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Friday, June 25, 2004

This Is The End

This is going to be my last entry in this blog. I still love the Red Sox; I mentally overanalyze them, talk about them to anyone who'll listen and nod, watch them when I can scrounge money for tickets, and read other peoples' thoughts as much as I can. I just don't have enough time to post, and I feel like my opinions aren't really adding anything particularly revolutionary to the gigantic world of blogs. I'm not deleting this journal; for one thing I want to save the link list (I still like reading other blogs!) and I might change my mind.

Online, you can find me at my livejournal
or my poetry/personal page
or on AIM [ PenToThePage ]
or the email address above. If any visitors want to talk Sox, try me. Otherwise, have a wonderful time in the Sox blogosphere - because this is the year.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Interleague Play

The Red Sox have a losing record in interleague play since it began in 1997 (hard to believe that means this is the eighth season), and although the systems been shaken up a little (we used to only play the NL east, for instance) and although we won this series against the Padres, I'm still not convinced that the innovation is good for baseball.

Its strengths are clear: giving players, coaches, fans, and of course the media an opportunity to be exposed to players that they rarely encounter; increasing novelty... actually, that's not a lot of strengths. I was going to say that it increases parity somehow, or instigates a better preview-rivalry for the World Series and the All Star game... but I'm not sure that it really has a positive effect on this aspect at all. It's not as if the entire league plays all the teams from the other league - that would be the way to make it fair, but it would be pretty undesirable. Even in the paradigm of one Baseball League, we would find a million flaws, such as the decreasing of rivalries (due to teams' overexposure to a larger number of clubs). There are divisions within leagues in part because it simplifies the aesthetic aspect of fandom.

I think that's a big part of why there is now an uneven season, with every team playing within the division more frequently. Unbalanced schedules are hotly debated, too, for that matter. But I can see the reason for them much more clearly: it actually DOES help the aesthetics and the rivalry; it helps to make up for the fact that there is a wild card (which, in existing, helps much but hurts the "fight" within each division).

Back to the topic: I am not a fan of interleague play. If someone can point out the real value of it to me, I might just stand corrected. I mean, I, too appreciate a little novelty. Facing Bonds gets some people excited, and the pitching matchups get more interesting. But I'm not just speaking selfishly as a Sox fan who knows that interleague play hurts her team. I'm speaking as a Baseball Fan whose first game at Fenway was against the Expos. Blah. And no, it's not because the Expos are awful that I have a problem: it's because the Expos, being in another league, just don't mean as much. If we aren't going to just make this all one league - and I don't think there are many who'd desire THAT - then why can't we make the All Star game and the World Series the time for the novelty?

If people are only going to turn on their TVs or buy tickets for one series, I doubt that they'll decide to do so because of a team from the other league coming to town. Much, anyways.


A side note: I added two new blogs to the bottom of my list. Check them out; they're great. I have been adding and finding a lot of new blogs lately - tis the season.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Managers

Another new link! Welcome to the list, SurvivingGrady.com, which is certainly one of the more interesting site concepts I've seen recently.

Speaking of management... I'm curious on the world's take on Francona this year. I think that he's good at using his bench, but I'm not so much a fan of how he's handled the bullpen. Of course, these are always difficult things to judge: sometimes, a player is unavailable that we imagine "should" be out there. I also don't research into each and every matchup between pitcher and batter, and maybe sometimes that would reveal a deeper reason for the relievers chosen. Still, I hesitate to feel comfortable with just "trusting Terry" since, clearly, we learned last year that a manager is flawed. Even Torre, generally lauded as a "good manager," has his bad side when it comes to the bullpen it seems: maybe he knows more than we do, but I can't imagine his top middle relievers (Gordon, Quantrill) continuing at the rate they've been pitching at all year if you're counting innings.

Brings up the question of how much we can really laud a manager at all. Certainly, there are some situations where the manager has the call (like, oh, last ALCS...). There are some situations that the manager absolutely cannot control (like who is on the team). Some things the manager can control to a certain extent (who gets the call to the bullpen. some depends on his judgment, some one the players' availability). With the GMs and owners of the world breathing down any manager's neck and the politics of the players always complicated, there is no easy job for a manager. That's not really what I'm saying. I guess I'm saying: can Torre, for instance, be really declared part of the reason why the Yankees did so well under his care? Is he a good manager or was that just a good team? It's easy to blame a manager when he's clearly done something wrong (Grady) but it's difficult to know when he's really worth congratulating. Sometimes luck is on your side.

Monday, May 31, 2004

New Link

Just wanted you all to see the new link I posted to a fellow blogger in the baseball blogosphere, Talking Baseball. Apparently it's run by some fellow Batesies and it's a pretty intelligent, interesting site.

Makes me think of that song, "Talking Baseball," of course:

"the scooter, the barber and the nuke
they knew 'em all from boston to debuke
especially willy, mickey and the duke."

Sunday, May 30, 2004

the Walking Wounded

Anyone in the Rhode Island area might want to think about checking out a PawSox game tonight, even if you don't usually follow minor-league baseball. A certain mister Nomar Garciaparra is making his first rehab start there tonight, to be followed by a game tomorrow and then a re-evaluation before possibly joining the (Pawtucket) team on Thursday in Ohio. This Globe Article touches on that rehab as well as a little bit on each of the other wounded players on the Red Sox.

Touching briefly upon these other injured, I will mention that Trot should be starting for single-A Sarasota and working his way up the minor league system on his way back to the Boston team. I am hoping this means he'll stop by my hometown team, the Portland Seadogs (AA) on his way, so I can spend about $6 to see him from about twenty feet away. ...Then Ellis Burks seems to be improving, but there seems no certain answer about exactly when he'll be back. They're thinking maybe a couple of weeks. ...Bill Mueller will be at least 6 weeks before he returns, and Francona assures the media that there won't be a takeover a la Brady-for-Bledsoe; when he returns he's starting at third. ... Finally, Mister Williamson is going to be supervised by Senior Pitching Advisor Cloninger while he pitches a bit and tests out his injured elbow.

I am always depressed after a couple of losses, but I should say, if we've made it this far being so hurt... there is no telling how amazing we'll be once every player is in working order.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Fenway Firsthand

For the first time in a year, I saw a live Sox game, and for the first time in two it was at Fenway. I think I chose a good night: the weather was terrible and I didn't have reserve seats (and I was with 5 friends who, however great people, are not quite as Sox-obsessed as me), but the game itself was awesome. I got to see the 12-2 rout of the As, complete with a solid Curt pitching and a powerful offense.
Highlights:
*Bellhorn just a triple short of the cycle
*Manny's monster shot.
*The homerun that bounced Off the rf pole (but counted!)
*Ortiz, Damon, 'Tek and Pokey all having awesome nights
*The way the crowd cheers "Yankees suck" for no particular reason
*Chanting "Hudson" to get the guy out of the game. As if the offense didn't do enough to get him out in the first place.
*Screaming "yooouuuuk" whenever Youkilis got up to bat. Sort of reminded me of "Louuuu"
*Getting really amazing seats near the dugout after people (bah, "fans") started leaving in the seventh inning
*Everyone cheering for Andy Dominique in his first ML at bat. the crowd went wild.
*Standing up for the final out of the night and hearing "Dirty Water" come on...

I will not wait so long to go back, even if it renders me broke...

Saturday, May 22, 2004

News Update:

For those of you who have fallen off the face of the earth and returned only to read my blog:

*Ortiz has just been signed to a two year contract with a team option for the third year. The guarenteed value is $12.5 million. I think this is a strong signing for the team; Ortizzle is 28 and likely entering his prime, and even if he plateaus for a few years he is valueble at this money. I don't think it represents a "hometown discount" but I do think it's reasonable.

*Williamson is on the DL and they're hoping he'll be back as early as June 4th. I'm starting to get really worried by how many of our Sox have been placed on the DL, but we can just hope that SWilly's injury is minor and that he's able to recover quickly.

*Manny is the KING and he has proven this by hitting homeruns in the nick of time the last two games. Whoever kept saying that he only hits when we no longer need runs clearly was not envisioning games like our last two against the devil rays.

*Mueller is still out, but they're saying that he shouldn't require a DL stint. Don't get me wrong, Youks is a player with a strong "upside" potential, but I do think that he needs one more year in the minors in order to realize this potential for the Sox. I'm hoping that the Sox get Mueller back soon - and for that matter, it would be wonderful if MUELLER got his bat from last year back, while we're at it...



I'm seeing Schilling and the Sox take on the Oakland A's on Tuesday, live. I haven't seen the Sox in two years.

You can imagine my state of mind.

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