Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hurling at Fenway: Galway 50, Dublin 47

First time since 1954 there's been hurling at Fenway Park.

Friday, November 20, 2015

An iconic sign at Fenway Park removed, temporarily

OK, so playing against Boston College, the football team from South Bend, Indiana is the home team.

And there's a Fan Fest being held across the street from Fenway.

First time I've even seen this sign changed.  One assumes it's temporary; the bat is still there (though it's been covered.)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Ending the home season with three shutouts of the Orioles

Ending the home season with three shutouts of the Orioles - that's really pretty special.

There are a number of hopeful signs looking ahead to 2016.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Grateful Dead night at Fenway

Fans who attend the Grateful Dead Night at Fenway will receive a special Grateful Dead Night Theme Ticket and a specially designed Red Sox Grateful Dead t-shirt. Boston locals Fennario will be on hand to perform a pre-game set on Yawkey Way from 5:40 p.m. ET - 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tuesday is the 100th anniversary of the opening of Braves Field

Brand new book from SABR.

Available through SABR or from Amazon.

37 runs in 22 hours - pretty impressive

what's on tap for today?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

a sleepover at Fenway Park?

It's being promoted as the "first-ever" sleepover at Fenway Park, but they might want to adjust that wording in the headline.

The text of the press release is accurate: the winner would indeed be the "first-ever guest to spend a night in a private suite" at the ballpark.

And it's a great idea.

But there have been other sleepovers.  The late Al Forester told me back in 1999 that he'd slept over at the park on more than one occasion.  So I did it myself, and even wrote a story about it - "Night Games" - which was published in Boston magazine in October 2002.

Not that I actually slept.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

David Ortiz, at this point in 2015

There has been a little chatter on the BoSox listserve about David Ortiz standing in the way of the Red Sox developing players for the future.

So, David Ortiz leads the club in RBIs, driving in a dozen more (65) than the next-closest batters (Bogaerts and H. Ramirez, tied with 53 each).

He leads the clubs in home runs (related to RBIs, of course), with 23, four ahead of the next-closest (aforementioned Ramirez).

He's fourth on the team in on-base percentage, in large part because he's feared enough that he's leading the team in bases on balls.

He leads the team in slugging.  He leads the team in OPS.

He's tied for the league lead in fielding (I write that with a bit of a smile, but he has handled 33 chances without an error).

Neither he nor Jean Machi nor Alexi Ogando have any losses as a pitcher this season. (OK, you can discount that one.)

He's clearly one of the top three fan favorites, and he's got a deep and solid historical connection to the team -- the only player on the team with three Red Sox World Championship rings.

Ortiz is not among the problems with offense on the 2015 Red Sox. 

Is keeping your most powerful offensive force a bad thing?  If he weren't producing sufficiently, he wouldn't be given the plate appearances and no option would kick in; that's the point of the option being structured the way it is.  He's not sent up to bat as an historical relic. He's sent up there because he's producing.

He's got a fair shot, if he doesn't cool off, at another 30-homer, 100-RBI season.

Yes, Hanley Ramirez would be better at DH than playing left field, but that's not David Ortiz's fault.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cycle! TWO things to celebrate today!

First of all, the Red Sox broke a seven-game losing streak.  Or was it 20?  It seemed like it was at least into double digits.  Anyhow, they won a game.  9-4.

And Brock Holt was a big part of it (playing left field instead of Hanley Ramirez) - he hit for the cycle - a double, then a single, then a home run, and finally a triple.  Triples are rare enough at Fenway Park. Cycles are much more so - rarer than no-hitters even.

Last cycle hit by a Red Sox player, anywhere, was John Valentin, a little over 19 years ago, on June 6, 1996. (That one was at Fenway.)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

February 22 down, February 22 down...

Daniel Nava (born on February 22) went on the DL today.

Carlos Peguero (born on February 22) debuted for the Red Sox today.

Eduardo Rodriguez comes from Valencia, Carabobo - hey, wait....

Eduardo Rodriguez comes from Valencia, Carabobo - hey, wait....that's the same city and state that Edward Mujica came from.

The only other two Carabobo-ans to play for the Red Sox are Pablo Sandoval and Felix Doubront.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

the 1931 Red Sox are now complete

With my recent completion of biographies on Johnny Lucas, Bill McWilliams, Marv Olson, Gene Rye (born Mercantelli), Howie Storie, George Stumpf, and Al Van Camp, we now have SABR BioProject biographies of everyone on the 1931 Red Sox.

That makes 1901-1931 complete.

I've also submitted the first three bios to move toward completing the 1932 team.  It will take some time to be able to finish all of 1932. I've got six more to research and write now.

Not every one of the 1931 team will have been posted to the SABR site yet, because one or two are still being edited.

The mission continues....

0-for-17 with the bases loaded?

Bill Ballou reports that the last 17 times the Red Sox have batted with the bases loaded, they have failed to get a base hit.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mookie! and the 1975 Red Sox

The Sox fell from first place to last place in a little over a week, with a 2-7 record over the stretch from April 26 to May 4.

And last night, with the team celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1975 A. L. champion Red Sox, they were being no-hit by Tampa Bay's Drew Smyly through five innings.  (Rick Porcello had held the  Rays scoreless, too.)

Leading off the bottom of the sixth, Mookie Betts put an end to that. Home run, left field.  He'd actually struck the game-winning hit -- though, of course, no one could know that yet.

Mookie had already earned an outfield assist in the top of the fifth. With runners on first and second and nobody out, the Rays were threatening to score first. But Mookie caught a fly ball to center and fired back to Bogaerts at second base to trap Longoria off the bag, for a double play.  Good stretch and catch by Bogaerts. It survived a replay challenge.

Betts led off the eighth, too. Another home run.  Insurance.  Sox won, 2-0.

Monday, May 4, 2015

some things you might like to know about Dalier Hinojosa

He had his Red Sox debut last night, the only native ever to play in the majors who was born on the Isle of Youth in Cuba.

He struck out the first batter he faced - Alex Rodriquez.  His control was far from perfect, walking three and hitting a batter - but he didn't allow either a hit or a run.

Wearing #94 (the same number he wore for Guantanamo in Cuba - the team from that city, not the U.S. Navy base), he's only the second Red Sox player to wear a number in the 90s. The first was Alfredo Aceves, who told me he wore #91 because of his appreciation of Dennis Rodman.  

Wally wears #97, but he has never played for the Red Sox. 

Hinojosa is the only pitcher ever to throw two perfect games in international tournament competition (though both were against third-world teams and were shortened “knockout” games (mercy rule).

World University Championships V (Tokyo, August 3, 2010)

Dalier Hinojosa (perfect game) 14-0 over Sri Lanka (7 innings), with 16 Ks (of 21 batters faced)  Game stopped after seven due to mercy rule. This was also the first time a no-hitter has ever been authored during the medal elimination round (as opposed to pool play) of any official IBAF-sanctioned international event.

Intercontinental Cup XVII, Taiwan, October 27, 2010

Dalier Hinojosa (perfect game) 20-0 over Hong Kong (5 innings), Hinojosa’s second perfect game. Stopped after five innings due to mercy rule.

How many Red Sox players were born in Massachusetts?

I've written at length (in RED SOX THREADS) about the Red Sox players born in the City of Boston.  But how many were born in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?

92, by my count.

Here's the list:

Bob Adams
Harry Agganis
Casper Asbjornson
Whispering Bill Barrett
Jimmy Barrett
Mark Bellhorn
Hugh Bradley
Rico Brogna
Chris Capuano
Carlos Castillo
Jack Chesbro
Shano Collins
Billy Conigliaro
Tony Conigliaro
Jim Corsi
Pat Creeden
John Curtis
Manny Delcarmen
Gene Desautels
Hal Deviney
John Donahue
Tommy Dowd
Duke Farrell
John Freeman
Bob Gallagher
Ed Gallagher
Rich Gedman
Russ Gibson
Skinny Graham
Bob Guindon
Joe Harris
Alex Hassan
Rich Hill
Jack Hoey
Chris Howard
Paul Howard
Herb Hunter
Hal Janvrin
Skip Lockwood
Steve Lomasney
Walt Lonergan
Joe Lucey
Lou Lucier
Tony Lupien
Danny MacFayden
Bill McLeod
Keith MacWhorter
Bunny Madden
Chris Mahoney
Bill Marshall
Chick Maynard
Marty McHale
Stuffy McInnis
Jud McLaughlin
Doc McMahon
Lou Merloni
Fred Mitchell
Bill Monbouquette
Freddie Moncewicz
Matt Murray
Alex Mustaikis
Chet Nourse
Buck O'Brien
Ted Olson
Mike Palm
Stan Partenheimer
Eddie Pellagrini
Robert Person
Jeff Plympton
Frank Quinn
Jeff Reardon
Jerry Remy
Allen Ripley
Walt Ripley
Billy Jo Robidoux
Mike Rochford
Brian Rose
Sy Rosenthal
Mike Ryan
John Shea
Dave Shean
Jack Slattery
Doug Smith
Pete Smith
Wally Snell
Bill Spanswick
Andy Spognardi
Ed Sprague
Marc Sullivan
Carl Sumner
Matt White

Wilbur Wood

Let me know if you find one who's NOT on my list. I'd want to update it so it was fully accurate.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

James Taylor's new song "Angels of Fenway"

James Taylor just had a private showing in the media interview room at Fenway Park of his new video, "Angels of Fenway."  He also took several questions and sang a portion of the song live as well.  

The video contained some vintage Fenway footage I had never seen before. I hear it's going to be shown on the big messageboard before the game tonight. And available to hear on and as early as tomorrow.

He's playing Fenway with Bonnie Raitt in August.

fan interference may have cost the Red Sox a win

This is a delayed post about Friday night's game (I am finally thawed out). This may have been mentioned on one of the broadcasts, but that fan who reached out a touched the ball during the game cost the Red Sox what would have been their third run.  The fan was ejected, but the Red Sox never did score three times and lost the game to the Yankees, 3-2.  New York's third run was, as we know, contributed by a pinch hitter whose name we will not mention here.

Why Red Sox fans should maybe care who wins the British elections on Thursday

Ed Miliband is the leader of the Labor Party. His father Ralph was a "prominent Marxist historian."  And if that's not reason enough (?), Ralph Miliband's career "brought the family to the United States for visiting professorships during which his sons acquired a lifelong fascination with American politics and, in Ed's case, a fanatical rooting interest in the Boston Red Sox."

--Griff Witte, Washington Post, in today's Boston Globe

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

10 home runs so far, for Hanley Ramirez - and it's not even May

His 10 home runs prior to May 1 is pretty impressive.  David Ortiz did it once, too.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

imagine the Red Sox playing a game at Fenway Park without even one fan in attendance?

Wednesday afternoon's game between the Orioles and Chicago White Sox in Baltimore will be closed to the public, the Orioles have announced. The unprecedented action follows the postponements of Monday's and Tuesday's games against the White Sox until May 28 amid unrest in Baltimore.

Major League Baseball believes this is the first time that a game has been closed to the public, a league source says. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Red Sox Relatives


Family lineage sometimes seems to play a big role in baseball - Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. and Bobby Bonds and Barry Bonds come to mind.  On the Red Sox, not that long ago we had Pedro Martinez and Ramon Martinez.

Each year, for many years, the Red Sox Media Guide has offered a list of "relatives who played for the Red Sox."  It's always fun to see family connections crop up.  We've seen several sets of brothers (there have been 10 other brother combos, including Tony and Billy Conigliaro, J. D. Drew and Stephen Drew, and Wes and Rick Ferrell.)  There have been six father/son combinations, including Haywood and Marc Sullivan, and Smoky Joe Wood and his son Joe Wood.  We've seen a grandfather/son combination, and four uncle/nephew ones -- the most recent being Terry Shumpert and his nephew Mookie Betts.

And there have been some family relationships that haven't been that close, but still very much count -- the 2004 World Champion Red Sox had two cousins: Sandy Martinez and Anastacio Martinez.

This year, the newest Red Sox offer two more Red Sox relatives entries, involving Rick Porcello and Anthony Varvaro. Rick is part of a grandfather/son combination, tying him to Sam Dente of the 1947 Red Sox.  Anthony is related to the man who hit perhaps the most famous home run in baseball history.

Right-hander Rick Porcello is the grandson of infielder Sam Dente, whose first year in the majors was with the 1947 Red Sox. Dente hit .232 in 46 games. He later played for the Browns, Senators, White Sox, and Indians, hitting .252 over the course of nine seasons, and had a .958 fielding percentage in 2,579 career chances (unfortunately leading the league in errors both in 1949 and 1950.)  Porcello was a first-round pick of the Detroit Tigers (27th selection overall) in the 2007 draft. He pitched from 2009 through 2014 for the Tigers, with a 76-63 (4.30 ERA) record, three years in a row pitching in the postseason (2011-13), with a similar 4.41 ERA and a record of 0-2. Just after the 2015 season began, he signed a four-year contract to pitch for the Red Sox. 

Sam Dente came from his mother's side of the family.  Rick had never spent a lot of time with his grandfather because they lived far away. But, he explained, "When we were younger, my mother and father talked about it.  And we had some of his memorabilia and stuff around the house. I had two brothers and all three of us kind of grew up having pride in the fact that our granddad played in the big leagues."

Anthony Varvaro, who came to the Red Sox in a December 2014 trade with the Atlanta Braves, is married to Kerry Ann Thomson. Her last name is the giveaway. The man who hit the "shot heard 'round the world" to win the 1951 pennant for the New York Giants was her great-uncle, Bobby Thomson. In other words, her grandfather's brother.  Bobby Thomson was born in Scotland, but grew up in Staten Island -- hence his moniker, "The Staten Island Scot." Both Bobby Thomson and Anthony Varvaro attended the same high school on Staten Island, Curtis High School.  That's where Anthony and his future wife met; they began going out in high school.  Varvaro and Bobby Thomson first met when Anthony was about 17.

In Bobby Thomson's last year -- 1960 -- he appeared in 40 games for the Red Sox. "He was well aware that I was playing minor-league ball," Anthony says, "but beyond that, there really wasn't that much. I wasn't aware that he'd played for the Sox until I got here."

There's another major-league relatives connection through marriage among the first-year players on this year's Red Sox, this one also involving a member of the pitching staff. Joe Kelly met his wife Ashley in college in California. Her father, as it happens, is former (1992-94) Minnesota Twins catcher Derek Parks. Thus, Joe is Parks' son-in-law. The former catcher and pitcher never worked out together. "He hung it up," Joe says.  "We talk about pitching and stuff like that sometimes. We don’t really get too much in depth. We each kind of do our own thing.  But he's awesome about baseball.  He's a big Yankees fan now, though.  So I kind of beat up on him."

Monday, April 20, 2015

winning a series

The Red Sox have played four series so far.  Somehow, with a little help here and there, they've won two games in every series.  That's why they're on top of the AL East. 

A win's a win.  Today, the Orioles committed three errors, leading to five unearned runs.  The Red Sox won, 7-1.  That counterbalanced some shortcomings of the Sox in other games.

But any time you can win two games in a series, you should probably feel good.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

OK, it's not everyday you see a team come from behind, score three runs without a hit, and win the game

April 14, 2015: A three-run, come-from-behind, game-winning rally.  Entering the bottom of the seventh, the Red Sox were down 7-5 against the visiting Washington Nationals. The first Sox batter reached on an error. There followed a hit batsman, then an out, and then yet another hit batsman, loading the bases.  Next came an error by the pitcher, who fielded but then threw the ball away wildly trying to cut down the runner at home. Two runs scored, tying the game.  A groundout scored the go-ahead run. And the Sox won, 8-7. 

Nice to see Koji back in good form, too.

Love the "walk-up" music for both Tazawa and Uehara.

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's hard to imagine a young player making a bigger impression in the very first inning of a team's home opener

First, Mookie Betts made a leaping highlight-reel catch robbing Bryce Harper of a home run in the top of the first.

Then he led off in the bottom of the first and walked. He stole second base, popped right up with the second baseman still holding the ball not six inches away -- and tore off to third base, stealing third as well. He knew that with David Ortiz at the plate and a heavy Ortiz shift on, there was nobody at third base. He saw no one was covering the bag and he made it safely.  He soon scored the first run of the game.

As it happened,  he came up again in the second inning, with two runners on base. I said to the guy next to me, "All he needs to do now is hit a home run...."  And, BOOM!, home run - a no-doubter that would be a home run in any park, high up in the Monster Seats.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

only 17 pitchers used in last night's game

The Red Sox used nine; the Yankees used eight.

Loved seeing Miley pick off Headley in the bottom of the fifth.

Loved seeing Leon cut down Gardner trying to steal in the bottom of the eighth.  Loved seeing Wright pick off Gardner in the bottom of the 17th.

Loved seeing the Red Sox take an early lead. Loved seeing them build it to 3-0. Loved Ortiz hitting yet another extra-inning homer to win the game.  Oops.  Did not love another Yankee going deep on another Red Sox knuckleballer in extras. Fortunately, just a one-run homer.

Loved seeing the Red Sox take the lead THREE TIMES in extra innings.  Especially loved them holding it the third time.  That would quite a double play by Bogaerts and Pedroia in the bottom of the 19th.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Sox win it in 19

It just COULDN'T be that the Red Sox would blow four leads in one game - finally, it's over! And a win is a win.

How fortuitous they had kept Wright even after deciding Joe Kelly was going to start ... in about 11 hours.

and just for fun, can you name the TWO natives of Kingston, Jamaica on the 2015 Red Sox?

Justin Masterson and Chili Davis

who has more base hits and more RBIs -- David Ortiz, or Justin Masterson?

Who has more base hits and more RBIs for the Red Sox so far this season?  David Ortiz, or Justin Masterson?

You already know the answer, since there'd be no reason to pose the question otherwise.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A "rooftop garden" on top of Fenway Park!!!

“Fenway Farms” Presented by Stop & Shop, Dole, Sage Fruit, and Aramark to Grow Vegetables and Herbs Used in Ballpark Fare

BOSTON, MA – The Red Sox have created a rooftop garden behind the Gate A Fenway Park fa├žade that will grow vegetables and herbs throughout the baseball season. Produce and herbs grown in “Fenway Farms,” presented by Stop & Shop, Dole, Sage Fruit, and Fenway Park concessionaire Aramark, will be used in food products prepared at the ballpark this season, including the restaurant in the EMC Club. 

The garden will change seasonally, but will include vegetables such as arugula, green beans, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, pea shoots, sweet peppers, and tomatoes. Herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme will also be grown.

In addition to the number of environmental benefits, such as improved air quality and energy reduction (the garden will act as an insulator reducing heat and cooling needs to the building below), Fenway Park Farms will also serve as a teaching tool for area youth on the importance of healthy eating and the local environment. 

The rooftop garden is not the first time the club has stretched its horticultural hand beyond the Fenway Park grass. In June of 2008, the club planted tomatoes behind the mound in the bullpen for that season.

Two local companies from Somerville, Recover Green Roofs and Green City Growers, worked on the installation and planting of Fenway Farms. Recover Green Roofs installed the garden planters and irrigation system. Green City Growers planted the produce and herbs and will maintain the garden during its growing season. 

Rick Porcello's Red Sox debut -- and his grandfather

One unfortunate pitch cost him the game.  But what we saw is about what we can expect - how the Red Sox offense performs in his games is going to make the difference.  After yesterday's game he has a 4.50 ERA with the Red Sox. He pitched from 2009 through 2014 for the Tigers, with a 76-63 (4.30 ERA) record, three years in a row pitching in the postseason (2011-13), with a similar 4.41 ERA and a record of 0-2. 

It's of some note that he now joins the list of Red Sox players who also had relatives who played for the Sox.  Sam Dente (1947) was his grandfather.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

oh, yeah - they lose games, too

Sadly, the wind kept Hanley's ball down.  That would have made for a spectacular finish for tonight's game.  The Red Sox hadn't lost a game since September 28 last year!  But now they have, and reality starts to settle in.  There are 160 games left to play.

Mookie Betts = MLB

One of things I love about Mookie Betts is that his initials are MLB.  And that this was an intentional choice of his parents!

waiting for Game Two - the longest wait

Waiting for the second game of the season is always the longest wait.  First we wait six months for a game that counts (five months in good years, like 2004, 2007, and 2013) -- then we get a game, but then there's always a day off and we have to wait maybe 48 hours until the next game.  One of the great things about baseball is that there's a game (almost) every day, and you can organize your life around it (maybe that's pathetic, but I suspect most of us don't feel that way!

Monday, April 6, 2015

It took Hanley Ramirez 10 years, but he finally got his first hit for the Red Sox!

The young phenom had two plate appearances in 2005 and struck out both times. After the season, he was a big part of the trade that got Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Red Sox.

Now he's back with Boston.  And what a re-debut.

One might also assume that Dustin Pedroia's wrist problem has gone away.

Quite a day!  Five home runs. (Did someone say this team had improved offensively over last year?)  And a nearly-unhittable Clay Buchholz.  Yes, quite a day.

Opening Day stats - what does a win or loss portend?

I really should do a study of wins or losses versus rankings in the standings, but why bother?

The Sox are 55-58-1 all-time on Opening Day (excluding G2 of twinbills in 1903, 1948, 1982).

Now, what I was really curious about: in the years the Red Sox have won the pennant:

1903 - it was a doubleheader. Boston won first game, lost second.
1904 - lost
1912 - won (first three games)
1915 - lost
1916 - won (first four games)
1918 - won (first six games)
1946 - won (first five games)
1967 - won
1975 - won
1986 - lost (first two games)
2004 - lost
2007 - lost
2013 - won (first two games)

As I expected, ya can't draw conclusions from a win or a loss in the first game of the season.

That said, I'd rather have a win than a loss.  It still keeps alive the possibility of going 162-0!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Opening Day - and where's Cole Hamels?

Somewhat ironic, after all the rumors over the winter, that Cole Hamels is starting AGAINST the Red Sox on Opening Day.

The new season is upon us.  It's been a long winter, always longer if your team finished in last place.  The Patriots didn't finish last, of course. But the Red Sox need another "worst to first" season - wouldn't that be special?