Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Goodbye Captain, Hello Baseball!

Until the last game of the World Series...the Red Sox are still the World Series Champions! (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill and used with permission)

Until the last game of the World Series…the Red Sox are still the World Series Champions! (Photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill and used with permission)

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.

October 4, 2014 Posted by | 2014 | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

About Pineda and Pine Tar

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Last night’s game was just another reminder of how as much as I love baseball, sometimes it frustrates the hell out of me.

For the second time this season against the Red Sox, Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was found to have a foreign substance on his person, presumably to help him pitch. (It was not the second time this season he was caught by cameras with the pine tar. His outing in Toronto was also enhanced by the sticky substance.)

After the first time against the Sox I felt pretty ‘meh’ about it. None of the players complained, good for him he got away with something. But last night irritated me on a few different levels. So let’s give thanks to Pineda for causing my first rant of the 2014 season.

Before the game John Farrell responded to a question about pine tar by saying “I’m sure I would expect that, if it’s used, it’s more discreet than the last time.”

Yeah, not so much.

I don’t have any idea if I should be mad that Pineda uses pine tar. Apparently everyone uses it and no one in the game usually cares. What annoys me is how everyone blows it off (including and especially the players) as if it isn’t a big deal when it is, regardless of how well it is hidden, against MLB’s rules.  This isn’t stealing signs. This is something specifically against the rules. If you want the rule changed, you’re in a union, go talk to them. But the rule is there and if the only time it’s going to be enforced is when it’s so bloody obvious my legally blind father with a 10 year-old NON HD television can see it then I think that’s pretty ridiculous.

I’m also annoyed by the way the entire Yankees team was only too happy to throw Pineda under the bus the moment the game was over and the questions came out. Sure, he’s an adult, makes his own decisions, blah, blah, blah. And it was pointed out to me last night that dugouts between innings aren’t exactly libraries so it’s possible his manager, the coaches, his teammates and everyone else in there didn’t notice the giant, messy blob on his neck before he took the field in the second inning.  But he’s done this at least two other times this season already. The media was all over it yesterday before the game. I absolutely do not believe that no one in the Yankees organization thought to maybe talk to this kid before the game and say “Gee, the spotlight is going to be on you, maybe cut the shit for one night, huh?”  And if they did and he ignored them you would think that the reaction from, oh let’s say Joe Girardi would have been a lot more angry than it was. Girardi responded like it was no big deal (although in fairness Brian Cashman seemed a bit more miffed – probably just that his player was stupid enough to ‘hide’ it on such an obvious place).

The word ‘mistake’ has been bandied about quite a bit regarding this incident. No. It wasn’t a mistake. It was a purposeful decision. A stupid one, mind you I won’t argue with anyone that what Pineda did was ridiculously stupid, but a specific decision and not a  mistake nonetheless.

As with most of my rants, I know I’m all over the place here. There’s a part of me that sympathizes with Pineda. He’s 25, English isn’t his first language, and he’s pitching for a team that, at least in theory, offers zero room for mistakes. Who knows what kind of pressure he’s feeling or what kind of support he’s getting? And what kind of mixed messages has he received? I mean,hell, if I can’t figure out why I’m supposed to be mad about pitchers using pine tar (given I keep getting told everyone does it), how is he supposed to know if he’s doing something wrong?  He knows it’s “wrong” in the sense that it’s against MLB rules but as long as you conceal it well it seems to not be “wrong” among his fellow players, coaches and managers. So in a sense it’s easy to see why he thought he could get away with it.

The players need to clean up their own mess. It sounds a bit hypocritical to hear John Farrell and  John Lackey and others essentially saying the only reason they brought the umpires into it was because of how blatant it was. Suddenly we have to defend the integrity of the game (or our own egos) just because everyone can see it? So if CC is hiding something between his fingers tonight and none of us ever get a look at it, does that make him better than Pineda because he hides his cheating better?* How’s this work? Do players get the rulebook and note the asterisks next to some of rules? “Pay no attention to the red asterisked rules, fellas. Those are just there for show.”

*In case a CC fan happens to read this, I’m not accusing him of cheating. But if everyone else is right, apparently chances are he probably is.

In an ESPN.com article about this debacle, Ian O’Connor amusingly wonders if this will “sink” the Yankees season. But that isn’t the most entertaining thing about the piece. Normally, I avoid the comments but in some instances the schadenfreude is too much to pass up.  My favorite comment came from someone named Joseph who wrote (and this is all cut and pasted, typos and/or misspellings aren’t mine):

I’m very disapointed in Cashman at the moment. i think he is letting the yankees get pushed around again. He shouldn’t have come out defiant. He should have denounced Farrell’s ploy for what it was: gamesmenship. He should have promised retalalition. Not say your sorry because Pineda’s only crime it seems was to try and get a grip of the baseball. The rule was designed to prevent people from doctoring the baseball not prevent a pitcher from being able to grip the ball on a cold night because that’s a safety hazard. Let’s be honest here John Farrel doesn’t give a darn about the rule. He just cares about giving his team an edge whether it is in the rules or not. Somebody should ask him if he thinks that Jon Lester should be suspended. Or if he thinks Clay Bucholtz should be suspended? My guess is that he’ll say no even though there is actual video proof that these guys cheated. If you suspend Pineda you have to suspend those other pitchers as well. Otherwise leave the kid alone.

Aside from old Joseph not knowing how to spell Farrell or Buchholz, he misses the point of why Pineda will be suspended and Lester and Buchholz only got spoken about in the media. No one on the opposing team called out Lester or Buchholz during the game (I almost wish they had. I mean I’d be interested to see how the umps reacted to the stuff on Clay’s arm and in Crabby’s glove.) which means there were no reprimands.  Which brings me to another thing that makes no sense to me in MLB…why is it on the teams to police themselves? Why didn’t one of the umps approach the mound (or the Yankees dugout) and say “Yo, what up with the neck gunk?” It seems to me that MLB is as accepting of this practice as the players are – as long as the pitchers aren’t obvious enough to get caught.

The mixed message is annoying. If I’m going to be outraged, dammit, tell me why I should be!

I’d rather the media focus on how amazing the Red Sox pitching was last night – especially John Lackey. For schadenfreude, how about Derek Jeter’s absolutely horrendous defense or Mark Teixeira’s Golden Sombrero?  All interesting baseball stories.  Instead we get to listen to the likes of Karl Ravech say things like “There is no joy in Pinetarville” (he really said that – and then went on to say that John Farrell couldn’t really enjoy beating the Yankees last night because he knows his pitchers “cheat” too). And tonight we’ll be subjected to discussions about the length of Pineda’s suspension (10 games, equalling 2 starts – the iron hammer of Joe Torre seems a little weak) and concerns that the Red Sox opened a can of worms that their pitchers will have to pay for.

I mean hell, I’ve written almost 1500 words about the damn subject and I don’t even really know how I feel about it. I don’t like cheaters and I’m a bit of a good two-shoes when it comes to rules…so in theory I should be mad that Pineda pulled this again. But really I just wonder, if it really is being done by all of them, why more pitchers don’t get caught.

I’ll say this much, the theater of John Farrell coming out of the dugout, the umpire practically strip searching Michael Pineda and Joe Girardi almost dismantling an ESPN dugout camera wouldn’t have been quite as amusing had the Red Sox lost last night’s game.  So I thank John Lackey for being outstanding and really wish the rest of it would just go away.

April 24, 2014 Posted by | 2014 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is Thome’s milestone as important as Jeter’s? (Yes. Yes it is.)

"Old" guys representing! (Thome and Wakefield shot courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

Ken Rosenthal, who was kind enough to respond to me on Twitter regarding this subject, writes yesterday that we should care as much about Jim Thome’s 600th home run as we did Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit.  In all honesty, I actually care more and I agree with what Rosenthal wrote.

The problem is, he’s part of the reason why many people didn’t care as much.  How many people who follow baseball knew how close Thome was to 600 home runs?  Heck, I only knew when the Red Sox were heading to Minnesota this last time because NESN promoted the series by mentioning how close he was to 600 and I consider myself a bit of a Thome fan.  NESN.  MY local sports station reminded me how close Thome was, not ESPN or MLB Network.  THAT is the problem.  Everyone under the sun couldn’t wait to brag on Jeter but Thome didn’t get the same treatment.  Don’t tell us after the fact that “even though he didn’t play in New York” Thome’s milestone is one to be celebrated.  I think plenty of baseball fans know this already.

There are 28 MLB players who have hit over 3000 hits.  It’s definitely impressive to be part of that group.  I take nothing away from Jeter for the accolades he has received.  But there are only 8 players who have hit 600 home runs or more (to compare, 25 players are in the 500 home runs club).  Players on the 600 list include Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.  Thome and Ken Griffey, Jr are the only present-day players on the list considered “clean” (which, admittedly, is kind of a ridiculous thing to mention since we have no real idea who was “clean” and who was just lucky to not be caught).  What Jim Thome has accomplished is at least as important as what Jeter has accomplished and for the media to acknowledge this fact AFTER it has happened is frustrating.

Then again, I’m doing the same thing they all did, aren’t I?

August 17, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , | Leave a comment

Weekend High

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.

July 11, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A post about Derek Jeter…really.

Photo of the Yankee Captain courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission.

Blogging sometimes has its perks.  I definitely think blogging about the Red Sox seems to come with a few benefits since there gets so much attention paid to not only the team but the fan base as well.

One of these perks is that people like to send me stuff.  Books, tickets, invitations to events…a lot comes in and while I don’t believe in turning down a generous offer, there have been times that I’ve said “no”.  Usually when it involves the New York Yankees.  But for some reason, when I was contacted about having an interest in a book called “DEREK JETER: From the Pages of The New York Times” I didn’t follow my initial instinct and say “thanks but no thanks”.    I said “Sure!  Why not?” and then, honestly, kind of forgot about it.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you are a blogger and someone wants to send you free stuff it’s probably because they want you to talk about said free stuff.  I know this.  Currently, I have plenty of free time so you’d think this wouldn’t be a problem.  There is never an understanding of “We’re sending you this so you’re going to say nice things about it, right?” just a “Hey, a mention on your blog would be appreciated”…which, really, I’m all right with.  While I wouldn’t say they come close to the number of  Red Sox fans who visit, the blog has taken on quite a few Yankees fans as readers so I thought it would be nice if I could write something about Jeter that didn’t begin with “If he pumps  his fist one more time…”

So I agreed to take on the book.  And it showed up one rainy day and, admittedly, the nicest thing I am able to say about it is I would LOVE it if they did a book like this for one of the Red Sox.  It basically has compiled articles and photographs from the New York times all pertaining to Jeter and puts them in a pretty, shiny, coffee table book.  It’s really a thing of beauty to look at.

After flipping through it a couple of times it hit me, though.  What the heck do I do with it now?  If I had a fireplace, the question might have been easily answered (I KID!  Even if it’s about a Yankee I have a problem just throwing away books never mind burning them), so I made a mental list of people I knew who were Yankees fans.  It’s not as short a list as you might think.  Heck, I even have some in my family.  But after giving it a lot of thought, the answer came to me.  There is a man in my parents’ neighborhood who is around my age and, alas, a Yankees fan.  I would hold this against him were he not an extremely nice person who spent the better part of every snowstorm helping my father shovel.  I knew it was possible he wouldn’t want the book but figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.  So I did.

You know how folks say being generous is still being a little selfish because you get the benefit of feeling good about yourself when you’re being generous?  Yeah, that was it.  This guy was so appreciative it was overwhelming and it, admittedly, made me feel good.  And as far as the book?  He loves it.  LOVES it.  Started going through it the moment I gave it to him and didn’t stop for a few days until he was through it all.  It made me feel less wormy about taking the book essentially because it was free when I knew very well it could hold the meaning to life in it and that wouldn’t make it any more appealing to me.

Adam, the fella at Press Box Publicity deserves not only my thanks for sending it along (thanks, Adam!) but a pat on the back for sending it out not knowing if I would spend the space writing nothing but “I hate Derek Jeter…I hate Derek Jeter…I hate Derek Jeter..” he took a chance and I hope he doesn’t mind how I chose to share the book with you all.

Some specs for those who might be interested:

About the Book

DEREK JETER: From the Pages of The New York Times

Introduction by Tyler Kepner
Abrams / March 2011
U.S. $29.95 / Can. $35.95
ISBN 978-0-8109-9656-4
Hardcover with jacket
224 pages / 8 1/4″ x 10 7/8″
100 color photographs

April 1, 2011 Posted by | 2011, Featured | , | 3 Comments

Winners and Losers (You decide!)

From 2006:  One of my favorite photos that I've taken of Bronson.

From the 2006 Hot Stove concert: One of my favorite photos that I've taken of Bronson.

So do I complain about Derek Jeter winning a Gold Glove or do I enjoy the fact that Bronson Arroyo won his first Gold Glove?

Not that many folks consider the Gold Glove competition anything more than a popularity contest.  Rafael Palmeiro winning in 1999 while primarily being a designated hitter for the Baltimore Orioles saw to that.  (He played 28 games at first in 1999.  28.)

The next time anyone complains about how the All Star Game voters (that would be US) vote, remind them that managers and coaches vote for the winner and the only criteria they need to go by is to NOT vote for someone on their own team.  People who know more about the game than the regular folks thought that Derek Jeter was better than all other American League shortstops defensively.  Then again, All Star Game voters chose Derek Jeter this year as well.  There is no accounting for taste.

So it’s tough to get up in arms about Jeter winning.  People will vote for who they like (or, what I believe to be the case here, for who they have been brainwashed is the greatest player playing) and that will never change.  Once Jeter is retired, the world of MLB will find someone else to treat like a God and he’ll get a bunch of awards he doesn’t deserve.  The circle will not be broken.

As an aside, a friend on Twitter led me to this blog entry by calling it “the worst sports related blog post of all time”.  While I wouldn’t go that far (it IS well-written, if not, well, a bit angrily so) it is definitely worth reading for entertainment value.  If you don’t want to visit the link, here’s the short version:  Derek Jeter is the best player in the world, the Yankees are the best team, and anyone who thinks he is declining in his skills or that the Yankees won’t re-sign him is a big jerk/idiot otherwise known as a Red Sox fan or someone at ESPN”.  The comments alone are worth a gander but two things stood out to me:  1) the idea that only Red Sox fans and folks at ESPN don’t like Derek Jeter (I know many Sox fans who like Jeter.  I also know many fans of other teams who think he’s, say it with me, over-rated) and 2) how in the middle of a piece about Jeter, the writer stuck in there that many players (including David Ortiz) are declining because they no longer use PEDs but Alex Rodriguez isn’t on that list because his decline has to do with injuries.  Oookay then.  Also, I’m trying to figure out how this piece is on the sports page of the Los Angeles Times.  Do people in L.A. give a flying fig what happens to Derek Jeter?

As far as Bronson is concerned, I really don’t know if he is deserving of the Gold Glove over other pitchers in his league.  I know the defense on the Reds was damned fine this season and Bronson’s wasn’t shabby…so I’m good with it.  Bronson’s comments about it tickled the heck out of me:

“It was definitely a shock. Honestly, it never even crossed my mind once throughout my entire career.”

Honesty with a touch of modesty is refreshing.  I’m waiting for Jeter to come out with “Are you kidding?  They gave it to ME?  What the heck were they thinking?”

I’ll be waiting a long time.

November 11, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh Bother

mban602l

(Once again, this post is long.  And a bit rambling.  You’ve been warned.)

Let me start this off by saying that I know players do it.  I know Victor Martinez has a history of doing it.  I know that managers like Joe Maddon most likely encourage players to do it.  But that doesn’t mean I like it.

I get the idea that your job as a batter is to get on base any way you can.  I get that.  But I fail to see the difference between what Jeter did against the Rays the other night and what ARod did against the Red Sox in game 6 of the 2004 ALCS.  ARod became so notorious for that slap that people called him “Slappy” for quite a long time (Hell, I STILL call him “Slappy”!).  I’ve always maintained that my biggest issue with the slap play isn’t that ARod tried it but that after he was called for it he brought out all the histrionics trying to defend himself.  (I have a clear vision of his putting his hands on his head and asking “What’d I do?” in the middle of it all.  Whether it is a totally ACCURATE vision is another case altogether.)  But you know what?  I was wrong.

Continue reading

September 17, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 5 Comments

I just have to look good, I don't have to be clear

While I don't hate the idea of Pedroia at short, I'd much prefer he stay at 2nd and Theo get the team a damn shortstop.  (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission)

While I don't hate the idea of Pedroia at short, I'd much prefer he stay at 2nd and Theo get the team a damn shortstop. (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission)

Gordon Edes is back where he belongs:  In Boston covering the Red Sox…so all is not lost!  (Seriously, I couldn’t be happier.  It’s nice to have a writer I feel like I can turn to for what is actually going on and not some tabloid talk.)

In his most recent post, Edes tells us that, in spite of their first offer being rejected, the Red Sox are still hot for Jason Bay.    Actually, it’s a line in his newest entry that they used as the headline “but a club source indicated that Bay remains the prime target“.  The rest of the piece is about Matt Holliday and Roy Halladay and Marco Scutaro and, well, basically everyone BUT Bay.  It is mostly about which free agents the Sox are targeting, though, and it’s an interesting piece.

I hope he’s right.  I hope they’re still considering making him an offer he can’t refuse.  But, again, I won’t be losing any sleep if they don’t.  I like Bay but I don’t think he’s irreplaceable.  Honestly, my bigger concern is the infield at the moment.  Alex Gonzalez might not be a future Hall of Famer but dammit he’s a quite decent shortstop…and having him is better than not having a shortstop at all.  I’m not buying into this Pedroia at short talk just yet.  Sure it was brought up, I get that, and if anyone thinks Pedie would ever turn down a challenge, well they aren’t paying attention.  But I don’t see it happening unless something fabulous turns up to take second base.  Meanwhile, Jed Lowrie quietly asks “WTH?”.

Been checking in on Kyle Snyder and his team in Puerto Rico.  The good news is that Arecibo is still in first place but the bad news is Kyle seems to still be stuck on only having pitched in two games…his last only one inning – and I still haven’t determined if he’s injured or just stuck in some kind of huge rotation.  Shout out to anyone in Puerto Rico (or anyone who follows the teams) with any information and I’d been terribly grateful.

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated finally ended the long-time persecution of Derek Jeter by anointing him Sportsman of the Year.  I certainly hope he’ll now get the respect he deserves that has been so elusive to him throughout his career.

But who cares about Derek Jeter when there are nekkid photos of Grady Sizemore out there?  I’ve never looked at Sizemore the way “Grady’s Ladies” do but those pictures circulating right now make me think I might rethink my position on that.  Except that in the one where you see the most, he forgoes a figleaf for a teacup.   Bad choice, Mr. Sizemore, and one that your teammates will remind you of repeatedly throughout the 2010 season.

On a more serious note, it’s good to see Major League Baseball getting involved in trying to get the pictures taken down and not at all surprising that Deadspin doesn’t intend to do so (using the “They did it first” defense).  As was pointed out to me by a photographer friend, the pictures are legally Grady’s and were illegally obtained.  Doesn’t he have any legal recourse?  It would do my heart good to see more people go after the likes of Deadspin and Perez Hilton (pretty much one in the same to me) but I don’t see it happening any time soon.   It’s too bad.  Tabloid reporting (and outright theft of things like photos) seem to be the only way anyone online becomes successful these days.  It’s really kind of depressing.

I’m told there are 74 days until pitchers and catchers report.  What’s that mean, about 65 days until Truck Day?  There’s an awful lot of time to fill with speculation and rumors.  Ah, the holidays!

December 2, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The sight of you with your head hung low

Joe Mauer at Fenway in 2008 (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission)

Joe Mauer at Fenway in 2008 (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission)

Over the weekend I uttered a phrase that many have spoken when they feel a player is overrated, especially if that player is being considered for the MVP award.  “He isn’t even the MVP on his own team!”

Doesn’t take a psychic to guess that I was referring to Derek Jeter.  I was thoroughly convinced that somehow the writers getting the AL Cy Young and Manager of the Year awards right meant that the MVP was absolutely going to Jeter.  The idea of Mark Teixeira getting it had, honestly, never crossed my mind.  So I was doubly surprised when not only did the writers get it right by giving the award to Joe Mauer, but that they got it even more right by voting for Mark Teixeira over Jeter.

According to Kelly Thesier at mlb.com:

Mauer finished with 327 points, well ahead of Teixeira, who had 225, and Jeter, who had 193. Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who received the only other first-place vote, was fourth with 171 points.

Special shout-out to Keizo Konishi, the writer from the Seattle chapter of the BBWAA who had the temerity to give Miguel Cabrera his one first-place vote.  Every group needs their renegade, Keizo, and this year the BBWAA can look to you to keep the well-held belief that some members of the BBWAA barely follow the sport they cover.  Well done.

Mind you, I’m not saying that Mauer HAD to get the vote unanimously, but voting for Cabrera over any of the top three vote-getters is absolutely baffling to me.  Cabrera had a really good season, but not first-place MVP voting good (given his competition – yes, even I have to admit that Teixeira and Jeter were pretty damned impressive).   Going 0-11 at the end of the season in the White Sox series when the division was on the line…well I’m not sure that’s MVP-worthy right there.  You judge a player on his entire season but to be MVP of the league…well isn’t part of that coming up big when your team needs you?

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November 24, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Yankees Suck*

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(Photo changed when I realized I originally missed an opportunity to use a relevant photo of Kyle!)

It seems like at least once a year some holier than thou writer comes along and tells Red Sox fan how stupid the “Yankees Suck” chant is and how it should be ‘retired’. This year, Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe takes a shot at it.

Kevin Cullen also admits to watching “Sox Appeal” so his ability to make good judgment calls is immediately called into question. If you watch that show you pretty much deserve to have people chant “Kevin Cullen Sucks” at you. (Especially since he thinks not joining in during “Sweet Caroline” is deserving of some badge of honor. Way to be a wet blanket.)

Here’s the thing, and I’ve written this, oh, about a thousand times since I started this blog and have discussed it with people even more. I’m not a big fan of ‘the chant’. You won’t hear joining in when it starts (unlike “Sweet Caroline” which I can usually be found singing) and I’ve actually told people at Fenway to STFU when they start it (but, really, only when the Sox aren’t playing the Yankees). But the FACT of the matter is, the “Yankees Suck” chant doesn’t mean “the Yankees are a horrible team”. Anyone who thinks that either doesn’t follow baseball or takes the world much too literally. “Yankees Suck” is shortened version of “Good God I hate the Yankees and their obnoxious fans and big-mouthed owner” or some other similar phrase. Always has been. (Hell, back in the late 70s/early 80s, my uncle wore a t-shirt that read “Yankees Inhale Deeply”. Took me a while to figure it out. But when I did, even back then, I “got” it. The Yankees are the rival team and we think they “suck”. I have no problem with this.

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July 24, 2008 Posted by | Boston Sports Media | , , , , | 13 Comments