Sunday, October 11, 2009

Slipped away

Mr. Chadwick and I regret our lack of correspondence during the recent, brief spate of play-off tilts.

We misplaced our typing devices in the same place the Bostons left their vim, fortitude and resilience. It is possible Mr. Papelbon's hurling ability was hidden in a dark corner there, as well.

Until such time as the Duffy's washes the taste of disgust from my throat, I direct you to the sentiments with which we mourned the end of last year's contesting season.

Requiem for a season

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gather the family, stock the cupboard, lock the doors

Prepare for many hours of anxious moustache twirling. Guard against fatigue. Stay on the fault line of sobriety and decorum. The play-offs are here.

The first pill will be delivered this eve at 9:37 EDT. Godspeed, you Heroes in Flannel!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

With a whimper...

So it has finally come to pass: The Bostons advance to the Series of Divisional Champions, where they will contest the right to raise a World Series banner above Fenway's gleaming green battlements.

And yet there is no rejoicing in the McInnes household. Tho' I have spent weeks crossing this nation in clattering steam trains on assignment for my gainful employers, I have glumly followed the seeming evaporation of our heroes' vigor in recent weeks.

Their shameful display of shabby hurling and swatting of late is an insult to the beauties of the game. What they have been playing can barely be termed "base ball."

Something must change before the first tilt against the wily Angels of Anaheim in the Los Angeles region of California: Order double rations of Duffy's for the squad! Coat their athletic supporters with mentholated liniments! Anything to strike a fire under this beleaguered band of bumblers!

The glory awaits, but not for the faint-hearted!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All wet...

Blasted flannel-clad miscreants. The children cry, and Rooters follow suit.

Will this madness cease this evening? I will sit at the tavern and bend an ear to the wireless.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Commence pacing...

Some weeks ago, all seemed lost for the Red Stockings. The New Yorks were pulling away in familiar fashion, and several competitors for the "Wild Card" berth in this year's play-offs were knotted around the Olde Towne Team.

But that was then. Now, the Red Stockings are five games behind the New Yorks, but a whopping seven games ahead of any Wild Card interloper.

One question remains: Can the Red Stockings repeat their home-field success in different environs? Last night's bull-pen miscues give pause to even the heartiest Rooter.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It is getting awfully warm in here!

My, oh my. It seems to be heating up in the vicinity of the Fens. This is an enjoyable development as the mercury takes its final turn southward, into the crisp temps of autumn.

Keep hurling, heroes. Keep swatting, Goliaths. Keep posting victory after victory!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The remainders of a wastrel life

In the far reaches of Maine, school-aged children often pass a lazy fall Saturday by rounding up an adolescent sow, dressing it in herringbone outerwear and leading it to suckle on a fine Burgundy.

In much the same fashion, the White Stockings of Chicago's North Side aimed to dress our once-strong Gen. Joshua Beckett not in the epaulets and gleaming medals of heroism, but in the frilly frocks and lacy petticoats of a betrothed handmaiden. And instead of quaffing flagons of grit and determination, it was as if he was hoisting a dainty cup of chamomile and brushing biscuit crumbs with a finely stitched kerchief.

Indeed, our supposedly fearsome corps leader did nothing but play patsy with the North Side swatters in yesterday's tilt. If one of the opposing hitters had proffered a jumping rope, surely our General would have deigned to skip around the Fens singing school-yard ditties.

What is our General's malady? What keeps him from commanding the pill in the same way that George Washington guided his troops 'cross the Potomac on a cold winter's night?

Never fear, readers. These are among the questions we will strive to answer as we begin the stretch run to the season's end.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Colossal clouts!

Here is the measure of greatness!

Our hero, the Colossus, delivers one four-ply drive to knot the tally in the second frame. Then he repeats his feat of swatting to secure the victory in the final chapter!

Small children stand slack-jawed! Ladies swoon! Opponents cringe and cry! Rooters rejoice!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Come and stay a while, gents!

Well, yes, the quality of base-ball since the All-Star hiatus has been at best lackadaisical, and at worst a Hindenburg-like conflagration of awe-inspiring proportion.

But put simply, we lost two of three matches against the hated rivals from Gotham. That in a nutshell is Boston base-ball in the dog days of August. Win one, lose several. Place aces across the pentagon one night, and find the ash sticks asleep the next two tilts. Proffer vexing deliveries from the hurling mound, and follow that effort with amateurish pill tossing from a variety of relief pitchers.

Indeed, consistency is lacking in the Fens. Does that mean the season is crudded beyond repair? Surely not, dear Rooter! Whilst the Red Stockings aren't likely to hoist the American League East pennant in next year's opening day festivities, there still is a chance of post-season heroics to carryover and complement the bunting-festooned park next April.

Dare to dream, friends! Dare to dream...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Purge this name from the Ages!

If the far future, when my grandchildren ask me to regale them with tales of gallant base-ball heroes from the aughts, let me never speak the name “Wooden Nickel” Penny.

Indeed, last evening’s hurling display -- if one can indeed call that disaster “hurling” – certifies his worth somewhere far below the kindly copper for which he is named.

Let not his girthy visage grace a souvenir tobacco card in your next packet of Old Judge, Mayo Cut Plugs, or Ramly Cigarettes. He deserves no enshrinement.

Keep this paunchy pumpkin-tosser far from the hill in any meaningful contest. He has not the mettle for the task.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Good news, but more dunderheadedness

School-age lads from Point Judith to Presque Isle cheered for the return of Alex "Sure Mitten" Gonzalez, the defensively minded between-sacker that so awed Rooters three seasons ago. Indeed, such a move makes a Rooter feel more optimistic about his team's chances...

...that is, if the Red Stockings' flannel-bearers weren't a load of dunderheaded nincompoops intent on sabotaging each and every tilt with shoddy hurling, ineffectual swatting and an altogether laissez-faire attitude in all facets of the game.

