Nomah is back!!! Well, not exactly. The Red Sox are going to hold a press conference today in which they will announce that they have signed Nomar Garciaparra to a one-day contract so that he can announce his retirement as a member of the Red Sox. Despite the acrimony that preceded his trade in 2004, Garciaparra was a big part of the Red Sox for so many years and is one of the better SS’s the team has ever had. From his signature pre-pitch routine, to his presence in the community, to the debates about which SS was better (Jeter, A-Rod or Nomah) to the SNL parodies, it was great to have been able to root for him for so many years and I wish him nothing but the best. Thanks for the memories Nomah, and I’m so happy you’re still a part of the Red Sox family.
Lots of big political stories that we’ll get to later. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the retirement of the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time, Randy Johnson. Tim Marchman, over at cnnsi, has a great summary of his career that is worth reading. Beyond the stats (which were incredible), beyond the terror that he struck in opposing batters (remember when he threw over John Kruk’s head in the all-star game), beyond the imposing figure on the mound (6’10”) and beyond the death (that poor bird), Johnson was a great ambassador for the game and MLB will miss him.
I’ll never forget meeting him in 1999 at the all-star game in Boston. I was on the field with my Dad prior to the game (during batting practice) and was in heaven. Getting a high-five from Nomah. Meeting Stuart Scott and Chris Berman from ESPN. Having a conversation with Trevor Hoffman. Watching Griffey and Manny joking around and take batting practice. Being in awe as McGwire, and Sosa ambled by. But the highlight, without question, was when Randy Johnson emerged from the dugout. As he walked towards us, I quickly took off the Red Sox hat I’d been wearing (I’m no fool) and hid it behind my back. He walked right up to us, reached around me, took my hat and put it back on my head. “Kid” he said to me. “Kid, don’t ever be ashamed of who you root for. Root with pride.” With a laugh he added “unless it’s the Yankees of course.” (ironic because he later played for them) Then he signed an autograph for me, took pictures with my dad and me, chatted with us for a while and then went out to the field to warm up for the game. From that moment forward (except for that brief stint when he wore pinstripes), he was always my favorite non-Red Sox player.
With the world series ending last night, I felt like I should share some pictures of the fall classic and ensuing celebration.
So congratulations to the Yankees…I promise I’m not bitter.
With Game 1 out of the way (I really don’t want to talk about it) and the first home playoff game for the Red Sox just days away, I thought I would share this fabulous post on “faking it.” There is nothing worse for a hardcore fan than sitting at home and seeing a camera shot of someone who just so clearly doesn’t want to be there. Look, I know you might get dragged to the park by a significant other or a parent or a friend but, please, fake it! And now, thanks to the “Girly Girl’s Guide to Fenway” you have instructions on how to do it. So go, enjoy the game, and do what you have to do to fake enjoyment. Trust me, you will be doing a service to the many thousands of us who are sitting warm at home and drinking reasonably priced beer. 🙂
Enjoy the game and Go Red Sox!!!!!
I can already hear the protests! You are posting a baseball link on the day after a HUGE win by the Patriots. A win that seems to suggest the rust has fallen away and the Brady we know and love is really and truly back. A baseball link on the day that Adam Schefter from ESPN is suggesting that the Pats will resign Junior Seau, perhaps as early as this week. A baseball link on the day of an epic MNF game between division rivals Minnesota and Green Bay (with a minor subplot involving the QBs on each team.) A baseball link on the day after a weekend where nothing interesting happened in politics.* To all these protests, I say yes. You are getting a baseball link today…and a good one at that.
It is no surprise that the Red Sox are an exceptionally well-run team. Sure they spend a lot of money, but they spend it well. Theo and Co. seem to understand which players will fit the system and what is the correct value for them. Sure they make some mistakes (paging Eric Gagne) but, when they do, they have the resources and know-how to move on from them. In today’s link of the day, I want to share with you an article by Joe Posnanski about the Red Sox philosophy of getting players who “don’t make outs.” Sounds simple, but Theo’s point is that some stats which many fans value (RBIs for example) are not a good metric for evaluating players. In the article, they talk abut OPS, but I have a new one.
Just days before reading this article, my father (who needs a snappy blog name – ‘papa sporty politics’ maybe?) suggested a new statistic that I hadn’t thought of. Namely, RBI Potential. Essentially RBIP measures how well a player does at driving in runners on base. For example, if I come up to bat with Ellsbury on third, Pedroia on second and Youk on first (I can dream can’t I) I would have an RBIP of 4 (the three guys on base plus me) Let’s say I hit a double scoring Ells and Petey. Well I have driven in 2 of the potential 4, so my RBIP would be .500. Get it? Of course, you could weight the runners based on the base they are on (ie. guy on third counts for one, second for two, first for three and batter for four) since it is easier to drive in a runner who is on third than on first.
Would you rather have on your team a guy who has 60 RBIs, but an RBIP of .479 or a guy with 120 RBIs, but an RBIP of .234? Seems like an obvious choice but, without this new stat, you might choose the wrong guy. I’m sure there are many aspects to this stat we haven’t thought of (and maybe others have already talked about it) but, on the surface, it seems like a pretty interesting idea. Of course, the next logical question is which guys would have the best RBIP? It probably favors power hitters who hit for high average so I’m thinking guys like Pujols or Mauer would probably be up there.
