Roger Angell is the greatest of all baseball writers. Today, the game has recognized the fact. This July, along with Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony La Russa, Roger will be celebrated in Cooperstown, New York, the site of the Hall of Fame. He will receive the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, which has previously gone to the likes of Grantland Rice, Red Smith, Ring Lardner, and Damon Runyon. [more inside]
From the most recent Boston Magazine. "The Boston sports media, once considered one of the country’s best and most influential press corps, is stumbling toward irrelevance. The national media not only seems to break more big Boston sports stories than the local press, but also often features more sophisticated analysis, especially when it comes to using advanced statistics. To put it bluntly, “The Lodge”—as Fred Toucher, cohost of the 98.5 The Sports Hub morning radio show, mockingly refers to the city’s clubby, self-important media establishment—is clogged with stale reporters, crotchety columnists, and shameless blowhards. " There's even a whole blog dedicated to hating Dan Shaughnessy, Dan Shaughnessy Watch, aka the CHB.
Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man's Euclidean determinations and Nature's beguiling irregularities. So wrote John Updike in his moving tribute to Red Sox legend Ted Williams -- an appropriately pedigreed account for this oldest and most fabled of ballfields that saw its first major league game played one century ago today. As a team in flux hopes to recapture the magic with an old-school face-off against the New York
Highlanders Yankees, it's hard to imagine the soul of the Sox faced the specter of demolition not too long ago. Now legally preserved, in a sport crowded with corporate-branded superdome behemoths, Fenway abides, bursting with history, idiosyncrasy, record crowds, and occasional song. [more inside]
After beating the Texas Rangers on Sept. 3, the Boston Red Sox were 84-54. Although half a game behind the Yankees in the American League East, the Red Sox had a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild card and roughly a 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. Fast forward one excruciating month to a dead heat with Tampa coming into tonight's bitter imbroglio. Boston struggles ahead of laughingstock Baltimore by a single run until a rain delay clears the field, leaving them in the surreal position of rooting for the hated Yankees playing down in Florida. They can only watch from the sidelines as the rival Rays, tied with Boston in the pennant race but down 7-0 against New York, roar back to life with six runs in the eighth inning and a tie run on the final pitch at the bottom of the ninth. And then, after blowing two different strikes that would have salvaged the game, Boston loses to Baltimore, completing what is arguably the worst late-breaking collapse in the history of major league baseball.
The Boston Marathon has made it harder to qualify, by lowering times by 5:00 minutes across the board, and also by eliminating the 59 second grace period. [more inside]
Facing an unprecedented series of sports victories, the typical Boston fan is faced with the cold realization that success ain't all it's cracked up to be.
Underdog to NY Yankees --> "Who's YOUR Daddy?"
Boston Herald sports reporter outs himself in print and asks why people in the world of sports still have to hide. Frankly, I'm out because I can't come up with a single logical reason why I should have denied myself the right to live and work as openly and freely as everyone else. Nor should anyone find a reason why an openly gay athlete should be denied the right to play a team sport without fear of becoming a target of prejudice or physical harm. See Outsports for more info on the subject, and an interesting pro and con on whether gay baseball players should come out.
Goodbye Trust (Hello Shyster?) After 60+ years of Yawkey ownership and a year's worth of politicking, the Red Sox have been sold to a group headed by the current Florida Marlins owner and the man who presided over a fire sale as owner of the Padres (and is pals with Satan). The local heroes dropped out of the group today after a spat. The new owners' remaining local talent consists of former senator George Mitchell and Les Otten, a man who had trouble making money in the ski business. And staying out of trouble.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.... for Boston Red Sox fans. This story from espn.com's Page 2 about Game 6 of the 1986 World Series is well-written and fills me with sympathy and empathy for Sox fans. See, as a Yakee fan, I was rooting against them at the time, but I feel sorry for them now. What a cruel punishment that game must have been. So close, and yet so far. (Please pardon my sports digression and shameless use of cliches.)
Today is the 105th running of the Boston Marathon. Growing up in Natick, Massachusetts, which is the ten-mile point of the route, the Marathon was always a huge deal. I remember watching every year as the wheelchair racers would zoom by to the roar of the crowd. We'd then wait a few minutes until the State Police motorcycles and the press trucks marked the lead runners. Before long the street was nothing but a solid wall of runners in all shapes, sizes and colors. A favorite thing to do would be to cheer someone on based on the t-shirt they were wearing. One year I saw a man wearing a t-shirt with a picture of the Mandlebrot Set. I yelled "Go fractal man!" He looked at me and smiled, and I knew I gave him a little bit of a boost that day. The race is certainly a yearly tradition around these parts. Does the rest of the world care? Is this big news elsewhere or just a small blurb on Page E-6?