Monday, October 31, 2005
Is This Some Freakish Nightmare?
I held my neice in my arms at the time, and from the shock wave that ran through my body I might have dropped her - but she held on tight; one year-old little girls are stronger than you might think. In this moment of horror, she was holding me.
Someone wake me up and tell me I was just having a bad dream. Or that this is some kind of practical joke. Seriously.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Edit: I was hoping this would prove the turnaround in the game, and was disheartened by the lack of results.
Our offense is struggling this year and that's an understatement. It's not about our weapons, and it's not about Tom. Stephen Smith says "quite frankly, that's all they need"... well not quite. Tom needs a little bit of protection to be Tom. Oh, he can work under pressure, sure- otherwise we'd be getting NOWHERE. Do we even have an offensive line? What the hell is going on up there? Well we'd better figure it out by next week, as it looks like the Colts are comin' to town. Them horses finally went out and got themselves a defense this off-season, and we'd better be ready to get through them. They sure are extra-motivated to stop us.
Well it turned out it was another turnover, a fumble forced and recovered by Rosey Colvin, which turned the tide our way. Without these two turnovers we may have lost to the Bills, and by a large margin.
BAD: Pass Protection
From now on, how 'bout we continue to force turnovers and start to protect our quarterback? This lack of protection not only makes it difficult to score, but puts increases Tom's risk of injury. Don't you guys know how dead in the water we would be without Tom? ok I'm turning into a broken record now. Protect our quarterback. That is all.
Tedy Takes the Field
That being said, let us not forget this is a team game. For the third year in a row, injuries have hit the secondary in an agressive manner. I was discussing this with my father last week, and he suggested that something in Mangini's game plan may be responsible. Many, if not most of the injuries suffered have been related to the foot and/or ankle. I can see how pass coverage would often make an issue of one's footing; keeping visual on the assigned receiver, the quarterback, and the ball would leave little time to look and think about the ground. This of course makes me wonder what the overall rate of injury is at cornerback in the NFL, and according to this comment on Football Outsiders it would be 75% over a four year period. Pretty high, but nothing compared to what we've been experiencing in New England. I'm not sure if this has to do with the scheme or strength and conditioning, or both, but it's starting to look like a bit more than bad luck in my opinion.
Let's hope this secondary situation stays in the backround tonight as the Patriots take the field in Foxboro for our first division game. I have a feeling beating Buffalo here could be key to our playoff chances down the road.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Catch a Breath
Edit: It's looking more optimistic right now than it has since the season ended for our sox.
I'm sure our hot stove process has been stalled quite a bit from the waiting process, although I do think Boras is stretching a wee bit when he compares how theo has dealt (or not) with damon so far to his approach on Captain last year. Er, no offense, Johnny, but if you really consider yourself as important to this team as Captain, well you just might be dumber than I thought. And that's really saying something.
I'm going to resume normal breathing for a little while... Looks like we won't hear anything until Monday, and there's no point in hyperventilating in the meantime. Lucchino had better not screw this up. ::clenches teeth::
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Fear and Loathing
I FEAR the flight of our most revered sir theo.
I LOATHE the heavy-handed ego of the slippery Larry Lucchino, who refuses to remove the training wheels off a bike his "son" mastered the handling of two years ago.
I love my red sox. The looming departure of theo is like a great shadow cast upon the bright future of this ballclub. Will the ominous cloud pass us by, or will darkness overtake us in a storm of uncertainty, dampness and gloom for some unknown duration of time...
If they let him walk, I will consider a hiatus from this organization altogether until the ownership sells out. yeah, I know, I probably won't be able to do it, and instead will be bitching about it here on reb sox for an indeterminable period of suffering... But I WILL give it serious consideration, as it sure would save me a great deal of heartache.
Please stay. Of course, I can't ask you to stay with an unfair contract, or to continue to endure an intolerable and disrespectful situation. You are greatly loved by red sox nation, and we tremble as one in anticipation of your departure. Should you leave, the blame will be on ownership, and the anger will be so great from the nation that they will learn the darkest side of their dedicated fans in post haste. We will urge them to a quick departure, and hope for you an eventual return home.
all the best,
White Sox Win
Edit: I'm sure most people in the country were disappointed in the competitiveness of last year's series, too. Let's not lose sight of how exciting it must have been for white sox fans, and the overwhelming joy they must feel right now. As we celebrate the one year anniversary of our red sox championship, I realize there's a joy from it that may never go away... the thrill of the memory lingers on.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
I didn't bother checking the final until this morning. I saw what I expected to see, and I was not pleased. Perhaps through lack of posting I have given my readers the impression that I care not about the World Series. Sure, the teams I have favored have been knocked off, one by one, and here I'm left with two teams I haven't been rooting for. Yet I am not disappointed. I was mocked the other day when I said to some friends "I really believe these are the two best teams in baseball this year." But as we all know, this is not always what happens. I have been excited to see this match-up, and I have caught what I could. (I so wish I had been able to see game two, which I hear was very exciting to watch, and put to rest in the end by my white sox chew-toy -whatever that is- Scott Podsednik.)
