Saturday, June 4, 2022

While Flawed, The Red Sox Have Also Been Unlucky

There's no question that the current configuration of your 2022 Boston Red Sox is not championship calibre. They are deficient at first-base, in the bullpen, in the starting rotation and on the bench. Having said that, they have also been incredibly unlucky so far this season. According to ESPN's metrics, The Carmine Hose should have a 29-23 record right now—four wins more than they actually have. Their run differential is a respectable +27 (4th best in the American League). No one better exemplifies this misfortune than Alex Verdugo—who has hammered the ball this year but gotten little to show for it. 

There are other issues. For example, Boston is 1-6 in the incredibly stupid MLB extra-inning format. You have to think that in a normal extra-inning format, they'd at least have a few more of those wins. They are also 4-8 in one-run games—probably mostly due to their crappy bullpen. They also reside in the toughest division in baseball—and they've gone just 7-14 so far against their division rivals. That's not sustainable.

So, if you mix in some bad luck and some crappy performances—you get a team that's 12 games out of first place in June. 

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Now Is The Time For The Red Sox To 'Trade Up' To Relevance

Despite the recent surge of optimism for your Carmine Hose, they still lost three of five—at home—to the pathetic Orioles. Moreover, they went 3-4 on the recent home-stand against those Orioles and the even more pathetic Reds team. This is no championship team right now. In fact, they're struggling to get to .500. 

What's needed right now is a major trade—to bring multiple relievers and a major-league quality first-baseman to Boston. You can't solve all of the problems with one trade—but the bullpen and first are the most egregious failures. Perhaps the return of Chris Sale and the relative consistency of Nick Pivetta and Nathan Eovoldi will stabilize the rotation. 

If the Red Sox are not serious about re-signing Xander Bogaerts (which appears the case), then trade him now. It's shameful that this even has to be considered—but apparently John Henry cares more about foreign soccer and NASCAR than keeping franchise players on his baseball team. 

The only alternative is to punt on 2022, bring up Triston Casas to play first—while gouging regional fans with the $29.99/month NESN 360 'streaming' service. I'm tired of Henry's act. Can we get some local ownership, please?

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Let's Not Get Too Excited By Recent Red Sox Run

Winston Wolfe
Your 2022 Boston Red Sox are finally performing like they were supposed to. Unfortunately—even though it's only May 21st—they may have dug themselves too big a hole for any post-season appearance. They could qualify again for a play-in Wild Card game (they're only 4 out right now), but the inconsistency on both offense and defense (not to mention pitching) this season suggests that we shouldn't get too excited about playoff prospects (heeding the sage words of Pulp Fiction's Winston Wolf).

For example, despite their recent run at Fenway, Boston in the only team in the AL East with a losing record at home. In a division as talented as this one (even the Birds are pulling off walk-off wins) that's not sustainable. 

There are still far too many holes on this roster to realistically hope for a post-season berth—first-base, bench, bullpen, health of the starting rotation (we could go on). So, let's enjoy the recent barrage of run-scoring—but let's not get ahead of our skis. Let's get to .500 first.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

FOCO Releases New Xander Bogaerts Bobblehead

FOCO, one the world's most prominent manufacturers of apparel, toys and accessories for all major league sports, has released a new Xander Bogaerts Boston Red Sox Play Ball Bobblehead. As you can see, the bobble shows the X-Man in action—ready to blast another home run over the Green Monster. You can get more information on all of FOCO's products by visiting their social media sites (@focousa) or their website (https://foco.com). 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

A Groundswell Of Support To Honor Jerry Remy

Last Sunday morning, as I learned of the passing of Red Sox legend Jerry Remy, a wave of real sadness passed over me. But soon after, I had a thought: Why not honor his legacy as a player, broadcaster and local Boston kid by re-naming Jersey Street as "Jerry Remy Way"? After all, Jersey Street has no real connection for Red Sox fans, but naming it for the long-time player and broadcaster would have tremendous significance. 

When my modest tweet garnered almost 6,000 likes and almost 700 re-tweets in less than two days, I realized this could be a real possibility. So, I created a petition on change.org. As of this writing, nearly 3,500 people have signed. I was even interviewed by a local television station about the petition (Channel 7 in Boston).

Hopefully, the City of Boston and the Red Sox will heed this public groundswell of support and re-name Jersey Street for one of the most iconic members of Red Sox Nation—Jerry Remy. If you haven't done so yet, please consider signing the petition HERE.

Friday, October 29, 2021

The New 2022 FenwayNation Calendar Is Available Now!

It's here! The brand new, 2022 FenwayNation Calendar is now available for purchase. Filled with exclusive photos from the exciting 2021 Red Sox season, this calendar is a MUST for those crazed BoSox fans you all know! Maybe even for you! From the up-and-down regular season, the Wild Card win over The Evil Ones, to the thrilling ALDS win to the ALCS—it's all here in stunning display. The cover features the incredible rainbow that shot across Fenway as a symbol of the great things that happened during the 2021 season. You can't get these photos anywhere else!

Click HERE to buy your copy of the 2022 FN Calendar (or many copies)!!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

An All-Boston Original Franchise World Series Is A Real Possibility

With the Red Sox tying their ALCS series with a "Double Salami" whooping of the TrashCanBangers and the Braves walking-off the Trolley Dodgers in their NLCS Game One, we actually could have and All-Boston (original franchise) World Series.

This almost happened back in 1948, but the Red Sox lost a one-game tie-breaker with the Cleveland Indians—who went on to beat the Braves in the World Series. Think of what could have been! A short commute Fall Classic—between Fenway Park and Braves Field (the current site of B.U.'s Nickerson Field). Alas, since the Braves are now in Dixie, it's more like a 1,000 mile drive—but still, it would be the first World Series match-up between two original Boston franchises.

Of course, Inter-League Play (which started in 1997) has severely diluted the potential sweetness of this possibility—since they matched up four times just this season (the Red Sox wining three of four, by the way). Still, forcing the Dodgers and Astros to play golf the rest of October would almost be sweet enough in and of itself. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Devers And Whitlock Gain Top FenwayNation Honors For 2021

FenwayNation announced their 2021 Red Sox Award Winners last night—tapping 3B Rafael Devers as "Player Of The Year" and RP Garrett Whitlock as "Rookie Of The Year".

Capping an All-Star season, the 24-year-old Devers clouted 38 home runs and knocked in 113, while hitting .279. He also collected 37 doubles and tallied 318 total bases. His 62 walks were the highest of his career. Mostly, he transformed himself from an exceptional young player into a superstar.

The 25-year-old Whitlock delivered a stellar 1.96 ERA in 73.1 innings for the 2021 Red Sox. Picked up last December in the Rule 5 Draft from the Yankees, Whitlock became the "go-to" bullpen arm for multiple-inning relief appearances. He faced 298 batters and struck out 81—walking just 17.

Congratulations to Rafael and Garrett!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Red Sox Hold Their Post-Season Fate Squarely In their Own Hands

No excuses. With two games left in the regular season (barring a "play-in" tiebreaker on Monday), your Boston Red Sox just need to win on Saturday and Sunday to secure a post-season berth. Period. No scoreboard watching, no Yankee angst—just get 92 wins and wait for your next destination.

It sounds easy—but nothing has come easy for this Boston Nine in 2021. They started the season by losing three at home to the pathetic Orioles (only to almost repeat that debacle in Charm City in late September). They have gone on near-historic runs that made us think this collection of "Bloomers" was destined for greatness. They have collected doubles at an astounding rate—leading Major League Baseball by a long shot. But, alas, the pitching is the big conundrum—sometimes the starters, sometimes the 'pen. Does a 2021 Sale Day guarantee a win? Ummm, not necessarily. Is Barnes a true closer? Ummm, not bloody likely.

And so, it all comes down to whether this crew can hit and pitch in 18 consecutive innings. If they do, we're in the tournament. If they don't, the pitchforks and torches will be out in full display on Yawkey Way (Jersey Street is a fiction). 

Monday, May 3, 2021

FN International Editor: John Henry And The "Soccer Super League"

by Mark Lawrence, International Editor

Sydney, Australia—I've never given much thought to the game of soccer.  I've never given so much as a rat's narrow behind about it, to be honest.  But this latest brouhaha over in the Old Dart is relevant to any one who's ever handed their hard-earned to the ticket takers down on that street outside Fenway Park - I forget what they're calling it these days.          

The British soccer fan has been quite a bit het up lately.  Why?  Well, partly because of the pallid presence of John Henry, owner of a little outfit called the Fenway Sports Group.  FSG owns the Liverpool Football Club and - for those who don't know - Liverpool has a fan base whose passion rivals that of Red Sox Nation - and probably even exceeds it. The Club uses a song from the musical Carousel as its motto and its anthem - You'll Never Walk Alone - and they belt it out louder and stronger than poor old Sweet Caroline every chance they get.               

John and his pals somehow got the bright idea that they could futz with English Football - soccer, to you and me - and no one would much care.  They made the fatal assumption that soccer fans would docilely accept a European Super League comprised of the highest-priced teams and happily kick over even more dough at the turnstiles for the privilege.  The idea was simple: the best clubs would form their own competition within the game's existing structure.  But it goes a little deeper than that and the concern down here and elsewhere is that John and his fellow MLB owners might try and pull the same gag with Baseball.  As Nick O'Malley (Masslive.com) neatly puts it, imagine if the Yankees, the Dodgers, our own beloved Red Sox and 'other big-money teams joined a separate league with the top Korean and Japanese teams to start their own playoffs and World Series that they’d play for, in addition to normal Major League Baseball. Smaller market teams would get a chance to play, but the big-money teams would always have a seat in the playoffs.'               

Sounds pretty sleazy, doesn't it? I mean, wouldn't that make the Fall Classic essentially a bit of a joke? If a bonehead like your Downunder Correspondent can see it, surely the stock-ticker minds of Henry et al had to have seen it too?  Well, no, actually.  It looks like they didn't.  

One of the Super League cabal members, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, said they came up with the plan because young people are 'no longer interested in football' due to 'a lot of poor-quality games'.  

I found some interesting research from a fan-intel outfit called Ear to the Ground.  They're based over in the UK and while they're not exactly Polity Research, the data they gathered shows that Florentino doesn't have a firm handle on what those Real Madrid fans are feeling.  According to the Ear guys, almost 90% of soccer fans think Perez - and his super-rich pals - are simply full of it.  As one of the Ear guys put it: “It’s about knowing what your audiences care about, and the role you play for them,” (This is Owen Laverty, director of fan intelligence) “We know there are smart people working across all of these clubs, but it feels like these decisions about a breakaway league were made in boardrooms by individuals who were disconnected from the real world and potentially misunderstood the values of the people that this mattered to the most - the fans…"  Ear to the Ground is very likely making some serious scratch from simply identifying what's important to sports fans and acting accordingly.  And if John Henry hasn't already taken steps to go and do likewise, well - he might not be as smart as he thinks he is.  Owning a globally recognized sports franchise - like the Boston Red Sox - is not just having some awesome money-making machine, it's a deadly serious responsibility.  John Henry and the other super-rich MLB owners have a duty to the Game and an obligation to the Fans.  And you wanna know something? Up until this Super League debacle, I felt reasonably comfortable with Henry's stewardship of our club.              

Now, I'm not so sure. How about you?

Friday, April 30, 2021

Will Middlebrooks And Jenny Dell To Co-Host Jimmy Fund Bingo

Former Red Sox third-baseman (and 2013 World Series Champion) Will Middlebrooks will co-host the upcoming Jimmy Fund Bingo Night on Friday, May 7, 2021. He'll be joined by his wife (and former NESN reporter) Jenny Dell for the game—which will be played on the Jimmy Fund Facebook Page

To participate in Jimmy Fund Bingo Night, a $10 or more donation is suggested to receive one Bingo card. Family packages and the option to sponsor a patient to play Bingo are also available. Confirmation details will be emailed to all participants prior to the start of Friday’s game. Winners of each round will receive fun prizes, including exclusive Jimmy Fund items. Bingo cards are available for purchase until 4 p.m. EST on May 7th. All participants who register before 5pm on May 5th will be entered to win a pizza party from Papa Gino’s to enjoy while playing during Friday’s Bingo livestream. Visit Jimmy Fund Bingo for more information. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: 'A Fastball For Freedom'

Review by Ernie Paicopolos:

Rarely does a sequel match or surpass the original. You can pretty much count the times on one hand: Godfather 2 (following the Godfather); Margaret Atwood's 'The Year Of The Flood' (following 'Oryx And Crake'); Jeopardy's Alex Trebek (following Art Fleming). By the way, I'm deliberately leaving out Buccaneer Tom Brady (following the Patriot version) because of where I live.

Anyway, author Gary Morgenstein has managed to pull off this rare feat. His new novel, "A Fastball For Freedom" is Book Two in the "Dark Depths" series of novels that began with the amazing, "A Mound Over Hell". Protector-of-all-things-baseball (and pretty good pitcher) Puppy Nedick is back—but the year 2098 is not a fun place for lovers of baseball (or freedom, for that matter). Puppy (and his ex-wife) are on the run from 'The Family'—the religious dictatorship that now runs America. He's been branded a traitor for trying to keep baseball alive.

What makes Morgenstein's books so compelling is the character portrayals—they're complex, but they're also identifiable as they weave their way through the treacherous, dystopian times in which they live. And I'm not just saying this because there's a new character in the mix named 'Ernie The Wizard' (well, maybe a little bit). And, as with the first novel, Morgenstein is not afraid to take on political correctness—and strike it out with a backdoor slider on the inside corner. How refreshing is that in our timid times? 

The bottom line is that if you love speculative fiction and you love baseball, this is a must-read. Can Puppy fight a new oppressive regime, save the planet from global conflict—and save baseball? You'll just have to read it. You can order the novel HERE.