Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Aaand… I have to cancel another live chat

While I could try and get away with saying it’s because I’m in mourning over Manny Delcarmen being traded (which I’m genuinely sad about), that isn’t the reason I have to cancel tonight’s live chat.  Unfortunately, a conflict came up and I won’t be around for the start of the game.  Sorry about the short notice.  😦

So let’s send Josh Beckett good vibes and hope he starts the next winning streak and hopefully we’ll be back to live chatting next week!

August 31, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 2 Comments

Happy Live Chat Day!

Photo taken by me as Gabe was gracious enough to pose (all day long!)

Photo taken by me as Gabe was gracious enough to pose

Running late this morning so a longer post will come later but wanted to get this out there:  Today is NOT Gabe Kapler’s 35th birthday 🙂 yet we will celebrate anyway with a live chat tonight during the Red Sox/Orioles game that starts at 7:05.

Beckett needs the mojo, folks, so join us won’t you?

August 31, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | Leave a comment

Why I still have faith

I wrote this on Twitter during ESPN’s coverage of the game when Jon Miller said that it will be tough for the Red Sox to catch the Rays or the Yankees because New York and Tampa Bay had been playing much better baseball than the Red Sox lately.  It didn’t sit right with me, so I looked it up.

Before Sunday’s games were played, the Yankees’ record in August was 13-13 and they had won six out of their last ten games.  The Rays’ record was 15-11 and they also won six out of their last ten.  The Red Sox?  15-11 and wins in six out of their last ten games.

So to say that, right now, the Rays and Yanks are playing well above the Red Sox (which is pretty much what Miller was saying) is flat-out wrong.  This season hasn’t been anything if it hasn’t been a struggle but the Red Sox are playing ball at the same level as the two teams currently above them.  It doesn’t help when you look at the standings and see how far out they are but it shouldn’t be glossed over that the Rays and Yanks are so much more superior when right now they’re all playing at similar levels.

It looks like a really tough road for the Red Sox to make it to the playoffs but it isn’t impossible.  Losing the series in Florida was tough but it doesn’t mark the end of days.  Three more games against the Rays and six more games against the Yankees alone is cause for hope.  I’m not happy with the way this weekend went but I’m not wallowing in sadness either.  Still a lot of baseball to be played before their playoff chances are dashed.

August 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 4 Comments

We've been here before

It isn't hard to find good things to talk about in a bad game.  Kalish's catch was fantastic!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Highlight of the game? Kalish's catch was fantastic! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

I didn’t purposely skip over posting yesterday but I can only imagine the emails I would have received had I written something.

Because, had I written an entry on Saturday, it would have been about how good Friday night felt.  The Sox beating the Rays, the Yankees losing to the White Sox, the Red Sox gaining a game all around.  It was a great feeling and a wonderful way to end the night.

As good as Friday felt is as bad as Saturday felt.  But, really, Saturday doesn’t change Friday.  Friday was still great and the Red Sox are still in the position they were in before the game Friday night.  And while I get people being upset – hell the word to describe how I felt after the game was and still is “sad” – based on emails I’ve received today without having posted yesterday, I can only imagine how much worse they would have been had I shared in full-length format how happy Friday night made me.

I received a handful of emails from different folks regarding this weekend’s games thus far.  Here’s an excerpt from one:

You were so excited on Twitter Friday night and now you look stupid. Why bother getting excited about the Red Sox when you know they’re going to lose just like they did tonight? They suck and you’re wasting your time with them.

The kicker? This came from a Red Sox fan who follows me on Twitter.  Seriously?  I’m wasting my time?

Here’s the thing.  Last night was a tremendous kick in the ass.  Until Clay starting reverting to his old self by throwing over to first a million times, he was sailing.  After that errant throw that allowed Pena to take third from first and eventually score, the wheels came off.  We all saw it, we all felt it, we all new what was coming and couldn’t stop it.  I was upset in the moment but after sleeping on it I have one question for folks:

How is what happened last night any different than what’s been happening all season???

The entire season has been a flurry of great games, sucky games, great news, sucky news, lather, rinse, repeat.  If you’ve stuck it out this long…if you’ve decided that this team has enough guts and heart and energy that you want to watch every night to see what happens…if you don’t think 5.5 games out of first place at the end of August is the worst place they can be…then why the hell would one God-awful, gut punching game make you throw in the towel now?

I get the knee-jerk reaction stuff.  Hell, sometimes I think I’m QUEEN of the knee-jerk reactions when it comes to the actions going on during the game.  But, honestly, it didn’t even take me sleeping on it for me to remember that this seasons seems to be some sort of test by the Baseball Gods and last night’s game might have been one of the hardest parts of that test but it doesn’t mean you tear up your paper and storm out of the room.

In the American League, the Orioles, the Tigers, the Royals, the Indians, the Angels and the Mariners all are playing under .500 right now, yet they still have fans who go to the games and who try to enjoy the season for what it’s worth.  One game at a time, one play at a time, one amazing win or devastating loss at a time.  The Red Sox are 18 games over .500.  They’re 5.5 games out of first place and, really, still in the middle of a pennant race whether folks think it’s an impossible goal or not.  They’re still in it.

It sucks that they lost.  It especially sucks how they lost.  But don’t be sending me (or anyone else) messages telling me I’m stupid for getting excited about the wins because they turn around and have the nerve to lose as well.  I’m a fan.  This is my team whether they suck or they excel.  Now is the time for people to step back and figure out what they want from their team and what they realistically expect from the men who take that field.

I want them to win more than they lose and I want them to entertain me.  I want them to help make my summer and early fall interesting and exciting.  So far they’ve done all of that, so you bet your ass I’m going to be here and on Twitter proclaiming my happiness for and about them.  I invite you to do the same because it beats the heck out of the alternative.

August 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 8 Comments

Friday Grumblings

Jim Thome - 40 years old today.  He was 21 when he made his Major League Debut

Jim Thome - 40 years old today. He was 21 when he made his Major League debut

Words of wisdom (again) from Rob Dibble:

“So for me, a little bit has to be put back on Strasburg here. Ok, you throw a pitch, it bothers your arm, and you immediately call out the manager and the trainer? Suck it up, kid. This is your profession. You chose to be a baseball player. You can’t have the cavalry come in and save your butt every time you feel a little stiff shoulder, sore elbow.

“I mean, excuse me. There’s guys I played with that had screws holding their elbows together. Chris Sabo played two weeks on a broken ankle. I put a steel plate in my wrist so I could be back in five weeks instead of three months. So, this is your choice. You can either suck it up and be a man at 22 making $2 million a year [with] a $15 million contract, or every time you get an ache and pain you can go out of the game and say I’m gonna let down the other 24 guys right here and possibly en

Chris Sabo’s baseball career lasted eight seasons. Dibble’s lasted seven. It occurs to me that playing while you are injured is possibly not the best way to extend your career and keep collecting those million dollar contracts.  Something you might want to think about, Rob.

To say nothing of the fact that young Mr. Strasburg is on his way to Tommy John surgery.  So not only was Dibble being an arrogant jerk but he was about as wrong as he could ever be.

Surgery on the arm of a pitcher is nothing to take lightly.  Kyle Snyder has now had five surgeries on his arm and is currently working toward his arm hopefully becoming strong again.  Anything could happen to Strasburg:  He could be back healthy and as strong and good as ever, or he could come back a different pitcher and not the superstar he’s been projected to become.  It’s definitely something  anyone with half a brain would be concerned about so I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that Dibble was totally off the mark here.  Instead of paying him to speak, maybe the Nationals should pay him to shut the hell up.  Just a suggestion.

I wouldn’t say that this weekend series with the Rays has me worried or anxious but I am a bit excited.  While I’m being realistic about this season, the Red Sox doing well this weekend would make things a whole lot more interesting.

The best news of the weekend?  National television only snatched up one of the weekend games.  So while we get stuck with Morgan and Miller on Sunday we are at least saved from Buck and McCarver (tonight and tomorrow’s games are at 7:10/Sunday’s at 8pm).

August 27, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Look how far we've come


Dodgers/Reds, right? Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

71 years ago today the first live major league baseball broadcast hit the television airwaves.  It was a Saturday double-header between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbetts Field.  Red Barber called both games with the Reds winning the first and the Dodgers the second.

A few things strike me interesting about this double-header.  The lineups for both games were almost identical.  The pitchers, of course, were different, but the only other difference was that the Reds used a different catcher for the second game while the Dodgers replaced one of their infielders.  Also, the first game only took 1 hour and 16 minutes to play.  Reds’ pitcher Bucky Walters only gave up two hits in the game and pitched a complete game to get his 21st win of the season (he’d go on to win 27 games in 1939).  I’m not one of those who criticizes players for needing a day off or who thinks pitch counts should be eradicated, but these guys played two full games on the same day without falling apart.

Although, to be fair, in total both games only took 3 hours and 17 minutes to play.  Joe West would have been in heaven.

71 years relatively speaking, wasn’t that long ago.  My father was four and my mother’s father was 16.  Both are around today to enjoy the many technological advances we’ve experienced as sports fans.  Today we can watch baseball on over 10 different channels thanks to cable television.  I can watch any game I want (well, any game but an in-market game) on my computer and I can listen to any radio broadcast over my computer or on my cell phone.

Tonight I’ll be at “meet-up” of people in the baseball industry.  These folks got together through a social network (in this case, Linked In) and are celebrating their first anniversary as an online network.  Over 5000 people involved in baseball in one form or another get together virtually (and tonight some of them in person) to discuss baseball.  I’ve made some of my closest friends over the last 7 years thanks to the Internet (and, really, baseball).  I sit in awe that technology has come so far in less than 100 years.

August 26, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | Leave a comment

I promise this is (probably) my last entry on Johnny Damon

(This is long and rambling because I’m just so freaking annoyed by all the “Johnny Damon was so wronged by Boston and that’s why he isn’t going back” talk.  Fair warning to those of you who don’t want to read about Damon or anything long and rambling.)

I wasn’t going to write about Johnny again but two things compel me to.  A tweet by Peter Gammons this morning and a ridiculous column by Sports Illustrated contributor Lee Jenkins.

Before I focus on them, I want to say this:  It’s easy for people, especially those in the media, to take the high road in situations like this.  I think sports writers wait for moments like this all year long so they can trot out the tired discussion about how bad sports fans, in this case BOSTON sports fans, are.  I used to think Peter Gammons was better than that.  Now it seems he’s actually worse than most.  Here’s Gammons’ unedited tweet:

Damon’s return to Boston was ugly,unfair, vulgar. Louts who think public obscenity is their right should about 1 reason he declined.

I feel like I’m missing something. That’s a common feeling when reading some tweets but in this case I need more information. Was he talking about Johnny’s return as a Yankee? We’ll get to that. Was he talking about his return as a Tiger? The return that never happened? The man feigned an injury and, essentially, never showed his face while he was here with Detroit.  We never heard one story about him being harassed outside the ballpark and we didn’t get any “the fans reminded Damon that they haven’t forgotten his time in pinstripes” articles.  So if Johnny was abused during his last trip to Boston, he made a good effort to keep it a secret.

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August 25, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 3 Comments

Rain, Rain, go the hell away

13th Live Chat of 2010

August 24, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday Quickie

Just stuff:

*  First things first:  Definitely will be a live chat tonight!  (Well “definitely” resting on Mother Nature’s shoulders.  If there is a game, there’s definitely a live chat!)  Josh Beckett is pitching against old friend David Pauley.  Beckett needs the mojo,  so join us at 7pm, won’t you?

*  I can’t write any more about Johnny Damon.  I just can’t.  I can’t.

*  As I wrote in the comments section of yesterday’s post:  NESN gets kudos for showing us the National Anthem being sung, first pitch being thrown and the kids saying “Play Ball”.  They get the raspberry for subjecting us to Ernie Boch Jr and his female football team.  While I get that I’m being myopic by writing yesterday that NESN should just cover baseball and hockey, do they have to thrust the other sports on us WHILE THE DAMN GAME IS BEING PLAYED?  And if they do, can they give us Kevin Garnett or  David Krejci?  Ernie Boch, Jr and his five minute long commercial during the game was unnecessary and annoying.

Yankees lost last night.  Sox are 5.5 games back.  It might be gray and rainy out but things look pretty bright right now.

August 24, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 1 Comment

If I ran NESN


I tend to be very critical of NESN (so much so that I once was contacted via email by one of the producers over there because of something I wrote about here).  Twitter has become a wonderful outlet for me to get my jabs in (especially since they come to me while I’m watching NESN…I feel the need to sometimes get them out before I forget them) and given how much I’ve written about them over the years it seems to me that folks might get the idea that I don’t like NESN.  That isn’t the case.  Well, it kind of isn’t the case.  The thing is, I want to like NESN.  I want NESN to be the channel always on my television.  Problem is, aside from Red Sox baseball (or Bruins hockey), there is nothing appealing about NESN.  There is nothing NESN shows, outside the game, that makes me think “I should check the schedule, maybe I’ll want to watch or DVR something on NESN tonight”.

So because they didn’t ask, I decided to share with you what programming would be like if I were head of programming at NESN.  (Fair warning:  This is a long one!)

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August 23, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | 10 Comments