Sweet Mercy, A Win!

Just when we all thought we were staring down our eleventh (!) consecutive loss for the 2014 season, fate stepped into this last game.

To sum it up neatly:

“With the Sox down by five runs Monday and on the verge of another wrenching loss, Ortiz and Pedroia were there to lead them out of the woods. The duo drove in six runs, five in the fifth inning, as the Red Sox rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves, 8-6.” - Peter Abraham.

Now, Pedroia and Ortiz have a lot to answer for. They’re the frontline guys, the ones who throw down the offensive, and should be the ones leading the team to win after win.

I know it’s unfair to pin a losing streak on individual players – it is, after all, a team sport – but these two needed to get their heads in the game, and now they need to keep ‘em there.

People have got all kinds of ideas about why the Sox have had such a rubbish beginning to the season (and yes, it is still early days, with just 50 games out of 162 done for the season):

1. Too many injuries on the team.

Nope. Not true. While there were 3 injuries last week, that doesn’t account for the streak. For the first 40 games, everyone was perfectly fine – if anyone should be complaining about this, it should be Orioles or even the Yankees. And if they’re all so damn injured, get a physio, get a table, and sort them out.

2. It’s a different team to the World Championship line-up.

Yeah, no kidding. No team is ever exactly the same season to season. But this year it’s only by 5 team members - certainly not enough to dilute the quality of the team.

3. The farm system will save us.

Wake up! The farm system hasn’t given us any big names since Pedroia joined the big leagues in 2006. Bradley’s good, and Bogaerts is shaping up well, but none of our everyday players are from the farm system. It’s the current team that needs to shape up.

If we can pull ourselves together now maybe we have a chance at getting to the end of the season in good shape – but we need a winning streak now, with no more losses.

2013, Now A Distant Memory…

Boy oh boy. I’m usually not a cursing man but the last few games have left me tearing my hair out and running my mouth.

The Red Sox have really been on a streak lately, and it hasn’t been a good one. In fact, it’s one of the worst streaks we’ve had, made all the worse with the memory of the 2013 World Championships still close at hand. There hasn’t been a crisis like this since the string of losses that got Butch Hobson fired in 1994.

There hasn’t been a run of losses like this from a Championship team since 1998, when the Florida Marlins lost 11 consecutive games. Even worse is the fact that only 2 teams have ever made the World Championships after losing 10 games – the 1951 New York Giants and the 1982 Atlanta Braves.

Our boys really need to pull themselves together and start playing like the champions we know they can be if we have a snowflake’s chance in hell this year.

Speaking to the Boston Globe this week, team manager John Farrell had this to say:

“There’s frustration, we can’t deny that. But at the same time our work ethic and our concentrated work is still consistent with stretches when we’ve been a little bit more on the winning side… We know this: The game’s not going anywhere.”

But with Gomes charging the Tampa Bay Rays’ dugout during the most recent game, you’ve got to wonder where the game is going. Nowhere I want to follow, that’s for sure. And despite Gomes’ apparent regret post-game, saying ““I’d rather win the ballgame than win the arguing match”, he really summed it up when he said “We’ve still got our work cut out for us.”

Damn straight, pal.

5 Historic Moments at Fenway Park

Fenway Park is not just the home ground of the Red Sox. It’s the spiritual home, the grounding point for countless baseball fans and Boston youngsters.

So today I wanted to take some time to honor Fenway Park, and reflect on some of the greatness that has taken place there.

1. The First Ever Red Sox Game

On April 20th, 1912, mere months before World War I broke out, the Red Sox stepped out onto the green at Fenway Park to play their first big league game. It’s more than 100 years ago, and Fenway Park is still just as big a part of the team as it was that day.

2. Ted Williams Set A Home Run Record

Ted Williams is one of the most famous of the Red Sox alumni. In 1946, on June 9th, Ted strode out to the plate, and socked the ball to a whopping 502 feet away. It hit one Mr Boucher right on the crown of his head, and his seat is forever immortalised in a distinct red, instead of the standard green of the other seats.

3. Fenway Goes To Hollywood.

Technically, I suppose this is more than one historic moment, but let’s ignore that. Bostonians are not the only ones that appreciate the glory of Fenway. The Park has been a key feature in several big-time movies. Most notably, Fields of Dreams in 1989, Fever Pitch in 2005, and The Town in 2010.

4. Roger Clemens Strikes out 20

To my knowledge, it has only ever happened 3 times in the great game of baseball that 20 hitters have been struck out in a single game. The first time it happened was at Fenway in April 1986, when Roger Clemens struck out 20 hitters and allowed only 3 hits with no walks. He did it again in 1996, too.

5. The 1999 All-Star Game

Possibly the best game of baseball ever played, the All-Star Game in 1999 featured some of the game’s living legends – Ted Williams, Pedro Martinez, Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Jeff Bagwell. Fenway had its share of glory that day, and for many present, the day will never be topped.

 

A Brief History of the Red Sox

With such a grand season behind us, I thought I’d close up the year’s reflections with a brief history of the Red Sox – I know the team has acquired a lot of new fans since winning the World Series, and it’s good for all you newbies to know the team you’re supporting!

The team was founded in 1901, as one of the American League’s Charter Franchises, the team’s home ground has been Fenway Park since 1912. Having made it to 12 World Series, the Sox have won 8 of them, which is a damn good show.

Legendary player Babe Ruth started out with the Red Sox, and with him they won championships hand over fist. But when they sold him off to the New York Yankees, the Sox crashed. Known as the Curse of Bambino, in 1918 they entered an 86-year championship drought, not making it again until 2004. I tell you, you gotta be a loyal fan to make it through 86 hard years.

However, things have turned around for the Red Sox drastically this century. When they won the 2013 World Series, they became the only team to have won 3 World Championships in the 21st Century (their other wins happening in 2004 and 2007).

Even now, though, the rivalry between the Sox and the Yankees is raging strong. They’ve been fiercely competitive ever since the inception of each club, and it shows no signs of abating.

Among our retired superstars (who have also had their numbers retired) are legends Ted Williams, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Pesky, Jim Rice and Jackie Robinson. Of course, most fans think Babe Ruth should be listed there too.

Welcome to the family, newbies, we’re happy to have you joining us, and I hope this little overview gives you an understanding of the legacy of this mighty club.

An Amazing End to 2013: The World Championship Win

When Bobby Valentine left the Red Sox, I had secret hopes that the future of the team would be starting to look up. When a bunch of overrated players were also moved on for a variety of reasons, my secret hope started to grow and blossom.

I thought that maybe the woes of 2012 would be behind us, and our club to start to grow and shine again. Well let me tell you — the Sox truly outdid my expectations this season.

I thought we would ease back into it, gradually taking ground — not absolutely blitzing the entire season!

Turns out the GM does know what he’s doing after all. Cherrington has copped a lot of flack in the last few years, but getting John Ferrell back in the house was a good move. It also gave him the negotiating power to sign Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli and David Ross, as well as the dark horse selections of Shane Victorino and Koji Uehara.

Victorina paid for himself many times over, with 15 homeruns throughout the season, and while other players shone, Uehara really carried the team to glory. He walked just one batter in 29 games  — which I think is a record — and held batters to a .087 batting average, with a WHIP of .31 and ERA of 0.93. These numbers are just insane, out of this world, and he is the reason we crushed it so hard this season.

I never thought we would win the World Series this year, and the fact that we did just makes me so pumped for what’s to come. Bring on 2014 and even bigger wins!