Friday, September 07, 2007

Catching up

It's about time somebody wrote something around here, so let's go . . .

I realize it's disappointing that he hasn't hit like he did in Cleveland, but I don't see how anyone can watch Coco Crisp on a daily basis and not develop a deep appreciation for how he plays the game. This was brought up in the comments a column or so ago, and it's so right on that it's worth reiterating here: Crisp is the very embodiment of the things a dirt dog is supposed to be, all hustle and desire and energy, and yet for some curious reason, he gets very little credit for that, especially from those who you suspect once owned a Darren Bragg replica jersey and think Jeff Frye was a hell of a second baseman. Maybe Coco needs to start wearing a dirtier hat or something. (Note: This was written before he drove that hotheaded moron Daniel Cabrera to the brink of homicide tonight. Another checkmark in Coco's favor.)

After all the shots I've taken at Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi over the years, I'd shatter the Hypocrisy Meter if I told you I really don't care that Rodney Harrison took HGH, and that I'm convinced he'd be in the minority among NFL players if he didn't use something to enhance his chances of surviving so many brutal Sundays. So let's leave it at this: I'm stunned that Harrison, who has always struck me as one of the league's brighter players, was so naive as to use his own name and address when ordering the stuff. Because that's the only way they were going to catch him.

Am I wrong to wonder if the Patriots might get off to a slower start than people are expecting? I mean, Harrison and Richard Seymour are out, Asante Samuel is begging for a hamstring pull, Tom Brady hasn't had a lot of time to get on the same page with new receivers Randy Moss and Donte' Stallworth . . . and they have to deal with the Jets and the Chargers right out of the gate. I realize that only a fool would underestimate this team, but right now it might be wise to avoid overestimating them as well.

I'm not saying Tito Francona is flawless as a manager - sometimes he does leave his starters in too long, sometimes he's too loyal to his veterans - but those banshees who call 'EEI for the sole purpose of venting about "Francoma" have forgetten what a lousy manager looks like. Even on his worst night, I still consider him the best manager the Red Sox have had in my lifetime, especially when you consider how well he deals with the peripheral distractions such as the smothering media and a voracious fan base. Let Joe Kerrigan or Kevin Kennedy return to the dugout for a week and those mouthbreathing morons would be begging for Tito back.

All right, Geffner, we'll say it one more time: Put down the media guide and step away from the microphone, and no more eardrums have to get hurt. (Please, somebody tell me that the rumors Dave O'Brien will be full-time next season are true. Please. I'm begging here.)

Other stuff we wrote while were away from this place: Last week's Fox column (chock full o' Yankee-aimed cheap shots), this week's Fox column (featuring a rather unfortunately timed tribute to Rick Ankiel, who apparently more like Rodney Harrison than he is Roy Hobbs), and a piece for GameDay on the Sox' stellar rookie class.

I keep checking Joe Posnanski's blog on the hope that he might have sneaked back and cranked out some wonderful, whimsical piece on The Top 40 Lefthanded Specialists Since 1970 or something, but so far, the lights are still out at what fast became my favorite stop (make that PG-rated stop) on the internet. Hopefully he'll start it up again when he has another book to promote, because just about every time I read his stuff, I was reminded of why I like baseball and why I like writing, and I do miss those daily reminders.

I thought he should have stayed in the big leagues the first time he got called up, but the more I see of Jacoby Ellsbury (who looks like some odd hybrid of Mark Teixeira and Johnny Damon), the more I think he should be starting in right field come Game 1 of the ALDS. I don't think I'm being hyperbolic to say he's done more to help the Red Sox win in his 40-something at-bats this season than Drew has in 400-something. It's gotten to the point with Drew that I don't even get mad anymore when he inevitably does exactly what they don't need him to do in a particular at-bat; he's pathetic, and he's made me apathetic. I'm beyond having any expectations for him. I just want to know why, for the first time in his career, he's not hitting at all. It must be the shoulder, right?

Based on their "contributions" during their time with the Red Sox, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of Tony Clark and Darren Oliver being major leaguers in 2007, let alone productive ones.

As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:


He damn well better be wearing his jersey under that jacket.

* * *NOW FOR THE IMPORTANT NEWS OF THE WEEK * * *

I imagine you know what I'm talking about, since 23 of you (yep, I counted) emailed me the past two days to tell me that Jenna Fischer, the Official Muse of TATB (Non-Wife Division) . . .

(meow . . . love the Elvira look)

. . . is separated from her husband. Now as flattering as it is to know that you all consider me to be the World's Preeminent Jenna Fischer Internet Stalker (or, as my friend Melissa put it, "Don't sell yourself short, you're the World's Preeminent Jenna Fischer Internet Stalker Blogger. You're not just some layabout stalker"), well, it's just that I'm thinking that her stunning declaration of free agency probably isn't going to benefit me a whole hell of a lot, given that I'm poor, anonymous, bitter, humorless, gimpy, based in Maine, in no danger of landing a modeling contract, and, last time I checked with my wife, still married. (This would be a good time to quote Lloyd Christmas: "So you're saying I've got a chance?")

Anyway, it's nice that you thought of me - yes, even you, Rob M., who wrote this: "When you posted the 'Through Any Window,' video that Jenna's in, I just assumed that's how you planned on getting into her house." Gotta admit, that's well-played.

In all seriousness, it was surprising to read that news, if only because Jenna and her husband, actor/writer/director James Gunn (a vulgar riot on his MySpace page), always seemed to make a point in saying how important their spouse was to their happiness and success. She often referred to him as her "real-life Jim," and they seemed as sincere and stable as a Hollywood couple could be, though in retrospect maybe it was just another acting role for both of them. I am curious what the real story is. My wife has a very interesting theory that might just have some credence (not to mention a great visual). I tend to think that it's either a case of career jealousy - he was successful and she was unknown when they got married, and now she's off getting her boobs squeezed on the big screen by Will Ferrell - or someone got busted messing around. Either way, James Gunn will no longer be referred to as the luckiest &^%&$# in the world. Maybe the stupidest, depending on what the truth is.

And so as we conclude this TATB Hollywood Minute, check out this hilarious promo for the upcoming season of "The Office." I'd say "30 percent more unpredictable" is working, wouldn't you?

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