Smallpox Champion, US of A

One final thing: I'm going to opening day at the park this year. For as much as I lacerate and vilify the Red Sox, I cannot deny that Opening Day is one of the most fun things a girl can do.

New Britain Rock Cats have sponsors on their uniforms.

Yes, they're sponsored by Harley-Davidson. I went to that park last year during one of my minor league benders. It's very nice.

What I really wanted to say is that Pawtucket's own Jay Rainville was drafted in the 39th round by the Twins last year and guess what? He'll be in AA this year most likely. Probably in relief.

Scout.com says: "Rainville has two plus pitches. He throws a 91-94 MPH sinker, and a power curve that already ranks as one of the best in the organization. He needs to work on his changeup if he wants to stay in the rotation, and if he doesn’t, he will probably be a short reliever. A former National Hockey League prospect, his aggressiveness is what makes him a high ceiling guy. "

So, yay and all of that.

Here comes Geoff Blum.

I remember Geoff Blum from his '04 stint on the Devil Rays. Now the below-average infield utility guy hangs his jock in San Diego! Let's take a quick look.

First things first, he wound up in Tampa Bay because the Astros traded him for Brandon Backe. Wow, that is fucking awesome, Tampa Bay. I didn't know that. Ha.

Between CWS and San Diego last year he only played in 109 games. He pretty much sucked late in the year, batting 241 in 224 plate appearances. Nice .314 OBP, too!

Blum's signed for '06 (650K or so) but he'll be a free agent in '07 at age 34. Baseball Prospectus '05 says he "switch-sucks" equally from both sides of the plate. Bleak!

Alright, GB, good luck in '06. At least you get to see Doug Mirabelli every day.


Shopping is fun! Shop with a buddy!

No, not really. I hate shopping. Unless it's junk shopping, which is how I've mostly comprised my wardrobe.

I LOVED the St. Vincent de Paul's here in CF. It was dirt cheap, crammed with stuff, and undiscovered by any trendy kids. I stopped by this morning to look for summer stuff and the woman that's worked there forever ever told me they'd be closed by the end of Feb. And now what is she going to do? She's fifty-ish with bad knees and no one will hire her. And you do not even know how much I love this sassy, motherly woman... I got a little misty talking to her about the end of it all.

Best thing I got there: about 100 45's, mostly old country like Ferlin Husky, Skeeter Davis and croony stuff like Al Martino and Keely Smith and Nat King Cole. But some seriously crazy obscure tunes. All for the paltry price of five dollars.

The number of stores I can / will shop at keeps dwindling. Pray for me.


Varitek, it was really nothing.

What I heard: That there was a tense, icy silence between Jason and Alex at the All-Star game.

What should have happened: Varitek should have built a little bridge. It would have been healing, perhaps. Something like, "Hey, man. Come on." Manly backslap. God knows A-Rod never would have done it.

Madhouse Cafe

If you find yourself in downtown Pawtucket... okay, unlikely. Rephrase. Hey, when was the last time you actually saw downtown Pawtucket? Go down and check it out now because the Madhouse Cafe finally opened and it's rad. And check out the nice beer selection! I'm going to try every one of them! They have homemade cajun ketchup! Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!

Seriously, get over it. Go to Pawtucket. But don't come to Central Falls. That's MY turf.

That's me in the corner

How about that clean, close New England sunshine yesterday? Did you not love it?

Like many of you, I attended the Pawtucket Hot Stove Party yesterday. Unlike many of you, I got up early for my special day and went to the suddenly baffling and inverted Lincoln Mall and had a special t-shirt made at the T-Shirt City and Sports Mugs of Miscellany Shoppe.

I did sit in for a while on the Manny Delcarmen / Dave Pauley Q&A but found pitching coach Mike Griffin to be much more interesting. Why do all the minor leaguers seem either bored or stoned beyond belief at these things? And I love how everyone laughs politely when the little kids ask questions like, "What's your favorite kind of food?" Ha ha, very funny, motherfucker.

I didn't line up for autographs because I'm not an autograph person and for the most part I'd rather saw my own legs off than make awkward small talk with some jock with an unending thirst for Creed and Coors Lite. I took a few pictures, though, and they're unimpressive.

The best part for me was that a lot of my teammates showed up and we had fun reading the crap on the clubhouse bulletin boards and committing minor acts of theft and vandalism. And I bought tickets for Opening Day and for the 25th Anniversary game.

