Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Oh! Henry.

In a move I didn’t think possible, the Boston Red Sox saga became even more surreal yesterday when Principal Owner John Henry showed up at the 98.5 The Sports Hub (or as WEEI called it “CBS Radio”) and responded to being asked why he was there with:

Well, when you’re misleading the public, you should be challenged on some of the things you’re saying so I’m here to challenge some of the things you’ve been saying.”

And they were off.

I’ve listened to the interview twice now and read just about every local writer’s interpretation of it and yet I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it all.

Some thoughts in a not particularly well-formed presentation:

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October 15, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Giving Thanks for Baseball: John Henry et al

Prior to this ownership, I can’t ever remember feeling like the owners of the Red Sox cared at all about their fans.  Heck, I never really gave them that much thought because it seemed easier to think about what I didn’t like about the front office than what I did.  That changed when John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino took over.  So today I’m thankful that the Red Sox have an ownership that not only is committed to winning but seems to genuinely care about the fans and their experiences at Fenway.

Under this ownership, the team as won two World Series championships.  The yearly renovations the ownership implements at Fenway Park have helped make the oldest park in MLB join the 21st century without losing its charm.  With Larry Luchhino we have someone who appreciates and understands the needs and wants of the fans and with John Henry we have an owner who seems to genuinely care about the players.

Fans don’t often get to actually like their team’s ownership so I’m thankful that Red Sox fans know their team has owners who “get it”.

November 23, 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

Turn on my lights

Photo of Bronson that I took in 2006.

You all have been emailing fools lately (thank you!) so I thought I’d briefly touch upon the things that are on YOUR minds. Some of this has been touched on before but I’m going over it again since folks are so gabby these days.

* No. I don’t think they should drive John Smoltz out into the wilderness and abandon him there. I’m not sure WHAT I think they should do with John Smoltz. All I know is that I want Clay Buchholz wearing a cap with a “B” on it not a “P“.

* Losing the first three out of four games after the All Star break sucks. There is absolutely no way to sugar coat that which is why I haven’t tried. There’s a lot to talk/write about and I don’t have to beat it over your heads that the team is struggling right now.

* I do not know John Henry. I’ve never met John Henry. (My dad did once. We were walking to Fenway in 2005 and Henry and his daughter were walking toward us and my father got right in front of him, grabbed his hand and congratulated him on 2004. He was very nice to my dad in that moment.) It seems that some people have interpreted my “defending” someone much more powerful, successful and rich than I am as kissing up- but there is nothing driving me to do so. Henry seems like a decent fella trying to have a good time. I like that.

* I do not wish to be Heidi Watney. I don’t have the time or inclination to focus that much attention on what my hair looks like. Plus, she always seems to be cold. I have my own problems, I don’t need to add “people criticizing my hair, my clothes, my voice, my work and making me freeze while they do it” to them.

* I am not Kyle Snyder’s mom. 🙂 (Honestly, at least once a week someone asks me this!) He’s nine years younger than I am folks. NINE. Yes, I get the snarkiness intended behind the question. Get over it. I’m amazed, genuinely amazed, at how hard some people come down on Kyle and my affection for him as a player. There seem to be only 2 camps who vocalize their feelings on this one. The “I think it’s great you support a player who isn’t a superstar because those guys often get forgotten and he seems like a nice guy” folks and the “Why do you waste time focusing on a player who isn’t even in the Majors?”. Although the latter group gets a little testy about it (see: “Are you his MOM?”). As long as I have a blog, there will be the occasional Kyle Snyder update. You’re welcome!

* I haven’t forgotten about Bronson Arroyo! (Another question I get a lot!) Time is short, though, and it’s a little tough to fit everything in that I want to (hell, I haven’t TOUCHED my fantasy baseball team in weeks!).

* There is most definitely a live blog planned for Wednesday night’s game. (Another Tim Wakefield gem on the way?)

