Monday, June 30, 2008

Another Manny Ramirez Moment? What Would We Do Without Him? Answer? That Will Never Happen...PERIOD!

Peter here yet again on Monday (uhh) morning. This is a story that I had not heard, from Houston, of all places. This is from Sean McAdam of the Providence Journal. Thank you Sean. Here it is...
HOUSTON -- "Maybe it's something in the water in Houston. Days after Houston Astros pitcher Shawn Chacon tackled general manger Ed Wade in the home clubhouse at Minute Maid Park, the visitors clubhouse was the scene of another player-club employee altercation Saturday afternoon.
Manny Ramirez shoved Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground in an argument over Ramirez' ticket allotment. Several onlookers moved quickly to separate the two.
Ramirez had asked McCormick for 16 tickets for Saturday night's Red Sox-Astros game, an unusually high number for day-of-game. In addition to handling all travel details for clubs, traveling secretaries also take player ticket requests for both home and away games.
When McCormick cautioned Ramirez that he might not be able to fulfill his request, Ramirez responded by shouting: "Just do your job!" An argument insued and Ramirez pushed McCormick, sending him to the ground.
Later, the two met behind closed doors and Ramirez apologized to McCormick, who accepted the gesture. No further disciplinary action is expected against Ramirez.
Asked on Sunday to comment on the altercation, Ramirez responded: "That's over. We're fine now."
"Sometimes things happen," said Terry Francona, "and when they do, we choose to handle them internally. I'm satisfied with how we handled this."
Added McCormick: "It was an unfortunate misunderstanding and it's over with as far as I'm concerned."
Peter here. I read some comments on the Projo website, and a "special" few said Manny must go. Actually, it was ONE person, a person who MUST have been a Yankee fan. The Red Sox without Manny would be like a banana split without the bananas, a milk shake without the ice cream, an apple tree without any apples, the winter without snow and the summer without sun. I'm sure you get my drift. A link to this article, WITH all the comments, are yours. Just click on this post's title. I'd love to hear what you think. Thanks. Click away!

Eighth Inning Doom, Mayhem And Disaster...Astros 3 Red Sox 2

For the first time since May 14th, Boston manager Terry Francona summoned his lefthander Hideki Okajima with a man or men on base. A wild pitch allowed that runner, Miguel Tejada, to scamper to second base. A pinch hitter strode to the plate, none other than old friend Mark Loretta, who promptly laced a flat slider (I think) into the outfield for a base hit, scoring Tejada. That proved to be the winning run as the Houston Astros defeated the Boston Red Sox by a score of 3-2.

Josh Beckett again pitched well enough to win, going seven innings and allowing only two runs on eight hits, striking out four and walking one. David Aardsma, who allowed the potential winning run to reach first, was lifted after recording one out and it was Okie time. You know the rest. Okie has allowed 12 of 25 inherited runners to score, and this one hurt. It moved the Red Sox to second place as they prepare for a three game series with the pesky and potent Tampa Bay Rays, who will have their three best starters ready to go, beginning with Sox nemesis Scott Shields. Mike Lowell had this to say about the AL East frontrunners and the three games to come...

"They've played damn good baseball for three months. I think that's a pretty good track record. This is a big series for us. We want to play well. But I don't think it's a be-all or end-all. It's a big series," Lowell reiterated. "The media are going to want to hype it up. It's a series that whoever wins will be in first place at the end of it, and that's important to us."

Peter here, and Mikey, that's important to me, too. Teammate Julio Lugo added this...

"This is the biggest series so far for them," said Julio Lugo, who played for the Rays in 2003-06. "It's early in the season, but it's the biggest series for the franchise right now. They're playing good and they have a good team. To be in first place, you have to have a higher level and they do. We're going to go out and do our best. We're just going to go and play ball."

So...the stage is set, the rivals are ready. As Jim McKay said, will it be "the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat?" Yesterday, the still hot Dustin Pedroia and Manny Ramirez homered, but two runs were simply not enough. But the NL/AL games are over, and with their departure comes the DH rule, so Sir Manny, who is still nursing tender hamstrings, will not have to play leftfield. And either will Coco Crisp, at least for the next five games. Look for Ellsbury in center, JD Drew, who has cooled off considerably, in right, and, I believe, Brandon Moss in left, unless Tito elects to start Manny in the field. After the three DHless games in Houston, I would seriously doubt that, though. We'll see, and we'll see soon, in roughly 13 hours. Here are the pitching matchups for the Rays series...

Justin Masterson (4-1, 3.43 ERA) vs. Shields (5-5, 3.76) tonight
Tim Wakefield (5-5, 3.88) vs. Matt Garza (6-4, 3.76) Tuesday
Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-1, 3.21) vs. Scott Kazmir (7-3, 2.28) Wednesday

Get ready for seven straight days of competitive American League baseball, with the stop in Tampa Bay and then four games in beautiful New York City, the home of the floundering Yankees. What a way to end June and start the festive month of July. I hope the only fireworks will be those in the sky over the three day Independance Day weekend.

On a personal note, my weekend site hit numbers (Friday through Sunday) were alarmingly low, but it's summer, people go out of town or to the beach or the pool or just about anywhere but their living rooms, so I understand. But the numbers are so much lower than in years past. I haven't missed more than an isolated day or two since I started this chronicle of the Red Sox in November of 2005. It's getting a little discouraging when I have 23 hits, at least 6 of them mine, in a single day, but I'm not going anywhere, at least for this full season. That means every morning, God willing, I'll be right here with a post, an early morning post. I don't like to leave something undone, so I won't. It's fairly simple. I take great joy in all the friends I've met through this blog and the blog kingdom, and I continue to meet new friends every week. So please, Constant Readers, keep on checking in for your morning dose of Red Sox stuff. I thank you for that. If you'd like, click on the title of this post for full coverage of last night's game and Okie's recent troubles. As always, BE WELL. FOREVER.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

An Ugly And Avoidable Astros' Comeback Foils The Red Sox...Houston 11 Boston 10

It's Sunday morning, a "morning after" time for Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International. I know you can't win 'em all, but with leads of 4-0 and 9-6, the Boston Red Sox managed to lose Saturday night's game in Houston by a score of 11-10. I have to be honest with you...I did not see a minute of the game, so I am ill equipped to write about it. That doesn't happen often, as you know. But sometimes, the less said, the better. So I'll do exactly that. You can consider it a bad night for Jon Lester, who has been tremendous this year, and Manny Delcarmen, who allowed the winning runs to score late in the game. We pin our hopes on Josh Beckett today to end the National League set of games on a winning note. Josh is overdue for a victory, mainly because the Sox are not putting up many crooked numbers on the scoreboard to back his efforts. This team needs a "W." TODAY.

Have a great Sunday, enjoy the afternoon baseball (2:05pm EDT) and then get ready for the rough and ready Tampa Bay Rays, beginning Monday. Oh, you can click on the title of this post to be linked to the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage for all the ugly details from last night. Go Sox---five or more runs should do it. And as always, be well.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Daisuke Progress...Red Sox 6 Astros 1

Daisuke Matsuzaka's second start since going out with shoulder fatigue can be described with this one word...PROGRESS. He was able to go five scoreless innings and threw only 87 pitches. Why didn't he go longer? It's a matter of strength. Here's what he and his manager had to say after the third straight Red Sox victory...

"I'm not even counting my last start," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "But I did feel like I did come back with this start. I just hope gradually I can make back all the trouble that I caused. I don't know if I'd say happy, but there was a minimum standard I wanted to reach out there today," he said. "I feel that, with my next start and going forward, it will just get better and better."
"The ball came out of his hand crisp," Francona said. "I know he felt good, but we want to progress him to where he gets stronger."

Peter here, and that's EXACTLY what this first place world championship team, the Good Guys from Boston, needs--a healthy Daisuke. Oh, maybe throw in a 22 year old Sandy Koufax, just in case, and add a Petey Martinez in his prime, but that can't happen. It was a nice thought, though, wasn't it? And wow, what a great lefty/righty combination those two would be!! Oh, and these words, which will make you smile, illuminate further the progress Daisuke has made. This is from the Boston Herald. Prepare to smile...

"Matsuzaka’s form was much better last night, which translated to a greatly improved fastball. After being in the 88-90 mph range against St. Louis (peaking one time at 91), he was at a consistent 93 last night, topping out at 94. His slider also appeared to be nearing its old form."

Peter here, and that's such GREAT news for Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International the world over. Oh, Red Sox Kid Nation, too! The Boston bullpen took over in the sixth and continued their excellence. Craig Hansen pitched a clean sixth, Manny Delcarmen extended his scoreless streak to put the seventh inning behind us, Hideki Okajima, summoned to pitch the eighth, was only able to record two outs before Tito yanked him to let Papelbon do his stuff. The last four batters of the game for Houston produced zero runs and zero hits, and that was good enough for Daisuke's ninth win and Jonathon Papelbon's 24th save. GREAT JOB again by the 'pen crew.

The batting stars for the Red Sox were Pedey Pedroia, who had three hits, JD Drew with his crucial three run home run, Kevin Youkilis, who seems to be completely recovered from his freakish eye injury, with four hits, and the ever and always clutch Mikey Lowell, who chipped in with a huge two run single. The Astros' pitchers were ripe for the picking, and we picked 'em!

In other Sox news, the appeal of Coco Crisp was heard and his "sentence" was reduced from seven games to five, which I think is eminently fair. And when I think of Coco's upcoming suspension, I think of the Tampa Bay Rays, who won their fourth straight last night. The two teams join each other on the same field (again) starting on Monday, down in Florida. Let's hope there are no premature Fourth of July fireworks of ANY kind by the Florida Bay.

Thank you for stopping in to my little corner of the internet once again, and if you'd like, simply click on the title of this post for more on last night's win in Houston. Jon Lester goes today, and he's been so good in his last half dozen starts. We go for four in a row. As always, BE WELL. Have a wonderful Saturday and a great weekend. Any comments will be responded to quickly. I love 'em! I love you, too.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Boston Red Sox At The Halfway Point

The Boston Red Sox are about to begin a 10 game road trip in three cities. They start tonight (Friday) in Houston for three weekend games, go to Tampa Bay for three, which should be very interesting, and end up in the city that never sleeps to play the Yankees for four. The Yankee rotation is tattered and torn, bent, folded and stapled, so I hope the Sox can take advantage of that. But one game at a time, and tonight, all eyes will be on Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will be making his second start after his injury timeout. I'm sure you remember the disaster that was his last start, and I really hope he can put together six or seven good innings. Should he do so, the bullpen is rested and ready to take over for the final three.

Last year at this time, the Red Sox had a record of 50-31 with a lead of 10 1/2 games in the AL East. This year, at least right now, their lead is a slim 1/2 game, with the LAST place team 10 1/2 games back. But Boston's record is only one game worse, standing right now at 49-32, second best in the American league. Catcher Kevin Cash summed it up better than anyone after the Wednesday win over Arizona...

"I don't know if many people would say if you take David Ortiz out of your lineup, Curt Schilling not able to pitch, Daisuke Matsuzaka missing starts, and a lot of star players going down with injuries that we'd be where we are," catcher Kevin Cash said..."

Peter here, and this 2008 version of the team we love to love will only get better. Big Papi David Ortiz should (will) be back by the All Star break and Bartolo Colon within two weeks. That has to help. But even without our regular DH, the team has been winning more than losing. So we're in good shape, all things considered. The surprise team of the league has been the Tampa Bay Rays, who are matching the Sox almost step for step. And they HATE US...the Sox feel the same way about those bums (oops...that term is reserved for the Yankees) and I hope there will be no unusual theatrical drama when the two teams crash and collide starting on Monday. The series should be exciting and I hope no one gets hurt by a pitcher's demented try at redemption. There's no place for that in the game of baseball, not when someone, some IDIOT on the mound, throws at a batter's head, or behind him. Here are the pitching matchups for the series in Houston...

Matsuzaka vs. Runelvys Hernandez (season debut) tonight
Lester vs. Brandon Backe (5-8, 4.82) Saturday
Beckett vs. Brian Moehler (4-3, 4.03) Sunday

I don't know what will happen, but if Daisuke can bounce back from his last start, a virtual nightmare that was real, we have a great chance at taking two, if not three games. But tonight's game, at least right now, is muy importante (very important, and no, I am not Spanish). You can call me Petey, but NOT Pedro.

That's a wrap for this soon to be hot and humid Friday. I wish you the best, but that goes without saying. Click on the title for the Boston Globe's Red Sox homepage, and as always, BE WELL. P.S. I had fun writing that!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cash Will Carry...Red Sox 5 D'backs 0

In the oldest pitching matchup ever at Fenway Park, Tim Wakefield and three relievers bested Randy Johnson and blanked the Arizona Diamondbacks, limiting them to just 3 hits. Timmy went seven strong, allowing two of those hits, Little Manny Delcarmen threw a scoreless eighth, extending his scoreless streak to 11 straight appearances, and Hansen was called on to pitch the ninth. He couldn't do it, leaving with the bases loaded and two down. Five Papelbon pitches later, the game was over and the victory was secured. The biggest hit in the game was a three run eighth inning tater from catcher Kevin Cash that went into the parking lot beyond the Monster Seats. He said this after the game...

"It was a big hit, but it was a bigger hit because they loaded the bases against us in the ninth inning," Cash said. "He threw me some fastballs inside, but he threw me a slider that caught too much of the plate and I got it. It felt good to contribute like that."

Peter here, and Cash has been a pleasant surprise at the plate AND behind it. He is now batting .241 and has proven himself to be great at catching the knuckleball. He said this about that very subject, the knuckie...

"All the time, I hear little comments," catcher Kevin Cash said. "Batters ask me a lot, 'How do you catch that?' If they're asking me how I catch it, imagine how hard it is to hit it."

Well said, Kevin. Last night, Wakefield's offerings were indeed tough to hit, and we all hope this modest hot streak continues for a long time. He has allowed three runs or less over 7 plus innings in 6 straight starts. His ERA over that span is 2.09. Great job, old timer! After an off day today, the Red Sox go to Houston for the final three NL/AL games. Thank you BFW!

Click on the title for more Soxiness, and have a very wonderful Thursday. And think, just a little more than a week to go before the Fourth of July weekend is here. That's hard to believe! As always, BE WELL. I'll leave you with the latest AL East standings, with the Good Guys right where they're supposed to be, and the surprising Rays matching us step for step...

East W L PCT GB Strk

Boston 49 32 .605 --- W2

Tampa Bay 46 31 .597 1 W2

NY Yankees 42 36 .538 5½ W1

Baltimore 39 37 .513 7½ L1

Toronto 37 42 .468 11 L1

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

DIRTY WATER: A RED SOX MYSTERY...Penned by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith and Jere Smith...A Preview And The Pre-Order Link

Hello. It's Peter on this wonderfully beautiful early Wednesday afternoon. My blog friend Jere (see my link list--Red Sox Fan In Pinstripe Territory. It's the second one down, and the best...I like mine too, though!) and his Mom have co-written a new book. It's a RED SOX mystery, but that's all I can tell you until I read it. I included the link for pre-orders from Amazon dot com. Check out Jere's blog! Please click on the title of this post for that important link, and thanks. And thank you, Jere and Mary-Ann.

19th Nervous Breakdown...Red Sox 5 D'backs 4

For the nineteenth time this season, the Boston Red Sox rallied in the late innings for a comeback victory. This time it was the eighth inning when the Sox bats did their magic, with a rocket double by the clutch Mike Lowell tying the score and a single by the captain, Jason Varitek, that brought in what would be the eventual winning run. Jason, who had been mired in a 1 for 29 slump, said this after the game...

"In the middle of it (the slump), I hit some balls hard and got on some 'Web Gems' and stuff," kidded Varitek. "I don't really know what triggers a good stretch. Like two days ago, I lined out twice on two different types of pitches. I struck out but I had a really good at-bat. "I haven't connected the way I would have liked so we're working on changes, mostly from the left side.
"It's really like being two different players. It really is. At times it means a lot more work and then at times I have to back off because my main responsibility is keeping us in the game defensively and handling this pitching staff."

Chris Smith came into the game in the seventh inning in relief of Masterson, who would have pitched well had it not been for a three run home run hit by Chad Tracy in the third. Smith earned the win, his first in the big leagues, and Papelbon garnered his 22nd save. Boston has one game left with Arizona and, after a day off tomorrow, play their last three interleague games with the Houston Astros. And then, thank goodness, it's back to the American League and a full-time DH in the lineup. It will be the over 40 year old Randy Johnson against the equally aged Timmy Wakefield at the Fens shortly after 7pm EDT.

In other news, David Ortiz is ready to swing the bat via tee ball, a sure sign of his progressing recovery. He'll be back for sure by the All Star Game, providing there are not any setbacks. My fingers are crossed, because JD Drew has cooled off considerably in the last few games. And Kevin Youkilis felt good enough to become a defensive replacement late in the game, wearing protective safety glasses, which the team had to scramble to find. Maybe they can locate a clear pair in time for the game tonight. He looks like he was beaten up, but thank goodness, his vision was not affected. PHEW!!

Have a wonderful Hump Day Wednesday as another week wings by at supersonic speed. Click on the title for more coverage of last night's finally thrilling victory, and as always and forever, BE WELL.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Great Arizona Pitching Dooms Boston...D'backs 2 Red Sox 1...More About Carlin

What can you say about last night's game except this - Dan Haren was unbeatable. The Red Sox only managed two hits with no runs in the seven innings he pitched, and scored their only run off Pena, who pitched the eighth. Josh Beckett, who knew he had to go eight innings to give the overworked Boston bullpen a breather, did exactly that, and he pitched great, too. He would have won most games with a pitching line like last night's. But a bobble by Moss, who was playing first base because Kevin Youkilis was hit below his right eye on a one-hop throw from Mike Lowell, proved costly, allowing one of the two D'back runs to score. Youk was taken out immediately because the eye started to swell within seconds. Today, he will wake up with quite the shiner, and I hope that's all. The D'backs scored both of their runs in that seventh inning, and they stood up. But the story of the game was Arizona pitcher Dan Haren, who is one of the best in all of baseball. Here's what Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell had to say about him..

“He’s tough. It doesn’t matter who he’s pitching against, he’s tough, he throws balls around the black pretty much the whole time with all his pitches,” Beckett said. “That’s why he’s regarded as one of the best.”
“He was working ahead, he was mixing up his pitches. He’s got good stuff. He’s an elite pitcher,” Mike Lowell said. “It seemed like we were matching him pound for pound there. It was a pretty well-played game, a pretty well-pitched game.”

Indeed, the Red Sox were a bounce, maybe a slugger away from being able to win this one, but you know the old adage...good pitching beats good hitting. It sure did last night at Friendly Fenway. By the way, the Arizona Diamondbacks have played at Fenway four times and have yet to lose. The only other team that can make the same claim is the Chicago Cubs. They have never played there.

Curt Schilling's surgery was successful, and from what I've read so far, he has a great shot at being able to pitch in 2009. For someone. Hey, as always, be well. And thank you for your great comments about the late George Carlin. I listened to a 4am Carlin radio interview from 1999 on "Coast To Coast AM" this morning, and he said he thought he'd live to be 94. George, I wish you had been right. Then we'd still be able to laugh with you and your wonderful words of comic wisdom. That's EXACTLY what they were. If you have any thoughts and are in the mood to type a few syllables, that would be great. Thanks! Click on the title of this post for a special tribute to George, written by Ray Raymond. If his name is not familiar to you, it will be after you read his piece. It has a video clip included. I know you will enjoy it, so click! Thanks. And for more of his brilliant humor, just copy and paste this...I just did, and I was enchanted by his wonderfulness all over again. Here it is, and there's SO much there... You can do it!

Monday, June 23, 2008

*** GEORGE CARLIN 1937-2008 *** "Life Is Not Measured By The Number Of Breaths We Take, But By The Moments That Take Our Breath Away."

Peter here once again on this sad Monday morning, June 23, 2008, a day that our nation and our world lost a comedian and a person who was a national treasure. His name was George Carlin, and I've been a fan of his ever since the first time I saw him on the Johnny Carson Show AND Saturday Night Live. Believe it or not, he was the FIRST EVER host of that groundbreaking show. I have that night in full on DVD, and sometime today, when I have time, I'm going to watch it. Quite simply and in his own way, he was a genius, with his comic delivery and his bevy of facts. I've seen him three times in concert and countless times on his HBO specials, and he never failed to provide outloud spit-spewing (eeww) laughs. And I loved him for it. This is from the AP, from late last night (early morning).

**"George Carlin, the dean of counterculture comedians whose biting insights on life and language were immortalized in his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV" routine, died of heart failure Sunday. He was 71.
Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, went into St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening, said his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He had performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.
"He was a genius and I will miss him dearly," Jack Burns, who was the other half of a comedy duo with Carlin in the early 1960s, told The Associated Press."**

I had to add this, and I know it's long. It might be lengthy, but it's SO sweet. Enjoy...I miss you, George...

Isn't it amazing that George Carlin - comedian of the 70's and 80's-could write something so very eloquent...and
so very appropriate.

