Posted on: July 30, 2009 8:02 pm
Assuming the Ney York Times is a reliable news source (which isnt alway a safe assumption), and assuming that the revelaer of this "partial" list from 2003 that includes David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez is also a viable source, it appears that Red Sox fans have a problem. I am not calling in to quesiton the report, if the Times was confident enough to publish it I will allow for its validity.
The idea that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez used Steriods is not new. Its more than clear that Manny has used performance enhancers based on his suspension this year, and now this partial list. David Ortiz, though accused unrelentingly on many a messageboard, has not until now been linked with a relaible and supportable source concerning steriod use. At this point its fair to say that both players used performance enhancers, and have cheated the game.
That they cheated is not a quesiton. The question becomes, "Alright, what do I do as a Red Sox fan?" and I have an answer for the question. It saddens me to see the headline on the main story of cbssportsline saying "Danny Knobler says Red Sox Nation looks no better than the Yankees did after the Mitchell Report." But there is a way we can be better.
Unlike the many Yankee fans who try to make excuses or point fingers at Red Sox players, we can acknowledge that Ortiz and Ramirez were cheating. Instead of becoming defensive, we can become dissapointed. With Ramirez it is easy for many Sox fans to see him with dissapointment, especially considering the terms by which he left the Red Sox. With Ortiz it will be more difficult. Ortiz has been the primary face and represenative of the Red Sox, our "Big Papi" had become a symbol and rolemodel to all. Yet, it is because he rose so high that at least I will experience a larger dissapointment with Ortiz. To think of what he has accomplished, all the while with a great big smile and freindly demeanor, it will be hard to paint Ortiz as a bad guy.
There is no excuse for cheating, regardless of the "era" in which they played. I hope that all Red Sox fans will recognize this, as well as other fans of the MLB. The 90s and early 00s may in time be seen as a dark age for baseball, or in time it may be accepted as a common sin of the times. For now all we can do is move on, and hold to the values that should truely define baseball. Values that should be higher than team preference, or player hatred.
To those disheartened, I say look to other players. Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek represent an older bread of Red Sox players whom we can be fairly confident didnt use performance enhancers, and Jacoby Ellisbury, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis are part of a new younger exciting generation. We can move on, not forgetting or forgiving the the wrongs of players past.
Posted on: July 9, 2009 8:04 pm
Tim Wakefield, the man my user name is a tribute to, will make his first All Star appearence at this upcoming All Star Game and I could think of no one more deserving of some recognition. I'm posting this entry from what I know and feel about Wakefields career, I may be a bit fuzzy on some of the details as most of this is from memory.
The most veteran current Red Sox player, Wakefield actually started out in the Pittsburg Pirates minor league system as a third baseman. He was never particulary good as a third baseman, but got his break one day when a coach saw him and a few other players goofing off throwing knucklers to each other. Wakefield was told that he would probably never make the bigs as a position player, but if he worked on his knuckleball he might make it.
Wakefield posted a great first year for the Pirates, but had a dissapointing second season. Eventually he was released by the Pirates and picked up by the Red Sox. Since then Wakefield has been a mainstay of the Red Sox pitching staff. Having several great years as a starter, coming out of the bullpen, and even closing on occasion when the Sox needed him to. Wakefield's on the field contributions have shown him to be a great team player, not selfish or wanting of personal glory through great Stats. Off the field Wakefield is quietly one of the generous Red Sox players, as he has recieved their award for service to the community multiple times.
Personally I follow Wakefield as my favorite player, not because he was ever the best player on the Red Sox, but because he has always been of strong character both on and off the field.
Wakefield has given the Redsox consistency over the last couple years, especially with his unique lifetime deal. They know that they will usually get between 10 and 15 wins from him every year, and occasionally see dominance such as the first half of this year where he has already won 11. They know that they will never have any character issues with Wakefield, and that he will provide a wise, veteran precense on the pitching staff. They know that they will get all this, and I think his contract renews every year for something like 4.5 million, which in the modern baseball era is small money for any starter, let alone one of Wakefields character.
I'm glad to see Wakefield will be able to go to the all star game this year, even if it is more of a "lifetime achievement award" than his dominance or stats this induvidual year. To any of you who think he may be undeserving, I have not heard a single baseball commentator, writer, player, or manager cast any doubt on him being deserving, and these are the people who follow what he does ever year. It makes me happy that many of these people are quite happy that Wakefield is being honored at the All Star Game, as it shows that the MLB can see beyond stantistics and dramaqueen athletes.
As Wakefield approaches the Red Sox all time record for most wins with the team, I watch in eager anticipation. It has been great to be a fan of Wakefield, adn I hope to continue to see him play for many years to come.
Posted on: February 11, 2009 2:27 pm
Being a college student, I dont get out to many proffessional sports games. Travelling to go see one of my teams is both a time and money commitment that I, and I expect many college students dont have. So what have I found to keep me entertained?
College hockey, which before my entry college may as well have not even existed to me, has become a new passion. Like most other college sports, the fan base is comprised mostly of current students and therefore dependent on school size. I don't claim to be an expert on hockey, but the skill level of division I college hockey is good enough that I can apreciate it, but also simple enough to understand after a few games.
The best part of the college hockey scene is the fan base. If you are ever bored of the repeticious cheers of proffessional sports (I.E. "Boston Sucks", "Beat LA", "Lets Go Mets"), which are good for traditionalists but lack in creativity, I suggest going to a local college hockey game and sitting nearby the student section. The humor of the cheers heard at many college hockey games can range from basic to interestingly satirical, though it is sometimes punctuated with vulgarity. I do not suggest taking children to these games, but certainly if you're looking for entertainment before, after, or even during a night out drinking college hockey wont dissapoint.
I recently attended a St. Louis Blues game while at a conference in St. Louis and was dissapointed with the general enthusiasm of the crowd. Their motivated seemed to be reserved to clapping along with the PA system, and the goal count with the man I will dub "Crazy Towel Guy". My friends and I being sufficiently bored of the clapping chants, decided to spice up the game with some of our local college team's cheers such as the "sieve" cheer which many colleges have (though there may be as many versions as there are colleges). More so than a locality, a common institute of learning really brings a fan base together. I encourage anyone to return to their Alma-mater or find a local college team and check out a few of their games.
I dont mean for this to be in any way offensive to NHL fans, simply encouroging of people to expand their interests.