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Sluggers-069-Sammy-SosaSammy Sosa tested positive for steroids–yep, Sam(my) is playing the same old tune.  It’s become a recurrent theme in baseball these days; another star player who let thousands of fans down and/or vindicated thousands of critics by getting caught cheating.

So, steroids again.  Do I care?  No, I can’t say that I do, but then I’m a grown woman and though I admit to being a bit of a fangirl where some of the players are concerned–can we all say Manny?  Phffft!–I’m old enough to know baseball players aren’t perfect and I don’t idolize them or dream of being like them.  Unfortunately, that’s not true for a lot of baseball fans, namely those under the age of eighteen and those who have kids under the age of eighteen who love baseball.  Nor is it true for minor league players whose idea of the great life is playing in the major leagues one day.

Don’t get me wrong, I love baseball and though I know steroids are a problem we’ll be hearing more about and one we need to find a solution for, I think major league baseball has a bigger problem than steroids.  Wait, no, I meant MLB commissioner, Bud Selig, has a bigger problem than steroids.  It’s obvious to me, given the leaks from a list that was supposed to be confidential, that one of Bud’s minions has turned against him.  Someone out there is doing their best to make Mr. Selig look like a bumbling idiot with his head firmly planted in the sand.  Not to mention the worst MLB commissioner ever…

and they’re doing a pretty good job of it.

**image courtesy of g6733 on PhotoBucket

In case you haven’t heard, the Red Sox swept the World Series right out from under a red-hot Colorado Rockies team.  Everyone, including Fox Sports, okay, most of all Fox Sports, had an ongoing love affair with the Rockies and were pulling for them to win.  Oops!  My boys and all the members of Red Sox Nation–of which I am a member–had something different in mind.  And all I’ve got to say is “how sweet it is!”

I know it’s cliche, but I can’t think of a better way to tell you how good this feels.  Sure, we won in 2004, and a lot of people–especially Yankees fans–claimed it was just a “fluke.”  We “got lucky” they said and “enjoy it because it’ll be another 86 years before it happens again.”  Yeah, right.

Last night as I watched my boys celebrate on Coors Field, I started wondering what they’re going to say now.  I didn’t have long to wait.  The Yankee fans who are usually so vocal on the AOL MLB FanHouse blogs have been unusually quiet this post season, but it didn’t take long for the Cleveland Indians fans and the Colorado Rockies fans to pop up and start saying Boston had “bought” the World Series by paying outrageous amounts of money to their players.

Bad sportsmanship.  Sore losers.  Sour grapes.  Whatever you want to call it, that’s all it is.  I don’t want to hear it because they obviously didn’t watch the same World Series I watched.  Our veterans and higher paid players are great, sure, and they might, just might, have been able to pull this off by themselves, but the guys who really stepped up to the plate and won the games for us this year are the rookies.  Dustin Pedroia, Hideki Okajima, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Jacoby Ellsbury–who isn’t even considered a rookie yet.  The list goes on and on, and though he’s not a rookie any  more, you can’t forget Jonathan Papelbon.  Those are the guys who carried us to the pinnacle.  I don’t want to take anything away from our veteran players, but damn!  Those young players, some of which don’t even look old enough to have a driver’s license, have been just flat-out unbelievable!

So, talk all you want about Boston “buying” the World Series.  I–and I think it’s safe to say–the rest of Red Sox Nation aren’t listening.

We’re the champions this year.  Deal with it.  Take your little white flags home and use them for crying towels.  They may as well be put to good use, because they certainly didn’t help your teams in the playoffs or the World Series.  And to the Fox sports announcers, your love affair with the Rockies is doomed.  I don’t think those guys are going to want to have anything to do with you after the way you jinxed their team with your embarrassing outpouring of accolades and praise for their exceptional drive and memorable playing.  Sorry, momentary relapse into my superstitious side.  From my practical side, your announcing was pitiful and I pray some other network will snatch the World Series coverage out of your inept hands.  I mean, come on, when the announcers at an event as important as the World Series can’t even pronounce the names of the players, that’s just piss-poor reporting.  Learn the names of the players and the teams before you open your mouths.  And by the way, whichever of you it was who was talking the other night about how good it must be to be a fan in Boston right now with the “White Sox” playing in the World Series, the Pats undefeated, etc., etc.  You’re an idiot.  Fox should fire your ass for that alone!

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program…the Red Sox won the World Series and now have two championships in their pockets this century.  There’s a lot of speculation about whether they can keep this going and win another World Series in the not so distant future.  Well, you know what Red Sox fans have been saying for a long time now; “Wait till next year.”

The thing is…for Red Sox fans, that now has an entirely different connotation.  Instead of “okay, we lost this year, but there’s always next year,” it’s “I can’t wait to see what this team can do next year!”  That’s incredibly sweet!

And the frosting on top of this wonderfully sugared dessert?  Well, the first thing that came out of my Yankee fan husband’s mouth this morning was, “Wait till next year.”

Oh, yeah, couldn’t have said it better myself!

I promised myself I wouldn’t write anything else about the Red Sox until we find out how the ALCS turns out, but I’m fed up with the way the sports media is vilifying one of my favorite players, Manny Ramirez, and I have five words for them: Just. Shut. Up. About. Manny!

I love Manny, even–or perhaps I should say, especially–when he’s just being Manny.  He’s cocky–yes, but he has reason, take a look at his stats, if you want proof.  He’s a smart-ass–yes, and my mom always told me “No one loves a smart-ass.”  Well, sorry Mom, but your daughter is currently crushing on one, and has been ever since said smart-ass became a member of the Boston Red Sox.  He doesn’t always say the right thing–yes, but who of us isn’t guilty of that?  He sometimes acts a little silly–yes, but again, who of us isn’t guilty of that? 

The thing is–are you listening ESPN and all you other sportscasters out there?–Manny is an individual, and as such, he’s multi-dimensional.  His life isn’t always about “Manny being Manny,” nor is it always about “Moonshot Manny” or “Mann Ram.”  It’s not even always about being a basesball player.  He’s a husband, a father, a son–I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Then again, maybe you don’t.  You haven’t exactly impressed me with your intelligence thus far, but back to the subject at hand, Manny…Manny is a baseball player who has a tendency to speak out about certain things or act a little goofy at times, but just because you see his remarks or behavior as innappropriate, that doesn’t mean they are.  What he said the other night about the possibility of losing the ALCS not being the end of the world was, if you take the time to think about it–you do know how to think, don’t you?–dead-on right.  It wouldn’t be the “end of the world,” and as he said, there is “always next year.”

Manny also said, “we just want to have fun and win.”  Hmm…Manny wants to have fun while he’s doing his job.  Don’t we all want that?  Of course we do, and in my opinion, that’s something we could all learn from Manny.  He’s a baseball player, yes, but more than that, he’s having a good time doing what he’s paid to do.  I don’t know about you, but I like that idea.  I personally think the world would be a much better place if more of us were like Manny.  I mean, sure, goals are important, and you should try your best to reach them…but don’t forget to have a little fun along the way.

That’s a lesson for the ages.  I like it much better than the lesson you’re trying so hard to shove down our throats; winning is everything, and individuality is cause for shame and mockery.  Well, winning isn’t everything and individuality should be celebrated, not ridiculed.

So, get off Manny’s back, quit taking his words out of context and trying to make him seem like the biggest idiot who ever walked the earth, much less played the game of baseball, and most of all, grow up!  All your fnger pointing and laughing only goes to show your incredible immaturity…and it’s just cost you one viewer.

(No sportscasters were harmed during the venting of this rant.)

I’m not sure why that title popped into my head this morning, but it did so I’m going to go with it–and hopefully continue with it in the Fridays to come.  I’m feeling…um, melancholy this morning.  Or maybe a better way to put it would be pensive, because I’m not feeling sad, which is the first definition listed for melancholy in the dictionary.  The second is pensive, contemplative.  That describes my feelings better.

Also, I’ve noticed a lot of bloggers are following certain themes for their blogs as a way of coming up with ideas about what to write on certain days, i.e. Thursday Thirteen.  The themes don’t appeal to me, but I like the alliterativeness of the titles–hence Friday Folly.

From Websters Dictionary; folly–1) a lack of good sense, understanding or foresight, 2) an act or instance of foolishness.

Like most people, I’ve had a few of those in my life and they fall under several categories; a) some which I regret, b) some which I learned from, c) some which, though stupid at the time, turned out all right in the end,  and d) some which I can now look back on and say, “What the heck was I thinking?”  My Friday Folly for today is one which falls under a) right now, but I hope will some day be included under c).

Back when I was a kid, I was on a softball team that sucked–and I mean, it really sucked.  We were the youngest team in the league and we didn’t win a single game that year…think “Bad News Bears” without the happy ending.  One fateful night, our game was rained out.  I wasn’t in the mood to read, so I turned on the TV and as I flipped through the channels, I happened to catch a baseball game.  I was a highly competitve kid and I played softball, so watching a baseball game seemed like a good idea at the time.  I don’t remember who the opposing team was, but I do remember the winning team was the Boston Red Sox.  And by the time the game was over, I was mesmerized.

The reason for my fascination?  Tony Conigliaro, a hot-shot rookie, who before he was beaned in the eye several years later, showed promises of becoming one of those outstanding players who go down in the sports annals as one of the greatest who ever played the game.

As the kids today say, I was crushing on Tony C, and he returned the favor by infecting me with an incurable disease, a passion for the Red Sox.  If you’re a Sox fan, you know what I’m talking about.  If you’re not, all you have to do is watch the movie “Fever Pitch,” it’ll give you a pretty good idea of what it means to be a Red Sox fan.  So, since the disease is incurable, I still root for them, and there are times when I curse the name of Tony Congliaro and times when I think he was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Unfortunately, right now, I’m cursing his name.  The Sox have given up a 14 1/2 game lead in the AL East, which is bad enough in itself, but what’s worse is they’ve given it up to the Yankees.  I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before, maybe even caught me talking about it on this blog–dare I hope?–but it seemed a good way to start this theme because it’s one of those things that happen in your life which will keep you guessing until the end.

The thing is, was it a gift or a curse?  Well, thank goodness, the jury’s still out on that one and I can still hope that it’ll turn out all right in the end…

…but probably not this year.    

For the most part, I write in the romance genre, but I also dabble in young adult and children’s stories.  In all of these, the hero/ine is one of the most, if not the most, important element of the story.  Everybody loves a good hero/ine, right?

Well, not so much anymore.

Jim Croce sang, “…you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger…”  Maybe not in your day Mr. Croce, but today we seem to delight in doing just that–unmasking our hero/ines and shoving their faces into the dirt for a little added entertainment.

Looking back on the hero/ines of my youth, I still see them as people to be looked up to, people worthy of my respect, people who will always hold a special place in my heart and mind.  That’s not to say they didn’t have flaws.  Of course they did, after all, no one’s perfect, but their imperfections are not what I remember when I think about them. 

I have to wonder if it will be the same for today’s kids.  Will they look back on the hero/ines of their youth with a smile or a scowl?  Probably the latter. 

These days, it seems everywhere you look, hero/ines are taking falls worthy of Humpty Dumpty.  Sports figures, movie stars, singers, politicians, astronauts–any and all who dare tread one step into the spotlight can expect to be scrutinized under the media’s microscope then offered up for public humiliation when they’re caught doing something wrong.

Who holds the greatest share of the blame for that?  The media?  The public?  The hero/ines themselves?

Any and all of the above.  We’re all guilty, we all share equally in the blame, but I don’t expect any of us will stand up and do a thing to stop it.  We’re fascinated (though we proclaim disinterest), thrilled (though we declare disgust), and hungry for more (though we voice our distaste loudly and often).

Which doesn’t help today’s kids in any way whatsoever.  Unless, of course, they have aspirations to be a tabloid journalist/photographer when they grow up.  

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams