And Thank You for visiting Sonoma Dave's Giant Red Sox Blog! This blog is an archive of most of my posts on Fenway West. Effective immediately, I will be be including posts about the San Francisco Giants, MLB, and on occasion, stuff that has nothing to do with baseball at all.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where Are They Now: Doug Mientkiewicz

Doug Mientkiewicz will be immortalized in Boston Red Sox history as he made the final putout in the deciding game of the 2004 World Series, the first World Series win by the Sox in 86 years. Mientkiewicz came to the Sox in the four team trade in July of that year that brought him and Orlando Cabrera to the Sox and sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs. Mientkiewicz quickly deposited that ball in his pocket during the ensuing celebration. After an intense disagreement, Mientkiewicz finally ponied up the ball.

Mientkiewicz is a .271 career hitter and above-average defensive player who is well-liked around the major leagues. After bouncing around 5 different teams since 2004, the 35 year old 1st baseman found himself battling for a position with the LA Dodgers, a battle in which he did not win. Joe Torre offered him a coaching position, but Mientkiewicz will be taking a day or two to decide whether to seek a playing position with another team or take Torre's coaching position.

Fenway West 03.28.10

Minor League Coaches Gone Wild

Jim Playfair, coach of the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League does his best impersonation of Jose Offerman. Playfair (oxymoron?) was visibly upset after learning J.D. Watt had been ejected from the game, rather than penalized.

Just to remind you, here are a couple of videos demonstrating Offerman's style as compared to that of Playfair.

Maybe Playfair and Offerman should compare notes?

Fenway West 03.28.10

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dave's not here

I've been for the most part, conspicuously absent in the past several months or so, save for a couple of quick flurries here and there, yes, I know. I've had a nice run of musical activity in the past year that has been keeping me busy during this time. I've been hobnobbing with musicians of some reknown, both on the regional level and even on the national level. I've probably spent more in travel expenses than I made at the show, but at least I've been introduced to and played with these guys. If it was baseball, it would be the equivalent of getting called up from single A to double AA. I've been playing out so much that I have spawned a few science projects in my kitchen. Nothing toxic, but I have noticed fewer spiders of late.

I've also been working on a project that will be of much interest to some of our readers who may happen to be in San Francisco at the end of June, the details of which I cannot divulge as this project has not been confirmed as of yet. (If I did, I'd have to kill you.) It's moving closer to fruition, but it's not quite there yet.

In the meantime, I will leave you with some drummer humor.

Little Johnny: Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a drummer!
Mommy: Now Johnny, you can't do both.

Q~ What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend?
A~ Homeless.

Q~ How can you tell if there is a drummer knocking at your door?
A~ The knocking speeds up.

Q~ What do you call a guy who hangs out with musicians?
A~ A drummer.

Q~ What's the last thing a drummer says before getting kicked out of a band?
A~ Hey guys, why don't we try one of my songs?

Q~ What's the best way to confuse a drummer?
A~ Put some sheet music in front of him.

Q~ How do you get a drummer off your porch?
A~ Pay him for the pizza.

A man goes to a Pacific island for vacation. As the boat nears the island, he notices the constant sound of drumming. As he gets off the boat, he asks a native how long the drumming will go on. The native casts about nervously and says "Very bad when drumming stops."

Later that day, the drumming is still going and it is really starting to get to him. So, he asks another native when the drumming will stop. The native looks as if he's just been spooked. "Very bad when drumming stops," he says, and hurries off.

After a couple of days with little sleep, the man had had enough. He grabbed the first native he saw, slammed him up against a tree, and shouted, "What happens when the drumming stops?!"

The native replied, "Bass solo."

Not published at Fenway West. Yet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Triple Play

Rare as they may be, the Sox pulled one off today in their game against Pittsburgh. Even more rare, is a triple play to end the game. Let's add one more improbability- the Sox committed an error in the middle of the aforementioned triple play. The Red Sox were up 3-2 in the top of the 9th. The Pirates had men on 1st and 2nd when Iglesias at SS caught a line drive and flipped it to Hulett at 2B for the 2nd out. Hulett then threw high to Bates at 1B, but backstop Dusty Brown was in position behind 1st base and was able to get the third out of the triple play with some asssistance from poor baserunning by the Pirates when he threw to 2nd base for the final out. NESN has the video here.

Fenway West 03.13.09

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meanwhile, above the weather...

While Matt's been a bit under the weather, I have not. It has been a relatively quiet spring training for the Sox this year, even Amalie says so.

Tim Wakefield or Clay Buchholz?
What's to become of Mikey?
Will Josh and the Sox come to an agreement before the season starts?
Will the Sox be able to score enough runs? (This scribe says they will.)

These seem to be the major questions the media asks. All of them will be answered in due time.

As for me, I've been quietly going about planning a special event for when the Sox arrive in San Francisco to play the Giants for the first time in 6 years. I'm still in the early stages, so I have no details to announce as of yet. What I would like to know is how many Sox fans will be flying into SFO for a Red Sox vacation in June? (I do know tickets went fast for that series. I went on line about 2 hours after Giant's tickets went on sale and got stuck with 2 tickets in the upper left field nose bleed and oxygen mask section for $75. I know, still way cheaper than Fenway tickets.) Keep checking back for details as this event becomes confirmed.
Fenway West 03.09.10

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Baseball Nightmares

From Jon Miller’s “ Confessions of a Baseball Purist”

“… Don Aase…told me of a dream he’d had several times. It had a baseball context, but unlike mine, there was nothing cryptic about it. In Don’s dream, he was on the mound when a scorching line drive was hit right at his head. Just then, he would invariably sit bolt upright in bed, throw his arms in front of his face, and let out a bloodcurdling shriek.”

Picture yourself at the plate, bat in hands, waiting for the pitcher. He winds up and throws the ball. Picture a 90+ mph fastball coming right at your head.
Picture it…

Scary, huh?

I used to compete in water ski jumping for distance. The boat runs parallel to the center line of the jump ramp 30 to 45 feet away from that centerline. The jumper pulls out far to one side of the boat and then cuts across the boat wakes as late as possible trying to generate as much speed as possible, speeds as high as 65 mph. A jump ramp is about 22’ long by about 8’ wide and is 5’ to 5 & ½’ high at the top. The sides have thick plywood aprons to keep a jumper from going under the surface of a ramp if he were to be cutting too late.

This is the way it's supposed to be done.

I’ve had nightmares of hitting the side of the ramp after I cut too late. I have gone over the surface of the ramp making very small mistakes, flying ass end over bandbox and crashing on my back or sides several times. I have seen a fellow competitor flying through the air, arms and legs akimbo, after making the tiniest of errors. I watched him eat his ski as it hit his mouth the instant he was crashing against the water.

Typical jump crash

I read that passage from Miller’s book last night. As soon as I had finished it, I had to put the book down as I immediately came down with a severe case of heebie-jeebies thinking about that fastball, and then all those jump crashes. It takes a very long time to learn an athletic skill such as hitting a baseball or jumping for distance to the point where you just do it without thinking. There is no time to ‘think’, only do. There are less than a couple of seconds from the time one starts his cut to the jump to the time one actually makes contact with the ramp. Every bone and muscle in your body needs to know what to do without thinking about it. Hitting a baseball takes the same discipline. A batter has a fraction of a second to decide whether to swing, stay, or duck once the pitcher releases the ball.

I crashed so hard one time that I ended up spending two weeks in the hospital with a pair of collapsed lungs, but as soon as I was able, I went right back to jumping the next year. Fear was not known to me back then. Respect, yes, but not fear. Unfortunately for my friend and fellow competitor, fear did become of him, as he no longer jumped after his crash.

Tallahassee, FL 1979

Fenway West 03.04.10