Keeping the Faith
NOTE: I initially posted this over at Sox Sistahs Speak. Spread the word.
desperately needs us. What can we do to help him?
Three seasons ago, a group of women from the Red Sox Fan Forum (self-nicknamed the BOSTONS* and including the sistahs) started a tradition of "showering" a struggling Red Sox player with postcards carrying encouraging messages. The idea was to try to counteract the booing that slumping players receive at the ballpark by producing a wave of postcards over a short span of time. Each recipient was chosen, carefully and selectively, to receive ten postcards from each BOSTONS lady. Red Sox Chick has more background.
We haven't yet done a postcard shower this season, and I suggested to the sistahs earlier today that Matt Clement's current situation is the very sort the postcard showers were designed to address. Clement has had a rough season, with his last two starts being especially difficult as detailed in these two recent columns by Boston area sportswriters.
As readers of this blog, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to join us in sending 10 postcards to
and to get them in the mail no later than Tuesday, June 6. That will get the postcards to the ballpark in time for the team's brief homestand against Texas on June 9, 10, and 11. They can be picture postcards, funny postcards, whatever you like. The message should be simple. Don't ask for anything in return; you don't even have to sign your name. I sign my postcards simply, "One of the BOSTONS" and leave it at that.
Right now, the Red Sox need pitching help. Roger Clemens isn't coming back. David Wells' future is uncertain at best. A double-A pitcher is slated to start tomorrow night. Matt Clement's success is the team's success. If you love this team, do your part to help him.
(*BOSTONS = Babes Offering Support To Our Needed Sox)
It was a nasty sight, the returning David Wells taking a Travis Lee line drive off his right knee in the fifth inning of tonight's game against the Devil Rays. Though the Sox were trailing 1-0 at the time, Wells was pitching quite well in his first appearance since coming off the disabled list for the second time this season. His final line was 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB.
I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Wells suffered a fractured patella, even though the team doctor has given a preliminary diagnosis of a "deep contusion" of the knee, according to NESN's Tina Cervasio just a minute ago.
In any event, if this means another stint on the DL, we can probably expect a mid-season retirement for Wells. Though I have never really liked the guy, I have to feel sorry for him right now. What a tough break for him personally, never mind what it means for the Red Sox rotation for the rest of the season.
My brother played youth hockey back in the '70s. From age 5 to 9, he was one of the smallest players on the team, but also one of the most talented. In one particular game, he single-handedly killed a 2-minute penalty with adept skating and skillful puck handling. When it was over and he returned to the bench, the coach said, "That was great. Don't EVER do it again."
I have a feeling Red Sox third base coach DeMarlo Hale just may have a similar conversation with Manny Ramirez after Manny ran through the stop sign in the third inning tonight against the Yankees.
Manny blowing right through that stop sign was just hysterical, because he was successful. We'd all want his head if he had been called out at home. I get such a kick watching Manny on the field, in the batter's box and in the dugout. I do however keep my fingers crossed that he stays happy go lucky as he is now, since it isn't fun watching the unhappy Manny.
With the exception of my Blogroll, I don't generally reference other Red Sox blogs here. But I'd like to change that for a moment in order to plug two blogs near and dear to me.
My good friend and sistah, Cyn (a.k.a. RedSoxChick and Beazer), blogs prolifically over at MLBlogs. Her writing is equal parts expert fan, scathing critic, and swooning groupie, depending on the topic and the standings at the time. She is one of the first people I met from the Red Sox Fan Forum, though neither of us posts much over there any more.
In many respects we think alike, Cyn and I, and we certainly approach the game the same way. We are both more than willing to go to a game alone if that's the only way we can get there. We both have very little tolerance for people who arrive late, leave early, climb over the others in their row in the middle of an inning to go to the concessions, and generally don't pay any attention to the game. And of course, we both love the Red Sox. So it was no surprise that we both got into blogging, she more in a stream-of-consciousness style suffused with dry humor, I more as an analytical number cruncher.
