Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Javy Lopez is Dante Bichette with a catcher's mitt

. . . and five other semi-coherent thoughts regarding the Yawkey Way carnage . . .

1. I have a hard time coming to grips with Derek Jeter's legitimacy as an MVP candidate, for reasons you are probably familiar with by now: He's spent his entire career blessed with enormous riches in terms of teammates, he's never had to be THE GUY to carry a lineup, he smells like fresh-cut lillies with just a hint of watermelon, he's fawned over by the media to the point that his cultivated image has become the reality, etc., etc. But even the most irrational Jeterphobe must admit he was just plain brilliant in the big moments in the series, just as he has been in most every big moment throughout his Hall of Fame career. While I still believe Papi is the true MVP as long as the Sox don't quit - they would have, what, 10 fewer wins without his late heroics, and hey, you try winning with a lineup of Manny and the seven dwarves, Jetes - the Yankee captain's candidacy, for once, goes well beyond the intangible. What a player, what a season, what a series. But just to be clear, I still hope he gets hit by a meteor.

2. In the spirit of optimism (or maybe desperation), a few things that make this team worth watching, still: Dustin Pedroia's arrival . . . Mike Lowell's golden glove at third . . . the fearlessness of Jonathan Papelbon, who actually managed to be heroic in blowing the save the other night . . . Manny and Papi, walloping their way to history . . . Wily Mo's scary power (when he's up, the Monster seat patrons turn into ducks in a shooting gallery) . . . Schilling, throwing 95 mph heat on the black past Father Time . . . the majestic moonshots Josh Beckett so charitably gives up . . . Coco Crisp's Oscar-worthy thespian skills, for when he does fail to make a diving play, his wincing/limping/grimacing routine really does convince us that his career may indeed be over and amputation may be necessary. . . okay, I'm struggling here . . .

3. This Week's Reason Jerry Trupiano . . . Ah, hell. You know what? The Troop is so astoundingly, insultingly, mind-numbingly incompetent at this point, I'm not even going to waste the keystrokes going into deep detail here. It will just make me angry and I'll end up sucker punching the cat again, and we wouldn't want the furry fella to have to eat his Meow Mix through a straw. I'll just say that if you heard his call of Juicin' Giambi's 10th-inning homer the other night, you probably thought: 1) It was a fairly routine flyball, because there were no typical Troop "Way Back" histrionics; 2) That Crisp caught the ball; and, 3) That the jabbering idiot was the only one in the ballpark that didn't know it was gone, because in the middle of his confused call, 35,000 people groaned in unified agony. At this point, the Sox could pair Joe Castiglione with Gilbert Gottfried, and I'd consider it an aural improvement.

4. So is the conventional wisdom is that Manny bailed? Funny, it seems to me he's about the only one who showed up.

5. This happens more often than my inexplicably swollen ego would like me to admit: I get a day or two off from work, plan on writing something in-depth about whatever the drama of the day is in Boston sports . . . then I pick up the paper, and damned if ol' Ryan hasn't already put it all in perspective, with his inimitable passionate-yet-graceful phrasing and cut-to-the-chase common sense. Today's column was everything I wanted to say, only better said. Read it.

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