Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Gimme Gimme

In an effort to generate some baseball discussion, my friend Tex posted this story about a woman who was at a minor league game and was hit in the face with a baseball (which ended up causing permanent blindness in her right eye).

It’s a terrible story.  No one should start their night happy to be at a baseball game and end it being rushed to the hospital and going blind.  And the story itself brings up some interesting questions.

The team’s insurer offered to pay the medical costs she had that her own insurance didn’t cover…but she wants more.  Under the guise of “I don’t want this to happen to anyone else” she refused the offer of payment and is now suing the team.  This woman admittedly was there to socialize with friends and not to watch the game (although she says she was watching the action when she was hit).  This is not to say she deserved to be hit, she certainly didn’t.  But she’s claiming an ignorance of the ball park that I always assumed was general, common knowledge.

She has read court rulings that someone of reasonable intelligence should know there is a risk of being hit with a foul ball at a baseball game.

“Does a person of reasonable intelligence know that they can be permanently disabled?” she said. “Does a person of reasonable intelligence know they can be killed?”

I have a difficult time believing a person of reasonable intelligence DOESN’T know how dangerous getting hit by a baseball (or bat or, hell, a player diving into the stands) can be.  I don’t think this case is about warning other people of the dangers of sitting in a ballpark…I think this case is about someone being greedy and wanting more than they are getting.

Maybe I’m just cynical?  Maybe I’m so used to going to the ballpark that it stuns me that someone would go, sit next to the dugout and not realize that balls getting hit into the stands could be dangerous?

I went to a game this past summer where a little boy stood right at the field for most of the game, giving me anxiety for the entire game that he was going to be hit with a foul ball or a tossed bat.  His parents were there and I couldn’t decide at the time if they were ignorant to the dangers or they just didn’t care.  I think in most cases, people don’t think it will happen.  Sure they know that the ball leaves the field sometimes but no one ever wants to think about the fact that they could possibly get hurt.

You can get hurt at a ballgame even just as a spectator.  Most adults know this going in.  Even if you don’t know it before hand, a glance at your ticket or a look around the park and you see notices warning you that you could get hurt.  If you make the decision to go somewhere that the possibility of injury exists, I don’t see how you should be allowed to sue when you do get hurt.

Am I biased because of my love for baseball and baseball parks?  I honestly wonder this.  I genuinely feel like too many people in this world, especially in this country, feel like the way to get ahead is by suing someone.  There are no accidents any more…only incidents that someone has to pay for.

I’m sorry for what happened to this woman but this story just reeks of someone who wants to mask their greed as concern for the general public.  She wants us to believe that she isn’t refusing their offer and suing them because she’s greedy, she’s doing it to raise awareness about the dangers of going to a baseball game.  I’m not buying it.  Raising awareness…that I’m all for.  Suing because you don’t like the amount of money that was offered is ridiculous to me.   Greed is not good.

November 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | 5 Comments

Giving Thanks…for all of you

When I started this blog as “Red Sox Chick” over at MLBlogs in 2005 I naively thought I’d be using it as a personal journal where I’d write (or rant) about the Red Sox and the only one paying attention would be me.  Over time, through comments left and emails sent, I found that people who weren’t even related to me had happened upon the blog and started reading it.  I was a little intimidated at first, but finding an audience also helped me find my voice for the blog.  I am terribly thankful that you all are out there reading my ramblings (even in the off-season!) and I’m a little humbled as well.

It’s no fun talking to yourself for too long and had you all not come along, I probably would have stopped blogging years ago.  Because you all are around giving support to my small part of the Internet, you’re really the folks responsible for the success of this blog.  Thank you for that and for all of the support you’ve given over the years.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, folks.  And if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, well I hope you have a wonderful day!  In either event, thank you, again, for being supportive and being the reason I continue to do this.

November 25, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 7 Comments

Giving Thanks for Baseball: John Henry et al

Prior to this ownership, I can’t ever remember feeling like the owners of the Red Sox cared at all about their fans.  Heck, I never really gave them that much thought because it seemed easier to think about what I didn’t like about the front office than what I did.  That changed when John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino took over.  So today I’m thankful that the Red Sox have an ownership that not only is committed to winning but seems to genuinely care about the fans and their experiences at Fenway.

Under this ownership, the team as won two World Series championships.  The yearly renovations the ownership implements at Fenway Park have helped make the oldest park in MLB join the 21st century without losing its charm.  With Larry Luchhino we have someone who appreciates and understands the needs and wants of the fans and with John Henry we have an owner who seems to genuinely care about the players.

Fans don’t often get to actually like their team’s ownership so I’m thankful that Red Sox fans know their team has owners who “get it”.

November 23, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | Leave a comment

Giving Thanks for Baseball: Ryan Westmoreland

Ryan in July 2009. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

There’s a meme all over the Internet this month where folks list something every day that they are thankful for.  I have a difficult time being that open about my real life online so I decided to modify it for my blog and make it about things I’m thankful for in relation to baseball.

I had planned to write about something relatively shallow (in comparison to what I’m actually writing about) this morning until I read this article by Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal about Ryan Westmoreland.

He has suffered no recent setbacks in his recovery from the surgery he underwent in mid-March to remove a cavernous malformation from his brain. He’s even regularly taking live batting practice two or three days a week.

“It’s more coordinated and more clear than it was,” he said with palpable enthusiasm. “Every time, it gets better. My eyes are seeing it better. My body is reacting. I’m at a real good pace. I’m not trying to rush anything, but I feel real good about hitting.”

The plan is for Westmoreland to spend most of the winter in Fort Myers — he’ll come back to Rhode Island for a couple of weeks for Christmas and New Year’s Day — all the way up until the start of spring training in February.

The idea that he’s not only recovering well, but able to do anything baseball-related this soon is inspiring to me.   It’s difficult for me to imagine that along with the regular recovery anyone going through rehabilitation post-brain surgery he can also focus on the physical aspects of baseball.  No one really knows how long it will take Ryan to fully recover and we have no idea if he’ll ever be able to truly play baseball on a professional level, but for now it’s encouraging to read these updates about how he is slowly getting back into his “normal” life.

So today, I’m thankful that Ryan Westmoreland is able to tweet and go to football games and hang out with his girlfriend…doing most of the things 20 year-olds should be able to do.  And I’m grateful that Brian MacPherson is keeping us up to date on him.

November 22, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 3 Comments

Here I go again

So it’s 3am and I’m wide awake thanks to this stupid cold I have (and the fact that I took the non-drowsy cold medicine instead of the one that would knock me out).  PBS is hooking me up, though, because they’re showing the bottom half of The Tenth Inning and I turned it on just as they were going over the 2003 Sox season.  As I type this, they’re finishing up the 2004 World Championship.

It has been said many times and it still stands true:  this will never get old.

Something that struck me while watching the Red Sox celebrating at Yankee Stadium.  They were so emotional.  They weren’t just laughing and smiling but some of them looked just like the fans did.   Tears in their eyes, looks of almost disbelief.  They showed Mike Timlin burying his face in the shoulders of more than one of his teammates and Kevin Millar, of all people, looked just about speechless.  It is so obvious watching this that it means SO much more to them than just winning a game.  I started thinking about how much I love, yes LOVE, that team and then it got me thinking about Johnny Damon.

No one will argue that Johnny wasn’t important to that team.  Sure he was quiet in the ALCS up until game 7, but he was a huge part of the reason the Sox got to the playoffs.  I’ll never deny that.  When he hit that grand slam in game 7, I was one of millions of Red Sox fans screaming with joy at my television.  Not only happy that the Red Sox were putting the hurt on the Yankees but thrilled that Johnny finally broke out of his slump and made his mark on the ALCS.

As I watched the replay of his grand slam on PBS a few moments ago, I blurted out “We didn’t leave you, Johnny, you left us”.  It surprised me because you have to believe that you’re over things like that, right?  Sox won in 2007 without him and he isn’t even a Yankee anymore.  So why do I have these lingering emotions about him?

Sure he lied.  He mapped out what he thought the Yankees would do to get him and said he wouldn’t fall for it…and then the exact scenario he predicted happened and he said THAT was why he went with them.  But at some point you get past that, no?  When I was watching him run those bases during the documentary I remembered something he said in 2009.  Something that, in my opinion, speaks to the fact that he did, indeed, turn his back on us so we just followed suit:

This is the greatest organization I’ve ever played for.” “Winning a world championship in New York is the most amazing thing I’ve experienced.” “I’ve always been a Yankee.” “No matter what happens in my career, I’ll always have this.”

Damon was on a team that was the first in baseball HISTORY to come back from a 3-0 deficit and win the series and then went on to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years.  People who aren’t Red Sox fans, hell people who aren’t BASEBALL fans get how important 2004 was.  No matter what happens in his career he’ll always have the Yankees winning their 27th championship?  Listen, I get that he has a hair across his ass because he has actually convinced himself that somehow the Red Sox dissed him in 2005, but he doesn’t just insult the team with the crap he says, he insults the fans.  And he’s done it ever since the night it was announced that he signed with the Yankees.  So I will never cry for poor Johnny and what he’s gone through since he left the Red Sox.  But it surprised me that I had such a visceral reaction to seeing him hit that home run.  I’ve maintained for a while that I consider there to be two Johnny Damons.  The one who looked like Jesus in 2004 and the one who chopped his hair off and turned his back on an adoring fanbase.

But it was the “good” Johnny who hit that grand slam and still I yelled at him.  (Sure I could blame the cold medicine and the fact that I’m wide awake at 3:30am but I don’t think it would be fair.)  It seems to me that it’s time I genuinely admitted to myself that Johnny Damon broke my heart.  Stuck a knife in it and chopped it into a million pieces, actually.  Maybe it’s petty and many fans, Red Sox and non-Red Sox fans alike, will tell me that I’m being spiteful and over-emotional and that I should focus on the good he did for the team.  Those people could be right.  But I’m through apologizing for it.  (But seemingly not through writing about it!)

You all have PBS to thank for yet another of my Johnny Damon rants.  It’s ten minutes to four, maybe I should try and get some sleep?

November 20, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 1 Comment

Happy Birthday, Big Papi!

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

November 18, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | Leave a comment

See Ya!

I’m starting to worry that MLB is giving us way too many reasons to be happy before the season begins.  First Jon Miller and Joe Morgan and now Bob Watson.  I feel like we’re getting set up for something ridiculous like the playoffs starting in August and ending in December.  But, for now, I’ll take the good news.

Bob Watson, MLB vice president of rules and on-field operations, announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the year, ending 45 years in baseball as a player coach and executive.

Maybe this means no more fashion police? Maybe this means no more lopsided punishments? Maybe now they will put someone in the position who cares more about getting things right than about how MLB will look? Maybe there will be someone in there who won’t cater to the New York Yankees?

Ahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

I crack myself up.

See ya, Yankee Bob.  I hope Terry Francona spikes his green tea today in celebrating your retirement.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | Leave a comment

Jingle all the way

I often criticize the Red Sox for not being more creative with their marketing.  There is so much they could do to entertain the fans that isn’t cookie-cutter and would be original AND fun but they seem to stay away from it.  Which is why I was so tickled when they announced the contest this year to get to Christmas at Fenway.  You don’t just fill out a form and send your entry in…they want you to work for it and they’ve come up with a cute way to get you to do just that.

Fans have until 5pm on November 29th to write original lyrics for a song of no more than 1000 words that combines Christmas and the Red Sox making sure specific phrases are used (“Red Sox”, “Christmas at Fenway”, and “Fenway Park”).  My favorite part of the rules?  25% of the judging will be based on spelling and grammar!  But the best part is the prize:

Pending travel time and schedule conflicts, each winner will be greeted at their home or place of work and presented with:

* A stuffed red stocking filled with special Red Sox gifts, including:
o Two tickets to Red Sox Opening Weekend vs. New York Yankees
o A piece of autographed Red Sox memorabilia
o Red Sox cold weather gear (including sweatshirt, knit hat and gloves)
* An invitation to an exclusive breakfast and meet and greet with Red Sox front office executives prior to the start of Christmas at Fenway
* The opportunity to be one of the first six people in line to buy 2011 Red Sox tickets at Christmas at Fenway

It’s a simple little contest with a nice payoff.  Also, it combines two of my favorite things (the Red Sox and Christmas) so I’m getting my own entry together.

If going to the hockey game the other night did anything it made me realize how much I miss baseball.  I embrace the opportunity to keep baseball alive during the winter even if it’s only by doing something silly like this.

November 16, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | 5 Comments

Pitchers and Spelling

morans

At some point in 2007, I read an entire blog entry about Clay Buchholz where the writer continually referred to him as “Taylor”.  When this was pointed out to him, he responded by taking down the entire entry.  I assumed that he had heard about an up and coming pitcher named Buchholz and ran with it, mixing up the names when he did a Google search.  The cherry on the sundae was that he spelled Buchholz wrong (and differently) throughout the entry.  Sometimes it was Buccholz, sometimes it was Bucholtz but not once was it Buchholz.  It is a pet peeve of mine when people can’t spell someone’s name correctly.  It bothers me in all aspects of my life (people are constantly spelling my last name wrong) but it really gets me when you devote yourself to something like, say, a baseball team enough to follow blogs (or write your own blog) and post on message boards about it and you can’t take the time to find out how a player spells his name.

I know there are times when I make typos aplenty on this blog (and it will be amusing if some make it through this entry).  I go out of my way to triple check everything I write before I hit the “publish” button, but a lot sneaks through, so my criticism isn’t about the random typing mistake someone might make.  If you are writing in a public forum and you want people to take you seriously, it behooves you to learn the proper spelling of another person’s name.

Well now everyone will, hopefully, get plenty of opportunities to spell Buchholz out as the Red Sox claimed Taylor Buchholz, last with the Toronto Blue Jays, off of waivers.  Before they get the name right, though, be prepared for many, many writers who go out of their way to mention that the Buchholz boys aren’t related.  As if with all the attention Clay has garnered in the last three years the fact that he had a relative who also pitched might have been missed.  It will be amusing if Taylor took number 61.  The press would go crazy for it with the “Everyone with an old Clay Buchholz jersey can wear it again” cracks.  In any event, I’m just pleased that the moves the Sox are making thus far involve pitchers.  Along with claiming Buchholz, the Sox traded Dustin Richardson to the Florida Marlins and got left-hander Andrew Miller in return.

Where it seemed last year the Red Sox were looking for veterans to help the bullpen get it together, it looks like maybe this time around they’re going with youth.  I’ll wait until Spring Training before I decide whether I think this is a good idea but, as it stands, so far I don’t think it’s a bad one.

November 15, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 1 Comment

One and done

bruins

I wish the Bruins well and I’m fond of some of the players in a detached sort of way but I’ll say this:  Unless Kyle Snyder decides on an athletic change of career that involves wearing skates and carrying a stick, I’m fairly certain I’ve seen my last professional hockey game in person.

The seats were fabulous.  FABULOUS.  Six rows off the glass on one of the goals.  So the action was coming toward us and going away from us instead of whipping past us from left to right and back again.  Right there was a win.  Visually, it was entertaining.  The white ice with the players in black uniforms flying over them…it was a feast for the eyes.  I’ve been to many hockey games (albeit long ago) and my memories of those games are similar to my memory of last night’s game.  Not much about the game, more about individual players and what was going on AROUND the game.  Visually it is stunning but I really never have gotten into the specifics of the game.  I felt sorry for Tim Thomas losing and I was annoyed that the fans booed at the end of the game (not knowing hockey fan etiquette, is this something the fans always do?  Are they booing the team that won, not their own team?) and those who stayed with two minutes to go and then suddenly decided the comeback was impossible so they bolted.

For me, the thing I can’t get past, is not only the acceptance but the encouragement of violence.  Before each period of the game, the video board showed footage of the team along with the heart-pounding music, to get the fans into it.   (That alone struck me odd…we already did that before the game began…it was like celebrating three mini-games instead of one full game.)  Every other clip (and in some instances, EVERY clip) was of a fight or a really hard hit.  The fans, of course, were going crazy and it was obvious that the mission of the videos was clear:  Get as angry and worked up about this as possible.  I have a hard time getting excited at the prospect of guys taking the ice in anticipation of fighting.  It’s something I can’t wrap my mind around.  I know many hockey fans will tell me either I’m too soft or I don’t get that fighting is a huge part of hockey.  Maybe so.  But the violent images being flashed on a giant screen all night only served to make me uncomfortable with the people around me screaming for blood.

As Red Sox fans we can point to the ARod/Tek fight from 2004 as being a bit inspirational for the team and for what happened that year.  But Jason Varitek has spent years separating himself from that, insisting he was wrong to get into it and refusing to sign photos of it.  The fights are few and far between in baseball (and most of them not really fights anyway) and last night made me grateful for that.

My parents have always been Boston-based sports fans.  Along with trips to Fenway, my father courted my mother by taking her to Bruins and Celtics games as well.  I remember many nights when I was very young, sneaking into my parents room while my mother slept and my father watched the Bruins on his small black and white television and just adoring Brad Park.  Hell, I watched every game the US Hockey team played in 1980, not just the “miracle” game.  So even last night I had some nostalgia for those days and I could see myself becoming attached to players if I truly followed the games.  But I don’t ever see myself becoming attached to the game itself like I was when I was younger.

That isn’t to say I wasn’t happy for the experience.  Great seats, great company and a fun night out.  The Garden is visually stunning (although I have to admit I feel no connection to it the way I did with the “old” Garden), a beautiful place to see an event.  I’ll just stick to the Celtics being my sporting event of choice there.

You haven’t lost me Red Sox.  Certainly not to hockey!

November 14, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | 5 Comments