Boston Red Sox


I feel like I spend a lot of time just looking for something I already know. At least, something familiar.

As baseball goes, that feeling is certainly rearing itself lately. Thanks to work commitments, especially busy weekends and the fact that the Celtics and Bruins are each chasing their own shot at postseason glory, I’ve probably watched the least Spring Training baseball as I have in years. I go to box scores, I look quickly to see who’s still on the roster and who’s been jettisoned back to the minor leagues and, sometimes, I watch highlights.

There have been a few memorable ones in there. A few guys, like Xander Bogaerts, have been off at the World Baseball Classic, and that’s been on a channel I don’t get. But there’s Pablo Sandoval, showing that he’s got something useful in the tank. There’s Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi, looking like the second coming of the Evans-Lynn-Rice outfield. There’s plenty if you’re looking for it. (more…)

david-ortiz-topps-archive-2012My reaction was pretty typical. Travis Shaw hit that last fly ball into right field, it was caught and I turned off the TV. That was the end of the series, the end of the season and in that situation, I’m not typically into watching Cleveland celebrate the end of another year on the Fenway field.

Mostly, I wasn’t in the mood to watch others celebrate while David Ortiz’s career was now relegated to the past tense.

The last few weeks of the 2016 season have felt like a gauntlet, a “this is your life” played out every third or fourth day whenever Ortiz happened to be playing his final game in that particular stadium. And it was nice. Some of it was hokey, some of it was in pitch-perfect taste, some of it was overblown in that special way that every Red Sox ceremony is horrifically overblown. But they were all reminders that the clock was ticking. Sooner rather than later, Ortiz wouldn’t be in Boston’s lineup. (more…)

Hanley looked more than ready to swing the bat last night.

Hanley looked more than ready to swing the bat last night.

Matt Barnes has been on the cusp of being a blazing option out of the bullpen for nearly a year and a half now. He can hit the upper 90s on the radar gun and on pure talent, he could be a starter or a shut-down closer.

He’s been stuck in between, though. And on the most ridiculous night in what has already been a rollercoaster season, he was summoned to the mound in the sixth to clean up Tommy Layne’s mess in an especially messy game. Drew Pomeranz cruised through three innings against the San Francisco Giants and was given an 8-0 lead before falling apart in the fourth inning. Soon enough it was 8-5, and three pitchers and two innings later, it was 8-7 and up to Barnes to get the Red Sox out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam.

Ultimately, he was brilliant, pitching three full innings, striking out two and walking none on his way to helping Boston to a 11-7 victory. And his first bit of brilliance was triggered by Hanley Ramirez starting a double play that wound up being just one of maybe five or six great moments for him on this night.

On any other night, Barnes going three innings to bail out the bullpen and shutting down the best team in baseball would be the story of the game. But it’s hard to ignore Ramirez whizzing around with the glove, hitting three home runs and putting the team on his back in a way we haven’t before seen. (more…)

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox

I missed Rich Hill’s latest gem — a complete game shutout over the Orioles at Fenway Park, with 10 more strikeouts, just one walk and an insane amount of goodwill pushing him. He’s a hometown guy, he’s been to hell and back personally, and professionally he’s making an unthinkable run through September as part of the patchwork Red Sox rotation.

I missed it because I went to a fancy dinner with my girlfriend after work. I got to have a nice drink and a nice meal on one of the first truly crisp fall days in New England. I wore a sweater and still felt a little chilly when I was outside. (more…)

When he was on the mound, nothing else mattered.

When he was on the mound, nothing else mattered.

To illustrate why most Bostonians would have rather been willing to submit to a daily full-cavity search than to host the Olympics, consider the scene at Park Street Station yesterday afternoon around 5:30 p.m.

With hundreds (thousands?) of fans packed onto the Green Line platform on a day approaching 90 degrees with about 4,000 percent humidity trying desperately to climb onto one of the few B, C or D trolleys to Kenmore Square (never E, of course), there’s a mad rush whenever the appropriate train pulls up and the threat of collapsing due to dehydration grows with every closed door packed with three more helpless people stuffed alongside it as they shut.

It’s a nightmare. It’s not news, just an inevitable part of trying to get to Fenway Park on a weeknight. The crush has been a little better lately, thanks to the Red Sox’ decision to give everyone a breather for another season, but it was back yesterday, a reminder that this city exists on the edge every day anyway, and that people will put up with a lot if they think it’s worth it.

The desperation’s slight uptick was thanks to Pedro Martinez, who was due to have his number retired at Fenway Park. The crowds and sweat and inefficiency would be dealt with. Nothing else mattered. This was actually important. (more…)

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