Okay we can give Baltimore just this one. Heck, it’s only good manners to let the home team win their season opener, right?
Didn’t see one moment of the game today (hooray for being gainfully employed!?!) but was really happy to see Grady Sizemore jumping right in there with a home run. (I, like many people, am compelled to type “Grady Little” whenever I start typing our new Grady’s name. So if you see a slip, I apologize in advance!)
As I type this, I’m watching the Rockies play the Marlins in Florida. I’m also downing a hot cup of tea because I’m a bit chilly. Woke up to ice all over the neighborhood this morning…on Opening Day. I’m hoping Mother Nature is finished with all of that crap but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if I get snowed on at Fenway on Friday.
When I finally fell asleep last night, it was with NESN playing on my television. I was awakened just after 4am today by the sound of Jack Edwards’ voice excitedly telling me about the Red Sox win and I happily fell back to sleep. (Of course, I did so without shutting off the television and was awakened just after 6am by the sound of John Dennis’ voice and immediately shut the television off.)
Mornings like this I forget that not everyone is a baseball fan. After last night, I expected to turn on ESPN and ESPN2 to see baseball highlights and was greeted on both channels by football…hello MLB Network. (And an “up yours” to NESN for wasting that space of time with Dennis and Callahan instead of letting us watch a replay of the game.)
While I hate that the fate of the Red Sox relies in part on what the Yankees and Rays do tonight, it certainly adds an extra level of excitement (or stress or anxiety) to this season. How often does the season actually come down to what happens on the last day of it?
I’m nervous…I’m excited…I’m anxious…and I’m hopeful. I feel good about tonight and am looking forward to it all. I’d love if the Red Sox won without a lot of drama but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers right now so I’ll just have to be happy with their winning regardless of the circumstances.
There’s a guy who lives across the street from me who is a Yankees fan. This week he’s been wearing his Yankees t-shirts whenever he leaves the house. Today I had a few things to do outside and decided to do something I don’t often do, wear a Red Sox t-shirt. (I have a bunch of Sox t-shirts but I’m not much of a t-shirt wearing gal so they usually sit in a draw waiting to be used.) I pulled on a red Papelbon tee and went about my business all day. It was what I was wearing for the entire game and the last thought I had as I changed for the evening (after the game) was: “I’m totally wearing this tomorrow”. So much for me foregoing all the old superstitions I used to hold.
Instead of going to bed with a massive headache (like I did Monday night), tonight I’ll be going to bed feeling like a truck hit me but with a smile on my face. It’s a trade-off that I’ll take.
Have to get this off my chest: I want to go back and delete every entry or tweet that I’ve written defending John Lackey in any way. I won’t get into why (you can Google it and find out for yourself) because I hate feeding into the gossip mongers, but if the story is true in my mind there is NO defense for him and, really, I couldn’t care less what happens to him from here on out. And that’s all I have to say about that.
But about that game…(not that first one which we will not speak of but that second one)
When Mark Teixeira doubled in two runs and then scored on a bad throw in the first inning I yelled, out loud for the baseball gods to hear me, “I’m done! I’m SO done with this!” and stormed out of the room with the television. I paced around until the next inning began and then sat myself down in front of the television and kept watching until the very end. Apparently I wasn’t “done” but I needed to finally let the frustration out.
And I’m glad I didn’t give up because the way the game was won, while more than a bit painful at times, was beautiful. (Beautiful as in “That baby is butt ugly but his mother thinks he’s beautiful”, beautiful.)
Last night at Fenway was, as surprising as many of you might find it, actually quite enjoyable. Thanks to a generous friend, we sat in great seats, the weather was perfect (I can’t remember the last time I was at a game this late in September and didn’t need a sweatshirt or something else to keep me warm) and, heck, even the clam chowder vendor didn’t almost kill me (thanks, I believe, to the weather and the fact no one around us ordered it so he only came by twice). The fans were vocal and cheering and there really wasn’t much in the way of negative energy (except for a few yahoos behind us heckling Vladamir Guerrero with “Retire!” which made absolutely no sense to me) until the absolute end of the game when a large part of the Fenway Faithful booed the hometown team for losing.
I’m all over the place this morning.
First off, I just have to say that while I get it’s easier to edit a game that began at 1pm than it is to edit a game that began at 7:10pm and went on for almost four hours, I still found it ridiculous that NESN chose the game that the Red Sox lost yesterday to re-air last night. Plenty of us are crazy enough to stay up to watch (or re-watch) a win…when you have the choice, why show the loss? Luckily, I actually did get to see the second game yesterday and not the first so it all worked out well for me.
I spent most of yesterday morning preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm. Getting the basement ready in case we take on water, tying down things in the yard that we couldn’t bring inside and bringing things inside that we could, digging out the candles and flashlights…I got a lot accomplished. Having a noon baseball game to watch as a reward was exactly what I needed. Little did I know that my afternoon treat would turn into just about 11 hours of on again off again baseball that would end in two wins for the Red Sox.
The day felt long and grey and wet and I watched both games from the comfort of my home, so I can’t even begin to imagine how the players and especially the fans who hung around felt after that marathon day. It worked out perfectly (for the team anyway) though, they won both games and now they get today and tomorrow off to recover before the Yankees show up on Tuesday. Alls well that ends well.
Far be it from me to defend the New York Yankees but even I have to admit that having them make up one of the games from this weekend on their off-day before a west coast trip seems a little unfair. (They’ll be home for three games versus Baltimore and then they have to travel to Baltimore for the makeup game and they have to be in California the next day for their series against the Angels.) On the other hand, the Orioles have the same two off-days in September that the Yankees do and while I suppose they could have chosen the later day when they would be staying at home after the game and the Yankees would be going to Toronto…but, really, I don’t see how it’s their responsibility to give their opponents a break. (Although, the Yankees are in Seattle the day before that second off-day…so either way it isn’t really convenient for them.) I also don’t fully understand why the Yankees didn’t have a say. But, ultimately, the Yankees are in contention so these games have to be played. I think the Yankees didn’t do themselves any PR favors by whining about this publicly instead of just going privately to MLB and the Orioles. The O’s are still reeling from the news of Mike Flanagan’s death. A little courtesy isn’t such a terrible thing.
The Red Sox are up by two games right now but the Yankees have four games in hand (two after today’s double header in Baltimore). It’s going to be one heck of an entertaining September.
If you’re in the path of the hurricane this weekend, I hope you are safe. I’m most concerned about losing power and a little flooding but so far so good here. Stay safe, people, we want you around for the rest of the season!
I have this trollish person who loves to post comments about Adrian Gonzalez being inferior to Mark Teixeira (seriously). His comments get automatically sent to the spam folder before they can be posted here (for reasons unrelated to Adrian) and, honestly, that is where they belong. Recently he has taken to calling Gonzalez “Adriana” (see, it’s funny because calling a man by a woman’s name implies that he’s less of a man. Hooray misogyny!) and last night the comment he left asked me if I was worried that “Adriana” was “another one of Theo’s busts”.
Had I not read people in other forums who are both Red Sox fans and professionals who cover baseball asking similar questions I probably wouldn’t have given it much thought. But one loss in Baltimore coupled with Adrian’s poor showing post-All Star Game has some people freaking out.
Gonzalez went into the All Star break hitting .354. He has 130 hits, 78 RBI, 11 intentional walks, an OBP of .400 and he’s slugging at .560. He has gone 2 -24 in these last five games (where the Red Sox have won three out of the five games including a 16-inning game where Adrian was one of only three Red Sox players to get a hit) and some people are acting like the world is crashing down around him. The convenient (and ridiculous) excuse is his participation in the Home Run Derby (although Gonzalez is having none of it) but is it so outrageous to think that the guy might have a cooling off period once in a while during the season?
We get an early afternoon game today (12:35) with Andrew Miller on the mound. I want a win, not just for the standings but to give an extra little middle finger to Buck Showalter. My middle name is spite. 🙂
I was trying not to be greedy. I wasn’t really even considering a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles when I wrote that I’d like the Red Sox to go into the All Star break in first place. I won’t lie, though, sweeping the Orioles in four after the Kevin Gregg show the other night, feels pretty damn sweet.
I received many “that will only bring this team closer together and now they’ll beat you” messages after the basebrawl. Last night most of the messages were of the “all your team is on steroids” variety. Interesting reading anyway.
John Lackey stepped up big and while I had high hopes for Kyle Weiland, his ejection yesterday possibly helped the Red Sox. Hitting Vlad Guererro didn’t seem intentional to anyone but Orioles fans and the home plate umpire, but since the teams had been warned Kyle got the heave-ho, paving the way for Alfredo Aceves to come in and pitch three hitless/scoreless innings. (Serious question: Where would this team be without Aceves? If they still gave away the 10th player award, as of right now he’d be the guy I gave it to.) After Weiland giving up eight hits in four innings, the Red Sox bullpen (Aceves, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon) combined for five innings, no hits, one walk and seven strike outs. As bad as the Orioles have been playing, I really looked at the second two of the four games as being their good chances to get wins…and I’m very happy at how wrong I was.
I only have two things to say about Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit. I’m always one who says if I caught a ball that was someone’s first home run or some kind of milestone, I’d most likely give it back without expecting anything. But when that player is Derek Jeter and it is something as big as his 3000th hit, I would expect a whole lot more than the Yankees shelled out to the guy who caught the home run ball. While people are lauding the guy for being unselfish (and, initially I was too), I can’t put out of my mind that Jeter will make millions off of this accomplishment and all this guy really got were tickets for half a season of baseball. Blows my mind.
The other thing is, if I never hear Michael Kay’s voice again, it’ll be too soon. An hour or so after the home run, this is what he had to say: “He needed two hits to get to 3000, he wears number 2, he’s only the second player to get 3000 hits in MLB history and when he hit that home run the clock struck two. (Long pause) I’ll wait for your goosebumps to go down.” Hitting your 3000th hit is very cool. Hitting it for a home run is freaking amazing. Phrasing what you did, Mr. Kay, did NOT bring on goosebumps, just a shrug and a “You can try to make something out of anything these days” attitude from me. (Which isn’t a commentary on the achievement. Sure what Jeter accomplished is impressive. But Michael Kay’s trying to piece together the meaning of “2” really was ridiculous and not goosebump-inducing at all.)
But back to the Orioles for a moment. After the series was over, Buck Showalter continued his pissing and moaning about the Red Sox and their payroll (Kevin Gregg got the memo about this as well when mentioning payroll in his post game comments) and it gave us a Jason Varitek uncharacteristically humorous quote:
“We have some youth, too. So people can literally kiss my rear end.”
It’s a visual I could live without, but it made me laugh out loud.
Red Sox don’t play until Friday but we get the Big Papi show at the Home Run Derby tonight and by way of players backing out, getting injured or being ineligible to play (sorry Felix Hernandez), we’re sending six guys to the All Star Game (even though Lester won’t be playing). If you need your Red Sox fix before Friday, you still have these next two days.
I’d like to thank Kevin Gregg for taking my mind off of sadder situations and helping to blow up my Toeing the Rubber email accounts. It would be fun to pick the messages I received apart but it is even more fun to just go straight to the source.
Let Mr. Gregg have the floor:
“They are going to whine and complain about it because they think they are better than everybody else. But no, we have just as much right to pitch inside as they do. Everybody’s frustrated. It’s part of the game.”
“You get tired of getting your butt kicked every night when you come in here. I’m going to stick up for what’s ours and try to get the plate back. I think you showed them that we are not backing down. We are not scared of them and their $180-million payroll. We don’t care. We are here to play the game. We have just as much right to play the game here.”
“It is 3-0, they are up seven, and I think there are some ethics to this game and guidelines that you have to stay within. Run. You hit a lazy fly ball, you have to run the bases. And apparently, he didn’t like me telling him that stuff and he came out there. If he thinks there’s something wrong with me saying that, then he has other things he has to check out in this game.”
But wait! Nick Markakis wants in on this too!
“I like the guy, I like Ortiz, I respect the way he plays the game but I think it was a little bush league, bottom of the eighth, two outs, up by six, swinging 3-0. I don’t think we were hitting anybody intentionally there. But if it’s got to come down to that, it’s got to come down to it.
We’re in it as a team. He knows how to play the game. I think he’s going to look back on it and realize that he screwed up there but what happened, happened and it’s over.”
Kevin Gregg and the Baltimore Orioles…good for what ails you.
I’m feeling a little frisky this morning, so let me try to tackle this.
Whine and complain, everyone is frustrated: Three fastballs right at Papi. YOUR team is frustrated because you are getting your butts kicked and headed for your fifth consecutive loss, having only won one out of your last ten games before this one. It was so obvious what you were doing, that the umpires warned both benches without Papi having been hit. You were not pitching inside, you were trying to hit David Ortiz because your team is lousy and you got called on it.
Tired of getting butt kicked, not scared of the payroll, not backing down: This entire quote reads like the younger sibling whining that the older sibling gets to do more and IT ISN”T FAIR! Wah, wah, wah, Mr. Gregg.
You have to run the bases: I watched this game as it was happening and because I didn’t expect to be able to watch the game, I dvr’d it as well. NESN showed the replay of everything that happened in Papi’s at-bat over and over and over…and it is obvious to anyone with eyes that Papi DID start to run to first base. Gregg was so aggressive in that moment that the umpire came out from behind the plate and ejected him WHILE Papi was running to first base. And, yes, Mr. Gregg. he had a problem with it because you didn’t know what the hell you were talking about and after being thrown at three times, he decided to let you know what a horse’s ass you are. The one who might want to check their game is you, boyo.
And let’s get to Nick. I’m one of the few who is actually okay with players following some unwritten rules but there is one that I will never, ever understand and that is the “once you have a big lead you need to stop trying to win” rule. Who gets to decide what the appropriate lead is before you have to stop trying, the losing team? (For a current example of why this is a ridiculous “rule”, Wednesday night the Cincinnati Reds were up 8-0 in the fifth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals after having scored five runs in the first. They ended up winning the game 9-8 in THIRTEEN innings because the Cards had a five-run seventh inning and then scored the tying run in the bottom of the ninth. Had the Reds deferred to unwritten rules about big leads, would they have ended up losing the game? I think it is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny that Nick Markakis thinks Papi will look back on this and think that not running to first base (when he actually DID run to first base) was a screw-up on Papi’s part. The “screw-up” was Papi going after Gregg after Gregg got mouthy and was booted from the game. And then, I only think it was a screw-up because it’s going to get him a suspension. I have no problem in theory with David Ortiz telling Kevin Gregg that he isn’t going to take his piddly shit. (And for the record, Nick Markakis, bush league is trying to hit a player solely for the reason that his team is beating you. Here endeth the lesson.)
I get that with 2004 and 2007 in their pockets it’s fun for other teams to target the Red Sox, but these teams should pick their battles. They didn’t show anyone that they won’t take anyone’s crap on Friday…they are the ones who STARTED it, so it doesn’t work that way. Gregg (and, really, Markakis too) comes across as a whiny jerk who can’t deal with being on a bad team and getting beaten by a good team. Josh Beckett might have had the best comment on the night:
“We’re a good hitting team. You can’t just be hitting our guys because we’re scoring a lot of runs. That’s how the game is played. Maybe they saw something different. Maybe they saw something they didn’t like or whatever. But if it’s just because we scored eight runs in the first inning and they start throwing at our guys, it’s going to be a long year.”
(Expletives edited out for gentle eyes!)
Josh nails it. If you want to get pissy because your team is getting beat the best revenge is to actually beat some teams. Orioles will get their chance tonight with John Lackey on the mound. There are so many scenarios that could come to be…if Lackey pitches well tonight (hey, it could happen!) do the Orioles get more frustrated by losing to a struggling pitcher? Does Lackey just decide that between the All Star break and his struggles that he could use some time off and get aggressive against the O’s from the beginning in retaliation for Gregg’s post-game comments? Do both teams just decide to forget it and focus on just winning the game?
One other note about Papi swinging on a 3-0 count. Let’s review here what happened: Three fastballs coming at him. So obvious that Gregg is trying to hit Oritz that the benches get warned even though he hasn’t been hit. What would anyone do with that next pitch? Wait to see where it’s headed or just swing and get it over with? If you have a brain, you swing to try and ensure you don’t get hit. I genuinely don’t want to see anyone hurt (nor any other Red Sox players suspended) but all the Orioles did with their jawing after the game was most likely ensure there will be many bad feelings on the field for tonight’s game.
Never has it been more enticing to tune into a Baltimore Orioles game. Well done, Kevin Gregg.