Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

They let me vote for something!

Justin Masterson approves.  (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.)

Justin Masterson approves. (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.)

So, recently, I made the decision to join a group called the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA).  It’s a wonderful way to network with like-minded bloggers and I’ve met some great people through the group.  Established in 2009, I came to it a little late but, apparently, just in time to vote on their yearly, postseason awards.

The Alliance is divided into chapters, by team allegiance of the bloggers, and given that the Red Sox are in the America League, our chapter (including me) only voted on American League awards.  There is a list of the awards and when the winners will be announced here.  Today the Boston Chapter has released their voting for the first award, The Connie Mack award for Manager of the Year, and this is how the Boston bloggers voted (totals are based on how many votes each manager received):

Terry Francona, Boston Red Sox – 12 points (including four first place votes)

Ron Washington, Texas Rangers – 6 points

Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays – 5 points

Cito Gaston, Toronto Blue Jays – 4 points

Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins – 3 points

My votes were for the three managers bolded, but in this order: Francona, Gaston, Washington.

A couple of notes about my voting:  I genuinely think Tito deserves it.  For him to bring the team as far as he did with the injuries thrown at him and having to use a lot more minor leaguers than was ever intended, says a lot about his abilities as a manager.  I might disagree with some of his in-game decisions and some of his bullpen usage, but on the whole I don’t think you will find a better guy to manage a team and deal with all of the drama involved in doing so.  The other note:  Joe Girardi could manage The Bad News Bears to a World Series championship and I wouldn’t vote for him.  That is all.

Remember, this result is just from the voting of the Boston Chapter of the BBA.  The full voting for the Connie Mack Award will be announced on October 14th.  It’ll be interesting to see the differences across the board.

October 12, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 4 Comments

So close

Our view last night.  Complete with little kid whose parents let him run up front alone while warning him to look out for foul balls.  If one came his way, he was dead because his parents were nowhere to be found.

Our view last night. Complete with little kid whose parents let him run up front alone while warning him to look out for foul balls.

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to last night’s game and was surprised with seats on the aisle two rows away from the field.  Without argument, they are the best seats I’ve ever been lucky enough to sit in.  Upon further reflection, I realize that just about every time I’m in the best seats I’ve ever been in, the Red Sox end up losing.  Should make a note of that for next time!

Because I was with great company and the weather wasn’t too insufferable, the night was a lot of fun in spite of the final score.  Getting to see Justin Masterson was cool (the fans gave him nice ovations both when his name was announced and when he left the field and the Red Sox music folks played “Son of a Preacher Man” when he left the game, which I thought was a nice touch) and hearing the cheers for Jacoby Ellsbury’s return reassured me that not all of the fan base has gone mad with “He’s soft!  He only broke a couple of ribs!  He’s a clubhouse cancer!” disease.  See Jon Lester angrily thow his hands up at Tito when he initially came out to, seemingly, take him out of the game and then proceed to give up a home run…not so nice.  But last night’s game was not to be and I’m okay with that.  I’ll take my pleasure where I can get it and I hate that people so quickly can forget what happened on Tuesday night just because the team loses a game.  Perspective, people, perspective.

In regard to the photo above, as a person with no children of her own maybe I’m just super over-protective (my niece tells me I’m “too child-protective!” which is her way of saying I worry too much) but in what world would you think it was safe to let your small child stand that close to the field when a foul ball or flying bat could absolutely come over and hit him?  His parents were four or five rows behind him, not nearly close enough to stop a foul ball or deflect a bat, and they did nothing but encourage him to run up front in the hopes of getting a foul ball.   Heck, when Marco Scutaro thew his bat down and it bounced around, I was expecting it to come our way.  I get that it’s a baseball game but there are also certain spots in the park where it DANGEROUS.  Where we were sitting is one of those places.  Sure it’s cool to a kid to get that close to the field but it would be nice if the ADULTS would act as such and take care of their kids.  (While I’m ranting, an adult took a late-inning, Big Papi at-bat as an indication he and his son should come to that spot and stand directly in front of me.  When I politely tugged on his shirt to get his attention he barked at me that he would get out of my way so I could see.  How silly of me to expect to see the ball game.  What was I thinking?)

