Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
The Red Sox unveiled new hats and jerseys last night/this morning and my first thought was "so what." But soon I started hearing rumbling from my friends in Red Sox nation that they didn't like the change. The "B" on the hat is sacred and the red socks on the uniforms is cheesy, was what I heard from more than a few people.
I didn't really have a lot of time to think about it today, but it struck me when I was enjoying a beer o'clock conversation with my work colleague Derek.
In this day and age, the uniforms are what we root for... it's all we have left as fans. We long ago gave up the hope that a player would stay with the team for their entire career - free agency was the dagger in our heart there. So rooting for players is an annual affair, subdued by the revolving door also known as the "hot stove."
Team chemistry is annual roll of the dice, but those uniforms and hats... take 'em to the bank. We come to the Park year in and year out and feel an allegiance to a certain look, a certain color, a certain letter... quickly sewn onto a synthetic jersey somewhere in China. That's what being a fan has become.
So when Sox management has the audacity to change the logo and establish the "red socks" as de rigueu, we say "hold on a second."
As a business, it's certainly in their right to make some changes if it will help drive merchandise sales (the assumed reason behind the change). But the fans I'm talking to aren't buying it... whether it's a hat, an away jersey or a bumper sticker with the new logo. We're just fine with what we've got (or had, based on what you've just introduced).
What about you? What do you think about the hat and uniform changes. Should Theo Epstein and his team have asked you first?
I look forward to your comments, which will undoubtedly be better than this post. Thanks!
Monday, November 24, 2008
"Now this stat is eerie: After Tom Brady's first 11 starts in the NFL, his completion percentage was 66.3. After Matt Cassel's 11 NFL games this season, his completion percentage is ... well, 66.3...It's crazy and all-too-soon and slightly irreverent. But it is also unavoidable. Life is imitating art. The career path of Cassel is following Brady's. Brady's record after 11 games: 8-3. Cassel's: 7-4 -- and if the Pats had won the overtime coin flip a week ago Thursday, I bet those records would be the same. Brady's rating: 91.6. Cassel's: 90.5. Cassel leads Brady by 377 passing yards, thanks to Cassel's back-to-back 400-yard passing games. (Been on Mars? That's no misprint.) As for touchdowns, Brady leads Cassel by three.
Monday, November 17, 2008
"Red Sox, Tigers talking trade involving Lugo;
Sox would get Willis or Robertson in return
Any scenario where Lugo goes somewhere else would be a good trade. I would take Dontrelle Willis' glove in return. Make this trade happen
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
10. A stalled battery in the parking lot, at least until the game was over.
9. The kids cry all the way home after pooping in the car.
8. The babysitter, watching the entire game, gets so excited that she breaks a vase.
7. Bad gas all night from too many Fenway Franks in only 7 innings.
6. When ordering tickets for next year, their computer will crash over and over and over again.
5. Shoes are ruined from stepping in puke while taking that last piss on the way out.
4. TV reception will be mysteriously fuzzy during all future Sox games from 7 inning and on in the 'leavers' homes.
2. Traffic and tolls so bad they couldve stayed for the rest of game and still got home in the same amount of time.
1. Knowing for a lifetime that they missed out on one of the great, all-time, Sox victories. And when they try to say that they were there and saw it all, a rash shaped like the Yankees insignia will appear on their forehead for all to see.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Trust me, I've been there. All I need to do is mention 1978, 1986, and 2003 to remind my fellow Sox fans that we've felt the pain. Granted, this was only game two of the ALDS so it's not quite the same as some of the heart wrenching losses the Sox suffered (plus, the Halos did win the World Series as recently as 2002) bu still, the Angles won 100 games this year, they beefed up the middle of their lineup with studs like Torii Hunter and Mark Teixeira and arguably had the best closer in baseball in K-Rod after his record setting 62 save season.
As an Angel's fan (yes, I'm talking to you Mr. Humbarger) one has to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask what on earth could you could have possibly done to merit this "Groundhog Day" like misery. Seriously, the Sox dominating the Halos in the ALDS is becoming almost as automatic as the Celtics and Lakers meeting in the finals back in the early eighties. It's like the Duke's hoops team punching an automatic ticket to the Final Four during the 90's. It's like knowing that the Patriots were a favorite for the Super Bowl as long as Tom Brady was at the helm in the 2000's.
It's good to see that Angel's skipper, Mike Scioscia, hasn't given up hope yet. Then again, what else is he going to say after a demoralizing loss last night when faced with the prospect of going to one of the unfriendliest places on earth (since 10/17, 2004 the Sox are 9 for 11 int he post season at home) down 0-2. Oh yeah, and he's facing this century's version of Bob Gibson in game three in Josh Beckett.
Mike tried to keep his chin up after the game saying, "This game ain't over until somebody wins three games," said Scioscia. "The [players] are down, [but] we go into Boston, win a game, and the pressure is back on them." I give Mike credit for putting his best game face on but seriously, there will be next to no pressure on the Sox if they lose game three at home. You know why? Because they have another home game the next night and history has show that they own the Halos in the ALDS.
What do you think? I'm I being to cocksure? Your comments are welcome below.
Photo Credit: LA Times Newspaper
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Rewinding to that last statement, I'm thinking that maybe our seeming complacency has less to do with being lackadaisical and more about high expectations for our local teams. Thinking back to the early eighties, I remember many Boston Celtic sports fans waiting until late February/early March to really check into the season. It wasn't because they didn't love the Celtics but rather they expected that they would be in the playoffs. In fact, they assumed that anything short of making it to the finals was a disappointment. That may come off as arrogant or detached but it's a reality. I believe it's one of the main reasons we as Red Sox fans have hated Yankee fans and Cowboy fans so much in the past. By the way, we're obviously starting to inspire some of this same hate in other fans (thanks to friend, Adam Cohen, for passing this along).
With all that said, I am very excited that the Sox are in the playoffs. It's been a little bit of an odd season as some of the posts on this blog have noted. The season opening in Japan and then pausing for a few west coast exhibition games was a weird start. Then we seem to have hit a disproportionate number of west coast games early on (I'm an early-to-bedder most nights so I can't stay up until 1:00 AM watching those games). Plus, the Sox seemed to be in cruise control most of the season in spite of the Rays besting them in August and September. Still, this is the fifth time in six years the boys from Beantown have been to the post season and I'm thrilled.
The big question now is how will we fare? Personally, I'm a little nervous but feeling better every day. Getting JD Drew back into the lineup last night was huge. More important is nursing Lowell back to a quasi-healthy state. I think we'll end up missing Manny's "clutchedness" in some of the big at bats but it seems like Youk and Pedroia are starting to fill some of that need. Also, Ellsbury is coming on at the right time. Pitching is mostly good and with the addition of Masterson to the core bullpen team, it seems like we're finding some stability beyond just Papelbon in the late innings.
There's no doubt that the Angels will be tougher this year than in years past. The Sox dropping eight out of nine to them this year is testiment to that fact. The Rays are also a force to be reckoned with although I'll be interested to see how they do in their first year ever in the playoffs. As we've seen in the past, having "been there" before matters more than ever in October although we've seen another team from Florida win twice over the last 12 years in spite of being a "rookie" team.
So ladies and gentlemen, stock up your refrigerators and your snack cabinets and grab your remotes. Hopefully we're in for a long ride over the next several weeks. Any predictions for a Manny vs. Ortiz world series?
Photo credit: Moon Battery
Monday, September 08, 2008
However, I digress from my title. On revelation that Mr. Brady will be out for the season, I felt strangely liberated. At the opening of the season, the Patriots had been named again as favorites to win the Superbowl for the umpteenth year in a row. Anything less than a Superbowl win would be a letdown. Each game had to be won and every loss would be studied and dissected to no end by both coaches and the talking heads. Now, I can just enjoy the season as every other fan of the other NFL teams not named the Patriots. If the Pats go to the Superbowl, it would be a joyous occassion, not a required "date with destiny." I will continue to be upset by the losses and expect the best, but now will be excited when the Pats win, not disappointed if they don't win by enough.
Don't get me wrong, I would still much rather have Brady in the game, but I just feel that maybe I can enjoy this season a little more knowing there are no preordained requirements. Also, knowing that Brady will have a full year to rest and recover makes me look forward to next year, in addition to enjoying this year.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
After two World Series wins and three trips to the post season (soon to be four) in his five years as manager of the Red Sox, it's hard to argue with the fact that Terry Francona is a good manager. What makes him special, however, is his ability to stay calm under pressure. By pressure, I don't just mean in the game but during the season. I'll argue that it's this ability that allowed the Sox to win the WS last year and is what will get them deep into the playoffs this year.
Unlike former Yankee manager (who as many of you know now has the pleasure of coaching "Red Sox West" aka the LA Dodgers), Francona doesn't burn out his bullpen. He doesn't panic and keep guys off the DL when they need time to heal. Francona isn't affraid to run with a rookie even when he's struggling mightily (remember how poorly MVPedroia started off last season?) or to stick with a veteran that needs to work himself out of a deep slump (hello msr. Varitek). That's not as much of a knock on Torre as it is a compliment to Francona.
One of the things that ultimately did Torre in in New York was the pressure from Steinbrenner to win at all costs. It forced him to constantly ride his best 2-3 relievers in the pen ( I remember a dozen times over the last few years where Torre brought Rivera in for 4+ out saves, mainly because the Yankees early season losses constantly put the team in must win situations starting as early as August). This ultimately lead to the Yanks exiting the playoffs early (see 20002, and then 2005-2007) because by the time they got into the playoffs, there bullpen was so worn out they didn't have the horses to win in tight games.
Francona on the other hand has taken extremet caution with players like Beckett, Papelbon, Schilling, Wakefield, Dice-K, Lowell, Youkilis, Ortiz and others during the regular season, sometimes seeming to thumb his nose at opportunities to win the division and instead settling for the Wild Card. Even this year, up until a few games ago, it appeared that the Sox were headed for the Wild Card but with Tampa Bay hitting the wall and Boston getting back some of their studs (Beckett, Lowell, Youkilis and soon, Drew), a win tonight against Texas would put the Sox just 1 1/2 games back in the division with six left against the Rays.
Now I must also give credit where credit is due to Theo Epstein who has not only completely restocked the Sox farm system (4th best in the majors) but made the tough decisions like trading Nomar in 2004, not emptying the bank for Johan Santana and ultimately pulling the trigger on the Manny for Bay trade at the trading deadline this year (a deal that apparently has worked out well for both teams with the Sox a near lock for the playoffs and the Dodgers with a 1/2 game lead in the West). It doesn't hurt to have owners with deep pockets but the Yankees, Cubs and Dodgers have equally deep pockets and look how they've faired up until this year.
What do you think? Is Terry the man? Or is he just lucky?
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Same problem with the Patriots. I'm not worried that they've now lost three straight pre-season games. In fairness, I'm more concerned with Tom Brady's foot injury than anything given the fact that we all know that the Pats fate remains firmly in the hands of Tommy B. I have started to engage with football ONLY because I've had to do my pre-season picks (I'm in three leagues this year - my brothers, Derek Showerman's and Peter Kim's).
I know that once the first real football game starts, I'll start to kick it into gear. I also know that as the nights get colder and we drift toward the end of September, my heart will start racing with every close late inning game. Maybe part of the issue is the fact that the Rays are the ones leading the AL East this year. I am happy for them but don't really see them as a real competitor... yet. The Yanks are the ones I like to loath and they've clearly been ravaged by injuries, poor investments and a general lack of team spirit this year. The Angels still don't scare me either. I know they have more arms and bats in their always competitive lineup but given their past October woes, I still don't see them advancing to the WS this year.
What do you think? I'm sure Mssrs. Cohen, Storer, Strout (John), Quinan, Humbarger (Halos fan), Person, Sukernek and Haslam have something to say. My bro-in-law, "Redfish" should also give us an NL pennant race update (he's a Marlins fan). Let's bring it in the comments!
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Maybe this is just sour grapes, but if they Yankees were the ones trading Manny, they would have gotten back Bay plus prospects, not given up prospects.
Maybe Manny had to go, but the Sox are going to miss that feared one-two (or should I say three-four?) punch of Ortiz and Manny. Oh well.
The King is dead. Long live the King.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Was just curious if other people had such albums that they would recommend - even though such a question may be outdated in this day and age of downloading music.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
- The park looks a thousand times nicer and more intimidating on TV. In reality it's just a big, cold ballpark with awful infrastructure.
- It is painfully clear why a new park is needed. The place sucks - in an emergency, there is no way I could ever get out when sitting in the upper deck. The advertising is old, tired and consists mostly of translucent panes backlit with fluorescent lights.
- The scoreboard is old and there are no replays shown. This was annoying when a very controversial "safe" call was made at 1B.
- The sound system is atrocious. I was stupefied by this - is it that hard to wire speakers around the park? They only have one stack of giant speakers in a pile atop the center field bleacher wall. I think my fraternity house had the same stack in the basement for parties back in the day.
- I've heard much about the field dimensions and how they are no longer the House that Ruth Built. The center and LF wall configurations are just plain odd to look at, and the fans seem so far away from the game.
- The field was in horrible shape. The grass had been worn down from the all-star game and looked like my backyard after a 4-year-old's slip-n-slide birthday party.
- The lighting is weird - all those lights shine on the field but there are pockets of darkness covering the fans. It made it look cloudy even at night.
- The ballpark frankly looks tired. The hallways look like a dirty subway station. The place has just been neglected over the years and it shows. It really makes me appreciate the Fenway ownership and what they have done to invest in the infrastructure, down to details like getting rid of the trough toilets.
- My buddy Larry who brought me is a season ticket holder and has been for 12+ years. 5 years ago, the seats were $18. Today they are $60. In the new park they will be at least $100 and have TVs and waitress service.
- One tradition I kinda liked - in the first inning the right field bleachers chant each NYY fielder's name until they wave or acknowledge them in some way - even when the pitcher is about to throw. I also liked that Jeter has a recording of the old announcer still announce his name when he comes up to bat.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
- I like what I see so far. Great starting pitching (I mean REALLY great starting pitching). For the first time in years, they actually have a reliable number 5. They are also getting quality innings from youngsters Lester and Masterson which is a huge plus. If DiceK can get over his early inning walks, he could easily pitch 240 innings and be somewhere in the 20-6 range. Can't believe Wake is still cranking along - that guy is $$!
- Defense (minus Lugo's occasional naps at short) has been equally stellar. The outfield in particular has been lights out. You have to go back to the days of Dewey Evans, Fredd Lynn and Jim Rice to recreate the speed, agility and hitting that we're getting today with msrs. Ellsbury, Drew, Crisp and Manny (who really is where he should be these days i.e. DH).
- Hitting has been solid but timely hitting has been sorely missed. Credit this to a little bad luck and a lot to Ortiz being out of the lineup. Although the rest of the Sox have done a stellar job hanging in there (Drew, Lowell, Pedroia and Youk in particular), Ortiz being out of the lineup has had a ripple effect. It would be a huge boost to get him back in the lineup post All Star break. I know, I know, tell you something you don't know already.
- Other than the occasional brain fart (like leaving Hanson in last week against the Rays after he's walked two straight batters on 9 pitches), I love Francona more and more each day. The guy totally gets this club and his balanced approach (don't get too high or too low) has really helped. Who would have thunk it when the Sox hired him back in 2004.
- Congrats to the DRays who have been lights out the first half of the season. I honestly wish them well (as long as they don't keep sweeping the Sox) but I have one word of caution to their bandwagon fan base - 2003 Baltimore Orioles. Remember them? They were white hot during the first half of the season but forgot there was a second half to play (maybe Roberts stopped taking steroids during the second half). I still like the Sox chances...
What am I missing?
Thursday, July 03, 2008
I feel bad for Rocco Baldelli and all of his injuries, but if he was healthy, it just wouldn’t be fair. I think their inexperience will hold them back this year, but this team looks like it could be a force for years to come. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad we’re playing the old has-beens in the Bronx now.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
*It was supercool that Paul Pierce finally become a "household name" among basketball fans during the Celts impressive championship run last week, as many of the basketball people I know who follow the Western Conference had never really seen him play except for the occasional hi-lite on ESPN. All of the serious fans of the Spurs, Rockets, and Lakers I spoke with were very impressed with Pauls overall game. Finally, they know what Ive been talking about when I would tell them about Pierce, memories of my witness to many dozens of after-work, late-nite rebroadcast Celtics games during the 'Twan' years while living in Boston, (or when I could get a ticket for $20.00 or less out in front of the Fleet Center minutes after tip-off and move to the lower section because there were plenty of empty seats), watching Paul dribble between multiple defenders while taking it to the hoop so fluid and effortlessly, and wonder how such a big, seemingly un-graceful-looking guy could actually be so damn smooth. The Truth is now known nationwide. I know it goes without saying that we are all proud of PP and the Celts, and privileged to have been able to see such a great player year in and year out, good teams or bad, but Im surprised that it took nearly a week, and a Floridian living in Austin, Texas, to even mention the Celts 17th championship win on our blog.
*Any one of you sports fans out there who dont yet own at least a 42 inch hi-def TV are REALLY missing out. Run out fast and get one- basketball, baseball, football, and hockey all look incredible in hi-def. Heck, it even makes golf fun to watch. Face it, you are gonna get one eventually, so it might as well be sooner rather than later. Start saving your pennies now and you'll have one by the World Series
*I find it interesting that the national media are SO in love with the Rays, while leaving Hanley, Dan Uggla, and my Florida Marlins out of the loop, even though the Fish are still hanging around, just 1 game back of the Phillies in the NL east. And while the Rays are in a much tougher division than the Marlins, Florida is staying afloat with a $22 million payroll, half the payroll that the Rays have.
*No matter how good the Cubs seem right now, the Cubs are still the Cubs, and they will eventually blow it again.
*Is anyone watching the College World Series? Me neither. (But I would be only if Florida State U. were still in the tournament, speaking of which, BIG props to FSU alum JD Drew for knocking the crap out of the ball lately.)
*Last but not least, the feckin' Yankees are in the rear-view mirror again, lurking only 5 games back of our beloved Sox with a long season to go, not to mention the aforementioned Rays and their winning ways, breathing down our ass-crack right now, and here we go again. Lots of drama in the coming months, so grab a clam-basket and a frappe from the Clam Box on Wallaston Beach, and get ready for a wild ride and an exciting summah in the AL East…
So says the RedFish
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Interestingly enough, Woodman's came up several times as the fried clam joint of choice validating what I already assumed. However, I did got several other great recommendations, one of which I decided to try (Farnham's in Essex). It's hard to say whether or not it was better -- although my wife said that she still prefers Woodman's -- but the fried clams were definitely good. They were a little different in the sense that the batter was drier/more floury but crispy and accompanied by plenty of fries/onion rings. My one fear is that Farnham's would not be able to deal with tons of people in the thick of the summer like Woodman's can but maybe they change things up when they get busy.
Either way, I now have a bunch of seafood places I'm looking forward to trying. See below for some great recommendations (sourced from my friends on Twitter). I left in names so if you decide to try a place out and you like it/hate it, you know who to thank. If we missed any other "must try" seafood places, please leave 'em in the comments.
- beaucolburn: @astrout if north of Boston counts, I'm a Woodman's guy. In town, Summer Shack in Back Bay is pretty good.2 minutes ago
- dpitkin: @astrout my favorite fried clams Aunt Carries http://www.auntcarriesri.com/ & woodmans http://www.woodmans.com/25 minutes ago
- 36 minutes ago
- mnassal: @astrout Kelly's is always a good bet for whole belly clams, I personally like strip clams better ;-)
- RobertCollins: @astrout Sounds good Aaron - Perhaps a Clambake for the next @mzinga BBQ-like gathering... Looking forward to post
- susiea: @astrout Woodmans in Essex! but Farnham's in Essex is also good. As is Arnold's in Eastham! Now I'm craving :)
- RobertCollins: @astrout Love to find the results of this one - I still hike up to Woodmans in Essex - http://www.woodmans.com or LobsterHut in Plymouth
- LewisG: @astrout There are three great places--one on the road between Salisbury and Hampton beaches. The other two a left turn at the light same road
Friday, June 13, 2008
I sat on the edge of my couch and didn't move for 3 hours. In the 2nd quarter, the C's showed signs of life - I was hopeful that they could cut the lead to less than 10 before the half, but a half court 3 at the buzzer left the Lakers up 18. Everyone knows the Celtics own the third quarter, so I stayed up. I had no idea it would be to witness history.
Watching the Celtics chip away was excruciating - with each block, each Posey 3 pointer, each time Van Gundy pointed out no one has come back from a deficit that big, you start to think, "Could this be it?" It was like watching Lester's no-hitter, or Ortiz come up in the bottom of the 9th against Rivera. There is a magic in the game as it is happening that just can't be scripted, except in basketball it's more drawn out over a couple of hours.
As much faith as anyone should have in the Celtics at this point, they are playing the Lakers - in the first half the Lakers were the same team that shut down San Antonio and was undefeated at home previously in the playoffs. Kobe didn't score a point in the first half, and his team was dominating. In the third quarter I got superstitious - didn't want to change my position on the couch, didn't answer the phone, didn't soothe my 1 year old after I woke him up with a "YES!!!" when the Celtics cut the lead to single digits just after 11pm EST. With all the chest thumping from the Lakers this series, there is no team that has played with more heart than the Celtics in that next hour. Ray Allen played 48 minutes and looked like he could do a triathalon after the game. All I could think after the game was, "I can't believe what I just witnessed."
Not sure where this will fall in history. The Celtics need to close out the series for it to mean anything, but I get to say this once again - what a time to be a Boston sports fan.
(Interesting side note - if the NBA had actually started the game at a decent time most of the eastern seaboard could have seen this game finish. When does Stern acknowledge a 9pm start time is ridiculous?)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Some pretty funny quotes by celebs, players and regular folk like us (just from the wrong coast) about the existing hatred of the Celtics in Los Angeles.
For those of us who were fortunate to live through the 80s basketball heyday in Boston
as Celtics fans there is certainly as much animosity still felt for them.
Here is the link and a nice youtube flashback reminder ..
Take this... Mr Lakers Assistant Coach / horned rimmed jackass**
**I think Bill Simmons touched on this in one of his recent articles about how James Worthy shoved Rambis out of bounds to prevent retaliation, but while watching it repeatedly what struck me as more bizarre than knocking your own teammate down, was Bird actually helping Rambis back to his feet... so much for thinking that it was "old school ball" back then.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Can the Red Sox be so desperate? Can the fans be so desperate? Is signing Bonds really the right thing to do? I would hope not. Besides,in any 'key situation', opposing teams intentionally walk Bonds anyway.
Give me an update as to whats being said around the watercooler in Boston as to the general feeling of Bonds joining the Sox a few days after the idea was brought up. Is it really a possibility, or just talk? Say it aint so, Theo.
I am encouraged by Crisp calling the [Devil] Rays "girls," however.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
The "thing" of which I speak is the act of giving back Manny Ramirez's 500th home run ball on Saturday, something which may have cost the brothers Woo from Nahant, MA, $500,000. Yes, you're reading that number correctly - that's the sum of money that Eddie Murray's 500th HR ball fetched 12 years back. And no, the Woo brothers aren't Manny haters. They are just good all around guys.
When I first read this story in the Boston Globe on Sunday, I turned to my wife and said, "you know, stories like this give me faith in mankind." I truly meant that. Once in a while, it's nice to see someone just do something nice vs. what's in their best financial/personal interest.
Ironically, Manny has more money than God (well, maybe not that much, but at $20 million/year, you get the picture) so many people might say, "screw him. If he wants the ball, let him pay me!" Instead, the Woo brothers opted to give the ball back to Manny saying simply, "this is his accomplishment."
What I love about the ending of this story is that Manny has decided to "Pay it Forward" (couldn't resist using another movie title here) by agreeing to auction off his 500th HR ball and then donate the proceeds to charity. Wow! Another story that restores faith in mankind? You betcha. Just another case of Manny being Manny.
Friday, May 30, 2008
On to the musings...
- Anyone else a little bit excited about the fact that the D-Rays are in 1st place in the East? We know this won't last (think Baltimore a few years back) but it's fun while it's happening. Yes, I'd obviously like seeing the Sox in first place more but this is kind of like seeing your kid brother whom you've competed with your whole life (him losing most of the time) scoring two goals in a big soccer game or him making the varsity baseball team as a freshman. It feels good in a "I won't let on that I'm proud of you but I am" kind of way. Too bad their fans still don't care.
- Celts could REALLY use a win tonight. Not that I don't think they could win in game 7 in the Gah-den but given the Lakers win last night and the fact that they've already played two 7-game series, them tired legs could use a week-long rest. Here's my prediction - if Rip sits tonight for D-troit, the C's win a squeaker. If Rip plays meaningful minutes, C's lose by 8. Let's hope Rip sits.
- Anyone ready for football season to start? I didn't think so.
- The Sox have a good problem right now in the fact that they have too much starting pitching. Back in 2005, they found themselves in the same situation and proceeded to screw themselves by trading away Bronson Arroyo. This hurt when Schilling/Wells went down early with injuries. What's nice is that we have two studs in Colon and Masterson waiting in the wings so that when DiceK suffers a sore shoulder, we don't miss a beat. This will only get better/more interesting when Schilling comes back in mid to late August.
- Is hockey season over yet?
- Can we find a better option for late inning set up/back up closer than Timlin? I love Mike and he has done wonderful things for the Sox but he really is done at this point.
As always, comments are welcome! Happy weekend.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
It’s a rare treat when the Red Sox come to Seattle. The scheduling gods have seen fit to only bring the Sox out just twice a year. Usually, there is a series in May and then late July. So this week, the boys are in town. Monday night I went to the game with my kids. If you haven’t been, Safeco is a great place to see a game: spacious, great seats, all facing the action, wonderful bathrooms, great variety of food, easy parking and freeway access. But of course we don’t have the history of Fenway.
Anyhow, it was a great night for a game. One of the first things that we noticed was that there was a lot more Boston blue and red in the stands than Seattle colors. It seemed like the Sox fans were ready to take over Safeco. And who could argue. Just look at the records and you see, there is nothing to get excited about for Seattle. As Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone wrote, “The Red Sox will be easy to pick out at Safeco Field: They're the good team.” Throughout the game, Sox fans were cheering like crazy. Every “Let’s Go Red Sox” was echoed by Mariner fan silence. It really felt like we outnumbered them. The only thing the M’s fans cheered for was the cartoon hydroplane boat races on the big screen. For those that are dying to know, Oberto’s Beef jerky green won again.
Still Monday’s game had the makings of a good one. Crafty old Colon was making his comeback against Mariners ace and young stud, King Felix Hernandez. And the two pitchers didn’t disappoint, a bonafide pitchers duel through 7. Colon’s line was very encouraging: 7IP, 84 pitches, 59 for strikes, just one ER, and 4 K’s. And of course, there was Ichiro’s catch of the year when he robbed Varitek of at least a double. Ichiro made a Willie Mays like grab with his back to home plate and bounced off the wall. The 8th inning was great as Hernandez was left in too long and the Red Sox small-balled their way to 4 runs with the big blow being little Dustin Pedroia’s ground rule double to score the go-ahead run. And at the end, the Mariners had their 7th straight loss. It really was easy to tell the good team. And it felt like we were at home. I just wish they came more often.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days, who hasn’t heard and been excited by the Jon Lester no-hitter story? What an uplifting story. Who wasn’t proud of the kid? And here in the Pacific Northwest, the story has even more relevance, since Lester is from the area. I was especially proud for having the vision and foresight to pick up young Lester in my fantasy baseball league. What a genius, the next Theo they would say! Ok, would you believe the next Bill James. All right, the next Lou Gorman. And I am not too embarrassed to admit that I play fantasy baseball. It’s kind of like a comfortable old shoe. I’ve been doing it for so many years, it helps me to focus more on baseball and get to know more of the players.
What I am embarrassed to admit to, is that my General Manager genius was short-lived. In my league, the transaction deadline is the day before. So in over-thinking, I cut Lester the day of the game to make room for another pitcher who would start on Tuesday in my quest to maximize my total starts for the week. The theory was that I could flip the 2 pitchers, maybe throw in Joe Blanton in the middle and generate 3 extra starts. Enough to win strikeouts and wins for the week. Who can refute that logic? Even Mike Gimbel would go agree. Maybe the analogy to Gorman, was correct after all. Maybe, the Duque. So who was the stud, that I had to have, had to drop the Sox pitcher for? Dustin McGowan pitched a good game, and lost, but not a no-no, not even close. 6 1/3 innings, 2 earned runs, 4 BB, 4 K and a big L. Not 9 IP 0 H 0 ER 2 BB 9K and a W. Not even close. Now here’s where it will get ugly. Tomorrow when waivers clear on the hottest pitcher in baseball, what do you think the chances are that I will get him back? Exactly, can you say Dustin McGowan?
The popular adage is when it’s Head vs Heart, the smart thing to do is go with your head. Be rational, not emotional, they say.Well maybe that works in Vegas, but I'm changing the rule, When it’s Head versus Heart, the Heart Wins…and it’s more fun that way.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
A few thoughts on Lester's accomplishment:
- Congratulations Jon - you've come a long way since battling back from cancer. Most people would be happy to be alive yet you are not only in one of the best starting rotations in MLB, you just accomplished something that has only happened 256 times in history (including your no-no).
- I think I'm more impressed by the fact that Jason Varitek has now caught FOUR no hitters (Nomo, Lowe, Bucholtz and now Lester). He almost caught a fifth last year on June 7 (as my wife was in labor with our third child) when Schilling came one out away from pulling it off.
- Still wouldn't mind having Johan Santana but the fact two of the key elements of the possible trade (Bucholtz and Lester) have now thrown no-no's makes me even happier that the deal didn't go down. The other player the Twins were drooling over, Jacoby Ellsbury, is third in the league in steals (stole 2nd & 3rd on two consecutive pitches last night - also saved the Royal's one possible hit on a gorgeous diving catch)
- Big question now is who the Sox demote if/when Colon/Schilling join the starting rotation full time. I guess Wakefield but even he's been mostly hot recently. These are good problems to have.
- Touching that Francona was so moved by Lester's feat last night. I really like Francona as a manager - I think it's the fact that he's human and that he seems to truly care about his players. I've also heard that he's a no bullshit kind of guy behind closed doors which is the way it should be.Publish Post
*picture courtesy ESPN
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Yes, the Sox lost a heart breaker last night. I'm beyond it now - I was 10 minutes after the game. That's what winning two World Series in four years will do for your damaged sports psyche. The Patriots going to the Super Bowl four times in the last seven years and the Celts pushing toward their first title in two decades didn't hurt. But that's not the point of this post.
One of the things that makes me more excited about the Sox this year than in years past is the fact that they are absolutely loaded with talent at all levels. Not just "Handley Ramirez/Jon Papelbon" loaded but they literally have about 9 guys down at the farm that could be starting for other major league teams. Just look at the decision the Sox have to make today when they option Craig Hansen and Jed Lowrie down to Pawtucket. Both have kicked some tail this time around in the Bigs.
What's nice is that we also have loads of veteran major league talent at every position too. There isn't one position right now where I look and say, "if only they had someone good at position x" (okay, maybe I say that about Lugo sometimes but even he doesn't give me too much Agita). Yes, there bullpen could use a little TLC right now but they'll get that sorted out soon. Delcarmen will come around and Timlin will probably end up on the DL for a long stretch. They will also likely deal for a power arm to set up Papelbon in the 7th or 8th to complement Okajima. That's the role that Delcarmen is supposed to fill - he may yet - but I'd prefer to see him come in the 6th and/or maybe the 7th.
One of the reasons why this is such a fantastic time to be a fan is that it feels like the Sox have a perfect mix of big league talent and dozens of assets down on the farm. They now have the luxury of taking the Twins approach of grooming their own talent and integrating experience with young power and enthusiasm. Or, they can go the route of the big market teams like the Mets, Yanks and Dodgers and trade for whomever they please come the trading deadline (my money says they go the former rather than the latter except to pick up a power arm for the pen).
Two separate notes:
- The last four or five games that I've turned the Sox on, they've been losing, only to immediately pull ahead within minutes. They've of course lost two of those games in the ninth inning (Lugo error game and blown Papelbon save Friday night). Not necessarily a trend I'd like to see continue but kind of exciting nonetheless.
- Guess who just suffered one of their first big injuries of the season. If you guessed the Blue Jays (Vernon Wells is out 6-8 weeks with a broken wrist) you are correct (I mentioned this in a post about a month ago). If I were one of the 7 Blue Jays fans out there, I'd start wondering if the "Curse of the Bambino" has moved several hundred miles north.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
The big question in my mind is do the Patriots sit tight and pick at number at number 7? Or do they trade down in the draft and pick up two later round number ones. My money is on the latter but who knows - it's hard to read the minds of football savants Pioli and Belichick.
Onto this weeks musings...
- * It's too early to get too high or too low with the Red Sox but these last few games are killing me. Last night's 5-4 loss to the D-Rays was one of those losses that you could see coming. The Sox couldn't get out of their own way leaving 10 guys on base and hitting into double play after double play. The guy that is really killing the Sox right now is Ortiz. Because he's done so much over the last few years, we should all be willing to cut him a season's worth of slack. But if he can't get it together, something has to be done - not sure what that "something" is but maybe a few games on the bench or a move into the 6-9 slot in the line up.
- * Props to the Bruins for proving me wrong. The showed some serious testicular fortitude by making their series against Montreal interesting. It would have been very cool if they could have knocked off the Habs but honestly, the B's had too many injuries/shortcomings to go deep into the playoffs. Not a bad season all in all.
- * The Pistons can't be feeling good about being down 2-1 to the Sixers right now. My guess is that Detroit will come back and win the series but instead of a 4-0 sweep, they need to go at least six games. Loving the Celts being up 2-0 (and hopefully 3-0 after tonight).
- * Speaking of love, how smart is Theo Epstein looking right now with young stud after young stud coming up through the minor league system. Justin Masterson looked phenomenal in his surprise outing the other day. Jed Lowrie is delivering "as advertised" and that's in addition to already solid citizens like Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Bucholtz and Jon Papelbon.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
The start of the season and every team has a shot, anything can happen. This year is no different. Evidence- the Royals swept Detroit to start the year. The Royals! After a dozen games, Baltimore is in first and the Sox in the cellar. Imagine that? Obviously, there’s a long way to go in the season. But for me, the season doesn’t really start until the first Red Sox Yankees series. That’s when it’s time to get serious. But this year, things are different. I have finally converted. After growing up in NY and living 20 years in Boston, I have finally kicked my addiction to New York laundry. Of course, I had to move 3000 miles away to do that. It wasn't easy. But more on that later.
It’s not that I haven’t tried before. I’ve been in enough kick the Yankee habit 12 step programs to recognize the absurdity of it all. My family, friends, and co-workers all rooting for the Sox, and me watching the game alone in another room. These last few years, I’ve channeled my grandfather and his Brooklyn Bums as I would say, “wait ‘til next year”. For 20 years, I’ve admitted that I can’t control my addiction of Yankee fandom and recognized that there was a greater power (Big Papi?, Beckett?, no, definitely not Schilling) that could give me the strength.
Having lived in the area for so long, I knew the history of the players, the front office, the reporters, and Fenway itself. I gobbled it all up, I really was a fan, just not for your team. In fact, I probably knew more about the Olde Towne Team than the Yankees. But for every endearing Coke bottle sign, Wade Boggs chicken recipe, Mike Gimbel hiring, Manny being Manny event and every thing else, I would still root for the team from the Bronx.
I knew the nastiness first hand, too. The Jeter su*ks calls, Larry and the evil empire, the A-Rod blonde wigs, Pedro and Who’s your daddy, the awful comments on sports radio and beer thrown on me in the bleachers. And all of that was just one day at Fenway! No, Boston fans are not nice to New Yorkers. In fairness, I never had a problem at Yankee Stadium. But then Yankee fans treat every other team equally--- poorly. They don’t discriminate.
As a sports fan, I devoured every Shaughnessy Curse of the Bambino and Boston is better than New York article with disgust. Even though the crude inside jokes on the Big Show annoyed me, I listened. I watched and read, but from the sidelines, never crossing to the other side.
So how does a leopard change its spots. And why after so many years. The answer is in the distance. Living in Seattle for 3 years, my passion for baseball hasn’t diminished, but my exposure to the passionate has. Our caffeine obsessed, slacker culture has dialed things down. I watch the games, check the stats, but things are less intense. I am immune to the behaviors that used to bother me and turn me off. And that is how I found the will to convert. By not hearing the offensive arrogance, I can love the team for what it is. Now I can enjoy the games with my kids, my friends and share the joy. I don’t cheer for Jeter anymore, but then you won’t hear me saying Jeter su*ks either.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I'm eager to see how the Sox stack up against the Yanks this weekend although it's way too early to really worry much about who wins and loses. Unfortunately, the weather forecast does not look promising. I'm going to assume that Sunday's game will probably be a washout - let's hope that doesn't end up being a doubleheader at the end of September when neither team needs an extra game.
Here are my five musings for the day (feel free to add your own):
- Sox need to start looking for one or two more arms for the bullpen. I feel pretty good about Delcarmen although he's been Jekyl & Hyde so far. Obviously Papelbon is picking up where he left off and Okajima looks like he'll be closer to 1st half of 2008 than 2nd half. Beyond that, yikes. I know their getting Timlin back soon (not sure how excited I really am about that as much as I love Mike). Beyond that, it's pray for rain right now.
- Has the real J. D. Drew finally come to play for the Red Sox? Last I checked, he was hitting .440, 2 HRs and an OPS of .893 - WOW! I could be the typical asshole Sox fan and make a snide comment about it being just about time for him to go on the DL. I'll refrain.
- Speaking of DL, having to sit Mike Lowell for two weeks hurts. It hurts less with Sean Casey here and Youkilis at third but I like having Casey as a back up/late in the game substitute option much better.
- It's hard to remember that Jon Lester is only 24 and should have some of his best years still ahead of him. He has moments of brilliance (game four of the 2007 World Series), especially with his nasty curve. Then there's his penchant for walks. I really hope that someone like Schilling will sit him down and tell him to cut the crap about nibbling with his pitches vs. just throwing it and letting hitters hit. That's why the Sox have great defensive outfielders like Manny Ramirez... umm, wait. Retract that. Maybe walks aren't that bad after all.
- Is it me or does it feel like Schilling being out of the starting rotation has a compounding effect. Before every game, I keep wondering when are our really good pitchers going to be out there. Yeah, we've got Beckett (in spite of his bad back/hip) and Dice K has stepped up his game (although he's still a number three in my mind) and then we have Lester, Bucholtz and Wakefield. Don't get me wrong, I like all those guys but I'd feel much better if we had a rotation of Beckett, Schilling, Dice K, Lester and Wakefield (imagine how good Santana would look right now penciled in at no. 2)!
That's all I got for now. What am I missing? Anyone else excited for the NBA playoffs to start? Anything short of the Eastern Conference Finals for the Celts this year will be a major dissapointment. No pressure though. Getting a little excited about the NFL draft. Dying to know if the Pats keep their lottery pick or trade down instead...
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Highlights of yesterday's game/ceremony included:
- * Unfurling of the 2007 banner on the Green Monster - not dissimilar to what the Sox did in 2004. Hell, it worked then, why not now?
- * A trotting out of the other Boston greats (Celts, Pats, Bruins) to help the Beaneaters celebrate their big day.
- * Handing out of the rings as players walked down the temporary red carpet
- * The big surprise (and classy touch) of having Bill Buckner throwing out the first pitch - this is worthy of a separate blog post but I'll save that for another day. I'll say two things about this move: 1) good for him - shows what a good guy he truly is after enduring twenty years of humiliation and hate 2) good for the Sox - let's get all the ghosts behind us!
- * Oh yeah, the Sox won behind timely hitting and another stellar outing by the Dice man. Hard to believe that Detroit is now 0-7 after all the fanfare about their kick ass starting lineup and rotation. It's a long season though, I'm quite sure they'll turn it around soon.
- * Even better? The Yanks lost to the suddenly mighty Kansas City Royals. Last year I would have felt really good saying this. This year, it almost feels a little petty... Nah, still feels pretty good!
The other early win is that Dice K is looking to play a big role in the starting pitching in 2008. After laying an egg in Japan, he came on for two stellar performances in Oakland and now Boston. The stat that jumps out at me most? 16Ks! I know, I know, it's early in the season but even so, it's good to see him fooling batters in his sophmore season.
Did you get to watch yesterday's game? If so, what was your biggest highlight?
Let the chatter on Big P begin!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
A contract agreement between the Patriots and receiver Randy Moss is imminent, according to a source with ties to Moss. The deal is for three years and is worth $27 million.
So, Moss stays after all (NICE!) And we get rid of a guy that liked himself a whole lot more than his fans liked him (Samuel) who obviously held out for the best offer. Wait, what? He took the first offer that came his way?
Ask Law and Milloy how much they enjoyed the mediocre life after leaving the Pats.
Oh yeah, Donte Stallworth left too. Kind of too bad 'cause I liked him - although he did have stone hands at times. When he actually caught the ball, he could run like a mutha youknowtherest...