Dear Red Sox,
Here we are, at the brink of disappointment, or the dawn of a new era. Who knows which at this point. I don’t know what is going through your minds right now. Most of you have put a very cheery face to the public, but I don’t believe there isn’t a niggling worry in the back of your minds. But, it doesn’t matter. Because right now, I’m going to tell each and almost every one of you what *I* think. So listen up.
Josh: The whole Nation loves you for what you have done and we want you to continue doing what you are doing. Show us your best game. Thank you, thank you for all you’ve done to bring the best of the team. For pete’s sake, talk to your fellow pitchers and share your words of wisdom here.
Julio: Stay focused and head in the game. This isn’t any different from trying to clinch the AL East, or the ALDS. Don’t let Dustin try to take over your territory in the defense. Be proactive. And play it well.
Manny: You are the one person I’m going to bluntly scold. What the **** were you thinking showing that attitude when you hit the home run last night? Yes, the fans love that you hit another homerun, but your poor show of sportsmanship is embarassing, and completely uncalled for. Not only that, you represent the team when you don that jersey. You made the team look like arrogant freaks when you pull of attitude like that. Forget the “Manny being Manny” BS. I don’t buy that. You need act like the professional you are paid to be. For shame.
Dustin: Stop trying so hard. We know you’re great. You’re by far one of my favourite players. Your enthusiasm, your energy, and your effort. Now, stop trying so hard as if you’re trying to prove something at those at-bats. Just relax, and enjoy the game, like you did during the regular season. Treat each batting opportunity carefully, and don’t worry about hitting the long balls. Just get the contact.
Gagne: Je ne sais pas. Je n’ai rien que je peut dire. C’est découragenant, votre résultatas. Vous n’êtes pas fiable. Pourquoi? Vous êtes si doué.
Dice-K: Please. No excuses about Japan being different, about season being longer. The world competition a couple years ago was completely off the normal baseball season and you did just fine then. In fact, you were crucial to Japan’s win. Remember that. And repeat that kind of performance.
Mike L: I see you as my under-appreciated superstar. You’ll consider re-signing with the team, I hope? You are the examplar of a great athlete, both in performance and in attitude. Keep cheering and backing your teammates, please. They need it.
JD: I don’t care what the fans say. I don’t care about all the criticisms. And it was awesome how you stopped that homerun hit back in game one. You make an excellent outfielder, no doubt about it. Just forget about the boo-ing, the criticising, the attitude you’ve been receiving from the rest of the Nation. Just remind yourself why you’re playing baseball. You do it because you enjoy it, right? Do you have any idea how many boys and men wish they were in your position? Revel in it, and enjoy it while it lasts.
Coco: Is that really your given name?? Run like **** in the field, Coco. And hit like it, too. Fly ball? It’s OK. Just make them run and tire the defense out as well.
Jason: I’m not fooled. I know you’re the major force behind the pitching staff. They get all the glory and the fame. You’re the one who has guided these pitchers through their best, and their worst. I’ll admit I’m disappointed by your batting lately. Stop trying so hard! Stop trying to second guess the pitchers of the opposite team. Stop acting like you’re the catcher, and behave more like a batter. You’re more and more often the unheralded clutch hitter here. You can do it. You did for the 2004 season. You can do it for 2007.
David: I really don’t have much to say. You’ve been hitting well, you’ve been performing. Keep it up, and thank you.
Mike T: Likewise for you. It’s nice to see another familiar face who is familiar with these games. Everyone talks about the field of experience being spread from literal rookies to old-timers. For the latter, Schilling and Wakefield tend to get most of the attention. I haven’t forgotten you. And you are ever as reliable as you’ve always been. The fact that you’ve been with us is a testament to that. Keep it up, and I hope we still see a few more years from you.
Tim: Yes, yesterday ended badly. Don’t forget how well it started, though. You still are capable to remain in comand over your scary knuckleball. You still have what it takes to pull through these playoffs. We need you now and we’re still going to need you next year.
Kevin: Unlike most, you must be having one surreal experience in these playoffs. The homeruns, the hitting… you’re beginning to look more and more like the Youk we knew in the spring. Fantastic work. Don’t worry about the error last night… you still make one of the first basemen the Red Sox has seen in a long time. Enjoy the play offs, however far the team makes it. And great blogging. It’s nice to hear from one of the players.
So, guys, give tomorrow your best shot. The Cleveland Indians are proving to be tough competitors. Most of us know that would be the case… but you need to act as if you recognise that. And make them work for it. They certainly are making you work.
Good luck tomorrow. -J
I get second guessing coaching decision. I get wanting the team to put the best foot out to win. I get the yelling at the team and at the tv screen in frustration.
But I do not understand why the news and fans are all second-guessing Francona’s decision to put Wakefield out and suggesting that the Red Sox is better of with Beckett even though he pitched just four days ago. Of course I say that because I disagree. Why sacrifice all for one single game in a long series? And why risk an unpredictable performance when it means less rest for a pitcher used to routine?
Have faith people. It’s just a one-game trail. And it’s baseball. It’s unpredictable. It’s just entertainment. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Indians lead 2-1 in the series. I guess this wasn’t Boston’s night any more than yesterday was my day. Disappointing, sure. But not completely hopeless. I hope!Those of us who watched the 2004 ALCS series know that the slimmest of chances can and do happen. Yet, we also hope it doesn’t come to that.
Those of us who coach know that a loss that results with losing a lead is oftentimes a good thing. It forces the team to reflect a bit, to eat humble pie, and to change gears and become the mental underdog. A couple weeks ago, a fellow coach walked up to me and expressed her hope that my crew beat hers not just that day for over the course of the remainder of the season. I was a bit startled by her desire at first and merely stuttered a “we’ll do our best.” What else was I to say, “No, not going to do it.”?!?! I don’t think so!
The mentioned coach wanted to give her team a blow to the pride. They had a solid crew, a solid team that performed well together since the beginning of the season. What she was having trouble working with was their attitude. The more they won, the more arrogant they got. And the less sportsmanship they exhibited.
My crew, on the other hand, was the underdog. We had more novices to the sport, smaller athletes, and less competitive experience. Most of the guys just competed to have fun and to create a visual and sobstantive goal to train toward. These guys got a good taste of victory early on, though, winning a couple of their races. When I applauded them and congratulated them, a lot of them came up with excuses as to why luck favoured them and that it was only chance. Their modesty sometimes drove me absolutely up the wall!
In reflecting on what the coach told me, though, I realise now that my team’s sense of being an underdog has kept them grounded and motivated on not just working hard but also working harder.
I don’t mean to imply that the Red Sox has attitude issues. I doubt they do as I find some of the players to be extraordinarily friendly and oriented toward the host city of their team. They have, however, been riding on high clouds through the bulk of this year. A whooping in late August through September has forced them to buckle down and recoup some wins to salvage their AL East lead and eventual title. And perhaps having to trail in this series will be just what they need.
I’m excited about seeing Wakefield back in action. I’ll admit to being relieved to hear that he was not selected to pick in the ALDS. His last few outings in the regular season has been, bluntly put, pretty horrendous. His otherwise infamous knuckleball suddenly seemed like every batter’s ideal fastball. I also noticed that the management has tremendous respect for Wakefield. If he says he can’t pitch, they most likely would listen. So if my assumptions are correct, Wakefield’s selection may mean he *is* ready to get back into another postseason. So, go git ’em, guys!
24 hours later.. I have a massive headache but it’s not baseball related. If anything, I think I may even be calmer, once reading what Schilling had to say, and since there is no game taking place tonight. As I’m waiting for my work computer to finish backing up its files so I can go to bed, I’ll update this a litte more.
I ought to know being a Red Sox fan doesn’t come without excitement and that excitement swings both ways. That ginormous magnet I mentioned a couple weeks ago still sits in in my bedroom, awaiting a home assignment. And I still intend to stick it up, win or not.
It’s tough watching a team slide downhill and lose a 14 game lead over the course of two months. In the middle of the summer, they- and we- were flying high and the Yankees unbelieveably bad. It even reached a point where an otherwise uninvolved city paper printed an editorial about Yankee fans! But rivalry aside, Boston was the best and everyone said it. That was a new experience to see the Sox automatically seen as the strongest team.
I braced myself for the downhill slide when the All-Stars came and left and the month of August rolled around. Every year in recent history, August has been a horrible month for the Sox. Injuries happen, leads turn to trails, losses come quicker than the wins. Think about it… the last time the Red Sox got the division title was 1995, meaning we’ve relied on the wildcard to get into the playoffs. That downhill didn’t happen, at least not to the degree I’m used to seeing. Injuries still happened and batting averages dipped. Yet, we finished quite strong in the end of August, with a phenomenal group of rookies running the show.
We started the month with a decent 5+ game lead. We started talking about winning the division title in addition to getting into the play offs. Then we got more injuries, more losses, more missed batting opportunities, and more runs given up. And it just dawned on me. We’re still having our annual bad August. It just happened late. Actually it did start in August, subtly, and came in full force lately. So we had a longer and later August slide. Blame it on global warming or something.
The Red Sox has snapped out of it before… they can do it again. Reading the blogs and web for opinions and thoughts have cheered me considerably. They don’t say Fenway Faithful without a reason.