Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

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!

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

My Red Sox Confessions

Kyle Snyder in '06 - Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission.

I’m not one who complains about Daylight Savings; I dig it being light out at 7, 8pm. But, apparently, it has been messing with my sleep patterns because this week I have gotten up every day at least an hour later than I usually do. So, once again, my post today is late and, this time, more of just a bit of rambling than any one cohesive thought.  How about some confessions that you might or might now already know about me?

*  I like Daisuke Matsuzaka.  Sure it’s convenient for me to say that after he pitched so well yesterday, but I do.  I’ve liked him from the beginning.  I don’t fret over the money the Red Sox put out just to bid on him and I think, as far as making money in the bubble of the world known as MLB, he has been worth the money he’s being paid.

*  I don’t like Jon Lester.  I have my reasons just like everyone has their reasons for liking or not liking a player.  Having written that, if he isn’t the starting pitcher for Opening Day, I will suspect Terry Francona was dropped on his head just before making the announcement.  While I could also see Tito starting Clay Buchholz and being more than happy with that, I think Crabcakes has earned getting the nod first (and next).

*  Ever since Mike Timlin left the Red Sox I haven’t developed a deep down, true favorite player. The seasons between 2002-2008 were magical for many reasons not the least of for me was the abundance of players to fall for.  Kyle Snyder and Mike Timlin are the remnants of those years – both my last “favorite” players who are both no longer playing (hopefully that won’t be the case for Kyle much longer but who knows).  I love the team and if I had to quickly pick the one whose being traded or DFA’d would rip my heart out I guess I’m looking at either JD Drew or Clay Buchholz.  But it still isn’t the same.  Ask anyone who went to a game with me while Mike Timlin was active and they’ll tell you how physically and emotionally involved I got in his appearances.  You can also ask the handful of friends who spent the day texting me to find out if I was all right the Saturday Kyle was designated for assignment (yes, without looking I remembered it was a Saturday and they were in Toronto.  The pain is burned into my memory).  There’s no one on the team I feel that deeply for.  Maybe that’s a good thing?  I do know it changes the way I watch the games just a little bit.+

*  I’ve never not had Bronson Arroyo on a fantasy baseball team and this year he’s on my team in two different leagues.  So, in reference to the confession above this one, were he still on the Red Sox HE’D be the favorite.  (I also still hold out the unrealistic hope of his returning to the Red Sox some day.  I’m an optimist.)

* I’ve discovered (or maybe RE-discovered) that if I have any hard feelings for ex-Red Sox players (and goodness knows I do) they are stronger for Johnny Damon than they are for Manny Ramirez. I know the Yankees thing and the out and out lying thing are big parts of that but it struck me odd that I watched Manny and had NO feelings about how he did at bat (I felt “meh”) but just seeing Johnny holding a baseball bat my first thought was “I hope you strike out”.  In real life, I’m a fairly rational person.  Obviously this doesn’t translate well to my baseball fandom.

+If the Red Sox trade or DFA Tim Wakefield this year, I have no idea how I will handle it.  They can only trade him with his approval because of his time in the league and on the Sox, so I guess I’d be more okay with that than with them just dumping him.  He’s on a different level than a “favorite” player; he’s Tim Freaking Wakefield.  I can’t write any more about it because it’s upsetting me just to think about it.

March 16, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Another Flashback – October 2008

Classic Pedro/Nomar photo by Kuni Takahashi

Classic Pedro/Nomar photo by Kuni Takahashi

So I wrote this as one of the two pieces I needed to write for the WEEI blogger contest (I was looking for the original piece I wrote that got me into the contest and can’t find it. It’s floating around here somewhere!).  My final entry had photos for each item but I’m not posting them this time.  I enjoy these kinds of entries and need to get back to writing more of them!  (And, once again, a long entry awaits you.  It seems MY personal favorite entries are usually of the long-winded kind!)

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An off night is a great time to reflect on the sports moments of the past. So, because I’m nothing if not specific, I give you five favorite moments and five least favorite moments in New England sports history and how they affected me. Moments that I was alive (and old enough) to witness (not necessarily in person). What this means is no Fisk’s home run (which I was alive for but, alas, have no memory of), no Impossible Dream team of 1967 (predates me), no Ted Williams. You get the point.

Also, I’m purposely leaving out the 2004 and 2007 post-seasons of the Red Sox. Because, truly, I could write a book about them both and we really don’t have that kind of space right now.

Let’s start with the good and countdown since that’s so darned popular these days:

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July 28, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wins. Wins are nice.

Welcome back to the rotation, Wake!  (Photo taken by me in 2005)

Welcome back to the rotation, Wake. (Photo taken by me in 2005)

I really enjoy these mornings when watching “Breakfast with the Sox” is something I go out of my way to do.  (When the Sox lose, I don’t watch the replays, hell I usually don’t even watch the post-game show!)

As an aside before I start bragging on Clay, Based on feedback I’ve been receiving the past few weeks after each live chat, I’m banging around the idea of a message board connected to the blog as a place where folks can talk baseball (or just random daytime talk before games!) and have game day discussions (with a chat room attached as well).  Folks seem a little reticent to use the comments for chatting and some suggestions have come in about having a discussion board to visit.  Not sure what the response would be from the masses, though, so I thought I’d throw the idea out there and see what you all think.  Shoot me an email or leave a note in the comments section and let me know what  you think (emails would be great since then I’d have YOUR email address and could send out invites for the board if folks are so inclined).  What say you, folks?

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May 20, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Deliver me from this performance art

Accentuate the positive - Clay pitched well even if they didn't win!  (Photo taken by me last night.)

Clay pitched well even if they didn't win! (Photo taken by me last night.)

If regular readers of my blog have learned anything about me it’s that I tend to get attached to certain players, regardless of their performances, and sometimes put my hopes for them above the outcome of individual games.  Many was the night when my heart would ache watching Mike Timlin blow a lead or give up a crucial run – not just because of the loss but because of the pain I assumed Timlin was going through.   I don’t think I slept the night that the Red Sox dfa’d Kyle Snyder just thinking about how devastating that must have been for him.  (I know I get too emotionally involved – it’s just who I am.) The snarky jerks I’ve been in contact with here would make jokes about my “crushes” on these guys (and maybe they are crushes of a sort but not the kind some idiots think.  If you invest enough time into a hobby that involves living beings and DON’T take some kind of personal interest in their well-being, then I’m not understanding what the attraction is.  I know that some folks can watch the games and not care about the people playing them – I’m not like that.   I don’t want to marry any of these guys…I just genuinely want them to do well, to succeed – some more than others) but caring about the people playing the game I love is part of the enjoyment of the game for me.  I’m not going to apologize for that.

So leaving the game last night had an odd feel to it.  I wanted that win for Clay.  I mean, I wanted it for the team too but Clay really gets beaten up in the press and by the fans and last night he pitched his ass off.  Last night was the first night in a very long time when I left the park thinking about how I felt like Tito did a player (in this case, Clay) wrong.   So I wasn’t mad about the loss (I rarely get “mad” over the team losing a game) but I was a little mad the Clay was left hanging out there.  This is one of the reasons I waited so long today before writing.  I needed a little break away from the frustrations of last night.

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April 23, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | 2 Comments

I'm still around now; my heart is healing

Timlin at Fort Myers this year - Courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

Timlin at Fort Myers this year - Courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

I have spring fever, I’ll admit it.  My focus has pretty much been looking out the window or going for walks to take in the gorgeous weather – so I apologize for dropping the ball here.

How excited was I to read that the Red Sox signed Alan Embree to a minor league contract?  I seriously yelled, gleefully, “Oh my God, Alan Embree!!!!” when I read it this morning.  Alan was “dead” to me for a while (I ended up getting over the whole signing with the Yankees thing eventually but have a harder time wrapping my mind around his laughing at the Red Sox (and especially Mike Timlin) while sitting in the Yankee dugout in 2005 and watching them get swept by the White Sox.  BUT it’s time for bygones to be bygones, no?  (Yes.  Yes it is. )

Speaking of Mike, on March 10, my man Mike Timlin (I know he’s retired but he’ll always be “My man”) turned 44 years old.  I only point this out because of the amazing photo Kelly O’Connor took (and sent me!) on her first full day at Spring Training yesterday.  Mike is looking good and, by all accounts, doing well.  This all pleases me greatly.  And I look at that picture above and shake my head when I think about how many people consider the guy “old”.  Keep on keeping on, Mike!

Alan and Mike are forever intertwined in my mind not just because of ’03 and’04 but because of how, in 2005, Mike defended his friend to the media on the day he was designated for assignment.  When asked how he felt about it he turned it around on them and asked them how they would feel if one of their associates was dumped.  One of Timlin’s most endearing qualities, in my opinion, is how he has the tough guy exterior but is willing to let his soft side show too.  I’ve missed both of these men wearing the Sox uniform and while (no offense to Alan) I’m rather it had been Mike signing the contract, I’m happy that Alan is getting another chance with the team.

The very first blog entry I ever created was about Alan Embree.  I was cranky, he was cranky.  (I didn’t start blogging because of him…I had set up the blog and just not started yet.  Seeing him in pinstripes and then reading what he said – see the entry for his quotes – really set me off. )  In hindsight, I can’t blame him for saying things like that toward the team that had just dropped him.  You say things when you’re upset that you don’t necessarily mean. At the time I took it all to be a slap to the fans, some of which (like me) still supported him.  I hope I take things less personally these days…but I’m not so sure.  🙂

In September of 2008, I did “Five Fun Facts” on Alan Embree (which reminds me that I haven’t done that in a while…need to get back in the groove!).   My favorite Fun fact that wasn’t on that list?  The man was on the mound in 2004 when the Red Sox won game 7 of the ALCS.  For that memory alone, any grudge I might have held has gone by the wayside.

Welcome back to the Nation, Alan!  Now I have another “old guy” to root for.

March 20, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 3 Comments

One more cheap suit in the loop

Do't ask him if he's Irish, he doesn't know.  But he'll wear green just in case!

Don't ask him if he's Irish, he doesn't know. But he'll wear green just in case!

Things I found out while watching NESN today:

*  The Opening Day (NIGHT) game on April 4th will be broadcast both on ESPN2 and on NESN.  This annoys me only in if it isn’t an exclusive game for ESPN then there was really no point making it the Sunday night game anyway and it just gets me cranky that we get cheated out of an actual opening DAY because MLB and ESPN stink like cheese.

*  Heidi Watney is “under the weather” and I didn’t miss her.  I understand this comes as no surprise to anyone who reads me but Heidi bashing aside what I mean is that I didn’t miss there being a sideline reporter at ALL.  Didn’t miss Heidi, didn’t miss anyone who would have taken her place.  It’s an unnecessary position created just to annoy me and/or people like me!

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March 17, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

I&#39ll think of you every step of the way

mikecaseysept2008

Mike Timlin celebrating with Sean Casey in 2008 (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission)

It’s tough to keep my interest up when nothing of any real substance is going on in baseball.  I could write an entry about how some Yankees fans have indicated that they now “know” how the Red Sox fans felt when Johnny left Boston for New York .  (They don’t.  Not even a little bit.  But at least they seem to understand that just saying “he’s a hired gun, what did you expect?” doesn’t mean anything when feelings are involved.)  But my heart wouldn’t be in it.  I’m at the point now, with Damon, where I don’t “hate” him or want him anywhere near Boston, he just annoys the hell out of me.  Let him re-sign with the Yanks (doesn’t seem to be happening) or with the Rays for all I care.  Just stop making it out like the best centerfielder in the history of baseball doesn’t have a team right now.

That isn’t to say I’m not still paying attention to former Sox players.  Johnny will always have a place in my heart for being on the 2003 and 2004 teams but what happens to him in or out of baseball no longer holds  my interest.  Not so for most of the other guys from those teams.  Last week, my man Mike Timlin made an appearance on the Boston airwaves to promote a new venture.  Some might know that Mike does the narration for the documentary film “Touching the Game: Alaska” (I haven’t seen the film yet.  I do have it on order, though, and plan on reviewing it and its sister film “Touching the Game:  The Story of the Cape Cod Baseball League” once I have them both).  Mike spoke by telephone with Michael Holley and Lou Merloni last week about  his work on the film and how it piqued his interest in doing “radio and/or play by play”.  It’s too bad that he went out one last time last year with the Rockies to try and eke out a season because, had he been available, it would have been interesting to see how he would have done along side Don Orsillo.  Thankfully this year, with Jerry Remy being back to full health both mentally and physically, we won’t have rotating partners for Donnie O.  Still, it would have been fun to have Mike in the booth for a game or two.

Of interest from the interview:  Mike made it “official” that he is, indeed, retired.  He said he hoped last year he would have been able to do something with the Rockies but it never quite worked out.   What he told Lou Merloni was that he had three things to look at in deciding whether he’d play last year.  His family “suffering” through his playing another  year, his body “hurting”  (which he said it did much of his last year in Boston) and whether it was the right time.  He told Lou that he prayed to God to tell him if it was the right time.  He hit two out of three…God told him it wasn’t the right time and he was done.   He added that he can “look at the door and close it”, in regard to ever playing baseball and that now he doesn’t have the desire to say “Maybe I can try one more time”.   He went on to say that “it’s kind of nice being Dad and relaxing at home”.

It’s ridiculous, I know, but I feel like I have closure with Mike.  Not closure in that I’m not still a fan – hey he’s on my top ten list of my all-time favorite Red Sox players (a list soon to be shared on the blog) – but it’s nice to know that HE’S good with his not playing any more.  I hated the idea of his being forced out of baseball before he thought he was ready.  I give Lou Merloni credit for being so upfront with his question, “Are you done playing the game?”.  Can’t get more straightforward than that…except with Mike’s answer, “Yeah, I am.”

He’ll be in town soon trying to raise money for his next project, (in conjunction with the filmmakers who created the two “Touching the Game” documentaries) which is a show that highlights members of the military or other people who work for the greater good (police officers, teachers, firefighters) and how they make a difference through community service by doing “extraordinary” things.  I wish him luck with that and hope he has success with it.  I’d also not be against seeing him sitting in the studio with Tom Caron a few times this season.  Make it happen, NESN!

A week from this Friday is Truck Day.  I will most definitely be there with bells on.  (You just won’t be able to see them because they will be covered by long johns, thermal socks, scarves and my Red Sox knit cap!)

February 1, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | 3 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

This town's got no pity

This dog can still bark, baby!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

This dog can still bark, baby! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

So the Sox have three wins in a row – constituting a streak, yes?  (At least a mini-streak.)  The team didn’t implode because they lost four games in the Bronx.  Imagine that?  And this streak comes against a good team.  A team that many worried the Sox would have trouble against.  A team that tried to rile the Sox up by hitting one of the best players on the team.  Suspend Kevin Youkilis?  S’okay, we have Mike Lowell to come in and hit multiple home runs.  Much like I wasn’t giving up on this team after their skid last week, I’m not saying three wins against the Tigers is what will get them into the playoffs – the point is the season is still going on and the Red Sox didn’t decide to concede anything because of a bad week against the Yanks and Rays.  It must be pissing off many in the Boston media to see them be successful after having written them off, eh?

Speaking of the Boston sports media…what the hell is up with “The Sports Hub” not going live online until 1pm?  I want to give this station a chance, I certainly do, but most of my listening will be done online and if they think I’m choosing Michael Felger over Clay Buchholz today they’re sadly mistaken.

Not surprised when Youk’s suspension came down and only moderately surprised that he didn’t appeal (regardless of the thirty tweets I received yesterday saying he had).  He earned the suspension and I have no issue with what he got.  The Sox are already one game past the suspension and need to get through this weekend and it’ll be like it never happened.  Continued wins so that the suspension equals nothing more than a brief vacation for Mr. Youkilis would be the icing on this cake.

I really suppose I should mention this article in USA Today.  An interview with Bronson Arroyo about PEDs in baseball and what he’s used/uses.  There is a large part of me that is refreshed and impressed with his honesty.  The league and most  likely the Reds will come down on him in whatever way they can (he admitted that some of his supplements could be illegal or contaminated) although it’ll probably only be in the way of a verbal reprimand asking him to STFU, but he doesn’t care.   Again, this is refreshing but part of it is a little disturbing.  While I understand that he’s trying to say that the PEDs help you physically but don’t necessarily make you play better (which is definitely up for debate) the idea that he doesn’t care about what he puts in his body as long as it makes him feel good makes me worried for his long-term health.  He’s honest and I appreciate that but I sure do wonder what makes him say many of these things publicly.  (Don’t get me wrong, Bronson is the apex in  my triumvirate of pitching binkies – Arroyo/Snyder/Timlin – but this interview made me bang my head more than once and wonder why he doesn’t have a better filter.)   I guess the whole “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me” attitude can be a double-edged sword.  I’d also guess that having a father who put you on supplements at five years old can definitely help create your perceptions that the usage of supplements and PEDs isn’t so terrible.   It’ll be a fascinating watch – seeing how this all plays out.

Clay is on the mound at 1:35pm today to hopefully lead the team to a sweep of the Tigers and then it’s off to Texas for the weekend (for the Sox not me) and from there a three-day series in Toronto that will then bring them back home for a weekend series against the Yankees.  The road won’t be easy but it sure should be fun!

August 13, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , , | 8 Comments