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.
While I wouldn’t congratulate the Yankees if the lot of them cured cancer, AIDS and herpes all on the same day, I will ask this: Why were people (read: some New York sports writers) complaining that they were celebrating yesterday? They just clinched the damn division – I think that’s worthy of a slug of champagne or two.
Mind you, I didn’t watch one moment of the celebration (thank you, universe, for making sure they clinched on national television so the world could see it) but they earned it so why give them grief about it? I have a list of things I’d rather bitch about the Yankees for doing or not doing – celebrating such an accomplishment isn’t on it.
So now that THAT is over with we can focus on what’s really important: The Red Sox getting into the post-season. They have yet another shot tonight to do it with a win over the Blue Jays coupled with the Angels beating the Rangers. Unfortunately, the Rangers play in California so even if the Sox do win tonight, we won’t know if they’ve clinched the wild card spot until past midnight.
“I feel good right now. I feel like the team, as a hole, is doing well and doing the little things they need to do to win a ballgame. That’s all it does, is it builds confidence when you’ve got everybody running at the same time.”
It’s a great quote, isn’t it? It’s what Clay told the media last night after his win over the Royals. I don’t have the newspaper version of The Boston Globe but the above is taken directly from Boston.com. It might seem like a minor typo to some but there’s a tremendous difference between the words “hole” and “whole” and that, after many comments pointing out the mistake (none by me), they haven’t at least changed it on Boston.com is ridiculous.
Spelling has always been a bit of a big deal in my family. My father, who is retired, enjoys watching NESN or ESPN or CNN -any station that shows a ticker crawling across the bottom of the screen – and finding all the misspellings and typos that these professional stations let go out every day. He’s found a lot of them. I realize the world isn’t perfect and there are people who find things like proper spelling to be tedious. I also realize spelling doesn’t come as easily to some as it does others – but in this day and age of instant information at your fingertips it isn’t that difficult to make sure you’re spelling things correctly.
Sure, I’m just a lowly blogger and I don’t know how difficult professional journalists have it – I get that. But I don’t see why it is so difficult for ANYONE to use spell check or even just pop open another window in your browser and type in, say, http://www.dictionary.com just to make sure you’re spelling certain words correctly.
Everyone has their own voice so I try not to pick on grammar and usage since God knows I destroy many rules of grammar when it comes to my writing style on this blog – but when you spell words wrong that often stops a reader cold and they lose the flow of your words (and when I’ve written for outlets much more formal than a blog, I made sure everything is proper. I was under the impression that part of being a writer was being able to write properly. Silly me.) If Amalie Benjamin wants people to focus on her writing you’d think she’d make sure what she submits is readable. (I don’t know how newspapers work. Do they even use copy editors? I mean is there anyone who went over that column to make sure it was ready to go to print? I know I’m nitpicking but I was really enjoying this particular piece about Clay and reading “hole” was like someone sticking a toothpick in my eye.) God knows I’m not perfect and anyone could take any one of my blog entries and rip it apart for my liberal uses of dashes, ellipsis and parentheses or how I create a new sentence when I could just continue the last one and begin them with conjunctions (I know there are many more infractions on my part and I don’t have enough time to list them!). Then again, I’m not making the big bucks from a outlet as huge and influential as The Boston Globe. Also, a lot of my misuse of grammar rules is a style issue for me. Again, it wouldn’t work in a newspaper, magazine or book – and it makes me crazy when people write that way in those places – but to me a blog is fair ground to play around. As long as you try to spell everything properly! 😉
But I didn’t come here to rip on The Boston Globe and their poor editing skills nor even Amalie Benjamin. I started off the day ready to write a “Oh ye of little faith” post about both David Ortiz and Clay Buchholz. I’m basking in their turnarounds and how well they’ve been performing. And now I’m getting quite giddy at the possibility of the Red Sox clinching their playoff spot over the weekend. Hey, it could happen. I have great faith that it will happen. Tonight’s pitching match-up is Lester v Chamberlain. It seems whenever I make predictions things go horribly wrong (well except for Daisuke last time out) so I’m going to hold off on them. But I’ll just say, if I had to pick a guy to start my first playoff game and my choices were Joba Chamberlain or Jon Lester it’d be a no-brainer. Daisuke Matsuzaka on the mound Saturday against CC Sabathia sure seems like it should intimidate be but somehow it doesn’t. I think that might be the most interesting game of the lot. Sunday…well Sunday’s match-up of Paul Byrd and Andy Pettitte kind of makes me want to cry – but I’m trying to be positive so I’ll hold that all inside.
My plans for the weekend are to catch two out of the three Yankees games with some of the “sistahs”. It’ll be doubly fun to be with good friends and watch the AL East rivalry in all its glory. I received an email last night from a supposed Yankee fan telling me I “should be very afraid”. First of all, regardless of what happens this weekend, it’ll take a pretty horrid meltdown for the Sox to not make the playoffs – so the importance of it is all on us as fans. WE want the wins but they aren’t imperative to the success of this season – not really. And secondly, well, I’m just NOT “afraid” of the Yankees so telling me I should be only results in my being amused that even with such a healthy lead in the division some Yankees fans are still looking over their shoulders.
A series against the Yankees on this beautiful fall day makes for quite the playoff atmosphere, though, regardless of how important the games are or aren’t.
(Yes, given that I wrote this on the fly because I’m already late so I’m not using my best editing skills, I realize I’m opening myself up to typos and such! Such is life when you choose to criticize someone for theirs, I know!)
I know my seemingly sporadic posts of late might not indicate it but I’m really quite happy with this Red Sox team right now! I mean, how can you not be? Two losses in their last 13 games (Sure the O’s were going to be a cakewalk, but what about the Angels, the Rays and the White Sox?) with four against the Royals starting tonight, leading into a weekend in the Bronx. I’m already bouncing off the walls.
The big question for Sox fans right now seems to be “Do we want Tito to rest guys and fiddle with the rotation in preparation for taking the wild card or do we want the Sox to go full out and still try for the division?”
I don’t see why they can’t do both. I’m a firm believer in it not mattering how you get to the playoffs as long as you get there. So if the Sox think the same way, I’m all right with that. But the Yankees losing two to Seattle this weekend (one in glorious, walk-off fashion against Mariano while the other was a gut-punch to the young, fist-pumping Joba) and the Red Sox now being only 5 games out of first (and four games back in the loss column) there is certainly a part of me dizzy at the idea of stomping on the Yankees and taking the division.
Thanks to the Rangers essentially giving up on themselves and the wild card, the Sox are eight games up there with a “magic number” of seven. So, work this with me, if the Red Sox sweep the Royals and the A’s sweep the Rangers (both will be playing four-game series this week so the scenarios aren’t out of the realm of possibility) the Red Sox will have secured a spot in the playoffs before getting to New York this weekend.
Wow. I hadn’t looked at it that way until I actually typed it out. Excuse me while I step away for a moment and take some deep breaths.
Adam Kilgore has what is possibly my favorite quote from this weekend. In his story about the Red Sox clubhouse after yesterday’s win over the Orioles, he drops this nugget:
“I don’t see Joba pumping his fist now,’’ another player shouted after Joba Chamberlain allowed a home run to Ken Griffey Jr.
While I would love for that to have come from Kevin Youkilis, I’d be willing to be my last paycheck that Dustin Pedroia is the culprit. And while it might seem a little childish for any of the Sox to be saying such things (relatively) publicly, screw it – I want the Sox to not like the Yanks. I enjoyed the rivalry a little more when the animosity between specific players was there (hell, I was essentially introduced to the rivalry by Carlton Fisk and Thurman Munson!).
The Sox are gearing up for the playoffs and heating up at the perfect time! Tonight we get the interesting matchup of Tim Wakefield (back for another good game, I hope) and former fan favorite Lenny Dinardo (okay, he’s still a favorite of a few of us!). Because it’s in Kansas City, it starts at 8:10pm EST instead of 7:10…so, people, get ready!
As some of you might have been able to figure out, I’ve been stricken with a terrible case of writer’s block. Well, maybe I shouldn’t call it writer’s block, technically. My entire Internet presences has been sporadic the last couple of weeks due to personal issues that I need not get into. BUT I’m working at getting back into the groove of daily posting on the blog.
Writer’s block on a baseball blog during the most intense part of the season is poorly timed indeed. At least I’m finally back in a place where I was able to watch all the games this weekend and see how much the pitching has stepped up. Sure it was against the struggling Rays but, hell, the Yankees could only muster one win against the last place Orioles so I’ll take my moments of happiness where I can get them!
Today is the last off-day of the regular season for the Sox. That feels so wrong to type. I know we all say it every year but it seems like the season just began. I received an email last night from a reader wanting to know if I know where Kyle Snyder will be next season! Hell, I can’t even find out what he’s doing NOW let alone next year. We’re in for a long off-season, I can sense it. (Fingers are crossed that the off-season is made much shorter by the Red Sox playing well into October!)
I was debating which game I should live blog/chat this week. I usually stick with Wednesdays because it’s easier for me given my schedule…but Paul Byrd is pitching on Wednesday and I’m not sure I’m up for it. The problem is, Daisuke Matsuzaka is pitching on Tuesday – which isn’t really a problem because I’m fascinated to see how he’ll do but I’m not looking forward to a four-hour live blog. 🙂 So I think I’ve decided to stick with Wednesday. If you’re around and are so inclined, please join us for the live chat!
If you’re looking for baseball tonight – the Angels make a pit stop in the Bronx to play a make up game before heading up to Boston. Joba’s on the mound for the Yanks so there could be bloodshed. Or he just might only be allowed to pitch one inning. Either way, it could be entertaining!
|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.
I’m watching the 2009 Caribbean World Series on the MLB Network this week. If you aren’t watching it, you’re missing some really exciting baseball (And Jose Offerman! He looks exactly the same as he did when he played in Boston. Maybe even better. After this incident, Jose actually has a job in baseball? He’s the manager of the Dominican Republic team. Go figure. Well, I guess if Roger Clemens got to keep his job after chucking a bat at Mike Piazza, Offerman deserves another chance).
|Christian Abraham of the Connecticut Post/Associated Press got the photos of the incident back in 2007
I wrote that back in February. A few throwaway lines about a former Red Sox player. Didn’t really give it much thought at the time. But, thanks to the fabulous Stan Grossfeld (check it out – it’s a must-read!), we now know the aftermath of that incident. I don’t usually like to create a blog entry out of work someone else has done, but Stan’s story upset me too much to just let it slide.
Offerman was arrested at the ballpark and charged with two counts of felony assault, which carried a maximum sentence of 10 years. But a Bridgeport Superior Court judge granted Offerman “accelerated rehabilitation” – two years probation – and ordered him to receive anger management treatment and pay for the medical expenses of Nathans and Beech. His record would then be expunged.
That’s what happened to Offerman. What about the two players he hit with the bat?
On Aug. 14, 2007, Nathans was struck in the head attempting to stop a bat-wielding Jose Offerman, the former Red Sox second baseman, who charged the mound after being hit by a pitch in a game between the Bridgeport Blues and the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League. Bridgeport pitcher Matt Beech suffered a broken middle finger on his non-pitching hand but was spared further injury thanks to Nathan’s actions.
John Nathans, the, now, 29 year-old catcher Offerman hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat, won’t ever play baseball again. He has difficulty doing every-day tasks, let alone dealing with the rigors of being an athlete. Because of his injury, caused by a tantrum Jose Offerman threw because he was hit by a pitch on the calf, his equilibrium is off. Most of the time he gets dizzy and/or nauseated and gets headaches and has trouble concentrating. He’s in physical therapy (keep in mind this is physical therapy he’s going through almost two years after the incident) “several” times a week and some days he can’t handle any kind of “outside stimuli”.
Stan Grossfeld is the kind of writer I dream of being. His stories are heartfelt and without purposeful malice toward anyone. He just finds a story that he knows people will want to read and writes some of the best pieces to be published in the Boston Globe. But even Stan has to point out that Jose Offerman, essentially, blames Nathans for his injury, saying he taunted Offerman about running slowly around the bases when he hit a home run in his first at bat and that Nathans got in the way while Offerman had his fit and was swinging the bat. Usually Stan’s articles make you want to find the subject and give them a hug or a pat on the back. This one made me want to do that, but it also made me want to find Jose Offerman and hit him with a baseball bat. Fortunately for Jose, I consider myself a better person than that and wouldn’t dream of attacking defenseless people with a weapon.
I blame no one but Offerman for his actions but, certainly, you can’t help but think that part of this is because fighting (and anger, or as they call it in athletics, passion) is so accepted in sports. You get mad because a hitter owns you (which doesn’t seem to be the case for Matt Beech hitting Offerman even though Offerman did hit a home run off of him) and you plunk him. It’s widely accepted in baseball. You get shown up by the opposing team in some way? Someone needs to watch their back. (After claiming he didn’t see Aubrey Huff’s fistpumps on Sunday, Joba Chamberlain told the media “This won’t be the last time I face him.” That quote came after Joba said “If he wants to do a backflip, he can do a backflip. It doesn’t bother me.” Guess Joba is going to play both sides of the fence until the Orioles and Yankees meet again. Then what? Then Joba lets a fastball loose and hits Huff in the head “by accident”? When does it stop?
Joba seems to have, well let’s just say ‘issues’ that show on the mound. He obviously has a lot of intensity/anger/passion whatever you would like to call it, that results in players getting hit or almost getting hit all too often. He’s 23 years old. No one is telling him that he needs to start acting like an adult. What happens the day his “passion” gets the best of him and another player ends up like John Nathans?
I don’t mean to single out Joba, really, but right now he’s the one you see the most showing that fire on the mound. Fire that the Yankees and their fans love about him but that really worries me. There’s no place for anger (and make no mistake, a lot of Joba’s fire is fueled by anger. Take into consideration the way he acted when he walked Papi and then turning around and hitting Jason Bay last week. That was anger, pure and simple.) in a damn game.
Much to my disgust, Stan Grossfeld tells us Tom Glavine and Torii Hunter, two well-respected Major Leaguers, wrote letters of support for Jose Offerman, calling him a good, quiet person. I think John Nathans sums it all up best:
“Everybody’s a good person until they do something bad”
|Eck’s only keeping that seat warm until you come back, RemDawg.|
Jon Lester, bringing new meaning to my nickname for him (“Crabcakes” in case you missed it!) courtesy of Rob Bradford:
“It’s one of those deals where I’m all for throwing in, but there comes a point somebody, whether it be baseball or the opponent, has to step in and say enough is enough,” said Sox hurler. “Balls have gone over guys heads and gone up too close. There’s a difference between throwing in and making a point and he definitely tries to make some points. I don’t know if he’s trying to him there or not, but he did and it looks bad because J-Bay did hit a home run off of him, along with the history with us and other players. He always come back and says the ball slipped, I wasn’t trying to hit anybody. One time you can fool us, two times you can maybe say OK, but it’s gotten old. In baseball it’s one of those deals where you can’t really think there’s a punishment necessary. It’s one of those deals where we might have to police it ourselves a little bit more, I don’t know.”
Lester could totally take Joba in a fistfight. And his “I’m a cancer survivor, did you know I was a cancer survivor because I’m not sure the media has adequately covered that aspect of my career” story is way better than Joba’s “I got nabbed for a DUI but you might not have read much about it because the only media outlets that seemed to care came out of NY” story. This needs to happen.
I don’t mean to be lighthearted about cancer. It has hit my family and many others I love much too hard and it was heartbreaking to have Jerry Remy and NESN confirm what so many of us have suspected for a while:
NESN announced Wednesday that Red Sox color commentator Jerry Remy is taking an indefinite leave of absence to fully recover from the effects of cancer surgery.
“I want to focus on completing my recovery so that I can return to work without distractions or interruptions,” said Remy, a former smoker who underwent surgery for lung cancer late last year.
Remy expected a more immediate return but suffered a setback due to an infection and subsequent case of pneumonia. He now hopes his experience serves as a cautionary tale about the adverse health effects of smoking.
“I hope that disclosing my bout with cancer will reinforce the dangers of smoking to every member of Red Sox Nation, especially children,” said Remy, the president of Red Sox Nation.
There’s really nothing to say except my prayers are with the Jerry and I’d like him back sooner rather than later. I have no doubt that he’s getting the best possible care but it still doesn’t take away from how frightening this all is. We’re all thinking good thoughts for you, RemDawg.
May 6, 2009 was, all in all, a large day of suck. And the Sox letting Carl Pavano dominate them wasn’t even close to being the worst thing to happen today. I’m eagerly awaiting this day to end so we can move on to Thursday, May 7, 2009 and have a much better day.
Even with the loss, the live blog was fun. Thanks to all who dropped by! I’m 3-1 with live blogs so I’m not giving up just because there was a loss tonight. Next Wednesday is a 10:05pm game in California. I have to think long and hard about whether I’ll be live blogging but I’ll let you all know.
Shake off the loss, folks. Pavano pitched well; give him his due. Sox have another game to get a split.
I have faith Wake will not disappoint.
|Lead us to another victory, Justin. Taken by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net in 2008 and used with permission.
I’m a big fan of rainy days. As long as they don’t interfere with my baseball, I really enjoy them. When I woke up this morning, the sky was gray and there was rain coming down. All that did was add to my happiness in greeting this day.
Wednesday is one of my off-days from my real job. I get to stay home and watch NESN, ESPN and MLBN and prepare for the next Sox game. I usually end up out of the house for a bit, just to get some fresh air and remember there’s a world outside four walls. So it’s usually a good day for me, anyway, but having it fall the day after the Sox take both games in a short series in the Bronx? This Wednesday just might be my favorite of all.
Beckett looked both shaky and dominant at various times last night. He gave up 10 hits in 6 innings last night, but only allowed 3 runs while striking out five. It wasn’t beautiful, but I’ll take it. Josh also gets props for having the sense to not hit Derek Jeter (or any other Yankee he faced) after Joba showed his immature, punkish colors yet AGAIN by hitting Jason Bay in the top of the fifth. Bay’s crime? Owning the Yankees pitchers. Another home run last night (first inning off of Joba) seemed to be more than Chamberlain could take. I can’t ever recall Jim Rice advocating hitting a player in retaliation. During last night’s post-game show he suggested that the next time the two teams meet that the Yankees captain would be hearing chin music – were it up to Rice. That’s how obviously intentional the HBP was. No matter. The Sox got their revenge where it counted – on the scoreboard. 5-0 against the Yankees so far. Not too shabby a way to start the season.
|I like this shot I got of Youk heading for third, the Yankees leaving the field and the guys waiting at home!
One of the best visuals at Fenway last night? Nine sets of shoulders slumping in unison as the ball came off of Youk’s bat in the 11th and then the owners of those shoulders hanging their heads and shuffling off the field.
Last night was turning into one of those games where I questioned why I torture myself by going to Yankees/Red Sox games. Jon Lester (who didn’t have as horrible a game as it felt at the time but, still, aside from his last outing, isn’t pitching even close to “Cy Young” calibre. This comes as less a surprise to me as it does to many others, but I digress.) was frustrating the heck out of me, the Red Sox offense (did they hit into 37 double plays? It sure felt like it.) was making me shake my head and Joba’s lack of totally collapsing under the pressures around him (especially after that first inning) disappointed me. When Joba left the game, I was pleased that no one had been maimed. I had simple goals and that was one of them.
KellyO had a great observation after that game. Unless you’ve been in Fenway and experienced it, it’s absolutely impossible to properly describe the feeling in Fenway when all hope is lost against the Yankees. It’s the ninth inning, there are two outs and the Sox are down. The atmosphere in the park was that of a funeral parlor. Then with one swing, Jason Bay gave the fans back their reason for being. The emotional swing you go through in a matter of seconds, collectively with 37,000 other people, is such a rush. My adrenaline had me going until around 2am.
It was an ugly game. It was a painful game to watch. And it was possibly the best, regular-season, game I’ve been to – ever. I’ve been to a few walk-off games, but the intensity of this one is rather unique (and having Jay Bay be such a big part of it was so, so sweet!) Also, I’ve never been present for a Mariano melt-down. It’s as wonderful as I dreamed it would be.
Friday morning, in an effort to support the player I most criticize, I purchased a Kevin Youkilis jersey off of eBay. While Kelly and I were pre-gaming it at Boston Beer Works, she lifted her ticket to show me that Youk was the player featured on our tickets for the game. The signs were there, I just didn’t read them.
I was surrounded by wonderful fans last night and that really helped keep spirits up. I had no Yankees fans around me and all the Red Sox fans were much more focused on the game than on the rivalry. The worst fan I saw all night was a female Yankees fan who, while leaving the park, gave the double middle finger salute to everyone she passed. Stay classy, lady, stay classy.
Still going through my photos from the night, but the lighting plus the screen were a bad combo for getting really good shots. Fear not, though, because Kelly already has a couple of photos up of the celebration here!
Family obligations will most likely prevent me from watching the better part of today’s game. This doesn’t upset me as much as you think. My heart is still racing…I need some time to settle down.