September 2008

Who’s here?? Anybody? Bueller?? Bueller?

Write a question or comment below…I’ll be here throughout the game (well, so long as you are!)

Blog party tonight! Who’s in??

Now 457 sellouts and counting…

As we head into the final game of this Tampa Bay series, I want to give you a heads-up as to something we’re going to try out tonight.  Tonight from the start of the game, till the end of the game, I’ll be right here, blogging with you, play-by-play.  Besides commenting on the game, I’ll also take any questions you might have about working in the Front Office, or anything else that might be on your mind.  So come on here during the game, leave a comment and we’ll follow the game together!

Now, here’s what’s putting dents in the Green Monster this week…

In the “why didn’t we start doing this a long time ago” column…we’ve started a new program this week, where following a game at Fenway, you can now take “post-game tours.”  These tours are really designed for a VIP experience of the Park (ie. impressing a hot date, celebrating an Anniversary, a birthday, wooing the all-important client, or just a big day for the family. 

During these tours, you not only get to have your picture taken in front of the Green Monster, but you get to take a peek inside the Green Monster – which, if you’ve never done, is a must.  You also receive an authenticated American League game-used baseball, a souvenir sample of the warning track dirt, and a discount to the Bleacher Bar restaurant.  Tickets are $50 a person and can only be purchased during the game at Red Sox Nation booths throughout the ballpark.  Now, I’m fully aware that this could be a bit too pricey for some (most notably yours truly), but I think for someone who’s trying to really impress a date, or wants to make their trip a really special occasion, I think this is a very cool option.  And sure to impress…

Anyhow, speaking of the Bleacher Bar, if you haven’t been yet, you should definitely plan on making a trip there.  It’s already one of my favorite places around Fenway.  It’s small, but the music is the best you’ll find in any of the bars – a bit of jazz and classic rock.  And from what I’ve heard the sandwiches are fantastic – I’m having lunch there later this week, so I’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date.  And the view of the ballpark, right out in centerfield can’t be beat.

But really, all the buzz this week, as I mentioned in the Insider newsletter, has been all about our fans breaking the MLB record for consecutive sellouts.  It’s been a huge focus of our owners and pretty much everyone in the organization.  And if you were here on Monday, or at least got to see some of the festivities on the TV broadcast, I hope you got a sense of how thankful we truly are for all of your support. 

My favorite moment of the day came when a fan received a commemorative ticket, said a polite “thank you,” then looked up, and noticed the person who had given her the commemorative ticket was Mike Timlin.  Her eyes tripled in size and she screamed “Holy (cow)!” right in his face.  Classic.  It was just her uncontrollable knee-jerk reaction.

Ok, well, I’ll be back around 7pm tonight…so I’ll hope to see a lot of you then!

All the best from inside the Front Office,

“The Voice of the Nation”

Tonight’s Sox lineup

Some interesting changes to the lineup tonight…Red-hot Coco Crisp will be leading off and Kotsay (who went 2-3 last night) will be back in the lineup.  The speculation yesterday was that with Scott Kazmir going tonight for the Rays, that Kotsay would be out of the lineup because Kazmir is very tough against lefties.  Also, Ortiz is out of the starting lineup – presumably due to the aformentioned difficulty for lefties against Kazmir.

1.  Coco

2.  Lowrie

3.  Pedroia

4.  Youk

5.  Bay

6.  Lowell

7.  Kotsay

8.  Varitek

9.  Bailey

SP – Daisuke Matsuzaka

 

Rays

1.  Akinori Iwamura

2.  Dan Johnson

3.  Carlos Pena (the pride of Northeastern)

4.  Cliff Floyd

5.  Willy Aybar

6.  Eric Hinske

7.  Dioner Navarro

8.  Gabe Gross

9.  Jason Bartlett

SP: Scott Kazmir

ALCS Preview??

Again, I can’t really get over this new reality, but is it possible that this offseason (one in which it’s very likely the Yankees won’t participate) will feature the (Devil) Rays in the ALCS??

It’s quite possible, really.  Although they just got swept in Toronto, it still seems fairly likely that the Rays will make the playoffs.  And as we all know, all is fair game once you get there.

And while some have suggested that making the playoffs is the ultimate priority, and that it’s more important that you’re healthy rather than who you play in the first round, does anybody really want to play the Angels in the first round?  (cricket, cricket)

I didn’t think so.  That’s why I contend that the next 6 games against the Rays, and the last couple of weeks of the season for that matter, are truly important.

Now here’s the latest rumblings I’ve been able to pick up in the halls of the Front Office today…

Fans attending tonight’s game can expect some pretty cool festivities for our celebration of breaking the Major League record for consecutive sellouts.  Tonight will be the 456th consecutive regular season game we’ve sold out, breaking the previous record of 455 held by the Cleveland Indians.

Now I can’t say what these celebrations will include, but I think I’m safe in saying that they will be very fan-oriented.  It was after all, you the fans, who this record really belongs to…

So, congrats Red Sox fans!  Kudos on establishing Red Sox Nation as the best fan base in all of baseball!

And while a lot of people today are pondering what will happen to the Pats after losing Brady, my question to you all, heading into this Tampa Bay series is this…Who would you rather the Sox play in the ALDS?  The White Sox, Twins, or Angels?  (We can’t play the Rays in the first round, because they’re in our Division).

Wow…now that was quite the game.

Spolier alert…if you’ve DVR’d this afternoon’s game, please watch and then come back and read. 

But for the rest of you who either got to watch the game from home, or were listening to it on Game Day Audio at work, or found some other means to follow it – Let’s discuss, shall we??

I mean, to me, this has all the feeling of a game that can really light the fire under the team as we head down the stretch.  I don’t want to make too big of a deal about it, because yes, it was against the Orioles, who have struggled this season, but still.  Let’s look at a couple of important factors here:

1.  This was a total team effort.  Granted, Pedroia has been unbelieveable, and continued to be so today.  But what about the bunts from Coco and Jacoby.  Or the homerun Ellsbury robbed earlier in the game.  Or the two-run triple from Kotsay??  Or the great bullpen work from Justin Masterson?  Has anybody else noticed the bullpen has been quietly doing their best ’07 impression as of late?

2.  This is not a game we were supposed to win.  Down 4-0, late, I don’t care who you’re playing.  That is an emotional win.  Going into an off-day, with a sweep, culminating in a walk-off victory is going to feel pretty neat.

Anyhow, day games are always fun here in the Front Office.  For starters, it means we get made-to-order omlets in our employee dining.  Which makes everybody a little more pleasant.  Secondly, day-time baseball is just great.  There’s a totally different atmosphere in the ballpark.  Most likely due to the fact that it is a total “Ferris Bueller” crowd – 3/4 of the people in attendance either have the flu, a terrible stomach virus, or (in the more dispicable of cases) are visting lost a loved one in the hospital.

Anyhow, as I mentioned in the Insider e-newsletter, today’s game marked the 455th consecutive sellout of Fenway Park.  This ties us for the longest string of consecutive sellouts in the history of baseball.  The Cleveland Indians held the mark at 455 during their streak which lasted from June 12, 1995 through April 4, 2001.

This really is quite an accomplishment.  For those of you younger fans, who may not remember some of the “leaner” years in Red Sox history, trust me, it hasn’t always been this way.  And as much as we hope that it continues this way for a long time, we must acknowledge that it’s possible that it might not be.  Those who are old (errr…”young”) enough to remember the ’67 Impossible Dream season, will also be able to tell you that during the first half of the ’66 season, there were hardly any fans at the ballpark.  I’m talking about like 20 seats (or more) together, just plain EMPTY.

That’s why these past 5 years in Red Sox history have been so incredible.  And that’s why this is definitely an appropriate time to take a look back and be thankful for all the great times we’ve had.  As fans we can be thankful for making the postseason every year since the streak started, with the lone exception of 2006.  We can be thankful for 2 World Series Championships, and a host of other memories.  But if I may get sappy here for a moment, we, as an organization have a lot to be thankful for as well.  We have the greatest fans in all of baseball.  That bears repeating…the GREATEST fans in all of baseball.  When the national media tells you that you all hate Bill Buckner, you respond with one of the most moving Opening Day moments I can ever remember.  When Mariano Rivera was introduced on Opening Day of 2005, you gave a great, yet respectful mock cheer.  And when Jordan Leandre ran around the bases on Jimmy Fund Day a couple of years back, you knew exactly how profound a moment that was.  Again…the greatest fans in all of baseball.

Anyhow, I think at this point I’m the last member of the Front Office still actually in the Front Office.  I think everybody else has gone out to celebrate the win.  And since I’d hate for them to think that I’m better than that, I suppose I’ll have to go join them..

All the best from the game and from Inside the Front Office!

“The Voice of the Nation”