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Ladies and Gentlemen, the World Champion Chicago Cubs

Posted by Kelly on November 3, 2016

I haven’t posted here since the Red Sox lost game 1 of the ALDS to the Cleveland Indians. I figured I’d wait until a Sox win, which of course never happened. So I decided to root for the Cubbies, in solidarity with their long-suffering fans. The Cubs won the NLDS, then the NLCS, before falling behind 3 games to 1 in the World Series against those very same Indians. As a Red Sox fan from long before they actually won stuff, I knew that anything could happen. And, indeed, it did. The Cubbies came roaring back to force a game 7, which I watched with great interest. They took a commanding lead, then gave up the lead, sending the game into extra innings. Oh yeah, then there was a rain delay. Because of course.

But never mind all of that. I am thrilled to be able to say…

The Triumphant Red Sox fan enthusiastically congratulates the 2016 Chicago Cubs for their first World Series title since 1908. Their championship drought now stands at… zero years. How about that?

Feel free to right-click on that image to save it. Also, you can grab this one (or left-click for a .pdf you can also download):

Have a fun year, Chicago. Take it from me: it’ll be a blast.


Posted in history | Leave a Comment »

ALDS Game 1

Posted by Kelly on October 7, 2016

Benintendi homer game 1

Andrew Benintendi hits a 3rd inning solo homer to put the Sox up 2-1

Well, that didn’t go as planned.

Among the surprises in the Red Sox’ 5-4 road loss to the Indians:

  • Righty Rick Porcello, arguably the Red Sox’ number one starter on the mound if not on paper, did something last night against the Indians that he has never done in his career: gave up three home runs in a single inning. Only the fact that they were all solo shots kept the game within reach. Porcello gave way after 4 2/3 innings to…
  • Drew Pomeranz, who—after allowing one inherited runner to score—stopped the bleeding with 2 1/3 of 3-hit, 5-strikeout relief. For a guy who might or might not have a nagging arm problem that the San Diego Padres withheld from Sox during trade talks, he steadied the ship and made way for some offensive catch-up by…
  • The Red Sox offense, who some expected would chip away at Cleveland pitching as they have with so many other teams this season. Alas, young guns Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. all went hitlesss. Bogaerts and JBJ, along with seasoned playoff veteran Dustin Pedroiastruck out three times each. At least the Sox got some scoring from…
  • Postseason newbies Hanley Ramirez, Andrew Benintendi, Sandy Leon, and Brock Holt, who each had an RBI (all but Ramirez doing it via solo homers). Holt was an especially pleasant surprise, going 3-for-4 after a lackluster September. Boston sports radio was abuzz, and not in a good way, after manager John Farrell announced the starting lineups yesterday and there was Holt, batting #2. I think we can now call that a good move.

Game 2 is this afternoon at 4:30 EDT, David Price vs. Corey Kluber. The two starters have comparable regular-season numbers in record and strikeouts but Kluber’s ERA beats Price’s by 0.85 runs. That’s all the analysis I have time for right now because I have to leave for a blood donation appointment.

And along the statistical lines, the Orioles totally let me down Tuesday by blowing the wild card game against the Blue Jays. The Jays took the Rangers to the cleaners in game 1 of their divisional series, so I’ll do crunch some numbers over the next couple of days about which of those two teams we’d prefer to face if we get to the next round.

Posted in postseason | Leave a Comment »

Bracket Update

Posted by Kelly on October 6, 2016

Now that the wild card games are done, here is the updated postseason backet (click the image for a .pdf version you can download and print):


Posted in postseason | Leave a Comment »

Happy Postseason!

Posted by Kelly on October 4, 2016

It’s nice to be back, folks, and under very good circumstances.

I admit to the return of my pre-2004 mindset throughout most of this season, in that I never thought our boys would actually win the division. After the last two seasons, I would have been happy with a winning record.

But they exceeded my expectations and now embark on what we all hope will be another worst-to-first postseason performance. Having limped through the last week of the season (a lone win in the final six games) that cost them home field advantage in the first round, they nonetheless start wish a clean slate. Here, are the matchups (click the image for a .pdf version you can download and print):


The Red Sox vs. Indians best-of-5 series begins on Thursday evening at 8:00 EDT. Cleveland will host games 1 and 2 Thursday and Friday, Boston will host games 3 and 4 (if necessary) Sunday and Monday, and they’ll all go back to Cleveland on Wednesday if a game 5 is required. The winner of that series will play the winner of the series between the Rangers and either the Blue Jays or Orioles, who are playing for the wild card slot tonight.

From my perspective, I say we should root for the Orioles as the preferable team to face should they beat Texas and we beat Cleveland. We beat Baltimore in the season series 11-8, whereas Toronto edged us out 10-9. Toronto is also on a bit of a high, having surged past the O’s at season’s end to secure home field for the wild card game. Baltimore, on the other hand, were swept by the Sox in the second last week of the season, so hopefully we might be in their heads a bit.

Another advantage the Sox have over the Orioles is in starting pitching against each other. Looking at John Farrell’s postseason rotation of Porcello, Price, Buchholz, and Rodriguez has fared much better overall against Baltimore than against Toronto. Likewise, our batters have done better against Baltimore.

I should point out that as I write this, the O’s have just taken a 2-1 lead against the Jays in the fourth inning. So pull for those O’s to keep it going and win this thing.

See you on Thursday.

Posted in postseason | Leave a Comment »

Boston Strong: Why This Title Is the Best So Far

Posted by Kelly on October 31, 2013

Edited to correct spelling and grammar errors because, hey, I wrote the original in the middle of the night! —TRSF 11/01/2013 15:30 EDT

Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series ChampionsIt almost doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true. The Boston Red Sox are 2013 World Series Champions.

The September 2011 collapse that ended Terry Francona’s managerial career in Boston, the Bobby Valentine Era, and last place duds that were the 2012 Red Sox feel like ancient history.

As I drove home from the sports bar where I watched Game 6 with friends and family, I heard a question posed on 98.5 The Sports Hub: Of the three championship teams in the last ten seasons, how would you rank them in terms of favorites? The first thing I thought was, WE’VE WON THREE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN THE LAST TEN SEASONS! (The first team, by the way, to do that in the 21st century, is all.) Then I set my mind to the question.

Each championship has been special in its own way. The 2004 title removed from the Red Sox organization and its long-suffering fans the weight of generations of disappointment. The 2007 title was proof that 2004 was not a fluke and allowed us to enjoy the team’s success as normal fans not starved for enjoyment. But this one is something else entirely, the rare achievement of a front office determined to atone for last year, a manager committed to restoring order and dignity to the team, and players who learned very quickly that each of them had a part to play and did so enthusiastically—on the field and off.

At this point, I feel like I should say something about last April’s marathon bombing. I haven’t written much about it, not only because it was small compared to other terrorist attacks like 9/11 or Oklahoma City, but also because it was so intensely Boston. Generally thought of as a big city, it’s really quite small population-wise, which makes it a much tighter community than places like Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York. Its citizens (and those in the surrounding area, like me) are fiercely proud of its past and present importance in history, arts and culture, and sports. The Boston Marathon is one of those sports, and when it was attacked, it was personal in a way that people not from here probably don’t understand. The Murrah Building in Oklahoma City was targeted because it was a federal facility. The World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Capitol were targeted because they were representative of American business, military power, and politics. While the dead were overwhelmingly from those areas, they were killed not because they were Oklahomans or New Yorkers or Washingtonians or Virginians, but because they were Americans. But the Boston Marathon is at the heart of Boston. It is a quintessentially local event that outsiders are allowed to join.

Red Sox players realized this immediately after the bombing, even before they returned to Boston from the road trip on which they were just embarking when the explosions went off. Not only the veterans who had been here for years realized it, but the new guys did too. David Ortiz was the one who verbalized it (“This is OUR fucking city!”) but even the most recent additions to the roster got it. They decided among themselves, independent of the larger organization and deliberately without the organization’s help, to reach out in a coordinated way to survivors and to victims’ families, to show the community that has stood by this team through the decades that the team has the community’s back. Each and every player participated, voluntarily and without fanfare. Though I’m sure they didn’t realize it at the time, the bombing became, probably more than any other single factor, what united this group of athletes and gave them common purpose and direction. Having developed that bond as people, they continued it as teammates. The players led and the executives followed, using traditions and special ceremonies before and during games to support and honor survivors and first responders at home games all season long, and giving the fans a vehicle to do so as well.

And that’s the final reason why I think this championship is special. It was accomplished by a group of men who came from all over the world but who felt at home enough in Boston to treat the city, particularly those who bore the worst of the attack, as a family to whom they were devoted. Then when it came to baseball, the “work” they do which is really play and for which they get paid ridiculous amounts of money, they behaved as a family devoted to one another.

Sure, some players did better than others. But there was not a single one of them who did not at one time or another, by his actions and efforts, take the rest of the team on his shoulders and do what the others, for that moment, couldn’t. They didn’t do it merely because it was their job to win games. They did it in the spirit of cooperation and perseverence that manifested itself after the bombings and was so perfectly expressed in the motto “Boston Strong.” They did it because they genuinely love this city and each other.

It may sound melodramatic, but trust me, it’s reality. I couldn’t be prouder to be a fan of this particular team, these 25 men who did something so important to so many people, and then went onto the field and won a championship.

Posted in accomplishments, attitude | 1 Comment »

Boston Sports: It’s Good to Be Us

Posted by Kelly on October 23, 2013

Boston StrongIn case you live outside North America and/or in a cave, you probably know that the Red Sox are going to the World Series for the third time in 10 years. Before 2004, such an achievement was unimaginable.

The Red Sox aren’t the only local team that has enjoyed recent sporting success. Our professional sports franchises have had a tremendous collective run in the last 12 years, with three Super Bowl wins by the Patriots (2002, 2004, 2005), an NBA Championship by the Celtics (2008), and a Stanley Cup by the Bruins (2010) to go along with the Red Sox wins. It hasn’t always been like that. When our teams have enjoyed success, it was usually one at a time, while the other teams floundered. I got thinking that it would be interesting to look at the entire history of our major sports franchises and see exactly what they have and haven’t done for us over the decades. The results surprised me.

Boston is one of several cities that has teams in all four major team sports: baseball, hockey, basketball, and football. So let’s start at the beginning.

  • Boston Braves were the city’s first major professional sports team. A charter franchise of both the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (1871-1875) and its successor, the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs (1876-1953), they were previously called the Red Stockings, Beaneaters, Doves, and Rustlers. After the 1953 season, the franchise moved to Milwaukee and and then to Atlanta.
  • Boston Red Sox were a charter franchise of the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs (1901-present). Previously called the Americans, they are one of only four original AL teams to still play in their original city.
  • Boston Bruins were the first U.S. team in the National Hockey League (1924-present) and are considered one of the “Original Six” teams that comprised the league when it reorganized in 1942.
  • Boston Redskins, National Football League (1932-36), were originally called the Braves, after the baseball team at whose stadium they played. The franchise moved to Washington, DC, after the 1936 season.
  • Boston Yanks were another Boston NFL team (1944-48) that didn’t last. The franchise moved to New York City, where it operated for three more seasons. Finally, it moved to Dallas, Texas, and played for a season before folding.
  • Boston Celtics were a charter franchise of the Basketball Association of America (1946-1949), later called the National Basketball Association (1949-present).
  • New England Patriots, a charter franchise of the American Football League (1960-1969), were originally known as the Boston Patriots. They joined the National Football League (1970-present) when the two leagues merged. The team soon moved to Foxboro, Massachusetts, and changed their name to the Bay State Patriots and then the New England Patriots. Although no longer in Boston, they are widely considered to be a Boston team.
  • New England Whalers were a charter franchise of the short-lived World Hockey Association (1972-1979). When the league folded, the Whalers joined the NHL and moved to Hartford, Connecticut. The franchise is now the Carolina Hurricanes.

That’s a total of eight major professional teams that have played in Boston. Six of them have won championships. Only one team, the Yanks, failed to even make it to a championship game/series, so they’re excluded from the following chart showing championship performance decade by decade.

    F = First place finish, no championship game/series played
    L = Played in but lost the championship game/series
    W = Won the championship game/series
    * = The 2013 Red Sox will end up with either an “L” or a “W”
    indicates that the team either didn’t yet exist or had left the Boston area
Braves Red Sox Bruins Redskins Celtics Patriots Whalers TOTAL
1871-1880 6F 6F
1881-1890 1F 1F
1891-1900 5F 5F
1901-1910 1W, 1F 1W, 1F
1911-1920 1W 4W 5W
1921-1930 1W, 2L 1W, 2L
1931-1940 1W 1L 1W, 1L
1941-1950 1L 1L 1W, 2L 1W, 4L
1951-1960 3L 3W, 1L 3W, 4L
1961-1970 1L 1W 8W 9W, 1L
1971-1980 1L 1W, 3L 2W 1W 4W, 4L
1981-1990 1L 2L 3W, 2L 1L 3W, 6L
1991-2000 1L 1L
2001-2010 2WL 1W, 1L 3W, 1L 6W, 2L
2011- * 1W, 1L 1L 1W, 2L, *
TOTAL 1W, 1L, 12F 7W, 4L, 1F 6W, 13L 1L 17W, 4L 3W, 4L 1W 35W, 27L, 13F

The leanest decade (and having lived through it, it sure felt like it) was the 1990s, when the Patriots were the only team that even got close to a championship, losing in the second Super Bowl appearance in their history. The 1881-1890 period was a bit dry too, with only one first place finish by the Braves, at that time the only team in town. In every other decade, at least one team won a championship (or, in the case of the 19th century Braves, the closest thing to it).

Let’s look at those totals again. Thirty-five outright championships is an astounding number. Sure, almost half of those came from the Celtics, the most successful pro sports franchise of all time, having won championships in slightly more than 25% of their seasons. But our other teams aren’t crap, either. By my count, the only city that exceeds our total championships won is New York (in which I have included Brooklyn), which has consistently hosted multiple teams in each sport.

What our teams have done is quite remarkable. Sure, we’ve suffered through periods in which one team or another sucked badly (think the Red Sox of the 1950s, the Celtics of the 1990s or the Patriots before 1996). Most fans feel very fortunate to have enjoyed our teams’ recent run of success. But the fact is since the advent of professional sports, Boston has been royalty.

Here’s hoping we soon add one more jewel to the crown.

1. In case you’re wondering why I have separated the decades as I have, remember that there was no year 0; the year after 1 B.C. was 1 A.D.. Thus, historians consider a new decade to begin on January 1, XXX1.
2. Baseball had no formal championship series in the 19th century. Though there were so-called championship series, they were considered exhibitions and not analogous to the World Series that began in 1903. Before that, the team that finished in first place was considered the league champion.
3. For purposes of compiling these numbers, I placed the championship in the year when it was won. For example, the 1980-81 Celtics won the NBA championship in 1981, so that victory goes in the 1981-1990 decade, not the previous one. Also, keep in mind that since the 1969 NFL season, the pro football championship game has taken place in the next calendar year, though that wasn’t an issue in compiling Patriots wins by decade.)

Posted in history, other sports, postseason | 1 Comment »

Sox Fail to Close vs. Tigers

Posted by Kelly on June 21, 2013

John Lackey got his job done last night (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 5 K) but the starter has no control over what happens after he leaves the game. What happened after Lackey and reliever Koji Uehara (1 IP, 0 H, 1 K) were done was that Andrew Bailey gave up a walk-off homer in the ninth inning to blow the save and the game. It’s Bailey’s first loss of the season but his fourth blown save in twelve save opportunities. That is unacceptable for a purported closer.

Posted in game recaps, pitching | Leave a Comment »

Sox-Tigers Pitching Matchups

Posted by Kelly on June 20, 2013

I originally wrote this for my BlackBerry Messenger Channel (pin:C0001DAD7 for you BBM users!) and am just now posting it here.

Starting pitching probables for the upcoming series seem to favor Detroit:

  • Tonight – Lackey (4-5, 3.08) vs. Alvarez (1-0, 1.50)
  • Tomorrow – Lester (6-4, 4.37) vs. Fister (6-4, 3.21)
  • Saturday – Webster (0-1, 11.74) vs. Scherzer (10-0, 3.08)
  • Sunday – Doubront (4-3, 4.38) vs. Verlander (8-5, 3.72)

Alvarez and Webster have a combined three starts, so they might not be as good and bad, respectively, as the numbers suggest.

Posted in pitching | Leave a Comment »

Sorry I’ve Been AWOL – I Was Busy Being Waterboarded by the IRS

Posted by Kelly on June 16, 2013

But seriously, I’M BACK! Sure, it’s 2½ months into the season, but better late than never, right?

Let’s jump right into the middle of the pool. The Sox are currently 42-29, leading the AL East and tied with Oakland for the best record in the American League. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we just dropped 3 out of 4 to Baltimore, and as one would expect, pitching was the problem. As I wrote Friday on the TRSF channel on BBM (more about this when it’s out of Beta!), of our three weekend starters (Ryan Dempster, John Lackey, and Jon Lester) I was least confident in Lester. He’s been inconsistent and unable to go deep into games. Sorry, but you can’t keep throwing 100+ pitches in five innings.

I didn’t actually watch today’s game—I spent the afternoon (Father’s Day!) watching the US Open with Dad. But a quick perusal of the box score suggests that I was right to feel squeamish about Lester. Five earned runs on 106 pitches in 5 innings isn’t what we should be getting from our #1 starter.

Tomorrow is an off day. Next up: the Rays for 2 on Tuesday at Fenway.

Posted in game recaps, pitchers | 1 Comment »


Posted by Kelly on June 29, 2012

In my fantasies, the Red Sox are managed by someone other than Bobby Valentine, don’t have two teams’ worth of outfielders on the disabled list, and are in first place. In my fantasies, I am also a size 8 and recently won the lottery. In other words, you can’t always get what you want.

Fantasy baseball is a slightly different story. You can get what you want, most of the time, especially in the private league to which I belong, which enjoys rather lax rules.

The Triumphant Red Sox Fan’s 2012 Llamas had a good run for several weeks, holding first place (albeit in an admittedly weak division). Then things started to fall apart.

Now, I’ve always run my fantasy teams a lot like a real major league team, in the sense that I didn’t make frequent wholesale changes. The same isn’t true of some of the other team owners. I’ve seen owners do a daily dump of starting pitchers and add the best currently available starters who were scheduled to pitch next. That’s an easy way to boost your team’s total innings pitched (one of our stat categories) and always have the hot commodities on your roster. In response to such people, the league’s commissioner limited the number of players who can be added to a roster in a week—12, still a substantial number, and one to which I’ve never come close.

But in the last few weeks, my team has tanked. Previously reliable pitchers have imploded in not only one but sometimes three or four consecutive starts. Consistent bats have gone inexplicably cold. The Llamas sank to last place, which they now hold by a significant margin.

So yesterday and today, I blew up the team. I got rid of players who started out strong but have trended dramatically downward. I got rid of players who started out week and haven’t pulled themselves up. I even ditched one of my “keeper” players. I took a roster of 25 and replaced nine of them.

Llamas transactions, last 2 days

That’s nine moves (I count a drop and an add as one move) in two days. I had made 21 moves in the previous 12 weeks of the season.

(A side note for those of you who might be wondering: The picture beside my name on the transaction list isn’t me. It’s Effa Manley, the only woman inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.)

As you will note by the waiving of Felix Dubrount, I try not to let my Red Sox fanship affect my fantasy team decisions. My Yankee hatred is a different story. When the computer drafted Derek Jeter on my behalf back in March, I decided to stick with him initially but cut him loose at the first bump in the road. I do have standards.

Even with the recent surge of activity, I’m still in the lower half of the league in terms of moves made this season. But I don’t intend to stay there. I pledge to be less patient and more aggressive. I plan to spend more time on statistical analysis and trends. I pledge to make this the first season of my fantasy baseball career in which I do not end the season firmly entrenched in the cellar.

Will my new free-wheeling management style produce the desired results? I’ll let you know after this weekend. But I am optimistic. I figure things couldn’t get much worse.

Posted in fantasy baseball | Leave a Comment »