Archive for September, 2007

Fair or Foul results

With 68% of the vote, readers have chosen Jacoby Ellsbury to be the Red Sox starting center fielder in 2008.

I couldn’t agree more with this vote. Ellsbury has done it all since his call-up to the majors: stolen bases, hustle, great defense. He is the prototypical lead-off man the Sox desperately need. I just wish that it wouldn’t come at the expense of losing Coco.

Stay tuned for the next Fair or Foul Question of the Week…

Circle the wagons

Have you ever noticed that Yankee fans are only fans when their team is winning? Earlier this season, when New York was 14 games out of first place, there were no Yankee fans to be found. I have friends who are Yankee fans, and they would act like they had no idea that the season even begun. These guys would say stuff like, “I don’t follow baseball anymore,” or “I’ve always been a Mets fan,” knowing damn well that their team was stinking up the American League.

Unfortunately, with the recent success of the Evil Empire, the Yankees’ obnoxious, foulmouthed fans are back out of their parents’ basements and cheering on the boys in pinstripes. Over the past month, Yankee fans are suddenly back on the bandwagon. My friends are back to wearing their Yankee caps, spouting how great Joba Chamberlain is, being the fair-weathered fans that I’ve grown accustomed to. It’s going to be really fun to see them go back in their holes when Boston wins the division.

During my trip to Disney World this week, I was in a gift shop with my 3-year-old daughter. I was wearing my Red Sox hat, minding my own business, when a fat, hairy woman who looked like she belonged on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride came up to me and said, “The Red Sox are choking! Ha ha, cackle cackle.” Which was really original. After looking at her name tag, which said “Helga, Bronx, New York,” I replied “You must be a Yankee fan”. She snorted, “Yeah, 26 rings, they’re the best.” Now, there should be a rule: if you’re fat and ugly, you should at least have a good personality. She had none of the above. I wasn’t planning on getting into a debate with this crazy broad over the Red Sox/Yankees history, but then my daughter looked up from the Mr. Potato Head she was checking out and said, “Daddy, the Yankees stink.”

And that’s the difference between Red Sox fans and Yankee fans. Even the youngest Sox fans don’t know what a bandwagon is.

Cy of relief

It is so much easier to write this blog when the Red Sox are winning. What makes it even more enjoyable is when it coincides with a Yankee loss. The lead is now at a whopping 2 1/2 games, with 8 left to play.

What else can be said about Josh Beckett that hasn’t already been said? This guy is a warrior who never backs down from a challenge. His last two starts, he has put the team on his shoulders and stopped losing streaks. Even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he finds a way to win. And to be the first 20-game winner in the big leagues since 2005 makes it even sweeter.

Varitek, Papi and Lowell hitting the long ball was a nice change. It’s good to finally see some offense after the debacle in Toronto. Even with Mr. “It takes me 3 times as long as anyone else to heal from an oblique injury” Ramirez on the bench, Boston still was able to score 8 runs. Maybe the Sox play better in America.

Jacoby Ellsbury going all out for a foul ball was once of the best catches I’ve seen this year. Not only did he have to contend with the Boston pitchers and bullpen chairs strewn about, but he tripped over one of the pitching mounds and still made the catch. This reminds of the time Manny hustled and made that great… uh… never mind. Anyhow, it seems like Ellsbury does something significant every game. Whether it’s a great catch, stolen base or timely hit, this kid has been really enjoyable to watch.

I have to admit that seeing Boston’s lineup before the game wasn’t making me very confident that they were going to stop this losing streak. Anytime I see Bobby Kielty batting fifth, I get a little nervous. But even after striking out 17 times last night, the Sox still came up with a huge win.

Quick note: The Yankees lost in a marathon game to my favorite Canadian team last night, with both Mariano Rivera and Joba the Hut pitching, which should make them unavailable for today’s game. They now need to wake up early for a 1 o’clock game today against Toronto and noted Red Sox killer Dustin McGowan. I hope they enjoyed their 4 hours of sleep.

Don’t push the panic button!

Things don’t look good for the Red Sox right now. The last couple of weeks has taken their AL East lead to a measly 1 1/2 games. They have Youk, Coco, Okijima and Man Ram on the bench with injuries. Tim Wakefield and Dice K have looked tired their last three starts. To make matters worse, their bats have gone cold.

