Hippity, hoppity, happy Opening Day! 9-7
We shouldn’t gloat. After all, just because the Yankees have the worst record in baseball…
Yes, I think we should gloat. After all, they did.
I don’t know about you, but it was a winter of holding back vomit.
No more. The sox are back (imagine that in a German accent. Or is it Austrian? I don’t know. I get my governors confused), and despite a few speed bumps (ahem, Josh Beckett, ahem), we’ve got the makings of another 2004.
I think that, provided Ortiz starts hitting (and when he does, you won’t be able to stop him), we’ve got all the right tools. We have Jacoby- who (while not the definition of a power hitter) is a lot like the old he-who-shall-not-be-named. Jacoby has HWSNBN (ahem, JD)’s speed. He’s fun to watch (who didn’t get out of their seats when he stole home against Pettitte last April?), and you’ve got to admit the kid’s got spirit.
We have Pedroia, MVP faithful, who knocked them out of the park last night.
We have my internet husband, Kevin Youkilis.
Kevin Youkilis became the first Red Sox player to get three extra-base hits on Opening Day since Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk had a double and two home runs against the Yankees at Fenway Park on April 6, 1973. Youkilis was also the first Red Sox hitter to triple on Opening Day since Jose Offerman on April 5, 1999 at Kansas City.
“We all have faith in ourselves. We know that we’re a good hitting team,” said Youkilis. “I don’t think we have to prove that to anyone but ourselves. I’m just very impressed by a lot of guys battling.”
This will be his year. Look at his hitting pattern. He’s progressed, and this year will be his peak as a power hitter. He’s proven he can step up to fill voids in the in-field. He’s proven he can step up to fill batting needs when Ortiz is in a slump. Is there anything Kevin Youkilis can’t do? Well, run fast, but that’s why we have Jacoby.
And- don’t forget the often under-appreciated JD Drew.
Yeah, so we lost out on Bay, but we’ve got Lowell and Varitek waiting in the wings, so it’s still a good place to be at the start of the season.
Roadblocks to watch out for: The bullpen. Touted as one of the strongest in baseball, it’s a bullpen I’m not as excited about as most other Soxies. I was jumping up and down last year- and look what happened? Dice, Dice, baby? Especially after a mediocre (if that) start by the Beckster, I’m cautious. We’ve got Tim Wakefield as a starter (who I trust probably more than I should, a mixture of bias and tradition despite his somewhat unpredictable knuckleballs), but we’ve also got an uncertain Beckett (with a 4 year, 68 mil extension) and a Papelbon still feeling the pressure from the playoff nightmare. It will be interesting to see what Lackey brings to the table. I guess this means I’ve got to get the “Boo! Lackey” chants out of my head. I miss Masterson. I think he’s going to be a pitcher to watch. But hey, we kept Lester and Clay, and Dice is supposed to be back… better than ever? We’ll see. He’s got a ways to go.
Speaking of pitchers, was I the only one who secretly wanted Joba to reach Youk? Because that hit, my friends, would have been glorious.
So, congratulations, soxies, on a wonderful Opening. It was a heart attack waiting to happen, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Anyone else choke up during Diamond’s Sweet Caroline? Anyone? No? Yeah, I need to move to Boston.
Watched last night’s smackdown at Beantown Tavern, Matthews, NC. A guy came in (no joke) in a pinstriped Clemens jersey. What, your Damon jersey was at the cleaners?
PS- Lester’s back to face off against AJ Tuesday. He’s going to beat him like he beat cancer. Yep.
Remember that glorious Yanks series last April where Burnett choked? It would be a better memory if Beckett hadn’t choked during the same game. It’s okay, Beckett. Still love you. For now.
And Posada- hah. A home run cannot make up for what you did defensively. Does his neck look bigger to anyone else?
Dear Terry Francona,
First off, let me start out by saying that this letter had a first draft in the fourth inning that is no longer relevant.
Thank you for keeping Delcarmen in the bull pen. Yeah, yeah, I know. I read your last letter. But I still don’t trust that guy. And really, how can you salvage a relationship when the trust is gone?
Speaking of trust, I just have a few words about Jason Varitek.
I understand, Terry, as you do, that Tek is moving up in age. Our righteous captain is figureheading this year. I get that. I understand. It has been explained to me by people (bartenders, really, who else do I talk to when baseball season starts?) whose opinion I value- and I’m not arguing with the decision to use Martinez as your primary starter.
However, while he didn’t Posada himself this game (like that? I’m hoping that’s a derogatory verb that will catch on, IE:, before a test: Boy, I hope I don’t Posada myself. IE:, seeing blue lights behind you while going 70 in a 35 mph zone: I’m Posada-ed, now! Yes, I know he hit the homer- but did you see him “catching”? Hah), I counted four moments where I couldn’t help but say, “Tek would have hit that.” For morale’s sake, you should have started Tek on Opening Day. Historically, Tek hasn’t let us down on an opening day yet. And… with so many green pitchers infiltrating the ranks, what better motivator than the Tek himself in front of you with a glove?
I know I wasn’t the only one saying, “Tek would have hit that,” and, “Tek would have hit that better.”
Also- just as Posada (ha ha) hit the Yanks with some serious questions about their season, Beckett and Pap have me worried.
Yeah, Jacoby saved Papelbon’s (blemished) record this time, but it could have easily gone the other way. I’m a Pap fan, so I’m willing to start on the road of forgiveness here, but that fluke in the playoffs- well… let’s just hope it’s a fluke. Too early to tell.
As for our new kids, Scut, Beltre and Cameron. Well, I have a good feeling- especially about Cameron. He’s my pick as the newb to watch this year. I know everyone’s talking about Beltre… but my sox-psychic powers are seriously blinking over Cam.
PS- I can’t seem to find your cell phone number. If you could buzz it to me, that would be great. I really needed it by inning 4.
Dear Josh Beckett,
What. The. Hell?
Do you remember that letter I sent you last season? Do you remember the paragraph subtitled “trust”? Re-read that. Especially the part about “don’t you ever do this to me again” and “If my friend Doug hadn’t defended you, this letter would include more f-bombs.”
Dear Kevin Youkilis,
I love you, baby. You’re still my number one slugger.
Your internet wife,
Dear Dustin Pedrioa,
Dear Jorge Posada,
Your neck looks bigger this year. Last night was fun. Let’s do it again.
Dear Chan Ho Park,
I don’t care what anyone tells you, I think you’re great and I hope the Yankees let you start. Keep eating the wheaties because I can tell they’re working.