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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

  The Most Talented DL in Baseball

By the end of the week, the Boston Red Sox will have arguably their three best starting pitchers on the disabled list. Wade Miller is making his way through the minors on rehab assignment after being sidelined with a frayed rotator cuff. David Wells suffered a foot sprain attempting to field a bunt in his last start and may be out for a month. And on Friday, Curt Schilling will go out with a bone bruise on his right ankle, the same ankle that was surgically repaired right after the World Series.

Schilling, Wells, and Miller were expected to be Boston's 1-2-3 once Miller gets strong to join the major league rotation. Instead, it looks like he may come back before his newly disabled teammates return. For those keeping track, that leaves us with a likely interim rotation of (in no particular order) Matt Clement, Tim Wakefield, Bronson Arroyo, John Halama, and Lenny DiNardo.

All I can say is I'm glad it's April and not September.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


Sunday, April 17, 2005

  The Sheffield Incident

The now-infamous incident in Fenway's right field corner during the recent Red Sox/Yankees series didn't seem important enough to address in this blog, but since the rocket scientists at WEEI radio haven't been able to let it drop, then obviously I must be wrong. Here, therefore, is my humble opinion.

Should the fan who reached over and may or may not have touched/hit/brushed Sheffield have been ejected from the park? Yes. Should his season tickets be revoked by the Red Sox? Yes. The same punishment should befall the many other fans who, in the course of that same game, also reached over the wall to interfere with a play in progress.

Did that fan hit Sheffield? Having watched the replay about 50 times, it doesn't appear so—if by "hit" you mean "tried to strike him." Did Sheffield hit the fan? Yes, again using the same definition.

So did Sheffield exercise, in the word of the day, restraint? No, if by "restraint" you mean "the self-control not to react." He never tried to push the fan away so he could make the play; he fielded the ball, [CORRECTIVE ADDITION:] slugged the fan, made his throw, then turned around and went back to the fan to strike him again. Not with a glancing blow of a limp hand, but with force and with both hands, and hard enough to push the fan into others near him. That wasn't reaction and it wasn't restraint; it was deliberate tit-for-tat. It was, "I think you might have hit me, so I'm going to definitely hit you, so everyone will be clear that I win."

Sure, Sheffield didn't jump into the stands an pummel the guy, like pro basketball player Ron Artest did last year. Which means he's merely a bully instead of a violent criminal. But why did he do anything at all? Sheffield wasn't being attacked, the fan jump the wall to pursue him on the field of play, and in fact the incident was over until Sheffield returned to the scene of the altercation to get his licks in. Of that there is no disagreement or doubt.

Restraint? For anyone else, it would be called "aggression." But Sheffield is known to be a hothead, known to overreact to situations in which he feels disrespected. If an alert member of the ballpark security staff hadn't reached Sheffield in record time and intervened to separate the two parties, it would have been much worse.

It's about time that spoiled rich athletes with big chips on their shoulders be expected to behave like, you know, civilized adults instead of schoolyard thugs. Make them behave like someone on the street is expected to behave. Which means, simply, don't go back and turn it into a fight, idiot.

Certainly no one has ever accused Gary Sheffield (or any number of other cranky athletes with uncontrolled anger problems, for that matter) or being smart. That's why someone with a cooler head and a higher IQ should see to it that Sheffield too is punished for his role in the scuffle, instead of giving him or someone else excuses to do it at again the next time.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 3

I agree so much with you on this whole incident. The fans though as well need to be held to a higher standard and if they come in contact with a player or come onto the field that their season tickets should be revoked and not allowed in the stadium for a season or two. it is starting to get out of hand the way that fans are interferring in the game. But by no means do I give any credit for the restraint that Sheffield showed as he didn't show any. you are right on with that and he should be given a couple days suspension as well as a fine. The interactions between fans and players should only be with signings of autographs. Let's hope this is the last of this for a while.

I agree that the fans need to be held accountable for interfering with a play. Unfortunately, that hardly ever happens. You can bet the only reason it happened this time is because Sheffield escalated it.

There are plenty of ballpark staff making sure non-ticketholders don't sneak into those field seats. Those people should also be watching for unacceptable fan behavior and dealing with it when it happens, not just when it makes SportsCenter.

OK, as I live in the land of Al-Yanqzeera, aka YES, I did finally see the full tape & Sheffield did take a cut @ House. There could be a reason not to punish Sheffield & it may be a vote that Selig needs from Steinbrenner. Probably the biggest punishment to visit The Bronx, will be NO Post-Season.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

  Thoughts on Opening Day

No, I wasn't there. I was at work, where about a half dozen people came up to me before 9:00am and said, "Why aren't you in Boston for Opening Day?" which only depressed me further. A group of Red Sox message board friends had arranged to meet up at a sports pub to watch the game as a group, but I wasn't going to waste a vacation day to sit in a bar and watch television. Instead, I took a late lunch and watched the pre-game ceremonies on the TV in the company gym.

The magnitude of the day's events exceeds my meager writing abilities, so instead I'll just list some of my favorite moments, in approximate order of occurrence:

A personal moment, which I didn't even know about until the next day, was when highlights of the Trophy Tour were shown on the electronic scoreboard. One of those highlights was yours truly, kissing the trophy. So even though I wasn't there, in a way I was.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 1

The Description, in reading it, caused me to shed tears, it was so beautifully done, The Ring Day.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

  Media: Embracing What They Despise

PART I

Evidently, ESPN.com's David Schoenfield is getting tired of hearing about the Red Sox. So what does he do? He writes a column about...86 reasons to hate the Red Sox. Not five or ten. 86. The list goes on and on. I'm guessing he is blind to the irony.

P.S. It's a pretty funny column.

PART II

Evidently, ESPN.com's Patrick Hruby thinks the Red Sox are overexposed. So what does he do? He writes a column about...Red Sox overload. He can't get away from them on television, radio, or in bookstores, so he writes about them on the internet.

It isn't nearly as good as Schoenfield's piece.

PART III

Evidently, the YES Network's John Filippelli thinks his viewers, predominantly Yankees fans, don't want to see the Red Sox get their rings and raise their banner. So what does he do? He orders his camera crew to not show it...but has a talking head talk about it live and in detail. The viewers don't want to see it, so he makes them hear it.

One wonders why he didn't run a Yankees highlight film instead.

What makes it all so funny is that the Red Sox hype (i.e. all that's going on outside the hearts and minds of Red Sox fans, where it's never too much and will last forever) is a function of the media. And leading the pack is ESPN and, in New York, YES. It's like a man who beats his wife and then complains because the bruises make her look ugly.

We're laughing because we know they just can't help themselves. They're the liberal who hates Rush Limbaugh but keeps tuning in, getting angrier and angrier. They're the commuter who cranes her neck for a glimpse of the gory multi-car accident. They're the heartbroken teenager who goes stag to the prom so he can watch the girl who dumped her dancing with her new boyfriend. The urge is irresistable and they hate themselves for giving in to it.

But for those of us still revelling in the events of last October, the ongoing coverage is more than welcome. We don't care what the motivation is, any more than we care whether or not the rest of the country likes it. It's all about our boys, what they did and the way they did it, and how much we love them for it. Let the whiners play into our hands. We'll enjoy it for as long as it lasts.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


  The View from Afar

After a significant event for any sports team, it's fun to look at the reaction from the opponent. So as she often does, the Triumphant Red Sox Fan provides a glimpse of New York reaction to yesterday's Red Sox ring and flag ceremony, not to mention the game that followed.

The New York Post

FOR $200 MILLION YOU EXPECT MORE

Maybe the Yankees were in denial about seeing the Red Sox fondle their World Series rings. Perhaps the Fenway Park pageantry messed up their heads. They could have been in shock over Mariano Rivera being cheered loudly during the pre-game introductions.

Alas, that's all psychobabble. The real reason for the Yankees' 8-1 loss to the defending World Champions in front of 33,702 yesterday in New England's living room is simple: Seven games gone and the Yankees smell.
BUMBLING BOMBERS SHOWING AGE

You know what looked 86 years old yesterday at Fenway Park? The Yankee roster.

[ . . . ]

They looked like an old team in losing 8-1 to the Olde Town Team, falling below .500 (3-4) and well below expectations. All four setbacks have been by at least four runs and this was the second loss by seven runs.
A BANNER DAY

The world shifted, ever so slightly, ever so subtly, just before 2:30 yesterday afternoon. Up went the red banner, rising to a point just south of Old Glory, and unless you happen to play centerfield this summer at Fenway Park, you won't ever be able to read the lettering on it.

Not that it matters. What you can read, clear as the top of an eye chart, are the numbers. Those are big enough for the Bambino himself to see, from his present seat location, bold blue, outlined in white:

"2004."

The New York Daily News

Sox run rings around Yanks

It was the Red Sox's day yesterday and George Steinbrenner wanted his Yankees to watch. Losers to Boston in last fall's ALCS, they sat in the dugout as the Red Sox paraded their stars, past and present, on the field at Fenway Park, savoring the glory that only comes with 87 years of waiting.

