Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

A Quickie

Every time I make plans to live chat, something seems to drop in front of me and stop me.  Sadly that happened today as well.  I feel like crap, have felt like crap, and  plan on spending the weekend at Fenway and am trying to do everything I can to NOT feel like crap for that.  So I need to bag on the live chat – sorry, again, for having to bail.  I’m hoping to have some post-season chats if the fates don’t mess with me more.

The Red Sox have a good chance to help keep the Yankees away from the division title.  If this is how things have to go, I can get behind it.  I absolutely don’t want to see the Yankees celebrate at Fenway Park but I’d love to see them learn they were going to the post-season on the wild card there.

Hey, if I can’t cheer for my team in the post-season, I can take comfort in the little things.

September 30, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | 1 Comment

Shot to the heart

I cried last night.  It surprised me too.  It was well after the Red Sox had been eliminated and it came upon me suddenly.  I didn’t sob for hours on end, but in the middle of a conversation about the Reds and how happy I was for the team and especially their fans, I started to tear up.  I was crying tears of happiness for the Reds fans who have waited a bit of time for this and who probably didn’t think it would happen for a while.  I was crying because the friend I was having this discussion with lost a dear friend this year suddenly (who lived in Ohio and was a Reds fan) and he told me he bought tickets for the first Reds playoffs game and gave them to his friends widow and son.  Baseball is funny how it can make you feel so many emotions at once.  I was happy, I was sad and suddenly I was thinking about how there won’t be any baseball in October past Sunday afternoon for the Red Sox.  And I kept crying.

I thought I was okay with how things panned out.  The injuries.  The inexplicable need to blow saves by Papelbon.  John Lackey pitching like, well like many people who aren’t me kind of expected him to pitch.  The insane freaking injuries.  But then we started calling up the kids and the team stayed in it.  They won a lot of games with the Triple  A fellas in there and we had hope.  The only reason hope is bad is because of the letdown you get when you realize hope isn’t going to get you what you want.  (Not in all cases.  I’m a big fan of hope.  But this day after “dammit I wanted to see them in the playoffs” feeling is kicking my butt right now.)

The Red Sox still have five games to play before Truck Day becomes out focus.  I’ll happily be at two of those games but based on my unexpected reaction last night, those are going to be two emotional days.

So congratulations to the Reds and their fans.  It was fun to get to watch the team celebrate last night.  Heck, I was even happy for Dusty Baker. I hope the team goes far and while part of me would love for Bronson to get a shot at Slappy again, I’m really hoping the Reds meet the Twins in the World Series this year.

But right now?  Right now I need a little more time to work through my feelings about the end of the season for the Red Sox before I can start backing another horse.

September 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 9 Comments

Money for Nothing

Last night I realized that this off-season I will truly miss seeing Clay pitch.  (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission)

Last night I realized that I will truly miss seeing Clay pitch once the season is over. (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission)

In March of 2010, the unemployment rate in Florida was 12.3%.  In August of this year it was 11.5% and it fluctuated in the months between March and August.  The average unemployment rate in New York this summer was 8.3% and in Boston the rate was 9.0% in July and 8.8% in August.

Roughly 248,000 people live in St. Petersburg, Florida (home of the Tampa Bay Rays).  There are about 645,000 people living in Boston and over 1.3 million  people living in the Bronx.

As I have mentioned here before, I happen to be one of the unemployed in the Massachusetts and have been for almost a year now.  Every year, I go to more baseball games at Fenway Park than I can count.  This year, I’ve gone to so few games that I haven’t counted them.  I have no children to take to the games, it’s just me, and I’m having a hard time affording to go to games.  I’ve had to decide what the best way to spend my money is more carefully than I have before and most of the time it doesn’t involve going to a baseball game.  That people expect every fan in every state there is a baseball team to be able to afford to go to the games is ridiculous.  That there are those who think the low attendance in St. Petersburg is a reflection that the Tampa Bay Rays fans aren’t loyal fans is just ignorant.

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September 28, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 16 Comments

Heavy Sigh

Well, that was both enjoyable and extremely painful.

I’m not pointing fingers, I’m not bitching about anyone, I’m not rehashing the game.  I only ask the baseball gods to not give the Sox and their fans the final kick in the privates this weekend.  Let this weekend be, relatively speaking, meaningless.  If I have to be at Fenway Park AGAIN when the Yankees clinch the division, I might hurt someone.  That is all.

Still fighting this damn cold but as of right now I really do want to do a final S0x live chat…so right now I’m looking at this Thursday against the White Sox.  It’s the final game of September and even though it starts at 8pm, I thought it a good choice.  Hope folks will be able to join us!

