So Monday our usual time for tea and sports talk rolls around, and I send a message to Sarah and we’re both busy/tired enough that neither of us are particularly interested in even half-assing it. Which is why, this week, Tea Time is on Tuesday. I sincerely wish we had a better excuse, but seriously, neither of us were in any state.
Had we tried to perform, our conversation would have likely devolved into screaming fights or endless strings of profanities, and while in my everyday life that’s pretty common, I like to keep it offline.
This week: I force Sarah to talk about basketball for, like, 2 seconds and she can’t even make it that long, we talk about looming baseball playoffs, the rebirth of optimism over the Patriots, and finally– the Bruins season is upon us. All four sports, one of them in the playoffs. Praises be.
M: Oh, me first?
S: I can go first if you want.
M: You go first this time.
M: WAIT. Wait.
S: … What?
M: We never talk about the Celtics. I want to talk about the Celtics first.
S: Sigh. Fine.
M: So I am psyched because the Celtics media day was Monday, which means training camp is now open. Everyone’s all worried about KG’s knee, but honestly, I’m feeling optimistic: Pierce and Ray Allen are back, with Rondo and Perk rounding out the starters, and have you SEEN our BENCH?
S: I haven’t actually. I’ve only heard good things, though.
M: Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels signed this offseason, Big Baby Davis and Eddie House both back. Very very strong.
M: God almighty, you don’t have a fucking clue what I’m talking about, do you?
S: Yeah, you lost me right around Big Baby.
S: That’s actually his legit nickname? Big Baby? Aren’t basketball players supposed to have, oh, I don’t know, some sort of toughness factor?
[I’m not joking. Girl knows jack about hoops.]
M: Yeah, but he actually genuinely looks like a large infant. This picture was really what clinched my love for him.
S: [reportedly spits actual cup of tea all over the place] … Wow, okay, I get the nickname now. That’s pretty fantastic.
M: He also occasionally cries on the bench when KG yells at him. An unfortunate moment last season, I’m afraid. But who wouldn’t cry with KG yelling at us? I mean really.
S: KG is a scary man! I’m taking it they’re looking to return to 2008 form this year with KG back?
M: Yes, they are. We’ll be missing Leon Powe (which stings for me) and Gabe Pruitt, but with Sheed on the bench and maybe Bill Walker stepping up, I’m not hugely concerned. Please note I have no opinion on the contributions of Brian Scalabrine.
S: He’s the very large, very pale guy, right?
M: The only white guy, I think is what you’re saying. And they’re all pretty large…
[At this point Sarah totally and abruptly shifted gears in to baseball.]
S: Okay, can we discuss this week? Something seems off to me in Baseball Land. I mean, it’s not just that terrible series against the Yankees, but…last night against the Blue Jays was ugly, and Pittsburgh beat the Dodgers 11-1. What is even going on here? I know the real answer is still September callups, but….11-1? Seriously? It’s PITTSBURGH. Against the DODGERS.
M: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this whole season has felt… weird. To me at least.
S: It has! I have a really bad feeling that I know what the World Series is going to look like, too. And that just makes the whole thing more uncomfortable.
M: It seemed like every team out there had ridiculous hot and cold streaks. The Red Sox seriously had me so f*cked in the head at one point it barely registered to me whether they won or lost.
S: I remember that stretch.
M: Remember Adam Laroche? He played for the Sox! This year! How long ago does that feel?
[I tried to find a picture of Laroche in his Sox uni, but you know what? There AREN’T ANY. Why? Because the Adam Laroche era in Boston lasted for 7 games.]
S: I know. Wasn’t that back in April? It sure feels like it. April feels like it was last season.
M: It was just before the trade deadline. And Smoltz and Penny and Lugo… and Masterson left. I still miss that kid, a lot. I LOVE, like in a very serious way, LOVE Victor Martinez, but Masterson will always have a special place in my baseball heart.
S: You know who I don’t miss? Fat Brad Penny.
M: Yeah, he was this year too, wasn’t he. Damnit. So many dreams crushed this year. Smoltz, Penny, Lugo (we were once psyched for him, remember?), Lowell’s hip… Ugh. Just yucky.
S: Can we agree right now that October needs to come and go really quick, so we can focus on next season? Regardless of what happens? I’m about over this year.
M: I don’t know, I’m just not as amped about SOXTOBER as I should be.
S: At least we have three other sports to look forward to, right? Whatever happens in Soxtober, there’s always that.
M: As much as I agree with that, my dear, these are the RED SOX. Our Red Sox. But good try.
S: Yeah, I know. I’m just trying to be optimistic, and all that.
M: Maybe it’s been the weather this summer. Not enough sweaty nights at the ballpark. Hasn’t been great baseball weather this summer, you know?
S: I think the one evening I went to watch baseball, it was like 75 degrees out. In JULY. That’s just…not right.
M: Or it was rainy for days on end.
[Please note that the following was absolutely spontaneous and unplanned, and makes us both love ourselves and hate ourselves at the same time.]
S: I want to come home from a baseball game full of hot dogs and beer, visions of Jacoby Ellsbury’s dustclouds dancing in my head, with a wicked sunburn… and that just didn’t happen often enough.
M: I want sunshine on my outfield making the grass almost glow next to the dirt on the track, sunset over 3rd base, and a Citgo sign in a clear night sky.
M: We’re both totally brainwashed by Fenway Parkism.
S: It’s so true.
M: Huh. Anyway, now that we’ve creeped everyone out by sounding like members of a goddamn cult, we have other sports to talk about. Up first, speaking of cult-like behavior on our part: TOM BRADY.
S: TOM BRADY. They’re not back in perfect form, but it’s getting there. Did you see his face after Joey Galloway’s pair of flubs in the first quarter? Those were PERFECT passes. Is Galloway the new Lugo? Brady was FURIOUS. It was REALLY HOT. But even hotter? The rest of that game.
M: Oh my god, what if Galloway IS LUGO IN DISGUISE?
S: Dude, don’t even joke about that.
M: I’m sorry.
S: I might cry.
M: Look at your Tim Thomas poster. That always makes you feel better.
[actual conversation pause]
S: Yep, we’re all good here.
M: How did you feel about the game last weekend overall?
S: I thought it started out struggly, but by the end of the game they definitely looked a lot sharper. Not 2007 Patriots sharper – but definitely improving over the week before. Ew, Gary Bettman, get off my TV.
M: Yeah, I think the learning curve even over the course of the game was pretty obvious. And I might add that their ability to learn during the game is in itself evidence of improvement.
S: That’s incredibly true, and will be one of the major keys to their success this year, especially since a good number of them are new to the starting line.
M: I am loving Edelman, by the way. Sure, he’s not there yet, but I like what I see so far. He fits in well with the team.
S: He’ll get there, for sure. I can definitely see that happening.
M: He has some tough competition for playing time. It was so sweet to see the Brady-Moss thing happening again. I love having a strong team all around, but that connection, along with Brady-Welker, that’s what can take us to the next level.
S: Truth. For that, though, we need Welker back. Cannot wait for that to happen.
M: Our defense: is it coming together?
S: I hesitantly want to say it is – but I really want one more game to make sure. They looked good at the end of last week, but this week will definitely be the telltale for that.
M: Yeah. They looked bad enough that I’m not giving them the benefit of the doubt after one good game.
M: Now, the Bruins have made their final cuts and are getting ready to play their home opener on Thursday against the Caps, and OH I’M GOING.
S: I hate you – but I get to see Joe Sakic’s number get retired, which is kind of cool. Doesn’t nearly compare, but at least it’s a piece of history. What do you think of the final roster? Gotta say I’m pretty satisfied, but I’m interested to hear your thoughts.
M: I like it. I’m thrilled that Sobotka made it, even more thrilled that it looks like Krejci is likely to start the season able to play, and I love that Tuukka Rask gets his time up in Boston. I was really excited seeing what we have in Providence, too.
S: It’s seriously so exciting the depth we have to start the season – we are seriously waist-deep in kids just itching to get up 95 and play some NHL hockey. Zach Hamill, Brad Marchand, Andy Wozniewski–they’re all just waiting in the wings in case anything happens, and they’re all ready. It’s interesting, I was discussing with a Caps fan the fact that Chris Bourque was released on waivers today – she asked if there was any chance the Bruins might snag him, and my answer was a resounding no. We really don’t need to spend any more money on excess AHL kids when we’re already pretty stacked.
M: Caps fans… they’re weird. Anyway, I agree, we’re stacked. Obviously there are guys who can use some more polish, but had a really strong camp.
S: Truth – primarily the guys who have been sent back to juniors. They’re a little on the young side, but in a few years–oh man.
M: Yeah, and that’s not including someone with as much potential as Joe Colbourne. How do you like the defensive pairings?
S: I think Matt Hunwick needs to sharpen his game a little -I heard Claude Julien say he was “trying too hard.” Just relax and play the game. He’s paired with Stuart I believe? That’ll look good once they get the kinks out. I have high hopes for Derek Morris to fill Ward’s shoes as Chara’s other half, but haven’t seen any sparks of brilliance there yet either.
M: Matt Hunwick has looked rough, but he’s been playing on the right, hasn’t he? I figure he’ll either get more adapted to that or get put back on the left. Of course, I’m basing this theory on how good he looked on the 2nd power play unit against the CBJ.
S: Yeah. It was a good experiment for the preseason, we’ll have to see what happens once the real game start.
M: Who moves up into Kessel’s spot with Savard? And his position on the power play?
S: We’ve seen the line of Lucic-Savard-Ryder, and we’ve seen Lucic-Savard-Sturm ; I think it’ll be a tossup between those two, with maybe–MAYBE–Lucic-Savard-Wheeler.
M: Yeah, I could see a rotation.
S: Julien does like to mix it up every once in a while, so we could maybe even see all three until something clicks definitively.
M: I think Wheeler’s chances improved when he finally looked like himself in that last preseason game. Kind of let go. No scoring, but finally moving. But I also think Julien likes Wheeler and Krejci on the same line. Worked well.
S: Yeah, Wheeler-Krejci-Ryder was a great line last year, I’d love to see more of that. Wheeler-Krejci-Sobotka had flashes of brilliance as well–although Sobotka’s a natural center, he’s nicely adaptable. Again with the depth; we’re really set.
M: And our checking line looks insanely solid, if not downright scary.
S: Oh dear lord, it really does – Bitz-Sobotka/Begin-Thornton is going to be BEASTLY.
M: Hmmm. Could that line be called truculent? I think it could.
S: I think you’re right. Any guesses as to how many PIMs that line will rack up this year?
M: Hm. Nope. Depends on how frisky they’re feeling with the Leafs and Habs. My guess? Pretty frisky. Did you see Lucic let loose on Neil the other night?
[Please note Lucic’s stick move to get Neil to fight. Also: “Lucic is a devastating machine.” Yeah he is.]
S: I did. THE BLOOD. Oh man.
M: I read that and I can just think of those ads: “Hockey fans. They’re not like other fans.”
S: My favorite is the one with the dad pounding on the glas of the nursery. “LOSER! LOSER! BEST BABY EVER!” Yeah, that’ll be me someday.
M: Okay, now we’re just dicking around. Anything else?
S: Think I’m satisfied. Also quite full of tea.
M: Do we want to bother to come up with some quippy little ending?
S: I dunno, what do you think?
Images courtesy of Getty Images and MLB.