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Baseball for Dummies
Rick Reilly
November 01, 2004
The Boston Red Sox? Mangy, loopy, unruly, bizarre, rebellious and going in a thousand different directions.
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November 01, 2004

Baseball For Dummies

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The Boston Red Sox? Mangy, loopy, unruly, bizarre, rebellious and going in a thousand different directions.

No, wait. That's Manny Ramirez's hair.

The Red Sox themselves are all of that, plus hilarious, mischievous and more fun than Liza Minnelli's medicine cabinet. If you are any kind of American, you have to root for them in this World Series from the bottom of your rooter.

How can you not love a team that welcomes a midget into its clubhouse but not a razor? How can you not love a team whose centerfielder looks like he was called up from the farm club at Bethlehem? How can you not love a team whose batting helmets are so globbed with pine tar and dirt that the logo can't be seen? Whose players call themselves the Idiots? Who are--thank God--the anti-Yankees?

Would control-freak George Steinbrenner stand for ...

?Shortstop Orlando Cabrera hitting a game-winning home run in late September, being mobbed at home plate by his teammates and then revealing afterward, "The whole time, somebody was trying to pull my pants down!"

?Joyous giant David Ortiz knocking in the game-winning run in Boston's unforgettable ALCS Game 5 victory over the Yankees, wading through maybe 100 members of the media on the way back to his locker from the shower, and suddenly stopping and roaring, "Did this guy look at my nipples? Nobody look at my nipples!"

?Jesus look-alike Johnny Damon, the leadoff hitter, lying naked on the clubhouse couch five minutes before game time? "I've never seen a guy go from naked to first base so fast!" marvels first-year Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

"We don't have rules here," Damon says, "and if we do, we can't read them."

Hey, they have rules. For instance, sleeping is forbidden on the team plane. "You get pelted with grapes, pillows, tin cans," says second baseman Mark Bellhorn. Reading is out too. "I was told by Johnny, 'We don't do that in this clubhouse,'" says reliever Mike Myers, who tried. "And when you think about the IQ on this team, you realize--he's right."

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