Friday, March 14, 2008

Moments In My Life

The family knows how big a Red Sox fan Gram and Gramp were Zeb did a great job of covering that. Thus in 2004 with Gram being sick and the Sox in the World Series and up 3-0 on St. Louis I had a thought. Wouldn't it be great to drive up to Detroit and watch what may be the clinching game of first Sox championship in 86 years? The answer was a resounding yes, the only problem as it was the middle of the week, Wednesday sticks in my mind for some reason, and I had to work the next day. What if the Sox lost game 4 would it mean as much? If they lost would it be worth dragging around work all day the next day? I made the only real choice I could, I drove the hour north. I stopped off at Mom and Dad's on the way and Dad figured he'd head up and watch the game at the farm too. So there we were, the four of us, watching the Sox trying to finally close the deal for the first time in all of our lives. The night went exactly how you think it would. Reserved, quiet comment on the game, Gram talking more than Gramp. I remember at one point the Sox got in trouble, a few runners on and only a small lead. Gram says what we were all thinking, "OH Here we go...". Of course we all know the Sox pull it out. Such a small thing for most people, sitting and watching a ball game with family, but this night was so much more yet, with typical Basford fashion, no one mentioned the significance of it. Maybe it was only that significant to me, but it was so much more to see that happen with Gram and Gramp. A moment I wouldn't trade for the world.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Where I got my love of the game (Vol 1)

Why do I love baseball and the Red Sox so much? It was my grandfather's love of the game rubbing off on me and many others in the family. Many of my fondest memories regarding baseball involve him, from softball leagues to watching the Sox together to him playing in those shoes.
I know Great Grampy Basford (Stanley Sr) was a baseball fan but I believe I'm safe in saying Stanley Jr was the bigger fan and the reason this family today is littered with diehard Red Sox fans. It never failed when I visited Gram and Gramp as a child and then when I returned home from the service that, if there was a Sox game on TV, they'd be watching it, with the sound muted and the radio play-by-play on, or they'd be listening to the game on the radio if it wasn't televised.
What a memory he had for the stats and history of the Sox and Major League Baseball in general (something I inherited but lost somewhere in middle age). I remember going up to the farm and checking over the box scores with him. You could watch a game with him and he'd tell you the strategies that were being deployed; he'd tell you what he thought of trades with great support and wisdom; he'd tell you that such and such a player reminded him of someone from the past. He kept reference books around on the game and would often refer to them. I learned much about the strategy and history of the game from him (yes, from you too, Wayne, Bruce and Mom!), as well as the right and wrong way to play the game. I can remember many times having a sore hand playing toss with him, more often than not him without a glove, just catching with those catcher's mits he called hands.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Big Market/Small Market perspective

The Mrs. sat down the other night just as Jim Rome (who I don't usually pay attention to) was ranting about how the Brewers should've signed Prince Fielder to a big, long-term contract instead of holding him to his rookie deal. She was asking what that was about. So I explained it to her, saying I essentially agreed with Rome that they should've signed him because they'll lose him...the flip side being they're a small market team without endless resources and a contract is a contract. But that guy is/will be the face of the franchise and will put fannies in the seats. In the Fielder/Brewer situation I see Fielder having more of the leverage. Money and a long-term contract is all they have to keep him there.

Conversely last night I hear news of Jonathan Papelbon starting to squawk about his contract with the Red Sox. Help me out here but isn't he in the same situation as Fielder? Funny how I sort of looked at it differently though. Maybe it's because he's a pitcher, especially a closer, so proving yourself over 2 seasons doesn't always mean what it does with a position player. So the Sox might bump his salary up a few thousand K but won't give him a big deal until next year, which I agree with..."underpay" for these guys while you can because you're going to overpay after that.

Maybe it's because the Sox are in a different situation than Milwaukee that I view these instances differently. Milwaukee can't afford to be cheap with Fielder. The Sox have the leverage of a winner in a rabid baseball town that Milwaukee doesn't have going for it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Spring Training Starts Tomorrow....

So with pitchers and catchers reporting tomorrow it's time to knock the dust off and power this thing up.

The sox are looking strong, even with Schilling possibly out for the year. From what I understand there is a chance he'll be ready by the all star break, but I'll believe that when it happens. So we'll most likely have Tavarez as the number 5 guy and he pitched well enough last year in that role that I'm not nervous at all. So we have Beckett, Dice-K, Wakefield, Lester and Tavarez to break camp with and Bucholtz waiting in the wings with Schilling hopefully coming back mid year. Not a bad rotation over all.

The pen is looking strong too with many of the good performers returning. Okijima, Delcarmen, Schnyder, Timlin are returning and of course Papelbon is the anchor. With those guys pulling most of the weight guys like Lopez and Pauley can play their roles and contribute when they can. The big question mark for me in the pen is Craig Hansen. Will this be the year he breaks out and lives up to his potential. It seems he has surgery in the off season to correct a sleep apnea problem that could have been effecting his performance and preparation. We'll see. If comes to life that gives us three very lively arms in the pen.

Then there's the starting 8. Everyone is back. The only real question, and maybe it's not a big deal, is when does Ellsbury take over in center? Do they put out there right out of the chute like they did Pedroia or do they work him in giving Crisp more at bats early in an attempt to bolster his value for a trade at the dead line? I know my fellow bloggers here have no hope that Drew will perform better than last year, but I hope he does. I think he can be very successful if he gets away from trying to pull the ball all the time and takes it back up the middle more. He did that in the playoffs and hit much better. The only changes where that Sean Casey replaced Hinske as the guy to spell Youkilis at first. I see this as an improvement. Casey's bat is better than Hinske's and the defense is a wash.

The chances of the Sox winning the east this year is much better than last year. I think the Yankees have many more questions this year than last. If they young guys pitch better than last year and stay healthy they'll make it interesting, but I still think we have the edge.