Friday, June 30, 2006

Some hot Coco, if you please

Boston Globe photo by Jim Davis
What a game last night! It totally lived up to its pre-game hype. An incredible pitching match-up - two old warriors, each with 200+ wins, battling it out. Schilling was awesome - only 9 pitches in the first inning. Glavine - I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed watching him pitch for the Braves. He works fast, decisively. The Sox really made him work, though - no strike outs, working the counts - he left in the 6th with a pitch count of 102, after giving up a homer to Sweet Mark Loretta (who has now hit in 12 straight games - hmmm, 12 games...).

The defense? We've now gone 16 straight games without an error. There was plenty of opportunities for that to change, but the Sox made some fantastic plays - they could have filled all ten spots on SportsCenter's top 10 this morning. Lowell with a bare-handed scoop of a bunt, Loretta and Youkilis' scramble at first, Schilling's pick-off of Franco at 2nd. And of course what will from this day forward simply be called "The Catch." In the bottom of the 7th, with the Mets threatening, Wright lasered a liner deep, between left and center. I think everyone - from the fans to the teams on the field - immediately conceded the hit and RBI. But not Coco Crisp. He literally flew in out of nowhere, leapt and grabbed the ball. Absolutely amazing. I loved the reaction shots of pitcher Mike Timlin - his jaw dropped and he starts yelling "Wow!" The ESPN announce crew immediately called it the play of the year so far. And how did he celebrate?

Photo from Surviving Grady
Why, by having another Red Bull! He told ESPN after the game that he'd just had a Red Bull before the catch, and "Red Bull gives you wings." Do I smell an endorsement deal here?!

And just as both NESN and ESPN are re-hashing The Catch at the bottom of the 8th, Ortiz steps up and launches one into the dead center bleachers. Talk about putting an exclamation point on both The Catch and the game.

So, now they've won 12 in a row. On this round of interleague play, the National League East is 0-for-12 against them. It gives one serious pause - is the NL that inferior to the AL? You look at how the AL has done in this round of play, and the only NL teams with winning records in interleague are Colorado and Florida (who we face this weekend). What set the Sox off on this tear? Here's Kevin Youkilis in today's Globe:

``Guys were upset losing three games in a row in Minnesota," recalled Kevin Youkilis (game-winning RBI, one defensive gem). ``We sort of got mad in Atlanta, but that's where we got our fans back. Then coming home was great. It was a long homestand and we got to enjoy the good times in Fenway Park."

Atlanta - where they got their fans back. There was a HUGE contingent of Sox fans at those Atlanta games - some of the Braves players were quoted in the local papers as being very put out by the "Let's Go RS" chants they had to listen to. When you're a fan, you sometimes wonder if your support and cheers really help your team. This shows it does - they hear it, even if they don't acknowledge it. Makes me SSOO glad I cheered as loud as I did during those games. Glad that I got out there early each day, greeted the team as they ran out onto the field to practice, chanted their names during BP. I feel like I'm a part of this winning streak, too.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Passing of the torch

Photo by Jim McIsaac (AP)
I think we witnessed the end of an era last night - and the beginning of a new one. Pedro Martinez returned to Fenway Park to pitch for the Mets against his former team. Up until the first pitch was thrown - and maybe even for a bit after that - it was a love-fest. Pedro got a standing ovation at Tuesday night's game - a warm appreciation from the fans for all he contributed to the Red Sox for seven years. He was warmly cheered coming in from the bullpen, and when he took the mound. And that's when the adulation ended...

For the Red Sox responded with four runs in the first and four runs in the third. When he left the mound at the end of the 3rd inning (above photo), Pedro was done for the night. He said later that he was a bit undone by the warmth of the reception, and that he didn't have his "stuff." For the RS fan, it was a bittersweet moment. We weren't sure what we hoped for - part of you wanted him to have a great outing, to stick it in Lucchino's face a bit. Part of you wanted him to get shelled. But mostly you wanted a great game - a pitcher's duel, or maybe just tons of offense. Instead, it all was anti-climactic. It was almost embarrasing. Mostly you felt sorry for Pedro...

And then...suddenly, you noticed. Hey, Josh Beckett is pitching pretty good tonight. Hey, wait, his stuff looks (as Eckersley would say) "filthy." Electric. Almost unhittable. Hmm.... Somehow in the midst of the Pedro-lation, Josh got ticked. Hey, you can imagine him thinking, I'm pitching in this game, too. Let me show you what I can do. Hey, my personal life coach, Curt, says I can be electric, too. Come watch me.

And watch we did. It slowly dawned on me, that this is the new age. We loved Pedro, he was part of that 2004 team that we will never, ever forget. But look at what we've got going this year. Heck, we've won 11 games in a row. Our defense has the AL record of 15 games without an error.

And they might not have the charisma of '04, but I am growing to adore this bunch! Mikey Lowell - who'd have thought he'd be tied for second in the AL for doubles. And the way he works that leather - ooh, it must make Berman's head spin! Plus the sexiest salt-and-pepper look in MLB. Alex Gonzalez has gone 55 games without an error. (Edgar who??) And he's hit homeruns in the past two games. Youk - finally given a chance to play every day and making the most of it. A healthy Trot in right. Coco making his way back to health - did you SEE that catch Coco made! Sweet Mark Loretta - wow. He almost makes me forget my favorite Mark. Manny being Manny, but a little less loony, a little more focused. Our Tek - the guy is a wall at home. All those young pitchers - especially Papelbon. What a fantastic surprise he's been. And our big man, Papi - who could not love him? I love to watch him as he's waiting on the pitch - he scares me with his intensity. But in an instance, he's grinning and cutting up with the guys in the dugout.

Yes, we are witnessing an interesting year here. And to think I helped kick off their winning streak in Atlanta!

And so take your bow, Josh, you and the rest of this '06 bunch. You are truly OUR RED SOX!

Photo by AP

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Random Wednesday Thoughts

What a great night at Fenway Tuesday night. From the opening tribute to the 1986 team that won the American League Championship (and lost that heart-breaking 1986 World Series to the Mets), to the tribute to Pedro Martinez, to the triumphant end, it was enough to warm the heart of even the most cynical Sox fan. Some photos:

Some of the 1986 vets - I loved that Oil Can Boyd. A Rhode Island native, he was such a breath of fresh air - always unpredictable. And he's still trying to play professionally - he pitched for the Brockton Rox part of the year last year! There he is with our '86 Ace, Bruce Hurst (photo for AP by Michael Dwyer). On the right is Oil Can's opposite in temperament and approach - Wade Boggs. I'd forgotten so many of his odd quirks - he even tossed two pebbles over the 3rd base line when he was introduced, like he'd do every game. Wonder if had chicken before the game? 8-) Some of my other favs that were back: Marty Barrett (making his first visit to Fenway since 1990!), Spike Owens (I think I loved him mostly for his great baseball name!), and Dwight Evans.

They didn't show this on NESN, but this lovely lady is 102-year Alice Tillinghast, who tossed out the first pitch! (Michael Dwyer photo)

Between the 1st and 2nd innings, the Sox ran a video paying tribute to Pedro Martinez, thanking him for his great years on the Sox and welcoming him "warmly" back. The crowd started the traditional "Pe--dro" chant, and he came out of the dugout for a curtain call. What a great moment. Kudos to the RS brass for putting together that tribute, and to the great fans who cheered him wildly. He was such an important part of the RS for so many years, and while I miss his on-field performance, I can understand that both sides made a business decision. Now, let's beat him tonight! And speaking of pitching performances...

Photo by sittingstill. This was actually taken in Atlanta by Kelly, but I love that Lester is actually smiling. He has seemed so focused and intense in his first two outings, that it was great to see his performance last night. He got into trouble twice, loading the bases, but pitched himself out of it. An important night for his development. And I loved the fist pumps as he left the field in the 5th!

And as for the next two games:

Pitching tonight against Martinez is our Josh - Josh Beckett. After the last ten games, with all of their incredible offensive explosions, it'll be interesting to see Pedro in action. And the other marquee match-up is Thursday: Tom Glavine vs. Curt Schilling. That could be an awesome game!!

And in the Bronx, Alex Rodriguez is beginning to hear it from those "classy" NY Yankee fans. From today's NY Times (article by Tyler Kepner):

It is hard to imagine a reigning most valuable player more unloved than Alex Rodriguez. Every time he makes an out in a home game the Yankees are losing, Rodriguez is booed by the fans at Yankee Stadium.

It happened four times last night in a 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The last time, Rodriguez struck out as the potential tying run in the eighth inning. After the game, he admitted the booing is making it harder.

"A little bit, and then I try to do a little bit too much, and that's not going to help," Rodriguez said. "I've got to just try to tune that out and do what I do, not let it affect me. It was difficult tonight."

It was a brutal night for the Yankees for many reasons, not just Rodriguez, who is batting .213 in June.

Pardon me if a giggle a bit....

