Saturday, June 22, 2002

Do not go gentle

The Red Sox dropped below .500 for June with last night's loss to Los Angeles in sexy Dodger Stadium.

9-10 in June. I wouldn't call it a swoon just yet. (This is my year of thinking positively for all 162.) But even a little dizzy spell can damper a month that, removed from connections of baseball, is the most joyful, full of life and good spirits, month of the year.

We've completed the summer solstice. Now the days will gradually grow shorter as we spin and tilt toward the fall equinox.

On September 21, let's hope that the Red Sox rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Friday, June 21, 2002

Music to my ears

``I would just say right now that I'm a very mature pitcher and I've shown myself that I can make the adjustment from one point to the other,'' said Martinez, now 8-2 with a 2.92 ERA. ``I've only been a power pitcher, but now I know I can do both. If I have to be a finesse pitcher and get ground balls, I believe I can do that and become a totally different pitcher.

Now doesn't that make you feel a whole lot better? (Can I get a witness?)

(Note: Ridiculously short post today, as my mind is in South Korea, watching the win or out quarterfinal as I type.)

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Steppin' on toes

I'm not at all impressed with Frank Castillo's behavior last night:

… Realizing that the runner wouldn't have scored had the balk not been called, Castillo expressed his feelings to Welke by shouting across the diamond.

``He wasn't asking me a question, he was yelling at me,'' said Welke, who immediately ejected the pitcher. ``He was angry, saying that it was my run.''

As soon as he was tossed, Castillo erupted and charged the umpire in a full sprint. He rushed to Welke's left side to avoid contact but the umpire recoiled when Castillo stepped on his foot. The ump probably would have received a yellow card in World Cup play for staging a dive but Castillo admitted making contact (Horrigan, The Boston Herald).

I'm all for an extreme passion to win and the notion in baseball or otherwise of standing up against injustice, but this was purile and embarrassing. And there wasn't any injustice as even Grady Little admits the balk call was justified. I hate to say it, but Castillo's fit is close to crossing into Carl Everett territory in my mind.

If he gets suspended, so be it.

It's a shame, though, as Castillo pitched well last night.

Diamonds Are Forever

So Manny Ramirez won't be joining the Red Sox anytime soon. Will he appear before Hermanson? Who knows. It'd be funny if it wasn't so huge, wasn't so much of an impact player.

Anyway, you heard Manny lost one of diamond earrings?

… Tuesday night, he spent time between innings in an unsuccessful search for the lost earring. Players from both teams joined in the search after the game.

''If you lost $15,000 in the sand, you'd be looking, too,'' Sox bench coach Mike Stanley said (Edes, The Boston Globe).

I guess Stanley's statement and Manny's concern over finding it is further proof that despite baseball players' enormous salaries, they really don't have much concept of what that money means. (Remember Jack Clark having to file bankruptcy while he was player because he pissed all his money away on bad investments and fancy cars? He had something like 31 vintage sports cars. But I digress …)

So Manny loses his $15000 earring. That amounts to 0.00009375 of his $160 million dollar salary (assuming I did the math right). That's the equivalent of me losing $10.31 at my salary. Would I get my panties in a bunch (excuse the vernacular, I've been listening to Eminem lately) over $10.31?

Um, not exactly. Would you?

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Unfrozen Cave Man Fan

It's comforting to know that for every 10 fan whackos out there, an insightful, intelligent über fan exists to insure the solid reputation of Red Sox Nation.

What do I mean by whackos? You know the ones, like the guy I heard a few weeks back on a rain delay call in program on WEEI who, drunk off his ass, starts with the "Ya know, Nomah Gahceeeapaara is gay ... I'm telling yooz guys, he's queeah." Or the whack jobs who, 3 weeks into the season, say something like "the Yankees are playing for the wild card now." Maybe the ration isn't as bad as 10:1, but certainly the whack jobs are in the majority it seems on talk radio (go figure) and the message boards.

And by insightful, intelligent über fans, I'm talking about those of you who leave the excellent comments here on this site and elsewhere, or this guy, Michael J. Shanku, who wrote this to the Gordon Edes Mailbag of 6-18-02:

I was wondering if the reason that Nixon is off to a bad start has something to do with where he is batting in the lineup. I know that with some players, the slot in where they bat can be a psychological issue. In the past, Trot seemed to settle in towards the top of the order and now that he is in the bottom of the order and managed by a new manager, could he be trying too hard?

I did some research (the point and click kind) and noticed that Trot hit .316 last year and .305 in 2000 out of the #2 hole. He hardly had any volume of at-bats in the bottom of the order to form an opinion, but nonetheless he seems to hit very well out of the No. 2 hole despite not having any at-bats there this year. Given the fact that he seems to handle the bat pretty well and makes contact (especially against righties) and that Offie is slumping (at the bunt and at the plate), has Grady considered moving Trot up in the order to possibly jump-start his production?

A prescient analysis by Mr. Shanku, a Red Sox fan in MI? You bet:

For the second time this season, Trot Nixon batted in the No. 2 slot [last night], and it apparently suits him. The struggling right fielder went 3 for 4, including an RBI double in the third. He also had an infield single in the eighth and scored on Shea Hillenbrand's three-run homer. He hit in the 2-hole Saturday in Atlanta and went 0 for 4. Nixon has hit the majority of the time this season in the No. 8 hole, where he is hitting .245 (26 for 106). The rest of his at-bats have been split mostly between the No. 6 hole (.133, 4 for 30) and No. 7 (.288, 19 for 66). Little has said he would move up Nixon if he thought that would improve his production, a point he reiterated Saturday. "It also has to do with the people we have playing in the game,'' he said last night. ''He had the 0 for 4 in Atlanta, but the next day he swung the bat pretty good. Let's see what happens" (Edes, The Boston Globe).

Once again, I tip my hat in admiration to all of you insightful types. By comparison, I'm like an unfrozen cave man fan. Your erudition frightens and confuses me. But hey, at least I'm not calling in to WEEI drunk with bizarre theories concerning Nomar Garciaparra's sexuality. (Not so far at least.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

El Dolor

Seeing the world in one dimension …

Regarding Mexico's loss to the US in the World Cup, some Mexican fans feel like this:

"Not many people in the United States would have been disappointed if they lost," Loaeza said of the American team. "But this is all we have. And now we are going to feel like losers again. We have that perception: We are always the losers and the United States are always the winners."

"It's like if you have a friend who is rich and beautiful and stunning. Every time you see her you feel vulnerable," said Guadalupe Loaeza, a columnist here. "And then imagine that your mother felt that way about her mother, and your grandmother felt that way about her grandmother. It's deep inside us" (Sullivan and Jordan, The Washington Post).

Yep. We are all winners here in the US of A. No, we don't have any experience with a rich neighbor and rival (ironically called los Yanquis tambien) who tends to win while we tend to finish runner-up do we Red Sox fans? Win win win we don't know nada about suffering humiliating defeat. It's one confetti parade after another down ol' Yawkey Way isn't it boys and girls?

All I can offer in sympathy to the beleaguered fans of the Mexican national futbol club is hey, at least your team doesn't have a Curse to contend with on top of everything else. Heh heh heh …

Vamos Red Sox! Si se puede.

Monday, June 17, 2002

"'Here it is. Try to hit it.'"

Derek Lowe continues to win our hearts.

``He has a different style than Schilling and Johnson,'' Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone said, obviously referring to the fact Lowe is anything but a flame-thrower. ``But he's just as effective and just as tough.''

Considering the way Lowe handled his troubles last year, no whining, no blaming anyone else, no excuses, I guess it shouldn't come as surprise either just how humble he is:

''I am not the ace, I'll tell you that right now,'' he said [after yesterday's league leading 11th win]. ''[Martinez] is the ace of this staff. I've only been doing this for two or three months. To be the ace, you've got to do this for two or three years.''

Impressive in every way.

A belated Happy Father's Day to all dads who might be reading: Any of you out there among the happy crowd frolicking on Fenway's green in these photos? What a fantastic idea.

And while I know there is a big anti-soccer contingent out there, I can't end without mentioning how chest-thumping proud I am of team USA who knocked out Mexico 2-0 early this morning. They say winning in contagious, so jump on the soccer bandwagon already. Do it for Nomar, an unabashed soccer lover, if nothing else.