ALCS Game 5

Top 1:
Ugh. Nice start, Pedroia.

Yoooooooooooooooooooooouk! Momentum? Is this it?

Guess not. Thanks, Papi.

“Keys to the game for the Red Sox: it’s win or see you in Fort Myers. That’s their spring training facility.” Don’t explain your “jokes,” McCarver.

McCarver’s unhappy that no one’s going to throw at Manny for admiring his homer. I kinda want to see him throw his hands in the air on second base right now, as he’s just tied Pete Rose’s LCS hitting streak. Anyone want to mention that? Tim? Joe? No? Ok, that’s cool.

Oh. My. God. I kind of want to die now. Was Manny running slow? Or was that just a good throw? Not an auspicious start. Somehow it doesn’t feel like we’re up 1-0.

Bottom 1:
Casey Blake is considerably more entertaining reading the lineup than Kielty was. Nicknames! G-Size! Scroobs! T-Pronk!

This double by G-Size does not bode well. Three guys run for the ball, no one catches it, and one of them kicks it into foul territory. Oh, good, and a base hit for Scroobs.

Double-play! But the game is tied. Seems like a good trade at this point, especially if Beckett’s going to give up another hit. Oh, look at that.

Strikes out Garko to end the inning. Nice! Now, if only Fox would stop playing the theme to the damn Drew Carey show.

I have some questions about the Taco Bell Nachos Bel Grande commercial. Presumably the younger brother was visiting the older brother at the latter’s home; doesn’t it seem unlikely that little brother wouldn’t have ever met his brother’s girlfriend? And if he had never met the girlfriend, mightn’t she take some notice of the newcomer when she brought the dog in? I’m having trouble with the whole scene. Kinda want nachos now, though.

Top 2:
OK, Bobby Kielty. Your job here is to be better than J. D. Drew. Can you do it? No. You can’t. (In fairness, the ball looked inside to me, too.)

This would be a good time for Coco to come up big. Come up big, Coco!

God damn you, Coco. Aaaaand a pop-up from Lugo. 6-9 are really just not showing up for this series, are they.

Oh! Hi, Dane Cook! I tell ya, I can’t wait for the second October this year—oh. Just the one?

Bottom 2:
I’m amused that Joe Buck described Gutierrez’s flailing hack at a 3-1 pitch well out of the strike zone as, “Chased it a bit.”

Top 3:
Rachel’s calling a lead-off double for Pedroia. I like that kind of optimism. According to Ken Rosenthal, Pedroia has defiantly claimed that he’s “swinging the bat good.” It’s “well,” Dustin. You’ve been swinging the bat “well.” Which you haven’t.

You know what, I apologize, Dustin. Nice single. Of course, Youkilis hits into a double play. I think the Fox producers lost track of how many outs there were, and started playing the “end of inning” music. Ha.

Big Papi walks, and here comes Manny. What the hell happened on that one? Ortiz scored, but did that ball go out? McCarver is in disbelief, and confused about physics—but no, that ball was gone. This call by the umpires is bullshit. I don’t understand why McCarver and Bank are focusing on the carom. The ball was over the yellow line. In fairness, McCarver is right that Manny needs to run out of the box on hits like this. Shameful base-running in an elimination game.

Lowell strikes out, and that’s all we get.

Bottom 3:
OK, we’re back. It’s possible that I was wrong about Manny’s ball being out of the ballpark.

Strikeout, and a nice play by Pedroia for an exciting 4-3. Beckett’s fifth K, and Boston’s still up 2-1.

Top 4:
Two on with nobody out! True, Coco and Lugo are not the two guys we want coming up right now, but I still don’t like Coco bunting here. Why give up the out? Also, he seems to suck at it. If Tito doesn’t replace Coco with Ellsbury before the end of this game, I’ll whine about it. Right here. On this very blog. Just you wait.

Julio, you’re killing me.

Bottom 4:
That was quick. Nice!

Top 5:
Two quick outs from Pedroia and Youk, and then Papi singles to the opposite field, which I love. Then bases loaded, and nuffink. Which I don’t love, so much.

Bottom 5:
Tim McCarver: baseball player, sportscaster, rock and roll aficionado. Shut up, McCarver. And sit down, Kenny Lofton. Don’t start nothin’.

Oh, look, it’s the Bad News Bears in the infield! Why the hell was Lugo even going for that ball?

Ah, just put your trust in Beckett. Strike three, Scroobs.

Top 6:
You know, I love “Sounds of the Game” and I really enjoyed Gary Cederstrom’s brawl-avoidance. “Josh, not a word. Not a word, dude.” I think it’s awesome Cederstrom calls Beckett “dude.”

Oh, were Varitek, Crisp, and Lugo batting?

Bottom 6:
What is there to say? Beckett is undisputedly the man.

Top 7:
The montage starting this inning was unnecessarily treacly, I think. Pedroia’s gapper, however, works for me. 2B!

Yoooouk!!!111! Gotta love a run-scoring triple that knocks out Sebathia. Well done, Sweatiest Man In Baseball.

Hey, you know what? I am officially sick of the Miller High Life commercials.

Ortizzle with a sac fly RBI! I’m staring to unclench a little about this game.

Bottom 7:
Holy crap, with one out in the seventh, Beckett just threw his 86th pitch. That’s… not a lot of pitches. Of course, on the 87th, Lofton reaches on an E1.

Called third strike! My favorite way to end an inning. (I guess.)

Top 8:
Welcome to the game, J. D. Drew! A lead off walk is not the worst you could do. (By the way, Fox, I wouldn’t mind a camera permanently focused on the Red Sox bullpen. The Lester/Delcarmen drum corp is cracking me up.)

Wow. E1, everybody’ s safe! And then a bunt for a base hit by Lugo loads the bases! This is shaping up to be the kind of exciting inning where the Red Sox catch a couple of breaks and then piss it all away.

Hey, a passed ball! 5-1! And a walk to re-load the bases for Youk! Look at how excited I am! Count the exclamation marks!

Mastny walks in a run, and now the bases are loaded for Big Papi. This is starting to feel awesome. Eh, RBI sac fly. Kinda disappointed, actually.

OK, so here’s a question. If Beckett comes out for the 8th at 96 pitches with a 5+ run lead, is that a pretty clear sign that Tito’s lost faith in the bullpen? Also, McCarver seems to think that “mantra” means “philosophy.” (Beckett won’t come back on short rest to pitch game 7 because that’s not Boston’s “mantra.”)

Bottom 8:
OK, Beckett does start the 8th, but Jeemer and the Bot are warming. Let’s hope Francona’s got his walking shoes on if things start to get hairy. Rachel and I agree, however, that taking him out and keeping his arm available for emergency relief in Game 7, would have been the better call.

Hey, that worked out!

Top 9:
Bill Simmons neatly summed up J. D. Drew’s schtick of getting a nice looking base-hit when it doesn’t matter, such as, for instance, leading off the ninth when you’re leading by 6.

Bottom 9:
First and third, but I’m not worried.

Rock. Beckett + Papelbon = bring on game 6.

ALCS Game 5

Welcome to Our World, Nicholas Hagadone

And with the 55th pick in the 2007 Amateur Draft, the Boston Red Sox select University of Washington LHP Nicholas Hagadone.

“After spending last year starting behind Tim Lincecum, Hagadone became Washington’s Friday night starter to begin the year. he was moved to the bullpen after two starts because of team need and has been outstanding for the Huskies, showing the ability to save games and pitch multiple innings. With a chance to have a good three-pitch mix, some teams may want to move him back into a rotation once drafted, but worst-case, they’d have a pretty good lefty setup man on their hands.”

What do you guys think about the pick? Crickets…

Here’s an article, talking about one of the main reasons some teams may not always pick the player with the most potential.

In other news, I may be responsible for breaking up Curt Schilling’s no hitter with two outs in the ninth. I wondered over to a co-worker’s cube who was watching on MLBTV and as soon as I got there, the no hitter was toast. Sorry about that, Curt.

Welcome to Our World, Nicholas Hagadone

Bloooooooooog

In baseball news today, Kevin Youkilis becomes the second Red Sox player with a blog. So far he’s mostly focused on the “who’s faster” feud with Dustin Pedroia, but I’m holding out hope for the future.

Via King Kaufman I see that Norris Hopper has confessed to cheating by rolling the ball into the glove of an unconscious Ryan Freel — the very same Ryan Freel who is doing my fantasy team no good at all by being in a hospital. Wuss.

King’s thoughts on Barry Bonds are worth reading, too.

Bloooooooooog

Best Wedding Ever?

Added to my list of things I’d never before done at a wedding:

  • Have my picture taken with Wally, the Green Monster

Added to my list of things I’d never before done at Fenway Park:

  • Dance the hora

An open bar, ridiculous food, the happy couple on the scorecard, and watching a Red Sox/Yankees game on about 10 screens in the State Street Pavilion? Not bad. Only think that would have made it better would have been if the Sox mounted another ninth inning comeback.

Congratulations, Melisa and Sean.

Best Wedding Ever?

Happy Anniversary!

It’s hard to believe we’ve been married for two years, not because it means we’ve been together a long time, but because I can’t believe 2004 was two whole years ago. Damn.

Still, every anniversary is a milestone. Marrying Rachel two years ago was (if I may wax earnest for a maximum of one paragraph) the best thing I’ve ever done, and marking it is fit and proper. Two years is, of course, just a drop in the bucket compared both to how long we’ve actually been a couple (nine years!) and how long we plan to be married.

Last year we decided that we’d establish a tradition of not giving each other gifts for each anniversary. We get each other enough presents throughout the year. Instead we thought we’d go in together on a treat: a trip, something new for the house, something like that. For our first anniversary (paper!) we got a hotel in Boston and tickets to two Red Sox games. This year was cotton.

Cotton sucks as a gift theme. I was not buying my wife a Happy Anniversary t-shirt in preshrunk cotton. We decided to ditch our tradition (of one year) and just go out for a very nice dinner. And then, we thought, wouldn’t it be more frugal and (perhaps) more fun to make a very nice dinner? Yes, yes it would.

The plan was a meal in three courses: a salad as an antipasti, a primi, and a main course. I conceived of all three independently, so I’m not sure how well they held together as a cohesive unit, but I think it was pretty successful.

First, the salad!

“Deconstructed” salad of tomato gelée, red onion, and cucumber with lemon vinaigrette

The salad was “deconstructed” in the sense that I didn’t mix all the bits together. I guess you could also call it “untossed” or, possibly, “lazy.” We eat cucumber and tomato salads all summer long; I got the idea for the tomato gelée from our favorite restaurant, Gracie’s. At the end of last summer, I took all of the tomatoes we had lying around, chopped them and suspended them in a coffee filter in a strainer over a bowl and let it sit overnight. The resulting tomato water ended up in a container in the back of the freezer until now. I heated it to a simmer, stirred in a packet of gelatine, et voila! Tomato jello. Deliciously tomato-y, and texturally surprising.

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Once I’d thought of the gelée, the idea of doing everything in cubes just seemed to make sense.

The vinaigrette was equal parts lemon juice and rice wine vinegar, and then olive oil and dried tarragon. A chiffonade of basil and a pinch of lemon zest finished it off. Light, unconventional, and yummy. Next!

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Homemade basil pesto and goat cheese ravioli in roasted pepper and tomato sauce

Making pasta just looks fun, doesn’t it? And since Rachel has pretty much an unlimited capacity to eat pasta, it seemed like it would be foolish not to serve some.

Making the pasta dough took, I confess, two tries, and even on the second batch it was a bit too sticky to the extent that I couldn’t roll it as thin as I’d have liked. The resulting ravioli was a bit chewy, but still delicious.

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The filling was just pesto (basil, pine nuts, parmigiano, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil) mixed with goat cheese. The whole ravioli assembly process was fraught with peril, but I was glad to have done it, and I plan to try again at the next opportunity. They apparently freeze really well.

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The sauce was a straight food processor job: roasted red peppers, roasted tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper. I just simmered it to warm it before spooning it onto plates and piling on the ravioli. Shaved parmigiano seemed the thing to do, and I, uh, had some basil and lemon zest left over.

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Pan-seared duck breast with red wine and fig reduction, gingered carrots, and kale

Well, obviously the duck is the main event here. The carrots are basically Alton Brown’s recipe for carrots poached in ginger beer, but I was making that before I ever saw the carrots episode of Good Eats, so nyeah.

