IF THIS AIN’T ROCK BOTTOM, WHAT IS ?

For a hot second, it looked like the PawSox were going to win a game.  It doesn’t sound like much and under usual circumstances, it wouldn’t be much to crow about.  These are not usual circumstances.  The PawSox began their epic tumble around the Fourth of July and since then have played 46 games.  They’ve lost 36 of them.  That is not a misprint- 36 of 46, down the drain.  There have been blowouts.  There have been close calls.  Shutouts and high-scoring affairs.  Thursday night may have hurt the worst.  Rochester is in town for a four day, five game series.  Thge Red Wings are not a great team.  Like Pawtucket, they’re a group of prospects and suspects lurking below the .500 level.  Yet, they’ve found a way to come into our house and beat us like a bass drum.  There really is no one player to blame for the slide.  Everyone from top to bottom has to look in the mirror and ask if they’ve done their best, consistently.  These are really great guys, terrific people who have all gone in the tank at once.  Leading 3-1 going into the ninth, it appeared like the nine game losing skid would become a bad memory.  The always reliable Marcus McBeth walked the first two hitters in the ninth and they both eventually scored.  When it was over, the PawSox had fallen 5-3.  Ten losses in a row.  The PawSox have not won a game in the entire lifetime of Dylan Pedroia, new son of A.L. MVP Dustin and wife, Kelli.  (OK I’m being dramatic, the kid’s only a couple of days old) But you get the point.  It’s the longest PawSox losing skein since 1993 and perilously close to the franchise mark for futility, 13 straight L’s.  Friday night, Rochester will try for the unheard of 5 game sweep.  All Star Tim Wakefield will try his special brand of knuckleball mastery, but even that is somewhat diluted.  Normally a sideshow,  Wake’s appearance will mark the third straight night a knuckleballer takes the mound at McCoy.  There are thought to be only 5 in all of professional baseball and Wake follows Wednesdays’ outing for Charlie Zink and Thursdays’  R.A. Dickey sighting.  Not quite as dramatic as when all the living presidents are photographed together, but somewhere Hoyt Wilhelm is smiling.  Believe me, I am just as frustrated as any member of the organization.  From owner Ben Mondor to manager Ron Johnson to the batboys- everyone is searching for answers.  Smarter people than I have been given the task.  If it were that easy to figure out, we’d never lose.  There has been a slight dip in attendance.  Hits on the blog and our email seem to be down.  I can’t blame you.  Remember, this is the same club that made the playoffs in 2008 and has developed stars like Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon in the last few seasons.  Things will get better.  I promise.  History proves me right.  

 

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Great article in the Providence Journal on Tuesday by Mark Emmons of the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News.  It was about former PawSox lefty Craig Breslow, deemed by the Wall Street Journal as “The Smartest Man in Baseball.”  Bres has a degree in Molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale.  I once asked him to explain that to me and I was left scratching my head.  Breslow started a foundation that has already raised over $100,000 for cancer and leukemia reseach.  Breslow was inspired by his sister, Lesley, who was diagnosed with cancer when Craig was 12.  Now 29, his sister has been cancer-free for 15 years.  Breslow is the American League leader in appearances by a pitcher and is in the vast minority  in baseball.  He is one of just 26 big league players and managers who have college degrees.  I always enjoy chatting with Breslow.  I don’t always understand, but there’s nothing quite like chatting with Breslow. 

1 Comment

Some notes on 2009 from a season ticket holder:

1. We desperately need a new hitting coach down here. Are you listening, Theo? Russ is probably a good guy, but hitting (specifically, a lack of diversity in hitting) has cost us the season.

2. I love RJ but he needs to realize that player development in the case of pitchers should not include leaving them in for 3 batters too many. This is exceptionally bad for their self-esteem AND their ERAs, and it has lost us numerous games this year. (Last night it seemed as though he did just the opposite, and we won– amazing! It worked!)

3. Player development clearly trumps winning down here– how sad for the fans and probably the team. Why else would we have parted ways with Paul McAnulty, Ivan Ochoa, Freddie Guzman, and Rocky Cherry? I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be a player and not know who will or won’t be your teammate when you report to work each day… or whether by the end of the day you will even have a job. In some cases, we parted ways with our best players (at that time), and most of their replacements have not been nearly as good as those who were released.

4. I really need to applaud the PawSox players for the courtesy and professionalism they have shown to the fans all year. They sign autographs, throw us balls, and smile for us despite how they must be feeling deep inside (embarrassed comes to mind). We know they are way better than their team’s record, and that in some cases it’s been coaching decisions that have cost us games. Yet, the players keep their heads up (except when they are slinking into the dugout after yet another loss) and generally show good sportsmanship. To me, you guys are heroes.

5. Julio Lugo continues to haunt us from the midwest. What a horrific trade, and we’ll be paying for it dearly all next year.

6. The management of McCoy is outstanding. They know how to run a family friendly business, and how to keep the fans returning for more. They do an excellent job. And the ushers are fabulous– they have a difficult job and they are exceptional at it (especially Christine).

7. RIP to the guy who died at the stadium earlier this month. What a great way to go… front row, box seats on a beautiful day. Sign me up several decades from now.

8. Thanks to Hyder and Hoard for keeping us all informed.

Here’s to a better 2010!

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