Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Writing/Blogging…what’s the difference?

Kyle Snyder photo by drownedworld73 @ flickr - Shown here to cleanse our palates of the asshattery I write about in this post.

Kyle Snyder shown here to cleanse our palates of the asshattery I write about in this post.

I’ve been writing stories and such since I was about 8 years old.  (Cyn trivia:  The first piece I ever wrote was a 13-page script for “Charlie’s Angels”.  It was to win a contest in “Tiger Beat” magazine.  I never submitted it, but haven’t stopped writing since.)  I have some formal writing training and am always looking for a good class to help me bone up, especially since I’ ve been baseball blogging more than any other kind of writing for a while now.  I will never claim to have talent on the same level as a Dan Shaughnessy (try to remember back to the days when he wrote some amazing  pieces on the Boston Celtics and forget, for a moment, about the hack work he’s done lately) even though I do think I have it in me to make it professionally at some point (not necessarily in sports writing) if I’d just get off my ass and focus.

I was offline for most of last week and only today read Curt Schilling’s latest entry in his blog over at WEEI.com that he posted on Christmas (quick plug, I’m 99% certain I’ll be over there next week.  January 5th is supposed to be the start date.  There’s just the matter of a little paperwork to be finished up.) and for the most part it’s a big “whatever”.  Some interesting views on how he feels about Teixeira.  Fairly  innocuous stuff.  Until I came to this passage:
.

.

Oh and one more thing. I really loathe to even mention CHB in anything anymore, due to his irrelevance on the Boston sports scene but I suck at keeping my tongue in places like this. CHB wrote the other day (thanks to the person forwarding this as it’s the first thing I’ve read that he’s written in five months)

“Best part of Curt Schilling’s blog on the WEEI website? Schill claims, ’I don’t get edited.’ Could he be more of a diva? Here’s a clue for the Big Lug – Ernest Hemingway had an editor. And Schill needs an editor more than I need a pitching coach.”

By edited I meant content Curly, because Lord knows I sure as hell need help with anything I write. But your last statement is laughable, because I think — and correct me if I am wrong — I am doing what you do for a living right?

I am pretty sure you’ve never stepped on a mound, well a field of any kind for that matter, and competed for something that truly mattered to people not on the field? So I am comfortable saying I am a lot closer to being able to do what you do, than you are able to do what I did …

The bolding is mine.  Good God in heaven above, does this  man really think he’s doing what Dan Shaughnessy does for a living?  Seriously?  He thinks writing a blog, on the level that HIS is, is the same as writing for a major newspaper?

And before I go on about the writing, how about the “you’ve  never stepped on a mound and competed for something that truly mattered” crap?  How does he know that the CHB didn’t play ball on any level (including little league)?  He doesn’t.  It’s just ego driving him yet again.  What HE does is amazing and difficult but what Shaughnessy does is so easy that HE can do that as well????

There are many, MANY well-written blogs out there.  Some written by professional writers, some written by people who aspire to be a professional writer and have the talent, just not the resume, some who just like to write and can do it well and some written by people who have an opinion they want to share but not necessarily the tools for writing well.   With respect to Curt, his blog can be interesting because it is written by a professional athlete who has an opinion on everything and loves to share it – especially when he knows it’s going to raise the hackles of many people.  This does not equate doing what Dan Shaughnessy does for a living.  It doesn’t even come close, unless you count the part where he pisses off a lot of people on a fairly regular basis.

How pissed am I that I’m in the position to defend the CHB??

Curt thinking he’s doing what any other professional writer is doing is laughable.  He doesn’t have a deadline, he doesn’t have to work to get people to talk to him, he doesn’t have to answer to anyone but himself and, most importantly to me, he doesn’t have the command of the English language or exceptional writing skills that you associate with a professional writer.  I know he has a hard-on for CHB and he’s just trying to get his licks in, but he’s working on a site with ACTUAL writers who have honed their craft and bust their butts to do what they do.  Belittling their profession is beneath even him.

Dan Shaughnessy might be a horse’s ass, but, in this case, so is Curt Schilling.  Pot, kettle and all, Curt.

(Kyle Snyder photo courtesy of drownedworld73 @ flickr)

Advertisements

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Bloggers, Boston Sports Media, Pawtucket Red Sox | , , | 17 Comments

Way to edit your site Boston.com

brady
BRADY Penny? And to think I was hoping for Brad Penny.

December 28, 2008 Posted by | Boston Sports Media | | 8 Comments

…everybody has one!

wallpaper_nomar_smiles_800I’d like to know why so many Boston sports writers (and Boston sports fans) are using the “If you say that the front office didn’t screw up you’re in denial” or “If you say you didn’t want Teixeira on your team you’re lying” arguments against any Red Sox fans who aren’t devastated that Mark Teixeira is in New York.

To me, this is akin to saying “If you don’t agree with my opinion, you’re stupid”. Way to connect with people. folks.

I could have taken or left Mark Teixeira. I know he’s a good player (although, I’d like to know when he became the best player in MLB? He’s not, folks. He really isn’t. So to the people who keep telling me I’m in denial or lying, I tell you to stop over-hyping this guy in the name of Sox bashing.) but I wasn’t champing at the bit to get him. Let’s see, we’ll move Youk back to third, find a team where we can ditch Lowell, carry the one…it just didn’t mean that much to me to get him. We were a healthy Josh Beckett away from the World Series this year – I don’t look at the Red Sox and think “Holy hell!!!! Theo hasn’t done ANYTHING this off-season, we’re DOOMED!!!!”. Good for you if you do but stop trying to drown me with your negativity.

Remember the off-season of 2003?  Sure you do.  Everyone and their brother had us signing Alex Rodriguez including, for a time, Alex Rodriguez, right?  Back then, I was a regularly posting member of the Red Sox Fan Forum over at redsox.com.  The place was abuzz for weeks with talk of getting ARod.  I forget the specifics, but wasn’t the plan back then to trade ARod for Manny Ramirez and then trade Nomar Garciaparra for Magglio Ordonez?   I HATED this idea, long before it all went south.  And there were many, MANY people willing to voice the same opinion over at redsox.com.  Then once everything fell through and Slappy ended up with the Yankees, from out of the woodwork came the people taunting those of us who didn’t care.  “Oh you have to say that to make  yourself feel better about your team screwing this up!” was a common refrain.  No, I said it because I didn’t want to lose Manny and Nomar for ARod and Magglio.  Don’t care now and didn’t care then if people thought I was choosing loyalty to players over improving the team (which, in a sense, I guess I was.  I just never liked ARod – never – and there are some players I never want to have to root for – he’s one of them).

Mark Teixeira isn’t one of them, though.  Never really had anything against him, but I like the way this team looks (for the most part.  Have I mentioned that we need a catcher?  I’d much prefer Theo sign a starting catcher right now.  Seems kind of an important piece of the team that is currently, well, MISSING right now.) and I didn’t see the need of signing a Teixeira just for the sake of doing so.  Wouldn’t have been too upset if they did (although the ultimate loss of Mike Lowell would have been greatly upsetting) but, again, really not devastated that they didn’t.

So the Sox didn’t get Teixeira and the Yankees did.  I’m not giving up tickets to the Red Sox games in protest, that’s for sure.  If anything, it’s nice to (once again) have a bit of a “bring it on” attitude in regard to the Yankees.  Rivalries are fun and the Steinbrenners just kicked it up a notch again.

But, seriously Theo, a catcher.  A catcher would be good.

December 26, 2008 Posted by | Assholiness, Hot Stove, Players | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2008 Posted by | Holidays! | | 2 Comments

The Obligatory Mark Teixeira Post

Cheers, Mike!

Cheers, Mike!

Usually, when I prepare for a post like this I read every article or blog that covers it so I either have information to use or to ensure I don’t copy whatever someone else has written.

This time, I’m flying solo.  The idea of reading any of the whining I know is coming in regard to Mark Teixeira makes my eye twitch.

I’m not sorry the Sox didn’t get him.  I’m truly not.  But reading people bash the front office because the Yankees decided to throw a ridiculous contract at yet ANOTHER free agent isn’t how I want to spend my evening.

