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   1. Dale Sams Posted: October 04, 2009 at 11:27 PM (#3340186)
David Ortiz’s season was--in sum--lousy


Lousy...for David Ortiz. His OPS was 6th among 12 DH's with 350 or more PA.
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 04, 2009 at 11:36 PM (#3340187)
I'm quite pleased. 95 wins and some nice development. Bard has some growing to do but he looks like a keeper, Buchholz seems to have turned a corner with the last two starts hopefully being something to keep him grounded rather than a sign of regression and I believe Ellsbury has turned into a solid player.

I think this could be a very short or very long post-season though. With the rotation they have I can see this team being very difficult to beat but at the same time their first round opponent is very very good and capable of beating them.

The perplexing thing to me as the playoffs start is how a team with a bullpen as deep and talented and this can have as many games that looked secure either blown or nearly blown. Baltimore and Kansas City featured some horrific collapses and they had a few other games (earlier against KC, one in Tampa) where they turned a comfortable game into a seat squirmer. It seems like if one guy struggles out there everyone gets the yips. Against the offenses of LA and New York in the playoffs (no, I don't give the AL Central winner a chance) this could come back to bite us in a bad way.
   3. Darnell McDonald had a farm Posted: October 04, 2009 at 11:43 PM (#3340190)
This is the least confident I've been in a Red Sox playoff team since pre-Pedro, '95 I guess, but the core stars are so good that it's still a 95 win team and they will not go out quietly
   4. dangnewt Posted: October 04, 2009 at 11:47 PM (#3340195)
I think the Sox goal is to build a team that is capable of making the playoffs - this year they met the goal. I get the sense that John Henry is like Joe Kennedy, Sr., who was willing to spend the money for primary victories for JFK, but was not willing to play for a landslide. The Sox are in competition with every other team that is not named "Yankees" - there is no reason to spend another $40,000,000 to win 100+ to finish in front of the Original Evil Empire.

Patience seemed to be the word of the season. Sometimes it worked out - Ortiz found his stroke in June; Buchholz was patient at Pawtucket, the Sox were patient with Dice-K's rehab and that, so far, seems to be the right thing. Sometimes it didn't work out - Smoltz and to a lesser extent Penny.

I like their chances in the post-season. I think they are pretty even with the Angels and the Yanks and better than the Tigers/Twins. I think the whoever the AL champ is will be favored against whoever comes out of the NL.
   5. Darren Posted: October 05, 2009 at 12:04 AM (#3340203)

Lousy...for David Ortiz. His OPS was 6th among 12 DH's with 350 or more PA.


Do you really think he had a good year for a DH? He had a 100 OPS+ that was slug heavy. Fangraphs has him at 0.7 WAR. It was a lousy year.
   6. bigboy1234 Posted: October 05, 2009 at 12:06 AM (#3340206)
#1,

No, just lousy, he wasn't even a one win player this year in 627 PA. I really don't see the point in comparing him to other DH either, that doesn't really prove anything, maybe it proves most good hitters can actually field at least a lick.

Edit-Nevermind, Darren went ahead and beat me to the punch.
   7. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 05, 2009 at 12:07 AM (#3340207)
Of course, the ultimate definition of success is whether you win the World Series or not.

That said, every team enters a season at a different starting point, with different windows of opportunity.

So, for the Red Sox, the season starts with three goals:
1) Win 95 or more games - if we do that, we'll make the playoffs pretty much every year, or at least be in it with a week to go
2) Incorporate young talent into the roster, while not sacrificing the short-term success of the team in an effort to assure long-term competitiveness - this includes being cautious about Deadline Deals sacrificing too much young talent
3) Avoid personnel decisions that will create long-term financial constraints for the team, and limit future flexibility - again, mid-season deals are a part of this

