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Tenace the menace

Spent some time tending to my finances this afternoon, and this has not been good for my stress. It never is at this juncture, but right now I'm trying to collect $3750 from a venue I like writing for--we're a good fit--but that hasn't paid me going back to last August. I'm not going to go into the breakdown of what a single piece nets you there, but let's just say that $3750 represents an awful lot of work. This is well out of my comfort zone.

Watching the Sox now as they try to tie up the score against the Jays in the bottom of the ninth. Lead-off double was a good start. Jackie Bradley is up now. I have little faith in him. They should have him bunt to get the guy to third.

I was wrong! They should not have had him bunt! Double for Bradley, winning run standing at second, no outs. Good good.

I'm drinking hibiscus now for my blood pressure. This money thing is freaking me out. I also did an accounting of what other places owe me, and I really have to redouble my efforts as bill collector. It's not a good use of my time, but the checks usually don't just come. You have to work to get them. After you've done the work for them, if that makes sense.

My sister Kara kindly sent me a package of peanut butter Clif Bars to snack on after climbing the Monument.

From time to time I will be featuring a stat of the day on here. Sports numbers fascinate me. My head is packed with an index of sports numbers. Any time I eat, I am reading, and I'm often reading sports numbers--so to speak--at those times. I can't just sit there and eat. I have to be reading. Gene Tenace, the catcher for the A's during their championship three-peat, never hit for average. He's not close to a Hall of Fame catcher. On the face of it, he's pretty much a Jody Davis/Rich Gedman level catcher--that is, a guy good enough to have a couple All-Star seasons. He hit .241 for his career. But six times he had over 100 walks. There cannot be a catcher who is close to that. I doubt any catcher has ever walked 100 times three times. Maybe never even twice. On two occasions Tenace led the league in walks. I am certain no other catcher can match that feat. What does this ultimately mean? Well, in part it means that Gene Tenace, of all catchers, had a higher career OPS, at .817, than Gary Carter at .773 and Carlton Fisk at .793, and the exact same OPS as Johnny Bench. Isn't that crazy? Gene Tenace! He played in nine postseason series, hitting .158. Every time he was in the postseason, he was dreadful, save during the 1972 World Series against the Reds, when he was the MVP, swatting 4 home runs with 9 RBI and a 1.313 OPS. This man had a weird career, numerically.

Sox stranded Bradley at second. To extra innings we go. Eddie Rodriguez hurt himself in the 5th. Is it possible for this guy to go so much as 60% of a season without getting hurt?

Red Sox walk off on a Bogaerts grand slam. Eckersley, who normally does not, lost it in the booth. These Red Sox hit a lot of grand slams. They hit none that I remember last year. I believe this was their ninth this year. Something is happening with this team. You can tell that it is shaping up to be one of those special years. This does not mean they will win it. The only Red Sox team I watched and felt certain they would win it all was the 2013 team. I just had never seen a team battle like they did. Maybe in any sport. My all time favorite Red Sox season was 1988. We were on Cape Cod for our annual family vacation when Joe Morgan took over, and then they just could not lose. Well, for a while. When you look back on the game logs, you realize that their entire season, all of their success, was that winning streak and stretch at home. The first story in Buried on the Beaches, "The Cape Path," which Boulevard published, is set during that summer. It's about a man whose mother-in-law is dying, so his wife is staying behind to tend to that, but she encourages him to take their two kids--a boy with a passion for horror movies and memorabilia, and a girl who recently broke her back and who is leaving for Princeton in the fall--to the home they rent regardless. A kind of final summer, but minus the mom/wife. And some notable things happen. And some people change.

Ticket arrived for Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker. I'll be in attendance at other ballets when the season opens in the fall, but I make a point each year, since my life fell apart, and then as it got worse each year since, to attend the final Nutcracker performance of the year. I go by myself. In years past, it's been on New Year's Eve, but this year it will be 12/30. And, eventually, I'll be going to close out the year with the person I'm going to be with, who I know is out there somewhere. And I'll tell her about these days when I fought to keep going, kept creating, despite everything. She'll read this, and we'll probably have a chat about it.

Anyway. Struck again today by Dylan's "I'll Keep It with Mine," one of my favorite songs of his. I like the off-kilter honky-tonk piano against the loping vocal melody. The isolated Mike Bloomfield lead guitar track from "Like a Rolling Stone" is both fierce and elegant. One thing about those 1965 sessions is Dylan is trying to fit in a lot of words with really fast tempos--more words than should be able to fit. There are several conversations about this on the tapes.

Big week coming up. Some further inspiration for those in need of it.


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