Monday, September 29, 2008

Whither the General?

And so the long base ball contesting season has reached its terminus. The irrelevant New Yorks may have taken some solace from their two “wins” during the week-end, but a squad of Boston yannigans delivered a rousing victory in extra frames last evening that reiterated the essence of the thing: Boston continues the quest for a Pennant, while the New Yorks have a long winter of moustache-chewing ahead of them.

Yet an “extra” flashed across the wires late Sunday night that added a disquieting note to the celebration. It seems our great and terrible hurler, Gen. Joshua P. Beckett, has suffered some kind of ailment in his “oblique,” which necessitates a delay in his mound-helming duties. I’m no sawbones, but I’ve seen other fine ball-players sidelined for extended periods with such injuries, and we can not be sure if the General will indeed be in top performing condition when he returns to duty.

Sweet fancy Moses! Let’s hope the Boston medical men are administering frequent doses of Duffy’s Pure Malt Whiskey during the upcoming days. And if it comes to it, let them stick the General with a shot of Soldier’s Joy before his scheduled appearance. Whatever it takes to put the pill in his hand for a play-off game.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

To the play-offs!

Huzzah to the Gentlemen Red Sox, that band of lovable ball-hurling and hide-swatting urchins. They came from near and far, from lands of hot sunshine and lands of towering evergreens, from base-ball meccas and rural outposts that knew more of digging post-holes than tossing knee-buckling curving balls.

But let no-one take this away from our home-town team: We are going to the play-off sectionals, where the best of the best will be pitted against one another--just one of four squads from the vaunted American League to reach such a lofty goal. (Indeed, our frequent combatants from Gotham have missed that goal for the first time in a baker's dozen years! Double huzzahs from the New England region for that stroke of good fortune!)

The first opponent? Likely the Angels of the Anaheim region of Los Angeles, where orange groves multiply like so many of John Lackey's strike-outs. Indeed, this season, the Bostons have fared dismally against this band of southern Californian sun-seekers, going just one win out of nine chances.

But a betting man would be hard-pressed to lay his chits on another team than the Bostons in October. Who else has the Colossus? And what of Lil' Hands Pedroia, the Bostons' fancy-handed loudmouth (who also swings a prodigious club!), and the Beard of the Ages, Yukon Kevin Youkilis? And from Gen. Joshua P. Beckett and "Nothin' Doin" Lester to leather-clad stalwarts Jedrick "Square Face" Lowrie and Alexander "Benchy" Cora, the team has talent to spare, and will certainly be a fright for any squad that faces them in the cool air of early October.

Rest assured, Stuffy and I will be tuned to the wireless, ears pressed to the speakers as we shush the talking and send the children out of the room. Why, it's the play-offs! Celebrate in good health!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thunder on the Base-Paths!

Hurdy Chadwick and myself joined the throng of happy Rooters in Fenway’s commodious out-field bulwark yesterday for an afternoon of steaming wieners, refreshing suds and delightful ball-playing from the local nine. Adding to the merriment was the Boston Club’s formal recognition of Maine’s Rooting Regiment, and seeing the Pine Tree State’s blue standard sailing above the grand-stand, amongst the stars and stripes and a phalanx of League and World’s Champion banners, brought a tear of pride to my jaded scribbler’s eyes.

The morning’s drenching rains made the day seem better-suited to mud grappling than base ball, but we began our trek southward with hopes that the new-fangled weather prognosticators were correct in their assessment that precipitation would end before our heroes climbed from the dug-out. What science these “weather-men” must have at their disposal, for as sure as you’re born, the 1:35 start time arrived with narry a mist falling!

In fact, the only thunder heard that afternoon came after a decisive eighth-frame blast from “Colossus” Ortiz. To that point, the Bostons and Torontos had been ensnared in a high-class flinging duel, with our Ace, “Nothin’ Doin’” Lester matching Roy “The Wizard of the Pill” Halliday hurl for hurl. But the Colossus made sure to clip the wings of the recently high-flying blue birds.

Ortiz’s mighty ash delivered a cannon-shot to the right field, where the young patrolman made an ill-advised “dive” in his efforts to corral the orb. As the pill skipped past his prone, helpless figure, the Colossus stoked his locomotive engine and roared around the second-bag to earth-shaking effect. Before the Toronto third-sacker could receive his prize, The Colossus had settled safely on the pillow!

Mayhem and triumphal songs erupted from the assembled Rooters! And tho’ he may have desired a brief nap at the corner, Ortiz did not remain long in “scoring” position. The next bats-man, “Yukon” Youkilis, delivered a deep “fly” that allowed our Colossus to amble to the home-plate and notch the game’s decisive run.

Such was our abiding joy from the spectacle that Mr. Chadwick and myself did not even need a restorative pause at one of the innumerable gin-joints, honky-tonks and dubious road-side food sellers along the U.S. Postal Route that links Boston to Maine.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Knocked senseless

When I was a lad in short-pants, I often spent bucolic summer week-ends visiting my grandparents' farm. One glorious Sunday afternoon, I endeavored to lift a home-made kite into the soft breezes of a cloudless sky (there was no wireless then, or else I would certainly have been listening to my ball-playing heroes, a sasparilla clutched in my small hand).

I ran through the lower meadow with my kite steaming behind me, like a banner signifying pure joy! So focused was my attention on its upward trajectory, that I did not notice the iron manure rake that "Rummy" Pete, Grandpa's unreliable farm-hand, had left on the ground -- its tines facing up.

My course carried me precisely to where the rake lay in wait. As my tiny foot landed on the tines, the wooden shaft shot upward in a flash, like Archimedes' lever, colliding with a horrendous "smack" into my cheekbone!

The final chapter of last evening's contest felt exactly like that stunning blow to the face. And this is the last I shall ever speak of that harrowing day, or last night's contest.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Forged in the fires of a Pennant Race

There’s a chill tinge of autumn in the New England air, and the Boston aggregation of base ball talent are within hailing distance of top honors in their Division!

The signs are un-mistakeable: We are rapidly closing the course of the long contesting season, and from this point each match is charged with Championship intensity. The finest ball-men, such as our brawny hurler “Nothin’ Doin’” Lester, meet the challenge with aplomb, and grace the diamond with the good and steady work that makes for winning ball.

Lesser sporting gents are rendered weak in mind and sore of heart by the high stakes. Why, just read the latest cables from the West Coast, where the frustrated New Yorks are resorting to fisticuffs when their batting and twirling fails them!

To-night, another high-class flinging contest is afoot, with the Tampas’ crafty southpaw “Babyface” Kazmir matching up against Matsuzaka-san, whose penchant for surrendering bases-on-balls must be brought under control.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Twists and turns in the final weeks

With a resounding victory over the Texans in today's matchup, the Bostons move just one-and-one-half games from the top of the American Base-Ball League's Eastern Division, behind only the Sunshine State squad from the Tampa region. Why, just days ago that number stood at five games, and many Rooters were left to wonder if the old boys from Boston had enough gumption in stock to climb upwards in the standings.

Well, I am here to tell you, good friends and regular readers, that I am trusting in our flannel-clad warriors. I will have eyes trained on each and every match for the balance of the season, and I invite you, dear readers, to weigh in on each and every development -- from the mundane to the positively explosive -- as the season winds to its conclusion.

Rest assured, there will be no shortage of massive ash clouts from our corps of batsmen, and mystifying and crafty pill deliveries from our hill-top pharmacists, whose gyrations are designed to befuddle the other squad's would-be swatters. In short, it's a wonderful time to be in base-ball!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tuesdays with Hurdy: A victim of circumstance


Dear friends of Hurdy Chadwick,

As you've no doubt ascertained, this week's edition of Tuesdays with Hurdy has been unavoidably delayed. I regret to inform you that your intrepid Rooter has been incarcerated at the Maine State Correctional Facility out-side of Portland, Maine. I assure you our good friend is innocent of all charges, the victim of a local magistrate intent on maligning our blameless friend. Indeed, all charges have been trumpeted up by a youthful prosecutor bent on elevating his position.

Mr. Chadwick's crime? Why nothing but a friendly case of mistaken identity. It was certainly not Mr. Chadwick filling a certain police seargeant's chapeau with tuna-fish salad on the night in question. And it was most certainly not a "visibly in his cups" Mr. Chadwick, as the gendarmes reported, who then proceeded to fit the chapeau on the top of his crown. Indeed, how would such a boxy garment even fit on our fine Rooter's head, which acquaintances will attest is shaped not unlike a ripened honeydew?

I admit that circumstantial evidence -- including the unfortunate coincidence of Mr. Chadwick being found strolling Congress Street with not a little amount of tuna fish covering his head -- looks to be in the state's favor.

Regardless, be assured that Kenneth J. Phrippen, Attorney at Law, is on the case.

Yrs. in all matters legal and judicious,
Kenneth J. Phrippen, Esq.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Napoleon in Flannel!

First, a tip of my boater to the Wobblies and other labor agitators who secured for us hard-working stiffs an extra day of leisure at the end of our summer holiday season. My lack of dispatches during the past week-end can be explained by my refreshing visit to a summer cottage colony here along the rocky coast of the 23rd state, where communication devices are limited to steamer-mail deliveries and carrier pigeon.

But not every worker spent the recent days lazing about in an ale-and-steamed-crustacean fug. Indeed, our tireless second-sacker has continued to amaze Rooters and old base-ball men by pulling trick after trick from his bottomless gripsack of talent.

“Little Hands” Pedroia deserves a new moniker for his heroic exploits, for there is nothing “little” about his presence in a ball-park. His clouts can fell a forest of opponents! His leather can stop any hot smash or sizzling grasser ticketed for the right-side of the diamond! Even the demure Mrs. McInnes has noted the joy with which he whirls about the pitch, remarking to me that he plays like a youth-league urchin who has yet to realize his physical limitations -- nothing but arms and legs and fearless determination.

He is our Napoleon, intent upon leading the grand army of red stocking’d soldiers to another World’s Championship banner. We can do naught but follow him to glory.