Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

We should NOT be okay with a broken leg

Ruben Tejada playing for the Buffalo Bisons in 2010 - photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill and used with permission

Ruben Tejada playing for the Buffalo Bisons in 2010 before he became Chase Utley’s tackling dummy – photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill and used with permission

The next person who tells me (in person, online, in a text…) that what Chase Utley did to Ruben Tejada last night was okay by the rules of MLB so we shouldn’t blame him for what ended up happening is going to make my head explode.

Utley didn’t just come in with a hard slide and knock out the shortstop. He waited until he was practically on second base, ran out of the base path and then decided to slide and wipe out Tejada. (As Ron Darling puts it in the video clip below, “(He) Didn’t even start sliding until he was even with the bag.”)

You can watch it here because this is apparently a video no one wants us to embed.

There’s a questionable slide and Tejada ends up with a broken leg. As if that wasn’t devastating enough, the icing on this cupcake is that eventually the umpires ruled that Tejada didn’t touch the bag, the neighborhood play wasn’t in effect and even though he was originally called out, Utley was safe. After the game the umps said that Utley would have been out had any of the Mets tagged him as he left the field, leading David Wright to say:

Once obviously the player is called out, you don’t go tag him, especially when you’re lying there with a broken leg.

The Dodgers ended up taking the lead in this inning and the Mets didn’t come back so they head to Flushing with the NLDS tied at 1-1.

What everyone who is a Dodgers fan or who just wants to annoy Mets fans will tell you is that what Utley did is perfectly legitimate under MLB’s rules.  What I (and many other people) will tell you is that is utter bullshit.

It isn’t bullshit that it’s allowed in MLB. OBVIOUSLY it is. It’s bullshit that MLB allows it and that a player like Utley (who has done this before, just not with such horrible results) feels perfectly fine going in that way with the knowledge (regardless of what he says) that someone could get seriously hurt.

Hell, not only is this not the first time Utley has made such a slide, it’s not even the first time he’s wiped out Ruben Tejada.  When he did it in 2010, David Wright commented:

“We’re going to have to reevaluate the way we go into second base.”

That was five years ago. No reevaluation. No admission from MLB last night that something needs to be done. Just a young player in the playoffs for the first time in the hospital with what could very well be a career-ending injury. Joe Torre tried to sound concerned but if you read this transcript from last night his concern sounds  more for saving Chase Utley’s reputation and defending the umpires than worrying about Tejada or any other infielders getting hurt.

So I’m angry and I have no solutions except to stop allowing players to tackle other players. We hear all the time how bat flips or watching a home run disrespects the game.  None of those things will end up with a player being broken. How do you not believe going at someone with no protection and usually no way to avoid you is a legitimately clean play? Maybe it IS finally time that Major League Baseball does some evaluating? I’m not holding my breath.

 

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October 11, 2015 Posted by | 2015 | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Mets lost the game and my respect

I’m not going to write about the Red Sox today because, well, I just can’t.  Okay, I will just say these two things: 1) It blows my mind that the fans and the media are writing things like “I guess they don’t care about winning” as if that is why every team goes through slumps…because they don’t care and 2) Unlike, seemingly, a lot of fans, I’m disappointed we have an off-day today because I really just want them to keep at it.  I suppose, in theory, off days can be good for the team but I don’t feel like that’s the case this time.  I’m eager for them to get back at it.

And that’s all I’ll say about the Red Sox this morning because I’m so mad about the New York Mets not being able to wear (and not fighting to wear) the FDNY/NYPD baseball caps for last night’s game that I had dreams about it all night.

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September 12, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wait…what?

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

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

Seattle Mariner Felix Hernandez almost threw a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers last night.

With one out in the sixth inning, Julio Borbon attempted to bunt his way on, but Hernandez fielded the ball and threw the runner out at first.

“He should know he shouldn’t do that, not in a no-hitter,” Hernandez said. “That shows disrespect.”

