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Archive for the ‘David Ortiz’ Category

Big Papi: please go to your happy place

Posted by athomeatfenway on April 26, 2013

Where David Hits It

Take a look at where the arrow is pointing in the above seating diagram.  Section 35 is Big Papi’s happy place.

David Ortiz went 3 for 4 in last night’s 7-2 win over the Astros at Fenway, boosting his 2013 BA to .550 (18 at bats.)  Papi continued his current hitting streak with a rbi single in the 1st inning.  It is a 17 game streak at the moment.

Another sign that we are seeing vintage Papi redux is where he deposited his first home run of the season in the 3rd inning.  It landed 6 rows deep in section 35, the straight away center bleacher section that is adjacent to normally canvas covered section.

Long time Papi watchers, all 20 million of them, know that straight away center is where David smacks homeruns when his swing is at peak efficiency.

Last week, several boo birds lamented David’s return when the Papi-less Sox were 12 – 4.  To them I say SHUSH and strap yourself in for the next few weeks.  The swinging F Bomber is making Pedroia-Ortiz-Napoli look like the most dangerous 3-4-5 in the American League. 

Cano-Wells-Cervelli, you say ?

Fahgettaboutit.

Cabrera-Fielder-Martinez, maybe.  But I’m putting all my loot on the big guy, the little a** kicker, and scowling Mike.

Let’s just hope David isn’t downing any magic milkshakes to keep things rolling at age 37.5.

Go David.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

As of this morning, The Astros have the poorest record in the American League.  But not by much.  They hold small margins over Seattle and Toronto for that ignominious title.

The American League licked its collective chops when the woeful ‘Stro’s brought their 55-107 record to the AL West for 2013.  BUT — how fair it is to the AL Central and East to provide the A’s, Rangers and the Angels each 17 opportunities to defeat baseball’s losingest team ?  The East and Central will face the Space City Weaklings just 7 times each.  Hence there is an unfair advantage in the wild card race for the western squads.

This is worth watching as the season grinds on.

To date, Houston is 5-12 against its division mates, with 4 of those wins coming against Seattle.

The Astros haven’t shown much against Texas and the Angels so far and that could be an indication that 2013 will pan out exactly as the East and Central teams feared.  Advantage West.

At least we have the Astros to enjoy for the next 6 games.  2 more at Fenway and 3 in the Bronx after which they will be welcomed in the Motor City.

The 2nd place Tigers will be salivating.

Go Sox.

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, RED SOX | Leave a Comment »

Stark Facts about Big Papi & Johnny Damon

Posted by athomeatfenway on June 18, 2012

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BIG PAPI & THE AGE OF THE PITCHER:  The large father is a well-rounded hitter in 2012, batting .306 B.A., with 15 HR’s and 41 RBI in 64 games.  He is tracking to match his final 2011 numbers of .309, 29 and 96.  So, if the rest of Baseball’s hitters have been declining, why has David maintained his hitting prowess?

If you have not heard that we are living in the new Years of the Pitcher, you should read Jayson Stark’s recent essay, The Age of The Pitcher, which you can find here:  http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8048897/the-age-pitcher-how-got-here-mlb

Stark provides the stats to show that a 6 year decline exists in HR’s and Runs-scored since the 50 game penalty for steroid use came into being.  Current amphetamine testing is also having an impact.  More young pitchers reach MLB with a 95 mph fastball, and an increasing percentage of first pitch change-ups are being tossed.  All of these factors confuse and constrain the already steroid-free batters.

Buster Olney and Stark chewed on this subject on-air yesterday.  Stark quoted David Ortiz as saying that he is frustrated by more and more hard throwers who keep the ball out of the strike zone and also mix in offspeed pitches, with Justin Verlander being a prime example.

So why has David actually looked more consistent, if less powerful, in recent years?  Could be that he is slimmer.  Could be that he is older and wiser.  But shouldn’t his aging bat be slowing down?

With or without his use of magic milkshakes, David has always been a very good hitter, capable of protecting the plate and getting a good pitch to hit.

As Bobby Valentine said in Hartford while appearing in November 2011 at the World Affairs Council, “It’s easy to pay one person to be your dedicated DH instead of doing it by committee when you have as good a hitter as David Ortiz to do the job.”

Couldn’t agree more.  Papi will sniff out the change-up.  He doesn’t freeze on the outside curve.  He can hit a 95 mph heater.  The hole in his swing (lower inside quadrant) seems to be gone.  And yes, he swings better without the 25 pounds he dropped.

The man is an inspiration.

Think I’ll start my diet right now. 

NO HALL FOR JOHNNIE:  There are JUST 3 players with 3,000 hits who will never be in the HOF:  Pete Rose, Craig Biggio and Rafael Palmeiro.  Gambling and steroid-use will keep those three out of Cooperstown.  But if your reputation is clean like Johnnie Damon, and you have 2,723 hits at age 37, and you just collected 152 hits for Tampa in 2011, you have a clear path to the HOF to pursue. 

Johnny needed only to produce in 2012 & 2013 as he did in 2011 to finish with 3,047 hits.  Ticket punched.

It is not to be.  The Rays went with 33-year-old Luke Scott at DH instead of Damon.  Scott is now  batting .220 with 9 HR and 35 RBI in 2012.  Scott is pacing below Johnnie’s 2011 performance of .261 BA, 19 HR and 73 RBI, 19 SB, 79 Runs and 29 doubles.

After Tampa did not re-sign him, Johnnie hunted for a job throughout the winter.  No one wanted him.  Finally, in May, Cleveland picked him up for $1.2 million annually, $4 million less than Tampa paid him last year.  $4 million less than Luke Scott is making this year.

As of June 15, Johnnie is batting .180 with 20 hits.

It is sad that Johnnie didn’t get his chance to stick with one team at the end of his career.    I’ll always remember him as a dangerous man at the plate, a fleet base runner, an able centerfielder, and a great teammate who happily took the media heat in the clubhouse. 

Johnnie certainly had enough talent to reach the HOF.   He’ll miss by a smidge.

Go Sox.

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz | Leave a Comment »

What Will You Do in the Off Season ?

Posted by athomeatfenway on September 22, 2011

Big Papi's Body Langage says it all.

Well, the Sox gave away another one last night.  They could have gained 1.5 games vs. TB for the Wild Card but they blew a 4 – 1 lead.

Ho-hum.

The hopeful & forgiving part of my brain, the part that gives Jose Canseco the benefit of the doubt, the part that voted for O’Bama, the lobe that reluctantly acknowledges that Jeter and Cano are outstanding players, that part of my brain is looking past the end of the season and asking, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WHEN THE SEASON ENDS NEXT WEEK ?

Well, I have been meaning to research a historical list of Baseball players with the most anatomical names.  Ed Head and Bill Hands to name two. And there are the lighthearted citations of Johnny Dickshot and Nippy Jones.

The list explodes when nicknames are mixed with proper surnames

Like Footsie Blair. Clay Barfoot.  Barry Foote.  Footer Johnson.  

Jerrod Head. Ralph Head.  Chase Headley.

Bird Eye Truby, Eyechart Mientkiewicz, Human Eyeball Lord, Eagle Eye Hemphill, Camera Eye Bishop.  Wagon Tongue Adams.

 

Iron Hands Sullivan, Handy Andy Pafko.  Brad Hand. Rich Hand.

 

 

There are 3 HOF’ers. Rollie Fingers, Three Finger Brown and Shufflefoot Boudreau.

 

Piano Legs Hickman, Piano Legs Gore.

 

Three Finger Newkirk.

 

Jim Hearty, of the 1894 San Fran Hot Peanuts.  What a cool name.

 

Derek Livernois.  Gary Tongue.

 

Ears Mossi.

And my personal favorite, Walt “No Neck” Williams.  The hustling little man on The 70’s ChiSox who well matched his nickname visually.

Who did I leave out ?

BACK TO UGLY REALITY

Even though the team has lost 6 in a row, 8 of 9, 13 of 15, and 18 of their last 26 games, the mission has not changed.  The Sox have got to put their best team on the field 6 more times.

The Probables haven’t been fully announced.  Here is what is on the team sites:

Fri, Sat, Sun at NYY:  Lester v TBD, Wake v TBD, TBD v TBD

Mon, Tue, Wed @ BAL: all TBD.

I expect they will start Beckett & Lester as per the norm in the final 2 BAL games.  That means they have to pick two guys to start on Sunday and Monday.  It’s a crap shoot.  Lackey and Miller are the worst of the remaining choices.  Bedard is a Box of Chocolates.  The rotation should round out as follows:

Fri  @ NYY  7:05    Lester vs. TBD.

Sat @ NYY  4:10    Wake vs. TBD.

Sun at NYY  1:05   Bedard vs. TBD

Mon @ BAL  7:05  Lackey vs. TBD 

 Tue @ BAL  7:05  Beckett vs. TBD

 Wed @ BAL: 7:05  Lester vs. TBD.

Lackey could swap days with Bedard but The Sox will probably see if an extra day of rest helps the most flawed starter on the team.  God only knows who Baltimore will start.  Now that the Yankees have clinched, expect them to rest CC, Nova and Colon.  Expect they will throw AJ at us this weekend with some minor leaguers, which is all in our favor, my fellow Sox fans.

I have never been and will never be a supporter of the New York Yankees.  But I must say something here.  After beating the hell out of Tampa this week, the Empire may further ingratiate themselves to Sox fans by starting poor pitchers and September call-ups all weekend against us.  In so doing, the Yankees may do more to help the Sox at season’s end then the Sox themselves are doing.

What a crazy flipping upside down year.

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, NEW YORK YANKEES, RED SOX, Tampa Bay Rays | 1 Comment »

Don’t blame Selig for Manny & David. It’s the Money, honey.

Posted by athomeatfenway on July 30, 2009

We don't need a scape goat.  We need disinfectant.

We don't need a scape goat. We need disinfectant.

This is an up and down week for loyal Red Sox fans.

 

Tears of joy fell over the enshrinement of Jim Rice 4 days ago.

 

Anguish and anxiety struck today. Big Papi and Manny Ramirez tested positive in 2003.

 

There is a stark contrast about which to be spoken.

 

Rice averaged one HR every 21.5 AB’s.  He never touched PED’s.

 

Papi & Ramirez combined to average a HR every 15.2 AB’s.

 

It’s no surprise, really.  If you saw Rice play you know he was just as terrifying to face (if not more) than David or Manny.

 

The differences between the Dominican Dandies and the Boston Strong Man are about cheating and honesty, shortcuts and work ethic, popular culture, the relativity of talent, and M-O-N-E-Y, baby.

 

Can’t help but think of my friend who once ended up at a Florida cocktail party with Wakefield, Varitek and Mirabelli.  The talk was all about money.  Real Estate.  Business.  Opportunity. 

 

The MLB is a Money Machine.   It is a pathway to the riches of a lifetime.

 

What would you do to stay on that pathway ?

 

How many of us would do whatever is legal to stay there ?

 

How many of us would stop taking steroids after 2002, when they became illegal ?

 

These are hard questions. 

 

90% of us would cheat if they had company and the protection of the MLBPA.

 

The money is just too hard to resist.

 

So, Papi and Manny should now pay the price.

 

The BBWA and Old Timers should forever keep Manny out of the HOF, along with A-Rod, McGwire, Clemens, and every other “immortal” who would otherwise be enshrined.

 

The Red Sox should forever keep David out of the Red Sox HOF, and never retire his number.  (His heroics, tarnished or not, would not have made him a Cooperstowner anyway.)

 

We may all look at David’s 2009 struggles and 2008 decline a little differently knowing he was PED-fueled.

 

It’s a sad day.  And we must face the music.  The MLB must be cleaned up.

 

Let’s get off our asses and stop blaming Bud Selig.  Let’s insist on the release of all 103 names that tested positive in 2003.  Let’s agree to ban every one of them from the HOF.

 

Let’s get clean and stay that way.

Posted in A-Rod, BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Bud Selig, David Ortiz, Jim Rice, Manny Ramirez | Leave a Comment »

THE ESSENTIAL BRAD PENNY FOR RED SOX FANS

Posted by athomeatfenway on January 6, 2009

11 Keys to understanding Brad

No doubt, this guy is a double-wide.

No doubt, this guy is a double-wide.

Brad is the new Booty King. Brad is 6 ft 4 inches tall and 260 pounds.  Same height as Ortiz — and 30 pounds heavier.

 

Welcome to New England. Brad Penny is from Blackwell, OK., where Katharine Hepburn was stopped for speeding in 1950.  Hepburn told the cop that he was a moron, and that if she ever came across a car with Oklahoma plates in Connecticut she would let the air out of its tires.

Penny clichés will be everywhere. Penny Wise and Pounded Foolish.  Posada Pinches Penny.  A Pretty Penny.  A Bad Penny.  A Penny Saved, a Penny Spurned.  Bad Penny Comes Back.  In for a Penny, In for a Pounding.

Brad Penny is single: Brad has dated Alyssa Milano and Eliza Dushku.  He is going to like Boston.  The Irish landed there, you know.

Brad has no kids: “One guy (from the 2003 Florida Marlins) gets up and votes a (playoff) share for the baby-sitter. They already get paid to baby-sit. And I don’t have any kids. No way, no chance, no share. That got shot down real quick.” – Brad Penny in The Miami Herald (February 28, 2004)

Brad can surprise you: He struck out 4 batters in one inning (dropped 3rd strike).  He also gave up a Homer, a double and 3 runs in the same inning.

Everybody thinks Beckett was the Big Fish:  Actually, Brad beat the Yankees TWICE in the 2003 World Series, winning Games 1 & 5.  Jack McKeon had a feeling about Brad.  When Aaron Boone delivered the Yankees to the Classic, McKeon started Penny instead of Dontrelle Willis.

He really does throw hard. Brad hit Umpire Kerwin Danley with a 96 mph heater when he missed Russell Martin’s call for a curve.  Danley was knocked out for 18 minutes. He likened the impact to a left hook that he could see coming but could not dodge.  A week later, Danley lay in his Arizona home trying to stop the headache.

His Draft Day could have been worse. Brad was picked 155th by the D-Backs in the 1996 Draft.  That was well after Kris Benson, Travis Lee, and Eric Chavez.  But ahead of Jeremy Giambi (#169), Shea Hillenbrand (#301), Ted Lilly (#688), and well ahead of Roy Oswalt  (#684), and the very patient Aron Amundson (#1,739).

Brad is colorful. He’s been interviewed ringside making predictions at Ultimate Fighting Championships and has great respect for Kimbo.  There is also a lovely You Tube video of Brad in a Hollywood donnybrook in which you hear a concerned partier asking, “Are you going to taze me ?”.

Brad at the #5 is a gift.  This is the real key.  Brad is a great upgrade.  I mean I liked Paul Byrd.  He was to 2008 what John Burkett was to 2003.  But Brad will be a blistering  fifth starter following Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka and Wakefield.  Are you kidding me ?  Let Masterson be the bridge to Oki and/or Pap.  Let Buchholz find his Wa in peace.  I’m glad this Penny turned up.

Brad and his pal, Eliza.

Brad and his pal, Eliza.

 

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, RED SOX, Youkilis | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

ALCS: Playing with house money

Posted by athomeatfenway on October 19, 2008

 

 

Oct. 19 6:00 PM EST

 

 

IT DIDN'T GO AS THIS KID PLANNED.

IT DIDN'T GO AS THIS KID PLANNED.

 

Three-quarters of my Red Sox cronies had tickets to an ALCS game at Fenway. 

 

We were drooling on Monday morning, Oct. 13.

 

The Sox had split two in Tampa.  Negating the Ray’s home field advantage was a tremendous plus.   Now, our little Connecticut group would be there for the first two Fenway games.

 

Cassidy and I would bring the mojo on Monday and we’d go ahead 2 to 1 in games.

 

Nick and Mike would be there to curse the Rays on Tuesday, giving the Sox a commanding 3 to 1 lead.

 

Oh, brother.

 

Cassidy and I rolled into Boston before noon on the 13th. 

 

 

The service at Legal Seafood was an A+.  The coincidental placement of 5 Rays fans at the table next to us was wonderful.  These Tampa-ites (Tampaneans ?) were primarily male and of middle age.  One of them was loud, slightly boastful, but non-controversial.  He probably hadn’t been a Rays fan for more than two weeks and hadn’t learned any zingers.

 

 

Much warmer in Tampa.

Much warmer in Tampa.

At 2 p.m., we conversed with the media photogs near the visitors on-deck circle.  These photogs are knowledgeable sports fans.  They knew Hinske was off the roster but was traveling with the Rays.  They knew that the Rays were a distant fourth at home to SEC Football, the NFL and the NBA.  They knew that their last minute addition to the press entourage meant their newspapers were trying to save a buck.

 

 

And there 20 feet from us was Joe Maddon, peering from behind the portable batting cage during BP.   He looked relaxed and confident, hands tucked into the pockets of his hoodie.  Joe exuded nonchalance in the festive post season atmosphere.

 

But what was Maddon thinking ?  And what did he know ?

 

Like us, did he think that anything could happen ?

 

You’ve got to admire this guy.  He’s clever, bright, and not pre-packaged.  Manager of the Year.

 

AT 4 p.m., we settled into our seats in bleacher 42, on the aisle.

 

In the top of the first, Lester fired two 94 mph fastballs to Iwamura, inducing a ground out to Cora at short. Upton grounded unassisted to Kotsay at 1st on another fastball.

 

Pena then flew out to Ellsbury in center on another heater.

 

Oh, boy, I thought.  Three outs on 4 pitches.  Lester is in no-hitter form today.  I wiped the drool off my UConn jacket.

 

I continued to salivate in the bottom of the first when Pedroia hit a wall ball double off Garza on a 1-2 fastball.

 

The drooling soon stopped.   We didn’t score.  Then, in the top of the 3rd,  Upton and Longoria jacked homeruns into a 17 mph wind and the Monster. 

 

Those bashes came shortly after “Tek stranded two runners in scoring position the prior inning.

 The ‘Tek strikeout was hard to watch.

Garza turned his heater up to 97 mph just for the old catcher.

 

Our recurrent lack of clutch hitting was followed by fearless, confident swinging by the Rays’.

 

The Rays scored 4 times in the third after scratching out one earlier run in the second.  End of 3, we were down 5 – zip.

 

Garza would allow runners every inning he pitched but would allow no runs.  That’s the  price we paid for not getting to him early when we had the chance.

 

Lester would pitch until there were two gone in the sixth and yield no more runs.

 

The Fenway crowd was as quiet as a church mouse by the end of the 4th inning.  And cold.  BY the 6th, it was C-O-L-D. 

 

I have been here for some bitter losses including season-enders, but I have NEVER EVER heard the Fenway crowd silently contained before.

 

 Byrd came in later and gave up 4 more runs and the outcome was 9-1.

 

The next night, Nick and Mike watched Wakefield, one of the best pitchers in Sox history, throw grapefruits as if in batting practice.  A 13-4 laugher gave the Rays the commanding 3 -1 lead in games.

 

Surely, the youngsters from Tampa were staging a coup.

 

The life was sucked right out of the crowd.

 What This Series Has Now Come to Be

We think we know the Rays.  But, they are still becoming what they are — right before our eyes.

 

These two teams are so evenly matched there is no way to see a clear favorite. 

 

And now the Sox have erased the Rays’ 3-1 advantage at home when they triumphed in games 5 and 6.

Pummeled in games 3 & 4.  Victors in games 5 & 6.

 

Anything can happen.   When we went down in those first two games at Fenway, we all but lost the ALCS.  When we came within 7 outs of losing the Series before rallying on Thursday, we had pushed all of our chips in.  And had lost.

 

The Rays lacked the killer instinct.

 

The Sox are steady poker players.

 

We are playing with house money now.

 

And anything can happen.  

 

Anything.

 

 

 

 

Posted in ALCS, BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Matsuzaka | Leave a Comment »

90 wins

Posted by athomeatfenway on September 20, 2008

Sept. 19, 2008

A place within Red Sox Nation sans Yankee fans. 

Suffield, Ct

 

 

April was cold...but the team got hot.
April was cold…but the team got hot.
 

The Sox defeated Toronto on the road, 4-3 tonight, bringing their record to 90 W – 63 L.

 

For the second year in a row.   For the 6th time in 7 years.

 

This campaign hasn’t been a day at the beach.  But it has been the inspiration for many reflections.

 

Here are a few random ones:

 

Papelbon is fallable.  He hasn’t many clean consecutive appearances.  Opponents say he shows signs of fatigue.

 

The big man has begun to break down.  It’s inevitable.  God made that body for protecting a Queen or President, not running the bases and sliding into home.  I’m going to enjoy watching David while we have him.

 

Red Sox Ownership believes that one should always behave in a courteous fashion.  Even when Manny Ramirez was just begging for a suspension.  He should have been sent home without pay and left to stew until after the season was over.  The Sox would have given the union a good fight.

 

Pedroia is a mini-Michael.  He’s a talented freak. 

Pedroia is nearing cult figure status in Boston. 

 

In Baseball, mediocrity is good because it adds up over six months.  The Sox were not terrific throughout this year.  They won a few more than they lost every month from March through the end of July, then got hot in August.

 

A no-no doesn’t necessarily mean much.  Buch, godspeed and good luck in the Arizona Fall League.  Soxaholics saw the no-hitter as foreshadowing a long career and a bag full of Cy Young trophies. Well, we’ve all gotten past those expectations by now. Clay, you need a few moments of Zen.  The desert is the perfect place for that.  Check out Sedona.

 

 

4 good starting pitchers make up for lengthy patches of dismal hitting.  I think that one is self-explanatory.

 

Knuckle ballers will never get the respect they deserve despite significant heroics.  It is how bad Wake looks (3 or 4 starts a year) that prejudices the crowd.  They forget about the other 28 outings.  Many fans abhor the extreme bad beyond rationality.

 

Fenway continues to be cleaned, painted, sandblasted and spiffed up.  And it’s dandy !

 

Fenway continues to need a major, major o-v-e-r-h-a-u-l !  May it begin by correcting the orientation of seats in Grandstand 3, 4, 5, and 6, and the Right Field Boxes in sections 88 through 92.  Untwist our necks.  Let the healing to begin.

 

Sean Casey looks like a Dentist.  An Insurance Salesman.  A Civil Engineer.

 

We are seeing the results of the greatest BoSox minor league production in history.  Lester, Masterson, Youk, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lowrie, Cash, Bowden, and Delcarmon.  This is unprecedented.

 

Keeping Jon Lester has more than worked out.  I would have traded him with two prospects for Santana.  I thought he’d never make the leap he made this year.  Wrong.

 

Unthinkable though it was on Oct.17, 2003, we now have a chance to triple the pleasure in this golden era of Red Sox Baseball.  2004, 2007…2008.  Unthinkable.

