Tuesday, May 31, 2005
two for tuesdays ; hmm... eerie stuff...
And no - I am NOT talking about dropping a game to the execrable Yanks once in a while... NOR AM I even referring to the emergence of a surprise contender in the east - the O's of all teams - just to frustrate the Red Sox into remaining stuck in second place even when the damn yankees are NOT in the top spot at all and are actually BEHIND the Sox...!
No... signs that the curse lives on and is, in fact, exacting revenge for a championship won via the WILD CARD ROUTE (the only way to bypass the damn curse...?) are far more ominous than that... For they are not baseball-related as much as they are matters of life - and DEATH!
People have died, folks... yes. And it isn't George Steinbrenner or centanarian Red Sox fans either... One tragic death on May 8th - and another this monday... in the immediate team entourage and on the year that the Sox are defending world champions again, for the first time since... 1919. Spooky indeed...
May 30, 9:18 PM (ET) By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
BOSTON (AP) - A play-by-play announcer for a Spanish-language radio station that broadcasts Red Sox games died in a car crash early Monday, only hours after broadcasting Boston's win over the Yankees in New York.
Juan Pedro "J.P." Villaman, 46, was driving north on Interstate 93 in Wilmington around 3:40 a.m. when he switched lanes and his Ford Explorer hit a box truck, state police said. Villaman's vehicle plummeted down an embankment, rolled over and struck a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Villaman was an announcer for the "Spanish Beisbol Network" broadcasts of Red Sox games on WROL-AM and on stations in Providence, R.I., and Hartford, Conn. His calls also could be heard on cable television in Spanish voice-overs of games broadcast by the New England Sports Network.
Affectionately known to listeners as "Papa Oso," or "Papa Bear," Villaman was also popular with many Hispanic players, said Bill Kulik, president of the Spanish Beisbol Network.
"He had this (Latino) community wrapped around his finger," Kulik said. "He was just a lovable old Papa Bear."
A moment of silence for Villaman was held at Fenway Park before Monday night's Red Sox game against the Baltimore Orioles.
"As the Red Sox' popularity in the Latino community surged in recent years - with stars like David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez - J.P. became a star in local and international baseball circles," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said. "J.P. brought an infectious enthusiasm to the ballpark every day."
Red Sox designated hitter Ortiz said Villaman was one of the first people he met when he joined the team in 2003.
"Every time I see him, it was the same personality," Ortiz said. "He was just happy to be alive and happy to be doing what he was doing."
Villaman had been announcing Red Sox games since 1995. One of his signature calls was yelling "Sientate!" or "Sit Down!" when an opposing batter struck out.
Kulik, who filled in for Villaman on Monday night, said he planned to pay tribute to his friend and colleague by mimicking his strikeout call.
"We were all on Cloud Nine after the Red Sox won (Sunday)," Kulik said. "Then you wake up in the morning to this kind of news. It took a while to register."
Red Sox spokesman Glenn Geffner said Villaman flew back to Boston with the team after Sunday night's game. He apparently was driving home from Logan Airport at the time of the crash.
"One minute you see everybody laughing. The next minute reality hits awfully hard," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
Villaman appeared to be speeding when he lost control of his SUV, police said. The driver of the truck wasn't injured and no charges have been filed.
Villaman's death isn't the first tragedy to stun the team this season. On May 8, Red Sox clubhouse attendant Bernie Logue fell to his death from the sixth floor of a parking garage after he attended a Celtics playoff game with Red Sox players.
Associated Press Sports Writer Howard Ulman contributed to this report.
Johnny Damon actually ran into the wall - a section of it, forming a corner, in the odd way Fenway Park was conceived to make up for lack of terrain depth... still a testament to Bostonian ingenuity as... big as the Big Dig! IMHO - and Johnny D was K.O.ed by the impact pretty much...!!! (Now he REALLY needs his girlfriend to drive him around...!). As good as if the Green Monster had come to life and slapped his least favorite outfielder / defender... in a dope slap kinda way... no?