Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Here comes the jackpot question in advance

How could I NOT use a photo of Kyle for my final entry of the year?  (Original photo taken by Donna Ellis - photo of the autographed version courtesy of Kelly O'Connor)

How could I NOT use a photo of Kyle for my final entry of the year? Here's wishing good things for Kyle in 2010! (Original photo taken by Donna Ellis - photo of the autographed version courtesy of Kelly O'Connor)

I’m looking forward to the New Year.  I have no real reason to be optimistic..hell, last year I was REALLY looking forward to 2009 and not one thing went the way I expected it to and some went even worse than I could have imagined.  But I’m a big believer in clean slates and all that – so here’s to a wonderful 2010 for all of us!

For the most part, mine will start off – in all places – at Fenway!  No, I won’t be going to the Winter Classic – but I’ll be there on Saturday at the Legends game.  There was a time when I was very into hockey but that time has been gone for about a decade so going to see Bruins legends is perfect for me.  What I’m kind of hoping for is to be standing in Fenway Park while it is snowing.  Anything else that happens will be gravy.  I won’t lie.  The chances of my staying for the entire game are slim.  The tickets were a gift to me from someone who thought I’d think it was ‘cool’ to go see a hockey game at Fenway.  He was right.  But he also understood that I’d be going more for the experience and less for the hockey game so it’s all good.

The end of 2009 sees us saying goodbye to Jason Bay.  While I can’t wrap my mind around $66 million – I guess I can understand going for $6 million more than the Red Sox were offering.  Although, to my money-challenged life, an extra 6 million when you already are getting sixty million really makes no sense to me unless you really just don’t care where you play as long as you get the money.  Which seems to be where JayBay is.  I have no hard feelings, he did what I expected him to do, I guess I’m just a bit disappointed.  But he had no ties here so I don’t think anyone expected him to take any kind of ‘discount’.  I will say that I think it worked out well for both sides.  Bay got to be showcased in Boston so he COULD make his big payday (think anyone would throw him $66 million straight out of Pittsburgh?  Okay,  maybe the Mets would have still!) and while he was here he played well for the Red Sox.  Goodbye, good luck and I hope if he steps foot in Fenway again he gets a nice ovation and then goes 0-4 with three errors.

I like to party but I prefer to do it at home on New Year’s Eve.  The idea of all those people out there drinking and partying and then driving turns me into a nervous old lady.  So if you’re going out tonight, please try to be safe.  I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year’s Eve and that the new year brings nothing but good things to you all!

We’re just over a month away from Truck Day, folks!  We only need to hold on a little longer!

December 31, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , | 3 Comments

…and right would always win

Jason Bay with his version of giving ME the finger.  :)  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Jason Bay with his version of giving ME the finger. 🙂 Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

I really do apologize for not being better at updating the blog this December.  I really am going to work on that after the holiday.  And, hey, once December is over, we’re that much closer to truck day!!

All the buzz about the Red Sox making room in their budget to make Jason Bay another offer has me scratching my head.  Are they going to offer him more money and/or years after he rejected their last offer – essentially bidding against no other team but the Red Sox?  It was feeling, to me, like Bay and his agent overestimated the number of contending teams who would want a crack at him so I’m not getting why the Red Sox would jump back in.  I don’t hate the idea of Bay back on the Sox but I don’t love the idea of them throwing stupid money or years at him just to get him to stay.  I just don’t think he’s that valuable.  (Although, if the scuttlebutt is true and the Sox offered Matt Holliday five years, I’d much prefer that money and offer go to Bay instead.

I received a lovely email last night from a Royals fan who wrote that she found my blog while Googling Kyle Snyder’s name and wanted to know if I had any info on what he’s up to.  (See?  Royals fans are ever loyal.  One of my favorite fan bases!)  Sadly, I don’t.  Finding info on the Puerto Rico Baseball League has been close to impossible. (I can tell you his team is in first place and that the last time he pitched was on November 21.)  But I haven’t found one word about WHY it’s been over a month since he pitched.  Is he hurt?  Did he decide he didn’t need to play winter ball?  Was he so comfortable with how he felt physically after pitching in two games that he’s just hanging around with the team and not playing?  (I know practically nothing about this league so I really don’t have a clue here.)  I hope he’s healthy and enjoying the winter wherever he is and I hope we find out soon if/when he gets picked up by another team.  (And information from any folks out there who have some would be greatly appreciated!  We seem to be developing a group of Kyle fans – I get contacted almost weekly by someone asking about him – so it would be nice to have information to provide to folks!)

I hope those of you who celebrate have a wonderful Christmas and those of you who don’t just have a great long weekend!  Christmas Eve is the bigger day in my family (we celebrate on Christmas Day too but the bigger party is on the Eve) so today will be filled with lots of cleaning, cooking, and thanks to me being a goof and having Amazon.com send a package to my office instead of my home, a little bit of last-minute shopping before he festivities begin tonight.  It’s one of my favorite times of the year and I’m looking forward to it all!

I have one Christmas wish and it isn’t even baseball-related:  Be  nice to each other.  That’s all I ask.  (Okay, I have a baseball-related wish too:  No trading Jacoby Ellsbury or Clay Buchholz.  I don’t think I ask too much.  🙂 )

December 24, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

There's bound to be talk tomorrow

Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

So is Mike Lowell sitting at home this Sunday morning wondering what the hell he has to do to get some respect?  The Marlins forced him on the Red Sox and then the Red Sox were trying to give him away to the Rangers and now he’s in no man’s land because he needs thumb surgery.

I looked up his numbers last night as background for what I was going to write and was a little surprised at what I found.  In 2006, his first season with the Sox in which everyone and their mother fell in love with him, his average after 573 at-bats was .284.  After 445 ABs in 2009 he ended the season with a .290 average.  His OBP in 2006? .339.  2009?  .337.   Slugging percentages and OPS?   .475 & .814 in 2006 and  .474 & .811 in 2009.  The only real differences in the two seasons is less playing time in ’09 because of injuries.  As far as his defense, well there is no arguing those numbers.   In 2006 he had 6 errors and a fielding percentage of .987.  In 2009, with less playing time, he made 9 errors with a fielding percentage of .966.   I guess what I’m surprised to find is that, if you factor in injuries and recovery for Lowell in 2009, his season wasn’t all that much worse than it was in 2006 – when all of Red Sox Nation marveled at what a “steal” from the Marlins he was.  I get that he’s getting older and he won’t get any better but I’d argue that if he gets his thumb fixed up and has an entire season behind him from hip surgery, then who is to say his defense won’t improve, at the very least, from 2009?

I guess what I’m saying is, there would be much worse things that could happen to the Red Sox than their being “stuck” with Mike Lowell for another season.   I hope Mike has a successful surgery and is still wearing number 25 for Boston come February.  Because as much as I could understand Boston trying to get value, I really am happy that this trade seems to be kaput.  I don’t claim to be rational all of the time!

December 20, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | | 5 Comments

You learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play

How happy is HE?  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

How happy is HE? (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

So I was able to watch both of Wednesday’s press conferences as they happened and one thing struck me about both Mike Cameron and John Lackey – I suddenly became overwhelmingly excited about having both of them on the team.

For different reasons.

Cameron just seemed so damn happy to be sitting there.  He couldn’t contain his smile when Theo announced Tito would give him his jersey and cap and he couldn’t get that jersey on quickly enough.  (As an aside…I have two jerseys with the number 23 on them:  one has Brian Daubach’s name on it and the other has no name but has Luis Tiant’s autograph.)  He has a positive history with Tito, said all the right things at the presser and was even seen buying his kids Sox gear at the Yawkey Way store after everything was finished.  Cameron will be 37 in January so it isn’t like I’m expecting the guy to make it onto the All Star team in 2010, but he’s talented and hard working and from what everyone says is a great clubhouse presence.  What’s not to like?

Lackey won’t ever be mistaken for a joyful Fenway Ambassador but he knows how to handle himself at a press conference.  Before I go on, let me just say, jokes about his looks are getting really old.  If you’re having trouble wrapping your mind around supporting a player because you don’t like the way he looks – you have bigger issues than I can deal with – tell me you don’t like his attitude, tell me you’re worried about his health, tell me you have difficulties rooting for someone who has been a bit of a rival for a long time and I’m good with all of these – I get that he’s not Adonis (although I’m not repulsed by his looks by any stretch – some people are being downright nasty about him).  And I really couldn’t care less.  The man can pitch the shit out of the ball and that’s all I really care about.  Also a shout-out to the Yankees fans who emailed me laughing that Lackey can’t pitch in Fenway – I’m not even going to get into statistics (which, especially over the last two years, don’t support your comments) but I’ll just say this – he’s never pitched at Fenway wear a Sox uniform.  I don’t have one concern that he’ll have trouble performing at Fenway come April.  Also, it seems that his New Hampshire-native wife might have been a factor in his choosing to sign with the Sox.  More power to him AND her.  Go figure, a married couple making life-changing decisions together.  What will they think of next?

So for now I’m happy.  Cameron and Lackey have a lot to do with that but the fact that I’m choosing to ignore all the trade talk (not rumors or facts, just talk) regarding Jacoby and Clay.  I’m not quite ready to go there just yet.

(Fake Edit):  I wrote this entry last night and never published it.  Before I logged on today to do just that, I read this article regarding the sentencing of Erin Andrews’ stalker.  If you never read one word written about Andrews, you should at least read Anna Clark’s take on the situation (and the use of women as sideline reporters in general).  It sickens me that there are so many asses out there (just read almost any sports message board or the comments on any blog that discusses this) or that Andrews  was involved in it to  promote herself.  She was victimized and it shouldn’t happen to anyone.  She shouldn’t be afraid to do her job because of sick twists like this asswipe.  I’m win Erin, I hope the ass gets as much time as the law allows.  But I’m  not holding my breath on that one.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | 4 Comments

And we'll come together fine

No more dry heat for Mr. Lackey.  This spring he'll be training in Florida! (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

No more dry heat for Mr. Lackey. This spring he'll be training in Florida! (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

I actually spoke with someone today who is hoping Mike Lowell’s thumb keeps him from getting traded.  Can’t say that I blame the Lowell lovers (not that I’m not one but I’m okay with him being traded even if I hate the fact that it’s dumping the player since the team would pick up most of his salary and I think Lowell is too good a person to be dumped that way) for  wanting him to stick around.  I’d like him to still be playing for the Sox and be productive but I worry that won’t be the case.  In any event, nothing is written in stone when it comes to Lowell and it seems it’ll be like that for a few more days.

I’d rather focus on more pleasant news, John Lackey being signed by the Sox.  I know many Sox fans, including myself, have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Lackey but I also have to admit to being thrilled to death at this signing.  Sure he might be Cranky Pants but he’s quite the pitcher and his crankiness hasn’t seemed to get in the way of his relationships with his teammates so for me it’s all good.  One of my more fond memories of watching an opposing pitcher in person was the night he almost had the no-hitter against the Sox until Pedie broke it up in the ninth.  He’s a good pitcher who has admitted to being a little intimidated by Fenway and the fans – now this year it seems we’ll have the chance to show him what it’s like for the guys we actually root for!

What I really love about this move is that Theo pulled off signing a top free agent without anyone  in the media (especially those who claim to be “insiders”) having a bloody clue.  This jumped at everyone from out of nowhere.  So for all the Cafardos and CHBs and others lamenting about how the Red Sox weren’t really doing anything thus far, they were just handed giant plates of crow.  Guess what, folks?  It isn’t all about you.  Teams can actually make deals and look into signing players without any of you getting even a whiff of it.  Go figure that, huh?  So everyone bitching that the Sox had nothing in the works can stop now?  Yay.

In the time it took for me to finally write all of this we find out that the Sox are also in the works to pick up Mike Cameron.  I’m liking the way this off-season is panning out.  No need for people to have gotten all jumpy now was there?

December 14, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | 2 Comments

Does your bank account swell while you’re dreaming at night

A shot I took of Mike Lowell on Opening Day 2009...just to remind me that Opening Day 2010 will be here soon!

A shot I took of Mike Lowell on Opening Day 2009...just to remind me that Opening Day 2010 will be here sooner than it feels!

So what do you want?  As a baseball fan, what are you looking for from your team?

I’ve lost count at how many people have bitched about the Red Sox not “doing” anything thus far, how many people are “unimpressed” with the few signings that have taken place and how many people are convinced that the Red Sox will “suck” in 2010 (and I’m talking about Red Sox fans here).

I’ll tell you what I’m looking for.  I’m looking for Theo to fill gaps that need to be filled and I’m hoping for the team to be competitive enough to entertain me all season long.  Would I love a “blockbuster” signing?  Sure would, if it was for the right player.  But I’m not going to lose sleep over the Yankees getting Curtis Granderson for a song while the Red Sox didn’t.  And I’m getting sick to death of people comparing what the Red Sox aren’t doing to what the Yankees are.  If you want to root for the Yankees, have at it, they’re waiting for more folks to jump on the already overflowing bandwagon (and, truth be told, I wouldn’t be so sad to see the Red Sox bandwagon lose a few annoying, fair weather fans).

Now I don’t consider everyone who criticizes the team a fair weather fan but I do question why you’d be bitching about the team this early in the off-season.  The Sox can’t make a move without another party involved and the moves their contemplating are going to take some time.  I’m good with this.  I’m also good with not hearing every day which player’s rep the team is or isn’t talking to.  Just because it isn’t being reported on doesn’t mean nothing is getting done (or attempted).  I know that most of the media likes to think that the world doesn’t revolve unless they’re writing about it but that’s just not true.  So, if you don’t mind, I’d like the hot stove to get a bit older before I start lamenting about how Theo has lost his touch and won’t be doing anything to improve the team for 2010, thanks.

Yesterday, Amalie Benjamin kept up her fan-baiting ways with this tweet over at Twitter:

Given Theo’s “bridge” year comments about the upcoming season, how are you all feeling about the #RedSox and about the front office?

Now, obviously she was hoping for a ton of “The team is going to suck! We’ll never beat the Yankees again!” responses. But our own KellyO gave (in my opinion) the best response:

I’d FAR rather hold onto our future; if that means waiting out 2010, so be it. We’ve been blessed in recent years.

Now I don’t think two WS wins in the 2000s means the team gets a free pass to go forward and be unsuccessful, but that hasn’t been the situation, thus far, and I don’t see it being the situation any time soon.  ESPECIALLY if Theo doesn’t trade away the future just for some instant gratification.  What those two World Series wins means to me is Theo gets a lot of leeway to play with the house money because, regardless of what some would like to think, the Red Sox are a successful team thanks in large part to Theo and a few early exits from the post-season won’t change that.  Good teams don’t always make the post-season and they don’t always win the World Series.  Be competitive and entertain me and that’s all I can really ask for.  There’s no way I’m calling this off-season a failure in the second week of December.  Hysteria isn’t my style.

For those of you who missed it – here’s Theo’s “bridge” comments as reported by Amalie Benjamin:

“We talked about this a lot at the end of the year, that we’re kind of in a bridge period,’’ he said. “We still think that if we push some of the right buttons, we can be competitive at the very highest levels for the next two years. But we don’t want to compromise too much of the future for that competitiveness during the bridge period, but we all don’t want to sacrifice our competitiveness during the bridge just for the future. So we’re just trying to balance both those issues.’’

I’m not sure how anyone can read anything negative into that but it seems to be Amalie’s M.O. lately (riling the fans up just for fun).

Tickets for the regular season go on sale this Saturday.  I’ll be at the Sistah’s annual Christmas gathering so I won’t be joining you all in the virtual waiting room, but I’ll be there in spirit!  It’ll be interesting to see if this uncertainty in the team that seems to be permeating the Internet over these last couple of weeks will be reflected in ticket sales on Saturday.  Something tells me it won’t.

December 9, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | 3 Comments

You can't catch me I'm so ahead of ya'll

MARCO!  (Photo lifted from Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission)

MARCO! (Photo lifted from Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission)

Sometimes moves are made on the team that make you (or me!) happier than they probably should.  The signing of Marco Scutaro is one of those moves.  I think he’s a good player who will fit in well with the Red Sox…but I’m also just looking forward to his playing in Fenway and the Sox fans greeting him with “Marco!”  “Scutaro!”…I’m easily entertained.

Before I go on about Marco, I just have to say this…someday I’m going to buy a hard copy of the Boston Globe just so I can set it on fire.  After rumors spread that the Sox were thinking about moving Dustin Pedroia to short (based on Pedroia saying it had been brought up) folks at the Globe are writing things like “The Sox have come to their senses” in regard to keeping Pedie at second (in the same article that he wrote the sense line, in the paragraph BEFORE it, Nick Cafardo admits a “Sox source” told him it was a “last resort”.

This stuff frustrates the hell out of me.  You don’t come to your senses from a last resort.  You make a decision that you wanted to make that would ensure you didn’t have to USE your last resort.  But, no, Cafardo has to make it out that the Red Sox lost their minds collectively and were shaken into sense by the realization that Marco Scutaro was a free agent.  It always has to be about how bad the decision making is in the front office, right Nicky?  (In the same piece he gets his dig in that the Red Sox “botched” things with Alex Gonzalez.  Yeah, that’s what they did.  Gonzalez is two years younger than Scutaro, but Scutaro’s season last year was a bit more impressive than AGon’s so I can see the Sox wanting to go by the most recent past performance of a player to fill a position they only expect the player to hold for a short time (2 years with an option for a third is what Marco got).  Sure folks are arguing that last year’s season for Scutaro was an anomaly but it isn’t like Scutaro OR Gonzalez was ever known as a player headed to the HoF (nor are either player considered terrible).  I can’t think of a shortstop I like watching more than Alex Gonzalez, but that doesn’t mean letting him go because you don’t think he was worth the money he’d be getting and were hoping to get him for less means that anything was “botched”.  I dig me Alex Gonzalez but I don’t feel like the Sox are settling by taking on Marco Scutaro.

Anyway, I’m happy about the signing and I’m not getting the negativity from some folks who think every signing needs to be a blockbuster.  Signing a veteran shortstop makes me happy.  The infield is, once again, set and it’s now something that doesn’t need to be focused on.  Is he going to repeat the season he had last year?  I sure hope so but I’m not holding my breath.  That doesn’t mean he won’t be effective and a solid presence in the infield.  And, really, folks, just because the Sox signed Scutaro doesn’t mean they aren’t going to get Bay back or sign Holliday or trade for Roy Halladay (three complaints I’ve seen around).  True blockbuster deals don’t get made in a vacuum.  It’s nice to have the little pieces fit together before you take on the big ones.

Who am I kidding?  I’m just excited because I think I finally have my first binky since Kyle Snyder and Mike Timlin left Boston (and he’s not a pitcher – go figure!).

December 5, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | | 2 Comments

I just have to look good, I don't have to be clear

While I don't hate the idea of Pedroia at short, I'd much prefer he stay at 2nd and Theo get the team a damn shortstop.  (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission)

While I don't hate the idea of Pedroia at short, I'd much prefer he stay at 2nd and Theo get the team a damn shortstop. (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission)

Gordon Edes is back where he belongs:  In Boston covering the Red Sox…so all is not lost!  (Seriously, I couldn’t be happier.  It’s nice to have a writer I feel like I can turn to for what is actually going on and not some tabloid talk.)

In his most recent post, Edes tells us that, in spite of their first offer being rejected, the Red Sox are still hot for Jason Bay.    Actually, it’s a line in his newest entry that they used as the headline “but a club source indicated that Bay remains the prime target“.  The rest of the piece is about Matt Holliday and Roy Halladay and Marco Scutaro and, well, basically everyone BUT Bay.  It is mostly about which free agents the Sox are targeting, though, and it’s an interesting piece.

I hope he’s right.  I hope they’re still considering making him an offer he can’t refuse.  But, again, I won’t be losing any sleep if they don’t.  I like Bay but I don’t think he’s irreplaceable.  Honestly, my bigger concern is the infield at the moment.  Alex Gonzalez might not be a future Hall of Famer but dammit he’s a quite decent shortstop…and having him is better than not having a shortstop at all.  I’m not buying into this Pedroia at short talk just yet.  Sure it was brought up, I get that, and if anyone thinks Pedie would ever turn down a challenge, well they aren’t paying attention.  But I don’t see it happening unless something fabulous turns up to take second base.  Meanwhile, Jed Lowrie quietly asks “WTH?”.

Been checking in on Kyle Snyder and his team in Puerto Rico.  The good news is that Arecibo is still in first place but the bad news is Kyle seems to still be stuck on only having pitched in two games…his last only one inning – and I still haven’t determined if he’s injured or just stuck in some kind of huge rotation.  Shout out to anyone in Puerto Rico (or anyone who follows the teams) with any information and I’d been terribly grateful.

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated finally ended the long-time persecution of Derek Jeter by anointing him Sportsman of the Year.  I certainly hope he’ll now get the respect he deserves that has been so elusive to him throughout his career.

But who cares about Derek Jeter when there are nekkid photos of Grady Sizemore out there?  I’ve never looked at Sizemore the way “Grady’s Ladies” do but those pictures circulating right now make me think I might rethink my position on that.  Except that in the one where you see the most, he forgoes a figleaf for a teacup.   Bad choice, Mr. Sizemore, and one that your teammates will remind you of repeatedly throughout the 2010 season.

On a more serious note, it’s good to see Major League Baseball getting involved in trying to get the pictures taken down and not at all surprising that Deadspin doesn’t intend to do so (using the “They did it first” defense).  As was pointed out to me by a photographer friend, the pictures are legally Grady’s and were illegally obtained.  Doesn’t he have any legal recourse?  It would do my heart good to see more people go after the likes of Deadspin and Perez Hilton (pretty much one in the same to me) but I don’t see it happening any time soon.   It’s too bad.  Tabloid reporting (and outright theft of things like photos) seem to be the only way anyone online becomes successful these days.  It’s really kind of depressing.

I’m told there are 74 days until pitchers and catchers report.  What’s that mean, about 65 days until Truck Day?  There’s an awful lot of time to fill with speculation and rumors.  Ah, the holidays!

December 2, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment