Such is the life of casual baseball viewing: On Thursday night I was reading a book at my desk, feet propped up, with the Red Sox in my peripheral vision and serving as background noise. They were in the early stages of a 19-3 beat down of the Yankees to start a four-game series that could determine whether the end of this summer has the team in the pennant race or another eight weeks of pleasant background noise. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, after four World Series wins in 14 years, either will be fine with me.
Anyway. As I was getting more and more engrossed in Ryan H. Walsh’s Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 and all the nooks and crannies of Boston as a city in transition, I was snapped 51 years back into the present thanks to some ambient mics:
“OH GODDAMN IT!” Continue reading
As of this morning, the Orioles are once again in first place with the Yankees, and New York seems to have its hands full with a Boston squad that has, to say the least, not been a threat for most of the year.
So as not to miss the point, the A’s also have a better record than anyone in the East and the Rays are breathing down the Yankees necks, too. But it’s the Orioles that seem to be applying the most direct grief onto New York, and to say that I’m not enjoying that would be the understatement of 2012.
Maybe this season won’t be so bad after all.
I don’t want to talk about it.
Ichiro has been traded to the Yankees.
The most entertaining, cerebral, stunning outfielder of the past decade has been shipped from the Seattle Mariners to that soulless corporation posing as a baseball team, twisting a unique institution into just another cog in joyless pursuit of a pennant.
If you’re of the mind to believe in some sort of higher power, today should be enough to make you question, or abandon, that forever.
Excuse me, while I crawl into a hole until 2013.
The seemingly indestructible Mariano Rivera
As is very well known at this point, Mariano Rivera suffered a knee injury shagging fly balls in batting practice yesterday. He went back for a ball when his ACL snapped, sending him to the ground in a heap. Later, he tearfully addressed the New York media.
In a moment, one of the more remarkable careers in baseball history may have come to a crashing end. And its tragic, as much and more so as the tenure of a 42-year-old relief pitcher could possibly be.
It’s not just that a career may be over. It’s that the greatest career may be over. Rivera, from his switch to the bullpen until yesterday, was the fantastic constant in baseball. He was good for 30 to 50 saves a season, with a WHIP under 1.000 and the most miniscule of ERAs.
And the way he carried himself pulled it all together. He was quiet, professional and, without scowl or howl, completely terrifying. His cut fastball was a weapon that, despite losing a few miles per hour in velocity, continued to baffle batters on both sides of the plate. He was so well respected within the game, by his peers, the fans and the media, that he earned near universal praise. He was and is routinely cheered by Red Sox fans at Fenway Park, an honor unthinkable for another Yankee. Continue reading
Jacoby Ellsbury has had a season to remember, even if the Red Sox aren't.
When I returned to my unseasonably hot apartment last night, the Red Sox were locked into an extra-inning affair with the New York Yankees, the second half of a doubleheader courtesy of Friday’s rain. With a loss, they would be tied with the Tampa Bay Rays in the race for the American League wild card, unthinkable just three weeks ago, when the Sox, along with the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, were the titans of baseball.
Obviously, Red Sox fans are not pleased. As a group, they’re looking for answers. But too many are just looking for someone to blame. Is it starting pitching? Does Theo Epstein need to be fired? What about Terry Francona?
Others are casting blanket statements around, calling this entire team unlikeable and flawed from the start. Certain Boston columnists (who won’t get the benefit of a link in this space) are saying that, should the Red Sox manage to advance to the playoffs, they won’t deserve their slot.
It’s a lot of passion mixed with hot air, arrogance and entitlement. And it really demonstrates how losing can bring out the worst in a fan base. Continue reading