Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Out with the old…

Seriously, 2010, get lost.

I can count on one hand the truly good things that happened in 2010.  Sadly, it takes many fingers and toes to count all the lousy things that happened to me and to people I love.  To put it plainly, 2010 sucked in the biggest way anything could suck.

But I’m an optimist and I have faith that 2011 will NOT suck.  2011 will be a wonderful year where the good outweighs the bad.

At least that is my hope for me…and for all of you.

Happy New Year, folks.  And thank you so much for stopping by and being a big part of what didn’t suck in 2010.

Here’s to a joyous, peaceful and healthy 2011!

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

Happy Birthday, Theo!

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

There are many who point to Theo and consider him overrated or just lucky.  I am not one of those people.  The man who had a giant hand in 2004 and 2007 will always get my respect.  (Even when, as above, he dresses like an extra from a Nirvana video.)

I grew up in eras where the fans hated the General Manager.  I grew up hearing my father yell “He has no idea what he’s doing!” in the face of ridiculous trades or free agents who weren’t signed.  In 2004, the day Nomar Garciaparra was traded, my father watched Theo’s press conference and said “He looks like he’s sick about it.  I sure hope he knows what he’s doing.”  I don’t know why my father gave him the benefit of the doubt but he did.  Most of us did and it worked out perfectly.  (I also know the decisions of Dan Duquette played a large part in the ’04 championship.  I also know he had 8 years to put together a World Series team and even with the likes of Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez, couldn’t do it.)

Theo isn’t like John Henry or Larry Luchhino or Tom Werner.  He doesn’t try to connect with the fans on an emotional level.  This used to bother me but, ultimately, I think it’s probably for the best.  He doesn’t have the emotional attachments we all do to cloud his judgment and that has helped the team more than it has hurt it.  Sure there have been some bad results, no one is perfect, but I think looking at the big picture the good outweighs the bad mightily.

So happy birthday to Theo Epstein.  And thanks, again, for knowing what to do with John Henry’s money.

December 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | 1 Comment

A Family Needs Your Help

A sad update to Andrew’s story. His family tells us that they found his body close to home (overlooked during the initial search because he was under leaves) on Christmas Eve.

I wanted to thank those who commented and those who shared this link to help spread the word of Andrew’s disappearance. It was a sad end to a sad story and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of those who love him.

Andrew Hinterleitner

I don’t use this blog for anything other than baseball, usually, but I got a call today about a family friend and feel like this is the best place to get the word out.

Our friend’s nephew is missing.  His name is Andrew Hinterleitner and he went missing from Revere Beach Parkway in Revere, Massachusetts.  He recently went through surgery for a brain aneurysm and was sent hope after a period of hospitalization.  Andrew is white male, in his late 30s,  around 5″6″ and very thin.  His stent is prominent in the front of his forehead.  The family isn’t sure what time he left the house but they know it was before 6am on Friday, December 17th.  .  Because of his condition, he wears a diaper.  He was last seen wearing a pair of shorts, sneakers & a t-shirt, without a jacket.

I put this out here because Andrew’s family tried to contact the local media and were told the story wasn’t newsworthy.  (Edited to add that it should be noted that the Revere Police ARE looking for him and have been since Friday.) It’s my hope that someone sees this message and is able to help the Hinterlitner family.

Thank you for your attention, folks, it means a lot.

(I have contact information for the family if anyone does know anything about Andrew’s whereabouts.  Email me at one of the addresses linked to in my sidebar.)

Edited to add a link with more information.  Both Channel 5 in Boston and the Daily Lynn Item online have now covered Andrew’s story.

December 27, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | 12 Comments

Merry Christmas – 2010

I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas gets all the love, joy and peace you can from these next two days.  And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I still hope you get those things.

Everyone deserves some love, joy and peace in their life.

Well, everyone but Yankees fans.

I kid…I’m a kidder.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, folks, and thanks, as always, for coming by.  Ho! Ho! Ho!

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

Best. Birthday. Present. EVAH!

Friday night when my friends said “Wait, the night isn’t over!  Kelly wants to give you your birthday present before we leave!” , the last thing I expected to be extracted from her trunk was a six foot long, heavyweight poster of Kyle Snyder from his first season in Boston.  And when I say  “heavyweight”, I’m not kidding.  This thing is, essentially, a giant tarp with a photo of Kyle on it.  There was a time when it hung in a shadow box above the Yawkey Way store (an example here, for those not familiar with the display), alerting us that Kyle would be pitching that night.  But a few weeks ago it sat in Fenway at the bottom of a pile of ex-Red Sox players waiting for someone to come along and claim it.

It was my good fortune that there was someone there who claimed it just for me.  Kelly O’Connor is not just an amazing photographer and one of the smartest people I know (and not just about baseball), but she’s a dear friend who knows me much too well.  It was also, as far as I can recall, the first time in my life that I was so pleasantly surprised by something.  It’s tough to surprise me.  I have great instincts and can usually guess gifts and such quite easily, even though I never betray that to the gift-giver.  Not so this time.  Not at all.  My friends who were there on Friday can attest to the fact that I, the one who never seems to shut up, was speechless.  Hell, just typing this entry I’m smiling ear to ear.

I’m just, still, so genuinely touched (and tickled) to have been given this present.  The photo above doesn’t do it justice (I took the photo after spreading it across my bed and this photo doesn’t even capture the entire poster).  Once I put it up (after I figure out just where the hell to put it!), I’ll take another photo which will, hopefully, give you a better idea of how enormous it is.

Seriously, though, how cool is this?

December 19, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 11 Comments

My annual trip to Squeeville

Taken back in January 2006

I get accused an awful lot of only liking certain players because they’re “cute”.  Every accusation of this is wrong except for two:  The first is Fred Lynn.  If he hadn’t been cute I would have  never started watching baseball as young as I did.  The second is, you guessed it, Bronson Arroyo.

I’ll never be able to fully explain it so I’ll just say this, there is just something about Bronson that turns me into a sixteen year-old girl whenever I get the chance to see him.  It’s funny because I don’t go out of my way to pay that much attention to him during the season.  I pay enough attention to know he’s doing well and, as long as it doesn’t conflict with a Red Sox game, I try to watch his starts when I can, but it isn’t until he’s actually in town that I start getting all girly about him.

Tonight is that night.  🙂

So today I might lose a few points in the respect column for those who get upset when women who blog about baseball talk about how attractive they find a player but that’s really too bad.  Tonight, with some friends, I get to be a giddy, excited girl again for a few hours thanks to Bronson’s appearance in Foxboro.  It might not be popular to admit something as silly as my crush on Bronson, but for me it’s nice to look forward to just letting go and being silly once a year.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend as much as I plan on enjoying mine!

December 17, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | 7 Comments

Hmmm

I wonder where I’ll be tomorrow night?

http://www.myfoxboston.com/video/videoplayer.swf?dppversion=6512

December 16, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | 2 Comments

Love-Lee

Well, they ARE pinstripes!

You know what’s wonderful?  Waking up and finding out that not everyone is snowed by mystique and aura.  Waking up to read that someone who will already be making millions of dollars doesn’t think it’s necessary to make even more millions.  Waking up to something completely improbable being absolutely possible.  Waking up to discover that every “expert” was wrong.  It’s wonderful to realize that not everyone has a soul that is for sale.  Thank you, Cliff Lee.  Thank you for helping restore some of my faith in humanity.

I’m not naive.  When you get into the $100 million range, even at the low end the idea that money wasn’t some kind of factor is silly.  But in going to Philadelphia instead of New York or Texas, Lee showed me that he gets that when you have $100 million adding more millions to it isn’t the reason you should make a life-altering decision.  While I feel a smidge of sadness for the Rangers and their fans, I have none of that for New York and theirs.  It seemed to me that Lee really enjoyed being in Philadelphia and now he’s back where he wants to be.  All the money and years that the Steinbrenners threw at him mattered not.  What did he leave, $50 million “on the table”?  Somewhere, Johnny Damon just fainted.  (A side note for Yankees fans:  If you want your team to bring on free agents, it’s probably a good idea to refrain from spitting on their wives when they visit your park.)

This has become one of my favorite off-seasons ever.

The Yankees certainly won’t collapse and fall off the face of the earth because Cliff Lee decided to save his soul, but it sure will be fun watching the critical fallout that comes along with losing out on your biggest free agent want because no matter how much money you threw at him, it didn’t matter.

Now all the Yankees fans can sing the story about how the Yankees were never going to get Lee because he obviously didn’t want to go there (which, incidentally, I agree with)…kind of like how no matter what the Red Sox offered Mark Teixeira his hear was set on playing in the Bronx.

The news of Cliff Lee going back to Philadelphia pleases me greatly.  The Phillies will be a blast to watch (my apologies to my NL friends, especially the Mets fans!) and Lee won’t be our problem until the All Star Game and maybe (hopefully!) the World Series.

Another win-win hotstove day for Red Sox fans!

December 14, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

This and That

Carl Crawford telling the world that his 6 year-old son might be “a closet Red Sox fan” because he was so excited about Crawford joining Boston kept me smiling all day yesterday.

I know he’s going to be rich beyond anyone’s wildest dreams and that’s the real reason he’s happy to be in Boston, but yesterday Crawford said all the right things and gave Red Sox fans yet another reason to be excited about this upcoming season.  I’m as happy about this season as I have been any other…and a little bit more so at the idea of seeing both Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford playing in home whites at Fenway.  Jason Varitek hanging around Fenway for another season pleases me too.  Tek has his detractors but I’m not one of them.  There’s a happy feeling that I get knowing Tek is around.  As I wrote a few entries ago, same goes for Tim Wakefield.  I’m going to enjoy having the old guard in the park along with the new blood.  I feel like those being miserable about what has happened so far this off-season just don’t want to try and enjoy what we have.  That’s not to say I don’t understand why some folks would question the length or amount of Crawford’s contract (it’s a bit mind-boggling) but I feel like it’s a no-brainer to say he’ll be a great addition to the team.  If I have to pay a few extra dollars for a seat, or a beer, or a dog, and the upside is I’ll be using that seat, drinking that beer or eating that dog at a playoff game, I’m all right with that.

I’ve been meaning to bring up Bronson Arroyo signing an extension with the Reds.  It’s so amusing to me how things change with time and, relative, success.  Longtime readers of the blog know how devastated I was when Theo traded Bronson.  (Oh, Wily Mo).  I was counting the days until he was out of his contract.  After a career first season with the Reds, Bronson was given an extension, adding four years and around $25 million in salary.  I had to be happy for him but his contract ending in 2010 seemed so far away.  Now he’s been given another extension, three years and $35 million and instead of lamenting how long he’ll be with the Reds, I’m happy that he’s become such a valuable fixture in the rotation.  I must be getting soft in my old age. 🙂

If you haven’t heard of Dirk Hayhurst, The Garfoose or The Bullpen Gospels, you’re missing out on some entertaining musings.  Dirk is a talented writer (and current free-agent pitcher) who uses his time to entertain and encourage those who read him.  Last night, he jumped on Ustream and read chapters from the book he is currently working on for roughly 25 fans who caught his mention of it on Twitter.  Along with having a pleasant voice to listen to, he has a knack for story telling and it was a unique and fun way to spend an evening.  Dirk has really mastered using social media outlets to connect with fans.  It would please me if more players could do this.  I know not all of them have books to promote,  but there are still ways to interact with the fans without it being intrusive for the players while giving the fans a taste of the athletes they support.  Maybe they should give social media classes to the players?  I’m looking for work and would be happy to assist!

There is an awful lot to appreciate about baseball.  I’m appreciating how Theo and the trio seem to be going out of their way to make sure we appreciate them this year!

December 12, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 7 Comments

Happiness is…

You SHOULD be smiling, Carl! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

I’m giddy.  Gid freaking dy.

Before signing off the Internet last night, I hit refresh on my Twitter feed and in an instant it was announced that the Red Sox had signed Carl Crawford.  This announcement came a few hours after a reporter or two had tweeted that Theo left the meetings last night saying nothing big was in the works.  Oh Theo, how I love it when you mess with the media.

For the second time this off-season, Theo and the trio totally blindsided the sports writers (and the fans) with a deal they never saw coming.  I love that.  Do I love the contract?  I don’t.  I’m not a big fan of long-term contracts.  I worry about anyone over a lot of years.  But with a Carl Crawford, I worry less about the bulk of the contract.  If the Sox get five solid years out of his seven, I’m good with that.  I will always have a hard time believing anyone is worth $142 million, but we don’t live in the real world with baseball we live in baseball’s world.  The numbers are crazy but if the Red Sox can afford it and they’re giving it to the guy they want, I’m not going to fret about the cash that gets thrown at him.  I dig Carl Crawford and I’m THRILLED he’s now (or soon to be) with the Red Sox.  I genuinely believe we’re going to see really great things from him and now even MORE so I can’t wait until the 2011 season!

I already have an email in my inbox this  morning from a Yankees fan telling me I can’t complain about the money that the Yankees spend anymore.  In fairness to me, the money the Yankees spend isn’t high on my list of why I don’t like the Yankees.  What I do say often is that I think you’re an idiot if you compete in the same division as the Yankees and have money to compete with them but don’t spend it.  I don’t think every free agent on the market should get $20 million a year, but if you have the money to acquire a player who is good and will be a big help to your team, why not do it?  Throwing this contract at Crawford isn’t equal to buying up every free agent available just because you can.  This contract was a move to make the lineup more solid, strengthening your team, especially in your very tough division, while forcing the hand of your rival.  Now, the Yankees have to make some blockbuster deal if they want to compete.  This, in my mind, was a no-brainer.

I fear I’m being greedy by still hoping Cliff Lee doesn’t sign with the Yankees, but I can’t help it.  I have to hold out hope that Cliff Lee has a soul and stays with Texas.  Although I will admit to laughing out loud at the rumors that the Red Sox were the secret team who had offered Lee seven years…Theo is not messing around this off-season…well, he’s messing around but only with the Yankees and the sports writers.  He’s stunned them all.  No one, NO ONE thought the Red Sox would give anyone else a big contract after trading for Adrian Gonzalez.  With AGon’s contract extension on the horizon, no one expected the Sox to back up the Brinks truck to another player.  You think Theo Epstein is walking around his hotel room right now telling himself how amazing he is?  He should be.

Now I’m reading fans and writers saying the Sox won’t pay for bullpen help now or they won’t look into picking up Russell Martin.  If this teaches us anything, it should teach us that Theo Epstein has thrown away his playbook from years past.  This hotstove season is far from over.

So many people, writers and fans both, questioned John Henry’s dedication to the Red Sox this coming season.  People thought he’d be too occupied with his shiny new toy – the soccer team – to give any attention or money to the Red Sox.  When the Adrian Gonzalez rumors were swirling, he was called cheap, the team was criticized for not giving long-term contracts, many people, including Taylor Twellman, formerly of the New England Revolution, were saying the Red Sox should be embarrassed by how they were acting.

All those people can go jump into an incredibly deep lake.

Welcome to Boston, Carl Crawford.  It will be nice to not have to worry about you stealing on every single one of our pitchers for the next seven years.

December 9, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | 2 Comments