Tag Archives: Mariano Rivera

Five Years Ago Today.

Just watch it. It’s worth the 3:40 of your life and it might make you cry, just a little.

Five years ago today the most agonizing week of my life ended. I had spent four days wearing the same clothes, not leaving the house, eating the same food and following the same schedule (not having a job was very useful at this point, not so useful later). I was afraid that if I changed any little thing then the other shoe would finally drop and, just like all of the other 22 years of my life, another season would end with me, my grandfather, SMC and the rest of us all over the world trying to figure out what the F#$% went wrong.

They seriously did it. But it didn’t, and for four days I must have gotten it right, because all of a sudden, with all of New England (except for Connecticut, and we don’t want them anyways) refusing to move their seats, change their socks or speak to their parents , things started to go right. The blown calls that usually doomed us (Bellhorn’s homer in game six, the A-Rod slap play) were being overturned, and going our way, the Yanks were making Angels-Esque mistakes and for one sining week it was like the past 86 years hadn’t happened.

Yeah, game seven was only exciting until the second (except for Pedro’s cameo in the seventh when I actually thought it was going to unravel again), but it was as it should be, keeping the heart attack rate down and allowing all of us to simply bask in the fact that it was actually happening.

Even though this year didn’t go as planned, and we still have to watch the Pinstriped Assholes play, we can still remember what we did to them, and how we made them feel, five years ago today.

117 Days.

Go Sox.

Done.

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Postmortem on the 2009 Red Sox.

Super BallsI’m not a great yugoogulizer, but bear with me. I’m only going to reference the giant kick to the testicles administered to me a few days ago by the now defunct 2009 Red Sox once. I will say that it was a good, if extremely frustrating season, one that could just as well have ended up in the shitheap along with 2002, 2006 and pretty much the entire decade of the 1990s (hold your horses Mr. “what about 99.” The Sox had no realistic shot in that series unless Pedro had been able to pitch seven times), or could have ended with assholes like me diving into the river to get closer to the duckboats.  What we got, as it turns out, is somewhere in the middle. A decent team that won 95 games, was streaky as all get out and gave us more great memories at the start of the year than the end. They backed into the playoffs, came up against a “Team of Destiny” (we should all know not to bet against a team that lost a guy early in the season, it’s just common sense), and got thrashed in the worst way possible.

Time to Hand Tito the Ball and Walk Away.

Time to Hand Tito the Ball and Walk Away.

This winter will be busier than usual for Theo and Co on Yawkey Way. They need to add a bat, keep Jason “I should have been given a five year, $80 million deal in June” Bay, and figure out what to do with the rapidly fading David Ortiz, Mike Lowell and Jonathan Papelbon. Yes, I did just say that Papelbon was fading. Yes, I did mean it. The Angels were more worried about facing Bard last week than Paps, and we all know that closers have expiration dates. The collapse at the end of Sunday’s game was just the last gasp of a season which he spent constantly teetering over the edge between being Mariano Rivera and Heathcliff Slocumb. If he can be used to get Adrian Gonzalez, Felix Hernandez, or anyone else that will have a significant impact on the 2010 Sox and beyond (see Sabathia, Fat Ass and Teixeira, Leigh) then Theo should jump at the opportunity. Especially with a rookie that throws 100 out there behind him. (this is not a snap judgement made after Sunday. It is a decision that I came to after many long conversations with my friends Johnny Walker, Sam Adams and Whateverhisnamewas Pabst.)

Please keep this man in town.

Please keep this man in town.

The top priority has to be Bay, a guy who the Yankees will throw more money than the annual budget of most public schools at, and making him the centerpiece of the lineup, along with Beardzilla and Pedroia, for the next five or more years. If they cheap out on this one I am going to walk into John Henry’s office and take a crap on his desk. Seriously. The man can afford it, and the fans need something to get excited about after the debacle that was last year’s offseason. The other priority should be figuring out how much it will cost to keep Joe Mauer away from Pinstripes (I know that they wear them in Minnesota, but that’s different), and work on turning Victor into a full time first baseman for 2011. (How nice would an opening day lineup of Ells, Pedroia, Mauer, Youk, Vic, Bay, any DH other than this year’s David Ortiz, Drew and Gonzo  for 2011 look? Yeah) Another bat for 2010 might be nice too, and you can be sure that Theo will find some scrap heap pitchers to add to the top four of Lester, Beckett, Buck and Daisuke. We can only hope that Wake can come back from the surgery to be the guy he was before he got hurt this year, and solidify the back end of that rotation, reducing then necessity for those reclamation projects which never work.

sox-rings2As we all slowly recover from a stomach punch of a Sunday afternoon, let’s just think back to the two World Series Titles that we have gotten to witness (two more than I ever thought I’d see in my lifetime, and I’m young enough that that is tremendously depressing), and the fact that most fans out there would give their left testicles for a season like we just saw. As extremely streaky and frustrating as the 2009 Sox were, they were ours and they gave us a hell of a ride.

124 Days.

Go Sox.

Done.

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The Baltimore Orioles: Road Kill on The Way To Awesomeness.

Dead OrioleI can smell it. We are getting closer. Not just to the wild card, to the division. I know that we were left for dead, and that the Yanks have never given up a lead of six games or more at any point in the season, let alone September. But this feels different, perhaps even 2004-esque, as the Sox have started to dismantle everything that is in their way, and the Yanks are suddenly more vulnerable as Rivera gave up a walk off shot to Ichiro (who is hilarious, and thinks that infield hits are sexy). Sure, we still haven’t clinched the wild card (Magic Number: 10), but the Rangers are finally playing like the Rangers and have lost five straight, so that’s not a concern. What is a concern is how badly the Steinbrenners are going to explode once the Sox have gone into the New Asshole of the Universe next weekend and swept the Yanks out of the place.  This is going to be fun.

Before we do that though, it’s time to put down the Orioles like an old dog or Yankees fan. The Sox have gone 14-2 against them this season, they have no bright spots on the team and their stadium sounds more like the Cask and Flagon than an opposing ballpark when the Sox score a run down there. I almost feel bad for them and all of the people who have supported them. Peter Angelos is an idiot, and things don’t look to be imporving any time soon.

Clay DominatingBut in the mean time, the Sox will continue to use them (and the Royals) as a tune up for the weekend apocalypse ahead. Last night we had Buck continuing to dominate, Bay being hot at the right time (34th homer) and another quality win. What sounds even better to me is that Buck said after the game that he didn’t even feel good last night and his best stuff wasn’t on the mound with him. If he can go six innings and only give up one run, even against the AAAA (also known as National League) team that is pretending to be the Orioles right now, when he only has command of his fastball, then everybody else should fear him when he is on the ball. After last night, the Sox have gone 11 games without giving up more than three runs, going 9-2 in that span (including Thursday’s loss to the Angels, which is firmly on the Captain, which depressed me so much that I couldn’t even write about it) and solidifying their lock on the WC. Yeah, It’s Like That.

Lester is on the hill tonight, so relax, enjoy the college football and remember:

Go Sox.

Done.

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Holy Shit! It’s Truck Day and the Red Sox are going to win the AL East.

Truck DayCongratulations Red Sox fans, we’ve made it through the long ALCS hangover known as the off season and we are standing on the precipice of another brand spanking new baseball season.  While not all of us will be able to get over to Fenway at 1:00 today to see off the gear and the flatbed that will lead it out with Wally, Fenway Ambassadors (I hope that means the new hooker service in the EMC club) and some people who paid to be called “official” members of Red Sox Nation, we can all bask in the fact that it is less than a week until the fields of Ft Myers will be teaming with pitchers and catchers. 

This brings me to my main point of the day: The Boston Red Sox will win the AL East this season. The division features the three best teams in all of baseball (yes, all of baseball, Phuck you Phillies Phans), and the rules say that one of them has to be left out. It will be the Sox who rise to the top of the division this season, for these three reasons (among others):

Rotation1. Starting pitching. “You can never have too much pitching,” according to Theo Epstein (our resident genius), but the Sox come close. The starting rotation is led by Beckett, He Who Shall Not Be Doubted, and the Wiggler. Any of those guys can step in and be a stopper on any individual day, and if you add to that the fact that Beckett is cooler than the Fonz in odd numbered years (’03, ’05, ’07) you have three aces. The back end of the rotation is a fluid situation, with Timmmmmaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy, and Mr. Dushku taking the lead and the physical freak (Smoltz, who’ll be available in June), Suchholz, Bowden and Masterson (who’s gonna start the season in the pen) all available to fill in. 

CC Sabathia on his way to work.

