Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Focusing on positives

Yes, the 11 game win streak came to an end last night in Cleveland. Not only was it a loss, it was an ugly loss. The Sox gave up 4 unearned runs and left 24 men on base. Still, it was tied in the bottom of the ninth, and what looked like a sure out to send the game into extra innings turned into a horrible error by Javy Lopez which allowed the game winning run to score. 9-8

So, we start fresh tonight. Hey, you didn't really expect them to finish out the season undefeated, did you? As one writer said recently, each season you can expect to win 50 and lose 50. It's the other 62 that are key to the season. Last night may have been one of those 62 squeakers, and we came out on the losing end. Meh.

In the meantime, Mike Lowell was named AL Player of the Week on Monday. Yeah Mikey! He seems to be getting stronger with each game, and that bodes well for the Red Sox.

All positive here!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

JayBay will now snack on your tasty closer

Boston Globe staff photo by Barry Chin

So, apparently Jason Bay enjoys having a little snack long about the ninth inning. Friday night, his fourth meal was served up by elite closer, Mariano Rivera - with the Sox down 4-2, Bay parked one in dead center to tie the score. Last night, again in the 9th, Bay sent one out to left. With one swing, the score went from 0-0 to 3-0 Red Sox. This time, the victim was the hard-to-hit Kerry Wood.

JayBay is fast becoming one of my favorites. He goes about his job quietly, but has become a game-changer. From this morning's Globe:

"That's the way I prefer it," said Bay. "I just want to be a complementary part of this team. I want to do my part to help us win, but really it's what suits me and my personality. I don't mind doing well and getting attention for it, but I prefer things quiet."

I think it's more than time for Theo to start crunching numbers. I can understand his hesitation to sign Bay to a long term deal during Spring Training. The market was crazy, and there was no predicting what it might look like after October. But JayBay is proving very valuable - we need to lock him up before some other team (::glares toward the Evil Empire::) jumps in.

In the meantime, closers of the AL watch out - Bay looks hungry!

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Monday, April 27, 2009

In Navajo, "Jacoby" means "awesome"

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

I'm still recovering from the weekend's games. After those two marathons on Friday and Saturday, last night's game was only 3+ hours. Yet it provided what is arguably the top moment of the season so far. In the fifth, Jacoby Ellsbury stole home plate! It's something you rarely see tried - never mind done successfully - so it was an electric moment at Fenway. The crowd went absolutely nuts - and rewarded Ells with a very rare (for Fenway) curtain call.

The whole weekend series felt like October not April. If these games are a preview of what we can expect this year from our Sox, I think I better being taking power naps in the afternoon and stock the refrigerator!

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

More blasts from the past

One of the things I continue to enjoy about my membership at Netflix is the opportunity to revisit old favorites from the past, whether they be movies or television shows. I've gotten the chance to watch again past favs like Bonnie and Clyde, Captains and the Kings - even Gidget!

This weekend, I opened my mailbox to find a blast from the past. Having no baseball to watch this afternoon, I cracked open the first disc of the first season of Northern Exposure. Debuting in 1990, I hadn't reflected on it in years, and when I did, it was to remember the semi-train wreck it became towards the end. So, I'd forgotten how refreshing and fun that series was. I only made it thru the first two episodes. But wow! Incredible characters, quirky story lines, fine acting...

Maurice, the former astronaut. Holling and his teenage sweetie. Maggie the Amelia Earhart-wanna be. Ed, the crazed film fanatic. Chris in the morning. Marilyn the receptionist. And Joel, the epitome of the fish out of water.

In case you can't tell from the title of this blog, I totally relate to Joel. The "outlander" dropped into a very alien environment, populated by people out of a weird novel. When I first move here, I remember my nephews asking me if it was like the "Dukes of Hazard." Yeah, actually, it was. But, like Joel, I was eventually won over by the locals, by the local culture, by the whole atmosphere. Like Joel, I learned that if you want to survive in such a place, you must discard your preconceived notions and just embrace your new environment. Joel found peace and happiness.

And so have I.


It's a marathon...

There's an old sports cliche about the baseball season: it's a marathon not a sprint. Well, it looks like that same cliche can apply to any meeting between the Red Sox and the Yankees. Both games this weekend took 4 hours and 21 minutes. Yes, these games take a lot out of the teams - from the New York Times:
“Long games, a lot of pitching changes, a lot of runs, a lot of commercials,” Red Sox Manager Terry Francona said. “This certainly would age you. There’s that many pitches thrown, and it seems like every one of them is of consequence. It drains you.”
But they also take a LOT out of us fans. The pendulum swings wildly back and forth - the Sox fall behind, then the offense starts gearing up - lead change after lead change. Even the bottom half of the 9th offers no respite - it was during the 9th on Friday that Bay hit a two run homer to tie the game and send it into extra innings. Even yesterday, with a 16-11 lead, you still hung on every pitch, knowing that everything could change in a flash. The emotional roller coaster leaves you breathless, weak, spent, yet crazily singing and dancing - it's more intoxicating than the needed infusion of adult beverages!

Think about it: the winner of the Boston Marathon ran 26 miles in 2 hours and 8 minutes. He could have run four marathons in the time of the two baseball games - plus have time for a beer or two! And he probably would have had more energy at the end than I did!

So, I guess the best way to spend today is resting, napping, and recharging the batteries. Because game three kicks off at 8pm tonight - which means that it is likely the final out will be made after midnight....

Well it IS a marathon after all!

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Red Sox 16, Yankees 11

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Don't tell me that these guys don't get excited for a matchup against the Yankees. Red Sox have come from behind two games in a row to beat the Yankees - two pretty classic (and extremely long) games. Too tired to write more now... But - Yeah Red Sox!!

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dave Roberts is THE man!

Boston Globe Photo

It was so great to see Dave Roberts last night. Dave was back at Fenway to throw out the first pitch before the second game vs. the Twins.

It's hard to imagine what life would be like today if not for his monumental steal in the 2004 ALCS. Certainly the Red Sox would look VERY different. Would we have gone on to win another championship in 2007? Would that loss in 2004 have killed the last embers of hope burning in the hearts of Red Sox Nation? Terry Francona would probably be pumping gas somewhere, along with fellow grease monkey Kevin Millar. Johnny Damon would be stripping. Bronson Arroyo would singing Karaoke down in Florida. Mark Bellhorn would be....well, actually, some things wouldn't be so different.

Thank heavens we don't have to even consider that. We DID win - his steal DID launch our incredible comeback in the ALCS - we DID beat the Yankees.

And in the middle of that comeback was this wonderful, polite man. I had the privilege of meeting him in 2005, when he was playing with the Padres. They were playing in Atlanta, and I hiked down to see Bellhorn play. When Dave Roberts saw my Red Sox jersey, he came right over and signed an autograph for me. He had some incredibly nice things to say about Boston and our great fans. A terrific memory.

There's talk that Dave might be doing some studio work for NESN. That would be great! In the meantime: THANKS DAVE!!

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Favorite Quote of the Week

My favorite quote of the week comes from the newly installed Archbishop of New York, Timothy M. Dolan:
"My first pastoral letter's gonna be a condemnation of light beer and instant mashed potatoes -- I hate those two things."
Apparently, the Archbishop is a huge fan of the Milwaukee Brewers and Miller Beer. Don't see too much difference between the latter and "light beer," but that's just my opinion! Anyway, nice to see that one of the most visible faces of the Catholic Church in America has a good sense of humor!


This says it all

Today's New York Post cover is a classic! I've tried to cut and paste it without success, so you'll just have to follow the link!


Friday, April 17, 2009


I love the RemDawg. Jerry Remy - never a powerhouse player for the Sox - has become one of the most beloved figures in RS Nation. The Globe has a fantastic article about him in their Sunday magazine. From what I've heard from people in the know, this portrait of him is pretty accurate.



Thursday, April 16, 2009

I ♥ Wake

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images (I love when a photographer captures how Wakefield holds the knuckler)

Every day, I've thought about posting. And every day, I've found a reason (work, tired, RS losing) to put it off. But today it's easy to write - especially about my favorite knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield.

Timmeh did it all for us yesterday. After Daisuke only went one inning on Tuesday night and the Sox had to use six pitchers during a 12 inning game, it looked like yesterday afternoon's game would be a disaster. But Wakefield stepped in. According to the Globe, he stepped into Terry Francona's office before the game. "I told him, I said, 'Listen, I understand the circumstances of the day, and I just want you to know whatever happens - don't take me out. Let me keep going,' said Wakefield."

And that's what he did. Not only eating up innings, but pitching a no-hitter into the 8th inning! After giving up a hit to Suzuki, Wake kept going, for a complete game victory, 8-2.

More importantly, our offense finally recovered from it's jet lag. This was the first game of the season where they scored more than 5 runs. Ortiz had a double - his first extra base hit of the season. Lowell and Drew both homered. Yeah!

So, they came home happy. As happy as you can be when you're record is 3-6. On the upside, they haven't been swept in a series yet. Friday night begins a 9 game home stand, including the Patriot's Day game on Monday at 11am.

In the meantime, an off-day today means an extra 24 hours to luxuriate in Wakefield's performance yesterday. If any member of Red Sox Nation had forgotten how valuable he is to our team, yesterday was a fantastic reminder.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Love our goofy guys

I got my 2009 Red Sox Yearbook in the mail today. Here's the cover:

Even better is page 2:

It's going to be a fun year!

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I tend to get totally caught up in baseball. This isn't exactly news, I realize! But every now and then, it all gets put into perspective. You realize it's just a game, that there are larger issues that challenge us every day.

That's how I felt Thursday afternoon when I heard the news about the death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart. Frankly, I had never heard of him - and had only paid cursory attention to the recap of Wednesday nights Angels-As game. It was Adenhart's first start of the season - and the last of his life. Just hours later, he was killed by an alleged drunk driver - someone who tried to flee the scene, leaving behind 2 dead, 1 mortally wounded, and 2 others (including his own passenger) critically injured.

What a tragedy - but one that is unfortunately enacted daily in our country. Every day, someone gets behind the wheel who's had one too many - or ten too many. They don't think about the drive home, about the fact that they're operating thousands of pounds of a potentially lethal weapon. Most are only thinking about hitting their bed as soon as possible.

I guess I've got a unique perspective. In 1996, as I was driving home at 9:30 pm from work, I was hit head-on by a drunk driver. He crossed over into my lane as I was driving up a hill and he was coming down. My little Camry was no match for his minivan. As I tried to extricate myself, looking down at a leg laceration that cut me to the bone, he ran away. Fortunately, two big men who were in the car behind me gave chase, and held him until the police arrived. Not that it mattered - he had no license, no insurance, and it wasn't even his car. I was lucky to be overinsured - all of my injuries and damages were covered - but it was months before I was truly whole again. And probably longer before I was mentally rehabbed.

Whenever I feel low, and when I hear news like I did Thursday, I try to remember how fortunate I was to survive that wreck. It's too bad Nick Adenhart will never be able to have that perspective. The lesson here: don't drive after you've been drinking. Ever. As our local safety department points out, "buzzed driving is drunk driving."

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

And so it begins

Photo by Jim Rogash/ Getty Images
And so the 162 game marathon begins. Yesterday at 4:06 pm (a time chosen to pay tribute to Ted Williams), the first pitch - a strike! - was thrown by Josh Beckett. Thus begins our journey toward another title...we hope. Right before that first pitch was thrown, I had a sudden, strong feeling. A feeling that we are about to witness an epic season for the Red Sox. Those feelings seem to have been confirmed by yesterday's game. Beckett striking out two in the first (and "punching out" - Eck's description - 10 and allowing only two hits). And in the bottom of the first - on the second pitch he saw - Pedroia knocked one into the Monster Seats. I love this shot of Tito's reaction:

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The rest of the game was just plain fun! Lowell with a double. Varitek wrapping a homer around the Pesky Pole. Papelbon closing it out in style. If this game could be a microcosm of the season - well, that would be awesome!

Lester's hoping for another victory!

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Rain rain go away

So it looks like there's a 50% chance of baseball in Boston today. Here's hoping Mother Nature cooperates!!

In the meantime, let's kick off the season with an all-time favorite: the Dropkicks!!

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

One more day

Only one more day until the first game of the 2009 season for the Red Sox. That is, if the weather cooperates.

In the meantime, to get geared up, I'd like to share two of my favorite baseball essays. One of the first pieces I ever remember reading by Peter Gammons appeared in Sports Illustrated's November 3, 1986 issue. I cut it out and I've re-read it many times over the years. It perfectly summed up my feelings that dread night of Game 6. Thankfully, all of those beautiful words are readily available now from the SI vault
How will it feel? For years we had asked ourselves, "How will it feel if the Red Sox ever win?" How will it feel if there are two outs and none on in the bottom of the 10th with a 5-3 lead in Game 6 of the World Series? How, in God's name, will it feel?
The reason why he's such a respected writer!

My other favorite is by A. Bartlett Giamatti, one of the most brilliant men to ever hold the office of Commisioner of Baseball. Although the piece is better read in October, as baseball winds down, it's still wonderful:

"The Green Fields of the Mind "

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.
Tomorrow can't come too soon!!

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