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.
(This is long and rambling because I’m just so freaking annoyed by all the “Johnny Damon was so wronged by Boston and that’s why he isn’t going back” talk. Fair warning to those of you who don’t want to read about Damon or anything long and rambling.)
Before I focus on them, I want to say this: It’s easy for people, especially those in the media, to take the high road in situations like this. I think sports writers wait for moments like this all year long so they can trot out the tired discussion about how bad sports fans, in this case BOSTON sports fans, are. I used to think Peter Gammons was better than that. Now it seems he’s actually worse than most. Here’s Gammons’ unedited tweet:
Damon’s return to Boston was ugly,unfair, vulgar. Louts who think public obscenity is their right should about 1 reason he declined.
I feel like I’m missing something. That’s a common feeling when reading some tweets but in this case I need more information. Was he talking about Johnny’s return as a Yankee? We’ll get to that. Was he talking about his return as a Tiger? The return that never happened? The man feigned an injury and, essentially, never showed his face while he was here with Detroit. We never heard one story about him being harassed outside the ballpark and we didn’t get any “the fans reminded Damon that they haven’t forgotten his time in pinstripes” articles. So if Johnny was abused during his last trip to Boston, he made a good effort to keep it a secret.
I’m currently watching close-ups of Daniel Bard and John Lackey on NESN warming up in Ft Myers. It’s reminiscent of getting to see warm-ups and BP when you go watch the team play on the road and suddenly it truly hits me that Spring Training is upon us and April 4th will be here sooner than I think!
And it really does look like mid-September in Baltimore given all these pitchers are in long sleeves or even sweatshirts. According to weather.com it’s 58 degrees there at 9:45 this morning (which is balmy in Boston!). Tom Caron and Peter Gammons are talking over the footage of the pitchers (hey there’s Tim Wakefield!!) and are pretty much just telling us things we’ve already heard – but it doesn’t matter, does it? They’re talking about baseball, we’re watching baseball players in uniform doing baseball player-type things (Wakefield next to Papelbon both stretching with as little effort as they can muster is entertaining) and all looks hopeful for 2010.
Peter Gammons seems to be a tremendous Tim Wakefield fan. “Buchholz might have to wait his turn”, he just said. I’ve been critical of Gammons (and stand by my criticisms, especially in regard to his interview with Alex Rodriguez last year) but the one thing I like about him that others always criticize him for is that he isn’t afraid to admit what a baseball fan he is. I think, for the most part, I’m going to enjoy him being on NESN this season.
NESN has received a lot of criticism ever since they started this Spring Training coverage a couple of years ago. Critics complain that there is no real substance to the shows and it’s just another way to overexpose the Red Sox and take advantage of the loyal nature of Red Sox fans. I don’t agree at all. Much like many other things the Sox have done since the current owners took over, this team knows their target audience. I know plenty of people who are watching this along with me this morning. Maybe we aren’t hearing much (Heidi Watney is currently telling us how Clay “bulked” up and showing us an interview with Clay from earlier this week) but it’s no different than pre-game or post-game shows except they don’t have the “game” to dissect. My only complaint is NESN giving a forum to the sports writers, most of whom spend the season bashing the team. When those folks come on (Shaughnessy, Cafardo and Massarotti come springing to mind. Think it’s a coincidence they all work for the same paper?) the tv goes off. (Hey, I dvr it, I can come back later and fast-forward through their segments.)
NESN is going to commercial with the highlights from the Sox/Yanks games in 2009. Again, this station knows their audience!
Fans want to see their team and hear what’s going on with them. NESN is feeding our need for Red Sox baseball and I won’t be complaining about that.
Just a note of warning: This entry is long and although I want it to be all-encompassing, I’m sure I’ve missed few things. But this is pretty much how I remember 2009!
2009 was a fairly eventful year for me personally in both the good and bad categories. Sadly more bad than good which is probably why I initially avoided writing any kind of recap for the blog. But while I was writing my recap of the Red Sox decade (and I’ll have that up as soon as I finish it!) I realized I should probably write something about the final year of the decade as well. So here goes.
January: I started blogging at WEEI.com. Looking back on my entries for this month, I’m genuinely surprised I found so much to write about (it didn’t stop new readers from complaining that I was writing “drivel” though. Should have been a sign!). Personal highlights in January: The ongoing Jason Varitek saga, the signing of Rocco Baldelli, Kyle Snyder getting picked up by the Mets, the beginning of the MLB Network and Jim Rice finally gets voted into the Hall of Fame!
February: Bombshell of bombshells for MLB. Selena Roberts exposes Alex Rodriguez as a steroid user. The MLB Network cuts its teeth on this one and, unlike Peter Gammons and ESPN, doesn’t disappoint with their coverage. Unafraid of losing access to the players (again, unlike Peter Gammons or ESPN), they go full throttle on this story and introduce us to their newest addition to the network: Bob Costas. I wrote a lot about MLBN in 2009 and a bit about Sl*ppy. I would have written much less about the two, most likely, had this story not broken. Personal highlights in February: The Caribbean World Series on MLBN (I was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed it!), Truck Day, pitchers and catchers reporting and Joe Torre’s book about the Yankees.
Chapter 10: The End of the Curse. When asked by Regis Philbin the other day what happened to the Yankees over the past 7 years, Joe responded “The Red Sox happened”. That will go down as possibly my favorite Red Sox/Yankee-related quote ever.
March: I spent a lot of March writing ‘rants’ and pointing folks toward baseball-related Twitter accounts. Must have been resting up for April! Personal highlight in March: The WBC. I spent a lot of time ranting about players getting hurt and how I didn’t care who won only to be totally sucked into it by the end.
April: The beginning of the season! Lots of liveblogging and picking up more WEEI readers (with mixed results!). Personal highlights in April: Going to both Sox/Mets exhibition games at CitiField, attending Opening Day at Fenway and high-fiving JD Drew and Hideki Okajima during their introductions, being at Fenway for the walk-off win against the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home on Andy Pettitte, Tim Wakefield taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning (thus setting the table for his All Star selection), watching Jonathan Van Every pitch while Javier Lopez floundered in right field then eventually getting DFA’d (watched on television, not in person), the Patriots Day game where Luke Scott got all pissy and some idiot fan threw a ball onto the field and “Toeing the Rubber” getting nominated for a New England Sports Blog Award in the category “Best Red Sox Blog”. Relatively speaking, a great month except for one thing that really hit the baseball world hard and made the month miserable: the death of Nick Adenhart.
But I don’t cry because of any personal connection I have to Nick. I don’t cry because a future baseball star is dead. I cry because parents lost a son today. Many people lost a friend. And the world lost someone who could have potentially been great. Not just at baseball but at life. No drunken ass has the right to take that away from us. This doesn’t “put things into perspective” for me. I hate when people say that. I’m forty years old for God’s sake, I’ve seen enough death and tragedy in my life to have proper perspective, thank you. I don’t watch baseball and think that what goes on down on that field is life or death and more important than anything else in my life. I’d argue that most sports fans, even if they act like they have no perspective, have exactly that. Baseball is an outlet to forget about the realities of life for a few hours.
May: Getting to see Daniel Bard’s first Major League appearance (after having seen him pitch in Pawtucket) was very special. Finding out that Jerry Remy was recovering from cancer was sad and a little frightening. Personal highlights in May: Seeing Kyle Snyder with the Bisons at Pawtucket, Javier Lopez signing Steve the Ferret’s “Lopez” jersey (also at Pawtucket), Aubrey Huff fistpumping to Joba Chamberlain, appearing on “The Baseball Show” on Comcast SportsNet, crying (literally crying) over Big Papi’s first home run of the season, getting to meet metsgrrl and “paloozaing” with a huge group of people I love during the Mets/Sox series at Fenway.
Yesterday was an amazing day spent with friends (most of whom I haven’t seen in quite a while or hadn’t met yet!). There are many amazing tales to tell (but not here!) – my favorite being when our friend Susan noted that we could start singing “O Canada” except no one knows the words past “O Canada!”. Standing up and singing loudly and proudly, a group of us proved her wrong. That our serenade didn’t get us thrown out still kind of surprises me.
June: This month brought us the end of interleague play, the end of Jonathan Van Every’s season (thanks to knee surgery), Tim Wakefield hitting ten victories with his torn labrum, John Smoltz making us all wonder why we were so excited to have him on the team while Dusty Brown makes his major league debut. Personal highlights for June: Derek Lowe returning to Fenway with the Braves, Nick Green’s walkoff against those same Braves, sitting in Fenway during a mind-numbing rain delayed game that turned into a loss for the Sox (okay, that one is a lowlight, really) and the Sox capping off 7 wins in a row against the Yankees with an eighth.
You bet you behind I’ll have a rant about ARod later tonight. First I want to actually watch the Gammons interview before I go on about what an absolute horse’s ass I think Slappy is.
I’ll just say this. The idea that we should be happy and appreciative that he’s admitting to using for three full seasons pisses me off. He had a wonderful opportunity during his interview with <a href=”http://leeinks.weei.com/a-rod-with-katie-couric-dec-2007/” target=”_blank”>Katie Couric</a> to come clean. Admitting you did something wrong just because you got caught, and then expecting that the world should go on and still appreciate all you did while you were cheating? Makes my stomach turn.
What are the chances that he just fades into obscurity? That would be nice.
You know what I really want? A surprise. I don’t mean a “Here’s a picture of your new President having sex with his dog” surprise, I mean a HAPPY surprise. Something to make me feel good. We all deserve a surprise like that some time.
Announcing that the Red Sox are signing Rocco Baldelli at tonight’s Boston Baseball Writers Association dinner would have been one such surprise and, seemingly, that was the plan. But Peter Gammons et al decided we needed to know NOW so now there’s no surprise. I mean, hell, it’ll still be nice when they announce it (which, I imagine, will come when he receives the Tony Conigliaro award) but it would have been a bit more exciting had we no idea the announcement was coming.
How do you not like this story? Kid from New England…Red Sox fan…doesn’t suck…coming back from major health issues and now he’s going to be the fourth outfielder on his hometown team. It’s the feel-good story of the off-season!
I’m a wee bit stoked about the possible addition of Mr Smoltz to the roster as well. But that’s for another entry.
I’ll be at the Writer’s dinner tonight and really look forward to seeing Rocco and hearing the announcement live. Even if I already know what’s coming.
I like his story. But I’m happy he didn’t win. I love it when the guy ESPN keeps telling us will win, loses.
Congratulations to Justin Morneau!
Good God Peter Gammons just said that this Derby will make everyone forget the Mitchell Report. Please tell me he wasn’t serious?
And, honestly, if Rick Reilly loses his ability to speak any time soon…I’ll be thrilled.