Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

NESN Drops the Ball

Don Orsillo with Gary Tuck - June 2010 - Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill and used with permission.

Don Orsillo with Gary Tuck – June 2010 – Photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill and used with permission.


“It’s like he’s trying to speak to me, I know it! You know, you’re really cute, but I don’t know what you’re saying! Say the first thing again!” ~Marlin baffled by Squirt in “Finding Nemo”.     Also, me to all the students presenting at the Saber Seminar last weekend.


If I had to guess, I’d say maybe every other presenter at the Saber Seminar this past weekend made a “not all baseball fans are like this group here” comment. Every time someone said it I thought “Hell, I’M not even like this group!”

I love baseball. LOVE it. Fall asleep every night to a random game playing on Extra Innings long after the Red Sox have finished their game. But I have to admit that the advanced statistics often times go right over my head. I try to have the same passion for it that I do the game itself…but I don’t.  And that isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the Saber Seminar.  I did. It was two days of a lot of fascinating discussions, baseball stories and like-minded people getting a chance to interact. It was my first time there and it was time well-spent.

But there are a boatload of genuine, passionate, baseball fans who would have lasted about a half an hour and then gone looking for a bar with a tv showing a baseball game.

And that’s okay. We’ll get back to this in a moment.

As I’m guessing anyone reading this already knows, it was announced today that after the 2015 season NESN will not be bringing Don Orsillo back to the broadcast booth.

I mean what the hell?

After giving it some thought, my reaction was “Well, this is terrible news but I guess no one has their job forever.”  And then I thought “Why the hell not?” I mean, unless you are absolutely terrible at your job why shouldn’t you be able to keep it?



If the outpouring of emotion all over social media outlets today is any indication, most Red Sox fans (as well as the Boston sports media) are quite fond of Donnie O and genuinely upset about the situation. There are support hashtags for D.O. and nasty comments to NESN’s twitter account that have been flooding Twitter all afternoon. People are threatening to cancel their Extra Innings or MLBtv subscriptions next season while others are posting videos of Don and Jerry Remy at their most entertaining.

But one tweet stood out for me. It was in response to a Chad Finn tweet:



Now Joe Palladino is quite possibly a very nice man so I’m not here to specifically call him out – especially since he isn’t the only person to make this observation. But it was the first tweet of its kind that I saw today and it made me think about baseball fans and their expectations.

(As an important aside, it was pointed out to Mr. P and many others that Don Orsillo’s job is to provide play by play, not analysis. That fact doesn’t take away from the point I’m about to make.)

Don Orsillo has two jobs, the first is to tell us what is happening in the game, the play by play if you will. The second, and this is so very important to his job, is to ENTERTAIN US.

Some will argue that plenty of announcers do their jobs perfectly fine without breaking into giggle fits or showing off their packing skills and those people would be correct. But that doesn’t mean that you CAN’T do your job without acting like you’re enjoying the heck out of it and that’s what Don Orsillo has done ever since the first night he took the microphone next to Jerry Remy.

There are so many different levels to enjoy baseball. Some people enjoy lots of hits and runs, some prefer pitching duels, others keep their noses buried in their scorecards, while others go to the park to take photos of the action. Some spend hours and hours pouring over statistics and working on creating new statistics to mark every moment of the game. There are fans who go to the park to enjoy a summer evening outdoors and fans who collect baseball cards for the pictures of the cute guys. And there are many, many fans who use baseball as their soundtrack to summer. Either with the radio or the television, every night around 7pm people some people settle in to spend a few hours with their baseball friends.

There is no wrong way to be a fan. Unless you’re a jackass. Don’t be a jackass.

But I digress.

The Saber Seminar’s connection to Mr. Palladino’s above tweet is tenuous but does exist in MY mind. The majority of the folks at the seminar were wonderfully welcoming, interesting and fun (and obviously passionate about baseball). They were also incredibly focussed on the science and statistics surrounding baseball. For the most part, the weekend wasn’t about being entertained by the game, it was about the deeper meaning behind each pitch, hit and run. And that’s great. And I get that some people, like the folks at the seminar and Mr. P above, might turn into a baseball broadcast to learn more about the statistics and the science. They want more than just “Swing and a miss” or “Hitters are batting .283 versus Smith over his last 12 appearances.” But in fairness, those folks, passionate and wonderful as they are, don’t make up the entirety of baseball fans.

The fans who just want to hear the game being called by a familiar voice make up the majority of the fans. The folks who enjoy hearing Don and Jerry lose their minds over some idiot who tossed a slice of pizza at another fan or who get excited that Jerry surprised Don with a desk lamp, those are the fans who thought NESN got it.

With Don Orsillo we’ve celebrated three World Championships and three no-hitters (four if you count Derek Lowe, but Orsillo didn’t call that game). We’ve mourned the losses of Ted Williams and Johnny Pesky among others…and we laughed. Holy cow have we laughed.

What folks like Mr. Palladino above and, apparently, all the suits at NESN don’t get is that for many of us a member of our family is being kicked out of our home with, seemingly, no good explanation. If he was spreading his wings and taking his talents elsewhere on his own we’d be sad but understanding. Being unceremoniously dumped makes no sense to us and we’re left hurt and angry and with questions that NESN probably won’t ever answer.

Don Orsillo isn’t an analyst but he’s an entertainer and he does that job well. NESN is taking away someone who has grown dear to so many of the people they rely on for their ratings. Maybe they don’t care – it’s a fair bet that they don’t care – but that doesn’t mean that WE can’t care. Watching NESN next season might not be an option for me because I don’t know that I want to support a business who cares so little about people.

I guess what I’ve been trying to say is that I will miss Don Orsillo terribly when he’s gone and that makes me sad. I’m so tired of baseball making me sad.

August 25, 2015 Posted by | 2015 | , , , , | 5 Comments

The Obligatory Jerry Remy Post

Remy doing his thing  on NESN on Opening Day

Remy doing his thing on NESN on Opening Day

I know that the nature of blogging (and microblogging on Twitter) is to judge. Everyone loves to have their opinion heard…and I’m not different. Sure I can say I don’t judge, but I do. We all do in one way or another, right?

So here I am, ready to judge (or, really, I suppose I’m judging the judgers). Everyone else has written about it so I figured because I’ve written a lot about him in the past, I should mention this ongoing Jerry Remy drama. The Providence Journal printed today what I believe to be the best editorial I’ve read on the RemDawg’s situation with the payoff being in the final paragraph:

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April 2, 2014 Posted by | 2014 | , | 6 Comments

Who’s sorry now?

I watched NESN’s live Spring Training coverage last night. Basically it consisted of a tour of the new park, interviews with Bobby Valentine and Daniel Bard and a segment where we got to watch Bard shoot baskets. Some fun stuff, actually, and I’m looking forward to more.

But that was only on for an hour so I had to find something else to watch…where do I turn? The Celtics. So I’m watching the Celtics and they keep throwing it back to the studio every so often so we can see Tommy Heinsohn having an anxiety attack over the C’s losing. But when they aren’t letting Tommy go on they throw it to Mike Giardi with teases for that evening’s Sports Sunday show. Basically, Giardi began every update by mentioning that the Red Sox players aren’t apologizing for the 2011 collapse. “Waiting for the Red Sox to apologize?” was pretty much how he began each time. Now I ask you all this:

Were any of us really “waiting” for any of them to “apologize”? Because, I have to say, I wasn’t. Like many folks, I think I’m looking for answers to everything that went on that last month that I’m never going to get but to say I’m looking for an apology is off base.

It annoyed me for two reasons, one is because he did it every time they went to him and his spots didn’t seem pre-recorded (so they weren’t showing you the same piece every time) the other reason is because it just reinforces to me that the media doesn’t seem to care about what the reality of any situation is, they only want to create their own.

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February 20, 2012 Posted by | 2012 | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Keep us hanging on

When I finally fell asleep last night, it was with NESN playing on my television.  I was awakened just after 4am today by the sound of Jack Edwards’ voice excitedly telling me about the Red Sox win and I happily fell back to sleep.  (Of course, I did so without shutting off the television and was awakened just after 6am by the sound of John Dennis’ voice and immediately shut the television off.)

Mornings like this I forget that not everyone is a baseball fan.  After last night, I expected to turn on ESPN and ESPN2 to see baseball highlights and was greeted on both channels by football…hello MLB Network. (And an “up yours” to NESN for wasting that space of time with Dennis and Callahan instead of letting us watch a replay of the game.)

While I hate that the fate of the Red Sox relies in part on what the Yankees and Rays do tonight, it certainly adds an extra level of excitement (or stress or anxiety) to this season.  How often does the season actually come down to what happens on the last day of it?

I’m nervous…I’m excited…I’m anxious…and I’m hopeful.  I feel good about tonight and am looking forward to it all.  I’d love if the Red Sox won without a lot of drama but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers right now so I’ll just have to be happy with their winning regardless of the circumstances.

September 28, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Thome’s milestone as important as Jeter’s? (Yes. Yes it is.)

"Old" guys representing! (Thome and Wakefield shot courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

Ken Rosenthal, who was kind enough to respond to me on Twitter regarding this subject, writes yesterday that we should care as much about Jim Thome’s 600th home run as we did Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit.  In all honesty, I actually care more and I agree with what Rosenthal wrote.

The problem is, he’s part of the reason why many people didn’t care as much.  How many people who follow baseball knew how close Thome was to 600 home runs?  Heck, I only knew when the Red Sox were heading to Minnesota this last time because NESN promoted the series by mentioning how close he was to 600 and I consider myself a bit of a Thome fan.  NESN.  MY local sports station reminded me how close Thome was, not ESPN or MLB Network.  THAT is the problem.  Everyone under the sun couldn’t wait to brag on Jeter but Thome didn’t get the same treatment.  Don’t tell us after the fact that “even though he didn’t play in New York” Thome’s milestone is one to be celebrated.  I think plenty of baseball fans know this already.

There are 28 MLB players who have hit over 3000 hits.  It’s definitely impressive to be part of that group.  I take nothing away from Jeter for the accolades he has received.  But there are only 8 players who have hit 600 home runs or more (to compare, 25 players are in the 500 home runs club).  Players on the 600 list include Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.  Thome and Ken Griffey, Jr are the only present-day players on the list considered “clean” (which, admittedly, is kind of a ridiculous thing to mention since we have no real idea who was “clean” and who was just lucky to not be caught).  What Jim Thome has accomplished is at least as important as what Jeter has accomplished and for the media to acknowledge this fact AFTER it has happened is frustrating.

Then again, I’m doing the same thing they all did, aren’t I?

August 17, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , | Leave a comment

Bringing back memories…not always a good thing.

Why do they always drag the firefighters into these videos? Don't they go through enough already?

Have you seen the video NESN and the Red Sox released yesterday?  No?  Well, there is no way I’m embedding it here.  What I will do is send you to either John’s or Dan’s blog where they have been good enough to do the deed.  (Before you continue reading know this:  I realize I am way more crabby about this than I should be.  I blame NESN for repeatedly posting this on Facebook and Twitter as well as every human being in Red Sox Nation who reposted it after them.  Now I need to go listen to Neil Diamond to get the damn ear worm out.  Neil Diamond.  I hope you’re all happy.)

I don’t like to pick on something that is supposed to be fun.  Fun should just be out there for everyone to enjoy.  But I didn’t find this video fun, I found it painful.  Did you ever watch a comedian or a film that was billed as a comedy and just cringed until it was over?  Have you ever been embarrassed for someone you didn’t even know?  These are  my feelings toward this new video that is supposed to get the fans psyched for the upcoming season.  It’s embarrassing and it’s painful to watch.  Also, white people who aren’t Eminem should never, ever rap again.  This is not an “Anthem for Red Sox Nation” it’s an anthem for tone deaf wannabe rappers who probably work at NESN.

That reads so mean.  I hate to be mean.  I also hate to be force fed the likes of this “song”.  People might argue that the Sox forced “Tessie” upon us.  (Some have argued that they forced “Sweet Caroline” upon us which I disagree with totally; I’ve written about Sweet Caroline before.)  Tessie was introduced with specific historical significance.  And while we can all argue about it actually being a good song or not, it’s 1000 times better than this thing by NESN.  (And, social media in 2004 wasn’t anything like it is in 2011 and it’s a difficult comparison to make because, really, unless you went to Fenway or sought it out online you weren’t being subjected to it.) Of course, I’m just helping NESN’s cause here by even writing about it but, dammit, I figure if I write about it people will stop sending me the damn link to it.

This is not a song fans will be singing in the stands.  I’m hoping that the folks who have already told me that I’m taking it too seriously and it is supposed to be funny and not seriously an “anthem” for 2011 are right.  I’m tightly wound these days and maybe this is more proof of it.  But good God in heaven just the opening notes of this song make me want to break something.

Back in the day (which, for the purposes of this entry, is the mid 1980s), the local music video channel (V-66, which I watched more than MTV) released a video to get Patriots fans psyched about the Super Bowl.  See, the Chicago Bears, you might remember, released a video that year called “The Super Bowl Shuffle” which even non-Bears fans liked.  It was funny, entertaining and not totally sucky.  The video for the Patriots (called “New England, the Patriots and We“) was the 80s version of this new Red  Sox video.  Bad song, horrible video quality, local television personalities joining in on the “fun”.  My God did we make fun of it back then.  So did everyone else.  The Patriots, in this video, all wore “MTV” baseball caps to get it played nationally…every local news channel, along with V66, aired the thing every freaking day leading up to the Super Bowl and MTV even had a contest where people could vote for which was the better video, this or the Super Bowl Shuffle.  Even people from Boston were voting for the Bears.  It was so very embarrassing.  And shame on Robert Urich. How the hell did they get Robert Urich (playing “Spencer” at the time) to appear in that?  That was a nice get. Wonder if it’s listed on his IMDB page?

A small confession:  I was 17 in January of 1986 when the Patriots lost to the Bears in the Super Bowl.  I watched everything associated with the Patriots (and football, really) that season and to this day I know all the words to both of those damn songs.  (Also, I loved the 80s but re-watching that video all I could think of was “Who let all of those people out of their homes dressed like that?”)

The worst part of that video?  It reminds me that I hated it back then for not only being horrible but for being so damn arrogant.  “We’ll beat the Bears, 100 to three”.  How’d that work out for you?  I’m getting twitchy just remembering all of this.

The last thing I want is the 2011 season of the Boston Red Sox to be defined by some hokey video made in Spring Training.  We all have high hopes for this team.  Extremely high hopes.  This is not what I would call entering the season on a high note.

Good Lord now I’m mad at NESN for reminding me of that Patriots video.  Why do we have to be associated with such hokey music videos??

I need The Standells to cleanse my brain:

March 23, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , | 9 Comments

Life is Frivolous

Junichi Tazawa photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission.

What with the interactions between Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy (how funny of Don to be kidding the RemDawg about dyeing his hair?) and the fact that the Red Sox beat the Yankees, I have to say watching last night’s game gave me a lot of joy.

I’m a complete hypocrite, you understand, since I blow off the losses during Spring Training as if they never happened.  But a victory over the Yankees?  Even if half of them are players we won’t see again unless we go to a minor league game this year?  Freakin’ sweet.

Ultimately, the best part of last night was NESN showing the Japanese Red Sox players, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Itsuki Shoda and Junichi Tazawa greeting fans at the gates and collecting money for earthquake/tsunami relief in Japan.  They collected over $4500 last night from fans attending the game.

These people did something that some other folks think you can’t do.  They enjoyed a baseball game while also taking a moment to acknowledge that there are people in the world right now who couldn’t care less about baseball and who need some help.

I have lost count of the people online, though, who follow sports online and have been criticizing folks for caring about things like the NFL lockout when the people of Japan have things so horribly right  now.  I don’t get this.  I don’t get this at all.

There is no arguing that things are horrible in Japan and I’ll admit that the time I’m not spending writing the blog or watching (or listening) to a baseball game have, lately, been spent glued to the television watching things unfold.  It’s horrifying and I pray every day that things will start to improve instead of continuing to get worse.  I’ve sent my donations, I pay attention to the news….but none of that means I can’t care that Daisuke pitched five innings today and only gave up four hits and no runs while striking out five batters.  I DO care.  I care greatly about unimportant things like how well Daisuke Matsuzaka pitches today.  There’s also room in my heart to care about the people suffering in Japan.

I don’t deal much in guilt.  It’s wasted energy, in my opinion.  You make your decisions and you live with them.  But I know there are plenty of people out there, folks I’ve spoken to about just this subject, who feel guilty that they’re so happy Jacoby Ellsbury is having a good spring or who feel guilty about being excited to get to watch Spring Training games on NESN to help get their mind off of the real world.  Making yourself feel good when you aren’t hurting anyone in the process is nothing to feel guilty about.

Life goes on.  You know, usually I want to kick the person who says that to me because they are usually saying it at a time when I’m feeling my worst about something, but it’s true.  No matter what we do, the people in Japan are suffering and will be for a while.  We can help by supporting them in whatever ways work for us be it a prayer or a donation or sending out messages of hope over the Internet.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our lives.  Hell, if anything I think it means we should enjoy them MORE because who knows when something terrible is going to happen?

Now I’m not advocating quitting your job and hitting the road with your children’s inheritances and living like you only have hours to do so (although that sounds like a heck of a lot of fun…).  I’m just saying if you want to spend some time focusing on baseball or football or knitting or whatever makes you happy…DO IT.  Don’t feel guilty because there are people in the world who can’t focus on the frivolous right now.  While what happened (and is happening) in Japan is definitely a unique situation, there are always people in the world struggling.  I’m a multi-tasker…I can mourn for them and try to help while living my life the way I want to live it.

I’ll get off my soapbox right now so I can go read about how today’s game showed us how frustrating Daisuke is going to be all season.

March 15, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I’m Ready for the Red Sox

And so it begins

I haven’t really gotten into all the pre-season goings on just yet.  I listened to the first two games MLB audio let me this week, but my heart wasn’t in it.

Today, though…today not only do we get Red Sox baseball but we get TELEVISED Red Sox baseball with Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo calling the game!  And, as a bonus, it’s Red Sox baseball against the New York Yankees.  Buy me a hot dog and let’s call it summer!

There is a feeling that I can’t explain when it comes to baseball starting up again.  Although I’m always paying attention to baseball (and keeping up the blog by writing about it) even in the off-season, my level of enthusiasm definitely wanes.  As excited as I get about Truck Day and pitchers and catchers reporting, that feeling goes away for me.  It isn’t until I hear Remy and Donnie O and see the Red Sox actually playing ball, that I get that charge…that feeling of having a clean slate and a world of opportunities for the team ahead of me.  Tonight, when Remy says “Buenas noches, amigos”, I’ll be ready.

Baseball is finally back on  my television…Clay Buchholz is pitching against the Yankees at 7:05 tonight on NESN.  I can’t wait!

March 4, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , | 1 Comment

Thou Shalt Not Steal!

Look! A photo I did not take! Let's give credit where it is due: Photo taken by Kelly O'Connor @ and used with permission. See how easy that was?

So today is the day!  The day when pitchers and catchers are expected to report to Fort Myers (which, loosely translated, means they have to let the team know they’re in town since they don’t get down to business, really, until Tuesday).  We’ve waited for this day since October and it is here.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be happy about yet another milestone on the way to Opening Day!

I thought it a good time to bring up one of my greatest pet peeves.  It’s gone beyond being a peeve and it as become a genuine concern.  I’ve beaten folks over the head with my rants on this before and here I go again…stealing off the Internet.

A couple of months ago, my friend Kelly O’Connor discovered that a contributor to Wikipedia had gone through her photos, used one for just about each Red Sox player and posted them on Wikipedia without crediting Kelly as the photographer.  That would have been bad enough, but this same person gave herself the photographer’s credit and gave permission for anyone to use the photos anywhere they wanted.  I think you have to be some kind of major league ass to do something like that.  But she was an anonymous major league ass.  She was a nobody who made herself feel better by taking credit for someone else’s work.  It was a lousy thing to do. It was also difficult to blame an actual person since we never found out who this person really was.  Fortunately for Kelly, Wikipedia eventually responded to her, deleted the photos and banned the user (when, really, what Kelly was looking for was her fair credit and a retraction of giving away the rights.  Something that was too late anyway since other sites had seen the photos and used them thinking they had the legal right to do so).

When I first started blogging I lifted photos all the time.  Initially, it didn’t occur to me that something I saw online needed to be credited back.  My ignorance stuns me now, but it was there.  If I used a photo where the photographer was specifically pointed out, I’d write somewhere in the post where I got it from.  But I was just as likely to Google a player’s name, find a photo already with no credit and use it again.  At the time, I didn’t even realized people were reading the blog.  As soon as I started to be aware of my audience, I started to realize that I shouldn’t be taking something and passing it off as mine (I never took credit for any photo that wasn’t mine but by using a photo and not crediting someone you are, basically, doing just that).  So now it feels like life’s work to educate those online about not stealing someone’s photographs.

Last night, Kelly showed me the Flickr page of another talented sports photographer.  Her handle is slidingsideways and she shoots both the Red Sox and the Bruins.  Hockey fans, especially, should check out her work because it’s pretty damned good.  So good, in fact, that folks over at NESN have been lifting some of her photos and not giving her credit.

NESN? Seriously?  NESN doesn’t have an official photographer who covers the sports that NESN airs nightly? NESN can’t afford to have a subscription to Getty Images?  NESN has to go trolling for photos on Flickr?  Not much surprises me any more, but this certainly did.  (Since being made aware that the photographer was not happy with their use of her photos without any credit, one article now has a different photo and another has a credit at the end of the piece.  Yes, NESN chose to pull a photo rather than just caption it with the photographer’s name.)

When I was at, I never found out where they got the photos they used but I do know that I never used Getty Images officially (hell, I had to bring up the subject of photos and giving credit to Rob Bradford during our first meeting).  I used Kelly’s photos and Kelly signed an agreement with them to give them permission for me to use them.  Something we had to push for in order to protect Kelly’s interests.  She didn’t get paid for them but she got credit.  Recently, I was invited to contribute to another website. I wrote a handful of pieces for them but ultimately decided I didn’t have the time to spend there and appreciatively bailed out.  This site is new and is trying to make money to become a contender and I respect that, but they too make it a habit of getting their pictures from Flickr without giving any credit.  It’s a practice I’m completely uncomfortable with and everyone else should be as well.

Most people who post their photos online are thrilled when someone expresses an interest in using their photos.  Everyone wants their work appreciated.  And most of the photographers I know don’t even expect payment for someone to use their work…they just want the proper credit (and a heads up…it helps if you ask for permission to use the photo…it’s the professional thing to do).  If you credit a photographer (but giving a link to where you found their work!) you’re helping them gain an audience.  It doesn’t cost you anything and since you’re using their photos it helps you both.


Today marks a day that we start to see photos flooding out of Fort Myers.  I love looking at the photos of the guys getting back to work…the professional and the amateur photos.  So if you have a blog, or just like to post photos on your Twitter or Facebook feed, please remember to give the photographer proper credit.  It’s the least we can do for the people sharing their work with us.

February 13, 2011 Posted by | 2011, Featured | , , | 11 Comments

Jason Varitek Tributes

Screen grab from the NESN trailer

Screen grab from the NESN trailer

Beginning tomorrow night, NESN will be airing two specials on Jason Varitek and his career.

I’m not here to debate with people what kind of person he is off the field.  I know a lot of people will jump all over the rumors that surrounded him the last couple of seasons.  For the purposes of this discussion, I couldn’t care less about that stuff.  What these specials on NESN say to me is, there is more than a great chance we’ve seen the last of our Captain on the field and that just about rips my heart out.

I know he isn’t the player he used to be, but he’s ours and the idea that he won’t be in that clubhouse in 2011…well, it’s something I was hoping not to have to think about for a while.  Unfortunately, NESN will have none of my denial so tomorrow night at 7:30 the Red Sox Report will begin their two-part series on the Captain.  It’ll be tough to watch without getting emotional, but I’m looking forward to it.  It might be the only thing to look forward to on NESN until Red Sox baseball starts up again.

October 25, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 6 Comments