Got to watch the Sox/Rays game Monday night at Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill. I’ll be honest, I went in expecting to be disappointed and I was only disappointed in that I wasn’t disappointed at all.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. Let’s get the one major disappointment out of the way: the ladies’ room and its lack of televisions.
Now maybe for some this wouldn’t be a big deal. I don’t usually walk into every public ladies’ room expecting there to be televisions but the Cask ‘n’ Flagon has me spoiled. So when a new sports bar opens I have to figure (or hope) there will be a tv in the bathroom. At Remy’s there isn’t. Wouldn’t be a big deal at all except that the waitress told me not only is there a television in the men’s room…there are three. She went on to tell us that the men’s room is actually smaller than the ladies’ room (she also informed us that we weren’t the only people to question the lack of televisions in the ladies’ room). So it’s smaller but it has three televisions (and, really, who spends more time in the bathroom, men or women? Thank you). My one regret for the night is that I didn’t sneak into the men’s room just to see. I’m kicking myself for not doing it (hey there were only about 20 people in there all night so I could have done it without getting caught!).
So for their treating men like sports fans and women like people who are just there to be with their men…Remy’s gets a failing grade. Get with the program, Rem Dawg and start acting like the women fans count. It’s not too late to slap a television in there.
Kevin Millar has held a special place in my heart for a long time. Before his time in Boston began in 2003, I had watched him on “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” talking about how he was treated for being a ‘scrub’ in 1994 and how difficult it was to decide to play during the strike. Immediately, I was drawn to him and I was excited to see him on the Red Sox. I knew he was no All Star but I’ve always had a penchant for bench players so I had no higher hopes for him than he be successful on his own level and help the team as much as he could.
At the time, I was a very active contributor to the Red Sox Fan Forum message board and the collective interest in Millar (and Todd Walker and other members of the team) turned into a website that I created (numberfifteen.com – now defunct). The site became very popular and I ended up in contact with various people who knew Kevin (including his mom and a former coach). Kevin himself even left comments a few times. He was very gracious and seemed to appreciate the love of the fans. So he really won my fandom.
I hope in my lifetime that I turn out to be at least half the person Mike Lowell seems to be:
“Maybe I can be a great role guy,” said the man who has been an everyday player his entire career.
“I don’t think I’m ticked off. But I just want to be ready, for whatever role, wherever I may be, whatever role I’m in.”
Mike Lowell has plenty of reasons to be “ticked off”. His thumb, his knee, the fact that the team tried to trade him ended up not being able to and still brought in a new
first third baseman…there’s a lot on the list.
Instead, he just continues to go out there and do what’s asked of him. And even when given a forum to vent (the linked interview with Gordon Edes) he takes the high road. Now maybe he goes home at night and kicks things around and punches walls but you haven’t seen any of that surface when he’s at the park or when he speaks to the media.
The likes of Jay Payton could take a few lessons from Mike Lowell.
I’m an unabashed Mike Lowell fan. I want him to finish his career with the Red Sox and I’d much prefer he didn’t do that on the disabled list. I understand, though, the position of the Red Sox and why they went out and got Adrian Beltre. M
In case you don’t believe in the niceness of Lowell, more from Mike, this time courtesy of Michael Silverman:
“I honestly try to channel out everything going on and worry about getting ready, because God forbid something happens to (designated hitter) David (Ortiz) or (third baseman) Adrian (Beltre), then if I am that everyday (player) and I’m sulking in spring training and I got my opportunity, then that would be on me,” Lowell said. “So I’m trying to get ready in case something like that happens. But that’s such an awkward situation because I don’t want that to happen. These guys are my friends.
“The one person you can pit me against is Adrian, but I’ve known Adrian longer than I’ve known (first baseman Kevin) Youk(ilis) and David, and that’s the aspect of the human side that is lost in all this. So not that I want to wish for that guy to get hurt, I just want to play.”
He just wants to play. And if the fates keep knocking him around, that might not happen this year. I’m still holding out hope it does – which is awkward since, as he points out himself, that means someone else goes down. Hey, I’m not here to work out the logistics of these things.
Today we get Red Sox baseball on NESN! 1:05pm with Clay Buchholz starting against the Twins. Spring Training has not been kind to young Clay. Interesting that everything else has been going quite his way. He’s the Jimmy Fund spokesman this season, he made a cameo appearance on Tosh.0 and he stars in what is sure to be the most popular ESPN Commercial on the East Coast. Add to that his recent marriage and his impending fatherhood and everything is coming up roses for Clay…except for that pesky baseball stuff. Now, I’m totally on the Buchholz bandwagon. I want to see this kid succeed and do it big. So today I’m sending positive energy to Clay in the hopes that he pitches well today and shuts up all of the reporters who, if he doesn’t, will be running to his locker to ask him if he thinks the only reason he’s starting the year in the rotation is because Daisuke is on the disabled list. My hope is one day Clay will stop having to answer questions about whether he’s good enough to be in the bigs or if he needs to spend more time in the minors.
A gal can dream.
A week from tonight I’ll be sitting in Fenway Park watching the first game of the season. Things could be much worse.
This next week will be the longest of the year, won’t it?
One week from this coming Sunday we get our Opening Day (night) and, yes, I will be there. While I’m thrilled for the opportunity and grateful to have received the invite, I still am a little grumpy about the timing of it all. I’m Catholic and Easter is a bit of a big deal so having it on the holiday sucks just a bit. Thankfully, I was born of a family who won’t be offended if I leave Easter dinner a little early to make it to the park. I’m okay with it. Just means I won’t get into Boston as early as I normally would that day.
Yesterday, someone I follow tweeted only half-jokingly that there was worry to be had over the Red Sox under-performing in Spring Training this year. (Before today’s game began, the Sox had 9 wins and 12 losses.) Honestly? I don’t care if they lose every game from here on out before April 4th. Save it for when it counts. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that Clay Buchholz’ 10+ era makes me less than happy. Still, come April 4th, no one will care about what happened in Spring Training and we’ll just be focused on what’s going to happen all summer.
Having written all that, it pleased the heck out of me that Josh Beckett pitched so well today against the Pirates (9 strikeouts in five innings). Now let’s finish up these games and start the damn season.
As you can see, there are some changes here. I’ve agonized over this for a few weeks and finally came up with something I like. Which means, I know, that there will be many who don’t like it and to you all I apologize but I’m hard enough to please (when it comes to things like this anyway) so there’s no way I’m pleasing everyone. I feel like, finally, I have the blog the way I want it (and I finally found a use for that Green Monster photo I took that I like so much!).
You might have noticed that I have a Formspring widget added to the sidebar. A lot of people have been asking about doing something like it and since I have the time right now I figured I’d give it a shot. You don’t need to sign up for anything, just type in the question and send it anonymously (and it truly is anonymous) and, when I think of it, I’ll answer the questions. You can find the first batch of questions (and my responses) here. I’m a little behind in answering questions but I should be getting on track soon.
I got my first pair of Sox tickets in hand today (special thanks to Red Sox Hen who won them in a raffle and passed them along to me) and it really got me excited about this upcoming season. So far, I’ll be at 6 games this season (two, Opening Day and the last game of the season are invites, one is the raffle game and the other three are singles I’ve purchased myself). I’m sure that number will, eventually, balloon but for now I’m taking it a little slow.
And finally, checking in on old friend Javier Lopez, we get some good news out of the Pirates camp: Javi’s wife had their first child, a daughter named Kylan Gabrielle, born last Friday. (Thanks to KellyO for passing along the info as I wasn’t listening to today’s game.) It’s always nice to hear good news. Congrats to Javi and the missus on their new addition. Here’s hoping she never becomes a Yankees fan.
I’ve been a little wrapped up in politics the last 24 hours or so and don’t have much to say about the weekend of Sox games except this:
If one of your players has chronic migraines and either has one or just took meds because he felt one coming on, it’s probably not a good idea to let him pitch.
The only baseball-related thing I did this weekend was draft my fantasy baseball team. Last year, if I recall, I finished second to last in my league! This year I went a different way and changed my rules. My fantasy baseball rules up to this year have been 1) No one from an AL East team except the Red Sox (I hate the idea of rooting for a player to do well when that could directly affect the Red Sox) and 2) No players that I dislike (this means no Jason Giambi, pretty much none of the Yankees – save for one this year as you’ll soon see, no Johnny Damon, no Josh Hamilton, no Bobby Abreau, no Brett Myers…the list goes on). These rules have made it tough to field a genuinely good all-around team. So this year I promised myself I’d draft a Yankee if the opportunity came up and I really wanted him (I pretty much stayed away from players I don’t like, still, but it wasn’t as conscious a decision as it usually is).
I change the name of my team every year (hey none of the other names have done me any good so far). Last year the team was “Kiss Me Kyle” and this year my team is the “Lackey-Lusters“! I was beat up pretty good last year for my fantasy picks but that won’t stop me from sharing them here again.
C – Matt Wieters (Orioles) I felt lucky to get him. Don’t know how that worked out so well! (He was one of the main reasons I decided to give up my “no drafting from the AL East” rule!)
1B – Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox) Part of my whole supporting Youk movement that I started last year.
2B – Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox) Totally coveted him. Was surprised to get him. (I tend to be one of the few in the league who actively seeks out Red Sox players)
3B – Chipper Jones (Braves) A player who, by my standards, I should dislike but for some reason I just can’t. Hey, Larry might have another good year in him! (Plus, by the time I decided to draft a 3rd baseman, everyone else I wanted was gone!)
SS – Elvis Andrus (Rangers) His name is Elvis!!
OF – JD Drew (Red Sox) I half-joked that he was going to be the MVP this year. You all won’t be laughing when he is!
OF – Vernon Wells (Blue Jays) He seems to always kill the Red Sox. If that’s going to be the case again this year, why not benefit from it?
OF – David DeJesus (Royals) Fond memories of yelling “THE Jesus!” when the Royals were beating the Sox once when I was at the game.
UT – Nick Swisher (Yankees) I know, I know. But I needed a utility guy and he was available. Hell, I have a Swisher ChiSox jersey. No hate there (just a little bit of annoyance!)
BN – Hideki Matsui (Angels) No more pinstripes – yay!
BN – Jeremy Hermida (Red Sox) I have a good feeling about him. Of course this might mean someone goes down in the outfield but I’m trying not to focus on that.
BN – Fernando Tatis (Mets) I originally picked Carlos Delgado, forgetting he didn’t even have a damn team yet.
BN – Tony Gwynn (Padres) Legacy pick.
BN – Jason Varitek (Red Sox) I wanted another catcher. Tek won.
SP – Cliff Lee (Mariners) I was thrilled that I got Lee. Until I realized he probably won’t be ready for the start of the season. Oh well. Still holding on to him.
SP – Mark Buehrle – (White Sox) I really am genuinely pleased with my starting pitchers.
RP – Francisco Rodriguez (Mets) There’s a soft spot in my heart for Frankie. Plus, he doesn’t suck.
RP – David Aardsma (Mariners) It wasn’t my conscious decision to pick two closers but they were two I really wanted for the team so I took them both.
P – Bronson Arroyo (Reds) I’m fairly certain I’ve never had a fantasy baseball team that Bronson wasn’t on.
P – Clay Buchholz (Red Sox) It’s going to be a big year for Clay. BIG!
P – Pedro Martinez (Phillies?) He was available…I had to choose him. You never know!
So there’s the team. I usually don’t go too crazy changing lineups during the season unless it becomes absolutely necessary (like, if Pedro Martinez never comes back this season). Again, I almost never play to win. For me it’s more like playing the Fisher Price Little People except using baseball players. 🙂
It occurs to me that Fantasy Baseball would be much more challenging if we did it with the minor league teams. With all the personnel changes you’d really have to continually keep on top of your team. We should work on that!
No worries, folks. I won’t be regaling you with tales about my failing team. We have thirteen more days to kill before Opening Night! Can’t come soon enough!
I have spring fever, I’ll admit it. My focus has pretty much been looking out the window or going for walks to take in the gorgeous weather – so I apologize for dropping the ball here.
How excited was I to read that the Red Sox signed Alan Embree to a minor league contract? I seriously yelled, gleefully, “Oh my God, Alan Embree!!!!” when I read it this morning. Alan was “dead” to me for a while (I ended up getting over the whole signing with the Yankees thing eventually but have a harder time wrapping my mind around his laughing at the Red Sox (and especially Mike Timlin) while sitting in the Yankee dugout in 2005 and watching them get swept by the White Sox. BUT it’s time for bygones to be bygones, no? (Yes. Yes it is. )
Speaking of Mike, on March 10, my man Mike Timlin (I know he’s retired but he’ll always be “My man”) turned 44 years old. I only point this out because of the amazing photo Kelly O’Connor took (and sent me!) on her first full day at Spring Training yesterday. Mike is looking good and, by all accounts, doing well. This all pleases me greatly. And I look at that picture above and shake my head when I think about how many people consider the guy “old”. Keep on keeping on, Mike!
Alan and Mike are forever intertwined in my mind not just because of ’03 and’04 but because of how, in 2005, Mike defended his friend to the media on the day he was designated for assignment. When asked how he felt about it he turned it around on them and asked them how they would feel if one of their associates was dumped. One of Timlin’s most endearing qualities, in my opinion, is how he has the tough guy exterior but is willing to let his soft side show too. I’ve missed both of these men wearing the Sox uniform and while (no offense to Alan) I’m rather it had been Mike signing the contract, I’m happy that Alan is getting another chance with the team.
The very first blog entry I ever created was about Alan Embree. I was cranky, he was cranky. (I didn’t start blogging because of him…I had set up the blog and just not started yet. Seeing him in pinstripes and then reading what he said – see the entry for his quotes – really set me off. ) In hindsight, I can’t blame him for saying things like that toward the team that had just dropped him. You say things when you’re upset that you don’t necessarily mean. At the time I took it all to be a slap to the fans, some of which (like me) still supported him. I hope I take things less personally these days…but I’m not so sure. 🙂
In September of 2008, I did “Five Fun Facts” on Alan Embree (which reminds me that I haven’t done that in a while…need to get back in the groove!). My favorite Fun fact that wasn’t on that list? The man was on the mound in 2004 when the Red Sox won game 7 of the ALCS. For that memory alone, any grudge I might have held has gone by the wayside.
Welcome back to the Nation, Alan! Now I have another “old guy” to root for.
Things I found out while watching NESN today:
* The Opening Day (NIGHT) game on April 4th will be broadcast both on ESPN2 and on NESN. This annoys me only in if it isn’t an exclusive game for ESPN then there was really no point making it the Sunday night game anyway and it just gets me cranky that we get cheated out of an actual opening DAY because MLB and ESPN stink like cheese.
* Heidi Watney is “under the weather” and I didn’t miss her. I understand this comes as no surprise to anyone who reads me but Heidi bashing aside what I mean is that I didn’t miss there being a sideline reporter at ALL. Didn’t miss Heidi, didn’t miss anyone who would have taken her place. It’s an unnecessary position created just to annoy me and/or people like me!
I’m not exactly an imposing figure. The character in “The Breakfast Club” that I most identified with was Ally Sheedy before Molly Ringwald girlied her all up. I’m naturally shy (unless I know you in which case I’m a bit of a chatterbox) and I usually go out of my way to avoid confrontations. But something has happened over the years. The older I get the more determined I am to not let people walk over me (a bit of a problem for me in my early 20s). This sometimes shows itself at times when I refuse to not point out an injustice or just something that I believe to be flat-out offensive or wrong. In recent years, I’ve developed a bit of a reputation as someone who won’t be silenced if she thinks she’s right even if the opinion is unpopular and of that I’m quite proud. Unfortunately, it also causes some people to have a difficult time dealing with my insistence to express myself.
Today is one of those days when those people should probably just click off the blog and find something else to read. 🙂
This morning Gordon Edes tweeted something that really slaps you in the face:
Sox attention today is focused on Phoenix, Az., where 19-year-old Ryan Westmoreland is to undergo delicate brain surgery.
I’ve been trying to figure out all morning what to write about and kept putting Ryan aside because I figured many people would be writing about him today but, truthfully, it’s tough to not think about a 19 year-old kid going in for brain surgery.
There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said but I’d like to add my voice to the chorus of those wishing Ryan luck with his surgery today. If he can come back from this and play ball again, that will be fabulous, but all I really hope is that he can bounce back from this and recover as well as humanly possible.
My thoughts are with Ryan and I’ll be praying for him today. Prayers that he comes out of surgery safely and healthy and that his road to recovery begins soon.