(Be sure to check out Manny Happy Returns, our good friend California Bill's take on Manny heading west.)
The tag line for this season's Sox Appeal is "This year the game isn't on the field."
Ain't that the truth?
In the press release announcing the new season, Joe Feld, NESN's vice president and executive producer said, "We’ve taken feedback from Red Sox Nation, added a few new twists, and made the show hotter, sexier, and funnier.”
Boy, I'm really looking forward to seeing that show because this one sucked.
Good news! Not-Lenny-Clake is back for another season. NLC introduces us to Dave Sawyer, a web developer and improv comedian.
Dave is a nice guy, good looking and has a great sense of humor. I have no idea how he made it through the auditions.
Contrary to V.P. Joe's pimping, not a lot has changed in Hell at the Ballpark. The only difference so far from last season is the debut of the Dater Dugout. Instead of having the three contestants spread out in the bleachers, they're now sitting on the opposite side of the RF Roof Deck, in the standing room only section. They must be praying for catfights. Speaking of catfights, the backdrop for this episode is the June 5th game against the Rays where things got all chippy.
The first of Dave's dates is Terri Trespicio, a 34yr-old magazine editor with a bit of a Tina Fey vibe going on.
Not just any magazine, mind you, but Martha Stewart's Body+Soul magazine and a contributor to Martha Stewart Living Radio. Her name sounded familiar so I hit Google to find out why. Turns out she's a regular contributor to the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine and wrote a very amusing article on dating and food.
Later, we put table manners on hold as we got down and dirty with two heaping platters of baby back ribs. I was licking my fingers, savoring the tangy bite of the sauce, the juicy, sweet meat as it fell away from the bone. "This. Is. So. Good," I said. "It's just so good." The messiness, the food, the beer-induced flush all conspired to make me feel rather lightheaded. I suddenly felt compelled by an instinct that rules the animal kingdom. I needed to see what he smelled like.
Out of nowhere, I leaned across the table and pressed my nose into the skin just inside his collar. And then he kissed me - sending me into a full-body pheromonal swoon. It was as if someone had turned up the volume on all of my senses at once: The room was awash in color and shadow, the murals on the walls swam to life, my ears buzzed. I sat down, shocked at myself.
"For the record," he said, "I definitely want to sleep with you." Simple as that. As if he was declaring he wanted to borrow a book or try the cheesecake.
I wasn't sure what to say. But I knew that regardless of what would or wouldn't transpire, the seduction had, in some ways, already occurred. No coy games or trick lighting. He'd simply put it all on the table.
Funny article, right? Obviously, she hasn't had any trouble finding dates so why is she subjecting herself to this bullshit? Probably for the same reason Dave is: publicity. Now, I don't know that for sure but come on. These are two well-adjusted people who shouldn't have a problem finding anyone to date. That has to be the reason, right? Please tell me that's the reason.
Dave and Terri exchange greetings and get comfortable. She impressed by his career in Improv and asks him to entertain her. He makes a valiant attempt at a song that rhymes Terri with berry but it's pretty bad. She starts asking him questions.
And more questions.
And more questions.
None of which he gets to answered because she's already asking the next one. Let's just say Terri doesn't come from the Judith Miller school of journalism.
The camera pans to the field where Coco Crisp bobs, weaves and decks the Rays' James Shields. All hell breaks loose on the field so naturally, the cameras go to the Dater Dugout, where the two other contestants are watching the fight and trying to appear somewhat interested.
In the Dater Dugout are Kate Walston, a 26 year-old health foods business owner,
and Lauren Rubin, a 25 year-old bartender who lives with her grandmother down the Cape.
Kate tells Lauren, "I don't drink, never smoked a cigarette in my life. I work out every day. I do yoga." Lauren, who has never turned down a drink in her life, snickers and Kate replies, "Well, I'm not a party girl."
Translation? Unlike you, I won't give a blow job for a nip of Malibu Rum.
Back at the table, Dave and Terri are asking each other questions from special Sox Appeal cards. Oooh! Twist!
It's not Dave and Terri's fault. It's just so contrived. Maybe after Grandpa Gone Wild from last season, they wanted to control the direction of the conversation.
Their date comes to a close and Kate makes her way to the table. As soon as she's out of earshot, Lauren says, "That was kind of painful." She looks like Elisabeth Hasselbeck, minus the Orange Glo.
Kate wasn't kidding about her secret attraction to Dustin Pedroia. Here she is at the 2007 ALCS.
By the way, picture was taken by erstwhile Globe shutterbug Steve Silva, which is really strange since it's in focus.
Dave and Kate make with the introductions and after hearing that she's into health food, he asks her what she does when she comes to Fenway. "When I come, I always pack my own lunch or my own dinner."
To get over the shock, Dave invites her to play a little Improv game based on the Celtics. When he asks her to name a player, she has to look in the Crow and Servo seats for help.
On the other side of the roof, Lauren is completely railing about Kate to Lauren. They decide to send a tray full of nachos, hot dogs, french fries and beer to the table. Dave's excited because he's hungry but Kate looks like Jerry Remy just hacked up a tobacco filled loogey and spit it on the table. She picks up the french fries, holding them away from her body as if she'd gain fifty pounds by fucking osmosis and gives them to the table behind her.
I'm not saying that eating nothing but twigs and berries has made Kate a little uptight but there's definitely a stick that could use removal.
Once the French Fry Crisis of 2008 had been averted, Kate asks Dave if he plays sports or is the type of guy who gets excited about going out for a run. You know, like a cocker spaniel. He says that's not really his thing and she replies, "So that's a clear cut difference."
It's pretty obvious this date is going nowhere but instead of bowing out with dignity, Kate takes a shot at Lauren on the way out. "You should probably line up a few beers for the next girl."
WOW! Who knew tofu made you that hostile?
Kate and Lauren cross paths on the stairs and as they're sniping at each other, there's a gigantic boom mic in between their faces. Maybe that's one of the new twists for this season. "We'll show you EXACTLY how we increased our production values!"
Dave's digging Lauren already. He pulls out a deck of cards and has her memorize one. He goes back into the deck and holds up...the wrong card. You can tell Lauren's thinking he's a loser until he bites into a hot dog...and into her card.
"Anyone who can pull a three of clubs out of a wiener is good in my book!"
He picks a Sox Appeal card and asks her to describe her craziest drinking story. Oddly enough, it doesn't begin with "when I was nine...". She tells him how she attended a charity Lionel Richie (Hey, NESN, it's Richie, not Ritchie) concert and decided to be airbrushed instead of wearing clothes.
I think it's safe to say we could end the show right now, right?
Over in the Dater Dugout, Terri takes a couple of very subtle swings at Kate, calling her a goody-two shoes. You almost feel bad for her. I mean, it's nothing a little bacon couldn't fix.
Dave asks Lauren if she has any hidden talents and she says like most girls, she can tie a cherry stem into a knot with her tongue.
Most girls can do that? Really? Did I miss the memo? Is this a skill that comes in a kit alongside Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, a Kotex pad and a bottle of Nair?
Right on cue, the waitress brings a bowl of cherries to the table. Lauren takes the stem, pops it in her mouth and a few moments later, both the stem and Dave are tied up in knots.
The inning comes to a close and Lauren goes back to the dugout.
Awwww, Manny just hit a homah! Sigh. I assumed they'd scrub him from all the footage like the networks did with the World Trade Center after 9/11. Which, by the way, Manny was responsible for, along with Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami, global warming, global cooling, gas prices, the assassinations of both Lincoln AND Kennedy, the death of Princess Diana, breast cancer, Donald Trump's hair, Ted Kennedy and Bob Novak's respective brain tumors, Baby Jessica falling down the well, Heath Ledger's overdose, the introduction of New Coke, the closing of both Ames and Caldor, Owen Hart's fall, the cancellation of Firefly, Heidi and Spencer, Barbaro, our failing public school systems and Ishtar.
Quick, in the battle of the sanctimonious douchebags, who's the champ: Gerry Callahan or Peter Gammons?
In the dugout, Terri has the unfortunate luck of sitting between Lauren and Kate as they bitch back and forth at each other. At this point, I'm just rooting for injuries.
It's time for Dave to make his big decision and surprising absolutely no one, he picks Lauren. As she makes her way down to the table, Kate and Terri console themselves by saying he obviously went for the sure thing.
Bitches, man. Bitches.
Dave and Lauren head off to La Verdad to enjoy the rest of the evening and with that, the first episode of this season's Sox Appeal comes to a merciful en...
What the hell is this?
The Dunkin' Donuts Morning After Recap, hosted by Larry Izzo?
Are you f'ing kidding me?? Larry, you've got three Super Bowl rings. You play for one of the greatest football teams in in NFL history. You cannot possibly be that hard up for cash. Don't degrade yourself like this. If you need money, just do what Clay Buchholz did and pawn a few laptops. No one will care!
Sadly, there wasn't a love connection between Dave and Lauren and I don't think Chuck Woolery has anything to be concerned about. Larry Izzo...that's just wrong.
Be sure to come back next week when one of the contestants is a stripper!
(insert Pesky Pole joke here)