Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sox, Cicada Killers, Celtics & Sandwiches

(Despite the title, this is definitely saner than yesterday's posting. No further explanation will be forthcoming concerning yesterday. Either you got it [unlikely] or you didn't, in which case congratulations on your mental health.)

(And, by the way, any ONE of the following four sections could have been expanded to fill the entire space here. Instead, I've given you all four in one day. That ought to be worth something.)

(I mean, besides a kick in the ass.)

Now, a little quiz. Which of the following best expresses your feelings concerning the local baseball team:

A) The Red Sox are in first place! Hurray!

B) The Red Sox are in first place, by only four games, whereas they were in first place by fourteen-and-a-half games earlier this year! Man the lifeboats! Women and children first! Abandon Ship! Abandon Ship!

C) Baseball is sooooooooo boring! When does the NFL season start?

If you answered:

A) You have a wonderfully positive outlook on life and you are no doubt enjoying this baseball season to the utmost extent.

B) You have completely forgotten a year of your life. Go read your diary for 2004 and then answer the question again.

C) Die, pagan scum!

Here's the deal, kids. If someone had told you before the season that the Sox would lose Curt Schilling for the better part of two months, that neither Manny nor Big Papi would have hit 20 home runs, that Julio Lugo would bat below .200 for most of the first half of the season, and that J. D. Drew and Coco Crisp combined would be batting about .270 (and sitting out in favor of Wily Mo Pena and his sterling .227 average quite often), but that the team would still be in first place by four games come August 14th, you would have jumped all over it and said, "No, you don't need to wrap that; I'll eat it here, thanks."

Take a chill pill, Red Sox Nation. These are the good times.

The cicada killers are pretty much gone. They've all dug their nests, laid eggs, caught a cicada or two, and died. I haven't seen one flying around for a few days now. The sand mounds are rather conspicuous, but no wasps are to be seen.

My only unanswered question regarding these critters is this: Where do they go to die? The ground isn't littered with cicada killer corpses. Do they crawl into the sand mounds and die alongside the poor paralyzed cicadas? Do they look at the cicadas mournfully, as if to say, "Hey, I know I paralyzed you and you're awaiting a gruesome death come springtime, but I'm checking out now, so... no hard feelings?"

(If I'm the cicada, I say the insect equivalent of "Go to hell!")

You knew that sooner or later I'd have to weigh in with my opinion concerning the Celtics' recent trades. So, here's my opinion of the Celtics' recent trades:

They stink.

Kevin Garnett is a great ballplayer. Ray Allen is a fine one, too. The Celtics will make the playoffs - barring injuries, of course - and will probably win a first-round series. After that, I don't see much good happening. They get eliminated in the second round or maybe get lucky and go to the conference finals before being eliminated.

Meanwhile, they've given up their future - Big Al Jefferson.

This is not to belittle the absence of Gerald Green or Delonte West or anyone else involved in the trades, nor to minimize the loss of the draft choices. However, there's one huge reason why these trades suck, and that's the loss of Jefferson.

Jefferson is going to be a franchise player for the next 12 or 15 years. He was the Celtic's future. Now he is Minnesota's future. I can't believe that Ainge traded this guy. I don't believe there's a player in the league with a bigger upside to him, and I'm including Oden and Durant.

Look at it this way: Jefferson is just now at the age when he would have been graduating college. Instead, he has years of NBA experience in his pocket and he's already proven, during the second half of last season, that he can consistently be a 20-15 guy and a decent defensive presence. If Jefferson came out in the same class as Oden and Durant, he would have been the consensus #1.

However, instead of keeping this gem and assuring themselves of some future, the C's decided to go for the gold ring right now. In so doing, they allowed themselves to be robbed blind by Kevin McHale and the Timberwolves. Jefferson and a draft choice for Garnett? OK. I still don't like it, but we can discuss it reasonably. Throw in Green? Extremely iffy. Jefferson, plus Green, plus three more guys and two choices and maybe Danny's first-born grandchild? The Celtics got raped.

After three years - four at the most - of middling playoff success, the Celtics are going to be right back at the bottom of the pile and it might be another 20 years before they get a shot at a player equal to Jefferson.

(Maybe I'm being too pessimistic. Maybe the new "Big Three" - and what a sacrilege it is to Bird, McHale and Parrish to name this aggregation that - will find something great to back them up. Maybe Rajon Rondo fully blossoms into a tremendous point guard. Maybe Big Baby Davis becomes a force in the paint. Maybe Kendrick Perkins shows that he can be more than just a decent 2nd-string center. Maybe Leon Powe... Maybe Tony Allen... Maybe... Maybe hundred-dollar bills are going to come flying out of my butt the next time I fart and I'll be rich.)

