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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bill Simmons: canny opener

Baseball has started up again, and sportswriter Bill Simmons is back in his true element. From his running diary of the Red Sox opener, against the Texas Rangers:

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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Anonymous Anonymous on Wed Apr 05, 10:29:00 AM:
I read the whole thing on ESPN, and I'm glad to see that Bill Simmons is also a Jerry Remy devotee. He is one of the most knowledgeable announcers around, and I love the awful southeastern Mass accent and resulting name mangling ("Ramurrz" and "Vurrrrtek" are my favorites). But when the going gets tough, the tough switch to the radio. If the world ended, I would want to hear it from Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano. I just would.

Aha! Bill Simmons says we should all pick up Jonathan Papelbon for our fantasy teams. I already have!

No comment on last night's massacre at the hands of the Rangers, except for this: Remind me again why we traded Doug Mirabelli?
Blogger Ben on Wed Apr 05, 05:15:00 PM:
...just wait until game 7 of the ALCS, when Wake comes out in relief, we're up 3, with Mariano warming up, and then we realize that we traded away the guy who knew how to catch knuckleballs.

In related news, did you realize that last year, Manny made 54 times as much as his outfield neighbor Coco?

Anonymous Anonymous on Thu Apr 06, 09:27:00 AM:
See, when shit like that happens, that's when I go hide in my room and listen to the radio. I'm sure Mark Loretta is a very nice man, but trading Mirabelli was just dumb, especially when we didn't really need a second baseman (why not keep Long Island Tony around?).

Now if only I made as much money as Coco, let alone Manny...
Anonymous Anonymous on Thu Apr 06, 02:45:00 PM:
Baseball-wise, I am an idiot. No nothing. Only pick up stuff of interest to me. Right now, I'm into finding out how someone comes to be Coco Crips. Assuming your last name is Crisp, which is fucked up, who named or nicknamed you Coco?
(Another example, the only thing that interested me in the NCAA was that Noah kid was the son of Yannick Noah 1980s tennis sex symbol and pop star extraocorny-naire!)
Blogger Ben on Thu Apr 06, 05:32:00 PM:
Bill Simmons also points out the unlikeliness of the nickname "Magic" for a guy with the last name Johnson. And then there's my personal favorite name in baseball, Milton Bradley! You can be a winner at the game of life!