Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

New Year Ramblings

Spiffy yet rarely-seen photo of Kyle taken by Kelly O'Connor at the 2007 Boston Baseball Writers dinner (Used with permission)

So in an effort to do things in the new year that are better for me, I’ve tried to limit my daily online time.  Because of this, I was late in getting the news that Kyle Snyder has a cool new job.

The Rays announced their Minor League on-field coaching and medical training staffs for the 2012 season on Thursday.

Two new coaches are in the mix, both of whom played in the Majors Leagues: former Rays catcher Paul Hoover, who will manage the Gulf Coast League Rays (Rookie), and Kyle Snyder, who will serve as the pitching coach for Hudson Valley (Short-Season A).

While I am always sad when a player decides it’s time to stop playing, coaching in the minors seems like the perfect beginning to a new career for Kyle and I’m excited for him. The Hudson Valley Renegades will be playing a series against the Lowell Spinners (in Lowell) August 18th through the 20th. It’s been a couple of years since I hit Lowell for a game…this might be the year I get back there!

The fact that my email accounts pretty much blew up with people excited to tell me about Kyle’s job amused me greatly.  Though I might sometimes get disillusioned by MLB, there are always little things that will remind me why I love it so much.

Slowly things are happening that are getting me excited for the new season.  On Saturday, January 14, the New Stars for Young Stars charity event at Jillian’s in Boston will be happening with, among others, Bobby Valentine and Jarrod Saltalamacchia appearing.  As I’ve mentioned before, the “special guest” at that event is Pedro Martinez.  If Pedro Martinez can’t get you excited for baseball you’re either without a soul or a Yankees fan.

And while it seems ridiculous that this event yearly gets me as happy as it does, Saturday, February 11th is Truck Day.  While this off-season has left me sad and full of doubt, Truck Day is, for me, like New Year’s Day.  It’s the beginning of the season and it erases the previous season, reminding us that spring is coming and with a new baseball season anything can happen.  This year, especially, I’ve been holding on to the idea of  Truck Day being the day when I finally snap out of this funk and embrace this team I love again.  It’s been a strange off-season for me.  I wouldn’t say the worst I’ve experienced but definitely the strangest.  I can’t remember a time when I had such conflicting feelings about the Red Sox and, really, baseball in general.

Am I the only one stuck in this ambivalent quagmire about the 2012 team?

January 7, 2012 Posted by | 2012 | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

It just needed to be set free

Kyle in a Spinners uniform - the best of baseball tonight.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Kyle in a Spinners uniform - the best of baseball for me tonight. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

I’m not going to write about the game because I’m genuinely annoyed that Josh Beckett and the Red Sox keep bullshitting us with the “nothing’s wrong” crap.  I don’t care if he struck out 9 batters, he gave up 7 hits and 5 runs (4 earned), including 2 home runs, in 6 innings.  He hasn’t had a win since August 12th and in the games since that one has given up 12…12 home runs (including tonight’s game) and 24 earned runs in those 4 games.  In the win on the 12th, he gave up 2 earned runs on 3 hits including, you guessed it,2 home runs.  If there isn’t something physically wrong here what is it?  You aren’t just “off” for a handful of games.  Luckily, in the 4 games Beckett has pitched since August 12th, the Sox actually ended up winning 2 of them.  But how long is Beckett’s luck going to hold out?

I’ve had a sad and trying day, personally, today, so forgive my surly attitude.  Losses don’t usually annoy me this much but when they come with our “Ace” on the mound it starts to be a chore to brush them all off.   I shouldn’t place the responsibility of helping me forget my troubles on the baseball team but jeez when they kick you in the teeth with a loss they really do it right, huh?

Tomorrow is yet another day.   Clay Buchholz takes the mound and with a little luck all will be well again by 11pm.

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September 2, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , | 9 Comments

We got but one shot at life, let's take it while we're still not afraid

Will Middlebrooks – Spring Training 2009. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/ Used with permission. (Watermark added by me just to see how it looks!)

On September 9, 1988, the Cleveland Indians played the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Sox won that game 7-4. Mike Boddiker was the winning pitcher and Lee Smith got the save. (And, interestingly enough, the DH for the Indians that night? Terry Francona.) I was two years removed from high school and while I don’t remember where I was that night, it’s a fair guess that I was watching this game.

Meanwhile, on that same date in Texarkana, Texas, Will Middlebrooks was being born. Jesus, I was 19 then. I feel old. (Totally by coincidence, also on this same date: Kyle Snyder turned 11. I put this in here because I anticipate one or two people who know me pointing this out and I figured I’d beat you to the punch!)

Last year, Will played third for the Lowell Spinners. I was fortunate enough to see him play a handful of times. My first game at Lowell, last year, I chose him as my player to watch (full disclosure: we were there to see Kyle pitch but that night he ended up not being there). As I’ve stated before, picking a favorite just seems to happen. Before I got to that first game, I didn’t know who he was. We got there early enough to see him on the field and I decided to keep an eye on him. He’s relatively big (lists at 6’3 and 200 lbs) but he moves well on his feet. So I was intrigued. Then I saw him interacting with some young fans and I was hooked. I’m a sucker for a ballplayer who doesn’t forget the fans, especially one that makes the kids feel special, and I think honing those particular skills in the minors is as important as anything else. So I decide Will’s my player for the game and we wait for the excitement to begin.

In that game, Will struck out twice and made three errors, one which caused manager Gary DiSarcina to reprimand him all the way from his spot coaching first base using only violent sign language. I can’t do it justice. He was literally jumping up and down and waving angrily at Middlebrooks for not being positioned properly. Of course, this only intensified my desire for the kid to do well. At the end of that game (which was at the beginning of July), Will was batting .167. He went on to struggle for a while and then picked it up during the last month of the season. His season-ending stats might not have been stellar, but they were pretty damn good for someone who struggled as Will did to begin the season (especially considering that Lowell is a short-season team:willin2008

So Will’s on my list of players to keep an eye on. Hey, Mike Lowell isn’t going to be manning third forever and I much prefer Kevin Youkilis at first, so it doesn’t hurt to be on the lookout for new blood. This, of course, will only reinforce my friend Donna’s belief that I have “something” for players from Texas. (And will open up our discussion again about whether or not Kyle Snyder identifies himself as a Texan. Yes, we actually discuss such things.)

For the record, I don’t like Middlebrooks because he’s from Texas. I like him because he’s has a strong arm, decent moves on the field and a good bat when he’s feeling comfortable out there, (In an interview with Sox Prospects at the end of last season, Will admitted: I was real tense at the plate, trying to do a little too much, and not staying within myself.”.) and he’s twenty years old. That last one being important only in it gives him some time to make those adjustments and grow into a player who can, down the road, really help the Red Sox.

After deciding to follow Will’s progress, the highlight of his season came at the “Futures at Fenway” game in August. Will went 3 for 6 (the game went into extra innings) with a double and 3 RBI. With the scored tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 12th and the bases loaded with two outs, Will came up to bat and lined a single to center that scored Mitch Dening and won the game. Not too shabby.

The photo was the catalyst for this entry. Kelly O’Connor is spending the week in Ft Myers and she tries to spend as much time at the Minor League complex as she does watching the Major League guys. The complexes being apart makes it tough to jockey back and forth, but Kelly thinks it’s worth it. So do I. I’m a big proponent of paying attention to the guys coming up – and the guys hoping to come up who might never get that chance.

I’ll admit, I will always prefer following the Red Sox and Major League Baseball, but following the Minor League teams has its advantages too. We’re so fortunate in New England that we have all the options we do to see live baseball. So when the season starts and you begin to lament not being able to go to Fenway for whatever reasons, remember there are other places you can go to see fun and exciting baseball. The Minor League parks are more intimate. The games are less expensive (as are the food and beverages) and you might just see the next Jonathan Papelbon or Hanley Ramirez while you’re there.

February 28, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

Around Baseball

Bowden, Snyder, Masterson Photo by Kelly O'Connor

Bowden, Snyder, Masterson Photo by Kelly O'Connor

The Red Sox weren’t the only ones to lose a heart-breaker last night as the Lowell Spinners watched their bullpen implode and blow a 6-2 lead after six innings and ended up losing 13-9. The good news is that David Aardsma pitched a 1-2-3 inning of rehab for the Spinners, so maybe he’ll be back in Boston soon? The Spinners have a do or die game tonight at 7:05…a win gets them into the Championship Series against the Jamestown Jammers…a loss sends them home for the season.