What timing.  Yesterday I wrote about actual cheating and how it’s not only allowed but encouraged by some in MLB, and today I get to write about something that ISN’T cheating but bothers many of those in baseball.

As I wrote yesterday, I get that the job of the batter is to get on base any way he can.  Why I don’t get, in this case, is the idea that a batter, playing for the team that is currently losing/being no-hit, should have “respect” for what is going on and NOT try to get a hit.

Were I on the opposing team, the team getting no-hit, I’d be singing “You have a no-hitter going!” from the dugout.  (Not cheating but, admittedly, showing poor sportsmanship, I admit.)

How in the world can you consider TRYING TO GET A HIT being disrespectful?

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September 18, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

And there's been a lot of broken dreams

Kelly O'Connor took this photo of Greg Montalbano at the Lowell Spinner's Alumni Dinner in January 2009 (Used with permission)

We lost Greg Montalbano in 2009. Kelly O'Connor took this photo of him at the Lowell Spinner's Alumni Dinner in January 2009 (Used with permission)

Just a note of warning:  This entry is long and although I want it to be all-encompassing, I’m sure I’ve missed  few things.  But this is pretty much how I remember 2009!

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2009 was a fairly eventful year for me personally in both the good and bad categories.  Sadly more bad than good which is probably why I initially avoided writing any kind of recap for the blog.  But while I was writing my recap of the Red Sox decade (and I’ll have that up as soon as I finish it!) I realized I should probably write something about the final year of the decade as well.  So here goes.

January:  I started blogging at WEEI.com.  Looking back on my entries for this month, I’m genuinely surprised I found so much to write about (it didn’t stop new readers from complaining that I was writing “drivel” though.  Should have been a sign!).  Personal highlights in January:  The ongoing Jason Varitek saga, the signing of Rocco Baldelli, Kyle Snyder getting picked up by the Mets, the beginning of the MLB Network and Jim Rice finally gets voted into the Hall of Fame!

February:  Bombshell of bombshells for MLB.  Selena Roberts exposes Alex Rodriguez as a steroid user.  The MLB Network cuts its teeth on this one and, unlike Peter Gammons and ESPN, doesn’t disappoint with their coverage.  Unafraid of losing access to the players (again, unlike Peter Gammons or ESPN), they go full throttle on this story and introduce us to their newest addition to the network:  Bob Costas.  I wrote a lot about MLBN in 2009 and a bit about Sl*ppy.  I would have written much less about the two, most likely, had this story not broken.  Personal highlights in February:  The Caribbean World Series on MLBN (I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed it!), Truck Day, pitchers and catchers reporting and Joe Torre’s book about the Yankees.

Chapter 10: The End of the Curse. When asked by Regis Philbin the other day what happened to the Yankees over the past 7 years, Joe responded “The Red Sox happened”. That will go down as possibly my favorite Red Sox/Yankee-related quote ever.

March:  I spent a lot of March writing ‘rants’ and pointing folks toward baseball-related Twitter accounts.  Must have been resting up for April!  Personal highlight in March:  The WBC.  I spent a lot of time ranting about players getting hurt and how I didn’t care who won only to be totally sucked into it by the end.

April:   The beginning of the season!  Lots of liveblogging and picking up more WEEI readers (with mixed results!).  Personal highlights in April:  Going to both Sox/Mets exhibition games at CitiField, attending Opening Day at Fenway and high-fiving JD Drew and Hideki Okajima during their introductions, being at Fenway for the walk-off win against the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home on Andy Pettitte, Tim Wakefield taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning (thus setting the table for his All Star selection), watching Jonathan Van Every pitch while Javier Lopez floundered in right field then eventually getting DFA’d (watched on television, not in person), the Patriots Day game where Luke Scott got all pissy and some idiot fan threw a ball onto  the field and “Toeing the Rubber” getting nominated for a New England Sports Blog Award in the category “Best Red Sox Blog”. Relatively speaking, a great month except for one thing that really hit the baseball world hard and made the month miserable:  the death of Nick Adenhart.

But I don’t cry because of any personal connection I have to Nick. I don’t cry because a future baseball star is dead. I cry because parents lost a son today. Many people lost a friend. And the world lost someone who could have potentially been great. Not just at baseball but at life. No drunken ass has the right to take that away from us. This doesn’t “put things into perspective” for me. I hate when people say that. I’m forty years old for God’s sake, I’ve seen enough death and tragedy in my life to have proper perspective, thank you. I don’t watch baseball and think that what goes on down on that field is life or death and more important than anything else in my life. I’d argue that most sports fans, even if they act like they have no perspective, have exactly that. Baseball is an outlet to forget about the realities of life for a few hours.

May: Getting to see Daniel Bard’s first Major League appearance (after having seen him pitch in Pawtucket) was very special.  Finding out that Jerry Remy was recovering from cancer was sad and a little frightening.  Personal highlights in May:  Seeing Kyle Snyder with the Bisons at Pawtucket, Javier Lopez signing Steve the Ferret’s “Lopez” jersey (also at Pawtucket), Aubrey Huff fistpumping to Joba Chamberlain, appearing on “The Baseball Show” on Comcast SportsNet, crying (literally crying) over Big Papi’s first home run of the season, getting to meet metsgrrl and “paloozaing” with a huge group of people I love during the Mets/Sox series at Fenway.

Yesterday was an amazing day spent with friends (most of whom I haven’t seen in quite a while or hadn’t met yet!). There are many amazing tales to tell (but not here!) – my favorite being when our friend Susan noted that we could start singing “O Canada” except no one knows the words past “O Canada!”. Standing up and singing loudly and proudly, a group of us proved her wrong. That our serenade didn’t get us thrown out still kind of surprises me.

June:  This month brought us the end of interleague play, the end of Jonathan Van Every’s season (thanks to knee surgery), Tim Wakefield hitting ten victories with his torn labrum, John Smoltz making us all wonder why we were so excited to have him on the team while Dusty Brown makes his major league debut.  Personal highlights for June:  Derek Lowe returning to Fenway with the Braves, Nick Green’s walkoff against those same Braves, sitting in Fenway during a mind-numbing rain delayed game that turned into a loss for the Sox (okay, that one is a lowlight, really) and the Sox capping off 7 wins in a row against the Yankees with an eighth.

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

I know to whom I can belong

Pedro returns to Fenway in 2006 (Photo taken by me).  Next to Fred Lynn, he's my favorite Sox player of all time.  How can I NOT root for him?

Pedro returns to Fenway in 2006 (Photo taken by me). I still adore him so how can I NOT root for him?

Okay so I caved and watched most of the first game of the NLCS.  Baseball has my heart, I can’t help it.

The tough part, for me, about the NLCS is deciding which team I want to win.  The Phillies won it all last year (and I was only happy about that because it happened against the Rays) so it isn’t like their fan base is desperate for another win.  Plus there is Brett Myers.  I just absolutely hate to have to actually cheer for him.  Add to that my fondness for the Mets and you see my problems.  But then there’s Manny.  Honestly, were it not for Manny, this would be a no-brainer.  I’d be cheering for the Dodgers to go all the way if only so Joe Torre could drop  his pants and moon the entire state of New York.  I would love for Joe Girardi to choke on his own bitter bile while watching Joe Torre get doused in Champagne.  Alas, as I wrote to a friend last night, I’d rather pick out each of my eyelashes one at a time than watch Manny Ramirez win another World Series.  These types of decisions shouldn’t be so tough.

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October 16, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

So shame on me for the ruse

Yankees last year at Fenway. Six men on the mound. Six. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net Used with permission.

I finished reading “The Yankee Years” today. I’m having trouble figuring out how I want to break this down there’s just so much to cover. So, once again, I’ll be a little all over the place.

I think I figured out why Joe Torre gets the lead writing credit on the book. Although it’s obviously written by Tom Verducci and any of Torre’s contributions seem to come in the form of direct quotes, there isn’t one negative word about Torre in the entire 482 (including “Acknowledgments”) pages. More than once we’re told that Torre tells George Steinbrenner that all he wants is to make Steinbrenner “proud”. We repeatedly read about how he always had his players backs (as he rips into David Wells, Carl Pavano and Kevin Brown for the book, to name three) and how he blindly believed Brian Cashman was a friend who would always have his back only to be betrayed at the end. After reading this book, I’m wondering why the photo of Torre on the cover doesn’t have a halo over it.

Also, if Johnny Damon gets someone to read this book to him, he probably won’t be too happy.

There’s a direct quote from him in Chapter 13 (“We Have a Problem”) in regard to the 2007 season: “Every day in the off-season…I didn’t feel like getting ready for baseball…”. He goes on to say he was having too much fun playing with his kids and that he felt “…unprepared to make that decision about playing”. Eesh. I suppose it’s possible that I just forgot reading this quote before, but man…his own words just set up this part of the chapter where we learn that he barely got off his ass for a good portion of the beginning of that season and turned many of his teammates against him in the process. Verducci quotes “a player” as being close to tears when telling Torre (in regard to Damon), “Let’s get rid of him….guys can’t stand him”. And there’s a team meeting recalled where Jeter, Pettitte and Rivera spoke about “relying on each other” without specifically calling out Damon, but it being understood who they were referring to. In this same meeting, Damon got up to speak and repeated the message..much to the surprise of Joe Torre and others. The guy sitting on his ass and being unreliable was the guy telling the rest of the team to get off their asses and be reliable. It’s good to know Johnny’s as thick behind the scenes as he comes across to the media.

And in the event that you’re looking for more reasons to think A*Rod is a bit of a dink, after Joe Torre’s final game with the Yankees, all the players stopped by to say goodbye…except for Slappy. And when he won the MVP a month later and Torre called to congratulate him, A*Rod never returned the call. (Of course, this could also go back to the “Joe Torre has never done anything wrong” theme that permeates the book. Not defending Slappy on another dick move, but this books is wildly one-sided when it comes to anything involving Torre.)

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

I am a possession unopened at your feet

I’m a woman of many, as my family calls them, obsessions. If I get interested in something, I submerge myself in it. I don’t just decide I like a particular actor; I have to seek out all of his movies and watch them. Even the really bad ones. (During my Christopher Noth period I actually bought a VHS copy of “Jakarta”. I’m pretty sure this is the film they showed to the inmates at Gitmo during the Bush administration.) I’m that way with whatever catches my attention.

My current obsession seems to be the Joe Torre/Tom Verducci book “The Yankee Years”…and I haven’t even read it yet.

(Side note not related to the book: Rubén Rivera is playing for the Mexican team in the Caribbean World Series. Did you know he is Mariano Rivera’s cousin? Maybe I did, but I didn’t remember it. Google is great, isn’t it? He’s best known for stealing some of Derek Jeter’s equipment and selling it to a sports memorabilia dealer and then getting his butt voted off of Yankee Island. See, it wasn’t related to the book but it was related to the Yankees. All my life’s a circle. Oh, and again a shout-out for the MLB Network’s coverage of the Caribbean World Series. Tom McCarthy and Uri Berenguer are just fabulous. It’s a joy to listen to him.)

But I digress. Back to Joe’s book. Oh, sorry, back to the book Tom Verducci wrote that Joe Torre got his name over Tom’s on the cover but Tom wants everyone to know Joe didn’t write it (unless telling you he DID write it will make you buy more copies).

Unfortunately, I was out and missed Joe’s interview with Bob Costas but I’ll make up for it by cracking open his book and finally deciding if he did, indeed, sell out the team that made him who he is or if his book has been terribly misrepresented in the media. I haven’t even flipped through to look at the photos yet, but let’s take a look at some chapter titles:

Chapter 5: Mystique and Aura. Some of you will be disappointed that this is NOT about any of Slappy’s stripper friends.

Chapter 8: The Issues of Alex. I’m not going to lie. This chapter is the biggest reason I bought this book. Even the chapter title doesn’t disappoint. I just might read this chapter first. I wonder if that will ruin the story for me?

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.

Did you all realize that, including the acknowledgements but excluding the index, that this book is 482 pages long? Maybe it was Joe’s hope that the likes of David Wells would lose interest halfway through and not get to the parts where he writes about them?

Chapters 12 and 13 are titled Broken Trust and “We Have a Problem”. So, as you see, I AM going to have to start this book in the middle!

There are 16 chapters in the book. The final chapter fittingly (yet without a thought for originality) is called The End. But the real gem of a title comes in Chapter 15: Attack of the Midges.

Aside from media coverage, I haven’t read one word of this book and already I think it’s my favorite book of the year.

So I’ll either stop mentioning this book until I’ve finished it or you’re going to get random observations as I make my way through it. Either way, this book is taking up a significant part of my life for the next few days.

Could you imagine if Terry Francona wrote a book like this? I’d be torn between being the first one in line to buy it and hitting him over the head with it.

Today is Truck Day. And, yes, it really is as exciting as it sounds. (Hey, I’m going because it’s a great way to mark the beginning of the spring training season, but I don’t pretend that it isn’t close to insane to stand in freezing temperatures to see off a truck carrying the drawers of my favorite team.) At the very least, I can promise some pictures of a truck. So you have that to look forward to.

February 6, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

And there we saw the men and boys as thick as hasty pudding

And now for the post I originally planned to write tonight!

I wrote last night a bit about the Joe Torre/Tom Verducci book and I just finished reading more about it. Poor Tom Verducci. Everyone talking about his book that hasn’t even been released yet. I’m sure he’s disappointed that, supposedly, all the talk is about things that really aren’t written in the book.

Riiight, Tom.

ESPN.com has a story about how Brian Cashman hopes the book brings Slappy closer with his teammates this year. (This after Joe Torre supposedly called Cashman to tell him that the book wasn’t as bad as has been reported.) Dig:

“I think we’ve gone through so much of the Alex stuff that, you know, if anything, maybe this brings people closer together,” Cashman said.

Sure. Alex Rodriguez has “uniter” written all over him. Anyone can see that.

I checked the Dodgers schedule to see if maybe they play the Yankees in inter-league this year. They don’t. So, short of hoping it would cause a stir in that sense, I can’t figure out what Verducci and/or Torre thought the good would be of not only writing this book while Torre was still in baseball, but of having parts of it leaked out just before spring training begins. In addition to talking about his new contract with the Yankees, Andy Pettitte was put in the position of answering questions about ARod. (Come to think of it, is Scott Boras involved in this some how? Showing up Andy on HIS day would be right up his alley.)

I love me some baseball drama. Especially when it doesn’t involve the Red Sox. But this all just seems so contrived. “Ooh they’re picking on ARod again, we’ll all have to come together as a team and support him!”. Meh. I just hope the book is juicier than Verducci is telling us it is. We already know Slappy is an insecure, egomaniac. That stuff won’t keep people reading past a few pages.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

There's nothing more to tell about. There's nothing left to be decided.

A photo I took last year of Kyle Snyder in Pawtucket. Often when I write about things that are unpleasant, I’ll throw a picture of Kyle up. It always puts me in a better mood!

Given my choice of things to read, I prefer books over newspapers, magazines and even the Internet. I like having to take days to read a story instead of the quick blurbs you get from other media. I read many different genres and make sure to throw in a few sports-themed books to the list every year. This week, there was news about three different books either on their way to being published or, in one case, shopping for a publisher. All three I find myself oddly fascinated with, even though I know at least two of them could be nothing but fables and lies.

