Tagged: Teamwork

Town loyalty

During a drive home from the airport, Mum and I engaged in a rather lively discourse over Lowell. By this point, we knew he had a deal and was, well, pretty much a done deal for staying in Boston another three years.

                                                   

A player like Lowell had a couple of fantastic years, especially once he was traded into Boston. One has to remember, though, that he had been considered by many as a “throw in” in the deal for Beckett. While a great gain it turned out to be, it hadn’t been Lowell’s reputation at the time. He doesn’t have a long streak of being the best of the best, as some of the “older” players like ARod, Schilling, which, while he is hot at the moment, make not make his as valuable in the free agent market as he’d like. Or as many of us like to think of him.

                                    

At this point and age, moving from team can be detrimental. He’s a valuable player at the moment, but he may not remain so for long. When how much of a career he has left, is anyone’s guess. For a player like him, a move can potentially lead to the difference between mediocracy and a homebase star. I thought of how staying in one city provides a player some stability. What I overlooked was how creating a home fan base can boost a player’s popularity and branding.

                        

Compare the case of (*gulp*) Johnny Damon. He was a popular Red Sox player for the fans. He was a terrific player with a huge fan base. Looking past his betrayal to the fans, where is he now? With the Yankees, and not with as much fanfare, popularity, or playtime as he may have been able to secure if he had stayed on with the Red Sox, especially immediately after being a member of the core team of a World Series win.

                                  

A new team means being given a different role. I don’t mean role as in defense position. I mean a dynamic of being a newcomer in a completely different team that has a completely different style, pattern, and history. Lowell, Damon were key members of a core team that won the World Series. Imagine if the Red Sox were to bring in a new player to the team now. Even if this hypothetical he is replacing a major gap, he has to work with who and what are the status quos, Francona’s existing perspectives and biases of existing players, and just the face that most of the players have a strong bond already, as a well-oiled team that won. It would be the same for a player leaving this team for another.

                                          

tessa was right. Boston has been good to Lowell. And his decision to stay highlights his appreciation of that. To quote him on his interveiew: “I have financial security so I’d like to believe I’m not all about money. I feel like I’m more of a baseball player than a businessman. I kind of weighed where I felt comfortable, where I thought I could produce the best with the team that has a chance to win a world championship, and it was Boston. On top of that, we just won and I think I played with a set of teammates that are unparalleled and with a manager the same way and with a fan base that’s unbelievable.”

                         

Welcome home, Lowell. It good to have you here.

                              

… tomorrow. A post on Thanksgiving, homecoming, and giving.

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ALCS, Here we come!!!!!

I’m so glad Ellsbury and Hinske had a chance to play. It’s understandable that the normal starters are, well, the starters, especially when Manny has hit many crucial runs in this series. But, it’s nice the kids get a chance to play, however short, in this series.

         

Pitching: Schilling is Schilling, reliable, veteran, and fantastic. Congratulations on another post-season win for you, Schilling. Why in heaven’s name do we still use Gagne?!?! I don’t care if we have a “safe buffer”, this could have been a shut-out. I know it seems contradictory that I say this after my first paragraph, but the former two have proved their worth. 

            

I did not anticipate a sweep of this series, but I am glad. It will boost the team morale going into the championship series, not that they need it, but we’ll take any help we get… my magnet doesn’t seem so obnoxious anymore! It’s interesting all the teams so far have swept their respective series. Go Cleveland, and complete this pattern tonight.

What motivates?

What motivates a team to play and play well? What keeps the players driven? Yeah, we envy them because they are making a career out of playing baseball, which for the rest of us, is recreation, not work.

 

More specifically, though, are the teams like Toronto and Texas Rangers. They are out of the play offs in their respective divisions but they have been playing well lately. Both teams recently completely swept their division leaders. So, what gives? Where does the drive for each team come from? I applaud them for playing hard; it keeps the season end exciting and unpredictable.

 

Whoa. What time did tonight’s game start? It’s over already?!?!

Outpitched!

Well done, Beckett. Congratulations on your 19th win and do I ever hope you make 20 by season’s end. In watching the game, there’s no doubt which pitcher ruled the game. Great pitching! What an enjoyable game to watch. Thanks, Sox.

I know Beckett deserved the player-of-the-game mention. But I wanted to bring up one more name: Hinske. He had a good day. Good fielding and good batting. He’s not considered a primary player nor a big name but he certainly had his day at the ballfield. It’s great to see guys like him do well and shine. The stronger the teammates are, the stronger the team is overall. Relying on a few sluggers to take us through the season and post-season is a risky venture. Team sports are team sports for a reason.

Ellsbury is so refreshing to watch. I am now a huge fan of him. What’s more, he always looks like he is enjoying himself. It’s as if he came to the realisation that it’s baseball and he has made it to the majors by playing a game. Granted, his on-base average probably helps his mood but he’s always grinning when the camera zooms in on him. He’s make it fun to watch baseball. Boy, can that kid run!! From first to home?! Whew!

I never liked having focus on a few select super-stars (think Vaughn, Pedro, Damon) and it’s nice to have new kids show up with a can-do attitude and a determination and discipline to execute. This year’s stellar rookies have all but taken over the game. For me, the joy lies not in seeing a superstar hit a home run, but in how a team pulls together and backs each other up. The fact that you have a team composed of half rookies and leading the charge proves that teamwork trumps having big name contracts.

However, speaking of big contracts. JD Drew has been having some good days lately. I’m glad. I know the fans haven’t taken to him and he’s had a tough year but it’s not like I *want* him to fail or play poorly. It’s a tough world, coming into a team like Red Sox with the kinds of fans we are. He has had an uphill battle from the get-go as far as popularity and support go. I’m glad to see that he’s hitting, that he’s performing. It can only help the team and I hope he continues to improve. I hope he contributes to the post-season in a huge way and I’m rooting for him because we all have something to gain.

Favourite moments: (thanks to boston.com)
Not too smooth yet pretty funny. Someone remind Hinske this is baseball, not football!

Now we’re talking smoooooth!