Thursday, October 21, 2010

Q & A


The questions keep rolling in…

  1. Did you watch or listen to every game?
Every single Red Sox game in the 2010 regular season. And I would have watched the post season too!

  1. Where’s the final post?
Can we say “better late than never?” Question 2B seems to be did you fizzle out to make a statement about Boston’s lethargic conclusion to the season? Um, yeah. Let’s go with that.

  1. What did you learn?
Game one, I could not correctly define “hit.” I learned a lot over the course of the season. Some of it very basic but necessary to understand the game. Some of it pretty obscure even for blue hats.

  1. Does your husband love you even more now?
He’s moved onto football, but he did enjoy the blog. Unfortunately, he was looking for me to become a fanatic, to embody the elation and pain felt by the team (magnified by 10), not just a fan. You’re still on your own buddy.

  1.  Will you watch the Sox next year?
I will definitely watch the Sox next year, but I will probably not watch every game. Especially the west coast games that don’t start until 10pm and don’t end until 2am. And I know the Sox are gonna go all the way next year. But if by chance they don’t, if they are out of the running in August, I might just slack off like the rest of Red Sox Nation.

  1. Are you a bluehat now?
A couple days after the Sox played the Yankees in the final game of the season, ESPN premiered “Four Days in October,” a segment of the 30 for 30 documentary series. Four Days in October relived the drama of the 2004 American League Champion Series (ALCS). The Sox vs. the Yankees? The bloody sock?

I watched every game in 2010. I learned the rules of baseball and the history of the Sox. But 2010 was just one season, and what I learned was just facts. Bluehats get excited to relive Four Days in October. I’ve only experienced Pedroia’s comeback against the Yankees on opening day, the amazing first performances of Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava, the improbable number of injuries.  It seems that all these, more than the rules, more than knowing dates and statistics, are what truly makes a bluehat. Give me a few more seasons of experiences and my pink hat will be blue.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Math Don't Lie

If the Sox win, consider this a practice game for the Yankees!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Metaphor


In case you've given up on the Sox (in which case, thanks for continuing to follow the blog), the Sox are one game into a three game series at Oakland. That means 10pm games. 

And Breakfast with the Sox for me.

I poured my coffee and flipped on the game at 7:59am. I made Dave promise not to tell me the outcome because I noticed he was on ESPN.com prepping for his Fantasy Football league. (Yeah, he's given up on the Sox and moved on to the Pats.)

The first pitch was to Kalish. He made contact, and he so would have had a home run if it weren't for a perfectly timed catch over the wall by Coco Crisp. Why'd we get rid of him again?  I focus on the TV to check out the beautiful hit (and catch). What do you think flashes across the bottom of the screen?  

The final score of the game. 5-0 Oakland.

So now I have to watch the game (luckily a condensed version) knowing that the Sox blow it. I am having a hard time not viewing this incident as a metaphor for the rest of the season. As in, why are you watching this? You know what is going to happen.

Does that make me a blue hat? 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Change

Things certainly have changed here.

For one, my husband used to hide the remote so I couldn't watch Bravo. He now tells me to "turn that sh-- off," when I tune into NESN.

And then tonight he answered a baseball question and followed it with "I could be wrong about that."  (Or did he say "don't quote me on that?" Whoops, sorry Dave!)

What was the question that stumped the stumper?

Adrian Beltre stepped on first at the exact microsecond Tampa Bay's first baseman touched the base with ball in hand. Beltre was called out. Naively perhaps, I claimed he should have been safe. Tie goes to the runner, right?


According to Dave - just don't quote him - tie goes to the runner isn't an official rule. Apparently someone always gets to the base first, and the officials can always tell, or at least make a judgement, about who it is. To get to the bottom of this I had to turn to google.

The wording of the official rule is, "a batter is out when, after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base." Notice it doesn't say before or at the same time he touches first base. Tie goes to the runner may not be the official wording of the rule, but it seems like a pretty fair restatement of the rule.

Speaking of baseball rules, I need someone to explain what just happened with Eric Patterson and Victor Martinez. Patterson began running home, then turned around to tag up but Martinez was already there. The thirdbaseman tagged Martinez and Patterson... I think that if Patterson had remained on base he would have been safe, but instead he started walking off the field. He was then tagged out.

Too bad bluehats are no longer watching the Sox. I could really use some help with that one.

Hey, I am still learning new baseball rules, so maybe not EVERYTHING has changed.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cardinal Rule of Baseball

I have watched or listened to every Red Sox game this season with minimal channel flipping. That is one hundred and thirty-three games, but who (besides me) is counting?

The sports wonks, including my in-house Soxpert have pretty much given up on Boston. If they are right, and the Sox have really dug a playoff-less grave for 2010, my Sox-ucation will only last 31 more games.

Knowing that my games are numbered and at some point I am going to be left watching the Sox alone (fair-weathered, bluehatted fans), I am holding on to every last gem of knowledge my hubby spews these days. Including the "cardinal rule" of baseball. "never make the last out on third."

Perhaps I should use my last 31 games to stop you bluehats from institutionally preventing pinkhats from learning the game. When Dave yelled "Dude, that's like the cardinal rule of baseball - you never make the last out on third, " I went "huh?"

Somehow thinking that his ear-numbing tirade at the television had been less than audible, he repeated himself. And then, met with my bland stare, repeated himself again.

Nope, I (and all the neighbors) heard you fine. But how could you possibly expect me to understand that?

In the beginning of the season, "making an out" meant stepping on the plate, tagging the player, or hitting him with the ball. (See how far I have come?) Apparently bluehats understand the sentiment "never make the last out on third," despite its tricky wording. It means that the offense - not the defense as the wording suggests - should not have risked the out if he wasn't forced to third. The only sure way the runner will get home from third is on a hit... but chances are the runner could make it from second on the same hit. 


So if there are two outs, the runner should never steal third. However, if there is only one out, stealing third could be a good gamble. You MIGHT get home on a fly ball. But at least if you don't make it home you haven't ended the inning.


Simple enough concept, but did I really have to waste one of my dwindling learning opportunities deciphering it. 


Ugh, I never thought that after 133 games I would still need someone to point out a cardinal rule of baseball. And then require a translator to decipher it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guest Blogger

I requested that my husband "guest blog" for me tonight. Although I would much rather be writing about baseball (wow, never thought I would say that), I am writing up a grant proposal for work while I watch the Sox.

The guest blogging started as a joke. Now I'm thinking why not? He is a Sox baseball expert, and he is as opinionated as most bloggers (and guest bloggers). 

You want to know why not? Because he is saying no. He is saying that although he is a hilarious person in general, he can't write funny.

I don't really care if this post is funny, just that it is done. This weekend my mother-in-law was wondering about the difference between pitching out of the windup and pitching out of the stretch.  My mother-in-law just happens to be my husband's mother, so it is only fair that Dave answer this one for her me. 

So I asked him the question... and copied what he said word-for-word. Here is his unintentional guest blog post: 

"It's actually a very simple question so you should be able to blog very easily." Heehee, hubby, if only you knew.

"It's gone, it's so very gone!" Nope, that has nothing to do with pitching out of the windup. Or out of the stretch. It is Dave's method for celebrating Bill Hall's solo homerun over the Volvo sign while simultaneously annoying me because he knows how much I hate that Southwest Commercial.

"Here look, I'll show you. You told me last week that you are a visual learner." Shut up, stop trying to be a good husband that listens, and just tell me the answer to the question so I can get back to my work.

"Look at John Lackey. He is pitching to the Angels Reggie Willets. There isn't a huge difference in his pitches, but he doesn't have his full leg motion now that Bobby Abreu is on base."

"The windup is the regular pitching motion. Pitchers want to throw out of the windup because they have better accuracy and better speed."

"The pitcher pitches out of the stretch when there is somebody on base. The pitcher wants to get the ball to the catcher as fast as possible to hold the runner. If there is a runner on first, as long as he has just a little speed, the pitcher has to worry that he might try to steal so he doesn't want to waste time with the windup. If there is a runner on third... hey, stop writing what I am saying verbatim... most pitchers will pitch out of the windup anyway because runners on third don't usually steal base."

And there you have it folks (and mom) - the difference between pitching out of the windup and pitching out of the stretch. Brought to you by guest blogger Dave.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Momentum

Headlines today had the Sox "losing momentum".

Having posted only a couple times in the last couple weeks, I can certainly understand that. But is that really what is ocurring?

Losing momentum to me is something that happens gradually but consistently... you skip posting after a few games, then you go two games without posting, then three. That just doesn't compare to what is happening with the Sox.

The Sox look strong at some point in most games.  Like they could really win it, and then go out tomorrow and win that game. Then the next one too. But then something falls apart... think Friday and Saturday nights' games when it looked like they had clinched it early on.


Maybe it's the pitching. Papelbon has replaced Voldemorrt as "he who shall not be named" in our household. Analysts ponder why Bard isn't closing and unanimously conclude that Pap would have a fit if he was asked to pitch relief. Um, why not "let him have a fit?"

And speaking of "sucking it up," what about Jacoby Ellsbury and the rest of the Sox? Yesterday Marco Scutaro was the only Sox player filling his position on the season-opening roster (Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre were playing, but at first and third respectively). Dustin Pedroia has completed rehab of his broken foot and should return tomorrow.

Maybe his pep can speed up the momentum. Now I just have to figure out how to pick up mine.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Catch-Up

A few days ago Jerry Remy announced that Darnell McDonald made a shoestring catch. It suddenly struck me that, although I have researched and described the different types of pitching, I have failed to explore the different types of catching. Just what makes a catch a shoestring?

In the meantime the baby has learned to crawl, pull up, walk holding on with one hand, and basically destroy anything in her path.* She has also decided she will not go to sleep any time before 9pm. Which makes sitting down and blogging during the game, well, impossible.


Caught in the Act. In a true Catch-22, the baby pulls all my baseball reference material off the bookshelf. These are the very items I can't use because I'm busy making sure she doesn't pull them off the shelf (unsuccessfully).

So a shoestring catch is a running catch made close to the ground (or your shoestrings). Easy, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised to learn that there are a bunch of rules associated with making a catch.

For example, it doesn't matter if you make the most perfect, most beautiful, most up-against-the-wall, should-have-been-a-home run catch; if you then drop the ball it's not a catch. However, if a player grabs the ball in the air before it reaches the ground, demonstrates possession, and then drops the ball. Catch.


If you make a catch with your hat, your shirt, or your cup, you might make Sports Center, but you haven't made a catch. Even if the ball becomes lodged in the catchers face mask, it's not a catch.


It is a catch if a fielder reaches the edge of the dugout and is then held up by a teammate or opponent in order to reach the ball. A player can also reach over, or even jump on or over a wall in order to make a catch. 


What other crazy catch-rules do you know about? Wikipedia has a rule about the ball being hit by a fielder, then by an offensive player, then caught by a defensive player... you guessed it, it's not a catch.


*People laughed when I started baby-proofing with the baby still in the womb. I should have ignored them, because it it is virtually impossible to baby-proof now that she can put things in her mouth. She wants to eat outlet covers, drawer stops, and the rugs I use to conceal wires.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Gametime

Phew! The almost two weeks of 10:00pm games are over. Plus, we survived our camping trip.

Just barely. Last week I posted that serendipitously we would be arriving at our campsite just as the Sox were beginning their late night start against the Los Angeles Angels. We had seen signs stating "Acadia, ten miles" and confirmed directions to our campsite with the friendly park rangers.

Just because someone is friendly doesn't mean you should follow their directions without looking on a map.

One hour and 45 miles out of yhe way later we realize our mistake. How did we not realize sooner? We were joking around, singing along with the radio, finishing up our blog post (me), and monitoring the hot pursuit of a road-raged driver.

Yup, some dude was convinced Dave was intentionally (?) shining his highbeams into his vehicle... it was actually just a high truck behind us. The dude pulled off the road, let us pass, then road our ass, shining his highbeams directly into our car. We had to go another ten miles out of our way because we were afraid to pull over and have the guy think we were ready to take it outside... Or whatever it is you do in Moose Country, Maine.

We finally lose him and turn around, only to be pulled over by a cop because someone called the station to report a drunk driver. Guess who that could have been.

We finally made it to the campsite at 12:30am (we listened to the game in the car, not around the campfire). Then we had to put up the tent we borrowed from my brother-in-law. Turns out the tent was missing a pole. And had a broken pole that was mended with duck tape making it six inches too short. And another that snapped, collapsing the tent, right after we loaded our stuff inside.

Not surprisingly, it also turns out that my brother-in-law stole the tent during his bachelor party. In his defense, the occupants were spending the night in jail thus did not need the tent.

The rest of the camping trip pretty much followed suit. Car had to be towed out of a drainage ditch, we got pulled over a second time (broken taillight), we had to set up the new tent we bought at one am in the pouring rain, et cetera, et cetera.

But how bout those Sox? I'll post about all the baseball knowledge I acquired during my late night viewings/ listenings soon.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Eek

We're almost to Bar Harbor, and the cell service is getting spotty. I
figured I'd better get a quick post in while there are still signs of
civilization.

We're camping in Acadia National Park this weekend- yup, camping with
an eight-month-old. We made the reservations in the beginning of the
season (camping, not baseball), before I realized what west coast play
was all about.

Late games.

So tonight we'll be setting up the tent with the Sox. And if the game
is anything like last night's game, cringing into the wee hours at an
almost no hitter/ almost loss after a six run lead.
Tonight though, we've got pitcher Josh Beckett back from the disabled
list. Maybe a little change will do the Sox good.

Should be a fun one... to listen to on the radio around the camp fire.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Put me in, Coach

Tuesday night, second inning. Mike Cameron doubles,* Hall singles. The third base coach holds Cameron at third so the A's catcher goes for the out at first. He overthrows, so the first base coach sends Hall to second and the third base coach sends Cameron home.

The Sox pick up two more unearned runs in the inning, with a little help from A's pitcher Dallas Braden and sloppy defense. You could argue, however, that the runs were orchestrated by the Sox coaches.

Which made me wonder, just how many coaches do the Sox have? I found this list on their website:

Managers & Coaches
# Name Position
47 Terry Francona Manager
28 Dave Magadan Batting Coach
52 John Farrell Pitching Coach
50 Ron Johnson First Base Coach
10 Tim Bogar Third Base Coach
35 DeMarlo Hale Bench Coach
57 Gary Tuck Bullpen Coach

It seems like a lot when there are only nine fielders and a designated hitter to worry about at any time during the game. But I guess when you factor in the bullpen, and the fact that a player might get called up from the minors and be in the field an hour or two later (not quite the situation with Jed Lowrie).... and with the number of injuries this year it seems like one coach would be needed just to keep track of them all (okay boys, where is Ellsbury, anyone seen him in the locker room?)

Three Sox made the Sport's Illustrated list of the 50 highest paid athletes... If you're going to spend that much money, I guess it makes sense to hire a few coaches.




*Did you know the Sox, with  67 games remaining, are on track to break the record for number of doubles in a season. The record is 376 doubles and was set by the Texas Rangers in 2008.

Monday, July 19, 2010

10PM, What?

Bluehats, tell me this is a joke.

The 10pm start was appreciated tonight - I vegged out with The Bachelorette. I doubt it will be appreciated when the baby cries at 5am tomorrow morning. And how much coffee will I need to make it to the 10:05pm start tomorrow night?

