Tagged: J.D. Drew

Boston Springs

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“Good. I think that’s great,” Francona said when
apprised of Selig’s comments on Thursday about the playoff expansion. “I
wish we were hockey. I don’t like hockey, but the more teams, the better. I
can’t see how it wouldn’t be [good for the game]. It gives a lot of fans reason
to stay with their teams.”

Staying with their teams is something Boston fans know all too well. It’s nice to
be from a place where the teams have a shot at the playoffs. So, even if the
Sox are off to a rocky start, over the last night few nights, fans were able to
glimpse the beginning of one season and the end of another. The Sox and Bruins
haveĀ  both been able to send wins home in extra innings and overtime. Just
what the Boston fans needed. Not mention the possible second coming of Dice-K last night in California.

The Bruins were in a more dire position; the playoffs limit
the amount of acceptable (if that’s possible) losses. Being down two games in
the quarterfinals was not something the Bruins seemed comfortable with. Michael
Ryder secured a shot at winning the first round of playoff games on the road to
the Stanley Cup. Ryder scored the opening goal for the Bruins as well as the
game-winning goal to bring them back from the brink of the quarterfinals. The
Bruins now lead in the best of seven series.

“But you need your players to step up at this time of
year and every night a lot of times there is a different guy stepping up and
tonight it was Michael,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the game.

And through the course of the same nights, a different guy
stepped up for the Sox. Finally. In what seemed to be the eleventh hour, Adrian
Gonzalez made his move in the eleventh inning with a double to bring J.D. Drew
home to put Boston
on top.

Maybe Gonzalez was waiting for the right moment to step up
but as the team attempts to regain its position as a contender for the
seemingly far off playoffs, he might have urged Carl Crawford to make his move,
too.

As the Bruins pulled out another overtime victory, (followed by the Celtics sweeping New York) and
as the Sox season is picking up, staying with their teams is something fans can do
easily without having to wish baseball was hockey.

—Trenna Field

As Restless as a Willow in a Windstorm

Here is another guest entry from my former student, the writer, Trenna Field.

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Spring Baseball

Never mind whether or not a groundhog saw his shadow, the symbol for
spring is when the football season ends and baseball begins. Though spring may
not officially begin until March, the vision for warm weather arises when
Florida becomes more than a winter destination and Arizona becomes a vacation
destination for eager baseball fans.

As
pitchers and catchers begin their first official workout of the 2011 season,
the media is buzzing with the possibilities of whatever may happen with the Red
Sox. The unknowns are what can lead the team to prepare for the best and become
conscientious of the worse. J.D. Drew has mentioned a bothersome hamstring,
which could be a cause for concern as fans remember the injuries piling up, and
a mounting disabled list at the end of the 2010 season.

The
media has also attempted to stir up an in-team rivalry between Jenks and
Papelbon, though both have acknowledged a successful organization and a title
seeking team is the priority. Expectations for the upcoming season are set for
the top. The Red Sox are aiming for a World Series, which might leave some
feeling skeptical. Tracey Jackson, a guest on a Today Show segment titled “Why
50 Is Not The New 30” said, “if you set yourself up for expectations you can’t
meet, you’re going to be depressed.” That makes sense, but as the Red Sox have
everything in line for a great season and the passion to play for it, their
expectations are realistic leaving no room for depression. A Red Sox World
Series is quite possible, after all, it is only spring and anything is
possible.

  Fort Myers is a place where the kinks of the
team can be worked out, on and off the field, and a place that allows baseball
to begin as Fenway Park continues to thaw from the harsh New England winter.
Baseball has officially kicked off an early spring, although the temperature is
still below freezing and the wind chill is unbearable, with something like
opening day to look forward to, the winter is almost a thing of the past, like
the 2010 season.

Nothing to Cheer About???

Professor Daniel Gilbert(a real professor as opposed to my nicknamed Globe journalists), a professor of psychology at Harvard, wrote in the NYTimes about the mind’s workings under pressure, as in the case of Rodriguez’s 600th home run. In his opening sentence, he says “The Boston Red Sox haven’t given their fans much to cheer about this summer, so we have had to take our pleasure where could find it, for example, by watching Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees struggle to hit his 600th career home run—again and again and again.”

I am not about to take on a Harvard Professor, especially one who has written excellent books on the subject of happiness. After reading his bio, I realized I didn’t know he also has a tv show, “The Emotional Life,” to top off his achievements. His essay, “The Weight at the Plate” is illuminating. But it’s that first sentence that has got me stirring this morning. Some may say, well that’s because it’s true and the truth hurts. Not only that, these injuries, especially Youk’s thumb, hurt like hell. But is all this swelling going to silence us? Are all these broken bones enough to choke our cheers?

p1_soxfans_boston_ap.jpgI wrote about an article earlier in the season that challenged Red Sox fans to stop acting like Yankee fans. With 27 rings, the Yankees have come to expect a championship every year. That’s natural, even if some think that the way they got there is unnatural. So be it. With two rings in the last ten years, are we spoiled and greedy? First, we love this rivalry. And any great play or better, any victory over the Yankees, gives us something to cheer about. Will this be a Bronx massacre that desecrates our entire season? Well, maybe.

I keep thinking about the tickets I bought for October 2 at Fenway. The second to last game of the season AND it’s against the Yankees. Some somber fellow Sox fans have said to me that the game will be meaningless, why bother going. I won’t write my dissertation on why i love baseball here. I will say that there is a long list of moments this season where I have thrown my hat into the air in celebration, some of which are listed in my first-half highlights list. Yesterday I saw a surfer with a t-shirt that said, “The Journey is the Destination.” Somewhat of a cliche these days, bur you know that phrase stuck with me through the day. I don’t mean to get too mystical, but I do intend to convince myself, or even you, that this season is not even close to over.

Right of the Pesky Pole Notes:

After yesterday’s entry on Youk’s thumb, I started thinking about a list of things we need in place of Youk’s thumb, or more literally, his absence.

In no particular order:

Papelbon’s Poise

Kalish’s cool

Ellsbury’s speed

Drew’s clutch hits

Beltre’s bombs

Papi’s swagger

Please add more to the list. . . .

Wake, Brother Drew, Sir Papelbon & that guy in  headphones

First, it’s the eyes that go. Our 5th decade welcomes us this way. (ESPN The Magazine is forcing me, by the way, to finally go for an eye exam. Their preview pages make me read like Gov. Paterson with his pen, vetoing legislation and his nose an inch from the page.)

Then later it’s the ears, but with much more irreparable damage. When Drew Brees held his son while confetti fell after the Super Bowl, we took note of the headphones. Important protection in a large stadium. A smart move, too, when you are  at Fenway 70 to 80 games a year. It’s hard not to notice the fan with headphones behind homeplate. Last night, with two outs in the 9th, there were more fans who might have needed them. On their feet, they cheered for the efficient, diverse save by Sir Papelbon and I was happy to see and hear some noise at Fenway.

Earlier in the week, the empty seats were pissing me off. How many fans regret leaving in the 6th inning of Game 6 against the Rays in 2008, where optimism was rewarded with one of the greatest comebacks by the Sox.Game winning hit? Brother Drew. As was the case last night. I know, Daniel-not-so-hot-as-lava -lately-Nava hit that blooper for the game winner. But Drew’s beautiful swing sent shots monster-wise.Something, though, for Navav that ought to help him spew some heat again.

But back to fandom and its requirements. Why can’t people stay until the end of the game? I know I know. Plenty of real reasons. But lately it’s more noticeable. Last night was different. And Sir Pap was the pitcher Professor Benjiman wrote about on May 14, using an 82 mph slider contrasted with 96 on the fastball. Really quite perfect.

Perfect and quick, Wakefully. For the shortest game time since 2002, Tim Wakefield knuckled more strikes than he has all season and won at Fenway since the start before I saw him on July 3, 2009, exactly one year ago. Must I remind us again of how Pap threw a great 9th to hold the tie and then Ramon gave up two runs in the 10th? I shouldn’t mention it again. It was just that Ramon ruined the real positive mood from the day before(see yesterday’s entry). Hey, it’s a team effort Sorry Ramon.

Cheers to Wake and the grip that makes age meaningless.

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Right of the Pesky Pole: Notes

Lady Gaga & Brother Drew?
Saribel, our Red Sox fan Forever in Florida, told me that Gaga’s “Bad Romance” was playing after the home run? Gaga and JD?  . . .nah . . .

