At least one Boston team had a successful night in Canada.
The Red Sox have consistency on the road and at home, a consistency that the Bruins seem to lack. Just look at the last two games in Boston, the Bruins lit up the scoreboard, but once back in Vancouver, the struggled with turnovers and keeping control of the puck. The Red Sox haven’t had that problem lately. They were on fire against the Yankees when every player in the starting lineup had a hit and now they added another W against the Jay’s. 7 in a row? The Bruins should take some notes.
I think the key is in the classics. In literature, it’s the classics that are read and re-read, referenced in popular culture, and tend to outshine the new books. Joyce’s Ulysses is celebrated every year on June 16 because it is rough. It is weathered and difficult to break into. Joyce once said, that if readers can’t make it through Ulysses, then they couldn’t make it through life. It’s difficult and sometimes slow and loses its rhythm but it has stayed the course and remained consistent. It’s still celebrated.
The same is for athletes. The classic players, the veterans of the team, the ones who have been in the game before it became a place for product placement and increasing the bottom line for the brand (note Shawn Thornton unable to wear Red Sox hat during press conferences and NHL interviews), are the ones who stand the test of time. They are sometimes slow, don’t always perform to the expectations of the club, and are sometimes considered too old to be relevant or useful in today’s game. But, they stand the test of time.
Wakefield is back in the rotation, a place he deserves to be. At 44, he might be tired compared to the younger, Alfredo Aceves but he is consistent and he walked away with a win on Wednesday night’s game in New York. Wakefield isn’t tired just yet; he deserves to be the starter on Tuesday against the Rays. The Bruin’s 33-year-old Shawn Thornton has been dusted off and joined the team during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals, his first game back since Game 3 of the Conference Finals. When Thornton hit the ice, the game reached a new level, with only 9 shifts in Game 3 he fired the team up. In Game 4 his shifts increased and so did the energy of the team, and it showed on the ice and on the scoreboard. Thornton waited nine seasons in the minors before getting his break. Not to mention right wing Mark Recchi (43) or Jason Varitek (39), two more veterans of their games; players who should not be shelved.
These players might seem rough and worn. Tired and outdated, but they have patience. They stand the test of time as the minutes of the game tick away. They know the game from a different time, yet they are still relevant today.
It’s always good to take the classics off the shelf because they can teach the newcomers something about the game. As Joyce wrote in Ulysses, “a man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” These players have the errors behind them and are leading the teams to new levels of the games they play.
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We are looking for answers, solutions, understanding, clarity, perspective and insight. I have no words. But my teammate, Trenna Field, my blogger at large, is here to help.
If the 2011 Sox season were a book, I’d be tempted to put it down. Not that it
hasn’t peaked my interest, how could it not? 0-6, Ellsbury batting 3 for 22,
Varitek confused over what constitutes a forced out, playing 7 innings before
letting the game winning run score in the 8th as the Tribe takes
It’slike the baseball version of Space Jam.
Aliens must have come and taken the talent out of our players. They put the
extra hours in during batting practice, changed the batting order, played in
warm weather, moved to colder weather, yet still have not managed to pull out
with a win. These aren’t our Sox.
Or maybe they are. Their not looking for excuses. They know they’re letting fans
down; they’re letting themselves down. “We’ve heard it before every game, “it’s
a long season,” or “we need to get it together” or “the Yankees are going to
hit an 0-6 stretch at some point.” Their hope is there, the optimism. They feel
bad. Heck, with the salaries they make, they should. One might argue that they
should be paid on performance, the same argument used against teacher salary
increases if students aren’t performing. They’re not performing. With a $142
million contract, Crawford better improve his performance. But maybe this is
proof that with all the money the club has it can’t buy wins. Crawford won’t
win by himself. Gonzalez isn’t the key. The pitchers need their defense backing
them. The lineup needs to connect with the ball and find the gaps in the field.
The team needs synergy, they need to connect with the ball, and they need to
connect with each other. They need to up their game against the Yankees and
they need to step up to the plate and cross it more than the Yankees at Fenway.
If this season were produced in Hollywood, the players would flashback to their
childhood days of playing ball, their eleven-year-old little league playing
selves. The game is their life and they love it. When they lose, they take it
hard. They walk off the field with their heads down, bats dragging through the
infield dirt. Home to moms and dads who console them, “it’s not about winning
or losing, it’s about how you play the game.” Coaches who say, “Don’t worry.
We’ll get ’em next time.” The Sox better start playing the game because next
time comes around quickly.
If the 2011 Sox season were a book, I’d be tempted to put it down. It’s too awful.
Not in a poorly written sense, no, this is captivating stuff. It’s too vivid,
too emotional. But, I never put a book down, I have to follow through, page by
page until the last, even if it’s too hard to handle. I can’t put the Sox down,
not until game 162. And who knows, there could always be an epilogue.
“The port is near, the bells I hear, the people are exulting,” Walt Whitman wrote for Lincoln and the soldiers of the Civil War. But I write here about our captain and the exultation I feel when Tek hits one these days. Home runs always feel good. Even in the later innings of a drubbing, they always seem to lift the spirit a little. Roger Angell’s wonderful essay on the home run, ‘Homeric Tales, first published in the New Yorker in the early ’90s is probably my favorite piece by him. With our Captain’s uncertain future, and in the face of what many thought was an adversarial platooning with Victor, Jason Varitek is still producing and he is still our captain. Seeing him trot the bases last night with those cypress tree trunk legs makes me hope he will stick around for a while.Anytime I am feeling a bit down after a loss to the Yankees, I look at that photo of Tek punching his mitt into A-Rod’s jowls.The new issue of ESPN magazine reports that Kyle Farnsworth is the biggest bad*ss in baseball. My vote is for Tek, who makes sure our “ship is anchored safe and sound.”