And, hell since we’re on the minor leagues and playoffs, the Lancaster JetHawks staved off ending their season early with a win yesterday, tying their series with the Lake Elsinore Storm. Tonight they play the decisive game. So one out of the four affiliated teams are still in the playoffs. Kick ass in Lancaster, fellas!

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September 10, 2008 Posted by | Boston Sports Media, Players, Playoffs, Randomness | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’d I Miss?

Michael Bowden Photo by Kelly O'Connor

Michael Bowden Photo by Kelly O'Connor

So the plan was to watch the Yankees (I almost live-blogged that game too!), write my piece about Kyle and call it a night.  Instead, I wrote the piece about Kyle first (and timestamped it so it published after midnight – on his birthday) and then I, pretty much, passed out.  So I missed the Yankees lose and I missed Torii Hunter and Ivan Rodriguez mix it up.  Oh well.  At least I’ll get to work early.  🙂

I’m at Fenway tonight.  I’m not sure how the Sox will top Lester’s amazing performance (and Papelbon’s too, for that matter), but I’m looking forward to finding out.  What is getting lost in the win, is that the Red Sox only scored three runs last night…in the first inning.  They need to kick it up tonight against Scott Kazmir if they want to, at the very least, win this series.

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September 9, 2008 Posted by | Players, Playoffs | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

It’s September

Jacoby Ellsbury Photo taken by ME over the weekend.

Jacoby Ellsbury Photo taken by ME over the weekend.

Today, I was supposed to be on a bus (actually as I write this!) heading into town to take  a TRAIN with KellyO to Pawtucket to watch the final game of the regular season for the PawSox.  I can’t describe how much I wanted to do this.  I have a worry that it might have been the last time I see Kyle Snyder on the field in person.  But I had to make the “adult” decision to not go based on the events of last week.  No license, no credit cards or debit cards, no easy access to money on a holiday, jacked up train prices…it all equaled my having to bail on the trip to Rhode Island.  Last night the PawSox won their 84th game of the season – a new single-season record for the team (congrats!!!).   I hope there is plenty more baseball for Kyle to play and that the PawSox do well!

How blessed are we as baseball fans?  For the first time in the team’s history, the Lowell Spinners are in the playoffs this year.  The Portland SeaDogs?  In the playoffs for the fourth season in a row.  Pawtucket Red Sox?  Playoffs.  We need the BoSox to get there to finish it up for us – and I believe they will.

Honestly, what does this say about the talent this organization chooses?  Single, double and triple-A all going to the playoffs?  These kids are doing SOMETHING right!

Speaking of “kids”:  A year ago tonight was a Saturday I was with KellyO in Fenway Park watching Clay Buchholz throw his no-hitter.  (Ironically, this past Saturday, Clay was pitching in Portland.)  What a difference a year makes!

In spite of my purse being stolen from work on Thursday, the rest of the weekend turned out to be pretty amazing.  It seems that any time I feel like wallowing in self-pity, God puts something out there to remind me that things could always be worse. So prayers and pvs to everyone out there who needs them!

I always talk about how women can appreciate baseball on different levels.  And I argue that if men sports/baseball bloggers can be taken seriously even if some of their blogging involves drooling over attractive women, then women sports/baseball bloggers should be able to drool over the attractive men while still being taken seriously for their baseball and/or sports knowlege.  So imagine my immense pleasure when my 7 year-old niece was looking at some pictures I took over the weekend.  She kept talking about how “cute” Jacoby Ellsbury is.  She’s been asking me for a Jason Bay t-shirt since he joined the team.  So last night I asked her if she would rather have a Jacoby Ellsbury shirt than the Jason Bay one and she got very upset and told me “no”.  She went on to explain that she liked Jacoby mostly because he’s cute, but that she likes Jason Bay because he’s “good” and HIS shirt is the shirt she wants.

See?  Even a seven year-old gets what many, many others don’t.  Deadspin, Barstool Sports and the like can all eat it.

BoSox against Orioles for the next three days and first up is Paul Byrd.  I’m starting to get greedy…I want a sweep!  And I want the PawSox to make it 85 wins on the season and I want Kyle somehow moved to the 40-man roster and brought up for September call-ups.  I don’t ask for much, huh?


Have a great day, folks!

September 1, 2008 Posted by | Memories, Pawtucket Red Sox, Players | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

You Can Never Get Enough Baseball

For the third year in a row, the Sox teams swept the Futures at Fenway games! And for the second year in a row, the Lowell Spinners won with a walk off!!!

The games were fun, being with friends made it better and the weather was absolutely fabulous. Hanging at a bar to watch the Red Sox beat the White Sox was the icing on the cake of a day.

When the roster for the PawSox was announced before their game, the announcer just read the roster as it is right now, DL players and all. So when he got to “Number 35, Kyle Snyder…” there was a moment when I thought he might be there. I realized he wasn’t and was just reading the list of names, but I cheered (okay, rather loudly) anyway. The interesting (and very cool) thing was that I wasn’t the only one. As KellyO put it, people remember the players who have been here, and the crowd gave Kyle a loud and enthusiastic response when his name was said, even though he wasn’t there. I hope he knows the fans haven’t forgotten him. 🙂

The Sox announced today that Tim Wakefield is going on the DL with the same soreness he had last year that kept him off the World Series roster. I’m going with “better to do this now than in September/October” and keeping a positive attitude.

Clay needs to come up big today. I think he’s up to the task.  (Edited to add:  Or not.  😦 )

August 10, 2008 Posted by | Players | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Future is Now

No, I’m not talking about Jed Lowrie or Jacoby Ellsbury (although I SHOULD be and will some other time!) I’m talking about the Lowell Spinners and the Pawtucket Red Sox playing at Fenway Park this Saturday.

It’s the third year in a row that the Red Sox have hosted the “Futures at Fenway” and I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended the first two and have tickets for this year’s games. According to the Red Sox site, there are still tickets available.

The tickets are truly inexpensive, you get two full games and all the perks of Fenway while enjoying the minor league mainstays like Frisbee catching dogs and people dressed up as toothbrushes cleaning the bases!

Having been to so many Spinners and PawSox games this season, I think I have a better feel for the players this year than in previous years, and that makes me even more excited to see these games on Saturday.

So if you have the time (and inclination) to spend a full day at Fenway, I highly recommend the Futures at Fenway double-header coming up this weekend.

And, speaking of the minors, I leave you with this interview clip from NESN. Fan favorite, Brian Daubach (I think his was the first player jersey I ever owned!) is the hitting coach for the Nashua Pride and NESN got him to talk about that and about the extensive time he spent in the minors. Man, I miss Dauber.

August 7, 2008 Posted by | MiLB | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hodge Podginess

 (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Yay Jed!  (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

So Kyle pitched again in the GCL yesterday. The first inning he pitched, he got two ground-outs and a strike out. Unfortunately, he also gave up a single, walked a man and then gave up a three-run homerun. He came out for another inning and got the first two men out (strike out -looking – and a fly out) and then was taken out of the game.

Now the guy who replaced Kyle is also a right-handed pitcher…which makes me worry that they pulled Kyle because he was hurt again. But because I’m only getting this via the box score and wrap up on…I have no way to find out if this is true. Unless, of course, I send out more emails annoying the local media (Amalie Benjamin STILL hasn’t responded HOW many weeks later?) which I’m not above doing. Except I’d rather wait and just try to track down the info myself.

Continued PVs to Kyle. It’s going to come together for you, Kyle. It’s the waiting that’s such a bitch.

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August 6, 2008 Posted by | Kyle Snyder, Players | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Winning Ways

So the Sox sweep the Mariners – which makes me quite happy – and I’m listening to the Spinners game on the radio (the completion of the game we got rained out of last night) and Jeff Natale, rehabbing in Lowell, just hit a walk-off homerun. (He also had two doubles and a stolen base!)

Good times.

Still not sure if Kyle is starting the second game, waiting to find out now.  (9:29pm edit- no Kyle tonight unless he comes in as relief which is doubtful.)

Justin Masterson looked pretty damn good, didn’t he? Papelbon and Hansen didn’t want to make it easy but no worries now that the game is over and won, right? Clay didn’t do to shabby either. He’s coming along nicely. 🙂

Day off and then the Yankees are in town. Three days of over-hyped, anxiety-laced baseball. Woo-hoo.

July 23, 2008 Posted by | Games | , , , , , , | 5 Comments