Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Born high forever to fly

Thank you, Red Sox! (Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)

One of the difficulties in writing a blog such as mine is how to cover the “bad” times. I’m not Amalie Benjamin. I don’t just report what happened in the game without any commentary on my feelings about it. My feelings come through in everything I write; that’s the benefit of writing a personal blog. But there’s a level of believability that needs to be kept. People won’t keep reading if they don’t think you’re honest in what you write. So if there’s a lousy game or two and I haven’t written something like “Theo should blow up the entire team” some folks wonder if I’m being genuine.

I received an email yesterday from someone who only started reading my blog when I came over to WEEI.com. The gist of it was that he didn’t believe that I don’t get “angry” (his word) when the Red Sox play poorly. He thinks that I purposely put on a happy face just for the sake of NOT upsetting anyone. (His belief seems to be that I write this blog as if the players are reading it. Which made me laugh out loud as I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t be at the top of the reading list for the Red Sox.) This belief encouraged the writer to send me an email saying I should stop writing because nothing I wrote was real. He also suggested I should write more like Dan Shaughnessy because “that’s what people want to read”. (I’d quote the entire email here but it was, in a word, long. I appreciate the feedback as always but I was amazed at how emotional this person became in writing about how upset he was that I don’t get more upset at the Red Sox.)

So I’m going to put this out there in the event that there are more folks reading me who might feel the same way this fella does. It isn’t an act. I absolutely don’t die with every Red Sox loss.

Well, not any more.

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May 31, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

I'm a machine but I'm a funny color

Haven’t used any Kyle Snyder photos for good karma in a while. Kyle struck out 7 in his latest appearance with the Buffalo Bisons! (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images North America)

Well that didn’t go as planned.

Thanks to one of Wake’s patented “this inning is going sour quickly and we don’t have a guy up in the bullpen yet” innings and the fact that the team couldn’t get men in scoring position to actually make it home, Sox break the Blue Jays 9-game losing streak.

Can’t have any hard feelings about Wake. Guy’s been a horse thus far. The hitters, on the other hand, I can fault (not-so) happily.

But let’s focus on the positive. How about Daniel freaking Bard, eh? Five consecutive strike outs of the 8 bats he faced? Quite impressive, kid, quite impressive.

Last night, Amalie Benjamin wrote on Twitter: “Not a lot of glory in being the team that ends another team’s nine-game losing streak.” I have to disagree. Well, maybe not “disagree” but I don’t think she is looking at it the right way. Do the players look at each other and think “Ugh, we just lost to a team that lost 9 in a row” or do they think “The Law of Averages caught up with them and we were unlucky enough to be the team they were playing”? To lose 10 in a row is huge. To lose a dozen in a row even worse. Did anyone think the Blue Jays were going to lose 12 straight games? I didn’t. I wanted them to but I didn’t think it would happen.

As I wrote in response to that Tweet, the odds of the Sox winning the next 2 just went up. It’s unfortunate that the loss came on a night when the Yankees won, placing them a half game ahead of the Sox to, temporarily (!) own first place but what are you going to do?

One note about the Yankees game: Pettitte came out of the game after getting himself in trouble. Two on, no out and a 2-0 count to the batter he was facing. He looked fine walking off the field but it gave the relief pitcher as much time as he wanted to warm up. There was no visible injury and when he threw his last pitch he didn’t grab himself or limp or wince. He hurt his back on Monday and, according to Peter Abraham, had been fighting through pain up until Girardi took him out. Also according to Abraham, Pettitte says he’ll definitely make his next start. I don’t know…sounds suspiciously like the old Roger Clemens trick of suddenly being injured to get out of a game. Although Pettitte was winning when he left his game. It sounds more like Girardi wanted his struggling starter out of the game before it got out of hand and pulled the “he’s injured” card so his reliever could get more warm-up time on the mound. Part of me wonders why Tito didn’t try this (hey, Wake has had a bad back in the past). “Oops he’s hurt! Let’s take him out and get someone else in there quickly!” Another part of me is very glad that Tito’s mind doesn’t work like Joe Girardi’s. Of course, I feel differently if it turns out Pettitte misses his next start and is genuinely hurt. For now, I don’t believe it for a second. Girardi got a fresh arm in there to take as many wam-up tosses as he needed and stopped what could have turned into a really ugly inning. Good managing or just more slimeballiness from Girardi? I suppose a little of both.

And the first one to tell me Pettitte wouldn’t be involved in such chicanery needs to be reminded of this.

Speaking of PED users: Bud Selig has decided that he’ll have to give some thought as to what to do if Manny Ramirez gets voted into the All Star Game. Seriously, I’d like to find every idiot who voted for him and slap them. Give your vote to a player who hasn’t been caught cheating. What a novel idea! And you can come back with “For all we know they’re ALL cheating” and that is very well true, but I don’t care. I’m not out to hang witches. If a player has been caught or admits to using then he cheated. I’m not pointing to every player who does well and say “He MUST be cheating!”. That’s bull. We KNOW Manny cheated. THIS YEAR. Why vote him in to the All Star Game when he is serving a suspension for that instead of playing baseball?

A quick shout-out to schadenfreude:

Brett has decided to have surgery,” added Amaro. “And it’s likely we’ll be missing him for a significant amount of time. We don’t know how much time, but he has elected to have surgery.”

According to a team spokesman, Myers was unavailable for comment.

It’s sad when bad things happen to good people isn’t it? Oh wait…

The Sox and Jays play at 1:07pm EST! So nice to have a Saturday game played in the early afternoon. I had considered live blogging it but won’t be. Tomorrow is still a possibility – we’ll see how the stars align for it. Today Brad Penny pitches against Brian Tallet. For as much of a hard time as I’ve given Penny this year, he’s been pretty solid for the Sox. We don’t need a stopper today we need a STARTER. Someone to start the winning series! I’ll be thrilled with the Sox leaving Toronto having won 2 out of 3. But for that to happen, GOOD Brad Penny needs to show up today (along with a bunch of hitters who don’t keep leaving men on, thanks!).

May 30, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

When I'm on top, look at me now

One of my favorite pitchers! Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

When I first started watching baseball I was fascinated with the outfielders (and not just because, even as a child, I found Rice, Lynn and Evans to be cuties! Hey, I was a little girl. Watching cute “boys” play ball was nothing but fun!). It seemed like the infielders got to do most of the work while the outfielders just hung around waiting for fly balls. I often wondered how they kept their intensity up when the game seemed to be so slow for them. Of course, seeing them knock themselves against the Green Monster and the right field all made me change my mind about the excitement level in the outfield.

As I got older, I started appreciating the infielders much more. I loved watching double plays get made and especially enjoyed watching the third baseman rifle the ball to first to get those close outs. (Keep in mind, my first MLB game was Wade Boggs’ first game at Fenway. I developed an interest in the infield rather quickly!)

But as I got even older my attention turned to the pitchers.

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May 29, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Now I see what I am is holding me down

Jacoby, doing what he does! Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

I missed most of last night’s game as well. I’m happy for Jacoby’s hitting streak being in tact but not so happy to have another road loss. I hate dwelling on the past but realize that sometimes it’s necessary.

So, in an effort to put the last couple of games, into perspective, here’s what went on with the Red Sox a year ago today:

The Red Sox were in Seattle and lost to the Mariners 1-0. Tim Wakefield pitched all 8 innings, striking out 8 and giving up only 1 run on 5 hits. The Mariners used 3 pitchers (Erik Bedard got the win and J.J. Putz the save) to 2-hit the Sox (Those hits coming from the bats of Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell). The Red Sox were a game and a half out of first base behind the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees were six games behind Tampa Bay and in last place.

The Sox had also lost to the Mariners in the previous game. THAT was the game where Matsuzaka had to come out because of back pain (which quickly turned to “shoulder fatigue”) and Manny hit his 499th home run.

My point in dredging this up now? You’re always going to go through periods of suck with the team you love. Sometimes it’s amplified by their being on the road and sometimes, even though there were good games between the bad, you feel like the team is never going to get out of whatever funk they’re in. Thus far, in the month of May, the Red Sox are 13-12. Just over .500. Sure this isn’t fantastic. Especially when you look and see the Yankees have gone 15-10 in May (and I know many if not most of you are looking at the Yankees as well). But it’s May, folks. We have 4 entire months of regular season baseball left. If we’re going to get worked up over a series or two that doesn’t go our way, it’s going to be a long, hot, miserable summer.

This should perk you up: Curt Schilling has a live chat going on at noon today. He’s using the “Cover it Live” software that’s become so popular. Here’s hoping he also using the moderator function and doesn’t approve every insulting message he gets. Power is fun, Curt, use it well!

