In Case You Haven't Been Keeping Up With Current Events

Well, I don’t even know where to start. You’re screwed. You missed 1.) a sweep of Tampa, 2.) a brawl with Tampa, 3.) a brawl between Manny and Youk (not joking), 4.) an injury to Ellsbury, 5.) progress from Schill, 6.) held breath on Papi, 7.) two more good starts from Masterson and so on.

Oh, and the draft was this week.

So good luck catching up on all of that. But I’ll tell you what, we’ll try for you anyway.

The Brawl

I’m with the SOSH folks on this one: I’m not sure I can defend Coco here. Maybe on the hard slide – that’s debatable, but not in charging the mound. Shields – to his credit – hit him in exactly the right way, not dialing it up and not shooting for the head. True, he was an idiot for doing it in the second inning, but he handled himself well, while Coco – in my view – did not.

Either way, I’ll take the sweep.

The Bullpen

One of the brighter spots in the past week to ten days has been – shockingly – Boston’s bullpen. Tito seems to be easing Hansen into a MDC-in-’07-like 7th inning role. The onetime bust out of St John’s is unscored upon in his last five apperances, and over 5.2 IP has K’d 5, walked 2 and given up just one hit. Speaking of MDC, you know who also has exactly the same numbers over his last five appearances? That’s right. MDC. Throw in the potential of Masterson down the stretch, and we may not have to do too much to reconstruct our once leaky pen.

One minor down note: Daniel Bard, he of the 100 MPH fastball, got lit up today against Akron. In 1.2 IP, he coughed up 4 hits – 2 of them homers – and 4 runs, striking out only one. On the plus side, he didn’t walk anybody.

The Draft

Lots of takes on the club’s haul in the draft, and obviously the signing process for these kids will be lengthy, but I’m encouraged not just by the reports but by the fact that it would appear that we’ll be ignoring the commissioner office’s slot recommendations once again. As we should.

Here’s Baseball America’s page (sub req’d, sorry), but, better, here‘s Keith Law’s take on our draft class:

Boston bet it all on red, taking one high-ceiling player after another. Apparently, they’re willing to worry about the signability of these players later on. Casey Kelly is a first-rounder as a pitcher or position player, but his bonus demands and commitment to play quarterback at Tennessee scared off potential suitors. Ryan Westmoreland’s bonus demands ($1.6 to $2.1 million) and commitment to Vanderbilt had him viewed as completely unsignable all spring, even though he was a top-40 talent and had performed well over the summer with a wood bat. Bryan Price was totally misused at Rice, and was one of the best reliever-to-starter conversion opportunities in the draft. Derrik Gibson and Pete Hissey are both athletic, projectable tools players with the chance to play in the middle of the field (Gibson as a shortstop/second baseman, Hissey as a center fielder); both also have commitments to strong college programs (North Carolina and Virginia, respectively). Even if the Red Sox don’t sign all four of those high school talents, signing Kelly and one of the others would be an impressive haul of talent — and we know the Sox have the resources to sign more than just two.

So the class is good. But good as in better than the Yankees? Law says yes:

Steve (Clemson, SC): Hey Keith, Sorry but I have to ask: Better 2008 draft, if they sign most of their picks, Red Sox or Yankees?

SportsNation Keith Law: Red Sox.

We can only hope.

The Fight

At the SeaDog brewpub down in Brunswick, they have HD. Which is good. They don’t have audio, which is bad. So I had no idea what the hell was happening when M-Ram and Yoooook had to be separated in our own dugout. Neither, I learned later, did anyone else, but still.

If the reports are accurate, and that this centered around the (potentially widely held) perception that Youk is putting his own concerns in front of the teams by tearing apart the dugout post an at bat in games where we’re up comfortably, then I’m glad this came out now. Better to let it out now, ugly as it appeared, then let it fester.

Besides, the guys are Surviving Grady are spot on, it was worth it just to hear Tito’s one line summary:

I think they were just exchanging some views on things.

The O’Brien Factor

I’ll acknowledge up front that this could just be me. I’ll also acknowledge that I don’t particularly care for Dave O’Brien (I’d prefer to have a Sox only play by play announcer), even while I’ll concede that he’s a well regarded national broadcaster. But there is one thing he’s doing that is making me insane: he’s ignoring, completely, generally accepted rules against jinxing games, performances or players.

Jon Lester’s no hitter? He was discussing it freely in the fifth. We’re poised to take the third of three games against Tampa? He’s calling it a sweep before the game is ended. Masterson’s the pitcher of record in a game we’re winning by a run? O’Brien’s word choice is “will win.” Not the conditional “would,” but “will.”

I’m not saying that this is anything but trivial. I’m also not saying I’m sane. But listen to a game he broadcasts and see if you notice: he has no sense whatsoever with his tenses or conditionals. None.

And it’s driving me crazy.


6 thoughts on “In Case You Haven't Been Keeping Up With Current Events

  1. Amazingly, I'd somehow missed seeing a really good recap of what the hell happened with the fight … hadn't even had time to look it up on YouTube. So thanks for this week's. 🙂

    That said, give me a hockey fight any day of the week.

  2. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain why I, ( and I think any honest baseball announcer,) will always describe a no-hitter in progress as exactly that. First, my ego isn't so huge as to believe I can influence the play on the field by "jinxing" it, as you put it, from the booth That is simply ridiculous. I always thought the announcer who refused to say the words "no-hitter" was behaving self-importantly. But more to the point, my job is to tell you what I see, not to worry about what you may hold as a baseball superstition. Let's say you leave the restraunt, get in the car and turn on the radio, just in time to hear the 3rd out in the top of the 7th … Lester is 6 outs away from a no-hitter … But the play by play guy isn't TELLING you that, because … he doesn't want to jinx it for the pitcher? Well, if you are not listening closely, you may not pick up on those preferred "code" phrases, designed to avoid calling it what it is. Now we've got a problem. You may not return to the game at all. You may go home and turn on HBO, and then get to read about "John Lester's No-Hitter" in the Boston Globe the next morning, or catch it on the 8:00 am "SportsCenter." How would you feel then about the announcer's reporting skills? You see, a no-hitter is an event, a rarity in baseball. Would I describe a hitter going for the cycle as merely being "3 for 3, with one of everything except … you know … the last one …" Or would I do my job and say: "He's a double shy of the cycle."? Wouldn't you want to know? As a listener, don't you want the information? By the way, I've called 7 no-hitters in my 18-year major league broadcasting career. In every one of them, I've used a variety of phrases to describe the run-up to the moment, i.e. "He's not allowed a hit … Not one batter has reached on a hit … Nothing in the hit column through 6." I did in my innings during the Lester no-no as well. But I've always thought it silly to avoid using the actual words, "no-hitter", and I disagree with the thought that we should because it is "generally accepted." It isn't. Many, many announcers – concerned more for the integrity of reporting the moment than childish fan backlash – routinely use "no-hitter" when they see one in progress. I always will.
    By the way: Lester did indeed complete the no-hitter. Even when an announcer said the words. And the Red Sox did indeed sweep the Rays, even when an announcer said that was happening. No jinx in either case. I would debate my use of tenses with you, because I work very hard to be correct in my use of the language, but as I cannot recall precise instances to debate, I'll have to pass at this time. I don't believe I ever said "the Sox WILL sweep this series", unless I qualified it with: " …. with a win here today." But I could be wrong.
    Lastly, allow me to clarify my Red Sox radio schedule. Though you are correct in implying I won't call all 162 games, I am considered "full-time" on Sox radio. I'll call about 135 games. That is pretty darn close to "Red Sox only." I will do every game possible, given my ESPN Wednesday Night duties. Even my partner, Joe Castiglione, will not call every Red Sox game. I may have national TV responsibilities, but usually they take me away just one night per week. I'll call many more games on Red Sox radio than Jon Miller, Vin Scully or Skip Caray will for the Giants, Dodgers or Braves. My hope is that Sox fans will appreciate having an announcer who is in demand nationally, and this will be a point of pride, not a negative. I was born in Quincy and raised in New England, so my heart is with the Red Sox, but I'm blessed to be able to work for ESPN as well. I don't see that as a split loyalty, or in any way an issue. Vin Scully, Jack Buck, Jon Miller – scores of announcers have worked a national slate and their own ballclub at the same time. Thankfully, my Entercom Radio/Red Sox employers see it as a feather in the cap, and ESPN does as well. I find your complaint fascinating, however: Why would you want an announcer you "don't particularly care for" to be "Red Sox only"? That sounds like a contradiction.
    All the best, and Go Sox! – Dave O'Brien

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