Yankees — the New Red Sox Cash Dumping Ground

yankees ellsbury

First it was the Dodgers. Now it’s the good ole Bronx Bombers.

When the Red Sox needed to trim their budget, and take out some major trash, the Dodgers were there to take the three bums: Gonzales, Crawford and Beckett.

Now, enter the Yankees. They signed this week Jacoby Ellsbury (sorry, Pink Hats) to a $153 million, seven-year deal. Two-time World Series champion center-fielder — gone just like that.

And I love it.

Sure, the Sox weren’t necessarily willing to dump Ellsbury on anybody. They may have kept him with the right deal.

But when Cashman’s Kids came calling with the third largest contract ever handed to an outfielder — crazy, right? — the Sox had to be relieved. They didn’t want him this bad – not with JBJ, or Jackie Bradley Jr., waiting in the wings.

Isn’t this awesome? The Yankees are the ones taking our players? Needing our players? Thinking they stole our players when they did us a huge favor?

So they took the Babe from us. So they took A-Rod from us (not too bad after all there). Youkilis. Damon.

This is GREAT. They need us. We don’t need them any more. They’re falling. They’re scraping. Look at all the money the Sox have saved with LA and New York taking on these guys.

Toss in the newly-acquired catcher, AJ Pierzynski, and the Sox are ahead of the Yankees already — just like they were most of last year in the AL East.

You know what, though? Do we even care about the Yankees any more? Are they even an obstacle? Rival? I don’t think the rivalry will ever “end,” but the fire is close to out, isn’t it?

Hey– as long as this doesn’t include a game-winning home run to win an ALCS (Aaron Bleeping Boone), I don’t care what the Yankees do – even if it means stealing a fan favorite every now and then.

A 2099 Red Sox Bedtime Story

Red Sox World Series

2099, KENMORE SQUARE, BOSTON –

It’s the sixth inning of Game 7 of the 2099 World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals, and Matthew, 4, starts to doze off. He’s not making it to the ninth.

So his father, Dom, carries him upstairs in their Kenmore Square apartment, puts him under his Red Sox comforter and bed sheets, and turns off the lights.

“Dad?” Matthew says as his father’s about to walk out of his room.

“Yes, Matthew?” his father replies.

“Can you tell me the Red Sox bedtime story?”

“The one about the World Champions of 2013?” Matthew’s dad asks. Matthew nods his head.

“OK. But I really need to get back to the game, Matthew.”

Dom had his reasons. It has been 86 years since the Red Sox last won the World Series — in 2013. Dom has never seen it happen. 2067. 2075. 2086. The Red Sox had been in all of those World Series, each of them, though, ending in heartache.

Yawkey Way was on edge. Generations of Sox fans have come and gone, each without ever seeing a celebration like they had in 2013 in and outside of the old Fenway Park, built at the site of the new, state-of-the-art Fenway II.

“There once was a baseball team in the year 2013 called the Red Sox,” Dom begins as he sits on Matthew’s bed and flips up a Red Sox-labeled baseball. “This was a team that finished in last place the year before, and all those in Baseball Land thought they would not be much better in 2013.”

“But these Red Sox were not believing it. They worked very hard from Day 1 and became the bestest of friends. They did everything together. They even grew beards together for fun – long and crazy beards: Jonny had one, Mike, David, Jacoby…even the Boston fans who came to the game wore fake beards to try to be like them. It looked like Halloween every day at Fenway Park, where they Red Sox played their games.”

“How long were the beards?” Matthew interjects.

“Oh, they were long,” says Dom, showing Matthew a picture of Mike Napoli from his Wikipedia page that he had been reading from.

“They had many great players, and pitchers like Jon, Clay, Koji and Brandon did wonderful.”

“But the leader of their team was a man they called Big Papi. He was a big man with a big heart and he could hit the ball very far – waaaaaay over the fence.”