Now, dear readers, forgive my foul and foreign language. But I have thoroughly chewed and twirled my moustache over the week-end series versus the Rangers of Texas. Frustrating, indeed.

Yet, shall we retain some optimism for the season? Daresay, yes, good friends. Yes, indeed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Yukon Youkilis, the Beard of the Ages, will sit away from action for five tilts thanks to his fury in last night's donnybrook.

I would gladly offer him five days of leisure -- and endless drams of Duffy's -- in bucolic Westbrook, Maine, for his heroism and pluck.

Good show, Yukon!

Tonight, let the Red Stockings continue their rampage.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back to the future

Fresh from the miasma of despair in the Bronx, the Red Stockings apparently decided to engage in some base-ball play last evening. The final: Bostons 6, Detroits 5.

A "win"!

Indeed, the heroes of Boston-town made offensive hay off of All-Star hurler Edwin "Action" Jackson, notching several full-circuit clouts and at least one base-hit for nearly every member of the starting roster.

And though the bullpen followed the tried-and-true routine of "douse self in kerosene, ignite match, combust self", "Dancin' Jonny" Papelbon emerged from the reserve dugout to nail the match shut.

Best news of all: Those New Yorks, who so tormented the Red Stockings over the week-end, lost a tight nine-framer to division peers Toronto.

Good tidings. Perhaps all is not lost.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Emergency! Disaster! Disaster!

Like the great molasses flood that ended the lives of dozens of Bostonians, the recent events in Rooterville has shook verily to the core the faith of Red Stockings supporters from New Bedford to Bangor.

For six tilts against Eastern League rivals -- the Tampas and the dastardly New Yorks -- our once-vaunted heroes in flannel have appeared as if they are the buffoons at a sideshow carnival, the local lads gathered together to sport against the magically skilled players of the traveling circus.

Where to begin, friends? Perhaps we can broach the subject of the leaky relieving corps, whose propensity for delivering steaming piles of meat to opposing batters has made them more likely to find employment as servers at a North End spaghetti establishment.

Or, perhaps we might discuss the terribly limp noodles that our supposedly fearsome swatters chose to wield instead of their usual racks of ash clouting bats. Again, perhaps our offensively-minded base-ballers would more enjoy a role in the kitchen at said restaurant, choosing whether to fashion their meal into linguini, rotini or even spaghettini!

What about the revelations of The Colossus and his use of various liniments and ointments meant to increase swatting power? Or the discovery that "Lil' Hands" Pedrioa is just a lad of 15 years? Or that Mr. Matsuzaka-san has been sighted frolicking at the far points of Cape Cod rather than deign to palm the horsehide and vex another batsman?

Could it also be the parade of newly-minted Red Stockings treating the turnstiles of Fenway Park into a revolving door of mediocre talent? Whether from the enclaves of Providence and Portland or the confines of some other ball-club, men have continued to stream to the Fens to fill the ranks emptied by injured Red Stockings.

Indeed, when the Beard of the Ages, Yukon Kevin Youkilis, is reduced to patrolling the left outfield for games at a time, it is a signal of desperation from the franchise brain-trust.

The upshot: It is a veritable disaster of the highest order when the Bostons are reduced to a bench of simpering ninnies at the hands of our rivals.

My advice to our erstwhile heroes: Wipe away the tears and let us not hear your whimpers. Shoulder the bats like men, and toe the mounding rubber with authority. Take charge of your futures, men.

If you cannot, all will be lost.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A rotten surprise!

As I was enjoying a summer’s eve in our fine burg of Portland, I joined my esteemed colleague Hurdy Chadwick for a cool, restorative ale at a local tavern. Being a thoroughly modern establishment (which welcomed ladies alongside gentlemen for refreshment!), the saloon featured a state-of-the-art wireless broadcasting the exploits of our beloved Red Stockings.

Upon finishing our beverages and departing for a performance by a noted chanteuse, we made note of the contest’s status – 2 “runs” accumulated by the Bostons with few chapters remaining to be played! Huzzah!

After many hours of song, I returned to my home expecting a victory in the Bostons' ledgerbook. Shockingly, my home wireless was still transmitting a contest in progress, which was quickly ended (to the Bostons' detriment) by a four-ply-drive from the upstart Tampas!

Indigestion commenced, ruining an otherwise fine evening.

Once again, our relief hurlers bear the responsibility. I have taken to calling our bull-pen by a new name: The tinderbox.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A race to the finish!

Last week, as I was sunning my paleness and nursing ale after ale on a remote Maine island, I had little knowledge as to the coup young Theodore Epstein was cooking up in his Fenway office. He most certainly wore his Number 2 to a nub scratching out various "trading" scenarios, and reportedly considered offering J.D. "Old Aches and Pains" Drew to the Padres of San Diego for a barrel of sorghum and a case of hermetically sealed Zwieback toast.

But fate intervened and, when the dust settled, the Red Stockings were among the few trade deadline victors in all of base-ball. Coming to Boston was Victor "Loose Limbs" Martinez, the crowd-pleasing, switch-swatting catcher-cum-first-sacker that has so energized the Indians of the Ohios. Since joining the Heroes in Red, Loose Limbs has performed admirably, engendering plaudits from the men Rooters and swoons from the ladies in attendance at the ballpark.

Above all, it seems Loose Limbs also has provided a much-needed spark in the clouting department, as Boston's offensive ensemble has begun swatting with the urgency of a man trapped in a gibbon cage.

Meanwhile, it is good-bye to Justin Masterson, the gangly deliveryman who has showed much promise on the mounding in his short time with the Major League Club. Alas, we hardly knew ya, Ol' Master-tone! Cheers to your future hurling exploits in your home state, and may you forget your refined pretzel delivery upon next facing our heroes of the Fens!

Other assorted pieces of the dug-out puzzle were put into place, including a farewell to Mr. Adam LaRoche, and a huzzah to Casey Kotchman, yet another able-bodied first sacker. (Perhaps Mr. Epstein believes that the key to championing is a roster replete with first sackers, whose lithe frames and dextrous mittens may offer hints of excellence in other areas of fielding?)

Today begins a difficult stretch for the Bostons, as the face a two-tilt set with the Champs from Tampa, and a four-gamer with the hated Yankees of the Bronx. Indeed, sitting one-two-three atop the American League, the Yankees, Red Stockings and Tampas are snuggling together for what is certain to be a clever finish to the regular season. August is early, but the nip of the September air is soon to be felt among our flannel-clad heroes.

Friends, this is when base-ball matters. This is when prowess with the pill and the ash stick separates he-men from street lads. This is for the whole kazoo, chums!

Let us be victorious!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Gentlemen, show your cards!

While rooters across New England chew their moustaches clean off their lips, Red Stockings General Manager Theo "Boy Wonder" Epstein is waving cigar smoke from his visage, reading ticker-tapes, dispatching messenger boys and cranking his telephone device in an effort to secure new troops for the remaining months of the 2009 base ball campaign.

Scuttlebutt is flying faster than an aeroplane as the clock marches inexorably toward the 4:00 trading deadline. When the hour tolls, who will remain, who will depart, and who will join the squad?

Alas, I am moments from boarding a steamer-ferry for a summer cottage colony on an island in Casco Bay! I hope to receive a strong enough wireless signal to remain current on the latest news, but if nothing else, I will rely on the daily broadsheets and tabloids to recount the results during the week-end.

Until then, keep a tight hold on the Duffy's and remain faithful!


Stuffy McInnes

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

...And then the relief hurlers took the pill

The smoke was visible from Marshfield to Muscongus Bay

When the final tally of the contesting season is calculated, the acrid stench of last evening's conflagration may plague Rooters' olfactory system throughout the winter.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The General leads, we can do naught but follow!

Watching our Gen. Joshua P. Beckett command the pill is like downing a flagon of courage alongside a huge snifter of grit!

His pretzel delivery stymied the Oaklands on a hot July evening, and his curses and jeers from the hilltop charged his compatriots to display a similar absence of mercy with their ash clouts! When the line must hold, when the troops must not break, the General is the man we need.

Let us admire this statistic: The General has recorded 7 victories and zero defeats when hurling after a team “loss.”

Monday, July 27, 2009

Send The Elder out to pasture

Rooters greeted the arrival of John “The Elder” Smoltz to the Boston club with no shortage of excitement in the cold months of the lushing season. This hall-of-fame hurler (rapturous Rooters argued) would surely propel the Local Nine to victory in the all-important month of October, when base-ball anoints its champion!

Alas, a team wishing to prevail in October must at a minimum secure enough victories to join the limited ranks of base-ball’s finest squads. And to-date, The Elder is looking to be more of a hindrance to that quest than a hero.

The Red Stockings have fallen in five of the six contests in which Smoltz twirled the first frame. After each defeat, the recovering hurler assured Rooters that he was working back into top form, and would indeed command the pill with the surety of an “Ace.”

And then, yester-day, he squared against the flighty bird-men of Baltimore. Instead of securing the “sweep,” Smoltz allowed the Baltimores to bat freely and with great force. Base-runners advanced about the diamond like a carnival whirligig. The result: Six “runs” accumulated, and the coffin lid nailed firmly shut.

The calendar stands in the final week of July! The gold-plated aggregation of ringers in New York have begun earning their Steinbrenner doubloons and have overtaken the limping Red Sox in the divisional standings! The speedy yannigans of the Tampa squad are showing fine mettle as well!

There is simply no slack left in the line. A mere game or two difference in the win/loss ledger will likely determine whether the Bostons are clouting and twirling on our behalf through the crisp autumn days, or whether the green walls of Fenway fall silent until spring.

The thought of that silence has me reaching for an extra dram of Duffy’s these evenings. The Bostons cannot allow the Elder to continue his rehabilitation at the expense of the team’s standings. Each time he mounts the hurling mound, it is as if he is waving a white flag rather than dazzling bats-men with a well-located pill.

It is time to replace him in the rotation with another hurler who at least affords an opportunity for victory. Shall it be a “trade” between organizations? Or is the yannigan Buchholz ready to twirl every fifth day? Either! Both! Anything!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Stockings continue to slide!

Not even a cloud of dust from a muffed bag-burgling can obscure the fact that the Red Stockings are in the midst of a base-ball cataclysm. For even those upstarts from the Tejas Territories hosted the Red Stockings and kept the Boston heroes from tallying more than a small child's handful of aces on the board.

Back at the emerald-hued confines of the Fens is sure to do a body good beginning to-morrow eve, as the Home Towners take on the Birds from Baltimore. And in the dug-out there are sure to be some new faces, with General Manager Theodore "Boy Wonder" Epstein coming out aces in a series of backroom shenanigans with two National League squads.

And alas, it is good-bye to our stone-fisted between sacker, Mr. Julio "High Pockets" Lugo. May your britches always be uncommonly hitched upon your lithe frame, and let the breezy winds of St. Louis turn your stern countenance into one of mirth and child-like wonder.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beat that lumbago, Knuckles!

What a malady to befall our tricky hurler, Knuckles Wakefield! A sciatica or lumbago is no trivial matter, and it seems our heroic victory-earner is in line for some rest and relaxation away from the ball-park.

In his stead will be Clay "Beanpole" Buchholz, who has dazzled at the minor league level, and is eager to regain his professional form on the carefully manicured diamonds of the Major Leagues. All eyes will be on his pill tossing this eve.

Godspeed, Knuckles, and Godspeed Beanpole!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A tantrum without base-ball!

The All-Star clouting contest of Monday night dragged on longer than a Sunday sermon at the fundamentalist church, and the All-Star contest itself was an exercise in mock excitement. Indeed, the match had its points of interest, but what bragging rights does a Rooter have if his league is the victor? Shall I telegram a friend from Atlanta, sending my condolences that his team has the misfortune of being part of a league that regularly sucks eggs?

That collection of vaunted heroes in flannel that assembled in fair St. Louis on Tuesday evening had it's own aura and mystique, but it did nothing to rival the excitement a Rooter feels when his Red Stockinged heroes are led from the stadium tunnels to the emerald expanse of Fenway Park. I am ready for victories to land in the "win" column, and for each hurled pill and ash clout to be marked on scorecards in gossamer teardrops. Let it be so, good friends!

Alas, one more eve of waiting. Perhaps to-night I will stoke up the charcoal and prepare a supper of seared sausage and cold ale whilst I draw portraits from memory of the faces of each Boston hero, from the aquiline nose of Jason "The Argonaut" Bay to the devious and impish grin of Dustin "Lil' Hands" Pedrioa. But come tomorrow, I will put my ink wells in a drawer and store my sketch pads out of harms' way.

For tomorrow, base-ball is back.

Monday, July 13, 2009

In the woods, the Rooters cheered!

The above photo-types were snapped this week-end in Winthrop, Maine, at a sylvan site on Little Narrows Pond where Stuffy, Hurdy and an assorted band of miscreants gathered to raise glass after glass to the Topsham Ham Fighters, that talented band of pond-hockey enthusiasts of which we all belong.

On Friday evening, a-fore the campsite was thronging with various ladies and family members intent on swimming and carrying on, the men dug holes, pondered glasses of Duffy's and tossed metal washers in an ingenious game dubbed "O'Connor". (It is most certainly a regional game, perhaps a variation on the Midwesterner's popular game of "Cornelius".)

But as we doled out generous drams of Duffy's and punctured several canisters of ale, we also bent our collective ear to the traveling wireless, which L.A. Gray, captain of the Ham Fighters, had carted down to the waterfront after fashioning a block-and-tackle system from several stout fir poles and hand-wound roping.

We listened intently as Jonathan "Nothin' Doin" Lester twirled a glorious set of ace-less frames, and engaged in rousing choruses of cheers as Dustin "Lil' Hands" Pedroia belted a winning two-sacker in the eighth frame.

The following evening, we sat quietly by the fire-light, the Duffy's having left its mark on our now-fragile constitutions, and listened as the Red Stockings see-sawed with the visiting Kansas City. The visiting yannigans scratched ace after ace despite the ash sticks of the home team supplying much early clouting and plating of lads. Indeed, it was as if the Red Sox hurling corps had taken an early leave and left the pill to a gaggle of fresh-faced pennant-hangers from the nearby colleges. In the end, our moustache-chewing was not required, as the Bostons regained their menacing stance at the home pentagon. Another win for the heroes in Red and Blue!

And Sunday, after a morning of sweeping pine needles from our britches and trucking southward to home, I again settled in for a hurling demonstration from the Good Gen. Joshua P. Beckett, whose pill tossing set the gold standard among pretzel men around the league. The ale was cold, the camaraderie excellent, and the tavern most welcoming.

From the woods to Westbrook, a weekend to recall when the snow begins to fly and I replace my cotton duvet with a Pendleton blanket. Summer, I love thee.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Will no one answer the call?

Responsibility for last-evening's debacle falls squarely on the shoulders of our once-reliable corps of relief hurlers.

When Skipper Francona operates his dug-out telephone device and the corresponding station in the bull-pen emits its feeble tinkle, is there no man able to answer the call in reliable fashion? The voice crackling over the wires makes a simple request: Deliver the pill to the awaiting backstop in a manner that confounds opposing bats-men, and record "outs" in the game ledger!

Instead, Rooters are treated to a procession of ineptitude not seen since Mike "Old Dog" Remlinger limped out of the 'Pen in aught-five!

These demonstrations of swatting-practice twirling must end at once!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Attn. Red Sox: The All-Star pause has not begun yet!

If this shoddy ball-playing continues, I will be forced to take a room at the Neal Institute!

The offense musters a mere two "hits" against a yannigan hurler, and our own veteran John "The Elder" Smoltz heads to the club-house for an early shower-bath? It appears to these eyes that our ball-men have forgotten that several matches stand between them and the All-Star pause in the contesting schedule.

Don't let the All-Star honors distract you from the task at hand. Leave aside the champagne flutes, oysters on the half-shell and broiled Delmonico steaks until the week-end. Pick up your leather mitts, ash-clouts and spiked boots and show us crisp baseball again!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Let us now praise Tim Wakefield!

If anything can soothe the sting of two shabby Red Stockings performances against an inferior squad from Puget Sound, it is the delightful news that our own heroic hurler, Timothy "Knuckles" Wakefield, has received the honorary title of Base Ball All-Star!

For 14 long seasons, "Knuckles" has toiled selflessly for the good of the team, the good of the Sport, and the good of all American citizens who expect their ball-players to uphold the highest standards of personal conduct. Yes, his accumulation of twirling achievements is legendary: He stands alone atop Red Stocking records for matches started, and is within spitting distance for the franchise record for "wins" and "strike-outs."

His baffling effect on the pill's flight, engendered by the mysterious "knuckle-grip," is something few dare attempt, let alone master. But we Rooters know that the greatness of Mr. Wakefield comes from actions that bean-counters, statisticians and base-ball dilettantes overlook.

Whether he is volunteering for duties of ignominy, such as sacrificing his scheduled pitching turn in order to twirl many innings of relief in support of a beleaguered bull-pen during the '04 League Championship Series, or simply volunteering his time on behalf of New England's neglected urchins, he demonstrates all that is good and decent in ball players.

And now, he will be suitably honored across this fine land when he wears the Flannels of the American League in this summer's fabled exhibition contest.

Three cheers for Knuckles -- ball player, gentleman, and All-Star!

Friday, July 3, 2009

And a merry Independence Day to you, sir!

Dear readers,

May your weiners be piping hot, your buns be toasted and your ale cold on your palate. Let the summer sun warm the flesh, and let an ocean breeze be most cooling on your moustache.

Settle down next to a portable wireless and revel in our freedom to listen to chapter after chapter of base-ball whilst sating ourselves with vittles and victuals procured from local merchants.

Cheers the sight of bunting at each and every parade, and holler gaily with every passing demonstration by the marching Women's Auxiliary.

And when our Heroes in Flannel, the Boston Red Stockings, plate ace after ace against the hapless Seattles, hoist your pilsner and be proud for America!

Your friend and confidant, patriot and Rooter, chronicler with Mr. Stuffy McInnes all things Red Stockinged and heroic on the base-ball pitch,

Hurdy Chadwick
Westbrook, Maine

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Victory is ours!

After a devastating struggle in the late chapters, to-day's tilt against the Baltimores turned out with a much finer result: An eleventh hour victory!

Indeed, our gents in crisp flannel made a fine effort to forget the muffs and gaffes of the previous day's disappointment and turned in a dandy of a "win" this afternoon. The day was filled with Youkilises and Pedroias, and our strong hurler Papelbon passed a milestone of his own. The day even saw a fine scoring clout by one High-Pockets Lugo.

Lest we forget, we are dealing with heroes here, friends. Heroes.

Sometimes, there are just no words

Ponder your failure, relief-hurlers. Your epic, world-beating failure.

Ponder, and remember.

Never again.

(Back to my day-bed with a tumbler of Duffy's)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fare-the-well, Col. Westbrook!

The good scribe, Col. Westbrook

Allow me a brief departure from base-ball happenings and Red Stockinged conquests about this great land, for I have news.

It is with heavy heart I relay to you, dear readers, that the editor and publisher of my most favorite local news gathering organization, Westbrook Diarist, has shuttered its doors, ran its inkwells dry and moth-balled its printing presses.

At first mention of the closing of the most esteemed periodical to grace the banks of the Presumpscot since Nell Cavanaugh's Studies of Cumberland County Loam: A Land-Tiller's Quarterly Reference, I retired glumly to my sitting chair. Pondering the news, I poured a healthy dram of Duffy's and, with not a little moisture in my eyes -- which I ascribed to the summer catarrhal, of course -- raised my glass to Col. Westbrook, the brave and enterprising documentarian of all things of note in the Paper City.

Though a relative newcomer to the lush boundaries of Westbrook, the good Colonel has educated me and the local citizenry as to what it means to live with local fervor, and to heartily celebrate this burg on the periphery of Portland's bustling seaport.

What's more, Col. Westbrook was magnanimous with his observations, and took time to share with Full Circuit Clout his fine rememberances of when the Red Stockings deigned to travel north from Boston to share the shining loot of World Series Victory with the men and ladies of Maine. We at Full Circuit Clout are honored to feature his writings.

So to Col. Westbrook, we salute thee with a flagon of Duffy's! Huzzah to the Diarist from the Banks of the Presumpscot! May your writings live on and invigorate future generations of Westbrookians!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Back to the Farm League?

The honchos of the Red Stockings have rendered their decision on the fate of one Daisuke Matsuzaka, our talented though maddeningly inconsistent hurler that has been equal parts flannel-clad hero and ineffectual pill tosser in his years with the home-town club.

The solution? It is the "injury list" for Mr. Matsuzaka-san, where he will be free to apply as many bandages and liniments as it takes to salve his ailing hurling arm. Or, perhaps, a long and refreshing stay at a western Maine resort where the cool air and purified waters will help him emerge from his current fugue like a sober man from a night in the hoosegow.

This year has shown our hurler from the Land of the Rising Sun to be a curious and difficult case. He allows sharp clouts as often as un-planned "walks", and opponents' ash sticks seem neither cowed nor deceived by Mr. Matsuzaka-san's pretzel delivery.

But fortunately for Rooters -- many of whom have spent much time anxiously chewing their moustaches as a result of Mr. Matsuzaka-san's pitching mound peculiarities -- there is hope on the horizon in the form of John "The Elder" Smoltz. The crafty veteran is sure to lift the spirits of many Red Stockings' fans just by toeing the hurling rubber in tomorrow night's major league debut. To see such an accomplished delivery-man wearing the flannels of the Olde Towne Team is enough to make one's base-ball-squeezed heart leap a few beats.

For while we wish a speedy recovery to our Daisuke Matsuzaka, we are secure in the knowledge that all has not gone astray with the full 162-game campaign. Alas, would that the same could be said for our peers down Bronx way!

Monday, June 22, 2009

And the sky was split with the force of his clouting!

A terrible booming sound has echoed far and wide across the land. The common man can be forgiven for assuming it is the sound of thunder pealing through the leaden New England skies.

But Rooters know the true source of the racket: Our mighty swat-artist, "Colossus" Ortiz, has reclaimed the power of his fearsome ash-stick and launched a collection of window-rattling four-ply drives. He is now responsible for 5 full-circuit clouts in the month of June.

Yesterday, he delivered his most impressive blast yet -- walloping the pill into the teeth of a gale and over the Green Monster Edifice! Prior to his display, many seasoned base-ball men assumed that no mortal could reach the fences in such a blow! But the Colossus has been known to make hay of such narrow-minded predictions.

