Friday, April 20, 2012

Baby Drew: House Mom

Char:  Chris Young was literally just having an extended conversation with a bat in the dugout

Trinity:  um...okay

 Char:  he was! just talking to it  

Trinity:  lol!  

Char:  not to anyone else in the dugout with a bat in his hand, but talking to the bat It's Parra's bat  

Trinity:  giving it a pep talk?  

Char:  could be hes on the DL so he has to make his own fun  

Trinity:  so true

Char:  The Dbacks make me want to throw myself off a bridge  

Trinity:  oh. you think the dbacks make *you* want to throw yourself off a bridge? Today was the 100th anniversary of Fenway park game. Against the Yankees. The ANNIVERSARY of FENWAY. WE FUCKING LOST TO THE MOTHERFUCKING YANKEES  

Char:  at least losing to the Yankees is traditional?


Char: :-(  

Trinity: god damn red sox  

Char: they miss Jacoby

Trinity: they're just stupid  

Char: and Bobby Valentie's running his mouth

 Trinity: lol. I miss Terry Francona

 Char: it was time to go especially considering that beer and friend chicken thing dbacks losing 7-0  

Trinity: lol, yeah aww

 Char: it's only the sixth  

Trinity: there's still time!  

Char: there's not a chance in hell we're scoring 8 runs  

Trinity: heehee

 Char: Stephen Drew made everybody T-shirts aww he's like the house mom

 Trinity: omg, that's so adorable  

Char: I wonder what else he brings from home?  

Trinity: freshly baked muffins, of course

 Char: Sandwiches with the crusts cut off  

Trinity: 8:45 pm chocolate chip cookies Char: I bet be brings water bottles with fresh slices of lemon in them  

Trinity: and scented candles for the clubhouse  

Char: He leaves notes in lockers. "You're appreciated!"  

Trinity: on post it notes! With little smiley face stickers  

Char: Yes! And he reminds everyone to put their uniforms where they belong to help the equipment managers  

Trinity: He makes signs in Print Shop to remind them not to spit on the clubhouse floor.  

Char: He always shares his sunflower seeds  

Trinity: of course. and you know he went to the paint your own pottery place and made everyone a personalized jar in which to spit the shells.  

Char: When he makes brownies, he never adds nuts because nobody likes brownies with nuts.  

Trinity: and someone might be allergic

 Char: you have to consider these things  

Trinity: you do! every Christmas he makes little gift bags for everyone and leaves them in the lockers before everyone else gets to the clubhouse. Homemade fudge and those slice and bake cookies with the christmas tree in the middle.  

Char: Chocolate chip cookie mix in mason jars. With a ribbon.  

Trinity: curled ribbon, naturally.

Char: But he respects Hanukkah too  

Trinity: and kwanzaa

Char: He explains how Sandra Lee's Kwanzaa cake was really insensitive  

Trinity: lol

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Diamondbacks Roster: Some Assembly Required

Chris Young went on the disabled list today.

Justin Upton is day-to-day with a thumb injury that he had to have drained of fluid the other day.*

Geoff Blum was placed on the DL last night though the only thing wrong with him is a terrible case of being mostly useless when the team needs a roster spot. Or, if you’re the Diamondbacks, “an oblique strain.” Yeah. That’s convenient.

Called up from Triple A in this fiasco is one guy who’s been raking** and one guy currently passing kidney stones. Because I guess there wasn’t anyone else available. Maybe someone with both an inflamed appendix and a nasty case of gout. But they had to find somebody. I mean, do we really want to see Willie Bloomquist in left field everyday?

I didn’t think so.

Young was on a tear to open the season. I mean a hitting-.410-with-5-home runs-13-RBI kind of tear. When Matt Kemp looks in the mirror, he sees Chris Young behind him getting closer and ever more threatening. If Kemp had Mad Eye Moody’s Foe Glass, he’d be seeing the whites of Chris Young’s eyes.

