Monday, June 29, 2009

Photo of the Day

After yesterday's loss where the bats couldn't seem to wake up, coupled with a Yankees win (and Rivera's 500th career save - why is it impossible to hate him?), the Red Sox are now three games up on the Yankees in the AL East. They boast the best record in the AL (46-29), and the second best in baseball, behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers (48-28). So why do I feel so... lackluster... today? The only explanation I can come up with is the fact that the Sox ended the road trip with a loss, coupled with the seemingly never-ending rain that keeps falling from the sky here in North Conway, New Hampshire. Honestly, the rain has more to do with it: I almost feel like I should be building an ark.

Now, on to the photo of the day, which needs no introduction:As you can see from the timestamp on the picture, this was taken on a team flight during the summer of 2007. My favorite part of this is that Paps - the young stud, has a Budweiser, while Mikey Lowell - the elder statesman, if you will, has a Bud Light... Mikey knows that you need to watch those calories as you get older. Paps also has that "I can finally be photographed with alcohol because I'm 21 now" look, even though he would have been 26 at the time, and it's just priceless. I would pay SO MUCH money to be allowed to witness the shenanigans that go down during team flights.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Love New England

There are lots of very good reason to love this region of the country, and today was a lesson in appreciation. I work at a day camp, and today we went on a field trip to Storyland in Glenn, New Hampshire (which I highly recommend if you have children between the ages of 3-12).Of course, I live in the area, so I know how big of a tourist attraction it is, with families from all over New England. Today, more than I've noticed before, Red Sox Nation was out in force. Obviously, living in New Hampshire, I can't go anywhere without seeing some sort of Sox paraphernalia, which is great, since I basically never leave the house without something with the "B" or Sox logo on, and the company makes me feel slightly less insane (for reference, below is a picture of my Red Sox collection [the fraction that fit in my dorm room], circa October 2007).Anyway, today it just seemed like everyone in the theme park was wearing a Red Sox shirt. I only saw one Yankees hat all day. The kids at my camp had to wear their camp shirts, or at least half of them would have inevitably been representing the home town team. Hands down, the highlight of my day was an interaction I had with a little boy - around 5 years old - who was not on the field trip, but with his own family. While standing in line for a ride behind him, I noticed that his Sox shirt said "Lowe" on the back, complete with #32.I asked him about his shirt, since I suspected he was too young to recall the pitcher's Boston days. He looked up at me and said (in his squeaky little-kid voice) "D-Lowe is a hero!" I wanted to hug his parents. That, dear readers, is how you raise your child. That little boy would have been an infant in 2004, if he was born at all, but, as I discovered during the long wait in line, he knew his Red Sox. He rattled off the 2004 saga and then went on to tell me all about Ted Williams, Yaz, and even good old Bill Buckner.
This child gave me hope for the future of the United States, and more importantly, the future of Red Sox Nation. Though the next generation of fans will not remember the long drought and myriad of heartbreaking moments firsthand, I for one can take comfort in the fact that they will appreciate them at least for their historical importance to the fanbase. (To be fair, the only heartache I experienced first hand was the 2003 ALCS and Aaron Boone, as I was born too late for any of the others.)
(I feel sorry for this child, though I admire his parents' enthusiasm for the team.) My eventual children, if I have them, will be dressed to the nines in Sox gear from the womb:
But, they won't just talk the talk. I plan to teach them about Sox history before instructing them that 2+2=4. With all the casual fans out there (resisting Jacoby Ellsbury dig), the world needs more Sox kids like the boy I met today: ready to exult the heroics of Derek Lowe, and knowledgeable about the game.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


So as I was Tweeting the Sox game, I had this thought for a T-shirt design. I'm not sure if I'll be making any of these, but PLEASE let me know if you would buy them, because the more I get, the cheaper they would be. Without further ado:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Photo Booth

Too lazy to write a real post, so I Google image searched some of the Sox players, and captioned them with what I like to think was going through their minds when the photos were taken:

JD Drew: "NO! Don't touch me! Awwww, Pedey... now I'll be on the sixty-day DL with an aggravated hangnail and a slipped disk."

DP: "...Seriously, dude?"

Nick Green: "Yeah, I booked the dugout for this Tuesday.. So it should be a great time. No, of course Lugo's not invited, do you think I'm an idiot? ...Oh, hey Julio...*awkward silence*"

Rocco Baldelli: "Are those... fans?!? Wow, I guess I'm not in Tampa anymore. I do sort of wish they didn't follow me to my house every day. Especially that one guy with my name tattooed on his forehead..."

David Ortiz: "What kind of a name is Coco Crisp, anyway? At least he's not uptight about it."

Coco: "Who does this guy think he is, pouring milk on me? This is NOT in my contract."

George Kottaras: "Does he HAVE to touch my butt all the time? The knuckleball is the LEAST of my worries in this clubhouse..."

Mark Kotsay: "Stop hitting on my wife! Yes, you in the hat and the ugly shirt. STOP! I'm serious.... SECURITY!"

Jacoby Ellsbury: "I can't believe Boras thinks this will be good for my image... It's humiliating."

Mike Lowell: "What part of 'Don't hit on Kotsay's wife' don't you people understand? Because I've got his back."

Julio Lugo: "Maybe if I carry my kid around, the fans will love me... Or at least it might get me invited to Greenie's party... as if I WANTED to go, anyway." *cries*

Jason Varitek: "Ahoy! I am CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow... Yeah, this is a real sword, I'm going to threaten opposing pitchers with it... Selig said it would boost merchandise sales, so it was okay."

Dustin Pedroia: "BUT WHY IS THE RUN GONE?!!?"

Jason Bay: "Aren't we taking this 'Pirate' thing a little too far? No? Alright then, but no matter how long you keep me on this beach, I'll never get any tanner."

Kevin Youkilis: "That Lugo is such a primadonna... Does he really need TWO giant suitcases? It's not like he'll play, anyway, so they could leave his uniforms behind..."

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Well, I hate to say "I told you so..."

Actually, I don't. But after all, anyone who has been paying attention knew long before last week's "Sox Superlatives" post and his comments since that odds are Papelbon will be Shipping Up to New York before long. Here's what Paps had to say about the whole thing, when asked directly if he would ever play for the Bronx Bombers:

"Oh, of course. I mean, I think if we can’t come to an agreement on terms here in a Red Sox uniform, I mean, I think that’s pretty much the writing on the wall. If they can’t come to terms with you they’re letting you know that, ‘Hey you know what? We can go somewhere else.’ And I think it’s the same way on the other side, ‘Hey if ya’ll can’t come to an agreement with me then I can go somewhere else.’ Not only in the Bronx, but anywhere. I think anywhere is a possibility. You always have to keep that in the back of your mind because you can’t just be one-sided and think that, ‘Oh I’m going to be in a Red Sox uniform my entire career.’ Because nowadays that is very, very rare and hopefully we can because there’s no question I would love to stay in a Boston Red Sox uniform but I have to do what’s best for me and play in an atmosphere where I’m wanted and play on a team where I’m wanted and that’s all I can really say about that, you know?"

He then backtracked a bit after realizing that his words could have serious repercussions for him down the road, claiming, "I don't want to play for the [expletive] Yankees." I'm going to take a wild guess and say that the "expletive" was one of those words we often see Youkilis and Pedroia use when they strike out.

However, even if Papelbon was a little more skilled in diplomacy (which, of course, would be most unlike him) and hadn't spilled his guts to the whole world, the writing was on the wall.

The Red Sox have demonstrated that they have worries about his longevity. Paps began his career as a starter, and after he made the switch to closer, the Sox wanted him to switch back, in order to protect his (already troublesome) arm. Remember Spring Training 2007? A little, maybe? Well, we were all excited to see Paps as a starter, but wondered who would be the closer. Luckily (?), Jonathan decided that he preferred the closer's role, the Sox went on to win the World Series, and the rest is history.

The Red Sox have demonstrated time and time again that they will not overpay to retain their talent, and it takes compromise on both sides to get a long term deal. The Pedroia/Youkilis/Lester deals of the offseason are case in point: club policy requires that the player forfeit at least one year of free agency and agree to a club option for a deal to get done that gives the player some long-term security. We all know how Papelbon feels about sacrificing a single year or dollar, having heard him spout off again and again about "setting the standard" for those at his position.

We know that New York has no qualms about overpaying for other teams' home grown talent: CC Sabathia, Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, Alex Rodriguez (thanks!)... You get the picture. The Steinbrenners are like small children in a candy store with Daddy's credit card, they'll buy anything that catches their fancy. With Mariano Rivera closing in on 40 (40!), and his contract due to expire after 2010, the Yanks will be looking for a viable replacement, and be willing to pay him top dollar.

To be honest, I'm pretty much okay with it. With his history, Papelbon will not have the longevity that Mo has enjoyed (is the guy even HUMAN?), and I think it's a safe bet that most of Papelbon's productive years will be spent pre-free-agency. Let him go, I say, and bring on Daniel Bard. Or, you know, whoever is next in line from the player development machine.
I wonder if the Yankees' fans will remember this?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Let's Settle This

As most (probably all) of you know, I am on Twitter (LoveSox 15). I really enjoy Tweeting during the games, because it allows me to converse with fellow Sox fans, and some semi-intelligent Yankees fans (They do exist! And some are quite fun to argue with... really know their stuff.). However, tonight I got in a bit of a mini-argument with one about Youkilis and Teixeira. I bet you know how it went, and there was a bit of homerism on both sides. But seriously, let's settle this right now, with some stats from I will try to be as bias-free as my Red Sox obsession allows, and I welcome debate in the comments... Now, on to the facts (Since they have different service times, we'll look at the 162-game average).

7 seasons with the Rangers, Braves, Angels, and Yankees.
BA: .289 OBP:.378 OPS: .924 HR: 38 RBI: 123 BB: 80 K's: 124
Postseason appearances: one series, four games (2008 ALDS)
World Titles: 0
2009 Salary: $20.625 million

6 seasons with the Red Sox
BA: .292 OBP: .392 OPS: .825 HR: 21 RBI: 95 BB: 84 K's: 120
Postseason appearances: six series (2005 ALDS; 2007 ALDS, ALCS, WS; 2008 ALDS, ALCS)
World Titles: 2 (Youk got a 2004 ring though he was not on the Postseason roster).
2009 Salary: $6.25 million

So the stats tell pretty much the story that any fan might expect: pretty even, with Teixeira having the edge in the power categories and Youk with the advantage in most others. I absolutely concede that it's not Teixeira's fault he has not played extensively in the postseason, as it takes 25+ guys working together to do that. However, Youk was an integral part of the 2007 and 2008 Sox runs, and it wouldn't be fair to him to ignore those performances. Obviously the salary is a plus for Youkilis' team, as it allows Theo to go out and use the leftover money for more parts the Sox need to make another run (not that Cashman has any shortage of money if he wants it).

On to the intangibles:
Teixeira: a switch hitter, with power from both sides of the plate... that's all I got (not that I don't think there might be more, but I will admit to now knowing as much about Teix and the Yanks as I do about Youk and the Sox. Feel free to add.)

Youkilis: a Gold Glover at first, and an above average defensive third baseman; can play outfield in a pinch; a beard with its own Twitter account; a restraining order against Billy Beane (again, feel free to add).

I think it might be too close to call, so I'm bringing in the photographic evidence:Remember kids, "Crack is whack!"

Gotta go with the Youk-fu. This look seals the deal for me...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sox Superlatives, Part 2 (The Pitching Staff)

The first installment focused on the field players, but personally, I think there are more wacky personalities in the rotation and 'pen. I mean, the bullpen chose a pirate theme. PIRATES. The closest thing the field players have going is the team goatee thing, and they share that with the pitching staff. On to the superlatives!

Starting Rotation:

Most Likely to Live to be 100 (and still be pitching): Tim Wakefield
There's a great article in this month's Red Sox Magazine about the knuckleballer, who, along with Captain Varitek, is the longest tenured member of the Boston Red Sox. Wake is known for his professional attitude, as well as for his versatility, having pitched in every possible role during his career. Who would have thought, way back in 1995, when Wake was released by the Pirates that he would play 13+ seasons with the Sox? I'm proud to say that my jersey collection includes a #49.

Most Likely to Transfer: Brad Penny
With injuries to many of the hot arms on the trading block, Penny has become one of the best pitchers on the market (according to MLB Network's skilled analysts). Injuries to Halliday and Peavy can only be good for the Red Sox, who will deal Penny only if they are "blown away" by offers, despite the logjam in the rotation. I think we can also award Penny with Mr. Congeniality. Despite what the Dodgers say about his less-than ideal clubhouse persona, the Sox have had nothing but praise for Penny's presence and work ethic.

Most Likely to Cuss in Church: Josh Beckett
Beckett has never been known for his eloquence: he gets his point across very well, but with a... uhhh... limited vocabulary. Beckett has been known to cuss indiscriminately at opposing teams, and in press conferences, all but ensuring a permanent seven second delay on every presser he ever appears on. Josh doesn't take crap from anyone, and wants to make sure everybody knows it. Runner up superlative: Most Likely to Shock a Nun.

