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


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

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


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."


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?