Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Sláinte Mhaith, Josh Beckett!

Drink up, Josh! You've earned it! (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill and used with permission)

Drink up, Josh! You’ve earned it! (Photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill and used with permission)

I was never really a fan of Josh Beckett’s.  Young and cocky is definitely not the way to my heart. But that changed on the evening of Saturday, October 25, 2003 when I got a phone call from my sister demanding that I put on Fox to watch the end of Game 6 of the World Series.

Up to that point, I hadn’t watched on second of the World Series or any coverage around it.  If you’re a Red Sox fan, you know I’m not exaggerating. 2003 almost made me give up baseball altogether and I knew if I actually watched the Yankees play in another World Series, let alone win it, I might never watch another game.

It was the seventh inning when my sister called and Beckett was cruising. The Yankees starter Andy Pettitte pitched seven innings and closer Mariano Rivera pitched two…but Beckett pitched all nine. By the seventh inning my sister was convinced no one was beating Beckett and she wanted me to watch the Marlins beat the Yankees right there on the field at Yankee Stadium.

I wasn’t as confidant as my sister. While she decided to spite watch the World Series in the hope that the ALCS had worn out the Yankees, I couldn’t bear it. But she finally wore me down and in the 8th inning I put on the game and it was the most glorious patch of baseball I had seen since the final inning of the 2001 World Series.  (A joy that also was shared with my sister over the phone…we have a history of enjoying memorable sports moments that way even though we don’t live that far away from each other.)  And after that game, Josh Beckett was a hero to me. A flawed hero, certainly, but a hero nonetheless right up there with Luis Gonzalez.

So when the Red Sox traded for him in 2005, I was overjoyed.  Hmmm…that could be a little bit of revisionist history. Let’s go look at the archives* and see how I felt:

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October 8, 2014 Posted by | 2014 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

All Star Stupidity

Ten years ago, on the night of the Home Run Derby, my niece Madison was born. At the HRD, Luis Gonzalez ended up being the winner and every year on the night of the Derby, I tell Madison about how Gonzalez won on the day she was born and then went on to beat the Yankees in the World Series. Last night, when I began talking about Luis Gonzalez again, she pointed out that we had our own Gonzalez in the Derby this year and wondered if, since it was her 10th birthday over the weekend, if he would win. We rooted for our Big Papi and for Adrian Gonzalez but oddly enough seeing Robinson Cano win didn’t upset either one of us.

I’m not a fan of Cano’s.  I occasionally call him Baby Jeter and when I do I don’t mean it as a compliment.  But I admitted to a few folks recently that I think my dislike of him comes more from a point of spite because of the way the fans and the media talk about him than it does a legitimate reason (short of “He’s a Yankee”).  In any event, watching him winning, with all of his teammates (his Home Run Derby teammates, not his Yankees teammates) cheering him on and his DAD pitching to him, well, that didn’t really bother me.  For the first time in a few, I enjoyed watching the Home Run Derby and saw it as the entertainment it is meant to be.  (God knows I could live without Chris Berman yelling “Back! Back! Back!”, but all in all it wasn’t the worst way to spend the evening.)

It feels like half of MLB is at this year’s All Star Game, doesn’t it?  Felix Hernandez was chosen, but because of the rule stating any starters who pitch on the Sunday before the ASG can’t be IN the ASG, he was replaced by Jon Lester.  Jon Lester who is on the disabled list and can’t pitch (and they knew this when they chose him as Hernandez’ replacement).  Lester has been replaced by Toronto Blue Jay Ricky Romero who, you know, can actually pitch.  Hernandez, Lester and Romero are all at the All Star Game this week.

David Brown over at Big League Stew covers this in more detail, revealing the idiotic rule of not letting Sunday’s pitcher in the game as well as how stupid it is to purposely choose a player that the league knows won’t be able to play.  I had no idea that CC Sabathia replaced James Shields in the ASG…Sabathia who pitched against Shields on Sunday and Shields pitching on Sunday being the only reason he wasn’t going to be in the game Tuesday night.  How does Bud Selig not see how utterly ridiculous that is?  (Yes, I will always be bitter about the freaking All Star Game “counting”.  If Bud wants to “fix” things with it, there are many other places they could work on.  Like the way the teams are chosen.  I know I’m beating a dead horse AND banging my head against a wall, but still…)

Added to that (again thanks to Brown and the link here) we have one out of every nine players in MLB being called an All Star even if they aren’t playing…and collecting their bonus money for making the All Star Team. Derek Jeter, who bowed out of the game after being chosen by fans who really shouldn’t have chosen him, will make an additional $500,000 this year for being on the team, even though he isn’t.  I mean, it’s like Selig is now going out of his way to do things to make the fans hate MLB.

That isn’t to say I don’t think CC Sabathia didn’t deserve to be chosen for the team.  You could argue he did.  But he wasn’t.  I’m going to guess the rule is however they were voted in (and didn’t make it) is how they go down the line of who replaces ineligible players or players who bail on the game.  Shouldn’t there be a rule in place that says you skip over the players who aren’t eligible if they are next in line?  This isn’t pre-school…everyone doesn’t go home with a trophy...everyone should not be chosen for the All Star Game.

I can’t remember the last time I actually looked forward to an All Star Game (1999, I suppose.  MAYBE 2005 and 2008 because Tito was the manager?) and there has been nothing to make me really look forward to this one.  That isn’t to say I’m not happy for our guys on the team, especially Jacoby Ellsbury, but I just want real baseball back and the All Star Break is usually one long bore.  At least I can thank the Home Run Derby for being entertaining this year.

July 12, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment