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Oct. 27, 2008 - I Need New Business Cards
   • We could not focus on drinkability forever, though I do take solace in knowing I woke up the morning after Game 4 -- following which I had a Bud Light at a bar -- with a splitting headache. History assures me those things are connected.

   No, thank you Yahoo Answers. I'm all set.

you get headaches from beer? I've never experienced a headache from beer. you probably just drank wayy too much. I think you just need to lower your consumption of beer.

   I did some digging. The last five questions this person asked involved buying a surfboard, a discussion of contacts and Jonas Brothers memorabilia.

   Thank you, Internet.


   There's really no need to put the last however many days in any sort of narrative. I paid my own way to Tropicana Field for the end of the Red Sox season, taking approximately 800 pictures of the catwalks.

Six Foul Poles

   It's hard to overstate just what a strange place that is to watch a baseball game, and that factoring in I saw it's first back-to-back crowds of 40,000-plus in ... I forget exactly. (I looked it up. It might be ever.) We were set up in the left-field "Party Deck", and for whatever reason, it appeared to be about 145 feet to home plate.

   Also? It was the perfect temperature at all times. I understand that's kind of the dome concept, but something about it struck me as incredibly creepy. Same with the gratuitous wrestler use, which doesn't even account for Hulk Hogan or Vladimir Kozlov, a lesser-light who "flipped the switch" to the roof lights after Game 7.

   A cursory Web search doesn't find what I need to find: Brian "Nasty Boy" Knobbs smashing himself over the head with a trash can lid as a means to fire up the Tampa crowd. They played it during both games, cutting to Knobbs live at the game going berserk.

   It would have seemed much stranger if I hadn't earlier found:

Scratch and Sniff?
-- The always popular scratch-and-sniff Rays cap.

   Apparently, it's a league-wide thing, or at least was at one time. The Red Sox ones must have sold out before I got the chance to see them.


   That trip, however, feels like a long time ago. At 12:01 a.m. Friday morning, I officially became interim sports editor on the departure of my boss for the New York Post. I can not properly describe the levels of misery just one week of this has spawned. I'm speaking relatively, of course, because when you've got a job that's pretty solid, things can only be so bad.

   But when you combine that we're short-staffed, it's getting to be high school tournament time, then Thanksgiving, then time for the winter season ... every second of my day is filled with the abject fear I'm forgetting something very important, and that I should be at work working.

   I am miserable more or less every second of the day, getting by on the knowledge that it can't actually get any worse. In the last three days, I'm reasonably certain I've worked in the vicinity of 36 hours, yet through the wonder of daily publishing feel like I'm at best treading water. This entry is the most extended writing I've done since the day after I got back from Tampa because something had to give.

   I actually tried to write a Red Sox wrap-up/report card on Saturday, but opted instead to sleep and go out to lunch with my wife. I was late to the office, and the paper missed deadline. That's reality right now, until I figure out what I -- and by extension, my staff -- can handle.

   I do not want to be sports editor for the reasons I always thought I wouldn't want to be: it's consuming my life, and I don't make near enough money or have near enough free time to make this job what defines me. If I'm told we won't be hiring anyone new and that the job is mine indefinitely, I'm not sure what I'll do. I'd like to think I'd quit on the spot, but I'm well aware that would cause several more problems that are a little bigger than the current lot.

   I suppose after six years of largely skating into incredible circumstances on talent, guile and luck, something like this was inevitable. And really, if this is as bad as it ever gets, I think I'm going to die very happy someday.

   There's so many more decent Tropicana pictures, but I can't figure out how to upload anything other than covers to the gallery. (Seriously.) Apparently, teaching yourself how to install a PHP photo gallery is not as easy as trying to diagnose error messages.

   On the plus side, the Celtics/NBA preview just posted up there fine.

Oct. 10-11, 2008 - Beer Snobbery
   Articles: They're in the listing below. Until the Red Sox are out, there'll be a lot. You should read them.

   • It is at this late hour, after the Red Sox and Rays had the audacity to play a five-hour, 27-minute game without me present, I can only think about one thing.


-- This [cuss word].

Anheuser-Busch tries to disprove the theory that all light beers taste the same in a new $50 million campaign for Bud Light, accompanied by the tagline: "The difference is drinkability."

All six spots show a beer-drinking occasion, such as a backyard bash, a pool party and a tailgate gathering. Three of the spots begin with a reveler stating that either light beers are the same, taste the same or "fill me up." Then everyone freezes as an actor strides through the still scene defining the term "drinkability."

One ad explains the concept of "being easier to drink" by illustrating the difference between drinking a raindrop or hail, a bottle of beer or a bottle of hot sauce. Another ad tries bolstering Bud Light's claim of "having just the right taste, not too heavy, not too watered down" by demonstrating drinkability as the difference between eating carrot sticks and a stick, and drinking bird bath water versus spring water.

   Basically, if I understand this correctly, Bud Light is accepting the fact it's awful beer. That it tastes like spoiled water, without many of the benefits one gets from drinking water.

   But, see, you can drink a lot of it! It's the beer to have if you can only have 20 beers, because it's after about 20 that you realize you're a superman, impervious to alcohol's siren song.

   

   I especially love the spot referenced above, comparing the difference between drinking a raindrop or hail. Because, as you know, being bombarded by things like flavor are a bad thing when your product's selling point is "quantity, not quality." Why enjoy one Sam Adams Light when the possibility of seven trips to the bathroom and a headache the following morning is so close, and so cheap?

The campaign is aimed at Bud Light loyalists and a group that A-B's consumer segmentation study dubbed as "the aspirers" -- meaning drinkers that tend to be Latino and looking for brands to trade up to.

   I have no idea what that means, but I'll give the Bud Light people credit. They've always been pretty solid on the advertising front, and "looking for brands to trade up to" makes me think they have utter disdain for a large portion of their consumers.

   I see a board meeting somewhere, where men in suits unironically say things like, "We're not a high-class consumer kind of product. Think 'drink from a puddle' kind of people."

   "Boss, have I got the idea for you!"

   I should note that Budweiser actually isn't that bad. It is bad, but the stink of it doesn't stick in my nostrils after drinking it.
Oct. 6-9, 2008 - Not Less Hectic, Just Less Fun
   Links Left on the Laptop: From last month's stumblings into the MTV News universe, not only do they write stories based on MySpace moods, they write them based on Web comments.

"When I heard this on the news, I started to cry," xxMExx wrote. "I am glad they are going to recover. Everyone else on that plane that died can rest in peace."

. . .

"I didn't actually believe that this happened when I heard about it, because I heard about it from my mom who doesn't understand who is in what band or anything," xverse wrote. "She told me that Blink-182 was in a plane crash, and I was like, 'That is impossible. Why would Blink be in the same plane at the same time?' Then I looked it up on here and saw it was Travis and his friends, and it blew my mind. I'm so glad he didn't die. If he did, it would have been a huge blow to everyone. That's how much of a badass Travis is -- an 'effin plane is going to crash and he hops out of the thing to survive."

   What other untapped sources are out there? Whispered gossip conversations in the halls of America's high schools? People talking to themselves in their cars? The synapse messages of Playboy playmates?

   As someone wiser than me said about this, "where can you possibly go after breaking up with an 82-year-old?"

Hefner was surprised to hear Madison discussing their breakup, but acknowledged he knew a split was imminent after he told Madison that they would never wed or have children.

   There is a remarkable amount of inconsistency in that man's relationship history. Though I suppose that's a natural when you're 82 and there's still a line out the gate.

   • As my administrative duties have increased, this was bound to happen eventually. I've written a story solely so I could design a cover around it.

Fight Night

Fight Night? Not Quite.
-- The story could be better. The cover, there's less of a chance of that.

   It's also good to know we've reached the point where people in the office are disappointed I picked the Red Sox to win the series, as it apparently dooms them from doing so.

Red Sox Moving On To ALCS
-- Columns remain much easier to write when games end.


Lowell Likely Done For Season
-- Though I later found out he thinks he might not be. We'll see.


Varitek's Complete Contributions Can't Be Overlooked
-- He was more than just a mad dash up the line.


Rays Pen Playing Catch-Up
-- Well, they were the worst bullpen in the history of time.

   If Philadelphia can win three more games, I will be very, very happy.
Oct. 3-5, 2008 - Glug, Glug, Glug
   Brewers Eliminated: I've said my piece about the Cubs, but forgotten to post this little Milwaukee nugget.

Prince Fielder
-- Mmm. Goo-like substance.

   Fielder, it should be noted, went 1-for-14 in the series against Philadelphia, though the one was a homer. (In the seventh inning of a 5-0 game, after he'd already stranded 12 runners in prior at-bats and before he would strand a 13th in his final at-bat.)

   I would seriously doubt the above scene had anything to do with that, but I can't figure that stuff's good for the eyes.

   • If there is an upside to being denied travel money for the playoffs -- though wording it like that implies there is travel money, which there isn't -- it's that I get to almost have a life for the final few weeks before I become sports editor.

   Yeah. If I didn't otherwise mention that, there's a reason. Election by "well, we're not replacing the full-time position your boss is vacating" is not exactly a reason to happy dance.

   The same Geoff that had a lazer tag/LAN party bachelor affair last month got married on Saturday in Bristol, R.I., which is inconveniently located for almost everyone but Julie and I.

   She pointed out it was the first wedding we'd attended as a couple in more than a year. I pointed out that I tend to think our own wedding counts as a wedding we attended at a couple.

   That she was bitten by four mosquitoes during the outdoor ceremony proves the higher powers agree with me.

   There are no pictures, but it's just as well. Someone should have stopped the Journey sing-along and the white people dancing to Outkast, but I'll settle for history fading it to "did that really happen" status for everyone but the bride and groom. And really, they seemed to really be enjoying it.

Iron Will
-- My latest magnum opus having nothing to do with baseball. Trust me, read it.


Not Just Yet
-- I hope it doesn't read like seven columns in one, though the flow of the game sure made writing it feel that way.


Back-to-Back Too Much For Drew
-- Pregame playoff notebooks are often not useful after the game is played.

Oct. 1-2, 2008 - Eamus Catuli
   • This ... wow. Better. Yikes.

Put away your dreams, everyone. It's over.

Last night's 10-3 Cubs loss to the Dodgers, which felt like the score was 100-3, was the most embarrassing postseason loss I have seen by any Cubs team, in fact possibly the most embarrassing postseason loss I've seen by ANY team.

-- Jesus. He must have been out of the country for 19-8.


Probably apt.
-- Probably apt, but still.

   As someone who spent the better part of his life cheering for a "cursed" team, I can't even fathom this morning in Chicago. I happened to catch, during Wednesday's pregame, that the Cubs were blessing their dugout. Holy water, the friar tuck suit, the lock of some plant, the whole thing.

   These people are mentally unable to cope with this, aren't they?

   Even in the face of 100 years of failure, is it possible to be able to deal with what's happening here? They were the best team in baseball almost the whole season. They won the National League by 5.5 games. Outscored every team in the league by almost 60 runs. They won 55 games at home ...

   ... and they might get SWEPT by L.A., which -- if the 84-78 record didn't set off some bells -- isn't very good.

   Yes, Chicago scoring 19 runs in seven games against the Dodgers was a red flag, as was L.A. being the only team to allow fewer runs than the Cubs for the NL season. Course, Chicago also went 5-2 head-to-head, making it right out of Tampa's "win the season series with Boston while hitting .230" playbook.

   I'm just trying to understand how you mentally keep caring about a team that this is happening to. And that's as someone who lived it, getting so disoriented after Aaron Boone's home run that I almost missed the postgame press conferences, then ended up in Queens an hour later because I couldn't navigate the subway I'd been riding on all week.

   I'll admit, the blessing thing kind of turned me off on Chicago until it was pointed out the Sox weren't exactly holding themselves to a high standard four years ago. Plus, there's my whole lingering Dodgers fandom, celebrating its 20th anniversary in a few weeks.

   But how can you not feel this with them? Especially since you can't just quit on them. Even if you try, when the excitement ramps up again the next spring, it comes back.

   Just give 'em one, baseball gods. Trust me, it'll be worth it.
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