I am heading to Fenway today (this morning actually…making a very long and fun day of it) and while this isn’t the first time I’ve been to Opening Day and it’s the second time I’ve been to a World Series ring ceremony, I’m still pretty damn giddy.
Holy cow. Did you read what I just wrote? I’ve been to a World Series ring ceremony and am going to another. And I know folks who will have been at all three. Every so often, like just now, it hits me how incredibly fortunate we are as fans to be witnessing this in our lifetimes. If you aren’t a sports fan you don’t get what a pleasure this is (then again, if you aren’t a sports fan the chances are very good you aren’t reading this blog so never mind!).
The Red Sox come back to Fenway today having won the first series of the season (and as an added, meaningless bonus, the Sox are in first place and the Yankees in last). I hear birds singing, the sun is starting to peek out and I know it’s going to be a good day!
I hope everyone gets to find a place to watch the ceremony today. I’d love to say “take the day off” but I know that’s tough for some people so I’ll just say “try to work around it!”…we need this ray of sunshine after this long freaking winter, don’t you think?
Happy Opening Day, folks!
This entry ends with the video of Mike Timlin talking about how selfless Tim Wakefield was a player…I’ve probably watched it twenty times today. It’s a wonderful testament to the type of person he is.
I missed the Tim Wakefield press conference live. Had to run out so I hit record on the DVR. As I started watching it about an hour later I immediately started crying. Didn’t even wait for Tom Werner to start talking, the tears just started to flow.
We’ve been fortunate as fans to be able to watch Tim Wakefield pitch. I don’t care if he isn’t a Hall of Fame pitcher; he’s someone you genuinely wanted to do well. He made a lot of sacrifices for the team. He didn’t let his ego get in the way of the team winning and there aren’t that many players you can say that about.
(Hey it worked for Beckett!)
One day we’re watching the Red Sox finish the weekend with a five-game losing streak, the next we’re watching them pound the Toronto Blue Jays (the team that began the Red Sox losing streak by winning a series in Toronto) with 18 hits and 18 runs and helping Tim Wakefield gain his 200th career win. Which is exactly why we continue to watch.
Well, except for me. Last night I had other obligations and didn’t get home until the 8th inning. The score was 11-5 by that time and it was smooth sailing. I checked the score while I was out and every time I did it seemed the score was flipping back and forth. When it was 6-5 in the sixth inning and I saw that Tim Wakefield was still in there I stopped checking the score (sorry, Wake, but I did). I was enjoying myself and almost convinced if I kept checking my mood would change. Yeah, it still sometimes gets to me.
Reading on Twitter that the fans were chanting for Wake when the game ended didn’t surprise me. We love him. The media knows it and it seems he does too. It was fantastic that we could enjoy a night like last night before the end of the season. Put me in the perfect frame of mind for the rest of this month.
I wax more poetic on Wake when the season is over but for now I’ll just bask in the knowledge that he isn’t chasing 200 any more and the Sox gained some ground last night in the playoff race.
Don’t forget that this Blue Jays series is only two games and today’s game is a 1:35pm event with John Lackey on the mound. Once again, I have a prior commitment that will keep me from watching the majority of the game. Hopefully this works as well today as it did yesterday.
With the Rays and the Yankees winning last night the screws tighten a bit more on the Red Sox this week. Of course, one good week of baseball from the Red Sox and I can stop reading the whiny tweets of the New England sports media. I have to give props to the majority of Red Sox fans I know and/or follow around the Internet: Not a lot of panicking, just a lot of frustration…which is totally understandable. I’m not here to say “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this team” but I also think it’s premature to freak out right now, especially given the schedules for the rest of the season. The Red Sox recovered after their terrible start this year and they have time to recover right now.
Reading the news last night about Manny Ramirez’s arrest on a domestic violence charge was upsetting and disappointing. The sports media will be crowing (and already started last night) today about how they told us and we should have all hated Manny based on their telling us they couldn’t tell us why but we should have hated Manny all along. There’s a fine line between being a generally lousy person and beating up on your wife. I’m not ready to give any of the Manny-haters “credit” for their feelings because they never gave us anything more than “he’s lazy and he’s selfish”. Anyone taking glee out of Manny’s failings, especially this newest one, has issues much deeper than I care to get into.
Once again, Tim Wakefield is on the mound to attempt to gain his 200th win. I love Wake. I want Wake to leave the game on a high note. But right now it’s more important to me that the Red Sox get a win than it is he gets his 200th. I’d like both of those things to happen tonight but I’ll settle for just one.
I thought for sure Kevin Youkilis getting thrown out of the game last night for arguing a third strike call in the 8th inning was a sign that last night’s game wasn’t going to end the way I would like. Youk gets the boot, Papi gets intentionally walked, putting men on first and second, and Carl Crawford pops out to end the inning. It just felt, to me, like things were about to go downhill.
Then Tito does the one thing I genuinely hate for him to do: He puts Jonathan Papelbon into a tied game. While I prepared myself for a home run (I’m not proud, that’s exactly what I did), Papelbon came up with a ground out, a pop out and a strike out in 10 pitches.
Oh me of little faith.
Bottom of the ninth and a fly out followed by three singles (which included Jarrod Saltalamacchia as a pinch runner for Jason Varitek which, at the time, seemed like pinch running Adrian Gonzalez for David Ortiz), and the Red Sox win. I suppose the fact that the Yankees were clobbering the White Sox in a game that was rain delayed (and eventually called) gave me that extra bit of anxiousness over the result of this game. I like the Red Sox being at least a game over the Yankees. It makes me happy. Especially with the Yankees coming to Boston this weekend. So I wasn’t too happy with the idea of the Yankees and Red Sox being tied for first place in the East. The one game lead might be a little scrawny, but I’ll take it.
I wanted to take this space to do something I don’t often do, and that’s highlight a comment from yesterday. I’m doing this for two reasons: 1) It made me laugh out loud and lately not much does that and 2) when I first read it, I did so without knowing who wrote it and finding out that it was Kelly only made me laugh more. Without the two of us ever discussing it, she absolutely nails how I feel about Justin Verlander (and others) complaining about Erick Aybar bunting during Verlander’s no-hit bid. So in case you missed it, here is the part that stood out for me:
If batters have to respect an opposing no-hitter, why don’t pitchers respect things like batters maintaining hitting streaks or going for the cycle? Hey, maybe bunting is NEVER fair. It’s always a sneaky play, tried only by weasels who can’t get hits the old-fashioned way! Know what else is unfair? Picking off baserunners! They got there fair and square (unless they bunted)! That’s bush league to try to take that away from them!
And NOW I’m done writing about the Tigers/Angels game.
We get Wake on the mound tonight, newly 45 (happy belated birthday!) and going for his 200th win – as if we needed to find reasons to watch the Red Sox!
I hate to sound like a stereotype, but it’s almost difficult for me to embrace the idea that the Red Sox are doing so well right now. To call the team “injury-plagued” isn’t so crazy. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Rich Hill are out for the season. Bobby Jenks is on and off the DL. Carl Crawford, John Lackey, Darnell McDonald, Dan Wheeler, Matt Albers, and Marco Scutaro have all spent time on the DL this year and Jon Lester, starting pitcher tonight, had his own stint there. Now JD Drew joins Jed Lowrie and Clay Buchholz on the DL.
(Unless I’ve forgotten someone, which is possible…) We’ve had 13 players from the 25-man roster on the DL this season. Couple that with how the season began for the Red Sox (being swept by both the
Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers (thanks, Jere!) and Cleveland Indians and then winning the three game series against the New York Yankees only to lose the next three games…winning only two games out of the first twelve of the season before going on a 9-5 run to end the month of April) and who can be blamed for being a little stunned at the way this team has been performing?
Back in March, I was one of a handful of bloggers Gordon Edes asked to make predictions for the upcoming season. I’m not a fan of making predictions for the team, especially before the season begins, but was honored to be asked so I joined in. Let’s revisit what I wrote, shall we?
When the Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez in December and Carl Crawford signed on two days later, I have to admit that my mind went wild with the possibilities. If this team can stay healthy, we’ll see many high-scoring wins, especially against the other AL East teams. The Sox offense will dominate the East’s pitching. As far as the Red Sox go, their rotation will surprise folks. Lackey and Beckett definitely have the talent but need to show they still can still pitch to win. This will be the year they take out their frustrations of past seasons on the rest of the league. Lester and Buchholz will tear up the league as well and I have faith Matsuzaka will be as effective as the team needs. I expect the Red Sox to make the playoffs easily this year by ending the regular season with 100 wins.
Eesh. Well I guess, so far, I got some of it right. I played it safe on Daisuke and STILL got it wrong. Around mid-May it was pointed out to me that there was no way the Red Sox would touch 100 wins and today it looks like there’s a good possibility they could do just that. Baseball, she’s a funny game.
Someone I didn’t mention in my predictions was Tim Wakefield. Yesterday, Wake notched his 199th win and 2000th strike out (with the Red Sox. His career K number is 2110) and in one of the most surreal happenings I’ve seen at the ball park, after receiving a standing ovation and taking a curtain call for strike out number 2000, he came back into the game and gave up a grand slam. Upon leaving the game for good, Wakefield received yet another standing ovation and tipped his cap to the crowd as he headed into the dugout.
If anyone can find another instance where a pitcher gets taken out of the game after giving up a grand slam and exits to a (legitimate) standing ovation (not mock cheers) I’d love to hear about it. The Red Sox were still winning after the GS so it was a lot easier to be happy for the Red Sox fans at Fenway giving the “old man” his respect. It made me happy to be a Red Sox fan.
Of course, it made most of the local sports media folks on Twitter and Facebook lose their shit, leading them to all start posting how terrible Tim’s stats are this season in spite of his 6-3 record. (Wake has four no-decision in his 13 starts this season.) Here’s my thing with Wake: Given where he is in his career, I just want him to be able to hit the milestones he’s looking to hit without doing much damage to the Red Sox. What he’s done, regardless of his season numbers, is help the Red Sox fill a position in the rotation. His starts aren’t automatically checked into the L column (hello John Smoltz) and when he does come out with a win (or a milestone, or, like yesterday, both) it’s a feel-good story for the team and the fans. Where’s the harm? Right now, I’m just happy to see him do well without tanking the team. So far, so good.
As happy as I was for the sweep this weekend, there was still an itty bit of me feeling sorry for the Mariners. A 15-game losing streak has to be miserable for them and for their fans. Here’s hoping they decide to take their frustrations out on the Yankees this week and start a winning streak.
Sox get right back into it tonight with Jon Lester coming off the DL to pitch against the Kansas City Royals. Jon once no-hit the Royals on a Monday night in May. I’m not expecting a no-hitter (honestly, I’m a little squirmy about his pitching at all right now because I would have much preferred a rehab game or two before jumping right in, but what do I know?) but a W will make me happy.
Well, leave the blog alone for a week and the commenting program decides to hold everyone’s comments in limbo. Sorry about that folks, everyone who commented on the Yankees post got their comments approved and, hopefully, shouldn’t have that issue again.
It’s a little tough to just jump back in. I’m pretty sure this was the longest hiatus I’ve taken from the blog but, if I’m being honest, the death of my grandfather took a lot out of me and it’s small steps to get back into the groove.
There’s a bit of irony in my last post before he died being about how much I hate the Yankees given that he never hated them. My grandfather was one of the old Italians who, while not rooted for the Yankees because of Joe DiMaggio (and Yogi Berra!) so he didn’t share the hatred my father and I do. (He also always held Dom DiMaggio in high regard and would often sing “Who’s better than his brother Joe? Dominick DiMaggio” when we were watching baseball. If you were Italian you automatically started out on the right foot with my grandfather.)
My grandfather died at home a week ago this morning and it’s been tough all around and watching baseball, which should be my escape from what’s going on, is tough too because that’s something I did with him often. Still, I have been watching. My grandfather is getting the best of both his baseball worlds, the Red Sox AND Yankees are winning but the Red Sox are still in first place. That’s how he liked things. (It’ll be a little sad not having someone to argue with about the Yankees. I could never understand his absolute love for David Ortiz but how he would still cheer for a Yankees hit when he saw one. Old feelings die hard I guess.)
I want to share one story about my grandfather. I grew up calling him “Papa” but when my generation started having children he became “Big Papa”. When he and my grandmother retired and moved to Florida back in 1980, they ended up in Winter Haven (at the time, home of the Red Sox spring training) and started going to games during the spring at Chain of Lakes Park. In 1990, he was up visiting us in Boston and we got tickets to a game on opening week in April because he wanted to see Tony Pena. So the two of us plus one of my uncles and one of my cousins go to Fenway (my uncle drove in, which I implore anyone going to Fenway never to do if you can help it unless you have a great parking spot mapped out…which we did not).
This is the game we saw. The Red Sox won and Tony Pena had two runs batted in…but I remember very little of it because the thing that stands out in my mind is my grandfather wanting an ice cream and calling to the ice cream vendor. The vendor, from about 10 rows below us, throws the ice cream up to my unsuspecting grandfather who, without missing a beat, throws it right back at him and yells to him that he can “bring” it to him like a “normal person”. My grandfather would not have an ice cream bar thrown at his face.
The kid selling the ice cream approached my grandfather, handed him a different ice cream and apologized. My cousin and I were horrified, as we knew throwing the food was kind of what they did in the stands, but my grandfather insisted that just because we were at a game didn’t mean people had to act like children. I think of him every time I see a vendor throwing something to a fan in the stands.
Last night was probably the first game in a week that I’ve watched all the way through. I can’t begrudge the team a loss, even on a night the Yankees win, after they went 9 in a row without one, but it was especially disappointing given that Tim Wakefield is only 10 wins away from the all-time wins record for the Red Sox and pitched well enough to win last night. Step it up for Timmeh, fellas.
Beckett and Buchholz and then the guys are back home for interleague play. And interleague play means time is running out to vote for your Boston Red Sox for the All-Star Game. Every year I say that I don’t care if our guys get in, that I’d rather they rest for 3 days. Screw it, I’d like to see the guys get voted in. Especially (you guessed it) over the Yankees. So get to work, Nation.
Between the spirited live chat and the great game we got, last night was an awful lot of fun. Thanks to Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox and all the folks who joined in the chat!
I know there are plenty of folks who think Tim Wakefield should hang up his cleats for good, but I’ve never bee one of those people and last night only reinforces my belief that he is more helpful than hurtful being on this team. On top of that, I find him extremely entertaining to watch pitch, especially when, like last night, his knuckle ball is moving.
Regardless of the fact that they didn’t sweep, the Red Sox found out this weekend that Aceves and Wakefield filling in for Lackey and Matsuzaka might not be as horrible a prospect as folks thought before the weekend began. There are definitely reasons to be hopeful!
Once again, though, we have no time to dwell (this time on the good) because the Sox are back at it tonight when the Red Sox hit Cleveland. Justin Masterson will be on the mound for the Tribe against Clay Buchholz. I will always consider myself a Masterson fan and every time he takes the mound I hope he pitches well. Except tonight. No, I will not be less upset about a loss because it comes at the hands of Mr. Masterson so let’s hope it doesn’t come to that tonight.
Considering adding a few more live chats into the weekly schedule since the chats we’ve held so far have had such a good response. If you folks would be up for it, I can work something out with my own schedule. For now, I think the next one will be on Tuesday when Josh Beckett takes on Fausto Carmona at Progressive Field. Both the Wednesday and Thursday games are afternoon games (Wednesday at 12pm and Thursday at 1pm) and I’m not sure folks will be around then to chat If I get a sense that folks would like to do it, I might work in a Wednesday afternoon live chat as well.
Being a half a game out of first place after the terrible start doesn’t stink at all.