Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Careful what you wish for

Okay, so I’m the one who wanted this thing to go seven games, right?  When I wrote that, I wasn’t really considering that the Rangers winning a game would just enhance the level of Fox’s asskissing.  The way Fox is hyping Texas, you would think that the Giants only made it to the World Series because every player on every other team in the league contracted cholera.  Cliff Lee is the best pitcher in the whole wide world and Josh Hamilton is the next Mickey Mantle.  There is, apparently, nothing the Rangers can do wrong (except get their asses handed to them in Games 1 and 2) and the Giants, well, yeah they’re here too.

For the record, Lee is doing better than Lincecum in the playoffs this year, but only slightly.  And I tweeted last night that Cody Ross is doing a whole helluva lot better in the playoffs than Josh Hamilton.  Doesn’t take away from how good Hamilton has been but I prefer Fox maybe live in the NOW and instead of talking about Hamilton like he’s a god, maybe mention his .220 average this post season.  Or his .361 on base percentage or his slugging at .540.  Ross, for the record, holds a .318 average this postseason with an on base percentage of .412 and a slugging percentage of .773.  He has one RBI more than Hamilton and three more hits and for all the bragging about Hamilton’s five home runs this postseason, guess how many Ross has?  Five.  Cody Ross is doing better than Josh Hamilton this postseason, and his team leads the series, yet all the fellas at Fox care about, still, is Josh Hamilton (and Cliff Lee and, pretty much, everyone on the Rangers).

So if there are baseball gods and I have any pull with them, I want them to know that I changed my mind.  I don’t want this series to go seven…I want it to go five.  I want the Giants to put the hurt on the Rangers for these next two games if for no other reason than to shut the talking heads over at Fox the hell up.

Nothing personal, Rangers.  It isn’t your fault that Fox decided to jump on your bandwagon.  But, really, I’ve had enough of the ballwashing and the sooner this series is over the sooner I don’t have to hear Joe Buck or Tim McCarver slurping all over you.

October 31, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 3 Comments

Score one for the underdog

Scree grab of Javi being interviewed on the MLB Network (where they called him a "fan favorite").

Screen grab of Javi being interviewed on the MLB Network last night.

No one ever questions the fan who claims one of the superstars of the game as his or her favorite player.  This is why they’re superstars, because their talent and their fame create an aura of perfection that people want to be near.  I understand the allure and fall victim to it plenty.  But for me, and for many of my friends, one of the things that makes baseball so enjoyable is watching the players who don’t get all the publicity.  The ones who don’t get their jerseys sold in the fan store.  The players low enough on the totem pole that they have to make all the appearances at fan meet and greets and the ones who get relegated to “you’re signing autographs before the game so we look more fan friendly” status.

So you can imagine my delight (and that of many of my friends!) to see that Javier Lopez is becoming the darling of the 2010 playoffs.

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October 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | Leave a comment

Pitching what?

Happy days for Javi!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Happy days for Javi! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com. Used with permission.

Nothing like watching a well-pitched game, huh?

Eesh. So much for the pitchers’ duel. 18 runs, 25 hits and six errors in Game 1 of the World Series. It was both ugly (Cliff Lee looking like a pitcher I wouldn’t mind the Yankees picking up, in spite of the incessant ball washing of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver) and beautiful (Freddy Sanchez with four hits, three of them being doubles off of Lee, and three RBI). I was sad to see Vlad Guerrero floundering in the outfield but happy to see Javier Lopez pitch yet another scoreless inning. This World Series is a puzzle for me because I’d like both teams to do well. Last night, though, in spite of Barry Bonds sitting in the stands waving like he had anything to do with this, I was rooting for the Giants.

I’ve decided that I want this series to go seven games with the home team winning each game. That will be entertaining baseball and this way the deserving fans of both teams will get to enjoy it (at least at home)!

It’s an odd sensation, not having any true negative feelings for either team, but I’m getting a kick out of stress-free baseball…and we get more tonight!

A programming note: Fox starts these broadcasts now at 7:30 so if you’re expecting to throw the game on at 8:20 and see it just beginning, you’ll miss at least an inning of play. I think it’s great that someone finally realized if they start the show at 7:30 the actual game could begin by or before 8pm. Although it’s been pointed out to me by many that they are starting the weekday games late compared to the game scheduled for Saturday. Game 3 in Texas is scheduled to begin at 6:30pm. You’d think it would make more sense to schedule an earlier game during the week so more people could watch the whole thing than on a weekend but I suppose they’re looking at it as more people being able to make an 8pm game at the park on a weekday. In any event, I think it’s an improvement but they still have work to do.

I’ve enjoyed this postseason so far but, honestly, I still miss my Red Sox.

October 28, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Six years ago…

1030_collage_big

So after telling you all that the first part of the Jason Varitek special was on NESN tonight, I totally missed it.  (Hooray for the dvr, which I set up to record the Red Sox Report replay on Wednesday afternoon.)  I really am hoping it’s just a tribute a long time in coming and not goodbye.  Time will tell.

Tonight we get game 1 of the World Series.  I’m still not absolutely sure which team I’m rooting for.  I’m leaning toward the Giants because I can only think of one reason I really want the Rangers to win…Cliff Lee.  I could be dreaming, but I feel like Cliff Lee winning a World Series might help him in making a decision on where he’ll be in 2011.  Or maybe this will help:

The wife of Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee says she experienced some pretty abusive behavior from Yankee fans, including taunting, cursing, throwing cups of beer and even spitting from the section above.

“The fans did not do good things in my heart,” Kristen Lee told USA Today. “When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it’s hard not to take it personal.”

Now I know fans do idiot things to the friends/relatives of the opposing team in plenty of stadiums throughout sports.  I don’t get it, but I’m sure it happens in more places than Yankee Stadium.  I just think if you’re coveting a certain player, you might want to forgo the insulting of that player’s wife.

What will end up happening is the game will begin and something will happen that will either reinforce that I want the Giants to win, or make me reassess and decide that maybe I want the Rangers to win.  Honestly, I have no overwhelming feelings here yet.  I have to admit, it’s a nice way to go into the World Series.  Go baseball!

But my mind is not on this year’s World Series, really.  For today is the sixth anniversary of the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series.

My memory isn’t always the greatest, but I remember everything about that night.  I remember the moon. I remember the looks on the faces of my parents.  I remember my sister’s voice cracking when she called me after the final out.  While I hope that every sports fan can be as happy as we were on October 27, 2004, I believe that it will be impossible to ever duplicate what went on that October.  And for that, as well as the two World Championships in my lifetime, I will be eternally grateful.

I post the below video a few times a year.  When I saw it for the first time at Fenway Park, I sat in the stands sobbing and it still brings a few happy tears but  I love to watch it and I think it’s a fitting tribute to mark the day.

http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/1922500/red_sox_the_beatles_a_day_in_the_life.swf
Red Sox – The Beatles – A Day In The LifeMore bloopers are a click away

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

Jason Varitek Tributes

Screen grab from the NESN trailer

Screen grab from the NESN trailer

Beginning tomorrow night, NESN will be airing two specials on Jason Varitek and his career.

I’m not here to debate with people what kind of person he is off the field.  I know a lot of people will jump all over the rumors that surrounded him the last couple of seasons.  For the purposes of this discussion, I couldn’t care less about that stuff.  What these specials on NESN say to me is, there is more than a great chance we’ve seen the last of our Captain on the field and that just about rips my heart out.

I know he isn’t the player he used to be, but he’s ours and the idea that he won’t be in that clubhouse in 2011…well, it’s something I was hoping not to have to think about for a while.  Unfortunately, NESN will have none of my denial so tomorrow night at 7:30 the Red Sox Report will begin their two-part series on the Captain.  It’ll be tough to watch without getting emotional, but I’m looking forward to it.  It might be the only thing to look forward to on NESN until Red Sox baseball starts up again.

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

Congrats to the Rangers and the Giants

My only real concern about the World Series was that we were going to be watching a Phillies/Yankees series…again.  Amazingly, the baseball gods decided not to put us all through that…again…and we get a Giants/Rangers World Series.  You won’t hear me complaining.

I can’t imagine that Fox Sports is too thrilled with this matchup but, really, screw ’em.  Baseball fans get to watch two absolutely deserving teams play it out and we get spared all the hyperbole that surrounds any Yanks or Phillies game.  For the first time in a while, I don’t have a team to root against.  I can just enjoy the games for what they are.  I’m looking forward to that.

I honestly don’t have a real preference here.  I like the story the Rangers have.  Never been to the World Series, only won two playoff games ever at home, they’re fans seem devoted and loyal…not much to dislike there (I am aware that my dislike of Josh Hamilton is not shared by most of the baseball watching public and I’m not letting it really affect how I feel about the Rangers in the World Series.  We’ll see how long that lasts).  As far as the Giants go, aside from their attachments still to Barry Bonds, I have no reason to root against them either.  I am genuinely happy that Javier Lopez is getting another trip to the World Series and there are a lot of likable players on the team.  Their fans seem pretty devoted without being jerky as well.  Javi really is what tips the scales for me.

Go Giants!  (But, really, the Rangers winning won’t be the worst thing to ever happen.  It feels so weird to REALLY not care which team wins.)

I hope it goes 7 games.  We need the season to be stretched out as long as it can.

October 24, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 4 Comments

The Only Way the Yankees Can Make Me Giddy

If your manager has this look in the 5th inning, well, that's not a good sign.  (Thanks to Aaron/@ARevill for the screen grab)

If your manager has this look in the 5th inning, well, that's not a good sign. (Thanks to Aaron/@ARevill for the screen grab)

While reveling in the Yankees loss and the Rangers win last night, the most common retort I received was basically “At least the Yankees made it to the playoffs this year”.  (As an aside, I don’t troll Yankees message boards.  These responses came from folks who follow me on Twitter and those who chose to email me.)

And those people are absolutely right.  I would have loved it had the Red Sox been in the post-season.  The playoffs are almost always enjoyable anyway but nothing beats watching your team play in meaningful games in late October.  The thing is, my Red Sox not making the post-season doesn’t take away, in any way, the joy I received from watching the Yankees lose last night.  After steamrolling over the Minnesota Twins, the Yankees were a Ron Washington call to the bullpen in Game 1 away from being swept by the Texas Rangers.  There are some non-Yankees fans out there today crowing about how the Yankees choked.  They didn’t choke, they were outplayed by a superior team.  Maybe not a team that was superior in the regular season (where they only won one out of the five games they played against New York) but they were superior when it counted.  There is absolutely no argument to this.

The first person to say “The better team didn’t win” gets a kick in the shins.

How excited I am knowing I’ll be watching a World Series just hoping to see good baseball and not rooting against one of the teams.  Granted, this will be made much easier if the Giants make it there as well, but as much as I’m sick of seeing the Phillies in the World Series, I don’t really hate them so their being there won’t immediately make me root against them.  Yankees-free baseball being played in late October and  early November.  Except for my own team being in the thick of it, this is all I can ask for.

Another aside:  On October 27, 2004, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series after sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals (Woooo!!!! As a member of Red Sox Nation, I’m contractually obligated to yell “Woooo!!! whenever I write or say those words.  Plus, it’s damn fun to do.).  In 2010, the World Series will begin on October 27th.  While part of me is tempted to complain that this is much too late for baseball to be played…baseball is being played!  Why would any baseball fan complain about being able to see MORE baseball?  I’ll take it.  (Especially if it ends up being played in California and Texas.  Weather for the win!)

Now I don’t mean to cheapen the Rangers’ win by focusing on the Yankees but, let’s be honest here, it wouldn’t have mattered to me which team was playing the Yankees, as long as the Yankees were beaten.  I still don’t like Ron Washington or Josh Hamilton but if I have to wish them well (and, now, THANK THEM) it’s totally worth it coming at the expense of the Yankees.  Now all I have to root for is good baseball.  I think today all baseball fans (except for Yankees fans) are winners.

Since their team’s time in the playoffs is done, I now expect any anti-Yankees sentiments I articulate to be met with “At least our team will have Cliff Lee next year”.  I’ll worry about that when the time comes.  For now, I’m as giddy as can be.

Thank you, Rangers!

October 23, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 4 Comments

Bleacher Creatures don't deserve praise

Well Major League Baseball seems to be going out of their way to make both League Championship Series interesting. While I would love to see the Phillies and the Yankees sent off into the sunset while the Giants and Rangers make their way to the World Series. But the truth is, if you dig baseball there is a lot of excitement in both series going to (at the very least) Game 6.

Having written that, I really hope the Rangers just get things done tonight and end it in front of their fans. I’ve really seen enough of the Yankees on my television this October.

But now I have to rant.

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October 22, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

…a couple of anniversaries today

Lou Seal in his Tim Lincecum wig.  Go Giants!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Lou Seal in his Tim Lincecum wig. Go Giants! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Trying to avoid bad karma, I decided to forgo writing a gloating post about how the Rangers were owning the Yankees in this series.

So much for that.  🙂

It’s okay.  As  much as beating them on their own field would have been fun to watch, I think the Rangers fans deserve to see their team clinch a World Series spot at home.  So here’s hoping.

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October 21, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oh, NESN, you fail us again

I’m only going to touch on this briefly because I have another Yankees loss to gloat about, but it’s still worth a mention:  Word came out yesterday that NESN will be simulcasting the Dennis & Callahan show live from 6-9am beginning November 16th.

Let me put that in clearer terms:  The New England SPORTS Network will be joining with WEEI (a radio SPORTS network) in giving air time to two racist, homophobic, hate-mongering men who talk more about politics than they do sports for three hours a day every weekday.  How exciting is that?

I’m not going to trot out the million reasons why I hate what D&C do.  You can Google John Dennis or Gerry Callahan and find it all over the place.  I will say that hosting the Jimmy Fund telethon once a year doesn’t absolve you from all the hate you spew and I’m pretty sure that both D&C believe in a God who will, eventually, punish them for being such horrible people.  In the meantime, NESN (as WEEI has done for all this time) will REWARD them and punish the rest of us. It won’t surprise me in the least to find out that ESPN and the MLBN have their ratings boosted during the 6-9am time slot in New England.  At least that’s what I hope for.

Here’s what you can do, though I have little hope it will make a difference:  Contact NESN and tell them what a lousy thing this is to do to the fans.  I’ll make it easy for you.

Sean McGrail is the President and CEO of NESN.  You can reach him, or anyone at NESN in the following ways:

sports@nesn.com.

Mailing Address

NESN
480 Arsenal Street, Building #1
Watertown, MA 02472
Phone: 617-536-9233
FAX: 617-536-7814

Also, John Henry can be reached easily on Twitter @john_w_henry.

It isn’t often that I say I have no faith that the fan’s voices will be heard but with WEEI happily accepting what D&C do and NESN being BFF with WEEI, I’m guessing we’re spitting into the wind here…but it’s always good to get your voice heard.

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October 20, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 6 Comments