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Wednesday, 18 July 2012 13:38

Bringing the heat for real

The recent weather in Maine has been hotter than NESN reporter Jenny Dell, so there's a slight chance I might be suffering from heat-induced delusions. But when it comes to the Red Sox, I think I can see clearly now; the rain is gone. While these thoughts might make you a bit overheated, here's what I think about the rest of the Sox regular season.

There will be no playoffs again this year. Sox are at .500 as we speak. Sure, they're getting healthier every day, but unless they have three quality starting pitchers coming off the DL (they don't), they're going nowhere. Message to John Farrell: 'Please come back!' Sox pitchers have struggled since he has been gone. The bullpen has been serviceable, but without a few guys who can get you to the seventh inning consistently, there'll be no October baseball for Boston again this year.

Published in The Sports Edge
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 13:59

Red Sox ascendant

Maybe it's all the Vitamin D I've soaked up from playing in a few golf tournaments this weekend, but I am filled with optimism. I don't think it's the sun, I think it's the Boston Red Sox slowly but surely climbing in the standings of the American League East. Don't look now, but the Sox are in third place! The pain of injuries that were like a swift kick to the groin back in April and May is subsiding and Boston is getting healthy. Look out Major League Baseball - here they come.

David Ortiz continues to drink from the fountain of youth like my friend Jimmy at an open bar wedding. He's been swinging the bat like Thor would a hammer. Sitting on 399 career HRs, my hope is that he can wait to hit fateful number 400 at Fenway Park. Honestly, if someone would have said to you that Big Papi would have 20+ dingers at the All-Star break you would likely have offered them some water and said 'sober up.' But here he is, the team's club house leader and easily the best Designated Hitter in baseball. We can talk about legitimate MVP candidacy at a later date.

Published in The Sports Edge
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 14:42

Happy trails, Youk!

Saying goodbye to a Red Sox favorite

As sports fans, we become attached to those who play for our beloved teams. While fandom has become more about rooting for laundry than individuals in recent years, we still develop feelings for the athletes who go out there day after day and do their best to contribute to the cause.

Alas, the day inevitably comes when we have to bid farewell to our favorites. That day arrived for Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who was traded to the Chicago White Sox this weekend in exchange for pitcher Zach Stewart and utilityman Brent Lillibridge.

Youkilis has been a beloved member of the Red Sox since he was first called up from the minor leagues in 2004. He was a part of Boston's two 21st century World Series wins and a vital piece of the puzzle in 2007. He finished in the top six in MVP voting twice. He won one Gold Glove and could have easily won more, despite playing third base, first base, left fieldwhatever the team needed.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 13:45

Red Sox Report Card May

There's no disputing that the 2012 Red Sox season has been a bit of a disappointment thus far. Sure, there have been extenuating circumstances the number of injuries has bordered on astounding but those problems are no different than those shared by half the teams in the league.

After a less-than-ideal start, the Sox spent the month of May slowly digging themselves out of the hole April put them in. In fits and starts, the team managed to drag itself above the .500 mark and enter June with a winning record.

Sure, they're still planted at the bottom of the division, but the American League East is going to be won by a war of attrition there are only a couple of games currently separating first from last. But if the Red Sox want to be a serious contender, they need to build on what successes they've had this month and find a way to make some significant upgrades.

Published in Report Card
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 12:17

May daze

I have so many topics to write about its making my head spin right round baby right round. (Anytime I can get some 80's music lyrics in the first sentence, it's going to be a good column.)

An injury to Derek Rose was just what the doctor, as in Doc Rivers, ordered. Now instead of losing in the second round, the Celtics will most likely beat the 8th-seeded Sixers and play in the Eastern Conference Finals. I know KG and crew had some success against Miami late in the year, which has Green Teamers thinking another trip to the Finals. But as much as I can't stand Lebron and the Heat, me getting my own reality show is more likely than a Celtics series win, which means the 'New Big Three' era in Boston will end. It's been a nice five-year run resulting in one NBA title and another Finals appearance. Let's be happy with that because KG, Ray Allen and maybe even Rondo will be somewhere else next season.

