Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

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!

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

What, me worry?

Cliff Lee being razzed about his two names in an amusing Seattle Mariners commercial.

It’s raining.  An icy, cold rain that makes me want to do nothing but stay inside with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.  So thinking about baseball doesn’t come easy this morning.

What got my brain in gear was an email from one of my Yankees fan readers who was kind enough to send me this link regarding the Yankees already having contacted Cliff Lee (and the added commentary from said fan:  “Are you scared yet??”).

The answer?  Um, no, I’m not scared at all.  I like Cliff Lee.  He was one of the first players I wrote about when I switched the blog from Red Sox Chick to Toeing the Rubber back in 2008.  If the Red Sox could find a way to acquire Mr. Lee, I’d be a very happy gal.  Having written that, if the Red Sox don’t acquire Mr. Lee, I won’t be losing any sleep over it.

Listen, there’s no arguing the guy is good but anyone who watches him pitch also knows he’s touchable.  There’s nothing that guarantees if he starts for the Yankees he doesn’t turn into AJ Burnett Part 2.  Which, as much as I like the guy, would bring me unimaginable joy.  I’m at the point in my life where I look at the big name, big money contracts the Yankees sign on with and instead of worrying about them, I wonder when they will bite the Yankees in the ass.  Yes, the Yankees won it all in 2009 (as an aside, how freaking sweet is it that they aren’t the “World Champion New York Yankees” any more?  Thank you, Texas*.) but the team is not built to win one championship a decade.  They’re supposed to win it all, every year, or at least come damn close.  The Yankees are as beatable as any other team now so when they add some great pieces to their puzzle, it worries me not.  I just sit back and look forward to the floor show.

Truth be told, if I had my druthers, Lee would stay with the Rangers.  Hey, I’m not greedy.  I don’t mind the league sharing the good players.  I think Texas is a great fit for Lee and it would make me happy to see a player say “These tens of millions of dollars are enough for me and my family.  I don’t need even more millions because the team who can most afford to throws them at me.  I want to stay here.”   Texas as good fans, Lee has had success there and seems to like it…I’d like to see it happen.

*Yes I know the San Francisco Giants are the World Champions, but the Rangers are the team that kept the Yankees out of the World Series.

November 8, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pitching what?

Happy days for Javi!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Happy days for Javi! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com. Used with permission.

Nothing like watching a well-pitched game, huh?

Eesh. So much for the pitchers’ duel. 18 runs, 25 hits and six errors in Game 1 of the World Series. It was both ugly (Cliff Lee looking like a pitcher I wouldn’t mind the Yankees picking up, in spite of the incessant ball washing of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver) and beautiful (Freddy Sanchez with four hits, three of them being doubles off of Lee, and three RBI). I was sad to see Vlad Guerrero floundering in the outfield but happy to see Javier Lopez pitch yet another scoreless inning. This World Series is a puzzle for me because I’d like both teams to do well. Last night, though, in spite of Barry Bonds sitting in the stands waving like he had anything to do with this, I was rooting for the Giants.

I’ve decided that I want this series to go seven games with the home team winning each game. That will be entertaining baseball and this way the deserving fans of both teams will get to enjoy it (at least at home)!

It’s an odd sensation, not having any true negative feelings for either team, but I’m getting a kick out of stress-free baseball…and we get more tonight!

A programming note: Fox starts these broadcasts now at 7:30 so if you’re expecting to throw the game on at 8:20 and see it just beginning, you’ll miss at least an inning of play. I think it’s great that someone finally realized if they start the show at 7:30 the actual game could begin by or before 8pm. Although it’s been pointed out to me by many that they are starting the weekday games late compared to the game scheduled for Saturday. Game 3 in Texas is scheduled to begin at 6:30pm. You’d think it would make more sense to schedule an earlier game during the week so more people could watch the whole thing than on a weekend but I suppose they’re looking at it as more people being able to make an 8pm game at the park on a weekday. In any event, I think it’s an improvement but they still have work to do.

I’ve enjoyed this postseason so far but, honestly, I still miss my Red Sox.

October 28, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Nolan Ryan: Give Cliff Lee whatever he asks for.

Another photo I'm using without permission.  Lee after last night's win. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Another photo I'm using without permission. Lee after last night's win. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Before last night’s Rangers/Yankees game began, TBS talking head Craig Sager was interviewing Ian Kinsler and chiding him about getting picked off by Kerry Wood in game one.  Reminding Kinsler, as if he had to, that Andy Pettitte with his fantastic balk pickoff move would be on the mound, he made it very clear that Kinsler was going up against a far superior opponent.  Ian took it all in stride and assured Sager that, if he made it to first base, he’d “stay put”.  Good for Kinsler for not shoving Sager’s microphone up Sager’s nose.