[ . . . ]

Whatever motivation came from witnessing the celebration didn't help the Yanks hit a knuckleball, though, and they managed just five hits off Sox starter Tim Wakefield in an ugly 8-1 loss before a sellout crowd of 33,702.
Day gloves come off to applaud Boston

This was everything that brings you back in baseball, whether you are a Red Sox fan or a Yankee fan, whether you believed you would ever see a Red Sox-Yankee day like this or not. This was all about hope and history, about renewal and memory and possibilities, about all the old people in this place, starting with Pesky, who were young yesterday. For an hour yesterday, while the Red Sox celebrated last season and the Yankees watched them from the top step of their dugout, nobody hated anybody.

"For a little while," an old Yankee named Roy White said, "it wasn't personal."
Tim baffles again

Tim Wakefield's fingertips are all over the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry, from the flat knuckleball that Aaron Boone pounded for his famous playoff-clinching homer to the brilliant knucklers he threw last season as a regular season starter and October reliever.

So it was perhaps fitting that Wakefield, who is also the longest-tenured Sox, started and won on one of the great days in Boston history. After he tried on his World Series ring and enjoyed the Sox lavish pregame celebration yesterday, he cranked out a series of dipping and weaving knucklers that once again frustrated the Yankees.

New York Newsday

Yanks can't stop Boston 'V' party

The Red Sox finally had their day to bask in the spotlight yesterday, and the Yankees didn't seem to mind playing the role of accommodating bystanders.

[ . . . ]

While the Red Sox carried the good vibes from their ring ceremony and emotional flag-raising into their first home game, the Yankees remained dormant, never putting up much of a fight.
Funny fans, good sport Mo highlight grand day

At 2:53 p.m., a rivalry that has run the gamut from contempt to venom veered away from its dogged seriousness, thank Babe.

In a procession of Yankee introductions, the stadium announcer introduced Mariano Rivera, the Yankee of all Yankees for years, and Fenway Park erupted into sustained, sarcastic cheering that feted four Rivera blown saves against Boston, two from last week and two, especially, from last October.

But then Rivera, in on the joke, winning his way into any Worthy Gestures Hall of Fame, played along, doffed his cap, held up his hands in mock thankfulness, and laughed and laughed, his sense of self impressively sturdy.

Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


Monday, April 11, 2005

  Don't Worry, Be Happy

We're a week into the season and in last place. Behind not only New York and Baltimore, but also Tampa Bay and Toronto. Tub o' Lard is acting like the new Embedded Yankee, the bullpen can't seem to get find their A-game, and Manny is batting .200. But get those chins up, people. There are still plenty of reasons to smile. Here are three:

    1.
    The Red Sox are World Series Champions!

    2.
    The Red Sox are World Series Champions!

    3.
    The Red Sox are World Series Champions!

It's a very tasteful ring, a refreshing departure from recent rings that got gaudier and more ostentatious with each passing year, and entirely appropriate for a bunch of guys who were more interested in the team than in calling attention to themselves. It's a ring any man could—and would—wear at any time. Compare it with two recent examples of ring excess (with the 2003 Marlins taking the prize for by far the ugliest waste of money I have ever seen):


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


  Weatherman Talks Sox

Local meteorologist Pete Bouchard is talking weather in the online forecast discussions, but he's keeping it in proper perspective.

Where'd the weekend warmth go? Ah, yes the Evil Empire is in town...they're trying to turn this into the ice planet Hoth.

I spent the morning at Fenway freezing my sox off. The only warm moment came when Johnny Damon's wife...er, I mean, when the World Series rings arrived at 6am. Trust me, they're as big as Big Papi's swing radius.

Sunshine is abundantly clear this morning and afternoon, unfortunately, the wind and the air mass are cold. This on a day when the only things we want cold are the beverages and Mussina's arm. Guess we'll make do....we've been doing it for 86 years now.

Warmer weather arrives by the next Sox game on Wednesday. If you can call mid 50s warmer.

GO SOX!

Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


  Happy Ring Day

For those of us who lack both tickets to today's home opener at Fenway Park and the temerity to camp out on Lansdowne Street waiting for same, here is the schedule of coverage on NESN (all telecast times are Eastern Daylight Time):

In addition to honoring the current World Champs (including several members of the winning team coming back just for the occasion), look for the grandest franchise in baseball to also honor the past, with a moment of silence for the late Dick Radatz and a ceremonial call to "play ball" by former Sox pitcher Charlie Wagner. And because the Red Sox are about more than just baseball, the national anthem will be played by the Boston Pops and the ceremonial first pitch will be thrown out by Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


Friday, April 08, 2005

  Tito Update

According to The Big Show on WEEI, Terry Francona has been released from Massachusetts General Hospital. This report has not been confirmed. The same program is now discussing the Francona family propensity for heart problems, which is apparently considerable.

