Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Game 4, By The Numbers

- Number of times I startled a random Red Sox fan by throwing up a high-five/punching them on the arm/yelling "Let's go SOX!!" as we walked past each other: 4.

- Number of times somebody startled me by flipping the script and doing the same thing to me: 2.

- Number of people who laughed at BroMo in the men's room, after he saw a guy wearing a Curt Schilling jersey and said, "Ahh, the ol' knuckleball, eh?": 5, including me, but not including the guy wearing the jersey, who didn't think it was a funny mix-up for some reason. Don't worry, BroMo, it's a common mistake. The 'Wakefield' is silent.

- Number of prayers I sent to Baby Jesus, thanking him that I wasn't in attendance for the Game 3 walk-off obstruction shenanigans: Roughly 56. Seriously, security would've had to remove me from the stadium after that one. Forcibly. Make it 57 times now.

- Number of fellow Red Sox fans I had in my section: ZERO. Nobody within 15 rows. I knew I'd be completely out-numbered; this was St. Louis, a true baseball town. This wouldn't be like going to Tampa or some shit. But still, I figured there would be a lot more Sox fans in attendance, especially in the upper deck, where a lot of us second-hand ticket purchasers were residing.

I was mistaken. I looked around in dismay as the first pitch approached; I didn't even have anybody I could air-five with. During the first inning, two Sox fans showed up, directly across the aisle from me, and I quickly established fist bumpsies and told them I was coming to them for every celebration. However, they disappeared in the second inning, never to be seen again, and so I had to celebrate Han-style (Solo) the rest the game.

- Number of Cardinals fans in our section who were pretty cool to me: All of them. We struck up a friendship right away with the people in our immediate area, and rather than an antagonistic relationship, they used me as a resource for knowledge that would help them better understand the game. They took to calling me 'Boston Guy', so throughout the game, there was a lot of "Hey Boston Guy, who is that in the on-deck circle right now? Are they pinch-hitting for Buchholz?" or "Hey Boston Guy, why is John Lackey warming up in the bullpen right now?" or even "Hey Boston Guy, is it pronounced Big Pappy or Big Poppy?"

- Number of times I felt like a dick, due to said relationship with Cardinals fans: 1; after the three-run homer by Gomes. The Cardinals pitched around Ortiz, putting men on first and second, and leading to some general grumbling among the fans. "Don't worry," I assured them, visions of another Gomes strikeout clouding my vision, "Gomes has absolutely sucked this postseason, he's hitting like .120. You made the right decision here." Then, of course, Gomes went yammies, and I felt a little sheepish, especially after I heard one of the guys behind us mutter juuuuust loud enough for me to hear, "Nice fucking call, Boston Guy."

- Number of beers I drank: A couple too many.

- Number of beers I drank at the all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink banquet afterwards: 1. Our Craigslist guy surprised us by giving us a couple of passes to this post-game social club in Busch Stadium, but by that point, I was pretty hammered, pretty drained from the intensity of the game, and I sensed that there weren't a lot of people happy to see me in that room. Maybe if it would've been pre-game, I'd be more welcome, but after their boys just got done losing to my boys....there was a lot of mean-mugging going on. Usually my policy is "If it's free, it's me, and I'll take three", but BroMo and I only had one plate of food and one beer each, and got the hell out of there. There was a pretty sweet ice sculpture though.

- Number of times I had a perfect view of a pickoff play at first base with two outs in the ninth inning, and got to yell "YUP! SMELL YA!!!!" before the umpire could even make his call: 1. Just once was all it took.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Back in 2004, Dunph had a connection with Major League Baseball, and scored a couple of tickets to the (potential) Game 5 of the World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals. On short notice, we jumped in the car for the 13-hour drive from Grand Forks to St. Louis.

Game 4 was being played that evening, and the Sox were up 3-0 in the series, so we knew there was a chance that our free tickets to Game 5 would be worth nothing more than the story you're hearing now. I was roughly 70% cheering against the Red Sox that night. Yeah, I wanted to go to a game in person, and yeah, I'd LOVE to see them clinch the World Series in person....but there was 30% of me that wanted them to just wrap it up and win it now. I mean, we just watched the Sox come back from 3-0 down against the Yankees less than a week ago. Let's not tempt fate here.

The drive was mostly uneventful. There were lots of moments where I couldn't suppress my gut reaction before realizing that what just happened actually hurt our chances for seeing a game. Johnny Damon leads off the game with a homer: "YEAHHHHH!!! Wait, FUCK!" Repeat, repeat, repeat. Also, Dunph ran over a cat on the interstate (you could actually feel the skull crunch against the bumper) and after about 30 seconds of horrified silence, he looked over at me and said "Welp, some little kid's best friend isn't coming home tonight!", I named the cat Crunch, and we laughed for about 45 miles.

We made it as far as Sioux City, Iowa, before we decided to pull in and find somewhere to watch the remainder of the game. Boston was up three runs in the 7th, and was solidly in control. I needed to at least watch the clinch on TV, I couldn't deal with having just the radio for such a moment. What is this, 1938? Is this one of FDR's Fireside Chats? No way. We're pulling over and watching somewhere.

We chose the Argosy Riverboat Casino, right off the interstate. We watched the end of the game, I had some of the best-tasting and most rewarding beers of my life, and then we looked at each other and said "What next?"

What's next ended up being:

- Getting an extended tutorial from the dealers on how to play craps (the casino was mostly empty that night, and they were just happy for something to do);

- Cautiously putting a few bucks on the table and dipping our toes in the water;

- Winning everything in sight and going up a few hundred each in a matter of 20 minutes-- celebrating, boozing, shit-talking, and high-fiving like we owned the place;

- Watching a dude who looked exactly like JR Ewing from Dallas stroll up to the table and casually buy in for $50K in chips;

- Slowly having our excitement eroded away, since it's tough to celebrate a $40 win when Yosemite Sam next to you just lost 8 grand;

- Eventually losing all the money we were up for the night, plus all the money we brought with us for the trip, plus all the money from our respective ATM withdrawals.

All in all, an awesome night, and also the reason that every time I drive through Sioux City on my way back to North Dakota and pass the Argosy, I re-enact the anguished arm extension of Lloyd Christmas reaching for Mary Swanson.

For the last few days, I've been going back and forth on whether or not I want to make an impromptu road trip and try and catch Game 4 in person. On one hand, it's not a 13-hour drive to St. Louis anymore. BroMo (BROther of a different MOther) lives there, so I have a place to stay. On the other hand, ticket prices are outrageous. Also, I haven't exactly been a model employee the last month or so, what with trips to Minnesota, Montana, and a golf outing for a wedding-- not to mention multiple trips to the dentist (FYI dudes, periotherapy sucks.)

After some hemming and hawing, the memory of this story from 2004 is what finally swayed me. Even though I don't have free tickets this time, and even though the absolute shittiest tickets in the ballpark still cost enough to pay for a night at the craps table at the Argosy in Sioux City....I mean, what was I gonna do, NOT go?

In the end, it kept coming back to one sentence ringing over and over in my head. A sentence that 90% of the time, I'm on the other side of, using it to get people to do things when they're straddling the fence:

Old Jum would do it.

Oh, and in the event of a Red Sox loss, if anyone knows of any good bridges to sleep on in the greater St. Louis area, please let me know. I know there's obviously a bunch of highways crossing the Mississippi River, but I'd prefer to keep it smaller. Pedestrian bridges are more my steez. I know, I know, beggars can't be choosers, but please keep it in mind when making your recommendations. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October Bliss

I've made my thoughts on October weddings known before. The chance for conflicts with hugely important playoff baseball games trumps the usually glorious weather, at least for me.

When JonJon and Amanda got married in October 2011, the Red Sox had just finished the biggest collapse in Major League history, so no worries there. When ADawg married Bobbi in 2008, the Sox didn't play during the wedding reception, although I did have to listen to a game on the radio during our nightmarish, hungover drive back home. In October 2007, nobody got married, but I did miss Manny's walk-off in Game 2 of the ALDS. That was my own fault, since I answered a phone call from Katie Z when I probably should've flushed it and called her back after the inning (but I haven't let her hear the end of it for over six years now, and will probably never stop blaming her.)

We have to go all the way back to October of 2004 to find the last time I was at a wedding reception during a Red Sox playoff game. And strangely, it ended up being an awesome memory, rather than an excuse to make passive-aggressive comments to the happy couple for the rest of their lives.

It was during the ALDS vs. the Angels and Brekka's wedding in Minneapolis. There was an open bar, and I would alternate between dancing, giving Jennifer and/or Buckley some excuse why I had to disappear for a bit, then grabbing three beers from the bar, running up to our hotel room, chugging the beers and watching an inning, then running back down and dancing some more. I made it up to the room in time to see David Ortiz hit the series-ending walkoff, and Wojo came into the room in time to see me shotgunning a myself. All-around great night.

This time around, with the Red Sox playing in Game 6 of the ALCS with a trip to the World Series on the line, there were no TVs available, and no hotel room to retreat to. I did, however, have phone technology that I didn't have in 2004. I was constantly checking for updates, and any time I got too wrapped up in the dance and neglected to check my phone for awhile, well-timed texties from Myshawn, Alfonso, and others served as reminders. After Victorino hit the grand slam and the Sox closed out the win, I calmly walked out of the reception area into the bridal party dressing room (an adjacent room that was more like a warehouse with furniture, a bathroom, and a kitchen in it), closed the door behind me, and let loose with a triumphant one-man celebration, complete with dancing and beer-spraying. At least I thought it was a one-man celebration. Turns out there was a second participant: a previously unnoticed employee of the building. And he wasn't so much "celebrating" as he was "telling me to go ahead and get started cleaning up the beer all over the floor." Whoops. Sorry for partying.

