Saturday, August 18, 2001

Tick tock tick ...

I realized after typing the heading above how "tick tock" is yet another of those expressions that is completely out of date and chances are would be lost on someone born in an age when clocks no longer need to be wound up to function.

Regardless, time is running out on the Red Sox. All the don't panic there are X number of games left to turn things around talk is sounding very hollow right about now.

But don't let that spoil your Saturday. Focus on the good things and remember it's just baseball.

Friday, August 17, 2001

New Day

I'm going to keep this short today, as I haven't quite got a handle on everything that has happened since yesterday. A part of me is elated. Last night's game (the Thursday night game on Fox Family) was one of the most enjoyable I've seen in a long time. The Red Sox threw out two base runners in the first! Wow. I couldn't believe it. When's the last time you've seen that? And I had no idea Mirabelli had that kind of arm. During the whole game the team had that loose, confident aura about them, as if they knew they should beat Seattle.

However, a part of me is also sad that things went down as they did, and I worry that this only a symbolic, scapegoating gesture that in the end may not change the situation (i.e., Red Sox not making the postseason) or, worse, may prove disastrous over time. Also, I still have this nagging feeling that Duquette may indeed be the asshole that so many see him as. In any case, it's yet another life lesson learned from baseball (a recurrent theme in this blog if you've been paying attention). Bosses can fire you and you can find yourself out of a job whether you feel it's justified or not. That's baseball. That's business. That's life.

Bring on the Orioles and lets open a can of whoop-ass.

Thursday, August 16, 2001


I was just in a Boston Globe online chat with Gordon Edes when this news came across . . . nothing yet on the web (12:52pm EDT) but sure headlines are coming . . .

Press conference at 2:30pm according to

Black clouds

Remember back in June when the Red Sox were either in first place (or no more than a game or a game and a half behind at any given time) and lots of the sports writers in the Boston media were wondering why the fans weren't reveling in the moment, weren't ecstatic, wondering why we just wouldn't give in to the feeling?

Well, I'm pretty sure we have the answer to earlier fan angst.

''The Sox are losers of six of their last seven games and five games behind the Yankees in the American League East, matching their biggest deficit of the season against the Bombers. Tonight, they face former teammate Aaron Sele, who is a 12-game winner ...'' (The Boston Globe).

This is not so say I'm giving up or that I encourage others abandon hopes of the team turning things around. It's just that I don't think any but the neophyte to Red Sox Nation will ever get too excited about the standings at any given point in a season. To be honest, if the Red Sox were to trade records with Seattle, I still think it would be foolhardy for one to get his/her hopes up. 27 games over .500 doesn't mean much once the playoffs begin. Anything can happen in baseball, and for the Red Sox it so often does.

Silver linings ...

On days like the ones we've been having lately, where losing games is becoming the norm, it is painful to come up with postings for this blog. Despite what people may say about Red Sox fans, I don't think we secretly enjoy the pain or any of that nonsense. For me it is certainly a whole lot easier and whole lot more fun to post here after a come from behind walk off home run or a no-hitter or just a daily doing things right winning streak than it is to write about how poorly things are going.

Yet win or lose, the experience of creating a day by day log like this has far exceeded my expectations. When I started back in April, I had no idea that I'd feel part of something, despite the cliché, bigger than me. From writing and following the games so closely, to reading other weblogs, to corresponding in email with other Red Sox fans I've really learned how Red Sox Nation is more special that I'd ever imagined. The sense of solidarity among Red Sox fans is amazing.

A good example of this occurred the a couple of days ago when I got an email from Dave Willis, another New England expatriate now living in the mid-Atlantic region, who pointed out how in my bio section I had a rather big mistake regarding "My First Trip to Fenway." I had listed Fred Patek as the Detroit player who had hit 3 HRs in Fenway on my first trip ever to the sacred spot. Dave astutely noted that Patek for one played in the 80s and two never played for Detroit. When writing up my bio info, I had carelessly grabbed the wrong guy from Red Sox Media Guide. (Being only 7 at the time I attended that game in question, I have no recollection of player names, but I did know the opponent and the date and lots of home runs.)

For a fellow Red Sox fan to take the time to write and point this out to me is so typical of the camaraderie in Red Sox Nation. I'm continually reminded just how good it feels to be part of it all.

When we do win the World Series again, it's going to be something, I tell you what.

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Jumping the shark

This expresses my feelings succinctly:

''If you were a fan, what would you do?'' Beck said of the catcalls that have become a part of his nightly experience. ''I don't really blame them. When you stink, you stink'' (The Boston Globe).

Have you seen or heard of the site Jumping the Shark?

It's a hilarious site in which nearly every television program past is listed along with its concurrent and inevitablejumping the shark moment.

And what is jumping the shark?

It's a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now's all downhill. Some call it the climax. We call it jumping the shark.

According to the site, the phrase stems from a scene in the 70s sitcom Happy Days in which the character Fonzie is water skiing and, while doing so, jumps a shark. For everyone watching the show, the sheer stupidity and incredulity of the scene marked the permanent downfall of the show.

I bring this up since it seems so apropos to baseball and especially our beloved Red Sox. If you think about it, probably every season you've ever stumbled through has had a jumping the shark moment, maybe several. Another way of looking at it is to say to yourself, At what point in the season did I first utter the words ''Wait 'til next year'?'' And there is your jumping the shark moment.

A great idea for a website (and I'd do it myself if I had the time) would include taking the premise of and applying it to the Red Sox' seasons, at least as far back as any living person could remember the defining moment.

Of course, some of them would be quite obvious, the ones everyone knows about, the ones they haul out on sports talk shows whenever the Red Sox are mentioned. (No point in even naming these here, no?)

So have the Red Sox had a jumping the shark moment so far this season?

I think so. I've got a couple of in mind.

What about you? If you have a defining moment, drop me a line: and I'll see if we can come to a consensus. I'll post the results in a couple of days. (Note to self: Get one of those webpolls for this sort of thing in the future!)

Red Sox on ESPN tonight. I'm still hoping that this series can be salvaged.

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Yankees' fans rooting for the Red Sox?

First someone clones sheep and now this headline in the New York Post.

Root of All Evil: Yanks should be pulling for hated BoSox

And in an article inside, Post writer Joel Sherman tells us why:

Assuming the Yankees win the AL East, their best scenario would be having the wild card come from the AL Central, so that either Minnesota or Cleveland would play Seattle in one best-of-five with the division winner playing the Yankees.

But with both Cleveland and Minnesota struggling (the Twins were just swept four games by the Devil Rays), it is unlikely two AL Central teams will reach the postseason or that the division winner will have a better record than the AL East winner.

Thus, to avoid the A's, the Yankees would need the Red Sox to beat out Oakland for the wild card. Then Boston would play Seattle in the first round and the Yanks would get a softer AL Central foe.

Aargh! This is just too weird to even contemplate. (Hat tip to ColdBeer4thesoul for the link.)

Here come the Mariners

OK. Let me start by saying I've really never liked the Seattle Mariners as a club. I thought that might change when they blew up the Kingdome and moved to Safeco Field, but while I dislike them less, they are still one of the clubs that just leave a sour taste in my mouth. Not the good, love to hate 'em kind of sour that I get from the Yankees or Cleveland, but more of a Why do you even exist? kind of sour feeling. I mean you're not really supposed to like clubs other than the Red Sox in the first place, but, you know what I mean, it's a respect thing.

I'll admit, though, that I always really liked Randy Johnson when he was on the team, and now Ichiro makes me smile when I see him on the highlight films, but I was never into Griffey or A-Rod despite their monikers as the game's best.

I shouldn't really hold it against the franchise or the players on Mariners, though, as I know my antipathy stems from the city itself. I hate Starbucks and all that mochachino rains all the time Frazeresque crap the city prides itself in. Yeah, what ever happened to the Frugal Gourmet? He was from Seattle. Remember him? Got got with his hands in a place they shouldn't be.

But I digress . . .

I've got, for absolutely no reason, a good feeling in my gut about this series with the Mariners.

For some good off day reading, check out the Boston Globe's piece today on the challenge and excitement TV crews face when they cover games at Fenway:

''When we come in for a Sunday night, it's always playoff-level coverage. We bring all our bells and whistles: the catcher's mask camera, the dead-center position, the K-Zone. Our goal is to bring the telecast to a higher level and show it from a national perspective.''

Looks like the game Wednesday will be on ESPN. (I've got my net connection back now, so I'm covered either way.)

Monday, August 13, 2001

Out of synch

I'm completely out of it. First I go out of town on Friday but that didn't matter too much as the game was rained out. Then I come back, and I'm able to catch the last few innings of the Saturday afternoon game on Fox, only to see the Red Sox lose to the stinking Orioles and find that Cone had been yanked earlier in 4th. Next I learn that the big storms we had fried my ISDN line and Sprint can't fix it until Tuesday. At first, I'm upbeat, as I know I can watch the game on the Orioles flagship station; however, after broadcasting every Orioles game so far this year on my cable system, for some reason they didn't pick up yesterday's game. So I've got no game on TV, no Internet, no Sunday Globe nor Herald to read . . . I was reduced to watching CNN Headline News to see the sports score ticker across the bottom. How depressing. How 1994.

Fortunately, the Red Sox won yesterday, but it sounds as if they are only slightly better ground than me:

As hardball theater goes, what took place at Camden Yards yesterday was the equivalent of a summer gross-out flick, more Farrelly brothers than Julia Roberts. Thirteen unearned runs (nine in the first inning alone), five errors, 14 walks, two hit batsmen, and a wild pitch (The Boston Globe).

And now I've got to leave it at that, as came in early to work to gain web access to quickly scan the papers and get out a quick posting. (I've enough of the Calvinist/Puritan New England work ethic in me to feel morally uptight about doing this sort of thing at work. Occasionally, I'll make lunch hour postings, but even that doesn't sit too well with me.)