Scarlet Fever

A teenage girl's perspective on the Red Sox and everything else.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


The Sox notched their fifth straight victory last night, to go along with the five homers their offense produced last night in Seattle. Manny, Ortiz, Tek, Gonzo and Youk all tee-d off on Mariners pitching last night, backed up by a solid Kyle Snyder, who in his typically problemsome 5th inning gave up only two unearned runs. Youkilis also made some very impressive diving plays at third base, though he did make an error in the 5th. It seems both Varitek and Youkilis have been breaking out of their slumps (though Youk's was a minor one), and Gonzo continues to hit well, extending a hitting streak to 7 games.
I am leaving at about 10 30 AM today for two weeks up at my lake house. I am so excited, and these two weeks are usually the best two of my summer. Sneaking out, sleeping in, lying in the sun too long... Plus I get to see some of my best friends from California who I only see this one time a year.
The only bad thing is that I don't get my Sox games. The first week my parents won't even be there, and there is no cable up there. The second week my family will be there and we can listen to Sox games on the radio, but I have no Internet access so I can't post. I would love for you guys to leave me a bunch of comments for when I come back. A recap of the game, or Sox news, or injuries, or anything is fine. I know Kaylee is going to see the Cleveland series, and I am insanely jealous of her. Kaylee, I hope you have a ton of fun. But if you or anyone else is around, please leave me something!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Fantastic Four

Yesterday's win notched our fourth straight win, including two sweeps (well, yesterday's was a one-game sweep, but I'll take it.) Another winning streak, anyone? Seattle's a good team. We're better. Here's to hoping that Snyder does well tonight. It will be my last game before going away and I'd love to leave on a good note.
Yesterday Schill did not have his best stuff. That makes the win more impressive. On a day when your pitcher doesn't have his best stuff and your team can still manage to grind out a win, that says a lot about the team you have. Wily Mo showed no problems in his return to the bigs, and imagine that we now have a bench with Mirabelli, Cora, Kapler and Pena. That is by far one of the best benches I could ask for. Coco is still battling his slump, with an 0-fer showing from the leadoff spot. I really wish he would get on base so he could steal! He's one of those players that you just would love to see do well.
Tonight I have a softball doubleheader under the lights. Hopefully we'll be done in time for the 10:00 game. My fingers are crossed for Snyder.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Jonathan Papelbon

Jonathan Papelbon has been one of my favorites since he was in the minors. Before everyone else knew about him, I was a huge fan. And even I didn't quite see this coming. I knew he had great stuff. I knew he had the focus to be huge. I was thinking he would have an ERA in the 2's, maybe high 1's if I was really, really lucky.
The kid is mindbogglingly good. His ERA is 0.54. I mean, are you kidding me? That's freaking impossible. That's impossible for a veteran. And this guy is no older than 25 years. And he will be all season. An ERA of 0.54 means he gives up approximately one run every eighteen innings. Which means, if he were a starter, with that ERA he would give up one run about every three starts. One run every three starts. I can't even grasp the concept. That's too good. Far too good. He would win basically every game he pitched.
He leads the majors in saves with 29. Twenty-nine saves and the All-Star Break only just ended. We've barely started the second half. He's projected to have 47 saves, 82 strikeouts and 82 innings pitched by the end of the season. The batting average against him is .154. That means that only 3 out of every 20 batters he faces will get a hit off him. As a closer, that means that in only one out of 7 appearances he makes will a batter get a hit off him. That's phenominal.
Plus, Papelbon is marketable. Especially to a teenage girl like myself. He's cute. Really cute. Even though he's married, what girl wouldn't want to see him pitch? And he's hilarious too. When the games are on Fox and they show the sounds of the game, it's always Papelbon in the dugout, singing away or threatening to bring out his Scrabble board and kick butt. How many Papelbon shirts do you see at games? They're everywhere. That doesn't happen a lot for a rookie. How many Youkilis shirts do you see? A scattered one or two. Youk's great, and he has been having such a good first year as an everyday player. But Papelbon is something even more special. He's a phenomenon. Guys like him only come along once in a great while.
And what's his paycheck again? Ten mill? Not exactly. He's only making $335,400. How much is Rivera making? Try $10,500,000.

And an update on the Papelbon twins: Josh, the one in the Red Sox system, has pitched 11.1 scoreless. Jeremy, in the Cincinatti system, has an ERA of 1.00 in 18 innings.

Back to Back

Yesterday's game and Tuesday's were practically mirror images. Both wins were pitched entirely by young guns no older than 26 years of age. Both were started by phenominal young hurlers who pitched eight shutout innings. Both starters lowered their ERA's considerably: Lester from 2.89 to 2.38, and Beckett from 5.12 to 4.78, a huge decrease for a game this late in the season. Both games were closed out by the spectacular rookie. Both games had the final score of 1-0.
Beckett yesterday was everything that we traded for. The intensity, the focus, the heat, and the unstoppable pitching. He had the tiny margin of a one-run advantage the entire game, and he kept it, only getting himself into one real jam. After being the last team in MLB to get a shutout, Becket led the BoSox to their third in six games. He recorded a strikeout in every inning except the first. Into the eight inning he was still throwing 96 miles an hour. He earned his 12th win through possibly his best performance of the year, and he was rewarded with a 3-year contract extension. I am excited for this team's future with him at the top of our rotation.
From a hitting perspective, we were pretty quiet. Had it not been for a solo homer by Manny, we would have been headed once again for extra innings. However, I'm not worried. We won by the same margin that the Yankees lost by, and that's pretty nice. It says so much about our pitching staff to be able to hold on to such a slim lead. It doesn't matter if we won 1-0 or 17-0, it was a win. I say, let's save our run support for a day when our pitcher isn't doing well. Then we can win that game too. Gonzalez had a single in the 8th, keeping alive a new hitting streak of five games. Mirabelli also has a 5-gamer, extended by a single yesterday, and it seems his hitting is coming around. That would be huge. Loretta had two hits, and though Crisp didn't get any hits, he has been showing more plate patience. He worked a 10-pitch at-bat in the second before striking out with a full count. Youkilis had a tough game. I have no doubts that he'll come around, but he had two strikeouts before grounding into a controversial double play. I'd love for him to get hot again at the top of the order. Finally, I loved Ortiz's bunt down the third base line. I always say that he should do it. He basically could have walked down to first base. There was no one anywhere near his bunt. I love him working with the shift!
Manny also had a very impressive catch in left. His fielding has really been clean this year. And his friend Wily Mo Pena is quite a character. I can definately see him being a huge fan favorite like Ortiz in a few years: huge power, great smile, and a sense of humor. Yesterday the cameras showed him in the dugout twice. Once he grabbed Cora's shoulders and he made him wave at the camera, and once he was standing up doing the wave by himelf after Manny's catch. He is too funny.
Schill today. I am hoping to watch the game, or most of it. My brother is having a pool party with all his friends, and I might be playing volleyball with them in the front yard, but I'll have to see.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Just to forewarn you, this is not really a Red Sox-related post. That will come in the morning. I'm writing about my softball game, because I just got home and I'm still really pumped about it. We lost, but we were so close to a late-inning comeback. It was 8-2 them in the bottom of the 6th (in softball you only play 7 innings, but if it gets dark, which it did, you end the game sooner). My team then got three runs and there were two outs, and I was coming up to bat. I could feel my heart pounding, the adrenaline pumping, the blood rush to my head. Mired by a hitting slump, I had been bunting all game, going 1 for 2 with a bunt single, a stolen base, and a sac bunt, thanks to my speed. My confidence had increased at each at-bat, knowing that I could drop a terrific dribbler bunt down the third base line and bolt to first base to beat it out. The bases were loaded. My coach gave me the bunt sign. I stood at the plate, but I didn't brace to bunt, so I could fool the infield into not moving in. The first pitch was a ball. I got the bunt sign again. I stared into the pitchers eyes, and I saw the pitch. I stuck my bat out there as it came around and I made contact and just ran. I didn't see it, but I was told it was beautiful and I ran so fast. My bunt turned somehow into a bases-clearing triple. I don't know how. I just remember making it to first, seeing that second base was open, then third, and I kept running as my coach yelled for me to do so. Then I stood at third base for the longest time. The batter kept fouling off pitches, and I was off at every pitch, so I ran home about eight times. Finally, my coach told me to wait for the catcher to throw the pitcher the ball, then go. So I did. The pitcher threw the ball back to the catcher. I was out by a controversial play at home. We scored five runs in the inning, three thanks to me. We lost 8-7.
But the final score doesn't tell everything. It was our best game of the year.

While I Was Gone

Last night I watched the game from about the fifth or sixth inning on. This intense softball schedule has games Tuesday, Wednesday and a double-header Friday under the lights for me. Though I love softball, so many games packed into this week is coming at a bad time, because I am kind of in a hitting slump, being 0 for my last 6 with four strikeouts. This is really unusual for me and I'm really frusturated because I'm not seeing the ball well at all right now, swinging at bad pitches and watching the good ones go by. Today I'm going to go early to my game to take some batting practice, but what I really would like to do is go to the batting cages and I can't because my mom has to work.
Volleyball camp was really fun. It was scorchingly hot, and I went through three tee-shirts a day, but I had a great time and I improved a lot. Every night I called my parents for updates on the Sox, but they only gave me the score and a summary of our run-scoring plays, so it was good to come back here and read all my comments. The Sox were 2-1 while I was away, with a come-from-behind victory and a shutout, so I really can't complain.
A note that I happened to walk by a TV and see that Kansas City beat the Detroit Tigers a few days ago. That pretty much made my day. The worst team in the AL beat the best team in baseball. I love a good underdog story. Still, let's sweep them.
Now I will finally stop rambling and talk about last night. Lester was phenominal. His pitching line speaks for itself. 8 innings pitched, 1 hit, 0 earned runs, 4 strikeouts on only 100 pitches. Whatever small adjustment he made, it worked tremendously. His problems in the past were high pitch counts and having to get out of jams. Yesterday he went two innings past his old record on less pitches than it has previously taken him to get through five. Only a single batter reached second base. Lester is here to stay. He has had a huge impact on this injury-ridden starting pitchin staff, and his consistency and solidity (is that a word?) have been an enormous sigh of relief. His season numbers are astounding: 5-0 with a 2.38 ERA. The kid has hist the ground running, and it has been incredible. Juxtapose Lester's stats with those of his friend Papelbon, and you become aware of the talent we have coming up from the minors. I think I even feel more comforable with him on the mound than I do with Beckett, who as of right now has not been the lights-out co-ace we traded for, though I have faith he will soon figure out the AL and dominate again.
Our lone run scored on a RBI single by Gonzalez, knocking in Varitek who was on base via a huge wall-ball double. It appears that Tek has finally been breaking out of his slump. Crisp has been breaking out of his slump as well, though coming up with an 0 for 3 last night. However, it scares me a little how low Youkilis' batting average has dropped, as well as the slight decline in hitting from Lowell and Loretta. Youk's down to .289, far from the mid-.310's we had been seeing throughout the first half. Though he is still working full counts left and right, his plate production needs to pick up again. Lowell and Loretta, though both only a sliver under .300, were in the .320's and .310's for a very long time. A bit more hitting from the two of them is key.
Willie Harris was designated for assignment to make room for Wily Mo Pena. I just wanted to point out that the front office again shared my opinion on what to do when WMP came back. Though I suggested sending Harris down to AAA, I can understand their decision to designate him for assignment. I feel badly for Harris, but I am much more excited to have Pena back, especially because his buddy Manny's knee has been a problem. Imagine that we now have both Pena and Kapler on the bench for the outfield, Cora for the infield, and Belli for catching. That's an impressive bench.
Jermaine Van Buren was recalled from Triple A, and Javier Lopez was sent down. I was kind of impartial to this roster move because I like both guys, so either one in the 'pen works for me.
Today's game is at 1:05, so I will be watching alone or with my sister. Luckily, I get home from work at about 12:45, so I will have just enough time to get ready for Beckett. It's time for him to make up for his last start, his first subpar one at Fenway. The Royals are an easy team to beat up on. Beckett has flirted with a no-hitter several times. The Royals could be the unlucky victims.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Tomorrow I leave for a really intense volleyball camp. I will be back Tuesday in time for the game. I seem to have pretty bad luck with this camp, because two years in a row I have ended up going during the hottest week of the summer. Believe me, playing volleyball outdoors in 90+ degrees, or indoors where there is no A.C., is not exactly a thrill. I will be dying in the heat. Even so, I had a ton of fun last year and I expect to this year. I will be missing three Sox games, and I will try and call my parents every night to find out the score. Still, I would love if you guys could post a recap for me the next morning. Peter and Kaylee, you guys could just copy and paste what you write at Arielle's. Thanks!
Now I have to go pack.

Just for Kaylee and Me...

...some Grady pictures!

...and one of Coco, just for me!

*the Grady pics are from again, and the Coco one is from Google Images

The Wily Mo Pickle

Kaylee asked me a few days ago what I thought the front office should do when Wily Mo Pena came back from the DL. We both aggreed that Willie Harris should be sent down. With Kapler back and thriving, Willie has no real purpose on the team. Not only can Kapler pinch run, he is an excellent fielder and his hitting has been great. Kapler can be used as a late-innings replacement, even in close games, while Harris' hitting is pretty much nonexistent and his fielding is average. He can be stuck out in the outfield for an inning, but when it comes time to bat he will need a pinch hitter, so he can only be used for half an inning. With Wily Mo coming back, that brings another outfielder, one whose fielding we have seen improve before our eyes, one whose raw power is unbelievable, and one who will thrive off all the help he gets from Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Maybe down in Triple-A, Harris could work on his hitting. That way, in case of injury, he could be called back up and be a bigger piece of the team, being available to pinch-hit, pinch-run or field in later innings.

Eliminated in Eleven

I suppose my prediction didn't come true, but somehow I'm not too upset that we lost. It bugs me more that it had to happen in extra innings. Right after our guys got three days of rest, we have to play eleven innings and tire them out. Tom Caron pointed out on the postgame show that the Red Sox have played thirty innings in the past two games... and we don't have a win to show for it. Although many bloggers have been blaming it on Julian Tavarez, I feel that it is more a result of Mark Loretta's error. Had those two runs never scored, the game would have never been tied, forcing extra innings and bringing on Tavarez. These kinds of things happen to other teams all the time, but we have been spoiled by a nearly flawless infield. Losing a game because of an error is painful. Another glaring mistake, to me, was Willie Harris' baserunning blunder. I mean, he's a pinch runner. The only reason he's on the roster is to run, and he failed yesterday. He was way too far off first base, so when the pitcher attempted to pick him off, he was suddenly stuck in No Man's Land. This erased a baserunner and caused another out, and it is impossible to know whether or not that baserunner would have scored. Had he scored, with the Sox' one-run rally in the bottom of the 11th, it would have been a tie game again.
Here are some other noteworthy things I noticed during the game yesterday.
Manny looked really uncomfortable at the place. His swings looked awkward, making me think that there really is something wrong with his knee. However, he did make a very nice running catch just feet from the Monster, and although he didn't seem to be running at full speed, he didn't seem to be favoring his knee either.
Loretta had a nice stolen base yesterday, and he had been going for another one when it turned out to be ball four. I wonder if he's trying to incorporate basestealing into his game. He has decent speed and that could really be helpful for our team.
Coco Crisp also had a stolen base yesterday. I have to admit, when they showed it in slow motion he appeared to be out, but I'll take whatever I can get. He also had a very nice wall-ball double. Though that was his only hit of the night, I think it could possibly be a sign that he is breaking out of his slump. That would be huge. Imagine if Coco lead off again. He would be able to use his speed a lot more with the bases empty, and Youkilis down in the order would be a huge advantage. Imagine the RBI's he would rack up! Also, Coco has just about the cutest smile I have ever seen. I mean, his face is just so... pretty. He has these big round dark eyes and these high cheekbones and this beautiful tan skin. I think I'm jealous. I love it when he smiles. His whole face looks so happy. It makes me happy too.
Varitek had two hits last night, one being a clutch, two-out 11th-inning RBI single to bring the game within one run. Perhaps he is finally beginning to get out of his slump too. Some plate production from 'Tek would be such a boost to our offense, especially because he's our captain and a huge influence on the team.
Jon Lester loves to scare me. He loves it. He thrives on it. He always seems to get into jams and somehow he always gets out of them. It's kind of a shock for me to see his final pitching line and realize that he only let up one run in five innings. That's pretty good, except he used up 100+ pitches doing it. I think consistency and efficiency will come with experience, and it is necessary to remember that Lester is still learning. He was in line for his fifth win until the costly error by Loretta, which would have made him a perfect 5-0. That's pretty impressive for a 22-year-old rookie pitcher. Longer outings will come with time, but the right stuff is there.
The other young pitchers were impressive too. Craig Hansen had a 1-2-3 scoreless 6th, and the 2 runs he allowed in the 7th were unearned. Little Manny had a 1-2-3 8th. Papelbon had a scoreless 10th. Francona continues to put his young arms in more pressure situations, and they continue to rise to the challenge.
Lenny DiNardo, however, was just moved to the 60-day DL. Although he wasn't great as a starter, he would be a big help as middle relief. There don't seem to be any good signs right now for Lenny.
Now it's time to forget this game and think about tonight's. Beckett against Zito should be an interesting matchup. Becket has been spectacular at Fenway. He feeds of the crowd's intensity. Hopefully he'll be dominating, and please, let's keep it at nine innings.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Prediction