Other shenanigans from what was otherwise a very classy evening:

- In an unfortunate turn of events, hair-smelling came up in conversation earlier in the day. That basically guaranteed that we'd be smelling hair during the reception, and sure enough, that's exactly what came to pass. I had a pretty successful night by the numbers, going 7 for 8 (I got busted by my walking-down-the-aisle partner Dani) but I'd be lying if I said I was content with it. My white whale for the evening was the wedding planner Ashley (see below.) After spending the day planning and scheming my execution and getaway like I was in Ocean's 11 or something, Ashley unexpectedly bounced early, and I was left with nothing but my imagination on what her hair must smell like. Cue up Ron Burgundy:

- Ashley the Wedding Planner was kinda hot. Her hotness started a running joke amongst the Groomsmen all weekend, where every time she would ask us to do something, we would hit on her under our breath and/or after she walked away. So there was a lot of this:

"Hey, I need you guys to go over to that table and get your boutonnieres pinned on before people start getting here."

"Yeah, no problem!.....(quietly)....I love you."


"Jum, can you do me a favor? Grab this ladder and string these lights up in the front window?"

"Of course, I'd do everything to you!"


"I'd do anything for you."

- We've talked about Rock & Roll Part 2 before. I've made the case that not many people love that song more than I do. But when Munch decided he wanted it played during the wedding, I tried to stop him. Warned him it wouldn't go over well. Cautioned him that it could be a dance floor murderer. Begged him not to do it. But he requested it anyway....and it went over like gangbusters. A total crowd pleaser, with almost everyone joining in for a Kansas City Chiefs chant on top of it.

I am man enough to admit when I am completely and totally wrong. (Maybe because it doesn't happen very often, ah-thank you.)

- I am not what you would call a jealous guy. In fact, I'm so far on the other end of the jealous spectrum that it probably could get me in trouble someday....

Teens was asked to dance by one of the guests, a tall, handsome guy named Adam. She didn't really want to, and I wasn't around, but if I was, I would've absolutely encouraged it. She finally agreed to dance ONE song, but then Adam tried to grab her ass while two-stepping, so she bolted off the floor and left him hanging, mid-song. Later on, after I had re-joined our crew and been briefed on the situation, Adam wandered into our conversation, and asked what Teens' story was, and why she was now avoiding him. Teens had continually tried to flash him her wedding ring, but like most clueless guys, he hadn't picked up on it. Technically JDub started the douchebaggery when he introduced himself as Jim, but I followed suit by sliding my wedding ring off and introducing myself as Adam Banks-- this is where we found out that the guy's name was Adam as well.

Now here's where you might think that I, the drunk husband, full of Morgan Diets and testosterone, would throw a punch at Adam for trying to molest my wife; or at the very least, tell him to get the hell out of our circle. Instead, my first reaction was to say "You seem like a good dude, Adam, I don't know what her deal is right now. You just gotta keep trying!" From there, we proceeded to give him possible topics of conversation, and common interests that might help him win her heart.

This continued on for the rest of the dance, to everyone's enjoyment (except Teens.) Finally, at the end of the night, we came clean with Adam on everything, and he was devastated by our betrayal. Before we parted ways, however, he left us with one last laugh: After I put my wedding ring back on and told him that his potential conquest was actually my wife, he processed the information, shook his head, then slowly looked back up at me, his eyes filled with hurt even as he made this realization: "You know something? I'm beginning to think that your name isn't really Adam, either!"

Just classic Adam right there.

- While we were downtown taking the bridal party photos before the reception, Mazzy was lamenting the fact that he didn't have a date for the evening. Just then, a provacatively dressed, gorgeous woman walked by. I told Mazzy to ask her "Hey, are you a flash card? Because you have +1 written alllll over you!"

He declined to ask her. I continue to think that line has promise, though.

- Two factors led to maybe my most questionable decision of the night (which, if you've been reading so far, is saying something.)

1) Our buddy Wags was the videographer, and he commented early on in the day that it was a boring job after the fact, going through hours and hours of footage trying to make cuts for the final wedding video. We told him we'd try to help with that, and from time to time, while he was just panning the camera over the reception area, we'd walk up and say things like "Wags, wanna hear a story? OK, so I'm balls deep in this homeless chick...." Just anything that might crack him up while he was re-watching and making edits later on.

2) I've always wanted to sing 'I Want You Back' by the Jackson 5 during a karaoke night, but I've never had the balls. I feel like I could knock it out of the park, but I don't have any frame of reference, as I'm only really belting it out by myself in the car, in the shower, outside ex-girlfriends' houses while masturbating, etc. Ipso facto, I've never sung it in front of a crowd before.

