Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

For the love of…

Last night’s game wore me out.  Just wore me the hell out.

Cliff Lee was amazing so I guess we just accept that and move on.  Please, baseball gods, don’t let the Phillies fans win, okay?

Oh, and if anyone sees Josh Beckett come this fall, could they please hold him down and give him a flu shot?  Thanks.

June 29, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , | Leave a comment

Takes One to Know One

In an interesting bit of timing, as I wrote a blog entry yesterday about spiting the All Star vote, there was a columnist in Philadelphia, John Gonzalez, someone who seemingly gets paid for his time, submitting a column about how obnoxious Boston sports fans have become.  Let the irony of a columnist from Philly complaining about obnoxious fans settle in and I’ll be right with you.

If there’s a reason to end interleague play, this is it. The next few days figure to test our collective patience and sanity. Brace yourself: Boston fans are coming.

The Phillies will begin a three-game series with the Red Sox on Tuesday. Over the course of the season, the Fightin’s do all sorts of promotional giveaways, everything from hats to bobbleheads. This would be a good time for a different kind of freebie: maybe noise-canceling headphones or, if those aren’t enough and more drastic measures are needed, surplus World War II-era cyanide pills. One bite and the suffering will be over

I’m not here to argue that Boston fans aren’t obnoxious.  I fully admit to yesterday’s entry about voting against the Yankees being a bit obnoxious in terms of the spitefulness of it.  I see obnoxious fans at Fenway plenty.  I think, above all, we can admit that every fan base of every team in every aspect of sports has obnoxious fans as part of their fan base.  Doesn’t mean those fans define the base but we all know they exist.

Let me introduce you to the opening line of John Gonzalez’s bio on philly.com:

John Gonzalez is a local product who was exiled for a time and forced to live among cretins in Dallas and Boston

In my mind, Gonzalez mispronounces the word cretin like Randall does in Monsters Inc.

But I digress.

The entire piece is essentially a tremendous whinefest about how fans of Boston sports teams have it really good right now (damn skippy!) and that, by default, makes us obnoxious.  He picks on the quote of a father who talks of how he and his son have been to all the parades over these last seven years and stand in the same spot for each one.  Really?  That’s the best you have?

See, I wouldn’t even mind had this guy given some genuine examples of obnoxiousness.  You know, like intentionally throwing up on a little girl, chucking batteries at a player, booing an injured player while he’s motionless on the ground, or just being so generally obnoxious that security at the park goes automatically into tase mode when one of your fan base steps on the field.  But, no, the worst he gives us is a father creating a happy and memorable moment with his son.  The nerve of the guy, huh?

If this piece came out of Kansas City or Seattle, I probably would have read it over, chuckled and forgot about it.  But for someone from Philadelphia, who covers Philadelphia sports, to call another fan base obnoxious just because they have the audacity to be happy about the success of their teams…well if it wasn’t so pathetic I guess it could be entertaining.

I know some Boston sports fans who will be in Philly for these next three games.  I hope the level of their obnoxiousness doesn’t match that of the fans of the home team but I also hope they are sporting the Boston colors proudly.  I know they will be and there isn’t anything obnoxious about that.

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

Love-Lee

Well, they ARE pinstripes!

You know what’s wonderful?  Waking up and finding out that not everyone is snowed by mystique and aura.  Waking up to read that someone who will already be making millions of dollars doesn’t think it’s necessary to make even more millions.  Waking up to something completely improbable being absolutely possible.  Waking up to discover that every “expert” was wrong.  It’s wonderful to realize that not everyone has a soul that is for sale.  Thank you, Cliff Lee.  Thank you for helping restore some of my faith in humanity.

I’m not naive.  When you get into the $100 million range, even at the low end the idea that money wasn’t some kind of factor is silly.  But in going to Philadelphia instead of New York or Texas, Lee showed me that he gets that when you have $100 million adding more millions to it isn’t the reason you should make a life-altering decision.  While I feel a smidge of sadness for the Rangers and their fans, I have none of that for New York and theirs.  It seemed to me that Lee really enjoyed being in Philadelphia and now he’s back where he wants to be.  All the money and years that the Steinbrenners threw at him mattered not.  What did he leave, $50 million “on the table”?  Somewhere, Johnny Damon just fainted.  (A side note for Yankees fans:  If you want your team to bring on free agents, it’s probably a good idea to refrain from spitting on their wives when they visit your park.)

This has become one of my favorite off-seasons ever.

The Yankees certainly won’t collapse and fall off the face of the earth because Cliff Lee decided to save his soul, but it sure will be fun watching the critical fallout that comes along with losing out on your biggest free agent want because no matter how much money you threw at him, it didn’t matter.

Now all the Yankees fans can sing the story about how the Yankees were never going to get Lee because he obviously didn’t want to go there (which, incidentally, I agree with)…kind of like how no matter what the Red Sox offered Mark Teixeira his hear was set on playing in the Bronx.

The news of Cliff Lee going back to Philadelphia pleases me greatly.  The Phillies will be a blast to watch (my apologies to my NL friends, especially the Mets fans!) and Lee won’t be our problem until the All Star Game and maybe (hopefully!) the World Series.

Another win-win hotstove day for Red Sox fans!

December 14, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bleacher Creatures don't deserve praise

Well Major League Baseball seems to be going out of their way to make both League Championship Series interesting. While I would love to see the Phillies and the Yankees sent off into the sunset while the Giants and Rangers make their way to the World Series. But the truth is, if you dig baseball there is a lot of excitement in both series going to (at the very least) Game 6.

Having written that, I really hope the Rangers just get things done tonight and end it in front of their fans. I’ve really seen enough of the Yankees on my television this October.

But now I have to rant.

Continue reading

October 22, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fine. I get it.

So here’s what I will admit:  I get why fans of other teams don’t like the Red Sox (and their fans).  I do.  You can’t turn on a national game, most of the time, without one of the teams playing being the Red Sox.  During the season, you can’t put on ESPN or MLBN without being reminded that the Red Sox are struggling or succeeding, repeatedly.  Ken Burns devoted a third of his newest documentary about baseball just to the Red Sox and ESPN decided everyone needed to understand what Red Sox fans went through in 2004 during those “Four Days in October”.  (I had one fan email me to tell me he would have understood if those four days covered the World Series but not the ALCS because “Nobody but New York and Boston fans cares about your rivalry”.)  Since 2001, the Red Sox have been in the post-season six times.  Were I not a Red Sox fan, I’d be sick to death of them too.

I admit all of this because, really, I used to have no issues with the Phillies.  There was no one I the team I disliked (Once Brett Myers left) and based on my own interactions with Phillies fans in their park, I didn’t have the strong animosity toward the fans that so many others do.  After this past week, I’ll say this: If I never watch another Phillies game again it might be too damn soon.

The idea of another Phillies/Yankees World Series makes me sad.  Because, as they say, I’ll be rooting for the meteor.  I honestly won’t care one way or the other who wins.  I always want the Yankees to lose, but in this scenario I’d want the Phillies to lose as well.  What to do?  What to do?

Much to my surprise, my only hope might be the San Francisco Giants.  While the Atlanta Braves are making it interesting, the Giants have been impressing me.  I have no doubt that whichever team faces the Phillies is going to have a tough time of it, but I’m an optimist and as the prophet Kevin Garnett has taught us, “Anything is possible”.

Reds get swept, Twins get swept, Giants are a game away from winning (but not sweeping) and the Rays and Rangers are bringing us an exciting game five tonight.  Here’s hoping the damn cowbells get silenced by Mr. Cliff Lee.  I’ll be watching.  It might be with the sound muted, but I’ll definitely be watching.

Edited to add:  I won’t be watching tonight since, as Brian points out in the comments “Game five is Tuesday fyi not tonight“.  So I get one more day to wait for the silencing of the bells.  (We DO get Derek Lowe pitching against Madison Bumgarner tonight, though!)

October 11, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 3 Comments

Pick One?

Good luck, Javi!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Good luck, Javi! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com and used with permission.

Still processing that the season for the Sox has ended.  Watching “Four Days in October” last night helped and hearing Don Orsillo calling the Rangers/Rays game does too.

Given that I don’t really dislike any of the teams in the playoffs except for one, for the most part I’m in the “Anyone but the Yankees” camp.  There are three games on television today, though, so I might as well make some picks (idea kind of lifted from Metsgrrl who mapped out her choices over at her blog).  I’m only picking by series, though, so here’s what I’d like to happen in the Division Series.

Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays:  I’m torn.  I despise the cowbells which means I’m not fond of most Rays fans (not all, though.  I know a few I consider good fans and part of me is happy for them) so every Rays loss means we’re closer to no more freaking cowbells until April 2011.  That I can get behind.  (Also, I will always dislike James Shields for many reasons but mostly his dumbass nickname.  Once the Rays are out of it, no one will be mentioning “Big Game” James.  Who could root against that?)  The only thing I have against the Rangers is Josh Hamilton.  I don’t want to hear what a wonderful story he has for the next month.  Any time someone starts talking about Josh Hamilton and his issues, it makes me want to start using drugs.  That’s probably not what he had in mind when he shared his story, huh?  I’m going with the Rangers.  Cliff Lee making his way through the playoffs makes me happy.  I won’t be devastated if the Rays win, but if the baseball gods love us even a little than they will spare us the idiocy that is adults ringing cowbells.

Cincinnati Reds v Philadelphia Phillies:  I don’t hate the Phillies but I’m really just sick of them.  The only things that make me not want to root for the Reds are Dusty Brown and Jonny Gomes.  If Gomes pulls something in his first appearance and can’t play the rest of the post-season, I’ll be a happy gal.  I’m rooting for the Reds. Gomes and Baker aside, I like their fan base and I think a fan base as loyal as theirs should get to enjoy more than one round of the playoffs.  It doesn’t hurt that Bronson Arroyo is with the Reds, not at all.  Okay, who am I kidding?  I want Bronson to get another ring.  I do.  I do.  I do. I do.  There, I said it.

New York Yankees v Minnesota Twins: I’m all about the Yankees.  (Man, I couldn’t even type that with a straight face!)  I don’t just want the Twins to beat the Yankees, I want Joe Girardi to get thrown out of every game.  I want Derek Jeter to throw his shoulder out while he’s fist pumping.  I want Slappy to tear a few muscles in the groin area.  I want CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte to all give up over ten hits and ten runs.  I want Mark Teixeira to bat .000 and Nick Swisher to have 17 errors.  I WANT THE TWINS TO DESTROY THE YANKEES!  That is all.

Atlanta Braves v San Francisco Giants:  Honestly?  I couldn’t care less.  There are ex-Sox on the Braves (Lowe, Gonzalez, Wagner, Hinske, heck even Ross) AND on the Giants (Lopez, Ramirez, Renteria, Sanchez), so I could develop a fondness for either team.  Do I have to pick one?  Let’s see, Tomahawk Chop versus panda hats…I’m going to have to give this one to San Francisco. Plus, seeing Javier Lopez in the post season makes me unreasonably happy.  Not exactly a good rationale for choosing the Giants but there you have it.

I’m watching the Rangers take David Price for five runs in five innings so far.  I hope every game today has a similar scenario!

October 6, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I'm greedy for more

I try not to use photos that I don't have permission to use but when I saw this photo of Jose Lima I thought it was the perfect way to remember him.  Photo taken in Spring Training in 2005 by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images (and used without permission)

I try not to use photos that I don't have permission to use but when I saw this photo of Jose Lima I thought it was the perfect way to remember him. Photo taken in Spring Training in 2005 by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images (and used without permission)

Well we, apparently, had nothing to fear from Roy Halladay yesterday but Tim Wakefield left the Phillies shaking.  Wasn’t that nice?

The pitching matchups for the entire weekend gave most Red Sox fans pause when looking at them on paper.  John Lackey, well let’s not talk about him right now.  Both Daisuke Matsuzaka and Wake far exceeded most expectations.  I’m sure the Phillies are still shaking their heads wondering what the hell happened.  But it wasn’t all just pitching.  On Sunday, Pedroia, Hermida and Wake were the only starters without a hit and Ellsbury and Scutaro were the only ones without multiple hits.  The hitters attacked Halladay and Wake went after the Phils.  It was a nice way to spend a Sunday that was topped off with the Mets winning THEIR series against the Yankees- on national television  no less.

So right now the Red Sox are 2.5 games behind the Yankees (and a game and a half behind the Blue Jays…a Toronto win couple with a Yankees loss pushes the Yankees to third place).  I bring up the Yankees because I believe in small steps.  Get settled into second place and the worry about the rest.  Right now, getting settled into second place doesn’t seem so impossible to do.

The one bit of sad news we got Sunday was that Jose Lima died from a “massive” heart attack at the age of 37.  I know that people tend to speak well of the dead only once they’re gone but from the things I’ve read online from his past teammates and others who have worked with him, it seems like there were a lot of people who just genuinely liked Jose and I’m so sorry for them and for Lima’s family today.  It is never a good time to lose someone you love but as someone who has passed that age, 37 seems mind-shatteringly young.  So heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all of those mourning the loss of Lima Time.  Ben Shpigel of the New York Times wrote, what I think, is a truly beautiful tribute to the man which briefly remembers Geremi Gonzalez as well.

No day off for the Sox…tonight they’re at the Trop where Clay Buchholz goes up against Wade Davis at 7:10.  Let the winning streak continue!

May 24, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So close!

Mike Cameron gets another start in Portland today.  Come back soon, Mike!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Mike Cameron gets another start in Portland today. Come back soon, Mike! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

I started with a couple of tweets just before the game began last night, and as it began I had to go offline for a while.  Come around the fourth inning and I decide to go online when I realized that Daisuke Matsuzaka hadn’t given up a hit yet.  That’s when I made the decision to keep doing what I was doing and not go online.  Why mess with the mojo?  🙂

It was about the 7th inning that I got this nagging feeling that he wouldn’t get his no-hitter.  Something just didn’t feel right (and none of that was his pitching or the defense behind him).  Maybe it was being in Philadelphia?  Or that the national broadcasters were calling the game not our Jerry and Don?  Whatever it was, when he lost the no-hit bid in the 8th, I was still disappointed but also still so proud.  Over the past four games, three of our pitches threw 8 complete innings.  For any team this is great but it’s especially important and impressive for the way the Red Sox pitching staff has been going.  Daisuke, someone who gets the wrath of many Red Sox fans and is the topic of many nasty emails sent my way from opposing fans, really came through and showed everyone what he was capable of.  He might not have gotten his no-hitter, just yet, but he definitely made folks in and around MLB stand up and take notice.

I had a discussion online not too long ago with someone who said that the Sox got hosed when the picked up Daisuke and he wasn’t worth his money.  When I countered that, in my opinion, his first two seasons alone with the Sox were definitely worth the money (one of those seasons was the championship 2007 season and the other was 2008 when he had 18 wins), the person still disagreed with me.  I’ll say it again, in terms of “baseball” money (read:  money I don’t have and can pretend to spend any way I like) and for what he has contributed, I still think Daisuke was worth it.  Doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes get fits when he’s on the mound, but I think the fits, at times, can defitely be worth it as well to see the end result.  Injured in 2009 and off to a late start in 2010 – we still haven’t seen everything he’ capable of.  Also, he pitched this one-hit game against possibly the best hitting team in baseball.  That is pretty damned impressive, no?

Also, props need to go to all the defense last night, but especially David Ortiz if for no other reason than he made a couple of really good plays that finally got the Fox broadcasters to shut up about how he was going to fail at first because he never plays the position.

With Josh Beckett on the dl, today Tim Wakefield pitches the rubber game against Roy Halladay at 1:35pm.  Both NESN and TBS are carrying the game because TBS, unlike Fox, doesn’t screw up everyone else’s baseball viewing pleasure just for their own greedy selves. Last night was a travesty in that there were actually people in MASSACHUSETTS who couldn’t watch the Sox play because their local Fox station decided to show the Mets/Yanks game.  Absolutely ridiculous Fox.  Good God when is that horrendous contract over?

Some folks have been using the new message board to in-game chat either in threads or in the built-in chat room so go on over if you’re so inclined!  Tuesday night live chats (and at some point maybe more) will still be held here – can’t mess with that magic yet!

May 23, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

I hate having to wait for a game the day after a loss

Jonathan Van Every was designated for assignment to bring back Jacoby Ellsbury.  I hope he clears waivers and ends up back with the organization.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Jonathan Van Every was designated for assignment to bring back Jacoby Ellsbury. While I'm thrilled that Jacoby is back, I'm sad for JVE. I hope he clears waivers and ends up back with the organization. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

If Papi had hit that grand slam last night I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to speak today.

But he didn’t.  And the Sox lost 5-1 in their first interleague game of the season and I’m, oddly, not really troubled by that.

I AM troubled by John Lackey.  I was thrilled when the Sox signed him and I don’t think his troubles right now are  a true indication that the signing was bad but he is struggling and it’s almost John Smoltz-like painful to watch.  I don’t know what’s wrong, don’t know if he knows what’s wrong, but it needs to be fixed fast.  To see two of our pitchers go into the ninth inning and then watch Lackey hit 107 pitches in five innings is like being in a speeding car that suddenly smashes into a brick wall.  And I don’t want to spend the rest of the season speeding along and hitting that brick wall every time he pitches.

