October 2008

Happy Halloween!

So, I’m not sure how many of your jobs include dressing up for Halloween, but ours certainly encourages such behavior…

steve-urkel.jpgSo far I’ve seen a prisoner, a winking, moose-hunting veep candidate, a little kid (complete with PJs and a Teddy bear), Carmen Sandiego, 3 contestants from Double Dare, a brace-wearing Tom Brady, Billy Madison, Mr. T, the Tin Man, Dorothy, the Queen of England, Steve Urkel, a non-licensed Plumber, and of course a grown man in a gorilla suit (not the one you’re thinking of…)

Anyhow, a very Happy Halloween to all!  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a belated congratulations to the Phillies and all their fans!

All the best from inside a very festive Front Office,

“The Voice of the Nation”

PS – On the baseball front, Tek filed for free agency today…what do you all think of the chances he’s in a Sox uniform next year?  And if you think he should stay, what kind of contract do you think we should offer him (dollar figures and number of years)?

PPS – We picked up Wakefield’s contract option for the 2009 season.  One decision down…quite a few to go!

So many decisions to be made…

Well, a valiant effort by everyone.  Fact of the matter is, when all was said and done, we just had too many injuries, and ran into too good of a pitcher come Game 7.

You gotta tip your cap to Matt Garza.  He had the game of his life.  But as crushed as I am, I’m not nearly as devastated as I was after Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

For starters, I was actually pretty surprised we were able to make it past the Angels in the ALDS.  They were the best team in baseball all year.  After making it past them, I figured we were playing with the house’s money.  This was especiaally true after we were down 3-1 against the Rays.

But it sure would have been sweet to make it back to the World Series with a chance to defend our title.

On the night of Game 7, a group of about 40 members of the Front Office gathered in a suite at Fenway to watch the game.  It was intense, it was thrilling, and it was very very sad.  We tried everything…moving into lucky seats, wearing the same shirts as the night before, etc.  But in the end, it just wasn’t enough.  Like many of you, as soon as the last out was recorded, someone shouted “shut this off!” and the TV screens immediately went to black.

There’s nothing worse than getting to a game 7 and watching the opposing team celebrate.  Maybe I’m just not mature enough for this not to bother me, but if that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right.

So…here we go!  Our offseason is officially here.  The question is, what do Theo and Baseball Operations do?  Do you think we should re-sign Tek?  What should our rotation look like next year?  Do we make any big trades?  Where do you think we need the most help?

You know what’s funny?  All season I feel like people were clammoring for more bullpen help.  But in the end, the bullpen was one of our best strengths during the playoffs.  Okajima stepped up his game; Masterson found a way to get the big outs, and Papelbon, was…well…Papelbon.

Ok, time to continue clearing off my desk (no I haven’t been fired – yet) for an offseason office move…

All the best from a very deflated Front Office,

“The Voice of the Nation”

Still some fight left afterall!!

Today’s recipe:  Gatorade, greasy food, Advil, Gatorade (repeat as necessary)

Here’s a fun little Front Office tidbit for you:  Did you know that an email gets sent out the day after wins like last night to let folks know that Gatorade has been placed in the breakroom?  True story.  Many thanks to Paul for coming through again today.

Now then…where do we begin on last nights game?  I could tell you about how I was roaming through the park last night (in the sixth inning) and overheard a fan ask an usher where he goes to get his money refunded.  The fan subsequently left the ballpark.

I could tell you about how unnamed Front Office employees were packing up their desks (because we have to be moved during offseason renovations).

I could tell you how one member of the Front Office went around telling everybody that we had no chance of winning because it was his birthday, and the Sox haven’t won on his birthday since 1999.  By the way, Bill Simmons has a great article about last night’s game as it relates to the fateful October 16 date.  Great read.

But in the end, the unnamed Front Office employees had to take everything out of their boxes, the poor birthday boy finally had something to celebrate (even though by the time the Sox won it was actually October 17), and well, that guy who wanted his refund probably wants to build a time machine, travel back to last night and slap himslef in the face.

In any event, people are pretty sluggish in the Front Office today, but happily so.

Can’t wait for tomorrow night!!!

All the best from inside the Front Office!

“The Voice of the Nation”

PS – As always, you can email me at insider@redsox.com.

PPS – I think our team photographer already left for Tampa, so I’m sorry for the lack of photos.

PPPS – We’re in the second week of a very intense Front Office Biggest Loser competition.  Not an ideal time for this for obvious reasons…

hmmm…well…we’ve been here before…

We’ve got them right where we want them! (ok, I admit that it was not easy writing that, and I’m not quite sure I believe it myself)

However…only 4 teams have ever come back from down 3 games to one.  Three of those four times, the team that made the dramatic comeback was the Boston Red Sox.  So if any team can do it, it’s got to be us.  But let’s not pretend everything is dandy on the good ship lollipop.
Our pitching and offense have got to get it together.  But, with that said…don’t let us win on Thursday, because then we have Beckett pitching in Game 6, and Lester in Game 7.  And I know a couple of people just chuckled about the fact that I’m basing that statement on the supposition that Beckett and Lester will pitch well.  But I honestly think they would.  A P.O.’d Beckett may be just what we need.  And I can’t imagine Lester having a repeat performance.
Buuuut…we still need our offense to get going.  Let’s hope the day off will give them some time to think about how embarrassing the last two games have been.
All the best from a very frustrated (yet hopeful) Front Office,
“The Voice of the Nation”

Ok…Tonight’s Ceremonial First Pitch will be…

…thrown by Trot Nixon!!!

I know I said I’d probably get fired if I said anything about it before the game, but I couldn’t hold it in anymore.  I want to make sure our fans are there to see this.  It should be a great moment for Trot, and a great moment to get the crowd fired up.

Trot.JPG

    Brian Babineau/Boston Red Sox

To be quite honest with you, our crowd has been a bit dormant lately, and I’m hoping that by letting this one out of the bag, it’ll help get fans in their seats for the start of the game.

As “due” as Ortiz, Tek, and Jacoby are…the fans are just as “due.”

We all know that we have better fans than the Rays, but honestly, we haven’t seen it yet.  I think it’s the organization’s belief that our fans don’t need towels, thundersticks, or cowbells because we’re loud enough on our own.  And I happen to agree whole-heartedly. 

But I have to say, walking around the park yesterday, I didn’t see that (and yes, the on-field performance can be in part to blame but the crowd wasn’t that loud before we started losing either!).

So I’m calling on those of you who are coming to the game to step it up.  And for those of you who know somebody who is going to the game, please let them know, NOW is the time to get loud and make sure that we make Fenway shake tonight!  Dress all in red, paint your face or your belly (wait, strike that…maybe the face is sufficient)…do what ever you can to get your section standing/cheering/making noise.

Come out and cheer for Trot during the pre-game ceremonies.  Let him know how much we appreciated his hard-nosed play day-in and day-out during his time here.  Come out and cheer on our current team and let them know that being down 2-1 means nothing in Red Sox Nation.  Let’s take this series back!

Let’s do this!

“The Voice”

PS – From what I overheard, Trot was EXTREMELY honored to be asked to throw out the first pitch.

PPS – There are more than a few members of the Front Office over here who are more than a little excited about Trot coming back (ahem…Abby).

Well…

Not exactly how we drew it up…but what are you going to do?

Time for everybody to step up their game today.  The Rays ARE legit.

Ok, now that I’ve stated the COMPLETELY obvious, let’s look at it this way.  We’re due.  Like seriously due.  Ortiz is due.  Jacoby is due.  Tek is due (though not starting tonight).

Luckily, I happened to overhear a conversation in the office yesterday that makes me think we have something that will get the crowd into the game early today.  I’m not going to say exactly what it is (because I think I might lose my job if I spoiled the surprise), but let’s just say, if you’re coming to the game tonight, you won’t want to miss the pre-game ceremonies.

I’ll leave it at that.

(Still) 7 to go!!!

“The Voice of the Nation”

7 to go!!!

