Wednesday, April 29, 2009
As my good friend Bricks Kibley might say, "Hoo-rah, young yannigan!"
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
A ninth-chapter clout in a scoreless ball game? Leave it to our resident Canadian to steal quietly to the plate and unload a full boat of northern aggression on the spinning pill, lofting it high into the grandstands whilst the assembled Clevelanders hung their heads in shame. Shame!
A reverential nod to our good hurler, Timothy "Knuckles" Wakefield, for his crafty deliveries that kept the opposing squad's ash sticks silent for much of the evening.
Eleven wins in a string. A dozen, we hope, will come this eve!
Monday, April 27, 2009
The Gothams scored in the third, but that ace was equalized the very next chapter when the Gazelle-like Ellsbury scampered home from the third sack after a long "sacrifice" rap by The Colossus. The "score" was tied, and Ellsbury's swiftness down the base-paths was just a foreshadowing of the excitement to come!
For just two chapters later, Ellsbury again was occupying on the third sack, sitting in the catbird seat as Andy "Astro" Pettitte went through his usual hurling machinations. As a southpaw, Pettitte's pretzel delivery puts the third sack in his blind spot. On one certain pitch, ol' speedy Ellsbury had wandered far from the safety of the pillow, quietly padding into a no-man's land for base-ball running men!
And then it happened: Pettitte wheeled to deliver the pill, and as his frame rotated toward the batter he glimpsed a flash of speed racing its way to home. An awkward delivery was not enough to catch ol' Jacoby, who slid under the backstop's pill-filled mitten in what is the most stupendous bit of bag burgling I ever have seen.
The surprised Rooters assembled at the park created such a joy-fueled cacophony that local constables were called to investigate the disturbance. Men cheered, the few women in attendace wept and convulsed, and children stood in awe of the bullet-like speed of our Jacoby Ellsbury.
The ambition and fortitude required to tackle such a feat is higher than most mortals every will experience, yet it is clearly something our Heroes in Flannel quaff by the flagonful before each match.
Huzzah for a week-end of victories!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
"Arrgh!" I moaned so constantly I was in need of a throat compress by the seventh chapter! I received a dispatch from Stuffy McInnes near abouts those chapters which told me he was in the same pickle, physiologically speaking. These Heroes in Flannel were causing significant body strain!
The recipe: A dram of Duffy's and some fresh April air. A quick stroll around my Westbrook neighborhood did the trick and I returned to my sitting room reinvigorated, ready for whatever crackle of Red Stockings news came o'er the wireless.
What I was not prepared for, good friends, was the high drama to be experienced in the latest of chapters, the home-team's last "ups", where stickmen faced the dreaded Mariano "Fruit Bat" Rivera, who had locked many a late-game victory for his team with his crafty pretzel delivery of the pill. For this night, Jason "Argonaut" Bay had a different tale to tell, when his ash stick connected to a poorly hurled sphere that was rocketed out of grounds of Fenway in a Colossus-sized clout! The four-ply drive tallied two "runs", knotting the match at four aces apiece.
Meanwhile, the Boston hurlers, which for much of the game had exhibited poor direction and a proclivity to lay damp noodles positioned perfectly for whacking, rose to the occasion, with Dancin' Jonny Papelbon engineering a picture-perfect "strike-out" of Mark "Turncoat" Teixiera to close the 10th "inning". What guts on that young bulldog of a hurler!
Fortunately, Kevin "Yukon" Youkilis, the beard of the ages, connected in the very next chapter, commandeering a pill delivery and rerouting said pill directly to the ale-swilling patrons at the Cask and Flagon.
Bedlam in Fenwayville, and unbridled joy on a late hour in sleepy Westbrook.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
A deluge worthy of Noah himself kept the Bostons from contesting the Minnesotas last evening. Poor Knuckles would have had to don a scaphander instead of the flannels just to make it to the mound -- and I shudder to think how that bulky vestment would impact his twirling ability.
Instead, the team stayed wisely in-doors and scheduled a delightful double-tilt for to-day. Let us hope for a fine after-noon and evening of snappy ball from our Nine. Lead on, Knuckles!
UPDATE: A carnival of clouts! Another virtuouso hurling display from Knuckles Wakefield! Another "win" in the Bostons' ledger!
Sadly, the contest was ended in the seventh chapter by way of rain, and weather scientists predict another soaker for the evening.
Monday, April 20, 2009
As a resident of a border state, I have always kept a weather eye on our neighbors to the North. Although generally amiable, the Canadian is nonetheless a sneaky type -- all quiet footfalls developed through years of game-stalking in deep woods and selective deployment of a cryptic version of the French language.
Yet, when it suits the Canadian, he may walk freely among us and appear as American as any Tom, Dick or Harry you’d meet at the local tavern. Thus, in this manner, he maintains his secret Canadian posture -- Listening. Observing. Waiting.
It is precisely those characteristics that allowed Jason “Argonaut” Bay to startle the opposing Baltimores -- and all Rooters! -- during Saturday evening’s contest.
It was the third frame, three “runs” already made when “Yukon” Youkilis blasted a four-ply drive. Bay, the steady stick-man, achieved a free pass to the first pillow. Without hesitation, he seized upon his opponents’ slumbering and hurtled himself down the base-path. The backstop hurled the pill, but too late! Bay had burgled the second bag!
“What’s this?” I asked myself over the sound of joyous cheers on the wireless, “I never took the Argonaut for a sack-snatcher!”
Indeed, the Argonaut burgled only 10 bags in all of last season. Still, his selective approach and unremitting stealth placed him in position to complete his circuit when “Two-bags” Lowell connected for a “single” during his at-bat.
It is through such gamesmanship that the Bostons can vanquish their formidable rivals in the Eastern Division of the American League. Yes, the full-circuit clout has immediate effect, but it is just as important to fabricate “runs” through savvy base-running. A tip of my bowler hat to you, “Sneaky J.”
Enjoy the day, good Patriots!
Update: A good drubbing by the local nine, which deposited 12 "runs" on the hapless Birds of Baltimore. The Red Stockings are back in the black!
Friday, April 17, 2009
Indeed, the Red Stockings' fine game-day announcer, "Jerry" Remy, brings a welcomed tenor to the on-field proceedings of our favorite base-ball squad. And though I have become well-accustomed to his pleasing descriptions of bat-on-ball heroics and hurling feats, I knew little of the man behind the micro-phone.
Fortunately, a scribe from the Boston news-paper convinced Mr. Remy to sit for an extended tete-a-tete, and the resulting work is quite satisfying, indeed. Thank you, Mr. Neil Swidey, for your fine portrayal of a man whose voice has become as comfortable as the shawl I wrap around my shoulders on those first chilled nights of autumn.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Following the conclusion of last evening's base ball contest, I immediately conveyed myself to the Church of St. Ignatius with sorrow in my heart. Father Flanagan was waiting in the darkened confessional, where I performed the following act of contrition:
McInnes: Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been many years since my last confession.
Father Flanagan: What brings to back to us after so long, my son? What sins do you wish to confess today?
McInnes: Father, I lost faith. I harbored vile, cowardly doubts about the mettle of our heroic hurler, "Knuckles" Wakefield.
I feared that his unorthodox style of pill-delivery would fail him at the critical hour, and the Oaklands would festoon the out-field with hot grassers, and plant clout after clout beyond the far fences. I feared his yannigan battery-mate would be unable to gather his most erratic hurls. And I feared, above all, that this disaster would occur when there was narry a reserve-hurler ready to take the mound.
Fr. Flanagan: These are indeed grave sins, my doubting Stuffy. Is it not obvious, after these long years of service to the Bostons, that Knuckles is amongst finest characters to ever wear the flannel and red hose? Has Knuckles not demonstrated time and again that needs of his squad trump his own interests?
Could you doubt that this true gentleman, fierce competitor and man of honor would keep his word when assuring Skipper Francona, "I understand the circumstances of the day, and I just want you to know whatever happens - don't take me out."
But I hear the contrition in your voice. You would not be confessing were you not aware of these facts already. Let this test of faith remind you that a base ball squad has no finer contributor than Knuckles Wakefield. Now, go light 49 candles in the sanctuary and sing three "Tessie"'s in penance.
Hey there, shadow. I've got a job for you. Twelve bucks a day, plus expenses. But lay off the top-shelf stuff -- I know you're a rot-gut kinda guy anyway. Keep it that way, slick.
Look, I need some guys found, see? One's a big galoot, six-four, two-and-a-half bills, goes by the name "Papi". Funny beard -- like a strap for an old bomber helmet. Ain't seen him since, shoot, almost two years ago. Last we heard of him, his wrist clicked something fierce when he handled the old ash stick.
Here' s another: Old Daisuke, the Terror from Tokyo. Seems he's all tuckered out from his international scene-making -- which is the last time he hit on all sixes. These days, well, it's the other guy that's doing the hitting, and old Daisuke's the palooka.
And while you're at it, Dick, put out an APB on the General. Seems old Beckett's high tailed it after his run in with the commish. Can't blame him. Old Selig came down pretty hard on the General after he let loose that Anaheim torpedo at Bobby A. If you find him, keep him away from the bearcats -- those hot-tempered Doras will just wear out our good General!
Any hoops, us and the guys, we need these gents here, see? Or else those Bronx bums and Tampa Bay teetotalers will have us over a barrel. Hell, half the team is up to their ears in giggle water because our season's barely started and we're already staring at one big banana slick of a record.
Jeez, gumshoe, can you help a fella out?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Let us acknowledge the corn: The first week of the Bostons’ 2009 base ball campaign has been nothing short of wretched.
Last evening, I was filled to the brim and ready to over-flow with sad words for my fellow Rooters. But after a sleepless night of moustache chewing and Duffy’s-taking, I settled my brain with the notion that the first moments of a long campaign are rarely indicative of its conclusion. After all, Napoleon’s Grande Armee looked formidable as it commenced its march on Moscow in 1812. Recall from your history lessons the result of that folly.
Instead, I have puzzled through the Bostons apparent lack of base ball skills by turning the question from tip to tail: Which members of the local nine appear to be in fine fettle, and what is their secret?
The answer, gleaming like a spire in the spring sunlight, is our resolute first-sacker: “Yukon” Youkilis!
Altho’ noticeably less hirsute, Yukon is nonetheless scalding the horsehide in the same terrible fashion he displayed last season. He’s making hits in roughly every other plate appearance, while his teammates can barely manage to reach the first station in one quarter of their attempts. He is swatting four-ply drives and “extra” base hits as if to register his disgust with the offerings of opposing hurlers!
Perhaps Yukon’s bottomless reserves of vigor can be attributed to his off-season conditioning and gustatory habits. I’ve heard from my club-house informants that team-mates have asked him to prepare a luncheon of the bush victuals he regularly consumes while recuperating from the season (and cultivating his whiskers) in the remote northern wilderness.
On the menu today: Beaver-tail soup, bear sausage, and raw lake trout pulled directly from the icy waters and still flopping in protest. Let us hope this meal restores the rest of our Nine to their optimum hurling, swatting and fielding condition.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Indeed, our heroic clouters turned in at an early hour yester-day, despite the Anaheimians continuing to take the field and push "runners" 'round the sacks. Following a first-chapter dustup between Gen. Beckett and Bobby "Barrels" Abreau -- all concerning a wildly uncorked speedball that nearly knocked Barrels' noggin cap clean off -- the Anaheimians certainly were the squad with the most vim and vigor.
Perhaps the Red Stockings' Pullman trip across the Great Plains was marred by lumpy mattresses and stale crackers. Or perhaps there is some corps-wide malady affecting the lads' level of grit and determination.
Whatever the case, Rooters from Presque Isle to Pasadena are calling for a return to form this eve against the Athletics of Oakland. The challenge has been laid down, heroes of the flannel!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
It was, as the Germans say, a cloutfest.
Huzzah to Jason "Argonaut" Bay and Mikey "Two Bags" Lowell, who swatted furious full circuit clouts to bring the Bostons ahead of their West-Coast Foes. And to cap the back-and-forth tilt, old "Dancin' Jonny" Papelbon engaged in ninth-chapter battle with several of the Anaheimians before securing the Victory with a routine fly-ball to the right outfielder, the Pride of Little Rhode Island, Rocco Baldelli.
Five games down, 157 to come.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Alas, the ending result was difficult to stomach: Following Capt. Varitek's resounding four-sacker, the Red Stockings were just one plate-crossing from tying the Floridians. Poor Jed "Square Face" Lowrie: One hit in 11 tries, and six "strike-outs" to mar his batting record. It was Square Face's limp noodle of a bat that failed to continue the ninth chapter.
Still, a fine effort by the heroes in Red -- though some have expressed concern about our Friend from the Far East, the Diasuke Dynamo, Mr. Matsuzaka, who allowed four Tampa Bays to slide across the home plate whilst he kept watch on the pitching hill.
To-night, our beloved Red Stockings complete their wire-to-wire Pullman voyage across the plains and prairies, steaming into southern California to be hosted by the Angels of Anaheim. The start time is too late for this Rooter, who will instead dispatch his young nephew to keep an ear on the game until the wee hours, and scribble updates on parchment for his dear uncle to read upon first light.
God-speed, you Red Emperors!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Alright, then, what wag is responsible for the put-on?
Surely a money-man (possibly from a gambling syndicate) arranged an elaborate humbug in to-night's contest. Surely that aggregation of bumblers wearing our beloved red hose is not the same group of gentlemen ball-players who bested the Tampas in yesterday's Inaugural Tilt.
Following a decisive victory that featured all the beauties of the game, the squad patrolling Fenway's scared diamond appeared more like sailors who had recently stumbled from the nearest rum-hole. Shoddy fielding, limp stick-work, haphazard hurling -- muffluism seemed to be the order of the day in this altogether unattractive match for Rooters to behold.
Now that the jest is done, may we please return our fine starting nine to their positions for to-morrow's afternoon "rubber" match?
Jonny "Nothin' Doin'" Lester certainly was doing something. And that "something" apparently was not prodigous hurling, for our twirler offered free window dressing to the lads from the Sunshine State rather than confounding pretzel deliveries of the pill. Though Nothin' Doin' had some agreeable moments, the Tampa Bays put ash stick after ash stick on the old horsehide, knocking it to and fro about the Fens.
It is clear that my constitution is not up to snuff at such an early point in the base-ball season, as this one "loss" has muddled my head and made me reach for the Duffy's on more than one occasion. Still, one must remind oneself that it is far better to follow a losing base-ball contest than to toil at a menial task or other mundane drudgery. And for that, I am certainly thankful for all that this season of base-ball promises to offer.
To-morrow, fresh tubes for the wireless and a refill of the Duffy's jug. It is time to settle in for a season of hurling and clouting!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
But today's tilt is different from any regular clout parade or twirling demonstration: For today is Opening Day, the day that the freshly laundered bunting is hung from the architectural escarpments of beautiful Fenway, and when the Green Monster has been brushed lovingly with a new coat of milk paint. The suds vendors have cleaned their tapping lines, and the frankfurter salesmen have warmed their voices to compete against the cheering throngs of Rooters -- some of them ladies! -- packing the steerage seats in center-field.
It is true that no other day at the ball-park is filled with the unbridled joy -- and requisite pomp and circumstance -- of an Opening Day. Today's ball-game brings to mind an adventure Stuffy and I undertook last year, when we steamed to North Station and transferred on many a trolley to reach the field before the Opening Day ceremonies began. I urge you to relive that day through our humbe diary entries here and here. What a day to be a base-ball "fan"!
Indeed, to-day is a day to thank the Good Maker for all that He has wrought, from the green-hued Firmament in the Fens to the heroic flannel-clad warriors who don the Red Stockings 162 times each season. Huzzah to the clouters and hurlers! Rooters, rejoice! For to-day the bleak winter comes to a close and spring begins a-new.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Our next guest posting comes from Bricks Kibley, a fellow keyboard-clatterer we've counted as a colleague since we were mere yannigans on the junior scribbling circuit. Bricks is a fine gentleman who is known to enjoy a "jar" and smoked meats while rooting for the local nine. Welcome, Bricks! What say you?
Across our great land, half-forgot sounds perk the ears of teamsters and oxen in half-furrowed fields, robin red-breast on ochre-colored town greens and, in our great metropolises, street urchins and the robber barons at whose spats they stoop. The crack of the ash! The pop of rawhide smacking mitt! The wiseacre patter of our flannel-clad boys of summer-time! Yes, dear reader, America’s pass-time again begins anew!
Fanatical followers — “fans”, as the youth would have it — of Bean-town’s bean-ball Red Stockings begin salting away cod for pick-nick ventures to Lansdowne’s beloved haven of hardball: Fenway Park. Meantime, the despised pin-stripers of New Amsterdam summon their legions to a just-erected edifice, a palatial tribute to excess the like of which hasn’t been seen since Sodom — a stadium fit for the Grand Turk himself!
The rumor-vine murmurs that the hated Yankees re-erected their hardball house to accommodate the cyclopean cranium of Alex “Purple Lips” Rodriguez, the Croesus-like girth of newly inked hurler Carsten “Sandbags” Sabathia and the barbers, chemists surgeons and other medicine “quacks” who attend Sabathia’s brother-in-arms, “Arm Jalopy” Burnett. Surely the Bostonians will play Joshua to this Jericho! Or my name isn’t...
Alas fellow Rooters, Mother Nature has again trumped our quotidian lives!
With wind and rain coursing toward Fenway's environs, the Red Stocking Base Ball Club has delayed today's tilt until tomorrow at 4:05 p.m. Winter's long, dreary grasp has us in its clutches for another day.
Stoke the stove and pour another dram of Duffy's in preparation for the longest night of the year. In the interim, we will continue to share musings on the return of base-ball from our esteemed guests.
Our next guest posting comes from Col. Westbrook, the redoubtable and lettered chronicler of local goings-on in Westbrook, the town discovered by his forebears on the banks of the might Presumpscot. Welcome, Col. Westbrook, and play ball!
Our first guest posting comes from fellow scribe and Boston gadabout Chippy Burdock, a man's man and a font of Red Stockings knowledge. Welcome, Chippy, and play ball!
The bunting is strung gaily ‘cross the box seats and rafters of our lyric little bandbox, but from those festive pleats drip torrents of rain water. And, alas, Jove continues to pelt the gathered Rooters with angry droplets thrown down from the firmament!
Base-ball may yet be played on Fenway’s meticulously mowed lawn to-day, or yet it may not. As we wait with baited breath to see whether the Bostons will take the field, prepared to do battle behind “ace” hurler Joshua P. Beckett, there is naught all to do but listen to the wireless and wait.
As we do, it is worth pondering the merits of the men and women of the New England Sports Network, those dogged legmen, shouters, and opinion mongers who help bring the noble game to life each eve’n’ing in our living rooms and parlours.
Of course, the voice we’ve longed to hear these interminable winter months belongs to Mr. Jerry “Doggy” Remy, a hale and hearty fellow whose time spent playing for the Bostons, three decades past, did not result in a surfeit of circle clouts, but whose fleet feet and spry glove at the second bag were inestimable assets to a team that could well have been World Beaters in 1978 were it not for the dunderheadedness of one Donald Zimmer.
Over the years, Mr. Remy has proven himself an astute student of the game, and as his crown of hair has thinned atop and his jowls have drooped (as they do in later life), he’s become a teacher of the intricacies and finer aspects of the sport. He’s a happy sort, presiding from his perch over Red Sox Nation as he hawks truckloads of personalized sundries and puffs cigar-ettes on the sly between plays.
Sharing the talking booth with “Doggy,” is Don “Announcer Man” Orsillo. Don is a rather excitable chap, given to peppering his broadcasts with punning world play such as “down by way of the K” and “home run.” He is a pleasant man, beloved by all for his cheerful demeanor, dulcet speaking voice, and bouts of uncontrollable laughter.
A native of our great home state of Maine – having grown up playing ice-hockey in Lewiston, near the mighty churning Androscoggin – Tom “Tee See” Caron is a fine and capable host, manning the desk in the network’s Watertown headquarters and enlightening we Rooters with spot-on analysis and interviews with assorted Knights of the Keyboard. Assisting him in these endeavors is Dennis “Ecky” Eckersley a Hall of Fame hurler with a unique, self-styled vocabulary ("high cheese," etc.), a shock of stylishly feathered hair, and the finest and most luxuriant moustache since William Howard Taft enacted his Dollar Diplomacy in 1909.
Finally, reporting from the nooks and crannies of the park, often bringing news via her micro-phone while standing in Canvas Alley, is the flaxen-haired Heidi Watney. Many chaps (including, rumour has it, a certain backstop who dons the tools of ignorance for the Bostons) count Ms. Watney as a beauty non-pareil. Her knowledge of the sport may be merely adequate, but she surely is a pleasant sight to behold as the summer sun shines warmly upon her pretty features, and she’s proven adept enough at soliciting post-game stock quotations from Bostons who’ve helped win contests with dramatic late-inning clouts or Herculean hurling.
Hopefully this team will enjoy many such moments throughout this coming season – wind, rain or shine.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I sincerely hope it is the former, for Stuffy and I have laboriously shifted our schedules to accommodate the day-time tilt. And should rain come, your friends Stuffy and Hurdy will be stuck drinking flagons of ale and enjoying cocktail weiners by the dozen without benefit of listening to base-ball over the crackling wireless.
No, sir, the ale and wieners alone do not make an afternoon. After months of pining, I am ready for base-ball.
Please let me have it.