Sox Blog

Monday, 29 October 2007

Good guys win

I think I could get used to this.

No histrionics this time. No running into the street shouting at the heavens in sheer, ecstatic joy. No frantic phone calls to everyone I know. Just two glasses of champagne, raised and clinked.

The Boston Red Sox are the best team in baseball.

The Boston Red Sox have won the World Series. Again.

And they deserved it. From April until October, they stayed in first place. Surehanded and steady, they fixed their gaze on the big prize. And, finally, clicking on every cylinder, they won.

“This team outscored the Los Angeles Angels, the Cleveland Indians and the Rockies by a combined score of 99-46 — the greatest October run differential in postseason history.”


But above and beyond being really, really good, the Red Sox are good.

Mikey Lowell is a good guy. Gehrig38 is a good guy. Jon Lester is a good guy. Jacoby Ellsbury is good guy. Manny Ramirez is a good guy. Big Papi is a good guy. Jason Varitek is a good guy. Mike Timlin is a good guy. Kevin Youkilis is a good guy. Dustin Pedroia is a cocky sonofabitch — but a good guy. Jonathan Papelbon is insane. Also a good guy.

(A-Rod? Not a good guy. Just ask Peter Gammons.)

Last night was a terrific cap to an amazing season .

And our youthful core means we’ve got a hell of a shot to do it again next year.

And the year after that. And then again.

Which is really pretty great.

See you at the parade.

10/29/2007 12:50:21 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Your 2007 World Beaters, the Boston Red Sox!!!


(more tomorrow)

10/29/2007 00:32:18 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Friday, 26 October 2007

The lion in autumn


So, yeah, I found myself getting a little wistful last night.

Is this end of the road for our very own blogging blowhard, our computer geek gamesman, our Questec-bashing quote machine?

It may well be. And as annoying as he can be sometimes, I’m gonna miss Curt Schilling.

Not just because he makes for great press. Not just for that time he verbally bitch-slapped me on a SoSH spring-training game thread after I wrote that he was getting knocked around. Because he pitches great games (usually) when we need him to. Because he makes Yankees fans shut up. Because he came here to help us win a World Series and he did so in the first year — and might be doing so again.

After what he’s done so far this October, he’s probably going to the Hall of Fame.

Should we maybe keep him around for one more year before he does?

Some people think so. Including me.

(That way, he won’t have to relocate and our state economy can reap the benefits once 38 Studios finally gets off the ground.)

At the very least, it’s good to know that some guys will still be around next year, whatever ends up happening this month.

Like Terry Francona, whose bullpen management was impeccable last night, and who by now has established his bona fides as the best playoff manager in a long, long time.

Like the shadow warrior, Hideki Okajima, whose astonishingly dominant two-and-a-third innings made it look so easy.

Like Jonathan Papelbon, who is delightfully insane.

And like Jacoby Ellsbury, who bought us all a taco last night. And who could perhaps give some base-running advice to Matt Holliday.

(Unfortunately for our speedy center fielder, “Tacoby Bellsbury” seems like just the kind of nickname that might stick.)

And speaking of food...

And here’s a great column by Dan Wetzel about comparing his days as a Fenway concessionaire with the current culinary offerings.

These days, Fenway Park has an executive chef, Ron Abell.

An executive chef? At Fenway? When I "cooked" here at my under-the-third-base concession stand, our pretzel warmer didn't even spin. You had to rotate by hand the previously frozen pretzels to get close to a 100 watt light bulb.


There are the salads. And the clam chowder. And the chicken meals. And coffee stands serving fancy drinks. (Back when I worked here they'd punish concession workers by waiting for a blistering hot July afternoon, handing them a tray of black coffee and saying, "go work the bleachers." Two areas of the park – the Monster seats and high above right field – actually have waitress service.

And up in the EMC Club, executive chef Abell and his staff serve up items such as Maine Peekytoe Crabcake with Pickled Radish and Mache, Grilled Wild King Salmon, Celery Root, Morels, Fine Herbs and Spring Pea Cannelloni, Calabro Ricotta, Lemon, Fava.

Things look to get even fancier next year.

Fenway sure has come a long way. Got an e-mail today from my friend Sean, who’d recently dug out his ticket stub from ALDS Game 3 back in 1995. (Tim Wakefield took the loss that night. And Manny batted seventh and played right field for the Indians.)

Sean’s seats on the 3rd base line, under the roof. “Face value = $25. I'm almost positive I didn't pay more than $40. That’s basically getting on the T, walking over to Lansdowne, and paying the scalper in cash.”

Tix for Game Six (assuming one is played) in that same general area are selling on StubHub for $2,223.00 each.

10/26/2007 12:09:28 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Feasting on the competition

So now we know for absolute sure: eight days of rest do indeed make a baseball team rusty.

And we also know that the Boston Red Sox have not missed a beat.

Holy smokes, what a way to get started.

Strike out the side in the top of the first: BANG-BANG-BANG.

Clock a home run to kick off the bottom of the first: KAPOW.

And for the rest of the game, all game long, top of the inning, bottom of the inning, didn't matter. An absolute, all-out assault.

“Here’s my fastball,” said Josh Beckett. “And there’s another. And another. Think you can hit ‘em?

They could not.

Strikeout looking.

Strikeout swinging.

Strikeout swinging.

Strikeout swinging.

Strikeout looking.

Strikeout swinging.

Strikeout swinging.

Strikeout looking.

Strikeout looking.

They didn’t stand a chance.

And the offense!

A record for runs and margin of victory in a series opener.

Seventeen hits. Eight doubles. Thirteen Runs.

(And let’s not forget the contributions of Iron Mike and our French-Canadian friend. Maybe it was my little pep talk that motivated that 1-2-3 eighth? As my co-worker Jon Garelick put it: “Hey, 12 runs and it’s a new ballgame. He saved our asses.”)

Maybe they weren’t intimidated by Fenway. (Although, I think they kinda were.)

They’ve got to be intimidated by what we did to them.

Yup, it was an amazing streak. But it’s over now.

We’re the Boston @#%$ Red Sox.

Suddenly, people are rooting against us. Bring on the haters.

Schilling started the Sons of Sam Horn Game Thread for his own start within minutes of the final out last night. Gehrig38’s got a nice little win streak of his own right now.

Only he can ensure that it continues.

10/25/2007 11:30:58 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Monday, 22 October 2007


And the Curse of Kenny Lofton lives.

Dice-K slew his bête noire last night, with a little help from his friend, and an unintentionally friendly third base coach.

He got Lofton to fly out in the third.

And then, in the fifth, Kenny’s buddy Manny nailed him trying to stretch a single into a double.

It was, we’d soon discover, the beginning of the end. And the Tribe can’t say they weren’t warned.

I’ve been to my share of big Fenway games, but I’d never been there for the postseason until last night. And lemme tell you, I’ve never heard the place howling with blood lust like it was after Manny gunned down his speedy little friend at second.

Conversely, I’ve never felt the air constrict with the simultaneous inhalation of 38,000 people like it did after Lofton was safe at first after Lugo’s horrifically ugly butter-fingered bobble in the seventh. It was an uneasy silence that was only amplified once Gutierrez singled up the third base line and Lofton blazed toward third — and was held there. (He didn’t seem at all happy about it.)

So, yeah, let’s just say that Casey Blake’s DP on the very next pitch was the most therapeutic release of massive nervous energy I’ve ever felt at a sporting event. Deafening.


What a fucking game!

So good to know it’s not just because I’m a playoff neophyte.

None other than Uncle Bob was waxing Valley Girl this morning, as well he should:

Omigawd was that tense! ... Omigawd, what a ballgame, what a glorious night at Fenway, what a way to enter the World Series.

So, yes, after ensuring that the score would not be knotted up at three, our young dudes decided that a slim one-run lead was insufficient. So Ellsbury reached on shaken Blake’s two-base error. Lugo advanced him to third with a sacrifice. And then Dustin Destroya clocked one into the Monster seats. A bat was flipped. And four bases were stepped upon. Euphoria. Utter and complete.

