Hello again, everyone out there in the MLBlogosphere.
I’m guessing that anyone who’s ever read my blog has noticed I tend to go AWOL for long periods of time, and then return with a post from the bottom of my heart about how things have been busy in my life (aren’t they always?), and how I’ll never leave again. Last time I did this, I had something like 2 posts before I was out the door again. I’ve now done this kind of thing two or three times, and now I’m not going to apologize and promise it won’t happen again. We all have busy lives, with tons of things going on, and there’s really no use complaining about them or using them as excuses for laziness. I’ve noticed that the most successful bloggers on MLBlogs are those who update their blogs every few days; those that are consistent. I have been hardly that, and I may continue to be hardly that. I don’t know. But I’m now well into summer break, and I have a good amount of free time, so I know that I will try to blog as frequently and consistently as possible. So I guess I managed to add a promise for blogging faithfulness after all! But enough with the apologies and promises. Fenway Bleacher Creature is officially back in business!
I have missed almost an entire half of the season to write about on MLBlogs, and it would take a very long time to do a complete review post about the Red Sox and baseball this year. It has been a busy and eventful year in the MLB, and nonetheless so for my beloved Boston franchise. As an attempt to review this season (so far) as best I can, I give you my 5 First Half Red Sox thoughts for the 2010 season. I hope you enjoy these, and if you have trouble staying focused on something for a long time (like me), you can just read the bold thoughts rather than my opinions and elaborations on them. Either way, I appreciate it.
#1 – For some reason, the Red Sox are always a bandwagon team.
-When one only likes or agrees with someone/something due to success. Even if said individual liked/agreed with something before they were successful, they “hopped on the bandwagon.”-
Somehow, the Boston Red Sox seem to always be a bandwagon waiting to happen. In ’04 there were “the Idiots,” a time that, while sometimes annoying, was pretty hard to hate most of the time. We struggled in the early summer months, fighting the Yankees for first place in the AL East and struggling past injuries and slumps. When we reached the playoffs we defeated the Angels without much trouble, then rolled into NYC for what promised to be a series for the ages. And, oh what a series it was. But any baseball fan knows the story of that series. I’m not one to gloat or brag, so I won’t dwell on that great victory for Boston and try to get my shots in at the Yanks and their fans. However, our remarkable comeback in that series sparked a Red Sox bandwagon. Friends in California and Florida told me that they were rooting for the Sox against the Cardinals and that a lot of their friends were as well. While this was nothing like those times when the whole nation rallies around a team, but it was the start of my experience with Red Sox bandwagons and bandwagon fans.
Now, in 2010, as the Red Sox, after an absolutely dismal first month or so, have finally climbed back into contention, sitting as of now a game and a half behind New York in the AL East, have turned into a bandwagon as well. Tons of people I know are suddenly claiming that they supported the Sox all along, and that they were there through the worst of it, always knowing that things would get better. I hate to break it to everyone, but… you weren’t. I like to think that I’m a pretty big Sox fan, and there were many times I gave up on my team this year. Everyone gave up on them.
However, now that things are all better in Red Sox Nation, these bandwagon fans are popping up everywhere, each one’s claim of undying Red Sox belief and loyalty more ridiculous than the last. And while I am slightly irritated by the most outrageous bandwagon fans, I guess it’s true that because so many of us Sox fans gave up on our team early this season, we’re all technically bandwagon fans. And I’m not gonna deny that. I also can’t deny that the Sox are somehow a bandwagon team every other year, so that long rant about our struggles and our bandwagon fans is all part of my first Red Sox thought, something that I have always found interesting and one that sums up the biggest struggle of our first half of 2010.
#2 – We know how to get injured like no one else.
I’ll keep this one short and sweet (well, not so sweet). Red Sox players have been dropping like flies, from Varitek all the way to Clay Buccholz, the most recent Sox player to hit the DL. We currently have 4 regular starters injured, as well as a ******** 7 other players on the DL. No other team is even that close to us in terms of injuries. We still can’t compare ourselves to the ’09 Mets, but this is getting pretty bad.
And while this is nothing to be proud of, it actually makes me feel kind of good. See, while most every other team has 3-6 players injured, we have 11 PLAYERS ON THE DL! And yet, we are in a battle for first place in the AL East, lead the AL Wild Card race, and by most people’s standards, are one of the top 5 teams in baseball. Our ability to keep winning despite these misfortunes is admirable and gives me hope as to what we’ll be able to accomplish when healthy. But really, let’s stop getting injured (please)!
#3 – In my opinion, Dustin Pedroia’s “laser show” is the best baseball quote of the year so far.
Unfortunately, he’s currently injured, but this season has just reinforced my love of Dustin Pedroia. He performs in games, entertains off the field, and overall seems like a pretty good guy. This is all why I was so entertained by this quote from him earlier in the season, in response to a question about David Ortiz’s early season struggles.
I gotta say, I freaking love this guy. One of my favorite moments of our year so far for sure, and a fun moment that really shows for me why I love the Red Sox.
“Laser show. Relax.”
(I have to give credit to the website barstoolsports.com for finding this great quote. It’s a pretty funny website most of the time, check it out if you want to, just be prepared for some pretty over the top and controversial material)
#4 – Big Papi has got to be the best 2nd month player in baseball.
In the past few years, David Ortiz has consistently had a lot of trouble in the first month of the season (which the question Pedroia was answering above is based on). However, in the past 2 years especially, he has managed to turn his game around so dramatically in the second month, that it has to get your attention. Now, I’m not a huge stats guy, but I’ve got to put some out here just to show you how crazy a turnaround Papi made this year and last in the second month of the season.
Batting Average- .143
Slugging Pctg.- .286
On-base Pctg.- .238
Batting Average- .363
Slugging Pctg.- .788
On-base Pctg.- .424
That is absolutely ridiculous! However, in June he bounced back to a .238 average and slightly lower stats for those other categories. So, he’s basically a second month superstar, and after that an average ballplayer. And in 2009, the same thing happened towards the end of May and into June. You can check out the stats here if you like.
I can’t really think of anyone else who is that good in May as opposed to April, except for maybe CC Sabathia in past years. If you know of anyone, I’d be interested in seeing who, so post a comment about it. But for now, move aside Mr. October, we’ve got a Mr. May.
#5 – The 6 Red Sox All-Stars are probably my favorite 6 Sox players, and they really deserve this recognition.
I am very happy for Clay Buccholz, Victor Martinez, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Big Papi, and first year Red Sox player Adrian Beltre. These guys are fantastic, as well as Kevin Youkilis, who is on the Final Vote ballot. He also deserves an All-Star spot, and I encourage everyone to vote for him at mlb.com, I know I will.
Tomorrow, I’ll probably write about the All-Star teams, as this is a very popular topic right now. There is both outrage and joy about these teams, so it is a very interesting thing to write about. In the meantime, thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Yesterday Red Sox fans had to take the bitter with the better. As usual in life, with good things always comes bad things as well; nothing can ever be entirely perfect.
In the 3rd inning, David Ortiz connected on a Luke Hochevar pitch and sent it deep for his 300th career homerun. Big Papi has hit safely in 25 of his last 30 games now, and it seems he has recovered from his troubling start to the season. The joy of seeing Papi get #300 didn’t last for long, though.
We came into the game expecting it to be an easy one. Kansas City is a below .500 team, and they were a dismal 3-6 in their last 10 coming into the game. Their starter Luke Hochevar hadn’t pitched in Fenway since facing Jon Lester during Lester’s no-no last year.
Luke Hochevar actually didn’t pitch so bad, though. He threw 6 innings, and allowed 5 runs, but nevertheless got the win after our relievers once again blew a lead. Manny Delcarmen and Justin Masterson both let up 2 runs, making the score 7-5 Royals in the 6th .
It had been 4-3 when Penny left in the 5th, and he later said that he had felt confident after leaving the game. “Anytime you have the lead after the fifth, I’m happy as a starting pitcher,” said Penny after the game.
We ended up losing 8-6 as the Royals’ ace closer Joakim Soria squandered a threat in the 8th and put us away in the 9th.
Even Jacoby struggled, and he rarely struggles, especially in the field. It was a disappointing game once again, and it exemplified the troubles that have become commonplace for our bullpen.
Even worse, the Yankees beat the Twins 6-4 to complete the sweep, tying us for first place in the AL East.
“It shows how well the Yankees have played,” said Jason Bay. “We haven’t played that badly. Except for the Seattle series,
we’ve been winning series.” Okay, but c’mon J-Bay, just take a look at the bullpen…
I can almost see this guy laughing as we struggle to understand just what it is that has suddenly put us in a tie with a team we led by 5 games on June 23rd.
Amid all this disappointment as we head towards the All Star break, I did find something to put a smile on my face at the grocery store this morning. An ad for Kevin Youkilis endorsing B & M baked beans. This is an older ad, but there is a new contest to meet Youk at meetyouk.com
By the way, Youk is officially the man.
In closing, I wish good luck to all the players going to the All Star game and congratulations to the winners of the final vote, Brandon Inge and Shane Victorino. Both are deserving winners and are good additions to both the AL and NL teams.