Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

How About That?

This Week in Baseball starts up again tomorrow with a heavy focus on the trip to Japan.  Should be some good viewing.

As a kid, TWiB was the only thing connecting me (and pretty much everyone else) to baseball outside of my own team.  I loved watching the bloopers and all the great plays but I especially liked hearing about what other teams were doing in the league.  In the pre-ESPN and internet days, it’s all we had to go on besides baseball cards!  While we know a lot more about each team now, it’s still a fun watch.  Be forewarned, you’ll have to sit through some Yankee Stadium stuff too, but all in all I think it’s worth checking out tomorrow.

It’s pouring out right now.  The kind of morning you wake up and think, “Damn, no way they’re playing tonight!” and then remember that they’re in Toronto so it’s all good.

Baseball tonight.  At 7:05!!!!  No afternoon game on a weekday – no 10pm game – no 6AM game – 7:05pm people – be there!

On a note unrelated to baseball – today marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  I read somewhere once that 1968 was considered the ‘worst year’ in American history for all that happened during it.  I was supposed to be born in January of 1969 and made it under the wire by a few days.  A 1968 Christmas present for my folks or “pretty much the only good thing that happened that year” as I’ve been told.  So the events of 1968 have always affected me deeply.  As if there was a reason for my being born that same year when I wasn’t supposed to be.  I think it’s what triggered my nerdiness for history.  As I turn 40 at the end of the year, I’ve been very reflective on the events of that time.

So I urge you to seek out an article on what happened forty years ago today in Memphis.  Just to remember how bad things were, how much things have changed – yet how much work there still is to do.

mlk-memorial.jpg
Photo taken from AFSCME

“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

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April 4, 2008 Posted by | 1968, Miscellaneous | , , | 6 Comments

A Good Decision

So I get excited for baseball and settle in to watch the game on ESPN last night.  I had started to develop a headache, but chalked it up to a full weekend and weird sleep patterns.  But game time, the headache hadn’t gone away.   I watched the ceremonial first pitch get thrown out.  I also watched the likes of Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes standing on the field (and suddenly remembered why I’m not such a big Nationals fan).  The game is about to begin and even before the first pitch is thrown, Joe Morgan tells us (and Jon Miller says he agrees) that the season hasn’t started yet because he doesn’t “count” the two games in Japan. Baseball begins when it begins in America.

And that’s when I shut the television off.   Fell asleep not too long after.

So I got a really good night’s sleep and I didn’t have to listen to Joe Morgan all night.  Win/win.

While I understand that the way the season began was more than odd, (Two exhibition games in Japan, the season opener and another game to follow, three exhibition games in Los Angeles…) how ridiculous is it to ignore those games just because they weren’t played in America?  The possible racist and American elitist attitudes Morgan and Miller were displaying aside, were the two teams playing not MLB teams?  Did both those games not count in the standings?   What an arrogant, ignorant way to start off a season of Sunday Night Baseball.

I’m just glad I got some sleep.

On a happier note, Kyle pitched 2 scoreless innings yesterday.  He did give up an unearned run (sorry Clay) but still pitched pretty well.  Buchholz pitched well too, for the most part, until he somewhat imploded.  So let’s hope a normal schedule settles everyone down – including our closer.

March 31, 2008 Posted by | Miscellaneous | , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Travels of Tru – Part VI (The Final Chapter?)

A dear friend of the RSC and frequent commenter here, “Tru” is making the trip to Japan to see both Red Sox games versus the Oakland A’s. Tru was kind enough to offer to contribute his observations on his trip, Japan, and the games.

Here is what I believe to be the final installment* of “The Travels of Tru”:

I can’t thank Tru enough for doing this. I can’t imagine taking the time out of his experience there to write all this down and focus on editing the pictures he sent me. I’d probably have done nothing but sleep and watch baseball. He’s made me feel special and as if I was there with him. I owe him a couple of three beers for this one! 🙂

*Cyn reserves the right to amend this if Tru decides to send us more!

Brenda and Tru outside the Tokyo Dome
(Brenda and Tru in front of the Tokyo Dome!) 

Epilogue

Brenda and I said our goodbyes at the Suidobashi train station. We had a great time and got to see the Sox play baseball in Japan. It was interesting how that kept coming back center stage in each of our minds. It was that kind of feeling an 8 year old has on Christmas morning, opening up that one gift they’d hoped for and got. It was really quite special.

Riding back to Shinjuku station in the overcrowded train, I kept on thinking about how everyone made out on this trip. Clearly, disaster was avoided when AirBud found ½ of his conscience; coaches thankfully made out. The players actually seemed to be enjoying the novelty, and have a memory that will last them a lifetime. The fans for each team got some of what they wanted, as they split the series. And the fans from Japan got Matsuzaka and Okajima. I also believe the vendors made out, as the better Opening Series Japan mementos were pretty scarce; hats were sold out and Brenda and I talked about why they did not have more inventory. I would have liked a cap. I believe both the A’s and Sox organizations profited from the experience. And finally, my good friend and baseball’s moral compass, AirBud made out.

On the way back to the hotel, it is a 10 minute walk from the west exit of Shinjuku station. The place was simply packed. I believe the facility sees more than 3.5 million people per day, ranking it as one of, if not the busiest train stations in the world. A man I saw talking on the train was also headed towards Keio Plaza, and he stopped me and asked if he could take my picture. I was struck by how he thought of me as an oddity of sorts, or possibly a novelty. I was wearing my field warm up jacket and cap. I was in a uniform for the event and Japan likes uniforms.

So he takes my picture, thanks me profusely for having allowed him to, and then presents me his business card. I can only imagine that happening at the Kenmore stop.

Thanks Beazer (Note from Cyn: Yes, I’m “Beazer” 🙂 ) for letting me share some of what we saw and noticed during the last couple of days. The photos were taken with the camera I got Mrs. Tru for Christmas and KellyO was thought of quite a lot when I was trying to hold the camera steady. Last I saw her (and that ferret of hers), she was telling me about the lighting and our position and how it made for challenges in getting a good shot. I hope the images convey a little bit of what it was like inside the Dome.

I’m looking forward to coming home. I miss my wife and kids. And at least at Fenway I do not need to use advanced math to figure out the difference of kilometers per hour and miles per hour on the radar gun.

March 27, 2008 Posted by | Japan Trip, Travels of Tru | , , | 7 Comments

The Travels of Tru – Part V

A dear friend of the RSC and frequent commenter here, “Tru” is making the trip to Japan to see both Red Sox games versus the Oakland A’s. Tru was kind enough to offer to contribute his observations on his trip, Japan, and the games.

Here is the fifth in what will be a six installments of “The Travels of Tru”:

Tuesday March 25th

Who says mass transit stinks?

imlost.jpgBrenda showed up at my hotel and after a quick greeting, “Gee nice to see you here in Tokyo”, we headed via train to the Tokyo Dome. The Japanese train system is indeed the major, most used form of getting around. It is also inexpensive compared to other means. The taxis are immaculate, with drivers sporting white gloves, doily covered head rests, and rear doors that open automatically. It should be noted that tipping for services is not customary in Japan, and to do so is to offer affront.

The pictures taken of the route system map is from thesubwaycar.jpg station next to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office. I took a couple of pictures so you can see how the Japanese can crank up government along with the best of them. The trains are also very clean. While we were on this train around 5 PM, this is not rush hour traffic; the train is a lot emptier than would normally be seen.

So this is where Matsui hit 55 homeruns!

openingserieslogo.jpgAs we approached the Dome, we started to notice a lot of English speaking people, lots of Sox and A’s gear. There were more Japanese people wearing gear for both teams, and excitement about what was to come began to envelop me.

We climbed stairs to take a wide bridge over to the main area outside of the Dome. There was a couple who were learned were celebrating their first wedding anniversary, and we took a photo of them together and in turn, they took a picture of Brenda, me, then the both of us. Later in the game, we saw them on the Jumbo-Tron.

foulball.jpgGetting inside the stadium was interesting. A large uniformed security presence is stationed at each entrance. It was like observing a sports version of TSA. They had metal detectors, and issued small clear plastic bags, which were used to put anything in your pockets into. You had to show this bag to security, and if you carried a back pack, or camera bag, purse, etc., searching those items was random. Yet a highlight of my night occurred early, when a very cute Japanese gal, who was part of the security team asked, “May I please check your body?” It’s been a long time since I’d heard anything remotely tied to the twisted take I applied to her question, and upon further contemplation thought better of it, and kept my mouth shut. Like all things in Japan, the security process had a certain rhythm and cadence, requiring cooperation from the people going to the game, and they willingly obliged from what little we could see.

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March 26, 2008 Posted by | Japan Trip, Travels of Tru | , , | 10 Comments

Incidentally…

….I’ve decided to lift the moratorium on being critical of Jon Lester.

I figured between telling any Kyle Snyder critics to STFU yesterday and the suckfest of Jon today, it was the least I could do. (And you all still need to leave Kyle alone.  I’m nothing if not inconsistent with my “rules”. 🙂 )

Tru has sent me another installment (the final, maybe?) of his travels and I’ll get that up at some point tonight!  (Complete with pictures!)

Shout out and thanks to Cruiser who provided me with the photos below – which are of Brenda and Tru – so you have an idea of who you’re reading about!  (Since I haven’t gotten around to really thanking her yet!)

brenda-and-tru.jpg

March 26, 2008 Posted by | Players, Travels of Tru | , , , | 4 Comments

The Universe Mocks Me

I got more sleep last night than the night before, yet I’m more tired this morning.

Jon Lester is pitching today’s game, which practically ensures it will go five hours.

I almost bought a can of Red Bull to drink on the way in and then changed my mind. (Trying to keep my no Red Bull promise to myself and others.)

TOTALLY regretting that idea right now.

Of course, in an hour or so I’ll be sitting in a bar, watching baseball again and not remembering how lousy I feel right now, so it all works out in the end.

Haven’t read any comments from Kyle in the coverage I scanned this morning. Nice to have a win to take the focus off a bad outing.  It’s nice to not read ignorant abuse.

Today’s a new day, folks. Wake up and watch the baseball!

March 26, 2008 Posted by | Japan Trip | , , | 5 Comments

My Morning

gameonsign.jpg This might be a little sketchy since I’m better at remembering things when I write them down just after they happen. A few hours have gone by – hopefully I don’t miss much.

Might be a long one…have a seat and a Bud. (I realize I’m competing with what will be “Tru and Brenda’s Excellent Adventure” later on – I’m okay with that!)

I was awakened by a pounding on my door at around ten past four this morning. My first reaction? “WHAT?????” And then I remembered that I had asked for a ‘wake up call’ of sorts and that was it.

I slowly got myself ready and ten minutes early the cab shows up.bfastsign.jpg (Considering I was anxious that the cab would be late, early wasn’t so bad.) After a trip to the ATM, “Joe” the cabdriver flew me to Fenway. We were there in less than 20 minutes. I swear I thought he was going to drive right off the side of the bridge, but I made it to “Game On!” in one piece. Only to find five people waiting in front of me for the door to open.

caskatnight.jpgI texted Kelly that there was a line and she responded that she’d see me around 5:30am – when the doors open. I found it interesting that the people in front of me were, at least, a few years older than I and the people behind me (four or five college ‘sophomores’ who were pissed that the Cask wouldn’t let them in because they were all under 21) were so much younger than I. We’re all standing in front of “Game On!” in the dark so, of course, the reporters flock to us. Thankfully, the folks surrounding me were much more colorful than I, so no one asked me for an interview. I’m shy. I’d rather not be on the news, thanks. ~My favorite line from one of the college girls to a reporter: “The Red Sox are going to be number one!!! And the Yankees are going to be number [long pause] THE LAST!” Yeah, thanks for skipping class for this.

While waiting for the doors to open, many of the waitstaff pass by us to get inside. One man in front of me tries to joke with each person going in, “Rise and Shine!”, “We’ll all be here bright and earlypressatfenway.jpg tomorrow too!”, but the staff is having none of it. I made mental notes to try and avoid the stations of all the folks we saw walk inside.

Just after 5:30am, the doors open and we all fall in. By now there is quite a line of people behind me and I’m wondering where to go. After texting Kelly to get her preference, I choose the last booth in the back, upstairs on the left. Except I tell Kelly I’m on the right (hey, it was early!)…luckily, she figures it out and about five minutes after I sit down, she joins me.

It’s ON, baby!

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March 25, 2008 Posted by | Japan Trip | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

One down!

Sox win! I get to see it before heading to work and I thoroughly enjoyed the morning!

Of course, I’ll be asleep by 4pm, but what are you going to do?

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do – the whole thing over again tomorrow! 🙂

I’ll have more this evening (including some photos from “Game On”). For now, let’s bask in the glow of a win!

But first, I have to mention Kyle since most of you are probably expecting me to, right? Gave up the lead…and I felt really sorry for him. (Hey, it’s the first game of the season and way too soon to be upset about a loss, so I focused on the guys for another game!) But, regardless of the homerun, (Jack Hannahan = Evil!) he seemed to have some good stuff, so the numbers aside, I liked what I saw. Now everyone has the Opening Day jitters gone and it’ll only get better.

I made it through the morning on two cups of tea, a cup of orange juice and ice water. No Red Bull just yet.

But the day is young.

March 25, 2008 Posted by | Japan Trip | , , | 7 Comments

The Travels of Tru – Part IV

A dear friend of the RSC and frequent commenter here, “Tru” is making the trip to Japan to see both Red Sox games versus the Oakland A’s. Tru was kind enough to offer to contribute his observations on his trip, Japan, and the games.

Here is the fourth in what will be a few installments of “The Travels of Tru”:

Note from Cyn: It’s 4:18am – there has been no editing of this post. Blame me for any typos.

Epilogue to Ticket Fandango

Yes, lucky indeed!

I got a few emails from the company based in Arizona that had the tickets. They were all over themselves with apologies, and saying they’d make it right. You now know that we were going to get tickets, but where in the Dome was the questions. I mean Brenda can probably see really well, and knowing we were having this 11th hour temple pulsing issue, it would be my luck to be up a few rows above the nose bleed section.

The final email was from a guy named Patrick who gave me his number in Tokyo, along with assurances that he’d have tickets in hand and ready to truck them over to the Keio Plaza Hotel whenever I was willing to meet him there. So, while I was listening to the manufacturing group discuss the issue of power supplies and why we were slipping from 4 months delivery to six, I kind of lost track of the time/space continuum and didn’t seem to care. Despite the contractual obligations I had negotiated with our single largest client back in the States, my priorities immediately shifted to getting the hell out of the office as quickly as possible.

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March 25, 2008 Posted by | Japan Trip, Travels of Tru | , , | 3 Comments

The Travels of Tru – Part III

A dear friend of the RSC and frequent commenter here, “Tru” is making the trip to Japan to see both Red Sox games versus the Oakland A’s. Tru was kind enough to offer to contribute his observations on his trip, Japan, and the games.Here is the third in what will be a few installments of “The Travels of Tru”:

Tuesday March 25th, 4:30 AM…

Well, if there was such a thing as luck, and I was in line to get my share, I’m not sure I would want it.

Here’s the thing. I worked with Brenken over the phones before leaving for Japan to find and secure two seats for tonight’s game. We found them, I bought them and they were shipped to my office in New Hampshire. Okay, all is great. Brenda and I will see both games, of which they will both be a blast, but the real prize, the marquee game if you will is that of tonight’s, where Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his first start in a baseball game since becoming a Boston Red Sox. This is a big deal for the Sox marketing brain trust and that of AirBud and his greed lust minions. It’s IMHO even a bigger deal to the Japanese.

So the tickets I bought did not arrive to my office. Somewhere there was a screw up on the part of the people who shipped the tickets. But not to worry. Since my company is Japanese based, we exchange priority FedEx packages and envelopes all the time. The tickets will be waiting for me when I arrive in Japan. Okay, so I did not say anything to Brenken, because we all know how nervous she gets. As one of the famous Dolly Sisters (yeah, Cruiser is D-2, the other part of that famous tandem), I did not want to alarm her. Well the tickets showed up, and I left them on the desk in my room and opened them a little more than an hour ago.

Oh yeah, luck is with me. They’re seats for the Lester start.

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March 24, 2008 Posted by | Japan Trip, Travels of Tru | , , , | 9 Comments