cano grounding out to end the inning.
And you know what? I've seen enough. The Red Sox look ready. The Yankees look ready. We have all the makings of another six-month slugfest on our hands. Even better, baseball's back and nearly everything's right with the world again. If we could only get Jack Bauer to take care of Barry Bonds once and for all.
(Hey, that reminds me ... )
8:59:57 -- Beep.
8:59:58 -- BEEP.
8:59:59 -- Beep.
9:00:00 -- BEEP.
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