Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Two more

I have to keep reminding myself that it’s all about winning the series and one loss doesn’t decide anything right now.  But, admittedly, it’s sometimes tough.

Two home runs for Mike Cameron made me happy.  I like seeing him do well coming off the bench.  I still cringe when I see Bobby Jenks coming out of the bullpen.  That will go away eventually, right?

Much like our beloved Jerry Remy, I’m still feeling a bit out of sorts (RemDawg will be missing yet another game tonight for those not following him on Twitter or Facebook) and the posting will be sporadic, probably, for a few more days.  I hate not posting SOMETHING every day…it makes me feel like there’s a hole in the day.  (As an aside, I really DO miss Remy doing the color.  I enjoyed Don Orsillo calling the game by himself but I much prefer RemDawg in the booth.)

I hope folks are getting to enjoy their Saturday!

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April 30, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , | Leave a comment

Ugh

So the first Live Chat of the 2011 season will have to be postponed.  I’ve been fighting a fever and various other symptoms for about 24 hours now and, honestly, plan to find myself in bed come 7pm.  The Red Sox (and Bruins) will have to win without me this one night!

As long as I’m able to sit up, next Wednesday, May 4th against the Angels, will be the new date of the first Live Chat.

One loss we can deal with, folks.  Sox’ll get them tonight!

April 27, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , | 4 Comments

Prepare Ye

I used to collect baseball cards.  First when I was a kid…I used to beg my parents for money to buy packs of Topps.  I lost all those cards in a basement flood.  Then as an adult I used to buy boxes of old baseball cards for $1 a box at some store in New Hampshire.  I lost those cards in a house fire.

I never collected cards for their worth except for what they were worth to me.  I really like looking at the old cards and remembering the players and what was going on, not just in baseball but in my life, at the time those guys were playing.  So I was tickled to buy a big box of baseball cards for $5 the other day and I was especially pleased that two of the cards in the box were the above Terry Francona and Dave Magadan cards.  It’s the little things that give me the greatest pleasure lately.

My parents are away celebrating their anniversary and yet even in the midst of that they took the time to call me last night to alert me to the no-hitter that was being thrown against the Yankees.  That gives you a perfect idea of the importance of baseball throughout my entire family.

As things stand right now, I still intend to host the Live Chat for tomorrow (Wednesday’s) game which means the starting pitchers for our first chat of 2011 will be Josh Beckett and Jeremy Guthrie.  Could be a good one!

I thought I wanted the day off yesterday but it feels like it’s been days since the Sox played.  Looking forward to their getting back to it tonight.

April 26, 2011 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hot Stuff

Ever since the Tampa Bay Rays took two games in a rain-postponed shortened series sweep at Fenway, the Red Sox have won a series 23-1 against the Toronto Blue Jays (how did I miss a whole game?  Thanks, Ruben!), split a two-game series against the Oakland A’s, and swept a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  They have won eight out of their last ten games and are one win away from being a .500 club.  The Red Sox are now in third place in the AL East, 3.5 games out of first place with 141 games left to play.

Ask fans of the Seattle Mariners if they’d like to be in our shoes right now.

I’m enjoying the team having a day off and no one worrying about the path the team is on.  It’s refreshing if not a little bit foreign this year.

Jerry Remy tweeted this and posted it on his Facebook page today (and it’s his, he signs his tweets when he writes them himself):

Be honest-did you ever think that the #RedSox would be flirting with a .500 record so shortly after that horrific start?-I didn’t.

Are my glasses so rose-colored that I find it close to unbelievable that, of all people, Jerry Remy didn’t believe the Red Sox were under-performing that first week and would snap out of it?  It really didn’t occur to me that the slow start was anything more than an anomaly and not indicative of what the season would bring.

The Red Sox are on some kind of roll right now and I’m not going to waste any time questioning it.  I just choose to sit back and enjoy it.

April 25, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , | 2 Comments

I Won’t Rest

My post-Lenten promise will be to give Bobby Jenks a break and not be so negative about him...after this post! (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

Friend of the blog (and me!) John in the comments from yesterday’s post:

Can’t remember if Bobby Jenks was a bargain but I sure hope he was.

I found it amusing that he mentioned this because last night I realized that Bobby Jenks has quickly become this year’s player that I have a (relatively) irrational dislike toward. So I have that to keep me warm.

Regardless of Jenks’ ability to drive me crazy even if he pitches well (which he didn’t last night) watching that game from start to finish was mostly fun and definitely exciting.  My favorite bits of the night were Jed Lowrie still hitting the ball and Jonathan Papelbon recording his third save in as many games.  Papelbon was on last night and was just a ton of fun to watch, wasn’t he?

I know I promised a giveaway yesterday and then bailed and my apologies for not explaining it last night.  A few good Red Sox fans brought it to my attention that holding a giveaway on not only a holiday weekend but ANY weekend might be creating a smaller window of opportunity for regular readers of the blog.  So I’m switching the day and WEDNESDAYS will be giveaway day (when I have something to give away…which I do this week!).  And this week, in addition to Wednesday being giveaway day, it’ll also be the first Live Chat of 2011.  I’ll keep you all updated but right now Wednesdays look like the solid choice.

Kind of grateful for the 9:05 game tonight as today holds a lot in store unrelated to baseball.  I hope it isn’t as gray and chilly out where you are as it is where I am.  Have a great Saturday, folks!

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Random stats that shouldn’t annoy me as much as they do because I know it’s a ‘small sample size’ and you can dig out other stats that better judge a pitcher in the long run:  In 9 games Bobby Jenks has a 7.36 ERA and has given up 7 runs in 7.1 innings while opposing batters are hitting .290 against him.  I certainly don’t blame Jenks for the early struggles of the Red Sox but it sure frustrates me to watch him pitch right now.

Blog suggestion for the day:  The Red Sox have “We Won’t Rest” as their slogan on their official website but we have been inundated with the “We’re all in” commercials as well.  The White Sox have “All In” as their slogan on their official website.  All the other teams have original slogans or none at all and it annoyed me that box Sox teams were stuck with sharing (even if it isn’t reflected online).  Earlier this year Jere at A Red Sox Fan from Pinstripe Territory covered, as he does every year, all the slogans on all the MLB sites .  It’s an interesting read that he updates as the slogans change.  (“This is Twins Territory” “This is Reds Country“…MLB really needs folks with new ideas.  There are only 30 teams, it can’t be that difficult to come up with unique slogans for each one.)

April 23, 2011 Posted by | 2011, Featured | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Rolling

So I watch the entire Bruins/Canadiens game last night and figure the adrenaline will have me good through the Red Sox/Angels game.

No such luck.

I did make it through the seventh inning but then found myself slipping soundly into sleep.  The last thing I did before nodding off for the night was hit “record” on the dvr…and how glad am I that I did that?

It isn’t often you can record a game and watch it without knowing what happened, but this time I got to do just that.  I didn’t go online or look at my cell phone or even leave my bedroom this morning.  I just turned on the television which was still on NESN and started watching the game where I left off.  (The fact that NESN still airs the dreadful Dennis and Callahan show live also helped since they weren’t talking about baseball they were discussing Andrew Ference flipping off the Montreal fans.)  It is fair to say I was quite pleased with the outcome.

Sox have won their last five out of six games.  For folks saying it’s too soon to get excited about it, I submit that what we have been waiting for since the first week of the season is a reason to get excited…a spark in the team that shows they’re as good on the field as they are on paper…and we are getting that right now.  So enjoy it, people!

I’ll be back later today with another giveaway just in time for Easter weekend!

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Random stat that delights the heck out of me (courtesy of Gary Marbry at WEEI.com): In the last six games the combined ERA for the  Red Sox starters is 1.37.  (Over the first 12 games it was 6.71.)  This is exactly what we were hoping for when the season began!

Blog suggestion for the day:  Ben at Over the Monster gives us good news about Kevin Youkilis!

April 22, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Give a little, get a little

Sandi Fenwick, Holly Beckett, Josh Beckett & Jason Oberle from The Josh Beckett Foundation hold a $100k check from proceeds generated by last year's Beckett Bowl. (Photo courtesy of The Josh Beckett Foundation and Altus Marketing and Management and used with permission.

Okay, so we’ve seen the team (finally) win their first game, then we saw them win a series (or two) and now, with the same game, we’ve seen them win a game on the road and all five starting pitchers have at least one “w” under their belt.  Add to this there being no “When will Papi hit his first home run” and all we have left to deal with from the media is “When will Carl Crawford become Carl Crawford?”.  I’d say we’re doing all right.

This has been the longest 17-game stretch I can remember.  I’m worn out and I’m not even playing.  And now we have three late night games to look forward to (tonight and tomorrow at 10:05 and Saturday at 9:05).  If they can bring us wins, I won’t complain about how sleepy I am!

I watched some of yesterday’s game on my cell phone while I was in church.  Bobby Jenks caused me to think bad thoughts while there but at least it all ended well.

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Random stat that probably doesn’t mean anything but makes me happy: Jonathan Papelbon currently sports a 2.84 ERA and has 3 saves this year.

Blog suggestion for the day:  The Josh Beckett Foundation seems to be making the blog rounds, asking for help in promoting their good work.  I’m always more than happy to help out but instead of giving you a duplicate post of what is said here, I send you to Denton at Surviving Grady for the info on how to support the Foundation, help out Children’s Hospital AND win a tricked-out Jeep Wrangler.

April 21, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s take one

I didn't take many photos on Patriots' Day but I had to at least get some of Crawford on second

It’s funny how when it felt like the team would lose 1-0 I didn’t mind so much but when they ended up losing 5-0 it annoyed me.

Lackey pitched well last night.  That’s all I’m going to focus on.

Today is a 3:35pm game.  I was hoping to live blog/chat it but I won’t be able to.  Live chats will start up in earnest next week on either Tuesday or Wednesday depending on my schedule.  I’ll make a more definite decision at some point before/by the weekend.

Red at Surviving Grady had a post yesterday about the standing ovation Carl Crawford got on Patriots’ Day when he hit his double.  It was amazing how you could genuinely feel that it wasn’t a mock cheer or ovation, people were so very happy for him (and for us, I suppose).  I’m pleased that the feeling made its way to Crawford:

“It felt good,’’ Crawford said. “Fans were really supportive. Teammates have been supportive. Everybody around me has been supportive. It felt real good to feel the support like that.’’

So quit the bitching and stop booing this man, people who are doing so.  Positive reinforcement will always get better results than negative.

It’s slow going right now, folks, but the Red Sox are heading in the right direction.  4.5 games out of first place on April 20th isn’t insurmountable.

(Also here’s a reminder that the Postcard Shower is still on! They Sox are on a road trip and it’ll be great for them to all come back to the showering of support!)

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Random stat that doesn’t mean anything but probably scares some folks:  The only team in MLB right now with a worse record than the Red Sox is the New York Mets (the Sox are 5-11 and the Mets are 5-12)

Blog suggestion for the day:  Jen at Baseball Heavy is always entertaining and if you’re interested in finding out what’s going on with the PawSox she’s a great source of information!

April 20, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , | 2 Comments

As an aside…

Peter Abraham last week on Daisuke Matsuzaka:

…there’s not a shred of evidence to suggest Matsuzaka will be a reliable pitcher in the AL East any time soon.

Two things: 1) I’ll never argue that Daisuke isn’t a frustrating pitcher to watch more often than not and 2) While dedicating an entire entry to how horrible Daisuke is, Abraham ends his piece by acknowledging that Daisuke was a success in 2007 and 2008.

But Abraham’s article went beyond that.  Because of the horrible game he pitched a week ago (a game I was at), Abraham claims that if offered tickets to a Red Sox game, we as fans would think twice about going.  I have yet to meet the fan who thinks twice about going to a Red Sox game for any reason other than deciding if they have the time and money to go to a baseball game.  Abraham also compares Daisuke to Julio Lugo and Oliver Perez.   Abraham is no fool, he chose two players (one who isn’t even a pitcher) to compare Daisuke to whose names incite violently visceral reactions from fans.

Money is what leads the heated dislike toward Daisuke.  He makes a lot of money.  The team paid a lot of money just for the opportunity to make him an offer.  (Neither of these things, not so incidentally, are his “fault”.  You can’t blame him for people wanting to throw money at him.)  As far as I’m concerned, Daisuke earned his money in 2007 and 2008. 2009 was a bad season.  One many blame on Daisuke’s involvement in the WBC.  I’ll say this about that:  I hate the WBC but the fact is MLB loves it and as long as they encourage their players to play in it I’m not going to continue to harp on how I think it affects certain players, especially pitchers, for the regular season (which I believe it does).  Daisuke participated because he wanted to represent his country (which he did extremely well) and MLB supported that.  Although I’m with folks who were upset that he hid his injury from the Red Sox, he didn’t break some rule or any trust by participating in the World Baseball Classic.

Why all this ranting about Daisuke? I received an email last night from a friend asking how the game was.  I responded with enthusiasm at how much fun it was especially watching Daisuke.  I received this long, drawn out response about what a waste of money Daisuke was and how he should be traded complete with a link to the Peter Abraham column linked above.

Now I won’t pretend for a moment that Daisuke has pitched like Cy Young since 2008.  I too have attended (or just watched) many games where his pitching made me want to bang my head.  I’m also not against people throwing around trade ideas.  But when a professional writer comes up with “This guy needs to be traded” and offers reasons like “Last night’s debacle was hardly a surprise” after a game where the opponents scored 16 runs on 19 hits…well I almost don’t even know what to say.  If the opposition scoring 16 on 19 isn’t a “surprise” you must be freaking Nostradamus.  Abraham seems to love to bait fans (he did so when he covered New York as well) and then get into arguments with them, including insults that almost always end up involving his invoking the words “pink hat”, when they disagree with him.  And he gets paid to do it.  (In this same piece he suggests Tim Wakefield as a workable replacement for Daisuke.  I love Tim Wakefield unconditionally but even I can see what a ridiculous statement that is.)  I didn’t bother reading the comments as Daisuke is a favorite whipping boy right now and Abraham pretty much took the safe route here so there would be no disagreeing with him from his readers.

Daisuke had two successful seasons, one season where he was hurt and one season where his supposedly healthy performance was disappointing.  Regardless of anyone’s expectations, while he probably won’t be seeing the Hall of Fame without buying a ticket, he has NOT been a bust and he certainly hasn’t been a “mistake” the Red Sox should “eat” as Abraham suggests.

Ironically, this entire article by Abraham reads like someone who doesn’t really follow baseball or the team but only gets his information listening to the minority of fans who decide to call WEEI and rant about how much the team stinks. (If we’re being honest, more stories about how, right now, baseball execs don’t think Daisuke can be traded, have come out but Pete still thinks SOME team would want him.  He also totally excuses away any issue that could arise from Daisuke having a no-trade clause.IF a fan said those things to him, he’d rip the fan apart verbally.)  He likes to insult fans he thinks know nothing about baseball by calling them pink hats.  Pot calling the kettle pink there, Pete.

April 19, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Patriots’ Day

One thing I have been fortunate to experience is Patriots’ Day at Fenway Park. I have gone to my fair share of 11am games and will be attending yet another today.  It’s a wonderful day to be in Boston with the early Sox game and the Marathon both going on and the Red Sox having their first winning ‘streak’ of the season will make it even more fun to be there today.

There is something surreal about being in the ball park waiting for baseball at 9:30 in the morning and I can’t wait to be there.  I stuck it out last night and watched the Celtics game and the Yankees/Rangers games but (surprisingly) I’m still bright eyed this morning.  Experiences at the park might change yearly but this is one that never gets old.  I’m watching the clock and will be heading out in about an hour, genuinely excited!

Yesterday was a lot of fun, wasn’t it?  It should feel silly to be so pleased with two wins in a row but the heck with it, we needed to see them put together a string of wins and this is the way to start so we SHOULD be pleased.  There is so much good to take from this weekend with the Red Sox; here’s hoping we get yet another reason to be happy today.

Morning baseball is my favorite kind of baseball….If you have the day off, I hope you get to enjoy it!   If you don’t have it off, I hope you have a way to follow the Red Sox and watch Daisuke Matsuzaka take on the Blue Jays before the Sox go on the road.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , | 1 Comment