“Many say Big Papi – whose real name is David Ortiz – was one of the best players to ever play baseball. The baseball guys give him a special prize for playing so well in the 2013 World Series.”

“Candy?” Matthew asks with a last gasp before he’s about to fall asleep.

“Not quite,” his dad replies. “They gave him a nice trophy for doing a great job.”

“The Red Sox beat the Cardinals to win the World Series, and people dance in the streets for hours and hours. Even Big Papi dances for a long time. And instead of shaking hands, these Red Sox shake each other’s beards! This is the third time they won the championship in nine years. And all were happy on Yawkey Way.”

“THE END.”

Dom knew Matthew had to get to bed soon.

“OK, close your eyes, Matthew. Time to sleep.”

“But how will I know if they win tonight?”

“If this baseball is in your bed when you wake up,” Dom says, showing him the baseball he had flipped up and down during the story, “they won.”

The next morning, Matthew wakes up and doesn’t see the baseball. Something, though, is bothering his back. He rolls over on the bed. It’s the baseball. Matthew grabs it and runs downstairs. At the foot of the stairs blares the headline from the Yawkey Way Report, “SOX WIN! SOX WIN! First time in 86 years!”

Matthew runs to the kitchen to his father, who is clutching pictures of his father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

“This World Series,” his dad says, “is for them. They never saw this happen, Matthew. Your great-great grandfather Dom did, though. In fact, he saw three of them. I wonder what it was like back then, to watch three World Series championships in such a short time. 2004. 2007. 2013. Boston must have been the capital of the baseball world, huh?”

“Yep,” Matthew says. “Can I have some breakfast?”

Dom gives Matthew a big bear hug as the sounds of jubilation outside rule the Boston streets, just like it did 86 years earlier in 2013 when a man named Big Papi got the party started and the great-great grandfather of young Matthew and thousands of other Red Sox fans watched with joy.

“I wonder,” Dom tells Matthew, “if those fans like your great-great grandfather knew just how lucky they were.”

World Series Champion Boston Red Sox Win at Home

World Series Champion Boston Red Sox

What a run by our World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox. Did I just type that? Back in February I thought my time with Yawkey Way Report would end in September at the conclusion of the regular season. I have never been so happy to be wrong. This team exemplified everything that it means to work together to reach a common goal, proving everyone wrong. No, I joke. These bearded beasts of baseball wanted to win with every fiber of their being. Everyone contributed— from the spring training games at JetBlue Park to the post-season games at Fenway. They respected one another, had an exceptional leader in John Farrell leveraging each player’s strengths and weaknesses, and the inspiration of the people of Boston directly affected by the Marathon bombings. All these variables aligned like stars to make this World Series win possible.

As for some commentary on Game 6, I could not be more surprised by Stephen Drew’s home run. I hope everyone forgave him just a bit (while their jaws dropped to the floor) for his lack of run production throughout the postseason. Shane Victorino overcame injury and had a stellar offensive game. He wanted to be there for his teammates, and was he ever! John Lackey gave another stellar performance. At one point, I am sure some of us (not me) thought he could finish the game; cue Brandon Workman. Yes, Brandon Workman, a man that started his season for the Double-A Portland, ME ended his season on the mound in the final game of the Fall Classic. Take a moment and wrap your mind around that trajectory; it epitomizes how the entire franchise, every man, made the impossible possible.

What a game! What a team! What a year!

Mr. October: Reggie or Papi?

mr october jacksonmr October Ortiz

Let’s end that debate right now – Reggie Jackson AND David Ortiz are “Mr. October.”

The lefty sluggers have carried their teams in the postseason, Reggie doing his magic at the plate in the 1970s and ‘80s and Papi leading the way in the 21st Century.

Who’s more clutch? Shouldn’t even be a debate, really.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t compare the two – especially now that each of them have played exactly the same number of postseason series at 17.

First, no one may have a better World Series – EVER – than Papi’s run right now. He’s batting 11-for-15 (.733) with two homers and six RBI as the Sox lead the Cards, 3-2, and hope to close out the series on Yawkey Way Wednesday night.

Reggie’s best World Series was 1977, when his Yankees beat the Dodgers and he went 9-for-20 (.450) with five homers and eight RBI. Jackson, of course, went deep three times in Game 6 as the Yankees closed out the Dodgers in the Bronx. He was named Series MVP.

Overall, in three World Series, Big Papi is 20-for-43 (.465) with three homers and 14 RBI. The Sox are 2-0 in World Series with Ortiz heading into this current series with the Cards.

Jackson, meanwhile, in five World Series is 35-for-98 (.357) with 10 homers, 24 RBI and a 4-1 record in the Big Show.

In the postseason, 17 series for each of them, it’s pretty much a dead heat for Ortiz and Jackson.

Ortiz is 87-for-294 with 17 HR, 60 RBI and a .296 batting average. Jackson is 78-for-281 with 18 HR, 48 RBI and a .278 batting average.

Mr. October. Senor Octubre.

Call them what you want – as long as you call EACH of them by the moniker.

Xander Bogaerts Joins Ortiz to Help Offense in Game 5

Xander Bogaerts

Everything that we hoped and dreamed for Jackie Bradley Jr. in April is what Xander Bogaerts has become this post season. He is one of two players that started the season with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs and ended the season with post-season play, including phenomenal offensive appearances in the World Series. The other player that helped Boston in the post season was the underdog of Portland’s starting rotation, Brandon Workman.

In the World Series, Bogaerts racked up a total of five hit, 3 runs, and 3 RBIs. During Game 5, he nearly went hit for hit (1 run and 2 hits) with David Ortiz (3 hits, 1 RBI) getting on base more often than his Red Sox clutch counterparts. His ability to get on base has made the difference game after game. Though only 21 years of age, he is wise beyond his years of experience. He has the plate patience, the eye for the right balls at which to swing, and the ability to make good contact for singles and doubles. Bogaerts speed helps him get to first quickly and safely. He has promise as a future base stealer in the mold of Jacoby Ellsbury who had a similar trajectory from Double-A to the big leagues in 2007.

Tuesday brought a welcome day of rest for players and fans, alike. Fans look forward to see what he can do in Game 6 back at home for the Fenway Faithful.

Role of the Umpire is Tough

role of the umpire is tough

The role of the umpire is tough. During Saturday’s Game 3, possibly the greatest malfeasance was the inconsistency in calls by the umpires. The bad calls started well before “Obstruction Gate.” The calls made by the home plate umpire were horrid. One pitch was a ball then the next pitch thrown in the same way, in the same place, was a strike. Pick a lane, ump! The only aspect of consistency by the umpires was that both pitchers suffered at their hands.

The umpires seemed to have learned from their mistakes given fewer people crabbing about the calls on Twitter during Game 4.

The umpires, making these split-second decisions about whether a pitch is a ball or a strike, have a very difficult job. A job that is far more art than science. Other sports like tennis and football have turned to technology for assistance with accuracy. One can say the space between the shoulders and the knees is the strike zone, but there are far more variables in the space that lies between those parts of the body. The sides and corners of this invisible box lend themselves to subjectivity. Joe West’s corner and Jim Joyce’s corner may be very different. Oh, and just for fun, if you happen to be behind the plate the baseball flies straight at you, humming along to the tune of approximately 90 MPH. The fans easily criticize because they can see the playback of the ball in slow motion once the pitch is thrown, or from a different vantage point, in the stands. Everyone has opinions, and you know what opinions are like.

I look forward to next season where managers will have the opportunity to challenge decisions. Umpires, despite how they otherwise may feel, are only human. Technology is available and should be utilized. The only concern fans have about the challenge process is its affect on game length. Many games go 3 ½ to 4 hours as it is, so taking time to review plays will add precious minutes.

My vote is for accuracy over time. Each and every game counts, especially those in the post season. What do you think about next year’s impending review process?