Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Play ball!

Rooters: Sharpen your pencil-leads and prepare your score-cards!

To-day, at last, the Red Stockings begin exhibition contests under the Florida sun. Their first opponents are that fine, hale bunch of lettermen from Boston College, seen above in a studio photograph. These lads are sure to be awestruck from simply sharing a diamond with their professional balling heroes.

But for myself and Hurdy Chadwick, the afternoon's drama shall not be found in the accumulation of "runs" and "outs." Instead, we intend to scrutinize the action for tantalizing portents of the season's fate.

- Will "High Pockets" Lugo begin demonstrating his case for the starting short-stop role when he first toes the dirt of the batter's box?

- How will hometown hero Rocco "The Woonsocket Rocket" Baldelli overcome the mysterious nerve condition that prevented him from participating in regular contests last year?

- Can our aggregation of veteran and yannigan hurlers command the pill with vim and determination -- especially the fallen-angel of the staff, "Beanpole" Buchholz?

The time for idle speculation and academic debate is over. Deeds on the diamond will provide the answers we've long awaited. Huzzah!

Alas, the mid-day contest is not being carried on the wireless. However, a syndicate of newspaper men have apparently commandeered a disused ticker-tape device from a renowned industrialist recently ruined in the Bank Panic of '09. They've adapted the machine to receive telegraph updates from sideline reporters, and will dutifully recount the action through the miracle of modern electronics.

What a time to be alive!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Who will man between the sacks?

In this spring-time training season, there is one competitive question humming around the Fort Myer's practicing grounds: What mitten-wielder will man the stretch of infield dirt between the second and third sacks?

Will it be Julio "Highpockets" Lugo, the composed and genial gent whose glove is more decent than his noodle bat?

Or will Jed "Square Face" Lowrie step to the challenge and retain his roster position from last season?

At this point, the outcome of the competition will be anyone's guess. But Hurdy Chadwick, for one, believes it will do Highpockets a world of good to pit mitten against mitten, and ash stick against ash stick, to prove he still has the mettle for the job.

Go get 'em, heroes in flannel!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spring profile: Domo arigato, Mr. Saito!

Greetings to our newest friend from the Farthest Reaches of Asia. And though Mr. Takashi Saito hails from Sendai in the Miyagi Prefecture of Japan, he comes to Boston by way of The City of Angels, where sun-drenched palms and loose morals hold sway.

But while little is known about Mr. Saito's moral predilections, there is plenty of horsehide lessons to learn about our new hurling hero. Herewith are several tidbits about the former star of the Yokohama BayStars, Mr. Takashi Saito!
  • As this periodical clearly states, Mr. Saito has logged the fastest pill-delivery amongst the Nippon Professional Base-ball Groups, marking 99 miles-per-hour on Prof. Cornelius Van Den Bosch's famed "Smoot-meter." The complex calculation is based on noted MIT mathematician Mortimer Fudge's Smoot bridge measuring theorem.
  • Though engaged by American pancakes, Mr. Saito remains a "cereal" man, enjoying flakes of corn and grains, followed by a hot mug of water.
  • The 39-year-old hurler, who specializes in relieving the starting hurling corps, has garnered the nick-name "The Mole" from base-ball supporters for his habit of digging with his cleated shoes on the pitching hill.
Please welcome Takashi Saito!

We at Full Circuit Clout will deliver periodical "Spring profiles" as the Red Stockings continue their springtime campaign in sunny Florida.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Rooters welcome the Colossus!

The above crowd shares the same sentiment: It is a welcome sight to see The Colossus' formidable presence on the sun-dappled fields of Fort Myers.

And remarks like this to the various press corps milling about the ball-playing complex further reinvigorates a Rooter's sense of optimism. We enjoy your clouting endeavors, big man of the diamond!

Bring the new season, and bring it quickly!

The return of Ol' Aches and Pains

"Ack! My old spare tire!"

Amidst the cheers and well-wishes of the assembled ball-field heroes, this one solitary lament rang clear and true through the dressing room. There was little surprise that the one vocalizing his discontent was David John Drew -- or, as the cynical scribes of Boston-town have taken to calling him, "Ol' Aches and Pains".

Indeed, it seems that another season has begun with Aches and Pains sidelined by one or another malady. This time, it's the old lumbago flaring up, causing discomfort when leaning to field a well-struck horsehide or slicing his ash through the striking-zone with any of his butter-smooth swings.

What gives, Ol' A&P? Have we not shown you the proper respect and admiration for your clouting and mitten-wielding antics? For what do we deserve this latest malady? Or perhaps, it is just the body's way of alerting you that your playing days are on the wane.

Advice: Hot liniment and soothing ointments to refresh the blood vessels and assorted human machinery in the lower-back region. Then, to top it off, a nip or two of Duffy's for a well-rounded, purposeful feeling. Back to new!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oh Glorious Day!

Whilst New England droops under damp and misty winter conditions, there is a fresh zephyr blowing from the Southland that absolves all Rooters from glum-ness. For to-day, in the City of Palms, hurlers and backstops have reported to the Bostons’ Spring training quarters!

Tho’ the wires report overcast skies in that region of the Flower state this morning, a thermometer in the 70’s provides a fine atmosphere for the limbering exercises and hurling drills that signify the advance of the base-ball contesting season.

Horsehide pills shall sail through the air and smack resoundingly into leather mitts! Pretzel deliveries will be observed under swaying palm fronds! Steamer-trunks of liniments and cartons of Duffy’s stand open to sooth any “barking” appendages on our new crop of cranky-armed twirlers, such as “Nickles” Penny and The Georgia Peach, John “Smoltzie” Smoltz.

If the sawbones have successfully restored those golden arms to form, their addition to the likes of Gen. Joshua P. Beckett and “Nothin’ Doin’” Johnny Lester present a hurling contingent at least equal to -- if not better than -- the aggregation that came within one match of securing the Pennant of the American League!

In short time, our fearsome bats-men will join the battery mates to begin “stick” work and field conditioning. With respect to the ground-rodent that superstitious country-folk consider a prognosticator of the seasons, Hurdy and I believe that this day is truly the portent of Spring that drives away the chilblains. Huzzah!

Spring profile: Penny for your thoughts?

Bradford Albersquela Penny: Six feet and four inches of 30-year old, right-handed hurling.

But beyond his towering physicality, what does Bradford -- or "Nickels", per his rambunctious Los Angeles benchmates -- offer to the collection of Red Stockinged heroes assembling on the southern Gulf Coast of Florida? Others have opined, but let me add our thoughts. Herewith, a list, divined from my well-placed sources in Fort Myers and telegraphed northward with all due haste:
  • Nickels enjoys a dandy game of cribbage, and has been seen ribbing Lil' Hands and Manager Terrence over their card-playing acumen.
  • He is the most recent National League base-ball hurler to strike out four batters in one inning -- a mind-bendingly difficult feat, yet one that never fails to excite the crowded Rooters.
  • Nickels is reunited with his former hurling chum, Gen. Joshua P. Beckett, who together slayed the Gotham Yankees in the World Series six years ago. It is surely fate that has brought both aces to Boston, which was on the brink of despair after losing so cruelly to those Gothamists that same six years ago.
  • Nickels is not a sock garter man. No, he has vowed his allegiance to the contemporary elasticized stocking. A modern man, without doubt!
Please welcome Bradford "Nickels" Penny.

We at Full Circuit Clout will bring you more "Spring profiles" as the Red Stockings begin their springtime campaign in sunny Florida.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let's go down to Florida Town!

The slush piles continue to grow in the northeast, but Red Stockings hurlers and their prodigious mitt-men already have escaped the winter wind.

As I write, our heroic batterymates from all points in the country are chuffing on railroads toward sunny Florida. Buchholz, Lester, Beckett, the gang's all here! Saito, Smoltz and Penny, the new crop comes with freshly oiled mitts and a willingness to learn the game the Bostonian way -- with courage, grit and flaggons of Duffy's Pure Malt Whiskey at the ready!

Tomorrow, the Lushing Season ends and Spring Training begins. Glory to be alive, for spring can't be far behind in New England!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Our newest rocket

There is a giant clatter, and a spark and flame shoot o'er the ground when the rocket lifts off. What an exciting and wonderful time to be a fan of all things aeronautical!

But pay not attention to the night sky, and forget the celestial bodies that enrapture those of us lucky enough to glance through a shining looking glass. For the stars for which we care are kept firmly on the ground, in the confines of a diamond, with green, green grass underfoot and the Sunday sun shining above.

And to-day there is one star we are discussing: The Rocket. And no, good readers, not this Rocket. Indeed, the fair City of Boston has gained itself a new Rocket, and this Rocket is dubbed the Woonsocket Rocket, and hails from the nearby southerly enclaves of Rhode Island.

It's a local boy done good, and I, for one, will cheer lustily for our new No. 5 throughout the coming campaign!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Monster from the Bronx

There is a menace wandering the streets of the Bronx, with muscles and flesh part human and part science fiction. But rather than petrify and curdle even the strongest of wills, this madman is among the most revered swatsman in all of base-ball.

What gives?

This gives, I tell you.

Indeed, Alexander "Slaps" Rodriguez, it has been reported, is guilty of that cardinal sin of doping one's body with pharmaceutical-grade gibberish. Instead of sticking with the tried-and-true and remedying his maladies with Duffy's and a pinch of salt-cured ham, Slaps took the easy way out, sticking his rump with the types of needles best left to the bums in the Bowery or those caustic and nihilistic song-scribes from Tin Pan Alley.

And who is to blame? Why, good readers, we are to blame. Stuffy and I carry the weight of this. For our periodical is called "Full Circuit Clout," and we are single-handedly contributing to this nation's fundamental fascination with the long-distance swat, the moonshot four-bagger, the sweet sassy molassey. It is I, old friends, that takes responsibility for championing the full circuit clout above other base-ball pursuits such as mitten-wielding, field running and pill tossing. Oh, to take a step back in time and rearrange this disaster!

Alas, not a thing is possible. Slaps is forever tarnished. And truly, am I right to feel the shame of leading him to ruin? Is celebrating the most heroic of all sporting accomplishments -- the full circuit clout -- truly to blame for pushing Slaps toward his fateful decision? Am I not just a pawn in this opera of skullduggery and intrigue?

I am not complicit, dear readers! I neither procured the doping agent nor stuck Slaps in the hindquarters with a druggist's hypodermic. Let his fall from grace be his punishment, and let Full Circuit Clout continue to celebrate all that is good with the sweet four-bag roundtrip from each of the game's most accomplished swatsmen!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gentlemen, start your engines!

Once these lads unload their milk jugs at Oakhurst Dairy in Portland, they'll motor south over the Piscataqua and through the coastal farmlands of New Hampshire to the bustling city of Boston.

The destination is Lansdowne Street, and Friday's job is thus: Pack the catching mittens of our trunk-legged Captain, and the ointments and slings for our fragile outfielder. Assemble the thick ash clouting sticks of our home-town Colossus, and the garish night-time clothing of our eccentric but loved hurler. Make haste to pack the salt pills and water jugs, for the Floridian sun is sure to wreak havoc with our Heroes' wintering temperments.

The trucking enterprise will include a caravan of flatbeds and diesel janes running the length of the eastern seaboard to deliver the goods to the Gulf Coast enclave of the Red Stockings' spring-time home.

Indeed, the entire Red Stocking squad will convene from far and wide in Fort Myers in just a few weeks' time, and the first sign of the end of the Lushing Season and the beginning of the hard work that precedes a 162-game season of professional base-balling.

Rest assured, Rooters, that intrepid reporters Hurdy Chadwick and Stuffy McInnes will deliver to you the finest of discussions regarding our Olde Town Team, and will cheer in the earliest sprouts of the newest base-ball season.

Huzzah, the grand game is nearly back!