Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Random Baseball Stuff

I’ve spent most of today doing research for a longer piece I’m going to write when it hit me I didn’t write anything yesterday. I’m hoping to stop the alternate day posts and get back to posting every day…so here we go!

* Tony LaRussa announced today that he’s retiring.  I have absolutely nothing good to say about Tony LaRussa so I’ll just say goodbye.

* If Terry Francona became the manager for the Cardinals, I wouldn’t mind terribly.  I’m hoping when he does eventually get a job it’s with the national league.  (And given the Cardinals hiring practices, the hatchet job Tito got in October shouldn’t hinder his ability to get a job with them.)

*  I’m still very bitter that Mark McGwire will have a World Series ring

(I hadn’t intended this to be all about how much I dislike the Cardinals but they make it very easy.  I’m happy for their fans, who seem like a decent group, but that’s about it.)

*  Derek Lowe has reportedly been traded to the Cleveland Indians.  He was never one of the “25” that I expected to last this long. What do I know? The sad part of the trade is that the Braves are getting a single A player and $5 million toward the $15 million left on his contract.  Ouch.

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October 31, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

You Didn’t Ask

* While I think it’s ridiculous that Ozzie Guillen can get suspended for tweeting from the park once he gets tossed from a game, I think it’s even more ridiculous that we are now at 6 Major League Baseball players getting arrested recently and none of those players has even been reprimanded publicly, let alone actually punished. Having written that, tweeting is not some God-given right and, yes, I think players and anyone else involved in the game (managers, coaches, umpires, bullpen catchers even) should be prohibited from it as long as it goes along with other things that are prohibited during the game. Are any of them allowed to make phone calls during the game or jump on the Internet and send emails? If not, I don’t see why they should be able to use Twitter.

* Speaking of idiots who drink and drive and/or tweet…Kris Medlen, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves who is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, posted this gem on Twitter today:

Double header with the brew crew??….. Everyone is Gunna be drunk off there asses!

It’s worth noting two things: Medlen’s brother on the mound is Derek Lowe, who happens to be one of the five MLB players who was arrested recently for drinking and driving and part of Medlen’s Twitter profile reads “In Atlanta… add in the occasional beer.”  So Medlen tweets the above and a Braves blogger retweeted it and added his own little jab “Wait, is Lowe pitching?”  (Much to his credit although unneeded in my opinion, Talking Chop apologized to Medlen for his “off-color joke”.)  Medlen’s reaction was to call Mr. Chop a “fuc*ing douchebag”.  Now, whether he is or is just someone who thought he was being funny, I think Medlen needs to take a class is social media (or just use some of his contract money to buy a bag of clues and a thicker skin).

Here’s the thing that is truly awful about all of this web 2.0 stuff:  It is INTERACTIVE.  Anyone who wants to get online and do so can say whatever they want.  As an adult person, Mr. Medlen should already know this.  If you make a joke about drinking or getting drunk on a site where the main purpose is interacting and spreading information and one of you teammates just got arrested for being drunk while driving, you have to expect that people are going to comment on it.  And regardless of the ‘fairness’ of it all, you are a professional who gets paid to play a game and your salary is dependent on the fans actually showing up at the games.  Calling them a “fuc*ing douchebag” makes you look like the expletives you spewed yourself.  Maybe a simple “Not cool, dude” would have sufficed, eh?  I know it stinks that every schmo with a computer can get their digs in against your drinking and driving teammate but thems the breaks, pallie.  Interactions such as you had today aren’t going to make MLB any more lenient on your brothers who tweet.

*  I was at the game last night with  my friends “Tru” and “SoxCruiser” and Tru kept regaling us with trivia throughout the night.  I was pleased that I got him at the end of the evening with my own little bit of trivia (that I pretty much assumed those who cared about such things already knew but I could be wrong):  The lyrics to the Dropkick Murphys’ song “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” were written by musical genius Woody Guthrie.  Woody’s daughter let DM choose some lyrics to use and this is one they chose mostly because it had the word “Boston” in it.  At a game last year, I told this to two thirtysomething guys sitting next to me at Fenway who were wondering why they were singing about a sailor who lost his leg and the response I got was “Who’s Woody Guthrie?”.  And folks wonder why sometimes I weep at Fenway Park.

May 4, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , | 2 Comments

And there's been a lot of broken dreams

Kelly O'Connor took this photo of Greg Montalbano at the Lowell Spinner's Alumni Dinner in January 2009 (Used with permission)

We lost Greg Montalbano in 2009. Kelly O'Connor took this photo of him at the Lowell Spinner's Alumni Dinner in January 2009 (Used with permission)

Just a note of warning:  This entry is long and although I want it to be all-encompassing, I’m sure I’ve missed  few things.  But this is pretty much how I remember 2009!

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2009 was a fairly eventful year for me personally in both the good and bad categories.  Sadly more bad than good which is probably why I initially avoided writing any kind of recap for the blog.  But while I was writing my recap of the Red Sox decade (and I’ll have that up as soon as I finish it!) I realized I should probably write something about the final year of the decade as well.  So here goes.

January:  I started blogging at WEEI.com.  Looking back on my entries for this month, I’m genuinely surprised I found so much to write about (it didn’t stop new readers from complaining that I was writing “drivel” though.  Should have been a sign!).  Personal highlights in January:  The ongoing Jason Varitek saga, the signing of Rocco Baldelli, Kyle Snyder getting picked up by the Mets, the beginning of the MLB Network and Jim Rice finally gets voted into the Hall of Fame!

February:  Bombshell of bombshells for MLB.  Selena Roberts exposes Alex Rodriguez as a steroid user.  The MLB Network cuts its teeth on this one and, unlike Peter Gammons and ESPN, doesn’t disappoint with their coverage.  Unafraid of losing access to the players (again, unlike Peter Gammons or ESPN), they go full throttle on this story and introduce us to their newest addition to the network:  Bob Costas.  I wrote a lot about MLBN in 2009 and a bit about Sl*ppy.  I would have written much less about the two, most likely, had this story not broken.  Personal highlights in February:  The Caribbean World Series on MLBN (I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed it!), Truck Day, pitchers and catchers reporting and Joe Torre’s book about the Yankees.

Chapter 10: The End of the Curse. When asked by Regis Philbin the other day what happened to the Yankees over the past 7 years, Joe responded “The Red Sox happened”. That will go down as possibly my favorite Red Sox/Yankee-related quote ever.

March:  I spent a lot of March writing ‘rants’ and pointing folks toward baseball-related Twitter accounts.  Must have been resting up for April!  Personal highlight in March:  The WBC.  I spent a lot of time ranting about players getting hurt and how I didn’t care who won only to be totally sucked into it by the end.

April:   The beginning of the season!  Lots of liveblogging and picking up more WEEI readers (with mixed results!).  Personal highlights in April:  Going to both Sox/Mets exhibition games at CitiField, attending Opening Day at Fenway and high-fiving JD Drew and Hideki Okajima during their introductions, being at Fenway for the walk-off win against the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home on Andy Pettitte, Tim Wakefield taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning (thus setting the table for his All Star selection), watching Jonathan Van Every pitch while Javier Lopez floundered in right field then eventually getting DFA’d (watched on television, not in person), the Patriots Day game where Luke Scott got all pissy and some idiot fan threw a ball onto  the field and “Toeing the Rubber” getting nominated for a New England Sports Blog Award in the category “Best Red Sox Blog”. Relatively speaking, a great month except for one thing that really hit the baseball world hard and made the month miserable:  the death of Nick Adenhart.

But I don’t cry because of any personal connection I have to Nick. I don’t cry because a future baseball star is dead. I cry because parents lost a son today. Many people lost a friend. And the world lost someone who could have potentially been great. Not just at baseball but at life. No drunken ass has the right to take that away from us. This doesn’t “put things into perspective” for me. I hate when people say that. I’m forty years old for God’s sake, I’ve seen enough death and tragedy in my life to have proper perspective, thank you. I don’t watch baseball and think that what goes on down on that field is life or death and more important than anything else in my life. I’d argue that most sports fans, even if they act like they have no perspective, have exactly that. Baseball is an outlet to forget about the realities of life for a few hours.

May: Getting to see Daniel Bard’s first Major League appearance (after having seen him pitch in Pawtucket) was very special.  Finding out that Jerry Remy was recovering from cancer was sad and a little frightening.  Personal highlights in May:  Seeing Kyle Snyder with the Bisons at Pawtucket, Javier Lopez signing Steve the Ferret’s “Lopez” jersey (also at Pawtucket), Aubrey Huff fistpumping to Joba Chamberlain, appearing on “The Baseball Show” on Comcast SportsNet, crying (literally crying) over Big Papi’s first home run of the season, getting to meet metsgrrl and “paloozaing” with a huge group of people I love during the Mets/Sox series at Fenway.

Yesterday was an amazing day spent with friends (most of whom I haven’t seen in quite a while or hadn’t met yet!). There are many amazing tales to tell (but not here!) – my favorite being when our friend Susan noted that we could start singing “O Canada” except no one knows the words past “O Canada!”. Standing up and singing loudly and proudly, a group of us proved her wrong. That our serenade didn’t get us thrown out still kind of surprises me.

June:  This month brought us the end of interleague play, the end of Jonathan Van Every’s season (thanks to knee surgery), Tim Wakefield hitting ten victories with his torn labrum, John Smoltz making us all wonder why we were so excited to have him on the team while Dusty Brown makes his major league debut.  Personal highlights for June:  Derek Lowe returning to Fenway with the Braves, Nick Green’s walkoff against those same Braves, sitting in Fenway during a mind-numbing rain delayed game that turned into a loss for the Sox (okay, that one is a lowlight, really) and the Sox capping off 7 wins in a row against the Yankees with an eighth.

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

But I made a promise that you treasured

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! (Shown here with Luis Tiant outside of Fenway Park!)

Last night’s “live blog” turned more into a game day chat…and it was a lot of fun! Hope folks enjoyed it as much as I did (and thanks to everyone for coming by!).

It was great to see DLowe get the ovations he deserved and I was also happy that he pitched well. I didn’t want him to win but I wanted him to look good on his return. It worked out well all around, I’d say. He pitched a good game but Beckett pitched a better one. Exactly what I wanted!

Josh Beckett is just, in a word, amazing. 94 pitches in nine innings. Seven strike outs, no walks and five hits while giving up NO runs. Not much more you could ask for there. I noted it during the live blog – Beckett pitched against Pedro Martinez back in 2006. Pedro got all the attention that night with Beckett being merely a footnote to the game (prior to the start of the game). Out in the bleachers, we watched Beckett and Pedro warming up with everyone screaming to Pedro and we decided to yell encouragement to Josh since his own fans seemed to be ignoring him. Of course, over the screams of “PEDRO!” he probably didn’t hear us. After that game he even commented on all the focus going to Pedro. But Josh came through that night and he did last night as well.

I’m enjoying the 2009 version of Joshua Patrick Beckett. How about you?

1:35pm and I’ll be watching Tim Wakefield (a dad who once said he wanted to play baseball long enough to have his children realize that he gets to play at Fenway Park for a living) with my dad at home. I hope you get to enjoy the day with your father but if you can’t I hope Wake makes your day a little brighter by kicking some Braves behind.

June 21, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Please say you'll never leave me

That’s me with Derek Lowe back in April of 2002 (A week or so before his no-hitter!). Taken with a fancy, schmancy disposable camera!

So what if it’s a Saturday night and if I live blog everyone will know I’m home sitting in front of my television and my laptop? It’s Derek Lowe v Josh Beckett! (And everyone knows that’s where I’ll be anyway – regardless of whether there is proof of it on the Internet!)

Last year I live blogged a Derek Lowe v Bronson Arroyo game so why would I back down today?

In an effort to help kickstart the Sox back to what they should be doing (we have good mojo with the live blogs) – I’ll be here at 7:00 tonight for the Beckett/Lowe live blog.

Join me, won’t you?

June 20, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

What I thought was love, that must have been lust

It was great to see Derek Lowe yesterday but I still hope he goes down in flames tonight. Nothing personal, DLowe. This photo I took before the game shows what was as close to a smile as he gave in the brief time we say him on the field. He looked almost nervous out there.

Daisuke was terrible last night. No two ways about it. But I hope everyone in Fenway who booed him gets the Swine Flu.

Over the last fourteen innings the Red Sox have amassed 3 hits (two of them being home runs). As bad as Matsuzaka was, that isn’t his fault. (And it should be noted that both Masterson and Saito each only gave up a hit but both gave up a run as well.) It was a horribly played game by just about every one (thank you, Jason Bay) and it came on the heels of another game that was horribly played by them.

So the calls for something to be done about Daisuke I understand. I’m right there with you. I want him DL’d even if it means Clay Buchholz has to come up from Pawtucket and kneecap him himself. But booing him is a lousy, lousy thing to do. I know some of you think it’s a proper response to poor play but I know I’ve made my feelings about it perfectly clear.

I was pleased to have a good crowd around me last night. No one in my section was booing Daisuke. Although there was a guy behind me insisting JD Drew has no “desire” in him (RIGHT after he made a fantastic catch!) and who said that Manny being gone was okay because “all the fans hated him anyway” who I wanted to kick (He also thought the Sox were paying Jay Bay $12 million a year). Aside from him, I was pleased with the crowd around me. There were even a bunch of rally caps in the 8th and 9th innings!

In any event, I’m pleased the weather held up. Being at Fenway before the gates opened and having the sky drop gallons and gallons of water on me was unpleasant but after that the sky was blue and it was the perfect weather for a ball game. Too bad the Sox didn’t cooperate.

No hand-wringing here. I can’t believe the Sox are going to sit by and watch Daisuke implode every fifth (or sixth) day. I just can’t. So I’m not going to spend time worrying about what is going to happen since there are others much smarter than I already working on it. My focus is on the Sox winning the next two with Beckett and Wakefield on the mound and taking this series. With every loss I try to remember that it’s all good as long as they take the series. I realize it’s sometimes tough to do when they lose 2 in a row and drop an entire game in the standings…but it’s the best way to get through the season with your nerves intact!

I humbly request a win tonight from Joshua Patrick Beckett.

June 20, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , | Leave a comment

Now would you be yourself or play your role

So, I’ve decided to go to the game tonight. Hell, I’m going to be under cover instead of on the field so why not, right? Besides, I’m hoping for a chance at seeing Derek Lowe on the field before the game.

Let’s just hope I don’t bump into John Henry beforehand. It might be the first time someone gets thrown out of a game before the game began.

I kid. I’m going to be all sunshine and happiness tonight while watching Daisuke pitch against the Braves.

It’s going to be another long night, isn’t it?

June 19, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

Just let them know that this is too hard

This is certainly not the Derek Lowe Face. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

So Jon Lester pitches a gem, the bats of the Red Sox finally come to life and the Sox leave Toronto without getting swept. I’ll take it.

There still isn’t all that much confidence (from me) in a Lester appearance but yesterday he really came through. 6 innings, 12 strikeouts, only 3 walks, 3 hits and 1 earned run. More of THIS Jon Lester, please.

Big Papi is still struggling and it’s painful to watch. But if I read one more person suggest he go to AAA, I’m going to scream. Over the past week I’ve read at least three different writers suggest the Sox send him to Pawtucket without the writers acknowledging that, in order to do so, you need to either put him on the disabled list and then have him rehab down there or you need to designate him for assignment, hope he clears waivers and then agrees to be assigned to Pawtucket. You can’t just wave your hand and magically send him there. It’s possible the people suggesting he go to Pawtucket know this but as I haven’t read those scenarios anywhere just the outcry of “He’s struggling. Send him down!”, I’m going to guess maybe they don’t. It’s a horrible slump that Papi is in but I’m not convinced he’s “done”. Although, I do believe that age and his past injuries are playing a part in what’s going on with him, I’ve seen too many of his swings that looked good and just ended up in someone’s glove for me to believe he’s done. It’s taking too long for anyone’s liking but I think he’ll bounce back. Certainly not to the Papi of 2005 but not the one we see right now either.

Sox get a day off today. I hate days off. Well, for ME I love days off but for the Sox I hate them. Thankfully, it’s a day off after a win because days off after a loss (in spite of what I wrote yesterday) really get me antsy. I like them to get right back out there after a loss. But they won so I can’t be too anxious. Tomorrow starts a series against Detroit with Daisuke Matsuzaka pitching against Rick Porcello. These next three games might prove to be tough given how the Tigers have been playing. I’m hoping, as always, the Sox can take the series and have higher hopes for the second and third games than I do tomorrow night’s.

If you see him today, wish Derek Lowe a happy 36th birthday! (Holy cow! D-Lowe is 36? In baseball, once you’re over 35 does that make you one of the “old” guys?)

Enjoy the off-day, folks. Tomorrow starts more fun for the boys!

June 1, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , | Leave a comment

Old Friends

Matt Clement in the Sox dugout in 2007 - Photo by Kelly O'Connor

Matt Clement in the Sox dugout in 2007 - Photo by Kelly O'Connor

I’ve been fond of Matt Clement ever since he was with the Red Sox.  I never liked the backlash he got because he was hurt, and I never believed he was a “head case”.  I felt woefully alone in my appreciations for Matt.  Nonetheless, I’ve tried to keep up with his career.  So I was happy to find out that he signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Well, at least it APPEARS that he has.  JP isn’t giving anything away just yet.  The Jays were also looking at Carl Pavano.  Their rotation could be interesting come 2009.

And speaking of free agents who have played for the Red Sox…I was just asking around about what was going on with Alex Cora and now we have an answer – sort of.

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While not as pressing, the Mets’ top target to replace Damion Easley as a backup middle infielder also is becoming clearer. Team insiders acknowledge Alex Cora is the No. 1 target, with Nick Punto also on the radar, although the Twins and Phillies are pursuing Punto. Cora, 33, hit .270 with nine RBI in 152 at-bats for the Red Sox last season.

He’s the Met’s “No. 1 target”?  Well, I’m glad someone is interested in him since it seems the Sox aren’t.  And better the Mets than the Yankees, right?

And how about Derek Lowe?  Now that they’ve signed CC Sabathia, the Yankees are becoming “more attractive” to him.  Well of course they are, if the rumors are true that the Yanks offered Lowe four years and over $60 million.  I have to admit, for $60 million, I’D work for the Yankees.  I’m not proud.  Or rich.

Finally, please God save me from Curt Schilling.  His response on his blog to someone who didn’t agree with him?  I’d gladly doff that cap to punch someone like you in the mouth.The majority of his responses to those who don’t agree with him are insults (or, in this case, threats).  I don’t understand the point in writing about something so inflammatory if you can’t handle simple debate.  Not insults to Curt (which I’m all for blowing people like that out of the water) but just dissenting opinions.  Yes, it’s his blog and he can write what he wants, but resorting to insults (and, again, a physical threat) absolutely takes away from anything he thinks he’s accomplished with his blog.  The comments over there are moderated, so he has the power to just not publish comments that set him off so.  But it seems he’s publishing them all (and good for him for that) but almost as if he’s doing it JUST to get his retorts in.  We have different styles, we two.  I choose to try and NOT antagonize my readers.

A very wise person once told me that interacting with the commenters on your blog is a bad idea because there will, ultimately, come a time when your basest instincts come out and you’ll come across sounding like an idiot…or worse.  I think Curt’s blog is proof of that.  I’m all for fiery discussions in the comments section, but I’m against letting my blog turn into a breeding ground for flame wars.  It’ll be interesting to see what comes up once I’m writing at WEEI.com.  Like Curt, I don’t suffer people I believe to be fools easily.  But my approach to them is quite different than his.  I AM inspired by the fact that this is happening at WEEI.  I worried some of my creativity (and control over my own blog) might be squelched once I got over there (for no reasons other than my own concerns – Rob Bradford hasn’t said anything to encourage my thinking that).

I’m MUCH less controversial than Curt is.  It should be a cakewalk for me.  🙂

In news about a current Sox player, Nolan Ryan is coveting Clay Buchholz.  I think we should sic Curt on him.

December 12, 2008 Posted by | 2008 ALCS, Boston Sports Media, Hot Stove, Housekeeping, Live Blog, Players, Randomness, Rants, That was sweet! | , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

What to write about?

Theo working hard, as usual - Photo by Jim Davis

Theo working hard, as usual - Photo by Jim Davis

I started writing this piece last  night about money and how the entire country has money problems except Major League Baseball.  Then I put it aside for two reasons 1) it was depressing.  The amount of  my debt is minimal compared to most, but it’s still my debt and I’d like to get out of it.   But that isn’t happening right now so I have trouble garnering excitement about a player signing a deal that will get him $160 MILLION dollars.

Normally, I don’t get into money discussions about baseball.  I know the baseball world and our world are two vastly different places so I try not to write things like “For THAT amount of money, he should be able to throw a strike whenever he wants!” – but this year, seeing so many struggling, reading about the absolutely ridiculous contract the Yankees gave CC Sabathia just makes me groan.

So I won’t write about that.  🙂 (Oh yeah, I said 2 reasons, huh?  The other reason?  Once Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira are done, there’s going to be a lot more to write about in regard to money.)

Then I was going to write about Curt Schilling and our brief back and forths online lately.  But I usually don’t talk about politics here (which is, essentially, what we were discussing) and the last thing I want to do is alienate anyone.  I will say this – WEEI is missing out on a much more interesting coupling than Dennis and Callahan in Schilling and Donnelly.  I don’t believe there are two more different people in the world than Mr. Schilling and myself.  If we were on the air together it would probably only take about five minutes before we were beating the crap out of one another.  Ratings gold!

So what am I going to write about?

Eric Byrnes for Julio Lugo?  Is Byrnes going to be happy being a fourth outfielder?  Will we end up with another Jay Payton?  If Varitek is still on the team will he taunt Byrnes mercilessly about not touching home?

I find Byrnes to be…how shall I put this…I think my friend Cindy said it best when she wrote “Eric Byrnes is a douche”.   It is tough for me to erase the Eric Byrnes of 2003 out of my mind.  Who knows, though, maybe  he’d be a good addition to the team?  It seems I end up having one player, each season, who I can’t stand.  It isn’t fair to deny Byrnes that opportunity, right?

This weekend I’m in the odd position of mourning a loss in our family and then heading up north to spend my annual December weekend with my sistahs.  My emotions for the weekend will be high, to say the least.  Let’s hope baseball doesn’t add to that with some insane trade involving Buchholz, Masterson or Bowden.

Some news about Kyle’s status for 2009 would be most welcome, though.  Someone out there has to know SOMETHING, right?

I guess it wasn’t as difficult for me to come up with something to write about as I thought.

December 11, 2008 Posted by | Randomness | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments