Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Pedro! Pedro! Pedro!

Pedro gives himself a big clap. As one does when they are as amazing as he is.  Photo by Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill and used with permission.

From 2012: Pedro gives himself a big clap. As one does when they are as amazing as he is. Photo by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill and used with permission.

Fair warning. This entry will be completely void of any kind of rational perspective. I pretty much adore Pedro Martinez more than half the people I’m related to…and I’m related to a boatload of people. So you’ve been warned.

Oh yeah…there will be language…salty language ahead. So there’s that too.

Continue reading

January 6, 2015 Posted by | 2015 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pedro Martinez wants to make you Lemon Chicken

In 2001 you could use this book to stalk players at their favorite restaurants in Boston and on the road!

In 2001 you could use this book to stalk players at their favorite restaurants in Boston and on the road!

Food makes everything better, right? I mean, that’s the point isn’t it?  You’re hungry, you eat. You’re sad, you eat. You’re mad, you eat. Or maybe that’s just me? Anyway. One of the ways I’ve been filling my limited free time is by reading cookbooks and recipes and cooking and baking things I’ve never cooked and baked before. In going through old cookbooks of mine, I came across “Crowing the Plate”, a cookbook the Boston Red Sox wives published in 2001 (with the proceeds going to the Children’s AIDS Program).

It’s a thing of beauty. One page is a photo of the player, coach, random Red Sox employee (some with their families) and the alternate page is one or two recipes that he shared with the Red Sox for the book. It’s also a great piece of history, with players many have problem forgotten donating recipes to the cause. Pitcher Bryce Florie, infielder Craig Grebeck, infielder Chris Stynes and infield coach Nelson Norman all have recipes in this book. Remember them? Oh yeah, there’s also recipes from Manny Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez.

Manager (at the time) Jimy Williams must have had a sweet tooth. His recipes were  Lemon Meringue Pie and Overnight Coffee Cake.  Fan favorite Rich “El Guapo” Garces shared a Rice with Chicken recipe (in both English and Spanish), and the late, great Rod Beck donated a Fleisch Kuechle (Deep Fried German Hamburger) recipe as well as his(?) recipe for Beef Brisket.

Interestingly enough, this book is available to purchase through third party sellers on Amazon.com . I have to admit, there might have been a time when I would consider selling it but now it serves two purposes: it’s a piece of Red Sox memorabilia and it’s a cute little recipe book.  Two of my favorite things in one place!

Given how the team is playing right now, maybe the Red Sox should consider something along these lines again. Fans love any kind of insight into the lives of the players, even if it’s only through something like sharing their mother’s Easy Beef Enchilada with us (as Troy O’Leary did for this book). They could make some money for charity and publish a reasonably priced and functional piece of memorabilia.

I mean wouldn’t you enjoy recreating a recipe that Jonny Gomes cooks at home?

Well, until the Red Sox grace us with another cookbook, enjoy Pedro’s Lemon Chicken with Rice! pedrorecipe2

June 27, 2014 Posted by | 2014 | , , , | 1 Comment

So Pedro

Oh Pedro (The only good shot I could get of him on Saturday)

I wish I had more to say about meeting Pedro at the New Stars for Young Stars Jimmy Fund event on Saturday.   I was taken by surprise when my friend Kelly O’Connor told me she wanted to bring me with her to meet Pedro; I mean he’s probably the one Boston-related sports figure I would truly go quite out of my way to meet. I’m still trying to figure out how to properly thank her.

I was as excited as I’ve ever been to have the opportunity to say “thank you” to one of the “25” but that excitement translated into paralyzing fear once I approached him. I did squeak out my thanks and accepted HIS thanks and then watched him excitedly show his wife the photo I brought for him to sign. The person with him (his agent, manager, handler…whatever he was) seemed more interested in moving the line along than giving fans a chance to spend a moment with Pedro but he did mention that Pedro was enjoying seeing all the different photos people were bringing. Pedro told me and his wife that he hadn’t seen the photo before (I wanted to say “All I did was Google ‘Pedro Martinez Red Sox'” to him but I didn’t) and his wife used her cellphone camera to take a photo of it (in a surreal moment, Pedro went from being a baseball god to a typical husband “You need to shut off the flash before you take a picture of it, honey”).  It was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade but it was a bit rushed and still feels like it all happened in a fog.

I also was pleased to have been able to meet Bobby Valentine.  While I tend to get a little star struck, that didn’t happen with Bobby. It was like talking to someone I had known for a long time.  His trademark smile was in full view the entire time we were there and he was happy to talk with anyone who wanted to hear from him.  (I welcomed him to Boston and told him I was looking forward to the season “I am too!” he chirped.)  Amusingly, they placed Ryan Kalish at the same table as Bobby V (which I likened to having to sit with the principal).  While we were standing at their table waiting to approach Pedro, Bobby started telling Ryan about his time in MLB as a rookie.  He was animatedly going on and on and it was the first time that day Kalish didn’t look like he was being tortured; he seemed genuinely enthralled with his manager’s story.  It was a unique experience to get to witness that firsthand and it helped me accept Valentine just a little bit more.

A glance at the calendar reminds me that Truck Day really isn’t too far away.  Saturday’s visit with the “New Stars” did a lot in making me actually start to look forward to the 2012 season.

I probably should have asked Bobby to pose but I did like the way this one came out

January 18, 2012 Posted by | 2012 | , , , | 3 Comments

New Year Ramblings

Spiffy yet rarely-seen photo of Kyle taken by Kelly O'Connor at the 2007 Boston Baseball Writers dinner (Used with permission)

So in an effort to do things in the new year that are better for me, I’ve tried to limit my daily online time.  Because of this, I was late in getting the news that Kyle Snyder has a cool new job.

The Rays announced their Minor League on-field coaching and medical training staffs for the 2012 season on Thursday.

Two new coaches are in the mix, both of whom played in the Majors Leagues: former Rays catcher Paul Hoover, who will manage the Gulf Coast League Rays (Rookie), and Kyle Snyder, who will serve as the pitching coach for Hudson Valley (Short-Season A).

While I am always sad when a player decides it’s time to stop playing, coaching in the minors seems like the perfect beginning to a new career for Kyle and I’m excited for him. The Hudson Valley Renegades will be playing a series against the Lowell Spinners (in Lowell) August 18th through the 20th. It’s been a couple of years since I hit Lowell for a game…this might be the year I get back there!

The fact that my email accounts pretty much blew up with people excited to tell me about Kyle’s job amused me greatly.  Though I might sometimes get disillusioned by MLB, there are always little things that will remind me why I love it so much.

Slowly things are happening that are getting me excited for the new season.  On Saturday, January 14, the New Stars for Young Stars charity event at Jillian’s in Boston will be happening with, among others, Bobby Valentine and Jarrod Saltalamacchia appearing.  As I’ve mentioned before, the “special guest” at that event is Pedro Martinez.  If Pedro Martinez can’t get you excited for baseball you’re either without a soul or a Yankees fan.

And while it seems ridiculous that this event yearly gets me as happy as it does, Saturday, February 11th is Truck Day.  While this off-season has left me sad and full of doubt, Truck Day is, for me, like New Year’s Day.  It’s the beginning of the season and it erases the previous season, reminding us that spring is coming and with a new baseball season anything can happen.  This year, especially, I’ve been holding on to the idea of  Truck Day being the day when I finally snap out of this funk and embrace this team I love again.  It’s been a strange off-season for me.  I wouldn’t say the worst I’ve experienced but definitely the strangest.  I can’t remember a time when I had such conflicting feelings about the Red Sox and, really, baseball in general.

Am I the only one stuck in this ambivalent quagmire about the 2012 team?

January 7, 2012 Posted by | 2012 | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Pedro! Pedro! Pedro!

This was June of 1999. Pedro was a god in this season and this is what he let his teammates do to him. (Photo by Kuni Taknhnshi and used without permission)

So just when much of the Red Sox fan base is worried, frustrated and at the end of their rope, who shows up in town to cheer us up?

Pedro Martinez.

The best pitcher I have seen in my lifetime was sitting at a folding table in a HomeGoods store in Bedford, Massachusetts over the weekend promoting a charity toy drive supporting the Jimmy Fund and his personal charity back in the Dominican Republic. He was supposed to be there for two hours and he stayed for three and a half, signing autographs for roughly 450 people. I wasn’t one of those 450 but nonetheless I sit here beaming while reading the stories and looking at the photos of his return.

Continue reading

December 5, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , | 3 Comments

No MVP for Jacoby

Maybe next year, Jacoby. (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

I want to be happy for Justin Verlander.  If I’m being honest, my first reaction to the news that he won MVP was “They chose a pitcher!!!” with much joy behind it.  So I will say that, generally speaking, I’m very happy for him.  He did an amazing job this season and he earned the unanimous voting for the Cy Young Award and obviously that translated to folks thinking he deserved the MVP as well.  I can’t argue with that.  By the rules, pitchers are eligible for the award and voters like Jim Ingraham are being petty and not following the rules by choosing to not vote for a pitcher for MVP.  (Frankly, I think every time a writer admits s/he didn’t choose a pitcher because s/he doesn’t think they should be allowed to be MVP, that writer should get his or her voting privileges revoked.)

But  here’s the thing: I’m an unabashed Red Sox homer and I will fully admit that I was really pinning my hopes on Jacoby Ellsbury winning the MVP this year.  I don’t live in some fantasy world where Jacoby coming home with the MVP Award would erase the ugliness surrounding the team right now.  I just think the kid deserved it.  (That isn’t to say Verlander doesn’t deserve it but, hey, I don’t have a vote and I wanted it more for Ellsbury.)

Also, as a Red Sox homer, Verlander winning just brings back the reminders of Pedro Martinez not winning it in 1999…after a season in which he most assuredly deserved it at least as much as Verlander did this year.  There aren’t many grudges I hold onto for very long.  I try to let most of them go.  But Pedro not winning the MVP in 1999 is one of those things that gnaws at me every year when they announce the MVP. (Other grudges I choose to keep include Alex Rodriguez and his slap move, Chuck Knoblauch’s phantom tag – Tim Tschida doesn’t ever want to meet me, I promise you – hating John Smoltz for absolutely sucking while with the Red Sox and that little bastard Jeffrey Maier.)

Jacoby  doesn’t have to hang his head for coming in second.  This season he was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year, he won the American League Gold Glove Award and a Silver Slugger as well.  He’ll do just fine.  But this is one award that I selfishly really wanted for him, so I might have to sit and pout about it for a little while.

November 22, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Random Bits

Get well, Bronson. (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

After all my complaining about people complaining about the team in Spring Training I have to fess up and admit that watching last night’s game was painful. I’m not proud.  The game drove me crazy.  Good God, it’s already started, hasn’t it?

It’s going to be a fun year.

Speaking of pain, send good thoughts to Corey Patterson who left the game after being hit by a Daniel Bard 95 mph fastball.  It was a frightening moment during the game punctuated by the obvious remorse Bard showed while Patterson was being attended to.  I can’t remember seeing a pitcher applaud someone he just hit as they walk off the field.  Bard did that last night (he also spoke to Patterson after the game).

In one of the more unique stories of the week, Bronson Arroyo, thought to possibly have been suffering with Valley Fever can rest easy now knowing it’s Mono.  Apparently the move to Arizona for the Reds has taken it’s toll on my favorite active right-hander. (A comment on the original ESPN story about the possibility of it being Valley Fever now seems more entertaining than when I originally read it:  “some get pneumonia then get better, some are sick for months or years, and some die”.  In either case, Bronson could probably use some positive vibes sent his way too!)

Previously, I mentioned Pedro Martinez getting a portrait in the Smithsonian this week.  After reading the story about it and how he felt (and seeing this picture of him and his mother next to the portrait) I have a hankering to watch some old Red Sox games pitched by him.  It’s interesting to me the kind of emotions Pedro can stir up.  At least for me.   I’m so proud of him and touched by his reaction to the honor.  It also makes me sentimental for the Pedro Martinez days of the Boston Red Sox.

Including the exhibition game against the Houston Astros on the 30th, there are five games left for the Red Sox before the regular season begins.  Three of them, including the Houston game, will be shown on NESN and two of those three (the Houston game and tonight’s 7:05 game against the Minnesota Twins) will also be shown on the MLB Network.  So there are still plenty of opportunities to get a look at your 2011 Boston Red Sox before the games officially mean anything.

March 26, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , | Leave a comment

Everyone Loves a List! (from 2008)

In looking for that photo I took of Pedro for today’s entry, I came across this, my entry for the “Next Great Sports Blogger”.  This isn’t the original that I sent in that got judged by folks at WEEI and put me in the finals for the contest, but the entry I submitted that was voted on by you, the public.  I don’t often say this about things I write, but I really enjoy reading it.  So, because I found it and because I hate sitting on things and because this morning finds me still on the computer and fiddling with the blog, I give you a repeat performance of “Everyone Loves a List”!   (This is the entry in its original form with no credits for some photos and a blanket credit at the end of the entry for Kelly O’Connor because that is how it got formatted for WEEI…my apologies!)

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 do it countdown style since that’s so darned popular these days:

5) “Now there’s a steal by Bird!”

It’s 1987. Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals. With five seconds left, the Detroit Pistons (all of whom I hated almost as much as the Los Angeles Lakers at that time) are up by one point and they have the ball. Game over. I’m sitting on the back of my mother’s couch with my hands covering my face. My mother and sister both have pillows covering their faces and my father is dejectedly watching the Pistons bench celebrate. We have the sound off and are listening to Johnny Most, as we did for most Celtics games. None of us can believe this is happening. I’m pretty sure I had tears in my eyes. Then the Pistons did, arguably, one of the most bonehead things I’ve ever seen done in basketball – they don’t call a timeout. Isiah Thomas was having trouble in-bounding the ball and instead of calling a timeout (which coach Chuck Daly was screaming for, unheard by any of the players in the noisy Boston Garden), under pressure, he passes the ball to Bill Laimbeer.

Except he doesn’t. Because, seemingly, out of nowhere, Larry Bird darts in front of Laimbeer and steals the ball. He then passes the ball to Dennis Johnson, who knocks one in off the glass. Celtics win, pandemonium ensues. My mother and I are screaming, my father is pounding the floor and my sister is speechless. As if we didn’t already know this, we decide right there and then that Larry Bird is a basketball god and will remain so forever. Don’t tell me about how cranky he is. Don’t tell me he has 50 children in 50 states by 50 different women. I don’t care. He is Larry Freaking Bird and he is, forever, THE man.

I met Larry Bird once. It was the first year the Fleet Center was open. I was walking around, checking everything out when I LITERALLY walked into someone. I look up and realize it’s KC Jones and start flipping out, telling him how awesome he was and thanking him for all he did. He was great. Shook my hand, told me I was welcome, the whole bit. Then he smiles and says, as he jerked his thumb toward the person next to him, “You might want to thank this guy too!”. Right there, next to KC Jones, was Larry Bird, laughing like a fool at the idiot girl who recognized KC Jones but didn’t even notice a legend standing next to him.

4. “Holy Cow, they actually WON??

I never believed for a minute the Patriots would actually win a Super Bowl. I didn’t. I was okay with it too. I grew up in the era where local newspapers routinely referred to the Pats as the “Patsies”. I liked the team, liked the players, and just figured it was something that wasn’t meant to be. (Unlike the Red Sox. Man, I’m convinced every year they’re going to win. And that even predates 2004.) But everyone else I knew felt differently. My sister decides we’re having a “Super Bowl Party” and goes crazy cooking and buying decorations. She went all out. The Saturday before, we both hit every store we can think of to find her six-month old daughter a Patriots do-rag to wear for the big game. At six months, Madison couldn’t speak, but if you yelled “TOUCHDOWN” to her, she knew to immediately raise both arms up straight and cheer.

Another game that came down to the final moments. With the score tied, Adam Vinatieri kicks a 48-yard field goal to end, and win, the game. Madison, who stayed up for the entire game, is screaming with the rest of us, her arms outstretched in the “touchdown” motion. We still talk about this game, even though we’ve seen two more championships since. This was the team who insisted on being introduced as a team during the pre-game ceremonies, instead of individually, immediately making them a favorite of anyone watching the game who wasn’t rooting for the Rams!

– My bosses gave the entire office half a day off so we could all go to the Patriot’s Parade, and we did. It was freezing and miserable and somewhere there are photos of me bundled up so much that I’m unrecognizable. But Tedy Bruschi waved at me from a duck boat. That kept me warm for quite a long time!

3. “Don’t Say a Freaking Word!

I wasn’t supposed to go to the game. I was going Friday night and Sunday afternoon and was taking Saturday off. Problem was, this was the weekend that Mike Timlin was to make his 1000th career appearance. Mike Timlin is my man. My absolute favorite on the Red Sox. Everyone who knows me knows this. So Friday while waiting for friends at Boston Beer Works, I get a text message from my friend KellyO telling me she had an extra ticket for Saturday night’s game. I started to text her that I’d think about it and that if Timlin came into the game on Friday night I probably wouldn’t go. Then I thought about it being September and there being few games left that I’d be attending and I deleted what I wrote and texted her back “Sure, I’ll go!”.

Best baseball-related decision I’ve ever made.

He wasn’t supposed to pitch that game. Tim Wakefield was supposed to pitch Friday night, then Julian Tavarez on Saturday and Jon Lester on Sunday. But Wake’s back was acting up and he got scratched, giving Julian the Friday start. I received another text “It’s going to be Clay on Saturday!”. I had seen Clay Buchholz’ major-league debut and KellyO had been following him for a while. We were excited to have a chance to see him at Fenway again – but I had no expectations.

We were sitting in loge seats behind the Red Sox on-deck circle so we had a great view of the scoreboard. By the seventh inning we were barely speaking to each other, never having mentioned what was going on. In the 8th the cell phone of someone behind me rang. He answered it, barking, “Don’t say a freaking word!” and he hung up. I wanted to throw up and KellyO looked like she was going to burst into tears at any moment. When it was finally over we were screaming and crying and hugging people we didn’t know. On NESN, Don Orsillo said the game had sent Fenway “into a frenzy” and it had. It was supposed to be a throwaway game. No one had any expectations, just hope that it would be a better game than the horrible one we saw the night before (Timlin got tattooed on his 1000th appearance and the Sox lost). Clay more than came through.

KellyO and I spent the bottom of the 8th inning wanting the Sox to just get outs and they wouldn’t comply. They scored two runs in the 8th, prompting the two of us to start yelling “SWING” to Coco during his at-bat. I’ve never rooted for my team to make outs. It was beyond surreal.

2. “What you see is what Ray Bourque will wear from now on!

For the longest time it was all I heard, “Bourque shouldn’t have taken that number. Why would they give him Phil Esposito’s number?” It drove my father crazy. So when the Bruins announced they were retiring Phil’s number, my father was thrilled. “They can’t retire his number and let Bourque wear it too!”, he was convinced. But the stories were that it was exactly what would happen. My father refused to believe it. So he wasn’t surprised at all when Bourque skated over to Phil, handed him his jersey and then took off the jersey he was wearing to reveal the “77” one. But he was touched. And so was I. Ray Bourque went from being just another good hockey player to an athlete who “got it” in one moment. The fans went crazy and Phil Esposito got emotional as well. I tend to get emotional while watching retirement ceremonies, but this one took the cake. I cried like I knew him!

I know I’m in the minority, but I’ve never forgiven Ray Bourque for asking to be traded so he could win. The only thing that keeps me from finding photos of him and setting them on fire is remembering this moment.

1. “He’s just the most unbelievable pitcher I’ve ever seen!

