Monday, June 30, 2003

Dixie's View of the New Sox Regime

Here's a view on the Sox from my adopted hometown.
AJC Red Sox Article

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Sox 25 Marlins 8

Holy sh*t!!!!

Marlins 10 Sox 9

F***ing typical.

Really, is there anything else to add at this point?

Wakefield Recant

Before I went on my business trip I complained about Wakefield not pitching deep into games. Then I read the story and found out he had hurt his back. Oops. Guess I should read the recap first when I don't get to see the whole game.

A Note on My Psychic Powers

I have this odd Spidey Sense when it comes to baseball. Usually, it's a harbringer of doom, but occasionally, it fortells good things. Tonight, it was all crap. I saw Lyon come out for the 9th and I was pleased at first. He's been pitching so well. Then the voice appears. He'll blow it, Sox lose. Screw you, go away I say. About 8-10 minutes later, the voice is right as usual.

You're saying, "Ha ha Paul, like you're the first guy to guess lucky on a blown save." No. This happens more than I care to say. Last year when the Sox were 40-17, the voice said something about going .500 the rest of the year. They did. The voice has told me about a number of the big comebacks this year as well some home runs.

I view this as a curse. Most of the voices are in-game kind of visions. For some reason I can't get this voice to do anything useful like give me stock picks or winning lotto numbers.

Yes, Sox fans are nutty.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Sox 3 Pussycats 1

I can't say I'm terribly impressed tonight. The Sox bats remain cold. They got shut down by a 2-11 pitcher with a 5.10 ERA. Thank you Kevin Millar for providing some offense. Wakefield pitched well, but these are the Tigers, the worst offensive baseball team I can remember seeing.

While we're on Wakefield, why only 90 pitches and 6 IP?? I didn't join the game until after he was gone. This seems to be a pattern with Wake. The guy throws a knuckle ball. He should be able to throw 120-140 pitches if you really needed it. Would it kill us to let him try to go 8 IP and 110-120 pitches? We're not using him between starts anymore. I just don't get it. Sure Embree was great, but why spend him for 2 IP when you don't need to?

I'm off on a business trip to Cleveland tomorrow. I'll be catching a Royals-Tribe game at the Jake on Wednesday night. Disgustingly easy to get good seats in Cleveland these days. I went back in 1997 and my friend and I barely got in the stadium. We figured we'd be able to get scalped tickets. In almost an hour of hunting we found one scalper selling 2 crappy-ass tickets. So we took them and paid handsomely. Oh how times have changed. See you on Friday.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

See-Ya Nez

OK, it's time to end the Rudy Seanez experiment. A straighter 95 MPH fastball, I haven't seen since Cal Schiraldi donned the blue and red.

I didn't get to see the game today, but that looked like a very frustrating loss from the recap. The pen blows THREE leads?? I can live with Timlin's mistake. He's pitched well and is a pretty good set-up guy overall. When you throw that many strikes, you're gonna give up a few taters. Lyon and Embree both pitched well again.

Shiell, although bad today, has looked good enough this year that we can certianly overlook one bad outing. But what redeeming value does Rudy Seanez bring to this club? It's time to try something different.

On a different note, have you ever seen two such polar opposite games from your #3 and #4 hitters? Nomar goes 6 for 6 and Manny 0 for 7. Wow.

Jeremey Giambi Hit Watch

I'm introducing a new feature called the Jeremy Giambi hit watch. We'll be on the lookout for that most elusive of birds, a Jeremy Giambi base hit. Today, there was no sign of a hit. We'll keep you updated.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Damn rainouts

No game tonight. I was looking forward to watching Sox-Phils. The Phillies have an intriguing team. Al their guys are underachieving right now. Abreu (.276/.388/.444), Thome (.242/.371/.480), Burrell (.209/.317/.431), David Bell (.204/.288/.291). Rollins and Lieberthal are doing as expected. I keep waiting for this team to just bust out the whuppin' sticks at some point.
Look at David Bell's numbers, by the way! A .291 SLG???? Some unsolicited advice for Larry Bowa. Nail this guy to the bench, and pronto.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Laid Low By Loaiza

I'll give 10 bucks to anyone who can prove they predicted that Esteban Loaiza would be 10-2 with an ERA around 2.00 on June 19th. This guy has always had strong April's, but somehow, either the league would figure him out again, or he'd lose focus and the shellings would begin.

Well, I don't know why he didn't do this sooner, but damn he looked good last night. Good heater, nice movement. Maybe he's finally learned how to harness his stuff and pitch. Some guys just take longer to figure it out (if they aren't out of baseball before that time).
The White Sox staff as a whole has actually managed to hold down the Sox' potent offense quite nicely. I'd be curious to see what the numbers are for new Commiskey in terms of offense. Is it a pitchers' park, hitters, neutral? All I know is it's a crappy park, at least from what I've heard and from what I see on TV.