Sir Pap?
99 out of 100 people surveyed say they would never call Pap, “Sir Pap.” Just think of him in goggles doing his drunken Irish dance in bike shorts. “What a wacko,” commented that idiot announcer from Fox(I have erased his name from memory ever since. He is the same dope who openly insulted Stephen King while interviewing King in the stands during the 07 playoffs.) Anyway, you’ve heard all the other insults lobbed at Pap. I remain true to my word. He is our closer. And we should sign that big contract, let’s say 4 years? Look at how few closers actually close and save games on a regular basis. He’s 3rd in the AL.
. .

Brothers Drew

As I sat in the right field bleachers in Atlanta for a Braves-Red Sox game, the Sox fan behind me kept yelling. He wasn’t cheering the Sox or rooting for the Braves, whose fans were outnumbered. Instead, he was trying to remind J.D. Drew of the game he was playing. “It’s called baseball, Drew !!” It was 2007, the first year of Drew’s contract. Apparently, this fan thought Drew was overrated and earning too much money.Without the requisite intensity or on-field emotion, he wasn’t worth it, explained the fan to his buddies. (This is the same fan who needed to describe the exact proportions of all his ex-girlfriends while I sat with my 9-year old nephew trying to focus on the game.) But am I arguing that this fan was completely without cause? Maybe. If you have read a few of my previous posts, you know that I don’t talk about money. Baseball is big business because we love the game. Enough said.

More on my mind is that of the Brothers Drew, all of whom were First-Round draft picks(pretty amazing, don’t you think?), the Red Sox signed the best brother. Stephen still has many years to play, but I don’t imagine he will produce the number of clutch hits J.D. has given the Sox. I almost forgot, (how could I) his game-winner against Tampa Bay in Game 6 of the ACLS, completing one of the greatest comebacks ever. See image below. I forgot about it because I was thinking about the grand-slam against Cleveland in 2007, a home-run that proved J.D. could hit in  the postseason. One of only three postseason grand-slams in Red Sox history.

Last night, two of the Drew brothers played against one another for the 16th time. (Their brother Tim’s career ended prematurely because of arm troubles.This is a good radio piece about him. Tim Drew NPR story)
J.D. collected two hits. Quietly. Without men on base, there was no real reason to notice. But we are almost halfway to the postseason. This is where Drew might be in the headlines for more than brotherly reasons, and with all the drama we hope for in a player.
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PS. Thanks to Saribel San Martin, who got me thinking about the Brothers Drew with her comments on Twitter during the game.

No Need for Voodoo

I promised fellow Sox fans I would help Dice K with my newly found dice, three pairs that were in an old storage box. I think they came with a deck of cards in a bonus pack. The day I dug them out of the box was the night Dice-K came close to a no-hitter. As is the case with most games, I cut out everything and everyone in my life to watch.
dice_K-786088.JPGIn so doing I forgot to place the dice near my screen or perhaps more elaborately, wear them around my neck somehow. My girlfriend makes jewelry, but I haven’t ventured towards that request yet. After all, she, too, is a Sox fan(as all her boyfriends have been, even here in Jersey). Speaking of Jersey, besides our infamous reputation for delivering industrial waste to the world, many automobiles come fully equipped with rearview mirror dice. This is actually my preferred method of spell-casting for Dice-K victories. It’s funny how many Yankee fans drive around doing the same thing, unwittingly. Even here at the VW dealership, from where I write this as my car gets serviced, several loud Yankee fans are driving off in Jettas, GTI & Passats, with dice dangling right above their GPS screens. (One patron donning an old Yankee cap was yelling for all the dealership to hear, “I need a stick, because I don’t like people driving my car!” Another example of Yankees avarice.I am not making this up.)

The other important personal subtext here is my pick up from waivers of Dice-K for my fantasy team, made up of fellow professors, adminstrators and deans. None of my league members would go near him. Two hours before the roster deadline yesterday, I made a quick exchange for Kevin Slowey. Normally, I don’t win these kinds of leagues since I have a hard time rooting for other players. Dice-K now accompanies Youk, Drew, Buchholz, Lester, and Scutoro on my team, the Idiot Winds. Hope you get the references.

The numbers: 15 scoreless innings for Dice over two games. 4 hits(I know, it’s only the Indians). A  0.75 WHIP.
And $175 for my 30,000 mile service on my Red Sox red GTI.

On the speakers in the dealership waiting room: “Whole Lotta Love” Led Zeppelin

Way down inside, we needed Dice-K