No one ever questions the fan who claims one of the superstars of the game as his or her favorite player. This is why they’re superstars, because their talent and their fame create an aura of perfection that people want to be near. I understand the allure and fall victim to it plenty. But for me, and for many of my friends, one of the things that makes baseball so enjoyable is watching the players who don’t get all the publicity. The ones who don’t get their jerseys sold in the fan store. The players low enough on the totem pole that they have to make all the appearances at fan meet and greets and the ones who get relegated to “you’re signing autographs before the game so we look more fan friendly” status.
So you can imagine my delight (and that of many of my friends!) to see that Javier Lopez is becoming the darling of the 2010 playoffs.
Nothing like watching a well-pitched game, huh?
Eesh. So much for the pitchers’ duel. 18 runs, 25 hits and six errors in Game 1 of the World Series. It was both ugly (Cliff Lee looking like a pitcher I wouldn’t mind the Yankees picking up, in spite of the incessant ball washing of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver) and beautiful (Freddy Sanchez with four hits, three of them being doubles off of Lee, and three RBI). I was sad to see Vlad Guerrero floundering in the outfield but happy to see Javier Lopez pitch yet another scoreless inning. This World Series is a puzzle for me because I’d like both teams to do well. Last night, though, in spite of Barry Bonds sitting in the stands waving like he had anything to do with this, I was rooting for the Giants.
I’ve decided that I want this series to go seven games with the home team winning each game. That will be entertaining baseball and this way the deserving fans of both teams will get to enjoy it (at least at home)!
It’s an odd sensation, not having any true negative feelings for either team, but I’m getting a kick out of stress-free baseball…and we get more tonight!
A programming note: Fox starts these broadcasts now at 7:30 so if you’re expecting to throw the game on at 8:20 and see it just beginning, you’ll miss at least an inning of play. I think it’s great that someone finally realized if they start the show at 7:30 the actual game could begin by or before 8pm. Although it’s been pointed out to me by many that they are starting the weekday games late compared to the game scheduled for Saturday. Game 3 in Texas is scheduled to begin at 6:30pm. You’d think it would make more sense to schedule an earlier game during the week so more people could watch the whole thing than on a weekend but I suppose they’re looking at it as more people being able to make an 8pm game at the park on a weekday. In any event, I think it’s an improvement but they still have work to do.
I’ve enjoyed this postseason so far but, honestly, I still miss my Red Sox.
My only real concern about the World Series was that we were going to be watching a Phillies/Yankees series…again. Amazingly, the baseball gods decided not to put us all through that…again…and we get a Giants/Rangers World Series. You won’t hear me complaining.
I can’t imagine that Fox Sports is too thrilled with this matchup but, really, screw ’em. Baseball fans get to watch two absolutely deserving teams play it out and we get spared all the hyperbole that surrounds any Yanks or Phillies game. For the first time in a while, I don’t have a team to root against. I can just enjoy the games for what they are. I’m looking forward to that.
I honestly don’t have a real preference here. I like the story the Rangers have. Never been to the World Series, only won two playoff games ever at home, they’re fans seem devoted and loyal…not much to dislike there (I am aware that my dislike of Josh Hamilton is not shared by most of the baseball watching public and I’m not letting it really affect how I feel about the Rangers in the World Series. We’ll see how long that lasts). As far as the Giants go, aside from their attachments still to Barry Bonds, I have no reason to root against them either. I am genuinely happy that Javier Lopez is getting another trip to the World Series and there are a lot of likable players on the team. Their fans seem pretty devoted without being jerky as well. Javi really is what tips the scales for me.
Go Giants! (But, really, the Rangers winning won’t be the worst thing to ever happen. It feels so weird to REALLY not care which team wins.)
I hope it goes 7 games. We need the season to be stretched out as long as it can.
Still processing that the season for the Sox has ended. Watching “Four Days in October” last night helped and hearing Don Orsillo calling the Rangers/Rays game does too.
Given that I don’t really dislike any of the teams in the playoffs except for one, for the most part I’m in the “Anyone but the Yankees” camp. There are three games on television today, though, so I might as well make some picks (idea kind of lifted from Metsgrrl who mapped out her choices over at her blog). I’m only picking by series, though, so here’s what I’d like to happen in the Division Series.
Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays: I’m torn. I despise the cowbells which means I’m not fond of most Rays fans (not all, though. I know a few I consider good fans and part of me is happy for them) so every Rays loss means we’re closer to no more freaking cowbells until April 2011. That I can get behind. (Also, I will always dislike James Shields for many reasons but mostly his dumbass nickname. Once the Rays are out of it, no one will be mentioning “Big Game” James. Who could root against that?) The only thing I have against the Rangers is Josh Hamilton. I don’t want to hear what a wonderful story he has for the next month. Any time someone starts talking about Josh Hamilton and his issues, it makes me want to start using drugs. That’s probably not what he had in mind when he shared his story, huh? I’m going with the Rangers. Cliff Lee making his way through the playoffs makes me happy. I won’t be devastated if the Rays win, but if the baseball gods love us even a little than they will spare us the idiocy that is adults ringing cowbells.
Cincinnati Reds v Philadelphia Phillies: I don’t hate the Phillies but I’m really just sick of them. The only things that make me not want to root for the Reds are Dusty Brown and Jonny Gomes. If Gomes pulls something in his first appearance and can’t play the rest of the post-season, I’ll be a happy gal. I’m rooting for the Reds. Gomes and Baker aside, I like their fan base and I think a fan base as loyal as theirs should get to enjoy more than one round of the playoffs. It doesn’t hurt that Bronson Arroyo is with the Reds, not at all. Okay, who am I kidding? I want Bronson to get another ring. I do. I do. I do. I do. There, I said it.
New York Yankees v Minnesota Twins: I’m all about the Yankees. (Man, I couldn’t even type that with a straight face!) I don’t just want the Twins to beat the Yankees, I want Joe Girardi to get thrown out of every game. I want Derek Jeter to throw his shoulder out while he’s fist pumping. I want Slappy to tear a few muscles in the groin area. I want CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte to all give up over ten hits and ten runs. I want Mark Teixeira to bat .000 and Nick Swisher to have 17 errors. I WANT THE TWINS TO DESTROY THE YANKEES! That is all.
Atlanta Braves v San Francisco Giants: Honestly? I couldn’t care less. There are ex-Sox on the Braves (Lowe, Gonzalez, Wagner, Hinske, heck even Ross) AND on the Giants (Lopez, Ramirez, Renteria, Sanchez), so I could develop a fondness for either team. Do I have to pick one? Let’s see, Tomahawk Chop versus panda hats…I’m going to have to give this one to San Francisco. Plus, seeing Javier Lopez in the post season makes me unreasonably happy. Not exactly a good rationale for choosing the Giants but there you have it.
I’m watching the Rangers take David Price for five runs in five innings so far. I hope every game today has a similar scenario!
Yesterday, someone I follow tweeted only half-jokingly that there was worry to be had over the Red Sox under-performing in Spring Training this year. (Before today’s game began, the Sox had 9 wins and 12 losses.) Honestly? I don’t care if they lose every game from here on out before April 4th. Save it for when it counts. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that Clay Buchholz’ 10+ era makes me less than happy. Still, come April 4th, no one will care about what happened in Spring Training and we’ll just be focused on what’s going to happen all summer.
Having written all that, it pleased the heck out of me that Josh Beckett pitched so well today against the Pirates (9 strikeouts in five innings). Now let’s finish up these games and start the damn season.
As you can see, there are some changes here. I’ve agonized over this for a few weeks and finally came up with something I like. Which means, I know, that there will be many who don’t like it and to you all I apologize but I’m hard enough to please (when it comes to things like this anyway) so there’s no way I’m pleasing everyone. I feel like, finally, I have the blog the way I want it (and I finally found a use for that Green Monster photo I took that I like so much!).
You might have noticed that I have a Formspring widget added to the sidebar. A lot of people have been asking about doing something like it and since I have the time right now I figured I’d give it a shot. You don’t need to sign up for anything, just type in the question and send it anonymously (and it truly is anonymous) and, when I think of it, I’ll answer the questions. You can find the first batch of questions (and my responses) here. I’m a little behind in answering questions but I should be getting on track soon.
I got my first pair of Sox tickets in hand today (special thanks to Red Sox Hen who won them in a raffle and passed them along to me) and it really got me excited about this upcoming season. So far, I’ll be at 6 games this season (two, Opening Day and the last game of the season are invites, one is the raffle game and the other three are singles I’ve purchased myself). I’m sure that number will, eventually, balloon but for now I’m taking it a little slow.
And finally, checking in on old friend Javier Lopez, we get some good news out of the Pirates camp: Javi’s wife had their first child, a daughter named Kylan Gabrielle, born last Friday. (Thanks to KellyO for passing along the info as I wasn’t listening to today’s game.) It’s always nice to hear good news. Congrats to Javi and the missus on their new addition. Here’s hoping she never becomes a Yankees fan.
Today is a good day to sit inside and watch a baseball game! At least it is where I live. Ice cold rain pouring down and wind whipping all around – I’m ready to settle in and watch Clay Buchholz pitch against the Pirates at 1:05pm (on NESN!!! Also on MLB.tv and Gamday Audio for those not in the NESN viewing area).
According to the Pirates, Javier Lopez will be pitching at some point in today’s game. Javi too quickly became a whipping boy with many Sox fans but he’ll always have a special place in my heart so I just hope he pitches well today AND the Sox still end up with the win (I can have it both ways!).
Tomorrow’s game against the Twins is also on NESN (and, like today’s game, on tape-delay over at MLBN) and then the next game NESN gets is the Mets/Sox game at City of Palms Park on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m seriously considering live-blogging (or chatting if folks show up!) the St Patrick’s Day game (1:05 ET) – I need to get back into live blogging mode anyway and I’m going to be around. I have no idea if anyone ELSE will be around for the live blog but if you are, come on by! I’ll have a few friends at that game so maybe we can even get some in-game, first hand accounts of the action!
I have four days to get my fingers ready for the speed typing of the live blog/chat! I’d better get to warming up!
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!
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.
So much to cover on this Friday morning:
First I have to give a special thanks to KellyO for sharing her good fortune of offered tickets and bringing me along to sit in field box seats behind the Red Sox dugout last night. The seats were amazing, we had a pretty good crowd around us and we had the perfect view of Nick Green’s triumphant pitching debut! As we left the game and walked down Yawkey Way we both realized that we were leaving a Red Sox loss with smiles on our faces and laughing. Looking around, the folks who stuck it out for the entire game seemed to have the same attitude. No one ever wants to watch their team lose a game but given that the Red Sox soundly won this series 3 games to 1, it felt fine to revel in the visual of Nick Green on the mound. Guy did all right too – after two innings pitched, his ERA is zero and he only walked 3. Not a bad night on the mound for a relief pitcher, huh? (MLB.com tells us that Green is the first position player since 1944 to pitch 2 or more innings for the Red Sox and not allow a hit. Billy Wagner should watch his back!)
Meanwhile in Pawtucket, my man Kyle Snyder pitched himself quite the game only to end up with a no-decision (the PawSox took the series, winning both games). In spite of seeing the glory of Nick Green’s pitching, I’m still a bit disappointed I didn’t get to see Kyle. Heck, maybe he’ll get a September call up and I’ll make a day trip to CitiField before the season is over? In any event, Kyle’s doing well with Buffalo regardless of the season they’re having and for that I’m very happy.
Two bad final scores (for the PawSox and the Red Sox) and the annoying news that the Red Sox picked up Porno Paul Byrd couldn’t ruin the good night that I had. Headed down to Pawtucket early to hang with KellyO and then wait in the rain to get into McCoy Stadium for their annual autograph night.
They had ten tables set up with players, coaches and mascots at each one ready to sign. When we approached Javier Lopez, Kelly thanked him for signing Steve and he responded by telling her what a great photographer she was. The night only got better when Kris Johnson’s dad approached her and asked her if she was Sitting Still and then went on to not only also compliment her on her photos but ask if he could get some to print up because he likes the photos so much. Because of time constraints and the amount of people who showed up, we didn’t get to the table where KJ was signing so his dad took the pics Kelly had brought of Kris and promised to get them signed for her. He was amazingly sweet and seemed sincere. It was a treat to be there when a player and a member of a player’s family both gave KellyO the props she deserves for her wonderful photographs.
I got to tell Javi that he was missed in Boston. Hey, I miss him so I was being sincere. The PawSox are struggling this year (unlike last year when they were playoff contenders, the only team in their division worse than them right now is the Buffalo Bisons) and it didn’t surprise me to hear Javi say he misses being in Boston. I also got to thank the players for taking the time to do the signing. It was an awful lot of fun and now my 8 year-old niece has a poster with a bunch of autographs of the “young guys who aren’t Red Sox players yet”. She’s happy…I’m happy…in spite of the scores, it was a good night.
We didn’t stay for the entire game because we had a train to catch – and because the fourth inning alone seemed to last about two hours – but we got to see Michael Bowden’s entire appearance. It’s fair to say that Wednesday night wasn’t a good night for pitching in Pawtucket. (Final score at McCoy: 8-7 Norfolk.)
And now we head into the Bronx for four games. I’ve already decided I won’t be live blogging any of the games. Regardless of whether I want to admit it, the games stress me out too much to put the focus of a live blog on them as well. So on Thursday we get John Smoltz v Joba Chamberlain. I have no idea what to think of this game…I just hope Joba keeps his pitches from hitting Youk. Injuries and suspensions this team certainly doesn’t need.
My hope is for a split of this series. My dream is for the Sox to take the series and I don’t even dare to think about a sweep. One game at a time. Here’s hoping Smoltz pitches well enough to win and the offense lets loose on Joba.
|Javier Lopez in Pawtucket. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.
I have odd residual feelings from last night’s game. I’m happy the Sox one. I’m thrilled that Papelbon pitched the ninth inning the way a closer is supposed to pitch and I’m especially pleased with the way Jon Lester pitched. Having written all of that, I woke up this morning feeling like the Sox had lost last night. I get that the Royals are a major-league team. They aren’t going to go 0-162 on the season so there will be teams that they beat and teams that they play hard – but watching the last two games was almost painful.
Today I want an ugly beat down by the Red Sox. John Smoltz is on the mound and he’s yet to have that game where everyone will be congratulating themselves for bringing him to Boston. I’d like to see that game happen today. I’m not asking for a no-hitter, hell I’m not even asking for a shut-out. I just want a fabulously pitched game that leaves the Royals depressed and makes the Sox want to go out and celebrate. And a win. I really, really want a win.
Last night I missed Kyle Snyder pitch in Pawtucket. I knew the possibility of that happening was great but I was still a little bummed I didn’t get to see it, especially considering that he and Javier Lopez were pitching against each other. There’s something cosmically perfect about that scenario. The Bisons, incidentally, took both games from the PawSox. Given that the Bisons are 31-53 and the PawSox are 43-42, I’m okay with being happy for the Bisons. Now that they’ve left town, back to wanting the PawSox to dominate. (The PawSox are in 3rd place, 6.5 games out of first. PLENTY of time to make that up!) Charlie Zink is on the mound tonight against the Syracuse Chiefs. Hey, the game doesn’t start until 6:05pm. Hit the road and go take in a minor league game!
I fell asleep last night while watching the Yankees pounding on the Angels. I was disappointed that the Sox (well, their pitching anyway) toughed out such a win only for it to be, essentially, voided by the Yankees winning. How wonderful to wake up and find that the Angels fought back to win 10-6. Peter Abraham has an interesting take on young Justin Chamberlain:
Girardi defends the right-hander and the decision to use him as a starter, etc. Girardi thinks it’s unfair that “so much attention” is paid to Joba.
But part of that he brings on himself with the many commericials and his persona. Which is fine, but at some point you need to back that up.
Well put. They can tout this guy as the next greatest thing and TREAT him like he’s some superstar and then complain when he continues to come up short and the media points this out. If he wants the benefits of being over-rated by the Yankees then he has to take the negatives that come along with it. Then again, I’m becoming a fan of all the Joba criticism. I hate to see most any young guy get piled on when he’s down but in the case of Joba I’m more than willing to make an exception.
We have two games left before the All Star break. I’m still debating the possibility (and the point) of live blogging the ASG. The Red Sox also have the Thursday after the break off, which means after Sunday, and not including the All Star game, we’ll be going four games without Red Sox baseball. My eye is starting to twitch just thinking about it.