Sunday, September 30, 2007

Our footloose closer

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Breathing a sigh of relief

All photos in this post from (Yeah Kelly)

First, tons of praise to Kelly for keeping her head in the midst of the wild celebration last night at Fenway, and getting some very cool pictures of the night. You can see her best here

Love the photo of Mike Lowell. He is always so even keeled, by all reports a steadying influence on the other guys - and he was crazy last night! He was one of the guys who got the rest of the team back out on the field to celebrate with the crowd - the sight of him chugging champagne - and beer - while pulling on his cigar - hot!

Great moment during NESN's broadcast when Eckersley voiced concern about Papelbon - said it looked like his shirt was literally shrinking on his body, and "he needs to get some pants on!" I immediately starting paying closer attention! has some video of him spraying champagne in his jock... At least here, he's got his sliding shorts on...

I think he might possibly be insane...


The AL East is ours!

Photo by Jim Davis (Globe)
Yeah! Red Sox clinched the AL East Division title last night - thanks to a great outing by Matsuzaka and by the Orioles (they beat the Yanks in 10). It was an awesome scene at Fenway - the Sox game ended almost an hour before the outcome of the Yanks-Os game was known. Thousands stayed at the Park, watching the game on the Jumbotron. Several players commented that it was going to be anti-climatic - they would have preferred to celebrate on the field, in front of the fans. They would get their wish. When that game ended - and we were Champs - the crowd and the team went crazy. Schilling, Timlin and Lowell led the rest of the team back onto the field, where the celebrated before the fans. Even Eckersley on NESN said, "this has turned into a special celebration."

My favorite moment had to be right as NESN ended their coverage. Alex Cora took over the sound booth at Fenway, and blasted "Sweet Caroline." All the players gathered on the mound and led the crowd in an enthusiastic sing-along. Cool.

Oh, and that red-headed woman below getting sprayed by Ellsbury? My buddy, Kelly. Yeah!! (Photo by Reuters)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Something to keep in mind come November

The Associated Press revealed how the candidates in Wednesday night's debate in New Hampshire responded to a question on whether they support the Red Sox or Yankees:

_ New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: Red Sox.

_ Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Cleveland Indians.

_ New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Yankees.

_ Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel: Red Sox.

_ Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards: Red Sox.

_ Illinois Sen. Barack Obama: White Sox.

_ Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd: Red Sox.

_ Delaware Sen. Joe Biden: Yankees.

My analysis: Obama and Kucinich totally wimped out. I know they have home town loyalties to project, but, really, no one offered the White Sox or the Indians as options. Clinton - understandable choice. Dodd's choice of the RS in a state pretty evenly divided in loyalties between the two teams is bold. But interesting that among the other, more partisan candidates, only Biden chose the Yankees. Have they done focus groups that show most Sox fans are Democrats? That many are the middle class voters to whom they wish to appeal?

I like Obama, but his wimp-out makes me wonder how he'll hold up on more serious matters....

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

There is no jinx (fingers crossed)

I had a sneak peak of this week's SI on their website - awesome article about Mr. Papelbon! And they've captured that closer glare so perfectly.

Magic number 2 - we potentially could clinch the East title tonight. The Yankees sealed up the last playoff spot last night. The sight of them spraying champagne and Torre crying all over the YES reporters....quite a contrast to the subdued and classy way the Red Sox celebrate.

Of course, that decorum could be jettisoned tonight if the Sox realize their pre-season goal of winning the Division.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Review: Once

One of the frustrations of living in the wilds of Southeast Tennesse is that we rarely get to see "arty" "lauded" films except on DVD. When the top ten films list of any year comes out, I might have had the opportunity to see half of them. So I had resigned myself to the idea that I would have to wait to see "Once" sometime next year. But, amazingly, our Arts and Entertainment Council brought it to town as part of the Independent Film Series! Yeah.

"Once" is the story of two struggling musicians who meet when the Guy (and that's as close to a name as he gets) is performing on a street corner and is approached by the Girl. It's set in Dublin, but the Girl is an immigrant, coming to Ireland from the Czech Republic. They end up in a music store, where she plays one of his original songs on a demo piano. Chemistry! They decide to write a few songs together, and then to record them as a demo.

This really is a musical, although a very unconventional one. The music flows naturally from the story; it actually took me a few numbers to realize they weren't just singing, that the songs were progressing the story. The two leads play well together, and they also wrote and performed all of their songs, quite unusual.

It was a pleasant little film, only around 90 minutes long, but it certainly didn't live up to the hype for me. I have two friends who had actually already seen in twice, so I may have had too high expectations. If you go expected a nice, comfortable, bittersweet story, you won't be disappointed. But if you go expecting to see "one of the best" of the year, you might be disappointed. I was.


We're going to be playing in October

AP Photo

Yeah! Last night's come-from-behind victory against Tampa Bay assured the Red Sox of a place in post-season play. Detroit lost, and that means that the Sox are in the mix for the World Series. However, the Division title is still up for grabs. Any combination of Sox victories and Yankee losses that total 6 mean we'll win the division title for the first time since 1995.

Last night's victory gave three players who've been targets of the boo-birds a chance to shine. JD Drew homered, as did Julio Lugo, and Eric Gagne pitched a clean 8th inning. We need all three of those guys to sustain this if we hope to go deep into the playoffs. Drew in particular has been strong of late, and hopefully the haters will see why Theo went thru so much to get him on the team. Lugo, after a rough start, has turned his season around; nothing is more delightful than seeing the look of pure glee on his face when he gets the big hits. And I still have hopes that Gagne is adjusting to the Sox - we really need him as a set-up man for Papelbon, especially if Oki is questionable.

The celebration post-game was low-key, at least what the public was allowed to see. Pap saluting the camera with a glass of champagne was as wild as it got. Most of the players seem focused on winning the division, which thrills me. It was really nice to see players who had never been on a contending team enjoying the moment, guys like Kyle Snyder and Eric Hinske.

On a personal note, this post-season play will have some new highlights for me. In 2004, I was stuck with Fox and ESPN - didn't even have ESPN news. I ended up watching the victory parade online - what a nightmare in retrospect. In 2005, I was stuck in Pittsburgh at a conference for all three playoff games. I only caught glimpsed of game one as I moved through airports; game two, I was on a dinner cruise and had to make several emergency phone calls for updates. And game three, I blew off a big gala event to sit in my hotel, nursing some room service beers (and crying in them!)

So, this year! I've got the satellite. I've got the cable. I've got the internet. It's gonna be grand!

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sweet Relief

Photo by Chris O'Meara (AP)

So last night was balm to my soul. Sweet relief to an angst-ridden heart. The Red Sox won! And not only that, Josh Beckett got his 20th win. The first 20 game winner on the Major Leagues since 2005. A shoo-in for the Cy Young? I'd say he is a SERIOUS contender! And the bats finally made an appearance - home runs from Tek, Mikey and Big Papi! The final score was 8-1.

The more awesome news greeted me this morning. The Yankees played 14 innings against the Blue Jays - and lost. They used 8 pitchers, including 2 innings from Jaba the Hutt. So, according to the the Jaba rules, he can't pitch for two games, making him ineligible to pitch for the rest of the series against the Jays. [As I write, the Jays are up 11-9. The Yanks have used 8 pitchers, the Jays 7. Not sure who will be pitching tomorrow - maybe Brian Cashman]

So, we head into the game tonight back to 2 1/2 games ahead of the Yanks. We may be able to distance ourselves from the pack tonight. It's all up to Dice-K.

And GO BIG BLUE! Michigan beats Penn State 14-9. Sorry Martha!

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Dear Joshua Patrick:
Yes, we are counting on you tonight. We NEED a victory. Maybe not so much for numbers, but for the sanity of Red Sox Nation. Yes, we know we can pretty much back our way into the playoffs at this point. That the post-season play is more important, really, than winning some insignificant games against Tampa Bay.

BUT! We in Red Sox Nation would really love to see a Divisional Championship banner hanging up in Fenway Park. Especially if it means we beat out the Yankees. Okay, maybe it's unrealistic to think we can pull this one out. But, but, but..This is NOT 1978! It's a different team and a different dynamic. If we could win the division - and ace out those guys from the Bronx...

Remember what those idiots said in '04. Win tonight. Don't worry about tomorrow or yesterday. Just win tonight....

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

No panic here

Yes, the Sox have lost four out of their last five. Yes, our offense has looked horrid. Yes, Gagne had a complete and total meltdown on the mound and lost us the game. Yes, Manny and Youkilis are both hurt and we're not sure when they'll be back. Yes, Okajima is also hurting. Yes, the Yankees continue to win and are breathing down our necks. Yes, the once incredible lead in the AL East has gone from 14 1/2 to 2 1/2.

Am I worried? Yes, a bit. Am I scared? Yes, a bit. Am I panicking? Yes, a bit.

Do I have confidence that they can turn things around and win this thing? Yes!!


Monday, September 17, 2007

Righting the ship

So, Wake is on the mound tonight for the Sox as they begin the last road trip of the season. Three games in Toronto, three in Tampa Bay with an off day in the middle. Then it's back to Fenway for the final 6 games.

The magic number is still 9, after the Sox lost to the Yankees last night. A very frustrating game - they were down by one run in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded and the man you'd want to see at the plate is there. But David Ortiz popped out, and the Yankees squeaked out another victory.

But being a glass-half-full kind of girl, I see some good. We definitely lost those games - the Yankees didn't beat us. We lost due to some poor bullpen management, and to some dead bats. The game we won - Saturday's 10-1 victory - made a huge statement. When our pitchers are at their best - and Josh Beckett has been at that point all season - and when they're backed up by some good offense, we are unbeatable. We dominated the Yankees Saturday - and that bodes well for the post-season.

Manny is still out, although I think he's close to coming back. I'd rather he not rush - we want him at 100% come October 1st. Youkilis is also out - he got hit by a pitch Saturday, and has a bad bruise. We need him, too!

And my pop culture note for the weekend. They showed "Highlander: The Source" on the SciFi Channel Saturday night. Now, I'm a HUGE fan of the series - have most of the episodes on tape! - but this was a bloody mess. The plot made absolutely no sense, the special effects made me dizzy. The only bright spots were the smoking hot Adrian Paul and Peter Wingfield. That's two hours of my life I'm not getting back.

And in the random photo of the day:Photo by AP
Apparently, Russell Crowe and Michigan coach Lloyd Carr have gotten to be great mates. They became acquainted when Crowe heard that Carr was using his film "Cinderella Man" to inspire his team. Saturday, Crowe gave a pre-game pep talk to the Michigan squad, and it seems to have been very effective. Michigan beat Notre Dame 38-0. Go Blue!

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Magic Number is now 9

Photo by Jim Rogasch
Fantastic game yesterday. After the horrors of Friday night, it was like a refreshing drink after a bitter dish. Whereas all went bad Friday, after we totally lost control in the 8th, Saturday's game was all about dominance. We dominated the Yanks from the 2nd on - Jeter's home run was really the only blemish on the day. After that, Joshua Patrick settled down - and only allowed one more hit. Final score, 10-1. A huge statement win for both the team and Josh. Many (like, Fox) were claiming this was the showdown for the Cy Young. If so, game set match to Mr. Beckett. While Wang was pitiful, Beckett was pitiless.

My favorite play of the game was, of course, Eric Hinske knocking the crap out of Posada:

Pnoto by Winslow Townson

What was great about this moment? The Fenway crowd gave Hinske a standing ovation for the hit as he walked back to the dugout - and the Fox announcers claimed the ovation was for the gutty play of Posada. Ha ha.

Tonight - a matchup I've been impatiently awaiting all day. Rogah Clemens returns to Fenway - and faces our old ace, Curt Schilling. Oh, it'll be fun!

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Magic Number is 11

Okay, I've been very neglectful of this blog. Chalk it up to the start of school, and the attendant responsibilities.

BUT: hey, the Sox are looking good! Two incredible victories this week vs. the Devil Rays. Tuesday, they came back from 8-1 to beat them 16-10. And the awesome walk-off by David Ortiz on Wednesday - down 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th, Big Papi hit a two run homer to win! Yeah!

Getting ready now to watch the first of three games against the Yankees. Tonight it's Daisuke vs. Andy Pettitte - a little nervous about the Dice, but we'll see. Tomorrow's game looks to be the best pitching matchup of the weekend - Joshua Patrick Beckett vs. Wang. And our local Fox station is actually carrying it! Yeah - although that means I've got endure the assault on my ears by - gag - Tim McCarver. Sunday: it's the potential of Schilling vs. Rogah Clemens. Man I hope the fans five it to Clemens.

Go Sox!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Recipe: Garlic Fries

I made these last night - and they were yummmmy! Okay, not quite as good as the memorable ones at Safeco Field, but these might be an acceptable substitute!

3 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons butter
8 garlic cloves, minced (about 5 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, tossing to coat.

Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning after 20 minutes.

Place butter and garlic in a large nonstick skillet; cook over low heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add potatoes, parsley, and cheese to pan; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

CALORIES 256 (27% from fat); FAT 7.7g (sat 3.3g,mono 2g,poly 2g); PROTEIN 5.9g; CHOLESTEROL 12mg; CALCIUM 55mg; SODIUM 386mg; FIBER 3.5g; IRON 1.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 42.3g

Cooking Light, APRIL 2002


Friday, September 07, 2007

Magic Number is 16

Okay, the Red Sox' magic number is now 16. I had to explain this concept to my students about 10 times today, so here goes again: any combination of Red Sox victories and Yankee losses that total 16 = the RS win the AL East division for the first time since 1995. Yeah!

Feeling bummed that I'm not in Baltimore this weekend with some of the crazier element of the SG commentators - so here are two photos from my visit last summer to Camden Yards. Beautiful park - but I bet it's even more gorgeous with a full contingent of RS Nation!

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Outlander at Petco Park

When last we saw our intrepid Red Sox road trippers Beth & Kelly, they were enjoying three days at Turner Field in Atlanta. But, now it was back on the road - a long flight west to San Diego.

We got to San Diego on Thursday, an off-day for the Sox. So we decided to visit the San Diego Zoo. It was a gorgeous day - in the 70s, sunny, no humidity - quite a change from steamy Atlanta. The Zoo was really neat - clearly the facility has aged a bit, but you can get really close to the animals. My particular favorites were the meerkats - so cute and funny. Later, I met my nephew Patrick for dinner - we ate in the "old town" section, dining on huge burritos and huge margaritas. It was a fun day!

Oh, our hotel is definitely worth mentioning. We stayed at the US Grant, an historic hotel just outside the Gaslamp District. Beautiful - I was a little worried they'd take one look at us and find they'd "lost" our reservation! It was fun to be near the Gaslamp, not too long a walk to and from the Park, but a little quieter.

Friday was my first visit to Petco Park. It was a night game, so we had a leisurely breakfast at a cool place called Cafe 222. Then, we had pre-arranged a tour of the park - I highly recommend doing the ballpark tour whenever you can. You learn a lot about the team, you see some of the swank places YOUR ticket won't get you in, and you get a real feel for the park. Our tour at Petco was really terrific - a funny, entertaining, informative guide. The Padres sell many $5 standing room tickets - and with that ticket you can go anywhere in the park, eat anywhere. There's an area in right called "the Beach" - basically a giant sandbox for kids to play in while their parents watch the game. And I love how they've incorporated the existing Western Metal Supply Co. building into the Park.

There were huge numbers of Sox fans in town for the series - you couldn't walk down the street without passing them. There is this cool, almost unspoken camaraderie among us - a nod, a "go sox," a fist-bump.

The Friday night game was Retro-80s night - the players all wore uniforms from circa 1984. And they doctored up all the scoreboard photos - quite funny to see Tek with a mohawk! Matsuzaka pitched well, and we won 2-1. And after the game, we hooked up with a bunch of SGers - what a fantastic and fun bunch!

