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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Red Sox Win World Series

What a night!  That's really all I can say.  Last night, the Boston Red Sox became World Series Champions by beating the Cardinals 6-1.  For the first time since 1918, the Red Sox won the World Series at home, at Fenway Park.  Such an incredible night for this amazing team!

I'm really excited to say that I'm planning on attending the Duck Boat parade on Saturday morning in Boston.  My boyfriend and I had discussed it a couple times prior to last night's win.  We were keeping our fingers crossed that the parade would be Saturday, as we wouldn't be able to make it Friday or Sunday.  Lucky for us, they've announced the parade is scheduled for 10:00 AM Saturday.

Photo from The Boston Globe
David Ortiz deservingly won the MVP, hitting .688 (2nd highest in average in World Series history), hit 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, and was walked 8 times.  If there wasn't Ortiz, who knows what would've happened to this team.

Photo from The Boston Globe
Honestly, I would say Ortiz is the MVP of the season, and I'll get into that more tomorrow when I do my end of the season awards.  It started in April when Ortiz took the microphone and made his infamous speech.  Here's the clip again:

Ortiz kept this mentality going all season.  In his MVP speech, he made sure to dedicate the World Series to the Boston marathon victims and the City of Boston.  Here's his MVP speech:

John Lackey won the clinching game, becoming the first player in his history to win two World Series clinching games (his first was with the Angels in 2002 as a Rookie).  Lackey, who Red Sox fans loathed for years (that may be a bit strong, but you get the point), won this game for the Red Sox, and the Red Sox fans made sure to show their appreciation.  I thought it was a touching moment when Lackey tipped his cap at the crowd, a crowd that had ridiculed and booed him in during his tenure with the Red Sox.

Photo from The Boston Herald
This offseason, the Red Sox went out and got what they thought would not only bring the fans back to Fenway, but bring a championship back to Boston.  They brought in John Farrell, having to trade to an division rival for the manager they knew could do the job and knew this team.

Photo from The Boston Globe
The Red Sox brought in David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, Mike Napoli, and Stephen Drew, who all contributed in huge ways to this World Series winning team.  It's still seems surreal that this team has gone from worst to first.

As mentioned, I'll post my postseason awards for the blog.  Until then, please enjoy the photos, videos, and tweets from last night!  What a way to end a season!

Dropkick Murphys Pre-Game Performance
National Anthem and Shipping Up To Boston

Carlton Fisk
Photo from NESN
Photo from The Boston Globe

Photo from NESN

Photo from NESN

Photo from NESN

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Red Sox Could Make History Tonight

Tonight, the Red Sox take on the Cardinals for Game 6 of the World Series.  The Red Sox hold a 3-2 lead in the Series and are hoping to win tonight.  If the Red Sox do win, it'll be the first time since 1918 that the Red Sox have won the World Series at Fenway.  Red Sox will send John Lackey to the mound, and the Cardinals will send Michael Wacha.

The Red Sox are taking over every aspect of media: social, television, radio, news, etc.  I thought I would do something a little different in today's post.  Most things I've read lately have been based on statistics, line-ups, and pitching match-ups.  I've been enjoying all the other aspects of the World Series: the interviews, photos, fan reactions, and little tidbits of information popping around. I thought I would share with you some of the things I have found over the last few days pertaining to the Red Sox and the World Series.

First, I came across this Twitter account during Monday night's game:

If you wish to follow this, here's the link
Here's some of the tweets you'll enjoy:

Also, if you don't already follow Tom Caron from NESN on Twitter, you really should.  He has an edge to him, and I always end up laughing during the games when he's tweeting.  Here's an example:

To follow Tom Caron on Twitter, here's the link

And the airplane craziness.  If you didn't hear, the Cardinals' plane had an issue yesterday when it was supposed to take off to Boston.  After being delayed most of the day, the Cardinals were finally able to get a new airplane and fly to Boston.  There was a lot of fun on Twitter yesterday about it, but this was my favorite:

Another great thing that happened was Jennifer Gardner's interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live.  As you may know, Jennifer Gardner is married to Ben Affleck, a huge Red Sox fan despite this photo (he was reportedly filming a movie, and it's nothing more).  Seems like Jennifer Gardner has caught the beard bug.

The Interview itself is pretty good because Gardner talks about all the superstitions that go along with some people when cheering for games.  I admit, I have my own superstitions.  Probably the least embarrassing one is whenever Lester started this postseason, I wore my "Lester" shirt.  Seemed to work out pretty well for the games he pitched.  Here's the link to the video of Gardner's interview.

I've also found some great things on Buzzfeed.  Buzzfeed posts have been invading my Facebook newsfeed lately.  I hate to admit it, but I've been pretty entertained by some of them.  My personal favorite is the ranking of the Boston Red Sox Facial Hair.  Check it out here:

The Dropkick Murphy's are performing the National Anthem tonight, as well as playing "Shipping Up to Boston" during the pre-game ceremonies.  Worth mentioning that the Red Sox are undefeated (8-0) when the Murphy's perform the National Anthem.  Let's hope the streak continues tonight!

Go Red Sox!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Red Sox Pick Off For A Win

What a way to end a ballgame!  After Saturday night's crazy ending that resulted in a Red Sox loss, the team needed to come out and play the game aggressively.  There were so many question marks going into Game 4 of the World Series, the team needed to prove that they deserved to be there, and that they had a chance to win the series.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Red Sox winning 4-2, Koji Uehara was on the mound to do what he does best, close the game.  With one out, Allen Craig, the Cardinals player involved in the "obstruction" call from the previous night, pinch-hit for pitcher John Axford, and he singled to right field.  Speedster, Kolten Wong, replaced Allen at first base.

Photo from NESN
Uehara then induced a pop-out from MLB hits-leader Matt Carpenter, which brought Carlos Beltran to the plate with two outs.  Everyone knew Wong's job was to get to second base, but he had to be careful.  Fortunately for the Red Sox, Wong wasn't as cautious as the Cardinals would have hoped, and Uehara was able to pick Wong off at first base.

It was another crazy way to end a World Series game.  Uehara was ecstatic after the game, as were the rest of his teammates.  After the game, Uehara claimed that he doesn't read scouting reports, and he just threw the ball to first base on his own.  I believe him.

Wong obviously felt bad after the game, and he went to Twitter:

Prior to the game, questions and statements were circulating about how healthy or "tough" Clay Buchholz was.  The FOX commentators during Game 3 were saying how Buchholz and Doubront could both be considered "starters" for Game 4, as they could split the duties.  Farrell maintained that Buchholz would indeed start the game, but the rumors kept coming that Buchholz was suffering from "dead arm."

Buchholz handled the situation expertly.  He explained that he wasn't 100%; but most players at this part of the season, weren't 100% either.  He was reportedly around 80-90%.  During the game, commentators and analysts (on both the television and Twitter) kept saying how Buchholz didn't look right, his velocity was down, questioning how long he'd last.

Personally, I think Mike Lowell said it best in a tweet:

Buchholz had issues, especially with his velocity; he hit only 90 mph seven times during his 4.0 inning outing.  He allowed 1 run, 3 hits, 3 walks, and struck out 2 in 66 pitches.  He gave it his all, and I'm sure all Red Sox fans can appreciate that.

Doubront got the win for the Red Sox, pitching 2.2 innings in relief and giving up 1 run on 1 hit and striking out 3.  He's been impressive in his relief role this postseason.  Lackey also pitched an inning in relief without so much as giving up a hit.

Jonny Gomes provided the big hit of the night for the Red Sox.  He originally wasn't even in the line-up, but an hour and a half prior to the game, Victorino was scratched due to back tightness.  

Photo from NESN
In the top of the 6th inning, with the score tied 1-1 and Pedroia and Ortiz on base, Jonny Gomes stepped up to the plate.  I could tell from home that Gomes wanted the big hit of the game, and he delivered.  He hit a line drive to center field that landed in the bullpen.  The Red Sox were now up 4-1.

Here's the thing about Jonny Gomes; he brings an undeniable energy to this team.  His interviews after the game are always thoughtful.  He's a fan of the game, and he donated his bat and batting gloves after the game to the Hall of Game.   As Gomes rounded the bases, he was on fire, but I believe Ortiz was more excited.

Photo from NESN
Speaking of Ortiz, he is making a case for himself as the MVP of this team.  Not only is he batting .727 for the World Series; 8 for 11.  He has 2 home runs, 4 walks, and 5 RBIs.  Last night alone, he was 3 for 3 with a double and an infield single.  Who would've thought in Spring Training, with Ortiz hobbling around the bases, that he would be able to leg out an infield single in the postseason.

Ortiz is also taking an even more prominent leadership role for this club.  In the fifth inning, with the score tied 1-1, Ortiz held a quick meeting with his teammates in the dugout.  As we fans watched on, Ortiz was talking to these men, and you could tell he was both inspiring and pumping them up.  The players explained the meeting as such to The Boston Globe:

Ortiz:  I've been in this situation before. I know we have a better offensive team than what we have showed.  You put pressure on yourself and try to overdo things and it doesn't work that way. We know the Cardinals have a very good pitching staff but we have faced good pitching before.

Like I told my teammates, if you think you're going to come to the World Series every year, you're wrong. Especially playing in the AL East.  You know how many people we beat to get to this level, this stage? A lot of good teams. A lot of good teams. It took me five years to get back on this stage. We've had better teams than we have right now and we never made it. So take advantage of being here.

I don't have another 10 years in me. I don't know when I'm going to be in the World Series. I have to give everything I have right now.

Ross:  Inspirational.  He talked and we listened.

Gomes:  It was like 24 kindergartners looking up at their teacher. He got everyone’s attention.

Farrell:  It was meaningful.  He's one of the guys that people look up to. Our guys look up to him. Kind of a timely conversation he had with everybody.

I also want to mention that after the fifth inning in last night's game, MLB took a moment to talk about Stand Up 2 Cancer.  Players, on-field personnel, and fans stood in unison with placards of the names of their loved ones affected by cancer.  It literally brought tears to my eyes to see this.  Then, I went on Facebook and saw a family friend of mine was at the game and posted a picture of her placard with "Mom" written on it, and she posted that she stands up for her mother, uncle, and my brother, who has leukemia.  Here's a picture from the game:

Photo from NESN
Game 5 is tonight at 8:00 PM Eastern on FOX.  With the series tied 2-2 now, it is guaranteed the World Series will end in Boston.  Go Red Sox!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Controversial Call Ends Game 3 of the World Series

I wasn't going to write a post after last night's game; it was too painful.  If you watched the Cardinals win game 3 of the World Series last night, you know what I'm talking about.  A great game by both teams was tarnished by a controversial umpiring decision to end the game in the bottom of the 9th inning.

I won't go into the details of the play, but you can watch it here (without commentary for your viewing pleasure):

Personally, I think it was a bad call.  I understand where the "obstruction" came from, but I don't buy it.  The official definition of an "obstruction" in MLB is: 
When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal “Obstruction.”
(a) If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.
Rule 7.06(a) Comment: When a play is being made on an obstructed runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that he calls “Time,” with both hands overhead. The ball is immediately dead when this signal is given; however, should a thrown ball be in flight before the obstruction is called by the umpire, the runners are to be awarded such bases on wild throws as they would have been awarded had not obstruction occurred. On a play where a runner was trapped between second and third and obstructed by the third baseman going into third base while the throw is in flight from the shortstop, if such throw goes into the dugout the obstructed runner is to be awarded home base. Any other runners on base in this situation would also be awarded two bases from the base they last legally touched before obstruction was called.
Okay, fine, Will Middlebrooks unintentionally impeded Allen Craig's run to home plate, but Middlebrooks wasn't in the direct base path to home plate.  If you watch, the video, Craig has already slid into third base when Middlebrooks dives for the ball.  Most runners take the outside of the foul line to run the "base path," but Craig uses the inside line for some reason, which causes him to "trip" over Middlebrooks, causing the obstruction.  Here's a photo below:
Photo from NESN
If the umpires were going to call this play an obstruction, what about the interference that Craig caused when he pushed Middlebrooks, who was only trying to get up and out of the way to make a play, back down to the ground?  Here's a closer look:

Photo from USAToday
Here's some reactions from the Red Sox players themselves after the game:


I had to dive for that ball. I was pretty inside the base line. I dive for the ball there [and] there’s really nowhere for me to go. I’ve got to get up and he’s on top of me. There was nowhere for me to go there, so I don’t know. It’s a tough one.

[The umpire] said it didn’t matter. [Craig] ran into me. I’m just trying to process it. My mind is still — I don’t know. I don’t agree with [the call].

I just know I have to dive for that ball. I’m on the ground and there’s nowhere for me to go.


Home plate umpire] Dana [DeMuth] said he called him safe at first and I didn’t see how because I tagged him and he said, ‘No, it was on obstruction, obstruction.’ Like I said, I didn’t see that happen. I didn’t get too far into because I was watching the ball trying to see if Nava was going to be able to get him out at home. But after watching it on the TV, I just don’t see how it was.

I was real shocked to end the game like that. At the end of the day, if it was obstruction, yeah, you’ve got to call it. It’s part of the game. But like I said, looking at the replay, I don’t know the rule book in and out, but to me, it didn’t look like it was obstruction.

Jake Peavy

It’s just a crying shame, like I said, when two teams play as hard as you can possibly play, a hard-fought game, and the second time in three games that a call be made, it just doesn’t seem right.
Yeah, I’m absolutely shocked that a game of this magnitude can be decided like that when, don’t you have to be in the base line to — it just doesn’t seem right. Like I said, we don’t know the rule book hand and foot, but it just didn’t seem right there. That’s all I can do to just say that. I’ll leave it at that. … It’s just unbelievable that that happens in the World Series.

Daniel Nava

I turned around, I think [left field umpire] John Hirschbeck was behind me, and I asked him because I saw that the throw beat him and obviously if a throw beats a guy, he’s out. … Obviously, I was in no position to argue [with the call]. It’s not a play that you can overturn, unfortunately. It’s hard to end a game like that, on a call like that. It happened. You can’t go back. We’ve got tomorrow, thank God, but still for the three hours or whatever we played, that was rough.

These and other quotes are from: NESN

As Nava stated, hopefully a game of this magnitude is not decided by a play like this again.  It makes me wonder how this game would've been decided next year when replay is extended beyond home runs.  You would hope that the umpires would make the right call; and according to them, they did.  However, there are other factors to consider.  

It was hard not to react to such a disappointing finish to a great game.  I was upset with the umpires, with the reactions to some of the analysts, and with the general way FOX had been handling the postseason.  (For you who didn't see the ALCS, FOX loved the Tigers players and would interview them frequently during the games and didn't put too much emphasis on the Red Sox.)  I was tired of seeing the MLB analysts (who I have been missing since I no longer have MLB Network) prior to the games never seem to show the Red Sox any support, which is why I'd been watching more of NESN for the pre-game shows.

I admit, I went into a mini-rant on my personal Facebook account about the play, mostly because of some of the posts I was seeing on Facebook.  I quickly deleted my post because I didn't want to get into arguments with my "friends."  My future sister-in-law's sister put the perfect message to me "I like you too much to argue with you."  (Thank you, Julie)  Living so far away from these people, I didn't want this to be the "last" interaction I had with some of them.

I'm originally from Iowa, and about half of my friends are Cardinals fans.  To see people calling Middlebrooks a "cheater" was uncalled for.  How exactly was he "cheating?"  He was trying to make a play then get off the ground.  Yes, I have stated that I believe Craig should've been called for "interference" for pushing Middlebrooks to the ground, but I have not call Craig a "cheater."  It's ridiculous.

Most of my frustration comes down to the way the game ended.  As stated previously, no game, especially a championship game, should be decided by a controversial call.  I hope that with the expansion of replay, a call like that can be reviewed, much like it is in the NFL.  

The Red Sox need to come out swinging tonight (no pun intended).  Buchholz needs to be on his game and show the world that he's not "soft."  He needs to fight, especially since the bullpen was taxed last night.  The offense needs to score some runs.  I kept yelling at the television last night when Ellsbury was up that he needs to earn that huge contract Boras wants him to earn this offseason.  Farrell needs to make better decisions (Napoli should have pinch-hit for Workman in the 9th inning).

This Red Sox team as the heart and talent to win the World Series.  They need to show themselves, their fans, the FOX and MLB analysts, and rest of the world that they are truly champions.  I know, I think they are.