Tuesday, August 30, 2005
  The TLBR Mix Tape Tour
I've always had a thing for mix tapes, whether it was making them for my own personal entertainment, for a road trip, a particular female-type, or whatever. And I've been doing it long, long before Nick Hornsby wrote "High Fidelity" and John Cusack starred in the pretty above-average movie adaptation.

Some of the best times I had here was spinning together these compilations, from the halcyon days of not having a firewall at work (and a kick-ass version of Limewire), to high-speed internet and burners in the apt. I even made the jump from simple mix tape (actually, they've all been CD's the last few years, pardon the romantic semantics) to intricate "box sets," complete with themes and songs for certain times of the day or week. I made three in my day: one was un-be-freaking-lievable and went over well; the second one was kind of a dud on account of the recipient being an igloo with a dress; and the third one has yet to be sent and the window of opportunity/relevance grows smaller by the day. (But I still listen to it.)

So I've been mulling over exactly how to write an appropriate post on this final day of a seven-year run here in NY. I'm not particularly interested in telling a series of anecdotes, nor do I want to write haiku.

(but if I did, it would go a little like this: Packing really sucks; Finding Old Cards and pictures; And a bunch of socks)

So I put together a playlist for the iPod - modern technology's answer to the mix tape - titled "On the Driving Away." The tracklisting for the 21-song Salute is listed below. Enjoy.

1. Ashes - Embrace
2. Get Gone - Fiona Apple
3. Float On - Modest Mouse
4. What More Can I Say - Jay-Z
5. Hey hey, my my - Neil Young
6. New Slang - The Shins
7. We Gone Make It - Jadakiss
8. Made You Look - Nas
9. NY is not my home - Jim Croce
10. Sweet Baby James - JT
11. Dirty Water - The Standells
12. Green eyes - Coldplay
13. Last goodbye - Jeff Buckley
14. Let go - Frou Frou
15. Only Living boy in NY - Simon & Garfunkel
16. Old Familiar Steam - Old 97's
17. One Shining Moment - Teddy Pendergrass
18. Midnight Train to Georgia - Gladys Knight and the Pips
19. Champagne Supernova - Oasis
20. Exit Music for a Film - Radiohead
21. Landed (strings version) - Ben Folds
Monday, August 29, 2005
  We don't need no water, let the (computer files) burn. Burn (computer files), burn.
Well, the burner/computer combo is a little like me when the Red Sox (check!) are losing: cranky, unresponsive, and unpredictable.

But it's working. Sorta. Kinda. Shampoo (officially the new TLBR euphemism for nasty four-letter words), I just jinxed it. Frozen like Ted Williams.

All the desktop stuff, documents, and resumes worked fine. The rap and Coldplay folders did not. Screw it. If I really need the Geto Boys' "Mind Playin' Tricks on Me" that bad, I'll look for it online.

Onto some final burns and then I'll be done. All that's left is the goodbye lunch - and returning the Ez-Pass that I thought I'd be able to gaffle for the trip out (mid)West. Rats.

Glad this has been six hours of my life that I'll never get back. Kinda apropos.
  Computer Update
Ok, so I got the damned Windows 98 antique to at least recognize this high-falutin' CD burner.

Now, I need to choose the correct program for it to burn to. Nero? F. Terrible.

Burn4Free? Well, I might be getting spammed the rest of my life, but we shall see if this can do the job.

The computer is safe from being smashed like a cantaloupe at a Gallagher show. For now.

Last of two days in the office. I have lots of stuff to get off my computer, like old files and about 2 GB of Coldplay songs.

But there's a problem. My computer is Windows 98. Good luck finding a CD burner or external hard drive that's compatible.

And it teases you. When you plug it in, it tells you "hey, you just plugged a CD burner in! Way to go! This is gonna be awesome. Let the burning commence."

Except, when it comes time to click and drag, it politely tells you "Nope. Sorry. I'm not ready for a commitment right now. Don't you want to just use the floppy disk?"

Since the window of me being fired and escorted from campus is closing by the minute, I was thinking of painting my face like Braveheart, tying the desktop to the back of the luxury sedan, and driving it around campus yelling FREEDOM!!!
Or, I should just get some lunch, chalk up the 2003 live show in Portugal, and work on raising the blood sugar and lowering the angst levels.

  T-Minus Two Days
Back for the final two days in the office. Like the Minnesota Vikings, I am on the clock.

Got my last piece of blackmail, er, morning cake from my soon-to-be-former secretary and now, I'm spending the rest of the first part of today burning all the mp3's off my harddrive and deleting all the, um, medical anatomy websites from the laptop.

Will be back tonight, or later this afternoon, or maybe even in five minutes if I catch a muse, with some more thoughts.

Gotta go #2.
Friday, August 26, 2005
  There He Go
Well, it took all of about five minutes for Milwaukee to feel like home, or rather, not have it feel strange. Same difference.

And since it took about the same amount of time to make the choice as to whether or not to move out here - thanks to some very good advice from many of the TLBR loyal royals out there - I'm sensing a pattern.

The flight here yesterday was OK. Not great. Just OK, despite having flown Midwest - Consumer Reports' "Best Domestic Airline." Midwest is great, every seat is a first-class sized leather seat and they give you freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. What else can you ask for? (well, you could ask for a lot, but then you'd have to fly Hooters Air and they, unfortunately, don't go to Mil-walk-kay).

The woman next to me started off her day with a double Tanqueray and milk and was blotto-ed for the hour and a half, and the waitress er, flight attendant, spilled ice cold water on my and my book about Ted Williams. And the plane inexplicably sat on the tarmac for 20 minutes. But other than that, it was a real cracker jack of a flight segment.

Afterleaving the airport, I headed to Miller Park to catch the Brewers and Marlins' day-game, get-away day extravaganza. Miller Park was nice. It's not the Jake, it's not Camden Yards, it's not PNC, but it's nice. The bratwurst was delish, the soda cold, and the peanuts, um, nutty. Marlins won in 10.

After the game, I checked in and hit the indoor waterpark in the hotel. Me, 30 years of age, in a big-assed pool with water slides, and a gaggle of 10 year olds...I felt like a creep. All you needed was a giraffe and that was Neverland ranch. So I took a few spins down the green slide and took off. A few milfs, though... But I digress.

Then I ventured out to meet and greet my new town. I hit the mall, walked around, got a great deal on some jeans at TJ Maxx, and headed to Mo's - my new local.

Mo's. Not Moe's. Just Mo. Mo has a lot of restaurants in the two block radius. There's Mo's Irish Bar, where I was. Mo's Steakhouse. Mocha - his coffee bar. Momentum, his seafood place. Mo's Cucina, which is his Eye-talian joint, and Mo is working on a few more places, sure to have a catchy name with "Mo" in it. I will hopefully report on all of them.

Now, if you've been to Dublin town, you'll know how different the Guinness tastes. If you've been to Amsterdam, you'll know how much better the Heineken is. And if you've been to Australia (check!), you'll know that Foster's is still piss but James Boag is a saint.

Well, Miller Lite - my beer to have when I'm having more than one - is the same out here. It's like heaven. Imagine a nice two-pound maine lobster with warm drawn butter. It's like that, except you don't get messy hands from cracking shells. And, it's $2.75 a pint. And, at the MillerTime Pub in my hotel, it's $4.00 for a 22 ouncer. Over/under on my entering a 12-step program?

But at Mo's, after a great dinner and a tremendous convo with the new boss and another future colleague, I stayed around and listened to Gould and Patrick. These two lads are members of a bigger band, the Orphans, and they played a bevy of covers ranging from the Clancy's to Kelly Clarkson. The kicker of it all is, they give you a pamphlet of al the songs they'll play and a few slips to jot down requests. Oh, and they're shampoo-ing awesome. Did an amazing cover of (lo.....lei....) Fields of Athenry, followed by Yellow and With or Without You. Terr-if-ic.

