Miles From Fenway

Welcome to the Majors, Charlie
August 12, 2008, 10:05 pm
Filed under: baseball, Red Sox, sports

I’ve been a few days behind in terms of MLB news lately, so it came as a shock today when I saw that Tim Wakefield had been placed on the disabled list and that Charlie Zink was to fill in tonight. It was an odd mix of emotions for a moment. Those of you who have read for any amount of time already know that Wakefield is my guy. So to see him on the DL, especially with the standings the way the teams pitching woes these days, was a bit disturbing.

But then there was the excitement of Zink’s first major league start. I’ve loosely followed him for years as he yo-yoed between Portland and Pawtucket. He’s inconsistent, but what can I say, I’ve got a soft spot for the knuckleballers. They fascinate me. So I was excited when I got home from a meeting tonight to see he had allowed only 2 runs in 3 innings. Hungry and having just gotten home, I settled in, made some pasta, refreshed my screen and BAM … suddenly it was 8 runs. Oops. Well, that didn’t go as well as you’d probably hoped Charlie, but hey, at least the Sox are still winning. I mean, after a 10 run first inning, you have to figure they can pull this one out right?

Oh wait, as I write this it’s now 16-14 Texas. The Sox have now used 5 pitchers. This season is starting to get really frustrating.


Worse and Then Better
February 8, 2008, 3:18 am
Filed under: NYC, Patriots, Red Sox

For a little while today, I got to concentrate on baseball. Not for great reasons, mind you, but at least I was reminded that the season was close. I’ve already got three sets of tickets to Fenway (thank you six hours of virtual waiting room hell a few weeks ago), and yesterday I received an email letting me know that I had won the lottery for the opportunity to buy Opening Day or Yankees tickets at Fenway as well (what can I say, I’m just a lucky SOB).

And then this evening, as I am heading out of the office, I see this. A window on the Lexington Side of Bloomingdales. It’s like I ALMOST get past it, and then it just gets rubbed in my face all over again.

But I will say that stopping to take this photo led to an entertaining story. A guy walked up to me and smiled and said, “Giants fan?”. I explained that no actually, I was just trying to prove to people how hard it was to be a Patriots fans in NYC with stuff like this window around all the time.

“Next you’re going to tell me you’re a Red Sox fan too!” he laughed.

“Well, yeah, actually I am.”

He starts laughing that oh-get-a-load-of-this-girl laugh, and says “Ok, well, uh, Buckner!”




“Yeah well,” he trailed off. “Maybe the Giants will have reversed the New York curse.”

And that, that right there, was enough to send me heading down the subway steps with a smile on my face.

A Sea of Pinstripes
August 30, 2007, 2:52 pm
Filed under: baseball, Boston, Red Sox

Ok, it’s official. I’m starting to worry. I’ve been desperately holding on to the party line of “We’ve got the best record in baseball” but the Red Sox are starting to concern me.

I know that even if we lose today, the Sox will still be five games up. But when the camera panned to a shot of Manny on the bench last night, during which he happened to sneeze, then grimace, then reach for his back? Let’s just say you could actually hear everyone at Prof. Thom’s thinking “Oh shit”.

I’m wondering if I am only so worried because of where I live. Is this easier to take in Boston? When not surrounded by Yankees fans trying to plant the seeds of doubt into your consciousness at every turn? Or are we all sort of looking over our shoulders and not sleeping well?

Either way, I’m not enjoying this feeling.

He’s Still My Little Brother
August 20, 2007, 8:01 pm
Filed under: baseball, Boston, family, Red Sox

I still remember where I was when I found out that I had become the big sister to a little brother named Buddy (ok, that’s not his real name but it’s what I call him). I was sitting in the side yard of my grandparents’ house in Pawtucket, RI debating with the other kids on the block whether I wanted my mom to have a boy or a girl.

I may have been just 4 days shy of my 6th birthday, but I was still adamant. I wanted a little brother. The reasoning for this escapes me now, more than two decades later, but then, I was sure, absolutely sure.

And for the first couple of years it was great. He was like a living doll. I’d dress him up in my Cabbage Patch Kid Clothes and stick him in a playpen with all of my stuffed animals until all you could see was his chubby little face.

But then he learned how to get around. And more importantly, how to get into my stuff. That’s when I turned to my mother and asked him if it was time for him to go back yet. And around the time I left him out of a family portrait I had to draw for school.

The years that followed involved a lot of me being a really big bitch. All this little kid wanted in the world was to play with his big sister. He’d wait at the screen door for me to come home from school holding my Barbies out for me to play with (since that was ALL I would allow him to participate in). And for his devotion he received all of the Ken’s without heads and the Barbies I had given hair cuts to. Oh and did I mention they were also without clothes? Not to mention that they lived in the next neighborhood over, so they could NEVER speak to my Barbies. That was completely against the rules.

As I moved into my teens and began fighting with my parents, Buddy had finally reached the stage where a healthy sibling rivalry had formed. Any time I was fresh to my mother he’d run up to her, wrap his arms around her, and say “Mommy, I’d NEVER say that to you!” At which point I would promptly kick his ass. Like I said, I was kind of a bitch. But he was asking for it!

But once I moved away to college things began to change. Six years is a pretty large age difference when you’re young, but as the years pile up it suddenly seems to lessen. These days, he and I couldn’t be closer, and I couldn’t love the kid any more than I do. He’s grown into an amazing man; smart, funny, kind of a jerk but in an endearing way.

For his 21st birthday I wanted to do something big for him. So I did something competely uncharacteristic for me – I planned ahead. On a dreary day in March I spent 4 hours online and bought two tickets to this past Saturday’s Red Sox game at Fenway. Buddy hadn’t been there in somewhere around 10 years.

With him leaving to go back to college tomorrow, I had to make sure that I warned him well in advance of his birthday that I had the tickets. Which meant I lost out on the “Oh my God” moment when he opened the present, but the look on his face as we walked up the walkway? The half-joking “Hey, hey Finy, you see that guy right there? That’s David Ortiz. Right there. Like, in person.” The goofy smile on his face? Totally made up for it. Nevermind the reaction when Big Papi hit the grand slam to take the lead. My God.

There may now be a beard where dimples used to be. And he may be able to legally drink a beer now. He may even tower over me by at least 7 inches. But that day proved he still is, and always will be, my little brother.

Emotional Reset
August 15, 2007, 11:25 am
Filed under: baseball, drinking, friends, photos, Red Sox, travel, work

Someone (TomO I think it was you) said at Eddypolusa this year that the annual event is sort of an emotional reset for him. As soon as the words left his mouth I thought: Yes! YES! That’s exactly it.

In years past that reset, that sense of calm has always stayed with me for months. Not so for 2007. Faced with a boss whom I’ve described at length before, I came back and was working weekends, was working on my days off, was driving myself insane. The anxiety I felt between the hours of 9 and 5 was following me home, constantly nipping at my heels.

I was headed for a breakdown and I knew it.

And then the weekend arrived. A weekend that promised the company of some of my guy friends, some baseball, and some beer. Saturday found us in the second row of dead center field at Camden Yards watching Beckett pitch a masterful game – the only one the Sox won in the series. Saturday night there was some Mexican food, many MANY beers, and a lot of entertaining conversation.

After a hangover-curing greasy brunch, there was a surprise sailing trip. 4 guy friends, a cooler full of beer, and my first trip on a sail boat (yes I am the worst Rhode Islander ever). As we floated past the monuments, swam in the placid waters of the Potomac, and talked about absolutely nothing for hours on end, I felt further away from work than I had since my days on the St. Croix.

But a 2am arrival time back in NYC and a morning that came far too fast brought Monday crashing down on my head. And then I did the smartest thing I’ve done in a long time.

I called out sick.

A lazy day of no work, sleep, some tv watching, and more sleep found me sitting in the office yesterday morning with a slight smile on my face as my boss called me insubordinate. For planning a happy hour. After hours. For a coworker who was leaving.

I’d officially figured out how to emotionally reset myself. And damn did it feel good.

Nothing Big
July 31, 2007, 11:16 am
Filed under: baseball, Red Sox

My love of Tim Wakefield has been well documented throughout the course of this blog. A quick google search comes up with 38 separate references to him. So you all know by now that he’s my favorite MLB player and not in that CFB “OMG he’s so cute” way but in a I-really-respect-his-loyalty-to-the-team-and-work-horse-mentality-

So you’ll all know how absolutely flabbergasted I was last night to return home to find a small package with my name on it, a slightly belated birthday present from Cope. Now, when he was sending it I was given the “Don’t worry, it’s nothing big” speech. Lowering expectations? Maybe. But NOTHING would have prepared me for pulling this out of the box:

Is it weird that I now want to take the day off from work just to stare at this thing?

Baseball Brain Dump
June 21, 2007, 6:07 pm
Filed under: baseball, books, Boston, Red Sox, sports

Since the hangover I am currently suffering through is inhibiting my ability to write a coherent blog post I instead present you with a baseball brain dump.

* So I’m currently reading Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits by David Ortiz (with Tony Massarotti) and there are a few things to note. A) I have NEVER gotten as many looks on the subway as I have when I’ve read this book on the way to and from work. They range from amusement, confusion, disgust, and mutual affection. It’s kind of fun to watch. B) Massarotti alternates between writing in his own voice and “ghost writing” in Papi’s. Massarotti’s chapters are fantastic. And I like hearing Papi’s stories, but … I think they went a little far in capturing Ortiz’s “voice”. Because the word “bro” can appear upwards of 8 times on a page. It’s completely over the top and is incredibly distracting. There is a reason people don’t write the way they speak.

* Last night’s game was just a whole lot of fun to watch. While a girlfriend and I were at the bar watching, we started talking about those seasons. You know those seasons where it just feels right. This is one of those seasons for us. I knew I had hit a turning point as a fan when I got word of the Schilling DL stint and I thought “Ok, that sucks but no big deal”. I had (and have) complete faith in the rest of our rotation to hold it together. This happens five years ago and even with a ten game lead in the AL East and I’m packing it in for the season expecting the worst. I like this way better.

* By now my love for all things Tim Wakefield has been well documented. But I also happen to have an affinity for the pitch he throws most often as well. And because of that I have been intermittently following the career of Sox prospect Charlie Zink. Zink’s had an up and down career over the past couple years, but this week he threw a complete game for the Portland Sea Dogs with a 6H, 1R, 2BB, 4K line. He started out with Sarasota in 2002, is 27, and has bounced around every level of the Sox farm system, but he seems to have started getting some consistency. With my little brother heading back to the Portland area for school this August, I may try to get up there to catch a game either late in the season or early next spring. I’d love to see this kid pitch (ha, I just called him a kid – the guy’s my age!).