MLB
Fenway Memories A fans perspective
Category: MLB
Tags: Baseball

 

 

It’s the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. Honestly, I think the place should have been demolished a few years ago. The Kingdome had a shorter life span and you could see 100% of the field from a 100% of the seats. I will admit that the new ownership has done a great job of making the old ball yard a much better experience then in the days were the ushers were surely at best. It’s far more fan friendly and at least you have the feeling the appreciate your business.

The overall park improvements have created a nicer looking park and some better sight lines for viewing the game. I’m not fond of this ownership group but they took the old ballyard did some impressive stuff to it. They put a lot of effort and time into planning and developing it. It’s far better than it was.

I thought I would share some of my favorite Fenway memories as I look forward to seeing the celebration today.  There is no doubt in my mind that the PR conscious Red Sox will do a great job with this celebration they always do.

 

My first trip to Fenway was in 1968 it was a neighbor had an extra ticket and the Sox played the Oakland Athletics. The newly moved Athletics I even remember the score it was 4-3, I don’t remember much about the game other than 7 people went in a Volkswagon Beattle try that today.

The first game my dad ever took me to was I sold 100 candy bars for Little league so we got Sox tickets for selling that many . The Sox played the Washington Senators and I was amazed on how big Frank Howard was and Ted Williams was the Senators Manager.  All favorites were in that game Mike Andrews and Rico Petrocelli, Yaz, and Reggie Smith, Dad and I left early we told one of the coaches who failed to tell the league president . They had a search party looking for us. Finally the guy remembered to tell them.

 

Dad remembered I complained about not seeing well in the Grandstand Seats. He got Tickets through work the next time against my favorite out of market team the Detriot Tigers, These were second row seats at the Red Sox on deck circle. I got to see a few of my favorite Tigers Al Kaline, Bill Freehan, and Norm Cash. Dad took the kid across the street Joe he was about 3 years older his dad passed in an industrial accident. He took us out to breakfast, showed us a bunch of stuff in Boston, took as onto a construction site that he was running except the Security Guard didn’t know he was the boss and kicked us out. Some how I think Dad took care of that on Monday. He even took us out to dinner to the North End afterwards I remember getting Ravoli and thinking the sauce wasn’t as good as mom’s. This was my first real memories of the Park the seats were gray not red and the grass was the greenest I ever saw. We got there early for BP and I was amused at the guy on the ladder pick up balls on top of the wall. I have seen Joe in many years after graduated from M.I.T and went to the University of Illnois for his Masters and PHD. He settled in Southern California and has done well from himself is the last I heard.

 

I remember the night Dad got Tickets to see the Sox play the Orioles and we were to meet him in town after work. My mom who always dressed well had brand new sweater that she purchased that day at the old Jordan Marsh department store. She was holding and it slipped between the train and the platform she was made. I remembered that Ray Culp pitched that night and the guy behind us would yell Come on Culpie, I remember Boog Powell being on deck outside the circle and on the grass and some guy yelling come on Powell move around your killing the grass.

 

I remember being 14 and myself and a bunch friends sat next to the KC Royals wives and we just gave them a bunch crap the whole game. Of course we were 14 and amazed at hot they were as well. That game the Royals took 8-2 lead and the Sox came back and won 11-8. That same year we scored some seats behind the visitor Dugout and they played a scheduled doubled header against the Texas Rangers . Mike Hardgroove talked to us the entire game. In the second game he promised a ball the Sox were getting slaughter in the 3rd inning. We said hey were leaving he rolled a few balls over the dugout.

 

I was there when Bird stole the ball the Sox game ended and we sat around a guy with a radio and listened with the ushers and security guys to the end of the Celtics game,

I remebr my wife getting Tickets to the 1999 All Star Game front row Bleacher seats. She was pregnant with our Twins we had a blast that night seeing all the old timers and Ted Williams in his Golf cart. Looking at all my heroes growing up it was great.

 

I remember my wife got fathers day tickets when my son Michael was three. They played the Astros and the game went 14 innings little Mikey didn’t want to leave until we played catch on the field afterwards. We did and still have the little soft ball they gave us. Mikey is 12 now. I remember taking my Daughter Amanda to a Florida Marlins game fo her first time at Fenway and here dripping Ice Cream all over her pink Sun dress. It was ruined but she looked cute. I remember a marlins Coach seeing her with a marlins hat. She liked the Fish and the teal colored uni’s and giving her a thumbs up.

 

I remember a few years ago taking Mikey and his Twin brother Danny to there first Red Sox Yankee game there were a bunch of rain delays , They ran out of food I left with the two eight year olds at 11:30 the game finished at 2am.

Last Year I took my little guy Matt and Mikey to a Blue Jays game thinking I had great seats I sat behind a pole. Two nights later I took Danny (The kid is obessed with the Orioles)  we sat in the State Street Paviilion seats it was awesome.

These are some of my favorite memories of Fenway and there were many others and there will be many more. Happy Birthday old girl you survived and  will survive another 100 because that’s ho long it will take the City of Boston to approve it and find space.

 

F_cking Rick Ankiel
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Rick Ankiel Douchebags Baseball

 
Enough already about this throw Rick Ankiel made...The whole fucking world is going crazy because a guy, well know for having a great throwing arm, threw a bullet from center field, right to the catcher at home plate...




Yeah, it was a nice fucking throw...But relax...It had no impact on the impact on the game...He didn't throw anyone out...And don't tell me how the throw kept the runner from trying to go home...If the runner and third base coach have any clue at all, they know, not to run on Rick Ankiel...Dude has been throwing guys out for awhile now...




Okay, ESPN douchebags...Let's not act like this is something new...Let's not make more out of it, then it is...Calm the fuck down...And for those who never heard of Rick Ankiel, now you know not to run on him, because this is all he does...I remember when he threw 97 mph fastballs as a pitcher...But sadly, then he couldn't hit the catcher...

Later, The Beeze.

What About Larry Doby?
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Cleveland Indians Larry Doby Jackie Robinson Jim Thome

 
This post is in no way intended to disrespect Jackie Robinson...Seeing what Jackie Robinson went through, without a doubt helped give Bill Veeck the confidence to do what he knew was the smart/right thing to do...So Veeck brought Larry Doby to Cleveland, and Doby became the American League's first black player...

And Doby was no bum...He started out slow, but he got it together...Doby was a key member of two of Baseball's great teams...The 1948 Indians, (last World Series Championship) and the 1954 Indians (so close)...He ended his career having played 1533 games...With 1515 hits...243 doubles...52 triples...253 Home Runs...970 RBI...47 Stolen bases...And a .283 batting average...


Now the Indians retired Doby's number 14...As well they should have...I don't want to see everyone wearing number 14 on a day to honor Doby...I don't like it on Jackie Robinson Day, that all of baseball wears 42...A number is retired because the player it represents is so highly regarded, that no one else is worthy of that number...So I had no problem with 42 being retired throughout Major League Baseball...But no one should ever wear it again...

What I would like to see, is the Cleveland Indians doing the right thing, once again...I mean this is the organization that not only brought Doby in, but also made Frank Robinson the first black manager in Baseball...SO what should they do?

Well, last year, the city of Cleveland and the Indians were all in love once again, with Jim Thome, after bringing him in late in the season...Some how people forgot how he said he wasn't going to leave, and then took boat loads of cash and ran off to Philly...At the end of the year, they had Jim Thome Day, and said they were commissioning a statue of Jim Thome in their center field park area...

There should be a Larry Doby statue long before they ever put up one for a guy who said he 'wasn't going to leave the Indians, and wanted to be an Indian for his whole career.' I guess Thome meant after he got done with the Phillies, White Sox, Twins, and Phillies again...

While I'd like to see all of Major League Baseball give Doby the love he deserves, I'd be happy if the Indians at least stepped up, and honored a true Cleveland Baseball hero with more then his number on the wall...For what Larry Doby went through, he deserves if far more then any other past Indians...

Later, The Beeze.

Indians Trying to Lock-Up Their Future
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Cleveland Indians Carlos Santana Asdrubal Cabrera

 
Sunday, Indians Catcher Carlos Santana celebrated his 26th birthday by ripping two home runs, helping the Tribe pick up their first win of the season...Tuesday he had something else to celebrate...

Tuesday Santana signed a five-year, $21 million extension with the Indians, with a club option of $12 million for 2017...The switch-hitting catcher is on verge of being a super-star...

Last year, Santana came back from a major knee injury, and hit 27 HR's...35 doubles...2 triples...With 79 RBI's...A .351 on-base percentage and a .239 batting average...Without a doubt, the Indians want to see his batting average improve...They also want to see some improvement in his defense...


Which, we are starting to see some of that already, as bench coach, and former Indians catching great, Sandy Alomar Jr. has been working a great deal with Santana...He's also not going to be playing as much at 1st base as he did last season, now that he is completely healthy...

This news comes a week after signing slick fielding, Silver Slugger winning shortstop, Asdrubal Cabrera to a two-year, $16.5 million extension, that will keep under contract for three more years...


Without a doubt, these two guys are core pieces to build around...And it looks like the Indians may be going back to John Hart's old play-book, from back in the '90s, when he locked up, their young, talented players early, to try and get the most out of them, and not get raked over the coals in Arbitration and Free-Agency...

The only question is...Who's next to be signed? I say they should lock-up starter, Justin Masterson...

Later, The Beeze.

Opening Day Royal Predictions
Category: MLB
Tags: Kansas City Royals Eric Hosmer Mike Moustakus Billy Butler Alex Gordon Luke Hochevar Greg Holland Alcides Escobar

Making predictions before the season starts is kind of a worthless endeavor but as baseball fans, it sure is fun.  We will quickly forget those predictions on which we missed the target and humbly claim expertise on those which prove correct.  Hey, we all do it, so today, I’m going to have some fun and throw my darts.  I will take a look at the Royals and make my predictions for their season. This will give you a little idea what to look for in 2012.

CATCHER – The Royals will live with the Humberto Quintero/Brayan Pena platoon for a couple of months.  I think the estimation of Salvador Perez’s return not being until late June is conservative.  I look for him to return in late May or early June.  Whichever catcher maintains his roster spot when Perez returns may get a few games as Salvador works himself back into the lineup but will see little action late in the season.

1B – Eric Hosmer will be a star eventually.  While I think he will make strides in that direction, he won’t make it this season.  He will approach .300 and I expect about 22 Home Runs.  His defense, which graded out poorly last season, will be much improved this year.  Consider him a very good player who gains much needed experience in 2012.

2B – The Royals will finally realize that grit does not win baseball games and finally get rid of Chris Getz.  This decision will be quickened by Johnny Giavotella, who again tears up AAA pitching.  Gio will make a return to the Royals in late May and will hit around .260 with some pop.  I am scared Getz will again fail and instead of bringing up Giavotella, the Royals will make Yuniesky Betancourt the everyday second baseman.  Yuck!!!

3B – Mike “Moose” Moustakus will actually become an above average 3-bagger.  He will not hit for the average Hosmer will but could actually develop more power.  Moose will push his average up to around .275 and will push toward 25 HR.  He won’t be as consistent as Hosmer either, but will offer good power in 2012.

SS – Alcides Escobar will continue making watching defense fun.  This dude is spectacular.  Hitting Coach Kevin Seitzer will continue to mold Escobar into a solid line drive hitter.  .265 with 30 steals at the bottom of the order will spark the offense.

LF – Alex Gordon just inked a nice contract and will continue to be a fan favorite.  I look for his average to drop toward the .280 range and for his home runs to peak over the topside of 20.  He will continue to lead off and will prove his Gold Glove was no fluke.

CF – Lorenzo Cain will turn into a solid starting center fielder this season.  His speed and glove will make us forget the Melk Man, even if his bat doesn’t match Melky’s breakout 2011 season.  Manager Ned Yost loves to run, so Cain may steal 25 bases.  Fifteen dingers and a .275 average would satisfy me.

RF – Jeff Francoeur will settle into the player he was a year ago.  He will never be a star but 20 homers and 15 steals is pretty solid.  Frenchy seems to love working with Kevin Seitzer and has learned to spray the ball, improving his average.  Frenchy will always take his hacks but is a little more under control now.  His incredible arm makes up for Francoeur being a little over rated defensively but he is still above average in right.

DH – I think Billy Butler will become a star in 2012.  Country Breakfast can flat out hit and he is being driven by improved offensive players around him.  Butler will finally realize his power and turn some of those doubles into round trippers.  .300/28/110 is a realistic line for Butler and I will stand by that prediction.

The Bullpen – Joakim Soria is gone for the year (maybe for good as the Royals will never pick up an $8 million option).  Jonathan Broxton was named the closer last night but he has yet to go in back-to-back games and has a history of injuries.  I think Greg Holland may eventually take the job and become very successful because he has the stuff and mentality to succeed as the closer.  Either way, they are an impressive 1-2 punch late in the game.  A guy to watch is Kelvin Herrera.  This kid has eye popping stuff and will probably serve ass the 7th inning guy.  He will pile up strikeouts as he toils in anonymity in KC.  This group is a strength and will continue to excel.

(*Note – In all honesty, I wrote this yesterday and predicted Holland would be named closer and would not relinquish the job.  Technically, I am already 0 for 1.)

The Rotation – Better known as the “reason the Royals don’t have a chance to win the AL Central”.  This being said, I do not think it will be as bad as people think.  Luke Hochevar is on the brink of a breakout season.  Jonathan Sanchez is a K machine.  Danny Duffy will be inconsistent but will take a giant step forward.  Bruce Chen will be solid if not woefully unspectacular but he won’t match his 2011 numbers.  I have a hard time believing Luis Mendoza will fool major league hitters on a regular basis (hope I’m wrong).  The biggest wild card here will be what happens when Felipe Paulino returns from the DL.  My prediction is he will go to the bullpen until Mendoza starts getting pummeled and will again look good as a starter.  As the season progresses, with its inevitable injuries and poor performances, youngsters Mike Montgomery (if he can somehow find a way to manage the strike zone) and Jake Odorizzi could make late season appearances. 

Overall – I think the AL Central is a weak division with one elite team in the Tigers.  The other four teams are trying to rebuild to some extent.  I predict that the Royals’ young offense and slightly improved rotation will be enough for Kansas City to take second place in the division, edging out Cleveland and Chicago.  Too much has to go right for KC to win more than half their games but I am going to predict 80 wins for the Royals in 2012.  With the emergence of Butler, Hosmer, Gordon, and Moustakus, the Royals will be an offensive force but their rotation will continue not to scare anyone.

Billy Butler is my pick for the Royal Player of the Year and Luke Hochevar as the Pitcher of the Year.

There you go.  After the season is over, I will only recognize those predictions in which I was somewhat close.

Check out great articles on small market baseball teams at bigbrotherbaseballproject.com and read movie and TV reviews at jawsrecliner.com and follow me on twitter @jawsrecliner

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