The Nation Speaks

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Full House

4.15.05: Let me preface my comments by saying that tonight was the worst night I have ever spent at Fenway. In fact, the incident made me leave because I was so disgusted. It was worse than when I got kicked out for no reason for being unlucky enough to be caught in the row between two groups of rowdy fans that were about to go at it. Maybe it is true that to some extent winning has changed things. I no longer get so angry at the Yankees or their fans. I feel such a great amount of pride and satisfaction in being a Red Sox fan. We are the World Champions! I went to Fenway tonight to celebrate that and also lament the days when I could easily go to 25 games a year, even picking up Tampa tickets the day of (imagine that!).

But now "Yahoo!" hysteria has swept over the Nation. Now it is fashionable to go to a game, to be a part of the rivalry, to try to be a big swinging (jerk) and start a fight. Well you know what, if you are lashing out at players you are just a plain (jerk). Let the game go on and sit in your seat. Let YOUR team get a triple and not a double by touching the ball. A six year old knows that. Clap because your team just put the Yankees away with a big hit by your captain.

Anyway, as I sat in my seat and watched the train wreck, I was embarrassed. The incident was ugly enough, but to continue to throw things, that made me feel sick. You're a real hero if you throw something from the Budweiser deck. I HATE the Yankees, but they are just playing a game, a game we have shown we can beat them at. Why throw things? Why would you chant "Yankees suck," Why be a (jerk)? I tried curbing the mob hysteria by trying to start a "we're number one" chant, but I was drowned out. What is wrong with people? Have some class. Have some pride in your own team instead of being SO wrapped up in the other team.

We're all losers when things like this happens. Fans are not part of the ONFIELD rivalry. Sit in your seat and razz the Yankees' fans. That's fine. Tell them to go back to NJ. Remind them that they chocked. Just keep your hands and feet inside the tram and enjoy the ride. If we're luck this October will be even better than the last.

-- Matthew Frascella, Newton, MA

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4.15.05: I'm a 33 year old die hard Yankee Fan. I come to your site every day. I love it. You tell it how it is. When you're team is going great, you report it. When your team is not doing so well, you hold nothing back. I've wanted to write you many times in the past, but after tonight, I just had to.

Whoever writes your headlines, is a genius. One of tonight's headlines was "Sox Beat Evil UMPIRE" Ha Ha. Anyway, kudos to you and your staff, for taking the stance of true BASEBALL fans regarding the Sheffield situation. It would have been easy for you to just kill Sheff for his involvement, but as a TRUE baseball fan, you realize that the fan at Fenway was, as you called him, an "assclown".

Real Yankee fans know that idiot's (No pun intended) actions, DO NOT represent the majority of Red Sox fans or "Red Sox Nation." Like true Red Sox fans at Fenway, True Yankee fans find it hard to get tickets to Yankee stadium as well. It's the price we pay for having great teams that we root for.

Give yourselves credit for looking past the hatred of the MFYs (I think you call them) and putting the heat on the "assclown." We'll do this at least 13 more times this summer. Enjoy it, and I'd like to wish your team Bad luck. =o)

-- Vic on a car phone

P. S. I know how obsessed Schilling is with typing his name in search engines each night, and I'm sure he'll have plenty to say on this issue so Curt: I hate you for 2001 and 2004!!  And now I just pretty much hate you.

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4.15.05: What makes it even more embarrassing is that a guy 3 people to the left dumps a beer on Sheffield at the exact same moment. These "fans" kill me.

-- Mike Tarentino

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4.15.05: Love the site, but sorry -- you've got it all wrong today. That fan had absolutely no malicious intent toward Sheffield when he reached down. It's so obvious after seeing 20 replays. He was wrong to interfere, but Sheffield saying he got punched in the lip is ludicrous. Even more ludicrous is Joe Torre's postgame blow-up. "That guy shouldn't be allowed to walk the street, much less be at a ballgame." He plainly hadn't seen the replay yet, and, as the skipper of a team that's floundering, and just gave Randy Johnson five runs and couldn't win, he's frustrated.