So, when that song came on during the dance, and I noticed Wags recording the dance floor, I split the difference, and 1) plus 2) equaled me walking up to about six inches away from the camera and laying down my best 12-year-old Michael Jackson impression. YIKES.

Last night Wags sent me this picture with the caption "Definitely going to make the cut...." So whoever watches that wedding video is about to find out if I can sing that song as well as I think I can. I will provide video evidence later on if it becomes available.

- Have you guys heard of the 'Nudify' app? Hours of fun. Schne turned me on to it, I told my Kansas friends, one thing led to another, and now we find ourselves here, with pictures of Double D like this:

Congratulations Steph and Jared. All in all, it was lovely, classy affair (except for our group of friends, who were neither lovely nor classy) that was enjoyed by everybody (well, except for maybe Adam.)

Also, a tip of the hat to one of the best collection of Groomsman I've been a part of: Double D, Womack, Munch and Mazzy. We had so much fun and were having such bridal party withdrawals that a bunch of us had to have dinner together last night, soley to rehash all the shenanigans from the last three days.


OK, now I know I say this a lot, especially after a rough weekend, but this time I totally mean it...I'M NEVER DRINKING AGAIN.

Wait, what's that? The Sox are in the World Series? Well don't just stand there dude, go grab me a beer!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hashtag Get Beard

So if we're naming beards now, alongside such beauties as "The Sick Flow" or "The Ironsides" or "The Freshwater", I'd like to call mine "The Honest Effort", if it's OK with you guys.

Or, alternatively, "The Playoff Beard I Wish I Could Keep, Except I Have To Look Presentable For Groomsman Duties Tomorrow, And This Is Pretty Much Why People Shouldn't Get Married In October-- But Seriously Steph And Jared, Long Life, Best Wishes, All The Happiness In The World."

As a form of protest, I will be spending much of the reception running in between dancing couples, punting beers like Jonny Gomes. I'd like to say that's a joke, but now, just by talking about it, that seed is officially planted in my subconscious, and alcohol's a hell of a drug. All bets are off.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Random notes from our trip to Bozeman, Montana, set up by Manada and I to surprise Paul on his 31st birthday. (Or 32nd, if you believe the mistaken birthday card from his own mother. Good ol' Suddenly Susan, she never disappoints.)

- I was hoping to drop a couple pounds or so before a wedding next weekend, since I got my measurements a few months ago and I need to fit into this suit, but instead I gorged myself like it was....well, actually it was kind of a standard weekend for me. However, it was noteworthy because every meal I ate during the weekend was outstanding. Report card:

Quesadilla at Mesa Verde in Denver airport: A, borderline A+

Buffalo wings at Chico Hot Springs Poolside Grill: A

Lobster sliders at Copper Whiskey: A+++

Pizza & wings at Tarantino's: A for pizza, A+ for wings

Paul's homemade tuna casserole: A++

I can always leave my pants unbuttoned at the wedding anyway; I'm pretty sure that's why they invented belts.

- Paul and I had a stalking session on Facebook that would've made any online predator proud. What started as an innocent "Whatever happened to _____?" quickly spiraled into creeping HARD on every random schoolmate we could think of from first grade and up. It started while Teens and Manada were taking a nap, but it continued well into the evening, long after they had woken up, and what had started as shameful morphed into shameless. Soon we were all enjoying the conversation that included sentences like "What was the name of that girl in middle school who had ringworm?" and "I would've bet a lot of money that chick Randi from Kuz's 5th grade class would've turned out that one wrong."

- If I dare say so, the Red Sox Hate Pendulum might be swinging back to the positive juuuuust a little bit. Back when they won it all in 2004, there were a TON of people that were happy for me. They were the lovable underdogs, and they took down the universally-hated Yankees on their way to winning their first championship in 86 years. For various reasons (a large payroll, media overkill, bandwagon fans, a second championship, Ben Affleck, and just good old-fashioned hatred of a team stemming from continued success) the Red Sox became about as hated nationally as the Yankees. The last few years, anytime I was wearing any Red Sox gear in public, I could guarantee at least one dirty look from a stranger.

After the crazy Red Sox rally in Game 2 Sunday night, I was wearing my Red Sox hat during our flights back to Kansas the next day. Although I did receive a mean-mugging or two (Yeah, brosef in the flat-brim Cardinals hat, I see you too, guy) what stood out was that I had four different congratulatory conversations with strangers, all initiated by the other person. It felt like 2004 all over again. Maybe a couple down-and-out years have lessened the Red Sox hate a little bit.

(Side note: One new experience I had this weekend was celebrating a crazy comeback and walk-off playoff win with a toddler sleeping upstairs. During Big Papi's homer, I involuntarily lept out of my seat and jumped around a bit, but I was able to keep the volume at an acceptable level....whereas if I was at home, I would've sprinted around the house, yelling and spraying beer....and if I was back in college at Culligan Manor, I would've punched all my roommates in the balls, inadvertently torched a few cars in the Chucky B's parking lot while trying to set off fireworks from the roof, and broke up with whoever I was dating via text so I could "concentrate more on the rest of the ALCS." Progress. Making progress.)

- While Paul and I were digging through old photo albums and searching for yearbooks (I told you, this was a Hall-of-Fame creeping sesh) we came across this gem, from one of Paul's birthday parties, one of my favorite pictures of all time.

Me, RJ, ADawg (obscuring Aubol), Fundy, Paul, Marto, and Scott (who is dangerously close to getting defriended on Facebook-- no, I don't want to play Lucky Slots, SCOTT.)

How 'bout my giant glasses? How 'bout my shirt with the huge Lynx/Panther/Cougar/Mystery animal? How 'bout our Bambino Baseball All-Star hats? Every single person who owned that hat wore it down to absolute shreds, since there was no better way at the time to impress girls (besides baller-ass rollerblading skills) than to show you were a little league all-star. If anyone still has their hat buried in their old bedroom at their parent's house or something, I'll give them $100 for it, right now.

- I finally got to meet Leah, and she is adorable, not to mention hilarious. One could make the argument that she already has better comedic timing and fresher material than her father. In fact, I think Manada already makes that argument.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Social Media At Its Finest

Disclaimer for this post: I've haven't been using first + last names in the blog since 2007; we'll call it the Katie Z Rule. Even though I'm pretty sure we'd be OK for this post, since the information is public domain which is already being disseminated over the interwebs, we won't take any chances since we're talking about jobs here, and I won't even be referencing my friend by their blog name. Friends of mine should be able to guess who I'm talking about. Random readers will survive without knowing who we're talking about. End legal disclaimer.


A couple months ago, a writer from New York that I follow on Twitter tweeted something that gave me a chuckle. It was a retweet from a town's police department that simply described what occurred in the police report-- the matter-of-fact tone is probably what made it funny. It simply said "Two men were seen putting four glass mugs in the middle of Tracy Avenue at 1 a.m. Officers removed the mugs from the road."

I chuckled, thought it could be mildly entertaining to follow a police department on Twitter, glanced at the original tweet, and realized OMG I HAVE A FRIEND WHO IS A POLICE OFFICER IN THIS TOWN ARE YOU KIDDING ME WHAT ARE THE ODDS.

So naturally, it was on. I get probably 5-7 tweets a day from their police report, and it's awesome knowing that there's a good chance my buddy is working on at least some of these "cases." And of course, I've started blowing him up with texts such as these:

"Hey, I really hope you catch the guys who threw rocks at Hyalite Elementary School."

"So an officer had to give a woman advice on how to handle her son, who she thinks is doing dangerous drugs-- Pleeeeeeeease tell me you were the one giving the advice!"

"An officer checked on a man who was sitting in a vehicle drinking beer and throwing up out of the were you the officer, or the man in the car? Was it like a Back to the Future situation, like two of you running around at the same time, and you had to arrest yourself?"

Here are some of the other gems from the Twitter feed that I have not texted him about (because, quite honestly, while I want to give him shit, I don't want to text him every two hours when something funny comes up):

- A person reported finding what appeared to be a crack pipe on the floor. It turned out to be a light bulb.

- An officer checked on a woman who fell off her bike. She was fine.

- A woman reported that some juvenile neighbors dug up her dead tortoise that she had buried in her yard, took pictures of it and posted them on the internet. (Editor's note: this one is probably my favorite. That's some shit right there.)

- A man reported that he found his front door open the last two days. Officers said it was possible the wind was opening the door.

- A young man on a bike was chasing geese.

- A person who reported that a mountain lion was outside their cabin at 6:45am called back to say it was actually a black bear.

This Twitter feed is just the gift that keeps on giving. Now, I am aware that I'm picking and choosing the funny ones here, but still...these are pretty awesome. Forget Baltimore, they should've filmed The Wire in this city. All in the game, yo.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Do You See What Happens, Larry?

I pretty much never get cocky whilst watching my teams play sports. I'm rarely even confident. Despite the rash of championships my teams have won over the last decade, I still have trouble forgetting the first part of my rooting career, when my teams lost everything in heartbreaking fashion. I'm still pretty much always waiting for the guillotine to drop. My friends mostly make fun of me for this, which is pretty understandable, especially when I'm standing on a barstool in a packed bar with 100% KU fans, trying to single-handedly calm the pandemonium of a 40-12 lead in a Final Four game. (In my defense, North Carolina DID make a run, and eventually cut it to four before KU blew it open again. Let's just say we were both right.)

There have been two notable exceptions to this gloom-and-doom policy of mine:

The 2003 Final Four, when KU beat Dwyane Wade and Marquette by like 160 points. We happened to have a kegger at Culligan Manor that night, and when I wasn't taking pictures of the passed out Minneapolis girls that Paul, Fundy, and Russell had met in Cancun a few weeks earlier, I was telling anyone who would listen that they could come over and watch the game Monday night if they "felt like watching a banner get hung." We all know how that ended: a barrage of Gerry McNamara threes, a barrage of KU missed free throws, and a barrage of missed homework assignments from me, since I skipped all my classes and didn't talk to anybody for like three days.

The 2011 Sweet 16, when KU steamrolled Richmond by like 135 points, my boy Brady Morningstar was player of the game, and VCU upset everyone in the bottom half of the bracket, to set up what I thought was a favorable Elite 8 matchup. Gangel was in town that weekend, and I told him to stick around if he wanted to see what a Final Four parade was all about, cause we were "gonna hang a banner that weekend." (I LOVE using the phrase "hang a banner" when I'm housed.) Once again, we know how that ended.

And last night was exception #3. Early in the game, it was typical pessimistic Jum, "I feel like every time Longoria steps in the box he's going yard. Don't know why, I just get that feel- oh, yup, three-run homer. AWESOME." But after the Sox tied it up in the 9th, I started feeling emboldened (and also a lil' drunk from all the Mich Golden pounders.) I started chirping, knowing that Koji was coming in for the bottom half of the inning, and he just had one of the best seasons for a relief pitcher OF ALL TIME.

I was explaining to Teens how unhittable Koji is (read: she asked one simple question, and I went into a rant that lasted the entire commercial break and first two outs of the inning-- I hope Teens realizes how lucky she is to be able to watch games with a know-it-all), when, mid-sentence, Jose Lobaton went yammies. Just absolutely crushed it. Walk-off. Game over. Talk about shutting me up.

So once again, I got cocky during a sporting event, and Walter Sobchak came over and smashed up the neighbor's car. I'd like to say I learned my lesson fo' reals this time....but give it a couple of years, and I'm sure I'll be drunk texting my buddies during the ALCS, stuff like "Get ready for the BoSox to hang a banner, you homos! Hey, remember those broads from Cancun that drove up and partied with us at Culligan? Were they sluts, or what!"

Just a heads up if you're watching this at work, this is not the TV version, so good ol' Walter will NOT be saying "This is what happens, Larry, when you find a stranger in the Alps!"

Friday, October 4, 2013

Back In The High Life Again

I get to fully enjoy playoff baseball for the first time since 2009**. I was only 26 years old back then, just a kid, much too young to understand that a string of 95-win seasons and ALCS appearances could all disappear, poof, just like that. I have to admit, even in the shark-infested waters of the AL East, I started taking playoff appearances for granted just a tiny bit. (P.S. I really hate Tampa Bay. The AL East was already a nightmare, what with all the monster payrolls, and then the Rays had to go and turn themselves into pretty much the best organization in the Major Leagues, just to add to the mix. Real cool, Tampa.)

**I apologize to all my Royals friends; I'm not trying to invite sympathy or make that sound like a crazy long time, when you haven't made the playoffs since '85. I was just trying to underscore the point I was making, that after the stretch the Sox had from 2002 to 2008, it's easy to get spoiled enough to where three postseason-less years feels a long time. You know I root for you guys too. But hey, at least you got your first pennant rance this year! Plus they dominated their over/under season win total of 78.5, so really, we're all winners here.**

This year's Red Sox team has been extremely enjoyable (not even CLOSE to the 2003-2005 'Idiots' though, so respectfully disregard any writer who makes that comparison.) When you're following a 162-game season, you need wacky, fun things to break up the monotony of the everyday grind. Everything from all the kids coming up from the minors and contributing (Middlebrooks, Xander, JBJ, etc.) the Koji High-Five Routine (HEADS UP VICTORINO!)..... the #GetBeard movement, and all the homoerotic beard-touching that goes along with that.

It's just been a lot of fun to follow this team. Even if they wouldn't have made the playoffs this season, I would've welcomed the change from last year, when the team turned on Valentine before the season even started; Youk, Beckett, Gonzo, and Crawford were run out of town; and they couldn't even get to 70 wins. Obviously the goal is to win it all this year, but even if the Sox get swept out of the first round, I'm just happy to be here-- as opposed to the last few postseasons, when I would watch my DVDs of the 2004 playoffs and crush enough beers that I eventually thought the games were actually happening live.

Teens even climbed aboard the bandwagon, to the dismay, and eventually outright disgust, of her family. She had a Godfather Part II "I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart" moment with her mom when she wore Red Sox gear to the Red Sox/Royals games back in August. Teens justified it as "Well, I watch the Sox every time they're on TV now, I can name basically the entire team, and I barely know any Royals anymore, so I guess Boston is my favorite team now."

