Where Did The Collins and Yawkey Plaques Go?

The Boston Red Sox made headlines last spring when they successfully lobbied the City of Boston to change the name of Yawkey Way back to Jersey Street. Boston initially changed it to Yawkey Way in honor of the Red Sox’s longtime owner Tom Yawkey, who died in 1976. The Boston Red Sox’s long and turbulent history with race relations under Yawkey partially prompted the name change request. However, many fans have noticed that the commemorative plaques honoring Eddie Collins and Tom Yawkey that once hung outside Fenway Parka are also gone. So where did the Collins and Yawkey plaques go?

The Boston Red Sox were the last team to integrate in 1959 when Pumpsie Green madeyawkey plaques his debut. In preceding years the Red Sox had a chance to sign future Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron, but for one reason or another, decided to pass. This reluctance to sign these legends contributed to the Red Sox’s turbulent history with race relations.

Collins and Yawkey Plaques Are Still A Reminder Of A Bad Past

Despite earlier claims, I now believe that changing Yawkey Way back to Jersey Street was a smart idea. I initially didn’t think it was fair to remove Yawkey’s name since there’s no evidence that he was personally racist. However, he was the sole owner for many years. Yawkey could have easily integrated the team, but he chose not to. Furthermore, we’re living in a time now where nationalism is fueling an increase in white supremacist activity throughout the United States, so I get why the Red Sox would want to distance themselves as far away as possible from Yawkey’s legacy. No matter how you look at it, it’s not a good look. With that said, I’m not necessarily sorry to see the plaques go. Keeping the plaques there would be awkward as the Red Sox push for more diversity in sports. But where did the plaques go?

Where Did The Collins and Yawkey Plaques Go?

The plaques just sort of disappeared. Numerous inquiries by reporters to the Red Sox have yielded no answers as to the plaques’ whereabouts. According to a Boston Globe article, The Yawkey Foundations, which strongly protested the name change, requested both the street signs and plaques hanging inside the stadium that honor Tom and Jean Yawkey.

Jack Sullivan, a reporter for CommonWealth Magazine who wrote about the missing plaques, told me via email that “My understanding is the Yawkey Foundation got his plaque and the Eddie Collins plaque is in storage at Fenway.”

Was it a good idea to get rid of the Collins and Yawkey plaques?

Probably. It only makes sense to stay consistent, especially when the plaques were on what is now Jersey Street. But I am concerned that the Red Sox aren’t being considerate of Yawkey’s legacy as a philanthropist. His foundations have given more than $450 million to various charities since 1977. This fact makes me feel as though the Red Sox are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Can Rusney Castillo Make It Back To Boston?

Judging by the look on his face in the locker room down in Pawtucket, it’s easy to assume that Rusney Castillo isn’t really happy there. While a seven-year, $72.5 million contract would likely make most people not care about where they work, staying at the AAA level indefinitely isn’t ideal for any professional ballplayer. Despite hitting above .300 in Pawtucket this season, some still wonder if fans will see Castillo make it back to Boston.

Castillo’s high salary is one of many the Red Sox have given players who haven’t pannedcastillo make out in recent years. In addition to Castillo, Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez have cost the Red Sox tens of millions of dollars. The latter two’s value plummeted from a low point when they came to Boston. One would think the Red Sox would want to bring Castillo back ASAP to see if there’s anything else he can contribute.

Part of the problem is that Castillo plays center field. The Boston Red Sox already have an outstanding outfield made up of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Gold Glove Winner Mookie Betts. They also have J.D. Martinez and Blake Swihart that could replace any of those three if they needed to. So there’s no room for Castillo in Boston as an outfielder.

Can Castillo Make It As A DH?

Castillo has filled in as a designated hitter in the past, but again, the Boston Red Sox have this covered. J.D. Martinez is the team’s primary DH this season, and they have Mitch Moreland as a backup if needed.

The Future Looks Bleak For Castillo

Castillo is already in his thirties. This age makes it much more difficult for Castillo to not only come back to Boston but stay there. According to sonsofsamhorn.com, since 1950 only 1,267 players played their first game in the majors at age 27 or older. While Castillo has already made his debut in the majors, the fact that it’s so hard for players 27 and older to break into the majors shows how the odds are stacked against Castillo.

Castillo has no reason to give up, especially given the amount of money he’s being paid. But if he’s feeling isolated in Pawtucket it’s difficult to blame him.

Yankees The Only Team Not To Observe Pride Night

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2003. Twelve years later, the Supreme Court of the United States knocked down all remaining barriers, making gay marriage legal throughout the United States. In an effort to recognize diversity in sports, the Boston Red Sox held their first annual Pride Night in 2013. Pride Night is when the Boston Red Sox show their pride and appreciation for the LGBTQ community. Most other teams in Major League Baseball soon followed. By 2019 all but one team will have held a Pride Night at their respective stadiums. Guess who that one team is? You guessed it! According to Maury Brown’s article on Forbes.com, the Yankees are the only team in baseball with no plans to observe Pride Night.

One of the reasons why I love baseball so much is that both teams get a chance to proveobserve pride night
themselves. As the Orioles’ Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver once said, baseball’s not like football or basketball where one team can hold the ball and run out the clock. In baseball, you have to give the other man a chance. I respect and appreciate that idea so much. Not just as a man who loves sports, but also as an equal rights advocate. This mentality is the reason why it’s so important to recognize diversity in sports.

To Observe Pride Night Is To Recognize Equality In Baseball In All Forms

The Boston Red Sox held their annual Pride Night on June 7th of this year. While it was a huge success, there were some fans who expressed their displeasure with the event. According to Outsports.com, one disgruntled person posted the following questions on Instagram, “Where’s the pride night for normal, married men and women that have children and are a family? It’s a two-way street.” Here’s the problem with this question. First, Pride Night is about celebrating LGBTQ pride. Secondly, the person who asked this question does not in any way appreciate or understand how privileged they are. In my opinion, they should be thankful that they don’t NEED a pride night for “normal married men and women.”

The Yankees Should Observe Pride Night Or Risk Further Stain On Their Reputation For Inequality

The New York Yankees claim that they’re devoted to LGBTQ equality. I interpret that as their way of saying they have nothing against the LGBTQ community. The Red Sox, however, made similar claims before they became the last team to integrate in 1959. The Red Sox could have signed Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays. But, depending on who you ask, they didn’t want to either because they were a racist organization, or they did not see it as an imperative thing to do.  Despite the Red Sox’s recent efforts to recognize inclusion and diversity, their reputation as a racist organization continues to persist. The Yankees are following a similar path with LGBTQ rights.

If they ever hold a Pride Night, the New York Yankees will become the last team to do so. The Yankees were one of the last teams in baseball to integrate and has more than its fair share of racist history. So if they don’t think observing Pride Night is important, all they have to do is look to the Red Sox and see how they as the last team to integrate has played out for them in history. Maybe it’s an apples to oranges comparison, but either way you look at it it’s not the kind of publicity that the Yankees want or need.

Benintendi, JBJ Suspected of Witchcraft After Thursday’s Game

God fearing people of Boston! Break out the pitch forks! Light your torches! Ban together! We have witches among us! In a clear display of their magical powers of witchcraft, Andrew Benintendi and JBJ defied logic, gravity, and probability Thursday night through their astonishing defensive plays. With Andrew Benintendi, and Jackie Bradley Jr, aka, JBJ suspected of witchcraft, the Boston Red Sox’s adversaries should take heed and pray for deliverance from the devilry that is the Red Sox defensive outfield.

In the first inning JBJ caught Justin Upton’s line drive to deep center that wouldJBJ suspected surely have been at least a double. That’s when JBJ used his powers of witchcraft to transform the ball into a magnetic force that forcefully gravitated into his glove as he used the magic of flight to reach it.

In a dramatic display of acrobatics that only a witch could summon, Benintendi caught a 89.9 mph flyball in the eighth inning off the Angels’ David Fletcher. Normally such a catch wouldn’t summon any extra attention. However, Benintendi used his ability as a witch to fly and he caught the ball. Puritans sitting in Grandstand Section 32 (the alcohol-free zone) immediately suspected witchcraft. When pressed for clarification, the Puritans fled Fenway Park crying out for forgiveness for committing the sin of having fun. They fled back to Old Salem on horseback and reported their suspicions to Chief Magistrate William Stoughton, who once presided over the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

Benintendi, JBJ Suspected of Witchcraft, May Stand Trial Before Salem Court

“Thy abundant displays of witchcraft clearly demonstrate the return of witchcraft to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” stated Chief Magistrate Stoughton. “It be witchcraft that afford them the power to make such catches.”

Chief Magistrate Stoughton added that a special tribunal would be called in Salem Village before the week end. Despite Benintendi and JBJ suspected of witchcraft, neither could be reached for comment.

Adversaries Should Take Heed, Witchcraft Is No Laughing Matter

There’s two ways for the Red Sox’s opponents to stave off Benintendi and JBJ ‘s spells. The first is to take a lock of Babe Ruth’s hair. Then tie it to Mookie Wilson’s bat. Finally, gripping the bat with Bob Gibson’s glove, slowly but firmly approach the two with the bat as they warm up before the game. If both cowl in fear the way a vampire does upon seeing a crucifix then you’ll know it’s working. The power of such a cacophony is the only thing that will break their spells. The safer and more sure way approach is for opposing players to just sit out the game.

The Boston Red Sox are taking on the New York Yankees this weekend. There they are battling a monstrous giant by the name of Aaron Judge. Will Judge’s giant statue be a match for Benintendi’s magic? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, Yankee fans living in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be wise to arm themselves with garlic, horseshoes, and salt as a means of protecting themselves. If the Red Sox lose the series this weekend Benintendi and JBJ will fly around the Commonwealth on their Louisville Sluggers looking to feast on their souls!

What’s the Best Ballpark in Baseball?

Of course, Fenway Park is the best ballpark in baseball. Many fans though don’t get to venture outside of New England to see other ballparks though. There’s two in New York City. Then there are ballparks in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C., which are all within a days’ drive. But how many baseball fans have been to multiple baseball parks?

The Best Ballparks in Baseball

I’ve been to eleven ballparks in my lifetime. I’ve been to Fenway Park 200+ times (seasonbest ballpark ticket holder). Runner-up is Camden Yards in Baltimore, which is one of the most gorgeous parks in the country. It’s a throwback to the old ballparks that were built before the cookie-cutter stadiums of the 1970s. The Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park is baseball’s best-kept secret in my opinion. Parking is easy and close by. It has the cheapest food of any other stadium I’ve been to as well. And contrary to popular opinion, their fanbase is actually pretty cool and friendly. I also enjoy going to Nationals Park in Washington D.C. They have the best hot dogs. It reminds me of Fenway Park too because of the close proximity the fans are to the field.

Citi Field in New York is also cool, especially since it’s modeled after Ebbets Field. Historically speaking, Progressive Field in Cleveland has one of the nicest stadiums. Take the time to go to their monuments park. The Indians have a long and under-appreciated history that shines inside their stadium (they also have Genny Cream cans!).

The Not So Best Ballparks in Baseball

So what’s the not so best ballpark in baseball? Well, there’s a few. While it’s no longer in use, Turner Field looked like a dump the last time I went there. Rusty interiors, nasty bathrooms, meager food options, and outrageous prices didn’t make it a fun place to go. I’ve heard better things about Sun Trust Park though. I got the worst sunburn on my legs at Comerica Park in Detroit in 2005. There’s almost no shade anywhere in that stadium. Plus it’s in Detroit.

I might get flack for this, but Wrigley Field isn’t all it’s made up to be. For starters, it doesn’t have a lot of character. The inside is dark. On a larger level though it reminds me of the U.S.S. Constitution. Both have a great and significant history, but they’re no longer what they originally were. The U.S.S. Constitution was built in 1797 but so much work has been done on the ship since then that only about 10-15% of the original ship remains. The same principle applies to Wrigley Field. It’s undergone so many renovations throughout its 104-year history that it hardly resembles what it once was, while Fenway Park’s retained much of its look. That doesn’t mean Wrigley Field isn’t a great place to see a ballgame. But there’s so much commercialism surrounding the ballpark that it takes something away from the aura. Their fanbase isn’t the nicest either.

So while Fenway Park is the best ballpark in baseball, I’d argue that the ballparks in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Cleveland rank up there pretty highly too.

Red Sox Gaining In American League

Seeing the Boston Red Sox gaining in the American League comes as welcomed news to Red Sox Nation. While the Red Sox continue to battle it out with the Yankees in the American League East, they’re slaying other adversaries. I stated in my June 15th article that if the Red Sox won four out of seven against the Mariners they’d stand a good chance of getting ahead of the Yankees. The Red Sox are .5 game behind the Yankees as of June 25th. So while the Red Sox haven’t overcome the Yankees yet, they’re closer to taking back first place than they have been in recent weeks.

The Red Sox take on the Los Angeles Angels in a three-game series between June 26-red sox gaining28th. The Angels’ pitching staff isn’t the strongest. However, the Angles have Mike Trout, who’s currently hitting .325 with 23 home runs. They also have Justin Upton and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. Trout and Pujols were both Rookies of the Year, and they won the AL MVP award three and two times, respectively. So while the Red Sox have a strong chance of combating their pitching rotation, the Angels’ lineup will be more difficult to overcome.

With the Red Sox Gaining, the Houston Astros Remain a Threat

The Houston Astros, the 2017 World Series Champions, remain the biggest threat to the Red Sox. They have the third-best winning percentage in the American League behind the Red Sox and Yankees.

Don’t get me wrong. The Yankees remain a viable threat. But their performance in the ALCS last year showed that they can freeze up under pressure. Another thing to consider is that both the Red Sox and Yankees have new managers at their helm. The Yankees’ Aaron Boone played in one World Series in 2003. That’s when he was with the Yankees and they lost to the Florida Marlins. Alex Cora has played in four postseasons, compared to Boone’s one. While that might not be the deciding factor, it reflects how little experience Boone has to personally work with verses Cora, who won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2007.

The Yankees will be hard to beat in the postseason but they’ll fall apart. The Astros, however, will be tougher. That doesn’t mean, however, that the Red Sox, with new momentum propelled by Alex Cora, can’t overcome them.