Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Riding the positivity train

Good luck in Colorado, Little Manny!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Good luck in Colorado, Little Manny! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

It is sometimes difficult to find something to write each day.  Today was especially difficult as last night’s game wasn’t one we want to relive yet I didn’t want to leave a blank space where something should be written.

I was pleased to find this in the comments today (from “Sharpie”):

Balty’s starter pitched his ass off & Josh was just as good & lasted longer

As anyone who visits this blog regularly knows, I’m all about finding silver linings and trying to accentuate the positive and it tickled me that someone beat me to the punch (and instead of my inspiring you, you inspired me).

I just can’t give up on this team.  No matter how hard is sometimes is to watch, no matter how many comments or emails I get from people who want to rub salt in the wound they assume is there, no matter how bad the chances become that the Sox play deep into October, I can’t give up on them – and I won’t.

I’m a little surprised at the number of fans who have admitted that they’ve moved on to football.  I’m surprised that members of a fan base supposedly so dedicated can just give up that easily.  From 2000 through 2009, the Red Sox have been in the playoffs six times.  They’ve finished second in the division eight times, finished third once and finished first once.  How many fan bases have been this fortunate?  How many fans know that their team will most likely be in the playoffs and if not in them damn near close to getting in them every year?

Out of the last ten opportunities, the Red Sox have missed the playoffs four times.  In those six playoff appearances, two were ended in game 7 of the ALCS and two ended with World Series championships.  We’ve been quite fortunate.  There’s a great chance this season will mark five out of eleven – does that make this team any less your team?  Do you like baseball less because your team isn’t good?  No one makes you become a fan.  Either you like baseball or you don’t.  I don’t get the mindset of “I support the team unless they aren’t going to the playoffs”.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone should have rose-colored glasses on and be absolutely positive the Sox can still make it to the playoffs.  I’m just baffled by the number of people complaining about how the Red Sox are done and saying that now it’s time to focus on football (or whatever you activity of choice is once baseball season is over).

I’m still watching.  I’m still hoping for good baseball and crossing my fingers that meaningful baseball will get played at Fenway come late September.  Even if the baseball is “meaningless”, I’m still watching.

Before the season began, when it was announced that the final series at Fenway would be against the Yankees, Kelly O’Connor bought tickets for the last game and emailed me saying I was going with her because if the game was meaningful (and turned out good) we’d want to be there and if the game turned out to be the last game played at Fenway in 2010 we had to be there.

Right now, even though I know the possibility of that game being excruciatingly painful is tremendous, I can’t wait to be there.  Sometimes it’s worth the rough times to show the team that, good or bad, you’re there to support them.  They give us a lot of  joy over the season and it seems to me when they’re at their worst (or just having a rough go of it) it’s our job as fans to give a little back.

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September 1, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 6 Comments

Aaand… I have to cancel another live chat

While I could try and get away with saying it’s because I’m in mourning over Manny Delcarmen being traded (which I’m genuinely sad about), that isn’t the reason I have to cancel tonight’s live chat.  Unfortunately, a conflict came up and I won’t be around for the start of the game.  Sorry about the short notice.  😦

So let’s send Josh Beckett good vibes and hope he starts the next winning streak and hopefully we’ll be back to live chatting next week!

August 31, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 2 Comments

Send lawyers, guns and money

…because the shit has most definitely hit the fan.

ambulance

If you go to RedSox.com and look up the 40-man roster you’ll find this symbol next to the names of eight players:  icon_dl By Friday morning it will, most likely, be next to ten players.

Josh Beckett, Junichi Tazawa, Victor Martinez, Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida and Mike Lowell are all on the disabled list (Tazawa and Lowrie on the 60-day, the rest on the 15-day).  Supposedly, Manny Delcarmen will be added to that list and Friday, if Dan Roche’s sources are accurate (and Rochie is one Boston sports reporter who I tend to trust implicitly), Jason Varitek will join him on the 15-day disabled list.  Add to that both Mike Cameron and JD Drew being out sporadically with various injuries, Youk and Scutaro being banged up as well as Daisuke Matsuzaka only recently coming back from the DL then watching Clay Buchholz come up lame last week..well you all already know how this has gone this season.

As an aside, the Sox traded Angel Sanchez for Kevin Cash.  Your catcher and back up catcher?  Gustavo Molina and Kevin Cash.

(Edited to add this link to an amazing timeline created by “sibpin” over at the Sons of Sam Horn that shows not only the players who have been on the DL this season, but those who have missed time for various other reasons as well.  It’s quite sobering.)

If I hear one Red Sox fan complain about where the Sox sit in the AL East, I think I might stomp them to death.

July 1, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

I think Papelbon's plan is to scare us into submission

Because, ultimately, that's all that matters, right?

Because, ultimately, that's all that matters, right?

How is it possible that it seemed almost more painful to watch them win last night than it was watching them lose the night before?

The game started late and ran four hours (four hours and nine minutes to be exact).  Jonathan Papelbon through 28…TWENTY EIGHT pitches in the ninth inning and still got the save.  On the post-game show on NESN, Dennis Eckersley made the remark that he was surprised Papelbon didn’t celebrate that swinging strike out to end the game (Eck said he would have) but, really, at that point I’m guessing Paps just wanted to go pass out…although my adrenaline was so high that I was up until around 3am.

(As an aside, as I write this I just turned on “Breakfast with the Sox’ and it’s the 6th inning and Youk just hit his home run to make it 5-1…Don’t be too sad, CC, none of the rest of the game will really be  your fault.)

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May 19, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

I see your face to start my day

Screen grab from video I took at the Hot Stove Cool Music concert

Screen grab from video I took at the Hot Stove concert - Bronson Arroyo and Elan Trotman

Okay so things didn’t go exactly the way I planned they would on Saturday.  I did attend the New Stars for Young Stars event at Jillian’s in the morning and then the Hot Stove Cool Music round table at Fenway Park in the afternoon.  Both were fun and relatively interesting.  I got to see Trot Nixon and finally thank him for his part in 2004 and seeing the young ones interacting with the fans was its own entertainment.  A tremendous amount of thanks to KellyO for generously sharing both events with me!

Omar Minaya was a guest on the panel at the round table where they discussed integrating the foreign players into MLB.  Omar seemed very taken with both Bronson Arroyo and Manny Delcarmen…especially Manny.  He was charming and endearing and seems to genuinely care about his players.  I think Jason Bay is in good hands.   Well, if not good hands at least caring ones.

Manny Delcarmen won a bigger place in my heart than he already had by invoking Mike Timlin’s name first when discussing players who helped him make his way when he first made it to the bigs.  Unfortunately, on Saturday my man Mike was in another part of Massachusetts at a signing, close to where I usually am but far away from where I was all day.  It was a bummer to have missed him even though the day I had was fabulous.

Thanks to a last-minute tip from Elan Trotman that we then got verified by Mike O’Malley after the round table, we found out that Bronson was going to open the Hot Stove show…after debating on whether we wanted to spend the night at the concert, we decided to hit the show, watch Bronson’s set and bolt.  The idea of 12 hours of bouncing from Jillian’s to Fenway to the House of Blues made me long for my bed sooner rather than later so instead of sticking it out for the entire show we literally got there early enough to be up front, watched Bronson’s set and jetted out of there.

I have to admit, although I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t see Bronson perform this year, I was more than a bit giddy at getting to see him again.  I can’t help it, I immediately turn into a fan-girl when Bronson starts his singing.

It was an awful lot of fun for one day.  I posted some photos of the day here and you can find videos of Bronson’s set on my YouTube page.

Friday, February 12th is Truck Day and pitchers and catchers report on Thursday, February 18th.  It’s nice to have those dates to look at in your calender, isn’t it?

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

Down by the banks of the River Charles

Photo I took of Gabe Kapler at the 2008 "New Stars" event

Photo I took of Gabe Kapler at the 2008 "New Stars" event

Today is a funky, unique day in Boston.  This morning, the Jimmy Fund is hosting their annual “New Stars for Young Stars” event at Jillian’s.  Players who are scheduled to be appearing include Trot Nixon and Curt Schilling (not exactly NEW stars – but I’ll admit I’m absolutely giddy at the idea of meeting Trot Nixon and I enjoy the fact that they always throw in one or two players who AREN’T “new stars”) and for those of us wanting to meet a local, Manny Delcarmen.  (I think it’s in his contract that he has to appear at any local event the Red Sox are involved in.  He’s a wonderful representative for the team and always seems to be doing something for charity during the most of the off-season.)

This year’s list of “New Stars” is a pretty good mix:

# Luis Exposito — Red Sox top catching prospect
# Jeremy Hermida — Red Sox outfielder
# Casey Kelly — 2009 Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the year
# Ryan Kalish — 2009 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year
# Josh Reddick — Red Sox outfielder
# Ryan Westmoreland — SoxProspects.com #2 ranked prospect

It’s always fun to watch the young ones interact with the public – for most of them it seems to come quite naturally (I credit the team’s Player Development program for a lot of that) and I love that they get this first hand look at how passionate Sox fans are all the way in January.

After the Jimmy Fund event, there is a Sports Roundtable at Fenway Park that has become an annual part of the Hot Stove, Cool Music concert series.  Moderated by Peter Gammons, this year the guests will be Theo Epstein, Terry Francona, Omar Minaya, Carlos Pena, and Bronson Arroyo.  Attending this will accomplish two things for me:  I’ve never been to one of these roundtables and am really looking forward to it (being held in Fenway makes it all the more appealing!) and I’ll get my Bronson fix for the year, even if he isn’t singing.

Tonight, the Hot Stove, Cool Music concert will be taking place at the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street.  This will be the second year that I’ve missed it…which means I’ll miss Bronson Arroyo’s only concert appearance in the area this year.  A bit of a bummer for me but I have friends who will be going and I know they’ll have a great time.

The entire day is pretty much dedicated to the fans having contact with players and folks from the team in a fun and casual setting – and all the money that goes to it goes to charity – so it’s hard to find fault with such great events.  (And yet I do…the high prices for a lot of the events, the seemingly same list of musical acts year after year for the concert…these things I can complain about but I save it for another time!)

This day is the first day in a domino-like list of days that remind me baseball is coming back.  Today gets followed by a visit to Pawtucket for their annual Hot Stove party, followed by Truck Day, followed by Pitchers and Catchers reporting…it’s all going to come at us pretty fast.

January 9, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

And there's been a lot of broken dreams

Kelly O'Connor took this photo of Greg Montalbano at the Lowell Spinner's Alumni Dinner in January 2009 (Used with permission)

We lost Greg Montalbano in 2009. Kelly O'Connor took this photo of him at the Lowell Spinner's Alumni Dinner in January 2009 (Used with permission)

Just a note of warning:  This entry is long and although I want it to be all-encompassing, I’m sure I’ve missed  few things.  But this is pretty much how I remember 2009!

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2009 was a fairly eventful year for me personally in both the good and bad categories.  Sadly more bad than good which is probably why I initially avoided writing any kind of recap for the blog.  But while I was writing my recap of the Red Sox decade (and I’ll have that up as soon as I finish it!) I realized I should probably write something about the final year of the decade as well.  So here goes.

January:  I started blogging at WEEI.com.  Looking back on my entries for this month, I’m genuinely surprised I found so much to write about (it didn’t stop new readers from complaining that I was writing “drivel” though.  Should have been a sign!).  Personal highlights in January:  The ongoing Jason Varitek saga, the signing of Rocco Baldelli, Kyle Snyder getting picked up by the Mets, the beginning of the MLB Network and Jim Rice finally gets voted into the Hall of Fame!

February:  Bombshell of bombshells for MLB.  Selena Roberts exposes Alex Rodriguez as a steroid user.  The MLB Network cuts its teeth on this one and, unlike Peter Gammons and ESPN, doesn’t disappoint with their coverage.  Unafraid of losing access to the players (again, unlike Peter Gammons or ESPN), they go full throttle on this story and introduce us to their newest addition to the network:  Bob Costas.  I wrote a lot about MLBN in 2009 and a bit about Sl*ppy.  I would have written much less about the two, most likely, had this story not broken.  Personal highlights in February:  The Caribbean World Series on MLBN (I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed it!), Truck Day, pitchers and catchers reporting and Joe Torre’s book about the Yankees.

Chapter 10: The End of the Curse. When asked by Regis Philbin the other day what happened to the Yankees over the past 7 years, Joe responded “The Red Sox happened”. That will go down as possibly my favorite Red Sox/Yankee-related quote ever.

March:  I spent a lot of March writing ‘rants’ and pointing folks toward baseball-related Twitter accounts.  Must have been resting up for April!  Personal highlight in March:  The WBC.  I spent a lot of time ranting about players getting hurt and how I didn’t care who won only to be totally sucked into it by the end.

April:   The beginning of the season!  Lots of liveblogging and picking up more WEEI readers (with mixed results!).  Personal highlights in April:  Going to both Sox/Mets exhibition games at CitiField, attending Opening Day at Fenway and high-fiving JD Drew and Hideki Okajima during their introductions, being at Fenway for the walk-off win against the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home on Andy Pettitte, Tim Wakefield taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning (thus setting the table for his All Star selection), watching Jonathan Van Every pitch while Javier Lopez floundered in right field then eventually getting DFA’d (watched on television, not in person), the Patriots Day game where Luke Scott got all pissy and some idiot fan threw a ball onto  the field and “Toeing the Rubber” getting nominated for a New England Sports Blog Award in the category “Best Red Sox Blog”. Relatively speaking, a great month except for one thing that really hit the baseball world hard and made the month miserable:  the death of Nick Adenhart.

But I don’t cry because of any personal connection I have to Nick. I don’t cry because a future baseball star is dead. I cry because parents lost a son today. Many people lost a friend. And the world lost someone who could have potentially been great. Not just at baseball but at life. No drunken ass has the right to take that away from us. This doesn’t “put things into perspective” for me. I hate when people say that. I’m forty years old for God’s sake, I’ve seen enough death and tragedy in my life to have proper perspective, thank you. I don’t watch baseball and think that what goes on down on that field is life or death and more important than anything else in my life. I’d argue that most sports fans, even if they act like they have no perspective, have exactly that. Baseball is an outlet to forget about the realities of life for a few hours.

May: Getting to see Daniel Bard’s first Major League appearance (after having seen him pitch in Pawtucket) was very special.  Finding out that Jerry Remy was recovering from cancer was sad and a little frightening.  Personal highlights in May:  Seeing Kyle Snyder with the Bisons at Pawtucket, Javier Lopez signing Steve the Ferret’s “Lopez” jersey (also at Pawtucket), Aubrey Huff fistpumping to Joba Chamberlain, appearing on “The Baseball Show” on Comcast SportsNet, crying (literally crying) over Big Papi’s first home run of the season, getting to meet metsgrrl and “paloozaing” with a huge group of people I love during the Mets/Sox series at Fenway.

Yesterday was an amazing day spent with friends (most of whom I haven’t seen in quite a while or hadn’t met yet!). There are many amazing tales to tell (but not here!) – my favorite being when our friend Susan noted that we could start singing “O Canada” except no one knows the words past “O Canada!”. Standing up and singing loudly and proudly, a group of us proved her wrong. That our serenade didn’t get us thrown out still kind of surprises me.

June:  This month brought us the end of interleague play, the end of Jonathan Van Every’s season (thanks to knee surgery), Tim Wakefield hitting ten victories with his torn labrum, John Smoltz making us all wonder why we were so excited to have him on the team while Dusty Brown makes his major league debut.  Personal highlights for June:  Derek Lowe returning to Fenway with the Braves, Nick Green’s walkoff against those same Braves, sitting in Fenway during a mind-numbing rain delayed game that turned into a loss for the Sox (okay, that one is a lowlight, really) and the Sox capping off 7 wins in a row against the Yankees with an eighth.

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

You wave outside to the blind

MDC at Spring Training this year.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

MDC at Spring Training this year. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

I won’t lie.  I had a few reasons for writing this post so late in the day but the main one is that I figured I’d be less fired up by now than I was last night.  I suppose I’m much more rational about it now.

Just don’t introduce me to Manny Delcarmen any time soon okay?   Confession time:  I really like MDC.  I think he’s a good kid, he does a lot for the community, everyone seems to like him and when I DID meet him in person he was an absolute doll.  I just don’t get the warm fuzzies when he pitches.  And it’s because I think he’s a good kid that I don’t want to rip him apart for what has been a horrendous September and a pretty lackluster season in general.

So I waited until well past noon to write today’s entry out of respect for Manny Delcarmen.  And that’s all I have to say about him today.

Rangers won and the Sox lost – this was not in my plan.  But no worries.  Three more games in this series for each team.  There’s still plenty of time for the Sox to wreak havoc.  One thing I neglected to mention yesterday was that the Yankees are thisclose to their playoff berth.  All they have to do is win a game (or watch the Rangers lose a game) and they’re in.  Given that their captain is on record with not liking celebrations for the wild card spot – I wonder how they’ll react when it happens?  Of course, the Rangers could sweep this week and the Yankees could lose all their games against the Angels and they’d have to wait until the Sox were in town to try and get that spot.  Please, God, if they’re going to clinch it this week, let it be before the weekend.  That’s all I ask.

I appreciate each and every message I’ve received about Kyle Snyder – apparently my diligence has worked and we’ve recruited more Kyle Snyder fans!  Sadly, I’ve found out bupkis.   I hope he’s back in Florida enjoying the sunshine but I wish he was in New York helping the Mets close out a painful season.  In any event,  any info on where Kyle ends up in 2010 will be greatly appreciated!

Paul Byrd pitches against Zack Greinke tonight!  (Like how I added the exclamation point to make it seem that I’m excited about this?)  I had plans for this evening.  Fun, happy, exciting plans that I had to cancel.  I’m terribly disappointed that I had to cancel and for my troubles I get rewarded with watching Byrd v Greinke.  The game wasn’t the reason I had to cancel plans but I sure hope it turns out to be worth it.

September 22, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | 2 Comments

It could happen!

Photo lifted from Little Manny's website

Photo lifted from Little Manny's website

I might not be posting tomorrow because I’m flying out to Seattle to interview for the position of manager for the Seattle Mariners.

Hey, they’re interviewing everyone else, why not me??

Feeling a little rambly tonight…indulge me, eh? 🙂

In spite of earlier reports, John Farrell isn’t on the short list of interviewers for the Seattle gig, but our beloved Brad Mills and DeMarlo Hale are both going to make the trip out to meet with new GM Jack Zduriencik.  Farrell reportedly will be meeting with Zduriencik after the intial seven have their interviews.  Hmmm…what is is about coaches in Boston that would make the Mariners want to pillage our team?

Side note:  I’m watching NESN and Manny Delcarmen is on with Tom Caron on NESN first edition of “Hot Stove”!!!  There isn’t much, but it’s baseball-related…this makes me happy!  Now they show Heidi Watney interviewing Mo Vaughn and my thoughts go immediately to the Foxy Lady…imagine that?

Congratulations to Evan Longoria and Geovany Soto on winning their respective League’s Rookie of the Year award – well deserved for both men.  Nice to see the system work!

Hey, there’s Lou Merloni.  Yeesh, Lou, season’s over…you don’t have to be so cranky anymore.

According to the crawl on NESN, Wally, the Green Monster and the Fenway Ambassadors will honor veterans on Veterans Day by visiting the New England Shelter Center for Homeless Veterans.  I like that Wally doesn’t stop working when the ballgames are over – and I especially like that the Red Sox are sending him to visit the veterans.  Well done.

And, finally, I give him major shit most of the year, but there’s no denying Kevin Youkilis is one hell of a player…and now he’s a husband.  Congratulations to Youk and Enza on their wedding this past weekend!

Finally, schminally…more charity stuff, folks.  Little Manny has his own bowling for charity event coming up on Saturday night at Kings.  You can buy tickets here.  If you haven’t been to MDC’s site, you should visit it.  The cuteness might kill you, though, so be warned.  And you know how I bitch all the time about how expensive most of the Red Sox-based charity events are?  Well Manny’s event is, to my mind, reasonably priced.

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Randomness | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Baseball Overload!

Brandon Morrow Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Brandon Morrow Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The PawSox lost tonight.  This bummed me out much more than I expected.  Best I can figure, I’m subconsciously anticipating how I’ll feel when their season is over if Kyle Snyder doesn’t get a call-up.  Which, as the month goes on, becomes more possible than not.  And THAT truly bums me out.

So I’m going to try and not focus on that and focus on the awesomeness that is a Red Sox can of whoop ass and a Tampa Bay loss to boot.  Josh Beckett was, as they say, the balls.  Four hits and seven strike outs in five scoreless innings.  How’s that tingling working for you, JP?  8-1 was the final score (Okajima giving one up in the ninth…isn’t it nice when that doesn’t matter?) and the Jays took down the Rays 6-4.  This means the Sox are now 2.5 games out of first place.  Can you dig it?  I knew you could!

Speaking of seasons ending…Clay Buchholz’ just did, unless he gets bumped up.  Portland lost their third game in a row to the Trenton Thunder and got booted out of the playoffs.   I hate the slow death of baseball every year.  It’s completely depressing.  I need something to cheer me up…back to the Red Sox!

Mike Lowell came back from his mini-vacation to hit four rbi, including a home run, and hit a triple short of the cycle.  Maybe we should put more guys on the DL and have them come back gangbusters like Lowell and Beckett?

Coco Crisp also had 3 hits, and Jason Varitek had 2.  David Ortiz and Mark Kotsay were the only two in the Sox lineup to NOT get a hit.  Add to that, Manny Delcarmen and Justin Masterson pitching scoreless innings to get to the ninth and you have a really well-rounded, ass-kicking team!  I know at least 3 people who were there tonight and what a game they got to see!

Over in the National League, Bronson Arroyo got his 14th win by pitching almost seven innings and giving up only four hits and one run.  And Reds fans were worried about him at the beginning of the season!

And back to my favorite pitcher…Kyle got in the game tonight and faced six batters.  He gave up a walk and a single and he struck out Matt Carson (fly out, pop up, ground out,  were how he got his other outs).  So 1.1 scoreless innings tonight.  Kyle’s pitching well.  I’m working on which player is on the 40-man who I can put the whammy on to get Kyle a spot over there.  (I’m clueless about this, mind you.  Live in my own little world where I can mess with the 40-man roster whenever I want…)  I think it’s a toss up between Chris Carter and Marcus McBeth.   They need to have a Celebrity Deathmatch-like battle to see who gets the boot.

When I was in 8th grade, April Vigliotta wrote in my autograph book “Maybe someday you’ll own the Red Sox”.  I’ll settle for being the GM.  😆

Currently watching the Mariners and their rookie pitcher, thus far, kicking Yankee ass.  It’s a nice way to end the evening.  (In his first MLB game, Brandon Morrow just struck out his seventh batter – one Alex Rodriguez.  It’s the end of the seventh inning and, let’s just say, if you can watch this game…you’d really want to right now!)

Edited to add:  The Mariners announcers keep saying exactly what Morrow is doing and it’s making me crazy.  I didn’t realize I was as superstitious about this as I, apparently, am!

Second edit:  Brandon Morrow is out of the game.  Wilson Betemit hit an rbi double to break up the no-hitter with two outs in the 8th inning.  Kid kicked ass…good for him.  Now finish the game for him, Mariners, and get the kid the damn win!

September 5, 2008 Posted by | Players, Playoffs, That was sweet! | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments