Weekly Shocks' Blog

Um, ew?

The Yankees won. Congratulations to them, their fans, and their Lord and Master, the Dark Prince Satan the Steinbrenners.

Now. Let us never speak of this horror ever, ever again.


Fore (play?)!

I’ve spent most of the last hour watching golf on TV. It’s been that kind of day.

I’m not really a golf person. I regularly confuse Jack Nicholson with Jack Nicklaus – truth be told, I’m still not a hundred percent sure which one is the golfer and which one likes to smash through bathroom doors with a pickax. Beautifully manicured lawns give me the chills – I always imagine pitching forward onto one of them, scuffing up the grass, and being summarily shot. I’ve had exactly one golf lesson in my life and it ended with my instructor in the hospital with a concussion. She was clobbered by an eight-year old’s rogue, hyperactive golf swing. Or, more accurately, she was clobbered by my rogue, hyperactive golf swing. She was nice, though, and didn’t press charges. Still. Golf suggests violent, terrible things, and really goofy-looking shoes as well. So it’s best that I avoid it.

Every once in a while, though, I need a reminder of why golf and I should stay far, far away from each other, and this morning’s festivities were quite helpful, thank you very much. The first young man who teed off saw his opening shot end up in the sand. His second shot ended up in the sand, too. His third shot ricocheted off the sand and landed somewhere in the woods. I have a feeling he snapped his club over his kneecap after that third shot and punched his caddie in the face with the business end of his golf shoe, but I could be making that up. I was too busy giggling over this poor sap’s miserable plays to notice much of anything by that point.

I’ve heard people say that they play golf because it relaxes them, which generally makes me wonder what kind of lives these folks are leading that make hacking away at a tiny ball with a skinny club and ultimately guiding the damn thing into an even tinier hole relaxing. Then the dirty part of my Freudian-soaked brain whispers all kinds of naughty things about sexual frustration and masculine inadequacy and I get the giggles again. But, really, people: I am a grown up and am quite mature and dignified. Seriously. I swear. Stop looking at me.

Speaking of frustration, I admit that the only reason I’m watching golf at the moment is because the Sox are down to their last playoff hope this season at dear old Fenway, and watching them play through the last six weeks is enough to make any lifelong fan reach for her blood pressure medication. In the not-too-distant past, I was pleasantly hopeful about the Sox and their strong opening half of the baseball season, but really, it’s been a limping, downhill mess since the All Star Break. I’m almost kind of hoping that they get slaughtered today so we can finally put this season out of its premature, peaked-too-soon misery. It’s ok, honey, we can just cuddle. No need to be embarrassed; it happens to everyone.

I bet all of the Red Sox will be spending a lot of time on a golf course real soon.

And I am a dirty, dirty girl.

Ahem. I’ll take credit for this, thank you.

From The Boston Globe, today (July 5th, 2009):

“Six Red Sox made the All-Star team, including 17-year veteran Tim Wakefield for the first time.”

Did I call this? Yer darn tootin’, I did.

Congratulations, Mr Wakefield, sir. Very well deserved, and I hope you have a kick-ass time in Beer Stadium.

Bits of Fluff in Revision Period: Tim Wakefield better be on the All-Star Team or I will be very, very grumpy.

We’re approaching the midway point of the 2009 baseball season. I’ve kept my baseball posts fairly limited for a couple of reasons: I’m a fan of the sport, but I’m not a complete diehard and I worry that if I post one incorrect statistic on a player or fact about the game, some crazed lunatic (almost certainly a Yankees fan) will come after me with a wrinkled copy of  the MLB Rule Book, a tub of warm, flat Budweiser, and a swinging baseball bat, and then it’s bye bye writing career and intact skull. I also tend to ramble when talking baseball, because I miss being able to see it everyday and there’s that whole thing about absence making the heart grow into a bleeding, sopping mess of loquacious nonsense and it’s just such a beautiful sport and I adore it ever so much and for the love of GOD, will you just stop it with the baseball talk already. You’re in England, no one cares about that silly game here. OK, message received, point taken. But I do want to ask one minor, rhetorical question:

How freaking awesome has Tim Wakefield been this season?

Yeah, I know, his ERA isn’t top notch. I said rhetorical, damn it. Shut up. Look at the positive. Nine wins on the season: that’s tied for second best in baseball right now. Two complete games already. He’s leading the Sox (who are doing just fine, thank you, two games up in the AL East with a tidy little .609 winning percentage) in wins and just a touch behind their ace Josh Beckett in ERA and innings pitched. He’s getting the job done and well done, too. Oh yeah, and he’s 42 years old. Booyah.

It’s still a long shot, but because of his high win numbers and strong performance, there have been whispers from some and bellowing shouts from others (mostly Sox fan-lunatics, God bless ’em all) about getting Tim on  the All-Star roster this year. I make it no secret that Tim’s my favorite player and in my devoted irrationality, I think he should be on the All-Star roster every year. But this time, it’s different. Tim, is after all, 42. And, sure, he can probably play at his level for another four or five years, assuming the Injury Demons leave him the hell alone. But you know there’s only a limited amount of time left before Wake has to put aside his nasty little knuckleball and ride off into the Florida sunset.  Before he does that, though, doesn’t he deserve a spot in this fun and mostly meaningless midsummer game with the big, disgustingly overpaid superstars? Especially this season when he’s been so solidly, unassumingly good? I say hell yes.

Also –  and I know this counts for squat when deciding All Star Game rosters –  the man is, from everything I’ve heard and seen, one of the nicest guys in baseball. No temper tantrums. No eye rolls. No brooding moodiness, no smashing up locker rooms and hotels after a difficult game. No throwing his teammates under a bus in press conferences. He’s willingly done some time out of the bullpen in the past when his knuckleball has been shaky, and he’s such a team-oriented, easy-going kind of guy, you sometimes get the feeling he cleans up the locker rooms and scrubs the toilets at night when the rest of the team has gone home. He doesn’t beat his wife or go out partying with Madonna. You’re never going to see his mugshot plastered all over the morning papers after a raucous night out during which he wraps a borrowed BMW around a tree and strolls away uninjured before spitting in a cop’s face and getting carted off to the drunk tank. That’s just not who Tim is. He has a family and he golfs in his free time. He donates absurd amounts of both his time and money to charities, mostly involving kids. He’s been nominated about eight hundred times for the Roberto Clemente award, which he has never won, because he’s Tim. He’s your classic nice guy: he does his job, does it well and with little fanfare, but because life is occasionally a bitch, he’s passed over for everything.

Well, damn it, not this year. I want Tim in the All-Star Game. When asked if he was hopeful and excited about the possibility of being on the Team for the first time in his long career,  he gave his signature nonchalant, hardworking, ‘the-team’s-the-most-important-thing,’ nice guy answer: “Yeah, that would be pretty cool…Hopefully I’m at least considered for a spot, and if I make it, great. If not, I’ll finish up the second half.” No biggie, right? Bullshit. Heck, Timmy, if you’re not gonna lobby for own your well-deserved inclusion on the All-Star Team, I’ll do it for you. I’m drawing up the bumper stickers and the campaign buttons now. I’m organizing the parades. I’m bitch-slapping all the killjoy know-nothings who inquire, with baffled stupidity, ‘Who’s Tim Wakefield?’ To hell with ’em.  TIM WAKEFIELD FOR ALL-STAR. Oh yes. It’s the right thing to do.

Aw Crap, It’s Only the Governor.


You’ll forgive me (or you won’t, that’s cool too), but today is Opening Day and I’m carefully monitoring my heart rate to make sure the old ticker doesn’t explode inside my chest, then leak out of my nostrils.

Finally, after a long, dark winter of sketchy reports from some bizarre place called “Florida,” endless injury-watches on aging, hurting men, and months of mega-million dollar trade talks falling through at the last, miserable second, finally, finally, finally, baseball season begins here in Boston. As a life-long Red Sox fan, this is basically Christmas in April, except Santa is being played by a bald man named Francona and includes an elfish second baseman MVP, who probably stands in at about 5’4″ and weighs 120lbs soaking wet. God love ’em all, I can’t wait for that opening pitch. And for the first time in, oh, ages, I’ll actually be in the city to enjoy it.

It’s not easy being a baseball fan in England. The Brits have some sweater-wearing, tea-drinking, pansy-ass pseudo-sport called cricket, which is enough like baseball, sort of, that they pretty much ignore the real thing over here. Cricket is a monstrously complicated, yet soul-crushingly uninteresting game that goes on for days and is often prescribed as a sleep-remedy for incurable insomniacs. For the life of me, I fail to understand its appeal in any other capacity. But, after three years in the UK, I’ve come to accept that there will always be oddities about that strange and wonderful country and its mildly insane inhabitants that will forever perplex me. Besides, I haven’t got time to delve into the attraction of cricket: I’m too busy trying to figure out how Pop Rocks work.

Anyway, if you’ve been a Red Sox fan long enough, you’re bound to have more than a few memories that you just love boring into the skulls of OTHERS, i.e., the non-fans, the people who are slowly but surely starting to hate you and your massive, pulsating, ubiquitous tumor of a team. I’m no exception and now you’re all going to have to suffer through my favorite Red Sox memory. You poor suckers. Of course, seeing the Sox win the World Series in 2004 after that epic comeback against Satan the Yankees is a classic. And watching cars being set on fire as a means of celebrating said victory was perhaps the highlight of my senior year in college. But that’s too easy. I gotta tell ya, the best memory I’ve ever had of my boys occurred on May 1, 2006, which was really just a run-of-the-mill, early season, fairly forgettable game at Fenway…OR WAS IT?!

Of course it wasn’t, you fool! This was the first head-to-head match-up of Sox vs Yankees in 2006! This was the Light vs the Dark Side, this was Innocence, Trust, Teamsmanship, and Consummate Love of the Game vs Soul-Sucking, Money-Grubbing, Devil-Worshiping, and Fun-Hating Banality! This was real baseball! And this was also the first time that that traitorous, throws-like-a-girl doorknob Johnny Damon would return to Fenway Park after his mercenary defection to the Evil Empire. The crowd was already in fine form, jeering loudly at our once beloved Johnny and the Bleacher Creature Faithful were busy throwing dollar bills onto the field in order to shame the troll-like beast for his hypocrisy and sordid infidelity. Well, either that or they were trying to get the saucy center fielder to strip. It’s always a little hard to say with Fenway fans, especially after the alcoholic third-inning buzz sets in.

Regardless. Jeering on Johnny was not my favorite part of the game. Big Papi David Ortiz blasting a Mike Myers’ (another former Sox) fastball into New Hampshire to put my boys on top was not my favorite part of the game. The clean cut Red Sox win, sending them into first place in the AL East was not my favorite part of the game. My favorite part of the game actually occurred before it had even technically started, but it demonstrated just how incredibly awesome (and absurd) it is to be a Red Sox fan.

See, once upon a time, there was this catcher named Doug Mirabelli. I liked Doug. He was unassuming, cheerful, had the speed of a walrus on land, and he hit around .200 in a decent season. But Doug could catch a knuckleball and he could do it better than perhaps anyone else in baseball. And it just so happens that my all-time favorite Red Sox, in fact, my all-time favorite baseball player, is a knuckleball specialist named Tim Wakefield. I had never seen a knuckleball pitch before, had never even heard of it, in fact, until Tim joined the Sox way back in ’95. Immediately I was hooked. Watching a knuckleballer pitch is, for me, baseball at its best. At the very least, it’s never, ever boring. When Tim’s on, he’s damn near unhittable, and it’s an absolute treat watching batters swat hopelessly after this softly-tossed ball that dances around at about 55MPH before dropping out of nowhere deep into the strike zone. The problem, of course, is that when Tim’s off, it’s like a pig to the slaughter, and batters have a field day launching his pitches out of the park like golf balls. Perhaps even more nerve-wracking is that the knuckleball is almost as impossible to catch as it is to hit, which is why many in Red Sox Nation groaned miserably when they learned that our dear Dougie had been traded to the Padres in the 2006 off-season. Who was going to catch Timmy now?

For a while, the Sox tried a kid named Josh Bard who showed some potential by only having about 479 passed balls in seven games with Tim, which actually isn’t too shabby for catching a knuckleballer for the first time. But rumor had it that Dougie seemed a bit unhappy out in the San Diego sun and was lonesome for his battery mate and old team, a team that actually had a fan base who gave a toss about it. So the Sox got him back. On May 1st. The very day Tim was scheduled to pitch against the filthy, slimy, disgusting Yankees who had also tried to get Dougie on their team that day, for no other reason than to screw over the Sox. (Wikipedia tells me this is true, and as we all know, Wikipedia never lies.)

The question, the drama, the excitement, of course, was, would Doug make it to Fenway in time to catch Tim? And if he didn’t, who the hell would? The televised pre-game festivities were an exercise in raising blood pressure. I remember sitting in my living room, rocking back and forth with my knees clutched to my chest, wishing, praying, pleading with the Big Guy to get Dougie into Boston as soon as possible, to zip him down into the Fens via turbo jet if necessary. Nothing was too good for Dougie. The announcers were beside themselves, hopped up like crack fiends,  practically ripping their hair out over the anticipation of this game (this regular season, one-out-of-162 game) and all that it might mean to the Sox. And where the hell was Mirabelli? Would he get his ass to the PAHK in time?! I think three of them died of sheer nervous exhaustion and stress-induced aneurysms before the National Anthem was even sung.

Then! Suddenly! A Black SUV flanked by state troopers picks its way down the Fenway traffic zoo! Could it be Doug?! Was he going to make it after all?! Would he stride out of that car, manfully returning to his proper home, and quickly punch Johnny “Judas” Damon in the face before storming out onto the field and single-handedly winning the game, the series, the season?! The driver of the SUV hustled out and quickly and efficiently opened the back door, and, and, and!

And, aw crap, it’s only the governor.

And I’d be a fool not to laugh at this. In fact, I worked myself up into a nice, heady stream of hysterical giggles over my epic, completely disproportionate disappointment over the arrival of the Commonwealth’s leader to a regular, run-of-the-mill baseball game. On television, the surviving announcers laughed at the pure silliness of the situation too, but it reminded me how utterly amazing and obsessive baseball can be in this town. Seriously, where else would this happen? Where else would the appearance of the governor – who, by the way, is a guy named Mitt Romney and is already starting to explore a very serious run for the Presidency –  be entirely eclipsed by the anticipated arrival of some backup catcher for your number four starting pitcher? God help us, if it happens in any place other than Boston, I think we’re all doomed.

Anyway, for the record, Dougie made it in time. Apparently he had to change into a Sox uniform on the ride over to Fenway and caught all of the first inning without protection for his, ehrm, man bits. But these are small prices to pay for Red Sox glory. He threw a runner out in the second inning of the game and the cheers that greeted him at his first at-bat could not have been more boisterous and adoring if he were the second coming of Jesus.  And, as I said, the Red Sox won. Perfect game.

So, yes, I am very excited about tomorrow, but more than a little unnerved as well. See, Opening Day was supposed to be yesterday, and I had this blog post all typed up and ready to go for you good folks. But, again, because this is Boston in April, the weather decided not to cooperate at all: the heavens opened up early in the day and took a giant leak all over the city, washing out any chance of a game for the afternoon. The forecast for tomorrow predicts sun and partly cloudy skies without a drop of rain in sight, but weathermen are known charlatans and liars and I don’t trust a damn one of them any further than I can toss their sorry asses.

Still, tomorrow’s game has to happen. It has to. I’m starting to get the baseball withdrawal shakes here and if I don’t see some ball-playing soon, I may just lose it and start searching the BBC International channels for cricket matches. No one wants to see that happen, so really: if you’ve got a spare minute, wish for some good weather in Boston tomorrow, will ya? Please? I’ll owe you one and maybe I’ll spare you another long, rambling Red Sox-related post in the future. Maybe, though. No promises or anything.

Using Your Head (aka, “That Lump That’s Three Feet Above Your Ass”)


I saw A League of Their Own this weekend. It’s always a little disappointing when movies you watched and loved when you were a kid seem maudlin and horribly dated years later and you suddenly realize that your ten-year-old self had pretty crappy taste. I am confident, though, that my current adoration for the High School Musical film series will not leave me with similar feelings of shame.

Anyway, despite feeling squirmy and mildly embarrassed by A League of Their Own, I laughed afresh over a fantastic quote Tom Hanks’ character screams at his cutoff man-missing right fielder: “Now you start using your head! That’s that lump that’s three feet above your ass!” Maybe if some of my softball coaches had shamed me to tears like that during my playing years, I could have been a brilliant athletic star, too. Or at least I might have fallen on my face less often when I chased after fly balls I’d inevitably drop.

Regardless. I had completely forgotten about this absolute gem of a quote from the film, partly, I suppose, because it’s a bit naughty, but mostly, I suspect, because it’s immediately overshadowed by the next bit of dialogue which includes the film’s most well-known line: “There’s no crying in baseball!” That’s a bit sad. And a lie, too. Hell, I’ve been a Red Sox fan long enough to have vague memories of my dad in tears during Game 6 of the ’86 World Series. And I definitely shed a few of my own when my main man Tim Wakefield gave up that cheap shot to Aaron “AssFace” Boone in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. There are a lot of tears in baseball, believe me. Pah. Tom Hanks is such a liar.

So, how about you guys? Do you have favorite quotes from films, quotes that are perhaps overshadowed by other, less impressive, but more famous lines? If so, drop me a comment and I’ll either nod over the sagacity of your thought-processes or laugh hysterically at what a diaper-wearing ape you are. No pressure or anything.

Let’s eat until we throw up.

Baseball season is right around the corner! Yay! And you know what that means – a 4lb burger on an 8-inch sesame seed bun, of course!

ODD Bodacious Ballpark Burger

Say hello to the latest menu item at the Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps. Apparently, if you finish this $20 cow-on-a-plate in one sitting, you’ll receive a special T-shirt! I wonder if they’ll also give you a ride to the local emergency room.