UK Red Sox Fans Bask in Glory of London Series

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees kicked off the inaugural London Series on June 29th in London, England. In what the MLB plans to be an annual event, the Red Sox and Yankees enthralled almost 60,000 fans at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in London that saw the Yankees win both games. Many American baseball fans made the epic trek across the pond for the series while a large number of UK Red Sox fans came to root for their favorite baseball team.

Little did I know that in the United Kingdom (UK) exists a large UK Red Sox fanbase. They haveUK Red Sox their own Facebook page, and their fans’ love for the Red Sox know no bounds. I spoke with Adam Perry, the moderator of the Boston Red Sox Fans of the UK Facebook page, to learn more about his, and other UK fans’, love for the Red Sox.

“I was a Red Sox fan rather than a baseball fan,” Perry told me in a July 8th Skype interview. “And because of that you kind of get to know the game, the intricacies, the players, the history. So that was the start of it for me. I mean everybody has different reasons for doing it. And when [UK fan club] did start gathering, which was about 20 years ago before the advent of social media, we used to just gather together in a sports bar in London and used to watch the games. We were one of the first sort of supporters or fans of any US sports team that were doing this, which is quite unique.”

Perry wasn’t the only fan that I got to speak with about their love for the Red Sox. After posting a message to their Facebook group asking other fans to talk about how they became fans, I was inundated with dozens of messages, notes, and postings from UK Red Sox fans detailing their love for baseball.

UK Red Sox Fans Love the Game As Much As Americans Do

Janine Pipe stated, “I became a fan after honeymooning in Boston during the famous ALCS in 2004.”

Philip Harris’ love for the Red Sox started with a teacher. “[It was] 1965. I had an American exchange teacher (I was 7-8 years old) who came from Boston and taught me about the Celtics, Bruins, and Sox. Been a fan ever since.”

Sam “Mulldog” Mullan’s love for the Red Sox came from a G.I. his aunt married. “My aunt married a US G.I. after WW2 and moved to Boston. Every time they visited they’d bring something Sox related. One of my baby photos was me in a Red Sox baby grow. Played baseball on the UK for Plymouth Mariners and loved the game! Saw my first game in 2004 and every season I have seen a game at Fenway they have won the World Series.”

Ceri Lewis said, “I’m Welsh. A Celt. So took an interest in the Celtics. Then came the Patriots in 1984. Seemed logical. I was 12 years old. The Red Sox sort of followed but it was baseball I truly fell for. My 25th birthday surprise from my wife was a trip to Fenway. I shook at the sight of the Green Monster. From the outside! I cried. It was wonderful. That was 1997. My fascination became a full blown love affair.”

Christopher Pease’s love began with a baseball movie. “My journey into becoming Sox fan began after seeing The Natural in 1984. It was my first experience of anything baseball and I fell in love with the game at that moment. Following the game was very difficult back then. Two week old copies of USA Today from stores near the American Embassy in London and late night radio broadcasts on Armed Forces Network had to satisfy my growing interest. Luckily British Television broadcast the 1986 [World Series] and I found my team.”

So how did these fans feel about the London Series?

“My Red Sox came to my home town,” Lewis added. “I am still buzzing now. I just wished they brought a feckin bullpen too.”

UK Red Sox Fans A Little Miffed With Team Snub

While most UK Fans were more than thrilled to see the Red Sox come to London, some were disappointed that the Red Sox organization didn’t do more to reach out to its UK Red Sox fans.

“The Yankees came and they did some community stuff,” Perry added. “They brought [some] legends over. But the Red Sox didn’t do anything. We tried to engage and the numbers that we had, I asked if they could send somebody over…to come to our meets on a Saturday.”

It was Major League Baseball, not the Red Sox or Yankees, that oversaw all the operations for the London Series. That fact may explain why the Red Sox did not take on a larger role in reaching out to its UK fanbase; the MLB planned everything. Regardless, Perry thinks the Red Sox could have shown a little more attention to UK Red Sox fans.

“They missed a big opportunity…that’s the one real disappointing thing I think of the whole weekend and beforehand. And I don’t know why that is. I think the Yankees, believe it or not, we’re better at it. They don’t have many fans that they invited some of their fans to meet some of the players on the flight.”

While Pease loved the series, he echoed Perry’s views. “My only gripe was the lack of Red Sox interaction with fans here. Alex Cora did not seem happy to be here either. The Yankees, however, brought over several alumni including Nick Swisher who really had fun meeting fans and young players during the weekend.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that he didn’t have fun.

“We spent several years looking forward to the London Series and it was so amazing, almost dream like,” Pease added. “Next year just isn’t going to be the same even though I will be rooting for Theo’s boys!”

Time to worry about the 2019 Boston Red Sox

The 2019 Boston Red Sox have officially instilled worry and concern in a city and region that have high hopes for a repeat championship season in Boston. After getting swept by their arch-rival New York Yankees last night in a 5-3 loss, the Red Sox have now fallen to 6-13, good for dead last in the American League East. The old proverbial baseball of “it’s still too early to panic” may ring true. However, the signs of improvement of this team have been far and in between so far this season.