I left around 11, ventured back to the Hilton, and stopped in for a nightcap at the Miller Time Pub, located centrally at the bottom of the elevator. I met Chris, a nice fellow who is opening his own bar - Buckhead's - ironically enough, on my first official full night in Milwaukee. My man Chris is originally from Atlanta and had lots of nasty things to say about the winters out here, but I didn't care.

Then there was Bob. Or James. Or Randall. Or Wally. I dunno. I dun care. This guy rolled up to me...me...sitting alone in an almost empty bar...nursing my Miller Lite...in the same town that Jeffrey Dahmer BTK'ed a whole bunch of people. Yeah, don't think that didn't cross my mind.

So he gets the convo going and me, never one for abstaining from innocently busting someone's balls to their face, took charge. I introduced myself as Ron and the stories kept flying. I worked at Enron. My wife threw me out of the house because I painted the family car like a cheetah. I moved to San Diego (Which is German for "Whale's Vagina." He didn't know that.) and I married the girl of my dreams - Veronica Corningstone. She's a network anchor and shags link a minx.

Bob/James/Randall/Wally works for AIG. AIG sells insurance. Bob/James/Randall/Wally tried to sell me insurance. I tried to get B/J/R/W to not sell me insurance. I let him speak for 10 second increments and then I'd say "YES!" or snort like a donkey and nod in agreement.

I asked him how much my ex-wife would get if I lit myself on fire on the front lawn of the house I had to give her in the divorce. I asked him how much could I collect if I were killed in prison. Or jumped off the roof of the hotel.

Finally, I think B/J/R/W got the picture, handed me a card, and left. I plan on contacting him again. And again. And again. And again. Because I have issues.
The Two-Time Defending World Champion New England Patriots (check!) are playing the Green Bay Packers tonight in preseason football. By the way, the Packers are a big deal out here, in case you were wondering. So I got that going for me.

And I did happen to see the "highlights" of the One-Time Defending World Champion Boston Red Sox (check!). I wonder if WEEI nation is killing Schilling or writing the whole season off yet. I prefer not to talk about losing two of three to the Kansas Shampooing City Royals. But it's not over.

Ok, onto meeting my other new friend Jewel and checking out the new deee-luxe apartment in the sky.

And I would've gotten away with it, if it weren't for you meddling kids,
Thursday, August 25, 2005
  The New Place To Hang My Hat
Wayne: So, do you come to Milwaukee often?

Alice Cooper: Well, I'm a regular visitor here, but Milwaukee has certainly had its share of visitors. The French missionaries and explorers began visiting here in the late 16th century.

Pete: Hey, isn't "Milwaukee" an Indian name?

Alice Cooper: Yes, Pete, it is. In fact, it was originally an Algonquin term meaning "the good land."

Wayne: I was not aware of that.

Alice Cooper: I think one of the most interesting things about Milwaukee is that it's the only American city to elect three Socialist mayors.

Wayne: [to the camera] Does this guy know how to party or what?
A blow-by-blow recap of the first unofficial official day in my new hometown tomorrow. Back to Mo's.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
  The week is half-over. Or is half-full?
(Disclaimer: He has a link on the side and is a friend, but...) I would be remiss if I did not plug Dave Scott's latest foray into the murky world of technology and virtual insanity: Podshots.

Catching the wave of podcasting, DScott combines his talent and wisdom behind the keyboard with a voice that would sooth the most savage of beasts. He is like the Mel Torme of sports internet podcasting.

To take a listen, click here.
The nation of Brazil says it wants answers in regards to the suspected terrorist that London police mistakenly shot in the Underground a few weeks ago. Which made me think...if I was the headline writer for one of those London tabloids that oft toe the line of tact, would "Brazilian Waxed" have been appropriate?
Pet peeve: people who use the word "fabulous" on a more-than-regular basis to describe things where other adjectives would suffice. Example, "that wine we had a Froo Froo restaurant was fabulous." You're not Posh Spice. You're not these girls. You're not this guy. So save it. And besides, where I come from, it's spelled F-A-B-O-L-O-U-S.
I mentioned it last night, and it beared mentioning this am: the Royals TV announcers were pretty good. One small measuring stick I use to ascertain whether a visiting team's production quality is good is by the Aflac trivia question.

The KC crew did not disappoint: named the six Red Sox (check!) who have won an AL batting title since 1969. It was both tricky (as Yaz won it in '67) and semi-easy. Throughout the half-inning, both guys threw names out there - some correct, some wrong, some very good guesses. Overall, I give them high marks.

But I still want Donnie Baseball and Scoot back. And the answer is, in order of closest to farthest: Mueller, Manny, Nomar, Boggs, Lansford, Lynn.
Cool story here.
To the French and the L'Equipe newspaper, I would like to say something. But since I've adopted a bit of a candor rule here at TLBR, I'll say it clearly in a language you can understand:

Va te faire voir. (scroll down a bit)

Basically, they hate the fact a brash American came into their country, dominated their race in their sport. So they screamed, over and over, the slur of the sport of cycling: you're cheating.
But why now, why six years later - not that L'Equipe didn't accuse Lance of doping on a daily basis - have these reports come out? Well, according to a report on ESPN.com, the allegations surfaced six years later because EPO tests on the 1999 samples were carried out only last year - when scientists at a lab outside Paris used them for research to perfect EPO testing. The national anti-doping laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry said it promised to hand its finding to the World Anti-Doping Agency, provided it was never used to penalize riders.

When you submit to a drug test, using urine, you provide two samples, which are marked "A" and "B." The "A" sample is used for analysis. Should the "A" come up positive for some sort of substance, the "B" is tested. If the "B" is poz, you're screwed. If the "B" is neg, then chalk it up to lab imperfections.

The "A" samples were already tested, back in '99. The "B" pee, which were stored this long (gross, confusing and troubling), were used in this experiment. It was just supposed to be practice, not a witchhunt.

But not to the French and certainly not to L'Equipe. Lab samples are also intended to be "double-blind," so that both the lab and the scientist do not know whose specimen it is. But L'Equipe says one of the 15 cups of wiss is definately Armstrong's. They know it. They were able to match it to him. The lab couldn't match it to Lance, but the newspaper could.

Funny, who owns L'Equipe? Oh, it's the company that organizes the Tour de France? Hmmm. I'm sure they don't have any controlling interest in trying to smear Lance. That'd be like if the Red Sox were owned by a newspaper and they, in turn, owned a television station and that...oh, forget it.

Lance vini, Lance vidi, Lance vici. Seven times. Sept temps. So, to L'Equipe...arret, s'il-vous plait.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
  On Yankees, Dickau, and Virgins
Things I was thinking as I yelped "woo-hoo" as Reed Johnson put Mariano on the ropes...

* I have yet to pass through the college basketball tomes, but I'd like to see someone defend Bob Huggins in this latest mess. Not because I defend him, but I'd like to see someone try to reason it. To me, when the sobriety video and report of Huggy having barfed in the passenger seat of his car when he got Dewey'ed, well, I know I'd have a hard time holding onto my job. Spare me the graduation rate stuff because that's not what this is about. Fourteen straight years, Cincy has made the dance. In 10 of those 14, the Bearcats have headed home before the Sweet 16.

Early odds for the full-time replacement: Fran Fraschilla 3:1, Brian Gregory 7:1; Bobby Gonzalez 9:1, Tim O'Shea 15:1; Steve Lavin 20:1; Dave Bliss rot in hell:1

* File this one under "things I yelped when Hideki Matsui tied the game in the bottom of the 9th." Matsui is the one Yankee I don't want to see at the plate when it's crunch time. A-Rod is one that I do.

* Tonight's Red Sox (check!) game on MLB Extra Innings has the Kansas City announcers. Not too bad. Not bad at all. They talk about the game, not themselves, and they don't make outrageous claims like they invented the question mark, "that pitch was a cutter, Jon," or "it is high...it is far...it...is...gone." It also reminds me that I need to make it to Kaufman Stadium at some point soon and get my Buddy Biancalana throwback.

Kansas City is one of my favorite smaller American cities. Nice people, cold beer, un-be-freakin-lievable barbeque ribs. Best wings on Earth, too, at a place called the Peanut.

* So, wait, the Celtics have Dan Dickau and Ryan Gomes? Ok, count me on the C's bandwagon now.

* Don't you get the feeling that you'd have to be high to admit, on TV, that you smoked pot? Randy? Hmmm?

* Felix Escalona just earned his pinstripes. The greatest Felix to ever win a game for the Yankees. And A-Rod was the first to go out there to congratulate him and try to brush his throwing hand over Felix' crotch. Creep.

* These Lee Iacocca/Chrysler ads make me think three words: Weekend at Bernie's

* Heading to Miller Park on Thursday. Looking forward to seeing my Brew Crew; just 6.5 out of the NL Wild Card.

* 40 Year Old Virgin is well worth it. Despite having the same writer/director and actors, it's not like Anchorman. Steve Carell would make me laugh reading the phonebook and he did a pretty good - great at times, but overall pretty good - job of being a leading man in Virgin. The supporting cast, featuring Paul Rudd (Brian Fantana in Anchorman), Romany Malco and Seth Rogan was key. Director Judd Apatow, once again, made the "group of zany friends" work.

My only complaint wasn't with the film, it was with the cackling hyena who sat a few seats away from me. Imagine Rosie Perez with Thomas Hulce's laugh in "Amadeus." And she laughed at EVERYTHING. Kill me.

That's it for tonight. Holla at your boy. A ella le gusta la gasolina (dame mas gasolina!).

Monday, August 22, 2005
  It's Amazing the Stuff You Find When Cleaning...
Oh man, I can't even begin to describe the esoteric and downright frightening stuff I've found in the nooks and crannies of my lyric little bandbox apartment. About 67 orphaned socks. Two and a half years of Maxim magazine. An unopened box of Wheaties under my couch (?). A VHS copy of my ex-girlfriend's Sweet 16 birthday party (??). A copy of the Magna Carta (???).

What I did not find, ironically enough, was weapons of mass destruction. That seems to be a growing trend, but I digress.

The cleaning process is not just limited to the physical apartment. Since this here laptop is a company-owned machine, I have to hand it in. Because, like Tom Brady, I'm young. And I do what all young people my age do. And if any of the reading public out there needs similar, er, help with that, try this.

From cleaning the floorboards to erasing the cache files, I've come across quite a few things that set me adrift on memory bliss. I've also come across dustballs the size of 5th graders. But I did find an "article" I wrote on Pedro Martinez. I had planned on pitching it around, but after the first "thanks, but no," it transformed from a tome that sprouted from my fingers to merely a text file that took up 199 kb on my C: drive.

I re-read it. And it still meant something to me, even though some of the predictions were wrong or just haven't happened yet. So I'll post it here, with the "this was written in mid-April after I got back from Australia (check!) and it's now late-August" disclaimer. I hope you enjoy.

Will have some fresh material tomorrow, including a review of the 40-Year-Old Virgin after I take in the 8:10 p.m. show tonight.

No matter what, it is more than just a breakup. It is more than simply waking up and deciding that after seven years, times had changed, people had changed and that it is time to move on.

Pedro Martinez, for the last seven years, had one of the most fruitful and remarkable runs with the Boston Red Sox. It was, perhaps, one of the best spans by a professional athlete in Boston sports history. You could even describe the run - and the relationship between him and the fans - as romantic. And now, with Pedro signing a contract for more years and more money than the Red Sox were willing to offer and guarantee, the romance is over. The Pedro Martinez Era is over.

Allow yourself a moment for that to sink in.

In the early days, when it was Pedro's turn to pitch at Fenway, it was a different place. It transformed from the little ballpark with the big green left field wall. Every fifth day, it was Pedro's canvas to paint a masterpiece. On that fifth day, it was Pedro's ballpark and Pedro's team. Hell, from Beacon Hill to Kenmore, it was Pedro's town.

Things felt different. Each of his stoic looks in for the sign from the catcher got you excited, each windup put you on the edge of your seat, each delivery was electric, and each result usually positive. People at Fenway that needed to use the commode did not dare get up from their seats while the Sox were in the field. That would mean they would miss Pedro. If nature called, answer it during the bottom of the inning, not the top. The Fenway faithful would groan when the Sox turned the 6-4-3 inning ending double play or the batter popped one up to the catcher. It meant that Pedro was not going to strike out 27 batters that day. It was a letdown.

That was the feeling - or rather the expectation - for the Red Sox fan in his or her seat at Fenway Park, perched by a television screen, or tuned into the radio for a Pedro Martinez start. Twenty-seven up, twenty-seven down. No hitter. Perfect game. Thirty-five starts a year.

Pedro gave us his best years and his best stuff. In his first three years wearing a forked "B" hat, he gave us 19, 23, and 18 wins, respectively. His ERA was so small that Major League Baseball was rumored to have contracted NASA to help find it (author's note: I made that up).

Back-to-back Cy Young's. Back-to-back AL ERA leader. And, before the Keith Foulke-to-Doug Mientkiewicz became the most important 1-3 in the scorebook in the history of the ballclub, one could argue that Pedro entering game five of the 1999 ALDS against the Indians and firing six innings of no-hit, shutout ball was the single-greatest Sox playoff moment. (Yeah, I said it. Better than Hendu in '86. Better than Pudge in '75.)

Pedro became a one-name entity like Sting and Madonna. He changed a city (Boston), a region (New England), and a nation (Red Sox Nation). By a count of hands, how many of you reading this know three or four swears in Italian? Or in Yiddish? How many of you wear Green on St. Patrick's Day? Well, prior to 1998, how many knew where Santo Domingo was? Could you point out the Dominican Republic on a map? Did you know the meaning of "punchado?"

Probably not, unless your golfing exploits have taken you to the Teeth of the Dog. And that is fine. Pedro became one of us. He helped make us all Dominican, just like we had taken to calling him Petey. In a city without a rich history of ethnic tolerance, especially in regard to professional athletes, Pedro tore down all walls and blurred all lines...without actively trying to, amazingly enough.

As time passed, despite some things beginning to change, it was still Pedro's team. Hideo Nomo threw a no-hitter in game two of the 2001 season. Still Petey's team. Derek Lowe threw a no-no of his own in 2002. Still Pedro's squad.

But after shutting it down after getting win No. 20 in 2001, the walls of his public persona began to crumble - people began to ask "Did Pedro quit, even when we still had a shot at the playoffs?" Then he got hurt and words such as "torn" and "frayed" became part of the lexicon. Pedro seemed to become, gulp, mortal. But the feeling that anything could be accomplished with him on the hill never did. Expecting a 27 K game everytime out began to seem a bit lofty, so fans settled for 15+ through eight innings. Red Sox fans are realists, after all.

And in 2003, with Pedro still slotted as the Sox' No. 1 starter, the K count gave way to the pitch count. Never was this more evident than in game seven of the ALCS, Red Sox fans got to see first hand what Bill James and the statistics folks had been saying about opponent's batting average after pitch 100. (And again, if not for the 1-3 Foulke-Minky exchange on October 27, 2004, most folks would be convulsing right now).

The 2004 season was the final chink in the armor. Since 1998, Pedro had been No. 1. He began the season as No. 1. He ended as 1-a, or depending on whether you use past or present as the indication, 1-b. Pedro playing second fiddle? Pedro as Vice President? Pedro as co-pilot? Pedro as Garfunkel? Wow.

But it is what it is. And it is over. Pedro, depending on what the results of the sure-to-be strenuous physical that the New York Mets baseball club will subject him to, will be honing his craft in Shea Stadium or the next four years. It is done. It is reality. It is, in some ways, sad.
I cannot remember who said it, so I will paraphrase. To measure the worth of a man, or in this case starting pitcher, take inventory of the way things were when he started and when he left. Pedro took the Red Sox to levels never before seen.

He gave the baseball world three of the most dominant back-to-back seasons by a right handed pitcher in modern history. He did it wearing a Red Sox uniform. He went to Yankee Stadium and struck out 17. He threw inside. He threw outside. On occasions, he threw directly at the batter (Gerald Williams says hi). He threw hard. He threw ridiculous change-ups. He threw them all.

Off the field, he was a private man. Never did you read about him in trouble with the law, being unfaithful or behaving inappropriately. With the exception of those lobster roll commercials for McDonald's, Pedro never embarrassed himself or his team.

Finally in 2004, it reached a point Red Sox fans had never imagined. Pedro admitted, in a post-game press conference after losing (again) to the Yankees, that he would tip his cap and call them his Daddy. Mystique and aura had left the building. Someone just popped the balloon. It was the fly in the soup.

But in light of all this, Pedro had the ball in some of the most important October baseball tilts in the history of the game. He had the ball in the ALDS in Anaheim, in the ALCS versus New York and in the World Series in St. Louis. Despite evidence to the contrary, it seemed like it was 1998, 1999, and 2000. It seemed like it was every year in the past where Pedro was on the hill and all was well with the world, kind of like how adjoining Patriot Nation feels with Tom Brady as quarterback.

We all know the ending. The Sox won the World Series and Pedro got his ring. He went to Disney World. He rode the float in the World Series championship parade.

But it was different. Pedro was different. He did not get the ball in game one in Anaheim, it was game two. In New York, he started games two and five. In game two, he earned the loss in an eery replay of game seven of the ALCS in '03. And in game five, his seven inning, four run, six strikeout performance became a footnote to the David Ortiz blast in the 14th inning.

With Curt Schilling's game six heroics, pitching with an ankle that was sutured, stitched and stapled together, Pedro became baseball's version of Shari Lewis - playing behind a famous white tube sock. So in game seven, he came out of the bullpen to help put the finishing touches on the greatest comeback (or choke, depending on your point of view) and his one inning, three hit, two run stat line was hardly impressive. It was hardly akin to him jogging out of the bullpen at Jacobs Field in 1999, when you saw the faces of the Indians, their fans, and their managers just drop, as if to say "Great, now what?"

It was different. Pedro was different. He no longer set up his breaking ball or change with a 96 mph two-seamer anymore. The difference in velocity between the two is hardly noticable, especially to the major league hitter. As recent as the 2003 season, Pedro gave up seven homeruns the entire year, even through the playoffs. In 2004, he gave up eight in the first inning of his starts alone, en route to 26 dingers in total.

But this is not about the numbers. It is not to say he does not still have anything left in the tank or, dare I mention something about being in the twilight of one's career. It is about the end of an era - the greatest era in Red Sox history. It is not just a free agent leaving the Red Sox, like when Fisk, Boggs and Mo were all unceremoniously told to hit the road. It is not seeing a Boston icon in another uniform in the Senior Circuit like Nomar. It is not even about being one of the best right handed pitchers in the game and a first-ballot entry to Cooperstown like Clemens.

For any of the recent stumbles or smears that he took on the field and in the press, it is undeniable that Pedro took a good baseball club and made it great. He took fan dedication to the Sox and helped transform it to an undying passion. He took a historic old ballpark and helped it breathe new life. He made every fifth day bigger than the other four. He brought the diehard and the casual fan together. He introduced those who were not big baseball fans to the game. He made good measure of his worth over the last seven seasons. Pedro left the Red Sox better than when he arrived.

Over the past few days, the computer-savvy have photoshopped Pedro's head into a Mets cap and uniform. Eventually, Omar Minaya and Pedro will have a press conference so that photographers can snap the real thing. They will make it all official. And that will be that, the Pedro Martinez Era will end.

It will be sad. It is sad. Not necessarily for Boston fans, but for those in Queens and the surrounding areas that call themselves Met fans. They will never have it like we did. They will never understand. And, unfortunately I presume, neither will Pedro.
Friday, August 19, 2005
  A quick recap
Ok, here was the night in quick hitter format:

- first ten minutes of the night, first bar...Division I Athletic Director, Lew Alcindor's H.S. point guard, one of the most influential college "hoops" writers in the country, and a CBS female sideline reporter.

- meatloaf, mashed, button mushrooms for dinner.

- four Leffes

- a place called "Bar Room" that is owned by several former bartenders at my former local haunt, that I just closed down (personally) last night

- several really intellectually deficient, scantily clad human beings that don't get slight sarcasm, bitter rudeness, and full-on donkey noises as jokes.

- McFadden's. Done.

- Italian foreign exchange students to NYU that didn't understand my English, VP's yelling, or my swearing in Italian (stugotz...face doce)

- Mars Blackmon in GCT.

- Wanna-be Entourage sitting behind us on the train home.
Did make it to 212 Boston tonight and I cannot say enough about the bar, the bartenders, the decor, the atmosphere and most of all, the owner. If any of y'all TLBR readers are Boston natives/sympathists and have the unfortunate lot of living in NY, please please pretty please with sugar on top, get to this place. It will not disappoint.

I'm out. I'm tired.

Thursday, August 18, 2005
  I Don't Want to Start Any Blasphemous Rumours, but...

to to

(say it ain't so...)
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
  So, you were wondering when the Hand would return, were you?
Thumbs Down: In no particular order: Terrell Owens, Drew Rosenhaus, ESPN, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Let's start with T.O. Yes, you are one of the most gifted athletes in the National Football League. Your performance in last year's Super Bowl was tremendous, considering the injury you sustained and the ramifications of simply landing funny or having Rodney Harrison bludgeon you, a-over-tee. It's no bloody sock, but I'm biased.

That being said... The public blow up that started six weeks after the Super Bowl and culminating with Andy Reid sending you to the proverbial principal's office last week is embarassing. Football is a team sport. You need not like everyone you step on the field with, but you damn well better trust and respect them and they had better do the same. Terrell doesn't respect anyone or anything. And that's a downright shame.

Proof positive that this overinflated ego with good hands and a fast 40 is off base? Stephen A. Smith, the lone voice of support for T.O. and sycophant for all who grab headlines, decried him in a recent article in the Philly Enquirer. And quite frankly, that's all you need to know about T.O. And Slav-a-Med-veh-denk-oh.

Drew Rosenhaus is what you find when you lift up a rock covering a damp undersoil. Or what you get when you leave a jar of mayonnaise out in the hot sun. This is a guy who saved someone's life, reportedly, then made sure he called the ESPN newsroom to make sure they had the story on SportsCenter. This is the same guy who called Willis McGahee, who was sitting next to him, to make it seem like his celly was blowing up like his knee the night of the NFL Draft. P.R. savvy? Yes. Scumbag? Yes. Everything that's wrong with professional sports? Not quite, but he's pretty close to encouraging the mob to start flipping cars over after a Laker NBA Championship.

His face time, as well as the face time he got for his client, was astounding. You couldn't swing a dead cat on the Network of the Worldwide Leader in Sports without hitting a shot of T.O. talking about his dire straits and predicament and Drew rubbing his back. The sad thing here is that Rosenhaus can use that to gain future clients and grab the 4, 5, or 10% of their contracts. The sadder thing is that the previous sentence is more the rule than the exception. If you think it's going to get worse, you're right.

ESPN, as some protrayed both smartly and witty on their blogs (read: Scott, David and Finn, Chad), became E-S-P-N-T-O for 48 hours. If T.O. ate fast food, Sal Palantonio was there with a stack of yellow Taco Bell napkins and reporting on the impending flatulence. It was nauseating.

But, never to let a cross-promotional opportunity or chance to put T.O. on the wide array of networks they provide (ah, ain't synergy swell?), ESPN capitalized. And the viewing public suffered, watching T.O. get a back massage from his agent. I'm glad ESPN doesn't own Spice, otherwise it might have been REALLY unwatchable.

And the Eagles have some measure of blame here. I liken T.O. and his agent to class clowns - two individuals who think their schtick is so funny, so important, that they disrupt everything around them, from training camp to television programming. If you ignore class clowns, you take their audience away, and eventually they are no longer relevant. They're just a nuisance and people become hip to their game and their game goes away.

But not the tough-guy Eagles. Philly's tough. Not only do they have a lotta, lotta culture there, but it's the home of Rocky...and cheesesteaks...and the Broad Street Bullies...and other coaches who put "hits" out on the opposing team's best player... Don't mess with Texas...or Philly.

Puh-leeze. Kudos to Andy Reid and the Eagles for not putting up with crap and their T.O. dirty laundry, but you also don't need to put the soiled sheets on a clothesline in the front yard.

Recently, the New England Patriots (check!) had a holdout from camp situation, Richard Seymour. The perennial All-Pro DE (perennial and he's just 25...) held out because he thought he was one of the best in the game and wanted a raise. And, if there is a right way to it, Seymour did. He didn't do his talking to the press, he didn't do his negotiating outside a board room and speakerphone. He did his thing, kept it quiet, and got what he wanted. Everyone's happy.

And so am I. That's why I'm happy I'm a Pats fan.

Thumb's Up: To New England Patriot Larry Izzo. Read this article and it is self-explanatory...and the complete and utter polar opposite of the antics and mularkey that is detailed above.

Instead of being self-centered and self-absorbed, Larry Izzo is selfless and generous. I hope his efforts are successful. (Isn't is amazing how writing about bad or annoying things takes so many words, yet to detail good things takes nothing at all. Sad.)

Index: To my former college teammate, who will remain nameless as it's not yet public knowledge, for earning a spot in the Alma Mater's Athletics Hall of Fame. One of the most talented athletes I have ever encountered, this guy also re-wrote the book on partying. While nowadays, after hitting the 3-0, that stuff doesn't seem to matter as much as how much the TIAA-CREF is worth...it's still gives me a chuckle to think back to many of the nights that I've forgotten.

Regardless, a hearty kudos to a great individual. No one is more deserving.

The Middle: I touched upon it the other day in an anti-Bush rant, but the jackass from Texas who drove his pickup through the memorial crosses adorned with the names of those soldiers who have been killed in Iraq deserves a big F-U.

He was arrested and will hopefully be charged to the highest extent of the law. He did this to protest the protest of Cindy Sheehan, who has set up a peace vigil at the gates of Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch.

Bush's neighbors in Crawford have been vocal recently against the efforts of Ms. Sheehan. The poor woman is a grieving parent who lost her son and is trying to channel her grief in this peaceful fashion, similar to these Southern New Englanders. (ok, enough politicking).

The Ring Finger - I've seen Wedding Crashers nine times. (channeling Jeffrey Jones' role as principal in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, niiiiiine tiiiiiiimes.)

And each time I see it, I find something new. A different joke by Vince Vaughn or a funny reaction from Owen Wilson. The "Chas" cameo still cracks me up.

But the scene that never changes and hasn't lost its lustre, for me, is the first time we see Rachel McNichols.

She's McTerrific. (I just made that up. Pretty good, eh? And I said ", eh" because she's a Canadian. That's talent.) Great smile. Naturally pretty. And wicked awesome curly hair.
The IMDB search on her tells me that she was also in the movie "Mean Girls," which was written and directed by former ring finger recipient Tina Fey.

Here is a webpage with some additional photos of Ms. McNichols, proving that while I prove on a daily basis that I have waaaaaay too much time on my hands, this guy trumps in ace-king-jack on a two bid (High-Low-Jack reference).

Pinky: This is the forum where I just freeflow my thoughts and feelings about nothing in particular.

But I've got nothing. Absolutely nothing. Which is surprising, because in the big picture, I've got A LOT cooking.

New job. New place. Semi-far away. Packing up. Moving home. Packing it up again. Moving to the new home. Starting a new job. Leaving behind some friends. Working on making new ones. Adapting. Changing. Learning. Trying. Failing. Succeeding. Developing a new system.
Perhaps the fact that there is so much going on in my head all at once, combined with my semi-fanatical (ok, scrap the semi) following of the Red Sox (check! and wow, it took this long to mention the Sox for the first time...well-done on my part, I must say), that I haven't the time or the energy to come up with something witty. A thousand pardons.

And since I'd be remiss to not mention the third such TLBR namedrop, here is some info if you're looking to spend 25 hours en route to Australia (check!).

That's it, that's all. There's nothing more until there is.

  End the Kevin Millar Era, Too
Ok, I'm tired of it.

Tired of the balls pulled foul, third base side.

Tired of the balls pulled foul, first base side, followed by the little bunny hop.

Tired of the strikeout.

Tired of the walks and the flipping of the bat down right on the plate so that the batboy has to go and get it.

Tired of the slap-base hit.

Tired of the four home run count.

Tired of the virtual automatic and unproductive out.

Tired of the warning track power.

Tired of the shenanigans.

I want production. I want someone with an OPS higher than .700. Or a home run on the road. Platoon Olerud, Petagine and Youkilis at first. Play Kapler everyday in right. Hell, even T-Graff has a 1B mitt.

But end the Kevin Millar error, er, era. Please.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
  End the Mike Remlinger Era NOW
He might be the worst reliever in the game right now.

I'd rather see Rich Garces eating a gross of Krispy Kremes on the hill than that washed-up old man try to throw strikes.

  Days Numbered and Flying By
MLB Extra Innings, for the last two nights, has eschewed the NESN broadcast for FSN Detroit. And I'm not happy about it - especially having missed Donnie O and Rem Dawg react to Frank the Tank hopping out of the box seats at Comerica Park and sprinting through the quad towards the gymnasium (honey, is KFC still open?).

But, of all the stinky ca-ca poo-poo other pxp and color teams in baseball, the Tiggers have a decent crew...even though they force corny jokes and Rod Allen the color guy sounds too much
like Joe Morgan.

And when Joe Morgan's astute "that's a cutter, Jon" and "when I played in the big leagues" and "I'm a hall of famer" and "did you ever answer the hotel door without a towel when the maid knocks" (true story) comments come into play, it can give you the shakes. And shingles. And I heard it attracts bears.
So, the apartment is almost bare, save for the TV and laptop and microwave. It has a new occupant, as of Sept. 1, and the trip-tick is all set and squared away for the drive from God's Country to Milwacky. There may be a spot in the backseat for anyone who wants to jump on the three-day perversion excursion, so email for space availability. Must like long walks on the
beach, backgammon, and Sarah MacLachlan's live CD.
Hey pal, it's Livan freakin' Hernandez' glove, not the T-206 Honus Wagner card.
Here's the Tom Brady article in GQ that everyone's crowing about. The verdict: who cares?

First off, and I'm not the journalism police by any shake, but it's not a good read. I didn't get the ebb and flow of it.

Secondly, who cares? The literary incindiary device - Tom looks at porn, gasp, oh no! - and #12's speaking in euphemisms about being in a social crowd with several unsociables was a seven page la-dee-freakin-da, to me.

Will Tom's squeaky clean image take a hit? Not as long as he's hitting Deion and David Terrell. And even still, the article - which is supposed to delve into any dirty laundry (well, maybe a
sock, but that's a different breed of cat...) - didn't even scratch the surface of what really makes him tick. It left out any dirt on he and Bridget, his family, his off-the-field life, and whether or not that gigantic, gorgeous house on Ocean Road in Narragansett is really his. (My Mom swears it is.)
One cool thing on the FSN broadcast happened in the 4th inning. The Tigers' Craig Monroe, wearing a microphone for a "Sounds of the Game" feature, got a 95 MPH necktie courtesy of Jonathan Papelbon. All you heard was a whistle as the pitch screwed past the mic.
Here's something to think about next time you want to drunk dial someone. This is good, but Pat O'Brien's drunk dials are the world's best.
Don't Mess With Texas, eh? I think that whole state has about three brain cells and they don't get along.

I'm not even going to get into the policies and mental aptitude of our President. It's a given that he's an eejit. But usually you can sleep tight knowing that despite him bumbling through the day, the folks he has insulated himself with are competent.

They're not.

Because anyone with a millimeter of p.r. savvy would have set up Cindy Sheehan in a nice comfy chair in the Texas White House, given her a nice cup of coffee, and had Tweedle Dumb and First
Lady Botox sitting, looking intent, and concentrating on every word. At least it would've been good window dressing and showed that the obstinate buffoon at least had a functioning heart to
make up for the distinct lack of a functioning mind.

Nope. Not even close. Instead, this has turned into a round-the-clock embarassment for the Bush administration. If there is a scoresheet for this, Ms. Sheehan is winning by a wide margin.

And, as only the Texas Theatre of the Absurd could provide, Bush's Texas "neighbors" are getting their facetime. One guy decided he'd just go out in the yard and shoot his shotgun a few times. The Secret Service and other law enforcement officers responded immediately, but this good ole' boy just said he was practicing shootin' them there clay doves and that you'd have to make any assumptions as to a secondary meaning "fer yerself."

Today, another member of the Waco Chapter of Mensa drove his pickup truck over hundreds of small wooden crosses bearing names of fallen U.S. soldiers. This d-bag was arrested and will hopefully be drawn and quartered. They still do that in Texas, right?
Ok, enough pontificating. Enjoy your night.

Monday, August 15, 2005
Uh-oh, Red Sox (check!) Nation. Curt Schilling is trying to tell us something.

Belt-high, mid-plate fastballs that even Chris Widger can drive. Lots of souvenirs. Lack of control. Seven ER in his last three games.

He's trying to tell us: "I'm cooked like the Christmas goose." Hey, for everything he's done in a position that is not his role, I think it's tremendous. And he had a good string going there. But something's not right.

Keith Foulke will be coming back soon. Maybe. Is that a good thing? Wade Miller might not be back. Is that a good thing?

Oh well, it's still 3.5 games. But it's troubling. WEEI Nation will undoubtedly be paging Craig Hansen, which makes about as much sense as paging Michael Bishop.

Ah crap. I hit 47 on the back nine today. Crushed a tee shot 309 pin high off the green. Almost chipped in an 85 footer for bird. Life ain't that bad.

  Lefties Do It Right
Sorry for the weekend delay. Unfortunately, TLBR has been the lone deficiency in the wholesale substitutions of life these past two weeks. My humble apologies.

But, after driving back to the once and former home base from the Northern Campus, I was informed that due to rampant power surges throughout the lower Westchester area, my office had no A/C.

No A/C is one thing. But sitting at your desk and wondering if you're straddling the equator is another. Greenpeace is handing out pamphlets outside my suite, urging people to stop the destruction of the rain forests. Tarzan is instant messaging Jane two computers over. You get the point.

So what to do when it's a hazy, hot and humid 90 at the desk? Go golfing. So, at 2:20, TLBR will transform to TLGR, and all will be well.
Kudos to Phil Mickelson, he of the GLHW (Golfs Left, Hot Wife) demographic. I'm an unabashed Tiger supporter. I want Tiger to win break the record and win 118 majors, not just the 18 that is the current benchmark. But since Tiger isn't perfect (just merely Tiger), if he can't win, then I want Phil to win. If Phil can't win, then (in no particular order), I want these guys to win: Chris DeMarco, Brad Faxon, Jason Gore, Stuart Appleby, Ernie Els.

Ok, gotta go hit 'em to the right and often.

(hole in) One.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
  Presidential Night at Fenway

The City of Boston, Red Sox (check!) fans, and all of Red Sox Nation were treated to a bit of Presidential history last night, prior to the Sox/Rangers game.

General George Washington (pictured above) - frightened by technological advances like cameras and outdoor lighting, dressed in drag, and sporting a fresh, new Sox home jersey from Twins on Yawkey Way - was escorted to the mound by Sox closer Curt Schilling prior to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

Washington, making his first trip to Boston since serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in 1775, reportedly threw a strike.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
  Atomic Wedgie

From The Late Show with David Letterman:

And from the Home Office in Wahoo, Nebraska, here are the Top Ten Things Going Through This Guy's Mind At This Moment
10. "Thought the third base coach was giving me the 'jump' sign"
9. "Will I get to watch the end of the game in my jail cell?"
8. "Figured I'd beat the traffic"
7. "If I had a girlfriend, she'd be impressed"
6. "I'm sure Steinbrenner won't mind"
5. "If Marv Albert uses this, I hope he adds a comical 'bong!'"
4. "Giambi said that stuff he gave me would make me fly"
3. "I hope they do some funny jokes about this on Leno!"
2. "I wonder if the newspaper will refer to me as a 'moron' or an 'idiot'"

And the Number One Thing Going Through This Guy's Mind At This Moment,

1. "If a drunken stooge can't disgrace himself at sporting events, then the terrorists have won"

Yeah. That's a person sitting on the screen above the backstop at Yankee Stadium.

No, it's not a drill. Or a scene from "Fever Pitch 2."

It's some jackass who thought it would be cool to see if the screen could hold him after leaping from the upper deck in the 8th inning.

So, just one day after a Bronx Bomber loyalist slugged White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik in the face while the speedy second-year player was attempting to catch a foul ball, this genius tried to pull a Louganis from the 10-meter platform (a.k.a. the tier box seats).

Scott Harper, 18, told three friends he was sitting with that he was going to test whether the net would hold his weight, jumped and, thanks to the laws of gravity, landed 40 feet later.

In an account told to ESPN.com, Mike Spadafino, one of Harper's friends, said: "The next thing you know, you don't see him anymore. You saw him on the net."

Obviously scared and shaken after he landed, Harper sat with his head in his hands for a few moments before climbing on the net back up to the middle level of seats as players watched and the crowd roared.

Maybe I should be more sympathetic. If I were a Yankee fan and I had Alan Embree (he of the 7.44 earned-run average) trotting out of the bullpen to relieve Shawn Chacon (he of the 1-8 record in '05), I'd prolly want to leap from somewhere high, too.
So where's the outrage from the Yankee brass this time? Two days. Two incidents. No Randy Levine finger-pointing? No generalities about Red Sox (check!) Nation from St. Joe Torre?

I guess they're just a little more concerned with their own professional well-being at this point in time.

From the NY Daily News: "I'm not pleased with the manager," Steinbrenner said as he made his way to his sedan about 40 minutes after the game.

Steinbrenner was second-guessing Torre's decision to go with lefthanded reliever Alan Embree against righthanded cleanup hitter Paul Konerko at the start of the ninth inning. Steinbrenner said he'd been impressed with the way Embree got through the eighth inning, but not the way he surrendered Konerko's home run. That homer proved to be the margin of victory.

"I don't know about why they left the lefthander in," Steinbrenner said, dressed in his vintage blue blazer. "He had a good inning and they kept him in there. He should never have pitched to Konerko - he's their best hitter."

