Baseball, After 20 Years in Boston

Wakefield PitchesI came to the USA in 1989, expecting to stay for 3 years and then return to Europe. For the next three years, I lived in Cambridge, and came to like baseball, and especially the Boston Red Sox.

The first game I went to at Fenway was a pitching duel between Clemens, then of the Sox, and Saberhagen, then of the KC Royals. It was on April 18, 1991. I know because I just found the box score. The names (e.g., Boggs, Burks, Greenwell, Reardon) show how long ago that was.

Another indicator of how long ago that was: Tim Wakefield wasn’t with the Sox. I saw the most recent of his many Sox starts on Friday. It was a lot of fun, even though the Sox lost. They did so in extra innings, so it’s just as well the game was briskly played. Wakefield works quickly, even though his pitches don’t move quickly. His fastball is 70-something mph. That’s quite a contrast, though, with his trademark 60-something knuckleball. It’s also a contrast with every other pitcher we saw. The Sox relievers, and the Mariners pitchers, threw hard, with changeups going over 90.

It wasn’t Wake’s best start, and can’t have improved his chances of making the All-Star roster. But make it he did: Tim Wakefield is an American League All-Star. He’s the pitcher in the picture. I think that the hitter is Griffey.

Haiku: 5/7/5 for 06/04/09

Red Sox season dawns
As sunset threatens the Globe
Boo Big Apple twice.

Here in Boston, it’s Red Sox opening day. Or at least it would be, had weather not caused the postponement of the (home) opener until tomorrow.

Another stream of local news focuses on the Globe, the newspaper in danger of closure. The direct source of the threat is the New York Times, owner of the Globe. Jay Fitzgerald (with the help of “ExGlobieInTheNickOfTime”) questioned NYT’s reasoning.

There has got to be something really wrong with 85 million dollars in annual losses … Either the number is crap, or if it’s close to true, it indicates the entire Globe business is crap, and what the heck has the NYT Co. been doing with the Globe for the last several years?

This via Universal Adam, who also provided a roundup of blogging about the prospect of a Globe closure.

Since I wrote the haiku, the Sox opener has been postponed until tomorrow. That seemed like a good idea when I heard about it this morning, and seems like an even better idea given the rainstorm I’ve just come in from.

Sports: Boston, Beijing, Birmingham

The big Boston sports story is the trade of Manny Ramirez. Universal Adam links to a plethora of posts. One of them is Dan Kennedy’s argument that the Red Sox did pretty well — financially, too, despite their agreeing to pay Manny’s salary for the rest of the season.

I was among those who thought that the Sox had given away too much: a hall-of-fame hitter, the $7M he will make for the rest of the season, and two young players. But Jason Bay seems like a pretty good player, is younger than Manny, and is under contract for next year. And neither of the young players is a top prospect. Most of all, Manny had to go.

The big word sports story is the Beijing Olympics. I don’t care about the sports so much, although the politics and the pollution provide an interestingly murky environment.

Birmingham? I refer to England, rather than to Alabama, and in particular to the Edgbaston cricket ground. Test matches, although they last five days, often end in draws. But this one is looking like another victory for South Africa over England, unless there are further heroics from Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff.