Monday, July 20, 2009


During the summer, Sunday nights can be some of the most depressing parts of the week. You've spent all weekend by the beach or pool side. Maybe you tried to get some stuff done around the house. There's even a good chance you're still nursing a hangover Sunday afternoon from a BBQ the day before.

But then the 6 o'clock hour rolls around and reality comes crashing in: A full work week in the morning. It doesn't matter if it's work at some fancy law firm, or a little pool store on route one, the fact is Sunday nights usually suck. But with the new HBO Sunday night lineup, it's actually something I look forward to on Sundays.HBO has set it up perfectly. Starting at 9 o'clock is an hour of sexy shape shifters, vicious vampires, and the Soldiers of the Sun on True Blood. To be honest, I've only seen two episodes so far, but this show is pretty out of control. It's from critically acclaimed director, producer, and writer Alan Ball, who also produced the HBO hit Six Feet Under. I'm not sure if it's because of the Twilight hoopla, but this show is being talked about everywhere. I judge this from my scientific research I did last night that said it was one of the top things tweeted about last night.

Personally I think the whole vampire thing is really stupid. But I will say that I like the social commentary on the relationship between the vampires and the Southern Christan humans. How about a shout out to the Bible Belt for their continued success of lowering America's overall IQ?

Next up would be Hung, a show about a guy trying to get his kids back after his house burns down. Heart warming right? Well to supplement his teaching and coaching salary, Ray Drecker plans to use his Tommy Lee sized pecker to please the ladies.

Here's where HBO played this lineup perfectly: I personally would wait for Entourage to put on HBO Sundays. But since my good friend and girlfriend enjoy eating pints of ice cream and watching True Blood (yes we've been triple dating the past 2 Sundays), it only makes sense to keep HBO on for Hung. And I'm glad we did. The series is only 3 episodes deep, but it's had some really hysterical scenes so far. Not to mention lead character Ray is played by Thomas Jane, a guy who made me like Mickey Mantle in 61*. I'm not saying this is the new big show from HBO, but it certainly works as a great filler from 10-10:30.

Last but not least, is Vinny Chase and his Entourage. Hard to believe that this show is already the longest running HBO Original Series with Sex and the City. Now Vince's career shitting the bed only worked for about an episode. Once Mark Wahlberg ended his lengthy conversation with a dog, donkey, and chicken, he too realized that E sucked too much and could not carry this show as the man. Or maybe that was just me. Either way, with more Meadow Soprano this season, and Lloyd rushing Ari's Firm, Entourage will have no problem leaving fans wanting more again at the end of this season.

This lineup is great, but I'm looking even more forward to the fall when 2 of my favorite HBO shows are coming back. Curb Your Enthusiasm will bring the Seinfeld cast together again, and promises to be more awkward than Michael Cera getting caught masturbating by his Mom. And what will happen with Kenny Powers now that he's not playing in Tampa and left April at the gas station on East Bound and Down? These questions and more will all be answered Sundays this fall. If McNulty and Bunk were coming back too, then I could die a happy man.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Anti-Manny

As has been the case for most of the decade, a Red Sox player started in left field for the American League All-Stars last night. But unlike years past, his play spoke for itself. It wasn't about the lame excuse he gave as to why he couldn't play in the game. Such are the differences between Manny Ramirez and Jason Bay.

I've said it a million times, but my relationship with Manny in the last year has been like a break up with a long time girlfriend. I could deal with his BS, like peeing in the wall and or high fiving fans while making a catch. When the Sox traded him at the deadline last year I was crushed. I said that day that there was no way we could win the World Series without him. I don't remember for sure, but I probably put on some Simple Plan and cried in my room for three hours too.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that we could get anything as good as Jason Bay back in return. To be honest, my AL East bias told me that Bay was a good player on a bad team. Like Julio Lugo and Edger Renteria before him, I thought he wouldn't be able to handle to the heat from Boston fans and the media.

I could not have been more wrong. Yes his average has dipped quite a bit over the last month, but he still is top ten in the AL in home runs, and leads the league in RBIs. He also scored the game winning run against the Angels in game 4 last year to send Boston to the ALCS. Maybe most importantly, he already has a big hit against the Yankees this season to his credit.

Perhaps even better than his play, is Bay's demeanor. With Manny, you always had to be be prepared that he was going to do something stupid on or off the field. Fans, the media, and even the Red Sox management chalked this up to Manny being Manny. Thankfully, there is none of this nonsense with Jason Bay. The guy just goes out and plays the game. Bay has been a very model citizen while playing in a Sox uniform this year. In fact, his biggest off the field story was the fact that he became an American citizen.

The only question that remains now with Jay Bay is how long he'll be taking the field at 4 Yawkey Way. He is making close to $8 million this year, and he will certainly cash in this off season. In a perfect world, something would get done before the end of this season, so I wouldn't have to suffer another coronary about the Red Sox left field spot. But with Johnny Damon coming up as a free agent this off season too, there's a chance Jason Bay could break my heart worse than Manny by heading to the Skankees, I mean Yankees.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Road Warriors

There are three basic reactions fans have when their team suffers a loss: The "Meh." It doesn't really phase you either way. The "heart breaker." I think that one speaks for itself. And finally, the "ARE YOU SHITTING ME?" where a play in the game can only be described as what Chaz Michael Michaels would call mind bottling.

The Red Sox game last night was somewhere in the middle of the last two. I couldn't believe the entire infield would forget how many outs there were in the sixth, and it was even harder to believe the best bullpen in baseball could blow a 9 run lead with 9 outs to go. Things have been so good for the Sox the the last 5 and a half seasons that I forgot what those losses were like.

Luckily, I was over it by this afternoon because the Red Sox rallied this time, and came back to win the game 6-5 in extras. The road has been tough for the Sox over the last two seasons. It cost them a trip to the World Series because Game 7 of the ALCS was played in St. Petersburg and not in Boston. But after this very successful road trip (6-3) the Red Sox seemed to have solved that problem.

Or maybe it's really because these games don't seem like true road games. Red Sox fans are flooding their opponents ball parks, getting rid of home field advantage. I swear, watching a Sox Nationals game last week I heard Big Papi hit a home run, and the crowd went wild like it landed on Landsdowne.

Now this road trip included the Orioles and Nationals. Baltimore and D.C. are both short trips for fans from Boston, and are cool cities that have stuff to do other than baseball. Like the Lincoln Memorial and Hamsterdam.

But the big crowd in Atlanta really surprised me. The Braves are a little down this year, but I still didn't expect to hear a very audible, "LET'S GO RED SOX," chant sparingly throughout the game. This isn't a series in the middle of the summer when you would expect lots of fans to make a trip down south; this is the weekend before July Fourth in a recession. At least Red Sox Nation is doing their part to stimulate the economy. You're welcome America.

The Sox don't play another road game until after the All-Star Break, and that series is another short road trip to Toronto. After that, the Red Sox never go further than Arlington Texas for a game. So if this road trip was any indication for the rest of the season, the Sox have as many true road games left as Michael Jackson London Tour dates (Too soon?).