-- Rick Kampersal

Thoughts While Shaving

4.6.05: · The "Curse of the Bambino" may be dead. But, the "Curse of the Martino" lives. Ever since the Red Sox let Pedro go to New York, they haven't won a game.

· How'd it work out for the Red Sox' closer yesterday?

· If the official scorer wasn't so generous on Sunday night, Edgar Renteria has THREE errors in his first two games.

· Does David McCarty get to pitch an inning for the Sox this afternoon?

· Now that Pedro is gone, it seems like Manny Ramirez is the one who is showing up a little late for the start of the season.

· Wade Neal?

· Does Johnny Damon get a ring or a Pulitzer Prize on Monday? (And, does the wife get a WS ring, too?)

· Why do Yankee pitchers even bother to pitch to David Ortiz with first base open? Ditto for Sox hurlers facing Hideki Matsui.

· Mariano Rivera will still be on the mound this afternoon if it's a save situation for the Yankees.

· So far, A-Rod's off-season workout regimen appears to be paying as many dividends as Trot's.

· Guess Sox' fans know what they meant by David Wells "balky back" now, don't they?

· It's two games in the loss column. The Yankees' magic number is 159. Time to panic yet?

-- Bill Bingham, Westerly, RI... longtime Yankees fan
 

No More Cursing

4.3.05: There never was a “curse.” No such thing. Sure, you can curse at someone, or curse someone in a general way- but a lengthy history of failure needn’t imply a supernatural conspiracy. In reality, baseball, as well as life, is more complicated than that.

For all the “cursing,” from both sides of the aisle, I’ve always wondered who was supposed to have put the hex on the Red Sox in the first place? It certainly wasn’t the Yankees, or Ruth himself- who both benefited tremendously from the deal. Truth is, there’s a conspicuous lack of motive.

Discarding the silliness of curses, we are left to examine the evidence. There have been some undeniably bizarre twists and turns along the way, but make no mistake- there is no shortage of perfectly rational explanations for Boston’s championship drought:

Their frustrating failure to recognize the value of quality pitching (until the last decade or so), Mr. Yawkey’s country club policy of racial exclusion, the financial limitations of Fenway Park, their perennially shaky management, and yes- the standings-be-damned legion of loyals who fill the park regardless of our place in the standings.

Not to mention the shadow of the Babe himself.

In his days with the Red Sox, Ruth established himself as one of the premier pitchers in all of baseball (his lifetime record was 94-46, with a 2.28 ERA). But as he dominated from the mound, he was also becoming one of the game’s most feared sluggers. In 1918, in only 315 at bats, Ruth led the American League in home runs with 11. The following year, his last in Boston, he hit 29, setting a new single-season record for home runs. By the time he arrived in New York, his pitching days were behind him. In 1920, his inaugural season with the Yankees, Ruth hit a whopping 54 homers, nearly doubling his own record.

Ruth’s exploits are legendary, and his eye-popping numbers remain the yardstick by which sluggers are measured. (To put Ruth’s achievements in perspective, apply his transformation to contemporary baseball. Imagine Tim Hudson giving up pitching and becoming Barry Bonds. Then imagine Bonds hitting more home runs than every team in baseball- with the sole exception of the Phillies- as Ruth once did. As godlike as Bonds has been -- he’s a lesser god than Ruth.)

Beyond his impact between the lines, Ruth left an indelible mark on American culture.

Even today, more than seven decades later, freakishly dominant numbers are said to be Ruthian.

Although he hung up his spikes in 1934, during World War II- when charging American troops- Japanese soldiers would sometimes scream, “To hell with Babe Ruth!”

The Babe even insinuated his way into the popular idiom: When playing at Yankee stadium, Ruth not only hit the majority of his home runs into the right-field bleachers, he also took his position in right. Thus, right field seats were highly prized. If there were no such seats available, you were “out in left field.”

Ruth’s impact on the Yankees is incalculable. He single-handedly turned a regional cult into a full-fledged religion- generating an unmatched revenue stream in the bargain. His presence and unprecedented popularity afforded the Yankees the ability to not only construct the ‘House that he Built’, but to establish and help maintain baseball’s one and only dynasty. It may be an oversimplification, but one could make the case that Ruth led to Dimaggio, Dimaggio led to Mantle, and so on.

Meanwhile, for all their Charlie Brown charm, the Red Sox have consistently failed to kick that *@$%^&+ football. Their tragic history is a tale told by numbers: ’46, ’48, ’49, ’67, ’75, ’78, ’86, ’03…staggering, heartbreaking collapses that are enough to make one believe in curses. From Pesky to Grady- and everything in between- the Sox always seemed to fall just short of glory.

Suffice it to say that these are not your grandfather’s Red Sox. Same uniforms, same park, same town. But different. From Theo’s chess master mind, to the new owners’ fan-friendly attention to detail, to the Animal House spirit of the ballplayers themselves- the new-and-improved Red Sox inspire faith. Like Belichick’s Patriots, they’ve earned it.

But the so-called “fellowship of the miserable” need not worry about us becoming too cocky. If we find ourselves getting caught up in the hysteria of the moment, we can easily recall the ulcers of yesteryear.

The 2003 ALCS was an especially bitter pill. To come so tantalizingly close, against the Evil Empire, left us speechless and holding our heads. As a Sox fan, there has always been a prevailing sense of “I’ve seen this play, and I know how it ends.” But like a foolish lover who’s been betrayed a dozen times, we inexplicably come back for more.

After the Greek tragedy of ’86, many of us swore to ourselves that we wouldn’t get fooled again. We would harden our hearts and lower baseball back to its proper place in the cosmic order. Guardedly hopeful, we determined not to care too much. But the ’03 team melted our collective hearts. Down and out, they cowboyed up. They made baseball fun again. Which is precisely why Aaron Boone’s home run hurt so much.

While the Sox-Yankee rivalry is surely the fiercest in all of sports, it has not been a balanced one by any stretch of the imagination. It is the classic story of the oppressor and the oppressed. Some have even gone so far as to humorously suggest that it’s akin to the relationship between the hammer and the nail.

Things are different now. While the ’03 Sox finished a few outs away from the World Series, the ’04 team made the Impossible Dream a reality. Down 3-0 to the dreaded Yankees- written off by every sane person on the face of the planet- something strange and wonderful happened: The Sox rose to the occasion, and the Yanks crumbled. It was more than a long overdue victory- it was a stunning and complete reversal of roles. The Christians beating the Lions. Larry slapping Moe.

Long-time Sox fans are savvy enough to know that we can never win with Yankee fans. When we finally beat them, they sneered, “You’ll choke in the World Series.” When we swept the Cardinals, to become Champions for the first time in 86 years, they said, “It took you long enough.” (Note the gracious headline of the New York Daily News on the day after: “See you in 2090!”)

At the risk of aligning myself with the aforementioned infidels, they might have a point. Winning it all didn’t make us the Yankees. We may have robbed New Yorkers of their pet chant, but the Bombers are still the team to beat. True, they haven’t won a championship in four years, but there’s no denying the depth of Steinbrenner’s pockets. Torre always has the horses, and while Cashman has made his share of blunders in recent years, the AL road to the World Series still goes through New York.

(However, when I reminded my father that we still trail the Yankees in championships 26-6, his response was swift and imperious: “That was last century.”)

We’re the “Defending World Champions,” and no one can take that away from us. But that fact, however satisfying, brings no guarantees. Different team, different year. And yet the moment Doug Mientkiewicz caught Keith Foulke’s underhand toss, the world changed. If only slightly.

As anyone in Fort Myers can attest, the Red Sox are more popular than ever. But after winning the whole enchilada- in goose bump-raising fashion- many of us can’t help wondering what will become of Sox Nation: Have we lost our identity as baseball’s version of Job? Will finally reaching the Promised Land secularize our passion?

Some in the local media have divided Sox fans into two camps: those content with last year’s euphoric redemption, and those who greedily clamor for more.

I say split the difference. Continue to savor the sweetness of ’04, while buckling up for another bumpy ride. As far as heightened expectations go- we’re Sox fans. We don’t take championships for granted. All we really ask for is a chance. A chance to do it again.

File this one under "Best days of my life". -- Chris Pinney
 

Ring, Ring... I Think It's for You

3.25.05: The Boston Red Sox 2005 home opener may be moved from Monday, April 11th to Wednesday, April 13th.

In a statement released by acting MLB Commissioner, Bud Selig, "We just aren't sure they (the Red Sox) will be able to distribute all of their World Series rings in time to play the game on Monday afternoon, as originally planned."

According to Selig, the Red Sox plan to award a championship ring -- designed by the cast of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," to everyone who has ever attended, watched, listened to, or heard about a Boston Red Sox game in the past 87 years.

The list of recipients is said to encompass all former players, living or dead -- except, of course, for Jose Canseco -- players' wives, girlfriends and guy friends, broadcasters (including Wally and his Adirondak chair), long-suffering Sox fans, their parents, grandparents, foster parents, heir apparents, cousins of fans, pets, and children of Red Sox Nation, including those not-yet born.

In addition, a large contingent of the pompom media -- led by Peter Gammons -- have been fitted for a rings.

Not to be outdone, a special celebrity ring will also be presented to Matt Damon by the Farrelly Brothers.

Neil Diamond will receive a "Sweet Caroline" ring. Anyone named "Tessie" will receive a ring.

2004 presidential runner-up, John F. Kerry, will represent all politicians who will receive rings as well. Kerry's ring will be engraved with the name of ALCS Most Valuable Player, "Manny Ortez." The list of these political bandwagon jumpers is said to include, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who has been banned from the upcoming steroid witch hunt, because he still cannot pronounce the names of two prominent suspected cheats, Mark (don't call me Mike) McGuire and Sammy (Souza) Sosa.

"Throwback" rings will honor Curt Gowdy, Ned Martin and Art Gleason. Gowdy's ring will be engraved with the phrase, "Hi neighbor, have a 'Gansett."

Mel Parnell will receive a southpaw ring.

The widows of Ned Martin and Ken Coleman will receive posthumous "Mercy" rings on behalf of their deceased husbands.

The voice(s) of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, John Miller, will receive an imitation ring.

Current Sox analyst, Jerry Remy, will not receive a ring for fear that he will immediately put it up for sale on his website.

Sean McDonough will receive a ring, but will only be allowed to wear it on Friday nights during baseball season.

Don Orsillo was too giddy during ring fitting sessions, and as a result, his ring will not be ready in time.

Johnny Pesky and Sal Bertalamo (and Billy) AKA, "The Window Boys" will head a list of longtime Sox television and radio sponsor recipients each of whom will receive a ring.

A special "Sullivan Tire" ring will also be created and given to anyone who has ever purchased tires or had a wheel alignment.

Former Sox manager, Mike Higgins, who will be represented by the local bar (and we ain't talking' about lawyers here) will receive a "Pinky" ring.

Dick "Dr. Strangeglove" Stuart heads a list of ex-Sox players, and promises not to drop his ring, as does Don "Bootsie" Buddin.

As a token of good will, New England Patriots' owner, Robert Kraft, was scheduled to receive a complimentary championship ring. However, Sox management feared he would not as yet have finished his rambling SuperBowl postgame acceptance speech by game time.

Mr. Selig also hinted that the 2005 Opening Day game could be pushed back another day or two, should the Sox decide to present rings to all of those in Red Sox Nation who claim never to have given up on last year's team when they trailed their arch-rivals, the New York Yankees, by 3 games to none in the ALCS. "That could add three or four million more rings to this farce, and require two or three more days, at least."

Curt Schilling, announced that he may not be ready to accept his ring because of his off-season ankle surgery, the flu and/or his upcoming appearance in Washington, DC, about steroids. Curt promised to update the media each and every day between now and then (whether they like it or not).

In a related business story, Balfour's stock jumped an incredible 50 points since the Sox' ring plans were made public.

(A little cyclical humor from a Yankee fan, as Opening Day draws closer.)
-- Bill Bingham, Westerly, RI
 

A Young Reporter Meets the Great Ones

2.19.05: Thursday, I had the opportunity to meet Carlton Fisk (Former Red Sox player), Bob Ryan (Boston Globe), Bucky Dent (Former Yankee), Mike Francesca (Yankee Radio) and Linda Cohn (ESPN).

The press conference began at 4:30, so I arrived at the hotel exactly then. I went up to the Press Conference room and waited until about 5:00 to begin questioning. At this point Linda Cohn, Bob Ryan and Mike Francesca were the only ones there. I asked Bob Ryan a question from the Dirt Dogs (when I said I had a question for him, Mike Francesca was like "wait... is this choreographed? The Red sox girl asks Bob Ryan, The Yankee girl asked me.") "How has the internet changed sports media?". He laughed and was like "How long do you think we have?" and all the adult press in the room laughed. "It makes it a lot harder to write. 30 years ago you could write a... not a half (assed)... it's a lot more scrutinized. It has to be great". At this point, Mike Francesca winked at me. Also, Bucky and Carlton arrived fashionably late (Bucky a little less fashionably, he had the worst sweater I've ever seen). At this point, all the adult press got to ask their questions. The sports guy from Fox61 asked Carlton Fisk how he felt in the "'76 World Series" and I turn around like a flash and was like "75!" and the room erupted with laughter and the panel was like "She's good!" Later I got to ask Carlton Fisk a question and I said "As you know, Fenway Park has undergone a lot of changes the past two years or so. What would you like to see done?" "This girl has all the good questions" someone said. He thought for a while and said "I saw something done that I never thought I'd see, and that's the seats on top of the wall. I thought it was blasphemy. But I got to go on them last year... best seats in the park. I mean, people are giving up luxury box seats for these. But what would I like to see done? If he could somehow get 45,000 seats, although I think there has been that much squeezed in there before, but that's what I'd like to see." The press conference ended on that note (The panel was like "She's good, she can make it in this business." YAY, (that's what I want to do) and we got our picture taken. I stood in front of Carlton Fisk (I am dying at this point) and he put his hands on my shoulders. He was so tall, I felt like I was standing in front of a tree. And he was really strong, so his hands felt like boulders. I think I'm shorter than I was before, because I think he pressed me into the ground. After that, all the panelists left the room and shook my hand as they left. I ran after Carlton Fisk for his autograph, and I got it, and it's sitting on my Red Sox shrine right now with my Yaz, Luis Tiante and Brian Daubach ball, among other things.

File this one under "Best days of my life". -- Courtney Smith, 16
 

California Trophy Stop

12.03.04: I wanted to write in a real quick note about the WS Trophy visit in Santa Monica, CA the day after Thanksgiving. We had been planning to drive down to LA for the holiday since before the boys brought the big one home, and when we found out Sonny McLean's would have the Trophy coming through it absolutely made our weekend (along with UNH's 1st ever playoff win in football). We drove by the pub around 3:30 just to check out the line for the 4pm opening. The line was to the end of the block and everyone was decked out in their finest Beantown gear.

We swung back to the pub and got in line around 6PM. It was about the same length and everyone was so happy and excited - it was like we had just won it the night before. Sonny's site had mentioned Kapler and Roberts would be by at some point. When they arrived the folks up near the front of the line passed word back that they were indeed here at the pub. We had been waiting an hour when there was some commotion at the back of the line and wouldn't you believe it -- Kap and D-Rob had come out behind the pub and circled back on us. They were shaking hands, signing everything, and even taking the time for photo ops and conversation! D-Rob relayed the "no steal sign/go change history" story several times, Gabe was more interested in what we thought about West Coast living and missing Boston. He was especially interested in what we thought of the difference in the people. I got the impression that he REALLY felt at home back East. There was more bustle at the back of the line and who is moving thru? Tom Werner! He was getting patted on the back and everyone was chanting "Just Sign Tek". He was very gracious and humbled. He moved thru pretty quick, but kept on thanking US. For someone who didn't make it home for any of the games, didn't get to watch them with my Dad, and missed out on the parade to end all parades -- this night was just a perfect accent to our holiday celebration.