Final note: Jerry Kapstein was not there.


You'll never walk alone again

Kelly Shoppach's Texas license plate says "SHOP". Only this and nothing more. He also didn't like Buddy Bailey, I heard him say. I had hoped to get more for Kelly S. And I always felt bad that he never got a hit in Boston. Go forth and gunneth down AL Central runners!

In other news, the massive and broad-shouldered Wade Miller signed a one year deal with the Cubs. I saw him rehab in Pawtucket and it was very exciting. Then when he got to Boston he'd invariably find himself in the 4th inning with a pitch count of about 156. I had such high hopes! I'd say good luck but it would be hollow and insincere.

In other news, from my spot in the bleachers, I found Coco Crisp to be absolutely adorable. You want insight, go away and read someone else's blog. Don't you get it?

What the Bran Muffin said

"Kobe Bryant raped a girl and got away with it. Don't ever forget that."

-- the UPS Guy


Every time I turn around I find I'm shot.

Theo's back, and I care... but only a little.

Bronson Arroyo, you stupid, stupid bitch. Hometown discount? Are you freaking kidding me? If I have to see him strumming that stupid guitar with the junior high collage of alterna-grunge stickers all summer long, I don't know what! Why can't I get an Arroyo ERA for left / right splits? Is that a stupid question? How come all the leftover Red Sox shirts at Bob's are either Arroyo or Clement?

This guy needs to make me love him all over again.

I'm ashamed to admit that I don't think I've ever heard of Willie Harris before. He's listed in BP as a 2B/CF (weird). And he's short. And he's "almost a very valuable ballplayer". Rarely hits the ball out of the infield. You know what? This will be Shorty's breakout year! I love him already! Pass the Courvoisier!


Tim Bausher DFA'd

I have nothing more to add to that. He's no longer on the 40-man, but it's not like they ever intended on using him.

So let's hope I get to see him in Pawtucket, because gosh, he's handsome. And no good pictures exist of him on the internet, so I'll have to make my own. Preferably not with man-sandals on.


Jarrod Washburn and John Lackey

Washburn! 2005 - 8-8, 3.20 , 94 K's, 51 walks
Signed with the Mariners for 4 (!) years, $37.5 million. Whoa.

John Lackey!
2005: 14-5, 3.44 , 199 K's, 71 walks
Lackey and the Angels agreed to a $3.76 million, one-year contract. Also, John Boy was CRAZY after the all-star break and went 8-1. Plus he's 4 years younger than Jarrod Washburn.

The winner: John Lackey!

Denney Tomori: no relation to Conan's crazy,egg-laying ostrich

I don't know if you remember ST invitee Denney Tomori? Well, he never made it past Pawtucket. He was that not-terribly-effective righty sidearmish guy. Chose to put his first name instead of his last name on his uniform. (I had to laugh imagine Millar's uniform saying "KEVIN" on the back.)

He's on the Chunichi Dragons now and hoping to tear it up in Japan. I seem to remember "Denney" being his last name at one time, and then he discovered his father wasn't really his father or something and changing his name to Yui Denney Tomori. Or maybe I dreamed all that.

In other news, former PawSox announcer guy Andy Freed has been the announcer guy for Tampa Bay for a couple of years now. He brought up an interesting point: franchises who say the Devil Rays management is "difficult" are really just perturbed because the D-Rays aren't leaping into the deals offered to them heedlessly. I mean, they're just the Devil Rays! It's not like they need good players or anything! Do they think they're contenders or something? Anyhoo, Andy F. has himself a littleweb page. Go, team, go!

Blatant rip-offery

So the other day I started buying my CACTUS LEAGUE SPRING TRAINING 2006 tickets and discovered that fucking MLB is engaging in some serious gougery. I reluctantly paid the $3-ish per ticket "service charge", but now they charge another $3.50 for USPS mailing? Again, I KINDA get it... however, I noticed that THEY WOULD STILL CHARGE YOU A FEE IF YOU JUST WALK UP TO THE WILL-CALL WINDOW YOURSELF!!!

So the only POSSIBLE way to not pay all these crap charges is to pre-fly out to AZ or whatever and buy them at the box office. Okay.

I sense that you're disgusted. It gets somewhat better.

When I went to buy Padres tickets, I noticed that in order to get them online, you have to go through Ticketmaster. And you know how I feel about Ticketmaster. So I didn't buy them, but I drove everyone I know batshit by asking them what THEY would do in my shoes. Would they just buy the tickets and get the nice seats ahead of time and not worry about it, or would they say 'NO, TICKETMASTER, YOU ARE NOT GETTING MY MONEY!!!' and buy the tickets when they got to AZ?

I called the box office over there in Peoria, AZ and the woman said that the game I was interested in was kind of a high attendance matchup and while she'd never known a game to sell out, I might be stuck with bad seats.

I came pretty close to just saying, screw it, and giving big bad Ticketmaster my bidness. But then I had an idea... I posted a little ad on craigslist.com asking for a volunteer to buy the tickets for me. Long shot, right? I mean, what the hell could be in it for them?

Ladies and gents, I got 4 responses from people who were willing to work something out. The most promising e-mail came from a man in Phoenix who said he'd do it, but that he'd like some authentic Harvard gear in exchange.

So that's what I'm doing. I'll be mailing out the Harvard gear and the dude in Arizona will be buying my tickets. Smash the state! And eff you, Ticketmaster!


I had a dream I was a vigilante's sidekick.

I am not the only one that has dreams about major league baseball players. Just wanted to preface the following with that. Lots of ladies and gents, normal and not, working functioning members of society dream about MLB'ers. Just sayin.

Last night I had a lengthy dream about Bill Mueller. The part I find worth mentioning most? Bill Mueller, in the off-season, has a second job as... an astronaut. And I am understandably incredulous about this and keep asking him about it.

But you know Bill M. and how freaking modest he is. Just shrugs it off. It's really nothing. Is that not awesome?


Someone in the club tonight has stolen my ideas.

I'm sorry, New England, but I don't care about the Patriots.

I see all your yard flags and inflatable wide receivers and embroidered lap blankets and it just makes me miss baseball.

Oh, I know a few things. I know Tom Brady is a good quarterback /Gap model and that the coach ( Bill B. ) is known for being laconic and robotic and atomic and Willie McGinest is classy and am I even spelling these names right? I've seen Doug Flutie at Fenway catching foul balls and being way too delighted about it. And Bruschi... the guy who had the stroke but came back and made everyone get worried. New England, you really do love your Bruschi.

Yes, I understand that baseball is really boring compared to football. I know that football is intense and exciting and that every game is so, so crucial. I know that football players don't leave the game EVER, not even if their ankles are broken, not if their children burst into flames and perish in the stands, not if their guts are torn open and their cleats get tangled in their large intestines. Your commercial interruptions are much more glamorous than Marty, the Number One Man from USRV. Your culinary accoutrements completely dwarf the steamed hot dogs and domestic beer that usually accompany baseball watching. I get it, New England. I really do.

And, Lord, have I tried. I locked myself onto the sofa and ate six kinds of wings and stared at the TV and tried real real hard to understand the implications of "HUT HUT " followed by a shrill whistle. It's complicated, New England. I'm too dim to keep track of referee hand signals and flags and positions and x's and o's. For that, I am truly sorry.

I know what you're going to say: I just need to watch more games and get into it. Did you not just read the above paragraph? I TRIED that. Listen to me. I only like baseball. It takes up a lot of my time. I resent the time football takes up on the radio, even though there's ABSOLUTELY NOTHING GOING ON IN BASEBALL RIGHT NOW. Why can't they just play 24 hours of Tim Wakefield's Top Games Versus the AL Central?

I wonder what Tim Wakefield's doing right now?


Where have the good times gone?

This was my first opening day. Rained out. I miss Pedro games.


I blame Max Perlow for this.

Have y'all head the rumor about Hazel Mae and Terry Francona? So crazy it has to be true or file under Pop Rocks and Mikey?

At any rate, there will no longer be Friday night baseball on channel 38. NESN will be broadcasting ALL BOS games, screw everyone and have a good night. I don't even get that station and I'm pissed.

And for those of you who bitch about Hazel Mae and complain that she doesn't know shit about sports? Okay. Like Paul Fucking Devlin and his Freakishly Square Head is so smart.

So Manny suddenly wants to stay in Boston? What kind of concession did the guys upstairs make? He probably already has the best parking spot in that cramped 4x4 parking lot. Was it money? I doubt it. It's some kind of perk / arrangement. Bullshit, at any rate.

Nice purse, B.

Bronson and Lenny, meet Brandon and Dylan.

Bronson Arroyo is SO the Brandon Walsh. Pasty, annoying, unfun. DiNardo is Dylan all the way.

cankers and medallions

As of 1.1.06, there is no longer a McDonald's here in CF.


The Only Living Blogger in Central Falls

Well, I kept my eyes peeled at O'Hare and I saw a celebrity. You won't ever guess who. Not an actor, not a musician, not an athlete.

It was weird! He looked sort of shabby and frail and thin. I looked into his face in amazement as he walked by me, just trying to prove to myself that I was wrong. And I turned and watched him keep walking in his ill-fitting suit and World Series '05 jacket and worn, leather hat. He sat across from me with his assistant / bodyguard and a couple of people approached him and shook his hand. Wow!

And how many times am I gonna shout, "Get back, Loretta!" this summer? Argh.

I Heart Huckaby

Okay, so BOS has agreed to a minor league deal with Ken "Crash" Huckaby. This gives us Varitek, Flaherty, AND Huckaby, AND Shoppach? Okay, seriously, they'd better have something huge planned for Shoppach. Dumbasses.

Perhaps you all remember early, early '03 when Derek Jeter mangled his shoulder or elbow (whatevs) when Ken H. was blocking home plate and Deej slid right into him. At the time, I found this sort of funny.

I have acheived a modicum of baseball maturity since then, but I still enjoyed the story of Huck going up to Jeter and offering a sincere apology for the whole DL-dislocation-collision thing.

What Jeter should have said: "Hey, no problem, man!"

What he did say: Nothing. He ignored Huckaby, walked away. Nada. Poor Ken.

I can't remember if I mentioned this, but Dennis "Mark" Malaska is returning to the city by the bay. By that I mean Tampa. I wonder if this is some kind of Rule 5 thing? I'm not looking it up. This is a Neo-Impressionist baseball blog! Other people are doing this better and more thoroughly, so go read THEIR blogs! GOD!

Rootin' Tootin' Wooten!

from Rotoworld:

Twins signed catcher-infielder Shawn Wooten to a minor league contract.Wooten, 33, hit .267/.329/.433 for Triple-A Pawtucket last season. He can serve as a third catcher just like Matthew LeCroy used to, but he wouldn't be as good of an option as a DH or first baseman against left-handers. He probably won't make the team.

Side note: I love Matt LeCroy.

Shawn Wooten was another good guy. He's got a ring from his stint with the Angels. God, how we loved that team! That was a great WS, over there in '02.

So long, Figgy

The Toronto Blue Jays have announced that they have signed infielder Luis Figueroa, 31, to a Minor League contract. He's also gonna be hanging around the ST camp this March after he's done with Puerto Rican winter ball.

He played in 109 games for Pawtucket in '05, hitting .289 with 22 doubles, seven home runs and 48 runs batted in. He has led the International League in strikeouts to total plate appearances the last two seasons, striking out just once every 15.69 plate appearances in 2005 and once per every 17.42 plate appearances in 2004.

Figueroa was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a non-drafted free agent in March of 1997. He appeared in eight Major League games in 2001, four with the New York Mets and four with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I got most of this from the Syracuse Sky Chiefs web page. You know what else is fun? Calling the Sky Chiefs the "Sky Chefs".

Figgy was a zippy little feller and a wicked nice guy. Besto!


Iowaaah waah waah

All my flights are leaving on time in spite of the questionable weather.

I didn't really approve of the string of made-up holidays fucking with my shit, but it's over and I can finally get some cash!

By the way, we hit this crazy, dirty little bowling alley last night for some ten-pin and sympathy. It was called 20th Century Bowling and you MUST see my pictures of it.

Thank you everyone, thank you Ames, see you at home!


Why oh whyowa?


Rum with... Sprite? Me? Yes. Please don't tell anyone I was drinking rum and Sprite on NYE while watching Stuart Scott in a bar called Whiskey River.

The funny thing is I almost believed that Tejada had come to town in a crazy, Phyrric trade.

Know what else is funny? I dropped my zippy license and cash thing somewhere and no one stole it. It was on the floor near the bar and NO ONE STOLE IT. How the hell could I even fly home with no ID? But it doesn't matter because NO ONE STOLE MY GEAR!

I'm going to "Gilbert" tomorrow! I see hash browns and scones in my future. Possibly more spastic camera work and Facts About Dave Roberts.