And allow me to join the rest of Red Sox Nation as we send a prayer and get well soon to baseball scribe extraordinaire, Peter Gammons. He's in a Boston hospital this morning after having surgery on a brain aneurysm. One of the first articles I remember reading that really effected me was his classic SI column after said '86 series, called "Living and Dying with the Woe Sox." I still have a yellowed copy of it someplace in my boxes of stuff - I remember reading it and shedding a few tears over the lost opportunity...

Monday, June 26, 2006


Further proof that the man is not human. What an incredible end to today's game against the Phillies. With the Sox down by one run in the bottom of the 12th, they staged a mini-rally. Coco doubled, then scored on Youk's single. Youk made it to 2nd on the throw home, then Sweet Mark walked. Up to the plate comes Big Papi, who promptly singles in the go-ahead run. Sweet.

I know that we can't expect him to bail us out every time. But there's an incredible feeling when he comes up to bat with the game on the line. You wouldn't want anyone else up there (well, maybe Manny who bats next). As someone on SoSH said today, I can't wait to be sitting in the "home" in 50 years, boring my great-greats with stories of seeing Ortiz in his prime. We're truly witnessing history....

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A lovely Saturday afternoon

John Henry is a very rich and powerful man. I am beginning to believe he has used his resources to great the perfect baseball robot/machine. And his name is David Ortiz. How many times has he come through for us in the clutch? Is it selfish to continue to count on him like this? He came to the plate today, bottom of the 10th inning, Alex Cora at first. He works Tom Gordon to a 2-2 count, then rips the next pitch to dead straight away center field. Un-f'ing-believeable. I was on my feet, cheering and yelling - unbelievable. He is the absolute definition of the clutch hitter. How can anyone deny that he is the most valuable player on this or any other team? How can they continue to deny him that MVP trophy?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday at Fenway

Okay, so I'm not really at Fenway tonight! Just waiting out the rain delay - and trying to spend my time productively. Been trying to organize pictures from Italy and from my recent baseball adventures...

Yes, I went to Atlanta last weekend for the 3-game Braves-Red Sox series -- and the Sox won all three games!! Yeah! In the past two years, I've been to nine Sox games. Their record at those games: 9-0. Just sayin.... Here they are celebrating victory Sunday night.And what an incredible game it was. Two out in the top of the 8th, down 5-3, and they came back with six runs!

We got to Turner Field early each day, and got to see the players up close. We saw all the pitchers warming up - here's Mike Timlin, using that very cool camo glove.

Photo by Kelly (
Oh, that Papelbon - what a cutie. Apparently, he was seen doing the "tomahawk chop" Friday night - and here he's reacting to some kidding about it.

He signed autographs every day for the large Sox crowd. Really a nice young man! It was fun to watch him interact with the crowd - tossing balls, cutting up. Such a different view of him than you see when he comes in with the game on the line - then he's intense and all business.

There was a huge number of Sox fans at each game. The Friday night crowd was the second largest in Turner Field history! I'd say it was about evenly divided in terms of loyalty. But the Sox fans were definitely more vocal - and got the "Let's Go Red Sox" chants going without any organ prompts! (We actually counted Sunday night, and there were 29 "charges" played and 27 Tomahawk chops. None spontaneous, I might add). I read later that Jeff Francouer and some of the other Braves were non-plussed by the crowd - were a tad angry about being cheered against in their own house.

Everywhere we went in Atlanta, the Sox influence was seen - be it at Centennial Park the Georgia Aquarium (which is awesome), the restaurants, downtown on Saturday night. They came from all over the Southeast, to celebrate this team, and there also seemed to be many from New England. As Kelly pointed out, for a family of four to go to Fenway for one game is not only incredibly expensive but also incredibly difficuly. It's almost easier and cheaper to fly to Atlanta, stay in an inexpensive hotel, and see all three games. I'm sure most Atlantans hated it - but the tourist industry certainly benefited.

We also ate at the ESPN Zone! Very fan-girl I know, but it was pretty cool. The World Cup Soccer was going on, so we sat in the bar and watched on the big screen tv - sitting in recliners! I also got a very cool shirt that says: Yes, I am a woman, Yes, I know the game, Yes, I watch ESPN So appropriate!!

Know I can start to get psyched about my NEXT Red Sox adventure - going to four games at the end of July, including one game in the Green Monster seats!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


While looking for a picture of that poor boy that Ozzie Guillen made cry last night, I came across these pics (via ESPN MLB Photo Wire) --
Manny DC - after he pitched a grand slam. (Photo by Jim Mone). Poor Manny. But I wish he'd grow his hair back!

(Photo by Nathan Denette) Rodrigo Lopez having a rough night.

Photo by Brian Kersey. I guess even aces have to scratch their heads and wonder what when wrong. (Greg Maddux)

I think this photo of Matt Diaz is cool. Check out the player jumping over him - all you see are the spikes. Photo by Alan Diaz - no relation, I assume?

I love this caption to the bench clearer in NY last night: "New York Yankee Jorge Posada consoles Cleveland Indians' Eduardo Perez..." Consoles?? Photo by Frank Franklin II

Looks like Millar not having a good night. Photo by Nathan Denette.

Wahoo!! Two-run homer for my Mark! The curls are definitely back..Photo by Lenny Ignielzi

I'm going to pretend that last night's game didn't really happen. When the play of the game is the RS batboy tackling a drunken fan, it's a rough outing. Our Pitching is pathetic, pitiful, scarily so. I hope Theo is on the phone trying to make some deals. We need help. And I'm concerned about this weekend series in Atlanta. Talk about a match up of the pitifuls. This could be a lose-lose proposition - since Atlanta (and their pitching) look like they're in as bad shape as up. Might be a lot of balls leaving the Park - which is cool, since my Saturday seats are right out in the outfield!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wednesday musings

This is basically the same pose I adopted during last night's game. In general, I find "pitching duels" to be a bit boring - I guess this chick really does dig the long ball. But last night's game was awesome. Schilling and Santana only gave up one run each thru 8 - and those were on solo homers. Then Papelbon followed, as strong as ever. But that's when the fun ended. Bottom of the 12th, tied 2-2, and Tavarez came into the game, a knot formed in my stomach. I knew we were in deep trouble - and Psycho proved me right. Loads the bases, then give us a grand slam homerun. The first home run the Twins have gotten this year out of the DH spot. Aaargh...

Brutal game so far tonight, too. Clement is really struggling this year...They need to DL him and send him to a quiet place to get his head together. Actually, the Sox had two sports psychologists with them on the last road trip - maybe they need a third...

I've been listening to a lot of ESPN Radio while I'm doing inventory. I wonder - do guest appearing "via the OnStar hotline" have to sit in their cars for the inventory?

I've discovered I can only tolerate Colin Cowherd for five minutes. But I am developing a fondness for Mike and Mike. And I love Dan Patrick - but only with Keith Olberman to rein him in.

And while still weak, depressed and vulnerable from last night's game, I click on the Globe this morning to discover that my favorite there, RS beat reporter Chris Snow, is leaving. He's going to work for some hockey team in Minnesota - the Wild? - as their Director of Operations. He's such a talented writer - I hope he doesn't give that up. But there's not much future in being the beat writer - those regular columnists seem pretty firmly implanted there at the Globe. 8-(

On a brighter note - going to see the three Red Sox-Braves games this weekend!! I'm getting psyched!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sunday Fireworks

Un-f'n-believeable. The man is clearly not human. When Ortiz came to bat this afternoon, with two out, two on, and the Sox down by 2, you thought, hey, it could happen in a fairy tale. But Ortiz runs the count to 2-2, and then slams one out of the park. I sat there, stunned, just muttering to myself that the man is not human. How much more clutch can you get? Where are YOU, A-Rod?? MVP indeed.

And speaking of which - Yanks lose to the As, and Toronto loses. So our lead is now 1 1/2. And yet another game to play....speaking of which -

David Pauley does look alot like Greg Brady....

Saturday, June 10, 2006

An exciting Saturday afternoon

Just like these guys - sitting around for 4 hours, 47 minutes for the game to start. (Edit: Longest rain delay in RS history) The first pitch was finally thrown around 6:15 pm - needless to say it's not a doubleheader today. Just announced that there will be two games tomorrow - the first at noon (tonight's game rescheduled) and then another at 5pm. Phew - a full game!

Long rain delays are tough. When do you schedule dinner? When do you start preparing it? More importantly - when does happy hour start?? I did manage to time it pretty well - although should have waited to pour wine til the game actually started!

The rookie pitcher is Jon Lester. Very cerebral, from what I've read. But he just struck out the side with bases loaded in the top of the third - and showed some fist-pumping passion.

Caught a bit of the Braves-Astros game during the rain delay. Renteria hit a 3-run homer. And the Fox broadcasters were all over the fact that the RS shouldn't have bailed on him after only one season. Sorry - clearly ER was meant to play in the the National League - no matter how many chances, I don't think he EVER would have thrived in Boston.

Aaarghhh. My NESN feed just died - and nothing on EI. Guess it's over to Gameday Audio for me...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fenway Friday Night

Waiting for the Friday night game vs. Texas - which looks like it might actually happen. Yeah! Texas Rangers vs. Sox. I hope those bats - which showed signs of life last night - will give Wake some run support tonight. It must totally tick Wake off that the other pitchers get so much offense, and he gets none! But Dougie dig go deep the other night!

And on other MLB notes....Of course, the big news this week was the disclosure that Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Josh Grimsely had been nabbed by the Feds after receiving a shipment of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) - reportedly his 12th shipment. Deadspin has further reported that Grimsley has ties to Chris Mihfield - who is also a personal trainer to Albert Pujoles. So this scandal could have far-reaching results. Also interesting is that Grimsley was asked to wear a wire by the Feds - in an effort to implicate Barry Bonds.

What's interesting about this is that it's not some superstar with super numbers who will end up being the songbird. It's a middle reliever - someone perhaps in their declining years. And a pitcher - not a power hitter. He reportedly used HGH to help him come back faster from an appearance - it allowed him to pitch two days in a row. I think when I imagine who is using it's some big hitting DH... Yet, I guess it IS pitchers who could greatly benefit...

And Grimsley's testimony - about clubhouses having coffee pots labelled "unleaded" and "leaded" to show which have amphetimenes - well, makes you look questioning at the coffee cup that Timlin always carries to the bullpen....

That's what's sad about all this. Who is playing fair? Who's "cheating?" I mean, it's easy to say Hey Look at Giambi -- The Call of the Green Monster has a great posting today that explains how Giambi has bulked up legally!

On a brigher note...

Today's Dugout is awesome! Imagine two Papelbons on the roster! Or two Papelbots, according to SG!

And one week from tonight, I'll be in Atlanta watching the Sox and Braves play! Three games. OMG, I'm ssssooo psyched!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Nuff said

Photo by Al Bello

Reuters Photo

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Foto Fun

Cool photo of Dave Roberts by Morry Gash.

So how close WAS that pitch? (AP Photo of Reggie Sanders by Elaine Thompson)

For sheer lunacy - I LOVE this photo! The LA Angels decided to have some fun with their former coach, Joe Maddon (now the manager of the Devil Rays) - and donned Maddon glasses in his honor! (AP Photo by Steve Nesius)

My head hurts...

I'd say "Poor, Josh" but he gets no sympathy from me today. Why he and Tek continued to throw fastballs at the Yanks last night when clearly they were hitting them...well, maybe it's time for either 1) Tek and Beckett to get locked into a room together and not letting them out until they get their acts together; or 2) let Mirabelli catch Beckett. After all, "Dougie went deep" last night - and maybe he can caddy for two pitchers. Worth a shot.

Look at these numbers from last night (from the New York Times)

Plus, I must say I'm a bit worried about Tek. He has not played well this year, and has put up mediocre numbers offensively. And please don't remind me of that bonehead play in the first last night - not that it was all his fault, but still it looked like my 6th grade baseball team...

Bright spots: Dougie! Great play by Gonzo! Trot!

I'm going to just pretent last night never happened, and go on. Hopefully, the team will use this as a catalyst for the rest of the series. Hey, it's worked before...

Tonight, we have the nerve-wracking prospect of David Pauley making his 2nd ML start. Did okay last time out, but this is the Yanks. At Yankee Stadium. Yikes. The kid was seen taking photos of the Stadium yesterday pre-game - I hope he's not too star struck.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Rain Delay

So, been a crazy week. School wrapping up, final exams, etc. Finally, here on Saturday night, I feel ready to breathe! I've actually been productive in my first two days of summer - grocery shopping, shoe shopping (finally broke down and bought some of those horribly ugly but comfy Crocs! - bought four new tires...Even bought a new bathing suit!!

Rain delay right now. Waiting for the rain to stop in Detroit and our Sox to play.In the meantime, I'm going to catch Bronson pitching for the Reds vs. Houston("he's magical" the announcers just said!). When I looked at the calender today, I realized that two weeks from tonight, I'll be in Atlanta watching the three-game Sox/Braves series! Wahoo!

Absolutely awesome game last night! Pitching duel most of the night - most of which I missed because I was out celebrating the end of the school year 8-) Incredible homer by Youkilis to win the game in the 9th! And Youk paid a great tribute to his old "running buddy" -
"I call it a Bellhorn day," Youkilis said. "Mark was the best at that. Three [bad] at-bats then boom, home run to win a game."