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October 19, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

2010 Playoffs-Day One

Slappy before yesterday’s Yankees/Twins game:

“I mean, for us to be David in this situation, I think, is great. The Yankees are always going to be somewhat favorites because we’re the Yankees and that comes with the territory. It is something that we embrace and we like. But [if] they want to call us underdogs, we’ll take that role.”

A message left on a friend’s Facebook page this morning:

I sent my son to school today with his Yankee Jersey on so he could be dressed like the winner he is!

This, as they say, is why we hate you.

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October 7, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Who doesn't love a walk off? (Maybe not Cliff Lee!)

Now appearing in the bullpen!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

Now appearing in the bullpen! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

When the Rangers scored that second run last night, my first thought was how disappointing it was that John Lackey genuinely pitched well enough to win but probably wouldn’t.  Kevin Youkilis must have been thinking the same thing because he meant business when he tied that score in the ninth.  One of the most amusing visuals of the night was of Youk hitting that sacrifice fly in the 11th, flipping his bat and just hanging around waiting for Scutaro to score.  He had that “Yeah, we totally had this one all along” look on his face.  After those last two games, it sure was a helluva lot of fun to watch.

Gustavo Molina was DFA’d today to make room for Michael Bowden who will be pitching out of the bullpen.  Now there is something that could be fun (but I’m sorry it came at the expense of Gustavo).  I totally missed that Dusty Brown had been called up so it was a pleasant surprise to see him on the bench (and then in the game) last night.

The end of this month will bring me to my fifth anniversary with blogging.  I started back on July 30, 2005 at MLBLogs with my first post being about Alan Embree going to the Yankees.  I feel like the 5th anniversary is a good time to shake things up (at the very least with my blog entries being more “me” and less blah as I feel they’ve been lately) so I’ll be working on a few different things.  I’m hoping to get back to doing some random blogging as I did so often in the beginning (which now has been replaced by Tweeting…I won’t give up the Twitter but I feel like I need to pay more attention to the blog to make it as entertaining for me – and everyone else – as it used to be!).  So fair warning.  🙂

Crabcakes on the mound this afternoon.  There could be worse things in baseball than a series split.

July 18, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | 4 Comments

Whither Kyle Snyder?

Chosen because today I need to be reminded of the players who play for love of the game (plus the sticker is timely!).

Chosen because I need to be reminded of the players who play for love of the game and aren't money or publicity whores. Plus the sticker is timely!

Well the Yankees PR machine did us in but we gave it a good shot.  Sorry we came up short, Youk.  Hopefully the rest will do you good and you come back after the all star break and break the Yankees (and the rest of the American League) into tiny pieces.  As has been written, we all know you deserved to be an All Star.  Hope you know it too.

Between the news about Youk and the ridiculousness surrounding LeBron James, I decided to go offline early last night and purge my brain of sports thoughts…so waking up this morning to the news that the Mariners will, most likely, trade Cliff Lee to the Yankees wasn’t quit how I was hoping things would go.

Of all the months in a baseball season, I hate July the most.  Between the All Star Game (which I used to enjoy but Bud Selig making it “count” just to save his own ass has turned me off of it) and the trade deadline I spend most of the month on edge.  (Fair warning for the crankiness and snark that might permeate this blog for the next couple of weeks.  I’ll try my best to contain it.)  Youk getting out-voted by Nick Swisher and the possibility of the Yankees acquiring Lee has made me temporarily lose all hope in humanity.  All the stars are aligning for the Yanks right now and that isn’t a baseball world I enjoy participating in.

Tomorrow I’m taking my 9 year-old niece to the Futures at Fenway double header.  We’ll get to watch players playing because they enjoy the game and not because they’re looking for money or attention.  For a few hours tomorrow, I’ll forget that the Yankees are back to owning the universe and just focus on what the future of the Red Sox looks like.  Maybe it’ll help clear my head and make me not want to stab MLB to death?  Maybe I’ll come home to the news that Cliff Lee got traded to a team that could actually use his help and not one that just wants to add to their collection?  At least I’ll get an afternoon to pretend that baseball is about how much talent you have and not about how much money or pull you have.  I’m looking forward to the day even more than I already was.

I’m on the fence about the All Star live chat right now.  If the Lee trade to the Yankees does go through, it’s definitely off.  The idea of listening to Buck and McCarver slurp all over the Yanks for four hours makes me extremely stabby (it’ll be bad enough listening to it without the trade happening).  So stay tuned!

July 9, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 3 Comments

Where I defend Cliff Lee and the Mariners

Can't wait for CHB's next article about how unnamed young Sox players found Mike Lowell shooting craps in the clubhouse when they needed him to pinch hit.  (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission)

Can't wait for CHB's next article about how unnamed young Sox players found Mike Lowell shooting craps in the clubhouse when they needed him to pinch hit. (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission)

I wanted to blog about this last night and just didn’t have the energy.  Today I do and I am quite sure that more people will disagree with me than agree with me and I’m quite fine with that.  I didn’t start this blog to be popular.  🙂

(This is, be warned, a long one.)

Let’s talk about Cliff Lee.

But first, some back story.

On May 10th, Larry LaRue of the News Tribune wrote a story in which he asserted that Ken Griffey, Jr’s time with the Seattle Mariners was drawing to a close.   His reasoning?  Not just Juniors diminishing skills.  No, LaRue had it on good authority (two “younger players, fond of Griffey” and both, supposedly without “an ax to grind”) that Junior was unavailable to pinch him on a particular night because he was “sound” asleep in the clubhouse.  Mariners’ manager Don Wakamatsu vehemently denied this and Junior’s teammate Mike Sweeney has challenged the two teammates to fess up so he can fight them (Um, Mike?  Not really the best way to get someone to tell the truth, hon!) and the entire team is pretty much supporting Junior.  There was a team meeting where it is rumored that Griffey was so upset by this that he cried.  And still, the two anonymous ball players haven’t spoken up.

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May 13, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fate comes a-knockin'

Best of luck to Alan Embree who drew the short straw with Daisuke's return and will be designated for assignment today. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Best of luck to Alan Embree who drew the short straw with Daisuke's return and will be designated for assignment today. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

So here’s my theory:  The Red Sox don’t want to take the attention away from the Celtics and the Bruins in their quests for world championships so they figure if they don’t play well, folks will pay more attention to their brothers who are in the playoffs right now.

That’s all I have.  There’s no other excuse I can come up with short of “they all got Mono from Jed Lowrie” that could explain how they let all those opportunities against Baltimore’s pitching go to waste last night.

In-season, is there anything worse for a baseball fan than the entire, day-long wait to the next game after a particularly bothersome loss?  I don’t think there is.  Fortunately today in New England should be a beautiful day weather-wise so folks here can go out and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine without thinking about the Sox for a few hours.  At least that’s my plan.

If you aren’t into fresh air and sunshine, the Bruins start the second round of the playoffs this afternoon at 12:30pm and the Kentucky Derby is being run at 6:30pm.   Fox has the Mets/Phillies game on at 3pm if you want to torture  yourself with McCarver and Buck (and watch the Mets possibly stretch their winning streak to 9 games).  And then you could always NOT watch the Red Sox tonight and instead watch the Celtics begin their second round of the playoffs at 8pm.

Losing with a walk-off is painful no matter what the situation of the team.  So as soon as Miggy hit that ball, I turned off the tv.  Then I remembered that Cliff Lee was off the DL and starting for the Mariners and I wanted to watch him so I put the Mariners game on.  I think I turned it on in the fourth.  The game went 12 innings with Lee pitching seven of them, giving up only three hits, walking no one and striking out eight.  While they didn’t lose in a walk-off, they still lost at home after a 12-inning game (pitching on both sides was great last night – they only lost 2-0 with Brandon League giving up the two runs in the 12th – one on a wild pitch, the other on a sacrifice).  Knowing that Mariners fans left that game with that pit in their stomach didn’t make me feel any better about the Red Sox finishing April under .500 but it did make me forget about it for a couple of hours.

So tonight I’ll be watching the Red Sox and switching over to check out how the Celtics are doing.  I can’t help it, even with two teams in the playoffs, and as much as they frustrate me, the Sox are the team that has my heart.  So win or lose (but they’re going to win!) I’m in front of the tv with NESN tonight.  Besides, Daisuke Matsuzaka is pitching his first game of the season tonight which could mean many things, not the least would be that we might get to see Tim Wakefield coming out of the bullpen for the first time this year.

The mad winning streak begins May 1st!

May 1, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | 1 Comment