Monthly Archives: July 2010

Just F#$%ing Cheer Johnny Damon Already.

The main picture is The Man, in the corner is some douche from New York.

Four years ago, Johnny Damon left us. Our long haired, bearded centerfielder had been a lighting rod for Red Sox fans and pink hats alike. He coined the name “Idiots” for the 2004 club and pulled a lot of heads out of the oven with his second inning grand slam against the Yanks in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS (If you try to tell me that you didn’t think that the three wins were building up to yet another letdown right up until the ball left Damon’s bat off of my boy Javy Vasquez, you are a liar). He was one of the 25, the guys that broke the curse and still make me smile today when I think about it.

He also Took This With Him.

The problem wasn’t that he left, it was where he went. If he had, after the 2005 season, gone to San Francisco or Chicago, he would never have been able to buy a drink and been cheered so loudly on his return that the game would have been too long for Bill Simmons to watch. But no, after lying to the Sox about the kind of offers he was getting, Damon signed with the Pinstriped Assholes, the worst thing he could have done.

When he returned in 2006, with the Yanks, people (from Gammons to Ken Rosenthal) were all telling us to cheer him, ignore the betrayal, and cheer him like he probably deserved, but at that point the wound was too fresh and that was like asking us to shake hands with the guy who had just cut off our left arm. So we booed Damon for four years as we watched him do all of the things for the Yankees that he had done here: hit, hustle, play decent defense, and throw badly. Johnny Damon was never a bad guy, and he never badmouthed the fans of Boston. He just signed with the Yankees, and that was enough for us. (The Publick House in Brookline even made bumper stickers that said “Fuck Johnny Damon”)

Tonight, however, is an entirely different story. Johnny Damon is returning to Boston as a member of the Detroit Tigers. He will be hitting third and playing left field. This winter, when the Yanks refused to resign him, Damon signed a one year $8million deal. Some, who shall remain nameless, were even stumping for him to be brought back to the Sox, (I know that I suggested he could play first, but tell me you wouldn’t rather see Damon out there with his noodle arm and .281 batting average) but the cries went unanswered and we were left with Mike Cameron, Jeremy Hermida, Eric Patterson, Bill Hall et. al. (I’m not lumping Darnell or little Danny Nava in with that group because they have out performed all expectations).

It’s time to cheer for Damon. I may, in fact, stand and clap at whatever restaurant I’m eating dinner in when he comes to bat. Johnny deserves it. He was the heart and soul of a team that was often duct taped together with little else and still won us a World Series in the best way possible. It’s time he got his due.

Go Sox.

Done.

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This Is Where It Gets Interesting.

Wasn’t that the way this season was supposed to look? In three games the Red Sox starting pitchers (Buchholz, Lackey and Beckett) threw 21 innings, gave up six runs and the Sox won all three games. There was some good defense, timely hitting and a whole lot of badassery emanating from the mound in Anaheim (not L.A.).

Yesterday was Beckett’s turn. Making his second start since returning from the DL, and getting his first win since my birthday (April 10), Becks was solid, throwing seven innings and giving up just the three. It should have been only one, but Jeremy Hermida’s injury was probably to his head, because he misplayed another out yesterday, extending the second so that the Angels could score twice (he also has seven more strikeouts than hits since he got back). Then again if Scutaro (totally unsung hero of the season) hadn’t shown some clutchitude in hitting an eighth inning slam, Dan Shaughnessy and Boston Dirt Dogs (my two favorite flip floppers) would still be declaring us dead.

This team is starting to look like the one that was tearing people second assholes through much of May and June, until both our catchers dropped off the face of the earth and things went all shitty. The defense still sucks, but the pitching is good enough to power through (maybe yesterday was even a sign that MDC and Ram-Ram are joining the party, as the Sox actually won a game without Paps or Bard) and the winter’s fears about the offense are obviously completely unfounded, as the Sox are second in the league in both runs and homers.

So all you bandwagon fans who haven’t been watching the team and therefore driving down revenues and making it harder for them to spend on more players for next year, it’s time to hop back on. The Sox are going to make this interesting, and I can only hope that the Angels get in Lackey’s way again. (scroll down to the comments by Lackey)

Go Sox.

Done.

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An Admission of Guilt From a Proud Red Sox Fan.

A few days ago, our friend Katfish compared us here at the Ballpark to Bill Simmons. Often, this might have been a good thing, but he didn’t mean it that way. He wasn’t calling us good writers who effectively establish and support ideas using both logic and hilarious (sometimes) pop culture references, and on the other hand, he wasn’t calling us assholes who move to L.A., abandon the concept of being the “Boston Sports Guy” and completely ignore Baseball after writing a great book about it. No, he was referencing the fact that we have been MIA for the past two weeks or so (or for the better part of a month if you want to rub salt in the wound), the same way Simmons disappears when the NBA season ends.

I am sorry.

This is what he looked like in the minors, where he'll be soon enough, Theo willing.

There are times in your life when your “real” life gets in the way of your virtual life. It sucks, but this summer has been a tough time to get any writing done, and frankly, there is another reason. I’ve been so uninspired by these replacement Red Sox that it’s been more appealing to deal with women’s shoes (for serious) than to write about them. The lineup was stagnant, wasting quality starts left and right (with the rotation having returned to its fully dominating strength), and the ‘pen was giving up what meager leads that the offense did produce. Oh, and Corey Patterson’s little brother was truly ruining my life at multiple positions around the diamond.

Last night, however, was an entirely different story, with the exception of Pedroia (who has been running) and Ellsbury (still a pussy but now rehabbing in the minors), the lineup was intact. Danny Nava, Dusty Brown and all the other spare parts are long gone. There has even been a Jed Lowrie sighting and Mike Lowell is tearing things up in the minors (both of them are probably gone to get a reliever, we hope). Things are looking up.

