The Off Season Sucks ’08

I am not here to complain about how the Sox should have won it. Because simply put, they just weren’t good enough. There were too many bruises, too many bumps, and just not enough morale. I admit it. I lost all faith during the ALDS series. Beckett wasn’t the ace we knew anymore. Besides Lowell & Drew’s injuries, our boys just weren’t hitting. No pitching depth. And for the love of God, do not get me started on Timlin.

We played a damn good season and we had one hell of a fight at the end of it. It was amazing, it was adrenalin pumping, and hey, Yankee fans, at least we made the playoffs. But ultimately, that feeling I had in 2004 and in 2007, I just never felt this post-season. Yes, even after game 5 with the amazing comeback. Maybe it’s because around the 6th inning of Game 5 when we were down 7-0 I was already arguing with my buddy over a Phillies-Tampa Bay World Series win. I was slumped in my chair, my hat drawn closer over my eyes and I sulked over the game as I drank warm beers. I didn’t care. So naturally, when Pedroia, Crisp, Papi & Drew all stepped up to the plate and produced, I was ecstatic. Including game six. But I still didn’t feel it. It wasn’t there. Should I have “believed” and had faith, yes, I guess I should have. But as I get older, stats start to take a toll on the ‘I’m a believer’ dance. And for some reason I get taken down a peg as a fan because I didn’t believe. What are we the Christians of baseball or something? Me believing more in stats than ‘faith’ doesn’t make me any less a Sox fan, just more of a baseball fan. At least that’s what I told the 34 year old Sox fan “believer” at my work after he tried to strip me of my Sox love for not believing. And by the way, that same guy has had a freaking B.J. Upton TB jersey allll season long. That he wears to work sometimes.. And hung proudly in the employee hallway like a little leaguer. Naturally, he got reamed for it. He hasn’t worn it in for months…

 

And no, me losing faith is not because Manny is gone. I got two words for him: F#ck him. And his f#cking hair. It’s one thing to leave us for more money and a longer contract, it’s business, I get it. But then to bash your teammates, the organization, and then the fans who ultimately pay your salary? Get the f#ck out of here guy. Enjoy the National League.

 

So, after game 7 and TB’s win, I sort of sat there, unwillingly, and watched TB celebrate. I let it sink in. I do have to say though, I’d rather that game 7 than Aaron Boone’s game 7. Because at least you knew it was coming with Tampa. When Papi failed to produce with rays on bases in the 8th, I knew the Rays had already won it.

I haven’t watched any sports programs or read any papers since the morning after Game 7. No Mike & Mike in the morning, no Boston Globe, no BostonDirtDogs, and for the love of baseball Gods no Skip Bayless. I watched Tampa celebrate, it’s the only ending to a season I need to hibernate all that passive aggressiveness that will come out March 09.

Other than the lingering questions of certain players returning next season, as far as the 08 season, I have one topic left in my baseball world: the outcome of the World Series.

 

Phillies baby, Phillies.. I hear you fans routing for Tampa saying 1) keep the WS title in the AL 2)  they’re the underdogs like the Sox were & 3) Tampa beat us, so to prove they’re good and we don’t just suck, let them win it like Chi Sox in 05.

 

Touché. I get all that. And I did route for Chicago in 05 after they swept us in the ALDS. But with Tampa, it all comes down to this: I refuse to cheer for a professional team that is younger than I am. Tampa, not only is your team full of rookies, but your franchise is a rookie. Get some f#cking history guy, then maybe after a few post-season loses I’ll route for you. Look at the Cubs. I would love to see old timer fans finally get to see their beloved, life-long team win it all. It’s been over 100 years since they won. 100 years! Look at the Mets & how bad they’ve blown it two years in a row at the end of a season. Tampa, you have no fan base, you have no post-season history. This is the best year in your franchise. This is the first year your stadium has come close to a sell out. Bottom line: get some history. Overcome some adversary, get spanked in a few post-season series, then come back next year, and the next year, and the next, and fight again. It’s like initiation into a gang; you need to get the crap kicked out of you before you can walk the streets like a king. Veterans trumps rookie. it would make a cute baseball story (like the Rockies would have in 07), but this is baseball, not ballet. I hope Philly spanks Tampa and sweeps them. And for the love of baseball Gods will somebody finally make those god damn cow bells shut the f#ck up!!