"I'm not pleased with the manager," Steinbrenner repeated. "I don't know why he left him in."
Ahhh, Alan Embree. This year's embedded Red Sox. And karma for the Ramiro F. Mendoza experience. Enjoy, Bronx faithful. Here's a little of that new baseball math for you all:

Fast + Straight + Belt High = Souvenir
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
  Dumb, Stupid NY fans...THEY STUPID!!!
Let's return to April 14, 2005. After a loss at Fenway Park at the hands of the World Champion Boston Red Sox (check!), New York Yankees manager Joe Torre spoke out, after an incident between a fan and right fielder Gary Sheffield. Torre was outwardly angry about the actions of overzealous fans.

"These people shouldn't be allowed to walk the street, let alone come to the ballgame," Torre said.

In this graphic, you can see Chris House doing something "inine" (new word, because it's redundant to some something asinine to an ass) as Sheffield made an attempt to grab the shot of off Red Sox Catcher, Captain, and part-time opthamologist Jason Varitek.

Ok, let's skip ahead to last night's game in the Bronx.

Chicago White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik made an attempt on a foul ball off the bat of the erstwhile Tony Womack. The ball was a catchable one. Hence, Podsednik attempted the catch.

And he caught it. Right in the face. With a fist. From a fan who did not need to be making a play with a closed hand.

And perusing the NY dailies, I have yet to see the public outcry about this blatant attack. Nothing from St. Joe, nothing from Howard Rubenstein (P.R. flak for George M. Steinbrenner III), and nothing from the NYPD or the NY Yankee ticket office, who should be pursue criminal charges and revokation and banning this fan for life, respectively.

Just thought I'd point that out. That is all.

  Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I've just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story.
TLBR would be remiss if it didn't remember the life of ABC News' Peter Jennings. Always the epitome of professionalism, Jennings' career spanned four decades of some of the most important stories of the 20th and 21st centuries.

May he rest in peace.
This morning, the Space Shuttle Discovery landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert. NASA called the mission "an outstanding success." (I'd say...)

In the 25 years since Space Shuttle travel has existed, the focus of the Shuttle's "main news story" has gone from the successful launch to the safe landing. Scary. Might be time to upgrade the vehicles.

And on a side note, the Shuttle travelled 5,000,000 miles. Does NASA have some sort of frequent flier program? At 10 million, do you get a free trip to the Moon or Io or something?
What's that saying about fruit and the proximity to the respective tree after it falls on the ground and stuff?
Australian (check!) supermodel Rachel Hunter - former SI cover girl and the former Mrs. Rod Stewart - was booted from the VIP section of a post X-Games party sponsored by Oakley for "eating the spicy chicken wings" that were set aside for the Ying Yang Twins.

She and four friends were helping themselves to the food and booze set aside backstage for the rap group's post-concert spread.

I'm sure the boys wouldn't have been too mad and could've made some sort of peace offering with Ms. Hunter (god, I love that photo.)

"Wait till you eat my wings, hey b----; wait till you eat my wings, hey girl; You just couldn't get enough...Drink our vodka up, drink our vodka up...Drink our vodka up, drink our vodka up...You just couldn't get enough..."
Marc Cohn might have had a nice time "Walking in Memphis," but I don't think he enjoyed getting carjacked in Denver.
On an aside, "Walking in Memphis" is a big fave among the karaoke crowds in Newport. It actually was done twice in one single session. Personally, I thought the inspired rendition of "She's Electric" by Oasis rocked the house (complete with the falsetto "And I want" line of the refrain. I do not mess around). The girl in the light blue shirt, the redhead who rocked out to Janis Joplin, and the Thora Birch lookalike who ruled on "Just a Girl" all agreed.
Ty Law is a New York Jet. I have corn in my poo more exciting than that news.

But it wouldn't be an offseason or NFL coverage on ESPN if that signing didn't automatically make the Jets the new Super Bowl favorites.

Considering they might not be the favorites to finish second in the AFC East, I'm withholding judgement. Yes, the Jets should've played in the AFC Championship last year, but you know what? They didn't. If they had a kicker who didn't choke and a QB that could throw the ball more than 30 yards, I'd be concerned. But they don't.

And the last time I checked, the Pats still have Tom Brady. Quite frankly, that's all you need (I heard that somewhere else, before...)

On aside, I need to update the list of former Boston/New England sports expatriates (meaning all teams, not just actual ex-Patriots). Dunno where Ty ends up, but I still think his teammate tops the list.
Tony Graffanino is fast becoming one of my new favorite Boston Red Sox (check!). Great night last night. Plays the game the right way. If not for Dustin Pedroia, T-Graff would be a Fenway mainstay.
And I'm glad to see Kevin Youkilis back up with the big club. He got the call after Billy Mueller scratched out and the experiment with Jose Cruz' son ended.

Exactly how fast do you think Youk drove from exit 29 in Pawtucket to exit 20 off the Pike?

"I had my Pawtucket uniform on as I drove up here," Youkilis said. ''We wear the same pants so all I had to do was change my jersey. When they called, they weren't sure whether I was going to start, but then it was cutting it too close. I'm just glad to be back and hopefully I can help."
She's OK.
Ok, enjoy the rest of your Tuesday. It's so nice to be back.

Monday, August 08, 2005
  Yes, I'm Still Alive
Just haven't posted in a while. And it's not for lack of news.

In fact, as we speak, TLBR is preparing a move of its home base from suburban NYC to Milwaukee, WI.

More news on that later.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005
  Nothing Special In Particular
Well, the rumor that had surfaced a few weeks back is starting to get legs. Former Red Sox (check!) pitcher Derek Lowe is canoodling with an L.A. sportscaster.

D-Lowe - and if you're scoring at home, the "D" stands for "Dirtbag" - has been fooling around with Fox Sports Net's Carolyn Hughes.

Oh well. Thanks for the tailing fastball to Terrence Long in 2003, game 3 of the 2004 ALDS, game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, and game 4 of the 2004 World Series. Now square up your situation and be a man, a husband, and a father.
TLBR has kept up with the trials and tribulations of Australian (check!) Schapelle Corby. Her plight seems to be sealed now, as the Indonesia courts have rejected her appeals. Corby will be spending the good part of the rest of her life in an inhumane prison. Here's hoping and wishing her the best she possibly can be.
"I am not allowed to take it off at any time, and I am not allowed, while in my home, to have any padding under the strap," she once told fans during an Internet chat. "I hope none of you ever has to wear one."

"It" is an ankle bracelet that monitors movement for those who are on house arrest. "She" is Martha Stewart.

And "Martha Stewart" is a convicted felon who got less time than she really deserved because she's some sort of noblesse oblige celebrity who cried "victim" and bought "justice."

Martha, you're a prisoner. You committed a crime. You should've gotten 20 years. But no. You did minimal time. You're a dagnabbin' felon. If it were me, I'd still be in there with Buddy Cianci and Sammy the Bull.

I'm sorry the ankle bracelet isn't Prada. I'm sorry you're getting a rash from it. Maybe you should've thought about that before trying to get slickwith your insider trading.

And you should be lucky that you didn't receive that sort of treatment Ii've seen female inmates get on those movies on Cinemax around 11:30 at night. (Skinamax? It's a good thing.)
Can you get a ticket for playing "beirut" in Jersey? Yes, you can. Rack 'em and no blowing..
New studies about ecstacy show that it may help with Parkinson's...but it does impair judgement, like dancing like a tool and enjoying techno music.
Wedding Crashers: see it.

This one, too
That's it from here. Busy day tomorrow with the Mets and my new favorite National League squad, the Milwaukee Brewers (more on that later) and then to Coldplay in the Bob Uecker seats.

  Almost three years ago today, I sent this e-mail out...
Cleaning out the e-mail inbox and found this gem, dated August 18, 2002. Enjoy TLBR Classic.

It's over. It's all over. No wild card hunt. No AL East title. No late push. No impossible dream. No nothing.