Oh and then there’s that baseball game on at 1:10pm. I have to imagine Josh Beckett is not amused by two straight losses. Put a stop to it, JPB.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

So don't work your stuff

Jacoby keeping his hitting streak alive at 21 was the high spot for the night – and it happened in the first inning. (NESN screen grab)

I missed baseball yesterday. All of it. In the process I missed most of the American League East suck eggs. Which, in some cases, was good and in other cases kind of bums me out.

So my theory about Lester doing well when I don’t pay attention gets thrown out the window. Oh well. From what I can tell he was doing fine until he got himself into a little trouble and then he kind of caved. This feels like a growing pattern. When Jason Varitek keeps telling us that Lester is “young” and has some “maturing” to do I think we should be listening. I know I have been.

I greeted the morning by reading email. One message came from a Yankees fan who used to comment on my blog back when I was on MLBlogs. (A brief digression: MLBlogs tries to cultivate a community of bloggers, regardless of team affiliation. This resulted in my being criticized from different areas for, essentially, not being nice to the opposing teams fans by writing digs about their team – almost exclusively the complaints came in regard to anything I wrote about the Yankees. Back at MLBlogs I received more comments on my blog from Yankees fans than even Red Sox fans. Not surprisingly, most of them didn’t follow me when I left.) The gist of the message was to rub it in that Lester lost again and to REALLY rub it in about David Ortiz. This fan reasoned that Papi’s troubles come from his no longer taking PEDs. This same fan also mentioned how Alex Rodriguez hasn’t missed a beat since returning to the Yankees. Now maybe it’s just me but if you’re going to accuse someone who has never been proven (or officially accused) of using PEDs and in the same paragraph you sing the praises of someone who has admitted to using them, you might have a few issues of your own. True story, I tried to email this person back and my message bounced back. So I’ll say here what I was going to say in email. If we’re following your logic and Papi’s dramatic struggles are a result of his no longer using PEDs, wouldn’t that mean that you should attribute A*Rod’s outburst of productivity since returning to his still using PEDs? Makes sense to me. 🙂

Due to circumstances slightly out of my control (read: falling asleep after plying myself with NyQuil) there won’t be a live blog tonight. (This whole “my being home on Wednesdays and the Sox playing day games on Thursdays” stinks. I’d love to be live blogging in the afternoon!) Depending on how I’m feeling, I’m looking at possibly live blogging either the Friday night or Saturday afternoon game. We’ll see how my plans go.

The Baltimore Orioles are in last place but were the only AL East team to pull out a win yesterday. As of right now, the Red Sox are still a game up on the Yankees and in first place. It isn’t much but I’ll take it.

May 27, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , | Leave a comment

It's funny how we feel so much but we cannot say a word

Three straight days of too much fun coupled with a cold to beat the band has left me wiped. So, for now, let me wish everyone a happy Memorial Day and offer my thanks to the men and women who have given their lives for our country – and to those still out there risking their lives for all of us.

I took some decent shots yesterday and put them up on Picasa (see below). Enjoy!

And don’t forget – Sox on NESN at 2pm today!

Mets at Sox

May 25, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | | Leave a comment

Now is the time for me to stand

Our battery today. Kick ass, fellas! Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net in April 2009 and used with permission.

Dear Tim Wakefield:

See, here’s the thing: I was okay with the team losing on Friday. Daisuke’s first game back and all. He pitched well; things just didn’t work out. And last night? Well, Papelbon has been truly remarkable this year thus far. I was upset for a moment as I saw the home run but in the big picture knew we were bound for this to happen at some point. I’m not about to get all banged up on a night it looked like we had 2007 Josh Beckett in the house. Losing the series to the Mets sucks, but, all in all, I’m not getting too worked up about it. But today? See, I’m at the game today. (Yesterday was spent at An Tua Nua’s with 30 or so of some fabulous people!) I’ve never been in Fenway at the game of a sweep against the Red Sox and I have no intentions of starting now.

Think about the children, Tim. If the Mets sweep the Red Sox today, I very well might take out a couple of obnoxious Mets fans. Some of them might have kids. (Not saying all Mets fans are obnoxious. They aren’t any more than all Red Sox fans are. But I seem to attract the obnoxious ones at the park.) God help the Cowbell Man if I see him off of a Mets sweep. (Who am I kidding? God help the Cowbell Man if I see him at all today. Okay, not if I see him but if I hear him. My friends are scattered through the park this afternoon. I’m sitting alone. I’ll have no one there to remind me I should take the cowbell and shove it….well, never mind.)

Digressing for a moment: That Wiki page on the Cowbell Man says the Yankees also have a Cowbell Man to go along with the pan-banging Freddy Sez dude. Is it that difficult to make your own noise with your hands and voices that you need instruments? WTF? Wouldn’t it drive you batshit, Tim, if we banged cowbells all day?

But back to TODAY, Tim. Win. I know it’s unfair to ONCE A FREAKIN GAIN ask you to be our “stopper” but here it is. You need to stop this shit and stop it now, dude. If this means a complete game, so be it. A no-hitter? Do it. A perfect game? Come on, why not? The team needs a win so fans don’t go mental on Julio Lugo as the team leaves the park for the airport this afternoon.

Win Tim. Make the Mets cry. Silence their fans. Make sure I get to work on Tuesday instead of spending the long weekend in the clink. This is your calling…accept it and excel. Thank you.

PVs

Cyn Donnelly

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Yesterday was an amazing day spent with friends (most of whom I haven’t seen in quite a while or hadn’t met yet!). There are many amazing tales to tell (but not here!) – my favorite being when our friend Susan noted that we could start singing “O Canada” except no one knows the words past “O Canada!”. Standing up and singing loudly and proudly, a group of us proved her wrong.

That our serenade didn’t get us thrown out still kind of surprises me.

If people tell you that you won’t meet any good folks online, tell them they’re wrong. I’ve made some of my real-life closest friends online. The Sistahs, the LMOTFers and the SGers are groups I was a part of online that turned into many off-line, true friendships. For that I am grateful to the Red Sox (hey, all three were parts of Red Sox messages boards and or blogs). So I can’t begrudge them a loss or two when they’ve done so much for me!

May 24, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , | Leave a comment

When the heavens all went dry

I really love the sky at Fenway. I think I took more of these photos last night than of the players.

On Sunday at the game I’ll finally get to meet MetsGrrl. I’m looking forward to it. She’s funny and nice and she’s quite knowledgeable about baseball. Plus, she writes wonderfully. I have a couple of other online Mets fan friends who I get to talk baseball and other things with so I have no hard feelings towards Mets fans in general. And when they aren’t playing the Red Sox, I like (most of) the Mets. So I didn’t go into this weekend thinking “I’m going to get into a fight with the first Mets fan I see!”. But twice last night there was a moment when, were I a different type of person, I probably could have put myself in a position to not only get in a fight of some sort but most definitely to get thrown out of the park.

I’m not holding it against all Mets fans. When we were at CitiField the fans were fine. But I was reminded last night that the ones who travel seem to get a little bit of (liquid?) courage because I was in a near fight with one last time too.

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May 23, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , | Leave a comment

Our hearts beat safe and sound

Jason Bay: Leading the league in awesomeness! Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Today starts a weekend of (relative) debauchery at, what has now become, an annual “Palooza” with a large group of my friends. I’m still hoping to be posting at least once each day – but I promise very little as my attentions will be elsewhere for most of the time!

Quite pleased with the sweep of the Blue Jays…but not surprised. Not to take much away from their hot start but it’s interesting to see how they’ve fared against most of the AL East. Now the Sox need to take it to the Mets as well. Another sweep would be nice, fellas, but I’ll be satisfied with a series win.

I like the Mets. Aside from this weekend, I hope that they kick butt this season. But this weekend I want them to go down like dogs.

I’ll be at the games tonight and Sunday. Excited about seeing Daisuke finally pitch again and am thrilled that I’ll get to see Wake pitch. There used to be a time when we would joke that Wake was always pitching at games we went to. Now I feel like there could someday soon be no Wake games to see and want to get to as many as I can. Yes, I can be maudlin.

But not this weekend! This weekend will be dedicated to fun times and a good attitude. Sox will win and a good time will be had by all!

May 22, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , | Leave a comment

Some people call me Maurice

Yes, I took a photo of my television. (It really isn’t that horrible. But Seacrest and Roethlisberger? That’s unacceptable!)

Oh, Jon. You really need a stylist, darlin’.

Tonight in your post-game press conference you were wearing a shirt that has been seen in public on both Ryan Seacrest and Ben Roethlisberger.

Are these really two guys you want to be associated with?

I missed the entire game because I worked until just after 9pm. Was walking up to the house when the game ended and played some “Dirty Water” on the iPhone before I went in. So all I know about the game are the snippets I got to hear. Good for Jon for bouncing back. Let’s hope he keeps bouncing. I’m encouraged but I’m waiting for another game or two with this same result before I get excited.

More when I wind down. It’s been a long day; I’m really glad the Sox didn’t make it worse!

May 21, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | | Leave a comment