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)