What in the Wide Wide World of Sports is A’Goin on Here? A Fan Wonders… and, is Gibbs Slapping an Option?

photo via twitter @duquette12

My family has a long history with the Red Sox. My paternal grandmother told stories of attending games with her father when you could get in to Fenway for literally pennies, and chat up Babe Ruth before and after the game. (they did, by the way – many times) I have been a Sox fan since I attended my first game at the Great Green Church of Baseball in the summer of 1974. I was 12 and a half. Dad and Grandpa took us. I remember the Sox played the Cleveland Indians and won. I don’t remember the score. What I do remember really is feeling energized in the atmosphere of that tiny ballpark. I’m borrowing from Robert DeNiro in ‘The Untouchables’ for a minute to describe the attitude of the players I saw:

Part of a team. Teamwork… Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don’t field… what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? I’m goin’ out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins.”

The players were there to play – there was none of that Diva bullshit on the field. And nobody really heard about it if there was any off the field.

1975 – Spent most evenings and weekend afternoons glued to the tube watching my boys, or listening on the radio. (there’s something so nostalgic and almost romantic about that, isn’t there? – listening to a game on a summer evening) Yaz, Pudge, Dewey, Freddie, Bernie, Rico, Jim, Rick, and Butch – to name a few. My bedroom walls not only had posters of David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman; but my beloved Team also. I had major tween crushes on several of them. And Oh, that Magical October night my Pudge waved the ball fair and took us to Game 7!


The ’78 Dent Debacle (still can’t discuss this one rationally) ; Billy Buckner 1986; The huge disappointment of the 2003 ALCS…. ( we came SO Close) The INSANITY of the 2004 ALCS playoffs. Everyone in New England was seriously sleep deprived that week. We beat the Goddamn Yankees in a REVERSE SWEEP. My boys “cowboy-ed up” and the world series win against the Cards was almost anticlimactic after that incredible playoff turnaround. It was after midnight when the final game of the 2004 World Series ended. My oldest and I were jumping around the living room screaming. The phone rang – it was our west coast relatives happily congratulating us. The phone rang again. It was my dad. “GO OUTSIDE NOW” he said. We did. Church bells ringing in the dead of night. Car horns blaring. Somebody dug their (illegal) fireworks out and set them off. People yelling and screaming at top volume all over town. It was profoundly AMAZING and WONDERFUL to be part of the Red Sox Nation at that time. We finally did it and they brought home the trophy. Jeter went home to play golf. This was waaayyy better. Then whoops – we did it again in 2007.

So what the HELL is going on with this team the last few years???? There is no Red Sox baseball TEAM anymore. There’s “Chicken n Beer-Gate” which Mr Valentine assured us would “never happen on his watch” but apparently is still occurring with Jon Lackey double fisting brewskies in the clubhouse while on the DL. Hey Jon – news flash – if you show up at the clubhouse dude, you’re on the job -DL or not – and DRINKING ON THE JOB IS BAD FORM at best. Bobby, he just made you a liar. So much for integrity. The Sox are in 5th in the AL East and playing .476 ball with a 60-66 W-L record. This is unacceptable. Sox fans are paying top dollar not to watch what should be a premiere first rate baseball team do its thing; but instead – to watch a huge slow motion car wreck in progress. NOT COOL. A good hard Gibbs Slap is in order. And perhaps some major ass-kicking.

And now on to what I’m terming “Pesky-Gate”. Johnny Pesky spent the majority of his baseball career with Boston. There’s a frickin foul pole named after him! He will remain the Red Sox Goodwill Ambassador as long as I’m drawing breath anyway. He gave his all, and spent most of his adult life with and for the team. So how come only 4 current players and the manager attend his funeral services? Hmmmm…..? Thank you David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Vincente Padilla and Bobby Valentine for showing some class and attending the services for your teammate and ambassador. Several of these players did not know Pesky – or knew him only a short time so their respect is appreciated I’m sure.

Let’s get with the program boys. This is BOSTON, baby – and you need to be doing it better than everyone else. Lord knows you get paid enough to do that. Clearly, you all have talent or you wouldn’t be in The Show. Your ability is not the issue. Your attitude (collectively and individually) would seem to be. Let’s remember that you are a team, that your actions or lack of action reflect on the other members. The job that you are well paid for is to be part of the Boston Red Sox Baseball Team. As part of that team you are there to support each other – and that includes upbraiding or chastising team members who are not on board with attitude etc. (Are you listening Mr [S]Lackey?) That includes supporting teammates and their families through tough times. That also includes Team Owners who should be setting examples and enforcing rules and a code of conduct instead of coddling a bunch of Generation Me self-entitled Divas with piss poor attitudes. Mr Lucchino -hold your TEAM accountable. Set the rules and enforce them. I suggest getting back to the basics and go back to the beginning (Little League) for some inspiration. Follow these commandments for a change:

TEN COMMANDMENTS OF SPORTSMANSHIP

  1. “Golden Rule”– Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
  2. Enjoy yourself and promote enjoyment for others.
  3. Be responsible for your actions.
  4. Have an open mind to others’ weaknesses and have a forgiving attitude.
  5. Have pride in one’s performance and one’s team.
  6. Be a friend, not an enemy, and create a positive environment.
  7. Encourage others to do or be their best.
  8. Sportsmanship should be contagious.
  9. Remember it is a privilege to participate.
  10. Practice sportsmanship in all situations at all costs http://sammamishlittleleague.countmein.com/AboutUsSportsmanshipStatement.aspx

A team is only as good as its weakest member. The US Navy SEALS know this, and they support and train all their teammates to be their best. Boston: respect yourselves, respect each other, support each other. Follow your Teams rules and codes of conduct and expect your teammates to do the same. Get your heads out of your asses and play some goddamn baseball! Otherwise I will have to come to Fenway, “Gibbs Slap” you all and become an Orioles Fan… Don’t make me do that….Jussayin.

photo via twitter @duquette12

Raffi – Take Me Out to the Ballgame

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The Great Boston Adventure. Or, How I Lost all Faith in Mapquest

Yesterday Jill and I headed out for Boston-or more properly Brookline-to attend that presentation and booksigning by Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman– who has a new cookbook out. I printed out directions from Mapquest the night before, and we left at about 1:30ish. I’d hoped to avoid the worst of the commuter traffic and the rushhour. Plus, we both wanted to spend some time in the Brookline Booksmith store. (Jill has inherited her Mother’s bibliophile genes) . So after dropping off the oldest at work we purchased some snacks, filled the tank and we were off.

English: Official highway sign placed along ma...

Image via Wikipedia

My youngest is a chatterbox, and the trip into the city went quickly. We paid the tolls and got off the pike at exit 18 as the directions specified-on schedule, it was then shortly before 3pm. Here’s where the fun started. The directions said to merge onto Cambridge St., go up .7 mi and turn left onto Harvard Ave. I followed the sign that said Cambridge.
We traveled over a mile before I saw a sign that said Harvard St and turned left. Having the sinking feeling we were lost, I began to ask pedestrians how to get to Brookline. Apparently we had managed to get to Harvard Square somehow. A nice young mom with 2 younguns directed me to the nearest traffic policeman who nicely wrote directions for us, and laughed when I mentioned mapquest. He said he got a lot of business from lost tourists using it. He said to turn right ahead on Prospect St and “go straight” for about a mile, over the bridge, and left onto Harvard Ave. Pretty straightforward – at first – until I came to a spiderweb branching of the road that nobody mentioned. There were several options, a hard left, a hard right, a slight left, slight right, and a sort of bend to the right. The only thing straight ahead in front of us was an old brick church. I chose to take the straightest of the options in front of me wherein the road bent slightly right. There is no such thing as the ability to “go straight” anywhere in the city of Boston or the immediate vicinity. Also, please note that any street signs, if available at all, one needs a magnifying glass to read. I ended up on a Webster St, but saw a bridge ahead and the ability to take a left once over the bridge. By this time though I’m seriously frazzled, having an anxiety attack, and unfortunately snapping at Jillian every time the poor kid opened her mouth. We’d tried the gps on her phone but it was glitchy and kept freezing. My phone, when she’d tried that, did the same. So we got over the bridge and I saw signs for the Turnpike, and figured to head back in that direction. It’s now past 3:30.

Inbound

Inbound (Photo credit: Ottoman42)

I head towards the pike only to discover that we are on a one way on ramp to the Eastbound entrance to I90. Not the way I wanted to go at all. But having no choice I pull up to the toll booth, pay another $1.25 and ask the attendant how to get to Brookline. Go up to exit 22 he says, and take the Prudential Ctr exit. Go straight on Huntington Ave till you come to Commonwealth, the look for the signs to Harvard Ave and turn left onto it. Great! Off we went…. Got stuck behind a slow mover who kept waving me around him-only no one behind me would allow me to change lanes to pass (Massholes) but eventually we get off on exit 22 and come around the turn, only to discover that the Pru Center off ramp is CLOSED. I now have no choice but to take the Copley Square exit, which OF COURSE takes me in the opposite direction from where I need to go. Now cursing loudly, and trying not to cry, I head into downtown Boston. I did mention the street signs are microscopic? And that there’s absolutely no such thing as going straight on any street in the city? I did? Ok good, just checking….

Boston city center

Image via Wikipedia

After driving at least another mile in what’s starting to become much heavier traffic , I see signs for the pike westbound- Awesome! I think, I’ll just head back to exit 18, and start over. It’s now at least 4:00. Tally-ho! And we got back on the highway, paying yet another 1.25. Exit 21, exit 20, two down, two to go! But wait, the next exit I pass is not 19, nor is it 18 (the one I needed) its 17…. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.  Boston????!!!?? I travel to exit 16 and turn around AGAIN. Got back off at 18, paid yet another $1.25. This time taking the left off ramp once leaving the toll booth.

We immediately discover we are on the right track and soon find ourselves on Harvard Ave in Brookline. Jill’s gps starts working, which is good because not only are street signs small or non-existent; few of the buildings are numbered. Once we determine which side of the street the Coolidge Theatre should be on, we rely on the gps to let us know were getting close. Then it says we’ve past it- but we haven’t seen it, and all of a sudden the numbers on the buildings start going up and what used to be the even side is now the odd. Mysteriously, Harvard Ave has become Harvard St… Again, I start cursing as I find someplace to turn around.

We drove back and forth on this road at least 4 times with the gps telling us we’d passed our destination each time, and still not seeing anything. Finally I pulled into a parking lot and went into a Packie to get directions. It was a mile further up than we’d previously driven. So back we went. FOUND IT! I pulled into the parking lot behind the theatre and prepared to pay for a parking stub. Lots of other people were there for the same thing and we start up a conversation. Its now almost 5pm and we’d been traveling since 1:30. I self-deprecatingly relate our misadventure in getting there, and mention we’re heading to the bookstore across the street where I was told we would be able to get tickets. The lady I was talking with gave me a very confused look- Oh hon, she says, this events been sold out…..
Suffice to say the phrase “losing it” aptly describes what I did next- and I tersely tell Jill to get back in the car to go home. Fortunately Jill is able to talk me into going over to the bookstore, so we could at least see if we could get standby tickets, or at worst we’d be first in line to get our books signed if it came to that. Anyway, our luck was about to change…. More on this tomorrow.

Awesome Evening, Awesome Plans….

A Beautiful Sunset on tap tonight here in the boonies of Massachusetts. The Viking (aka my husband) just sent me some lovely pictures from his phone which I will upload momentarily. It was 76 degrees when I scooted over to get the girls this evening. I am absolutely LOVING this springlike weather we are having. I know there’ll be a price to pay in April and May with brush fires but right now, I’m just enjoying the fact that we can start using the grill again. And I can enjoy being outside without feeling too much of a chill. It may take me ten minutes to feel the cold instead of 2 lol! We have plenty of firewood from that horrid snowstorm on Halloween weekend so I may talk the spouse into a fire on the patio this evening. 😀

I did not get as much sleep as I would like to’ve last night but I am not as tired and cranky tonight. What can I say? – I’m just weird I guess. At work today the second in the series of meetings with the state went much more quickly and much better than I had expected – and I actually learned a few things I didn’t know (always a plus, right? Right!) Then as an added bonus my boss just told me to go home after the meeting so I was home at 3:45 as opposed to 4:40 or 4:45. What a difference that hour or so makes in traffic, and nobody seems as stressed at that time. I loved driving home with the windows down, and the stereo cranked with classic rock tunes. Spring fever? Yup, got it for sure!

I’m also looking forward to driving to Boston

Boston Skyline

Boston Skyline (Photo credit: brentdanley)

with my youngest on Thursday afternoon. Well Brookline, really, and I’m not actually looking forward to driving there – nobody in their right mind likes driving “inside the web” (Interstate 128 and points east) – or in Boston – at any time.

The SpiderWeb, Interstate 128 surrounds Boston.... Image via Wikipedia

Mass-holes do vex me! Oops sorry – went away there, I’m back now….

Anyway, The Pioneer Woman is having a book signing and doing a presentation. I’ve been a follower of hers for quite some time and am really excited about seeing her in person! Truth be told, she’s probably been the primary inspiration for me starting to blog in the first place. Also, I get to spend some one on one time with my youngest and I’m really excited about that too! We’ll have a Mom/Daughter afternoon & evening and be silly!

So I’ll be wrapping up loose ends at work tomorrow and preparing for a lovely 4 day weekend. Will keep you all posted how things go!

Those of you from New England Part 2

I realized this morning that there are quite a few other words and phrases that make living in this area unique- like I said you don’t hear them anywhere else. And I realized I forgot a biggie in my list yesterday. Anyway, here’s some more just for fun.

1. “Bang a U-ey” – make a u-turn while driving your car. “bang” basically means go or take.

2. Statie – Massachusetts State Police Officer. Interesting fact: Hitler visited Massachusetts after he became Chancellor in the Thirties. He was so taken with the uniform of the state police that he asked for and received the pattern. He had the uniforms made for the SS in black. Check it out next time you get pulled over on the Pike. (see below)

3. “The Pike” – The Massachusetts portion of Interstate 90. Abbreviation of The Massachusetts Turnpike. It runs from Boston to the New York line. The worlds largest parking lot on Thanksgiving Weekend.

4. “Breakdown Lane” – The far right lane of the highway (where you actually don’t want to be if your car breaks down, but where you’re supposed to go.)

5. “Hoodsie” – also known as a Dixie Cup in other regions. Small container of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, eaten with a wooden spoon. Made by the Hood dairy company – hence the name.

6. “Down” – location, to go to a specific place. as in “I’m going down the Cape this weekend.” Never EVER say I’m going to Cape Cod, or I’m going out to the Cape this weekend – they’ll peg ya for an out of towner (recognize you as a visitor)- immediately. And, “The Cape” ALWAYS refers to Cape Cod. Cape Ann (Gloucester) is usually just referred to as Glaw-stah). Or, “I gotta run down t’the store and get some milk”.

7 “Can’t get” – another example of the negative positive (like “So don’t I!). For example : “Let’s see if we can’t get that fixed for ya!

8. “Jimmies” – sprinkles you put on top of your Ice Cream cone.

9. “Nuh -Uh!” or “Huh-uh!” – exclamatory meaning incredulous-ness ie Really?! No Way! The proper response is “Yah-huh!”

10. “Book” – move very fast. as in : “I booked it to work because I was late, and I got pulled over by a statie. I had to use the breakdown lane”

11. “Whip” – throw something very hard. as in: “I was wicked pissed and I whipped the ball right at his head.”

12. “Barrel” – Trash can – where you put your garbage before pickup by the city. We also have burning barrels for burnable trash disposal on your own property. You need a permit from the city to do that , though.

13. “Av” – street, road as in Avenue. abbreviation. No one in MA says Avenue.

14. “Elastic” – rubber band.

15. “Dunkin Run” – going out to get coffee at Dunkin Donuts for a group of people.

16. ” Ta” or t’ – – meaning “to” “I had t’ go shopping” or”I had ta go shopping” if spoken very fast the t becomes a d – as in “I hadda go shopping”.

Also, please note that those of us living in Western MA do not drop our “r”s when we talk. That’s strictly an Eastern MA thing. They live on a whole ‘nother planet when it comes to that…..

And the biggie I forgot. The one that my out of state friends and family wonder why we even have the word, because they can get theirs right in any grocery store or convenience store:

“PACKIE “- liquor store, (abbreviation of “package store“) Apparently at some point someone decided that they didn’t want anyone to know what they were buying, so these stores became “package” stores. The staff by MA state law must put the liquor in a sealed bag or box (package it) so there ya go…Used in a sentence: “I gotta make a packie run – bang a u-ey up here and head up Mass Av.” Interestingly – there’s a chain of packies in the Salem area that are called “The Bunghole”…. I don’t ask – I just laugh and shake my head.

A Packie in Salem

Those of you from New England, you’ll understand…

Living in the wilds of Western Massachusetts has given me a unique opportunity to use and be influenced by words and phrases you just won’t hear anywhere else in the country. Here’s my top 10, in no particular order.

1. Wicked – adjective, exclamation. Means “very” usually- especially when used in conjunction with other adjectives. “Dude, that show last night was wicked awesome! My relatives living in the Pacific Northwesthad a wicked hard time figuring out how something could be “wicked good” at the same time.
2. Pissed, pisser: noun, adjective. In Western MA if you are mad you are pissed, or pissed off. If you are very very angry you’re “wicked pissed”. Out towards Boston, the meaning changes. ” That party last night was a wicked pisser!” meaning a great time was had by all. Getting pissed also can mean getting very drunk. Pronounce this word “pissah” if you live east of Worcester. (wuh-stah)
3. Blinker- descriptive noun. You activate these when you want to make a turn or change lanes while driving.
4. “Down Cellar”- indicates location. Cellar, meaning the basement to the rest of the US. “I gotta go down cellar and put the laundry in the dryer.”
5. “So Don’t I.” a negative-positive phrase, indicates that you can totally relate to what the other person is saying, that you’ve done or do the same thing. (ie: “Me too”) “I hate when my food touches on my plate. So don’t I!”
6. Grinder: large long sandwich that can have either hot or cold ingredients. Also called a sub, or submarine sandwich (shaped like one), a hero, or a hoagie. (hoe-gee), if you live in Eastern MA. Not to be confused with a meat grinder, which can process ingredients for your grinder.
7. Rotary: circular road where other roads converge. Can be difficult to get off of if you’re unfamiliar with the area. “I drove around the rotary like 5 times before I figured out which lane I needed to be in to exit”.
8. Milkshake: blended ice cream, slushy consistency. Out towards Boston, this is referred to as a frappe. (frah-pp) What we consider a milkshake they call an ice cream soda. Thick milkshakes served at Friendly’s restaurants are called Fribbles. (rhymes with Tribbles, lol)
9. Pocketbook- what us lady folk keep our wallets, makeup ID and other things in. You might call it a purse or a handbag. We don’t.
10. Soda- as in Root Beer, Dr Pepper, ginger ale, Sprite, and Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Or, we call it the brand name. Upstate New Yorkers call a Coke a “Red Pop” or just “Pop”. Older Tennesseans call a Coke a “Black Dope.” I got a real kick out of that one!

Western MA is also the only region I know of that calls the evening before Halloween “Cabbage Night”. Apparently there weren’t enough pumpkins to smash…. So there you have it, my top 10 linguistic oddities/eccentricities native to my little corner of the world. Feel free to add yours!!!