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— Where Thinking Red Sox Fans Obsess about the Sox

Sunday, May 27, 2018

That Was Fun

In theory it all sounded good; Sunday of a holiday weekend, good weather, Chris Sale on the bump, stars Mookie Betts and JD Martinez leading the Red Sox while a group of exciting young Braves oppose them.  Instead the weather blew, Sale sucked, Mookie and JDM didn’t play and Ronald Acuna seems to have died at first base (joking aside I hope he’s OK, it looked bad).

But that wasn’t the fun part.  The fun part was the alumni game.  Dragging my fat can out of bed early this morning was a bit of a challenge but it was totally worth it.  The alumni game was a world of fun and a big part of that was the players themselves seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves.  Admittedly a day that features Pedro Martinez and Bill Lee on the same field is not likely to be overwhelmed by seriousness but smiles seemed to be the story of the day.

Everywhere you looked there were smiles.  Joe Castiglione was enjoying the heck out of himself as play by play/Master of Cermonies, Tom Caron’s sideline interviews were a hoot and it was all a good time.  Pedro saluting the “K Men” was fun, Bill Lee throwing an eephus pitch…fun, Keith Foulke second baseman? Fun.  Jim Corsi fouling out to the rent-a-catcher and refusing to leave the batters box…fun.  Julio Lugo took Pedro deep and it was just fun fun fun.

It’s one of the things that gets lost in a 162 game season.  This game is fun and the guys who play it for a living started out like so many of us playing in their backyards or little league fields with their dads and friends and all these years later are still having fun.  Anyone my age has to be astounded at the change of image that Jim Rice, very much viewed as the “angry black man” in the 70s (ah casual racism) but now he’s Mr. Happy.  He and Luis Tiant could not possibly have enjoyed themselves more.

Maybe the best symbol of the day for me was Keith MacWhorter.  Who remembers Keith MacWhorter?  I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup before today.  I mean I remember the name I even used him as an example to the guy at Che-Chi’s sausage cart of some of the “who’s that guy” playing in the game.  No one seemed to recognize him, he didn’t play in the game, the fans largely didn’t know him…and every time I saw him he was smiling.  It was cute.

Of course the quote of the day was the guy two rows behind me who asked a friend “how does Greenwell get the bat around his belly to swing?”  Everyone’s uniform was definitely a bit tighter including my Pedro jersey I got as a 30th birthday present in 2000 and save MacWhorter and Spaceman the hair was a bit less impressive but fun was the order of the day.  When Joe Castiglione asked “who wants another inning” after the originally scheduled three innings the crowd and players responded enthusiastically.

The Sox seemed to take a bit of a low key approach to this but based on the way it seemed to be received I really hope they bring it back next year.  If they do I highly recommend going.  It was great fun.

Man did the actual game suck though.  I have to say the Braves remind me of the 2008 Rays, a team that seems a bit ahead of schedule but might just be for real. (Once I’ve gone through my pictures I’ll share some).

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 27, 2018 at 06:48 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:25 AM (#5680650)
   2. Jay Seaver Posted: May 28, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5680696)
Picked up a ticket behind home when the game was announced, and I do hope it becomes an annual thing. Everything was a ton of fun, and it reminds you just how hard baseball at the highest level is - a lot of these guys aren't that far off from being the best in the world, but this game wasn't really like that. But it was fun.

Also: Kind of happy to see how grudges aren't really held. Julio Lugo both participated and got applauded when introduced, and, honestly, I don't think I can remember any former Sox less well-regarded. But go figure.

Also also: Joe Castiglione introduced Dwight Evans as having spent his entire career in Boston, and I think we should all treat that as if that were the case.
   3. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 28, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5680703)
The saddest baseball cards in my collection are those early-90's Dwight Evans/Orioles cards.
   4. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 28, 2018 at 08:14 PM (#5680841)
That looks like a sumo suit on Greenwell.
   5. villageidiom Posted: May 29, 2018 at 09:29 AM (#5681179)
Julio Lugo both participated and got applauded when introduced, and, honestly, I don't think I can remember any former Sox less well-regarded. But go figure.
In one of the Hanley threads I was going to say that the last time I remember the fans going from hating on a Sox player to favoring him was Lugo. He was bad; he got worse; he got booed a lot. But somewhere in there he was interviewed in the Globe, in which he expressed disappointment in himself and frustration that even when he hits the ball well it just goes right at someone. He had said something like he deserves to be booed, the fans care and share his frustration, and that he just really, really wants to earn their cheers. Right after that I recall being at a game and the crowd was different with him. He was getting cheers of encouragement. IIRC he got hurt soon after that. The next season he started hot, then slumped, then got traded.

That aside, every now and then if NESN replays a past Sox game they'd play the Mother's Day Miracle, in which Lugo plays a part in the final rally. Probably has helped his image in the nation over the years.

I don't dispute that he was absolutely hated with a white-hot fury. But I recall it being taken down a couple of notches along the way.
   6. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: May 29, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5681192)
He was bad; he got worse; he got booed a lot.


You left out "he hit his wife with a telephone".
   7. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 29, 2018 at 10:06 AM (#5681204)
You left out "he hit his wife with a telephone".


That was Wil Cordero wasn't it?
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: May 29, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5681209)
I don't know about the telephone part, but Lugo was a domestic abuser a few years before he got to Boston, Cordero when he was there.

   9. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 29, 2018 at 10:23 AM (#5681220)
Oh right I forgot about that.
   10. villageidiom Posted: May 29, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5681293)
Well in fairness, who among us hasn't hit Julio Lugo's wife with a telephone?

Everyone, that's who.
   11. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: May 29, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5681375)
I think it was Cordero, Jose. Geez, I can't tell domestic abusers apart. SAD!!!
   12. Textbook Editor Posted: May 31, 2018 at 10:52 PM (#5683642)
So... When does Wright take over for Pomeranz? They're already tandem starting (in effect)...
   13. Dale Sams Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:32 PM (#5683742)
Lugos deal was a spat in a parking lot I believe...after details surfaced that his wife was the instigator, charges were dropped.

Unless im thinking of someone else.
   14. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 31, 2018 at 11:35 PM (#5683749)
12 - After the first inning I was thinking Pomeranz wouldn’t make his next start. I suspect he did enough tonight to get another shot. As frustrating as he is he has actually been really good since we got him. He seems to be the pitching equivalent of JBJ. When he’s going bad he’s a disaster but then he gets on a roll.
   15. Textbook Editor Posted: June 01, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5683872)
Thanks, Jose--he's extremely frustrating to watch. Not Dice-K level yet, but getting there. I'm more than fine with letting him walk after the season.

With Pedroia already having issues with the knee, I was saying to TE Jr last night that we may be closer to the end with him than we had thought.

The problem is that--other than 1B/DH, he doesn't really have a fall-back position to play, and (at least this season) you don't want to sit Moreland for someone who's never played 1B before, and you want Martinez DH'ing every day he can when he's not forced to play a corner spot.

He's got 3/$40 left on his contract after this season; I'm going to guess the team will see very little WAR out of that part of the contract. What's also weird--and perhaps a testament to how much he's beloved in Boston--you don't really hear much any of this...
   16. villageidiom Posted: June 01, 2018 at 09:59 AM (#5683886)
With Pedroia already having issues with the knee, I was saying to TE Jr last night that we may be closer to the end with him than we had thought.

The problem is that--other than 1B/DH, he doesn't really have a fall-back position to play, and (at least this season) you don't want to sit Moreland for someone who's never played 1B before, and you want Martinez DH'ing every day he can when he's not forced to play a corner spot.

He's got 3/$40 left on his contract after this season; I'm going to guess the team will see very little WAR out of that part of the contract. What's also weird--and perhaps a testament to how much he's beloved in Boston--you don't really hear much any of this...


Well, karlmagnus said the other day that Hanley is more useful than Pedroia at this point. And I threw this in the prediction thread:
Bold prediction: of all the infielders you listed, Pedroia will have the lowest WAR. Yes, even lower than Hanley.

(As of right now: Moreland = Bogaerts > Devers = Hanley > 0 > Pedroia > Nunez.)

Pedroia has crossed the Lowrie Threshold (where you can't afford to count on him being healthy) into Nomar Territory (where you have to assume he will never be fully healthy again).
   17. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 01, 2018 at 10:05 AM (#5683893)
He's got 3/$40 left on his contract after this season; I'm going to guess the team will see very little WAR out of that part of the contract. What's also weird--and perhaps a testament to how much he's beloved in Boston--you don't really hear much any of this...


I think there are a couple of reasons for that besides just his popularity. First is the success. Winning cures all ills. The other is that for better or worse the farm system is weak so he's not really blocking anyone. This isn't Lugo/Lowrie or Crisp/Ellsbury, the options behind Pedroia are pretty meh so it's not a concern at the moment. The lack of options is a bit concerning but with Holt, Nunez and Lin it's not really a big immediate concern.
   18. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 01, 2018 at 10:08 AM (#5683897)
Unrelated to pitching and infield JBJ is hitting .282/.378/.462 since his 3 day vacation mid-month (14 games).
   19. karlmagnus Posted: June 03, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5684878)
Now Pedroia is (inevitably) injured again, can the Sox re-sign Hanley for the minimum (over and above what they owe him) thereby admitting their DFAing him was a catastrophic mistake?

Alternatively, or as well, can they fire Dombrowski and ideally Henry?
   20. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 04, 2018 at 04:21 PM (#5685796)
Can you imagine what the Sox could have accomplished in the last 17 years with a good owner? It's been such a barren wasteland of accomplishment.
   21. karlmagnus Posted: June 04, 2018 at 04:43 PM (#5685817)
Bet Tom Yawkey could have won with the '04 and '07 teams. Not so sure about '13.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: June 04, 2018 at 05:08 PM (#5685828)
I think Frazee could have won in the 20's with Babe Ruth.
   23. villageidiom Posted: June 04, 2018 at 07:45 PM (#5685893)
Bet Tom Yawkey could have won with the '04 and '07 teams. Not so sure about '13.
Tom Yawkey wouldn't have assembled the '04 and '07 teams.
   24. karlmagnus Posted: June 04, 2018 at 08:10 PM (#5685902)
The Yawkey organization DID assemble the '04 team, at least, or almost all of it. Yawkey overlapped with Jim Rice; he didn't keep his 1940s racial attitudes (whatever they were) until the 1970s, let alone until 2004.

Whether Yawkey could have stayed sober for long enough to understand WaR is another question. I'm fairly sure I can't!
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: June 04, 2018 at 08:52 PM (#5685921)
The Yawkey organization DID assemble the '04 team, at least, or almost all of it. Yawkey overlapped with Jim Rice; he didn't keep his 1940s racial attitudes (whatever they were) until the 1970s, let alone until 2004.


I guess I never thought of it before, but I have to confess that I much prefer extremely dead Tom Yawkey as Sox owner than the living, breathing version.

   26. villageidiom Posted: June 04, 2018 at 10:59 PM (#5685995)
The Yawkey organization DID assemble the '04 team, at least, or almost all of it.
And since the Yawkey organization, from 1976 to 2002, was NOT Tom Yawkey, it appears we agree.
   27. jmurph Posted: June 05, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5686186)
Haven't paid any attention to him, but I'm pleased to report I was on the right side of history about Carlos Santana (not that I'm pleased he's not doing great, just that I didn't particularly get the appeal). Obviously, it's still early, but I'm usually very wrong about free agents! Also I thought the Moreland deal made sense, but I think lots of us got that one right.
   28. Nasty Nate Posted: June 06, 2018 at 05:05 PM (#5687227)
Pablo Sandoval hit a homerun off Clay Buccholz today. In the major leagues.
   29. villageidiom Posted: June 07, 2018 at 10:30 AM (#5687650)
Pablo Sandoval hit a homerun off Clay Buccholz today. In the major leagues.

4 starts, 24 IP, 1.88 ERA, 21 K, 3 BB. Good for him.

Buchholz is 1-for-6 at the plate this year, which is better than 2016 Sandoval who went 0-for-6. OTOH, Sandoval has a lower ERA than Buchholz this year.
   30. villageidiom Posted: June 07, 2018 at 04:09 PM (#5687933)
House Money Defense today for Boston. Here's the lineup, per WEEI.com:

Andrew Benintendi CF
Xander Bogaerts SS
J.D.Martinez RF
Mitch Moreland 1B
Eduardo Nuñez 2B
Sam Travis LF
Rafael Devers 3B
Christian Vazquez DH
Blake Swihart C

...This is what Jalen Beeks gets his first time out? Great.
   31. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 07, 2018 at 04:11 PM (#5687936)
I just came here to post the same thing. That is almost literally the worst possible defense the Sox can roll out short of playing guys comically out of position. I don't want to complain too much because 43-19 but this just feels like setting up Beeks to fail. I'm glad they are giving Swihart a shot but how about putting Leon back there for him at least?
   32. villageidiom Posted: June 07, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5687960)
"Hey, kid, don't like the defense? Just be glad we cut Hanley. Now shut up and pitch."
   33. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 07, 2018 at 05:06 PM (#5687976)
Seriously, the best defensive player in the lineup is the DH.
   34. Darren Posted: June 08, 2018 at 09:11 AM (#5688223)
yes, but his .240 OBP will come in handy at DH.
   35. Darren Posted: June 08, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5688338)
I've been thinking maybe they should send down Devers to get straightened out, but hopefully the last couple days have been a sign of improvement. They do have other options.
   36. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 08, 2018 at 01:19 PM (#5688395)
I've seen that bandied about a bit, I don't think it's the right call. As you note he's looked a bit better the last couple of days but beyond that I think he needs to hit MLB pitching. I think it's just a matter of making adjustments. I don't think his approach is bad, it's just some pitch recognition stuff. He looked awful in the Houston series but that's an amazing pitching staff. Other than that series I think it's looked like a garden variety slump.

Scary thought, his OPS+ of 80 is still dramatically better than Fat Panda's 60 during his time with the Sox last year.
   37. Darren Posted: June 08, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5688418)
Don't look at Panda's #s this year. :)


I would argue that his results are plenty bad and his approach looks awful. He rarely hits the ball hard, seems to always be behind in the count, and doesn't seem to hit the ball the opposite way. His WAR for the season is -0.4 and he has not produced well since the league adjusted to him after his first couple weeks last year. And it's not like he's got a lot of experience in the minors--less than 40 PA at AAA. And he's only 21--would it be that surprising if he needed a bit more time in the minors to figure things out?

This whole thing is reminiscent of burning a year of Xander's pre-arb years on replacement-level performance. If these past few days are him turning a corner, then that's great. But if he continues to struggle like this, he should go down and they should explore 3B options (Headley? Beltre?).
   38. Darren Posted: June 08, 2018 at 02:15 PM (#5688422)
On Pedroia, I don't think it's over for him as a good player. He played well enough last year to be productive and I think he'll get back to that level.

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