Saturday, we attended a luncheon sponsored by the Madres, a group of (mostly) women who support the Padres and their various charities. The guest speaker was reliever Heath Bell- a really nice young man. The event made me realize how different it is to be a fan in a "small market" city - there are more opportunities to meet the team, to feel more a part of the organization. My only complaint with the Sox - we've gotten so big...

Before the game, we went for a tailgate at the apt. of one of the SGers, NV in SD. It's so fun to meet these folks that I "talk" to nightly during the games. Now, when I read their comments, it's like I can actually hear their voices.

Kelly had gotten us group tickets at the Toyota Level - kind of a different perspective on the park. It was salute to the Negro Leagues night, and Luis Tiant threw out the first pitch. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there - we lost 6-1, Tito got ejected, Mirabelli got roundly booed on his return to SD, and an incredible pitching performance by Chris Young.

So fun day, bad game. But there was still Sunday and the promise of a showdown between Josh Beckett and Jake Peavy! It was a day game, so we got there early. No BP, but we did watch the pitchers stretch. Yum. Peavy was strong, but had a high pitch count. So we got into their bullpen by the 6th - although their pen is so strong, that didn't mean instant victory. But Josh was strong - pitched 8 innings, then Pap came in to close.

After the game, we went out to the players' entrance, and watched the teams load up on buses for the respective road trips. TSA actually comes to the park, and does the pre-boarding check in there - that way, the bus can drive right up to the plane on the tarmac. Some of those boys look mighty fine out of uniform - uh, I mean in civilian clothes! The highlight was Manny climbing in the driver's seat and beeping the horn, threatening to drive away! Hilarious!!

So, the Sox were 4-2 on the trip up to the point - and on to Seattle! And you can see the photographic highlights here!

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day - Yowsah!

What an awesome weekend of baseball. Friday night wasn't so good, but after that it was all the stuff of highlight reels. Buchholz' no hitter on Saturday, the performance by our Rookies on Sunday, and an early lead on Monday...

Sunday's game featured some of our rookie talent pool. Jacoby Ellsbury had an awesome catch in center, as well as his first major league homerun. Young gun Jon Lester pitched really well. Pedroia once again showed why he is a serious contender for Rookie of the Year. And "rookie" Okajima rescued the team in the 8th. Plus Pap in the 9th .... it was way cool.

Tonight, we've got Matsuzaka pitching - and writing now in the 4th, we've gotten 5 runs for him. Oops - as I write, they've gone up 7-1. This team is awesome - and I'm so excited to see how this month unfolds

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

No-ho Yes yes!

Photo by Winslow Towson AP

What an awesome night last night. So, it began inauspiciously enough - sitting home on Saturday night, knitting and following the game in the SG comments section. Long about the 6th inning, a comment by Remy made me look again at the box score. Wait a minute, Baltimore hasn't gotten a hit yet off of Buchholz. Hm.. So I continued watching, although not with such a detached air. Next thing I know, it's the 8th, and ESPN is breaking into its college football broadcast to cover the 9th. A friend calls me mid-8th, to say she's watching the no----I cut her off immediately. You do NOT mention the feat until it's accomplished. You couldn't help but get amped up by the NESN commentary - Remy so clearly wanted to get to that 9th inning and "get 'er done"! 9th inning, and my knitting project is finished, but I'm afraid to stop. One down, two down, three down... And there it is! A NO-HITTER by the 23 year old rookie - in only his second start! Absolutely incredible to watch unfold.

The best part is that my buddy Kelly got to see it in person. She has followed Clay for a while - on our Road Trip, she kept talking about him, how much he'll mean to the Red Sox, what an incredible find he is for the organization, how we could NOT trade him. And there she was watching him and cheering him on. I was sssoo jealous!

Is this the turning point in the season? It sure gives us momentum, motivation and an element of the miraculous. I have felt for a while that the Red Sox would be returning to the WS this year. And that's exactly what I was shouting at my tv at game's end. "We are sooo going to the World Series this year" !!

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