Saturday, August 31, 2013

I Scored!

July 9, 2000

A little inter-league intrigue with the game as the Braves returned to Boston. Let’s dive right in.

The nicest part about this card is the pitchers section still having some room in it. If you only needed three pitchers, chances are you had a good game. And, that’s exactly what happened. Tim Wakefield had a great start, going seven strong innings. Rich Garces and Derek Lowe each pitched a scoreless inning to finish it out. I imagine that’s exactly how they drew it up before the game.

The other great part about the card is all the colored diamonds. When you have the pitching that the Sox got, and you see all those runs scored, you know it was a pretty good day.

The player of the game? Easily Nomar. He only had two hits, but both of them were home runs. He both scored and drove in three runs on the day. Since the Braves only scored two runs, Nomar was almost all the Sox needed.

The team goat? It’ll have to be Ed Sprague. He was the only player on the Sox without a hit on the day. He stumbled though the game going 0-4 with a strikeout. Even from the last spot in the order, you’d like more than that.

But, it didn’t matter. The Sox pounded their former cross-town rivals. The pitching held them down, while the offense couldn’t stop scoring. It was a fantastic team effort.

And the scorecard shows how it happened.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sox Lower Magic Number to 28!

So, does John Lackey think he’s being punished for something? It’s just uncanny how the offense does him in game after game. Either they don’t score enough runs to win and he ends up with a 2-0 loss, or they wait until he leaves the game to score so he doesn’t get the win. While I know he’s fine as long as the team wins, it was to be pretty frustrating. When was the last time he finished his outing with the lead?
It’s not like it’s the Pedro factor either. Farrell isn’t resting all his stars on the day he’s pitching assuming they only need one run. That used to kill Pedro. All the best players kept sitting because, after all, Pedro only needed two runs to win. And then the team of scrubs would go out and get shutout. But lackey isn’t getting that treatment. The team just likes scoring in double digits the day before he pitches, and then getting shut down when he’s on the mound. It’s unbelievable.
Certainly not a bad start to the homestand. Looks like the Sox are trying to help the Orioles out with the decision I mentioned last time. If the Sox sweep, it’ll go a long way towards making those games in September meaningless for the Orioles. At the very least, the Sox will be doing their part to help themselves in more ways than one.
Once again the Sox took advantage of the Orioles bullpen. While taking pitches and grinding out at-bats might not be the most exciting thing in the world, you can’t argue with the results.
I thought it was interesting after Jacoby Ellsbury came out of the game. The radio guys made a point to mention that he stayed in the game after hitting the ball off his foot, stole a key base, and motored home with a key run. Even though he had to leave the game (or maybe even because he had to leave the game) they though that sequence really showed his toughness. They actually used that word.
Jacoby Ellsbury’s toughness.
Now, my thoughts on playing hurt are pretty well known. So, I don’t care if Jacoby is tough or not. But, for the broadcasters to use those words was interesting. Suddenly they felt the need to stick up for Ells. They needed to reverse some popular thinking on his dedication? Is there a reason for that? Is the team realizing that he might be cheaper in free agency than they feared? Are they realizing that Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t quite ready to take his place next year? Do they need to do some damage control? After years of leaking how “soft” he was so we wouldn’t mind it when they let him go to another team, do they need to change our minds so we don’t revolt when they give him big money?
Was that a glimpse into their plans?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Coming Home Ready to Run

Can’t imagine getting more out of that road trip than what the Red Sox gave us. Winning both series would have been a best case scenario. That’s exactly what happened. Perfect.

While you had to like the Sox chances in San Francisco, expecting a sweep on the road is always risky. Going into LA to face the hottest team in the league was easily another possible series loss. To pull out the win was a wonderful bonus. And, yes, I know we missed the Dodgers top two pitchers. But, it’s not like the Sox were winning these games 8-7. The starting pitching took care of the Dodgers line-up as well. So, who’s to say how much better Kershaw would have done, if Peavy is spinning a gem of his own?