Joe Buck won the sports Emmy for best play by play recently. Yes, he is smooth, knowledgeable and talented on Fox Sports. But do you know anyone who enjoys his play by play? Me either. It's like when they give the Oscar for Best Picture so some artsy flick that five people on the entire planet took the time to see. Buck is good, like caviar. But I don't know many people who really like either one.

Published in The Sports Edge
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 13:17

Baseball is back

Forget about those two Seattle and Oakland games that were played in Japan at 6 a.m. our time and replayed on tape delay three hours later this week. (Side note: Is there anything in the entire world of televised sport that's lamer than tape delay? I would say no.) Baseball season is back, and with it comes a lot of change. Change for the better.

First off it means the winter is over, spring is here and soon after comes summer. I'll talk about the Red Sox a little bit, but the fact that the games are back changes the way you live your life. I don't mean that as an extremely deep thought, because it isn't. For roughly 160 (accounting for the occasional rain out or double header) of the next 200 days, you have entertainment. Whether you watch the game from inning one to inning nine, check in on it for a few pitches to see the score, listen to it on the radio, or just have it on in the background while you do other things, the Sox are back. There is also the annual Fenway trip many like to make. Ask people and they'll say, 'I try to get down once a year.' Then of course you get there and the seats are uncomfortable and you spent 500 bucks on the day, but hey, it's Fenway. Had to make the annual visit.

Published in The Sports Edge
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 10:06

More peerless prognostication: MLB 2012

Thoughts on the upcoming baseball season

It's almost time. Florida and Arizona are abuzz with Major League Baseball teams getting themselves ready, tweaking those rosters and making those difficult final decisions about minor league demotions and even the ends of careers.

The game is once again coming to life, but while one of baseball's hallmarks is its consistency, this particular offseason has seen a lot of change. There have been some major changes of address: Prince Fielder moves from Milwaukee to Detroit; Japanese sensation Yu Darvish will take the mound for the Texas Rangers; and St. Louis icon Albert Pujols made the move to the West Coast in joining the Angels.

However, the biggest development of all is MLB's decision to add another wild card team to the postseason. This means that five teams from each league will make the playoffs, with the two wild card teams kicking off the October festivities with a one-off, win-and-in game. This can only serve to provide even more fans with reason to stay invested in their home teams throughout the long season.

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 12:24

Red Sox owners ready to move on in 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. - John Henry was walking off the stage after a television interview during his team's first full-squad workout of the spring when the Boston owner was confronted by a lifelong Red Sox fan holding a bright red sign with white letters.

'All we ask is that you make us proud again to be a Boston Red Sox fan,' the sign read.

'We're trying,' Henry told her.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 22 February 2012 17:05

Requiem for a knuckleballer

Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield calls it a career
It was a sad day in Boston last week. An era came to an end when knuckleballer Tim Wakefield - the longest-tenured member of the Red Sox - announced his retirement.

We all knew (or at least suspected) that this was coming. The 45-year-old Wakefield's effectiveness has been gradually dwindling over the past few years, and guys simply don't pitch deep into their fifth decade. But there he was, tossing up that beguiling, twisting knuckleball and infuriating all manner of major league hitters.

I'm going to miss him.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 14:37

An open letter to Theo Epstein

Dear Mr. Epstein,

I've been a Red Sox fan for a pretty long time. I first started really following the Red Sox at the tail end of the 1986 season. I had just started the fifth grade and the Sox were making their memorable run to the World Series. So my fandom was born in heartbreak. From day one, I understood that being a Red Sox fan meant being disappointed. It meant understanding that it wasn't a matter of if the Sox would blow it, but rather when.

And then you came along, Mr. Epstein. You came along and changed what it meant to be a Sox fan. You and yours took a team that hadn't won a championship in eight decades and landed two rings in a span of four years. You were only in the driver's seat for nine seasons, but in that time, you completely changed the perception of the Boston Red Sox organization.

Published in Sports
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