Later, like Prometheus stealing fire, the journeyman between-sacker Nick Green followed our Hero's lead by ending the contest with a round-tripper of his own. The assembled throng (Yours Truly among them) let forth a rousing "Huzzah" and raised their dripping Mackintosh sleeves skyward to recognize the achievement.

Opponents beware: The Colossus is standing in the batters-box with mayhem on his mind again.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Delightful weiners!

(Breaks in the contesting schedule allow Hurdy and Stuffy to muse on subjects other than the comings-and-goings of out beloved Boston squad. Today, Stuffy offers opinions on an important topic: Ball-park comestibles.)

In my pereginations across this fine land, I avail myself of all opportunities to experience the local base ball sporting scene. For tho’ it is our national past-time, base ball develops unique characteristics according to its home region. Such local specialities include:
- “The Baltimore Chop”
- “The Texas-Leaguer”
- “The Akron Mock-Muff”
- “The New Amsterdam Shoe-horn”
- “The Poughkeepsie Pelt”

So during my recent sojourns, when dispatches to this fine record were meager, it became my duty and pleasure to observe local base ball as played in the Borough of Queens, New York, home of the Metropolitans of the National League.

There, a team of cigar-chomping bankers swindled the populace into constructing (an admittedly glorious) new ball-park, complete with dazzling amenities that are sure to be hallmarks of base-ball’s future -- including but not limited to powder rooms for the ladies in attendance!

Parading through the grounds, my experienced eye did not register the Metropolitans signature maneuver -- “The Flushing Flop” (For on this evening, the local squad achieved a dramatic “win” in extra frames).

Instead, I was gobsmacked by the victuals on display at the stadium canteen. Like all sensible Rooters, I find that a steaming weiner provides the perfect accompaniment for an evening of fine hurling and swatting. As luck would have it, wiener-stands are plentiful in this ball-park.

Upon procuring my snack, I searched for piquant mustard to dispense upon my tube-steak, as is my custom. Forthwith, I was directed to a steam-table displaying a cornucopia of condiments and dressings befitting a rajah! Alongside the traditional mustard and new-fangled but dubious “cat-sup,” I found:
- The Teutonic cabbage-based delicacy known as “sour-kraut”
- Pickled “relish”
- A saucy concoction of onion slices in red gravy
- And a pile of bright-green vegetable discs thinly sliced for ease-of-deployment between bun and frankfurter

The menu-poster informed me that these green beauties were known as “jalapeno peppers” – which I gleaned from the name’s Spanish derivation to be an imported fruit from South of the Border. Indeed, moldering letters sent from my Uncle Travis McInnes during the Mexican War contain obscure references to a fiery local pepper that soldiers found beneficial to their digestion.

“When in Rome,” as the saying goes -- so I carefully assembled a mixture of silvery cabbage, verdant “relish,” slick red onions and circular “jalapenos” atop my weiner sausage. Taking a first, tentative bite, I was delighted by the mixture of sweet and savory flavors, and the way the textures complemented the toothy snap of the weiner’s casing.

Then, I felt a pleasant heat spreading across my palate, enhancing my senses even as my free hand flew upwards to signal a passing suds-slinger! Soon, I fell into the rhythm: Bite of dog, pleasant burn, sip of cooling lager. Bite of dog, pleasant burn, sip of cooling lager.

Rooters: It was a platonic dish. In all my years of base-ball dining, never have I had such a satisfying weiner!

As a result, I implore the concessions crew at Fenway Park to expand their dressing and condiment selection. Scour the ethnic enclaves within the Hub to source these fine delicacies!

I give you my word that even conservative Rooters will take a shine to a Fenway Frank festooned with the flavors of the globe, or my name isn’t:

Stuffy McInnes, Rooter.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oh, the disaster!

Cornelius! Applebags, I say -- consarnit and phooey on this!

For what holy terror reigns when the Good Gen. Joshua P. Beckett loses his gumption on the pitching hill? Our fear-less leader, with whom any Rooter would not hesitate to follow into bloody conflict, was wronged in yesterday's tilt against the Philadelphians.

Indeed, the Freedom Fighters from the City of Brotherly Loving showed Boston's Patriotic heroes a thing or two about rising up against tyranny and breaking free from the bonds of well-hurled pills.

If only each "loss" was gift-wrapped with such a message of moral clarity.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A knock-out!

At the completion of this three-round bout, the Bostons stood tall while the Gothams lay prone on the canvas like a battered palooka!

Snappy twirling by “Nickles” Penny and another four-ply drive from the Colossus accounted for the major blows. But a series of well-placed jabs from nearly every Boston squad member helped send their opponent tumbling.

And now, the glum Gothams rumble home on their steam train, holding a steak to their blackened eye. Good show!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Prepare to duke, New York!

To-night, the Bostons take the field refreshed to face the Goliaths from Gotham, who have regained the top spot in the Eastern League of the Americans after a year of wandering and introspection.

What will this eve's tilt bring to the green environs of the Fens? Will catcalls rain down on admitted opiate fiend Alex "Slaps" Rodriguez? Will Mark "Sacks o' Cash" Teixeira engender similar dissatisfaction from the home crowd of Rooters? Will Melky "Chubby Britches" Cabrera finally find the foot-long frankfurter stand below the center-field bleacher seats?

All questions and more will be answered beginning with the first hurl of the pill this evening. Count me among the Rooters who will be tuned to the wireless to follow the proceedings. And rest assured that in one hand will be a tumbler of Duffy's Pure Malt Whiskey while the other will be set to commence with a dose of moustache twirling should the game get tight.

Go forth, you heroic Red Stockings!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Curious Case of High-Pockets Lugo

When I awoke this morning with a woolly mouth, I could not decide if it was from all the lager and whiskey I quaffed last evening, or the bitter aftertaste of another shoddy performance by our beleaguered between-sacker, High-Pockets Lugo.