Which adds another interesting twist to the stretch run. The starting rotation had a pretty good turn there. Was it because they were pitching in NL West parks? That certainly helped. But, they still did what they needed to do. Which makes the return of Clay Buchholz all the more fascinating. If he comes back even close to what he was at the beginning of the year, that would be quite the boost to the staff. It would also make for some interesting decisions. Do the Sox drop Dempster from the rotation? With only a month left would they use a six-man rotation? Would they skip a starter here and there down the stretch? They would have lots of options. Lots of things to play around with.

So, what does that all mean?

No idea.

The Rays loss last night gives the Sox a 1.5 game lead in the division. Obviously, that’s not a ton. Especially with three games at the Rays left to play. Unfortunately, this could come down to how hard the other teams are trying in September. The Sox finish up with three in Baltimore. Will the Orioles be in the playoff hunt then? Will they be playing rookies to get them experience? They face the O’s for three at Fenway the week before that. Will they still be trying then? How about the Rays. How many of the teams they play from here on out will have given up? Remember the 2011 “collapse”? A lot of that was due to teams not trying. The Yankees had the division sewed up. So, when they played the Rays all through September, they sent out the B line-up. Especially in that last critical series. Same went for the Red Sox. They assumed they had the wild card well in hand. So, they didn’t mind that Kyle Weiland kept getting starts against the Rays in September. If that happens again, obviously, all bets are off. It’s going to come down to match-ups, schedules, and injuries. Thankfully, the Sox have a majority of their remaining games at home. While that’s not a huge advantage, it’s better than traveling.

We’re heading into the last homestand in August, and the Sox find themselves in first place.

Can’t ask for much more than that.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

From the Pedro Binder

2000 Topps Divisional Playoff Highlight

Right off the bat, I need to apologize for my scanner. This card has a chrome effect that the scanner has no idea what to do with. It makes Pedro’s face a little blobbier than it really is.

OK. That’s out of the way.

I love this card. Love it for many reasons. The first of which is the simplicity. Player name and team logo show up on the bottom. Subset name and company logo tucked in the top. Notice anything missing?

They don’t tell you what the highlight is. It’s perfect. They don’t need to tease you with a headline, “Pedro Shuts Down Tribe!” or a full description “Pedro sends the Red Sox on to the ALCS with a victory.” You know what the highlight is just by looking at the card. That’s because it’s an actual highlight. It’s not a picture of some guy getting an RBI because they needed a card from each game. It’s not a stock photo of Pedro winding up that requires a caption. If I showed you this picture with no set-up, you’d know it was game five of the 1999 ALDS. So, Topps left good enough alone. Wonderful.

Of course, the highlight it’s referring to is one of the great games of its time. If anything shows just how good Pedro was, it was this game. The Indians ad Sox were slugging back and forth, and were tied 8-8 after three innings. That’s when the television cameras showed two things. Pedro walking out of the bullpen door, and Cleveland fan’s faces turning to absolute fear. It was one of the most incredible sequences I’ve ever seen. Naturally, the fans were right to be scared. Pedro proceeded to finish out the game without allowing a hit. Against the greatest offensive team in 50 years…that already scored 8 runs in three innings. And did it while he was injured.

Sometimes it just wasn’t fair.

Friday, August 23, 2013

What’s Wrong with a Pink Hat?

I know that the term “pink hat” has evolved away from strictly meaning someone who wears a hat that it pink. I know there a deeper meaning that implies a dedication, or attention span. But, I’m looking at the creation of the term.

Why is a “pink” hat the opposite of a “blue” hat? Why do the pink hats represent the clueless, and the blue hats the diehards?

(I’m going to ignore the most “obvious” answer to that. That girls wear pink, and know nothing about sports. It takes about 2 seconds to realize there’s nothing to that impression whatsoever. We’re done with that.)

So, what was it about the people wearing pink hats that helped coin the term?

Was it their less than official nature? On the field the Red Sox wear blue hats. (They don’t wear those hideous white ones anymore, do they?) So, if you’re a true fan, you wear blue hats just like them. But, not all blue hats are just like them. I see plenty of blue hats around the park that aren’t the official version. (Or the alternate hanging sox version that is my personal choice.) Some of them have numbers on them. Or, writing on them. Maybe they’re Fenway Park hats. Or just have a design that isn’t solely a B. Maybe there are stripes or checks. Take a look at the souvenir store. There’s a whole wall of blue hats that aren’t the official versions. Are those somehow better than a pink hat with a B on the front? What about black hats? Do they show dedication? Green Fenway Park hats? Patchwork hats?

Is it the impression that people who wear a pink hat are more interested in the fashion than the team? That they want to wear a pink hat, but also want people to think they like the team. So, they hide the B on a hat they were wearing anyway? But, wouldn’t that also apply to anyone wearing a different hat? What about the blue hats with sparkly B’s? Are those OK? Those are pretty fashionable…to some people. If you wear that, does that make you a fan? Wouldn’t that same theory apply to other articles of clothing too? If you wear a t-shirt with a Red Sox logo on the chest, is that OK? Or, a pair of shorts with the hanging sox on them. The players don’t wear those. So, isn’t that a fashion statement more than team support? Why can’t it be both?

What’s wrong with the idea that wearing anything displaying your team’s logo is ok? After all, I don’t think every member of the Red Sox has the logo tattooed on their leg. But, a Sox tattoo would imply a pretty strong dedication to the team. It’s definitely not official though. (What if you tattooed a pink B on your shoulder?)

What caused wearing a pink hat to become a negative thing?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Red Sox 1-36: 26 is for…

26 HR by Mo Vaughn in 1994, to lead the team.

Of course, there’s a very good reason why that number seems really low to lead the team. It was really low.

Because it was 1994.

The Sox only played in 115 games that year due to the baseball strike that shortened the season. Project those 26 HR over 162 games, and you get a more reasonable 36. (What a nice number.)

While the number may look odd, the name next to it certainly wasn’t. Mo led the Sox in home runs six straight years. Best I can tell, that’s the most years in a row any Red Sox player has led the team in HR. Jimmie Foxx put together a five season run. I have to guess that the breaks in the streaks from Ted Williams were caused by military duties. So, Mo was clearly a singular dominating force of the Sox those years.

It’s also interesting that while Mo’s total was cut short by the strike, there are other team leaders whose numbers weren’t much better. In 1992, Tom Brunansky led the team with 15. That was the year before Vaughn started his string. Troy O’Leary led the 1999 team with 28. That team, you may recall, made it to the ALCS and had Nomar as a member. Kevin Youkilis led the 2009 team with only 29. But, Mo’s 26 is still the lowest to lead the team since then…until last year. Did you know Salty led the team last year with 25 home runs? Neither did I. (I’m not sure which is sadder…that Salty led in home runs, or that Adrian Gonzalez was the team leader in BA and RBI)

It looks like that while the total of 26 definitely shows the effects of the strike; it also apparently shows the effects of Mo Vaughn. He was able to do in a partial season what others couldn’t do in a full season. Not too shabby.

26 is for Mo’s team leading 26 HR in 1994

Monday, August 19, 2013

ARod’s No Derek Jeter…Right?

Last night, Ryan Dempster had a little trouble establishing the inside part of the plate against Alex Rodriguez. I, along with many others, loved it. Plunk him again! The only thing that would have been better would have been if they activated Jason Varitek just for the game. After all, ARod’s a liar, a cheater, a disgraceful human being, and should be out of baseball!

Then, later, the crowd was apparently chanting “You’re a cheater!” Someone online joked that they could have been chanting, “You’re not Jeter!” What a zinger that would have been. After all, he’s not Derek Jeter.

Or, is he?

ARod’s a liar. But, didn’t Jeter have that hit batsman thing? The umpire said it was a HBP, when it was clearly a foul ball? While Jeter didn’t strictly lie…he didn’t correct a misconception.

ARod’s a cheat. But, Jeter did have that guy with a radar gun in the stands. He broke the rules by getting signals from that guy telling him how fast the pitches were coming in. Isn’t that cheating?

ARod’s scum. But, it’s well known that Jeter’s favorite prank to play on sportswriters is the ol’ “I bet you can’t eat a teaspoon of cinnamon” trick. You know, the one that sent so many kids to the hospital that schools across the country had to send out special warnings about it.  That’s not exactly the behavior of a model citizen.

So, what’s the line? Like I said from the top, I recognize that there is a line. But, as I look at it objectively, I’m having some trouble drawing it.

