Book Review – Don’t Let Us Win Tonight

If you are going to recap one of the greatest seasons in Boston Red Sox history and one of the most improbable comebacks in baseball history, why not get the story straight from the people who experienced it firsthand?

Don't Let Us Win Tonight
Don’t Let Us Win Tonight, written by Allan Wood and Bill Nowlin

If you are going to recap one of the greatest seasons in Boston Red Sox history and one of the most improbable comebacks in baseball history, why rehash box scores and the play-by-play that are easily found through an Internet search? Why not get the story straight from the people who experienced it firsthand?

This is the heart of Don’t Let Us Win Tonight, authored by Allan Wood and Bill Nowlin. While the authors set the stage in bringing us back ten years to that magical 2004 postseason, the story unfolds through the words of the players, the manager, the front office, the medical staff, the opposition, and even the bat boy. Nearly every moment is captured, beginning with a quick summary of the season, followed by a recap of each postseason game, and finally to the championship parade that wove through the streets of Boston at the end.

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Did You Know? – Appearances as Designated Hitter

The next appearance David Ortiz makes for the Red Sox as the designated hitter will see him set a new Major League Baseball record for most appearances as a DH.

Should David Ortiz appear tonight for the Red Sox against the Yankees at Fenway Park as the designated hitter, and by all accounts he will, he will set a new Major League Baseball record for most appearances as a DH with 1644 games, surpassing former slugger Harold Baines. Ortiz already holds the record for most starts in league history by a DH with 1625, well ahead of Baines at 1565 starts.

Big Papi is far and away the leader in most offensive categories as a designated hitter: most plate appearances (7188), most hits (1779), most doubles (450), most home runs (385), and most RBI (1256). Counting only players with at least 2000 plate appearances as a DH, his OPS of .941 ranks second to Edgar Martinez (.959).

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Boston, We Are Strong

What Big Papi said from the heart at Fenway Park last season sums up everything related to how Boston has responded over the past year to the Marathon bombing.

Everything related to how Boston has responded over the past year to the Marathon bombing may be summed up by what David Ortiz said from the heart five days later in the first Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

This jersey that we wear today: it doesn’t say Red Sox, it says Boston. … This is our f**king city, and no one is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong!

We are #BostonStrong.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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