I’m currently working at an accounting firm which means I have very little in the way of a life until April 16th. While I’m watching the Cubs/Cardinals game on ESPN tonight, I will most likely miss 11 if not 12 of the 14 games being played on Monday – including the Red Sox/Phillies game at 3pm.
So I need you all to enjoy the hell out of Opening Day for me. I know you won’t let me down.
More to come this season. For now, please enjoy possibly the best video ever created.
Everyone has probably seen this today but I’m posting it anyway. I want it here because I want to watch it over and over again.
People will most definitely come.
In September of 2003 a friend and I went to a baseball card show solely for the purpose of meeting Kevin Millar and David Ortiz who were there doing signings. At the time they were both new favorites of the fans and not the icons they are now but we knew they were special and wanted to share our affection with them.
It was a fun, if not relatively expensive, day and the memories from it include getting my photo taken with Kevin Millar (at the time my favorite player on the team) and getting to see Millar and Big Papi interacting off the field the way we would become used to seeing them on the field, like two kids just enjoying the heck out of where they were in life.
The friend I attended with was someone I met online (Hi Pam!) and this was our first time meeting in person. We’ve since become close friends but you never know how these things will work out. Would we get on each other’s nerves? Would we find each other weird? The moment I knew we were destined to be great friends was when, after we met the players and just were walking around the event, she stopped to talk with someone who was promoting the idea that Major League Baseball should reinstate Pete Rose. Pam, who is quite the soft, spoken, gentle soul, lit into this man and gave him a lesson in why she didn’t think he belonged there. I knew right then we’d be lifelong friends.
Any baseball fan can tell you what a polarizing subject Pete Rose is when fans start the discussion. I’ve witnessed an argument that turned into a broken friendship over this very subject. I wish that was an exaggeration but it isn’t. The argument became so heated that other unrelated things came out and before anyone knew what was happening we watched the friendship dissolve right in front of us.
I don’t know that I’ve ever met any baseball fan whose stance on Pete Rose was “I don’t care.” (And please feel free to tell me you don’t care!) People seem to either absolutely not want him anywhere near baseball (Cyn raises her hand) or they bring up all of the other horrible people who are currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame (or in a position to be in the Hall of Fame eventually) and compare them to Rose. “Is gambling as bad as being a racist?” (Say hey, Ty Cobb) People bring up the players with domestic violence in their history, or the drug addicts or the players who collect DUIs the way we used to collect Garbage Pail Kids. Compared to their failings, Pete Rose defenders think gambling isn’t close to the worst a player in MLB could do.
Listen, I get it. Generally speaking people can be pretty terrible. Including, if not especially, athletes. So if we’re looking for 30 teams in MLB to fill their rosters with choirboys we will be extremely disappointed. No one, least of all me, is expecting these men to be perfect. I’d just like the bar to be set a little higher than, say, “At least he isn’t a murderer.”
While I am certainly in the camp of fans who are happy that 2015 begins the era of a Bud Selig-less MLB, one of my worries about a new commissioner was how he or she (she, ha-ha…I crack me up) would treat the Pete Rose situation.
Earlier this month, new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Pete Rose has sent him a formal request asking that his lifetime ban be lifted. Manfred has essentially said that he’s going to go over the Dowd Report and Bart Giamatti’s decision and mull all of that over along with giving Pete Rose’s argument consideration. This all sounds perfectly fair in my mind. Go over the evidence presented and make a decision based on a request his office received. So even though I find it completely logical to do it, why does it chap my ass so much?
If I think about it long enough I can figure it out. People are, for the most part, a forgiving group. Tell us your sorry and we’ll forgive you. Even if we never forget, more often than not you’ll get your second chance. So I think part of my concern is that Rob Manfred might be looking at Pete Rose, who’ll be 74 this month, and instead of focusing on what he did and that he agreed to the ban and then spent years denying he did anything wrong, he’ll think about an older man who only wants his accomplishments acknowledged and he’ll give in. And that truly annoys me to no end.
If you take a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame (which every fan should definitely try to do) you’ll find that Pete Rose and his accomplishments are well represented there. Now I understand Rose and his supporters want is that plaque. They want his face cast in bronze with his Reds cap on and a brief bio below in that elite group of his contemporaries and those who paved the way before him. In my opinion, he should have thought of that before he knowingly broke what was at the time pretty much baseball’s most serious rule (and then, after agreeing to the ban, lying about it for years).
I know people aren’t perfect and I really don’t even believe in striving for perfection. As long as you aren’t a jackass, we’re good. But in Pete’s case he knew from the get-go that what he was doing would run him the risk of losing what he loved…baseball. And yet he still did it and then lied about it for years. I have no problem living in a world where Pete Rose isn’t enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. ESPECIALLY because his achievements are there. What he did as a baseball player won’t be forgotten but neither will what he did to get himself booted out of baseball. Fair’s fair.
Fair warning. This entry will be completely void of any kind of rational perspective. I pretty much adore Pedro Martinez more than half the people I’m related to…and I’m related to a boatload of people. So you’ve been warned.
Oh yeah…there will be language…salty language ahead. So there’s that too.
Good day. And welcome to part two of my walk down memory lane.
It won’t actually be a walk down memory lane. We did that in the last entry. But I do like to take a moment to remember what an impact October 27, 2004 had on my life.
I’ve written it before and I say it a lot – it sounds almost stupid to say that night changed my life…but it did. I approach being a baseball fan, the single biggest hobby I have, in a completely different way than I did prior to 2004.
The last time a baseball game made me cry out of sadness and frustration was July 1, 2004. You might remember the game. Yankees fans call it “The Dive” game. Red Sox fans remember it as either “The Game When Nomar Stayed on the Bench” or “The Game Where Pokey Reese Made the Same Catch Jeter Did but Didn’t Have to Pretend He Needed to Dive” – in any event, I remember turning the game off and crying myself to sleep.
Not my greatest moment, admittedly.
Then we got the trade, and then Kevin Millar telling all the reporters that he’d see them at his locker in October and then in October he told them not to let the Sox win tonight. We got the walk, the steal, the slap…and then October 27th. And that’s all I needed.
I’ve loved baseball for as long as I can remember…at least 40 years, but I tended to lean toward being the stereotype of a miserable Sox fan. I never gave up on them, never, but boy I’d complain about them whenever anyone would listen. (I even incorporated complaining about them into the speech I gave at my father’s retirement party back in May of 2001.) October 27, 2004 basically gave me the strength to not be miserable. (Okay, admittedly, I had some miserable moments since I’ve been blogging, especially in the beginning…it took a while for it to take.)
Of course October 28, 2007 & October 30, 2013 didn’t hurt. I genuinely can’t understand any Red Sox fan who doesn’t just appreciate each season for what it is now. We’ve been so fortunate. After 86 years our team has three championships in a span of ten years. We have had good fortune dumped all over us and we’re rolling in it, regardless of what happened in 2014, and we should never, never forget it. To forget it would be a slap in the face to the rest of the fans in MLB who haven’t and won’t ever experience what we have. It would also be ridiculously selfish of us.
So as I do every year, I want to say “thank you” to the Boston Red Sox. My happiness as a baseball fan trickles into all other aspects of my life. Shallow? Maybe. But definitely true.
I’m watching what could be the World Series winning game for the Giants tonight (or the World Series tying game for the Royals) as I write this and it’s fun to be excited for another fan base while remembering how much I love being a part of the fan base I’m in. (Go Royals!)
Yesterday social media was inundated with “Ten years ago today” posts. Well, for those of us lucky enough to be Red Sox fans anyway. I purposely missed the window. This is a memory I want dragged out as long as possible (hell, the Boston Red Sox are still the reigning World Series Champs…I like to hold on). So here’s part one of my two-part anniversary post.
Because of what was going on last year, it seems I didn’t post anything on October 27, 2013 to commemorate the anniversary. And because of a bunch of my posts getting sent to oblivion, I don’t have anything from 2012…but going through my archives, it seems I had a lot to say about this anniversary.
2005 – my first year blogging
I was worried that a new World Champion would take away how I’ve felt all year about the Red Sox winning in 2004 – when I watched Ozzie Guillen interviewed last night, I realized I was wrong. Nothing will ever diminish what the Red Sox did and how they made me feel. If anything, I love them more this morning than I did yesterday.
More than once since I’ve been on MLBlogs, Yankees fans have complained that “all Sox fans have is 2004”. Taunted me with it, really, about ‘living in the past’. I suppose to fans of a team that continually go to the playoffs and have as many World Championship rings as the Yankees do, one specific World Series win isn’t that big a deal. But even if the Red Sox win 10 more in my lifetime, NOTHING will ever top 2004. And, as Red Sox fans, we’ve nothing to be ashamed of for remembering that season at any opportunity we can.
2007 – with the Red Sox in the World Series (and having gone to Game One), I was too occupied to actually write anything
2007 was sweet. It shut up everyone who said after 2004 “You won’t win for another 86 years!”. But 2004 was magic. And unless the Cubs win the World Series, no other fan base will truly understand what it meant to Red Sox fans. I don’t care how egomaniacal that sounds, it’s true.
2009 – I totally ripped myself off and just re-posted old stuff (sounds familiar…)
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’m not ashamed to say that the post-season of 2004 changed my life. It did. You don’t devote a significant part of your life to something like following a baseball team that hasn’t won it all in 86 years without being affected by it when they finally do. Maybe I’m not richer, maybe I’m not any better a person than I was in 2003, and maybe the world didn’t turn entirely upside down but, at the very least, I’m a bit happier. And that’s a lot to be thankful for.
I was never really a fan of Josh Beckett’s. Young and cocky is definitely not the way to my heart. But that changed on the evening of Saturday, October 25, 2003 when I got a phone call from my sister demanding that I put on Fox to watch the end of Game 6 of the World Series.
Up to that point, I hadn’t watched on second of the World Series or any coverage around it. If you’re a Red Sox fan, you know I’m not exaggerating. 2003 almost made me give up baseball altogether and I knew if I actually watched the Yankees play in another World Series, let alone win it, I might never watch another game.
It was the seventh inning when my sister called and Beckett was cruising. The Yankees starter Andy Pettitte pitched seven innings and closer Mariano Rivera pitched two…but Beckett pitched all nine. By the seventh inning my sister was convinced no one was beating Beckett and she wanted me to watch the Marlins beat the Yankees right there on the field at Yankee Stadium.
I wasn’t as confidant as my sister. While she decided to spite watch the World Series in the hope that the ALCS had worn out the Yankees, I couldn’t bear it. But she finally wore me down and in the 8th inning I put on the game and it was the most glorious patch of baseball I had seen since the final inning of the 2001 World Series. (A joy that also was shared with my sister over the phone…we have a history of enjoying memorable sports moments that way even though we don’t live that far away from each other.) And after that game, Josh Beckett was a hero to me. A flawed hero, certainly, but a hero nonetheless right up there with Luis Gonzalez.
So when the Red Sox traded for him in 2005, I was overjoyed. Hmmm…that could be a little bit of revisionist history. Let’s go look at the archives* and see how I felt:
So I feel compelled to write something about Derek Jeter. Had I written this last week it would have been a rant about how Major League Baseball, all of the networks that air Major League Baseball and almost every Yankees fan I’ve ever encountered both in real life and online wanted me to be devastated that Jeter retired from baseball.
But this past week of playoff baseball has taken the aggravation out of almost this entire season of Jeter love.
The Kansas City Royals have played and won THREE extra-inning games to put themselves one win away from going to the American League Championship Series. The Kansas City Royals have played some of the most exciting baseball I’ve seen not related to the Boston Red Sox in just three games (and 34 innings). And there was nary a mention of Derek Jeter at any of these games save for the occasional viewing of that Gatorade commercial (that Deadspin made even better). Major League Baseball might not want to admit it but so far baseball is not only still living without Captain Intangibles but it’s thriving.
Okay, thriving only to baseball fans who enjoy the hell out of watching exciting baseball regardless of the size of the team’s fanbase – but tell the fans it’s all for them and eventually we’ll start to believe it.
And this was the issue most people had with the narrative that the baseball world was going to end when Jeter tipped his cap for the last time: We knew it wasn’t true.
I will not argue that Derek Jeter wasn’t a better than average player. (I will argue that had he played anywhere other than the New York Yankees he’d be remembered pretty much the exact way Craig Biggio is remembered – which isn’t so terrible, is it?) But he wasn’t bigger than the game just because he played with the same team for his entire career, never got accused of or caught cheating and played well on a consistent level for the majority of his career. Those things make him fortunate, possibly a good guy and a very talented player. They don’t make him the best player to ever take the field. They don’t even make him the last great player MLB will ever see. He was a good/sometimes great player who will most definitely make it into the Hall of Fame. The thing is, if you go to the Hall of Fame you will see an awful lot of good/sometimes great/really freaking amazing players already there.
According to the Baseball Hall of Fame website:
The Hall of Fame is comprised of 306 elected members. Included are 211 former major league players, 28 executives, 35 Negro leaguers, 22 managers and 10 umpires.
So it isn’t as if when Jeter gets the call his plaque will be hanging in there alone. There won’t be some angelic lights shining upon it to single it out from all the others (although I’m sure some folks, probably Jeter himself, would dig that). It’ll be there with all the other players in baseball who have made an impact on the game impressive enough to get elected to its Hall of Fame. Which is wonderful. Jeter’s parents should be very proud. And I’ll be happy for him and not begrudge him his place in baseball’s history one iota.
But he didn’t historically change the game and the the game isn’t worse off for his deciding to leave it. It moves on, like everything does, and so far it’s still wonderful.
So goodbye, Derek Jeter. You weren’t my least favorite Yankees player but I’m still not sorry to see you go.
So today is one of the few days of the year that I pay close attention to WEEI (during a time there isn’t a game on!). It’s the first day of the two day Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon…but let the Jimmy Fund explain it better than I:
BOSTON, Mass. – Sports Radio WEEI 93.7 FM and NESN are proud to announce that the 13th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance Foundation will take place at Fenway Park on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 19 and 20, from 6 a.m. to midnight. The emotional two-day event has become one of the Jimmy Fund’s biggest annual fundraisers. Since beginning in 2002, the event has raised more than $34 million for pediatric and adult patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
The 36-hour Radio-Telethon will broadcast live from Fenway Park on Sports Radio WEEI 93.7 FM and NESN and feature compelling patient stories, interviews with Dana-Farber researchers, doctors and staff, and calls and visits from celebrity guests and members of the Boston Red Sox.
During both nights of this summer’s Radio-Telethon, the Red Sox will play the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park at 7:10 p.m. Dana-Farber pediatric and adult patients will attend the games and take part in special pre-game ceremonies and on-field activities.
To help strike out cancer during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance Foundation, call 877-738-1234 toll free. For more information or to make a gift online, go to www.jimmyfundradiotelethon.org, or text KCANCER to 20222 to make a $10 gift.
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*$10 will be charged to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. Msg & data rates may apply. Service is available on most carriers. Terms: www.hmgf.org/t Text STOP to 20222 to cancel, text HELP to 20222 for help. All purchases must be authorized by account holder.
It’s been proven time and again that Red Sox fans are terribly generous. Let this year not change that in spite of how the Sox are playing!
My relationship with John Lackey is an odd one. Especially given that we’ve never met.**
I wasn’t a fan when he was with the Angels. I thought he was a good pitcher but a little obnoxious. It felt like he never missed a chance to throw his teammates under the bus and that’s something that never sits well with me. So while there were plenty of non-Red Sox players I enjoyed watching, John Lackey was not one of them.
Then I sat at Fenway Park one night in 2008 while the Angels were in town and watched him almost no-hit the Red Sox…against Clay Buchholz no less. When that game was over (Dustin Pedroia broke up the no-hit bid in the 9th and the Angels won 6-2) I found myself a little sad that Lackey didn’t get his no-no…and I started to actually kind of like him.