I will say this about ESPN:  Joe Morgan talking about how Papi “really” feels even after admitting Papi said nothing of the kind to him and also going on about how the Red Sox front office “Gave up” on this season should be cause for that man to get a stern talking to from his bosses or at least a punch in the face.  I know Morgan is a sub-par broadcaster but last night he was just out of his ass and his boothmates did nothing to discourage it and actually encouraged it.  I think Joe Morgan might be a bigger asshat than CHB – and that’s sure saying something.

I lied.  That is not all about this weekend.  Friday and Saturday and parts of Sunday were some of the most fun and exciting baseball I’ve watched in a long time.  If folks choose to dwell on the fact that the Sox lost yesterday, that is their choice.  As much of a bummer as it was to see Papelbon blow another save and Okajima give it up at the end, those things don’t take away from how much I genuinely enjoyed watching these games.  I’ve written it before.  All I ask is that they win more than they lose and they’re still keeping up with that…so I’m happy.  Disappointed they didn’t get a sweep and the Yankees clinched a playoff spot sure, but still happy and proud of my team for never saying die.

September 27, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Happiness is…

Youth is NOT being wasted on the young this September! (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission)

Youth is NOT being wasted on the young this September! From left to right: Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Lars Anderson. (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission)

I hate waiting.  Usually, during the baseball season, I hate waiting for a night game on the day after a Red Sox loss.  Especially on the weekend.  It gives the local writers (and fans who post online) way too much time to focus on the negative.  I enjoy the Sox jumping back up and getting right into another game.

Today I hate waiting because I’m genuinely excited for another game.  I want the Red Sox to wake up, go to the park, and kick more Yankee butt as soon as possible.  I don’t want the lag time of an entire Sunday to go by.  I want them to play now, now, NOW!

Yesterday was Red Sox Nirvana.  A dominating pitching performance.  The offense taking advantage of the young pitcher.  All of it happening against the Yankees and on national television.  Some dreams do come true.

I was watching the game with my folks.  Something I don’t do as often as I’d like.  And, regardless of the standings, it was fun.  We were yelling and cheering and excited about what was going on.  When Daniel Nava threw out Austin Kearns at home in the sixth inning, my father (ever the skeptic) decided that “Theo doesn’t have to do all that much in the off-season”.  Yes, these last few weeks of getting to watch the Triple A guys play has given my father a whole new appreciation of our farm system and, most of all, it’s given him hope.  Hope for the future of this team.  Also, in our family (as in the families of many Red Sox fans), any day the Yankees lose, especially at the hands of the Red Sox, is a good day.

Tonight we have another opportunity for a good day tomorrow.  Tonight Daisuke takes the mound in the Bronx and gives the Sox to not only sweep at Yankee Stadium, but to hand the Yankees their fifth loss in a row.  The Rays have won these last two nights, bringing the Yankees to a game and a half out of first place.  I’m at peace with whatever happens to the Red Sox from here on out…but seeing the Yankees suffer, even if it’s only a little, brings that peace a lot more quickly.

Even if I have to suffer through Joe Morgan and Jon Miller, 8pm can’t come soon enough.

September 26, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I need to purge

(This is long and cranky.  I don’t want to be cranky today so I’m working on another entry as you read this!)

This is the first season where I told myself I would read less and less of the local sports writers and I actually stuck to that promise.  I credit Twitter and Facebook, really.  It gives me easy access to writers I want to read and not kick in the privates while also letting me find out things I don’t know about in the baseball world without having to read them from people I hate.

But this week has been a little different.  I haven’t had much online contact and took the easy way out this morning:  I read a Dan Shaughnessy  piece.  Rather, I began to read a Dan Shaughnessy piece.  I got to the quoted text below and decided I couldn’t make it all the way through.  But I share it with you so you remember, as I do now, why my dislike (hatred?  Hatred is a strong word but I’m compelled to type it) for the CHB is so damn strong.

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September 26, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 7 Comments

I don't think it means what you think it means

Here's hoping the baseball gods stop messing with Mike Lowell (Photo taken by me in 2006)

Here's hoping the baseball gods stop messing with Mike Lowell (Photo taken by me in 2006)

Just received an email from one of the Yankees fans who reads the blog (and one I have verified is actually a Yankees fan and not someone pretending to be one) that including this nugget:

…so be happy that your wonderful Beckett and Papelbon still suck and your team has no bullpen.  I’ll be happy that my team is going to the playoffs!

Now, the team going from a tremendous lead to a, let’s say, NOT so tremendous lead would be unsettling in July or August…but in the second to last weekend of the season? Not so much. Yes, I hope that Beckett’s injuries and troubles don’t spill over to next season and sure I would like to know exactly what the hell is going on with Jonathan Papelbon, but there is nothing that happened last night with either pitcher that hasn’t happened already during this season.  I’m more amused by the fact that a Yankees fan took the time to send me an unsolicited email telling me I shouldn’t be happy about the Red Sox beating the Yankees.

Let me tell you something:  I’m freaking delighted that the Red Sox won last night.  Who knows what the next five games against the Yankees will bring?  I’m living in the moment and there is no denying that the moment is pretty damn satisfying.

Many people, fans and especially media-folk, have written today (and last night after the game) that last night’s win was “meaningless”.  Now, technically, it wasn’t meaningless because the Red Sox still have not been mathematically eliminated.  But even if you are unable to sustain the pipe dream* that the Red Sox could still make it to the post-season this year, if you are a Red Sox fan in any form I don’t see how you can call a Red Sox victory over the Yankees meaningless.  ESPECIALLY when it helps knock the Yankees down in the division race.  Last night’s game was NOT meaningless.  This afternoon’s game isn’t meaningless and, regardless of which team wins today, tomorrow night’s game isn’t meaningless.

The losses of my enemy are victories for me.

The only thing that truly concerned me last night was Mike Lowell being hit in the temple.  Ever since Natasha Richardson died, I’ve been hyper-sensitive about head injuries and seeing him get hit my first thought was “Get him the hell out of the game!”  So I wasn’t too happy with his staying in the game, even just to finish out that inning.  All reports are that he’s fine and Lars Anderson is playing first today so Mike is getting a day off to rest his rung bell.  It was a frightening moment and thinking that Mike Lowell might not be around for Mike Lowell Appreciation Day freaked me out more than just a bit.

Fox Sports will do their best to ruin our enjoyment of today’s game.  Don’t let them, people, fight the power.   I debated muting today’s game and using Joe Castiglione instead but curiosity will get the best of me.  Often times,  listening to Fox makes me realize how fortunate we are to have Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo.

Looking forward to this “meaningless” game.  How about you?

* I keep telling people that I realize the Red Sox season is over but, truthfully, deep inside I still have a glimmer of hope.  It’s tough for me to give up.  It’s not in my blood.

September 25, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 6 Comments

Back in the Bronx

There's never a bad time to post a photo of Big Papi (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission)

There's never a bad time to post a photo of Big Papi (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission)

My butt has been kicked a bit this week thanks to this ridiculous cold so it amused me that I woke up this morning only feeling slightly better but thinking about nothing but the Red Sox playing the Yankees this weekend.   I’m sure my enthusiasm for the series has something to do with the Yanks dropping two to the Rays and my watching CC Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain and Javier Vasquez combine last night for what might possibly be my favorite non Red Sox game this season.

While there is still a tiny piece of  me that hold out the hope that the Sox could have some miraculous comeback (realizing it has to be combined with god-awful collapses of the Rays and Yanks), my joy really just comes from the idea that the Yankees could actually lose the division this year.  I won’t lie, that thought makes me very happy.  Derek Jeter has previously gone on record as saying making the playoffs on the Wild Card is nothing to celebrate and Michael Kay mentioned during last night’s game that Mariano Rivera feels the same way and won’t celebrate if the Yankees make the playoffs without winning the division.

I’m of the belief that you should most definitely celebrate getting into the playoffs, regardless of how you do it. Eight teams get into the playoffs while twenty-two don’t.  This is a big deal for your team if you make into the post season so howsabout people stop acting like those who get in on the Wild Card have an STD?

The Red Sox, in third place and behind by 7.5 games in the east have the exact w/l record as the Texas Rangers, who happen to be leading the west division and are in first place by four games.  Proof enough to me that just because you don’t win your division, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.  (Because of this, I’m also a proponent of choosing the 4 best teams in each league and sending them to the playoffs instead of going by division leaders, but that’s a whole different discussion.)

I get that the Yankees like to pride themselves on being the division leader and, as leaders of the team, Rivera and Jeter probably feel like they need to promote that idea publicly.  But at what point do you stop the entitled crap and realize you are not the center of the universe and there are plenty of teams as good and as worthy as you are of being in the playoffs?  Every time someone connected to the Yankees says getting into the playoffs alone isn’t worth celebrating, they’re insulting every team that has made it via the Wild Card and celebrated it.  Get off your damn high horses, fellas.

Of course, even though I’m looking forward to the weekend, MLB has to ruin it by giving Fox and ESPN the Saturday and Sunday games.  We can’t be greedy, I suppose.

I haven’t written these words in a while about a Sox/Yanks series:  I’m really looking forward to this series.

September 24, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 2 Comments

A good time in spite of the score

Highlight of last night:  While waiting in line to get into Fenway with the other members of Red Sox Nation to watch BP on the Monster, I checked Twitter and read the announcement that Michael Bowden would be posing for pictures on Yawkey Way before the game.  So after BP we went to Yawkey Way and got our photos taken with him.  It was silly and totally fangirlish but I enjoyed the heck out of it and it made the night not a total disaster.

2nd highlight of last night:  Darnell McDonald tossing a ball to a kid sitting near us on the Green Monster during batting practice.  The kid didn’t call for it.  He and his dad were just really enjoying being on the Monster for batting practice when suddenly a ball appeared.  The father caught it and the two of them were yelling and celebrating and really just thrilled beyond description.  Dad called the friend who gave him the tickets, bragging on it and the boy was cradling the ball in his glove like it was a baby.   The game ended up being terrible so at least this kid has this one fabulous memory (and now he knows who Darnell McDonald is).

It’s all about what you take away from it.  Winning isn’t always the only thing that guarantees a good time.

September 22, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 2 Comments

The Final Countdown

Mike Lowell looks pleased while Yunel Escobar seems to glare at him. One of the shots I took yesterday.

Mike Lowell looks pleased while Yunel Escobar* seems to glare at him. One of the shots I took yesterday.

It never fails.  The better the seat I’m in, the less photos I’m compelled to take.  Saturday night I was fortunate enough to be invited to sit in one of the luxury boxes.  Not a prime spot for taking photos of the game but, I won’t lie, my favorite spot to watch the game.   We were on the first base and the view of the entire park is spectacular.  Yesterday, I was invited to the game and didn’t know where we were sitting until I got there.  First row on the visitor’s dugout.  Really fabulous seats with the wonderful view of Jose Bautista casually giving out baseballs to the fans.  The Blue Jays on the whole were very generous to the kids yesterday.  Many went home clasping a baseball.  It was a great weekend to watch baseball and I’m very grateful for the invites.  I take pictures at the park mostly for me, so I can look back on them and remember the games.  Once in a while I’ll post a photo or two but I don’t go to the games focused on getting photos (and if Kelly O’Connor and I are at the same games, I know she’ll get all the good shots anyway!), I get them just to have (if that makes any sense).

So I only have a handful of photos from the weekend but I have a ton of memories.  I saw a loss (and had a perfect view of poor Ryan Kalish’s long walk back to the dugout on Saturday night), I saw a win (with a view of Josh Reddick making himself comfortable on the dugout stairs), and I had a wonderful time.  While I haven’t been to nearly as many games this year as I usually go to, I know I’ve still been to many more than a lot of people get the opportunity to see in person…and there are still more to come.  The plan is to be at Fenway on Tuesday and Wednesday this week and then back again for the last two games of the season.  Six games in less than a month’s time is more than any average fan could ask for and I’m thankful I’ve been given these opportunities.

While the focus this weekend was on digging the view and seeing how the other half lives, tomorrow begins my true Goodbye to Fenway tour.   I saw Beckett and Lester pitch this weekend.  I get Buchholz and Lackey this week.  Throw in a Daisuke start before the end of the year and I’ll have seen them all one last time.  I’m hoping for a Tim Wakefield sighting at some point as well.  Seeing Mike Lowell standing on third yesterday (as a baserunner) made me truly realize it was one of the last times I’ll see him play.  Regardless of what is going on during that last Sunday game, the idea that after it Mike Lowell won’t be playing baseball again tears at my soul a bit.

Yesterday was a great day for baseball.  The weather was perfect, the park was full of kids and everyone seemed happy, regardless of the standings.  The day started watching Victor Martinez’ and David Ortiz’ sons, in full uniform, playing ball with Victor.  It then moved toward Victor playing with, seemingly, every kid that was in the dugout (ending in a dogpile on Victor).  Three of the bullpen pitchers (including Michael Bowden) signed many autographs out in right field and then the crowd got a treat when Daisuke jogged over and started signing.  A group of girls who had been right up front, all wearing their Daisuke t-shirts and jerseys, started screaming like mad when he approached.  KellyO likened it to Beatlemania and she hit it spot on.  We were worried that security (which seemed to continually be reminding Daisuke that he needed to step it up) would force Daisuke past the girls before they could get their autographs but he was having none of it.  Kelly told me that she has seen him sign for ridiculously long amounts of time and this time seemed to be no different.  As we walked away (having only wanted to be sure the girls got to meet him, not looking for autographs ourselves) we decided that the events of the day to that point had made the day a “win” regardless of what happened in the game.  Thankfully, the day just kept getting better!

Not every day at the park are as good as yesterday was, but knowing that there are days to be had like we had yesterday is what keeps me always wanting to get back to Fenway as soon as I can.  Knowing that, in a few weeks, I won’t be able to hit up the park for a game for a few months has me a bit melancholy on this gorgeous day.

*Did you know that Escobar pronounces his first name “Janelle”?  I’ve never heard it pronounced like that until I heard Carl Beane saying it this weekend.  See?  Going to the ballpark can be educational too!

September 20, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment