Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Musings, May 30

A lot going on in the sports world right now yet I feel like other than the Celtics, I've been mostly unplugged. That seems to happen to me especially when the Sox are on the left coast and I can't stay up to watch the late night games in their entirety. Let's hope that being on the right coast cures some of the Sox batting woes (they've faced some decent pitching but they've also been asleep at the wheel when it comes to timely base hits). Oh yeah, and Timlin didn't help their cause the other night.

On to the musings...
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Anyone ready for football season to start? I didn't think so.
  4. 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.
  5. Is hockey season over yet?
  6. 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.
Okay, this last item is not really that sports related but it does involve a friend and a marathon and it's for a good cause. One of my social media pals, Jennifer Leggio (aka Mediaphyter) is raising money to fight Leukemia. One of the ways that she's doing this (in addition to running a marathon this fall) is to auction of the services of folks like myself on eBay. If you know of anyone that's looking to get some education on social media/online community building, please send them our way.

As always, comments are welcome! Happy weekend.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

They're the good team

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

Head vs. Heart

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


If you didn't know that Jon Lester threw a no hitter last night (the 18th in Sox history), you're probably not a big fan. To that end, I don't have much to add given the fact that everyone has already beat this topic to death. One funny note - as I was watching the game last night, I didn't realize that Lester had a no-no going until he went back out in the ninth inning (already having thrown 113 pitches). I guess Remdawg and Orsillo did a good job not jinxing Lester -- too good in fact.

A few thoughts on Lester's accomplishment:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
  4. 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.
  5. 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
Who's going to be next?

*picture courtesy ESPN

Saturday, May 10, 2008


NOTE: I wrote a majority of this on Saturday and finished it Sunday AM...

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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Happy Mother's Day!!!