We have both enjoyed blogging so much that we encouraged some of our other Red Sox girlfriends to join us. I set up a another blog, separate from our own, where all of us could share our particular varieties of wit and/or wisdom with the baseball world, which we figured was in desparate need of our brilliance. The result is Sox Sistahs Speak, a collection of commentary from women whom I consider some of the most knowledgable Red Sox fans I've ever met. As of this writing, we represent Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Florida, and North Dakota. Others we're trying to get on board are from Minnesota, Nevada, and the Cape. Of those who have joined, not all are yet comfortable with the blogging concept. I keep telling them that the site will be richer once they contribute to it.
In case you're interested, you can read about one particular adventure of some of the sistahs (and a couple brothahs) here.
Cyn is the best. I'm just findin my way around here, at it's just like Fenway. Great.
From: yanksgod 8:25 pm
To: clivebarks (419 of 581)
197965.419 in reply to 197965.412
torre is just incapable of managing anymore, the sox are a two man team, you let ortiz beat you on 3-0 with a ground ball pitcher on the mound, torre is the problem, has been for 5 years, piniella is the answer, sooner the better, joe is just done, he must be fired, must.
it would be worth the 20 million to get clemens just so we would have someone who will finally dust fat a$$ ortiz
Reading the Yankees message board when the Sox are winning is almost as much fun as watching the game.
Literacy was never a yankee fan's strong suit.
If the weather doesn't take a turn for the drier in the next week, this guy
may have to play the outfield for the Sox during the next homestand.
Boston isn't the only place where weather has forced postponements. In the last seven days, games were also washed out in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Chicago. But the Red Sox are the only team to be rained out twice.
When will the games be replayed? Ordinarily, they would be scheduled into the next time the visiting team comes to town, and with any luck both teams would have a mutual off-day at either end of the series. Not so when Texas comes back to Fenway on June 9, 10, and 11. The Red Sox have a day off on the 12th, but the Rangers don't. Does that mean we're looking at a game on Friday and day-night doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday? If that happens, bank on some funky roster moves that allow an extra pitcher to come up from Pawtucket. Could be Abe Alvarez, Jon Lester, Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hanson... or some combination thereof.
Another possibility is that one or both of those games would be played on the Monday between the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, but only if the results would affect the playoffs. There are three problems with that scenario: the wear and tear on a team heading into the playoffs, the loss of at-bats and innings pitched on the part of players who may be in contention for post-season awards or salary incentives, and of course the loss of the gate if the games aren't played.
The most sensible solution, though the players association will probably raise holy hell about it, is to find a common day off and bring both teams back to Fenway for both games.
The one benefit of the rainouts, combined with this Thursday's schedule day off, is the extra rest for the 1-4 starters. Tonight's starter, Josh Beckett, is pitching on five days of rest, as will Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield. Matt Clement's next start would be on six days rest. That's two times through the rotation without having to worry about a number 5.
But Terry Francona says that won't happen according to an article in the Hartford Courant:
Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield will pitch the three-game series in Baltimore, starting tonight, but Francona said he will not skip fifth starter Lenny DiNardo next weekend in Philadelphia. After Matt Clement pitches Friday, Francona will use Beckett and DiNardo in the final two games, with only the order undecided.
"Lenny goes to the bullpen until Thursday," Francona said. "It will either be Beckett on his day [Saturday], or say he goes an extra inning that's hard [tonight]
...I just don't know what order yet."
The test results won't be in until next week, but I think the Red Sox may have given me an ulcer. The doctor tells me it's probably caused by a recently discovered bacterium, but I think she is discounting the effect of a four-hour game in which the Yankees stole five bases, Papi and Manny went a combined 0-for-8, the Sox stranded 15 base runners.
If the good guys had lost, I'd probably be spitting up blood.
It was bound to happen. Team A isn't just beaten by Team B, they're humiliated. As it's happening, it is so demoralizing that a comeback is virtually impossible. But 24 hours removed... well, then they're on a rampage to salvage their collective pride. And that is how the Yankees came back from a 14-3 drubbing by the Red Sox to take last night's game 7-3. It wasn't the pitchers duel I was hoping for.
They had some help from Curt Schilling, whose propensity to give up a homer here and there reared its head, well, three times over his five innings of work. Those home runs accounted for five of the six runs allowed by Schilling, who didn't have his best stuff against a good-hitting lineup.
Of course, the Red Sox lineup was little help against Mike Mussina, especially with the presence of Willie Harris in center in place of Wily Mo Peña, who has hit .350 including a home run and 10 RBI in his last ten games. Supposedly Harris has done well against Mussina in the past, but right now he's mired in a horrific slump. Last night he went 0-for-4 to lower his batting average to .095. No, that is not a typo. Other Sox players with goose eggs included Kevin Youkilis, Jason Varitek, Alex Gonzalez, and Trot Nixon, who at least managed a walk. On the positive side of things, Mike Lowell broke his scoring besides the two-run homer by David Ortiz, who was 4-for-4. Oh, and Mark Loretta is climbing out of his offensive rut, 2-for-4 with a stolen base and an average now at .263.
Tonight's pitching matchup has Tim Wakefield against Shawn Chacon, two very different pitchers with virtually identical ERAs (3.97 and 3.94). If the Sox can provide some offensive backup for Wake like they did in his last start against Baltimore, we have a good shot at a win. Keep your fingers crossed for calmer winds at the Den of Darkness.
Thank goodness we finally were able to go ahead while Timmy was still the pitcher of record. Leaving the bases loaded three times was making me very nervous. What a relief we finally got the job done and won the series against the Yankees.
I had the misfortune of being @ "The Asylum For The Criminally-Idiotic" in The Bronx, to watch Curt lose it to "Captain Syringe GiamBALCO" & "A-Fake".
DFyankees have NO fans, only Inmates at that Asylum.
Kelly, Be well!
It was as much about what the Yankees did wrong as what the Red Sox did right, but then again, part of being a winning team is taking maximum advantage of the other team's mistakes. God bless the Yankees for giving us lots to take advantage of last night in the first of a 3-game series. There was he Big-but-not-necessarily-effective Unit knocked out in the fourth inning by the likes of Alex Gonzalez, Mark Loretta, Dustan Mohr, and a couple wild pitches. Aaron Small continuing the starter's hapless performance. Two errors by A-Rod and one by the immortal Melky Cabrera leading to six unearned runs.
Then we had David "Who's Your Papi?" Ortiz with a double and two runs scored, including one to beat out the throw to the plate, in plain view of the pompous New Yorkers who insult him because their team can't beat him. Fantastic fielding by Mike Lowell to go with all those doubles. Oh, and don't forget Josh Beckett's triumphant return to Yankee Stadium to reprise his 2003 World Series performance.
Years before the phrase "Red Sox Nation" became a marketing slogan, it described a group of intensely enthusiastic fans who, though extending far beyond the New England states, shared a kinship in their loyalty to their team through thick and thin. Even today, while many fans (some long-timers, others bandwagoners) choose to pay a fee to get certain perks associated with Citizenship in Red Sox NationTM, there are those who prefer to wear our loyalty only on our hearts, not on a card in our wallets.
So while I am a bit disappointed with the commercialization of the Red Sox Nation concept, I am proud that it followed from a popular movement. Not so with the latest Yankees marketing campaign proclaiming "Yankee Universe". According to My Father the Yankee Fan (oh, the shame), what they're saying on the radio is, "The Red Sox have a nation, but the Yankees have a universe."
Um...OK. Whatever makes you feel better. More and more since 2004, it seems that the Yankees organization and their fans are slipping little by little into a bit of an inferiority complex vis-à-vis their rivals to the northeast. They have a higher paid team playing in a larger stadium in a much bigger city and with more lucrative revenue streams than the Red Sox. Oh, and as they'll readily tell you, 20 more World Series titles. But it isn't enough. If the Red Sox have a Nation, then by God, the Yankees will claim as their own the entire universe!
Frankly, it's embarrassing. But at least they have the good sense to donate the proceeds to charity.
In the case of your Da, we'll pray for his immortal soul.
Despite my as of yet unstated decision to make this blog a Bonds-free zone, I must take a moment to express my annoyance with those who are referring to the asterisk that will, presumably, adorn Barry Bonds' name on the all-time home run list, wherever he ends up on it. The reason why everyone talks about an asterisk is because that is the symbol that followed Roger Maris' name in published record books after he broke Babe Ruth's single season home run record. But the asterisk was meant to denote that Maris broke the record during an extended 162-game season, not because of anything Maris did wrong.
What Bonds' name deserves is not an asterisk, but rather absence from the list. Whether that will happen, or even if it can happen as a practical matter, is another question. But to suggest that someone who lies and cheats deserves the same treatment in the record books as that given to someone who benefited from nothing more or less than his contemporaries and those who followed is absurd and insulting.
No doubt there were some unhappy faces wandering the corridors of WEEI radio in Boston today when the Red Sox announced that competitor WRKO will become the team's flagship radio station beginning in 2007. WEEI has had the broadcast contract since 1995 and will lose it after this season, save for an unspecified number of "special games".
But the 'EEI folks should be smiling, not because they're losing the contract, but because they had it during the most successful period in the team's history. They were able to ride the tide of fan interest brought about by the acquisition of key stars like Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and A Certain Former Red Sox Pitcher Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken (He's Dead to Me); the change in ownership that brought about welcome refurbishments to Fenway Park; the arrival of cult hero Theo Epstein; and of course, the dramatic 2004 championship. So great is enthusiasm for the Red Sox that a feature film was made about the team, celebrities routinely show up at Fenway, and attendance is at an all-time high despite the most expensive ticket prices in baseball. That success, and the station's connection to it as the broadcaster of each and every game, allowed WEEI to fashion itself a sizable, passionate, and extremely loyal listening audience that goes far beyond the Red Sox. Patriots Monday is a popular feature during the NFL season, with Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and others making regular appearances. Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers have regular gigs discussing the Celtics. With Dale Arnold of Bruins broadcast fame hosting his own midday show, hockey talk is always available to the extent that fans want it, even if that isn't much lately due to the current state of the Bruins. But I digress.
Even where baseball is concerned, WEEI will still be able to talk all they want, and as a highly rated media outlet, the Sox have good reason to maintain a relationship with the station such that players, coaches, and executives would still give interviews as they do to other local media outlets. So don't expect this move to put much of a dent in WEEI's listenership.
What is also unlikely to change is the radio broadcast team. The history of Red Sox broadcast announcers is one of stability in spite of contractual changes. Joe Castiglione and Jerry Trupiano predate the WEEI broadcast contract, and there is no reason to think they'll be axed by the new station.
Actually, Entercom-Boston, owns both stations & Friday Night Games will still be on 'EEI.
After the one-game (thanks to rain) series at Fenway last week, the Sox travel to the Den of Darkness this week. After a day off for both teams tomorrow, right-handed pitcher Josh Beckett will face lefty Randy Johnson on Tuesday. Which version of those pitchers will we see?
Exhibit A: Josh Beckett won his first three starts in a Red Sox uniform, pitching 21 innings, allowing 16 hits and six walks. His ERA in that period was 1.29. In the next three games (one loss and two no-decisions the team lost), he pitched 16 innings, allowing 16 hits and ten walks, with an ERA of 9.56.
Exhibit B: Randy Johnson has similar mixed resultswin, loss, win, loss, win, win, win. He has his teammates to thank for scoring lots of runs (27) in those last two games, allowing him to get the "W" despite an 8.49 ERA. With that kind of run support, Beckett might have two more wins.
As for the offense, the Yankees lead the Red Sox in batting average (.290 to .271), home runs (39 to 31), strikeouts (161 to 195) and stolen bases (21 to 10). The Red Sox lead the Yankees in doubles (70 to 55, thank you Mike Lowell) and stolen base percentage (.77 to .70). They're roughly even in walks.
After a slower offensive start than New York, Boston's numbers are much improved. The team's batting leaders are Mike Lowell (.339), Kevin Youkilis (.330), and Wily Mo Peña (.319). David Ortiz leads the team in homers (11), Manny Ramirez in walks (28), Youkilis in strikeouts (28).
New York's batting leaders are Derek Jeter (.342), Robinson Cano (.327), and Gary Sheffield (.327). Jason Giambi leads his team in home runs (10) and walks (36), Alex Rodriguez in strikeouts (27).
Both teams are fielding well, with 12 errors and a .989 fielding percentage each. The Red Sox have turned 31 double plays to the Yankees' 21.
Red Sox error-free fielders include Youkilis, Ramirez, Peña, and Trot Nixon. Alex Cora leads the team in errors (4).
Yankees Damon, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, and Bubba Crosby are error-free. Giambi, Rodriguez, and Andy Phillips lead the team in errors (2 each).
The Orioles are in town, which means the return of the Cowboy-Up, Rally-Karaoke-Guy, joker extraordinaire Kevin Millar. Kevin was one of those guys who wanted to stay with the Red Sox, but the Red Sox didn't want to stay with them. Millar made no bones about his disappointment, but he seems like the kind of guy who makes the best of any situation, and by most accounts he has brought some fun to the Oriole clubhousewhich is exactly what you'd expect of him.
So just minutes ago, in the top of the second inning, he came up to bat (he's DHing, if you can believe that) and received a thunderous applause from the sold-out crowd. Any Red Sox fan knows what an important clubhouse ingredient Millar was during the 2004 championship season, and those of us who are old enough to remember teams loaded with talent and utterly lacking in chemistry particularly appreciate the importance of such a contribution.
Then Millar did the one thing that was guaranteed to end the Moment of Goodwill. He got a hit off Curt Schilling. And the crowd booed.
Naturally, Kevin took it in stride, cracking a smile upon reaching first base and giving a little wave toward the stands. After all, he knows us well enough to understand that we love him, but this is baseball, dammit, and we'd all boo our own mamas if they got a hit against one of our pitchers.
The Red Sox roster has been a bit of a revolving door since the 2004 Championship. Players come, players goand some of those who departed more recently have performed with unexpected competence for their new teams. They have been the anti-Seanezes, so to speak. Let's take a look this Friday morning at what they've been up to so far in 2006.
Bronson Arroyo He's the ace of the staff and a home run machine, but no one could have predicted such a thing when he was shipped to Cincinnati during spring training. As a Red, he's 5-0 with a 2.06 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 34 strikeouts. That projects to 28 wins and 190 strikeouts, neither of which he'll reach, but still. I can think of another team, say in the AL East, that could have used such a pitcher this past month. Did I mention his two home runs? Before this year, he had none.
Edgar Renteria Don't look now, but the player formerly known as Rent-a-Wreck, he of the .276 batting average last year, is hitting .358 for Atlanta since being traded last winter. He has hit safely in every game he's played and set a team record in the process. Almost as stunning are his two errors, which put him on a pace for 16 errors this season if he plays as many innings as he did last year, when he had 30.
Mark Bellhorn In a mere 46 at bats for the Padres so far, Bellhorn has a .304 batting average with two home runs and 11 RBI. Granted, he hasn't been a full-time player until the last few games and he has a ton of strikeouts, but he's getting more opportunities to play at both second base and first base, thanks to teammate Adrian Gonzalez' offensive dry spell. One area newspaper is calling him "the team's most productive player off the bench."
Hanley Ramirez The young lanky shortstop in exchange (in part) for whom we got Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell is batting .286 since being thrust into the majors with Florida. He's even better, .339, on the road. Granted, his strikeout-to-walk ratio is 2, but so is the Red Sox current shortstop's. While he probably won't turn out to be the shortstop of the future the Red Sox once anticipated, he is attracting some positive media attention. The only thing that makes me feel better about Hanley is his six errors.
All that said, it isn't as if all the players who got sent away by Theo (or Ben or Jed) all become suddenly invincible. Bill Mueller is struggling a bit with the Dodgers, batting .271 and committing 5 errors in 27 games. Kevin Millar's batting average with Baltimore is hovering dangerously near the Mendoza line at .205. Tony Graffanino is way down at .143 for the Royals. But with some of Boston's new players currently having a tough time (Gonzalez, Mark Loretta, Josh Beckett), it is easy to look with longing at the ones who, at least for now, are doing for other teams what they couldn't do for us.
I'm not going down the "they waited to cancel the game so they could make money on the concessions" road, but that doesn't mean I'm not disappointed that we have to wait another three weeks to play the Yankees here at home. After Monday night's exciting game, I looked forward to watching Josh Beckett (1) put that last horrific start behind him, and (2) reprise his 2003 World Series-clinching performance (9 innings, 5 hits, 0 runs, 9 strikeouts). In any event, we can say that we swept the first series against New York, even if it turned into a one-game series.
Tonight's weather forecast looks better than last night's did, with clouds and temps in the upper 40s throughout the evening and showers possible in the 8:00 and 9:00 hours. Here's hoping that Roy Halladay and his Blue Jays teammates are so spoiled by playing in that domed monstrosity they call a ballpark that the chilly dampness just shuts them down.
Weekday night game + Funeral this morning = Just now getting around to writing my thoughts about last night's game. And there are plenty of thoughts worth mentioning.
Foremost is the game itself. OK, so Wakefield didn't get the win, but he didn't get the loss either, and I figure you have to walk before you can run. The bats came alive, especially that of David "Who's Your Papi" Ortiz, who batted in the first run of the game as well as the last three. Yankees reliever Mike Myers, the former Red Sox lefty specialist who was supposed to help his new team figure out how to get Ortiz out, served up an "oops" pitch that put the game away in the eighth. Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, and Miguel Cairo wall went hitless, while every Red Sox starter except Doug Mirabelli had at least one hit or walk. And have I mentioned that Jonathan Papelbon still hasn't given up a run?
Mirabelli may not have gotten on base, but he didn't get any passed balls either. The Red Sox just about moved heaven and earth to get Mirabelli to Fenway Park in time for the start of the game. At 6:48pm, a state police truck picked up Mirabelli from the tarmac at Logan Airport and whisked him, lights flashing, to the ballparkwhere he arrived, magically, in full uniform.
When Boston Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick picked up Doug Mirabelli at Logan Airport yesterday, he was in a police car and had a Red Sox uniform with him. Mirabelli changed in the car, arrived at Fenway Park three minutes before game time - and went on to deliver a flawless performance catching Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield against the arch-rival New York Yankees.
"First time I've been in a police car. First time I've been naked in a police car," Mirabelli said.
Now that's a mental image we female sports fans can enjoy.
Damon, a.k.a. Judas Demon, thought he would be welcomed warmly back into the bosom of Red Sox Nation upon his return to Fenway. The reality was somewhat different.
Damon, who joined the Yankees from the Sox as a free agent in the off-season was booed and had dollar bills tossed at him by unforgiving fans.
The Yankees manager, alas, did not approve.
"Evidently, wearing a Yankee uniform overrides winning a World Series and busting your tail for four years," [Joe Torre] said.
"Without Johnny, Boston may have been working on 89 or 90 years (without winning a World Series)."
Torre doesn't live in Boston, so he might be forgiven for not realizing that Red Sox fans gave Damon plenty of love and affection while he was here, whereas Yankees fans have been known to boo even their biggest stars while they're still there.
Speaking of Steinbrenner employees without a clue, check out this example of the extent of the Yankees' exaggerated sense of self-importance, straight from the bowels of Yankeeland:
The Yankees sent several videotapes to Major League Baseball to make a point about what they felt was shoddy umpiring during April. That has been a fairly common practice under George Steinbrenner. The latest incident came Sunday when Adam Dowdy ejected Torre for arguing balls and strikes. "We had a tough month overall," Cashman said.
Um, Brian, maybe they didn't teach you this in General Manager school, but the umpire is supposed to eject someone for arguing balls and strikes. And for the record, I don't think Major League Baseball gives a rat's behind what you or your delusional employer think about the quality of the umpiring.
The weather held off nicely last night, so instead of being cold and windy and rainy, it was just cold and windy. Tonight's ticket holders may not be as lucky. According to AccuWeather, there is at least a 50% chance of precipitation all evening. Could that mean a double-header in a few weeks when the Yankees come back for three games? It's either that or wait until August, when it will be hotter and both teams will be more tired. There is no mutual off-day on either side of a Boston-New York series at Fenway Park this season.
As a bonus, the trade has a few Yankees fans all worked up.
It's all good.