A wonderful Message by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but
narrower viewpoints. We spend more but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too
recklessly, laugh too
drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too
late, get up too tired, read
too little, watch TV too much, and pray too
We have multiplied our possessions, but
reduced our values. We talk too
much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not
a life. We've added years to
life not life to years. We've been all the
way to the moon and back, but
have trouble crossing the street to meet a
new neighbor. We conquered
outer space but not inner space. We've done
larger things, but not

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the
soul. We've conquered the
but not our prejudice. We write more, but
learn less. We plan more, but
accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but
not to wait. We build more
computers to hold more information, to
produce more copies than ever,
we communicate less and less. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small
character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier
houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers,
throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there in much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to
you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and
leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart,
and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all, mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person
will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of
breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


Peter here...WOW...George, rest in peace. You had the gift of making us all laugh with a type of humor that was completely unique. You were one of a kind (I can't believe I'm putting you in the past tense) and I will miss you for the rest of my life. You ALWAYS took my breath away. Rest in peace, my friend. I grieve. Deeply. For more of George's fun and wisdom, just click on the title. You'll be glad you did.

YOOUUK!! Red Sox 5 Cardinals 3

This would have been a tough loss and a lousy end to a nice Sunday afternoon, but Kevin Youkilis wanted to go home. So did I, and I WAS home! After all, the players and the crowd had been emotionally involved in a game that lasted more than five hours, including slightly less than an hour rain delay. Youk came up with Mike Lowell on first base and promptly launched one deep into the Monster Seats. That made a winner of Javy Lopez and salvaged one game of the three game set. Here's what the hero of the day had to say after his jubilent tour of the bases...

"Sick of playing that game," Youkilis said, after the 5-3 win over the Cardinals. "Glad we got done with it. It was getting a little tiring out there, little humid today with the rain. I just wanted to go home."

Peter here again, and I hope your trip home was a little easier than our trip through thirteen innings of hope and angst, Kevin. The four extra innings provided thrills and chills galore, as each team had plenty of chances to score. After the now dependable Jon Lester went the first 7 1/3 innings, Little Manny Delcarmen, continuing his hot streak, struck out the only two men he faced to end the eighth. The scene was ready, set, go for Jonathon Papelbon. He struck out the first two men he faced in the ninth, but then trouble reared its ugly and hideous head. With one strike needed to end the thing, a walk and a double by pinch hitter Adam Kennedy scored the tying run. Drats! Oh, the humanity! There were other, nonprintable words uttered, and I was less than pleased. But the bullpen took over for the extra frames. Okajima was shaky, pitching 1 2/3 innings but allowing four hits before giving way to Craig Hansen, who this time SAVED the day. He used his nasty slider (it's quite a pitch!) to wiggle out of an Okie bases-loaded jam. He struck out three and allowed zero hits and he deserved to win the game, but the victory was awarded to Javy Lopez, who retired the last two batters of the game while allowing two hits. So now you get the picture--both teams had plenty of chances to score in extra innings, but Youkilis and his two run tater (his second of the game) finally ended it. I'd be much happier if Papelbon had finished it in the ninth, but I'm sure he feels the same way. Chalk up a win for the good guys, no ifs, ands or buts. And that's the important thing.

Next up, the first place Arizona Diamondbacks come to town for three games. The last time they played at Fenway was in 2002, when Curt Schilling outdueled Petey Martinez (who did not look good losing for the Mets yesterday). Those days are gone, but here are the pitching matchups for Monday through Wednesday evenings at the Fens...

Dan Haren (7-4, 3.26 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (7-4, 3.87) tonight
Doug Davis (2-3, 3.65) vs. Justin Masterson (4-1, 3.00) Tuesday
Randy Johnson (4-5, 5.09) vs. Tim Wakefield (4-5, 4.17) Wednesday

Just a couple words about the pitching matchups...Haren is one tough cookie! And that's a wrap for this Monday, June 23, 2008, a sad day becuase of the passing of comedian George Carlin, who was always one of my favorites. I wrote a little something about him in the next post, and I grieve. Click on the title for more on yesterday's win, and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Daisuke Disaster...St. Louis 9 Boston 3

What can I say about Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park? Maybe I'd say I'm glad I wasn't there. Nothing else comes to mind. Daisuke Matsuzaka was making his triumphant return to the rotation, and it was a complete bust, all one inning and three batters of it. In that one inning plus he allowed seven earned runs and six hits while walking three. The final score was 9-3 Cardinals, and that was because of good bullpen work (except for the second inning grand slam). Here is what his manager and the man himself said after the fiasco...

“When he came out, there were not complaints about soreness, fatigue, anything, so that’s a good sign,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “I’m hopeful we’ll just chalk it up to a bad outing.”
“I just hope that I can get back to a good spot,” Matsuzaka said through a translator. “The good, I can’t really think of anything that was good. Things were mostly bad today.”

Peter here, and I can't think of anything that was good, either. His ERA ballooned to 3.46. We all have to hope he'll come out on Thursday or Friday and be his old self. He is needed to round out a pretty darn good rotation. And I have complete faith he will do EXACTLY that...his 8-1 record says it all. The Red Sox have now lost two straight to the Cardinals, and that's two straight AT Fenway, a place where they do not lose often, at least in 2008. If ever a call to "turn the page" was appropriate, it is right now. Consider it done.

In other Sox news, Mike Timlin, whose 7.06 ERA was the highest among any of the league’s relievers with at least 20 innings of work, was placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to yesterday’s 9-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals with left knee tendinitis. He said this when approached by members of the media...

“I can’t say one way or another,” a very curt Timlin said of whether the leg affected his performance. “It hurts sometimes, sometimes it doesn’t.”

Peter here, and it had to affect him, somehow. His last appearance was awful, and his ERA tells the whole story. Good luck, Mikey. You've been an invaluable member of the sometimes ridiculed, sometimes brilliant Boston bullpen. It won't be the same without you, and I know you'll be back before the All Star break.

Click on the title to be linked to the Boston Globe Boston Red Sox homepage. It's easy. And have yourselves a merry little Chri...oops, Sunday, and as always, be well. We'll get 'em today with Jon Lester, who will face old friend (??) Joel Pineiro. If we can't score some crooked numbers off JP, then, well, there's something not right. But the Sox can't score five plus runs every game. Today, though, would be nice. So let us all say, OUTLOUD and in this order, it's Sunday...GO SOX.....SOX WIN!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Cardinals Eke One Out On Celtics Night At Fenway...St. Louis 5 Boston 4

It was a festive Friday night at Fenway Park in Boston, and a sea of green Celtics tee shirts and jerseys greeted the Celtics and Red Sox players and coaches before the game in a great ceremony. But after a rain delay of an hour plus, it was time to play baseball. Tim Wakefield pitched well enough to keep his team in the game, allowing 7 hits and four runs, three of them earned (a Lugo error) in 7 innings. Hideki Okajima, continuing his up and down season, gave up three hits and the game-winning run in the eighth before Aardsma, who becomes MORE VALUABLE TO THE CLUB WITH EVERY SINGLE APPEARANCE, struck out the side in the top of the ninth. But Boston had squandered what chances they had and ended up on the short end of the stick, runs wise. Three times they had the bases loaded, and this is the sacrifice fly, one strikeout, one double play, and just two runs. And that ain't enough! Was it the green jerseys? I don't think so, but I'm sure those Celtic greens will not resurface anytime soon. This is what Tito Francona had to say after the disheartening loss...

“We had some opportunities, some guys right in the middle of the order we had up and let them off the hook a couple of times, ended up losing by one,” manager Terry Francona said.

One more observation about the festive Friday game--David Aardsma, who struck out the side in the ninth, has become an invaluable member of the Sox bullpen. He has been just as effective as last year's Hideki (the Darkman) Okajima. I think he's the real deal, and I know he will be effective in that vital 8th inning (a huge part of the bridge to Paps) role, which is a crucial one, to say the least. He keeps getting better and better, and I know Tito and Theo know exactly that. If not, they should read this blog. Of course, I'm kidding, and of course, they know. But they should read it anyways!

I'm leaving you today with a link to the Saturday Boston Herald homepage. You can read all about last night's game and SO much more. Just click on this post's title, and you're there. And I'll end this post with a quote from Curt Schilling's blog, which you can access by going to my link list, on the right side of the screen, and just look for 38 PITCHES. It's about halfway down on that list. What he says in his last post is from his heart, and it touched mine. I'll leave you with his words, and as always, be well. STAY WELL. Here are Curt's words...

"To you fans, thank you, thank you, thank you. If it is all over, every single moment and memory I’ll take away from my career comes with your involvement and support. More athletes than you know recognize this and appreciate it. The 4 years I was allowed the honor of wearing this uniform I would hope you believe I did so with honor, integrity and respect, for the game but more importantly for my manager, coaches and teammates. The game was here for well over a hundred years before I came along, and will be for that and more after I am gone, it owes Curt Schilling absolutely nothing, it gave me far more than I ever gave it."

Peter here...thank you Curt, for everything. Heal well...we all wish you the very best. You made us proud, you made us happy, you made us CHAMPIONS! What more could we have asked?

Friday, June 20, 2008


This is from the Boston Globe, just a few minutes ago, and I'll be back with something to say...

"Curt Schilling revealed this morning that he will have season-ending surgery on his right shoulder on Monday, saying there was a "pretty decent chance that I've thrown my last pitch forever."
The 41-year-old Red Sox righthander made the disclosure during his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show, sounding very much like a player whose career could be over.
"I don't want it to end this way, but if this is the way it has to end, I'm OK with that," Schilling said. "If it's over and my last pitch was in the 2007 World Series, I'm OK with that. I just can't stress enough where I am mentally with this. I have not a regret in the world. ... None of this makes me bitter or angry or pissed. It is what it is. In that sense, honestly, it's very, very easy for me because of what I've been able to experience compared to what I wanted when I first started my career, but if I have some say in how this is gonna end, I want it to be different than what it is right now."

Peter here, and Curt is a person who gave his heart for his team, our team, the Boston Red Sox. Be well, Curt Schilling. You made us all SO happy.

The Boston Red Sox To Honor The World Champion Boston Celtics

By now on this Friday morning, you all know that the Boston Celtics won the NBA championship by humiliating the LA Lakers. Since the turn of the century, Boston has six world titles among the four major sports (baseball, football, hockey and basketball). No other city can make the same claim, and we here in New England and all of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International should be proud. I know I sure am. It's only the fourth time an NBA team won it all in the same city as the previous World Series champions. That's something very special. And tonight, before the game with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Sox will honor the "Green Team" with a pre-game ceremony that will be attended by all the Celtics. And that's just great. Here are some thoughts from Kevin Youkilis and his manager, Terry Francona...