Is it body of work? Has ARod had a ton more of these “issues”? Sure, ARod had the incident where he knocked the ball out of Arroyo’s glove, and pretended to call off the guy fielding a pop-up in Toronto. And, those are loser moves. But, if Jeter had done them, would people have said he was just doing all he could to win? Is the point that Jeter wouldn’t have done them? Has he done them? What makes us think he wouldn’t? Is giving a gift basket with an autographed baseball to your one-night stands better than kissing a mirror?

I admit I’m probably not the best person to come up with an answer to this question. I’m certainly on record as saying Jeter’s the most overrated player I can remember. Even more than Trot Nixon and Curt Schilling. But, I don’t really despise Jeter. I dislike his attention, and his fans behavior. But, I really don’t feel anything towards him as a person much more than any other Yankee. I dislike ARod. Why?

Is it the all-encompassing aspect of ARod? Sure Jeter broke a rule or two that gave him a small advantage. But, ARod’s rule breaking led to much a much more well-rounded advantage? Is it the media? Is the same media that took the bait when Sox players asked them to play up the Arroyo thing just running with a fun story? The same laziness that makes them continue to praise Jeter makes them continue to curse ARod?

ARod’s scum. I get it. I feel it. I know it. I’m just having some trouble with the specific why. Why is he scum, but Jeter’s gritty? Why is he a tool, but Jeter’s an example? There’s a line somewhere, right? Is it a straight line? Is it a wavy line? Is it a solid line?

I’m having trouble drawing it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

From the Pedro Binder

2001 Topps ERA Leaders

I’ve talked about the 2001 Topps League Leaders cards before. I love the idea of putting the leagues on either side of the card. It allows each player to have a full card, but still allows Topps to keep the number of cards low. I hate, however, that it means the AL guy has to deal with all the legal/administrative junk on his card. This would be a great card to have different variations of, with each player taking a turn on the front.

I also love any card showing Pedro’s 2000 ERA. Although this isn’t as nice as the Vintage version that shows just how much better he was than everyone else. That “1.74” still screams out to you.

Otherwise, the card does a great job. The important stuff is front and center…Pedro and his ERA. The brand name is as unobtrusive as it can be. It has Pedro’s name, team, and position. (I suppose you could guess only a pitcher would lead his league in ERA, but it’s still nice to have.) Other than the logos and copyright information, it’s a clean looking card.

And a fond memory.

Friday, August 16, 2013

What Does Joe Torre Have Against Baseball?

First he almost single-handedly ruined the All-Star game. Now he helps come up with this dopey replay system. I don’t understand it.

Really, I have one main complaint with the proposed use of replay.

Why does getting the call right have to be a managerial tactic?

Why do we need to “challenge” a call in order to get it reviewed? Why do we make the manager decide whether or not this is going to be the worst call against him?

Teams get to challenge one play per game prior to the seventh inning. So, let’s say it’s the bottom of the first with two outs, and there’s a close play at first. It’s fairly clear that the batter was called out when he should have been safe. Does the manager challenge? If he does, and is wrong, he can’t challenge another call until the seventh inning. What if in the third inning with the bases loaded and two outs, the ump completely blows the call at first and robs them of a run? The manager better save his challenge in case that happens. So, even with the ability to make the right call on that play in the first, the wrong call will stand because the manager didn’t want to risk it. Why would we still allow that to happen?

According to MLB, these reviews should take around a minute. Can’t we decide most wrong calls long before that? If there’s a bad call in a game, doesn’t the replay on TV expose it before the guy gets back to the dugout? Why do we need to go through the process? A team’s going to have a guy in the clubhouse, now, watching all the replays, right? And the manager isn’t going to challenge unless his guy already knows he’ll win right? So, why have the challenge system? Just have someone making the correct call right off the bat. Just have the guy in NY watching the game and correcting the calls as he sees them. Just buzz the ump, and say hold on…reverse that call. Aren’t we looking at 10-20 seconds to get that done? In other words, well before the next pitch is thrown? And, nobody is getting hosed because they already used their challenge, or are saving their challenge. The correct calls are just being made. How is that hard?

It’s also weird that there will be more challenges allowed after the sixth inning than there are before the sixth. Do umps get sloppy as the game progresses? Does MLB think a run in the third inning is less important than a run in the eighth inning?

