31 August 2005

Nixon, Virgin, Bellhorn, NES...

From the 7th inning on, this was a doozy. Having not been privy to the first six (more on that later), I carried a natural optimism into the final frames I may not otherwise have had. Down two to the Devil Rays with 9 outs to work with. The way I saw it, it was elementary.

And it was. The Red Sox pulled it out, 7-6, on a very exciting 8th and 9th innings, culminating in a 2-out, bases loaded single off the bat of Trot Nixon for the win. The 8th was great to watch as well, considering the really brilliant handling of the bench (for a change) from Francona. He brought Damon and Olerud in at the exact right spots, eventually getting the game-tying RBI from Long John Olerud and putting us in a spot to win. Trot's throwing out Toby Hall (well, throwing to Varitek and getting the call, we'll say) was enormous. Manny Delcarmen looked decent out of the pen, too. Here's the Highlights style guide to the celebration, y'all-

1- Mike "Old Yeller" Timlin
2- Ino "BP" Guerrero
3- Johnny "Boom Boom with the Bridesmaids" Damon
4- Bronson "Sweeps the Leg" Arroyo
5- Matt "Four Score" Clement
6- Tony "Clutchareeno" Graffanino
7- Kevin "Expletive Deleted" Millar
8- Manny "The Infant Bull" Delcarmen
9- Trot "Dying Quail for the Win" Nixon
10- Alex "Jooooo-eeeyy" Cora
11- Gabe "The Israeli Sensation" Kapler
12- Jason "Hairitek" Varitek
13- Edgar "Chawpah" Renteria

Not that any of you needed the help, but this picture just seemed to scream the need for it. And yes, I took this one off my TV. I was all about the TV pictures last night, for some reason. In fact, I sat through most of the inning poised with the camera once the offense started simmering, thinking it would be cool to snap the winning basehit as it happened, and while I came close a couple times, once Damon hit is hard liner that was right at the drawn in Huff (too shallow for Ortiz to tag up), I sort of put the camera down and let it all happen. It's not that good things weren't happening or something, like I was spoiling karma- Renteria made an out to start the inning, but Papi walked, then Manny singled him to 3rd, Varitek walked and Damon nearly ended it with one out- it was just a matter of deflation.

I still had a feeling though. Ever just get one of those feelings in a game? Like you have no specific reason to, but you can't feel a loss whatsoever? And you keep watching, because it feels inevitable... and then Joe Borowski shits the bed and Danys Baez can't keep The Tarheel down.

When we win, too, this screen (familiar to you MLB EI havers) is oddly congratulatory:

I'm glad I didn't have to sit through that Schilling performance though. Yeesh. It does sound like he was righting the ship after two awful innings to start. Hopefully, he can keep us in games from here on in.

Hey, so how's this for a gutpunch? After what appeared to be a near-sure thing that Mark Bellhorn was going to Oakland, he drops in New York, the very team he managed to help knock out of the playoffs last year. This was depressing for me on a lot of levels- not only was Mark one of The Twenty-Five, not only was he one of my favorite all-time Red Sox (for various odd reasons), but he was also a character, someone with some level of charm as a baseball player. He had the Earflaps, the high socks, the beard, the long hair.

So last night not only does one of the prized members of our World Series team show up and play for the Yankees (which, by the way, I hardly blame him for), he gets a helmet with only one flap, he's shaved himself clean, cut the hair and lowered the socks. I mean, do the Yankees have some supersecret spirit-breaking machine? How long does it take for them to administer this treatment?

Bellhorn is a bad example, but... I mean, what if you're a young guy, you're traded without being asked to the Yankees, and they tell you to strip down and shave your body hair before taking the field? And what if you're a mildly intelligent guy who realizes that not only did you not ASK to come to New York, but you also realize how completely infantile and myopic it is to consider facial worthy of a team-wide ban? I mean, not make a stink so you can have your goatee, but simply to challenge the principle of it, which is asinine. 100%. My guess is these are athletes, and the last thing they want to do upon arriving in New York is to rock the boat and attempt to start a thoughtful debate about something like this to the numbskulls at the NY Post or whatever.

Anyway, it was really funny listening to Michael Kay, who used to stop just short of openly mocking the Red Sox for playing Bellhorn, to force some praise on him- "he can take the walk." "He strikes out a ton- but hey, that's his game." "He plays some great defense." The last one made me laugh, considering it used to be his position that the exact opposite was true when he played with Boston.

Also, another thing that bothers me: Michael Kay. Do you know he is, with the possible exception of Vin Scully, who broadcasts solo, the only play-by-play guy who sees fit (even with as many as three booth partners) to make himself a color analyst as well? Like when last night he speculated Adrian Beltre was suffering in Seattle because he "came to Safeco Field, where offense is very hard to come by." Excellent research Michael. Make no mention of his 48 HRs in Dodger Fucking Stadium last year. The other thing he does is treat his broadcasts like an SAT verbal warmup. Last night he used the words "apoplectic," "palindrome," "anagram," "inane," "chagrin," "circuitous" and the phrase- I shit you not- "fallacy of the pre-determined outcome." I don't know about you guys, but this man impresses me with his completely unnecessary use of verbiage in a middle-of-the-night New York Yankees telecast. Well done. Of course, his partner in the booth had to act like the dumb idiot who didn't understand the words coming out of his mouth.

