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Monday - pregame
Ok, Wally has gone back to upside down at my house. The Nationals are a good team, no doubt. Dice K looked pretty good for a 5th starter on Saturday from my seat last row in the bleachers...which looks remarkably similar to the view from the Monster...just further out. (Savings? About $280?) But I still can't put my finger on why our team of decent pitchers and better than decent hitters can't win a game. (Well ok...1 in 6 games...). Phil I am counting on you to be correct. MV Fredd.. good to see you practicing your vocabulary! Yes, you two crack me up...thank you, because otherwise I am feeling challenged to be hopeful. However.. I remain loyal and had a great day at Fenway with the really good fans from DC.. very civilized! Boston had a tough weekend too, and no one can fault the Celtics for giving their all.
Despite all this, Fenway Park broke the record for longest sell out streak for any major sport on Sunday at # 745. Despite the pundits that say the sell out is "fixed".. the park was full from start to finish on Saturday. Let's see what happens on the road...
Some random thoughts. If you expand baseball reviews and the play goes from out to safe, where do you put the runners? If Bobby and Ben are on your speed dial, what are your chances of getting invited to the baby shower? The only thing that makes sense to speed up the game is to enforce the time between pitchers thrown. The technology to call balls and strikes has been developed. The problem is to make the application foolproof. There are 2 methods available. A chip and a laser. The technology is very interesting.
Tony * Ashland
I watched all three games this past weekend with the Nats and what I saw is what everyone has seen since the beginning of the season, "The Walking Dead". We have been at the bottom of our league since the beginning and at this point, I believe it will be a season that for every game played, we will struggle to get over 500. As I have said from the beginning, in spring training, I sensed something wrong with the team. We have great players and they are so great we should be at the top of our division. However, whatever virus we have has taken a hold of every player and the entire team is ready to be admitted into the emergency room!
We played a very young team with the Nats and I will tell you I was very impressed with them. OK, I am somewhat biased since their new star is from Southern Nevada and I got to watch him, as a Jr. in high school, but he is down right a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year! I am not certain what it will take for us to start and stay on a winning streak but I am not feeling we will be in the post season again this year. Last year and this year, I was thinking we could take the WS again, especially last year after our poor start. How can a team with such great and gifted players do so poorly? It's their mentality and lack of desire, I feel. Where does that lack of desire come from? Who has helped create that horrible mentality? A while back ago, I would have been inclined to accuse Valentine but I am not so certain about that anymore. Maybe us fans should temper ourselves including me?
Greg * Henderson, NV.
I don't understand why people are always trying to speed up baseball games. The only game without a clock is that way for a reason. If you are a fan, isn't more better ? I've always thought less is more or more is less is an oxymoron. Sometimes stepping out can mess with a pitchers rhythm. Stepping off can mess with a hitters timing. Small nuances in the game may lengthen the contests, but some are strategic. Most players play better when comfortable. When watching a game that goes into extra innings I think, free baseball. The longer the better. Please stop trying to fix a game that doesn't need fixing. Now ,as for spitting and scratching. Maybe another time. Stay thirsty for the Sox my friends.
Billy the Bandit
Phil, you hit a lot of nails, some on the head, but it takes more to build a better structure. Middle Management. The coaches have the responsibility to monitor each of their players to ensure performance is the best whether by encouragement, mentoring, teaching or making adjustments to get better results no matter how big a star or paycheck is involved. What we see appears to be that players are basically left to work out their own problems. We rarely notice batters make adjustments to see the ball better, or improve his swing timing. Or maybe stop one revolution sooner when waving the bat over his head like a caveman (oops - sorry Geico Guy). It is hard to believe that so many runners are thrown out on the baselines and not have it be a sideline coach issue. Pitching is the same with few obvious changes made to effect better control. And what about Men Left on Base - Oh, never mind - Old story.
Not being a Fenway Insider with no contacts within, I need to ask: When the Boys are up a against a pitcher whose style is highly effective, do the coaches run batting practice simulating the upcoming threat?
Also - who is to say whether a pitcher is hitting the mark the catcher calls for or not? And is the catcher alone calling the game? Why don't catchers get credit or blame for bad pitches that hit or miss the mark? Looking at the faces of some pitchers, you can see the frustration when he puts the ball where called for and it becomes and offensive bomb. Is that really his fault?
Because the game has evolved from a fun sport to a serious big bucks business, we "Fanway" Fanatics are more tuned to perfection because of the impact of winning. It used to be simply the prestige of being Number One. Now it is all in the money.
On The Road Again - Maybe instead of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" or "Sweet Caroline", we should be singing "We shall Overcome"!
Merrimack Valley Fredd
Phil, your last two submissions were very well written in my opinion, and I agree with your sentiments....with a few minor alterations. You're spot on about Adrian. As much as I love him and want him to be the long bomber that he can be, his hitting has been less than clutch this year. Jacoby is also being sorely missed this year, but we can't exactly blame him. While his injury may very well be a reason for the Sox lack of success, he can't be blamed for getting hurt. He did not choose to be injured, nor was the injury his fault. The Sox lack of a closer is also a glaring error in Sox management. Why Bailey was ever traded for simply baffles me. Daniel bard was made for the closer spot. And for those 2-3 years where he was Papelbon's eighth inning guy, everybody was waiting for the day that Pap would be traded and Bard would become the new closer. Instead he became a starter while Alfredo Aceves became the new closer. I love ya Alfredo, but you have no heat, no nasty breaking pitches, nothing with which to come out "guns blazing" and get those final three outs.
The Sox are not looking good, my friends, not just for the immediate future but for the next few years. Every team has to go through that collapse and rebuilding.....maybe now is our time.....ah well, that'll at least make a good column ;)
Steve, 15, in MA
Monday - postgame
Sadly the soothsayer was right and angered some with the prognostications over the weekend. But I stand firm on the need for a new Mgr and going down to Pawtucket for Gomez and a couple of others. Look what Strasburg and Harper did for the Nats and look at the way his manager plays Billy ball with them.
Time to trade to and get some hurlers and I cannot understand the reasoning of management to put their faith in the returnees. Jacoby is the one to return,leave the rest in Pawtucket to earn their big salaries and finish the year riding the buses.
Harsh criticism that may not get printed but it's time to shake and bake before there is not a wild card chance. As for Bobby V getting tossed in the ninth was a waste of time. As much as I question their calls they did not lose the weekend,the team and the strategy of the game did and The Nats should have opened Bens eyes.As for Pedey he is a spark plug like Harper who wasPO'd when not in the lineup on Sunday. Being two under 500 now and July coming it's time to s... Or get of the proverbial pot. Maybe they should work with McDonald he did a good job when called upon, and Ochocinco is available for the bullpen,or Call Worcester and sign Jose, or get Eck out of retirement and let him pitch, Lol.and I bet El Tiant would even pony up.
Have a good one RSN and despite my critique I am a die hard who hates to see poor play and remembers the many days of Ted Williams, Piersall, and Jackie Jenson who played every day and I cannot remember there being so many minor hang nails and sore thumbs or blisters. The players played with minor injuries and I beg Jerry would agree with that statement.
And they just lost to Miami tonite. Sad 3 games under 500.
The frustrated Dave from RI.
Remy & Don - Over the weekend there were at least 2 fans who hung over the railing to interfere with balls in play. Could you please strongly criticize those actions and show on TV the fan being escorted out of the park. If they aren't thrown out, please tell your management friends that they should be. These fans are very irritating and they screw up the game.
George Kachen * Reading, MA