Duck has long been my nemesis. I love it in restaurants but it always ends up over- or under-done when I make it. I once, to my enduring shame, served dramatically overcooked (as in gray) duck breasts to Rachel’s ex-boss, a man of exceeding taste. This time, I’m pleased to say, it worked.

Flavor-wise, nothing too fancy, just a couple hours marinating in red wine, salt, and pepper. The cooking was a revelation for me. I patted the skin very dry, slashed it, laid it skin side down in a non-stick skillet, and cooked it over very low heat until most of the fat rendered out. (The fat was poured out to cook the kale in.) Then it was just a matter of peeking every minute or so to see if the skin looked brown enough, one flip to give it a minute or two on the other side, and done. I gave it a minute under the broiler just before serving to crisp the skin. Perfection.

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The sauce was really simple, too. Chopped dried black mission figs in a cup of red wine, simmered for a good long while. Not long enough, since the sauce was a bit runnier than I planned, but it was damned tasty.

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Oh, dessert! Rachel made the flourless chocolate cake from the Williams-Sonoma dessert cookbook. It was chocolate-covered chocolate, and it was delicious.

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Anyway. The meal was delicious, the wine was spectacular, and Rachel is the best person in the whole world, and I’m the one married to her, so—again—nyeah.

Happy Anniversary!

A few things…

Seems like I may be the lone voice of this place. Hopefully people will start writing again. Anyway, here are just a few things from lately.

This weekend, JR and I went to DC to see JT and NP and take in a Sox-Orioles game. Camden Yards is a really beautiful stadium and the fans are the most affable second place fans around. There were loads of kids and also TONS of Sox fans. Every few batters, a “Let’s Go, RED SOX” chant would start up pretty fervently and the Oriole fans would boo lustily. It got to a point where anytime the Orioles did something good (they won 4-1), this drunk guy a few rows down would stand up and point to all the Boston fans. It kind of made me feel sad, because this guy shouldn’t have anything to prove in his home ballpark. He was outnumbered in his own section and that can’t be a good feeling a few miles from his bed.

We flew on Independence Air and that was OK, except our plane coming home Sunday night was delayed over an hour which was a major bummer. While waiting, we heard an announcement that the customers flying to Syracuse should use the rest room now because the toilet on the airplane was broken. While we were preparing for take off, the pilot said something along the lines of “Sorry the flight was delayed, the plane we were supposed to take had some maintenance issues, and luckily for us this one was available. I was thinking to myself, “It’s not lucky for us, it’s lucky for you and the rest of the “Fly I” staff. I’m glad you’re not making me fly on a broken airplane, but really, the ticket I bought was for an on time flight on a well maintained airplane.” The same type of thing happened this afternoon while on the phone with Staple’s customer service. I had ordered file cabinets for work and the sales rep had said they’d match all the locks for me so they had just one key. She said if the locks for the cabinets didn’t end up matching when we got them, I could call Jill and get them ordered free of charge. Wouldn’t you know it, the 7 cabinets came with only 1 pair of matching locks and when I called Jill to get the new locks, she said there would be a $14.99 charge for each lock. I told her what the sales rep had told me and she said Staples would pay for half. At the end of the call she said, “I’m sorry for the error, sorry for the misunderstanding.” I almost said, “There was no misunderstanding at all, I understood perfectly what your sales rep said.” Oh well, maybe next time.

2 political conspiracy theories:
-The editor of Time released Matthew Cooper’s notes because of politics, not ethics? Maybe? I don’t know anything about him and if political reputation means anything, wouldn’t the NYT have released their notes sooner?
-The evangelical right came out opposed to AG Alberto to make him seem more appealing to the Democrats. By declaring that they would oppose even him, Democrats may think of him more fondly. Already I’ve seen several places that opine Alberto may be the least of all evils when it comes to potential nominees.

This weekend I’m going to JR’s family reunion in CLEVELAND. I’ll post again shortly if I make it through!

A few things…

Thoughts

I don’t seem to be able to finish writing anything I start these days so I thought I’d post a collection of some links I caught myself sending to other people over the past couple days.

This is from RD’s sister’s man’s blog and talks about a new device that helps you wake up better. It’s a watch-like contraption you wear to sleep and, by measuring your biometrics, the watch keeps track of your sleep cycles. This allows it to predict the best time to wake you up in the morning, usually while you’re sleeping lightest.

Bill Simmons has done it again and it’s only a matter of time before people accuse me of making him my binky. After this weekend’s donnybrook between the Red Sox and Devil Rays, ESPN reprinted this 2002 column about basebrawls. In this long column, Simmons goes into detail describing 12 reasons baseball fights are so great. Reason #9 is especially poignant in lieu of Trot Nixon’s actions this weekend, though Simmons disputes the existence of a “Crazy Guy” in this weekend’s imbroglio. I guess it’s his column so I’ll defer to him.

Imagine being able to search for files on your computer by the location you worked on them last. I know, my mind was boggled too. GPS enabled laptops are coming, and I can’t wait…

Another reason to love kottke.org this morning is the McSweeney’s RSS feed he created for the good of all mankind. If you haven’t read any of the lists at McSweeney before, you might be interested to in Actual Ways I Have Been Flirted With That, in the Future, I Wish You Would Refrain From, With Explanations as to Why, and Suggestions for Alternative Methods. and Reasons to Fear Canada..

I’d like to find out from Mel Kiper, Jr if the point of the NFL draft is to choose attractive, athletic players of if the point is to win Super Bowls. Because Kiper seems to want athletes, not champions. I can’t think of any other reason he would give the Patriots a C in this draft when they drafted 4 players that can presumably help immediately and ALSO picked up a 3rd, 4th, and 5th round pick in next year’s draft. Also, Mr. Kiper, who cares if “Matt Cassel is a big project at quarterback”, did the Patriots make an underreported draft day trade of Tom Brady for Jay Fiedler? In the same column (and although he gave the Broncos a C as well), Kiper describes the Broncos selection for Maurice Clarrett by saying he’ll “defer to coach Mike Shanahan when it comes to fitting the right players into his system”. This is obviously a reference to Shanahan’s ability to take ANY athlete and turn them into a 1200 yard running back. If Shanahan is getting that type of leeway, shouldn’t Belichick’s THREE SUPER BOWLS IN FOUR YEARS give him the same type of draft capital?
Kiper’s Patriots’ draft rating for those of you without access to ESPN Insider.
New England Patriots: C
Guard Logan Mankins was a reach in the first round but the Patriots obviously like his size and nastiness, and he will help fill the void left by Joe Andruzzi’s departure via free agency. Ellis Hobbs has good size but not enough skill to be more than a nickel back, and safety James Sanders was a teammate of Mankins at Fresno State and both were helped by the relationship between Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Fresno State coach Pat Hill. Tackle Nick Kaczur could play guard as well but came off the board a little early and Matt Cassel is a big project at quarterback.

3 other happenings of note in the last week:
I’m definitely not the most pious of Jews, but I do my best to observe Passover every year. This time around, however, the boys at Streits, threw me for a loop on my very first meal. Apparently, they sell matzah these days that’s “Not for Passover Use.” How many seemingly observant Jews have been ambushed thusly?

While walking to work the other day, bird poop splattered on the pavement mere inches from my feet. It was almost like almost getting hit by a car. Almost. You have to admit, something like that is pretty omenesque. My outlook on the morning changed and then I got to work and realized nothing was going to be different, so although I was glad to not to get hit by bird poop, I didn’t look at it as an omen anymore.

The parking lot at the train station employs the use of an honor box to charge for parking. I’m constantly forgetting to look at what parking space I’m in before I walk away from my car. In the middle of last week, this happened and I walked back to figure out for which space I had to pay. A combination of tiredness, being late for the train, and general brain dysfunction forced me to determine the wrong space for my car. (Admittedly, I didn’t walk all the way back to my car, but stopped at the beginning of the row and counted down to my spot, incorrectly). When that happens, I pay for the wrong space and come back in the evening to find an envelope on my car asking for the parking fee plus $1 service charge. I deserve it. This day was different, though, because on my way to the honor box after figuring out which space I was in, the woman who had parked next to me was also walking back to figure out her space. I smiled widely and exclaimed “You forgot also, right? I do that all the time. You’re in 723.” Random act of kindness? I feel bad about it, but she probably got an envelope, too. Oh well, it’s all in the thought, I hope.

Thoughts