So, how'd they do?
1) Exactly 95 wins, even while pretty much taking the last two weeks off (I'd say from the KC series to the finish line)
2) Good news: Bard and Buchholz became fully integrated; Ellsbury progressed
Bad news: The team knows nothing more about what Lowrie can do, and has to be worried that he may have chronic injury problems. Bowden and Tazawa were introduced ahead of schedule, and did not perform well. It is fair to say the team really hoped they could introduce Bowden in a way similar to Masterson last year. (Note: Also sorta bad news - for those that thought we might see Lars Anderson joining the big league squad in 2010, 2009 didn't do much to inspire confidence.)
3) The long-term extension signings of Pedroia, Lester, and Youkilis continue to look really good. The Martinez trade, most would agree, has been a smashing success, not just for 2009, but for 2010. He's ours for reasonable dollars, he gives us the ability to pursue a catcher, a !B, or a 3B if the right deal is out there. Bay is a FA, and after next year, Beckett, Ortiz, Varitek and Lowell are up. There is very little big money locked in for 2011, at the moment (Drew's final year). The Martinez trade makes 2010 better for the team financially, and that alone makes the naswer to #3 a pretty good one, so long as they can retain/replace Bay with a reasonable alternative.

It's been a good year, but the lack of progress in developing additional position players from the system is a bit troubling.
   8. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 05, 2009 at 12:09 AM (#3340210)
This is the least confident I've been in a Red Sox playoff team since pre-Pedro, '95 I guess, but the core stars are so good that it's still a 95 win team and they will not go out quietly


Less confident than 2005? I thought going down meekly in the first round to the White Sox was fait accompli.

I think they've got a nice team that's capable of winning the World Series. But I think the same about their first-round opponent and potential second-round opponent at least as much.
   9. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 05, 2009 at 12:16 AM (#3340213)
To me, the big story of this season has to be Jon Lester. Though his ERA is superficially similar to last season, what you really got from him was two months of a terrible BABIP fluke and then several months of Greinke-like dominance. His K's are way, way up, and honestly, I can't remember feeling this good about a Red Sox starter since Pedro's heyday. (Note: this is not to say that Lester is Pedro's equal, so please don't jump down my throat for that one.) When Lester takes the mound, I feel like the Sox are going to win. It's been masked by those first two months, but I think this season you saw three young pitchers break out in a big way in the AL: Greinke, Hernandez, and Lester.

Other than that, I don't know. I think this season saw some chickens come home to roost: the bad Varitek contract, failing to find an adequate replacement for Lowell, employing a fat thirtysomething as a full-time DH. Some of those were avoidable, some are just the necessary talus of keeping good, popular players as long as you can.

Ultimately, getting repeatedly hammered by the Yankees and handing over the division in the process was embarassing, but inconsequential. Staggering into the playoffs has happened before. I think this is a team that's been rebuilt for October, with two very good starters at the front end of the rotation, several guys in the bullpen who you aren't scared to use in the playoffs, and enough different weapons that one or two of the stars can have an off-night and the Sox can still score a healthy number of runs.

It wasn't the most fun regular season of my life. Losing to the Yankees a lot, inconsequential or not, is never easy to endure. Papi's struggles were at times depressing. Other than Lester, there was nobody who really dazzled me, even Ellsbury. It was nice to see Youk build on past success, though, suggesting that last year wasn't some fluke.
   10. sunnyday2 Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:01 AM (#3340233)
Not often that 95 wins feels so...so...unsatisfying. I mean, it's 95 wins. But much ground has been lost to the Yankees, has it not? I guess we will find out post-season.
   11. Joel W Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:10 AM (#3340234)
Things I loved about the Red Sox this season:

Lester, Lester, Lester. Voxter nailed it. 10 Ks/9 in the AL East is more impressive to me than Lincecum and Verlander's K/9, and I could not be more excited to have him as our ace for years to come.

Papelbon: I was really hard on him earlier in the season, and yet...here he is again, 3rd in WPA among all pitchers in baseball according to fangraphs. His runners on/runners off splits were real, as are his first half/second half splits.

Youkilis: The most important position player on the team this year, moving over to 3rd like it was nothing and still mashing the ball. We thought we were getting the Greek God of Walks 3 years ago, and instead we got the Bear Jew and he's on of the 15 best position players in baseball over the past 2 years. He's still kind of a dick though.