I mean, really? Seven out of the next nine games (in as many days) start after 10pm. Which means they don't end until after midnight.

Forget coffee, I'm going to need something stronger than caffeine.

Dave says I should be happy that, until tonight, I've made it almost 100 games with only one late start. Wait a sec, almost one hundred games? That means I'm more than halfway done.

But I've still got a lot to learn. For instance, I missed Adrian Beltre making contact with his 15th homerun of the season. I asked Dave if he went down on one knee again, and Dave said, "Oh, that was a fastball."

Um, did you hear me correctly hubby? I asked about the batter and you told me about the pitcher.

Apparently Beltre only swings down on one knee if the ball is a "breaking ball". The relationship between pitch and batting form might not be intuitive to me yet, but I do need to keep in mind that four months ago I didn't know what a breaking ball was. For the record, a breaking ball is any pitch that changes direction or height before it crosses the plate. Curveballs and splitters are examples of breaking balls.

Luckily I'll have a week and a half of late night cram sessions to learn more.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thoughts on a Rivalry

I spent the All-Star Game trying to determine if the Red Sox or the Yankees got booed louder by fans at Anaheim's  new Stadium. And which of the two looked more upset after the National League beat the American League (it turns out the winner gets home field advantage* during the World Series).

I witnessed another display of solidarity, if that's what you would call being booed simultaneously.

I volunteered again tonight at Fenway for the Red Sox Foundation - those 50/50 raffle tickets sold by orange apron-clad volunteers help improve the educations of inner-city students and could send you home with some serious cash. Right before the Star Spangled Banner, the Sox honored the death of Joe Sheppard,** Yankees public-address announcer, and George Steinbrenner, Yankees owner.

The crowd observed a long moment of silence and then broke into applause. I've never seen anything Yankee handled quite so respectfully in Boston (sorry Red Sox Nation).

I guess the All-Star Game isn't all that brings these rivals together.

And just for good measure... Go Sox, Yankees Yuk!





*To win the World Series a team must win four games. In the event that seven games are needed to do so, the team with home field advantage would play four games at home. Did I make that more confusing than it actually is?


** Joe Sheppard began announcing players as they stepped up to the plate in 1951. About 5 years ago, Derek Jeter had Sheppard record an announcement for him so he could be introduced by Sheppard into posterity.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Home Run Derby

I could have three days off from watching the Sox. Three days off from blogging about baseball.* Maybe even three days off from Wikipedia.

I could use the All-Star Break for baking cookies, reading a book, going for a run or some other simple pleasure. Instead I'm watching the Home Run Derby.

Home Run Derby by Vivian, age 8.5 months

Here's what I have learned so far about the Derby and the All-Star Game, also known as the Midsummer Classic. The All-Star Game has been played annually since 1935, usually on the second Tuesday of each July. Remember how I was hoping the "break" was a week or two?  Nope. All teams have at least three days off, one day before and one day after the All-Star Game. 

The day off prior to the game has been dedicated to the Home Run Derby since 1985. There have been slightly different formats since the Derby began (different numbers of players, different ratios of representation from the leagues, not carrying homeruns between rounds, one v. one competition for the four final players). Currently four players from the Nationals and four players from the American League compete. There are three rounds; after the first round, the four players with the most homeruns advance. After the second round, two players advance. In each round the players get ten outs to score as many homeruns as possible. An out is any ball that is swung at that is not a homerun. Homeruns carry over from the first to second round, but the scoreboard is reset for the two players in the final round.

I stepped into the batting cage for the first time this weekend. I hit baseballs at 50mph, and even though I "check swung" at all of them, I was happy with how many balls I hit AND the fact that I knew the definition of check swing (not following through with the bat). 

I thought maybe the Home Run Derby would use a pitching machine to keep everything even. Nope again. Players use a pitching coach or someone else of their choosing to gently (about 60mph?) toss balls over the mound. 

David Ortiz is stepping up to the plate. Hopefully ESPN won't cut to that annoying guy and the anatomy of the home run swing, although I did learn an interesting fact from him. The average home run travels 398 feet, but in the Home Run Derby the average increases by over 20 feet.

More tomorrow on the All-Star Game... too exciting to miss.



*I know, I know. I haven't exactly been a blog queen recently. We've been away from home and internet access seven out of the last ten days. Blogging from the iPhone has gotten old so I've totally slacked and I'm sorry. Dad, look forward to "What the eef is an eephus?" accompanied by a tribute to Teddy Williams later this week. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Knock-knock

Dave developed a pretty annoying habit during the 2004 division finals. It intensified during the World Series and even had some sticking power into 2005 and 2006.

Guess what? It's back.

The Sox were down 6-2 against the Tampa Bay Rays in the top of the ninth. Daniel Nava tripled (made it to third base) and scored on a sacrifice fly (ball caught for an out that allows a runner to score) by Mike Cameron. 6-3. Darnell McDonald just got an RBI double (brought a runner home and made it to second base) bringing the score to 6-4.

Dave is knocking furiously on the arm of the rocking chair.

It doesn't have to be the rocking chair. I've seen - and heard - my husband knock on the coffee table, the floor, his cell phone. It starts out slow and quiet then gathers speed, volume, and annoyingness as the pitcher winds up and releases the ball. It continues until the ball is hit or the ump makes a call, at which point it is often accompanied by "you got to be kidding me!"

I had almost forgotten about the knocking, which is hard to do. After his knocking caused the Sox to win the 2004 Series, he started knocking for other sports too. Knocking as the ball rolled down the lane at the bowling alley. Or as the dealer distributed the deck at the casino.

Kevin Youkilis just lined out (hit the ball pretty low, but not on the ground) to center field. I guess the knocking didn't help this time.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Playing the Field


Last week I identified a gap in my baseball knowledge... regulation field size.

By this point in the season, I have watched enough Sox games (all of them to be exact) to realize that batters can "hit" a certain park well. I am guessing this means that the dimensions of each park differ. I would also wager that the bases are the same distance apart, so perhaps the difference is in the length and maybe the width (?) of the outfield.
After that, my only experience with field size does not come from any baseball regulations book. Did you ever play wiffle ball in some kids back yard? Unless the kid's father was banking on their son making the majors and provided the kid with actual bases, you had two options. The first was for four kids to volunteer the jacket off your back to throw on the ground in a rough approximation of a diamond. This option left you cold and possibly in trouble with your mother for dirtying your jacket. The second option was to use whatever trees, bushes and lawn decor adorned the lawn, which often resulted in a rather funny shaped base path.

That doesn't answer my question though. It's simply a fun memory. In this case, only wikipedia can help. Here is Mr. Wiki's diagram:


See the note at the top? The distance from home plate to the fence can differ by 45 feet measuring from the plate to center field. So if you think about it like a triangle, even though the back fence is rounded (is it?), the width of the field would differ too.

I guess that means that a player could field a park well(?).

Ah, bluehats. Just when I think I am starting to get it, you throw something else at me. I now have to research the differences in outfield shapes between Fenway and other parks, the size of homeplate and the bases, the purpose of having two on-deck circles, what occurs in the coaches boxes, the rules about where the pitcher stands when he throws, the dimensions of "the strike zone" (whatever that is), and on an on.

And those are just the questions I have from looking at the diagram. What else will I need to know after watching the actual game against the Baltimore Orioles tonight?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sunny Sick Day

There are Fridays in the summer when my office of 30 people is empty.

Like seriously empty. My desk is down a long hallway, around a corner, and butting up against the end wall. Yet some Fridays in the summer the Fed Ex guy buzzes the door and I am the closest one in the office (or the biggest sucker).

This is most likely on particularly beautiful days in the summer.

Could the same be happening at our Fenway branch?

The opening lineups used to be a reminder to grab a bag of chips from the kitchen and refill your beer. Now the opening lineup is an opportunity to meet the Paw Sox without travelling to Rhode Island. "Playing left field, Eric Patterson."

