Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story

The film is bookended by mentions of our own Kevin Youkilis (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

I’m in the process of turning my brain back on to baseball full-time. I’ve been working on a project that has me going through photos of Red Sox games from 2005 up to last season and it’s getting me excited for the 2012 season. With this frame of mind, I decided to sit down (thanks to streaming Netflix) and watch Ken Burns’ “Baseball”. (I’ve seen probably the majority of this series but not all of it and not in order.) So I turn on the Netflix and type in the word “baseball” and I get three options: I can watch “Baseball”, “Talking Baseball with Ed Randall, the Tom Selleck film “Mr. Baseball” or, most interesting to me since I hadn’t heard of it, “Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story”.

So Ken Burns got put on the back burner because there is no way I could turn away from a film with that title, right?
Continue reading

January 27, 2012 Posted by | 2012 | , , , | 2 Comments

Piling On

So now there are reports that Kevin Youkilis is in Boston, not Florida, tonight. I’d love to believe that it’s because those freaking cowbells give him a headache but I’m guessing it’s a little bit more serious than that.

The Red Sox have decided to make this whole race to the playoffs more interesting by losing series to the likes of the Blue Jays and making sure they lose on the same days the Yankees were losing.  Why gain ground when everyone can just stand pat?

I made a conscious decision last night to not let anything else this season stress me out and just go with the flow.  (That, of course, was before Dale Arnold tweeted that he and Youk had taken the same plane home to Boston.)

These next few weeks are going to test our resolve, Red Sox fans.  Don’t give in.  Not yet, anyway.

September 9, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , | 1 Comment

Should Have Known Better

I thought for sure Kevin Youkilis getting thrown out of the game last night for arguing a third strike call in the 8th inning was a sign that last night’s game wasn’t going to end the way I would like.  Youk gets the boot, Papi gets intentionally walked, putting men on first and second, and Carl Crawford pops out to end the inning.  It just felt, to me, like things were about to go downhill.

Then Tito does the one thing I genuinely hate for him to do:  He puts Jonathan Papelbon into a tied game.  While I prepared myself for a home run (I’m not proud, that’s exactly what I did), Papelbon came up with a ground out, a pop out and a strike out in 10 pitches.

Oh me of little faith.

Bottom of the ninth and a fly out followed by three singles (which included Jarrod Saltalamacchia as a pinch runner for Jason Varitek which, at the time, seemed like pinch running Adrian Gonzalez for David Ortiz), and the Red Sox win.  I suppose the fact that the Yankees were clobbering the White Sox in a game that was rain delayed (and eventually called) gave me that extra bit of anxiousness over the result of this game.  I like the Red Sox being at least a game over the Yankees.  It makes me happy.  Especially with the Yankees coming to Boston this weekend.  So I wasn’t too happy with the idea of the Yankees and Red Sox being tied for first place in the East.  The one game lead might be a little scrawny, but I’ll take it.

I wanted to take this space to do something I don’t often do, and that’s highlight a comment from yesterday.  I’m doing this for two reasons:  1) It made me laugh out loud and lately not much does that and 2) when I first read it, I did so without knowing who wrote it and finding out that it was Kelly only made me laugh more.  Without the two of us ever discussing it, she absolutely nails how I feel about Justin Verlander (and others) complaining about Erick Aybar bunting during Verlander’s no-hit bid.  So in case you missed it, here is the part that stood out for me:

If batters have to respect an opposing no-hitter, why don’t pitchers respect things like batters maintaining hitting streaks or going for the cycle? Hey, maybe bunting is NEVER fair. It’s always a sneaky play, tried only by weasels who can’t get hits the old-fashioned way! Know what else is unfair? Picking off baserunners! They got there fair and square (unless they bunted)! That’s bush league to try to take that away from them!

And NOW I’m done writing about the Tigers/Angels game.

We get Wake on the mound tonight, newly 45 (happy belated birthday!) and going for his 200th win – as if we needed to find reasons to watch the Red Sox!