David Ortiz: Our hero became flawed in so many ways this season, and yet...he fought his obviously awful start at the plate, and his body's physical changes, and ended up giving us 4 very solid months of baseball. 2004 David Ortiz isn't walking through that door, but I'm ok with that, and expect him to produce in the playoffs.

Jacoby's steal of home. The part of the season where Daniel Bard was amazing. The front office trying to get Adrian Gonzalez and Felix Hernandez at the trade deadline, which left me disappointed when they got the player that probably improved the team more than those two could have this year, well Gonzalez at least.

Things I couldn't stand:

Jason Varitek: everything about him. I've been on record as not being able to stand him for years, and this season solidified it. Forget his inability to hit, or throw runners out, his game calling just pissed me off. Also, if somebody is such a selfless captain how about, "hey coach, you should play Victor over me because he makes the team better."

Shortstop: WTF

Mike Lowell's defense.
   12. Textbook Editor Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:16 AM (#3340235)
Re: the mention of the payroll flexibility in 2011... To what end, though, will this be used? I'm assuming Varitek and Lowell are gone, but this saves only about $12 million, I think. I'm going to guess they will try to sign Beckett to a 3-year extension, but of course it's also possible the warm fuzzies won't work this time and he'll seek to go to the NL where he can deal with a P hitting 3x a game.

For 2011, unless we re-sign Martinez (and I'm not sure that's a great idea--expecting him to C 120+ games a year for his next contract), we'll need a C and a 3B/1B (if you think Youkilis can be at least league-average with the glove at 3B over 150 games). We could also need an OF if we don't get either Bay/Holliday to sign... What is out there in 2011 that would be worth pursuing?

I'm really hoping MDC is off the playoff roster, but I'm fearing he won't be.

[/random thoughts on 2009]
   13. Dale Sams Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:33 AM (#3340240)
He's still kind of a dick though.


I've never understood why people think that.
   14. Darren Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:38 AM (#3340242)
@#9--

I should have mentioned Lester. He was a revelation. I was trying to think of pitchers who, considering contract, I'd rather have than Lester. There aren't more than a handful.

Other than that, I don't know. I think this season saw some chickens come home to roost: the bad Varitek contract, failing to find an adequate replacement for Lowell, employing a fat thirtysomething as a full-time DH. Some of those were avoidable, some are just the necessary talus of keeping good, popular players as long as you can.


Varitek was worth his contract. The mistake, IMHO, was not getting someone better to spell him. A good hitter to fill in at 1b/Dh would have solved the latter problem--that was a bit shortsighted I guess.
   15. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:52 AM (#3340245)
Varitek was worth his contract.

Yeah, I blanked on the extension, was still thinking of the post 2004 afterglow contract, which I think was the initial mistake that lead to the situation we ended up with this year, which was that we basically had an old man swinging a 90-pound bat until Martinez showed up in town. I thought that contract was at least a year too long at the time, and the result was that the Sox were left holding the bag last winter with essentially no options other than to re-sign the guy. I can't say for sure that that would have been different on the 07-08 market, but it might have been.
   16. Joel W Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:58 AM (#3340249)
Dale, the same reason we thought it about Paul O'Neill...also, just look at the game where he got suspended for going at the mound. He was being a dick.
   17. Darren Posted: October 05, 2009 at 02:05 AM (#3340254)
Since 2000, 32 players have gotten 500+ PAs while playing 75% of their games at DH. Ortiz '09 came in 29th.
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 05, 2009 at 02:14 AM (#3340257)
Dustin Pedroia.

Age 23: 318/380/442
Age 24: 326/376/493
Age 25: 296/371/447

He's been a consistent All-Star level producer for three years. And he's still not yet hit his peak. I guess the worry is that we shouldn't be too optimistic about a normal aging pattern because (a) second basemen tend to wear down quickly, and (b) Pedroia appears to be about 37, physically. But I think it's more likely than not that he's got another run of seasons of this quality in him, and he could well have a bigger one coming - what's fun is that this year seemed routine. It was excellent.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 05, 2009 at 02:19 AM (#3340261)
I will say that I think it takes a pretty serious stretch to say anything particularly negative about the 2004 Varitek contract. By the fangraphs numbers, Varitek produced about as much value as you'd want from a player paid that well. Given that the contract was obviously dictated by the fact that the Red Sox didn't like any of the other available catchers, that seems like a solid outcome.
   20. Darren Posted: October 05, 2009 at 02:21 AM (#3340262)
It actually bugged me that he dropped below .300 for the year, but then I smacked myself in the face. He was obviously more selective and it will probably pay off big in the long run. Plus his defense remained excellent.
   21. Dale Sams Posted: October 05, 2009 at 02:22 AM (#3340263)
just look at the game where he got suspended for going at the mound. He was being a dick.


Being a dick? He didn't even throw a punch! They just wrestled, Youk just wanted to Greco-Roman with the guy until they got seperated.*

*This is excluding anything to do with throwing the helmet.
   22. John DiFool2 Posted: October 05, 2009 at 02:28 AM (#3340268)
I am very pleased by Ellsbury's offense this year-he may not have developed into a mini-Ichiro clone, but he had a solid 2nd half where almost all parts of his game improved.

I am not so pleased by his apparent failure to develop defensively-I hope his crappy jumps don't haunt us in October.
   23. dangnewt Posted: October 05, 2009 at 02:35 AM (#3340271)
SBPT - your #2 and #3 points are excellent.

The shortshop situation unravelled with Lowrie's injury. That is mostly bad luck not necessarily anything that the Sox did right or wrong. At least they had Nick Green in the beginning of the season and the acquisition and play of AGon later in the season. The real problem is that Lowrie has shown that he has real potential to be real good and the Sox have to go the stopgap route until Lowrie can get a full year in and they know for sure what the kid can do.

With regard to Lowell, going into the season, I was worried about age catching up to him and skills eroding. That didn't happen. However, age caught up on the health front. I still don't mind a healthy Lowell at 3B.

Tek is clearly at the end. The Sox will owe him around $4,000,000 next year, but I'd rather see them either sign a catcher that is currently sharing catching duties but projects to be a starter to allow an orderly transition of Martinez to 1B.
   24. Joel W Posted: October 05, 2009 at 03:03 AM (#3340284)
One other thing about Pedroia, is the defense. Shockingly he's the best 2nd baseman defensively in the AL for the past 2 years. I would not have predicted that.
   25. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 05, 2009 at 03:09 AM (#3340288)
The Good

- Lester settling down and striking out at a very enjoyable rate after a slow start
- Youks being Youks
- Paplebon settling down after a 'funny' start
- Bard & Wagner helping solidify the bullpen - especially after MDC lost the plot.
- Jason Bay - especially his rebound after a horrid slump
- V Mart - I love watching his at bats especially when he doesn't try to do too much

The Bad

- MDC
- Dice K
- Ortiz - those first few months were painful for all to watch and he sux on the road this year as well - even after he started hitting
- SS (but A Gon coming in has settled down the defense which is better than what was going on)

The Ugly

- ####### varitek - he better retire - what a waste of space
- Smoltz and Penny

My favourite games of the year were

The Yankee comeback to go 8-0 early in the year and the last series in Tampa when they took 2/3 games

That period where they could not score runs was a killer but the loss at YS on the Sunday night was the worst - it felt like the season was crashing down around the team 2006 style - taking 3/4 at Fenway vs the Tigers is underrated on how much it helped turn the season around.

Playoffs - I guess we will just have to wait and see as always - could go good and could go bad I guess...
   26. Dale Sams Posted: October 05, 2009 at 03:21 AM (#3340294)
Bard


Did you know Bard's second half ERA was 4.94 and his away ERA 5.84? Yikes. Talk about away jitters.
   27. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 05, 2009 at 03:32 AM (#3340302)
Hard to imagine that for a Sox fan, any game could have topped this, even if it was only in April.

But if I were a Sox fan, my personal highlight going into the playoffs would have been that line drive off Lester's knee---the fact that it didn't hit the knee itself. Even as a Yankee fan I had to be Big Time relieved about that.
   28. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 05, 2009 at 03:35 AM (#3340304)
By the fangraphs numbers, Varitek produced about as much value as you'd want from a player paid that well.

I don't think it's necessarily correct to look at the entire contract and say, "Well, he's better using this one moderately useful statistic than the money he was actually paid!" Because it ignores two things:

1. Varitek was worth what he was paid in two of those seasons. In two of them, he was an utter sinkhole. As he was this season. The contract may have been dictated by the dearth of options, but it was also a matter of knowing he wasn't going to be good at the end of the contract, and assuming that would be dealt with then . . . and it wasn't, really, until he was already 18 months past his sell-by date. He was a sinkhole on a team that missed the playoffs, and again on a team that came very close to the WS. Sure, in aggregate, over four years, it all adds up. But I don't think it makes sense to act as though all things are equal in all of those seasons.

2. Fangraphs' $ isn't really a terribly worthwhile statistic. It assumes a greater degree of certainty than is possible with anybody's defense, but especially a catcher's defense. Any catchall stat like that is going to have problems for a few years to come.

I think that criticism of the Varitek contract has occasionally been over-the-top, but to call it a "serious stretch" to say "anything negative" about the contract is to pretend that events didn't actually happen as they did, in my opinion. I thought it was a bad contract at the time, and I stand by it.
   29. Textbook Editor Posted: October 05, 2009 at 03:51 AM (#3340311)
I should add that Lester was the best story of the year for me, for two reasons: one professional and one personal:

Professional: The K rate jump, and the sense that he was the lockdown ace of the staff in an odd way made me tolerant of Beckett's annoying homer-prone slump. Not since Pedro have I gotten the sense that any time out we could see a no-hitter or a 15 K game--his stuff is that good.

Personal: Lester's backstory--his beating cancer--has been an inspiration to my 4-year old son. In January, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in his thalamus. He's a huge Red Sox fan, can mimic almost everyone's batting stance, and loves pitching both right-handed and left-handed (when LH he likes to pretend he's either Lester or Okajima). When he was first diagnosed (after a few months of off-and-on headaches that would wake him up at night), he had to have a surgery to relieve hydrocephalus and biopsy the tumor, and at the time it looked like a regiment of chemotherapy was on the horizon, and it was then--when things looked the blackest--that I told him about Jon Lester, and how he also had to have chemotherapy to make him better, and that he came all the way back to win the World Series for the Red Sox.

When we got home from the hospital after that surgery, we watched the 2007 Red Sox Playoff DVDs constantly, and whenever he told people he had a "bump in his head" (which is what we called the tumor), he'd always say rather proudly "just like Jon Lester--he pitches for the Red Sox." OK, so he sort of conflated his type of cancer with Lester's, but it made him feel so much more... "normal" is the only way I could describe it--about his situation (one that was making his parents nuts) that we never really corrected him... We'll do that when he's older.

The story (for now) has a happy ending: After being told the tumor was inoperable by surgeons in Philadelphia, Boston, Cincinnati, and Baltimore, we found an amazing pediatric neurosurgeon at NYU who thought he could take it out. Since my son's tumor was caught relatively early (before any physical deficits occurred), he said that while there was downside risk (and I won't sugar-coat it: loss of vision and permanent paralysis/death was the downside risk), he was a really good candidate to have a surgery to take it out.

In May, my son underwent a 5-hour surgery to remove the tumor, and he came out of it amazingly well (the nurses taking him up to the recovery room asked him if he was a Yankees fan and he groggily told them "I'm a Red Sox fan!"). Follow-up MRIs have shown 95-99% of the tumor was removed, and while we now have to have follow-up MRIs on a regular basis to check to see if any residual tumor grows, both the surgeon and the oncology folks are optimistic that what is left might never grow back (thus alleviating the need to have any follow-up chemotherapy treatments), but we shall see. Aside from some occasional double-vision issues, though, he doesn't have any physical or neurological deficits, which is (as far as I'm concerned, given what we were told the risks were prior to surgery) pretty much a damn miracle.

Through all of this, Jon Lester has become my son's favorite pitcher, and almost every night before bed he pitches to me and pretends he's Lester striking out the last batter of his no-hitter, and when he jumps into my arms to "celebrate," I'm just so grateful he's alive I feel like my heart will burst.

I certainly would not have wanted any of this to have happened to my son (or to Jon Lester), but I can't tell you how much it has helped him to cope with this to know that Jon Lester battled cancer just like he has and came out the other end of it OK.

I also want my fellow Therapudians to know how comforting it was to read Chatters this past season, even when I wasn't in any kind of mood to comment. It was a tiny oasis of normalcy in an ocean of awfulness leading up to my son's surgery in May. Thank you for that--there were days that laughing at the comments in the Chatter was the only time I'd laugh the whole day, and it helped keep me sane during a very insane time.
   30. Darren Posted: October 05, 2009 at 04:04 AM (#3340317)
Um... How do you follow that?

Great story and the best to your son, TBE.

[Edit: "Great story" sounds kind of flip. Should have said "heart-warming" or "wonderful" or some such.]
   31. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 05, 2009 at 04:06 AM (#3340319)
Aside from some occasional double-vision issues, though, he doesn't have any physical or neurological deficits, which is (as far as I'm concerned, given what we were told the risks were prior to surgery) pretty much a damn miracle.


OK, that's the best part of the Red Sox season. Here's hoping for continued good health for your son TE.
   32. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: October 05, 2009 at 04:28 AM (#3340335)
textbook - I was just wondering why I have not been seeing you much in chatter this year until recently!

All the best mate and to your son who has shown an enormous amount of bravery at such a young age. Hope he continues to recover in the amazing way that he has shown already and you both can continue watching Lester work on his way to many more wins and strike outs through out the years together!!

Take care mate
   33. Textbook Editor Posted: October 05, 2009 at 04:29 AM (#3340336)
Thanks, guys. I've been meaning to share this for months now, but never really found the right venue to do so, although I hope this doesn't bring this thread to a screeching halt...

On a lighter note, I'm a bit bummed about the West Coast start times, since it means my son won't get to see anything but the highlights on mlb.com.. But he's excited that the playoff game on Tuesday should fully take place before bedtime, so at least he's got that to look forward to.
   34. Joel W Posted: October 05, 2009 at 05:37 AM (#3340363)
Through all of this, Jon Lester has become my son's favorite pitcher, and almost every night before bed he pitches to me and pretends he's Lester striking out the last batter of his no-hitter, and when he jumps into my arms to "celebrate," I'm just so grateful he's alive I feel like my heart will burst.


That was just about the best sentence I've read all year, and I have no shame in saying that tears rolled down my cheeks. Thank you for sharing that, and hope all the best for your son and family.
   35. villageidiom Posted: October 05, 2009 at 12:18 PM (#3340431)
Glad to hear things are looking better for your son, TE.

162 games, 95 wins. Ho-hum. ;-)

You can argue all you want whether the Red Sox got enough value out of any of Varitek's contracts. I don't care; they have Victor Martinez, and the sense to use him.
   36. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 05, 2009 at 12:57 PM (#3340447)
Through all of this, Jon Lester has become my son's favorite pitcher, and almost every night before bed he pitches to me and pretends he's Lester striking out the last batter of his no-hitter, and when he jumps into my arms to "celebrate," I'm just so grateful he's alive I feel like my heart will burst.


Jesus Christ that's just beautiful. It is wonderful to hear that your son is doing well.
   37. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 05, 2009 at 01:49 PM (#3340491)
TE-
Thank you for sharing your story - I have two daughters, 6 and 4 years of age, and my wife and I regularly say the greatest gift we have is their health and happiness. And it is easy to take your kids' good health for granted...until you read an account like yours. It is wonderful to hear that your son is doing well. My kids are starting to get interested in the Red Sox (they seem to like Youkilis, in part, because of the funny facial hair), and they often wake up really early on school mornings, so I might use TiVo to do 6 am viewings of the game with the kids. Tey're still young enough that it's not like they'll run to their BlackBerry and check the score.

Again, thank you for sharing your story. I think Jon Lester, both due to his on-field and off-the-field performance, is highly respected by most baseball fans. But when I watch him pitch now, I will think of how important he is to your family (and probably others like you). I love it.
   38. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: October 05, 2009 at 04:49 PM (#3340671)
TE - post of the year. As a father of a little red sox fan with his own formerly dire health issues, I can relate. Best to you and yours. And, GO SOX.
   39. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 05, 2009 at 04:57 PM (#3340684)
Amazing story, TE, and beautifully told. I'm happy for your son, and for your family.

I've been mostly preparing myself for the Sox to go out in the first round - or, worse, go meekly 4-1 to the Yankees in the ALCS - but now I'm getting investing in the Sox winning so TE's kid can enjoy it.
   40. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: October 05, 2009 at 05:01 PM (#3340691)
I think we need another version of "Win it for..."

Your son is at the top of my list.
   41. Darren Posted: October 05, 2009 at 10:53 PM (#3341084)
He can be the whole list!
   42. GIANTlhbASS Posted: October 06, 2009 at 03:52 AM (#3341241)
Through all of this, Jon Lester has become my son's favorite pitcher, and almost every night before bed he pitches to me and pretends he's Lester striking out the last batter of his no-hitter, and when he jumps into my arms to "celebrate," I'm just so grateful he's alive I feel like my heart will burst.


Wow, did that penetrate deeply. Thanks for sharing. Brings to mind this transcendental Fenway moment, from the Torre/Verducci book:

Torre returned to manage the Yankees on May 18, 1999, 2 months to the day from his colon cancer surgery, and just in time for a game in Boston against Pedro. ...When Torre brought the lineup card to home plate before the game, the Fenway Park crowd rose and cheered for two minutes and the scoreboard passed along greetings of "Welcome Back."
   43. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 06, 2009 at 04:23 PM (#3341534)
Well, bah, I still hope the Yankees break TE's son heart. So there.

I kid. That's an amazing story, and definitely the post of the year. Like everyone, really glad to hear everything turn out ok.
   44. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 06, 2009 at 06:43 PM (#3341658)
Wonderful story, TE.

And now, of course, I feel like history's greatest monster for dumping Lester off my fantasy team back before the All-Star break. His ERA was, ummm, not helping me.
   45. Textbook Editor Posted: October 06, 2009 at 07:37 PM (#3341735)
Thank you so much for the kind words and well wishes for my son. The health of the people you love is, it's true, one of those things you really do take for granted until something awful comes along and sets you straight.

The most humbling part of this entire journey (which for my family has really only just begun, even though so far it has gone much better than we could have dared to hope 9 months ago) has been realizing how brave the kids are who have had this horrible bad luck thrown at them--how they're 100 times braver than I'd ever be if I were in their shoes. Every visit to the surgeon or oncologist brings us in contact with other kids in similar straits, and you honestly wonder how any of them can hold up under such circumstances. But kids are so resilient--it really is amazing.

There is also, I have found, an awful lot of good, selfless people in the world, who will think nothing of trying like hell to help you when you really need it the most. Family and friends you always hope you can count on (and ours came through in countless ways), but the generosity of strangers that we've enjoyed since January really has been astounding--from the teachers in my wife's district who donated personal days so she could be with my son leading up to and after the tumor removal surgery, to the folks who helped us in New York the week we were up there (even though I wore a Red Sox hat most of the time to hide my unkept hair), it has been incredible to be on the receiving end of so much kindness.

I do hope my son gets to see the Red Sox win one at some point where he'd have vivid memories of watching it take place (he was only 16 months old for 2007, and I didn't wake him up). I don't want to get too greedy, though, since I feel like we've already gone from snake eyes to a run of luck I never would have dreamed possible. Honestly, just being able to watch games at all with my son is gravy to me.
   46. tfbg9 Posted: October 06, 2009 at 08:46 PM (#3341818)
Best of wishes and prayers, TE. My eyes welled up a bit. God Bless.

My high point of the year was when Papelbon struck out the side in succession after loading the bases against the
Devil Dogs back in the spring (I think). I was in Chatter.

I kept posting over and over "just f*cking throw high heat and see what happens!" That sort of thing.

He did, they chased, and we got an exciting win. IIRC, he got Crawford with a swinging K to end it.

As for the ALDS...Hey, if we lose--we lose, I kind of like the Angels anyway. Just don't let us get jobbed by some UUUUUU!

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