Saturday, December 04, 2010

I was looking up something from our trip to Korea last year and I noticed that it had been almost 6 months since I posted here. I really need to figure out what I'm going to do with this blog.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why I Love Baseball, Reason #957: Daniel Nava.

The story will be told everywhere, so I'll only briefly recap it: cut from his college team, undrafted, played independent ball, then was signed by the Sox in 2008. He started with Lancaster (High A) and worked his way up to the Pawsox this season.

He was called up to Boston and played his first game today at age 27. The first pitch he saw from the Phillies Joe Blanton was deposited into the Red Sox bullpen for a grand slam home run.

It's such a great story. Daniel Nava was told over and over that he wasn't good enough, and kept on proving people wrong. Then, in his first time on the ultimate stage, he gets the biggest possible hit.

Who says dreams don't come true? Many times, they do if you work hard enough and refuse to quit.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Once again, I have been delinquent in my blogging, so here are 10 quick thoughts:
  • What is it with all the no-hitters this year? Ublado Jimenez had a no-no, perfect games by Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay, and the Imperfect Perfect Game by Armando Gallaraga. And it's only the middle of June.
  • Has there ever been a more classy, sportsman-like reaction by a player getting screwed by a bad call than Gallaraga? Jim Joyce cost him a perfect game, and he said "Nobody's perfect." Just amazingly cool.
  • Jeremy Roenick may never appear as an NHL analyst again (except in Chicago). Did you see him get all teary when the Black Hawks won the Stanley Cup? Here's the clip. The best part is Mike Milbury's reaction.

  • To be honest, though, I wasn't even aware hockey was still going on until I heard someone mention on the radio that game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals was last night. It seems like the Bruins blew that 3-0 lead about six months ago.
  • When people talk about how quickly kids grow up, they aren't just spouting a cliche. I am truly amazed that J. is done with Little League and R. is going to middle school next year.
  • If Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo have a good game at the same time, the Celtics might beat the Lakers by 40.
  • Got a trailer hitch put on the minivan so that we can attach our bike rack and bring our bikes to Vermont this summer. Really looking forward to a couple of family rides while we're there.
  • Stephen Strasburg's first start for the Nationals lived up to the hype. 7 innings, 14 K's, including the last 7 in a row. Yes, it was the Pirates, but it was still pretty amazing. The thing that I found most impressive while watching on MLB Network was how effortless it seemed to be for him to throw a 99 MPH fastball on the black at the knees. If he stays healthy, Strasburg could be one of the great superstars in the game for the next 15 years or so. If he doesn't, he could be Kerry Wood.
  • I admit it. I'm a total Gleek.
  • I really don't need to see another Grown Ups movie promo during the NBA Finals.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

I haven't done much blogging recently, so here are a few catch-up items.
  • I said at the beginning of the Red Sox 13 game stretch against the Tigers, Yankees, Twins, Phillies and Rays that we would know a lot more about this team at the end of it. After a slow start, losing 3-of-5 in Detroit and the Bronx, the Sox swept the Twins at Fenway, then took 2 of 3 from the Philles and swept 3 from the Rays to go 9-4 in what is probably their toughest stretch of games of the year. The Sox also made up some ground and are now only five games out of first and 2.5 behind the Yankees for second. Of course, they then only split a weekend series with the Royals at Fenway, but they are certainly a much better position than they were a few weeks ago.
  • J. and some of his friends on our street went up to the school a couple of times over the weekend to play baseball on one of the fields. In this day and age where so many kids are over-scheduled and spend what little free time they do have in front of a computer or TV screen, I was thrilled to see this.
  • The Rockies Ublado Jimenez may be baseball's best kept secret. After yesterday's shutout win over Tim Lincecum and the Giants, Jimenez is 10-1 with a 0.78 ERA. Despite that, when I mentioned yesterday's game to a co-worker I would consider a casual baseball fan, he had no idea who I was talking about. Make sure you watch him pitch the next time you have a chance - his starts are must-see TV.
  • Beat LA! Beat LA! Beat LA!

Friday, May 21, 2010

No one is happier than I am that David Ortiz has been red hot in May. His numbers for the month so far- .358 average, 7 HR, 1.170 OPS - are amazing.

That said, Big Papi popped off in the paper today about how upset he's been about the heat he got in the media during his slow start. He even went so far as to specifically call out ESPN's Buster Olney for saying that he can't hit an inside fastball any more. Ortiz pointed out that he rarely gets pitched inside and wanted to know what Buster was watching.

David Ortiz has done many great things for the Red Sox, but I think most people had a legitimate concern as to whether he was done from looking at his performance in April. One of the things that comes with the big money and fame enjoyed by our sports superstars is that certain people will turn on you at the first sign of weakness. It's not necessarily right, but that's how it is.

My thought is that Big Papi doesn't understand how the media works around here. The two greatest players in Red Sox history, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski were both berated by the press at various points in their careers. Teddy Ballgame's battles with the "Knights of the Keyboard" were legendary. Name a great Red Sox player of the last 50 years and he was probably vilified in the press at one time or another. Jim Rice, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Manny Ramirez; the list goes on and on. It even extends to other sports - is Tom Brady spending too much time with Gisele and the baby? - that was a hot topic last fall. Remember the story about Larry Bird's estranged daughter, or the bar fight he was involved in? If these two guys can get that kind of heat from the media, nobody is immune.

Actually, maybe there's one exception - can anyone remember a negative word being said about Bobby Orr?

I know Big Papi is never going to read this, but he should just consider himself the latest in a long line of Boston sports legends that got on the wrong side of the sports pages for a time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I said a few days ago that this 13 game stretch against the Tigers, Yankees, Twins, Phillies and Rays would tell us a lot about where the 2010 Red Sox were headed. After 5 games, I'm still not sure.

The Sox are 2-3 so far, but they could easily be 4-1. The could also easily be 1-4. They blew a 6-1 lead Saturday night in Detroit and ended up losing in extra innings. They battled back from a big deficit in Monday night's game to take a 9-7 lead into the 9th. Papelbon promptly blew that by giving up 2-run homers to A-Rod and Marcus Thames (?). Thames blast was the first walkoff homer Paps has ever given up.

Last night's game started an hour late because of rain and I went to bed before it was over. The Sox were down 5-1, so I was shocked when I woke up this morning, checked the MLB AtBat app on my iPod Touch and discovered that they had won 7-6!

So what have we learned?
  • A lot of players on this team are not happy. Lowell is unhappy because he isn't playing, and even mused to the media on asking for his release. Wakefield is unhappy that he isn't starting. Matsuzaka and Martinez apparently can't get along for some reason. Big Papi is mad at the media and fans that were questioning whether he was done when he was hitting .150 last month. The fans are mad at Theo Epstein because he was at the Pearl Jam concert Monday night instead of...wait...what exactly was he supposed to be doing instead? Would something have changed if he had been watching the game?
  • Josh Beckett is a mess. He left last night's game with a back problem. His ERA is 7.29. You really have to wonder where his head is at right now
  • Ditto on Papelbon. He reverted to his fastball-only ways on Monday and got knocked around for it.
  • Given the way the Yankees and Rays are playing, and assuming no major injuries, I think it's going to take 97-98 wins to get into the playoffs this year. Approximately one-quarter of the season is gone and the Sox are 20-20. To get to 98 wins, they are going to have to go 78-44 (.639) the rest of the year. In contrast, the Rays only need to go 70-53 (.569) and the Yankees record the rest of the way would be 73-50 (.593). I know it's only May, but the Sox have a very deep hole to dig themselves out of.
  • The Celtics are a lot more fun to watch right now.
I am, however, loving Tony Massarotti's new name for the Red Sox: The Fortune .500. Because they cost a fortune and they play .500

Friday, May 14, 2010

I'm not a hockey fan. I don't really follow the Bruins other than to hear the score on the radio or see it online when I'm perusing I couldn't name 10 NHL players. I find the game almost unwatchable on TV, although I enjoy watching hockey in person. In 1,038 previous posts on my blog, I have mentioned the Bruins exactly five times.

All that said, I couldn't let the Bruins epic fail pass without mentioning it. Proving how much hockey means to me, I wasn't even home to watch the game. We had tickets to see the Framingham High School production of my favorite musical, "Guys 'n Dolls", so that's where we were tonight (the kids were great, by the way). The Hey provided me with game updates via text, so I knew just after the game ended that the Bruins had blown not only the 3-0 lead in the series, but also a 3-0 lead in game 7.

I think the Bruins have actually topped the pre-'04 Red Sox in finding creative and improbable ways to lose. I have to think this loss feels as bad, or worse, to Bruins fans as Bucky "Bleeping" Dent, the '86 Mets or Aaron Boone felt to Red Sox fans.

One thing, though. Good on the Flyers for not rolling over when it would have been easy to do so (see James, Lebron).

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