Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

It was a winter weekend

Notice anything missing from the official logo for the Winter Weekend? No mention of the Red Sox.

Notice anything missing from the official Winter Weekend sign? No mention of the Red Sox. What’s up with that?

So last weekend was the second annual Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods. I was at last year’s event and noticed that I didn’t write about it at the time. (I even brought a recorder for the good stuff and still have audio files from that weekend that I’ve done nothing with but listen to them myself.)  I am a pathetic excuse for a blogger these days.

Anyway, this year’s weekend was loads of fun. I was a little disappointed that there weren’t panels for the minor leagues as there were last year (last year, Kelly O’Connor and I attended almost exclusively panels that covered the minor league players and operations) but the panels we attended this year were informative and entertaining.

If I had any doubts about Dave Dombrowski, last weekend erased them for me. (Sure you could argue the team acquiring David Price should have erased them for me but I’m nothing if not stubborn.) The first panel we attended on Saturday was the Baseball Operations update with Dombrowski and Mike Hazen. Two people more eager to discuss baseball operations with the lowly fans you will not find, I promise you. It was less of an update and more of a casual Q&A about the team peppered with some interesting stories from the vault of Dave Dombrowski.

Best Hair in Baseball Operations

Best Hair in Baseball Operations (Photo courtesy of my iPhone)

I had conveniently forgotten that Dombrowski was the GM of the Florida Marlins when Kevin Millar was getting his start in baseball and last weekend he shared the story about how Millar ended up as a replacement player in 1995. It came up as Dombrowski and Hazen were making that point that regardless of what Baseball Operations folks see in a player, it’s not an exact science and every so often a player comes around that surprises them. Dombrowski was also making the point that some players, the prospects, get special treatment. Kevin Millar was not one of those special players; they didn’t expect him to go anywhere.

“We also had players in our minor league system at that point and we invited some of them to come play exhibition games, pre-season games at the big league level. We broke those players down, we would not invite prospects to play in those replacement spring training games because we knew that the Player’s Association would frown on them being part of the Association in the future so we really spent a long time – Kevin Millar played in those spring training games for us so we did not think Kevin was a prospect at all at that time. And he worked hard continued to hit basically and he went on to have a very fine big league career and now he’s a top broadcaster with his personality, so we were really surprised. There’s an example of somebody that completely caught us off guard unfortunately for Kevin because we never would have done that if we would have thought he had that type of ability. To this day he’s not part of the Player’s Association; they don’t allow him in because he played in those Spring Training games and they’re not forgiving in that regard.” – Dave Dombrowski

If I need a specific reason to encourage people to go to the Winter Weekend if the Red Sox offer it next year, sound bites like this one would be my first example. It also doesn’t hurt that Dombrowski speaks relaxed and freely – and is personable enough that you want him to keep speaking. The only disappointment from this panel was that it only lasted an hour.

We also sat in on a panel called Covering Ground where we were entertained by Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans along with Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Rusney Castillo. Sure it was fun to hear Rice, Lynn and Evans recall the good old days – (and I promise you not one of them has forgotten those days and they all seem to be in agreement that they were pretty much the best. Not age nor the fact that none of them brought the team a World Series win has affected their egos – it was glorious!) – but the interactions between the old guard and the new was what made this panel a must see. If NESN wanted to take the sting out of Don Orsillo not being on our tvs anymore they would give Jim Rice and Mookie Betts a reality show. Mookie’s incessant teasing (among other things, telling the three veterans that he didn’t know who they were) finally culminated in Jim Rice telling him to talk to the hand. (Okay, so Jim Ed is a decade behind the rest of us…it was still adorable.)

There were other highlights, I got to meet John Farrell and welcome him back, got a picture with Jerry Remy (and my second picture in as many years with my honey Fred LynN!), we saw Brock Holt giving up his #26 jersey to Wade Boggs at the Friday night town hall meeting, Wally’s little sister Tessie being the belle of the ball all weekend (if I heard one kid scream “THERE’S TESSIE!” I hear ten) and we almost shared an elevator with Roger Clemens (the baseball gods helped me out there and the Rocket ended up not taking the elevator) but they really did save the best for last. The two final panels on Saturday were the Kid’s Press Conference and Red Sox Game Show.