Also, she recently had a sex dream where a bunch of girls climbed in separate boats to paddle across a river to bang whichever Red Sox player they chose. There was a huge race to get to Jacoby Ellsbury first (obviously; his eyes are like brown diamonds) so she chose Stephen Drew and told him he was her first choice anyway. So she's got that going for her, which is nice.

(In the interest of full disclosure: I'm going with Will Middlebrooks in that scenario. He's definitely never calling you again, but he's at least going to cook you a nice breakfast in the morning, and pay for your cab home.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to return to what I've been doing for the last few days: going over pitching matchups and lefty/righty splits, building my weeknight drinking tolerance back up to playoff baseball standards again, and listening to a four-song playlist on repeat:

(I know that fourth song doesn't really fit into the Boston playlist theme, but it's just a really good tune that I'm digging right now. Don't be a dick.)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I'm Sorry Charlie Murphy, I Was Having Too Much Fun

Well, if the goal for last Saturday was to get aggressively drunk, like I stated in Friday's post....Mission Effing Accomplished. The drinking display that Fundy, Morley, T.Nels, Easy E and I put on was rivaled only by our poor decision-making. We drank on Friday night, slept for about four hours, and were cracking beers by about 10am on Saturday. Towards the end of Saturday night, when our group added a couple of gals, the seven of us decided to eschew traditional bar-hopping and instead just pulled Irish Exits on each other. I still don't know why this happened. Seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess.

At one point (after ditching Morley, T.Nels and the girls-- but before I caught up with Fundy and Easy, who had in turn ditched all of us an hour earlier) I ended up solo for about 45 minutes, walking around downtown Minneapolis, eventually going into an unknown bar by myself for a beer, since I was just straight-up lost and clearly needed more alcohol in my bloodstream. Initially I blamed myself, because I was browned out at that point (not quite blacked out, but pretty close) and assumed I was struggling with their directions. However, last night I was going through my drunk texts (Easy and I call them 'Drexlers' or just 'Clydes'), assessing the damage, when I saw this string of texties from Fundy starting just after midnight.

So, maybe it wasn't all my fault. Or maybe cowbOy hoxftM just wasn't a good scene that night. Either way, I hope Fundy's meeting that night was productive.

(Also, the top line is cut off, but it reads that Wiggins tore his ACL in practice, obviously not true. Fundy sends me some variation of this texty pretty much bi-weekly. Clearly I wasn't in the mood for it on Saturday morning.)

Annnnnyway, long story short-ish, I eventually found Easy and Fundy-- although we never did meet back up with Morley and T.Nels, thus never gave them their keys, thus they had to crash downtown, and Fundy had to come back with us to the 'burbs and stay there. By the time 2am rolled around, I was so crushed that when we walked out of the bar and saw the police on horseback keeping the peace, I told the two random dudes that I had just met 15 minutes earlier "Get a look at Secretariat over there, just mad-dogging me right now. He really looks like the kind of horse that can take a punch, doesn't he? For 20 bucks, I'll punch him right in the face." Luckily they didn't accept my offer. Seriously, it was a weird night. Five dudes in their thirties, making decisions and carrying on like a bunch of 16-year-olds with fake IDs, out on the town for the first time ever.

On the plus side, it will fit in nicely with my other favorite ridiculous Minneapolis nights, in no particular order:

- September 2005. T.Nels and I are about to embark on our first Boston trip to see Fenway Park. We're flying out of Minneapolis early the next morning, so the plan is to stay at our buddy Brett's place, "just have a couple of beers", and he'll take us to the airport in the morning so we don't have to pay for parking. We end up having a bunch of beers at his apartment, going to a nearby bar for "just a couple more", then eventually going Uptown, meeting up with a ton of friends from high school, and closing down the bar. We didn't trust ourselves to wake up on time from Brett's apartment, so we just got dropped off at the airport at like 3am and slept in the lobby with the homeless people.

- December 2004. Paul and I went to visit Chelsey back when she lived in the Cities. We met up with some friends of hers and Paul's from the camp they worked at, and they brought a friend along who was both smoking hot and smoking cigarettes at a pretty consistent rate. At some point during dinner, as SportsCenter was playing on an overhead TV, the friend made a comment along the lines of "Yeah, Ben Roethlisberger has a better record right now, but he's just in a better situation than Eli Manning, he has a much better supporting cast. So we can't say who the best rookie QB is yet."

I overlooked her frankly alarming smoking habit, fell in love on the spot, and the evening ended with us making out in the bar, on the ride home, and in Chelsey's building's hallway for like an hour, until her ride was leaving and we had to be physically separated. I came back into the apartment with a sheepish smile, got a high-five from Paul, and a "That was absolutely disgusting" from Chelsey. To this day, any time I see a good-looking gal smoking cigs and talking knowledgeably about sports, I get wistful and think to myself "Damn, what a woman. Wait, what was her name again? Marne? Marty? It definitely started with an M."

- July 2005. Another trip to visit Chels, although this time we added Fundy and Buckley to the mix. We went to a bar that was in a halfway-sketchy location-- sketchy enough that they didn't allow hats to be worn backwards due to possible gang affiliations. This....turned into a problem for me. This was a period in my life where you would rarely find me without a backwards Red Sox hat on. For awhile, life was good at this bar. Billie Jean was played, and I successfully led the entire dancefloor in jumping around to different tiles, pretending to light them up like the music video. It was glorious. Good-looking girls, hipsters, thugs wearing head-to-toe FuBu, douchebags in polo shirts and backwards Red Sox hats thinking they're cooler than they really are....all united in lighting up imaginary tiles. I was the Belle of the Ball.

However, I could NOT keep my hat turned forwards. I wasn't being drunk and belligerent at all, I was just being suuuuper drunk and suuuuper forgetful. The bouncer would come tell me to turn it forwards, I would comply and say "Oh yeah, my bad!", keep dancing, then 30 seconds later my inner monologue would be like "Why is your hat forwards right now? That's weird, we never wear it forwards. Also, let's get some White Castle on the way home, sliders sound fucking amazing right now" and I'd turn it backwards again. Repeat this about six times and I was finally thrown out (at which point I DID become drunk and belligerent.) I went and sat in the parking lot by myself until Buckley finally came looking for me. Right as she found me and started walking over, I projectile vomited across three or four parking spaces. I looked her, smiled, and said "I think I puked a lil' bit."

It's nice to have one more night to add to that list; it'd be a shame if it ended in 2005. We said going into this that we wanted a good old-fashioned shitshow, and we got one. Now I'm never going back to Minneapolis again.


A couple more notes from the weekend of having too much fun:

- Referencing Friday's post and the lies I was going to tell strangers: All of them were fun, but most of them were failures. However, one of them worked, and worked spectacularly. Morley and I gambled at Canterbury for a couple hours while everyone else went to a bar down the road. Morley went down a couple hundred bucks real quick, borrowed a hundy from me (I was having some success) and lost that too. He shuffled off to the ATM, and some of our fellow blackjack players expressed their sympathy, telling me it's too bad my buddy lost that much money so fast. I had my reply unsheathed before they could even finish their sentence- "Oh, him? Don't worry about that guy. He used to intern at Facebook, got in on the ground floor. He actually helped come up with the 'Like' button. So he's doing juuuuust fine, he can handle a losing streak."

All the players bought it immediately, hook, line, and sinker, and were super excited about it. The dealer, however, has probably seen countless d-bags like myself come through his table, and held his suspicions. He raised an unfriendly eyebrow at me, "That a true story?" And once again, I was prepared, "Yup. He's a lawyer now- he kinda had to become one, what with all the litigation that stupid 'Like' button caused. Lawsuits for years, people trying to claim the idea as their own. He's still in court over it."

Morley, who by this time was playing a different game and making a huge comeback at a table about 30 yards away, was playing his part to perfection without even knowing it. Wearing a garish blaze orange golf jacket and backwards hat, stacks and stacks and stacks of chips in front of him, throwing around money on booze, walking away from his table every once in a while to walk into my line of vision and throw up a gang sign, occasionally coming over with a beer for me and saying things like "As your attorney, I advise you to drink this." The dealer had no choice but to believe me, and pretty soon he was referencing Morley as 'Social Network', and the other players at the table and I were cheers'ing to Facebook after every dealer bust. That blackjack table was a blast-- probably the most fun I've ever had without a single friend at the table with me (after Morley left, of course.) Who says it's wrong to tell little white lies?

- I'm well aware of the fact that my hair is long and shitty right now. I'm in Jared and Steph's wedding in a couple weeks, so I'm trying to wait to cut it so that's it at optimal length for pictures and whatnot. If I had cut it last week, it just would've been long and crappy again by the time the wedding rolled around. Make sense? OK cool.

So I'm fresh off the interstate after a long drive, excited to see my friends, happy to be alive. As I'm walking my bags up to Easy and LZE's apartment, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the window and have the thought "I bet these guys are gonna rip on my hair HARD this weekend. Ehh, maybe it's not that bad." 30 seconds later I walk in the door to this greeting:

LZE: James is here!
Morley: Whaaaaat is your hair doing right now?!?!
Easy E: Who do you think you are, fucking Jason Sudeikis???

I hate my friends.

- Easy E and I came back from the bar on Friday night and watched the James Franco Roast, each for the second time. Then we watched most of it again the next morning, and if Easy had his way, we would've watched it AGAIN at 3am on Saturday night. As a result, we spent most the weekend yelling out the line from the clip below whenever we had the chance. If I had a buck for every time I yelled this completely out of context last weekend.....well, then, I guess I'd have a lot more money, and I wouldn't have to try and sell my police horse face-punching services on the streets like a friggin' vagrant. SUCH PHENOMENAL RAAAANGE!