Opening Day

Opening Day

Opening Day

April 1.  At work

Sitting on the edge of my seat.

Radio on.

Volume barely audible.

In a stuffy office

of buttoned-down collars

and billable hours.

I’m wound up — excited.

Game on!

Attempting to concentrate on work

Knowing it’s impossible.

Don’t let the excitement be seen.

A friend emails, “Are you at work today

or at home in front of the TV?”

Another friend sent a “Happy Opening Day” card

converted from a birthday card

because Hallmark doesn’t make them.  (Their mistake.)

A cousin sends a message

“Happy opening day!”

They know.

It’s nice to be understood.

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Salty!

Image

My latest quilted fabric portrait is of Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamaccchia – the guy with the longest name in the league. The quilt is made of 100% cotton fabric and is machine quilted. It is 22″ x 28″ and was signed by Salty on the bottom of the number 9.

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A Week in the Life of a Quilt-Making Baseball Fan

IMG_1086 trimmed

I’m hopeless.  I realize that.  I was mad at the Red Sox in 2011; then again in 2012.  But you can only be mad for so long.  I love the Red Sox again.  In fact, I never stopped.  You can be mad at someone with whom you love, right?   I bought tickets.  I’m ready for April and a new season.  Don’t worry – I won’t be buying any Fenway bricks.  I’m not that hopeless.  Yet.

I believe that women view sports differently than men.  No, I don’t mean that our favorite athletes must be sexy (but some are).  I don’t mean that they have to look good in baseball pants (but some do).  Women are not only interested in the play on the field.  We are also interested in the person on the field.  Personality matters.  Character matters.  Who are these people we watch so intently…that we cheer…and sometimes not.

This past week I heard that certain players and Wally would be out and about in downtown Boston giving away pre-sale ticket vouchers.  I packed my commuter tote bag with a camera and some quilt squares just in case there was a sighting.  By late-morning I heard that Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Jonny Gomes and David Ross would be at Faneuil Hall in Boston at noon.  I hesitated only a moment.  The crowds!  The pushing and shoving!  The vying for space!  I went.   I walked into the historic rotunda and saw a few cameramen sitting down having lunch and a few people in Red Sox winter hats and coats.  It was freezing cold and everyone was bundled up.  There were some people sitting at a long table eating pizza – along with tourists and downtown office workers.  I sat down to text my friend that there was nothing happening, feeling a little disappointed.  Then I realized that among people sitting at the table next to me were the four players along with other team employees.  I sat and I waited, resisting the urge to make eye contact or disturb them while they ate.  (I hate when my bosses interrupt my lunch hour.)  All at once they got up, spoke quietly to each other, stood around and handed out a few vouchers.  Wally showed up and created the biggest stir.  Most people there were tourists and did not have a clue who they were.  Sadly, many fans would not recognize them without a number on their backs (and baseball pants on their trunks). There were no introductions, no muss, no fuss.  It was the perfect storm!  Armed with courage, a camera and my quilt squares, I approached.  First, Daniel Nava.  His big, open smile is very approachable.  We chatted a few minutes about the quilt I was making and who had signed and who I would like to have sign.  He could not have been nicer.  Then I approached Ryan Kalish for more pleasant chatting with a nice young man who happens to be a major league baseball player.  I wished him a great season.  His reply was, “I hope so.”  I remember thinking that he looked wistful.  Two days later, the news broke that his other shoulder requires surgery for a torn labrum and that he will again miss part of the season.   I am so sad for that nice, hard-working young man.  Feeling courageous, I set my sights on Jonny Gomes and welcomed him to Boston along with David Ross.  I am sure they felt like fish out of water.  Crazy Boston fans.  Each player cordially signed my quilt squares.  Four more!!!  I went back to work happy and excited about the experience.

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Little did I know that the next day would only get better.

I went to the Boston Baseball Writers Annual Awards Dinner.  Not expecting anything but some rubber banquet chicken and a couple of decent photographs, I came away with the mother lode.  I was carrying my commuter tote bag with Tito Francona’s new book, Francona: The Red Sox Years, which I was reading on the train.  Suddenly, Tito appeared in the room with a flurry.  He greeted several people and bellied up to the bar for some liquid courage – probably in order to see Larry Lucchino who did not exactly come off smelling like a rose in Tito’s book.  I sidled up to him at the bar and told him that I miss him.  It just came out.  When I saw him, I realized that I do miss him.  Maybe it is just a Bobby Valentine hangover.  Anyway, I pulled the book out of my magic bag of tricks and VOILA!

