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.