44 results found for “red sox”

Don’t Trade With Tampa Bay

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

Most years, the Tampa Bay Rays have one of the lowest payrolls in Major League Baseball. Despite that, they’ve frequently fielded a competitive team, despite playing in the same division as the powerhouse Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. One way they’ve done this is by finding undervalued players and capitalizing on their skills while they’re still on inexpensive or team-friendly deals. Another way, apparently, is by taking advantage of idiots.

I’m sure many MLB GMs read One Foot Tsunami, and I urge them to heed my advice: If Tampa Bay shows interest in a player, just don’t trade them. They’re probably days away from breaking out as superstars.

Here Comes the Ceremonial First Pitch 

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

Last night, before the Red Sox defeated the Houston Astros, heir to the Benihana fortune (and also some sort of musician, apparently) Steve Aoki threw out a ceremonial first pitch. It was…not great. In fact, it was so airmailed that If not for the netting above the stands behind home plate, the ball would’ve landed quite deep in the crowd.

If only was Max Scherzer had been there when Steve Aoki needed him.

Here Comes the Pizza Chucker 

Monday, April 18th, 2022

Almost exactly fifteen years ago today, Jerry Remy made his immortal call of “Here Comes the Pizza” during the Red Sox 2007 Patriot’s Day game. Today, ESPN has posted a tremendous deep-dish deep dive into the story. It focuses on Dan Kelly, chucker of the pizza. Because they’ve used the video I posted way back in 2012, it even features my dumb face embedded right in the middle of the story.

Speaking of that video, I’ve always wondered how on earth it’s managed to stay online. It is very much not licensed, and it has over 2 million views. I can’t explain it. In a column from the 10th anniversary back in 2017, Grant Bisbee explained his theory of how it played out:

I’d like to think at MLB Advanced Media, a nervous staffer came up to his boss with a list of illicit YouTube videos that needed DMCA takedowns.

“Aaron hitting 715?”

“Take it down.”

“Mike Trout scaling the wall? Looks like there’s a whole playlist.”

“Take them all down.”

“Here comes the pizza?”

“T … no. No, that one stays.”

There’s a difference between dumb baseball highlights that get people excited about baseball and something that belongs to the world.

I like to believe that the video so deserves to be in the world that even the laws of copyright don’t apply to it. And while I do wish my brick would get a mention or two in these articles, it’s wonderful just to see “Here Comes the Pizza” continuing to provide so much joy to the world. Thanks, Jerry.

New Jersey’s New Jersey Says “Jersey”

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

When done well, an alternate jersey can be a fun change of pace for a sports team and their fans. When done poorly, well, it can at least be a source of amusement and mockery. In the National Hockey League, teams all have two jerseys, for home and away. Nearly all teams also have an alternate third jersey for fun, for special occasions, and of course, for the purpose of selling more merchandise to fans.

After nearly 50 years in the NHL, that group finally includes the New Jersey Devils, which leads to this amusing and true sentence: New Jersey’s new jerseys are their first third jerseys. Those just-unveiled new jerseys land somewhere in the middle of the quality spectrum, neither great nor comical. Have a look:

On the one hand, the black is a really good look. On the other, the stripes (one for each of New Jersey’s 21 counties) wind up looking excessive in number. The elephant in the room, however, is the fact that this a uniform top that literally labels itself. It’s a jersey that says “Jersey”, and that has already led to plenty of lampooning since the update leaked this past weekend.

As someone who spent his formative years living in the Garden State, I’d have loved to have seen them say “Jerz”, or even better, “Dirty Jerz”. As it stands, however, it’s a little on the nose.

Rest In Peace and Pizza, RemDawg

Monday, November 1st, 2021

Yesterday, news came of the death of Boston Red Sox fan favorite Jerry Remy. Remy played 10 years in the bigs, including 7 years with Boston in the ’70s and ’80s. However, he’s much better known for his 34 years calling Red Sox broadcasts on TV. A tremendous announcer, he became the voice of the team as they won four World Series since 2004. He will be dearly missed.

The Boston Globe posted a wonderful overview of his life, as well as collection of fond reactions from those who knew him. Though Remy was first diagnosed with cancer way back in 2008, he managed to work for much of the next 13 years. It’s worth appreciating all that additional time we got to share with him.

Back in 2011, I had the good fortune of meeting Jerry and his then-broadcast partner Don Orsillo before a flight to Cleveland. Somehow their travel had gotten rearranged such that they weren’t flying on the team’s plane, and I wound up on the same commercial flight.1 The pair was gracious enough to pose for a picture, one that’s brought a smile to my face since I heard this news.

Jerry Remy, your truly, and Don Orsillo
[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

Around that time, I made a special note to myself to appreciate that I was in the midst of the good old days when it came to Red Sox broadcasts. Jerry was terrific, and hearing him each night was a special treat. The pairing of Remy and Orsillo in particular was tremendous. The duo was so beloved that they even got their own bobblehead:

Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo as bobbleheads
You can also enjoy a video of them acting as real-life bobbleheads.

After the 2015 season, management made the regrettable decision not to renew Don’s contract. Nevertheless, the duo can still be seen in many, many hilarious clips on YouTube.2 And of course, Jerry continued to do stellar work working alongside play-by-play announcer Dave O’Brien, as well as with his former teammate Dennis Eckersley and other colormen.

He had a long tenure in the broadcast booth, but around these parts, Jerry’s single most notable call is the wonderful “Here Comes the Pizza”. When I first heard it live in 2007, I knew it was something special, and I’ve done my best to keep it alive in the memories of Red Sox fans. Since news of Remy’s passing broke, the video I posted to YouTube has been viewed tens of thousands of times. I’m gratified to know that people can find a bit of joy in the face of this sad news. I think Jerry, with his sense of humor, would appreciate it too.

Jerry made his final public appearance at Fenway Park on October 5. He threw out the first pitch ahead of Boston’s win-or-go-home playoff game against the Yankees, a contest that echoed one he’d played in 43 years earlier. Unlike in 1978, however, the Red Sox were victorious in 2021. It was a fitting farewell for a Red Sox legend. Jerry, you will be missed.


Footnotes:

  1. As I recall, Jerry was in first class, while Don was not. I chatted with Don for a few minutes, and we joked that they make the play-by-play guy ride back in coach with the rest of us plebes. ↩︎

  2. Jerry had countless great moments on air, but “Jerry loses a tooth” has to be near the top of any ranked list. Look, at 162 games, the baseball season is long. There are bound to be at least a few stinkers, games that are blowouts, or just plain boring. Jerry always made it fun. ↩︎

The Brockstar Continues to Set Records 

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021

When Brock Holt (BROCK HOLT!) played with the Red Sox, he was a super-utility player who played a part in two World Series championships in 2013 and 2018. In the run up to that second title, he set a record as the only player to hit for the cycle in a postseason game.

Last week, he set a record of a different sort:

According to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, Holt’s opening 31.3 mph called strike was the slowest pitch to be called a strike since MLB started pitch [tracking] in 2008. The previous slowest pitch had been a 41.3 mph beauty from Willians Astudillo in June earlier this year.

It’s really something to see.1 And now, almost everyone can say they can throw faster than a Major League pitcher.


Footnotes:

  1. The video is archived here, ↩︎

Daniel Bard Beats the Yips 

Friday, August 7th, 2020

Many years ago, Daniel Bard was a promising young pitcher for my hometown Boston Red Sox. Then, his career was derailed by an affliction commonly known as “the yips”. Simply put, Bard’s abilities abandoned him, and he could no longer perform the fundamental task of throwing strikes.

After several comeback attempts, Bard finally threw in the towel and retired from playing. He became a coach and mentor to younger players, helping them with their own journeys in professional baseball.

Then one day, almost as if by magic, his skills returned. The yips, poof, disappeared. The joy of the game flowed through him. Now, Daniel Bard is once again pitching in the big leagues, and that’s incredible.

Fake Fans in Empty Stadiums

Friday, July 24th, 2020

Baseball is back. It’s back, and it’s goddamned weird. The abbreviated 2020 season kicked off with two games last night, and while they were strange for many reasons, one of the most obvious was the lack of any actual fans. Understandably, fans will not be permitted in the ballparks this season.

There is crowd noise being piped in, however, and approximately half of major league teams will also be putting representations of their fans in the stadium. This is being done with cutouts printed from fan photos. For your amusement, as well as for posterity, I recorded a comprehensive look at all of these fan cutout programs. Save this link for a few decades, then share just a bit of the weirdness of 2020 with your grandkids.

Atlanta Braves

Name: Braves Country Cutouts
Cost: $50, $25 for “A-List Members” [Link]
Beneficiary: The Atlanta Braves Foundation

Additional Notes: The parenthetical in this statement is so very depressing: “Truist Park will not feel like home unless we see (photos of) your faces in the stands”.

Boston Red Sox

Name: Monster Home Run Challenge
Cost: $500 [Link]
Beneficiary: The Red Sox Foundation

Additional Notes: This is by far the most expensive program in the majors, with a $500 donation only buying your cut-out 1/2 of the season.

However, the cutout will have some tremendous seats, on top of Fenway Park’s famous Green Monster. Also, if your cutout is hit by a Red Sox home run ball, you’ll win an assortment of prizes, including tickets to a 2021 ball game.

Chicago White Sox

Name: FANtastic Faces
Cost: $49 [Link]
Beneficiary: Chicago White Sox Charities

Additional Notes: Chicago’s program is unique in the bigs, as the cutouts will only be in the stadium for a single home stand. White Sox fan Paul Garrett purchased 100 identical cutouts, hilariously leading to this tableau:

Houston Astros

Name: Astros Fan Cutouts
Cost: $100 [Link]
Beneficiary: Unclear, though they list this as a “tax-deductible donation”

Additional Notes: Those who dislike the Astros should note that Houston’s program bars both “Inappropriate gestures” and “Obscene, lewd, explicit, discriminatory, derogatory, violent, offensive, infringing or otherwise inappropriate references”.

Kansas City Royals

Name: Fanbassador
Cost: $40 [Link]
Beneficiary: “A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Royals Respond Fund, a Royals Charities effort that supports Kansas City area nonprofits who focus on food insecurity as it relates to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Additional Notes: It appears this program is only open to Royals season ticket holders, and initially limited to 500 people.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Name: Los Angeles Dodgers Fan Cutouts & Pups at the Park
Cost: $299 (Pavilion Home Run Seats/Dugout Club), $149 (Field Level/Loge Level), $149 (Pups at the Park (Loge Level)) [Link]
Beneficiary: “Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, as they tackle the most pressing problems facing Los Angeles with a mission to improve education, health care, homelessness, and social justice for all Angelenos.”

Additional Notes: Of course Los Angeles, land of the purse dog, sent out a separate press release announcing the $149 option to have your dog at the ballpark. As well, the Dodgers list the fair market value of the cutout itself at $11.25.

Milwaukee Brewers

Name: Brewers Cutout Crew
Cost: $50 [Link]
Beneficiary: Brewers Community Foundation & the Wisconsin Humane Society

Additional Notes: The photo guidelines note “A shirt color on a same color background will make you look like a floating head”, but it’s unclear if this is viewed as a negative or a positive.

Also, Milwaukee is photographing the cutouts in place so fans can see themselves, as seen below:

Minnesota Twins

Name: Twins Mosaic
Cost: Free [Link]
Beneficiary: N/A

Additional Notes: The Twins aren’t doing cutouts, but will instead have a massive 53×38 foot mosaic of fan photos looking down over the field.

New York Mets

Name: Mets Fan Cutouts
Cost: $86 [Link]
Beneficiary: Mets Foundation

Additional Notes: The New York Mets last won a World Series 34 years ago, and their $86 pricing reflects that 1986 championship. This also appears to be the only program that requires team gear, stating “Mets gear is a must!”.

Oakland A’s

Name: Coliseum Cutouts
Cost: $89 for general fans and pets, $49 for “A’s Access” members (Unclear if pets can join A’s Access), $129 for the Left Field Foul Ball Zone, $149 for the ALS CURE Project Right Field Foul Ball Zone [Link]
Beneficiary: ALS CURE, Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) & the East Bay SPCA

Additional Notes: The A’s program has a lot going on. Most notably, when a “Foul Ball Zone” cutout gets hit by a ball, the fan will receive that ball.

Of note, A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty’s mother was stricken with ALS in 2017. Before the 2018 season, Piscotty asked for a trade to be closer to home. Rather remarkably, this was granted, with the Cardinals sending him to Oakland. Sadly, his mother passed away during the 2018 season, but he’s now honoring her by providing autographed items and balls to raise money for ALS research. Good on you, Stephen.

Philadelphia Phillies

Name: Phillies Game Face
Cost: $40, $25 for season ticket holders [Link]
Beneficiary: “[P]roceeds benefiting Phillies charities”

Additional Notes: On opening day, healthcare workers will be honored free of charge. Details will be forthcoming on how fans can do the same for later games.

Also, in the true spirit of 2020, the incomparable Phillie Phanatic is the subject of a trademark battle, and has been redesigned. The rejiggered mascot will be at the park during games though, and thankfully, you’ll probably recognize him just fine.


Before and After

San Diego Padres

Name: Military Padres Fan Cutouts
Cost: Free [Link]
Beneficiary: N/A

Additional Notes: Initially, the team is honoring military personnel with free cutouts. Later cutouts will “follow themes that honor different groups and causes”, according to Padres President of Business Operations Erick Greupner

San Francisco Giants

Name: Giants Fan Cutouts & Cutouts for a Cause
Cost: $99, free for season ticket holders who rollover their account credit to 2021 rather than taking a refund [Link]
Beneficiary: Seemingly, the San Francisco Giants themselves

Additional Notes: While nearly every other program is charitable in nature, it seems the Giants are just planning to pocket this money. They are offering fans the chance to “sit” near celebrity cutouts, while raising money for the celebrity’s cause.

Seattle Mariners

Name: Mariners Seat Fleet
Cost: $30 [Link]
Beneficiary: “The Mariners will donate a portion of every purchase to non-profit organizations supporting COVID-related relief efforts in our communities.”

Additional Notes: This is the most affordable program in the bigs, and if your cutout is hit with a foul ball, you’ll get it sent to you. However, this is one of just two programs (along with the Mets) which explicitly states you will not receive your cutout at the end of the season. Then again, I don’t know what someone would actually do with a cutout of themself.

Tampa Bay Rays

Name: Rays Fan Cutouts
Cost: $60, $40 for season ticket holders [Link]
Beneficiary: Seemingly, the Tampa Bay Rays themselves

Additional Notes: Do the Tampa Bay Rays actually have season ticket holders?

Texas Rangers

Name: DoppelRangers
Cost: $50 [Link]
Beneficiary: Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation

Additional Notes: The Texas Rangers are opening a brand-new stadium this year, and I can’t think of a worse way to do it than with no fans. On the other hand, their program has the best name, bar none.

Toronto Blue Jays

At present, the 14 remaining teams have no cutout program. Among them, however, the Toronto Blue Jays are worth calling out specifically. That’s because they lack not just a fan cutout program, but a home ballpark in which to play.

Canada isn’t providing any exception to allow players to enter the country, and thus far, no American city has accepted the team. The baseball season has now begun, yet this poor team doesn’t even know where they’re going to play.

So yeah, this shortened 2020 baseball season in the middle of a pandemic seems like a great idea which will surely play out with no issues whatsoever.

