Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Magical Journey To Over .500: A Mission Squarely In Doubront's Hands

For the first time in about a month, the Sox have the opportunity to go above .500. They have reached the .500 mark on a couple of occasions, but have never been able to crack the mediocre mark.

With the team on a bit of a hot streak, they have their best chance yet to get there. The mission is in Felix Doubront's left hand. Felix has already gotten us to one big checkpoint this season... he was able to secure the first win of the season. I have plenty of faith in this kid to pull out a win tonight.

But if he doesn't, it's ok. Because  it's just one of those seasons, and we just have to accept it. All the luck in the world to you tonight, Felix. But no pressure.

Hell, we've seen that even if he pitches as badly as Dahmer (who again gave up five runs) the offense seems to be awake enough to back him up. I guess my main advice is try not to give up more than five runs, and we may be fine.

With the way this team is going, it's definitely going to be an interesting summer.

Sox Outfielders: Obviously Endangered

I don't know what's going on beyond the diamond, but the job of "Red Sox outfielder" has quickly become one of the most hazardous jobs in the market.

The latest addition to the quickly-growing list of injured outfielders is Cody Ross.... which really, truly sucks. I like Cody Ross, and he's been coming up with key hits for the team. Now he's out about eight weeks with a broken foot, and we are beyond replacements-for-replacement level players. We're at replacements-for-the-replacements-of-replacement level players. It's getting scary.

I know I've asked before, but can we please keep this team in bubble wrap when not in use? Seriously now! We've got three outfielders on the 60-day DL. Pretzels, Crawford, and  Ryan Kalish may be back this season, but we'll see what happens. Neither Ellsbury or Crawford have even begun baseball activities as far as I know.

McDonald, Repko (remember him?) and Ross are only on the 15 day DL, but again, it remains to be seen what will happen.

Red Sox... bubble wrap and duct tape. That's all you need. Get on it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Leaving Time: Updated For All The Suck

If you've read this blog long enough, you'll know that my best friend and I have what we call the "Lackey Limit." It began last year after a string of incredibly terrible Mudpie starts. Basically, the Lackey Limit is a rule that states if John Lackey has given up 8 or more runs in 4 or fewer innings, we leave the park, go to Game On, and consume mass amounts of alcohol to destroy all memories of the game before they become permanent. Believe it or not, we left several of his starts last year for just that reason.

After the pretty horrific continuation of baseball this season, I've decided that the other pitchers all need similar rules. It's only fair, right? Assume that all of these rules end with "and then we go to Game On to get smashed."

The Beckett Break Point: Whichever comes first, four home runs or six runs in three innings or less.
The Lester Let-Down: If Jon Lester has thrown 90 pitches in two innings, it's not going to get better.
The Buchholz Booze Time: Any time Clay Buchholz steps on the mound.
The Doubront Departure: If Felix steps to the mound and has that look of abject horror on his face and then allows eight runs or more in four innings or less.
The Bard Back-Out: If Daniel has walked eight or more batters in any point of the game.

For the record, I want to sign Oswalt so we can have the Oswalt Opt-Out.
We could also have the Cook Cop-Out.
The Dice-K Dash Away.

You name the pitcher, I can make up a limit for how much of said pitcher I can take.

Dear Sox Fans: You Suck

I'm ashamed of you, Red Sox Nation. I truly am. I sat in that wind-blown, cold park last night watching Beckett and the boys suck, just like the rest of you. I groaned every time he gave up a run. And I did plenty of booing...

Johnny Damon. I booed Johnny Damon and ONLY Johnny Damon. Because he is no longer on the Sox, and no longer allowed to be loved in Boston. (Love him if you want, but he's a lying traitor and I will never cheer for him again)

At a time where the team is struggling as bad as we've seen in a very long time, I assumed that the only people coming out to the park were there to actually support the team. I was wrong. When Beckett walked off the field to that chorus of boos, I was ashamed for my fellow fans. Ashamed.

Yeah, he sucked. Yes, there have been lots of reports about what a terrible soul-stealing cancer he is and how he is secretly plotting to take over the world or something like that. He's terrible. He needs to be traded a league in Antarctica far far from civilized people so his terrible attitude and love for beer and chicken can never torment anyone again, right? Whatever. You know what, if the Sox do end up trading Beckett and he goes on to pitch well for another team, I'm sure the same people who are booing him now will ask why we always get rid of our good players.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but what good does booing do? You get to tell the team you disapprove of their play, right? Awesome. So they're unhappy that they're playing poorly, and you're unhappy that they're playing poorly, and instead of trying to change, everyone will just wallow in the misery. Fine. Boo whoever you want. I'm still going to cheer for my team, and I'm still going to be ashamed of all you boo birds. Do me a favor and just don't come out to the park if you hate the team or individual players so much. You're making hard for the people like me who want to support them.

After all, isn't that why you GO to the park?

Shame on all of you who booed last night.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rest In Peace, Carl Beane

I know I haven't had time to post a lot, but the tragedies that have happened in the sports world lately deserve at least a few words.

I was out shopping for new apartment stuff (like curtains... you don't realize how important curtains are until you don't have them) and a TV on in one of the stores was talking about the death of Carl Beane. I had to stop and ask the guy behind the register what happened. Car accident. I would find out later that it was a heart attack that caused the car accident. It's a terrible, tragic loss. Carl was too young to be lost.

I guess that's the nature of tragedy. It takes people who are too young whenever it pleases. It turns a routine drive home into a nightmare. It leaves wives without husbands, daughters without father, and grandchildren without a grandpa. It also leaves Fenway without a voice.

I'm going to the game tonight, if it doesn't get rained out. I know that they will do the right thing and have a moment of silence for Mr. Beane. The more appropriate action would be to leave the park in silence for the night. For me, and for so many others, Carl was the voice of that old park. His narration at the 100th anniversary brought tears to my eyes. It was so beautiful.

All I can hope is that tonight, they win for Carl. Even if they do, it just won't sound the same. Rest in peace, Carl Beane. Fenway will never sound the same without you.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Rest in Peace, Junior.

I was sitting in my office when someone casually said from across the room, "Huh. Former Patriot Junior Seau found dead in his home." That shock, that moment of terror you feel when someone you know has been hurt or killed, flooded me. I walked over to my coworker's desk. "What?"

She read the headline again. "Who's Junior Seau?" She asked.

"He was one of my favorite football players." I responded, rushing back to my own desk so I could look up the information on my own. I didn't know Junior personally. I knew who he was on the football field, and I adored him. I frequently talk about how much I adore Tedy Bruschi, but if I had to pick a second favorite, it was Junior, hands down. So despite not knowing the man, I was struck by the news of his death. Even a few days later, just thinking that he's gone makes me sad. For so many, you connect to the players you watch week after week. You may never know the man, but you feel like you've gotten to know the player. You see the heart and determination that they lay out on the field in every game, and you connect. When tragedy befalls them, you feel it.... not nearly on the level that their loved ones do, but you feel it.

I didn't know if I was going to write anything about it. As more information came out, and the news of the death likely being caused by suicide arose, all I could think was that this could have been avoided if only Junior asked for help. I watched his mother weep on television, and my heart hurt for her. These were the tears of a woman who truly didn't know there was anything wrong with her son, a woman who would have done anything to help him had she known. But she didn't know. Junior, by all accounts, was a happy, friendly man who loved life. There were no signs. I keep reading the same thing. Everyone said there were no signs.

In 2010, when he drove over the cliff, it didn't register to me that it could have been intentional. Now I, surely along with everyone who knew him, wonders if he was trying to end his life that night. If someone that he knew and loved had recognized it as a cry for help instead of an accident, would he still be alive right now? Herein lies the problem with the more charismatic among us... they're so good at being charming that it's harder to see when there's a problem. No one can tell me Junior wasn't charismatic. I won't believe you.

So here I sat this morning, still thinking of what it took to push Junior to suicide, thinking that he should have just asked for help. I'm sure his family is thinking the same. I clicked through my blogroll, reading Sox updates when I came to an entry titled "Junior" on Cursed To First. Feel free to head over and read it. I'll wait.


Back? Good. I don't think it can be said enough... there's no shame, no weakness in needing help. I urge people to be an open ear or a shoulder to cry on for the people that they love most. If you're having a hard time coping with something in your life, please find someone, anyone to talk to. It can only get better if you stick around to see it get better.

In a perfect world, no families would have to suffer through the pain and confusion that Junior's family is going through right now. But even in this severely imperfect world, there's plenty of help to be had. It doesn't make you any less of a woman or a man to ask for it. Rest in peace, number 55. Though far, far too soon, rest in peace.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Clay Buchholz: Terrible Pitcher

You have a ten run lead. You've cruised through six innings in front of your team's home town fans. Your offense is looking spectacular and everyone is feeling the good vibes despite the park being a brisk thirty seven degrees below zero (might be a slight exaggeration). You walk out to the mound for the seventh inning with a low pitch count. Realistically, you know you should be able to get the next three outs with minimal problems and then you can hand the game over to the bullpen.

But you're Clay Buchholz, so what you actually do is implode and try to give up that ten run lead.

It's amazing how Clay lost it so quickly. He was cruising... and then he was giving up five runs without being able to record that last out. Terrible. Clay is legitimately the only pitcher in the Sox starting rotation that has yet to record a quality start on the year. Yes, it's that bad. This isn't a case of bad luck, it's a case of sucking. In 29 innings, he's allowed 40 hits and 28 runs with 15 walks and 16 strikeouts. Ok, maybe it IS a bad start, but he's got options left and I can point him to the Pawtucket shuttle if need be.

Call me unfair. Go ahead, do it. I've never really liked Clay. He frustrates me, because he'll show a tiny glimmer of being good, and then he'll have a five-run inning where he just cannot get the last out. I never thought I'd say this for the season, but thank God for the bullpen. They made it scary, but they got the job done.

If it weren't for Papi and the rest of the offense, this could have been an ugly night. Two home runs for the Large Father. His offensive contributions for the night were a home run, a walk, another home run, and then a ground out in his last at-bat. I'll go ahead and also give credit to Calviles, Munchkin, Ronald, and Marlon Byrd, all who had multiple hit games last night. Actually, it's a little odd because the players who didn't have a multiple hit night didn't hit at all. Weird, I know.

An additional "boo, you suck" to Nick Punto for missing that popup. I guess anyone could have caught it, but no one did, and Punto got the error. It didn't end up causing any additional harm, but really Nick? Terrible. You're terrible.

Anyway, didn't get the pictures up this weekend. I won't be getting them up tonight either as I will be back at the ballpark for the second game in two nights. Maybe tomorrow... more likely, never. But it's the thought that counts, and I've thought about posting them a bunch of times.