Some other quick notes:
• Tom Werner brought a rough cut of the Sox version of the dvd. It was around 2.5 hours long and started all the way back in spring training. Most of it was riveting to everyone in the pub and when he left it went with him. After seeing it, I'm not sure I'd buy the MLB version.
• The World Series trophy was beautiful. It's definitely worth seeing to anyone who's thinking about going to one of the "tour" events.
• Sonny's handled everything so well, all 6 galleries are on their website. It's interesting just to see everyone's poses and smiles. The Nation is a proud Papa.

Happy Holidays to you and all back East.

Cheers, Brian in the Bay
 

Right Wing Not Wanted

12.01.04: I have been a Red Sox fan all my life...I saw Ted Williams play his last game...I moved to Europe when I was seven, I listened to Armed Forces Network in '67 when we played the Cardinals in the World Series...I lived in NYC when we played the Reds in '75. I moved back to Europe in 1984, and was interviewed by USA TODAY as an example of rabid expatriate Sox fandom. I saw Clemens pitch a 16 strikeout game in '86 at Fenway, I went to Fenway last year, I went to Fort Myers this past spring, and I was grateful to see the entire post season here in London on British TV - NASN, and Channel 5... they deserve a mention, and a lot of credit as they service the expat community, and I get to see the Red Sox play about 20 regular season games.

The Dirt Dog site is a lot of fun, and invaluable in its way, but I am really sick of the political comment that intrudes. There is a nasty tone that has entered US politics...it seems to have spilled over on to your website. The columnists on Dirt Dogs seem to take a right wing position, and disparage all those who either disagree or whose politics they don't share. If you don't like Kerry, or Democrats, fine, but please leave it out of baseball. I've seen at least one other reader write in agreeing with me...stick to baseball please.

Thanks
Eric Richmond
London, U.K.

27 Outs

"They'll be the 27 hardest outs we're gonna make all year." - Curt Schilling

10.27.04: The Boston Red Sox are 27 outs away from winning the World Series.

Twenty-seven outs away from retiring the "19-18" chant.

Twenty-seven outs away from having eight and eighty-year olds dance for joy.

And cry for the same reason.

Twenty-seven outs away from Babe Ruth being just another dead Yankee.

Twenty-seven outs away from Ted Williams smiling in heaven. And swearing at Joe Dimaggio.

Twenty-seven outs away from Johnny Pesky holding a trophy, and not the ball.

Twenty-seven outs away from Dom DiMaggio dialing Bobby Doerr's phone number and talking for an hour.

Twenty-seven outs away from Derek Lowe mirroring Joe Dobson's career-best game five performance in 1946 versus St. Louis.

Twenty-seven outs away from the new Impossible Dream.

Twenty-seven outs away from vindication for Tony C, Rico, Yaz, and Gentleman Jim Lonborg.

Twenty-seven outs away from glory.

Twenty-seven outs away from becoming the New Big Red Idiot Machine.

Twenty-seven outs away from Carbo and Fisk's home runs not going for naught.

Twenty-seven outs away from one for Luis, Dewey, Freddie, the Rooster, and the Spaceman.

Twenty-seven outs away from Bucky Dent going back to being just another crummy .247 career hitting shortstop.

Twenty-seven outs away from forgetting the name Mike Torrez.

Twenty-seven outs away from being one strike away.

Twenty-seven outs away from forgetting the Steamer's wild pitch.

Twenty-seven outs away from restoring Bill Buckner's legacy as a career .289 hitter, with 2715 career hits and the 1980 Silver Slugger award.

Twenty-seven outs away from Dan Shaughnessy having to invent a new phrase.

Twenty-seven outs away from forgiving Wade Boggs and the horse he rode in on.

Twenty-seven outs away from hoping Grady gets another chance.

Twenty-seven outs away from Aaron Boone being a question mark at the hot corner for the Cleveland Indians in 2005.

Twenty-seven outs away from someday retiring No. 21 and forgiving Roger for the Blue Jays and the Yanks.

Well, two out of three ain't bad.

- Mike Laprey

"Gump" Unmasked! Grady Gone Mad!

Sox Lose Game, East,
Manager Length of Little's Second Tour Unknown

Boston, MA (9/24/2004) - Grady Little the much maligned ex-manager of the Boston Red Sox found himself in the same position that forced his firing by Red Sox brass shortly after last years ALCS and later in police custody.

Boston PD would offer little details. It appears that Little managed to slip past ballpark security, and fool his former players and pitching coach so he could pirate the dugout and sabotage his former team. A team that normally lead by current manager Terry Francona. Francona was found gagged with a "Cowboy Up" t-shirt and hog tied Naked Gun style in a Fenway Park utility closet. However, unlike Leslie Nielsen's character Lt. Frank Drebin in the comedy The Naked Gun; who mugged an umpire for his uniform and harmlessly moonwalked around home plate of Dodger Stadium with his signature third strike call. Little took Francona hostage and in doing so moonwalked all over any dreams Red Sox Nation had for the hometown team winning the American League East over the hated Yankees.

It is not know how long Francona was held captive. But authorities believe that based on Francona's condition when he was found that it is likely Little has been controlling the team for the past several days.

"I was shocked" said Johnny Damon. "His make-up artist needs a job in Hollywood! He had us fooled. I hope Tito's OK."

Dave Wallace the Red Sox pitching coach became leery of who he once thought was Terry Francona as things evolved in the top of the 8th inning of last nights 6-4 loss to the New York Yankees. "When he grunted with only the whites of his eyes showing after I asked if I should (call the bullpen) to get Timlin or Alan (Embree) in the middle of the seventh inning I felt something was up. After the homerun by Matsui and I got the same caveman like grunt I got a little more suspicious."

Suspicions confirmed.

"After the Williams' hit I decided I had to do something." said the day late hero. Wallace who advised Little to remove Martinez from last October's ALCS game 7 knew something was wrong and decided to act. "I went to David (Ortiz) and Gabe Kapler to layout my plan expose the masked man. At first they thought I was crazy, but after some convincing we all agreed that Tito would have known better than to make the same mistake that SOB made last year" The two were able to corner Terry/"Gump" and after a brief struggle all fears were confirmed. "Man I couldn't believe it. I pulled that mask and you know I was like Grady? What are you doing here?" an anguished Ortiz said.

"Thank God we did something, or this game would still be in the 8th and Pedro would still be on the hill." added Kapler.

A "no comment" was issued by General Manager Theo Epstein. A steaming mad Larry Lucchino vowed a full investigation. "Heads will roll." proclaimed Lucchino. "Heads will roll." he silently mumbled.

Wallace's only regret, "I only wish I could have flushed out this fake earlier."

Little was arrested for trespassing, assault, and kidnapping and reportedly taken to an undisclosed hospital for psychiatric evaluations.

Francona was said to be visibly shaken and slightly dehydrated, but not-injured.

D. Greco

Not Buying What They're Selling

9.22.04: Hear! Hear! Thank you for shedding more light on the dirty secret of Fenway Park. This issue needs to be addressed. Since it is not being addressed by the front office, it needs to be pointed out via the media, Internet and otherwise.

Scalping at Fenway is out of control. I've been to Fenway only twice this season because when tickets went on sale back in February, I was unable to get through via the Internet or the phone on the first day of sales. Finally, on the second day, I was able to get decent seats (i.e. grandstand) to two games: September 1st vs. the Angels and September 20th vs. Baltimore. Both weekday games, which is a bit inconvenient since I live near Portsmouth, NH and have a job.

It sickens me each time I get off the Green Line and get accosted by the bums, thugs and ne'er-do-wells scalping tickets. In past seasons, at least they had the decency to wait until I got out of the subway station. Now, I can barely step off the train before being bombarded by Got tickets? Need tickets? And it continues all the way through Kenmore Square to Landsdowne Street.

As a diehard, honest living, hardworking fan, I ask: Where are the Red Sox in all of this? I refuse to support the criminals on the streets by paying the marked up prices for seats that I cannot get simply because I attempt to get tickets through the legal channels. So, while I play the chump in February, trying to get tickets through official channels, scalpers get to lay back, knowing that, when the time comes, I will have been shut out and will come looking around, wanting two from the stack of ill-gotten tickets they have in their greedy mitts.

Until the front office determines that myself and people like me are the lifeblood of Red Sox Nation, NESN and UPN38 will be my only ticket to the Sox.

Paul Martin, Hampton, NH

Sheesh

9.15.04: I share your frustration over last night's game but your cynicism given the recent stretch is ridiculous and manifests a lack of understanding of baseball. Um, sometimes good teams lose.

I was there and was angry when Millar was picked off. He deserves some razzing.

But Pedro? He struck out 10 in 6 innings and gave up 2 runs. He was over 100 pitches. Forget that Tito is making the decisions anyway but I swear to Christ you would prefer to see him injured throwing 137 pitches. Given the Red Sox have all but clinched a playoff berth, what good would it have done to push Pedro?

And yeah, obviously Trot should be starting.

Patrick Sullivan

Fried Kevin Diet

7.21.04: Hey, I know as well as anybody that Kevin Millar isn't having such a great year. In fact, he kind of stinks. But I think your goin' a bit too far on making fun of the guy, you do remember the past, don't you?

Remember back to 2003. Kevin was our golden boy. He was the light at the end of a 16 inning-long tunnel. He was the "Rally Karaoke Guy," the king of the "Cowboy Up" crew. Remember?!

Now I know that past is the past, but you really have to think of the facts here. Does Millar really belong in the outfield? I think not. So partially, things aren't all his fault. Tito continues to put him into LF or RF when he already knows (HE HAS TO KNOW) that KFK is inadequate in the outfield. I mean, really, you've said yourselves KENTUCKY FRIED KEVIN CAN'T LICK LEFT FIELD! The hitting scenario... well that's just a bunch of junk. He should honestly be hitting the ball! no matter what. But you must remember, he's probably uncomfortable in the outfield, which makes him uncomfortable at the plate as well.

I know, I know, that's no excuse. But think of it this way. What would we do without Millar? He's a sweet guy, and a clubhouse plus. The guy's no mope (a la Nomar) and he brings up everyones spirits, whether he's trying to look like Gunther on Friends or shaving his head completely bald, he's always getting something started.

The "Cowboy Up" crew is through. It's a new year. Things change, and so did Millar. He was once good. Now he isn't. But we all know it! So please, for KFK's sake, tone down the insults.

Sincerely, Kait Pera

What’s Wrong with the Sox?

7.7.04:  What is wrong with these Sox? Well, after tonight’s big win over their wild card rivals from Oakland, most people would say nothing. But don’t let that 11-0 score fool you, this is the same team that lost two of three in Atlanta to the dismal Braves and we all know what happened in Yankee Stadium last weekend. We have a problem. However, maybe the bigger problem is, no one seems to know what is going wrong.  -- The Nation Speaks

BDD is a feature of Boston.com. All posts are by Steve Silva unless otherwise indicated.

Boston Globe:

Red Sox end losing streak > Shaughnessy: Debunking myths about the 2014 Red Sox > Cherington: Everyone needs to get better

Boston Herald:

Ortiz, Red Sox bats break out to end losing streak > Buchholz still bewildered > Memory loss haunting Red Sox

ProJo:

Lester was once a good hitter, now heading toward dubious record > Travis Shaw brings hot bat to Pawtucket > Ranaudo shines > Betts not a candidate for Boston, yet

NY Post:

St. Louis lets Ozzie Smith bid Jeter goodbye > Yanks prevail in extras again > Nonsense leads off in MLB broadcasts > Beltran elbow on mend

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