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.