No, not here, not yet. Soon, I hope. But the reason I’ve been quiet during this current death march is because I was in another baseball town – home to my other beloved team, the Boston Red Sox.
I am sick of the fans of St. Louis thinking they have the corner on the "Heaven" market. Walk down Yawkey Way on a gorgeous Spring Sunday, when the Sox aren’t even in town (Baltimore, winning, in 1st place) and the area is PACKED with fans and pilgrims. The Twins Enterprises Souvenir Store is open year round, the little dive window that sells sausages and pizza is open, the decorative banners are flapping in the breeze, the cameras are snapping and the tones are literally hushed. Johnny Pesky was forgiven decades ago and is the most beloved living Sox member (concern abounds for him currently as he hobbles around on a leg broken by a line drive in Spring Training). It might not come for Grady Little, as it might not come here for Fregosi for Mitch in the Joe Carter game. But the place echoes, the bricks exude. It is a beautiful thing.
The restaurants all have plasmas that are on if the Sox are playing. There are t-shirts sold for virtually every guy with almost every number available. It is truly amazing to me every time I visit there.
Patriots winning Super Bowls? Oh, that’s been great, but afterall, that’s football. There seemed to be more excitement for Boston college being in the Frozen Four (they lost to Wisconsin in the final) than for the Patriots. But the Red Sox reign supreme. The sports stations have baseball talk shows.
One enjoyable thing, is that not everyone loves "Schill." Many fans see him for the talented self-server he is. While they admire the "bloody sock game" in the World Series, they acknowledge it is just more fuel for the "I am Curt, hear me listen to the sound of my own voice" fire. For the record, I felt that way when he was here. In pinstripes between the lines, I would root for, but not like, him. (I don’t like Pete Rose, either, but I will forever love what he did for the Phillies) Also, not all the fans like "Tito" either. Plenty of comments on either side, there, too.
I know that we Phillies fans consider ourselves the most informed, knowledgeable and passionate fans in baseball. I think we are mostly that, but that we cross the line often and early. I think the Sox fans are the best fans in baseball, I really do. AND the team gets it and responds with great teams, good promotions, a wide array on fantastic merchandise and apparel (take a field trip, please, merchandisers, to Fenway and other MLB cities for that matter).
So, that is my paean to my team in the AL. I am much more passionate about The Phils, but the romance surrounding the team just isn’t as storied as with the Bosox. When you’re strolling Yawkey Way and when you’re around the games and shows on radio and tv, it’s so hard not to get caught up in Sox baseball.
So back to Phils vs. Braves, Jimmy’s new streak, good bullpen pitching (so far!) and things that need to shape up, NOW – hitting with men in scoring position, hitting with men on base with less than two outs, defense, not waiting for the long ball (Thome’s got FOUR already, by the way) all the time, and giving up the long ball just for starters. Speaking of starters, what happened to the starters in game two of the double-header Sunday??? C’mon Charlie, it was the first week of the season. They WEREN’T tired! Not starting Howard against a right hander?? Oh, well, I’m not bashing him yet, there are plenty of others with that job. But even I, who still thinks this can be a fun season, know that we have to get turned around on this road trip. Losing can be as contagious as winning. My man Madson can’t do it alone on the mound.
And – catch the ball guys, please.