Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It most certainly can!

Question posed by the inimitable Stuffy McInnes: Will the return to Fenway net the heroic World Champions a winning match after a slurry of tourist losses? Indeed so, my good man!

A notch in the win column is surely the tonic the home-town boys need to get their ash bats cracking. And though those sticks were largely silent in last night's epic twirler-on-hurler demonstration between Johnny "Seattle Slick" Lester and Roy "Smeck" Halladay, we were pleased to see fine play on both sides of the frame. Each pitching man delivered pill after pill, their deliveries obfuscating the horsehide and making the hitters contemplate the intersection of physics and athletics on the walk back to the dugout.

To make matters more difficult for the hosting team, Ol' Aches and Pains Drew came up lame early in the match, complaining of a touch of the gout after huffing-and-puffing his way to the first bag after connecting bat to ball. No whispers of his condition have circulated.

In all, each side managed just one hit through the eighth inning. In the ninth, it seemed as if the ball struck by Vernon "Not David" Wells, the Canada's Team's feared slugger, was destined for the open grass of Fenway's emerald turf. But huzzah to Li'l Hands Pedroia! The pint-sized pugilist struck a blow to the Canada Team by spearing the pill and delivering it with great gusto to the Beard of the Ages, first-base-man Kevin Youkilis. What thrills from the second-base-man who must quaff quarts of can-do before each match!

The heroics certainly rubbed off on The Beard, as the lasts of the final frame shone "Victory" on the home-team thanks to a sharp drive into the center-field, which helped The Colossus round the third bag and make his way homeward to applause from all the Rooters in attendance.

A fine way to begin a set of matches in Fair Boston!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Can a homecoming end a five-match losing jag?

A shameful week-end of base-ball concluded with a harrowing sight on the score-board: Nine chapters of consecutive “goose eggs” for the Bostons. The lack of batting so appalled one dour spectator that he was moved to wonder whether the Nine had traded their man-stunning clubs for flimsy riding crops that could barely startle a mule into his trot!

Such speculation misses the true cause of our woes: It is not the lumber in the bats-mens’ hands, but the venue in which they engaged their rivals. Surely it is no coincidence that the only occasions of a triple loss to the same opponent have come in new-fangled base-ball “gymnasiums” -- better suited for bouts of sparring and wrestling than for the beauties of the stick-and-ball.

Perhaps the ceilings are trapping miasmas that befuddle our mighty swatters. Or, the lack of glorious spring sun-shine may be sapping our Grip-ridden boys of their vigor. Whatever the cause, a return to the verdant turf and gentle wind currents of Fenway’s fine park should revive the local squad like a strong dose of salts.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A plague upon this house

Instead of locker-room chairs, a club-house boy may ponder wheeling gurneys into the Fenway Park home of the Bostons, fluffing pillows and tucking in shawls to keep the once-heroic swatters and twirlers at bed.

Indeed, the Bostons' base-ball staff is in the full clutches of the dreaded Grip, with symptoms ranging from rosy skin to noses filled to bursting with effluvium. For the second evening in a row, the opening hurler for the Bostons was replaced at the last minute with another. In the previous tilt, David "Gap Tooth" Pauley performed well for the innings required, while last night's replacement for Matsuzaka-san, "Seattle Slop" Lester, allowed hits and plate-crossings, though was forced to hurl and twirl on only three days' worth of time since last gripping the pill.

Alas, the Bostons' six-game "streak" halted at the hands of the Anaheimians, though grit and determination was evident from the home side all through the nine chapters. Li'l Hands Pedroia kept his star rising, and the Collossus' return to form continued with a four-ply drive in the fifth chapter.

But the pressing question remains: From where is this Grip coming? Nearly every physician, every scientist and every Rooter has been asking the same question. Some have asserted it is a dangerous microbe carried on the return steam from the Far East. Others have said that we are passing through a region of star-dust, and that the minute particles are drawn into the body with every breath.

Whatever the reason may be, be mindful that the plague is decimating our Bostons to within a man of The 25. Our advice to our base-ball men: Counteract the enemy. Drive it from the system. Do not trifle with it.

In case of Grip you cannot afford to take any chances. Therefore, take that which is beyond question pure and medicinal: whiskey. Moreover, take Duffy's Pure Malt Whiskey. Remember, Duffy's stands at the head of all preparations and is the only medicinal whiskey upon the market.

Onward to victory, hurlers and twirlers!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Colossal Clouts, Fleet Feet Propel the Nine to Unlikely Victory!

The evening’s contest began with the scales tipped precipitously against the Bostons. Capt. Varitek was still suffering from the ague, and would miss his second consecutive contest. Then, top hurler Gen. Beckett had to recuse himself from his mound-helming duties with a sudden case of the crick-neck!

Skipper Francona had no alternative but to hand the sphere to yannigan twirler Murphy and hope his bats-men could keep the Bostons alive for nine frames. His boys accepted the challenge with aplomb, collecting 16 hits and 7 “runs” for the victory!

Not a single team-member shirked his duty, yet the heroes of the evening were clear: “Navajo” Jac Ellsbury, one of the game’s true speed-artists, proved there is as much clout in his bat as wind in his feet by twice smashing the pill over the fences. “Li’l Hands” Pedroia was no less impressive following Ellsbury’s turns in the batter’s box, getting two-baggers in triplicate!

And on a night when the Los Angelenos were alert for the swift Ellsbury to attempt an extra base by stealth, Pedroia surprised all when he leapt from the first corner and burgled a bag! Well played, Li’l Hands.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"The Wonder" Of It All

Had the public-relations experts on Madison Avenue truly done their bookwork, they would surely have found the plum pitchman for their glittering Emerald gaming establishment, the Foxwoods: One Manuel "The Wonder" Ramirez*. The Wonder of It All is not in the Mystic Region of Connecticut, but in the heroic beating chest of Slugger Ramirez.

The clout driven by The Wonder in the last night game against the Texans was so far as to perplex motorists on the thoroughfare to Boston, which abuts the Fenway turf. Many a wheelman was said to exclaim "Beans!" when The Wonder's clout bounded across the turnpike. Meanwhile, inside the park, Rooters remarked on The Wonder's shot with different exclamations -- some of which may have made the ladies in attendance blush.

The Bostons triumphed due to The Wonder's prodigious drive with a score of five homeplates to three for the Texans.

(Note: Photographic subject is not The Wonder Ramirez, and is used for illustration purposes. Few photographs exist of the right-hander's trademark swing.)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Death by Four-Ply Drive!

For two consecutive evenings, a queer, concussive sound has pealed through the firmament, causing confused citizens to look sky-ward, scattering rooks and pigeons from their perches, and waking babes from their slumber. But the clamor is not a strange arrangement of Nature’s forces -- it is the echo of the tremendous clouts issued from the Bostons’ bats!

The local squad has slain its challengers with a spasm of four-ply drives, leaving no doubt as to the mighty swats that await opposing hurlers. First to fall: The New Yorks, who scowled as Manuel, “The Wonder” Ramirez sent the pill sailing into the grandstand not once, but twice! Eight bags for the Wonder!

Next came the squad from the dusty wilds of Texas, contesting their base-ball skills on the green turf of Fenway Park. But our boys were not in a hospitable mood, and on this night, the conclusive swing came from a bat that had been quiet of late. Colossus Ortiz approached the dish in the third frame with the bags heavy with red-stocking’d gents. Then he struck with devastating effect, launching the sphere over the high fence of left-field, sending himself and his three team-mates full-circuit. A glorious blast!

A few chapters later, the diminutive infielder Dustin, “Li’l Hands” Pedroia collected four bags of his own when he slammed the pill into the night. Nearly the opposite of Colossus in stature and girth, this tiny tempest must consume flagons of grit before each match to render himself such a terrible force on the diamond.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Turnabout in Gotham

In what is surely one of the most miserable displays of base-ball ever witnessed by these eyes, our Bostons fell hard to the hated New Yorks in an interminable match of shabby twirling.

Disgust is the order of the day. Our diamond knights brought their terrible timber to bear against the wiley Wang, cuffing the crack hurler for eight scores in merely four chapters, and at one point securing a two-run “lead.” But a parade of ineptitude from the Bostons’ bull-pen conspired to return each of those runs, and more, to the bats-men with the billowing bill-folds of the New York squad. It was as if our hurlers had never before palmed the horse-hide and stitching, and knew nothing of the art of directing the sphere sixty-and-six.

Such are the comings and goings in the bitter struggle for supremacy in the League’s Eastern Division. Another battle awaits to-night, with Gen. Beckett leading the charge. We’re sure his gallantry and grit will propel the nine to a joyous outcome.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Win For the Ages!

To the base-ball gods, the Boston Rooters salute and lay down their appreciations for such a well-played match!

The night's gamer had in the home half of the scoreboard the Cleveland squad, whom the Bostons bested in last year's Championship Series after losing three games and winning but one. Twirler Jake Westbrook pitched for the natives, while Jon "Seattle Slop" Lester took the riser for the visitors. Neither delivered the pill effectively, though Westbrook emerged from near-scrapes in many innings, including the first. Old Seattle Slop varied his delivery, but fooled few of the opposers.