Everybody else: not so much. Miggy’s doing that thing where he tries to hit lots of home runs and forgets that he has a very pretty and decidedly effective swing when he’s not trying so hard he nearly spins in a circle and falls over like the least graceful kid trying to hit a pinata.*** Ryan Roberts has no idea what’s going. Paul Goldschmidt can’t seem to get a regular start and I’m pretty sure it’s making him sad. Besides Joe Saunders , the starting pitching has just been kind of okay.

Losing the one guy currently striking fear into the hearts of our enemies hurts. Especially since he made a beauty of a catch. Really. It was the kind of thing you can use to feel superior when your friends say that baseball players are fat and aren’t capable of doing anything more than standing still in the outfield as the ball falls into their gravitational well. I’m at least partially convinced he’s some sort of a superhero now, with the the way he flew through the air like that.

It just ended badly. As soon as he collided with the wall, I stopped making meatballs+ and began wailing like an old Italian lady. “No, Chris. Oh no. This is bad. This is so bad.”

And it was bad. The trouble is that while we can afford to lose Upton for a few days while he works that thumb thing out, losing Young at the same time puts the team in a much worse position. It’s like chopping someone’s legs off and then telling them to go run the Boston Marathon: yeah, they could do it but it takes a long time to get used to prosthetics and you trip and fall down a lot.

If we’re going to make it through, the other boys will have to step up. The are the Never Say Die-mondbacks and this is the first time this season where their backs against the wall. We’ll see how it goes. Until then. we’ll hope CY doesn’t go the way of Jacoby Ellsbury.

*In Reno, where the air is so thin any hard hit ball is at-risk of entering a low Earth orbit
***Boy, it took me a long time to get to that analogy, didn’t it?
+Delicious snacks! And so portable!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

VORSing the BMGM on Opening Day

We could play Opening Day bingo. I could feed my text into the Baseball Metaphor Generating Machine (it works by adjusting Value Over Replacement Simile) and talk about hope springing eternal. But let’s skip it. Especially since hope isn’t springing. Hope has sprung.

There’s a definite feeling among the team and the fans that this is the Diamondbacks’ year. The front office has made it very clear that they’re in win now mode -- you can tell because that’s the only way to justify spending $7.5 million on Jason Kubel just after Gerrado Parra wins a Gold Glove in left field. The front office wants to go to the World Series. Kirk Gibson wants it, the players want it, and the fans want it. This is it.

Which is why I was walking through Chase Field nearly vibrating with excitement and proclaiming, “It’s all happening!” over and over to a friend. Opening Day wasn’t about hope for me but about the exciting arrival of a day you’ve been looking forward to for a very long time. It’s Christmas. It’s getting on the plane to Disneyland after months of counting down the days. Something very good has been coming our way and it’s finally here..

And it was good. I got the chills as fighter jets flew over Chase Field (is there a dramatic flyover corps in the Air Force because if that’s all they do, it’s a pretty sweet gig). I sat in the sun. I dripped ice cream down the front of my brand new customized jersey. And I watched the Diamondbacks win.

Tim Lincecum, making poor choices, said leading into Opening ay that the first series was important, that it would set a certain tone after the defending World Series champs not only lost the division to Arizona but the Dbacks clinched the division while playing the Giants at home at Chase.

Timmy thought the games would make a statement and they did. They stated that Arizona is in this thing, that predictions of the Giants to walk over the division on the strength of their pitching and the return of Buster Posey riding a unicorn sent by God on a mission to deliver the Giants with championships were premature. The Diamondbacks sent a resounding message that if anyone wants to take the division, they’re going to have to fight.

Because, let’s face it, the games weren’t great. I was at the park Friday and Saturday and watched most of Sunday’s on TV. In the words of Cher Horowitz, the series was a complete Monet: okay from far away but up close it’s a total mess. The pitching was only all right, good enough when it needed to be. Kennedy and Hudson were just okay, Collmenter had a complete meltdown that has almost everybody reaching for the panic button. But Wade Miley saved the day on Sunday by refusing to allow any more runs and the Diamondbacks, comeback kings of 2011 rallied from being down 6-0 to win 6-7.

