Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Better Pitching with an Erection?

Better Pitching with an Erection?

Just when you think Roger Clemens can't possibly become a bigger joke than he already is, we learn that the Rocket used Viagra as a performance-enhancing drug:

Clemens got the pills -- which are not banned by Major League Baseball -- from a teammate and kept them in a GNC vitamin bottle in his locker, according to an anonymous source cited by the newspaper. He also reportedly told a friend that the drug made him feel flushed and made his heart race.

I can think of something else it might have done. Suddenly, I feel the need to take a shower.

Paean to the New Guy and the Young Guy

Paean to the New Guy and the Young Guy

We know how well Jason Bay has done since coming to the Red Sox in last Thursday's final-minute trade: A batting average of .381 with two homers and six RBI in five games. He has more than done his part to help Sox fans forget that other left fielder.

But what may not be as obvious is the coincidental (is it?) surge of Jed Lowrie in that same span. The young shortstop, tasting his first extended stretch of major league play since Julio Lugo went on the disabled lists, was hitting just .269 before the trading deadline. Since then, he has been every bit as impressive as Bay: .369 with a stellar nine RBI.

This is Bay's sixth year in the big leagues, and though he has never played in anything remotely resembling the super-charged atmosphere of a Fenway sellout crowd, he has enough experience not to be rattled by the attention of being the newest member of a team operating in a fishbowl. Lowrie is another story, four years younger and seven years less experienced than Bay, he was the Johnny-come-lately on the squad until last week. Might the diversion helped him to break out? I can't say for sure, but whatever the reason, I'll take it. When the old familiar faces are struggling/tired/hurt, it is reassuring to have two guys still getting their feet wet in Boston be able to take up the slack.

Water under the Bridge

Water under the Bridge

I can scarcely find words to express my thoughts about the ceremonial first pitch preceding today's Red Sox home opener. But this being a blog, I'll try.

World Series bannersLet's start by saying that the pre-game ceremonies—from music by the Boston Pops and the unfurling of banners to delivery and presentation of championship rings—was a slightly toned-down version of the ceremonies that marked opening day 2005. The most notable difference was the absence of Red Sox stars spanning the generations. It was a comfortable ceremony, one to which we seem to have grown accustomed, in a good way. Yeah, this is cool. Let's do it again. And again and again. It will never be as intense, as cathartic, as what followed the 2004 victory, but that's good too. Despite the inane prognostications of people way too self-important for their own good, we Red Sox fans haven't been dealt some existential blow from which we can never recover. We used to be devoted followers of a losing team; now we're devoted followers of a winning team. No one amongst us—NO ONE—wants to go back.

What I didn't realize, though, was how much unfinished business there still was after 2004. Up until today, it had felt like that victory, with all the drama of the unprecedented ALCS comeback and ease of the World Series sweep, erased all the agony of seasons past, like we were at last free to do what other teams' fans do, look forward to what our club can do next rather than back at what they couldn't do before.

Apparently I was wrong. There was one wound that still festered, at least for one person, and probably for all the rest of us, though we probably didn't realize it. So as I sat in front of the television at 2:00 this afternoon listening to Carl Beane Joe Castiglione announce that the ceremonial first pitch would be thrown by Bill Buckner, it was as if I was watching the last piece of a puzzle fall into place, a piece no one even realized was missing until it was there. THIS was last remaining loose end.

Buckner baseball cardBuckner—who ironically wore the same number as a Red Sox player that was worn by the "goat" of a prior Red Sox World Series loss, Johnny Pesky—was introduced as a player who amassed Hall of Fame numbers during his 21 year major league career, one without whom the Red Sox would not have won the American League pennant in 1986. That characterization is not an understatement. A career .289 hitter, the 15-year veteran came to Boston in 1984 and proceeded to hit double digit home runs in his first three seasons here and had an impressive .990 fielding percentage at first base for the Sox. He was also a stabilizing influence on a team that included several young players. So respected was he that John McNamara decided to leave him in the game that night in New York—when he should have been on the bench with an injured ankle—because he wanted Buckner to be on the field to savor victory.

I was thinking about all of that when I saw and heard on TV the thunderous, prolonged, and unanimous ovation given to Buckner by the fans in attendance before today's game. They must have known, like all of us know if we're honest, that we overreacted back in 1986. Seriously. The Sox didn't lose that year's World Series because of Bill Buckner. They lost because of many people and many failures, not only before that most memorable play at first but in the entire next game, in which Boston had a chance to reduce Buckner's game six error (and Evans' error, and Gedman's error, and Clemens' giving up a two-run lead, and Schiraldi's giving up a one-run lead, and Stanley's wild pitch, and of course manager McNamara's sentimental decision) to a mere footnote in what would otherwise have been a tremendous series for the Sox. They lost because the Mets played better. The ensuing years of piling on Buckner as if he alone held victory in his hands and let it slip away like sand always was ridiculous.

Frankly, I'm surprised Buckner agreed to come back. He said back in 2004 that he didn't think he'd ever set foot inside Fenway Park again, and who could have blamed him if he had stayed away? After the way some of the fans held a grudge, he would have been justified in saying, with bitterness or without, "good riddance" to the lot of us. I would be very surprised if he didn't fear in the back of his mind, or perhaps even in the front of it, that the announcement of his name might elicit a chorus of boos from which he would have no escape.

Buckner at Fenway 2007So when the boos didn't come, when he was greeted warmly and genuinely and with enthusiasm and affection, Buckner wiped away a few tears. The fans had an opportunity to collectively make things right with Buckner, and he seemed happy to accept the gesture. Have you ever had a falling out with a family member or best friend, one that lasted many years? It becomes tiring, and tired. Eventually, you just have to fix it and move on.

Which seems to be what happened this afternoon at Fenway Park. I can picture sitting at a ball game a couple months or a few years down the road and, at the point when that game's occupant of Fenway's Legends Suite is introduced, being happy to see that the guest that day is Bill Buckner. I'm sure he'll never forget how shabbily he was treated by some of the faithful, just like we'll never forget that error. But there's an understanding between us now. We have all come to terms with the ugly past and have mutually decided that it doesn't matter any more.

It feels good.


UPDATE: Here is the full transcript of Joe Castiglione's introduction of Bill Buckner:

Now it's time to welcome the star who will throw our ceremonial first pitch on this day that we honor champions. And how happy we are that amidst this celebration and joy, this Red Sox alumnus has come back to join us. He amassed Hall of Fame caliber credentials in his 21 year major league career, and the Red Sox would never have won the 1986 American League pennant without him. Won't you please welcome back to Boston and let him know that he is welcome always. Number 6 — Bill Buckner.

All-Star Week Updates

All-Star Week Updates

Somewhat belated congratulations to All-Star Game MVP J.D. Drew. He was one of seven Red Sox All-Stars, including starters Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Manny Ramirez; subs Jason Varitek (voted in by the other players) and Drew; fan favorite David Ortiz who was voted the starting DH but didn't play because of his healing injury; and reliever Jonathan Papelbon. It was sweet to see so many Red Sox players, not to mention manager Terry Francona and his coaches, descend upon the Den of Darkness, soon to be known as The House that Hank Tore Down. If only the oh-so-classy Yankees fans (just ask them — they'll tell you how classy they are) had shown a little, you know, class.


Special thanks to 2004 ALCS MVP Mariano Rivera for holding the tie that sent the All-Star Game into extra innings until the American League could do what they always do, i.e. beat the hapless National League. With home field secured for the World Series, the Red Sox have one item knocked off their to-do list and can now focus solely on winning the division.


On Thursday evening, David Ortiz homered for the Pawtucket Red Sox in the first of several minor league rehab appearances leading up to what we all hope will be his return to the Sox line-up in time for in the upcoming Yankees series. A friend and I managed to make it to the game thanks to an advance online purchase of two general admission seats.

It was great. Papi's home run was but one of five—count 'em, FIVE!—hit by the PawSox. (The visiting Toledo Mud Hens had three homers of their own.) Attendance was 11,460 at a ballpark I thought only held 10,000, but that may have been before they put a grass berm and bleachers in the outfield. In any event, the place was sold out, and there were LOTS of people standing behind the general admission seats.

In addition to getting a standing O after his fourth inning solo homer, Papi got a huge ovation when he took the field for warm-ups, when he returned to the dugout after warm-ups, when he was on deck, when he was at bat, when he popped out in the first, when he lined out in the fourth (his second at-bat of the inning), when he walked in the fifth, and when he came out of the game for a pinch runner—at which point people started leaving. In fairness to the crowd, it was hot and muggy, and many of the people leaving were families with little kids. And a lot of us did stay for the whole thing. Final score: PawSox 15, Mud Hens 6, though it wasn't even as close as the score makes it sound.

PawSox starter Edgar Martinez (not to be confused with the cutie-patootie formerly of the Seattle Mariners) pitched into the seventh inning and was charged with three runs, two of which scored when Justin Masterson came on in relief and coughed up a grand slam. Let's just say he was not stellar. Chris Smith finished it out.

Every PawSox starter except Joe Thurston (Juuuuust sit right back and you'll hear a tale...) scored at least one run. Thurston and Keith Ginter had no hits, but Ginter did draw walks in three consecutive innings and scored all three times. I looked back to my spring training scorecards and realized that I saw each and every PawSox starter, plus two of the pitchers, at spring training this year. Oh, and lest I forget, Chris Carter (a.k.a. The New Lenny, a.k.a. Hunky) went 4-for-5 with two singles, a double, and a two-run homer. His last hit before being lifted for a pinch runner was a single, but of course we were all hoping for a triple so he could get the cycle.

Did I mention it was warm and muggy? Of course the air temperature cooled off a bit after the sun went down, but the place was so packed and there was only a slight intermittent breeze, so it felt much warmer because of all the amassed body heat. No one who has ever attended a game with me in the blazing heat will be surprised to learn that the bra came off while we were in line at will-call before the game. I call this the female version of "going commando."

Now I'm in Maine visiting my brother, and we hope to grab tickets for tonight's Portland Sea Dogs double-header against the Trenton Thunder, the AA affiliate of the Yankees. The not-yet-Triumphant Brother, a lifelong MFY fan due to the unfortunate after-effects of being dropped on his head as a young child, is going with me to tomorrow's game with a bunch of my crazy Red Sox friends. Since taking a job in Portland last year and moving to the area part-time, he has become totally hooked on the Sea Dogs, which I explained to him was step one in his deprogramming.

Do You Know This Man?

Do You Know This Man?

Chris Smith #59 P

Neither do I.

But whoever he may be, he came on in relief against the Cardinals this afternoon after Daisuke Matsuzaka coughed up four runs in the first inning and loaded the bases in the second.

Naturally, inquiring minds want to know more about the (apparently) young Mr. Smith. Here's what my exhaustive internet search turned up:

  • According to ESPN.com's transaction log, Smith was "recalled ... from Pawtucket of the International League (AAA)" on Tuesday, the same day Bartolo Colon went on the disabled list.
  • His minorleagebaseball.com player page says he was "[s]elected by the Boston Red Sox in the 4th round (their 3rd pick, No. 118 overall) of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft" after playing three years of college ball at University of California at Riverside.
  • He has played in 22 games, including four starts, with a 1.52 ERA for the PawSox this season.
  • Last season, he pitched for AA Portland (6-9, 4.41) and Pawtucket (0-0, 1.80).
  • My scorebook informs me that he didn't appear in any of the six spring training games I attended last February and March.

The only other thing I can tell you is that since giving up a grand slam this afternoon (the runners on base were charged to Matsuzaka), he has pitched three scoreless inning.

Rings!

The new Red Sox World Champion ring has been revealed, and once again it's a beauty.
    2007 World Series ring

Reminiscent of the 2004 ring, it features the team colors in gemstones: a ruby logo on a diamond of diamonds on a background of sapphires. But this time, instead of the stylized "B", the logo used is the two red socks. Like the '04 ring, this one is eminently wearable, as demonstrated when Mayor Tom Menino modeled both a tthe unveiling earlier today.

    2007 and 2004 World Series rings

One person who wears his World Series ring every day is Fenway Park's public address announcer, Carl Beane, who comes to my office occasionally to have lunch with his wife, who also works here. I can't wait to see his new ring—and try it on.

That's Why We Chant YOOOOOUK!

Not only was it news at MLB.com, the Boston Herald, Providence Journal, Washington Post, and countless other sports pages around the country, but it was also this morning's question in a daily e-mail trivia game I play. The question: "Boston Red Sox player Kevin Youkilis just set a Major League Baseball record for what?" The answer: Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis is baseball's new all-time leader in errorless games played at first base. Succinctly documented on SI.com:
Kevin Youkilis set the major league record for consecutive errorless games by a first baseman, playing his 194th consecutive mistake-free game at first to break Steve Garvey's record. The A's gave first base to Youkilis in appreciation, and the ball used on his final putout was sent to the Hall of Fame.

What the articles don't mention is that the record is actually for consecutive errorless regular season games. Alert fans may recall that Youkilis committed an error in Game 4 of last year's American League Championship Series against Cleveland. No matter. It's still a remarkable accomplishment which is unlikely to be equalled any time soon, especially if the streak continues awhile longer.

And as the Herald article notes, there is some incentive for Youkilis to remain perfect awhile longer: He stands just 72 errorless defensive chances shy of Stuffy McInnis. Youk could tie that record with six more games like last night's, in which he was credited with a dozen chances.

Why This Was a Good Trade

I had an interesting experience on the Dodgers message board yesterday after the Manny Ramirez trade was announced. Besides discovering that moronic posters inhabit that board too, I had a productive exchange with one person. (Alas, only one. The others were, well, re-read the beginning of the last sentence.)

A board member calling him/herself "tennismenace" wrote, "I think your team will come in 3rd place. Drew is choking and you have two stiffs at the end of your lineup. You lose arguable your best hitter now. Good luck, but expect to see the NYY pass you."

Of course, I love a good baseball discussion and the chance to Here is my response to tennismenace about why I disagreed with his/her assessment:

1. You are making the mistake with Drew of assuming that the current trend (i.e. this July) is the trend that will continue. To make a more valid prediction, you should look at historical performance. For example, in the last couple years, he's been lousy in July, but much bettter in August and September. That's why we aren't particularly worried about him right now.

2. Manny, on the other hand, has a habit of missing games in September, when his at-bats plummet because that's when he is most likely to take himself out of games. We have already gotten from him what are typically his most productive months (excluding, of course, the postseason).

3. The other factor to consider is that Manny's production has begun to decline, as one would expect to happen with age. He is still a formidable hitter, better than many players several years younger than he is, but chances are he isn't trending upward overall. His batting average/homers/RBI in his eight seasons with the Red Sox have been (in chronological order from 2001 to 2008) .306/41/125, .349/33/107, .325/37/104, .308/43/130, .292/45/144, .321/35/102, .296/20/88, and this year projecting to (presuming games played in the last two seasons) .299/27/90. What we have now that we didn't have in Manny's best years are two younger players whose offense is on the uptick: Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. Obviously, neither has the power Manny has, but they are more than making up for his average. And Jason Bay is on pace with Manny this season with homers and RBI, so that's a better fit than one might expect.

4. Even with their weak bottom of the order, the Red Sox have the third most runs scored in the American League, the third best team batting average, the fifth most home runs, and the best on-base percentage. They can afford weaker hitters down the lineup because others are so productive.

5. The Yankees, though improving, still lag significantly behind the Sox in those offensive categories, as well as pitching categories like batting average against and, to a lesser extent, earned run average. Two of their historically most consistent players, Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada, are lost for the season. Furthermore, the Yankees are usually strong this time of year, when the Red Sox typically slump. Frankly, my bigger concern is not the Yankees but the Rays.

Whether I am correct remains to be seen. But his is hardly the gloom-and-doom situation many removed from the recent happenings here seem to think it is. And this information, looked at rationally, makes bloviators like Michael Felger, who has been foaming at the mouth on WEEI all morning, seem a bit unhinged.

No, Manny, the Red Sox Don't Deserve You

Man-child, idiot savant, multiple personality Manny Ramirez made a proclamation yesterday that perfectly sums up where his relationship with the Boston Red Sox has ended up.
"Boston no me ha dicho nada, no me han pedido que firme ningún papel o algo parecido", dijo Ramírez a ESPNdeportes.com desde el estadio Fenway Park antes del inicio del partido del miércoles contra los Angelinos de Los Angeles.

[ . . . ]

"Los Medias Rojas no merecen un pelotero como yo", dijo.

In English, as far as I can figure out :

"Boston has not told me nothing, has not asked me to sign no paper or anything like that," Ramirez said to ESPNdeportes.com [from] Fenway Park before the start of Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels.

"The Boston Red Sox do not deserve a player like me," he said.

You know what? He's right. The Red Sox don't deserve what he has dished out over the years. They don't deserve a $20 million player who won't run out a ground ball, who takes himself out of the lineup for the kinds of aches and pains that every other major leaguer plays with on a regular basis, who makes inappropriate jokes at inappropriate times about the prospect of a trade necessitated by his temper tantrums, etc. Having paid him a lot of money over the years, they certainly deserve the production they got from him, but they don't deserve the horse manure he has been shoveling for far too long.

So will they Sox cast off Ramirez in a deal at the trade deadline? That is the burning question. This morning, the reports were that he would end up with the Marlins in a three-way deal that would net the Sox Jason Bay from Pittsburgh. That deal now appears dead, due to either (depending on whose "sources" you believe) the Marlins' insistence on extra cash from the Sox in addition to their paying the rest of Ramirez' salary, or the Pirates' insistence on too many prospects.

On the other hand, WEEI is just now commenting on a Sports Illustrated report of a possible deal with the Dodgers. Let's hope.

End of an Era

My spring training reminiscences will appear sporadically between now and the beginning of the season, but for now, there is news.

The Doug Mirabelli era appears to be over.

The Red Sox have just made Doug Mirabelli's release official. He was placed on unconditional release waivers.

[ . . . ]

[Kevin] Cash is a non-roster player, but he had not yet been upgraded to the roster. [H]e appears to be a likely choice to be added, however.

The Sox replaced Mirabelli in [today's] lineup with Pawtucket catcher Dusty Brown, who is also considered a possible candidate for the major league club.

Sox Players, Manager Stand Up for Coaches

Sox Players, Manager Stand Up for Coaches

It has been the big news since this morning, when major outlets across the country startd reporting that the Boston Red Sox players voted to boycott their scheduled trip to Japan if Major League Baseball follows through on a late decision to renege on appearance pay for coaches and team staff. ESPN.com reports that MLB appears to have capitulated, which is a good thing because the players were not willing to compromise, according to the Globe's Nick Cafardo

The players are adamant that a $40,000 stipend for coaches and staff was negotiated in their agreement to play in Japan and that it has now been reneged. Third baseman Mike Lowell confirmed to the Globe that the team voted unanimously this morning not to make the scheduled trip unless the situation was rectified.

"When we voted to go to Japan, that was not a unanimous vote," said third baseman Lowell, "but we did what our team wanted us to do for Major League Baseball. They promised us the moon and the stars, and then when we committed, they started pulling back. It's not just the coaches, it's the staff, the trainers, a lot of people are affected by this."

$40,000 is a relatively small amount for the players, even those earning the league minimum of around $400,000 a year. But as manager Terry Francona points out, the coaches and staff aren't paid as well, noting that in some cases, $40,000 may be two-fifths of a coach's salary. Perhaps even more important is the message the decision sends about the value of coaches and other staff. The players' stance seems to have truly touched those affected.

"We all like to feel as if we're part of the team," Alicea said. "We help the players and we appreciate what they're trying to do. We thought this issue was resolved a long time ago. To have it come down to the final day is embarrassing. That's about all I can say about it."

Red Sox batting coach Dave Magadan said he appreciated the players' support.

"It means as much as the money itself," he told ESPN.

The Boston Herald's Rob Bradford and Michael Silverman point out that for at least one member of the Red Sox coaching staff, the appearance fee exceeds his entire salar: bullpen catcher Manny Martinez, who earns $30,000 a year.

Delivering the bad news to the affected individuals fell to Francona, who was quite upset by the turn of events.

"We're spending energy on something we don't want to spend it on. I don't understand it. I was embarrassed this morning. I had to tell them, 'Hey, that money you may have already spent, go get it back.'"

[ . . . ]

"I did not have an off day yesterday. I had the phone glued to my ear because I was promised some answers and I haven't even received a phone call," Francona said. "So I'm a little bit stuck. What I want to do this morning is get excited to play a baseball game and what I ended up doing is apologizing to the coaches and being humiliated."

Francona has long been a huge advocate of coaches' rights, executing such deeds as using money from television commercials to pay for the coaches' clubhouse fees, and making sure they all are included in his contract with Reebok.

[ . . . ]

"I don't agree that coaches are second-class citizens. That has never sat well with me, ever, and continues to boggle my mind."

Speaking just for myself, I would agree with Francona. It's bad enough to back out of any part of an agreement, but to shaft the very people who aren't making millions is particularly repulsive. For the players to take a stand in their behalf, especially one that could potentially resulted in forfeiture of two regular season games, is gratifying to see. Fans prone to complain about the selfishness of highly paid professional athletes would do well to remember this gesture.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

Comebacks Are Great, but Must We Rely on Them?

Comebacks Are Great, but Must We Rely on Them?

Granted, the last two games were phenomenally exciting, edge-of-your-seat contests that the Sox won with walk-off hits. It is nice to know these guys don't stop playing until the game is over.

The problem is that they can't pull off late-game heroics every time. Given that reality, it might be a good idea for the Sox to try to, you know, score before the ninth inning.

Take tonight's game, which the Blue Jays currently lead 3-0 in the top of the ninth inning. I know that Red Sox fans the world over realize a win is still possible, though not probable. On NESN, Don Orsillo is just pointing out that the Sox have had eight walk-off wins and 10 come-from-behind wins this season (I think I got that right). But come on, guys, give us a break here. And give a break to the poor guys who have to hit in the bottom of the ninth.

Wait, Terry Francona is making a pitching change—to Mike Timlin. I love Mike, really I do. But I'm afraid a come-from-behind win just got less probable, as I have no confidence that the score will still be 3-0 when he's done.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

The Battle of Good vs. Evil: Part 1

The Battle of Good vs. Evil: Part 1

J.D. Drew homers against Chien-Ming WangOK, so that didn't go exactly as planned. Clay Buchholz was very good, but unfortunately Chien-Ming Wang was better. Each allowed just one run, but Wang was more efficient with his pitches and turned in a complete game. Buchholz gave way to a string of relievers who, well, didn't do as good a job as he did (see: Timlin, Mike). Hideki Okajima did an admirable job trying to get the Sox out of the situation Timlin had placed them in, but he did allow one inherited runner to score on a sacrifice fly. Beazer and I scratched our heads over why Okie didn't come out for the eighth inning. Javier Lopez acquitted himself well before David Aardsma gave up the game's final run in the ninth inning.

The hitting was anemic, to say the least. Big Papi not only continues to hit below the Mendoza line, he's hitting below Mendoza's knees — .077 after going 0-for-3 last night. The offensive bright spot continues to be J.D. Drew, who had the only Sox run with his third home run of the season. His average stands at .429 with eight RBI. Of course he got off to a good start last year, but not that good: .342 with one homer and seven RBI after the same number of games.

It rained for more than half the game, but we were under cover (grandstand section 26) so we didn't mind. Today's game looks like it won't be a wash-out after all, with relatively warm temps and only about a 40% chance of showers. So I guess I'll go. Look for me on TV. I'll be the one cheering with a bunch or people around me.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

Michael Felger Makes My Ears Bleed

Michael Felger Makes My Ears Bleed

Dear WEEI,

For the love of God, PLEASE don't make me listen to Michael Felger on your station any more.

There are many factors that make a good radio host, but being a broken record is not one of them. Felger has been making the same two points about the Manny Ramirez trade (Ramirez is a future Hall of Famer and Jason Bay isn't, and Ramirez always throws a temper tantrum in July) since Friday morning, and after hearing them about 147 times, I'm pretty sure no one needs to hear them a 148th time.

Nor is ignoring the points made by your co-hosts and callers a desirable characteristic. If Felger weren't so stuck in the rut of his own narrative, he might occasionally say, "You know what? I see what you're saying, and it's a good point. But I think it's outweighed by [insert Felger Talking Point #1 or Felger Talking Point #2 here]."

So please, I'm begging you, put me out of my misery and stuff a sock in this guy's mouth. He can't possibly be helping your ratings. He sure isn't helping my headache.

Hugs and kisses,
The Triumphant Red Sox fan

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

The Dog Regurgitated My Laptop

The Dog Regurgitated My Laptop

I'm alive!

I have no excuses for my long absence. I suffered no dread diseases that had me comatose and hospitalized; I wasn't lying in a ditch on the side of the road, undiscovered for months after a terrible auto accident or ferocious winter storm; aliens did not abduct me and perform torturous experiments upon my body and mind. No, I'm just a big bag of ca-ca. But I'm back. And I'm leaving for spring training in...

(Drum roll, please...)

(Wait for it...)

(Are you ready?)

THREE DAYS!

Three days, folks. That's a Washington's birthday holiday weekend. A 3-day Macy's sale. The very same amount of time it took Jesus Christ to eat the last supper, die on a cross, and rise from the dead. Except that I fortunately, don't have to save humankind in that amount of time. All I have to do is pack, get myself and my luggage to Logan Airport, and board a plane to a magical place where I won't have to see this for a week.

OK, kids I'll see. But they won't be trudging through snow, which means neither will I.

I'm almost ready to go. Going through the checklist in my mind...

  • Airline reservation direct to Southwest Florida Airport – CHECK!
  • Economy rental car – CHECK!
  • Tickets for six pre-season games – CHECK!
  • 2007 World Series t-shirt – CHECK!
  • Travel journal hand-crafted by my friend Pam – CHECK!
  • Custom scorebook made by yours truly – CHECK!
  • White-Out, just in case of scoring mistakes – CHECK!
  • Sharpie, for autographs – CHECK!
  • My brother's super-duper digital SLR camera and zoom lens, the better for capturing butt shots of my favorite Red Sox players – CHECK!
  • And last but not least, my previously dog-eaten and since regurgitated laptop for (hopefully) daily blogging from Fort Myers – CHECK!

I'm still trying to find a way to download the aforementioned butt shots from the aforementioned camera without the accompanying software, but once I resolve that small glitch, I'll be ready to post image after image that will have you feeling almost like you're there with me.

Talk to you then.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

Ding, Dong, the Twit Is Gone!

Ding, Dong, the Twit Is Gone!

Details are few and far between, but here it is, from two different media outlets so far.

From the Sports Illustrated web site:

The Red Sox traded embattled slugger Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers late Thursday afternoon, SI.com has learned.

Jason Bay is headed to Boston as part of the deal, SI.com has learned. The Pirates will get four minor leaguers in the three-way trade.

[ . . . ]

The Red Sox approached Ramirez in advance of their negotiations, and got the OK from Ramirez. He signed off on the paperwork, contingent upon the two $20-million team options for 2009 and '10 being dropped. The move will set the stage for Ramirez to become a free agent this winter.

Pittsburgh gets Craign Hansen and Brandon Moss, both from Boston, as well as third baseman Andy LaRoche from the Dodgers and a fourth minor leaguer who has yet to be confirmed.

The Red Sox are paying the $7 million remaining on Ramirez's $20 million salary for this year.

From Boston.com:

Manny Ramirez's stormy relationship with the Boston Red Sox appears to be over.

A baseball source has confirmed Ramirez has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, ESPN.com has learned.

Jason Bay is going to Boston as part of the deal, Jayson Stark reported. And the Pittsburgh Pirates get four minor leaguers as part of the three-way deal.

Third baseman Andy LaRoche and right-handed pitcher Bryan Morris will go to the Pirates from the Dodgers. Outfielder Brandon Moss and right-handed pitcher Craig Hansen will leave the Red Sox orgianization for Pittsburgh, ESPN.com has learned.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

Fast Games and Pitchers' Duels

Fast Games and Pitchers' Duels

Some people, usually casual fans, find baseball boring. Not enough action, they protest, or the games take so long. Ask them what would make the sports more exciting and they're more likely than not to say they want more hitting. There is action in offense and grandeur in towering home runs. The irony is that high scoring games are also very long, but if your understanding of baseball is limited to hits and runs, it would be hard to sit through a game that lacked those elements.

For me, the most exciting games are the low scoring affairs where the pitchers and fielders have no room for mistakes. There is nothing better—or, increasingly, rarer—than a pitchers' duel. So I was as happy as a clam watching last night's contest between the Sox and the Blue Jays. It lasted only 2 hours 18 minutes, according to the official box score, and involved only three pitchers, one run, and an average of only 12 1/2 pitches thrown per half inning.

Compare that with the other 14 games around the major leagues last night that averaged 3 hours long and more than 8 pitchers used. But enough of the raw numbers.

What was most enjoyable about last night's battle is that both starting pitchers were about as close to perfect as most pitchers ever get. Toronto's Roy Halladay is known as an efficient and fast worker, the antithesis of what Boston's Jon Lester has been so far in his short major league career. Yet Lester was also quick and efficient, perhaps following Halladay's lead, or maybe because manager Terry Francona reportedly suggested to him after Justin Masterson's debut appearance that Lester might take a page from Masterson's book and move things along a bit more than he is used to. It was great to see Lester pitching the way we have long heard he can.

Meanwhile, there were defensive plays aplenty to back up the pitchers, the most memorable being a diving stop by second baseman Dustin Pedroia that saved a run. It was reminiscent of the spectacular play he made late in Clay Buchholz' no-hitter last year, and a sign that the terrific defense we saw from Pedroia last year wasn't a fluke. He epitomizes the term "scrappy," which MLB.com's Ian Browne uses in his game recap and many a Sox fan would agree with.

Of course, I wouldn't be waxing poetic about the game if we had been on the losing end of the 1-0 score. It's more fun to watch your team win a close one than to be left agonizing about why they couldn't do just a little more. That frustration was saved for Jays fans, not to mention Halladay, who was none too happy when center fielder Vernon Wells bobbled Kevin Youkilis' hit that ended up scoring David Ortiz in the bottom of the ninth. (Incidentally, I wasn't there to see exactly Ortiz was on the basepath when Wells fumbled, but I was somewhat surprised the official scorer didn't score an error on the play. It seemed to me an argument could be made for marking Ortiz to third on Youk's hit and to home on an E-8.)

In any event, it was a great win, and as I sit here and write about it, the same teams are in the midst of another tight one, a 1-1 game with pitching not quite as good as lawst night's but still better than you'd expect from Daisuke Matsuzaka and Dustin McGowan, the latter of whom, by the way, is on my fantasy team and did well for me tonight and has now given way to relief that I hope will give it up. I realize how lucky I am to love this game and be able to appreciate it in its many forms, including the lost art of outstanding pitching. So, with the Red Sox threatening with runners on first ande second with one out, I leave you to reflect on your own appreciation of what we have seen these last two games. And if you don't appreciate it, well, all I can say is you don't know what you're missing.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

A Post-Trade Poem, by an Unknown Author

A Post-Trade Poem, by an Unknown Author

'Twas the night before August and all through the Nation,
The fans on their feet in a standing ovation,
Ramirez — the baby — is off to L.A.
So who is this guy they call Jason Bay?

He bats from the right and throws that way too,
And produces the home runs; he has 22.
Will he ever be Manny? "Not a chance" might be true.
But when he hits his first homah, we'll all say "Manny who?"

He'll protect our Big Papi and with Mike at his back,
He'll make up for what with Ramirez we lack:
Good defense in left field, base-running skill too,
And he'll run out the grounders unlike you-know-who.

If you look at the stats, Bay's a star on the rise,
While Manny — his stature is shrinking in size.
Just look at the stats. Can you guess who is who?

AVG.HRRBIOBPSLG
Player 1:.2822264.375.519
Player 2:.2992068.398.529
(I'll give you a hint: Good-Bye Player 2!)

With the A's due in town, get the offense on track!
But will Papi and Bay will be a formidable attack?
At the end of the day brings an unnerving truth:
Yes, Papi and Manny were like Gehrig/Ruth.

So here's some advice from a local Sox fan.
Please try to get it right if you can:
Say "Wall," not "Green Monster"; pronounce "Pahk" with no "R".
Produce like you've been doing and you'll be a star.
The "bleachers" are in right field, Pesky's Pole's "down the line."
Say, "I hate the Yankees," and you'll fit in just fine.

By the way, Red Sox Nation, raise your glass in a toast;
Pay homage to an old friend who's on the West Coast.
He's a friend of the Nation and a really good sport:
Thank you, thank you, oh thank you, dear old friend Frank McCourt.

So we hope for the best as the day turns to night;
I'll just finish my poem and turn out the light.
But as I try to sleep, I turn and I toss.
Jason Bay for Ramirez, Hansen, and Moss?

Did we make the right choice? Did we give up too much?
Will Jason Bay ever hit in the clutch?
I find I can't sleep and I sit up in fright.
I know Manny was wrong; God, I hope Theo's right.

But what about Manny? How hard will he play
Now playing with Nomar and Lowe in L.A?
I promise you this, there's more to his story.
As you head off to bed, say a prayer for Joe Torre!

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

Dr. Daisuke and Mr. Wild

Dr. Daisuke and Mr. Wild

Hmmmm, which Daisuke Matsuzaka will we get today? The one who pitches brilliantly and gets the win, or the one who gives us small heart attacks and gets the win?

I'll give you a hint: I have already taken two TUMS. And an Imitrex.

After one inning pitched against Kansas City this afternoon, Matsuzaka has already allowed a run on two walks, a wild pitch, and a hit. He has thrown 36 pitches.

But hey, he has two strikeouts.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

Magical Happenings at Fenway

Magical Happenings at Fenway

Updated 05/20/2008 at 13:23 EDT

Jason Varitek congratulates Jon Lester24-year-old Jon Lester faced the Kansas City Royals tonight to open the four-game series, and all he did was throw a no-hitter. It was the 18th no-hitter in team history (no American League team has more), the first by a Red Sox left-hander since Mel Parnell did it to the White Sox on July 14, 1956, and the first at Fenway Park since way back on September 1, 2007 when Clay Buchholz no-hit the Orioles.

The cherry on the sundae is that it was the fourth no-hitter caught by Jason Varitek, and that's a major league record. (Update: See today's Boston Globe for details on this record.) He was behind the plate for Hideo Nomo's second career no-hitter, also against Baltimore, on April 4, 2001; for Derek Lowe's no-hitter on April 27, 2002, versus Tampa Bay; and for last year's Buchholz gem.

Did I mention that my friend Lloyd was at this game? He has 20-game-pack tickets up in the new left field Pavilion, so he had a good view as the evening played out. Can't wait to have lunch with him tomorrow so he can tell me all about it.

(Note: When I eventually get onto Retrosheet.org, whose servers are probably being swamped by stats geeks like me, I'll post links to the box scores of the above games.) Links to the no-hitters mentioned have been added. Thanks to Retrosheet.org.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

If All Goes According to Plan, I Will Be at All Three Games This Weekend

If All Goes According to Plan, I Will Be at All Three Games This Weekend

The wild card factor here is the weather. I just got tickets for tonight's Red Sox vs. Yankees game from a co-worker with seasons tickets who is sick and can't go. My good friend and sistah Beazer has tickets for tomorrow afternoon's and Sunday night's games.

If the rain that is being forecasted (70-80% chance of precipitation through the evening) holds off long enough, Beazer and I will see tonight's game. Tomorrow afternoon's forecast looks even worse, and frankly neither of us wants to hang around for what almost certainly will be a rain-out. So we're both going to stay home and hope for a postponement to Sunday afternoon, at which time we'll see a day-night doubleheader.

That's my plan. Now it's up to Mother Nature not to screw it up.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

Luck Runs Out

Luck Runs Out

Well that sucked. Let's get the bats going for the series against mighty Tampa Bay, shall we?

And speaking of The Team Formerly Known as the Devil Rays, we are now out of April and the Rays are in first place. It's as if we're living in a parallel universe where Tampa Bay doesn't suck.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward

The View from My Window

The View from My Window

(Written February 29 at 12:45pm, posted late due to technical difficulties)

I'm sitting on the lanai of my friend Patty's condo in Marco Island, Florida, also known as Home Base for the duration of my vacation. The weather is absolutely beautiful — sunny and warm — after a couple sunny and cool days (but still better than what they're having back at home). All in all, I have absolutely no reason to complain.

After arriving late Wednesday afternoon, I saw the two college games yesterday, blowouts both (24-0 vs. Boston College, 15-0 vs. Northeastern). The BC kids definitely had it worse, facing the a-team infield and pitching. Northeastern faced some of the top pitching prospects, starting with Justin Masterson. We'll see how some of these guys look against actual major leaguers.

One more quick note before I leave for lunch and the beach: I have found Kelly's Spring Training Hottie of 2008. He is Chris Carter, wearing #77 and not having played yet. I'll post a picture later so you can see how right I am.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fanhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/02231067571607836686noreply@blogger.com

To read the full article click here.

To unsubscribe from this feed, click here

To manage your other subscriptions, click here

Powered by RSS:Forward