Friday, October 9, 2015

Sox Make Vain Attempt To Make 2015 Seem Interesting

Oh, my goodness. Well, give the Red Sox credit for trying to make something interesting out of the miserable 2015 season. A couple of hours ago, the team 'tweeted' out a bevy of arcane information under the hashtag #myfenway. Among the tid-bits: fans consumed over 700,000 Fenway Franks this year. Which, given the actual meat content of those things, works out to about 35,000 actual hot dogs. Also, 80 home runs were clouted. I don't know about you, but that sounds awfully small to us. I don't think I'd 'tout' that stat if I were The Carmine Hose. Also, there were 44 wedding proposals at Fenway in 2015—we'll reserve our judgement on that one. Nice try, Red Sox. The season still stunk.

POLL: Price And Greinke Sit Atop Pitcher Priority List

Early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that David Price and Zack Greinke are the most favored pitching targets for the Red Sox this winter. As the chart shows, 29% think Price should be the main free agent pitching target, followed closely by Greinke at 24%. Not too far behind is Johnny Cueto at 20%, with Jordan Zimmermann coming next at 13%. Jeff Samarddzjia (5%), Yovany Gallardo (4%) and Mike Leake (4%) bring up the rear. One reader voted for an unspecified "other" pitching target. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Final Dalton Jones Average Matches Up With Win Total

While our Dalton Jones Industrial Average is not designed to reflect the yearly win total of The Carmine Hose, this year it actually did match up. The final score reading was 77.9—which, if rounded up—is 78. Eureka! The Red Sox won exactly 78 games. OK, so we're reaching a little bit here. But hey, have you noticed, they're not playing? So, what else are we supposed to do until April 4th, 2016?

FN POLL: Which Starting Pitcher Should Sox Target?

Which Starter Should Sox Target?

Which ONE starting pitcher should the Red Sox target?

  Current Results

E-Rod Makes Baseball America's 2015 All-Rookie Team

(USAToday Sports)
Boston's rookie left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez was the only Carmine Hoser to make Baseball America's 2015 All-Rookie Team. Oddly, Mookie Betts (the FenwayNation Rookie Of The Year) was not mentioned among outfield candidates. The only other Red Sox rookie who was even referenced (although not picked for the team) was catcher Blake Swihart. Rodriguez finished his rookie campaign with a 10-6 record and a 3.85 ERA. The southpaw started 21 games for Boston after being called up from AAA Pawtucket in late May. He posted 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings pitched and a WHIP of 1.29. He will likely be a  mainstay in the 2016 Red Sox rotation. Congratulations, Eduardo!

'Playoff Palooza' Today With Four Games On Tap

For baseball fans, this is like a hardball version of March Madness. All four playoff series are in action on Friday—starting around noon Eastern and ending sometime after midnight. Perhaps the most interesting match-up for Red Sox fans is the battle between Cubs starter Jon Lester and Cardinal starter John Lackey. Both played indispensable roles in the improbable 2013 World Series Championship for The Carmine Hose. First up is Game 2 of the Blue Jays-Rangers series (12:45, MLBN), followed by Game 2 of Astros-Royals (3:45, FOXSports1), the aforementioned Cubs-Cardinals kick-off (6:45, TBS) and finally the Mets-Dodgers re-enactment of a NYC subway series of the 1950s (9:45, TBS)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Red Sox Hold Line On 2016 Ticket Prices—Sorta Kinda

To paraphrase Michelle on TV's legendary Full House: "Duh!" What did the Red Sox think we were expecting from a team that's finished in the basement three out of the last four years: a ticket price increase? In the most unnecessary press release in team history, The Carmine Hose announced they will "hold prices at 2015 levels" for next season. Kinda. Sorta. Of course, it wouldn't be a communique from the front office if there weren't a caveat. To wit: you only get the 2015 prices if your purchase your 2016 tickets before December 31, 2015. You know, right after you've emptied your entire family budget on the holidays. For those unlucky slugs who have to wait until the actual year of 2016 to purchase 2016 tickets, the average price increase will be 1.4%. Thanks, John Henry! Very compassionate of you!

David Ortiz Up For American League Hank Aaron Award

Red Sox Designated Hitter David Ortiz has been nominated as the team's representative in the 2015 Hank Aaron Award voting. 'Big Papi' will be up against the likes of Mike Trout, Josh Donaldson, Chris Davis, Miguel Cabrera, and Nelson Cruz as the top offensive performer of the year. Trout and Giancarlo Stanton were the winners in 2014. Said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, "Hank Aaron was a tremendous all-around offensive performer, and I believe that the diverse skills and competitive spirits demonstrated by these 30 players throughout the 2015 season have honored the Hall of Famer's enduring legacy." You can vote for Ortiz HERE.

Sox-Connected Cubbies Win Wild Card Over Bucs, 4-0

(Getty Images)
Jon Lester, David Ross, Anthony Rizzo, Quintin Berry, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer—even "consultants" Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis! These are some of the Red Sox connections on this year's Chicago Cubs ballclub. Last night, the North Siders blanked the home-town Pirates 4-0 in yet another stunning pitching display by Baltimore Oriole cast-off Jake Arrieta. Can you believe that the O's traded away this guy for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman? Anyway, now that The Evil Ones and Red Sox are golfing, we're pulling for the mini-Bruins of The Windy City.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sox Tell Player To Lose Weight—And It's Not The Panda!

(USAToday Photo)
According to The Boston Herald's Scott Lauber, the Red Sox have told Hanley Ramirez to lose 15-20 pounds before Spring Training to help him adapt to a possible switch to first base. Reportedly, Ramirez arrived to 2015 Spring Training weighing 240 pounds—far above his typical weight in his All-Star seasons with the Marlins. Said interim Red Sox manager Torey Lovullo, "To be an infielder, you have to be a little more agile. It’s all from a health standpoint, all for getting through a season and not having those aches and pains that a big body has. We all know when you carry extra weight it puts more stress on your joints. I think that’s the main reason why." Apparently, The Panda is exempt from such rules.

Cubbies Need Win To Avoid Drought Extending To 107

No pressure, Cubbies. But, after a fabulous season, you need to win tonight to keep alive the hope of breaking your 106-year curse. With an elimination loss tonight, the North Siders will immediately lapse into a 107-year curse. Oy! With the Red Sox out of it, and so many ex-Boston connections at Wrigley, it's easy to shift our short-term loyalties to The Boys Of Theo Epstein. Tonight's starter—Jake Arrieta—is among the best pitchers in all of baseball. So, the Cubs should be headed to an ALDS date with the 100-win Cardinals. One problem—the equally good Pittsburgh Pirates are at home and have their own terrific Game One starter in Gerrit Cole. Tonight should be a doozy—maybe the best single-game match-up in a while. Go Cubbies!

Is Free-Agent Dillon Gee Worth A Look From Red Sox?

While Dave Dombrowski will face the off-season challenge of landing a #1 starter, he will likely also be on the lookout for cheaper options that might fill out the rotation. Who knows? Dealer Dave might trade away some of the current rotation placeholders—and thus need some filler. On Tuesday, Dillon Gee quietly became a free agent—after being left off the Metropolitans' 40-man roster. In the past, Boston had shown interest in the 29-year old Gee—before he seriously hit the skids in 2015. Through ineffectiveness and injury, he never made it back into the Flushing rotation. But, he does have a interesting history of being somewhat effective—and is still under 30. His best season was 2013—when he threw almost 200 innings (199.0) and posted a 12-11 record and 3.62 ERA. And, even with a crappy 2015, he's still given up fewer hits (674) than innings pitched (679.1) career-wise. So, if a Joe Kelly or a Wade Miley leave via trade, Gee might be an inexpensive option.

