Wednesday, October 31, 2007

You Never Blink, Do You?

I hope everyone enjoyed their free taco on Tuesday from the "Steal a Base Steal a Taco" World Series promotion that Taco Bell did. I actually scored four of them; I sweet-talked two other people in line into giving me theirs (resourceful), and then Taco Bell screwed up and gave me an extra one. Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?

Recently, ADawg became the latest man to come to the belief that it is a solid idea to ask for a woman's hand in marriage. We now have an unprecedented 5 dudes in our immediate friend group who all got engaged in the last 5 months: ADawg, St. Aubyn, Ike, Noles, and T. Nels. Ridiculous. This means that A) Vegas is going to be a complete shit show next May, and B) I better win a bunch of money on said Vegas trip, cause I'm gonna be buying an assload of toasters, knife sets, and Belgian waffle makers. Now I'm not a betting man, but if you happen to be scoring at home, here is the updated odds sheet for Next To Get Engaged:

Z Unit.....................6.5-1

And as soon as Fundy fulfills his destiny as The Next (I say by January), I will be collecting the $150 Never Get Engaged Fund that St. Aubyn, Fundy, and I put together in 2003. I've earned it.

If you haven't heard the news yet, Robert Goulet passed away. Now I would be lying if I said that I was a fan of Goulet himself, but I do believe that this is one of the 5 or 10 best SNL skits of my lifetime.

Enjoy it. Dah dah deeee dahhh dah doo doooo. Goulet.

Monday, October 29, 2007


For the second time in 4 years, the Red Sox have won it all. And for the second time in 4 years, my attempt to go to one of the games was foiled. Back in '04, Dunph and I were driving down to St. Louis with tickets to Game 5 in our pocket, listening to Game 4 on the radio. When it became apparent the Sox weren't going to lose the game, we pulled over in Sioux City, Iowa, to watch the end of the game and lose our asses on the craps table. This year, the Rockies' website suffered a crash bad enough that it is currently the subject of an FBI investigation, preventing me from getting tickets to Game 3. So at this point I should probably just stop trying to buy World Series tickets. This photo of the on-field celebration is courtesy of Dunph, who was at both Games 3 and 4:

Since most everyone else is comparing this year's run to 2004, I suppose I can throw in my two cents' worth. The best comparison I can make between the two championships, from a fan's perspective, is that it's like having sex. It's less stressful the second time around, and you can appreciate the ride a lot more, but there's just something about your first time. It's magical, just like the 2004 championship was. I'll never forget how awesome that couple week stretch was. Ducking out of a wedding dance about 42 different times to watch the end of Game 3 of the Angel series, having to be convinced by my buddies not to shut off the TV during the 9th inning of Game 4 of the Yankee series, living and dying with every single pitch during Games 5-7, and then feeling a sense of calm while they were dismantling the Cardinals. All these memories added together to make October 2004 one of the best of my life.

This championship was different. I was still on edge, obviously more so when the Sox were down 3-1 to Cleveland, but I have never felt such confidence in one of my teams as I did with this one. I haven't seen a baseball team put together a better seven-game stretch than the Sox just did. There wasn't as much of a fear of failure as much as there was an anticipation of success. This is a new and pleasant feeling for me while watching sports, as I am about as pessimistic as they come. As I was after the 2004 season, I am a little depressed that the year is over, and I don't get to watch these guys play for 5 months. With the exception of Eric Gagne, I enjoy every player on this roster.

In a related story, last New Years' Eve in Vegas I wandered into the sports book at 9 am after 12 hours of drinking and a 2 hour nap and put down $10 on the Sox to win this year's title. Now I'm no mathmetician or anything, but at 8-1 odds, that should put me somewhere in the $600-700 range. Word up.

Monday, October 22, 2007

World Series Bound!

Wow. What a 3-game stretch. Have you ever seen a series turn like that? Every single thing about this series got dumped on its head these last couple games. Cleveland went from being loose and confident to playing like they just came from their favorite pet's funeral. Combine that with the fact that Boston got EVERY SINGLE break in Game 7 (Ramirez's bad-hop RBI in 1st, the blown call when Manny threw out Lofton, the 3rd base coach inexplicably holding Lofton at third, Casey Blake doing his best Roger Dorn impersonation) and before you know it, Papelbon is doing the Papelbon and Victor Martinez (revealed as a giant douchebag during this series) is crying in the dugout.

I set a new personal record Saturday night when I received 67 Game 6-related texties. People were coming out of the woodwork to either talk shit or congratulate me (did anyone else know that Mike Haley was a Cleveland fan? Me neither) and as a result, I had to be Johnny Hot Buttons all night. So thanks to everyone who participated. At the risk of tooting my own horn, I texted T. Nels at 7:26 p.m. CST:

''My prediction for Schilling: 7 innings 6 hits 2 runs''

Schilling's actual line: 7 innings 6 hits 2 runs. Toot toot.

Now I know that the 2004 run was pretty much the greatest event in my life since the Rebel Alliance blew up the second Death Star, but this year is a very close second. Just a really enjoyable group of guys. If the Indians were a 9 on the "How scared am I of this team?" scale, and the Angles were a -4, then the Rockies are a 6. Which is also how many games I think it will take for the Sox to wrap up another title.

Friday, October 19, 2007

All Sox'd Out Yet? Then Don't Read This

If you're sick of baseball yet (and watching preseason NBA instead of Game 5, like DVJS) then you can go ahead and skip this post.

Regarding a Sox comeback, Game 5 was the biggie. Getting it back to Boston is HUGE. I'm not trying to go all Chandler Bing on you or anything, but, seriously, can Josh Beckett be any better in the postseason? Sweet move by Cleveland, by the way, bringing in his ex-girlfriend to sing the national anthem. JB don't play that shit. That was comparable to when St. Aubyn cut out the famous picture of Hakim Warrick blocking Michael Lee's shot from the 2003 championship game, and hung it up on the fridge just before the 2004 elite 8.

Next up, Manny's comments from Wednesday. "If we lose, who cares? We have a good team. There's always next year." Yada Yada Yada. The media had a friggin' field day with these quotes. I listened to literally 7 straight hours of ESPN radio ripping into Manny yesterday. Personally, they don't bother me. At all. He's not saying that he's not trying. That's ridiculous. Ummmm he's hitting .429 with 4 ya-yas and 11 RBIs this postseason. If that's Manny not trying, then good lord. Also, has anyone noticed him screaming at himself after pitches that he just missed and fouled off? He's not trying? I know that Manny is an idiot (the pimping of his home run down 7-3 was indefensible, but really, is the move where Manny jumps into Ortiz's arms the best home run celebration in baseball, or is it just me?), which is also why I love him, but the media just pounces on any chance to tear into him. This is why he refuses to talk to them most of the time. All that being said, if J.D. Drew or Eric Gagne had made those comments, they would have to place them in some kind of protection program.

My next beef is with media, Cleveland players, Cleveland coaches, etc. saying that ''no one was giving them a chance to win this series.'' Um, what? Of all the postseason predictions I read, Cleveland was picked to win the AL just as often as the Yankees, and actually more than the Sox. And going back farther than that, last off-season, no team was picked to win the AL more than Cleveland (except the Yanks.) Here is an actual quote from Joe Girardi the other night: "I mean, this is a team that was 1/2 game down to Detroit in July!! 1/2 game DOWN!!" To which I replied: "Are you fucking kidding me?" Wow. A whole 1/2 game down, folks. How did they pull themselves out of that hole to find themselves here, one win away from the World Series? By no stretch of the imagination has this team been disrespected in the last 11 months. The only time people were down on them was after Game 1. And that's because they looked like shit. And now they don't. So quit playing the No Respect card, Cleveland. We know you're good.

It's amazing how a few months ago, the strength of this Boston team was its bullpen. Now, everyone out there besides Papelbon and Jon Lester gives me a mild heart attack when I see them start to warm up. Ick. On the bright side, Lester and Manny Delcarmen can play a mean water bottle percussion set on Doug Mirabelli's knees. That was pretty funny, as was Papelbon doing the YMCA arm motions while doing jogging in the bullpen during Game 5.

Now we have both Schilling and the home crowd going for us in Game 6. Both need to turn in a better performance than they did in Game 2. Unfortunately, we would have Dice-K for a potential Game 7. I have lost every shred of faith in him that I ever possessed. I think it would help me emotionally if he MADE A FACIAL EXPRESSION every once in a while. Whether he's pitching a one-hitter or getting shelled, his expression only ranges from "I can't believe I have to repeat the 4th grade" to "I just came home and found my wife humping the mailman."

This picture was taken after he just got done striking out the side.

But anything can happen in a Game 7. Just gotta get there. Go Sox.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Arrowhead Section 135, Row 14, Seat 6

Jack Hammen, aka The Big Guy, aka Babaganoosh, aka Captain Jack made the trip down I-29 with my mom last weekend. He makes his debut in this blog, as we went to our first live NFL game on Sunday to see the Chiefs take on Cincinnati. The seats were awesome, and the noise level was shocking. Couldn't even hear my dad talking to me before big plays. Although I'm pretty sure he was just saying, "Holy shit, it's loud in here!!!"

Afterwards we immediately headed over to the Outhouse for some Sunday afternoon action. Just kidding. In addition to the game being exciting, the Chiefs covered the spread ($$$) yet T.J. Houshmanzadeh managed to put up a big game for me (fantasy points.) All in all, a great sports weekend. Except, of course, for Eric Gagne's Game 2 shenanigans. He continues to lead the league for 2007 in Most Times Ruining Jim's Night. He now owns a commanding 5-2 lead over "Combining allergy medicine with drinking to excess."

I have many thoughts on Game 4 tonight, but due to the fact that not many of them are positive, combined with the fact that I am too nervous to clearly express them, I will leave them unspoken at this juncture. All I will say is that Wakefield is either unhittable or terrible, with not much of an in-between. Here's hoping for the former. Go Sox.

This was supposed to be a picture of Chad Johnson screaming at the coaching staff for not getting the ball. (Not pictured: Chad Johnson screaming at the coaching staff for not getting the ball.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gettin' Housed At The Outhouse

Cast of characters, from left: Russell, St. Aubyn, Danny, Katie "let's call Jim in the 9th inning of a Sox playoff game" Zidon, Alex, myself, and Bergman. Last weekend some of the boys from back in G.F. came down for a couple days; probably the last time we'll be reunited until May, unfortunately. But we made the most of it.

Friday night we started at Johnny's Tavern, where we watched the Yankees lose, Dice-K get knocked around, and some toolshed play SexyBack on the jukebox, then dance in front of the big-screen TV until Bergman shouted, "Hey, J.T., sit the fuck down, we're watching the game!" This guy was sitting at a table with a dude sporting both a Red Sox shirt and an Angel hat. Just to give you an idea about these guys.

We went to Louise's West next, where I was doing a magnificent job of shooting double digits under par in Golden Tee while still watching the Sox come back and tie the game up. My highwire act was a success until the aforementioned call from Katie in OKC, announcing she was coming up the next day. I turn back around to see Danny and Alex jumping around trying to get my attention and pointing at the screen, and then see Manny circling the bases. Fuck.

Now we're all pretty well in the bag, and there's really only place Bergman, Russell, St. Aubyn, and I can go from here: a BYOB strip club called the Outhouse. Until Lane (heavily) recommended this place, I had no idea these things even existed. We grab a 30 pack of Miller Lite at a gas station and head out. Thoughts, quotes, and mini-stories from the club that will severely decrease whatever respect you might have had for me and my friends:

1. If there's a better feeling than strolling into a strip club with a block heater of Miller Lite on your shoulder, plopping it down on a table, tearing it open, leaning back and drinking like you're at a picnic, well, then...I haven't felt it.

2. Any guy who has been to a club knows that a girl will sit on your lap, looking for some dolla dolla bills, but once it is evident you will not be purchasing a dance from her this evening, bam. She's gone. But somehow, this one girl, "Ginger," has been sitting on St. Aubyn's lap for over an hour, with 0 dollars coming out of his pocket. When she finally leaves, we ask St. Aubyn what the hell he told her to stay, and he pulls out this little beauty: "I told her that my girlfriend just died 3 weeks ago, and what I was really looking for was just a little company, and I couldn't imagine a more beautiful girl to talk to than her." Clutch. The kicker: He managed to steal a $20 dollar bill from her G-string while she sat there. Are you kidding? He punched his ticket to Hell that night.

3. Bergman comes to the table talking to a stripper, and this exchange takes place:

Bergman, pointing to me: This is my friend Jim.

Me: What are you doing? Don't tell her my real name, you dipshit.

Bergman: Oh! Uhhh, this is my friend Charlie Conway.

Me: Jesus, man. I told you, never use Charlie Conway. Girls know that one. (to the girl): You know who Charlie Conway is, don't you? Fuckin' Dawson's Creek and shit.

Bergman: Don't worry about it. Strippers don't watch the Mighty Ducks.

Stripper, listening the whole time with a blank look on her face: Are you guys gonna buy a dance, or what's the deal?

And so on and so forth. I almost got the heave-ho because my phone had been blowing up since the Sox game, and I kept on forgetting that I wasn't allowed to answer it or read texties. Apparently my justification to the bouncer of "But Manny hit a walkoff!! It's the ALDS!" was juuust good enough to keep me in the ballgame.

Our gas station trip was also an adventure, but the only really retellable story is where some high school girls were bugging St. Aubyn to buy them beer. At first he played along with it, but once it became evident that they wanted him to not only buy it, but PAY for it too, he then told them that he was a cop. They left tracks leaving the parking lot.

To be honest, it's now almost a week later and some of the other stories from last weekend are either hazy or really, really inappropriate, so I'm gonna leave it at that. If this was a PowerPoint presentation, the main bullet that you should make a note of is: If there is happens to be a BYOB strip club within a 100 mile radius of your place of residence, you should go to it.

It's a good thing we went to strip club later that night to re-establish our heterosexuality, because this picture is almost painfully gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Manny Being Manny. Playoff Edition.

Ahhhhh......smell that? That's the smell of ALCS. Playoff baseball is in full swing, and with the Sox looking arguably as good as they have all season, excitement level is at Orange (Orange being the highest level in my Excitement Color Scale.) Beckett's game one and Schilling's game three were beautiful, and although Dice-K's struggles are a bit worrisome, having Wakefield back for the ALCS along with the October studs Beckett and Schilling makes me feel at ease. The lineup is hitting (even Drew a little bit!) and the bullpen has been great, except, of course for Gagne, who predictably ruined the shutout today.

However, the most encouraging sign for Red Sox Nation is undoubtedly the return of the Dynamic Duo, Ortiz and Manny. Oritz's low power numbers (by his standards) and nagging injuries combined with Manny's low power numbers (by his standards) and nagging injuries kept them from being what they have been the last 4 years or so: the best 3-4 combo in baseball. Even though Manny technically returned from his strained oblique two weeks ago, he finally is back to doing the Manny things that make him my favorite player. If J.D. Drew overruns that ball on Friday night, losing his hat, bumbling around, I'm probably throwing something at the TV. When Manny does it, I'm just chuckling and shaking my head.
Then he goes out in the 9th inning and hits a walk-off home run that still hasn't landed yet. I only got to see him round the bases however, due to a badly-timed phone call from someone (I don't want to give away the name and make her feel worse than I already have, but she currently resides in Oklahoma City and her name rhymes with "Katie Zidon".) And the answer to the next question is Yes, I berated her pretty good after I got done celebrating. We even got an interview from Manny after game 2 for the first time in who knows when, featuring the quote, "When you're not right and you still get hits, then you know you're a bad man."

Then, in game 3, he hits the bomb off of Weaver. In case some don't know the backstory, last time Weaver pitched against the Sox, Oritz went yardskis and Weaver felt he admired it too long. He proceeded to eye Ortiz down as he rounded the bases and proclaimed after the game, "I'll remember that the next time we face off." So Ortiz goes deep on Weaver again and pretty much just puts his head down and rounds the bases, defusing whatever situation could have arisen. So what does Manny do in the next at-bat? Crushes the ball, puts his arms out, alternates between eyeing the ball and glaring at Weaver, and walks about 1/3 of the way to first base before finally starting to trot. Basically, pimping a home run like only Manny can.
So now we await the Indians/Yankees. I know that a Yankee/Sox series is always more intense and exciting, but I am still terrified of their lineup. However it ends up, at least Gay-Rod is currently working on another shitty October.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fuzzy Math

9 Coronas
+ 5 Skinny Pirates
+ 3 mystery shots from a guy with a hairlip
+ 12 games of video Beanbags
+ 1 near bench-clearing brawl between Dunph and the hairlip guy
+ 1 contest "Throwing Christina's phone around the bar trying to shatter it"
+ 33 mile drive back to Lawrence from K.C.

= 1 Hungover Jim Hammen
+ 1 Sonic chili cheese wrap
+ 44 ounces of Strawberry Limeade

= 0 Hungover Jim Hammens