Indeed, the match seemed lost for the Bostons after Seattle Slop hucked mush-ball after mush-ball at the natives, allowing multiple home-team runners to stamp on the final base in consecutive chapters. Fortunes happy, however, as Julian "Tele-phone" Taverez ponied up to the challenge of his rivals, eliminating three consecutive lumbermen with three strikes apiece. In all, he knocked down four men in two-and-two-thirds innings. Huzzah, Tele-phone!

But with a two-notch deficit, the visitors had no quit in their eyes. The Beard For the Ages stirred trouble in the eighth inning with a decisive full circuit clout. The ball skyed into the chill of the evening and landed earthbound into a crowd packed at the left field concessionaire. Alas, that plating was all that would occur in that frame.

But into the final inning of the evening, when all was at its most dire, Julio Lugo led off the frame with a taunting double-bagger off the home-team closer, Joe "Soapy" Borowski. What followed was base-ball at its best: A run manufactured by bunt and sky fly ball, the latter walloped by the diminutive Dustin "Spats" Pedroia.

A "tie" game!

But not for long, as the Collossus improved his average with the second of the evening's two base knocks, and The Wonder stepped up to the plate and smacked a drive that could favorably be compared to the Great Pyramids, the Hanging Towers of Babylon or the Cable Cars of San-Francisco, California! In fashion of The Wonder, he rounded the bases with jazz hands flapping, a game-ending sight to see for the Rooters who had steamed to Cleveland to glee with the Old Town Team!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Glum New Yorks Fall Victim to Bostons

The Kings of New England showed again why they are the champions of base-ball by securing two victories this week-end against the pin-striped mercenaries of Gotham.

Circumstances appeared dire after the first tilt of the three-game series, when the local nine only mustered two hits against the New Yorks’ crack hurler Wang. But our squad can only be contained for so long!

Gen. Joshua P. Beckett commanded the mound brilliantly in the subsequent match, though his performance was overshadowed by the humiliating strike-out administered by game-saver Papelbon to “Slaps” Rodriguez. Following such a tense match, the Bostons’ display of heavy batting during the final contest was a welcome sight.

Some troubling episodes amidst the merriment: A few too many of our twirlers landed themselves in a few too many knotty positions. And what can we make of the inauspicious return of bull-pen stalwart Timlin? Porcine pin-striper Giambi smashed a pair of four-ply drives against him, but we’ve heard whispers that the oleaginous bats-man has partaken of tonics purported to produce loud clouts…

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Festive Day Concludes with White-Wash of the Detroits!

No sooner had the marching bands and standard-bearers left the field and the local heroes removed their jewel-encrusted baubles than the umpiring crew signaled the start of the match to be contested against the lumber-laden nine of Detroit. That grim-faced crew had stewed all night in their Pullman Cars after concluding a dismal week of home-field matches that resulted in not a single victory. Angry mobs jeered their departure, but if they expected an easier time of it in the Hub, they were surely chagrined by the envigorated state of our knights clad in white flannel armor.

The Hurler from the East, Matsuzaka-san, twirled a beguiling game for the Bostons, allowing only four connexions of horsehide and hickory, while leaving seven Detroits striking at the nothing but air. Dismouting from the hill after 6 and two-thirds blank chapters, Matsuzaka turned over the pill to a reserve pitching squad that completed the contest to thrilling effect, allowing no “Tigers” to maul even a single run-getting hit.

For their part, the batsmen from Boston had great success against Detroit’s grizzled veteran, “Gambler” Rogers. Whisker-powered first-baseman “Yukon” Youkilis wielded a merciless club, clouting three worthy hits that put two runs on the board. And two oft-invisible men at the plate, “Ol’ Aches and Pains” Drew and “High-Pockets” Lugo, obliged the frenzied spectators with their own single-bag slaps.

The greatest spectacle came in the third chapter, when Manuel “The Wonder” Ramirez fired a cannon shot into the out-field gap. What appeared to be a certain two-bagger became something more when Ramirez’s fleet-footed circuit of the bags so surprised his opponents that Detroit second base-man Placido “The Cranium” Polanco muffed his delivery to the third bag, sending the pill bouncing into the visitors' dug-out. The assembled Detroits could only watch, dejectedly, as The Wonder completed his circuit with a gentle trot, adding a run to the Boston's tally.

As the shadows fell over the sparkling green turf of the diamond, The Bostons coolly finished off the final chapter for a “white wash.” A jovial throng of rooters poured from the brick cathedral of base-ball to savor their memories of an Opening Day for the annals. All that was left was for yours truly and Mr. Chadwick to huddle with celebratory libations during the rail journey home, recounting the day’s heroics as mapped out in the pencil scratches of a tobacco-stained score-card.

And the Home-Town Field Was Festooned with Bunting

Opening Day dawned brightly as yours, Hurdy Chadwick, and Stuffy McInnes boarded the locomotive, which chuffed through fields and yards to the Hub of Boston. City side, your intrepid correspondents joined the cheering throngs and rode the street-car to the hallowed grounds of Fenway Park.

The scene encircling the ball-ground was festive and gay, with mounted police-men keeping order as rooters piped up in choruses celebrating the fair home team. The air was redolent of sausages, peppers and onions, and many men took drink early in the day.

Inside the walls of Fenway, the park was festooned with bunting and shining with fresh coats of lacquer. The crowd of 34,000, many of them ladies, cheered for the glee clubs, which, assembled on the grass field, treated the rooters to rousing songs in honor of our heroic base-ball men.

As the crowd settled into the spacious Fenway chairs, a brass band struck up a jaunty rhythm as brightly colored banners were unfurled from the upper seats in left-field, signifying the Bostons' triumphant season as World Champion clouters and glove-men.

As the festivities continued, members of other Boston sports-teams walked the hallowed grass of the base-ball pitch, laden with trophies of past achievements.

Bold aviators in their new-fangled flying machines barnstormed the park, eliciting gasps of delight and awe from the assembled spectators. The men and ladies of the park let out collective murmers of appreciation as the champion hurlers and clouters entered the field in their brilliant team flannels to receive their shining Victory baubles. Joy and jubilation spread through even the most hardened hearts of the John Q. Publics in attendance.

It was a gay time in the old ball-park, and not a voice was heard over the public announcer's throaty baritone as he implored the assembled crowd to welcome a ceremonial hurler. Billy "The Hermit" Buckner entered the park to deliver the first toss of the horsehide. His return came more than two decades after his well-known muff in the Bostons' World Series bid against the New York "Mets". The gentleman hurler was embraced by each and every rooter in attendance, his gaffe evermore washed away in the sunlight of Opening Day.

The spectacle of the ceremonies was one that neither your Hurdy Chadwick nor Stuffy McInnes will soon forget. But a game was to be played! Following Buckner's southpaw delivery to the home-plate, the shout was to "Play ball!"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Beard for the Ages!

His appearance is that of prospector who stumbled out of the Yukon country and onto the diamond. But his tool for seeking precious metal is a leather glove, not a pick-axe or shovel.

Last year, that glove was declared golden by the sporting men of the base-ball realm, who witnessed splendid displays of athleticism that routinely denied even the top speed artists the first stage in their circuit ‘round the base-paths.

Now, our resolute first base-man with the fearsome chin beard has collected another honor: He has achieved the record for consecutive matches without a boner at the bag!

Yes, our Youkilis has performed flawlessly in 194 tilts, surpassing the previous mark of perfection set by Steve “Pretty Boy” Garvey. Yet that Iron Man never had to deal with the likes of “High-Pockets” Lugo, whose deliveries of the pill across the infield often stretch Youk’s stocky frame to the extreme. Without such a steady receiver, there’s no telling how many muffs the scorers would mark against the erratic short-stop.

Rooters, raise your snifters to the king of the first corner!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

State-side to victory!

One-hundred and sixty games to go for the season, and the home-town boys begin a tangle with the Oaklands. Fresh-faced Jacoby Ellsbury starts the first state-side chapter by rolling the pill to the first bag and games are underway.

What will the season bring? The intrepid Red Sox began by steaming their way to the Far East, playing before hospitable fans whose admiration for the full-circuit clout was evidenced by much standing and clapping. Then the vast coliseum of Los-Angeles, wherein opposing manager Joseph "The Neck" Torre was a welcome sight in the light blue colors of the Dodgers. Oh, to have that man shuck his pinstripes and bring his heavy-handed management of hurlers to another coast!

Sofar as this young season begins, the Colossus Ortiz has been eerily quiet, and the sly Manuel Ramirez has provided deafening clouts by the lumber, going full routes from Tokyo to Los-Angeles. What power and paunchy goodness! A man to take all comers!

From the squad of hurlers, pretzel deliveries abound to throw off opposing would-be swatters. Let us hope the balls of the Oaklands are hit obligingly to our field-men during these following chapters!

The game is afoot, and Full Circuit Clout will dutifully report on all comers as the base-ball season winds into the gloaming of autumn.

Huzzah, base-ball!