 

Dan Duquette continues to be regularly and wrongfully ignored by the Sox.  Remember Varitek and Lowe for Heathcliff Slocomb ?

 

Jed Lowrie is way better than Julio Lugo.

 

Jason Bay is just compensation.

 

Manny was as great a hitter as he was a loveable cartoon character.

 

The Yankees have little left to motivate them other than beating down the BoSox on Sept. 26 – 28.

 

Paul Byrd is to 2008 what John Burkett was to 2003.  A #5 when needed, but never intended for the post-season.  Burkett always started when I went to Fenway in 2003 and he would just flumox batters for 4 innings, sometimes for 5.  Then he’d just give it up.

 

John Burkett
Age before beauty: John Burkett

Some fans drive a hundred miles to see a game at Fenway, then sleep in their car so they can wake up and see another Red Sox home game the next day.  I kid you not.

 

It hurts to see Eric Hinske, former BoSox Super Sub, star for the Rays.

 

10 hits in a game at the right time create 10 runs.  10 hits at the wrong times create none.  Funny game.

 

Come the postseason, it is best to miss the team that had your number all season.  Like missing the Yankees in 2007.  Maybe — like missing the Rays in 2008.

 

Nothing curtails the demand for BoSox tickets.  Not gas prices, home heating fuel, declining home sales, growing unemployment, the collapse of Financial giants.  Nothing yet.

 

Hats off to Naomi Calder and the BoSox for finding creative ways to spread the ticket opportunities around so fans get a shot at them.  This week’s lottery for post-season tickets made thousands of fans happy.  One post-season game in October makes up for a summer with no trips to Beantown.

 

Hats off to Lou Gorman, classy guy that he is, for repping the Sox with intelligence and wit where ever he is met.  I’d like to have a cup of coffee with Lou and his Fenway office mate, Bill James.

 

Terry Francona’s stress level would decline without the unrelenting crush of Boston fandom.  Once you see it up close, you realize how rude fans can be.

 

Soxaholics are passionate when in Baltimore, Phoenix, Tampa, etc..  But we’ve gone over the top at times with loud and bullying demonstrations about how dominant we are.  And the local papers have referred to us as a traveling circus.  We need to be respectful of the houses and traditions of others.  We represent the teams of Young, Williams, Ruth, Ortiz, Yaz, Tony C..  We give till it hurts to the Jimmy Fund and the Red Cross.  We represent Triumph over Tragedy.  Our sell out streak is 5 years running.  Sox fans are the classiest in Baseball.  We should show we understand the traditions of other teams and show respect.  This isn’t the NFL.

There are places to stand and watch the game that are not standing room, but with a better view than all of Fenway’s bad seats.

 

 

“Parts is Parts”, said the venerable Frank Perdue when speaking of thighs and legs.  It sure takes a lot of parts to win a pennant.

 

True:  A giant two-legged beer cup ran in the 2008 Boston Marathon.

 

True:  4 B.U. Students carrying a sofa ran in the 2008 Boston Marathon.

 

Obviously True:  Spectators were drunk by 10 a.m. while watching the 2008 Boston Marathon.

 

 

There are 9 games left.  Let’s take 6 !

 

 

 

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Matsuzaka | 2 Comments »

Ortiz & Youkilis add to tradition

Posted by athomeatfenway on September 8, 2008

 

(AP) Dick Whipple photo

(AP) Dick Whipple photo

 
 
 
 
 

 

The 1901 Boston Americans

 

On May 2, 1901, Boston beat Philly on the road by a score of 23 to 12. 

Boston scored 9  in the 2nd and 10  in the third as 22 batted, with 7 BB,10 hits, 3 triples.

 

This was a special team, created with great care by the brains behind the new league.

 

Ban Johnson set up teams for his new American League in Boston, Philly and Chicago as he believed the AL could not succeed without stealing market share from the NL in these cities.

 

Led by HOF 3rd Baseman and manager Jimmy Collins, 1st Baseman Buck Freeman, CF

 

 Chick Stahl, and HOFer Cy Young, The Boston Americans hit more HR’s than any AL team (37), featured a regular lineup in which every man stole 20 or more bases, yielded the fewest runs scored, and struck out the most opposing batters.

 

Jimmy Collins (3rd B), Freddy Parent (SS), Hobe Ferris (2nd B), Buck Freeman (1st B), Lou

 

 Criger (C), Tommy Dowd (LF), Chick Stahl (CF) and Charley Hemphill (RF) backed up

 starting pitcher Winford Kellum on opening day, which they lost to John McGraw’s

 Baltimore team. 

 

1901 was a fascinating campaign. 

 

Right from the start, the Americans outdrew their  in-town rivals Boston Braves.  The Americans outdrew the Braves approximately 300,000 to 160,000.

 

9,000 fans at the Grounds was a common event. 

 

By May 10, Boston was short on pitching and in 5th place.  Collins made some clever roster

 

 moves, including signing YMCA pitcher George Winter, who was a temporary wonder. 

 

By June 21, Boston had won 15 of 16 games, was tied for 2nd, and had knocked Chicago

 out of first.

 

Aided by a remarkable 49-20 record at home at the brand new Huntington Ave. Grounds, the Americans were soon in a tie for first.

 

But when Collins soon went to a 3-man rotation of Young-Lewis-Winter, the Sox faded. 

 

They were in the mix until Aug. 25, when a 4-2 loss to Cleveland was marred by an attack on Umpire Pongo Joe Cantillion.  50 or more Sox rooters were outraged over Pongo Joe’s calls and attempted a physical beating after the game.  Stahl pulled Cantillion out of the mess and ushered him to safety.

 

The loss to Cleveland came when Boston was just a half game out of first.  The Cantillion incident signaled the initial slide out of contention.

 

In the end, Boston would finish 4 games out of first.

 

Just like the 1950 team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1950 Boston Red Sox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 29, 1950.  By the time the second inning was over, 21 total runs had been scored and the Sox led 14-7.  The succession of unending base hits and walks saw nine pitchers giving up 39 hits and 21 bases on balls.

 

What a Red Sox line up ! 

 

DiMaggio (CF), Goodman (3rd B), Williams (LF), Stephens (ss), Dropo (1st B), Zarilla (RF), Doerr (2nd B), Batts (C), backing up Stobbs, the starting pitcher.

 

The hero of the day was Ted Williams.  His 9th inning double drove in the record breaking run.  He hit the only HR of the game, his 24th  of the year.  He drove in 6 runs, making his total 80 RBI through 69 games.

 

Williams was on the greatest power tear of his life.  At this pace he could finish with 54 HR’s and 179 RBI.  He could challenge Gehrig and Ruth’s respective RBI and HR season records.

 

Williams would break his elbow less than 2 weeks later, crashing into the wall to pull down a Ralph Kiner fly at the All Star Game.

 

Ted would miss the next 10 weeks and hit just 5 more HR’s.

 

This team would finish a very respectable 94 W – 60 L.  They would lead the AL in batting at .302, Slugging at .464, Runs scored at 1,027, Doubles with 287, Fielding at .981.

 

Despite losing Ted, the team kept winning without him.  Walt Dropo was the ROY, and Walt tied Vern Stephens for the Al RBI title with 144.  Doerr and Pesky had fine seasons.   Billy Godman led the AL in batting with .354.

 

The team liked home cooking, too, with a 55 – 22 record at Fenway.

 

The Yankees went 8 – 4 in the final 12 games of the season while the Sox went 5 – 7, sealing their fate.

 

Our guys had entered the middle part of the vast 86-year span of mishaps and suffering.

 

God help us.

 

 

 

 

The 2008 Boston Red Sox

 

Lowrie rounds third

Lowrie rounds third

 

August 12, 2008.  Big Papi hits TWO 3-run HR’s in the first inning.  Sox lead 10-0 after 1 inning.

 

Sox starter Charlie Zink, the knuckle baller from Pawtucket, lost his edge while waiting for the long offensive inning to end.  No longer in the groove, he yielded 7 quick runs. 

 

The next 5 Sox pitchers would yield 10 more.

 

Sox 12- 2.

 

Sox 12 – 10.

 

Rangers 12- 14.

 

Dustin Pedroia, who went 5 for 6 and scored 5 runs, drove in Ellsbury in the 8th, and then Youkilis drove in the last 2 runs with his second HR of the game.

 

Sox 19- 17.

 

What an extraordinary comeback.

 

This team showed little speed in that game with just 3 SB’s. 

 

But speed is a hallmark of this team, just as it was in 1901.

 

Crisp and Ellsbury have game changing speed.

 

Pedroia, who defies expectations in so many ways, steals efficiently and hustles on the bases with nut busting effort.

 

Lowrie, Bay, and Kotsay are fleet, smart base runners.

 

There is enough power in the middle with Papi and Youk…or Papi and Bay….or Papi and Lowell.  Take your choice.

 

No insult to Lugo, but with Julio out of the picture, fielding is also this team’s hallmark.   Bay, Crisp & Ellsbury are the most exciting outfield trio in years.  The infield and catcher positions are solid.  There could be three gold gloves for our guys this year:  Ellsbury, Pedroia and Youkilis.

 

Today the Sox got a great start out of Paul Byrd.  Starting pitching has been the leading strength of this team all year.  You get a quality start 67% of the time from Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester and Wakefield

 

(Yes, Wakefield !)

 

 

As the Sox took their 6th consecutive series today with a win in Arlington, the table was set for a strong finish.

 

20 games left.  6 games on the road.  14 at home.

 

The Sox are 1.5 games behind Tampa, almost assured of the wild card and closing in on a Division title.  

 

Despite no Manny Ramirez.

 

Like the 1950 Red Sox, the 2008 edition lost its best hitter in July.

 

Like the 1901 Bostons, the 2008 edition has speed, pitching and power.

 

Unlike either of these two teams of history, the 2008 Boston Red Sox are a team of destiny.

 

3 Championships in this golden era of Red Sox baseball ?

 

I’m feeling it.  Are you feelin’ what I’m feelin’ ?

 

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, RED SOX, Ted Williams, Youkilis | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Michael Bowden impresses with Win #1

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 31, 2008

Aug. 30, 2008

Fenway Park

 

All of this on Ted Williams’ birthday.

 

 

Michael Bowden took the mound today for his first MLB start backed by a makeshift Sox line-up featuring the “strongest 160-pound man in Baseball” batting cleanup.

 

Ellsbury (CF), Lowrie (3rd), Ortiz (DH), Pedroia (2nd), Kotsay (RF), Bay (LF), Tek (C), Bailey (1b) and Cora (ss).

 

Pedroia would reach safely for the 10th AB in a row and hear the MVP chant. 

 

 

Bowden did not have it easy.

 

He faced a ChiSox starting 9 that already poled 185 HR this year. 

 

The 3-4-5 hitters, Quentin, Dye and Thome, have 96 HR between them. 

 

Add to that the sensational rookie Alexei Ramirez (.310/15/60), a still potent 38-yr-old Junior Griffey, and a few other clutch performers, and this was no team of pushovers facing Mr. Bowden.

 

Bowden was as advertised in terms of a powerful, condensed pitching motion.  After walking Cabrera on 5 pitches to start the game, he fired four 92 MPH fastballs to Pierzynski, inducing a 1-3 double play.  5 fastballs later, he grounded Quentin out to third to record his first MLB inning, facing the minimum 3 batters.

 

Bowden would put up only 5 innings this night.   He wouldn’t go unmolested.  But he limited the damage, showing great character and composure in tight spots.

 

In the second, he worked his fastball and a 77 mph cutter to get 2 strikes on Jermaine Dye, but with the crowd calling for the rookie’s first MLB strikeout, Dye smashed the ball 390 ft. to the Garage Door area in dead center.  It had HR distance but hit the CF wall 10 ft below the fans in Bleacher 36.  Two batters later, Bowden gave up his first run in the majors when Alexei Ramirez stroked a 2-2 fastball on a line before Bay in left and turned on the speed to register a double and an RBI.

 

With the crowd still waiting for his first K, Mr. Bowden then fed Nick Swisher a fastball and three 78 mph Cutters, striking Swisher out on a cutter in the dirt.   Swisher, a very good player, looked like a bad one.

 

The 2nd inning damage was 1 run.  Ramirez was stranded on second.  Bowden kept his cool.

 

Bowden gave up one more run this day.  That run almost never scored because Joe Crede, the runner, almost produced an out instead of a triple.  Crede led off the 3rd by smacking the 8th pitch Bowden hurled 379 ft to the base of the left center wall. There, Ellsbury caught up with it, and on the ball’s descent, tipped the fly up not once but twice before it fell for a triple.  He stuck his glove out at the end and just missed it.  Not an easy catch potentially.  A great try by the centerfielder.

 

Crede, who could have been out, trotted in two batters later on Pierzynski’s ground out to Pedroia.  1 run.

 

Bowden fired fastball after fastball over the course of his outing.  He threw about 60 fastballs out of 89 total pitches. 

 

Power Against Power

 

Bowden disarmed Carlos Quentin, holding the MVP candidate to personal O-for-three before leaving. 

 

Bowden displayed his intangibles in the fifth.  After yielding two singles to Cabrera and Pierzynski, and with Dye on deck, he fed the power hitting Quentin four 92 mph fastballs, two of them partially over the plate, two of them not. 

 

On the second pitch, with a 1-0 count, two ducks on the pond, Bowden was not afraid to pound another fastball in letter high to the White Sox slugger.

 

Power against power. 

 

Quentin couldn’t catch up to it. 

 

Bowden did not get Quentin to chase the pitches out of the zone, but he did make him fly out to Bay on the last pitch.   Then he stranded two ChiSox when the slugger Dye flew out to Bay on a ball with HR height to the track.

 

Bowden never looked to be in serious trouble.  He surely put runners on base, yielding 4 hits in the 4th and the 5th, but no one scored.

 

He was aided by one double play, initiated by him self in the first.

 

 

More than a fastball

 

At the end of the day, Bowden had a fine first outing.  His fastball, 5 or 6 mph slower than Manny Delcarmen’s or Josh Beckett’s, had the movement needed to stay away from the heart of the plate and give the White Sox batters conniptions.  Although heavy on the heater, Bowden mixed in an effective Cutter (77 mph), Curve (78 mph), and a Change (85 mph).  He really made Swisher look bad with the curve in particular.

 

Licking His Chops

 

Young Alexei Ramirez stood on deck while Griffey made the last out in the 9th.   He was asked what he thought of the kid who started tonight.  Alexei smiled sweetly at the questioner in the second row.  He looked like a cat licking its whiskers after biting the mouse on it’s hind quarter, but somehow letting it get away.  He smirked, but said nothing.

 

Bowden gets an A+ for cool.  He gets an A+ for getting ahead in the count.  He gets an A for controlling the rythym of his outing.    

 

He gets a B- for overall performance though, unable to keep the able ChiSox batters off the bases. 

 

We’ll someday see how he does against the Ginger and Mary Anne’s in Baltimore, Kansas City and Seattle.  

 

Ellsbury, Pedroia & Kotsay win it 8-2

 

Mr. Bowden owes thanks to the self-acknowledged “Strongest 160 pound Man in Baseball”, and a few other mates, for notching his first MLB victory on Ted Williams’  90th birthday, by a score of 8 – 2.

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Charlie Zink, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Manny Ramirez, Matsuzaka, Michael Bowden, Mike Lowell, NESN, RED SOX, Ted Williams, Terry Francona, Tim Wakefield, Uncategorized, Youkilis | Leave a Comment »

THE RAIN, CHARLEY ZINK, AND YOUKALIS Sox 19, Rangers 17. Nuf ced ?

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 16, 2008

Tue., Aug. 12 at Fenway

 

 

A 10 run 1st inning with two 3-run HR’s by Ortiz. 

 

Are we done ?

 

Sox Rookie Knuckler savaged.  Cannot hold 10 run lead. 

 

You good now ?

 

1st inning:  Sox 10, Rangers 0.

3rd inning:  Sox 12, Rangers 2.

5th inning:  Sox 14, Rangers 10.

7th inning:  Sox 15, Rangers 16.

8th inning:  Sox 19, Rangers 16.

 

Do we need to go further?

 

**********

 

Rain threatened at 4 p.m.   The Fenway auto-receptionist informed callers “that the possibility of a rain delay or postponement was unknown, and that all ticket office personnel would be ignorant about game status, so hang up the damn phone, watch the road, or get back to work, but stop obsessing.  And get here early.  Our beer is still value priced at $7.50.”

 

Rain ?

 

Bullsheet.

 

The drive from Connecticut on the Mass Pike was balmy, except for a shower in Worcester.

 

Bright sunshine heated the Boston sidewalks on the hopeful walk from O’Leary’s on Beacon Street to Yawkey Way.

 

Endless HOPE.

 

Hoping to stay dry on the RF Roof.

 

Hoping Zink’s in the pink.  That Zink no stink.

 

Hoping the Manny-less Sox will hit, & that the Bullpen will be steady.

 

Hoping the home-heavy schedule will help propel Boston to the AL East Title.

 

**********

 

The Right Field Roof Boxes are fabulous – and old.  Installed in 1946, these seats (RF Roof sec. 21 to 43) are located in front of Conigliaro’s Corner, and in between the Budweiser Roof Deck and the Pavilion level seats.  Sitting in this section, I saw Dwight Evans crash a bullpen HR on-the-line in 1988.  The vantage point is virtually equal to the Monster seats and lower in cost at (just) $50.

 

Rodolfo, Fenway usher extraordinaire, escaped from Cuba in 1966.  Rodolfo is often asked if he is Italian because of his thick, possibly Mediterranean-sounding accent.  But he is Cuban, and proud of it.  He stands about 5’6”, a solid 180 lbs.. He leads RF Roof ticket holders to their appointed seats and shoos away random gawkers who freeload on the walkway at the back of his turf.  He is in charge.  He keeps the scene orderly and polite.  This 82-year-old fireplug could pass for late-60’s.

 

Rodolfo started as a Fenway usher in 1974 and never left.  He put in over 25 years in the Left Field and Home Plate Grandstand before moving to the Roof a few years ago.

 

Rodolfo has seen nearly every major event in Sox history over 34 years.  That includes Fisk’s Game 6 HR, Dent’s 1978 playoff game HR with the illegal bat, and the 2004 & 2007 World Series. 

 

Harper, Yaz, Fisk, Lynne, Rice, Tiant, Clemens, Boggs, Pedro, Manny, Nomar.  The only thing he missed was Yaz’s last game.  He chose to vacation in Hawaii instead.  Not a bad trade off.

 

Before the 2004 season, his faith waned.  He seriously doubted the Sox would ever win a World Championship.

 

I can’t blame him.

 

There is still a hole in my soul made by Aaron Boone.  And Little Lee’s words ring in my ears, “Take him out !  Take Pedro out !  What’s Grady doing !?”

 

Rodolfo didn’t lose faith completely and he didn’t quit his gig.  Thus, when 20 or more Fenway employees with 25+ years of service were honored last month, Rodolfo was among them.  Lunch, photos, and the presentation of a 2007 Championship ring to every one of these long term Sox staffers.

 

Rodolfo readily admits the old owners were not as generous.  They were cheap.  They didn’t care.

 

Present ownership is so much smarter than the old regime.  They know New England’s Soxaholism is limitless and gold-plated.  They know guys and gals like Rodolfo are like rubies and sapphires, smaller gems that complement their crown jewel, Fenway Park.

 

**********

 

 

Charlie Zink faced Ian Kinsler, the first opposing batter of his MLB career.  2 knucklers and a change induced a pop fly to Jason Bay, standing at the warning track in left.  Michael Young than fouled out to Youk near first. 

 

The 3rd out was recorded as Pedroia stabbed a sharp grounder.

 

running right and fired to first, beating by half a step the current AL RBI leader, Josh Hamilton.

 

Then, in the bottom of the first, powered by TWO 3-run HR’s by the Large Father, the Sox established a 10 – 0 lead.

 

Sox fans across the RF Roofboxes high-fived and screamed as Ump Laz Diaz twirled his pointer, indicating that Papi should touch them all for the second time in the same inning.

 

Fat dumb and satisfied, the Fenway Faithful prepared to start The Wave, swill more beer, and dance to Dirty Water.

 

It would be a short night.

 

Not.

 

**********

 

Charlie Zink pitched a clean first and a clean fourth.  He was constantly in trouble otherwise.

 

He recorded his first K (swinging) on a 1 and 2 count to Milton Bradley. 

 

He gave up his first hit to Marlon Byrd in the 2nd, a sharp grounder between Pedroia & Youk. 

 

Dustin could not reach it.

 

The Rangers hit “Z” sharply and with regularity in the 2nd, 3rd and 5th.

 

There was not much mystery to Charlie.  He gave up 7 singles, 3 doubles, and 1 walk while securing

 

7 outs in those 3 innings.  He never made it out of the 5th.

 

So much for HOPE. 

 

Zink not in the pink.  Zink stink. 

 

Sorry, Charlie.

 

Then, before you could say “Rudy Seanez is back with his little red gasoline can”, David Aardsma and Manny Del Carmon yielded 7 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk, and a Youkilis error – all in just 1-and-two-thirds-innings of mischief. 

 

Counting the run given up by Javier Lopez while he passed the baton from Zink to Aardsma,  fortune was reversed — AT THE END OF 6 COMPLETE, SOX 14 – RANGERS 15 !!!!

 

The fans who were dancing a jig earlier were now perplexed and deflated.

 

**********

 

 

Fortunately, Okajima came in and shut the Rangers down for 2.1 IP, providing the solid bridge to Pap.

 

God Bless Okajima.  In 14 appearances since June 29, he has yielded one earned run.  He’s been rock solid.

 

He got us through the top of the 8th

 

Then in our half of that inning, Ellsbury Walked

 

Pedroia doubled.

 

Ortiz walked.

 

Youkalis homered.

 

Big Bang Bop – Sox 19 – Rangers 16.

 

Pap in.  Rangers score one.  Game over.

 

**********

 

36 runs tied an AL record for most runs scored in a game, originally set in 1950 between the Sox and the A’s.

 

**********

 

Fans from California and Ohio were abundant.  Folks are stopping by to take in the Fenway atmosphere as they pass through on business and on premeditated Boston-NYC Baseball pilgrimages.

 

**********

 

I continue to see evidence that the Sox are cleaning & painting the infrastructure  — perhaps even replacing seats — during road trips.  The Firm’s rehabilitative efforts are silent and unrelenting.

 

**********

 

I’m getting concerned about Tampa Bay.  The Rays have lost Percival, Crawford and Longoria.  And they continue to win !

 

**********

 

First team to 90 wins has the advantage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Charlie Zink, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jim Rice, RED SOX, Texas Rangers, Youkilis | Leave a Comment »