It seemed as if Oswalt was being squeezed last night. The white sox are a great team; I don't believe they needed help to win it all this year. Repeatedly this off-season they seem to be on the receiving end of gift calls... this is the touch of magic that we sometimes see in sports, the breaks all falling in one direction as if the universe itself has willed this team to be champion. Occasionally I wonder if these breaks, at least the more subtle ones like the strike zone, may lean in one direction or another based on the ($) good of the MLB ($). If this is the case it seems to have backfired this year, as these "breaks" have shortened more than one series.
I want to see seven games. Much like my expectation for last year's ALCS (although not with my heart tied up in knots over it this time) all I ask for is a full and competitive World Series. I find it sad that the series score does not reflect the tightness of these games; these teams are well-matched... I want to see more. Houston does not deserve to be down 3-0; they certainly have not shown the same impotence as our beloved red sox in the first three games of the ALCS last year.
Of course everyone is obsessing over this comparison right now, and naturally so, since it's the only example we have of overcoming the seemingly insurmountable situation. I've always been a lover of the underdog; defeating the odds carries with it a special thrill, and that thrill is what I believe made me into a sports fan in the first place. (see the unlikely road to superbowl XX, NE patriots, 1985.) I still want to see seven games, I really do... but in the end something will prevent me from rooting for the underdog astros.
What our boys did last year in the ALCS was special, beyond amazing, nearly surpassing the imagination. It accomplished the delicate balance of a painstakingly choreographed ballet. If another team succeeds in overcoming a 3-0 deficit, it will still not compare in the hearts of Red Sox Nation... but to see it so soon would cheapen it. It's unlikeliness would, in a sense, be forgotten. I'm a little reluctant, in considering this, to even root for a seventh game.
Ah, but we ARE getting a bit ahead of ourselves here, no? Tonight I will tune in and try to infuse myself with goodwill for Roger Clemens despite all the crappy things he has said about RSN. Tonight I will root for the stars as they shoot for a game 5.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
imagine that. no hits. in an elimination game. huh.
wonder how long he can keep that up?
Edit: Love how that always works.
Edit: Hmph. Remind me never to bother rooting against Roy Oswalt.
Despite my sentimental disappointment, I can't be all that broken up here. The Astros really dominated the Cards in this series, much like the White Sox did in the ALCS. They both have unbelievable pitching, and I think it's going to be a well-matched and competitive World Series. I'm going to be rooting for the Astros - But clearly there will be plenty of sympathy to go around; MLB and FOX must be pretty psyched about this matchup.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
So awhile later I go to check again, knowing the game must be almost over. Still 4-2, 2 outs in the top o' ninth - the series is almost over. Seconds later, a base hit. I walk back over to the bar, tapping Scott on the shoulder. "Tying run is on base," I tell him. "2 outs in the ninth." He has the remote. He switches the channel. Edmonds was up. He almost gets hit at one point, and we're yelling at him from seventeen-hundred miles away to take one for the team; don't back off. Then he walks. And so the go-ahead run comes up with two outs in the ninth: Pujols in the ultimate pressure situation. Of course we're thinking longball, and at the same time knowing that it won't happen and I'll hang my head in sorrow in moments, right? And all of a sudden I'm watching a ball go into the stands, checking to see it WAY FAIR. And hi-5's and hugs and cheers abound. No, I'm not in St. Louis. But everyone love a finish like this, right?
Back to St. Louis. ::huge glowing smile::
Monday, October 17, 2005
Allegiances Part II: NLCS
I am sentimentally partial to St. Louis for a number of reasons. For one thing, I was born there. We lived there until I was four, so I guess a lot of psychologists would say that my entire personality was formed in Missouri. Also, the Cardinals were playing in the very first baseball game I ever watched. My dad told me to root for them, and I did, and they won. I thought it was earlier, but it must've been in '82; my dad only watches the playoffs. It's just one of those silly ties, but when you're that young it tends to stick. I don't follow them, but I'll root for those redbirds over almost any other team in baseball.
Also, as a red sox fan, I feel a little bit of gratitude toward the Cardinals. Not like they threw the series or anything. I just felt that the organization last year was a class act, and the fans, too. I don't fool myself into thinking they weren't pissed about losing, but still they managed to at least pretend they were happy for us, for the most part, and that's way above and beyond what you would expect from any sports fan. The 2004 St. Louis Cardinals were by far the best team in baseball throughout the regular season, and to sweep them in the way that our boys did... Well that would be ultra-satisfying against a team worthy of our disdain, but I respected that team enough to almost feel a bit sorry about it. And so, with that in mind, I look forward to the day when Cardinal fans can put that world series out of their minds, and replace it with a victory.
Before last night I had every intention of proclaiming my allegiance to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. But something has been bugging me about that since the playoffs started. Cardinal fans have quite a beef - and a legit one - with the media coverage of last year's World Series, as described here by Dweeze in comments made last month on Cardnilly:
"To me, it was as if we weren’t even in the Series. To me, it was as if our stirring comeback victory in the NLCS never happened." "And in some perverse way, it’s almost easier to take the media reaction to the Sox World Series win than it would have been to take the media reaction to a Sox World Series loss. You can bet that for every story talking about the Cardinals winning the World Series there would have been twenty
talking about the Red Sox losing the World Series. And that would have been annoying.
Course, it would have been worth the annoyance. But still."
I was reminded of this last night, from Julia:
"A lot of us have the same feeling as we did last year."
And I guess I'm afraid it could end up like last year - from the "stirring comeback victory in the NLCS" to the media completely ignoring the Cardinals. It's bad enough that we have to put up with the most awful announcer of all time (and Joe Buck, I hope you realize that the only reason you get off so easy is that the man sitting next to you in the booth is an even bigger moron than you are.) For Cardinal fans to have to listen to these guys prattle on about baseball eighty-some years ago, and whether or not this will be the year for yet another sox team...
On the one hand it would be great for the Cards to come back and win it, and take that momentum into the Series to this time stop the freight train of destiny cold in its tracks... yeah, that would be a sweet reward for Card fans, and I wouldn't mind seeing it myself. I'm not ruling that out of the realm of possibilities and in truth I'm sure a small corner of my mind will be pulling for just that scenario. But for reality's sake, I think the Astros are better equipped this year to handle the White Sox, so at least for tonight I've decided to root for the 'stros to put St. Louis out of its misery. Of course if they don't...
Sunday, October 16, 2005
The Incomplete Comeback
- Protect Tom Brady. Not getting ejected might help out with that, young sir Mankins.
- Hold onto interceptions ::glaring at Asante::
- Run in the first half. I see we're figuring out how to do this by the fourth quarter; this is not soon enough.
- Strip the ball. Are we forgetting to even try? Forcing turnovers is the easiest way to make up for our defensive shortcomings.
- Two-minute offense. This is usually the bread-and-butter of our team. I have a feeling it comes right back to my first point: Protect Tom Brady.
I'm confident that Bill will work on all of these things and much, much more. This should be a fruitful break, and I believe it comes at a good time for our team. Also, it gives Tedy two whole weeks to try and get in the game ASAP.
Comedy of Errors
Tie game, Steelers had 3rd down and five at Jax's 26 with four minutes left; can they be stopped? Yes! Maddox takes a two-yard loss, and they line up to take the lead with a field goal. Oh, what's that? The kick flies wide right.
The Jags pull together a nice drive from their own 36, and at 2nd-and-8 from the enemy 32 Leftwich makes a pass which looks to be a sure touchdown... only to have it batted away at the last moment. 3rd-and-8, Byron tries it again - intercepted in the endzone.
Maddox kneels, and we're on to overtime.
The Terrible-towelheads win the toss. Quincy Morgan returns the kickoff 74 yards to the Jax 26. Seems like this is already clinched, but after missing a kick from almost as far, Cowher decides to try to get a little closer. In the first play, Willie Parker loses three yards, then fumbles, managing to fall on the ball. In the second play Willie gets two of those yards back. 3rd-and-11, Maddox fumbles, and after a few tense seconds of bodies flying, Reggie Hayward falls on the ball at the 36 to give Jax a shot.
Leftwich gets nothing done, and after failing to convert 3rd-and-22, a penalty on the punt brings it up to 4th-and-27. They punt again, and this time are good enough to stop Antwon Randell-El at the 35 for only a two yard return. Still, I am disheartened (although not nearly as much as I am right now, after seeing those orange horses gallop down the field for a fourth touchdown.)(Urgh! AND the Patriots fail to get even one first down.)
Maddox takes over, and after failing to complete his first pass, manages to do worse with his second, connecting with Rashean Mathis of the Aqua-apparelled, who runs it all the way in from the Steel 41.
The Jaguars win, and I laugh... partially out of sympathy for my mystical friend John, partially out of utter disdain for Heinz field and all creatures who call it home, and partially because I sure can't laugh about the game I'm watching right now. (Ack. They just showed the most depressing chart of our boys' first eight possessions. ::gags:: Not pretty.)
Tedy Has Been Cleared
I HATE Mile High Stadium
The Broncos, historically, OWN US. Especially in Denver. No matter how pathetic the team is, I'm always nervous going in there. And our esteemed Sir Bill, who often gains the edge with his game-planning, implies he is matched up pretty well in that area by Shanahan. The fact that it will be a tough game for the Patriots is a lock, as certain as Denver's "insert running back, gain 1,000 yards" rule. All we can hope for is to give them a tough game back.
Meanwhile, the team lost yet another defensive back this week for the season, as cornerback Chad Scott was placed on Injured Reserve. They are dropping like flies, people.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Allegiences Part I: ALCS
The sentimental pull for the casual observer had belonged - without question, until two nights ago - to the Chicago White Sox. The media has been selling their story - and indeed it is an easy one to sell. Much like our own Sox a year ago, the breaks are falling their way at every turn, adding a touch of magic to the quest...
But ah, emotion is fickle, sympathy a delicate balance for sports fans. One call has turned the tide. We all know it's not their fault... yet we can pull for them no longer; A gift game cannot be overlooked. As I realized the game was starting last night, I thought about how I would feel regarding either outcome: Angels win, series 2-1* huh. could've been 3-0. Nobody knows what it should be. White Sox win, series 2-1 in their favor... could've been the Angels with the edge still. It's easy to feel like that's how it should be, but let's face it: NOBODY KNOWS. Truth is, with a tie game going into extra frames, Chicago still had an advantage. Chances were good for them to win this game... we will never know.
I think I pissed some people off on Thursday by "defending" this call in a couple of places. There are quite a few areas of contention - it's not a simple situation here of "what does the replay show?" So let's go through the elements:
- Did the ball touch the dirt? Replays are somewhat inconclusive... the ball changed direction, but we don't see any dirt fly. Theory is that the ball hit the webbing of the glove before rolling up into the pocket. "Catcher's code," Jay kept repeating, when I discussed the situation with some new friends over beers on Thursday night. "He knew he had caught it cleanly, that's why he didn't tag." Well sure, I buy that. Trouble is, we all know from staring at that replay eighteen times or more that clean or not, it was CLOSE, too close to expect the ump to know for sure.
- Did the ump call him out? By now we've seen footage of calls made of other strike threes, and others that were in the dirt. Some say this is what he does on every strike three, some say this is what he does to call an out. I think one thing we can all agree on is that we need a more established code of signs to avoid this kind of confusion. I have heard many people say that the out call is equivilant to blowing the whistle in football; the play is dead. I don't agree. Thing is, baseball is not a timed game; it's all about the outs. When the whistle blows in football, nothing can be done. The play is dead, no matter what. In baseball, the call can be overturned, and far more easily than in other sports. An out is not overturned often, but it does happen occasionally, and heads-up players continue to play if there's any doubt. Josh Paul took what he perceived to be an out call for granted. Whether it was called an out or not, it could have been overturned. A good acting job often wins out over a quick call.
Josh Paul made a rookie mistake, and he will tag with every strike three for the rest of his career, no matter where he catches the ball. Given the high profile of this event, we just might not see this happen in MLB for another hundred years. But the damage has been done. As I watch tonight's game 4 of the ALCS, the White Sox lead 5-2 in the 4th, and look to take a 3-1 lead in the series by the end of the night. Another plate call has been missed in this game at the halo's cost, and people are frustrated.
I have reasons to like both teams. Before "the call" I was leaning toward the white sox. The "break the curse" sentiment had me a little, but mostly I think they are the better team. Both have pitching staffs that I salivate over, but the pale-ho's can score more runs; the Angels can struggle at the plate. The White Sox fully admit to have gotten lucky in game two, but since that time have had the momentum. And I whimper... like many, I just can't bear to see the white sox win anymore. I don't think it's their fault, I don't blame the ump, I don't begrudge the base...
but GO HALOS.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Some Things Aren't Worth the Money
My enjoyment of this fabulous article was marred by one twist of fact that has become a pet peeve of mine.
This season, the Yanks and Red Sox were Nos. 1 and 2 in salary. The sum of their payrolls ($330 million) is roughly the same as the combined salaries of the four teams now left in the playoffs.
This is a good point, and an interesting one. My problem with it is not with what Boswell writes, but what he leaves out, which has become the norm of late. The payrolls of the Yankees and Red Sox have been lumped together and referred to as the two highest in baseball, with no distinction between them - not just by Boswell here, but most likely by every sportswriter in the country at some point in the last two years. As a result, I have encountered time and time again people who consider the red sox "practically as bad as the yankees" simply because the media has given them the impression that the red sox payroll is not too far behind.
The way Boswell describes the gap between the payrolls of the Yankees and Red Sox and the teams who still remain in the playoffs is helpful (albeit slightly inaccurate, the sum of the four teams being "roughly" $10 million more) to conceptualize the size of the gap in MLB payrolls. This is in fact the same method I have used to describe the gap between that of the yankees and red sox. I can't find figures more recent than April, but the relationships are likely to remain fairly accurate.
With the payroll of the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox could field their entire team as well as:
- The Los Angeles Dodgers, and still have an extra $1.8 mil
- The Houston Astros, and still have an extra $8 mil
With the payroll of the New York Yankees, we could field BOTH Sox teams - White and Red, and still have $9.6 million dollars left over.
Or maybe you'd prefer to field three teams? How about the Red Sox plus:
- The Toronto Blue Jays & The Pittsburgh Pirates, and $.9 mil
- The Cleveland Indians & The Milwaulkee Brewers, and $3.4 mil
- The Oakland Athletics & The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and $12,863
I could go on, but I think you get the point, right?
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
and now we use the MLB playoffs to predict... the outcome of the NFL playoffs
Mind you, this is the fifth of a seventeen week season. But these guys are going out on a limb to virtually guarantee the country that the Patriots will not win AGAIN this season. And beaming, even glowing while telling us about it.
They certainly have a point about our defense not looking so hot. Perhaps they didn't notice, but the defense was not that great last year, either. I'm not saying that there is no problem - heh. If I ever claim that, just strap me down and make me watch that game against Carolina. Yeah, we've got issues. We also have a complex defense, one that is not fully installed by this point in the year. And we're missing some pro-bowlers, yada yada, but we in New England are used to our pro-blowlers dropping like flies, and if we have to go to Pittsburgh we pretty much expect it by now.
Anyway, we get it. People are sick and tired of the trophy parades in Boston. Hell, I'm not sure we would know what to do with another one. Still when I see the pats getting "disrepected" this early in the season I can't help but smile. They eat this stuff up. For us, it's been one helluva ride, these past two years, and with all the recent turnover we all but expect a rebuilding year of sorts - but don't tell these guys. Bill finds a way to keep them hungry. It's way too early to count them out.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Turning the page...
this is what I meant about hitching a ride on some other train. I feel like it's easier to do this year. I knew which train to head toward before our own chugged it's last length, when in the past I might be so blinded by the goals of my own trip as to not see the appeal of others.
Funny thing about Baseball, even when it's over, it's never really over. The next three and a half months are crucial to the success of the following nine. We in Red Sox Nation may be somewhat content, fattened by the spoils of last year and happy to have at least garnered an invitation to the banquet, even if it didn't last. It feels good to sit back and relax, drink and be merry, and cheer on the efforts of others for once... we know we'll be back in the dance next year, and perhaps we'll fare better; our struggles this season gave us, at the very least, a glimpse of the future, and the future is bright.
Or is it?
Bright as it may be, the torch could be blown out this month. The fire of our future is controlled by a front office we can take pride in... a braintrust of young blood and highly-esteemed consultants. The fuel - controlled by contract. A contract which is about to expire. This makes our future tenuous. We the Nation know what ought to be done, but we are not making the decisions here. And now, what I thought was a silly thing to worry about three years ago, the issue of ownership loyalties rears it's ugly head. No, I'm not talking about the fugliness of our owners, but now that you mention it... Fah, I just wish I could trust them. Do I worry when Bill Belichick's contract comes up? No, because I trust Bob Kraft. He made his purchase for the love of the team, not the love of money.
This Henry-Werner group is in it for the cash, and we've known that from the beginning, and they require a rather significant amount of control. Okay, they're not like king georgie pulling the marionette strings of poor cashman, but still they manage to create roadblocks at times (i.e. this summer's trading fiasco with Colorado). They're a smart bunch, and we don't mind it so much when it's for the purpose of winning... but I'm not so sure that's their ultimate goal, which is where the trust issue comes in. Clearly they care about the value of their property, but how long do they plan to own it? Will they pay Theo what he deserves, or will they lose Epstein and Byrnes to save a million or so a year by handing the reigns over to another young whipper-snapper willing to work for pennies for the opportunity to prove himself. Said to be the next in line, Peter Woodfork of Swampscott would likely give them the hometown discount to boot. With Lucchino at the helm as the Lord overseer, I would not put this past them.
The road ahead looked smooth, but right now we're trying to see it through a dense fog, and I'll be nervous until it has lifted.
Friday, October 07, 2005
So what will we do now?
So the season's over. At least this gives the front office plenty of time to work that contract stuff out with theo and josh byrnes... always lookin' on the bright side here at reb sox, that's what we do, even when we want to run up and down the halls in a mad rage, kicking the cat and screaming at whomever thinks this is an appropriate time to be laughing and having casual conversation in the living room. No, we must take a deep breath and think of all the things we just won't have to worry about for awhile... like the utter suckitude of our bullpen, and the failure of our "dangerous lineup" to come through when it really counts... no, we won't have to worry about those things until April.