It seems that less fans show up early for these games lately.  The park looked filled once we were sitting but while we were walking around pre-game there were many less people than I’m used to being there.  The flip side of that was by the 8th inning, when I expected people to start leaving in droves, most actually stayed.  There were patches of empty seats (mostly in the expensive sections) but for the most part the majority of the fans stuck it out.  Don’t know if that’s just an indication of folks deciding to enjoy the experience for what it’s worth or those people weren’t going to waste the money they spent for possibly the only game they’ll get to this year by leaving early but in any event it was encouraging.  Regardless of how we knew it would probably end, folks hung in there.

As I’m writing this, WBZ’s Dan Roche tweets that Josh Beckett, Mike Cameron, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis have been fined (along with Cleveland’s Jensen Lewis) for the non-fight on Tuesday night.  All but Beckett and Lewis were fined because they were on the disabled list and not supposed to take the field.   Does this prove Ellsbury is one of the guys now?  (Cleveland’s third base coach, Steve Smith, the one Tito was going at, was suspended for 2 games.  Tito didn’t get suspended or fined.  That’s pretty darn telling, I think.)  No more fights, fellas, let’s try to just get a split in this series tonight, okay?

August 5, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | Leave a comment

No, success against my team doesn't make me happy

It's been brought up more than once to me that I'd be happy if Kyle had just beaten the Red Sox.  Hell, I'll be happy when Kyle just gets to get back on the mound...but I stil won't want him to beat my team (just pitch well enough against them to not suck and let his bullpen come in and lose to the Sox!!).  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

It's been brought up more than once to me that I'd be happy if Kyle had just beaten the Red Sox. Hell, I'll be happy when Kyle just gets to get back on the mound...but I still won't want him to beat my team (just pitch well enough against them to not suck and let his bullpen come in and lose to the Sox!!). Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

No one knows more than I do that sometimes you just choose a player to like, regardless of how well he plays or what team he plays for.  I also am aware that Justin Masterson has the label of “Nicest Guy in Baseball…and Possibly Life”.  I get it.  (And Justin has been more than nice/good to folks I know so I not only am aware of the label but I’m tempted to believe it.)

I just hope folks will excuse me for not being all giddy that the man pitched his best game since being traded to Cleveland against the team I root for.

I’m not one who gets too bent out of shape when the team loses.  But I will fully admit that when Boof Bonser came out of that bullpen, I checked out of the game.  I had a list of things that needed to get done that I was going to tackle after the game so the non-existent Red Sox offense and the appearance of Boof made he decision to shut the game off before it was over quite easy.  I can’t remember the last time I shut a Sox game off before it was over, but I did this one.  Maybe external issues not related to baseball have me a bit more tightly wound than normal but, really, I’m not blaming my feelings solely on that.  Losing to any team 11-0 sucks.  Especially when we had one of our best pitchers out there to start the game and the opposing team had one of their worst.  So while I suppose ultimately, if this triggers success for Justin throughout the season, I will eventually be pleased for Justin, right now is not that time.  I can’t take pleasure in his success when it comes at the price of such an ass-beating.  Maybe next time, Justin.  Definitely next time since it won’t be against the Red Sox.

While I’m cranky, I guess it’s a good time to bring up Jacoby Ellsbury and all of this “he’s soft” bullshit going around.  The kid fractured his damn ribs (well, if I’m being specific, Adrian Beltre fractured Ellsbury’s ribs) and it’s the kind of injury that’s extremely freaking  painful.  There is no one, no doctor, no member of the media, no teammate and no armchair athlete who can tell whether Jacoby is genuinely in too much pain to play or just being “soft”.  Jacoby is the only one who knows how he feels and to call him soft is ridiculous.  Break your ribs, do what he needs to do on the field and then get back to me.

Jon Lester pitches the final game in the series before we get back to interleague play against the Phillies.  My crankiness will be over quickly regardless but it would be nice if the Sox left Cleveland with the series win and not the split.

June 9, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 4 Comments

Once again, old guys rule!

Have some champagne, Timmy, you deserve it!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Have some champagne, Timmy, you deserve it! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Tim Wakefield, man.

In discussing his achievement of pitching the most innings of any pitcher in Red Sox history, he praised Roger Clemens and credited both John Farrell and Victor Martinez for assisting him in getting to his goals.  The man can’t even just sit happily and let folks heap praise upon him and bask in the moment – he has to continue giving back.

Over the course of the various incarnations of this blog, I’ve written about my feelings for Wake.  They’re the feelings I think most Red Sox fans have – the guy busts his tail for the team, does more charity work than maybe any Sox player since Ted Williams, seems to be a fabulous teammate and just comes across as an all-around good guy.  The fact that he’s more often than not a good and effective pitcher almost seems like gravy.  I don’t want to think of  a time when Wake won’t be with the team.  For all the comings and goings of players I like, his departure just might be the most difficult one I’ll have to face.  For now, I’m just going to enjoy the fact that he’s still with the team and he can still pitch like he means it.  Thanks for all of it, Tim!

Another victory on a live chat night puts us at 8 for 8.  If you’re planning on going to a Sox game, you might want to try and schedule it for a Tuesday…s’all I’m saying.  🙂  Special thanks, as always, to everyone who stopped by.  Next week we get an interleague live chat when the Diamondbacks come to town!

Tonight is a game I’m glad isn’t being played in Boston because I’d definitely find a way to be there and then be mildly conflicted all night.  Justin Masterson is pitching against Clay Buchholz.   There aren’t enough ways to describe how fond of Justin I (and so many Sox fans) am.  I was crushed when he was traded and my heart ached for every loss he’s taken since being in Cleveland.  So as much as I want to see him succeed, and as much as seeing him struggle will be painful, I want Clay to have this win.  It’ll give him an American League leading 9 wins and it’ll ensure the Sox win the series…these things I want.  So I hope the Red Sox don’t bang Justin around TOO much but, still, I sadly have to write these words: I want him to lose tonight.  (Man, that feels wrong!)

Because it got to the point where I was going to start unfollowing all those bringing him up yesterday, I will only say is this:  Have Stephen Strasburg put up the pitching line he did last night against the Tampa Bay Rays and then maybe I won’t get pissed when you start calling him Walter Johnson or Roger Clemens.  He was definitely impressive.  That should stand alone without hyperbole.

At 33-26, the American League East fourth place Toronto Blue Jays are tied with National League Central leaders – the Cincinnati Reds.  With their record of 35-25, the Red Sox would be leading every division in MLB right now, except the AL East where they are currently in third place.   Just thought putting the standings in perspective would be helpful!

June 9, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 1 Comment

Was there a full moon this weekend?

This is Eammon Portice.  A 25 year-old pitcher on the Portland SeaDogs.  The SeaDogs play at 1pm today and I figured a picture of Eammon was as good a way as any to let folks know that.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permisison.

This is Eammon Portice. A 25 year-old pitcher on the Portland SeaDogs. The SeaDogs play at 1pm today on NESN and I figured a picture of Eammon was as good a way as any to let folks know that*. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permisison.

Memorial Day weekend usually marks the first weekend of the summer (which is still not quite here yet) when people go away.  While I didn’t go away, activities this weekend caused me to miss a lot of baseball (including Friday’s and Sunday’s Sox games).  So if you’re one of those folks who did a little vacationing this weekend, or just had things that needed to get done and couldn’t stop to watch some baseball, here’s some of what you missed (in no particular order):

