At home at fenway

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Archive for the ‘Kevin Youkilis’ Category

Youkilis on Target in Minny

Posted by athomeatfenway on July 5, 2012

 

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I just made my first trip to Minneapolis.  It was easy to get around and I liked what I found there.

The Light Rail into Minneapolis from the Airport could not have been better.  It took 30 minutes.  It cost $1.75.  It was safe and clean.  It deposited me 2 blocks from my hotel.  I made 2 new Baseball friends, both SABR members, on the train.

One of them, Don from Illinois, said he would join me at the 1:00 p.m. game between the Chi Sox and Twins at Target.  After checking in, we rallied in the lobby and walked to Target Field.

The Downtown Marriott City Center is ideal for a Twins excursion.  It is 3 blocks from the ballpark.  You can walk on the street or take the air conditioned Sky Walk to avoid the elements if you like.

The heat index was 106 degrees.  I should have taken the Skywalk.  Heatwave, baby.

We scalped $47 tickets for $30 each and sat 9 rows off the field, about 40 feet from Kevin Youkilis, the new Chicago first baseman.

I bellowed Youuuuuk several times. The 20-something guy in back of me responded with Youuuuk, You Suck ! .  When the guy yelled Go Back to Boston ! I replied with Come back anytime. We still love You !

Youk responded with 3 hits that day, including a CF/RF gapper for a double that failed to turn into a triple when the Kevin was tagged out at 3rd Base on Justin Morneau’s relay to Trevor Plouffe.  Youk went 3 –for-5 with 2 RBI, well on his way to what (to date) has been a .308, 2 HR, 10 RBI start in his first 10 games with the pale hose. 

The White Sox won 12 – 5.

Beautiful game.  Beautiful Park.

I attended a day and a night game that week.   I sat down low and up high.  The upper deck looks steep but when you sit in the highest row you don’t feel like you’re on a mountain top.  The view is great.  Leg room and cup holders are abundant.

Target has its share of premium seating.  It also has a large sweeping lower bowl which provides wonderful sightlines.  I have a weakness for the standing room rail in center and left, where you can set your beer on the bar and look over Denard Span’s shoulder.

I was introduced to Grain Belt brew at Target Field.  Brewed in North Minneapolis since 1933, the red amber lager was mighty tasty.  Not at all hoppy. Not too heavy.  Not too light.  D-E-E-L-I-C-I-0-O-U-S.

The regional menu was a hoot.  You can buy Pork Chop on a Stick, Walleye on a Stick, and deep fried Cheese Curds in the State Fair concession in centerfield.

The hired help was as pleasant and helpful as the food choices were unique. 

I’m glad I checked Target Field off my bucket list.  I enjoyed Miller Park more on this trip, though.  Target is as pretty as any of the new parks but there are no eccentricities.  It doesn’t have the character of Camden Yards or Anaheim, for instance.

Of course, as a devout Soxaholic, I recognize that the Baseball Gods did me a favor by dropping me into Minneapolis to witness a multi-hit game by one of my favorite baseball players of all time.

I wish Kevin a long and prosperous career.  May he bring a pennant to Chicago.

Go Sox.

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Posted in BASEBALL, Kevin Youkilis | Leave a 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 »

Dear Kevin: I’ve been Missing Youk

Posted by athomeatfenway on September 2, 2008

Sept. 1, 2008

 

 

Kevin Youkilis is  feeling better and playing tonight.  He rebounded from a 24-48 hour bug that kept him out for the last two games of the ChiSox series.  We missed him yesterday.

 

Phew !  Just in time for September baseball and the pennant drive.

 

Though the buzz has justifiably been about Dustin Pedroia lately, Youk’s stats rival the American League’s elite this year.

 

In the AL, Kevin ranks:

 

4th in OPS at .953

5th in B.A. @ .318

6th in slugging @ .565

7th in RBI @ 94

8th in OBP w .388

9th in doubles @ 36

 

 

He’s a key for his team’s success.

 

The Sox are 38-12 in games when Youk had an rbi.

 

The Sox have a winning pct. of .597 when he’s playing, and .417  when he is not.

 

Hey, we really need this guy !!!

 

A NEW YOUK

 

Youk’s career BA through July 1 is .314      and just .240 career the rest of the way.

 

 

Kevin’s has a .326 BA since July 1 this year.

 

Even more enlightening, he batted .351 in August.

 

Even before this dramatic 2nd half improvement, there was already so much to like about this guy.  He gets his uniform dirty filthy.  He hits, he walks.  He’s an OBP trophy.  He crowds the plate, gets his share of HBP’s, but never backs off.  He’s tough.    He’s the best fielding first baseman in baseball history, surpassing Stuffy McInnis and Steve Garvey.   Sure footed and smart, he’s a bulky combination of intellect and grace.

 

The second half batting excellence is a new achievement.

 

If Youk has found personal inspiration and focus that took him to the next level, let us celebrate, Soxaholics.

 

If it is just that he’s now 29, the year a man hits his physical peak in life, let us reap the benefits and think about the parade route for October.

 

I’ll take it.

 

Perhaps the break will do him good.  Ted Williams chipped an ankle bone in Spring 1941, thus missing the first few weeks of the season.  He batted .406 that year.

 

I’m hoping Kevin’s 2-day bout with the flu, which started on Ted’s 90th birthday, foreshadows a September to remember for the bearded one.

 

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis, RED SOX, Youkilis | 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 »

Youkilis Makes Dreams come True for Kids

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 19, 2008

  

Enza and Tom in FB 29

Enza and Tom in FB 29

Aug. 17, 2008

Fenway 

 

 

Youk’s fiancé, Enza Sambataro, leaned over the dugout wall and spoke with Kevin before the game started, chatting  in a certain way that couples do, and I soon said hello and congrats to her on their upcoming nuptials.
Enza was seated with a family including what appeared to be a Dad and two under-12 boys, one of whom wore the burden of a serious illness.
Later, a veteran usher told me that the infirmed child had brain cancer, though he couldn’t swear to it.
What I can swear to is that Youk gave that kid an autographed game used bat. 
More dramatically, Youk bashed a 3-1 fastball for a 4th inning HR.
He then flew around the bases and stopped at Field Box 29, reaching into the second row to high five that kid.
Youk homers, heads for Christian
“Buddy, that one was for you.”, he told the boy, Christian Meyer, who is being treated for brain cancer at Mass General.

This was a pretty touching scene, friends.  The wizened baseball bugs to my right side were stunned to see the beefy Youk stop dead in his trot to the dugout and reach out and touch that kid.
What middle-aged cynical fan hasn’t said, Gee, if it was me, I’d be thankful for every penney, and I’d give back to kids and community in spades.
Youk and Enza are giving back.  And Youk is pretty much doing what others say they’d do in his position.
Here is a telling quote from their web-site:
“I am living out my childhood dream, and it is due in no small part to the tremendous support of my family, friends and community.  Now I am in the position to foster safe, nurturing, healthy environments for today’s children, and I can’t imagine backing away from that opportunity.”
-Kevin Youkilis
If you have daughters or are just generally fashion inclined, you might invest $50 charitable dollars to attend their Fashion Show in Natick this Thursday, August 21.
Details for that event are on the above web-site.  There is also a charity Comedy event at Mohegan Sun and a charity Golf Tournament in Sterling, Mass. — coming up quickly.

All proceeds go to support Enza and Kevin’s chosen charities, Christopher’s Haven, The Italian Home For Children and Joslin Pediatric Health Services.

Payday is Friday for many of us.  Join me if you can in making a contribution on the web-site to help kids and show your Sox colors.  

"That one's for you, buddy !"

Youk: Buddy, that one was for you !

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis, Youkilis | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »