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Monday, September 30, 2013

Red Sox @ Orioles September 28, 2013

If you ever get the chance to go to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, DO IT!  Baltimore was not only beautiful (the gorgeous 72 degree weather also helped), but there seemed to be a lot to do around the ballpark.  Even though the Red Sox lost Saturday night when we were at the game, the experience was spectacular.  I'm really hoping to go back for a series next season.

When we arrived in Baltimore, we had about 5 hours before the game, and we thought we'd check out the Inner Harbor.  If you do go to a game in Baltimore, here's a tip: PARK AT THE STADIUM!  We were able to park our car for $10 five hours before the game started and walk about 1/2 a mile to the Inner Harbor.  Otherwise, the parking garages around the Inner Harbor were about $13 an hour.

After parking the car, we walked around the ballpark for a little bit.  There's a sort of atmosphere surrounding that park that reminds me of Fenway.  There were tons of people there hours before the game, and there were bars, shops, food, etc. open and buzzing.  People are able to view batting practice from outside the stands (there's a gate, but you can see everything as the ballpark is set down from street level).  While the street is open before the game, they do shut it down when admission is let in (much like Yawkey Way during Red Sox games).

There are plaques on this street area of balls that have "left the park" and landed on this street.  I took pictures of a few of these plaques.  I really enjoyed the fact that the Orioles honored all baseball players who hit the ball out of the ballpark, not just Orioles players.

We had a couple drinks and an appetizer when we got to the Inner Harbor, which was beautiful.  There were tons of shopping, attractions, restaurants, and people at the Inner Harbor.  We went to J Paul's Dining Saloon, which overlooked the water.  I had an "Oriole Magic" cocktail (when in Rome), which was delicious!

Word of advice, they shoot a canon off a replica ship at noon, between 3-4, and 6-7 every day.  We were not expecting that!

Before we went into the park, we had a couple drinks at a tavern across the street.  There, we had a conversation with an older gentleman who was from Virginia and was a Red Sox fan.  I think Cole and I talked to him for about an hour, and he was great company.  We also ran into a Iowa Hawkeyes fan (he was wearing a Hawks shirt) who informed us the Hawkeyes game was on the television inside the tavern.

The game was great too.  The seating reminded me of Target Field, as I didn't see any seats that would have a bad view.  A friend of mine worked grounds crew for Oriole Park a few years ago, and he told me how wonderful the stadium is, I agree.  The Red Sox put up a good showing for a 6-5 loss, but the experience was wonderful.  Check out the pictures I took below:

David Ortiz Plaque
Mo Vaughn plaque
View of Inner Harbor from J Paul's Dining Saloon
These shirts shocked me!  Really?  Crawford and Okajima?!
View of the field from our seats
Pedroia before the game started
Me and Cole before the game
Wearing my #GetBeard shirt in honor of my brother, Jacob, and his fight against Leukemia
First batter, Shane Victorino
Lester pitching
Pedroia at Second Base and Lester pitching
Middlebrooks at Third Base, Drew at Shortstop, and Pedroia at Second Base

Friday, September 27, 2013

Twitter Friday

This is the last Twitter Friday of the regular season.  It's been a great season for the Red Sox, having overcome such an embarrassing season 2012 and the horrendous finish of 2011.  Before the beginning of this season, the Red Sox went out and got the manager they desired (Farrell) and filled the roster with a mixture of established Red Sox players and new, veteran players with great reputations.  Some players worked out better than others; but overall, this team was constructed for success.

As I look back at this season, I think everyone can agree that it would be almost impossible to predict this Red Sox team succeeding in the way they did.  Not only is this team a winning team, they did it with flair and grace, something that's been missing the last few years in Boston.  This team is fun to watch, and I was lucky enough to watch them play live a few times this season.

Tomorrow, I will attend the Red Sox- Orioles game in Baltimore, which I'm pretty excited to do.  I've never been to Baltimore, but I do have a friend who has worked for the grounds crew at Oriole Park at Camden Yards a few years ago.  The park looks beautiful, and I love experiencing new baseball parks. Next Saturday, I will be going to the ALDS game at Fenway Park, and I'm more than psyched about that.

I was able to purchase a #GetBeard shirt, and I will be wearing it this weekend.  The #GetBeard slogan means more to me than just Red Sox, however.  Last week, my brother was diagnosed with leukemia; and to support him, my family decided to grow beards.  Obviously, I can't grow a beard, so I thought I would get the #GetBeard shirt in honor of him.  Luckily, the doctor caught the leukemia early, and my brother shouldn't have to go through chemotherapy, radiation, or a bone marrow transplant.  In fact, he should be able to live a normal life with the addition of taking a couple pills a day.

With all that said, sit back and enjoy the last Twitter Friday of the season.  Make sure to check back Monday for my post about the Red Sox- Orioles game and information regarding the postseason.  

I apologize for the unorthodox look of the blog today.  I had all the Tweets loaded from my iPad, and originally posted this at a coffee shop this afternoon.  Evidently, after I did an update on my iPad, properties changed and people were unable to view the tweets.


This week's Tweet of the Week is an inspirational one (at least for me):

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Predicting the ALDS Rotation

American League Division Series tickets for the Red Sox went on sale yesterday at noon.  I am pleased to announce that I will be attending Game 2 of the ALDS.  This is a huge deal for me, since when I lived in Iowa, attending a Red Sox playoff game was never really an option.

The Red Sox will start the division at home, and it has not been announced who they will be playing.  Depending on how the records wind up on Sunday, the Red Sox will either be playing the A's, Tigers, or one of the Wild Card teams.  More than likely, it appears the Red Sox will be playing the Tigers or a Wild Card team, as the A's are only a game back for the best record in the American League.

There are now four games left for the season.  The Red Sox's record is at 95-63.  While winning 100 games is out of the question now, having the best record in the American League is still very doable (as mentioned, the Sox are currently a game up on the A's).  The Red Sox also currently have the best record in the Major's, a huge improvement from last year's 69-93 season.

The playoffs officially start Tuesday, October 1st with the National League Wild Card game, and the American League Wild Card game will follow on Wednesday, October 2nd.  The Wild Card game is new this season, as two wild card teams per division will battle in a one-game playoff to find out who continues.  The NLDS will begin Thursday, October 3rd, and the ALDS will begin Friday, October 4th.

There's been some speculation about who the Red Sox will go with for their rotation in the ALDS.  I think it's pretty safe to say that Lester will be the Game 1 starter.  Lester is 15-8 with a 3.67 ERA; his last start, Friday, not only clinched the AL East for the Sox, it was also his 100th career win.  Lester's ERA was as high as 4.60 on July 8th, but it has steadily been been declining.  In 13 games at home this season, Lester has a 3.09 ERA, compared to a 4.09 ERA in 19 away starts.

Personally, I'd rather see Lackey go Game 2.  Lackey's been probably the most consistent throughout the season.  His season ERA is 3.52, which is remarkable considering he didn't pitch last season while recovering from surgery.  I would pitch Lackey Game 2 because his home numbers (13 games, 2.47 ERA, 1.033 WHIP) are so much better than his away numbers (16 games, 4.48 ERA, 1.271 WHIP).

Game 3 will be away and played on Monday.  The choice for starter for this game could be interesting, as it could go to either Buchholz or Peavy.  I think a lot will depend on how well Buchholz and Peavy pitch their last starts.  Peavy pitches tonight against the Rockies, and Buchholz will pitch Friday against the Orioles. 

Buchholz, though injured for 2 months, has been phenomenal this season.  In 15 starts, he has a 11-1 record, a 1.60 ERA, and 1.026 WHIP.  Buchholz's last start, against the Blue Jays, wasn't as impressive as previous starts (6.0 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 106 pitch count), but he's been dominant most of the season.

Peavy has been consistent while on the Red Sox.  Since coming from the White Sox, Peavy has a 3.68 ERA and a 1.074 WHIP.  His home stats (7-0 record, 2.73 ERA, 0.973 WHIP) are considerably better than his away stats (4-5 record, 5.09 ERA, 1.224 WHIP).  Despite this, Peavy isn't the "Ace" of this team or has only been with the team for the past 3 months.

Choosing the Game 3 starter is important, as this pitcher could potentially clinch the ALCS birth for the Red Sox.  I'm going to say that it'll be Buchholz, and Farrell will bring Peavy out for Game 4 on Tuesday.  Essentially, the Game 3 and Game 4 starters will have the same job- get the job done away from Fenway Park.

Make sure to check back this Friday for Twitter Friday.  Next week, I'll have more about my trip to Baltimore on Saturday and discussions about the playoffs. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Red Sox Are AL East Champtions

Friday night, the Red Sox clinched the AL East Division Title with a 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.  It was fitting that the Red Sox clinched against the Blue Jays, as the Blue Jays fans and media were ruthless to current Red Sox manager (and former Blue Jays manager), John Farrell, whenever the Sox were in Toronto.  Also, Toronto was the team that was predicted to take the division prior to the season beginning, and the Red Sox were supposed to be in the basement.  My, how the tides have changed.

I thought for today's post, I would show some of the celebration that took place on Friday night.  So, sit back, and relive the celebration of the Red Sox becoming the 2013 AL East Division Champions.



Tweets from the Red Sox Players and their Family:

Links to Red Sox Vines: