Watching Pats/Bengals & Rockies/Padres

A few sports thoughts as I watch the Pats/Bengals on Monday Night Football and the Rockies/Padres tiebreaker game.

  • The Colorado Rockies are one of those feel good stories that you love about sports. They have won 13 of their past 14 games in order to force a 1-game winner takes all tiebreaker game with the San Diego Padres. As I watch in the 8th inning, the Rockies have a runner on 2nd in a 6-6 game.
  • The Bengals defense is awful. Yes they did get an interception, but they are lucky to be down just 10 points right now.
  • Randy Moss is a freak…one of those freaks you absolutely love to have on your team.

One little thing = bad swing

I had been in a little slump at the plate the past for past couple of games, which is pretty hard to do when your playing slow pitch softball in a coed league. I kept dropping my right shoulder when swinging the back, which mean a lot of weak contact and pop-ups (ie: I was doing my best imitation of a golf swing, even on pitches that are chest level).

After a two week break due to the 4th of July, we had our first game on Tuesday and I absolutely stunk. Batting practice was horrific since my timing was off and I kept dropping my shoulder. The actual game was even worse. Three weak ground balls for outs and a lazy fly ball to left field.

So I wasn’t feeling too hot going into today, since it would be our second game in three days. However, I guess the fact of seeing live pitches twice in three days really helped me. After a couple of practice swings, I took batting practice and magically stopped dropping my shoulder (it is actually much harder to do then it sounds). A slight adjustment forward in the batter’s box and I was hitting hard line drives to left field like I had been in the batting cage for a week straight.

Fast forwarding to the game, I had a spectacular day at the plate. 2-2 with a single, double, and a fielder’s choice. Each hit was a very hard drive to left field. Several people said I had a perfect swing both times. My team was tied 6-6 going into extra innings before we lost, but it was a spectacular game that kept going back and forth.

Just like baseball, when you break out of a slump in softball, you cannot help but smile. Now we just gotta start winning again.

How can you get charged up about this?

So I am watching the home run derby on TV (well, the pre-derby show if that makes sense). The Counting Crows are doing a little 1 song performance. One thing you notice having a HDTV is that it is really easy to figure out when there is no energy in a live music performance.

It probably has to do with there isn’t a single fan within a couple hundred feet of the stage, the very unnecessary micro fireworks, and a band that was doing their best to charge up the crowd, but clearly had no energy to feed off of.

This is baseball, we don’t want live music performances, especially ones that are very staged and artificial.

Can never turn down a visit to Fenway Park

If there was a cathedral for baseball, Fenway Park would be it. According to my mom, the first time I visited Fenway Park (around 1992), I walked up those steps from one of the gates into the park and was greeting with the Green Monster directly in front of me. Probably the longest deep breath of my life to take it all in (my mom claims it was the cutest thing she has ever seen me do) and I was off to find my seat.

There is nothing like going to Fenway, on a beautiful day, and watching a ball game. Sure it isn’t the most modern park (95-years-old) and sometimes it can drive you insane, but there is no better place to enjoy a game. It makes you feel like a kid again.

I had a first yesterday and got to watch a Red Sox game from a luxury box, for free (thanks to a vendor I order from often for my job). The food was fantastic, it was an absolutely gorgeous evening, we had a great group of people we sat with, and it was a really good, sit on your edge of your seat type game.

A couple great things about us Red Sox fans. The person singing the national anthem was having some trouble getting through it, so the entire crowd at once (almost like it was planned) just started belting out the last half of the national anthem together, as if 36,000 people had been singing together forever. It gave all of us goosebumps and was really awesome.

Then of course, there was the 8th inning rendition of “Sweet Caroline”. Another bunch of goose bumps, this time from a now drunk 36,000 person crowd attempting to be in the ballpark of the same key. Even though we all sang horrible, it was insane to listen to. The umpire just waited for the song to end before starting the game up, it was so much fun.

The Sox lost, but Katie and I had a blast. Nothing like Fenway.

One of those days

My softball team had its first game in two weeks and it showed. We got absolutely destroyed (I don’t even know what the score was). Way too many errors.

On how I did, I went 1-2 with a hard single to left and a hard line drive to center field that resulted in a spectacular diving catch by the center fielder. I also got on base via a fielder’s choice.

Didn’t feel particular comfortable at the plate, even though I had good contact on two pitches. That’s what happens when you don’t play for two weeks. 

Random brain dump

Some random stuff that I have been meaning to write about:

  • What is up with the weather? Tonight it is going hit -2 degrees according to weather.com and my morning commute looks like it will be in the 4 degree range. It is so cold that my stereo system in my car takes a few minutes to heat up before it will talk with my iPod (note to self: gotta get that fixed). By 3:00pm on Saturday (roughly 42 hours from now), it will be 47 degrees out and all next week we will be flirting with 50 degrees. Welcome to spring in New Hampshire.
  • It has been about 9 weeks since I started using Invisalign braces. I just started aligner set #5 (of 12 for my bottom teeth, of 24 for my top teeth), so I am almost halfway done the bottom teeth and almost a quarter done the top teeth. I switch to a new set of aligners 2 weeks on Wednesday. Usually by Friday (48 hours or so), my mouth is no longer sore from the new set and I can easily take them off. So really, it is just 2 days of being sore and having a relatively difficult time taking them off. I think that with the last set is the first time I think I started to notice something, but it is tough to tell since each set does such a small amount of change on its own. I think I will have to look at the before/after photos to really appreciate the amount of change.
  • I have a good feeling about the Red Sox this year. This is one of the deepest starting rotations around (even deeper then 2004’s) if everyone stays healthy. The offense looks pretty well rounded. Only concern is the bullpen, but those are always a crapshoot and it is the one thing Theo can’t seem to get together (outside of 2004).
  • Speaking about good feelings, how about the Patriots? They are schooling everyone in free agency. So much for being “cheap” like some members of the media (*cough* Ron Borges *cough*) think they are.
  • On the other hand, those Celtics are doing a great job working for that #1 (or #2) pick!
  • On the geek front, the DST changes are a bane to my existence. This is one of those (many) times where the government did more harm then good…why break something that was working fine? I think at work we got everything patched up on the Windows side, but I am worried about Lotus Notes…calendar systems are really weird to begin with when it comes to time zones. Nothing can be simple and easy I guess.
  • I have been reading Barack Obama’s two books and I don’t think I ever been more impressed with a politician. He is exactly the type of leader that should be President.
  • Tomorrow marks the return of me to the gym at work. Actually, technically I returned yesterday when I got fitness tested (being entered in a drawing for a new iPod had nothing to do with that, I swear). So anyways, tomorrow I going to restart working out and be very sore this weekend.

I am afraid to sneeze wearing my Red Sox hat

The amount of injuries the Boston Red Sox have suffered is unbelievable.

Here is just a list off the top of my head that have happened in the past month or two:

  • Matt Clement – 15-day DL, right shoulder strain
  • Tim Wakefield – 15-day DL, broken rib
  • Jason Varitek – 15-day DL, knee surgery
  • Trot Nixon – 15-day DL, strained right biceps
  • Manny Ramirez – hamstring and knee problems
  • David Ortiz – Irregular heartbeat
  • Kevin Youkilis – Flu
  • Alex Gonzalez – 15-day DL, right oblique strain
  • Jon Lester – 15-day DL, diagnosed with a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • Mark Loretta – Leg injury, has DH’d or played 1st base the past week
  • Coco Crisp – Has missed several games due to a sore shoulder
  • Jonathan Papelbon – left game on 9/1 with a shoulder strain

My prayers are with the Lester family. What a unbelievable thing to go through.

There are times when life is more important then a stupid game. This is one of those times.

Another day, another walk-off for Ortiz

I really wish I did more writing on sports, especially after moments like last night’s walk-off HR by Red Sox DH David Ortiz. What an amazing game that in some ways could read like a movie script. Only could the Red Sox make someone scream at the top of their lungs when everyone else is either in bed or going to bed.

The Joy of Sox has a very interesting blog post on David Ortiz’s heroics since the 2004 season. I couldn’t make up numbers that are better then what he has done.

I took a look at all Red Sox home games since Ortiz joined the team in 2003. When I started, I figured that contrary to what we all think, Ortiz doesn’t always win games in walk-off situations. We simply forget the times he has made an out.

Well, in the last two seasons, that’s simply not true.

He DOES do it all the time.

2003:    2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, BB
2004:    2-for-8, HR, 3 RBI
2004 PS: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB
2005:    3-for-3, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB
2006:    5-for-6, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 2 BB

Since the end of the 2004 regular season, Ortiz has come to the plate in a walk-off situations 19 times — and reached base 16 times. He is 11-for-14 (.786), with 7 HR and 20 RBI.

In 2005 and 2006, he is 8-for-9, with 5 HR and 15 RBI!

Simply amazing. The best part about all of this? I got to witness one of the walkoffs in person during the 2004 playoffs (Game 3 of the ALDS vs. the Angels).