Quick Hit: On last night’s Red Sox-Rays game

By now, I think most agree that by the letter of the rulebook, the call involving last night’s ground-rule double is the correct one.

However, by the spirit of the rulebook and the game, it was the wrong one. Why? Because ultimately it rewarded the Red Sox for a bad play.

Obviously there’s nothing that can change that the call last night was wrong, and regardless of what happens it won’t help the Rays, but the rule should be changed.

“30 Teams, 30 Posts”: Happy Evacuation Day, Boston Red Sox (and a look at their off-season acquisitions)

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, I celebrate Evacuation Day by talking Red Sox.

On March 17, 1776, as the Colonial forces reinforced their siege with cannons taken from Fort Ticonderoga, the British decided that their position in Boston was too threatened to be sustainable. So they left. And there was much rejoicing. In fact, to this day, Bostonians celebrate “Evacuation Day”, a city holiday that totally wasn’t chosen specifically as an excuse to give the heavy Irish-American population of Boston an excuse to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without coming up with an excuse to leave work.

So, in honor of St. Patri- err… Evacuation Day, today we are talking Boston. Red Sox, that is.

To be more exact, let’s talk about the guys they acquired this off-season:

First off, the big guy (pun only somewhat intended): Pablo Sandoval. Some Red Sox fans, upon seeing him in spring training, thought he was overweight. Well, maybe he is, but that’s just Kung Fu Panda. He’s always like that. However, that hasn’t stopped him before, and he has the reflexes needed for third base. And he can still hit, of course, and with him now in the AL, he can DH at times, although of course David Ortiz will usually be in charge of that.

Next, Hanley Ramirez. He’s finally returned to Boston, after being traded by them way back in 2005 in the Josh Beckett deal. Now, he’s going to be a left-fielder. This could be interesting, seeing as how Hanley Ramirez has never played outfield before, much less had to deal with the odd bounces of the Green Monster. This will really be something to watch.

Wade Miley, acquired from the ever-anonymous Diamondbacks, is in some ways as anonymous as the team he came from. He’s good, but not great. He had a great rookie year in 2011, but has been middle-of-the-road since then, with a 3.94 ERA. Still, maybe a change in scenery will do him good and get him back to his rookie self.

Rick Porcello also has joined the Red Sox, acquired in the Cespedes deal, as well as Justin Masterson, signed the same day. Alexi Ogando and Craig Breslow also signed. Porcello should be a fine addition, but Masterson, Breslow and Ogando will have to bounce back from injuries and off-years.

How all these deals work out may determine how Boston does this year in the AL East.




For Sale: The Boston Red Sox?

Earlier this season, a rumor came out the the Yankees might for sale. So I decided to come up with a sales pitch for the team. Now, the Red Sox have been rumored to be on sale. They probably aren’t, but, what the heck:
Are you in the market for one of Major League Baseball’s flagship franchises, playing in it’s oldest stadium? Are you ready to take on a fixer-upper job that will require you to banish memories of chicken wings, beer and one of the biggest collapses in sports history from the mind of fans? Do you like hanging out with celebrities like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Stephen King and Doug Flutie? Do you have a few billion dollars on hand?

Then you may be the ideal candidate to own the Boston Red Sox, founded in 1901. Current owner John Henry has been having problems of late juggling his ownership of the team with ventures in the European market and in the South, forcing him to place the club on the market. Included in the deal is Fenway Park (a beautiful example of early-20th century stadium design), large shares of the NESN network, access to Wally the Green Monster, and the contracts to all current Red Sox players and personnel. Yes, even Bobby Valentine. 

To apply, please call Fenway Park. Ask for Papi.

The Players v. Bobby Valentine (AKA The Palace Hotel Mutiny)

Baseball is full of stories of teams that turned on their managers. In the early 1950s, for example, the St. Louis Browns were so happy that Rogers Hornsby had been fired that they gave Bill Veeck a trophy in appreciation (whether they actually did or if it was another Veeckian publicity stunt is up for debate). But rarely have there been revolts quite as slow-motion and public as the one unfolding in Boston, which is worthy of a comedy movie, a sort of reverse-Major League in which a team of All-Stars and colorful characters goes below even lowered expectations. Oh, and instead of Lou Brown, this team is managed by Bobby Valentine.

Although this clubhouse drama has been going on all year, it has once again been burst into the forefront thanks to a report by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that revealed that several major Red Sox players blasted Valentine during a meeting with club officials on July 26 at New York’s Palace Hotel (or maybe it was just some meetings about the overall poor performance of the club, but it seems like the accounts of it being a player revolt outnumber those accounts). This post has been created to summarize the details and provide levity to such a spectacle. Much of the information in this posting can be found in Passan’s tour de force.


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Kevin Youkilis returns to Boston (AKA: The People vs. Bobby Valentine)

I was in Boston, it was perhaps two or three days after Kevin Youkilis was traded to Chicago, exchanging his red for white. Figuring that Youkilis gear would now be on sale, I went to a Red Sox store on Lansdowne Street with my father. To our surprise, there still was plenty of Youkilis gear, up all around as if he still was set to to start that night at third. When my father asked an employee about that, there came (roughly) this response:

“Guy gave over eight years to this franchise and won two rings, we’re not just going to forget him overnight. He’s the Greek God of Walks, after all.”

He added that they’d probably end up taking them down and/or discounting them after the end of the homestand.

Right about now, I wouldn’t be surprised if the stores in Boston are still selling Youkilis jerseys. Because, as the Red Sox become the most volatile playoff-contending team since the Bronx is Burning Yankees, Youkilis very well may have been elevated to a martyr-esque cult figure. While he’s been producing in Chicago and writing nice notes to Red Sox Nation, manager Bobby Valentine has been quoted as blaming Youkilis for all of the problems the two of them had, saying that Youkilis never wanted to get over a comment Valentine had made in April about how he thought Youkilis wasn’t “into it”.

This is not something that is going to help Bobby Valentine’s reputation in Boston, much less the Red Sox locker room. Not like he will care, as he is seemingly turning the Red Sox around by making all of them have a common enemy: him. They are far behind in the AL East race, but are very much in the Wild Card race.

Here’s another anecdote: when at a Red Sox-Blue Jays game at Fenway, there was a mid-inning montage on the jumbotron of final games by Red Sox greats in Boston uniforms. It finished with Youkilis, and that part drew a big cheer.

I’m going to guess he’ll get a similarly big cheer tonight. The reaction to Bobby Valentine when he goes to the pitcher’s mound will probably be more… mixed.

What’s the worst seat in Fenway?

Okay, so I’ll be heading to Fenway Park later this year, thus allowing me to scratch another thing off my baseball bucket list. But one does not simply go to Fenway, one must plan. Fenway Park, after all, is from a time before modern design and engineering had made the obstructed view seat an endangered species. You could easily be stuck behind a pole or something.

Thankfully, there is a site called Precise Seating that allows you to see what your view would be like from most seats in Fenway. And, clearly, this was not only made to aid potential visitors to the Fens, but also to amuse those of us who want to find what the worst seat in the house is.

Sadly, Precise Seating doesn’t allow direct linking to the sites for individual seats, so follow along manually at home.

Anyway, now take a look at my non-scientific study after the jump:

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Back Then: Red Sox Fans

The Library of Congress has lots of pictures from the earlier part of the 20th century available for free online. Take this picture of Red Sox “Royal Rooters” during the 1910s:

(Click the picture for a bigger view)

As you can see, everybody has a hat on, they are all white men, they are waving pennants, wearing suits, and generally looking old-timey. Although there is one guy on the right who seems to be making a finger-pistol at us.

I wonder what would happen if a group dressed like this showed up at Fenway today…