What is confirmed is the good news that Francona did not have a heart attack and that his problem is not heart-related. One Boston cardiologist speculated that the manager may have had a cardiac catheterization procedure to look for any blockage of the coronary arteries.

That appears to leave a circulatory problem, such as a blood clot, as the likely culprit, even though precautions were reportedly taken after a similar previous incident.

Francona also has a permanent filter in his abdomen, which is supposed to prevent further clots from traveling up to his heart or lungs.

Francona's presence is not expected at the team's weekend series in Toronto. Until he is able to return, he will continue to be replaced by bench coach Brad Mills.

UPDATE (4:00pm): — WEEI just read a statement from Red Sox team physician Thomas Gill, M.D., who confirmed that Francona was discharged from the hospital. He said the chest pains were the "sequel of a recent viral illness" and stated that Francona will be monitored by team staff over the weekend and "should be ready to return to the team on Monday."


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


  A Tale of Two Pitchers

Two members of Boston's 2004 starting rotation, both of whom played significant rolls in the playoffs and World Series, are now with other teams after availing themselves of free agency. Both had spent multiple seasons with the Red Sox. Both were invited to join their former team for Monday's presentation of the World Series rings.

One of those pitchers, Derek Lowe, sought and received permission from the Los Angeles Dodgers to attend. Lowe, who became the first pitcher to get the win in the clinching game of three playoff series in the same year, wanted to stay in Boston but was not high on the team's list of priorities. Frustrated and probably hurt by their lack of interest, he ended up signing a lucrative deal in Los Angeles and issues mostly gracious words about his former employers when questioned by the media. His behavior endeared him even to those Red Sox fans who did not necessarily like him as a pitcher. When Lowe is introduced at Fenway Park on Monday afternoon, he will be greeted enthusiastically.

None of that can be said about the other pitcher, who shall not be named.

The contrast is stark and entirely the result of those pitchers' respective behavior since last October.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


Thursday, April 07, 2005

  Sox Fans Booing Rivera?

Everyone knows that New York baseball fans can be among the most finicky in the nation, showering their stars with adulation one minute and berating them mercilessly the next. (In that respect, they aren't unlike their counterparts about 200 miles to the northeast.) "Everyone," though, apparently doesn't include Yankees manager Joe Torre, who simply cannot fathom that Bronx fans would turn against their hero closer.

As strange as watching Rivera leave [the game early] was, what followed was even more rare. When Rivera took his first step toward the Yankee dugout he was booed by many in the crowd of 55,165.

[ . . . ]

"It's inconceivable if he was booed by Yankee fans," Torre said. "They wouldn't be champing at the bit to get in here if not for him."

Um, Skip? While said closer may be blaming it on Red Sox fans, one of your own local sportswriters is setting things straight.

"There are always about 20,000 Red Sox fans here when we play them," Mariano Rivera said, a half-smile on his face. "Maybe it was only Sox fans who were booing."

If they were, then a lot of the people showering Rivera with their unspeakable bile were Sox fans who decided to wear Yankees hats, Yankees jerseys and Yankees jackets to the Stadium yesterday, who decided to take out their frustrations on the impending demise of their dream of a 162-0 Yankee season on Rivera, who is only the reason these soulless dopes have had such a magnificent team to root for these past few years.

Meanwhile, over at the Bronx zoo, there reside some other species who also devour their own.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 1

Many Times before, I've commented that there are only 700 Real Yankee Fans, mostly residing in Sections 39, 37, 41 & 43 in The RF & RCF Bleachers in YS(Bronx Zoo).
The rest are Tourists.
One Front-Runner, used to go up there to work on her suntan & admonish everyone around her to keep quiet. She acted as if she was the Spoiled Princess in "Spaceballs."
Some of these people, try to act as if they know anything about baseball, looking at Yankee Stadium, as a centre of self-agrandisement.
Booing Mr Rivera, was way out of line, for Yankee Fans.
That "Fan" base will be weeping, moaning & gnashing teeth, a lot over the next few years.


  The Best Red Sox Trade that Never Happened

Red Sox Nation is abuzz this morning about yesterday's Sox-Yanks game, mostly because of Mariano Rivera's collapse (see yesterday's post) and Alex Rodriguez' costly error. So it was with particular delight that I read this column depicting an A-Rod who is quite disliked throughout baseball.

[Texas] Rangers players nicknamed Rodriguez "The Cooler" last season, a wry observation on how he cools off every team he joins. Even shortstop Michael Young, perhaps the Rangers player with whom Rodriguez was closest, admits the team chemistry improved dramatically after Rodriguez was gone.

Knowing what we know now about the importance of cohesiveness to the Red Sox' 2004 success, we can thank our lucky stars that the almost trade of Manny Ramirez for Rodriguez after the 2003 season never materialized. If it had, we would have gained a clubhouse killer and lost a World Series MVP. Sometimes spoiled deals really are for the best.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

  Who's Mo's Daddy?

For the fourth consecutive time and the fifth in ten opportunities, the Yankees' closing pitcher Mariano Rivera blew a save this afternoon against the Red Sox in the final game of this opening series in the Bronx. ESPN's Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, tells the story in his inimitable fashion.

Major League Baseball on Wednesday set April 8 as the date for the historic start of the conclave to elect a successor to Mariano Rivera, as the Yankees made final arrangements for the funeral of a great career that is expected to draw millions of Yankee fans and world leaders to the Bronx.

[ . . . ]

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said the Yankees would be sequestered in the team offices in the early afternoon to start the decision process for the next closer. Candidates include Oakland's Octavio Dotel, Detroit's Ugueth Urbina, current set-up man Flash Gordon, Rick Ankiel and Charlie Sheen...

As funny as that is, it appears so far that the Red Sox are the only team that has Rivera's number. Them, and Luis Gonzalez.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


  Update: Francona to Be Transferred to Boston

There still isn't much information about manager Terry Francona's condition, but the latest report suggests he is well enough to be moved.

Red Sox spokesman Glenn Geffner said Francona, who turns 46 on April 22, was scheduled to be transferred Wednesday night to Boston, where he will remain under the supervision of team doctor Thomas Gill.

Looking at it optimistically, that's probably good news. Presumably, if his condition were likely to destabilize, as it might if he had a coronary blockage or a blood clot similar to that he suffered in 2002, the doctors treating him wouldn't allow him to leave just yet.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


  Francona Hospitalized

From ESPN.com:

NEW YORK — Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona was taken to a hospital Wednesday with tightness in his chest.

Francona, who turns 46 on April 22, said all morning he was not feeling well, according to general manager Theo Epstein. Before Boston's game against the Yankees, Francona was taken by ambulance to New York Weill-Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, where he has relationships with several doctors.

"He was taken to the hospital for precautionary tests," Epstein said. "He had all his faculties about him, he was just going for tests."

Francona took the 8 a.m. team bus to Yankee Stadium and began his routine, even fulfilling media obligations despite not feeling well.

Epstein said the Yankees made all of their staff available to Francona. Red Sox team doctor Thomas Gil was monitoring Francona's condition by phone from Boston, and team trainer Jim Rowe accompanied the manager to the hospital.

Bench coach Brad Mills was to fill in for Francona in Wednesday's game against New York. Francona was not expected back for the game.

Epstein informed the team about Francona after the second Red Sox bus arrived at the stadium around 10:30 a.m.

"It was scary because you're talking about real-life stuff, you're not talking about wins and losses," Boston first baseman Kevin Millar said.

Francona has a recent history of medical problems, including chest pain due to a blood clot in his lung back in 2002.

Updates will be posted as I hear them and can get online.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

  Overexposed

The 2004 Boston Red Sox were remarkable for many reasons, not the least of which was their humility. From the bench players who never got interviewed to the more outspoken stars like Curt Schilling and Kevin Millar, the players all projected the attitude that they were part of the team. One might be more famous than the next, but each was an integral part of the whole. One for all and all for one. Even after the World Series victory brought magazine covers and late-night television appearances, they remained first and foremost members of the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox.

It's still that way for most of the player, the notable exception being Johnny Damon. If he was a unique character in a whole cast of them last season, over the winter he became a show unto himself. Johnny has a big splashy wedding, Johnny does a sexy spread for Boston magazine, Johnny shaves his beard, Johnny cuts his hair, Johnny writes a book.

Then I saw this little ESPN.com item, complete with Johnny's personal "photo album." Isn't enough enough already? I haven't seen so much hype since Leif Garrett graced 17 consecutive Tiger Beat covers in the 1970s.

Ordinarily I would say, Good for Johnny. Why shouldn't he enjoy his moment in the spotlight? The potential problem is that it's no longer his moment. As of Sunday evening, there is a baseball season going on, and once again it has to be about the team. If Johnny shows up on time, prepares for each game, hits reasonably well, and doesn't stink up the outfield—and if he can be counted on to be a teammate first of all—then I'll stop complaining. AS with all pre-season issues whose impact cannot yet be assessed, I will reserve judgment for at least a few weeks.

But in the meantime, I am watching, and not necessarily liking what I see.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


Monday, April 04, 2005

  About ESPN

Thank goodness the Boston market had last night's game on UPN-38 so we could listen to Orsillo and Remy instead of the blubbering idiots who pass for game announcers on ESPN. The pre-game was bad enough. Why did they keep showing Aaron Boone, who 1) hasn't been on the Yankees in over a year, and 2) is officially irrelevant after the Yankees' spectacular choke job last October? Answer: because they don't know what else to talk about if they can't talk about a fabricated curse.

But on to more important matters, namely yours truly's appearance in "Boston's Winter of Bliss." I watched it but didn't tape it, as The Son had changed a setting on the VCR that no one else ever changes and therefore wouldn't think to check. Fortunately a friend burned a DVD for me. Next time I view it, I will have a stop watch ready to measure my face time. I'm pretty sure I beat out last year's by at least 10 seconds.

I was disappointed that they started the program with so much crap about Babe Ruth. I was disappointed that John "I love Manny Ortez" Kerry was shown more than I was. I was disappointed that they didn't include footage of me and my friend Cathy with the trophy. I was disappointed that I came off looking a bit, well, bored. (In my own defense, I was very tired on the evening of that interview and even yawned a couple times during the interview. Add to that the fact that I get absolutely no adrenaline rush when the camera rolls and there you have it.) I'm usually much more exuberant where my Red Sox are concerned, but when you're tired, you're tired.

On the up-side, I love Denis Leary and even more so after what he said about New Yorkers kissing his hindquarters. Babe Ruth's daughter was fabulous in her gentle dismissal of all the curse nonsense. Even Dan Shaughnessy, whom I generally can't stand, made me laugh when he put that so-called psychology expert from Harvard in his place about how we fans would react to the championship. And hits to the forum's home page have jumped dramatically so it's all good.

Which reminds me: Welcome all you ESPN viewers. Hope you stick around, comment on what you read here, join the message board and post a bit, and of course keep coming back throughout the season.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 1

For we of RSN, in NY, we had to suffer to the braying of Michael Kay(Worse than Tim McCarver), the TV Voice of The Chokees, on the YES Network.
On Radio, WTIC 1080 Hartford, carried ESPN Radio.
On WCBS 880-NY, it was the Annoying Duo of John Sterlin & Susan Waldman(Puh-leeze).
T'was not a fun night.
It could've been worse, though!
Joe Buck & Tim McCarver on FOX, need I say more!


Sunday, April 03, 2005

  Live Blogging Opening Night

WRAP-UP — The Red Sox lose their first game of the season for the fifth consecutive year. The final was 9-2 but it really wasn't that close. The bottom line was good Yankee pitching, horrible Red Sox pitching. The Red Sox offense had a few opportunities but couldn't capitalize, but even if they had it hardly matters when the pitching comes apart virtually from top to bottom. On the UPN-38 post-game show, Rico Petrocelli is saying that you just can't call this year's Red Sox team as good as the Yankees. But you can't say anything after one game. Ask me again in May.

It's late and I'm tired, so more analysis will have to wait until tomorrow. G'night, Nation. Sleep well. Remember, we're still World Champs.


TOP OF THE 9th INNING — Tom Gordon comes on in relief for the Yankees, Bubba Crosby stays in the game in center field. Millar walks on 5 pitches. Varitek singles to the right field corner, Millar to third. Trot Nixon, pinch hitting for Payton, sacrifice flies to center field, scoring Millar. Mueller flies out to right field, Varitek to second. Bellhorn, who could be the hero with an 8-run walk-off homer, strikes out to end the game. 1 hit, 1 run, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

The pitching line for Sturtze is 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K. He threw 25 pitches. Halama's line is 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0BB, 0K, 8 pitches. Gordon's line is 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 25 pitches.


BOTTOM OF THE 8th INNING — Matt Mantei is on in relief for the Red Sox. Sheffield walks. Sierra flies out to center field. Matsui homers to right center field, Sheffield scores. Posada strikes out looking. With a full count, Martinez walks. As does Williams, Martinez to second. John Halama comes on in relief.

Timlin's pitching line is 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. He threw 25 pitches.

With Halama pitching, Bubba Crosby pinch runs for Williams at first base. Womack hits an infield single, Crosby to second, Martinez to third. Jeter reaches on an error by Halama, Martinez scores, Crosby to third, Womack to second. Rodriguez grounds out to third base. 2 hits, 3 runs, 1 error, 3 LOB. Yankees lead 9-1.

Mantei's pitching line is 0.2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. He threw 30 pitches. I have long since forgotten my early innings prediction about each team having to scratch out runs. I also realize I have added very little insight recently, but remember that I can barely type fast enough to keep up with all the ugliness.


TOP OF THE 8th INNING — Renteria grounds out to third base. Ramirez flies out to center field. Ortiz strikes out swinging. 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 errors, 0 LOB.


BOTTOM OF THE 7th INNING — Mike Timlin pitches in relief for the Red Sox. Williams strikes out swinging. Womack gets in infield hit. With Jeter batting, Womack steals second. Jeter grounds out to third base. Rodriguez flies out to right field. 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

Timlin threw 25 pitches in the inning. The pitching line on Embree is 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K. He threw 16 pitches. In addition to Wells' missing walk, Sportsline shows one of Neal's earned runs being charged to Embree. Lesson: Don't trust CBS Sportsline.


TOP OF THE 7th INNING — Tanyon Sturtze comes on in relief for the Yankees. Tino Martinez takes over for Giambi at first base. Mueller strikes out looking to lead off the inning. Bellhorn strikes out swinging. Damon grounds out to first base. 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

The pitching line on Johnson is 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. He threw 95 pitches. Sturtze threw 13 pitches this inning.


BOTTOM OF THE 6th INNING — Blaine Neal comes on to pitch for the Red Sox. Jeter works a leadoff walk. With Rodriguez batting, Jeter steals second. Rodriguez singles to center and takes second on an error by Damon, Jeter scores. Sheffield flies out to left field, Rodriguez to third, which does it for Neal.

Alan Embree comes on in relief. Sierra doubles to left field, Rodriguez scores. Matsui pops out to the catcher in foul territory. Posada walks. Giambi flies out to left field. 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 error, 2 LOB. Yankees lead 6-1.

The pitching line on Myers is 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. He threw 2 pitches. Neal's line is 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K. He threw 10 pitches. Embree was, shall we say, less than effective. His pitch count is at 16.


TOP OF THE 6th INNING — Ramirez strikes out looking to lead off the inning. Ortiz grounds out to shortstop. Millar walks on four straight pitches. Varitek gets a broken bat single down the right field line, Millar to third. Payton reaches on a fielder's choice to second base, Millar out at second. A squandered opportunity by the Sox. 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

Three observations. First, Jason Giambi is quite possibly a worse defensive first baseman than Kevin Millar, which is saying something. Second, the game update on CBS Sportsline doesn't show a walk by Wells, and I have no idea why. Third, on a completely unrelated topic, I notice the Yankees haven't stopped their very minor-league-esque habit of incessant PA noise.


BOTTOM OF THE 5th INNING — Matsui strikes out swinging. Posada doubles to center field. Giambi gets hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Williams walks to load the bases, Posada to third, Giambi to second. And that's it for David Wells. Pitch counts now stand at Johnson 77, Wells 80.

Pause for a pitching change, with Mike Myers coming in. Evidently he and Neal had stopped warming and then got back up.

With Myers pitching, Womack grounds a into double play to shortstop. 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

Wells' pitching line is 4.1 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 BK, 2 HB. His ERA is currently 8.31.


TOP OF THE 5th INNING — Mueller grounds out to shortstop. Bellhorn doubles down the right field line. Damon strikes out swinging. Renteria grounds out to Jeter, with Giambi stretching to grab a wild throw. 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

For those watching on WSBK, wouldn't you agree that as nice as Dan Roach's interviews are, the time to watch them is not while the game is in progress?


BOTTOM OF THE 4th INNING — Womack singles to center field. Jeter flies out to right. Rodriguez singles to left field, Womack to third. Sheffield lines out to shortstop. Sierra reaches on a fielder's choice to shortstop, Rodriguez out at second. 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 errors, 2 LOB.

RHP Blaine Neal and LHP Mike Myers are warming in the Red Sox bullpen, and not a moment too soon.


TOP OF THE 4th INNING — After fouling off several consecutive pitches, Ortiz strikes out looking to lead off. Millar pops up to shortstop. Varitek rips one down the third base line and is awarded second after some idiot Yankees fan reaches out and touches the ball. Payton grounds out to shortstop. 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

Johnson is mixing up his pitches much better than Wells, hitting the low 70s to mid-90s with lots in the 80s. His pitch count hasn't caught up to Wells.


BOTTOM OF THE 3rd INNING — Jeter doubles to the left field corner despite a good effort by Mueller. Rodriguez strikes out swinging. Sheffield doubles to deep center field, scoring Jeter. Sierra grounds out to shortstop, Sheffield to third base. Matsui singles to right center field, scoring Sheffield. Posada gets an infield hit, Matsui to second. Giambi is hit by a pitch to load the bases, Matsui to third, Posada to second. Facing Williams, Wells balks to score Matsui, Posada to third, Giambi to second. Williams strikes out swinging. 4 hits, 3 runs, 0 errors, 2 LOB. Yankees lead 4-1.

Pitch counts have now flipped rather drastically: Wells 58, Johnson 42. Wells seems to have thrown more off-speed pitches this inning. It wasn't effective. Expect bullpen action in the fourth.


TOP OF THE 3rd INNING — Damon reaches first on a most pathetic error by Giambi. Renteria grounds into a double play to third, where Rodriguez was playing in for a bunt. Ramirez flies out to right center. 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 error, 0 LOB.

It's a 4-pitch inning for Johnson. The Red Sox didn't even pretend to try working the count.


BOTTOM OF THE 2nd INNING — On a full count, Matsui singles to left-center field. Posada flies out to short right field. Giambi singles to right field, Matsui to third. Williams hits a sacrifice fly to left field, Matsui scores. Womack reaches on a fielder's choice to shortstop, Giambi out at second base. 2 hits, 1 run, 0 errors, 1 LOB. Score tied 1-1.

Pitch counts are Johnson 36, Wells 31. At this point, it doesn't seem that either pitcher has particularly stellar control, but both appear to be doing well enough. Each side's offense is scrapping and this game may come down to whoever can manufacturer runs in the most creative fashion.


TOP OF THE 2nd INNING — On the first pitch of the inning and facing Johnson for the first time, Ortiz doubles to the right field corner. Millar flies out to deep left field (shades of Manny taking a homer away from Miguel Cairo). Varitek grounds out to shortstop, Ortiz to third. Payton singles to left and gets his first RBI in a Red Sox uniform as Ortiz scores. Mueller walks, Payton to second. Bellhorn, the sixth batter of the inning, strikes out looking. 2 hits, 1 run, 0 errors, 2 LOB. Red Sox lead 1-0.

After making short work of the Sox in the first, Johnson is throwing more pitches and seeing more of them being put in play.


BOTTOM OF THE 1st INNING — Not to be outdone in the age department, the Red Sox go to 41-year-old lefty David Wells to start the bottom of the inning.

Jeter gets a bloop single to short center on the second pitch. On a 1-2 count, Rodriguez flies out to center field. Sheffield reaches base on a fielder's choice to third base, Jeter out at second. Sierra strikes out swinging. 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 errors, 1 LOB. Pitch counts are virtually even: Johnson 14, Wells 13.


TOP OF THE 1st INNING — Gametime temperature at Yankee Stadium is 43°F. The geriatric pitching matchup begins with 41-year-old Randy Johnson facing the top of the Red Sox order: Johnny Damon, Edgar Renteria, and Manny Ramirez, with David "Who's Your Papi?" Ortiz batting cleanup. At the other end of the lineup, Mark Bellhorn bats 9th, which gives Damon some RBI opportunities in subsequent innings.

After working the count to 3-1, Damon grounds out to second base. Renteria strikes out taking, as does Manny on three pitches. 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 errors, 0 LOB.


IMPORTANT TELEVISION PROGRAM NOTE — In the Boston area market, the game is being televised on WSBK/UPN 38, not on ESPN2.


PRE-GAME COMMENTS — The beauty of opening day/night is that it's a clean slate. As is true with any ESPN telecast, the pre-game coverage is (in my view) intolerably inane banter. So let's just get to the facts.

First pitch is scheduled for 8:05pm EDT. Stay tuned.


Welcome, Nation. In mere minutes, the 2005 baseball season will begin. The Triumphant Red Sox fan will be live blogging throughout the game, so keep hitting "refresh" for updates.

Unlike my live blogging of last year's ALDS Game 1, the most recent updates will be at the top. That way, the very few people in the United States who don't actually have cable can quickly see the what has just happened.

Look for updates at least every half innning. Feel free to post your comments at the bottom of this entry. Enjoy, and GO SOX!


Friday, April 01, 2005

  A Brief Word about Johnny

I haven't read Johnny Damon's soon-to-be-released book, Idiot, but from what I've heard, it doesn't do much to enhance his image. By Damon's own admission, he started screwing around on his wife of 8 or 9 years when he joined the Oakland A's and she didn't go with him to spring training. He also claims that their marriage broke up because of her nagging and accusations—accusations that it turned out were true.

Johnny Damon isn't the only professional athlete whose personal behavior has been questionable. I will continue to support him as a player as long as he's playing on my team, because I want my team to win. But when it comes to putting forward a role model for my young nephew, I'll stick with straight shooters like Tim Wakefield, Bill Mueller, and Mike Timlin, all of whom by all the groupies' accounts are stand-up guys who will not be found flirting with women in bars or taking them back to their hotel rooms.


Cheers of Red Sox triumph so far: 0


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