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At the urging of my friend, Kate, I packed my latest Red Sox portrait quilt of Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  I did not think it was an appropriate venue to seek autographs but I rolled it up and stuck it in my tote.  Kate convinced me that if there was an opportunity and I did not have it with me, I would regret it.  She was right.  Salty was there receiving the Tim Wakefield Community Service Award.  There was not an appropriate time to approach him throughout the cocktail hour or dinner, but good things come to those who wait.  And so I waited.  Out came Salty into the lobby and walking past me.  He almost got away.   I approached.  “Excuse me, Salty.  May I show you this?”  Unfurl quilt.  He blinked.  He looked at me.  He said, “Did you make that?”  Yes. “You made that of me?”  (How unassuming!)  It took him by surprise.  “I’ve never seen anything like that!”  Well, I said, may I ask you to sign it?  “I’d love to!”  That’s just plain awesome!

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Jonny Gomes, who accompanied Salty, had signed my quilt block the day before.  He piped up, “Hey, I signed something for you yesterday.  She makes Red Sox quilts!”  He remembered!  Priceless!

As if the evening wasn’t great enough, we also spoke to relief pitcher, Andrew Miller, for a moment.  Andrew was voted the Fireman of the Year by the BBWAA.  What an open face and friendly manner!  Mike Aviles, who was voted the Jackie Jensen Award for his hustle, was there and he walked by, said hi, and flashed that magnificent smile.  I hope he does well and enjoys being with Tito in Cleveland, but I’ll miss seeing that smile on the HD screen at Fenway.

I went home clutching my magic tote bag.  What a haul!  I’m quite sure I was glowing.  I love my team again!  They are nice!  They are fan-friendly!  They may or may not be a winning team but right now, I don’t care! I got home and looked through my mail.  I could not believe my eyes.  My lucky day continued!  (No, I did not win the Publisher’s Clearing House.)  In the mail was one of my quilt squares sent out weeks earlier.  This one was signed by John Farrell.  It was the perfect ending to the perfect day.

I couldn’t sleep.  I tossed and turned and thought of those moments…those brief conversations…Tito’s book and the terrific speech he gave…those signed fabric pieces…the signed Salty quilt!

I feel renewed.  I’m ready for “Truck Day”, ready for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training, ready for April 1.

Other people can worry about lineups, pitching rotations, wins and losses, playoff contention, quests for the World Series.  I cannot do anything about that stuff.  I can only watch and hope that I like the people on the field, that they play hard and put on a good show, that they appreciate the fans – especially loyal fans like me – and that they occasionally acknowledge our presence.  I can only control the arrangement of my signed quilt blocks and decide which player is the next to have his likeness stitched into my portrait quilts.

Last fall, I was talking baseball with a woman who suffers from crippling bouts of depression.  We were speaking passionately about what had gone wrong and what had gone right with our Sox.  She said something that I will never forget.  “Isn’t it wonderful to care about something so much.”   So, I will leave the angst to the sports writers and commentators who get paid to wring their hands.  Me?  I’ll just celebrate the art of caring. And wait for spring.

Salty

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Holiday Letter to Ben Cherington

Ben Cher and Big Papi

Ben Cher and Big Papi

Dear Ben Cherington:

I trusted you. ; I had faith that you could right the ship. ; After you pulled off The Trade of 2012, dumping the contracts that had the Red Sox in a multi-year stranglehold, I looked at you in a different light. ; I was willing to forgive you for trading away Josh Reddick (who went on to blossom in Oakland) and Marco Scutaro (who became the Giants’ World Series MVP). ; I still had faith in you. After all, you brought back John Farrell. ; After a tumultuous 2012, all was suddenly calm on Yawkey Way. ; I felt good about the rebuilding of my Boston Red Sox. ; I can handle a “bridge year” or two…or three.

So, Josh Hamilton is not coming through that door. ; Enter Jonny Gomes. ; Enter David Ross, Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew and (maybe) Mike Napoli. ; Enter Ryan Dempster, he of brilliant Harry Caray impersonations. ; They are all reportedly “good clubhouse guys”. ; In your effort to remake the so-called “unlikeable” Red Sox, you have assembled quite a cast of characters. ; That would be fine if you were auditioning a new cast for Saturday Night Live, but this is a baseball team, right? ; A baseball team now filled with .225 hitters. ; Nice guys who are on the down-side of their careers. ; Add them to the mix of the always yapping dirt dog, Dustin Pedroia, the veteran top dog, David Ortiz, and the illusive Jacoby Ellsbury; and who is the alpha wolf in the clubhouse? ; Can a team have too much personality? ; Just because Mike Napoli destroyed Red Sox pitching at Fenway doesn’t mean he can play first base. ; If you wanted a first baseman with a bad hip, you could have brought back Kevin Youkilis. ; At least he’s a good first baseman. ; But Napoli is a “good guy”, right? ; Fans will like him. ; After several balls thrown to him bounce off the dirt and into the Red Sox dugout, will the fans still like him? ; Will we think of the months with James Loney on first as the good old days?

The pitching rotation currently stands at Lester, Buchholz, Dempster, Doubront and Lackey. ; Do those names inspire trust? ; Dr. Phil has said, “The best indication of future behavior is past behavior.” ; I hope the good doctor is wrong about that.

Ryan Dempster, by the way, is a very funny guy who looked good against the Red Sox a couple of times last year. ; But remember it was the 2012 Red Sox. ; You understand what I’m saying, don’t you, Ben? ; (How long before Dempster works a Joe Castiglione impersonation into his repertoire?)

Chemistry is a good thing, Ben; but you cannot recreate the 2004 self-proclaimed “idiots” no matter how hard you try. ; You can bring them back in Duck Boats for a bizarre 8th anniversary celebration, but they are not taking the field, Ben. ; Kevin Millar is not walking through that door without an MLB TV microphone in his hand.

By the way, if you were looking to overpay a bunch of mediocre outfielders with great personalities, why have you passed on Cody Ross? ; Cody is better than mediocre. ; He wanted to stay. ; He loved Boston. ; He has a perfect Fenway “to the moon” swing. ; He is likeable. ; Cheerful. ; Am I missing something, Ben?

A lot of names have been thrown around as potential trade bait. Names that we would never have expected to hear in those terms a couple of years ago: ; Lester, Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia, to name a few. ; A few fools even mentioned Pedroia. ; David Ortiz finally got his coveted 2-year contract. ; You know … the one he should have gotten two years ago before he damaged his Achilles. ; We have four catchers on the major league roster — four mediocre catchers for five mediocre starting pitchers. Great.

It’s only December, Ben. ; I realize you may have more work to do – something else up your sleeve. ; I’m just…well…a little worried. ; The national media is lining up the AL East on paper like this: ; Blue Jays, Rays, Yankees, Orioles and Red Sox. ; So, I guess nice guys finish last.

In just over two months, spring training will start. ; The 2013 Red Sox will assemble for group and individual photos. ; When you look into the faces in those photos, Ben, what will you think? ; Will you be proud that you put your personal stamp on this team? ; Will you think, “This is MY team”? ; Or will you curse your old friend, Theo Epstein, for leaving you with no way around these spare parts – this dusty back room in a used-furniture store. ; You are in this mess because your buddy, Theo, traded away the organization’s best prospects for the likes of Adrian Gonzalez. ; He left you to deal with the wreckage when the dominoes fell. ; ; Perhaps it is Theo who should stand front and center in the 2013 Red Sox team photo — like Jack Torrance in the 1921 photo of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. ; Say “cheese”, Theo. ; Or, more appropriately, say “REDRUM”.

Maybe it’s not your fault, Ben. ; Maybe it is just the hand you have been dealt. ; Not even you — not even John Farrell — can work miracles.

Happy New Year, Ben. ; Now get some sleep. ; You are going to need it.

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Trading Friendly for Farrell

John Farrell

He’s baaaaaack!  It happened and I am glad.  I think.  John Wayne … I mean … John Farrell is about to ride in on a white horse and save the Red Sox.  You know what that means, don’t you?  Dust off the NESN Farrell-cam for countless shots of that strong-chinned, handsome face intimidating everyone with his stare from the dugout.  I was hoping for this … I think.  Maybe it is because Farrell is so familiar to me and I yearn for the Terry Francona days.  All we really know about Farrell is that he kept the Red Sox pitching staff under control when he was their pitching coach.  As a manager, all we really know is that he led the Blue Jays to next-to-the-last place over only the Red Sox.  Meh.  There were also reports out of Toronto about Farrell that were troublesome.  Will he be a different manager in Boston?  We know he understands the hierarchy of the Red Sox organization and that Ben Cherington has a good relationship with him.  That’s a positive.  We know (at least we think) that the players respect and perhaps fear him.  That’s a positive.  Is it enough?

Then there is Mike Aviles who was traded to the Blue Jays in the deal.

Friendly Mike Aviles

If you are looking for statistics and intelligent baseball knowledge commenting on this deal, try another blog.  This blog is written from the heart of a Red Sox fan.  My heart tells me that Mike Aviles was too high a price to pay for a manager — even a manager riding a white horse.  What I know about Mike Aviles is this:  He is an above-average shortstop who worked hard to prove himself.  He did extra work every day with Dustin Pedroia on infield practice.  He was a mentor and friend to rookie, Will Middlebrooks, and took him under his wing in the major league clubhouse.  (If you follow their Twitter accounts, you can see the friendship between them.)  He did everything with a smile.  He clearly enjoys the game of baseball and knows how lucky he is that he gets to do it for a living.  Everyone made fun of Larry Lucchino’s letter to fans where he referred to “friendly Mike Aviles” but it is true.  I had three Mike Aviles moments this past year.  The first was at the Bosox Club luncheon.  Mike was fan-friendly and said all the right things.  The second encounter was when I was on the field with my nephew for his “Play Ball!” experience.  While walking past the dugout, I peered in — couldn’t help myself.  The only face looking back at me was Mike Aviles.  While all his teammates hid behind their caps, heads bowed (their usual response around fans who don’t pay for their presence), Mike looked up, smiled, waved and said “Hi!”  The third encounter was at the pre-game celebration for Tim Wakefield’s retirement.  While holding my Wakefield quilted fabric portrait, who was looking up admiring the quilt from the dugout but Mike.  He told the players on either side of him (Kelly Shoppach and Marlon Byrd) to look up.  He then gave me the thumbs up with a “Nice!” thrown in.  These are little things, I know, but as I always say, it takes so little to make a fan for life.

So, Mike Aviles, you leave for Toronto but you have made a fan for life.  I hope you get a good manager and good teammates and that you show them what you can do.  I will look forward to seeing you at Fenway next year where I will wear my Aviles t-shirt and cheer for you to do well (as long as your teammates do not).

And thanks for this signature.  You will be on my Red Sox quilt forever as well as in my heart.

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Is That All There Is?

2012 felt like 100 years

“Is that all there is?” was a song recorded in 1969 by Peggy Lee. It is a song about disillusionment and disappointment. It is a song about the 2012 Red Sox. It is appropriate that a song that was popular in 1969 so aptly describes the 69-win Red Sox.

As the baseball season draws to a conclusion without the Red Sox getting so much as a sniff at the post-season, I cannot help but reflect on the past year. It was a year that started with some trepidation. After the Great Collapse of September 2011, it was difficult to trust the 2012 Red Sox. Most of the same faces returned – including those with greasy chicken fingers and beer breath. The players that did not return (Scutaro, Reddick, Papelbon) were not the problem, so how could things get better? The pitching staff was suspect due to past performance or inexperience. The starting pitchers were a disaster for the most part. Daniel Bard was lost as a starting pitcher; and in making the transition from the bullpen was lost as one of the best setup men in the league. We lost Papelbon, our All-Star and World Series winning closer. His replacement, Andrew Bailey, injured his thumb in spring training and nearly missed the entire season which made the loss of Pap stand out like a sore thumb. (Bad pun intended.) The old guard was gone. Epstein, Francona, Wakefield, Varitek – gone. The Red Sox were rudderless. Bobby Valentine was such a question mark. We hoped for the best. We got the worst. A verbal scuffle between Valentine and Youkilis in April created an even bigger story when Pedroia put in his two cents and created a dustup bigger than him. The team was devastated by a league-leading number of injuries. Coming off a should-have-been-MVP season, Jacoby Ellsbury’s shoulder injury during the home opener seemed like a premonition of things to come. And it was.