So why am I not worried yet? Here’s why: the Sox have a lot of character on this team. Guys like Varitek, Youk, Pedroia, Pap, Lowell, Papi, and Beckett have shown me a lot this year. These guys have carried the load day in and day out. These guys will pick up the slack and turn this thing around. This is a bump in the road. Every team goes through at least one during the season. What magnifies this current stretch, is that unfortunately it’s happening in September. If this were June no one would care. Also New York is playing good ball at the most opportunistic time. They can’t keep this going.

They may have taken 2 out of 3 last weekend in Boston, but they were not the better team. The first game they had one good inning. The second game the Yankees had their asses kicked. The third game, Schilling pitched one inning to many and gave up the Jeter home run. The Red Sox outplayed them that weekend. It’s unfortunate it didn’t translate into wins.

This team is going to be great for years to come. They’ll have a rotation of Beckett, Dice K, Lester, and Buchholz going into next year. All young guys, all character guys that will be part of this team for years. Youk, Pedroia, Ellsbury, and Papi aren’t going anywhere any time soon. This team is only going to get better. This team is set up to start collecting AL East crowns.

The final thing that the Red Sox have going for them is the best fans in the world. Fans that aren’t fair-weathered like Yankee fans. Fans that know baseball. Fans that stick with their team, through good times and bad.

Let’s remember this during the final games of the season and into the playoffs.

And the people that keep bringing up 1978…. can kiss our asses.

Wanted: Team that needs lazy power hitting left fielder. Will throw in garbage relief man if needed.

Here is another great post by Dylan. I’m sure everyone will enjoy it.
Thanks for reading.

-Dave

The Manny thing is being somewhat beaten to death on this page. I agree with all that is said about it being time for Manny to pack his bags, but we’ve taken the issue as far as we can, and we must press on. I was ready to focus on other matters with the Sox, until I saw this quote: “It’s definitely tough,” said Youkilis. “Fortunately for me, it was at this time of year that it happened. I never like watching games. Baseball is not really that much fun to watch in my life. I never really loved to watch baseball. It’s more of a sport that I love to play. I don’t have that right now, but I’m ready to get back and play again. It’s definitely a lot harder doing it from the bench.” This a quote from Youk regarding, obviously, being injured and having to ride the bench.

Schilling’s sock, Crisp laying out night after night in center, Varitek doing his best Carl Lewis imitation around the bags after a home run, Pedroia going balls to the wall night after night. These are examples of guys that want to play the game, and play hard. I saw a profile about how Tom Brady took a pay cut to make financial room for the Patriots. That’s someone who wants to win. Would Manny do that? Does Manny even play hard?

There is no doubt that Manny is one the greatest right handed hitters to ever play the game. But he’s bringing down this team. I’m done with Manny and I’m done with pushing the get rid of Manny issue. I think Francona needs to take Dave’s advice and bench Manny, instead of Manny benching himself. I’ll take 9 Youk’s over 9 Manny’s anytime. It’s time we forget about Manny and focus on the future of this organization that, even being young, has managed to be the best team in baseball thus far. Goodbye Manny, hello future of the team………

it’s a small world

Sorry that this post is getting up so late, but I’m spending a few days at Disney World with my family and haven’t had the chance to hit the computer. I have noticed a lot of really good comments from readers. I’m going to give my evaluation on a few things that have come up in discussions over the last couple of days.

First of all, Eric Gagne sucks. I can’t believe that he has yet to pitch a decent inning. What makes it even worse is that Boston gave up two major-league-ready players in Kason Gabbard and David Murphy. Gabbard was awesome in his starts for the Red Sox this season. In a league where pitching is at a premium it seems they gave up on him too soon. I keep checking to see if Gabbard has some arm disease and his arm is going to fall off at any time, and the Sox just didn’t disclose it. But he keeps plugging away in Texas. Also David Murphy is a guy that I liked a lot in his limited time in the majors. He was fast and played really good defense. Murphy also worked his butt off in the offseason, putting on 15 pounds of muscle. This is a guy that wanted to play in the big leagues but was a victim of Boston already having too many outfielders in their system. The Texas Rangers killed Boston on this deal. I hope that Gabbard and Murphy play a big part of the Rangers turnaround in the future. They are both class acts that deserve nothing but the best.

Another hot topic is A-Rod. I believe that Boston will make a huge push for him. I see the Red Sox letting Lowell ($9 million) and Schilling ($13 million) hit the road, which frees up 22 million. That means Theo Epstein is going to need to increase payroll by about 10 million next year. I don’t see J.D. Drew going anywhere. Theo has wanted this guy for years, and he is going to be given every opportunity to succeed. This is not going to be one and done like the Renteria deal. Drew has too much talent to duplicate this season. (I hope) . I also think Julio Lugo is staying to play shortstop. If A-Rod comes to Boston it will be as a third baseman. Lugo has been pretty bad at the plate, but he had stolen a lot of bases and does have the tendency to pick up the big RBI. I still wish that Boston had re-signed Orlando Cabrera. They screwed up on that one. A-Rod is a different player now that he’s a 3rd baseman. He has a bigger build and is not as mobile as he was when he played shortstop. I honestly believe that Derek Jeter could be hit by a bus tomorrow and A-Rod would stay at third. How great would it be to sign the Yankees’ best player? It would be a sure way to kill George Steinbrenner.

Which brings me to Manny Ramirez. Please someone take this guy in the offseason. Mets? Angels? White Sox? Please help us out. This guy’s attitude is killing me. How can he sit on the bench at this point of the season? I know Manny is a flake but he has to know that Boston is in a playoff race. Also, his numbers this year are good, not great, by any stretch of the imagination. His potential numbers aren’t worth the aggravation that he’s putting Red Sox fans through. Either way, worst case scenario is Manny has one year left in Boston.

What has made Boston so enjoyable to watch this year is some of the young players that have been busting their asses all year. Guys like Youk, Pedroia, Coco, Lester, Papelbon, Ellsbury and Buchholz are the present and the future of Red Sox baseball. It has been a nice change of pace this season. Guys stealing bases, sacrificing guys into scoring position, playing great defense, showing their emotions. What makes it even better is that these guys are getting paid nothing in comparison to the bigger names. This group has great attitudes and plays great together. I hope guys like Ramirez don’t spoil it for them. These guys need to keep up their fantastic work ethic. It’s going to be fun to watch them for years to come.

Finally, I started this blog a few weeks ago. I have never done anything remotely close to this. I’m a Firefighter/Paramedic, not a writer, but this has been a lot of fun. I’ve had visits from all over the world: Italy; India; New Brunswick, Canada; Manchester, England; and Alabama. In keeping with the Disney theme, it really is a small world.

I have had some really great comments from readers and appreciate everyone taking the time to read the posts and to leave their thoughts. If anyone has any ideas or comments to make this blog better, please don’t hesitate to email me.

Also, thanks to Dylan for writing his post on Tuesday. He did a great job and started some interesting discussions. Let’s hope he writes for us again.

Thanks for reading. I hope to hear from you all soon.

Go Sox!

Making the ordinary look extraordinary

For having one of the most potent lineups in all of baseball, the Red Sox have made some very ordinary pitchers look like Sandy Koufax this year. Boston has already had their bats cooled off by such notable pitchers as Lenny Dinardo, Kameron Loe, and last night’s newest member to the No-Name-Pitcher Hall of Fame, Dustin McGowan. Who are these guys? And what are they doing in the big leagues? These guys should be working at Home Depot, not shutting down the Sox.

Boston has to realize, the pitchers that they will be facing in the playoffs are All-Stars. These are teams’ #1 and #2 starters, not Joe Blow making his first start since being called up from Triple A Sheboygan.

I don’t know if Boston is missing ex-hitting coach Papa Jackson, or if new hitting coach Dave Magadan is messing with players’ swings, but I can’t remember a season when the Red Sox offense looked more like Tampa Bay’s and less like Boston’s.

Dylan’s Red Sox Report

Here is a post from my buddy Dylan. I’m sure that you’ll like it. Please comment and let him know what you think. Hopefully, he’ll write for us again soon.

“Here’s a profile, so hard to sum up me in such a short paragraph, but here we go.

Dylan is a simple man. He enjoys firefighting, running his mouth at Yankee fans, running in general, the Red Sox, the 2004 postseason, pretending he’s on the Red Sox while playing in his slow pitch softball league, college football, family, friends, and life in general.”

“We’re in a world where people have a lot of opinions,” Rodriguez said, “and what makes the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox such a great rivalry is that so many people have their own opinions.”

This is the weekend of all weekends. This is Zimmer vs. Martinez all over again. I love games when the hype meets up with even more energy during the game. Sox vs. Yanks, both in the hunt. New York, in a new position, looking up from second place, and Boston, playing their hearts out, as if no one told them it’s ok to cruise. Celebrating like it’s game 7 after a walk-off home run against the Devil Rays. Some say it’s desperate, it’s just the D-Rays, and I say it’s a team willing to put it all on the line, every game.

These past few weeks of baseball, and especially this weekend, have begun to bring up a question that hasn’t graced the presence of my baseball blog mind for a couple of years now, but it’s back. Could A-Rod work out in Boston? Could the best player in the league, possibly one of all time, the almost poster boy of the Yankees organization ditch the pinstripes and become a Bean Town guy? Would it work out? Could it work out?

I think A-Rod is more ready for the switch from the dark side than the Red Sox fans are, and it’s time for the Red Sox loyal to come around on this idea. The beauty of a blog is the meandering opinions, in a stream-of-consciousness format that gets put out onto the internet for all to read. I am in no way a sports analyst, possibly not even intelligent, but certainly passionate about Fenway Franks and Boston Baseball. I am simply a Red Sox fan who is ready to see the greatest move in baseball history take place since, well, let’s get to it.

Reasons A-Rod belongs in Boston
  • Mike Lowell- Yes, Lowell is the Sox MVP for the year. He’s consistent, he’s clutch, he’s reliable, and he’s old. He deserves to be paid for the way he plays, and I do hope for greener pastures for Mr. Lowell, but can he truly be counted on to perform the way he is now for the next however many years? I’ll cheer for him whenever he’s back at Fenway, but it’s time to move on and bring in the best 3rd-base-playing shortstop in the game.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury and Manny Ramirez (This reason may be voided being that it may be next to impossible to find a team that wants to deal with Manny being Manny.) – Ellsbury is the future. We let go of some great players at a young age, and it still breaks my heart. Ellsbury will be a stud for years to come if raised in the right system, i.e. the Red Sox. Manny is old and overpaid, and Manny being Manny is getting annoying. For the record, it wasn’t that funny when he went and took a leak in the green monster during that pitching change. Freeing ourselves of Manny opens up money for A-Rod and gives Ellsbury a spot in left, not in center, because…
  • Coco Crisp – If we keep Manny, it doesn’t look like we’d afford A-Rod. I haven’t researched this in-depth, so correct me if I’m wrong, but by letting go of Manny, as stated before, more money for A-Rod, Ellsbury takes over in left, and we get to keep Coco in Center. Center field in Fenway looks like the inside of the fun house at the Topsfield Fair. An inexperienced guy in center would possibly give up runs at home while learning to play the zigzagged wall we so love. Crisp is a defensive madman who does not appear to be slowing down. Bring on A-Rod, lose Manny, keep Crisp in center, it’s that simple.
  • Wanted to take a pay cut to come here. A-Rod was willing to take a pay cut, granted it was from one of the biggest contracts in sports history, but it’s a cut nonetheless. He wants to be in Boston.
  • Steriods. Barry Bonds is the home run king of all time *******Barry Bonds******* Mr. Asterisk Barry Bonds. The only person seemingly with a shot at taking down Bonds would be A-Rod. That wall in left looks mighty nice to a guy like A-Rod.
  • Jeter – No matter how long A-Rod’s in New York, no matter the numbers, this is Jeter’s team in Jeter’s town. It’s almost laughable to me the season A-Rod is putting up, and still I get the feeling he plays second fiddle to Jeter. A-Rod needs to get out of the shadow cast over from shortstop and prove to New York that he’s a World Series guy. He can get titles. A-Rod has something to prove. He can and will get that done in Boston.
  • Garnett, Moss, c’mon, everyone in Bean Town is going for acquisitions, lets get in on it…
  • The curse of the great Bambino – There is most certainly a fate to the Red Sox. It’s unexplainable. No other sports franchise can match it. The ongoing saga of the ups and downs, the ways that the downs almost always seemed to happen in unthinkable ways. The Red Sox are fate. Fate is not always fun or enjoyable, but it’s fate nonetheless. There was a curse on the Sox in all those 86 years. Skeptics didn’t want to believe, I don’t want to believe, but there was. No franchise suffers like that. Then, to lift the curse off of us in the most unthinkable way, to come back on the Yankees of all teams, down 3-0, you know the story. You can feel the momentum switching now. The Curse of the Bambino involves the Yankees as much as the Red Sox. It’s the Red Sox time. It’s our time to push our weight around. This October has so much say in the future of the rivalry that is Sox/Yankees. If the Sox do what we all hope they will this weekend, and this October, and so forth; then we now have the upper hand. The momentum is switching. We acquire A-Rod, become a destiny, and thus another page in the saga, The Yankees curse of A-Rod will begin…

These are my opinions on A-Rod. I may be wrong on a few of these, and I may not. Who knows? I do know we have not heard the last of the A-Rod and Red Sox talks, and I predict Theo will be looking at this all over again this off-season. When these talks and rumors do resurface, I hope the Dirt Dogs of the world will take my points into consideration. Alex has stated numerous times he likes the city, and again, was even ready to take a pay cut to come over to us. Maybe it’s time for the A-Rod years at Fenway to begin. I know after that one Ruth guy, Boggs, Clemens, etc., it’s time the Sox start pushing their weight around too.

I wonder how the Yankees will react to second place??

Blah, Blah, Blah

This weekend had such potential. Unfortunately, one bad inning on Friday and Schilling pitching to one batter too many on Sunday led to the Evil Empire taking 2 out of 3 at Fenway. The Yankees didn’t show me much. They have Jeter and A-Rod. Everyone else is just there.

The Red Sox gave these games up. They hit the ball hard last night but right at Yankee players. They had really good starting pitching all three games. Lowell, Ortiz, Ellsbury and Pedroia are all looking good.

This is just a bump in the road. I hope the Sox aren’t going to dwell on these losses too much. There is still too much baseball left to be played, and the Sox are too good to have this bring them down.

I will say this. Manny Ramirez should be left off the playoff roster. I’m glad that he can screw around in the dugout with the Pillsbury Doughboy’s hat on while his team is busting their asses. Do you think Manny’s bat could have helped in a one run game? Of course it could. But Manny is all about Manny. I’m going with Ellsbury, Crisp and Drew in the outfield for the remainder of the season. And I hope Ramirez gets shipped out in the offseason.

Rock out with your Wang Out

I’m feeling much better after the Red Sox manhandling of the Yankees yesterday. The Sox showed a lot of character in this game, especially after Friday’s nightmare. Here are some of my highlights and lowlights from yesterday’s game.

  1. Josh Beckett was awesome. Anytime you can limit that offense to one run, it’s special. 7 innings of 3-hit ball, 1 earned run, 7 K’s. Also, standing up for his team and plunking Giambi was great. Yankee pitchers have taken too many liberties with Red Sox players this year. Just a tremendous game for Beckett. Whoever makes the Cy Young plaque, remember there are two T’s in Beckett.
  2. In a highly touted match-up of potential Cy Young winners, Chien-Ming Wang looked bad. 5 innings pitched, 9 hits, 5 ER. He is supposed to be the Yankees’ best pitcher. Now there is talk of Wang not even starting IF New York makes the playoffs. That’s hilarious.
  3. “Super Sub” Eric Hinske. This guy is the ultimate team guy. He never bitches when he sits on the bench for weeks at a time. He can play 4 positions. Hinske hit a double and a home run in yesterday’s game. Also, anyone that blows up Jorge Posada turns into my new favorite player.
  4. Jacoby Ellsbury: 2 for 2, 3 RBIs 1 stolen base. All this is in only 4 innings. This kid is a freak.
  5. Big Papi being Big Papi. 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 RBIs. What a perfect time of the season to get hot.
  6. J.D. Drew, 2 walks and the game winning RBI. Also it was nice to see his reaction after driving in Ellsbury. Maybe the Tin Man finally found his heart.
  7. When did Jason Varitek turn into Doug Mirabelli at the plate? 0 for 5, 8 runners left on base. That is one ugly line. At least he called a great game behind the plate. Varitek usually plays well against the Yankees. I look for him to make a big contribution tonight.

Tonight: Schilling vs. Clemens
Schilling has pitched well recently. Clemens is coming off a bad start and cortisone shots in his elbow. Clemens is an old bastard. Let’s hope the Sox can get to him early in the game. Nothing would please me more than to see the “Rocketman” walking off the field to a mock standing ovation in the 3rd inning after getting lit up.

Let’s Go Sox.