State Officials Considering A David Ortiz Bridge

It’s no secret that David Ortiz will leave a lasting legacy in Boston after he hangs up his spikes for the final time. In his honor, he has received gifts all year. He’s gotten everything from cigars to paintings to giant tubs of peanut butter. But could a part of the city soon bear his name? That is yet to be decided, however, the rumors of a possible David Ortiz Bridge (more specifically the David Prtiz (‘Big Papi’) Bridge) outside Fenway Park are circling.

The Brookline Avenue bridge has been a staple for Red Sox fans for decades. It connectsDavid Ortiz Bridge Newbury Street to Landsdowne Street and thousands of fans go across it every game day after coming from the Kenmore “T” station. The proposal, led by politicians like Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, would forever link Ortiz to that part of the Fenway experience.

As critical as I’ve been with some of the gifts Ortiz has gotten this year, there’s no doubt this one would be fair. Look, this bridge is a landmark of Fenway’s ambiance. Littered with hawkers, devout Christians, and regretful drivers, the bridge provides fan camaraderie on their way to the ballpark. I’ll be damned if we live in a world where Fenway’s main street is allowed to be named after Tom Yawkey, the main cause of a so-called “curse”, but David Ortiz can not have a bridge!

Ted Williams has his own tunnel in the city, so it’s fitting David Ortiz should get a similar landmark. While maybe a better pure hitter than Ortiz, Williams did not leave the legacy on the organization that Ortiz will. Playing for a franchise once deemed forever unfit for championships, Ortiz has won three and is going for four. While unmistakably harder to get to the post season, Williams went there just once. He hit just .200 in the 1946 World Series and went home empty-handed.

Is The Legacy Enough For A David Ortiz Bridge?

To say David Ortiz is the greatest clutch hitter of all-time is no longer a hot take. Just put his post season heroics in perspective and it’s even more earth-shattering. Consider his two walk-off hits in the 2004 ALCS and his clutch grand slam in the 2013 ALCS. Ortiz has resurrected the Red Sox in the midst of two World Series runs. He essentially brought them back from the dead both times with a few swings of the bat. Obviously, Teddy Ballgame had less chances, but it’s hard to cite a time where he saved a meaningful season.

To continue with the Ted Williams comparison, Ortiz’s impact off the field was equally as strong. Williams was a giant advocate for the Red Cross and the Jimmy Fund, maybe the best in team history. Ortiz has his own children’s fund, benefiting kids both in Boston and his home of the Dominican Republic. He has become a mainstay at the Boston Children’s Hospital and has even hit home runs for sick children. It was only fitting that Ortiz was handed the microphone to rally Boston after the Marathon bombings. Looking back, it seems Ortiz has always delivered, no matter the circumstance.

So, there is a good chance this name change will happen. The next generation will walk to Fenway, buy a Yawkey Way Report program and yell obscenities at opposing fans. That won’t change. It’ll just be done on the David Ortiz bridge. There will be infinitely more meaning for all those times Dennis Eckersley said Ortiz “went bridge.” He will be forever a part of Fenway and all will be right with the Fenway experience.

Boston Red Sox Secret Weapon: Burke Badenhop

Burke Badenhop

During the 2013 off-season Boston made many big moves, but also made some smaller moves that flew under the radar. One of those moves was acquiring Burke Badenhop from the Milwaukee Brewers. In exchange for Badenhop, Boston sent Luis Ortega, a 20-year-old from the Gulf Coast League Red Sox to the Brewers. So far for Boston, it looks like they hit the jackpot on that deal.
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Badenhop, 31, was a reliable reliever for the Brewers in 2013, but nothing special. In 63 games totaling 62 1/3 innings, he posted a 3.47 ERA with 12 walks to 42 strikeouts. Although this was solid, Boston did not expect much from the reliever this season. So far this season, Badenhop has been lights out since April 19th. Before April 19th, Badenhop had an ERA of 6.75 through his first 7 games pitching. Since then, Badenhop has not allowed a single earned run. He also has not allowed a single unearned run since May 14th. On the season Badenhop is boasting a 1.82 ERA in 28 games totaling 34 2/3 innings along with ten walks to 16 strikeouts. Despite not striking out a ton of batters, Badenhop finds ways to get batters out.

Every great pitcher has their pitch. Nolan Ryan had his fastball, Tim Wakefield had his knuckleball, and for Burke Badenhop, that pitch is his sinker. Of the 499 pitches Badenhop has thrown this year, roughly 79% of those have been sinkers. Badenhop uses his sinker which averages 88 mph to force weak contact. When hitters put Badenhop’s sinker in play, roughly 2/3 of the time it is a ground ball, most of which are an easy out for the fielders. Even when Badenhop does give up hits, he has another friend: the double play. So far this season, Badenhop has forced 9 double plays. This is more than any other pitcher in baseball. The sinker is crucial to Burke Badenhop’s success and will continue to help keep him dominant.
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Overall, Burke Badenhop is on a team where many pitchers have not met expectations such as Craig Breslow, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront, Edward Mujica, and Clay Buchholz. Unlike those men, Badenhop is far exceeding expectations and outperforming those men on a daily basis by far. If Badenhop keeps up what he has been doing, do not be surprised to see his name thrown around in All-Star consideration. With Badenhop and Koji Uehara, Boston may just have two of the most dominant pitchers in the game right now. Unfortunately for Boston, it takes a lot more than a great bullpen to win games. A great bullpen helps win games, but cannot win on its own.

A Moment of Gratitude and a Congratulations for the Yawkey Way Report

Just outside the gates of Fenway Park

Back row l to r Zach, Sly, Charlie, Aidrian, Eugene; front Jenny, Brendon

 

It’s been a long hall since February and I cannot believe the season is almost over, but I have to face it, the season is coming to an end and I have a lot to be grateful for.  I never thought I would be even a so-called member of the “Pink Hat” fan club. I have to say that’s an honor! Thanks Tim for dropping the label. I never thought I would make it, but because of all the wonderful support and appreciation for my writing talent by my fellow co-workers (Kara), and the elite, (Sly, Leigh, Maura and Tim) the show went on and I persevered (even if it was by the skin of my teeth).

It was a rollercoaster of a series of unexpected events for not only the Red Sox, but for myself. There were moments of glory like when I interviewed Chef Ron Abell and took an exclusive tour of Fenway park and its entirety; and when I arrived at her decked-out pad in Wellesley, MA, and interviewed the most loyal fan in baseball, Lynne Smith. Lynne surely put me in my place as I had believed for so long I was a true Red Sox fan.

Although most moments were those of being enlightened by the intelligence of dedicated Red Sox fans (some Yankees) other moments were not as promising or worthy for the Yawkey Way Report blog and/or publication, but that’s okay because those failures lead me to heartfelt and emotional passages about the beloved Boston Red Sox. I believe the most honored moments I can remember seemed unfathomable at the time, like the many home games I hung out with the report’s sales staff. I grew such an appreciation for them and their talents for I could never sell and keep up with the demand as they had fantastically done at each and every day/night, in Boston.  You guys are awesome!

I slipped at times and fell hard, but because of the respect and dignity and dedication for the publication (Tim and Maura and Sly), the blog (Kara and Leigh), the sales and marketing (the entire sales staff), and for all of the employees (all the writers, Leigh, Tim, Sly and Maura) I was able to push myself through and get what I needed done for the most part.  This is by far the greatest accomplishment and experience I have done thus far in my life.  Thank you everyone! Thank you to all the readers and fans who supported the Yawkey Way Report and thank you Red Sox for being #1!

Not only did the Red Sox make it to the World Series with all of their hard work and perseverance but so too did the Yawkey Way Report. Congratulations for such a successful season!

Initiation of a Red Sox Fan

Red Sox fan

Fans wait for the start of a rain delayed baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park in Boston, Friday, May 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

At the start of the season I was taken aback by an email I received from the editor of the Yawkey Way Report. It  stated I was to write for the Boston Red Sox for the 2013 season. I was ecstatic, for the one thing I knew,  I was going to be forced to become a Red Sox fan.

I would like to tell you my background before you wonder how it would be possible to go from not a fan at all to a diehard fan without knowing much about anything. I grew up playing softball.  From age 3 until 18 I was on top of my game. I joined the high school softball league at Beverly High in Beverly, and from freshman year on I played right field on varsity.  I did not continue in college, but my love for the game remained.  So when I say I was initiated, I already had an idea of what I was getting myself into. My parents don’t appreciate the sport despite the fact two of their three daughters played forever, so I never had the opportunity to go a game at Fenway. It would only be until I found myself dating a die hard Red Sox fan when I was in my twenties that I got to go to the famed park.  It was love at first game, but as the relationship drifted the interest was lost.  Years passed and I found myself wrapped up in ‘more important’ things. Like what? I don’t know what’s more important than the Red Sox now. I guess that means I truly am the die hard fan I never saw myself being, looking back. Now, if I am in the car I immediately turn the station to WEEI 93.7, and if I really want to see a game (not having a t.v), I embrace my parents with my presence.  In other words, I don’t miss a day of Red Sox.

To make a long story short, this year is my year to get back onboard.  Thanks to Yawkey Way Report my passion for the game has come alive again.  I know the players, I love the game, I get frustrated when a bad play or call is made, I get excited when David Ortiz hits a homerun and when Dustin Pedroia dives head on for a line drive. I think no matter what happens after this season, I will always and forever be a Red Sox fan.

Thank you Yawkey Way Report!