Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

"…It reminds us of all that once was good…"

Everyone has probably seen this today but I’m posting it anyway. I want it here because I want to watch it over and over again.

People will most definitely come.

April 3, 2015 Posted by | 2015 | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Red Sox happenings

Congrats to Jacoby on his first Gold Glove (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

We have Gold Gloves!

Jacoby Ellsbury won his first, Dustin Pedroia his second and Adrian Gonzalez his third.  Let us rejoice in meaningless awards (with all due respect to our three winners who genuinely did good enough glove work to win the award…the fact that Derek Jeter has five of them including, inexplicably, last year will always make me think very little of the award generally).

On Monday the Red Sox spent roughly nine hours interviewing Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin for the manager’s position.  Yesterday John Lackey underwent Tommy John Surgery and today Milwaukee Brewers batting coach (and former Red Sox third base coach) Dale Sveum will go through the interview process for Terry Francona’s job.

Lackey’s surgery, reportedly, went well. The surgery means he’ll miss the entire 2012 season and possibly some of 2013. There are still three years and $46 million left on his contract.  I’ve been supportive of Lackey and I’ve been hard on Lackey…and all I can say about this is I hope it freaking works and he comes back in 2013 the pitcher I thought he would be when he signed on with the Red Sox.  I choose to be hopeful instead of negative.  Eventually something has to go right with this guy, yes?

Ben Cherington has promised that there will be possibly four or five more candidates to interview…unlike many, I’m not entirely against the idea of Dale Sveum, I have to admit.  I like the idea of someone who is already familiar with the organization coming on and I’m okay without the team getting a big name manager.  Of course, with Tony LaRussa announcing his retirement there has been a lot of fan speculation that he could come to Boston.  I’ve already stated if that ever happens I might have to become an Orioles fan.  (I should also state that I don’t believe for a minute that it would happen.)

I leave you with some Adrian Gonzalez quotes because, thanks to Peter Abraham, he took a lot of grief for his comments about it being God’s plan after the season ended and I think many folks have it in their heads that he doesn’t care about winning or losing which is, to be blunt, horse pucky:

“The only thoughts right now is trying to do next year what St. Louis did this year, and try to win a World Series. That’s the only goal,” Gonzalez said. “We’re talking about the Gold Glove, and personal accomplishments are great, but the only thing that really matters to us is winning a World Series and getting to the playoffs first and foremost, which we weren’t able to do this year.

The only thing on my mind right now is what I can do to help the team. Hopefully, everybody else on the team is doing the same thing, and next year we can come in hungrier than we were this year so we can actually get it done.”

The awards, however meaningless these awards have become, are well deserved by our fellas and I congratulate them all.  I’m looking forward to the resolution of the manager situation so I can properly start looking forward to Truck Day!

November 2, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eating our own

I wrote this as a comment to someone’s remark about being “embarrassed’ to root for the Red Sox because of the way the front office is (supposedly) acting and figured I’d write it here as well because all of this shame and embarrassed talk has been bandied about an awful lot lately.

I don’t get everyone talking about being embarrassed to root for the Red Sox. You either root for them or you don’t. If folks are so bothered by the team there’s always the option to not support them. But, for me, the idea of not supporting the team because you think the owners are asses makes no sense since I’ve been supporting the team longer than the current ownership has been in place, and the team has had other owners (and GMs) who were assholes too.

And I mean it. Since when do we root for the team based on who owns it?  Prior to this ownership, were things so great between the front office and the players?  Did we have baseball crushes on the General Mangers before Theo?  What happened in 2004 (and then in 2007) brought this magical atmosphere to Fenway Park and made people forget the realities of being baseball fans…especially being baseball fans in Boston.  Sometimes you aren’t going to love everyone associated with your team.  You decide to be a fan and you can decide to not be a fan.  That’s on you, no one else.

For me, the team personalities are more important than those of the folks running the team.  Today we heard from two players, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.  Pedroia spent his time defending Terry Francona and talking about how all the controversy and the terrible way the season ended will add fuel to his fire and the team will come back stronger than ever.  Here’s a quote from Papi, courtesy of ESPN Boston:

“There’s too much drama, man,” Ortiz told Dominguez in reference to the Red Sox. “There’s too much drama. I have been thinking about a lot of things. I don’t know if I want to be part of this drama for next year.”

Papi also went on to not rule out playing for the Yankees.

Really?  Your team just pulled off the worst regular season collapse in baseball history, caused your manager to leave, is in the midst of losing its General Manager and has just been outed as a bunch of entitled prima donnas who purposely blew off their manager at crunch time and you decide to react to all of this by fanning the flames this way?

This bothers me more than what the front office is purportedly doing.  We’ve come to expect the front office to leak stories about whichever team member is leaving the fold.  It’s lousy (and regardless of all the media pinning this solely on Larry Lucchino, I’m not convinced there aren’t some players who contributed to this mess) but it really shouldn’t come as a surprise.  The fallout is what I find more interesting and, in some cases, distressing.

Pedroia was asked by Glenn Ordway why he was the only player to come out in support of Tito.  I had the same question.  Pedroia’s response was a muddled reaction of both saying he couldn’t speak for other players and saying that many of the other players don’t like to speak to the media the way he does.  I give Pedroia credit for not only protecting his manager but his teammates as well.  We’ve come to a point where someone needs to stop the bleeding so the team can heal and there should be more than just one player out there trying to do so.

One of the player’s being criticized, Jon Lester, has kept alarmingly quiet.  Much was made of the relationship between he and Tito, at least from Francona’s side.  Terry often mentioned he felt a father/son-like relationship with Lester yet here we find Lester was part of a clique that seemed to help run Tito out (whether it was intentional is up for debate) and now that he’s left the team and is having his name dragged through the mud, Lester is silent.  It’s disappointing and, in my opinion, telling of what kind of person he is.  Sadly, I think we’re finding out what kind of people many on this team are and, for me, they aren’t people I like very much.

Dustin Pedroia spoke with WEEI from Cabo today…yet no one else could find the time to speak up for their manager (or, for that matter, their team)?  And the one other player who DOES decide to speak out just whines about all the drama and throws out a thinly veiled threat to sign with the Yankees?  I feel like, come April, if there are a handful of players on this team that I’m still actively caring about, it’ll be amazing…yet I’ll still be here.

I’m a Red Sox fan.  For better or worse this is my chosen lot in life.  I can remember times when we didn’t like the owners, didn’t like the GM and didn’t like many of the players yet we still rooted for the team.  And that was before the team had two recent World Championships in their back pocket.

So come Truck Day, I will be at Fenway to show my support for the hometown team.  Ultimately, I will refuse to let this crap deny me the opportunity to enjoy the sport and team I love.

I so look forward to the time when we can all be joined in our hatred of the Boston sports media instead of focusing our anger on the team.  Someday.  Someday.

October 13, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Droppings

A bunch of randomness…

~ The Jerry Meals call that ended the Pirates/Braves game last night was just really God-awful.  Meals admitting he blew the call does nothing to help the Pirates and I’m getting to the point where I don’t give the umpires “credit” any more for admitting they were wrong.  It was so obvious he was wrong that I don’t understand why the rest of his umpiring crew didn’t get together and point out to him that he was wrong.  I don’t think MLB needs robot umpires or expanded instant replay…I think umpires should be held more responsible for their bad calls publicly.  We know when players and managers and coaches get reprimanded and we should know when umpires do as well.  They should know that publicly they will be taken to task for messing up.  Games should not be decided because an umpire screws up (or just wants to end a 19-inning game).  The only amusement I got from this was here…well played  Grant Brisbee.

~  I have put a block on the name “Carlos Beltran” in my Twitter feed.  I don’t care if he goes, I don’t care where he goes, I don’t care if he leaves New York and starts his own baseball team.  No one knows anything right now and the incessant tweeting about it does nothing but clutter up my feed with ridiculousness.  I save that spot in the feed for people who still joke about Dustin Pedroia’s height. (see below)

~  I’m sure I have probably been guilty of this and I apologize for it without looking back for specific examples (and knowing it’s possible I haven’t done it) because reading it now makes me apoplectic.  Dustin Pedroia is an American League MVP and Rookie of the Year and has a World Series ring to boot.  He is, to put it simply, a damn fine player and, seemingly, a leader on the team.  There is no reason to mention his height every time you write about him.  It’s hackneyed and old and a terrible way to establish yourself as a writer.

~  I don’t care  how ugly it was, last night’s game was a thing of beauty.  Sox won (without extra innings) and Dustin Pedroia was a home run away from the cycle and he and David Ortiz were both 4-5.  Jacoby Ellsbury came in as a pinch hitter and went 2-3…these are the things I want to see in my Red Sox games.  Ultimately, though, if I’m giving my heart to a player this season that player is Alfredo Aceves.  I want an Aceves shirt to wear around so I can tell people how much I adore watching this man pitch.  He gets bonus points for being part of the brought back to life bullpen band as well.

~ John Lackey is on the mound tonight.  Monday’s extra-inning loss aside, this is the Royals, fellas, and the least you can do is help Lackey get a win.  Bruce Chen will be on the mound for the Royals which could mean a third very long night ahead for both the teams and their fans with more scoring than we had last night.  Get the Red Bulls ready!

July 27, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What a Night

 

The Red Sox believe in the power of the Rally Cap! (One of the most fun screen grabs I've taken!)

I didn’t make it.  At 1am I caved.  The last thing I did before passing out was hit “record” on the dvr (and silently pray that Tito didn’t put Papelbon in there with no score).  I woke up about 3am and groggily checked the At-Bat app on my phone and was thrilled to see the final score.  This was one of those games where, had the Red Sox lost, I wouldn’t have taken it all that hard.  It’s difficult to win an extra-inning game on the road, let alone a 16-inning one.  But they held on and they won and they’re going to Baltimore weary and sleep deprived and, hopefully, ready to take on the Baltimore Orioles once again.

Josh Beckett left the game in the 8th having gotten out 22 batters in a row and giving up only one hit.  There was  nothing more he could have done to put the Red Sox in a position to win. That he didn’t set the dugout on fire when he came out of the game is downright miraculous.  It was great to see him actually enjoying himself in the dugout watching the rest of the team take over (see screen grab above.  There were rally caps and Daniel Bard seemed to be bringing the bullpen band to the dugout near the end of the game!).

Joe Maddon wins the “What the hell?” award for the night…twice over.  First, he gets himself thrown out of the game after jawing with the home plate umpire AFTER Josh Reddick strikes out (Joe thought he should have struck out on the previous pitch).  Then, after the game, Joe took to Twitter:

@RaysJoeMaddon Very proud of our guys. My take-away from tonight is that we can beat the Red Sox and the Red Sox know it.

First of all, before this weekend, the Rays were leading the season series with three wins in five games over the Red Sox and they won the first game of this series.  Going into Sunday’s game, they were leading the season series 4-3.  Leaving this season, in 2008, the Rays beat the Red Sox in a seven game ALCS.  No one will argue that the Rays can’t beat the Red Sox.  But last night’s game?  Losing a game in 16 innings does not show the opposing team that you can beat them (and where is this inferiority complex coming from?).  Maddon’s two what the hell moments last night seem to indicate an odd focus on Maddon’s part.  Don’t focus on who the opponent is, focus on doing things to win the game, Joe.  All the Red Sox know from last night is that you got yourself booted from the game for a non-issue and their bullpen outlasted yours.

Eight hits altogether in 16 innings.  The Red Sox had five of those hits and two of the Rays’ three came off of pitchers who were not Josh Beckett.  Dustin Pedroia went  3-7.  Yes, he got three out of the five Red Sox hits last night.  I’m sure he was unbearable on the flight to Baltimore.  What I take away from this game, Mr. Maddon, is that the Red Sox know how to hang in there when it doesn’t look good.  They feed off of their pitching and finally stuck it out long enough to leave an extra-innings game on the road with a “w”.  Seems to me that they showed YOU that they can beat YOU.  Not the other way around, darlin’.

Interesting to note:

It was the longest game in terms of length of time in Rays history and it ended later than any game the Rays have ever played, 2008 postseason included.

Given that information, were I a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, I’d have to agree with B.J. Upton:

“I’d probably say this was the toughest loss of the year,”

For all the men the Red Sox left on base (17?  Did they really leave 17 on base?), the Rays had plenty of opportunities to show the Red Sox they could beat them…and they didn’t.  Most amazing to me is that the Red Sox used six pitchers versus the Rays using nine and the Sox still prevailed.  Once again, I give you Alfredo Aceves as the team’s MVP.  I shudder to think of where the team would be were he not on our side.

Tim Wakefield and Carl Crawford were both in Baltimore while the Red Sox were fighting it out with the Rays…so at least we have two starters tonight who will be well-rested (or at least won’t be jet lagged!).

July 18, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Early Exits

UPDATED AT 5:00PM

Well, the arm hasn’t fallen off but it’s in bad enough shape that I need to cancel tonight’s live chat.  Unfortunately, because of my one-armedness, tomorrow’s live chat might have to be canceled too.  It’s a little tough to do this with just one hand.  Hopefully by either the end of the week or beginning of next I should be in better shape to be live chatting.  Sorry, folks!

I’m not sure what it says about me that watching Dustin Pedroia leave the game last night didn’t freak me out, but it didn’t.  I was more bothered by the way Daniel Bard left, if I’m being honest.

There was a moment on NESN last night when the cameras showed Clay Buchholz’ reaction to Bard giving up what would become the winning run.  Clay pitched one hell of a game last night and deserved the win but Bard and the offense combined to stick him with the no-decision (along with Bard’s forth loss of the season).  Clay’s face went from hopeful the ball would be caught straight to a kind of “oh well” look.  No glove slamming, no swearing, no tossing up his hands and turning his back to the field.   No one wants to lose, especially games that seem so winnable, and Clay had every reason to be pissed about how his performance was squandered but he didn’t relay any of that in the moment.  I was impressed by his attitude.

Losses suck.  The best part is they get another chance tonight to win. As long as my left arm doesn’t fall off (a distinct possibility given how it’s been feeling) we’re live chatting tonight’s game.  Join us!

May 24, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , | 2 Comments

Walk Off Happiness

Photo capturing genuine joy taken by Kelly O'Connor last night and used with permission.

Many is the time a game stresses me out so much that I shut off the volume…why I’m not sure.  To drown out the disappointment of the crowd or announcers?  Maybe I think if I don’t HEAR it then it didn’t happen (or isn’t as painful to deal with).  In any case, I didn’t shut the volume off last night because the game was stressing me out.  I shut it off so I could hear something else and then I just didn’t turn it back on.  This happened at the start of the ninth.  With Ellsbury and Pedroia both on base, Adrian Gonzalez up and the volume still off, I stood up in anxiousness. I had a good feeling about it but I was still bouncing around a bit. itI didn’t even have time to pace when I saw the ball heading toward the Green Monster and I just started saying, calmly, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God…”.

It was a nice way to end that game.

If you watched this game, I don’t have to tell you that the first six innings were a terrible letdown after the weekend the Red Sox had.  By the bottom of the sixth, I had resigned myself to the idea that they just weren’t going to take this one.  But by the top of the seventh, when the score was 6-5 Orioles after having been 6-0 Orioles at the top of the sixth, I was convinced they would pull the game out. It’s amazing what can happen in four innings, isn’t it?

Chris Tillman pitched a good game and left the game with that cushy 6-0 lead.  His teammate Jeremy Guthrie can commiserate with him on what it’s like to lose that lead and have the team lose the game. I’d like to feel sorry for them but, really, I don’t.  I’m greedy.  I want my team to win and if they have to crush the spirit of their opponent in the process, well, so be it.

Not so incidentally, Kelly O’Connor, as she was for the Mother’s Day Miracle, was in attendance at Fenway Park last night and, along with the above photo which is on the short list of my favorite Red Sox celebration photos ever (Jed Lowrie looks positively giddy!), she got some fantastic shots that you must check out.

Dustin Pedroia added to his legend last night with a classic at-bat in the ninth that followed a Jacoby Ellsbury stolen base and set the stage for Adrian Gonzalez to, once again, be the hero.  But, really, the win was a team effort.  These guys didn’t give in after being down 6-0 in the sixth.  It was a beautiful game to watch from that point on.

Adding to that happiness is the New York Yankees squandering their 5-1 lead over the Tampa Bay Rays last night in the sixth as well to end up losing the game 6-5.  The sixth inning was good to Red Sox fans last night and I thank the Baseball Gods for that.

Yesterday the Red Sox put John Lackey on the 15-day disabled list with a strained elbow.  What this means, aside from sparing us a Lackey outing tonight and this weekend versus the Chicago Cubs, is that Tim Wakefield is on the mound against Baltimore tonight (and against Chicago, most likely, this weekend).  I’m always eager (yet anxious) for Tim Wakefield starts this season.  I’m not ready to let go just yet…I’ll admit it.

It’s probably no more than any other season and I just don’t remember it, but this year there seem to be an awful lot of two game series.  After these two games against the Orioles, the Detroit Tigers are in town for two games before interleague play begins on Friday against the Cubs.  The Red Sox have a good chance this week to keep up the streak…I’m looking forward to more of the happiness!

May 17, 2011 Posted by | 2011, Featured | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

So Good

I felt like a four year-old on Christmas morning yesterday…way too much stimulation.  I spent the entire day watching the news, well into the 7pm hour.  Then I added to the list the Red Sox game and the Bruins game and my head was spinning happily for quite a few hours.

Yesterday’s Sox game played like we want every Red Sox game to play.  Clay Buchholz with his first “quality start”of the season, giving us fits when they showed him every half inning staring at his hand (“Is it a blister?  Does he have a cramp?”  What’s wrong with him???”) but still pitching well.  Dustin Pedroia with an epic at bat against one of the best pitchers in the American League.  David Ortiz with a home run and Jacoby Ellsbury with a stolen base. A pile of of runs in the seventh inning followed by the relievers giving us a reason to pay attention to a blow out game. Carl Crawford showing us that May might be his month with his second consecutive multiple-hit game.  This was a damn fun game.

I’ll be at Fenway tonight with friends enjoying the team and the company. Getting to see them in the midst of a really exciting stretch is icing.

May 3, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , | 2 Comments

I’m In

Listen to this man. (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

“You’re either two feet in now or you’re two feet out. Let us know now because we’re coming.”

I’m in Dustin, I’m in. But, holy cow, you guys make it interesting, don’t you?

Follow the above link for more quotes from your Boston Red Sox regarding their feelings about being at Fenway tomorrow with the possibility of the fans being hostile.

They’ve spent almost ten days on the road dealing with opposing fans, tough losses and overly critical media folk.  I don’t care what they make and I don’t care how famous they are, they need our damn support and if we’re any kind of fans that’s what we’ll be giving tomorrow.

As a related aside, the first person near me tomorrow who boos Darnell McDonald might get a fist in the face.  Just throwing that out there as a general warning.

And, finally, Gordon Edes tweeted another quote from Pedroia: “We need those fans more than ever.” Do with that what you will.

Regardless of what has gone on since last Friday, tomorrow is Opening Day.  We should be happy and celebrating and supportive of the team.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

April 7, 2011 Posted by | 2011, Featured | , , | 8 Comments

Hello, goodbye

Oh Dustin.  I look forward to seeing this sight next year!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Oh Dustin. I look forward to seeing this sight next year! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Oh Manny.

Everything was my fault, but you have to be a real man to realize when you do wrong. It was my fault, right? I already passed that stage. I’m happy. I’m on a new team. When I went to first base, I told (Kevin) Youkilis, ‘What happened between you and me, that’s my fault. I’m sorry.’ It takes a real man to go and tell a person it was my fault and that’s what I did.

While I will fully admit that my initial reaction was to focus on the “real man” lines (because, really, that’s something someone else should say about you not something you should tell folks about yourself:  “Look at me!  I’m a REAL man now!”) the truth is, I’m still a little stunned.  When I checked the Droid last night and read the headline  “Manny apologizes for his exit from Boston” I was convinced it was a joke.  It certainly doesn’t make up for what he did (or, really, what he said after he left) but it’s so much more than I ever expected from him.  It’s interesting to think that Manny is starting to focus on what his legacy will be once he isn’t playing ball and is trying to do some kissing and making up.  Doesn’t change a lot for me but I think it will make a huge difference to a lot of fans.  Johnny Damon could take some lessons in fan relations from Manny (holy cow did I just type that?).

In regard to a player I’d much rather write about, Dustin Pedroia bit the bullet yesterday and had season-ending surgery on his foot.   This makes two infielders and two outfielders who were starters not being able to play the season (Youkilis, Ellsbury and Cameron round out the group).  I’m sorry, I know folks don’t like pointing to injuries and saying they are the reason for a bad season but THINK about how many injuries to key players this team has withstood this season and think about the fact that the Sox still are actually in the playoff hunt (it’s a long shot, I get it, but they’re still in it technically and in a much better position than they really should be given what tremendous hits they’ve taken in 2010).

I’ll definitely miss the 1pm game today and possibly will miss the 7pm game.  Yanks and Rays both won last night so the road hasn’t gotten any easier.  Still, I have hope.  How about you?

September 4, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 1 Comment