Peter mentioned in my last post that he's nervous about tonight's game. Me, not so much. I have a really good feeling about Lester tonight. He has never faced the A's, so for the first few times through the lineup I think he will be absolutely dominant. When they begin to figure him out, he will do what he has become known to do and make pitches when he needs to, getting out of any jams unscathed. After the All-Star break, our players will be really excited to be back to playing, and I can sense an offensive explosion. Plus, the A's counter with a pitcher whose ERA is above 6, which is also nice.


I just wanted to point out that, I was right about how important our defense is to pitchers. Here are two quotes from an article on

"This is the best defense I've ever seen and definitely the best defense I've ever been able to pitch in front of," Schilling said. "It's such an immense lift for a pitcher."

"What's nice is I think our pitchers have confidence in the defense," Loretta said. "You can tell the way they pitch. They're not afraid of guys putting the ball in play. That's what's gratifying to a defensive unit, is that the pitchers feel good about it."

As I mentioned in my post about Gonzalez, the pitchers are pitching better and more confidenly with this spectacular infield. Just wanted to mention that I picked up on that because it made me happy to realize I was right.

Something I Realized

I realized something a few months ago. Something so many fans have yet to realize. We fight and fight that our team is the best. We back up our opinions with statistical analyses. We trash talk other teams and give reasons why ours is better. We spend hours doing research to form new opinions. And yet, we fail to realize something. We have no control over how our team does. A scary thought. The hours we spend explaining why our team will win, they have absolutely no effect on how our team fares. The numbers speak for themselves. You can give me a million reasons why the Yankees are better than the Red Sox. Show me stats and figures that show how the Yankees WOULD be doing sans injuries. And when you're all done, the Red Sox will still be the better team. From a numbers standpoint. The Red Sox have won three more and lost three less than the Yankees. And when it comes to postseason, the record keepers aren't going to allow the Yankees to play because they feel bad about their losses. It doesn't matter where the Yanks would be without injuries. They have them. And this isn't all a Red Sox Domination post. The White Sox and the Tigers are better than us. It doesn't matter that they're in a weaker division. It doesn't matter that they're winning against easier teams. They have a better record than we do. That's all that we know.
In other news, Jason Johnson did well in his Single-A start. Or at least, that's what reports. He let up four runs and 10 hits, getting the win. Um, sorry, but I don't know that I would say he "shone", as the article put it. I mean, he was facing Single-A hitters. If he manages to give up four runs to Single A hitters, that doesn't really bode well for his major league success, does it? Apparently his sinkerball was working for him. Congradulations. You still gave up four runs. That's not going to cut it for a team like the Red Sox, I'm sorry. We can't always assure you that you will face a pitcher who will give up five-plus runs. This is the bigs. I have a feeling Johnson will be spending a lot of time in the minors. The article is here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Some More Reasons to Love Grady Sizemore...

... as if there weren't enough already. Click here and here for two recent articles on Grady. He's so unlike most baseball players. He is incredibly humble. I love that he feels like he doesn't belong at the All-Star Game. Not that I agree at all. I mean, you can't find a much better all-around player, or anyone who really deserves an All-Star spot more. And yet Grady was walking around in awe, just soaking it in, with the hugest smile on his face. How much would I pay to have been there?

And the pictures are from a site called Right now it's a memorial for one of the members who was tragically killed at a very young age. I have plenty more pictures but I don't want to give them all away at once. I know at least one of my readers (ahem, kaylee) will enjoy them.


I have a confession to make. And because I'm at my summer job with absolutely nothing to do, I figured I'd share.
I have not been a Red Sox fan my whole life. A baseball fan, even. Shocker, I know. It's in my blood. My family loves the Sox. But a few years ago, I couldn't have cared less. I remember when I was in Little League. I was bored out of my mind. I would wander around in the outfield picking flowers, and I hated at-bats. I remember always trying to lean in so I would get hit by a pitch and I wouldn't have to try and hit. Now I know that the only reason I couldn't bat was because I couldn't see. I didn't have contact lenses yet, and I refused to wear glasses. I had no idea how bad my vision was. I couldn't even really see the pitches. But I didn't know this at the time, and I hated every minute of it.
I remember a few years ago, when I was walking past the TV and a Sox game was on. My whole family was crowded around, and I remember deciding to give the game a try. I watched for about ten seconds. I was wondering, "How on Earth can watching a bunch of guys standing around on the grass be interesting?"
Another memory I have is sitting in my room when my sister ran by, screaming, "Manny got a three-run homer." I remember thinking about how much I didn't care.
I remember going to my first Sox game. I don't know how old I was, but it was young enough that my sister, who is three years younger than I, was too young to go. I was bored to tears. Our seats were terrible and it seemed to me that all I was doing was watching the grass grow.
Then came 2003. I remember everyone was watching the 2003 ALCS. So I decided to watch too, just so I could talk about it at school with everyone. I was drawn in by the magic of the sport. It wasn't exactly love at first sight, but the intensity really attracted me. The game was easy for me to understand and the players were amusing. I remember the first time I realized David Ortiz was black (well, Dominican, but...). When I said to my family, "Ortiz is black?" and they just looked at me with a look that said they were so embarrassed that this non-Red Sox fan was a member of their family. And a side note that I'm not at all racist. Just in case it sounded like it just then. I have no problem with Ortiz being black or anything, just before I started watching I pictured him as white for some reason.
Then came the heartbreak of Pedro being left in too long. I was disappointed but I didn't really know the full story. I hadn't been watching all season. I got over it.
The next year I got more into baseball. At the time, my family didn't have cable. So we only got Friday Night Baseball games on TV and the rest we listened to on radio. I loved watching the games on Friday nights, but I still wasn't a big enough fan to listen to games on radio every night.
Then came the magical 2004 postseason. Stunning. Unbelievable. That's when I really, truly became a Red Sox fan. And I hate admitting that. It makes me seem like I'm not a real fan. I only became a fan AFTER we won it all. I didn't have to wait 86 years. I didn't experience the heartbreak year after year, the Curse, the years of almost. I feel bad about that. Being a Sox fan is about heartbreak and I didn't really have to go through that.
But when 2005 came along, I listened to every game on radio. I completely immersed myself in the game. I learned all the players. I learned what the different stats showed. I learned about all the history of the Red Sox and the game of baseball. I found that I loved the culture of baseball. I loved the way the games toyed with your emotions. I loved that the Sox were there for you, every day, and to quote one of my favorite movies, Fever Pitch, "When they miss a game, they make it up do you. Does anyone else do that in life?"
My brother introduced me to That became my second home.
Manny became my first favorite player. My first Sox item ever was a Manny shirt.
My family loved telling me about the Sox. It made them feel powerful, maybe. Or maybe they just wanted to share the gift of baseball with me. They had wanted to share it all along, and I had been too stubborn. They finally had the chance to share with me one of their biggest passions.
I started playing softball. I could finally be a part of the sport that I adored. I am lucky enough to have a lot of natural athletic ability. When my coach saw my speed, my clean glovework and my consistent throws, he cemented me in my position at shortstop. With contact lenses, I learned that I was actually quite a good hitter, and I finished my first season with a batting average of .455 against some pretty tough pitchers.
When the Sox were swept out of the postseason in 2005 it was my first real heartbreak as a Sox fan. Because as Sox fans we expect nothing short of a World Series title. I remember how numb I felt. Numb, yet raw. The pain was fresh, in wounds unhealed. I sat in my car on the way to Vermont, rain slashing the windshield, fittingly somehow. I suppose that was when I became a true Red Sox fan. Because I was forced to believe, next year will be our year.
During the postseason I saw the team I had come to love be ripped apart. Kevin Millar, who kept the team in stitches. Gone. Bill Mueller, the consistant third baseman. Gone. And Johnny Damon. That one hurt the most. Because I had loved him. I remember staring at his picture on my wall. Lovingly framed. How could he do that to me? He told us he loved us. He had said he'd never leave. He took the money. He betrayed us. He saw that my open heart was vulnerable, and he went to the enemy.
But then Spring Training came. We got cable TV so we could see every game. And I was again filled with hope. This new team looked good on paper. I was curious to see how it would play in real life.
I started reading blogs. At first I only read. Then I left my first tentative comment. Soon I was sucked into it and I was leaving boatloads of comments every day.
And now I have a blog. And I know my future holds the next few chapters of my Red Sox life.

Ok that was the longest post ever. Seriously I have nothing to do today at work.

The All Star Game, Roberto Clemente, and My Husband Grady

Ok, first off, I have to admit something. I didn't watch the whole All-Star Game. Sorry. I got tired so I went to bed at 10:00.
I saw the first four innings. Our Red Sox were fairly unimpressive, save for a slick double play started by Mark Loretta. Both Sox were 0 for 2. From some other All-Stars, I saw two nice homers, especially the one by Vladmir Guerrero on a pitch which was way out of the strike zone. I saw the memorial speech for Roberto Clemente. That was really touching. My eyes started to well up. Clemente is such an inspiration. His premature death was tragic and incredibly unfair. He died trying to help others, because he had such an amazing heart. As much as I dislike Ozzie Guillen, I was really touched when I saw him wiping away tears during the speech.
I missed seeing Grady Sizemore, though. That was a disappointment. Any reader of my blog should know that I love Grady Sizemore. I love the way he plays the game. I love the way he shies away from the spotlight and tries to focus only on baseball. I love the way he dives for every ball. I love how consistent of a hitter he is. I love how fast he is. And I love his smile. It's just gorgeous. It makes me so happy. He is probably the cutest person I have ever seen. So that's why I was sad to have missed him yesterday, even though he was 0 for 2. And I refer to him as my husband a lot. Even though I've never met him. Just be forewarned.
And finally, I'm really happy for Michael Young. Although I didn't see it, the AL's 2-out rally in the 9th sounds like it was really impressive. That two-run triple kept alive the AL's All-Star winning streak. I feel bad for the NL, but not enough to be unhappy that my league won. In addition, though I know that home field is a big advantage because of the crowd energy and knowing the field well, I think the American League teams lose more on National League territory than the NL loses on AL territory. The AL loses the DH, who usually is a powerful hitter with mediocre fielding ability. Taking the DH's place is a pitcher who never works on hitting and is pretty much a guaranteed out. When the National League visits AL turf, they are allowed to have an extra hitter and not have their pitcher bat, because for some reason NL pitchers are mostly just as terrible as AL pitchers when it comes to hitting.
Anyways, you all can see that I don't have too much to say because I didn't see the whole game. Tonight we have a night off before regular season play resumes tomorrow.
And a shoutout to my friend Kaylee who just got a new blog. Click here to check it out.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Questions, Comments and Thoughts on the Middle East

So congradulations to Ryan Howard on winning the Home Run Derby. The dude has some serious power. I was impressed. In all honesty, I didn't believe that Papi would win. I love him, but I didn't. The day before yesterday he was forced to play nineteen innings, and every at-bat he felt the immense pressure to win the game with one swing of a bat. Even though he didn't have to play in the field, it was a grueling game. He must have been absolutely exhausted, especially after a long flight sometime during the night from Chicago to Pennsylvania. In addition, though he has kept pretty quiet about it, his wrist has been hurting him every single time he swings the bat. I wasn't even really disappointed when he was knocked out of the derby. He needs some rest.
On to a different topic. In the Globe today there was an article on Jonathan Papelbon and his fearlessness, his drive to win, by Amalie Benjamin. If you don't get the Globe, you can find it here. Itwas a very well-written article by a very talented writer. I'm glad that Benjamin has been given this opportunity to be an everyday sportswriter following the absence of Chris Snow. She's quite a good writer and I wish her continued luck.
Another article that interested me, I found at It was an article which gave each team in the AL a grade for the first half. Our Red Sox were given an A-, and the article praised our run-scoring ability as well as the front of our bullpen, while naming the back end of our starting rotation as a concern. I agree with this analysis. With this grade we were given the rank of third-best in the AL, trailing the Chicago White Sox (A) and Detroit Tigers (A+). I think the fact that we were just able to take two of three games from a team with a higher grade than us bodes well for our postseason success. The one aspect of our game that I feel was left out was our stellar defense. There was no mention of our spectacular leather in the brief summary of our team, and in my opinion our fielding abilities will be huge when it comes time for postseason rivalry. Still, I think this article sums up well the first half we have had. Also, note that the Yankees were given a C+. Just because it makes me happy. The article can be found here.
In other Red Sox news, Jason Johnson was demoted to the minors. Not Pawtucket. Not Portland. No, Johnson was sent down to Single A. Clearly, the Front Office was as unimpressed as I am. As Kaylee told me last night via instant message, Single A is where he belongs. Yet at the same time, I feel bad for the guy. He probably assumed he would be sent to Triple A to hone his skills and maybe make a few appearances in the bigs later on in the season as he improved. But Single A? That's just embarrassing. He must have been crushed. Designated for assignment by the Indians, forced to make a start for a top team riding a 12-game winning streak and facing Dontrelle Willis, of course he was nervous. I don't mean to make up excuses for him, but he must have been humiliated to be sent down 3 levels after making only 2 big-league starts for the Red Sox.
And in case anyone was wondering, the title for this post is a line my volleyball coach uses all the time. I don't really have any thoughts on the Middle East.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Catalyst

Alex Gonzalez was not signed by the Boston Red Sox to be a hitter. He did not make it into the major leagues because of his raw power. He does not own a Silver Slugger. Hitting was not an expectation when the Front Office signed Gonzalez. He was signed as a defensive specialist. His glove was what caught the eye of the Red Sox orginazation. A virtual human vaccuum cleaner, Gonzalez was born with the ability to field. That was what the front office wanted. A team that could field.
Yet the impact Gonzalez has had on the Red Sox is much more than solid fielding. He is the leader of an infield that leads the major leagues in fielding percentage. Alex Rodriguez alone has more errors than the entire Red Sox infield. Gonzalez's mindboggling double plays, dazzling backhanded grabs and spectacular putouts have saved the Red Sox critical runs, and their effects on pitchers' ERA's is immesurable. Gonzalez's glove gives pitchers the confidence to pitch with all they have and not have to strike out every single batter. They know that if they can get a hitter to hit a ground ball, the hitter is almost an automatic out. Pitchers with that confidence pitch a million times better than those with a shaky infield.
And in addition, Gonzalez, the defensive specialist, has been making some noise with his bat as well. As the season began, he was slumping, with his batting average dropping as low as .197 in May. In the short time since then, his bat has caught fire, allowing his average to climb to .284, including a 12-game hit streak. This is especially impressive for a #9 hitter. Opposing pitchers will be shaken when they realize there really is no hole in this lineup, with a #9 hitter who seems to be on base all the time as of late.
Gonzalez' hitting streak occured simultaneously with a personal 57-game errorless streak, and a team 17-game errorless streak. And during this period, the Red Sox went on a 12-game winning streak, sweeping four NL teams. Therefore, it can be concluded that Gonzalez is a major catalyst for this team. Though he is quiet off the field, his defense and, recently, offense, speak for themselves. When he was hitting well and fielding perfectly, the team won. When his hitting streak ended (however briefly), and he made an error, the team lost. This alone makes it clear that Gonzalez has a major impact on the team's success, both offensively and defensively.