Seeing a lineup that is actually dangerous one through six (until those other two guys get back and it’s one through eight, sorry Mike Cameron) is lightyears better than the crap that Tito has been forced to run out there in the past six weeks. I’m still convinced that with 62 games remaining and an eight game deficit, the division is within reach.

And we’ll be here, for the most part.

Go Sox.

Done.

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Aaaaaaaaand, We’re Back.

We're stoked too, especially since Papelbon is healthy.

There’s baseball tonight. Awesome. Maybe the real Red Sox will come back to replace this group of castoffs and minor leaguers. We can only hope.

Go Sox.

Done.

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God, Just Get Me To Thursday.

I don’t remember if there has ever been an All-Star Break that has been so interminably long (aided by the fact that I was away for the week leading up to it), but that I have been so O.K. with. The Sox are beat to shit, and nothing can do them better than some time off. Sure the All-Star game was fun (no it wasn’t, it was boring and poorly managed, but I’m getting more and more convinced that Bud Selig is a killer robot each day and want to keep him happy), and the NL finally won one, which means that the Sox can sweep at Fenway this year as opposed to some pissant NL town.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a midseason break without some type of list commemorating the first half or looking forward to the second. Seeing as the M*A*S*H unit Sox have limped into the break on pace to win 94 games without half of their team (and still finish third in the best division in baseball history), I’m going to just let all that be and get ready for what’s next. So with no more adieu and without further gilding the lilly, I present to you the short list of things to watch out for the rest of the 2010 Red Sox season.

Dustin Pedroia’s CT scan (Thursday): Seriously, the whole season might hinge on this. If everything goes well, The Laser Show (awesome new nickname from Peter Abraham of Extra Bases) will be off the crutches and back doing something less crutchy this week. That puts a return sometime at the beginning of next month, or knowing our MVP second baseman, the end of July. If this all goes through, our best hitter is back in the lineup with two months to go, we have a gold glover back at a premium defensive position and the sparkplug back in the clubhouse.

If it doesn’t show adequate progress I’m packing up my balls and going home, because that means surgery and see you in February. That’s how important Pedroia is to the Sox.

The Returns of Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, and Victor Martinez (Next two weeks): Beckett is the wild card here. He could power through a rehab start or three and then come in and make the rest of the AL his own personal fire hydrant for the rest of the season. He could come back and do his best Jeff Suppan impersonation, leaving the fans to wonder what that $68 million extension did to him. Buchholz is going to come back from vacation, which is what this DL stint was, not a real injury, and be exactly the guy that he was in the first half and challenge Lester for the Cy Young. (These Two Week DL stints for every pitcher on the staff are truly a brilliant idea). Victor, well, Victor will stabilize the pitching staff because they won’t be throwing to Kevin Cash any more and provide a semblance of normalcy for a lineup that has been missing the three guys at the top. All good things.

Trading Deadline (July 31): Consider this an open letter to Theo, Lucchino, Henry and the rest: Don’t be pussies. Love, the people who pay your bills. This is when we will know if the front office has decided that this team is going all the way, or that this really has been a bridge year and our getting wrapped up in this team was pure folly. If they decide to play the “Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett and Jed Lowrie were our midseason pickups” card then they are pussying out and looking towards next year, but if David DeJesus (my buddy the Reverend’s favorite player) makes an appearance with a B on his cap, and a reliable relief pitcher (or two) strolls in from the ‘pen, then we have ourselves an ownership sponsored contender. Keep an eye on this one.

The expiration date on Daniel Nava and Darnell McDonald (sometime in late August): This may be really pessimistic, but these guys haven’t done it in the past for a reason, and this is when Nick Green melted into a pool of jelly on the infield last season. Don’t get me wrong, these guys have been lifesavers for us and hopefully this doesn’t happen and we get a sequel to The Rookie based on this year’s Sox out of it, but the reality is that there had better be some movement on Ellsbury and DeJesus (yes, I have completely given up on Mike Cameron. He is playing through a lot of pain and not being a sissy about it, but at this point I don’t see him making a significant contribution to the club) soon, or we are heading into one wild ass pennant race with one arm tied behind our backs.

The Parade (early November): Anyone else see a touch of destiny sprinkled on this club?

Go Sox.

Done.

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A Tribute to a Fallen Enemy.

George M Steinbrenner III died this morning.

The man who was the face of an organization that allowed my asshole Yankees fan cousins to torture me for the first 22 years of my life is gone. Steinbrenner put up the ridiculous amounts of money to buy World Series titles and all of the best players. I should be dancing in the streets. Naked.

But I’m not.

I’m actually sad. Sure, Steinbrenner was a blood sucking whore who paid for titles, but he was also a great philanthropist whose name was on the children’s wing of the hospital in which he passed. He was a the perfect enemy for a young kid: He spent money, won titles and dressed well (if you’re a turtleneck kinda guy), but mostly he just wasn’t our guy. Growing up and seeing his antics, from the Winfield event to the old film of him yelling at Billy Martin, made me hate him, but still be a little bit jealous that he wasn’t our owner.

Either way, the country is mourning as tonight’s All-Star Game is played out with his Yankees holding the best record in baseball (assclowns). I’m sure he’ll be watching from somewhere with a smile on his face.

Well, George, at least you made it interesting.

Back tomorrow with midseason list #789. Yeah, they are on all the other sites, but you like us better.

Go Sox.

Done.

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Vote for Youk.

Who can resist that baby face. And Swisher eats puppies so he shouldn’t be an all-star. Redsox.com. Now.

Go Sox.

Done.

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