Goodbye 2010 (Year Of The Catastrophy)

 

 

August Beltre Lowell.jpgAs we dwell in the melancholy of the past year, there is much to be pondered, and much to be proud of. The 365 days that comprised 2010 took Red Sox fans on quite a rollercoaster ride of hills and valleys that started with media-pumped optimism, and ended with a lackluster ending of the 3rd spot in our American League East.

The 2010 year began with the loss of LF Jason Bay’s prized bat, and the gain of “Bulldog” John Lackey to our pitching stable. When Spring Training was through, we witnessed the emergence of young Clay Buchholz’s “Year of Legitimacy”, and Adrian Beltre’s rise to Mega Stardom. On the flip-side were the struggling starts of Jed Lowrie and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
New additions to the families of: Lester, Matsuzaka, Buchholz, Beltre & Henry should be noted, for they may be the future of Baseball.
Our team veteran Tim Wakefield began the year as a starting pitcher, and ended it as a reliever…while picking-up a 2010 Roberto Clemente Award. And Darnell McDonald and Daniel Nava had mind-blowing debuts in front of hometown crowds at Fenway Park. (I hope that Manny DelCarmen returned Nava’s Grand Slam ball to him postgame.)
2010 also seemed to be the year of Mike Lowell. While he did not play nearly as many games as he would have liked, and was sadly almost lost to the Texas Rangers in the Spring, our #25 entered the season with a first plate appearance 2-run homer that sent the fan base over the moon….and ended the season with a nationally-televised farewell on October 2nd.
And now to acknowledge the elephant in the room…..the EVER GROWING DISABLED LIST of 2010. Literally a “Who’s Who” of Boston Red Sox star players, the list began with Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron and Jeremy Hermida, and ended with practically every other player on the roster !! (I wish I were only joking) 
We bid a sad and fond farewell to Manny DelCarmen, Jeremy Hermida, Adrian Beltre & Victor Martinez, and we welcome newcomers Jenks, Wheeler, Crawford and Gonzalez. 
Even with such a train wreck of an injury list in 2010, the Boston Red Sox still managed to squeeze-out 89 regular season wins…..the same as the American League Champion, World Series playing Texas Rangers !!  Let’s not forget that our 2nd string players took 2 out of 3 games against the Evil Empire’s “Superstars” in the regular season finale in October. So Good, So Good, So Good.
 
 
June 2010 077 (2).jpgEach year we venture into the unknown. This upcoming year, the Sox are equipped with the shiniest and sharpest sword in the kingdom.
– fenway fruitgirl 2010  “BEHIND THE NET”
 
 
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Fenway’s Festivities Of The Season

 

Christmas Fenway 042.jpgOn a beautiful brisk and sunny December day in Boston, the Boston Red Sox front office celebrated holiday season by giving back to some of the lucky fenway faithful. The annual Christmas At Fenway celebration was held on Saturday December 11th at the grand old 98 1/2 year old ballpark’s warm upper levels. 

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Attendees were allowed to bring guests, and some brought buddies, co-workers, spouses, and children. The gates opened at 10am, and admittance was distributed throughout the day according to your invitation. Player appearances and activities were spread-out from 10am-5pm, and included Tours of the Park’s Improvements, Viewings & Photos with the 2004 & 2007 World Series Trophies & American League Trophies in the Pavillion Suite, visits from Santa and Mrs. Clause, as well as Wally the Green Monster & several other Boston Sports Mascots. Candy and Popcorn were complementary and well-received by young and old. Wally’s World was set up on the lower level near Gate E for the children to play games, and the visitor’s batting cages were open for challengers. Up in the EMC Club was an outstanding view of the ballpark & it’s many ongoing renovations….as well as the most beautiful bathrooms in the ballpark. Also in the massive suite was a Wii Video Game area, and up on the stage, a Fenway-style gameshow. (Who Wants To Be A Red Sox Millionaire)
 
On the upper large State Street Pavillion Deck area were magicians, face painters, artist, and Curious Creatures to entertain the visiting families throughout the day. 
 
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Interviews with Jason Varitek, Carl Crawford, Daniel Nava, Luis Tiant, Terry Francona, Frank Malzone and coaches Ron Johnson and DeMarlo Hale were ongoing on the stage all day.
(Varitek finalized his contract for 1-year, and Crawford was officially introduced as our new Left Fielder early in the day.)
 
Christmas Fenway 004.jpgWhile all this was going on, tickets for the 2011 season were being sold on the lower level ticket windows by wristband # and timeslot. Tickets were also being sold by redsox.com website in a limited capacity beginning at 10am. Only certain games in April, May and September were available for individual game purchase, and a variety of Sox Pax were also available. There was a limit of 8 tickets per invited attendee. The remainder of the games will be released for sale in mid-January of 2011.
 
– fenway fruitgirl 2010   “BEHIND THE NET”
Have a happy, healthy & safe holiday season Red Sox Nation !!

GUEST SPEAKER : CAPTAIN JASON VARITEK

 

 

Captain.jpgThe service clubs of Greater Haverhill: Key Club, Exchange Club, Pentucket & Haverhill Kiwanis Clubs had their annual dinner of the holiday season on Thursday at DiBurro’s of Ward Hill, sponsored by northshore car czars Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion. Businesspeople and Movers and Shakers of the Merrimack Valley came out for the holiday business luncheon and were treated to a delightful speech by Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, followed by a Question and Answer session, all benefiting area children’s sports programs.

 
Sponsors Gary, Mark and Gavin Jaffarian are well-known north of Boston for their many years of philanthropy benefiting various children’s charities, and also have maintained a working relationship with many Boston sports players (Jason Varitek, Felix Dubront, Hideki Okajima of the Boston Red Sox). Also orchestrating the event was Peter Carbone of the Haverhill Kiwanis Club, Peter Shanahan of Haverhill High School/Haverhill Schools, and the DiBurro family (David, Joe & Patrick Sr.).*
 
 
Speech 001.jpgI was sandwiched between Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini and Matt Battistini Sr. who sang Take Me Out To The Ballgame to honor our Captain. Rabbi Kowniow gave the entertaining blessing and said a few words. Stating that pitchers and catchers report in 67 days, he then asked the Lord to “Strike-Out poverty, disease and Evil Empires”. He also asked: “May he (Varitek) never suffer broken bones anywhere in his body again”.  (Amen to that !!)
Jason is a “captivating” public speaker and got a bit choked-up when recanting his last game of the 2010 season. “I hadn’t thought of how much this team and place mean to me until the last game of the year. My (3) girls were there and really upset and crying, saying: Daddy, why are you going to be gone?” It really hit home and taught him about what it meant to be here. “I’ve never had to sit in the stands (Fenway) and watch a game….and I hope I don’t have to for a while.” 
Varitek’s speech focused on leadership. He spoke of the value of an education (carries his Georgia Tech diploma in his wallet) and outlined his responsibilities as a leader in the clubhouse: being prepared, being accountable, being accessible and communicating. “Do the things that you CAN do to be in control.”
 
 
Speech 002.jpg“I’ve been very blessed to be at the right place (Boston) at the right time.” 
“(Fenway) …. can be a tough place to play when things are not going right” and told us of fans shouting” “YOU JUST CRUSHED MY GRANDMOTHER !” 
The speech and questions afterward were very entertaining.
Q: You caught a record number of No-Hitters, but you almost had one with Curt Schilling, what pitch did he “Shake-Off”?
A: (Varitek) Slider…..and he still can’t let go of it. (he said with a smile)
Q: Most memorable moment as a Red Sox player?
A: (Varitek) The last 3rd out in St. Louis.
Q: What do you say to pitchers/players after a bad game or loss?
A: (Varitek) “They Stink…..Sometimes In Japanese”
Q: Will you coach after you retire?
A: (Varitek) “I focus completely on what I have to do (now)”
Q: What did you say to Alex Rodriguez? (His most-frequently asked question)
A: (Varitek) “nothing………he said enough” 
Tek spoke a bit about some of his team mates. Mentioning outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s rib injury “you cannot play when you have an injured torso”, and when asked about young catcher Saltalamacchia “I’ve got to learn about Jarrod”. A reporter from the Eagle Tribune asked about the Crawford & Gonzalez additions, Jason said: “Crawford’s quick and Adrian’s bat speaks for itself.”
The veteran player described Spring Training and “Camp Tuck” as being very tough, and takes pride that his 38 year old body always does well (Top 5) against the 22 year olds. Varitek’s favorite sports to play were baseball and football, and he had this to say:
“If I can leave the game and have the respect of my peers, I will be happy.”
– fenway fruitgirl 2010
 
 
 

Musical Chairs 101

Adrian is not a name you hear every day, yet this week…the Boston Red Sox have lost one Adrian, and gained another. 

 

Wake To VMart.jpgWe are amid an offseason full of drama, intrigue…..and a boatload of cash being spent. 

Preparing for the 2011 Major & Minor league baseball season is certainly no joke. The “best” players are demanding serious money and some real long-term commitments for the use of their abilities on the field. The better the ability, the higher the pricetag.
When your fiercest competitors get wind that your team office is in need of a player to become an important piece in your lineup and a threat to them on the field next season and beyond, then they suddenly want that same player….at all costs! Driving-up your offer in the process just to make things more fun, adds the necessary intrigue. This kind of “cat and mouse” business play can easily bankrupt smaller teams, and turn others that try to stay in the game…into “non-contenders” if they do not wisely and frugally stick to their Needs List. 
Pride and bravado have no place in the business world. And if you think that Baseball and the entire Sports World is not a business…you are very wrong. General Managers have many things to consider (year-round) in selecting which players will play on their field in April. Quite a bit of analysis goes into the selection of each position’s player prior to the “Offer” being made. Scouting reports, age, personal & medical history, all must be considered prior to talks of money & contract time.
Something that must never be ignored (something many GM’s have yet to learn) is “What will the fans think?”  No one should forget who puts up the money to fill those ballparks and watch their players all Spring & Summer…….not only ticket sales, but massive expenditures on food & beverage on gameday, parking (for those ballparks who provide parking) and tours, and souveniers and all types of player jerseys & memorabilia. Just a small core of veteran favorites can severely-impact game sales & player-related expenditures in any given season. It will be extremely interesting to watch baseball team giants like the Red Sox and Yankees when their veteran players retire. (Ortiz, Wakefield, Varitek, Jeter, Rivera,etc…)
 
 
WS Beltre Growls.jpgMoney does make the world go around, and even though Baseball is our national pastime, money dictates who will play where in our beloved game of baseball.
All-Star, Silver Slugging Adrian Beltre was hopeful to return to the Red Sox organization, but the Boston front office decided to go in a different direction. Instead of giving a proven 100+ RBI slugger a 4 year deal to return, they spent 3 times more money to get a younger NL slugger in Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres for 8 years. Adrian cannot play right now because he just had surgery and may not even start Spring Training on time with his new team mates. Hopefully, he will be a strong and productive player for the VERY LONG 8 years that he will play for us in Boston.
 
Martinez Next.jpg 
The Hot Stove season is certainly not over, and the Managers’ Meetings continue in lovely Lake Buena Vista Florida. There will be additional moves made, and money will be shuffled-around – and when the offseason is done, just like in Musical Chairs…….most major league ball players will have their seats when the music stops.
Play Ball !!!
– fenway fruitgirl 2010   “BEHIND THE NET”

2010 ROBERTO CLEMENTE AWARD WINNER: TIM WAKEFIELD

 

 

May 2010 262.jpgRed Sox Nation has shown it’s colors once again. The MLB will present it’s 2010 Roberto Clemente Award to Boston Red Sox’s senior pitcher tonight during World Series’ pre-game ceremonies at AT & T Park in lovely San Francisco. Bud Selig & company will make the prestigious award’s presentation to Timothy Wakefield for his many years of public service, far and beyond the norm….and very-well-deserved.

Tim is a resident of Melbourne Florida, and raises funds for children’s charities in his spacecoast town, as well as here in his team’s Boston-area. In New England, the Wakefields are major fundraisers for the FRANCISCAN HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN and PITCHING IN FOR KIDS (Boston-based Children’s Charitable Foundation) www.pitchinginforkids.org

In his free time during the hectic baseball season, Tim always makes time to visit children in area hospitals, and he and his lovely wife Stacey dedicate their time to fundraising for New England children’s charities.

Tim is the senior player on staff in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse, and is very well-respected by the entire crew. A beloved veteran player who commands respect on the mound, as well as off the field. All of Boston is pleased to see one of our own recognized for such an admirable cause. Roberto Clemente stressed the importance of charitable giving, and so does Mr. Tim Wakefield. It is a proud moment that Red Sox Nation can share tonight…together.

Well-done Mr. Wakefield. We tip our hats to you.

 

 

Wakefield Family.jpg– fenway fruitgirl 2010  “BEHIND THE NET”

 

Thank You……Mr. Mike Lowell

 

 

August Lowell Up.jpgToday, Red Sox fans all over the country will tip their hats to a real class act, one that will never be closely followed. Our beloved #25 will be honored for his service and dedication in a Boston Red Sox uniform on the field of Fenway Park on a beautiful October afternoon, on national television….for all his fans to see. Saying goodbye to someone is never easy, and the ceremony will no doubt have eyes watering in both dugouts….around the bleachers, grandstands, field boxes, luxury boxes, and even press boxes.

The softspoken man has many accomplishments to fill himself with pride. Mike is a three-time All-Star player (2002,2004,2007) and won a Gold Glove in 2005, and was our 2007 World Series MVP. Lowell also wrote a book with Rob Bradford titled  DEEP  DRIVE  A Long Journey To Finding The Champion Within.

Going back, Michael Averett Lowell (born February 24, 1974 in Puerto Rico to Cuban parents Carl & Beatriz Lowell) moved to Miami Florida at the age of 4. He graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School in 1992 where he met his wife Bertha. After high school, he went to Florida International University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance in 1997. During his college years, he played for the Chatham A’s baseball team in the Cape Cod Baseball League in 1994.

In 1995, Mike was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 20th round, and later made his major leaguedebut for the Yankees in 1995. He was later traded to the Florida Marlins, and shortly after…discovered that he had Testicular Cancer. After having surgery, and treatment in 1999, he returned to baseball. Mr. Mike Lowell helped his team win the 2003 World Series, then was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 2005.

Mr. Lowell lives with his lovely wife and two children, Alexis and Anthony in South Florida.

We honor you today, and will remember you fondly always. Come back often to visit!

please visit:     http://www.redsox.com/thanksmike.

 

– fenway fruitgirl 2010  “BEHIND THE NET”

 

 

Mike Lowell Waits.jpg     

WINDING DOWN

 

August Victor Throw.jpgThe Boston Red Sox have had 52 players this season….so far, the most in the American League and only 3 behind the Pittsburgh Pirates with 55. (The Sox had 52 players last year too.) The team has used 25 pitchers so far this season, tied for the most in the American League with the Kansas City Royals.

There are currently 35 players on the Red Sox active roster: 17 pitchers,  4 catchers,  6 infielders,  7 outfielders,  1 Designated Hitter  (5 on the DL).
 
Tuesday night’s Sox/Orioles’ game at Fenway Park was Hideki Okajima’s 250th career MLB appearance. And our # 41 catcher Victor Martinez tops the American League for catchers with 73 RBI for the season (NL has Atlanta’s Brian McCann with the # 1 spot overall for catchers with 75 RBI so far this season). 
Hideki Okajima.jpgRed Sox 3B Adrian “The Enforcer” Beltre is only 1 shy of reaching 100 RBI this season. (He is 10th in the American League so far in 2010).
Cy Young candidate RHP for the Boston Red Sox’s Clay Buchholz is having a spectacular year on the mound. His ERA is 2.39 as of today, 3rd in MLB, 2nd in the American League. Tuesday’s game was his 9th start allowing ZERO earned runs….tied for the top spot in MLB this 2010 season !!
The 2010 is wrapping-up, and the Red Sox are currently still in the 3rd place spot in the American League East …. 8 games behind the leader (Yankees) and 6.5 games behind the Wild Card leader for the American League (Rays) with only 10 games left to be played in the 2010 regular season.
 
Clay's Ready.jpg 
Enjoy the remaining 10 games, for the sake of watching live baseball….cheer for your team and realize that this has been an extraordinary year of injuries and complications for the guys.
 
– fenway fruitgirl 2010  “BEHIND THE NET”