Wednesday, August 29, 2007

David Ortiz is the face of MLB

..well not yet, but he should be. He made it as the face of the Red Sox, but now ESPN wants you rank the face of each franchise in baseball and determine who best represents the entire sport.

Right now Papi is in 3rd ranked behind Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols. I can't disagree - those two guys are amazing but as a proud member of RSN I want to see Papi in the first position! So I'm not (maybe subtly) suggestion you rank those other guys lower and Papi higher to help his cause, but vote and vote how you feel the rankings really are.

However, I beg of you - please rank Barry Bonds last. I mean seriously. Can you imagine if he's voted as the face of the MLB? How wrong would that be? As it is, he's ranked third! SICK!

"You’re 5-foot-6, you’re balding and you’re not an athlete…how the hell are you in the big leagues?"

Instead of focusing on last nights loss (although I might come back to it b/c I heard on EEI this morning that Judas Demon was shit talking after the game and I haven't heard/read what he said yet*) I just HAD to post an article about Dustin Pedroia.

I found this article from a post by Beth at Cursed to First who got it from Texas Gal who got it from Hacks with Haggs - man I love the blogesphere. Anyway, it's the best article I've read in a while and really gives you a great perspective into the relationship between a coach and a player. And into the "mind" of a major league player.

Some of my favorite quotes:

He’s really willed his way to the big leagues…he really has. Let’s break it
down: He’s 5-foot-6, he’s can’t run, he’s not strong, his bat speed and his
hands are tremendous because his arms are only about 11 inches long and so
close to his body that he’s not getting to anything hit 5 or 6 inches to the
right or left of him and he doesn’t have a lick of athletic ability…yet he’s
a rookie of the year candidate.

He’s just a throwback, this kid…his intent is very easily seen. He catches every ball that’s hit to him, he makes every throw accurately to get every out, and he centers the baseball on the barrel…that’s his game.

I’ve been trying to figure it out and I can’t. Mike Gallego is a good friend of mine and I used to tell him that he reminded me of Gags. That used to piss Pedroia off. He would say ‘Mike [expletive] Gallego, are you [expletive] me?’ and he would say that all the way back when he was a freshman. Can you imagine a freshman in college baseball reacting like that when you’re comparing him to a Major Leaguer…but that’s exactly the way Pedro is.

He is the most unique player I’ve ever been around and I don’t put anything past him.He moved to the big leagues and he struggled early, and I was worried about him…but the only thing I said to him is to stop being a wimp and to go out there and do it. I said to him ‘Pedro, you’re 5-foot-6, you’re balding and you’re not an athlete…how the hell are you in the big leagues? Figure that out and go get it done.’

Here’s our first meeting: he walks in and I’m in this little cubby hole office that I have in the stadium and he’s just got this plain white cut-off undershirt on. He walks by and he’s this pale white kid who is about 5-foot-6 and 130-pounds and he’s this big hullabaloo recruit. People are coming up to me and going ‘this is your big recruit shortstop?’ I’m like okay and then Pedroia walks by, flexes and then says ‘Hey Murph check out these guns, man.’ The guy has the biceps of a six-year-old, he has no business wearing a shirt with cut-off sleeves and I’m getting blinded by the shine from the head of a college freshman that’s going bald; then he just proceeded to go out and make every play.

*ohhhhhhhhh I just heard. "It's taken a number of players to replace me. I'm Johnny f'n Damon" Get over yourself. Loser.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Red Sox vs. Yankees 8-28-07

Don't believe it until you see it, but I'm considering live blogging during this game. There won't be a play by play, but I'm sure I'll have plenty to say so why not say it?

Why does NESN have a countdown clock on the bottom right hand corner of the screen showing how long it is unitl the first pitch? This isn't a playoff game - we're 8 games ahead for goodness countdown clock is needed. Seriously. Did anyone else see this? It's gone now, but it made a brief appearance. Thanks to the power of Tivo and a digital camera, I can prove it.

Who cares that I had a countdown earlier today (see earlier post) - I'm not NESN. I think they went a little overboard. I, as always, am completely in line.

What were all of those chants in the first? I didn't understand? It did sound like one of them was 'Papi sucks' which isn't cool.

Why can't Bobby Abreu keep his gum in his mouth?

AND WTF Dice-K just hit ARod, which I would normally cheer....but not to load the bases in the first. This is not the start I wanted. This is not the start that I have been excited about all day. This is exactly the type of start that makes me want to turn my television off and do something horrible like....laundry or vacuum just to not think about things. 2-0 Yankees at the end of the first.

Manny's homerun was awesome in the 2nd and Lugo's triple in the 3rd was pretty sweet too. Thanks to a SH by BIG Papi the game is now tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the third. Back to ground zero.

Dear DiceK,
Why do you wiggle your butt like that before every pitch? Just wondering.

God Bless Jason Varitek
Man that I love
With his big hands, and strong legs
And his pants fit his @ss like a glove....
(to the tune of God Bless America)

Well I was holding off on writing after ARod's Homerun but I'm back. Captain O' Captain Tek just tied the game 3-3 after a homer.

Demon got a 2 run homerun and we had two men on base and Drew struck out. Again. Man, I WANT to like you JD - I really do. But this just sucks. So what do I do? I turned off the game to watch LA Ink. Sorry. I can't stand it....even though we can still come back an we still have a killer lead.

Night all....

Andy 'Pettitte on the Mound'

The nervousness, the anticipation, the excitement in the air....tell me I'm not the only one.

My cousin and I are childishly muttering to anyone who will listen "Andy Pettitte on the Mound" because we think it's hilarious in a Bart Simpson sort of way. Get it? 'PET IT on the MOUND' - ok, I didn't need to go there, did I?

9 Hours....10 Minutes....and counting

Monday, August 27, 2007

Chi Sox Slaughtering

To say we slaughtered the Chi Sox might be a little disrespectful, but hell, we did. We've scored at least 10 runs over the past four games and that = awesome. I actually didn't get to watch any games this weekend, but lets not talk about that or I'll get upset all over again.

I'm feeling better about the scoring frenzy the Stankees were on a few weeks back. Especially now that they're 7.5 games back. Worst case scenario they'll be 7 games back as we head into the three game series tomorrow in the Bronx. To be honest, and I almost can't believe I'm saying this...I hope they win tonight over Detroit. I don't want them coming into our series on a losing streak.

Anyway - nothing insightful and I know I've been a little quiet. A lot of stuff going on in the "outside world" that I've been dealing with. No fear, I'm still here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jon Lester Sent Down to Double-A Portland

I'm not sure what the reason for this recent move is? Maybe they just wanted to give him some time off before his next start?

As reported by By Amalie Benjamin of the Globe Staff on

Red Sox lefty Jon Lester was sent down to Double-A Portland today. Lester is 2-0 with a 5.67 ERA in six starts since being recalled from Pawtucket on July 23.

Lester will miss one start and is scheduled to return to start for the Red Sox on September 2.
Julian Tavarez is expected to take Lester's start on Sunday.

The team recalled lefthanded pitcher Javier Lopez from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Lopez is 2-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 17 appearances with Pawtucket this season. He has not allowed a run in his last seven outings with the PawSox, covering 3.1 innings. The lefthander will be making his third stint with the Red Sox this season and is 2-1 with a 2.87 ERA in 44 appearances.

In other news, lets hope the weather holds and we get tonight's game in. Beckett is going for his 16th win and pitching against Danks who is 6-11 on the season.

Red Sox Nation, The King of the Road

It's hardly the cover of the Rolling Stone, but it is the front page of USA Today. Red Sox Nation new king of the road it reads.

Yep, it's no secret to those of us "in the know" the Camden Yards is dubbed as Fenway Park 2 or that even though the stands are never filled, Tropicana Field is another one that belongs to "us" - but over the past couple of years it never ceases to amaze me when I hear Red Sox chants louder than home team chants at other ball parks.

I love that the USA today recognized this, but at the same time it kinda sucks. I mean, there was a time when the Cowboys and the Bulls were "America's team" and then people started hating them because they were, well...sick of them. I don't want people to become sick of us and our boys. Then there's the fact of how many of these "fans" are true fans? How many are bandwagon fans? And how many are fans just because they think it's "cool?" Some people may like this, but not me. I'd rather have a smaller nation that consists of TRUE Red Sox Fans.

Anyway, the article is cool in one way - but in another it kind of makes the Red Sox seem like spoiled Rock Stars or Movie Stars who hate the attention and the paparazzi....I'm still trying to digest. What do you think?

Red Sox Nation new king of the road
TAMPA — Terry Francona recalls walking into a hotel elevator in Baltimore this month, still smarting from a galling loss that night. The Boston Red Sox manager was joined by two Sox fans, also guests in the hotel where the team was staying.

"One of them told me I took (pitcher Daisuke) Matsuzaka out of the game too early," Francona says. In no mood to debate baseball strategy with strangers, he said nothing.

"Then the other guy said, 'So, what are you going to do tonight?' " Francona recalls. "I said, 'Get away from you as quick as I can.' "

These days, the Red Sox are learning that it's not always easy being the biggest attraction in baseball. For much of this decade, that honor — and all the hype and scrutiny it brings — has gone to their archrival, the New York Yankees. But in two of the three seasons since the Red Sox ended an 86-year drought and won the World Series in 2004, the fan base known as Red Sox Nation has grown into its name: No one, including the hallowed Yankees, plays to bigger crowds on the road.

The cheering, fawning and often angst-ridden Red Sox Nation is everywhere, some nights outnumbering the home team's fans at Red Sox road games. Some fans are newcomers, having latched on to the team of the moment. Others are die-hards who have found it easier to see their beloved Sox away from Boston because it's often difficult and expensive to get tickets to games in Boston's tiny Fenway Park.

Still others follow the Sox all over the place on increasingly popular chartered trips arranged by the Red Sox and private operators. Wherever the Sox play, their fans arrive by plane, bus and car. In Baltimore this month, downtown hotels near Oriole Park at Camden Yards had been booked for the Orioles' three-game series against the Sox since Major League Baseball's schedule was announced last winter.

"It used to be, 'Yeah, but they always choke.' Now, they're the best team," says Rocco Onofrietto, 52, who this week made the trip to Tampa from West Palm Beach, Fla., with his son Zack, 20, to see the Sox play the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. "It's really great after all those years."

Wilfredo Santa and his wife, Martha, made the trip here from Puerto Rico, the second year they've done that. Wilfredo, 33, was born in Boston but moved to Puerto Rico as a preschooler.

"It's our tradition," he says of being a Boston native and a Red Sox fan. "I suffered a long time" when the team wasn't as good.

Francona and his players say they appreciate the adulation, but acknowledge it can be smothering. The first-place Red Sox are being chased in the American League East by the Yankees, who through Wednesday were five games behind Boston in the standings — down from 14 games on May 30.

With the Yankees turning up the pressure, the Red Sox also seem to be feeling it from adoring fans who chase them from coast to coast.

"They have passion, really care, really love us. But the best time to be a Red Sox player is game time," says first baseman Kevin Youkilis, a fan favorite usually greeted with chants of "Youuuk."

"We're told to leave it all on the field," Youkilis says. "But with the fans around so much, it becomes a 24/7 thing. You can't escape it. The hardest time is at the hotel. Sometimes that takes away from the whole experience."

"That's a little disappointing to hear," says Red Sox fan Scott Patterson of Cranston, R.I., who graduated in May from Southern New Hampshire University and started a blog ( with a classmate.

"We as fans have taken a huge part of our lives and invested it in this team," says Patterson, who grew up as a Sox fan and went to the series in Baltimore.

Fans stake out hotels

The Red Sox don't reveal the hotels where they stay on the road, but it's hardly a secret among their fans, who share the information on blogs and Internet message boards.

When the Sox came to this area to play the Devil Rays this year, the team — seeking a little privacy — switched hotels from the Renaissance Vinoy in downtown St. Petersburg to the Don CeSar Beach Resort, 10 miles away.

"There were people staking out the floors" of the Vinoy, says Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick, who handles the team's travel arrangements. "If they can't control it, the players can't even come out of their rooms."

And yet, when the Red Sox went to the Don CeSar for the first time for a series in late July, hundreds of fans found them.

"Yeah? Try to find us next year," McCormick says, laughing. "Maybe I'll move us to Orlando," 107 miles away.

Hotels that host the Red Sox or Yankees typically beef up security more than they do for other visiting teams, even getting help from local police departments.

"It's not easy," says Meade Atkeson, general manager of Baltimore's Renaissance Harborplace, which McCormick says is his favorite among the Red Sox stops because of how it handles security.

"It's a fine line balancing security and what our guests want," Atkeson says. "We post signs that say no pictures or autograph requests. If you're not staying at the hotel, we set up a place across the street," where fans can wait to get a glimpse of Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez or scream "Papi, Papi," the nickname of designated hitter David Ortiz.

'It's rock-star status'

Red Sox Nation began growing in 2003, when the team reached the playoffs for the first time since 1999. It exploded after the Sox won the World Series in 2004 for the first time since 1918, after surprising the Yankees in the American League Championship Series by becoming the first baseball team to win a seven-game series after losing the first three games.

The Red Sox returned to the playoffs in 2005 and led the majors in road attendance — topping the Yankees, baseball's top road draw from 2001 to 2004. The Red Sox fell to third place in the AL East last year, missed the playoffs and saw the Yankees reclaim the road attendance crown.

This year the Sox are surging again and averaging 39,136 in road attendance. That's about 1,300 more than the Yankees draw in road games, and nearly 2,000 more than the Sox drew in road games in 2005, when they were the defending World Series champs.

"What we have is a perfect storm," says Sam Kennedy, the Red Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing. "It began in the early part of 2003. That's when our fans really went crazy with the idea we would have a competitive team for a long time."

Kennedy says the rise of Red Sox Nation has little to do with a marketing strategy. "We'd be foolish to say we had anything to do with Red Sox Nation."

However, the team has responded to its rising popularity by operating what is now a 35,000-member fan club with fans from every state and 15 countries.

Kennedy, a Boston native, previously worked for the San Diego Padres. "I remember the first time (the Red Sox) came to San Diego (in 2002) for interleague games, and I'm not exaggerating when I say the stadium was half Red Sox fans."

When the Red Sox travel to Seattle they land at Boeing Field, a public cargo/charter facility where the aircraft-maker tests its planes.

"When we got there (recently), the Blue Angels were also there for a show," McCormick says. "They somehow got word we were coming in and their support people were all out there with Red Sox signs. That happens everywhere we land. Workers come out of nowhere, the food service people, cleaners, baggage people, just to see us. It's rock-star status."

That's why Francona's recent seven-block walk to the hotel from Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards — one he hoped would help clear his head after his team allowed four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and lost — turned into a gantlet of well-wishers, supporters and, yes, second-guessers.

"Most people are really nice," the Sox manager says. "Sometimes I probably seem surly when I don't want to be. But people just walk up to you on the street and start talking. You just don't know which one might be that 'one.' "

He's referring to every major league manager and player's nightmare: A supporter like the one played by Robert De Niro in the 1996 movie The Fan, in which a baseball fan is driven to murder by his obsession with a player.

Youkilis and other Red Sox players acknowledge that the movie — even more than a decade after its release — has given them pause in dealing with fans, although none says he has seen or experienced anything close to such a situation.

"No, it's never been frightening," McCormick says. "But you didn't ask me about aggravating."

In Florida, security personnel at the Don CeSar found a fan they remembered from the last Red Sox visit who was checking out the hotel's layout — including its elevators, stairwells and guest rooms — the night before the team arrived this week. He was threatened with arrest and told not to return.

"We haven't seen him since," says Jim Marus, a hotel security supervisor and former New York Police Department officer. "I'm a Yankees fan, but I also have a job to do."

Easier to see them on the road

At Boston's Fenway Park, the smallest stadium in the majors with a capacity of 36,108, the Red Sox have not had an unsold seat since May 15, 2003, a streak now at 370 games. That's the second-longest in baseball history to Cleveland's 455 from 1995 to 2001.

The difficulty of getting into Fenway Park for one of the team's 81 games there each year has created a travel industry fueled by Sox fans. Patterson says he traveled to Baltimore to see his Sox this month because "it was cheaper to drive down to Baltimore for two games than to go to one in Fenway."

Orioles' home-game tickets range from $8 to $65. When Baltimore plays in Boston in September, the main option for fans such as Patterson who aren't lucky enough to have Red Sox season tickets is to buy from ticket brokers.

Broker StubHub lists a standing-room ticket for that series Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at $80 to $142. Outfield bleacher tickets are offered for up to $300; seats atop Fenway's Green Monster, the venerable 37-foot-tall wall in left field, run about $2,000.

Such prices have fostered a market for trips to Sox road games organized by travel operators.

Dan Pranka runs New England Sports Tours after a 30-year career as a Delta pilot that included flying some Red Sox team charters. For the Baltimore series, Pranka sold 245 seats on planes and several more on a bus to Red Sox fans who traveled to Baltimore, paying $300 to $800 for packages that included hotel rooms and tickets.

Pranka says that before each season, he tries to learn the Red Sox travel schedule as soon as possible, then book hotel rooms in visiting cities before the hotels jack up their rates in anticipation of Sox games.

"They'll go up about $50 a night" when the Sox are in town, he says.

The Red Sox have created their own tour firm, Red Sox Destinations. "This year we had six outbound trips — to Texas, New York, Arizona, San Diego, Chicago and Baltimore," Kennedy says. "And we ran trips for people outside the market and brought 2,500 people into Fenway."

With that kind of demand and the continuing success of the Red Sox on the field, no one around the team expects life on the road to change anytime soon.

For all the hassles that come with intense fans, "we're in first place with the best record in baseball," Youkilis says. "You have to enjoy it, soak it up."


Share your most memorable tales about being a Boston fan and, for followers of other teams, tell us about your most unforgettable encounters with Red Sox fans.

Baseball's top draw away from home

The Boston Red Sox have been among Major League Baseball's biggest road attractions in recent years, but since winning the World Series in 2004, their average road attendance has ranked first or second:

Avg. road attendance
MLB rank (top-ranked team)
American League rank (top-ranked team)
9th (Cincinnati)
2nd (N.Y. Yankees)
5th (San Francisco)
2nd (N.Y. Yankees)
5th (N.Y. Yankees)
2nd (N.Y. Yankees)
4th (N.Y. Yankees)
2nd (N.Y. Yankees)
4th (N.Y. Yankees)
2nd (N.Y. Yankees)

2nd (N.Y. Yankees)
2nd (N.Y. Yankees)

Source: Elias Sports Bureau

Monday, August 20, 2007

Red Sox Nation, Unite!

I sure have a lot to write about - especially since I saw two games over the weekend - however, every once in a while I am humbled and remember there are more important things in life than baseball (gasp!)

Our fellow blogger and member of RSN, Derek, lost his mom this morning after a short battle with cancer.* Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

*I tried posting this yesterday but kept getting error messages....

Monday, August 13, 2007

Eric Gagne is Kind of Creepy

What's this? A Two-fer today?


As much as I haven't been blogging, I haven't been reading my favorite sports blogs and I just came across this post from Beth at Cursed to First.

I have to point it out b/c earlier today I thought it was strange that Gagne named his daughter Bluu. But honestly, this takes the cake:

...I genuinely like Eric Gagne. Even though he once told Sports Illustrated that he loves Angelina Jolie so much he named his son Maddox after her son because he thought it was a cool name*.

*And not, as people usually assume, after Greg Maddux. I guess this creeps me out because they're both famous. It isn't like some regular guy having a celebrity crush (although the naming-the-kid thing is still a little weird). In my mind, I guess it's like all famous people know each other, and Eric Gagne might run into Brad in the celebrity supermarket sometime and things will be weird.

And as a side note, yes I will hopefully come back and praise the ground that GAGne walks on before the season is over. As of right now, not so much.


Honestly, I haven't been ignoring you. I have started writing lots of posts and then been distracted and by the time I get around to finishing them, they're old news. Then I decided I'd be on "writing strike" until the Sox stopped sucking...but that might just kill this blog.

Can somebody PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE explain something to me? Why is it so hard to go from being a Closer to a Set-up man? I understand why it's hard to go from being a Closer to a Starter and vice versa - but WTF is the real difference between a Closer and Set-up man? Ultimately your goal is the same - one inning DO NOT ALLOW ANY RUNS. We win. How is that hard? And why is it such an adjustment? I'm sure there is an answer but I don't know what it is. So here it is, my open letter to Eric GAGne

Dear Eric 'Used to be the Best in the Game' Gagne,

I've never been, nor will I ever be a competitive baseball player. I am, however, a fan and would like to offer you a word of advice. When you're pitching to Miguel Tejada you really can't throw seven fastballs in a row.

So now the boo-birds are out and you're wearing a big red target on your back. Look, we understand nerves - we understand trying to fit into a new team. Hell, once in a while we can even understand mistakes. What we can't understand is a 15.95 ERA against the freakin' Baltimore Orioles.

Get it together man. Get. It. Together.


P.S. Who the hell names their daughter Bluu anyway?