My last patient had cancelled. My boss was chattering on endlessly about his Senior League softball game, while tying his shoes and reviewing his Gold Glove performance the week prior.
"You should have seen it! I jumped 15 feet to catch that line drive in the bottom of the 7th—"
(I let him talk. I have to. Aside from the "seeing-believing," aspect, he's my boss. I figure—Let the man dream.)
My receptionist was applying yet another coat of lipstick to her ruby orange lips, while glancing sideways at my boss who was now attempting to stretch his hamstrings. As he lay on the floor in the hall, he continued to explain the velocity of his jumping skills.
"15 feet, straight up," he boasted while she blotted her ruby orange lips with a Kleenex.
I sat quietly in the corner, watching the two from behind the glow of my computer. Having escaped another walk-off defeat from the Hall of Fame hands of Mariano Rivera, I exhaled and stood up and stretched.
This is where the fairytale began.
Garza was throwing a perfect game. It was the seventh. Boston was losing terribly. And Josh Beckett had been dragged to the Town Square for a public flogging while murmuring something about the Curse of Bobby Abreu...
I smiled deviously.
Now, don't get me wrong. I despise the evil Tampa Bay faction of wife beaters and drunk drivers. This isn't sour grapes for what they did to the Yankees in 2008. This isn't about the continual love-fest the entire world seemed to be enjoying all year with all-things-Tampa-Stupid-Bay...
I simply hate them.
I hate the infected image my mind holds of pitcher Matt Garza. His stupid shaking of his glove before every pitch. His talking into his hat on the mound.
His syrupy, smarmy demeanor last fall, when he looked into the cameras, licking his lips, smiling broadly enough to see lights shimmer from his lower cuspids, all the while patronizing, "Thanks, Yankees." (We had defeated Boston, which resulted in the Rays winning the Division.)
You're not welcome, Garza.
Sour grapes? Maybe. But I'm alright with being pathetically resentful. I figure there is energy in emotion. I figure the day I behold a baseball game without any emotional impact is the day I begin Prozac.
Or visa versa.
Inasmuch as Beckett's outing was another display of something seriously not alright with the man as a pitcher (at least not presently), the media was merciful regarding the 13-0 shutout against Boston and featured a concentrated focus mainly on Garza's near perfect game: a one-hitter.
Kudos you evil brat. All I've got to say is—
This is said given the fact that the evil Tampa Bay faction is floundering hopelessly in last place and losing all 200 of their blue-mo-hawked fans as we speak, and since Boston is really the centre of my heartfelt wish for eternal destruction and demise.
It can't feel very good to be Javier Lopez today.
I really couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Gameday display that Jonathon Van Every, the newbie-flavor-of-the-week/Mr.-Walkoff-in-extra-innings-on-Wednesday/Right-Fielder, was pitching.
Tampa Bay. Double-digit deficit. Outfielder asked to pitch? Bullpen exhausted...
Unlike Nick Swisher's debut for the Yankees as a position-player-turned-pitcher, Van Every allowed a double, and struck out no one.
Of course I was incensed—come up with an original idea, Boston. Mere territorialism and shameless fault-finding can often time make the world a happier place. Revelling in the pathetic attempts at imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, I rolled my eyes at Francona's brain-child.
Until I realized Javier Lopez, the once again ineffective relief pitcher, was placed in right field.
I got on the horn and began the texts with friends and foes nationwide. The boss had left and the receptionist, also...the place was mine...the doors were locked...and the cussing and shouting began to flow.
"LOPEZ IS GONNA RUN AND BREAK HIS ANKLE LIKE WANG DID" was one text.
"VAN EVERY HAS NO LIPS AND LOOKS LIKE THAT FRANK BURNS FROM M*A*S*H, FERRET FACE" was another.
I really couldn't understand Francona's logic. I mean, it was fun watching the game slowly end with the stick-figure aspect that is Gameday.
But what on God's green earth would possess Francona to risk injury to Lopez by having him play right field? Oddly enough, the only hit of the inning was hit straight to right field and had to be run down by Lopez.
"First all, I didn't like doing it," said Francona, "but I'm not going to let a pitcher get hurt. Javy had pitched three days in a row."
Mickey Mantle incurred a career-changing injury from a sprinkler spigot, and he was used to playing in the field...
I find it hard to believe that the Red Sox had no other options than leaving Lopez in the outfield. Everyone has a fatigued bullpen already, everyone.
Besides, I was under the impression from Joe Buck and Jon Miller and the other guy from FOX, that the Red Sox had relief-pitching ad infinitum this year.
At least that's all they seemed to be talking about last weekend when the Yanks were busy losing pathetically to Francona's boys in red.
I found it intriguing, however, when interviewed, Francona explained, "I didn't want to embarrass anybody. Certainly, we didn't want to embarrass Javy."
Heavens, no. We certainly wouldn't. Or would we? Let's consider a few things:
If being a warm-body in right field is not a risky move for a pitcher, then Francona could have had someone like Jonathon Papelbon out in right field, right? He was available to "not get hurt."
Perhaps the reason Papelbon remained on the bench, warm and cozy, and Javier Lopez was forced to chase down a liner to right was due to his recent inabilities to strike out batters and field a heartbreaking extra inning walk-off play to first base against Cleveland recently? (The error by Lopez ended the Red Sox recent 11-game winning streak.)
Whole message boards exist on-line, of which the sole focus of these boards is the ongoing and overt hatred for Javier Lopez. Oddly, these boards are maintained by Red Sox fans.
I understand frustration, I do. Hell, we had Proctor. In less than one week, Mariano Rivera has allowed multiple home-runs in the ninth with two outs.
I understand disappointment.
But, last night's game in which Terry Francona opted to force Javier Lopez to play Right Field, in my opinion, was simply irresponsible and borderlines on cruel. If the 11-game-winning streak was broken at the hand of Javier Lopez and the decision to have him chase down line drives in right field was merely tough love, I suggest a better way.
DL him and/or work with him.
Or simply hand the new pitcher-turned-right-fielder a bat.
For all you know, Javier Lopez could become the next Rick Ankiel.
“To hell with circumstances—I create opportunities.” —Bruce Lee
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