The tension was not alleviated entirely.

Strangely, Okajima — who’d relieved his countryman after Dice-K turned in five workmanlike innings, and who is sharing well-deserved plaudits back Far East — came out for the eighth.

And he quickly let two guys on.

Threatening, those guys were.

And so it was ordained that Lord Papelbon would have record six outs.

And so it is written that he entered an elimination game with men on first and second and no outs.

And retired the heart of the Indians order on eight pitches.

Après ça le déluge.

Mikey Lowell doubled and Drew singled him home. Tek doubled, and JD headed for third. They put Ellsbury on intentionally. And then Dustin did it again, sending all three of ‘em home with a double to deep left.

I thought the bleachers might collapse.

When Youk bounced on off the Coke bottles three pitches later, it was officially a laugher. Time to uncork the Korbel. (As Red so sweetly puts it: “With All Due Respect to Ryan Garko, Champagne Tastes Much Sweeter at Home.”)

Coco entered the game, deservedly, to do what he does best: make amazing, highlight reel catches.

Peralta singled to center. Kenny Lofton lined out to Manny. Then Covelli fielded the final two outs. Spectacularly.

And then Papelbon showed us how he plans to scare little kids this Halloween.

What a game. What a game! So rewarding in so many ways. Tense and exciting at first, then just silly enough toward the end to prime us all for Dirty Water. Dice-K got a nice little jolt of confidence. (The first Japanese pitcher to win a playoff game!) Okajima held the line. Papelbon recorded six outs with 16 pitches. And in a series where Buck and McCarver talked and talked about the lethal heart of our order, we put up 11 runs with Ortiz going 0 for 5 with a two strikeouts and Manny quiet after a single in the first.

And Kenny Lofton, who’s played on a bazillion different post-season contenders, has somehow found his way to squads whose playoff dreams ended prematurely.
Bucknahs Bum Ankle from Sons of Sam Horn crunched the numbers.

He has been a member of the following teams:

  • 1995 Indians: Only team to lose a World Series clincher on a one-hitter.
  • 1996 Indians: Lost two games in the ALDS with leads in the eighth and ninth innings.
  • 1997 Braves: Lost to wild-card Marlins in six NLCS games, including the Eric Gregg game, in which Livan Hernandez capitalized on the umpire's huge strike zone.
  • 1998 Indians: Blew a 2-1 ALCS lead, losing three straight to the Yankees.
  • 1999 Indians: Blew a 2-0 ALDS lead, losing three straight to Boston.
  • 2001 Indians: Blew a 2-1 ALDS lead to Seattle, losing two straight.
  • 2002 Giants: Blew a 3-2 World Series lead to Anaheim, including a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning of Game 6, losing two straight.
  • 2003 Cubs: Blew a 3-1 NLCS lead to Florida, including a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning of the infamous Game 6 Bartman Game, losing three straight.
  • 2004 Yankees: Blew a 3-0 ALCS lead to Boston, the first team in history to lose four straight games needing only one win to advance.
  • 2006 Dodgers: Swept by Mets in NLDS.


And the question has already been asked: Did we win it? Or did they lose it?

Another historic victory? Or just another Choke?

Yeah, as the estimable Charlie Pierce writes, the Indians “came to Boston wrapped so tightly they made Mitt Romney look like Wavy Gravy.”

Those Indians World Series t-shirts were surely bad mojo.

And this Paul Byrd business could not have helped.

(Is some skulduggery afoot when it comes to the Red Sox and PEDs? Is Selig’s “steroid sleuth,” the former Senator from Maine and current Director of the team, up to no good? The New York Times says there’s no proof — even as it amplifies the mutterings the “Indians fan blogs ... abuzz with conspiracy theories about leaks and motive and a destiny undone.”)

This much we know to be true: as Bob Ryan points out, we outscored the Indians by a 30-5 margin after losing Game Four.

I’d say the answer speaks for itself. Bring on that purple-wearing team from Denver.

Last night in the park, once our lead became insurmountable, a chant arose from the right-field grandstand. “Yankees suck! Yankees suck!”

Disgusting, I thought. Embarrassing. It never goes away! You’d think by now we’d have learned some class.

But then I listened more closely. They were actually chanting something else:


Equally dumb. In addition to being patently untrue.

Their pitching staff is good but its mortal. That lineup, however, is potent.

And having to bench one of our big bats in Denver is gonna be interesting.

To say nothing of other X-factors, like what that high-altitude air will do to the knuckleball (assuming Wake makes a start there).

This will not be a Cardinals-esque cake walk. “I can assure you,” says Big Schill, “every one of us knows that this is going to be a hell of a series.”

That’s fine. As long as the outcome is the same as this one.

We’re going to the World Series. Again.

And this time, we’re “baggage free.”

I like the sound of that.

10/22/2007 12:34:42 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Friday, 19 October 2007

Beckett being Beckett

Completely, utterly, entirely dominant. And positively exploding with badassitude.

Thanks for bringing it home, where hopefully Schilling can be Schilling.

: how Manny became Manny.)

10/19/2007 13:18:13 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Stay classy, Cleveland

I was mad at the Sox for letting little Danny Vinik throw out the first pitch before Game One. It was in bad taste and showed poor sportsmanship — not to mention reeking of nepotism (his dad is a minority owner) and perhaps encouraging fan interference. And I wondered whether it might bring bad karma down upon our heads.

To judge from the series standings, it appears it may have.

Well, now it’s my turn to razz the Indians for their own little bit of snarky gamesmanship: inviting Josh Beckett’s ex-girlfriend, Danielle Peck, to sing the National Anthem before the do-or-die game he’s starting tomorrow night. Yeah, yeah, she’s from Ohio. But is it too much of a stretch to assume they also hope her very presence will rattle our boy? Prove 'em wrong, Josh.

(Thanks to reader fastballfan99 for the tip.)

And while we’re bashing Cleveland: the fireworks and the little white hankies are incredibly lame. But someone should really tell their fans to lose the minstrel makeup.

10/17/2007 15:40:32 by Mike Miliard | Comments [4] | Trackback 

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

I contain multitudes

One way I feel, enunciated pretty perfectly by Rough Carrigan in Tuesday's tragicomic game thread:

"It's times like this that I ask myself what the hell I'm doing spending so much time following this stuff."

Another way I feel,
paraphrased, pretty perfectly, from KFK in 2004:

"Don't let us win tomorrow night. This is a big game. They've got to win because if we win we're going to Fenway on Saturday and Schilling will pitch Game 6. Don't let the Sox win this game."

Lightning can't strike twice ... right?

10/16/2007 23:36:08 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Now entering...

...crunch time.

Beckett? Wake?

Doesn't matter. It's a fait accompli.

And, anyway, what we really need to do tonight is hit.

Byrd is very good. But he's not untouchable.

Put Jacoby in the lineup. Work the count. Avoid DPs at all costs. And DO NOT let balls hit you when you're running the bases.

We must be patient and methodical in a way that we weren't last night.

Just win.


10/16/2007 15:47:39 by Mike Miliard | Comments [1] | Trackback 

Monday, 15 October 2007


Looks like we’re gonna need Dice-K to come up big tonight.

And I don’t have a problem telling you that that scares me a little bit.

But y’never know with this kid.

So let the chips fall where they may.

Anything can happen, right?

We all knew this series was gonna be close. So heading to the Jake with one game apiece is certainly not the worst thing in the world.

Just would be nice to be playing the rest of the series with a full 25-man roster is all.

Sorry Eric, but you shant be pitching in a Red Sox uniform again, I think.

If you do, then something is screwy.

Heck, I suppose I can’t blame Tito for going to the guy on Saturday night. What were his options? (Besides, maybe, trying to squeeze a little bit more from Timlin, who only threw 12 pitches in the eighth, before going to Papelbon.)

The blame should lie with anyone who decided Gagne should be on the postseason roster in the first place. He’s deadweight. Totally unable to contribute anything meaningful. And that’s been apparent for a long time. He single-handedly cost us a bunch of games in the regular season. And now he’s doing the same thing in October. No one can be surprised.

And I can blame Tito, I guess, for going with Lopez instead of Lester next.

Yeah, yeah: Trot can’t hit lefties, right? Right. But Lopez, as most everyone knows by now except his manager, is no LOOGY. In fact, he’s the opposite: lefthanders are batting .293 against him, righties just .176. And so I suppose I shouldn’t have been too surprised when Christopher Trotman Nixon — who really can’t hit lefties — stepped to the plate in his old stomping grounds and, on the second pitch, singled to center to break the tie.

After that, um, a bunch of other runs scored.

Sure, Schilling should’ve gone deeper.

And yes, it was pretty remarkable that mediocre Tom Mastny got all three of our big guns to go down quietly in the 10th.

But it just sucks to have an extra-inning game end like that.

Oh well.

We’ve shown we can hit Sabathia and Carmona, effectively neutralizing what’s supposed to be their biggest strength. (Wish we could’ve made it count, though.) We tagged two runs off “Raffy Left” on Saturday. And If Ortiz and Ramirez were punchless in the 10th later that night, they were unstoppable — literally — on Friday. Mikey Lowell is having a hell of a series. The good pitchers in the pen have been throwing well. And Beckett continues to amaze and astound.

These are the two best teams in baseball, and we all knew it was gonna be a long series.

Just need Mr. Matsuzaka to pitch like he knows he can tonight.

And it would be nice if Jake Westbrook could pitch like he did last Sunday.

Also: “The best thing will be if there's no bugs on the field, of course."

“It’s like the French and Indian War. But instead of the French, it’s baseball players. From Boston.”

10/15/2007 11:11:44 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Friday, 12 October 2007


What he said. I could not agree more.

And I can only hope this lame, short-sighted stunt does not bring us bad karma.

10/12/2007 15:46:29 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 

The next step

“The truth is this: for alarmingly large chunks of an average day, I am a moron.”

That’s Nick Hornby, in the intro to Fever Pitch — y’know, the book about football that was later adapted into that movie about baseball?

(I interviewed Hornby for this week’s paper. Read it here, where you can also listen to a clip of the author talking about the Farrelly Brothers flick and the Red Sox’ World Series run.)

He’s talking, of course, about the nature of obsessive fandom: the amount of time a sports junkie spends each day thinking about his team, about their past glories and, hopefully, future triumphs. It can be all-encompassing, blotting out brain space that can and should be used for other, more important matters. Especially on big game days.

Well, I sorta feel like a moron today. I’m finding it difficult to think about much else besides where I'll be at 7:10 p.m. And if you’re reading this, I'll bet you can relate.

This is gonna be one hell of a series.

Two evenly matched teams.

Two bashers in our lineup.

Two regular-season aces on their staff.

Two post-season-proven hurlers on ours.

Too close to call.

Both teams are stacked. This is the de facto World Series right here.”

A lot of pundits are picking the other team. And that’s fair.

But they’ve got their work cut out for them.

Boston in six. That’s been my prediction all along.

And the computers simulations would seem to bear this out.

Of course, we could be wrong.

This much I know: I can’t @#$% wait.

10/12/2007 12:24:33 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Tuesday, 09 October 2007


The Bronx is Burning!

So many moments of delicious schadenfreude last night.

* Wang’s one-inning outing.

* A-Rod and Abreu hitting solo homers in the seventh and ninth, just enough to inflate hope but not enough to get the job done.

* Captain Clutch grounding into a decidedly tangible double play.

* Paul Byrd defying the naysayers and pitching five workmanlike innings.

* Chip Caray’s “skein of faux pas

Joe Borowski, whose last three years against the Yankees have yielded a 16.20 ERA and .400 BAA, getting Posada to go down swinging.

And then, post-game...

* Shelly Duncan weeping.

* The closing of to non-members

* Newton homegirl (and former BLOHARD!) Suzyn Waldman crying on WCBS radio after a visit to a solemn Yankee clubhouse.

(A stark contrast to her wacky behavior earlier this summer.)

* Shameless homer Michael Kay, demonstrating the quintessence of sore loserdom, opining, without a shred of objective evidence, that “the Yankees are a better team” and that “this is not a series the Yankees should have lost.”

Bounced out in the first round for the third year in a row.

And the fun doesn’t stop there!

Please, do yourself a favor and listen online to Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN today at 1 p.m.

If last year’s opening montage is any indication, you will not regret it. Chris Russo is gonna scream himself hoarse. (Well, hoarser than he usually is.)

“It's elimination day! It's a Holiday!”

“Where are the Yankee fans? WHERE .. ARE .. THE ... YANKEE FANS!”

The only one I feel bad for is Joe Torre. About to get the axe after what’s probably the best-coached season of his career. He’s a class act, and a good guy, and doesn’t deserve this. But at least he’ll land, somewhere, on his feet.

In the meantime, on to Cleveland! Which 30 Rock reminds us, is better than New York.

I’m looking forward to what should be a great series, free of the manufactured drama of another Red Sox/Yankees Epic Slugfest. Just two evenly matched teams with good pitching and good hitting going at it.

Not an apocalptic battle. Just baseball. (Not apocalyptic, that is, as long as the Jake isn’t invaded by swarms of bugs and the river doesn’t catch fire.)

10/09/2007 11:50:35 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 

Monday, 08 October 2007

Back East

Well, that’s that.

And now, since the Yankees were not kind enough to allow four Division Series sweeps this weekend, we’ll have to just wait and see who’s up next.

(Dammit, Trot. Just when I thought you might put a nail in their coffin with yr homer off the Texas Con Man in the second, you have to go and allow a bases clearing single? Thanks for nothing.)

Anyway, a little reminiscing about the past few days can’t hurt.




Y’know, in the lead up to this series, when everyone was saying that things were shaping up for us because Manny was back, I was skeptical. We didn’t really need another singles hitter. We needed power.

Well, the power is back.


Take it from yesterday’s winning pitcher: “Manny and David were just unreal for three straight games. Since I’ve been here I’ve never seen nor heard Manny look and feel this locked in. In a season he made it clear he struggled in, from day 1, to see him find it now is incredibly reassuring. David? Well he just keeps being Big Papi. His ability to ease back and relax when it seems everyone else’s tenses up has to be one of the reasons he’s become that go to guy.”

It’s worth remembering, of course, that Manny’s majestic blast might not have been possible on Friday night without some pitch-perfect managerial decisions. (Abetted also by the anti-Bartman: a name, for the record, that I coined in the upstairs bar in Redbones as soon as the catch was made.) Tito pulled Dice-K not a moment too soon. Then he made the right bullpen moves at the right times and the guys rewarded him by pitching with precision and keeping the game winable.

So, indeed, did Schilling. It wasn’t quite Beckett-esque, but it was more than enough to make those back-to-backers stand up.

And that seven-run eighth was almoust laughable. Gagne-proof, even.

So now, we wait.

Put me down for Indians in four. I want the MFY gone. Done. Kaput. Because I don’t think my health, physical and mental, can withstand another seven-game Sox/Yan ALCS.

Meanwhile, we look at the stats. And we say “Holy Crap!

10/08/2007 11:46:10 by Mike Miliard | Comments [0] | Trackback 


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Notes from an irrational Red Sox fan. Mike Miliard with news, views, analysis, and rants about happenings on-field and off.

Good guys win
Your 2007 World Beaters, the Boston Red Sox!!!
The lion in autumn
Feasting on the competition
Some mediocre photos from the bleachers last night.
Beckett being Beckett
Stay classy, Cleveland
I contain multitudes
Now entering...
The next step
Back East


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