Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Brace yourself with the grace of ease

Of of the better photos I took last night.  Way to take one for the team, Nick!

One of the better photos I took last night. Way to take one for the team, Nick!

So much to cover on this Friday morning:

First I have to give a special thanks to KellyO for sharing her good fortune of offered tickets and bringing me along to sit in field box seats behind the Red Sox dugout last night.  The seats were amazing, we had a pretty good crowd around us and we had the perfect view of Nick Green’s triumphant pitching debut!  As we left the game and walked down Yawkey Way we both realized that we were leaving a Red Sox loss with smiles on our faces and laughing.  Looking around, the folks who stuck it out for the entire game seemed to have the same attitude.  No one ever wants to watch their team lose a game but given that the Red Sox soundly won this series 3 games to 1, it felt fine to revel in the visual of Nick Green on the mound.  Guy did all right too – after two innings pitched, his ERA is zero and he only walked 3.  Not a bad night on the mound for a relief pitcher, huh?  (MLB.com tells us that Green is the first position player since 1944 to pitch 2 or more innings for the Red Sox and not allow a hit.  Billy Wagner should watch his back!)

Meanwhile in Pawtucket, my man Kyle Snyder pitched himself quite the game only to end up with a no-decision (the PawSox took the series, winning both games).  In spite of seeing the glory of Nick Green’s pitching, I’m still a bit disappointed I didn’t get to see Kyle.  Heck, maybe he’ll get a September call up and I’ll make a day trip to CitiField before the season is over?  In any event, Kyle’s doing well with Buffalo regardless of the season they’re having and for that I’m very happy.

More from Pawtucket is this story from Terry Nau.  I gave one of Terry’s pieces a dressing down last week so I figured it was only fair to give this piece the once-over as well.  In a sports media market that looks to jump on Jonathan Papelbon for every verbal miscue he makes, it’s interesting but not surprising that none of the larger outlets picked up on this story.

Papelbon, dressed in khaki shorts and tee-shirt, joined an estimated 25-30 children in the outfield on Wednesday afternoon and began telling them what he thinks is important.

“The big thing for me is to be positive,” he told participants in this annual clinic, which is sponsored by Shaw’s Supermarket and hosted by the Pawtucket Red Sox. “Don’t let all the negativity bring you down. Sports have taught me a lot of life lessons. Sports taught me how to be a winner, and how to learn how to lose, too.

“When I’m having some ups and downs in my own life,” Papelbon admitted, “I think about how I deal with trouble when I’m on the mound and there are two or three runners on base. I ask myself how do I deal with this situation? I just bear down and concentrate. You can do the same thing in your own lives by learning lessons from sports.”

Plenty of athletes take the time to spend with the kids who idolize them. Sadly, plenty don’t. A day after his General Manager joked to the world that he wasn’t a Rhodes Scholar, and the media ran with it, he was reaching out to the young fans.

“Jon’s a great guy,” said his booking agent, Mike Josselyn, who set up Wednesday’s appearance. “Once he became a father, he wanted to cut back on his bookings. He called me in and talked about spending more time with his family. I thought he was giving me the axe. But instead he told me he wanted to just do two or three of these events during the season instead of six or eight. He told me he liked working with me. That’s the kind of person Jonathan is. He cares about people.”

Terry also shares in this piece that the Papelbons are expecting their second baby in April 2010. From the anecdotes that Joe Castiglione shares (again, nothing you ever seem to read in the papers), fatherhood agrees with Paps.  Regardless of the winning the Sox were doing, this week was filled with a lot of negative, Red Sox-related writing (thanks to Paps and Billy Wagner) so it was nice to read something that made me smile instead of making me want to set my computer on fire.  Also, congratulations to the Papelbons on the wonderful news!

Things happened so quickly that I didn’t get to mention Brad Penny asking for and getting his release from the Red Sox.  I’m not exactly thrilled that this has happened (he might have struggled but he had some good spots too and the idea of question marks in the rotation makes me not so happy) but he left saying all the right things and I genuinely hope he has some success (most likely in the National League, thank you).

It’s been my bad to not have been promoting “At Bat with Nat” – PawSox infielder Jeff Natale’s interviews with various PawSox players.  Thanks to JS, from Baseball Heavy, for pointing me to the newest interview Natale has with Javier Lopez.  It is definitely a must-listen!

Most importantly, today is the final day for the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon.  It’s a wonderful, important cause and if you can do it please try to make a donation today.

Today starts a new series.  Toronto is in town and we get Beckett, Buchholz and Lester on the mound for these games.  Unless a hurricane blows me away, I’ll be at the Saturday and Sunday games hoping for a sweep but settling for the series win.

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August 28, 2009 - Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , , ,

7 Comments »

  1. I was thrilled to spot you on tv last night. Thanks for pointing out the positive article on Papelbon. I had not seen it anywhere else. Actions (should) speak louder than words. Nice to know he has a good heart.

    Comment by fla beck | August 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. I recognized KellyO immediately, but wasn’t quick enough to see you.

    Comment by Ellen | August 28, 2009 | Reply

  3. Thanks for the link on the Papelbon article. Nice stuff! And isn’t there baby just 7 months old? “Irish twins” we used to call them!

    Comment by Beth | August 28, 2009 | Reply

  4. Ooopps – there = their

    (And I was just told “you’re posting comments too quickly. Slow down!”)

    Comment by Beth | August 28, 2009 | Reply

  5. Pap’s comments in media interviews inevitably make him sound breathtakingly in love with himself, like he has a great big heaping helping of hubris in his head (that’s as much alliteration as I can put together). But to be a closer–to ENDURE it, let alone be successful in the role, without a nervous breakdown–it seems like one almost has to be super-ridiculously self-confident. The casualty list of closers who destroyed themselves off the field is long, and suggests (among other things) how overwhelming the pressure of that job is. So I cut Papelbon a lot of slack.

    Comment by Elaine Apthorp | August 29, 2009 | Reply

  6. Besides. . . he also gives me the impression he’s not a bad fella. Maybe I’m a fool for sweet blue eyes or something, but he seems like basically he’s a good egg. A young soul, full of eagerness to live this particular life.

    Comment by Elaine Apthorp | August 29, 2009 | Reply

  7. “A young soul, full of eagerness to live this particular life.”

    Exactly my feeling after seeing him talk to those kids the other day. There’s more to Pap than just baseball. He’s great with kids, he’s starting a family and is committed to it. He enjoys himself and is fiercely loyal to his teammates, especially Manny Delcarmen, whose back he was protecting last week when he first spoke about Billy Wagner coming to Boston.

    If Pap ever does leave Boston, I hope nobody runs him down for going away. I suspect he would love to go home to the South. That’s certainly his privilege.

    Comment by terry nau | August 29, 2009 | Reply


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