Specifically, crappy, weak, bitter tea that isn’t even a close approximation of the real stuff, as it includes neither all the essential components nor the appropriate process.
I would have liked to have Tea Time this week– really I would have. But Sarah has midterms and is in the middle of some epic mayhem and we keep missing each other online. Seriously. On this curve:
Sarah is probably way, way off the charts, past where they’ve labeled “Exhaustion” and down into, like, negative performance, which I’m hoping doesn’t mean she is functionally dead.
Regardless, I had to call in the backups. I’ve got some sports-savvy friends on hand to provide brief commentary on various topics, and will be providing my own handy totally cliched cheers and jeers or whatever section, since I can’t bitch and moan to Sarah like I usually do. I’ve got a whole bunch of Bruins stuff to write about, so they aren’t discussed today, but check back in later this week.
I’d put that picture of the pretty cup of tea here but really, this post isn’t quite worthy. I dunno. Imagine a paper cup of weak tea being spat out by that machine in the kitchen at your job. Yeah, that’s kinda what this is like. It gets the job done.
First up, the Old Towne Team, headed to the playoffs. First round opponent: The Los Angeles Angels of California Anaheim Whatever.
I asked F-bomb what her thoughts were headed into the playoffs.
“We have injuries, and we’ve had some less-than-consistent pitching lately, and we’ve had trouble controlling opponents’ running game – but we also have a whole lot of AWESOME in pitching, offense, and defense. I expect great things from this team. I’m also scared silly. And a little nauseous. Which is wrong of me. ”
Yes, the playoffs can be an emotional time for the baseball fan, especially for Boston fans who get so tied up in their team’s success or failure that to the outsider it really appears to be a form of hysteria.
I will tell you this: the whole BELIEVE thing isn’t going so well in Boston. We’re not feeling the optimism. Mostly because our team goes through these periods of sucking total ass. But our team has been known to pull off serious playoff magic.
So I turned to Kate, though she is hardly an objective observer, what with being a footsoldier for the Evil Empire, also headed into the playoffs. She is reportedly feeling confident about her team’s chances, which makes me throw up in my mouth a bit.
Me: I would say that the weakness for the Yankees will be their weakness all year: pitching. If the bullpen falters or gets tired or mismanaged, there are going to be problems. Um, for you guys. Not for us. For us, it will be the offense, the goddamn bats.
Kate: Absolutely. I think that’s a fair assessment.
Me: For us, it will be the offense. What with our starting lineup reliably all slumping together. I mean, it’s nice team camaraderie, guys, but geez. On the other hand, I’m actually looking at what’s ahead and I think, you know, they MIGHT be okay. The starters might perform top to bottom up to what we know they’re capable of, with the bullpen doing the same. The bats might just have that extra pop, or we might just figure out the other guy. There’s a legitimate chance that we use the Angels as our chew toy and move on. And so on and so on. It might not be likely, but stranger things have happened. Like, for example, the 2007 Rockies reaching the World Series.
Kate: I think that’s the most scary thing for you and dangerous thing for everyone else: when the Red Sox play well, they’ll chew you up and spit you out. But they’ve been so inconsistent.
Me: Yes, they’ve toyed with us. That being said… it is really important for Red Sox fans to remember how lucky they are. Their team is a legit contender year after year. We’ve won two years World Series in the last 6 years, and have been in the playoffs ever year in between save one. We’ve now had four straight seasons with 95+ wins.
Kate: This does not stop your brethren.
Me: No. But nothing will. They don’t respond to rationality or perspective. To be fair, their love of the team isn’t rooted in those things.
The Patriots. Very interesting game on Sunday. Good game– with a great outcome– but interesting game. I’ve called in K., my friend who engaged in those gameday shenanigans with me, to provide some commentary.
Me: So. Ongoing issues? Anything that impressed you, stood out to you?
K: I was impressed by Tommy Brady’s scrambling. In the first few games, there were definitely times when no one was open, but he had a wide open running lane and he wouldn’t take it. This week he starting taking the short rushes, picking up a few more yards instead of throwing it away.
Me: I think Welker’s return is a big deal. Brady’s confidence in his receivers showed. I, uh, don’t know if you, you know, noticed, but he and Galloway didn’t seem to have much chemistry.
K: It allowed Randy to not be the safety valve like he was the week before.
Me: Did you agree with all that chatter about Randy not running out plays?
K: I think he’s going to get accused of that because he had a reputation as a prima donna. I didn’t notice anything. We heard the same thing his first year with the Pats.
Me: Yeah, I thought so too. I have a lot of trust in him, but I don’t know that it’s widespread.
K: I don’t understand how people can question his effort.
Me: I feel like if Brady trusts him, we should too. I mean, have you see how teammates who let Brady down are treated?
K: He was running all these crossing patterns last week, and getting hit hard across the middle, and keeping drives alive. That’s not something a prima donna does. He’ll do what it takes for the team to win. And Belichick wouldn’t have a player who didn’t play like that. Are you excited for Seau?
K: I worry a little bit about his age.
Me: Yeah, well, I don’t care. We’re up to our noses in young defenders.
K: The defense is finally getting younger, and there have been growing pains, but it’s something they need to do for the long term. It’s taken so long. I feel like really investing in the young defense will pay off down the road though.
K: So every week this season, including next week against Denver, the Pats have faced an undefeated team. Then the next week, they may be facing the un-winning 0-5 Titans. I like that symmetry.
Next up… the Celtics! The only team whose season hasn’t started– hence, we have to put them last. But, since Sarah isn’t here to interrupt my lovefest, I talked to Rey (remember him? Lakers fan?) about the upcoming season.
Me: So, anything on the Celtics?
Rey: My brother is a big-time Laker-hater. And he was telling me how the Celtics basically have an All-Star team. I’m guessing he’s picking them to win the title this year.
Me: Man, they have a pretty wicked team.
Rey: They do. Doc was saying how they want his Celtics to be in the discussion with the 85 Bears. If they stay healthy, I don’t see why not.
Me: Well, that’s a big if, isn’t it.
Rey: Do you think they can get through the 82-game grind without a major injury? Or are you very concerned about KG?
Me: No to both. I think the grind will claim someone. But I also think that there were a lot of injuries last year we didn’t hear about, so I expect better stuff from Pierce and Allen. Perkins will continue to improve offensively. Our depth is what will keep us in it. Rondo goes down? Allen? Pierce? Who is there– Eddie House and Marquis Daniels? That’s certainly not shabby there. I mean, we have Rasheed Wallace on the BENCH. Rasheed. Wallace.
Rey: Definitely not shabby. But like I mentioned over and over, there are about five or six loaded teams in the league.
Me: I agree, lots of loaded teams. It will come down to schedule, injuries, and psychology.
Rey: But you’re confident they can win it all again this year.
Me: I’m confident they CAN, but as usual, there are a lot of factors.
Rey: So who are the biggest threats to the Celtics?
Me: Well… everyone would say the Cavs, but while the Cavs have always been challenging, the Celtics can beat them. And we’ve always been able to get around Shaq, too. Orlando Magic is always a threat but we can hold our own with them.
Rey: Any team that might sneak up on them? In ’08, it was the Hawks. Last year, it was the Bulls.
Me: Um… well, yeah, the Bulls. The Hawks always get fiesty but fall flat. I don’t think it will be the Knicks.
Rey: The Raptors maybe?
Me: Here’s the thing: I genuinely believe that when the Celtics are on, they can break down anyone in the league.
Rey: I don’t doubt that.
Me: And I mean anyone. So all these teams that are absolutely amazing… it’s a coin toss in my mind.
A HEARTY “GOOD ON YA” TO…
The Bruins— after being ridiculously awful in their home opener last Thursday, they played with serious intensity against the Hurricanes on Saturday, beating them 7-2. Carnage left behind included 4 (I lost count though) bleeding Canes, one broken tibia, and a combined 87 penalty minutes. Old time hockey, boys. Love it.
Eric Staal— anyone who takes a puck to the head, gets 20 stitches and then returns to a blowout game the next period to score a goal gets props from me.
Jed Lowrie–first career grand slam in the last game of the season on Sunday, a season he spent largely dealing with wrist injuries. We’re proud of you, kiddo!
Victor Martinez— another grand slam this weekend. We love this guy.
Brady-to-Moss— it’s coming back into style, and I couldn’t be happier.
And of course, the biggest GOOD ON YA of all goes out to my sports-loving friends Kate, Rey, K., and F-Bomb for helping us out this week…
SMACKS UPSIDE THE HEAD TO…
The Bruins— seriously, they looked like shit in the home opener. They’ve always been a slow-starting team, but Jesus Crosschecking Christ, that was embarrassing.
Red Sox pitching— not inspiring confidence in the final week of the season. Get it together, guys.
Montreal Canadiens— Sarah says: “Half of them are injured. I call shenanigans.” For my part, I don’t need a reason.
Brett Favre— Oh my GOD, man, get OFF MY TV.
Blake Wheeler— Stop tweeting about Brett Favre and we’ll bump you up into the “good on ya” section, because we adore you here at the Tea Party. We love the tweets, but trash talk from Minnesota is unimpressive. Sorry.
Images courtesy of Getty Images, AP Photo and the Boston Herald