Friday, April 29

Ellsbury Cements Leadoff Spot

As an American, in London, blogging about the Sox on my iPhone from a pub in the middle of the Wedding, I deserve extra credit.

That said, it's just a quick post.

My feelings towards Jacoby have been on a rollercoaster of emotion over the past two years or so. From man love, to disappointment, to anger, and now back to cautious excitment.

I want nothing more than Jacoby to prove the haters (including myself) wrong; with a studly season. While he's not exactly tearing up the basebaths, or the cover off the ball for that matter, he seems to have recently cemented his role as the team's leadoff hitter.

Perhaps it's as much Crawford's fault, but it's fairly apparent that Boston's CC will not be this team's leadoff man (which he shouldn't be anyways). Either way, Ellsbury's recent spike in production and on base percentage has provided a bit kore stability to Boston's lineup. Something that is desperately needed.

My feelings on Jacoby have yet to come back full circle, but it's slowly getting there.

I'm not a 15 year old girl, he still needs to earn my love back.

Wednesday, April 27

Carl Everett - Surprising No One  Former major league outfielder Carl Everett, who played for the Red Sox in 2000-01, was in a Tampa jail on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after putting a handgun to his wife’s head, according to police records. Everett, 39, was arrested Monday night at his home in the Tampa suburb of Lutz. Everett played for 14 seasons. He began with the Marlins and also played for the Mets, Astros, Rangers, White Sox, Expos, and Mariners

As serious as the above report is, should it really surprise anyone?  I mean, didn't we all know this was bound to happen sooner rather than later?  Everett is/was Major League Baseball's version of Ron Artest, except even more insane.

I mean, the man head butts umpires, doesn't believe in dinosaurs, thinks that landing on the Moon was fake, "doesn't believe in being gay", the list goes on...

For those in need of his direct quote on dinosaurs: 

"God created the sun, the stars, the heavens and the earth, and then made Adam and Eve. The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can't say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Somebody actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus rex."

I believe Everett and Manny played together on the Sox during the 2001 did the world not end at that point?

ITM note:  blogging about this was way easier than discussing the Sox loss last night, easy sell there.

Tuesday, April 26

A Quick Look At The Rest Of The AL East

From London to Barcelona to Astana, everyone is well aware of Boston's emergence out of the dumps of baseball's I thought a quick look at the rest of the AL East was in order:

The good news? While the Sox fell on their face to open the season, no AL East team is exactly setting the world on fire...

The Yanks: At 12-7, the Yankees sit atop the AL East, but everything is far from ok in the Bronx. While Curtis Granderson has been more productive in his first 20 games in 11' than the entire 2010 season, and ARod is hitting the ball well, there are holes throughout this team. Phil Hughes suffered a recent setback and has mysteriously lost velocity on his fastball (Manny Delcarmen syndrome). Their poor man's version Buchholz seems headed for a fairly significant DL stint. Jeter continues to throw up all over himself while raking in outrageous paychecks from the front office ( Nova has flopped thus far in his rush to the big league rotation. Of course the Yanks have the talent and resources to be successful, but it seems safe to say the door remains open on top of the AL East.

The Rays: despite their .500 record, the Rays seem to be getting the absolute most out of Crawford's replacement, our second favorite idiot (only to Millar, who reportedly still sleeps in his red sox uniform)Johhny Damon...and with Longo about to rejoin the club, they remain an underweighted factor in the ultimate race for the East....

The Bluejays: Jose Bautista is a straight up stud. He's absolutely raking right now. Just walk the man, I don't care if the bases are chucked. Walk him. If he can get any consistent offensive help, the young arms could continueto keep the Jays in the mix for longerthan we would all like.

The O's: they're likely still a few years away from playing with the big boys in the division (don't we say that every year?), but the bottom line is they have some talent, better coaching, and a young staff of arms who are not afraid to pitch aggressively. They're a muh improved team, and could possibly contend in weaker divisions. Just not this one.

Overall, despite the loud offseason by the top teams, there appears to be more talent from top to bottom in the AL East than ever. It's going to be an interesting summer.

PS: Is it bad that despite Boston's piss poor start, I'm already at the point where going into a game I fully expect to win each and every time? Go Sox.

Saturday, April 23

Winners of 6 of Their Last 7, But No Where Close To Their Best

Unfortunately, travel and the time difference with the Sox on the West Coast means I've only been able to watch a few games over the last week or two. Given the recent results, maybe it needs to stay that way.

Either way, facts are facts, the Sox have won six out of their last seven (despite being on the road...extra odd). However, after pouring through the articles, box scores, and talking shop with family and friends back home, I consider it pretty lucky.

I realize that our starters have put this team on their back and single handedly pulled them back into the picture, but that was the blueprint for last year's team, not the 2011 Red Sox.

I wake up each morning, analyze the box scores, and shake my head. The Sox have stranded the entire state of Rhode Island on base this week, but are pulling out W's in he end. I guess there is the saying "good teams just win"....and that may be the case, but the room for improvement despite the recent W's is astounding.

Maybe this post is simply stating the obvious, but maybe it highlights a sincere reality for this team. The pitching can and will not continue to be as lights out, so does this team have the offensive power we think it does? Or ultimately, are we just very comparable to 2010 without the injuries?

Either way, this team absolutely should be a playoff-bound squad, but can they put it all together to take the nation to the promise land? We haven't seen it yet, God willing, it's coming.

Wednesday, April 20

It's Time

Call it an irrational hunch, but somewhere deep down inside I feels it's true. It's time for these Red Sox.

Now is the time for this team to find its stride, build some momentum, and work their way back up the standings in the AL East.

Why? Good question, but here are some bullets laced with optimism:

- starting pitching: after throwing up all over themselves for their first few starts, collectively, the train appears to be getting back on track. Heck, even Dice-k threw a gem. Couple that with a surprisingly strong outing from Lackey (sad reality), and Buchholz remembering he's Clay Buchholz...and all of a sudden your pitching staff is on a roll with the two horses of Beckett and Lester up next to keep the ball rolling downhill against a relatively weak hitting Halos club.

- Carl Crawford: simply put, he can only get better...and he's starting to show signs of it. The pressure is off a bit, and he still owes Jed Lowrie a few steak dinners for keeping the media spotlight off of him lately. This guy will hit for us, and with any luck, it'll be a fatalist for everyone else in the lineup (looking at you Jacoby)

-Youk: don't look now, but he's coming on. He just missed a two tater game a few night la ago by inches, and he seems to be providing the Sox with the timely hitting they desperately need.

- comfort: I think we forget that this team (regardless of on paper talent) hasn't played together much. They're still getting comfortable in a new clubhouse, with new teammates, a new manager, and in a new city. The odds were somewhat stacked against them right out of the gate given the hype and expectations.

- It's a Marathon not a Sprint: 4.5 games back with about 378 to go, we'll be fine.

PS: I reserve the right to freak out on the flip side of all of the above stated items in my next list. After all, that's what we do.

PPS: typed this up at 4:30am on my iPhone while on a train to Gatwick for a long weekend away. See how much I poured?

Tuesday, April 19

The New Jacoby Ellsbury?...

Just another example of how everything in life can be related back to either: Major League 1 or 2, Spaceballs, or Tommy Boy.  Unfortunately, you simply can't convince T Murph or I otherwise.

Let's hope that by the end of next week, someone in the middle of this lineup (seriously, anyone) has overtaken Jacoby for the lead in taters.

.....also, when watching the video, clearly when Jacoby is in the cage, it's David Ortiz in the background yelling "it's beautiful man".

West Coast game tonight means a 3am start time for this to say I may miss tonight's tilt.

It's Just Dice-K Being Dice-K - You Never Know

As much as I want to be all over the Dice-K train after yesterday's oddly masterful performance, I just can't do it.

Call me pessimistic, but what we've witnessed over these first few weeks of the season is exactly what we get with Dice-K....the unknown.

He's the Tim Wakefield of the Far East; he can either shut a team down, or get shelled by the Pirates over 3 innings. He doesn't make sense, he never will, and trying to forecast his performance is useless.

All the factors or numbers in the world can be thrown out the window with this man...(home/away, opposing lineup, numbers with 4 days rest, numbers with 5 days rest, the weather, if he had 7 or 8 hours of sleep the night before, how many pounds of rice he consumed before the first pitch, etc). None of it matters with Dice-K, and the sooner we accept it, the better off we'll all be.

He could go 20-0 for the rest of the season, and I still wouldn't trust him in a big's just the way it is. You've burned me too many times Dice-K....too many times.

That said, you, along with Jed "if I were on NBA Jam right now I'd be jumping through the rafters on fire" Lowrie, may have put the Sox back on track. And for that, I give you an appreciative nod of my head, and nothing else.

Sunday, April 17

A Winning Streak? It Has Happened Before...

Two in a row?  I didn't know if this team was capable.  What is that?  A hint of excitement all of a sudden? 

Back to back strong pitching outings?  8 runs?  Salty straight salting on everyone?  An efficient and effective bullpen performance? 

Is this real life?

Sure, Carl Crawford can't hit a ball off a tee right now, and Dice-K is on the mound tomorrow, fittingly on Patriots day....but things may just be looking up Milhouse.

Saturday, April 16

I'm Not Disappointed, I'm Straight Up Angry

Between work, travel, and the amazingly frustrating play of the Red Sox, I decided that a few days away from ITM and blogging was needed. 

I needed an off day or two to shake out the cobwebs, dull my raging anger about all things Red Sox, and foolishly, (going back to my irrational superstitions), I thought that me not blogging would help get them on the right track. 

100 percent wrong. 

The amount of angry texts going back and forth over the Atlantic ocean is at an all time high. 

I honestly can't think of a time when I've been more angry at a Red Sox team.  I've certainly been more disappointed given past postseason tragedies, but never have I had this much anger. 

I simply can't take any more late nights of watching a team implode, or waking up to read the horrible, horrible things members of the Vicino family have texted during yet another loss. 

The Globe's articles say it right, the "it's early" excuse doesn't apply anymore. The Sox are amazingly lucky to only be 5 games out despite their efforts to become the most overhyped and underachieving team of all time...but soon it's going to be "too late". 

Monday, April 11

Just Pedey Being Pedey..

Have I mentioned I'm in man love with little Dusty?....

"The way I think about it," Pedroia continued, "we’re four games out of first place with 153 to go. That’s a long-ass way away. I’m not very smart, but it looks doable, what do you think?"
You tell em Pedey. 

I must say I was shocked to see Beckett's line when I woke up here in Amsterdam this morning.  "No &*$#ing way!"  It figures I missed it....sounds like it was 2007 playoff style JB last night.....but if it takes me missing games because I'm 6 hours ahead for that to happen, I'll take it for the team.

Despite being just 2-7....beating the Yankess twice make me feel like we're 4-5.  Those wins count twice in my book.

Saturday, April 9

Yelling at Old Ladies During Rehab...Just Another Day for Pedroia

Three quarters of the way through this video I said "wow, Pedey is actually going to complete an interview without joking around or saying something stupid".

...but Pedey couldn't let me down.  I simply love this guy.

Not to mention he picked this team up off the floor yesterday.  Let's hope everyone else can rally around the momentum the little guy started.

Go Sox.

PS:  Doesn't Rosenthal look like such a DB with that bow tie?  Pump the break pal, pump em.

Friday, April 8

Opening Day At London

As if things weren't bad enough (and I won't go into the specifics that we all already know), today is Opening Day at Fenway Park.....a day that is recognized as an official religious holiday in my family...a day where the focus of all of New England and Red Sox Nation is on Fenway Park....a day where regardless of current record, for a brief moment, all feels right the world.

Not in London.

Most people here don't even know what Fenway Park is, forget opening day for a Red Sox team that is off to its worst start since FDR was in the White House.

I will do the obligatory "cell phone 500" to family and friends back home in the Boston area to build the excitement and discuss the day, but it's simply not the same an ocean away.  First the first time, I won't be in the metro Boston area for Opening Day at Fenway.  I may have just shed a tear.

The good news?  It's Friday, a day game back home, and another sunny day in London with temperatures again approaching 70 degrees (I know, weird right?).

What does that mean?  It means lots of outdoor drinking throughout the city, and with the help of some Londoners who have stumbled onto ITM, we FOUND A BAR THAT IS PLAYING THE GAME ON TV.  (shout out to Theresa here in London who dropped that knowledge into the ITM mailbox)

The Sports Cafe.  I've been doing my best to rally a few people to go there for the game in hopes of attracting a decent enough crowd to convince the owners to broadcast more Sox games. 

In the end, there may only be a few Red Sox fans, but you better believe the owners will hear us screaming....while everyone else stares at us trying to figure out what kind of funny game we're watching (yeah, because cricket and professional dart throwing is real normal).

So we'll see how this goes.  It certainly won't be the same as being back home, but for no reason at all, I'm holding onto a hint optimism.

Go Sox.  Pick it up!

The Sports Cafe....

Thursday, April 7

In An Attempt to Ignore Today's Game: These Heidi Segments Have to Go

I have no words for the amount of anger and frustration resulting from today's game and the overall state of this Red Sox team.  As a result, I'll simply ignore it for now.. 

So if you've read ITM at all you know that this site is borderline infatuated with Heidi Watney.  She's amazing, we love her...she's the best.  A few of us met her in person and had the opportunity to talk to her for a bit....looking back, I really wish T Murph and I were more prepared for that...pretty sure we sounded like nervous 12 year old boys. 

Did I mention she's awesome?

Awesome or not, these food segments gotta go.

I don't know who is making the call there at NESN, but can you please stop putting us all in amazingly awkward situations and taking away from the game. 

I don't care how hot she is, I don't want to see her nearly vomit on the cameraman after eating disgusting piles of crap from Cleveland....and I certainly don't need to listen to the concession stand guy fumble all over himself at the sight of Heidi and a camera.

Stick to the game NESN, stick to the game.

New day tomorrow...back home at Fenway....rivals in town....time to get serious.

When You're 0-5, and an Ocean Away, You Resort to Superstitions

The frustration and downright anger of a 0-5 start to the season crosses the Atlantic ocean amazingly fast. You have no idea how terrible it is to wake up in the morning, rush to grab your phone and check the Sox score...only to have 4 texts waiting for you saying ("Dice-K is a pig"....."Tek is a bum"....."hope you didn't stay up for this"....."Heidi still looks great though"..etc).

It's a very difficult way to start your day.

Anyways, it has come down to this. We simply can't open up at Fenway tomorrow, against the Yankees, at 0-6. Can't. We can't lose another game to perhaps the worst team in the AL, a team that has all of 7 fans in their stands, with our ace on the mound this afternoon. Can't.

So, feeling the need to do my part, I've resorted to something I usually reserve for August and September: superstitions.

This morning, I went to a different coffee shop on my way to the Tube. I took a different Tube line to work (requiring a longer commute, but it's worth it). I've been carrying or wearing my Red Sox hat everywhere today (hence the picture above). I will go somewhere new for lunch beak, walk backwards home from work, whatever it takes.

Growing up, my father would make us switch seats in the living room if things weren't going Boston's way. Or, if I was watching the game upstairs in my bedroom, and the Sox put together a good inning, I would have to "just stay up there". For game four of the 2004 world series, I came home from college and my entire family got together to watch the Sox take for my oldest brother who couldn't leave "his chair" because he didn't want to blow it for them.

Tell yourself whatever you want, do whatever you have to do to provide peace of mind, but the bottom line is the Red Sox need a win in the worst way....but it won't be my fault if they go into Fenway at 0-6.

Go Sox, just give us one.

ITM note: While were down in Ft Myers for spring training, the Sox went 0-5. We joked about how insane we would go if this team stumbled badly out of the gate. Yikes.

Wednesday, April 6

A Shot of Optimism: With A Catch

The Red Sox are 0-4. Given the media coverage and panic, I'd say even all of London knows it, perhaps parts of Paris too.  It's bad.

Am I upset about it? For sure. Do I have a level of irrational hope in Dice-k to keep this team from going 0-5? For the same reason (as I mentioned in a recent post about the spring training carry over), I do.....which is a sign in itself about of how bad things are.

Either way, we all know the stats, no team has won the world series after starting the season 0-4, collective ERA of 72, team batting average of -7. It's all there and I'm sick of hearing about it.
Tito is right that no one will feel bad for this team. That's because the rest of the league knows that the Sox are loaded with talent (see Gordo's piece on how this team is like the Miami Heat of MLB...possibly a stretch, but I see what he's getting at).  Rome wasn't built in a day (insert any other applicable saying here).  It'll take some time to gel, but this team is built to do special things

Part of that may be making history by being the only team to start 0-4 and win the World Series.

....but god help them if they continue to play like this and get beat up by the Yanks in Fenway. By then, I'll be singing a very different tune (hence, optimism with a catch).
Pick us up Diceman.
ITM note:  This post contains optimism, something most of Red Sox Nation doesn't have right now.  Full disclosure, it's 70 degrees and sunny in London today, which is helping this irrational sense of optimism.  That and the fact that there is no "the world is ending, the Sox are 0-4" talk at the water cooler. Had it been 50 and raining, I likely would have bashed everyone (or not posted at all...silence is deafening).

Tuesday, April 5

Is This The Worst Red Sox "Breakdown" Ever?

Dave Winfield, dropping all sorts of knowledge here right?

Seriously though, is this for real?  If you're ESPN, and you know your predominate target audience here are Red Sox fans, who happen to be, on the whole, a very knowledgeable constituency, why would you let this happen?

I wish I could state the obvious, read the cliff notes (watch a few game highlights) and get paid duckets to be on ESPN.   Thanks for telling Red Sox Nation absolutely nothing we didn't know, and pissing us off further while doing so.  Cutting edge stuff right there.

My 3 year old nephew could have provided better insight.  In fact, I'm pretty sure he emailed Tito via his Playmate computer toy about not calling for a hit in run in the 6th inning of game two as a result of the pitching match up and field dimensions in Texas.

Maybe if the same "breakdown" and lack of articulation were provided if we were 3-0 instead of 0-3 I'd change my tune.  I guess we'll never know. 

Clearly I'm a bit worked up across the pond today....maybe it's because now I'm forced to lean on Josh Beckett for sanity...

Monday, April 4

First ESPN Power Ranking Has Boston At #7. You Should Be Thankful

Why ESPN forced out a power ranking after three games of baseball is something I don't understand, but to be honest, I was almost happy with Boston's #7 slot.

Others in the ITM circle were ecstatic:

TMurph:  "Really, I figured they would be 29th, and barely in front of the Pirates."

We all know it's far too early to freak out, but it's what we do.  I received emails from coworkers back in Boston saying they tuned into sports radio to hear callers screaming to fire Tito.  Now I'm an admitted irrational Red Sox fan at times, but we need to pump the breaks a bit.

Sure, the Yanks and Phillies are number one and two in this fake ESPN power ranking (side note, how are the Yanks number one in front of Philly and Texas???).....but guess what, the Sox are about to square off against the #30 Cleveland Indians.  Any city whose motto is "hey, at least we're not Detroit" seems like the good place to get on the right track as a team right?

While we're somehow on the optimism train, Joe Murph and I managed to talk ourselves into a positive is our irrational, rationale: If the current trend holds, and the Sox players continue to perform pretty much exactly as they have in spring training, Beckett and Dice-K will get us back in the W column, which will followed by big Jon Stud Lester to close the series out in style...sending us back to Fenway to take on the Yanks.



It's Just Heidi Being Heidi...

Let's be honest with ourselves, it's Monday morning, the Red Sox just finished getting their asses kicked, and today is an off day for us to stew in our a result, we all need this.

Thank you Heidi, for your timing in the release of this video is extraordinary.

It's time to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and take advantage of Cleveland's terrible squad to get the team on track.

Sunday, April 3

Don't Blow This For Us Lackey...

I made a decision on the cost/benefit of staying up all hours to watch last night's game quite quickly. 

No chance. 

Lackey (who is quickly falling into the same distrust category as Dice-k)was on the mound against a team who tees off on him at all times. Something told me it would be a high scoring, long game that would start at 1am London time, ending with the sun/clouds ready to rise over the horizon. 

No chance I was staying up. And since I've yet to master any semblance of self control, I immediately woke up and ruined my chance of watchig the replay on MLBTV by checking the score. 

I also checked my 7 text messages, all saying terrible terrible things about Lackey. 

In typical Lackey fashion, he deflected some criticism by saying "it's only two games".  I'm sure that if Dice-K knew how to say "don't look at my pitching line, all that matters is that I felt good" in English, he would too. 

The pitching will surely improve (hopefully starting with Buchholz today), the question will continue to come back to Lackey and Beckett. Can they live up to anywhere near their expectations (or paychecks)? Or will they sink Boston's chances of putting together one its best teams in history?   Don't blow it gents.  Don't you dare blow it.  

Friday, April 1

Really Red Sox? On Opening Day While I'm in London?.... Really?

The long and short of it is I went through too much trouble and hassle tonight to come home and watch a condensed MLBTV game of an opening day performance which saw Daniel Bard puke all over himself.

Blame Lester's lack of ace-like outing if you want, but it's not on him, not in the first start of the year during a month that is always bad for him....we all know Lester will be there.

While in Ft Myers, at the minor league complex (against a bunch of single A 19 year old kids) we saw Bard look shaky at best...which got to Joe Murph and I using lines like "imagine if Bard took a step back this year and couldn't be the bridge/future closer for the Sox?" 

It is absolutely way too early for that, but today's opening day performance does nothing to bury those random conversations in our mind.

Back tomorrow with more detail on my opening day....Go Sox...because if they don't show up tomorrow, I may go nuts sooner than later...

Opening Day....In London - Thank God for MLBTV

Don't get me wrong, I miss my family and friends back home, but today has got to be the toughest day to be away from Boston.  Red Sox opening day....a sacred day of leaving work early (not happening here), meeting up with buddies for beers (may happen here), and obsessing over each pitch in game 1 of 162 (will happen here...but mostly just ITMGal and our tiny flat).

All that gets me to this...thank god for MLBtv.  Joe Murph has been using it for years to satisfy his Red Sox needs in NYC...but I've never run into a sustained period away from Red Sox baseball in my life.  I must say, if he MLBtv premium package that I just purchased lives up to the hype, I might not suffer a total freak out here across the pond.
Here are the features....
  • Portable to Multiple Devices* Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV, Android™ Phones, Sony PlayStation®3 system, Samsung®, Roku®, Boxee®, LG® Televisions
  • HD Quality (where available)
  • In-Game Highlights and Stats
  • Full Game Archives
  • Alternate Audio Options
  • Pitch by Pitch Widget
  • Clickable Linescore
  • Fantasy Player Tracker (huge!)
  • Home and Away Broadcasts (Don and Jerry (and hopefully Heidi)...yes please)
  • Live Game DVR Controls
  • Multi-Game View (PIP, Split Screen, Quad)

Wait...I can watch Sox games live on my iPhone??  Crap, my company is going to HATE those international streaming rates.  Yikes.
What did people do 5 or 10 years ago when this wasn't an option? I must say, I would have considered turning the opportunity to come to London down (kidding....or am I???).

Either way, it's opening day for the Sox...I hear the Boston area has some snow, but here in London is sunny and about 60 degrees.  Time to get focus, dial up some MLBtv, and settle in for what should be a great season.

Go Sox...

Game on....

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