CC Sabathia on his way to work.

The Yankees filled their previously struggling rotation out for around $243.5 Million this winter but didn’t get a single actual proven commodity in those two signings. Other than last season and, to a lesser extent, his previous walk year of 2005, AJ Burnett has not been impressive. Yes, he has nasty stuff, buit he also smells a lot more like Carl Pavano than Josh Beckett (all three of them won the Series with the ’03 Marlins). He broke down his first two years in Toronto and only showed up when there were dollars on the line. CC Sabathia, on the other hand, is a horse (and might weigh as much as one once the pressure of pitching in the AL East gets to him). He has thrown nearly 500 innings in the last two seasons and shat the bed in the playoffs both years (2-3 with a 7.92 ERA), not to mention the fact that he sucks against the Sox. Does not inspire a ton of confidence. The Rays had an entire rotation full of career years last year, except for Kazmir, and are adding the truly frightening David Price, so nobody has any clue what they are going to do, any anyone who tells you that they do is full of shit. 

Bad Man2. David Ortiz is a bad man. He is pissed at all of those people who said that he was done, and he knows how to make them hurt. He is healthy, jacked, and has Youkilis’ beard (already taking his cuts at City of Palms) and the Buzzard (it’s my new nickname for Jason Bay), both 30 HR guys protecting him in the lineup. Don’t sleep on this lineup or you’ll end up in worse shape than Squeak after the Beers won the Denslow Cup.

Better than Hootie and the Blowfish3. But the real reason that the Sox are the class of the division, and therefore the league is the bullpen. Who would you rather have: a fading Mariano Rivera (still the best closer ever but at the end of his time on top of the mountain), Dan Wheeler (no, seriously, they expect Dan Wheeler to be a shut down closer, ha), or the Papelbeast? I thought you’d say that. Not only do the Sox have the clear advantage in the closer department, but the rest of the guys playing the drums out in right field are a formidable force themselves. Since Masterson stepped into the seventh inning role last summer, Delcarmen (2.35 ERA in the last 35 games) became more reliable as a shutdown reliever and should be able to hold down the sixth and seventh, He's excitedOki got more comfortable and bounced back from his slow start, and Javier Lopez became one of the better lefty match up guys in the league. They will be joined by fireballing young righty Ramon Ramirez (2.64 ERA last season) and former Dodgers closer Takashi Saito. The group goes seven deep with two players who can effectively close on nights when the Papelbeast is unavailable (hungover). The Rays have problems at the back end of their bullpen, where Wheeler was exposed last fall and David Price stepped in. Price, who is still a rookie, is going to be moving into the rotation, leaving a hole in the late innings. JP Howell and former Sox righty specialist Chad Bradford, both had career years last season but are middle relief guys, and nobody really knows what Grant Balfour (who is still nuttier than elephant turds when he is on the mound) is going to be able to do. There are too many question marks here, as in their starting rotation, to be confident about much.Mo-No! I blew another save! The Yanks on the other hand, have Mariano Rivera at the back end of the pen to shorten games. He is coming off of a scope of his shoulder and is already starting to fade at age 39 even though he posted 39 saves last season with a WHIP of .665 and and ERA of 1.40. Beyond him there are a lot of empty spaces and question marks. Damaso Marte was great at the end of the season, but we have yet to see if he can duplicate that on the big stage and after AL hitters have gotten a better look at him. Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez are both middle relief guys and have had control problems in the past, so neither can be expected to step into the set up role. Brian Bruney, Phil Coke and some minor leaguers round out the group but none of them has a proven track record at anything and leave the Yankees depth in question. Of course, they’ll probably pick up somebody from a struggling club at mid season, but for now their bullpen is a real concern. The Sox go seven deep, and only have one real question mark out there in the form of Saito, who has been very successful in the past but is coming of an injury plagued season. The less uncertainty the better and the Boston bullpen ranks last in the number of question marks. 

Be happy. The Boston Red Sox will win the AL East. They have a stronger pitching staff than their competitors and the lineup is going to be better than all of the worrywarts think. Of course, you don’t have to score many runs when your pitchers are this good. The long dark teatime of the soul is over. It’s Truck Day, the sun is shining and somewhere, on green fields, under blue skies and with B’s on their caps, people are going to be playing baseball really really soon. Anyone wanna have a catch?

Go Sox.

6 Days. 

Done.

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