EL HOMBRE KNOWS SPORTS
When Nicholas II’s cronies decided it was time to get rid of Russian mystic/drunk Grigory Rasputin, they appealed to his base sensibilities. Prince Felix Yusupovsky invited the starets to his palace, on the pretext of introducing Rasputin to his delectable wife. There would also be an assortment of gluttonous treats. In other words, it was just another Saturday night for Tsarina Alexandra’s most trusted confidant.
Rasputin, of course, consented. Once he arrived, the Prince and his confederates fed the “holy man” poisoned cakes and drink. Nothing. So, they shot him. Rasputin crumpled to the floor, and the men left him there to die. When they returned, Rasputin sprung up and began to beat the Prince, who called for help. His friends arrived with guns, cudgels and other implements of mayhem and set upon Rasputin. After giving him the business, they bound his arms and legs and tossed him into a nearby river, where finally, he died, not from his wounds, but by drowning. In fact, his hands and feet were free of the ropes
The Tampa Bay Beelzebub Rays had better study up on their Russian history, if they hope to subdue the Boston Red Sawx. Thursday night’s come-from-ahead debacle in Boston shows just how hard it is to conquer the defending world champions. Tampa held a 7-0 lead in the seventh, and half the team’s young roster was salivating at what was probably their first taste of champagne – even if the tightwad organization probably had screw-cap versions of the stuff on ice. But Big Papi, he of the 1-for-700 ALCS batting performance, smacked a homer. J.D. Drew launched one, too. The previously infallible Tampa bullpen imploded. And here we go, back to Florida, with the Sawx’ having new life.
This is exactly why the Phillies do not want to see Boston in the World Series. It doesn’t matter whether the Satan Rays have a better team, what with the power of B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria, the speed of Carl Crawford, the magnetism of Robin Zander and that solid starting rotation. The Sawx are just too damn resilient. Like Rasputin, they can’t be killed with just poison. Or bullets. You have to lop their collective head off and bury it 1,000 miles from the rest of the corpse. You have to dig out their heart and feed it to 100 baying hounds. And even then, you had better sleep with an eye open, just to make sure a stray limb doesn’t pick up 32 ounces of maple and hit a spirit-breaking home run.
The Lucifer Rays are good. Maybe great, even. After Thursday, they remain the preferred opponent for the Phils, thanks to the Sawx’ pathological ability to come back in big games. As the ALCS returns to Florida, El Hombre has a bit of advice for the Abaddon Rays: Dust off the guillotine. Bring in the electric chair. The firing squad. The asps.
You’re going to need all of it, if you want to play the Phillies.
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AND ANOTHER THING: If, as the MLB Players Association asserts, owners colluded to make sure BALCO Bonds would not be signed for the ’08 season, then baseball should pay. While Bonds is a reprehensible character and the poster-child for the drug abuse that was rampant during the ‘90s and early 21st century, that is no excuse for breaking established labor rules. Worse, Bonds’ became such a monster in a climate propagated by baseball itself. Congratulations to baseball for convincing the Players Association to hold off until after the World Series to file a grievance, but if the owners colluded, they must pay, even if it means losing a round to the horrible Bonds. Baseball created its problem, so it must continue to do penance.