Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Because we haven’t had enough…

Wasn’t it nice back when none of the players were responding to the criticisms brought about by Bob Hohler’s article?  Remember those halcyon days?

Now we have Jon Lester personally calling just about every sports writer in New England, Josh Beckett and John Lackey releasing statements, yesterday was Jason Varitek fielding softballs from Greg Hill on WAAF and today we get Clay Buchholz on WEEI at 1pm with Lou Merloni.  Hooray for mass communication!

While the players all say that drinking in the clubhouse during a game isn’t a big deal, apparently drinking in the dugout is, as that report is what got Beckett and Lackey to speak up.  Essentially the players are saying, “Sure we drank in the clubhouse but we wouldn’t dream of bringing those cups of beer into the dugout!  The horror!”.

Personally, I find there to be no difference.  If you’re drinking during a game, whether in the clubhouse or dugout, you’re drinking during a game.  It would be nice if these guys would spend more time trying to break down exactly what happened in September since they’re so certain it had nothing to do with drinking or a fractured clubhouse.  My interpretation of what is being said is “We just sucked and there is no reason for it”, which, frankly, doesn’t fly.

All through September I wrote about (and argued) how I absolutely didn’t believe that the team just “stopped caring”.  It was unbelievable to me that a team of professionals could not care about the outcome of the games or the season given how hard they worked.  I still feel like there were plenty of players who didn’t just give up but I feel like I still have to eat my words because frankly, the quotes these guys are tossing out there right now pretty much feel like they’re saying they didn’t care…and that is much more disappointing than the team losing.

I hope Tito is having a cup of green tea this morning, reflecting on what an amazing run he had with the Red Sox and thanking God that he’s away from the mess they have become.

Seven years ago today, the Red Sox won game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, beating the Yankees and confirming their spot in baseball history.  All of this ridiculousness won’t change that but it sure makes me long for those days.

October 20, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekend High

I was trying not to be greedy. I wasn’t really even considering a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles when I wrote that I’d like the Red Sox to go into the All Star break in first place.  I won’t lie, though, sweeping the Orioles in four after the Kevin Gregg show the other night, feels pretty damn sweet.

I received many “that will only bring this team closer together and now they’ll beat you” messages after the basebrawl.  Last night most of the messages were of the “all your team is on steroids” variety.  Interesting reading anyway.

John Lackey stepped up big and while I had high hopes for Kyle Weiland, his ejection yesterday possibly helped the Red Sox.  Hitting Vlad Guererro didn’t seem intentional to anyone but Orioles fans and the home plate umpire, but since the teams had been warned Kyle got the heave-ho, paving the way for Alfredo Aceves to come in and pitch three hitless/scoreless innings.  (Serious question:  Where would this team be without Aceves?  If they still gave away the 10th player award, as of right now he’d be the guy I gave it to.)  After Weiland giving up eight hits in four innings, the Red Sox bullpen (Aceves, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon) combined for five innings, no hits, one walk and seven strike outs.  As bad as the Orioles have been playing, I really looked at the second two of the four games as being their good chances to get wins…and I’m very happy at how wrong I was.

I only have two things to say about Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit. I’m always one who says if I caught a ball that was someone’s first home run or some kind of milestone, I’d most likely give it back without expecting anything. But when that player is Derek Jeter and it is something as big as his 3000th hit, I would expect a whole lot more than the Yankees shelled out to the guy who caught the home run ball. While people are lauding the guy for being unselfish (and, initially I was too), I can’t put out of my mind that Jeter will make millions off of this accomplishment and all this guy really got were tickets for half a season of baseball. Blows my mind.

The other thing is, if I never hear Michael Kay’s voice again, it’ll be too soon. An hour or so after the home run, this is what he had to say: “He needed two hits to get to 3000, he wears number 2, he’s only the second player to get 3000 hits in MLB history and when he hit that home run the clock struck two. (Long pause) I’ll wait for your goosebumps to go down.” Hitting your 3000th hit is very cool. Hitting it for a home run is freaking amazing. Phrasing what you did, Mr. Kay, did NOT bring on goosebumps, just a shrug and a “You can try to make something out of anything these days” attitude from me.  (Which isn’t a commentary on the achievement.  Sure what Jeter accomplished is impressive.  But Michael Kay’s trying to piece together the meaning of “2” really was ridiculous and not goosebump-inducing at all.)

But back to the Orioles for a moment.  After the series was over, Buck Showalter continued his pissing and moaning about the Red Sox and their payroll (Kevin Gregg got the memo about this as well when mentioning payroll in his post game comments) and it gave us a Jason Varitek uncharacteristically humorous quote:

“We have some youth, too. So people can literally kiss my rear end.”

It’s a visual I could live without, but it made me laugh out loud.

Red Sox don’t play until Friday but we get the Big Papi show at the Home Run Derby tonight and by way of players backing out, getting injured or being ineligible to play (sorry Felix Hernandez), we’re sending six guys to the All Star Game (even though Lester won’t be playing).  If you need your Red Sox fix before Friday, you still have these next two days.

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

Good news…

I wouldn’t have written this entry if I didn’t feel strongly about the “It Gets Better” campaign but I will admit to being a little surprised that the Red Sox have agreed to become the third team (behind the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs) to produce a video for the project.  Little Sam Maden did a good thing and the Red Sox (and their fans, given the almost 10,000 signatures on the petition Sam started) responded in kind.  My surprise comes from what seems to be a natural lean away from anything related to LGBT by the world of sports, and I’m pleased to have been proven wrong.  Also, I’m really looking forward to seeing the completed video! Thank you, Sam, Red Sox fans and Boston Red Sox.

Speaking of thanks, Alfredo Aceves deserves a whole bunch of them from Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon and Terry Francona, yes?  Yesterday’s performance was, in my humble opinion, the epitome of clutch and just solidified my belief that he is one person in the bullpen that the Sox can’t afford to lose right now.  When he entered the game, we essentially got another starter just starting later than normal.  How great is that to have waiting in the wings?  Of course, four innings, three hits and one earned run later, it went to JD Drew, he of the Golden Sombrero yesterday, to come up big with the winning hit. Sometimes you just have to shake your head and laugh.

Watching the closer get thrown out of the game in the ninth inning was, to say the least, surreal.  It actually surprised me to find out this is the first time Papelbon has ever been thrown out of a game, even if I couldn’t think of a time when it would have happened.  While I get why Tek was thrown out, even though it stunned me a little, Paps getting tossed was all because the umpire decided to insert himself in the game.  I hate when that happens and I hate even more that they don’t get called on it by the broadcasters or MLB…it’s only the fans (and Tom Caron on Twitter yesterday, hoo-boy).  But we have no time (or reason) to dwell.  They won and today they go for the sweep with John Lackey on the mound and Scott Atchison and Dan Wheeler the only relievers who weren’t used on Saturday.  Today’s game, at 1:35pm, could be a doozy.

I will be at a family event and unable to watch the game live (thanking the technology Gods for my smart phone) but I have no doubt it’s going to be one that we’ll be talking about for a while.

June 5, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Afternoon Delight

While I won’t be able to stay online and type away during a live chat today, I’m still pleased that we get a noon baseball game!  (I’m fine but my left arm needs rest that joining in a live chat would not provide.)

Jason Varitek had what is hopefully not his last truly successful game of the season.  He caught two runners trying to steal and hit his first home run since a year ago.  Even had they not won, that made the night fun, but there’s no denying the win (their first this year against the Indians) was damn fun.

I was pleased that Josh Beckett addressed something that kept getting mentioned on NESN (and Twitter via all the beat writers):  the fact he’d never won a game in Cleveland:

The win was his first in four regular-season starts here, so when one reporter slipped up and forgot about that postseason victory and asked him about his first-ever win here, Beckett was ready.

“I think I won here in the playoffs — it’s not my first win at Progressive Field,” he said. Another reporter clarified it as his first “non-October win” here.

Beckett’s reached for a bottle of his top-shelf sarcasm.

“Those are bigger anyway, aren’t they?” he said.

It might be a small distinction to the people who cover the games, but I kept yelling it at the television (and computer) every time I heard or read it last night. (Also, at the time it was Jacobs Field…nipicky, I know.)  That win was so huge for the team it’s tough to forget.

It isn’t often we get to enjoy a noon baseball game so I’m excited to be able to watch a baseball game in the afternoon and not have to flip between it and the hockey game tonight.  (Yes, I’ve been watching the hockey playoffs, at least somewhat.  I’ve probably managed 2, 2 1/2 periods a game.  I definitely want the Bruins to win, I just wish I actually enjoyed the game more.  I still have a lot of issues with the violent nature of the game and the fans but for now I’ll just hope they end this tonight with a win.)

May 25, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , | 1 Comment

Guess Who's Back?

Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

I had decided quietly that I was going to be okay with the Red Sox not signing Jason Varitek this season.  Not that I don’t love the Captain, I do, but he’s getting older and the Sox already didn’t sign Victor Martinez so I was going to be okay with them using Jarrod Saltalamacchia as their main catcher and some other player as the backup.  It was one of the scenarios I had already braced myself to deal with.  Then Theo goes and messes everything up by re-signing Tek for another year.

To say I surprised myself with my reaction is an understatement.  The first inkling I got was when Peter Gammons tweeted about it yesterday and my initial response, without any thought, was great joy.   I make no secret of my fondness for the players and more often than not I tend to side with players even if it isn’t the best thing for the team…but I wasn’t feeling that way with Tek until I actually read that he was coming back.  I guess a friend on Twitter put it best:

Varitek and Wakefield give me the warm and fuzzy feelings I miss sometimes when viewing sports.

Maybe it really is as simple as that?  (For the record, as ready as I was to say goodbye to Tek, I’m not prepared for Wake.  Maybe that will come at the end of the 2011 season but right now it’s nowhere in sight.)

So we get our Captain for another year and baseball is in the news in December.  Those Varitek t-shirts I saw on the clearance rack on Monday at Sears weren’t the omen I thought they could be.  This is a good way to feel right now.  I like the absence of drama.

December 3, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | 5 Comments

Six years ago…

1030_collage_big

So after telling you all that the first part of the Jason Varitek special was on NESN tonight, I totally missed it.  (Hooray for the dvr, which I set up to record the Red Sox Report replay on Wednesday afternoon.)  I really am hoping it’s just a tribute a long time in coming and not goodbye.  Time will tell.

Tonight we get game 1 of the World Series.  I’m still not absolutely sure which team I’m rooting for.  I’m leaning toward the Giants because I can only think of one reason I really want the Rangers to win…Cliff Lee.  I could be dreaming, but I feel like Cliff Lee winning a World Series might help him in making a decision on where he’ll be in 2011.  Or maybe this will help:

The wife of Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee says she experienced some pretty abusive behavior from Yankee fans, including taunting, cursing, throwing cups of beer and even spitting from the section above.

“The fans did not do good things in my heart,” Kristen Lee told USA Today. “When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it’s hard not to take it personal.”

Now I know fans do idiot things to the friends/relatives of the opposing team in plenty of stadiums throughout sports.  I don’t get it, but I’m sure it happens in more places than Yankee Stadium.  I just think if you’re coveting a certain player, you might want to forgo the insulting of that player’s wife.

What will end up happening is the game will begin and something will happen that will either reinforce that I want the Giants to win, or make me reassess and decide that maybe I want the Rangers to win.  Honestly, I have no overwhelming feelings here yet.  I have to admit, it’s a nice way to go into the World Series.  Go baseball!

But my mind is not on this year’s World Series, really.  For today is the sixth anniversary of the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series.

My memory isn’t always the greatest, but I remember everything about that night.  I remember the moon. I remember the looks on the faces of my parents.  I remember my sister’s voice cracking when she called me after the final out.  While I hope that every sports fan can be as happy as we were on October 27, 2004, I believe that it will be impossible to ever duplicate what went on that October.  And for that, as well as the two World Championships in my lifetime, I will be eternally grateful.

I post the below video a few times a year.  When I saw it for the first time at Fenway Park, I sat in the stands sobbing and it still brings a few happy tears but  I love to watch it and I think it’s a fitting tribute to mark the day.

http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/1922500/red_sox_the_beatles_a_day_in_the_life.swf
Red Sox – The Beatles – A Day In The LifeMore bloopers are a click away

October 27, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Jason Varitek Tributes

Screen grab from the NESN trailer

Screen grab from the NESN trailer

Beginning tomorrow night, NESN will be airing two specials on Jason Varitek and his career.

I’m not here to debate with people what kind of person he is off the field.  I know a lot of people will jump all over the rumors that surrounded him the last couple of seasons.  For the purposes of this discussion, I couldn’t care less about that stuff.  What these specials on NESN say to me is, there is more than a great chance we’ve seen the last of our Captain on the field and that just about rips my heart out.

I know he isn’t the player he used to be, but he’s ours and the idea that he won’t be in that clubhouse in 2011…well, it’s something I was hoping not to have to think about for a while.  Unfortunately, NESN will have none of my denial so tomorrow night at 7:30 the Red Sox Report will begin their two-part series on the Captain.  It’ll be tough to watch without getting emotional, but I’m looking forward to it.  It might be the only thing to look forward to on NESN until Red Sox baseball starts up again.

October 25, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 6 Comments

Blackout

Sometimes it's good to remember that this is for fun! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Sometimes it's good to remember that this is for fun! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Didn’t watch one minute of the Sox/Rangers game last night.  Listened to a few minutes on the ride home but didn’t see any of it.  Which is helpful the day after a game of suck that makes most people punch walls and kick things.  So while I’m bummed by the blown lead (8-2?  Really?  They couldn’t hold an 8-2 lead?) I’m not bothered like I would have been had I watched the game and shut it off as Wake gave up that home run.  I’m thankful for the little gifts in life because had I watched that I’d be pounding this keyboard right now and today I’m not.

Royals beat the Yankees and Orioles beat the Rays.  I saw neither of those outcomes coming.  Good job, fellas.

There’s a small possibility I’ll miss tonight’s game and I’m definitely going to miss Sunday’s.  I don’t mind if I miss a good game (as long as the finish is favorable for us) but even mores so I don’t mind missing a bad one and, regardless of the offensive output by the Sox last night, I really don’t mind having missed that game.

Looks like I missed Jacoby re-injure himself last night.  Can’t decide what bothers me more, that the kid is in that broken-rib type pain again, that the team loses him again, or that I’ll have to listen to/read all the people complaining about how soft he is again.

Since this post has just been a ray of sunshine already, let me brighten it more by sending you to Caryn’s (aka Metsgrrl) blog to read about Rob Dibble.  Let’s just say, I’m grateful that I’ve never encountered that kind of misogyny from Don or Jerry and even though I’m not in their market, I sent MASN a nasty email about it.

It isn’t often that I am thankful for an 8’clock game on a Saturday but today I am.  Go out and enjoy the day, folks, and wash the memories of last night’s game out of your brains.  Jon Lester takes the mound tonight to give us all a little hope.

August 14, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 1 Comment

Send lawyers, guns and money

…because the shit has most definitely hit the fan.

ambulance

If you go to RedSox.com and look up the 40-man roster you’ll find this symbol next to the names of eight players:  icon_dl By Friday morning it will, most likely, be next to ten players.

Josh Beckett, Junichi Tazawa, Victor Martinez, Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida and Mike Lowell are all on the disabled list (Tazawa and Lowrie on the 60-day, the rest on the 15-day).  Supposedly, Manny Delcarmen will be added to that list and Friday, if Dan Roche’s sources are accurate (and Rochie is one Boston sports reporter who I tend to trust implicitly), Jason Varitek will join him on the 15-day disabled list.  Add to that both Mike Cameron and JD Drew being out sporadically with various injuries, Youk and Scutaro being banged up as well as Daisuke Matsuzaka only recently coming back from the DL then watching Clay Buchholz come up lame last week..well you all already know how this has gone this season.

As an aside, the Sox traded Angel Sanchez for Kevin Cash.  Your catcher and back up catcher?  Gustavo Molina and Kevin Cash.

(Edited to add this link to an amazing timeline created by “sibpin” over at the Sons of Sam Horn that shows not only the players who have been on the DL this season, but those who have missed time for various other reasons as well.  It’s quite sobering.)

If I hear one Red Sox fan complain about where the Sox sit in the AL East, I think I might stomp them to death.

July 1, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night…

Tim Wakefield (with Scott Schoeneweis) can finish off the series with a sweep!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Tim Wakefield (with Scott Schoeneweis) can finish off the series with a sweep! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Maybe the Blue Jays are just cranky about their own front office selling them out and giving the Phillies three home games in June that should have been theirs?

Before I gloat about last night’s game, honestly, could they have found a worse way to screw their fans and their team?  I’m sorry but the fact that they’ll use American League rules and that statistically the games will be considered Toronto home games does NOTHING to change the fact that 1) they’ll be playing in front of a Phillies fan base instead of their own and 2) the Jays fans get hosed out of being able to welcome Roy Halladay back.  (Also, the team hosed the fans AGAIN but not giving them refunds but VOUCHERS for another game.  This isn’t like a rain out.  THEY made the decision to move the game and the fans shouldn’t have to be penalized for it.)

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May 12, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | Leave a comment