Monday, June 06, 2005

Eating Disorders, Litters, and Bullpens

1) Email (partial) of the week comes from a friend who graduated in '03 with me, and works at a consulting firm in NYC: "I'm finally willing to admit it. I hate my job. I mean I HATE it. I know I said I didn't mind working weekends, or selling my soul to the devil, or not having a life. But I just can't take it anymore! The money has never been as good as I hoped, and my life is a living hell. I feel like Peter in Office Space. I've actually started drinking coffee, and I mean lots of coffee, because it is a diuretic and it gets me away from my desk a few times a day. I'm not sure if that qualifies as an eating disorder, but if it does I may put in for workmen's comp. Seriously, I'm one more "we need to stay late and get this fixed" away from seducing my boss' daughter just to spite him, and she's 16 and monsterously obese." We used to call him the Uni-Bomber because he had a uni-brow and never got laid. Perhaps he will re-assume this nickname as his new profession? (note: prior approval was obtained from him to post this)

2) Story of the week comes from the chronicles of Fisherman and Ho-Bag, the monikers of anonymity I must place upon two former acquaintances from my high school years (though they didn't go to my high school). For those not familiar with the story, Ho-Bag was my girlfriend when I was 16 for about a week, and Fisherman (guess what he does for a living) was an older guy who lived and worked nearby, had a penchant for teenagers, and had an overactive responsibility complex. Let me just disclaim that I am by no means bitter at Ho-Bag, as I knew she was a Ho-Bag beforehand and I broke up with her to pursue unplanned abstinence. I merely am writing about them because I find their history a bit ridiculous, and it continues to get more bizarre with each passing chapter.

Anyway, Ho-Bag and Fisherman hooked up when they were 18 and 23, respectively. Ho-Bag became pregnant and dropped out of high school, Fisherman proposed (whether shotgunned or not, I don't know, as the rumors vary), and a pair of twins popped out on their honeymoon to Martha's Vineyard (they were 5 weeks premature, both healthy now). Then, about 14 months or so later, they were blessed with a third child, who was born on Ho-Bag's 20th birthday no less (May 28th - Gemini). Apparently, this deluge of children seemed to cull their lust for each other, as they waited nearly three whole years before getting pregnant again. Of course, Ho-bag (who I should point out is a twin and has two sets of twin cousins) had triplets. As a good friend of mine would later comment "All they need are quadruplets and they will have hit for the cycle."
Over the last three years, the couple has been childless.

Now comes the new chapter. Obviously, supporting six children is tough to do, especially on Fisherman's fishermans' salary. However, Fisherman seems to have quietly put away a few dollars here and there over the course of the last eight years, and apparently got a blood test done on himself and the children. Well, I think we all know where this is going. Only the middle child (the single birth) is his. He is now suing for divorce and custody of his biological child.

Now, I'm not really sure where to go from here. I have numerous (and I do mean numerous) jokes stored up about this situation. However, I also know that divorce is at best a touchy subject, especially when children are involved, and I'm not sure whether I would feel right cracking jokes. I guess I just offer this narrative to all of you because occasionally I think about the people I knew who turned out this way, caught in some dark comedy of a situation, unhappy with the way life turned out, and it makes me a bit more happy that my only concerns are how much I hate my job, that I can't afford a night of drinking if I want to buy a car, or that the Sox need better lefty relief. I guess I use their lives as the antithesis of the email from article 1. Perspective is something we need to lose in order to function in our lives efficiently, but every now and again it helps to get it back for a few minutes. I guess what I am saying is that I really wish the best for Ho-Bag and Fisherman and I hope they get on their feet; more selfishly, I also am grateful for the way my life has turned out in contrast. And no, the twins aren't mine.

3) As to the Sox relief Corp alluded above, I'm not sure how to feel (how's that for an awkward segue?). Embree is toast, we know that much for sure now (though I was a bit surprised that Theo et al didn't see the writing on the wall over the last few seasons, with his cascading k rate and rising hit numbers for a reliever his age). I mean, if it weren't for his low BB rate last year, he would have been toast then. Regardless, I just don't think Embree is a high-leverage innings kind of guy anymore. Halama has been pretty good out of the pen, with his ERA buoyed into the 5s mostly because of his spot starts this year; he is most definitely a functional long-man (once through the order), and that is pretty much what we should use him for. Myers role is also pretty much set, and is being carried more for the post-season and the occasional teams like the Angels (and Hideki Matsui) than anything else. So we don't have a high-leverage lefty that can face righties as well. This worries me a little, and I would like to see Embree DLed and tryout one of our minor-leaguers (Dinardo?) in his old role for two or three weeks. But we shall see.

As to the righties, I feel better. Timlin is ridiculous, defying age and pitching like he was closing for Toronto in the World Series. He has had a little dip in velocity, but velocity is less important than movement and location; I think he has slowed down his pitches to keep those other two, and I've noticed he will still crank a fastball up in speed when he climbs the ladder on a batter for his strike out pitch. No worries. Matt Mantei has been good as well. His ERA is a bit deceiving, as he tends to give up the runs in bunches, but is lights out in his other games. And really, I'll take a "blows a few games but pitches great the eight or ten games in-between" from our 3rd righty rather than "gives up a run in every other start and lets teams whittle away our lead/put victory out of reach". Everyone has a bad performance every now and again, but he regularly is giving us great innings. I like the guy. As to Foulke, his ERA has moved down to a nice round 6.00. This is bad, but he seems to be putting things together. If anything, I feel like a few of his "shaky" performances have been because of bad luck or bad defense (see Friday's save). While I'm a little worried about his dropping K-rate, he hasn't looked well hit since the first few weeks of the season. He has had a few bad hops, and two home-runs hit on balls way out of the strike zone; he has never been a low WHIP guy anyway, so I'm not sure what to think. I'm just going to go with the "he's finally coming around" crowd and hope for the best.

So, I guess my feeling, despite the bullpens atrocious numbers, is pretty good on the whole. Part of the reason the numbers are so awful is because of the injuries to the starting pitching, which made us rely too much on the Blaine Neals, the Cla Merideth's (too young, but I think will be good someday), and the briantrust's misplaced faith in Embree. The only move I would make is finding someone to take Embree's innings. Other than that, if our starters can play well, the bullpen should start falling in line. Plus, we will bolster it with Wakefield once Schilling gets back, so that should help.

4) Watching ESPN this morning, I forgot how likeable A-Rod can be when he steps in front of the camera and is ready to work his pre-packaged image. Yes, I did just have a mini-throwup while typing that.


At 11:07 AM, June 07, 2005, Anonymous nietoo said...

wow. ho bag is truly a ho bag. So even the kids from the honeymoon were not Fisherman's?? If she were my wife, I don't think a stroke could even stop me from killing her.


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