Not every play will be reviewable either. The rationale given was that overturning something like a HBP could be too difficult when it comes to reconstructing the inning. But, a manager is welcome to argue plays that aren’t reviewable. (They can’t argue a reviewable play, other than issuing a challenge.) So, an umpire can overturn a HBP because of a manager’s argument, but not because of replay? Or is MLB admitting that there’s no way a manager will change an umpire’s mind?

Obviously I’m thrilled that MLB is finally expanding replay. I love the fact that more correct calls will be made. It’s possible that nobody will ever need more than the one challenge. It could all work great.

But, why does it have to be so difficult?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

List of 36

Players that first come to mind when I think of each number

1. Bobby Doerr
2. Carl Everett
3. Jimmie Foxx
4. Joe Cronin
5. Nomar Garciaparra
6. Bill Buckner
7. Trot Nixon
8. Carl Yastrzemski
9. Ted Williams
10. Rich Gedman
11. Bill Mueller
12. Mark Bellhorn
13. Carl Crawford
14. Jim Rice
15. Dustin Pedroia
16. Edgar Renteria
17. Manny Delcarmen
19. Gabe Kapler
20. Ellis Burks
21. Roger Clemens
22. Tony Clark
23. Brian Daubach
24. Manny Ramirez
25. Troy O’Leary
26. Lou Merloni
27. Carlton Fisk
28. Doug Mirabelli
29. Phil Plantier
30. Jose Offerman
31. Jon Lester
32. Derek Lowe
33. Jason Varitek
34. David Ortiz
35. Rickey Henderson
36. Tom Gordon

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Dodged Bullet or a Missed Opportunity?

 The Red Sox certainly had their hands full this weekend. They lost a series in Kansas City to the Royals, who find themselves playing pretty good baseball at the moment. Losing a road series is hardly ever a cause for alarm. Losing a road series against a decent team, even less so. It’s also nice because the Sox managed to increase their lead in the division. The Rays had an even worse weekend, as they got swept away by the Dodgers.

It’s that last part that has people a little crazy. What a missed opportunity! The Rays get swept, and you only add one game to the lead! That’s pathetic!

Why does nobody ever want to look at it the other way? How about, “Phew! You hit your rough patch, and still increased your lead!”

It’s all part of this insistence of not looking at an entire season, and understanding that there will be ups and downs. In the end, water will find its own level. Are the Red Sox a 95-win team or not? If they are, then they’ll end up with their 95 wins regardless of whether they win four in a row now, or in September. If they’re not, they’ll fall below that number whether they lose four in a row now or later. So, yes, the Sox only picked up one game while the Rays were losing to the Dodgers. But, if the Sox are what they are, wouldn’t you expect them to make up for that later? For instance, while they’re playing the Blue Jays? Aren’t the Sox going to lose and win some combination of games that will get them to 95 wins, or not? Why does the day by day comparison matter?  Do people think that this was their shot? The Rays lost some games finally, so the Sox needed to win more? Aren’t the Rays going to lose more games the rest of the year? The Rays have been having the best stretch of games in the league that last couple months, and the Sox still have their three game lead. Why are we worried about when the Sox pick up games?

As long as it’s before the season ends. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

From the Pedro Binder

2003 Flair

I’ll bet you can already guess the main problem I have with this card. What’s the brand name? Flair. How do I know this? Because it’s easily the most prominent thing on the card. It’s right there front and center. Ten, in case you missed it, they put it not once, but twice on the side of the card in a graphic. The team name? Player name? Those are on the bottom. Position? Tucked in the upper corner. But, we know it’s Flair.

Once you get beyond that annoyance, it’s not a terrible card. If you erased all the brand names, I think I’d like it a lot. Having Pedro come out of a cloud isn’t my favorite use of a picture but, as I’ve said, I understand the need for variety. Not every set can be Stadium Club. I also like how they snuck in the blown up version of the pic in the graphics on the sides. How subtle were they? I didn’t even realize it until I was writing this. But, there’s Pedro’s head on the top, his arms show up on the side graphics, and his legs at the bottom. Nicely done. It even has all the information I need on a card. Player name, team, position. Great. The card even adds Pedro’s number, for a nice bonus.

Now, if only that stuff were as important as the name of the company.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Just Like They Drew it Up

It started early. The complaining. The whining.

My gosh, it’s the Astros!
Crikey, you can’t lose to the Astros!
For the love of Pedro, you shouldn’t need to come back against the Astros!
Are you kidding? You were lucky to beat the Astros!

Some of those are valid. Some, not so much. Yes, it was the Astros. Yes, the Red Sox should beat the Astros. But, it’s possible that they might need to come back against the Astros. And, they may or may not have been lucky to beat the Astros.

Just because the Astros are a terrible team doesn’t mean they don’t have some good qualities. It just means they also have some poor qualities. So, it’s perfectly understandable that they might have a young starter capable of shutting down a good offensive team. Think Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. But, it’s also perfectly understandable that their bullpen is weak, and tends to give up runs. That’s why they lose games. So, I’m not sure where the assumption came from that the Sox should never trail the Astros. They may be the worst team in the league, but they’re not a high school team. They’re perfectly capable of jumping out to a lead. And, the more talented Sox are capable of erasing that lead in a hurry. That’s the way it goes.

But, were the Sox lucky to win? Ehh…not sure.

A three run home run at any specific point can always be considered “lucky.” They don’t happen all the time. Scoring runs in any given inning is also a bit fluky. If I bet you $36 that the Red Sox will hit a 3-run homer in the top of the fourth inning tonight, you’d probably take that bet. The odds are certainly in your favor. So, to hit a three-run home run in the ninth inning is a bit of an odds buster.

But, to score three runs off the Astros bullpen? Suddenly not so lucky. Aren’t we looking at almost expected at that point? So, if the Sox had hit the home run in the eighth instead of the ninth, is that less lucky? If the Sox hit the homer in the first, is that less lucky?

It’s not good fortune that allowed the Sox to come back. It wasn’t awfulness that caused them to fall behind. It’s just the way the innings fell. The better team ended up scoring more runs than the bad team did last night. They were just spread out a little annoyingly. But, over time, you had to expect it to happen that way.

Which is also why losing a game to the Astros wasn’t (and wouldn’t have been) a sign of a terrible performance. The Sox scored more runs than the Astros did during the series. They were just spread out poorly. It allowed the Astros to squeak away with a win in the first game. But, overall, the Sox showed that they were the first place team.

And the Astros were not. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

When to Wave

I was at Fenway last Saturday, while the wave made its way around the park. As usual, the fan police took to twitter to voice their disgust at the activity. Most of the opinions could be summed up with the tweet “Wave making its way around Fenway during crucial at-bat in seventh. Damn pink hats.”

There are a few parts of this opinion that I need to question.

The most obvious flaw is the mention of the “pink hats.” Of course, the wave tradition predated the “pink hat” era by many years. The easiest way to tell is the fact that the wave still skips the Monster Seats. Passes them right over like they’re not even there. Obviously, these are longtime Fenway patrons who have been doing the wave since before the seats were added when you would skip the portion of the park that was just screen. But, I assume, everyone knows that they’ve been doing the wave for years. Just like the singing of Sweet Caroline, people seem to want to blame the “pink hats” for anything at the park. I’m not really sure why.

It’s the “important at-bat” portion that gets me. In this case, the wave actually started during the pitching change before the at-bat, and petered out as the at-bat got underway. But, even if that wasn’t the case…does the importance of the at-bat matter?

What are fans supposed to do during a big at-bat? Should they sit on their hands? Should they make some noise? I was pretty sure they were supposed to get into the game and cheer on their team. Isn’t the wave the crowd getting loud? Don’t “real” Sox fans always complain about other cities not knowing when to cheer unless the scoreboard telling them to? Shouldn’t they love the fact that fans have taken it upon themselves to cheer for the team?

Is it the organization of it? Are you just supposed to clap your hands? Can you clap your hands in the air? Can you yell? What if you yell “Let’s go Red Sox” while you clap? Is that OK? What if the whole section yells it and claps in unison? Is that OK? What if you’re cheering “Where is Roger?” or “Just Say No!” or “Manny’s Hitless!” instead of “Let’s go Red Sox!”? Is that OK? Those were pretty organized cheers that I remember doing during important games. Seemed to be OK. So, where is the line?

Now, I’ll give you that the people who actually start the wave are fools. Nothing looks worse that the loud guy who stands at the front of the section yelling, “Let’s do the wave!” Or the girls bouncing up and down hoping to get your attention. But, it’s worth noting, that these people are just fans. (I assume) It’s not Wally getting out there with a “wave now!” flag running along the stands. Again, just like Sweet Caroline, this isn’t some team manufactured tradition. It’s something that the fans take it upon themselves to do. Like hanging K’s or yelling chants. It’s the fans taking it upon themselves to get loud in support of the team on the field.

Where’s the problem?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I Scored!

June 19, 1999

I like to think of myself as a pretty dedicated Red Sox fan. Obviously, I blog about them enough that I should know my way around the team. So, I’m concerned by this scorecard. Look at the pitcher’s box. I have four pitchers listed. Off the top of my head, I can only recall the first name of one of them.

Such as it was with the 1999 Red Sox. I say it over and over, but it just shows how important Pedro was that a team like this could make it to the ALCS.

For the record, the pitchers that day were Jin Ho Cho, Kirk Bullinger, Mark Guthrie, and Tim Wakefield. Incredibly, they combined for the win after Cho gave up four runs. Wake earned a save after the rest of the pen kept the Rangers at bay.

Obviously, the offense had a good day. They were able to score seven runs when they needed to. My favorite part is the three-run second inning. The Sox got out to an early lead thanks to a key error. But, Cho gave up three runs the next inning. That can just suck the life out of you. But, then the Sox came back and scored three of their own in the bottom of the inning. Absolutely deflating.

The hero of the game? Have to give it to Nomar. He had two key RBI on the day. One was during that third inning. The other was a home run leading off the seventh after the Rangers had just scored to cut it to a one-run lead. Just like the runs in the third, it’s great to be able to answer right back.

The day’s goat? Troy O’Leary was the only hitless batter on the day. He struck out three times following Nomar. That not what you need from your #5 hitter.

As a side note, I love that I still hadn’t quite figured out how to spell Varitek’s name. I can give myself a bit of a break since we’re still talking about Varitek way back when he was #47, and not #33. But, overall, not a great game for me diehard-wise.

But, this group didn’t care if I knew who they were. The scored enough runs to pull the game out, and never let it be in question for long.

And the scorecard shows how it happened.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Up all Night

So, when did you turn off the game last night?

I admit. I stopped paying attention to the game after the grand slam. I had it on, but it was definitely in the background. I checked back in the bottom of the ninth, just to see. Two guys on base, and none out. So, I thought to myself, maybe they can make it respectable. Let’s see.

Glad I did.

Now, I wasn’t watching the game. I was following along with MLB Gameday. Don’t know if you do that much. If you have, you know that it takes a while for them to give the results of a hit. A little message shows up saying “in play, out(s)” or “in play, run(s)” or something like that. So, it can be especially stressful waiting for it to tell you what happened. Last night, there were a lot of “in play, run(s)” during that last inning. Runs? How many runs? Was it a single? Double? Game winning home run? Tell me!!

But, of course, it all turned out fantastically. I’d like to say that it shows something about the character of the team. But, I don’t really know what it has to do with it. I guess that they didn’t give up. But, that would imply that other teams do give up. Did the Mariners give up? Did David Ortiz give up? Did Nava get his hit because he was having fun? I’m not sure I can say that. I can say that they strung together a string of at-bats that were exactly what they needed. In a way, it was nice that there weren’t any huge hits. It wasn’t a grand slam to end it like in another big comeback against the Mariners. (eerily similar comeback, actually) It makes it easier to think the next time, that all you need is a hit. Nobody has to try and do too much. It is possible to just go out and do what you can, and the results will take care of themselves.

The most important part about the result is that it meant a full game swing in the standings. When the bottom of the ninth started, you were looking for the Sox to be tied for first with the Rays. After it ended, the Sox had a one game lead. As much as people said that the Sox might end up looking back at the play at the plate the other night, they’ll definitely do it to last night’s game as well. Maybe the two cancel each other out a bit.

While you’d prefer not to have to win a game in walk-off fashion, you’ll take it. As long as the wins keep piling up, it’s all that matters.

One hit at a time.

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