Instead of Saturday afternoon baseball, because MLB thinks we really don’t enjoy that, we get 7:10pm baseball – on Fox.  Lovely.  I’m thinking tonight is one of those nights when the volume goes off and the radio goes on (although with the subway series in New York there is a good chance we don’t get McCarver and Buck – there’s always hope!).  And at least now we all get to go out and enjoy the beautiful day without concerning ourselves with baseball for a little while.

Daisuke Matsuzaka takes the mound tonight.  If he’s having a bad game every other game…we get a good one tonight, yes?

May 22, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

This entry is all over the place

He's coming back soon!!!! (Photo taken by Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net on Monday in Pawtucket and used with permission)

He's coming back soon!!!! (Photo taken by Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net on Monday in Pawtucket and used with permission)

(Feeling a little bit rambly today!)

So a week ago who would have thought two of our starting pitchers would go into the ninth inning?  This week we had two of them do it and Lester got himself a complete game in the process.  The sun shines a little brighter after a game like that.

You know what’s nice?  I have, a bit unconsciously, stopped reading the sports sections at boston.com and bostonherald.com.  Every so often something sneaks through when either someone sends me a link to a story or I happen upon one while glancing at a paper, but for the most part I really haven’t been reading them.  It gives a whole new feeling to the fandom.  Unfortunately, with Twitter and Facebook it’s impossible to totally ignore all of it (and it IS good to keep on top of the current events of the team).  I don’t need the media to tell me Papi was struggling or that fans weren’t happy – I saw the games and heard the boos, but I did find Papi’s comments on “The Big Show” encouraging in that he seems to get those boos came from a cranky minority:

After all that you’ve done for the fans since 2003, how do you react to fans who abandoned you during your slumps this year and last year?

It’s not the fans. It’s not the fans that come out with that. It’s the media. It’s the media that’s the one that thinks they’ve got everything figured out. You’ve got guys sitting down out there that have never played the game ever before, talking about how they think I’m supposed to leave, that you are done, that you can’t hit any more, that you can do this or you can do that. You never hit before in your life ever. You know nothing about that. … I’m right here, working hard, doing my thing. I’m not paying attention to any of their crap anymore.

There were plenty of boo birds at the park this year when Papi was struggling.  His quote here, though, tells me that he gets it. That he knows there are more people behind him, supporting him, than there were idiots at the ballpark.

On a side note, Papi mentions “The Laser Show” as well.  Click the link.  It’s worth checking out.  🙂

In 2005, I took a road trip with a friend to Philadelphia to catch a weekend series between the Sox and the Phillies.  I remember our being heckled by Phillies fans at the hotel, telling us we were going to get swept.  I also remember thinking, after the Sox won the first game, “Okay, they won one.  At least we got one out of it.” and then after they won the second game my friend said “Okay, they won two…it doesn’t matter what happens on Sunday as long as we get an exciting game”.  The Sox swept.  There was no better way to spend a weekend in an opposing park.  (And we got our exciting Sunday game.  The scores, up to that point, were 8-0 and 7-1, Sunday’s score was 12-8!)  That weekend the pitching matchups were Tim Wakefield/Jon Leiber, Matt Clement/Vicente Padilla and David Wells/Brett Myers.

Any time the Sox play in Philly, the weekend trip comes back to me and I hope that this weekend will be as fabulous as that one was – even though I won’t be in Philadelphia to enjoy it.

Pitching matchups this weekend are John Lackey/Cole Hamels, Daisuke Matsuzaka/Kyle Kendrick and (dun dun DUN!) Tim Wakefield/Roy Halladay.  The Sox are riding high right now but the Phillies…well the Phillies are damn good.  But the Sox just took 3 out of 4 against two damn good teams so, really, I have a good feeling here even if the pitching matchups make me a little twitchy.

For those interested, there is a message board up here.  You sign up, get approval and voila, you’re in.  There are some guidelines and trolling is strictly prohibited but come and join us if you’re up for it.  I keep saying this is an experiment and I’m not sure how long it will last (I think it depends on you all and how much we all like doing it) but given the responses I received, I thought it was worth a shot.

7:05pm it starts…interleague play.  Whoopee.  Seriously, my biggest hope for the weekend is that our pitchers all come out of it uninjured.

May 21, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | 2 Comments