They're having the All-Star Game this year for the first time since 1983. That was one of my favorite All-Star Games as a kid. I was an AL fan, of course, and the AL had never won the damn game in my lifetime. I was born a few months after they won in 1971. But then Jimmie Rice goes deep. Freddie Lynn hits a grand slam and the AL beats the tar out of the NL 13-3. I loved every minute of it. That's when the worm started to turn and the AL began to win the bulk of the All-Star Games from there on out. That also was one of the last years I can remember the All Star Game being taken seriously as a competitive contest. Slowly it slid into exhibition land over the next decade. I did enjoy the 1986 game when Rocket won the MVP in Houston.

Quick hit on D-Lowe
D-Lowe needs to even it up tonight. He's been looking more like the 21-8 guy the last few starts. I've wondered if he wouldn't benefit from seeing that shrink that put John Smoltz on the road to consistent success back in the early '90's. No one seems to be more fragile emotionally than D-Lowe.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Grady's Got a Squeeze Box

Loved, loved, loved the squeeze play called by Grady tonight. See Sox fans,
he really does have a pulse in there. Great job by Damon getting it down
considering if he missed he would be singing soprano.

I gotta hand it to Burkett. I've been hard on him and it looked like another
ass-whuppin in the first inning. But damn, 18 in a row and 20 of 22 retired
after that. 9 K's in 6 IP! Way to go old man, you've earned a reprieve. You
still should've relieved Pedro last night, though.

Pen was solid again. Timlin has rounded into the high quality set-up man he
had proven to be in St. Louis the last few years. Lyon closed things out
nicely. We may yet have the makings of a decent pen. I still want to see a
true closer patrolling the 9th if we make the postseason. Lyon is good, but
I'm getting Cal Schiraldi flashbacks when I think of him closing games in
October. Maybe I'm just being paranoid. (What, a Sox fan paranoid?? Never I
say, never!)

Jeff Weaver got knocked around today. Hey George! HA HA! Why didn't you
just re-acquire the rights to Ed Whitson? We'll take a doubleheader split
with the D-Rays. We're back to 1/2 game out.

I miss the late '80's Yankees teams. They were competitive, but never could
get over the hump. But I loved the odds and ends they had as players. Wayne
Tolleson, Charlie Hudson, Matt Nokes, the immortal Mike Blowers. Anyone
remember that Steve Kemp played for the Yanks for a while? That was early-
mid '80's I think.

Anyway, great job tonight, we're 40-29. Time to take the series tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Rupe a Dope

I don't have a lot to add that I haven't already read amongst Sox bloggers about last nights Rupe/Burkett "controversy". It was ridiculous for the Sox to put Rupe out there on 2 days rest after throwing 100 pitches. Either Burkett should have been out there, like a team guy would have been, or they should have used their pen as normal. I don't blame Rupe. He deserves kudos for being willing to step up for the team.

This is yet another reason why Burkett needs to be released once everyone gets healthy. It's bad enough this fossil has to haul his near 6.00 ERA to the mound for another shelling. But for him to have the gall to tell us he'll only start at this point of his career? Hey pal, you mean ex-career. Let's see if he can hold down the banjo hitting White Sox.

It was shocking to see a pitcher shut down the Sox offense last night. So few have managed to do it. Usually, if you beat the Sox this year, you're winning 8-7, not 4-2. Buherle finally looked like the 19 game winner he was last year. Just our luck. He's on my fantasy team and he KILLED me. By the time I gave up on him and benched him, he had already inflated my team ERA beyond repair. Him and Ramon Ortiz.

The Colon/Burkett matchup doesn't look good on paper, but I remember times when we have slapped the hell out of Colon. Hopefully this is one of those nights. We can't be losing games while the Yanks are playing Tampa Bay.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Clemens Torpedos Boston Legacy

Clemens has announced that if he is not allowed to go into the HOF as a Yankee, he will skip the ceremony. It's still early, but I'd say if he continues to be loud and vocal about this threat, then his legacy in Boston is pretty much tarnished beyond all repair.

I really think there was a chance Boston fans, given time, would have welcomed him back and embraced him. His uniform would be retired and put up with Ted, Yaz, etc. Fans would remember the 3 Cy Youngs and the decade of dominance.

Instead, he is willing to destroy that over his hatred for one man. Dan Duquette. Is it really worth it Roger? He claims he became a Hall of Famer in New York. Horsesh*t. If his Boston years didn't put him in, his two years in Toronto certainly put him over the top. You don't need 300 wins to get in anymore. 5 Cy Youngs would have got him in just fine. His New York years were icing. Nice icing, to be sure with those titles, but that's all in terms of the HOF.

What he is saying to the fans in Boston is, "My years in Boston mattered so little, I'm willing to put my petty hatred of one man, who never represented the fans of Boston, over the years of glory and my legacy in Boston." Skip your own induction if you get a Boston cap Roger? That's the ultimate insult. You can't spin it any other way. If you aren't over Duquette by now, then you have far more problems than I ever thought. Duke is a gnat, a fly in your ointment. Get the F*** over it. You should send him a damn card every year thanking him for motivating you to finish your career on top instead of overweight and injured.

If I'm the Red Sox, I issue #21 to the next player called up. I think Henry has too much class for that, and that's too bad. Roger's still one of the greatest ever, but I don't think he should ever be welcomed back to Fenway given his attitude.

Read Rogers's comments here.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Offense Galore

Has anyone else realized that everyone in the everyday lineup is hitting over .300 except Johnny Damon, who's finally starting to hit, and Jason Varitek, who's hitting "only" .297? Simply amazing. I know, I know, batting average is overrated, but this team also works the count, draws walks (well Nomar doesn't, but who cares) and hits for a lot of power. This is the bet Sox offense I've ever seen. I was too young to really remember the '77 and '78 teams, but I know they had great offenses too. But they still had banjo hitters like Burleson and Remy.

Great job by Derek. The line looks worse than he pitched, as he was left in one inning too long. Lots of ground balls. Freddie Sanchez was eating up everything. I knew he could hit, but damn kid, nice leather!

One question. Why lift Shiell? Oh, I know it worked, but Shiell looked really good against the 2 batters he faced. Why lift him so quickly? Embree looked great, sure, but why? I don't understand needlessly lifting a well rested pitcher who's doing well. It's not like Embree needed the work. Sometimes, I just have to scratch my head, even when things work. Oh well.

Yanks win again, although Tino hits 2 bombs (go Tino). Jays lose. Man, a possible three team dogfight. It's going to be a fun summer. Can any of us beat the Mariners, though?
A nice, uneventful win

Ahhhh, a nice 4-3 win over Houston tonight. No late inning heroics, no gas can bullpen, no walking the bases loaded to get to Trot, just a nice, simple 4-3 win. Kudos to Ryan Rupe. His performance at Pawtucket warranted a look and he tamed a very talented Houston lineup for 6 innings. Timlin and Lyon pitched very well in tandem. It's so rare to get two guys out of the pen to pitch well at once. No white-knuckling tonight, no acid wash in the throat. I needed that.

Sox still need to pick up some sort of pitching help. Either a starter, to allow Kim to move to the closer role, or a closer (Urbina?) to bump the others back into better roles. If we get Urbina, I'm thinking:

Closer: UU

Set-Up R: Timlin

Set-Up L: Embree

6th-7th: Lyon, Almonte

Mop-Up/Long: Mendoza

Speaking of Urbina, if we do deal for him, I'd only want to do it if we didn't have to give up two top prospects. I've been hearing Fossum and AA starter Josh Stevens. No thanks. Perhaps Stevens and a lesser prospect? And Benitez? I don't understand the fascination. He's like Jose Mesa. I don't need the ulcers, thanks. Do you REALLY want Benitez on the mound with the pennant/LCS/World Series on the line? I didn't think so.

Friday, June 13, 2003

The Return of Bagwell

Jeff Bagwell comes to Fenway tonight to face the organization who traded him away for the infamous Larry Andersen in 1990. Now, this deal has been flogged to death and rightly so. Oddly enough, Andersen pitched well for the Sox down the stretch, but when he was set free as a free agent following the collusion settlements, the Sox ended up trading a HOF player for a 2 month rental.

Lou Gorman has been defending himself lately. In an article in the Boston Globe, Gorman claims that he really thought Tim Naehring was going to be the Sox' 3b of the future. Given that Bagwell had shown no power and that they had a 1b in the system named Mo Vaughn who did, Bagwell was expendable. A bone or two to pick with Lou.

Bagwell hit only 4 HR at AA New Britain the year he was traded. Here's something that I know, having grown up next to New Britain and going to countless NB Sox games. NO ONE hit home runs in New Britain. Beehive Field was the worst hitters park in organized baseball. Year after year, the team batting average hovered in the .230 range. The team home run record for the first 4 or 5 years was 12. TWELVE! Ellis Burks finally broke the record around 1986 with 14. This was in a full season too. Mo Vaughn hit 7 HR in a whole year playing for New Britain. That's right, SEVEN.

What was amazing about Bagwell was that he hit .333 that season in New Britain. Almost no one did that. He had gap power, which was what you needed to have to survive in that park. He was smart enough to realize that swinging for the fences was a losing proposition. Neither Scott Cooper (who skipped AA I think) nor Tim Naehring did what Bagwell did at New Britain. I believe for a while that the Sox starting having their best hitting prospects skip New Britain and go straight to AAA Pawtucket to avoid destroying their confidence.

Bottom line, if Gorman didn't know what he had in Bagwell, then he wasn't paying attention to what was going on in New Britain.

Welcome home Jeff. I've been rooting for you all these years. Pity you had to do all this great work for Houston and not for us.

Hi, my name is Paul and I'm a Red Sox fan. I've been one for most of my life. Since I was 5 or 6 years old.

Sounds like the opening to my first AA meeting doesn't it? I guess all of us in Red Sox Nation feel like we're recovering from our latest Sox binge. Just one more fix, this time they'll make me feel good, I won't end up curled in a fetal position in the gutter crying and vomiting like last time. This time it will be all good times, fun and glory. You think we'd learn? Nah.

My first Sox game at Fenway was 1978. Yes, that year. The game? Game 3 of the Boston Massacre. Yankees 7 Red Sox 0.

New York Yankees 7, Boston Red Sox 0

DayGame Played on September 9, 1978 (D) at Fenway Park
NY A 0 0 0 7 0 0 0 0 0 - 7 11 1
BOS A 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 2 2
Rivers cf 4 1 1 2 0 0 0 0
Blair cf 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 0
Randolph 2b 3 1 1 0 2 1 2 4
Munson c 4 0 2 1 0 0 6 0
Jackson dh 4 0 0 0 1 2 0 0
Chambliss 1b 5 1 1 0 0 1 11 1
Nettles 3b 4 1 1 0 1 0 0 2
Piniella rf 5 1 3 1 0 1 4 0
White lf 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
Johnstone lf 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Dent ss 5 1 1 2 0 0 1 2
Guidry p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Totals 38 7 11 6 5 5 27 11
DP: 1.
E: Dent (8).
2B: Chambliss (24,off Eckersley); Piniella (31,off Eckersley).
HBP: Munson (3,by Eckersley); Johnstone (2,by Burgmeier).
IBB: Nettles (5,by Eckersley); White (3,by Eckersley).
Boston Red Sox AB R H RBI BB K PO A
Burleson ss 3 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
Lynn cf 2 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
Rice rf 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 0
Yastrzemski lf 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
Fisk c 2 0 0 0 2 1 7 0
Bailey dh 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Scott 1b 2 0 0 0 0 0 5 1
Hobson 3b 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 3
Duffy 2b 3 0 0 0 0 2 2 1
Eckersley p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Burgmeier p 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Totals 26 0 2 0 4 5 27 8
DP: 1.
E: Yastrzemski (3), Hobson (39).
PB: Fisk (5).
SH: Lynn 2 (4,off Guidry 2); Scott (5,off Guidry).
Guidry W(21-2) 9 2 0 0 0 4 5
Boston Red Sox IP H HR R ER BB K
Eckersley L(16-7) 3.2 7 0 7 6 3 3
Burgmeier 5.1 4 0 0 0 2 2
Totals 9.0 11 0 7 6 5 5
WP: Eckersley (3).
HBP: Eckersley (7,Munson); Burgmeier (3,Johnstone).
IBB: Eckersley 2 (8,Nettles,White).
Umpires: Rich Garcia, Jim Evans, Durwood Merrill, Marty Springstead
Time of Game: 2:26 Attendance: 33611

Sigh. The start of a love affair. I was raised on Freddie Lynn, Jim Rice, Dewey, Steamer, Tom Burgmeier, Eck, Gary Allenson, Rick Buerleson, Pudge, Tony Armas and many others. My father would take me to 6-8 games a year. We lived in Connecticut and I always looked forward to that 2 hour drive up to Boston. We took the "T" in from Riverside.

Jim Rice was my favorite player. Later I would latch onto a young pitcher I saw pitch the New Britain Red Sox to the AA Eastern League title in 1983. Twenty years later he's still pitching. He's just pitching for the wrong guys. And he's no longer my favorite pitcher.

I've been through a lot with this team and I plan to stick it out. Either they'll win a Series some day or I'll die first. Hopefully the former. I have no idea how I'll feel once the quest is over, but contrary to what other teams' fans may think of us in Red Sox Nation, we DO want it to end with a title. I don't like pain nearly that much. It will be the only sporting event that would top my UConn Huskies (men's team) winning the NCAA basketball title in 1999.

This blog will be my vent, my place to share my thoughts about my team and baseball in general. It's always been my one true sports passion. Oh, I love other sports too. Football, basketball....I even loved hockey when the Hartford Whalers still existed. But nothing tops baseball and my passion for the Red Sox.

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