*That last line was for a certain reader, who shall remain nameless, but who knows who he or she is 🙂
Welcome to October. That lovely month were MLB playoff dreams are made (I won’t accept that the World Series is going to go into November), NFL teams realize they don’t have what it takes and begin to fire coaches (paging Jim Zorn) and NHL and NBA fans across the country honestly believe this will be the year (in Boston it REALLY is going to be the year). Oh, and I celebrate a birthday!
For today’s link of the day, I share with you a baseball blog written by Keith Olbermann. A reader, after enjoying (or at least reading) several of my posts, commented to me that I seem to following the footsteps of Mr. Olbermann. She noticed that both of us have a deep love of sports and politics and have the ability to communicate and share that love quite effectively. I was quite pleased and honored by the comparison and became even happier when I found out that Olbermann now is writing a baseball blog. MSNBC, Football Night in America (Keith Olbermann, Peter King, Dan Patrick, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and more…with all due respect to the fantastic cast of How I Met Your Mother, this is best collection of talent on TV) AND a baseball blog. Sign me up for more Olbermann comparisons!
Enjoy the blog and here’s hoping October is a wonderful month for all of you out there 🙂 Thanks for reading!
This post is dedicated to my loving and patient wife, Lindsey. With the football season underway, she has truly become a “Football Widow” and I, for one, am very grateful to her for it. Click that link for an awesome post about football widows and some tips if you are still adjusting to life as one. I would like to add a few tips of my own however:
1. Sign up for emails from the team. Lindsey gets a daily email from the Red Sox with news/updates and, sometimes, even ticket offers. I assure you, there is nothing better than getting a phone call from your spouse because he/she wants to talk about what the Sox will do now that Kottaras is on the DL or because the team just released a block of seats for the game that night. Knowledge is sexy and nothing beats sports knowledge.
2. Understand that 2 minutes doesn’t actually mean 2 minutes.
3. If you are going to watch the game, make sure you have a couple of sports-related comments or reactions prepared and understand the proper time to use them. Last night, we were watching the Packers-Bears game and Lindsey, after a particularly jarring hit, made a ouch sound and commented that that looked like a painful way to fall. She waited until after the play, during the reply to make the comment and left it at that. Perfect! (NOTE: This is an advanced tip and must be practiced before being used in a game situation)
4. Understand and appreciate the pain your significant other feels when he/she has to miss a game. It could be for a happy reason (wedding, art show) or a sad reason (funeral). The pain is still there and anything you can do to ease that pain is appreciated. Along those lines, learn early on if getting the score is what is best, or if your partner prefers to wait until later to watch highlights or DVR or something. If the latter, then you must do everything in your power to protect your partner from score information. You are like the secret service and the score is an assassin’s bullet. It is that serious.
5. Even if the game has just ended…and your partner has watched the whole game…he/she will still want to watch the highlights. Highlights provide additional insight, extreme pleasure/pain, and are a relaxing way to wide down after the game. The “5th Quarter” isn’t as important as the first four, but it can be close. However, don’t force the highlights on them. If their team has suffered a terrible loss, they may choose to not watch the highlights. Respect that.
6. Let me give you a sense of the requirements of each day of the week during the football season:
Monday: Wind-down after an exciting Sunday. Trash talk (nicely) your colleagues who may be fans of other teams. Read MMQB on cnnsi or whatever your favorite recap articles are. Prepare for the MNF game (s) by making any last minute changes to your fantasy lineup and game watching plans.
Tuesday: Celebrate or cry over your success/losses in each fantasy league you are in (including pick ’em, or eliminator) and begin to game plan for the upcoming weekend. What worked/didn’t work and how can we make appropriate changes. Today is also a good day to spend some quality time with box scores looking at all appropriate information (how well did your players do? What defenses showed some holes? How involved were players in the game plan? etc…)
Wednesday: First injury reports are released today, so be prepared to act accordingly. Also, many fantasy leagues have a 3-day waiver period, so today is a really good day to pick up someone you want to have available for the coming Sunday. (Of course, if there is a Thursday game, this throws a wrench into these plans….)
Thursday: If there is a game, make sure you make all your picks and line-up changes in time. If there is a game on Thursday, it is nationally televised so the NFL thinks it is a game you will want to watch. Trust them.
Friday: This has been the day that I tend to make my picks and “finalize” my lineups. Obviously, I will make late adjustments as the games draw near, but I like to spend some time on Friday looking at injury reports and making decisions about which team will win
Saturday: 3 important jobs: 1. Finalize your game-watching plans. 2. If you are into CFB, watch some games. 3. Do any chores/errands so you are not feeling stress on Sunday.
Sunday: Football time starts early. Make sure you have a good pre-game plan (shows? cooking?). As game-time draws near, pop open that first beer (try to make it from the region your team is from but, at the very least, do not drink a beer brewed in your opponents city. That is asking for trouble!) and enjoy the games.
Anyway, I’m lucky that Lindsey has become a true Red Sox fan (hard not to in Boston), is really into the Bruins, is getting into the Celtics and tolerates the Patriots. Maybe she’ll have more insight into coping mechanisms or how to make the transition from casual fan to true fan. Because, when all is said and done, the best way to watch a game is with your interested and excited partner.