Bryan Joiner

Why then I

Tag: Red Sox

Sox Aiming For Halladay

That’s the gist of a post on ESPN.com right now. The Red Sox are going after Blue Jays starter Roy Halladay. I hate to break the news to them, but no sh!t. We all know the Red Sox are going after Roy Halladay. It’s what the Red Sox do. It’s what makes them so loathed nation-wide among non New England ex-pats. “You hate the Yankees? You are the Yankees!” When you can’t afford your players, we take them.

I have mixed feelings about this. I like seeing the Red Sox win but I don’t like seeing smaller-market teams losing their best players because they can’t afford to pay them. In this case, it’s on priciple, because Toronto can go f*ck itself (that’s another story). At least in the world’s other great uncapped sports leagues—European soccer leagues—there’s an element of teamwork that’s incumbent for overpaid players to learn playing together. In baseball, it’s as simple as calling for a fly ball so you don’t knock heads; otherwise, just do what you’re going to do. There’s very little chance for a team to get any element of “teamwork” down to overcome their enormous disadvantage. It’s either shrewd management or luck. Usually the second one.

That being said, my favorite thing about watching the Yankees win this year was Mark Teixeira. That guy knows how to play defense, which is refreshing for an AL first baseman. Not knocking Kevin Youkilis, who’s also very good, but Tex made a few plays that I’d never seen anywhere else. Sometimes it’s nice to see that if you pay for the best you do get it, and there is some sort of aesthetic reward for those who get to watch. Most modern iterations of the “buying the championship” team aren’t as lively and obviously multitalented as these Yankees are; such is the result of the wild card and the resulting “two great pitchers and you win” ethos.

Blah, blah, blah, baseball. That’s how I feel about Roy Halladay stories on ESPN.com. Let me know when there’s actual news.

The Reminders

The reminders are there, just off to my right. They’re on each level of the bookshelf. Red Sox Century. Patriot Reign. Now I Can Die In Peace. Faithful. Hell, even John Adams.

I am not where I belong.

The books are taunting me, like a child on a playground. What did I watch today? I watched the Jets play the Titans. The Jets.

Flying start aside, watching the Jets, for a Patriots fan, is like the varsity football team for the much smaller school across town. New York may dominate Boston in size, but the Patriots dwarf the Jets in stature. The Patriots resonate across six states, even in the lean years. The Jets can’t even make it out of the Giants Stadium parking lot.

I was walking around this morning when I considered sidling up to a bar to watch the Pats, but it’s just not the same. The three hours, drinking piss beer under cover of darkness, cheering against everybody who’s cheering for every other team? That’s not Patriots football. For me, Patriots football is the slow anticipation of gameday on my hometown soil of West Tisbury, confident that, whatever happens, it will be dissected six ways to next Sunday in the hours and days following the final snap. Of course, it only matters if they won. When the Patriots lose, I don’t want recaps — I want a re-do. All is not right in the world, and there’s no way to fix it. Either way, the only way to catch it is on my own TV, with the real or virtual accompaniment of good buddies. That is, and always has been, Patriots football.

I know how people root for other teams, but I don’t get it. I feel the Patriots in my bones in a way I don’t even feel the Red Sox. The Sox, with their connection to the soul of New England, represent something different entirely. The Patriots make me think of walking out to the car, seeing my breath in the second week of December, bundled up against a blue slate sky and the frost that radiates from the ground up.

As far as I can tell, being a football fan in this city means something different. But then again, being any type of fan in this city is different. The first question you ask isn’t, “Did you see the game?” but “What team do you like?” The fact is, the New York region is either underserved or overserved on teams, but it’s far from on the nose. The popular teams like the Yankees and Giants are so popular that you could halve their fanbase and get one to rival that of the Mets and Jets. From the beginning you’re either a bully or burning with resentment, and in the common case that your allegiances cross those lines, a mess of contradictions.

That’s not the New England way, but it’s a way I’ve come to embrace if only to survive in this sports wilderness. It’s a bit of “water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink” — there will be football on all day, every Sunday, and more baseball than I can handle, but not the right football, or the right baseball. When the Pats do grace my screen, it’s a gift that I know will be gone too soon, and I’m not able to totally enjoy it.

The promise of the 21st century was that you could follow your teams wherever you lived, whether you were in New York, Newark or Nairobi. The reality is that you might just remember how far you are from home.

Just Another Friendly Reminder…

To check out our new Red Sox blog, Me and Pedro Down By the Schoolyard.

Also, if you haven’t read my A-Rod essay, The Huckster, this will be my last shout-out for it.

And just for fun, we’ll dig into the vault for an old column of mine from the Queens Chronicle, apropos during election season.

The Red Sox

I know y’all have probably had it with the Red Sox, specifically Red Sox blogs, but I was just reading a funny, insightful and clever one today called Me and Pedro Down By The Schoolyard, written by, it looks like, two childhood friends from Massachusetts. This is their quasi-mission statement. You should really check it out.

In an “unrelated note,” I won’t be blogging here about the Red Sox all that much…

Santana Talk

Until he goes somewhere, I’ll more or less refrain from commenting on all the rumors that are out there, but needless to say I like this one. It sounds like the Red Sox and Yankees are going toe-to-toe again. About time.

This does bring up the uglier side of baseball, to some people, as these are the two teams that really don’t need to get better. My brother was excited by the Red Sox’ World Series victory, but he wasn’t all that surprised. His response was, “Yeah, but they spent a lot of money on players.” Which is true. The casual fan, these things can be offputting.

I am not the casual fan.

Good Call, Mitt

In last night’s CNN/YouTube debate, Mitt Romney said he waited 87 long years to celebrate a Red Sox title. I wonder why he waited until 2005.

As for Giuliani, I think the AL/NL divide goes back to when the leagues were smaller, so I don’t have an issue with it. I think there was a lot more league pride when there were fewer teams.

Matt Damon!

Nice little puff piece in the Globe today about Matt Damon and his Sox fan credentials. The best nugget is from 2004, after the Sox beat the Yankees. Damon was in Europe, filming Syriana, but decided to get back to the States:

But there was no way he was sticking around in Switzerland for the Series.

“[George] Clooney was the producer,” Damon said. “I’d never missed a rehearsal or anything, but I called him and said, ‘I’m sorry, but I can’t be here. You’re going to have to make plans to shoot some other stuff.’

“He said, ‘I already have.’

Breaking News

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Red Sox To Play In Japan: The Negotiation

The Red Sox agreed this week to open their season in Japan, owing likely to the international following of their two Japanese players, Dice-K and Hideki Okajima. It wasn’t an easy sell at first.

Bud Selig [on speakerphone]: Hey Theo, do you want to open the season in Japan?
Theo: No.
Selig: Are you sure? You have two Japanese players.
Theo: Really?
Selig: Yes.
Theo: I know.
Selig: And a translator.
Theo: I know. He plays a mean Jenga.
Selig: Really?
Theo: No.
Selig: I stink at that game.
Theo: Oh.
Selig: So how about it? You, me, some sake and Mongolian barbecue?
Theo: Mongolian barbecue isn’t Japanese. It’s Mongolian.
Selig: I’ll have to look at a map.
Theo: I’m not sure you do.
Selig: We’ll pay you extra. And you can be the home team.
Theo: We don’t want to be the home team.
Selig: You are a master negotiator.
Theo: You are an idiot.
Selig: Just in case things went sour, I brought Billy Beane in on this conference call to help out. He wants to play you guys over there.
Beane: Theeee-yo!
Theo: Hi Billy.
Beane: Hi.
Theo: Hi.
Beane: Soooo, do you want to…
Theo: No.
Beane: Hey man, you’re killing my high!
Theo: Are you high right now?
Selig: No.
Beane: What?
Theo: I’m not interested, Billy.
Beane: Come on, maaaaan. We’ll be the home team. No one here will even notice, man! Gotta spread the A’s vibe worldwide. You can feel it man, can’t you?
Theo: No.
Beane: Come on, maan! Don’t you remember when we were staring at the Pacific, asking, like, “What if there was baseball, like, overseas?”
Theo: Uhhhh, “no…”
Beane: Or that other time, at Sully’s?
Theo: Uhhhh… no…
Beane: Are you sure?
Theo: Uh…
Beane: You little snot, you wouldn’t have that job if it wasn’t for me. I own you. Now say yes like a good little boy.
Selig: Th…
Beane: Shut up, Bud. Say yes, Theo.
Theo: Yes.
Beane: That wasn’t so hard, was it?
Theo: No.
Beane: Good. It’s your turn.
Theo: My turn to what?
Beane: Shut up, Theo. It’s your turn.
Selig: [crashing noises]
Beane: Jenga!
Selig: Dammit.
Theo: Dammit.