04 March 2005

Nine in a Row...

BOS 4
MIN 3
WP- Jeremi Gonzalez
LP- JD Durbin
SV- Denney Tomori
HR- Shawn Wooten




They're back! It's back! BASEBALL!!

Great fun watching the first Spring Training game of the year last night, thanks to a free promotion on MLB.tv. Clement started for the Sox, followed by Kim, Jeremi Gonzalez, Josias Manzanillo, Abe Alvarez, Wilson, Mark Malaska and Denney Tomori. In addition, we got to see some new faces hit- Edgar Renteria, Jay Payton- and some young mLers that often aren't on TV, like, for instance Hanley Ramirez (0-1 with a BB).

The Sox looked good, which may be a counterproductive report considering Spring Training Games mean jack squat- and really, if anything can mean less than jack squat, I'd guess it'd be the first Spring Training Game of the year. But sitting there, hearing Don and Jerry, watching Tek hit (with the "C"), seeing Bellhorn strikeout (kidding- sort of. He did strikeout, but I'm a great fan of his)- was awesome. It meant we were well on our way to a new year of baseball, and well on our way to beginning the Title Defense, which will heretofore be referred to as "TD."

So Clement threw free and easy (and is developing a crush, apparently), going 2 IP giving up one earned run. Kim wasn't as convincing in giving up no runs, but again- it's Spring Training. He's got time to iron things out to contribute in the 'pen (or, uh, a trade). Jeremi Gonzalez looked decent against the AAAers from Minnesota, and Tomori finished the game looking awful- he's got a lot of break on his pitches, but last night they were all big huge fat hangers, and he got knocked around a bit. By the way- wasn't he supposed to be a side-armer?

As for our pitching, Wade Miller is progressing nicely. Hopefully they continue to keep him moving slow, but these are great signs:

It was a necessary step, this business yesterday of Wade Miller taking a mound for the first time since last August, by which time his season already had been shut down because of a frayed labrum in his right shoulder.

His last game action was with the Houston Astros last June 25, when he shut it down after his fifth straight outing of 100 or more pitches, as good an indication as any that Miller was trying to pitch through the pain.

But while this was an encouraging step, even though Miller did little more than flip fastballs and become reacquainted with the downward angle of his throws, the bigger test will come when he has enough confidence in the shoulder to let a pitch go without trepidation.

He's not there yet.

"That will be the biggest test of all," said Miller, "and there's a long way to go. I have to do this quite a few more times before I let it go."

As tantalized as the Sox are by having another pitcher with proven ace ability, they have maintained all along that they are taking the long view with Miller.

"We're going to be slow with him," manager Terry Francona said. "He's making a lot of progress. He's done pretty well, but we're going to keep a pretty tight rein. But this was a big step."


Theo told Don and Jerry last night that Wade had thrown off a mound again yesterday, adding Miller to the list of quickly rehabbing players with, well- Bill Mueller. Mueller's knee is responding well to surgery, and Jerry Remy reported last night seeing him work out, looking free and easy. Great news.

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Every blogger's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.

The Red Sox visited the White House in ass-blistering cold, and Bush gave a pretty funny speech. Nothing to exciting to report, though it warrants mentioning that Manny found another grandmother he had to be sick, so he didn't attend. Hey, I shouldn't be a dick- maybe it's true. If so, hope she's ok.

Here's the article from the Globe. Some fun pictures came out of the event. I wonder if Embree was a little put off by having his number handed out. Kind of funny. And anyway, don't they usually give the President a #1? It was pretty funny when he did that little hyena laugh he does and goes, "so like, what took you so long?" He's like your frat brother college friend doing the best man speech.



So why was Schilling giving out the jersey? Cos he was Bush's Boston campaign manager? Isn't Varitek the captain of the team? Whatever.

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I made the call on which jersey to get, and it's ordered.

Check it out.

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Can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet. Well, MVP 2005 arrived, and drastically improved over the flawed (but still great) 2004. Now, lefties can actually hit with power, the defense is MUCH smoother in the infield (infielders can throw to a base unoccupied as the player is moving to occupy it- like throwing to the pitcher as he runs to cover first). The hitting now includes the "hitter's eye," a feature (turn off-able) that color codes pitches and flashes them as they leave the pitcher's hand. It's actually kind of fun- doesn't make it a lot easier, just more involved. The game appears to tailor itself a bit more to going with the pitch- taking outside stuff the other way, etc. Damon has the beard/ hair, Ortiz and Ramirez are monsters, and there's a World Champions logo on the Monster.

PLUS, when Ortiz hits a HR, in the replay he does his patented over-the-head follow through on the backswing. Really, I can't express how cool this is. Unfortunately, the Fenway Triangle bug still lives, and the addition of Single A teams/ rosters to dynasty and owner mode was totally unnecessary.

The new hitting/ pitching challenges are REALLY fucking fun, if not a little odd. The hitting one especially- it looks like you're in Bumblefuck Wherever at some shitty run-down field with dead cars and construction equipment past the HR fence. Tractors buzz by on the field (all of these vehicles help your score if hit), and you get 10 pitches to meet a point threshhold. The computer instructs you where to hit it and how (air, ground), and your points reflect how you do that. There are also giant ramps that help/ hurt your cause, and a spiralling red vortex that is really bad to into (I'm not kidding). Just totally odd.

The pitching one is cool- like a reverse Tetris, wherein you have to throw the right pitch in the right place to knock out as many same-colored touching blocks as possible in either a set amount of pitches or time- your choice. It's like a puzzle, and it's really, really fun.

The old-school stadiums are fun to play at too, especially for the "Cooperstown Effect," that has it looking like you're watching old, sepia-toned newsreel footage or something. You can turn it off, but if you unlock some real old-time uniforms and go play, it really won't ever get old. Mike and I tried to see if it would- and it didn't. Amazing.

In fact, Mike and I have this specific game we play in MVP where when pitching, the only thing you can throw is a pitch right down the middle- any style: curveball, fastball, etc. It turns into a ridiculous slugfest, and you smack it out to see who wins. Instant-gratification type entertainment. MVP Street maybe?

Good game. And The Baby Bull graces the cover/ many load screens. Man, I'd hate to have to look at this shit as a Yankee fan. And what do they do? It's the best baseball game on the market.

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Been going crazy with Netflix lately- just getting movie upon movie upon movie- the other night it was Shot in the Dark, the best Pink Panther movie by far, and last night it was the really cool mid-nineties indie film, Living in Oblivion. Steve Buscemi, Catherine Keener, and James LeGros (who's fucking hilarious in it) starring in a quick story about the making of an indie film. Not the greatest thing you've ever seen, but a real creative script, some great characters, some funny performances, and a snappy resolution. What's not to love? And Les, the soundman, was the precursor to all this Malibu's Most Wanted wigger humor. For the record.

Coming up on my queue? Here's the next ten:

  1. Mr. Death: Fred A Leuchter Jr.

  2. The Warriors

  3. The Jerk

  4. Still We Believe: The Boston Red Sox Movie

  5. Hedwig and the Angry Inch

  6. The Elephant Man

  7. Bullets Over Broadway

  8. Before Night Falls

  9. The Player

  10. The Conversation


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Every now and then I get backed up on books I'm looking to read, and then considering between writing this, writing for Tweed, a full time job, watching copious amounts of movies to get my money's worth on NetFlix, and making sure I've seen every episode of every HBO show as they air (not counting, of course, Entourage, Sex and the City, Arliss, Unscripted or Lackawanna Blues)... I fall behind. Here's what I'm reading, what I've got on deck, and... uh, that's it.

Reading
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S Thompson (again. I had to.)

  • Baseball Prospectus 2005 by ed. of Baseball Prospectus (more on this in future posts)


  • On Deck
  • The Great Shark Hunt by Hunter S Thompson

  • Tale of Two Cities: The 2004 Yankees- Red Sox Rivalry and the Run For the Pennant by Tony Massarotti and John Harper

  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

  • Ulysses by James Joyce (old school readers of this blog know I still gotta finish this one. And I will.)


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    Look for a post upcoming introducing the new guys on the '05 Sox to my girlfriend Erin, complete with scouting reports, BP player comments, stats, etc. Should be a good time.

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    1 Comments:

    I just saw a commercial on TV for that video game. It shows Mussina pitching to Manny. And Manny waits for his pitch (they're hyping that "batter's eye" thing), and then knocks one out of yankee Stadium, as everything turns digital. I'm still playing RBI Baseball, though. That Gary Pettis is fast!

    By Blogger Jere, at 3/05/2005 10:31 AM  

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