Wednesday, March 31, 2010

250 Posts: Heading Into The Season

Yeah, again, I have nothing special planned. I was actually trying really hard to keep up with the updates until I got sick (better now!), and I slacked off a bit. My last post for March... can't believe we finally made it through this horrible month. It WAS horrible. Cold. Rain. Losing record for the Sox, not-so-serious injuries to a bunch of players, brain surgery for Ryan Westmoreland, and Kevin Millar getting cut by the Cubs. Seriously, I am not going to miss March. But, oh man am I excited for April!

How could I not be? The Mayor's Cup Champion Red Sox will be home in just! Four! Days! Beckett, he of the four-year-contract-extension-talks, will be on the mound! In Fenway! Ok, yes, I am aware that I am excessive in my use of punctuation. Don't fault me. I'm excited. Because in just four days when Beckett makes his way to that mound, all of that terrible, nasty stuff that happened in March disappears. Well... you know what I mean. It doesn't disappear, it just feels better.

So, I got to watch Beckett finally on NESN this spring, and I liked what I saw. I wasn't blown away by him giving up two home runs, but that's been a problem in the past for him anyway so it doesn't surprise me. Little bit concerned about the rough spring that Rambo's been having. I like him, and I hate to see him struggle. Hopefully, he's only struggling because he misses Boston so badly. Still not so sure about the return of Alan Embree. I know, he's only appeared in what, two games? He pitched in 36 games last year and was injured, so he is just trying to work the kinks out. I get the impression that he'll start the season in Pawtucket, or be put into extended spring training or something. No way Embree is on the roster come April 4th.

My security blanket, Lester, gets his final start of the spring today. I won't be able to see it, but I'll be hoping that he has a good final start, because I really would like to see him end spring strong and start the season right. It would also be nice if someone other than Muchkin, Asshat, and Vic could pull out more than one hit per game. Oh, and perhaps we could get some sharp fielding. That would be awesome.

So, in conclusion to this, my 250th post of all time, I leave you with Millar. Because he's available, and he wants you to take him home (hint, hint, Theo).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mayor's Cup: Most Important Thing Ever To The Red Sox (Right Now)

More accurately, it was the most important thing ever to the Red Sox yesterday when we won the wicked beast for the fifth year in a row. It is a fantastic honor, or something like that, to win the Mayor's Cup from the Twins, because hell... if they get the players I want, we should be able to have a shiny cup. It's only fair.

I don't know if anyone else was watching the little promo before the game started where they showed Papi, Beckett, Dice-K, Justin Morneau, and Joe Mauer talking about the importance of the cup... suffice it to say, I thought it was really funny. Worth watching twice, anyway. I giggled when Beckett said that the cup was the most important thing in the world to him. Then he smiled. That was admittedly bizarre, because I don't know, Beckett's just not supposed to smile. I suppose he's entitled to joy on occassion. However, I will continue to demand game-face Commander from here on out.

Speaking of Beckett, as I usually am, I have to say very, very bad job, Red Sox. I hope the rumor that they refuse to go to five years with Beckett is just that - a rumor. Seriously? He's our ace. I don't care about his ERA over his first four seasons with the Sox. He damn well should have won the Cy Young in 2007. Granted, 2006 sucked, and 2008 was not impressive, but he was good last year! Fifty percent of his years with us, he is going to be nails. Hard nails. Super awesome nails. You can't just get nails like that anywhere. Now that I've completely lost hold of what my point was, I'll move on to say this: Beckett deserves five years, because I am incredibly biased and I say he does. He's my favorite pitcher to watch. I want to keep him simply for the fact that I want to, and I think the Red Sox should agree with me on this. I'll keep my fingers crossed that they do.

Really the only thing I care about right now is the fact that we are a mere six days and ten hours away from actual, God-honest, meaningful baseball. It's been such a long off-season I can hardly process the fact that we're starting the real season. I'm so excited that I could almost find myself cheering for Dahmer. Almost. When he shows me that he's worth cheering for, he'll get my praise and approval. And seriously? I'm not all that hard to win over, so the fact that he hasn't won me over yet worries me. But we'll get there. I just know it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dahmer: Eaten Up By Twins' Bats

Yup. I thought all night about what the headline for this post should be. That's what I came up with. Because Dahmer... he ate people.... yeah. No, I know it's not funny, but in the light of what's going on in Florida, I am allowed to make whatever jokes I want. Our resident cannibal lasted a very unimpressive 1.2 innings, allowing 6 runs (5 ER). Not only did he allow almost as many walks (3) as hits (4), but he also hit a batter. It's March 24, shouldn't his control be a LITTLE better than that? Then again, he's only pitched just over 6 innings this spring... but that's in three games. And he technically has some time to get on track... I don't know. Look, all I do know about this kid is that right now, he's pretty much a lock to make the starting rotation because of the time delay that Dice-K is on. How long he will keep himself in the rotation, I do not know. It's been the running question through the winter and spring so far. What will happen to Wakey and/or Dahmer once everyone is healthy and in position to be a starter? You all know my vote is to keep Wake in the starting rotation, at least until he breaks the record and then he can retire. Let the man have his moment in the sun!

Now. For the troubling news.... Munchkin. He is hurt. Hopefully he is not hurt badly, but you never want to see your hot fielding, high-fastball-swinging, Napoleon-complexed former AL MVP go down with a wrist injury, never mind having said player go down with said injury two weeks before said season begins. Wait, I didn't mention the season.... but you clearly know what I mean! I guess I just have to maintain hope that he will be fine by Opening Day (Night). Sigh... these Sox make me a little sad lately.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Pitching: Holy Crap, It Sucks

Again, emphasizing the fact that spring training games mean nothing... holy HELL, what is happening. Do our pitchers really have that many new pitches and problems to work out that none of them, not a single goddamn one who pitches in any game, can win? I was actually convinced that we won against Penny and the Cardinals yesterday, but lo and behold, they found a way to lose. I have no idea what happened. All I know is that I'll be able to watch some hot Mayor's Cup action tonight featuring Clay Buchholz and hopefully a delightful little win for our boys.

I mean, we're 9-11. Granted, my memory of spring trainings past isn't fantastic, but don't we usually do better that this? Do I sound delusional if I try to warp this into a good thing? I mean, if everyone is more effective this year in working on their problems, is it much of a stretch to think that we won't have as many growing pains with the new pitchers and players this year? I'm hoping that my silly little brain has come up with the correct conclusion.

Paps is pitching with migraines, Bonser feels some grabbing at his groin (I presume not the good kind), Lowrie has mono, Beckett has a tendency to develop some nasty hangovers.... I don't know, I just kind of have been laughing it off. That being said, seriously, a few wins would be nice. I would love it if our boys could go into the season knowing what a "W" looks like. If not, eh.... I guess we'll all just have to live now, won't we?

Good news, though. Forgot to put this up the other day... Ryan Westmoreland has been moved out of the ICU and is now residing in the rehab center. Again, I continue to wish Ryan the best of luck because a kid that age deserves some good luck.

And, just a quick note about the Mauer deal: Damn it. I wanted him. But it's ok, because he's where he belongs. Seriously, though, Twins, you already have the shortstop I wanted. Did you HAVE to keep the catcher? Now I need to pick out another player to covet. Who am I kidding, I'm still gonna covet their shortstop. Maybe one day he will be ours!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Johnny Demon: It's Official. I will never cheer for this man

I thought about scoring tickets for the first game that the Tigers are in Fenway for 2010. Seeing as how former Red Sox hero Johnny Damon would be returning, I thought, hey... I booed the hell out of him when he was with the Yankees. He never got the Red Sox Nation love that he rightfully deserved. I thought it would be a nice gesture to go and make my own personal peace with the guy. After all, he's the ONLY one of the 25 that I really ever claimed to hate.

Well, after reading this piece, I can safely say, he will be showered with my taunts and boo's for the rest of his career. From the article:

When Damon headed south on I-95 in 2006 to join the Yankees, he packed up his
World Series ring and kept it off his finger. Now a member of the Tigers, he
said he's been flashing his Red Sox ring."I started wearing it this
past offseason after I knew I wasn't coming back to New York," Damon told the
New York Post. "I was in New York for four years and I couldn't wear it then."

That's more than enough for me. But, of course. He's more than willing to wear the Yankee ring along side with the Red Sox ring while playing in Detroit. Apparently, there's no shame in winning one with the Sox as long as you've won one for the Yankees, too. Screw you, Johnny Damon. I hope someone slashes your tires.... everywhere you go. Forever.

Paps: Just Can't Seem To Do Anything Right

Kidding, of course. I was listening to the game on the radio yesterday, and the meltdown by Paps earned a half-hearted 'eh' from me. Again... spring training. I don't care HOW they do, I'm just happy they're doing something. I know Mr. Papelbon was supposed to be working on his secondary pitches this spring, so that could be part of it. Either that, or he had a bad day. I have no idea what he was throwing. I don't know what his velocity was at, and I didn't hear any mention of location problems. That's the issue with listening to the game instead of watching it. When something goes wrong, you have to guess what the problem is. The broadcasters can only tell you so much.

From what I think I heard (and I'm just gonna go ahead and double check that against the box score, but you won't feel the time delay because of the magic of the interwebs), Jon pitched 5 innings, allowing 3 runs. I'm actually more concerned about him than I am about Pap. Pap had a bad day. Jon, for the most part, is allowing a lot of runs this spring. Saying all that, I'm still not concerned about either of them.

The Sox have been on a bit of a losing streak, with the exception of a nice win against the Orioles. Ok, so I can't seem to pull up any information on the Sox right now. I guess it was a bad time to try to update my blog. That's ok. I remembered to wear my green Sox shirt for St. Patrick's Day (only green article of clothing that I own), and we're closing in on opening day. 13 more days! Can you believe it? (props to Castiglione for that phrase). Thirteen days until opening day and only 29 more days until my first live game of the year. I'm so excited I can hardly sit still. Oh baseball, you'll never know how I miss you when you're gone.

In other, related news, the Sox have signed LHP Alan Embree to a minor league contract. Some of you may remember Alan as one of the 25. So, even if I don't like the signing, I'm going to be ok with it. Welcome back, Alan. That is all for today, peeps! Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Smoltz: ::Sigh::.... What Could Have Been

Well, I fail.

I remember last year around this time, getting all hyped up for the return of John Smoltz to baseball and his first game as a member of the Sox. I was positively giddy, and I rode that giddiness almost all the way through his tenure on our pitching staff. I'm sure you all remember how that ended.

Yes. I was wrong. I thought Smoltz was going to work out, or at the very least give us more than he did. On occassions, he suffered from poor run support. More often than not, he suffered from poor control. Hey, don't blame me for wanting him to succeed so badly with my favorite team that I was willing to overlook how bad he was. He's a future HOF'er. I wanted to see the man pitch. Is that really a sin?

Cutting this short, baseball's "Smoltz Reclamation Project," which started and failed in Theo Epstein's hands, is more than likely coming to an end. While he hasn't officially announced his retirement yet, Smoltz has accepted a position as a TBS analyst. I sort of think this means that he hasn't gotten any offers and he knows he's all done. You hate to see HOF'ers go out like this.... after trying and failing to regain their past successes. Still, I regret not being able to see him pitch live. Oh well. Best of luck, Smoltzie.

Westmoreland: Reports Look Good

According to the Red Sox website, the surgery performed on 19 year-old Ryan Westmoreland was a success. Obviously, he's still got a very long way to go before we see just how successful or detrimental this operation was to his daily life, but reports are looking good. You don't have to know the guy to be worried about him. I hate medical issues in general, but they always seem so much less fair when they're happening to kids.

I know. I'm only a few years older than him. How very condescending of me to call him a kid. Actually.... no one would have known that if I didn't write it, so that's fine. Hell, I call Munchkin a kid, and he's actually older than me, so what do I know? Point is, Red Sox Nation and just about everyone else who heard this story was rooting for him to come through it alright, especially considering the risky part of the brain that the surgery had to take place in. Looks like he'll be ok. Now we can all worry about his recovery, and we'll have to make sure to cheer extra loud for him when he makes his debut at Fenway in a few years. Surgery's over, but you still have the support of a nation of strangers, Ryan. Good luck with the recovery!

In other, less important news, the Red Sox forgot their bats in both of the games of the split squad double header yesterday, tallying up a total of zero runs for the day. Not gonna lie. This troubles me a little, but it's fine because it's only March 17th. Now, if we get to say, March 28th and we're not scoring runs, then I will be worried. Man, I hate team-wide slumps. I'm sure they'll be just fine though. They have my boy, Mikey!

Lackey, who is severely lacking a good nickname, will be on the mound for us today. He's had a very nice start to his spring so far, so let's see if he can keep it up. I do believe the game will be televised today, so anyone who's not spending the entire day drinking in honor of St. Patrick might be able to catch the game. Happy St. Paddy's Day, peeps!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mr. Awesome: Rare Appearance at First

I could have also gone with 'rare appearance at last,' which would have properly conveyed my excitement for Michael's return to the lineup. He'll be manning 1st base today, on this the day of Youk's 31st birthday. If only I could watch the game to see the magic that is Mikey Lowell. He's just one of those guys. You know, THOSE guys, who when I see them, I am a happier person. I'm still praying that we get to keep Mikey this year. Papi may look like he's in incredible shape, but his 1-21 showing thus far this spring could be slightly concerning. It's still early in the spring, but it's always nice to have a backup plan for each position. Is it fair to Mike to keep him as a backup plan? I guess we should really consider what's best for Mike, but I am a selfish, selfish girl. Also, I reiterate the fact that spring training doesn't really mean anything in the long run. For all I know, Papi could go on a tear when the season opens. I hope he does! I do love Papi.

Reading about Ryan Westmoreland today... man, this just isn't fair. This poor kid is only 19 years old, and it seems like every time he turns around, something happens to derail both his career and his health. Consider it. This is by far the worst of all the events that have happened to him since he signed on with the Red Sox. He's a talented kid out of New England, and in his first year with the Sox organization, he fractures his clavical. Now that he's finally healed from that and ready to start again, this happens. It's scary. I don't even know him and I'm scared for him. All I can say is that I'll keep him in my thoughts and I really, truly hope the surgery goes well. No 19 year olds should ever have to have brain surgery. But, we're going to stay positive here and assume that it's all gonna be fine, and 2011 will be the year that Ryan gets to make an impact in baseball. Best of luck, Ryan. We're all pulling for you!

In other news, the Commander is mysteriously ill, Jed Lowrie is ill, kids got sent down to the minor league complex, and Tim Wakefield is starting this afternoon. But, really, none of that matters in relation to what I just wrote about, so while I wish Tim all the luck in the world, he's sort of the least of my worries.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

End of the Road For Nomar: At Least He Gets To Wear His Sox Out the Door

So the big announcement today at 10:30 is rumored to be the Sox announcing the signing of Nomar for one day... just long enough that he'll get to retire a Red Sox. Nomar was never one of my favorite players by any means, but this is right. He was always supposed to end his career in Boston, and we had all pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that he wouldn't. I like that sentimentality won over the front office and they did right by the fans. Nomar was, after all, our golden boy. He was the Rookie of the Year in '97, had (I think) six All-Star games under his belt, broke records, won hearts, and made baseball exciting in Boston. Tons of folks thought he would have been the best hitter the game had ever seen if not for that wrist injury. Most others would settle for the fact that he was just a great hitter.

Yeah, his batting quirks were annoying, but I guess if they work for you, you don't stop doing them. Nomar made the baseball fans of Boston very happy for a long time, and it broke many hearts that he wasn't on the field with the Sox that fateful night in October when they won the WS. It was Nomar's team, but he had to go in order for them to succeed. Bittersweet, indeed.

Listen, I'm not going to sit here and keep waxing poetic about the guy. I didn't dislike him for any reason in particular, it was just a case of circumstance that, I guess, didn't really have anything to do with him. But it's undeniable that the guy is loved here in Boston, and if anyone deserves to retire as a Red Sox (besides Varitek... hint, hint Jason), it's Nomar. I wish him the best in his new career on ESPN and thank the Red Sox for doing right by a local hero. Thanks, Nomar, for all the joy you brought to Boston while you were here.

Timothy: Proving Old Guys Rock

There are probably about a million better titles that I could have come up for this, but I chose not to. Think what you will about me, I think Tim rocks... but I also need to point out and make very clear that just because someone is old does not mean that they rock. Besides, Tim isn't that old. He's only 43. In baseball years, that may be ancient, but in reality, it's not. But because Timmy Wonderpitches rocks so steadily, he managed three scoreless innings yesterday. On top of that, all of our other pitchers were also miraculously scoreless. It's early spring. Everything baseball related seems miraculous to me.

But the fact that Tim was able to keep up his good start to the spring is never something I will not appreciate. Oh, me and my double negatives when I could have just said that I will always appreciate it. Regardless of my use of negatives, I love good spring starts. Fact is, spring baseball is still baseball, and it still makes me feel all competitive and hungry for wins. When we get wins, I'm happy. When we don't.... well, yeah, it hurts less in the spring, but it still hurts. Tim is apparently quite recovered from his issues of the past year. He deserves another good start to the year, even if he will have to take the summer off again. I won't mind, and neither should you.

Today, Binky hops back up on the mound and tries to rectify his first poor start. I have every reason to believe that he'll be just fine. Why? Because. That's why.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Beckett: Fireballer

Ah. Beautiful, beautiful innings from Beckett and the boys yesterday. But not you, Strike-out King. No, not you. There is time for your foolishness to dissipate, and I suggest you get to dissipating.

No, in all seriousness, fantastic work by most of the pitching yesterday. What looked to be a tight game ended up being.... well, still a tight game, but a high scoring tight game. Very unexpected, but acceptable nonetheless. Beckett (pardon me. The Commander) faced nine guys, got nine guys out. Three innings, 3 K's. Man, I wish I could have seen those K's. They're my favorite things, after all. What this tells me is that Beckett came into spring in shape and ready to go. Perhaps he didn't sit around eating raw meat and swilling whiskey and beer all off season. While I think that would be fantastic, I also think he being prepared for spring is great. No slow starts this year, boys!

Timothy is on the hill today against the Marlins. I guess I have a certain affinity for the Marlins, since it seems like all the import players that I truly love all come from the Marlins organization. Way to go, fish. Producing good players and then letting us have them? I love it. Who am I kidding? I love everything today. Another gorgeous spring-like day in Boston, I'm wearing really kickass shoes today, and baseball exists. Really, it doesn't take much to please me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bizarre: Look Who's Pitching Against Us

Um.... hi Charlie Zink. It's been a while, I suppose. This is a little awkward, for sure, but... I really hope there aren't any hard feelings. We'll always care about you. We just want you to know that.

Yeah, so I looked up our opposing pitchers today and gasped just a little when I saw Charlie's name. It's always weird for me when I see players that I really liked and really wanted to see do well in Boston on another team. Charlie got one chance at the big time in Boston, and it was ridiculously forgettable. It's so forgettable that I've forgotten how bad it was, and I don't want anyone to remind me. All I know is that we won that game. Maybe that's not a consolation prize for the little knuckleballer who could, but it's all I got.

I want him to do well in his one inning of work today. But I want Chris Carpenter to do so badly that by the time Charlie gets to come and pitch, the Cardinals have no hope of winning. There, I've balanced my sadness for Charlie with my fandom for the Red Sox perfectly. There's my good deed for the day!

Lester: Let's Not Start This Again, Kay?

Don't get me wrong.... I don't think in ANY way at all that his first spring outing is an indication of how he's going to start the season, but it did remind me that I wanted to write this. So here it is. Hey Jon, you know I adore you. I watch all of your starts carefully and have managed to be in attendance for quite a few games that you've started since you joined the rotation full time. Here's my problem. I'm not a fan of the slow starts. They're not cute or entertaining. Now, I'm sure you don't do that on purpose, but just for fun, how about this year you start the season doing really well. Last year took you what felt like forever to find your rhythm, but really it was closer to two months. Truth is, we could have REALLY used some quality starts in those two months because, as you know, Joshua was stinking up the place something awful, too, for the first month. Oh you silly wonder twins snapped into it, for sure, but next time you're sitting around shooting whiskey and talking about which necklaces to wear this season and how many times to throw around the phrase 'executing pitches', why don't you make a game out of getting off to a strong start. The rules are up to the two of you, just get it done. If you do, I'll promise to stop calling you the wonder twins. Can you handle that? Thanks!

Oh, no, believe me... all the letters that I address to people who don't care about my opinion in this blog don't say anything about me. I just love the game, and I love pitching. I am unabashed in my love of both of those, so I am allowed to address the objects of my affection in whatever way I see fit. How can you not love pitching, and therefore, pitchers? 96 mph fastball, outside corner. High or low, I don't care, so long as it hits the corners. I've been waiting patiently, but it's getting close to the regular season and I think about the things like slow starts and pitching mechanics and rain delays. I'm expecting rain delays, of course, for every game I go to this year, but I don't care. I love Fenway in the rain.

According to my tracking, we're up on the Twins 2-1 for the Mayor's cup. It doesn't mean anything to win it, but the competitive side of me always wants to see us come away from Florida with it. Though, the Twins have JJ Hardy now, so.... I don't know. I want him as OUR shortstop. It's not fair. I can't have Gonzo and I can't have Hardy. Oh, Marco, you better impress me, my friend. I have a phobia of horrible shortstops. Even if you're good, it'll still take me a while to warm up to you, because I know what it's like to be in love with a shortstop and to have him taken away. Twice. It's painful. I'm always hesitant to jump right back in love with the next one who comes along, but I'll try. I'll try for the sake of the family. And because I'm getting rambly again, I'll stop myself.

All reports say that Lackey looked great on Saturday, but Dahmer wasn't so sharp on Sunday. It's cool, because our 'pen guys seem to be starting spring off right. Like I said about Binky, a bad start for your first game of the spring is no indication of anything. A good start isn't an indication of anything, so Commander, Timmy, and Lackey, I'm keeping my eye on you three. I demand more good starts. I also demand some spring training baseball on my TV. Not an adorable trick, having the game blacked out yesterday, MLBTV. Not adorable at all.

Oh well. The sun is shining, it's not 30 below zero, and my Sox are 3-2 for spring thus far. If you don't think the world is a good place, I'm worried about you

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thank You, Spring Training: I Needed That

Oh my GOD, did that feel good or what?! I needed that. I needed it bad, and now I feel good again. Spring training baseball against college kids may not be what most people find thrilling, but I was glued to my seat, basking in the voices of DO and Remy, cherishing the visuals of Munchkin sauntering up to the plate, and oh.... oh, there was Tek. Yeah, he may have struck out against a college kid, (but you didn't expect any better and you know it) but still, just seeing him in uniform makes me euphoric. Holy hell. Welcome back, baseball. You'll never have any idea how much I miss you when you're gone.

15-0 against Northeastern and 6-1 against BC. You know, I almost feel bad for the college kids because they usually lose pretty soundly. But at the same time, they get to be in Florida, playing baseball against the Red Sox, so I really don't feel THAT bad for them. And I'll say, seven innings might be enough for them, but it's never enough for me. Baseball gets taken away so abruptly at the end of the season, and then they ease you back in. In a perfect world, it would be completely the opposite. Or not. I don't know. That's why I don't make these decisions. I mean, it would be NICE to have a few meaningless exhibition games after the world series, just for the sake of my baseball fandom, but you know the teams wouldn't have their hearts in it. So, I guess we'll leave things the way they are.

The first televised spring training game of the year, and I already feel this good. Just a glimpse of baseball, and the world is right again. I can't wait to see more! Bring on the season!.... or at the very least, a few more games! Please?

Josh Beckett and an assortment of other pitchers are scheduled to toe the rubber tonight, but to my knowledge, the game will be untelevised. I don't care. It's just really great to say that Beckett's taking the ball for us tonight. Go on, Josh, start this Mayor's Cup tournament off right and give those Twins spring-training-level hell!