* And, finally, yes, I consider myself a “writer”. I’ve identified myself as such for as long as I can remember. It is my greatest love, my passion in life (even more so than the Red Sox) and the one thing, aside from my family, I absolutely couldn’t live without. Long before I was blogging, I was writing. And I write a lot more than just this blog. What I DON’T consider myself is a reporter. I do this because it’s FUN. I’m a homer fan who gets to root for her team aided by the world of technology with a boost from the kind folks at WEEI. It doesn’t suck to be me.

Now that we have all of that out of the way, I have a friend in Texas who just might run on to the field and pummel a few baseball players into the ground if they don’t give Mr. Josh Beckett some run support tonight. Let’s get that done, huh, fellas?

July 21, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I can't feel nothin' unless it's lethal

The image John Henry uses on his Twitter page.

I love Twitter. I really do. Without much action on my part, I can get updated sports news, find out who the latest celebrity is to die and learn where the Jonas Brothers will next be making an appearance. It’s one- stop shopping for the lazy and/or nosy.

To me, it’s interesting to read what’s on the minds of others. Others I CHOOSE to follow. One of those people I choose to follow is John Henry. He’ll be taking heat Monday from small-minded people (read Yankees fans and/or people who cover the Yankees or people who just like giving John Henry a hard time) because of this tweet from Sunday:

News from Yankees’ Universe. Big upsurge in membership. Apparently coming mostly from Pluto. Not doing nearly as well on Mars.

I laughed out loud when I read it. On its own, it isn’t even particularly funny. But the idea that the principal owner of the Red Sox took the time (once again, because he’s done it before) to jab the Yankees HUMOROUSLY via Twitter, cracked me up.

Here’s what the naysayers will say (and are already): He should have better things to do with his time. He should act like a professional. He shouldn’t be worried about the Yankees when his own team just lost their first series after the All Star break.

Meh. Stick in in your hats, naysayers. Here’s a newsflash: John Henry is a gazillionaire. (I could be wrong, there, he might only be a kajillionaire.) He has all the money and time in the world to do whatever the heck he wants to. He isn’t out picking fights with Yankees fans. He isn’t sitting in the “good” seats at the new Yankee Stadium holding a sign that says “You can sit in this spot at Fenway for a third of the price of these tickets!” He is, by most accounts, a good, if socially awkward, guy with a ton of money and the world at his fingertips. And that world includes Twitter. It’s his way of connecting with the fans without having to have a “real” connection. And guess what? Jabs at the Yankees is always a good way to connect with Red Sox fans. (And, come on! After years of making fun of the Red Sox for Red Sox Nation, now the Yankees have a “Universe” that they charge admission to? Sounds to me like they took a page right out of the Red Sox book on marketing, no?)

It’s interesting to note that no one was writing about all the tweeting Henry did while he was on his honeymoon. As a matter of fact, I find it interesting that the sports media obsessed on his wedding and then conveniently ignored the fact that he chose to go to South Africa on his honeymoon. And if his tweets are to be believed, he and his new wife spent a good amount of time not partying or celebrating their nuptials, but meeting with doctors and Archbishop Tutu to discuss the HIV and TB epidemic there. He chose his honeymoon to do some good and he tweeted about it daily…but let’s set him on fire for making a few jokes about the Yankees.

I understand that there are those who probably believe an owner should be above such wordplay but I’m not one of them. I think more owners, gms and higher-ups should use Twitter the way Henry does. Not for any earth-shattering, ground-breaking news, but for entertainment purposes. (Henry has been known to tweet during games when something good OR bad happens.) I really believe that some contact with the little people is a good thing.

Oh well. My solace comes in the genuine belief that when October rolls around, Yankees fans and the writers who cover their team will be looking for alternate forms of entertainment while Red Sox fans are watching their team roll into history again. I can deal with some humorless sour grapes for a few months before we get there.

July 20, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , | Leave a comment