The press conference was what you would expect – kids asking the players questions (“What kind of car do you drive? Where is the best burger?”) but the true highlight of the entire weekend was the game show. Three teams (the alumni, the coaches and the players) competed in adorableness like Lip Sync Battle, Celebrity Name Games, Lil Picassos and the Doo Doo game (where you have to sing a song only singing “doo-doo”.  It was a ridiculously entertaining way to end the day and it gave us the chance to see these guys more relaxed than we’re used to seeing them. Fred Lynn especially stood out as being a bit more silly than I would have expected. Steve Lyons was exactly as you would think he’d be and Hanley Ramirez completely won over the room with his huge smile, infectious laugh and the fact that at one point he jumped into the audience and sat with the fans so that he could applaud his own team.

Steve Lyons and Bruce Hurst eyeing the competition

Steve Lyons and Bruce Hurst eyeing the competition

As an aside, Hanley Ramirez is my binky this season. He completely seduced me last weekend and he has my support because I can’t believe someone with that much life and happiness in him can be bad.

The biggest surprise of the game show was Carl Willis, Red Sox pitching coach and guy you want at your party to keep things lively. I can’t do his personality justice, so I offer you the below shaky, blurry at times, video that I took of Carl and the rest of the coaches lip syncing “Uptown Girl” with the alumni at the end giving their props. I honestly walked out of that room in physical pain from laughing so much. (And the coaches got hosed…they should have won!)


Truck Day is February 10th – my plan is to be there because if I know anything it’s that I’m itching for some baseball and this weekend taste has me hungry for more. The entire weekend was a great way to get excited for the upcoming season but now I just want more!

January 26, 2016 Posted by | 2016 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Like a Bad Penny

Me with Kevin Millar - September 2003 (It was either this or a picture of Pete Rose...)

Me with Kevin Millar – September 2003 (It was either this or a picture of Pete Rose…)

In September of 2003 a friend and I went to a baseball card show solely for the purpose of meeting Kevin Millar and David Ortiz who were there doing signings.  At the time they were both new favorites of the fans and not the icons they are now but we knew they were special and wanted to share our affection with them.

It was a fun, if not relatively expensive, day and the memories from it include getting my photo taken with Kevin Millar (at the time my favorite player on the team) and getting to see Millar and Big Papi interacting off the field the way we would become used to seeing them on the field, like two kids just enjoying the heck out of where they were in life.

The friend I attended with was someone I met online (Hi Pam!) and this was our first time meeting in person. We’ve since become close friends but you never know how these things will work out. Would we get on each other’s nerves? Would we find each other weird? The moment I knew we were destined to be great friends was when, after we met the players and just were walking around the event, she stopped to talk with someone who was promoting the idea that Major League Baseball should reinstate Pete Rose. Pam, who is quite the soft, spoken, gentle soul, lit into this man and gave him a lesson in why she didn’t think he belonged there. I knew right then we’d be lifelong friends.

Any baseball fan can tell you what a polarizing subject Pete Rose is when fans start the discussion. I’ve witnessed an argument that turned into a broken friendship over this very subject. I wish that was an exaggeration but it isn’t. The argument became so heated that other unrelated things came out and before anyone knew what was happening we watched the friendship dissolve right in front of us.

I don’t know that I’ve ever met any baseball fan whose stance on Pete Rose was “I don’t care.”  (And please feel free to tell me you don’t care!) People seem to either absolutely not want him anywhere near baseball (Cyn raises her hand) or they bring up all of the other horrible people who are currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame (or in a position to be in the Hall of Fame eventually) and compare them to Rose.  “Is gambling as bad as being a racist?” (Say hey, Ty Cobb)  People bring up the players with domestic violence in their history, or the drug addicts or the players who collect DUIs the way we used to collect Garbage Pail Kids. Compared to their failings, Pete Rose defenders think gambling isn’t close to the worst a player in MLB could do.

Listen, I get it. Generally speaking people can be pretty terrible.  Including, if not especially, athletes. So if we’re looking for 30 teams in MLB to fill their rosters with choirboys we will be extremely disappointed. No one, least of all me, is expecting these men to be perfect. I’d just like the bar to be set a little higher than, say, “At least he isn’t a murderer.”

While I am certainly in the camp of fans who are happy that 2015 begins the era of a Bud Selig-less MLB, one of my worries about a new commissioner was how he or she (she, ha-ha…I crack me up) would treat the Pete Rose situation.

Earlier this month, new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Pete Rose has sent him a formal request asking that his lifetime ban be lifted. Manfred has essentially said that he’s going to go over the Dowd Report and Bart Giamatti’s decision and mull all of that over along with giving Pete Rose’s argument consideration. This all sounds perfectly fair in my mind. Go over the evidence presented and make a decision based on a request his office received. So even though I find it completely logical to do it, why does it chap my ass so much?

If I think about it long enough I can figure it out.  People are, for the most part, a forgiving group. Tell us your sorry and we’ll forgive you. Even if we never forget, more often than not you’ll get your second chance. So I think part of my concern is that Rob Manfred might be looking at Pete Rose, who’ll be 74 this month, and instead of focusing on what he did and that he agreed to the ban and then spent years denying he did anything wrong, he’ll think about an older man who only wants his accomplishments acknowledged and he’ll give in. And that truly annoys me to no end.

If you take a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame (which every fan should definitely try to do) you’ll find that Pete Rose and his accomplishments are well represented there. Now I understand Rose and his supporters want is that plaque. They want his face cast in bronze with his Reds cap on and a brief bio below in that elite group of his contemporaries and those who paved the way before him. In my opinion, he should have thought of that before he knowingly broke what was at the time pretty much baseball’s most serious rule (and then, after agreeing to the ban, lying about it for years).

I know people aren’t perfect and I really don’t even believe in striving for perfection. As long as you aren’t a jackass, we’re good. But in Pete’s case he knew from the get-go that what he was doing would run him the risk of losing what he loved…baseball. And yet he still did it and then lied about it for years. I have no problem living in a world where Pete Rose isn’t enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. ESPECIALLY because his achievements are there. What he did as a baseball player won’t be forgotten but neither will what he did to get himself booted out of baseball.  Fair’s fair.

April 1, 2015 Posted by | 2015 | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Seems Like Yesterday

Good day. And welcome to part two of my walk down memory lane.

It won’t actually be a walk down memory lane. We did that in the last entry. But I do like to take a moment to remember what an impact October 27, 2004 had on my life.

I’ve written it before and I say it a lot – it sounds almost stupid to say that night changed my life…but it did. I approach being a baseball fan, the single biggest hobby I have, in a completely different way than I did prior to 2004.

The last time a baseball game made me cry out of sadness and frustration was July 1, 2004. You might remember the game. Yankees fans call it “The Dive” game. Red Sox fans remember it as either “The Game When Nomar Stayed on the Bench” or “The Game Where Pokey Reese Made the Same Catch Jeter Did but Didn’t Have to Pretend He Needed to Dive” – in any event, I remember turning the game off and crying myself to sleep.

Not my greatest moment, admittedly.

Then we got the trade, and then Kevin Millar telling all the reporters that he’d see them at his locker in October and then in October he told them not to let the Sox win tonight. We got the walk, the steal, the slap…and then October 27th.  And that’s all I needed.

I’ve loved baseball for as long as I can remember…at least 40 years, but I tended to lean toward being the stereotype of a miserable Sox fan. I never gave up on them, never, but boy I’d complain about them whenever anyone would listen. (I even incorporated complaining about them into  the speech I gave at my father’s retirement party back in May of 2001.) October 27, 2004 basically gave me the strength to not be miserable.  (Okay, admittedly, I had some miserable moments since I’ve been blogging, especially in the beginning…it took a while for it to take.)

Of course October 28, 2007 & October 30, 2013 didn’t hurt. I genuinely can’t understand any Red Sox fan who doesn’t just appreciate each season for what it is now. We’ve been so fortunate. After 86 years our team has three championships in a span of ten years. We have had good fortune dumped all over us and we’re rolling in it, regardless of what happened in 2014, and we should never, never forget it. To forget it would be a slap in the face to the rest of the fans in MLB who haven’t and won’t ever experience what we have.  It would also be ridiculously selfish of us.

So as I do every year, I want to say “thank you” to the Boston Red Sox. My happiness as a baseball fan trickles into all other aspects of my life. Shallow?  Maybe.  But definitely true.

I’m watching what could be the World Series winning game for the Giants tonight (or the World Series tying game for the Royals) as I write this and it’s fun to be excited for another fan base while remembering how much I love being a part of the fan base I’m in. (Go Royals!)

October 28, 2014 Posted by | 2014 | , , | 2 Comments

Superstitious Me

This greets me every morning!

This greets me every morning!

I am superstitious by nature.  Well, probably by nurture given how prevalent superstitions were in my family when I was growing up. In any event, while I try to fight most superstitions, I am occasionally seen tossing salt over my shoulder, NOT walking under ladders and, as anyone who knows me will attest, NOT mentioning a no-hitter by name unless it’s being pitched by someone I don’t want to succeed.

Let me share a story I’m sure I’ve shared before.  It’s a Sunday in October of 2004 and the Red Sox have lost the first 3 games of the ALCS to the New York Yankees.  The third game, having just ended the evening before, was an especially painful thrashing that saw the Red Sox lose 19-8. That Sunday, I went with my family to a birthday party for one of my aunts. Even though the Patriots were also playing and everyone was happy to see each other, it felt more like a wake.  All people were talking about was how the Red Sox were going to get swept by the Yankees that night. My parents and I think we’re the only people in the house who aren’t convinced the Red Sox are going to lose, until my cousin’s boyfriend, who was also a bartender around the Fenway Area, starts telling everyone that the Red Sox could win the entire ALCS.  He basically spends the afternoon telling everyone the same thing Kevin Millar famously told anyone who would listen at Fenway that day.

 “Don’t let us win today. This is a big game. They’ve got to win because if we win we’ve got Pedey coming back today and then Schilling will pitch Game 6 and then you can take that fraud stuff and put it to bed. Don’t let the Sox win this game.” 

So while he didn’t use the same words as Millar did above, the sentiment was the same. If the Sox could win on Sunday, Pedro was pitching game five and Schilling was pitching game 6…and it could all come down to game 7.  And we all know what happened.

We left that party invigorated and excited for the game to begin. After game 4 went the way it did, I took myself to work the next day…in the same clothes I had worn to the birthday party. (Hey, the game ran late, I got up late and grabbed the clothes I had easiest access to.)  I came home that night, didn’t get changed and watched the Red Sox beat the Yankees again.  As I sat down to watch game 6, I looked down at my clothes and thought “I really need to go put on what I wore for the last two games” and I did. So for games 4-7 of the 2004 ALCS I wore the same outfit (well, except for the underwear…I figured the Baseball Gods would understand I needed clean underwear…) and things worked out swell for the Sox.

After the Red Sox won it all in 2004, I realized I could let go of a lot of my baseball superstitions. (I will never be able to truly let go of not mentioning a no-hitter by name.  I absolutely know this is ridiculous, I promise you.) I’ve spent the better part of the last 9 seasons (including this one) rolling my eyes at people who worry that the same fate will befall the Sox as it has in the years before 2004. But September of 2011 shook me.  More than I thought it had. Here I sit, night after night, watching this absolutely amazing Boston Red Sox team come back from deficits, pound good pitching and act like nothing around them fazes them at all and still I worry.

I have three pictures hanging on the walls of my cubicle at work. One is of my niece and the other two you see above. Because of Clay’s plight, I considered taking down those two (I was also tracking Clay’s wins and losses on that photo and wondered if I was testing the Baseball Gods). But I worried that if I took down the pictures of Clay and Jonny that it would somehow mess with the team. (Heck, Clay hasn’t pitched for half the time I’ve had him up, but still…)

So the pictures remain, Clay came back the other night to win his tenth game of the season and Jonny Gomes is doing just fine, thank you. (Because he is, according to this, Bruce Willis from Unbreakable.) And yet I still worry.

Worry is the wrong word. I’m not worried. I believe this team is winning the division and has a damn good chance of winning the World Series. I’m just trying not to mess with anything karmically that could screw things up. What that means specifically, I’m not yet sure…but I’ll say this: Neglecting this blog (as well as not going to nearly as many games in person as I usually do) hasn’t exactly hurt the Sox this season!  I have no intentions to purposely stop the blog…but now you know why there might be a few more long periods without an entry!

Of course, all that goes out the window once the post season is here and new superstitions take their place.

Magic number = 8. Single digits, baby!

September 12, 2013 Posted by | 2013 | , , , | 1 Comment

Remember Postcard Showers?

My Sistahs remind me that we haven’t had a postcard shower in a while and the beginning of this season is the perfect time to rectify that.

Before we go on, I wanted to share the history of the Postcard Shower with those unfamiliar with it.

The background:

In  2003 a group of us from the Red Sox Fan Forum decided we needed to override the constant negativity whenever a player is doing poorly…and we got together and ‘showered’ specific players with postcards bearing positive messages. At the time, we called ourselves “The BOSTONS” (Babes Offering Support TOur Needed Sox). We even used to have a website. Here’s a blurb from it:

The BOSTONS was formed to show the guys on the team how much the fans support them. The definition of our “postcard shower” was to get at least 10 of the women to send out 10 postcards with positive messages of support written on them to the player we all agreed needed it the most.

We started in August 2003 with Todd Walker who was in the middle of his worst slump of the season.

According to the Boston Globe: “(As of September 8th) Since Todd returned to the second spot in the order Aug. 21, he is batting .333 (18 for 54) after hitting .177 in the previous 37 games” .

We BOSTONS know the truth!  By that week of August 21st Todd was already receiving his postcards!

With the players all playing so well, we decided on Kevin Millar next since he was getting a bit of a hammering from the media. Following Kevin we chose Billy Mueller and Nomar Garciaparra. Two guys doing well for most of the season – both had been toying with slumps in the late stages of 2003.

We firmly believe that the vocal support of The BOSTONS was a major factor in the wonderful way the guys came through for us in 2003 and ESPECIALLY the way they came through for us in 2004 and we know that tradition will continue!

Okay, so we were a little giddy. We’re fans and we feel strongly about supporting our team. And at the end of 2003, we were rewarded, somewhat, with this:

Taken from many years ago. Used without permission and without a memory of who the photographer is.

This is Todd Walker cleaning out his locker in October 2003. If you enlarge the photo, you will see a postcard taped to his locker. A white card with a yellow smiley face on it. Three of the “Babes” (including Booklady and yours truly) sent Todd ‘smiley face’ postcards. So we use this photo as proof that the showers meant something to the guys.

There was also a quote from Gabe Kapler in 2004 (thanks to Sistahs Soxcruiser and Brenken for it).

“I have never seen a group of fans care so much about a team in my life. I’ve never gotten a letter that explains, I get these random letters, asking for nothing, they’re not asking for anything, they just want to show support for the team. They just want to say, hey I loved that play you made or it’s great that you guys beat them in this series, a post card, no return address, just out of the blue.”

As you can see, we feel strongly about the power of our support.   Over the years, various players have been recipients of our postcard shower and in 2004 we started showering the entire team when they needed it.  Right now, the entire team needs it.

Choose a Player and send him a postcard (or five or ten) of support.  If we start now we can shower them for this four game homestand and keep it up while they’re on the road so they come back to all the love from the fans.

c/o Boston Red Sox
Fenway Park
4 Yawkey Way
Boston, MA 02215

Red Sox Nation is a much larger (and diverse) group than the BOSTONS were…so men and women getting together to show ssupport for their team will make a greater impact, yes?

It’s a great way to show the team we’re behind them while feeling like we’re doing something to help.  So grab a pen, some postcards and some postage and start writing!

April 14, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , | 7 Comments

Is this thing on?

When all else fails, there's always Bill Hall.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

When all else fails, there's always Bill Hall. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

So yesterday was one of those games that I  missed because of other obligations and then didn’t mine missing at all.

Let us not speak of it again.  (Ugh!)

I will be watching tonight’s game so Mr. Buchholz can feel free to pitch another no-hitter or, heck,  just a one-hitter will work too.  I won’t mind.

I guess if one thing upset me about missing the Sox it’s that I missed Bill Hall pitch a perfect ninth.  Have to love a position player coming in and getting the job done.  (I lie, you realize.  The idea of a position player finishing a game, and the fact that TWO have done so already this year, makes me want to bang my head.)  I dvr’d the game but might just fast forward through it to see Kevin Millar hassling Tito.

And, as much as I love the dude and I promise you I adore the guy, the Sox are 0-2 in the Kevin Millar on NESN era.  Something’s gotta give.

One pitcher-related note:  Ted Lilly:  You cheated.  Casey Blake isn’t the bad guy because he called you out on it.  You’re the bad guy because you did it and John Hirschbeck is the bad guy because when Blake questioned it he refused to do anything about it but, make no mistake, you did it.  We all know you did it and pretending you didn’t makes you look a bit, well, makes it look like you think we’re all stupid.  We aren’t.  Folks who weren’t Casey Blake picked up on it, most specifically CJ Nitkowski.  Also, saying something along the lines of “everyone cheats” doesn’t  make what you did right.  If you don’t want people calling you out as a cheater, here’s a tip:  don’t cheat.

I have my cranky pants on today.  I spent a few hours fixing my wireless that was down almost a day (the horror, I know) and I think my Mac is well on its way to its demise.  I’ve already had folks offer me PC laptops as loaners for the day the Macbook Pro finally dies but, man, I will miss the Mac when it finally kicks.  When I finally get back to the ranks of the gainfully employed, first thing on the list will be to get a new one, I think.  (Hey the phone bill can wait, right?)  So while I will definitely be trying to continue posting every day there might be a time when that stops while I get my house in order, so to speak.  As of right now, though, I’m still planning the Tuesday night live chat!  My technology failing me tends to get me on the crabby side, especially since I can’t really do much about it right now, so I chose to hold off on blogging until the crankiness was gone…and then I read about Ted Lilly and it all came roaring back.  I think I’m good now!

Tonight I’d like a well-pitched, offensively active, Sox win.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

May 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I'm so ready for the weekend

Casey Kelly is now on Twitter @cpk3.  Following him an Luis Exposito @Expo2323 is highly entertaining!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Casey Kelly is now on Twitter @cpk3. Following him and Luis Exposito @Expo2323 is highly entertaining! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Wrote this to a friend yesterday morning:

I’m not of the “well, it’s the Royals so the Sox will roll over them” mind, never have been, but these games could be a lot of fun!

Last night was not a lot of fun.

Okay it was a little fun.  Seeing Bill Hall go yard is always fun.  Having Kevin Millar on the pre and post game shows and reminiscing about 2004 was fun.  Watching Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch like the game in Philadelphia didn’t happen?  Not so much fun.

But there is no time to dwell.  There are still three games against the Royals to be played and won.  The Sox just need to get back up on it.  Tim Wakefield, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester will be pitching those games.  We have every reason to be hopeful!  Special attention should be paid to Saturday night’s game…Zack Greinke v Buchholz.  I know that Greinke has been snakebitten by the rest of his team and that he’s this fabulous pitcher who MLB is already getting the HoF plaque ready for, but I kind of like our guy too.

First, though, there’s Wake tonight.  The next streak has to start with a win and I think Wake’s just the guy to lead them.

May 28, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hiring man said, "Son if it was up to me"

Meeting Millar in 2003. I was very excited to meet him  which explains why I look so nervous in this photo.

Meeting Millar in 2003. I was very excited to meet him which explains why I look so nervous in this photo.

Kevin Millar has held a special place in my heart for a long time. Before his time in Boston began in 2003, I had watched him on “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” talking about how he was treated for being a ‘scrub’ in 1994 and how difficult it was to decide to play during the strike.  Immediately, I was drawn to him and I was excited to see him on the Red Sox.  I knew he was no All Star but I’ve always had a penchant for bench players so I had no higher hopes for him than he be successful on his own level and help the team as much as he could.

At the time, I was a very active contributor to the Red Sox Fan Forum message board and the collective interest in Millar (and Todd Walker and other members of the team) turned into a website that I created ( – now defunct).  The site became very popular and I ended up in contact with various people who knew Kevin (including his mom and a former coach).  Kevin himself even left comments a few times.  He was very gracious and seemed to appreciate the love of the fans.  So he really won my fandom.

Continue reading

March 30, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 6 Comments

Well the names have all changed since you hung around

Home today with nothing to do but stay in bed and hope this stupid virus, or whatever it is, goes away soon. So I have the MLB Network on for the better part of the day. Numerous viewings of their “MLB Tonight” show as well as their “Prime 9” shows. Over and over and over again. (So once the regular season begins, we get actual games during the day, right?) In the midst of these repeated showings, though, is a game from 1981. White Sox at Red Sox. Carlton Fisk’s first game back at Fenway. I’m sure, if this game was on television, I watched it (MLBN’s version is the White Sox feed. Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall.) but I don’t have a clear memory of it so it was fun to watch parts of it. (Not so much fun? Red Sox lost 5-3.) Interesting was the fans reactions. Lots of cheers, for sure, but as Piersall and Caray were talking about all the fans cheering and giving Pudge a standing ovation, the cameras caught many fans NOT standing or cheering for Fisk. He certainly got more cheers than boos, but those boos were loud enough for audio equipment from 1981 to pick them up. I don’t know if I know anyone who was at that game (my friends Dori and Dale come to mind as possibilities – let me know ladies!) but I wonder if, given that the Red Sox lost the game, if the fans there look at that game as being something special? Something they’re happy to have witnessed in person. The loss wold ruin he entire thing for me. So thinking about all the times I’ve been at a game where a beloved ex-Sox player returned, I figured I’d reflect on the three best here. Why not?

Kevin Millar returns to Fenway. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/ Used with permission.

* Kevin Millar returns as an Oriole: May 5, 2006. I bought the tickets at the beginning of the season specifically because I wanted to see Millar. I had no idea if he’d be starting, but I wanted to at least see him. My friend Pam, who was with me the first time I met Millar back in 2003, was with me and we both were genuinely excited about seeing him. I remember not really focusing on caring about who won the game. I mean, I always want the Sox to win, but that night I just wanted to see Kevin – and I especially wanted to see how the fans treated him. I wasn’t disappointed, neither with the game nor the treatment of Millar. He got a hit in his first at bat, eliciting some good-natured boos from the fans – but he was cheered every time he was announced that night and the park was littered with people wearing Millar jerseys and t-shirts (including me!). But the best part of the night was Mike Lowell. It was pretty fitting, actually. Lowell made an amazing catch in the first inning (basically diving into the ground and stealing the ball from Tek), he stole a base and he hit three doubles. Mike Lowell made me realize quickly that night that I DID care about which team won the game. (The Sox did, 6-3!)

Dave Roberts returns to Fenway. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/ Used with permission.

* Dave Roberts returns as a Giant: June 15, 2007. There’s no question that I wanted the Sox to win this game. My blog entry that day read, in part, “Dave is the main reason I bought the ticket for the game tonight. Having written that, I hope my boys destroy his team.” I was past excited at the idea of seeing Dave Roberts again. I literally cried when they introduced him. I was so struck by the sight of him and the memory of what he helped accomplish, that it took a bit of the sting away from the sea of Barry Bonds jerseys around me. Dave Roberts will always have the ability to bring me to tears without doing anything. The party line you hear in Boston is that Dave Roberts will never have to buy himself a drink when he’s in Boston. I’ll tell you what, if he asked me to, I’d take someone out for him. What? He’s a nice guy, he’d never ask. Oh, and incidentally, Sox won this one too: 10-2.

Pedro returns to Fenway. Photo taken by me!

* Pedro Martinez returns as a Met: June 28, 2006. I had to be at this one. Absolutely had to be there. I sat in the bleachers, under the scoreboard. UNDER it. And because I knew I wouldn’t be able to see much during the game, I made sure I got there early for BP. I brought a friend from work and the two of us parked ourselves as close as we could so we would get a good view of Pedro when he walked across the field to warm up. I don’t have to explain to most Red Sox fans what Pedro meant to me when he was with the team. When he didn’t re-sign with the Sox, I was sad but not mad. Pedro made it clear he was looking for the big payday and long-term contract. I was pleased he didn’t go to that other team in New York, so there were no hard feelings that he came back to Boston in Mets colors. Being the emotional sort, I cried when he came out and I cried when they announced him and I cried when he took the mound (I also cheered each time). But after the tears, I wanted the Sox to knock him around…and they did (10-2).

The two most vivid memories from that night: Finding out that Peter Gammons had an aneurysm blew me away and took some of the thrill out of the evening. One of my parents had a brain aneurysm burst when I was in grammar school and, thankfully, fully recovered. But it’s still frightening and confusing and, as much as Gammons pisses me off on almost a daily basis these days, I felt like someone punched me in the stomach when I heard he fell ill. My other strong memory was getting a text message during my ride home telling me that Pedro said he didn’t care about the outcome of the game, he just cared about the fan reaction. That was vintage Pedro for you. I was sorry to see him get as beat up as he did…but I still felt like I got the best of both worlds. We got to show Pedro we still loved him and then we got to show the Mets which was the better team.

Wednesday at 7pm,, MLB Network and NESN will all be airing the first Red Sox/Twins spring training game of the new season. If you are near a computer or television at 7pm, you have many options to check out the team for the first time this year!

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

Just say NOOOOOOO!

So if you clicked the link to the article about Derek Lowe and you continued reading, you read Jay Payton saying:

“When I talked to my agent recently, Boston was the first team I mentioned. I don’t know if it’s in the cards or if I squished my chances of ever returning there. I know the circumstances of my departure from there a few years back were blown out of proportion. I’ve talked to Tito [Terry Francona] several times since then and we’re OK. I’d love the chance to go back there because that’s a winning organization and they’re committed to winning. They do things the right way.”

Jay Payton drops acid, doesn’t he? Funny how, at the time, he never claimed that the story about his getting into a fight with Tito in the dugout after weeks of being a general pain in the ass because he wasn’t a everyday player was untrue or “blown out of proportion”. Only when he wants a job does he suddenly laugh it all off. He also was quoted as saying he and Kevin Millar had a chance to get back at Boston when he joined the Orioles. He was such a horse’s ass that he is the only player I’ve ever booed in his own home park.  (This year, in Baltimore. I even surprised myself.)

But now he loves Boston.  Being a bench player is exactly what he wants.  He’ll be a good boy.

This guy makes my brain hurt.

If we’re going to recycle fourth outfielders, I’d like to put my vote in for Gabe Kapler, thanks.  Guy appreciated every moment he was here and could be just as productive (if not more so) than Payton.

Just say “no” to the guy who antagonized Tito in order to get off the team, Theo.

November 30, 2008 Posted by | Hot Stove, Players | , , , | 13 Comments