This is how I was greeted tonight:
“So what do you think about whatshisname in the Herald writing that the Red Sox owe A-Rod an apology?”
I had no idea what he was talking about or who ‘whatshisname’ was. So I was forced to go look. And I found this from Steve Buckley:
Bottom line: Failing to acknowledge A-Rod Friday night wasn’t as bad as the stunt Dempster pulled in 2013. But it was a failure nonetheless, and the Red Sox owe A-Rod an apology.
While I am tempted to use salty language, I will try to refrain. At least for now.
But is Steve Buckley freaking kidding me? Is he trolling us all? Is he now turning into a Dan Shaughnessy click bait machine? I mean WHAT THE GOOD HELL?
Steve Buckley thinks that by not acknowledging that A-Rod is now tied for 4th place (With Willie Mays) on the all-time home run list that they have perpetuated some tragic miscarriage of justice.
Everyone knows what STFU means, yes?
(Also, I’d just like to say that if I ever meet Ryan Dempster he’s getting a hug, a kiss, and as many free beers as I can afford to buy him.)
I watched the game on NESN Friday night while also “watching” online via Twitter. A few reporters on Twitter immediately noted that Fenway Park did not mention the home run and seemed perplexed by this. My first thought about it was “Why antagonize the fans?” Seriously. The home run that A-Rod hit, his 660th, tied him with Mays for 4th place but more importantly in the moment it gave the Yankees the lead in a game they ended up winning. Red Sox fans already felt lousy enough. Why would their own team rub salt in that wound by making the fans cheer for the guy by announcing his milestone?
While I’m ranting about it, I dig Willie Mays as much as the next person but we’re talking about 4th place here. Where is it written that we have to celebrate you for coming in fourth?
But I digress.
Regardless of how petty others might think it is, there is a large contingent of baseball fans, the majority of them probably Red Sox fans, who flat-out do not like A-Rod. We could point to his suspension for steroids for the entire 2014 season. We could talk about his interview with Peter Gammons where he claimed the only time he used was in 2001-2002 while he was in Texas and that he didn’t even know what substance he used. Or we could talk about how he announced to the world that he was opting out of his contract with the Yankees during the 2007 World Series. I could keep listing reasons why Alex Rodriguez is not popular in general, but specifically if there is a fan base renowned for hating him it’s the Red Sox fans. Steve Buckley, along with the rest of the baseball world, knows this quite well.
Some of our reasons are rational and some aren’t. Some are thin and stretch the limits of why we wouldn’t like someone and some of them involve the freaking 2004 ALDS and A-Rod slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s hand and then acting all surprised when the umpires got together and called his ball slapping ass out.
Red Sox fans do not like Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod knows this. Steve Buckley knows this. Most importantly, the Boston Red Sox know this. They didn’t ignore his home run on Friday to show solidarity with the Yankees. I’d like to think they ignored it to show solidarity with the Red Sox fans.
(For the record, Dr. Charles Steinberg claims the intent was to acknowledge it during A-Rod’s next at-bat but he didn’t get one in that game.)
There are many, many people who believe home runs 1-654 (we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for 2015 just for the sake of argument) are irreparably tainted. Good for you if you are not one of those people, but at least understand not only that people feel this way but why. And if you can’t figure out why then you with your head in the sand and your eyes blinded by Yankees pinstripes are part of the problem.
I will be terribly disappointed if the Red Sox do decide to apologize to him.
In my opinion, what the Red Sox did Friday night wasn’t to disrespect Alex Rodriguez it was to show respect to their fans. If A-Rod wanted respect he should have gone about it a completely different way. If anyone owes an apology it’s A-Rod. For pretty much everything he’s ever done. And he should issue it every single day of the rest of his life.
Because, really, screw that guy.
I was never really a fan of Josh Beckett’s. Young and cocky is definitely not the way to my heart. But that changed on the evening of Saturday, October 25, 2003 when I got a phone call from my sister demanding that I put on Fox to watch the end of Game 6 of the World Series.
Up to that point, I hadn’t watched on second of the World Series or any coverage around it. If you’re a Red Sox fan, you know I’m not exaggerating. 2003 almost made me give up baseball altogether and I knew if I actually watched the Yankees play in another World Series, let alone win it, I might never watch another game.
It was the seventh inning when my sister called and Beckett was cruising. The Yankees starter Andy Pettitte pitched seven innings and closer Mariano Rivera pitched two…but Beckett pitched all nine. By the seventh inning my sister was convinced no one was beating Beckett and she wanted me to watch the Marlins beat the Yankees right there on the field at Yankee Stadium.
I wasn’t as confidant as my sister. While she decided to spite watch the World Series in the hope that the ALCS had worn out the Yankees, I couldn’t bear it. But she finally wore me down and in the 8th inning I put on the game and it was the most glorious patch of baseball I had seen since the final inning of the 2001 World Series. (A joy that also was shared with my sister over the phone…we have a history of enjoying memorable sports moments that way even though we don’t live that far away from each other.) And after that game, Josh Beckett was a hero to me. A flawed hero, certainly, but a hero nonetheless right up there with Luis Gonzalez.
So when the Red Sox traded for him in 2005, I was overjoyed. Hmmm…that could be a little bit of revisionist history. Let’s go look at the archives* and see how I felt:
Last night’s game was just another reminder of how as much as I love baseball, sometimes it frustrates the hell out of me.
For the second time this season against the Red Sox, Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was found to have a foreign substance on his person, presumably to help him pitch. (It was not the second time this season he was caught by cameras with the pine tar. His outing in Toronto was also enhanced by the sticky substance.)
After the first time against the Sox I felt pretty ‘meh’ about it. None of the players complained, good for him he got away with something. But last night irritated me on a few different levels. So let’s give thanks to Pineda for causing my first rant of the 2014 season.
Before the game John Farrell responded to a question about pine tar by saying “I’m sure I would expect that, if it’s used, it’s more discreet than the last time.”
Yeah, not so much.
I don’t have any idea if I should be mad that Pineda uses pine tar. Apparently everyone uses it and no one in the game usually cares. What annoys me is how everyone blows it off (including and especially the players) as if it isn’t a big deal when it is, regardless of how well it is hidden, against MLB’s rules. This isn’t stealing signs. This is something specifically against the rules. If you want the rule changed, you’re in a union, go talk to them. But the rule is there and if the only time it’s going to be enforced is when it’s so bloody obvious my legally blind father with a 10 year-old NON HD television can see it then I think that’s pretty ridiculous.
I’m also annoyed by the way the entire Yankees team was only too happy to throw Pineda under the bus the moment the game was over and the questions came out. Sure, he’s an adult, makes his own decisions, blah, blah, blah. And it was pointed out to me last night that dugouts between innings aren’t exactly libraries so it’s possible his manager, the coaches, his teammates and everyone else in there didn’t notice the giant, messy blob on his neck before he took the field in the second inning. But he’s done this at least two other times this season already. The media was all over it yesterday before the game. I absolutely do not believe that no one in the Yankees organization thought to maybe talk to this kid before the game and say “Gee, the spotlight is going to be on you, maybe cut the shit for one night, huh?” And if they did and he ignored them you would think that the reaction from, oh let’s say Joe Girardi would have been a lot more angry than it was. Girardi responded like it was no big deal (although in fairness Brian Cashman seemed a bit more miffed – probably just that his player was stupid enough to ‘hide’ it on such an obvious place).
The word ‘mistake’ has been bandied about quite a bit regarding this incident. No. It wasn’t a mistake. It was a purposeful decision. A stupid one, mind you I won’t argue with anyone that what Pineda did was ridiculously stupid, but a specific decision and not a mistake nonetheless.
As with most of my rants, I know I’m all over the place here. There’s a part of me that sympathizes with Pineda. He’s 25, English isn’t his first language, and he’s pitching for a team that, at least in theory, offers zero room for mistakes. Who knows what kind of pressure he’s feeling or what kind of support he’s getting? And what kind of mixed messages has he received? I mean,hell, if I can’t figure out why I’m supposed to be mad about pitchers using pine tar (given I keep getting told everyone does it), how is he supposed to know if he’s doing something wrong? He knows it’s “wrong” in the sense that it’s against MLB rules but as long as you conceal it well it seems to not be “wrong” among his fellow players, coaches and managers. So in a sense it’s easy to see why he thought he could get away with it.
The players need to clean up their own mess. It sounds a bit hypocritical to hear John Farrell and John Lackey and others essentially saying the only reason they brought the umpires into it was because of how blatant it was. Suddenly we have to defend the integrity of the game (or our own egos) just because everyone can see it? So if CC is hiding something between his fingers tonight and none of us ever get a look at it, does that make him better than Pineda because he hides his cheating better?* How’s this work? Do players get the rulebook and note the asterisks next to some of rules? “Pay no attention to the red asterisked rules, fellas. Those are just there for show.”
*In case a CC fan happens to read this, I’m not accusing him of cheating. But if everyone else is right, apparently chances are he probably is.
In an ESPN.com article about this debacle, Ian O’Connor amusingly wonders if this will “sink” the Yankees season. But that isn’t the most entertaining thing about the piece. Normally, I avoid the comments but in some instances the schadenfreude is too much to pass up. My favorite comment came from someone named Joseph who wrote (and this is all cut and pasted, typos and/or misspellings aren’t mine):
I’m very disapointed in Cashman at the moment. i think he is letting the yankees get pushed around again. He shouldn’t have come out defiant. He should have denounced Farrell’s ploy for what it was: gamesmenship. He should have promised retalalition. Not say your sorry because Pineda’s only crime it seems was to try and get a grip of the baseball. The rule was designed to prevent people from doctoring the baseball not prevent a pitcher from being able to grip the ball on a cold night because that’s a safety hazard. Let’s be honest here John Farrel doesn’t give a darn about the rule. He just cares about giving his team an edge whether it is in the rules or not. Somebody should ask him if he thinks that Jon Lester should be suspended. Or if he thinks Clay Bucholtz should be suspended? My guess is that he’ll say no even though there is actual video proof that these guys cheated. If you suspend Pineda you have to suspend those other pitchers as well. Otherwise leave the kid alone.
Aside from old Joseph not knowing how to spell Farrell or Buchholz, he misses the point of why Pineda will be suspended and Lester and Buchholz only got spoken about in the media. No one on the opposing team called out Lester or Buchholz during the game (I almost wish they had. I mean I’d be interested to see how the umps reacted to the stuff on Clay’s arm and in Crabby’s glove.) which means there were no reprimands. Which brings me to another thing that makes no sense to me in MLB…why is it on the teams to police themselves? Why didn’t one of the umps approach the mound (or the Yankees dugout) and say “Yo, what up with the neck gunk?” It seems to me that MLB is as accepting of this practice as the players are – as long as the pitchers aren’t obvious enough to get caught.
The mixed message is annoying. If I’m going to be outraged, dammit, tell me why I should be!
I’d rather the media focus on how amazing the Red Sox pitching was last night – especially John Lackey. For schadenfreude, how about Derek Jeter’s absolutely horrendous defense or Mark Teixeira’s Golden Sombrero? All interesting baseball stories. Instead we get to listen to the likes of Karl Ravech say things like “There is no joy in Pinetarville” (he really said that – and then went on to say that John Farrell couldn’t really enjoy beating the Yankees last night because he knows his pitchers “cheat” too). And tonight we’ll be subjected to discussions about the length of Pineda’s suspension (10 games, equalling 2 starts – the iron hammer of Joe Torre seems a little weak) and concerns that the Red Sox opened a can of worms that their pitchers will have to pay for.
I mean hell, I’ve written almost 1500 words about the damn subject and I don’t even really know how I feel about it. I don’t like cheaters and I’m a bit of a good two-shoes when it comes to rules…so in theory I should be mad that Pineda pulled this again. But really I just wonder, if it really is being done by all of them, why more pitchers don’t get caught.
I’ll say this much, the theater of John Farrell coming out of the dugout, the umpire practically strip searching Michael Pineda and Joe Girardi almost dismantling an ESPN dugout camera wouldn’t have been quite as amusing had the Red Sox lost last night’s game. So I thank John Lackey for being outstanding and really wish the rest of it would just go away.
Okay, so I get that I’m supposed to be more upset that the Red Sox lost the game than happy that Ryan Dempster did what I’ve wanted every MLB pitcher to do since Slappy started playing again, but I’m not. Can’t find it in me to be bothered to care.*
In a perfect world, that HBP wouldn’t have ended up producing runs and Dempster would have pitched better and the Red Sox win that game without seeing that arrogant, lying, POS round the bases. But we don’t live in a perfect world. If we did, someone facing the biggest suspension in MLB history wouldn’t be allowed to continue to play out the season before his appeal is heard.
But he is. While Ryan Braun (an equally arrogant, lying POS) sits out, Slappy is allowed to stomp all over MLB playing the victim while he racks up the stats. So if we are going under the idea of Braun being as bad as Rodriguez, at least Braun took his punishment.
*This isn’t entirely true. I never want to see the Sox lose, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to chastise Dempster for taking the opportunity. Joe Girardi can complain all he wants about Dempster and the Fenway fans who cheered for the HBP, but he isn’t fooling me. He knows why it happened and he knows why it made many fans very happy. You can be mad that someone threw at one of your guys, regardless of the circumstances, but don’t pretend A-Rod is an innocent bystander in some vast Major League conspiracy when the only person responsible for any negative treatment he gets is himself.
Regardless of what went on yesterday, the Red Sox begin a new week still in first place. They’ve struggled as of late but, hell, the way they’ve been playing this year (especially compared to last year) I’m willing to give them a little leeway right now.
Things could be so much worse. We could be rooting for the Yankees this year.
For many people I know, including myself, 2011 has been a pretty lousy year. For a few hours a day, baseball is supposed to make you feel better when things stink. September didn’t make any Red Sox fans feel better and Terry Francona leaving was the cherry on the sucky sundae. So when KellyO tweeted to me last night “I really needed them to not win this year.” I absolutely knew what she meant. And for whatever reasons, the baseball gods decided to give Red Sox fans one thing, one, this season. And since beggars can’t be choosers, I’ll take it.
The last three innings of that game were the most stressful I’ve endured in a game that didn’t include the Red Sox in quite a long time. When Jeter hit that ball and I thought we were witnessing a two-run home run that was going to change the entire game I almost shut the television off. (That I didn’t shut it off when Joaquin Benoit loaded the bases and then walked in a run in the 7th inning still amazes me.) Jose Valverde had a 3-2 lead with Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez coming up in the ninth and used 11 pitches (only one of them on Cano) to finish the Yankees off. As soon as Slappy struck out, the Internet exploded.
It was pretty damn sweet.
No team from the American League East will be in the ALCS…this makes the process of watching the rest of the playoffs much less painful. So for that I thank the Texas Rangers and especially the Detroit Tigers. I don’t care how hokey this sounds, and I know it doesn’t change the woes of the Red Sox, but last night was the first step for me in the process of my baseball heart healing. Bring on the hotstove.
But for now…
Have to get this off my chest: I want to go back and delete every entry or tweet that I’ve written defending John Lackey in any way. I won’t get into why (you can Google it and find out for yourself) because I hate feeding into the gossip mongers, but if the story is true in my mind there is NO defense for him and, really, I couldn’t care less what happens to him from here on out. And that’s all I have to say about that.
But about that game…(not that first one which we will not speak of but that second one)
When Mark Teixeira doubled in two runs and then scored on a bad throw in the first inning I yelled, out loud for the baseball gods to hear me, “I’m done! I’m SO done with this!” and stormed out of the room with the television. I paced around until the next inning began and then sat myself down in front of the television and kept watching until the very end. Apparently I wasn’t “done” but I needed to finally let the frustration out.
And I’m glad I didn’t give up because the way the game was won, while more than a bit painful at times, was beautiful. (Beautiful as in “That baby is butt ugly but his mother thinks he’s beautiful”, beautiful.)
Unless I’m going to that day’s game, which hasn’t happened in a while, Sundays are a tough day for me to actually sit and watch an entire Red Sox game. It’s probably the busiest day of my week so I’m either running around and peeking on scores or I’m home with the television on the game while I catch up on things around the house that I need to do. Usually the only Sunday game that has my complete attention is the 8pm ESPN game.
But, oddly enough, today, on this Sunday, I’m fairly certain that I’ll be able to watch both games in their entirety. I’m hoping this is a good thing.
Something that is getting lost in all the panic about the horrid September the Red Sox are having is if they, in fact, DON’T make it to the playoffs, we’re watching the last few games where we will see them until February. The end of the regular season, regardless of where the Red Sox are in the standings, is always a bit of a sad time for me. I hate to see baseball go. And while the playoffs seem to last forever the schedule is so different from the regular season that you can really feel the loss. Now if I’m bummed about the end of the season, how do the fans of 22 teams that won’t make the playoffs feel? (I’m still of the mind that the Red Sox will be playing in October.)
Let’s not think about that today. Today let’s focus on Yankee Stadium and the Red Sox finally ripping themselves out of this slump and taking these two games today.
Do I really care about Russell Martin’s comments yesterday about the Red Sox?
“I hate the Red Sox,’’ he said. “They are fun to play against because they have a quality team and they’re gritty and they play hard and stuff. But I’d love to see them lose.’’
No, I really don’t.
I mean, I suppose I get why Red Sox fans will get up in arms and say things about Martin’s mother or his manhood in response to his comments, but do we care that a player on our team’s rival came out and said he hates our team? It’s playoffs time and he’s pandering to his fan base. Why is this such a big deal? Haven’t there been Red Sox players who have mentioned their dislike for the Yankees? I’m actually kind of tickled that he has vocalized his “hatred” for the Red Sox. Bring some hard feelings between the teams and amp up the rivalry, why not? I just think it was a little wussy of him to only relay this opinion once the Yankees had clinched the division. That’s a bit punky. If you don’t have the guts to vocalize this opinion during the season and wait until the final days you really don’t have much in the way of integrity. It’s easy to kick a team when you’re sitting on top, Russell. Show a little backbone next time. (You realize there is a teeny part of me that won’t mind him taking one to the numbers this weekend, yes?)
I’m not worried about this weekend. The way I see it, if the Red Sox continue to lose, that’s a huge red flag telling us that they won’t be ready for the playoffs. If they begin to win again, they’re getting into the playoffs. So either way I’ll be satisfied with this season. Team played tremendously for the majority of the season. The beginning of the year and the month of September were (and are) painful but this is certainly a sign to me that things are going to work out the way they need to. Of course, after writing all of that it’s important for me to state that I REALLY (really really) want them to be in the playoffs.
Today’s front page of the Boston Herald reads:
“It’s crunch time, Sox….Give us what we paid for – Starting tonight”
What “we” paid for? So either the Herald thinks it represents all of us or it has become a silent partner in the Red Sox organization. Let me say this, I’ve supported the Red Sox this year financially as well as just in spirit and I’ve already received what I paid for. All any fan can ask for is their team to be competitive all season long. The Red Sox have been exactly that. Anything a baseball fan gets past the end of September is a gift. (And, as I’ve mentioned, I really want that gift.)
As I posted on Twitter this morning, my first baseball thought today was that no one can say “this team always lets us down” after 2004 and 2007. Have you had fun, thus far? I sure have. I also have a great feeling that more fun is to be had by the Red Sox and their fans and look forward with great excitement to the series beginning tonight.
The Red Sox are 2 games ahead of the Rays and 3 games ahead of the Angels in the Wild Card race. Let’s remember that the Red Sox are LEADING right now. This is a good thing, folks.
Last night at Fenway was, as surprising as many of you might find it, actually quite enjoyable. Thanks to a generous friend, we sat in great seats, the weather was perfect (I can’t remember the last time I was at a game this late in September and didn’t need a sweatshirt or something else to keep me warm) and, heck, even the clam chowder vendor didn’t almost kill me (thanks, I believe, to the weather and the fact no one around us ordered it so he only came by twice). The fans were vocal and cheering and there really wasn’t much in the way of negative energy (except for a few yahoos behind us heckling Vladamir Guerrero with “Retire!” which made absolutely no sense to me) until the absolute end of the game when a large part of the Fenway Faithful booed the hometown team for losing.
So are there really people who believe that the reason the Red Sox are losing is because they a) have no heart or b) just don’t care? Really? How does that work? They come back from a horrendous start to the season to stay neck and neck with the Yankees for first place in the division all season long just to say “Screw it, we don’t want to go to the playoffs anyway!”?
Having this discussion via email with a friend who was at Fenway yesterday and she wrote this about how she felt about the fans at the game who felt the team wasn’t putting their heart into it:
They weren’t even bad people, necessarily–just completely unaware of both a) how athletes feel about the game they’ve devoted their lives to, and b) the limitations of any individual’s capacity to observe everything about the game as a spectator.
As usual, Kelly O’Connor nails it and is much more rational than I. We now return you to my rant: