May 2010


Roy Halladay - Topps 2008 no. 230

How happy am I that Doc has taken his reign of terror to the National League? So happy, man. So happy.

For someone who spends as much time face first in the news as I do, I’ve had a rough week.

On Friday night, I was out having a drink when, a bit past midnight (technically Saturday at that point), I learned that Gary Coleman had died the day before. The next day, I went over to my Google News front page, and took a quick glance at which names were popular search terms. When I saw Dennis Hopper, I let out an audible “uh oh.” Sure enough, the great Hopper was no longer with us. And I was bummed.

After a busy Saturday, I woke up Sunday morning to see a new name at the top of the most searched: Roy Halladay. I was praying he hadn’t died, too, thus completing our celebrity death trio. As much as I hated seeing him suit up for the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East for all those years, he’s a horse. He’s an old school pitcher in the tradition of Nolan Ryan, who throws hard, racks up the innings, strikes guys out and completes games. And his nickname is “Doc.” There is nothing to dislike about Roy Halladay.

Well, fortunately, Halladay is still alive and kicking, and he’s currently tearing up the National League in his first year with the Philadelphia Phillies. Before Saturday night, he had already completed four games with two shutouts, tossed 77 innings and worked his magic to the tune of a 1.99 ERA and a 0.998 WHIP. Just beautiful. He’s an artist on the mound, and he was even nice enough to lose to Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox last week. A true gentleman if there ever was one.

And then, Saturday, he threw a perfect game.

Finally overcoming my news coma, I studied up on his feat. Over a tidy two hours and 13 minutes in whatever they’re calling Joe Robbie Stadium this year, Halladay struck out 11 Florida Marlins and only allowed six balls to leave the infield. He threw 115 pitches, and he worked out of four 3-2 counts.

The poor Marlins never had a chance.

Now, I’m not on board with the idea that the National League is weaker or easier than the American League. But I will give you that an elite pitcher is going to have a much easier time of it facing a pitcher or a below-replacement-level batter every nine turns in the order. Essentially trading David Ortiz and Hideki Matsui for Tim Hudson and John Maine has to be fun.

Predictably, save for his one start against the American League’s Sox, Halladay has been totally dominant. And that is a blast to watch. As a baseball fan, there’s little as fun was watching an elite pitcher toy with Major League hitters over the course of a season. Halladay has at least two more years in Philadelphia to keep doing this, too.

As long as he’s in the other league, I should have no trouble balancing my enjoyment of watching him pitch and looking at his box scores with my own Sox fandom. But besides, this sort of thing goes beyond mere team loyalties. Generally, I root for greatness, and I root for dominance of a legendary scale.

Roy Halladay is greatness and dominance. And on Saturday night, he authored a game that will live on beyond him. He’s immortal now. That’s about as heavy as it gets in baseball.

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The celebrated Mr. P performed his feat on Thursday eve in Tampa Bay.

It looked a little like retro night in Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

No, there were no rainbow Devil Rays uniforms on the other side, but from the Red Sox lineup, there was a familiar look:

1. Marco Scutaro SS
2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
3. David Ortiz DH
4. Kevin Youkilis 1B
5. Adrian Beltre 3B
6. Jeremy Hermida LF
7. Jason Varitek C
8. Mike Cameron CF
9. Darnell McDonald RF
John Lackey P

True, Scutaro, Beltre, Hermida, Cameron, McDonald and Lackey are all new to 2010.  But it’s obvious where this is going.

With J.D. Drew and Victor Martinez out with injuries, David Ortiz was back in the no. 3 hole in the lineup for the first time in a year. And he was back there because he is hitting the ever-loving crap out of everything he sees.

He had a solid night, going 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and a walk, raising his average, again, to .266.

I know his numbers are all over the place, but let’s look again, for fun:

APRIL (16 games played):
8 hits, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .143 AVG, 524 OPS

MAY (19 games played):
25 hits, 9 HR, 23 RBI, .368 AVG, 1.230 OPS

Yeah, May is looking good.

And it’s not just that May is that much better than April (of course, it is). It’s that it’s better than just about everyone else in the majors this month. And this is just straight up one of the best months of his career. How did this all happen? How did almost every writer and every scout get this wrong?

It’s not that hard. He looked slow in April and he wasn’t able to hit what used to be his bread and butter. And in May, he looks lightning quick, but most importantly, he looks confident. The best part of the David Ortiz transformation into Big Papi in late 2003 was his constant cool, the swagger he brought to the batter’s box for each at-bat. It was more James Dean than Muhammad Ali. There was a step, a look, a spit on the hands, a clap, and then he’s in, not glaring at the pitcher as much as just concentrating. He had a job to do, and there was no doubt he was going to do it.

When he suffered that wrist injury in 2008, things changed. His hand hurt, and he didn’t have that same confidence coming into the box. There was a trepidation where there was once sure-mindedness. His swing changed, his hands were slower, and he wasn’t the same. He fought through a rough April and May in 2009 before rounding back into shape, but nothing compares to what he’s doing now. He wrapped up last year with 28 HR and 99 RBI, very solid. This time around? Even with his horrid April, he’s on pace for 46 HR and 124 RBI, which would rank as his third-best season from a power perspective. Will he maintain that? Probably not. But he doesn’t really have to. He just needs to be himself.

There was a cool moment last night, as he stepped into the box against noted Red Sox killer Matt Garza. He took a strike, and stepped out for a second. And when he stepped out, it was back — that calm, that coolness that defined him as the most terrifying hitter in the American League for so long. There was no fear or anxiety, just patience.

He spit in his gloves, clapped, grabbed the bat and stepped back into the box. He worked the count to 2-2. And then he sent one deep into right field, and started his long, slow trot around the bases.

That’s not David Ortiz. That’s Big Papi.

Honestly, what were the odds that I'd pull this card out of a random pack on this night?

“Hey Nick, I have two tickets for Wednesday night’s game that I can’t use if you’re interested.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, with Minnesota. Scott Baker against Clay Buchholz, section 41.”

“Give me a minute, but I think I’m about 80 percent sure I’m saying yes.”

And it might as well have been 100 percent. Red Sox tickets do not typically fall into my lap, so when they do, I usually make every concession I can in order to make it. It probably goes without saying that the chances of my ever having season tickets to a major league team, never mind a certain childhood obsession who happen to play in my favorite ballpark ever. Going to baseball games is hard; I make the most of my opportunities.

After a quick couple of text messages, grant writer and sharer of Mike Lowell’s birthday Katie Newport was on board with the idea, and this casual Monday morning conversation became a reality. On Wednesday night, I’d be sitting in section 41, row 37, seat 1.

♦ ♦ ♦

For the past few weeks, I’ve been obsessing over Josh Wilker’s blog, Cardboard Gods, and it’s accompanying book. Wilker is an incredibly thoughtful writer, detailing the trials of his childhood (and later life) through the prism of his baseball card collection. (For some excellent examples to get you started, check out his entries on Carlton Fisk, Tom Seaver and Jason Varitek.)

I bought his book about two weeks ago, and I’m about halfway through it (and using a 1993 Dave Magadan card as a bookmark for good measure). It’s funny, it’s warm, it’s heartfelt and it’s brutally honest, and it’s all presented through a deep and obvious love of baseball. Needless to say, this resonates with me, and it did so immediately.

So, lucky enough for me, he happened to be in Boston for the day signing copies of his book at the Souvenir Store on Yawkey Way, along with Sox legend and notorious spaceman Bill Lee. Now, I’ve never been too hung up on autographs (I’m much more a fan of the handshake and hello, a la Bill Russell), but Bill Lee is one of the few I have; I met him when I was 14 years old at a Dartmouth, Mass., police fundraiser, and he signed the underbrim of my Red Sox cap thusly:

To Nick — Bill Lee, Earth ’96

In summary, he’s a cool dude.

At the moment I walk into the store, he has a crowd of eight or nine people around him, asking to pose for pictures, while Mr. Wilker is sitting solitary in his excellent Grateful Red shirt. And after hemming and hawing for a minute or two, I work up the courage to walk over to him and tell him that, yes, I think his book is fantastic and amazing and that I’ve burned through just about every entry on his site, and that one of my first favorite players was Dwight Evans, whom he also loved. He caught Dewey at the beginning of his career, I got him at the end. He shakes my hand, says thank you, and I can tell he means it. He seemed kind of nervous, but from reading him, I already knew he was the nervous type. I can certainly relate.

♦ ♦ ♦

Settling into the game now, there’s a light mist that will rotate between rain, drizzle and nothing for about eight of the nine innings. We’re in our seats, I have a hot chocolate and a hot dog, and I’m happy. Buchholz looks like he’s on his game, whipping through the first eight batters with ease, walking Twins third baseman Nick Punto and then, just as I’m talking about how he is owner of the best pick-off move I’ve ever seen on a right-hander, picks Punto off of first. Baker has also held the Sox scoreless, but not with anywhere near the control Buchholz has had.

In the fourth inning, the resurgence of David Ortiz continues, as he hits a blast over the camera well in center field. There’s question as to whether or not it’s a home run from the umpires, but after review, yes, it was. Two weeks ago, give or take, Ortiz had one home run for the season. He now has eight. All apologies to Lowell, but that is fantastic for the Sox’ chances in 2010. And seeing Ortiz hit a bomb like that doesn’t happen every day anymore, either. Watching him smile as he crossed the plate was a treat as well. It’s special, and it felt special.

♦ ♦ ♦

In the fifth inning, my pants are now soaked to the point that I can feel the skin on my thighs starting to wrinkle. It never truly rained that hard, but it was constant enough to make me uncomfortable. So, we duck for cover for a little while. I stop by the souvenir stand to by a pack of baseball cards. And why not? I hadn’t bought one yet this year, I saw the fancy Topps Heritage packs, and if I was ever going to buy a pack of cards, it seemed fitting that I do so on the night I got to pay my respects to the keeper of the Cardboard Gods.

Standing near the pizza stand in the center field concourse, watching Clay burn through the Twins in the fifth (strikeout, strikeout, groundout 5-3), I open up the pack, start chewing on the gum (oh, that hard, sugary gum), and flip through the cards. I received, in order:

  • Johnny Cueto — P, Cincinnati
  • Jim Riggleman — Mgr, Washington
  • Jim Thome — 1B, Los Angeles (though obviously playing for Minnesota tonight)
  • Raul Ibanez — OF, Philadelphia
  • Michael Cuddyer — OF/1B, Minnesota
  • Carlos Pena — 1B, Tampa Bay
  • Clay Buchholz — P, Boston
  • Shin-Soo Choo — OF, Cleveland

Needless to say, this is starting to get weird.

♦ ♦ ♦

With the Sox holding a 2-1 lead and the rain coming down harder than ever, we go for a walk around the concourse, stopping to take in some of the sights, including the pennants hanging behind the right field grandstand and the 1912 door, which is now home to their World Series trophy of the same year. After taking in some of the sights (despite this being my fifth trip in two years, with all the recent renovations, there was still a lot I hadn’t seen), we settle in behind section 26, where I saw my first game ever at Fenway, the same year Mr. Lee signed my cap. We’re there long enough to see Adrian Beltre score the third run of the game, when an usher approaches us:

“Hi, I have a couple of seats open in the second row next to the Twins dugout. Are you interested—”

“Yes.”

“—in moving down there? I know it’s in the rain, but—”

“Yes. Yes. Absolutely, yes.”

“You sure?”

[Nodding furiously] “Absolutely, yes, oh man, we’re in.”

“OK, let me find two more people.”

“OK.”

When this guy comes back and leads us down to our seats … I mean, there were no words. We’re literally next to the Twins dugout. Ron Gardenhire can’t be more than three feet from me (and does give me an approving nod at one point).  Thome is cheering on Cuddyer and Joe Mauer from the dugout. From here, it’s even more obvious that Dustin Pedroia is a tiny guy, and that Ortiz is just massive. And, most impressive Buchholz is throwing hard. He’s hitting his spots and buckling knees. When Daniel Bard comes in for him after one batter in the ninth, he’s throwing even harder.

Being that close to the game was something else. Hearing the idle chatter, seeing Victor Martinez in his catcher’s position talking to former teammate Thome in the on-deck circle, being able to smell the grass, watching the TV crews get ready for their next report, getting extreme closeups of the details of the Twins’ uniforms (did you know they have Red Sox-style number decals on the backs of their helmets?), it was all more than I could have imagined. For three innings, I was in heaven. And the cherry on top was Bard preserving the win for Buchholz, arguably the best start the Red Sox have seen all year.

When the game ended, we stayed standing in our spots for about 20 minutes, watching the Twins pack up their gear and the fans filing out through the aisles. I didn’t want to leave.

♦ ♦ ♦

Heading out of the park, we walked back into the store to poke around, not really in any rush to leave; it was barely past 10, so there was no hurry to get back to the T. Back in the store, I spotted Wilker talking to an employee and walking off, and I was staring at the t-shirts, when I decided to buy a blue Buchholz shirt, no. 11, large.

“I think I’m going to do it.”

“Well, if you were ever going to, tonight would be the night.”

It was also at this point that we both realized our faces hurt from smiling. I’d been smiling for the better part of two hours, and so had she. It was a lot to take in.

Had just one of these things happened at a game — meeting Wilker, seeing Lee in his element, the Ortiz homer, pulling the Buchholz card, Buchholz’s start, getting into the second row — it would’ve been enough to send me home elated. All of them? It’s almost impossible for me to process it.

So, I bought a t-shirt. Along with the baseball card, a simple reminder of an incredible set of circumstances at Fenway Park that led to a baseball night like I had never experienced.

He was so good for so long. Just look at him in this picture; is there anywhere else he’d want to be? Incidentally, this is one of my favorite baseball cards.

I’ve always loved the history of my favorite sports, whether it’s diving back into baseball’s dead-ball era or recreating the magic of the old Garden-era Bruins and Celtics in my head. It’s a lot of fun to look back and see what came before my sports consciousness began around 1988 or so.

And with that, I’ve developed a list of favorites that predate my own fandom. Of course, this skews towards some New England legends, but how else could it be, right?

1. Carl Yastrzemski
Boston Red Sox, 1961-83
Just one look at his stats is enough to send me into convulsions. How else to react to a career, spanning 23 seasons, that began as a phenom replacing a legend and ended as the elder statesman of a league? Yaz was great from about 1963-1970, but was very good the entire way, moving from the outfield to first base, then back to the outfield, and back to first base again, before winding up his time as a designated hitter.

He was a tireless worker who hit forever, but this is my favorite tidbit about him: After moving to first base in 1974 to accommodate a young Jim Rice, Yaz moved back to left field for the 1975 ALCS, and then spent the full 1977 season there, where, at age 37, he went errorless and captured his seventh and final gold glove. And (I’m basing this on highlight reels, of course), he could move. How many 37-year-old outfielders have you heard of who could really cover their ground? I’m guessing Ichiro next year could do it, but it’s a short list to be sure.

2. Bill Russell
Boston Celtics, 1956-69
When looking at Bill Russell, what jumps out first is that he was a winner. His Celtics won 11 championships in his 13-season run, while he redefined what players could do on the defensive side of the ball. Wilt Chamberlain scored more? That’s great. But I’ll take Russell as my center any day, and he’s second only to Michael Jordan in my list of NBA greats.

But what puts Russell over the top for me is his behavior and demeanor as a man. Playing in a horribly racist environment in Boston during the 1960s, Russell used the hate sent towards him as motivation, shutting out the bigotry and refusing to compromise. And he was more than a basketball player. As he famously said, “basketball is what I do. It is not who I am.”

3. Bobby Orr
Boston Bruins, 1966-76; Chicago Blackhawks, 1976-1979
Three consecutive Hart trophies as the NHL’s MVP, eight consecutive Norris trophies as the league’s best defenseman, two Conn Smythe trophies as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup playoffs, delivered the Bruins’ last two Cups, was the only defenseman to win the Art Ross trophy as the league’s leading scorer (and he did it twice), led the league in plus/minus six times, completely changed the game of hockey and how defense could be played, and of course there’s that goal he scored.

Honestly, what else is there to say? There will only be one number 4.

4. Terry O’Reilly
Boston Bruins, 1972-85
I can’t think of another athlete who did more with less. O’Reilly was not the strongest skater and not the most gifted athlete. But he worked, and worked, and turned himself into an elite scorer, leading the Bruins with 90 points in 1977-78, and eventually served as their captain in his final two seasons.

And memorably, if you crossed him, he had no issue with beating the ever-loving shit out of you.

5. Ted Williams
Boston Red Sox, 1939-60
When the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived plies his trade in your backyard, it’s hard not to go back and appreciate it. Last hitter to hit .400 (.406 in 1941 of course), 1942 and ’46 MVP, 521 career home runs, a career OPS of 1.119 and three fantastic nicknames (Teddy Ballgame, the Splendid Splinter, the Kid) would be enough. But these are three things that stand out for me:

  1. When he first enlisted in the Navy, doctors realized his vision was 20-10, or to put it another way, the best they’d ever seen.
  2. He inspired the greatest piece of sports writing ever, John Updike’s “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.”
  3. His pregame batting practice ritual of hitting home runs, followed by shouting, “that’s right, I’m Ted Williams! I’m Ted Fucking Williams!”

6. Bill Lee
Boston Red Sox, 1969-78; Montreal Expos, 1979-82
The Spaceman has made a nice little life for himself pontificating on all things pure in baseball, sharing his left-brained views in The Wrong Stuff and The Little Red (Sox) Book, as well as appearing in Ken Burns’ epic Baseball documentary. But beyond his opinions on the designated hitter, drugs, and aluminum bats, Lee also takes time to visit Cuba, bringing the game and plenty of equipment to the poor but baseball-loving country.

And, for what it’s worth, he was also a hell of a pitcher. He was a key to the Sox’ pennant-winning rotation in 1975, racking up 119 wins and a 3.62 era in a 14-year career that ended with a walkout from Montreal in protest of teammate Rodney Scott’s release.

7. Luis Tiant
Cleveland Indians, 1964-69; Minnesota Twins, 1970; Boston Red Sox, 1971-78; New York Yankees, 1979-80; Pittsburgh Pirates, 1981; California Angels, 1982
The accent, the crazy mustache, the gyrating windup and the “Looo-EEEE!” chant of the Fenway faithful all add up to as colorful a character as has ever taken the mound for the Red Sox. But we’re also talking about a dominant presence, too. As evidence, let’s look at his Game 1 start in the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds: a complete-game shutout, limiting the Big Red Machine of Morgan, Bench and Rose to five hits in a tidy 100 pitches.

But let’s look at his Game 4 performance, too: another win, another complete game, this time over a whopping 155 pitches, giving up four runs and striking out four. Gutty? I’d say so.

8. Gordie Howe
Detroit Red Wings, 1947-71; Houston Aeros, 1973-77; New England/Hartford Whalers, 1977-80
Like Yaz, Howe played forever, and by the time he retired, he was the proud owner of several records, including most goals and points in a career (later to be broken by another Kick Saves favorite, Wayne Gretzky). But let’s take a look at his last year, at age 51, with the Whalers:

80 games, 15 goals, 26 assists, 41 points

For random comparison’s sake, let’s also look the 2009-10 season of our favorite current Bruin, Patrice Bergeron (who is a snappy 24 years old):

73 games, 19 goals, 33 assists, 52 points

I think it goes without saying that players aren’t supposed to be that good when they’re 51 years old.

9. Wayne Cashman
Boston Bruins, 1964-65, 1967-82
Like Yaz, Cashman spanned three decades with one team, and like Howe and O’Reilly, he was as tough as they come. He gets lost in the shuffle of great Bruins behind the likes of Orr, O’Reilly, Derek Sanderson and Johnny Bucyk, but Cashman carved out a stellar career of his own, scoring 277 goals and racking up 1,041 penalty minutes as a hard-working right wing. Most memorably, he served as the Bruins’ captain from 1977 until he retired in ’83, leading Don Cherry’s Lunch Pail A.C.

10. Dave Cowens
Boston Celtics 1970-80; Milwaukee Bucks 1982-83
This is almost completely anecdotal, as I’ve never seen full games of Cowens and only snippets of highlights here and there. But from what I know, he was a 6’9″ center who had to battle the likes of Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, won the 1973 MVP, led the Celtics to two banners in 1974 and ’76, and was basically forced to play much bigger than his frame. It’s easy to get behind someone who plays with such abandon all the time.

I always gravitated toward overachievers and hard workers, and it’s easy to say that pretty much everyone on this list were never short on effort in their careers. I didn’t get to see them, but I’m glad they were memorable enough for me to think about.

Patrice, you may be needed tonight.

Prologue: I am terrified of what could happen tonight. The Bruins have been forced to a seventh game against Philadelphia, in a series that should’ve ended a week ago. A date with the world-beating Montreal Canadiens awaits the winner on Sunday.

And, for your, um, pleasure, I guess, I’ll be documenting my thoughts in real time.

God help us all.

7:02 p.m.: Pulled back into the parking lot of my building with a six-pack of Newcastle, to watch the game with the neighborly Jon and Julie.

7:07: Knots in my stomach. But, I can smell BBQ chicken pizza being made, for what it’s worth.

7:18: MICHAEL RYDER ON THE POWER PLAY! 1-0 BRUINS

Jon: “Good to see Jack Edwards had decaf today.”

7:24: Tuukka Rask makes at least two (maybe three) nice saves, and Dennis Wideman goes from almost making another boneheaded play to drawing a penalty. Danny Briere is in the box for high sticking.

7:26: MILAN LUCIC! FROM WIDEMAN! 2-0 BRUINS!

And what I yelled out two seconds ago: “JESUS CHRIST!”

7:29: Jon reading aloud from Twitter: “Dennis Wideman went around Matt Carle like Carle was Dennis Wideman.” That sounds about right. (Courtesy of @stevebilafer)

7:33: Miroslav Satan hits the post. Damn.

7:35: Danielle Paille can’t put in Boychuck’s rebound, and then Boychuck launches another one on net. And then, Boychuck throws a dude into the bench. I like Johnny Boychuck.

7:36: OH MY GOD MILAN LUCIC! 3-0 BRUINS! I would kiss this man on the mouth right now, if he’d let me.

7:40: Trent Whitfield really throwing his weight around. For what he is, I really like Whitfield.

7:41: James van Reimsdeik or however it’s spelled trickles one in under Rask’s pad. 3-1 Bruins.

7:45: Vladimir Sobotka and van Reimsdyke getting chippy after a Rask save.

7:47: Earlier, Julie asked me if I was going to be unbiased doing this blog. It’s just so cute a thought, really. Also, upon further inspection, it’s “van Riemsdyk.” I’ll probably keep spelling this wrong. After one period, Bruins 3, Flyers 1.

8:00: Pizza was very, very good. Thank you, Julie.

8:05: Starting the second period. Here we go…

8:06: Shot goes over Rask’s shoulder but misses the net. Putting the beer down except for when there’s a whistle from here on out.

8:08: Noted Neanderthal Scott Hartnell makes this 3-2 Bruins. Goddamnit.

8:10: Point-blank save by Rask on van Reemsdieke. They can’t keep doing that.

8:13: Marc Savard called for hooking, and Philadelphia is about to go on their first power play.

Jack Edwards: “Is this a series in miniature?” Please, Jack. Don’t do that to me.

8:15: Wow, Steve Begin  threw himself in front of that Flyers shot, and is now heading to the locker room. Straight into the left ankle.

8:18: Bruins kill the penalty, and Begin is already back on the ice. Impressive!

8:19: Fuck you, Danny Briere. Fuck you. We’re tied 3-3.

8:21: Dan Carcillo going to the box for being a douchebag, or high sticking. Either way, it’s a Bruins power play.

8:24: Philadelphia kills that off. Two shots on goal for the Bruins.

8:25: Andrew Ference with the Bruins best chance of the period, but Michael Leighton stops that going post to post.

8:26: Johnny Boychuck called for hooking. Flyers are going back on the power play.

8:31: Bruins kill that off, but not without making me gasp a couple of times. And then Rask makes about four huge saves on one shot. I’m having trouble breathing here.

8:34: That last flurry is under review…

8:36: After review, no goal. And, breathe.

8:41: Nice effort by the Bergeron-Recchi-Wheeler line, but no results. They started to look like a team there again for a minute.

8:45: Satan had a nice chance in the last 15 seconds, but Leighton is there to stop it. I’m starting to lose my voice, and I’m once again completely terrified. After two periods, Bruins 3, Flyers 3. I need a drink.

9:01: Here we go, third period. Please don’t send me to the dark place, Boston. Please.

9:05: Four minutes in, Boston is dominating offensive time on the puck. More of this, please, more of this.

9:07: Rask has to dive to the ice to cover up after a furious couple of minutes by Philadelphia. Less of that, please.

9:12: I just want to capture my thoughts here. I feel like the first three Bruins goals never happened now.

9:16: 10 minutes remaining, and I can taste my heart in the back of my throat.

9:17: LUCIC HITS THE POST. SERIOUSLY?

9:19: During the commercial break, the Bruins are called for too many men on the ice. It’s almost beautiful in its symmetry.

9:21: Simon Gagne scores a power play goal. 4-3 Flyers. I wish I was dead.

9:25: … Um, this might be the last chance you have to donate in the name of my playoff beard. Funny enough, I can’t feel my face right now.

9:29: I hope no one minds that I haven’t said a word out loud for 10 minutes.

9:30: Rask is out of the net for the extra attacker. One minute left.

9:31: Claude Julien calls his timeout.

9:32: Fuck.

Epilogue: Jack just said it best on NESN: “The Bruins with a collapse they will never forget.” Neither will I. I will see this in my nightmares for years. Years.

Best of luck to Montreal. Or Chicago. Whatever. I need a drink.

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