Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

The ghouls all came from their humble abodes

Pedro reminds fans who his "daddy? is.  (Photo lifted from Getty Images/MLB.com and used with no permissions at all.)

Pedro reminds Yankees fans who his "daddy? is. (Photo lifted from Getty Images/MLB.com and used with no permissions.)

I didn’t have much time to write yesterday but I tried to get my reading in about Pedro.  I’m still smiling.  Sure he lost the game but he pitched well and his walking off that mound, smiling at the game…the fans…the situation…will be forever in my mind when I think about him.

Many if not most Red Sox fans consider themselves fortunate to have been able to see Pedro pitch in his prime.  I know I do.  During his time in Boston, I saw him pitch at Fenway more than any other pitcher.  (Tim Wakefield has since taken over as “pitcher I’ve seen pitch the most in person”.)  Every outing was an event.  The atmosphere around Fenway was electric on any Pedro game day and the fans hung on his pitches like you don’t see them do with pitchers today.  Standard procedure for fans of the home team is to make their bathroom/beer runs during the other team’s at-bat.  Not many fans left their seats back when Pedro was pitching.  I was sad when Pedro left and I was sad when he didn’t have any of the success with the Mets that he had with Boston.  But Pedro’s two post-season appearances with the Phillies have shown that while he isn’t as fast, or as good, or as young as he once was – he’s still Pedro.

But when he’s not on the mound, as he stares at what is likely the end of his career, the last restraints on his personality seem to have snapped. As he exited the field Thursday night, Mr. Martinez took a moment to tell a heckler above the dugout that his behavior and language were inappropriate. “‘Your daughter is right beside you,” he said he told the fan. “‘It’s a little girl. It’s a shame you’re saying all these things.’ I had to stop and tell him because I’m a father myself, and God, how can you be so dumb to do those kind of things in front of your child? What kind of example are you setting?”

Matthew Futterman from the Wall Street Journal shares the above quoted passage.  Can you imagine?  Man’s a superstar, exciting the World Series after putting men on and already with his team behind and he stops to chastise a heckler?  Vintage Pedro.

So I’m sorry Pedro didn’t get the win but I’m thrilled he got his chance in Yankee Stadium again and took as much advantage as he could.   He struck out 8 (Jeter and Slappy both twice, plus Damon, Hairston, Jr, Cabrera and Teixeira) and he only walked 2.  Unfortunately, giving up 6 hits in 6 innings – including 2 home runs – did him in.  All in all, I think it was more than many expected from Pedro.  And the “Who’s Your Daddy?” chants didn’t seem to have any affect on Pedro except to make him smile as he left the field.

Phillies leave the Bronx with a split – which is good enough to take away home field advantage for the time being – and they do it all over again tonight with Pettitte and Hamels on the mound.  7:57 ET on Halloween Night.  Just in time for me to shut off the light and stop giving out candy to trick or treaters!

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October 31, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | 2 Comments

When I see the light I know I'll be all right

Cliff Lee = Man of Steel ( Photo by Jared Wickerham /Getty Images and used without permission.)

Cliff Lee = Man of Steel ( Photo by Jared Wickerham /Getty Images and used without permission.)

30 years ago this month I watched my first full World Series.   Well, that probably isn’t true.   I suppose I sat with my parents in 1975 and watched the World Series but I don’t have any memory of it.   In 1979, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles made the World Series and for some reason I begged my parents to let me watch it.   I’m guessing it had something to do with seeing Willie Stargell in the NLCS. Whatever my reasons, I was in sixth grade, ten years old, and I begged my parents until they finally gave in.   I watched most of those 7 games alone. My father worked early mornings and my mother had two daughters to get up for school.   I felt like such an adult.   The deal was that I could watch the games but I had to get up for school.  There were definitely mornings when I had to drag myself out of bed but it was worth it to me.  Most of my classmates chose to root for the Orioles (because of the American League connection) but I was rooting for the Pirates.   I wrote their slogans “Tanner’s Terrors” and “We are Family” all over my book and argued with the boys in my class over who was better, the “old man” Willie Stargell or the “kid” Eddie Murray.  During that series, the Pirates winning became the most important focus of my small world.  It also was the true introduction for my love of ALL baseball, not just Red Sox baseball.

I live in the market that gets NESN.  I have no reason to “buy” extra baseball, yet I do.  I purchase the Extra Innings package through Comcast every year and I usually end up buying the Game Day audio package from MLB.com as well.  I try to watch every Sox game but I usually miss a few during the season – I make up for it with all of the extra baseball I watch – some of it being Yankees baseball.

So you’ll forgive me, I hope, when I laugh at those who have suggested that my not wanting to watch this year’s World Series is an indicator that I’m not “a real baseball fan”.  I’m as “real” a baseball fan as you’re going to find.  I also happen to be an unabashed Yankees hater.  Sometimes these two feelings clash.

I love the Red Sox; I love baseball; I hate the Yankees – usually in that order.  But when the Yankees are in the World Series it’s painful to watch.  Truth be told, most of the pain comes from the hype and the announcers and the fact that the sports world always seems to forget other teams exist when the Yankees are around.  So I convinced myself that I wasn’t watching the World Series.  And then today I kept reading about the game and I kept seeing “Cliff Lee v CC Sabathia” and I kept thinking about how much I like Cliff Lee and how much I don’t like the Yankees and how sweet it would be to watch him take the Yankees down.

SO I watched the game.  Admittedly, I watched the beginning with the sound muted but once it was obvious Lee had the game well in hand, I braved the Fox broadcasters.  Amazing how the tone changes when the Yankees aren’t playing well.  It wasn’t nearly as painful to listen to McCarver and Buck as I had expected it to be.  Cliff Lee pitched a complete game.  Gave up 6 hits and no earned runs (one UNearned), no walks and struck out ten.  Holy hell.  It was so much more than I ever expected but pretty much exactly what I had hoped.  All the coverage leading up to game 2 will be about Cliff Lee from game one and Pedro Martinez in game 2.  All Phillies.  It’ll make forcing myself to watch game 2 a lot easier.

Pedro Martinez in Yankee Stadium again.  As absolutely thrilled as I am to see it, I’ll admit to being slightly concerned about how he might perform – but Lee took a ton of pressure off of him so it might be just that much easier for Pedro once he takes the mound.  (Everyone keeps mentioning the “Who’s Your Daddy” chant being carted out – I don’t get it.  Didn’t Pedro smash that to pieces in the 2004 ALCS?  Wouldn’t chanting “Who’s Your Daddy” to Pedro now be like chanting “1918”?

So, so happy for Cliff Lee.  First World Series game and he goes the distance.  He also made many, many fans happy tonight.  Thanks for making the game watchable, Cliff!

October 28, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , | 2 Comments

Nothing can hold me when I hold you

Photo taken by Jim Davis/Boston Globe and is NOT used with permission.

Photo taken by Jim Davis/Boston Globe and is NOT used with permission.

So what’s your story?  I’ve told mine before and I’m re-posting it here.  I wrote the entry below in 2005 for the first anniversary and re-posted it in 2006.  It’s time to bring it out again!

I actually wrote this up last year for the first anniversary and amended it a bit for this year. I still get choked up thinking about that night. And there are many aspects surrounding it that I’m thankful for, but none as big as being thankful that I was able to share the moment with my parents…diehards for a lot longer than I’ve been!

With all due respect to the current World Series, it’s time for me to reflect on the most amazing time in Red Sox Nation’s history. Two years ago today.

I watched the final game with my parents…and when it was over I drank an entire bottle of champagne and fielded phone calls and emails from just about every person I ever met. I watched all of the local coverage and ESPN until around 2am…and never went to sleep. I watched the Red Sox come home with the trophy on the early morning news, got dressed in my Sox gear and went to work to celebrate with the people in my office. We laughed and cried and did nothing all day but read about the World Series online and talk about the historic way the Sox got there.

That Saturday was the most amazing parade/rolling rally any sports town has ever seen…and I stayed home alone while my friends and relatives went into town…and cried for the entire length of the parade (luckily every channel in town covered it and I taped every moment of it). I thought about so many people I know who didn’t get to see this and I thought of my (then) 69 year old dad who waited his whole life for it.

It was the best October ever.

Red Sox fans are spoiled by that team. A quick exit from the playoffs in ’05 and missing the playoffs (and second place!) altogether in ’06 has snapped folks back to reality. Even so, watching this World Series (played by the team my Sox swept in 2004) makes me miss the excitement of 2004 – even with all the pain of the ALCS that year. .

I was worried that a new World Champion would take away how I’ve felt all year about the Red Sox winning in 2004 – but then I realized I was wrong. Nothing will ever diminish what the Red Sox did and how they made me feel. If anything, I love them more this morning than I did yesterday.

With the 20th anniversary of the ’86 series being thrown in my face, it’s amazing to have the feeling that no matter how many times that ball goes through Buckner’s legs, Dave Roberts is always going to be safe at second and Jason Varitek is always going to be jumping into Keith Foulke’s arms.

Can’t wait until we do it again!

Thanks for not making me wait too long, fellas!!


I love this video and usually save it for Opening Day…I think we could all use it right now!

By request:

My 2008 post.
My 2007 post.
Two posts in 2006.
My 2005 post.

October 27, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | | 4 Comments

I can beg to survive but nothing’s gonna help me

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Things not related to the ALCS that are pissing me off this week:

*  Steve Phillips is addicted to sex. Stunned.  I’m stunned, I tell you.  To think, instead of facing up to the fact that his ego is such that he enjoys cheating on his wife with subordinates, he announces to the world that he’s a sex addict, goes into “rehab” for it and will most likely come out to the welcoming arms of a job.  Nice work if you can get it, huh?

* Bill Madden is a rumor-mongering ass and no one except Matt O’Donnell at Fenway West, has called him on it.  According to Madden, the Red Sox “have apparently decided not to try to re-sign Jason Bay”.  Does he offer any proof of this?  Any quotes?  Any facts at all?  No.  What he does offer is his belief that Jason Bay’s rep “Scott (Avenging Agent) Boras” had a bad relationship with the Red Sox.  That’s his proof the Sox aren’t going to re-sign Bay.  The worst of it being, surprise surprise Bill, Jason Bay’s agent is Joe Urbon.  Whoops.  Madden wrote this piece on Saturday and it’s been up ever since with no corrections.  The New York Daily News, your leader in spreading misinformation.  The kicker is that so many blogs have picked up on Madden’s piece and are quoting it as fact.  It annoys me to no end that professionals can just throw out rumors, stating them as fact, and not have to be responsible to anyone to report the actual truth.  I have no bloody idea if Theo plans to make Bay an offer that will woo him into staying in Boston – neither does Bill Madden.

Tony LaRussa gives Mark McGwire a job.  Yeah, yeah.  McGwire never admitted to anything (he wasn’t there to talk about the past, dammit) and he didn’t get “caught” or “outed” (unless you count Jose Canseco)…but the fact remains that when most people think of Mark McGwire, they think of steroids.  What better way to show folks that MLB is serious about cleaning up the sport than bringing Mark McGwire in to be the Cardinals hitting coach?  How long into the season (or maybe just into spring training) will we finally get Mark in front of a microphone admitting to all he has been accused of, begging forgiveness and thanking LaRussa for his chance to get back into baseball?

JD Drew. Folks, he isn’t a murderer.  He hasn’t been outed for cheating on his wife or using PEDs.  I’ve never heard one fan ever claim he blew off an autograph request.  And, believe it or not, he’s a pretty solid player.  Yes, he has a huge contract that was totally overblown and never probably should have seen the light of day – but it did.  YEARS ago.  Build yourselves bridges and get the hell over it, people.  JD Drew isn’t the devil.  You just want to paint him that way so you can entertain yourself in the off-season.

Four?  I only came up with four?

I think that’s because in the back of my brain I keep looking ahead on the calender to tomorrow.  AKA:  The 5th Anniversary of the night our lives TRULY changed forever.  More on that next!

October 26, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

It troubles my brain

Looking forward...SOMETHING has to get me through the winter, right?

Looking forward...SOMETHING has to get me through the winter, right?

Well the 2009 MLB season ended for me with the Yankees winning the ALCS.  I’ll have to spend  my time figuring out how to follow Kyle Snyder and Los Lobos de Arecibo in winter ball but I’m surely not watching the Yankees play in the World Series.  First time I haven’t watched the Series since 2003.

I’m pleased Slappy didn’t win MVP (and truly believe CC deserved it) – it’s bad enough he’ll be in the World Series – proving, once again, that the universe doesn’t care much about character and often rewards those who don’t deserve to be rewarded.

The Angels…well, they did what they could but, ultimately, came up short.  6 games deep into the ALCS is nothing to sneeze at, though.  I just find it sad that they came so close, especially this season, just to falter at the end.

So, goodbye until Spring Training, Major League Baseball.  I certainly hope the Phillies can beat the Yankees but I won’t be watching them do it.

Edit on a Monday Morning A message for the trolls:  I have it set up so that most of the trollish behavior goes automatically to spam, which means I don’t see it nor does it get posted.  If you have, in the past, trolled here and got yourself deleted/banned, regardless of how much you try to play nice, your message won’t be posted.  I don’t go to Yankees message boards or blogs talking trash about your team so I don’t expect people to come here to rub it in.  And, really, your team just won the ALCS for the first time since 2003, if you’re a real fan aren’t you enjoying this with  your fellow fans?  Why visit a blog that doesn’t support your team?

I have some friends trying to convince me to give the WS a chance since so many believe the Phillies will wreak havoc on the Yankees…we’ll see.  Maybe I can try it with the sound muted?

October 25, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , | 3 Comments

I'm just so hungry I can taste it

Remember this feeling, Angels?  Go for it again!  (Photo taken by Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.)

Remember this feeling, Angels? Go for it again! (Photo taken by Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.)

One of the many reasons I love New England:  Last night it was raining so hard I was waiting for the parade of animals walking two by two to begin.  This morning I woke up to the sun blinding me through the skylight in my bedroom.  It’s another gorgeous fall day in New England and I’m loving it!

All the talk this weekend is the Patriots in London.  I’d love to be more excited about it.  Hey, I like the Pats and I want them to win but I hate this in-season promotion stuff.  So while it is pretty cool to be playing American football in England, I just want them to win and get back home so I can stop reading the tweets of sports writers who are acting like England is not only a different country but in a different dimension.  It’s England not Mars, people.

Truthfully, my mind is on baseball still so it’s tough to get excited for football even this deep int the season.  I was disappointed that the game was called last night (although a tweet from my friend Caryn in NY at least helped put to rest the conspiracy theory that Fox and MLB postponed the game to get better ratings on Sunday after all the football:  “I cannot begin to stress how horrible the weather is and how necessary calling the game was.“).  A fresh start, no wet conditions to get anyone hurt, and not reason to lose either starting pitcher because of delays.  I can wait another night to see a game.  I wonder, though, how the Phillies feel?  Can you ever determine whether waiting around for the start of the next series is better than starting up right away?  I think back to 2007 when the Rockies tied up the NLCS quickly and had to hang around waiting for the Red Sox and Indians to play all seven games.  Initially folks kept reporting about how rested the Rockies would be but by game 1 of the Series they were wondering if rested = rusty.  On the other hand, if they could push THIS series to 7 games, whichever teams comes out of it alive could either be riding high on the fumes of momentum (see Red Sox in 2004 and 2007) or crash and burn from the exhaustion (see Yankees in 2003).  After the first two games, I was giving up on the ALCS this year and now I can’t wait for another game.  Baseball loves to mess with me.

Go enjoy the day, folks.  If you’re like me and watching the baseball game tonight, don’t forget it starts at 8:20 –  it’s going to be a long one!

October 25, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | | 1 Comment

I chased away the shadows of your name

Let's hope Papi gave Torii some pointers on coming back in the ALCS!  (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.)

Let's hope Papi gave Torii some pointers on coming back in the ALCS! (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.)

Before last night, I can’t remember the last time I got that genuinely worked up over a baseball game that didn’t involve the Red Sox.  Mike Scioscia replacing John Lackey with Darren Oliver (to face Slappy, Teixeira and Matsui!) could have gone down in baseball history as the worst managerial decision in an LCS since 2003.   Thankfully, aside from Lackey possibly having already set all of Oliver’s (and/or Scioscia’s) things on fire, no long-term harm was done.

There seem to be a few Yankees fans reading my blog.   One or two occasionally email me and actually have nice things to say (well, usually not NICE but at least they just want to discuss baseball not how fat, stupid, ugly or mean I am!) – last night I received an email from one, “Mike in Paramus” (I asked Mike if he minded my mentioning him today)…Mike wanted to know if I was taking “great joy” in Nick Swisher’s struggles in the ALCS since I had “dissed” him earlier this season by saying I didn’t think he was an all-star.

I like Nick Swisher.   He’s one of those players I truly believe plays because he loves it and tries to get as much fun out of it as he can. I hate that he’s with the Yankees but they offered him a job and why wouldn’t he take it, right?    I DID say earlier this season that I didn’t think he was an all-star…but he was definitely an important part of what got the Yankees to the post-season this year.   In spite of that, I’m not reveling in his struggles.    Hell YES I’m enjoying the Angels taking it to the Yankees and I hope to see more of the same Saturday night – but it actually annoys me a bit that so many in New York are choosing to stick Swisher’s head on a stick and parade it about so that the fans have their pound of flesh.   (Incidentally, “Mike” thinks Swisher should be benched.   Me?    As long as it helps the Yanks lose, I’m good with keeping him in!)

So while the Phillies rest up, the Yankees and Angels have to head back to New York for at least one more game.   In thinking about the World Series, it occurred to me that since 2000 all three teams in the hunt have won a World Series so there isn’t that much drama (for me, anyway) surrounding them.    I have no emotional attachment to the Phillies, I admittedly can’t stand the Yankees…so that leaves the Angels.   If I have to pick a team that I’d genuinely enjoy watching win it all this year – and these three are my only choices, I’m going with the Angels.   After the ALDS, I didn’t think I’d be able to root for them.   But watching them during this LCS, well, I like most of the guys on the team and their fans seem to be the least of the three evils…and I honestly can’t deny that Nick Adenhart is on my mind.   I’m not a fan of the “they have to win because something bad happened to them” way of thinking, but it certainly has attached itself to me – at least it did last night.  Watching last night I kept thinking about the team running over to his likeness on the wall in the park after they made it into the playoffs and the idea that the Yankees could have made it to the World Series in front of him upset me greatly.   Sure it’s still a tough road for the Angels – winning two in a row in the Bronx won’t be easy – but I think they can do it.   More importantly, I’m hoping they can do it.   Everyone needs to root for something positive, right?   It isn’t as much fun to root AGAINST a team as it is to root for them.

So Saturday night I won’t be rooting for the Yankees to lose (as I’ve been doing each of these games) I’ll be rooting for the Angels to win!  Two more games, fellas, two more games!

October 23, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , | 1 Comment

And spring became the summer

Here's to another year with Wake!

Here's to another year with Wake!

Good news is always welcomed!

According to Ian Browne at MLB.com, the surgery on Tim Wakefield’s back was a success and, if the recovery process goes as planned, “he should be fully recovered long before the start of Spring Training”.  Wake has already expressed his desire to play another season and Theo has already expressed that Wake fits into the plans of the team so there is still much hope that number 49 will be taking the mound quite a few times in 2010.  I’ll take the good news, thanks!

Phillies are another step closer to back to back World Series championships.  Have to admit that I’m genuinely happy for the team.  They worked hard to get to where they are and they won in an impressive manner.  I’m also more than a bit excited for Pedro Martinez to be returning to the Series.  Pedro isn’t even sure he’ll make the WS roster, let alone get to pitch, but he was still so obviously thrilled about it all last night I couldn’t help but share his happiness.  Sure, the idea of a team that isn’t mine being the first this decade/millennium to go back to back is a little disappointing – I always have such high hopes for the Sox – but, Brett Myers aside, I like the guys on the Phillies (granted, a lot of their fans haven’t impressed me) and I hope they do well in the Series.

Unless, of course, the Angels come back to put the beat down on the Yankees.  Something I still hold out hope for.  (Actually, if the Angels beat the Yankees I wouldn’t really care which team won the World Series – but the team beating the Yankees coming out and winning the Series would be pretty sweet!)

After the Angels won that game that other night, I had a genuine belief they could pull it off.  Then they showed up in the following game playing like they spent the night before out too late partying.  There was no life to the team and the Yankees took full advantage.  So I’ll watch some of tonight’s game – depending on how it ends up – and hope for the best.  I’m annoyed that everyone is just assuming the Yankees will be playing the Phillies…that kind of arrogance pisses me off and I hope it pisses off the Angels enough to do something about it.  I know it looks bad for the Angels right now but baseball is one of those games where genuinely anything can happen…so they have as much of a chance to win this as they do to lose it.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the chances are better for the Yankees to win the ALCS than the Angels but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope.  At the VERY least it would be nice for the Angels to make a series of it and force the Yanks to a game 7.  Wear them down, fellas, wear them down.

A video this morning that I absolutely adore:  Mark Salling on “Glee” singing “Sweet Caroline.  Bring some of that Neil Diamond mojo to the Angels tonight!

October 22, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , | 5 Comments

…but I've come through!

We believed...and look what happened.

We believed (eventually!) and look what happened.

Five years ago today, the Red Sox made me weep with joy.  For me, for my parents, for all my fellow fans and for the team I  love.

I’m not usually one to write about what everyone else is writing about but today is special.

Five years ago – October 20, 2004 – the Red Sox won game 7 of the ALCS and changed the lives of Red Sox fans forever.  Wikipedia gives us the goods:

Pedro Martínez relieved Lowe in the seventh inning, receiving loud chants of “Who’s Your Daddy?,” which intensified as he gave up a sequence of hits, allowing two runs. He eventually raised the velocity of his fastball to the mid-90s and shut down the rally. Mike Timlin and Alan Embree finished out the game. At 12:01 a.m., on October 21st, Rubén Sierra hit a groundball to second baseman Pokey Reese, who threw to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz to finish the unprecedented comeback. The Red Sox won 10-3 and became the first team in Major League Baseball history to win a seven-game series after losing the first three games. David Ortiz was named the series MVP.

After Pedro gave up those two runs, I spent the rest of the inning outside my house, pacing the street and talking to my sister on the phone. She purposely dragged out each pitch to torture me just a little before she assured me that Pedro was out of the inning. It was game 7…it was the Red Sox…I was convinced something was going to go wrong.

But it didn’t.  When the game was over, my sister called me on my land line and my cousin in New York called me on my cell phone.  Both excited, both emotional and both giving me play by play of what was going on post-game (my cousin was watching YES and telling me they kept showing me the sad Yankees dugout.  My sister was watching Fox and screaming “Show the Yankees!!  I want to see them cry!!!”  It had been a long series and given what happened in 2003 an even longer season).   I spent the rest of that night watching NESN and ESPN over and over again and most of that time was spent crying.  I literally didn’t go to sleep and then, somehow, got myself to work the next day where all we did was talk about the game.  I was on such a high from that win that I barely remember game 1 of the World Series.

What stands out most in my memory is Derek Lowe being interviewed on the field and telling the interviewer that the best part of the celebration was seeing Tim Wakefield stand on the pitcher’s mound at Yankee Stadium, holding a beer and celebrating.  After what happened in 2003, Lowe, and everyone, wanted Wake to be able to enjoy that moment.

I won’t lie.  Remembering this…typing it out…is bringing tears to my eyes.

It’s something so few other fan bases can understand.  Everyone is happy when their team wins but not every fan had to deal with the garbage that Sox fans did.  Which is why no matter how many Yankees trolls want to come here and rub it in that the Yanks are in the LCS and the Sox aren’t – it won’t ever matter.  NOTHING will ever change the fact that the Yankees had their foot on the throat of the Red Sox and the Red Sox still came back and beat them – in their own house.  NOTHING will ever change what Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Pedro Martinez, yes, Manny Ramirez, hell even Johnny Damon did over the course of those final four games.    The Yankees can win 26 more titles and none will ever make their fans feel the way we felt in 2004.  Again, our lives were changed forever.  Jason Varitek said that Red Sox fans could hold their heads up when they ventured into Yankee Stadium – damn straight, Tek!

I treasure that feeling to this day, that October, that moment in time when we went from feeling like the universe was out to destroy us to believing that someone up there finally wanted us to feel the joy so many other fans felt – except we got to feel it tenfold.  Seeing the Sox win in 2004 and then again in 2007 made some Sox fans greedy – not me – it just made me appreciate the team and this game a lot  more.  After 2007, everything else is gravy.  And it all started with finally beating the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS five years ago today.

Again, from Wikipedia, a fitting way to remember the day:

This would be the fifth pennant for the Red Sox, since that 1918 season.   Here it is. (Pokey) Reese. The Boston Red Sox have won the Pennant!
—Joe Buck calling the final out of Game 7.

Pokey Reese has it. He throws to first and the Red Sox have won the American League pennant!
—Joe Castiglione’s calling the same moment as Buck above.

October 20, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , | 9 Comments

I guess that's just the way the story goes

Lee on Saturday, gearing up for last night's masterpiece!  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Lee on Saturday, gearing up for last night's masterpiece! (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It isn’t often that I don’t post because of good things but that’s what happened this weekend.  It was a good weekend, fun to relax and just enjoy it – and we even got some snow to ogle for a few hours!

It’s given me a much better outlook baseball-wise.

After game 2 of the ALCS, I decided that I was “done” with it.  I was giving up on the ALCS because watching the Angels losing in such creative and gut-wrenching ways was taking its toll on me.  So I was going to stick with the NLCS and just hope for the best with the American League.

Oddly enough, it was the fantastic NLCS game (relatively speaking – not so fantastic if you’re rooting against the Phillies or are a Dodgers fan) last night that has encouraged me to give the ALCS another chance.  Serendipitously, today’s ALCS game starts while I’m away from a television, so I won’t have to pay much attention.  But if the Angels can scratch one out, I’m in for game 4.  Don’t let me down, Jered Weaver.

The first post I made (after the obligatory “HEY! Not only did I change the look of the blog but I changed the name!” entry) when the blog morphed from “Red Sox Chick” to “Toeing the Rubber” was about Cliff Lee.  In spite of how I feel about MLB beating us to death with the “inspirational” story of Josh Hamilton, I think it’s obvious that I root for the underdog whenever I can.

A quick digression:  When I was at WEEI.com a very nice and quite talented fella named Jesse did all the cosmetic (and other non content-related) work on the blog.  He designed the header that I used for the time I was there.  I loved it.  I loved the color, I loved what it looked  like.  I loved everything about it.  Except the players he used.  Originally it was supposed to be Lowell, Pedroia and Ortiz and I asked him to switch at least one out for a pitcher, preferably a reliever, and I got Okajima up there.  Now, it wasn’t Jesse’s fault I didn’t like the players in the banner.  Hell, I like the players, but if I were to use photos of players to represent my blog it wouldn’t be the superstars I’d have up there.  I can’t remember if it was something Jesse and I discussed or just something I assumed, but I figured for a mainstream website it made more sense to have better known players in the header.  It turned out fine, like I said, I love the banner, but it never fully felt right for me given the my strongest allegiances seem to go to the guys who don’t have McFarlane figures of their likenesses out there, players who don’t have t-shirts with their faces on them and who don’t have legions of fans.

Cliff Lee had his struggles and people thought he was done.  No Cinderella story for him since his only problem seemed to be that he wasn’t any good.  No drug addiction, no depression, nothing fancy MLB could capitalize on.  He just started playing poorly and then he turned it around.   In 2008 he came back after a disastrous 2007 and won the Cy Young award.  This year he’s pitching in the post-season and dominating every time he appears.  (How great and somewhat ironic is this headline from July 28th of this year?  Cliff, yet again, brought me happiness.  Giving the Phillies a 2-1 edge over the Dodgers.  Who knows how the NLCS will turn out?  Right now it’s just an awful lot more fun to watch than the ALCS.  Much less painful too.

I had no plans to still be invested in the outcome of the ALCS.  I was happy to just let it  happen.  But Cliff Lee has inspired me to not give up…not yet.

October 19, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment