Sunday, December 16, 2007

Let it snow, let snow, let it...Enough already!

Everyone had pretty much panicked the day before, so by the time I left work around 2 pm on Thursday I was sick of hearing about the snow. Clearing off the rig in Framingham was no biggie. There were a couple inches, but it was light, fluffy fairy powder. Like movie snow.

No problemo.

About two miles later, problemo. The turn off from to the Shoppers World cut-through was unplowed. No one wanted to chance it. The growing caravan of still-moving-but-slow-as-crap traffic continued east.

Half mile later: Gridlock. Took 40 minutes minimum to make it to Speen Street. Then we sat. And sat. And watched the lights by Neiman Marcus cycle through over. And over. And over again.

Still, chin up. It’s a good time to catch up on the AM talk loonies. Plus it was the steroid hearing day. Nothing to do but punch in WEEI and listen to the George Mitchell press conference. Hell if I’ stayed at work, I would have missed this and it was juicy. Pun intended.

Word had percolated earlier that morning that the hated Roger Clemens was named. Since he chucked the business end of a broken bat at Mike Piazza in the world series many had pegged Roger as a roid-rager. But Andy Pettite? INT-eresting.

And Miguel Tejada? Rafael Palmeiro had thrown him under the bus already, but was kinda hoping it wasn’t true.

You could almost hear fellow road-refugees heave a collective sigh of relief when it became clear that none of the Red Sox heroes were listed. No Manny Ramirez. No Big Papi. Although most who’ve watched the team know that Manny’s probable drug-of-choice is by no means performance enhancing. If you catch my drift.

The EEI guys were blaring on and on self-righteously about an earlier MSNBC report that Jason Varitek had been “named.” But then he hadn’t been. So the long knives were out for MSNBC and whoever the blogger was that desecrated the captain’s good name. Listening to those boyz get all holier than thou was a little much.

The snow kept coming.

Apparently a Yankees trainer had blown the whistle on Rocket Roger, Pettite and others. Brian Macnamee.

About an hour later, still on Speen (the stretch between Route 9 and the Mass Pike entrance is maybe two miles. Maybe.) Greg from Plymouth called in to opine that “Eric Gagne quit juicing too soon.” Couldn’t he have sucked it up another season instead of imploding at Fenway? The guy was a disaster.

Gotta love these guys.

Another hour slugged by. We’d memorized the facades of Neiman Marcus and Home Depot. It was Bud Selig’s turn. (Let it be said that the
”Selig Sucks” T-shirt, bought outside Fenway, remains the best present of all time.)

Selig said he will Take Action! Unilateral Action Where Possible! But clearly this mess is the players’ fault, the union’s fault. Face it; It’s all on Donald Fehr. Where was Selig when the players were achieving full pumpitude and slamming record home runs and saving the game from strike fallout? I’ll tell you where: He was counting the leagues money and covering owners’ asses? “Hind sight is 20 20,” says Bud in the press conference. Puhleazze.

At one point, he actually said he hadn’t read the whole report. Come again? Isn’t this what he paid $20 million of fan’s dollars for? And hadn’t he had it for three days? if his eyes are tired or he can’t read, couldn’t one of his minions read it to him? Come on! And we wonder why baseball’s reputation—if not its coffers—is in tatters.

Ted from Marlborough calls: “What’s it say when the guy with the most credibility in baseball is Jose Canseco?”

Point taken.

EEI guys reports that Canseco was denied access to the press conference and pitched a fit.

Ah, the pike. NOW things will move.

Wrong again.

The parking lot stretches through the tollbooth onto the onramp. When we move, it’s at a walker’s pace. A slow walker. The speedometer barely budges. It takes another hour plus to get to the Route 128 tolls. People get out of their cars to clear windshields and back windows. We’ve been sitting still for so long that back windows jam up repeatedly.

My primary concern became the state of my bladder. Back window snowed in again.

Wonder where Brian Macnamee and that other guy—Kirk Radomski are right now. Undisclosed location no doubt.

As we crawl towards exit 17, it’s now dark, the snow continues. People start merging to toward the right miles ahead. Stuck in the second right lane, I start to wonder if anyone will let merge right in the foreseeable future. Doubtful.

Murray from Newton rings in to say that given the news on Clemens, the whole region, nay the whole Red Sox nation owes Dan Duquette an apology. Maybe Clemens really was in the twilight of his career when the Sox let him go. His renaissance with the Blue Jays and Yanks is now forever suspect, he says.

Tom Caron, of NESN and also an EEI guy, says Clemens could have been using while at the Sox. Bold words for a company man. Of course Sox ownership has changed since then.

Hallelujah. The pike-straddling Star Market appears on the horizon. I call home to see what the state of the local roads is. Answer? Unplowed.

Given that there’s a large hill between the exit and home, the new master plan, if the exit is navigable, is to park in the old Cahners building and hit Buff’s Pub for a burger and the facilities. And wait for the local plows to do their thing.

Hallucinatory burger images and smells tantalize. Bourbon would be nice too. And Buff’s has great fries. And a bathroom. Bingo.

The ramp is a mile away. No need to worry about merging right. Everyone is merging right. Including the morons in the far left lane. It occurs in the three plus hours I’ve been on the pike, no plow or sander has been seen in either direction. Then again, how could they fit?

A car stopped on the ramp, which on a good day has one and a half lanes. Extraordinarily enough, there is orderly merging around the poor schlub who either ran out of gas or just couldn’t make it up the grade. Even odder, there’s hardly any traffic on the Centre Street rotary. Red letter day. This is always a snarl. It looks like I could shoot right over to Watertown Square but bladder conditions forbid the attempt.

Breezed into the old Cahners digs. Cut through the building, past Pizzeria Uno’s to Washington street. Try to grab a Globe out of the street box. The coin changer doesn’t work

Catastophe: Buff’s is closed. Back to Uno’s which never looked so good.

Back through the drifts to the Pizzeria Uno where the tables are packed but a bar stool awaits.

Bourbon, I tell the bartender. “Make it a double,” chime in the two guys adjacent. First one’s from Colorado in town for business, The other, from Rhode Island, gave up on his commute and checked into the Sheraton across the street. The bar over there was overwhelmed so Uno’s wins the runoff.

The bar’s abuzz about Clemens and Pettite. And Mo Vaughan. “There’s a guy who didn’t need to bulk up,” says Rhode Island.

Colorado is amazed that a whole region gets shut down by a measly 10 inches of snow. He’s shot down. “Rockies fan,” someone mutters.

Another guy pulls up a chair. New Yorker. Doesn’t have much to say vis a vis Roger or Andy. Nurses his beer glumly. Orders dinner to go. Someone mentions Chuck Knoblauch and New Yorker practically erupts. “I HATE THAT GUY. Steroids was the LEAST of his problems.” Then no one can shut him up.

The bourbon is deelish. The chicken may have been the best ever. Six hours in a motionless car blinded by snow does funny things to you.

I call in for local road update and get the hi sign.
Centre Street is still slick but car-free. So too, miraculously, is Watertown square. Common Street looks bad, as I hit the hill. Some moron has stopped in the road. Bourbon- emboldened I blow by on the left. Life lesson from Vermont: Never, ever slow on the up hill or you’re dead meat.

The ranch never looked so good. Time: 8:20. It took six hours to cover 15 miles—including dinner.

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