According to Deadspin, Mark McGwire’s younger brother Jay has written a tell-all book about McGwire’s steroid use called “The McGwire Family Secret: The Truth about Steroids, a Slugger, and Ultimate Redemption”. The title says it all, doesn’t it? McGwire’s brother takes the credit (such as it is) for introducing McGwire to steroids and even relays a story where Mark’s “roid rage” come through in an interaction he had with one of Jay’s children. For anyone on the fence about whether or not McGwire did steroids, this book (if it ever finds a publisher) might help you choose a side. It’s worth noting that Mark and Jay aren’t on speaking terms and Jay claims he isn’t spilling the beans on his brother to be spiteful, he’s doing it out of love.

This is where I make a mental note to make sure anyone who loves me doesn’t run out and write a book about my Red Bull addiction.

McGwire is an odd example of a player from the, so-called, steroid era. Thought the sports writers with votes for the Hall of Fame seem to be taking out their perceptions of him on their ballots, for the most part he’s been given a free ride. Aside from the Andro in his locker all those years ago (which, at the time, was legal) no one (except Jose Canseco) has definitively linked him to steroids. People seem to want to turn a blind eye to his possible/probable steroids usage. Whether it’s because people thought he was a good guy, or there are racial undertones, or folks genuinely believe he didn’t use…they’ve been, relatively, easy on him. Heck, just the fact that Deadspin broke the story instead of, say, ESPN, tells you that there still is a preference in the media to not focus on the possibility that McGwire cheated. Unfortunately, McGwire’s brother, given his own past use of steroids and the rift between the two McGwire brothers, isn’t quite a reliable source. The fact that publishing houses are already rejecting the book speaks, I’d assume, to the lack of credibility Jay and what he wrote hold. None of this means I wouldn’t buy the book as soon as it hit the bookstores, mind you. Hell, I’d be first in line.

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January 25, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

Saturday in August

Michael Bowden Photo by Kelly O'Connor

A rare 1pm (ish) game on a Saturday makes me happy. I love baseball, but the 4pm or 7pm games can mess up a good Saturday. This is a nice way to begin the afternoon.

PawSox didn’t get to crack open the champagne that was waiting for them last night. They’ll try again tonight behind MIchael Bowden. Good news for us but not so much for Dusty Brown and George Kottaras, is that David Ross went 2-4 with a solo home run. The PawSox radio guys were quite blunt in their assessment that picking up Ross is essentially sticking a dagger in the hopes of Brown and Kottaras to make it up to Boston in September (although they disagree on one key issue. One thinks only Ross gets the call-up and the other thinks Ross and one of the other two will get called up after the PawSox season is over). It’ll be interesting to see how that works out. But, more importantly, they need to win tonight so they can get the “when are they going to clinch a playoff spot” monkey off their backs. No Kyle in the game last night – so it would be pretty sweet if he got in tonight AND they clinched. PawSox, unlike the Red Sox, start their game at 7:05 tonight.

Rob Bradford got his big Manny scoop last night. He got a “hi” out of him. That was it. Was it really worth going to Philly in the middle of the Red Sox’ pennant race? Bradford DID get Joe Torre to gab a bit. Whenever I read a quote about Manny from Torre, I imagine Frank McCourt standing behind him, holding a gun to his back.

Along similar lines, I feel like the entire Boston sports media is trying to get me to “like” Paul Byrd. So far, it isn’t happening. I was really pulling for him last night, and sure he got the win but I was, again, unimpressed.

On the other hand, the Boston offense finally remembered they shouldn’t be afraid of Toronto, which was fun to watch. Seeing Varitek finally coming out of his funk has been fabulous. Captain keeps this up and he’ll shut up an awful lot of people. Interesting to note that I’ve stopped getting the “You can’t possibly think Dustin Pedroia is better than Robinson Cano” emails that flooded my inbox for a while. And Coco looked like he was determined to not let JD Drew’s injury hurt the team offensively. I wonder how all the “they’ll never make the playoffs!” folks are feeling today?

🙂

Lester pitches against Jesse Litsch this afternoon. Here’s hoping Crabcakes can keep it together and our offense isn’t hung over today.

August 23, 2008 Posted by | Boston Sports Media, Pawtucket Red Sox, Players, Road Games | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment