June 2009

Taking a Leave of Absence.

Hello friends, I just wanted to take the time to let you know that I will be unable to blog productively for three weeks. Normally it takes me a good two hours to write a good one, and I’ll barely have time. 

This leave of absence is not because I failed a drug test. I actually had my yearly physical this past week, and I am all healthy. No Performance Enhancing Drugs over here. Manny and A-Rod, on the other hand, were not as lucky. 
The reason behind this leave of absence is due to a summer program that I have attended the past three years: The Great Books Summer Program. I will be out at Stanford University reading some of the greatest, most obscure literature that one can imagine. I have attended the program at both Stanford University and Amherst college, and it has been a significant part of my life ever since I attended. Even though it is only for a short time period, I consider the friends I have made there to be some of my best friends. 
This program has always served as a huge inspiration for me. The people who work there are all genuinely kind human beings who tell me that if I’m going to dream at all, I need to dream big. My counselor last year, Kyle LeBell (who is going to Israel this summer to become a rabbi) told me that “I should get lost so I can find myself”. 
When I’m out there in Stanford, it’s like I’m in my own little bubble– separated from the outside world for three, glorious weeks. I pretty much experience a catharsis that renders me overly skeptical and miserable upon my return. My home away from home: 
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I am actually separated from my baseball bubble whilst in this summer bubble. I do not have access to a computer for a good three hours to watch a baseball game. While my father is able to send me some updates, it still is not the same. 
That means I won’t be seeing Jacoby’s out-of-this-world catches. No Pedroia scampering around the infield and hitting balls that are anywhere over the plate. No ‘Papi’ chants after he hits a home run. No Youuuuuuukilis/Drew back-to-back hits. No Jason Bay clutch, clutch, CLUTH hitting. No Jason Varitek wisdom. No double-taking at Mike Lowell’s plays at third base. I won’t be able to laugh/curse Nick Green at the same time for his base running skills, and I won’t be able to cringe when Julio Lugo gets a ground ball. I will probably miss Jed Lowrie’s return, as well as Jerry Remy’s. I will miss Eck’s language, and I will miss John Smoltz’s start. I need to stop this list. 
I regret not being able to get up my Yankees vs Red Sox blog in time too. I’ll just give you some highlights. 
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I was able to go on a tour of Fenway Park thanks to some very kind people. I was on the field during batting practice, and I was ridiculously close to the Yankees as they started warming up. 
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Can you imagine the thoughts running through my mind as people like Johnny Damon and Alex Rodriguez were within arms reach? Jail time doesn’t look too good on a resume though. 
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I met a couple of reporters, I’m sure you know who they are. They were very kind. 
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I went back up to the Green Monster, the view was breathtaking, as usual (and by usual, I mean the second time) 
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I got a picture with the metaphorical Fisk pole, and a picture of the actual Fisk pole. 
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I was a kid in a candy store walking through the Red Sox Hall of Fame. I especially loved the ‘Greatest Moments’ section. 
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I also saw the view from right field, and the new section that was added (under the Cumberland Farms sign). 
The game itself was glorious, but the weather wasn’t as cooperative. Luckily, a rain delay never ensued. I was soaked to the bone, and so was all my stuff, but you guys know me during rain delays. 
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I played with some of the modes on my camera, and I took some pretty cool pictures. The people behind me actually asked if I was a reporter. I told them I was up and coming. 
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Seeing a game live is always a treat for me, to say the least. What was even more of a treat was Big Papi’s home run! Manny Delcarmen didn’t help our cause too much, and I feared I would be seeing a loss. But the offense came through, and treated me to a win. 
I wish you all a nice three and a half weeks, and you can keep up with me on Twitter. I figured out I can send texts, so I’ll let you all know what I’m doing. 

Interview from the Press Box; Amateur Scouting

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Continuing the tales of my baseball journey, Tuesday night was packed with even more adventures. The offensively slumping PawSox were finishing a series against the Durham Bulls (the AAA team for the Rays, as Michael told me). Mr. Steve Hyder was kind enough to meet with me that night, but this time, it wasn’t in an office. 

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I was invited to go up into the Press Box for the interview, which made me practically overflow with excitement. While I didn’t spend the entire game up there, it was a nice taste of what to expect for the future. Not that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the seats that Mr. Hyder provided us with: once again, they were right behind home plate, and sitting there on the night that my resurfacing project, Clay Buchholz, is pitching is quite the treat. 
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Mr. Hyder is also a radio broadcaster for the PawSox, and just to remind you, he and Mr. Hoard are partners. Hyder is actually a Rhode Island native, so as you can imagine, he grew up as a Red Sox fan. I don’t have his exact words written down because a) I can’t write that fast and b) my handwriting is hideous. 
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1. Did you always know that you wanted to be a sports broadcaster? 

Hyder said that he actually got started a bit late, he didn’t always know that he wanted to do it. He actually received a bit of help from his partner, while he was down at Syracuse. 
2. What or who was your inspiration? 

His answer to this question was actually one of my favorites. He said that he was inspired by the movie ‘Field of Dreams’. The first time I ever saw that movie, it really moved me. That is the movie to use if you want to get your friends into baseball. The problem is, when I suggest it, none of them want to watch a movie about baseball. It is easy for me to see how that would inspire him to go into broadcasting. 
3. Growing up as a fan of the Red Sox, did you like and/or follow the Paw Sox? 
Hyder explained to me that it was different when he was growing up. No one really followed the prospects the way that they do today. I don’t know if people follow it the way that I do, but as he was explaining this to me, I could see that today, there is more of an emphasis on how they will impact the future. 
4. You must have witnessed a bunch of great moments growing up as a Sox fan. If you could broadcast one moment in Red Sox history, or baseball history, which would you pick? If you could interview anyone, who would it be? 

Hyder’s favorite player growing up was Carlton Fisk, so I’m sure you can imagine how excited he was during the 1975 World Series. He said that if he could interview anyone, that it would be Babe Ruth. That took me by surprise at first, considering the impact that Babe Ruth has had on Red Sox history. As he went on, it became more clear to me why he chose Ruth: Hyder said that he was an American icon, one of the most famous Americans in history, and that he would love to spend a couple of days just chatting with him. 
As I mature as a baseball fan, this isn’t as shocking. I know that if I want to work for MLB, I have to reduce my animosity towards the Yankees, and regard them with respect. Ever since I started this blog, this has happened, and now I am able to talk to fans of any team and have intelligent conversations, rather than the traditional “You Suck” type of conversations. 
5. What makes the Paw Sox unique from other minor league organizations? 

I asked this question because it seems that whenever players come up from our minor league system, it doesn’t take them long to adjust to the Major League level. It seems that there is an extra element in this organization, but it’s hard for anybody to put their finger on it. 
Both Hyder and Hoard admitted that they had no idea that Pedroia was going to be the MVP, and Hyder said that he could see that Youkilis would be a solid player, but he didn’t see him being what he is today. Although Hyder couldn’t put a finger on exactly what this extra element was, he said that a lot of other teams are modeling their systems after ours, which says something is special about the Paw Sox. 
6. Which PawSox players do you think will have a significant impact in the future and in which ways? 

Like Hoard, he could also see the potential in people like Bowden and Buchholz, as well as people like Bailey and Carter. However, sometimes there isn’t always a spot for guys even if they do have the potential. 
7. Do you ever make it down to Spring Training. What makes it special, how is it different? 

I absolutely loved his response to this one too, because he was actually able to relate it to something that I am very familiar with. He said that Spring Training is great because it’s like the first day back at school: you’re seeing everyone again, and there’s so much excitement for what this year could bring. 
8. Do you have any advice for an aspiring sportswriter or broadcaster? 

Like I mentioned earlier, Hyder actually got some help from Hoard to get into the industry, so he gave me the same advice that Hoard gave him: do absolutely everything you can to get in. 
Buchholz Breakdown
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It’s one thing to look at his record in the minors and say, “Wow, he’s doing so well this year, why don’t we bring him up?”. It’s another thing to watch his interview and either accuse him of wanting to be traded, or like Terry Francona, praise him for wanting to be in the big leagues. 
I’m not doing either of those things here. I was fortunate enough to see him pitch on Tuesday night in some ridiculously cold weather. Luckily, I had my new, oversized Paw Sox sweatshirt. 
While I am no scout, I think I have a pretty good knack for picking projects, and seeing the potential that each player has. I’d like to call myself an amateur scout. 
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The night before, I actually talked to some scouts. They were really nice, one of the guys had actually been doing it for 22 years. What they do is they get different Minor League assignments (to go see teams) and then they see five straight games. I was telling them how I love going to Spring Training and about my prospects/projects and what not, and they actually asked me who I liked. I told them who to watch out for. 
Anyway, if you looked at the box score of that game, you’d see that Buchholz had given up one run over six innings. Not bad, right? He exited to a lot of cheers, but probably not quite the standing ovation that Smoltz got last night for giving up one run over four innings. 
Still though, I wasn’t all that satisfied with Clay’s outing because I noticed some little things. If he can work on these things and fix them up, then he is going to be an absolute monster. 
The fact that he walked the first batter only bothered me a little bit because he started off throwing two beautiful strikes, and then got himself behind in the count. He was getting behind in counts throughout the night, and occasionally he would miss his spots. 
While this could have been blamed on the cold weather conditions, I don’t want to make up excuses for him, and I’m sure he doesn’t either. I noticed something a bit more concerning to me though, something that hurt him last year as well. 
He gets very frustrated after mistakes. I could see the frown plastered on his face after the home run he gave up. It is all mental with him. I think that he needs to learn to shake off his mistakes. Ramon Ramirez is a great example of that. That one outing of his when he gave up two home runs, his expression didn’t change. 
I said this with Lester, and I’ll say this with Buchholz too because they are both young pitchers. Buchholz needs to ignore the expectations that everyone has for him. The “he’s going to be so great” and “he is the future” expectations. He can’t get ahead of himself, he needs to focus on pitch by pitch, at-bt by at-bat, inning by inning. 
He just needs to be confident with himself too. He gave up a home run but so what? He can still have a nice outing. I said this about Josh Reddick when I first saw him in Spring Training. I was talking about hitting confidence, but regardless, after I said that he really picked up. I have no doubt that Buchholz has the potential to be part of our future, but he just has to focus on the game. 
I talked to Bowden about the mental aspect of the game as well. He says that he always tries to block everything out. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not– especially when he’s in the small ballpark and there’s the one, annoying, obnoxious fan. He said he never changes his stuff when he gets called up. I also asked him if there was a difference pitching against the White Sox and pitching against the Yankees. He said that the atmosphere was different because of the crazy rivalry when he was pitching against the Yankees, but other than that, he uses the same approach. 
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I also wanted to talk about Aaron Bates a little bit. He was just recently called up from AA-Portland, but he didn’t get a hit in either of the nights I was there. That obviously does not mean that we send him back down though. I think that there is an adjustment period with every level, and even Bowden said this (I swear I learned so much from this guy… more than I did in chemistry all year). Bates looks AAA material: he’s big, and he has a nice swing and makes good contact. The problem is that he still has that AA eye. My best friend, Marissa, has decided to make him her project. 
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I noticed something very interesting about Dusty Brown (from downtown of great renown…). He reminds me of Jason Varitek because of his great sense of surroundings. Varitek always knows where the play is, and I can notice that with Brown as well. I think that is one of the most important things with a catcher. 

My Perspective, A Broadcaster’s Perspective, and a Project’s Perspective

They say that all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, that tends to happen a bit too often to me over the summer. My stay in Boston has come to an end, but the one bright spot is that I finally get to share some of my baseball adventures with you. 

I had quite a lot of adventures this time around in Boston, and the vast majority of them were related to baseball. I’ll give you a quick summary of what I did over the week, but I have two things that I want to focus on tonight. 
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I had the opportunity to meet Dan Hoard, the radio broadcaster for the Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple AAA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox in case you were wondering). He was kind enough to let me interview him. 
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At that same game, I spent the entire time talking to one of my projects, Michael Bowden. He is a huge prospect in the Red Sox organization. He pitched last year against the White Sox and he pitched this year against the Yankees: the game that Jacoby Ellsbury stole home. It was a once  in a lifetime opportunity to hear his perspective on baseball. 
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The next night, Steve Hyder, the radio broadcaster for the PawSox (he and Mr. Hoard are partners) let me interview him in the press box! He was a Rhode Island native, so of course he grew up a fan of the Red Sox. More on that tomorrow. 
On Wednesday, I met one of our fellow MLBloggers, Julia. I can’t put a picture of her up though– this was all explained to me. We went to the famous Bleacher Bar at Fenway Park (don’t worry, it’s a restaurant), and I went through “Boston initiation” (more on that later). 
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For those of you who tuned in to the Yankees vs Red Sox game on Thursday night, you know that it was not only the most exciting game of the series, but of the year as well. It rained all night long, which made the temperature even colder. By the end of the night I could see my breath, and I was only in a light, black cardigan. I wasn’t going to move though. 
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Leaving my favorite city is never an easy task, but the situation was lightened thanks to Jerry Remy’s restaurant. There was a bit of a problem with the dining situation though, and I thought I could bring it to the attention of baseball fans everywhere. 
My Perspective
In June 2008, Rem-Dawg’s Nation voted on their “All-Time Nine”: the nine best position players in Red Sox history. Some of them are fairly obvious, others get into some ‘dirty water’ (this has a negative connotation though), and one of them is just a disgrace. 
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I’ll begin with the recipient of the third base honor: Wade Boggs. Just looking at numbers, Boggs deserves to be on this wall. Yet his baseball career had a little bit of scandal, and he pulled what I like to call a ‘Johnny Damon’ (even though Johnny Damon was just a kid when Boggs was playing). I think that Mike Lowell is a definite runner up for this category considering that he embodies what baseball is all about and the fact that he has the best fielding percentage of third basemen in history. Not to mention he was the MVP of the ’07 World Series. Anyway, my argument for Boggs would be that he really is the best of all time even if he did pull a Johnny Damon. Johnny Damon wouldn’t even come close in the voting not because of the amount of hearts he broke in New England, but because he isn’t even comparable with Fred Lynn. 
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The other man that stumbled into a bit of dirty water when I was looking at the recipients was Nomar Garciaparra. Sure Nomar was a “plague” in the clubhouse and his departure has seemingly cursed the subsequent shortstops, but his numbers from 1997-2000 are unbelievable. Nobody gets the MVP and the Rookie of the Year award in one season. The only other Red Sox shortstop that is even comparable is Johnny Pesky. 
The disgrace is Manny Ramirez. His name has become synonymous with “disgrace” and “bum” ever since his rude departure almost a year ago. I don’t need to go into detail with him. We all know the disrespectful words he has issued towards the Red Sox organization, and the reasons behind his temporary ban. Granted, there is no denying the fact that he is probably the most impressive hitter since Ted Williams, but I would be willing to bet that many Red Sox fans have changed their mind about who they want representing their “All-Time 9″ players. 
The other two fielders were, quite sensibly, Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski. The only problem I have with this is that they are both left fielders. If we are to represent our “All-Time 9″ properly, than shouldn’t we represent each position? I know that in the All-Star voting that it is just classified as “outfielders”, but I still think that we should represent our best center fielder of all-time: Fred Lynn, and our best right fielder of all-time: Dwight Evans. What do you think? 
Broadcaster’s Perspective
Dan Hoard grew up as a fan of the New York Mets, which was appropriate because he grew up in New York. He is currently the radio broadcaster for the Pawtucket Red Sox, but his professional goal is to broadcast Major League Baseball. He has experience doing that, as he has also worked with the Reds, and he has called games for the Mets,
and Blue Jays. I wasn’t able to write down everything that he said, but I do have a fairly good memory. 
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1. When did you realize that sports broadcasting was something you were interested in pursuing? What/who was your motivation? 

Mr. Hoard said that he knew since the very beginning that he wanted to be a sports broadcaster. His favorite broadcaster wasn’t even who many consider to be baseball’s greatest voice, Vin Scully, he enjoyed listening to a Buffalo, NY sports broadcaster. 
2. How does broadcasting in the minors differ from broadcasting in the majors? 

Hoard responded, “Everything is bigger in the majors”, which may seemed obvious at first, but with that there are a few other things that we may not notice. The fact that there is not a huge spotlight on minor league baseball contributes to what he followed up with, “It’s easier to get to know the players”. I can actually notice this myself in Spring Training because it’s the minor league players who may come over for a chat, not the big name major league players. 
3. You grew up in New York, and you’ve worked with a few different teams. Do you have a preference for any teams? 

He said that growing up in New York, he was a Mets fan: “as obsessed with the Mets as [I] seem to be with the Red Sox”. He thought that he could never change his favorite team. But when he worked for the Reds he started rooting for them, and now that he’s with the Red Sox organization, he half roots for the Reds, half for the Red Sox and doesn’t even keep up with the Mets anymore. It is hard for me to imagine changing my favorite team considering my current level of admiration for them. 
4. Which players do you think are going to be a significant part of the Red Sox in the future, and in what ways? 

Hoard said that he can see Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden contributing to the starting pitching staff, and he said that guys like Jeff Bailey or Chris Carter could also have a significant impact. 
5. You are also a football broadcaster (and basketball) which do you prefer broadcasting, and why? 

He responded with baseball, and I loved his reasoning behind it. He talked about how in basketball and football, broadcasters follow the ball for their commentary. In baseball, it’s an entirely different scene. Once a play resulting in an out is made, it could be several minutes before the next one is made. So what do you do during that time, during the many times in which there is a pause in action? You fill it up with the history of the game, statistics, etc. 
6. As a fan of the Reds, what do you think about Pete Rose and his inability to get into the Hall of Fame, and what are your opinions on the players of the steroids era getting into the Hall of Fame? 

I really liked what Mr. Hoard had to say about this issue, and it was great hearing this opinion from a broadcaster. He basically supports the asterisk method for both situations. While I am really adamant about players who have used steroids not being allowed into the Hall, their numbers are worthy of getting in to the Hall of Fame. Every era has it’s mark, and every era needs to be remembered. 
7. What advice could you give to an aspiring sportswriter/broadcaster? 

“Do everything you can to get in” was his main response. Whether it be sweeping the floors at the local radio station, or working for free somewhere else, it gets your name out. He told me to join my school newspaper and write about the school baseball team (they all hate the Red Sox, by the way). 
Mr. Hoard was also kind enough to give us seats– right behind home plate! I even talked to some scouts before the game. Not only was I able to have a different perspective for myself on the game, I was able to hear someone else’s perspective on the game. 
Project’s Perspective
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For those of you who don’t know him, Michael Bowden is the highest ranked pitching prospect in the Red Sox organization, and a project of mine. Most of you who read this blog know about my projects and how special they are to me. So you must be able to imagine what it was like to spend an entire baseball game talking to one of my projects. The night after you pitch in Pawtucket, you have to do the radar gun and score the game the next day.
Bowden, or “Bowdie-Miller” as Jacoby Ellsbury calls him is a Chicago native who always knew that he wanted to be a baseball player. In fact, he wrote about it when he was in third grade. His family was always supportive of him, and he had a pretty cool draft party. He threw a perfect game in high school, and struck out 19 of 21 in the process. I didn’t do a formal interview with him, so it was more of a mutually engaging conversation. 
I learned so much about pitching from him, it made me see a lot of things differently. For example, I never realized how important that guy on first base can be to a pitcher. It’s almost “half the game” for Bowden. If that guy gets to second, it eliminates the opportunity of the double play, and it puts the runner into scoring position. I never would have imagined that could be so important. 
He also told me that Angel Chavez has the “best glove that [he has] ever seen”. That’s a pretty strong statement, especially coming from a guy that has been around baseball his whole life. He said that he feels really comfortable when he has Chavez at third and Gil Velazquez at shortstop. A strong defense always helps a pitcher relax. 
I had always wanted to know if the catcher makes a difference, and according to Michael, it does. It’s a matter of comfort for them. He loves throwing to Jason Varitek because not only is he a great def
ender, he is so knowledgeable and intelligent. All of us in Red Sox Nation should breathe a sigh of relief that Jason Varitek was re-signed not only because of his abilities, but because of what could have been lost. Had he not signed, Theo Epstein would have been in the market for a catcher. Who would we have traded? Probably our biggest prospects: Bowden and Buchholz. That could have been a big mistake. 
As I was telling him about my dreams to become a sportswriter/broadcaster, I also happened to mention that I can’t tell the difference between a breaking ball, a changeup, and a slider for the life of me. He suggested that I learn the difference if I want to go into broadcasting. 
I asked him if I tried to emulate the style of any pitchers, and he said ‘no’ right away. He has his own style, and quite the arsenal of pitches as well. He said that sometimes younger pitchers try to copy a style, but that goes away quickly. He doesn’t have a Papelbon stare either, and he doesn’t even have a song to enter to yet. 
He doesn’t know this yet, but I am resolved to find a song for him. He told me that he wants to learn how to play the piano, so if he ever does, I think his song should be Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’. 
Bowden also told me that his record, as well as his teammates, is not always indicative of how he is actually pitching. Offensively, the PawSox have struggled a lot this season, so Bowden has been getting a slim amount of run support. Some of his losses should have been wins (he can tell you the exact game too) and he’s had a few no decisions too. 
I could tell just by talking to Bowden how much he loves the game and how much he loves playing in the Red Sox organization. When I asked him if it was his dream to pitch in October baseball, he looked at me like I was crazy. He loves playing with a team that will give him this opportunity. He cannot wait to come back to Fenway, and I hope that it is sooner rather than later, and I hope that he plays in the “Futures at Fenway” game. 
At the end of the night, we both wished each other luck. I’d like to think that we both have a future in the Red Sox organization. I know for a fact he does. 

Shipping Up to Boston

The song that signals Jonathan Papelbon’s entrance into a game at Fenway Park can also be applied to what I did the other day. I did not fly up to Boston like I normally do. Nor did I literally “ship” up to Boston (though I thinkthat we all wish that we were ‘on a boat’). In fact, I drove up to Boston.

Anyone who is remotely familiar with a map of the continental United States can tell you that it is not a short drive. We trekked through some serious torrential downpours. I’m pretty sure that the storms came down form DC and Atlanta. I only say that because I know that those games were delayed Thursday night because of rain. We basically spent 28 straight hours in the car making stops for food, and rest stops to take a quick nap.

As far as the agenda goes for the week, I’m pretty excited. On Monday and Tuesday, I will be going down to Pawtuket to see some PawSox games. The thing is, I won’t just be getting there two hours early for autographs this time. I’ll be getting two hours early because Dan Hoard and Steve Hyder, a radio broadcaster and a beat writer for the PawSox, have agreed to let me interview them. I look forward to interviewing them about their careers as well as what they see as far as the future goes.

I think a lot of people disregard minor league baseball because it is seemingly insignificant and it is full of raw, not-yet-perfected talent.. Admittedly, I used to be that way too. But once you go to a few Spring Training games, and you see the kind of work these guys do, and the mentality that they approach the game with, you really being to appreciate that aspect of the game.

Plus, as you watch it, you have to realize that you might be looking at the next Josh Beckett, the next Jonathan Papelbon or the next Dustin Pedroia. Maybe it’s just because I’m the “future blog of the Red Sox” that I’m interested in the “future of the Red Sox” because I want to know who I’ll be writing about (hopefully), but I think that these guys are the real deal.

So even though the Sox cooled down a bit during the middle of May and towards the end, they are begining to turn it around thanks to Terry Francona’s brilliance when it comes to the everyday lineup. Plus the fact that the starting rotation is starting to come together.

Slowly but surely, Big Papi is starting to come out of his funk. I think that the most impressive part of this entire situation is the perpetual support that he is receiving from Red Sox fans. I know that there is a lot of “underground” criticism, which there should be, but every time he comes up to the plate, I hear cheers. Only in Boston. When Mark Teixeira got off to his terrible start in April, he was getting booed in New York.

It’s not like Boston is the paragon of mercy though. I hear vicious complaints about Julio Lugo everyday. So why aren’t fans becoming hostile towards Papi? Personally, I think it’s because we can never forget what he did for us in 2004. If it wasn’t for him, I honestly believe that we would not have broken the curse. His formidable bat, and his clutch hitting was such an essential part. We cannot just abandon our love for him after what he did for urs.

Anyway, I’m starting to like this lineup. It’s weird not seeing Ellsbury at the top because he seems like the prototypical leadoff guy: consistent bat, speed, run scorer. The problem was the lack of that at the bottom of the order, which was why we weren’t scoring runs. And while I’m generally a supporter of the Youkilis-Drew punch, I enjoy Bay hitting in the four hole.

I’ve talked about Bay being Mr. Dependable and the new Mr. Clutch-Hitter, but it’s not like he just came out of no where. His numbers were quite comparable during his Pittsburgh years, it’s just that Pittsburgh doesn’t get the kind of media attention that it deserves. I know that they just aren’t that good, and that they just traded away Nate McLouth, but they deserve attention. They’ve got that young, raw talent that I like. Maybe I’ll start calling it future talent.

I am also thrilled that Josh Beckett and Jon Lester are starting to have consistently solid outings. They both flirted with no-hitters quite recently (in fact, Lester was flirting with a perfect game). I’m done with flirting though, it’s time to court that perfect game! Lester’s ERA and record is not truly indicative of how his year has been, though. Like I’ve said, it’s just been that one annoying inning that has ruined the first part of his season.

Recently, Lester has been having the kind of outings that everyone said that he was going to have. I think our little talk really paid off: he is concentrating on making each and every pitch. And have you seen the number of strikeouts that he has been racking up? 12 K’s in 6 innings and then 11 in 7 I believe was the last one. And Josh Beckett has just been dominant his past few starts. It is all coming together now. All we have to do is get Dice-K away from these mediocre outings. I have no complaints about Wakefield– only praise for his durability. As for Brad Penny, what can I say? The guy has a winning record. I don’t like him very much because I think he only has decent outings, if that, and he just gets very lucky with the run support.

I think that covers what I haven’t been covering as often, and I am sorry for my lack of presence. I think you’ll like the next few entries though. My friend will be guest blogging and writing a “Top Ten Reasons Never to Watch or Go To a Baseball Game with Elizabeth’. I will also be blogging about the PawSox game and the Yankee vs Red Sox game I will be attending on Thursday night.

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