ETA much better picture:
Here I am in my PJs watching Sox highlights from SportsDesk OnDemand at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I am that pumped already for tonight's game to start. The victories already by the Sox this weekend will be enough to brighten my whole week, sad but true. I have the acutest case of Red Sox fever I've ever experienced this early in the season.
I'm still not fully over Friday's game, but I'm going back over yesterday's at this point, too, marvelling at plays like Doug Mientkiewicz's slow-motion belly flop onto the tarp in foul ground to catch Kevin Youkilis's pop-up in the bottom of the 7th. Minty is so good with that glove, it turns out, that he didn't even knock over any drinks or fans--he just guessed with that much more precision than the laymen where the ball would land, reached his glove in and plucked it out of the air. Youkilis seemed to take it personally, hucking his bat and launching a clearly lip-readable f-note onto the airwaves.
Also, Joshie. Can't take anything away from what he's got in that right arm, even though I still can't help but think he's a total weirdo. Like what was with that facial expression coming off the mound? I guess maybe he felt like a tool with Fenway standing and cheering when he'd given up the most runs and hits he has all season, already more than Daisuke has given up in an outing, and yet he still stood to receive the win. That's the charitable way to think about it, I guess. It could just as easily have been he was thinking about the Cheetos he was going to eat naked later.
Also, when Okajima got that strikeout to end the inning I thought Beckett was going to give himself an aneurysm. Somebody hopefully got the blowdart soon after that--that somebody possibly even being Curt Schilling, who can be seen rising to his feet behind Joshie as he does his primal screaming thing in the NESN footage. I can definitely picture Schilling murmuring, "Okay, all right, son, it's all gonna be ok." (Then: ptew. And a pair of clubhouse attendants appear, one for the shoulders and one for the feet, to carry Joshie off to lay him carefully in front of his locker. And...clearly my imagination has totally taken over here. Sorry. Long story short, Beckett still just weirds me out, but what he's doing on the field has him growing on me.)
Also, now that I've obsessively watched and re-watched the SportsDesk highlights of Papelbon's appearance I have to say I'm as impressed as ever with Johnny Damon as a hitter. He grounded out to short in a pinch hit appearance that at first glance seems like it was hardly even worth him taking a shower afterwards. But then I paid attention to the gun as Damon's bat made contact--97 mph. Vladi Guerrerro couldn't turn that around; most hitters even at this level would foul that off at best. Damon grounded out weakly, but that's more than any other hitter in the league has been able to do with the cheese Jonathan's been sending up there.
And then that pitch to Jeter--98 miles per hour, and as Jeter put it later, "moving all over the place," it's like he'd been saving that pitch just for this occasion. It was a thing of utter majesty.
What a pair of games this has been.
Trumpeter and Berklee professor Toru “Tiger” Okoshi led a kumi-daiko (modern taiko drum troupe) in his arrangement of the national anthem to kick off the first series against the Yankees for the 2007 series. Fittingly, taiko were used to rally and coordinate troops in times of battle. When you hear taiko live, you can feel the sound waves move your internal organs, as if a spirit were possessing your body.
Taiko were also a part of daily life, alerting villagers about weather or when hunting parties were about to depart. The drum became was so much of the pulse of daily, essential activities that it became associated with divinity. This association evolved into a tradition in which only designated holy men in Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples were allowed to play taiko.
Her "taiko" link is to a page titled "Rolling Thunder", which I immediately ripped off as a post title, encouraged also by the quote from Jonathan in his postgame interview that "we're ready to roll." All of which echo Kevin Millar in 2004: "The Sox are rollin'." I really need to stop with the 2004 comparisons, as I fear the jinx, but sometimes I just can't help it.
Here's one major difference from 2004: where in that year our team chemistry seemed largely comprised of wily, irreverent veterans, this year the team personality that's starting to emerge is one of studious, serious young men. That ballpark is electric right now with the combined earnest intensity of guys like Youkilis, Papelbon, Daisuke, and yes, even Beckett--all brilliantly talented prospects slowly growing into full-fledged ballplayers right in front of our eyes. It's an intoxicating thing, but very different from three years ago.
Meanwhile, NESN came through as always with a sepia-toned highlight reel of the first two games to open SportsDesk, and followed it with extended analysis of the games that have already come and gone--but they also capped off that lead-in to the show with the appearance in front of a green screen of a grinning Daisuke, tossing a ball playfully into his glove. A perfect capture of my mentality this afternoon--back and forth between giddy revisitation and feverish anticipation. And it's only April 22!
Also, it's only 2:45. How am I ever going to make it till 8 o'clock?