Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Mailing lists

Dear TATB peeps,

My apologies for the empty promise regarding a column Monday. It seems the four hours I spent putting a coat of noxious primer on our upstairs walls combined with the withdrawal I'm suffering from trying to cut back on "Daddy's Juice" (my little girl's too-appropriate name for my daily Dunkin' Donuts large iced coffee) have given me a headache that would undoubtedly kill a man with a less thick skull. As it is, I've taken to wearing a batting helmet at all times. You know, just in case.

For what it's worth, I'd intended to write about the WEEI-driven hysteria regarding the slim-to-none chance of Roger Clemens returning to the Red Sox, and I probably will still get into it in a Nine Innings column in the next day or two. For now, though, let's just say I thought Gordon Edes hit the bull's-eye (as usual) with this take in his Sunday Baseball Notes column:

"From here, it seems unfathomable that Clemens would give up an ideal situation in Houston -- he lives just minutes from the ballpark, can track his kids' athletic exploits, is excused from being at the park except when he pitches, plays with his best buddy, Andy Pettitte, and has become as beloved in his hometown as Nolan Ryan and Earl Campbell, turning a football town into a baseball hothouse -- for a few more dollars and the chance to relive some misty water-colored memories of the way he was, in the place where it all began."

Bingo. I'm sure the thought of returning to Boston appeals to Clemens on some level. But Sox fans, of all people, should know the man is a mercenary first and foremost - c'mon, he didn't really jump to Toronto because he thought it neighbored Texas - and while sentiment counts for something, it ranks somewhere distantly behind cash and convenience in the Rocket's world.

* * *

One more thing before I down 43 Advils and five Shipyards and let Calgon take me away: Judging by the overwhelmingly positive reaction, I'd say the Lists of Five will definitely play a recurring role on TATB. I received roughly 75 emails the last three days, with pretty much every one of them telling me one of these two things:

• 1) Love the lists, keep cranking 'em out, dude!
• 2) Hey, Finn, on your list of the 5 Worst (Blanks) In (Blank) History, how could you forget (blank), you stupid (blank)?

While my massive ego certainly enjoyed reading the former emails more than the latter, I have to admit you guys came up with some phenomenal suggestions. On my list of Five White Stiffs, Celtics Edition, for instance, there is no excuse for me leaving off Frankenstein In Hightops, better known as Eric Montross. And how could I forget Vitaly Potapenko, who, as ready Bob F. points out, was once drafted ahead of Kobe Bryant?

Brad Lohaus's name also came up at least a half-dozen times, with reader Kevin J. calling him "Raef LaFrentz's illegitimate step-dad." I have no idea what that means, but I like it.

No-field, no-hit Donnie Sadler was a popular (unpopular?) choice as a Lousy Red Sox Infielder, Dan Duquette Era, as was Juan Bell, who apparently was so lousy that I blacked out all recollection of him playing for the Sox. And a couple of readers with the kind of sick sense of humor I can appreciate noted that a list of Five Patriots Running Back Who Lost Their Legs In A Hurry is not complete without Robert Edwards and the knee he left on the beach in Hawaii.

A couple of correspondents wondered how I could be so disrespectful of Kevin Romine on the Five Crappy Red Sox Outfielders, Lou Gorman Era list. I replied the only way I knew how: Thanks for the note, Mrs. Romine.

Oh, and some cat named Gammons, who pops in from time to time and seems to know his stuff, offered this suggestion for one of our various lists of Red Sox prospects who never panned out:

"What about Dave (Buckethead) Schmidt, who hit two homers for the Sox and is now a Hollywood producer? (The movie) Racing Stripes was his."

Frankly, we're not sure what stuns us more - that Gammons, who still could probably rattle off the starting lineups from every early '80s Boston farm team, mentioned only one of the Sox's numerous hot-shot washouts from that era. Or that there was another Buckethead besides TATB's very own Rodney (Yo, Don't Call Me Buckethead Unless You Want A Cap Popped In Your $*#) Craig. My head hurts worse just pondering the enormity of it all.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback and the contributions, though we must admit the stunning extent of your reaction led us to an unwelcome conclusion: You'd rather I sit here and make freakin' lists up off the top of my head then slave over a well-considered (okay, rambling) 1,000-word column for three or four hours. Not only do I hereby rescind my earlier apology for blowing you off, but I guess I have no choice but to put my thoughts regarding that hurtful little revelation in a format you illiterate simpleton dummies can apparently understand:

5 Reasons TATB Readers Can Kiss My White . . .

I keed, I keed. Keep the email comin' and the Suggestion Box full.

Uh, hold on there . . . not so fast, Mrs. Romine.