  • The Angels’ Kendry Morales broke his leg in the celebration following his walk-off grand slam on Saturday.   (Incidentally, it makes me crazy whenever anyone refers to a grand slam as a grand slam home run, as the announcer does in that clip.  By definition, a grand slam is a home run, no need to be redundant.)  If you watch the video, the celebration wasn’t even that rough, Kendry landed the wrong way (supposedly because someone was grabbing for him as he was landing).  This was followed by Howie Kendrick (has he always been called Howard or did someone finally ask him which he preferred?  I’ll never get used to “Howard”) hitting a walk-off home run on Sunday with no jumping into a pile this time (but still some celebrating).  I have no issue with teams celebrating walk-offs.  Heck it’s a big deal, let them celebrate.  Just maybe they could not try to kill each other while they’re doing it.  (Also hearing, “Jimmy Jack” as a term for a home run makes me want to break someone’s leg.)
  • Then there’s the Indians’ David Huff, who got nailed in the head with an ARod line drive that turned into a rbi double.  Huff, remarkably, didn’t end up with a concussion and didn’t even stay in the hospital overnight, returning to Yankee Stadium before the game ended.  The best part of this story, well aside from the fact that Huff is all right, is that ARod’s double made the score 2-0 Yanks in the 3rd inning and the score would get to 10-3, Yanks, yet would end 13-11 Indians.  Slappy taking out your pitcher is definitely a game you have to win.  Well done, Cleveland.  Sadly, not so well done?  Justin Masterson.  In the following game, Masterson was pitching what was probably his best game in a year.  In the middle of the 7th inning, the score was 3-0 Cleveland with Masterson only giving up 4 hits and a walk.  Then the 7th got ugly.   Three singles and a stolen base in the 7th scored two runs to make the score 3-2.  Masterson, with 103 pitches, get taken out of the game and his bullpen coughs up four more runs.  The bright side?  Masterson gets a no-decision, which breaks this streak of 11 losses in a row going back to last August.  I really feel for Justin Masterson but as much as I was upset about his being traded last year, this all kind of takes the sting of that away a little bit.
  • On the happier side of baseball, Roy Halladay becomes the third pitcher to throw a perfect game since “The Baseball Project” wrote and released “Harvey Haddix”.  I watched the last three innings of Halladay’s game against the Marlins because, well, watching Halladay pitch is entertaining on many levels, and the fans in Florida were really great.  I was so terribly impressed with their reactions to all the outs the Marlins were making – and then someone pointed out to me that, being in Florida, there are a lot of snowbirds down there and Yankees and Phillies fans both tend to take over the park.  So while I still choose to believe that the Marlins fans were just being awfully cool, it looks like it might have just been Phillies fans cheering their own.  Along with messing up Harvey’s song, Halladay is just the 2nd Phillie to pitch a perfect game and the 20th player in MLB history to do it as well as being the Arizona Fall League alumnus to throw one.  Cool stuff, Roy.  Happy that he has this to add to his resume!
  • The Red Sox ended up splitting the series with the Royals behind more great pitching from Buchholz and Lester, winning their weekend games, 1-0 and 8-1.  Mike Cameron came alive, David Ortiz and Jason Varitek added to their home run numbers and no one got injured celebrating anything.  I’d say that makes this weekend quite a successful one

Disappointingly, the Red Sox aren’t playing today.  While this gives me more time to focus on the barbecue (who am I kidding?  You know I’ll be going indoors watching pieces of the other games) it still disappoints me that, on a holiday, we don’t get baseball.  A little annoyed with the baseball gods with this one – although a day off, on a holiday, while they’re at home, is probably something most of the guys with families are looking forward to – so, I can’t be selfish.

Today is Dave Roberts’ 38th birthday.  Send him some good vibes, prayers, birthday wishes, whatever you have because the man deserves them.

Tomorrow the Sox begin a series against the Oakland A’s with John Lackey on the mound.  I think our Tuesday night live chat mojo is about to be seriously tested.  My computer issues are settled so the chat will be going on with, presumably, no interruptions!

(*It should be noted that Casey Kelly will be the starter for the SeaDogs today.  There’s a chance you can see Eammon come out of the bullpen, though!)

May 31, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , | 1 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

How can I feel good when nothing's right?

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This is going to make a great story when the Red Sox win the World Series, right?

Man oh man.  I joked during the chat last night that it would be twisted but funny if the Red Sox didn’t win another game in the regular season and the Rangers won one more.  I’m not so sure the Rangers will think it’s as funny as I do, though.  (The Rangers, incidentally, lost again last night.)

Well, at least the Sox made history last night when Dusty Brown became the first Red Sox catcher to pitch in a game.  It’s been a long, strange season.

I actually watched the post-game show on NESN last night.  Something I don’t usually do if the team loses.  I guess I’m just in a better mood since they’re in the playoffs so I got to see Dennis Eckersley seem genuinely pissed that Wakefield was in there while Tom Caron defended the decision.  I’m on the side of TC here – we needed to see what Wake could or couldn’t do on the field in order to deal with the playoff roster.  As much as I’m looking forward to the playoffs, I’m not looking forward to who will be left off that roster.  (Only real light moment of the night was when a reporter called Tito “Theo” as she asked her question and he sternly pointed out that he was “Tito”.  Sadly, that reporter wasn’t Heidi Watney.)

I’ll be at the game tonight.  The way things are going I’m probably going to see Jason Varitek playing left field.  Should be an interesting night.  It’ll be nice to see Justin Masterson  (who pitched a complete game last night but still lost 1-0 in Cleveland) at least.

Elsewhere in MLB, Bronson Arroyo got his 15th (and final) win of the season last night.  After struggling with carpal tunnel he got a cortisone shot and  pitched damn fine in the second half this year – which means either the Reds will want to keep him around or he just made himself attractive trade bait.  Incidentally, John Smoltz was Bronson’s opposing pitcher and he only went four innings.  Warms the cockles.

I’ll be at two (tonight and Sunday) of the last four games of the regular season.  I don’t want to sound greedy, but at least one win would be nice, fellas!

October 1, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , | 6 Comments

I will catch your fall

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

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

There’s this rather disturbing practice that they’ve started at Fenway Park this year. Before the game begins, they show you evacuation routes out of Fenway in case of emergency. Now, generally speaking, this isn’t disturbing. As I go into most buildings, I look around for the exits and make sure I have an idea of where I am and how I’d get out if need be. But this is new to Fenway which gives it a creepy “something’s probably going to happen and we just want to cover our asses” feel whenever I see it. Prior to the trade deadline, I joked that folks out right field way were, essentially, screwed and if I was going anywhere during an emergency it would be toward the field, not toward the exits, because there would be less people. Plus, I could make my way to Justin Masterson in the bullpen and be saved with him given his connections to the Lord.

But Justin isn’t around to save me any more so I can’t use him as a buffer between the Almighty and myself. (And while some of what I say is in jest, I’ll say this seriously – I got to see Justin in action, this year, speaking at a church and where some of our beliefs might be different, I have a lot of respect for his passion and his talent for preaching. There’s no doubt in my mind that when he has to leave baseball he’ll find a successful and rewarding life with his church and for that I’m both impressed and a little jealous.)

My salvation lies with me and how strongly I believe. I pride myself on being a believer. In my faith, in my family and friends and in the damn baseball team I follow so closely. But they’re testing me, as they often do. Two straight losses…not just losses but ass kickings…to the Kansas City Royals? I’m not usually one to say “WTF” when it comes to a loss…a loss is just that and they’ll happen, right? Every team in MLB is manned with professionals so they’re all going to win a game or two against the Sox. But after Tuesday night’s loss “WTF” came out of my mouth a lot. (I’m not proud.)

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September 24, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | 2 Comments

Monkey business on a sunny afternoon

Josh Reddick and Daniel Bard in January 2009 - Photo by Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

Josh Reddick and Daniel Bard in January 2009 - Photo by Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

Day one of my three days in Baltimore has been over for a few hours…and I missed it!

KellyJ and I didn’t get to Baltimore (at least not to the hotel) until after 11pm.  Yep, we missed the entire first game.  Nice to see the fellas won even without us there!

We spent many, many hours in New York on Friday.  One of those hours was spent at, of all places, the MLBPA office.  KellyJ has a family friend there who showed us great hospitality and sent us on our way with bags of stuff!  (Including Dustin Pedroia jerseys for each of us!)  It was an unexpected yet welcomed and appreciated surprise.  The rest of the time was spent sitting around in traffic.  I got up at 3am on Friday.  Was on a bus at 6:30am and then a train at 8:50am before I met KellyJ around 10:15am to head to Baltimore.  At 1:37am on Saturday morning, I’m still up.  An hour and a half longer and it’s an entire 24 hours that I’ve been up – and I still haven’t seen a ball game!

The time at the MLBPA was a lot of fun, though, and honestly worth missing the first game for – especially given we have tickets for the next two.

Received updates galore all the way down on the trades.  I’m quite sad to see Justin Masterson go but I AM excited to see Victor Martinez with the Sox.  Both Martinez and Manny Delcarmen cried over this trade.  Which was a bummer to read about.  Hopefully they’re both feeling better about it soon.

I wish Justin a lot of luck.  He’s a good guy as well as a good pitcher and I hope he kicks ass in Cleveland (unless he’s pitching against the Sox)l.

I am beyond thrilled that the team still employs the trio of Buchholz, Bowden and Bard.  I was really dreading the possibility of any of them leaving the team.  Safe, for a little while anyway.

Three player sightings even though we got into town so late.  As we got off the elevator in the hotel, Brad Penny was walking through throngs of fans, high fiving them all.  He would have high-fived us as well, but Kelly and I were wiped and just wanted to check in and ended up just giving him a “Dude, can you get out of the way so we can get by?” look.

Incidentally, the uniform does not flatter him.  Folks think he’s overweight but he looked to be in quite good shape in his civies.

Meeting up with the rest of our friends and having a drink I noticed Marcus McBeth walk into the hotel bar.  I’m pretty sure I was the only one in the place who recognized him.  He walked to the back of the bar, spoke to someone then turned around and left (both he and the person he spoke to had security or, at least, a type of handler with them).  The person he spoke to?  Clay Buchholz.   We didn’t bother any of the players – it really isn’t my style.  I have to admit to being freaked out by the way the fans were acting in the lobby when Penny came in – they cheered him.  It just seems odd to me to cheer people as they come into their hotel.  Baltimore police and hotel security were threatening to kick folks out who tried to take photos – and they meant it.  I wasn’t the one who chose the hotel we’re staying in and I think if I were to choose a hotel, the team hotel wouldn’t be the one.  It makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Ah well…it’s going on 2am and I should try to fall asleep before it is 24 hours in a row that I’m awake.  Joshua Patrick on the mound Saturday night.  A win when I’m actually present for the game would be nice!

August 1, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blow your mind but not completely

If we want the celebrations (witness Justin Masterson and Mike Timlin with some Bud Light) we have to take some disappointments too. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Now is the time for all of us to walk the walk. Everyone loves their team when they’re in first place or even just winning. But now we’re being tested. A five-game losing streak? This isn’t our team is it? How does this work? What are we supposed to do?

We’re supposed to support the damn team, that’s what.

Sure these games are painful. Hell, 6 stolen bases in one game? Two double steals two nights in a row? That’s downright embarrassing. But this is the same team we’ve been supporting all along. Not too long ago they were in first place and Red Sox Nation was the land of sunshine and roses. What’s it say about us if we start wigging out just because the team is going through an ugly losing streak?

Theo is already making moves to help the team. On Friday, Adam LaRoche will be in Boston and Julio Lugo won’t. Goodness knows Lugo wasn’t all what ails the team and LaRoche won’t be its savior but the new blood will be an energizing force into the clubhouse and maybe the team needs a little of that right now.

So, yeah, the losing is lousy. And painful. And just a drag to witness. But it’s real and it’s here. If we’re going to support this team when they’re coasting then we sure as hell should be supporting them when they’re struggling.

We all get a day off on Thursday and then Friday the team is back home. We can all use the day to step back, breathe and look forward to the next series.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to or just followed the live blog. In spite of the outcome of the game it was a lot of fun! (And today’s picture reminds me to wish good luck to Mike Timlin who is trying out for a spot on the Colorado Rockies this week!)

July 23, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment