Friday, March 27, 2009

Rejuvenating with the Grapefruit Circuit

Ahoy Rooters. I must thank the Hon. Hurdy Chadwick for helming this fine ship of base ball reportage in my recent absence. You see, I was called away from New England unexpectedly to assist my uncle Stuart McInnes, who got himself in a spot of trouble down south. Seems he has been taken in by a real estate swindler from the neigh-on-lawless state of Florida!

It’s a depressingly common confidence game -- some fast-talking binder-boy proffers the paperwork for a Cocoa-Nut plantation befitting a Rajah, but the property in question turns out to be an infernal mess of saw palmetto and venomous vipers not worth the stamps to mail the deed. I received a cable from Ol’ Stu seeking my assistance in recouping his loss (or at least finding a greater fool to take on the plot), and within hours I was steaming south in a Pullman car.

Some good, at least, has come of this unexpected journey: I am amidst the spring-training locales of several base-ball clubs, and managed a few hours yester-noontime to observe an exhibition contest between the Metropolitans of New York and the visiting Detroits!

The red-earth of the base-paths and green of the out-field were a vision of Heaven here on Earth! The whizzing of a delivered pill and the crack of ash against horsehide sounded like the Heavenly Host itself proclaiming Hallelujah! White flannel shone like hammered silver under the Sun’s benevolent rays! Steamed wieners and chilled lager paraded past my grandstand perch in an endless, delightful banquet!

I say, it was better than a belt of Duffy’s for curing the non-specific sense of malaise that often befalls a Rooter at this time of year. Alas, I must soon pack my straw boater and seersucker suit and trundle north to the still-gray environs of Maine, but I will be buoyed by the knowledge that Opening Day of the 2009 base-ball contesting season is a mere 10 days hence.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Adieu, dear hurler!

Yesterday, I was tinkering in my yard shed, repairing the bungholes on a few finely coopered salt barrels, when the evening newspaper was tossed on my front walk. The headline stopped me in my tracks:
Hub Hurler Lays Down Flannel
Yes, our own Teutonic rabble rouser, Curt "Der Spiegel" Schilling, has hung up his spiked shoes and his well-oiled mitt after 20 electrifying campaigns in the Major Leagues of Base-ball.

Rooters' debts to Mr. Schilling shall never be repaid in full, for that I am sure. A favorite base-ball scribe of Full Circuit Clout, Mr. Chad Finn, penned a loving eulogy that is sure to have even the hardiest Rooter weeping in his suds come quitting time.

A tip of the hat-bill to our Germanic deliveryman, whose whirling, twirling and hurling defined an era of success in New England base-ball. His achievements and sacrifices will not be forgotten.

Three cheers for old Bavaria himself, the Merlin from Berlin, Mr. Curt Schilling!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dukes up for St. Patrick!

The lads added a dash of green to their home whites to-day, in a jaunty salute to old St. Patrick, the patron saint of four-ply drives and corkscrew hurling.

And what a day to be from Boston! The heroic Red Stockings laid bare those crosstown yannigans, the Minnesotans, to regain the lead in the Mayor's Cup competition. What's more, fun was to be had at the expense of Lil' Hands Pedroia, when The Colossus Ortiz tricked a little man in green to wear old Lil' Hands' numbers.

Indeed, good friends, a satisfying time was had by all at the ball-park confines this day! Levity was on special, and shenanigans were being heaped by the plateful. What a time to be alive -- even yours truly indulged in a few thimbles of Duffy's Pure Malt Whiskey as the gents started hurling and twirling. (Truth be told, I am now tight as a tin drum, good people!)

To-day, celebrate. On the morrow, it is a return to the business at hand.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Injured before the battle starts

Every good general knows not to put the troops in danger in advance of a campaign. Yet two of our fellas from the dirt ring -- second sacker Lil' Hands Pedroia and between-sacker Julio "High Pockets" Lugo -- have been afflicted by muscle strains and other assorted maladies.

What gives, Skipper? Have you been putting the lads through their paces in a too-accelerated manner? For instance, is High Pockets' water-on-the-knee the result of too many "jumping jacks"? Several prominent sporting physicians have declared such calisthenics too impactful on a man's joints, yet our Skipper insists on the merits of stand-in-place exercises.

Perhaps this infernal World-wide Baseball Consortium tournament is to blame for Lil' Hands' strain to his sidewall. It certainly makes sense that the rambunctious rabble-rouser, ol' number one-five, would exert himself to the straining point to show the international sides the true depth of our base-ball league's Most Vaunted Player.

All's well that ends well, we hope, as Monday broke with news that the setbacks may not threaten our dirt-ring dandies. In fact, Lil' Hands seems positively sure his sidewall is in fine fettle.

A brief pause, and the campaign continues.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The return of "Two Bags" Lowell!

Our intrepid third bagger, Mikey "Two Bags" Lowell, returned to the pitch for the first time in game duty this young season after suffering with a bum hip for much of the Red Stocking's last campaign.

What a relief to see him stretching his once-balky joints along the playing field! What a delight to see his Florida-bred swing slice through the rarefied citrus-scented air of the Peninsula State!

And to heap even more pleasure on the proceedings, Two Bags struck well in his batting stance, heaving the horsehide over the 'tween-bagger's head and into the out-field grass. Huzzah, Two Bags!

His nimble feet were not to be tested to-day as Skipper T. Francona substituted a yannigan base-runner as his replacement. However, I hope to witness old Two Bags reach the bases and even burgle a sack to put his repaired hip through its paces. Then I will certainly be assured that the redoubtable Two Bags will assume his proper placement at the "hot" corner.

Spring continues, and hope springs eternal, dear Rooters!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The right foot forward!

Quite literally, our Heroic Capt. Varitek is putting his right foot forward, and doing it better than he previously has, according to witnesses. Our stout-limbed leader has followed the sage advice of swatting advisor David Madigan, Esq., and altered his batter's stance from the left side -- a side that proved meddlesome during the last full season of base-ball.

It's no question that proper anatomical mechanics are key for swatters and hurlers alike, and I, for one, am pleased our fearless captain has had the fortitude to recognize the changes that must be made and the courage to implement such changes.

I look forward to a swatting season when our heroic backstop arrives safely at the first sack more often than twice and two-tenths for every 10 batting appearances. (Mathematics watchers will enjoy this phrased as a decimal -- a .220 "batting average". As Stuffy and I become more comfortable with this nomenclature, we at Full Circuit Clout will begin adopting such phraseology.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Physician’s Best Friends

Monitoring the clouting progress and hurling proficiency of our Bostons is one of the delights of spring base ball training. Less delightful is the need to recount the ongoing maladies of those players who don the hospital gown more often than the team flannels.

To wit: “Ol’ Aches and Pains” Drew seems unable to shake the dreaded lumbago that has afflicted him throughout the lushing season. Reports issued today indicate the hobbled out-fielder chugged north via steam locomotive for a meeting with spine specialists, who administered syringe-cure directly to the afflicted portions of his backbone.

For corn’s sake! At this rate, the brittle baller will have more pricks than a seamstress’s pin cushion before they’ve hung the Opening Day Bunting on Fenway’s Green edifice!

And what of our hapless short-stop “High Pockets” Lugo? Seems he’s once again looking peaked, blaming his condition on poisoned victuals! The Dominican’s delicate gut requires a steady drip of anti-fogmatics (Duffy’s, we presume) and filtered spring waters. If he’s not looking well soon, he’s sure to un-do all the muscular conditioning achieved through his rigorous sessions with the medicine-ball.

Note to team staff: Please determine whether one Mary Mallon is employed as High Pockets’ personal chef. In the interim, keep “Square Face” Lowrie on a diet of Graham Crackers and Ginger beer. We can’t afford two sickly scarecrows in the all-important position between the sacks.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Infernal weather!

In like a lion, indeed. Welcome to March in northern New England, where snow and ice crust over all like a suffocating blanket. Curses!

More base-ball talk will resume once Hurdy and Stuffy are able to shovel out of our homes and chew over topics of discussion. Until then, might I suggest cuddling up with a snifter of your favorite brown libation and tucking in for the day.