Those Are Some Bad Hats, New Era

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

While researching last month’s feature on ugly spring training caps, I came upon an entirely different set of awful Major League Baseball hats, one worthy of its own post. Seemingly released in early 2020, the New Era “Big Boys Lil Player” series is aimed specifically at kids. The name of the collection is a clunky, contradictory mouthful, and things just get worse when it comes to the artwork. Here’s a quick appetizer:

A hat with a poorly drawn cartoon of Aaron Judge

Remarkably, this is actually not the most awful New Era cap featuring a cartoon Aaron Judge. It takes second place, behind this ghoulish monstrosity:

Another hat with a terribly drawn image of Aaron Judge, this one looking quite like a stereotypical zombie
I get the feeling somebody at New Era really doesn’t like Aaron Judge.
[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

But let’s return to the Big Boys Lil Player 9Fifty caps. If you try to locate these hats on New Era’s website, you’ll strike out. Their site offers what has to be the worst online search I’ve ever seen. It’s truly astounding in its awfulness. To give just one example, a search for “Votto” returns 18 hits: 1 “Rocket Power Otto” hat, along with 17 hats that have the word “cotton” in their names. Adding search terms, which ought to narrow the results, only compounds the folly. A search for “Joey Votto” gives 675 results, starting with a completely unrelated “Joey Logano” hat.

Instead, you’ll need to head to Macys.com to find the New Era Big Boys Lil Player 9FIFTY Snapback caps. It appears Macy’s is the exclusive retailer for this line aimed at kids, and what a coup that must be for them. On the Macy’s website, you can find 25 different New Era® Big Boys Lil Player 9FIFTY Snapback caps. Of course, there are 30 teams in Major League Baseball. The five teams missing from the New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player 9FIFTY Snapback cap series are:

  • Atlanta Braves

  • Baltimore Orioles

  • Chicago Cubs

  • Houston Astros

  • Toronto Blue Jays

Frankly, those clubs are the lucky ones, as they can simply be ignored. There are two additional hats show players who are no longer on the relevant team:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Featuring Zack Greinke, who was traded to the Houston Astros in the middle of the 2019 season. The hat’s price has been cut more than 50% off, which is nice, but hardly enough.

  • Boston Red Sox: Featuring Mookie Betts, who was sadly traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers just last month. This one gets a pass, though it should also now get a steep discount.

The rest of the New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player® 9FIFTY Snapback caps can be seen in all its awfulness over at Macy’s, but here’s a further sampling:


Nolan Arenado, in cartoon form


Mike Trout, in cartoon form


Christian Yelich, in cartoon form

While some of the representations look vaguely like the named player, most really do not. In fact, even with the name stitched on the cap, the Cardinals “Paul Goldschmidt” hat is listed as being for Matt Carpenter, and no one has noticed or cared:

A hat that says Paul Goldschmidt, while the listing refers to Matt Carpenter

To be sure, those two men look not at all alike:

A hat that says Paul Goldschmidt, while the listing refers to Matt Carpenter
Paul Goldschmidt on the left; Matt Carpenter on the right

And yet, if one simply adds a beard to the cartoon rendering, it’s clear that it can work equally well for either of them:

A hat that says Paul Goldschmidt, while the listing refers to Matt Carpenter

My favorite cap of all is the offering for the Washington Nationals, which features Max Scherzer. Scherzer has heterochromia iridum, which means his eyes are two different colors. His left eye is brown, while his right eye is blue.


[Photo credit: MLB.com]

As you can see, heterochromia iridum is tremendously distinctive. They could have made the rendering on this hat incredibly obvious, just by including this very rare trait. Did they?

Swing and a miss!

Ultimately, the drawings on the New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player® 9FIFTY™ Snapback caps are just plain bad. For the most part, they don’t look like the players they’re supposedly modeled after, nor do they look very good at all. Worse still, they seem to be ripping off a lot of the style of Gen X favorite “Beavis and Butthead”:

Jacob deGrom next to Butthead
Jacob deGrom does not actually look like Butt-Head.

Macy’s has probably sold scores of terrible New Era® Big Boys™ Lil Player® 9FIFTY™ Snapback® caps to well-meaning grandparents around the country. Perhaps Mike Judge should sue for royalties.

Rusney Castillo’s Golden Handcuffs 

Friday, September 20th, 2019

In 2014, the Red Sox signed Cuban player Rusney Castillo to a 7-year, $72.5 million contract. Now, due to arcane rules surrounding baseball’s luxury tax, that deal is actually preventing him from playing in the big leagues.