Wait, I lied.  I read Red’s take on it.  My favorite subject line of the day.  And, actually, Denton’s view (also over at Surviving Grady) is one I share:

Wherever he lands, it will be his 4th team in just his 7th big-league season, not to mention the non-signing with the Red Sox back in the 1998 draft. I don’t know how he’s done it, but Teixeira has avoided any and all criticism for doing exactly what guys like A-Rod, Pedro and Clemens have done: pimping themselves out to the highest bidder.

So you have the understanding that I’m not exactly broken up about the Yankees signing Teixeira.  I don’t see this as a failure by Theo/the Front Office.  I don’t think they were outsmarted or outmaneuvered.   Cashman is determined to buy up all the free agents this off-season and that’s what he’s doing.  Why this surprises anyone is beyond me.

I don’t live in a cave, I know Teixeira is good.  But he’s not a good as the contract he got and no one will convince me that he is.  With this acquisition, the Yankees will employ the four highest paid players in Major League Baseball.  They just came off a season where they finished behind the Red Sox and the Rays – so why are people acting like Cashman’s spending spree is an oddity?

I received an email this afternoon from a Yankee fan who used to comment on my blog more regularly (read:  when they weren’t in third place).  He was gloating about Teixeira and became defensive when I wouldn’t take the bait and join him in a flame war.   “Don’t pretend that you aren’t heartbroken that Cashman shoved it up Epstein’s ass” is a direct quote from one of his messages to me.  I didn’t even bother to respond because that idea is just too funny to me.  All Cashman did was show MLB that the idea of building his team around young and homegrown talent is out the window.  The decision has been made that the only way to win it all is to buy it.  Now, I don’t have much of a problem with that, bring the players in who you believe will make your team successful…except for one small issue:  the Yankees have been “buying” for years and all they have to show for it these past 8 seasons is a bunch of AL East Champion banners.  Color me unimpressed.

I’m proud that our front office has created limits for themselves.   They set a number and stuck to it (and held to their resolve to not give out no-trade clauses) and Boras couldn’t force their hand.  The Yankees are definitely a better team for having picked up Teixeira, but the Red Sox aren’t a worse team for not getting him.  That’s good enough for me.

Now let’s work on the catcher situation, eh Theo?

December 23, 2008 Posted by | Hot Stove | , , | 14 Comments

Molasses to Rum

Photo from WBZ.com

Photo from WBZ.com

I don’t know that I’ve ever read Brian MacPherson from the Union Leader before, but if this article is any indication, I’m not missing much.

Okay, that’s a bit harsh.  MacPherson isn’t a terrible writer, just a stereotypical member of the New England sports media looking for trouble where there most likely isn’t any.  His article today is nothing but a whinefest about how horrible the Red Sox (specifically Theo and Tito) are to their players.   Listen, I can give  you a laundry list of players who I felt got the shaft by the team.  But it’s a personal feeling and in no way takes away from the fact that I understand the team does what it does, ultimately, for the betterment of the organization as a whole and it’s not anything personal.  MacPherson seems to be taking fanboyishness to a new level today:

WHETHER OR NOT the Red Sox sign Mark Teixeira this week — or next week or the week after — Theo Epstein and Terry Francona are going to have some serious work to do.

They’ll have some work to do with Mike Lowell, first of all. He signed a team-friendly contract just a year ago, turning down more years and bigger money elsewhere, but he became trade bait as soon as the Red Sox began courting Teixeira.

It’s not just Lowell, though. They’ll have work to do with Kevin Youkilis — and Josh Beckett, and even Dustin Pedroia.

The Teixeira negotiations have sent a message to everyone who wears a Red Sox uniform: We don’t care who you are. You are expendable.

Is he for real? He thinks these players don’t know that baseball is a business and the teams they play for will do whatever they can to sign players who will help the team win?

He thinks that, after the season he had physically, Mike Lowell didn’t know this would possibly be happening?

And Kevin Youkilis is on record as having said:

If we add a guy like Mark Teixeira to the team, that would be great,” said Youkilis. “You never know – I might be the guy traded (to make room). But I don’t mind it; I get to play baseball for a living.”

MacPherson is right. Youk sounds pissed to me. (Shout out to SG for the heads up on that story.)

MacPherson gives no reason Beckett will need to be “worked” with and he goes on to admit that Pedroia doesn’t have to “worry”.   Hell, though, he even throws Jason Bay into the mix.   He needs to be concerned that the Red Sox have no loyalty to their players.  He brings up Bronson Arroyo.  You remember Bronson.  He was traded in 2006.  Red Sox stuck a knife in his heart when they traded him (and got suck in return).  It was shitty and  many people thought so.  Funny, though, how it hasn’t stopped players from signing with the Sox.  Funny how it hasn’t affected the success of the team.

Here’s how MacPherson ends his piece:

Baseball is a business, sure. But when your product is your people, you have to treat them a certain way.

I, actually, don’t entirely disagree with this.  But here’s the thing for me, loyalty goes both ways.  The Red Sox treated Manny like a God and he gave them the finger.  They made really good offers to Pedro Martinez and Johnny Damon and were told “we’re going where the money is”.  There is practically NO loyalty in baseball (Bronson Arroyo aside) but to blame it solely on the owners (and, in this case, the entire Red Sox front office) makes no sense to me.

I often say that if I were GM, John Valentin would have been the shortstop until he shattered into a million pieces.  This is one of the many reasons I’m not a general manager of a baseball team.  I’ll tell you what, I don’t want to see Mike Lowell go anywhere.  He’s been great for this team, he seems like a genuinely good guy, and in a time when he could have taken advantage of the free agent market, he, essentially, took a discount to stay in Boston.  I think it would stink on ice if he got booted just because someone younger and shinier came to town.  But as much as I would hate it, I understand it.  And so do the players – I’m guessing more than I.

Baseball is a business.  It’s lousy, but true.  And it’s probably the first thing these guys learn about baseball once they hit the bigs.  This isn’t news to anyone.

December 22, 2008 Posted by | Boston Sports Media, Hot Stove, Players, Rants | , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Who do you love?

My man Mike - Photo by Kelly O'Connor

My man Mike Timlin - Photo by Kelly O'Connor

Are you watching the MLB Network’s preview?  If you are, are you getting the constant loop of the 2004 World Series film?  (I’m wondering if they are showing different video in different areas.)

I’ve never been so happy to be sitting in front of a television watching the same thing over and over and over again.  This is truly the best film ever made.

I’m not sure I ever sat down and thought about “my favorite Red Sox team” really. But watching this film has me thinking.  Every player they show, my initial response is “Oh I LOVED him!!!!”.  Every one.  Even Johnny Damon.  Hell, even Curt Schilling.  And although I’ll always credit Fred Lynn with stirring my Red Sox passion (and will always list him as my favorite “all time” player), there is no doubt in my mind that my favorite team of all time is the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

The 2007 World Champions make me very happy.  There are many guys from that team (waves to Kyle Snyder!) who I’ll always follow and root for – but 2004 was just so different.  To this day I can’t explain the feelings.  I’ve now watched this entire film or pieces of  it at least five times over these past two days and every time, EVERY TIME, there are pieces of it that make me cry.  Four years and another World Series banner later and “Back to Foulke! Red Sox fans have longed to hear it… the Boston Red Sox are World Champions!” makes me burst into tears.

(Side note about the 2004 World Series film:  It focuses a lot on the ALCS yet totally skims right over Slappy.  Boo, MLB.  BOO.  Ooh, one other note:  Over the last four year, my man Mike Timlin has aged.  He looks like a baby in this video.)

I know I’m totally biased, but watching this again and reliving the totally improbable ALCS win followed by sweeping the World Series…remembering how down the media around here was on the team and how depressed most of us were before “The Steal” – I’m not sure how anyone can watch this film and not understand why Red Sox fans are as rabid as we are.

Wishing away time is not really my style, but all the MLB Newtwork is doing for me, right now, is making me wish it was April!

December 20, 2008 Posted by | 2004 Red Sox, Memories | , | 7 Comments

Do the right thing

This photo has now been emailed to me by 3 different people.  I have no idea the origins (so if it's yours, let me know!).  All I know is it was taken this Halloween.  Lenny as Indiana Jones and Bronson as Kid Rock.  You're welcome.

This photo has now been emailed to me by 3 different people. I have no idea the origins (so if it's yours, let me know!). All I know is it was taken this Halloween. Lenny as Indiana Jones and Bronson as Kid Rock. You're welcome.

I grudgingly admit that I enjoyed the WBC first time around.  I went in kicking and screaming.  Didn’t see the point of it, didn’t want to have it, blamed Bud Selig for another money-making venture that didn’t take the fans or players truly into consideration…I hated the entire idea of it all.

Then it started and I got quite into it.  No surprise really, I love baseball…this is baseball and you get to see players you don’t normally watch.  Fun for all.

Until my favorite player spent the better parts of the regular season either on the disabled list or just fighting through his dead arm  – and my opinion of the tournament began to sour again.  (Granted, he busted his ass in 2005, pitching more than he ever had in his career,  and I’m sure that also had a lot to do with it.)

This year we’re already being told Daisuke Matsuzaka and Dustin Pedroia are both going to play in the WBC.  – Matsuzaka for Japan and Pedroia for the USA – and I choose to agree with our manager when he says, in regard to players in WBC, he’s all right with position players playing but not pitchers:

“But just you look at it, regardless of whose team, these guys are not ready to compete. That’s why when they get to that third inning or whatever, the first count of the day, we take them out of the game. If they want to throw more we take them down to the bullpen where it’s a controlled environment. Now all of a sudden they have two on base and two out and it makes you nervous.”

Tito is nervous at the idea of his pitchers participating in the WBC.   And now we all get to be “nervous” about Daisuke (as if we aren’t usually nervous about him already).

But fear not fans!  There is one pitcher we don’t have to worry about:  Joshua Patrick Beckett.  According to MLB.com:

The Boston Globe has confirmed that Beckett will pass on the international tournament in order to fully heal from an oblique injury suffered toward the end of the 2008 season and ensure that he’s ready for Opening Day.

The Red Sox would have advised Beckett to skip the tournament, since compared to pitchers, they feel that position players can better deal with the rigors of playing in a tournament before the season begins, as evidenced by Mike Timlin’s difficulties in 2006.

Poor Mike Timlin. He will always be held up as the reason why no pitcher should play in the WBC.   Such a legacy.

Anyway, both Beckett and Mike Lowell have decided that it’s better to rest up than it is to play in the WBC.  I’d love for Matsuzaka and Pedroia to make the same decision, but who am I to judge?

In NON WBC-related news, Old friend Lenny Dinardo has signed a minor-league deal with the Kansas City Royals.  Well, KC is closer to Cincinnati than Oakland is.  Still no word on where Kyle Snyder will be landing in 2009.  I still have hopes for a Lenny/Kyle/Bronson bullpen at some point in my lifetime!

A storm is coming, it’s 36 degrees out (feels like 29 according to weather.com) and I have baseball on the brain.  February, truly, can’t get here soon enough.

December 18, 2008 Posted by | Players, World Baseball Classic | , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

News?

lowellib

Mmmmmike Lowell

Ian Browne is reporting that the  Boston Herald is reporting that the Red Sox extended Mark Teixeira an 8-year offer.

That sound you hear is the collective scream of the Mike Lowell Estrogen Brigade…and my dad.  My dad has a huge man-crush on Mike Lowell.  (My mother is a member of the brigade and I don’t know what the hell she’ll do when Lowell is no longer a Red Sox player.  Let’s not mess up Christmas, okay Theo?)

But before folks get their undies in a bunch (whether excited about the prospect of Teixeira on the Sox or upset at the prospect of losing Mike Lowell because Teixeira is on the Sox), let’s see where the Herald got their information from:

Er.  Um.  There doesn’t seem to be any indication of where Michael Silverman got his information.  Not even a “sources who prefer to remain anonymous” line.  Not any mention of “sources” at all.

Just this:

.

The Sox have made an offer, the biggest and longest yet for this current ownership group. The offer is believed to be for at least eight years, with ownership and baseball operations cognizant that Teixeira, 29, represents the safest bet they can make for at least this year and next to shore up the heart of an aging lineup.

So it’s done. We’re writing about it like the offer has been made and been made PUBLIC that the offer is out there.  If so, why is the Herald being credited as the source for this story?

We all know that the Sox are interested in Teixeira and we all know that they will, at some point, be making an offer.  But here I go nitpicking again.  How can Silverman get away with writing the above without crediting any source – and expect people to just believe him?  And why would MLB.com pick up the story and run with it?

How do you get SO specific as to say “The Sox have made an offer, the biggest and longest yet for this current ownership group.” and then not tell people where this information came from?

This whole thing just makes me tired.  Let’s talk about something else.  Like how I’m going to have  nightmares about Daisuke Matsuzaka messing up his pitching arm in the WBC.

Weeee.  There’s something to look forward to.

December 16, 2008 Posted by | 2008 ALCS, Boston Sports Media, Hot Stove, Housekeeping, Live Blog, Pawtucket Red Sox, Players, Playoffs, Rants, That was sweet! | , , , , | 13 Comments

This would be cool…

Bronson getting down like Dan Fogelberg - Photo by me from 2007

Bronson getting down like Dan Fogelberg - Photo by me from 2007

I like Christmas music – a LOT.  And I like Bronson Arroyo – some would say a LOT.  Two great tastes that taste great together – A Bronson Arroyo Christmas CD!

Seriously.  He’d sell out in New England.  Hell, he comes by here every January anyway, he could sell them then and we’d have them all ready for the following holiday!

So in order to entertain me, because that’s my primary function in life, I came up with 10 Christmas songs I want to hear Bronson Arroyo sing.  When I become Queen of the World, I’ll totally make Bronson do this.

1.   River – It’s a Joni Mitchell song and I usually get cranky when other people try to sing her songs…but Bronson absolutely has a voice that could pull this off.

2. Blue Christmas – Come on.  If Jon Bon Jovi can do it – so can Bronson.  Besides, when he’s on stage, Bronson always looks like he’s thisclose to crying.  This song would be perfect for his breakdown!

3.   Feliz Navidad – Those first two songs are a little bit of a downer…I don’t want the poor guy suicidal.   Like when you play the banjo, it’s impossible to be sad when you sing this song!

4.   Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Bronson = David Cassidy.  Don’t tell me you don’t see it.

5.   Same Old Lang Syne – Yeah, only two songs into the happy and I go back to depressing Christmas songs.  I’m not even sure this is a Christmas song (although it takes place on Christmas Eve – that makes it as much of a Christmas song as “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie!) – but Elan Trotman would kick ass on the piano as well as the saxophone.  We need to give Elan a good vehicle and this would be it.  Plus, nothing is hotter than angsty Bronson.  Dan Fogelberg was the original emo dude – Bronson’s just representing!

6. There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays – Except he’d change the word “Home” to Boston and piss off all of Cincinnati.

7.   I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – He’d sing about kissing, the women would swoon…this one is really a no-brainer.

8.   Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – It’s my favorite NON religious Christmas song.  And it’s my list, so I get to pick the songs.  See how that works? (My favorite version is actually by Judy Garland or Johnny Mathis…but I linked to JT because I dig his as well.)

9.  What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – Okay, another song that is on the questionable list of whether or not it’s a Christmas song.  But, honestly, the most romantic Christmas/Winter/New Year’s song EVER.  Sing this to me the way Harry Connick, Jr does and, most likely, I’ll be yours forever.  🙂

10.  O Holy Night – I love Christmas songs about the actual reason for the holiday and  this one is my favorite. Since I didn’t put any other Jesus-themed songs on the list, here’s one.  (Trivia about Cyn:  The first time I heard this version of the song – Josh Groban’s – I was in a bakery and I burst into tears right in front of everyone.  Christmas tends to do that to me – in a good way.)

So, Bronson, if you’re reading this – get cracking.  You could have this ready for next year!

December 15, 2008 Posted by | Bronson Arroyo, Randomness | , , | 7 Comments