It's Patriots season. You know, the Super Bowl XXVIII champions? The World Champions. Yeah. The underpaid, overachieving team that plays in the new stadium. Not the overpaid, underachieving team that plays in the old stadium.

Am I being one of those "typical" New England fans? You betcha. Put me at the front of the line. The Sox are colder than Ted Williams right now.

Nomar didn't play last night because of a stomach flu. Well, at least that gives us a good reason why he's been so shitty.

Cliff Floyd - I know he's batting almost .400 as a Red Sox, but do we need another strikeout or home run/feast or famine outfielder, who's all banged up and can't play everyday?

Can we please turn a 6-4-3 or a 4-6-3 or a 5-4-3 double play? How about calling off the backpeddling 2B? Or the pitcher covering 1B on a groundball? Do we need Tom Emanski? His are the videotapes that get RESULTS, from Baseball America's back-to-back-to-back AAU Championship teams.

Chris Haney. Just kill yourself. Because everytime you warm up, I consider it.

Maybe Dustin Hermanson will log an inning of play in somewhere other than Pawtucket or Fort Myers. That'd be swell. He shouldn't be allowed to strike. If you don't play, you can't strike. Is that unreasonable?

John Burkett. Does he get into movies half-price and coffee for 35 cents at McDonald's? Did he face Enos Slaughter? How old is this guy?

What is worse - the Dow Jones Industrial average since July or Johnny Damon's OPS? Varitek is streakier than the B.C. quad after they beat Notre Dame in '93. Tony Clark should be an designated fielder and let the pitcher take a few hacks.

Well, we'll certainly know by Aug. 28 - after 3 with the Angels and 2 with the Yanks - whether there's hope. Or if they're even playing. Our luck? The Sox will rattle off 9 in a row, Mariano Rivera and Roger Clemens' arms will fall off, the Sox will tie it up in the AL East, and then walk out like the greedy individuals they all are.

At which point, all focus is transferred to the team that comes out of the tunnel together.
Things change. People change. I believe it was Expose that sang "Season's Change." Rocky Balboa even saw it in that musty Russian arena when he fought Ivan Drago.

Enjoy yer Hump Day night. One.
Monday, August 01, 2005
A loyal reader emailed me and made the comment that this site has gone from humorous ramblings to a suburb of MannyRamirez.com. Apologies for that. And without further ado, here's the last of the Manny meanderings:

He's back. He went into Terry Francona's office and said it to the gaggle of reporters. Then he showed it. And this Manny apologist and sympathizer (for the sake of full disclosure) couldn't be happier.

I dunno what makes him tick, but I don't care. It's not my concern. I am more concerned with the .300/30/100 that you can pretty much right in ink before the start of a season. I am concerned with his production at the plate. The AL-leading home run and RBI count. Even the production you get from him in the outfield.

But the public outcry you got from the not-quite-the-intelligensia of Red Sox Nation was maddening. "Why doesn't he play the game right, like Trot Nixon..." Tim McCarver's role as baseball-played-the-right-way-like-Derek-Jeter police. The so-called "trade demand" that he made, as aired by Sox President Larry Lucchino, fanned those flames. Other subsequent comments added fuel to the fire and laid the world's problems at Manny's feet.

I tend to look past that all, right or wrong, because of the numbers he's put up. In the offseason leading up to the 2001 season, when the Red Sox had the choice between Mike Mussina and Manny Ramirez, they (wisely) chose Manny. In fact, they opened the books for him because, at that time, that's what the market value was. It's not his fault he makes 20 million a year.

From the first pitch he saw at Fenway, which landed in the area that now is comprised of $125 dollar-glorified bleacher seats, ranks as one of my favorite Red Sox (check!) moments in recent history. He won the AL batting title in 2002, the 2004 AL home run crown, and the 2004 World Series MVP award. Since 2003, and this includes a trip to game 7 of the ALCS and a World Series run, no Red Sox player has appeared in more games. None.

And for the folks who keep inanely pointing to the fact that Manny would not fit in with the New England Patriots (check!), you're right. He wouldn't. I'm guessing his 40 time is dog slow, he might not have great hands like Ben Watson, and I'm not sure how he'd handle a safety blitz in the pocket like Tom Brady.

He's not a football player, both in talent, and in terms of the way NFL players live under their respective collective bargaining agreement. NFL players don't get guaranteed contracts. Manny does. And besides, if MLB players didn't have guaranteed deals, then names and numbers on baseball rosters would change more than the price of lobster at the local fish market.

So, if a guy who is putting up those numbers needs a day off once in a while, even if it is perceived as a time where his team oh-so-desperately needs him...or if he needs to take a piss inside the Green Monster...or if he doesn't always bust his ass out of the box...or whatever misplaced slight you can make about him in regards to the way he plays the game, fine. Pooh-pooh him all you want. But when he comes through in the pinch like Sunday...hits the bomb that sets up a ninth-inning comeback...puts the team ahead in the 11th or 12th...or somehow bops along and robs a home run in the corner of Yankee Stadium...

It's fine with me. It's Manny being Manny... And considering what makes up the definition of being Manny, it leads to good things.
One last Manny tidbit. In his post-game interview with Eric Frede, the big star of the day had this to say about his four-day mini controversy: "This is the place to be. Man, it's Manny being Manny. This place is for me. I'm just happy to be here."

Yes, the Triple Crown: he just referred to himself in the first, second, and third persons.

And this one, too: "I'm just here to play and win. I'm a gangster. I'm still here. I'm here to win. I'm here to help this team win for 2005."

Straight gangsta trippin', indeed.

Remember this empassioned statement, made in front of a Congressional subcommittee?
"Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. My name is Rafael Palmeiro and I am a professional baseball player. I'll be brief in my remarks today. Let me start by telling you this: (and this is where he put on a real serious, angry face and started pointing at the members of the committee like dogs that did poopie on the rug) I have never used steroids. Period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never. The reference to me in Mr. Canseco's book is absolutely false. I am against the use of steroids. I don't think athletes should use steroids and I don't think our kids should use them. That point of view is one, unfortunately, that is not shared by our former colleague, Jose Canseco. Mr. Canseco is an unashamed advocate for increased steroid use by all athletes."

Well, the latest report about Raffie's pee-pee looks like the Chinese embassy: a red flag in front of it.

Amazing run for the latest member of the 3,000 hit club. Cheater. His statement this afternoon:
"I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period," he said. "Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program."

So is this going to be the new buzzword, intentionally?

But I hope MLB doesn't stop there. There's another slugger who entered this season looking like a gaunt shortstop who also mentioned to a Grand Jury that he intentionally used steroids.

That same slugger, whose batting average to start the year put him just above the legal blood-alcohol level to operate a motor vehicle, just capped off a 15-HR July and looks more like the slugger of old. I'm sure it's just because he began eating fast food again, but it could be something else.
The new car is great. The brakes work great. So does the accelerator.

At one point today, on the drive back to NY, I looked down at the speedometer as the new S60 was floating along and Nashville Skyline was blasting on the hi-fi.

87 mph. A Schilling slider. And a hefty speeding ticket if the Connecticut State Police are the ones holding the JUGS gun.
Congrats to Peter Gammons, the man who got me hooked on baseball and sports. Yesterday just merely confirmed what all have thought for quite some time: You're a Hall of Famer.
Steve Carell is the next big thing. Brick Tamlin needs his own movie.
R.I.P Miguel Respress. Another lost, way too young.

A daily - or every-other-day - account of all there is in my head
that's dying to get out, via my fingers.
(I vow to attack this endeavor with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.)

05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 / 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 / 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 / 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 / 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 / 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 / 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 / 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 / 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 / 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 / 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 / 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 / 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 / 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 / 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 / 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 / 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 / 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 / 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 / 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 / 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 / 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 / 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 / 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 / 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 / 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 / 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 /

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