If Mark Bellhorn was a movie, he’d be Repo Man. If he was a band, he’d be Wilco. If he was a TV show, he’d be Nip/Tuck. If he was one of your family members, he’d be Hector, second cousin twice-removed, who “knows a guy” in Vegas and can get you a f–king awesome deal on a room.

In other words, he’s the official cult hero of the 2004 Red Sox. The li’l guy no one expected much of anything from, brought on board in the event that Nomar or Pokey gimped out. He didn’t talk much. He didn’t smile much. In fact, he exhibited all the personality of a wooden plank done up in a Red Sox cap and uni. So how to explain the love fest? For one thing, he played with the kind of “moxie” that Boston fans appreciate: no bullshit, no dramatics, no hiding in the clubhouse as we howled for his blood after a 2 for 25 showing to start off the postseason. For another, he instantly cemented his place in Boston sports lore by cracking two of October’s most memorable home runs, in Game Six of the ALCS [which, by hitting a Yankee fan square in the chest, also earned him a free bag of donuts at my Aunt Edith’s place in Harwich], and the “difference maker” in Game One of the World Series, after which St. Louis never really seemed to recover.

For added fun, check the replay of the latter on the Faith Rewarded DVD. See the little point he gives into the Sox dugout as he heads to first base? That gets me right here ::thumps his chest:: every time I see it. It’s the gesture of a guy who evolved from second-stringer to Sports Illustrated Cover Boy right before our eyes. And it was a beautiful thing.

So we were quite happy to see that Bellhorn has inked a $2.75 million one-year deal with the Sox, though not as happy, I’m sure, as Bellhorn himself, who can now afford the souped-up hovercraft instead of that third-rate showroom model that only comes in purple and doesn’t have half the bells and whistles that today’s discriminating baseball groupies expect. You want the quality leg, my friend? Take my advice: Spring for the souped-up hovercraft.

Also, when they cast the 2004 Red Sox movie, there can be little doubt that the man most qualified to play The Bell is Paul Giamatti, star of Sideways and American Splendor, and son of the late MLB Commissioner Bart Giamatti.

Gotta give the love to Bronson Arroyo too, who signed a one-year deal for $1.85 million. Arroyo earned some cult hero cred of his own in 2004, not just for his guitar-slinging, but for plunking A-Rod in the ass, which we can now appreciate as the bellwether of the championship run. He’s only 27, pitched the most innings of his career last season [178 2/3], and could blossom into a truly important cog in the 2005 Machine. Plus, chicks dig him.

As always, your thoughts on the Bellhorn and Arroyo contracts are requested and much appreciated.

Red Sox Commercial Casting Call

If you’ve ever wanted to be in one of those Major League Baseball “I Live For This” commercials [and I sure have, although the one I dreamed up, involving Gena Gershon, a Mao-Tse Tung impersonator and Rollie Fingers’ moustache will likely never get made], head over to an open casting call for “dedicated and entertaining baseball fans” this Saturday, January 22, at Fenway Park, which runs from 8:00am to 4:00pm. According to the MLB web site, “Those lucky fans who most impress the judges will appear in national TV commercials that will present a creative twist to the popular ‘I Live for This’ advertising campaign.”

Thank You…

…To Rhonda Collins, former pro jockey and reporter/host at TVG, the Interactive Horseracing Network, for sending us the Bellhorn jersey photo and for repping the home team at Sonny McLean’s in Santa Monica.


If you see these fellas, call the FBI.