Jerry Remy passed away after last season and Dennis Eckersley has just retired with the end of this one. Well, that sucks. What else can I say? I've expressed in these pages not being the biggest fan of Dave O'Brien, but I thought he did a fine job yesterday with a tough broadcast. I almost went to the game--tickets were six bucks--but I wanted to hear Eckersley's last broadcast. You know what? Made me want to go out and seize my future all the more. You wouldn't think that's possible. But it is.
For more than ten years, I haven't had anything I've looked forward to. There hasn't been a single moment of respite. Not a single second. There hasn't been a single second when I have not been fully conscious of the extent of this torture and hell. I don't enjoy anything. By which I mean, nothing. All I know is the pain and torture and hell. I haven't had a real laugh, a real smile, in over ten years. There are not games I look forward to watching, music I look forward to hearing. I did once. A long time ago. And I fight to be able to again. But when injustice and pain is this total, abuse is this total, discrimination is this total, you can't. And when quality of life is this nonexistent. It'd have to change first. You can't enjoy anything when you're being tortured and you live like I live. And you're all alone in every possible way there is to be alone.
Having said that, I do still note the end of the baseball season. Always a sad day, but much more so when it’s before the playoffs. Didn’t like this day as a kid either. Nothing in sports is better to me than Red Sox postseason baseball. Hope to see it next year. And you know what? At some point, I'll be back in my house in Rockport, and on an October night at a much different place in life, a fully happy place, I'll take to these pages and I'll write about the Red Sox playoff game I just watched. Maybe I'll do a search one of those times and find this entry.
Red Sox are going to have to do a lot of work this offseason. Big-time roster turnover. Then you need to be right on a lot of guys, but at the same time, you have a lot of new guys in a new environment and you don't know how that goes or how long it might take each player to settle in, if they do. It really could be another down year. Even another last place year. They're going to make Whitlock a starter, which is a mistake.
Baseball is strange because it's a daily presence, with few days off. A constant. But an inconstant constant, because then it's just gone for six months. There's a different finality than there is with hockey, say. The hockey season stretches in a different way. The playoffs are so long, then it's a couple months off, then training camp opens. Fall has just begun, and we really won't see the Red Sox until spring.
I'll probably watch the 1986 ALCS again. The World Series from that year depresses me.
I’m seeing people devaluing Roger Maris’s 61 home runs by saying he was a product of old Yankee Stadium. During that 1961 season, he hit more homers on the road.
The Dodgers finished with a run differential of +334, which is the third highest in post-1800s baseball after the 1939 and 1927 Yankees. Run differential is perhaps the ultimate mark of a great team. I posted that on Twitter. No one hit the like button. The usual reasons why. People (or in this case, anyone with an interest in sports) find it fascinating, but it's me, so they must make not to express interest. I know exactly what happens. "It's Fleming." All kinds of different reasons. Fear. Envy. Jealousy. Passive aggressiveness. The most interesting posts, one after another, on every subject. But because of that, and because of who they come from, this is what happens. But I know exactly what is happening, and why I am being singled out. Posted the Maris on Twitter, too. You think anyone knows that stat? Of course not.
O'Brien asked Eckersley what his favorite Red Sox team was. He said 2018. It's 2013 for me. I think it would have to be an Ortiz team for me, and that 2013 squad was so resilient and impressive. They were the best team in the league that year, and will was a huge component of their make-up. With ordinary will they were an ordinary team, or worse. The hardest, too, I've ever seen a baseball team fight. Relentless. They could be down 9-2 in the bottom of the ninth, and they were trying to come back, battling every pitch.
Announcers are a big part of baseball. Eckersley made me more likely to have the game on this year. The Red Sox are losing people. They won't ever lose a base here in New England, and Fenway will be a draw, but the team is too up and down from year to year. The swings are too wild. The announcers become like surrogate family. The Red Sox had long-standing avuncular type people in that booth. NESN cannot move forward with the likes of Tony Massarotti. I hope they end that association. It's almost impossible for me to have a game on if he's doing it. This year they could bury him some in the pile, given that there were so many people taking turns doing the commentary.
J.D. Martinez hit two home runs in his final game for the Sox. I'd have no issue if they brought him back in a reduced role, but I'm sure they won't and I'm sure that's not what he wants. Someone will sign him as their full-time DH who can play some outfield, even if it is a lower level club. Or Tampa. I thought he complained too much in 2020 and his attitude was far from helpful. He would have been my MVP in 2018, though. Obviously Betts played the field far, far better, and ran far, far better, but besides the monster offensive numbers, I thought that Martinez changed the hitting culture of that team. Kirk Gibson changed the attitudinal culture of the 1988 Dodgers. It's a bit like that. The entire "Do Damage" mantra became viable because of Martinez's approach and how he made other guys better. I think he worked with them to make them better as well. That's value. He had one of the best seasons in Red Sox history. That season goes into the tin with seasons by Williams, Yaz, Foxx, Ramirez, Ortiz. Nick Esasky in 1989. I'm joking about Esasky, though he was very good that year and the most interesting story on the Sox. It's hard to believe that Bogaerts just turned thirty. They are better off signing him. I've spoken on the radio about where I think his career is at, but you aren't going to find someone much better. I have no faith in Trevor Story playing well and being a good signing. I don't like the player. I don't like his offensive approach, I don't think he's reliable either. He can't play short, he has a popgun arm even for a second baseman. I'd move forward assuming he won't be a regular in the line-up. He'll be hurt. Or he'll be hitting .224 in a league that I think you're going to see swing back to normal baseball. That is, less all or nothing, less of the three true outcomes. There's going to be a faster pace to games, which will bring out a spirit of playing actual baseball, not home run derby, and singles up the middle, that kind of thing. I don't think Story fits with that.
Funny aside: As a kid in 1984, I remember watching Eckersley pitch for the Sox, and thinking, "Can you suck more, guy?" He was bad in 1983 and that continued into 1984, before he was dealt to the Cubs. Seemed like every time I watched him, someone was jacking one over the Monster. I was so glad to have him out of town! I just thought his career was over. Not because I was a kid. Adult me would have thought that. Then he kind of goes along for a few years, and he's like whatever. Middling. Hanging on. Come to 1987, and La Russa starts toying around with the one-inning save. Eckersley gets a bunch, then he had the role full-time in 1988. And from 1988 to 1992, he becomes a Hall of Famer. It's those years. Yes, it helped to have two big years with the Sox as a starter, and a no-hitter before that. But this guy I thought was washed up, found this new role, and it made his life. After he'd been in baseball all that time. That means something. There's something to be taken from that.
I'll have to do a big entry here soon on recent work. That's two recent sports entries. I have about fifty new things to get up on here and I'm just trying to take care of it while doing everything else.