Tag Archives: Red Sox

NHL new (2nd) favorite team: the Jets

To state the obvious, but probably necessary, up front: we are not adding hockey to the East Luray Liars triathlon. Further obvious points: I don’t watch hockey enough to be an expert, particularly not in New England. But expertise in sports-watching and analysis is increasingly less useful, as it becomes more prevalent, and just watching the game and following a team and a season more enjoyable the, um, less you think about it, if that makes sense.

So this story in the NYTimes made me look up the Bruins schedule to see when they’re playing Winnipeg (Nov 26th) and makes me want to cheer for these Jets (not the New York kind). The following is the exact opposite of the hype and hoopla that passes for passion around here:

“There was a two-hour CBC/Radio Canada special Saturday night; a video clip in which Neil Young turns to reveal his Jets sweater and the Canadian flag on his cellphone; and a request from Prime Minster Stephen Harper for 14 tickets to Sunday’s sold-out opener. He was given two. They were the only spare tickets left.”

The Bruins championship last year brought out incredible passion and the post-victory celebrations, lasting all the way through the Dropkick Murphys at Fenway Park, lived up to all the hype. But the Red Sox season was marred by idiot fans calling for Francona’s job and the Patriots’ season started with belly-aching over every slight hiccup and flaw. How about a city supporting a team they lost until they got them back again. Good stuff…hope they lose to the Bruins, of course, but will cheer for them every other game of the season (next game, Thursday at the Blackhawks).

 

The End of Sports Radio (for me) (for a year)

I hate sports radio, but like a car crash or a bad reality show, it has been almost impossible to ignore, especially late in any season. Yesterday the local sports stations made me vow to not listen for an entire year, maybe more.

With two games left in the season (one game now as I write this), the Red Sox were tied with the Devil Rays and rapidly improving the odds of an epic collapse – from first place at the start of September to out of the play-offs at the end of the month. The discussion – on both sports radio stations – was how much to blame manager Terry Francona.

  • I understand sports radio hosts are intentionally provocative.
  • I also understand it is easy to be critical, skeptical, and pessimistic before a game/series/season and then proclaim happiness that you were wrong and basking in a win…at least, easier than being optimistic at the start and then disappointed with both the team’s loss and your own foolish inability to see the future.

But yesterday broke this spreadsheet donkey’s back. Having watched countless little league games this season, I am wiser now to the truism that anything can happen. Your team can hit nothing but screaming line drives straight at the defense, while their team gets dribble singles and bloop doubles. Players who hit consistently can go cold and players who never make mental errors can turn into Jose Canseco. Spread over a season, better talent should mean better results — and for the Red Sox, better talent has meant two World Series titles in eight seasons, plus play-off appearances almost every year. Anything more, honestly, would have been crazy good luck and anything less would have been the Royals or Blue Jays, teams always out of the play-offs by late June.

Combine those sentiments — baseball sometimes is just f’ing fickle and two rings in eight seasons is f’ing great — with the idea that the other team sometimes, maybe lots of times, deserves some respect. Consider whether the Tampa sports radio guys were yapping this week about what a gift the Red Sox gave them by keeping Francona in the dug out. Did the Devil Ray fans (all three of them – Steve, Leo, and Henry Schukraft) see the last month as nothing more than the Red Sox crapping all over themselves? Or did the Devil Rays actually play and win some meaningful games? Blaming the Red Sox fall from first place primarily on Tito Francona is disrespectful to the teams that beat the Red Sox (repeatedly) this past month.

And what made me shout at the radio and turn it off, making sports radio in Boston dead to me until October 2012, was the host’s comment yesterday — after blasting Francona for cultivating a culture of complacency and saying the Red Sox are a “soft underbelly” team — that Johnny Damon would have made a catch that Jacoby Ellsbury missed. Damon, the host contended, would have run full speed into the wall to make the catch. Ellsbury, to the host’s eyes, pulled up just a bit short, missing the ball and revealing the softness and lack of intensity and overall insouciance of this Red Sox team.

I have heard plenty of stupid on-the-radio criticisms of the Boston teams over the last 5 years, so maybe I should have thicker skin around my ears, but I’m just not going to ram my head into that wall of stupidity, shallowness, and lack of insight again.

And Go Red Sox.

Pic of the Day (#87)

going to Fenway Park to see the first-place Red Sox graciously host the Hated New York Yankees