And the Giants esteemed pitching looked shaky. Lincecum in particular struggled - even I pointed out his loss in velocity. Goldy still owns him too, a storyline I look forward to following with glee.

But the point is that even if they win dirty, this team is going to win. That they’re good enough to do it. That they refuse to be written off. And besides the sheer delight of handing smug Giants their first 0-3 start in decades, that’s what I’m taking away from the series.

I’ve already sprung.

It’s going to be a fantastic season.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Changes and Reflections

So. Some things have changed since the last time I was posting regularly here. Deepwater Horizon. Arab Spring. Occupy Wallstreet. I got a new laptop. Trinity and I took a trip to New York where we not only saw four Broadway shows in five days (we’re sports fans who like musicals because our interests are varied and complicated) but also saw the Diamondbacks play the Mets at Citi. I discovered CrossFit. My sister is about to get married.

Shit’s changed, y’all.

But even as life has gone on, what hasn’t changed is how I feel about baseball. I may not have been posting but I was still watching. I could never stop watching this game. I survived the 2010 bullpen - a bullpen so historically bad you have to go back decades to find anything worse. You could still recognize Diamondback fans from that year by the haunted look in their eyes. We went through some stuff.

I was watching in 2011, the year of the Never-Say-Die-mondbacks. I started the year hoping we wouldn’t come in last for a third year in a row and ended it listening on my phone while travelling in a shuttle bus between Tucson and Phoenix as the Diamondbacks took the Brewers into the tenth inning of game five of the NLDS and holding in my reactions lest my fellow passengers start wondering what’s with the crazy girl.

2011 was a gift. An unexpected ride from a team no one predicted to do much of anything and when it was over, I was grateful that I got to be a part of it, even in my own small way. Watching the boys scale the outfield fence to jump in the pool after clinching the West will remain one of my favorite moments from the year.

One of. Not top.

My top moment is game three of the NLDS. I was there.

The day didn’t start well. The 90-minute drive between Tucson and Phoenix took four hours thanks to a dust storm that completely shut down the highway and had me convinced I was a going to die. Seriously. I damn near called my mother to tell her I love. That was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. The landscape was alien when we could see it, as if we were travelling along the surface of the moon. There were times when visibility was reduced to zero. Driving down the freeway in a 15-passenger van in pitch blackness is something like going swimming with sharks while wearing Lady Gaga’s meat dress: terrifying on an absolutely primal level.

But I lived. And I made the game on time.

The seats were about 10 rows behind the Diamondbacks dugout. I went with my mother. I loved being able to explain who all the players were and why I love them. I loved explaining in-jokes and nicknames. I loved telling her that if she does nothing else, she had to boo when Prince Fielder came up to bat.

I loved chanting Goldschmidt’s name as the Brewers walked Miguel Montero to get to him. The bases were loaded, the crowd clamoring for magic. And it began. “Gold-SCHMIDT. Gold-SCHMIDT. Gold-SCHMIDT.” I was there when Paul Goldschmidt launched that baseball over the right field fence and became a legend.

The place became unglued. I’ve never heard a crowd yell like that. I was screaming, jumping up and down, I turned and hugged my mother because I was so happy, I felt like it was spewing out of me, like vampire sparkles in a Twilight movie. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen and the ultimate gift on the ultimate unexpected season.

Life still goes on but I’ll remember that moment forever.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolved

Until I met Trinity in person, I had never met Trinity in person. Internet friendships are like that. Message boards. Instant messages. Millions of people bonding on thousands of different websites over hundreds of varied interests. Ours was a community writing project about characters in a Boston apartment complex. It was geeky, creative, and sociable - as sociable as any online project can be. My character was a baseball fan. Hers was a banker. They were friends and so were we.

I talked to a stranger over the internet (see Mom, it’s not so dangerous) the way I would any of my other friends. Her job. My college courses. Anything else that crossed our minds. Spent a year doing that.

Then the Red Sox and the Diamondbacks both made the post-season in 2007. I’d gotten used to checking the Boston box scores just to have something to write about. It taught me to think about the game but I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t care. But with the TV Writer’s Guild strike looming, I figured I might as well cheer for the local Arizona team than invest my time in television shows that were about to go on indefinite hiatus.

I cheered on the Diamondbacks, Trin cheered the Red Sox for the first time and we both fell in love with the game. Opening Day 2008 and we were both fanatics for teams as far from each other as we were.

In July of 2008, I met my best friend for the first time in baggage claim of Logan International. I’d never been so far east in my life and Trin was my guide. A former Boston resident, she showed me the city, how to ride the T, and indulged me when I spent 20 minutes in the Boston Common chasing a squirrel - desert people have a tendency to be surprised by things like that.

We folded ourselves into Fenway Park that trip, knees jammed against the seats in front of us. We ate hot dogs and sang Sweet Caroline and lost our minds when the Red Sox won on the strength of a grand slam over the Green Monster.

At the end of the week, I went home and she went home and we stayed friends. In 2009, Trinity visited me in Tucson and we made the 90 mile trip to Phoenix, pilgrims to the cathedrals of baseball to see Dan Haren rage at the Dodgers. It was the day of the infamous four-out inning and we had seats behind the dugout in the Sunday sunshine.

And then we went back to Tucson and she went home and the vacation ended. We still talked but not as much as we used to. Busy lives pull people in opposite directions and it’s hard to communicate online the way you do in person. Dating websites run ads of happy mostly white straight people but there’s no manual of how what to do when your best friend is on the internet. Nobody runs commercials for that.

It was a long time before the next meeting. Two years is a long time but when she made plans to visit New York City for Spring Break, I invited myself along. The long winter had left me depressed and lonely to a degree I’d never experienced. The trip was a way to break out of it.

We saw four Broadway shows in five days with only a one day gap between shows. That day we rode the subway from Harlem where we were staying to Brooklyn for shopping to Harlem to change clothes and then all the way to Queens to see the New York Mets play the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field. If the trains gave out frequent flier miles, we would have raked them in.

The Dbacks lost but it didn’t matter. My father grew up in Brooklyn and the Mets were his team. I lost him to cancer when I was six but it gives me great pleasure and terrible heartache to know that we’d follow this sport together if he lived. That game was for my daddy.

The New York trip was just about eight months ago and tonight is New Year’s Eve. Tomorrow is 2012 and tonight is a night for resolutions. I’m spending it watching Moneyball because Opening Day is months away and I’m 60 pages from the end of the book. Which explains why I decided to put into words something Trin and I have been doing since 2008.

We’ve seen three baseball games in three different parks around the country. Why stop now? We’re going to see them all. Two women - two sports fans - paying tribute to the greatest game in the world and to what it means to be a friend.

Three down and 27 to go. I can think of worse things to spend the next 20 years of my life doing with my best friend.

Moneyball was right. It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball.

How can you not be romantic about baseball, indeed?

Monday, April 5, 2010

In under the Opening Day wire

I explained to my mother recently that all baseball fans are inherently religious. We spend 162 days a year in worship and then spend the 203 remaining days praying for summer - and that's assuming your team didn't make the playoffs. Now with glorious summer returning at last after what turned out to be a very wet winter out here in the desert - ruining a variety of perfectly good cliches; it would be much better if I could write about how the onslaught of summer cleared away the tumbleweeds of joyless winter or something not that's it's not going to be fucking hot this summer too - it's finally time to start looking to the season ahead.

(That sentence officially got away from me the way public support of ticket surchages for a Cubs stadium got away from the Mayor of Mesa.)

Going into my third year as a baseball fan, I feel much better prepared for the season this year. I feel like I have more of a handle on who the Diamondbacks are, what kind of team they are and how they play. We're familiar with each other now, the team and I. It's like getting to the point in a relationship where you don't have to pretend you wear sexy lingerie to bed anymore and can finally kick back in an old T-shirt you got for free in college for signing up for a credit card and a pair of pajama pants with a hole in the leg.

Here's what I feel like are the biggest issues going into the season.

(Feel free to disagree with me cause hey, what do I know? I've only been watching this sport two years now and also I'm a girl.)

1. Starting pitching.

Name a Diamondbacks starting pitcher. Okay, now name one who isn't Dan Haren.


A lot is riding on when and even whether Brandon Webb comes back. And like a slumlord who's been promised the check is in the mail, I'm skeptical. He hasn't pitched from the mound yet and the team's been quiet about his progress. What info out there is pretty general. Webby feels "good," Webby feels "stagnant," Webby feels "that it's going to rain on Thursday because of the way his trick knee is acting up." Basically, nobody knows what's going on with Brandon Webb, including, I'm beginning to believe, Brandon Webb. But it's true the team needs him, if only so he can get his trade value up before we let go of him at the deadline.

2. The bullpen.

Remember the eight inning last year? No, I don't mean the eighth inning of any particular game - I mean the eigth inning of every single last year. All 162 of them. The eighth inning is the reason I have to buy Tums in bulk (can you buy ant-acids in a 10 lb bucket? Anybody know?). Expecting your starter to throw a complete game every time he's on the mound to avoid giving up four runs in the eighth is an inefficient way to win a ball game. It also gets you on Dan Haren's shit list. And believe me, you don't want to be there. An improvement in this area will be needed if we want to have a shot to contend.

3. Offensive production.

Basically, this boils down to "be more better." Chris Young is coming off a horrible year and if he wants to keep his job, he'll need to start producing at even a modest level. It's also important Stephen Drew returns to the potential hinted at in 2008. This is very important to make feel better because while I talk about Baby Drew, I fear he's going to wind up like his brother: overpaid and under producing.

I know, that's pretty much every aspect of the game to be concerned about, right? But there are upsides. Conor Jackson is back from Valley Fever and if his numbers from winter ball and spring training are any indication, he should be back to form and getting on base like a machine. Missed you, Gravity! Justin Upton has nothing but supsides and if he can stay healthy this year, he's a superstar in the making with a contract that delays his inevitable pinstripes just a little bit longer. Mark Reynold looks to continue to be a leader both in the clubhouse and on the field, driving in runs like we pay him to do. If he maintains what he did last year the man is going to be a dirty dirty beast, and I love it.

In all, this year should turn out to be much much better that last and now that it's started, it's time to pray. Somebody pass the Tums.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

That just happened

At one point during last night's Red Sox/Orioles game -

Wait. Can we really call it a game? More like a meltdown of the highest order. I mean, we went from spanking the Orioles to being on the wrong end of the biggest comeback in the franchise's history. Last night's game was epic, and not in a good way. And for once, nobody can blame Julio Lugo.

I'll bet he's relieved.

I certainly hope that after last night's dreadful performance, Tito sat the bullpen down and gave them what we in the education industry call a "Come to Jesus" meeting. You know, one of those ones where your teacher sits you down and goes "Look, you're great and all, but..." followed by a blessing out that could make the toughest of grown men cry (I do this a lot in my job; I'm pretty good at it). Because come on! There's no excuse for last night. Rain, schmain. Before the rain delay, we were 10-1. Then the bullpen happened. Let's take a look at the worst offenders:

Justin Masterson: 2IP, 5H, 5R
Hideki Okajima: 0.1IP, 5H, 4R

Seriously? Seriously!

In between those two embarrassing outings, Manny Delcarmen came on and managed not to screw anything up, but it didn't do any good. Then Takashi Saito tried to stop the hit parade, but only managed to make things worse.

Enter Jonathan Papelbon, intrepid closer. Even the Papelstare couldn't save this one. The Os managed to score two off him in the 8th, leaving the rest of us scratching our heads in bewilderment. What happened to the best bullpen in the AL? They gave up 10 runs over two innings. TWO. Which, you know, is a pretty impressive feat, just not one anyone wants to see. So this afternoon we turn to our ace, Baseball Boyfriend himself, Josh Beckett. No pressure there, Commander Kickass. He's 5-0 in games after losses this season, so there's hope. And that's what being a Red Sox fan is all about. Hope.

Last night felt kind of like being in Oz. Let's hope Beckett's able to take us back to Kansas.