Kay's better than David Justice though. WOW. Kay was making a good point last night about Jeter and the Hall of Fame- stating that since no one has ever been inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, that Jeter wouldn't either. Justice stated that he thought he would, and started to rattle off reasons why. "He's a leader- he's won the championships, he's a guy- with the intagibles, he can get you that big hit- you know he can, Michael- he has the reputation as a leader, and I just think, for a writer not to vote him in... they shouldn't have a job."

Kay kept countering that if Willie Mays and Hank Aaron weren't unanimous, no one will be- and he was right. Kay then mentioned Tom Seaver, and Justice cut him off- "I don't know anything about Tom Seaver- nothing. To the point- I don't even know if I could tell you either way if he should be a Hall of Famer. Don't know anything about Seaver." This was bad- but the endless, barely spit-out bullshit babble of nonsense that was his list of reasons Jeter should be a unanimous Hall of Famer was actually embarassing. I was sort of embarassed. The poor guy can hardly even talk.

This was their color guy last night. And the Yankees lost too, which was nice to see.

Erin and I saw The 40 Year Old Virgin last night, and it was really good- very funny stuff, and Steve Carrell was definitely even funnier and better than I expected. So was Paul Rudd, and especially Romany Malco who played Jay.

Anyway, that's not what I wanted to get to. This film was done by Judd Apatow, genius behind (in varying degrees) Freaks and Geeks, The Ben Stiller Show, Undeclared, Anchorman, The Cable Guy, The Larry Sanders Show, Celtic Pride, Heavyweights, and now, The 40 Year Old Virgin. When Judd makes a movie, many people make common appearances. There's the old Garofalo/ Stiller/ Dick/ Odenkirk/ Rajskub/ Cross/ Black crew, there's the Freaks and Geeks vets, and even some random Apatow-connections, Dave "Gruber" Allen.

In this one, there were some fun ones- Seth Rogen was an obvious one, being a lead in Freaks and Geeks. In addition though, were Mr. Kowchevski (Fs & Gs), the teacher that mocked Desario in the AV episode of Fs & Gs and David Koechner, who was in Anchorman (as well as Paul Rudd, obviously). Nancy Walls was in it as well, an SNL alum along with Koechner- and Steve Carrell's wife.

Best of all though was Romany Malco- laugh out loud funny- and a veteran of the indomitable Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story where he played, of course, Hammer, and performed that bullshit storyline where Hammer and 2Pac became like brothers before Shakur's death. Awesome stuff.

One more note- Seth Rogen's t-shirts in this movie are fucking intense- he wears, in succession: an old, faded, Nirvana Nevermind shirt; an old, faded, Sonic Youth Dirty shirt; an old, faded, Public Enemy Fear of a Black Planet shirt; and an old, not-so-faded GZA Liquid Swords shirt. I defy any movie character to beat those four t-shirts over the course of a movie. Unbelievable.

Check out the movie, it's funny as hell.

Finally, to update the Nintendo-getting quest (I did mention that, right?), it turns out Erin still has her fully-functioning (kinda) Nintendo, with all the original wires and controllers. So, when her family visited this past weekend, they brought it up, and I dispatched to the used video game store extraordinaire in CT, Shakespeare's Video Works (go there- it's awesome- Trumbull Mall).

Anyway, I pulled down a bunch of NES games for practically nothing- and snatched a couple more online. A few of them (Mike Tyson's Punch Out!, Tecmo Super Bowl, Tetris, Contra) I wanted because they're great games. Some of them I wanted for their camp value- just fun, cheesy and cool to have around. Here's what we got so far, including Erin's contributions from when she was little:

  1. Super Mario Bros./ Duck Hunt

  2. Super Mario Bros. 2

  3. Contra

  4. Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!

  5. Mickey Mousecapades

  6. Tecmo Super Bowl

  7. Tetris

  8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

  9. Back to the Future

  10. Nightmare on Elm Street

  11. Karate Kid

  12. WWF Wrestlemania

  13. T&C Surf Designs

Of the "campy" games, Nightmare has the potential to be the coolest, but there's the issue of my not being able to figure out what in the fuck you're supposed to do after you get into the first house. Wrestlemania is an abominable game, but fun to goof around with- and TMNT is just like I remember it when I was little.

When I first got Nintendo for X-mas one year, I got Super Mario Bros./ Duck Hunt and Mike Tyson's Punch Out!! (I'm putting parentheses here so that it doesn't look like I'm ending that sentence with the exclamation points, and it's only the game's title). As a result, MTPO is one of my favorite games of all time.

______________________________ |