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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Sunday, April 07, 2019

It’s Time To Party!

With apologies to Eck for the title, Tuesday is the day we have all waited for since about 11:15PM on October 28, 2018 when Chris Sale fanned Manny Machado touching off a celebration we have become delightfully accustomed to in recent years.  It is a stunning world I never could have imagined.  “Just one” that’s all I ever wanted.  Let me have that moment once, that moment when every other baseball team looks up and see YOUR team, the team you live and die with dogpiling on the pitchers’ mound late in October.  Strangers hug strangers in the street and champagne corks pop and victory cigars are lit.  I just wanted one.

Now in fifteen years you, me and so many others have enjoyed four of these.  We have seen it happen in St. Louis, in Denver, in Los Angeles and once in our backyard.  We have seen Ellis Burks carry the Commissioner’s Trophy down the steps to the tarmac, we have seen Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia drape a jersey over the trophy on the finish line of the Marathon, we have watched Jonathan Papelbon do his Michael Flatley impression and we have seen Alex Cora take the trophy to ravaged Puerto Rico.  We have seen Johnny Pesky hoist the flag, Bill Buckner throw a first pitch and David Ortiz receive a special ring. 

Tuesday another chapter will be written.  The giant banner draped over the Monster; an absolutely jaw-dropping moment in 2005 will be done once again with the previous 8 banners draped first (2004 always gets a little extra cheer) and we will scream, applaud, cheer and generally enjoy a special day.

3-8 is not the start any of us wanted but all the cliches are in place and we can enjoy the next 36 hours in the buildup.  At the moment I know nothing other than the expectation that the Super Bowl champion Patriots will also be represented (no word on Bob Kraft though).  I am hoping to avoid spoilers if you don’t mind.  I’ll be in the Pavillion Box above the first base dugout with a perfect view of the Monster and as you might expect, I cannot freakin’ wait.

For now, having spent much of the downtime during my Spring Training vacation watching the post-season I share some memories from last October because it’s time to party…YAAAAAYYY!!!

Division Series - So much happening here.  JD Martinez slamming his first at bat three run homer, Brock Holt’s cycle and Eduardo Nunez and Steve MVPearce combining on a truly remarkable play.  But how about a moment to appreciate Alex Cora’s plan coming into full focus with Rick Porcello and Chris Sale all turning in strong relief efforts while Nathan Eovaldi who would achieve heights with his relief work later turning in a strong clutch start setting up the Sox’ game three rout in the Bronx.  Someone may want to use part of their World Series share to buy Aaron Judge a pair of headphones and a reminder not to count halftime money.

League Championship Series - Another amazing series; Jackie Bradley Jr. delivering a series of clutch hits, Andrew Benintendi echoing Tom Brunansky with a catch that will live forever and David Price shoving aside so much narrative to clinch the series.  Let’s give a nod to an unlikely source though.  The only on field link between 2004 and 2018.  What? You don’t remember? I refer of course to Cowboy Joe West.  The man who told Mark Bellhorn “yeah, that’s a homer” and Alex Rodriguez “nope, can’t do that” told an unfortunate fan in Houston “the stands is the stands and the field is the field.”

My best memory of this is personal though.  I went to my parents house after the game for some champagne.  Their best friends (two other couples) were there.  They were so happy.  My best friend’s dad is one of them and he is a guy who would fit in well here.  An absolute diehard, he had a bottle of champagne that he’d saved for 30 years that he cracked in 2004 (he took it out of the box in 1986 and always felt he was at fault) and the joy on his face was palpable particularly given some health issues he has had.  I’ve known him since I was 8 so it was emotional to see him so happy.

World Series - The Sox capped the greatest season in club history in style with a five game win.  Eduardo Nunez was everywhere with his pinch homer in game one and then a gritty effort in game three every bit as admirable as Eovaldi’s battling through injury that in any other circumstance would have had him sitting in a whirpool five innings earlier.  Mitchy Four Bags with his clutch homer, Rafael Devers at age 22 delivering the go ahead hit, Steve MVPearce doing his thing and I was so happy for Ian Kinsler.  Fitted with goat horns after game three, having come so close in 2011 finally getting his ring.  The other thing that stuck out was the first two players from the dugout to the mound; David Price and Hector Velazquez.  Price so obviously emotional having overcome so much was so gleeful and Velazquez having been such a key contributor all year but not on the post-season roster never complaining, just smiling ear to ear as he sprinted out.

What I’ll remember again is somewhat personal, I called my brother immediately after the final out; I took the Cuban cigar purchased at my great grandfather’s ancestral home on the Canary Islands by my parents earlier in the summer on their 50th anniversary trip out of my mouth and as my bro answered I just screamed at the top of my lungs.  My brother has a great laugh and I can still hear it now and I’m getting chills as I type this.

Once more, IT’S TIME TO PARTY!!!!

Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 07, 2019 at 09:18 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 09, 2019 at 12:33 AM (#5829821)
Happy banner day Therapudians!
   2. villageidiom Posted: April 09, 2019 at 08:13 AM (#5829839)
This is the first Red Sox ring ceremony in my lifetime that I'm not attending. #firstplaceproblems

Is it just me, or does it never seem like the season has actually started until the home opener has happened? I mean, I know (and regret) the last 11 games actually count, but the home opener always feels to me like the "real" opening day.

As of today, Boston is the only team in MLB that is winless at home this year. On a more positive spin Houston, the Cubs, Detroit(?), and Boston are the only teams that are undefeated at home this year as of today.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: April 09, 2019 at 09:47 AM (#5829863)
I’ll be in the Pavillion Box above the first base dugout
Have a great time! That's an awesome viewpoint, but dress warm.
   4. jmurph Posted: April 09, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5829925)
Pedroia is officially in the starting lineup.
   5. pikepredator Posted: April 09, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5829939)
Is it just me, or does it never seem like the season has actually started until the home opener has happened? I mean, I know (and regret) the last 11 games actually count, but the home opener always feels to me like the "real" opening day.


It's not just you. It's part of the reason I haven't been overly bothered by the rough start. Game ON!

This afternoon is going to fly by at work.
   6. Chip Posted: April 09, 2019 at 02:12 PM (#5830026)
OK, NESN got me in the sweet spot right away at the top of 2:00 PM with the actual game broadcast open, after all the ceremonies: a Yaz voiceover for a video montage in which he adopts the persona of the yard: “My name is Fenway Park ...”
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 09, 2019 at 05:35 PM (#5830180)
Not much of a party here. C’mon, can’t we celebrate Clint Frazier possibly finally overcoming the Curse of Jose? Although I suppose it’s more of a jinx than a curse, eh?
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: April 09, 2019 at 07:49 PM (#5830213)
Sox are 6 games out.
   9. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 09, 2019 at 08:04 PM (#5830218)
12 games guess it's over.

Total party at the ballpark. Had a ton of fun and had appropriately bundled up. Going through some pictures now, I'll share later.
   10. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 09, 2019 at 09:15 PM (#5830245)
If anyone is so interested here are some pictures from today.. It may just have been a timing trick but I took pictures of everyone getting their rings and Linda Pizzutti had a big smile EXCEPT when Steven Wright stepped forward.
   11. Chip Posted: April 09, 2019 at 11:40 PM (#5830285)
Sox are 6 games out.


Amazing that there’s only one good team in the division. Sox have been awful, dreadful, terrible, embarrassing ... and they’re still no worse than 3 back in the loss column from the collection of mediocrities not named the Rays.
   12. villageidiom Posted: April 10, 2019 at 08:29 AM (#5830322)
Nice pictures, Jose!
   13. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 10, 2019 at 08:45 AM (#5830326)
Thanks. I rented a nice camera and zoom lens for the occasion and it was money well spent.

Amazing that there’s only one good team in the division. Sox have been awful, dreadful, terrible, embarrassing ... and they’re still no worse than 3 back in the loss column from the collection of mediocrities not named the Rays.


As dreary as this is it's still only 12 games. I don't think any of us would be declaring the Yankees dead if the roles were reversed (though we'd be taking great joy in it) and I think it is equally foolish to dismiss the Sox. From 1995-2017 there have been 26 teams with 100 wins in a season.

Average wins in the next season - 95.4
Average decline - 7.9 wins
Worst decline - 23 wins (2001/2002 Mariners)

Four of the 26 won fewer than 90 games;
1999/2000 Arizona - 100 to 85
2011/2012 Philadelphia - 102 to 81
2015/2016 St. Louis - 100 to 86
2005/2006 St. Louis - 100 to 83

The truly elite teams, the 6 that won 104 or more games won an average of 97.5 the following season, none fewer than 92.

These count and the Sox can't dig too deep a hole but I expect when all is said and done we are looking at 95 wins here.
   14. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 11, 2019 at 08:43 PM (#5831033)
At what point do the Sox start thinking about bringing Leon back up? I mean, I know we are supposed to dismiss catcher ERA but there is a track record there and this is lunacy. The pitching staff is SO bad and the Sox are digging a hole here. I was content to let the road trip go away, come home and get the rings and get on with it but right now...I mean these guys are better than this.
   15. Answer Guy. Posted: April 11, 2019 at 10:01 PM (#5831052)
These count and the Sox can't dig too deep a hole but I expect when all is said and done we are looking at 95 wins here.


I am starting to doubt that. This pitching rotation looks like a complete disaster. Even at home against a pretty weak Toronto team.

Maybe bringing back Leon is what they need. If he really helps the pitching staff I don't care how badly he hits - it's not that their other catching options are exactly the second coming of Carlton Fisk anyway.
   16. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 11, 2019 at 10:34 PM (#5831071)
Thank god for Mitch Moreland.
   17. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 11, 2019 at 10:44 PM (#5831077)
That’s a great and important win this early in the year. A couple of things worth noting;

- We caught a couple of breaks. Go back to the first inning, ground ball hit Eovaldi’s glove with two men on but fortunately went right to Bogie for the 1-6-4-3 DP. Then in the ninth Grichuk almost reeled that in and he might have been able to double off Mookie if he had.

- Marcus Walden getting out of the ninth inning mess was huge obviously. If there is any reason for optimism right now it’s that the bullpen is answering all the questions. If the starters get their #### together that’s a really good thing.

- I’m probably overreacting but it feels like they finally got a wake up call with that five run third. It was like ok, enough is enough and poured it on.

That was needed. 4-9 isn’t great obviously but OK, 2 out of 3, here we go now boys. Take 3 out of 4 from Baltimore and start playing like you can.

Exhale.
   18. Answer Guy. Posted: April 11, 2019 at 10:55 PM (#5831082)
Yeah, the pen has been strangely good, at least in games where it remotely mattered. So I'm not hearing any clamoring for "bring back Kimbrel" despite the poor record.

I do own him as a keeper in a fantasy league so I really need someone to sign him. But it doesn't have to be the Sox. I figured the Cubs or Nats might have pulled the trigger already but no.
   19. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 11, 2019 at 11:07 PM (#5831084)
Brewer has impressed me. I’d like more strikes but he looks good. I’m still pretty much over the Heath Hembree experience.
   20. jmurph Posted: April 12, 2019 at 09:44 AM (#5831124)
That was needed. 4-9 isn’t great obviously but OK, 2 out of 3, here we go now boys. Take 3 out of 4 from Baltimore and start playing like you can.

The other thing here for me is that the Yankees have way more structural problems than Boston does. That rotation is a timebomb that may have already gone off. Now I still think they'll be good because the offense can be so good, but I'm just not convinced they're capable of running away and hiding while Boston gets their #### together.
   21. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 12, 2019 at 10:21 AM (#5831141)
Yeah, I think right now the questions in spring training are being answered positively for the Sox (bullpen notably) and negatively for the Yankees with the injuries. Obviously if the best ERA+ they get from a starter is 73 (Price) for the entire season then we are pretty well screwed. I think the thing that needs to be considered is how real Tampa are. They won 90 games last year and they are cooking right now. It's early but leads of 4.5 (NY) and 6 (BOS) on the competition means they just have to play even with them the rest of the year. I fully expect both teams to make up that difference with room to spare but I don't think they can be ignored.
   22. pikepredator Posted: April 12, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5831142)
Felt like one of those "no quit" 2018 games last night. Get in a hole, claw back, lose the lead, keep fighting, win in the 9th.

Beantown boys are bringin' the brooms to the birds in Baltimore.
   23. jmurph Posted: April 12, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5831149)
I think the thing that needs to be considered is how real Tampa are. They won 90 games last year and they are cooking right now. It's early but leads of 4.5 (NY) and 6 (BOS) on the competition means they just have to play even with them the rest of the year. I fully expect both teams to make up that difference with room to spare but I don't think they can be ignored.

Yep, that's the one concern, I agree. I'm still skeptical, based on no real evidence.
   24. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 12, 2019 at 01:25 PM (#5831207)
Skeptical the Sox/Yanks can make up the ground or skeptical of the Rays?
   25. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 12, 2019 at 01:50 PM (#5831217)
I think the thing that needs to be considered is how real Tampa are. They won 90 games last year and they are cooking right now.

There is still time, of course, for the favorites to overtake the Rays, but I don’t expect it to be all that easy. The Rays are looking pretty good. Probably will need to beat them head-to-head rather than depending on help or waiting for them to collapse.
   26. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 12, 2019 at 01:55 PM (#5831223)
My question on the Rays is depth. The Sox and Yankees have resources to deal with injuries or make trades, I don't know if the Rays are able to do that. I feel like they need to be particularly healthy to get to the mid-90s.
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: April 12, 2019 at 01:57 PM (#5831226)
There is still time, of course, for the favorites to overtake the Rays, but I don’t expect it to be all that easy. The Rays are looking pretty good. Probably will need to beat them head-to-head rather than depending on help or waiting for them to collapse.


I agree. I don't know how the hell the Rays won 90 last year, but I'm done doubting them. They look good, and I expect them to be there the whole way.
   28. pikepredator Posted: April 12, 2019 at 02:15 PM (#5831233)
I'm done doubting them. They look good, and I expect them to be there the whole way.


every year they surprise me by being better than I expect . . . my expectations need adjusting.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: April 12, 2019 at 02:15 PM (#5831234)
Wow, Gary Sanchez is now on the IL.
   30. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 12, 2019 at 02:50 PM (#5831250)
Wow, Gary Sanchez is now on the IL.


Nice. He's one of those guys who is easy to dislike.
   31. Darren Posted: April 13, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5831449)
How come Mookie couldn't be like the Braves guys and just sign a terrible contract early? Oh well.

That was a good win in a lot of ways. ERod looked terrific--finally a good start out of someone.

I have hope for Thornburg, though I know not everyone does.
   32. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 13, 2019 at 12:10 PM (#5831453)
ERod looked terrific


He really did, but he still gave up a HR!
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: April 13, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5831462)
Only a half-game out of second. They're charging.
   34. Chip Posted: April 13, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5831467)
Porcello loads the bases with his second walk of the 1st and gives up Chris Davis’s first hit for a 2-run single.

Charge dissipates.
   35. Answer Guy. Posted: April 14, 2019 at 12:24 PM (#5831703)
All Chris Davis needed was some contact with Red Sox pitching.
   36. Darren Posted: April 14, 2019 at 01:45 PM (#5831718)
He gave up a HR after the fielding cost him two chances to get out of the inning. But even including the HR, a nice outing.
   37. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 14, 2019 at 08:12 PM (#5831847)
EdRod also could’ve been out of the inning on the pitch before which should have been a called third strike. C’est la vie. 6 2/3 2 runs or 7 IP, 0 runs either way it’s a good night. The Sox pitchers are starting to get going hopefully though how much of that is not sucking and how much is facing the Orioles is an open question.

Still, 6-10 is not an especially poor performance. They’ve done that (or worse) in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2017 and those were all 90 win seasons.

The problem with this is not so much the performance it’s that by having it come so early they are kind of using up a “worst stretch” right out of the gate. It uses up some margin for error later in the year.
   38. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 14, 2019 at 09:11 PM (#5831861)
It's great to see E-Rod and now Price throw good games. I will be much happier if Sale can look as he has in the past. I've no hope for Rick "I won't be playing for the Red Sox next year" Porcello at this stage though. If Eovaldi can look half decent then all will be good. 92-93 wins is still definitely in sight and I'm happy with that.
   39. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: April 14, 2019 at 10:41 PM (#5831874)
https://weei.radio.com/blogs/rob-bradford/orioles-9-red-sox-5-deciphering-what-wrong-rick-porcello regarding Porcello’s mechanics. I’m sure it’s not as easy as “just do it the way you did last year” but it seems fixable to me.
   40. Answer Guy. Posted: April 15, 2019 at 03:47 PM (#5832108)
Still, 6-10 is not an especially poor performance. They’ve done that (or worse) in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2017 and those were all 90 win seasons.

The problem with this is not so much the performance it’s that by having it come so early they are kind of using up a “worst stretch” right out of the gate. It uses up some margin for error later in the year.


And now that 6-11 stretch includes 3-3 in 6 home games against a pair of terrible teams.

At this point I think I would take 90 wins without a second thought and hope that maybe between the Yankees slow start and injury issues and the Rays' limited capacity to address any in-season needs that could emerge the Sox could somehow still snag a playoff spot with those 90.
   41. jmurph Posted: April 15, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5832114)
If I did the very basic math correctly (seriously, it's possible I didn't), if they play like a 95 win team the rest of the way they'll finish with 91 wins. Which should get them into the playoffs, though perhaps not as a division winner.

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