Who?

During last night's game against Tampa Bay Rays, four of the nine players were not on the starting lineup in the beginning of the season. And now relief pitcher Manny Delcarmen is on the disabled list.



Now I know the Red Sox play their hearts out, and we can assume they don't want to end up on the disabled list (heck, Dustin Pedroia was taking grounders on his knees with a broken foot). And I think the media would have been tipped off if a bunch of Sox players were beaching it on game day.


So what's the dilly, bluehats? 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Star-Spangled


My friend Wendy Roy is singing the National Anthem before tomorrow night's Red Sox game against Tampa Bay at Fenway Park.  This isn't her first time in the majors (haha) - that's her in the picture.

Awesome, right?

Perhaps even more awesome is the song about Boston that she wrote and performed... you might have heard it at Fenway.  Check it out!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

On the Road

This week the Sox went from so-close-you-can-almost-taste-it to so-close-to-being-swept by the Rockies this week. They haven't lost three games in a row since May 15-17 against the Tigers and Yankees (thanks Extrabases for that stat).

I'll will be listening to the game on the car radio with the babe as we make our first solo trip to CT for the weekend. She's in her Red Sox onesie ready to pass out in her car seat, so this is just a quick post while daddy loads our bags in the car.

During last nights game John Lackey tried to bunt with two strikes. This is weird becaue Lackey is a pitcher but also normal because Lackey is a pitcher. The Rockies are in the west division of the National league where pitchers take a turn up at bat. Players don't normally bunt with two strikes because if it goes foul it counts as strike number three.*

But when there is a runner on and less than two outs, a pitcher will bunt with two strikes because they are usually not great hitters. Pitchers bunt to try to advance the runner. Darnell MacDonald was on first, so Lackey bunted (his best chance for a hit), but hit the ball foul.


Gotta go. Let's hope the Sox keep the (no more than two loses in a row) streak going.



Dave told me that a bunt is the only situation where you can strike out on a foul ball. I just realized that I have never talked about foul territory on the blog... or the dimensions of different fields, or the history of baseball. This last one I actually wrote one weekend when I didn't have internet access, but did have an old reference book about baseball. Somehow it never got posted. As I have got to get on the road, these topics will have to wait for another night.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fatigue

Now I know why there is an all-star break.

It's for the bloggers.

I have still been watching every Red Sox game. Yesterday we went to Cambridge Brewing Co. to eat and watch the game. I was definitely chatting with our friends (New York-based Sox fans), enjoying my beer, and making sure the baby didn't choke on her green beans, so I'll admit my mind wasn't completely on the game. But most games I'm just sitting on the couch, eyes on the TV.

It's the blogging that's killing me.

For example, I really should have posted on Friday about Manny. Manny Ramirez played for the Sox from 2000-2008. He was there for the 2004 and 2007 World Series wins, but there was a bit of controversy around his being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers (in a three-way trade that scored the Sox Jason Bay from the Pirates). If anyone would like to know more about the controversy, email me and I'll have Dave call you. He seems to really enjoy talking about it, although, unlike many, he has unflagging support for Manny.

The Dodgers (and Manny) were in Boston this weekend, and it would have been a really great subject for the blog. Friday afternoon pre-game: will the fans cheer or boo? Friday post-game: they cheered for the most part. Saturday during the game: Did you see Manny's homerun? Tonight: Can you believe the BS about Manny that is coming out of these commentators' mouths?

But I am experiencing some blogger fatigue. I have to learn more about this All-Star Break. For now I'm blissfully picturing it as a week or two. In the tropics. With a beach. And a book.

And no blogging.


NOTE: I am sure this is just a phase, and in no way means I don't appreciate each and every reader and the time they spend with me each day (or every few days as I try to get out of this blogging fatigue). XOXO, Alli

Thursday, June 17, 2010

La pregunta del dia

See if you can guess the question of the day.

Huge sportsfans, as well as those with only a faint inkling of the momentous occassion ocurring tonight, have been asking me it.

All. Day. Long.

Oh yeah, this question is bigger than coke or pepsi? Dunk your Oreos or not?

It doesn't seem to matter that the Sox moved the game to 6:10pm so that we could watch both, everyone wants to know which I'll be watching.

Red Sox or Yankees?

As if I have a choice! I'm watching or listening to every Sox game this season. In retrospect I should have inclded a clause. Every game... unless the Celtics are playing the Lakers in game 7 of the NBA Finals.

Whoops. I guess I'll miss the first inning of the Celtics game. I hope they score lots of goals. Do you think Magic Johnson will get any playing time tonight?*

Honestly, go Celtics! I hope you win. And watch out, I just might start following basketball.

Next year.


*Just to be clear, I know that basketball has quarters and you score baskets. There are five (maybe) players on the court at a time. Kobe Bryant plays for the Lakers and we hate him. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen play for the Celtics. Magic Johnson does not. Kisses, Pinkhat.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Religious Experience

I may have my issues with the Catholic religion,* but here is something I do like. No matter where you travel or what church you attend, it’s always the same. In this hectic life where stress often gets the best of me, there’s something calming about all the ritual.

Fenway gives me a similar feel.** No matter what team they’re playing or how the Sox are faring, the program is always the same. Announce the visiting team the Red Sox, the umpires. Color guard marches onto the field, the anthem is sung, “Play Ball!”

Ahhhhh.

Tonight I was lucky enough to be on the Green Monster selling 50/50 raffle tickets for the Red Sox Foundation when David Ortiz hit his home run. Not sure what the church equivalent of that is. Being in the choir loft when Moses walks in?

Holy sacrilege! With that, goodnight. (I'm off to say my prayers for that one.)



*Don’t you hate when pinkhat gets all political?
** Don’t you hate when pinkhat compares religion to baseball? See http://www.pinkhatbluehat.com/2010/04/indoctrination.html

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bookclub

I caught the beginning and end of last night's game against the Cleveland Indians on the radio.

The middle of the game I followed using my iPhone MLB.com app that gives the play-by-play. Let me tell you, play-by-play is not the same as listening to commentary or watching the game. It's way slower for one, and when pitchers Boof Bonser and Joe Nelson face 14 batters in one inning, you'll swear someone's tapped into your phone to play a practical joke.

It also kills the battery on the iPhone. Unfortunately I learned this when I really needed the maps app to find my way home from bookclub.

Yes, bookclub. I used to have real hobbies before committing to watch or listen to every Red Sox game this season. Not that we ever talk about the book.

Would you call complaining about men and gossiping about sex a hobby?

Anyway, perhaps as punishment for keeping one eye on the iPhone all meeting, the bookclub ladies gave me a rude awakening. "I used to be able to follow what you were talking about," one said. "You used to explain everything."

"Now you sound like a guy," said another.

Okay, I'm trying to become a bluehat - not a guy - and I wouldn't mind bringing a few pinkhats with me. Plus, I would like to stay true to my roots. My biggest gripe with baseball is how the rules and lingo make it inaccessible to people who haven't always been immersed in it.

I'll do better, promise. With the Sox going from uh-oh to woo-hoo, I got a little caught up in the day-today activity of the game. Look forward to reading more on my baseballucation in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Amateur Night

Don't be confused, this draft has little to do with amateurs. Last year's number one pick of Stephen Strasburg by the Nationals came with a year of negotiation and, ultimately, a 15.1 million dollar price tag. In an unprecedented amateur draft event, the Nationals had the first pick again this year. They chose 17-year-old hitting-wonder Bryce Harper who is likely to request a similar wage through agent Scott Boras, who is also Straburg's agent and according to Dave "everything that is wrong with baseball."*

I don't know what I was expecting. Perhaps a compilation of the try-out scene from "A League of Their Own", the draft-day episode of the sitcom "The League", and amateur comedian night at Maui Taco. Alas, there were no ooh and ahh moments as sexy women hit over the fence. And no one called anyone else a dickwad... at least not on TV. More about Maui Taco below.

The Sox did have some prospects visit Fenway. Francona reported that Kolbrin Vitek was excited to meet all the Sox... and in a Francona awarded dork-of-the-year moment called Dustin Pedroia a "cool guy". I don't see what is wrong with that. Shouldn't an amateur get excited to meet his favorite player?

The Sox picked up Vitek, a likely-third-basemen, possible-center-fielder, in pick 20. They also got right fielder Bryce Brentz in pick 36, and pitcher Anthony Ranaudotha (another Boras "advisee") in the 39th pick.

Day Two of the draft, Rounds 2-30, starts today at noon, and Day Three starts tomorrow at noon. The Sox have pick numbers 57, 110, and 143.

Maybe days two and three will be a little more like amateur night at the Maui Taco, a Mexican joint in NYC that serves pre-packaged cheese whiz with your nachos and real amateurs. Like one lady Susan who hated her mother and complained (really complained, not funny complained) about her life for 15 minutes. Her punchline was "Bill [the organizer] told me I didn't have to be funny. I just had to pay my five dollars."

Forget the big shots and the big bucks... wouldn't it be more inspiring (funny?) to let people like Susan try out.... comedy is definitely not her thing and it would help pinkhats get more involved in the sport if they knew even bipolar women in their 50s might catch a break in the majors.



*I think this (Scott Boras not my husband) warrants its own post... although if the beef with Boras is being exposed, perhaps Dave deserves a little dirty-laundry-airing too. Dave, remember that time...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Baseball Weekend

This was quite a weekend for baseball.

The BoSox went 2-1 in a series against the Baltimore Orioles. Especially good considering the Yankees lost the first two games in a three-game series against the Toronto Bluejays, and first place Tampa Bay Rays lost two the Texas Rangers.

There were a few things that were even more exciting.

Friday night demonstrated there could be four or more outs (sort of) in an inning- good to know in case I'm ever on a game show like "Stump a Pinkhat". Orioles pitcher Mark Hendrickson struck out Bill Hall, but catcher Matt Wieters missed the ball (committed a passed ball) and Hall took off for first. In this type of situation the pitcher is credited with a strikeout, but the out isn't recorded on the scoreboard.

Saturday night Dave and I planned to drink a mint mojito or two, watch the game, and get a decent nights sleep. Our baby has a sense of humor, afterall. The later (and more tipsy) we go to bed the earlier she wakes up.

Couple problems with that plan. One, we've never made mojitos before, so it took a few "practice runs" to get it right. Yes, we drank the rejects. Two, our landlords had the game projected on the big screen (the garage), and after the Sox game ended, they flipped back and forth between softball championship playoff games. I took the opportunity to learn a few things about softball from a longtime coach, and Dave took the opportunity to drink our neighbor's beer. And my mojitos, although he left more than enough for me.

Sunday, following what I'm sure you can imagine was a rocky start for me and Dave, the game was interrupted by a huge clap of thunder followed by heavy winds, lightning, and torrential rain. A huge branch of a tree fell across the street right in front of our house. Once the storm was over we went for a walk to, as Dave said, "view the carnage". There were trees split and uprooted everywhere.

I missed an extra inning and a half, but returned home to see the Sox lose. Checking out the neighborhood after the storm was more exciting than that... but all and all it was a great weekend for baseball.

Particularly if you're a Sox fan... and lover of mint mojitos.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Heartache

Dave must have noticed something in the ticker on the bottom of the screen. He frantically searched the TV guide using the remote and then switched channels. "Watch this," he urged, knowing I would protest any deviation from my Sox-watching.

Not exactly a "where were you when Kennedy was shot?" question, but I feel like Dave helped me witness some history.

Or did he? We switched channels to the Cleveland Indians-Detroit Tigers game. Top of the ninth and Armando Galarraga was maintaining a perfect game (and his cool). Not only would it be Detroits first perfect game, it would be the first time in one season there were three perfect games thrown.

One out, two outs. Then Cabrera hits an infield groundball. The first basemen Miguel Cabrera fielded the ball, throwing it to Galarraga who had moved to cover first. The routine play was executed excellently- according to every announcer, player, and bluehat I've heard describe the play.

Umpire Jim Joyce said Donalds was safe. Until he watched the replay. It is clear that Galarraga stepped on the bag at least a full step before he reached home.

Galarraga handled it with more grace than anyone involved.

Including me. As I watched that moment in history- a moment that until now I might not have had any interest in, or even understood- I held my breath as the pitch was thrown, cringed until the first basemen threw the ball to Galarraga, and groaned and cursed when Joyce made the safe call.

My heart actually hurt for Galarraga. For that moment I think I was every bit a bluehat.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Red Sox Foundation 50/50 Raffle

Nope, I didn't take a job at Home Depot. Or just finish running a marathon. Next time you see someone at Fenway wearing one of these fashion-forward orange aprons (and sweating from running around under the stands and climbing all those stairs) consider purchasing tickets from them for the 50/50 raffle.

50% of the proceeds go to Red Sox Foundation programs such as tutoring and college scholarships for inner-city students. The other 50% just might go to you. Tonight we sold nearly $6k in tickets, which I'm told was a really slow night.

Way to go Red Sox Nation!

Karma

Tonight I'm volunteering at Fenway for the 50/50 raffle, which benefits all the great programs sponsored by the Red Sox Foundation. Two New Year's Eve's ago, I resolved that I would volunteer more... a vow that fizzled once I learned I was pregnant.

With the success of this year's resolution to watch or listen to every Sox game, I decided to make good on both resolutions by.... volunteering while I watch the Sox.

Could karma be kicking in before I even arrive at Fenway? Apparently pinkhatbluehat.com was listed on Boston.com.

So, welcome new readers. Check out some of my favorite posts:

You Gotta Be Kidding ME
Indoctrination

Sabernonsense

We took a trip back to the Middle Ages (home) where I guess I should be happy there is a color television with NESN, if not a computer or Internet access. While I upheld my commitment to watch or listen to every game, I was not able to follow the baseball buzz or blog about what I learned.

Back in the 21st Century (Boston), I spend the early morning catching up. As I drink my early cup of coffee and catch cheerios being thrown off the highchair tray by my daughter, I read the latest baseball news- go Roy Halladay with the perfect game! Every so often I turn to wikipedia to refresh my memory- what is a perfect game again?

Did you hear that among designated hitters David Ortiz has the highest OPS? For the season. Not just for May when he's been on fire.

In fact, at .929 his OPS is higher than it's been since 2007, when it reached 1.066.

Great news... but what is an OPS?

OPS stands for on-base plus slugging percentage. Now I could break down on-base percentage and slugging percentage and how they combine to form OPS, but I don't feel like doing algebra this morning. Basically OPS takes into account hits, bases on balls, times hit by a pitch, at bats, sacrifice flies, and total number of bases. Thanks, Wikipedia!

Pinkhats, think of it as a measure of hitting awesomeness.

Bluehats, think of it as another measure you invented to confuse us pinkhats.

According to Wikipedia, OPS is part of Sabermetrics, which has an even less self-explanatory acronym than OPS. Sabermetrics are baseball statistics driven by information from the Society for American Baseball Reference-the SABR, hence SABeRmetrics. The term was coined by Bill James, who also pushed it into popularity and wrote it's manifesto.

I will have to learn more about this Bill James fellow. For now, I blame you bluehats for allowing this nonsense, unless some of you can explain the importance of Sabermetrics and the need for a manifesto.

The more I learn about baseball, the more appealing it sounds to move to Amish Country North (home), where they might not play baseball with a stick and stone, but they don't have Wikipedia to ruin your morning cup of coffee.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Reality TV and Baseball... Again

If "reality" TV is scripted, maybe baseball is too.

Monday night, the story leaked that the Sox were designating Darnell MacDonald for assignment. A player is designated for assignment in order to open up a space on the 40-man roster. A player designated for assignment might be traded or placed on waivers, which would allow any team to pick up his contract, with preference going to the team in the player's league with the worst record. If no team picks the player up (clears waivers) the player is assigned to a minor league team.

Francona didn't want to see MacDonald go. MacDonald didn't want to go. But with Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury coming off the disabled list, and no one wanting to see MacDonald booted from the majors, everyone was really hoping another team would pick him up.

Dramatic, no? It gets juicier.

MacDonald was scheduled for an 8pm flight back to Boston Tuesday night. At 5:30pm he received a call from Sox management to get his butt to Tropicana Field. Jacoby Ellsbury was experiencing pain in his side again, and the Sox needed MacDonald. He made it in time to warm up and play the end of the game.

That's better than any rose ceremony I've ever watched, but if you still aren't buying my theory about baseball resembling reality television...

Recognize the name Joe West (he's behind the plate tonight)? How many other umpires can you name? Okay, Bluehats, you can name them all, but you know what I mean. Joe West is the ump who complained about the length of Red Sox-Yankee play earlier this season. This week he ejected Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buerhle and manager Ozzie Guillen during a game against the Cleveland Indians. West called Buerhle twice for a balk, and Buerhle threw down his glove. Guillen went out to either calm him down or protect his image... not quite clear which, but regardless West threw them both out.

The judge becoming a bigger story than the contestants? So reality television. Is anyone else thinking West and Simon Cowell* might be planning a new show together?



*Cowell left American Idol this week, which I read about in the paper and did not witness live during the American Idol Season Finale- there was a game on of course!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Greenlight

Bases loaded, and J.D. Drew waits for the pitch from Tampa Bay Ray's Wade Davis.

"Do you think he's got the greenlight,"* Dave asks me. I can't tell if my husband is poking fun at me, testing me, or hoping I've crossed far enough into baseball dorkdom** to find it fun to discuss these matters.

Dave guessed that because the Sox needed to pad their 1-0 lead a little, especially against the Rays, Drew would play it safe. I guessed that I had no freaking idea.

Dave's guess was right- Drew drew (oh, fun) a walk that brought in a runner.

Assuming Dave was simply engaging me in baseball banter, what would have been the harm in guessing? Dave probably would have appreciated me arguing for Drew swinging for the stars. Hey, there was only one out and it was the fourth inning.

I'm reminded again this morning that it is alright, even expected to be wrong in baseball.

Headlines today have the Sox continuing the surge, rolling, and just plain HOT. The Sox have two games remaining in the 13 game do-or-die run against challenging teams. For those 11 games, the Sox are now 7-4.

Not exactly what most of Red Sox Nation predicted. Guess it's time to give myself the greenlight to be wrong with the rest of ya!



*Pinkhats, I am assuming that "the greenlight" in this context means going for a homerun. It would be very ironic if I was wrong though.

**Sorry to offend; part of me is holding onto to a pinkhat like a security blanket... or a shield.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Earned Date Average

So you want your earned run average (ERA) to be low. Self-explantory-wise, that's one that could go either way.


I know I've defined ERA in a previous post- a pitching statistic calculated by dividing earned runs allowed by innings pitched and forecasting over 9 innings. So much other baseball information is swimming around my head, though, that ERA with its vague name - you would think earning runs would be a good thing- hasn't sunk in yet.


Maybe after lasts night it will be easier. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched a no-hitter into the eighth inning, when Marco Scutaro was unable to catch a broken-bat hit by Phillies' Juan Carlos. This morning, sports analysts are abuzz about Dice-K's ERA with and without this season's one 5-hit and one 6-hit inning.


With the bad innings, Matsuzaka's ERA is 5.76; disregarding those innings it is 2.6.


Yesterday was our wedding anniversary, and we went out to dinner to celebrate. It was the second date we went on in our first year of marriage. So let's say our earned date average is 18, the number of dates we will go on over nine years of marriage.


If we took out a few bad dates (say Dave didn't get me flowers- ha, that would make our lifetime EDA 0.00001) the EDA would be less.


And now I'm realizing that while this might help me remember ERA (even if I lost all my readers in the process), it is a bad analogy. I said in the beginning of the post that a low ERA is good, whereas a low EDA would be bad.


Remember that, Dave!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Remy Mail

I have no idea where she found his email address, but my mom-in-law Candice* contacted Jerry Remy about the blog yesterday. Which cracks me up for two reasons:

1) She is a huge Yankee fan.

2) My own mother said to me last week, "Oh, you have to watch every game; and wondered if there wasn't a more interesting topic I'd like to write about.


So of course I kept my ears peeled whenever Remy and Don Orsillo got to yammering during the Sox game against the Twins last night. No mention of pinkhatbluehat, but Orsillo was razzing Remy about not having an office at Fenway.

What does that say about the likelihood that he will read Candice's email? I'm still holding out for tonight. Either way it will be a good game as it's the first interleague play (Phillies) for the Sox. Does that mean John Lackey will be batting? No seriously, I am embarrassed to admit that I am not sure about this.



*Thank you, Candice, for reading the blog even if it is about the Sox
and for being one of my biggest fans.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Baseball Girl's Night

My friend Anna came over last night to watch the game and work on her yummy blog.* She has a life, and not a baby & baseball life; of course I needed to hear all about it. She arrived just after the game started, so I easily fell into my old pinkhat way of chatting through the game.

Before I knew it, it was the bottom of the fourth. Ortiz SLID into third base, and I missed it. Luckily, the hit was reviewed, providing ample airtime for replays. The ball actually bounced off the top of the Monster- homerun!

 I made sure I was keeping an eye and ear on the TV for the rest of the game, even when our conversation got juicy- on her end of course.  What am I going to talk about? OMG, the baby drank seven bottles yesterday?

I was feeling pretty bad about not turning my full attention to the Sox, but then it hit me. As a pinkhat, I would occasionally be so engrossed in everything other than baseball, that I would clap for the wrong team.** But there I was last night having a conversation and completely following what was happening in the game.

I even tuned out Anna a few times when the Sox had something going… I used to get so mad at my husband for doing that to me.

Maybe this bluehat thing won’t be so bad.


*http://atypicalcakes.wordpress.com, although I don't suggest visiting if you are hungry or have a sweet-tooth.

** Please don’t hate me. It was really embarrassing when it happened and now I am working to prevent it from ever happening again.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Drinking Lemonade

Is this what it means to be a sports analyst? Don't worry, this little blog isn't going to my head. It's just ironic that after one of my more opinionated posts, the Sox do everything in their power to prove me (haha) wrong.

Darnell McDonald and Jeremy Hermida were clutch hitters last night, bringing about the rally that led the Sox to a 7-6 victory over the Yankees. Don't "git" anywhere guys. Sorry I said it. Although Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron should still consider coyboying up.

Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka and Catcher Victor Martinez met with Terry Francona and Pitching Coach John Farrell yesterday. It doesn't seem like Dice and V-mart will be paired up again anytime soon. I'd like to think Francona took my advice and is simply waiting for the All-Star break to drag these boys to the woods (for a ropes course and trust falls of course, although it's possible more homicidal thoughts have crossed Francona's mind in reference to Matsuzaka).

Jonathan Papelbon made for some scary Sox-watching again last night, but luckily he took my advice. Remember I said he should use his left? MLB.com states "...his gloved left hand made the difference" regarding the catch that prevented the Yankees from tying up the game. Francona joked that he looked like John Belushi doing it, but so what?

Finally there is something weaker than a run prevention strategy... playing a game under protest. Kinda like threatening to smack your sister unless you got to play with the Mattel-brand Barbie, then telling on her for not sharing nicely (I've still got some beef to work through with my sisters).

Josh Beckett's back was clearly acting up. He allowed Robinson Cano a two run double, and Farrell came out to the mound and signaled for reliever Manny DelCarmen without speaking with the Umpire first. Relievers are only allowed eight warm-up pitches, but the Sox were treating this as an injury.

Joe Giardia is upholding his protest. I bet he would have dropped it had the Yankees won, even though he claimed to be concerned that a precedent would be set.

Now the question is how I should use my new-found power. If I write about how much the Sox suck, how they could be wavering around .500 all season, will they go on to win it all?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Making Lemonade

You can learn something from every experience, good or bad.

Yup. Still trying to put a positive spin on the Sox. Maybe it's because I don't want Dave bugging me to turn that crap off anymore. Maybe it's because I'm not enough of a fan yet to justify being pissed off at the whole team. Whatever the reason, I've decided to learn something from the Sox's atrocious performances of late. Hey, I might soon be the only fan left in Sox Nation. Francona will turn to me for help picking up the pieces.

Here are some of the things I've learned could be going wrong:

1.Pitching. Jonathan Papelbon, the pitcher who promised he was working on varying his pitches, threw 19 pitches last night- all of them four seamed fastballs. Francona, the pitchers need to throw different pitches or the batters will know what to expect. Have righties throw a few with their left. Consider investing in some of those tennis ball slingers I've seen used at dog parks.

2. Pitching again. Daisuke Matsuzaka almost admitted he needed to take Victor Martinez's suggested pitches more instead of shaking him off. Seems like a trust issue to me. Francona, bring the whole team to the woods for a ropes course and trust fall exercises.

3. Yoohoo, Ellsbury, Cameron, where are you? There were four balls hit to the outfield that Jeremy Hermida and Darnell McDonald should have caught, but I don't remember their names on the original roster. What happened to the motto cowboy up? Francona, tell Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron to "git" back on the field.

4. Run Prevention. a) What the hell is that? and b) Why does everyone know that's your strategy? Isn't this comparable to jumping in a boxing ring and announcing you will only be blocking punches to your
face? Maybe this is why the Yankees don't put a shift on David Ortiz... they figure so what? the Sox are focused on run prevention so we don't need to field every ball perfectly. Francona, call a press conference ASAP, today, right now.

Say only this, "Forget (or some other word that starts with F) run prevention. Yankees, we're coming back tonight to whoop your ass."

See, learning something from a bad experience?*


*Note to self: stay on topic next time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What a Year!

"What a year to watch the Sox."

I heard this at least twenty times this weekend alone. People can't help but say it when they learn about my self-inflicted commitment to watch or listen to every Sox game during an "off year". 

I understand where they are coming from. I stayed up until 11:30pm last night watching the Sox turn a 6-1 lead over the Detroit Tigers in the fifth into a 7-6 loss in the twelfth. Today the score is 6-1 Tigers in the seventh. When most fans flip stations (or just throw the remote at the television), I sit here and watch the train wreck.

Friday night provided a glimmer of hope. Slumper David Ortiz hit a three-run homerun* in the first and another homerun in the fourth.** It seemed as good a sign as any that the Sox's luck would turn.

And then there was Saturday's game. And Sunday's game. And a two-game series starting tomorrow against the Yankees. 

Which brings me to another glimmer of hope. Another sign that the Sox's luck could turn around.

On May 12th last year, the Yankees were 15-17. And they went on to win the World Series (hear me out, I'm making a point not switching teams).  The Sox are now 19-19. As Ortiz pointed out, angrily, after Friday's game, "It’s not over after April. It’s over after October.’’

See, there is still hope. 

I think I would be getting similar comments if the Sox were kicking a$% every game. Instead of an "off year" it would be a "blow-out." What I am most enjoying about baseball is the comeback. And the personalities of the players. When the team is a winning machine, you don't get to enjoy either of these. 

Ortiz showing signs of a comeback AND talking to the media. I'd say it is a year to watch the Sox



*Dave would just like to say "I told you so."
**Ortiz's 36th multi-homerun game in his career.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ask Me No Questions

Dave worked late tonight, so I did my first solo walk with our iPhone and speaker stroller set-up. I got the usual smiles from Sox fans and grumbles from those out for a peaceful evening walk.

Thank God I didn't get any questions.

I have been so focused on learning the lingo... and I'm not even doing that well. My friend just told me I called a bag a plate in a previous post.  Apparently the two terms are not interchangeable (thanks, Kevin). It's totally obvious because of how they look, and I should have learned it when I was six (thanks, Dave).

Anyway, I have been so focused on learning the lingo that I have been slacking on reading about general baseball going-ons. For example, I totally missed A-Rod stomping Dallas Braden's pitching mound, then Braden pitching a perfect game, then Braden's grandmother telling A-Rod to "stick it".

Luckily it was my friends, and not strangers on the bikepath assuming I'm a Soxpert, that asked the following:
1. Who are the Sox playing tonight? (asked at 6:45pm, and met with a blank stare from me)
2. Did you know Detroit hammered the Yankees? (because the answer to question 1 was the Tigers)

I hate to admit it, but another reason I have been less baseballaware is the local library. I went there for a children's sing-a-long with the baby and returned with a stack of chick lit. I guess I have been missing my trashy TV, and the novels seemed like a nice substitute.

I guess I have to go back to reading the Globe sports section on my morning train ride and MLB.com on the way home.

But give me a week to get back on the track before you ask me anymore questions.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blogging at Bedtime

I'm writing this in my pajamas with teeth brushed and face washed. I made it into the bedroom and even under the covers without posting.  My eyes just wouldn't stay shut knowing I was neglecting my baseball-blogging duties.

I listened to the game on the radio today- the Sox rallied in the ninth when Adrian Beltre hit an RBI single, but ended up losing it 3-2 to the Blue Jays. I planned to post about it after the baby went to sleep, but my husband and I started in on some serious discussions about a job offer he received. Let's just say the night got away from me. 

So instead of posing an intriguing question and answering it with ground-breaking research (like I normally do), I decided to take the easy way out. My mom-in-law is a huge Yankee fan, but very supportive of this effort. She gave me "365 Oddball Days in Boston Red Sox History" a while ago. I decided to open it to today's date and hope whatever occurred on May 12th however many years ago was something I wanted to write about.

Odd(ball)y enough given the family topic du jour, May 12th and May 13th both involved employment issues. Center fielder Dom DiMaggio retired from baseball on this date in 1953. DiMaggio was the starting center fielder for the Sox for twelve years, minus three years in the service. In 1953 he was replaced by 23-year-old Tom Umphlett. I guess DiMaggio decided the Sox could kiss his a#@ if they wanted him to sit on the bench and let some kid play his position.

Quite the opposite happened on May 13th. September 26, 1954, was supposed to be Ted Williams' last game. He even hit a home run to commemorate it. On May 9, 1955, his divorce to wife Doris was finalized. On May 11, 1955, he reached a financial settlement with her. And on May 13, 1955, he signed a new contract with the Red Sox.* Was William's telling his wife to kiss his a&% by making sure the contract was excluded from the settlement?

Unfortunately this does not clarify anything about my husband's employment decision, but it is an interesting coincidence, don't you think?



*He didn't retire again until 1960.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Game-Changer

It's 8:21pm and the Red Sox are up in the bottom of the second. There was a five minute intermission while the umps reviewed a Toronto Blue Jays hit off the Monster that was eventually deemed a double, plus a pitching change, but that still puts us on target for the game to end around midnight.

Sometimes, when the games are really dragging, I find myself making up fun ways to change the game a little. Not permanently... just an occasional Wacky Wednesday or  Far-out Friday deviation from the normal rules.

Here are some examples...
1. What if, instead of teams rotating between batting and fielding, one team was up at bat for nine innings straight and then the next team took the plate? Think about it- some games would take half the time. 0-0 after the first nine innings with a lead-off homerun...

2. What if the batters could choose which direction to run the bases. Once they got on base they would have to continue in that direction of course. I'm not sure if all the batters that followed would have to run in the same direction. It might be more fun if they didn't.

3. What if baserunners could catch fly balls or passes. Maybe they would throw the ball into the stands or stick it down their pants so the fielders couldn't snatch it back and tag them out.

Okay, I should really focus on learning the real rules of baseball. I'll get back to that tomorrow.

Unless the Sox decide to make it Totally Tubular Tuesday.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Don't worry. Dave gave me a Mother's Day present. No fighting at our house.

But everywhere else I turn, the theme is fight night. It started with the Bruins vs. the Philaelphia Flyers game on Friday. Dave tried to convince me that hockey is basically soccer on ice (okay, that turned into a little fight). I made the point that there are no walls to slam the opposition into in soccer. And if there were, you would get a red card, not just a time out.**

Friday night also sparked the inevitable Red Sox-Yankee "you think they're gonna fight?" conversation. Pitcher Josh Beckett hit two Yankee players (Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter) and buzzed another (Francisco Cervelli) in the sixth. He also hit Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, so lets just say he made a few mistakes.

The Yankees didn't see it that way. Retaliation came in the third inning on Saturday. Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia drilled Dustin Pedroia with a fastball in the fourth.

 Then the game went to rain delay in the fifth. We were celebrating my aunt's birthday with my extended family and sat down to eat during the delay. Talk around the table was surprise that the benches hadn't yet cleared and speculation about when they would clear.***

Unfortunately the Sox got embarrassed before they could get rowdy.

In honor of Mother's Day, the players on both teams are wearing pink wristbands, and some are using pink bats- this is my kind of night.  No way there will be a fight tonight.

Which reminds me. Researching the rivalry for the last post, I read about quite a few on-field fights. Other than mommy saying no fighting, what are the rules about fighting in baseball?


*Beautiful earrings and a framed picture of my daughter for my office.
**Does the ref tell you to ruminate on what you did like Supernanny does?
***That led to an interesting reveal by my uncle about my grandfather. Turns out he and his brother used to be boxers. They would make $2 a fight (or a night... not quite sure).

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rivalry

The Red Sox have some catching up to do. This is the 2,768th meeting of the BoSox and Yankees, and the Yanks are up 1,119-934-14. (You thought I was going to bring up the Yankee's season-opening series sweep, didn't you. Hey, I'm a pinkhat, but I'm not stupid.)

This, the most noted sports rivalry of all time,* has been going on since April 26, 1901, before Boston was called the "Red Sox". Interestingly, it was before the Yankees were called the Yankees. They
were the Orioles and were located in Baltimore, not New York.

The first major incident between the teams occurred in 1903- a fist fight after one of Yankee's (at the time named the Highlanders) batters ran into Sox pitcher George Winter. The Sox went on to win the
game and the first World Series. (Thought I'd include those details to win back some Sox fans after the first paragraph.)

The rivalry built as the two Northeast teams continued to face eachother. But what sealed the hatred, what still drives Sox and Yankee fans to get ejected from stadiums, happened off the field. Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to New York. The Bambino had set the homerun record in Boston and continued to rock statiticians' worlds in New York. The Yankees actually made it to the
World Series for the first time, but Ruth got hurt and the Yankees lost. (Do you love me again Boston Bluehats?)

And so it continues... more fighting on the field and in the tunnels underneath the stands. Sox left-fielder Theodore Williams (Teddy Ballgame) bats .406 for the 1941 season but the American League MVP
goes to Joe DiMaggio, who had a 56-game hitting streak. More fighting... Like really brutal fighting. Plus a period of time, a pretty long, pretty sad period of time, where the Yanks were getting
it done at the end of the season.

Fast forward to 1999- only because I was there to witness it. Red Sox pitcher turned Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens faced Pedro Martinez in game 3 of the ALCS. Fans had a field day when Clemens was pulled in the third and the Sox won the game 13-1. The game was most memorable for me because my mother scrambled for a ball tossed up from the bullpen with a bunch of young children and came up with the ball (and some bruises).

More fighting- between the Red Sox and the Yankees, not my mother and
the children.

2004. Who can forget Curt Schilling's bloody-sock and the Red Sox coming back to win the American League title after being down three games?

Not going to talk about the massacre.

2007. Red Sox win the World Series again, but no brawls to report. In fact, the Sox-Yankee war has become more of a vocal one, following the release of the Mitchell report and other steroid allegations, and some highly publicized remarks by both teams ownership and management. And now it's 2010. It's still early in the season. Plenty of time for controversy still. And plenty of time to chip away at that all-time standing.

Come on, Sox.


*According to wikipedia, which just happens to be the source of all
the other facts and superlatives in this post.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cleaning

Every night I sit down to watch the game thinking, "I'd better get to those dust bunnies before Vivi starts crawling and gets to them first." 

Cleaning, along with cooking wholesome dinners, exercising, and other not-as-virtuous activities, are a thing of the past. I'm a baseball watcher now, but couldn't I at least tackle the TV room?

I keep my eyes on the tube and dust the trim with a burp cloth. It's the second inning, no outs, and J.D. Drew singles. I scrape something sticky off the ground with the edge of a pacifier. Adrian Beltre is up next, and he gets on base too. 

I decide what I really need is a broom and some bleach. Plus some rubber gloves to get at what is either uneaten baby sweet potato or baby...

I round up my cleaning materials and rush back to the TV. What happened? It's the third inning, the Angels are at bat, and the score is still 0-4.

I boot up the laptop (cleaning abandoned at this point) and bring up the Boston Globe Extra Bases blog, which describes each inning. Here's how it describes the third: "Sox are an LOB-machine tonight.... Four LOBs over two frames."

Um, what? A quick google search reveals that LOB stands for "left on base" and is an official statistic indicating the number of batters stranded on base at the end of an inning. I guess LOB-machine is not a rockin' label to be assigned.

"Over two frames" is a little harder to discern. There is quite the selection of bat and ball picture frames - just google "baseball" and "frame" if you would like to purchase one.  There are also instructions on how to frame a baseball, which seemed like a weird thing to do. Luckily, it turns out that framing the baseball means convincing the umpire that a pitch is in the strike zone.

Still not the frame I'm looking for. Dave's at the game so I can't even ask him. I'm starting to think that a frame is an inning. That would mean that four LOBs over two frames would be four runners left on base in the first and second innings. Can anyone confirm?

Now that I solved that (possibly) I'm going to focus on the game again. It's 11-6 in the sixth, and this is an exciting game. The cleaning can wait until later.

Or October.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Actually it was quite eventful...

Did I say the game wasn't eventful last night?*

Jon Lester pitched through the eighth. In a season marked by starting pitchers not living up to the hype, and a bullpen paraded out to the mound every game, this is an event in itself.

Plus Lester held the Los Angeles Angels to one earned run, five hits, and two walks... Angel's Erwin Santana didn't pitch half-bad either, but I'm watching the Sox here, not the Angels.

Bottom of the eighth, Jeremy Hermida hit a double towards the Monster with bases loaded, and all three runners scored.

Pitcher Jonathan Papelbon came in for the ninth (non-save situation, pinkhats look back a few posts). Don't you love the phrase 1-2-3 inning? It's so descriptive.

Speaking of the "eventfulness" of the game, I want to say thanks to the guys occupying the seats in front of us. The convo was entertaining when we were eavesdropping, and even more so after we joined in. I'd mention the details here, but I think it really deserves it's own post. (Let's just say if anyone has insider tips on getting into the escort business, these dudes would kindly like to pass the info on to their friend.)


*Technically I wrote that my sister said it.