Not just a case of “Manny being Manny”

I’m pretty adamant on my stance against drug use. I don’t need to justify my feelings. They just are. My passion for sports is because it’s sports. It’s competitive, it’s fun, and it’s just a game. At the end of the day.

I want to think Red Sox is above all these drug issues. Realistically, it’s probably not the case. I *hate* that this makes all even more likely. I’ve read some comments about how this may “taint” the Red Sox WS win. The truth is the sport is “tainted” already, whether by a Red Sox player or by someone else. And that many fans are like me, wanting to think our teams are too good for this, with our heads in the sand.

It pisses me off that we have to think like that. The fact that we don’t want our teams with the drug cloud over our heads is representative of how we like to see our sports- healthy, clean, competitive, and fun.

You know you got a Red Sox player when…

… his first homerun is the clincher in an
exta-inning game.

Oh it hurts.

Ortiz sleeping on his shoulder wrong? It happens. Because I’m suffering from the same thing now. With a strained neck, I can’t tilt up or down and turn left or right without pain shooting across my shoulders and neck. And move only in slooooow motions. I don’t know how he even manages to exercise as it is. And no matter how I sleep, each night seems to get progressively more aggravating. As a restless sleeper, I can’t fall into deep slumber because my motions trigger painful flashes that then wake me up.

On the other hand, Beckett looks like he’s in great shape, taking care of himself in the off season and working his change-up. With Lester already strong in last year’s performance and still growing, Dice-K being, well, Dice-K, Beckett’s good performance only strengthens the returning pitcher core, not to mention the new additions to the team. As Beckett is a favourite of mine, I’m glad. I hope he comes back into this season in a big way.

New Year, New Season, New Team, New…

New computer, New bookmarks, New… everything.

A year ago come March, I was on my way flying down to Fort Myers to watch Spring Training. Dad calls me a lightweight fan, which sometimes is a true accusation as I have not yet figured out how to continue my devoted fanship from abroad at the same scale. But, for the record, he never took the trouble to fly to Spring Training while I had.

I loved it down there. I hope you fans all find one opportunity in your lifetime to watch your team’s Spring Training. It is a far less official and formal environment. Get your autographs, chat with your team- although not necessarily your favourite player- watch them play from up close a smaller and more intimate stadium.

This year, I see many new faces on the team that I don’t recognize. And a notable temporary absence from Dice-K for his attempt to repeat his success in clinching the World Baseball win. A hopefully fitter Beckett. And a lot more emphasis on minor league recruits.

I have placed my bets in Vegas for World Series players. I’ve generally adopted the approach of picking the underdogs, with a few tweaks. We’ll see how bad of a gamble this is. Royals, anyone? 

The not-the-final-game game

Rays 2, Red Sox 4.

Watched from the 5th. Highlights:
- Beckett, looking a bit more like his old self.
- The broadcasters scanning the Tampa Bay crowd during a pitcher switch at score of Boston 4, Tampa 2, showing very sober and depressed looking Rays fans, and one yawner.
- Varitek’s homerun. Yes, the come back score was nice, but it was nice to see that Varitek, whose offense has falls the past two years, be able to clutch.
- Bradford’s underhand pitch still throws me off. Especially when he was pitching Ortiz’s intentional walk.
- As much as it stung, I had to admire the calculated risk the Rays made to walk Ortiz and hope for a double play out of Youk in the 8th. Because I still thought that was a risky bet.
- Upton’s ungraceful foul.
- Youk’s catching the final out.

General comments:
- I watched without sound. The audio was getting chopped up.
- After a game like this, one has to wonder if the World Series would be this exciting. ALCS does it again.
- The core 2007 WS team may still be around, but it’s not the same team.
- Some of those 1-2-3 innings flew by in a flash. This multi-tasker has
been busted for missing out a lot. But, I caught the last two scoring
runs, so I don’t feel so bad :)
- I’m still amazed everytime I watch Masterson pitch. Remember, this kid was in the double As just this spring.
- I don’t think I can watch in the Rays’ stadium. Those cow bells will drive me crazy. I get irate enough just dealing with my coworker’s whistling as it is.
- Series count: Boston 3, Tampa 3. This is beginning to look like a regular pattern. 

Finally, unrelated, but just as important:
I voted in the 2008 Presidential Election. You should as well.  

Ignorance is a bliss

MLB had some planning behind the scheduling of game times. When games run long in an already long-run game, spectators are unlikely to say “Oh, damn. I have lunch plans for folks. I need to go, even though they just scored the tying run in the 8th.”

Yep. That’s exactly what happened.

No technical glitches this time around. Just sleeping in on a lazy Sunday morning. And having the unfortunately lunch plans with a very otherwise sweet local family in an excellent restaurant. OK, so the fact that we were treated to the lunch made it all the sweeter.

In a way, it was nice. Nice to walk away bummed that we couldn’t stick around the exciting, nerve-wrecking ending of a tied game. But walk away know the Sox still had a chance. Not having to live in the misery to knowing about a loss.

Observations, from the 3rd through the 8th.
- Wow. Homerun slug fest. Both pitchers clearly struggling.
- I worry about Beckett sometimes. What happened to the ace we had last year? Every now and then, I see a flash of his original brilliance in a pitch here and there and a strike out or two. But he has become so much more hit-able.
- Funniest moment: Ellsbury’s bunt foul… that knocked off his helmet and dignity. Someone needs to play that to him every now and then to make him squirm. I’d do something like that to a coworker if I had the ammo.
- Most enjoyable: Youk’s apparent relief when his blown at-bat opportunity was justified by enabling Pedroia to run home on a wild pitch.

So, series is now at Tampa Bay 1, Red Sox 1.

Tampa Bay has been persistent and stubborn. Characteristics I can appreciate and respect as a Red Sox fan. May the best team win. I just hope it’s Red Sox.

Game 1

I started the morning off at the verge of throwing a temper tantrum.

ESPN wasn’t broadcasting anything. Dad had logged onto slingbox, but was using his tiny laptop screen and hovering over it himself. My Internet was being hogged by him. I couldn’t assemble the right cables to plug his laptop into the tv. Mum was being overly placating. And this was one of the few times I actually have time to watch a full game. If I had access.

After calling up the front desk in desperation to ask them to call the cable company, I continued sulking until I was surprised about 20 minutes later to see the game suddenly pop up on my formerly blank screen.

Highlights, from the 6th:
- Most gasp inducing moment: watching Drew be beaned very close under his head by a wild pitch.
- Most pleasing moment: Youk’s long hit to get the second rbi.
- Most disappointing moment: Having bases loaded, and left stranded.
- Most unbelievable: Dice-K’s endurance in this start.

Observations:
- Masterson has improved immensely from his spring training performances.
- This is the first time I’ve seen Papelbon pitch in a long time. I’m still boggled out of my mind how low his pay is in comparison to the other pitchers.
- Tampa Bay demonstrated a lot of composure and perseverance for a young team.

My star of the day: In spite of myself, I concded that it is Dice-K.

Red Sox 2, Tampa Bay 0. 

All I have to say is:

Oh, crikey.

A century and counting

It was frustrating watching the Cubs-Dodgers match-up this morning. To the point I happily dozed off after the 5th.

I
have a hard time correlating the Cubs I watched this morning with the
Cubs that had the best record towards the end of the season.

I’ve
been spoilt, with the Red Sox. Even when they are down, the team still
gives it its best. I didn’t see that with the Cubs. The swinging, so
half-hearted. Someone remind me, is this the post-season?

It’s
too bad. I had high hopes. Enough to place a bet that the Cubs will
make it to the World Series. Now, I’ll just have to frame that ticket,
and caption it with “just short, for the 100th consecutive year.”

It’s still a Big Boys’ game

The younguns make it fun to watch, but the big guys remind us every now and then that they are as much a part of the team too. This game around it was Jason Bay and JD Drew taking the limelight.

Angels 5, Red Sox 7

   
We are one game closer to clinching the series. It’s not done yet, but the odds certainly seem to be on the Sox’s favour, don’t they?

Remember last year? Remember what a downright hostile environment the fans made it for JD Drew? Remember how he got booed more than any opposing team player in his own home field? His grandslam endeared him to the Red Sox Nation, but pity it took that.

His clinching homerun wasn’t quite as grand an event, but just as critical to the win. What I thought was a highlight was his catch of a homerun that almost was.

Lucky for Bay, he hit off well right away, no pun intended. This may be his first postseason, amongst a team of many returns even within the rookie ranks, but he doesn’t act it. At the rate he’s going, he’s got a good chance to get my vote as a series MVP.

Highlights- I had class this morning so caught only the first six innings:
- This was an offensive game. Up and down performance from two stellar pitchers.
- Watching Ortiz really husle an extra base to score. How often does that happen?
- Jason Bay’s homerun. No doubt about that one.
- Hunter’s semi-tantrum for a close call, resulting with hurting himself.
- JD Drew’s catch of a long flyball just at the fence’s edge.
- Dice-K’s messy 5th. He got lucky.
 

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