Saturday, April 20, 2013

Red Sox Bring Much Needed Hot Start to Their F**K**G city

When the season began the Maineiacs posted some thoughts on how much the Red Sox must break quickly from the gate.  Mostly because they had not for years and also to begin to erase the image of the  Red Sox of recent years.

Today in an emotion filled day at Fenway Park, the Red Sox returned to play at home for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombing and after postponing last night's game due to the active manhunt for the second bomber.

The Sox won a close, tense game on the shoulders of Daniel Nava's three run 8th inning home run. 4-3 over Kansas City.  This is the seventh straight win for the Sox and gives them a 12-4 mark after 16 games.  With 9 more home games coming up next Boston has a chance to put the pedal to the metal on the AL East.  Obviously, 16 games is a very small sample size ( 1/10 of the season).  But two things stand out: pitching and the fact they are off to a hot start without everyone hitting their groove yet  ( Middlebrooks, Drew, Ortiz just arriving today).  They will not play .750 ball all year, but there is also no indication that this is a fluke.

Some random notes about today and the KC series:

First the very emotional opening ceremonies  honored the law enforcement officials and all the citizens of Greater Boston.  The fans, as at the TD Garden earlier in the week, sang the National Anthem on their own.  But then at the end of the ceremonies and first pitches as the field was clearing David Ortiz grabbed the mike to thank the mayor, governor, and all law officers.  Then in a moment that will live forever in not just Red Sox but all of Boston history, Big Papi proclaimed "This is our fucking city and no one will dictate our freedom.  Stay Strong."  And Fenway went wild.  Along with people at home saying "Did he just say what I think he said?" Yes he did.  It is very possible that David Ortiz will go down as the most iconic Red Sox player of all time.

Today featured another great start from Clay Buchholz.  Now certainly Jon Lester and Clay Bucchholz are not going to be undefeated all year.  But if they front this rotation in a manner they are capable of, this team can go a long way.

Neil Diamond made a personal appearance to perform Sweet Caroline live in the 8th inning.  Two Sweet Caroline notes: first there had been a growing number of critics saying the Sox should can the nightly singing of this song.  It was specifically suggested that now that the sellout streak had ended, Caroline could go to the exit with it.  And then came the bombings, and in a sign of solidarity with Boston the song was sung all over MLB parks earlier this week, even at Yankee Stadium.  After that Sweet Caroline is not leaving Fenway Park for  long, long, long time.  Secondly, as famously ( or infamously) as the Sox PR crew is known for productions, apparently they had no part in planning Neil Diamond's appearance.  Several sources are reporting he flew into Boston today at 12:30 and then called the Sox asking to come sing today.

One last note about the remaining KC series, it is being reported that Allen Webster is being recalled from AAA to pitch Sunday night's makeup game of Friday's postponement.  This will be an extremely interesting development, and if Webster pitches as well as he has in Pawtucket and in spring training, he could be a big part of the 2013 Red Sox.


  1. One other interesting note about the upcoming games, Lou Merloni tweeted today that he will be broadcasting tomorrow night's and Monday's games on radio with Joe Castigilione, while Dave O'Brien fulfills his ESPN duties. Jon Rish, who was the third man, has recently resigned from WEEI and the Sox broadcasts.

    1. Lou Merloni on the radio...that's interesting. I may take a listen just to see how he sounds. He seems like a potential replacement for Remy someday if he wants it. This may be the first step or maybe he doesn't want to jump ship to NESN. Although by putting him on WEEI is a big step since he works for their main rival.

    2. Barry, Lou Merloni works for WEEI. He is the host of the 10 am show with Mut.

    3. Oh you're right. I thought he was on 98.5 the Sports Hub. Maybe because he is on Comcast so much with Felger I just thought he was also on the Sports Hub.

  2. Deacon, nice job summing up the day and the recent events. So much has happened this week that it is a bit daunting to try and put it into words, but you did so very well and better than I could have...well done.

    My reaction to your random thoughts:

    You are absolutely correct. Big Papi may have cemented himself as the most iconic Sox player of all time. His two year 26.5 million dollar deal seems like it was worth every penny today. If he hits as well as he did today for the rest of the season and next, it will be a bargain deal.

    Lester and Buchholz are the key to the season. NO DOUBT.

    Sweet Caroline is not going anywhere anytime soon. That's for sure. Even before Neil showed up today, the fact that other teams used it as a tribute cemented it as a Boston Red Sox staple for a long, long time. The fact that Neil showed up unannounced makes it 100 times cooler (here's to hoping that is actually how it happened).

    I got goosebumps three times during today's events. Once during the national anthem. Which I was listening to on the radio in the car which made it seem even cooler (Big Papi's famous word was bleeped out on the radio though, as far as I could tell). The second time was while Neil Diamond led the Fenway faithful in the rendition of Sweet Caroline. It was like Harry Caray coming back from the dead to lead Wrigley Field in Take Me Out To The Ballgame times 100. Then the third time was when Nava went deep in the bottom of the 8th right after the Sweet Caroline moment.

    What a special day at Fenway.

    Lastly, I am excited to see Allen Webster pitch tomorrow night. I expect him to go 5 innings or perhaps 6 tops. I think this will be a one and done start for him no matter how well he pitches, but if he does pitch well it will set him up to come back the next time a need arises. I assume the roster move will come after game 1 tomorrow and Steven Wright will be kept around for game 1 in case they need a long reliever or if they go extra innings and then he'll be sent out for Webster. But, I could be wrong. It could be Alex Wilson who gets sent out and they could keep Wright in case he is needed to fill innings because of the double header.

    1. Something that I admit I did not know ( and apparently neither some of the Boston media, who also speculated) there is a relatively new rule in MLB that allows teams to add a 26 player for doubleheaders. So it looks like Webster comes up with no ne needing to go down.

    2. that you mention it I do remember hearing about that new rule.

  3. I must confess the pregame ceremony got to me, very well done. I felt like the anthem at the Garden earlier in the week was more emotional than either rendition today (Fenway/Garden), however.

  4. Sox are cooled off by the Royals in game 1 losing 4-2 and snapping their winning streak at 7 games. The Royals seem to be for real finally. They have a very talented core of young players. I've been very impressed with Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez this series. They also have Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas. Their bullpen is very good and with Shields and Santana they have a couple of legit SP's.

    Looking forward to watching Allen Webster in Game 2 tonight at 7.

  5. April 20, 2013 is a day that will be remembered by Red Sox fans for a long time. I was in Belfast by myself getting some new tires put on my vehicle, so I decided to duck into a bar to catch the pre-game ceremonies and first few innings. I literally couldn't believe what I heard when Papi was on the mic. The bar, along with Fenway, went bananas. I downed my Boston lager in a cheers to Big Papi, a contant in my Red Sox life for a decade plus. I listened to most of the game on the radio on the way back to Augusta, then saw Neil and Nava cement the game's place in Red Sox/Boston history.

    A couple of other thoughts:
    - Beetle Bailey almost blew the save. The Sox closer situation is still unsettled, but it helps that both Bailey and Hanrahan are all-star closers.
    - The Royals are good. I'm glad I picked them to make the playoffs in 2013. That's a good young club.
    - Red Sox Maineiacs bylaws mandate that we have a live chat when the Sox play on a Sunday night. Join us tonight at 7!