Saturday, January 30, 2010

Virtual Waiting Hell: Now With Improved Hell-Bagels

Part of the fun of being a Sox fan is to disprove the theory that it's impossible to get tickets. It's not impossible. Not at all! But it is hard.

I will not go to scalper sites. Can't afford to do that. I won't buy from scalpers at all, actually. Not even the dirty ones at Kenmore Square asking everyone if they're buying or selling tickets. I get all of my yearly tickets through the virtual waiting hell. That's why it's hard. No, waiting around on the internet isn't hard. It's not any harder than what I do during the week. The hard part is strategizing. The average fan isn't thinking about baseball in December or January. They don't sign up for the mailing lists. They don't know when tickets go on sale. You know who knows when tickets go on sale? Diehards and scalpers. I fall into one of those categories, I guess.

I know. For some people, trying to figure out when you can go to a game is hard. You don't know what you'll be doing in June, or even September. How can you buy tickets now and expect to be free? Especially for parents, I hear this is hard to do. People get sick. Things come up. So picking games in January? Ridiculous. That's where I have an advantage. I don't care if I'm sick. I'll go to the game anyway. If something comes up, I put off taking care of it until after the the teams walk off the for the night. If I can't do that, well, guess what? I know plenty of casual fans who are usually willing to buy the tickets off of me for face value... and plenty of people that I don't mind just giving tickets to. Hey, I try to spread the love of baseball.

So anyway, I've had to cut my ticket fund a little this year due to some upcoming expenses that I'm looking forward to, but I still managed to secure tickets for seven games in Boston and one game in Baltimore. Granted, I didn't get the exact dates that I wanted, but I won't complain. I get to be at Fenway.

But, I will complain about the process. I HATE the virtual waiting room more than I've ever hated any virtual thing ever. There have been years where I've waited in that thing all day and never got through. Usually in those situations, I get through on the phone, but I hate calling in because the busy signal frays my nerves. Don't know why.... it's just one of those sounds that I despise. Why does that shit have to be random? I click in at ten AM. How come, theoretically, someone who comes into the VWH at 2 PM has an equal chance to be the next person chosen by the ticket Gods? Logically, I know the answer. They do it to prevent the scalpers (one of the groups of people who are aware of ticket sale dates) from getting all the tickets before the average person can. Still don't like it.

My second item to whine about is obstructed view seats. I know, I know. My complaints are neither interesting nor original. I bitch about the same thing other people bitch about. I just don't get how they can justify charging the same price for a seat where you can see everything as they do for a seat where you are literally right behind a pole. I got obstructed view once. It, for a lack of a better description, sucked. Flat out sucked. I had absolutely no view of the catcher, the pitcher, the second baseman, and the occassional outfielder. If I can't see half of the team, the half that is actually in motion the most frequently, why am I paying full price? Not this year, though. It wasn't worth it. And considering that I didn't actually see a single game sell out this year (granted, I may have just missed seeing it. Perhaps there were sell outs), I think more and more people are starting to realize that they actually want to see what is going on in the game.

Well, either way, I am out of virtual waiting hell for at least another year. Another successful trip to the underworld, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blame It On the.... Snow: Sox Avoid Arbitration With Paps

According to the latest rumors, the Red Sox and Jonathan Patmybum have agreed to a one-year 9.something million dollar deal for 2010, avoiding arbitration and keeping that Milli Vanilli cover of "Blame It On The Rain" on the big screen at Fenway.

Yeah, I just wanted to mention that video. I enjoy that video. So now that we've got Vanilli locked down for a year, time to figure out what to do with Milli. Yup, that's right. Strike out king looks to be headed for arbitration, too.

And honestly, the only reason I'm saying anything about this is because that song popped up on my iPod just now, and it made me think of spring at Fenway, where every day has the potential to be one big, rainy, Milli Vanilli love fest. Because it rains a lot in April. That is, if it's not snowing. Inching slowly closer to baseball! Can you feel it? I can feel it. It feels sort of like a nice, cozy sweater.

Oh wait, that's just my nice cozy sweater. I guess I can't feel it yet, but I yearn to.... much like Theo yearns to avoid salary arbitration with everyone on Earth. See how I pulled it back and brought this topic full circle? Awesome. I know.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Things I Like: Finally Matching Things The Sox Are Doing

In what is probably the first action of the off-season that I have whole-heartedly approved of, the Red Sox avoid salary arbitration with Okajima and give him a contract full of wonderful, shiny things*. And dollars. He specifically wanted the dollars.

*Disclaimer: Shiny things not included.

I like avoiding arbitration. I'm not sure if I had ever mentioned that before, but it seems like such a messy process. Besides that, I like Okajima. I really do. If you've never been to a game where Okajima has pitched, and you have not heard that ear drum-shatteringly TERRIBLE song that he comes out to, you have not lived. Oh, it's terrible. And not only will it get stuck in your head, it will also burrow deep into the brainmeats, taking control of your body and making you do things you'd never do... namely, download the awful Okajima entrance theme. If the virus gets bad enough, you put said theme on your iPod and force your co-workers to listen to it on repeat all day on a Friday.

No, I didn't do that yet. But, you know what? I'm gonna. And I'm not going to tell anyone when it's coming. But when it does, I promise, every one will be walking out of the office singing "Okajima.... oki-dokie!"

Man, I hope they never change that song. And yay for pitching! Happiness for a Friday morning before a long weekend.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Take on the McGwire: Boring.

Ok, I'm just going to answer the questions I've been being asked/heard over and over since yesterday when McGwire broke the 'news' that he had used steroids during his record year. Pay attention. I'm only going to address these one last time and then I am figuratively putting McGwire to bed....

Question: Can you BELIEVE that he admitted to using steroids?!
Answer: Yes.

Question: No, but I mean now! Why now?
Answer: Because he didn't get enough HOF votes, and he wants people to love him again.

Question: But he lied to congress! Doesn't that mean anything to you!?
Answer: No.

Question: He lied just like Clemens, Tejada, and possibly Schilling. Who on Earth could be next?!
Answer: Anyone who played baseball. Ever.

Question: But isn't it surprising that he admitted it?
Answer: No, and you're ridiculous for being surprised.

Question: Well, I mean, we already knew....
Answer: That wasn't a question. And yes, you did already know. Everyone already knew. This isn't shocking. The timing isn't incredible. He's not doing this for altruistic reasons.

Question: But wasn't it so he can suck up to Bed Selig and make a point that baseball is clean now?
Answer: No. Not at all. And why would he need to suck up to Selig? You're an idiot. Baseball will never be clean.

Question: Doesn't that bother you?
Answer: A little, but not enough to get all self-righteous about it. Listen, I care about the sport in general, and knowing that people are tainting it and making a mockery of it upsets me. I'm tired of hearing about steroids and PED's. The player's union is too strong. MLB is never going to be able to test for everything. And by the time they do, there will be more drugs that can't be detected. I've accepted that drug use is part of the sport, of EVERY sport. It's part of life. Athletes are people. So, unless everyone is going to start getting pissed about every little addiction (and God help you if you mess with my caffeine addiction), then I don't see the point of spotlighting PED's. Either accept it, or don't. I don't care.

Question: So.... you really don't care?
Answer: Not the least bit.

Thank you, everyone, for participating in this impromptu question and answer segment. I'd like to take this time to remind you that February 12th is Truck Day, and February 18th, as an early birthday present to me, is the day pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers. It's coming. I promise.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Trying to be Diplomatic: Welcome Beltre, Goodbye Bay

I technically already made it official with moving Bay's name from the current list to the former list. That is a big thing for me, and really makes it all so official. I'm not one to adjust to change well, and I think I'm still in the middle of a temper tantrum over Manny being traded, but that's neither here nor there... and 'neither here nor there' is a phrase I really feel I need to start using more often.

Before I get into my welcomes and goodbyes, I want to take the time on my blog to acknowledge the wonderfulness of baby corn. My blog, I can do that. My lunch today included random baby corn, and surprise baby corn is just fantastic. Anyway, onto more important matters....

Jason "JayBay"/"Kazerud" Bay stepped up and filled in professionally when we needed him most. He was never gonna be Manny, but he was exactly what we needed at the time - not Manny. We needed everything not-Manny at the time. Oh, there was excitement about Kaz. A good player on a terrible team who was going to get his chance to shine in Boston? Excellent. He did just that. Shine. That's why he could command the contract that he got. Kaz was pretty fantastic, and I did enjoy almost all moments of the year and a half that he graced our left field. The pale one may be moving on, but he will hold a place in my heart for a long time. Not forever, but a long time. I wish him luck and genuinely he helps Prince and the rest of the Mets to anything except a horrible late-season collapse. They've had enough of that lately. Jason, it saddens me to see you go because our once "J"-dominated (Jason, JD, Jason, Jacoby, (ugh) Julio....) lineup is slowly slipping away. Good luck.

Adrian Beltre.... sigh. Do I have to do this? Everyone knows I love Mike Lowell. I really do want to keep being stubborn and ridiculous! All I will say is.... if Adrian takes Mike's job, I'll give him the same chance to win my heart that I gave Mikey after the departure of Billy Mueller. And I ADORED Billy Mueller (and wish we had him AND his surgically repaired knees back in some capacity. not as a third baseman. or player). I will try to be fair and understanding, and not hate Adrian for the mere fact that he is not Mikey, or not Billy. I will not boo him, even on opening day when I have to acknowledge that my Michael is gone. I will do my best to come up with a fun nickname for him, so I can embrace him as one of the guys... which, by the way, nicknaming is becoming much harder with this unimpressive bunch of ballplayers. Personality. That's what they need. I don't expect them to 'cowboy up' or anything, because that is so beyond overused that it has pushed into the realm of 'stab-me-in-the-ears'. That's a horrible realm.

What was I ranting about? Oh. Nicknames and Beltre. He'll get one. They'll all get one. I don't generally care if I have nicknames for outfielders, but infielders NEED nicknames. Scutaro, you're next.

Baseball, plz. I get all ranty without it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My opinion: Doesn't matter even a little

I feel like I'm rehashing the same sentiment over and over this offseason. How I feel about the trades and the pickups and Theo isn't going to stop me from going to games. It isn't going to stop me from watching on TV, or following the team via news updates. Nothing Theo can do is going to make me hate the Red Sox.

But, man, I feel like he's really trying.

Again, I am in the minority of people who think this is just a stupid move. I know I am. I remain unapologetic. I usually dislike the moves of Mr. Epstein, but never since he's been aboard have I been absolutely disgusted with every decision he's made. Every single one of them. I can't think of a year where I hated everything he did. This, so far, is that year. Granted, he's got time before pitchers and catchers report to do something that makes me think 'hmm... ok.' And, for all I know, once the season starts, I might fall in love with one of these guys that I don't like. I just might. I'll keep an open mind about it. I guess I just need to watch them play. But that doesn't take away from the fact that, damnit, I did not want Beltre. Yay for defense and all, but you still can't win games if you don't score runs. We all know Beltre's best year was 2004. His numbers were crazy good, though I will not speculate why. Maybe last year was an abberation, and his numbers will go back up, but a .265 average and a .304 OBP doesn't instill a ton of confidence, and certainly doesn't seem like an upgrade over the .290/.337 that Mikey put up in '09.

Ok, but we're not getting him for his bat (but for chrissakes, who ARE we getting for their bat?!), so let me just glance at fielding stats.... Beltre is coming to us fresh off a year where he made 19 errors and had .959 fielding percentage in 341 chances. Ok. Fair. I'm not going to get into zone rating and things of that nature, because, well, I'm no good at it, and I don't want to. As for Mikey, 265 chances brought him 14 errors and a .966 fld%. So, the defensive upgrade is about thismuch. I'll give him that.

But can Beltre salsa dance with the smoothness that Mikey is able to maintain? No? I thought not. And I love Mikey. I don't care for Beltre, or really just about anyone who would come in and take Mikey's job away. Not appreciative.

All I'm saying is that these new guys better bring some damn personality to this team, because it's been sorely lacking since Millar and Manny left town. But we all know that Theo isn't a big fan of personality. Or, apparently, talent.

Ok, ok. I swear. I'll stop now. I'll just look forward to the opening of the season and I won't criticize players before they have a chance to win me over any more. But damnit, I will not stop complaining about the GM. It's my right as a Red Sox fan!