PawSox Host Free Open House April 1st

PAWTUCKET, RI – The Pawtucket Red Sox will again host “A Touch of Spring” Open House on Saturday, April 1, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., at McCoy Stadium.  The free event includes autographs, photographs, tours of the 75-year-old stadium—and free hot dogs forPawSox Opening Night everyone in the family.

Tours will include the PawSox Clubhouse, the home and visitors’ dugouts, the playing field, the press box, and historic exhibits in various coves.  Fans can also wander at their leisure, enjoying the elaborate photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia on the PawSox’ Hall of History, typically open only to private suite guests.

Former Red Sox and PawSox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, who won 16 games in 1986 to help the Boston Red Sox reach the ‘86 World Series, will be on hand to take photographs and sign autographs in the PawSox Baseball Store.  A Meridian, MS native who now lives in Providence, Oil Can went 78-77 in 214 major league games with the Red Sox (1982-89), Montreal (1990-91), and Texas (1991).

Mascots Paws & Sox will also provide autographs and take photographs with children of all ages.

“We’ve been counting the days to springtime,” said PawSox President Dr. Charles A. Steinberg, “And we are eager to share the spring fever with our faithful fans.  Amid lingering snowflakes, Grounds keeper Matt McKinnon has been working day and night to prepare our green lawn for a summer of baseball.

pawsox mascot“We would like our children to be the first to see and touch the grass—it’s an Instagram moment and a Snapchat moment.”

The grandstands will have some added color, as the PawSox will place balloons on seats that are still available for the 2017 season.  The PawSox Box Office and the PawSox Baseball Store will both be open throughout the day.  Again this year, tickets for children and seniors start at only $6, and for adults at $9.  The PawSox will present fireworks set to music after every Saturday night home game.  Pawtucket’s home-opener at McCoy will take place on Monday, April 10 vs. Syracuse at 6:15 pm.

In addition to the coupons for free hot dogs on April 1, the PawSox will have special family-friendly prices on concessions and merchandise, including new gear celebrating McCoy’s Diamond Anniversary.

The Obstruction of Potential: The Play That Derailed Two Careers

Even with unrivaled success this millennia, Boston fans do not often forget those times that did not go right for them. They never forget that which went horribly wrong, even if it was corrected in the end.

The 2013 World Series championship was unforgettable for Boston and the city’s baseballObstruction fans. When seemingly everything went right for the Red Sox that year, there was a moment in that World Series where it looked like it would all fall apart. There was one moment where Red Sox nation felt like Raiders fans after the Tuck Rule in 2001. That one moment did not necessarily damn the series, but it could have damned two once-promising MLB careers.

Late in Game Three, St. Louis’s Allen Craig came around third after an overthrow. After tripping over third baseman Will Middlebrooks, he came around to score the winning run via an obstruction call. If not for the call, Craig would have been out by five feet, but alas the Cardinals suddenly had a 2-1 series lead.  While the call had Bostonians up in arms, the Red Sox won the next three games to claim their eighth world championship. The obstruction could be seen; the downward spiral of the two players’ careers could not.

Allen Craig’s Downfall

At the 2014 trade deadline, these two teams were heading in opposite directions. With St. Louis making a playoff push, they traded Craig along with Joe Kelly to Boston in exchange for John Lackey. Craig was under team control for three and a half more years with a club option for 2018. He was definitely one of the hardest hitters in the Cardinals’ lineup. The only thing Craig hit in Boston (and Pawtucket) was a wall.

In 29 games with Boston in 2014, he hit a brutal .128 with a whopping two RBI, enough to send the biggest optimists into a fit of pure rage. 2015 was not much better. He hit .152 in 36 games, but surpassed his RBI total of 2014, churning out three. Since then, he’s gotten to know Pawtucket better than their own mayor. This past season, he appeared in 22 games for the Pawtucket Red Sox, raking to the tune of a .173 average and slugging .250 along with his one homer and six RBI.

In 2013, Craig had 97 RBI for the Cardinals. In the two and a half seasons since that he’s been with the Red Sox, he has 41 split between his time in Boston and Pawtucket. The Red Sox will undoubtedly not pick up his option after this year and will owe him 13 million dollars in 2018. To call Craig a disappointment would be an insult to all the disappointments who never got a hug from their dad. Craig was a catastrophic failure.

The Drop-Off of Will Middlebrooks

The road for Will Middlebrooks since earning a ring has not been much friendlier. He broke out in 2012 where he hit 15 homers in his first big league season. His average subsequently dipped from .288 to .227 in 2013. Middlebrooks made it through the 2014 season with Boston, hitting .191 with two homers in 63 games. In December of that year, he was traded to San Diego for Ryan Hanigan. As bad as Hanigan was the past two seasons, it is really tough to decipher who won that deal.

In 2015, Middlebrooks appeared in 83 games for the Padres when he hit .212 with a .224 OBP. That production on a last place team earned him a trip to Milwaukee in free agency. On a Brewers team that went 73-89, Middlebrooks only earned 27 at-bats in 10 games, hitting .111. This offseason, he signed a minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers, making him a member of four different organizations in the four years since the 2013 World Series title.

Postlude

As bad as those two guys have been since then, there are still people involved in this infamous play who have been nearly as disappointing. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who threw the ball away to allow Craig to score, has been with three teams since then. His highest batting average since has been .225. Jim Joyce, the umpire who made the call, is most famous for that and blowing Armando Galarraga’s perfect game. He retired unceremoniously this offseason.

Times like these remind us there is nothing promised in this game. Craig was the x-factor of the 2013 World Series and now he’s struggling for playing time in Pawtucket. Middlebrooks was a budding slugger who has been in and out of the minors. While the obstruction call ended up not having a huge impact on the series, it drastically altered not just a runner’s path to home plate, but also two once-promising MLB careers.

PawSox Host Enchanted Village Party Dec 3

LHP BRIAN JOHNSON, PAWS, SOX, AND SANTA TO VISIT McCOY STADIUM

The Pawtucket Red Sox will offer their 2nd Annual “PawSox Enchanted Village” Holiday Party at McCoy Stadium on Saturday, December 3 from 11 am – 3 pm.  The event, in which the ballpark becomes a Winter Wonderland, is free and open to fans of all ages.  PawSox/Red Sox left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson will be in attendance at McCoy to meet fans.  Mascots Paws and Sox as well as Santa Claus will also greet fans young andpaw sox enchanted village holiday party old.

In addition, the Boston Red Sox will provide access to their “Red Sox Virtual Reality” which will be set-up in one of the McCoy suites.  The Virtual Reality offers viewers a 360 degree look around Fenway Park, giving fans the experience that they are standing on the field with the players, at batting practice, in the dugout, and other fun Fenway experiences.

The Holiday Party at McCoy underwent a facelift last year and will feature a number of popular attractions again this December.  Fans will be greeted at the Main Gate by carolers from Pawtucket’s Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing and Visual Arts, before traversing a special “behind-the-scenes” path throughout the ballpark.  As they tour the decorated “Hall of History” and peruse the memorabilia along the walls, fans will be able to enter several “workshops” in the suites to indulge in various activities and refreshments.  Among the highlights in one of the suites is “Fenway Fantasy” where fans of all ages can try on several authentic player uniforms, spikes, gloves, and other Red Sox artifacts.  A “SugarLand” suite is packed with cookies and hot chocolate for the tasting and taking

Youngsters are also invited to take Batting Practice inside the home batting tunnel, which has been transformed into a Fenway Park-like Wiffle Ball field.  Paws and Sox will be stationed inside the PawSox Home Clubhouse to meet young fans and listen to their holiday wishes. Weather-permitting, folks can wander out from the PawSox Clubhouse to the home team dugout and to the field, where they will be greeted by a large Christmas Tree at home plate.  Families are welcome to take photos around the tree.

Fans can then walk through the Visitors’ Dugout and head in to the Visiting Clubhouse, which will be stocked with food and drink, including traditional ballpark fare and other refreshments.

Fans are encouraged to donate a new, unwrapped toy for a child to be placed in the Toys for Tots box inside the main entrance gate.  Gifts will support the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program.

SELECT PAWSOX SINGLE-GAME TICKETS AND A SPECIAL HOLIDAY

TICKET PACKAGE GO ON SALE DECEMBER 3rd   

Single-game tickets for April and May PawSox home games in 2017 (excluding Opening Night) will go on sale for the first time at the PawSox Enchanted Village on Saturday, December 3 from 11 am – 3 pm.  Tickets will be available either at the McCoy Box Office, online at pawsox.com, or by calling (401) 724-7300.  Field box seats are $14, Reserved seats are $13, and General Admission are $9 for adults and $6 for children (aged 12 & under) and senior citizens (aged 62 & over).

Fans will also have the chance to purchase a special PawSox Holiday Package for just $40.

The package will include a box seat ticket to a trio of marquee games: Opening Night April 10 vs. Syracuse at 6:05 pm; the always-popular July 3 Fireworks Spectacular vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at 6:05 pm; and another fireworks show on August 26 at 6:05 pm vs. Lehigh Valley.

As an added bonus, all tickets in this package will be loaded with $2 of FREE ballpark credit for fans to use at the McCoy concession stands and team store, and fans will be guaranteed the same great seat for each game in their package.  This Holiday Pack will go on sale starting December 3 and remain on sale while supplies last.

Group, flex, and other packages, including the teams’ popular “PawSox Mini-Plans” are also currently available for fans.

Eduardo Rodriguez Masterful Again

As the Red Sox enter the home stretch of a pennant race, it would be silly not to recognize the excellence of their starting pitching. At one point this season, fans were begging the Red Sox to pick up any starting pitcher available.That is how bad the Red Sox starters were. Red Sox starters have dominated the last month and a half and it is no surprise that they’re back in the hunt for a division title. Everyone has had success in the rotation lately, but maybe the most important piece has been Eduardo Rodriguez.

Rodriguez came into this season with a lot of hype surrounding him. He won 10 games last year as a rookie and looked to be a blossoming young star. His 2016 campaign did Rodrigueznot get off to the start he wanted; his first start of the season came in late May and he struggled in the first half. His low-light: a June game in Tampa where he was shelled for nine runs on 11 hits. Unable to make it out of the third inning, the debacle led to him being chewed out on the mound mid-game by Dustin Pedroia.

Rodriguez’s Second Half

Rodriguez was sent down to Pawtucket in late June due to his struggles. Since the All-Star Break he is only 1-3 but has a 2.73 ERA. He has brought his ERA from the brutal June 8.59 down to 4.83. The highlight of Rodriguez’s comeback has been his last three starts. In those starts he has only given up five runs in 18 and 1/3 innings. Sunday was definitely Rodriguez’s best start. He pitched 7 and 2/3 no hit innings and shutout the A’s for a full eight innings. Unfortunately for him, the Red Sox found a way to lose the game and “E-Rod” received a ‘no-decision’ for his efforts.

The most impressive part about Rodriguez’s turnaround? His complete change of attitude on the mound. While in Pawtucket, Rodriguez had to develop secondary pitches after leading the league in fastball percentage. He improved his slider and change up tremendously during that stint. When he was rushed back up to Boston, he flourished. He is pitching with confidence and craftsmanship.

The way Rodriguez and the starting rotation are going right now, the Red Sox have a great chance at playing postseason baseball again. Looking at this recent success, it is hard to understate the importance of Eduardo Rodriguez’s maturation.

Eduardo Rodriguez is Finally Back

Starting pitcher, Eduardo Rodriguez will finally make his long awaited return to the major league club tonight against his former organization, the Baltimore Orioles. Rodriguez had been injured with a knee injury and following a setback, Rodriguez ended up making five starts at Pawtucket.

Rodriguez pitched very strong in his last start at Pawtucket, throwing seven innings of oneEduardo Rodriguez run ball and striking out seven. Following this start, Rodriguez’s had a 3.54 ERA in 28 innings pitched at Pawtucket, only striking out 17 in those innings. The lack of strikeouts can be seen as a concern as Rodriguez has been seen as a guy with strong strikeout potential but has yet to flash that at the big league level. Although, with Buchholz having struggled greatly in the rotation and coming off a shaky start, the timing was perfect for Rodriguez to replace him in the starting rotation.

Last season Rodriguez was the ace of the Sox staff. To go along with his 3.85 ERA, his command at a young age was very impressive. Rodriguez does not seem to get phased by tough situations in a game. He walked just 37 batters in 121.2 innings pitched. As he approaches his second year at the major league level, expect Rodriguez to improve on these numbers.

Rodriguez will eventually become a strong strikeout pitcher and president of baseball operations for the Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski, believes Rodriguez can be an ace at the major league level. Rodriguez’s strong three pitch make-up featuring his fastball, slider and changeup give him three impressive pitches to bring at major league hitters. To improve upon his second season, new ace and veteran pitcher, David Price, can be of great help to propelling Rodriguez to that next level. One pitch that Price features and Rodriguez doesn’t is the cut fastball. If Rodriguez can learn this pitch from Price and begin to add it to his repertoire, he could become a very lethal starting pitcher.

Tonight is an exciting night for Sox fans and Rodriguez in general. With Buchholz to the bullpen and Rodriguez back, the Sox have a more reliable option on the mound even if he doesn’t improve but stays on track with last year’s numbers.

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.