Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Love-Lee

Well, they ARE pinstripes!

You know what’s wonderful?  Waking up and finding out that not everyone is snowed by mystique and aura.  Waking up to read that someone who will already be making millions of dollars doesn’t think it’s necessary to make even more millions.  Waking up to something completely improbable being absolutely possible.  Waking up to discover that every “expert” was wrong.  It’s wonderful to realize that not everyone has a soul that is for sale.  Thank you, Cliff Lee.  Thank you for helping restore some of my faith in humanity.

I’m not naive.  When you get into the $100 million range, even at the low end the idea that money wasn’t some kind of factor is silly.  But in going to Philadelphia instead of New York or Texas, Lee showed me that he gets that when you have $100 million adding more millions to it isn’t the reason you should make a life-altering decision.  While I feel a smidge of sadness for the Rangers and their fans, I have none of that for New York and theirs.  It seemed to me that Lee really enjoyed being in Philadelphia and now he’s back where he wants to be.  All the money and years that the Steinbrenners threw at him mattered not.  What did he leave, $50 million “on the table”?  Somewhere, Johnny Damon just fainted.  (A side note for Yankees fans:  If you want your team to bring on free agents, it’s probably a good idea to refrain from spitting on their wives when they visit your park.)

This has become one of my favorite off-seasons ever.

The Yankees certainly won’t collapse and fall off the face of the earth because Cliff Lee decided to save his soul, but it sure will be fun watching the critical fallout that comes along with losing out on your biggest free agent want because no matter how much money you threw at him, it didn’t matter.

Now all the Yankees fans can sing the story about how the Yankees were never going to get Lee because he obviously didn’t want to go there (which, incidentally, I agree with)…kind of like how no matter what the Red Sox offered Mark Teixeira his hear was set on playing in the Bronx.

The news of Cliff Lee going back to Philadelphia pleases me greatly.  The Phillies will be a blast to watch (my apologies to my NL friends, especially the Mets fans!) and Lee won’t be our problem until the All Star Game and maybe (hopefully!) the World Series.

Another win-win hotstove day for Red Sox fans!

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December 14, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

What, me worry?

Cliff Lee being razzed about his two names in an amusing Seattle Mariners commercial.

It’s raining.  An icy, cold rain that makes me want to do nothing but stay inside with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.  So thinking about baseball doesn’t come easy this morning.

What got my brain in gear was an email from one of my Yankees fan readers who was kind enough to send me this link regarding the Yankees already having contacted Cliff Lee (and the added commentary from said fan:  “Are you scared yet??”).

The answer?  Um, no, I’m not scared at all.  I like Cliff Lee.  He was one of the first players I wrote about when I switched the blog from Red Sox Chick to Toeing the Rubber back in 2008.  If the Red Sox could find a way to acquire Mr. Lee, I’d be a very happy gal.  Having written that, if the Red Sox don’t acquire Mr. Lee, I won’t be losing any sleep over it.

Listen, there’s no arguing the guy is good but anyone who watches him pitch also knows he’s touchable.  There’s nothing that guarantees if he starts for the Yankees he doesn’t turn into AJ Burnett Part 2.  Which, as much as I like the guy, would bring me unimaginable joy.  I’m at the point in my life where I look at the big name, big money contracts the Yankees sign on with and instead of worrying about them, I wonder when they will bite the Yankees in the ass.  Yes, the Yankees won it all in 2009 (as an aside, how freaking sweet is it that they aren’t the “World Champion New York Yankees” any more?  Thank you, Texas*.) but the team is not built to win one championship a decade.  They’re supposed to win it all, every year, or at least come damn close.  The Yankees are as beatable as any other team now so when they add some great pieces to their puzzle, it worries me not.  I just sit back and look forward to the floor show.

Truth be told, if I had my druthers, Lee would stay with the Rangers.  Hey, I’m not greedy.  I don’t mind the league sharing the good players.  I think Texas is a great fit for Lee and it would make me happy to see a player say “These tens of millions of dollars are enough for me and my family.  I don’t need even more millions because the team who can most afford to throws them at me.  I want to stay here.”   Texas as good fans, Lee has had success there and seems to like it…I’d like to see it happen.

*Yes I know the San Francisco Giants are the World Champions, but the Rangers are the team that kept the Yankees out of the World Series.

November 8, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Only Way the Yankees Can Make Me Giddy

If your manager has this look in the 5th inning, well, that's not a good sign.  (Thanks to Aaron/@ARevill for the screen grab)

If your manager has this look in the 5th inning, well, that's not a good sign. (Thanks to Aaron/@ARevill for the screen grab)

While reveling in the Yankees loss and the Rangers win last night, the most common retort I received was basically “At least the Yankees made it to the playoffs this year”.  (As an aside, I don’t troll Yankees message boards.  These responses came from folks who follow me on Twitter and those who chose to email me.)

And those people are absolutely right.  I would have loved it had the Red Sox been in the post-season.  The playoffs are almost always enjoyable anyway but nothing beats watching your team play in meaningful games in late October.  The thing is, my Red Sox not making the post-season doesn’t take away, in any way, the joy I received from watching the Yankees lose last night.  After steamrolling over the Minnesota Twins, the Yankees were a Ron Washington call to the bullpen in Game 1 away from being swept by the Texas Rangers.  There are some non-Yankees fans out there today crowing about how the Yankees choked.  They didn’t choke, they were outplayed by a superior team.  Maybe not a team that was superior in the regular season (where they only won one out of the five games they played against New York) but they were superior when it counted.  There is absolutely no argument to this.

The first person to say “The better team didn’t win” gets a kick in the shins.

How excited I am knowing I’ll be watching a World Series just hoping to see good baseball and not rooting against one of the teams.  Granted, this will be made much easier if the Giants make it there as well, but as much as I’m sick of seeing the Phillies in the World Series, I don’t really hate them so their being there won’t immediately make me root against them.  Yankees-free baseball being played in late October and  early November.  Except for my own team being in the thick of it, this is all I can ask for.

Another aside:  On October 27, 2004, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series after sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals (Woooo!!!! As a member of Red Sox Nation, I’m contractually obligated to yell “Woooo!!! whenever I write or say those words.  Plus, it’s damn fun to do.).  In 2010, the World Series will begin on October 27th.  While part of me is tempted to complain that this is much too late for baseball to be played…baseball is being played!  Why would any baseball fan complain about being able to see MORE baseball?  I’ll take it.  (Especially if it ends up being played in California and Texas.  Weather for the win!)

Now I don’t mean to cheapen the Rangers’ win by focusing on the Yankees but, let’s be honest here, it wouldn’t have mattered to me which team was playing the Yankees, as long as the Yankees were beaten.  I still don’t like Ron Washington or Josh Hamilton but if I have to wish them well (and, now, THANK THEM) it’s totally worth it coming at the expense of the Yankees.  Now all I have to root for is good baseball.  I think today all baseball fans (except for Yankees fans) are winners.

Since their team’s time in the playoffs is done, I now expect any anti-Yankees sentiments I articulate to be met with “At least our team will have Cliff Lee next year”.  I’ll worry about that when the time comes.  For now, I’m as giddy as can be.

Thank you, Rangers!

October 23, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | 4 Comments

Bleacher Creatures don't deserve praise

Well Major League Baseball seems to be going out of their way to make both League Championship Series interesting. While I would love to see the Phillies and the Yankees sent off into the sunset while the Giants and Rangers make their way to the World Series. But the truth is, if you dig baseball there is a lot of excitement in both series going to (at the very least) Game 6.

Having written that, I really hope the Rangers just get things done tonight and end it in front of their fans. I’ve really seen enough of the Yankees on my television this October.

But now I have to rant.

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October 22, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

…a couple of anniversaries today

Lou Seal in his Tim Lincecum wig.  Go Giants!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Lou Seal in his Tim Lincecum wig. Go Giants! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Trying to avoid bad karma, I decided to forgo writing a gloating post about how the Rangers were owning the Yankees in this series.

So much for that.  🙂

It’s okay.  As  much as beating them on their own field would have been fun to watch, I think the Rangers fans deserve to see their team clinch a World Series spot at home.  So here’s hoping.

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October 21, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dear Nolan Ryan: Give Cliff Lee whatever he asks for.

Another photo I'm using without permission.  Lee after last night's win. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Another photo I'm using without permission. Lee after last night's win. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Before last night’s Rangers/Yankees game began, TBS talking head Craig Sager was interviewing Ian Kinsler and chiding him about getting picked off by Kerry Wood in game one.  Reminding Kinsler, as if he had to, that Andy Pettitte with his fantastic balk pickoff move would be on the mound, he made it very clear that Kinsler was going up against a far superior opponent.  Ian took it all in stride and assured Sager that, if he made it to first base, he’d “stay put”.  Good for Kinsler for not shoving Sager’s microphone up Sager’s nose.

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

Bump in the road

Photo of CJ Wilson in a happier time (Thursday) lifted and used without permisison.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Photo of CJ Wilson in a happier time (Thursday) lifted and used without permisison. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

It’s funny how things don’t ever work out the way  I plan.  I was supposed to be at a party last night and I canceled because I was feeling lousy.  I figured I’d go to bed early, throw on the game and fall asleep before it was over.  Instead, I ended up watching every minute of every inning and commiserating with other baseball fans throughout the game on Twitter.

All I’ll say about the outcome of the game is that as much as it bugged me last night this morning I just say “meh”.  One out of seven isn’t insurmountable.  My only worry is that the Rangers seem to not only be playing against the Yankees but their own manager as well.  That might be the toughest obstacle for them.  (Is it too late to revoke the manager of the year award that Ron Washington got from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance?)

Even feeling as lousy as I did, the most fun from the night came from being on Twitter with like-minded folks talking (ranting at some points) about the game.  If you are a sports fan and you aren’t on Twitter you might consider it for opportunities like this.  I purposely don’t follow Yankees fans, but I follow fans from just about every other baseball team and getting the point of view from different fan bases was interesting and a lot of fun.  It was like sitting in a bar with your friends to watch the game.  And given I was getting out of the house last night, it was a nice way to spend the evening…even if most of us were disappointed at the ending of the game.  The idea that so many people from around the country (and some around the globe) were all watching the same exact thing last night and discussing it in real time is a little mind blowing even for a geek like me.

So tonight it’s the first game of the NLCS.  Not sure if I’ll be around for it, but I am sure there will be all kinds of chatter on Twitter!

Okay, a couple of other things about last night’s game.  It’s nice to see CC Sabathia reverting back to his “doesn’t pitch well in big situations” character.  What’s disappointing is that this is the second game in this postseason where that has happened and the Yankees still have come back to win the game.  I’m hoping the Rangers won’t turn out to be the second coming of the Twins.

CJ Wilson.  All I read about him this week was, basically, that he wasn’t Cliff Lee and that the Yankees would be able to handle him nicely.  Kid came through in a huge way for the Rangers and it’s just too bad that this teammates and manager didn’t back  him up in the end.  You don’t have to be Cliff Lee, CJ, being CJ Wilson should work well for you.  You deserved better last night.

It’s an odd feeling.  I know I don’t want the Yankees to go to the World Series.  I want to watch the World Series and just enjoy it, not watch the Yanks get ballwashed for yet another series.  But even with that feeling, I’m not really bothered by their win last night.  Can’t tell if it’s indifference or just because I have faith the Rangers can bounce back from this.  Hey, in 2004 it happened for another team that played the Yankees in the ALCS…why not now?

October 16, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So it begins

Lifted from CJ Wilson's website at www.leftylefty.com and used without permission.

Lifted from CJ Wilson's website at http://www.leftylefty.com and used without permission.

I’ve missed baseball this week.  Tonight at 8 o’clock it’s back with the first game of the Rangers/Yankees ALCS.  CC Sabathia goes up against CJ Wilson, which should be story enough but we’ll get hit with how much we should love Josh Hamilton (I don’t*), how amazing Derek Jeter is (I disagree) and how the Yankees will be taking notes on Cliff Lee and vice versa since Lee will be a Yankee in 2011 (something I’m not convinced is true).  The good news is the ALCS is on TBS this year, which means no Joe Buck or Tim McCarver (don’t get too excited, we get them for the NLCS).  I’m disappointed that Don Orsillo didn’t get the nod to call these games and not thrilled that we get Ron Darling and John Smoltz doing color, but I’ll be appreciative of the small things.  At least the promos for Conan O’Brien’s new show are actually funny and not on the annoying level of the George Lopez or Frank Calliendo spots from years past.  And, so far, I haven’t seen Dane Cook once.  So there’s that.

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October 15, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fine. I get it.

So here’s what I will admit:  I get why fans of other teams don’t like the Red Sox (and their fans).  I do.  You can’t turn on a national game, most of the time, without one of the teams playing being the Red Sox.  During the season, you can’t put on ESPN or MLBN without being reminded that the Red Sox are struggling or succeeding, repeatedly.  Ken Burns devoted a third of his newest documentary about baseball just to the Red Sox and ESPN decided everyone needed to understand what Red Sox fans went through in 2004 during those “Four Days in October”.  (I had one fan email me to tell me he would have understood if those four days covered the World Series but not the ALCS because “Nobody but New York and Boston fans cares about your rivalry”.)  Since 2001, the Red Sox have been in the post-season six times.  Were I not a Red Sox fan, I’d be sick to death of them too.

I admit all of this because, really, I used to have no issues with the Phillies.  There was no one I the team I disliked (Once Brett Myers left) and based on my own interactions with Phillies fans in their park, I didn’t have the strong animosity toward the fans that so many others do.  After this past week, I’ll say this: If I never watch another Phillies game again it might be too damn soon.

The idea of another Phillies/Yankees World Series makes me sad.  Because, as they say, I’ll be rooting for the meteor.  I honestly won’t care one way or the other who wins.  I always want the Yankees to lose, but in this scenario I’d want the Phillies to lose as well.  What to do?  What to do?

Much to my surprise, my only hope might be the San Francisco Giants.  While the Atlanta Braves are making it interesting, the Giants have been impressing me.  I have no doubt that whichever team faces the Phillies is going to have a tough time of it, but I’m an optimist and as the prophet Kevin Garnett has taught us, “Anything is possible”.

Reds get swept, Twins get swept, Giants are a game away from winning (but not sweeping) and the Rays and Rangers are bringing us an exciting game five tonight.  Here’s hoping the damn cowbells get silenced by Mr. Cliff Lee.  I’ll be watching.  It might be with the sound muted, but I’ll definitely be watching.

Edited to add:  I won’t be watching tonight since, as Brian points out in the comments “Game five is Tuesday fyi not tonight“.  So I get one more day to wait for the silencing of the bells.  (We DO get Derek Lowe pitching against Madison Bumgarner tonight, though!)

October 11, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 3 Comments

Stop the pain

Surprising no one, the Yankees swept the Twins.  I know the Yankees are a good team but the Twins were supposed to be a good team as well.  I hate when teams like the Twins prove those people right who believe the deeds of the past will always repeat themselves.  The Twins always roll over for the Yankees…I heard this over and over again before this series ended.  I don’t believe in “always”.  New teams, new situations, different results are entirely possible.  So the Twins showing the baseball world that, indeed, they do intend to continue to roll over for the Yankees is a bit depressing.

The Rays on their way to bringing their DS to a fifth game annoys me as well.  I mean, if the Rangers either pull off a comeback today or pound the Rays in game five in Saint Pete, that’ll be swell.  But if we are subjected to watching the Rays v the Yankees in the ALCS, there’s a very good possibility you all will be watching without me.  As they say, I’m going to have to root for the meteor.

October 10, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | Leave a comment