The 1999 ALDS. How much more miserable could the Red Sox make us? Game 1 against the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field and Pedro gets pulled after four innings because of his back. Derek Lowe comes in and the Sox have their first loss. I remember going to work and one of my bosses telling me the game made him want to stop watching baseball. In game 2, Bret Saberhagen made us all wish we were watching something else. Thankfully, the team was going back to Boston to either watch Ramon Martinez get hammered, or stay alive another day. Brian Daubach gave us hope and the Sox won games 3 and 4 at Fenway (Game 4 being a memorable 23-7 win). But the Sox had to go back to Cleveland for game 5 and they were going without Pedro on the mound. Saberhagen got the start, and Derek Lowe made an appearance, but it was Pedro who made all the difference.

They showed him warming up in the bullpen and you could just feel the tension in the park. When he came out of the bullpen to relieve Lowe, you could see the fear in the Indians, even though the score was tied. My memory of Pedro’s entrance is totally skewed by time and my own homerism, but it was epic. Like watching the Phoenix rise, the Indians and their fans watched Pedro, essentially left for dead, come into the game and absolutely dominate. The Sox went on to win the ALDS…which is where I choose to end my memories of the 1999 post-season.

I made sure I was at Fenway when Pedro returned with the Mets. Left work early and stood out in the bleachers because I so desperately wanted to cheer for him one last time. People can say what they want about him but he always gave you your money’s worth – and then some. And many fans believe, as I do, that he loved us as much as we loved him. There will never be a time when I don’t think of Pedro Martinez and get ridiculously happy.

Now for the bad. I hate focusing on the negative so I’m going to try and make these short and painless.

5. “Johnny Damon broke my heart!

I was watching Law and Order when they broke the news on the ticker at the bottom of the screen, “Johnny Damon signs with the Yankees”, and I didn’t believe it. Thought it was a typo or something. Figured they were trying to tell us that the Yankees wanted him but he didn’t sign. He told us he would never sign with them. It wasn’t ever going to be about the money. He was a big fat liar and I cry giant tears of happiness for every year he’s been with the Yankees that they haven’t won anything.

The broken heart quote provided by my, then, 4 1/2 year-old niece who absolutely adored him. She’s still waiting for him to leave the Yankees so she can “like him again”!

4. “When you stop crying do you think you can come into work?

I wasn’t yet 21. He was beautiful and he was part of the 1986 Championship team. When the Celtics traded Danny Ainge to the Sacramento Kings, I took two days off of work because I was so devastated.

Ironically, prior to last season, Danny Ainge went from being one of my favorite Celtics to being the one I’d most like to run over repeatedly with a Zamboni. He can thank Kevin McHale Garnett for my not wanting to do that any more!

3. “Where is Nomar?

I never believed the bitter writings of some of the local sports writers. Nomar played his butt off and it wasn’t his fault he got injured. You can’t make me hate him just because he doesn’t like being in the spotlight, dammit! But then, there was THE GAME. July, 2004. I was alone, in bed, because it was one long game. I even nodded off at different points in the game. But not for the important part. The game went 13 innings. The score was 3-3 going into the 13th and the Red Sox even scored in that inning. Of course that was after Jeter made his unnecessary dive into the stands in the 12th. The Yankees went on to win and I shut off the tv crying. It was probably the first regular season game that ever got me that emotional. I watched Nomar barely move. He didn’t stand with his teammates to cheer the team on and he didn’t put himself in the game. I didn’t need the sports writers to tell me what I saw. When the rest of the team was putting themselves out there to grind out a win, Nomar, seemingly, sulked off in a corner of the dugout.

Of course, two World Championships and four years later, it seems almost silly to have been so upset over something I had no proper way of interpreting. But in that moment? It was like Nomar had stomped on my chest with his spikes.

I was devastated when Nomar was traded, even though I thought it was the right thing to do. I still think Nomar is a class act and look forward to the day he comes back to Fenway.

2. “And the Yankees dugout cheers the final score of the Red Sox/White Sox game!”

Sensing a trend here? Yes, the majority of the “bad” moments are Red Sox-related.

I never thought the Red Sox would get to the 2005 ALDS. So when they did and Matt Clement got annihilated in game 1, I was okay with it. Red Sox were probably going to lose and that was fine. Until they did.

Being swept, at Fenway, was devastating enough. But the lasting image for me from that final game is Mike Timlin on his hands and knees, covered in dirt in the ninth inning. I’ve blocked out when it happened, but I think it might have been on his throwing error that caused Juan Uribe to take second – I’ve erased it from my mind. Timlin had a career-year in 2005 and it wasn’t supposed to end this way. Finding out that Alan Embree (designated for assignment earlier in the year and, at the time, with the Yankees) cheered when they showed the final score at Yankee Stadium, was the kick in the stomach to end the hell of the 2005 post-season.

I’ve not really forgiven Embree for that. It’s a ridiculous grudge that I have no interest in letting go. I understand being mad at the team for dumping you, but Timlin was his friend and he cheered what certainly wasn’t Timlin’s finest moment. My grudges run long and deep – even if they’re on behalf of people who don’t know me!

1. “What do you mean Pedro’s coming back out?

Forget it. I still can’t write about it. Every time I think of this game, I see Mike Timlin, Scott Williamson and Alan Embree looking out from the bullpen with these expressions that screamed “But he’s DONE!! And WE’RE GOOD!”, and I want to throw up. The only good that came out of this game was it gave Red Sox fans the opportunity to show the world that we aren’t that stereotype people expect when we all got behind Tim Wakefield after he gave up that home run, instead of blaming him. For the most part, more often than not, I love Red Sox fans. Their treatment of Tim Wakefield after this horrific game exemplifies why.

I still haven’t seen the home run. I was in another room, away from the tv, unable to watch what I knew would happen. In all the time since October of 2003, if I ever happen upon a replay of the game, or Fox decides to torture us by showing the home run, I shut the tv off. I have 2004 and 2007 to enjoy, no need to dwell on that night.

I found it interesting that in revisiting these memories, coming up with the good ones was easy. I really had to dig for the bad. The times sure have changed!

Clay Buchholz and the Red Sox celebrating his no-hitter photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

March 24, 2011 Posted by | 2008, 2011 | , , | Leave a comment

Around the Sports Blogosphere

It might not be the best photo but it IS a fabulous memory! Thanks, Pedro!

So my last few entries have been a bit cranky. Let’s change that today and point you toward some interesting articles written by other people:

First off, Gordon Edes writes about Buck Showalter. Now I’ve never been a big fan of Buck’s and his choosing to take a shot at Theo Epstein reeks of someone trying to talk smack and failing miserably (Note to Buck: Theo has, himself, said it’s easier to to the work of a GM when you have more money to spend). But Edes also touches on some other interesting points, like how Buck has to lash out because he can’t come out and say the Orioles owners are terrible and how Epstein might have the money he needs to do what he wants, but he’s also developed really effective scouting and player development programs.  Dustin Pedroia says “hi”, Buck.

One very cool item from this morning:  Today, Pedro Martinez will be in Washington, D.C., to attend the unveiling of a portrait of himself at the Smithsonian Museum.  This is how I want to see Pedro from now on.  Showing up at events to honor him and then giving pitching clinics afterward just to remind people that he’s Pedro freaking Martinez.  Congratulations, Petey!

But it’s Craig Calcaterra who really caught my attention today.  Craig is going to the Cleveland Indians Opening Day because, as a person who blogs about baseball (and the Indians) he was invited by the team to watch the game from the Social Suite.

The Indians took a big step into social media last year, getting active on Twitter and Facebook and doing fun things like launching the Tribe Social Deck, which was a dedicated and decked-out space in the left field seats for bloggers and tweeters and stuff…they have moved the Social Deck from left field to an actual suite, and have renamed it the Indians Social Suite. The team will continue to invite social media mavens to the space this year on a game-by-game basis…

At the website for the team, they have a page dedicated to social media and you can apply to get an invitation.  It’s remarkable to me how much the Indians have embraced social media and I hope to one day be writing about how the Red Sox invited me to sit in the Social Media Section of Fenway (alas, I’m not holding my breath!).

New season is coming and I’ve already mentioned social media so I guess it’s a good time to remind folks that I can be found on Twitter and there is a page for Toeing the Rubber on Facebook as well.  Thanks, as always, for all the support.  Especially when I’m cranky.

March 24, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , | Leave a comment

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!)

============================================================================================

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:

Continue reading

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