…when it comes to yesterday’s RedSox game there isn’t a lot of distance between Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Liberals, Socialists, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and Atheists in Massachusetts this morning.
I left work at midnight dead tired. I got home in the bottom of the 8th and the 9th inning (both halves) was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen in the game and I’ve been watching since I was five in 1968.
Joe Castiglione will be forever remembered for falling out of his chair calling Andrew Benintendi’s Catch and if there was ever a catch to fall out of his chair this was it. I’ve been telling friends for years that when I see Benintendi it’s like watching a young Yaz. As of yesterday everyone in the world now knows it.
Let’s not forget that nobody would be talking about Andrew Benintendi’s spectacular catch to prevent a hit that would have cleared the bases and given the Astros the win in the bottom of the 9th
if in the to of the 9th Josh Reddick doesn’t make a catch at least as good to prevent a hit that would have cleared the bases and given the Redsox a 5 run lead to save the Astros.
I have never seen two halves of a 9th inning end in such a spectacular fashion ever, let alone in a playoff game.
I didn’t see or hear the play fan interference play till I got home.
To my eyes the ball was over the fence and both the fan and Mookie had equal rights to that ball. Without a question Mookie would have caught it if there was no fan there, the only question is did he reach over. I think the fan was in the process of doing so but he had not reached that mark yet and of course it being a playoff game there was an umpire in right field to call it and from what I understand the umpire called for the review (Pedro Martinez noted it was a smart move by the ump to do so) I’m happy we won but I don’t fault any Astros fan for thinking they were robbed on that play, but as their manager said, they had plenty of chances to win it.
I had a post hitting Elizabeth Warren all set for this morning, but after a win like this, we’re all on the same team for a day.
P.S. Last night when they announced that David Price would start today I was scratching my head. You are throwing a guy who has never won a post season game, who finally had a start that wasn’t a disaster in a situation where he is bound to fail, 3 days rest against one of the best pitchers in the game who in his last three elimination games HAS NOT GIVEN UP A RUN. Now that I’ve slept on it it makes a lot more sense. There is no pressure on Price at all, he is not expected to win this game so if he blows it, NBD, we’ve got two games at Fenway to win it including Nathan Eovaldi on full rest for game seven if needed and of course if he wins, even better. No pressure at all.
There’s been so much news to talk about that I’ve not had the chance to talk much about the Red Sox vs the Yankees, but with the Yankees disposed of and the formidable World Champion Houston Astros next in line the #1 topic of conversation in Red Sox nation has been manager Alex’s Cora’s decision to start David Price in Game Two at Boston.
Here is why it I think is the right move regardless of how game one goes (I’m writing this Saturday 2 PM nor knowing the game 1 result.)
Cora needs to know if Price’s issues are Yankee issues or everything issues, the time to find that out is early in the series rather than with the series on the line. Game 2 provides that opportunity. If he fails then he can adjust rotation accordingly.
The upside is huge. With expectations game so low for David Price that even if he just manages 5 innings and less than four runs it will be a triumph and even a small success like that might be enough to get the monkey off his back and if that happens the Red Sox prospects in both this series and the World Series improve dramatically.
The down side is very small, if Price falters Cora can, as he did vs the Yankees, go to Joe Kelly who managed to shed a few demons of his own in an excellent outing that kept the Red Sox in that game. Even if Kelly comes in as early as the 3rd Cora would be ahead of where he was last week against the Yanks. Furthermore that Sox have amply demonstrated time and time again this year that no lead against them is safe.
There is also the downside of NOT pitching Price
Not pitching Price means that instead of Nathan Eovaldi (ERA 3.33) matching up against Morton (3.13) and Rick Porcello (ERA 4.28) Matching against either Keuchel (3.74) or McCullers (3.86) in games 3 and 4. matchups where Houston might have a slight edge at best, Eovaldi gets to match up against Cole with an ERA under 3 (2.88) and Porcello gets to face Morton with an ERA a full run better than his.
Not pitching Price means you have basically a wasted roster spot where you have a pitcher to be used either in case of injury or in case of a complete collapse and in either case you are forced to use a pitcher who you have publicly indicated you have no faith in.
Not pitching price puts additional pressure on Sale’s weak arm and the bullpen that is already going to have it’s work cut out for them to hold down that strong Houston lineup.
David Price has four more years on a deal worth $30-32 million a year that you won’t be able to unload. Cora showing confidence in him now will pay dividends over those next four seasons where those 15 regular season wins Price can deliver might be the difference between winning a division and home field advantage or playing in a wild card game without it.
Starting Price in game 2 vs Houston is both the right thing and the smart thing to do and I think Cora, who wasn’t my 1st or 2nd choice for manager have proven that he deserves to have his judgement trusted.
Okay, the situation has improved somewhat since May, when the South Siders were on pace to lose a club-record 117 games, which would be just short of the modern day record for futility, 120 losses, which was well, uh, achieved I guess, by the 1962 New York Mets.
With thirteen games left in the 2018 season, the White Sox need just four wins to avoid the landmark millstone of 100 losses. The Sox haven’t reached a triple digit “L” season since 1970.
Two weeks ago I was in attendance at Guaranteed Rate Field on Hawk Day, which honored the retirement of longtime White Sox television broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, whose best seasons as a player were with the Boston Red Sox, the South Siders’ opponents that day. The Red Sox are enjoying a stupendous 2018, they’ve already collected 102 wins. But the team Harrelson calls, this is one of his “Hawkisms,” the Carmines, were vulnerable when they visited Chicago, as they were enduring a rash of injuries among its pitching staff, including Chris Sale, who was traded by the White Sox to Boston in 2016 for several prospects, including Michael Kopech.
Kopech jerseys, number 34–Walter Payton’s retired number with the Chicago Bears–were prominently displayed in all of the Guaranteed Rate Field gift shops.
The White Sox split the four game season with the Red Sox; the game I attended was an 8-0 winner for Chicago. It was the South Siders’ sixth straight series without losing one of those series. Not only was the future bright for the White Sox that day–so was the present.
The White Sox are obviously a better team since I wrote my spring Da Tech Guy post. But injuries have plagued the team. Nate Jones, their closer, suffered what was thought to be a season ending forearm injury. But he was back in the bullpen on Friday, picking up the save as the White Sox topped the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles, by the way, have already lost 106 games. Wellington Castillo, a veteran catcher, was signed as a free agent last winter, so he could mentor Chicago’s young pitching staff. But around the time of the Jones injury, Castillo was suspended for 80 games for violating Major League Baseball’s performance enhancing drug policy. And in July, for the second time this season, right fielder Avisail Garcia, was placed on the disabled list. As in the came with Jones, both players recently returned to the roster.
First baseman Jose Abreu brought some surprising good news to the Pale Hose as he became the first team member to be elected to the All Star Game as a starter since Frank Thomas, who is now a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, did so twenty-two years ago.
But the cruelest injury came this month. The top prospect in the White Sox farm system was right-handed pitcher Michael Kopech. His first big league three starts went well for him, including one against Boston on August 31. But two of those ended up being no-decisions as Kopech was pulled after long rain delays. In his final start, Kopech was hammered by the Detroit Tigers. A few days later it was announced that Kopech will likely undergo Tommy John surgery, missing the remainder of this season and all of the 2019 campaign.
So the present isn’t looking very good now.
But Kopech should be back by 2020, which has been the season White Sox fans have been looking towards as when the team makes its return to prominence. By then outfielder Eloy Jimenez, one of the prospects traded by the Chicago Cubs for another White Sox starter, is expected to be in his second season on the South Side.
Jimenez batted .337 in the minors this season.
On the quirky side, the White Sox have a Hamilton and Burr in the bullpen. That’s right, Ian Hamilton and Ryan Burr.
One of the most interesting things about this vacation has been the fact that it’s been an ACTUAL vacation. Other than an interview at EWTN yesterday and a radio show I recorded with Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life (who I ran into accidentally) I’ve not been obliged to cover anything and I’ve only taken a few minutes of each day to write a daily post and send out the occasional tweet while my wife is still asleep or occupied.
But as you might guess vacation or no vacation, anniversary or no anniversary I meet a lot of people some who have interesting stories and I’d like to introduce you to two of them.
First meet Asha Nicole who I met on Monday morning on the way to Game one of the Red Sox Braves series.
As you can tell by the uniform and the background Asha works at one of the many Waffle House restaurants in the area, but what you can’t tell by just that picture is that she just moved to the Atlanta area from Louisiana to pursue a career in music. That she has her first single out which is available on iTunes and various music sites to buy and when she’s not taking your order and providing excellent service to folks like me having breakfast or lunch to make sure the bills are paid she is working hard to try to make her dreams come true.
Perhaps 10 years from now you will all know her name and young girls will dream of being the next Asha, perhaps not, but either way let the record show her first interview was with DaTechGuy at DaTechGuy Blog.
Two days later I was sitting behind home plate at Sun Trust Park for game 3 right below the broadcast booth for the travel day noon start. We met some interesting people but the most interesting were a couple who where huge RedSox/baseball fans that had driven 4 hours from Charlotte to be there.
Meet Rebecca Akins
For those of you who haven’t yet clicked on the video Rebecca has a unique jewelry business. In addition to other various themes she makes jewelry out of baseballs that she gets at major league , minor league or spring training games. Customers can also send her baseballs and she will make custom jewelry out of it.
The name of her business is Gypsy Castaway. Her Facebook page is here, The Web Site is here.
Both of these ladies are very nice people and if either Afro-punk / hip hop music or jewelry are your thing you’ll want to check them out but the real point I want to make is this.
A closing thought. I don’t know what Asha’s and Rebecca’s politics are and I don’t care but I do know that America is lucky to have them both and for my money they are more authentically American then almost anyone the media has spent the week hyping.
And a lot more interesting too.
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Yesterday my wife and I visited Sun Trust park and watched the Red Sox, despite a shaky (but scoreless) performance from Nathan Evoaldi, take game one of their 3 game set with the Atlanta Braves 8-2. The game was much closer than the score would indicate and it wasn’t until the Sox added two in the top of the 8th to give a bit of a cushion and 3 more in the 9th that it was comfortable.
It was a grand day for baseball. The huge amount of RedSox fans in attendance meant that it had the feel of a home game for the Alex Cora’s team and there were competing cries of “Let’s go Redsox” and “Let’s go Braves” on a regular basis and everyone was focused not only on a great game but the playoff implications of a game that could be a preview to this year’s World Series making it a great day for Baseball in General and for the Red Sox who won the game and the Braves who sold out the park in particular.
Meanwhile while key games in pennant races continued to be the focus for baseball, the NFL with its season about to start discovered that the Colin Kaepernick and the kneeling controversy continues to be the gift that keeps on giving:
Nike selected former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its “Just Do It” campaign, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Darren Rovell of ESPN reported the choice of Kaepernick, who started the movement to kneel during the United States national anthem to protest racial injustice in August 2016.
Alas this isn’t the case for the NFL. Not only is this move likely to spark even more protests by players which, while embraced by the playsers association and ESPN, will serve to enrage their customer base even further but Nike has guaranteed that the for the rest of the week the lead story for those covering the NFL will not be the opening of the season and the various teams, players and stars but the whole Kaepernick protest business which is the last thing a league that whose ratings are already in decline needs.
In May, the owners of the NFL’s teams were gathered at a hotel in the Buckhead district of Atlanta. As a high-ranking official from one franchise made his way to a coffee break before the meetings began, he wondered what the group would do that week about the national anthem dilemma that had so vexed the league since President Trump inflamed a national controversy last fall about players’ protests during the anthem.
“What we can’t do,” the official said, “is get to next season and still be in this position.”
However, with the opening of the 2018 season days away, that is exactly where the league finds itself.
The Washington Post, not withstanding their mendacious attempt to blame Trump for the players actions, was exactly right about the NFL’s situation before Nike signed Kaepernick and made it worse.
Perhaps the NFL should have thought of this before it decided to allow the Kaepernick protests to go unchallenged. If they did the conversation this week might be about Brady, the Eagles QB situation and the new contract for Aaron Rogers rather than who kneels and who stands. And you better believe that with election day only weeks away, President Trump and the GOP will take full advantage of the gift of idiocy of their opponent in this matter.
FYI in case your interested at yesterday’s Atlanta Braves Boston Redsox game A group of local school children sang the national anthem to start the game and an opera singer followed up with a resounding rendition of God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch. Nobody kneeled during either song and thus nobody other than me found it worth mentioning.
If you turned in early to the Red Sox Seattle game you saw a lot of offense.
You saw the Mariners put up 4 in the top of the first and the Red Sox answer with five. Then Mariners put up six more meaning that Red Sox starter Stephen Wright, who had given up a single run in his last game against the very same team, had given up 10 earned runs before the book was closed on him, Nelson Cruz with two 3 run HR’s and a single to drive in seven on those 10 doing most of the damage.
It didn’t stay that way.
The same Seattle pitcher Wade Leblanc who had shut out the Red Sox in that same game against Wright would give up one in the fifth. J. D Martinez would hit a 2 Home run in a 3 run Red Sox 6th and then a key single in a five run seventh with the bases loaded and then three in the 6th and then in the seventh went on a tear to score five more.
As I’m writing this the score is 14-10 with one out in the bottom of the 8th, now the top of the ninth. Seattle is coming to the plate and while it looks very good for the Rox Sox they will still have to get those three final outs before Seattle scores 4 to get that win.
And that is why Baseball is better than Basketball, Hockey, Football or Soccer and it isn’t even close.
No matter how big a lead you have you still have to get those outs before you can celebrate, and no matter how bleak it looks, you team will still have a chance to score as many runs as you can before that third out is recorded.
No Clocks, no taking a knee, no pulling a goalie, no LeBron sitting down because he knows its hopeless. As long as you still have a single out yet to be given your team is not done.
SHREVEPORT – It is a clear, glorious day here in the northwest corner of Louisiana. I’m writing this from the wooden swing that hangs from my giant magnolia tree which is in full bloom with sweet smell of the South. I’ve got two lazy cats at my feet, a cold beverage beside me, and meat on the smoker out back. Life is good.
I do my fair share of complaining about Louisiana politics, politicians, the terrible state of public education, and pretty much everything else that gets under my skin, but most of the time I feel pretty lucky to live in the South.
As I read about poor John McCain planning his own funeral and about how friends are coming by to pay respects and “say things that need to be said,” I feel the need to count my blessings. Say what you will about John McCain, but facing your own mortality must be difficult.
I try to keep in mind that every single day is a gift.
Today we are sitting outside, as I said, listening to our local college team play in the SCAC championship baseball game somewhere in Texas. I thoroughly enjoy listening to baseball on the radio and much prefer it to listening to the commentators on television. On the radio, the announcers have to paint a picture with their words and are much more descriptive and entertaining.
“Working in short sleeves the Bulldogs are wearing yellow jerseys today,” isn’t something you’ll hear a tv commentator say very often.
On television, since you can see the action yourself, they spend too much time having to fill air time with banal blather that bores me to tears. When I can, I’ll watch baseball on television with the sound down and pull up audio online. I’m weird like that.
Whenever I listen to a baseball commentator I can’t help but think about Roger Angell; was there ever a writer who covered baseball more beautifully? I don’t think so.
You can have the NFL all day long; give me a baseball game any day of the week. To me there is something so pure and so beautiful about the game baseball. It’s like several different games of strategy in a single game and much more complex than it seems. It’s truly America’s game, played by those “boys of summer,” and every other baseball cliché you can come up with. Throw ‘em all in there!
Yes, I’m sitting here at the very edge of my summer break and my mind is full of summer projects and plans for things I need to do in the next eight weeks away from school. I will weigh the importance of these plans and see what can be procrastinated and then get about half of them done. But probably I will spend a lot of time right here in this swing, sipping a cold beverage, visiting with neighbors, watching my cats lazily stretch out in the cool St Augustine grass and just be glad to be alive.
My wish for you on this Monday, at the end of this post basically about nothing, is that you make today count, be grateful for the small things, and that you find some kindness that you can do to brighten someone’s day today.