August 3, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Emotions in Motion

Whenever a team (or player) accuses another team (or player) of stealing signs, I usually have two immediate thoughts:

1) If you are doing such a poor job of masking your signs, you deserve to have your signs stolen.

2) If you are bad enough at it that you get caught, you should admit that you were trying to steal signs.  There is no rule in MLB against stealing signs so why the big conspiracy to hide it if that’s what you’re doing?

In the midst of being swept by the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba accused both Mark Teixeria and Andruw Jones of stealing signs.  They, of course, denied it and Joe Girardi got all high and mighty when asked about it.  But, in truth, who knows?  Someday we could find out that every home run Alex Rodriguez ever hit with men on base was because he was being fed signs.  Does it matter?  There is a poll up on ESPN.com asking fans if stealing signs is “cheating” or “gamesmanship” and, as of this writing, an overwhelming 73% of well over 14,000 people voting call it “gamesmanship”.

I should add a 3) to the above list which would be:  If you think a player/team is stealing signs, instead of making it public with the press or bitching to said player/team…deal with it during the game.  If you think Teixeira is stealing signs, send him a message during his next at-bat.  The “you send one of ours to the hospital, we send one of yours to the morgue” mentality, right?  You steal our signs, we give you a physical memory of why you shouldn’t do that.  Any time the team claiming their signs are being stolen starts talking to the press about it all I can think of is, “And what will talking about it solve?”.  Deal with it during the game just like you would someone going in harder than you think necessary to break up a double play.

On a similar note, after David Price hit Kevin Youkilis last night, both benches got warned because the umpire seemed to think it was retaliation for Youkilis running over Casey Kotchman Tuesday night.  Many Rays fans took to the Internet to complain about Youk even when Kotchnan publicly came out to say there was obviously no intent.  (For the record, it didn’t occur to me until the ump started yelling that the hit was on purpose.) Even so, Rays site Rays Index created the below gif from the incident, naming the file “Youk is a dirty fack”.  Given the fighting  history of these teams, I suppose the Rays fans might have been hoping for some kind of fight to galvanize the team.  Unfortunately, all they got was a series loss and a whole game back in the standings.

If you can look at this and see malicious intent, you must be a Rays fan.

So heading into interleague play, the Red Sox finish a road trip with a record of 8-1.  The Sox will ride this wave into the weekend with the Milwaukee Brewers in town.  While I love the record the Sox have in interleauge, I don’t often get too excited for it.  The Brewers have been to Fenway before so it isn’t exactly new ground.  All I really care about in regard to the weekend is that the team wins.  John Lackey, Jon Lester* and Tim Wakefield will lead the charge.  I’m confidant in their abilities to keep the winning going!  Howsabout a TEN game winning streak this time around?

*A reminder that Saturday’s game, originally scheduled to being at 1:10pm, will be starting at 7:10pm to accommodate the Boston Bruins victory parade.  A better reason to change the time of a game, I can’t think of!

June 17, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Walk Off Happiness

Photo capturing genuine joy taken by Kelly O'Connor last night and used with permission.

Many is the time a game stresses me out so much that I shut off the volume…why I’m not sure.  To drown out the disappointment of the crowd or announcers?  Maybe I think if I don’t HEAR it then it didn’t happen (or isn’t as painful to deal with).  In any case, I didn’t shut the volume off last night because the game was stressing me out.  I shut it off so I could hear something else and then I just didn’t turn it back on.  This happened at the start of the ninth.  With Ellsbury and Pedroia both on base, Adrian Gonzalez up and the volume still off, I stood up in anxiousness. I had a good feeling about it but I was still bouncing around a bit. itI didn’t even have time to pace when I saw the ball heading toward the Green Monster and I just started saying, calmly, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God…”.

It was a nice way to end that game.

If you watched this game, I don’t have to tell you that the first six innings were a terrible letdown after the weekend the Red Sox had.  By the bottom of the sixth, I had resigned myself to the idea that they just weren’t going to take this one.  But by the top of the seventh, when the score was 6-5 Orioles after having been 6-0 Orioles at the top of the sixth, I was convinced they would pull the game out. It’s amazing what can happen in four innings, isn’t it?

Chris Tillman pitched a good game and left the game with that cushy 6-0 lead.  His teammate Jeremy Guthrie can commiserate with him on what it’s like to lose that lead and have the team lose the game. I’d like to feel sorry for them but, really, I don’t.  I’m greedy.  I want my team to win and if they have to crush the spirit of their opponent in the process, well, so be it.

Not so incidentally, Kelly O’Connor, as she was for the Mother’s Day Miracle, was in attendance at Fenway Park last night and, along with the above photo which is on the short list of my favorite Red Sox celebration photos ever (Jed Lowrie looks positively giddy!), she got some fantastic shots that you must check out.

Dustin Pedroia added to his legend last night with a classic at-bat in the ninth that followed a Jacoby Ellsbury stolen base and set the stage for Adrian Gonzalez to, once again, be the hero.  But, really, the win was a team effort.  These guys didn’t give in after being down 6-0 in the sixth.  It was a beautiful game to watch from that point on.

Adding to that happiness is the New York Yankees squandering their 5-1 lead over the Tampa Bay Rays last night in the sixth as well to end up losing the game 6-5.  The sixth inning was good to Red Sox fans last night and I thank the Baseball Gods for that.

Yesterday the Red Sox put John Lackey on the 15-day disabled list with a strained elbow.  What this means, aside from sparing us a Lackey outing tonight and this weekend versus the Chicago Cubs, is that Tim Wakefield is on the mound against Baltimore tonight (and against Chicago, most likely, this weekend).  I’m always eager (yet anxious) for Tim Wakefield starts this season.  I’m not ready to let go just yet…I’ll admit it.

It’s probably no more than any other season and I just don’t remember it, but this year there seem to be an awful lot of two game series.  After these two games against the Orioles, the Detroit Tigers are in town for two games before interleague play begins on Friday against the Cubs.  The Red Sox have a good chance this week to keep up the streak…I’m looking forward to more of the happiness!

May 17, 2011 Posted by | 2011, Featured | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Because I can’t sleep…

Mike Timlin...much more forgiving than I am. (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

I’m going to rant or ramble or both.  Indulge me.

First a mini-rant:

Cute article about a kid who has been wearing Red Sox gear every day since 2009.  Cute little story.  I have no problem with this story.  Makes me want to hug the kid because I’m sure there were times since 2009, oh like this entire past week, where SOMEONE gave him grief about it. Stand strong, young one.

What annoyed the hell out of me was this random line in the piece because it clearly indicates that either the person who wrote it up doesn’t know a damn thing about the Red Sox or they just enjoy riling people up (waves my hand high).

…his goal is to keep the streak alive until the Sox win another World Series.

He’s heard the stories about an 86-year drought and still, he’s willing to wait.

This kid, this adorable kid, is 11 years old. In his lifetime, the Boston Red Sox have won the World Series TWICE. He has seen TWO victory parades for his baseball team.  In only 11 years.  TWO.

Why the hell would it occur to this kid that he might have to wait another 86 years?  It wouldn’t.  It would never factor in to the equation.  STOP WRITING STUPID THINGS JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT FANS TO BE MISERABLE.

Because, for the most part, it isn’t working.  I know a good lot of the sports writers hate that so many aren’t taking the bait…but we aren’t.  Not here, anyway.

From the comments here, to messages on Facebook and Twitter, I am extremely pleased with the way Red Sox fans have been handling this mess of a beginning of a season…especially today.  I know no one is happy and I know there are plenty of people out there eager to call WEEI and whine about how the season is over but it’s nice to see the onslaught of support the team seems to be getting right now.  I hope it trickles into tomorrow’s game.

This next two are less ranting and more rambling;

As we watched the end of the game at Remy’s last night, Kelly O’Connor remarked that she hoped no one booed on Friday which reminded me of when the bullpen was booed on Opening Day (well, an Opening Day that ended up not happening) in 2003.  Back then, the NESN studios were all in Boston at Fenway (instead of Watertown where they now are) and after each home game a member of the team would appear on the post-game show as a guest.  One night that season, Mike Timlin was the guest and when asked about the bullpen being booed on Opening Day he responded that he too would have booed them.  My only response to that then and now is NO. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

While I make it obvious all season long  how I am against booing your own team it goes triple for booing your own team on Opening Freaking Day.

Do NOT repeat history people going to Fenway tomorrow.  You will look like giant turds in front of the world.  Plus, if you are near me when you boo you will most likely end up wearing my beer (at the very least) and no one wants that.

Upsetting to see that Nick Swisher slid into second today and ended up breaking Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s left fibula.  Sending positive vibes to Tsuyoshi.  Hopefully he’s a quick healer.  Now Swisher was just trying to take out the second baseman to break up a double play and everyone on both sides are saying the play wasn’t “dirty” but it sure looked a bit more aggressive than it needed to be.  The Wall Street Journal reported that Swisher was “a bit shaken” and that Nishioka didn’t blame Swisher for the injury.  So all is good, right? Still, Swisher taking to Twitter after today’s game with this left a bad taste in my mouth:

Great series win for the Bombers today. Bullpen does it again. Off to Boston baby!

It is far from my place to tell anyone what to write on their personal Twitter account but the above seems a bit tasteless to me in light of what happened at the game. Swisher was involved in a person breaking their leg. How about a “Hate to see that happen; hope he’s okay” tweet just for the sake of propriety? Again, who the heck am I to tell Nick Swisher what to write on Twitter? Still, it reads like a lousy move to me.

Please Baseball Gods…I’m not asking for Swisher to break a leg or even get hit. But I could stand a couple of errors on his part and maybe a golden sombrero or two this weekend.

Heck, I’d ask for that from the Baseball Gods even if I didn’t think Swisher made a jerk move today. Sox need all the help they can get.

It was mentioned more than once to me this week that maybe a skirmish between the AL East rivals might help kick the Red Sox into taking the proper path…I’m a lover not a fighter but I have to admit, anything that might get their adrenaline going and help get us some wins…well, I’m all for it.

To end on a positive note, Friday marks the REAL Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox and I have faith that the Sox begin righting their ship with some home cooking…and I’ll be sporting my Kevin Youkilis jersey in celebration!

April 8, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Who doesn't love a walk off? (Maybe not Cliff Lee!)

Now appearing in the bullpen!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

Now appearing in the bullpen! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

When the Rangers scored that second run last night, my first thought was how disappointing it was that John Lackey genuinely pitched well enough to win but probably wouldn’t.  Kevin Youkilis must have been thinking the same thing because he meant business when he tied that score in the ninth.  One of the most amusing visuals of the night was of Youk hitting that sacrifice fly in the 11th, flipping his bat and just hanging around waiting for Scutaro to score.  He had that “Yeah, we totally had this one all along” look on his face.  After those last two games, it sure was a helluva lot of fun to watch.

Gustavo Molina was DFA’d today to make room for Michael Bowden who will be pitching out of the bullpen.  Now there is something that could be fun (but I’m sorry it came at the expense of Gustavo).  I totally missed that Dusty Brown had been called up so it was a pleasant surprise to see him on the bench (and then in the game) last night.

The end of this month will bring me to my fifth anniversary with blogging.  I started back on July 30, 2005 at MLBLogs with my first post being about Alan Embree going to the Yankees.  I feel like the 5th anniversary is a good time to shake things up (at the very least with my blog entries being more “me” and less blah as I feel they’ve been lately) so I’ll be working on a few different things.  I’m hoping to get back to doing some random blogging as I did so often in the beginning (which now has been replaced by Tweeting…I won’t give up the Twitter but I feel like I need to pay more attention to the blog to make it as entertaining for me – and everyone else – as it used to be!).  So fair warning.  🙂

Crabcakes on the mound this afternoon.  There could be worse things in baseball than a series split.

July 18, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | 4 Comments

Looking forward to the break

There was JUST a bit of rain at Fenway yesterday.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission.

There was JUST a bit of rain at Fenway yesterday. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission.

“I’m looking at the numbers, the numbers are close and one guy’s numbers are a little bit better. “I took the guy whose numbers are a little bit better.’’ – Joe Girardi on why he chose Paul Konerko over Kevin Youkilis to replace Justin Morneau in the All Star Game

I did my ranting about this on Twitter yesterday (Some PG-13 rated tweets there, possible R) and this morning the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the Yankees lost because Joba Chamberlain gave up a grand slam in the 8th inning, so I’m a lot less cranky about everything today and don’t feel like rehashing it all – I’ll just say this:  If you’re going to cite statistics as a reason for your choice, Joe, you should probably actually look at them (here’s a hint:  You DIDN’T take the guy whose numbers are a little bit better, Wile E.).  My hopes for the All Star Game are that the Red Sox there represent themselves well and Joe Girardi’s team (except for our guys) gets demolished.  If the Sox are fortunate enough to get to the World Series, I have faith in their abilities to not need home field advantage.  I’m spiteful enough that I’d prefer every move Girardi makes Tuesday night be mocked mercilessly.  That is all.  🙂

More disappointing is that yesterday was the fifth annual “Futures at Fenway” day and the rain shortened the Lowell Spinners game and made it necessary to cancel the Salem Red Sox game.  The Salem team has never played in the Futures game and it was not only a disappointment for the fans, but for the players too (all of them, even the non-Sox ones, I’m sure).   It’s a bummer when Mother Nature throws her monkey wrench around.

Also disappointing:  Jacoby Ellsbury coming out of hiding with his pile of notes to, basically, shit on the Red Sox.  Fair or not, when he dumped his agent and signed with Boras my attachment to him was pretty much lost but I still liked him being on the team and wanted him to do well.  When people started calling him “soft” this year, I defended him because no two injuries are alike and I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to judge how much pain someone is in except that person.  But his performance for the media yesterday left me feeling quite “meh” and thinking that I won’t miss him much when he forces his way out of Boston.  Folks can’t blame the perceptions people have about him now on the media or on the Red Sox trying to make him look bad…he’s done it all himself as far as I’m concerned.  That press conference yesterday was nothing more than a bunch of “I’m hurt and it’s their fault” to me.  Get better and come back and help the team or get lost, Jacoby.  In either case, quit your bitching.  (For the record, I’m not one who believes the Red Sox hire dolts as their medical professionals nor do I think they would do something – or not do something – in the best interest of the health of their players.  So while I appreciate that Jacoby wants folks to think the Red Sox dropped the ball here and can acknowledge that there was either miscommunication or just misunderstanding going on, I believe he’s letting Mr. Boras lead him around (it’s always the team’s fault, right?) and that annoys the hell out of me.

At 1:07 this afternoon, Daisuke leads the Sox into the All Star Break by, hopefully, salvaging the series win in Toronto.  It would be nice for the team to go into the break with a win, if only to shut up all the writers who keep talking about how tough the schedule in July will be for the Red Sox.  For what they’ve endured in this first half, I’m damn proud of this team for fighting through it and being in the position they are right now.  I choose to enjoy that and let the rest of it work itself out.

July 11, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whither Kyle Snyder?

Chosen because today I need to be reminded of the players who play for love of the game (plus the sticker is timely!).

Chosen because I need to be reminded of the players who play for love of the game and aren't money or publicity whores. Plus the sticker is timely!

Well the Yankees PR machine did us in but we gave it a good shot.  Sorry we came up short, Youk.  Hopefully the rest will do you good and you come back after the all star break and break the Yankees (and the rest of the American League) into tiny pieces.  As has been written, we all know you deserved to be an All Star.  Hope you know it too.

