Last night’s game was the first in this series that I was able to watch in its entirety. Which, ultimately, was a good thing since the last three innings (including extras) were fun and exciting even if the majority of the game was extremely painful in it’s defensive ineptitude. The fan bases for both teams got more than their money’s worth at the end, though, which is how this game will be remembered. We got some fun (if not good) baseball and if you are one of the many who visits Twitter during game time you know it turned into a giant sports bar as it often does the days of big games. So last night was a good night for baseball fans.
The Cardinals versus the Rangers? I’m not sure there could be two teams I’m more disinterested in watching than these two.
I was hoping for Tigers/Brewers, but both teams seem to have just worn themselves out throughout the playoffs and now I’m stuck (“I’m”…like no one else is watching) with Tony LaRussa and Ron Washington…on Fox no less. I’m disappointed that I am genuinely not looking forward to the World Series with any kind of excitement or even interest this year and it isn’t even because of Red Sox drama.
I’m hoping my feelings will change when the Series begins. February is far away and I’m not looking forward to being entirely baseball-free.
So Friday night the Red Sox get their hats handed to them in a 10-0 loss and folks were worried this was going to be what it looks like if the Rangers and Red Sox meet in the playoffs. Yesterday afternoon the Red Sox hammer the Rangers for 12 runs of their own (including a 4-4 day for Josh Reddick, a grand slam for Carl Crawford and let’s not forget the three runs in six innings off of Érik Bédard). In a game where they left 10 men on base, the Sox still scored 12 times. So this morning things aren’t looking so glum for the hometown team, are they?
It wasn’t fun to watch them lose a series to the Yankees and Friday night’s shut out was a bit miserable but, on the whole, few can deny that this team has been an awful lot of fun to watch this season. They’re a half a game out of first place. Every game they play has implications for the division which makes every game a must see. I don’t care about pre-season football or what’s going on with the NHL or NBA right now. We’re in the most exciting month of the season and my focus is definitely on the games that matter.
In other playoff news, last night the PawSox clinched the International League North Division title thanks, in part, to a Will Middlebrooks grand slam early in the game. They lost the lead but came back after being behind in the 8th inning, 7-5. The Yankees triple A team finished third in the standings, getting eliminated from playoff contention. It’s the first time since 2008 that the PawSox have been in the playoffs. I wish them a lot of luck and hope their getting the division title is a good omen for the Major League team.
People last night were virtually fist-pumping about how great Jon Lester was as he left the game (“virtually” as in, “doing it on the Internet). I’ll just say this about Crabby: He goes a more acceptable amount of innings for an “ace” pitcher, and it’s more than possible the Red Sox win last night’s game. Five innings for him and five pitchers total for the Red Sox in a game the pitchers only ended up giving four runs…the Red Sox needed him to pitch like the ace he wants to be and he didn’t. Aces don’t have to leave the game after five innings.
Having written all that…was last night that horrible? I mean, sure, I always want the Red Sox to hammer the Yankees and any time a game goes the way last night did (both Bard and Aceves not pitching the way we have come to expect them to pitch and the Red Sox getting to Mariano Rivera AGAIN and not being able to capitalize on it) it’s a disappointment, but the Red Sox are still in first place, still have plenty of games to go to pick up MORE games on the Yankees and entertain us in the process.
Andew Miller, Érik Bédard and John Lackey will be leading the way against the Rangers this weekend and Friday’s (MLBN) and Sunday’s (TBS) will be on the (hopefully) non-annoying national broadcasts.
Here’s hoping everyone has a safe and fun Labor Day weekend!
I am not one of those people who believes that death puts the rest of your life in perspective. If you need a tragedy to realize that there are more important things in life than following a baseball game, well then I wouldn’t even know what to say to you. It’s my belief that most of even the most ardent baseball fans understand that the thing they treat as if it is life or death really isn’t and people preaching to me about how I should care more about the economy or some witch-hunt Nancy Grace has initiated instead of following MLB, annoy the ever-loving crap out of me.
So it surprised me that I was so bothered by the fact that on MLB.com this morning the death of a Rangers fan during the Rangers/A’s game last night, was relegated to number seven on their list of latest news:
I don’t like telling people how they should feel. And at least they are actually covering the story, right? For all I know, there is no rhyme or reason to how they list the stories on their front page (but the fact that All Star voting and Jeter’s quest for 3000 lead the list makes me feel like there is an obvious agenda). I just think the story of how a fan fell to his death while reaching for a ball that a player threw into the stands is worth of more than almost being completely buried. (And to be fair, on the Rangers’ official site, it’s number three on the list of “headlines”.)
I don’t know why this one bothers me so much. Fans have died at games before, it isn’t as if this is the first time a tragedy has happened during the game. Maybe how it happened is what strikes me because the idea of a fan dying because he was reaching for a ball really freaks me out? Maybe it’s because I was stupid enough to watch the video of it and listening to the broadcasters joke about it is haunting giving how things ended?
In any event, someone died in the middle of enjoying something as simple as a baseball game with his son and MLB seems to rank it as less important than Derek Jeter and the All Star Game. Sorry to be a bummer today but the sight of that man tumbling to his death is something I’m having a difficult time getting out of my head.
Whenever a team (or player) accuses another team (or player) of stealing signs, I usually have two immediate thoughts:
1) If you are doing such a poor job of masking your signs, you deserve to have your signs stolen.
2) If you are bad enough at it that you get caught, you should admit that you were trying to steal signs. There is no rule in MLB against stealing signs so why the big conspiracy to hide it if that’s what you’re doing?
In the midst of being swept by the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba accused both Mark Teixeria and Andruw Jones of stealing signs. They, of course, denied it and Joe Girardi got all high and mighty when asked about it. But, in truth, who knows? Someday we could find out that every home run Alex Rodriguez ever hit with men on base was because he was being fed signs. Does it matter? There is a poll up on ESPN.com asking fans if stealing signs is “cheating” or “gamesmanship” and, as of this writing, an overwhelming 73% of well over 14,000 people voting call it “gamesmanship”.
I should add a 3) to the above list which would be: If you think a player/team is stealing signs, instead of making it public with the press or bitching to said player/team…deal with it during the game. If you think Teixeira is stealing signs, send him a message during his next at-bat. The “you send one of ours to the hospital, we send one of yours to the morgue” mentality, right? You steal our signs, we give you a physical memory of why you shouldn’t do that. Any time the team claiming their signs are being stolen starts talking to the press about it all I can think of is, “And what will talking about it solve?”. Deal with it during the game just like you would someone going in harder than you think necessary to break up a double play.
On a similar note, after David Price hit Kevin Youkilis last night, both benches got warned because the umpire seemed to think it was retaliation for Youkilis running over Casey Kotchman Tuesday night. Many Rays fans took to the Internet to complain about Youk even when Kotchnan publicly came out to say there was obviously no intent. (For the record, it didn’t occur to me until the ump started yelling that the hit was on purpose.) Even so, Rays site Rays Index created the below gif from the incident, naming the file “Youk is a dirty fack”. Given the fighting history of these teams, I suppose the Rays fans might have been hoping for some kind of fight to galvanize the team. Unfortunately, all they got was a series loss and a whole game back in the standings.
So heading into interleague play, the Red Sox finish a road trip with a record of 8-1. The Sox will ride this wave into the weekend with the Milwaukee Brewers in town. While I love the record the Sox have in interleauge, I don’t often get too excited for it. The Brewers have been to Fenway before so it isn’t exactly new ground. All I really care about in regard to the weekend is that the team wins. John Lackey, Jon Lester* and Tim Wakefield will lead the charge. I’m confidant in their abilities to keep the winning going! Howsabout a TEN game winning streak this time around?
*A reminder that Saturday’s game, originally scheduled to being at 1:10pm, will be starting at 7:10pm to accommodate the Boston Bruins victory parade. A better reason to change the time of a game, I can’t think of!
I am not one who usually throws praise in the direction of Jon Lester, but he gets props today for not only pitching a great game but, in not yet picking up a win, for not throwing his team under the bus. * One would not have blamed him had he busted out with “Good GOD why can’t these guys score some freaking RUNS?!?” in last night’s post-game press conference. I have no doubt Crabby’s good pitching will be rewarded this season but it has to be frustrating to watch good outings go for naught.
Goodness knows we’re all frustrated.
I had an conversation with someone last night who told me that I was lying to myself and those around me when I say that I’m not worried about this team. I’m not lying…I’m not worried. But as I posted online earlier, this team is wearing me out. Although, that’s probably not entirely accurate. The reaction to this team are what is wearing me out. While I completely understand frustration I don’t understand blaming one or two people for the failings of an entire team. (The next “get rid of so and so” message I read will be my millionth.)
If you believe the team is going to go 2-160, I suggest you find another team to root for or another sport to enjoy. There are rough patches in every season for every team. It really is difficult watching the team struggle so early and for so long but the team is not going to lose every game for the rest of the season so, no, I’m not lying when I say I’m not worried. (But man, a couple of wins in a row…wouldn’t that be nice?)
As I often do when I need to ignore what is going on with my own team, I look to the rest of the league. Last night, Josh Hamilton broke his arm while sliding into home. Here’s what he said about it:
“It was a stupid play,” Hamilton told The Associated Press. “The whole time the ball was in the air, [third base coach Dave Anderson] was yelling, ‘Go, there’s no one at home,’ and I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to do this, something is going to happen.’ But I listened to my coach.”
Much like I had to admit sympathy for Lester, I feel some for Hamilton. While not my favorite player, breaking your arm in April and putting yourself out of commission for a couple of months is a lousy way to being the season and I wish him a speedy recovery. What I don’t like is how quickly he took to placing the blame somewhere else. I wasn’t watching the game but I know third base coaches will make as many bad decisions as good when it comes to sending a runner. So if people want to criticize Dave Anderson for his decision to send Hamilton, I take no issue with that. My problem comes when you, as a member of the same team as your coach, decide it’s okay to go public with your displeasure in his decision and, essentially, blame him for the fact that you got injured. Dave Anderson didn’t make a head-first slide into home, Josh Hamilton did. The only one responsible for that decision is Hamilton. Quotes like this one, when given a chance to say something like “I blurted that out in the heat of my frustration” do nothing to endear Hamilton to me:
I threw him under the bus by telling the truth about what happened.
What? Does Hamilton remember how many people had his back not only when he was trying to come back from his addiction trouble but when he relapsed? “Telling the truth” is no excuse for being an ass, Josh. You weren’t telling the truth, you were placing blame on someone else because YOU made a dumb decision.
Ron Washington, someone I have criticized in the past as well and who happens to be the manager of the Rangers, isn’t blaming his third base coach and had some words for his outfielder:
“He’s got a right to feel what he feels, but I’m certainly not going to blame David,” Washington said. “I think Josh has to live with what he said.”
Well said, Ron.
And, finally, another installment of “WHY WON’T YOU LOVE ME? ~ The Johnny Damon Story:
This comes from the Sporting News (prepare for many blockquotes):
Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Johnny Damon admitted his only chance to reach the Hall of Fame is to reach the 3,000-hit plateau. And if that happens, he told the Boston Herald that he won’t don a Boston Red Sox hat on his Cooperstown plaque
“(Ending the curse) was big,” Damon told the Boston Herald. “I loved every minute of my time in Boston, but how things went down at the end definitely left sour feelings, and that’s why I can’t really embrace that.”
In reality, a player doesn’t choose his Hall of Fame cap. If called to the Hall, Damon almost certainly would go in as a Royal because he played there longer (six seasons) than with any other team.
So Johnny wants to make it clear that he doesn’t choo, choo, choose us even though he doesn’t have the option. If you don’t stop texting us, Johnny, we’re going to change our phone number.
Random stat that doesn’t mean anything but sounds great: in 1991, the Minnesota Twins won the World Series after a 2-9 start to their season.
Blog suggestion for the day: The above stat comes courtesy of Ted’s Army who gives us hope today when all things seem hopeless.
Well at least no one can complain about Big Papi.
One of the things that kept coming up the most last night was in regard to John Lackey. (Which I have no argument with right now. He did not look good at all last night. Of course, Jon Lester looked like crap on Friday but gets the free pass from most because “It’s April” but that’s for a whole other rant.) Now, he was bad last night. No way to sugar coat it. But many people wrote that he isn’t a number two starter (many 9 year-olds might disagree). So it got me to thinking about the purpose of labeling your pitchers by the order in which they start. I’m not really getting how this would, ultimately, be all that important to any part of the game except the pitcher’s psyche.
I know it’s a big deal to be told you’re the number one guy. Pitching on Opening Day is a tremendous honor and a badge of pride that your manager considers you the best in the rotation. What I don’t get is anything after that. I mean think about it. With scheduled days off, rainouts and rotation juggling when the team goes against another team with big guns in their rotation, the order in which pitchers are placed really seems meaningless to me.
This isn’t to criticize those who were wondering why Lackey is number two. Because, frankly, I had it in my head up until probably Thursday that Clay Buchholz would be pitching last night (and then pitching on Opening Day at Fenway). So I was as baffled as anyone that Terry Francona put Lackey in the two spot. But reflecting on my own feelings is also how I come to ask the question about the importance. Aside from POSSIBLY a win last night (which I’m not prepared to state as fact given how things have gone this weekend) what would the difference have been between putting Clay on the mound Saturday and Lackey on the mound Sunday? Especially in the opening days of the season, would it be that big a difference between Lackey losing yesterday or today?
I just think placement for specific games is more important than the “official” spot in the rotation. Man, I don’t care if Lackey is number two or number five, I just want him to pitch well. (The same goes for the rest of them.) I certainly think Lester earned the nod on Friday as a sign of respect for what he accomplished last year but it doesn’t matter to me if he starts the rotation or follows someone else because, frankly, the only time being first mattered was Friday.
The next time the order of the rotation will mean anything is when the playoffs begin. I’m willing to through caution to the wind until then.
…an entry or two (or three) ago I wrote about how much I like Red Sox fans. I might have to amend that to say that I like Red Sox fans who don’t go on Twitter or Facebook two games into the season to talk about how much player “x” sucks and should be off the team. (Or my favorite* in my timeline tonight, the person who wrote, seriously, that the Red Sox should blow up the team) I tire very quickly of fans who act so frigging entitled. Can we get at least a week of games behind us before people start giving up the season? That would be nice.
Just think about how much we’ll all laugh at how the season began come October when the Red Sox win the division.
*Not really my favorite.
What the hell? This wasn’t the plan. Jon Lester is the Cy Young winner for 2011. Daniel Bard is going to “All About Eve” Jonathan Papelbon’s ass. This team was going 162-0 this season! What happened?
Meh, what are you going to do? While I can’t argue with the notion that games in April count as much as games in September, I certainly can’t get worked up about the Red Sox losing one game. Even if it was a game they had an opportunity to win. There were a lot of positives to take from this game (among them being Jacoby Ellsbury getting on base three out of four at-bats, Adrian Gonzalez going two for four with three RBI, David Ortiz getting his first home run of the season to not only tie the game but to shut up all the sports writers who had their “When will Big Papi hit his first home run” stories at the ready and a bullpen that, until Bard, did their job handily).
They’ll be back at it today…well tonight really at 8pm ET…and that’s what I’m happy about. More baseball that counts, baby!
Mike Lowell made an appearance last night on the Marlins broadcast (where he mentioned not going back to baseball until his children were older) and while he was there John Buck hit a grand slam. He looked and sounded very happy (and good!) and it made me miss him all over again. Here is a screen grab (terribly quality thanks to Extra Innings not being in HD on all channels and my using the computer to take the picture!)…good luck Mike!
The question of live chats was brought up in comments yesterday. I definitely plan on bringing them back but it won’t be (at least) until after the first homestand next week. My only obligation day currently is Thursdays and I’d like to hold them during the week so I’m looking at Tuesdays or Wednesdays again (and I’m happy to take suggestions in the comments!).
Random stat that means nothing, really, but sounds good: The Red Sox lost on Opening Day in both 2004 and 2007.
Blog suggestion for the day: Jere over at A Red Sox Fan from Pinstripe Territory is in Arlington for the opening series (and got a sweet shot of Papi at home after his home run). He’s already promised more pictures over the weekend!