 

 

1,467 miles & 44 days

How far along is Red Sox Nation from their Sox newborn? 1,467 miles and 44 days. This morning on the gorgeous winter streets of Boston, it was clear that spring and the Sox season newbie is near. Instead of groundhogs peeking out of a hole and people waiting for the hog, something even more pathetic was watching. Grown men and women Sox fans glaring out their windows at the signs of a Sox season. The truck was packed with Red Sox gear this morning for the long haul down to Fort Myers, Florida where Spring training, or Sox Lamaze, is to begin in less than a month.

The newest of Sox season newborns is due March 25th in Japan.

But family and loved ones won’t be able to visit until April 8th. Which is appropiate, because my 22cnd birthday is April 5. A great month – indeed.

We’re all hoping this one will be another genious season – such as 2007 –  finishing first in its class with a few awards. Yet, already doctors are predicting a few defects in shoulders. And not to mention a few drop outs of bad seeds who will remain nameless (Eric Gagne). But fresh young talents whose rookie year is sure to top all rookies – gives family and loved ones a sigh of relief.

We’re just 1,467 miles from the baby pains of practice and 44 days away from a season that will have 162 classes to prepare for another first place division win and a World Series sweep. All Sox fans are hoping that we can proudly restick the bumper sticker that claims, "My honor student won first place – and still beat the **** out of your child." 

Man Down.

The man, the myth, the lengend, Mr. Curt Schilling, is down and out for the count. How long is this round? Possibly the entire season – or just half of it.

Remember the doctor back in 2004 whose work on Schilling’s dislocated tendon got him dubbed ‘Morgan Magic’? Or more historically, Schilling’s bloody game 6 sock? That’s Dr.Craig Morgan. Well he’s back again with a future more disappointing than Schilling’s ALCS game 1 where he lasted 3 innings.. This year, Dr. Morgan believes Schilling’s bicipital groove is now infected. And if surgically corrected now, it will have healed by the 2008 All Star Break.. which, appropriately, is located in enemy terriroty, Yankee Stadium.

The Sox disagree claiming a surgery now will end any chance for Schilling to pitch this season. But Morgan disagrees with the Sox, claiming a lack of surgery on his shoulder will be the cause of a season-less Schilling.

My opinion? I am no where near educated enough, in any field, to express a strong opinion of what this seasoned pitcher should do. But I do know this, if the following quote rings true, Schilling needs to risk half a season by getting surgery than risk blowing his shoulder his first game in April.

From the Red Sox official MLB site I took Dr. Morgan’s quote: “This guy’s got pain opening a door — he was not able to complete all of the positions that were requested for his MRI on the 24th of January because he couldn’t put his arm above his head and hold it there without excruciating pain. That’s what we’re talking about here."

Schilling has voiced approval of the Sox desires. But if there’s times where Schilling can’t open a door, how will he pitch a 90 mph fast ball? If Morgan can keep his historic magic tricks up – I say Schilling trust this doctor. Because who wants to see a post season game with a bloody arm pitching? Actually, that would be pretty cool. But medically, a nightmare. I guess we have to wait and see what Schilling will do… I would love to see one last great season for Schilling. Guess we all have to wait and see.

Curtschilling

Is It April Yet?

I’ve put together a list of the top ten signs of Boston baseball withdrawal: 

10) You find yourself watching classic baseball movies (The Natural, Field of Dreams, The Sandlot) and classic Sox games on NESN

9) You check Boston Dirt Dogs & the Official Sox site religiously – and you check on Yankees.com strategically.

8) You prepare for the upcoming season by printing out the season’s calendar and plan which games you want to attend. i.e. Yankee game or a September game

7) You can not fully enjoy a hot dog – because it’s nothing like a Fenway Frank

6) You create a special savings for Sox tickets

5) You stash up on peanuts – specifically to throw at Yankee fans at the game.

4) You realize just how daunting monthly chores like cleaning your room are without Rem Dog & Orsillo’s voices in the background cheering you on.

3) Once March hits you realize how many pointless Sox items you’ve bought since November.

2) You create a special savings – just for Fenway beer

1) Once the clock hits 7pm every night, you realize how pathetic you are because you have absolutely nothing to do.

 

Baseball can’t come soon enough. It’s the longest running sport that I know of, so naturally it becomes a big part of your life. Once it’s taken away – with a World Series win to end it or not – you don’t just feel quit whole. There’s absolutely nothing like hearing a 90 MPH baseball being smacked off a bat during a cold October night in Boston.

And there’s nothing like the anticipation for a new season full of anything. No errors, no injuries, and no fights. (Yet). Just two more months till another season begins that’s bound for unbelievable games full of possibilities.

Wondering what Schilling’s last year, not just as a Sox pitcher but a baseball player, will be like fills our minds with excitement and mystery. What Beckett has up his sleeve is unstoppable. And we’re itching for the hope that Matsuzaka will finally find his form this season. None of us can wait to see what rookie Ellsbury will produce. And we have absolutely no idea what Manny will say this year.

Boston’s Baseball Writers Association Annual Dinner

So I’m fortunate enough to have met a woman through my Mike Lowell fan site.. very fortunate. Because she’s given me a sweet deal on a pair of tickets to this Red Sox dinner on January 17th, 08. A few players will be there including Mikey Lowell! I will update this post once I’ve attended.. I’m hoping to get at least Lowell’s autograph and some pictures. I’m guessing not because there’s 1000 people attending this dinner.

If anyone happens to read this – are you going? Have you gone? I can’t wait! Hopefully Beckett will met me and marry me like he’s destined too lol.

Make him an offer he can’t refuse

Jacoby or Johan? I’m split on the Ellsbury – Santana debate. When I first caught wind of a possible trade that included Ellsbury for Johan, I’ll admit, I laughed. What is Theo thinking? No, what is Theo smoking? Here’s a kid who hasn’t even had his rookie season yet, and out plays a seasoned player such as CF Coco Crisp? Jacoby’s proved he can play, perform, and produce on the biggest stage in baseball. He preformed and looked like a post season veteran. So why give him up?

The best left handed pitcher in baseball, that’s why. A double Cy Young winning pitcher added to a team that starts with a smokin’ ace like Beckett would leave detrimental effects on opposing team’s wins. A player such as Johan would bring us more wins defensivly than Ellsbury could bring wins offensively. Clearly, more wins with less losses means a possible ’08 AL East win and an incredible 1-2 punch in the post season.

The question of the off season remains: Smokin’ aces Beckett and Santana for a sick 1-2 punch? Or ’08 AL Rookie of the Year Ellsbury as a Sox CF?

If I were in Theo’s shoes I never would have included Ellsbury in a trade for an ace. Then again, I never could have parted with Nomar.. and look what that brought us.

If Theo wants his prize, I guess he has to make an offer no one could refuse. And that offer includes Ellsbury.

E

Lester earns Tony C. Award

There’s another award winner on this year’s roster: Jon Lester. He didn’t win, he earned the 2007 Tony Conigliaro Award this year, joining fellow teammate, cancer survivor, and ‘99 Tony C. winner Mike Lowell.

Lester and Lowell both have "overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage.” And it seems only destined to have both men play, hit, and pitch for a 2007 World Series Champion team.

I used players such as Lowell & Lester in my college admissions essay a few weeks ago to Umass Lowell. I was apprehensive about writing my essay in a way that compared my life to the Sox in a deep and climatic way. Pathetic I know.. But apparently it worked, because I just got my college acceptance letter yesterday. My only worry now is affording UML… (The fact that I chose this campus in Lowell – has nothing to do with Mikey’s last name lol).

I know Mikey’s cancer story pretty well, along with his family’s struggle from Cuba to Puerto Rico. But I do not know much about Lester other than his multiple chemo treatments. I absolutely love how Lester’s real comeback was a World Series winning game, where he pitched 5 2/3 innings I think with only three hits from the Colorado Cookies (official snack of the Boston Red Sox).


Since Lester’s rookie season, his life really has been like one of those lifetime-ish sports movies that you’d see played on TBS alongside Field of Dreams or A League of Their Own… Like the ‘04 Sox post season, it is pretty unbelievable. If you had told anyone before the 04 season that we’d come back to beat NY from a 0-3 series to go on to sweep in the WS – no one would ever believe it. Then a rookie pitcher is diagnosed with cancer, undergoes chemo, and returns to pitch the ’07 World Series winning game? And the World Series MVP is also a cancer survivor that the Sox acquired from a ‘throw in’ deal? You can’t write this stuff – because no one would believe it. True Disney sports stories, indeed.