What is wrong with the Red Sox?

In order to really assess what’s wrong with the Red Sox in 2019, one should look closely2019 Boston Red Sox at the root of the issue of this team. The overall attitude of this team entering Spring Training simply put was way too cavalier, dare I say too cocky/arrogant. To be brutally honest, the attitude and mindset of the team started with both Dave Dombrowski and Manager Alex Cora. Dombrowski was too casual and lackadaisical in not making improvements to the pitching staff, and now the pitching staff currently has the worst run differential in Major League Baseball.

Alex Cora is not free of blame in this at all. After all, he enforced the idea of the starting pitchers not having a heavy workload in Spring Training considering the workload the pitching staff had last October. That idea has backfired big time, none more than with Chris Sale as he is 0-4 with an 8.50 ERA. The bullpen has not fared any better, as they entered today ranked 22nd in Major League Baseball in bullpen ERA.

Red Sox’ mental errors are costing this team

One of the hallmarks of 2018 Boston Red Sox was their ability to do all of the little things right. However, in 2019 the Red Sox have committed some outrageous mental errors in the field that has cost them ballgames.

One example was when the Red Sox were on their season-opening 11 game road trip in Oakland, playing the Athletics on April 4th. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts are two Gold Glove-winning outfielders; which is part of what made this particular instance so maddening for Red Sox fans. Stephen Piscotty hits a 361-foot fly ball to right centerfield, Bradley Jr. and Betts were converging on the fly ball. Bradley Jr., being the centerfielder, should have called off Betts to make the catch. Instead, Bradley Jr. and Betts looked at each other as the ball drops in and hops over the wall for a ground rule double.

This one example is a microcosm of issues this team has had throughout this season. The hitters have not been as aggressive in their offensive approach at the plate. As a result, the team has is batting .229, which is 20th in Major League Baseball. They are struggling to reach base as they have a team On-Base Percentage of .300, which ranks 21st in Major League Baseball.

Can the 2019 Red Sox turn this season around?

The Red Sox have too much talent not to be able to turn their season around. Yes, the season is still young. Yes, the team is struggling in all facets of the game. It’s only 19 games into the season, yet it is hard not to be concerned with this team moving forward. This team can turn their season around, but they will need to do it now.

Red Sox – Yankees: Take 1 Tonight

The biggest rivalry in sports returns tonight: Red Sox – Yankees. The Sox have three wins in their last 5 games and the Yanks have just one. Both teams have three wins at home and three wins on the road. New York is tied for second place in the AL East with the Orioles, while Boston is tied for last place with the Blue Jays. The first series between the ‘pillars of power’ will be just two games, with tonight’s first pitch scheduled at 6:35 PM/ET and tomorrow’s start at 6:30 PM/ET.

As of yesterday, all five of the AL East teams had played at least 15 games. That accountsred sox - yankees for about 10 percent of the season’s entirety. Boston’s .353 winning percentage through April 15th is the team’s worst mark since 2011. New York’s .400 winning percentage is their worst start since 2015. To say the least, things have not been going well for both clubs.

The Red Sox lost 8-1 yesterday in their series finale against the Baltimore Orioles. They have yet to win a series in 2019. Baltimore’s highest paid player, Chris Davis, who averaged 37 home runs from 2012-2017, collected his first hit and first home run of the season against Boston over the long weekend. The league’s reigning MVP, Mookie Betts, who has a batting average of just .222 this season, spoke about his struggles after Monday’s loss.

“Basically, what I’m doing is unacceptable,” Betts is quoted as saying by mlb.com. “I have to figure out a way to get something done and help the team.”

New York’s early struggles derive from a vast amount of injuries. Earlier today, they placed first baseman Greg Bird (left plantar fascia tear) on the 10-day IL. In addition to Bird, key contributors Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorious, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez, and Dellin Betances are all currently on the Injured List.

Red Sox – Yankees: Who’s hot?

Boston’s most productive players entering this series are J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Mitch Moreland. All three hitters are log-jammed in the middle of the Red Sox lineup and are slugging over .500. Moreland’s slugging clip of .647 is good for 8th best in the American League.

The Yankees, despite being extremely short-handed, have several hot hitters. D.J. LeMahieu and Aaron Judge both obtain an OPS over .900. Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres have OPS’ over .850 and, together, have hit a combined 6 home runs. Luke Voit is tied for 5th in the American League with 14 RBIs.

Red Sox – Yankees: Pitching has been cold

In terms of pitching, Boston’s best starter has been David Price, who has pitched at least six innings in all three of his starts. He will not pitch in this abbreviated series, though. Instead, Chris Sale (tonight) and Nathan Eovaldi (tomorrow) will take the hill. Both starters are still in search of their first win of the season.

James Paxton will make his first start in pinstripes against the Sox tonight. He too, is off to a rocky start. His ERA stands at 6.00 through 3 starts. J.A. Happ will pitch tomorrow for New York. Happ has yet to make it through five frames and his ERA sits at an ugly 8.76 clip.

Tomorrow night’s game will be streamed on ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball. Afterwards, Boston will have an off-day before beginning a three-game set at Tropicana Field against Tampa Bay on Friday. New York will remain at home to host Kansas City for a four-game series that begins on Thursday.

Rick Porcello Almost Threw a Perfect Game

Rick Porcello almost threw a perfect game against the New York Yankees on August 3rd. For some reason though no one seemed to notice. I know that “almost” doesn’t translate into “he did.” But people do not realize how rare it is to see a perfect game. Look at it this way. Baseball as we know it has been around since the 1880s. According to Sean Forman of baseball-reference.com, there have been over 210,000 major league games played over the last 140 years. Guess how many of them were perfect games? Only 23. The fact that Porcello came within striking distance of a perfect game is in itself no small feat and one that should be recognized.

A perfect game by today’s standards is when a pitcher retires all twenty-seven batters in arick porcello almost row. Nine innings multiplied by three outs an inning equals twenty-seven. It’s a feat so rare that baseball didn’t see one between 1923 and 1955. It’s something so difficult to achieve that its very name denotes the standard that a pitcher has to meet in order to join the exclusive club. In fact, baseballism.com has a deal where they’ll take 40% off all their baseball merchandise for 24 hours following a perfect game this season. THAT’S how rare it is to see a perfect game.

Rick Porcello Almost Joined An Exclusive Club

Back to Rick Porcello almost throwing a perfect game. The game itself was Porcello’s most masterful game so far in his career. The fact that he retired 21 Yankee batters in a row is in itself a rarity for anyone. The only thing you read about in the sports section the next day though was how Porcello pitched a one-hitter. It wasn’t a shutout, and it wasn’t a no-hitter. The one hit he gave up was a home run that destroyed Porcello’s chance at a perfect game. If it hadn’t been for that one home run Porcello likely would have become the 24th pitcher EVER to throw a perfect game. Just one hit…

Rick Porcello Almost Cost Jordan Furniture $100,000,000

You read that right. Jordan’s Furniture’s Eliot Tatelman told WBZ TV Boston Sports Director Steve Burton that “Rick Porcello’s one-hitter last night would have been free furniture to 45,000 families, over $100,000,000.00. One pitch made the difference.” That makes you wonder if the CEO of baseballism.com was just as nervous.

Gimmicks aside, most pitchers will tell you that they value a win over personal gain. I think that’s true in Porcello’s case. It was another victory that further secured the Red Sox’s first-place standing. Given how well the Red Sox are playing this season though, Rich Porcello’s almost perfect game won’t be the team’s last chance at achieving greatness this season.

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.

Red Sox Set To Take On First Place Mariners

The Seattle Mariners haven’t been in first place since August of 2003. That was over fifteen years ago. I was a junior in college at the time. America had just invaded Iraq a few months earlier. Pluto was still a planet. The Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series in 85 years. That’s a long time. With the Red Sox set to take on the Mariners starting on Thursday, June 14th, baseball fans will have a chance to see how the two first place teams will fare against each other. Like the Houston Astros before them, the Mariners, who have never been in a World Series before, have a real shot at winning the Fall Classic this year. That would mean defeating the Red Sox in the playoffs though. While October is months away, fans will get a glimpse of what that showdown could look like when the Red Sox travel to Seattle for the four-game series.

The Red Sox went 3-3 in six games against the Mariners last year. Rickred sox set Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez lost two of those games. But Porcello had his worst season of his career last year, and Rodriguez didn’t do much better. Both pitchers are dominating this season though. Porcello is pitching like his 2016 Cy Young Award year, and Rodrugiez is 8-1, leading the league with a .889 winning percentage. With that said, there’s a good chance the Red Sox could sweep the Mariners. While that’s not the most solid logic, it’s easy to argue that the Mariners will have a hard time against the Red Sox pitching rotation.

Red Sox Set To Show Which AL Division is Stronger

The Red Sox are currently in second place in the AL East, but are one game ahead of the New York Yankees, which is sort of confusing. The Yankees have a better winning percentage, but the Red Sox have more wins, so technically the Yankees are behind. Regardless of the standings, it’s a tangle that the Red Sox would like to free themselves from.

The Red Sox will play the Mariners seven out of their next ten games between June 14th and June 24th. If the Red Sox can take at least four of those seven games from the Mariners then they’ll stand a good chance of getting ahead of the Yankees. While the Mariners will play the Red Sox in seven of the next ten games, those three games they won’t face against the Red Sox will be against the Yankees. So between now and June 24th baseball fans could very well see a clear frontrunner emerge in the American League.

Mookie Betts is back in the lineup. The Red Sox have a dominant pitching staff. With that said, it’s very possible that the Red Sox will advance past both the Yankees and Mariners. If not though, well, there’s still the rest of the season!

This article was written a few hours before the first game in the series between Seattle and Boston on Thursday, June 14th.