Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Everybody wants a little piece of my time

Papi image via NESN/Poster image from The X-Files

Papi image via NESN/Poster image from The X-Files (Photoshopping isn't my strong suit)

Well they sure found something to take our minds off of the trade deadline, didn’t they?

I missed all the live ‘fun’ on NESN yesterday.  The game, the Papi coverage, the Nomar interview…got to check in Thursday night and have a few observations (might be a bit rambling as I started writing this at 3:15am!):

1)  I’ve always suspected Nomar of using PEDs.  For whatever reasons, hypocritical or not, it never bothered me in the “Ooh his career is tainted” way just in a “I wonder what might have been if not for them” way.  After watching his post-game interview on NESN I absolutely believe him when he says he didn’t use.  Maybe I’m naive or maybe I’m just purposely turning a blind eye – either way I look at it, Nomar offered a compelling view yesterday and if you haven’t seen the video of his interview you should.

Garciaparra cast doubt on the method employed to obtain the 103 names on the list, suggesting that some players opted not to take the test in order to purposely fail the test. The players assumed that doing so would increase the number of positive tests and therefore require PED testing throughout baseball.

I’d like to hear more about this.  He specifically mentions the White Sox in the interview with John Chandler.  Someone needs to dig deeper into this.  If they’re going to drizzle the names out this way there should be something in the way of a response from the players.

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July 31, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , | 14 Comments

Who propped you up when you were stopped low

Big Papi in 2007.  Photo by Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission

Big Papi in 2007. Photo by Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission

I’d love to be one of those people not bothered by finding out that players have used PEDs but I’m not.  There have been times when I could make excuses and understand it but, generally speaking, it depresses the hell out of me that so many players decided to cheat on such a high level, leaving the players who didn’t cheat in the dust.

I’m also not one of those fans who says “never my guy”.  I’ve written before that I have a list of Sox players in my head that, if it became public that they used, wouldn’t surprise me.  Manny Ramirez wasn’t on that list prior to this year…neither was David Ortiz.

So the New York Times is reporting that “multiple lawyers and others connected to the pending litigation” have admitted in interviews that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are on the list of players who tested positive for PEDs in 2003.  Call me kooky but I’d like a little more proof than that before we go destroying a man’s reputation.  The fact that I’d like more proof than “some guys told us but we can’t tell you who and we can’t tell you what they tested  positive for” doesn’t mean I’m totally disregarding it.  I’m not.  It’s definitely worthy of being mulled over.  And if it turns out to be true, I won’t lie, I’ll be heartsick.  Saddened that someone I looked up to as a player is in the same group that I look down on for being cheaters.

Nothing, even news like this, will take away my euphoria over 2004 and 2007. (And I should point out that positive tests in 2003 don’t mean users in 2004.)   And if there is a Sox fan out there who didn’t think some of the players on those teams (at the very least the 2004 team or, really, the 2003 team) were using then they’re delusional….but Papi?  Of all the players, Papi?  It’ll really be a tough pill to swallow if it’s true.

Bonds had Fainaru-Wada and Williams showing me proof.  MLB outed Palmeiro.  Giambi, Pettitte and ARod all admitted (somewhat) to what they did.  I’m not happy with a couple of whispers slipped to the New York Times potentially destroying a man’s reputation.  So I wait.  I wait for Papi to give more of a statement than “I’m not talking about that anymore”.  He’s the one who told us he did it “the right way”.  I want him to tell us again.

I also want the list published in its entirety with MLB verifying that it is, indeed, the real list.  Enough of this dropping one name after another like someone slowly ripping off a bandage.  Let us deal with it all at once and finally try to move past it.

I’m a bit of a realist but today I’m going to be a bit of a cynic and wait to see if we get a real story out of this.

July 30, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | 7 Comments

I am the mess you chose


How often do we get to see Josh Beckett smile? Photo by Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Tomorrow is, without a doubt, my least favorite day of the baseball season.  I dread it more than the last day of baseball.

The day is spent speculating which of my favorite players will be traded and then usually finding out it was none of them.  On television, radio and the Internet you can’t get away from it.  Fortunately, I’ll be on the road to Baltimore and will probably (hopefully?) be shielded from most of the coverage for the better part of the day.

I always hope the Sox will win but I want it a little more today.  Losing today would be three in a row and three losses in a row coupled with winning only 10 out of the last 22 games will be making the reactionary fans restless for Theo to trade the entire team for Roy Halladay and while I share the frustration of the fans who aren’t happy with the way the team has been playing, I don’t think knee-jerk reactions to it will benefit the team in the long run.

I was hoping to not have to revisit this once I made the initial post yesterday but I will, one final time, to make things a bit more clear.  I decided to leave WEEI for a few different reasons, not one specific thing although one incident did force me to sit down and reevaluate things.  The decision was mine and not one I made lightly or impulsively.  It saddens me that things worked out the way they did but I’m happier now than I was a few days ago and, really, that’s all I care about.  This blogging thing is supposed to be fun.  It hadn’t been for a while and now it is again – regardless of the struggles of the Red Sox.   My leaving isn’t anyone’s “fault” but my own and, truthfully, should have happened sooner than it did.  Lesson learned by me.  I understand some people are disappointed and for that I’m genuinely sorry.  But I’m not sorry that I made a decision that benefited me and didn’t hurt anyone else.  The world won’t end because I’m not blogging for WEEI any longer.  I’m sure they believe that even more strongly than I do.

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July 30, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , | 11 Comments

By way of explanation

So I thought I should explain why this blog is no longer associated with WEEI.  It wasn’t one thing it was a culmination of things over six months but, essentially, it came down to a decision I felt it was time to make.

While I absolutely appreciate all the support everyone has given me throughout this it became more obvious each day that my blog + WEEI was not a good fit.  It was great to have my blog connected with a nationally-known website but I found that traffic-wise that didn’t do as much for me as I had hoped.  I have a strong and loyal readership that followed me over and I built up some new readers as well, mostly, I found, through the connection through other sites and Twitter, not really because I was at WEEI.  This wasn’t among my reasons for deciding to leave, it just made it easier to make the decision.

So when it became clear, short of the prize money doled out in bi-weekly increments, that there was no clear benefit to my being at WEEI, I made the decision to sever the relationship.  Everyone at WEEI has been supportive of this decision and I think we can acknowledge that it was best all-around.

I tried to keep the blog the same as it was when I was “solo” but we all know that didn’t happen.  There were no rants about Gerry Callahan, no calling out WEEI writers when the misogyny reared its head as it sometimes did.  I had to censor myself, again, for not much a benefit.  As I said, there were incidents that made it clear I wouldn’t be doing more than I was (emphasis for those who chose to ignore it first time around), I didn’t see the sense in keeping myself in that bottle.  The folks at WEEI have been very supportive of my decision to leave.  Again, I think it will ultimately be what’s best for everyone involved.  I know I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me.

So, here I am, back again.  Tonight we live blog and hope the new mojo helps out Brad Penny!

Thanks so much to all of you for all the support.  You all are the reason I keep doing this and I really hope folks aren’t too disappointed.

July 29, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , | 26 Comments

I can never hear enough


July 29, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | 1 Comment

Somehow happiness will find you

JD Drew and Brian Roberts somehow find a way to smile! Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/ and used with permission.

One of the people I follow on Twitter wrote last night that if your team gives up 21 hits then you shouldn’t expect them to win. You could say that about the team that gave up 14 hits as well. Too bad it wasn’t possible for both teams to get the loss.

Last night was ugly and it’s too bad because it had the potential to give the Sox a game up, give Clay Buchholz a win and honor Jim Rice on his big day. None of this happened and we had to wait until past 11:30pm to get the news.

I know there were errors involved. Defensive indifference also came back to bite Papelbon and the Sox in the butt. Still, I’d much prefer that the next time Jonathan Papelbon talks about wanting to get paid like Mariano Rivera someone show him this game. It seems he can’t get his focus against “lesser” teams or when the pressure isn’t on. I tire of wondering what he’s going to do every time he takes the mound. There’s no argument about his talent but, to my mind, closers are supposed to be “lights out” and while his stats show that he’s been pretty damn good he certainly isn’t guaranteed to being that consistently lights out pitcher a closer should be. Less drama and more focus, Paps. Thanks.

Brad Penny tonight in another game where we look to him to get the bad taste of another game out of our mouths. My plan is to live blog it but circumstances might force me to change plans. As of right now (8:15am on Wednesday), the live blog is on….I’ll update the blog if things change.

The ceremony for Jim Rice was exactly as it should have been – very well done. Both of Jim Ed’s speeches (at Fenway and at Cooperstown) were entertaining and pleasant and, relatively, short. Jim seems to be so genuinely happy about his induction to the Hall of Fame as well as the retiring of his number. No “It’s about time” coming from him, just genuine gratitude and appreciation. I’m very proud that the Red Sox are so selective with the retirement process and I’m equally proud that Jim Ed finally got his props.

Shake off last night, folks. New day, new game, and a win on the horizon.

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

And someday soon I'll be just one more memory
Red Sox – The Beatles – A Day In The LifeI’ve posted this video before but I thought it was time to trot it out again. I’ve received a few emails over the last week from Sox fans getting down about the struggles of the Red Sox and the dominance of the Yankees. It’s a bummer, I agree (though Josh Beckett’s gem last night with everyone getting in on the offensive act was definitely a push in the right direction) but we’ll get through it.

On July 23, 2004, the Red Sox were 9.5 games behind the Yankees. On July 28, 2004, four days after the “fight” game, the Sox were 8 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. A month after that, the Sox were 5.5 games behind the Yankees in the standings.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Now I don’t pretend for a moment that this team is the 2004 team. There was a magic that team had that no other team (not even the 2007 team) can replicate. But even without “magic” (see 2007) the Red Sox are capable of pulling together, winning games and achieving the ultimate prize. This isn’t my father’s Red Sox team. A 2.5 game deficit shouldn’t be scaring anyone. It certainly isn’t scaring me.

And I offer up the video as the reason why I don’t “worry” about this team. I don’t consider it living in the past. I don’t pretend that no other team has won a World Series since 2004. But what they did in 2004 was so remarkable, so unbelievable, that the euphoria I felt then comes back every time I’m reminded of it. So the team can struggle and I can go along with my life and enjoy watching baseball (even if I do get frustrated with the likes of John Smoltz).

Being a Red Sox fan really doesn’t suck.

As an aside, there was a rumor going around for about a half an hour yesterday that a Reds/Yanks trade for Bronson Arroyo was “absolutely” getting done. I don’t mind telling you that my stomach was in knots until the rumor was debunked. How the hell do I deal with my favorite player being on the Yankees? Especially if it’s via trade (so I can’t even “blame” him)?

I hate this time of year…I can’t wait until the trade deadline has passed. I know trades still get made after the 31st but at least we aren’t bombarded with all of the rumors that come out during the month of July.

Jim Rice night at Fenway tonight. Number 14 gets put up between numbers 9 and 27. It’s a proud moment and I’m thrilled we’ll get to witness it. I won’t be at the park tonight but I’ll be watching along with everyone else.

Congratulations, Jim on another well-deserved honor.

(Oh and if Clay Buchholz could get Jim a win tonight – yeah, that would be good too!)

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

Feeling all of forty-five going on fifteen

I want “happy” Smoltz to translate into “good” Smoltz. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/ and used with permission.

Because I spent most of the weekend doing other things and not totally focused on the Sox, I had it in my head that they had an off-day today. I’m grateful they don’t – I want them to get back to winning and now that I can settle down and watch an entire game, I wanted there to actually be one.

John Smoltz and the Sox couldn’t come through and bring Jim Rice a win on Sunday but the Sox got the series win and just because Smoltz is starting to give me fits every time he takes the mound doesn’t mean I should obsess on that and lose sight of the larger goals of the team, right?

Regardless of the terrible road trip and the loss yesterday, I’m not eager for Theo to make some blockbuster trade this week. I don’t see making a panic move just because the team has been slumping. Having written that, I’ll be in Baltimore this weekend for all three games against the Orioles and wouldn’t be devastated if when I got there Mr. Smoltz was not pitching Friday night (as he is currently scheduled to do). Along with that, though, I’d like to call out all the idiots at Fenway yesterday who booed a future Hall of Famer because he had the audacity to not pitch well. Congratulations for being idiots, folks.

I don’t know what I think the solution is with Smoltz but I don’t believe that it is keeping him in the rotation. I guess on Friday we’ll be stuck because Tim Wakefield isn’t available to come off the dl until Sunday – but it makes me sad that I consider every Smoltz start and automatic loss. I know Tito has faith in him coming around and I, usually, have faith in the way Tito gets things done…but, for me, that’s wearing thin with Smoltz.

Joshua Patrick gets back up on the mound tonight against Trevor Cahill and the Oakland A’s. Another winning streak begins today!

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

My feelings can't describe it

    Photo by Mike Groll/Associated Press

Photo by Mike Groll/Associated Press

Congratulations, Jim Ed (hell and Rickey too!)…long overdue!

July 26, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

I hope she looks like you

Bronson with Tim Wakefield in Cincinnati last year. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/ and used with permission.

I link to it on the sidebar but I should mention it more in the blog. “It” is Dan Hoard’s blog “Heard it from Hoard“. Dan is one of the PawSox radio broadcasters and he blogs on a solidly regular basis. If you’re looking for information on the newest members of the PawSox or if you’re just looking for random bits of baseball trivia, Dan’s blog is the place to go.

The reason I bring it up now is because I was told via email that Jonathan Van Every has decided to part ways with the Red Sox but I couldn’t find any news of this anywhere…until I went to Dan’s blog:

Van Every’s season ended in mid-June due to knee surgery. Boston took him off of the 40-man roster on July 8th to make room for Jed Lowrie, and released Jonathan 10 days later when the waiver period ran out.

The Red Sox wanted to bring him back next season, but we’re hearing that Van Every has agreed to a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

I can’t blame Van Every for wanting to take a sure thing rather than hold out and wait to see what the Sox would do next year – but I’ll miss him being with the team. He was a lot of fun to watch in Pawtucket and seemed to really make the best of his time while he was in Boston. I wish him a lot of luck and I hope he’s healthy next season.

In non-MiLB news, word is that the Reds have Bronson Arroyo on the trading block. I don’t think for a minute that the Sox would be interested nor that the Sox need a Bronson Arroyo but I’ll totally admit to a bit of a charge at the idea.

Dan also mentions that Saturday night is Jon Lester bobblehead night. Fitting since he’ll be pitching in Boston. If you can make your way down there I highly suggest trying to get in a game at McCoy at some point this year. Given the expected crowds, though, Jon Lester bobblehead night might not be the best night to try that!

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