"I think in this city right now, there's a certain air of confidence you have to have to play in this city and I think that the big thing is, the Celtics have that," Francona said. "It's not easy to play in this city. It's obviously tough. But at the same time, you get the support that you probably don't from other cities. There is a lot of pressure to keep up with the norm, so I guess they're keeping up with the norm."
"It's great for those guys to win a championship," said Kevin YoukilIs, who was part of both Red Sox championship teams. "It's great for anyone to do something you've never done before. Your whole goal as an athlete is to win the whole thing, so that's great for those guys."

Peter here. The Red Sox will honor the Celtics tonight before the opener of their three-game set against the Cardinals. There will be a pregame ceremony attended by the Celtics, including the ceremonial first pitch, and the Red Sox will wear green jerseys, as they did last April on Red Auerbach night. I think it's a great idea and I can't wait to see the sea of green Celtic jerseys and tee shirts that will fill the Fenway seats. Speaking of Fenway, here are the pitching matchups for the Cardinal series. Most notable is Saturday's return-to-action start for Daisuke Matsuzaka. Here you go...

Kyle Lohse (8-2, 3.77 ERA) vs. Tim Wakefield (4-4, 4.19) tonight
Mitchell Boggs (1-0, 5.56) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-0, 2.53) Saturday
Joel Pineiro (2-3, 4.02) vs. Jon Lester (6-3, 3.18) Sunday

I see two victories right off the bat (pun intended). But these games are not played on paper. Tonight should be an extra special one in the city of our dreams, and I hope you will all get a chance to at least see the pre-game fest. It's been a long time since 1986, when the team of Larry, Kevin, the Chief, DJ (we miss you SO much) and Danny took it all, and I remember it so well. So have fun, enjoy your Friday, and tune into NESN for the entire pre-game ceremony. You can click on the title of this post to be linked to the Boston Herald's home page, which has a wonderful photo collage and full coverage of the Celtics Rolling Rally, video included (sound on). As always, be well. And I'd love to see and respond to any of your comments. Here's a comment from Constant Reader Keith, one that warmed my heart...

"You've got a wonderful site for me to visit every single day."

Peter here, and that was just part of his comment. Thank you Keith...I appreciate you coming back EVERY SINGLE DAY. It makes this all worthwhile. And that goes for all my readers. What would I do without you? P.S. I know...I'd be writing a diary!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Another JD Drew-Powered Victory...Red Sox 7 Phillies 4

JD Drew's June numbers (so far) are AL Player of the Month caliber. He's batting .441 with nine home runs and 21 RBI in 17 games. That's nothing short of awesome. And his club, OUR club, took the three game series with the Phillies with a getaway day 7-4 win. Justin Masterson went the first five frames but was not as effective, control-wise, than in his earlier starts. Just 53 of his 92 pitches were strikes, but he held the potent Philadelphia lineup to 4 hits and 2 runs. Javie Lopez pitched a quick and clean sixth before the roof came close to crashing down. Why? Two words...Craig Hansen. He failed to record an out and gave up two runs and two hits. Add a walk to those woeful numbers and you can begin to imagine the mess that Manny Delcarmen inherited. After walking the first hitter he faced to load the bases (remember, the score was 7-4 at the time), he retired the next three, striking out Ryan Howard to end the inning and preserve that three run lead. He breezed through the eighth and left the game as a hero. Jonathon Papelbon worked a 1-2-3 eleven pitch ninth, and suddenly, it was over. Boston was beckoning, and the Sox players were more than eager to get there. Manager Terry Francona had this to say about the pitching hero of the day...

"Things started happening a little quicker than we wanted them to, but Delcarmen came in and was terrific," Francona said. "He slowed the game down when it started to get loud. He got some big outs and had a good inning.

Peter here. That does it for the hurling we move to the Red Sox offense and IT'S hero... JD Drew, who went 4 for 5 with 4 huge runs batted in. He has taken Big Papi's spot in the batting order and has put up numbers that David would envy. Dustin Pedroia and Sean Casey also had multi-hit games in a 13 hit offensive display that Philadelphia could not match. Manny Ramirez (tweaked hamstring) and Kevin Youkilis (back) did not play but there's reson to believe that one or both will be back Friday night, where the DH rule is happily back in force. Boston owns the best interleague record...7-2. After today's day off, they will entertain the Cardinals at Friendly Fenway. The players are getting home just in time for today's (Thursday) Boston Celtics Rolling Rally, set to kick off at 11am EDT. If you can't receive NESN on your local cable service, I would suggest NESN dot com...they will have coverage of some sort. The weather will be just fine and the turnout should be fantastic. I'm already wearing green, and it's only 5:44 in the morning!

If you'd like, click on the title of this post to be directed to the main sports section of the Boston Globe. By linking to that, you'll find everything you needed or wanted to know about not only the Sox game but the Celtic's rally, too. So enjoy, have a great Thursday as another week rockets by, and as always, be well. Click on that title, and remember, I will read and respond to each and every compliment.....errr, comment sent. Just kidding. Smiled, didn't you?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jon Lester Leads The Red Sox To Victory...Boston 3 Philadelphia 0

Jon Lester was unbelievable in Philadelphia last night, going seven dominating innings, allowing zero runs and giving up only six hits while striking out five, including Monday night's hitting hero Ryan Howard four times. Wow!! Lester has not allowed more than three earned runs in 10 straight starts. He has made us literally forget about Johan Santana. Hideki Okajima pitched a clean eighth and Jonathon Papelbon struck out the side in a 14 pitch ninth to make it official. It was his 20th save. Lester had this to say after the game...

"I tried to keep them off-balance as best I could," Lester said. "It's a good fastball-hitting team with all that pop. I just tried to mix the ball up and down, in and out and I was fortunate to do that. Our main objective early on was to establish something soft, something not in their bat path and we did that with some curveballs early to Howard. We got them off the fastball a little bit."

Peter here. Way to go, Jon. It seems your confidence is growing by leaps and bounds, as well it should. Lester is rapidly becoming one of the premiere lefthanders in this game that we love, and he is as important as anyone in our ever-fluctuating starting rotation. The latest casualty? Bartolo Colon, who was just placed on the 15 day disabled list, a victim of his own over-aggressive swings at the plate. But Daisuke Matsuzaka, who threw 65 pitches for Pawtucket Monday night, is ready to return to the Red Sox on Saturday to face the St. Louis Cardinals. But first things first...there's afternoon baseball (1pm EDT) in Philly today with Masterson ready to face Kyle Kendrick. I hope that Justin can put up some more great numbers. The Red Sox have quietly but efficiently taken two of three games in SO many series, and the end is NOT in sight. Big Papi will be back by the All Star game, too. But Curt Schilling had a major setback in his comeback try and will go back to Boston to have his troublesome shoulder examined after struggling through two bullpen sessions last week. The end for him might be near, but we wait. We hope. He has done amazing things for us, and we have to hope there is STILL "something up his sleeve." Manager Terry Francona said this...

"Hopefully, he's hit a little bit of a plateau," Francona said. "Maybe it's a bump in the road, but we need to go have him get examined before he starts doing anything else. It's been a frustrating week for him."

Peter here, and it's been frustrating for us too, Tito. Click on the title of this post for more on last night's game, a night when the eyes and the ears of Boston and New England were firmly in place listening to the Celtics, ANOTHER Boston team that can now call themselves WORLD CHAMPIONS. And that makes me so proud. Please, as always, BE SAFE. And thanks for stopping in yet again. Your comments will be eaten and digested and replied to promptly, so fire away!


They did it. They did it last night and they did it IN Boston. The Boston Celtics are the 2008 NBA World Champions. They literally destroyed the Los Angeles Lakers by a score of 131-92, the largest winning margin in a deciding playoff game in NBA history. And the city went nuts. Congratulations go out to the players and coaches, as well as head coach Doc Rivers. What a one year turnaround! When you click on the title of this post, you'll be linked to a tremendous article penned by the Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs. Quite simply, his words brought shivers of joy to me on this wonderful morning. So click'll be so glad you did. WAY TO GO GREEN, or as Kevin Garnett screamed after the game ended, "Top of the world, (Ma)!" That we are.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Philly Beats Colon, Red Sox...DVD Winners Update...Philadephia 8 Boston 2

Things didn't work out that well Monday night in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, as the home team beat the world champs 8-2. Home runs by Dustin Pedroia and JD Drew were how the two Sox runs scored, and boy, is JD swinging the bat well! Hey Mr. Drew, keep it up, maybe through the end of October. Please?

Things didn't go so well for Sox starter Bartolo Colon, who had his first really bad start of this season. But Philly can hit the heck out of the ball, and when Colon tried to do the same exact thing, his helmet flew off and he hurt his back by flailing wildly at a pitch. I hope he will not miss a start and I cannot wait to be back at Fenway after the Thursday off day.

To the two very special DVD winners, my apologies. The sets went out, mailed from the main Hartford post office to speed delivery times, but I wasn't able to do it until this early morning. One padded envelope is on its way to Farmington and one is winging its way to our neighbor, Canada. So many things happened to me all at once, most of them good but a couple not so good, that I simply have not been able to get them in the mail until today. For that I am deeply sorry, but I know the sheer enjoyment of the DVD sets will gladden your hearts and make you smile. So have fun, and remember, the precious "DVD extras" are on disc number six. That's not specified at all on the cover artwork, so now you know. Again, I'm sorry for the delay.

Click on this post's title to be linked to the Boston Globe homepage as today we turn to the arm of Jon Lester to make this losing "streak" a one game affair. As always, please BE WELL. I wish I had more time to write a better and more humorous post, but I'm in between appointments. I dashed home to write this one with car and house keys in my pocket, so my departure could be sooner rather than later! Love ya all!! I really do.

Monday, June 16, 2008

On To Philly With A Victory For The Sox...Back to Boston For The Celtics, With The Lakers In Tow...A US Open Noon Playoff...Boston 9 Cincinnati 0

The Great American Ballpark is the home of the Cincinnati Reds. It's also a place, as the Boston Red Sox found out in a 9-0 defeat of those Reds, that's fairly easy to hit one out into the seats. Yesterday, without their two big sluggers, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, the visitors from Boston smashed four home runs. Jacoby Ellsbury, who set the Red Sox rookie record for steals in a season with 33, Justin Pedroia, the still white-hot JD Drew and Coco Crisp all went deep, and it led to a great offensive display for the world champions. It was the first time since '97 that the first three hitters in the Boston lineup hit taters. Who were they? Nomar, John Valentin and Connecticut's own (Too Big) Mo Vaughn. Outfielder Coco Crisp had this to say after the shutout ended...

"We have a good hitting team," Crisp said. "Those guys make us better, no doubt. But without them, we were still able to put up some good runs. It shows that we can still play good ball as a team without the two superstars. The rest of us have contributed in our own way. It was a good team win."

Peter here, and yes, Boston can hit, even when two important powerful cogs are missing from the machine. Just wait until THEY return! Josh Beckett was as good on the mound as his mates were at the plate. In what what might have been his best start of the season, he went seven strong, allowing no runs and only six hits while striking out half a dozen. He threw first-pitch strikes to 23 of 28 batters, and that is a KEY. He said this...

"You're always trying to get ahead, so that first pitch is key, then you work off that," Beckett said. "Those early counts are big. I felt good today. I threw a lot of pitches when I needed to throw good ones. It was a good day."

Peter here, and you can say that again, Josh. I was waiting for him to catch up to the rest of the staff after missing vital spring training time with that aggravated back, and he certainly looks like he has. He kept the Reds' hitters off balance all day, just the way we like it. Aardsma, continuing his lights-out bullpen work, threw a clean eighth and Mike Timlin, who is perfect for these kind of game conditions, ended it with a nine pitch ninth. Shortly afterwards, the Sox were jetting east to the home of the cheese steak sandwich, Philadelphia. It's the home of the first place Phillies, too. I almost forgot about them. I guess I was hungry for a cheese steak, juicy and dripping with onions and ketchup and maybe a few peppers, cut in half with plenty of napkins and still sizzling from the grill, but it's before six in the morning! Oh well.

The Phillies/Red Sox pitching matchups go just like this...and I like 'em...

Bartolo Colon (4-1, 3.41 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (6-4, 3.27) tonight
Jon Lester (5-3, 3.43) vs. Jamie Moyer (7-3, 4.12) Tuesday
Justin Masterson (3-1, 2.90) vs. Kyle Kendrick (6-2, 4.54) Wednesday

The Phillies are also in first place, so make no mistake, they will be tough. In other news, the Boston Celtics knew they'd be coming home after last night's game in LA, but they had been hoping the Lakers would not be joining them. Alas, LA forced a game six, which comes up on Tuesday. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA finals, and I hope this year will be no different. So go Green, go Sox, and GO YOU, my Constant Readers. I hope you had a great Father's Day weekend, and I wish you a great Monday, when at noon there will be a playoff to determine golf's US Open champion. If you have the day off, it should be compelling television. It will be shown on NBC and NBC HD at 2pm. ESPN at noon. So that's it! As always, be well, and click on the title of this post for something about our Sox. Thank you for stopping in once again.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Reluctantly, It's Time To Say Goodbye To Tim Russert...1950-2008...

This is from USA Today, and it touched me. And so did Tim Russert. Here you go on this Sunday, Father's Day 2008, a day Tim cherished.
Remembering the life of Tim Russert

By Michael Gartner, Special to USA TODAY
Michael Gartner was president of NBC News from 1988-1993.

"Tim Russert didn't want to be on television.
He was a senior executive – an inside guy, a go-to guy, an idea guy – when I joined NBC News as president in 1988. He had a background in politics, and a few months after I signed on I asked him to head the Washington bureau. He didn't want to leave New York and thought he was being shoved aside, but he very reluctantly agreed.
In Washington, he quickly re-established old contacts – he had worked for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and he seemed to know half the town – and increasingly the morning news conferences at NBC were filled with his inside stories of this, his analyses of that and his predictions of this and that. He was always right.
"Tim," I said to him one day a year or so later, "the news call isn't supposed to be more interesting than the news shows. We've got to get across on the air the stuff you're telling us every morning. You should be on the air."
"No way," he said.
Eventually, he agreed to go on the Today show periodically to talk politics with his equally knowledgeable friend Al Hunt, at the time Washington bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, and, later, as an occasional panelist on the sagging Meet the Press show. But Russert remained mainly an inside guy, an unseen face, a choreographer of coverage.
Finally, I told him he should be – had to be – the moderator of Meet the Press, which wasn't doing well.
"No way," he said again.
We argued. We debated. We fought. He raised objections, I shot them down. At the end, he said, "Look, I can't do it. I'm ugly." "Well, I said with a laugh, I can't argue that one (he had a chubby face that looked like it was made out of Play-Doh) but I'm not looking for a handsome guy, I'm looking for a smart one." Finally, he agreed, and in 1991 he became moderator of the show.
I had some sweatshirts made up with his picture on the front. "Tim Russert," they said, "Not just a pretty face." He was, eventually, amused.
He was made for the job. His training from the Jesuits had sharpened his mind, his lessons from his father had instilled his values, his life in politics had widened his knowledge, and his training as a lawyer had honed his questioning. The show was almost an overnight success, and soon we expanded it to a full hour. Then he — and it — took off.
He used old-fashioned tools in a new-fashioned industry. He used a chalkboard like a coach. He put words – words, of all things! – on the screen to make his point. He was as tough as he was fair, as demanding of himself as he was of his guests. He prepared for each show as if it was a final exam.
Most of all, he was believable. That face turned out to be what my father called "an affidavit face." You looked at him, and you just knew he was telling you the truth.
The show made him rich and famous. I don't know how rich, but a few years ago, when he signed a new, long-term contract with NBC, he called me up to tell me, and he remembered his reluctance about taking the job. He laughed, and he said: "I thank you. My wife thanks you. My son thanks you. And my unborn grandchildren, however many there will be, thank you." It must have been a good deal.
But no matter how rich and famous he became, he always came across on television as a nice guy – who couldn't like a guy who loved Buffalo and who wished his dad Happy Father's Day on the air? – but he was more than nice. He was kind, he was caring, and he was generous.
A few years ago, I called him and asked if he'd make a big speech in Des Moines, where I live. It was part of a lecture series at Drake University. I knew he was in great demand, I said, but I asked if he'd do it as a favor for me. "They'll pay you $30,000," I added. He didn't think twice. "I'll do it under one condition," he said. "The $30,000 goes to that program for kids that is Christopher's memorial."
Christopher was one of my sons, and he idolized Tim. Christopher died in 1994, at age 17, from an initial attack of juvenile diabetes. I had left NBC by then, but within hours of Christopher's death the phone rang at home in Des Moines. It was Russert. I was in tears, and he seemed to be, too. He expressed his deep sorrow, and then he said:
"Look, if God had come to you 17 years ago and said, 'I'll make you a bargain. I'll give you a beautiful, wonderful, happy and healthy kid for 17 years, and then I'll take him away, you would have made that deal in a second.
He was right, of course, that was the deal. I just didn't know it.
As it turns out, there was a similar deal – the terms were 58 years – with Tim.
We just didn't know it."
But we – his family, his friends, his guests and his viewers, all of us so enriched by him – would have made it in a second."
Peter here. AMEN, and rest in peace, Tim Russert. You will be missed. So much.
And don't forget, there will be a very special MEET THE PRESS this Sunday morning at 10am EDT. On NBC.

P.S FINAL...Red Sox 9 Reds 0. Happy Dad's Day!

A Second Chance Win For Boston...Red Sox 6 Reds 4...HAPPY FATHER'S DAY...GO CELTICS! BEAT LA!!

The bottom of the ninth inning started hopeful and bright. And why not? Jonathon Papelbon was on the mound and the good guys, the Boston Red Sox, were ahead by a score of 4-3. One out, two outs, absolutely nobody on for the Reds. And then...then, DISASTER as Encarnation jerked a fastball into the stands to tie the game. Possible jubulation instantly turned to complete and utter despair. So extra innings were upon us, and I knew that even if Boston was able to score in the top of the tenth, Paps would not be pitching. OUCH! Back to back home runs by Kevin Youkilis, playing in front of SO many hometown fans, and Coco Crisp suddenly made that mournful mood joyful yet again. 6-4 Sox, and after a knock on the bathroom door, Craig Hansen started warming up in the bullpen. His job? Nail down this road win. One pitch, one out. And then two. And then a single put the tying run at the plate. And a walk. GULP! Two outs. Hansen was gunning for his first major league save, and he did it! Final score...6-4 good guys. Congratulations go out to a few Red Sox players, but first, this is what manager Tito Francona and the hitting star of the game, Kevin Youkilis, had to say after the extra inning thrills...

"We had heard this ballpark played pretty small, and I agree," added Francona. "Encarnacion's at-bat was a good at-bat," Francona said. "Paps threw him everything in that at-bat, but couldn't get his fastball by him. You're down to one strike and you're the visitors in the ballpark and then you have to keep playing, that's tough. The good thing is, we kept playing."

"Definitely a good thrill to hit one in that situation," said Youkilis, who struck out his first two at-bats in front of a group of 140 family members and friends, then went RBI single, double, and home run with his last three swings. "To hit it in Cincinnati is a great honor and a great thrill, because who knows, after tomorrow I may not have another chance to play here."

What a thrill it must have been for Kevin, who was playing in front of many hometown friends. He's from the area...he wanted to do well, and yesterday he had three hits, including the game winning home run. Sox guys with two hits were numerous...Ellsbury, Pedey (Pedroia), JD Drew and Mikey Lowell. The world champions collected 13 hits, which were enough, BARELY.

It's Father's Day today. I know I'm up earlier than just about every one of you, but I wanted to wish my readers, all 12 of them from yesterday (a bad day for hits), and the rest of you a happy and healthy holiday. The Dads and Grandads all deserve our love. I visit my father on Fathers Day. Unfortunately, I have to visit him at the cemetary. I know he would have loved to have been here for the '04 championship season. My goodness! He was born in 1917, and I'm sure (try positive, Pete) that he didn't remember the 1918 championship. But I remember the tears of sadness, sadness, not joy, in 1975 and 1986. I even remember our little dance, with firecrackers, after Rico caught that pop up to end what would be the clinching game in 1967. And I'm sure he's been watching. I still hear his voice sometimes, and I miss him so much. So treasure your fathers. Phew, wow, a few tears...sorry.

Click on the title of this post for something Soxy, and again, have a happy and healthy holiday. And if you can, give your Dad a huge kiss. If mine was here, I sure would. Comments? Please? And I thank you for stopping in once again. I've said this before and I'll say it again. I don't know what I'd do without you.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

After Seven Innings...BOSTON 3 Cincinnati 2

3-2 Red Sox...Tim Wakefield continues his great turnaround...I'll have a full wrap tomorrow.

Harang, Reds Defeat The Red Sox 3-1 in Cincy

The Cincinnati Red's Aaron Harang found his rythym after a few bad starts and held the Boston Red Sox to five hits and one run in a 3-1 victory. Boston had not been to Cincinnati since the 1975 World Series. The last Sox pitcher to win a game there was none other than Luis Tiant, or Looo-ie, as he was affectionately called. Justin Masterson pitched well enough to win but he could not match Harang's outing. He had this to say after the game's conclusion...

“You always want to be perfect when you go out in front of your friends and family, but Aaron Harang was really good today.
“That was probably the best I’ve felt. The ball was sinking really good. For the most part, my slider was moving. I hung a few pitches.”

Manny Ramirez, who was playing leftfield, had to leave the game in the seventh inning when his hamstring tightened up, and he will probably get the day off today. That leaves the Sox without their two most feared hitters, Manny and Papi, for this afternoon's game, which starts at 3:55 pm EDT. But if they can, they'll find a way to win, or at least score more than one run! Here's what Tito Francona had to say about Manny...

"He said he was really feeling it, so we took him out," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We'll wait until he's better than to try to run him out there."

Peter here. I'm sure Sir Manny will be available for a pinch hitting at bat, but if the Sox are ahead comfortably, so much the better. I was unable to watch the game on NESN and that's the reason for the brevity of this post. My apologies for that, but I can't read a newspaper report on a game and then write about it. I need to view at least 5 innings just to get that "feeling."

Click on this post's title to be linked to the Boston Herald's Red Sox homepage, and have a wonderful Saturday and a great Father's Day Sunday. Congratulations to all the Dad's out there, and that goes for you grandfathers, too! Unfortunately (or fortunately-I'm not sure), I don't fit in either category. As always, BE WELL, and I'd love to read and reply to your comments. Thanks.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Red Sox Are Winners At Fenway...Again. Boston 9 Baltimore 2

The Boston Red Sox continued their torrid play at Fenway Park Thursday night with a 9-2 thumping of the Baltimore Orioles. Their home record is an MLB- best 28-7 and they've won 17 of their last 19 and 18 of the last 21 games at their home, sweet home. But their road record, 14-20, is uncharacteristically mediocre. Why the huge difference? That's something manager Tito Francona would like to analyze with his team as they head for Cincinnati on a charter flight. He said this before their departure last night...

“We’re going to try and figure that on the flight because we haven’t figured it out very well to this point,” manager Terry Francona said. “I know our guys love playing here (at Fenway); you’d be crazy not to - the atmosphere’s maybe the best in baseball. But there needs to be more of an explanation than that, and hopefully we’ll figure it out. Because, ultimately, if we want to get to where we want to go, we’re going to have to play better on the road - but it sure has been fun at home."

Peter here, and yes, Tito, the Sox have been a ton of fun to watch when playing at the Fens. Take last night, for example. Jon Lester again looked sharp, sharp as a tack. Who needs Johan Santana anyways? He was able to go seven full innings, giving up the two lonely runs while allowing seven hits and walking only one. He had three K's and only had to make 101 pitches in those seven strong frames. The bullpen deftly took charge from there, with Delcarmen throwing a sixteen pitch eighth and Mike Timlin wrapping up the procedings with a quick seven pitch ninth. GAME OVER...Sox win!

Home runs brought in eight of the nine Boston runs, with two run bombs from Kevin Youkilis and the still white-hot JD Drew and a grand slam from the always clutch Mike Lowell. Baltimore opted to walk Manny Ramirez with men on second and third, which loaded the bases and gave Mikey a chance to put the game out of reach. He did JUST that with a tater into the Green Monster seats. When asked what HE would do with Manny up and first base open, he said "I'd walk him, too." In all, Boston collected only nine hits, but they made them count, that's for sure. Each and every one.

Like it or not (and Francona does NOT, even with the excellent record the Sox have when playing NL teams), interleague play starts tonight in Ohio, where the Sox will play the Reds. Here are the pitching matchups for the three game series...

Justin Masterson (3-0, 2.59 ERA) vs. Aaron Harang (2-9, 4.31) tonight*
Tim Wakefield (4-4, 4.33) vs. Edinson Volquez (9-2, 1.56) Saturday
Josh Beckett (6-4, 4.22) vs. Homer Bailey (0-2, 6.30) Sunday*

I like the matchups in game one and three, but I'm not familiar with Edinson Volques. I hope his won/lost record is better than his upcoming perfomance, because 9-2 ain't bad. But Timmy has shown signs of going on a hot streak, so we shall see. Masterson has been a steady and consistant guy, and we're all waiting for Beckett to spin a "Josh gem." HE IS OVERDUE, to say the least.

Have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend. Congratulations go out to the green team, the Boston Celtics, who last night came back from a 24 point deficit to take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 97-91 victory in Los Angeles. The Laker's goose might be cooked, but a game five is coming up in LA on Father's Day. That will be a real treat to watch, and you'll find it on ABC and ABC HD. That game, along with round four of golf's US Open and the final Sox/Reds game, will fill our Father's Day plates while most of you will be with family and friends while grilling in the beautiful (I hope) summer outdoors. So make the most of it, thank your Dad for being there for you every day in every way, and just be happy. And as always, BE WELL. Click on the link for full coverage of getaway night at Fenway Park. Thanks for being here, and your comments are always welcomed and will be answered.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


OK, OK, it's me back again with a report on the suspension for Rays' pitcher/bully/mediocre puncher/idiot...James Shield. I use the term "pitcher" loosely. I wanted to share this with you...

"Apparently the punishment Major League Baseball doled out to Tampa Bay Rays‘ starter James Shields following a bench-clearing brawl was not enough for the big right-hander.
Shields, who started the brawl by plunking Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp in the thigh in the second inning, received a six-game suspension from MLB. Now, Shields has added four more games himself for what he terms “girly punches.”
“Did you see me out there?” a devastated Shields told reporters after the announcement of the additional suspension. “I was terrible. I thought I knew how to fight, but man – on tape I look like a fucking amateur.”
Shields’ plunking of Crisp was a response to Crisp’s slide-tackle of Rays’ second baseman Akinori Iwamura the day before. “I had to protect my teammate. Even at the risk of exposing my puny fighting skills.”
While Shields’ own criticism of his performance was harsh enough, he said the decision to increase his suspension was reached after talking with his father.
Shields claims not to have been in a fistfight since he was 13 years old, and admits that he probably should have trained before the big bout. “I knew it was coming, but I didn’t really prepare for it. You would think a group of adults would be able to settle their differences without throwing punches, but I forgot this was baseball. I should have done some training with that Kimbo Slice guy, or at least rented some kickboxing videos.
“The bright side is, I now know that the weakness in my pitching is my inability to throw quick, effective jabs. It’s something I’ll continue to work on during the season and into the off-season, to ensure that this never happens again.”

Peter here...believe it, or not. Not would be your best choice. It is a goof, a goof about a pitcher who I DO NOT LIKE! I hope I brought you a smile, just a little one, because EVERY smile is important. THIS IS FROM on the title of this very very funny post. I didn't write it. THEY DID!

COLON Breezes To His Fourth Win...Boston 6 Baltimore 3

Members of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International as well as Bartolo Colon himself all know that he belongs smack dab in the heart of the Boston Red Sox rotation. Wednesday evening at Fenway Park, in the Hub of the Universe, he smoothly sailed through a sometimes effortless-looking six innings, allowing only one run on five hits while whiffing seven. HE LOOKED GREAT! The Baltimore catcher Ramon Hernandez and Sox manager Tito Francona had this glowing praise for the righthander after the game...

"Right now he's got a lot of movement," Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez told Baltimore reporters. "He's got a pretty good two-seamer going on. He's around 93, 94 miles per hour, and if he wants to go higher, he's still got it. He's not easy to face. He pitches more; before, he was a power guy trying to blow everyone away. Now he's the guy that pitches around the plate and makes you swing early in the count. He has way more movement than he did before."
"He's been tremendous for us," said manager Terry Francona. "It's been fun to watch. Get a guy that you didn't have when spring training started, and all of sudden, he's right in the middle of the rotation, helping us win games. It's been big."

Peter here, and where we we be without him? As Tito said, he's been fun to watch and a tremendous addition to a rotation that was missing a cylinder. Well, not any more! If he remains healthy and keeps close to this pace he will easily win 13-16 games, and we all know how hugely important THAT would be. Aardsma set 'em up and set 'em down in the seventh and Javie Lopez did the same in the eighth, and with a 5-1 lead going into the ninth, Tito turned to Mike Timlin, a seemingly safe move with a four run bulge. But he could not get the job done, giving up a pair of runs on three hits before he was reluctantly yanked with two outs so Jonathon Papelbon could nail down the win. Five pitches and a ground ball to first did just that. It was Paps' 19th save.

The Sox started the game off with a bang, actually more than one of them, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first. The big hit belonged to the soon-to-be-ill Jason Varitek, who smashed a three run tater over EVERYTHING in left. From there until Timlin's misadventures, it was smooth sailing, and Colon made the most of it. You could say that Bartolo gave the Orioles a thorough colonoscopy (I should apologise to all those with last names of Colon. I said it in jest.). Hey, see you in five days, know where (on the mound) !

Congratulations go out to Big Papi David Ortiz, who became an American citizen yesterday. Papi, we love you, we're proud to have you and every one of us wants to see you at the plate as soon as your wrist will allow. I'm hoping he will be back before the end of this month of June, but the doctors will know more when they change the cast in about one week. And in another piece of Sox news, Coco Crisp's appeal for the seven game suspension that was levied after the brawl with Tampa will be heard on June 23. DO NOT expect the suspension will be any less than the seven days that he was given...this is not an infraction that the powers-that-be will try to minimize. If he had walked to first base rather than charging the mound, there would have BEEN no brawl, at least on that day. But something like that was bound to happen between the Sox and the Rays...they literally hate each other and Tampa Bay is sick of being the doormat of the AL East, a place where opposing clubs pause and wipe their feet before humiliating them. Hey, they certainly have been way more competitive than the "always at .500" New York Jokers...err, Yankees.

Have a wonderful Thursday, and to the two winners of the Sox DVD set, they will be in the mail tomorrow (Friday). Due to circumstances beyond my control, the trip to the Post Office has had to take a back seat to more pressing demands, and I apologise. They still are unwrapped, unplayed and shiningly silver, and always will be until YOU open's a prize that will keep on giving. For 16 and one half hours. And that's just counting the first viewing!! You two should have had 'em by now, but I can't do anything about it. I just wanted to keep you updated. Thanks again for being patient.

Click on the title of this post for more on the victorious night at Fenway, and as always, BE WELL. Comments will be munched on and regurgitated in the form of responses, that I promise.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Okie Dokie? NOPE...Baltimore 10 Boston 6

Hideki Okajima is somewhat of a puzzle this year, at least when he pitches against the Baltimore Orioles, who defeated the Boston Red Sox in comeback style, 10-6. After JD Drew and Manny Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth, the Sox were up by a score of 6-4. I thought it might have been over. I was wrong. But it stayed that way until Josh Beckett, curiously NOT on top of his game again, gave way to Hideki Okajima, the Darkman (at least he WAS last year) to start the seventh (the seventh?). His numbers this year so far against every team BUT Baltimore include one home run allowed and an unbelievable ERA of 0.40. That's the Darkman we know and love! But against the Orioles, his numbers turn ghastly. He has allowed eight runs and nine hits and his ERA is a soaring 13.50. Yesterday, it was no different...the Birdies are clearly his Achille's Heel. In his 1/3 inning of work before giving way to the hot Manny Delcarmen, he allowed three runs on two hits and two free passes. It was downright ugly, and the Red Sox were down to stay. Little Manny pitched a clean eighth but Hansen, brought in to pitch the final frame, was victimized by a rare Pedey error. He gave up four hits in his one inning and allowed three Bird's runners to cross the plate. Two of those runs were earned, but the damage had been done. Our most effective pitcher of the evening had this to say about his recent torrid streak...

“I really haven’t changed much. I’ve been throwing the ball well. I’ve been talking to catcher Jason Varitek, mixing in my curveball a little bit more and I’ve had some success with that,” Delcarmen said of his recent dominance. “I’ve been on a good roll, and I want to keep it going.” I’m sure we’ll be better,” Delcarmen said. “It’s going to happen. Today was just one of those days.”

Peter here, and I hope Manny KEEPS mixing in his devastating curve amongst his 96 MPH fastballs. Hey Manny, nothing straight unless it's on the black, inside or outside. We need you. The Sox have a one game lead over the team that's been hanging around consistantly in second place, the Tampa Bay Rays. Their strong starting pitching is one of the biggest reasons why their hold on that spot is a steady one. Congrats go out to Manny Ramirez, who had a nice pre-game ceremony honoring his 500 home run acheivement, and he deserves it, too. It's nice to see JD continue to put his bat on the ball squarely and drive it towards the middle of the field. With his swing, many balls are destined for the seats, and Sir Manny bats right behind him. That can't hurt! I hope he can keep this up all year. Oh, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has been throwing off the mound of late, will be back as soon as the middle of next week. That's so good to hear. Tonight, it's Garrett Olsen ready to face Bartolo Colon, who lost his last start but, because of his own throwing error, three of the six runs given up were unearned. Hey, they count, no matter what, but I'm confident that he will lead Boston to a victory tonight at cooler Fenway. Faith...that word says SO SO much. I sometimes feel that FAITH is my middle name, but it's Mark, which thankfully sounds a little more manly.

Click on this post's title to be linked to the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage, have a great Hump Day Wednesday, and as always, be well. Your comments are always welcomed and always answered. I appreciate each and every one of them, and each and every one of you. Quite simply, you're the best!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Birds Fly Into Boston...Bye Bye Birdies...BEAT LA!

Those Orioles from Baltimore are in Boston to play a three game set starting tonight (Tuesday). And yes, it will be muggy, hot and humid, at least for game one. Some relief is in sight for the Wednesday and Thursday evening contests, relief in the form of a cool front which will march through the northeastern states sometime Wednesday afternoon. The humidity will go down to tolerable levels and the temperatures will back off by 15 degrees or so. Yesterday here in Connecticut, those temperatures topped out at about 97 degees F. That's too warm for this time of year. And on that sizzling note, here are the pitching matchups for the first place Boston Red Sox (40-26) and the last place Baltimore Orioles (31-31)...

Daniel Cabrera (5-2, 3.98 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (6-4, 4.07) tonight
Garrett Olson (5-1, 3.86) vs. Bartolo Colon (3-1, 3.91) Wednesday
Jeremy Guthrie (3-6, 3.40) vs. Jon Lester (4-3, 3.50) Thursday.

Notice that 5 of the 6 scheduled starters have ERAs in the threes. The lone exception? Surprisingly, it's Josh "Baseball" Beckett. But he missed the later stages of spring training and his first two starts with a back injury, and right about now he should be ready to regain his overpowering mound stability. So watch out and bye bye, Birdies. Please be advised that because of the Celtics/Lakers games on Tuesday and Thursday nights, the Sox games on those nights will start at 6:05 pm EDT. The Sox are on the road for the duration of the NBA finals. So tonight, let's root for the Sox and that team in green...the Boston Celtics, as they take a two zip lead into the city of angels. The basketball games will be televised on ABC and ABC HD and the Red Sox games, of course, will be shown on NESN, our "always there" window to the world champions. So your plate will be full of Boston sporting events tonight, and that suits me just fine, thank you. Have a great Tuesday, stay cool if it's hot and warm if it's cold (where, where??), and as always, be well. Click on the title of this post for a full preview of the upcoming trio of games between the AL East rivals. Thanks yet again for popping in. Pop often!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Monday, Monday...An Off Day For The Red Sox After A Clutch Win Against Seattle... Boston 2 Mariners 1...And A Yankees' Loss

Looking back on Sunday afternoon at emerald-green Fenway Park, I smile. Justin Masterson, who yesterday became the FIRST PITCHER in the history of the 96 year old park to go unbeaten in his first four appearances, was great. Way to go, Justin! After losing "the feel" for his pitches in the second inning when he walked the first two men, he was saved by an over the shoulder catch in right by co-player of the game JD Drew. He settled down completely after that second frame and pitched six full innings, giving up only one run on three lonely hits. He also walked three and struck out four Seattle batters. All in all, a great history-making performance by the talented Masterson...we'll see more of him and his somewhat quirky delivery often. Here's what manager Tito Francona had to say after the game...

“I hope the story continues - we’re still fairly early into the season and I imagine every time he picks up the ball the organization’s got their chest out a little, as they should,” said manager Terry Francona after Masterson allowed just one run in six innings in a 2-1 series-sealing victory against the Mariners. “This isn’t a fluke. I mean, he might go out next time and get beat, but he knows how to pitch,” Francona said. “And he’s been prepared very well how to pitch, how to act, how to compete - it’s exciting. There’s nothing wrong with young kids helping us win, especially when they know how to act."

Peter here...glowing praise from Tito cannot do anything but help a rookie's confidence, a self-satisfaction that, for Justin, should be deeply imbedded by now. And good for him. Now, as for the offense, I have one name for you. Take a guess, I'll give you three. The second and third won't count, so I'm sure your guess was our rightfielder who is having a major comeback at the plate. He's been doing it since the first week of this 2008 season, and his name is...number 24, Dewey Evans.........wait a minute...wrong decade. I'll start again...ahem (clears throat, flexes fingers, cracking knuckles while doing so). OK, I'm back in this, the year of 2008, and of course, his name is JD Drew, and he is WHITE HOT. His leadoff home run in the sixth inning broke a one run tie and that was all that Boston needed. After Justin retired the Mariners in the sixth, the recently lights-out bullpen continued to shine. First it was Craig Hansen, who has become so dependable while lowering his sky high ERA steadily with each inning of work. Hideki Okajima followed him with a clean eighth and Jonathon Papelbon threw a five (!!) pitch ninth to earn his 18th save. Okie and Paps needed only 14 pitches to record the final three outs. It doesn't get ANY better than that, my friends!

I hope every one of you has a great Monday, an off day for the good guys from Boston. Oh, and talk about good guys! Congratulations go out to the Boston Celtics, who are now up 2 games to none against the LA Lakers. The next three contests are on the left coast, and the Celtics MUST win one of those three, preferably two. To come back to Boston with a 3-1 lead in the series would make me a very happy green fan. If they only take one in California, the series would be tied at 2, with the final two games in Boston. I refuse to even THINK about being down 2-3. So go GREEN, BEAT LA! You can get a full wrap of the games, Red Sox OR Celtics, by using the slider on the Fox Sports widget on the right side of your screen. Simply click yesterday, scroll down to the Sox game and click on it. Or, if you want to read all the details of the basketball game, just click on menu at the top left of the widget box and click on NBA while in the "yesterday" setting. The final score will materialize right in front of your eyes, and when you click on that score, all the details will be yours, thanks to Fox Sports dot com. That sports widget is a handy little gadget, and I'm so happy that I spied it over at Brittany's BoSox, a place you can visit by going to my link list, also on the righthand side of your computer screen. Thanks again, Brit! And speaking of clicking, simply click on this post's title to be linked to the Boston Globe's Red Sox homepage. Everything about Sunday afternoon at Fenway will be there for the reading. Have a tremendous Monday, and as always, BE WELL. I love ya all. Yes, I do!
SSHHH..Royals 3 Yankees 2 final...Mariano loses the game...another smile?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

JD Drew-Powered Win For Boston

Boston Red Sox rightfielder JD Drew continued his torrid hitting by knocking in BOTH Boston Red Sox runs as the world champions defeated Seattle by a score of 2-1. Justin Masterson settled in and pitched six great innings, and from there, it was the bullpen's turn to shine. And they did! AGAIN. I'll have a full wrap of the game first thing Monday are the Sox pitching lines, just for a smile! C'mon, smile!!

J Masterson
(W, 3-0) 6.0 3 1 1 3 4 2.59
C Hansen
(H, 4) 1.0 0 0 0 1 2 4.32
H Okajima
(H, 12) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 1.95
J Papelbon
(S, 18) 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 1.86

Seattle Knuckles Under To Wakefield and Boston...Red Sox 11 Mariners 3

Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield led his Boston Red Sox team to a resounding 11-3 stomping of the Seattle Mariners, and he was flat out brilliant. At one point he retired 12 Mariners in a row. He allowed five hits, but only three of them were longer than 25 feet. Wakes said he was staying back longer during his delivery, and that helps his control as his knuckleballs dart and zoom and dance THROUGH the strike zone. One of his strikeouts victims was Kenji Johjima, and the pitch was eerily reminicent of the famous "eephus" pitch, a pitch thrown so slowly it almost looks like a slo-mo instant reply. The pitch was beautifully slow and the whiff was real. Wakes went seven innings, and the bullpen polished off the west coasters. Craig Hansen continued to show a biting slider and a good fastball and breezed through the eighth. Jonathon Papelbon, summoned to pitch the ninth just to give him some work, allowed one run during a 23 pitch ninth. And then, suddenly, it was over and almost time to watch the third jewel of the Triple Crown. Big Brown ran out of gas but was unhurt, and thank goodness for that. I've had my fill of race track spills and needless suffering of the big but gentle animals.

The Boston offense was powered by home run #504 from Sir Manny and the white-hot JD Drew, who had three more hits as he continues his amazing turnaround from last year. He has taken up so much of the void created by Big Papi's wrist injury. After the game he had this to say...

"Best day? Nice day," Drew said, as casually as he would if he'd just been asked about the weather, which was a sweltering 86 degrees at game time. "I'm swinging the bat, hitting some balls hard. I don't think I've changed much. I'm not missing my pitches. I don't think I'm filling Ortiz's shoes," Drew said. "I just go out and do the things I do. Where I bat is up to Tito."

Peter here, and if JD was right here standing next to me, I'd say "thanks, you're locked in. Keep it going." Manny is another one who is locked in, as is Kevin Youkilis, who makes a habit of it. He moved from third base to first in the eighth inning and commited an error, so I guess that means that defensively, he IS human! Who'da thunk it? All in all, with 13 hits, the Red Sox offense was just fine, thank you.

It's Sunday afternoon baseball in the land of magically green Fenway Park, the home of the world champions. Masterson will face the sometimes tough Erik Bedard. Bedard usually pitches well against the Sox, but I sense a victory, I SMELL a win. Take a whiff...don't you smell it, too?? I hope I'm right, for Boston has been sizzling, winning seven of their last nine games. And this without Big Papi David Ortiz? YES...a new hero steps up each and every day. That's the sign of a deep and talented ball club, and that's a signature of this 2008 Red Sox team, the team we love to love.

Click on the title of this post to be linked to the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage, and to the two Red Sox DVD contest winners, one from Connecticut and one from our dear neighbor Canada, the sets will be in the mail tomorrow, which is Monday. My apologies for the delay, but they're worth the wait. Everyone, have a wonderful weekend and if you're in the northeast, or south, or just about anywhere, stay cool. Enjoy the game, and as always, be well. Any of your comments will be devoured just as if I was starving after a weeklong trek in the Sahara, with only water to keep me alive...barely, holding on by a thread. I will respond to them as soon as I see 'em. Thanks again, my Constant Readers (thank you SK). I don't know what I'd do without you.

P.S. I want to thank Brittany of Brittany's BoSox (link on my link list!) for steering me towards a new blog feature. Just look on the right side of your screen. The Fox Sports update widget is there now. You can use your mouse to scroll up and down through today's games using the slider on the right side of the widget, or those of yesterday and the ones scheduled for tomorrow. Or you can click on MENU and pick a major league sport. Thanks, Brittany!

Saturday, June 07, 2008


2-0 Boston after two...Manny's second inning two run home run is the difference. Manny, nice to have you back! Tim Wakefield looks like he has it going after two and a half...still 2-0. And in the top of the third, it's 2-2. I'm on way out, so I will say these two words...GO SOX! Over and out...for now. Enjoy your Saturday. The temperature shot up 22 degrees in less than an hour, WITH humidity. Ouch!

After 7 great innings from Timmy...6-2 Red Sox. He's thrown more than 106 pitches, so it will be Hansen (?) for the 8th, and then...then is NOW...on to the 8th, and Craig Hansen is pitching for that team for Boston. SHOW THEM THAT SLIDER!!! Back soon...bad start...lead-off single for Mariners..ground ball..Ichiro erased at out...count 2-0...2-1...broken bat pop to Cora..2 outs...still 6-2 Sox. YES...6-2 BOSTON after 7 1/2...who will pitch the top of the ninth...I'll let you know...I think Hansen, with a 4 run lead, should come out to try and get the last three. To be continued...the new pitcher for the eventual (?) losing team is Lowe, as the crowd chants "BEAT LA." Basketball,'s all the same for the greatest fans in the world. BOSTON FANS!

OK...Paps warming...not a save opportunity, but a possible win nevertheless. The bottom of the eighth is still going on! WOW!
BASE HIT BY JD yet again...7-2 good guys...boy, is he HOT!! Manny up...and he walks..bases loaded for the Sox...only one out...Ellsbury runs for Manny. Still 7-2 with Lowell striding to the! Still three outs to go in the ninth, but now, we're looking good.
2-1..sacks loaded...base hit..2 runs score!!!!!!!! 2 run double..9-2!!!! FANTASTIC..stay tuned.

And now, with the score clearly with the SOX, it's time to root for BIG BROWN to win the Triple Crown...and it did not happen. Thank goodness he or any horse was not hurt. Paps is in control. His team (our team) is ahead 11-2. I wish you a great Saturday night, and thank you, thank you very much.

Sad News...Jim McKay Passes...

Jim McKay, the sports voice for so many generations of sports fans all over our world, passed away today. He will be missed. Jim, thank you for everything. I'll leave you with this..

"Spanning the globe...the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat."

Today, we ALL feel defeated. Every one of us. Jim, you were SO good and you made everything SO much better while we marveled at your talent to catch our attention and HOLD IT, no matter what sporting event was lucky enough to have your voice to guide us. Thank you for that. Rest in peace, my lifelong friend.

Click on the title to learn more about this sports legend. He is exactly that...

Felix Hernandez Shuts Down Boston Red Sox Offense...Seattle 8 Boston 0

Chalk up Friday night's Boston Red Sox loss to the Seattle Mariners, an 8-0 whitewashing, to superior pitching, and that pitching was authored by Felix Hernandez, who ALWAYS pitches well at Fenway Park. Last night, he went six innings and gave up only six hits. The Mariners' bullpen took over from there and made that shutout official. Here's what he, his manager and one of his opponents had to say after the game...

“Felix stepped up and has been pretty good in Fenway Park,” Mariners manager John McLaren said.
“It was important for me, important for the team. I was trying to keep the lead,” said Hernandez, who won for the second time in as many starts after going seven starts without a win.
"He did a great job of keeping us off base, and really not letting us get anything together and when we did have something going, he made some pitches when he had to,” Casey said.

Peter here. Boston starter Bartolo Colon's performance was better than the "runs allowed" figure indicates. He went six innings and allowed six big runs, but three of them were unearned. One of those errors was his very own when, on a sure-fire double play ball, he threw it into the outfield. That was a biggie. Hey, the Sox weren't going to win this one, NO MATTER WHAT, and Bartolo was not THAT bad, so all the doom sayers out there, don't rise up as one and declare this the beginning of the end for the world's only one game. Just as Dorthy chanted "there's no place like home, there's no place like home," in THE WIZARD OF OZ, try the same thing with the words "it's only one game, it's only one game." After a couple minutes, you'll feel better, or you'll wake up. I don't know which. Please consult your doctor before trying this.

The suspensions are in and a total of seven Boston and Tampa Bay "personalities" will be sidelined for up to seven games, including Jon Lester. That's the one I do not get. If you can help me understand, please leave me a comment by clicking on "comment." Here is the penalty breakdown...Crisp received the most severe punishment, a seven-game suspension, with teammates Jon Lester getting five and Sean Casey with only three joining him. For the Rays, Shields got six games, Jonny Gomes and Edwin Jackson five, Carl Crawford four, and Akinori Iwamura three. If it was up to me, Shields would have gotten a ten game suspension. That's like missing two starts and HE threw the first punch, deftly avoided by Coco Crisp as Crisp landed a glancing counter right. And with our Big Papi out, Manny's hamstrings preventing him from playing defense and Ellsbury day-to-day, the Sox are shorthanded and lumber light. But as I've said before, it's a long season which won't be decided in ten days, when all of this (except Papi's wrist) should be resolved. Boston has to concentrate on winning TODAY. Seattle is a REAL team when they have a pitcher like Hernandez on the mound. When the Sox give them three gift runs via the error route, they're going to win. It's simple! Don't make the mistake of dismissing them just because of their record. Oh, click on the title for more juicy (well, more like depressing) details of last night's hogwashing, and to every one of you, have a safe a tremendous weekend. And remember, BE WELL. Always and forever.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Oh, what an eventful night at Fenway Park in Boston Thursday night. The bad blood between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox spilled over into a violent confrontation between the two rivals near the beginning of what would be a Red Sox victory and sweep. Coco Crisp was hit by Rays pitcher James Shields, who is a complete a**hole, and he promptly charged the mound, setting off an ugly brawl in which somebody could have gotten really hurt. Shields said he was just protecting his team by hitting Coco in the leg, an obvious retaliation from the night before. Crisp had this to say...

"People were scratching like we're little girls, trying to scratch out my eyes," said Crisp, sporting several scratches around his eyes. "People were trying to pull my hair like little girls instead of punches. The fight is pretty much over, baseballwise. You want to come in late and get your little blows in, that's cool. It's all good, try to pull some hair.
"I'm not angry at anybody. There were some cheap shots in there. I'm down at the bottom, so I'm expecting something. Crawford sliding in, that was a little...I don't know."

Peter here. And what Coco meant was NOT a compliment to Crawford. It was ugly to watch on TV. For too long, Coco was the only Sox player out there, down at the bottom of a pile of kicking, punching and furious Tampa Bay guys. But then the benches and bullpens emptied and all hell broke loose. Hell in the heavenly Fenway Park. I'm just glad no one was hurt, but I didn't have to wait long for THAT to happen.

It was in the top of the fourth when Jacoby Ellsbury, who was moved to center to take the place of the ejected Crisp, ranged to his left to make a beautiful shoestring catch of a fly ball, but in doing so his wrist was bent backwards to an unnatural degree. It was painful to watch, but thank goodness, XRAYs were negative and he is listed as "day-to-day." But the theatrics weren't over yet...not by a long shot. We move to the bottom of that inning, mere seconds after Manny stroked a two-run single for his fourth and fifth runs batted in. He and Youk, for SOME UNKNOWN REASON, had a heated exchange in the Sox dugout. They had to be restrained by teammates. Multiple players were needed to hold back the enraged Ramirez. I know that emotions were running high and Youk might have said something to Manny that would usually NOT set him off, but he was definitely pissed. I hope all is well and the danders that were fluffed and flying high are now smooth and unruffled. This is exactly what Boston does NOT need, and it's a sure bet that Coco will serve some kind of suspension, as will a few Rays.

All this overshadowed a wonderful performance by Jon Lester, whose record moved to 4-3 after his 6 1/3 inning one run outing. He was great, just the way we need him for the rest of the year (fingers crossed). The bullpen's Timlin (1 2/3 inn.) and the dependable Aardsma (1 inn.) were impeccable, and the good guys completed their sweep of the upstart and still mad Rays. I say this..."F" them. Maybe that should have been the title of this post, but I write for Red Sox fans of ALL ages, so I watch what I say. I said all "those" words while watching the game last night, anyways.

Click on the title for the Boston Herald Red Sox homepage. You'll find all the good and bad details of the wild and crazy Thursday night at that misty, somewhat familiar place we call.......the Twilight Zone...err, Fenway Park. BE WELL, and Jacoby, we NEED you. Heal. Thanks, my Constant Readers, and have a great Friday. If you live in the northeast, get ready for a heat wave!