Well, let’s put it this way…

If you had told me prior to the series that we would win one of the first two games in Tampa Bay, I would have been happy with that.  So, as heartbreaking as Saturday’s loss was, we have got to take it in stride.

It’s now a best of 5 series, and we have home field advantage.  Jon Lester is starting game 1.

lester.jpgAs they say in one of those corny athletic gear ads, “we must protect this house!”

Game time is now only 6.5 hrs away.  Hopefully this means we can all get to bed before 1am (for once).

All the best from a very anxious Front Office!
“The Voice of the Nation”

Luckyyyyyy

A few card-carying members of Red Sox Nation were chosen at random to attend the Red Sox work-out yesterday at Fenway Park.  They were give a tour, and hung out with the VP of Red Sox Nation, “Regular” Rob Crawford for a bit. 

I’ve spoken with the people down the hall who run Red Sox Nation and they seem really interested in finding more ways to reward card-carying members.  This is just one of their new ideas.  Below is a picture of the members and their guests:
RSN_Workout_2.JPG

Joe Chamas/Boston Red Sox

The members selcted were:

·         Joanne – Jamestown, RI

·         Kelly  – Nashua, NH

·         Dave  – Boston, MA

·         Michael  – Northborough, MA

 

If you have any ideas as to how we can improve Red Sox Nation memberships, please let me know!  insider@redsox.com

 

Here’s looking forward to tomorrow!

“The Voice” 

 

ALCS Rotation set

So here it is…

rotation.jpg

What do you think??

Tropicana Field………Friday, October 10…………………..Game 1  – Daisuke Matsuzaka
Tropicana Field………Saturday, October 11……………….Game 2  – Josh Beckett
Fenway Park…………Monday, October 13…………………Game 3  – Jon Lester
Fenway Park…………Tuesday, Ocotber 14………………..Game 4  – Tim Wakefield
Fenway Park…………Thursday, October 16……………….Game 5* – Daisuke Matsuzaka
Tropicana Field………Saturday, October 18……………….Game 6* – Josh Beckett
Tropicana Field………Sunday, October 19…………………Game 7* – Jon Lester
(*if necessary)

It looks like the first 4 starters for Tampa Bay will be:

Game 1:  James Shields

Game 2:  Scott Kazmir

Game 3:  Matt Garza

Game 4:  Andy Sonnanstine

 

Tito.jpgAlso, here’s the transcript of Tito’s media availability from today.  Many thanks to Abby DeCiccio (my very great co-worker from our Media Relations department) for her great work in transcribing the session…enjoy!

1. On ALCS pitching rotation:

 

We’re going to go, Daisuke, Becket, Lester, Wakefield now.  We reserve the right if something crazy happens in the middle to make a change but that’s the way we’re set up to go.  The reasoning is actually pretty simple.  I think I thought this was how it would shakeout even before we did the media after we beat Anaheim.  I just needed to take the proper time to talk it through.  It gives people rest, not too much rest not too little.  It’s probably the best way where we don’t have one guy going on 8, one guy going on regular.  Keep everybody somewhat in line.  Rest at this time of year is huge and we’ll take advantage of it while trying not to give too much.  And the guys that pitch 1, 2, and 3 are lined up for 5, 6, and 7.  Nobody’s going to throw 3 so having those three twice is really what’s important regardless of how it’s lined up.

 

2. On Lester’s record at Fenway factoring into the rotation decision:

 

Not really, I know what it is.  You can get into a lot of details but there really didn’t need to be.  The way it lined up was appropriate.  Those three will pitch twice if it goes to 7.  In the end, as long as they’re pitching the order isn’t as important so then you go on what’s best for them. 

 

3. On playing the Rays in the ALCS and if there is any bad blood between the teams:

 

We know them really well, they know us really well.  It’s the way it is when you play in your division.  You play so much that’s the way it is.  It’s been like that for us with the Yankees the past few years.  You play them a bunch.  The bad blood, I don’t think anyone has even thought of it.  That was a long time ago.  This is the playoffs that really doesn’t enter into it. 

 

4. On ALCS roster:

 

We have not done that yet.  We have a lot of meetings tomorrow in Tampa.  We have a workout at 3:00 p.m. and we’ll have our meetings in the morning.  I think we’ll have a meeting from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., we’ll workout at 3:00 p.m. and I think we’ll probably have our roster to announce tomorrow before the workout. 

 

5. On any thought to having Byrd pitch Game 4 instead of Wakefield:

 

We considered everything but when it comes down to what serves the ballclub best, Byrd can probably be used more flexibly out of the bullpen and then when you line up Wake, you put him with Cash, you see how far you can go and then you can make your determinations with how to go with the bullpen as opposed to trying to bring in Wake in the middle of the game knowing that he’s possibly throwing to a catcher that you haven’t had.  It’s an easy decision when you look at all the dynamics of it. 

 

6. On Rays success and what makes them a good playoff team:

 

I hope they’re not a good playoff team.  It shouldn’t be a surprise 162 games and a playoff series that they’re good.  I understand some of the story behind this.  They haven’t had any success going into this year and all of a sudden they went from the bottom to the top.  It’s a great story for baseball.  It made our life a little bit more miserable this year.  If you look at their team from top to bottom there really shouldn’t be a surprise.  They have a very good, very healthy starting rotation.  They have a deep bullpen.  They’re able to match up, they have power.  Their starters got them deep enough where they didn’t wear out their bullpen.  They catch the ball better than any team in the league and offensively they have gotten contributions from everybody.  How many times do you turn on the TV and see somebody hitting a walk off homerun or somebody got hurt and somebody else picked it up.  They have a real good thing going.  Our job will be to derail that. 

 

7. On experience heading into the ALCS:

 

I think the one thing where it really does help is there are so many things that happen on the periphery that can get in the way.  There are little things like ticket requests and the extra media things that can throw you off a little bit.  At least we know what to expect so it doesn’t get in the way of baseball.  That’s the whole idea, to be able to play the best baseball you can.  It doesn’t guarantee you’re going to win but that’s what you really set out to do.  The first time you hear people say , myself probably included, it can be a little overwhelming.  We really try hard to never let that happen.  You get thrown a lot of unusual requests, everybody has a request, so if you’re used to it at least you have an idea so baseball doesn’t get pushed to the side.

 

8. On what has allowed the young Red Sox players to succeed:

 

They’re good players.  If you’re a good player, I don’t think it matters what age they are.  We try to talk to players if they are inexperienced and not hold that against them.  Continue to talk o them and if they make a mistake not jump down their throat but give them guidance.  The only way to get experience is to play.  I think we’ve been blessed with this organization; there are some really good players that come through here.  Because they’re young, we would never hold that against them.  They can help us win.

 

9. On why the Red Sox have difficulty in domes:

 

I used to think it was fairly obvious.  When we were slower and we would get on turf, it was Toronto, Minnesota, teams that could run and we couldn’t we were at a disadvantage. I don’t feel that way anymore.  We’re built differently but you’re right, our record is not very good.  I’m hoping that’s going to change.

 

10. On Pedroia:

 

Numbers wise he had a tough series and we won.  This will never revolve around one person.  The better he does is important but the idea isn’t to get one guy going, the idea is to win.  But to get your best players swinging the way they can certainly helps. 

 

8 to go!!!

We now stand 8 wins away from successfully defending our World Series title…

But as of present, I stand (sit, really) 3 hours from getting back home and taking a much needed nap.  With that in mind, here are some more selections from “The Big I” and “The Big LaBellski” from last night’s win.

Enjoy!

PS – Who would you rather see start Game One on Friday??  Beckett or Dice-K?

 

 

MJI - ALDS Clinch 1.jpg

    Mike Ivins/Boston Red Sox

 

 

MJI - ALDS Clinch 2.jpg

Mike Ivins/Boston Red Sox

 

 

MLL - ALDS Clinch 1.JPG

Megan LaBella/Boston Red Sox

 

 

MLL - ALDS Clinch 2.JPG

Megan LaBella/Boston Red Sox

 

 

MJI - ALDS Clinch 3.jpg

Mike Ivins/Boston Red Sox