Saturday, April 27, 2002
Derek Lowe. First Fenway no hitter since '65. I've got tears in my eyes, 3:30pm on a wonderful Saturday afternoon.
Why we should feel so damn joyous about putting the second half of '01 behind us:
True fact: Entering this weekend, the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays shared nearly identical won-lost records since the 2001 All-Star break. While Tampa had gone 44-50, the Sox were 44-49, a total that included their train wreck conclusion to the 2001 campaign (Massarotti, The Boston Herald).
It all seems like a very bad dream now. Let's hope it stays that way.
Let the good times roll
Friday, April 26, 2002
What say you?
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?"
"Yes, your honor. In the case of Pedro Martinez v. Naysayers and Doubters, we find in favor of the plaintiff, Mr. Martinez. In pitching 10 strikeouts, bewildering batters, carrying a no-no into the 6th inning, and giving up only one hit in the 7-0 Red Sox victory, the gentlewomen and gentlemen of the jury have proof beyond any shadow of a doubt that Pedro is still the ace.
"Furthermore, your honor, we, the jury, submit the following facts from an eye witness account:"
In Martinez' previous outing, he allowed the Royals just one hit and no runs in eight innings. He struck out six against a tougher lineup then, but yesterday he was even sharper against the Orioles. His off-speed pitches were particularly effective, but he did not have to rely on any one pitch at any one time. They were all working: In his 10 strikeouts, the third strike featured a curveball four times, a changeup three times and a fastball the other three (Silverman, The Boston Herald).
"Bailiff, dismiss the jury. The case is closed."
Thursday, April 25, 2002
Mexican rookie does hat dance on Red Sox.
Lopez, a 26-year-old righthander, pitched a shutout in the Caribbean finale against Bayamon from Puerto Rico, which happened to be the team owned by Sox utilityman Carlos Baerga. Last night, Lopez held the Sox to a couple of runs on eight hits into the sixth inning
''He's pretty good,'' Baerga said. ''Me and Pedro [Martinez] were talking. He had control of every pitch. He knows how to pitch. He really impressed me in the Caribbean Series. Good control, good slider, good changeup'' (Edes, The Boston Globe).
For a pick me up, check out Michael Holley's piece on the happy Manny Ramirez. I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Globe and it's readers are fortunate to have Michael Holley on the Red Sox beat. He seems to be able to get the Latino and African-American players to open up to him in ways the other reporters and columnists cannot.
Speaking of Manny, did you hear that guy with the booming voice at Camden Yards last night yelling "Hey, Manny, your fly is open" and "Hey, Manny, nice shoes!" among other things every time Martinez was at the plate? It really cracked me up. I love a good heckler in the stands, even if he/she is rooting against the Red Sox. It's all good clean fun.
Remember that crazy chick sitting directly behind homeplate at Shea during the '86 series who'd do that totally freaky thing with her arms, rotating them into a hypnotic frenzy? Man, that was nuts. I've never been able to get the image out of my head. It haunts me. I'm pretty sure she was some sort of succubus. If I ran into that lady and she started doing that arm mambo-jambo, she and her evil henchman could probably put some latent mind mojo on me: "Bring me the head of Pedro on a platter." Yes, I will obey. Must get head of Pedro. Must get head of Pedro
The thing is while watching the game last night I never felt bad, never felt like the Red Sox were playing poorly, never for a moment felt like they wouldn't win in the end. And the fact that they didn't doesn't deter mean in the least. The Red Sox are good.
``We feel we can win every game we play, no matter where it's played, and we still felt we were going to win this one,'' Sox center fielder Johnny Damon said (Horrigan, The Boston Herald).
Speaking of Damon, last night, with the game on Comcast (the mid-Atlantic version of NESN), seeing Johnny Damon in the batter's box I realized what a Hollywood look the guy has. He looks so friggin' cool, so baseball star-esque through and through. But, shit, the whole Red Sox lineup looks like a casting call for a baseball movie, each player looks the part so perfectly. Look at Rey Sanchez. Is he the quintessential Latin infielder or what?
When is the last time the Sox had a second baseman who was known for his glove and his footwork around the bag? That's what they have now in Rey Sanchez. If he hits .255 this year, no one will care. I actually found myself thinking last night, ''Where would this team be without Sanchez?'' (Holley, The Boston Globe)
Oh, and the camera cuts from a closeup of Nomar to a shot of Mia Hamm sitting in the stands was priceless. And I though it extra cool that Mia Hamm was sitting in the stands by herself, and appearing to be 100% focused on the game on the field. (As opposed to the ubiquitous TV shots of the players' wives who all sit together and look like they're at a Junior League social.)
Star shortstop dating star soccer player. Star outfielder in patent leather spikes. A 6'7" first baseman with a bad ass afro This is better than Hollywood for cripes sakes!
Meanwhile (while I'm on this visual veneer thing) every shot of the Orioles dugout, and there were quite a few, looked odd. I can't really put my finger on it, but something just didn't seem right. (If it weren't politically incorrect to say so, I might think they looked a tad gay. Yeah, if the Red Sox represented the casting call for a baseball movie, the Orioles, conversely, looked more like a casting call for La Cage Aux Folles. Not that there is anything wrong with that, to borrow the famous line from Seinfeld. It just struck me as a bit interesting I guess. Baseball is and always will be a reflection of our nation, so it makes sense.)
You'll have to pardon my bright-eyed fascination with seeing the game on TV. You've got to understand that, because of my location, I pretty much live with the Red Sox on the radio via MLB webcast. The only games on TV I get are the Orioles series, the occassional feature game on ESPN or Fox, and the games on NESN and FOX 25 when I'm visiting my parents in NH each summer.
So seeing the Red Sox on TV is a visual overload for me. I'm not complaining. I actually prefer to listen to the games on the radio. Oddly, radio makes me more focused. And I like to get nostalgic about it. I like to imagine my situation, having to listen to the games on the radio with a couple of trips to Fenway each year to see the game live, as being comparable to what it was like for my dad growing up and following the Red Sox. In those days, of course, there weren't a lot of games on TV, even if you had a TV. And a trip into Boston from rural NH was a big event, just as it is for me now. I can't hop in the car and drive to Fenway on a whim. It has to be planned out well in advance due to my distance from the Hub.
Meanwhile, enough about my little fantasy world, how 'bout them Red Sox?
''I think the players are starting to think that we're a pretty good club,'' [Little] said. ''I expect this to be a very good season, and that means we could lose about 65 games. If that's the case, we've already got five of them out of the way'' (Holley).
For fear of jinx, though, I'm not going to watch every pitch on TV tonight. Nope. See last night was the first night I did not have the game on the computer, i.e., the ESPN pitch-by-pitch coverage and the ReadAudio webcast, and they took the loss. Tonight, I'll keep have the game on the computer and I'll have it on the TV, but not the big, main living room TV, and I'll alternate between TV and radio. We'll see how that works.
Yes, I'm superstitious. I believe in jinx,mojo, el ojo you friggin' name it. You think I'd have a blog called Bambino's Curse if I didn't?
Tuesday, April 23, 2002
This is news worth repeating: The 8-0 road record by the 2002 Red Sox has established a franchise record for the start of a season, eclipsing the 1946 team's 7-0 start.
"I guess that means home cooking is not that important," said center fielder Johnny Damon.
"We get on the road and we enjoy each other's company. The game of baseball is precious to us" (Krasner, ProJo).
You know the crab cakes are really good in Baltimore, right?. So feast on, Johnny and company.
I'm just starting to repeat myself with how splendid life is at the moment, so I'll let Tony Pierce say it for me: "let's just all bask in the glow of the Boston Red Sox."
Monday, April 22, 2002
What a weekend for Boston sports!
Especially the Red Sox. I can't think of the last time I felt so at ease. I never felt like this last April despite Nomo's no-no and the team's hot start. But this year something is definitely different.
I think there is something to the aura Hillenbrand spoke of last week.
If I were to pick one example from the big pool of good signs regarding the Sox, it's this one:
Burkett talked his way into the fifth inning and, 17 pitches later, he had recorded the three outs he needed to seal the win.
``I think (Little) wanted to take me out after four, but I begged him to leave me in there and he did and I'm glad he did it,'' said the 37-year-old Burkett, who signed with the Sox as a free agent during the offseason. ``I felt good enough to go five and throw the pitches I did'' (Silverman, The Boston Herald).
Does that make you feel good or what? Everyone on the roster this year seems to be a real gamer.
The only thing I've got to complain about today is that there is no game. We have to wait until tomorrow in Baltimore to see what else the Red Sox have in store for us.