mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: David Ortiz

staying . . .

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Last night was one to remember for staying to the end. Of the game, that is. On Sunday afternoon, we watched the Patriots play a frustratingly error-filled game with Tom Brady being sacked, interceptions happening right and left, and only the field goal kicker, Gostowski delivering twice to keep the Patriots seemingly in the game. Until the last five SECONDS. Yep, the stands had already started to empty with the Saints leading, 27-23 with the clock ticking down the final minutes. People wanting to get a head start getting out of the parking lot had already left. But they missed the best which came in the last five seconds as Brady shot a seventeen yard pass to the end zone for a touchdown. The guy who caught the ball was Kenbrell Thompkins, a rookie but as usual, Tom’s passes were sometimes thrown so hard that they’re almost impossible to catch–so it’s a victory when one of those bullet throws becomes an actual touchdown. With the clock at 5 seconds, I was getting ready to get up with a sigh of resignation to put supper on the table. But in a blink of an eye, they pulled it out, winning 30-27! Bill Belichick, who usually says no more than five words when interviewed after the game was so talkative from nervous energy that he stayed at the microphone for almost twenty minutes, rattling off how the players are everything and make the plays. But he also started off by saying that the dramatic finish of the game “took five years off my life!” That’s saying a lot for Bill.

Okay. After we had our supper of oven-fried chicken, corn on the cob and buttered peas, we tuned in to watch the second game of the Red Sox against Detroit in the American League playoffs at 8 o’clock. My heart fell when I saw Clay Buchholtz was pitching because watching him pitch to me is like watching figure skating and worrying that a skater will take a fall on a jump. Confidence is not something his pitching inspires, despite all the hype. Sure enough, after a very slow game and the Sox losing 5-1 in the 7th inning, we decided to go to bed and listen to the end of the game on our clock radio which we sometimes do as the night wears on interminably and they’re losing. I was almost asleep when I heard G. murmuring something like, “grand slam home run.” I sat up in bed and asked “who?” David Ortiz had just hit a grand slam home run in the 8th inning to tie the game at 5-5. I got up and turned on the TV to watch the Red Sox jumping around in the dugout and Ortiz coming out for a wave to the crowd which had erupted with crazy joy. They managed to win the game, 6-5 with Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hitting in the ninth inning for a walk-off win!

So, for Boston sports fans like us, lightning struck twice at the very last minute yesterday for both the Patriots and the Red Sox. We are fortunate to live in a world championship sports town but these two back-to-back victories on the same day brought watching sports to another level of suspense-filled winning games. Even if we might start to fall asleep before it’s all over. Lucky us!

“drips” . . .

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I don’t know if you are a baseball fan who’s been following the seemingly endless series upon series upon series to get to the Mother of all series-es, the World Series. Who knew that with all these “wild card” playoffs, and second chances that baseball would go on so long into October? I’m not really complaining because the Red Sox are still winning after so losing last year. They won as many games as they lost last year and with all the beard-growth, seem to be having a lot of fun as teammates playing baseball. In fact, the Red Sox with 97 wins this year, have tied the existing record (St. Louis) for winning the most games in a season! This year’s triumph is so surprising and that much sweeter coming back-to-back from last year’s shameful letdown.

Much has been written about reconstructing a winning Red Sox team this year. Some say it’s due to a new business strategy (Ben Cherington, the GM, gets credit for it) of paying more short-term money for proven no-name baseball players who just want to play baseball and win for the Red Sox. Players like Joe Napoli, Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes, are newcomers to the Red Sox roster and have done well enough so that we now recognize their names, even if we can’t always recognize their features behind some of those beards. Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltimacchia have all contributed to the wins (although Salty strikes out as much as he hits.) David Ortiz hits home runs just when you need him to but I’m always nervous when Clay Buchholtz is pitching, aren’t you?

In any case, the reason I’m writing this post is that the Red Sox clinched the latest playoff with the Tampa Bay Rays last night, as described by Jacoby Ellsbury, “It’s mentally draining to play Tampa Bay but they’re a great group of guys.” Shane Victorino, one of the new guys this year, was key to their winning last night’s game, both running and hitting. In fact, Joe Maddon, the Tampa Bay Rays coach was quoted as saying, “Shane Victorino, he just drips intangibles.” I laughed out loud when I read this description, both because: a) I’ve never heard anyone described as such; b) I don’t really know which ‘intangibles’ he’s referring to, baseball-wise, and c) for it to come out of a coach’s mouth was surprisingly erudite, if you know what I mean. Here’s the actual context:

Ellsbury was stealing second on the pitch and continued to third when the ball rolled toward the backstop. Victorino beat out a slow chopper to shortstop, putting the Red Sox ahead 2-1.

“Victorino really adds a different dimension to that group, and you saw that again tonight. He just drips with intangibles,” Maddon said.

This is why I watch baseball. It’s like watching a chapter of Greek mythology playing out before our very eyes. For example, in the space of a year, we witnessed the debacle of last year’s team and coach, Bobby Valentine, burning to a crisp together in a crucible of egocentric individuals eating chicken wings and drinking beer in the locker room. Now, the Red Sox have risen from the ashes into a “One for all, All for One” bearded team (who knew beards mattered?) who seem to love helping each other out. David Ortiz was quoted as coaching his team players to “hold out for the fast ball” in the second or third playoff game with the Tampa Bay Rays. Here’s a Designated Hitter, coaching his fellow teammates how to hit the pitcher, rather than being content with being the best hitter on the team.

Hey, come to think of it, if the Los Angeles Dodgers end up winning their playoffs, last year’s Gone, Baby, Gone Trio trade (Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett) may be on the field playing against this year’s bearded Red Sox team for the World Series. Now that match-up would really drip with intangibles, don’t you think?