Things we will have to worry about:
- reb sox needs a new banner. I'm sure it won't get done for a few days, but eventually I'll get something up there. In the meantime, surely it won't hurt any more than anything else...
- the patriots. they've got some serious work to do there in foxboro.
- protecting tito from jere, who is surely in a blind "never take out timmy" violent rage right now. and since he won't be distracted by football, tito might need some serious protection for quite some time.
I'm sure there's lots of other stuff to worry about, too. My brain can't even wrap around the issue of the coming months. I'm gonna go drive to NH in the pouring rain right now; Surely that will be therapeutic.
So long, 2005 Red Sox, and good luck you other sox fans. You've got a great team, and I think this could be your year.
Many thanks to some of you, who have become my friends over this haul of a baseball season, who send people here every day. I would especially like to thank jere, who inspired me to blog in the first place, and has inspired or enabled many, oh jeez, maybe even ALL of the fun stuff I've been able to put up here... the silly hotel-sidewalk stuff and even my banner would not exist were it not for this guy. Even without all that stuff, he's a great writer who gives us lots to think and laugh about every day, and has been a great friend to me so ya'll should give him props, eh?
Special thanks to a couple of new links this week, Surviving Grady and some blog I don't even know the name of because I can't read Japanese (and no thanks to blogger, who, despite being generally fabulous and free, was off-line for hours the other night without warning... er, but thanks blogger, anyway, since you're so free and easy to use, and reb sox would not even exist without you). Because of you, we have reached this goal even earlier than was predicted when we saw it creeping up last week.
Also some thanks should go to my sis and her husband, yankee fans, who for the most part have dealt with my poking fun at them here and there throughout the season in good humor. I may despise their team, but I sure do love them, and I hope they realize that those silly stories were told in the spirit of our crazy rivalry, not to make them specifically look foolish or anything.
Finally I thank my visitor number ten-thousand, who's server logged in from Nashua, NH, referred by this person's bloglines feed. This may or may not have any relation to where my reader is actually located, by the way. So where ever you REALLY are, I wish I had a cool door prize for you like those mini Stanley cups they gave away at the Bruins game the other night, but I suppose I can't give you a real physical object anyway, so you'll just have to accept my good vibes. Call it a virtual hug and bask in my deep affection.
And most of my thanks must go to our boys wearing the home whites today. Without the love nearing obsession that I and most of my readers carry for our team, no way would people trouble themselves to read my drivel every day.
Flaunting with History
Most of the time as sports fans, the journey does not end at a rainbow. Some rides are peaceful but boring, with no expectation of the destination. Some are so dark and dreary that many jump off - waiting to take the trip next year, and hitch-hiking on another if it looks like fun. The ones we remember most are breathtakingly exciting, at times taking us to thrilling hights - twisting and turning, plunging to the depths at a moment's notice, and just when we ponder if we ought to jump, for fear of crash & burn... up we go again, so fast we may feel like we are flying! Yes these are the trips from which stories are made. Because there is something to talk about! The pot of gold may be a glorious prize, but the search for it is what life is really about.
Red Sox Nation has too many stories? The media over-dramatizes our history, and other fans are sick of it? I'm not saying we care any more about our team, or that our history is any more important... But I know that the passion is stirred by excitement; the stories make us who we are as fans. Do other fans seriously not feel the drama of baseball? Is it possible they resent our stories through lack of their own? IS THAT FAIR? I mean, after all, most of our stories have been tragedies. And I don't blame people for getting sick of the media - which drones on like a broken record, year after year, no matter what the subject. We don't like hearing it either. How many times can you listen to the same story, no matter how much you love it? How many of you have snapped at your significant other as they start to tell you some story for the third or fourth time? Was it not much of a story or, like everyone else in the world, DO YOU JUST NOT LIKE LISTENING TO THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN? heh. Repetition is annoying, and frankly I could go on and on about it, which would be rather hypocritical. I'm sure that every single person reading this post, regardless of race, creed, or team affiliation, wishes that Tim McCarver (or at least his production managers with FOX Sports) would read this too, and get it through his thick skull that we do not like hearing him prattle on about the same things, year in and year out... Not just red sox nation but the entire nation, in fact almost everyone who's ever heard him, most likely even his wife, wants him to SHUT UP!
Anyway, it doesn't surprise me all that much that white sox fans resent the pride we red sox fans take in our history. We have exciting stories to tell, and many of them are recent. The Chicago White Sox have not seen much excitement at all of late... in fact there aren't too many fans out there, I imagine, with great stories to tell of seasons to remember. There is one season that EVERYONE remembers, and there's not a lot of pride one can take in it. The desire to put this behind them is a ticket-selling draw, and White Sox fans surely wish that people would never EVER mention their history at all.
So here's what I've been wondering ALL YEAR: Why do the White Sox wear black socks?
No way can that be good.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
The other problem, of course, is that this sign is located in a subway station, and as every NYC resident knows by now, there's been a bomb threat regarding the subways, and the stations are swarming with security, and surely you all think I'm heartless and petty to be concerned with some silly stickers on some stupid sign?
Just try and do this for me by tomorrow at four, please. If you have to draw socks on a mailing label with a red sharpie, if you need to stick a pair of red socks on a wad of duct tape, if you've got to put your 2005 official red sox regular season schedule up there with clear contact paper... get your sox mojo on the sign. pretty please. caramel and whipped cream with chocolate sprinkles and hot fudge and a big fat marachino cherry on top. I know they're out of season, but I'll even find Bing if you prefer. Or Magic Shell if you like that sortof thing. Pop Rocks, people, seriously, whatever you like. Ever try mini-chiclets? very good if you're a bubble-gum ice cream kinda person...
Thanks Tony... We All Needed a Gut-Check
Meanwhile, I've been looking at stats. I've been studying lots and lots of White Sox boxscores. *gag* So far I have caught a good 40% of the games the pale-hose has played this year. I do believe I remember Sam mentioning how completely frightening this team is... yes, due to her, er, slutting around with the tigers on the side, she's seen quite a bit more of these guys than we have, and rumors of dead kittens have been whispered throughout the year. Well I guess I wasn't paying attention, or I let the media-hype blow my expectations out of proportion, but it's all clear to me now: the Chicago White Sox have been vastly underrated in this series.
All this study has been in compiling BpB numbers for the pale-ho's rubber men, which frankly I ought to have done back in June so I could see what a REAL pitching staff looks like. Seriously. I'll have more up on Garcia today, and will work on completing the numbers for the ADLS bullpen. Even if you could care less about stats (which is how I am most of the time) you should glance at the way the numbers break down; it will tell you a lot about the pitcher. Anyway, our arms are A JOKE compared to this staff, so I should also do some work to update the numbers on our own guys.
I'm not saying we can't beat them. Oh, no, I am not a gloom-and-doom type of gal, as most of you know. It's a short series, anything can happen, and it ain't over 'til the fat lady exits stage right... The better team does not always win, as Cardinal fans would be happy to prattle on for you. Given our struggles this year as a team, we're lucky to be in the play-offs at all - theo knows it - and a three game winning streak is not exactly Mount Everest. The best athletes crank it up when the heat is on. We have seen our boys take it up a notch when they've had to... Well now they really have to. And if they don't? Well then they won't deserve to win this thing. And as much as it pains me to say it *I HOPE IT DOESN'T HAPPEN, IT DOESN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN*, the white sox DO.
And if Papi lifts us out of this muck, he had better get that MVP.
Too Bad it Doesn't Help Us
Still, I miss the O.C., and it gave me quite the grin to see his 2-RBI single last night, and being the game-winner makes it all the sweeter. Red Sox Nation will always have a soft spot for you, Orlando; thanks for loving us back.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Blast from the Past
All this and more information, including a pictoral representation (aka chart) of Buerle's season can be found in the link to the left entitled "Playoff Pitchers". This is a somewhat misleading title, as Buerle is the only pitcher I have completed the numbers on, but these things take time, as you know.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Don't Spend All Your Runs in One Game
And so it ended up as "one of those days" for the whole team. It didn't help much that Contreras has grown some serious balls up there on the rubber. The falterings of an uncharacteristicly fumbly white sox defense could not even help us out. If we can't capitalize on mistakes like we saw today, we had better not make any of our own.
So. I saw that we finally broke our record "post-season winning streak". 'tis better that way, I believe. There is no prolonging the magic, people; that was then, this is now. For some reason many seem to think this is basically the same team as last year. It is not. Better to break ties right off the bat or we'll have these insipid national announcers talking about last year's team non-stop. Now to get back to the business at hand: Win games.
And so we must bow to our sox brethren in white for the awesome offensive display at US Cellular today. It was, in fact, explosive to the point of excess, which does not always turn out to be as good as it looks at the time (see title) and we of Red Sox Nation could do without seeing much more of those fireworks. We were ready to put this game behind us, toss it into the recycling center for brain cells, by the seventh inning. Now that it is mercifully over, we wait for the sun to rise on another day, a chance to go at it again.
Monday, October 03, 2005
The Steadfast Expression of the Man in Charge
The press hates talking to Theo as much as Bill, it seems, as getting newsworthy comments from either man is a bit like prying open the shell of a clam without cooking it... every fiber of muscle inside is focused on keeping that shell shut. I love it. The bland answers are like quiet assurance to me... a reminder to never panic, a promise that decisions will be thought through carefully. As fans, our emotions are quick to rise and fall... thank papi that those at the helm follow a steadier course, keeping their eyes on the big picture - which they can see in terms of years rather than months, weeks, or even days as we sometimes look at it.
Down in Foxboro, Bill had little to smile about yesterday. I was unable to watch the game myself - I was at WCSG's yesterday afternoon, and managed to check on the score every once in a while, but Jere was there as well and since he could not give two licks about football, I think he might have spazzed out if we had stopped at CBS long enough to see an entire play... leastways if we could have been watching a Ranger fly out or a Philly grounder on ESPN during our NESN commercial break. Still from the score... well I have read enough Belichick press conference transcripts in the past five years to know what it would say before I even pulled the page up this morning: The Chargers are a good football team. They played better than we did. We need to play better. I don't know what you're looking for there; We didn't execute the plays we needed to make to win. Heh- these aren't in quotations (they are my actual guesses) but they may as well be, they are so similar to what appears in the post-game transcript.
Win or lose, these guys always credit the opposition. They always address the teams' shortcomings in a specific-yet-vague manner. They might occasionally crack a joke, but they never, ever smile until the post-season.
I love to see them smile.
Edit: I thought it was Bud Lite, but could not remember any specific evidence beyond a hint of blue... Red's beauteous screencap has confirmed my suspicion. By the way, how did Theo know we would even care what kind of beer he was drinking?
Sunday, October 02, 2005
The Passing of Strangers - Wearing Colors like Warring Gangs
The mass pike got sluggish a few miles before the rest area I always stop at, Charleton Plaza. Sure enough, the place was packed. I luck out and find back-to-back spots, but there are a few people in the farther spot, smoking next to their car. As I pull in, they move over. "Thanks." I tell the guy near me when I open the door.
"The best spots are the ones you can pull through," he says to me. "what was the score today, 10-1?"
"I think so." Jeez, I had long ago forgotten the score, so much more focused on the implications. "Disgusting" he says, shaking his head. I stifle a laugh. Frankly I just don't know what to say to something like that, least not in the casual, friendly-like way he was saying it in. "I saw your Boston stuff. We're yankee fans, that's why I say that. I saw some other Yankee fans in there, too."
"oh I'm sure there are lots of them," I say, remembering the surprising number of skank fans at Fenway in July. As I walked past the front of my car, sure enough, there was a skank fan family on my other side. "There's some right there," I say smiling at him as I head off.
Indeed the travel stop was filled with sports fans. There were a few Bruschis and Bradys, but mostly it was Jeter and Damon, Papi and A-rod, pinstripes and home whites.As I was waiting for my #3, no onions at the McD's counter, a cashier put out a bag with two happy meals next to it. "366?" looking at me. I glance down at my receipt - 367. I look over my shoulder and see the man and two boys who had ordered in front of me. "must be them," pointing. The man notices and comes over, boys in tow. The boys were sporting red sox t-shirts and hats, but the man wore a dress shirt and slacks.
"go to the game today?" I ask the boys, grinning. I'm not sure if they were brothers or friends... different frames and looks to them made it difficult to tell who was older.
"We saw it on tv," the stockier blond kid grins back at me. "I think the yankees might have let us win though." His smile fades and he furrows his brow.
"I don't think so," I shake my head softly, and my smile grows a bit wider. "It means they have to fly to California tomorrow."
"That's a good point," the man says softly, surprised.
"The red sox have to fly to Chicago tomorrow," the kid says to me.
"Which is a much shorter flight," I nod my head.
"I flew to Chicago once, to see my grandmother," kids tell you the most random information sometimes.
"It didn't take very long, did it?" I asked him.
"no, it only took three hours" he tells me. I've flown to Chicago a few times. It takes about 1 hr 40 minutes from NYC.
"And that's including the time at the airport," I tell him, laughing.
"That's a very good point," the man says, glancing at me as he leads the kids off with their meals. I could tell he wasn't sure what to make about a stranger talking to these young boys like that, but as he walked away, he seemed to have just the slightest bounce in his step, as if the conversation had brightened his look on things. And indeed I hope that's the case, because it was in realizing these very things that had lightened my mood going into the playoffs. What I wrote last night about it "not being ideal"? Maybe I didn't think that through enough. It sure seems ideal to me now.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Not Exactly the Ideal...
I bet the skanks are out on the town to celebrate tonight. Keep your eyes out, my Bostonite friends, for an opportunity to "accidently" trip Gary Sheffield or something, mmm-kay?
In fact, I shall be in Boston tonight myself. That's right boys, you've got some REB IS IN TOWN MOJO comin' to ya. So please don't disappoint. I may not be at the park (unless, of course, someone wants to invite me... feel free to use that "e-mail me" link over there on the left;-)) but I WILL be watching.