Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dinner and a Movie? Let's Watch the Game.

Spring training may have Red Sox Nation looking forward to a fresh season, but it had Doug Glanville, who played for the Cubs, Phillies, and the Yankees, reminiscing on years past today. Don't get all excited; this post has nothing to do with the Yankees. It has to do with love.

For Glanville, Spring Training reminds him of his years as a bachelor. Short-lived relationships were made even shorter when he left abruptly every February to play ball in warmer weather. Spring training was a good excuse not to get too serious. This lack of commitment carried over into other portions of his life- he put off purchasing and even settling into a home knowing that at any time he could be transferred to another ball park. He had to make a conscious effort to work on the relationship with his now wife (and to decorate his house).

Maybe I'm doing the same thing. Backwards. Every year I lose Dave to baseball. He starts reading about it in February, makes his fantasy picks in March, tunes in every night at 7:05 starting in April, and finally comes up for air in the fall. This will be our first full baseball season as a married couple, and as Glanville suggests, marriages mixed with baseball take some extra effort.

Glanville writes that the effort baseball requires you to put into your love-life is what makes it work. My love-life, however, is requiring me to put a tremendous amount of effort into baseball. Does it work both ways?

I'll let you know in October.

By the way... my friend Walt pointed me towards Glanville's article "Love and Baseball" on the Opinionator, and it seemed a more interesting topic for tonight's installment than the planned "what the heck is the draft?" Walt's not the only one who has provided me with interesting reading material for my blog. A new friend and blog follower gave me an amazing book- Watching Baseball Smarter: A Professional Fan's Guide for Beginners, Semi-experts, and Deeply Serious Geeks. Not only is this book helping me figure out the ins and outs of the draft, there is also a handy glossary of baseball slang and a list of acronyms. The book also promises to explain why players grab their crotches, but I haven't gotten to that chapter yet. (Thank you so much!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Position Players Report

I love that Spring Training is called "Camp". When I was a kid my parents sent me off to Bushy Hill each summer. It was always the same scene on the first day. Arrive with your folks, ditch them, drop off your stuff in your bunk, and go check out which counselors and campers had returned for another year.

Minus the annoying parents, Spring Training seems to have the same feel. Players arrive one-by-one, presumably with a bunch of gear, greet each other and their coaches, talk to the media, and sign some balls for fans. Camp!

I find it really fun to read about the players as they arrive at Spring Training. Maybe I am just overwhelmed with learning a whole team and sport all at once. The staggered, unorganized arrivals make for more simple reading perfect for incomplete understanding. For example, during spring training, Daisuke Matsuzaka arrives at Camp with a sore back and it just means he has a sore back. I imagine this would have implications that would require deeper understanding of team mechanics on game day.

Adrian Beltre arrived this morning. On the Extra Bases blog I read that he dropped his bag off at his locker and went around meeting his new teammates. David Ortiz showed up at camp with his big personality (and less big-than-last-year gut). He joked around with reporters saying if they thought he looked good they should see him naked. Mike Cameron was also reported to have arrived happy and "likeable" for Spring Training.

Mike Lowell was at Spring Training today. There is some question about whether he will stay with the Sox this season. Apparently the Texas Rangers need an infielder to replace Khalil Greene who is experiencing social anxiety issues (sure to be cured by a public announcement). Before Lowell had thumb surgery, the Sox were in trade talks with the Rangers.

Tune in again later this week- I'll fill you in on the Matsuzaka and Lowell issues and continue to compare baseball to my childhood.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Starting To Get It...

From my past posts you can probably tell I didn't understand the hype about spring training... until now.

Today I watched Red Sox Spring Break Live. The sportscasters described the weather as a jealousy-inducing, sunny 74 degrees. The way that sun was shining on the perfectly green field as the players stood in a circle doing group stretches brought me back. I could practically smell the rubber from my high school track.

My favorite time of year is summer, but nothing is better than those early spring days with really warm afternoons that provide a glimpse of the nice weather to come. Whenever I am lucky enough to be outside on such an afternoon, I become nostalgic for my old track days. I even start to feel that beginning-of-the-season feeling when your legs are still fresh, when you haven't had any disappointing finishes, when you are confident that this year you will win races and break records.

I imagine the players are feeling the same way. From what I have read, newcomer pitcher John Lackey is really excited about playing for the Red Sox, meeting his teammates, and getting down to work at camp. Who knows? Maybe Lackey is even thinking about his high school track days too. When commenting on the depth of the pitching staff and the competition that might result. " turns into a kind of a relay-race kind of thing -- you don't want to drop the baton from the next guy."

Now that I can relate to.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pitchers and Catchers Is Here!

What does this mean? Basically Pitchers and Catchers is a roll call. As of earlier this afternoon Jason Varitek hadn't even been seen on the field, and Jorge Sosa was having Visa issues, as in he couldn't get into the country. Tomorrow the players will have physicals and conditioning tests, and the first real practice will be held on Saturday.

So again I'll scoff at the Pitchers and Catchers countdown on, although I wouldn't dare make light of the countdown embedded in fans biological clocks or the actual day itself. I'd like to continue living in New England. I should also note that I regret assuming a countdown to Position Players would replace the Pitchers and Catchers ticker- in actuality it was replaced with a First Spring Training Game ticker. (That apology will be rescinded, however, should I learn that the folks at read my blog.)

Terry Francona noted that Pitchers and Catchers gives him the opportunity to speak with players that haven't returned his phone calls. Um, okay. I get yelled at if I ignore a friend's voicemail for an hour. These guys get paid millions, and they don't call their boss back for an entire winter? Really? I doubt Francona was just calling to talk about what skirt to wear on his blind date.

Moving on, and I know it doesn't seem like it, but I am actually trying to love, or at least like, baseball.

Maybe this is normal, but there seem to be a lot of players who are hurt. Mike Lowell is recovering from thumb surgery, Wakefield is coming off back surgery, and Dice-K isn't practicing yet because of a sore upper back. Perhaps some blue-hatted readers can shed light on this- and maybe pink-hatters would like to offer up some b.s. too. Do you think the number of injured players on the roster speaks to how irreplaceable players are (when you're good you're good, even when you can't currently raise your arms above shoulder height)? Or rather does it have something to do with contracts?

I ask this because reading that free agent Adrian Beltre has been signed to take Mike Lowell's place started me on a wild-wikipedia-hunt of unrestricted vs. restricted free agents and type A vs. type B players. This was then complicated in my mind when reading that David Ortiz is in the final year of his contract, but the Sox are holding an option for 2011.

I will report on what I learn about this at some point- my fellow pink-hatters need to know, and I'm sure there are blue-hatters in the wings waiting to correct me. But right now I need to google Johnny Damon. It looks like he is going to go to the White Sox. Or the Tigers. Or the Braves. I'm just excited because once he's out of those pinstripes, it will be less sacrilege (remember who I live with) to drool over him. Unless the Sox are playing the Sox. Or the Tigers. Or the Braves.*

*Note to self. Add American Leauge vs. National Leauge to the long list of things I need to learn about to become a fan.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meanwhile down in Florida...

The ticker on says 2 days, 14 hours, and 56 minutes until Pitchers and Catchers. So I am shocked today to find reports from Fort Meyers. I check the dates to make sure I am not reading articles from last year. Nope, 2010.

I ask Dave what's going on. He confirms that Pitchers and Catchers is on February 19th, but some players show up early. Papelbon has been there for a week. (Did I hear him say "duh" under his breath?)

How was I supposed to know that? And am I the only one who thinks its ludicrous that there is a countdown to something that is already occurring? Will there also be a ticker for Position Players? Cause they're already in Florida too.

General Manager Theo Epstein reported that there were 70 players at practice today. I knew Theo Epstein before this project started-he is CUTE- but I did not know that there are 70 players on the Red Sox.

I look on There is a 40-man roster, plus a list of non-roster invitees. Some of the players at Spring Training, such as pitcher Casey Kelly, will actually play in the minors this season. There is also a Depth Chart, which I will need to print out and study. The depth chart shows the list of players of each position. It seems like the likely starter is listed first.

So I logged on tonight thinking I would right a quick blog about the arrival of the truck in Fort Meyers. But just like the players down in Fort Meyers who were apparently practicing while fans in Boston were celebrating Truck Day, I have real work to do. The season has started.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Truck Day

Forget the equinox, the first buds on the trees, and even the groundhog. It turns out that TRUCK DAY is the only answer a Red Sox fan needs to the question "when will it be spring?"

How did I miss this holiday? Fans gathered this morning on Van Ness Street near Gate D to watch as trucks were loaded with the players' equipment and other necessities for Spring Training in Fort Meyers, Florida. As the truck pulled away at 12:04 p.m. (according to to begin its 1,480 mile trek (, it was escorted by a flatbed truck carrying Wally and Red Sox ambassadors tossing out baseballs

Al Hartz of Atlas Van Lines has driven the truck for the last 13 years. Apparently when he first started in 1998 there was little fanfare. But the celebration keeps growing, and this year marks the first time that the truck will bear Red Sox decorations for the entire trip and that Truck Day received corporate sponsorship (JetBlue Airlines) . Fans in attendance even had a chance to win round trip airfare and Spring Training tickets- sweet!

When I googled "Truck Day" a few minutes ago, I was actually a little sad to have missed it. But could this be just another sign of my pink hattedness?

According to Christopher L. Gasper of The Boston Globe, Truck Day is lame. Perhaps he just wanted to be cute and use phrases like "nothing moving", "what's the big riggin' deal?" and "not to be all truculent". Or maybe Truck Day really is the silly (evil?) product of the Red Sox promotional team and the media.

Either way, I wouldn't have minded winning that trip. If Truck Day didn't make it feel like spring for me, maybe the Florida sun would have.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

One Week Until Pitchers and Catchers

So yesterday Regis Philbin announced that there are only seven days until PITCHERS AND CATCHERS. I was overtaken, but not with excitement. Dread, panic, nausea- take your pick.

As evidenced by my source for sports news (Live with Regis and Kelly), I am not exactly a baseball fan. I grew up under the roof of one, I married one, and I even pretend to be one as I enjoy my beer and peanuts at Fenway. But to be honest, I have trouble getting into the sport.

I am hoping that will change.

In January I made a proclamation to my husband Dave. I would watch or listen to every Red Sox game of the 2010 season and keep a blog about what I learned. Maybe I wanted a New Year’s resolution that didn’t require immediate action. Maybe I enjoyed Julie and Julia (woman cooks and blogs her way through Julia Child’s cookbook) a little too much. I certainly didn’t think about what a HUGE commitment I was making.

162 games in the regular season. 24 games in April alone. Not only is this going to take away from my reality TV addiction, it is going to be a LOT of baseball. As I type this I’m wondering whether I should hit delete and just quit before too many people know about my commitment. Dave keeps saying he won’t hold it against me if I don’t take on the challenge.

But I want to like baseball. I want to understand how to calculate an ERA (can you do that?), what a ground-rule double is (if that is even the right term), why players are on waivers (I have no idea what that is). I have a lot to learn.

And maybe through learning about baseball, I’ll start to enjoy watching it. If not, this is going to be a long season. Especially when it starts so darn early. Apparently tomorrow is TRUCK DAY. Time to hit the books.