Between the news about Youk and the ridiculousness surrounding LeBron James, I decided to go offline early last night and purge my brain of sports thoughts…so waking up this morning to the news that the Mariners will, most likely, trade Cliff Lee to the Yankees wasn’t quit how I was hoping things would go.

Of all the months in a baseball season, I hate July the most.  Between the All Star Game (which I used to enjoy but Bud Selig making it “count” just to save his own ass has turned me off of it) and the trade deadline I spend most of the month on edge.  (Fair warning for the crankiness and snark that might permeate this blog for the next couple of weeks.  I’ll try my best to contain it.)  Youk getting out-voted by Nick Swisher and the possibility of the Yankees acquiring Lee has made me temporarily lose all hope in humanity.  All the stars are aligning for the Yanks right now and that isn’t a baseball world I enjoy participating in.

Tomorrow I’m taking my 9 year-old niece to the Futures at Fenway double header.  We’ll get to watch players playing because they enjoy the game and not because they’re looking for money or attention.  For a few hours tomorrow, I’ll forget that the Yankees are back to owning the universe and just focus on what the future of the Red Sox looks like.  Maybe it’ll help clear my head and make me not want to stab MLB to death?  Maybe I’ll come home to the news that Cliff Lee got traded to a team that could actually use his help and not one that just wants to add to their collection?  At least I’ll get an afternoon to pretend that baseball is about how much talent you have and not about how much money or pull you have.  I’m looking forward to the day even more than I already was.

I’m on the fence about the All Star live chat right now.  If the Lee trade to the Yankees does go through, it’s definitely off.  The idea of listening to Buck and McCarver slurp all over the Yanks for four hours makes me extremely stabby (it’ll be bad enough listening to it without the trade happening).  So stay tuned!

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

The Last Stand

My Youk collection from last year.  Voting ends at 4pm ET today!

My Youk collection from last year. Voting ends at 4pm ET today!

All I will say about the sweep is when you have the injuries this team does these things will happen.  It was ridiculous how many tweets/posts/status updates I read from people who seemed genuinely mad about it.  If you can’t understand the fact that this team is struggling because many of their starters aren’t starting, well then I think you’re a lost cause.  Watch the games and hope for the best and take comfort in the knowledge that there is an entire second half to go (and stop blaming the replacements for not being as good as the starters – there is a reason players start and others are in Triple A…being forced into situations you aren’t ready for is no way to be greeted into the organization so folks need to back off a bit).  Okay, I guess I had more to say than  I thought.

The Red Sox and Kevin Youkilis’ parents have asked Red Sox fans to vote not only for Youk but for Joey Votto as well.  Works for me.  I’m writing this around 8:30am which gives folks 7.5 hours to get their votes in for Kevin.  A vote for Youk is a vote for all that is right in the world.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration.  But a vote for Kevin is a vote for someone who deserves to be in the All Star Game who has gone out of his way to not self-promote himself.  How can you look away?  Nick Swisher has done more campaigning for this thing then Scott Brown and he needs to be taken down a peg.  (I will, once again, admit to being spiteful.  I’m not ashamed.)

If Kevin Youkilis gets voted in, we get shots of him, his lovely wife and adorable son in Los Angeles.  If Nick Swisher gets voted in we probably get more videos of him in Tommy Bahama shirts.  I’m willing to bet he bleaches his tips for the occasion.  We can’t let that happen people.  We’re live chatting the All Star Game…do we really want to have to look at Swisher all night?

I know folks are down because of the last four games.  No one enjoys a losing streak.  But voting for Youk is our chance to get some joy out of this week!  We can head into the weekend in Toronto proud of our efforts and hoping the team rides Youk’s victory to three of their own!

So take that early break today, sit yourself down and VOTE for Kevin Youkilis.  You’ll sleep much better if you do.

July 8, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 1 Comment