Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Looking for Inspiration

Free Daniel Nava (Photo by Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill and used with permission)

Free Daniel Nava! (Photo by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill and used with permission)

Random thoughts.

(I saw most of the game but faded in and out during some of it due to an allergic reaction and a bit of Benadryl so these aren’t as comprehensive as they could be!)

Fox spent an awful lot of time talking to Michael Wacha’s parents and Chris Carpenter and when they finally got a person related to the Red Sox on the air (Jake Peavy) they asked him three, maybe four questions. I’d like to think that’s because Peavy told them before the interview that he’d rather be watching the game so they purposely made it short. But, really, I think it’s because they’re trying to create this narrative and it seems to be, after a lot of Red Sox over Cardinals talk in game one, that we should learn to love the Cardinals because Fox wants this series to go seven games.  (Also, we’re dealing with two announcers who pretty much have Cardinal red blood flowing through their veins, regardless of Joe Buck claiming he doesn’t root for any particular team.  If my father was Jack Buck, I’d be an annoying Cardinals homer too.)

While I understand people being frustrated at Stephen Drew and his anemic postseason at-bats, I marvel at the man’s defensive prowess and am very happy to have him in the field for these games. There, I said it.

Going into this series I was hoping for a sweep and expecting them to have to play six games. So if we have to suffer through a loss or two with the final outcome being the Boston Red Sox win the 2013 World Series in Fenway Park…well, I can deal with that.

I will say that I surprised myself by having a few moments last night of utter frustration where I actually yelled at the television. Lately the TV yelling has been solely for the purposes of telling Joe Buck and/or Tim McCarver to shut up.  But last night I couldn’t help myself because I hate errors. I hate them. Less so in real life than in baseball because I easily forgive mistakes in real life. In baseball they make me a bit stabby. So last night was a little on the painful side. But here’s to a day off and a relaxing flight to St. Louis for the team.

On Saturday night I will be out at a family gathering. I’m thrilled to be going – it feels like my family has many more sad reasons than good ones to get together lately and this one is a happy one so it’s worth not being able to see most if not all of game three. (Having written that, yes my iPad will be with me and yes I will be periodically checking in to MLB At-Bat.)

I do not like the way Erin Andrews does her job. Maybe it isn’t Erin Andrews and maybe it’s the nature of the position she holds but when you can’t change your line of questioning based on how the game is going that’s a problem for me. Wacha was pretty good last night, absolutely, but he showed himself to be touchable. The guy who pitched ridiculously good and saved the game for the Cardinals was Trevor Rosenthal. So when it was time to interview him after the game Andrews decides to keep with the storyline of the evening and ask him about Wacha before anything else. I really don’t understand the idea of asking one player about another player until you’ve at least asked him a few questions about HIS playing first. (Fox is notorious for this. It’s always about the flavor of the moment and not about what has actually happened in the game.)

Since Jonny Gomes now has played in a playoff game this year where the Red Sox lost, does that mean Daniel Nava will be allowed to start game 3? Can we get a petition started and send it to John Farrell? (I love ya, Jonny, but you’re killing me…)

I’ve said this for years* and it’s still true: After 2004 and then 2007, I have a very difficult time getting upset over baseball-related things like losing one game…even if it is in the World Series.

All in all, I hate to see the Red Sox lose and this, at the very least, annoyed me but it hasn’t disheartened me. On the way into work this morning my Red Sox hoodie triggered a bus-wide discussion of last night’s game and the entire season, really, with the bottom line seeming to be for most that right now we’re, as they say, playing with the house’s money and while it stinks to watch your team lose, seeing them come as far as they have has been reward enough for sticking with them through September 2011 and all of 2012…so whatever else we get from here on out is pretty much gravy.

*The one sure way to get me out of any kind of post-losing funk is for me to sit back and realize that I can begin a sentence with “I’ve said this for years…” in regard to talking about the last time the Red Sox won the World Series. I need to keep remembering how much it means to me that my father, who will turn 79 during the 2014 season, lived 69 years before seeing his favorite team win it all…and now he’s seen them win it twice with a good chance of seeing them do it a third time. (I should mention that my mother waited just under 58 years and is just as passionate about them as he is!) Remembering the looks on both of their faces on October 27, 2004 brings both smiles and tears…and I’m eternally optimistic that we’ll be celebrating this team this October as well.

October 25, 2013 Posted by | 2013 | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Flashback Entry

I took this in 2009

I took this in 2009

Written on July 18, 2009…probably the last entry I wrote while I was at WEEI.com that I really poured my heart into.  Another of my many “rants” that runs a bit long!

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(Preemptive warning here: I’m still with fever but the Erin Andrews story pissed me off enough to get me up to write. My apologies if some of this comes across as rambling.)

I’ve made no secret of my feelings toward Heidi Watney. I think she does a poor job. I’ve heard grade-schoolers ask better questions. But she’s beautiful and that’s all that really matters in the business she’s in, so I have to suffer through her if I want to watch a Red Sox game on NESN.

Regardless of how I feel about her professionally, it bothers me to go to various Red Sox blogs and read about her looks and nothing about her talent. I’ve yet to read anyone genuinely critique what kind of job she does, it’s always about how gorgeous she is.

She doesn’t help her cause much (well, I suppose it isn’t her cause is it?) by wearing spiked shoes and thigh-high boots with mini-skirts when she’s on the field. I actually watched her wobble across the infield one day during batting practice, waiting for her to fall on her ass because that certainly looked like she was going that way in the high-heeled boots. Every time I wonder why sports bloggers don’t take her seriously and only focus on her looks, I remember that day and figure it’s what she wants. She gets the paycheck and the notoriety…why would she care if people think she can do her job or not?

Continue reading

July 27, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Welcome to Boston, Daniel Nava!

The Money Shot - Courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

The Money Shot - Courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

I’ve spent the better part of this morning reading and re-reading stories about Daniel Nava.  He has such a great story that folks really should get to know him.  It’s a poor blogger who directs her readers to other blogs or websites and takes the traffic away from herself, but that’s what I’m doing this Sunday morning because I really can’t do those stories as much justice as their original authors.  So here we go:

First up is Dan Hoard.  Dan is the PawSox radio and tv broadcaster whose blog you should be already reading if you have any interest in the guys in Triple-A.  His blog is funny and insightful and full of neat little bits of trivia.  He’s written a lot about Nava and all of it is great stuff.

I watched the game from home with my niece and when he came up to bat was explaining his story and how he hadn’t been drafted and how long he had been working to get to the big leagues and how intimidating it must be to have your first at-bat in the bigs be with the bases loaded.  I barely had time to begin the story when he hit the ball.  My niece, 8 and still learning all there is to learn about baseball says to me “Wow he swung at the first pitch” as we both watched it go into the Red Sox bullpen.  Then we jumped up and down yelling “Grand slam! He hit a grand slam!” like most of Red Sox Nation did.  After all he’s gone through to get to this point, I can’t even imagine his euphoria at the demand for a curtain call on his first day in MLB.  There aren’t enough words to describe my happiness for him.

On to WEEI…Joe Castiglione told Nava to “hit that first pitch out” before yesterday’s game only to be one-upped by Victor Martinez who called the grand slam just before it happened (for the SECOND time in VMart’s career).

Brian MacPherson sums it all up nicely in his column from yesterday:

Close to 20 years later — and more than 100 pounds later, too, for a young man who didn’t really start to grow until he’d already been cut at Santa Clara — Nava hit a grand slam in front of more than 37,000 fans at Fenway Park. He sprinted around the bases half in disbelief just the way he had when he hit his first home run as a 70-pound runt in high school.

Dan Hoard has been telling the story of Nava leaving a ticket at each game for Erin Andrews all season. Yesterday the folks who run the WEEI Twitter account contacted Erin through Twitter to let her know about Daniel, his ticket and his accomplishment. Erin, showing more class than she probably should have, responded politely:

have Dave Obrien pass along my best to Daniel!! Congrats on a big day that will go down in Sox history! Hope to meet him soon!

WEEI’s pimping aside, it would make a great footnote to all that’s happened to Daniel this weekend.

And my last link of the day:  Fortunately for us, Kelly O’Connor was there to document the day in photographs.  As you would expect, she got some beautiful shots!

Today is not a day to dwell on things like the fact that we now have two of our starting pitchers on the DL…today is a day to appreciate the accomplishments of someone who decided not to give up and who had his shining moment on national television for all to see.  Regardless of what happens next, Daniel Nava’s is a story you can tell your kids to show them that even the smallest have a place in the world and even if it looks like your dream is unachievable, it’s never too late to give it a go.

June 13, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , | 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.

Continue reading

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

You learn to live like an animal in the jungle where we play

How happy is HE?  (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

How happy is HE? (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

So I was able to watch both of Wednesday’s press conferences as they happened and one thing struck me about both Mike Cameron and John Lackey – I suddenly became overwhelmingly excited about having both of them on the team.

For different reasons.

Cameron just seemed so damn happy to be sitting there.  He couldn’t contain his smile when Theo announced Tito would give him his jersey and cap and he couldn’t get that jersey on quickly enough.  (As an aside…I have two jerseys with the number 23 on them:  one has Brian Daubach’s name on it and the other has no name but has Luis Tiant’s autograph.)  He has a positive history with Tito, said all the right things at the presser and was even seen buying his kids Sox gear at the Yawkey Way store after everything was finished.  Cameron will be 37 in January so it isn’t like I’m expecting the guy to make it onto the All Star team in 2010, but he’s talented and hard working and from what everyone says is a great clubhouse presence.  What’s not to like?

Lackey won’t ever be mistaken for a joyful Fenway Ambassador but he knows how to handle himself at a press conference.  Before I go on, let me just say, jokes about his looks are getting really old.  If you’re having trouble wrapping your mind around supporting a player because you don’t like the way he looks – you have bigger issues than I can deal with – tell me you don’t like his attitude, tell me you’re worried about his health, tell me you have difficulties rooting for someone who has been a bit of a rival for a long time and I’m good with all of these – I get that he’s not Adonis (although I’m not repulsed by his looks by any stretch – some people are being downright nasty about him).  And I really couldn’t care less.  The man can pitch the shit out of the ball and that’s all I really care about.  Also a shout-out to the Yankees fans who emailed me laughing that Lackey can’t pitch in Fenway – I’m not even going to get into statistics (which, especially over the last two years, don’t support your comments) but I’ll just say this – he’s never pitched at Fenway wear a Sox uniform.  I don’t have one concern that he’ll have trouble performing at Fenway come April.  Also, it seems that his New Hampshire-native wife might have been a factor in his choosing to sign with the Sox.  More power to him AND her.  Go figure, a married couple making life-changing decisions together.  What will they think of next?

So for now I’m happy.  Cameron and Lackey have a lot to do with that but the fact that I’m choosing to ignore all the trade talk (not rumors or facts, just talk) regarding Jacoby and Clay.  I’m not quite ready to go there just yet.

(Fake Edit):  I wrote this entry last night and never published it.  Before I logged on today to do just that, I read this article regarding the sentencing of Erin Andrews’ stalker.  If you never read one word written about Andrews, you should at least read Anna Clark’s take on the situation (and the use of women as sideline reporters in general).  It sickens me that there are so many asses out there (just read almost any sports message board or the comments on any blog that discusses this) or that Andrews  was involved in it to  promote herself.  She was victimized and it shouldn’t happen to anyone.  She shouldn’t be afraid to do her job because of sick twists like this asswipe.  I’m win Erin, I hope the ass gets as much time as the law allows.  But I’m  not holding my breath on that one.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | 4 Comments

Talking to myself and feeling old

Photo of "Gonzi" (oh Tito.  You and your nicknames.)  courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Photo of "Gonzi" (oh Tito. You and your nicknames.) courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Very happy with two wins in a row.  Less happy about the rain pouring down on us right now that will, almost definitely, cancel tonight’s game (if for no other reason than I’d like to see Beckett get one more game in before the playoffs begin) but what are you going to do?

Two things that made me happy yesterday:

*  CC Sabathia got his hat handed to him by the Rays, hopefully cementing the Cy Young Award for Zach Greinke (or at least making sure he put himself out of the running for it)

*  Someone found my blog by Googling “Brett Myers is an asshole”

*  The asswipe who videotaped Erin Andrews was arrested.

1 thing that made me angry yesterday:

*  The Indians using Alex Gonzalez for target practice.  If we lose him for the playoffs I might have to find a Cleveland fan and punch them.  (Okay, probably not.  But only because I don’t know any Cleveland fans.)

I’m actually going out to enjoy this lovely day (hey I dig the rain as long as I’m not sitting in the middle of a park getting soaked) and then tomorrow, rain or shine, I’ll be at Fenway for the final game of the regular season.    If it’s possible to be happy and sad at the same time, that’s where I’ll be tomorrow.

October 3, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | 1 Comment

Nobody gets too far like that

(Preemptive warning here: I’m still with fever but the Erin Andrews story pissed me off enough to get me up to write. My apologies if some of this comes across as rambling.)

I’ve made no secret of my feelings toward Heidi Watney. I think she does a poor job. I’ve heard grade-schoolers ask better questions. But she’s beautiful and that’s all that really matters in the business she’s in, so I have to suffer through her if I want to watch a Red Sox game on NESN.

Regardless of how I feel about her professionally, it bothers me to go to various Red Sox blogs and read about her looks and nothing about her talent. I’ve yet to read anyone genuinely critique what kind of job she does, it’s always about how gorgeous she is.

She doesn’t help her cause much (well, I suppose it isn’t her cause is it?) by wearing spiked shoes and thigh-high boots with mini-skirts when she’s on the field. I actually watched her wobble across the infield one day during batting practice, waiting for her to fall on her ass because that certainly looked like she was going that way in the high-heeled boots. Every time I wonder why sports bloggers don’t take her seriously and only focus on her looks, I remember that day and figure it’s what she wants. She gets the paycheck and the notoriety…why would she care if people think she can do her job or not?

Why bring this up now? Because there’s a national female sideline reporter who I happen to think does a good job. Like Heidi, she’s beautiful and dresses to accentuate that. Unlike Heidi (at least from where I stand), she’s well-versed in baseball, asks intelligent questions and doesn’t seem like she’s out of her league working on ESPN. I like Erin Andrews. Have for a while. She doesn’t make me want to stick icepicks in my ears nor does she make me want to turn the channel when she’s on. These are good things.

This week, some slimeball videotaped Erin Andrews through a keyhole peephole? (how they did it is still unclear to me) while she was in a hotel room and then posted it on the Internet. After initially jumping on the story and posting links to the video, the likes of Deadspin have decided to get all high and mighty about this, but their type of blog is exactly what encourages idiots to do this. Even this website, which employs possibly the best Celtics writer around, Jessica Camerato, occasionally perpetuates the “women don’t like/don’t know about sports” myth and use it for “humor”.

Bandwagon fans are “pink hats” because women don’t know about sports. It’s all right to joke about who Heidi Watney might be dating but don’t ever speak of the players stepping out on their wives. I’ve been told that I don’t like Heidi because I’m jealous. I’m not. I take my baseball, relatively, seriously, and I, at the very least, expect the people working on a baseball broadcast to do the same. (In all fairness, I’d like to start a petition to get Ramiro off of my NESN post-game shows. See? It isn’t a gender issue – it’s a talent one!) What really gets me is the accusations of jealousy come from the same people who post nothing on their own blogs about Heidi except to talk about how beautiful she is. I’m jealous because I think she does a lousy job but those men are more upstanding because they post their fantasies about her? Sorry. No.

Hey, I get that the world of sports (and sports reporting) is run (and OVERrun) by men and even in 2009 there really isn’t anything I can do about that no matter how hard I try. (Amalie Benjamin Tweeted last week that she was at a Baseball Writer’s meeting and she was only one of two women in attendance. That’s discouraging to anyone.)

When you showcase photos of half-naked women on your site even though what you’re writing about has nothing to do with them; when you write about what you’d like to “do” with the local, lovely sideline reporter; when you joke about women being second-class citizens who just get in the way of your sports watching – well you all are what creates the idiot who decided that secretly taping Erin Andrews in her hotel room was a good idea. Because you allow jokes to be made about women and because you continue to objectify them in the most demeaning ways – this jerk knew the moment he put the video online you’d all scoop it up.

On Twitter yesterday and today many were lamenting that they couldn’t find the video online. People I follow because I respect their opinions were disappointed they couldn’t find this stalker footage. I actually had someone tell me last week that they were “unfollowing” me on Twitter because I posted that I was tired of people calling a man who cheated on his wife a “hero” (Steve McNair). Heaven forbid you call out the men in these situations, right? (And, to be clear, I certainly don’t think McNair deserved death. But people referring to him as a “hero” both in print and at his funeral made my stomach turn.) I wonder if the guy who stopped following me on Twitter was one of the many feverishly scouring the Internet for the Erin Andrews video?

So what does all this have to do with Heidi Watney? I’ve decided to give her a break. Because someday, just like Erin Andrews, she’s going to have some sleazoid, psycho following her around and, regardless of what she does to bring attention to herself, I don’t think anyone deserves that. She’s young. She’s getting ahead the only way she knows how and it’s working for her. Who am I to judge? Just because I think she’s unqualified for her job doesn’t mean I need to be picking on her.

I realize I’m preaching to the choir here. Most of my readers are well-rounded, sports fans who can appreciate the attractiveness of others without degrading them in the process. Most know that women can be as knowledgeable about sports as men and that you can criticize without personalizing it. I’ve already mentioned that I like Erin Andrews so having this happen to her bothers me. But it would bother me even if it had happened to Heidi. Maybe even more given that would almost guarantee it was a Red Sox fan who did it. If this was a video of, say, Chris Rose from Fox Sports, just a video of him walking around his hotel room, what kind of reaction would it have received? Most of the mainstream sports blogs probably would have ignored it or would have reported it for the creepy invasion of privacy that is is…not promote it like eye candy.

It saddens me that women still have to fight for a little bit of respect. It frustrates me that I have to write about it. It pisses me off that tomorrow another sports blog or website will post photos of sideline reporters or an athlete’s girlfriends and encourage discussion about how hot they all are and what they’d like to do to them. For every step forward there’s another step back.

July 18, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment