Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

And I don't care what you say about me

Some folks would have him burned at the stake.  I prefer acknowleging that he's human and obviously feels awful about the whole thing. (Grabbed from NECN video.)

Some folks would have him burned at the stake. I prefer acknowledging that he's human and obviously feels awful about the whole thing. (Grabbed from NECN video.)

So I spent most of yesterday with a large portion of my family.  We had a funeral mass for my uncle who passed away over a month ago, so while it was sad the sting of it all was off and we got to enjoy each other’s company for the day.  Except when the subject of the Red Sox came up.

My father, by most accounts, is an even-tempered, Irish Catholic, Red Sox fan.  Tough to find if  you believe the stereotypes.  We watch a lot of baseball together but we didn’t watch Sunday’s game because I was at the park and he was at a Christening (yes, I was supposed to be there.  The fates made sure it was held at a place it isn’t good for me to go into so it all turned out okay!)…so I didn’t get to see his reaction when the end came (there was a tv at this restaurant they were at).  We didn’t even really talk about it much yesterday.  But after everything was over and it was just the two of us he admitted to me that there were a few times he cursed Tito during the game on Sunday (Tito usually bears the brunt of any of my dad’s wrath) but that he, really, didn’t feel all that terrible about the Sox losing.  What was bothering him were the “naysayers” and all the negativity.  Must be genetic.  🙂  For the record, while everyone can acknowledge Papelbon’s huge part in the loss on Sunday, like me my dad agrees that one lost game by the closer was not what really brought this team down.  The did it together.  Just go back and read the box scores for the first two games of the series.

I took my dad to a game in 2005 where a good portion of the fans booed Mark Bellhorn’s every at bat.  In 2004, Bellhorn was the recipient of my father’s baseball anger – from the comfort of my dad’s couch.  When he is at the park, my father doesn’t believe in booing your own players (hell, he doesn’t even boo opposing players and he’s said things about some of the Yankees that I don’t dare print here!) and when he heard supposed fans giving Bellhorn hell it really upset him (not coincidentally, 2005 was the last year my dad went to Fenway.  He’s getting older and the trip in and all the walking sometimes gives him a little bit of a hard time the next day.  But I KNOW the main reason he doesn’t go through all the trouble of getting to Fenway is the fans.  The negative ones.).

So last night he waves the Boston Herald in front of me and asks if I saw the headline.  I hadn’t.  “‘PapelBOMB'”, he shouted at me, pissed.  “Can you believe, after all he’s done, the local paper calls hims ‘Papelbomb’?”  (It’s really a good thing my father doesn’t hit the Internet for his Red Sox news.)  He also went on to ask me if I heard the fans booing Paps.  Here’s the thing…I didn’t.  Now, usually when I say I didn’t hear booing people come back and tell me I’m either lying or I wasn’t paying attention.  So when it came out that there was booing I told some folks that I must have been so upset that I blocked it out.

Maybe that wasn’t the case?  According to Jon Lester, former Sox manager Joe Morgan and even Kevin Youkilis – a guy who in the past has gone out of his way to berate the fans for booing – all said that the booing wasn’t that bad and was somewhat understandable.  Out of a full house at Fenway maybe a “couple of thousand” people booed our closer.  (Incidentally, if you were one of those 2000, in today’s Herald Steve Buckley defends you.  Steve Buckley is on your side.  If that doesn’t make you want to scrape off your skin in an industrial shower than you have no soul.)

Yesterday, Theo was asked if the Sox were going into a “downward trend” (I’m guessing this question came from Tony Massarotti).  World Series in 2007, ALCS in 2008, ALDS in 2009.  Tell me that whichever reporter asked that question he/she wasn’t trying to bait Theo?  Theo’s response:

“No. The way I look at it, we’ve had sort of two three-year runs in the postseason. We swept the World Series twice. We’ve been eliminated in the ALCS Game 7 twice. And we’ve been swept in the first round twice. We couldn’t have predicted it any time. We were prepared to go on a nice long run.”

This isn’t just wishful thinking. The guy runs the team and knows what needs to be done to make them win.  A ‘downward trend’?  In 2004, the Red Sox won the World Series.  In 2005, they got swept out of the ALDS.  In 2006 they didn’t even make the post-season and then they won it all again in 2007.   Yeah, the team that  spent more time in the last 10 years in the playoffs than not is a team we should be worried about because they “only” made it to the ALDS this year.  Sorry, I’m not biting.

The teams I wanted to win in the LDS?  The Red Sox, of course, the Twins (of course!), the Rockies and the Cardinals.  What do all these teams have in common?

No one damn one of them is moving on to the LCS.  Not one.  THIS is why I don’t make predictions on this blog.  🙂

So now I have to root for the Phillies and the Angels.  Because if we get a Yankees/Dodgers World Series the smugness of the baseball world just might suffocate us all.

It’s raining today.  Gray and lousy out.  Somehow, though, my attitude isn’t reflected in the weather.  I’m still bummed.  I’ll miss watching my team.  But it’s far from over for this franchise, ultimately.  All losing so quickly in the first round has done is given Theo more time to work on next year’s team!

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October 13, 2009 - Posted by | 2009 | , ,

12 Comments »

  1. It is interesting and actually soothing to read your thoughts about this loss. I think that you and your father have a noble view of the Red Sox. Thank you for sharing this with your readers.

    This team seemed to me to have more struggles than we’ve seen in a while. Hopefully this off season will give them a chance to recover and come back with a vengeance next spring.

    Comment by Margaret | October 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. “So now I have to root for the Phillies and the Angels. ”

    I wish you hadn’t so clearly established your lack of rooting skills before you said that. 😉

    For what it’s worth, I either didn’t hear booing for Paps or was so locked in on what was happening that it didn’t register. I kind of think more has been made of it than necessary. Even 500 people in an otherwise stunned silent Fenway can make themselves heard, so I bet the number was even less than suggested. And leaving the park, the crowd didn’t seem to have the anger or frustration I would have expected if there really were that many people negative enough to boo him.

    Seems like it’s been a bad postseason for a couple of terrific closers. And Huston Street, too. 😉 I can only hope that Mo’s next.

    Comment by KellyO | October 13, 2009 | Reply

  3. I didn’t notice the booing but my son commented on it at the time so I’d say it happened but not by that many fans. I was too stunned by how quickly the win turned into a loss to even think about booing from the comfort of my couch.
    I’m sad I don’t have the Sox to watch any more but feel very pleased to have been able to watch them play in the post season so often in the last few years.
    I was rooting for the same teams you were rooting for. Losers unite!

    Comment by Brenken | October 13, 2009 | Reply

  4. You know I don’t believe in booing our players … at least at this point there has never been a situation where I felt it was warranted. I will admit I chimed in when Damon returned to Fenway, and I can’t guarantee what I’ll do when Manny comes back next June. With Damon, it was about the cash and while I get that its a business, it’s not like he wouldn’t have made some decent money with the Sox. He should have expected what he got. And, as for Manny, I will always be grateful for his contributions to this team but I have a hard time forgiving his comments after he left.

    But Pap? Give me a break. Yes, he is an arrogant over the top kind of guy…but isn’t that the personality you need in a closer?
    Let’s face it…you win as a team..you lose as a team. Had we scored some runs in the first two games, our backs wouldn’t have been up against the wall and losing that game wouldn’t have made a difference. I’m sure that is how his teammates feel about it. How can you hold it against someone who is such a good player? Don’t boo them when they’re down…they are human after all.

    A hug from Wally on the corner of Yawkey Way yesterday has given me a lift to move on! Not looking forward to all the speculation about this team that will take place over the next few months but we’ll survive it as we always do. They’re already shopping Pap on the radio. Give me a break…

    I’m with you Kelly…Hope Mariano has a similar experience in the ALCS!

    Comment by Dori | October 13, 2009 | Reply

  5. PapelBOMBED would have been more appropriate. Most of his appearances in games this year made nearly all of the nation nervous. It’s much easier to accept a blown save when it’s not an elimination game. That failure gets magnified and blown all out of proportion. It seems like a lot of people that it upset the most (probably some of the boo-birds too), don’t like his personality. That has nothing to do with his baseball skills, which still place him amongst the elite closers. To me, when it comes to his pitching, he’s da bomb!

    Comment by Sharpie T. Silverwater | October 13, 2009 | Reply

  6. As usual, I love what you had to say. Papelbon has done SO much for this team. His blown save was poorly timed, to say the least, and perhaps he did make us nervous more often than not during the regular season but he was still VERY effective. He is still one of the best closers in the game and in no way deserved to be booed.
    It is disturbing how quickly people can push aside those who have given so much (Papi, Tek, etc.) Where is the gratitude for what they HAVE done? Does the amnesia really set in that quickly?

    Baseball, for us, is over and that makes me more sad than anything. Coincidentally, I was cheering for the same four teams you were. The only cool thing about a Dodgers/Yankees World Series would be that Torre would have a good chance to stick it to the Yankees. That would be a little sweet. Who am I kidding? Anyone beating the Yankees would be very sweet.

    Comment by Kfish | October 13, 2009 | Reply

  7. So we all put up with a tough night and are going to have to watch, listen or read about the possibility of a team winning that we can’t control their future. But guess what – there’s another team out there who is going through what we had happen to us – and in about the same way. So I hope my old friend Paul (the biggest Phillies fan in Jersey) will be able to gloat that his team has won back to back World Series during this decade and have to be considered equal to our beloved Red Sox. If they do win and happen to beat that team in my neighborhood (you know I’ve had to put up with them in the supermarket lines for thirty years because I took a job down here), I’ll be happy to buy him a round or two and say “yes, Paul, and next year you will visit Boston in October.”

    Comment by Don Smith | October 13, 2009 | Reply

  8. I heard a lot of groaning and I had heard booing for the pitch calls but I just don’t remember people booing Paps. Now I do remember a jerk to my right that kept loudly explaining how much he hated Papelbon and I so wanted to shut him up. Love the blog today Cyn. It is so stupid to blame a swept series on one player. This is a team sport people!

    Comment by Cruiser | October 14, 2009 | Reply

  9. My father took me to my first game in 1955 at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. First thing he said to me and my brothers was this: “These players have made it to the top of their profession. They are the besdt at what they do so even if they make an error, you never boo them. Not your team or the other team.”

    That was the world he grew up in. I have never booed anyone either. It’s embarrassing to see people who do this because it is beneath your dignity as a person to jeer another human being who has made a mistake.

    Comment by terry nau | October 14, 2009 | Reply

    • “it is beneath your dignity as a person to jeer another human being who has made a mistake.”

      Spot on, Terry.

      Comment by Cyn | October 14, 2009 | Reply

  10. You’re so lucky you have your dad around to talk Red Sox baseball with. I miss mine terribly. One of my best Sox memories of him: he was all over the 2004 playoff phone calls with me through the bad and then through the awesome. Several days later, I called him on that wonderful night-the one with the full moon and the lunar eclipse-after the Red Sox took it all in the World Series. He had fallen asleep in his chair ’cause the game, to him, was boring. Priceless.
    He wouldn’t have fired Papelbon either; it was bats, pure and simple.

    Comment by ryssee | October 16, 2009 | Reply

    • When my dad retired in 2001 my mother asked me to give a speech at his retirement party and it was in writing that I realized how special our relationship was and what a big part the Red Sox play in it. I’m so sorry your dad isn’t with you anymore.

      Comment by Cyn | October 16, 2009 | Reply


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