Author: RJ

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Varitekian Sonnets

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Recently, a collection of sonnets in the Shakespearean form were submitted to this site for review. They were not solicited, and despite our multiple entreaties for him to stop, the submitter sent multiple versions multiple times, both electronically and via post, and often with poorly Photoshopped images suggesting poor moral character. The submitter left it unclear as to whether he wrote the sonnets himself, was submitting them on someone’s behalf, or had taken these sonnets without the author’s permission.

We here at Nerds On Sports have decided to make the most of these submissions and taken a critical eye toward them. This is the first of the whole collection, as well as the start of an introductory subset which the submitter referred to as the “recreation sonnets.”

Sonnet 1

No longer will the captain make his trek,
A walk of solace from home plate to mound:
To meditate on throws did Varitek –
Whence pitcher’s victims whiffed or cursed  aloud.

Four times opponents did score zeros twice1,
And Captain’s ‘rouse with applied glove to face2
The shame of  A-Rod! And new rings! – Quite nice,
Yet how I’ll miss your crouch behind home base.

O  Captain, hitting switch is but a tease.
Must you tell me how better it will get?3
There’s need to learn to catch, if you would please,
A happy player if we ever met.

No4 single, only a grand slam will do.
A  highly scoring game with love so true.

1 ie A no-hitter
2 An obvious reference to the July 24, 2004 game
3 http://youtu.be/TGcY_ip3w7g
4 A few versions of this sonnet had this as “Now” instead of “No,” possibly suggesting that part of it was written following Varitek’s divorce. However, the majority and most recent sonnet had it as is.

The sonnet follows the traditional form, with the first two quatrains establishing Jason Varitek as the hero, the “Captain,” the leader of the Red Sox who ultimately achieved their long-sought goal of winning the World Series. But by the end of the second quatrain, the sonnet moves away from the establishment of Varitek’s pietas and toward the author’s view of him.

The thematic turn, or volta, comes into full force at the beginning of the third quatrain, when the author entreats the hero for a closer relationship. While spelled out clearly in this quatrain and the couplet, this is hinted at throughout the poem, especially with the use of “rouse” in line six. Ostensibly, this is referring to Varitek rallying his teammates to overcome the Yankees and to evenutally lead the former into what would be an epic post-season. But this could also refer to getting the crowd excited for the game. Or for one fan in particular and in a very specific fashion, spelled out in the final couplet. Indeed, the remainder of the sonnets get exceedingly more graphic and are unpublishable for a family-oriented blog such as this.

Talkin’ Softball

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I’ve recently joined a gay softball league. I wasn’t sure if it’d be appropriate to post about it here, since gay =! nerd, at least according to popular stereotype.  But considering that our team was the Clinic Day team (read: comprised of members who were not chosen for the other gay teams), has yet to achieve a single victory, and had one our players construct a team website based off of Sharepoint, I figured that would be good enough to pass.

Which is not to say we aren’t getting better.  Our coach, a sweet avuncular man who drives a car with a sexually suggestive license plate, keeps telling us: “You don’t even know how much better you’ve gotten since the first day.” Softball plays a huge part of this life, as he plays with three other softball teams in addition to coaching our own. Weeks of fielding drills, scimmages, and time spent at the batting cages have resulted in marked improvement, if not an actual victory.

One thing I’ve truly appreciated is the whole feeling of being part of a team. The other time I’ve really experienced this is in a professional context, which always feels forced and leaves quite a bit to be desired. But with softball, the camraderie and support is a lot more sincere. It helps that when we’re not playing or practicing we tend to be drinking. When we were watching the other games, one of my teammates brought a bottle of Pinot Grigiot and hid it a paper bag. “It’s the ‘Gay 40,'” he said.

Like any good sports team, there’s a lot of sexual teasing and discussing who we find attractive. Another one of my teammates said, “It’s great that we can just talk about this openly here. It’s not like you can go to a Sox game and talk about who we find hot. I blinked and said, “Oh, I do that anyway.” Loudly. As anyone who has ever attended a Sox game with me can attest.

Zombie editor RJ sez…

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  • …Nope, still don’t give a shit about basketball – professional, college or otherwise.
  • …I wish I could get more into the WBC, but the fact that The Netherlands beat the Dominican Republic twice has me taking it less, not more, seriously.
  • …I now have a Jason Varitek shirt and (courtesy one of my friends, promise) shrine, with votive candle.  I am drifting in between the territory of “amusingly obsessed” and “creepily monomaniacal.”
  • …I need to get my spreadsheets ready for fantasy baseball.  Even though they don’t really work.
  • …I watch this commercial and think things like “Whose house is this? And what are they eating?”

Three Guys One Cup

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Greetings everyone. I would first like to thank Serpico for holding down the fort while the rest of the Nerds on Sports team had seemingly gone AWOL. Maybe they’re busy playing at an online casino like 666Casino or whatever, I’ve heard it’s fun to play games, but it’s just a hunch. Reasons for our absence range from life-altering personal developments to just being a bum. Which of those apply to which writer is an exercise left to a reader, though amusing guesses are encouraged.

The only contents of this cup has been quarters. Get your mind out of the gutter.Anyway, I finally have a sports post to blog about, and its not an even a rant about my fantasy baseball team, which would appeal to no one. Instead, I have a story about the Lowell Spinners game I attended last Saturday. Now minor league baseball has some inherent virtues, like the simple pleasure of watching a baseball game for cheap, and starting players with an average of less than 100, but I’m not going to dwell on such things. Instead, I’m going to talk about the game Pass the Cup, which was played by Willis, Serpico, and I. The premise of the game, for those of you too lazy to click on the link, is that during the game, a cup is passed between players during the game, and depending on the outcome of the AB, players have to put money in or take money out (in our case, in the form of quarters), and pass the cup on or keep holding onto it. Much like fantasy baseball, it makes you have more of a vested interested in the game and causes you to at times cheer against the home team. But unlike fantasy baseball, where you might be interested in only a few players, pass the cup makes you more interested in every single AB, regardless of who it is, and regardless of who is holding the cup. During the game I was losing a lot of money, mostly due to that pesky mounders rule, but I was able to walk away with the whole pot with a game-ending double play. My copious winnings all went toward the exciting purchase of laundry.

Having gone through the game once, we are already seeking to tweak the rules. Willis has already proposed increasing the amount of money taken out for base hits, which would likely work out well given how large our pot grew. I also believe that additional rules could be added/changed, including:

  • Reach on Error: money in cup stays the same, but pass the cup in the opposite direction
  • Walk in a run: collect $0.50
  • Inside the Park Home Run: collect the cup + $1 from each player
  • Last out of game (No hitter): collect the cup + $2 from each player
  • CALLING THE PLAY: Before the ball is put into play, if the cup holder can correctly guess what the player AB will do (fly out, ground out, strike out, BB, single, double, triple, home run), s/he can decide whom to give the cup to (and can hold onto it if they wish).

Any other suggestions? Should some element of those weird audience participation games that take place between innings be added? Place a comment and let us know!

“Liveblogging” “Opening Day”

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ellsbury.jpgWith the Red Sox having their opening day over in Japan, I dutifully set my alarm clock for 5:50 AM so I could kickoff baseball season in style, i.e. in pajamas in the dark with the sound turned real low. Co-editor Willis had suggested trying to talk via interweb as the game was going on, but I’m not fancy enough to have a laptop. I did, however, keep notes throughout the whole affair, and am presenting them to you now.

The Night Before: In order to prepare waking up ass-early, I readied myself by going to bed around 10 (which would afford me an equal night’s sleep as usual). I made myself sleepy by drinking Guinness and warm milk, though not at the same time.

c. 2-5 AM: Weird dreams. I don’t really remember what they were about – something about replacement dinners? I dunno. Anyway, I do know that in more than one dream I said, “I have to leave so I can get up early and watch the game.” No, really.

5:50 AM: Snooze button.

5:57 AM: I trudge myself out of bed, make myself comfy on the couch and fiddle with the remote until I find NESN. I turn to the channel just as the Japanese national anthem is being played. Mildly disconcerting. And then the managers are given bouquets of flowers. I wonder how Joe Torre would react to a bouquet of flowers. Or Earl Weaver.

6:07 AM: I find it reassuring to hear the voices of Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy. I take a minute to wonder what would happen if Remy were lost in downtown Tokyo without a translator. Would he ever find his way home? It’s like a zen koan.

6:11 AM: Joe Blanton takes the mound. He is on my fantasy baseball league this year, but these Tokyo games don’t count toward anything in our league due in part to their peculiar scheduling.
So I have no feelings of ambivalence, but would rather not have a Red Sox defeat that crushes his soul. Or patella.

6:19 AM: A Mark Ellis HR. Oh, goody.

6:23 AM: Jack Cust is at bat. His presence makes me wonder if there are going to be any good Mitchell-report heckles this year. It is too early in the morning for me to think of any.

6:38 AM: Seeing a scruffy Jason Varitek reminds me that I’ve missed baseball oh so very much.

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Toughest Man in America

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340x.jpgBrett Favre announced his retirement today, ending an amazing seventeen year career, which included 253 consecutive starts at quarterback, 160 wins, 63 games with at least three touchdowns, and 3 AP NFL MVP awards. I will admit to not closely following his career except in a prurient sort of way, but I know enough that his career achievements are amazing and speak of an incredible amount of dedication.

Favre left a voicemail for Chris Mortensen this morning. And the clip for some dumb reason omits the first part of the voicemail, where he starts off by saying, “I’m just tired.” And he stammers through describing all his reasons. And he says that he would have big shoes to fill if he stayed. And it’s just so heartbreaking.

RJ’s Predictions

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I have been shirking my Nerds On Sports duties. There are several factors contributing to this: holiday stress, holiday travel, illness, seasonal affective disorder, excessive alcohol consumption, insomnia, hypersomnia, apathy, work stress, and an inability to find a topic that I’m interested in. In a sense, the Super Bowl is actually a poor topic for me with which to break my hiatus, because I actually don’t care that much about the game.

Football for me has always been a sort of background spectator sport. I unabashedly admit to watching just because my friends are watching, and will cheer for whomever they’re cheering for, because it ultimately makes little difference to me. It’s not like with baseball, where I will fortify myself in my living room, snapping at my roommates who want to watch Grey’s Anatomy. Left to my own devices, I will not bother to watch football games.

Instead, I watch football games with my friends, making references to The Last Boyscout at inappropriate times, yelling out advice like punting on third down or attempting field goals from the opponent’s 40, or ogling the players. (For this reason alone I was sad that the Packers and Brett Favre did not make the Super Bowl). It’s a wonder I get invited to any football parties at all.

So with that in mind, here are my predictions for the big game:

  • I will eat too many nachos and drink too much Guinness
  • Tom Brady will ignore the fact that I am trying to woo him through the television screen
  • There will be a few standout commercials, but most will disappoint
  • The Halftime Puppy Bowl will set a new record for levels of adorableness
  • I will be asked to “use my indoor voice”
  • The Patriots will win

This is the 1st installment in today’s PICKSTRAVAGANZA by the Nerds on Sports staff. Check back on the hour from 11 AM to 4 PM for more “insight” from the nerds.

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