PhilSox Blog: June 2008


A Very Memorable Day

Monday, June 23, 2008
I am the proud father of four kids - a little yours, mine, and ours kind of deal. I have a three-year-old daughter, three today, as a matter of fact. I have a four-year-old son, who already knows about this whole Red Sox/Phillies dichotomy. He's dealing with it superbly. I have a ten-year-old step-daughter who attended her first minor league game with me this past April, and I have a 15-year-old daughter who lives with her mom. She hates baseball, but I lover her still.

Yesterday we celebrated the baby's third birthday with a little pool party out back. We had the usual suspects in attendance - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. We had a princess cake, my wife's latest birthday masterpiece, complete with a Barbie jammed down inside up to her waist. I couldn't spend the afternoon in front of the computer watching the Sox on MLB.TV, but thanks to a rain delay and a 13 inning game, I did get to see quite a bit after the party wound down. The walk-off home run by Youkilis was the perfect ending to a very memorable day.

The day was memorable for the obvious reasons, but there was one other little nugget that will have it embedded in my mind. During the party we took the opportunity to announce to all that my wife is pregnant with what will be our third child together, my fifth, all things considered. If all works out well, we'll have a new arrival just before the start of spring training in '09.

Quite a day, wouldn't you say?

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Deja Vu or A Whole New Ball Game?

Thursday, June 19, 2008
So far, this season for the Red Sox has been everything that we could have hoped for. Manny got his 500th only a little later than expected. Jon Lester is performing at or beyond most people's expectations. And J.D. Drew has risen to the occasion, taking up the slack for the wounded Papi. The Sox have the most wins in the Majors as of today, and the All Star Break is looming ever closer. With all the unusual things going on around the league, especially in the AL East (the Rays two games out of first and the Yankees doing rather poorly thus far) the Bronx Bombers have had a resurgence as of late and are now only 5 games out of first. Could we be in for a second half that resembles that of '07?

If you compare the standing as they exists today as compared to those of a year ago (both June 16) you notice some worrisome details. The Yankers, although they are in third now as opposed to second last year, they were nine games back a year ago today as opposed to five games we have on them now. The distance between the Red Sox and the third place team last June was greater than the current difference between the Sox and the last place team. Everything is tighter. Every game matters a bit more at this point.

As it does in many seasons, a lot will depend on what is done by the trading deadline. Rumors abound about possible moves. Will Ken Griffey go to the Rays? Will the Yankees try to get Sabathia? Will Kevin Millar get rid of his blond locks? (Just kidding!) Last years most noteworthy trade in the AL East was arguably Eric Gagne coming to the Sox. We all still have the bad taste in our mouth from that fiasco, the same bitter flavor the Brewers are currently trying to Listerine away. Theo undoubtedly has some thoughts as to what he'd like to do before that drop-dead date, but this year is seems like the biggest news could come from farther down the eastern seaboard.

Regardless of how the details play out, I'm betting that by September we Sox fans are waiting until the end of the month to clinch and that we have the Yankees directly behind us. All this is assuming that the Red Sox can play to the level they've been reaching thus far. The cushion this year is thinner all around the board.

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Red Sox @ Phillies

Wednesday, June 18, 2008
At the beginning of this series I was embroiled in an inner conflict. Red Sox? Phillies? How do I play this and not come out of it looking like wither a nut or a turd?

I'm not sure if I know the answer to that, even now. But these three days have not been lived without knowledge gained. The Philadelphia took the first game 8 - 2, then the Sox took game two, 3 - 2, and now today with the Red Sox up 7 - 4 in the bottom of the 7th, I'm seeing a pattern that seems to indicate something really positive for the Red Sox.

Here's the results of some recent games for Boston.

Ok. So the Red Sox swept the Rays (complete with a brawl). They then go to Seattle and drop the first game, winning the second two. Same in Baltimore. Same in Cincinnati. If the score holds out (now in the top of the ninth, same score), they will have done the same thing to the Phils. So, although they are dropping that frist game to teams that they haven't seen in awhile, Francona or Varitek or someone is evidently taking notes. They seem to be applying the info they gain in game one and applying it in games two and three.

This bodes well for the rest of their season, should they find themselves able to continue this process. That works out to just shy of .670 baseball. Not to mention it would make them the favorite in the post-season.

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American Papi!

Thursday, June 12, 2008
Congrats to Big Papi! Now a citizen of the greatest country in the world.

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What a Circus!

Friday, June 06, 2008
Let's begin with the idea that no, Coco Crisp charging the mound was probably not the best thing to do. That having been said, the fracas that ensued was one for the archives, to be sure. Coco was ejected and rightly so. Shields was ejected and rightly so. That, if it were up to the Red Sox, would have been it. But the Sox weren't playing a team that is used to having games that matter. This was evidenced by the fact that Johnny Gomes was seen on top of Navarro (who was holding down Crisp), punching wildly and the pinned center fielder. Gome got tossed, too, and rightly so.

Where the "rightly so" ends is in the fact that Iwamura threw punches and did not get tossed. Carl Crawford can be clearly seen pounding on Crisp's head, and he did not get tossed. Suspensions don't necessarily follow ejections, so let's hope that they get some repercussions.

And for you Ray's fans, I challenge you to find one other Boston player besides Crisp that threw a punch. I've watched the play back at least a dozen times. What you see is a whole list of Ray's who felt they were entitled to throw punches. Let's remember that this all started with rookie Jason Bartlett dropping his knee to block second in the Wednesday night game. In all the years I've watched baseball, I have never seen a shortstop block second on a steal attempt. But all these things from Tampa...that knee drop, the beaning of Crisp, and the enventual pile-on, areEvidence no surprise. These guys are not used being where they are. Plus may their a little pissed-off as well because of all the empty seats at their home games!

There was also some baseball played. Manny hit a 3-run jack in the first and drove in two more later, for a 5 RBI night. And I can't help but wonder, didn't anyone think after losing the first two games of the series, dropping out of first by half a game, that the Ray's might forgo the attack on Crisp a little farther than the second inning? Thanks in part to the Ray's vengeance move removing their started in the second, the Red Sox trounced the visitors, 7 -1.

Jacoby then rolls his wrist on a typical Ellsbury stupendous catch. So far, the report is a strain, no breaks. Buy the MRI will be the real test. That left the outfield looking rather odd. Chris Carter in left (who went 2 for 3 at the plate), J.D. in center, and Youk, who was to have the night off, in left.

Youk was probably happy to get out of the dugout after Manny took a swing at him! What the heck was that all about? Good grief! Are there two guys less likely to be fighting in the dugout? Hopefully we'll get some insight on that disagreement in the days to come.

Manny, who spent most of his time in the dugout while acting as DH, was relieved of that job too when an inside pitch prompted him to move awkwardly out of the way and tweak an already tender hamstring. That brought Kevin Cash in as DH! Know, we all know Kevin Cash and his sun .200 career batting average in the minors, right. Only coming into last night's game, Cash was hitting .301! He only batted once, striking out, but in his defense, he was a bit distracted. He had to run out to the bullpen between his pinch running and then hitting in the DH spot to help warm up a reliever! Is there no one on the Red Sox coaching staff who could catch a pitcher for a warm-up?

In all, the game saw 5 hit batsmen. Pedrioa, Crisp, and Youklis for the Sox, Crawford (what a shame) and Iwamura (again, too bad) for the Rays.

The two team play again in Tampa for a four game set June 29 through July 2.

Can't wait.

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I'm Still Here. Really!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Remember when that nasty stomach flu ran through the Red Sox clubhouse awhile back. Well it ran through my house over the last two weeks, slapping every one of us on the way. I spent a lot of time holding a bucket for one sick child or another, wahcing my hands 20 times and hour in the hopes that I could escape getting it myself. I failed.

So much has gone on since then. First and foremost, Big Papi and Dice-K are both on the DL! What a nightmare. Except things are going OK, so far anyway. Juston Masterson got his second win last night. We took 3 out of 4 from the flailing O's. And as much as I missed David Ortiz horribly (he is pretty much my favorite player in baseball, running neck and neck with Manny) I have to admit that having Manny DH and having the Sox outfield read (from left to right) Ellsbury, Crisp, Drew, is a pretty fine defensive situation.

The Phillies are back in first, even if the Sox are still 1/2 a game out. They continue to be an offensive juggernaut, scoring 78 runs in their last 9 games, winning 8 of them! Our boy Utley continues to be spectacular at the plate and in the field. Jimmie Rollins, in what I think is a bit of a slight, is in 5th place for NL shortstops, and this coming off his MVP year. Ryan Howard is fourth among the 1 bag crew, which is no suprise considering his meager start.
Speaking of the All-Star ballot, the Red Sox are doing well in this popularity contest, too. Pedroia, Youkilis, Varitek, Ortiz, and Ramirez are all the leading vote-getters thus far for their respective positions. Lowell is in second behind A-Rod for third basemen, and even Lugo (yes, Lugo) is in the top 5 short stops. Crisp and Drew are within the top 12 outfielders, leaving only Ellsbury off the list, which is, in and of itself, shocking.
Manny finally got past old number 500 down in Oriole Park. No pomp, no circumstance. Not even a game break. Just back to the dugout and then a good round of applaus when they got back to the Fens last night. There's a lesson for T.O. to learn, who whined like a girl when he got his 100th TD and the planet continued to spin on.

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