Despite the opinion of the no-patience majority, this is one of the worst trades in basketball history. Talk to me in two or three years and see if I wasn't right.

(Meanwhile, I am now dreading the delivery of the Celtics vanity license plate which I so happily signed up for last year. It still benefits Childrens Hospital, so I won't renege on the deal, but if this trade works out the way I think it will, I'll have to check into the legalities of re-painting Lucky The Leprechaun to show him ripping out his own heart.)

Finally, this lovely turn of events.

The other night, I got up at around 3 AM to take a pee. After doing so, I decided that I'd like a little snack, so I went out to the kitchen and made a cheese sandwich.

(The point here isn't my piss-poor dietary habits, so no "A cheese sandwich at 3am? Good God, Jim!" comments, please. Thank you.)

Anyway, I put a couple of slices of cheese between two slices of pumpernickel, poured a glass of milk, and took these things back to the bedroom. While listening to some dopey sports reporter on the radio bemoaning the fact that the Red Sox were now only five games ahead of the Yankees (see first section above) I took a bite of the sandwich. Then I winced in pain.

Somehow, I had managed to loosen one of my front bottom teeth by biting into a damn cheese sandwich.

I can now wiggle this tooth back and forth - not that I want to - and since then I've had to be very careful when biting into anything else because I might just lose it completely and I really don't want (and can't afford) major dental work right at the moment.

Never, in my wildest imaginings, would I have foreseen myself suffering an injury at the hands of a cheese sandwich. I am now officially decrepit. If I see some big guy dressed all in black, carrying a sickle, and he's pointing his skeleton-like finger at me, I'm going to run as fast as I can. However, considering the state of my knees, he'll probably catch me rather easily.

If I can avoid some other catastophe - for instance, breaking my jaw on a pudding - maybe I'll see you tomorrow with more better stuff.


Anonymous said...

"Go read your diary for 2004 and then answer the question again."

Good point -- but just as valid is to read YOUR diary for the five days on an about August 18th, 2006.
I wish I could share your optimism. But...

Suldog said...

Well, yeah. I always have been the Pollyanna type. But the point, as I think you've surmised, is that we should be enjoying this instead of flagellating ourselves.

Unknown said...

I think Cicada larvae burrow in the ground for seven years before reappearing.

Sorry to hear about your tooth, if you lost it altogether it would bring charater to your face. I'm not sure that would be a good thing though.

Being that I am a life long Yankee fan my answer to your little quiz is B, and there's plenty more history than 2004 to look at. The Yankees know how to win.

Suldog said...

Oooooh, Barbara, I think you're trying to get me to bet something. I might be willing...

The Omnipotent Q said...

Well said about the Red Sox Suldog.

The concern is there, but this team is resiliant. As long as the team stays healthy, all will be right with the world.

Unknown said...

Well, if the Yankees have a better season than the Sox would you be willing to put a Yankee logo at the very tiptop of your sidebar, say for a week? At least 2 inch by 2 inch one? Oh, and no words or pictures or audio accompanying it dissing the Yanks. I would of course have to do the same if the Sox have a better season.

Stu said...

As a dyed-in-the-red-wool BoSox fan, Hurray is obviously my pick, but I do want to say this: I am a firm believer in the jinx. So when I look at the standings, I try to say things like, "Hey, Sox are lookin' good right now," and "I love watchin' the Sox play, they're just tearin' it up right now."

One time, true story, my brother, my cousin, my cousin's mom and her new husband were at a Baltimore Orioles home game. I forget who was pitching, although my gut says "Ben McDonald," but he was throwing a no-hit game going into the 5th. My cousin's step-dad, lovely man, sweet, good-natured guy, innocently remarks, "Hey, he's pitchin' a no-hitter." - Just like that, the *very* next pitch, single into left field. Ugh. - So I'm a believer in the powerful juju of the jinx, and I won't look at the Sox with anything other than hope and the occasional, "Ok, Lugo's .378 in his last 11 games, let's go Sox!!"

Stu said...


We don't know each other, but I'll gladly bet you that the Sox finish well above the Yankess. Heck, I'll bet they finish at least 4 games in front. If I lose, I put a 2x2 NYY logos on my home page for a month. If I win, how about you put up a GNMP logo on your homepage for a month?

Oh, and my beloved Mets? Aren't they currently 4 games on top as well? Another NY vs. BoSox World Series would be awesome!!

Unknown said...

Stu - I accept your bet. I'm going to go look for an appropriate Yankees logo for you to display.

Suldog said...

Hi, Barbara:

I accept your bet. If either of us loses - well, I guess one of us has to - it will make for a good blog, anyway, even if we have to display the enemy's logo :-)


Suldog said...

I will accept the same bet from any Royals, Devil Rays or Rangers fans :-)

David Sullivan said...

1) I agree with you about the Sox. (though I am itching for some football, GO PATS)

2) As long as the Cicada Killers have gone to confession for their killing ways and have accepted JC as their savior, who cares where the go to die.

3) I like the Celts moves because if they don't start winning soon and big (meaning deep into the playoffs) we will start drawing less fans than Altanta.

4) You decrepidness reminds me of that exchange in "The Departed" between Nicholson's character and some guy in the bar.

Frank Costello: How's your mother?

Man in Bar: Oh... I'm afraid she's on her way out.

Frank Costello: We all are, act accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Fun to watch the wagering action, but to settle any bets, don't you need to better define your terms? What would qualify as "the Yankees have a better season than the Sox"?

Technically, I'd say that if the Sox top the AL east, Stu and Jim would win. But then the wild card implications are disturbingly possible...and btw, I was "anonymous" yesterday. Today, of course, it's a 5 game lead, whcih is MUCH more reassuring.

Suldog said...

David - I think you should get in on this action.

Speaking of which, MY WIFE's Brother does have a good point. Let's define our terms. Since the Sox are starting this contest with a five game lead, I'm willing to let Barbara say what will decide the bet - better Eastern Division finish, deeper into the playoffs, better playoff record if both should make it - what do you say?

(Also, I find it strange that, in the e-mail which notified me of his comment, MY WIFE's Brother's nom de plume was capitalised in the manner seen in this sentence. However, not on this page. I just wanted it to be known that he DOES follow the correct procedure concerning mentions of MY WIFE anywhere on this blog.)

Unknown said...

Suldog - Here are the terms as I see them:

If neither team makes the playoffs then their AL East standings determine the winner. If they are tied in the standings then their record against each other will determine the winner.

If only one team (Yanks or Sox) makes the playoffs then that team is the winner.

If both teams make the playoffs then the playoff record will determine the winner. If they both have the same playoff record then the AL East standings will determine the winner, if tied there then the standings against each other.

If either team makes the series they are the winning team.

Are you in?

I'm sure you feel the same way about having to display a rival team's logo on your blog as I doas I do. It kinda turns my stomache.

Stu - You've spotted me four games, I'll give you a chance to rescind that because it doesn't show much confidence in my team.

Suldog said...

Agreed. Let the games begin!

(And, even though you're a Yankees fan, I have to give you mucho credit for showing such confidence in your team. Bravo!)

Stu said...

Barbara, I still stand by 4 games. If the Sox are only up on the Yankees at the end of regular season play, you win, and in addition to the Yankee logo of your choice, I'll display any text of your choosing underneath said logo.

Unknown said...

Suldog - Agreed

Stu - Cool, I'll probably add text that says #1 Yankee Fan or something to that effect. Thanks!

Stu said...

Barbara, sure, that's good. Other options for your consideration would be:

"I love Hideki Matsui."

"Robinson Cano makes me dizzy."

"Where was Andy Pettitte when I was single?"

Unknown said...

Stu - Maybe all three! LOL

Suldog - Don't mind us using your comment area to talk back and forth. :))

KAYLEE said...

I am recovering well!

Suldog said...

Barbara, Stu - No problem. You're saving me from having to write new stuff.

Kaylee - I am so HAPPY! More in the next blog entry here...

Unknown said...

Suldog and Stu,

I put a post up on my blog about our bet.


Anonymous said...

Great read

Anonymous said...

Extremely well executed read!!!

Anonymous said...

What a frankly amazing piece!!!

Anonymous said...

Could be your greatest read I have ever seen!

Anonymous said...

I could not agree with you more..

Anonymous said...

This post couldn't be more factual...

Anonymous said...

Thats an all 'round amazingly written article.

Anonymous said...

May be this blog's greatest piece to date!!

Suldog said...

What will Anonymous say next? Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Curiously, a well written blog!!

Suldog said...

And there you go!

Suldog said...

Damn. I just re-read this whole entry. If I had any brains, I'd shitcan the whole thing and save my rep as someone who might know something about the Celtics. Obviously, though, I have no brains. Therefore, it stays (until I'm up for a position as a sportswriter somewhere, then I'll rip this out by its roots.)