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 am often critical of Steve Buckley and his writing but what he did today took a lot of courage and I felt like he certainly needed to be lauded for it. There is no way it could have been easy for him to publicly share this with us and I think his coming out is a wonderful thing. I give most people the benefit of the doubt and I think if he was comfortable sharing this now, he isn’t worried about the reactions of the athletes he covers and that he probably doesn’t care if some of his readers abandon him because of it.
Does it matter that Steve Buckley is gay? No it doesn’t. No more than it matters that Gerry Callahan is straight. But it matters that he has taken the step of coming out. It will matter to a lot of people, a lot of gay people who don’t get to see themselves represented in sports media. Maybe there’s a high school kid who wants to be a sports writer and is afraid being gay will make that difficult and Steve Buckley just showed him today that it isn’t necessarily the case? Maybe Buckley has peers who will feel more comfortable now about being themselves and won’t worry about hiding a part of who they are? This isn’t sports news and it isn’t baseball-related but it IS a big deal in that world. Good for Steve for finally being comfortable enough to be who he is to everyone, not just those who know him.
I’ll still never forgive him for his rants and lies about Nomar, though (and his various other shortcomings I’ve written about in the past). Steve Buckley coming out is a good, positive thing. Still doesn’t change the fact that he’s Steve Buckley. (Wouldn’t want you all to think I’ve gone soft on the Boston Sports Media!)
On Sunday, during the last game of the regular season, I was online at the place I spend many game nights. Near the end of the game, one of the regulars cuts in with the news that Josh Beckett has strained his oblique (per Joe Castiglione). Folks start worrying and I look around to see if this story has legs. The only place I can find it is on the Boston Herald’s website. Apparently, Steve Buckley was the one who broke this story. “Oblique KOs Josh Beckett” was the headline. Buckley’s sources apparently told him it was so bad he probably wasn’t going to pitch in the ALDS. I looked everywhere else online and found no reference to this and the folks at NESN didn’t mention it at all during the game. But it was on every message board I checked. “OH NO!!! NO BECKETT!!!!”.
The the game ended and Sports Desk came on and told us there was “news” about Beckett…but didn’t even lead off the show with the story. Finally, Tito gave his press conference and told us that, yes, Beckett tweaked his oblique, but he was penciling him in for game 3 of the ALDS. Francona looked fine in delivering this news…not worried, not nervous…nothing. I decided it certainly wasn’t worth worrying about if Tito wasn’t worried and that, once again, a story had been “broken” that served no purpose but to freak people out.
Which is why I find it interesting that Buckley, the guy who has spent much time this week going on about Beckett’s injury, wasn’t the guy who wrote the story following Beckett’s side session yesterday. Here’s what Michael Silverman wrote today:
Josh Beckett’s 27-minute, 65-pitch side session at Angel Stadium yesterday produced the most positive outcome the Red Sox could have hoped for.
It appears as if the ace’s tweaked right oblique will permit him to make Sunday’s Game 3 start against the Los Angeles Angels at Fenway Park after all. “Provided there’s no concerns coming out of his exams after the bullpen or the follow-up tomorrow, he should be on line for Sunday,” pitching coach John Farrell said. “That hasn’t been an official announcement but I will tell you that from the look in his bullpen today, he looks ready to go Sunday.”
Farrell said Beckett was able to throw without any restrictions.
Go figure. No need to panic…Josh will be fine to pitch on Sunday. Thanks for the week of angst, Steve Buckley.
Now to give Buckley some props (go figure!). He’s the only one, thus far, who has written anything about my man Mike Timlin opening talking about retirement.
The veteran relief pitcher said yesterday that he is considering retirement, and that he will discuss the matter with his family during the offseason before making a decision.
“There’s a real possibility I could shut it down,” Timlin said. “This could be it.”
I can’t remember Timlin every being that serious with retirement talk. And, seemingly, he IS serious.
If Timlin has pitched his final game in the big leagues, he went out in style. He worked an inning of shutout relief in the Red Sox’ in the regular-season finale, a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees at Fenway Park [map]. He struck out 22-year-old Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli on his last pitch.
When the inning was over, Timlin could be seen walking toward home plate and saying something into the ear of umpire Jim Wolf. He also collected the ball from his strikeout of Cervelli.
“I got the baseball from my last three or four outings,” said Timlin, not knowing at the time which one might be his final appearance.
This is, obviously, something everyone has seen coming. But to see it out there like that…well, I admit to being a little teary-eyed about it. For now, I won’t dwell on it…but there will certainly be more to say about this once the post-season is over.
Tonight, Daisuke takes the mound and, hopefully, brings us another victory. How huge would two wins in Anaheim be?? Oddly enough, I really think the Sox can do it. 9:30pm can’t come soon enough!