Chris Young I’m Over You

I’m just going to cut to the chase and say it—I’m over you Chris Young. I’m sick and tired of hearing, “Oh well he hits lefties very well” and “we envision him to see majority of the AB’s against lefties this season”. It’s all a bunch of crap, and it’s time to own up to the fact thatChris Young this signing was stupid, idiotic, and a waste of money.

I don’t care that he hit .327 against lefties in 2015 with the Yankees, because guess what? That doesn’t mean anything. Instead of only talking about his 2015 season why don’t we talk about his last 3 seasons as a left-handed hitter shall we? From 2013-2015 in 375 AB’s Young hit a mere .245 against LHP.

.245? .245? How that merits a two-year, 13 million dollar contract is beyond me. I mean, the guy’s hitting .182 on the year and guess what?! He’s faced more RHP than LHP. Are you kidding me? Yeah, he’s a decent fielder but hell, if you wanted a fourth bat who hit’s lefties well why didn’t you just have a reunion with the “Flying Hawaiian” Shane Victorino, who’s hit .291 against LHP the last three seasons? Or trade for a guy like Franklin Gutierrez who’s batting .283 against LHP the last few seasons as well. Now obviously I know that wasn’t even a thought in anyone’s head, but it just goes to show that there were other options out there, but we settled on Chris Young?

At the end of the day, I’m just a rookie sports journalist whose passion for the game sometimes clouds my judgement.  I at least have the smarts and know the numbers to tell you that Chris Young is a waste of money and time. Even Rusney Castillo (who in my opinion, is only a Red Sox because they failed miserably at signing Jose Abreu) is mashing .385 against LHP currently while in Pawtucket. Plain and simple Chris, I’m over you, the fans are over you, and pretty soon this team will be over you.

So I wish you luck and hope you can figure out how to hit a lefty, cause if not it’s off to DFA Land for you pal.

Life and Times of a Sports Journalist Jen McCaffrey

As my “Life and Times of a Sports Journalist” series continues, up next is one of Boston’s up and coming journalists, Jen McCaffrey. Jen is a Red Sox beat reporter for MassLive.com. Prior to MassLive.com, the Syracuse grad spent three years as a sports reporter for the Cape Cod Times.Sports Journalist Jen McCaffrey

CW: According to your LinkedIn page, I see you’ve been involved in sports media and journalism since 2008 starting as an intern at WEEI and now currently a Red Sox beat writer for MassLive.com. What made you want to enter the world of sports media in Boston? Are you originally from the Boston area, and did you come from a big sports family growing up?

JM: I grew up about an hour south of Boston in Seekonk, Mass. and always loved baseball and sports in general. I’d watch just about whatever game was on the that night with my dad and then scour the newspaper (we got the Providence Journal) for more information the next day. I grew up playing softball, but I was a much better spectator of sports than athlete myself. 

JM: I always loved writing and reading so sometime in high school I decided to combine my two passions. Easier said than done, of course. I got a great education and great opportunities at Syracuse University, which led to my first internship which was in 2008 on the Dale and Holley Show. That led to an internship the next summer in 2009 at WEEI.com, which was the first year they had launched the site. That was an amazing experience working for the site and covering the New England Revolution and the Red Sox. I interned for a newspaper in Syracuse called the Post Standard while I was a senior there and then after graduation I freelanced for a while for ESPNHS.com and the New Bedford Standard Times before eventually finding my first full-time job at the Cape Cod Times and now MassLIve. So it’s been a long journey, but it’s been worth it.

CW: What does a typical game day look like for you? Do you go on road trips with the team as well?

JM: I do travel with the Red Sox. But traveling with the team basically means you meet them at the park. Every beat writer makes his/her own travel arrangements, hotels, etc. So half of your job is booking flights that get in early enough to arrive at the park in time, and booking hotels that aren’t too far away from the park for when you walk back at night. For a typical game at Fenway, I arrive around 2:30pm, the Red Sox clubhouse opens at 3:30 so I’ll do any pregame prep I need to do, write a post on the lineup for that day, etc. Clubhouse is usually open for about 50 minutes from 3:30 to 4:20 so if I need to do any interviews before the game with players or coaches, that’s a good time. John Farrell meets with the media around 4:15 so we’ll go talk to him to get any updates, etc. then I’ll either head out to batting practice on the field if I need to grab a guy for an interview that I might not have been able to get during the clubhouse time or I’ll head up to the press box to write-up anything important out of our session with Farrell. The game starts at 7 and I’ll post any big plays or injury updates during the game while also tweeting and I usually have a running game story going that I’ll post as soon as the last out is made. We’ll head down to talk to Farrell after the game, then to the clubhouse again to get reaction, etc. then back up to the press box to write one or two more stories off the game. I usually leave the park around midnight or so. And that’s a typical day.

CW: Has social media been a positive tool for you when it comes to sharing your articles and gaining new readers?

JM: Social media definitely has its pluses and minuses. You get to share your stories and connect with readers much easier than in the past, which is cool. Ultimately your job as a reporter is to convey what’s happening with the team to their fans so in that sense, Twitter is great. But Twitter definitely has a harsh side when you come across people who don’t think you know how to do your job or are very rude and type things they wouldn’t normally say to your face. You have to have thick skin and realize not every person or comment is worth fighting over.

JM: In relation to the previous question, I think at times it is a little different for women. I’ve never directly had any bad experiences, but in general you do feel like you have to prove yourself a little more to your readership to be like, “hey, just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I’m less informed than my male colleagues.” It is unfortunate, but hopefully some day there will be more of an equal playing ground. I think journalists like Jackie MacMullan and Karen Guregian have already done a tremendous amount of work in pushing women to the forefront of sports media in this town and I’m very grateful to them. I think we’re slowly making progress in that area.

CW: What’s your ultimate goal career-wise? Are you happy with covering the Red Sox, or do you have dreams to hopefully work for MLB, Fox Sports, etc?

JM: I’m not sure what my next move will be, but I’m happy to be covering a major-market team with such a passionate fan base. People are always in demand for more information or more insight so I appreciate that. I’ve only been on the beat full-time for two years so I think I’d like to do this for a while and see where it takes me, but I’m always open to new opportunities. 

Life and Times of a Sports Journalist: Peter Abraham

Day in and day out sports journalists all over the world are providing fans and media alike with the inside scoop when it comes to our favorite teams. From trades and injuries, to getting that big interview, these men and women are on the front line’s of the professional sports world. I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with 2 of Boston’s best and Sports Journalist Peter Abrahambrightest sports journalists in the game this week— Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, and Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com.

A Massachusetts native, Peter Abraham covers the Red Sox. He joined the staff in 2009 after spending nearly 10 years in New York covering the Mets and Yankees for the Journal News.

CW: Growing up in New England and attending U-Mass Amherst, I can imagine you were pretty excited about starting your career at the Boston Globe is 2009. After being at the Journal News for almost 10 years covering the New York Mets and the New York Yankees, what kind of emotions (if any) did you have knowing you were coming back to home to cover the Boston Red Sox?

PA: My biggest emotions were leaving a newspaper that had treated me very well and given me the opportunity of a lifetime to cover baseball. The editors at the Journal News were great mentors. But the Globe was the paper I read growing up and people like Peter Gammons, Bob Ryan, and Will McDonough were why I decided to go into journalism in the first place. I would have regretted not taking the opportunity to work there. In addition, it was an opportunity to work closer to home and see my family so much more often.

CW: How would you describe the differences between your time in New York and here in Boston?

PA: Covering the teams is about the same. The Mets and Yankees beats, in my experience, are more collegial. In Boston, for whatever reason, there’s more media attacking other people in the media. I’m still not sure why that is. The faux indignation on some topics is kind of comical. The other big difference is the demographics; there are 8 million people in New York and a good chunk of them don’t care much about baseball. In Boston, the interest in baseball is much more widespread and pretty much every Red Sox fan is sure they could run the team better than the people who do. It’s great to cover a team so many people care about.

CW: When 9/11 occurred you were covering the New York Mets, and when the Boston Marathon Tragedy occurred you were here covering the Sox. Would you mind speaking about your experiences during both events?

PA: The 9-11 attacks were more of a personal experience for me. Several of my friends lost people in the towers and I covered sporting events in New York afterward, including the Braves-Mets games when Piazza dramatically homered. In the days and weeks that followed, I was switched over to the news department for some assignments in Westchester including speaking to the families of some victims. It was heartbreaking to witness the funerals and other services.The Boston Marathon attacks were odd for me because I was in Cleveland covering the Red Sox for much of what happened in the days afterwards. It was a helpless feeling because I wanted to be home. In the time since, it has been a great privilege to meet people like Jeff Bauman at Fenway Park along with some of the officers who helped bring the Tsarnaev brothers to justice. As somebody who grew up in eastern Massachusetts, it was great to see how the region responded. Covering the 2013 Sox was a memorable time because you saw up close how the team helped the city move forward.

CW: Social Media, everyone is on it. Fans, media, players. Some people have called you snarky or rude when it comes to your interaction with fans on Twitter. I can imagine you get a ton of far-fetched, ridiculous and just overall dumb tweets and emails (I’ve probably tweeted a few, apologies) how do you go about responding to people, especially the Twitter trolls?

PA: I regret my Twitter persona, I’m sarcastic in person, but more in a playful way. On Twitter, it doesn’t translate and I falsely assume people would get I was goofing around. I should just stop looking at notifications. Ideally, it would be a way to get a sense of how fans think. But Twitter has no sense of humor or humanity. It’s a haven for the irrationally angry and easily offended. The other problem is Twitter has done a terrible job of policing abusive users. Women in the media should not be subjected to the trash they receive.

CW: I read one of your blog posts about your first MLB interview with Sox manager, John McNamara. Being rewarded for your hard work and getting to cover that game, did you feel at all discouraged after Johnny Mac told you to “get the $%#& out of my office”? Did that encounter prepare you for future interviews and how you go about talking with managers and players?

PA: I was too young and idealistic to be discouraged. A few writers there also told me what a crank McNamara was and to ignore it. The rest of the day was so great I didn’t let five minutes ruins it.

CW: For anyone wanting to get involved in reporting/sports journalism, what kind of advice would you give?

PA: Be broad-minded. Learn to write and report, develop your voice and contribute to any platform you can. Video, audio, social media, print, etc. Be completely platform-agnostic. Also don’t be afraid to work your way up. I covered thousands of high school, college, and minor league games before I got a big league beat. Don’t expect everything to come your way right away.

Panda is Officially Down and Out

News broke this evening that Pablo Sandoval is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery in the days to come with Dr. James Andrews. So, I guess you could say the Panda is officially down and out.

For me, this whole thing just doesn’t add up at all. PandaHow can someone hurt their shoulder to such severity after barely seeing anytime during the 2016 season? I mean, did the swing that broke the belt do it? Did he slip getting other teammates Gatorade in the dugout and land on his shoulder? The only logical thing that comes to mind is “pre-existing” injury from his SF Giants days.

Yes, players go through extensive medical check-ups and physicals before signing their name on the dotted line. Teams, to their credit, do extensive background checks of all medical records to ensure that you’re not dishing out $95 million to a broken toy. (Oops, did I just say that?) I mean, everyone surely remembers the Mike Napoli situation before the 2013 season. Tests determined that Napoli suffered AVN, which is a progressive, degenerative disorder that kills bone tissue. Because of it, the Red Sox withdrew their original three-year, $39 million contract and ended up signing Napoli to a one-year, $5 million contract instead.

Hey Panda, Do You Smell That?

So it begs the question: were the Red Sox so desperate to add some star-power to their lineup after coming in dead last in 2014 that something was overlooked? Or was this just a freak-accident that somehow cannot be explained? You’re guess is as good as mine, but quite frankly I smell BS when it comes to the front office and former GM, Ben Cherington.

One thing is for sure—Red Sox Nation has very likely seen the last of Pablo Sandoval in 2016. Sure, he could come back next year after his surgery and be dynamite at the plate and on defense, but news flash…WE DON’T NEED HIM! Why? TRAVIS SHAW.

Red Sox Versatility Should Not Be Overlooked

I have come to the conclusion that versatility is the Red Sox organization’s top strength and it should not be overlooked in 2016. Already we have seen guys step-up to the challenge when injuries and inconsistency arose. Guys like Josh Rutledge, Marco Hernandez, and Heath Hembree have all shown us what “Red Sox versatility” really is and by being key contributors and bright spots in what has so far been a dismal season.Red Sox versatility

Down in Pawtucket the phrase ‘Red Sox versatility’ can be seen in action on a daily basis with guys not only getting reps in at different positions, but also embracing the challenge. One of those guys is IF/OF Sean Coyle. A 3rd round draft pick out of Germantown Academy (PA) in 2010 has been seeing time this season down in Pawtucket at 2B, 3B, and CF. When I asked him about seeing time in the outfield, Coyle responded:

“It’s an easy comp, being an infielder and then going ahead to the outfield. i know Mookie started out as an infielder and then moved to the outfield, anywhere I can go and pick up some AB’s I’m ready to go, I’m ready to play and its kind of a challenge I’ve embraced.”

Having a guy who you can move all around the left side of the infield as well as CF not only helps the organization, but also will help him in the long run. With the way injuries have been taking over the first month of the season for the Sox, you could be seeing Coyle’s versatility at the major league level this season.

It’s becoming more of a common trend to see guys becoming utility-players . Names such as Ben Zobrist, Brock Holt, and Danny Valencia are showing teams that having the ability to play multiple positions can surely strengthen a teams depth, but also gives managers the flexibility to carry an extra pitcher or 2, and we all know you can never have too many pitchers.

 

The Red Sox Injuries Keep Adding Up

As of April 24th, 6 different Red Sox have been placed on the disabled list and while that may not seem like a large amount, the Red Sox injuries keep adding up:Red Sox Injuries

  • Christian Vazquez: placed 15 day-disabled list retroactive to March 25; recovering from Tommy John surgery
  • Carson Smith: placed on 15 day-disabled list retroactive to March 25; forearm strain
  • Eduardo Rodriguez: placed on 15 day-disabled list with right knee injury
  • Brandon Workman: placed on 15 day-disabled list while recovering from Tommy John surgery; transferred to 60 day-disabled list on 4/13
  • Pablo Sandoval: placed on 15 day-disabled list retroactive to April 11; shoulder strain
  • Joseph Kelly: placed on 15 day-disabled with right shoulder impingement

Losing E-Rod and Kelly has proven to be a significant blow to an already struggling rotation. With the loss of Carson Smith the bullpen has been severely overworked, but it has opened up opportunities for guys to step up. One of those guys has been Steven Wright. Wright, who has been the most consistent and dependable starter by far, has notched a 1-1 record with a 1.40 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 19.1 innings. While it remains to be seen if he stays in the rotation once Rodriguez returns, his 3 quality starts have surely earned him that right.

The return of Christian Vazquez from Tommy John surgery seem to have really paid off in small samples for the pitchers—most notably Rick Porcello. Porcello’s last 2 starts against the Jays and the Rays have been quite encouraging going 2-0, with 13 K’s in 13.1 IP. But this time is far from fixed and really could use a boost from guys who are on the mend. With that said though there is no guarantee the returns of E-Rod and Smith will pay dividends instantly,but what it should do is help stabilize the pitching staff as a whole.

The Sox currently sit in second place at 9-9 trailing the Orioles by 2.5 games. While I’m still hopefully that they can grab some wins during the 2 game set in Atlanta against the Braves and then back to Boston for 2 more, it’s pretty clear that they cannot afford another injury. God forbid another starter goes down with something, it begs the question: what the hell will this team do?