Most Likely to Inspire the Masses: Jon Lester
Hear me out: this has very little to do with Jon's overcoming cancer, but as there is someone fighting it in my family, I can't overlook it completely. Lester has electric stuff: I was at Fenway for Lester's start against the Rangers where he made a run at perfection, and managed to finish up with a complete game. No matter what Jon does in his career, even if he wins a handful of Cy Youngs and throws multiple no-hitters (he has his start), he will always be inspirational to those fighting cancer, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Least Likely to Throw a Com
plete Game: Daisuke Matsuzaka
Daisuke has not pitched into the seventh inning yet this year, and has pitched into the sixth just once. Matsuzaka is exasperating to watch, and I'm pretty sure he's personally taken several years off of my life while he continuously creates jams to wriggle out of. Daisuke nibbles, we all know that, but this year he's giving up lots of hits and runs. I, like most of New England (and, I suspect, the Sox front office), blame the World Baseball Classic. Maybe if we can convince him the Red Sox represent his country, he'll care enough to pitch like that for us.


Most Likely to Jump of
f the Tobin Bridge if Traded: Manny Delcarmen
Manny is one of those homegrown players who is really homegrown. Born and raised in Boston, and drafted out of a Boston high school, Manny truly is a Boston boy, and the day he gets traded (there is considerable interest) will be a hard one indeed, all around. I know plenty of boys who would give their left kidney to play for the Red Sox: I'm guessing that Delcarmen was the same as a child, and to achieve one's childhood dream only to have it yanked away is cruel. I know it's unrealistic to think he'll be with this team forever, but here's hoping he leaves on his own terms.

Worst Nickname: Ramon Ramirez
Whichever media outlet/blogger/lumberjack came up with the name "Ram-Ram" deserves to be shot. I understand that there was another Ramirez who recently parted ways with the Sox, but any fan who gets confused when you talk about Ramirez's pitching line is clearly a Yankees fan in disguise.

Most Likely to Succeed: Daniel Bard
I had to save this one for a rookie, as listing Youk or Pedey would feel like a cop out. However, I feel very confident with this prediction, even considering the disappointing outing he had yesterday in Philly. His reaction to the shelling was more telling than the results themselves: he handled himself admirably, shrugging it off as growing pains. Judging by the 100mph fastball followed by 85mph breaking stuff he displayed the outing before, I'm willing to bet that it was only growing pains. Runner up superlative: Closer of the Future.

Most Likely to End Up in Pinstripes: Jonathan Papelbon
I have resigned myself to the fact that Paps is going to be closing games for the Bronx Bombers sooner or later (and probably sooner). It all fits: Paps' insistence on the highest payday, the Sox' reluctance to sign him long term (due to concerns about his longevity), the fact that Mariano Rivera is reaching the end of an amazing career, and that the Red Sox have an in house solution for the spot. It will hurt to see him pitching for the other side, but it cannot be termed as unexpected.

Cutest Smile: Hideki Okajima
Don't even pretend like you don't see it. In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Least Likely to Make Headlines: Takashi Saito
The most interesting thing to happen to the righthander so far was Josh Beckett greeting him by saying "Hola" during Spring Training. Saito has done well thus far, though he has done nothing spectacular. He doesn't get notice unless he does particularly bad, which must be hard for a man who once saved 39 games in a season. All in all, he is a valuable part of the bullpen, and we would do well not to forget that.

Most Popular: Justin Masterson

Just one interview of Justin had me convinced he was someone I wanted to keep track of. What a character! First off, he drives a Mini-Cooper, and admits that he bought it, despite his 6'5" frame, because his wife wanted it. He's not afraid to laugh at himself, and to top it all off, he wants to do whatever he can so that the Red Sox win. Need a starter? Long guy? Quick double play? Masty's your man. Someone so versatile and friendly has got to be beloved in the clubhouse, and I KNOW he's beloved by the fanbase.

There you have it: my take on Sox superlatives so far. I promise to do a better job of updating... or I'll at least try (my sister's wedding is in less than a month, so life is pretty hectic right now).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sox Superlatives

In the spirit of graduation and yearbook season (congrats Hebron, Trinity, and Kennett Classes of 2009!), I decided to write up a list of Red Sox superlatives, based on their respective seasons thus far. This has the added bonus of getting me out of talking about today's debacle of a game. Here goes:

Field Players:

Best Facial Hair: Kevin Youkilis
Mark Kotsay might be upset about this one, but how can you argue with a beard that has it's own Twitter account and YouTube videos? Youk's goatee is one of the most recognizable physical features of the team, and it would be remiss of me not to recognize its magnificence.

Most Confident: Dustin Pedroia
Another no-brainer. Have you ever seen a ballplayer with more swagger than the Sox second-baseman? You just know Pedroia spent the entire game trying to convince Tito to put him in, despite the 0-for7 night he recently had, which qualifies as a slump for the feisty #15. Add in that ad he recorded for MLB 09: The Show, and Pedey is dangerously close to bypassing confident and embracing arrogant... but I love it.

Most Likely to Overcome Adversity: Nick Green
You just can't root against Green. He had to have been third or even fourth on the Sox depth chart at short coming into Spring Training, and all of a sudden, Lugo needs knee surgery, and Lowrie needs wrist surgery. Green fills in adequately, and when Lugo returns, steps it up a notch. I can't be the only one disappointed when BooHoolio Lugo plays at short over Green, can I?

Most Respected: Mike Lowell
Face it, Mikey just looks like an elder statesman. At the tender age of 35, Lowell has that salt-and-pepper hair and beard combination that every successful diplomat needs, as well as the coveted ability to speak fluently in both English and Spanish. Add that to the fact that he has an inspirational life story, and the man just cannot be insulted. (READ HIS BOOK!)

Biggest Baby: Julio Lugo
Lugo has done several media interviews lately where he laments he lack of playing time, and admits to being upset over the fact that he is constantly lambasted by fans and reporters alike. This just in, BooHoolio, but if they didn't care about harmony in the clubhouse, your pitching staff would have given you an atomic wedgie, followed by a stern talking-too from Wake, complete with interjections of profanity from Beckett. But, yes, Lugo, we feel your pain: you're not good enough to play everyday, yet you're being paid like Nomar in his heyday... Boo-freakin'-hoo.

Most Resilient: Jason Vari
The Captain has enjoyed an impressive renaissance, at least at the plate, and it appears that he is trying his darnedest to prove those naysayers wrong. To his credit, Varitek doesn't like to talk about his new found successes with the bat, and prefers to emphasize his work with the pitching staff. If anyone will end his career in Boston (beside Tim Wakefield), it should be Jason Varitek... But with his agent, who knows?

Most Popular: David Ortiz

Have Boston fans ever supported a player as unconditionally as they have supported Big Papi this season? After 2004, many fans feel as though they owe their sanity to good old #34, and they may very well be right. Despite the hellacious slump endured by the slugger this season, the fans have stood by him. Are the curtain calls after each home run ridiculous and slightly embarrassing? Absolutely, but I've had the privilege of being present on two such occasions this year, and I was proud both times to be part of such a supportive fan base.

Least Disruptive: George Kottaras
Georgie is the perfect back up catcher: he can catch Wake, is passably good looking, and doesn't make waves in the clubhouse. Think about it. You never see or hear about Kottaras on days he isn't catching, and even when he is, he is so dependable - yet not outstanding - that you think about him only when he does something unexpected, like hit a home run. His passed balls are minimal, and he seems to do well with Wakefield. Plus, Theo can pay him league-minimum. A match made in heaven, I'd say.

Best Looking: Jacoby Ellsbury

Duh. And it's precisely why I won't get a #46 shirt. Last time I was at Fenway, I sat in front of the type of fans I LOATHE. Two girls who knew next to nothing about baseball ("What happens if there's a tie at the end?"), who insisted they should have "pregamed" harder before the game, and who were, inevitably, wearing Ellsbury jerseys. Ellsbury was not even in the lineup, and hadn't been for two days. They fretted about him for a good three innings, before becoming too drunk to care. Jacoby is a good young player, but girls like that make me want to permanently disfigure him so they'll stop coming to games.

Least Likely to Show Emotion: JD Drew
JD has to be the most even-keeled human being EVER. Strikeout? Grand slam in the playoffs? Same blank expression. I referred to him as "No Feelings Drew" on Twitter the other night, and someone replied to me and told me that she had gone to college with JD, and that he was a really nice guy. I'm sure he is, but even if he hated you, you'd never know it, because his facial expression never changes. Ever. If he didn't injure himself so often, I'd swear he was an android.

Most Fragile: Rocco Baldelli
Not his fault, but Rocco isn't exactly Cal Ripken, Jr. Rocco cannot play more than two days in a row, and manages to have sore/strained muscles more often than not. However, if he can make catches like he did during the third game of the last Yankees' series every time he plays, he can have all the off time he wants.

Favorite Exchange Student: Jason Bay

Jason Bay came over at the trade deadline last year, and it's been a honeymoon ever since. Bay is everything you could want in a left fielder, except for possibly the extreme paleness of his skin. I think he might blind the opposing pitchers with his whiteness. Runner up superlative for Bay? Most SPF Needy.

Most Versatile: Mark Kotsay
Beyond playing all three outfield position and wielding a more than adequate lefthanded bat, he can hold down first base, as we saw last year during the playoffs. He also is a great clubhouse guy, according to the Skipper, and could rival JD Drew for best monotone during interviews. Our male readers know that he has a good looking wife. All in all, Kotsay does well for himself, on and off the field. Runner up superlative: Best looking family.

Tomorrow: the pitching staff.