One Last Hurrah

For one final time, we will look back and salute what was an amazing accomplishment by the Boston Red Sox in 2013.

Does anyone recall what happened at last year’s Opening Day ceremonies at Fenway Park? Neither do I…

The only thing that might be memorable from that day were two things: one, the Red Sox won 3-1 over the Orioles, extending their home opener win streak to nine, and two, it proved to be the last game in the consecutive sellout streak. The next night, the streak ended at 820 games, which included postseason games at Fenway Park.

Today, that does not matter. After taking two-of-three in Baltimore, Boston returns to its home field for a celebration that should match or perhaps surpass the celebrations held at the home openers in 2005 and 2008. After the defending World Series champions were showcased at the White House earlier this week, now comes what should be the final mention of last year’s success: a pregame ceremony complete with all the trimmings (gold, to be specific) and the presentation of rings to players and team personnel.

Continue reading “One Last Hurrah”

Five Thoughts On The Red Sox Heading Into The 2014 Season

No more talk of what happened last season; the Red Sox must now focus on reaching October this season.

The slate has been wiped clean and, save for Friday’s pregame ceremony at Fenway Park that will celebrate Boston’s 2013 championship season one last time, the Red Sox must now focus on the task at hand, which is to navigate through another 162-game schedule in the hopes of making the postseason for a second consecutive season.

It was a relatively quiet off-season for the local nine. The one notable subtraction was the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency, who agreed to sign with Boston’s division rival, the New York Yankees. Also gone from the team are two other key cogs from last season’s machine: catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (signed with the Miami Marlins) and shortstop Stephen Drew (currently unsigned). There were also a few notable additions, too, including catcher A.J. Pierzynski, outfielder Grady Sizemore, and reliever Edward Mujica, all of whom made the Opening Day roster.

Otherwise, the team taking the field this afternoon at Orioles Park at Camden Yards is for all intents and purposes the same one that we saw playing for postseason glory this past October. The starting rotation carries over from last season, as does the right side of the infield, the corner outfielders, and the key bullpen components.

Continue reading “Five Thoughts On The Red Sox Heading Into The 2014 Season”

2014 Red Sox Opening Day Roster Set

The 2014 Opening Day roster for the defending world champion Boston Red Sox has been set by manager John Farrell.

The defending 2013 world champion Boston Red Sox are set to open the 2014 regular reason tomorrow in Baltimore against the Orioles, an American League East division rival. The Red Sox, who surpassed the expectations of most prognosticators last season to win their third World Series in ten seasons, will be managed for a second year by John Farrell. After finishing the opening series, Boston will open Fenway Park this Friday versus the Milwaukee Brewers.

Many familiar faces remain on the roster from last season, including designated hitter and World Series MVP David Ortiz, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, outfielder Shane Victorino, starting pitchers Jon LesterJohn Lackey, and Clay Buchholz, and closer Koji Uehara. Another familiar face who returns as a starter will be shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who is the youngest player to open the season at that position for the Red Sox since Everett Scott in 1914, according to Gorden Edes at ESPNBoston.com.

Some of the new faces include veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski, outfielder Grady Sizemore, and reliever Edward Mujica. In what was a relatively quiet spring, Sizemore was the big story; returning to baseball after being limited to 112 games between 2010-2011 and no games over the past two season, he outperformed expectations and displaced Jackie Bradley, the expected starting center fielder, from the major league roster.

Continue reading “2014 Red Sox Opening Day Roster Set”

Ten Years Gone

Ten years ago today, I finally stopped procrastinating, purchased the fenwayfanatics.com domain name, and debuted the “home to Boston Red Sox baseball fans everywhere.”

I’m never gonna leave you. I never gonna leave
Holdin’ on, ten years gone
Ten years gone, holdin’ on, ten years gone
— Led Zeppelin, Ten Years Gone

What a wonderful journey these last ten years have been.

On 17 March 2004, I finally stopped procrastinating, purchased the fenwayfanatics.com domain name, and debuted a new web site, which I tagged as the “home to Boston Red Sox baseball fans everywhere.” My intent was to share my interest in this team and its rich history from the perspective of an “everyday fan.”

Continue reading “Ten Years Gone”

One Season With Red Sox A Microcosm Of Beltre’s Career

Adrian Beltre’s brief time with the Red Sox was just a microcosm of what has been a truly remarkable baseball career.

Like all sweet dreams, it will be brief, but brevity makes sweetness, doesn’t it?
— Stephen King, 11/22/63

Two weeks ago, I posted a study of the top “one-and-done” positional players in Red Sox history and the player who rose to the top of every statistical category we studied – WAR and OPS+ – was Adrian Beltre. It was almost no contest, as the former third baseman prove himself valuable at the plate and in the field.

Continue reading “One Season With Red Sox A Microcosm Of Beltre’s Career”

Time Is Right To Retire Wade Bogg’s Number

The time is right to let bygones be bygones and give one final honor to one of the best players to ever wear a Red Sox uniform.

The Red Sox employ a rather strict policy related to the retirement of uniform numbers; to be considered, you need first to have played a minimum of ten years with the team and you must also be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

To date, only one person has received this honor who has not met these criteria; Johnny Pesky, whose number 6 was retired in 2008, was recognized for more than 60 years of nearly uninterrupted time with the franchise as a player, a manager, coach, and instructor.

There is also one player who meets these criteria but whose number is absent from the façade in right field: former third baseman Wade Boggs.

Continue reading “Time Is Right To Retire Wade Bogg’s Number”

Did You Know? – Top “One-And-Done” Performances by Red Sox Position Players

When given just one season with the Red Sox to showcase their talents, some players have literally stepped to the plate and made it one to remember.

Out of the nearly 1700 players who have appeared for the Red Sox through the 2013 season, there have been almost 800 players that have worn a Boston uniform for just a single season. Some may be remembered for one fleeting moment in the spotlight, like Billy Rohr, who was one out away from a no-hitter against the New York Yankees in his first major league start in 1967 but made just eight more starts that season and won only one other game (his next start, also against the Yankees). Others may have been aging former All-Stars looking for one last season under the sun, like Carlos Baerga or Mark Lemke.

Then there are those who use that one season to showcase their talents, performing at a level perhaps unexpected. Every plate appearance seems to produce, every play in the field seems fluid and flawless, and the sportswriters and fans watch in awe and amazement.

Continue reading “Did You Know? – Top “One-And-Done” Performances by Red Sox Position Players”

Did You Know? – Derek Jeter and Red Sox Shortstops

Last week, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced that he would retire at the end the 2014 baseball season after 20 years in baseball. The Yankees captain and future first ballot Hall of Fame candidate has been a fixture in the New York lineup since 1996, playing an average of 144 games per season; that figure jumps to 153 if you discount his injury-plagued 2013 campaign in which he managed just 17 games due to injury.

His career appearances at shortstop is by and far the most by a player in a Yankees uniform; Phil Rizzuto is a distant second with 1647 appearances, while Frankie Crosetti is third with 1516. He has also played the most games of anyone in a Yankees uniform, 2602, which is over 200 more than the great Mickey Mantle.

In contrast, over the same time period, the shortstop position has been remarkably fluid for the Boston Red Sox, especially since 2004 when the team traded away perennial All-Star Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs at the deadline. Since 2005, no player has held that role for longer than two seasons and only one player has started at least 150 games in a single season.

Continue reading “Did You Know? – Derek Jeter and Red Sox Shortstops”

Three Players, Long-Time Broadcaster Earn 2014 Red Sox Hall of Fame Honors

The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Class of 2014 is stacked with some impressive honorees, at least one who will be inducted into Cooperstown next year.

Nike Boston Red Sox 2014 Spring Training Grapefruit League Dri-FIT Performance T-Shirt - Red
Nike Boston Red Sox 2014 Spring Training Grapefruit League Dri-FIT Performance T-Shirt – Red

The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Class of 2014 is stacked with some impressive honorees, at least one who will be inducted into Cooperstown next year. Announced by the team this morning, this year’s class includes pitchers Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, and radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione. The team also selected one of Martinez’s greatest single game pitching performances as this year’s featured moment.

The Red Sox Hall of Fame, opened in 1995, honors players who spent at least three years with the Red Sox and have been out of uniform as an active player at least three years. Non-uniformed honorees and the memorable moment are chosen by a unanimous vote of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame Selection Committee, a 15-member committee of Red Sox broadcasters and executives, past and present media personnel, and representatives from The Sports Museum of New England and the BoSox Booster Club.

Continue reading “Three Players, Long-Time Broadcaster Earn 2014 Red Sox Hall of Fame Honors”

Did You Know? – David Ortiz and the Silver Slugger Award

Majestic David Ortiz Boston Red Sox 2013 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Red/Navy Blue
Majestic David Ortiz Boston Red Sox 2013 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey – Red/Navy Blue

Last week, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox was named as the recipient of the 2013 Silver Slugger Award for the designated hitter position. It marked the sixth time in the past ten seasons that “Big Papi” has won the award, and the second time in the past three seasons. It extended his record for the most awards at that position, ahead of former players Paul Molitor and Edgar Martinez; his six awards also ties him with Red Sox legends Wade Boggs and Manny Ramirez for the most in team history.

Never was Big Papi’s offensive production more apparent and more valuable this season than in the Fall Classic, when he batted .688 (11-for-16) with two home runs, six RBI, seven runs scored, a .760 on-base percentage, and a 1.188 slugging percentage while making just five outs in six World Series games. He also tied a series record by reaching base in nine straight appearances, which helped him to easily walk away with the 2013 World Series MVP award.

Continue reading “Did You Know? – David Ortiz and the Silver Slugger Award”