Rooters once again groaned as Ol' High-Pockets failed to contain a routine grasser. The play appeared to be a frame-ending "out" wrapped up in bows and ribbons. Instead, the pill tumbled past his feeble reach and plated one "run." The failure also allowed the Texans continued swatting, whereby bats-man Kinsler showed his appreciation for the additional swings by depositing the orb over the fences.

Hurler "Nickles" Penny took the gentleman's position following the contest, and declined to assign blame to his short-stop. But fellow scribblers and keyboard-clatterers have sharpened their nibs and begun executing High-Pockets by 1,000 pricks.

What to make of this enigma that is Lugo? Base-ball arithmaticians decry his reduced "range" -- and indeed, this once fleet-footed bag burgler now seems a one-man molasses flood on the diamond.

Is he still feeling the effects of surgery for Water on the Knee?

Did his much-touted work with the medicine ball during the winter months create too much bulk on his wiry frame?

Perhaps an excess of zinc in his diet has unbalanced his body humours?

Whatever the cause, the club must find a solution before High-Pockets' increasingly erratic play puts another check in the loss column.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

How dare you, sir?

In last evening's tilt against the Detroits, the squad in the early frames appeared as if they had just emerged from a double-shift at one of the many jalopy factories that dot this burg by the shores of Lake Saint Clair. They were seemingly asleep at the machinery of bats and balls, swinging their ash sticks lazily at each pill delivery. Their knees went wobbly as the horsehide dipped through the striking zone, and many a batsman staggered back to the dugout after being called "out" by the lead umpire behind the pentagon.

In truth, what afflicted the Detroits, those hale and hearty men from Michigan's fair land? Friends, it was neither the sleeps nor the summer caterrhal. Indeed, it was the devious and disciplined hurling of our own field commander, Gen. Joshua P. Beckett. The Good General allowed our home-town heroes to rack two five-spots of "runs" whilst being stingy and allowing zero for the Detroits.

And the General was not in the mood to accept guff from undisciplined gents: One Detroit attempted a "bunt" by squaring the ash to the pill, which resulted in a dribbling "hit" that for his good fortune rolled out of bounds. Such a strategy is in clear violation of a true base-ball-man's code of ethics when facing a hurler that has given up not only zero aces, but also zero "hits" on any one delivery. The General's response? A particularly crafty curving delivery that made Mr. Gerald Laird look the fool, and a beanball to the fair Mr. Laird just two chapters later.

And that, good sir, will educate you on the folly of tarrying with Gen. Joshua P. Beckett!

Update from Michigan: Boston 6, Detroit 3 in the last of the fifth. The Red Stockings posted six aces in the third chapter, including two scored without even the benefit of putting bat on ball! What a time to be alive!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Missing Persons Report

Where are Hurdy and Stuffy, some Rooters may wonder.

Fallen off Duffy's Cliff?

Swept away in the Great Molasses Flood?

Done in by the Swine Flu epidemic?

Fortunately, nothing so dire as that. However, we have been unavoidably detained in recent days. In my circumstance, so far from the Hub that I have been unable to follow our beloved Red Stockings base ball club via wireless or even a reliable dispatch in the local broadsheet.

Regrets all around, and rest assured we will return to chronicling our heroes' diamond-exploits directly.


Stuffy McInnes, Rooter.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Three cheers for a "sweep"!

The Bostons manhandled the visiting Torontos in capital style over the course of three games, serving notice that they will not allow their Northern rivals to enjoy divisional pre-eminence for much longer.

“Nothin’ Doin” Lester displayed fine mettle on the mound, surrendering a mere one “run” to the flighty bird-men. Our crack squad of reserve hurlers picked up the thread and sewed the sack shut.

Meanwhile, our batsmen continued their assault on hapless Toronto twirlers, with our own resident alien Jason “Argonaut” Bay once again making the loudest clout. A forceful message indeed that this mild-mannered Canadian gives no quarter to a squad representing his homeland!

To-night, the Bostons cross bats with the Metropolitans of the National League, in the annual diversion of inter-league contests. Tho’ fielding a weakened aggregation, the “Mets” ride forth this evening behind their own General, the spectactular-hurling Johan Santana. Will the returning Matsuzaka-san measure up to the task?

Rooters wait in keen anticipation!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And thus spoke the Colossus!

And a tremendous sigh of relief was exhaled by the assembled Rooters as the Colossus made hay with a doozy of a delivery, clouting the pitch deep into the Boston night. And a restful sleep certainly was enjoyed last evening by Mr. Ortiz, our genial clouter who had seemed to have traded his ash clouting stick for a damp noodle.

Welcome back, Our Feared Colossus!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Greenest Yannigan

Curses on the inexperience of youth! As I sat in my armchair, an afternoon tumbler of Duffy's at the ready to bring me along into extra chapters during yesterday's thrilling stalemate with the Seattles, I heard the most horrendous sound.

The radio man's voice became high-pitched and wheezy, as he recounted a disastrous turn of events from the yannigan between-sacker Nicholas "Funny Britches" Green. Seems the rook made a colossal muff, hurling the apple beyond the first sacker and into a stand of bugs and cranks.

"What gives?" yelled I, receiving nothing but the crackle of the wireless as a reply.

Lo and behold, Green's gaffe led on the very next striker to a Seattle tally, and the conclusion of the match. The Seattles stormed the pitch like long-suffering seamen finally reaching port, while our flannel-clad heroes in Red hung their heads and boarded their Pullman sleepers for the journey back east.

Blargh on you, Mr. Green! And assorted follies for the other chaps who made this traveling set of games such a dismal basket of base-ball.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Downpour in the Cascades!

The clouts came early and often last evening as the Red Stockings and the Seattles squared off on the banks of Puget Sound. Before the attendees had settled into the stadium seating, The Argonaut blasted a mighty four-ply drive to put the Olde Towne Team on top by two aces. Capt. Varitek followed with a full circuit clout the very next chapter, adding another two Red Stockings across the pentagon.

Yannigan Jeffrey "Champ" Bailey Gen. Beckett pitched admirably, despite his penchant for offering the occasional batsmen a particularly fine pill to mash into the night sky.

This after-noon, the Red Stockings again face the Seattles, and will feature a batting order without The Colossus, who has appeared to trade his mighty ash for a cattail-and-reed this very season.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The case of the disappearing Colossus

A warm spring sun cannot un-chill the hearts of New Englanders this morning. Some bemoan the fall of our ice hockey squad. Others grimly chew their moustaches and lament the inability of their green-clad basket-ball men to seal victory in their own championship tournament.

But stopping by the local tavern for my morning whiskey, I heard the loudest argle-bargle coming from Rooters pondering the performance of our great hero, David "The Colossus" Ortiz.

This once fearsome swat artist is now a mere spectral presence in the batting-box, his ash stick no better than a willow switch in his tentative fists. Last evening, in the far away Anaheim township of the Los Angeles metropolitan region of California, our Colossus failed to make a hit in seven trips to the pentagon. Worse, he had on two occasions a full complement of red-stocking base runners just waiting for him to deliver the fatal blow.

Skipper Francona, as befuddled as all Rooters, has determined that the big man be relieved of swatting duties for the evening. In the interim, he's cabled the local constabulary, inquiring whether they have a detective trained in the latest sleuthing sciences that can uncover the mystery of our missing Colossus.

Courage, Rooters. Courage.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Who's minding the store?

Hullo? Hullo?

Is there any-body here?

Please forgive the dingy appearance of Full Circuit Clout these past days. Your genial proprietors Hurdy and Stuffy, Esqs., have been plundering the depths of their inkwells and scratching parchment after parchment to satisfy their day-do-day employers.

Indeed, such joy as is taken from maintaining this enterprise, your friends of the pen haven't kept up the store as we'd like. That said, we assure you, dear reader, that we haven't forgotten our mission, to produce a periodical where "we celebrate this fine pasttime of base-ball, a sensible game for sensible men, where morals reign and comradeship is paramount."

In the coming days and weeks, we will make certain to weigh in on matters of import to the base-ball fandom the world over, including:

  • Manny "The Wonder" Ramirez' running afoul of league inspectors, and a rumored visit by the Pinkertons to inquire about unlawful shipments of contraband whisky from our friends in Canada.
  • Dustin "Lil' Hands" Pedroia and the state of his beleagured frame. Will the extra days' rest refill his flagon of grit and determination to overflowing?
  • The crafty willow-wielding by our offensive juggernaut, Jason "The Argonaut" Bay
  • Our cadre of scouts in the garden, who have of late patroled the green grass of Fenway's outer-field with speed and aplomb
  • Will our Colossus return? "Fear not," say base-ball compatriots!
  • The redemption of our stout-limbed Captain Varitek, who was content on a recent night to hoist the entire team to victory thanks to a well-timed swat of his ash club.
All that and much more in store for you, dear reader. Until then, onward to victory, you flannel-clad heroes of the Red Stockings!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sweeping out Gotham

After a humiliating series in the miasma-infested hippodrome of the Tampas, the Local Nine steamed north for their first visit to the new base-ball edifice of the New Yorks. To the delight of Rooters all across New England, our boys were very unwelcome guests.

That facility’s preposterous trappings of empire failed to cow our lion-hearted ball men, who instead made clout upon clout ring out through the city’s damp skies. The only sound louder than the crack of ash against horsehide was the invective hurled toward their own team by enraged bleacherites, many bundled in mackintoshes and ulsters against the miserable weather conditions. Seems the New York crowd is feeling a bit fleeced this spring – from both the outrageous fees required to enter the turnstiles of the new ball grounds, and from the high-priced ringers acquired during the off-season who as yet are counting more silver dollars than “hits” or “quality starts.”

Pardon me if I fail to sympathize with those whinging malcontents -- I have a ball game to follow this evening, as the Clevelands arrive for two tilts in Fenway Park.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Recuperate that golden throat!

I recently noted my affection for our beloved base-ball announcer in this space, and it appears our broadcast hero is on the mend from an ailment that has accursed him since early this season. We at Full Circuit Clout wish Mr. Remy a speedy recovery and offer this tonic as a remedy for full-health: Duffy's Pure Malt Whiskey, for when you are not looking well!

Meanwhile, our wireless will crackle with the goodness of The Eck, direct from Gotham's grand new fortress, where our local nine will spend two evenings tussling with the inimitable New Yorks.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Vapors in the batting box!

What gives, Heroes of the Hub, our flannel-clad warriors of the base-ball pitch? When you swing your ash sticks, why does it look so feeble? When you put ash on horsehide, why is it more like an ineffectual slap than a mighty clout? Why must it appear that you swoon from a case of the vapors each time the hurler deceives you with his pretzel delivery?

I am not accustomed to being stern with our local nine, but the time has come to remind our erstwhile heroes that they are men, and men who clout and produce four-ply drives with efficacy and grit! Men who make merry on the opposing squad's home-plate! Men who beguile and consternate with each new delivery of the pill!

Above all, Boston Red Stockings are men who achieve victory. Let us not forget our purpose, gentlemen.

Friday, May 1, 2009

White washed!

When we bestowed our "Yannigan of the Week" honor on young Van Every, we surely did not expect his exploits to include hurling a frame of relief in a debacle of a base ball contest.

More troubling is the fact he commanded the pill with more aplomb than our erstwhile leader, Gen. Joshua P. Beckett. In fact, the General has appeared of late more like a buck private, and the dark clouds of concern are gathering over New England this morning.