We all know about the trade of Kevin Youkilis and The Blockbuster Trade of that four-headed monster, Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford and Punto. Everything worth saying (and more) has been said about Valentine’s missteps, the players’ underperformance, the coach’s uncooperative attitude and the owner’s aloofness.

It was a year when everything was upside down. The Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland Athletics were kicking everyone else’s butts. The Red Sox could not even hold onto .500 for more than a day.

Sure, there is something to cheer about. The Yankees tanked in the post-season and got swept by the Tigers. Their anemic offense made the Red Sox look not so bad. But even that small victory was tarnished. For a true baseball fan, it was difficult to see Derek Jeter fracture his ankle and to watch Joe Girardi try to maintain his composure through the grief of losing his father. It was hard to enjoy the Yankee’s failure in the face of such sad circumstances. Except for A-Rod’s failures and foolishness, Teixeira’s general dorkiness, and the absence of Swisher’s smirk.

Is that all there is?

For this Red Sox fan, no. There was more. Although there is no question that my Sox need mending, I choose to look back on a disappointing year and find the silver lining. You see, I am not just a fan of winning. I am a fan of baseball. I am fan of all of the remarkable stories and moments that happen during the baseball season. And I am still a fan of the Red Sox. When I look back at the photographs I took during the season, I am shocked at how much I personally witnessed. There were special moments, sad moments and happy moments. Some moments were so special that I could not look away long enough to grab my camera. There were moments that will make me come back for more. So, here is my story in photographs of the remarkable things that I witnessed during this disappointing, but never dull, year in the life of a fan of the Boston Red Sox:

Christmas as Fenway

The year officially began with the introduction of Bobby Valentine at Christmas as Fenway. He seemed nice enough at the time. I told myself that it could work.

Reddick and Ortiz

In January, capturing David Ortiz with his arm around Josh Reddick was the highlight of the Boston Baseball Writers Dinner. Josh had just been traded to the Oakland Athletics and he did not seem happy to be leaving the only organization he had ever known. Little did we know how he would blossom in Oakland and become one of the A’s most popular and successful players. Go get ’em, Josh!

Pap times 2

In February, I was shocked to be contacted by Ashley Papelbon and asked to make two portrait quilts on consignment. The only hitch was that her husband had to be wearing his new Phillies cap! The quilts were sent off to the Papelbons while they were in spring training. I am told one was a surprise for Jonathan’s mother and the other will be kept by them. I usually create a label for the back of my portrait quilts which includes a miniature version of the photograph from which I based the fabric portrait. On these labels, Pap was wearing his Boston cap! Just a little reminder, Pap!

Opening Day

There’s nothing like the home opener.

Fenway Turns 100

I feel so lucky and blessed to have been at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park in April. The organization did an exceptional job. The pre-game ceremony was moving and beautifully done, but let’s hope that the 101st year is better for the team.

Pesky and Friends

At the 100 year celebration, we didn’t know it would be the last time we would see Johnny Pesky at Fenway Park. An emotional Johnny is seen here with Bobby Doerr, Varitek, Ortiz and Wakefield.

Thank you, Wake!

Red Sox fans celebrated Tim Wakefield’s long career in May as Wake decided to put away his knuckleball for good. His celebration was as classy and emotional as any I have seen and a fitting tribute to him. By the way, if you have not seen the documentary Knuckleball! starring our very own Tim Wakefield and the Mets’ R.A. Dickey, you simply must not miss it.

My quilted fabric portrait of Tim Wakefield was shown on the HD video screen at Fenway and on several television clips of the ceremony. Orders are pouring in. Not really, but it was pretty cool.

R.I.P., Carl Beane

In May we said goodbye to Carl Beane, the golden voice of Fenway Park. Sadly, Carl passed away in a tragic car accident. A recording of his soothing voice was played before every game: “Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, welcome to Fenway Park…”

“Play Ball!”

I have the most awesome nephew! Ryan and one of his teachers won an opportunity to say “Play ball!” at the start of a game in June. He invited me to join him on the field because he understood how much it would mean to me to be there. What a lucky aunt I am! The best news is that the experience seemed to re-awaken his interest in baseball. How cool is that!

Wrigley Field

I visited Wrigley Field during the Red Sox/Cubs series on a Red Sox Destinations trip. The best part of the trip was the meet-and-greet luncheon with Salty. He could not have been more receptive, open and warm. What a good guy!

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Goodbye Youuuuuuk!

Where were you on June 14? I was at Fenway watching Kevin Youkilis getting pulled from the field and traded away to the White Sox. It was an unbelievable and emotional moment for everyone — especially Kevin.

Mike Aviles and Stephen Cisheck

June was an eventful month. I met Mike Aviles at the Bosox Club luncheon. Best smile in baseball and a darn good shortstop, too.

Youk: He’s Baaaaaack!

July came around again and so did Youk. This time he was wearing a White Sox uniform. Sigh. But wasn’t it great to witness the emergence of Will Middlebrooks?

Beautiful Fenway

July 8: I chose to spend the evening of my birthday at Fenway watching the Yankees beat the Red Sox. Oh well. At least I got this wonderful photograph.

In July another celebration was held. This time the guest of honor was Jason Varitek, retired catcher and captain. Thanks for the memories, Tek.

Apparently, I was fairly mad at the Red Sox in August since I did not bother to take any photographs during that long stretch of time. Hmmmm…

Former Red Sox pitching coach and current Blue Jays manager, John Farrell, made a return trip to Fenway Park early in September. I wonder which uniform he will be wearing the next time we see him at Fenway?

The Idiots of 2004

The organization tried to distract us from the last place Red Sox late in September by bringing back the lovable 2004 Red Sox World Series winning team. It was fun but we were not distracted.

Big Papi and Me

September 11: Red Sox vs. Yankees. What a way to end the year! Having purchased tickets to this game from the David Ortiz Children’s Fund auction, I was invited by director of productions, John Carter, to watch batting practice from the field. The next thing you know, I was standing in the dugout with David Ortiz and getting a Big Papi hug! Did that really happen? Yes, it did, and here is the photo to prove it. And the Red Sox won that night!

Is that all there is? Yes….for now. But there is always next year. Another silver lining to the end of baseball season: At least there’s more time to quilt.

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Fifty Shades of Red (Part 2)

  1. When you think about the wreckage created by the Sox acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, it is startling. There was no effort to retain Adrian Beltre on third base, and he left for the Rangers where he has been an all-star. Kevin Youkilis was displaced and had to move to third base which seemed to physically (and emotionally) take a toll. The Sox traded three highly respected prospects to the Padres for Gonzo. Casey Kelly was their top pitching prospect who probably would be pitching at Fenway this month but instead he is on the mound for the Padres. Anthony Rizzo is a power-hitting first baseman now with the Cubs. Lastly, Lars Anderson, a Red Sox AAA first baseman, whose path was blocked by Gonzo, was traded away to Cleveland as unnecessary baggage. Theo Epstein, who coveted and finally captured Gonzo, has moved on to the Cubs. Now Gonzo is gonzo. What a waste.
  2. I hope Carl Crawford becomes the player he used to be. I suspect that it was never going to happen in Boston.
  3. John Farrell simply must be the next manager of the Boston Red Sox. If not him, anyone other than Bobby V. will do.
  4. Occasionally I have an odd and unsettling feeling that Bobby Valentine will be back next year as the Red Sox wait for John Farrell’s contract with the Blue Jays to run out. Then Bobby does or says something stupid and the feeling goes away.
  5. At Fenway Park, they have been playing Papelbon’s former entrance song, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”, between the top and bottom of the ninth inning. It is just plain wrong. As far as I’m concerned, Pap took that moment with him when the Red Sox refused to make him an offer. It cannot be our feel good, rally song when it feels so bad. Those who stand up and dance to it just don’t get it. For me, it rubs salt in an open wound. Maybe in time, but not now. Not this year. It’s too soon.
  6. Umpire Jim Joyce is known for spoiling Tigers’ pitcher Armando Gallaraga’s perfect game with a blown call on first base. Now he should be known for performing CPR on a Diamondback’s food service employee and saving her life. Janie remembers hearing his soothing voice, “Janie, hold on…hold on…” At least he didn’t say, “Safe!” Good job, Mr. Joyce.
  7. The “Soxification” of the Dodgers has not worked out very well so far for LA. Gonzalez and Beckett’s performances have been sub-par but no surprise for Red Sox fans. I guess you can’t change a leopard’s spots.
  8. In the August 2012 edition of Boston Baseball, Glen Stout wrote a fabulous and moving article entitled, “Shades of Gray”. If you are fan of the Red Sox (or any struggling team in any sport), I recommend you find that article and read it. He wrote so beautifully of the journey of a fan through a losing season that it left a lump in my throat. “Game time each night is a gut check on your relationship”, wrote Stout. “Are you in, or are you out? … Are you a fan of only winning, an addict to the morphine pump of highlights and high fives, or is there something else, deeper and more profound, that brings you back?” Stout continued, “The decision is yours, and it tells you who you are.” So, who are you? Me? I have realized that I am a fan of baseball. Thank you, Glen Stout, and bravo.
  9. Congratulations to Kelli, Dustin and Dylan Pedroia and welcome to the world little Cole Bradley Pedroia! A baby quilt is on the way!
  10. The moment captured by the NESN camera when Bobby V. told Dustin Pedroia that Kelli was in labor was precious. The look of a young husband and father-to-be – concern, fear, shock – the open mouth in an “O”, the sprint into the clubhouse, on his way to his wife’s side. The human side of the trash-talking Laser Show/Muddy Chicken revealed. Sweet.
  11. If anyone thinks the Red Sox should trade Dustin Pedroia and feels compelled to call sports talk radio to suggest it, just be quiet. Don’t be stupid.
  12. On September 11, 2012, I watched batting practice from the field, met David Ortiz in the dugout, got a Big Papi hug (!), saw Jacoby get a walk-off hit, and saw the Red Sox beat the Yankees. What a day!
  13. I am fairly certain that the Red Sox have a real closer in Andrew Bailey. He seems like the anti-Papelbon in every way – from his laid-back, intelligent personality to his speedy delivery on the mound.
  14. The Summer of Ciriaco is just about over. The success of Pedro Ciriaco makes me wonder how many big league quality players are overlooked in the minor leagues for their entire careers and never get a chance to show that they can make it at the highest level.
  15. Ryan Lavarnway’s fiancé, Jamie Neistat, writes a damn good cooking blog, www.cookinginredsocks.com . She is a professionally-trained chef and seems like a sweet and genuine young woman.
  16. I wish the Yankees had tanked this September. It would have been sweet justice. I do not hate the Yankees. I just do not like their smug faces.
  17. This Red Sox team put a bit of a damper on the 100 Years centennial celebration of Fenway Park, didn’t it? 2012 will be forever etched into the record books as an embarrassing failure of a gazillion-dollar team. 100 Tears is more like it.
  18. The majority of Red Sox players should have gone to Johnny Pesky’s funeral with the exception of a select few who may have had real excuses. If Salty, Buchholz, Ortiz and even Padilla could make it after flying in at 3:30 a.m. that morning, then others could. That’s all I will say about that. It was also surprising how few fans showed up for the tribute to Johnny held at Fenway.
  19. After not having David Ortiz in the lineup over the waning months of this season, is there anyone out there that still thinks that the Red Sox should not sign him for next year? If so, you must be a fan of another team.
  20. I am tired of fans moaning about an “unlikable team”. I know it was a rough season; but what’s not to like about Cody Ross, Mike Aviles, Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Daniel Nava, to name a few. Come on, people. Are they supposed to invite you out to dinner and pick up the tab?
  21. It is going to be a strange feeling this coming weekend with the Red Sox playing the Orioles in Baltimore. It is hard not to root for the Sox but the Orioles need to win to catch up with the Yankees. So, let’s go O’s, I guess.
  22. According to Cody Ross, Salty’s nickname is “Saltalama-chia Pet” due to his curly mop of moss. Now, that’s funny.
  23. It was fun to see the 2004 team being honored and paraded around on Duck Boats before the next-to-the-last home game. For all the bad things that have been said about John Henry and Company, you have to admit they are darn smart. They knew that bringing back those familiar and beloved faces would take the edge off of the fans. Who would boo the team off the field when Kevin Millar is sitting in the stands?
  24. Seeing some of the 2004 Red Sox reminded me that the 2013 Red Sox need more idiots.
  25. I wish I liked football.

2004 Red Sox: Bunch of Idiots

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