Brady Dominates Last Night's First-Ever 'Globie' Awards

(Exclusive FenwayNation Photos)
The Boston Globe presented its first annual Globie Awards last night at The House of Blues across from Fenway Park. A bevy of celebrities showed up—including David Ortiz and Rob Gronkowski. The big winner of the night was Tom Brady (who was not there)—garnering six Globies (including Athlete Of The Year). Oddly, the Voice Of Boston Award went to Mike Gorman—although some earlier reports stated that new NESN TV play-by-play voice Dave O'Brien had overtaken Gorman in late voting. Virtual hanging chads, perhaps? Maybe the Supreme Court can intervene. FenwayNation was lucky enough to cover the event, and here are the "winners":

Athlete of the year (fan vote): Tom Brady; Fan Favorite (fan vote): Tom Brady; Best moment: Malcolm Butler’s Super Bowl interception; Best comeback: Providence hockey in Frozen Four title game; Best female athlete: Alex Carpenter; Patriots MVP: Tom Brady; Red Sox MVP: David Ortiz; Bruins MVP: Patrice Bergeron; Celtics MVP: Isaiah Thomas; Revolution MVP: Lee Nguyen; Voice of Boston Award: Mike Gorman; Lifetime Achievement Award: Milt Schmidt; Most Inspirational Fan: Liam Fitzgerald; Community Hero Award: Pete Frates; Unsung hero: Julian Edelman; Best individual performance in a game: Tom Brady; Most stylish Boston sportsperson: Tom Brady; Executive of the year: Bill Belichick; Top college athlete: Jack Eichel; Best college moment: Providence College hockey team; Social media star: Tom Brady; Top newcomer: Malcolm Butler; Best quote: Rob Gronkowski; Coach of year: Bill Belichick; Best Ad by Brand: CoachUp; Best Social Media Campaign by a Brand: Dunkin’ Donuts (Gronk/Big Papi); Fantasy Player of the Year: The Gomes Brothers.

Mookie Betts is Headed To The World Series (Sort Of)

(Boston Herald Photo)
Mookie Betts almost hit .300 this year for the Red Sox (.291). But, reaching "300" isn't exactly a foreign concept to him—since he's bowled that number twice in his life. Thanks to his ten-pin bowling prowess, Mookie has been invited to the Professional Bowlers Association’s Geico World Series of Bowling VII Tournament in Reno, Nevada this December. Mookie has been an avid bowler since he was a little kid—and actually entered his first tournament at the tender age of eight. So, make sure you keep track of his progress at this year's "World Series".

POLL: Starting Pitching Job One For Dave Dombrowski

The readers have spoken—and not exactly ambiguously. As the chart shows, fully 69% of respondents to our latest FenwayNation Poll say starting pitching should be the number one off-season priority for Dave Dombrowski. Interestingly, dealing with the quagmire that is the Hanley/Panda situation finished second at 18%, while fixing the team's uneven relief pitching comes in at 13%. Clearly, the fan base senses the need for a true #1 ace in the starting rotation for 2016.

Five Reforms To Make Major League Baseball Better

Don't get us wrong, the sight of The Evil Ones playing golf in October is positively gleeful. Nevertheless, the one-and-out Wild Card elimination scheme simply isn't fair. No team should have to slog it through 162 games, qualify for the post-season, and then head home after three hours of playoff action. It's just dumb. So, it got us to thinking, what should new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred do about this—and a few other things while he's at it? Herewith, our modest proposals to make the world's greatest game even better:

1.) Reduce the regular season from 162 to 154 games. Hey, that's how it used to be for decades. It was good enough for Ted, Willie and Mick, so it should be good enough for Mike, Bryce and Miguel. The shortened season would give MLB extra breathing room for a fairer playoff structure—one that wouldn't have the World Series end a few weeks before Thanksgiving;

2.) Go back to one Wild Card team per league and a reformed playoff format. With just four teams qualifying in each league, we could start the LDS series right away—with the weakest division winner playing the single Wild Card entrant in a seven-game series. Then, the two survivors meet in another seven-game LCS series. No more one-and-outs!;

3.) Play at least one World Series game during a Saturday afternoon. If the new Commissioner is serious about bringing in younger fans, some games have to be accessible to that audience;

4.) Limit mound visits by anyone—catchers, infielders, pitching coaches, managers—to two before a pitcher must be removed from a game. Any fan that has had to sit through endless catcher visits knows how time-consuming and boring they can be. If Manfred is serious about slashing game times, this would help big time;

5.) Make the DH universal in both the American and National leagues. Screw the purists. Pitchers hitting is a joke—and also makes National League ERAs deceptively better. Plus, it's just stupid for a major professional sport to play by different sets of rules. Maybe the NFL can allow the AFC to have 110-yard fields. The DH is more exciting and better—period. Make it universal.

Evil Ones Headed To The Links On Wednesday, Fall, 3-0

(Getty Images)
The Bronx Embalmers could do nothing with Astros ace Dallas Keuchel—and, as a result, The Pinstriped Posers will be turning their attention to five irons, putts and sand traps for the balance of October. The Evil Ones managed just three hits off Astros pitching in a 3-0 elimination loss in the Wild Card play-in game. The front-running "fans" at The Concrete Bunker On 161st Street were all pumped-up when—in the sixth inning—A-Faud came to the plate with two on. Would this be the moment? Not bloody likely—as The Centaur flied out weakly to CF. We love the smell of Yankee futility in the morning, it smells like———VICTORY!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

FN POLL—'Hey Dave: Fix The Starting Pitching First!'

Very early results from our latest FenwayNation Poll send a clear message to new Red Sox President and CEO Dave Dombrowski:"Fix the starting pitching first!" As the chart shows, fully 81% urge concentrating on the rotation first, followed by 13% who want him to deal with the Hanley/Panda conundrum and 6% who want him to focus on relief pitching. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

POLL: What Should Dombrowski Fix First This Winter?

Hey, Dave, fix this FIRST!

Which one area should Dombrowski fix first?

  Current Results

Get Set For Tonight's Yankee Elimination Celebration!

Tonight's the night, Sox fans—potentially anyway. Either way, you have to get your self mentally psyched for the elimination of The Bronx Embalmers tonight at The Concrete Bunker On 161st Street. Houston is clearly the better team in the one-game Wild Card match-up, so no amount of front-running 'beautiful people' in $1,500 seats will be able to stem the Astros tide. Look for a lop-sided win from the 'Stros and a quick exit for The Pinstriped Posers. Couldn't happen to a better bunch of guys!

Monday, October 5, 2015

With The Season Over, Face 2016 With The FN Calendar!

The 2015 season is in the books—sure, it's been a disappointment. However, we also beheld a hopeful foundation, which bodes well for a resurgent 2016. Now, you can start fresh with the new 2016 FenwayNation Calendar. It's chock-full of brand new exclusive FenwayNation photos—of the park, the team and the ambiance that is the Red Sox experience. You can stock up early for your holiday giving by ordering the calendar now online. Get one for every Sox fan on your list! It's just $14.99! ORDER HERE NOW.

Xander Bogaerts Is FenwayNation's 2015 Player O' Year

(Getty Images)
The Editors Of FenwayNation (and a majority of our readers) have named Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts as the 2015 FenwayNation Player Of The Year. Bogaerts established himself as a legitimate star in 2015—vying for the American League batting title (he finished second) and flirting with the 200-hit plateau (he finished with 196). Moreover, he solidified his status as the franchise shortstop with a solid, smooth performance in the field. Bogaerts was a workhorse—playing in 156 of the team's 162 games. His 81 RBIs were second only to David Ortiz's 108. Bogie hit a team-leading .320 on the year, with a .355 on-base percentage (just five percentage points behind team-leader Big Papi). Xander also scored 84 runs, had 35 doubles and 10 stolen bases. All in all, he was the most complete player on the 2015 Boston Red Sox. As such, we award him the 2015 FenwayNation Player Of The Year award. Congratulations, Xander!